Tag Archives: nigel farage

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

28th January 2014

SOUTH KESTEVEN DISTRICT COUNCIL (SKDC) – THE COUNCIL FROM HELL

I posted some weeks ago about this evil and utterly incompetent council. Arguably they have now surpassed themselves, but at what human tragedy. The development they undertook here in Wherry’s Lane, Bourne,  is running very much over its sheduled completion date. The site foreman, Carl, was facing tremendous problems in trying to get the development finished on time, or even anywhere near time. In the event its completion is well over a year overdue. I have it on good authority that he would email his bosses at 2 or 3 in the morning informing them of these.  Last year, but a few months ago now, his wife and a son found him; he had hanged himself. They cut him down, but it was too late. He was dead! Whether this was the reason for his suicide, or whether there were other contributory reasons, remains to be determined. I find it odd, however, that this has not been reporterd in the local media. Are the council putting pressure on them not to report this matter? I would not be surprised.

There had been so many problems he faced. I have already mentioned the fact that the seven shop units built cannot accommodate eateries. This is due to a design flaws in the shops, and these cannot apparently be corrected. Given that it is shops selling take-away foods which are the only likely ones to take up a lease, this demonstrates South Kesteven District Council’s (SKDC’s) total incompetence. Gregg’s had shown interest in a shop, but pulled out, due to the company’s current financial difficulties. Subway also showed interest, but could not proceed forthe reason stated above.

I found out recently that the council in their wisdom had installed energy saving electrical fittings. The electrician refused to supply the light bulbs for these as they cost £75 a shot, a grand total of over £2000, which had not been costed in. May the Council leader Linda Neal and her acolytes be brought to justice over this utter mismanagement of a matter in which they should not have involved themselves in the first place, ie property development.

CENTENARY OF THE BEGINNING OF WWI

Why celebrate the beginning of WWI? If anything we should surely be celebrating its end in a few years time. I find this quite perverse. Those poor bastards who died in their millions were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have no doubt whatsoever that they would now be turning in their graves when they see how the current leaders of this country are selling it to the highest bidder.

ED BALLS

Ed Balls is a moron masquerading as an imbecile. While I have a certain sympathy for taxing those exceedingly wealthy more than the rest of us, I do come out against this. I don’t subscribe to the argument that increasing the top tax rate to 50% will lead to an exodus of wealthy people from this country. They are here for many reasons, largely in London and the Home Counties, reasons other than the level of taxation in the UK.

And yet I feel a tax rate of 50% is not equitable. I myself have been a recipient of tax rates very much higher than 50% in the days of the Labour governments in the 70s, so cannot forget this easily. How much better, and how more revenue can be obtained, by closing down loopholes for tax avoidance, coming down on tax evasion, and making double taxation agreements more difficult to enter into. This would bring in a substantially higher amount of money; various figures have been given and I won’t go down the road of citing these, but significantly higher they will be.

UKIP

UKIP are not doing themselves any favours at the moment. I have the greatest respect for Nigel Farage, a man who calls a spade a spade, and recognizes the fundamental issues relating to our economy, society and much else, and most importantly shares the concerns of ordinary people. And yet UKIP are badly organised, a point I have made for some time. Too many of their election candidates in the past have been what I can only describe as flaky. David Campbell Bannerman is no doubt an idiot, but too many such idiots have been admitted to UKIP over the years. As for the ranting of David Sylvester, a councillor of Henley-on-Thames – I am lost for words.

Farage’s weather forecast of a few days ago was a damage limitation exercise, and quite funny and clever I thought; but it should not have been necessary. Let us hope no further disasters await them.

DAVID CAMERON

I read in the Mail on Sunday  ‘PM: I drive Sam so crazy with the TV remote control that she walks out of the room.’ What would a psychologist make of this? I am no psychologist, but it occurs to me that he is scatter brained, does not have staying power, and demonstrates a lack of concentration. Quite apart from that, he shows an uncaring attitude towards his wife. I’m not sure that these are good traits to have in a man who is meant to be running this country. As for his views on British history, the less said the better. The man is an idiot, Jeremy Paxman is right.

UKRAINE

What is happening in the Ukraine is disturbing, and yet the Brussels Facista have a lot to answer for. That useless woman Kathy Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, and the then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle did nothing to help the matter by visiting the Ukraine at the end of last year. If anything it fuelled the already smouldering situation.

DRONES

Listening to Cameron speak is even worse than listening to that consumate drone Gordon Brown. Gordon who? You may well ask. And who on earth invited him to Davos? I’m astonished it has not dawned on them yet that he has no financial acumen whatsoever.

JUSTIN BIEBER

The poor guy has had to endure such a wholesome lifestyle for most of his life, it is not surprising that he is rebelling against it. It is very refreshing to see, given his recent arrest, that he is after all a normal young man. Will it harm his career? Well, it’s not going to go down too well with his Christian following, but then God is forgiving, let us see what wonders he can work.


THE CUTTING EDGE

31st December 2013

Reading about this Piranha attack in Argentina, which left a number of people injured, reminded me of my pet Piranha Pedro. OK, I guess I can call him a pet because he is stuffed. But what choppers he’s got!

