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.
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 believesthat 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.
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.
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.
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.
South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), led by Miss Piggy aka Lind Neal, are certainly a council from hell, as is demonstrated time and time again. The old chestnut in respect of their lack of care as far as noise pollution on their patch in Bourne is concerned will not go away – nor, let me assure you, will I as it happens. Be it the Firkin Ale, The Jubilee, even on occasion Smith’s, they have all been in breach of both Licensing and Environmental Health regulations. Inevitably the council care not a jot. One of the problems I dare say is that this council has been led by one party and the same people more or less for a very long time. Corruption inevitably sets in, and by corruption I don’t mean solely financial corruption. I have made enquiries about other councils around the country, they treat such issues seriously, not so this council. Operatives will not come out to investigate such issues, particularly not out of hours. Well, that is not quite true, if one carries some clout with them they will send someone out, as in the instance of a vexatious and spurious claim made by a shop owner recently. They are fundamentally in breach of sections 79 and 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, but appear to be law unto themselves.
I have a number of people to add to this, but will make a start this week with the two dears depicted below. In view of the Government’s investigation into dodgy detectives (which has gone rather quiet again of recent), perhaps one should just cast a eye over them. They go under the names of Cameron Gowlett and Duncan Mee.
ALL THIS TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC GROWTH
What people tend to forget is that we had stood still or had negative growth for some years, consequently growth in our economy was inevitable sooner or later, the French example notwithstanding. This comes at a good time for the Government as they can talk it up in time for the next general election. But let them beware, there are still some further growth figures to be announced by then. And now we have the Tories airbrushing any references to pledges they gave (all of which were not maintained) from their online presence, nor do Nick and Dave appear to be such good friends any more; all in the name of politics.
SIR BECKHAM, SIR BLACKADDER
It’s bad enough having had Tony Robinson knighted, but David Beckham? Come on! As far as Robinson is concerned, some may be very disappointed in him. An icon of the far left he nevertheless decided that Sir Tony has a nice ring to it – rather hypocritical methinks.I guess the fat man from Hull set a precedent.
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO I CAN DO BETTER….
At least, so the song goes. In response to events in the Philippines our idiot Cameron sent a warship to assist with relief efforts. The USA announced the next day they would be sending an aircraft carrier. Hark… hark I say, now we too are sending an aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. It doesn’t look much like an aircraft carrier compared to the US navy’s George Washington, but it sounds good, right? Oh, by the way, calling our man an idiot, something I have been doing for a good many years, is quite OK, as it has now been given the Paxo seal of approval.
SOME OTHERS DO ‘AVE ‘EM
I read some of the comments made by Sir James Munby, a senior judge and president of the Family Division of the High Court. Munby had a run in with the barrister representing the Earl Spencer in his divorce from his second wife some years ago. That barrister, Nicholas Mostyn, farmed pigs and named a litter of seven of them James, Munby, Self-regarding, Pompous, Publicity, Seeking, Pillock. That did not go down too well, but I must say, I rather like his style!
‘Courts must not be swayed by Christian morality,’ Munby said. Well, who knows, if you are an atheist you would agree with this sentiment. Then he goes on to say that England is multicultural now.I am concrened about his use of that much perverted word ‘multicultural’. Arguably we are not multicultural, or we have been for at least a couple of millennia, but if we have, then not in today’s context. He said: ‘Surely we must assess matters in 1213 by the standards of reasonable men and women, not by the standards of their parents in 1970, implying that Christian values prevailed then. I would suggest that if we were to live by Christian values we would have a much fairer society, and I don’t speak as a Christian. I wager that the vast majority of people do look back fondly on a time when crime rates were much lower than today, although one should not forget the many gross miscarriages of justice that took place. Or perhaps we should have Shariah law in this country (it already exists in some matters, legally and illegally). Let homosexuals be executed, thieves have their hands amputated, adulterers/adulteresses be stoned to death, yes, why not.But of course his lordship baulks at that, but is not the thin end of the wedge that such opinions may well give rise to such draconian punishments in due course?
Incidentally, Munby was appointed Lord Justice of Appeal by Gordon Brown whilst he was in office; that says it all for me. Judges for the most part come from the ranks of QCs (Queen’s Counsels). A successful QC would take a significant drop in salary to become a judge. Some do of course for the cudos and status. But will a QC who is unsuccessful, and they do exist believe me, make a good judge?
MAYOR OF TORONTO
Having heard this man speak several times over the past fortnight, I have to say the people of Toronto, having voted him into office,got what they deserve.
I have for some years been advocating that Arsene Wenger is well past his sell-by date. If he isn’t then Arsenal fans are a curious crowd, happy not to see metal-ware come their way for a good manyyears. Of course, were he no longer to manage, and I can well imagine that he won’t want to again, may we yet see and hear him as a pundit in the media. That perhaps is even more intolerable.
I heard an interview with him recently on British radio. What an amazing and fascinating man.
Everyone seems to be so worried about security agencies reading ones emails, blogs and so on. But pretty ordinary people filter through content to find data that is of interest to them. There are many ways this can be done, even with such basic and not particularly effective tools such as Google Alerts. There are even companies specialising in finding information for you. So in that context I find it amusing to note that when one mentions keywords such as ‘behead – Tony Blair – David Cameron – Mark Zuckerberg’, visits to this site went up 6 fold for the day.
ROMA ET AL
Why do the media, and the Government, one should not forget them, although it is easily done, talk about Roma, Romanians, Bulgarians, uncle Tom Cobley and all, as if they are a a fait accompli, as if they are here to stay. They should be sent back where they came from, and it is, believe me, as simple as that.They have nothing to seek here, nor do they make a positive contribution to this country. This will all yet find a very violent end.
David Cameron’s voice and his speeches are to oratory what Heinrich Himmler was to European Jewry.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 news that Barclay’s bank are closing down their department dealing with avoiding paying taxes is really not that meaningful. I suspect they will sell on their client bases to third parties, discretely of course, the money probably being paid off-shore. It would not even surprise me if bank employees hit upon the idea of doing the same.
The fact is that in most instances advice on reducing one’s tax liability is given in the first instance by accountants. They work closely with solicitors, some of whom specialize in various schemes to lower one’s tax liability. I can think of a number of those. I wonder whether the long arm of public disapproval on such matters will reach them in due course.
A Russian analyst pointed out today that there is very little that can be done to prevent North Korea developing an atomic bomb that can be delivered against its enemies. If I were the leader of North Korea or Iran I would certainly be looking to cooperate in this, after all, your enemy’s enemy is your friend, and the big, bad enemy of both is the USA.
VIVE LE CHEVAL !
We are rapidly becoming a horse eating nation – and why not. Let us try and give horse meat the culinary respect it deserves. Chefs will have to augment their repertoire to include delicious new recipes. Delia Smith (oh, perhaps not Delia, she looks like a laideron), let’s say Nigella Lawson’s 100 favourite horsey snacks will find their way onto our bookshelves; what great potential this all offers. It could give our economy the boost it needs!
Think of the marketing that can be done. All manufacturers are keen to promote special edition products. Well then, how about special edition horseburgers? I can see the carton labelled: ‘This product is courtesy of the winner of the 3-30 at Epsom’ (thanks Davey for that one). They could certainly charge a premium for that. And where does the best quality meat come from? Is it Poland, or France, perhaps Benelux, or even here.
And as for that handful of detractors among you, what did you expect from Tesco value burgers that cost less than a quid to buy in the first place?
Vive le Cheval !
It’s some time since I posted in my ROGUES’ GALLERY. Mick Thurlby of Tallington still features prominently. His two pubs in Bourne still break laws intermittently, usually, but not solely, noise related. It has to be said the worst offender is the Firkin Ale in North Street. How that establishment is still open God only knows. They attract the lowest of life in town by offering the cheapest booze – logically. But the noise emanating from that pub when they have live music is totally unacceptable. It is the magnet for the town’s drunks. And I thought publicans are not to serve those patently inebriated. But they do.
The local councils don’t give a damn, that is obvious, nor do the police, but to be fair to them, they no longer really exist here. The buck has to stop with Miss Piggy aka Linda Neal, leader of the district council. It would be nice to think her days were numbered.
IMMIGRATION FROM RUMANIA AND BULGARIA
It is quite incomprehensible to hear government ministers talking about the projected influx of immigrants from Rumania and Bulgaria. They also conveniently forget that a very great many are already here illegally. But to accept this as a fait accompli is criminal, there is no other word for it. They have abrogated all responsibility they have for this country and its people. David Cameron, along with most of his cabinet, are enemies of the state; there is no place for them in a civilized society, they quite simply don’t belong.
