CEO of Ryanair

Spare a thought for Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair airlines.

Arriving in a hotel in Dublin, he went to the bar and asked for a pint of draught Guinness. The barman nodded and said, “That will be one Euro please, Mr. O’Leary.”

Somewhat taken aback, O’Leary replied, “That’s very cheap,” and handed over his money.

“Well, we try to stay ahead of the competition”, said the barman. “And we are serving free pints every Wednesday evening from 6 until 8. We have the cheapest beer in Ireland”

“That is remarkable value,” Michael comments

“I see you don’t seem to have a glass, so you’ll probably need one of ours. That will be 3 euros please.”

O’Leary scowled, but paid up. He took his drink and walked towards a seat.

“Ah, you want to sit down?” said the barman. “That’ll be an extra 2 euros. – You could have pre-book the seat, and it would have only cost you a Euro.”

“I think you may to be too big for the seat sir, can I ask you to sit
in this frame please?”

Michael attempts to sit down but the frame is too small and when he can’t squeeze in he complains “Nobody would fit in that little frame”.

“I’m afraid if you can’t fit in the frame you’ll have to pay an extra
charge of 4 euros for your seat sir”

O’Leary swore to himself, but paid up. “I see that you have brought your laptop with you” added the barman. “And since that wasn’t pre-booked either, that will be another 3 euros.”

O’Leary was so annoyed that he walked back to the bar, slammed his drink on the counter, and yelled, “This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the manager.”

“Do you know exactly who I am?”

“Of course I do Mr. O’Leary,”

“I’ve had enough, What sort of Hotel is this? I come in for a quiet
drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to a manager now!”

“Here is his E mail address, or if you wish, you can contact him
between 9 and 9.10 every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free, until they are answered, then there is a talking charge of only 10 cent per second”

“I will never use this bar again”

“OK sir, but remember, we are the only hotel in Ireland selling pints for one Euro”.

Child Custody

A seven-year-old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama today when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge
initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law requiring that family unity be maintained where possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her.

When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child
welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the England Football Team, whom the boy firmly believes, are not capable of beating anyone.

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Iran and Britain’s dislocation from reality

Anyone who remains blissfully unaware of what passes in Britain for debate about Iran might like to listen here to Wednesday evening’s edition of BBC Radio Four’s The Moral Maze, on which I am a regular panellist.

The show – whose somewhat misunderstood purpose is not so much to discuss an issue in the round as test individual arguments to destruction – featured two particularly illuminating contributions by Professor Michael Clarke, Director-General of the prestigious Royal United Services Institute, and Dr David Rodin, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford.

Prof Clarke, who by virtue of his position is one of Britain’s top military analysts, blithely asserted that Iran would not pass the nuclear threshold for another three to four years. On what evidential basis does he put this point so much further down the line than US or Israeli estimates? And anyway, the real point about the dilemma of whether or when to attack Iran is surely not when it might go nuclear, but at what point it becomes impossible to stop it from going nuclear.

Read more….

The real reform to Child Benefit

The British government is currently tearing itself apartover its proposal to cut Child Benefit for households where the wage-earnerbrings in more than £42,745 per year. Apparently, this is dividing the Prime Minister,David Cameron, from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

Osborne wants to cut the benefit because a it will reducepublic spending and b it hits higher earners, thus fulfilling the Cameroons’political imperative to be seen to ‘fair’ in spreading the pain of austerity tothe better-off (you may think this is a cynical and self-defeating gimmick borrowedfrom the politics of envy in order to suck up spinelessly to the left, but there it is).

The Prime Minister, however, is queasy – as well he should be– about a further punishing the not-so-wealthy middle-class who already shouldera disproportionate burden of taxation, and b punishing stay-at-home mothers, sincetwo-earner couples whose separate incomes individually fall below the proposed ChildBenefit cut-off will still get the wretched benefit, even though their joint incomeis far above that of the couple whose sole salary happens to be above the cut-off limit.

Read more….