NEW YEAR’S HONOUR’S LIST

It’s the time for many to grumble about who received and who did not receive an honour in the list just published. Personally, I find it all a nonsense. Yes, I can become irritated by the fact that the gynecologist who delivered Frederick was knighted and be delighted that David Beckham wasn’t. But why don’t some of these people become inverted snobs and join the much more exclusive list of those who refused such honours. We have John Cleese and J B Priestley, who both refused Peerages, and a good number who declined knighthoods, such as Alan Bennett, David Bowie, Francis Crick, E M Forster, Stephen Hawking, Harold Pinter, George Bernard Shaw, to name but a few.

Consider that several centuries ago, especially in the 14th century knighthood was not desired by a great many. It was an onerous thing to be a knight. You became in effect part of the governmental executive in your county, sitting on commissions and juries, for example. Most knights by then were happy to enjoy their land without having to offer military service to the crown or other nobles. In any event scutage had been introduced in the reign of Henry I (1100-1135) which meant you paid an amount of money in lieu of doing military service yourself, money with which mercenaries could be hired by the crown. If you held land to the value of £20 per year in King Edward I’s reign (increased from £10), you could be distrained upon to become a knight. Perhaps onerous duties should be imposed on those who now become knights, or are awarded other such honours.

UNUSUAL PLACE NAMES

Here a small selection of some weird and sometimes naughty place names around the world. A full list can be found on Wiki, for example:

BATMAN: A city in Turkey, whose former mayor threatened to sue Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros for the use of their name in the Batman films.
BELL END: A village in Worcestershire, England.

BORING: A place in Maryland, USA.
BUTT HOLE ROAD: A former street in the town of Conisbrough, Yorkshire, England.
CHRISTMAS PIE: A hamlet in Surrey, England.
CONDOM: A commune in South-Western France.
DULL: A village in Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
FUCKING: A town in Austria.
GOGOGOGO: A town and commune in Madagascar.
HELL: A community in the US state of Michigan; apparently it is only 294 miles from a place called PARADISE.
INTERCOURSE: A place in Pennsylvania.
KNOB LICK: A place in the US state of Missouri.
MIDDELFART: A town in Denmark.

NAMELESS: A place in Tennessee.
NORTH PIDDLE: A town in Worcestershire,. England.

NO NAME: A place in Colorado.

PITY ME: A village in Durham, England.
RECTUM: A hamlet in the municipality of Wierden, Netherlands.
TWATT: A small settlement in the Shetland Islands, Scotland.
WANK: A small hamlet in Bavaria (of course).
WANKER’S CORNER: A village in the US state of Oregon.

29th December 2013

UKIP – WHAT LIES AHEAD

Nigel Farage’s statement that we should admit some 500 or so Syrian refugees is a calculated piece of electioneering. Whether that is his true belief or not, it was said to garder votes in the Euro elections in a few months time. The bulk of the core vote of UKLIP will not share this view. It was said to appeal to wavering voters and those who have not made up their mind which way to vote and do not wish to be seen to be voting for a party with racist views. Indeed, a recent DVD sent out by the party tries to dissuade people of this view. Of course, UKIP are not racist in any way, but they are perceived to be such by many people.

UKIP are, and always have been – a party for the protest vote, as much as they would like to deny this. Long seen as a one-issue party, they have evolved over the past two years and have on the whole put forward some coherent policies in a diversity of areas. They recognize, at long last, that it is immigration that is the issue foremost in people’s minds, a subject many in politics have found delicate to approach. Why? I am confident it is not in most people’s minds, and it requires politicians who will call a spade a spade and tackle the issue head on.

UKIP are tipped to win the most seats in the Euro elections; that may well be. But have they become the party many will vote for in elections which few take seriously and indeed where the turn-out is so very low, and not the party they can vote for in a general election, where they believe their vote may be wasted. We shall see.

ENERGY LOSS

The loss of power supplies to many people in the South of the country, due to the recent bad weather, has shown how shambolic the response by the energy suppliers affected has been. A loss of supplies is nothing new and must be expected from time to time when the weather is so inclement, but the response to this, where some are still cut of six days after the event, is worrying. This is compounded by David Cameron offering nothing but platitudes to those affected. The man really should keep his mouth shut – at all times preferably.

NIGELLA LAWSON

I am no great fan of this woman, but the verdict in the recent trial surprises me.

Although she has admitted infrequent cocaine use, we were told no prosecution was envisaged, although that has been superseded by the police stating they will investigate this matter. Any illegal substances will one trusts have been removed from the premises. A wink is as good as a nudge. But this is not the issue. I believe the trial was badly handled by the judge presiding over it. Whether she took cocaine or not was not the issue, it was the alleged theft by her employees of a couple of hundred thousand pounds, and I am astonished that they were found not guilty.

ALEXA

The latest wheeze for these people is : Get certified if you want to see your website world ranking. You certainly would have to be certified to subscribe to this bunch of cowboys.

