September 23, 2011
Squeal of Injustice
NEW Zealand's Labour Party has joined the battle to have the ban on playing the bagpipes in stadiums at the Rugby World Cup overturned, saying it made Kiwis look like a nation of "kiltjoys".
With Scotland playing Argentina in Wellington on Sunday, the international campaign to get the ban lifted is gaining momentum.
If they allow the Haka it is only fair they allow the Scottish "Instrument of War" as well. And how is the English practise of forming of three ranks, front rank to kneel, our traditional response to Hakas and bagpipes, going?
October 26, 2009
On TV tonight
Soldiers' Stories - History.co.uk
Soldiers' Stories tells of the troubles in Northern Ireland from the perspective of the British soldiers who served there between 1969 and 2007, the longest continuous deployment in the history of the British Army.
This was a war against terrorists who knew no mercy or compassion; a war involving sectarian hatred and violent death. Over 1,000 British lives were lost in a place just 30 minutes flying time from the mainland.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the British Army’s arrival in Northern Ireland. They were deployed on 14 August 1969, by the Wilson government, as law and order had broken down and the population was in grave danger. Between then and 2007 some 300,000 British troops served in Northern Ireland. Occasionally they were welcomed; more often, they were spat at, pelted with missiles or shot.
So how did it feel to be a British soldier in Northern Ireland? These are their stories, terrible stories of bombings, killings and heartache over three decades, told for the first time from their own perspective.
Having seen a preview I can recommend this, more than recommend, they are required viewing. They do what the blurb above says, and that is something we haven't had in such detail before. And we should have had.
October 21, 2009
Even though it is many years since I ironed my trousers with horizontal creases I think it is time to splice the mainbrace...
October 20, 2009
Was it worth it?
“Was it worth it? Those horrific wars with Germany, the empty chairs at a million tables, the near-bankrupting of the once-great imperial Britannia? Would Winston Churchill, whose life overshadows so much of the story, now look back on it all and shudder? That's perhaps the biggest underlying question behind the story of the British between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War.”
Andrew Marr writing in Radio Times, speculates that the wartime prime minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two, would have been less than impressed with today's "vulgarity".
“He would have been bemused by today's vulgarity, hated our music, raged against Brussels (he was above all a parliamentarian) and stomped angrily at American rewriting of wartime history. I don't think he would have been very keen on the surveillance society, either.
September 16, 2009
Sensitive Stats and the Sin of Omission
Mohammed now No.1 baby boys' name in London
By Ben Leapman
Telegraph.co.uk today reports that Mohammed has become the most common name for baby boys born in London and in three other English regions....
Yet you wouldn’t know it from a cursory glance at the ONS press release, issued on Sept 8, which states that Mohammed is “number three in London”.
That is because the ONS does not take varient spellings into account. Fair enough. But in this case, the number-crunchers were being literal to the point of being obtuse. Some will suspect that they were motivated by a well-meaning attempt to avoid interpeting their own findings in a way which would prove controversial. Some would call this political correctness.
Even before today’s revelation of the regional findings, Max Hastings accused the ONS of a “shabby effort to conceal” the fact that Mohammed is the third-most-popular name England-wide.
The fact that it has taken a week from the publication of the figures for the full story to emerge will surely reinforce this view in the mind of many people who are already sceptical of Government statistics.
September 9, 2009
Ted Kennedy Memorial Revealed
A HUGE bomb planted close to the Northern Ireland border was intended to inflict "death and serious injury" on civilians and police officers, a security chief said last night.
The device, containing 600lb of fertiliser-based homemade explosives, was defused by army bomb disposal experts outside Forkhill, south Armagh.
Dissident republicans were blamed for the bomb, which had a command wire leading across the border.
Just a reminder of how close real terrorism still is. (Analysis in The Times - Here)
September 3, 2009
Words That Can Jail You
A MAN who hurled sectarian abuse at republican protesters during an Armed Forces Day parade has been jailed for a year.
Loyalist David Bates shouted: "Scum, scum, f*** the Pope," at protesters after they booed an RAF flypast during the parade, in George Square, Glasgow, in June this year.
The parade and other events – which were taking place as part of a UK-wide celebration of the armed forces – were interrupted by a group of about 40 republican protesters
At Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Lindsay Wood told Bates: "Such behaviour just doesn't wash in a modern, civilised society and you will have to pay the penalty for that...You clearly have bigoted views and the public needs protection from that."
A year in jail? I'm sure Scottish Tory Boy would approve but from this distance the provocation by the Fenian Scum makes that seem a bit harsh.
August 30, 2009
God Speed the Plough
Is it beyond the minister's wit to realise that leaving land uncultivated in this country to encourage wildlife simply passes the food production buck abroad? The fact that this policy was given serious consideration suggests a worryingly blinkered view, as does Mr Benn's apparent lack of concern that the RSPB is trying to turn 677 hectares of productive agricultural land on Wallasea Island, Essex, into a nature reserve. Unless we're going to divert the national diet to wild duck, that will be of little use if there are food riots in our cities. One wonders how Mr Benn thinks the rising population will be fed in an uncertain future.
Blythburgh Marsh last week - the mudflats were drained and worked for hundreds of years, twenty five years ago fences and gates were still visible across them. Now they are barren of crops and flocks of red-legged anorak-pleasuring squarkers have sole use. The plough still rests under the trees at the edge waiting to be called back into use.
As Rod Liddle points out:
...our valiant fight to reach the 100m population mark around about Easter 2112, by which time we will all be stacked horizontally in warehouses on wooden pallets, like in those weird Japanese hotels, and eating one another.
There are plenty of learned people around who worry that Britons — and Europeans in general — are being rapidly outbred in their homelands and will soon constitute a minority in their “own” countries. I don’t much care, frankly, who is stacked above me snoring on one of those pallets (so long as it is not a Belgian); it is the sheer weight of numbers I find alarming. The quicker the problem of overpopulation can be uncoupled from alarmist racial rhetoric, the more likely we are to address the real problem.
July 14, 2009
In a front-page editorial Il Giornale attacked Britain’s political management and handling of the economic crisis. It went on to compare British industry, crime rates, immigration, fashion, tourism and the media unfavourably with Italy’s.
I gather that the guappo are good at the girly round ball game, they are welcome to it as they mince about in their shiny suits. Us tweedy rugger buggers will always instinctively call out when we see Silvio; "Two vanilla cornets please, and don't forget the flakes this time."
Book Review A Useful Fiction by Patrick Hannan
Subtitled "Adventures in British Democracy" this is a personal ramble around the subject. "Adventures" might be overselling it a bit, "anecdotes" would be more accurate. Hannan keeps presenting new and interesting views of how this whole nationhood and union fit together, he has a suitably vinegarish tongue for most subjects, except for Peter Hain where his familiarity with the oil stain shows through. But that is one of the charms of the book, it is one mans view and as a guide he is excellent in revealing different vistas.
If how the nations of these islands work together interest you I can recommend it as paperback to pack with the sunscreen, the sort of book you can read a bit and come back to on another day for another aperçu to stimulate the brain.
June 30, 2009
That's the stuff Sir Mike, warn the rebellious Scots that the traditional job of the English Army is to crush them, not fanny about in sandy places.
June 26, 2009
Scotsman Flouts Wimbledon Conventions
IT WOULD appear the hype and expectation surrounding Andy Murray's Wimbledon campaign has reached truly biblical proportions.
As the Scots tennis star powered into the third round...
Attention Please Mr Sub Editor, the convention is that he is referred to as the "British" tennis star when he is winning, "Scots" when he is a whining loser..
June 18, 2009
Scotland Owes England £20 Billion
SCOTLAND would be £20 billion in the red even if it had retained all its oil money, a new government report claims.
A Scotland Office paper, published today, shows North Sea oil revenue would not have plugged the gap between spending and tax raised. The paper claims that if all the North Sea oil revenue had gone to Scotland, the country's finances would have been in surplus in only nine of the past 27 years.
It is an expensive way to buy a few tartan shortbread tins and keep some men in skirts happy. But still the SNP want to ramp up spending, increase the burdens on business, watch dwindling oil revenues and enjoy being on their own. Good luck with that.
May 6, 2009
Pardon me Sir
Fur flies over racist name of Dambuster's dog - Telegraph
Peter Jackson, the New Zealander who is producing the remake:"It is not our intention to offend people. But really you are in a no-win, damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't scenario.
"If you change it, everyone's going to whinge and whine about political correctness. And if you don't change it, obviously you are offending a lot of people inadvertently."
In most recent television reshowings of the 1954 film, the dog's name is either edited out or altered.
An edited version for American television has Nigger's name redubbed as Trigger.
Redubbing is all the rage - it is now "Pardon me Sir" on modern versions...
April 23, 2009
Happy St George's Day
April 22, 2009
Churchill on St George's Day
"We ought not on these occasions to allow our thoughts to exalt England at the expense of our fellow countrymen in these islands. But there are a few things I will venture to say to you about England. They are spoken in no invidious sense. Here, it never occurs to anyone that the banks would close their doors on their depositors; here it never occurs to anyone to question the fairness of the courts of law and justice; here no one would dream of persecuting his fellow subject, man or woman, on account of their race or religion; here, everyone, except the criminals, looks upon the policeman as the friend and servant of the public; here we provide for poverty and misfortune with more compassion, and more substantial provision, in spite of all our burdens, than any other great country; here we assert the rights of the citizen against the state; or criticise the government of the day, without failing in our duty to the crown. This England, this mighty London in which we are gathered is still the financial centre of the world. From the Admiralty building, half a mile away, orders can be sent to a fleet, which though much smaller than it used to be, or that it ought to be is still unsurpassed on the seas..."
April 13, 2009
English Slaves to a Scottish Raj
Gordon Brown forces kids' charity call-up | News | News Of The World
PM Gordon Brown intends to force every teenager in the country to carry out 50 HOURS of work to help the community.
Last year the PM proposed the idea of a National Youth Service, which would channel young volunteers into community work. But now he plans to make it compulsory and include it in Labour's next election manifesto....
"By building from compulsory citizenship studies in the 14-16 curriculum, we can create an expectation of national youth community service."
But, the curriculum is a national competence so you only have power over the English one, and not the one that is in force in your constituency. So forget all the talk of bringing the whole nation together, what you are proposing is for a Scottish Raj to compel English youths to work as directed without pay, in a way those who elect them don't have to. There used to be a word for that.
April 10, 2009
The Abstinance of Penance
The Englishettes have gone down to Church for a Good Friday Kiddies Fun Activities Morning.
I'm not much of one for the finer points of theology but isn't that wrong? Shouldn't the Church make at least a gesture towards it being a bit of a downer of a day even if it being a proper fasting day is maybe a bit too Papist for the modern CofE? I'm pleased to see at least one primary school does realise this.
And to complete the incongruity the elder Englishette has gone dressed in her favourite dressing up outfit - a Roman Toga. I'm sure she will be warmly welcomed.
A secular song for today...
April 6, 2009
To see oursels as ithers see us!
Ht The Witan
March 29, 2009
Jews - Forgive and Forget
He was a founder member of the SAS, was one of the most decorated officers of the Second World War, and has been hailed as a "legend among fighting men".
The heroism on the battlefield of Major Roy Farran, who died in 2006, earned him a Distinguished Service Order, three Military Crosses, the Croix de Guerre and the American Legion of Merit.
Among other feats, he led a highly successful raid against a German army headquarters in occupied Italy in which senior Reich generals were assassinated and their control over a vital front line thrown into chaos. In a single foray behind the lines in northern France, he led an SAS Jeep squadron which claimed 500 German soldiers killed or wounded, for a loss of just 12 British dead, wounded or taken captive.
But Major Farran's record of service after the war, when he was seconded to the British Section of the Palestine Police, cast a shadow over the rest of his life....
No shadow in my book, there were Jews who were a nasty a bunch of terrorists fighting against the British not only after but actually during the Second World War, and we dealt with them in the way they should be dealt with. As with so many of our terrorist foes in the past we have now elevated them to World Statesmen and officially swept it all under the carpet. Verbum Sapienti, let it lie.
March 16, 2009
Man charged following soldiers' homecoming parade - Bedford Today
The 18-year-old, from Luton, has been charged with racially aggravated harassment (verbal abuse) and will appear before Luton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, March 18.
Superintendent Mark Turner of Beds Police said: "It is important that people understand that those who chose to disrupt the parade yesterday represent a small minority in what was generally a very peaceful crowd. Luton remains a very cohesive town where overall relations with the many diverse communities are good."
Windows at the Stopsley home of a protestor involved in last week's demonstration during the parade of troops through Luton were smashed at the weekend.
Police were called to the home of 29-year-old Yousaf Bashir in Dellcot Close late on Friday night...Neighbours of Mr Bashir, who lives with his parents, said they had put up Union Jack bunting outside their homes to prevent them being targeted by mistake....
Mr Bashir is believed to be travelling to Turkey later this week, according to neighbours.
A police spokesman said the cul-de-sac was "on police watch" but that the police presence was not a personal guard for Mr Bashir.
March 13, 2009
Praying for a surfeit of lampreys
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness receive film star reception on US trade trip - Times Online
As the people of Bambridge, Co Down, prepared for today’s funeral of PC Stephen Paul Carroll, the Odd Couple of Irish politics were in the United States, declaring that it was business as usual.
A reception had been arranged at a $5.5 million (£4 million), seven-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion in Hancock Park - the residence of Bob Peirce, the British Consul-General A jazz trio played in the corner of the garden, illuminated by the soft glow from fairy lights wrapped around a nearby tree trunk.
The arrival of Mr McGuinness, a former leader in the Provisional IRA, in the back of a massive, chrome-rimmed, tinted-windowed Cadillac Escalade SUV - the kind favoured by rappers such as 50 Cent - bordered on the comic.
Mr McGuinness went on to inform the guests that the next day the Irish delegation would be “going to meet with senior fill-um executives”, before flying to Washington DC for a St Patrick’s Day reception at the White House, at which they will meet President Obama Both men will no doubt be acutely aware of the potential for a PR disaster as these images are broadcast back to Northern Ireland.
Martin McGuinness and the armed struggle
“I am a member of Oglaigh na Eireann [IRA] and very, very proud of it.”
To a Dublin court, on being convicted of IRA membership charges, 1973
“Everybody in Derry knows what I’ve been in the past, everybody in Ireland knows. I’m not ashamed of it. Everybody knows I was always involved in opposition to British rule in Ireland and the British occupation forces.”
