Tag Archives: george osborne

THE CUTTING EDGE

THE CUTTING EDGE

6th June 2014

It’s a while since I posted anything. As I have said before, fundamentally there is little to say that I didn’t say some 10, 15 20 years ago. But I will say that little.

GEORGIE OSBORNE

He is posturing and promoting himself for a Conservative leadership contest in due course. I must say I don’t see him as leader. He has an even more boring voice than does David Cameron; also he is equally prone to talking drivel as he demonstrated well enough on a recent TODAY program on BBC Radio 4. Zero points pour le petit garcon.

UKIP – AND WHERE TO NOW ?

UKIP performed well in the European and local elections, as also in the Newark by-election. I am delighted, I support them unreservedly. And yet I ask myself where they go to now.

The coming year, until the next general election will be held, will be the most important period in this party’s history. Yes, they gained quite a momentum, and one cannot ignore them in the media, they are everywhere; but this will subside in the coming weeks.

Their stated aim is to concentrate their efforts, and limited financial resources, on those areas where they did well in the council elections. This is sound strategy. I personally believe they can do a lot better than most commentators suggest, more than they even believe in themselves. I can see them gaining a number of seats in next year’s general election, perhaps as many as 60, but that presupposes a number of things.

First their organisation is very poor, Oh, I know it has improved over the past year and more, but it is still quite simply unprofessional. You cannot afford to be that in today’s politics. They need to get a grip of this and quickly.

Second, the revelations made about Nigel Farage and some councillors and candidates of recent have damaged their appeal. They may pooh pooh this, but I have no doubt that it has. Candidates for councillors simply are not vetted properly, too many former radical members of the BNP have joined UKIP. Further damaging revelations will do UKIP no good at all. Nigel Farage himself will have to be on his ‘best behaviour’, the media and opponents are scrutinising his every move, his every action and utterance.

Most importantly, UKIP has not yet managed to bring to the electorate the third of people, or any significant number among them, who don’t vote. That apart, I read with interest a survey that shows that Farage appeals more to men than women; I can understand that. However, he needs to do something about this, perhaps punt Diane James more, an excellent politician by the way.

I would also point out that one can get too much coverage, whereby the electorate gets rather fed up with hearing about UKIP

The worst thing that has been muted is a pact with the Conservative party. I don’t care in what shape or form this pact can be construed, it is a vote loser. Perhaps Farage believes that tactically it can give him an advantage in certain seats, perhaps he believes former Tories will vote for him, but no, believe me, that idea should not be entertained. Were it to happen UKIP have lost my vote. My loathing for David Cameron is too great, it can never be overcome. We have some interesting political times ahead.

CHILCOTT ENQUIRY

It is extraordinary how the results of this enquiry have not yet been published, all due to Tony Blair not wishing certain private correspondence between him and Bush to be published. Well, perhaps it’s not all down to him, I am certain the US State Department and the Bush family are also putting pressure on our Government. Blair is a criminal, and quite frankly to protect such criminals is obscene. I have little doubt that dirty tricks and blackmail are being employed to keep this under wraps for as long as possible, and at the best to expunge the correspondence that is causing such embarrassment. I hope all will out in due course. It was amusing to see the old liar in the news this evening claiming he had nothing to do with the delay, and that he wanted to see the report published. Of course you do Mr Blair.

NAZI EPHEMERA

Mullocks are probably the leading auctioneers in the UK as far as Nazi ephemera is concerned. It is part of history yes, but I do find it offensive when auctioned alongside Judaica, some of it making pathetic reading. Furthermore, it makes me wonder just how many paintings Hitler did paint; a lot apparently, but to have had them all come up for auction over a considerable period of time was curious. And then there was the etching of Hitler playing chess with Lenin. The auctioneer told me some time ago most of the material came from the descendants of a senior SS officer. I’m not sure whether I buy into that. It is all rather distasteful.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/money/mullocks-auction-house-claims-art-adolf-hitler-sold-143k-article-1.361151

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/guywalters/100056277/be-very-very-careful-when-you-bid-for-a-hitler/


SPENDING WATCHDOG

Royal mail shares were sold too cheaply. That was blindingly obvious at the time, yet no one raised any serious objections. Why raise this matter now?

FISH, CHIPS AND WINE WITH NICK BOLES AND PRITI PATEL

I went along to this event some weeks ago. The fish and chips were excellent, and the wine potable.

The tory devout were there and after both Priti and Nick had given a speech one had a sort of mini question time. I resisted the temptation to ask awkward question, it is just not worth it.