CHILD ABUSE

It has been said by many that the abuse of children and young adolescents in Rochdale is but the tip of the iceberg; I believe that to be true. Little was done by the local authority and the poilice to investigate this matter at the time. Why? Because these crimes and others like them were committed by immigrant communities for the most part, largely Pakistani. Any action taken against them would have had the tag racism attached to it. But for many young Pakistanis the girls involved were but white kaffur meat.

OBAMA

This man is no less an idiot than ours. He suggests that the international community has lost confidence in the USA over the Snowdon revelations. They have, but a long time ago. To remedy this he is considering having the billions of records relating to phone calls that have been monitored and/or tracked to be stored in private hands. How on earth that is to raise confidence beggars belief; not would even any purported destruction of these records raise confidence in the US, for the simply reason that no one would believe they had been destroyed. After all, if Snowdon could download what he did on a few memory sticks, who knows who else has done the same or may yet do so. The situation is irredeemable.

MOBILE PHONE PROVIDERS

If you are looking for good service from a mobile provider, then don’t go to the Three shop in the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough.

A TRADE DEAL IN OUR TIMES

I expected a similar headline in the British media on Cameron’s return from China, a headline trumpeting the success of a trade deal in our time, but it didn’t happen; in any event it would have been just as worthless as the scrap of paper Neville Chamberlain obtained from Adolf Hitler in 1939. This fool who masquerades as our prime minister, together with his circus, returned recently from China. Why does he embarrass this country so? It is in order to get headlines, positive spin, that attempt to make him appear something he is not – a successful leader of this country; leadership and Cameron are an oximoron.

In any case, this is not the way to rustle up business in China, or anywhere else for that matter. The Chinese take our Del Boy with rather a pinch of ground Rhinocirous tusk. Cameron could not even resist mentioning human rights issues, even if this is aimed at our media and, no doubt, to placate Nick… I forget his name.

We have little to offer the Chinese if the truth be known. The much vaunted financial service sector is nothing but a gaming club, and yes, the Chinese do love gambling. I have no doubt they will have their own financial sector established very rapidly, and it will eclipse ours. Service Industries have a precarious base to them, especially where they are so heavily reliant upon IT technology, as the City of London is, and I have every confidence it will disappear in a blink of an eyelid.

What Cameron is doing is pawning our country to the Chinese. It is something I don’t welcome.

OF ANCHORITES AND ANCHORESSES

I found a reference to an anchoress in the mid 14th century not hitherto recorded, at least as far as I can see. She lived in a cell built against the wall of a medieval city of London church, which was destroyed in the great fire of London in 1666. You have to be very dedicated, or have little going for you (if I may be uncharitable) to live out the rest of your life walled up in such a cell, or perhaps just a loner. There was a window through which food could be passed and waste taken out, and no doubt spiritual advice given to those who sought it. At least within the monastic life you had company, here you were on your own. Mind you, I can think of a few people I wish would take up this type of solitary existence.

NOWHERE MAN

This song could have been written about David Cameron, or indeed other politicians since the Beatles first recorded it.

He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.

Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to….


These revolting people need to be sent back post-haste, wherever it is they have come from. They have nothing to seek in this country.



THE CUTTING EDGE

8th May 2013

SIR ALEX FERGUSON

It had to come sooner rather than later. He achieved so much for Manchester United and one can only hope a worthy and capable successor is chosen. I must say I found his speech over the past few months somewhat impaired. Is it really just a hip operation he is having shortly?

DAVID BECKHAM

Poor old Becks, he left his I-Pod unattended in a changing room. This was accessed by others who discovered he had little taste in matters music and much else. Such views are rather subjective, but then again, he has a track record: He married Posh.

AFGHAN INTERPRETERS

To suggest that Afghan interpreters who worked for the British army should be allowed to settle here is absurd. We know that Afghanistan is now a peaceful country, where all are safe; after all, we have been told so often enough by our politicians and military.

MAX HASTINGS - MELANIE PHILIPS – SIMON HEFFER et al

These poor, dear old fools. They all appear to be coming out of the woodwork now criticizing David Cameron for his poor leadership. Max Hastings went so far as to state that he had been critical of Cameron ever since he was elected leader of the Tory party. A little disingenuous, I have an elephantine memory for such things and recall him ever having done so. I on the other hand have been a fierce critic ever since 2005, it’s there to be read.

GENERAL MUSHARRAF

I have followed his activities with some interest over the past 3 – 4 years. I wondered whether he would have the courage to return to Pakistan, or rather whether he would be foolhardy enough to do so. We now know. How this will pan out remains to be seen. For his own good I hope he will be sent back to London, or anywhere.

1st May 2013

UKIP

UKIP did very well in the elections for local councils yesterday and I am much delighted. They won a good many seats and came second in a very great many more. Coming second of course is but poor consolation, winning is what matters. I note that in some instances they came second but by a small margin.

Nigel Farage and others are on a high and enjoying the immense publicity they are now getting. I hope they will put that to good use, because it will last but a short time; I hope this limited success will not go to Farage’s head. I hear criticism from some in the media and many in politics that UKIP must adopt the middle ground. That is precisely what they must not do, that will not get them the votes they require to succeed in the next general election. I hope they will not be seduced to go down this road. What is needed in British politics is a radical shift towards addressing fundamental issues such as our membership of the EU and immigration to this country and indeed to the EU. There is no place here for the middle ground.