CAMERON’S EU DEAL
For David Cameron to boast that he has done well for the country in negotiating a deal favourable to the UK is nonsense, it goes without saying, but I’ve said it. He did precious little. Merkel was prepared to go along with it, that’s why it happened. France’s Hollande kept a diplomatic low profile. After all, he owes Cameron one for assisting in Mali. As for the rest of them, they offer Cameron a sop to boost his image vis a vis his electorate in matters EU; after all, he has promised a referendum, or has he, I’m really not sure, you can’t believe a word the man says. Most importantly, it has not been ratified by the European Parliament.
I have written about this before, but the proliferation of abuse in this country in respect of outrageous rates of interest charged continues unabated. This is quite simply not permitted In other major European countries; they have anti-usury legislation, and come down hard on those who seek to break the law. Our government talks about taking action in this sphere, but as yet nothing has been done, rather predictably so. However, I believe that this issue, along with some other burning issues, will ultimately force the hand of this broken government.
READERSHIP OF THIS BLOG
Readership of this blog has shown a slow and steady increase. Why, I really don’t know As I stated some time ago, there is so little to say, I said most of it 10 – 15 years ago. Yet readership increases, and I am delighted that the quality of the readership is very high. Incidentally, those seeking back links are wasting their time, as such comments/requests are deleted; but then of course I am dealing with bots not people in this respect.
BEEF BURGERS ?
The ‘contamination’ of beef burgers with horsemeat has been an amusing divertissement for me. There’s nothing wrong with horsemeat, its very tasty. Offering beef burgers containing horsemeat of course breaches the trades description act, and action should, and indeed has been, taken. The fact that traces of port contamination have been found has I am sure not gone down well with fromme Jews and Muslims, yet I find this rather amusing. But what can one expect from Burgers (and sausages) sold at a give-away price. I’d like to know what happened to the 10 million or so burgers that were withdrawn from sale. Were they binned? Tesco’s et al have been very quiet about that. If destroyed then that would be a wicked waste. There are many who would have been grateful for these. That apart, horsemeat is probably healthier than beef, given it has not been contaminated with the antibiotics cattle are fed.
Had I the capital I would have taken a punt on ABP’s shares (owners of Silvercrest). It was obvious that their shares would fall in the short term; unfortunately I didn’t have the dosh to make it worthwhile. Tesco’s took a hit as well. What a shame.
Dentistry in the UK has had its ups and downs, the overall trend, at least for those seeking NHS treatment, has been down. Too many good dentists have left the NHS and offer only private treatment now. In a way I can’t blame them. How things have changed over the past 50 years. I have had some bad experiences recently, and I am not alone as I discover when I speak with friends and acquaintances.
Many dentists who fill the NHS gap are from abroad, all over the world. They come with different levels of experience. The majority have not studied or trained here. They also bring with them a mind-set that is not ours. It is very much a drill and fill and extract for simplicity’s sake attitude. I had a dentist who barely spoke English, in fact, had it not been for the dental nurse who spoke Polish fluently, I would have been in trouble.
Taking the profession generally, I believe too many regard the NHS as a cash-cow. I am sure drugs, anaesthetics, for example, are used that do not correspond to the best practice rules, or may even be illegal to use.
Hygenists, or the dentist themselves who offer such a service, are only too happy to spend 5 minutes cleaning ones teeth, doing a bad job, and yet charging the NHS full whack. I make such comparisons to the excellent NHS dentist I had in Fulham some years ago, where going to the Hygenist entailed three 20 minute sessions, which included educating you to what one such do to maintain healthy teeth and gums, quite apart from doing a thoroughly good job cleaning ones teeth. Such dentists are few and far between, and as I no longer live in London I can’t avail myself of this service.
The Government should, however, have dentistry in this country investigated, there is much amiss there in my opinion.
27th January 2013
BRITISH TROOPS IN MALI
This is nothing but a political gesture, how could it be but anything else. It is designed to gain goodwill with the French in advance of so called negotiations in respect of our membership of the EU, as also to show what a strong and purposeful leader our petulant schoolboy is. I really don’t see why British troops should be sent there. It was formerly a French colony and the French have not been reticent in retaining their influence in Africa, to the extent that they have troops stationed in a number of African countries. As much as I loathe these extremists, why should our troops be exposed to even more conflict, especially as numbers of service personnel are being cut back? We are told they are to act in an advisory and training capacity, but where have I heard that before?
THIS INANE TALK ABOUT BEING IN EUROPE
The media, all of them, are having a field day with their inane talk about us, the UK, ‘being in Europe’. We are in Europe, always have been, and nothing whatsoever will change that. We have a shared heritage with many on the mainland, especially with the Germans, French and those from the low countries. Our history and shared culture aptly demonstrates this very well.
The European Union, on the other hand, with its quasi-independent stance on all matters political and economic, is another matter. I regard this almost as a state within a state, but then Europe is not a state, and I hope it will not become one in my lifetime, or indeed that of following generations. I say quasi-independent because the views of the people are rarely consulted. It is indeed as the article in the Bild Zeitung says (see an earlier post) that we cannot be trusted to decide for ourselves and that matters of such gravitas be decided by those who know better.
And who are these people who know better? Speaking for myself, I have little time for the Eurocrats, a particularly unpleasant breed of Untermenschen. And yes, I have met some in the past, one or two quite high ranking ones, who even a decade and more ago wanted nothing but to establish a European state run from Brussels (and elsewhere). They, in their arrogance, knew best what we needed and, incidentally, were incredibly self-serving in their attempts to bring this about.
Does anyone seriously believe that a European trading bloc would have less clout than a politically unified Europe? All the benefits that are promoted for being in such a unified state can be achieved without being in the same. We have had cross-border cooperation in many areas for some considerable time, be they economic, political or military, none of which need such a union as a prerequisite. But for me and many here it is the inane rules and regulations emanating from Brussels, in all walks of life, the Human Rights Act, and the dismantling of our judiciary system that are of most concern.
And in parting, I see Tony Blair has come out of the woodwork again. He would love to be president of the EU, he has stated this many times before. That would be a mockery of all that is just and fair, but then, what is just and fair in this whole matter.
I think we are near to having a military government again, not that that threat ever totally receded. I ask myself whether that is a bad thing. All governments in Pakistan have been corrupt, but the current civilian one has managed to raise corruption to a new level of perfection. Incongruously an arrest warrant was issued for the prime minister of that country. I wish the judiciary had been that accommodating with some of our prime ministers in the past – or present for that matter. But on the other hand, the military has many ties with those in the badlands, as does the ISI. Perhaps Washington secretly wants to see the Army take over again, but they are living an illusion, in that I believe what they regard as a good relationship with the military in Pakistan is anything but that. As for General Pervez Musharraf, he spends much of his time in London, as many exiled dictators do, but he is damaged goods surely. For a long time he threatened to return to Pakistani politics, but things have gone rather quiet around him. Perhaps he should record a single and try and have a hit as a precursor to such a return, as he has a good voice apparently…lol. I have long believed Pakistan will ultimately end up as a fundamentalist Islamic state, and given they have the bomb, that would heighten tensions in the world greatly. Once the Iranians get theirs, and I see no reason to doubt they will, there will be two radical, fundamentalist states who will want to flex their muscles, the one near Europe, the other in the Far East. That would not auger well. It begs the question as to what Israel and India will have to say about that!
FASCIST PARTIES IN EUROPE
I am not surprised at the growth of Facism in Europe. In Greece they are doing well; I know they are in other parts of Europe. But what do hapless and incompetent politicians in Europe expect? It is a reaction against them that brings about this extremism, both to the left and the right of politics.
Who on earth let this idiot onto Question Time. He has demonstrated over the years that he is a most hapless fool.
30th December 2012
A HAPPY CHRISTMAS
A happy Christmas was had. A little late to wish you one, but perhaps I’ll get in early for next year.
Slowly but surely the rug is being pulled away from under him. Can’t say I’ll be sad to see him go. He is such a time pleaser.
MILLIBAND vs CAMERON
It continues to be extraordinary how a camp-sounding Jewish comedian can outperform the leader of the Conservative party to such an extent in the opinion polls. OK, I know we love comedians in this country, but this guy isn’t that good. His comedy routines are as old as the hills. Cameron has been taking advice on how to perform in the media, probably some speech therapy as well. This was long overdue. The Queen underwent it when younger, as did Maggie Thatcher at one stage. But it’s not doing Cameron any good. I heard him speak yesterday. He started off speaking relatively slowly, trying to sound Prime Ministerial., but that didn’t last long. We soon had the petulant school boy back again, sounding as puerile as ever.
