Tag Archives: bbc

THE CUTTING EDGE

13th January 2015

PEGIDA

The invective displayed by some Germans, especially those of the liberal elite, towards PEGIDA is amusing; it does not surprise me one iota. After all, one does not want to see ordinary people express their opinions, particularly if one disagrees with them, far from it. And yes, perhaps such dissidents should be arrested and imprisoned. However, there is not enough capacity in prisons for them, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to build camps in which to house them, pending trial for subversion at some undetermined time in the future of course. Haven’t they been there before?

MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERES

What a splendid job these people do, in all parts of the world, under the most dangerous and trying conditions. I have the greatest of admiration for them.

 

7th January 2015

THE PARIS KILLINGS

It is distressing to see what has happened here, my heart goes out to the relatives of those murdered. Such attacks cannot be prevented and we should prepare ourselves for more, not just in France. And yet the outpouring of grief has turned into mass hysteria in the social media, which I find quite appalling. ‘Je Sui Charlie’ slogans abound, and quite frankly I find these absurd, they won’t make a blind bit of difference. Charlie Hebdo was a satirical magazine of which few outside of France had ever heard of. Those within France would appear not to have given it much support either, as they were financially in difficulties. I await the next catastrophe into which the Bookfaces et al can sink their teeth into.

PRINCE ALI OF JORDAN

The Prince is indeed an unusual choice of a candidate to succeed Sepp Blatter. I think he was put up to it by the Blatter camp to act as a spoiler, to further split the anti vote; in fact, they welcome his challenge. I would like to see England, Scotland and Wales take a more active role in garnering support for countries to leave FIFA and only re-join once Blatter has gone. How such a corrupt regime has been allowed to continue for so long beggars belief.

PRINCE ANDREW

I have always admired the Queen for carrying out her job, and that under very trying circumstances for much of the time. However, I have scant regard for most of the minor Royals. I have no respect for Prince Andrew, and await with interest where the various accusations levied at him will lead to. I have to say nothing would surprise me as far as he is concerned. At least Edward has had the sense to keep a low profile over many years.

THE BBC

This insidious organisation needs to lose its charter. It is something I have advocated for some considerable time. Its power is too great, its influence all too pervasive.

It is the individuals within the organisation, for the most part at senior and middle management, that set the agenda of the BBC, and far too many have their own agenda, ignoring the fact that the BBC should be considered a public broadcasting organisation that should report objectively.

ALDI

If I had any doubts about why ALDI is doing so well in our market, these were dispelled after hearing an interview with a former joint chief executive of the group here the UK, Roman Heini.  Here for the first time I heard precise and well articulated reasons why they are doing well. Heini is an astute operator who has an unparalleled knowledge of the UK retail market; eat your heart out Sir Terry Leahy. Well, he of course knew when it was advisable to quit Tesco in good time.

 

1st January 2015

THE TORY ELECTION POSTER

I find this an odd choice for an election poster. I realize where they got the image from; it’s from the video of the Talking Heads song ‘Road to Nowhere’. I understand David Cameron is going to re-record the song under the pseudonym Talking off his Head.

The Tories are doing their best to play the only card they have, namely that they are the only party that can be trusted with the economy. Nothing can be further from the truth, as the UK’s economy is not doing well, but they will pepper their election campaign with blatant lies to persuade the electorate that it is. They will have some success in this. Those poor, deluded people who have always voted Conservative for totally irrational reasons, many out of a sense of voting for their peer, or in most instances, their reference group, will no doubt continue to do so. Had I not a UKIP candidate standing in my constituency, I would still vote, but spoil my paper. I suggest that those who cannot bring themselves to vote for any of the parties do the same. At least it is a positive action that sends a message to our politicians.

UKIP

I support UKIP – let me get that out of the way; they have my vote. That is not to say that I support them blindly and will not offer criticism where I think it is appropriate, and it is becoming ever more necessary to do so.

After UKIP’s success in the European elections, it was inevitable that their popularity would wane somewhat, after all, for many this was a protest vote. However, this has not been helped by UKIP’s main failing, and that is their lack of organisation and, quite frankly, leadership.

If the potential voter in the street were asked what the party’s policies are, they would not have a clue, as indeed I do not, other than they want to leave the EU and take a firm line on immigration. That is not good enough. Out of the two immigration is the more pressing and important issue, although it is argued, and quite rightly so, that control of immigration cannot be exercised whilst we are still members of the EU. Actually it can be, but no one has the stomach to flout EU laws, the more is the pity.

I recall sending a personal tweet to Nigel Farage some two years ago advising him that as far as the electorate is concerned, immigration is the main issue , and why was UKIP not making an issue of this. His reply was: ‘I thought we were.’

The party runs the risk of imploding quite frankly, if they do not get their act together. The ever increasing bad publicity surrounding UKIP candidates and existing councillors is highly damaging, and so unnecessary. One can gloss over it by saying that every party has its lunatic fringe, but that is not good enough.

I also believe they will, if they do not already do so, rue the day that Douglas Carswell was accepted into the party. His views are not those of the majority of UKIP voters, and I fear he may prove to be divisive. I believe he also regrets his decision to join UKIP.

UKIP is indeed a people’s party, drawing support from the entire political spectrum. It can, in my opinion, do very well in next year’s general election, yet it needs a cohesive strategy and control over its more flaky members.

ISIS

The new phenomenon that is ISIS is arguably the most dangerous we have seen in the Middle East for a long time. No other radical organisation has made such headway in such a short space of time as they have. Now in control of significant swathes of Iraq and Syria their power shows little signs of abating.

Their tactical use of terror and brutality has proved to be successful, their enemies completely routed and intimidated. Yet such methods can only work in the short term, as history amply demonstrates. Ultimately the conquered populations will reject this, but we have not reached that stage.

It says a great deal about their opposition, particularly in Iraq, whose troops after all we were meant to have trained to defend their country. How hollow a promise that has been is self evident. Yet ISIS are not a professional army, in fact they are a rag bag of terrorists and others malcontents from many parts of the world. Arguably they are rank amateurs, but they have been led by former officers of the Iraqi army and others with military experience, and of course they have been very well equipped. Not only that, but they have captured so much equipment that they now present a credible force. Most importantly they have faith, a rather distorted version of the Islamic faith, on their side, and that lends them great strength, something we in the West have never understood.

They have to be constrained and defeated. I don’t believe that this is within the capabilities of the Iraqi armed forces, not for one moment, and any amount of training by US and UK forces being sent there is going to change that.

Without a doubt airstrikes by allied forces have done great damage to ISIS and no doubt will continue to do so. It is however only boots on the ground that can defeat them, nothing else. I am not keen to see our troops, or any from the West, again committed to what will be a long and bloody conflict, so by all means let us carry on a war by proxy. The much vaunted and debated entry of Iran or Turkey into the fray, at least in any meaningful terms, is fraught with difficulties. Both countries have their axes to grind, their own agendas, and they are poles apart in their ideological and religious thinking, the one Sunni, the other Shia.

We cannot stand idly by and see minorities, especially our own Christian minority, being decimated by these Kafurs. There already are Western mercenaries fighting in both Syria and Iraq; perhaps these can be encouraged and financed without the seal of approval from any government.

 

 

 

THE CUTTING EDGE

GOD’S CONMAN – The Reverend James Currie

The Church of Scotland decided to sell church property a good many years ago, including the manse (the priest’s house) nf Dunlop, Ayrshire, Scotland. I knew the building well, and I wish I could have afforded to buy it at the time. In the event, Gregor Fisher bought it. I’ve always been very fond of him, such a good comedian. I also had the opportunity to enter the building, which was set in its own spacious grounds, just off the old high street in Dunlop.

