Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day For Life

Today in the Roman Catholic Church is the Day for Life. The following is from the Day for Life website:

Day for Life, the Day in the Church’s year dedicated to celebrating the dignity of life from conception to natural death this year reflects on what it means to live a full and happy life. It takes as its starting point the words of Pope Benedict during his recent visit to Britain, when he said: ‘Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts’. (Pope Benedict XVI, The Big Assembly: Address to Young People, Twickenham, England, 17th September 2010).

What is happiness and what makes us happy? Is it the feeling of the sun on your face after a long winter? Is it how you feel in the morning or at the end of a good day? Does a bar of chocolate make you smile? Is it dependent on other people, or can you feel happy alone? Is it a surface feeling or does it go deeper?

It is, in fact, impossible not to want to be happy – we all yearn for happiness. Reinhold Niebuhr's ‘Serenity Prayer’ asks that ‘I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the Next’.

So what is it? How do we reach it? Well, happiness is a consequence, not an aim or end. Our aim or end in all things is to love. When our effort is in loving, we are happy. Happiness is often elusive. If you set out to catch it, if you do things with the aim of making yourself happy, happiness will elude you. We are happiest when we are serving, when we are giving ourselves wholeheartedly and forgetting our self.

True happiness involves surrender, self-sacrifice and being prepared to suffer – it involves a calling to love.

An ancient Persian Tradition tells the story of an egotistical young man who falls in love with a beautiful young woman. He decides to ask her to be his wife and full of confidence knocks at her door. Hearing the knock, she asks ‘Who is it?’ and expecting that she will recognise his voice, he says ‘It’s me’. But she replies ‘I don’t know you’. He comes back and knocks and she asks again, ‘Who is it?’ He confidently replies ‘it’s me,’ but her reply is ‘Sorry, I don’t know you’. He is deeply disturbed and goes away to the desert to fast and pray.

After a period of time, he returns from the desert and returns to the door of the one he loves, where she asks him, ‘Who is it?’ This time he whispers very softly ‘It’s you’ and the door opens. Through his own experience of suffering in the desert, the young man discovers that his heart’s deepest desire is to give joy to the one he loves.

It is a journey from selfishness to selflessness; from self-interest to self-forgetfulness. It’s about you, not me.

Can happiness be measured? The government seem to think so – it has invested two million pounds into research co-ordinated by the National Office for Statistics into what makes us happy and affects our general sense of wellbeing. Once completed, the ‘National Wellbeing Index’ will play an important role in future policy-making decisions.

Despite being a much wealthier nation, we are not necessarily any happier than we were five decades ago. It’s not wealth, health, physical attractiveness or a promotion which lead to lasting happiness. In the first reading for this year’s Day for Life, the Prophet Isaiah tells us very simply what we have to do to find true happiness and the fulfilment of our desires. We have simply to listen to the Lord and put our faith in his promise.

‘Listen, listen to me and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention,
come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.’ (Isaiah 55:2-3)

The Gospels are full of joy, Gaudium; in the Christmas scene, the angels announce exceedingly great joy; the shepherds were full of joy, the wise men came with exceedingly great joy, and why? Because they discovered our Lord! To find joy we must also discover that God is very close to us. Those wise men probably put themselves to a great deal of trouble to follow the star and at no small expense. Everything worthwhile is costly.

Suffering is the bowl which holds our joy. Saint Josemaria Escriva said that “happiness has its roots in the form of a cross”, in other words that it is the fruit of hard work; self-giving, self-denial and a desire to serve others in all things. Without the Cross there is no Resurrection, but the Cross is not the final word…. There IS the Resurrection; there is joy as a result of the sufferings of the Passion and Cross.

A priest from the West visiting Russia some years ago noticed a sad widow in Church. He spoke to her to listen to her and to encourage her, but he also said to her “you have to struggle against this sadness”. It may be costly to try to bring ourselves out of sadness or self-pity and sometimes life gives us hard knocks… but that is where we need to embrace the Cross – “…and your sorrow will turn into joy” Jn 16,20. In that effort we can encourage others. We can ask ourselves: Am I a source of joy for those who live or work with me? Does my daily presence among them draw them closer to God?