NIck Boles is MP for the Stamford and Spalding constituency, as also a junior housing minister, or is it foir planning? His guest Priti Patel, is MP for Witham, Essex. Both are very bright people, Priti a particularly good speaker. Nick I found a little ponderous, he tries to be all things to all people, which does not come off, for me at least. Of course, the audience were for the most part older, devout Tories, who had the irritating habit of asking exceedingly boring and inane questions, but I managed to stay awake.

CORRUPTION IN THE METROPOLITAN POLICE

Ever more revelations are coming to light relating tothe Lawrence murder enquiry that took place some time ago. It is not the Met that is corrupt, but a significant number of police officers within it, as I know to my own cost. But then again, this has been known since the 1950s.

THE VANISHING COMMA

Punctuation, or the lack or misuse of it, is often in the news, and so it was with the humble comma recently. It was suggested we can do away with it. What arrant nonsense! Punctuation gives meaning to what is written, and no punctuation mark is arguably more important than the comma. Many good books have been written about punctuation, not just recently, but going back some centuries.

Although very much a layman, I have nevertheless read many thousands of letters of the 17th, 18th, 19th and indeed 20th centuries and have therefore formed my own opinion on the matter. In the 17th and 18th centuries hyphens were used a great deal, usually instead of a comma. They have made a comeback of recent. I use them quite often instead of a comma, or to add something as an afterthought. However, by the end of the 18th century the comma had gained predominance. For me its most important asset is to demonstrate in writing how what you are saying is spoken, that is with pauses.

There were exception to this. You will rarely find a legal document such as a conveyance with any punctuation marks in it, other than full stops, at least not until the latter part of the 19th century. Lawyers realized that a misplaced comma could invalidate a document, or at the best make its meaning ambiguous.

Of course, texting is more than anything responsible for the decline in both spelling and punctuation, but we have to live with that. Nevertheless, let’s stick with the comma and put these dullards who propose its abandonment in their place.

THE CUTTING EDGE

17th September 2013

FREE SCHOOL MEALS

I am delighted that free school meals will be offered to all 5 – 7 year old school children. Not only will it help hard pressed parents financially, but will provide many of these children with healthier alternatives to what they are eating at present.

VINCE CABLE

Vince Cable as leader of the Lib Dems? I don’t think, despite his blatant posturing to that effect. He has not a chance in hell. There is no one else to take over realistically from Clegg, at least not until the next election is over. Even then it very much depends on how well the Lib Dems do. I don’t think this will do Cable much good, other than the obvious appeal he has to the those on the left of his party.

MERKEL

I gather in a beer cellar in Athens a cocktail called Bloody Merkel is selling well! It appears to be popular. I haven’t a clue what its constituents are, but gather it is rather bitter. I expect her to win a majority in this coming Sunday’s election. The opposition parties, speak principally the SDP, are very disorganised. It is somewhat reminiscent of what is happening here, although in the UK we still have quite some time to go until the next election. A lot can yet happen.

US MASSACRE

I never cease to be amazed at how useless the US military is in providing security for its own, both in the States and abroad. Apparently Aaron Alexi had psychological problems, more than that, he had several brushes with the law, yet he was allowed to continue in his employment, all put down to PTSD!

PLASTIC BAG CHARGE

A good idea; I have been used to this for many years on the Continent. I use them liberally, but I dare say I will reuse them more, or take long term shopping bags with me. However, the following came to my notice.

I had a number of plastic bags filled with rubbish lying in an open space on some property I own. They had been exposed to the elements, rain, snow, frost and heat for some 5 – 6 years. When I cleared the site I discovered that the plastic, when I tried to lift the bags, disintegrated into small pieces. So what is this nonsense about plastic not degrading for so very many years? These were not bio-degradable bags, yet such bio-degradable bags have been around for a long time. Why were they not introduced years ago?

But of course it is those who dispose of such bags where they should not, be it on land or at sea, against whom I would like to see draconian measures taken. Of course, much of the time such dumpers cannot be identified, but they often can and fines are quite inadequate.

12th September 2013

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The economy is recovering, and why shouldn’t it. It has been in the doldrums for some years now. Let us not forget, however, it is recovering from a low base. Whether Osborne can take any credit for this is doubtful. His qualifications to be Chancellor of the Exchequer are more than dubious. He, and the Tory party, can however take comfort from this. The game plan is of course to have a recovering economy and feel good factor in place for the next general election. That they will probably have and, given the lack of a credible opposition, should win an outright majority. That will be disastrous for the country of course.