“These people [Real IRA], they are traitors to the island of Ireland.” Speaking at news conference on Tuesday, alongside First Minister Peter Robinson and Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
March 12, 2009
Wanted - Your View Of Scotland - 50 words max.
Plans were unveiled yesterday to mark the tenth anniversary of devolution by adding a striking new quote to the 25 already on the Canongate wall. Announcing the start of the search, Alex Fergusson, the parliament's presiding officer, said: "We are asking people to nominate a well-loved or significant piece of writing that is relevant for Scotland, perhaps something that expresses how they feel about Scotland, what it means to be Scottish, or hopes for the future." Nominations can be from writers dead or alive, or even anonymous, but no more than 50 words are allowed.
"Funded by English Taxpayers" would be my suggestion, you may have others....
March 3, 2009
Trainspotting - Scotland's Favourite Attraction
A LIFE-SIZED tram model has been described as "one of Scotland's busiest visitor attractions" by Edinburgh city council after 22,000 people climbed aboard in its first week.
The 130ft mock-up is sited in Princes Street, where little work has taken place since it closed to traffic ten days ago.
I must book my holiday....
March 1, 2009
Happy St David's Day
Having enjoyed the rugby on Friday night in the company of a couple of Welshmen, a little token of my thanks.
And if Martin Johnson has stopped shouting at the England team this morning, it is time he started again and continued in that gentle caring way he has until he gets some discipline instilled in the shower.
February 26, 2009
Local Golly News
Marlborough brothers hailed heroes after canal rescue (From This Is Wiltshire)
...Their father Golly Black who lives in Pewsey said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to have two sons like this.”...
I presume that is a nickname from long ago, but then that is Pewsey for you.
February 24, 2009
England and the everlasting flame (extinguished)
Bodwyn Wook brings us the wonderful passage of what England meant to Stanley Baldwin, do go and read it all...
....The sounds of England, the tinkle of hammer on anvil in the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewey morning, the sound of the scythe against the whetstone, and the sight of a plough team coming over the brow of a hill, the sight that has been in England since England was a land, and may be seen in England long after the Empire has perished and every works in England has ceased to function, for centuries the one eternal sight of England. The wild anenomies in the woods of April, the last load at night of hay being drawn down a lane as the twilight comes on, when you can scarcely distinguish the figures on the horses as they take it home to the farm, and above all, most subtle, most penetrating and most moving, the smell of wood smoke coming in an autumn evening, or the smell of the scutch fires: ...
Very few of these have survived into this century, but of the agricultural ones I remember the burning scutch or couch fires. Harrowing up the white rhizomes and setting light to them. Of course Round-up put paid to that, though I gather some organic farms need to go back to it.
But I thought it was Hardy who said that couch fires were an everlasting symbol of England you are exclaiming, I know. You are right of course, it seems they both picked the same symbol, a symbol that is now totally meaningless and unimaginable to the English...
In Time of “The Breaking of Nations”
Thomas Hardy (1915)
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only a thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.
Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.
February 18, 2009
Pay to Save
BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Tax increases for 'super council'
Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Councillors in Cornwall have agreed an average 2.6% council tax rise to help fund the county's new "super council"...The council tax rise will amount to an extra £23.83 a year on a Band B property.
BBC NEWS | England | Cornwall | Job cuts plan at merged council
Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009
It is predicted the money saved by creating the new authority will save taxpayers £17m a year.
I bet the poor taxpayers of Cornwall are glad the new council isn't predicting even bigger savings, who knows how high their rates bill would have to be to pay for them.
HT JO - many thanks.
February 17, 2009
A National Disgrace
Save Bletchley Park: Why I'm ashamed to be British - Dr Sue Black - Telegraph
Bletchley Park needs sustained government funding to preserve it. But then of course we’re in an economic downturn - so how could the government afford it?
Well, here’s a comparison. In the short term Bletchley Park needs £10 million, which is a pittance compared to how many millions, or is it billions now, that have recently been given to the banks? And how much more than the original estimate is being spent by us on the Olympics?
Dr Sue Black is Head of Department of Information and Software Systems at the University of Westminster. She blogs about saving Bletchley Park here.
A cause we should support.
February 16, 2009
Porky Pie Labelling
Scots Commando Hygiene Warning
True Scotsmen are told to cover up - Scotsman.com News
IT MAY be a tradition, but Scottish men's habit of "going commando" in a kilt is increasingly disgusting firms hiring Highland dress.
Several companies are now requesting that customers keep their pants on when they hire a kilt to protect staff and future customers from unhygienic tartan.
Leading Scottish kilt-making firm Slanj..said: "A lot of our staff worked in the hire sector previously and found the biggest problem was cleaning the kilts. People were hiring them to wear at weddings, parties and football and rugby matches.
"It doesn't require a huge leap of imagination to picture what kind of states they would come back in. Because of this and the potential hygiene problems, we are politely asking people to wear underwear."...
"We've had customers who have absolutely no shame whatsoever, with soils front and back. But 98 per cent will be all right, with just the usual beer spills, and if they are gross then we'll charge the customer even more for cleaning it."
I've never worn a skirt, and I'm certainly not going to start now, especially a hired one...
February 13, 2009
Strong and sweet
Prince Harry ...his commanders in the Army called him to "an interview without coffee" .
The Prince has been ordered to attend a racial equality and diversity course, for the second time.
"without coffee" - well they could hardly ask him how he likes it; "White or black?", could they?
February 12, 2009
Publish and be damned
Statistics chief Karen Dunnell inflames row over foreign workers - Times Online
The UK’s official statistician weighed into the debate about foreign workers yesterday by highlighting the growing numbers of immigrants getting jobs while the British workforce declines....
Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said that he would raise concerns about the release of the figures with the Prime Minister today. “The danger is that such information could be misconstrued or misused by those who do not support the view that Britain should be a diverse and multicultural society,” he said.
Wouldn't want the civilians having access to the figures, only professional politicians should be able to see them....
February 7, 2009
Ramblers - it is only fair to warn them....
H/t The Telegraph
I had that Janet Street-Porter in my sights once.....
Scots claim calling a Scot Scottish is racist
While saying sorry for commenting on Mr Brown's "appearance", he did not apologise for his gratuitous inclusion of "Scottish" in his remarks. Critics said there was only one reason why the Englishman included the PM's nationality in his diatribe.
? But I thought he was Scottish, or is to call a Scot Scottish now racist? Still no complaints about calling Gordon an idiot though....
February 5, 2009
Anyone out there?
I wonder where the 37,999 others are, as the only one I know of consists of about a hundred people in Oxford....
Dispose the Day
'Black Panthers' prepare to take out Taleban in Afghanistan - Times Online
In the biting cold and snowy landscape of Salisbury Plain, soldiers of the Black Panthers, nickname of 19 Light Brigade, were doing their best to imagine what life would be like for them in Afghanistan when they begin their first tour there next month.
Teenage soldiers frozen to the core during training at Westdown Camp yesterday will be thrust into their first operational environment in temperatures that will reach 50C (122F) before their six-month tour is over.
Facing his first venture to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, 19-year-old Rifleman Aaron Fell, of 2 Rifles, who joined the Army 18 months ago, is fully aware that as a member of a recce platoon he will be involved in seeking out the Taleban. His cheeks bright red from the cold, he repeated what his training instructor must have told him: “The Taleban are adapting to us but we're adapting to them.”
“I'm anxious about it obviously but I'm not really worried, although my mum will be,” he said.
“But I've been well trained. If I worked for McDonald's I'd be cooking burgers, but I'm a soldier, so this is the job I do,” he added.
I live a few miles from the Plain and the last two weeks there has been a constant sound of artillery and machine guns in the background as they train. Last night as I snuggled under the eiderdown, the electric blanket on toast setting, two jets were screaming through the falling snow of a freezing night as part of some night exercise.
As a gentleman in England a-bed my thoughts and thanks went to that band of brothers out there, and wished them well.
February 4, 2009
Wednesday Night is Apology Music Night
I've had a complaint from Texas:
By the way, Mr. Englishman or whatever you call yourself: if you're going to embed music clips on Friday nights, would it be too much to ask that you show a little of your heritage and feature REAL English music?
I mean, I'm not expecting statues of Maddy Prior in your village (although I wouldn't complain if I saw one or two), but honestly: I can hear crap Yank music anytime, but if you think that MTV is ever going to show Adge Cutler & The Wurzels, or Steeleye Span, or Fairport Convention...
Get to it, please. Adge (or even just The Wurzels) would be just splendid.
The Colonial Type
Sorry, but I draw the line at featuring any beardies with fingers in their ears singing about all around their sodding hat, so here's a local band I used to know playing a traditional English song in a field in Pewsey...(I think I'm in the front row pogoing, I'm the one with only five fingers.)
Is that more like it?
£30 fine for flying an England flag?
A TEENAGE motorist was told to remove an England flag from his car by a police officer because it could be offensive to immigrants.
Ben Smith, 18, was driving back home to Ingram Road in Melksham on Thursday evening after filling up with petrol, when the officer stopped him on a routine patrol.
He checked the tax disc and tyres on his Vauxhall Corsa but when he noticed the flag of St George on the parcel shelf he told Mr Smith to take it down.
Mr Smith said: "He saw the flag and said it was racist towards immigrants and if I refused to take it down I would get a £30 fine....
PC Dave Cooper, of Chippenham Road Policing Unit, said he had never come across an officer asking someone to remove an England flag from their car because it could be racist.
He added: "It all depends on the context of a stop. If they are going past a lot of Polish people, for instance, and abusing them, then we possibly would ask them to take the flag down."
He said there would be no police log of Mr Smith having been stopped with details of what was said to him, as there was nothing wrong with his car.
He added the officer could have been based anywhere around the county and just made an independent stop.
January 29, 2009
Lord Barnett says Barnett Formula "dangerous and unfair".
Barnett formula could split UK, says the man himself - Scotsman.com News
THE man behind the financial formula that results in Scotland getting £1,600 more per head than England yesterday warned it could result in the break-up of the UK.
Lord Barnett told a new investigation into his 30-year-old formula for distributing government expenditure that it was dangerous and unfair.
He said the system had created a situation where an "astute politician" at Holyrood could use Scotland's extra cash to adopt policies such as scrapping prescription charges or student fees – which the SNP has done – and create jealousy and resentment among English voters.
Lord Barnett is the only politician astute and brave enough to point out the deliberate English baiting by the SNP.
January 28, 2009
You're not from round here are you?
SCOTS language teaching should be boosted in primary and secondary schools, a government-commissioned study says.
Why not hobble a future generation. Let's be honest, Scots isn't a language, it's not like Welsh or Gaelic it is just a badly spelt mispronounced English. We have the same down in the West Country, but we don't demand Taxpayer cash to preserve it. We enjoy it as our heritage but realise that it limits our kids by stereotyping them.
English Views on Sctoland - The Figures
ALMOST a third of people in England think Scotland receives more than its fair share of government cash, a survey revealed today.
The 25th British Social Attitudes report also found 61 per cent of people in England thought Scottish MPs should not be able to vote on English legislation – the so-called West Lothian Question.
A total of 19 per cent of people in England wanted Scotland out of the UK, compared with 21 per cent in 1999.
Meanwhile, 57 per cent of people in England think the country should continue to be governed by Westminster, rather than by an English parliament.
And 55 per cent of people in England said the establishment of the Scottish Parliament had made no difference to how well Britain was governed, with 50 per cent stating they trusted the UK government to look after England's interests "just about always" or "most of the time".
I'm not sure I can make sense of those figures, but then I'm one of the people they interview. They bung me a few quid for answering after supper once a year, I always ensure I'm outside a decent amount of claret and then tick the boxes at random....
January 25, 2009
BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Troubles victims' payment planned
The government is to be asked to pay £12,000 to the families of all those killed during the Troubles - including members of paramilitary groups.
The families of paramilitary victims, members of the security forces and civilians who were killed will all be entitled to the same amount.
The Consultative Group on the Past..., co-chaired by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley, is expected to say there should be no hierarchy of victims and that everyone should be treated in the same way.
That would mean the family of the IRA Shankill bomber Thomas Begley would receive the same for his death as those of the families of the nine civilians he killed.
Likewise, the families of two UVF members killed while they planted a bomb that also killed three members of the Miami Showband in 1975 will be entitled to the same payment as those of the victims.
Devil's Kitchen has a word for Lord Eames and Denis Bradley. Let me concur with him.
January 22, 2009
I think I have the very thing for them, and note it was produced by private enterprise...
The actual design and production of Tallboy was done without a contract on the initiative of a single official within the Ministry. As such the RAF were using bombs they had not bought and which were actually still the property of the manufacturers; Vickers. This situation was regularized once their capabilities were recognised.
When dropped from 20,000 ft (6,100 m) it made a crater 80 feet deep (24 m) and 100 feet (30 m) across and could go through 16 feet (5 m) of concrete. It was capable of displacing a million cubic feet (29,000 m³) of earth and made a crater which it would have taken 5,000 tons of earth to fill. It was ballistically perfect and in consequence had a very high terminal velocity, variously estimated at 3,600 and 3,700 feet (1,100 m) per second (1,100–1,130 m/s or about 2,500 mph / 4,000 km/h), which was, of course, a good deal faster than sound so that the noise of its fall would be heard after that of the explosion.
January 15, 2009
Scotch Pol Fuels Stereotype
So who would claim a £1 donation on expenses? - Scotsman.com News
A POLITICIAN has had an expense claim rejected by the Scottish Parliament – after trying to claw back a £1 charity donation.
Bill Butler, the Labour MSP for Glasgow Anniesland and a former candidate for deputy leader, listed the £1 claim as a "carer fund donation".
January 13, 2009
ASBO defeats freeborn Englishman's rights to badger sheep.
Sheep owners fight to retain ancient right of grazing | UK news | The Guardian
Sandwiched between the rivers Severn and Wye, the Forest of Dean has always been known as an insular place with strange ways.
This ancient Gloucestershire forest has its own dialect and traditions,...The right to run sheep through the forest has been contentious for years, but allegations of harassment and intimidation have brought the issue to a head and the Forest of Dean council is investigating how it can use antisocial behaviour orders to bring some of the foresters and their unruly livestock to heel.
