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Caracas down the khazi.

THE PROBLEM WITH socialism, said Margaret Thatcher, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. To which she might have added toilet paper. And washing machines, and tvs, and just about everything else.

That’s certainly the case in Venezuela, where the post-Chavez government with its continued adherence to madhouse economics has recently used troops to enforce “fair” prices on goods sold in the Daka chain of electrical stores. According to the government, the “bourgeois parasites”, ie, the people who actually create the economy, have been waging war against the Venezuelan people by charging high prices for their goods.

What constitutes a “fair” price remains undefined, as does the question of who determines it and on what criteria. The principle behind it, however, is clear as far those proposing it are concerned, ie, it’s fair if it is likely to increase our popularity and get us re-elected.

This latest insanity follows the the Toilet Paper Fiasco, during which the all-seeing benevolent government not only had to import and ration the sale of 39 million bog rolls but also occupied a factory to ensure further production.

It’s not just toilet rolls and food supplies that are being squeezed, Venezuela’s medical services are also starting to collapse. Its vaunted Cuban-style community medicine programme is proving to be economically unworkable no matter how many working class, non-elite physicians they employ.

I wonder if Ed Miliband is paying any attention to the chaos being produced in Venezuela by policies similar to the ones he’s advocating for fuel prices and other things here? Silly question. If there’s one thing progressives around the world are dedicated to it’s repeating the mistakes of the past.

At least we haven’t got to the stage in the UK where the government have to set up a High Commission for the People’s Defence of the Economy as they have done in Caracas (that High Commission stuff, though, must surely appeal to the apparatchiks in the EU). Major General Hebert Garcia Plaza is its head and he’s keen to create what he calls “consciousness” among the people. This amounts to “denouncing irregularities such as hoarding or excessive prices” and not falling into the trap of panic buying and so on.

Venezuelan women, in particular, he says, need to “do their shopping in a rational way”. That’s a bit of a sexist thing for a comrade to say, I’d have thought. I can imagine his wife sending him out with a list to do the shopping himself, saying “There you are, clever dick, let’s see how well you do.”

The situation in Venezuela is truly insane. The country has one of the world’s largest oil reserves and yet is committed to socialist suicide: ridiculous foreign currency controls, the incessant printing of money (and subsequent inflation), relentless “appropriation” of private businesses by the state (aka theft), capital flight, withdrawal of foreign investment, price controls, the lot.

So in the Chavist-Maduro people’s utopia you can have your cut-price or looted plasma tv from a shop that the state has put out of business, you can go to a Cuban-style community clinic where the working class, non-elite doctors won’t have any drugs to give you, and you’ll probably have to keep your toilet rolls in the safe.

The Venezuelan state is, quite literally, one that can’t even wipe its own collective backside properly.

…and just a bit late for ‘World Toilet Day’…



GOOD SANITATION IS a serious matter, no doubt about it. I know what it’s like when you don’t have any, since I used to go camping in Scotland and I once travelled on an Italian train where I encountered a toilet that could have been the model for classical Avernus. However, it takes an august body such as the United Nations to turn it into a joke, as they have done in coming up with World Toilet Day.

Every day now is a something day, every week a something else week, every month another damn thing month. The powers that be are concerned that we aren’t aware enough of all the problems in the world and thus have to be reminded of them by these pointless campaigns. Every day if necessary.

I’m very much in favour of the idea that awareness, like charity, begins at home, which is why when I think of toilets I think specifically of the one in our house. We had it installed when we revamped our bathroom a couple of years ago. It’s a slim, elegant, white piece of engineering, much smaller and more attractive than the old-fashioned one.

Unfortunately, it’s also eco-regulated, inefficient, wasteful and the source of much aggravation. The cleverly-designed, slow-shutting lid has never shut slowly. The narrowness of the outlet and the minimal, environmentally-friendly, rigorously-calibrated no-more-than-six-litres of water often requires eco-busting double flushes to do its job and also guarantees frequent blockages.

Frequent blockages require the action of the in-house engineer, ie, me, and multiple flushings that eradicate any watery savings predicated on the governmental greenies’ brilliant calculations to save the planet. And after three years it has been necessary to replace the bottom entry float valve, because the old one was taking 15 minutes to refill the cistern. Waiting 15 minutes before every flush while attempting to clear a blockage is unacceptable. It’s against my human rights.

What’s the UN got to say about that? Nothing. And what is the EU doing about it? Planning to make things worse, as usual. The apparatchiks of Brussels have come up with suggestions “to develop the EU Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement criteria for flushing toilets and urinals”. I think that’s something to do with being able to slap a pretty sticker on the side of your bog to show it conforms to the requirements of the great European Empire.

They also want to reduce the maximum amount of water in each flush to five litres (that’s just over a gallon, by the way – and still not enough even in proper measurements).

So now there’s a Nazi in your khazi. Be warned. There is nothing these people will not try to regulate. Next it will be the thickness of toilet paper. After that, I dread to think.

Michael Blackburn.

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