I have to admit to having been an admirer of Vladimir Putin. I say ‘having been’, as I am becoming somewhat disillusioned with him. He did well enough to stabilize Russia and improve its economic performance, improving the lot of many in the country. I get the feeling, however, that he has become ever dependent on those thugs in Moscow and St Petersburgh whose money has bank-rolled the political careers of many in that country, last but not least Putin. There was a time when he could force them into exile, or imprison them, even if not always for the right reason, or ever for the right reason, but his power base appears to be much weaker now. Russia does not yet need democracy, as we know it, it is not yet ready. It continues to need a strong ruler to see it through yet more difficult times to come.
CRIME DOWN IN ENGLAND BY 10% IN 2012?
I don’t believe that for one moment. I have been a victim of crimes on more than one occasion over the past 5 years or so, and know of others who have also been. I also have my ear on the ground in my particular area in respect to crimes committed. Far too many crimes, not all what one might call insignificant, are not reported to the police. When they are it is important for those reporting them to get a victim number for a potential insurance claim. But then many, I was one of them, find it not worth while claiming against insurance, especially when there is an excess amount to be covered by the insured. Then again others have no insurance whatsoever to cover the eventuality of a crime. Furthermore, government compensation for victims of crimes has been dramatically reduced. All these factor make me for one believe that crimes have not fallen by 10%. What a neat amount to put forward in the first place! I cannot say that they have risen either, although many are in desperate straights and I would have thought may well resort to crime.
This hapless woman! Why is it we get so many poor Home Secretaries? Is it a job no one particularly aspires to? The job of Foreign Secretary seems on the whole to attract people of better quality – the present incumbent notwithstanding.
We heard yesterday that he can PROVE that Britain is on the right track. Prove? What a rum word to use. Does he feel he needs to prove this to us? Then what a lack of confidence on his part. The language used is quite extraordinary.
There are a good many rogues I will write about in this column. I made a start a few weeks ago with Mick Thurlby, in my opinion a veritable piece of detritus if ever I met one. Here’s another, John Martin, a disgraced solicitor. There is much to be said about this man, but let’s make a start this week with the link below.
I much enjoy the TV series Lewis, the successor of another excellent series Morse. Apart from the fact that Oxford has become the murder capital of Europe, what with anything between 2 – 4 murders a week, it is in my opinion excellent entertainment. And so is Lawrence Fox, such a good actor. I noted when looking up a biography on him that he went to Harrow at the same time as my son. In fact his time there shows up a number of similarities with my son’s. The lucky man is married to the gorgeous Billie piper and has a son named Winston, which also happens to be my son’s name; a good choice of name.
It is extraordinary how the creation of Wikipedia, and other similar sites and of course social networking sites, has led to people re-inventing themselves. I find it highly amusing to read about people on Wikipedia, for example, people I have known for much of their lives, a few since childhood, and yet I don’t recognize them. Their lives have been so interesting and their achievements far excel my memory of them. I even have a brother called Rohan, which came as a surprise to me a couple of years ago. The temptation to edit certain Wiki biographical entries is great, but I have so far resisted it. As a rule of thumb, the most innocuous, innocent, harmless young schoolboy has turned into a dull and boring grumpy old man. Perhaps that is to be expected. Yet those whose academic achievements did not set academia alight, to put it mildly, or whose career in later years hardly merits a mention, have all of a sudden become geniuses of the highest caliber. As a postscript – spell check does get it wrong.
6th August 2012
The Olympic Games certainly appear to be a roaring success, as does Britain’s tally of medals; well done out athletes. The organisers are also to be congratulated for the smooth running of the games, even if problems have been encountered. One has managed well to brush these under any number of carpets.
I shall be glad when they are over, however, as the mass hysteria engendered by our media is beginning to become irksome.. It shows what can be achieved in harnessing the emotions of the masses. It almost makes the Nuernberg Rallies bearable, oh well, almost, but perhaps not. And then of course we have the media, or at least some of it, telling us that ‘a new Britain is born’. Even that buffoon Boris Johnson had the same message this morning. I fear that will not be the case. Wait and see.
Of course, who wants to go back to ‘the old Britain’, but then we will per force very soon. It is quaintly amusing to see how David Cameron has kept quiet this last week. One would have thought he would have wanted to associate himself and his party with this new feeling of euphoria, but then it may well work against him, he being reminiscent of what’s wrong with this country. There is time enough for him to be associated with this in due course. I have been looking out for bad news that has undoubtedly been buried in this sea of goodwill and happiness. I haven’t found any as yet, but I wonder whether even the media are keeping stumm about such. We shall see, all will, I am sure, be revealed in due course. Finally, I do hope, against hope, that leading athletes will not be given knighthoods and gongs. After all, their reward has been winning and getting their respective Olympic medals. That should suffice.
TAXATION CAN BE SO TAXING
I heard on a radio program some bright spark suggest we should introduce SET (Sex Enjoyment Tax). Obviously it was tongue-in-cheek, imagine trying to assess it! However, it reminded me of a number of taxes that we have had imposed upon us in England over a number of centuries, some quite odd. Taxation itself has been with us since time immemorial. The ancient Egyptians, Persians and Romans all ‘suffered’ under it. What follows are but a few examples given in the briefest of outline. It may amuse some of you.
SCUTAGE (or shield money, from the Latin Scutum = shield)
This is known to have been levied as early as the reign of Henry I (1100-1135). Land was held under feudal tenure and a knight owed military service to his overlord. It was often the case that the knight was too old to fight, or too infirm, or rather wanted to enjoy the fruits of his estate. So the service was commuted to a money payment, With this the crown could hire mercenaries, as it often did, one think of the reigns of Stephen and John.
This eventually became an assessment by the crown on the burghers of cities, boroughs and royal lands demesne, essentially a land tax, as most taxes were. This had been around since shortly after the Norman conquest and raised substantial amounts of money, inhabitants of towns and cities soon becoming the wealthiest in the land.
This was a common way of raising money for the crown in the early periods, lasting from 12th to 17th centuries. You were assessed on all the moveable goods you owned and the tax was based on a fraction of the value of these, 1/15th in rural areas, and 1/10th in urban ones; the poorest were exempt. Bit of a rum one this. Imagine it still existed today! The tax assessor would enter your dwelling and tot up the value of goods in all your rooms. Cooker, microwave, TV, PC etc. Don’t think that would go down too well..
These too have been with us from the earliest day, and I’m not sure whether somewhere or other they are not still exacted. Tithe comes from the old English meaning 1/10th and were typically due to be paid to the owners of ecclesiastical benefices. Vicars and rectors were more often than not in receipt of these. Originally a payment of one tenth of the produce one harvested, many were commuted to money payments.
Bit of a weird one this. Introduced in 1662 it was repealed in 1689. You were taxed on the number of hearths you had in your home. It was also known as the chimney tax.
Here’s one you may have heard of. Introduced in 1696 it was repealed in 1851. You were taxed on the number of windows in your house. People got smart pretty quickly and bricked up as many windows as they could conveniently do; hence the term ‘daylight robbery’. You can still see any number of bricked up windows in both towns and the countryside – if you look.
DOMESTIC SERVANT TAX
The wealthier members of society faced a domestic servant tax at £1 for each male servant. Introduced in 1777 and repealed in 1852. A female servant tax was introduced later The Victorians repealed a good many of these taxes, realising that they were not conducive to economic growth.
HAIR POWDER TAX
This was introduced in 1795 and repealed in 1869, although as the fashion for wearing wigs had declined by the early part of the 19th century it did not raise that much revenue. A number of people were exempt from it, including members of the judiciary.
I shall write on this separately in due course.
That brings us to a tax we still ‘suffer’ from today – Income Tax. This was introduced for the first time in 1799, intermittently withdrawn and reintroduced, but then was here to stay.
Finally, it has to be said that in the medieval period the crown was very legere in collecting debts. They would very often carry forward debts for years and years. I have seen instances in the Pipe Rolls in the 14th century where significant debts were carried forward some 40 years and more, often being inherited by the heirs of a debtor. No such luck today, you’d have the bailiff around in no time.
I have always been a fan of wallpapers, especially those with bold, striking, colourful designs. Yes, one needs to be careful in that they can easily conflict with pictures hung on them and furniture within a room, but a happy balance can be obtained. Their use has declined, many people now preferring to paint their rooms instead, usually with dull pastel colours. I admit I am now guilty of that too. It is a great deal cheaper, offers the opportunity of easily changing the colour scheme in a room and of course doing so more rapidly.