Let’s take ourselves a little less seriously, without trivialising anything that’s important, let’s try to see the lighter side of things. The greatest beauty secret of all time - and it’s free - is a smile! Smiles are contagious. But there’s an awful lot that goes behind a smile - it begins in the heart; it’s an attitude of gratitude and of grace. Some research has been carried out into what makes us smile: its results include being grateful, walking the dog, swimming with dolphins, and singing (a 2007 study of British choral singers found a direct link between singing and mental well-being).

Our time is precious, and for every minute we are angry, we lose sixty seconds of happiness! Everybody can be happy with God – forever and ever. Amen.

There will be special collection in parishes in England and Wales to assist the work of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and other life-related activities supported by the Church. Please give generously.

Reflection
God has created me to do Him some definite service.

He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me.

Still, He knows what He is about.

Blessed John Henry Newman

Click here to visit the Day for Life website.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interfering Busybodies-Road Peace

It sometimes feels like we're moving towards a real DDR style Stalinist state in this country. A state where the people spy and hector each other in addition to an overbearing and nannying state.

We have the police driving around with telephone numbers on their cars so that you can inform on somebody confidentially. Also known as grassing. Maybe in extreme circumstances that's ok, but I am extremely uneasy with anonymous information being acted upon by the police or anybody in authority.

Then you have the mithering busybody organisations like ASH. A group of militant anti-smokers campaigning to have smokers strung up from lampposts then flogged to death by the offended populace. Well, not quite, but why do they feel the need to badger and mither people who do something that they choose not to. I think jogging is the most hideous form of self-flagellation and probably costs the NHS a fortune in treating related injuries and heart attacks, but I wouldn't dream of campaigning against it. God made us able to run so that we could leg it from danger, not so that we can wheeze around town looking fit to collapse in the most appalling clothing ever seen on man.

Then in the last couple of days there has been a bit of a fuss about drivers being still on the road having passed the 12 penalty point mark that usually means a ban. My mind works such that when I heard about a man still on the road with 30 points on his licence I thought "wow, nice one, I'll have to find out how he managed that". It seems others got angry and want him stringing up from a lamppost and flogged to death too. Why? They don't know what he accumulated those points for. I very much doubt he mowed down a whole classroom of kids on a pedestrian crossing while speeding having drunk fifteen pints. I imagine he would have been banned then.

Maybe like me, he'd been caught a few times doing 80mph on a desserted motorway at 2-00 in the morning. Would you really want a man to lose his licence and his job for that? Maybe putting him on the dole with a wife and two kids to support? I have only caused one accident on the roads and that was when I had no points on my licence. In the '90s I got up to 9 points at one stage but didn't have a single accident. There's not necessarily a corellation between points and bad driving.

So I would like to warn you about a bunch of interfering misfits called Road Peace. A bunch of emotional incontinents who want to string up motorists. They have a picture of a child's empty bed on their website, complete with bereaved teddy bear on pillow, to show how very 'caring' they are. They may as well just write 'motorists kill children but we love children'. The worst and most sickening kind of hypocrisy and stinking bad taste, using dead children for the purpose of emotional blackmail.

Their contribution to real road safety is zero, and I would urge people not to donate to them. Starving them of funds will metaphorically string them up from a lamppost, and hopefully finish them off. We have more than enough badgering from the state, the police, traffic wardens, yellow lines and more. We don't need emotional retards like Road Peace mithering us too.

I think they've modelled themselves on the Stasi.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Red Carded From IKEA. Or The Lubyanka?

The Lubyanka?
IKEA?
The last time I went to IKEA I finished my meatballs, the only reason to visit the place in my view, and we had gone 20 yards into the shop itself when I was red carded for moaning. Sent off and ordered by Mrs B to sit in the car and listen to the football on the radio. That's not a record. My previous red card was brandished in my face as I took my first step over the threshold. That huge, soulless, blue and yellow block strikes fear and loathing in me the way the Lubyanka used to do to the poor oppressed citizens of the USSR. Admittedly I like some of their stuff, it's just the shop, and those stupid TV ads, that really bug me.

I was thinking of this a couple of weeks ago as I enjoyed a quiet French Sunday afternoon. Mass in the morning then silence and peace with the shops all closed the rest of the day, apart from the boulangerie. Heaven on Earth. Are we really so busy, busy, busy that we have to do our shopping on a Sunday. Why can't every Sunday, in the immortal words of Morrissey, be 'silent and grey'? And twenty four hour shopping in ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury? That's just posing that is. "Oooh, I'm just so busy I had to shop for groceries at 2-00am". No, you can't organise your life properly and think it makes you look oh so very important. A bit like people who have breakfast meetings at 6-30am. Get organised! Nobodies that busy or important.

