Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Politically Correct Pantomimes

I had a great day walking with very good friends in the Lake District yesterday. They are fitter than me so I had to suffer a degree of pain as I battled up around Dungeon Ghyll, but was spurred on by a feeling of anger.

My mate's son, who is just three years old, is going to nursery. Unbelievably when the kids sing nursery rhymes thay have to sing baa baa pink sheep rather than black sheep. I thought that crap went out with the old Greater London County Council, or was a figment of a Daily Mail journalist's hypersensitive imagination in condemning political correctness gone mad. But no, it is alive and kicking.

But that's not the only one. When they do This Little Piggy they are not allowed to say 'this little piggy had none'. Apparently it is not 'inclusive' enough and could upset the poor little darlings. I think that was the convoluted logic. What chance have we got?

Suddenly the old joke about the politically correct pantomime in Camden doesn't seem quite so funny. You know the one surely? 'Precipitation of Indeterminate Colour and the Seven Persons of Diminutive Stature'.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jamming Up British Motorways

I really do not like using motorways when the hard shoulder becomes an extra lane if the traffic is heavy. I find around Birmingham/Solihull it just causes confusion with people taking their eyes off the motorway to try and work out what the ridiculous number of signposts are saying they can or can't do. Hard shoulders were put there for a reason and should only be used in cases of emergency or breakdown. But no, the government has announced that they are going to screw up even more of the motorway network by introducing the scheme around Manchester, London and Wakefield.

The best solution to the problem of congestion would be for the police to start nicking the pillocks who sit in the middle lane for mile after mile. Or the idiots who do 50mph or less on the motorway. On Saturday on the M6 in Lancashire there was a prize pillock sat in the middle lane doing 45mph. Now tell me that is not dangerous. But where were the police? Probably booking some poor sap for doing 78mph but driving perfectly safely.

I love my football but hate having to drive to the game on a Saturday when all the weekend drivers are out. On the M6 by Preston there is a four lane stretch where the Blackpool motorway joins the M6. Widening it to four lanes was a complete waste of time and money because, nine times out of ten, idiots sit in the third lane so it is effectively just a two lane carriageway with lanes one and two empty but three and four filled with cars bumper to bumper.

Please, please if you are one of the pillocks who sits in the second lane for mile after mile would you explain to me why you do it and why you don't bother reading the highway code? In fact if you are one of them please piss off and don't ever drive on the motorways ever again.

I feel better for that. Road rage in my living room.

Friday, August 26, 2011

PG Wodehouse And The Nazis

In 1941 PG Wodehouse was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was imprisoned by the Germans after they invaded France. He was living in Le Touquet and was trying to get to Spain when captured. He and his wife were imprisoned in Germany.

While there he did some broadcasts to the United States at the behest of the German authorities. He later admitted to naivety, but the broadcasts can hardly be said to be Lord Haw Haw style pro-Nazi propaganda. Indeed his humorous digs at his hosts seem to have been too subtle for them to grasp, and for some of the left-wing media to grasp today. Misguided at best, but what would you do in the same position? That's it really.

But the vindictive left-wing media, particularly the Independent, are pillorying him today as the government papers around his case are released. They see Wodehouse as an upper class representative of the old imperial establishment. Perhaps if they read some Wodehouse, especially Jeeves and Wooster where Roderick Spode leads his Blackshorts in a highly entertaining parody of fascism, they could perhaps find a little objectivity.

But irony, indeed humour generally, are not particular strengths of the sanctimonious liberal left.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Education, Education, Education

Who dares say that our education system is in a mess? Here is a message taken from t'internet:


I would have been told to correct that sentence and to write it out a hundred times as a punishment, when I was twelve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria-Restaurant Review

Cartmel is only a few miles up the road and we like to visit on a regular basis. The Priory is well worth a visit as is the Cartmel Village Shop for the world's finest sticky toffee pudding and other delights. There is now the wonderful Cartmel Cheese Shop too with best selection of locally produced cheeses I've ever seen. But the piece de resistance has to be L'Enclume.