A FORMAL EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN

I am following the debate about when children should start a formal education. It does rather depend how one defines formal. If a structured education is meant, then I am very much against it beginning until a child is 7 years old. Let our children be children, they have little enough time to be so.

Yet there is no reason why reading and basic arithmetic, for example, cannot be taught at a very much earlier stage, but so as it is fun for the child. I did so with my son. He wanted to be able to read the the text contained in the books he had, there was no pressure exerted by me. This of course means that children from a deprived background may very well not be offered this opportunity by their parents.

JUST WILLIAM

I heard Just William make a statement in Parliament earlier which is farcical in the extreme, even by his standards. The emphasis on the use of chemical weapons is quite sickening. The fact that innocent civilians, men women and children were killed, hardly gets a mention. Then to hear him say when speaking of the Syrian government ‘ given their track record any commitment made by them must be viewed with caution’, well…. any commitment made by HM government over the past three years could certainly and demonstrably not be taken seriously.

BOB GELDORF

I read a couple of days ago that Bob Geldorf has been given a ticket for a space flight next year. The Space Expedition Corporation hope to have 100 people sent into space then. We can but hope that in Bob’s case it is a one-way ticket. I am sure Midge Ure shares this opinion. It would be ironic if they send him up on a Monday!

POOR OLD ALEX BRUMMER

Our basket case economy will take years to fix. This a headline statement made by Alex Brummer, chief financial journalist with the Daily Mail. Truly the man is a bummer! I recall him over the years fawning over Brown and Blair, how excellently they, most particularly Brown of course, were managing the economy. He was not alone, the entire financial establishment backed these two idiots. One of the very few exceptions was Richard Littlejohn, to his credit, and of course I predicted this and wrote about it as early as 1997-8.

ID Cards

I have always been vehemently opposed to ID cards being carried by the British. Now, much to my regret, I have been forced to change my mind, it has become an absolute necessity. This for many reasons, but largely for trying to control levels of illegal immigration. For this we have Blair and Cameron to blame and, oh yes, the one in between.

SUAN BOYLE

I read that Susan Boyle is to release a Christmas album in which she duets with Elvis Presley. Can she not have the decency to wait until she is dead?

ROLF HARRIS’S PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN

Given Rolf Harris’s current predicament the queen has understandably returned the painting he made of her. I say returned, but no, rather curiously she sent it to the BBC! They, even more astonishingly have ‘lost’ it. Come on, own up, who there has nicked it?

PORN SITES IN PARLIAMENT

Appraently porn sites were accessed 300.000 times last year from within the houses of parliament. Wow! This together with extensive cocaine usage in parliament – is it too late to become an MP?

FEMALE MUSLIM IN BRITISH COURT

I am delighted at the action of judge Peter Murphy in ordering a female Muslim woman to remove her burkha in court. I am astonished that this should even be an issue. If this woman has a problem in complying, then she should not be in this country. Quite simply, that’s not how it is done in this country. And yet it has gone rather quiet about this issue, the government’s hand at play no doubt.

And subsequently we have female Muslims wanting to wear headress at Birmingham Metropolitan College, who to their credit have refused this to be permitted. This trend has to be nipped in the bud.

SYRIA

I don’t know what Cameron is thinking of. He lives in another world, yet the proposed bombing of Syria is taking on a new dimension. Britain, for the time being, will not be party to it, but I have no doubt assistance will covertly be given. I would not be surprised if Special Forces are not already on Syrian soil. Whether it proves successful or not, I for one do not wish to see this. It is for those around Assad to realize that enough is enough, just as happened with Saddam Hussein, who was ultimately betrayed by one of his circle. I suspect he will be deposed in the hope that negotiations with those opposing may be conducted. The long term ramifications in the Middle East will be significant, there are too many players involved. I am intrigued by the fact that Israel has kept very quiet about the whole matter.

Will Syria retaliate to such an act of war on the part of the USA, Britain and possibly others? If they are capable of doing so, I am sure they will attempt it. A statement could be made by sinking some American ships in the Mediterranean. As well protected as they are, I can think of at least two unconventional ways of sinking the aircraft carrier Harry Truman. Of course, that would lead to the USA invading Syria, and one has to ask where it will all end.

As for the UK, why is it we continuously want to fight wars overseas, when the real battles that need to be fought are on our home turf.

Since writing this we have seen the smart initiative by Russia. Putin is certainly running rings around Obama, but then that is not difficult to do. Will it succeed? Only if Syria plays ball, and if they have any sense, they will. An interesting development.

