Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everybody wherever in the world you may be, and let's all pray for a peaceful and prosperous 2012.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Racism And Sexism-Redundant Words.

I happened to disagree with somebody on Twitter yesterday, and it turned very ugly. When challenged she became all ranty and quite unpleasant.  She has a habit of ranting at people on t'interweb then getting highly hysterical if they stand their ground. On several occasions she has claimed that there is a vendetta against her and that she is being spied on by enemies. In other words she's mad and I should never have bothered really.

Then today an ally of hers accused me of "sexist fuckwittery", which I hope she wasn't taught at convent school. Actually I doubt she went to convent school, she'd have a bit more grace if she had. I checked her blog and she is another loony who rants on perpetually about racism and sexism, seeing those twin evils in seemingly everything. I had said nothing remotely 'sexist' in any way. The good thing about Twitter is you can unfollow and block the loonies, which I've done with these two particular nutjobs.

Then I discovered that poor old Jeremy Clarkson is being bitched at again. Apparently telling stories, or jokes about Ghandi's Revenge is now racist. I saw the Top Gear Christmas Special and although not a great fan of car programmes, I found it highly entertaining. I saw nothing at all racist about it and people who did should really get a life. But anything to have a pop at Clarkson it seems. If you don't know the programme was filmed in India.

If I now mention the horrors of Montezuma's Revenge from my time in Latin America does that make me a racist as well? It's a bloody joke. If you travel anywhere you are at risk of a dodgy tummy, sometimes it's just your body getting used to different germs from the ones it's built up resistance to. In the case of India, and some other developing countries, it is because they have appalling hygiene problems in many areas, it's a fact. There is nothing racist about mentioning it or making a joke of it.

Some people throw the words 'racist' and 'sexist' so easily today, as a form of general abuse, that I think both words have lost their meaning, a bit like the word 'fascist' which the left use to describe anybody to the right of Trotsky. Effectively these words are now redundant.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carry On Communism

Living in a communist hell hole like North Korea or Cuba can't be much fun. Millions of people effectively imprisoned, no freedom, freedom of speech or foreign travel because you probably won't use the return ticket and are likely to end up in chokey if you don't cry enought at the death of the totalitarian monster in charge. Funny how both countries are run by a form of hereditary totalitarianism too, with son or brother taking over the keys to the dungeons and torture chambers when the ruler goes up to the great workers' collective in the sky.

But there is always something slightly comic if you look hard enough.. I  can't help thinking that the sight of female warriors marching in North Korea has a certain 'Carry On' film quality about it. Admittedly not funny if the lady soldier's jackboot comes down on your testicles when interrogating you about whether or not you are a capitalist lackey, but there you go.

So I give you the military marching girls of Pyongyang:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Hunt

Although I haven't ridden a horse for a few years, and have never done it to any kind of standard, popping up the road to support the local hunt really helps to make Christmas a special time. We walked there today, about a ten mile round hike along the canal towpath through the lovely countryside of the Lune Valley. Just what you need after a day of indulgence the day before.

There was one pillock who tried to drive through the horses and hounds as the hunt was gathering, making exaggerated gestures to his wife to let us know he disapproved. His car stickers showed him to be a tourist from one of our major cities, probably staying in local holiday accomodation for the festive season. Well if you disapprove of what goes on in the countryside it's easy, don't come.

It's an interesting thought that it is city dwellers who got hunting banned. I suppose they want the countryside to be just like the cities where the foxes are safe, it's just the humans running around shooting and stabbing each other you have to worry about. Oh yes, and the looters and the vermin living in filthy tents protesting about........whatever it is they are protesting about.

Anyway, here are some piccies of today's hunt:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

A Prayer for Christmas Morning

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Believe In Father Christmas

Busy getting ready for Christmas and learning my lines for a play in February, so haven't got much time for blogging. Add to that the fact that the news is dominated by politically correct moral outrage at footballers and pundits behaving badly, according to the standards of the PC Gestapo, and I really can't be mithered.

So here's my favourite Christmas song from when you could use a word like "coloured" on national TV without being treated like you'd just slaughtered a classsroom full of five year olds. Yes, incredibly I fell in love with this song in 1975 and I still love hearing it:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

El Perro Del Mar-God Knows

Time for some soothing music I think:

Black and White Minstrels, Dwarfs and Choirs

As we enjoy the unravelling of the hated European Union we can only hope that soon political correctness will follow. Political correctness is one of the more subtle forms of fascism but nevertheless very effective. What makes it so effective is that it doesn't require a great deal of obviously oppressive legislation, just a largely dense and pliable population. But, like any form of totalitarianism it does throw up some bizarre anomalies.

I would imagine that anybody wanting to reunite the Black and White Minstrels would get short shrift. It just isn't politically correct for white men to black up and sing in the negro/Al Jolson style anymore.

But a theatre in the Midlands decided it was alright for a group of kids to dress up as dwarves for their pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some politically correct muppet decided it wasn't PC to have dwarfs running around on stage playing dwarfs. No, I don't see the logic either, but that's political correctness for you. Quite rightly unemployed dwarfs, who can earn a good livinmg in the panto season, are absolutely furious at being so patronised and denied a few weeks good money.

A very good friend of mine has recently left her local choir in protest at galloping political correctness. Yes, it's tenticles creep far and wide. Whenever I hear somebody use the phrase 'I have issues with...' my PC alert rings. In most cases I find people use that phrase to condemn something that they dislike or disapprove of, but don't like being definite in their condemnation, often because they fear offending somebody and are therefore weak and lack the courage of their convictions. Alternatively they are being politically correct but don't actually know why they 'have issues' with whatever it is. This is how the choir incident began.

The head honcho of the choir introduced a Latin song one afternoon but a little delicate hand was raised at the back. One of the thirty strong choir had issues singing a song in Latin because of the religious implications. My friend isn't Roman Catholic but was appalled at such bigotry, especially as the poor, easily offended flower at the back hadn't had 'issues' when singing the negro spiritual earlier in the afternoon. Another example of the stupidity of political correctness. She finally walked away from the choir when they decided not to sing carols as one or two choir members 'had issues' with being seen as a religious choir. So PC ensures the tyranny, in the interests of ensuring people don't have 'issues', of the self-righteous ignorant minority.

So, I hope and pray that as the EU crumbles the people wake up to the sinister sickness that is political correctness and see off that pervasive and divisive doctrine too.

Which all reminds me of my favourite old Christmas joke, the one about the politically correct pantomime: Precipitation of Indeterminate Colour and the Seven Persons of Diminutive Stature.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why David Cameron Should Sack Nick Clegg

The short blog post would read: "Because Clegg is chief nobhead who leads a party of massive nobheads". But I suppose that is really not enough.

I detest the European Union with every fibre of my being. It is a sick, money gobbling vanity project to bolster the egos of a bunch of political misfits in Europe. It is corrupt, it is interfering and controlling. It is led by the two greyest politicians the world has ever seen, Herman von Rompuy and Baroness Ashton. The EU's accounts are in such a mess they've not been signed off in nearly 20 years.

If they pretend to be democratic they hold a referendum, then another one until the people vote the way they want them to. They have held bloodless coups in Greece and Italy and installed their own technocrats, aka twats, to run those two countries. A quote from the great PJ O'Rourke sums up my attitude to government, especially big, interfering, unaccountable government: "A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them".

