Friday, April 11, 2014

Bleeding Heart

Flatland's computers have all been compromised by a software security vulnerability, hight Bleeding Heart. Consequently, most passwords will need to be reset; the Chief Circle will change his password from CCircle to ChiefC, thus confounding potential hackers for all eternity. Lately this political titan has been busy accepting ministerial resignations and appointing a bunch of halfwits in order to fill the vacancies.

President Input continues to taunt his rivals, farting in the general direction of FlatUS and the absurd League of Medland Nations (LMN). President Input holds the most bizarre of concepts: that Flatkraine should pay for the vast quantity of natural gas that Northland has supplied. Moreover, that, if Flatkraine will not play ball politically, Northland will cease subsidising its gas price. This is not music to the leaders of Flatkraine, and 80,000 crack troops of Northland are poised to restore Northland sovereignty to eastern parts of Flatkraine in a latter-day Anschluss. Meanwhile the ludicrous O'Bama of O'Bama stands helplessly by, muttering imprecations into thin air as Flatkraine vanishes into a miasma of hypocrisy.

Court reports from the Land of the Flat Mountain tell of the distressing murder trial of the legless athlete Oscar Flatorius, accused of shooting his girlfriend. Given the needle-like shape of all females, it is surprising that he ever managed a direct hit on the unfortunate deceased lady. His trial has garnered global circular media coverage, as he paints himself into a hole with his testimony.

The Chicken Bank (see post of 18 June 2013) has finally confessed to annual losses of 1.3bn Flatbits in 2013. Various associated individuals have resigned or been forced from office, though the latest crop of banksters are collecting bonuses of breathtaking quantum. More assets will be sold in order to shore up the Chicken Bank's finances to the satisfaction of the Flatland Chicken Authority.

Alex Codfish continues to advocate independence for the northern region of Flatedonia, pretending to believe that a newly-independent Flatedonia would be retain the benefit of using the Flatbit as its unit of currency. In reality, there is not a whelk's chance in a supernova that Flatland would come to the aid of Flatedonia's rotten banking sector, which would collapse immediately upon independence.

Senator Chromatistes

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Every Hottentot and Every Eskimo ...

Once a year in Flatland, its Chief Financial Officer stands up and spends an hour boring its citizens with news of how much he will extract from their purses in order to line the pockets of his friends, hordes of public officials, and hangers-on. The average Triangle is clueless about the fashion by which his pocket is thereby picked, and even the Square and Pentagon classes have an imperfect notion of where they are about to lose out. So dysfunctional are Flatland's politicos that they didn't notice for years that one of their number - a female of the Blue Faction - was making dodgy expense claims. Whilst this is a hanging offence if committed by a member of the proletariat Triangle class, it is standard behaviour for Circles, who make up the majority of the political class.

President Input's merry men continue to provoke havoc in and around FlatCrim. His army stands ready to move further into Flatkraine, once a plausible disturbance is generated. It can only be a matter of time before Northland claims the entire Arctic Circle as its historic and indivisible territory. Once every Eskimo has become a Northlander, the plains of Southern Africa will inevitably be annexed, along with its Hottentot tribesmen and their whistling language.

Correspondents in FlatUS report some technology news - the MicroFlat Corporation is no longer going to support its ageing Slits XP operating system, potentially rendering a third of existing computers unusable.

The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Flatland has sent some of its Royal Family on tour to a far, far nation - AllBlackLand. Here they are subjected to bizarre ceremonies involving fierce scantily-dressed warriors. The youngest scion - Prince Eggfrith Louis Crosscheck-Doors James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree - was displayed briefly to the curious local inhabitants, when whisked away out of sight whilst his mother rubbed noses with some dignitary. Such are the indignities to which Flatland's royals are subject. They would be advised to learn Northlandian before their next foreign trip.

Senator Chromatistes

Saturday, March 22, 2014

FlatCrim

The hastily-arranged referendum in FlatCrim duly took place, and the result was no surprise. President Input got his desired result. The FlatCriminals cannot wait to be reunited with Northland. Various politicos from FlatUS and the League of Medland Nations (LMN) will huff and puff, but nobody will be sufficiently motivated to blow Input's house down. La Merkel is acutely embarrassed by the whole annexation episode, which is redolent of a previous local difficulty involving her own nation. President Input is even now negotiating a Sino-Northland natural gas deal that will enable him to turn off the gas pipelines on which many LMN nations depend, just to show them who is top banana.

Following a multiplicity of banking scandals, various FlatUS bodies are preparing to sue the major Flatbanks for rigging benchmark rates. They had better be quick about it, before all the Flatbanks disappear in a puff of illiquidity, and depositor bail-ins become the order of the day.