At that time the dwelling was the home of the Reverend James Currie. James, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, was such a wonderful man – intelligent, erudite, quick-witted and a speaker of great ability. Indeed, he was renowned as a Burns after dinner speaker throughout Scotland. It was he who baptized my son Winston when he was about 4 years old.

The first time I met him was when I went to the manse to ask him to perform the ceremony. I rang the bell and his house-keeper came to the door. I introduced myself and she ushered me in. ‘Now Mr Jacob, please go into the drawing room, but you mustn’t say a word to Reverend Currie until he is ready for you’. I was intrigued. She opened the door to the room and I went in. There was Currie, dressed in full Rangers colours and shorts, sitting in front of the television, watching the end of a Rangers vs Celtic match. He had one of those old-fashioned wooden rattles in his hand and used it a lot – much to my annoyance, I must admit.

He briefly glanced up at me and sputtered: ‘Help yourself to a Sherry’. I did, on more than one occasion, I don’t think he noticed, he was too engrossed in the match. Thankfully it was over soon and I spoke to him about the baptism. That went ahead smoothly some weeks later. Our son was dressed in a wee kilt bearing the Sinclair tartan (although he was entitled to wear the MacDonald one as well), a sporran and I even bought him a miniature set of bagpipes, all still well preserved.

Currie wrote a book, a signed copy of which I have, ‘God’s Conman’ it is called. I give below a link to a number of speeches he gave. He was a wonderful man and I am proud to have made his acquaintance.

Here are some highlights from speeches he made:

http://vimeo.com/18524210


LADY THATCHER’S FUNERAL

After the bombing in Boston, security services here must be very nervous about tomorrow’s event in London, the funeral service for Lady Thatcher. If ever an excellent opportunity for a major terrorist outrage presents itself, this is it. I have little doubt that there will be protests, but somehow I don’t believe any major act of terrorism will take place. It would be easy carry out such, but terrorists are just not what they used to be. But then, what is?

OPIUM PRODUCTION IN AFGHANISTAN:

Why am I not surprised that Opium production has been at its highest level since when British troops went into Helmand Province to try and stop its production. I won’t even go down that road, wrote about it some years ago. But why should we be dismayed, especially the USA? This is market forces at work. Raw Opium prices are high and the Afghanis have adopted American free market principles. The US should be delighted.

SYRIA

Whilst the fall of the regime in Syria is inevitable, it is taking rather a long time. It is inevitable for one simply reason. If the regime, with all the weaponry at its disposal, has been unable to quell the insurrections, it cannot prevail. Eventually the ruling clique will realize this and dispose of Bashar al-Assad. So far no doubt it has been impressed upon them that his survival is their survival, but that will change.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION ON THE NHS ?

A preposterous concept? Perhaps not.

I looked at the BBC Television program Casualty, as I do on the odd occasion. One of the sub-plots today involved the issue of FGM, or female circumcision. I was astonished at the casual attitude taken by the hospital staff at the prospect of a young girl being thus operated upon. One of the doctors said Social Services, or indeed the police, for this is a crime, should not be involved, as it is a cultural issue. Indeed it is a cultural issue, Female Genital Mutilation is alien to our culture.

I myself have known and met over the years a good number of women who have been thus mutilated. I have even, albeit some years ago, come across young girls who were sent abroad to have the operation. To my shame I did not report the matter, although at the time it was not a crime. The act making this illegal did not come into force until 2003.

It is only a television plot, but it sends out totally the wrong message. The producers of the program, the BBC and others should not be allowed to put forward such views. I am against censorship, but I would make an exception on an issue such as this. So will we one day see FMG on the NHS to pander to cultural sensitivities? I wouldn’t be surprised. If the producers of the program offer in their defence that the issue was portrayed in this way in order to stimulate debate, then I would argue there is no need for any such debate. There is quite simply no place in this country for parents who allow such a primitive, and indeed harmful practice, to be carried out upon children.

LADY THATCHER

She had to die sooner or later, given her poor health it was to be sooner. I get the impression political parties have been rather wrong-footed by this, local council elections being on their mind. I look forward to seeing what stance Cameron will take. So far he has issued but one brief statement. Had she been compus mentis these last few years, I have no doubt she would have aired her disappointment with Cameron and the way the Tory party has gone. Cameron must desperately be looking for an angle by which to latch onto the positive aspects of what she will be remembered for, and associate himself with these, and there are some. He will find it difficult. UKIP on the other hand may find it easier to do so, after all, many members of this party are former die-hard Thatcherites. They can draw parallels between Nigel Farage’s steely determination to retain sovereignty of the UK with Thatcher’s own desire to do so, as also his outspokenness on a number of issues. I’m not sure where it leaves Labour – nowhere probably.

I did find her use of the Royal ‘we’ highly irritating.

UKIP

The euphoria following UKIP’s excellent showing in the Eastleigh by-election has now well and truly worn off. Council elections beckon, and UKIP are busy canvassing for these. Poll ratings have stabilized.

What UKIP now desperately need to do is to promote a diversity of policies and get away from the perception that they are but a one issue party; that perception is still there with the majority of voters. They are, however, making some headway here, especially with immigration, and it is no coincidence that Nigel Farage and the UKIP election circus is in North Lincolnshire today, ending their day in Boston, where immigration issues are high on the local agenda. I do note however that Farage has toned down his gambolling style and is speaking more slowly and concertedly, at least that is the impression I get; this particularly in respect of immigration. He has here to tread a very fine line, it wouldn’t do to be associated in any way with the right wing extremism of the BNP for example.

Can this protest vote, and let us have no illusions about this, this is largely what it was, can this protest vote be garnered in the next election which is not that far away to gain seats in parliament. I doubt it, or if so but a handful.

He has quite rightly understood what is needed as far as getting votes in concerned. UKIP attract votes from all political parties, even the Lib Dems, but it is those who have never voted before, or have not done so for a considerable time, that need to be persuaded to come to the ballot box and vote UKIP; those who feel they are disenfranchised. It is a point I have made for so many years and it can be done, up to a point UKIP have already done so, but there is a long way to go. It is these people that need to be targeted ,more than any other, and they could win an election. Disillusionment by such people with the main parties has become ever more apparent, one need only look at recent turn-outs for elections.

There has been talk of a deal with the Tories. It would be practical, but nothing but a short term measure. It would be the proverbial thin end of the wedge for UKIP. But the fact is that the Tories, by having their vote split or diluted in many marginal constituencies, may lose the next election to an opposition that is quite frankly farcical, and this does not bode well for the country.

I wait with interest the results of the forthcoming election. On a personal level I rather like Farage. He smokes too much, drinks too much red wine and is married to a German. Rather like me, except my mother was the German.

THE DAILY WAIL

Looking at the Daily Mail today I see their front page headline is “Epidemic of Health Tourists costs us Billions”. I find this utterly revolting. Of course they costs us billions, they have been costing us billions for a good many years now. Why bring this up only now? As for this Government, they should put a stop to this immediately; it is easily done.

Leafing through the paper we find “We spend more on aid than Germany”. Whether we do or not is not of interest to me, what is of interest is that our aid budget for 2012 was £9 billion. This should immediately be drastically reduced, which leads me on to Pakistan, an unworthy recipient of much aid. I suspect the Foreign Office is keen to retain our relationship with Pakistan, as fraught as that is, but given the ever increasing ties with China, I suggest let the Chinese make up the loss. This money does not in any case go to those who need it most. By all means let the Government and other organisations here support Pakistani NGOs, but directly, not through Government channels, where much money is demonstrably siphoned off.

