It’s peace and democracy, stupid

We accountants do not care much for the front section of the newspaper. If  a story cannot be reduced to prime numbers, it is not for  us. After a cursory glance at the headlines we skip to Section B to be hypnotized by the latest business and finance news followed by yesterday's football, baseball and cricket…

Embracing the taxman

The most idiosyncratic teacher from my schooldays died last week. Feared by the new boys, persecuted by the middle school and respected by the senior pupils, he was the quintessential British schoolmaster of the mid-to-late twentieth century. Armed with a library of twenty aphorisms (I can, to this day, repeat every one by heart  including his motto: "I may be fairly…

The Euro – a mental exercise

Zbig does not understand what the fuss over austerity in Europe is all about. He fails to comprehend the fall of the Dutch government, the elevation of a socialist to the presidency of France, the  inconclusive election in Greece, bailouts and quantitative easing.  All he can say, with his utterly limited command of at least 10 European languages, is that…

Turning left at the end of the world

A few years ago the president of one of those numerous archipelagoes peppered across the Pacific Ocean made an accusatory statement about Australia that threatened a diplomatic incident. Listening to an interview on the BBC with the then Australian foreign minister my mind was tuned to expect a suitably circumlocutory diplomatic reply. "Frankly, he is talking a load…