This has of course been a serious blow to the Tories and they will of course continue to mouth sound bites about a referendum and a tougher stance on immigration – and much else. But they, and Cameron in particular, are not to be trusted. They will continue to retain what Cameron regards as the middle ground, but of course it isn’t, it is but a quagmire of oblivion into which they are sinking. As for the Liberal Democrats – who?

The problem with UKIP is that they are badly organized and managed. There is still too much Tory old wood in the party, as also too many dim wits. Now, I use the term dim wits not to be derogatory, it is just that too many in the upper echelons of the party are patently dim and lacking in wit.

For many a vote for UKIP was a protest vote, no matter what gloss Farage puts on this. But I believe UKIP could become a party that holds the balance of power in the 2015 election. It requires better management, but also a determined effort to get those who do not usually vote, about a third of the electorate, to do just that, go and vote on election day, and what is more vote for UKIP. This is a point I have been making for a very long time. None of the established parties will appeal to the, what I can only call, the disenfranchised, but UKIP could. It requires an application on the part of that party that may be beyond them.

KEN ROACHE HELD OVER

I can’t say I feel he slightest bit sorry for Ken Roache at all, this braggard who boasted about having slept with up to 1000 women in his time! And now he faces alleged rape claims. The dividing line between consensual sex and rape can be very thin, I don’t care what others say on this matter, and if you’ve had your way with that many women, by the laws of probability, there is a good chance such allegations may stick. Whether prosecutions should be broughtso many years later is quite another matter. As for Stuart Hall, I am glad they are throwing the book at him.

ITALY

Italy ‘needs a modern revolution to break into the modern world, one it has never had’, so said an Italian spokeswoman yesterday. Quite so, but the same can be said of many countries, including ours. Yet we are sleepwalking into oblivion.

TAX ADVICE

Who the hell needs accounting firms like Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst and Young et al. You don’t, I don’t, most don’t. Even large corporations don’t need them to keep their accounts. They need them for two reasons only. First to rubber stamp their accounts as auditors, and second to assist them in avoiding tax. It is as simple as that.

HORSE RACING DRUG SCANDAL

Oh my, drug doping has now been outed in horse rating! And why not, much money is involved in this business, and where money is involved invariably an edge over competition is required, so why not enhance your critter’s performance by drugs. I would like to be in Sheikh shoes. I don’t think the ruler of Kuwait will take kindly to the stigmatisation of his name at the end of the day. Drug taking is against the teachings of the Koran. Can a horse be halal? I wonder.

DRONES

This has to be the future for terrorists. Nevertheless, I am amazed that terrorists around the world have not developed their own drones. I mean, suicide bombers and IEDs are so passé! Many countries who harbour terrorists, in one way or another, and Iran springs to mind, have more than enough funds to buy drones on the grey or illegal market. Better still, they can develop their own, as indeed could terrorists. These don’t require the sophistication of drones used by countries such as the US, UK, Israel, Germany and others. That is the way forward. I am not condoning or advocating terrorism, just looking at the facts of the matter.

ANGELA KNIGHT

Speaking of drones, This dreadful woman is to be heard and seen again in the media. I thought she had disappeared some time ago. A former spokeswoman for the Banking Association, she is now chief executive of Energy UK. Extraordinary how such bimbos can maintain top jobs.

TESCO

Tesco not doing so well any more!  You heard it here first.

24th April 2013

SCOTTISH HERITAGE – Minnie Gemmill’s

I found this photo recently, one of a good number I took. It is of the ruin of a building called Minnie Gemmill’s and is situated just outside of a village in Ayrshire called Dunlop, on a hill and in a relatively isolated position. When I first saw the building it was more or less intact, although in a poor state of repair. It had been owned by the Gemmill family for several centuries, there being two lintels to doors inscribed with names of earlier Gemmills; one from memory, although I do have a photograph somewhere, was to a Patrick Gemmill in the late 1500s. The last owner, whom I never met, she had died some years earlier, was a Minnie Gemmill, hence the name of the building. It’s alternative name was ‘templehous’, it having belonged to the Knights Templar. This building dates, given the dates of the lintels, in essence to the 16th century or before. Perhaps a building was erected on the footings of an earlier 13th century building; who knows. The order of the Knights Templar was suppressed in 1312.

The reason I was interested in this building was that I wanted to buy it, and some 18 acres of land surrounding it, and completely renovate it. The owner at the time was a Mrs Morris, the widow of Neil Morris, who owned Morris Furniture in Glasgow. I met her on several occasions. I made a fair offer, but she died and her son Robert took over. I met Robert, a rather eccentric fellow, on numerous occasions, but the sale did not proceed. He, a professed Scottish nationalist and promoter of all things Scottish, took no interest in the building whatsoever and let it go to rack and ruin, which is quite reprehensible. Now there is nothing left of it. A Scottish Nationalist and promoter of Scottish history? Bollocks! I still feel very angry about this. At least I have a number of photographs of the property should any local historians be interested in these.