Moving on, I read that the police are going to classify attacks on Goths and punks as hate crimes. OK, I can understand Goths, they’re cute and cuddly, but not Punks. I always thought ‘Punch a Punk’ was the thing to do ever since punkism reareds its head.

Page 15, yes I got that far, has the feature “Why do the Police now think it’s OK to have sex in public?” All I can say is, I should be so lucky.

“From Elite to Precariat”, the new jargon filled British Class System. What a lot of tosh. My son would appear to belong to the elite, whilst I wander between the Established Middle Class and the Precariat.

Oh yes, we are told that much household waste, separated by us into recyclables and non-recyclables,  is sent overseas for dumping into land-fill sites. What on earth is new with this? It has been going on for a very long time, and not just here. In Germany also, Germany, the country that initiated this, the same applies. I know that to my own personal knowledge.

Enough!

TWO NEW PRELATES

Two new prelates have recently taken office; I rather like the sound of both. Our new Archbishop shows signs of independent political thought, good for him. But then so did his predecessor – briefly. I wonder how long it will last. But it is good to have the top religious in this country who has come from real life, rather than get to the top through the ranks. I read that his father was a former US socialite and bootlegger, and also that he asked his wife to keep her eyes on him so he doesn’t drink too much. Well, he has gone up in my estimation.

As for the Pope, he shows signs of being quite radical, but I wonder how long before the Catholic establishment in the Vatican pull back on the reigns. I look forward to developments.

THE FOLLY OF FACEBOOK

I know I have touched on this subject before, but can’t resist writing about it again. I have been on Facebook for a few years, but it is only for the last 18 months or so that I have become active on it.  It is a surreal world, an artificial construct that comes not without its dangers, and yet for many it appears to be becoming the only world they know.

I have found it interesting from a sociological point of view. I have a limited number of friends, indeed I have limited them purposely, having unfriended many more over the years than I now have as friends.  I do, however, look at other people’s timelines that are public, and it is surprising how many are public.

It’s quite extraordinary what people post. It no doubt reflects their views and opinions, but also to a large degree their emotions and feelings, and is, as far as I am concerned, overall quite enjoyable. I have to say, however, that I am sick of reading such, as what I can only describe as, moronic posts about autism, typically click here and share if you ‘don’t like autism’. Well for God’s sake, who does like autism. The same goes for click and share if ‘you love your son or daughter’;  click and share if you  don’t agree with paedophilia, and so on, the list of such sickening posts is endless.

And then there are aphorisms, oh my God, those sickening, sweet aphorisms for the most part. I wish people would place them under their own names, but no, links are provided to other pages containing these. This is no doubt due to a number of factors, but principally that people do not have the confidence to use their own name, perhaps for some an in-built inferiority complex, but also that if a great many other people like the page, the sentiments expressed must be good, a sort of ‘go with the herd’ principal. It’s very sad.

What people don’t seem to realize is that such pages are established, typically on emotive subjects, in order to get people to share them and like them. The more likes and thus views they get, the more money can be obtained via advertising.  That is why such nauseating pages are established day after day as fodder for these mindless people who perpetuate  such pages.

In any case, why can’t people write something original, rather than refer to other people’s writing with a link. It is because they have nothing to say, original or not, or is it because they have the inability to communicate? It really doesn’t matter if the latter, an honest opinion expressed poorly is still worth much more than no opinion at all expressed well.  As for the former, I believe everyone has something to say.

I find the cliques on Facebook most amusing, the cabals rather than the official group pages that exist. You have any number of musician cliques, I know, I visit one regularly. It is like rather like being in a kindergarten at times.

Individuals from all social strata take part in Facebook, although few of my real life friends do. What people reveal  about themselves is sometimes quite astonishing. I myself have few  inhibitions about what I say, although this can be tempered, and it is, by judicious use of mis- and dis-information. I never cease to be amazed at the pages of people I know, some I have known since my childhood, and yet I don’t recognize them at all from their timelines. Well, why not, as long as no harm is intended.

What is disturbing is that Facebook, and indeed other such sites, are able to profile one. So far this has been used to target advertising, or at least that is what we are told. I am not so sure. Call me paranoid if you will, but I don’t believe this augers well for the future. Governments are beginning to take an interest in all this, but whether they have the staying power and will to control the likes of Facebook  remains to be seen. It’s time to log onto Facebook!

As a postscript I will say that I have made the acquaintance of a number of interesting and pleasant individuals.

FRAULEIN MERKEL

I was made aware of this photograph a few days ago. The woman on the left is said to be Angela Merkel. She certainly looks the part I must say. As for her appearing in the altogether, naturism was quite popular in the former DDR (East Germany). Perhaps it would be rather a good idea if all politicians had to submit a nude photo of themselves before being selected/elected. I cannot imagine what Maggie Thatcher looked like; if some of her former colleagues are to be believed, they regarded her as rather tasty. Teresa May? Yes, I can imagine she would have looked quite attractive in her younger days. But let’s not be sexist and restrict this to women only. John Major? Tony Blair? Well, not Tony Blair, after all the pretty boy with his long hair was known as Miranda.

Perhaps former school mates and universities chums of Cameron are scrabbling through their photo albums to see what they can find. I have only ever had one nude photo taken of me, it is charming, and when I find it I will share it post haste.

NICK CLEGG

I am pleased to see that the Lib Dems have not only lost the plot, they have buried in so deep, I doubt that they will ever be able to disinter it. To hear Nick Clegg of all people say that they will ‘crack down on people who abuse our visa system, especially from those coming from difficult countries’ takes the biscuit. And then to have Vince Cable contradict this is farcical in the extreme. I have been writing about this since 1995.

Of course, we then have to have Conservatives giving off a sound bite, more like a fart actually, that a bond will be taken from people coming here on visas, which will be refunded when they leave the country; this is quite , is absolutely asinine. The bond is for £1000. For God’s sake, people will pay 10 or 20 times that amount to be smuggled into this country. No, let the bond be for £10000. If the person defaults, then make this money over to bounty hunters, who will track down such illegal immigrants. That is a practical and efficient way forward.

ADULTERATED FOODS

The fuss about horse meat is but the tip of an iceberg. I would hate to think of what goes into some of our other processed foodstuffs.  Producers of the same have been under great pressure for some time to reduce costs, and what better way than adulterate the food with cheaper raw ingredients wherever possible, and it would appear to have been possible.  It amuses me to read that even Waitrose, that ‘superior’ retailer, has been affected. Nothing is sacrosanct.

I would not be surprised if we see dog and cat meat, perhaps even rat meat turning up in food products, and God knows what else, although I suspect that such a discovery will be hushed up as it would do immeasurable damage to the food industry.  I don’t believe for one moment that major, name producers would stoop this low, but others would in my opinion. Let us not forget, this is nothing new, it was written about over 100 years ago (vide Upton Sinclair).

