Thursday, June 23, 2011

Anonymous Bloggers

I know many people who blog but prefer not to use their own names. Or perhaps that should be I know the identity of some bloggers who prefer to remain anonymous? Regardless there is a high proportion who prefer not to let the world know their identity when blogging.

Those who choose to hide their real identity do so for many reasons. They may face problems at work if they blog using their own identity, regardless of whether or not they blog about their work. They may be blogging about confidential matters that they have highly valuable but sensitive things to talk about, and prefer not to be identified. The reasons are many and varied and I, and I hope most reasonable people, respect their wishes. I certainly would never knowingly give away the identity of an anonymous blogger whose identity I knew.

What I do find difficult to accept are anonymous bloggers who are vile towards other individuals, who use their blogs to lie and smear other people then hide behind anonymity. This has recently happened to an acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a thoroughly decent human being, but he has been subjected to comments on his blog that are pretty nasty and posts on an anonymous blog about him that are pretty unpleasant. Indeed they have been of such an unpleasant nature that he has been unable to sleep in recent weeks. I do not intend to name either blog.

Using anonymity in that way is the sign of a coward and a bully. Being critical and having a general roustabout is one thing, but if people want to be nasty, threatening and abusive at least have the guts to come out in the open. But people like that are usually too cowardly to be open.

I've told the victim to just ignore the anonymous loony, but that is easier said than done. The other thing is to take some pride that to provoke anonymous venom maybe means you have hit a nerve with the coward, in which case job well done. Of course those who throw muck around, or make anonymous threats, are usually lying anyway. If they were open and stopped hiding behind anonymity they would probably behave in a much more reasonable manner. They'd be terrified of the possible consequences because remember, they're cowards.

Maybe we should all stand back now and then and look at what we write, be that on blogs, websites or traditional media, and think how we would feel if what we had just said about somebody was said about ourselves. Perhaps we should all consider whether we would prepared to say to somebody's face what we write about them. Maybe that would contribute to making the world, in a very small way, a slightly better place to be.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Venice Biennale or the Tate Liverpool?

If you possibly can you must get to Venice for La Biennale this year.

Venice is the most romantic and beautiful city in the world, and visiting La Biennale is a must, at least once in your life. We celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2013 and plan to celebrate it in Venice at the 2013 Biennale with a few days in Rome thrown in. The Vatican is a little special too!

Now this is a first on this blog, I'm about to recommend something in Liverpool rather than being typically Mancunian and slagging it off. If you can't get to La Biennale why not get to see an exhibition of the work of Rene Magritte at the Tate Liverpool?

Ok, the Albert Dock isn't quite the Lido di Venezzia, but times are tough.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The EU And The Death Of Democracy

This country has sleep walked into a state that exists in some grey are between democracy and totalitarianism. What is scary is that it hasn't been done in an obvious way, like Zimbabwe or the USSR and others, it's been done with the acceptance and approval of the populace, most of them acquiescing through ignorance and/or naivety.

We joined the EU in 1973, although it was known then as the European Economic Community or the innocuous sounding 'Common Market'. By the time we had a referendum in 1975 many of us were warning it was a monster in the making, and urged people to vote no to continued membership. Sadly I was too young to vote in '75 voting for the first time in 1979. But no, people voted to stay in and many of those who voted to stay in in 1975 are now the most enthusiastic campaigners for withdrawal. They are angry at the way they were conned. And let's face it, you only have to look at the EU's record on ignoring referendum results it doesn't like to wonder if we would have ever left if we had voted no in 1975. If you doubt that ask the Irish, the Danes, the French and Dutch, all of whom have voted no but got what they voted against anyway.

The EU set the criteria for countries joining the Euro. When certain countries didn't meet the criteria the EU did what it always does, it ignored its own rules because, like the spoilt brat at Christmas, the bureaucrats were too excited to wait so the whole Euro disaster was built, as most of the EU has been, on a nudge, nudge, wink, wink and a complete falsehood. Disaster was inevitable and the death throes are taking place as witnessed by events first in Ireland, now in Greece, soon Spain, Italy, Portugal and so on.