I love Europe. I love quiche or foie gras and a carafe of rose outside a cafe in Bergerac for lunch. It's hard to beat hunters stew and vodka on a snowy mountainside at Christmas in Poland. There isn't a finer Christmas market than the original, biggest and best in Nuremburg. Tapas in a shabby little bar full of locals in a small town outside Toledo can't be beaten by any tapas restaurant in Manchester or London. There's nothing more evocative than walking under the Brandenburg Gate, an impossibility a couple of decades ago. An abiding memory is of seeing Nigel Mansell become world champion and spending that evening sat outside our tent on the shores of Lake Balaton drinking cherry brandy with an Austrian and a Hungarian.

But my fondest memory has to be having a drink before our meal in the small bar of a hotel in the High Tatras mountains in Czechoslovakia just after the Velvet Revolution. A German family came into the bar and the husband asked if it was my car in the car park, the one with the ani-EU stickers on the bumper. I confirmed it was mine and he shook my hand and we had a drink and spent a great evening together. When Germany had been reunified he had left the east to settle in Munich. He and his fellow Osties were appalled when they discovered the true nature of the EU and hated the fact that they had left one authoritarian bloc top join another, rather than an independent, united, democratic Germany. I sent a batch of anti-EU stickers over for him and his friends when we got back.

So when a jumped up, talentless prick like Clegg throws the accusation of xenophobia at we Eurosceptics I want to pin the misfit down and kick him unconscious. He needs to grow a brain and understand that it's tithead politicians like Clegg we despise, not your average Frenchman, German or Greek. It is the institutions of the EU I loathe, not the culture, cuisine or customs of Italy, Spain or Portugal. Crying xenophobia proves why little Nicky Clegg is a brainless moron and he and his party should be sacked from government forthwith. Not only is he sticking two fingers up at Cameron's standing up to the EU, he is showing his loathing for Britain and the British people.

Here endeth the lesson.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feltham By-Election

Last night's by-election saw a turnout of 28% and the Labour candidate elected with a mere 12,000 votes, despite keeping Ed Miliband locked under the stairs for the campign. The Tories were never going to win the seat and the fact that their vote held up shows that the Euro problem took the edge off any anti-government vote based on the economy.

The fact that UKIP still couldn't beat the Lib Dems, and claim that their vote wasn't as good as hoped for because the anti-EU vote went to the Tories, shows that they are making virtually no real progress and are not a credible fourth party. If you're only known for being anti-EU and can't get more than a fraction above 5% in a by-election when the country is as anti-EU as I have ever known it you may as well pack up and go home.

So that leaves the Tories and Labour fighting over the corpse of the Liberal Democrats. If I were a betting man I would still put money on the Tories sneaking in at the next general election, especially if Dave's stand against the EU is firmed up and doesn't turn out to be sleight of hand.

I still maintain that Dave should dump the Lib Dems and go for a general election in the New Year. The last thing he wants to do is risk Labour binning Miliband and finding a credible leader from somewhere.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Stupidity Of Politicians-The Divine Comedy

So, with Europe heading for chaos and quite probably serious civil disorder, it's time for a change.

One of the most powerful pop songs of the last century has to be Sunrise by Divine Comedy. I imagine this song would touch every British person who witnessed the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nanny State And Alcohol

So in the run up to Christmas we've had the police launching their annual terror campaign with speed traps set up in an effort to catch the odd driver who had a sherry too many at the office party. Now we've had a group of 'experts' urging the government to bring in a minimum price for alcohol, supposedly to save thousands of lives like Soviet Scotland is doing. Humbug!

I'm tired of whinging 'experts' lecturing and hectoring us about our lifestyles. Who pays for all these nannying ninnies? Oh yes, you and me through our taxes. We all know the dangers of obesity, alcoholism and so on and we make our choices. All this nonsense about minimum price to save us from ourselves is just an excuse, as in Soviet Scotland, to hit us with more tax but 'for our own good'.

So why should I pay more for my Laphroiag or my bottle of Cahors because some piss head in a bedsit is drinking himself to death on cheap cider? Furthermore with higher costs for booze, said piss head would only satisfy the demands of the anti-fat fascists by eating less to spend his money on cider, thus dying earlier anyway. 

The sooner we have a government that gets off our backs, and starves the health fascists and other nannying do-gooders of funding the better for us all. After all, it's mostly the government that drives us to drink in the first place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nick Clegg, Wimp Among Lib Dem Wimps

Yesterday we were helping the in-laws move house so my news updates were occasional, usually in my van when I was off to collect more furniture or bedding. That said I did have a good giggle when I heard that little Nicky Clegg had bottled out of attending the House of Commons. It seems that after initially proclaiming agreement with David Cameron's handbagging of the EU, he changed his mind and went into a Ted Heath style sulk. Diddums little Nicky, diddums!

The problem with this Coalition is having to roll over the Lib Dem stone and see the insects crawling out blinking into the daylight, Cable, Huhne, Laws and their like. Not exactly inspiring are they? The  plus side is that the voters can now see what any of us who have fought Lib Dems in elections have known for years, they are fundamentally immoral and opportunistic. It is obvious now to anybody with half a brain that the Lib Dems are going in one direction, public opinion in the opposite direction.

Lib Dems have misled the electorate for years in their local election material and have made ludicrously extravagant promises in their national manifestos, knowing with near certainty that they will not be proved to be a bunch of daydreamers and fantasists by actually being elected. Then bang, they're whoring themselves around Westminster like a bunch of cheap tarts offering to jump into bed with anybody who will have them. Coalition! It's all changed.

Clegg is so Euro obsessed, and so patronisingly dismissive of this country, that if he had any moral backbone at all he would have resigned on Saturday morning when he was awkened from his slumbers to be told Cameron had vetoed a new treaty. But he has merely flip flopped and clings to what bit of power he has because he knows it's as far as he is ever likely to go.

When this government was cobbled together I gave it two years. I still maintain that will be the case. Dave will never win an election on the economy but if the Lib Dems throw a tantrum over Europe, he could call a general election with the EU as the core issue and win it. In the process he would see the Lib Dems wiped out and Labour given such a kicking it will create a few more years of infighting rendering them unelectable again.

Let's face it, the EU is dying and we could reap huge benefits by standing aside and watching it crumble. Several birds with one stone methinks.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ted Heath, Typical European Union Liar

The following quotes typify the way the EU and its supporters have consistently lied and cheated the electorate to achieve their aims:

"There will not be a blueprint for a Federal Europe"
 Ted Heath, British Conservative Prime Minister and noted Europhile. Speech in the House of Commons, 25 February 1970 in run-up to EEC entry.

"There is no danger of a single currency."
 Ted Heath, British Conservative Prime Minister and noted Europhile. EEC membership information leaflet, 1975.

Sissons: "...the single currency, the United States of Europe: was that on your mind when you took Britain in?"

Heath: "Of course, Yes."
 Ted Heath, British Conservative Prime Minister and noted europhile, and Peter Sissons, BBC journalist and presenter. Question Time with Peter Sissons, 1 November 1991.

Chris Davies, Lib Dem MEP for North West England

I had an extremely long day yesterday, up at 5 45am to get to Liverpool for a start at 8 00am finishing at 6 00pm. On the way home I had a terrible shock. I had the radio on and heard Chris Davies, Lib Dem MEP for the North West on national radio. For a few horrible seconds I thought I'd fallen asleep at the wheel and was having an awful nightmare, but no I was awake.