Known as commoners, the sheep owners enjoy the right to graze their sheep freely in the 11,300-hectare (28,000-acre) forest and they want to keep it that way. Nicknamed sheep badgers, a term derived, they think, from the verb to badger, they argue that running sheep is what makes their forest and way of life unique and it should be maintained.
It has now blown up into a row which would have given locally born playwright Dennis Potter , who used the forest as a backdrop for tales of incest and corruption, a rich plotline.
Commoning, he says, was a means of alleviating the poverty endemic in the forest area, but "the Forest of Dean is no longer a poor man's paradise, it's a rich man's fantasy area".
"We accept people coming in to the Forest of Dean, we are not prejudiced. If you want to sell your house in London for £500,000 and buy next door for £150,000, you can come and be our neighbour and we will treat you as a neighbour, but you must treat us the same way."
Shepherd allowed sheep to intimidate neighbours - Telegraph
Jeremy Awdry, 59, was deprived of his ancient right to graze sheep in Bream, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, after they were reported straying into gardens and damaging fences.
The 500-strong flock were in fact part of the "intimidation of people living in the area", prosecutor Brendon Moorhouse told Gloucester Crown Court on Monday.
Awdry is a 'sheep badger' - someone who has the right by birth to graze sheep anywhere in the Forest.
Or rather did have the right, nasty inconvenient right because of where he was born; nasty natural rights not nice caring sharing ASBO behaving chocolate box no shit on the road pretty pretty fantasy forest living rights.
January 12, 2009
Barnett on Barnett
‘I only meant the Barnett formula to last a year, not 30’ - Times Online
Lord Barnett says the settlement that bears his name is unfair, divisive and has to be scrapped
..unfair to the regions of England....Successive governments have failed to deal with the issue for fear of upsetting the Scots. When David Cameron made his first trip to Scotland as Tory leader he assured the Scots that he would keep the formula.
That strikes me as absolutely stupid because Margaret Thatcher and John Major kept it going for 18 years and turned it into a formal formula only to lose every single seat that they had held in Scotland.
Alex Salmond is a very astute politician and has used the extra money his government received under the formula to almost exacerbate the problem, by spending the funds not necessarily where they are most needed, but in a populist way where they will make the English demand separation for Scotland, which exactly meets his objective.
January 11, 2009
John Blundell, IEA; "Adam Smith must be rolling in his grave."
WELCOME to McCuba. Scotland is set to become the third most state-dependent country in the world. Soon Havana and Baghdad will be the only capitals that rely more on public spending than Edinburgh, according to economic forecasters.
They say the uneven flow of government funds to north of the border is putting an “unfair burden” on English taxpayers. They predict that public spending will soon rise to the equivalent of almost 70% of Scotland’s gross domestic product.
The CEBR paper, commissioned by The Sunday Times, shows that the annual public sector wage bill in Scotland has risen by 55% to £12 billion since the Scottish parliament was established in 1999, with nearly one in four working for the state. A further £2.3 billion is spent annually on pensions for public sector workers, whose ranks have grown by nearly 50,000 in the past 10 years.
The report will renew concerns among English taxpayers about the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Scots, who benefit from free personal care for the elderly, no tuition fees and free school meals.
The extra level of funding per head that Scotland receives has grown from £828 in 1999 to £1,644. In 1999 the state spent £4,993 per head in Scotland and £4,165 in England. Now Scotland receives £9,179 and England gets £7,535.
If Cameron was to look for anywhere to cut the tax burden for English voters I have an idea where he might start, but I don't think he is really interested in doing so....
December 25, 2008
The Queen's Speech
December 23, 2008
Put your left leg in...
December 15, 2008
What's the German for Inferior Person?
Germans fight rise in 'confusing' English language – by rewriting the constitution - Scotsman.com News
ALARMED at the increasing use of English in everyday life, Germans are debating whether to enshrine the national language in the country's constitution.
Last week, Germany's federal consumer advocacy and protection body held a symposium in Berlin to discuss the issue. It condemned advertisers who use English, saying it made Germans who didn't understand it "feel inferior"
Sorry, if you don't, you are. Get over it.
December 12, 2008
Councils Spin To The Public
On average, each council spent £965,986 - although six had a bill of more than £5 million.
The figures were obtained by pressure group the Taxpayers' Alliance using freedom of information laws.
Spending other people's money on yourself....
Here's the actual O'Rourke quote, from pages 238-239 of the trade paperback edition:
There is another difficulty with political control of the economy which keeps even the best-behaved governments from using resources well. This problem was explained by the economists Milton and Rose Friedman in their book, Free to Choose. The Friedmans argued that there are only four ways to spend money:
1. Spend your money on yourself.
2. Spend your money on other people.
3. Spend other people's money on yourself.
4. Spend other people's money on other people.
If you spend your money on yourself, you look for the best value at the best price -- knockoff Pings on sale at Golf-ForeLess. If you spend your money on other people, you still worry about price, but you may not know -- or care -- what other people want. So your brother-in-law gets a Deepak Chopra book for Christmas. If you spend other people's money on yourself, it's hard to resist coming home real Pings, a new leather bag, orange pants with little niblicks on them and a pair of Foot-Joy spikes. And if you spend other people's money on other people, any damn thing will do and the hell with what it costs. Almost all government spending falls into category four. This is how the grateful residents of Ukraine got Chernobyl.
Council Scared Of Public Opinion
Janet Devers, 64, who runs a family stall, has learned that Hackney council will no longer pursue four criminal charges against her for using imperial measurements.
Mrs Devers had elected for a jury trial, due to start on January 12 at Snaresbrook crown court, because she wanted to be "judged by my peers".
December 10, 2008
This ship looks like a ship of the Royal Navy. It bears the title HMS Cumberland, so you would think it was a British ship. Until recently, it had been undertaking NATO led counter-piracy missions off Somalia, when it was most definitely a British ship.
But that was before Monday. As of then – and currently – it is an EU ship, under EU political control, leading the European Union's first naval task force. EU Referendum
E'en the good patient man whom reason rules,
Roused by bold insult, and injurious rage,
With sharp and sudden check the astonished sons
Of violence confounds ; firm as his cause,
His bolder heart, in awful justice clad ;
His eyes effulging a peculiar fire ;
And as he charges through the prostrate war,
His keen arm teaches faithless men no more
To dare the sacred vengeance of the just.
And what, my thoughtless sons, should fire you more
Than when your well-earned empire of the deep
The least beginning injury receives?
What better cause can call your lightning forth?
Your thunder wake ? your dearest life demand ?
What better cause, than when your country sees
The sly destruction at her vitals aimed ?
For oh ! it much imports you, 'tis your all,
To keep your trade entire, entire the force
And honor of your fleets ; o'er that to watch,
E'en with a hand severe, and jealous eye.
In intercourse be gentle, generous, just,
By wisdom polished, and of manners fair ;
But on the sea be terrible, untamed.
Unconquerable still : let none escape,
Who shall but aim to touch your glory there.
Is there the man into the lion's den
Who dares intrude, to snatch his young away ?
And is a Briton seized ? and seized beneath
The slumbering terrors of a British fleet ?
Then ardent rise ! Oh, great in vengeance rise I
O'erturn the proud, teach rapine to restore.
And as you ride sublimely round the world,
Make every vessel stoop, make every state
At once their welfare and their duly know.
This is your glory ; this your wisdom ; this
The native power for which you were designed
By fate, when fate designed the firmest state
That e'er was seated on the subject sea ;
A state, alone, where Liberty should live.
December 8, 2008
Outing my language
Oxford University Press has removed words from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like "blog", "broadband" and "celebrity".
The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.
Words taken out:
Carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe
Dwarf, elf, goblin
Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar
Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade
adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.
Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow
Words put in:
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue
Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro
Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph
I'm with the outed words everytime.
December 7, 2008
Johnson Family Harmony
Rachel Johnson - Times Online
But nativity plays, carol services, making and eating mince pies, decorating the tree, spending time with the annoying uncle – all the best things about the traditional Yule – are all heartwarming, festive, almost free . . . and I commend them to the house.
Rachel's children's annoying uncle would be, no, not Boris surely?
December 3, 2008
Embarrassed by our cultural inheritance
Rue Britannia: How icons are vanishing for ever - Scotsman.com News
BRITAIN'S identity is being lost as traditional icons like red telephone boxes, lollipop ladies and milkmen gradually disappear from its streets, research has found.
William Palin, the secretary of Save Britain's Heritage, blamed local authorities for the demise in traditional services. He said: "Local governments feel embarrassed by our cultural inheritance and are glad to see the back of those things, such as post offices and telephone boxes, which anchor us in our communities and the places we live.
That must have been the multiculturism that celebrated every culture except the native one then...
November 25, 2008
Finally One Genuine Good Reason To Welcome ID Cards
Britain will suffer cultural and economic damage from the introduction of identity cards for foreigners, preventing stars such as Madonna staying in the UK....
November 14, 2008
Horsiocracy beg bogtrotters to expropriate England's green and pleasants for their use
The BHS is asking members to send postcards to MPs so that horse riders can gain the uncompensated right to trample on fields all round the coast of England. You might notice something about their tactics in the sample text they are sending out..
....Every MP will be able to vote on this matter. Whether you are an English, Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh MP, your support is invaluable to us. Please will you press for the new access rights to the English coast to include equestrians?
November 13, 2008
Never shall be slaves
Royal Navy in firefight with Somali pirates - Times Online
Pirates caught redhanded by one of Her Majesty’s warships after trying to hijack a cargo ship off Somalia made the grave mistake of opening fire on two Royal Navy assault craft packed with commandos armed with machineguns and SA80 rifles.
In the ensuing gunfight, two Somali pirates in a Yemeni-registered fishing dhow were killed, and a third pirate, believed to be a Yemeni, suffered injuries and subsequently died. It was the first time the Royal Navy had been engaged in a fatal shoot-out on the high seas in living memory.
By the time the Royal Marines boarded the pirates’ vessel, the enemy had lost the will to fight and surrendered quietly. The Royal Navy described the boarding as “compliant”.
The gun battle was in stark contrast to the Royal Navy’s last encounter with a boatful of armed men - when crew members of HMS Cornwall, also a Type 22 frigate, patrolling in the Gulf in rigid raiders, were surrounded by heavily armed Iranian Revolutionary Guards in March last year. Eight sailors, including a woman, Leading Seaman Faye Turney, and seven Marines were taken hostage without a shot being fired, and detained for 13 days. The Commons Defence Committee described the incident as “a national embarrassment”.
Yesterday’s battle signalled a new policy of maximum robustness for the Royal Navy on the high seas. Captain Mike Davis-Marks, a senior spokesman for the Navy, said: “This is bound to have an impact on pirates who for the last two years have been getting away with seizing vessels and receiving large ransoms. Now suddenly there’s the threat of death and this may force them to think again, but they are determined people, so we’ll have to see.”
That's more like it - I have hoisted the appropriate signal.
November 9, 2008
Britishness - the bolt-on extra?
Cameron calls for honesty on state of union - Scotsman.com News
"I believe we should be honest about the problems our union faces. It's not just that the SNP are running Scotland; it goes deeper than that. There is no doubt that the number of people who see themselves as British – ahead of Scottish, Welsh or English – is in decline."
Cameron added: "It is in fact about identity. You see it all over Europe, all over the world. People are seeking a clear identity; often a more localised identity. Just look at the rise of Cornish nationalists. I think we shouldn't fight that; I think we should build on top of that to create an inclusive British identity."
Gordon Brown has sought to strengthen the idea of a British identity, suggesting there be a "British" bank holiday, for example.
Cameron said he opposed such "mechanical" moves to strengthen a British identity, arguing instead that unionist politicians needed to renew "a sense of belonging" among people.
A survey in January in the Births Social Attitudes Report asked people to choose one national identity for themselves.
In England, 39% said they were British, down 9% from the previous year. In Scotland, only 3% of people said they considered themselves "only" or "mainly" British, down from 9% three years earlier.
Only the English may be called British - Official.
"Singing from the same hymn sheet" may upset atheists - Telegraph
Caerphilly council in Wales has asked staff to be careful about using the phrase British, because "it implies a false sense of unity" and is upsetting to many people in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
The council's written guidance to staff states: "Many would argue that one way to denote ethnic minority people in this country would be to describe them as 'British Asians', 'Chinese British' etc.
One advantage is that by referring to two ethnicities it avoids any suggestion that a person has to choose between them for identity.
However, the idea of 'British' implies a false sense of unity – many Scots, Welsh and Irish resist being called British and the land denoted by the term contains a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions."
Oi Taffy, what about English people who resent being called British, especially by the Sweaties in charge? Don't us English have the right to be called by our own nationality as well?
November 4, 2008
Stop living in Wales
BBC NEWS | Wales unveils strategy on suicide
A plan to reduce the suicide rate across Wales.
I can reveal it exclusively here - one simple recommendation to help those feeling suicidally depressed living in Wales. Emigrate.
October 28, 2008
Liberties aren't graciously granted by the state
Taking Liberties at the British Library, NW1: how our rights were won - Times Online
The British Library’s new Taking Liberties exhibition is an often inspiring tour of Britain’s “1,000-year struggle for our freedoms and rights”. At least, it is once you get past the patronising promotional quotes outside.
The guilt-tripping message appears to be: “Come inside and be grateful for what you’ve been given.” Whereas the real message of Taking Liberties seems to me that freedom has advanced in Britain when people have refused to do any such thing and instead have stood up and demanded more....
The exhibition is a reminder that the fight for liberty in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland has been a hard and dirty struggle ...
Go and see Taking Liberties, but not as a guilt trip about how we take hard-won freedoms for granted. Maybe we’ll be inspired to start a debate about taking more liberties ourselves.
Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights is at the British Library, NW1, from Fri to March 1
I'm planning to be in Town on November 5th to share a pint at
29 St Martins Lane,
At 11 am with anyone who cares to join me and then go for a little stroll down to Big Ben and then maybe back to this.
Back to when the Prime Minister said "a rifle should be kept in every cottage in the land."
I was very pleased last night to in my own little way to mark the centenary of the Bingham Hall, Cirencester
The hall complex included a rifle range to encourage the responsible and skilled use of firearms by the local menfolk. So importantly was this viewed by Mr Bingham that the Trust document included provision for a rifle club to be based there in perpetuity.