Which brings me onto bush meat which is freely available in England, in our towns and cities of course. Much publicity was given to this for a short period by one of our London health inspectors, from memory something like 5 – 6 years ago, who found massive evidence of such meats being sold in London street markets and retail outlets.  Yes, a number of traders were prosecuted, but then it went very quiet around this issue. I suspect Tony Blair’s government was prepared to turn a blind eye so as not to offend ethnic minorities, who were the perpetrators of this. I myself recall a Nigerian restaurant in North West London, just up the road from Hendon central, proudly displaying bush meat on its menu, posted outside the shop. They were offering endangered species of snail and ape meat. I also knew of a number of retailers in Green Lanes, North London offering the same.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Indeed, good luck to him. It illuminates the problems that that institution, the Church of England, is facing, most particularly falling attendances in the majority of churches. C of E priests are simply not pro-active enough. I have never been visited at home by my local priest, both here and in London, if nothing else than simply to introduce himself. I had a rabbi call in London once thinking I was Jewish. If a member of a rabbi’s flock is faltering, that rabbi will be around like a shot to take an interest; it is similar with Muslims, but not with the C of E. Oh, I am sure there are many exceptions, but I suspect these are to be found in villages and outlying communities, not in our towns and cities, where the bulk of the population live. Instead C of E priests have become accustomed to live in their own cosy, comfortable little world. Presumably they take the view that ‘you know where we are, if you like our product, come and buy’. I have more respect for Jehovah’s Witnesses, at least they get off their backside and try and promote their ‘religion’, as unpalatable as it is for me.

THE CUTTING EDGE

15th November 2012

AFGHANISTAN

I have wondered for some considerable time (in fact it is some 10 years and more since I first wrote about this), when the Axis powers would admit to their failure in trying to turn Afghanistan into a country based on a western model. Slowly but surely such concerns are now being raised in the public domain, although they have long been held in private. One is now trying to put a good gloss on the whole affair. The question ‘what if…’ is being asked ever more frequently.

The probability that this country will have a happy ending to yet another adventure on its soil, this time by the USA, the UK and a host of other countries, is very low indeed. The Taliban and other malcontents have long been preparing for the day foreign when troops leave their country; they have been patient. But now they are flexing their muscles, and have let their intent be known by a number of green on blue attacks over recent months. The Afghani Army and Police are without doubt infiltrated with those unfriendly to the current regime and are waiting for the day when they can destabilize the country and attempt to take it over. I say attempt, because there are so many different factions with different agendas I doubt whether it will be clear immediately who will succeed, but someone will, I am sure of that. To state that the Afghanistani forces are capable and competent to take over from Axis forces is a nonsense. Hamid Karzai’s days are numbered, for sure. I have long thought he will go the way of his predecessor Mohammad Najibullah, a not particularly pleasant end for a failed leader.

So what has it all been for, a question many are asking, all the sacrifices on the part of our young men? It’s been for nothing. Yes, after the 7/11 attacks on the USA military action should have been taken against elements in Afghanistan. It should have been taken, enemies destroyed, and the country left to its own devices. This procedure should have been repeated as and when necessary

To try and impose western culture and values on a medieval tribal society in the space of a decade and more is puerile, it was bound to fail. That’s not to say that there are not some who would happily embrace western culture, but they are largely in Kabul, and Kabul’s writ does not run in most of the rest of Afghanistan. In any event, the ultimate power broker in that region is Pakistan and they have enough problems of their own to contend with. I believe that country may end up as a fundamentalist Islamic state, the risk is  ever present, the efforts of the USA and others notwithstanding.

POST OFFICE – ROYAL MAIL

I didn’t realize how little our post office charge other carriers to deliver mail until I met an ex senior Royal Mail employee from a large post office in the Home Counties (now closed) a few days ago. It is as little as 25P per letter. And yet all correspondence etc carried by companies like TNT is ultimately delivered by our postmen. Now, given that the post office have to all intents and purposes a monopoly here, why don’t they increase charges to such carriers rather than lower the service they offer to the rest of us.

DOESN’T HE TALK FUNNY!

It’s William Hague I’m talking about – yet again. I just heard him on radio and have to laugh. His intonation and inflection are appalling. No doubt there are some who regard him as a brilliant speaker (largely in Yorkshire!), but it all depends with whom you compare him.

STARBUCKS ET AL

As far as Tax avoidance is concerned,  I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Arguably book keepers are there to keep your books and accountants are there to advise you on how to minimize your tax liability, in other ways how to avoid paying tax. Tax evasion is quite another matter. Morality does not strictly speaking come into it – or does it? The fact that some major corporations, US ones for the most part, as it happens, are not paying much tax in the UK on substantial turnovers, leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Presumably they are paying tax on their profits somewhere, but not here. The USA has much stricter laws relating to this than we have, but then this country was made a ‘do anything you please’ economy by Blair many years ago. I do find it somewhat perverse that nothing is done to remedy this situation. Significant sums of tax revenue can be obtained by coming down on these people and all it requires is a change in the law. What are Starbucks, Google and Amazon et al going to do? Quite this country? Of course not. I also find it obnoxious that HMR are coming down on the little people, tax payers who can ill afford to pay their tax basically. But that is typical of this government, who use bully boy tactics on those least able to withstand them.

DAILY WAIL

I have been writing blogs since about 1999, a number of them under different names. I have become rather bored with the idea. There is little to be said that I didn’t say 10 years ago! Nor am I any longer flattered to see something I wrote about being written about by the Daily Mail, just a day or two later.

POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONERS

I am not surprised that the elections for Police Commissioners have not gone well. It was another bad idea of this hapless government. I did not vote. I fear that having candidates stand on political lines was a bad idea. Yes, many independents stood, although it has to be said that a number are less ‘independent’ than at first may appear. Any incumbent appointed to the post will have political views, of course, but to wear such colours in order to be elected was unsound. The English electorate are patently disillusioned and take a cynical view of most ideas put forward by this Government. Who can blame them.

WATER METERS

We are to be forced to have water meters in due course. And why not! Water is a most valuable and potentially scarce commodity and usage should be accounted for. Too much water is wasted in households; it will concentrate the user’s mind. The wastage through leaking pipes is a matter for the suppliers and needs to be addressed more urgently than it is. Speaking for myself, I had meters installed in my last two properties and was amazed by how much my bills were reduced.

HISTORIANS

We have a new wave of historians, quite dissimilar to those of years gone by. These rely almost entirely on information to be gleaned from the internet; and why not. And yet what many don’t realize is that most information is not available on the net, which will come as a surprise, although it should not. No doubt in years to come the bulk of it will be accessibly this way, but that will take some time yet. I am referring here of course to original source material, not books. Many advances are taking place in the online publication of books long out of print, and that is to be welcomed. But to write books whilst being totally reliant on books written by other people is a little disingenuous. Of course, there are many excellent printed primary monographs, well worth consulting, but to rely on other people’s interpretation of history, or to be unkind their unfounded opinions, is not ,in my opinion, the way forward. That apart, there is nothing like handling old manuscripts in order to get a feeling for ones subject matter. It imbues one with a true relationship with history.

As Leo van der Pas says in the introduction to his genealogical site, there are hunters and gatherers. Hunter search out information from original sources. Gatherers collect this information and hopefully present it in a user friendly format. Leo is one of the latter. I have always been both.

HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS

Never mind Santa Claus, but here comes Christmas once again. It only seems like yesterday when we last celebrated it; a sure sign of old age approaching. Call me an old softie, but I do look forward to Christmas. Perhaps it is purely for psychological reasons, as I had wonderful Christmases as a child and occasionally reminisce about them. No matter what the reason, I enjoy Christmas. I do treat it as a spiritual experience. I think we all can, no matter what your religion is, or indeed isn’t. It is a time for goodwill to be shown to all – thankfully only for a few days!

11th November 2012

BBC

The consensus of opinion on George Entwistle’s resignation seems to be that it should have taken place, although many are sorry to see him go. He is described by all as a decent man, and I have no doubt that he is just that. And yet he should have known what was going on within the BBC, and especially have been apprised of the content of the forthcoming Newsnight report; this most particularly in the wake of the Savile revelations and the BBC’s apparent involvement in these. I am pleased that two more heads have rolled, and I suspect there may be more; there should be more, for I don’t see why Entwistle should solely carry the can for this.