THE CUTTING EDGE

8th December 2011

Again there has been an inordinate delay between posts, but a bout of flu put paid to those.

HONOUR KILLINGS

UK governments never cease to amaze me. We now have a report published on honour killings. All that can be said for it is that it attempts to quantify the number of women (largely women) who are murdered, maimed and abused each year in this country. These are exclusively from ethnic minorities. But as with everything it’s been going on for years. All we get is a report, another report, but little will be done to rectify this dreadful practice.

People responsible and involved in these should be sent back to their countries of origin, no matter whether they hold British nationality or not; in the event this should be revoked, providing, I have no doubt, a simple but effective expedient, as long of course as the UK border agency gets its act together and secures our borders to prevent them from returning. Given the latest news today that there has been a loophole for migrants coming through Belgium, this is very doubtful. I was not aware of this loophole, but on reflection, and knowing the route, it makes sense.

EGYPT

The initial results from this the first stage in the Egyptian elections suggest that Islamist parties have 50%, or just over 50% of the vote. There are many more stages to this election and it won’t be until the early part of next year before the final results will be known. Nevertheless, I wonder whether the army, who to all intent hold power in Egypt, even if somewhat tenuously, are concerned about this.

I would have thought that they have every reason to be. Were Egypt to go from being a relatively secular state to a fundamentalist Islamic one, this would not be good for the country itself, its economy, reliant as it is on tourism, as also the region as a whole. The US, Israel and others will be keeping a very close eye on developments. Elections have still a very long way to go and who knows whether the protesters, who were active again recently, will not yet be on the streets again. Nevertheless, given the foregoing, the Islamic parties can afford to be patient, as things appear to be going their way. Will they perhaps police the streets?

COATS OF ARMS

The speaker of the House of Commons has by common assent little taste, as is borne out by the coat-of-arms recently granted him. Perhaps it was his wife’s input that makes it appear so very tacky? It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Why is it that as we slowly but surely become a more republican country, people increasingly want a coat of arms to add to their name? I have to say it is better they apply to the college of arms rather than adopt arms, as many do. Such arms have for a very long time been offered by unscrupulous companies under the guise of ‘Is your name xxxxxxx, then this is your family coat-of-arms’. There never has been such a thing as a family coat of arms. The right to bear arms is inherited, passed down from a male progenitor, to whom they were granted, to his male off-spring. In default of male offspring daughters may inherited such arms and upon marriage pass them onto their husbands. They in turn can incorporate them into their own arms, if they have these. I am just thinking, what happens if a woman enters a civil partnership with another woman? I cannot for one moment believe she has the right to bear arms, but I am sooner or late some nit wit will attempt to go to court and establish such a right.

I only hope my acquaintance Garter had nothing to do with Bercow’s arms. How embarrassing.

TORY LEADERSHIP

I read in the media that George Osborne is flexing his muscles with an eye on the Tory leadership; I can well believe it. Mind you, I’m not sure he will be much better than Cameron. No, no, I retract that. No one could be that much worse than Cameron.

Then we have Boris Johnson, not to be outdone of course. He has waded into the EU affair and in the process may just destabilise Cameron somewhat. It’s all good fun.

THE CUTTING EDGE

20th September 2011

CENSORSHIP IN THE MEDIA

What a mess the press! How often have I said that in the past. But current activities by the media, especially the press, verge on censorship. News has on many occasions quite simply been suppressed. It begs the question why.

The Tories have in one respect managed news well. I imagine they have a calendar dotted with certain news items on various days that is newsworthy, but more importantly detracts from, and hopefully smothers bad news. They have actually been very fortunate that the riots in Britain detracted from the Newscorp scandal. Then the war in Libya hit the headlines. Now we hear that the Guardian will not be forced to disclose the name of their snout within the Met.

What is the quid pro quo being offered the press, and indeed others in the media? Well, as most of them have in one way or another been involved in the hacking scandal, perhaps it is the sop that they will not be prosecuted, that the Government will soft pedal on this. And yet it will all out eventually, I have little doubt about that.

EGYPT

What I write has been occasioned by what happened in Cairo recently, the taking over of the Israeli embassy. I can understand the frustration of the Egyptian people, as I stated some months ago. The Egyptian army does not want to see total change. What is happening is very much a matter of window dressing. More importantly, the USA wishes to prevent radical change, and their good relationship with the army is well known. It is to protect Israel that the USA take this line.