The range was very much ‘state of the art’ for the Edwardian period. 100 feet long, it was equipped with a Solarno target incorporating variable landscapes with both static and moving targets. Over the years the range became a very popular competition and practice venue for the Cotswold Rifle Club. Of course, more recent legislation has changed the character of such clubs but the Cotswold Rifle Club has adapted to the changes and is still in existence today, as Daniel Bingham decreed.
An hour of shooting the Lee Metford (tubed to .22) in the surroundings it was modified for, an Edwardian club endowed by a patriot after the Boer War so that never again would Englishmen be unprepared. More on similar ranges here and in these links....
The Parable of Boy Jones - Land & Sea Tales - For Scouts and Guides - Rudyard Kipling
The Parable of Boy Jones
THE LONG shed of the Village Rifle Club reeked with the oniony smell of smokeless powder, machine-oil, and creosote from the stop-butt, as man after man laid himself down and fired at the miniature target.....
NRA-ILA :: Articles
Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle both witnessed the lethal fire that Boer farmer-riflemen rained on British troops in 1899. They returned home to promote civilian marksmanship through the expansion of rifle clubs in England. ...
"What the `clothyard shaft and grey goose-wing` effected, when guided by an English eye and an English hand at Crecy and Agincourt, the rifle bullet will do in any future contest...." wrote Hans Busk in The Rifle and How to Use it.
The London Times went so far as to editorialize: "The change from the old musket to the modern rifle has acted on the very life of the nation, like the changes from acorn to wheat and stone to iron are said to have revolutionized the primitive races of men."
Despite the NRA`s best efforts during the previous 40 years, the war in South Africa demonstrated clearly that England was not yet a nation of marksmen. In May 1900 Prime Minister Lord Salisbury called for the formation of civilian rifle clubs to redress the shortcoming. In a speech to the Primrose League, he stated his goal was no less than that "a rifle should be kept in every cottage in the land."
Writing to the London Times in June 1905, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle presented his case, making the inevitable comparison to the Middle Ages: "The first point which is worth insisting upon is that a man trained at a miniature range (whether Morris Tube or otherwise) does become an efficient shot almost at once when he is allowed to use a full range. What with the low trajectory and absence of recoil in a modern rifle the handling of the weapon is much the same in either case. I am speaking now of an outdoor range where a man must allow for windage and raise his sights to fire . . . It was skill at the parish butts which made England first among military powers during the fourteenth century. My suggestion is that the parish butts be restored in the form of the parish miniature range."
October 27, 2008
Bring me my bow
Forestry Commission scraps Magna Carta right to collect woods from forests - Telegraph
The Forestry Commission has scrapped the right, enshrined in the “Great Charter” at Runneymede in 1215, in order to stop people picking firewood from woodland due to health and safety fears.
“The Magna Carta states that a common man is allowed to enter forests and take deadwood for firewood, repairing homesteads, fixing tools and equipment and making charcoal.”
Boo hiss, freedom under the greensward, Robin Hood riding through the glen, dispatching HiViz killjoys to the left and to the right. We are all for that here, so what I can't find the right enshrined in the Magna Carta, but then those that are enshrined have nearly all been repealed anyway.
October 26, 2008
Help For Heroes - What you missed on ITV last night
October 25, 2008
Saint Crispin's Day
October 22, 2008
It's all Britain and Adam Smith's Fault.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Price
Public Relations Director
International Coalition for British Reparations
Global Financial Crisis Blame Lies with Britain
October 23, 2008-The last few months have seen the global financial system
slide into the worst crisis since the Great Depression. While many ¡®pundits¡¯
have sought to place the blame for these unfortunate circumstances on
excessive greed amongst Wall Street brokers and poor regulatory policy in
America¡¯s capital, acclaimed people¡¯s historian, voice of the American
people and critically acclaimed author of The Evil Empire, Steven Grasse
believes the root causes of the crisis lie on the other side of the great
Atlantic Ocean in Britain. One must look no further than the face of the ¡Ì20
note and the banks of the River Thames to find those responsible.
To understand the current financial crisis Grasse says, we must first look
to one Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, ¡®father of modern
economics¡¯ and a Brit.
Once again, British hubris, greed and complete indifference towards other
nations, races, and cultures has landed the world in a catastrophic
predicament that will cost trillions of dollars to fix, and will destroy the
lives of untold numbers of families the world over. In our tireless pursuit
of justice, The International Coalition for British Reparations has decided
to push for an additional ¡Ì3.2 trillion payment from the British Government
to cover the initial round of government bailouts taking place all over the
world. The ICBR plans on adding to this amount as the true cost of the
meltdown reveals itself overtime.
This brings the current total of reparations owed to the citizens of the
world by the British government to a staggering ¡Ì35,160,000,000,000.
Thanks love for sending me that, I'm sure Gordon will send a cheque round first thing. I would join in the whip round but I'm a bit skint at the moment.
Little England and AGAs
When something as symbolically English as an Aga in a West Country farmhouse turns out to be dependent on factors over which nobody in this country has any control, what does that say about Englishness?
That we are a global trading nation and that is true Englishness?
(And some of us in our West Country Farmhouses have been mixing in Topanol with our AGA fuel for some time, to get the hotplate glowing red....)
October 19, 2008
0 wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us !
TV historian David Starkey called Mary, Queen of Scots, "a whore and a trollop and a murderess", accused the Scots of "adoring failure", and branded the SNP "utterly contemptible"..."They even have special music for failure – it's called bagpipes."
October 18, 2008
BBC NEWS | England | Wiltshire | Electorate snub their councillors
Local democracy week in Wiltshire has failed to attract potential voters to meet their councillors.
The councillors say they are disappointed people in the county have not turned out to meet them.
They say they have been waiting in libraries and schools...
I shouldn't laugh but it is the only sane response. Of course if they were waiting on a platform under a gibbet then I'm sure record crowds would have turned up....
October 15, 2008
Make Believe Playtime is Over
Alex Salmond insisted yesterday that he intended to press on with his plans for a referendum on independence for Scotland, to be held in 2010. Self-delusion is, of course, an occupational hazard for those who prefer dream over substance, but this time it sounds as if the leader of the Scottish National Party has lost touch with reality.
Around him, and his party's flagship policy, lies the wreckage of Scotland's independent banking sector, the very symbol of his future hopes for a robust economy. Worse, the two main Scottish banks have been saved from collapse by a Westminster Government, drawing on the resources of the United Kingdom's taxpayers. They are now British, not Scottish banks and their future strategy will be determined from the City of London not Edinburgh.
The twin pillars of Mr Salmond's strategy have long been a healthy financial sector and the price of North Sea oil. With the former in turmoil and the latter hovering around a fragile $80 per barrel, this former banking economist will need more than just his famous bouncy optimism to persuade Scottish voters that now is the time to cast caution to the winds and embark on the brave new venture of independence.
Come home to Mummy, had a nice time playing at being a wild pirate in the playground? But the night is closing in, and a storm is brewing so back home to Mummy and the warmth of the family hearth.
September 18, 2008
The Coaching Inns of Olde England - Banned
Fears are growing that pubs across the country could be asked to take down their road signs to prevent drink-driving following action by a local authority.
The Highways Agency backed a move by Wiltshire County Council to block signs pointing drivers towards pubs – leading to concerns from trade chiefs that it could set a precedent.
Tom and Trisha Russell, who run the Black Dog in Chilmark, have built their business on passing trade from the A303. But the couple have now been ordered to remove their road sign – two and a half years after it was put up.
Jacqui Ashman, local Highways Agency planning manager, said that the Black Dog’s sign was “potentially providing the temptation to drink and drive”.
She said: “No alcohol is allowed to be served or consumed in service stations on motorways as a matter of principle and we would wish to continue this principle by not encouraging drivers to break their journey in a public house.”
Jacqui, you just make sure there are enough lamp posts; come the glorious day we will do the rest.
September 17, 2008
Is England a Nation? Petition asks Gordon Brown
A new petition that has appeared on the 10 Downing Street website. This reads as follows:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to state whether he recognises that England is a nation.”
The background to this is the conclusion I’ve come to - which I know is shared by many - that England presently has no official or constitutional status as a nation whatsoever: effectively, England does not exist in any meaningful legal, political or constitutional sense.
If the answer to the petition is ‘yes, England is a nation’, this presents the English-nationalist cause with a major boost: at last, an official acknowledgement that England is to be regarded and celebrated as a nation.
If, however, the government says ‘no, England is not a nation’, then this could become a major focus for protest. Again, an official statement; but this time an explicit government acknowledgement that England is no more as a nation, as opposed to the term the government prefers - ‘country’ - which carries no political or constitutional weight, as it’s just a territorial jurisdiction.
The further details of the petition tie acknowledgement of England’s nation status in to that of Scotland and Wales; i.e. if England is a nation, then Scotland and Wales are to be recognised as nations, too; but if England is not a nation, neither should Scotland nor Wales be accepted as such. This means that any rejection of the petition effectively also denies nationhood to Scotland and Wales; hence, the protests against it could be greatly magnified....
The Lottery of Life
FROM multi-million-pound grants aimed at transforming landmarks of Scotland's heritage to small sums preserving an endangered habitat or helping children research their local history, the Heritage Lottery Fund has proved to be a lifeline for many.....
Ah, the difference between Scotland and England; the Scots think they have won the lottery of life because pennies from heaven rain down on them whereas the English know they have, because as Rhodes said in some form or other, simply because they are English.
September 15, 2008
Offending the Celtic
Celtic fans were left incensed by a Rangers chant, nicknamed the Famine Song, which makes repeated reference to the Irish potato famine...
Scores complained to the Irish Government, who was so concerned at the reports they raised the issue for the first time in talks with their SNP counterparts at Holyrood.
In an effort to force the authorities to take action, Irish ministers also urged disgruntled fans to contact the clubs, the police and Fergus Ewing, the SNP minister responsible for tackling sectarianism.
So Celtic fans go running to the Irish Government for help because it is suggested that they are Irish rather than Scottish? Eh?
London fashion week, the showcase for a £4 billion textile and clothing industry, has opened against a background of controversy and crisis.
Yep - not all of them are wearing scarves....
September 11, 2008
THE Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall yesterday paid tribute to current and former holders of the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.
1 Henry Flintoff GC, aged 77:
Stopped a runaway bull in North Yorkshire in 1944.
2 Awang anak Raweng, GC, 82:
Serving as a tracker in Malaya as part of 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. His platoon was attacked by 50 communist terrorists. He was wounded, but pulled a fellow soldier to safety and repulsed further attacks.
3 Keith Payne, VC, 75:
While with the 1st Mobile Strike Force Battalion in Vietnam in 1969, he secured the withdrawal of his men while injured and under fire.
4 Dr Dick Butson GC, 85:
Was involved in a rescue mission down a glacial crevasse in the Falklands in 1947.
5 Corp Willie Apiata VC, 36:
Carried a wounded comrade across a battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004.
6 Corporal of Horse Chris Finney GC, 24:
A member of the Blues and Royals, he twice returned to a burning car in Iraq to rescue his gunner and driver.
7 Kevin Walton, GC, 90:
Involved in rescue mission down a glacial crevasse in the Falklands in 1947.
8 Derek Kinne, GC, 78:
Withstood torture at hands of Chinese Communist forces during the Korean War in 1951.
9 Jack Bamford, GC, 71:
Saved two boys from a house fire in Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire, in 1952 by crawling through the flames into their bedroom.
10 Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, VC, 29:
Twice saved members of his unit from ambushes in 2004 at Al-Amarah, Iraq. Sustained serious head injuries, requiring brain surgery.
11 Barry Johnson, GC, 56:
Defused a mortar bomb in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1989. It detonated, causing him serious injury.
12 Michael Pratt, GC, 53:
As a policeman, while off-duty he tackled three armed men trying to rob a bank in Australia in 1976. Blocking the entrance with his own car, he took on the men while armed only with a car jack. Shot and badly hurt.
13 Henry Stevens, GC, 80:
While on patrol as a policeman in London in 1958, he chased a burglar and was shot in the mouth. He still grappled with the man who was finally arrested.
14 Alf Lowe, GC, 77:
Serving on HMS Illustrious in 1948, Mr Lowe was involved in a rescue while the ship was in Portland Harbour in Weymouth.
15 John Gregson, GC, 84:
As an apprentice with the Merchant Navy, played part in a shipboard rescue in 1943.
16 Charles Walker, GC, 94:
As a petty officer with the Royal Navy, was involved in a rescue during convoy to Malta in 1942.
17 Jim McDonald, Chairman of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation
Representing his force which was awarded a collective George Cross in 1999 for fighting terrorism in the 30 years of Ulster's Troubles, during which 302 of its officers were killed.
18 Margaret Purves (nee Vaughan), GC, 73:
Swam into sea against current to rescue three Scouts cut off by rising tide off Glamorgan coast in 1949.
19 Col Stuart Archer, GC, 93:
As Second-Lieutenant with the Corps of Royal Engineers, worked on defusing 200 German bombs, in 1940-41.
20 Dr Michael Refalo, High Commissioner for Malta, GC:
Representing his country which was honoured in 1942 with a collective GC for its resilience to 3,000 enemy bombing raids.
21 Flight Lt John Cruickshank, VC, 88:
As a flying officer with the RAF, on 17 July, 1944, his aircraft was hit while on anti-submarine patrol. With one crew member dead, the others injured, he sustained 12 wounds but still managed to release his depth charges, sinking a U-boat. He then helped to fly his plane back, despite passing out several times from his injuries.
22 Jim Beaton, GC, 65:
As the Queen's Police Officer, Chief Superintendent Beaton received the George Cross in 1974 for protecting Princess Anne from a kidnapper during an attack in The Mall. The attacker had shot the chauffeur and was trying to drag the princess from the car. The officer was shot in the thigh.
23 Tony Gledhill, GC, 70:
Displayed heroism on 25 August 1966 while a constable in the Metropolitan Police. He and his partner were on patrol when they were ordered to chase a car driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Fifteen shots were fired at their car during the ensuing chase. The criminals' car crashed into a lorry and they attacked the officers, injuring them, but they managed to subdue the men until help arrived.
24 Rambahadur Limbu, VC, 67
As a Lance-Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles, during the Indonesian Confrontation. On 21 November 1965 in Sarawak, Borneo, he rescued two comrades and their weapon while under fire from an enemy gunner whom he then charged down and killed.