On the way back from France we talked about how shopping had changed in the UK, Europe and probably the world. When I was a kid Gorton in Manchester had Cross Street and Hyde Road. Both crammed, from end to end, on both sides with small, family owned shops. Butchers, bakers, shoe repairers, shoe shops, biscuit shops, greengrocers, clothes shops, hardware shops, chemists, greasy spoon cafes, fishmongers, fish and chip shops, pie shops, cake shops, television and radio shops, fridge and washing machine shops, household goods shops. I could go on. No book shops as I remember, there was a library round the corner on Cambert Lane.

I used to go shopping on a Saturday morning with my mum and my big sister. We'd have to queue at just about every shop, usually out onto the pavement where goods were out on display stands, and carry numerous carrier bags full of the weeks groceries home between us. That was where all the juicy gossip was passed from headscarved housewife to headscarved housewife, much more colourful than the stuff in the Evening News or East Manchester Reporter. Admittedly I would have been bored rigid by the experience in those days and just wanted to get home so that I could go and watch my dad playing football in the afternoon and have a kick about with my mates. But I miss it now.

All there is in Gorton now is a huge, soulless Tesco Extra. It might be an age thing, but I wonder if one day I might find Mrs B red carding me from Tesco Extra too as well as IKEA.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Problem With Fringe Politics

Having spent most of my political life 'on the fringe', including my time in the Tory Party when I was on the libertarian wing, I've spent much of my time pondering why 'the breakthrough' has never come. My membership of the Tory Party was lukewarm and not very active from around 1994, but prior to that I had been a candidate, agent, branch chairman etc., etc.

From around 2000 I have been a parliamentary candidate, local councillor, regional organiser  and office holder and so on, first in UKIP then the Libertarian Party. But 'the breakthrough' never came. Is it because people in the UK are fanatically pro-EU? Numerous surveys and polls suggest they are not. Is it because people in the UK eschew the prospect of reasonable immigration control? Numerous surveys and polls suggest they are not. Is it because they are happy to see government get bigger and ever more controlling while increasing our taxes to pay for it? Numerous surveys and polls suggest they are not. I could go on and on and on.

But still people vote Labour or Tory. OK, they used to vote Lib Dem too, but that was until you had people like Cable and Huhne in government and we saw what they are really like. So why do people stick to the old parties rather than voting for what they believe? By 'what they believe' I mean alternative parties of whatever hue, although I am going to talk from my experience, which is on the libertarian wing of politics.

The first reason is that the establishment have stitched up politics. If nothing else the Murdoch affair has shown how closed and incestuous the establishment is with police, media and politicians scratching each others backs at best, often seeming to be doing worse. It appears that government, the media and powerful figures at the top of the establishment are a closed shop, working for the benefit of each other with us, the populace, piggy in the middle providing, through our taxes, the resources for them to do what the hell they want. They listen in to telephone conversations, they spy on us and read our emails and that's just 'our' government!

Then, when people kick against what we have governing us they close ranks and accuse those offering an alternative of lunacy or phobia. Don't like the EU? Europhobe. Don't like unlimited/mass immigration? Racist, and so on. The silent majority are silenced because they fear being branded  a 'phobic', an extremist or some other 'ist'. They might lose their jobs. They may find themselves in court charged with a 'hate crime'. Has anybody ever committed a 'love crime'?

If you question the effectiveness of a nationalised healthcare system you are accused of being an evil capitalist bastard who would rather people die than fund proper healthcare. The fact that nationalised healthcare means the idiot politicians we all know to be untrustworthy, some have even been found guilty of being on the fiddle and have been put away, are in charge of our healthcare seems to be ignored. Advocate an alternative to the NHS and you are callous and wicked. We've been stitched up.

So the silent majority have been coerced into remaining silent. What of those who break ranks and get together to form pressure groups or new political parties?

It isn't encouraging. I increasingly fear that what the establishment have done is ensure that those who organise outside the main two political parties are dragged down by lunatics. I don't say it was necessarily intentional, more a useful side effect of their tactic of political correctness to put it the more accurate way.