Davies was stood on the quayside as they were about to wave the passengers off on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. He was berating a family on the quayside screaming: "I know it's going to hit an iceberg and sink, but the others are on so you should be too. Don't kick the other poor saps in the teeth by staying safely on dry land". Except he was really talking about us not committing suicide with the rest of the EU as if we were doing something evil.

Chris Davies is quite probably going to win my Quisling of the Year award. His hatred of Britain and love of his massive EU salary and allowances makes me sick. Tell you what Chris, piss off and fight the next European election in some French or Italian constituency, you obviously loathe the UK.

This one is just for Monsieur Davies:

Thursday, December 08, 2011

For The EU Summit-Fun Lovin Criminals

Whenever I see EU leaders gathering I think of the Fun Lovin Criminals' song Scooby Snacks. It's all about robbing banks whereas the EU robs us, but I'm sure you get my drift. Let's face it  history will look back at the EU and recognise it as a huge undemocratic memorial to the vanity of the intellectual pygmies who led Europe into the twenty first century, crushing the wishes of the people in the process.

It always looks like a gathering of shady gangsters too, which it is in reality, so Fun Lovin Criminals are especially apt. I must admit to worrying a little about Angela Merkel though, her fringe does seem to be lengthening and sloping a little more each day while her eyes are becoming beadier, and I swear a little facial hair is developing on her top lip.

But enough banter, as the EU leaders meet to stitch us up yet further, having already imposed unelected technocrats to replace elected leaders of Greece and Italy, I give you Snooby Snacks:

Suggestions for other suitable songs for the EU gratefully received via comments.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Launch Of Annual Police Terror

Don't forget folks, most forces have this week launched their annual police terror campaigns.

There will suddenly be the kind of police numbers on the streets that are only rivalled when we are in the grip of rioters and looters. They will use any excuse to pull you over so they can sniff your breath, just in case you've had a glass of sherry when visiting Auntie Ethel. They'll pull you over on your way to work in case they can catch you over the drink drive limit from the party the night before.

There will be disgustingly emotive TV commercials about children being slaughtered by the thousand by drivers who had an eggnog with their staff before closing the office for Christmas. There'll be ads showing the look of hatred on the face of an angelic five year old when he finds out his father failed a breathalyser, lost his job and has thrown his family into a life of grinding Dickensian poverty.

They'll make those disgusting anti-smoking adverts using kids to try and shame grown ups into giving up smoking look reasonable. Oh yes, the spirit of Joey the Cripple is alive and well and working on public service announcements in  the UK.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Feast of St Edmund Campion

The most famous of the English martyrs, Edmund Campion (1540-1581) gave up a promising career at Oxford and an invitation to enter Queen Elizabeth's service in order to become a Catholic priest and minister to the abandoned Catholics who greatly desired the sacraments.
Campion was born in London of Catholic parents who later became Protestant. He attended St. John's College, Oxford, where he gained renown as a lecturer and a following of students who called themselves "Campionites." When he was 26 years old, he gave a speech of welcome in Latin to Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Oxford; he made such an impression on the queen that she and Lords Cecil and Leicester tried to recruit him for her service. He probably took the Oath of Supremacy, and was ordained a deacon for the Established Church. The more he studied to be a priest, the more convinced he became that the Catholic Church had the true faith. He moved to Dublin in 1569 in an effort to find a place to live as a Catholic, but the Irish capital showed an anti-Catholic feeling that drove him back to London. In June 1571 he left England for Douai, Belgium where the recently founded English College trained seminarians for England.
Campion finished his degree in 1573 and set out soon after for Rome with the intention of becoming a Jesuit. Within a month of his arrival in Rome, he was accepted into the Society. At that time there was neither an English province nor an English mission, so he was assigned to the Austrian province and went to Prague and Brno to make his novitiate. He remained in Prague after he took vows and was ordained there, expecting to spend the rest of his life teaching in that city. He wrote and directed plays for his students and won renown as an orator.
The English Jesuit's life changed course suddenly when the Superior General in Rome decided to open a mission in England. Father Campion was one of the first to be assigned to it. He stopped in Rome on his way back to England and joined Father Rober Persons and Brother Ralph Emerson. They turned north and joined other recruits for the new mission at Saint Omer in Flanders. English spies in Flanders learned of their impending departure and informed the English ports of entry, who awaited their arrival. Campion and Emerson left the Continent on the evening of June 24. Campion disguised himself as a "Mr. Edmonds," a jewelry merchant. Port authorities were suspicious, but Campion answered their questions adequately and they let the merchant enter.
It had been eight years since Campion had left England. He briefly remained in London where he wrote a manifesto of the mission which has become known as "Campion's Brag." Its point was that the mission was religious, not political; so well-written and powerful was it, that copies were made and widely distributed to confirm Catholics in their faith. Campion himself moved on to Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. He would stay at a Catholic house for one or two nights or visit households where Catholics were employed. His pattern was to arrive during the day, preach and hear confessions during the evening, and then celebrate Mass in the morning before moving on to the next location. He continued to write and composed a book addressed to the academic world; entitled Rationes decem ("Ten Reasons"), the book gave arguments to prove the truth of Catholicism and the falsity of Protestantism. It was printed by the end of June 1581. Many of the 400 copies printed were left on the benches of Oxford's University Church of St. Mary. Campion was still well-enough known that the book was eagerly read.
Campion's freedom to minister to Catholics soon ended. In July he left London and stopped at the Yate family in Berkshire. The family's Catholic neighbors learned that the Jesuit priest had been there and pressed the Yates to invite him back. Mrs. Yate sent word to Campion who returned, unfortunately at a time when a professional priest-hunter was in the congregation pretending to be Catholic. After Mass the hunter slipped away to notify the authorities who quickly returned to the house but could not find any priests. The guards remained on the grounds, listening for sounds of unusual activity. They alertly heard a group of people leaving a meeting that Campion had addressed. The guards searched the house again, this time finding Campion and two other priests.
The three were taken to the Tower of London on July 22, where Campion was put in a cell so small he could neither stand upright nor lie down. After three days there he was brought to Leicester house, where he met Queen Elizabeth for a second time. She offered him the opportunity to renounce his Catholic faith and become a Protestant minister, with the offer of great advancement. He refused and was returned to his cell; five days later he was tortured on the rack. He had four conferences with Anglican divines, something he himself had requested in the book rationes decem, but the disputations were inconclusive, partly because the first one was held shortly after he had been tortured. The government determined that he should be executed, but they needed a stronger charge than the fact that he was a Catholic priest. On Nov. 14, the priests were led to Westminster Hall where charges were raised against them that they had formed a conspiracy against the life of the queen, had exhorted foreigners to invade the country and had entered England with the intent of fomenting rebellion to support the invaders. At his trial six days later, Campion was asked to raise his right hand and take an oath; he was unable to do so because of recent torture, so another one of the priests had to lift his arm for him. Campion attempted to defend all the priests by pointing out their motives were religious, not political; but they were found guilty of high treason and condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. The priests joined in singing the Te Deum when they heard the verdict.
Campion remained in chains for another 11 days, and then was dragged through the muddy streets of London to Tyburn. With him were Briant, and Father Ralph Sherwin, a diocesan priest. As Campion forgave those who had condemned him, the cart he was standing on was driven from under him and he was left hanging. The executioner then cut him down and tore out his heart and intestines before cutting his body into pieces. Briant had been tried a day after Campion, but was executed soon after the other Jesuit. He was cut down while still alive after being hung so that he could be disemboweled and his body cut into quarters. He was only 25 years old.