There have been splendid wallpapers used over the past three centuries and more, largely by the landed, gentry and wealthy artisan classes. Examples of such papers can readily be seen in most country and fine town houses, as of course in museums such as the V & A. In the past when a room needed re-decorating, a visit to Sanderson’s to chose a fine Zoffany paper was a must, but alas no longer.
The wallpaper illustrated above is anything but a fine wallpaper. It comes from the house in which I now live. The house was built in 18th century, with Victorian and 20th century additions. Whilst renovating one room I took off many layers of wallpaper, before arriving at the above. As simple as the design is, it has a certain charm. I cannot decide whether it was bought as wallpaper carrying the design, which would have been block-printed, or whether it was mounted as plain paper and the design was painted on using stencils. I tend towards the latter. As for when it was applied, I don’t know for sure, but perhaps it is of the late 18th century.
Now that the withdrawal of Coalition forces is heading into the final furlong, signs of a resurgence by the Taliban and others and the inevitable disintegration of that country are mounting. For me this was always an inevitability, and I wrote about it at length going back some 10 and more years. For that reason there is little more for me to say on the matter. Government inspired media will of course spin this, but they will not succeed in putting a happy gloss on the situation. So what has it all been for?
And now the USA has Afghanistan declared a close US ally and has agreed to sell it advanced weapons. Are they crazy? There is a dislike of the USA that pervades throughout that country, from president Khazi downwards. No doubt such weapons will find their way into the hands of Americas foes, what are these crazy people thinking of; and Khazi’s days are numbered.
It has been reported in the media that Tony Blair is considering a return to politics; there can be no doubt about this. That this evil, vile piece of detritus should be admitted back into British society is to be decried and should be denied him. The man is a criminal. I won’t even go down the road of criticizing him in respect of Iraq; no, he has committed crimes against the British people which are unforgivable. These include social engineering and ethnic cleansing. He must be top of the hit list of many terrorist groups and I for one am delighted that this is so.
Having said that, his successor David Cameron – I think the less said about Gordon Brown the better – has well and truly stepped into Blair’s shoes. The self-proclaimed ‘heir to Blair’ is another who is not addressing the fundamental issues that detrimentally affect this country.
Once again we had another banking scandal, this time the mis-selling of insurance to protect against the rise in interest rates. I hear the media refer to the use of complicated financial instruments being used. Nothing of the sort. This is spread betting plain and simple and quite frankly the businessmen and women who signed up for this need to have their heads examined. With this type of gambling, and there is no other word that should be used to describe it, it is obvious that rates can go up, but also down, as indeed they did, and left many of those ‘insured’ with massive bills to pay. Having said that, in many instances banks insisted upon this ‘insurance’ in order to facilitate giving a loan to the companies. That is in my opinion totally immoral, I would go so far as to say criminal, and am pleased that those affected will be offered compensation.
Following this we had two further scandals in which a number of banks were involved, ie the fixing of the LIBOR rate. And now, to cap it all, we have Standard Chartered in’the dock’ for laundering money. Well, quite frankly, they are not the only bank guilty of that. I await further news of illegal action on the part of our banks, indeed not just ours, but overseas banks as well, especially US ones.
And yet banks have been acting in inappropriate and criminal fashion for very many years, often encouraged to do so by successive administrations, particularly those of Tony Blair. As for Mervyn King now speaking out against what has been going on, that quite frankly is a farce. Why did he not do so all those years ago? I am also delighted that that Bimbo-in-Chief Angela Knight, spokeswoman of the Banking Federation, is getting her cum uppence, she who staunchly defended the banks under all circumstances, she for whom they could do no wrong. Really, Ms Knight.
THE GAMBLING HABIT
We all gamble to one extent or another, or at least the vast majority of us do. But for all too many it is a sore affliction. I was thinking that the job of a pub manager must be damn well paid. I know of one who spends some £100 – £200 a week on scratch cards. How can he afford it? I mean, you can’t come out winning on scratch cards, or any kind of gambling, come to that, you’re not meant to win from the outset, and you don’t. The longer you gamble, the more likely you are to lose.
PEDRO THE PIRANHA
I’m rather fond of Pedro, who sits on my desk. Fortunately he is stuffed. Which reminds me, I know a number of people who will be stuffed in due course.
THE MURDOCHS – A family from down under going under.
This soap is unfolding nicely. We have diverse plot lines and let’s see how it all develops. Rupert Murdoch to be fair to him has had the wit to understand the danger confronting his business empire and will no doubt come out fighting when questioned in the Commons. Will Bekky do as well? It is foreseeable that at the worst this will destroy his empire, or at the best it will seriously weaken his power within the media. But it is what is happening in the USA that could potentially seriously damage his interests globally. The US government has teeth in this respect – ours does not. He has of course made many enemies over the years and they are closing in on him.
As for David Cameron, he has kept an incredibly low profile over the past week and more. To state that ‘we were all in this together…etc’ is a pathetic attempt to widen the net of responsibility. Of course they were all in it, Blair, Brown, Tom, Dick and Harry, and yet it sounded so pathetic. To go and visit Minnie Dowler’s parents, Ed Milliband having beaten him to it the day before, smacks also of the tackiest kind of PR imaginable. It demonstrates his incredible naivety and, quite frankly, added to all the other demonstrations of incompetence, his unfitness to be prime minister.
One can only ask again, what on earth possessed Cameron to employ Andy Coulson. Was he going to be the Ally Campbell of the Tory party? I wouldn’t be surprised if this was at the back of Cameron’s mind, this heir to Blair.
But as I stated before, it has not just been the media that has used hacking and bugging, and let’s differentiate between the two. Any number of others have been at it, the Security services, the police, government, both national and local, business and private individuals, and not all of these for good reasons. I hope the concentration on the Murdochs and their activities will not detract from what others have been up to.
It has of course been the influence of New Labour under Tony Blair that brought this about, to a large degree. The culture spawned by Blair where anything goes has everything to do with this. You could do what you wanted, there was no redress. You could get away with murder, and arguably some did. I remember well the heady days after the stunning election victory in 1997. I met many New Labour luvvies in the West End and Camden in London in the immediate years following. They were without exception incredibly naive, and in many instances just plain stupid, but full of themselves and their belief that they could do anything and get away with it.
I also recall not that long ago meeting some private detectives from a ‘reputable’ agency. They would have sold their own mothers if the price had been right, but would also not have been adverse to hacking into other peoples phones – if the price were right. I have no doubt that if I put my mind to it I can find any number of dodgy private detective who are available for such crimes.
Activities such as hacking/bugging will continue. For sure, the current attention paid to it will dampen the enthusiasm of those engaged in it in the short term, but in due course they will be at it again, especially as techonologies advance and it will prove easier for them to do so.
YATES OF THE YARD
So even this self serving and ambitious police officer is in the firing line now over the corruption charges that are flying around in respect of the Murdoch scandal. He was always too smug for my liking.
The USA’s Vietnam moment is approaching, slowly but surely. Those in government there are now openly talking about getting out of the country whilst admitting that the government they leave behind will be incredibly vulnerable. You heard that here first some 10 years ago.
7th July 2011
I am now on Twitter:
NEWS OF THE WORLD CLOSING DOWN
I don’t regard this as good news. Sure, those who were involved in the phone hacking and bugging, event those who were around at the time and might have been, should be sacked. But to close down a paper with a 168 year old history is crazy. This is but a cynical move on the part of Rupert Murdoch to facilitate the acquisition of the remaining equity in B Sky B, nothing more, nothing less.
I am more concerned about the others who hacked and bugged people’s phones. This monumental, and that is what it is, this monumental news may well detract from that. I hope not.
This Sunday’s edition will see records sales; let there be no doubt about it.
4th July 2011
Or the Vulva Sealers as I affectionately call them, three pretty young South African gals, members of a girls group. Their new album is not going to set the world alight, but is passable. The single however is unmitigated crap! They really ought to have a chat with their manager Unie Moeller about it.
NEWS OF THE WORLD
A lot of attention is focused on Rupert Murdoch, his media empire and most particularly the News of the World; and quite rightly so. I stated some months ago that it was quite impossible for the editor/s of the News of the World not to have been aware that people’s phones were being hacked into, or bugged. David Cameron’s decision to employ Andy Coulson was but another display of poor judgement on his part and will come to haunt him in the coming months. However, it is not just the News of the World that commissioned the bugging of phones. A great many other organisations and individuals have been at it, and that for some 10 – 15 years. Tony Blair’s premiership did nothing if not encourage such criminality, and after Cameron has adopted Blair’s mantle, nothing much changed. During that time you could get away with anything, absolutely anything, you could get away with the proverbial murder – they did. I await further revelations with the greatest of interest.