Pressure groups can often survive reasonably well as they are there to influence, usually the party in power and/or the one likely to gain power at the next election. They often have members who are experienced in mainstream politics who tend to moderate the more extreme elements often attracted to single issue causes. Some, no matter how loony, just keep banging on and on thinking people care but rarely noticing that people don't. They are relatively harmless in most cases.

The real danger is in the growth of new political parties. These are often founded by obsessives who grow tired of being part of a pressure group, UKIP and the Green Party to name two, and decide to go for full party status.  Like these two parties, many never manage to shake off the tag of  being 'single issue parties' and achieve a little success, but not a lot. I suppose the old Liberal Party and Social Democrat Party merging to become the Lib Dems is the most successful example. But those two did begin with some representation in parliament.

The authoritarian right in the form of the BNP have seen limited success in the form of councillors and MEPs. But they have now imploded and lost most of their council seats. Like the Lib Dems in Coalition, when the nutters get a glimpse of power they are shown to be totally inadequate and disappear in a cloud of acrimony and infighting, or are thrown out the first opportunity the electorate get.

The sad thing about this process is that those decent, upstanding people with genuine concerns get involved with smaller parties only to be driven out by the obsessives and the loonies. Either that or they are driven out by the constant bickering and infighting of the obsessives and loonies. It is a sad fact of life, and there are examples throughout recent history, of groups on the left and the right coming together as a political movement only to end in acrimony and even hatred. When they do split amid acrimony the hatred displayed by previous allies to each other, far outweighs their dislike for their political opponents. This has been made even worse with the advent of the internet, now the whole world can witness what recently went on behind closed doors.

The latest example of this particularly unpleasant and nasty form of fratricide is evident with the demise of the Libertarian Party in this country. I was a member briefly and spent a year as Party Chairman. My membership lapsed last year as I grew increasingly disillusioned with the eccentricity, if not downright lunacy of certain elements within the party. This culminated in its implosion a few months ago and as a brand is now probably so tarnished that it will be years before a party called the Libertarian Party will ever stand a chance of gaining even limited credibility in the UK. It brings me no pleasure to be proved correct in my analysis last year.

The problem is that on the political fringe, and to an extent the mainstream, there is always an element who prefer to wash their dirty linen in public. In many cases this means they can grandstand and show how much more idealogically pure they are than others. In most cases it's a huge exercise in egotism and self-obsession, even if it is to the detriment of the cause they claim to support. The death of the Libertarian Party is recorded in gory detail all over the internet for all the world to see. I don't intend going into it here.

One thing I do know, is that those working hard behind the scenes to resurrect the Libertarian Party, and I wish them well but fear they are doomed to failure, are the ones you will not see bickering and spitting venom on internet forums and blogs. Those who do that tend to be the obsessive destructive types I have mentioned before, who seem to be driven by hatred and vindictiveness. In every registered political party in the UK there are mechanisms for dealing with those who do wrong without very publicly wrecking a party. But it's often easier, and better for attracting fame/notoriety/higher blog readership, to do it the tabloid way.

And let's face it, those on the lunatic fringe get a real buzz from being the centre of attention, regardless of the effect on the cause they claim to espouse.

The work of the establishment done, yet again!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Interview With Pushkin The Cat

When Convenor left a comment on yesterday's post I couldn't just leave it there. So I invite you to visit the Catholic Heritage Blog and read the full interview with the cat that met the Pope. 

Being a cat lover myself I just had to give this one a plug.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Politics of the Madman in Norway

As ever in the mainstream media there has been a knee jerk reaction to the terrible events in Norway, just label him a right wing christian and have done with it.It's much more complex than that. I suspected the Libertarian Alliance would offer much more useful analysis than most, and I wasn't disappointed.

Here is their blog post about the politics of Anders Behring Breivik.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

For Lib Dems Everywhere-Boys Don't Cry (Unless They're Lib Dems)

Some time ago I had a pop at the Lib Dems and a couple of their mardy boys got all upset and whinged at me. So I posted Boys Don't Cry by The Cure. Sadly Blogger went down and it disappeared, never to be seen again. A few days ago somebody asked me about the Gradwells and that particular post, so I thought, as it's Friday, I'd treat you to a great song.