But the Cairo mobs are unpredictable, as are mobs everywhere. One should not forget that no English monarch felt secure unless he or she had gained the favour, or at least the acquiesence, of the London mob.

TICKLE MY WINKLES

Well, tickle my winkles, Henry Winkler has been made an honourary OBE. Well done, Sir. Happy Days are here again… God, that takes me back some.

DAVID CAMERON

David Cameron by his own admittance states he was approached to join the KGB, but was considered not clever enough. God Damn it, and he’s meant to be smart enough to run the country? To be fair, the KGB only take the brightest young people. During his recent visit to Moscow the Russians flattered him of course, but I should love to read the private notes made by the Russians of the meeting, I suspect they are less than flattering to our man.

NEW TRICKS

What a shame James Bolan has quit the new series of New Tricks, a series I was rather fond of. Truth be told, I lust after Amanda Redman. OK, I wish she had not had remedial attention paid to her face, there was really no need, my Dear. But gorgeous she is!

17th September 2011

RAILWAYS USED BY BETTER OFF

An MP commented a couple of days ago that railways are used by the better off. Of course they are. This has been the case for some considerable time and as ever these people are incredibly slow to recognize what has happened. Poorer people use buses, for longer journeys typically National Express coaches. You would be hard pressed to see a well dressed middle class person travelling by National Express coach, other than those who are impecunious, such as me from time to time.

The same applies to buses in general. Even the London underground is used less frequently by the poorer in our society. What do I mean by poor people? Well, certainly those on benefits. Benefits such as Job Seekers allowance are so meagre that they even make it difficult for those claiming it to travel by bus. Those in employment and on minimum wages fare little better. Even those on an average salary, given the cut-backs we are now seeing and the drop in take home pay, have to reconsider whether a train journey is imperative.

Travel by train has become prohibitively expensive. I am fortunate in that I am over 60 and therefore can purchase a senior rail card which gives me a third off regular fares. That, combined with judicious travelling off-peak, means that I am able to use railways. A very great many in this country quite simply cannot.

I was never happy with the privatisation of our railways. Of course the railway companies have to make a profit, that is their raison d’etre. But it is a nationalized railway that should make profits and plough them back into the system, rather than pay them out as dividends to shareholders. The reason Thatcher privatized the railways – and much else – was that the Government of the day could not cope with repeated strikes in our nationalized industries. That was down in the first instance to bad management, and secondly to bad government. The 3 day week was certainly in their minds when they sold the nationalised industries, and ergo the Government could not be held responsible for strikes. ‘It not down to us Gov’ they could claim – and indeed did claim. That apart, the significant revenue derived from these sales did not go amiss. No, I am all for private enterprise, but not, repeat not, in such critically important services such as our railways.

SOUTHERN SUDAN

Thankfully people are getting over the silly notion that there will now be peace between the two Sudans. It just isn’t going to happen for a very long time to come. The panacea of a democratic election, so much welcomed by the world community, cannot brush aside decades, if not centuries of friction between the Sudan’s disparate peoples. Let this be a warning to other states enjoying the Arab spring.

POLICE

Barely literate are our police, so we are told by some in the media. Barely news I fear, this has been reported several times before. And yet our bobbies but reflect the declining level of education in the country at large. Apart from graduate entrants to the various forces, it is arguably those with the lowest levels of education who will apply to join the police forces.

OUR BOOTIFUL CHANCELLOR

George Osborne says he will ring fence banks (what a word to use). He then goes on to criticize the previous Government. Where were the Tories whilst in opposition to make these criticisms themselves? Quite simply they were in ignorant bliss of how the banking sector was damaging our economy. Of course gambling in financial markets should be separated from the core activities of banks, I have been calling for such action for a good many years, and yet what is proposed does not go far enough; and not to implement it for another 8 years is ridiculous. God knows who will be in Government then. This is the same old Government by sound-byte we had under Blair and it is reprehensible.

Even when playing the markets within the investment side of a bank’s operation, individuals are still able to cause mayhem to a company and an entire country’s economy. This should not be permitted and anyone doing so should face severe fines and imprisonment. This cannot be controlled, we are told. It can, if there is a will to do so. Banks may go overseas we are told. So let them, call their bluff. There are too many on the Tory benches who are in the hands of the City. I mean, to hear Edward Lee talking about killing the goose that laid the golden egg is nonsense, it was an egg addled from the day it was laid.