THE MUNGO JERRY SAGA
This has been dragging on for some time now, but here’s a new twist. I understand there is a new version of the song ‘Nail the Snail’. I haven’t listened to it yet, the original was very pedestrian, and what’s more – I can’t be bothered. Looking at U-Tube, however, I see that they have outed themselves now and name E C by name – Eliot Cohen. But what has happened to the galaxy of former popsters who were going to jump on this bandwagon? People like Kelly Marie, Jesse Green, Peter Green, The Troggs, to mention a few – oh yes, and curiously enough Bruce and Bongo? They are not to be seen or heard other than Bruce Hammond of Bruce and Bongo who has his own inane song critical of Cohen on U-Tube. As ever Hammond is latching onto something that exists, bereft as he is, in my opinion, of innovative creative thought.
But hark, what is this? The hitherto affable and amiable Ray Dorset is being criticized by a former busker, Derek Dallenger, who reckons he ripped him off on a record deal in 1993? Oooohh…. Was he put up to making an issue of this at this stage of the proceedings?
It appears to me at least that it has gone rather quiet around Mungo Jerry of recent, that notwithstanding the big noise made after he appointed a new manager a couple of years ago. No, as far as soaps go I prefer Corrie!
UK POPULATION GROWTH
We hear that the UK population grew by 500.000 people last year, this being net growth. This came about principally through net immigration and births. For a start the immigration figures are incorrect (they are greatly understated). As for births, there they will have an accurate figure, given a tiny margin of error for unrecorded births. What they forgot to mention is that most of these births will be to immigrants of all sorts, many to illegal immigrants. One rarely hears mention of ‘illegal immigration’ nowadays, but yes, it still exists, very much so. It has not yet been air-brushed out of our history, nor can it be permitted to be.
IAN DUNCAN SMITH
This man is a complete and utter tosser. He was as a leader of the then Tory opposition, he is now as a minister. Imagine telling us that businesses should take on British workers in preference to foreign ones. The business community has reacted promptly by stating that foreign workers for the most part have a better work ethic, are better skilled and are not as lazy as our own. In this they are quite right. It is something I have been voicing for almost 40 years. But to give off such a sound-byte is a waste of time. Enact laws (actually one comprehensive bill should do it), forcing British employers to take on British staff. Let us also be precise about our definition of British in this context. As fior EU laws impacting on this – ignore them. I have said it before and I say it again – ignore them. What the hell is the EU going to do about it. I welcome the Dutch approach announced today. Any foreign workers, even East Europeans of EU status, will be sent home if they cannot find work in Holland. If they don’t speak Dutch, then that’s another reason for them to be sent packing. I cannot think of two better reasons. If there is a skills shortage in certain segments of the market, then do something to remedy this. I have been saying this for some 20 years and more. Of course, action should have been taken 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, but nevertheless, let’s make a start now. Let us do away with the silly A level qualifications and degree courses that are of new use whatsoever to society at large. These are superfluous to a modern economy.
MOI….. J’AIME LES FRANCAIS
I love them to bits now. President Sarkozi said that ‘a market without rules is no longer a market’. Quite so, it becomes in practise an oligopoly. He is speaking my language. I have nothing more to say on the matter – said it all many years ago.
So cuts have been announced and now articulated, with no doubt further details to follow in due course. If, and I say if, these are fully implemented it will certainly raise the unemployment figures to a classic high. We already have over 9 million people of employable age not in employment. Another what, 500k – 1000k to add to this figure! And yet cuts have to be made, there can be no doubt about that. Whether as Labour say it is best to stretch these out over a longer period I doubt is advisable. Get it over and done with.
And yet this Government desperately needs to do something about creating employment. Labour of course created employment by creating jobs in the public sector, especially the so-called non-jobs, which obviously is a non sequitur, and it is these we must rid ourselves of more than anything else. But new jobs?
David Cameron has just announced that this will be the age of the entrepreneur; he wants to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship! Well, of course such a statement is to be welcomed, and yet it is but idle talk; we’ve been here before. It is existing businesses, especially the medium sized ones that need to grow.
I stated before that we as a nation have the propensity to export a great deal more than we do. The world is, as it has always been, a large market place, tariffs in some countries notwithstanding. I speak as someone whose background initially was in exporting, and very successful exporting at that. This brings me onto one of the fundamentals that is not being addressed – education, or rather the lack of it among university leavers, but equally importantly that generation that now represents middle management, no matter in which industry or business. Few of my generation would disagree with that other than some deluded left wing fantasists.
Nor can we rely on our embassies and high commissions abroad to sell UK Ltd., they, for the most part, are quite simply not up to the job. There are notable exceptions and I think back a few months when I was invited to the Pakistani High Commission in London to attend a business seminar and networking reception. I have nothing but the highest praise for our representative in Karachi, who gave a very effective presentation, with energy levels most 20 years olds can only dream. Well done! But this is I believe the exception rather than the rule.
Nor do we need another Quango or NGO to further our interests in this respect. Get rid of the ineffective civil servants and replace them with those who have ability to act. It needs those in power to push our interests overseas given the framework within which they now operate; the activity of the ECGD should be notched up a gear or two.
Times have not changed that much since I last exported. One speaks of competition from China, well, that existed then. One speaks about price being the b all and end all, it is not. Even with very basic commodities and manufactures, feedstock chemicals for example, price is important for sure, but so are the price, at the right time, efficient delivery, good after sales service. With value added products, which are what we should be concentrating on, the above apply even to a greater extent. This is where Germany scores so well. I often hold Germany up as an example to follow, and quite rightly so. Apart from being the EU’s major economy it is, next to China, the world’s leading exported. To get back to education, it is our schools, and more importantly our universities who should spend more time and effort educating pupils for a business and manufacturing environment. Forget MBAs. I think it is now universally accepted, apart from within the USA, that they are not the panacea to a more efficient company operation. For sure, they offer the student a higher income, that is without doubt and has been researched ad nausam. But actual knowledge gained? MBS, and they are but one example, of qualifications that are past their sell-by date, are incestuously used within the fraternity that gain them. I should like to see a great deal more vocational education being offered, such as in, dare I say it, Germany. The idea of turning the Polytechnics et al into universities was a nonsense. What for? So that we now have proliferation of students doing soft subjects such as Media Studies, Complementary Medicine, Celebrity Journalism, and other Mickey Mouse courses…. I could go on. I would like to see hard sciences studied much more once again. They are in countries around the worold who are our major competitors in international markets, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India etc. It does presuppose, readily admit, that the quality of teaching in our universities is significantly improved, but that takes us back to the fundamental issue of education, good education. At the end of the day I do believe Marcus du Sautoy can make Mathematics sound interesting, he can for me and I loathed the subject at school! Withdraw their funding I say. Crass, harsh, but go for it. Nor do I see any reason why Labour’s target of having 50% of the youth been able to go to university was a good thing.
Perhaps also the Government can financially assist companies in offering apprenticeships in those sectors of the economy that are useful, I don’t mean media or banking either.
Then there is the matter of standards in degree courses. I hear from academics I know that the standard of business education has gone down dramatically. There are a number of reasons for this, one being the influx of so many foreign students, some of whose knowledge of the English language is very poor, and that has resulted in the dumbing down of standards. After all, these people pay and universities are dependant on income derived from them. It wouldn’t do if too many failed their exams, would it.
It needs someone to travel the country, speak to businesses, big, medium sized and, yes, even small, and educate them on the ability to expand into export markets. It is extraordinary how many regard this as beyond their ability. Too many negative attitudes prevail.
We import far too much in this country. I have never been a fan of unfettered free trade, as more and more people in the USA are coming around to thinking. They, and the EU, are hostage to China’s ability, and policy, of exporting to developed markets on the basis of a currency exchange rate fixed in their favour. We have to take steps to remedy this. Will it lead to a trade war? I doubt it very much. Will China stop financing the USA and EU profligacy? They may try, but it is a game of who will back down first. We need to show strength here and call their bluff.
What disturbs me most is that this Government, and both constituent parts of it, Conservatives as well as Lib-Dems, are intent on seeing growth in the financial sector. By that I mean they wish to let the banking sector, or at least the flaky end of it, go back to their bad old ways of gambling to make profits. I have written at length about this elsewhere and won’t go into details here, but positive action needs to be taken to curb the power of, I won’t say the banks, but those within the banks and other financial institutions who are guilty of this. This Government is more than happy to see profits in this sector rise, and in the process a few more jobs created in the City. That is a very bad strategy. We will end up again where we were a couple of years ago. But of course, as with so many other decisions of this governments, action will be deferred. At present we have a non-sensical policy announced of taxing banks. They will do their best to avoid taxation and this government will do nothing to prevent them. In any case, who basically cares what will re-occur in 10 – 15 years time (or earlier) if one does not have to face up to this important problem now. As it happens the UK Government will find a great deal of sympathy coming from both France and Germany, were they to act decisively in this matter; and if they are on board the rest of the EU will have to follow.