St Edmund Campion

Jeremy Clarkson-Yet Again!

Totalitarian states are notorious for taking every aspect of life so seriously that humour, especially satire, is likely to land the exponent in a cell at best, a shallow grave in the woods at worst. While we're nowehere near that stage yet our politically correct nanny state is certainly heading in that direction.

We used to be renowned for our freedom and liberty, which included free speech and humour, especially in the face of adversity. But one symptom of a nation in decline is a collective lack of humour. Dare tell a joke about a woman and a po-faced member of the sisterhood will sit you down for a serious lecture on sexual equality. If you tell a joke about an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman you'd better make sure the butt of the joke is the Englishman or you'll be up before Trevor Philips' Equality Gestapo. Sadly, with the connivance or totally apathy of the mass of the population, political correctness is relegating us to a third world style banana republic that takes itself far more seriously than it deserves to and rounds on any dissenters.

Yet again Jeremy Clarkson is in the brown stuff for saying, on a popular light entertainment programme, that public sector workers on strike should be shot. No doubt some po-faced Fabian commissar somewhere heard that as incitement to murder and urged his arrest to protect the glorious workers from the evil capitalist lackey. There has been uproar. If he'd taken a gun from his pocket and dashed from the studio towards a nearby picket line screaming "I'm gonna kill myself a picket" then fair enough. But come on, a flippant remark on a bloody television show. Get a grip!

The saddest thing about these politically correct times is the death of humour, replaced by humourlerss polytechnic lecturers masquerading as 'alternative' comedians self-righteously attacking the Daily Mail and anything they see as reactionary, traditional or 'dangerously right wing'. You know, people like Russell Howard and Marcus Brigstocke.

As long as we have people like Clarkson in the public eye I suppose we have half a chance of killing political correctness. So keep up the good work, I might even start watching Top Gear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NHS Strikers Make Me Sick!

I don't support the strike today, it's the height of irresponsibility. The sight of arrogant fat cat union barons, like Crow and Prentice, patronising us with their self obsessed bleating on TV trying to justify their actions really makes me reach for the sick bag.

But what really got me today was the sight of NHS staff walking out of their jobs punching the air and grinning like goons as they greeted the comrades on the picket lines. Funny how those in the 'caring professions' don't bat an eyelid for the patients left behind when they strike for better pay and pensions for themselves. And if not working doesn't impact on the care provided to patients let's make them redundant, there are plenty of nurses and others in the 'caring professions' claiming they can't get a job.

Having said that I know that very few people in the public sector are in line for the 'gold plated pensions' many claim them to be on. But when many are losing their jobs, and businesses are closing with predictions  that things will get worse, it seems highly selfish and destructive to be walking out.

While public sector workers and others slam city fat cats let's look at Bob Crow's pay deal as of 2009:

As of 2009, Bob Crow's basic salary at RMT was £94,747; a 12% increase from the previous year. His entire pay package with bonuses and pensions was £133,138; on top of this he claimed £9,989 in expenses and £2,376 in travel costs.[7]

From Wikipedia

Sports Personality of the Year: I Think I'm An Ismist

There's a fuss in certain parts of the media because the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award has been drawn up and there are no women on the ten man shortlist. Oh no, sexism!

To be perfectly honest I think SPOTY is a complete sham anyway, most of the winners have no personality. Andy Murray is on the shortlist, he has the personality of a mosquito but is more annoying. The whole point of sport is to compete and win, thus proving you are best, assuming where applicable dodgy referees or judges don't influence the result. SPOTY is just a bit of purely subjective razzmatazz so I don't care whether the short list is all male or all female.

What really annoyes me though is the kneejerk cries of sexism, as if whoever draws up the shortlist sit down and make a conscious decision to exclude women from the shortlist. One top female athlete is urging a boycott by all women, excluding male athletes from her call which is surely sexist. So which woman athlete is so peeved at not being nominaterd she wants the sisterhood to boycott? None other than Chrissie Wellington who, if anybody had actually heard of her may have actually got onto the shortlist. She's an ironman triathlon champion apparently.

Not wanting to be left out of the limelight Rebecca Adlington has also attacked the shortlist and called for an all-female shortlist next year. So it's an evil 'ism' to have a male only shortlist but fine to have a female only shortlist. Some consistency may help their cause.

Personally I break out in a cold sweat whenever I hear cries of racism, sexism, ageism or any other 'ism'. I'm afraid it's a case of the boy who cried wolf. All too often it's a patronising attempt to give one group or other a politically correct peg up. But with numerous women world champions I do find it odd that none have made the shortlist. However, I hardly think the BBC, of all organisations, could ever be accused of an 'ism', it's far too politically correct. Isn't it?

While we're at it, two of the ten nominees are ethnic minorities which, if my maths are right, is 20%. Isn't that racist according to NickClegg's quota sytem when ethnic minorities only make up 10% of the population?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Egyptian Elections

As the so-called Arab Spring kicked in earlier this year I became increasingly disturbed at the hysteria in the west, where commonsense and history seemed to be thrown out of the window in the hope for democracy. Barry Rubin, of The Gloria Centre, has written some extremely well researched and objective articles on the Middle East, especially the 'Arab Spring', below is his latest, about the failure of moderate parties in their campaigning for the Egyptian elections:

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” --Edmund Burke (1770)

On the eve of the Egyptian election, I’m really disgusted with the collapse of the moderate forces. While the Muslim Brotherhood is disciplined, united, working hard, and on message, the moderates are running around in circles. There is not the slightest sign of unity among the three main moderate parties (Wafd, Justice, and Free Egyptians) and the dozens of smaller ones.

Consider that instead of putting their energy into organizing, uniting, and getting out the vote, they are engaged in thoroughly useless demonstrations in Tahrir Square. What is the goal of these demonstrations? On one hand, they demand that the turnover of power be moved up; on the other hand, moderate politicians speak of postponing the balloting. Muhammad ElBaradei, once the Americans’ favorite candidate (before the Obama Administration switched to backing the anti-American, antisemitic Muslim Brotherhood) is actually creating his own virtual government! What a putz!

Think about it. How can the moderates demand an immediate turnover of power? Turnover to whom? There is no executive authority. Clearly, no serious thought has gone into this campaign. If anything they should be demanding that the military stays in power longer since it is the only thing standing between them and the Muslim Brotherhood.

And yet while the moderates are doing their Three Stooges routine over the turnover of power, the issue has already been resolved! The Brotherhood made a deal with the army junta and moved up the presidential elections by a full year. Instead of June 2013, presidential elections will be held around June 2012. That’s only seven months from now. And unless the moderate leaders drop their own candidacy and get behind Amr Moussa, the Brotherhood will win that one, too.

If it weren’t such a horrible tragedy it would all be a farce.
Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stuff The European Union, You're The One For Me Fatty!

So the nanny state is whining again about big people, claiming that a quarter of British women are obese. The figures are contained in a report from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, which compares obesity levels in 19 countries from 2008/2009. Big deal, more bunkum from our EU masters!

I think we are fortunate in this country to have some damn fine women in all shapes and sizes, but of course, the EU wants boring uniformity. We say that variety is the spice of life, and we certainly have a variety of spicy women in the UK. And long may it last.

