No reason to believe this one either. Another day and another gloomy prediction about the world economy. This time it is the International Monetary Fund warning how governments around the world face a dilemma — “how to reduce debts and deficits, and support growth and employment as anxious financial markets rattle the global economic recovery.”

In its September quarter World Economic Outlook the IMF has lowered considerably its projections for economic growth

The changes to the projections made just three months ago in the June quarterly Outlook tell me one thing: projections are of very limited value in actually predicting anything. I’ll stick with my instinct that conditions are actually much more worrying than officialdom at the IMF or any government organisation is prepared to admit to the public.

A gracious Wayne and a churlish Joe.

An extra dash of cheerful smut. The folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals don’t mind using a bit of nudity to attract attention to their cause. As Italian superstar Elisabetta Canalis put it after stripping for a recent PETA anti-fur photo shoot:

“I decided to go nude because I think that nudity always creates a big reaction,” she explains. “That is what is required to keep people’s attention on such a brutal practice … These poor animals are electrocuted, skinned alive, drowned, and bludgeoned just for the sake of fashion.”

Now the animal rights group is going a step further to cater for those who only look because they are so against animal cruelty. There’s about to be a website to promote its animal rights and vegan diet message.

PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt told US National Public Radio that the site will feature “tantalizing” videos and photographs, which will lead viewers into animal rights messages. She noted that Norfolk-based PETA has used p-rn stars and nudity to get its message across in the past, including an annual speech online in which a PETA representative undresses. That video later shares a message about slaughterhouses.

Not just hurdle races. While doing the thankless job of researching that previous snippet, my attention was drawn to one of PETA’s most recent campaigns that will be of interest to the many Crikey readers who commented on the story earlier this month Why jumps racing keeps hitting hurdle after hurdle.

Thoroughbred horses — particularly young ones — get killed running on the flat as well as over jumps with what the American racing industry calls “under tack shows” (breeze ups in Australia) particularly damaging.

PETA is campaigning to have these pre-auction trials stopped for horses under two years old.

Political correctness marches on. I remember Guy Fawkes Night with much fondness. It was not just the bonfire and the fire works but the pennies for the Guy — real pennies in my childhood too — I collected beforehand while reciting to passersby:

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

But forgot it is in Australia now — a victim of the dramatic change from the Anglo Saxon domination of our population and the campaigning of the anti-forewords killjoys. And now it seems that this commemoration is on the way out in the motherland too. The editorial in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph carries the bad news

Remember, remember, the fifth of November — for what, exactly? For the past 400 years or so, the answer has been straightforward enough: it was the date, in 1605, of the most notorious act of treason in British history, the Gunpowder Plot. But Labour-run Southwark council in London — just across the Thames from the intended target — wants to rebrand Bonfire Night, calling it instead “The Colour Thief: A Winter Extravaganza Celebrating the Change of the Seasons”.

Apart from being meaningless, the new title has no connection with the event that the date is supposed to mark. Why are meddlesome local politicians so eager to erase this country’s history?

And on a more mercenary note, “a penny for the Colour Thief, guv’nor” just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

Peter Fray

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