Friday, 24 June 2016


This time next week we will all know whether the citizens of Great Britain have decided to remain in or leave the European Union. To the extent that any lists of economic and financial benefits and drawbacks of either decision are accurate and unbiased, the question is very complex and can be hotly argued. The simplest targets for those who want to leave are the numerous and sometimes wilfully misinterpreted raft of directives about everyday items and situations that people have coped with on their own for centuries. Any European taxpayer should rightly question for example the need for an official regulation that distinguishes between a jam, a fruit spread and a conserve. However, no one would like to end any or all of the beneficial trading and business relationships that have been forged in the last few decades of EU membership.  Provided of course that those links were mutually beneficial and not profitable for either party because of public subsidy, there seems to be no reason why the parties cannot simply agree to buy and sell in future without the blessing of Brussels. The one thing that is clear however is that a vote to remain indicates an acceptance of a totally unnecessary and unwarranted layer of politicians and bureaucrats. This is the real reason why the Leave vote must succeed.
Anyway this so-called Brexit business is providing a wonderful explanation for the recent bout of market weakness. The London index shed a few pounds more than anyone one else this week and demand for so-called safer assets has seen “investors” choosing to lend money to the US government for 10 years at a measly 1.6%pa. Surely no good can come of that? The price of gold has also been nudging up and recently sellers have been demanding and getting more than R20 000 a Krugerrand. Just think. Fifty of those coins is now a million rand!
There is a growing tendency to treat lightly all the days of the week in which a public holiday falls and nothing seems to happen for quite a long time! Except that politicians leap on to platforms to dance, sing and talk a lot of often inflammatory nonsense. Certainly the events 40 years ago in Soweto were dreadful and even today inexplicable and painful, but perhaps the theme of Youth Day should be one of looking forward expectantly. Not backwards resentfully.
With a mathematically guaranteed margin, maybe the casinos ought not to be sticking their head over the parapet to complain that the government has granted a 41st licence. Dragging out the 1995 Wiehahn Commission report smacks of scraping the barrel for excuses to deny a competitor who must have done the research to believe that they will attract sufficient punters. Mind you the government spokesman’s claim that they wished to “prevent the overstimulation of the demand to gamble” also looks funny. Does that mean our government wants to stimulate us a little bit to gamble?
It was inevitable that a compromise over the Voter’s Roll failing to meet constitutional standards would be made. Despite most voters having no address recorded on the Roll, the Local Government elections have to go ahead. The problem remains, however, that the boss of the outfit charged with running the election is a Zuma buddy and quite able to overlook discrepancies in the ruling party’s favour. It’s going to be a dirty, noisy and fierce scrap which should all but confirm the near irrelevance of white voters in the governance of this country.
Now that the northern hemisphere is warming up (next week is the solstice – just saying) and their sports season is well underway, choosing which Supersport channel is getting tough again. Some spectacularly savage scrapping among soccer supporters alerted me to the big competition in France. Then there’s the US Open, Formula 1 in a country I won’t try and spell and our Proteas making heavy weather of things in the Caribbean. Anything else? Oh yes. Wait. Springboks. Or rather 15 assorted chaps in green and gold ambling round a rugby field looking for something to do. Last weekend’s gathering at the TV to witness the humiliation against the Irish became rather messy when interest in the debacle waned in favour of removing bottle tops and corks.
James Greener
Friday 17th June 2016