So, in praise of the more full figured British women here are a couple of songs I think are particularly good:

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Friday, Time For A Taste Of France! Natascha Bessez and Serge Gainsbourg

Just found this fantastic version of Charles Aznavour's La Boheme by Natascha Bessez :

Followed by the fabulous Serge Gainsbourg's homage to his ex, Brigitte Bardot:

A Nation Lacking A Sense Of Proportion?

Listening to radio phone-ins can be quite scary. The BBC's Question Time can be especially scary because you not only see what idiots so many members of the public are, but you also see what a bunch of scary imbeciles we have in Parliament. But QT's for another time.

Last week I heard a phone-in about Sepp Blatter's remarks that footballers who make racist comments to each other in the heat of a game should make up by shaking hands at the end of a game. The shouts for his resignation came over much louder and more vehemently than if he had been found guilty of beating his wife.

The debate was split with those defending him arguing that calling somebody a black bastard was on a par with calling somebody a fat bastard, bald bastard, southern bastard or Yorkshire bastard. You insult somebody in the heat of battle by pointing out something about your 'enemy' that is different. Those attacking Blatter argued that calling somebody a black bastard is nigh on being a member of the BNP. The shouter is evil and wicked and has no place in our civilised society.

The debate took a very strange turn when a man came on and argued that the descrimination laws should be repealed and people should be strong enough to take a bit of 'gobbing off'. Name calling is harmless, so his argument went, and there were laws that had been in place for decades to deal with this kind of thing if it led to assault for example. Of course the presenter coughed and spluttered that if discrimination laws were abolished we were all just sat here waiting to go queer bashing and racially assaulting people. "How do you think gay people, for example, would feel if you had your way?" Asked the presenter. The answer was brilliant: "I'm a gay man and believe the anti-discrimination laws are counter-productive". Priceless.

Another caller then commented that she had been called "a piece of white trash" by a black woman but had just shrugged it off as the words of an ignoramous and asked why a black footballer, for example, couldn't do the same. This led to a very irate, very posh (is that an ism?) woman coming on the phone screaming that it was fine for black people to talk to white people like that because we (white people) hadn't been strung up by mobs in the southern United States and hadn't been sold as slaves by black people.

Well that, to me anyway, took the whole debate onto quite another, very surreal level. By the posh white woman's logic we should still be bombing the crap out of Germany for the last war and Ethiopia should think about bombing the crap out of Italy for invading Abyssinia in 1935. If that clown had her way there would be a constant cycle of retribution that would never end. Is that the sign of a civilised nation?

Personally I stopped calling people fat, bald, ugly or whatever bastards years and years ago. I suppose I grew out of it. I can still insult with the best of them, but I try to be a little more subtle. Having said that I confess to calling a driver an ugly bastard this week, but that was in the privacy of my van, he had just cut me up but could neither hear nor lip read my words. He was ugly too. Does that count? I'm not sure. But by and large I do agree with the old saying that "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me".

While I find a footballer, or anybody else calling somebody a black bastard deeply offensive, I think the best way of dealing with it would be for the other players and the team manager to point out that it is offensive and that he should behave in a more civilised way. Peer pressure is amazingly effective. To react as if that person were about to embark upon a spree of ethnic cleansing, slaughtering millions of ethnic minority people with weapons of mass destruction shows the sad loss of a sense of proportion.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Magazine-Shot By Both Sides-In Seedy Manchester Clubs

Busy and can't be bothered ranting about anything, so thought I'd share one of the best tracks of the late seventies. Reminds of me of some seedy Manchester clubs such as the Cyprus Tavern, the Continental, the Ranch. Seedy but fantastic.

If you detect a hint of the Buzzcocks that might be because Howard Devoto (lead singer) was frontman after forming the Buzzcocks with Pete Shelley in 1975. Devoto left to form Magazine in 1977. Here goes:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Abusing The Elderly

Today's rumpus about elderly people being mistreated by carers comes as no surprise. To call it a human rights issue, as the Equality and Human Right Commission has today is to dehumanise it. It makes it sound like a bureaucratic thing when it is actually much, much worse than that. It is a problem that is much more common than most people imagine and is a symptom of a serious flaw in our society.

I've blogged previously here and elsewhere about my family experiences with the NHS and how my mother-in-law was left housebound because of abuse in a hospital, so I won't go into it all again, just click on the link if you want to read more. But today's report is very scary indeed. The Telegraph covers it here.

My parents-in-law need a high level of care. Both are knocking on 90 and are frail and not in brilliant health, my mother-in-law can't walk more than a few paces and then with a zimmer frame. They have carers who come in morning and evening supposedly to prepare her for bed and to get her up. But they turn up at all hours and are often brusque and unhelpful. One was actually caught emptying her commode into the kitchen sink. Similarly they have hot lunches delivered but can often seem like late breakfast or early dinner and the quality can vary incredibly. They are often talked to and treated like cretins.

Thankfully, after much chasing of their local social services department they are going into a sheltered scheme that provides extra support. But my wife and her sister have had to spend day upon day chasing up social workers who seem to be permanently in meetings or away on training courses or just don't understand the system. It took a formal complaint to get action. Thankfully my in-laws have two intelligent and capable daughters fighting for them, God help those who aren't so lucky.

Our position is not so good. For the first time we have wondered today about our old age. There is just the two of us. No daughters to fight our corner if we end up struggling eventually. And people claim we are in a progressive and enlightened age. Or, maybe this is a consequence of years of progressive and enlightened policies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leveson Inquiry

I have absolutely no interest in the private lives of footballers, actors or anybody else in  the entertainment business. Phone hacking is detestable and anybody involved in it should be prosecuted and well and truly punished. However, I do think the private lives of politicians are in the public interest, after all, if somebody's MP is happy to betray his wife and kids he would have no qualms about dumping on a constituent or anybody else.

It was moving to see Milly Dowler's parents giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday, but I doubt that anything done now could possibly ease their pain. But they behaved with amazing dignity in an agonising situation.

But also yesterday we saw Hugh Grant blubbering about the publicity he gets. I have little sympathy with a person who goes out for publicity when it suits him, but blubs when it doesn't suit him. Furthermore, I realised that when you see Hugh Grant on screen it is just Hugh Grant. He could have been his character from any one of his films, he just plays himself.

Today we have heard ex-footballer Garry Flitcroft blubbing:
"I had a wife and a kid and I've got a very, very close family," he said. "All I could think about was it going in the newspaper and being seen nationally and the effect it would have on her."
How noble of Mr Flitcroft to want to keep his unfaithfulness out of the newspapers just to protect his wife. What a selfless chap.

For the likes of the Dowlers I have every sympathy. But for 'celebrities' blubbing I say if you behave properly and honourably, you deprive the media of their sordid, squalid little stories. After all, it is your sordid, squalid little actions that are being reported.

And for those who are indulging in fits of righteous indignation about our horrid media remember one thing. If you didn't buy the tat, be it Sky TV or a red top newspaper, they'd be out of business. All the media are doing is satisfying a demand.

Nick Clegg And The Lib Dems Must Go!

After years of sitting in the shadows coming out with pie in the sky twaddle, the Lib Dems are now in a position to show us what they are all about, and it's not very pleasant. They seem to be the world's first ever political party that is desperately working to bring itself down rather than its opponents.

Nick Clegg's motley crew of misfits, and I include Cameron and his Tory wets in that description, are now trying to stitch up future elections by nationalising political parties. By calling it 'state funding' they think they'll get away with it. Clegg has even reassured taxpayers that their taxes won't go up to fund political parties. Maybe not, but when that small local library closes just remember that it has gone to bail out the ludicrous Lib Dems. We're not the idiots you take us for Clegg, we know that 'state funding' means taxpayer funding.