I think l'enclume means 'the anvil' but could just as easily mean heaven. It is ranked fourth in the country in the Good Food Guide and the head chef, Mark Birchall, has just won one of the country's top competitions, the Roux Scholarship, and is off to spend three months working and learning at the restaurant of his choice, Cellar de Can Roca in Girona. My ambition now is to eat at the top three restaurants in the guide.

We arrived on Saturday evening, four of us to celebrate a friend's birthday. I must say the interior was not as I expected it to be. The exterior is old stone cottage in the heart of one of the most picturesque villages in the South Lakes. The interior is quite clinical with light wood, whitewashed walls and minimalist art on the walls. But the staff make you extremely welcome and are highly efficient while remaining approachable. They obviously share the chefs' love and knowledge of the food.

The restaurant has its own farm so you know the ingredients will be as fresh as they can be, many picked a few hours before they arrive on your table. Indeed they are so seasonal that the menu on Saturday was quite different to the sample on the website. Only the most jaded palate could fail to recognise the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

As we had a vegetarian in our party (yes I know!) we had to go for the twelve course rather than the eight course menu as we were all requested to go for the same number of courses. An extra four courses was a major hardship!

Every course was unique and full of fresh new flavours from the first course of waverex peas with crab and calamint to the last of sweet cheese with walnut, gooseberry, Douglas fir. The only complaint from my beloved was that she didn't get enough crab in her first course, I was happy with mine.

The plaice fillet and white vienna baked in salt went down especially well, even with my wife who is not the fishiest of people. What she commented on was how the piece of plaice resembled a fat chip. Coincidence or design? You never know with these clever chefs.

One dish we were all really looking forward to, that was on each menu, was the heritage potatoes in onion ashes, lovage and wood sorrel. I'd heard about the intensity of the onion flavour in this dish and it really didn't disappoint. We all commented on how wonderful that particular dish was. Although we asked the waiter how the onion was cooked it is all a little hazy as we were on our fourth bottle of wine by the time we enquired and were about to embark upon our ninth course of damson cake, honeycomb, mint and sweet cicely.

I don't claim to be a wine connoisseur but I do enjoy a glass of wine. The wine list was extremely good with the full range of prices and choice. We decided to swerve around the £910 bottle of champagne but had several bottles, red and white, that were extremely good quality and came in at under £25 each.

Just in case you think I lead some kind of Michael Winner existence, venturing out of my multi-million pound mansion to spend thousands in fashionable retaurants before getting my private jet to whisk me off to a Caribbean retreat nothing could be further from the truth. We, Mrs B and I, along with our friends Netty and Steve love our food and every year or so have a treat, this time it was for Netty's birthday.

This was the first restaurant I've enjoyed so much I felt the need to blog about it. It seems fashionable at the moment to do lists of what you want to do before you die. Please put L'Enclume at the top of your list, I promise you will die happy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anti-European Union Nutters

I am an opponent of the European Union. I look forward to the day when we leave the EU. But I love Europe and am certainly no Little Englander. Yes, I love my country, but I also love spending as much time as I can in Europe on holiday, three weeks in France this year and already planning another trip for October. I would happily split my time 50/50 between here and France or Spain if I could.  I am not a xenophobe, Europhobe or any other type of phobe as far as I know, and am certainly not a racist. So now you know.

Neither am I Eurocentric. I've actually spent some time in Latin America too, including working in Mexico. I loved much of what I experienced travelling through Central and South America, but don't want us to join them in some sort of cobbled together union either. I say that because I get fed up of Eurofanatics talking as if we are the centre of the universe, which we are obviously not, there's a whole other world outside Europe. We are not the be all and end all.

But what really pisses me off, always has done and probably always will, is the nuttier element of the 'Euroealist movement', 'Eurosceptic movement' call it what you will who lose all sense of proportion. To give you an example I've just seen a blog by a UKIP supporter that has the EU flag, gold stars on a blue background but with a swastika in the middle, emblazoned all over it. It used to happen when I was involved with UKIP and it was no use trying to explain that it made us all look mad using imagery like that, because they were usually too mad to reason with. It's not good and gives ammo to those who attack us as being loonies, fruitcakes or whatever.