OBAMA TWEET

I come on!  The tweet about the White House having been attacked and Obama wounded has to have been sent to make some money on the markets. How gullible people are. And there’s a law which makes ‘insider trading’ illegal? Ha!

ABUS QATADA

On and on this saga goes, there is no end in sight. If this government had any sense they would simply take the man and send him to Jordan, end of story. What are the EU effectively able to do about it, or our courts for that matter. Bugger all I suggest.

VEHICLES POWERED BY PETROL AND DIESEL

Research has just revealed that vehicles powered by petrol and diesel will be around for a long time yet. ‘Green’, renewable sources of energy offer no competition. Why am I not surprised at this!

FBI, CIA ET AL

The FBI are pretty dumb. Indeed, they, as also the CIA, are not taken particularly seriously by security services of a good number of countries. If Russian security services tipped them off about the two terrorists from Chechnya, they should have taken not only notice, but action. I suppose it is the terrorists’ human right to kill and maim innocent victims; well, you tell that to those affected and the families of those who died.

People from such sensitive countries as Chechnya, and there are a great number of such, should quite simply not be allowed into the US, and Europe, unless there is very good reason for allowing them to do so. Purporting to be a refugee is not a good reason.

THE CUTTING EDGE

14th June 2012

LABOUR PARTY REVITALIZING ITSELF

Labour is beginning to sound more Tory than the Tory party, at least as the Tories used sound to a good many years ago. This is without doubt why they have overtaken the Tories in all opinion polls by a very healthy margin.   The survey for the Sunday Express by pollsters Angus Reid, for example,  puts David Cameron’s party on just 29% – compared to 43% for Labour. The paper said that it represented Labour’s biggest lead over the Conservatives since December 2002 when Tony Blair was in Downing Street and Iain Duncan Smith was the Tory leader.

This is galling, given that Labour were the root cause of all the evils that now face the country and they permeated them over a period of 12 years.

Of course, the lack of a credible Tory opposition in this period meant that they were given a free hand to act in the way they did. Even in opposition one never knew what the Tories stood for, one knows so even less now that they are in power, notwithstanding it is a coalition government.

Labour are even talking of holding a referendum on the EU – whatever that means, and it means very little for sure, but it finds resonance with the electorate. Coupled once again with allegations of sleaze and mismanagement, it does not auger well for the Tories. We have not seen such a shambles for a very long time,  I would suggest not even in the days of John Major’s second administration.

The Tories simply do not have people of substance in their party, at least not on the front bench; nor do Labour for that matter, but they can afford not to have these, after all, they are not in power.

NIGEL FARAGE AND UKIP

Leading on from the foregoing, if there is one political leader for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration, it is Nigel Farage of UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). He is one of but a handful of excellent speakers. He is quick-witted, erudite, on top of his brief, in short everything the leaders and front bench spokesmen of the other main parties are not.

The problem is he stands alone in his party, and that is a great shame. The odd UKIP Euro MP does not cut it. I do not see UKIP ever having more than the odd token MP elected, if that, nor indeed being part of a minority or coalition government. Even if the Euro implodes, and seems ever more likely, and the EU is in even greater difficulties, the fact that UKIP have campaigned on but this issue alone will sweep the carpet away from under their feet. Even UKIP shy away from the main issue in the UK – immigration. No doubt they do so as not to be seen as a party of the right, which is not how I personally see them.

THE QUEEN’S VISIT TO STAMFORD

I spent a delightful afternoon yesterday in Stamford, an attractive town in South Lincolnshire, which the Queen was visiting as part of her Jubilee Tour. She spent some time at Burleigh House, an impressive stately home built by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Lord High Treasurer in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. Before leaving Stamford she drove through the town centre, where I managed to get this photograph of her. I have nothing but admiration for the Queen. She has served her country well over the years in what has been no doubt a highly demanding and stressful job.

Copyright Kenneth Jacob 2012

A SOVIET IN BOURNE

Just prior to the White Revolution in August 1993 I wrote a letter to Boris Yeltsin, the President of the then Soviet Union. It was about the time I had started going to Berlin regularly before settling there to work in the music business. I had previously been engaged in head-hunting in the commodities markets and had got to know a number of people in the City of London, some of whom became friends or good acquaintances. With one such, Tim Lewin, son of Admiral Lord Lewin, Chief of the Defence Staff and member of the war cabinet during the Falklands War, I was trying to establish some barter business. I wrote to a number of people, including Boris Yeltsin, to see whether there was a prospect of doors being opened in this respect. I heard nothing for some weeks.

Then one morning a Russian phoned me to say he would like to visit me in Bourne. I was curious to meet him, so why not. He was as good as his word, arriving later that afternoon at the house we lived in at the time in North Road. His name he told me was Andre Smirnov. ‘Sure’, I said, ‘and my real name is Johnny Walker’. My disbelief had not gone unnoticed.

He seemed intent on verifying his identity, which I did not regard as a particular Russian trait. He produced his passport and various other documents. My knowledge of Russian then was limited, but I took them and him at face value.