In these times of economic hardship, when services are quite rightly being cut, doesn't it say it all that reality has bypassed the European Union who, rather than cutting budgets, are thieving at least 2% more from UK taxpayers? And now the Lib Dems are planning to grab tax money to pay for their election campaigns, which would represent a 100% increase. No wonder the Lib Dems love the EU more than they do the UK.

Why should my taxes go to pay for political parties I totally disapprove of? The BNP, the Lib Dems, Labour, Tories, UKIP or anybody else. If you aren't popular enough to raise your own money then bugger off and don't expect me to pay. The first test of your fitness to stand in an election is the ability to pay for your campaign. If you can't you don't stand.

With taxpayer funding of parties, just like football's Premier League stitch up, the most well funded parties would be the Tory/Lib Dem/Labour coalition, thus further guaranteeing their current stranglehold on power for years to come. It is already difficult for new parties to get a serious foothold, indeed the only newish party that has made real progress is the Green Party. OK one MP, but it's something no other party has achieved for a long time. State funding will guarantee that smaller parties remain small and ineffective.

The latest proposals also plan to restrict personal donations to political parties to a maximum of £10,000. So when I win my rollover lotter jackpot I will not be allowed to spend the money as I see fit. The state will restrict my financial support to a party I approve of, but will grab my taxes to fund a party I do not approve of.

How very socialist.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who Will Save Us From Idiot Councillors?

I'm all for government being as close to the people as possible, but we must question the actions of town and parish councils as well as those of supranational monoliths such as the European Union.

Where I live we have many layers of elected representatives, most proving the the old addage that the desire to be a politician should be enough to exclude you. We have a town council, then we have a borough council and we also have a county council. Then we have a Member of Parliament and the biggest bunch of parasites of them all, Members of the European Parliament. I don't think I've forgotten any. Thankfully the idea of an elected regional assembly was dropped or that would be more parasites leeching off us. Apart from costing a few grand from our taxes I'm not sure what a town/parish council does, apart from offer a platform to a bunch of local busybodies who love mithering and interfering in other peoples' business.

But what got me on this track was reading about Lymington Cricket Club in Hampshire. They have played at their ground for around 200 years. Cricket balls are very hard indeed and they leave the bat with some speed. Or is it velocity? Never was good at that kind of scientific stuff. Anyway, in 200 years nobody is aware of anybody being hit by a ball flying out of Lymington cricket ground. In four years three balls have landed in nearby tennis courts, but nobody has been hit or injured.

Here comes the problem, Lymington and Pennington town councillors have bugger all useful to do but sit and dream up 'what if' scenarios. The pillocks on this particular council have now told the cricket club that to continue on their ground they must now pay £50,000 for a net to catch balls before they land in the tennis courts. This would bankrupt the club. Chief nanny, sorry local councillor Penny Jackman, made the following inane comment: "The reality is cricket balls have been landing a matter of inches from unsuspecting people". Yes you nitwit, three in four years and I think the key words are 'a matter of inches away' not on anybody's head or any other part of their bodies.

Time to make government so small that we can get rid of most of these idiots, be they MEPs or town/parish councillors or any of the others in between.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Righteous Indignation and Moral Outrage!

In recent weeks I've been trying to trace back to the time we lost our collective sense of proportion. It coincided with a complete loss of dignity or, as it used to be called, 'the English stiff upper lip'. It's hard to pin down precisely but there have been numerous landmark occasions.

The death of Princess Diana is one of the bigger landmarks, especially the national outbreak of emotional incontinence that followed it. Of course head mourner was that greatest fraud of all time Mr Tony Blair. The sight of all that blubbing and flower laying like an outbreak of some dreadful national psychosis left those of us with a sense of proportion feeling like foreigners in our own country for weeks.

"Oh God how I loved that gerbil"!
I'm not sure when turning of the site of deaths, be they accidents or murder, into shrines became fashionable but that's another sign of our loss of dignity. Whether it was before or after Diana I'm unsure, but didn't we used to lay flowers on the graves of loved ones? I suppose cemeteries just aren't public enough for the public show of grief and loss needed to show how much we really deeply care for departed loved ones today. Personally I wouldn't want to mark with flowers the terrible place where a loved one had died but I'm obviously not 'caring' enough.

On a personal note I remember going on a training course about ten years ago. The trainer was one of these 'touchy feely' types. You could tell she truly 'cared' because if we covered a slightly sensitive area her voice became all soppy and her head leaned towards her right shoulder. To 'break the ice' she asked us to inform the group when the last time we had cried had been. Of course, as long as none of us found it too traumatic. I didn't find it traumatic, just totally stupid and irrelevant to training about volunteer recruitment. I think she realised I wasn't taking it seriously when my turn came and I informed her that I couldn't remember the last time I had cried but I had filled up on May 26 1999. When she asked me what had happened on that date I informed her I had been in the Nou Camp in Barcelona when United beat Bayern Munich to win the European Cup. She said nothing for fear of being seen as judgmental.

Racism, or the perception of racism is a trigger for outbreaks of righteous indignation. Any comment that could be somehow construed as 'racist' is jumped on and there is a queue of morally outraged indignants desperate to out-outrage each other. The latest victim is a non-league footballer who has caused a huge outburst of righteous indignation from the emotionally incontinent with the following tweet:

“Respect to all the heroes 11/11/11 now to all the illegal *****, **** off out of are country all call of duty could become a reality – kill um.”
The report in the Worcester News is telling, especially the comments section. There is a queue of the morally outraged and indignant attacking this evil racist. Now forgive me but whichever way you look at that statement it is not racist. But racism is the new witchcraft. Duck him in a pool, if he doesn't drown he's racist, if he drowns he isn't. Have you ever talked about stringing 'em up? I had some banter on here yesterday when we talked about stringing up MPs from lamposts. Are we to be hunted down for incitement to murder? Indeed, it's interesting that the moral outrage is not that the player advocated murder, no, far worse than advocating killing innocent people, call him a racist!

By way of explanation 'Call of Duty' is some kind of violent video game.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

E-Petitions-What's The Point?

Government e-petitions
 I think I did sign the e-petition calling for a referendum, but I'm not sure. Yes I did, I think. Anyway, whether I did or didn't what is the point of them? I long ago realised they were a waste of time and decided not to sign any more.

Over 100,000 signed the petition calling for a referendum on the EU. Not a single person voted 'Coalition' at the last general election. We didn't get a referendum but we did get a coalition government. I suppose that says it all really.

No sooner did MPs decide we couldn't have a referendum on the EU than another EU referendum petition was started. Today there's a debate about dropping fuel prices. Is anybody in this country actually stupid enough to think it will bring about a decrease in fuel prices? Is anybody stupid enough to think signing a petition calling for government to do anything it doesn't want to, will actually work? Is anybody out there so stupid they didn't realise that the 100,000 signatures nonsense was a con-trick? That it is a great piece of political sleight of hand? What concerns me is that people fell for it.

What might make a difference is if all those people wasting their time on petitions actually did something politically useful. They could join a party. They could leaflet their street. They could write to the local papers or even their MPs. They could lobby their local MP or even lobby Parliament. They could stand for election to their local council or even Parliament. Some could make a start by even getting off their backsides by going out to vote. No matter how much, or how little time we have, there is something useful we can do.