The other one that gets to me is referring to the EU as the EUSSR. Now I do believe that the EU is fundamentally undemocratic, but drawing analogies to Nazi Germany and the USSR in these ways is more likely to turn your average punter against you than against the EU. Hitler and Stalin murdered people by the million, get a grip and a sense of perspective. The EU is not actually set on the road to mass genocide and if you argue it is you are madder than a box of frogs,whatever that phrase actually means. And I mean the reptile things not our cousins across the Channel.

Get a grip, because this fanatical use of warped imagery and terminology makes the user look like the loony nutter, not the organisation being attacked. Remember, Hitler used warped imagery and terminolgy too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How Very Lib Dem

Personally I'm all for very harsh sentences for looters and yes, if birching was brought back I would be prepared to administer the punishment myself.

But I had to laugh when I heard Sir Menzies Campbell's contribution to the debate about the suitability or otherwise of harsh sentences:

"....politicians should neither cheer nor boo...."
How very Lib Dem.

Chappati Corner v Rusholme Ruffians and The Smiths

It's a definite sign of the times to me Chappati Corner, a very good one too.

I went to school in Rusholme, Manchester. In my first year there was one curry house, a sari shop and an Asian bank. By the time I was in sixth form we were having samosas and seek kebabs for lunch, today it is known as The Curry Mile.

For a few years Rusholme ruled supreme and you could get fantastic, reasonably priced curries. Then in my view, something went wrong. The prices soared and the standards plumetted. The food was no longer unique to each particular restaurant and a similarity between most restaurants crept in. I've since been told that many of them now use mass produced jars of curry paste. Not good.

So a few years ago I started experimenting further afield and now, when I'm in Manchester, I go to Cheetham Hill, by far better than many of the restaurants in Rusholme but not the place to go for a romantic meal. Most of the best are cafes or takeaways with two or three tables. You won't usually get a pint to quaff either, it'll be Coke or the jug of water on the table. But the food is home cooked, excellent quality and fantastic value.

I took a great friend to my favourite on Wednesday before the FC United game, Chappati Corner on Cheetham Hill Road, a short walk from the wonderful Jewish Museum.  The menu changes every day usually a lamb dish, a chicken dish and a vegetarian. When you're next in Manchester you must visit but be careful, it closes around 5-00pm.

If you are in Manchester in the evening and really want to go to a restaurant rather than a cafe I recommend Darbar on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, near the Great Western Street junction. It's nowhere near as cheap as Chappati Corner but the food is fantastic.

Which leads me nicely into one of The Smiths' greate tracks, Rusholme Ruffians:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Nation In Denial

I still find it hard to believe the fact that society is in such a mess is a huge surprise to David Cameron. Perhaps it shows just how out of touch our politicians are. And that is not a dig at Cameron's family background, it's a dig at politicians in general.

In addition to out of touch politicians we have policemen who seem to be living on another planet. I've even heard one spouting tosh this morning about us being able to teach the Americans a thing or two about dealing with gangs. Oh, really! The best we could expect from our senior policemen is to sit American cops down in a lecture room and lecture them in the latest sociological studies. While outside a riot takes place and shops are being looted.

The cry of single parents claiming that single parenthood has nothing to do with the current mess is also deafening. I know there are very real reasons for some single parenthood and that many of those single parents do an exceptional job of bringing up their kids. But there are thousands of single women who have had kids, for a variety of reasons, who are unfit to babysit let alone rear children. And yes, there are far too many women with numerous kids, from numerous fathers whose kids are running around ill educated and ill disciplined.

Then there is denial about the education system. Anybody who is involved in staff recruitment can see the drop in educational standards from the quality of written applications. Then you have students with 4A* A Levels which suggests that the difference between the best and the worst in educational terms is a wider gulf than that between the rich and the poor. Or maybe the A*s are actually worthless. The truth is that standards have dropped, teachers gave up the reponsibility to discipline kids decades ago and now, as many teachers openly admit, there is anarchy in far too many classrooms.