Then there is the matter of Chris Patten. I have seen and heard a number of interviews with him and quite frankly find his responses to question raised quite distasteful and at times evasive. He is patently jockeying for a position where he can remain in office. A grubby little man; we shall see what happens. Where are the men (and women) of stature? I remember being introduced to Duke Hussey and his wife some years ago.  Whether you liked him or not, he cut a figure and had stature – in more ways than one, of course.

But of course it is, as I pointed out some weeks ago, more the fact that Mark Thompson has questions to answer. He was at the helm for some nine years. I had little time for him. I can never forget how, immediately after Cameron moved into Downing Street, he was to be seen shuffling along to see Cameron to protect his interests in view of the animosity between the Tories and the BBC..

But all this is but a reflection of a deeper rooted malaise within the BBC, an organisation run somewhat like the civil service, and that is no renomme. I have been a fierce critic of the BBC for many years, well over a decade.

The corporation has not reported and broadcast impartially. It has for several decades displayed a pronounced left-wing bias, especially during the Blair years. Now, I don’t particularly like the terms left and right wing, waters have become much more muddied over the years, but I will use them for simplicity’s sake.

The problem has been that heads of department, and producers, have for far too long been ensconced in their own little worlds, regarding these as their own little fiefdom, in which to promote their own views, their prejudice,, their biases at will. This in respect of news coverage, but much more as far as all else is concerned, I will loosely call it entertainment. This applies more to radio than television, but both have become infected.

WIKIPEDIA

I see Wikipedia are seeking donations again. Thankfully they don’t advertise and I hope they get further funding from someone somewhere; it won’t be from me.

In the first few years after its foundation, I treated it with great suspicion, deservedly so. Run by geeks at the time, the objective was not to make it as all inclusive as it is now. I started contributing to it in then, but was told that what I was writing about was not of interest. I prevailed and indeed biographies are now one of the most viewed topics. But it was the standard of writing and research done that worried me in many instances. This has now improved dramatically over the years, although there is, by their own admission, still room for improvement. I use Wiki a lot, but have very often to consider who wrote the piece and the sources used to compile it.

GORDON BROWN

What is this idiot talking about when he said in an interview on BBC Radio 4 yesterday that we have been intolerant of girls’ rights in Pakistan for hundreds of years. I wish he would just get back into his coffin again.

JESSICA ENNIS

I am so happy that she has received many accolades as sports woman of the year. They are all well deserved. Having listened to her during a recent interview, I find her a charming and intelligent woman. Well done!

ARSENE WENGER

When did I first suggest he was well past his use by date… three years ago? The saving grace is that, in comparison to earlier years, he has so far whinged relatively little this season about Arsenal’s poor performance. I guess he knows such never-ending complaining no opnger goes down well with the fans – or the rest of us, come to that.

VALKYRIE

A good family friend is the son of General Wilhelm Keitel’s adjutant, Colonel Ernst von Freyend. Keitel was executed at Nuernberg as a war criminal, but Colonel von Freyend completely exonerated. My friend and his two brothers were none too happy with the film made about the attempt on Hitler’s life, and suggested I see it. I did yesterday, on TV. Personally I found it an OK film, but nothing special. I shared their opinion that their father had not been well portrayed, but then he doesn’t put in much of an appearance. I thought Keitel was a good look-alike, and von Staufenberg too, but Goering and Himmler were rather different in appearance in real life. But then, it was a Hollywood film, that says it all I think.

8th November 2012

PAEDOPHILIA IN TOP TORY CIRCLES

A lot of rumours have been floating around the internet in respect of paedophiles in the Tory party, who were active in the 1970s and subsequently. I have no doubt whatsoever that they existed, and do to this present day, not only in the Tory Party, but in all political parties. It is after all but a reflection of an unwelcome activity within our society; after all, much else that is unwelcome, antisocial or downright criminal is found among the political class who believe they can walk on water. To have named individuals , however, without any evidence to substantiate this, is completely and utterly wrong.

The media too have been remiss. It cannot be too difficult to get to the truth of the matter. I have from time to time run across rent boys, both under and over-age in West London, not as a client of theirs I hasten to add. Many of them will have interesting stories to tell. Prostitutes also, a few of whom I have got to know – I am a personable and friendly sort of chap – will open up to one under the right circumstances and divulge much information. I well recall one telling me that she has a number of clients among the most senior judiciary of the High Court in the Strand; and why not. As my grandfather, who was Political Agent in Yemen said in his book ‘Kings of Arabia’, and that surely not without reason, boys and dancing girls are the best source of information. And yet I find David Cameron’s  frantic efforts to dismiss this whole matter a little curious. More than that. to have played the homophobic card I find quite pathetic; it gives me the impression he is trying to protect someone. Let us see whether this will all out.

OBAMA VICTORY

The Democratic Party are to be congratulated on their Victory, even if it came about for all the wrong reasons. But once again they have shown the Republicans that they are better at electioneering. I am not a supporter of Obama. I find him a weak president, devoid of the ability to take firm and decisive action in any matter, and that even if his hands have been somewhat tied by the House. Seeing and hearing him on television I got the impression that there is a man who has lost all faith and confidence in himself, and he knows it. And yet the alternative was not any better. I won’t criticize the loser, there’s no point. But where does that leave the USA? I fear in a dangerous position, not only in respect of itself, but of the rest of the Western world. Firm, decisive leadership is required, and I won’t even commence a dialogue on what policies should be adopted. It does not auger well I fear.

INSIDER BETTING ON ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

That was so funny, William Hill closing its book on betting on who would be the next Archbishop a few days before the name of the new incumbent was announced. Then, of course, there was a rush to publish it. Obviously we had some insider betting going on by members of the political class in the know, as also members of the church. Naughty.

THE CUTTING EDGE

12th February 2011

MUSHARRAF IN A BIT OF BOTHER

I am somewhat surprised that an arrest warrant has been issued for former President Musharraf, wanted for questioning into the assassination of former President Benazir Bhutto. Who knows whether there is any substance to this, but the hand of the present regime is in play here, as it will neuter him in his aim to return to Pakistan and stand for the Presidency again. At least that has been his objective as stated on Facebook, for example, although I think he was flying but a kite. There will be many more fundamental changes taking place in Pakistan which will offer no place for people like Musharraf tainted as he is with the past.

TURMOIL IN THE ARAB WORLD

So all the excitement about events in Egypt is subsiding somewhat. But their troubles have only just begun. What happens in the next week or two is paramount. The void that exists needs to be filled rapidly. Will the army announce a definite return to true democratic elections? If so, will this be accepted by the people in Egypt or will they not accept military rule, even if in the short term?

Mubarak has proved very useful to the USA and other western allies all these years, there’s nothing wrong with the USA supporting such dictators, it is an old established policy and one that overall has worked. The USA has so far astutely switched its support to the other side. Which side however? It is not yet clear who will stand for parliament or who is the favourite to win. The Muslim Brotherhood have also cleverly kept an incredibly low profile. They knew full well had they not it would have been a good reason for Mubarak to resist demands for him to step down and tip the allegiance of the army his way, although the allegiance of the conscripts in my view was ever doubtful.

I have no doubt that security services in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Libya and elsewhere are working overtime to suppress any potential revolt via copycat protests. They will be assisted, as in the case of Saudi Arabia, by the USA in this. They will not all succeed, but it begs the question whether this is in the West’s interests. It’s all very nice saying we should like other peoples to share in the democracy we enjoy (although it is arguable that we in fact know democracy in this country), but are our interests served?