25 Major Peter Norton, GC, 45:
Major Norton, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was awarded the George Cross for his service in Iraq. In 2005, while going to the aid of a US army patrol which had been hit by roadside bomb, he was hit by a second device and lost his left leg and part of his left arm. He continued to give instructions and refused to be evacuated until situation was under control.
26 Lieutenant Tul Bahadur Pun, VC.
Remembering the victims of terrorism
Baroness Thatcher, who survived an assassination attempt by the IRA, attended a poignant service at St Paul's Cathedral to honour the 300,000 members of the Armed Forces who served in Northern Ireland.
September 10, 2008
Government spending on public services in England was £7,535 per person in 2007-08. In Scotland it was £1,644 higher. In Wales the gap was £1,042 and in Northern Ireland spending was £2,254 higher.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have had a cumulative extra £200 billion in public spending since 1985/86, compared to what they would have received if they had been funded at English levels, a new report says today. £200 billion is the equivalent to £8,000 for every household in Britain.
The differences are caused by the controversial formula, which allocates public money around the UK and leads to claims that England is "subsidising" the three smaller nations.
Claims that England is "subsidising"? Why would anyone think that eh?
A spokesman for the First Minister said it was clear from the Scottish Government's official figures that Scotland was not subsidised by England.
I can't see what he does call it instead though.....
September 9, 2008
Jury Trial Victory
Police and prosecutors were locked in crisis meetings last night after what they believed to be the strongest terrorism case ever presented to a court was rejected by a jury. ..
The outcome of the case will be seen as a severe blow to Britain’s anti-terrorist effort.
The jury’s indecision in the face of a detailed Crown case raises questions about the public perception of the terror threat that could undermine government attempts to introduce further security legislation.
The Crown Prosecution Service indicated that it was likely to seek the retrial ....even though the jury at Woolwich Crown Court convicted three of the eight defendants of conspiracy to murder.
Prosecutors met to discuss their options amid concern that the jury could not decide on a separate charge specifying that airliners had been the targets of that conspiracy.
The jurors also failed to reach verdicts on serious terrorist charges against four other men...Another defendant, described in court as a shadowy figure with terrorist connections, was acquitted of all charges and cannot be retried.
The jurors deliberated for 52 hours, but their discussions were disrupted by a two-week holiday, frequent sickness breaks and other commitments.
Scotland Yard refrained from comment last night, but the senior officers of their disappointment over the outcome of the case.
Andy Hayman, former assistant commissioner for special operations, said: “This was one of our strongest cases – there will have to be an intensive debrief. But now is not the time for that, now is the time to prepare for retrials.”
Do you get the feeling the jury is getting the blame here, that they are being portrayed as unpatriotic, unreliable and almost too stupid to understand the importance of rubberstamping the Police's suspicions? Thank goodness that juries don't, thank goodness they weigh the evidence and aren't swept along with the hysteria. Maybe the suspects were innocent of the charges, maybe the evidence just wasn't there, maybe the police and CPS despite having spent £10 million didn't put together a good enough case. Maybe they should look at their own failings and join me in celebrating the independence of the jury and its central role in protecting us from injustice. Because if it is prepared to let off "shadowy" brown people with "links to terrorism" because it looked at the evidence presented rather than the insinuations then there continues to be hope for us all.
September 4, 2008
The Three Nations, and England
THE post of Scottish Secretary is set to be scrapped at Westminster as a consequence of the IRA being declared redundant as a paramilitary organisation.
The post – which was created in 1703 and even pre-dates that of prime minister – will be replaced by a Secretary of State for the Nations...amalgamating the posts of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish secretaries.
And of course England isn't a Nation, just a bunch of regions....
What the Romans did to us.
Researchers found that people who live in lands conquered by the Roman army have less protection against HIV than those in countries they never reached
They say a gene which helps make people less susceptible to HIV occurs in greater frequency in areas of Europe that the Roman Empire did not stretch to.
A case for reparations and public apologies I think, Ferraris all round should ease the mental anguish of the English of being a damaged and subjugated nation.
August 21, 2008
Celebrate your Britishness by not Celebrating your Britishness
Plans for Bank Holiday show Britons 'lack national purpose' - Telegraph according to a study which found that most people prefer to spend their Bank Holiday watching television or surfing the internet rather than celebrating the country's heritage.
Mintel said the findings showed public holidays "lack any real meaning beyond having a day off work" for the typical Briton.
The firm's leisure spokesman James McCoy said: "There is still a growing debate around adding an extra Bank Holiday to the calendar, particularly one that celebrates a shared identity or sense of Britishness.
"For this to work people need to get off the sofa and get involved, much like our overseas counterparts who often celebrate national days with fiestas and carnivals.
"Brits are simply not proactive or spontaneous during their bank holidays, preferring to lounge around the house or catch up on some rest. The fact that we don't do anything on bank holidays could well reflect this lack of national purpose."
Hurray - I don't want to be dragooned down to council organised "street parties to improve community relations." I just want the bloody day off, but then I'm a native here and that is how we think....
August 15, 2008
A campaign is underway to restore the reputation of Henry Hook, the soldier portrayed as a drunken shirker in the film Zulu.
And then what will become of his blog -The Final Redoubt if he is revealed to be a clean living god botherer?
August 11, 2008
A reminder in case you haven't bought your tickets yet.
Help for Heroes Challenge Match Saturday 20th September 2008
‘This is not just a rugby match, this is a chance for 82,000 people to get into Twickenham and cheer on our blokes... Any sportsman or sportswoman can understand what it is like to be at the top of their game and then to get injured; just imagine what it must be like to have your leg blown off while going to rescue your mate. This is about fit young people who are volunteering to serve their country and whose lives are changed while doing so. These blokes, these men and women, are the real heroes.
Let’s fill Twickenham on 20th September and show them that we really care.’
Help 4 Heroes XV Captain
July 28, 2008
Never Forget, Never Forgive
The Northern Irish terror threat is as significant now as it was during the time of the Omagh bombing 10 years ago and that up to 80 hardcore dissidents could be plotting attacks.
Among those they may target are Catholic police officers in a bid to deter young Catholics and nationalists from joined the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and prison officers, the sources say.
I thought St.Tony and his bog trotter wife had charmed all the terrors away and we should welcome the murderers and terrorists into our political institutions because bygones are bygones. We gave the scum nearly everything they wanted so Tony assured us it was all happy smiley faces for now on. On the bright side it is only 80 to worry about, £27 per 100 seems to be a cheap solution.
July 26, 2008
Local Flag Row
Royal British Legion members in Calne, Wilts, have campaigned for months for the right to hoist the flag over the town hall, amid opposition from councillors.
They believed they had won the battle when the council agreed to consider handing over control of the flag to the Legion.
However, the Legion says the council has now produced a 50-point health and safety document which would prevent anyone with specified physical ailments from accessing the town hall roof.
The criteria rules out most members of the local Legion branch, as they are aged over 60. ...
John Ireland, a local councillor, who is also the Legion branch chairman, said: "We have fought bravely and many of us risked our lives in a world war so we are perfectly capable of going up a ladder a few feet to put a flag up on a roof.
"It is absolutely ridiculous to be talking about health and safety. All the council is trying to do is find excuses to stop us flying the flag."
Accusing the council of "sneaky" behaviour, he added: "What they gave in one hand, they took away in the other, knowing full well that none of us are fit enough to match those rules."
The Town Hall in Calne is a substantial building, certainly strong enough to support a flagpole, and even a gibbet. I'm sure there would be no shortage of volunteers to clamber over the roof to employ the latter to help change the councillor's minds....
July 24, 2008
The Turing Test on our sense of history and identity
The anger of a Quiet Man One of the things to me that says a lot about how a country views itself is its treatment of history, or rather its own history and historical heritage.
Today, in The Times, we learn of an even bigger national disgrace, as around 100 computer scientists have felt compelled to write an ‘open letter’ to the Government on ‘Saving the heritage of Bletchley Park - We cannot let Bletchley go to rack and ruin’The Times, Letters, July 24):
“Bletchley Park is ... under threat, this time from the ravages of age and a lack of investment. Many of the huts where the codebreaking occurred are in a terrible state of disrepair.
As a nation, we cannot allow this crucial and unique piece of both British and world heritage to be neglected in this way. The future of the site, buildings, resources and equipment at Bletchley Park must be preserved for future generations by providing secure long-term financial backing.”
Just so. Why on earth this not a major museum completely beats me? Again, we have a national disgrace. It is entirely arguable that the amazing work at Bletchley shortened the Second World War by some two years, and from this work came the very computer on which I am preparing this posting.
What is wrong with us in the UK? We produce some of the world’s finest writers and scientists, yet we seem to want play them down. We are happy to waffle on about ‘global warming’ and ‘organic’ food, while neglecting the truly great scientists who forged our world and enabled us to think as we do. The lack of hard science in most of our media outlets is part of the malaise, while the decline of science in schools and at university is chilling.
I truly believe that the Grand Narrative of ‘Global Warming’ partly feeds on the anti-intellectual and unscientific agar of our petri dish media and society.
But, at the least, as the letter-writers demand, let us save some face, and turn Bletchley into a world-class museum of which we can, for once, be proud. It might even help to make amends for the outrageous and disgraceful treatment of Alan Turing [left], a genius, and one of the father’s of modern computer science.
For, in this particular instance, we owe so much to so few.
Risk Assessment Hero
A Royal Marine who is to be awarded the George Cross for saving the lives of his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade has spoken of the agonising moments after he set off a Taleban booby trap.
Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher, 24, said he was certain that he was going to die after he triggered the device during a mission in the Helmand region of southern Afghanistan.
He said: “I felt the tripwire hit my shins. You know immediately what that means. All I could do in the moment was shout out, ‘Grenade’ before diving on top of it.”
For five “agonising” seconds he lay on his back, certain he would be killed or seriously injured, before the device went off. He was thrown into the air by the force of the explosion but survived with minor injuries as his rucksack cushioned the blow...
Lance Corporal Croucher runs a risk-assessment business.
July 22, 2008
Celebrate the Hammer of the Scots and our Longbows at Falkirk
The Edinburgh Dungeon said the one-day event is in revenge for the Battle of Falkirk, fought 710 years ago July 21st (sic- I think it was on July 22nd), at which more than 2,000 Scots were slaughtered by the Auld Enemy.
English visitors will only be allowed entry if they sign a scroll swearing allegiance to Scotland, while those from other countries will be encouraged to bring in items deemed 'typically English’ to be smashed.
I'd be jumping up and down on a tartan scone tin in revenge, but I'd probably be arrested for being racist.....
July 17, 2008
Black and White Television For Sale
Some of Britain’s most popular television programmes including the Vicar of Dibley and Who Wants to be a Millionaire have been criticised for being “too white” by Channel 4’s new market research.
As far as I know "Millionaire" picks its contestants by them having to answer questions and getting the answer right. Seems to be a colour blind system to me, so how are they going to get more ethnics on, give them easier questions? Wouldn't that be insulting!
The research comes only weeks after Dr Samir Shah, a non-executive director at the BBC, accused broadcasters of rampant tokenism in their programming.
He claimed that a “tick-box approach” to showing non-whites had left minority viewers feeling embarrassed and irritated.
Placing too much emphasis on diversity in television has one big drawback: it doesn’t generally make for very good television.
But one area of British television that shows no diversity at all is Channel 4’s corporate purpose.
Earlier this year, chief executive Andy Duncan set out in black and white his unshakable intent to get £150 million a year in subsidy out of the government.
If C4 are honest about it, the announcement was intended for culture secretary Andy Burnham - not for anyone in Bradford or Burnley.
July 11, 2008
Looking for that corner of a foreign field
For lunch, our plan had been to quench our thirst and appetite with English beer and fish and chips at the Robert Morris Inn, a historic restaurant named for the historic figure who lived there in 1730.
Eighty per cent of our orders are crab-related," says our waiter, explaining why there are no fish and chips...Kenny Rogers croons over the muzak system. ..English beer: there is none on tap. Their version, Oxford Ale, a raspberry wheat beer, is far from the real deal. We adopt stiff upper lips and order Diet Coke and burgers.
"Here's something that's very English,The toilet bowl lever is on the 'correct' side - the right side of the toilet, just like in England."
Well that has cured me of my wanderlust - it sounds like hell when the only thread of connection with home an Englishman abroad can find is the bog handle. And how do you use one that is on the left, behind your back?
July 7, 2008
July 4, 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen. Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.
This is not a normal by-election but it is extraordinary. The people of this area are being asked to consider not the merits or otherwise of the government or opposition, much less the competing policies of the different parties. Not even the beauty parade of eager candidates, who looking at David and the motley assemblage of other candidates, once again reminds me of that great truth that politics is merely showbusiness for ugly people.
You are not even being asked to address the great financial issues and otherwise that are beginning to bite at this region and the country. Rising food, fuel, energy and inflation costs. House prices and manufacturing down. It doesn’t look or feel good out there. But that is not for this election. That is for another day.
This time you are being asked about something much more fundamental. More profound even than the momentary economic cycle and its impact on those who live here . This time you’re being asked to think about who we are. What we stand for and will we continue to live and be the country and people built by generations and institutions before. This is fight about the legal boundaries of the state and how much that state can and should remove of our liberties before it fundamentally changes the nature of who and what we are.
As a voting issue it may appear less immediate than the current financial downturn and therefore less compelling. Given the position of the other main parties the results may seem a foregone conclusion and the exercise of the vote tiresome, the sheer drag of having to go to the town, village or church hall or school to exercise your rights seems unnecessary. Perhaps then a vast apathy sets in at the seemingly huge vagueness of it all. This time there will be no debate about the standard of living but rather but rather standards we choose to live by Maybe you accept the official panicky newspaper and political establishment line that its all a nonsense, a hopelessly quixotic or principled or opportunistic waste of time. That would be a terrible mistake.
I will argue that this time you must come out in more numbers than ever because this time the issue is more vital than even our immediate food bills. This time uniquely you are being asked to decide about what kind of people we are and what kind of country we wish to live in. You’re being asked to vote about us and you may never get to vote on something so profoundly fundamental again.
