Plus Ca Change 71

In 1816, in a “Big Bang” liberalisation, the commercial and financial restrictions on trading with India were removed. This account is from John Capper’s 1853 book, The Three Presidencies of India. I just wondered if it reminded you of anything?

The impetus which the Indian trade received on the opening of the ports of the East to all classes was not without its evils; the prospect of rapid fortunes which opened out to many of the newcomers paved the way to a reckless system of trading, and an improvident style of living, hitherto unknown…

In 1830 and the following year commercial affairs reached a crisis in Calcutta. The hollowness of the fabric reared by rash speculators, demonstrated itself with a convulsion which will not easily be forgotten by those who witnessed its effects. Indigo, silk, cotton, sugar, all had been dealt, or rather gambled in, to an extent that was only limited by the impossibility of obtaining any further means for carrying on the game. It mattered little whose funds were jeopardised…

The bubble burst, scattering ruin and desolation amidst the homes of thousands of helpless victims. None were prepared for the catastrophe, and least of all the harmless men who had caused the mischief. They were not moved; few of them had lost much. The storm overtook them steeped in princely luxuries, deep in selfish physical enjoyment. Bankruptcy stared them and their victims in the face, but how different the result! A month or two without their race-horses, their dinner parties, and their ducal establishments, and the Insolvent Court kindly enabled them to make a fresh start, as unabashed as ever; whilst their constituents (i.e. their victims) became pauperised, and dependent upon charity for subsistence.

71 thoughts on “Plus Ca Change

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  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Dreoilin; Add another of my faux pas.

    Once when re-entering my nym I misspelled email, and I had to ask Jon why my avatar disappeared.

    I embarrass myself sometimes.

  • Tony0pmoc

    As Regards David Coverdale – Yes I Confess, I Did See Him On BBC Morning TV…But I Was in Her Mum’s Home….I Don’t Normally Watch BBC – and Especially Not Breakfast TV….

    I have never had a Problem with David Coverdale – He Actually Passed His Pint To Me – and I Passed it To My Girlfriend who Completely Loves Him – Even Now…

    This Was at The Front of Wembley Arena…

    And Yes We did go and see him about 25 years later at Hammersmith Odeon – and I he looked absolutely Fantastic and Could Still Sing The Same…

    Now 8 Years after 2005..We were there -and I have The Whitesnake T-Shirt..well I thought shit – Now he must be well into his 60’s…

    My Hair Is Real Too – But I Haven’t Quite Perfected The Blonde Curly Girly Look…

    I Reckon My Skin – Up Close Is in Better Nick Than His…

    But I Can’t Sing, Nor Play Guitar…

    We Won’t be going to see him at the O2…

    The Venue is Far Too Big…

    But we may see him at one of The Little Festivals We are Going To Again This Year…If he Turns Up Unannounced.

    Well Lemmy used to do it all the time with Hawkwind..and Probably Still Does.

    I never got any Coverdale’s Ex’s

    But one of them insisted she had shagged Ian Gillan…

    I thought nah..and I Really Did Not Want To..

    But it would have been impolite not to. I am convinced she was older than me. She could certainly outdrink me.


  • Dreoilin

    “I embarrass myself sometimes.”

    I think everyone does, Ben. I know I have, several times.
    I had to just throw it behind me and move on. 😉

  • craig Post author

    There are some times we all embarrass ourselves. I still cringe sometimes about stupid things I said years ago.

  • Fred

    “But is it not the point that capitalism has recovered from all of its previous crises? Does that not suggest therefore that we will also recover from the present one?”

    False logic.

  • Sophie Habbercake


    “Presumably Sophie knows.
    Did he choose a Hebrew prophet and deliberately mis-spell his name for some reason?”

    Beats me. Reason seems somehow not to fit well with anything to do with Dad. Who is he? I honestly haven’t a clue.

    Ever since Mr Kempe and That Man found his shed and smashed his Dell almost three weeks ago and he went on the run with Adrian’s laptop I’ve been trying to piece together just who Dad really is. The details become more confusing by the day.