As for the bigger picture – there are some who say Brown had an economic model for the economy, more than one perhaps. I have always treated it as a Labour Ponzi scheme which over the past 13 years all but destroyed the UK’s economy, its society, its culture, and a Ponzy scheme it was, and I fear this coalition is about to continue with it.
I was at the British Library recently doing some research in the Manuscript reading room. To my horror my handy rang (mobile phone to you). I had forgotten to turn it off. To make matters worse I could not immediately get it out of my jacket pocket. A good four dozen pairs of hostile eyes were directed at me. The saving grace was that my ring tone is me singing Colonel Bogey in German. As much as people were annoyed, they could not make head or tail of it and showed a certain curiosity for this idiot.
What is it with Home Secretaries of recent. We had Jacqui smith who was a disaster, who typifies the semi-literate, brainless, vacuous Labour female politician. I remember well standing outside the French having a drink with a couple of well known Labour luvvies just after she had been appointed. They were praising her virtues suggesting she was an excellent choice as Home Secretary. I suggested she was a bimbo who would prove to be a complete disaster. In fact Labour’s female intake is comprised of far too many Bimbos, Yvette Cooper heading their list at present. But now I find myself thinking the same about Teresa May. She is not cut out for the job of Home Secretary.
May she rest in peace. A wonderful woman. She spoke her mind and, as far as I am concerned, a lot of sense for the most part.
THE COACH AND HORSES
I was in Soho some weeks ago, sitting outside the Coach, minding my own business and taking a couple of calls on my handy (mobile to you). A chap who had been standing nearby came over and asked me whether I was an actoooor. I had such a nice voice. I told him I was not, but if he had any parts for me I would consider them. We chatted; he was off to the Groucho, would I like to join him. I declined, as I had to get a train back to Bourne. I should have realised by the minder and pretty blond PA who were hovering nearby who it was – Richard Desmond. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I should have twigged when he told me tongue in cheek he produced tacky, saucy films for TV, having just bought Channel 5.
I got a call from Ray a few months ago, May I think it was, telling me his autobiography is coming out in June. “I’ve said some nice things about you”, he told me….. Well, why not, many people do. I thought I had better order a copy though Amazon. Delivery in June was deferred to September, then again October. I fear I have cancelled my order. It may be a good way of flogging your book, phone all your mates and get them to order a copy… but it goes against the grain buying books written by friends – I expect an inscribed copy for free; but Ray is renowned for being tight-fisted. Perhaps he may now delete me from the book. Oh well, never mind.
ON YER BIKE – TRAVEL TO WORK
I don’t see what the problem is travelling to work for an hour or more. In my younger days I used to commute typically 4 hours a day, 2 hours each way, to work in London. Later I well remember moving to a town near Peterborough and commuting by rail from there to the City of London. In those days I was considered mad mind you, there were but a handful of people doing this from Peterborough. Now, of course, one finds it difficult getting a parking space at the station. No doubt that is why a number of buildings to the north of the Great Northern hotel have been demolished to make space for more parking facilities. Car parking is where the money is obviously. So indeed, let them get on their bikes.
As for the Great Northern Hotel, I was sorry to hear some time ago that my old acquaintance Peter Boyzot lost control of it. He still owes me a bottle of champagne mind you, but I won’t be badgering him for that. He should have hung onto Kettners where I spent many a happy night in years gone by in the Champagne Bar; it’s not the same any more. As for investing in Posh – madness! But there you are. We can all be wise after the event.
STEM CELL RESEARCH
This is on the cards again in the USA. One facet related in a way to this has been around for a long time. As long ago as in the early 1980s, and for all I know a hell of a lot before that, at least one well known German actor at the time went regularly to Switzerland to have blood transfusions using cord blood (blood from the umbilical cord after birth). It seems to have done him some good, he lived to a ripe old age aging very slowly and was in relative good ahealth till the very last.
ARMS FOR SAUDI ARABIA
So one of the biggest arms sales the USA has made has been done with the Saudis. It is a vicious circle. On the one hand they are mad arming these people to the teeth with the very latest equipment. It was arguably Harry St John Philby, father of the notorious double agent Kim Philby, who first established good relations with the Saudis enabling US oil interests in the country to take off; this in the 1930s. However, I firmly believe in the not too distant future we shall see a Saudi Arabia inimicable to theWest. And yet the Americans have gone too far down this road to stop now. In any event, both Russia and China would step in. It will come back to haunt them in years to come. Oil, its exploration and marketing rules the roost.
I was asked some months ago by an old mate whether I wanted to put out a single by a Blackpool based band of which he is a member. They were doing a cover of Dave Clark’s ‘Glad All Over’, the Tangerines main battle song, and had some backing from the club. Their version was not half bad either. I decided against it however, but wish them the best of luck, especially as it is in aid of a good charity. Now if that had been Man U…. keep dreaming, Kenneth. I just heard that the Pet Shop Boys are doing a concert in Blackpool shortly and have done a cover of the song themselves, so there will be some competition, although it is but a bonus album track.
I am delighted to see that Tony Blair is avoiding further book signing for his book launch. It would of course sully the launch of the book in the USA, the market he has to crack for his publisher to break even and perhaps make a profit. On the other hand it would be nice to have him pelted with eggs, tomatoes… anything really; but there we are.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The disclosures of child abuse that seem to be made in ever increasing numbers are shameful, in the extreme. Belgium in particular seems to have suffered badly. The reason for this that the church has been a law unto itself for centuries. Indeed, it caused much conflict here in England in medieval times, the fact that the church would punish its own miscreants, not the state. They, the church, would not punish clergy by death, for murder for example, the state of course did. Whilst the clergy and religious have for some time here come under our secular laws, nevertheless too many have acquiesced with this tainted idea that the church can best punish its own criminals, at least for ‘minor’ misdemeanours such as paedophilia. That has patently not been the case. Indeed, the church would appear to have attracted paedophiles in large numbers. As a paedophile priest, if you got caught, you pleaded clergy. I don’t blame the present Pope in any way. This goes back a very long time and I believe he has made an attempt to redress matters, but the church may never fully recover from the damage that has been done.
IRAN US HIKER
The woman hiker imprisoned by the Iranians was to be free we were told. Then it turns out the ‘paperwork’ had not been done correctly. What do they mean by paperwork? Perhaps she is expected to sign a statement admitting she had been spying for the US.
The Tory party is facing yet another challenge; I see it slowly beginning to unravel. One of the first was the Cameron Cutie who had an ex marital affair. So much for the pre-election promo of these cuties; I expect more of them to cock-up in due course. The second of course was, or is, the William Hague affair (perhaps that is the wrong choice of word). I don’t buy that he did not have a relationship with Christopher Myers, I just don’t buy it. Why on earth was this man made a special adviser. It shows great lack of judgement on Hague’s part. He should have known this would come out in the wash. All it needs now is for someone in his distant past to spill some beans. And now the matter of Andy Coulson. No matter what his protestations to the contrary, there is quite simply no way anyone is going to tell me that he did not know hacking into people’s phones was going on. It’s quite impossible. For God’s sake, these people are journalists and nothing is sacred or hidden or kept secret, especially within the confines of a newspaper office. Word gets around. As for the opposition making a meal of this, of course they are, so would the Tories had the boot been on the other foot. Finally, the buck must stop with David Cameron, who has shown continued bad judgement. In fact, Nick Clegg comes across very much better than does our Dave, but thenDave is Blair’s heir is he not.
Boris has been rather quiet of recent, at least that is what I started to write before he announced he would be seeking re-election as Mayor of London. Well of course he will, I never doubted that. Rather that than be an MP serving under Cameron, and that supposes that he will be given a nice safe seat when the time comes. As for making him a minister, it would be a nightmare for Cameron. Better to leave him where he is, where he can achieve a certain mischief, but can more readily be controlled – by cutting back London’s funding for example. I do so miss his gaffes and silly remarks.
I am not surprised that he has announced he will be contesting the next election in Pakistan, be it for Prime Minister or President. He has been assiduously building up a following on Facebook, astutely adopting modern means of communication, and in the process building up a following of almost 290.000. His comments on that site often hinted that this would be his ultimate aim. I always had a soft spot for him, he was treated badly by the allies. Founding a new party, however, may prove more difficult than he thinks. To break the mould of Pakistani party politics will not be easy. Moreover, he is appealing to the Muslim vote, as opposed arguably to the Pakistani ‘secular’ vote. I ask myself how far down this road he will go. Will he have the support of old army colleagues? Time will tell. I shall watch developments with interest.
