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Poor, dear Valerie. Your analogy of the catapult builder would be appropriate if the catapult builder lobbied the politicians of the day to make sure there were sufficient conflicts for him to profit from his craft. Today’s “military industrial complex” (term coined by a retired military Republican president) makes sure sufficient conflicts exist to ensure a princely income stream for them and their shareholders. This might have existed in ancient days, but it’s now evolved to an art form, involving lobbyists, compliant Congressmen, and other stooges.

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Christmas Jumper Mania. It came, and then it went, and then it came back again. With a vengeance. No we’re not talking about Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, even though those particular games have a regular habit of re-appearing bigger and better than ever. We’re talking about the Christmas jumper. Maybe it was the humiliation of Mark Darcy, having to wear his Rudolph one at the Boxing Day drinks, that did for it, after the success of the first Bridget Jones film. After that, it was associated with a kind of ritual social embarrassment that no amount of Christmas grog could wash away. But then, slowly but surely, it got over that. It was just too ridiculously jolly to stay under cover. Brits Love Craziness. It is a curious truth that British people, for hundreds of years regarded as straight, uptight, bowler-hat wearing and law-abiding citizens, love being a bit crazy. Stag and Hen parties are proof enough of this, but then so is the spectacle of hoards of grown ups wearing onesies. It was too much to expect that the Great British Public would go on resisting the lure of the Christmas Jumper for much longer. The Swedish Effect. A certain Scandinavian detective probably did more to revive the fortunes of the jumper than any other media screen icon. The star of The Killing, Sarah Lund, was as well known for her sweater as she was for her sleuthing. She brought a whole new worldwide audience to the delights of the faroe pattern and the fair isle knit. Jumpers were back in business. From there, it was a short hop to Rudolph and his friends re-appearing on them. The staggering symbolism of it is explained in this piece. For those who have maybe been a bit slow getting back on the jumper bandwagon, you can have a look here to see a range that will explain the lure and the loveliness of the classic knit. It is now pretty essential to have one in your winter wardrobe. For the absolute “As seen on TV” look, you need to be brave and go the whole hog for the Christmas jumper. If its good enough for Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield? The big Christmas jumper comeback is a nationwide sensation. Back in the day when you got one from your Granny and it was the worst present you’d ever received, but you had to pretend you liked it…those days are gone. Nowadays you should be begging Gran to get her knitting needles back out. Even go out and buy her the wool if you have to. If Gran won’t oblige, you are going to have to buy one, and quick, before they all sell out. Even boy wonder Justin Bieber was spotted in one last year, though his was cheating a bit because it was actually a man cardie. It can’t be long now before The Queen wears one to give her annual speech. We are all Christmas jumper addicts.