To Lib Dems everywhere, I give you Boys Don't Cry (Unless They're Lib Dems) :

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Best Lack All Conviction, While The Worst Are Full Of Passionate Intensity

The first time I heard that quote from Yeats it was on Lou Reed's live album Take No Prisoners. It was 1978 and I was appalled, surely it should be the other way round, as Lou mumbled it first then corrected himself? Conviction is what drives idealists surely and shouldn't we all be idealistic? That was then. Or does it?

Of course we have to consider what we mean by idealism. The dictionary definition is: the cherishing or pursuit of high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc. Just in case, the dictionary definition of conviction is: a fixed or firm belief.

There's a debate to be had about that whole area really. No doubt Hitler had conviction and, in his own way would have regarded himself as an idealist. Most of us wish he'd had neither but there you go. As in everything there are convictions and idealism that are good, and convictions and idealism that are bad. What I find as I get older is that my conviction, certainly in regard to politics, diminishes almost by the day, by the hour it sometimes feels.

I increasingly fear that those drawn to politics are so bizarre as to be totally untrustworthy, at best. At worst they are certifiably mad and should never be allowed, in the words of an old boss of mine, to run a chip shop let alone a country, city or town. When you expand that to the European Union the characters involved, most MEPs and probably all the Eurocrats are certainly beyond certifiable and probably beyond help.

The problem is that the idealistic are invariably obsessive and don't realise that their obsession can be a little disconcerting to most people. In UKIP I used to cringe when I heard the more obsessive members refer to the EU as the 'EUSSR'. I'm not having a pop there at the majority of UKIP members, who are by and large, great people in my experience, just the nuttier element. Having said that I heard some mainstream politician on the radio this morning claiming that the Euro had been a great success. There's madness throughout politics.

In the last couple of years I've met some great people on the libertarian wing of politics. But again, too many nutters who attack anybody who disagrees with them as being 'unlibertarian'. Some people even claimed that asking people to pay a party membership fee was not libertarian. That is quite a minor point but I'm sure you get my drift. People more interested in throwing around slogans and bickering among themselves that getting on with the serious stuff.

Then you get the loony conspiracy theorists. I enjoy a good conspiracy like the next man. Who did shoot JFK? Did Stanley Kubrick actually film the lunar landings in a studio in California? Great fun theorising about after a couple of bottles of Burgundy at dinner, but the next person I hear claiming that Common Purpose is an evil conspiracy then expects the electorate to take them seriously, I will metaphorically swing for! And no, I've never been on a Common Purpose course, brainwashing session or anything else the loonies like to call them and probably never will.

So people say that you can expect nothing more when you spend 10 years or more on the fringe of politics, that's why it's often called 'the lunatic fringe'. Fine until you switch on the telly and see George Galloway followed by Dennis Skinner MP. Then you see Prime Minister's Questions. Then you think of how many people, from all sides, have died in Iraq. Then you think of how many people, from all sides, have died in Afghanistan. Then you think of how many people, on all sides, have died in Libya. Then you think, who is actually more dangerous, the mainstream or the lunatic fringe?

I no longer know what I believe, except that I wish politicians and busybodies would just leave me alone to get on with my life, and I'll continue to leave them alone to get on with their lives. It seems that once you label yourself, you then become fair game not only for your opponents, but for those zealots who label themselves the same as you, but regard themselves as 'purer' or 'truer to the doctrine'. Then they will spend as much time kicking you as they do the opposition.

That's been the nature of political movements, of left and right, over the centuries. That's why fanatics have not murdered more than the millions they have in Europe over the last 100 years or so. Because thankfully, apart from Hitler, Stalin and a few others, their hatred of each other ensures their ultimate failure.

That's why I'm increasingly on the side of Yeats: 'The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity'.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tourists-Loneliest Man In The World

I can't believe it was May 1979 that I saw The Tourists supporting Roxy Music at the Apollo in Manchester. But it was. So for anybody else who was there here's a reminder:



I wonder what happened to that singer and the guitarist?!!

And Finally......

I wish we'd stayed in France for a few more weeks, the news is so bloody boring. I am now making my last post on the tedious Murdoch affair, then I will never mention it again. Well, until the enquiries are over and charges are made against individuals that is.

The public seem to barely give a toss about all this nonsense other than, like most of us, wanting to see those who broke the law brought to book. But the whole circus seems to be a bunch of media muppets, politicians and a few politicos on Twitter who think they're are playing with the big boys, with bugger all better to do. Real people seem to be more worried about the weather, bins being emptied, or not, unemployment, the EU bleeding us dry and other real world events.