Of course like Iraq's Comical Ali, or Hitler in his bunker in April 1945 Barroso is convinced that all will be well in the end as he runs around shouting 'don't panic, don't panic'. If even a New Labour clown like Jack Straw can see that Greece's membership of the Euro is a disaster, and withdrawal inevitable, then it shows what a mess that country is really in.

But the billions we pump into the EU every year, and the extra billions we pump into bailing out the disaster that is the Euro, be that directly through the EU or the IMF, has still not woken the British people from their torpor. What will it take? Years back a friend told me that campaigning against the EU would have little impact, but not to worry, it was such a con trick that reality would eventually hit and it would collapse of its own volition. How right he was.

The problem once it does collapse is how we clean up the mess. Let's face it, we currently have British politicians dabbling and interfering in our lives in a way that would have seemed impossible a few years ago. The latest example is having to apply for a permit from the DVLA to keep an uninsured car, even if it is on your own private land. Failure to comply could lead to the authorities taking your vehicle from your garage at the side of your house and crushing it. Ok, not on a par with having your door kicked in by secret police at 4-00am, but still a powerful symbol of our ever encroaching authoritarian state.

I am convinced that this constant hectoring and badgering by the state is largely due to the fact that our MPs have too little to do of any real worth. 70% of our laws come from the EU, so inevitably the MPs in Westminster have too much time on their hands, and the devil makes work for idle hands. They have turned on us, they are behaving like our bosses rather than the other way round, and the Coalition is just as bad as the last lot, thanks in part to the authoritarian influence of the so-called 'Liberal Democrats'.

So the EU is collapsing and we have a more authoritarian style of government, thanks in large part to years of New Labour government, than we have ever had in this country. But this is a time not for fear or apprehension, but for optimism and celebration. In my opinion these are very exciting times and offer an unbelievable opportunity for a truly liberal/libertarian party to make substantial progress. Once the authoritarian supra-national monster of the EU has collapsed we need to roll back the British state and none of the big three parties will do that.

The biggest campaigning groups against the continued UK membership of the EU have strong authoritarian tendencies and in the overwhelming majority of cases, want to turn the clock back to a bygone era, an experiment just as dangerous in my view as the EU project has been. What we need is a seriously radical, but realistic party that will wipe away swathes of the legislation that has been put in place over recent decades that has eaten away at our freedoms and liberty.

We can then truly celebrate the death of the EU and the rebirth of democracy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

More Lib Dem Hypocrisy

Has there ever been a bigger bunch of hypocritical toads in politics than the Lib Dems? Clegg's at it now:

In 2009, they (the Lib Dems) approved a policy of “stopping the establishment of new schools which select by ability, aptitude or faith”. They followed this in last year’s election manifesto by saying it would require faith schools to develop an “inclusive admissions policy”.

But Clegg looks like sending his kids to the Catholic London Oratory School rather than his local Catholic comprehensive. Here's how he explained away this stunning piece of hypocrisy:

“My kids are more precious to me than anything else in the world and the fact [is] that my wife is Catholic, I married in the Catholic church and my children have been brought up by Catholics and go to a Catholic state primary school".
Well actually Clegg, most kids are precious to most parents, even those you would deprive of choice. And a Lib Dem using his wife. Where've we heard that before?

Report from the Telegraph.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Utility Bills And Car Insurance

I had a very fruitful day yesterday shaving money off our direct debits. Every now and then I hear a money adviser on the radio urging us not to automatically renew insurance when it's due. Likewise, their advice is to shop around the utility providers to see if you can get a better deal. So I did. I went on a comparison website and hey presto, big savings.

First the van insurance. My insurance expires on July 7th and it had gone up quite horrendously. So I went on t'interweb and got a quote that was as near as makes no odds to £200 off my current insurer's quote. So I phoned my current insurer, Direct Line, to tell them I wouldn't be renewing. Bingo! They were able to reassess my quote and beat the new one, so I'm sticking with them, they were very good when I had a mishap a couple of years ago. Also, it saves the mither of sertting up new direct debits etc.