Then there is the denial that culture has played any part in fracturing society. It obviously has. We are obsessed with respecting diversity which has produced an us and them society rather than a cohesive society. No longer are we a British society, we are a society that has Afro-Caribbeans, White Irish, White British, Africans, Asians and so on. Just take a look at your average ethnic monitoring form next time you apply for a job. They categorised people like that in South Africa, and called it apartheid.

Then respecting other cultures has reached the level where we are scared of damning anything that is culturally repulsive for fear of being branded racist, a bit like David Starkie has been. There is obviously a gangsta subculture among a minority of black and white kids that is obviously derived from gang culture imported from Jamaica. Black people know that, the majority of whom are decent people and abhor that subculture just as the rest of the population do. But if anybody else dares to point this out they are branded evil it seems.

Until political correctness is wiped away and these and other truths are confronted head on then we are on a never ending downward spiral. That's exactly what the architects of political correctness want. And the rest of the country is in denial.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shock: David Starkey Tells The Truth

I heard the interview with David Starkey on the BBC last week. One of the things he said about the causes of the riots was:

‘What has happened is that the substantial section of the chavs that you wrote about have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.
Black and white, boy and girl operate in this language together. This language, which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has intruded in England.
This is why so many of us have this sense of literally a foreign country'
The reference to the book was aimed at politically correct socialist writer Owen Jones who is obsessed with the word 'chav' and finds it offensive. Jones was also in the studio.

What Starkey said was not racist at all, he was being critical of a violent and destructive sub-culture that is rooted in the gangs of Jamaica but has been aped in some of our bigger cities.

But of course anybody who doesn't trundle out the politically correct excuses, such as dodgy bankers setting a bad example, or we're all greedy so you can't blame the poor for thieving, is vilified as a racist.

Starkey happens to be correct, but the solutions to the problems he has outlined are not to the taste of the politically correct, so they pretend that there are other causes, ones that suit their agenda.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

UK Riots: The Liberal Left Are To Blame

In a five minute interview Neal Lawson, chairman of Compass, proved just why political correctness and the liberal left are responsible for the mess we are in. At the start of the interview he claimed that most of the looters weren't on benefits so stopping benefits for those convicted wouldn't work, by the end he was telling us that they looted because they have no jobs and no prospects. The liberal left are currently looking at a problem and desperately twisting their pathetic theories to fit the scenario. 

He also tried to blame the bankers and corrupt MPs stating that the scum saw them thieving and thought they might as well go and nick a pair of trainers. If only most of the looters had enough intelligence to make a connection like that. Apologists like Lawson, Wadsworh and Jasper have merely put words into the mouths of a few of the scum so they can parrot sociological claptrap when they get nicked in an effort to look like protesters rather than the thieving scum they are.

Ther real cause of the riots, as I posted yesterday, is political correctness. The welfare state has bred generations of people who think they have rights but no responsibilites. They've been encouraged by the liberal left to expect to be given what they haven't earned. They've been encouraged by the liberal left to look at the wealthy and hate them for having what they will never have, rather than admiring them and trying to achieve themselves.

Successive governments since 1945 have destroyed the education system in the interests of equality. You only have to listen to one of the semi-literate yobs being interviewed to see what an appalling mess the British education sytem is in. They complain that they won't get the opportunity to go on to higher education? Probably because they didn't attend school and do any work in the first place, not because the world is against them.

Our glorious welfare state has created generations of people who think they should have what they want by right, regardless of whether they've worked for it or not. And the scum, like Neal Lawson and his buddy at Compass Polly Toynbee, are as guilty as the scum with the fake gangsta accents who have brought shame on our country over the last few days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Is Lawlessness Not Riots. Thank You Political Correctness!