    Is he Rupert Habbercake, star of Surbiton Amateur Dramatic Society whose infamous interpretation of Mr. Knightley in last November’s production of Jane Austen’s Emma sparked riots that left much of the town centre in ruins​? Did he subsequently hide away in our garden shed and start a career as a paid troll partolling this blog and trying to enforce conformity with his unique comments. If so why did he go on the run and continue his manic postings even when he knew his former handlers had sacked him and were scouring the country trying to end the embarrassment.

    Or is he really Vadic Zabolotny, said by some to be a known FBD asset, whose literary talents are being used to discredit the official narrative by posting blatent and obvious garbage in the guise of attacks on this blog’s stars.
    We are told that Zabolotny’s death was recorded in the autumn of 1996 in an orchard near Novokhopyorsk following an argument with a moose that was, according to eye-witnesses, “мертвецки пьяный” after comsumming rotten wind-fall apples all weekend. It seems now that this event may have been staged. What is known is that Zabolotny, while lecturing at Volgograd’s elite State Institute of International Relations (VGIMO), once bored two students literally to death and caused the hospitalization of a further thirteen. Does that kind of ability ring any bells?

    Maybe both these possibilities are just a smokescreen. His use of a mis-spelled Hebrew prophet, combined with his predictable, “I’m not a Zionist but the Israeli state is always justified” line may provide a clue​.

    We will probably never know the truth.

    What we do know is that the best ways to get under his skin are to talk sense, produce evidence or, best of all, make simple errors in spelling or grammar. It’s really a bit like lighting a little firework, just do any of these things, then sit back and wait to enjoy the Habba Show.

  • doug scorgie

    18 May, 2013 – 12:03 am

    “There are some times we all embarrass ourselves. I still cringe sometimes about stupid things I said years ago.”

    I also cringe at stupid things I said in the past but I cringe more when I remember stupid things I DID in the past.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    I think the only truly ‘stupid’ mistake is the ones we make over and over.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – ‘the same’ is of course a loop, a circle in a circular mind.

    In this merry-go-round of life, change is of course a cycle until death intervenes. I am aware change is always subjective and is really an illusion, a useful tool to communicate hope.

    “Change has come to America” was a defining moment, a bubble, a revelation, nothing secret. It was of course a collective epiphany lacking the mutations from human insight and knowing, down to a physiological ‘memory’ of the past.

    Eventually the merry-go-round must disconnect, collapse and die.

    Year 2001 saw the disconnection and 2013 sees the evidence of collapse. The casino capitalist bubble has burst exposing a deception, an egotistic inhuman rapacity precipitating on a bipolar stage that is close to destruction.

    I’m no prophet of doom, those of us who can, will evolve, and through the power of intention many can follow; only the unwilling may die in a confused and violent disorder.

  • BrianFujisan

    Frazer, my Thoughts are with you and families out there . STAY SAFE

    Craig i see Ghana is likely to be affected by this… OT…But this has been keeping my attention Lately – What those mad men at Monsanto are getting up to / away with.
    And now we have Bono getting in a little too deep with the lot of them

    From Rady Ananda
    Food Freedom News

    At the G8 Summit held two weeks ago at Camp David, President Obama met with private industry and African heads of state to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a euphemism for monocultured, genetically modified crops and toxic agrochemicals aimed at making poor farmers debt slaves to corporations, while destroying the ecosphere for profit.

    And Bono, of the rock group U2, is out shilling for Monsanto on this one.

    It’s phase 2 of the Green Revolution. Tanzania, Ghana, and Ethiopia are the first to fall for the deception, with Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other African nations lining up for the “Grow Africa Partnership,” under Obama’s “Global Agricultural Development” plan.

    In Obama Pitches India Model of GM Genocide to Africa, Scott Creighton writes:

    But African civil society wants no part of this latest Monsanto aligned ‘public private partnership.’ Whatever will the progressives do now that their flawless hero has teamed up with their most hated nemesis to exploit an entire continent like they did to India not that long ago?

    With a commitment of $3 billion, Obama plans to ‘partner up’ with mega-multinationals like Monsanto, Diageo, Dupont, Cargill, Vodafone, Walmart, Pepsico, Prudential, Syngenta International, and Swiss Re because, as one USAID representative says ‘There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.’