I do believe this will be a godsend to Islamic fundamentalists. I mean, will they be excluded from elections? I doubt it very much. This will make the Middle East a more dangerous place, not as some would have us believe a safer one. Then there is Israel, who also sensible been very quiet, but I suspect latent hatred of the Jewish state is in existence in Egypt. That is precisely why Mubarak fulfilled a useful function.

As for Mubarak himself, he overstayed his welcome and should have realised this; but then such autocratic rulers rarely do. Had he nipped the revolt in the bud in its earliest stages, by force, things may possibly have turned out otherwise, but then I suspect have only been deferred. Then there is the fact he was grooming his son to take over from him. This was foolish, but inevitable. As to the money he has stolen from the country, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this is a significant amount, courtesy in part to the US tax payer.

FREE VOTE IN PARLIAMENT

What a good idea to let parliament have a free vote on an issue that flies in the face of EU law. But what a silly issue with which to do this. Votes for prisoners? I cannot think of any issue that is such an irrelevance. How about a free vote on the EU itself, or immigration, or…. much else. Of course that won’t happen. This hapless Government!

EMI

I am not surprised that EMI is no longer, at least not as we knew it, a sound, creative British company. I do blame Guy Hands full and square. I said at the time he had paid too much for the company and, as it turned out, knew nothing about running such a business, a view shared by many in the company. I had a couple of friends in very senior positions there, both were sadly made redundant some time ago. That’s a shame as they were experienced people. Whether Hands was hoodwinked by Citibank or not is another question. Let us see what the courts have to say on the matter.

ON LINE CONFESSIONS

This can become a hackers heaven! Imagine you have access to confessions of those rather foolish people who post their ‘sins’ on-line! OK, it’s a wheeze for the Catholic Church in that they charge a small fee, but hey, this country is full of gullible sinners so the money raked in should be substantial. I wonder whether Tony Blair will use the site. I mean, he’s trotting around the world much of the time, in places where there will be no confessor. Perhaps we will get at the truth about Iraq, or is he in denial even before his God? The site is no good to me of course. First I am not a Catholic and second I don’t sin!

24th January 2011

BBC

I really don’t need Peter Sissons to tell me the BBC has a left wing bias. Why is he only coming out with such a statement now? It has been the case for 15 years and more. Then we had Sir David Attenborough telling us the organisation has become too large, it needs to be scaled down; how right he is, but again, why only now? Is it because we no oonger have a Labour government protecting the Beeb’s interests?

Both BBC television and BBC Radio have a left wing bias, particularly BBC Radio. This has been encouraged by Controllers of the various stations, BBC 1, 2, 4 and 5, especially the latter. But the main culprits are the producers of the various programs on offer. They have too great a freedom of programming, not enough control having been exercised by those at the top. These people patently have their own political agenda to exercise, and that quite simply should not be allowed with a public broadcaster financed by the public purse.

It has been the drip drip propaganda that has been so insidious. I have no wish to hear day in day out about minorities such as Hindis, Muslims, or the plight of Palestinians and many in Africa, nor do I wish to hear the insufferable whining whingeing reports about single mothers, gays, lesbians and any number of other minorities. There are channels and stations that cater for these. I am interested in hearing about the very same in small doses, for sure, but that’s as far as it goes.

The buck of course stops with Mark Thompson Director General of the BBC. But what does he do when we have a change of government? He crawled to No 10 Downing Street with proposals for down-sizing the BBC. I doubt that would have happened had there not been a change of government. And as for the BBC’s online presence, it is ridiculous, a farce.  I was on line last year looking for information on a particular aspect of legal history and lo and behold what do I find, the BBC have something to say about it. That is totally beyond their remit. The article could have been written by any A level student, OK it could have been 15 years ago, but there are any number of sites that offer better information, even Wikipedia. This is an utter misuse of public funds.

I should like the BBC to lose its charter. Then by all means re-establish it along much slimmed down lines. BBC Enterprises should be privatized. This government won’t of course go down that route. Instead I hear talk of license fees being reduced. That’s a good second best. And as for the silly salaries paid to staff and stars…. let them go without. There is enough new talent out there if only they have the wit to spot it.

MUNGO JERRY

I read on Amazon that Ray Dorset’s book is not yet published. It will shortly be a year behind schedule. I guess it is a matter of getting in enough advance orders to warrant publication. I cancelled mine some time ago, so that’s it, it will never see the light of day.

As for his dispute with Eliot Cohen, that is going nowhere from what I can read on his website. The video criticizing Cohen, so very thinly disguised, was pulled and substituted. I am given to understand that it was deemed to be anti-semitic. I am further given to understand that there are many Jews in the music business and …..

I also found another video on U-Tube, done by another purported creditor of Cohen. I must say I found it rather tacky and all I would say is ‘those in glass houses….’

SEXIST FOOTBALL JIBES

One hears that the two reporters may face the sack from SKY TV. How ridiculous! I don’t personally agree with their comments, but similar sexist jokes or comments are the order of the day on most playing fields, at games, in pubs, clubs etc etc. Why all the fuss for God’s sake? Who has been offended apart from a handful of political correct activists? And what about women? Listen in on girls talking, which I do occasionally, and you will hear sexist comments directed at men. Do we care? Of course we don’t. Their only mistake was that they were recorded, and for that they should get a sound bollocking along the lines of ‘take more care next time not to be recorded’.

OLYMPICS

I wonder what the final cost for the 1012 Olympics will be, being already ridiculously over budget. Tony Blair has a lot to answer for initially setting the cost of holding the Olympics too low, solely in order to make that aspect of the games more palatable to the British public.

20th January 2011

BLAIR NOT NAILED

I was looking forward to hearing what Tony Blair had to say when interviewed for the second time by the Chilcot committee; but as ever he managed to keep a cool head. The problem was that no pertinent questions were asked of him. Those on the committee simply have not the competence to carry out their task. It has been said that one or more barristers should have been appointed to the committee – and so they should. I should have loved to have seen Michael Mansfield on this committee. Blair, who was handed to them on a plate, given the recent revelations by Jack Straw, Lord Goldsmith and others, and most importantly the ‘private’ correspondence from Blair to Bush (which the committee members have seen, but which is not being made public) escaped lightly. In fact he sounded decidedly nervous on occasions, and they should have honed in on him with some ruthless questions; they did not. I fear this is another whitewash, as of course was the toothless Butler enquiry, of which Sir John Chilcot was a member. It should also be remembered that those on the committee were appointed by Gordon Brown and that initially the enquiry was to be held in camera. One could have hoped that Brown would have loved to get even with Tony Blair, but he blew it, perhaps with the reputation of the Labour Party in mind and indeed under pressure from others within the Labour movement.

A LOAD OF BALLS

So an economic illiterate has been replaced by an economic semi-literate! Ed Balls is Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was destined for this job from day one.  And yet the man is an animal, the kind of man who gives failures a bad name. A Tory spokesman quite rightly said that Gordon Brown and he were responsible for our economic disaster, but they will not be able to make that point stick. Yet he will make poor little Georgie’s life hell I fear.

WHO IS THIS MAN?

Many of our daily newspaper enjoy playing this game, so I thought I would give it a go. Who is this man in….perhaps 10 or 15 years time? It is of course our beloved Fuehrer David Cameron. I fear the good life, the good food and wine, are taking their toll, and the hair line is receding, indeed has been doing so for some years. You saw it here first.