On and on it goes, this drip drip propaganda, how we won the war in Iraq. Won the war? It was lost years ago. In due course, once US troops are finally out of the country, violence will escalate to higher levels once again. The sleepers in the Police and the armed forces will insurect, I have no doubt about that. Sunnies will be pitted against Muslims. I believed some years ago, and I see no reason to change my mind, that there will be three states in Iraq, the Sunni centre, the Shiite south and the Kurdish north, the latter perhaps even annexed to Turkey, or perhaps granted Turkish protection, notwithstanding the traditional hostility between the two. It is just possible that these three states will form a loose federation. Alternatively, perhaps a strong leader will emerge to bang their heads together and keep the country united. Saddam Hussein would have been the man to do it. Hang on, didn’t we get rid of him?
It is so infuriating, and yes, I know I’ve said it before. But as good as the National Archives website is, as bad is that of the British Library. You would think such an important institution could have a site built that is more user friendly, but more importantly has material accessible online. Their Additional Charters are a case in point, they should be online in an abstracted form if nothing else. I was told by the former keeper of manuscripts Dr Wright some years ago that they would indeed be put online, but of course nothing has been achieved in this respect. When one looks at the wonderful work done by the Kent Archives in Canterbury Cathedral, who have placed all their ancient charters on line, it really puts the British Library to shame.
TECHNICAL SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND
I am very pleased that technical schools are being re-introduced. I have advocated their usefulness for a very long time. They have been such a success in other countries, Germany being the prime example.
SOUTH KESTEVEN DISTRICT COUNCIL – THE COUNCIL FROM HELL
The leader of this council is a Linda Neal. She is affectionally known behind her back as Miss Piggy, although I cannot believe the soubriquet has not come to her notice. I find that insulting, I really do. Now – I used to enjoy watching the Muppets and I have the highest regards for Miss Piggy, she was charming, intelligent, vivacious, Mrs Neal – you are in my opinion no Miss Piggy. Well, judge for yourselves. OK, there is in my opinion a certain porcine resemblance, but miss Piggy. NO!
Wikipedia must be flying a kite, surely. I found a page of their where they maintain that an oil painting of someone who died, say 100 years ago is copyright free, no matter who the legal owner of the painting is. This is absolute nonsense. They must not be allowed to continue down this road. It is a clear infringement of copyright.
Speaking of the net, I was on Alexa recently looking at a site of mine. It has gone down in the ranking dramatically, whilst unique viewer figures have in fact shot up exponentially. One could argue that there are other new sites up which attract more visitors than mine, but no, the principal reason is that Alexa rely upon feedback from those people who have Alexa embedded on their site. They show 9 links to my sites, whereas there are well over 100. It demonstrates the relative uselessness of Alexa and other such sites. It is but a poor guide, nothing more. I also find too many irrelevant adverts appearing on Alexa now. There are other such sites, and the German site Bizinfo is marginally better informed.
I do Facebook, well I say I do, but I rarely check in, so I am as much at fault in what follows. I deleted some friends recently, people with whom I have not communicated in the last year. It seems rather pointless if you don’t keep in touch. I looked at one guy’s page and see he has almost 5000 friends! They are not his friends of course, as is demonstrated in that usually a couple of dozen or so interact with him, the same couple of dozen, but he told me that he believes this social interfacing is marketing himself to all these people. But then, I suppose those with the least to offer need to do this.
WHAT A SHAME
The new single by the re-united Garry Barlow and Robbie Williams. I like it, it’s very catchy. I wish them well. I hear the lyric mentions ‘Toys R Us’. Is this a new form of product placement in songs? I mean, it’s difficult enough to make an honest buck in the music bizz nowadays, but are they being paid for this plug?
A couple of serious posts, and one somewhat tongue in cheek:
NO MORE TALIBAN – May 2002
So we have defeated the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan. Such a politically expedient statement for the British Army to have to make. Where do they think all the Taliban have gone ? Have they all fled to Pakistan? I don’t think so. They have trimmed their beards and have melted away largely into the countryside, especially into South Eastern Afghanistan. The tribal Lords, under whose protection many are, will profess loyalty to the new Government and ‘smile’ solemnly at our troops or look at them with that Afghan blank expression – whilst biding their time.
GORDON BROWN – WHO ? - June 2002
Our chancellor has kept such a low profile since he became Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not wanting to put a foot wrong, he is biding his time to make a take-over bid. But has he got what it takes to be PM ? He has not the image, the looks, he is a little too rugged and he lacks charisma. And then there is his unfortunate Scottish accent. On the plus side – he is not going bald ! As for Tony ‘I can’t hear you Alistair, speak up’ Blair, he will go down as one of our worst Prime Ministers. Do you know what ? Gordon Brown will go down as one of our worst Chancellors, the harbinger of Boom and Bust. Time is not on his side.
BROWN – THE BUST CHANCELLOR – February 2003
I have pretty accurately predicted the sorry state our economy would find itself in some years ago, most particularly in respect of the Chancellor’s lack of any abilities. I called him the Chancellor of Boom and Bust. I was mistaken. Let us just call him the Chancellor of Bust.And yes – I am schadenfroh, bugger him !
YO! Is there a hooker in the house? – 2002
I read in the News of the World last week that a French/Algerian hooker has been working behind one of the bars in the House of Commons. Big Deal! What’s the gripe? Surely not the fact that security is appalling? No, that’s par for the course. The fact she said she had it away with a Labour politician, a peer? No. There are prostitutes around who can bolow away many in Patliament, in the Judiciary and the Police Force. Is it then that Cocaine was being offered in the House? Surely not. We all remember a year or so ago when ‘traces of ‘white powder’ were found on toilet surfaces in the House. In any event, I harbour the suspicion that half the front bench are on Charlie, given that they talk, talk, and talk – a load of crap. No, the issue is thuis. Judging by the pics in the paper it would appear that half gram packs were being sold for £60! This outrageous! It epitomizes ‘Rip Off Britain’. Surely our representatives should be able to get the best quality gear at £50 a gram. Perhaps they will legalise it and can they buy it in shops on site.
As I wrote in an earlier post, there are so many silly, useless sites appearing on the net. Yasni and 123 people, whose bots scan the net, extract information on people to use on their sites. When searching for an individual you may get a result asking you whether you want to have so and so’s email address. The fact that this individual may have died 300 years ago is not mentioned.
I recently found another ridiculous site ‘True Knowledge’. They are trying to build the first ‘internet-scale platform for answering the world’s questions’. What a load of pretentious crap. I was looking for a Claud William Jacob. I found this site and it asked me: Would you like to know the Middle name of Claud William Jacob. Well, what more can I say…..
It goes on to tell you that his middle name has been his middle name from at least 13th May 2010. He died in 1947. They are financed by angels called Octopus Venture, so far to the tune of £5 million +. This company has a number of investors or angels, according to the last listing 110. They offer a relatively high return on your investment. Well, I hope True Knowledge give them a good return……
DAVID CAMERON – RIP
I have been a fierce critic of David Cameron ever since he became leader of the Opposition. I thought it fair to give him the benefit of the doubt now that he is Prime Minister, but his 60 seconds are up. The petulant schoolboy, who became a prefect, but nevertheless lost none of his petulance. There have since the election been far too many divergences from Tory policies, at least policies expressed before the election. Oh, I know, a coalition such as one has in a compromise, and I rather hoped that it would be to the country’s benefit, but fear it will not be.
Now, for me at least, the final straw and I suspect a good many other people. Cameron’s insistence that Turkey should become a fully fledged member of the EU is a step too far. I have consistently argued against this; Turkey quite simply is not a European state. What period is Cameron living in, Byzantium is well and truly history. Turkey has been an associate member of the EU and long may that continue. But we cannot possibly allow people from that country, of whom I am genuinely fond I must say, come here to work, not even with a transitional period of 5 years or whatever. We do not need additional labour here. We were told under Blair that we needed people to do the jobs we did not want to do. That was utter rubbish and we are paying the price for that now. We are now told we need skilled people to work here because we cannot meet the demand from within our own labour force. Well, in the short term that’s too bad. It would take but 5 years to push 6th formers through university to do the type of courses for which there is a demand, otherwise don’t let them study.