    Creighton continues:

    Bono says that there has to be a ‘public private partnership’ in order to get this done and that they are going to be using the ideas of the African people and farmers. Really? This is what the African farmers say to that…

    ‘We request that: – governments, FAO, the G8, the World Bank and the GAFSP reconsider their promotion of Public/Private Partnerships which, as they are now conceived, are not suitable instruments to support the family farms which are the very basis of African food security and sovereignty.’ African Civil Society Organizations

    I wonder if that could be any clearer. They don’t WANT the public private partnerships involved in this process…. It’s not enough that huge mega-corporations are bleeding the nations of Africa dry by sucking the valuable mineral resources out of their hills. No. As Bono says about the development in Africa:

    ‘They’re future consumers for the United States. The president is talking business. This is good. It’s a whole new development paradigm today. The old donor/recipient relationship… it’s over.’

    I find this disturbing too from Kenya

    Ministers Dine on Food Grown in Kenya But Rejected by UK Supermarkets for Cosmetic Reasons

    “It’s a scandal that so much food is wasted in a country with millions of hungry people; we found one grower supplying a UK supermarket who is forced to waste up to 40 tonnes of vegetables every week, which is 40 per cent of what he grows,” said Mr. Stuart. “The waste of perfectly edible ‘ugly’ vegetables is endemic in our food production systems and symbolizes our negligence.”

  • Chris2

    “But is it not the point that capitalism has recovered from all of its previous crises? Does that not suggest therefore that we will also recover from the present one?”

    My guess is that there is no one called Habakkuk. It is simply a name assigned to employees, of the service to promote tedium, who fill in the space which precedes the “life is good” motto.

    And the quoted argument, a classical fallacy, suggests that a new and very inexperienced troll is working the night shift, this weekend.

    ” My grandmother recovered from all her illnesses…But now she is dead.”

  • April Showers

    The first appearance of the troll was in last November when the spelling of the name was Habbakuk. Craig’s post was about Savile.

    I had posted about one of Savile’s friends in Scarborough who, according to a report I posted, had grown fat on oysters. H told me that oysters were not fattening and I replied that I had not said that they were. The report had said it.

    From such an innocuous start that was the beginning of my now six month long harassment.

    2 Nov, 2012 – 9:45 pm

    Well done, Mary, always vigilant, aren’t you.
    But a bit to touchy and self-righteous for my taste.
    BTW, how’s your garden getting on, and the hens (or was it cocks)?
    To have known about my chickens and gardening, he must have been following my previous comments.

    I did not respond but Jives and Mark did.

    3 Nov, 2012 – 1:56 am
    @ Habbakuk,
    That’s a really bad post you directed at Mary earlier.
    You may disagree with her-fine- but the latter tone of your post was ugly,personal and,as i read it,almost sinister in its personal dimension.
    Who the fuck do you think you are?
    Mark Golding – Children of Conflict
    3 Nov, 2012 – 2:28 am
    I think we know mind of ‘Habbakuk’ from that post to Mary. In fact I can see the flames.

    This remark was probably my undoing!

    3 Nov, 2012 – 8:18 am
    I did not respond to the sillyness/smutty remark Mark. He/she is named after a prophet in the Hebrew bible!

    Immediately the spelling was changed to Habbabkuk.
    3 Nov, 2012 – 8:42 am
    @ Jives : “…almost sinister in it personal dimension..”
    I see you’ve picked up some of the linguistic tricks used by the Establishment. Man up and tell me (us) how it’s “sinister”. Am I, for example, proposing to encourage a fox to get her chickens? Put weedkiller on her dahlias?
    Off you go, the floor is yours.

    The trolls’s disruptions to the blog and diversions proceeded thereafter combined with insults, questions, hectoring, corrections and acidic remarks directed at and about nearly all of us at one time or another.

    PS In that thread, I had linked to this photo of Hague and Savile.


  • KingofWelshNoir


    Who is he?

    It’s difficult to say, but I think a picture is emerging. I’ve noticed him making cultural references on past threads to events and things that took place in the 50s, in a way that suggests he remembers them from the time. So I suspect he’s quite a way past sixty. He also uses the phrase ‘put-up job’ instead of the more common ‘inside-job.’ I’ve only ever heard this used by a particular class of slightly silly, donnish ivory-tower-dwelling, plus-fours-wearing Oxford academic. Not that I’m saying he is one, just that he carries more than a whiff of that creature. I’ve noticed, too, his spelling sometimes slips quite badly late afternoon which suggests he likes his sherry a bit too much. Also, he seems conflicted. On the one hand he seems driven by the desire to annoy everybody and play some form of human gadfly. But at the same time he seems to enjoy coming here and gives the impression that he would really like to belong. In short he gives me the impression of a boy who was unpopular at school and who has craved love all his life, but tragically chooses the one way guaranteed to deny it, namely winding people up.