But e-petitions? Do me a favour. In fact any petitions and don't even bother asking me to sign, I've much better things to do.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Experiences of an Englishman in Rocket-Hit Israel

A friend of mine is now living in Israel and kindly agreed to write the following guest blog:

There’s nothing to prepare you for the myriad of emotions that flush through your mind and body when a rocket alert siren sounds. Then there are the thoughts and feelings that grab hold when you hear ground shaking explosions and the sound of police cars and ambulances racing through the city streets soon afterwards. One moment you are going about your daily routine, which might include being in a deep sleep and the next, you are rushing like a startled rabbit towards your designated shelter.

I’ve been living in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod for nearly a year after meeting and falling in love with a beautiful and charming Israeli woman. In this time period there have been approximately a dozen rocket attacks on our city and hundreds more on cities, towns and villages in the surrounding region, including Ashkelon, Beersheba and the unfortunate Sderot. The rockets originate in the Gaza Strip, just over 20 miles away from Ashdod and are being fired by Islamic terrorists intent on killing as many Jews as possible and eventually taking Israel for their own Islamic state.

Let’s briefly study the anatomy of a rocket attack on a major Israeli city. When terrorists fire a rocket, a satellite system picks up the trajectory of the missile and instantly calculates where it is likely to fall. The system then activates a city-wide siren in the location where the deadly warhead is heading. The siren sounds and people rush to either a communal shelter, a safety room within their home or any other place which might offer protection from an explosion and related shrapnel. In Ashdod, we have 45 seconds to get to this safe place. In neighbouring Ashkelon, it is even less.

The rocket alert siren sounds for around 40 seconds. The sound is very similar to the World War 2 siren you hear in old black and white war films. It is omnipresent and comes at you from multiple directions. It’s also very loud and there’s no chance you’ll mistake it for a car alarm. Strangely enough, whilst the siren is sounding, you know you are relatively safe. The danger comes when it stops. That’s when the rockets fall. In nearly all cases that I have experienced, the explosions occurred within 15 seconds of silence descending on the city. It’s a haunting silence for you know everyone is doing the same as you and that is listening for the thuds of falling rockets. Two weeks ago we heard 4 explosions hit the city, one after the other and each louder than the next. Elsewhere on that day, an Israeli civilian who was a father of 4, was killed by shrapnel.

For years, before and during my time in Israel, I’ve heard people in the West referring to the rocket attacks as mere fireworks that do little damage other than a bit of smoke and cracks in the road. I knew this to be untrue, even prior to hearing and seeing the damage they do first-hand. Every day I pass a building still gutted from when a rocket scored a direct hit a few years ago. On Youtube you can see video clips of a 6-storey block of flats half demolished from just one rocket. The only reason why more people are not killed is because of the safety measures the government here has taken in the form of rocket shelters, drills, sirens, surveillance drones and frequent information on what to do in the event of an attack.

The rocket attacks are brutally hard on parents and their children. I’ve been with families when the siren sounded and witnessed the fear in the eyes of burly fathers who would not otherwise flinch from tackling a burglar in the middle of the night. They carry their little crying daughters in their arms and rush to their safety room, knowing full well that a direct hit on their home could mean death. I’ve also seen a mother vomit with fear after rushing her kids into a shelter. They have every reason to be terrified for their children’s safety. In 2004, a toddler and baby were killed when a rocket exploded inside their home in Sderot.

When you don’t have children, the sense of danger and fear is less but not altogether absent. Most rocket attacks have taken place during the night hours when we are asleep. The shock of being awoken by loud Banshee wailing and instinctively racing towards the front door (our shelter is next door) is quite a blow to one’s nerves, especially when you know there is a serious and genuine threat to life careering through the night skies towards you. Yet people here have adapted to these intrusions and within minutes you see people resuming their normal activities, even when there is every chance of another siren sounding any second.

I’m a proud Englishman with a great fondness for the State of Israel. This bond was formed prior to meeting my Israeli girlfriend and came about through sympathy and support for their existential cause. The Jewish people’s brave fight against the theo-political ideology of Islam which has Jew hatred written in their scriptures is one that all decent Europeans and Americans should back Israel in. For years I wished I could do something more for Israel instead of writing essays on why it deserves to exist in peace, from a safe and comfortable desk in England. Finally I got that chance. On most days I feel like any Englishman would, living in, or visiting, the Near East or Mediterranean and that is, a foreigner, which of course is natural. However, on those days when the skies rain rockets and the sirens sound, I feel, if all but briefly, very much an Israeli.

Guest post by Edward Beaman-Hodgkiss

I've also included 2 links to relevant Youtube videos which will help readers gain insight into events here in Israel. Click on links below to view.

1. Block of flats half demolished (as mentioned in the post)

2. Rocket siren at night in Ashdod 2 weeks ago.

British Police State

Police stop a motorist for using his mobile phone.
This weekend we remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms. But what kind of state do we live in in the twenty first century?

In Greece, and it looks like Italy too, elected prime ministers are being replaced by former EU bureaucrats.

I have detailed elsewhere, as have many others, how the EU, our real bosses, ignore referenda that go against them and carry on regardless.

Here we have recently been refused a referendum that gained over 100,000 signatures by a coalition government that not a single person actually voted for.

Yesterday 170 members of the English Defence League were arrested in Whitehall just in case there might be a breach of the peace. Be careful, if a copper thinks your eyes are too close together he might nick you just in case!

Meanwhile a bunch of sad old hippies seeking their five minutes of fame turn St Paul's into a squalid canvas squat and nothing is done.

Yesterday I found the following letter in the Daily Telegraph particularly poignant:

SIR – I was kettled on Wednesday. I am a pensioner. I was on my way to a charity meeting near St Paul’s when I inadvertently walked into the route of the student march.

Every side road was blocked with barriers and manned by fully dressed riot police, some wearing balaclavas. They were aggressive and intimidating. I eventually escaped the cordon with some difficulty.

I had a full career in the Army, serving all over the world, but my impression on Wednesday was that I was in one of the worst police states I had seen, with police almost daring students to take them on.

How much better it would have been to see a few friendly policemen on the route, with the riot police discreetly out of sight.

C. C. Galloway
Enstone, Oxfordshire

Friday, November 11, 2011

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First World War Poetry-Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est'

It's been sad, but not surprising this week, that FIFA have refused to allow the England football team to wear poppies on their shirts for their weekend game against Spain. They're allowing them to wear them on their black armbands but not their shirts. It was good to see the German FA come out in support of wearing poppies on their shirts.

I also had a brief altercation this week with a member of the white poppy brigade. They really do piss me off and he got short shrift. Remembrance Day is not a time for political point scoring, it is about remembering the dead. Remembering the millions who have died in wars over the centuries.

I'm amazed that there are still people who think remembering the war dead is some act of glorifying war. It is not. To the overwhelming majority of decent people it is about remembering those who gave their lives for freedom. It is also about remembering the horrors of war and about praying that one day young men and women will no longer have to make the sacrifice.

Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce et Decorum Est truly brings out the horror of fighting in the trenches in the First World War:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

First World War Images

History is my subject, and modern European history is a special interest.