GOOGLE LIVE SEARCH

The new Google Live Search has much to be said for it. It is a lot faster and its predictive qualities are good. If there is one downside it is that when typing in my search term the screen flashes continuously moving from one possible hit to another, which is somewhat irritating. Actually, live search is nothing new. If you follow this link you will find an outfit that got there first, but who’s heard of them.

http://www.istartedsomething.com/livesearch/

VALENTINE WARNER

He has done the descent thing, he has married his partner, the daughter of a good friend of mine. Someone ought to tell their child that it can come out now; it, for they don’t know its sex, has stubbornly refused to do so, being now 10 days overdue. Coooy!!

MINIMUM ALCOHOL PRICE

This is nonsense. It will not to any significant degree reduce alcohol abuse. It also begs the question who is getting the money raised. I am not clear on this. Will the Government via a hike in the duty paid, or will the retailer/manufacturer? It has to be the Government surely and how then will the money be applied? It would be wishful thinking to believe it would be used to treat those affected by alcoholism and its side effects; no, it is more likely to go into the general revenue pot.

GAMU

I read recently that Gamu signed a record deal. That does not interest me in the slightest. What does interest me is that given she came here illegally, why has she not been deported?

SOUND OF DRILLS

Apparently the sound of the dentist’s drill can now be neutralised, or cancelled out, by digitalising the sound from the drill and creating an inverted sound wave to cancel out the original sound. That is brilliant news for some people, who have an irrational fear of dental treatment. But why not apply the principle to sound proofing generally. Can not the noise coming from pubs, clubs, bars etc be neutralised? There has to be a way surely. Of course, the sounds may be neutralised, but the sound waves are still there, and if too loud will still cause damage to one’s hearing.

IT’S A BIG ISSUE

Over the past year or so Big Issue sellers have appeared on the high street of the market town where I live. I have nothing against Big Issue sellers, indeed I wish them well. I have my regulars in London from whom I often buy a copy. However, the ones here are to my knowledge from East Europe, I suspect Romania or Bulgaria. It has come to something when even the job of selling the Big Issue is taken over by foreigners.  A cursory search on the internet will reveal that gangs from both countries are trying to take over this market in the UK. Many major cities in the UK have clamped down on their activities, but not here of course. Sitting outside the cafe I regularly frequent I often hear nothing but the bleating of ‘Big Issue’… etc – ad nauseam. I don’t want to be disturbed in this way, nor do the majority of customers.

ANDY COULSON

Andy Coulson’s resignation comes as no surprise to me. It has been inevitable from the start, as I wrote some months ago.  I await further revelations. Ed Milliband  calls David Cameron’s lack of judgement into question; he is quite right to do so.

As to whether Coulson knew what was happening at the News of the World? I cannot believe he did not. To phone tap if you want dirt on celebrities, and salacious disclosures are what sell the News of the World, was and is the logical thing to do, if you want a ground-breaking news story. In the same way it is the logical thing to do to bug their emails.  Much worse goes on in the name of journalism. Can any of this be condoned simply because it is a logical thing to do? Of course not.

6th January 2011

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

PLASTIC BAGS

At last – something positive to come out of Benito Coglioni’s Italy! Plastic carrier bags are to be banned there, to be replaced with biodegradable ones. These have of course been around for well over a decade, and should have been introduced in the rest of Europe some considerable time ago. They cost at present a little more to produce, but no matter. Some retailers already charge for bags in this country; in Germany it is, and has been common place for many years to charge 10 cents typically per bag at the supermarket counter. But how much better to charge for biodegradable bags which will certainly have a positive effect on our environment.

HAPPINESS INDEX

This was announced not long ago, and what a silly piece of PR it is, every bit as daft as the concept of a ‘Big Society’. Who dreams up this nonsense in the Tory party? Which Tory think tank is responsible? Actually, a Tory Think Tank? That is an oxymoron.

AFGHANISTAN

They are all now looking for exits from Afghanistan, the military and politicians alike. It’s a bit late I suggest. To win battles has not proven to be difficult, given the overwhelming fire-power the Allies have, but to win the war was never a possibility, at least not with the strategies and tactics adopted, devoid of any political adjuncts. Once again it is the USA that is at the root of this problem. Ever since the end of WWII it has been the naivety of the USA in its foreign policy that has shaped the world’s misfortunes. However, this whole fiasco was aided, abetted and fuelled by Tony Blair, whom I should like to see arraigned before Parliament for his crimes against the British people. It is, of course, not going to happen. Perhaps terrorists may yet get to him first. That would be a just solution. He knows that well and that is why he is at all times heavily guarded.

PRISON RIOTS WELCOME

Those who are unhappy with Ken Clarke’s stance on prison reform will be delighted at the riot that has just taken pace at Ford open prison. It will give them much ammunition to spike his guns for prison reform. Ford prison does not sound too bad either. Women smuggled in, booze, drugs…. your own room, TV, the internet… three square meals a day… and it’s free! Having said that, I will forgo the pleasure.

ARNIE SCHWARZENEGGER

So Arnie is out of office. For once – He won’t be back! Thank God for that. How Californians could ever elect an Austrian body builder cum actor as their Governor is beyond me. Well, perhaps not, they are Californians after all. I don’t think Austrians should be elected for high office anywhere other than in Austria.  Their track record is not good.

A NEW MODERN TORY PARTY

We were promised much by David Cameron in the run-up to the last election, a new modern Tory party, a kind, caring Tory party, yet one that would initiate radical reform. We are back, however, to the bad old days under Blair. There is no radical thinking, just tinkering with old, discredited policies. Of course, on the one hand a coalition government does constrict ones action and flexibility, but it has in essence done more than that; it has neutered this government. In the name of compromise nothing is being achieved, indecision rules.

I very much welcomed the idea of a new modernized Tory party, so much heralded by Cameron and his cronies. After almost 8 months of being in power, this government has flown many kites, which have all been blown away by the wind of craven cowardice, inaction and opportunism; government by sound byte abounds. Here Cameron is truly Blair’s heir. There has been much tinkering on the borders of policy making, but the most essential, fundamental issues have not been and are unlikely to be addressed. As much as I have written about this before it needs to be restated.

There are a number of policy issues that are central and most important to the electorate. They are the Health Service, Housing, Europe, Security and Immigration. It is the last named that is central and pivotal to any of the other concerns.

There is no immigration policy. There has not been one since John Major’s day, when the rot set in. Arguably there was not one before that, as there was no great need for one. Under successive Labour administrations immigration into this country increased unremittingly. I even recall a junior Labour minister stating publicly that we need 1 million immigrants a year over 10 years to this country. I cannot recall her name, but it is on record. Much is made of net immigration. This is facile. Those people who left the UK to emigrate to countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe and elsewhere, did not for the most part do it willingly. They were hounded out of this country, they fled the country, they fled a Britain being reconstructed by Labour on ideological grounds, a kind of ideological cleansing.  They were to an extent people this country could ill afford to lose. They were not solely retired folk looking to enjoy the sunny Costa del Sol; no, many were skilled people this country could ill afford to lose.

I wish to see a radical, yet caring approach to immigration, caring as far as both parties, the people of this country, as also the immigrants, are concerned. Those who came to this country since 1995 should be placed under scrutiny. For me the cut-off date is 1995, but it might just as well be earlier. Many who came to this country in the 50s, 60s and 70s have contributed greatly to this country. Yet the new immigrants are first and foremost to a significant degree here illegally. Not only that, but they have not, and this is the crux of the matter, assimilated themselves in to our culture. The country is full of ghettoes, London epitomizing this. What happens in London first, as ever over the centuries, permeates through to other cities and towns eventually. These are ghettoes in many instances where English people are not even made welcome. This cannot be permitted to continue. What have these people to seek here? Nothing. What value are they to this country? Of little or none.