Cameron’s visit to India is per se a good thing, especially with business men and advisors in tow. I hear it is the biggest representation ever made, but I would point out that it’s quality not quantity that counts; but no matter. To be held to ransom by the Indian government, however, in respect of proposed reduction in work permits here for non EU immigrants is quite unacceptable and it must be resisted. Vince Cable’s (for whom I harbour a certain respect) suggestions in this respect must be put to one side. This mantra about globalisation in today’s world is nonsense. The world has been globalised for some 5000 years – more of that on another occasion.
Back to Turkey. It may be prima facia a secular state, but it is a fragmented country, with its own ethnic problems. Furthermore, and most importantly, it will be a target, some would say it already is, for Islamic extremism. To invite such into our ‘boundaries’ is sheer lunacy. We have already done that in respect of far too many immigrants. To suggest that Turkey can be a bulwark against Islamic expansion is facile, and have no doubt about it, Islamic expansion is on the agenda of many Middle East states, including Turkey. This is such a naive approach. Cameron is poorly educated, or to put it another way, a stint at one of our best public schools and universities should not get in the way of one’s education. It has with him. He is a comedian; his jokes are funny, but the problem is – it’s the way he tells them.
As for George Osborne, the man’s a joke in his own right. Will Turkey opt out of Nato if she were refused entry into the EU? Perhaps. It shouldnot be of greast concern. She may have one of the largest standing armies in the world but again, it is quality not quantity that matters.
No, I can no longer support this government. All policies have been watered down to the point where they are ineffective, of no consequence, not worth legislating. The Tory party lack joined-up thinking. We are back to the old Blair days of governance by sound-byte. Tony is proud of Dave, I am sure. Cameron has truly become the heir to Blair. In fact, I am working on a spread bet for this coalition not lasting the 5 years.
David Cameron – RIP
SOLAR POWERED PHONE
I heard on the new that Vodafone are marketing solar powered mobiles in India. An excellent idea. Why don’t we have them here? We had solar powered calculators for a very long time, in fact I am sure they are still around. I have a collection of calculators going back to one of the earliest made, the DATAMATH by Texas Instruments. Bulky, with the barest functions, yet well made, it still works. I bought it in 1973 or 1974 ast a price of just under £100, a lot of money then. The price dropped by half some months later, which taught me the lesson never to buy into new technology immediately, sucker as I am for it. Wait until prices drop and any problems have been ironed out.
Serving British ministers cannot possibly appear in front of an American senate committee, as much as I would like to see the likes of Jack Straw torn apart by one or two of the senators on the same committee with Rottweiler tendencies. Arguably nor should ex ministers appear, even Tony Blair. I do hope this matter, as well as the BP fiasco, will undermine Blair’s earning potential in the USA. It has been so shameful to see him profit from his mishandling of this country’s affairs over all these years.
LEAKED MILITARY DOCUMENTS
OK, so this is highly embarrassing to the USA, but I cannot say I am surprised by the revelations. But who put them in the public domain? It seems to me, given that they cover a specific periods when Bush was in power, that they form part of an archive, a computer archive obviously, and I cannot see anyone running the risk of downloading such items individually. Perhaps one should look at the archives department in one of the security services. Given the CIA’s track record, perhaps they should start there.
As for Pakistani security services having been infiltrated by fundamentalists and terrorists (of whatever faction), I can well believe this. Were I a terrorist then this would be the obvious thing to do, and to do over time. Patience is all important, and time is on their side. After all, knowledge is power, and Pakistani security services certainly have knowledge of what their politicians, members of the military and others have been up to, which will lay them open to blackmail. Should they wish to take over the country then this is a sound powerbase. I have believed for some time now that Pakistan will end up a fundamentalist Muslim state, no little thanks to Bush and Blair.
All three leaders of the main political parties are making promises, promises and yet more promises. Why? We know most of these promises cannot be kept. And yet they feel they have to be in this Dutch auction to appeal to the electorate. I think this is fundamentally wrong. You must have something to say, preferably disguised as a policy, say it simply and directly, in an appropriate manner.
Brown is shot, he has lost the election, and he knows it. His demeanour tells me so, and others in the Labour movement know it. Blair showing his support some weeks ago was very much a matter of flying a kite. I think that kite crashed ignominiously to the ground. I am sure Blair’s heart is not in being involved with a loser, and a lost cause. After all, the way he believes in himself is refreshing, in these atheistic days when no one believes in God. And for God to have to endure such distain is not acceptable.
Labours years in power can be expressed by one word, one word only, failure, failure and yet again failure. Gordon Brown personally bears so much of the responsibility for this. To blame the recent economic decline in the USA through sub-prime lending is puerile. One should also bear in mind much of this lending went, often via derivatives, through the London financial market. But no, this was just a catalyst to bring down this house of cards, the mirage the fantasy that Brown created over the years. The man is of course too stupid to realize this. And, as I have stated before, for others now, after the event, to jump on the band wagon and state they presaged this years ago – when quite simply they did not, is quite perverse, not even dear old Vince Cable had a clue. They all suffer from collective amnesia. What is more, no one, but no one, has yet come up with a precise analysis of why this happened. One or two came close, even George Soros, but none have encapsulated it, although it is blindingly obvious, it was 10 years ago. It was obvious this was going to happen and I wrote to Tory Central Office at the last election to put this to them. Of course, this was ignored, although they did ask me for more of my views.
Nor have the Tories pinned on Brown the responsibility for this fiasco. Some have touched on it, but did not ram it home. Their problem of course is that this should have been done years ago, but no one had a clue of what was about to befall the country. Had they had spoken out they would of course have been accused by Labour of running the country down. Their poll ratings would have fallen, but imagine how they would then have basked in their own self-righteousness. Now they find it difficult to over-criticize Brown, they would be seen to be wise only after the event, these dim-witted people are in a no win situation.
The Tory party conference was reminiscent of one Blair might have held, while the Labour one was sadly retro; but they are all yesterday’s men, other than Nick Clegg, he still has to prove his manhood. I might add that for Cameron to call himself Blair’s heir was a folly four years ago. Why be the heir to a man who was becoming universally disliked by the electorate.
And then this nonsense about a 1% rise in social security payments being too the great detriment of the economy, that it would cost jobs. If companies cannot afford the 1% rise then arguably they should not be in business. But of course the signing of a letter by leading businessmen criticizing the increase, which presumably was well orchestrated, has given the Tories some mileage.
Brown has lost the election, but that does not mean the Tories have won it. As things stood yesterday, the opinion polls notwithstanding, I give the Tories a significant working majority. But much can still go wrong over the coming weeks. UKIP have without doubt a much bigger following, taken largely from disenchanted Tories, but also from Labour ranks. If they had any sense they would advise their supporters to vote tactically. The BNP may also do well in certain areas. If ever there was an election where independents can do well, this is it. But the overall dislike of Gordon Brown will determine tactical voting. I will place my bet on the result 5 – 7 days before the election.
The Great Debate was so great that after half an hour I switched off and went off to something else; I found it incredibly boring. Yes, Nick Clegg came over best, of that there can be little doubt. It won’t win the Lib-Dems the election, and of course there are two more such debates to come, but he scored Brownie points. It will make things difficult for the Tories, and to a lesser extent Labour in a number of seats. As for Gordon brown, he suffered from illusions of adequacy. There was not even one flash of silence that would have made his contribution perfectly delightful. His pitch was as it has ever been, accentuate the positive, deny all that has gone before, it never happened. He is the great saviour of the nation and its economy, never mind that he got the country in the mess it’s in in the first place. It was David Cameron, who was the loser – on this occasion. His make-up people went overboard, I must say. I was convinced at one stage his head had been borrowed from Madam Tussauds, but then I saw his lips move. His voice and speech have improved, I could actually listen to it for half an hour. In the past he tended to sound like a bullfrog on speed.
On balance this debate serves little purpose. Most people have chosen how to vote. If it is to target the floating voter, and to be fair there are a number of those, enough to be worth perusing, then it may have an effect. If to target those who have not voted at all in recent election, I doubt it will not achieve much. The main beneficiaries are the media, who have made this a circus event. I don’t think Cameron was wise to agree to do the debate at all. The other two party leaders had nothing to lose.
PLANES GROUNDED IN THE UK
What a relief the grounding of All the UK’s planes must be to those people living near the airports. Let’s have more of this.
THE DEATH OF DAVID GRAY
The Nigerian doctor, Dr Ubani, charged with the death of David Gray, should never have been employed by the NHS. He received a very lenient sentence. Presumably the NHS obtained his services via a recruitment agency, the worst sort of people to differentiate between a good and a bad doctor. Did they look at his website? I did and my immediate impression was who the hell is this charlatan. But of course, it is the fee payable and the commission probably due to the individual recruiter who found him that is paramount.