What we are witnessing in the UK at this time is not rioting it is pure lawlessness and looting. Rioting has a cause, usually a protest at government action, but certainly a trigger that causes peoples' protests that then become violent. In extreme circumstances rioting, as a last resort, is a valid form of public protest and history is littered with them, some valid some not so.

What we are witnessing this week is kids wantonly looting and thieving because it gets them something for nothing, or it gives them a thrill. Things are then made worse when scum such as Lee Jasper and Marc Wadsworth jump on the bandwagon to push their warped political agendas and stoke up the looters by blaming racism and unemployment. Those two should have been arrested days ago for incitement.

Of course the politically correct idiots in our 'police service' such as Steve Kavanagh haven't helped. Here is Kavanagh being savaged on morning TV by commentator Jon Gaunt. When we have thousands of feral youth scum burning businesses, homes and looting shops we don't want to hear a copper talking like a sandal wearing bearded sociology lecture from Nelson Mandela Polytechnic. We want action and drastic action. If scum are on the rampage they are obviously not consenting to softly softly policing so stop talking crap and start cracking heads! Let's cleanse the police forces of the sociology graduates, the bland slogans and straplines and get back to real policing.

Our politicians are talking crap too, nothing new there. Miliband has been on TV this morning claiming that the causes of the 'rioting' are complex and many. No they are not. It's down to greed and a lack of discipline brought about by political correctness and multiculturalism, or rather the failure of multiculturalism. Then the media have continually repeated this, and the BBC coverage has seemed to encourage it at times. This has led to the little vermin parroting back the cod sociological 'reasons' to the camera. How can they blame lack of opportunites for higher education and worthwhile careers when they are only 12?

There are swathes of our inner cities, and bigger towns, that have such a high level of dysfunctional families that they are virtually lawless. The breakdown of morality, brought about by political correctness, has produced an underclass of black and white kids who have grown up with no fathers and no discipline. They no longer have any chance of having that changed at school because the politically correct masters in education gave up responsibility for discipline years ago. Now the teaching profession cries about lawlessness in the classroom. Well it was your colleagues who brought that about because they didn't have the moral fibre, thanks to political correctness, to discipline the kids any longer.

It is interesting that most of the kids who have strung something resembling a sentence together on TV news have that fake West Indian gangsta accent. That subculture has been allowed to thrive because political correctness forbids the condemnation of any form of culture be it good or bad. That is what led to the lad who was shot in London, that provoked the first disturbances, to deal in drugs and carry a gun. Then weak, ill disciplined little misfits all over the company have been involved in copycat acts of savagery.

If a society is not cohesive then it will eventually break down. Mutlticulturalism is the politically correct version of apartheid. It has broken our society into factions that are now facing up to each other, initially looters against the police, now vigilantes, or the decent people, against the looters. Multiculturalism inevitably pits us against each other.

When I grew up in the '70s we were all English if we were born here, including kids with Irish parents or whatever nationality, and in a Catholic school in inner city Manchester there were many. Now it seems that people with parents, grandparents or even great grandparents from elsewhere perversely claim that heritage as their identifying culture. This is partly because anybody claiming pride in their Englishness gets accused of fascism or racism, whereas it's cool to be African, Caribbean, Irish or virtually anything else. While we should all be aware and proud of our backgrounds and heritage this is not a healthy development.

Sadly, if Nick Griffin's boasts on Twitter are true, the BNP are being flooded with membership enquiries. That's another reason why the politicians and commentators must start being honest about this outbreak of lawlessness. It is not about race, it is caused by multiculturalism and it's even uglier twin, political correctness.

See also Rosie's Forum.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Panic On The Streets Of London

Nikki Sinclaire's EU Referendum Petition

Most of us have no idea what our MEPs are doing, except making a bloody good living at our expense. But I worked for Nikki Sinclaire last year and still count her among my good friends, even if she is a Liverpool season ticket holder. So I was delighted to see her hard work come to fruition.

A petition demanding a straight "in or out" vote has now attracted more than 100,000 signatures - which should be enough to force a Commons debate.