    But, of course, I could be very wide of the mark.

  • April Showers

    Not a peep from the corporate media on this extra judicial assassination by the rabble rebels.

    Rebels film execution of 11 Syrian soldiers, as Obama continues anti-Assad rhetoric
    Published time: May 17, 2013 01:38

    This excellent letter was sent to the BBC on their propaganda against Assad and the Syrian government.

    Dear BBC News

    Your coverage of the alleged poison gas incident, which has led your news bulletins today, is a complete disgrace.

    You, at the start, concede that the video footage cannot be verified but by the end of the report you are assuming, with NO evidence, that it was most likely the Syrian Government. Pictures are shown of a helicopter dropping something. No questions are asked about where the helicopter came from or whether it had Syrian air force markings. No mention of the recent UN investigator that who had said that the earlier incidents were more likely to be the responsibility of Free Syrian Army or its Al Qaeda allies, the Al Nusra brigades – surely in this context a very relevant piece of information.

    You then interviewed someone who had been head of chemical warfare unit of the British army. You did not tell us for whom he was now working, or comment on the fact that it was very convenient to have such an expert on hand to generally support the view that it was nerve gas attack although, also as an aside and sotto voce, briefly saying it could also be due to CS gas. The latter comment was ignored.

    Your studio commentators seemed extraordinarily keen to establish that ‘a red line had been crossed’. In other words you were helping to give the war-mongers a reason to start a large scale bombing campaign or whatever they are planning. In my view that will make your organisation complicit in war crimes if and when they occur, as you were when you failed to critically examine the case for WMD in Iraq and thus helped Blair to commit war crimes.

    You have NEVER pointed out that the Syrian Government has agreed to negotiate with the rebels under the terms of the UN (Kofi Annan) and Russian plan of nearly a year ago and agreed to the recent Russian/US proposals for negotiations but it is the FSA et al who have refused to negotiate. You have NEVER pointed out that their position is completely absurd and unrealistic, that is, to expect ASSAD to step down as a PRE-condition for negotiations.

    You have NEVER pointed out that it is illegal in international law to arm external insurgents against a UN-recognised Govt.

    You NEVER point out that the so-called FREE Syrian Army is supplied with arms by the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar as proxies for US, and so is unlikely to be truly interested in democratic freedoms.

    In short, you seem to have appointed yourself chief propagandist for the war party (Obama, Cameron, Hollande et al).

    You are a publically-funded institution and thus obliged to represent the public interest NOT the interest of governments and war profiteers.

    Yours sincerely

    Dr David Hookes
    Honorary Senior Research Fellow
    Liverpool University

  • April Showers

    The truth? What’s that Nr Hague? Only you can tell the truth to his widow and the British public on whose soil this murder was committed.

    Litvinenko inquest coroner agrees to keep crucial evidence secret

    Foreign secretary accused of sabotaging inquest into 2006 death of former Russian spy as coroner says proceeding might now end up ‘incomplete and misleading’

    Luke Harding
    The Guardian, Friday 17 May 2013 18.41 BST



  • April Showers

    Radio 4 Today

    The inquest into the poisoning of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko may have to be abandoned because the judge in charge of it has ruled that any evidence involving Russia will have to be kept secret. The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg reports and Annie Machon, former MI5 officer, explains that interested parties now have 14 days to challenge the decision.

    Litvinenko widow calls for inquiry
    The widow of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko has called for the upcoming inquest into his death to be abandoned and replaced with a public enquiry.
    ‘Mr Litvinenko, 43, died after he was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at a London meeting.

    He was working for MI6 alongside Spanish spies in the days before his death.

    Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer who left to become a whistleblower, told the BBC’s Today programme the British government had demonstrated a “reckless approach” to protecting its sources.

    She also suggested that MI6 may have broken the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by denying the right to life, article two of the declaration.’