‘How on earth did you get hold of my name and telephone number?’ I asked him.

He told me that he had been on a tank demonstrating in front of the White House in Moscow when someone passed him a copy of the letter I had written to Yeltsin. I regarded that as an utter cock-and-bull story then and do to this day.

Andre then proceeded to tell me he was a member of Soviet Naval Intelligence, with a rank equivalent to a Colonel in the KGB.  It’s not impossible that he was telling the truth. It was not particularly easy for Russians to move around Europe at that time. It soon became apparent that he was very well educated and spoke several languages. He told me he acted as an interpreter from time to time, English to Russian. His English was certainly very good. Curiously enough I saw him on television some time later, on a stage interpreting between Gorbachev and Thatcher. Gorbi had his regular interpreter, but he was absent on this occasion.

Andre produced some gifts, a number of Soviet medals, some of which I still have, and a watch, which ceased to work some weeks later. I in return gave him a two hundred year old historical manuscript with which he seemed very pleased. My wife, Andre and I had dinner together and an enjoyable evening was had discussing how, if at all, we could do business together. It was very much a matter of him being able to effect introductions.

We met Andre again in London a short while later. The meeting took place at the Charing Cross Hotel in London. I videoed our meeting, with which he was none too happy, but there was little he could do about it, without causing a disturbance. (I will post this on my blogs in due course. The video has been digitalized, but I need to extract the 2 – 3 minutes relating to this episode).

Nothing came of our attempt to do business. Tim and I could perform at our end, but Andre could not at his. I lost touch with Tim over the years, but tracked him down just over two years ago. I telephoned him in Moscow, where he now lives and works. I’m not sure exactly what he does there, but the Russians aren’t stupid.

This has been extracted from my book IT HAPPENED IN BERLIN, due to be published later this year.

Copyright Kenneth Jacob 2012

THE CUTTING EDGE

7th October 2011

BODY PARTS

I’m not convinced that the idea of giving people a free burial in return for their body parts to be used in transplants is a good idea. In any event, mine are so knackered I cannot imagine anyone wanting them, even for free! I do, however, see a futures market developing in these parts. I mean, why not? We trade so much on futures markets and here is another wheeze for traders to make a quick buck.

LIAM FOX

Labour are making hay out of Liam Fox’s embarrassment out of his friendship with his pal Adam Werrity. That’s politics, par for the course. It does, however, show a certain lack of judgement on Fox’s part. There seems to be a very indecent haste on the part of David Cameron to have his enquiry completed within 48 hours. It just goes to show, these enquiries don’t have to last for years when you don’t want them to.  I wonder whether Fox has been set up. After all, there are those in the Tory party who don’t like him for his independence of spirit, last but not least – David Cameron. If not set up, then I imagine his actions have been carefully monitored this last year to see where there is a weakness.

Postscript:

The calls for his being sacked are growing louder. Cameron has offered him his support, so that inevitably spells doom. His incredibly poor judgement is indisputable. But then he is in good company on the Tory front bench. Where he gay, on the other hand, there would not be a problem. I wonder why his defender in the media this last 24 hours has been the merry Nick Boles MP. Food for thought.

CAMERON’S SUPPORT OF GAYS

I read with astonishment an article in the Sunday Mail. In essence, aid to poor African countries will be cut if they don’t protect gays within their communities. I mean, it’s OK to give aid to such countries where it is misappropriated by corrupt dictators, but not if these same people are un-protective of gays. Where is this man coming from? Is he worried that the camp sounding leader of our opposition will get the gay vote or what?

TORY CONFERENCE

What a circus this is turned out to be. There is much one can comment on, but the most outrageous statement yet made has to be the one by our demented Fuehrer. He wants to reintroduce the right to buy your council house/flat. Well, why not on I say. But what about the council flats and houses occupied by immigrants, many, very many of them here illegally. Such a sale might be construed to legitimize their illegal entry into this country. But that apart, what does that mean for the many British citizens who have been denied council housing because such housing was given preferentially to immigrants. A council, when confronted with a family of 10 from Somalia, let us say, are obliged to find them housing. And so it has been for coming on for 20 years. This is a disgusting state of affairs. And what is it all for? Just to raise a few million pounds in revenue.

This Government has just made a commitment to increase overseas aid by £3 billion. In 2009 a total of £11.5 billion was given in aid, much of this to countries that are simply undeserving of it. We have filled with much of this money the coffers of tyrants and autocrats and allowed many more to spend money on armaments. As for the latter, much of this money does come back to the UK in the form of exports by the British armaments industry.

The war in Libya has cost the country some £1 billion, more or less, depending on the reports read. It will cost us more yet, and what will be offer them for reconstructing their economy and infrastructure? The Afghan war has so far cost us £11.1 billion – and for what. What has been achieved. We even have that former staunch supporter of the war General McCrystal telling us the war cannot be won, at least not in the set time frame for the beginning of withdrawal of troops in 2014. This is nothing new. Nine years ago I wrote about the unlikelihood of such a war being won, following this up with further articles. But how outrageous for McCristal and others to come out with this now. One is preparing the scene for an ignominious withdrawal akin to that from Vietnam. Nor should I forget to mention the war with Iraq that cost us some £9 billion. All this money should have been spent on our people. Apart from the money it caused an exodus of inhabitants from these countries, many coming to the EU and of course, where else, but the UK. The cost of accommodating these constitutes a double whammy.