Of course the media, the BBC especially, have been in a self-righteous feeding frenzy. Like sharks they scent the blood of a weakened enemy and are enjoying every minute. Let's face it, a state monopoly like the BBC would love to see private rivals kicked into touch, hence that corporation's unhealthy obsession with its biggest rival's current difficulties.

The politicians see it as a chance to kick a media mogul who has used them mercilessly, recognising them for the media whores and political prostitutes they are. Their high dudgeon is the guilty conscience of a group of vain, incompetent unprincipled pigs trying to cover their collective tracks with fits of self-righteous indignation. An age old tactic.

The performance of the idiot MPs on the committee yesterday, when questioning the Murdochs, managed to make the Murdochs look like the victims. The MPs on the committee looked, almost without exception, like a bunch of smug, third rate, sleazy private eyes posing and preening in their opportunity for the limelight and five minutes of fame. Nothing new there then.

I'm ever more convinced that the whole fuss is the state, backed up by the establishment, venting their fury on an organisation trying to break the state monopoly on snooping on the rest us.

That last bit is tongue in cheek. I think.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wendi Murdoch-Woman Of The Year

What a woman! After this I think we should unleash her on the MPs too.



That'll teach the pillock 'comedian' with the custard! And it was definitely a right hook, I knew the smarmy MP was wrong when he said it was a left hook. Do MPs get everything wrong?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Should David Cameron Resign?

I've had another day on the road listening to radio phone-ins. I was down to Old Trafford for a lunch, guest speaker the amazing Mark Halsey. Both Mark Halsey and his wife have recently fought cancer and his talk/interview after lunch was truly inspirational, top man! I was then supposed to be watching Lancashire v Somerset. Of course it rained all day, so I came home not having seen a ball bowled after lunch.

But what struck me today on the radio was the number of people calling for David Cameron to resign for employing Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor. Cameron employed him after Coulson had been cleared by the police and a House of Commons committee of involvement in the hacking scandal currently ravaging the British establishment. I have no time for Cameron, who I think is a phoney, but it seems to me that there are two elements to this question.

If you ran a business would you refuse to employ somebody if they had been investigated and cleared by not only the police, but a House of Commons committee? Have we forgotten innocent until proven guilty to such an extent that anybody accused by another, and investigated but found innocent, should be rendered unemployable? Do people then report a rival for a job or promotion to the police, so that even if innocent the employer refuses to employ or promote them as a result of the investigation?

On a second level was it not an error of judgement by Cameron to employ somebody with such a huge amount of baggage as Coulson? There are thousands of media advisers out there, probably just as effective if not more so than Coulson, so why did Cameron appoint Coulson knowing it could blow up in his face. If he didn't realise it could blow up in his face he must be stupid, as must his advisers be. If I was a Tory member I would be asking serious questions about Cameron.

But I find it odd that the public sit back, by and large, and don't bat an eyelid when successive Prime Ministers bomb the crap out of assorted foreign countries. But they go into paroxisms of righteous indignation when a Prime Minister employs a dodgy, but until now innocent man, and call for him (the PM) to resign.

I suppose we do, after all, get the leaders we deserve.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miliband, Murdoch And Other Misfits

While on holiday I'd forgotten quite how pathetic our politicians really are. Since returning I've been left in no doubt. The Murdoch affair seems to me to be the political class wanting to pass the blame for their own faults and sleaze onto Murdoch's business empire.

I've heard fourth rate Labour MP Chrtis Bryant whining about how angry the electorate are about Murdoch. Really? Since we got back from holiday on Thursday not a single person we've spoken to has even mentioned it. The people really consumed by the affair, it seems to me, are the BBC and clowns like Gordon Brown, Miliband and the bizarre Chris Bryant. Interestingly a couple of people, when we have raised the issue, have asked if it was a Murdoch paper that exposed Chris Bryant MP as a poof who had sent pictures of his crotch in a pair of skimpy trollies to a gay website. It was actually, it was the Sun. It's worth looking at this information about Bryant and dodgy expenses claims too. Axe to grind?