The fact is that too many of our schools now have a majority of pupils who speak any number of languages, few English. I am fed up seeing Government leaflets written in a diversity of languages. I find it quite offensive to hear that social service departments employ interpreters in any number of languages. I was myself once asked whether I would be available as one such. Needless to say I will not give you my response to that request.

Illegal immigrants must be considered for repatriation. The majority should then, when it has been demonstrated that they came into this country illegally, which is not difficult to do, be repatriated, without any appeal whatsoever. If they have settled here, had children here, bought a house here – no matter. They should not suffer financial loss for any property bought, indeed this should be reimbursed at market or historical value, whichever is the greater.

I have no doubt whatsoever that eventually there will be strive between these modern day colonists and the indigenous British population. The longer it is left to fester, the more likely that it will end in terrible bloodshed. I well remember Enoch Powell given is ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. I was shocked at the time; I found it unbelievable. And yet in many respects he was right. It is a caring approach therefore to send them back at the earliest opportunity. Better they are top of the pile in their own countries of origin than bottom of the pile here. Will there be international outrage? Of course there will – initially. But a number of European countries will follow suit. Will their countries of origin refuse to accept them? Some will no doubt, but they will eventually knuckle down and accept the status quo. For those that do not initially, migrants can be shipped to other African or Middle Eastern destinations where we yet have influence. That is to say, we control parts of Afghanistan and Iraq, for example.

What are the benefits for this country in enforcing laws relating to immigration. For a start there will be less of a need to build new housing. Several hundred thousand properties will be freed, both rented and freehold, especially social housing where British people have lost out time and time again to freshly arrived immigrants and their families, let no one tell you otherwise.

Many school places will be made available, especially in primary schools where we are now told there is a great shortfall. Why? By the admittance of most councils because of children of immigrants, who incidentally have a significantly higher birth rate.

We are also told we are an ageing population, we need immigrants with the right skills, usually with a minimum of skills, coming to this country, to do jobs British people do not wish to do. This nonsense has been spread around by Labour ever since they were elected. An ageing population we are, but to import labour is nothing but a short term measure.  What all governments have failed to do is to make it financially worthwhile for families to have children. Furthermore, ageism has not been corrected in this country, it has been talked about for sure, but once again nothing has been done. To raise the retirement age for men to 70 is a necessary measure. For Heaven’s sake, most of us live a great deal longer than we did 60 years ago, and this has to be reflected in the age at which we retire. That apart there are many middle aged people who have much to offer our economy, indeed, more than far too many of the younger generation, relatively ill educated as they are. Again, one of Blair’s legacies.

Much has been made of the suggestion that the NHS will suffer, and other services because so many immigrants are employed in these. Perhaps in the short term there will have to be a readjustment, but only in the short term. We will not need as many doctors and nurses in the NHS, given that immigrants take up a disproportionate amount of NHS time. With a re-structuring of management within the NHS many British nurses and doctors may be persuaded to return to the NHS. Let us not forget that over the past three decades many left the NHS either to retire, go into private practise or work abroad. This has been well documented by reports from their various professional bodies.

Then of course there is security. We have been fighting wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and for what I ask. Yes, Sadam Hussein was an evil despot, but so what at the end of the day. It did not impact upon Britain. Real Politik must rule. There are many such people still in power in other countries around the world and nothing is or has been done to remove them. It was ill judged to go to war against Iraq. That more than anything else has fuelled terrorism worldwide, most of which is directed against the West.

Afghanistan was another matter. Given the attack on the twin towers I fully understand the reasons for taking action against the country. But it is of course Pakistan that is the problem, as I have been saying for some 8 years and more. But that is another matter. All I will say, once again, is that it is utter madness to let immigrants from Pakistan, India, Somalia, Sudan… the list is endless, come to this country, indeed encourage them to come here as has been done. We have sown the seeds for discontent and terrorism within our own ranks. Furthermore, to support them financially is for me highly offensive.

I should like to see our army deployed in Britain to rout out these elements and send them back to their own countries. The police are simply not up to the job, they have been totally emasculated by the Blair administrations.

Finally there is the matter of the Islamification of this country, something that must, and I am sure will ultimately eresisted at all costs. There is nothing more to say than that we are a secular Christian society, reflected in its culture. What Muslims get up to in their own countries should be of no concern to us.

Any accusation of racism in the foregoing must be immediately refuted. I abhor racism and loathe racists. Yet this accusation will be made by simple-minded libertarians who have no idea, no concept, no experience whatsoever of what is happening in this country. They need to enter the real world.

NEW YEARS HONOURS

It’s that time of the year again. The latest New Year’s Honours List was published, and it gets sillier by the year. The whole system has been debased. To be fair, it started to be debased many years ago, and arguably it always was corrupt. An MBE and OBE are really not worth accepting. Even a CBE is tainted and knighthoods and peerages of course are purchased, by donations to a political party or in kind. The only thing that can be said in favour of the lowest orders is that often potential recipients are put forward by members of the public, the highest orders being political appointments. The absolute nonsense of an MBE was brought home to me on the last occasion of honours being awarded. The Nigerian BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Dotun Adebayo was given one. The man is a complete idiot, as anyone who has listened to his show must surely have realised. He was given the MBE for his service to the arts. The arts? My God, I do believe the man can read, but for services to the arts?

IVORY COAST

I don’t see what all the fuss is about. The despot Laurent Gbagbo is doing what is en vogue nowadays. You hold an election, and if you lose, you ignore the result. The prime example of this was in Zimbabwe. We did nothing there, and set a precedent for such further action. Let them get on with it. Let the French resolve the problem. What, other than Cocoa, can they offer us. Gbagbo is playing the same game Mugabe played. I would not be surprised if Mugabe has not given him advice in this matter.

COMEDY WORKSHOP

The dim-witted camp Jewish comedian is going to change the labour party, so he tells us. He already has. We have a comedy workshop filled by the talentless Labour front bench. As comedians they are very funny indeed, but as politicians they give failure a bad name. What Ed says is of absolutely no importance, but it is important that he continues to say a lot more of it.

RISE IN VAT

I do not see what the fuss is about. The increase is small and should not significantly increase expenditure for the average household. Price will of course be hiked up by producers, manufacturers and retailers et al by larger amounts than the actual VAT increase. That is another matter.

JOSEPH WRIGHT

I only learned about Joseph Wright a couple of weeks ago. He was born in 1855 at Idle, near Bradford. To a large extent an autodidact he was born into a poor family, a dour, no drink, no card playing, no dancing and theatre going family. When as a young man he brought home a copy of Shaklespeare’s plays, his mother threw it into the street. He started work at the age of 6, leading a donkey cart from the nearby stone quarry with tools to the smithy for sharpening.

By the age of 15 he had taught himself to read. He then embarked on French, German and Latin at night school, as also mathematics and Pitman’s shorthand. In 1882 he  passed the London University BA degree.

He subsequently published many works on grammar in a number of languages. His magnum opus was his Dialect Dictionary which preserved some wonderful gems such as ‘blubber-gudgeon’ a simpleton, or how about ‘codnopper’ a foolish fellow, or ‘Farrantly’, meaning good looking, handsome, good health. He is much to be admired.

(Feature article by Chris Sladen (Christ Church 1953) in Oxford Today, Trinity issue 2010 p21).