Famous defenders of liberty have walked the streets of Hull before and many fine words have been spoken in this very room so…
Let us be grand for once then, for we talk of great subjects. Let us ask ‘what is the point of England “ now that Parliament, whose primary purpose is to defend the liberties of the people have so gratuitously, so wantonly, so casually betrayed that trust and taken from us that same liberty which above all else defines this country and its constitution, and that which has been its greatest gift to the world its freedom, its tolerances, its civilisation which William Wilberforce so forcefully argued from this town so many centuries ago.Melville claimed for America “that it bears the Ark of the liberties of the world.” It could be better said of that Britain which invented and codified those freedoms.
Are Magna Carta, and Habeas Corpus not to mention the Anti-Slavery laws, to be traduced in one brief sad moment of political expediency. When a 800 years ago Britons told the state in words that still ring true and through the ages
“To no man will we deny, To no man will we delay, Justice and Right”
42 days detention denies and delays Justice and Right. It is a clear breach of ancient right, of Magna Carta itself.
So what great existential threat does this country now face that did not face our forefathers of the past 1000 years. What is so grave the emergency now that neither civil war nor world war nor various terrorisms were considered so dangerous to our security that our oldest statutes -and few have lasted the 400 years relevance of habeas corpus - could be upended for such a ha’pnworth of momentary contemporary panic. If authority is to be respected it must be just. When it is not, then the greatest threat to that authority is its own instinct to authoritarianism.
These new security measures, these new limitations on our liberties are not the thin end of the wedge We’re way past that now. This is now, already, the bulkier mid way point of that authoritarian block. For we have in the past few years so mauled our ancient defended rights, rights for which bloody battles were fought and heroes lived and died for, as to seriously consider whether the constitution is today much more than a cartoon of its essential meaning. And what moral authority resides any longer in a lawmaking body that acts against the liberties of its own people? Is it not true that the willingness to use intolerable means to achieve impossible ends shows the political mind at its most deluded?
Meanwhile our supine press gulled by political complicity, lull the population to apathy by banging on with their trivial irrelevancies while the constitution is quietly turned aside. Shame on them. Alas they are shameless.
What terrorizes the terrorists is our civilization. What those unthinking fools of fundamentalism fear most are the very freedoms our representatives strip from us. Essentially this ‘war on terror’is a conflict waged against Islamist forces that claim to reject the Enlightenment. If that is so, then how can we ever succeed if we side with our opponents in rejecting those same ideals? Every moment we are spied on by the invisible watchers. Every time that we are recorded and monitored at every turn, on every purchase. Every time we are mandatorially logged, noted, tagged and followed on databanks and files because “it is in our best interest” They win. And every time we accept it, we lose. We must not hold this attitude of passive acceptance to these restraints on justice, rights and liberties that ultimately amounts to nothing more than complicity with intolerance.
Why should I carry an ID card? I own my identity – not them. Why should I have to identify myself to the state? How dare they demand I identify myself? To whom am I identifying myself and for what? Spain, France and Germany have had identity cards for decades and have more or less the same levels of crime as us. So why insist on them. The war on terror is no answer. Indeed there will soon be a brisk business in false British cards and more seriously they didn’t stop the bombers in Germany or Spain.
It is of course almost comically Orwellian to trot out that comprehensively stupid, complacent and absurd excuse of the natural authoritarian The classic “Only the guilty need be afraid” line. And how sickening to hear it in England. “Only the guilty need be afraid”. Really? This repulsive expression beloved of tabloid and home secretary alike has at least got the virtue that it is demonstrably false.
Shall we say it to the innocent men of Forest Gate, already shot then banged up and subsequently released without charge.
Shall we say it to the demonstrators going about their legally permitted democratic business who are roughed up, abused and put away.
Say it to me that when you are lifted from the street, incarcerated for 42 days without knowing why, while your boss considers his and your position, your family cower in fear and dismay and your friends and community shun you.
Tell them that when you are released, as innocent as when you went in and try vainly to return to the life stripped from you.
Tell that to the Gestapo-like anonymous, faceless accuser whom you well never have to encounter or challenge.
Tell that to the judge, for that other ancient right of been judged by your peers in jury is gradually removed
No ladies and gentlemen in this world of spies, snitches, cameras, files and databanks the state knows all our sad, shameful little private secrets. Like threatening gangsters they know who we are and they know where we live. Not Big Brother, this is Big Britain. It is not simply about the big issues. This is also about the liberty of the ordinary person to have an ordinary life and not feel oppressed - the everyday small liberties that affect us all. When RIPA, the law that allows councils to authorise surveillance and to get hold of your phone records, e-mails and website usage was enacted 8 years ago, 9 organisations including the police, security and revenue services were allowed to use it. Today there are 786 more agencies added - including all local authorities, police forces and bodies, the Financial Services Authority and the Ambulance service. In 2006 these bodies made 1000 applications A DAY to use these powers! They will say “If you don’t do anything wrong why worry?” Rather you should worry precisely because you do nothing wrong. They must have no right to spy on your ability to live a good life. And when we finally become afraid to say what we think, it is one step nearer to that most awful condition of all – being afraid of what TO think!. “Only the guilty need be afraid” Afraid not. In this world it is only the innocent need be afraid. For the state has assumed our guilt already. We have all become suspects. We have become guilty till proven innocent.
What lies behind all of this, this perversion of the British idea?
From 2000 to today, incarceration without charge and without recourse to justice has gone from 5 days to 7 to 28 to 42. Foreigners may be imprisoned indefinitely on national sercurity grounds. Detention is based on secret intelligence and suspicion. There is no criminal charge and no trial. Our very own Guantanamo. Terrorism stop and search powers are used widely and routinely including against that elderly man who had the temerity to heckle Jack Straw. Local councils snoop and spy and threaten old people and others over litter and wheelie bins. Why? It is true that most people want security rather than liberty. But then as that unlikely sage Dick Cheney (and he should know) said “It is easy to take Liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you”.
It is our complacency that let’s them get away with it. It is our apathy that we must fear.
But are we really so threatened in the UK, that we must uniquely introduce the most swingeing and illiberal precautions.
The United States, which unlike us, genuinely feels itself at war, under siege and attack has an absolute limit of 2 days before detainess are brought before a judge and that judge being presented with evidence. Last week the supreme court held the government to be in contempt for suspending the rights of the Guantanamo. residents to fair justice.
In Ireland even at the height of the IRA terror campaign the limit was 7 days
Australia only 60 miles from the most populous Muslim nation and the victim of its own bomb horrors has a maximum of 12 days.
Spain with its huge north African Muslim population and the victim of the worst European bombing outrage is 5 days maximum. Yet all the bombers were cught and tried or killed themselves.
Italy with its 1970’s red brigade terror and its large African population has a maximum of 4 days.
Germany with its giant millions strong Turkish population and during its murderous Baader Meinhof rampage has 2 days.
Russia with its Islamic Chechnyan rebels, its war and outrages has 5 days maximum.
It goes on. What is wrong with us. Have we lost our confidence, our stoicism, our bravery and dignity, sang-froid and upper lip. No, I don’t think so, not if the great awful dignity of the victims families are anything to go by. Or the magnificent and traditional response of the capitol with that very British attribute of “getting on with it’. Not us then. Is Parliament afraid? Apparently not. MI5? They say not. So why imprison people on suspicion, without charge, without evidence or trial for 42 days? How very, very unBritish.
Let us be clear then. This is not security we are being offered, this is government demanding freedom from the constraints that have developed over many centuries to curb the exercise of power. This is a type of illiberal democracy where elections take place against a background of diminished freedom. Ben Franklin said that “they who can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.
I was told that David Davis was out on a limb on this one. Shamefully that is true. But it is the right limb to be out on. And it is a limb I am proud to join him on. It is also the limb that William Wilberforce climbed out and perched himself upon in this very town. When I think of this area therefore I think of this mans and this areas struggle against injustice, the rights of the unlawfully chained and those denied their liberty. This is not the grotesquerie of slavery and it would be wrong to conflate the two. But it is about justice, it is about liberty, it is about your rights. It is about Magna Carta, and what Britain is, was and must continue to be. It is against the whole flabby, conforming, brainwashed, gullible, witless crap of it all.
This is the only place that uniquely in this election has been given the chance and honour to speak out again for all of us. To speak out on behalf of justice versus intolerance. To whistleblow. To firewatch against unthinking power .To speak about an idea of right and liberty under the law. To vote for an idea of life itself. THE idea of Britain. Tory, Lib Dem, Labour who cares - clamber out on this limb with us, for its where we all belong. Turn out hugely and thank God that you are in a country that is still free to do so.
Ladies and Gentlemen. Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.
June 29, 2008
DEFENCE chiefs are spending £2.5m replacing every flag in the British military in a move which has angered troops still fighting for their lives in warzones with outdated and inadequate equipment.
At least, I hope, they aren't replacing them with the blue rag with the gold stars on it, yet.
June 27, 2008
The “right to keep and bear arms” an historic English right
Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court said the “right to keep and bear arms” is an individual right. In his painstakingly detailed historical analysis, Scalia said the amendment was not written to confer a new right, but to protect an existing right that had developed through the centuries in English law.
The Framers, well versed on past attempts of English kings to use their royal militias to disarm potential regional enemies in England, were protecting individual citizens of the newly-organized United States of America against future attempts of governments to disarm them, Scalia said.
Well at least somewhere on the globe the rights of the English under common law have been upheld, pity it isn't here.
UPDATE: More from Wolf Howling: A Constitutional Lesson In British History
This from Justice Scalia's opinion in Heller [citations removed for ease of reading]:
. . . Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, the Stuart Kings Charles II and James II succeeded in using select militias loyal to them to suppress political dissidents, in part by disarming their opponents. Under the auspices of the 1671 Game Act, for example, the Catholic James II had ordered general disarmaments of regions home to his Protestant enemies. These experiences caused Englishmen to be extremely wary of concentrated military forces run by the state and to be jealous of their arms. They accordingly obtained an assurance from William and Mary, in the Declaration of Right (which was codified as the English Bill of Rights), that Protestants would never be disarmed: “That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law.” This right has long been understood to be the predecessor to our Second Amendment. It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia. To be sure, it was an individual right not available to the whole population, given that it was restricted to Protestants, and like all written English rights it was held only against the Crown, not Parliament. But it was secured to them as individuals, according to “libertarian political principles,” not as members of a fighting force.
By the time of the founding [i.e., the drafting of the U.S. Constitution in 1789], the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects. Blackstone, whose works, we have said, “constituted the preeminent authority on English law for the founding generation,” cited the arms provision of the Bill of Rights as one of the fundamental rights of Englishmen. His description of it cannot possibly be thought to tie it to militia or military service. It was, he said, “the natural right of resistance and selfpreservation,” and “the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.” Other contemporary authorities concurred. Thus, the right secured in 1689 as a result of the Stuarts’ abuses was by the time of the founding understood to be an individual right protecting against both public and private violence. And, of course, what the Stuarts had tried to do to their political enemies, George III had tried to do to the colonists. In the tumultuous decades of the 1760’s and 1770’s, the Crown began to disarm the inhabitants of the most rebellious areas. That provoked polemical reactions by Americans invoking their rights as Englishmen to keep arms. A New York article of April 1769 said that “[i]t is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defence.” They understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves. As the most important early American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries (by the law professor and former Antifederalist St. George Tucker) made clear in the notes to the description of the arms right, Americans understood the “right of self-preservation” as permitting a citizen to “repe[l] force by force” when “the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury.”
There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. . . .
While the British wrote down the right of individuals to bear arms as against the Crown in the 1689 Bill of Rights, they wrote down no limitation on Parliament circumscribing Parliament's ability to extinguish their rights. Thus Britain lives under a tyranny of sorts today. Without any recognized Constitution, and with Parliament over a century ago having claimed for itself unlimited sovereignty, there are no permanent rights in Britain. Thus today you have in Britian a populace that has not only been largely disarmed of firearms over the past century, but a populace wherein the law abiding among them are prevented from carrying any sort of weapon for self defense. Even carrying the innocuous pepper spray is illegal.
And then of course there is the penultimate tyrannical act. In what amounts to a coup, the current Labour government has broken its promise to the people of Britain, given but three years ago, to give the people a vote in the decision to extinguish the sovereignty of Britain and become a province in a socialist and anti-democratic EU superstate. By this act, and in the even larger sense that this transfer of sovereignty severly and forever more degrades the democratic right of the British to choose their government, Labour evinces utter disdain for the liberty of Britian's citizens. And with that in mind, there is at least one more passage highly apropos from Justice Scalia's decision:
St. George Tucker’s version of Blackstone’s Commentaries, as we explained above, conceived of the Blackstonian arms right as necessary for self-defense. He equated that right, absent the religious and class-based restrictions, with the Second Amendment. See 2 Tucker’s Blackstone 143. In Note D, entitled, “View of the Constitution of the United States,” Tucker elaborated on the Second Amendment: “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty . . . . The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” . . .
I think the appropriate phrase to finish on is the truism, "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it."
June 25, 2008
The Bayeux Tapestry, one of France's national treasures, was, historians now believe, actually made in Britain and should be repatriated.
Quite with every Greek and Aborigine wanting our marbles and shrunken heads back it is about time we asked for some of our stuff back from the light fingered Froggies
June 23, 2008
English Schools (Only) to Indoctrinate Britishness
More than 500 schools in England will focus on the subject of Britishness as part of a government initiative.
Is it only being English schools being forced to follow Gordon's British line? Yes, no irony here, nothing to see, please move along.
June 19, 2008
HUNDREDS of people lined the streets of Wootton Bassett to pay their last respects to five dead soldiers.
Hearse after hearse, carrying coffins draped with Union flags were driven slowly through the High Street during the solemn occasion.
After 10 years of Labour neglect, Gordon Brown is making all the right noises about the parlous state of our troops, both on and off the battlefield.
However, does he mean what he says about respect for our soldiers? Really mean it? At the time that those five young paras were driven through Wiltshire in a cavalcade of hearses, should Brown have thought about a bigger, more heartfelt official gesture to mark their homecoming? George W. Bush was in Britain then.
How incredible it would have been if these two men had gone to Wootton Bassett to stand on the pavement together and bow their heads as the quintet of death swept by. It would never happen, of course.
June 11, 2008
St George's Day - The Government Splashes Out
In 2008 £116 was spent on promotion and £114 in 2007. Nothing was spent in the previous three years.
The DCMS spent £51,838 on refreshments for official meetings and engagements in 2007/08.
In 2006/07 it spent £49,954 and in 2005/06 £56,223.
At least we now know how much England's National Day is valued by the Scottish Raj.