Boosted by that result I thought I'd try looking at the utilities. I was a tad nervous here because the best deal I could get was a saving of £8 per month, but that was going to Scottish Power. We left them a couple of years ago after they sent us a bill for £2000. Yes £2000 for one quarter. We argued and they eventually realised that a couple of years earlier we had had our old imperial meter replaced by a metric one. After several heated phone calls they actually owed us money as they'd read the metric readings as imperial readings. Pillocks!

So rather than risk Scottish Power again I went back to npower and told them that I had such a good offer from elsewhere could they look at my tariff and see if there was a better one with them. Bingo again! They came back with more than double the amount I would have saved with Scottish power. I shaved £20 a month of our gas and electric charges.

I may recharge my batteries today, then turn my attention to Mrs B's car insurance and our house insurance tomorrow. Let's face it, when you're paying 80p for a pepper at the supermarket you have to look for savings wherever you can.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Attacks On Christians In The Middle East

I've criticised Rowan Williams before, pretty recently when he was guest editor of the New Statesman, but I like to think I'm nothing if not fair. So it's only right to applaud the Archbishop for highlighting the increasingly desperate situation of Christians during this 'Arab Spring'.

He claimed there had been more killings of Christians and burnings of churches in Egypt than people were aware of and that life was unsustainable for Christians in northern Iraq, and tensions in Syria were nearing breaking point.

It's good to see a public figure telling it how it is and not how they'd like it to be.

I came across this on the eChurch Blog.

A Reluctant Sinner has an excellent post on Christian persecution and martyrdom around the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Assisted Suicide On TV

I didn't watch the documentary Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die last night, I watched it this morning instead. Or rather I watched most of it this morning. When it came to it I couldn't watch the final part, where the man with Motor Neurone Disease took his poison in the Dignitas clinic in Zurich.

I'm not particularly squeamish, I have been with somebody when they died, and have visited deceased loved ones in chapels of rest, but this seemed too deep to be watching on TV. It felt as though I were just watching another episode of a soap opera. I slightly surprised myself, but it seemed so undignified to sit watching Mr Smedley die, especially after I had been so impressed by his dignity throughout the rest of the programme. I didn't expect to feel that way when I sat down to watch.

Something I did find disturbing in the build up to the programme were the constant references to people with MND and the way they die. The overwhelming majority die peaceful deaths and do not die by choking to death or suffocating. I worked with people with MND for eight years and many find it extremely disturbing when they see programmes such as last night's. I heard many people in the aftermath of programmes such as that state that their lives were going to be cut short because of MND, and they did not want to shorten it still further. Others felt depressed that these programmes make their lives out to be worthless and that they have no value because of their disability. Sadly that side of the debate was not aired last night.

Having a loved one commit suicide can devastate individuals and families left behind. People often feel that they could have done more to help their loved one. There can be a sense that the person who committed suicide had been selfish and inflicted more pain on those left behind than if they had died naturally. Families can be split apart with a sense of guilt, shock or any of the other countless feelings and emotions inevitable when something as huge as that affects them. None of this was considered in last night's programme. Those feelings would be there, I believe, whether the person dies in a clinic in Zurich, or a bedroom in London. Legalising suicide, or legalising assisited suicide, would not take away the pain for those left behind.

My other problem with the programme was that the presenter was Terry Pratchett. If the BBC wanted to be impartial in looking at the issue of assisted suicide, I do not think using a man with Alzheimer's is particularly impartial or objective, especially as it was clear from the start what Terry Pratchett's position was. I'm not criticising the man himself for that, rather the programme makers and the BBC. Although I did find his comment about having to travel to Switzerland to die inconvenient and costly fatuous in the extreme.