Miliband seems to be saying that Murdoch needs reigning in because of his influence on British public life. Oh, really? Shouldn't it be the stinking politicians who seem to ask how high when Murdoch says jump who should be reigned in? You know, the politicians who say one thing and do another. The politicians who enjoy all the perks of the job, at our expense, but still fiddle their expenses to have the moat cleaned or a house built for their ducks. Or get porn and dodgy satellite subscriptions (wonder if it was Sky?) then claim on their expenses. The MPs who go grovelling onto the yachts of the rich and powerful when the rich and powerful click their fingers.

Don't blame the British public Miliband, you are part of the establishment that we hold in such contempt. You are the ones easily seduced by people with a bit of influence and a big bank balance, not us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rupert Murdoch-The Mass Baby Murderer

We got back to the UK yesterday after three weeks in France to be greeted by the dulcit tones of George Galloway on BBC Radio2. There must be something being blown out of all proportion if the BBC has that particular verbal diarrhoea suffering Scotsman on it's programmes. If you want a massive over-reaction to any current event, an over-reaction that is blown out of all proportion then call George.

It became obvious as Galloway ranted and raved that Rupert Murdoch had been accused of mass murder while we had been swanning around France. I feared, judging from his emotional and ranting performance, that Murdoch had been slaughtering babies by the million and either burying them in mass graves, or eating them. Good God, what a world we live in!

Then I heard the sactimonious tones of Tony Blair, whoops, sorry, it just sounded like Blair, it was actually Nick Clegg, far more sanctimonious and false than even Blair ever managed. He was rabbiting on about Murdoch too.

Then up popped what sounded like a nasally challenged computer geek claiming that Murdoch had to be stopped so that the British press could be liberated and become free again. It wasn't a geek, it just sounded like one. It was actually Ed Milibandroid. Surely his mass murders should be investigated first. Milibandroid just doesn't get it! Actually Ed, we do have a free press. Maybe he's never read the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer, the Mail, the Express, the Mirror, the Star.

Then I thought it must be some kind of new satirical show when somebody impersonating John Prescott popped up, mangling the English language in a way that even Prescott couldn't manage. But no, it was Prescott, his grasp of English seems to be worsening with age. He claimed 'the public opinion' had been against Murdoch for years and years and Murdoch is only interested in making money. Unlike Prescott who I assume has always kept the equivalent of the minimum wage and donated the rest of his cash from pay, perks, books and advertising to worthy causes. So the public show how much they hate Murdoch by buying his newspapers and satellite dishes by the million eh John?

Murdoch is obviously out to make money, why else do most of us bother working? But if he is only interested in cash why has he pumped millions each year into keeping The Times going when, left to true market forces, it should have closed years ago? He did it because he is a newspaperman and, regardless of what a bastard he may be, he has preserved, with hard cash, a newspaper that is a great part of our history and culture.

But more worrying is the feeding frenzy of the stinking hypocrites in Westminster. We heard arch prick Vince Cable declaring war on Murdoch a few months ago, they all seem to be jumping on the badwagon now. Politicians should back off and let the law take its course. If the illegal acts alleged to have been carried out by staff at the News Corporation are proven then let those guilty face the full force of the law, whether that be a junior reporter in Wapping or Rupert Murdoch and his son. Until then the politicians should back off. I have no strong views on Murdoch either way, but I do believe in innocent until proven guilty. Far worse than a dodgy newspaper owner is politicians deciding who should or should not own newspapers.

And to all the holier than thou currently behaving as if Murdoch is a mass child murderer, have you ever bought a Murdoch newspaper? Have you ever subscribed to Sky? Have you ever watched your favourite team on Sky in a pub? If so, you have lined the pockets of Murdoch and are therefore a hypocrite.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bastille Day dans la belle France

I can't be a very good Englishman anymore, but please don't tell anybody. You see I love France, and the French are my favourite people, after the English.

These last three weeks have been an eye opener. The nature of tourists in France is totally different this year to years past. Few Germans as, like us, they have the rest of Europe to bail out, so can't afford holidays. A few Italians blowing the last of their countries national debt on oversized and ostentatious motorhomes. Fewer Dutch than usual, same reason as the Germans I suspect, but the few Dutch we have met are so far up their own jacksies they are almost inside out, so no loss there.

But the French are as generous and hospitable as ever, maybe even more so in the south and east than elsewhere. But on Monday I did have what I call a 'French overload day'. It can be a really infuriating place at times but in a very understated, very French way. When you have had a hearty lunch and a glass of vin rouge you wonder what you were so pissed off about.