The breakthrough is bolstered by a new YouGov poll which reveals a clear majority want ordinary people to have the fInal say on whether we pull out.

For the first time the YouGov poll shows a majority of people would actually vote to leave the European Union in an referendum.

The mountain of signatures has been collected in a cross-party campaign led by West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire.

It will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to hold the first referendum on Europe since 1975.

Mr Cameron has pledged to dedicate House of Commons time to any issue which has the support of at least 100,000 people.

While he insists the names must be collected on individually entered electronic petitions, the Commons Leader's office has indicated that a traditional pen-and-ink petition could be lodged with the backbench business committee if it has one or more MPs sponsoring it.

Nikki will tell a London Press conference today: "This is an encouraging development and raises the prospect of an early debate on our continued membership of the EU - Almost eight in ten people want a national debate on the pros and cons of EU membership"

"To insist that only an online petition will count would disenfranchise millions of people, particularly the poor and elderly, who do not have an email account or access to a computer.

"The huge response to our campaign, together with the findings of our poll, show that most people want their say."

Today's poll shows overwhelming support for letting the public decide our future in the EU - and if they got their way they would vote to pull out.

Some 60% of voters want a referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the EU, according to the YouGov survey commissioned by Nikki's campaign.

If there was a vote, a massive 52% would vote to leave, with only 30% preferring to stay in and 15% undecided and 4% not bothering to vote.

Nikki, an independent MEP, added: "Clearly the people of Britain want to decide who governs Britain. It must be alarming to the government that despite all their assurances on sovereignty and cast iron promises, more and more people have given up on this European project. This argument has gone on far too long, we must decide our course once and for all in a binding referendum"

MPs are already facing demands to debate bring back hanging after 100,000 backed the move in an e-petition.

But Nikki points out that Britain is powerless to restore the death penalty while still in the EU because it would breach the UK's membership conditions by breaching the EU's Fundemental Charter on human rights.

She believes we get the worst of both worlds while inside the EU but outside the eurozone.

"We have one foot in and one foot outside it," she said. "This is detrimental to our interests and to those of the EU, both politically and economically. We need to take a decision as to where our future lies.

"Despite numerous promises, nobody under the age of 54 has ever had a say on Britain's relationship with the EU. This issue needs to be resolved."

EU membership costs Britain £48 million a day - or £4,912 per household over the last 11 years.

But we have signed away power to decide our own future, with 75 per cent of British regulation coming from EU law.

Nikki also pays tribute to the hundreds of people across the country who have helped collate the petition including one gentleman in Dorset who has collected 2,000 signatures. Nikki said "I'm overwhelmed by the level of support and the dedication of these people who truly are an inspiration."

Monday, August 08, 2011

Riots, Then And Now

There's been a serious change in my attitude, and I suspect many peoples' attitudes, to the current riots in London compared to our attitude in the eighties. When I say 'riots' I mean the outbreak in Tottenham on Saturday, not the wanton theft and looting that has since happened elsewhere in London.

I remember the riots in the eighties in Brixton, Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere and most of us instinctively sided with the police. The problem today is that peoples' confidence in authority, the police especially, is so low that we can't condemn the rioters quite so unequivocally as we did thirty years ago.

I don't include the student riots in this either. They were just a bunch of spoilt brats who needed a good hiding.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Lancashire v Gloucestershire and Dickie Bird

I'm so excited I've cross-posted this from my Sporting Life blog:

Now then, which one's me?
On July 28th 1971 I was enjoying the summer holidays. I'd passed my 11+ and was starting, in the September that year at Xaverian College in Rusholme, where we would finish school at 3-30pm and then go on to watch the last couple of hours of cricket at Old Trafford before going home. But on July 28th we had a whole, carefree day to watch Lancashire v Gloucestershire in the Gillette Cup semi-final.

Today I'll be on a trip down memory lane with Lancashire again playing Gloucestershire in a one day game, but this time preceeded by a sportsman's lunch with Dickie Bird as special guest. Dicki Bird is probably the world's most famous umpire and was umpiring on that historic day in 1971. The lunch is especially to comemmorate 40 years since that glorious day, the most exciting day's cricket I, and many others have ever witnessed.

