Tag Archives: george osborne

George and the locusts, coming soon to a former colony near YOU

20 Feb

george osborneThere’s probably something about living in the shadow of the world’s most populous nation and pre-eminent global authoritarian one-party state, that can’t help but make one a little jittery. At least, that’s my over-simplistic explanation of why Hong Kongers seem so quick to mobilise in protest. Last week all the fuss was about the not-so-subtle erosion of the SAR’s enshrined press freedoms while this week the news cycle has been dominated by a rather ugly anti-mainlander rally.

In the sort of irony bypass that’s become wearingly familiar to anyone following public protests in Hong Kong and China, around 100 locals paraded the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday waving anti mainlander banners and scuffling with passers-by. The reason? They believe HK is full up and can’t take any more of these rude, uncouth big spenders from across the border. They conveniently glossed over the fact that tourism makes up a decent wodge of Hong Kong’s economy (around 4.5%) and that they were being pretty rude and uncouth themselves on the Sunday march, shouting slogans like, “Go back to mainland China”.

The Communist Party of China has spent the past 60-odd years carefully constructing the narrative that the Middle Kingdom and its territories (Taiwan, Tibet etc) belong to a unified Han race; a kind of master race of the East rising once again to its rightful place at the centre of the universe. I guess Hong Kong didn’t get the memo. Want some more irony? The protesters also shouted the word “Shina” at mainland shoppers on Sunday. That particular moniker was last used by imperial Japan back in the day as a derogatory word to describe China. Want another? The Sunday protesters were apparently carrying British colonial-era Hong Kong flags to signal their otherness from the mainland.

You’ve got to hand it to the protesters, they’ve managed to do the unthinkable and actually arouse some sympathy for the hapless ‘locusts’ caught in the crossfire. All that those bum bag and velour leopard skin onesie-wearing gits want to do is spend a shedload on some gaudy luxury goods, jump a few queues and act rather unsympathetically to their surroundings, which is not strictly speaking illegal. As I’ve said before, Hong Kong has made a rod for its own back in allowing developers to build luxury shopping mall after luxury shopping mall to attract these tourists. It’s no wonder why the SAR is so limited when it comes to theatres, arts spaces and non-tourist oriented shops/bars/anything.

Go George!

I have a theory about this particular protest. I reckon it was incited by the UK Chancellor as a classic bit of magician’s misdirection, so he could slip into the country almost unannounced this week. Now I’m not quite sure why gorgeous George has decided to make a speech about the UK economy from Hong Kong today, unless the rationale was that the last remaining group of people on the planet who might not be tempted to give him a good shoeing are the Mr and Mses of the British Chambers of Commerce here.

Or it might be that only local business leaders in Honkers are predisposed to take George and his ridiculously high fringe line seriously. “Balanced economy? You don’t even have a balanced haircut mate.”

Anyway, Lord Gideon of Tatton has shared his message that the UK economy might just be ever so slightly too reliant on consumer spending and the City of London. So well done there, exactly what every economist worth his salt, and the Governor of the Bank of England, has been saying for rather a long time now.

Still, thumbs up for getting there in the end chancellor. You can go back to the UK now, and while you’re at it can you take some of these revolting Chinese with you? We’ve got enough take-aways here as it is.

World War BoJo: Big Posh Sod lands in Hong Kong

18 Oct

boris johnson routemasterYou know how life sometimes decides to piss royally on your cornflakes? So it was with poor old Hong Kong this week.

Now citizens of this schizophrenic little outcrop of China have had to cope with many trials and tribulations over the past 100+ years. Typhoons, fires, cholera, SARS and even an outbreak of the plague close to where I now reside, have all tested the resilience of its people to the limit. That’s not even to mention British colonial rule, and today, an invasion of a different kind by hordes of cash-rich, ill-mannered mainland tourists.

I get the sense Hong Kongers were just about coming to terms with all life had thrown at them when this happened…

Boris in HK

(image: ITV)

Yup, BoJo’s in town gaffe-ing his way around the SAR with his usual aplomb, as part of a 5-day trade visit to China.

One of the new London Routemasters formed one of Boris’ centrepiece photo opportunities in HK. I believe the London mayor is keen to export the idea of a Boris Bus to other countries, although things didn’t get off to a brilliant start here after it was apparently stuck on the cargo boat for several hours after breaking down.

Undeterred the politician who is defined more by his photo opps than any actual policies took to the air in an open-doored helicopter for an Apocalypse Now style sweep across the city, golden mane twirling effortlessly above him.

BJ met George Osborne, who’s been on a similar mission in China seemingly designed to say in BIG capitals: “sorry for hosting the Dalai Lama last year, let’s forget about that and all that human rights nonsense and get as many of you rich sods over to the UK spending your MONEY!”

So it was that dear Gideon declared there is no limit on the number of Chinese students that can study in the UK – hint, hint – and that visa rules for Chinese tourists would be simplified.

Now I’ve got no problem with encouraging rich social elites who probably accrued their wealth illegally in countries which pay little or no heed to human rights to come to the UK to kick-start our economy. You know, cos they sort of owe us anyway for letting them have back Hong Kong even though we’d already named ALL the roads and built loads of stuff there…

I do have a slight issue with the idea that there could be no limit to the number of Chinese students studying in the UK, however. For a Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Osborne is displaying a worrying lack of aptitude for simple mathematics.

There are roughly around 1.4 billion people in China, and a fair proportion of them have the financial means to send their kids abroad to study. However, at the last count, there were fewer than 600,000 undergraduate places available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Apparently 130,000 Chinese are already studying in the UK – although not all on university courses. Let’s see how friendly Georgey boy is to the Middle Kingdomers when that number doubles, or triples over the next few years.

That said, given the trade and investment deals struck with China this week, the UK will soon have no option but to brush off its haughty post-colonial attitudes as Chinese banks and nuclear power stations start popping up all over the People’s Republic of Great Britain.

Transform This!

BoJo’s flying visit at least seems to be going down better with the locals that that of Hollywood director Michael Bay, here in the city to film yet another Transformers film.

As he explained in a brief blog post, a meth’d-up, possible Triad took umbrage to his film crew and tried to shake them down for some “compensation” money – using an air conditioning unit as a stick and, well, there wasn’t a carrot.

Perhaps enraged not just by the methamphetamine coursing through his veins but the dreadful motion pictures Bay has inflicted on the world, the unnamed assailant tried to strike the director.

Bay continues:

That’s when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt’s movie World War Z—he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them. He actually bit into one of the guards Nike shoe, insane. Thank god it was an Air Max, the bubble popped, but the toe was saved.

Thank god it was an Air Max Michael. Thank the sweet lord above.