What were our leaders thinking of? Blair’s heir Cameron has gone down the same route as his former master. When one lacks the ability to govern one’s own country competently,  one looks abroad for an easy option. That has always been the case. I mean, ask yourself, what on earth is this man doing as UK Prime Minister? He has no qualifications for the job whatsoever, in the same way the George Osborn has none to be chancellor. We cannot afford to give these people on the job training for these positions of the greatest importance and authority. I mean, it akin to taking on a graduate to run Coca Cola. That would be unthinkable.

We were also told not enough is being done to encourage growth in the economy. This is patently untrue and let me set the record straight –  NOTHING is being done to encourage growth in our economy. Sound bytes don’t hack it!

All this talk about reducing taxes to encourage growth. A small tax cut, even a number of small cuts over a period will do very little to encourage growth. What inducement should this be to a company to invest? Precious little. I tell you what it means, it means their profits may be a little higher for that year, but it will not encourage growth in any way, shape or form.

On the positive side, I have noticed that George Osborne’s voice training has had some beneficial effect. He no longer sounds as squeaky as he used to. Cameron in the other hand still sounds like a petulant schoolboy.

BIG SOCIETY

Its gone rather quiet around the Big Society. Whatever happened to it? Another failure, another U-turn.

SOVIET UNION

The idea that Russia may be on the brink of forming a new political bloc akin to the former Soviet Union is to be welcomed. We need another power bloc to act as a buffer between Europe and the ever growing might of China. That apart, the synergy brought about by this will be of benefit not only to Russia, but to the many disparate states of the former Soviet Union, most of whom have not prospered since its demise and have seen continual upheaval. The risks for further strive are nevertheless great. One can but be reminded of the brutal war in Chechnya. Perhaps Putin believes such a union will give Russia and its closest allies legitimacy to act decisively to quell any dissent with firmness – and brutality.

THIRD TIME LUCKY?

Third time lucky for Sir Paul McCartney? I certainly hope so and wish him well.

US PROTESTS

I have been following these protests almost from the day they started. They got little coverage in the UK press initially and it is only now that they are spreading that they are.

Is this the American spring? I wonder. It all depends on the US administration, how they will react and cope with this situation. Their track record on all matters relating to the repair of economy has been poor, and it is how the economy has affected the lives of not only the average American Joe, but increasingly the middle class, that has brought about these demonstrations. The American dream seems to be well and truly dead and buried; can it be resurrected? It is the wanton pillaging by the few, the super rich of the country and its wealth that has at long last struck a note of discord. Does this spell the end of capitalism in the USA? Of course it doesn’t, nor should it. But as I have often said on these pages, unfettered, unregulated capitalism cannot be allowed to continue.

Does this strike a note here in Britain, or in Europe come to that? To me it does, yet I fear the British are fundamentally a subservient nation; a nation of people who will accept almost everything thrown at them by their governments, but I believe there is a line, that once crossed, can never be drawn again. Some 5 million Brits fled the country under Blair and these were precisely the kind of people the country could ill afford to lose, most from what I like to call the old middle class. Perhaps we will see more resistance to the incompetence of politicians in Europe, in France or Italy, although I fear not always for the right reasons.

But the Goldmanism, the Sachsim that has prevailed in the world must be curtailed. The unethical appropriation of money, of profit, no matter what the cost to countries, their peoples, communities, such as we are seeing on an ever increasing scale, cannot be allowed to continue. If this matter is not addressed, then I firmly believe it will have dire consequences in the longer term.

M & S

Marks and Spencers seem to be carving a nice little niche for themselves in the food market. Various new varieties of produce have been introduced. The ones that have stuck in my mind are a type of Super Broccoli which claims a number of health benefits and a smooth skinned Kiwi fruit  they call Kiwee, and which can be eaten with its skin. These sell at a premium of course, but M & S’s clientele is used to paying above average prices for food which, for the most part, is of above average quality. Of course, some items are sold at a premium where all that differentiates them from, say Tesco, is the branding. I think here particularly of salads. Having met a manager from what is probably Britain’s largest supplier of packed washed salads, I was assured there is no difference between the salad in an M&S packet and that in one of ASDA – other than the price. I must try the Kiwees.

SILENT WITNESS

I watched part two of this series. How slow it is. I fear where producers have a plot, a story line, that is thin, they extend it with boring, unneccessary, slow-moving nonsense in order to fill the the series timewise. However, in this instance the plot appears at least to carry weight, so why thin it out?

I am intrigued by seeing both Osborne and Cameron in the story.

RUSSELL BRAND

Russell Brand was refused entry into Canada. I can’t shed any tears over that. At least Canadians are displaying some common sense. Perhaps we should refuse him entry back into the UK.