Like legalising abortion I feel that legalising assisted suicide would be the thin end of the wedge. It would begin being an option in extreme cases, but who knows where it would end?  The frightening statistic that was quoted last night was that 21% of those dying in the Zurich clinic do not have terminal or incurable diseases at all, they were described as 'weary of life'. Rather takes away the 'oh it won't be used in cases like that' argument already.

My position on this issue is the same as those who marched against the war in Iraq, not in my name, and legalising assisted suicide would be exactly that. The only thing we know with absolute certainty is that one day we will die, and when  my time comes I want it to happen naturally. There seems something terribly soulless about a society that does not put child murderers to death, but sanctions the killing of the sick, the terminally ill and the unborn.

I don't think last night's programme contributed anything to the debate about assisted suicide, it certainly didn't raise any issues that haven't been debated over and over again. What the BBC is very good at is producing sensationalist programmes and patronisingly claiming that is in the public interest. In that respect last night's programme was very BBC.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Twitter And The Middle East

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am very dubious about what is going on in the Middle East. Gaddafi giving his troops Viagra so that they can go out and rape the populace? Do me a favour. Who then, while his troops are busy forcing themselves on the women of Libya, is actually killing the men women and children we read about in the next news story about Libya? I've no doubt Gaddafi and his troops are committing barbaric acts, and that the man is mad, but let's keep a sense of proportion.

Now it has come to light that the lesbian supposedly kidnapped by Syrian security forces, was actually a fat bloke with a beard in Edinburgh who claims to be an expert on the Middle East. Yes, he produced a fake identity, and the gullible of the world were getting all excited at how this poor defenceless girl had been abducted by the evil Syrians for complaining about them on Twitter and 'her' blog.

So all the mugs who foolishly thought they were witnessing the uprising in Egypt first hand, because they were following it on Twitter, might like to be a bit more reticent in future before slagging off the more cynical who are less easily fooled. Remember, young Haji fighting for freedom in  Al-Hasakah, might just be a fat cockney in a Wetherspoon's in East London taking the piss.

St Anthony of Padua

St Anthony's, Wythenshawe
We were married in 1988 in St Anthony's Church, Wythenshawe, Manchester. The church is modelled on St Anthony's Basilica in Padua, which we eventually saw when travelling from Venice to Rome in 2007.

St. Anthony of Padua is a Doctor of the Church and likely the most well known Franciscan saint, after St. Francis of Assisi.

Born to a noble family in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195, he rejected his family’s wealth and became a Dominican. Moved by the Francisican martyrs of that time, killed for preaching the Gospel, he left his order, joined the Friars Minor and left Portugal to evangelize.

He was such a gifted speaker that he attracted large crowds. Wherever he went, throughout Italy and France, he preached the Gospel. He spoke in multiple tongues and is said to have performed miracles.
St Anthony's Basilica, Padua
He died at the young age of 36 and was canonized in record time — 11 months later on May 30, 1232. When his body was exhumed, his tongue and mandible were found incorrupt. They are still on display at the shrine of St. Anthony, located in Padua, Italy.

Franciscans have played quite a part in my life over the years, being educated up to the age of eleven at St Francis of Assisi school in West Gorton which is in the shadow of the Church of St Francis, known locally as the Monastery.

Last year I went on retreat to the Franciscan Friary at Pantasaph in North Wales, which is now the UK base for Marino Restrepo's Pilgrims of Love as well as home to the national shrine to St Padre Pio .

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It Takes Two To Tango

Happy memories of time spent in Salta, Argentina with some German friends, then a few weeks in Buenos Aires, one of the most hospitable cities in the world. If you like a good steak this is where you'll find the world's finest, washed down with some excellent wine too.

If it takes two to tango that must be Astor Piazzola and Yo-Yo Ma performing Liber Tango:

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Coming Crisis in the Middle East

As soon as events started unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere that led to the so called 'Arab Spring' I feared what the future may hold in that region, and the impact on the rest of the world. I didn't share the seemingly unbridled joy that others felt that all would soon be sweetness, light, democracy and freedom in the Middle East.