June 1, 2008
Scottish Raj out of touch and favour with English voters
LABOUR figures have called on Gordon Brown to purge the "Scots Mafia" around him in an effort to curry favour with voters south of the border.
The Prime Minister is being urged to give key jobs to ministers seen as able to reach out to Middle England amid concern that the party will face a landslide general election defeat at the hands of David Cameron's Conservatives.
MPs believe that ministers from south of the border will be better able to appeal to middle-class voters in marginal seats across England.
May 30, 2008
English music for a summer evening
May 17, 2008
Dambusters' wartime daring celebrated - Times Online...the 65th anniversary of the Dambusters raid.
May 12, 2008
Michael Stone planned to slit the throats of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness inside the Northern Ireland Assembly Chamber when he stormed it in November 2006.
For a moment there I thought I was reading a medal citation rather than the prosecution case against him, and in the interest of balance I note: "Stone has denied the charges, claiming his attack was "performance art". And I bet he didn't apply for an Arts Council grant....
May 9, 2008
Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others see us!
"Of the two hundred-plus destinations across the world that Rough Guide covers, there is none so fascinating, beautiful and culturally diverse, yet as insular, self-important and irritating, as England," says the guide, which was written by four British travel writers....a "querulous, quarrelsome country"... all have views on issues such as politics, crime and immigration, but are also voracious consumers of "celebrity chit-chat".
The guide says: "As a glance at the tabloid newspapers will confirm, England is a nation of overweight, binge-drinking reality TV addicts.
"But it's also a country of animal-loving, tea-drinking, charity donors, where queuing remains a national pastime and bastions of civilisation, such as Radio 4, are jealously protected. It's a nation that prides itself on its patriotism – yet has a Scottish prime minister, an Italian football coach and a Greek royal consort.
"Ask any English person to comment on all of this and you'll get an entertaining range of views. Try to make sense of these, and the resulting picture might suggest something akin to a national identity crisis."
May 6, 2008
Wee Dougie's Sister Upsets Gordon's Applecart
Wendy Alexander, the Scottish Labour leader, announced her backing for a "Yes or No" vote on independence.
The U-turn was a further blow to the authority of the embattled Prime Minister who was not informed of Ms Alexander's announcement.
It also caused ruptures in Labour north and south of the Border with Westminster sources aghast at her move.
One Labour MP asked if Ms Alexander "was off her head", adding: "What is she thinking?"
Trying to lance the boil of the "neverendum" as has happened in Quebec in Canada. There, constant failures for the region to vote for independence have led independence parties to keep bringing the question back, and with Gordon's clunking fist relaxed for a moment she was able to slip out from under it and blather as she wanted toinstead of having to mouth his "British" platitudes.
Our Green and Pleasant Land
The population of England will increase by a third over the next 50 years as it becomes the most crowded major nation in Europe, official forecasts suggest.
England's population is now 50 million, but by 2056 it will be 68 million – or 1,349 for every square mile. At present there are 1,010 per square mile. The population density in England is almost double the level in Germany.
In London, the population density will jump from 12,377 people per square mile to 13,910 over 20 years.
The total area of England is 130,410 sq km (50,352 sq mi). This total is approximately the size of the state of North Carolina.
Two people per acre! Quite a stocking density, whatever will become of our gardens? Especially bearing in mind the dictum laid down by one of the Rothschilds - "However small your garden is, one should have at least quarter of an acre of native woodland in it"
That's the view out back, with the beech trees just coming out it is magical on a bright spring morning such as this.
April 23, 2008
Annual Subscription Reminder
OK - here's the deal! If you enjoy, or even if you don't, visiting these pages, go here:
Help for Heroes intends to fund a new swimming pool and gym at Headley Court, particularly to help those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. The current gym was last refurbished after the Falklands War in 1982 and the only swimming pool is the local public pool - you may have seen the awful reaction of some members of the public when limbless soldiers were swimming there recently.
Help for Heroes website
Off to The Gentlemen's St George's Day Lunch at The King's Arms.
Wish me luck, last year I fell asleep with my face in The Stinking Bishop at the end of the meal...
This year in a bout of bizarre optimism Mrs Englishman has be booked to do some babysitting this evening.
If you are celebrating, have a good one, and be careful how you go.
Tories, Traitors and The EU
England has been wiped off a map of Europe drawn up by Brussels bureaucrats as part of a scheme that the Tories claim threatens to undermine the country's national identity.
The new European plan splits England into three zones that are joined with areas in other countries.
The "Manche" region covers part of southern England and northern France while the Atlantic region includes western parts of England, Portugal, Spain and Wales.
The North Sea region includes eastern England, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.
A copy of the map, which makes no reference to England or Britain, has even renamed the English Channel the "Channel Sea".
Each zone will have a "transnational regional assembly"...German ministers claimed that the plan was about "underlying the goal of a united Europe" to "permanently overcome old borders" at a time when the "Constitution for Europe needs to regain momentum".
The Tories are drawing attention to the plan today, St George's Day. Eric Pickles, the shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, said: "We already knew that Gordon Brown had hoisted the white flag of surrender to the European constitution.
Cue outrage etc. but these "regions" have been around for a while with Councils eagerly dipping their snouts into pan-european funds earmarked for each region. And if the Tories are going to wrap themselves in the flag today does that mean they are going to tell the EU to fuck off? Of course not, there are as many traitors in the Tory Party as in Labour.
Dispose the Day
And as it is a national holiday today (isn't it?) The Breach Scene - Cry 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!' is below.
April 22, 2008
Britannia ponces about ineffectually on the waves.
While the French were flying six of the captured pirates to Paris to face trial, the British Foreign Office issued a directive to the once vaunted Royal Navy not to detain any pirates, because doing so could violate their human rights. British warships patrolling the pirate-infested waters off Somalia were advised that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain and that those who were returned to Somalia faced beheading for murder or a hand chopped off for theft under Islamic law.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, the anti-piracy watchdog of the International Chamber of Commerce, over the past 10 years 3,200 seafarers have been kidnapped, 500 injured and 160 killed.
Claim asylum? Claim asylum on the end of a yardarm with my good friend Henry the Hempen rope would be more fitting. These pirate "hostages" become slaves, two hundred proud years of patrolling the seven seas boarding slavers and dispatching pirates comes to end because we are worried about the "human rights" of the pirates and that if we drag them back to Blighty all they will do is claim asylum.
April 21, 2008
The English Question
Wednesday is St George's Day; so how stands England? Is it, as Ross says when asked the same of Scotland in Macbeth, a case of "Alas, poor country!/Almost afraid to know itself"?
The English Question will still need to be addressed even if Labour loses the next election. This is not about party advantage, nor is it about the Barnett formula, free prescriptions or university fees, however much these issues might rankle with English voters.
It is about identity and governance. Within a Union, it will never be possible for one ancient nation to be satisfied on these matters if the other, bigger, ancient nation feels its claims are being ignored.
The First Minister set a target of winning 20 seats at the next General Election, a total which he claimed could give the party the balance of power in the Commons.
In a tub-thumping speech at the SNP conference yesterday, he promised to use this leverage to force the Government into a series of concessions.
In the early 1600s, one E. Rogers wrote "A good fence helpeth keep peace between neighbours. But let us take heed, we make not a high stone wall to keep us from meeting."
April 20, 2008
Den Engländern "stinkt" es
Den Engländern "stinkt" es – und zwar im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes: Ein fauliger Geruch vom europäischen Festland verpestet im Süden Großbritanniens die Luft. Der Gestank sei eine Mischung aus Dung und Industrieabgasen, über den sogar die Queen die Nase rümpft, heißt es. Schuld daran sind deutsche Schweine.
Die Briten können Europa nicht besonders gut riechen – und diesmal hatten sie einen besonderen Grund: Über weite Teile Südenglands bis nach London wehte seit Freitag ein fauliger Geruch vom europäischen Festland. Selbst die Queen war angeblich von „The Great Stink“ betroffen. Die Ursache für die dicke Luft war am Wochenende schnell gefunden: Der Ostwind und die deutschen Schweine. ...
Der Euro-Wind blies zu guter Letzt auch der Deutschen Botschaft harsch in Gesicht. Reporter der „Daily Mail“ wollten den Diplomaten eine offizielle Stink-Entschuldigung entlocken. Jedoch vergeblich. Mitarbeiter der Botschafter hätten „nichts ungewöhnliches“ in der Luft bemerkt, schrieb das Blatt. Stattdessen habe man darauf aufmerksam gemacht, dass der Duft ja auch aus Frankreich kommen könne – das sei schließlich näher.
The Englishmen "stinks" it - namely, in the truest sense of the word: A fauliger smell from the European mainland to the south of Britain contaminates the air. The stench was a mixture of manure and industrial waste gases, which even the Queen rümpft the nose, they say. Blame are German pigs.
The British can Europe not particularly good smell - and this time, they had a special reason: over large parts of southern England to London since Friday blew a fauliger smell from the European mainland. The cause of the air was thick at the weekend quickly found: The East Wind and the German pigs.
... The euro wind blew at long last, and the German Embassy in harsh face. .. the "Daily Mail" wanted an official apology Stink-elicit. Employees of the ambassador had "nothing unusual" in the air noticed, the paper wrote. Instead, we have pointed out that the scent also could come from France.
April 14, 2008
At least there is one Marathon runner we can admire
"I'll do what I always do and have a pint and a fag. People ask what's my secret but I haven't got one. They say fags and booze are bad for you – but I'm still here, aren't I?"
Expected to complete the race in 12 hours, he was well on target at the 13-mile mark, where he stopped for a beer, cigarette and some homemade sandwiches.
Marathon man, 'Buster' Martin, may be up to some old tricks - Times Online
He finished the race in slightly more than ten hours; his exact time will not be known until later date because the tracking system which monitors runners’ results was removed at 7pm, some 45 minutes before he crossed the finishing line.
Now that is what you call a proper sportsman... though the hacks at The Times are accusing him of fakery - "Mr Martin is a mere spring chicken of just 94....‘Buster’ Martin ‘likes to tell stories’." And so what? Far better than crapping in the gutter like Paula Radcliffe in front of the cameras and being the darling of the media.
April 13, 2008
Britain is to have a "special day of celebration" for the Armed Forces after Gordon Brown endorsed the idea in a victory for a campaign by The Sunday Telegraph.
Oh goody, get out the bunting and prepare for unctuous speeches from chicken hawk politicians. I'm pretty gung-ho for supporting our boys but I don't need a bloody official day to do it or Gordon bloody Brown's permission or its toadying lapdog paper's preening. We don't need boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again in the town square; we need proper support for them everyday and especially for the returned on those dark days when they hide away with their brains screaming.
April 2, 2008
That artillery barrage in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh yesterday...
It is a shame but it wasn't the start of regime change, just the well deserved celebration of the TA
Cannons were fired today in each of the nation's capitals to mark the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army (TA) and launch TA100 – a major campaign to acknowledge the contribution of Territorial Army soldiers since 1908.
Happy Birthday, and thanks.
March 23, 2008
The Jelly-Bellied Flag Flapper plans in full.
PUBLIC buildings in Scotland will be allowed to fly the Saltire year-round following a government climbdown in response to pressure from nationalists.
UK ministers will this week announce the lifting of restrictions on flag flying that have been in force since 1924. The rules stipulate that the Union Jack must must take precedence over all national flags on 18 days each year.
Jobcentres to fly Union Jack - Times Online
Public buildings, including job centres, schools and hospitals, are to be encouraged to fly the union jack and other national flags to boost national identity.
Ministers will this week announce the lifting of restrictions on flag flying that have been in force since 1924. They will allow public buildings to erect flagpoles and fly the union jack and national flags, including the cross of St George, the Saltire of Scotland and the red dragon of Wales every day.
At present, flying national flags from public buildings is restricted to 18 days a year, which include the Queen’s birthday and Remembrance Day.
I'm not sure The Times understands the rules as a they are at the moment, and of course scrapping a bunch of rules is nearly always good news but the jelly-bellied flag-flapping is a mere frippery and to have been constantly representing it as the answer to Gordon's desire for us to forget he is Scottish, sorry I meant to say, to have been constantly representing it as the answer to the lack of Britishness shows the shallow paucity of Labour's imagination.,
March 22, 2008
Scotland, close the door on your way out - please don't slam it.
As the traditional advice for children goes, if there is one thing worse than being teased, it’s being ignored. Jeremy Paxman, an expert in the oft-practised art of baiting the Scots, has finally come out with the most hurtful insult of all - he’s simply not bothered about them.
Paxman said: “I think the view down here would be ‘if our friends in Scotland decide they don’t want the Union to continue any longer, well that is a judgment for them’. And if they really don’t want to be sharing the same house with us, and want to move out, well that’s a bit of a shame. It is like watching a marriage decay among friends.
“But if that’s what they want, well, let them do it. You really ought to snap out of this sense that everyone down here is worried about it. They are not. The English have been allowed no voice in this.”
Paxman has form when it comes to cross-Border relationships. He once claimed that it was “tremendously good fun winding Scots up” because it was so easy.
March 15, 2008
Cymru am byth
Three nearly perfect matches, and the IPA was fine as well. Normal service will resume tomorrow.
March 12, 2008
A Kingdom is ruled by a King, a country is ruled by Gordon Brown
Perhaps we could have our children pledge allegiance to a national motto. So thick and fast and inchoate tumble the ideas about Britishness from the Government that the ridiculous no longer seems impossible. It is easy to poke fun - too easy, perhaps. For the very debate about what it means to be a British citizen, long a particular passion of Gordon Brown, brutally illustrates the ever-decreasing circle that new Labour has become.
The idea of a national motto (or “national statement of British values”, as they insist we call it) has already attracted derision on a glorious scale - and there's nothing more British than the refusal to be defined. Times readers chose as their national motto: No motto please, we're British.
Undaunted, here comes the Government with another one: a review of citizenship, which suggests that schoolchildren be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. A what? Yup. Oath of allegiance to the Queen. It would be hard to think of something more profoundly undemocratic, less aligned to Mr Brown's supposed belief in meritocracy and enabling all children to achieve their full potential.....
But it is in him that the central problem resides: the Prime Minister himself is uncertain what Britishness is, while insisting we should all be wedded to the concept. No wonder there is a problem over what a motto, or an oath of allegiance, should contain.
