More than 2,000 of the most appalling people in the world forked out £25,000 each for a five day booze-up in the Swiss mountains last week.
The World Economic Forum in Davos brought together the bosses of the world's biggest corporations with presidents and prime ministers from dozens of countries—and enough “experts” to tell them exactly what they want to hear.
You'd think that would be a chance for them to hatch the mother of all plots. But in the event it all fell a bit flat.
Organisers struggled with a slogan for the event. Lacking either the stomach for “another year of misery” or the brass neck for anything more positive, they settled on two words plucked out of a hat—”resilient dynamism”.
And that was probably the high point of the buzzwords.
Founder Klaus Schwab called for delegates to go “beyond crisis management” but his heart clearly wasn't in it.
Before long the business correspondents of the world were hounding Bill Oddie to find out what on earth advertising kingpin Sir Martin Sorrell might have meant by a “grey swan”. It’s a swan that you can see, apparently.
Elsewhere delegates from Africa, China and Russia argued for giving money to businesses in Africa, China and Russia respectively.
Italy's unelected prime minister Mario Monti tried his hand at stand-up comedy, perhaps expecting to give up the day job in next month's elections. His routine included such side-splitters as the dubious observation that Arabs are more corrupt than Norwegians.
It could have been worse. His rival Silvio Berlusconi this weekend decided that Holocaust Memorial Day would be a good time to praise Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Finally Bob Diamond, the banker other bankers are desperate not to be seen with, stayed away. But his face still gave his former colleagues a fright when it popped up in the opening video presentation.
Californian toy company Maisto is cashing in on civilian casualties, with a new die-cast replica of the US army’s Predator drone.
These flying robots of death have killed thousands in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They really come into their own for assassinations—if you try not to think about the collateral damage.
Wholesome fun, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Some people say the government doesn’t invest enough in council housing.
But freedom of information requests reveal an extra £900,000 they’ve spent—on getting rid of it.
The money was on marketing for the relaunched “right to buy” scheme, including half a million on junk mail to tenants.
Tories’ diet of doom is bad for our health
Tory public health minister Anna Soubry says she “can almost tell somebody’s background by their weight”.
As a child she could taunt poor people for being “skinny runts”. Today it’s obesity she associates with the poor.
Soubry blamed an “abundance of bad food”—as opposed to, say, the rising price of good food.
But last week researchers said people were more likely to go for high calorie food when faced with bad news.
Perhaps Soubry should try to convince her fellow Tories to shove a bit less of that down our throats.
- One of Labour’s candidates for 2015 met some union members once—and wasn’t impressed.
Andrew Pakes, set to contest the Milton Keynes seat in the general election, remembers two shop stewards whose “Noddy Holder accents” sounded like “someone outside a nightclub.”
Let’s roll out a red carpet for Sarkozy
London is in luck.
When French police seized the computer of former president Nicolas Sarkozy for a corruption probe, they found a first draft of his backup plan.
It seems Sarko could be the next celeb to flee Paris before a mooted millionaire’s tax becomes reality.
He’d set up shop in London to run an investment fund. That sounds more fun than the prison sentence he’ll face in France if found guilty.
- The Council of Europe must have been shocked when Greek MP Eleni Zarouli called immigrants “subhumans” who carry “all sorts of diseases”.
She sits on the Council’s committee for equality and non‑discrimination. Zarouli is an MP for the fascist Golden Dawn party.
The Council refused last week to remove her, and Hungarian fascist MP Tamas Gaudi-Nagy. He’s a member of the Jobbik party, and says Jews dominate the world.
‘Easy money’ if you pretend to hate the planet
Who says the rich aren’t creating jobs?
A classified ad in New York offers “a really simple job for easy money”.
The mysterious recruiter will pay £12.60 to 100 volunteers to stand outside the British consulate on Wednesday of this week.
This will pad out a rally against Britain’s use of wind power.
- A “pro-life” religious hospital in the US is fighting a malpractice law suit by arguing that foetuses are not people after all.
We could have told them that for free.