Dealers using their bank’s, or their clients’ money, really don’t care much about whether they lose it or not, only insofar as their bonuses are concerned. I have seen this myself. If bonuses are not paid, then there is another company prepared to employ them. These people are passed around the city from hand to hand, a kind of musical chairs, where every now and then someone is left standing carrying the can. So, why not pay bonuses out a year, or better two, after they were earned. If losses are incurred in the interim, they will be docked off any bonuses. Again, this is something I have been calling for for many years.

If an example of mal-trading were needed, we need not look any further than the rogue trader at UBS. His superiors are equally culpable.

NAUGHTY GEORGIE

And what has this naughty boy be up to? The reports of George Osborne’s alleged Cocaine sniffing and association with a prostitute Natalie Rowe have surfaced again, they don’t want to go away. I cannot think of many in my circle, which extends from dossers under the arches to peers of the realm, who have not at some time taken drugs. I recall when the cisterns and other surfaces of the toilets of the Commons and the Lords were wiped some years ago significant residues of Cocaine were found. As for prostitutes, well……

MANNINGHAM BULLER

I always had a soft spot for this woman and her ability, the Manic Bulldog as I used to write about her – growl. She is rather a sweety, don’t you think? She has demonstrated this well in her Reith Lectures on Radio BBC 4; one of a dying breed. Her successor, Jonathan Evans, is a right …. well, whatever.

VODAFONE IDIOCY

I happened to be in a Vodafone shop and asked the assistant why for £15 I now only get 2GB on my mobile internet connection, whereas I used to get 3GB. ‘That’s because we discovered that 2GB is enough for most customers’ requirements’. What an idiotic reply! That’s a 33% price hike.

11th September 2011

9/11

Today we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers and the attack on the Pentagon. And so we should, let this never be forgotten. It was a dreadful outrage committed against the American people, the ramifications of which are still being felt worldwide today. But let us also begin to think about drawing a line under this matter. No doubt a number of politicians will, I find no other way to put it, milk this to its full extent, which I find rather distasteful.

I well remember the event. I was in London at the time and had turned on the television to be confronted with footage of the first tower having been struck. It was almost surreal. A feeling of disbelief gave way to the growing realisation that what I was seeing was for real. And then the second plane flew into the adjacent tower. Any doubts I had were quickly dispelled.

One of the most vivid scenes I recall was all those people jumping off the buildings. It was a terrible sight. I stayed glued to the television all afternoon and evening. Programming schedules were hastily re-arranged by all major channels. I went out to buy some cigarettes. What I found equally shocking was the delight at my local Iraqi run corner shop expressed at this outrage by some customers of Middle East origin.

There are still a number of aspects of what happened that I find disturbing. To name two: Some have described George Bush’s immediate reaction to the event as cowardice. It does beg the question as to why he was not at the helm of the nation in the White House. The excuse offered is that the Secret Service thought he had to be put safely out of harm’s way, but I find that a feebly excuse. More importantly, why were helicopters not used to take people off the roofs of the buildings?

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MULLAH OMAR?

Was Osama Bin Laden really killed by US special forces? This is a question conspiracy theories are made of, but curiously we have not heard many of them. I’d better  put my pennyworth into the mix.

Also, what about the American who was looking for Bin Laden’s body in the Arabian Sea? It has gone quiet around him. Has he been ‘dissuaded’ by US authorities from continuing his search? What about Mullah Omar? We hear little of him. Did he do a deal with the US and divulge the whereabouts of Bin Laden? And finally, did anyone get the reward that had been offered for Bin Laden? That is a line of enquiry the world’s media might like to follow up, perhaps it will reveal who gave him away. A lot of unanswered questions.

Was Bin Laden taken alive, is he in captivity and being interrogated at will? Not according to his wife who was in the same room in which he said to have been killed. This should not stop conspiracy theorists from milking this in time to come.

DAVID WALLIAMS

So this chap got a tummy bug swimming in the Thames; serves him right, what a stupid thing to do, whether for charity or not. We have been told that the Thames is now clean, sporting God knows now how many species of fish. Mr Walliams – you are not a fish! Having said that, I recall well as a young boy swimming in heavily polluted Ruhr river in Essen, Germany, where my father was stationed. With friends we swam to a little island in the river and covered ourselves in mud – and God knows what else. It did not do me any harm – or did it?

LIBYAN REBEL ARMY

The war of independence in Libya has been won, barring mopping up operations. But who has won it? There are any number disparate rebel groups in Libya right now, for the present operating under the mantle of the  NTC.  As importantly, there are any number of weapons in the hands of all sorts of private individuals. Armouries have been looted and who knows what kind of weaponry has been taken, and by whom.  Many of these fighters will not easily be assimilated into a new army. It also begs the question of what will happen to the fragmented former Libyan army. Will the same mistake be made as was in Iraq, ie disbanding the regular army? I see a vast potential for dissident fighters to form groups inimicable to any future government. In short, it is a veritable mess in the making.