I never fail to be amazed, no matter how much I read on the subject, at how Europe's disastrous twentieth century occurred and why. Yes we all know the timeline, but how did a civilised nation like Germany fall under the spell of Hitler? Why were the German high command in such thrall to Hitler that they went along with Operation Barbarossa in 1941 that ultimately led to their defeat? There is so much about that war that fascinates and challenges, which is why there is still such a fascination about Hitler, and why books and documentaries about him are devoured by all with an interest in our recent past.

The First World War holds an equal fascination for many of us with its roots in the nineteenth century Franco-Prussian wars and the search for overseas empires by European countries, who looked enviously at the great British Empire and all the benefits it brought to us economically and politically. Of course the Second World War is firmly rooted in the First World War and its aftermath, to such a degree that some historians regard 1914 to 1945 as almost a latter day Thirty Years War, with a truce from 1918 to 1939.

Menin Gate
What is so powerful about the First World War is the reminders of it that are scattered around Northern France and Flanders. Yes there are reminders too of WW II, especially in the East where you find the memorials that were concentration camps. But for a glimpse into the horror that must have been fighting in the trenches we only need to take a short trip across the Channel and we are there.

There are trenches and bomb craters preserved. Military cemetery after military cemetery with row after row of white crosses marking the graves of the young war dead. There are glorious towns such as Ieper, completely destroyed during the war and lovingly restored to its Flemish glory, complete with the Menin Gate, between the wars.

The Menin Gate is worth a trip in its own right. A glorious marble monument to those who died defending Flanders and, at 8-00pm every single night of the year, a bugler from the local volunteer fire service plays The Last Post in honour of the war dead. One of the things that everybody should do at least once before they die. But be prepared, it can make even the most rugged ex-soldier shed a tear.

To give you a flavour of what to expect if you visit the battlefields of Flanders many of these wonderful photographs are from there, some from farther afield. Thanks to the the Mail Online.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Michael Jackson Trial

I would be interested in answers to the following questions:

Why is Sky News giving the trial, and verdict now, such saturation coverage?

If you are following the trial why and have you got nothing better to do with your life?

It seems to me the only plus is that I now have one more reason to be grateful for not having Sky.

Immigration Or The European Union?

I am a completely dedicated withdrawalist when it comes to the European Union. I want Britain out of the EU sooner rather than later, and if that means the subsidy junkies in Scotland, or elsewhere in the UK, decide to break up the Union and beg off what remains of the EU then so be it and good riddance.

But for years the problem has been that Eurosceptics, despite hard evidence, have never understood that the EU comes quite a way down peoples' list of priorities. In most elections even quite hardcore Eurosceptics will not vote solely on the EU question, which is why single issue parties have failed, be that the Referendum Party or UK Independence Party.

The crux of the problem is that if you state that obvious fact to a typical UKIP member you get an instant lecture as to why the EU is the root of everything bad in this country today. Yes, we no longer rule ourselves, but just ranting on and on without listening to people is exactly what we accuse the EU of. I lost count of the number of sympathetic people I took to UKIP meetings who were put off with what they saw as obsessive, often eccentric behaviour.  Like it or not in 21st century Britain sounding like Little Englanders turns people off. They want a party that speaks to them on a whole range of issues, not just the EU.

If we look at the announcement today that Sir Andrew Green's e-petition, about restricting immigration, gained the required 100,000 signatures in a week, compared to the year it took the petition on EU membership to reach 100,000, I think it proves the point nicely. People are much more agitated about immigration than the EU. I do believe that the majority of people would be happy to see immigration restricted and for Britain to leave the EU, but they see immigration as the more immediate problem, rightly or wrongly.

What Andrew Green's e-petition also highlights is that political correctness may have changed the way we talk about immigration, restricting our free speech on the issue by branding those opposed to immigration as racists, but it hasn't changed peoples' deeply held beliefs and concerns. More evidence that political correctness could ultimately drive decent people, with genuine concerns, into the arms of manipulative extremist parties.

More than ever the Coalition has proved the need for a political party that represents the views of the decent majority. A party a bit like the Tory Party used to be. Until then there are millions of us in this country who feel, and indeed are, disenfranchised.

I'm starting to sound like Peter Hitchens now so I'm off!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Baroness Jenny Tonge-The Dark Side Of The Lib Dems

I've been working on a script about the Lancashire witches today and made the mistake of having BBC Radio 2 on in the background. My radio became a twenty-first century broomstick and carried the vile Lib Dem witch Dame Jenny Tonge into my living room.

She shouted down James Delingpole with her irrational hatred of Israel while supporting Iran's possible development of nuclear weapons. I always find it annoying when people defend the actions of an anti-semitic nutcase like the President of Iran by constantly attacking Israel. Remember, Tonge was defending a man who has threatened to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth".

I remember when Tonge was condemned by her own Lib Dem colleagues for stating about Palestinian suicide bombers: "If I had to live in that situation - and I say that advisedly - I might just consider becoming one myself."

Lovely people these Palestinian lovers aren't they?

Friday, November 04, 2011

It's Friday, Time For Steel Pulse

Vince Cable Proves He's Chief Lib Dem Clown-Again!

Cable tries to tune himself into the real world.
What I like about Vince Cable is the way he works so hard to prove that we are correct in thinking  our politicians are clowns and idiots who just can't be trusted.

Don't forget he's the government Business Secretary who was recently fined for not paying his VAT. A fine example of 'do as I say not as I do' as he hectors and bullies businesses into paying ever more tax for the government to squander on vanity projects, or bailing out Eurozone countries. Oh yes, don't forget, if the Lib Dems had their way we would be in the brown stuff alongside Greece and the others now too, they would have sold their souls to get us into the Euro.

Now the clown could be facing a fine of up to £500,000 if found guilty of breaching data protection laws after confidential papers were found in bins outside his constituency office in Twickenham. Surrey council were recently fined £120,000 when found guilty of similar offences. However, as a cabinet minister I believe Cable should be made an example of. But, in these days when the establishment see politicians as our masters rather than servants, I suspect he'll get off lightly to carry on bullying businesses.

I'm not ancient but I do remember the days when politicians, especially government ministers, resigned over such matters. I suspect it would take a lynch mob to drag as dishonourable a self-serving egomaniac as Cable from his office. That's what you get with Lib Dems sharing power unfortunately.

Concerned about the growing database and surveillance state? Visit the No2ID website.

Full story from The Guardian

Thursday, November 03, 2011

More Scandalous Lib Dem Behaviour

"Och you're not Mr Smith, you're my Lib Dem councillor!"
Throughout many years in politics I have been ceaselessly amazed by the crass hypocrisy of the Lib Dems, or the 'Holier Than Thou Party' as many of us know them. So I am always happy to prove that they are actually mere mortals, guilty of foible and weakness just like anybody else, regardless of what they may claim.

I'm pleased to introduce the following tale from north of the border, just to prove them human:

Gordon Leslie, Lib Dem councillor for Bridge of Don on Aberdeen City Council, has been suspended after planning to stand as an independent against his now former Lib Dem colleagues.

Mr Leslie was arrested and charged in February under the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Act 2007 for loitering in the city's harbour area - a well known red light district - found guilty and fined £200 in May of this year.

Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor John Stewart said: "Councillor Leslie has been suspended from the Liberal Democrat group with immediate effect.  It should have been clear that his conviction would have a bearing when the matter of approval came up.  But rather than accept the decision of his local party, he has sought to sit as an independent in opposition to former colleagues.  There was no alternative but to suspend Councillor Leslie."

Mr Leslie has yet to comment.

I'll bet Mr Leslie has yet to comment!

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