Flatland's Chief Financial Officer - a toff known as Gorgeous George - has caused a stir by effectively unlocking pension pots, From 2015, silver-haired savers will be siphoning off pension money and buying buy-to-let homes, which will delight readers of the Daily FlatMail, who think of little other than house prices. How Daily FlatMail readers reproduce is an arcane mystery, by stark contrast to FlatSun readers, whose every waking moments are dominated by beer, burgers and biology.

In his Budget, preceded by a photo-opportunity of him holding a red rectangle, Gorgeous George pulled a rabbit out the hat, with the reintroduction of the twelve-sided Flatbit. Apparently Decus et Tutamen has not been sufficient security for the existing Flatbit, and numerous forgeries are in circulation. Also, the Flatbit has depreciated in purchasing power very much to the level of the threepenny bit fifty years ago, during the height of Flatlemania, a nearly eightyfold change in value. Doubtless the new Flatbit will lose value just as rapidly, and in due course be replaced by some other fictional store of value.

Senator Chromatistes

Friday, March 07, 2014

Input, Output

President Input of Northland has had a busy couple of months. Firstly he was the smiling host of the Winter Flatlympics, on which a prodigious amount of Northland Rubles was spent, some of it honestly. Then, after a fortnight of sliding around and general jollifications, he sent his trained thugs into Flatkraine, a benighted nation suffering from chronic kleptocracy. In truth, none of the participants in this episode emerge with credit. That nation is a strangely divided territory containing deeply-polarised communities. After Input's men have done their thing, Northland will have re-acquired a bunch of Cossacks, and the League of Medland Nations (LMN) will be invited to pick up a very large bill, since the previous rulers of Flatkraine had thoroughly plundered whatever assets it controlled.

In Flatland itself, there have been problems with flooding - the clue lies in the name. Whoever buying a house or farm in the Flatterset Levels imagined for a moment that a prolonged rainy period might lead to their homes becoming wet? But grandstanding politicos have been keen to pledge millions of Flatbits in order to buy the votes of those chancers who made a bad call, and are now looking to slip the bill to some unsuspecting taxpaying patsy. As usual in such matters, if you haven't worked out the identity of that patsy within ten minutes, it's you!

Much has been written lately about Flatbits. Several Flatbanks have examined their virtual vaults, only to find them totally empty. Their depositors are of course livid, and even Janet Flatten of the FlatUS Reserve Board is unwilling to bail out these deadbeat enterprises. Meanwhile, a media circus has formed around the home of one Satoshi Flatamoto, based on the premise that this harmless citizen might indeed be ... Satoshi Flatamoto. The mind boggles.

A strange report arrived last month from a correspondent in Flathagen, which all Flatlanders have difficulty in comprehending. There are claims that there exist strange life forms, only part of whose bodies are visible within Flatland. One extreme example of such life forms, a beast named Marius was put to death last month, then paraded in front of the local children, and fed to lions. Presumably all this makes sense to the cognoscenti. Your humble correspondent would have preferred to have been given the opportunity to grill choice cuts of Marius, rather than see him making a meal for non-taxpaying members of the Feline family.

Another self-aggrandising politico has been prognosticating at length, as only members of his tribe can. This Celtic firebrand is hight Alex Codfish, and argues for independence for his, and many other clans that infest the northernmost regions of the Democratic People's Republic of Flatland. Naturally Mr Codfish does not intend to pay his bills, but instead aspires to the position whereby his southern neighbours meet all his obligations, whilst he throws oodles of newly-minted Flatbits at his voters. Flatlanders are unanimous in their objection to this boondoggle, and insist that he create a separate currency - Northern Flatpounds - which would trade at a substantial and increasing discount to Flatbits. Moreover, any bank remaining in that new territory could expect no favourable treatment from the Bank of Flatland, or its Governor, Mark Carnivorous. Naturally, a not-very-orderly queue of banks has formed, each of would will relocate to an exotic location at the first whiff of electoral support for the aspirant Emperor Codfish. All this hoopla gives good cause for rebuilding Hadrian's Fence.

Senator Chromatistes


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flat New Year

The Chief Circle and his ministers are getting agitated; as from midnight the Ruritanians and Vulgarians will be completely at liberty to immigrate and take advantage of Flatland's relatively-generous social service benefit system. Various ministers have been charged with finding cop-outs in order to discourage an anticipated influx of benefit-seekers, thimbleriggers and assorted human detritus. Meanwhile, for impenetrable reasons of its own, the nation of Flatvia is to adopt the bizarre currency of the League of Medland Nations (LMN).