Today will be a day for wallowing in nostalgia. The reminiscing began last month at the last lunch I attended. A group of us, grey haired, bald or both stood with pints of Thwaites bitter recounting whereabouts in the ground we were on that July day, and night as it transpired. In most cases we were sat somewhere on the grass between the boundary rope and the perimeter wall around the pitch. What we all remembered perfectly clearly was the sheer joy carrying us across the pitch to swamp the victorious Lancashire players as they tried to leave the field after an historic win. As 10-00pm approached the players were still on the pavilion balcony celebrating with the thousands of joyful cricket fans still crowded onto the field in front of the pavilion singing and screaming with sheer joy. My mum and dad knew why I was so late home that day, because it had made the News at Ten.

A great lunch and a game to look forward to, and reliving every glorious moment of that July day in 1971.  Don't worry if I'm a bit late home Jules!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Anti-Religious Bigotry

What I find bemusing is the apparent rise in anti-religious bigotry. Maybe it's just another one of those things that we may never have been aware of without t'interweb, I don't know. But I do find it highly tedious.

Why do people describe themselves as 'atheist'? If they don't believe in God or religion then just leave it alone, unless it impacts on them directly. In other words take the libertarian approach. I would never dream of describing myself with negatives: 'Not a socialist', 'not a woman', 'not a Manchester City fan' or whatever. In fact I'm obviously not a City fan, I can write!

Then they become so obsessed with religion, and people who do believe, that they see it in everything believers do or say. Yesterday I had a disagreement with a particularly dumb comment leaver, no names, no pack drill, who was convinced that this recent post, partly about Sundays in France, was a religious call for 'Lord's day observance'. It was purely that I happen to enjoy the quiet, some may say boring Sundays that you get in France with the shops closed. Of course if your life is so dreary that you can't even find something to do on Sunday, other than shoppping, you will get the wrong end of the stick quite easily. That particular clown still seems still to be convinced that he is right. I suppose in days of yore he would have been ducking witches.

Recently an old colleague of mine stepped down as leader of the Libertarian Party under a cloud. I have intentionally not been drawn into the subsequent internet feud and hounding of him, he's gone, end of story. But I have been attacked, albeit in a strangely sad and pathetic manner, on the blog of one of the lynch mob. My sin? Responding to a group email that went to members and former members of the Libertarian Party. This particularly vindictive individual had hounded him in a way that in my view, bordered on bullying and I criticised him for metaphorically screaming that the former leader should go and lead a cult in the Mid-West. Or words to that effect. I said I thought he was being hysterical, or words to that effect. Lo and behold on his tawdry little blog he has accused me of becoming hysterical and that criticising organised religion to me was like red rag to a bull. Or words to that effect. Obviously bullshit to people who participated in our group email exchange. I think, rather than lying, he's just not very bright and has an unhealthy obsession with religion and those of us who are religious. Either way, if you want to have a go then fair enough. But at least be accurate and preferably, honest.

Now I've got that off my chest I'm off to do some work. Oh, and by the way, I do have good friends who are atheists and even one who supports Manchester City. I suppose I'll now be linked to those people with dodgy views on race who claim to have black friends. At least by the two nutters mentioned above I will!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Interfering Busybodies-Disabled Motoring UK

Jeremy Clarkson is in the doo doo again. It seems that once someone gets a reputation for being normal, meaning not politically correct, it's open season on them by all the self-important, pompous nutters and pressure groups in the world. Today it's the turn of Disabled Motoring UK. This outfit is in high dudgeon without bothering to find out the facts. Clarkson and James May are being lambasted for parking in a car park's disabled bays. Nasty, evil monsters!!

Now, you don't have to be a TV actor, cameraman, producer or whatever to know that filming something like Top Gear you do not just turn up in a car park and start filming. No, days, weeks or even months before a car park will have been located, the owners contacted and an area agreed to be sealed off at a certain time, on a certain day for filming.  In this, as in all cases I hope, the car park owners had ensured there was ample disabled parking still available. But no, Disabled Motoring UK went into a self-righteous rage about the evil Clarkson.