YVETTE COOPER

This dreadful woman has been getting plaudits for her speech at the Labour Party conference. I cannot see why. Her judgement in all matters has to be suspect – after all, she married Ed Balls.

GREECE

Some of the reasons given by Greeks for insisting that the EU help them out of the mire are ridiculous in the extreme. I gather that two that are popular in Greece are that Germany destroyed much of the Greek infrastructure during WWII and they owe reparations. Get real folks! How much more are the Germans to pay? Then it is argued that, as they belong to the EU, the wealthier members of this club should support the less fortunate members. I don’t buy that either.

REFERENDUM ON EU

I trust this is nothing but a sound byte, well, why should it be anything more than that. I cannot imagine it coming to anything, and yet should it could be a very dangerous route to take.

I am all for a referendum, but it at all depends on what question is asked and how it is phrased – as with all referendums. To ask the simple question whether we should remain in the EU or come out it, as both UKIP and the BNP have been calling for, is not the way forward. I suspect the result may even be that we should remain in it, although the result could be close.

I would be happier for the question to be asked whether Britain should re-negotiate the basic treaty. And yet, unless certain matters that were to be renegotiated were set out as part of the referendum, this may also not advisable. Those who would be charged with re-negotiting the treaty would argue that to put such parameters into the referendum would impede their ability to negotiate, after all, how can we show our cards up front. There is something to this. I see no other way forward, however. The problem is that no matter what any of the three major parties say they will do in respect of re-negotiations, preceding a referendum, they are not to be trusted to adhere to this. That has been amply demonstrated.

28th September 2011

THE LABOUR PARTY

Are Labour beginning to learn a lesson? Ed Milliband at the Labour Part conference gave a speech setting out his thoughts and potential policies for Britain and more importantly its economy. Much of what he said will find some resonance with the British middle class. The problem it is he who says it, and he, nor Labour for that matter, have any credibility. They caused most of the problems we now face, and to present this volte face is quite revolting as far as I am concerned.  A number of commentators have argued that this is old fashioned Labour class war on capitalism. I don’t agree. This touches more on Cameron’s Big Society than the Tories would like to admit; and Labour know it. As ever, they are so much smarter than their Tory counterparts in analysing the status quo, as also their own predicament; and yet I have no doubt that they are unable to capitalize upon it – no pun intended. They, as do the Tories, operate with sound-bytes, but these ain’t half a bad ones.

DAILY MAIL

I quite like the Daily Mail from the perspective that it is a crusading newspaper. I don’t like its headlines or its overall tone. The worst thing about it is that they dredge up old news, again and again and, may I say it, again. OK, they need copy to fill a lot of space.

PETER OBORNE

I did so enjoy his appearance on Newsnight last night. Like Nigel Farage, he does speak his mind and that is something that is needed in British politics. OK, to call the representative from Brussels an idiot, and that on more than one occasion, was a little near the knuckle, but then again, so what. I was amused, but not surprised, to see the man leave the Brussel’s studio before the discussion had ended.

TESCO

I wrote some months ago that I felt Tesco was peaking. It had somehow lost its way. Well, Tesco appears to have come to this realisation themselves in that they have caught their opposition on the wrong foot with their recent price cuts, which are substantial. Price on some items have been almost halved and the results are making themselves felt in their trading figures. Let Sainsbury and the rest follow. They will have to do something.

UKIP

As for UKIP, their party conference came and went. Little was reported in the national media. Even Nigel Farage did not manage to get many interviews. The problem with UKIP is that they are a one issue party. They will argue that they are not, but that is how they are perceived by the British public, and I don’t see that changing. They are also a one man party – and that man is of course Nigel Farage. Until they can both broaden their policy horizons and get this across to the electorate and, more importantly, get some good quality people on board, they have not a chance in hell of succeeding in British politics. The same applies to the BNP, to a lesser degree. It is therefore a shame that the Tory right is scattered over a number of political parties and interest groups. I say Tory right, although I must state that I don’t associate myself with their views other than on the issues of immigration and the EU. As far as the latter is concerned, it is foolhardiness to suggest that we can leave the EU. However, it is imperative that all attempts by the Brusselcrats to force a federal state upon Europe must be resisted at all cost, by any means. Should this not be feasible, then yes, we must leave the EU. But I don’t believe there is a common desire in Europe to see a federal state. One has to work much more closely with other political groups in Europe who share the same views.

The Brusselcrat who appeared on the Newsnight program epitomizes for me all that is wrong with the EU.

RADIOVISION

We had radio, then television and the next thing is Radiovision. How so? Most radio programs have an on-line presence, especially the BBC ones. They have often shown stills from a webcam, or movies, but now we have the Tony Livesey show on BBC Radio 5 Live going a step further. In short, we will have Radiovision. However, that too will be short-lived.

In maximum a decade I see every house in the country having a media-box, for want of a better word. This will distribute television programs onto screens, big and small, hand held, mobiles… you name it. The same media-box will supply us our internet connection, our telephones, our dinger to turn on the lights, run the bath water, turn off the oven…. and much else. Oh happy days! Or not?