Libya is a vast country to police, offering great potential for incursions from neighbouring countries, themselves spread out over vast, often barely habitable tracts of land, and all virtual failed states themselves. Centres like Tripoli and Benghazi may well be able to be controlled, but this does not so readily apply to the outlying towns and villages.

I hope that Western powers, especially the UK, do not in any way get more involved on the ground than they already are.

PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS

Punters are encouraged to claim, but it is lawyers who are to blame. What a lot of people don’t understand is that even when a case is apparently fraudulent, or questionable, the insurance companies don’t contest it for the most part. They take the easy and less costly option of paying out against it. After all, it is far easier for them to increase insurance premiums. This applies particularly to car accident claims. Solicitors and barristers have done especially well out of these claims over the years, many having amassed a small fortune in fees. I hear rumblings of disappointment among their fraternity that business is set to decline in the coming years. I am so sorry for them!

BRITISH EMBASSIES ABROAD

We have had much talk from this Government, especially from our president Bad Luck Dave, of how we need to increase exports from this country. He was even prancing around many parts of the world, having meetings with Tom, Dick and Harry, espousing the need for Britain to export more. His input has been, quite frankly, disappointing, to put it mildly.

As someone who does export, I have found the assistance offered by our embassies and High Commissions around the world to be to a large extent very poor. Trying to get in touch with them in some parts of the world is nigh impossible. Their web-sites are, to say user unfriendly,  would be too kind a description, but are for the most part quite useless. E-mail addresses are often not given, and even writing to them for information and other assistance has in my experience brought no result. I am hopping mad about this state of affairs. On the other hand, there are a few very good trade ministers in embassies and High Commissions, Pakistan springs to mind.

The nub of the problem is that we have the wrong kind of staff working in such establishments. They are not fit for purpose. OK, it’s a long time since I worked as a locally employed person at the German embassy in Bonn, as also the Canadian one, but then the Foreign Office recruited graduates from top universities with top degrees. That was, and as far as I am aware, still is the case, and it is a gross error of judgement. This especially so when it comes to the commercial sections of embassies. What is needed are staff with a commercial background, who understand commerce.

ISRAEL

Israel’s high handed manner of dealing with its Arab neighbours, both friends and enemies, is harvesting its inevitable fruit.

Israel has been a curious animal. It grew from the ruins of Nazi Germany, from the holocaust, from the appalling suffering Jews were submitted to in the 1930s and 1940s. This notwithstanding the fact that Zionism had been  well established long before World War II. The state of Israel learned a great deal from the Nazis in how to deal with it enemies. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,  brutality met with brutality, need I go on?

As I wrote some time ago, Israel must be worried more than any other nation in the Middle East as to how current events will take their course. Israel cannot withstand a united Arab mass movement bent on destroying it. It has not the critical mass to do so. That apart, Israeli leaders, and indeed the Israeli nation, are not what they were some what… 30-40 years ago.  Those then, conditioned by that period in Jewish history,were quite a different kettle of fish. The implied threat by Israel to resort to the use of nuclear weapons will not deter their enemies from attempting to destroy them. They are martyrs, believers in a cause that is greater than any threat that Israel can bring to bear. Had it not been for the support of the USA over the years, I very much doubt Israel would be in existence at this time.

It was interesting to hear Tony Blair being interviewed by John Humphries on the Today program this morning on BBC Radio 4. He stated, quite categorically, that military action could be taken against Iran, if they continue developing nuclear weapons. There is no doubt in my mind that that is precisely what Iran is doing.

THE CUTTING EDGE

9th October 2010

LINDA NORGROVE

So David Cameron and George Osborne approved the rescue attempt. They will regret that. The old gung ho attitude, which they hoped would gain them kudos had it been successful failed, in fact it will now have the opposite effect. The poor woman is dead and for what; there will be ramifications, especially coming from her family and who can blame them. And now we hear that the grenade that killed her may have been lobbed by a Yank? That will not endear our dynamic duo Cameron and Osborn to the public. The SAS should have gone in, not American Special Forces, whose track record in such matters is quite simply abysmal.