  • Abe Rene

    This reminds me of the BBC fictional series on a group of con artists where now and then one of them would break the fourth wall and say ‘You can’t con an honest man.’ It’s people who try to get something for nothing who are liable to get conned. I wonder how many of Madoff’s victimsw fell into this category – trying to obtain gains that they would have been warned by good financial advisors were unrealistic unless there was some chicanery going on.

  • P J Proudhon

    Attendez un instant pendant que je retrouve ghoulgle/translate……………Ah that’s better!

    I was relaxing in the sulphur sauna with Voltaire last evening and the conversation turned to the goings on in cyber space and the question of the identity of Monsieur Abbakuk.
    Well, I ave to say, that was a bit of a conversation stopper. He just made a face, muttered “Tous les genres sont bons, hors le genre ennuyeux.” and left.

    Did he mean me or was the thought that one day M. Abbakuk might join us just too terrible to contemplate?

    Liebnitz had been sitting quietly all the while and shuffled over. He said I shouldn’t take it personally. He thinks Voltaire’s just in a bit of a sulk ever since those bishops came down and took General Pinochet up to the other place. I can’t say it bothered me. We can do without that sort down here.

  • Dreoilin

    Thanks Sophie at 12:45 am – you made me laugh.


    “but I cringe more when I remember stupid things I DID in the past.”

    Me too. But they say hindsight is 20/20. I try not to look back too much, other than at the good bits.

  • Dreoilin


    Interesting picture you painted. I hadn’t notice about late afternoon, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled. 😉

  • fedup


    Maybe both these possibilities are just a smokescreen. His use of a mis-spelled Hebrew prophet, combined with his predictable, “I’m not a Zionist but the Israeli state is always justified” line may provide a clue​.

    We will probably never know the truth.

    Dear heart, the clue lies in G_D!

    The cabalistic imperatives dictate; avoidance of mentioning or repeating of the sacred names. Hence the reference to G_D (god). Therefore a variation on the same theme is misspelling of a name considered to be sacred.

    Further, the degrees of linguistic illiteracy (pretensions and delusions of grandeur) so patently pasted over and again as “(La vita è bella!)” that is translated as: “life is good!” which in fact is wrong. The correct translation for this is; “life is beautiful” however the idiot that you are lumbered with as your Dad, cannot understand that, what he ought to be writing for; “life is good!” ought to be “La vita è bello”.

    However in line with the rest of this irritating little pricks performance, no one has actually pulled the whining wanker over this point, because they have been too busy with the polemic shite it has been spraying all over the place.

    You have my sympathies Sophie dearest, I hope you will not be disappointed in male of the species having been associated with this specimen as a representative of the male gender.

    PS. have a chat with Cressida Bertram-Smyth, so that she could talk to your friends whom have been sworn to secrecy by your mum; not to tell you, that they saw you Dad in his tenet, as he was flashing his genitals!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “Only you can tell the truth to his widow and the British public on whose soil this murder was committed.”

    Do you think the British public gives a monkey’s who killed him?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ The Obsessive Poster (09h00):

    “…combined with insults, questions, hectoring, corrections and acidic remarks directed at and about nearly all of us at one time or another”

    Is it not a sign of vanity and defensiveness to be offended by questions and corrections?

    “Nearly all of us” – who is “us”? The Eminences?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Fedup :

    “…the rest of this irritating little pricks performance, no one has actually pulled the whining wanker over this point,…”

    Penis fixation, Fedup?

  • Jives

    Im confused now.

    So…donnish,tweedy,sherry-gulping,stringed-of vest,too,perhaps?

    Lives under a bridge,or is it in a shed? A small room near cloisters?

    Or a high lonely Gothic tower ‘neath a yellowish moon?


    It has been known to ” take in a movie”.

    It makes no sense at all!

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Now I’m confused. many address Sophie as a separate entity.

  • April Showers

    You’re confused!

    Do you remember a zany American TV series in the 70s/80s called SOAP! where the continuity announcer said, after describing the often confusing plot line from the previous episode at the top of every show,

    “Confused? You won’t be after this episode of “Soap”!”

  • Dreoilin

    Sophie is one of what might loosely be called the “regulars”, Ben.
    [IMO – I don’t know who Sophie is]

    “It has been known to ” take in a movie”.”

    and a ‘thé dansant’, according to himself. 😉

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