Kirghizian grrrs and British timidity
That annoyed ''grrrrrr'' you hear is probably some dog in Soviet Kirghizia. Unless, of course, it's a British politician: They both have reason to growl. The dogs, it seems, are about to be taxed for the first time. (Cats, too.) What's more, they'll have to pay for ''conveniences such as heating, gas, water, and so forth at the same rate set for people,'' to quote the straight-faced phrasing only a government bureaucrat could love. The government of this Soviet republic did not explain where the dogs are expected to dig up the necessary rubles. Nor did it say whether this means the dogs are living a human's life, or the people are living a dog's.
At least the council does know the difference between cats and dogs. With cats, charges begin only with the second one. But taxes are levied on ''every dog kept at home, irrespective of its race'' - whatever that means.
Also headed for home, tails metaphorically between their legs, are politicians from Britain's four major parties. It seems they all were approached to help promote a new British computer game, but declined when they learned they would have to compete against a five-year-old girl. Subject of the game: how to run the economy.
That's a pity. Considering the economic chaos so many countries are in nowadays, most any five-year-old girl probably could teach politicians plenty.
The Liberal Party had thought about sending the chairman of its economic panel, presumably to learn. But her prowess apparently preceded her, and he withdrew.
Considering the mess so many politicians have made of their economies, maybe the world would be better off if the British five-year-old and one of those Kirghizian dogs put their heads together over the game. They might come up with some idea even Keynes didn't think of.
Besides, unlike politicians, the canines wouldn't slink away: Kirghizian taxes being what they are, the dogs need to earn their keep.