We stopped at a service area for breakfast outside Lyon. £5 for a poxy croissant (yet again), a glass of orange and a coffee. Then I filled up with diesel. The French seem incapable of putting fuel in a vehicle without leaving a reservoir of fuel on the ground by the pump. So you fill up after wading through a gallon of spilled diesel, which you then tramp into your car. Why?

But worse. If you lug a caravan you often have to share parking space at services with truckers. Then you step from the mother ship, put your foot on the hot concrete to be greeted by the overwhelming stench of urine. They are at services but piss on the floor at the side of their trucks. Why?

You go to the loo and, if you need to use a trap rather than a pissoir, there is never a seat, just a porcelain rim. Of course that's when there is a toilet and not just a hole in the ground to squat over. Why?

Then you try to rejoin the motorway using the very short sliproad. But the cars on the motorway seem to speed up to come alongside then slow down so you can't rejoin. At times it is like driving on roads full of five year old kids who have stolen their parents cars. Why?

But we're already planning our trip to Paris in October and next year's summer holiday in Burgundy and maybe Brittany. Although Brittany may be a little too like Cornwall for us. We really love the real France!

So for Frenchmen everywhere, thank you for another wonderful few weeks, but please sort the driving out.

And have a wonderful Bastille Day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chris Huhne, Another Lib Dem Buffoon

Having not read a British newspaper for a fortnight while in France I saw a headline, while catching up on events, that didn't surprise me. It was "Chris Huhne Denies Energy Bill Claim". Oh no, I thought, he was accused of getting his wife to take his penalty points on her driving licence before we went away, then he was accused of dodgy election expense claims. Now this!

But no, the real shock turned out to be that the clown is still Energy Secretary, and it was a reference to the UK's energy costs rather than Huhne blaming his wife for diddling the gas/electric meter at chez Huhne.

I suppose one good thing with the Coalition is the constant laughs we get at the expense of the Lib Dems. Shame there'll be none left to laugh at after the next general election. This year the good people of Lancaster wiped the Lib Dems from our council chamber, soon the British people will be able to wipe them out of parliament.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Europe, A Dying, Inbred, Old Style Aristocratic Family

This has been a strange trip. It really has, more than in other years, shown the decaying corpse that is Europe. China, India, Brazil and others look out to the world in the way we did decades ago. Whereas Europe, thanks to the European Union, is inward looking, self obsessed and has the very real whiff of death about it. Like an ancient aristocratic dynasty it is deluded and senile, only the left leaning, pinko liberal establishment can't see what the real people can.


Hotel de Ville, Lyon
 We have mixed business and pleasure this year and met some old and new political pals, culminating in an informal gathering in Lyon for a couple of days. It seems that Eurorealism is gathering apace in many European countries thankfully, but more of that anon.

While we were in Lyon I checked emails and found a request to link up on Linkedin with a nutty politico in the UK, a certain MT Gradwell. He's an obsessive wally who sends nasty and abusive emails, becomes obsessed (or is that the other M Gradwell, his little brother who can't fight his own battles?), then wants to be pals. Just to remind us I suppose, that not all the nutters are in Strasbourg and Brussels.

Those of us in Lyon all observed with interest how few German and Dutch tourists there are in France this year compared to previous years and the Irish, visible a couple of years ago for arriving in the flashest 4x4s or supa-dupa motorhomes, are conspicuous by their absence. Instead we have seen more Swiss, Danish and Swedish tourists this year. Can you see a pattern?

Those of us who met up in Lyon are considering forming a campaigning group. There were only a few of us from a handful of EU countries, but all were of the opinion that existing anti-EU parties in our own countries have failed miserably. It's time for a peoples' movement maybe? Who knows, it would be ironic if a group of people from various EU countries, working in harmony should hasten the end of the hated EU.

That's it, off to get ready for tonight's feast of snails in garlic followed by beef bourgignon. Well, it would be wrong not to in Beaune wouldn't it?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Stirring the Pot in Europe

Been busy meeting comrades old and new in Europe, sunbathing a little and visiting a free state (sort of) outside the clutches of the EU. So blogging has fallen away somewhat sadly.

Putting together a blog about the last week or so that will be up here as soon as I can finish it and get access to wi-fi.

Au revoir, ciao, guten tag, evenin' all and all that.