What shocked me was the naive ecstasy of certain libertarian commentators who really should know better. I still can't believe that they, unless they are completely and utterly ignorant of the region's history, could celebrate the overthrow of Mubarak as the unconditional overthrow of an authoritarian regime being replaced by liberal democracy. How terribly naive.

Therefore I commend Barry Rubin's excellent article The Coming Crisis in the Middle East if you want a more dispassionate assessment of the 'Arab Spring' than we are currently being fed by the mainstream media.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

At Last an Opposition Leader-Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

As the Church of England slowly fades away it seems that Rowan Williams is trying to hasten it on its way. Crisis what crisis? He seems to be ignoring the problems in his church and is instead taking on the role of guest editor of the New Statesman, using the opportunity to make an unwise and simplistic attack on the government. As Damian Thompson asks in this article, where was Williams when Blair and Labour lied to take us to war against Iraq?

Williams typifies the attitude of so many English leaders, they are so busy trying to take the middle ground, or usually the centre left, that they alienate the overwhelming majority of the population. The church liberalises and plays left-wing politics, the churches empty. So they liberalise even more, and the churches empty even more until whole swathes of the Church of England leave to join the Roman Catholic church. Similarly Cameron's Tories have ignored their traditional supporters, and they blew the last general election, they were desserted as the Anglican church is being desserted.

How does Williams respond? He attacks the government for attempting to do what is morally right and essential. The church runs out of cash because its congregations shrink and it closes down churches and makes redundancies. The government is doing similar but Williams attacks it. Proof that he should stick to matters spiritual. The problem is, he isn't very hot on the spiritual front either judging by the comments made by former Anglicans in comments to Damian Thompson's article above.

The English need leaders who will do what is needed, not just what their media advisers in the metropolitan elite claim that 'public opinion' demands.  But at least we now have a more effective leader of the opposition than the Labour Party can find.

More on the Archbishop's attack from the Telegraph.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lib Dems-Political Roadkill!

I had a bit of work in Liverpool today, which meant a crack of dawn start, a lot of hanging around, get in and do the job then home. It gave me plenty of time to read the newspaper and a terrific article by Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph.

In recent weeks I've had a bit of a go at the Lib Dems and, in the immortal words of Corporal Jones, they don't like it up 'em. They do get personally nasty and vicious when they are criticised, but it's very strange because the angrier they get the camper they become. It got to the stage where it felt a bit like having Larry Grayson, John Inman and Graham Norton lined up to throw wet sponges at me. So the following quote from Benedict Brogan's article, about their recent hammering in the polls, particularly resonated:

It is difficult to exaggerate the shock felt by the Lib Dems at the defeat. They complained at the ruthlessness of the Tory operation and the single-mindedness with which Mr Cameron demolished their Yes campaign, and in doing so revealed the naivety of a party that has proved adept at playing dirty in local politics, but never experienced having the favour returned in spades at a national level. Their pain was compounded by the anger they found on the doorstep at their decision to drive through tuition fee increases when the Lib Dem manifesto had made promises not to do so.
The article explains how the voters have told the Lib Dems what they think of them, but the Tories have to keep using them, which they are doing very effectively, until they are confident that the Lib Dems will be wiped out at the next general election thus paving the way for a Tory victory. The other part of the article I particularly liked was:

The Conservatives have their tails up; Ed Miliband is drifting into insignificance; the Lib Dems, meanwhile, are the political roadkill that no one troubles to glance at. From the windows of 10 Downing Street, it looks like a Tory spring.
Interesting times ahead and a particularly accurate and honest assessment of the current situation. I'm not confident that the Tories offer much hope, but anything has to be better than another Labour government or longer Lib Dem involvement in government than is absolutely necessary.

Here is the full article.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Cocteau Twins

There are times when you crave truly atmospheric and inspirational music, and who better to provide it than the Cocteau Twins with Pink Orange Red?

Foreign Aid-Government by Idiots

The government's development secretary reckons we will one day be as proud of pouring money down a plug hole in Africa as we are of the Queen and our Armed Forces. Oh no  we won't you idiot. The idiot is Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, not even a Lib Dem which maybe says it all about the modern Tory Party.

