Unable to muster much enthusiasm for the Bill and Hill extravaganza
I MUST have been one of the few people in Cape Town to have been totally unaffected by the Bill and Hill show last week.
The secret is to stay in bed. Get up late and go to bed late and you generally miss the movements of visiting politicians who are, by and large, diurnal creatures and prefer the daylight for the simple reason that more people can see them.
Try as I may I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to queue at the roadside to catch a glimpse of the great non-inhaler so, while the presidential cavalcade with its absurd line of bullet proof Lincoln stretch limos was clogging up the Eastern Boulevard on Friday morning, I was happily ensconced in The Crowbar tucking into their R9 cooked breakfast and a beer with my mates from KFM. Where can you get value like that I ask, and served with a smile?
Having the Clintons to stay for a few days rather reminds me of that Ogden Nash poem, Polterguest, My Polterguest. Actually, it's not the first couple themselves who are the problem. By the time they arrive everything has been organised.
It's the advance guard of White House busy bodies and hangers on who come into your city and tell you how they would like you to alter it to make their stay more comfortable. It's similar to having house guests who insist that they can't eat your food because they are on a special diet, who open your newspaper before you have had a chance to read it and who make free with your finest cognac while lecturing you on the evils of over indulgence.
Still it was only for a few days and surely all those traffic delays will be worth it once Bill gets home and tells his fellow Americans to send us money.
That, surely, is why he was here. To check out that we're not all still running around in animal skins and eating missionaries and to direct the dollars away from Asia and into Africa just in time for our renaissance.
As well as calling for major private investment into Africa the President also said he would ask for $1.6-billion of debt relief for the continent (what about the incontinent?)
This may sound frightfully generous and I am sure there are politicians who are already licking their lips at the prospect of not only getting more dollars but not actually having to pay back the one's they have already borrowed. It obviously won't be as simple as that but has Clinton done Africa any favours by even bringing the topic up? I suspect not.
Having diligently paid the interest on our foreign debt during the standstill and honoured all our loans we are in a very different boat from the beggar's banquet north of us who are quite capable of absorbing any amount of foreign aid you care to throw at them without showing any tangible results apart from the president of the day's swollen Swiss bank account.
What we should be saying to Bill Clinton is thanks but no thanks. We should be holding our heads high and disassociating ourselves from the other basket cases.
Surely we would rather Wall Street felt confident enough to buy South African bonds without having to worry about the possibility of default.
Of course, buying a South African bond is not the same as investing in the country because, international markets being what they are, it can be here today and gone tomorrow.
However a liquid and sophisticated financial market which attracts foreign players not only allows the government to fund itself more efficiently but sends the right signals to those who may be hovering on the sidelines wondering if it is worth the effort of setting up a manufacturing plant in this country. Admittedly some sensible tax incentives would also help but you can't expect more than one economic miracle a year it seems.
Considering the importance of their expected guests, the management of the V&A Waterfront were understandably edgy about the Sunday Times headline two weeks ago which screamed "Waterfront Slaughter" notwithstanding that nobody was actually killed in the Waterfront itself but on one of its approach roads.
That's not the same thing at all. In fact, bearing in mind what they spend on security, you are probably safer in the V&A Waterfront than anywhere else in Cape Town which means that if you live, shop and work in the Waterfront you will undoubtedly live longer than most Capetonians unless you are savaged by an enraged bull seal.