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!

Report from

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Greece And The European Union: I'm So Angry I Could Pitch A Tent!

Occupy Brussels anybody?
 The good old Greeks, I love them. Along with the Italians, Irish, Portuguese and Spanish they conned the EU into throwing pots of cash at them and lived like the decadent young party goer who'd won a rollover lottery jackpot. And who can blame them? Now it's time to say whoa, money's run out, you've got to change your ways and it looks like they're going to say up yours and refuse.

For years Eurorealists, Eurosceptics or whatever you want to call us have been saying the EU was a disaster waiting to happen and the Euro would be the ultimate cause of the disaster. The PIGS fiddled the books to claim they had the right figures to join the Euro, and the rest of the nutcases in the Eurozone ignored the truth and went along with it. Result? Inevitable crisis after inevitable crisis until it's teetering on the brink of true disaster.

In the old days when I foolishly thought UKIP was a credible force, one of the members used to tell me that we were really wasting our time, the EU would collapse in on itself way before we had the influence to extricate ourselves from the con trick. Looks to me like Bryan was right.

I'm on the list of speakers for an independent think tank and occasionally go into schools debating the EU with a Europhile. I'm tired of the amount of bull they come out with to try and justify continued membership of a monstrous, undemocratic, bureaucratic monster. They come out with things like 'the EU has kept the peace in Europe since the last war'. No! We only joined in 1973, 28 years after the war and I don't think we'd been at war with Europe since 1945. Or 'we would lose our trade with Europe if we left the EU'. No we wouldn't. We buy much more from EU countries than we sell to. The French wouldn't suddenly refuse to sell us wine or the Germans motor cars. They claim the EU is democratic. In that case why do they ignore referendums, such as those in Ireland, Denmark and France that go against them and carry on regardless?

No, the European Union is a vanity project run by and for Europe's political class. It epitomises the decadent, self-indulgent egocentricity of a dying civilisation where the leaders swan around grandstanding and living like kings while the rest of us tighten our belts. When you visit Brussels and Strasbourg and see the stinking luxury and extravagence of our unaccountable rulers you see why the people of Greece are likely to tell their rulers to stick their austerity measures. Greedy grasping bastards in the establishment got us into this mess, but we're the ones who'll have to live in poverty to bale them out.

Merkel and other leaders consult the people: EU style!
Last week I was at the theatre in Manchester watching a superb play called Good, by C P Taylor. In a nutshell it tells the tale of a throughly decent German academic in the 1930s, complete with Jewish friends, who gets sucked into working for the regime because of the subtle and creeping takeover of all aspects of life by the regime. Very interesting and topical I thought.

When I left the theatre, it was a matinee, I put the radio on to hear what had happened during the last couple of hours at the Euro summit, called to discuss the current crisis. Incredibly assorted 'leaders' had turned up and they had spent the previous hour and a half preening and posing in front of cameras smiling and looking pompous and self-important. They then went in for a chat before enjoying a sumptuous banquet! Good to see where their priorities lie.

Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, the EU has made me so angry I could pitch a tent.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

All Saints Day

It is good to have a Holy Day of Obligation that hasn't been moved to a Sunday for convenience, I'm looking forward to Mass at 12 15 at Lancaster Cathedral.

It is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history. As part of this day of obligation, believers are required to attend church and try not to do any servile work.

Remembering saints and martyrs and dedicating a specific day to them each year has been a Christian tradition since the 4th century AD, but it wasn't until 609AD that Pope Boniface IV decided to remember all martyrs. Originally 13th May was designated as the Feast of All Holy Martyrs. Later, in 837AD, Pope Gregory IV extended the festival to remember all the saints, changed its name to Feast of All Saints and changed the date to 1st November.

Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.