Years ago, back in the late seventies and early eighties, I had a great friend from Sierra Leone who was extremely angry when I talked about foreign aid and how much the UK gave. His view was that part of the reason he was unable to return to his home was because foreign aid helped to bolster tyrants such as his president in Sierra Leone. In a way he was talking tough love, and if you look at Africa government aid has achieved little.

That doesn't mean we should turn our backs on Africa, but I would much prefer to give money voluntarily, which I do on a regular basis, to organisations whose work I know is effective. You only have to look at government waste in this country to imagine what is wasted when millions are shipped out to third world countries on our behalf.

If you want an idea how pathetic this government is at the highest level, especially the Lib Dem part of the Coalition, I suggest you read this article from the Guardian. Then tell me you think sending millions and millions of our tax money abroad will one day make us as proud of throwing money away as we are of the Queen and our Armed Forces.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Latest EU Lunacy!

There is so much scope here for having a laugh at the idiocy of the EU.

To commemorate, or mourn, ten years of the Euro they are inviting citizens of the project to design a new two Euro coin to be minted next year.

Let's face it, the Euro has as much credibility as the ludicrous Captain Euro, stolen unashamedly from another United States. I'm confident that our more imaginative Eurosceptics or Eurorealists will be coming up with suitable designs.

From the EU website.

Vince Cable-A Typical Lib Dem Buffoon

Just when you think a Lib Dem minister, and Vince Cable of all people, has seen the light, you find that yet again it's nothing more than a mirage. They are so used to talking the talk they forgot a long time ago how to walk the walk.

Today Cable has had a go at the dinosaurs of the GMB Union, the good old General, Municipal and Boilermakers' Union. Of course he was heckled for seemingly taking a hardline and warning that a series of strikes this summer could lead to tougher laws to restrict the disruptive powers of the unions. But when you look at what he actually said it is more typical mealy mouthed Lib Dem, or specifically Vince Cable, waffle. Here is what he said:
"The usual suspects will call for general strikes and widespread disruption. This will excite the usual media comments about a summer or an autumn of discontent, and another group of the usual suspects will exploit the situation to call for the tightening of strike law".
Yet again Cable is coming out with something but not actually standing up for what he believes in, if indeed he actually believes in anything other than personal advancement. He is not saying that he, as Business Secretary will take any action, oh no, he is yet again passing the buck and hiding behind what "the usual suspects" will be calling for. That way he can waltz around with the trappings of power, but claim to his lefty pals that any legislation wasn't down to him.

The man has a spine of jelly and should never be allowed near a government department.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Chavs, Polly Toynbee and the Fabian Society

Polly Toynbee tribute girls, or chavs?
I don't think there is anything more patronising and insulting than socialists and/or pinko liberals. They occupy a non-existent moral high ground and look down on the rest of us with smug smiles, especially insulting to the people they think are incapable of standing on their own feet, the "working classes".

Their latest manufactured outrage is against the word "chav". They claim it is demeaning to the glorious workers and a prat from the Fabian Society wants the fascistic Commisssion for Equality and Blah Blah Blah to start prosecuting people who use the word.  Of course Polly Toynbee is leading this particularly ludicrous moral crusade.

I'm working class I think, although I find classification of humans in that way pretty demeaning so don't personally accept the concept of working class, middle class etc. It's about as useful as classifying people as ugly, plain or stunning. Or skinnny, well built and fat. Toynbee would no doubt find those classifications highly patronising, so why not classifying people by perceived income/social status?

"Chav" to  me is nothing to do with being working class, it describes somebody who is vulgar, tasteless and probably not the type of person you'd want to spend an evening out with. In fact it describes Polly Toynbee rather than any working class person I know.

Here is the entry for Gorton, where I grew up, on Chavtown.

