Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's vote in the socialists. How bad could they be?

Some Venezuelans must have the patience of the stiff upper lip crowd;

84 Charing Cross Road has to be one of the most boring movies ever made (quite a feat since it stars Anthony Hopkins and Ann Bancroft). Think of it as the story of Amazon.com before there was an internet (1949-the 60s).

However, about 16 minutes into the film (for those who've stayed awake) we see Londoners, including the manager of the used bookshop Marks and Co. at the aforementioned Charing Cross Road location, standing on the sidewalk outside a butcher shop staring forlornly at this sign;
It's not our Fault when we have to say
This is about five years after the end of World War II. Why are the Brits unable to buy meat like civilized Europeans (say, the Germans they'd defeated in the war)? Because they voted in the socialist comrades and ousted Churchill's Tories, that's why.

As the Ann Bancroft character (TV scriptwriter Helene Hanff) learns from a Brit living in NYC (who is dating her neighbor), in England meat is rationed at 2 oz. per week per family. Eggs: 1 per month per person. To which she says, 'I am simply appalled.' But the expat Brit tells her how he keeps his own mother fed; a firm in Denmark that ships food parcels into England.

What little action that takes place in the film revolves around Helene Hanff's gifts of food that she sends regularly to her new penpals in London, to relieve them of their government imposed deprivation. Especially at Christmas and Easter. Which is much appreciated by the recipients. One of the first thank-you letters she gets is from the manager (Anthony Hopkins) of the store; 'Everything in the parcel was something we never see or can only be had through the black market.'

The store's bookkeeper tells her in another missive, 'I live with my Great Aunt, who is 75. If you had seen the look of delight on her face when I brought home the [tinned ham] ....'

When Labour is finally voted out of power in 1951, Hanff writes; 'Congratulations on Churchill...hope he loosens up your rations a little.' Which he does, but not until 1954 are the controls lifted completely. Which coincides with the movie losing whatever charm it had.

What does all this have to do with Venezuela? Well, they voted socialist too, and now it's fifteen years later;
Venezuela’s government announced the start of electricity rationing in western Zulia state as well as water rationing in Caracas to reduce demand on the power grid, a day after Ford Motor Co. halted production in Latin America’s largest oil exporter.
Shortages of everything from water to car parts and flour to pregnancy tests come after three months of protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro that have left at least 41 people dead. The government yesterday said it will start rationing electricity and water as drought drains hydroelectric reservoirs and water tanks.
Human perversity never ceases to amaze.

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