I have every sympathy with disabled drivers needing to park in bays that allow them to access to where they happen to be visiting. My mother-in-law needs a wheelchair and, although she doesn't have a Blue Badge, has to be parked in a disabled bay so that her driver (usually my wife) has enough space to take her wheelchair from the boot, take it to the passenger door and ease her from the passenger seat into the wheelchair. Please note, she never uses Blue Badge bays.

But on the other side of the coin I find it somewhat galling when I see a Blue Badge holder park in a special bay then get out, without any evident mobility problem, to spend the next couple of hours trotting around the city centre or the local shopping centre. Yes, I know that a disability isn't always evident, but I also know that the Blue Badge system is being widely abused which means that our taxes, yours and mine, are being wasted on people who are effectively defrauding us. I know of one person who has a neck problem, but often goes walking in the Lakes. Why does she get a Blue Badge? Even though she is registered disabled, it affects neither her driving apparently nor her ability to yomp up Scafell!

On one shopping trip with her mother recently my wife got back to her car to find an abusive note from a 'militant' Blue Badge holder because she had parked in a disabled bay without a Blue Badge. The bay didn't say 'Blue Badge holders only' merely 'disabled only'. A major difference. If the 'militant', who had probably been waiting all day to be morally outraged and angered by someone more fortunate, had waited by the car he would have seen that my mother-in-law can barely walk five paces, even with the help of a zimmer frame.

God preserve us from the self-righteous militants who are forever seeking to be offended so that they can get on their morally superior soapboxes and preach their holier-than-thou sermons at those of us more fortunate. That includes Disabled Motoring UK.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Jane Horrocks, Chav Or Bimbo?

For years now I've cringed whenever Tesco ads pop up on the telly. It's not the content or style that's so bad, they're no worse than ads for any other supermarkets. No, it's that grating, really anger inducing fake Lancashire(ish) accent on the voice overs.

Having spent the vast majority of my life in Lancashire I've never heard a Lancashire accent so bloody annoying. It's almost as annoying as your average Yorkshire accent! The words are probably coming from the mouth of a soft southerner who has never been north of Watford, and has picked up her 'accent' from the fake northern accents on other TV and radio programmes melding them into one super annoying mess. But no, it's Jane Horrocks.

Jane Horrocks was born in Rawtenstall and, while that part of Lancashire along with others has a quite distinctive accent, it sounds nothing like the tortured words that come out of Jane Horrocks in that commercial. Her fake accent is truly excrutiating. If she really speaks like that I'm sure that linguists the world over will want to study an accent that only one person in the world, let alone Lancashire has managed to develop.

But now she's publicising some new series she's in about people who work in a supermarket so she's had a pop at Tesco, and a huge chunk of the populace, by claiming that she finds shopping in Tesco scary because of the number of chavs. Then she claims that doing the TV ads for Tesco helped prepare her for her new role . How does sitting in a sound studio doing the worst Lancashire accent ever heard prepare you for playing a supermarket check-out girl? It doesn't, she's just proving what a pseud and a fake she really is.

Then, as if we needed any more proof of her stupidity, she claims she will no longer do Shakespeare, the traditional form I assume, because people don't understand it as it's like a foreign language. Oh really! So on top of being a fake and a pseud la Horrocks is amazingly patronising. Whoops sorry, Miss Horrocks, la being French nobody can probably understand it.

So she makes a good living from doing Tesco TV ads then has a pop at Tesco customers. She makes a nice living from doing Shakespeare, then has a pop at Shakespeare. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. And all that is wrapped up in a fake Lancashire accent that isn't very good. Just goes to show that actors and actresses, no matter how good, aren't necessarily all that bright.

I can't decide whether she's a chav herself, or a mere bimbo. Maybe I'll do a straw poll of customers next time I'm in Tesco in Rawtenstall.