Do I care? No, I think it's quite good actually.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Mladic, Dresden, Hamburg and Iraq

One of the key charges against Mladic is that he was ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. By contrast the Kosovo Liberation Army, who killed thousands of Serbs in their own bout of ethnic cleansing, are seen as liberators in the West. Indeed so unsavoury were the KLA that until 1998 they were proscribed by the West as a terrorist organisation. However, like other groups around the world it suddenly became convenient for the West to support the KLA.

To my mind the Serbs had no option but to defend themselves against KLA aggression. Did they go too far in their fight? I don't know but I intend to look into the conflict a lot more deeply because it seems to me, that the West is increasingly picking targets that suit the West regardless of the actual rights and wrongs of the situation. We are in a new and worrying era of imperialism. Just look at the way we are bombing Libya. How many innocents are we killing there and for what?

To put things into perspective since we invaded Iraq in 2003 according to Iraq Body Count over 100,000 civilians have been killed as a result of our action. Whatever anybody's view of the Iraq situation it cannot be described as a defensive action. Will we see Western leaders appearing in the Hague in years to come? I doubt it, because we will remain in control of the process.

In 1943 50,000 people were killed in Hamburg when the Allies blitzed the city with incendiary bombs. In February 1945, when Germany was already on its knees, an estimated 25,000 people were killed in a similar raid on Dresden. Were these war crimes? Were these actions really necessary? Maybe, maybe not. But if we had lost the war you can bet the Germans would have put those responsible on trial for war crimes.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Antony and the Johnsons-My Lady Story

Time to lighten up and enjoy a bit of top quality music from Antony and the Johnsons:


Government Still Lying And Cheating About Immigration

Since the Coalition seized power very little seems to have changed, and it's not all because the Lib Dems are pathetic pinko slobs, the Tories are little better. We are now bombing Libya, following a blood lust policy started by Blair, and we now hear that immigration is still out of control. But is anybody really surprised?

Like the last lot the Coalition bullshit the electorate with talk of controlling non-EU immigration, when it is the vast numbers of EU immigrants that needs to be checked. But we all know our EU masters won't allow us to do that, so Cameron thinks we'll fall for the Blair line that the inability to control immigration is nothing to do with the EU.

But even worse than that, and to prove what a huge bureaucratic monster of a government we are oppressed by, they have effectively given illegals, or "failed asylum seekers" an amnesty. It gets worse. They've done it to clear a backlog of files in a government department. It gets even worse. The govenment boasts that it no longer has a backlog of asylum seekers because, unlike Labour, it has dealt with the problem. More bullshit! We want the people/population problem dealt with not the filing system. 

I wonder if the government would let me off with my tax bill if I told them I had binned all the relevant paperwork to deal with a backlog?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Britain's Got Talent?

Sasha: Terrified by a Britney Spears impersonator.  
I must admit I don't mind TV talent shows, I was weaned on Opportunity Knocks and New Faces. And I'm not one of those sniffy tele-snobs who thinks TV should always be culturally and intellectually enriching, I'll read Turgenev or Patrick Hamilton for that, or go to the theatre which I do whenever I can. No, there are times when it's good to just slob, watch pap and fester in front of the complete mental candy floss that is British TV. But Britain's Got Talent is too much pap, even for me.

I've been sat reading a cracking book this week while my beloved has been playing Solitaire at the same time as watching BGT. I've been really struck how totally crap most of the acts are, not to mention the panel. How can we ever mock the Eurovision Song Contest again when a gang of kids, seemingly doing an off key tribute to the Jacksons, can win a semi-final of BGT? Those kids last night were awful, but not quite as dire as the Britney Spears tribute girl whose toxic singing even scared our cats.

As for the panel, well, David Hasselhof seems to be a nice enough chap but is on the wrong planet. Michael McIntyre is great as a comedian but seems totally lost and clueless as a judge on a talent show. Amanda Holden seems to be so busy sucking up to Simon Cowell I'm afraid what might happen next, thank God it's on before the watershed. And as for Cowell, if it's not a group of leggy babes or teenage boys, no matter how badly they sing, he "just doesn't get it".

Come back Eurovision, there doesn't seem to be much talent left in Britain.