THE OLD CHESTNUT OF INVALIDITY BENEFITS

All this talk about taking people off Invalidity Benefits, in their various forms, it is astonishing that neither the press nor the Tories have picked up on the fact, which I wrote about some years ago, and again more recently, that the last Labour government instructed Job Centres to try and get people onto Invalidity Benefit. Now, this was not a stated policy, but those in the Job Centres friendly to New Labour were told verbally that this should be done. This was obviously to massage the unemployment figures. How do I know? I knew a number of staff in Job Centres around the country, it’s as simple as that.

THE LATEST LONDON KILLING

The police’s action in shooting Mark Saunders was quite disgraceful. It was stated that when he aimed his shotgun at one of the police officers they opened fire. The point is there should not have been any police officers, or anyone else for that matter, visible to him,  at whom he could aim, let alone open fire. No, this was a disgusting act and I regret that it did not end in prosecution of the officers concerned, but more importantly of the man in charge.

SUCH BORING MUSIC

How boring so much of the music on Radio 2 is! It is masquerading as good music. So many at Radio 2 enthuse about bands they drag in for live performances and quite frankly their sets have zero memorability. The music is for the most part bad, there’s no other way to describe it. The melodies are banal, trite, boring and the songs are badly constructed, and are sung by people who can barely sing. The only saving grace is that some have are good lyrics. Stick to poetry then guys! Leave song writing to song writers. The worst thing the 1960s spawned were singer song writers.  Of course, there were some brilliant ones, Lennon/MacCartney, Jagger/Richards, Ray Davies, Bob Dylan to name but a handful. But the vast majority of band members who wrote their own songs may have had an initial hit, and then could not produce a follow-up and faded into obscurity.  It damaged the song writing fraternity however in that both band members  and A&R people felt they needed bands who wrote their own songs. A big mistake, as the bulk of the music business will now readily admit.

DAVID STARKEY

I enjoyed listening to David Starkey on BBC Radio 4′s Question Time. Now there is a man who does not mince his words, even if I did not agree with everything he had to say. Telling his fellow Labour bimbo guest that she had prattled on long enough… I love it.

EXPERTS

Every day experts are being interviewed in the media. Where do they dig these people up from? The minds of some are in a state of advanced decomposition. Experts on security, the economy, the welfare state, military matters, food, you name it, and there is a self-proclaimed expert on the subject. If not being interviewed, they write. They write interminably boring pieces on their subject matter, padded out to make up the copy required. But then I guess that’s how they make a living. I blame 24 hour news coverage and the need to fill in programs and press pages with such drivel.

MUNGO JERRY

I was contacted by an acquaintance of old Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry towards the end of last year. He had for some time been having problems with his former ‘manager’. I place the word in inverted commas, as there is some dispute whether he actually was his manager or not. Be that as it may. Mungo has been advertising his dispute for some time on a website of his. Not only that, but apparently other artists were ripped off as well, many of them household names. It is stated that a substantial amount of money has not been accounted for.

Oh well, these things happened in the 70s and 80s, more than they do now, if indeed the allegations are true. Some blame must rest with the artist to look after his or her own interest.

So I was contacted by an artist/songwriter who had written a song critical of the manager in  question – Eliot Cohen. Well, the video accompanying it on U-Tube was ‘disguised’, but you would have to be an absolute idiot not to see whom it was referring to. So I played to the gallery initially, but despite being asked to get involved I decided not to. The verbal  diatribe accompanying the video was such that it was pulled for a few days, reinstated without the comments, which were rather extreme I must admit. The song ‘Nail the Snail’ os actually not that bad, but I don’t see this bringing about the result you seek guys. This is not going anywhere…. too unprofessional in my opinion.

IMMIGRATION

So the Labour/Liberal left is trying to justify the maintenance of open immigration. Not a policy on the matter no, just to maintain the status quo. Apparently any cap on immigration will stop scientists coming to this country to work. Rubbish. Those needed for our economy at the highest level should be encouraged to come here. It’s as simple as that. The rest should be denied entry. And this whining about the ex X factor contestant from Zimbabwe, who is threatened with deportation, well, send her home for God’s sake. I don’t give a monkey’s whether she was booted out of X factor or not.

PETER HITCHIN

Having heard Peter Hitchin being given a rough and irreverent ride by Nick Boles, figuratively speaking I hasten to add, I expect him to have a go at Nick Boles in print on the next occasion.

OSBORNE

I am delighted to hear that George Osborne is going to buy a Christmas tree for No 11 Downing Street and pay for it out of his own pocket. Who is going to decorate it, I ask? Does he know how to decorate a Christmas tree?