Flatland's Supreme Court recently came out with an unwelcome judgement: two Flatologists were permitted to solemnise their union in the Flatland headquarters of this controversial organisation. Those in the know confidently predict an imminent application for charitable status that would allow the Flatologist organisation to reduce its rate bill by 80%.

Economic news has been fairly favourable, and the Flatbit has appreciated somewhat against the FlatUS Dollar. The stock exchanges of FlatUS and Flatland have both enjoyed strong runs during 2013, assisted by their respective central banks. This has not translated into joy amongst High Street retailers, and the leading chain store Flatenhams has issued a profits warning. Its shares now trade at only some 35% of the price at which it was refloated a few years ago, after spending a short but profitable period in the tender, caring arms of public-spirited venture capitalists. Who would have imagined during that IPO process that the public was being offered a pup?

With the turn of the year, the LMN acquires a new presidency - none other than Hellenland, the country that in recent years has had such difficulty in meeting its debt commitments. Some jokes write themselves.

The Chief Circle has commanded me to send fraternal greetings to all readers, and best wishes for 2014.

Senator Chromatistes




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Last Syllable of Recorded Time

Strange things are afoot in our beloved nation: our historical records, including those ancient scrolls rediscovered only last week (see previous posting) have vanished without trace. Official history now starts with the epoch of the Great Coalition Victory over the Powers of Darkness. All Flatland's citizens aged four or above are confused, since their birth records are now missing, and they appear to have been called into existence by some mystic force, possibly parthenogenesis.

However, the Chief Circle is exceedingly pleased with this turn of events, since no vestigial trace remains other than that of the Dear Leader and his beloved retinue of hangers-on, satraps and fellow-travellers.

Dire reports have been received regarding the Flatland cricket team, who are touring a very distant land. They have apparently suffered three consecutive drubbings, and the Dear Leader may have to issue another edict in order to purge this calamity from the national records.

Transport to and from our capital Flat City has been problematical for as long as anybody can remember - three and a half years at least! Our Senate has commissioned a report on extending sliding facilities at Flatrow or Flatwick. Both options are controversial with the locals, and the Mayor of Flat City, a jolly mop-topped buffoon, advocates a fresh facility in the remote marshes in the benighted Eastern regions.

President Input has been busily persuading the Flatkranians not to dally with the League of Medland Nations (LMN). In reality, most of the existing LMN members are heartily sick of expansion, which has resulted in all sorts of questionable characters traipsing around their respective nations, claiming overgenerous benefits and generally upsetting the indigenous voters, who are of a blinkered disposition - many of them being Daily FlatGraph readers. More trouble is brewing within the LMN financial sector; the Great Angela has finally been reconfirmed in her post, and will now proceed to expose more of the moribund banks and credit institutions that litter the LMN. This will be an ugly procedure, resulting in the demise of several supposedly 'Too-Big-To-Fail' banks, and the impoverishment of many innocent depositors. Our Dear Leader will no doubt ensure that the Royal Bank of Flatland is not one of that number.


Senator Chromatistes

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poles Apart

The North* Pole belongs to Flatland - this is an undeniable geographical and historical fact, amply evidenced by the continental shelf that connects it to our great democratic nation. In order to reinforce this, the Chief Circle has declared a No-Slide Zone, whereby any commercial transport from another nation is required to identify itself and request permission to slide across the zone. These permissions are readily granted in return for an appropriate quantity of FlatCoins, electronically transferred to a discreet offshore account.

*So also do the South, East and West poles, according to very ancient scrolls recently rediscovered and now on public view in the Flatland National Museum (Platinum sponsors: Hewlett Flatard). How amazingly advanced our ancestors were to write on parchments of exact A4 size!

Elsewhere, a Great Man has died. A Circle amongst Circles, his extended funeral arrangements have attracted the usual suspects of tired, worn-out and downright dodgy politicos seeking to improve their public standing by association with the Great Man. Some of these attendees attempted to amuse themselves by taking 'selfies', though their efforts clearly backfired. The President of FlatUS took a snap that showed three straight lines of differing colour, representing himself and two lesser dignitaries. His needle-sharp wife was not at all amused. A not-so-great man has also died; the Chief Circle had him executed for clapping only half-heartedly at the last Party Congress. You really cannot be too careful these days. House prices in Flatland have been rising strongly, and the Governor of the Bank of Flatland (an import from Mooseland) has suggested that measures need to be taken to moderate the housing market. This viewpoint does not gel at all with members of the ruling Coalition, who will be seeking re-election within eighteen months. The standard Flatland house design is shown here:

Meanwhile, a scion of our Royal Family has reached the South Pole, 102 years late. Many of Flatland's intelligentsia are wondering whether, in deference to history, he will perish on the return journey.