Britain is a set of laws and ancient institutions - monarchy, Parliament, statutes, arguably today EU law as well. An oath of allegiance naturally tends towards these.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. In its younger and bolder days, new Labour used to argue that the traditional version of Britain is outdated. When Labour leaders began debating Britishness in the 1990s, they argued that the institutions in which a sense of Britain is now vested, or should be vested, are those such as the NHS or even the BBC (no coincidence that these are also traditionally viewed as “Labour” institutions), allied with values of civic participation, all embodying notions of fairness, equality and modernity absent in the traditional institutions.
Gordon Brown himself wrote at length about Britishness in The Times in January 2000: “The strong British sense of fair play and duty, together embodied in the ideal of a vibrant civic society, is best expressed today in a uniquely British institution - the institution that for the British people best reflects their Britishness - our National Health Service.”
An oath of allegiance to the NHS? Ah, those were the days. They really thought they could do it; change the very notion of what it meant to be British. Today, ten years on, they hesitatingly propose an oath of allegiance to the Queen. Could there be a more perfect illustration of the vanquished hopes and aspirations of new Labour? Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair...
Britishness is about not being seen as too Scottish to rule the English, it is about talking about unity whilst breaking up the country into regions to be ruled from Brussels, it is the last refuge for him.
March 11, 2008
Civilising the Picts
"The first provisional script I got was so Anglo-centric I couldn't believe it," Prof Macinnes said. "It was written on the basis as if Scotland was a divided country until the Union (with England] came along and civilised it.
And the problem with that is what?
March 10, 2008
He blew with His winds, and they were scattered
The worst storm of the winter, which was forecast to hit Britain early this morning, is expected to have a second powerful blast today.
The Met Office said that there would be a brief lull in the storm, which produced gusts of up to 80mph during the night, before another wave of high winds and heavy rain hit the country later this morning. The severe weather is expected to continue until early tomorrow.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for all of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and southern and central Scotland. Residents were told to expect uprooted trees, power cuts and damage to buildings.....
Householders have been urged to ensure that windows are closed.
If it blowing like it is here outside and you haven't got the nous to close the bloody window then Mr Darwin has a message for you.
And as an old fashioned Englishman whose country has been betrayed to the idolatrous worshippers of Europe it brings to mind the Great Protestant Wind of blessed memory which lashed the Spanish Armada in 1588, wrecking the fleet and saving England and returned to enable William of Orange to save us again in 1688. If only it had the power to do so again....
What Jolly Fun!
First they said they didn’t understand it. Now they say we don’t have it any more. The British sense of humour, supposedly one of our defining national characteristics, is once again lost on the Americans.
Eric Weiner, a former New York Times journalist, spent a year travelling the world in search of the planet’s happy places. But after visiting Britain he felt only pity for a population unable to experience happiness.
For the English, Weiner claims, happiness is an American import based on silly, infantile drivel. What the British like to be is grumpy, and they derive a perverse pleasure from their grumpiness. British life is not about happiness; it’s about getting by, he says.
Oh, put on the silly clown face and squirt me from a plastic flower! Let's all sing along with bloody Barney, do you feel good? If you feel good I feel good, Have a Nice Day!" Oh for fuck's sake, is there anything more annoying than the a rictus grin of an American TV host and the inoffensive "humor". As Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh said:
I wish I loved the Human Race;
I wish I loved its silly face;
I wish I liked the way it walks;
I wish I liked the way it talks;
And when I’m introduced to one,
I wish I thought "What Jolly Fun!"
But I don't and you can't blame me for it or I will sue...Researchers claim that the British penchant for cruel comedy at the expense of others is dictated by our genes.
March 8, 2008
Military uniforms in public ‘risk offending minorities’
Certain areas in Britain will still have to remain off-limits for servicemen and women in military gear, despite the Government’s desire for a nationwide uniform free-for-all, senior RAF sources acknowledged yesterday.
“We’re aware of the sensitivities, for example, in some ethnic minority communities which is why we need to have a dialogue with local authorities and police if we don’t want to cause a problem,” the source said.
Let them be fucking offended, in fact go and offend them. Bull the boots and march up and down a few streets a few times. Or is it just that the crabs who don't like getting down and personal with the
enemy concerned citizens?
March 7, 2008
Come friendly bombs and fall on Peterborough!
RAF personnel have been banned from wearing their uniforms in public after suffering abuse in the streets.
The order was given to servicemen and women at an air base in Cambridgeshire on the advice of RAF police.
The base commander at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, took the decision after reviewing incidents of abuse over a seven-month period. Sqd Ldr Tony Walsh, a spokesman at the base, said a number of personnel who lived in the city and its outskirts had suffered abuse when wearing their uniforms off-duty.
The abuse had come from a "cross-section" of the community, he added, and was believed to be linked to the RAF's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And it is such a nice modern city:
Peterborough is a multi-racial and multi-cultural city. In the 2001 Census, approximately 10.3% of Peterborough’s population classified themselves as belonging to a non-white ethnic minority group, as illustrated in Table 1. This is higher than Peterborough’s figure for the 1991 Census (7.5%) when 11,363 people described themselves as nonwhite compared to 16,060 in 2001. The largest non-white ethnic group in Peterborough is the Pakistani community (4.5% of the total population) but the city is also home to significant numbers of people from other minority ethnic groups such as, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland and the Caribbean.
FORMER mayor of Peterborough Mohammed Choudhary (Labour) faced disgrace as he stood in a dock yesterday after being found guilty on four counts of trying to rig an election.
A SECOND Labour party official has been found guilty of trying to rig an election.
Maqbool Hussein (52) had hoped to get himself elected in Peterborough's Central Ward in local elections in June 2004, by abusing the voting system.
Hussein, and Choudhary, along with Tariq Mahmood, were accused of abusing the system whereby voters can choose an "away" address, instead of their usual home address, to cast their vote from, if they happen t o be away from home on business, or on holiday, at the time of an election.
A jury at King's Lynn Crown Court returned guilty verdicts for all 14 forgery charges against Mahmood.
Choudhary and Hussein had each been found guilty of four charges of forgery earlier in the week.
After the verdicts were read out by the jury foreman, Deputy Circuit Judge Alan Hitching told the men: "You all face immediate custodial sentences. The only issue will be how long those sentences are."
I think if John Betjeman was alive today he would substitute Peterborough for Slough...
March 5, 2008
Grandad, you are a sex icon
Once the preserve of grandads in rocking chairs - the men's cardigan is undergoing a fashion resurrection thanks to male fashionistas like David Beckham.
The garment is flying off the shelves as young men in particular follow the trend set by the footballer and actors like Jude Law and Daniel Craig, according to the supermarket chain Asda.
The store's George label sold more men's cardigans in the first two months of this year than in the past three years, the chain said, with 226,000 sold in January alone.
According to fashion experts, the woollen garment has shaken off its Val Doonican associations - becoming an emblem of cool for gay and straight men alike.
I'm worried now that if I slip my dads old cardigan on to go out to plant some potatoes that I will be recognised for the fashion icon I am and have to beat off the the Beckham worshipping fans, of both sexes, who would merely treat me as a piece of meat to satisfy their base desires, rather than recognise me for the fully rounded human being I am....
Time for a hunt in the wardrobe I think.
March 1, 2008
For My Welsh Readers - Have good one!
February 29, 2008
In other military news today - "thousands of'em!"
Good work by the MSM keeping their mouths shut, and by Prince Harry for going.
"The better part of valour is discretion." Henry IV Part 1 Act 5, scene 4, line 119.
February 27, 2008
Did the earth move for you?
BBC NEWS | England | Earthquake hits much of England
The biggest earthquake in the UK for nearly 25 years has shaken homes across large parts of England.
People in Newcastle, Yorkshire, London, Manchester, the Midlands and Norfolk felt the tremor just before 0100 GMT
And I thought it was those new blue pills I was trying out.....
February 24, 2008
Sorry a bit late back from the pub last night...
February 21, 2008
Last one to leave please turn out the lights.
Britain is experiencing the worst "brain drain" of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday.
Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.
Any surprise giving the state of the country?
February 17, 2008
When the hunting law was introduced, it was feared or feted as the end of a country sport. Now, three years later, it appears to have left the pursuit's opponents deeply wounded, while hunting goes from strength to strength.
The number of protesters has fallen by almost two-thirds despite claims that hunts are routinely breaking the law, and reports that more foxes are being killed now than before the Hunting Act was signed into law....
....the League Against Cruel Sports, which spearheaded the introduction of the Hunting Act, is selling its £1.2?million offices in central London and seeking cheaper premises.
February 15, 2008
Savour this headline before it is banned
The Old Spot Inn, in Dursley, Glos
Not too far from me....
Eng Lit note: J K Rowling grew up near Dursley and used the name for Harry's step family.
February 11, 2008
The Best of the Breed
An 84-year-old huntswoman and "stalwart of the countryside" who campaigned tirelessly against the hunting ban died Sunday morning after falling from her horse... while out with Norfolk's Dunston Harriers for whom she was acting hunt master.
"There aren't many of us who get our dying wish but that was Sheila's," said family friend Helen Yallop. "To be following the hounds, in the hunting field, it's what we'd all wish for."
Margaret Wilkins, whose daughters grew up hunting alongside Mrs Castle, said: "We are all terribly sad but Sheila would not want that. Instead, we will plan a huge hunt meet next week to remember her the way she would have wanted. She will pass into local legend."
Scanning the papers full of the dross of humanity who pass for our leaders and role model celebrities it is sometimes hard to forget the stoic yeomen of England still exist. So mourn the passing of, and give thanks for one such woman. We need more of them.
February 10, 2008
It's the Tudor's Fault
Minister warns of ‘inbred’ Muslims - Times Online
A government minister has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects - comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.
Phil Woolas, an environment minister, said the culture of arranged marriages between first cousins was the “elephant in the room”.
British Pakistanis are 13 times more likely to have children with genetic disorders than the general population.
But maybe we shouldn't be blaming the rural Pakistanian heritage for this disaster, maybe we should look closer to home...
Cousins are the only genetic relations who are allowed to marry. It was originally illegal, until King Henry VIII changed the law to allow him to marry his own cousin.
But then he was Welsh, wasn't he?
February 3, 2008
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi
So am I, but even for an Englishman, being of a certain age, God is in his heaven and the natural order of things is restored when the red shirts are running; This is sheer poetry;
February 1, 2008
The last refuge of scoundrels - teaching teachers.
History and citizenship lessons should stick to the bare facts rather than encouraging loyalty to Britain when covering subjects such as the Second World War or the British Empire, the Institute of Education researchers said. Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded....
The authors added: “It is hard to think of a national history free from the blights of warmongering, imperialism, tyranny, injustice, slavery and subjugation, or a national identity forged without recourse to exclusionary and xenophobic stereotypes.”
Dr Hand, the co-author of the report, said: “Gordon Brown and David Cameron have both called for a history curriculum that fosters attachment and loyalty to Britain, but the case for promoting patriotism in schools is weak.
“Are countries really appropriate objects of love? Loving things can be bad for us, for example when the things we love are morally corrupt. Since all national histories are at best morally ambiguous, it’s an open question whether citizens should love their countries.”
January 31, 2008
French morale is at its lowest ebb in two decades, according to new research....the gloom has reached new depths since Mr Sarkozy's election - after a bright start - because of his attempts to reduce the overbearing role of the state.
"What do expect me to do? To empty the state's already empty coffers or to order companies to whom I have no right to give orders?" Mr Sarkozy asked earlier this month when quizzed on how he could boost French spending power.
"France is moving away from the nanny state towards more autonomy", said Gerard Mermet, a sociologist.
"Some people are happy about this, saying it's better to be in charge of ones own life and destiny than to depend on others. But it is painful for some social categories and in general in France we're not used to it. So perhaps the pessimism is a sign that we want to delay its arrival," he said. .....
But any Frenchman in need of a lift is strongly advised to read a "Loving Dictionary of France", by well-known author Denis Tillinac, which lists the reasons to love France and what makes it unique.
These include the ability of the French to laugh out loud at anything, however crude or trivial, while "English humour, subtler than ours, lends itself more to a smile.
Courage can be found everywhere, he goes on, "But panache is French".
"It is the cherry on the cake of bravura", and historically aimed at proving French "aesthetic superiority over the English, when bravery is equal". Panache is often mistaken by the foreigner for "arrogance."
However, Mr Tillinac's greatest love is for France's "superior woman".
"She is surely neither the easiest to live with nor the gayest. But the Frenchwoman is by far the most elegant. The most careful about her appearance, until the gates of death".
All very well, but the depressing downside is that to enjoy being French you have to live in France surrounded by Frenchies...
His last word was "Remember"
Mall March 29th Jan 2007 Muskets, pikes and cannon in Whitehall opposite Downing Street and no result... At least they were paying proper remembrance to S.Charles, King and Martyr, something we all should do in these puritan blighted days.
January 27, 2008
They don't know they're born today
January 26, 2008
The French give us two fingers
French hunters pursuing an ancient thrill feel the pull of the bow - Times Online
..a growing number of Europeans have taken to stalking prey with bows and arrows — a weapon that may have been first used about 12,000 years ago.
The movement arrived in Europe from the US in the 1970s and has taken off in the past decade, notably in France, where the Government has sought to regulate the practice through the introduction of a bow hunting licence. More than 15,000 French people have obtained the licence — up from a few hundred in the 1990s — and about 5,000 are regular practitioners of la chasse à l’arc, which has also gained in popularity in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scandinavia. Deer, boar, rabbits, hares, pheasants and coypu are among the prey.
A spokesman for the French Bowhunting Federation said that the pursuit was gaining ground because it offered an alternative to a technological society. “A hundred hours alone, concentrating on hunting a roebuck or a wild boar, has a different impact on you than 100 hours in front of a television”.
The spokesman said that the rise of bowhunting enabled the country’s archers to claim an unprecedented superiority over their British counterparts, who shoot at targets but not at game. “We’ve looked up to British archers ever since Agincourt,” he said. “But we’re probably better than you now.”
Now that is fighting talk - right all of you, if you aren't practising on the butts after church as required by 3 H.8.c.3 then there will be trouble - better than us, huh.
January 25, 2008
To the immortal memory - Burns night special
January 6, 2008
He May Say It
Islamic extremists have created "no-go" areas across Britain where it is too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops warns today.
No white commentator would dare say that but the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali is the Bishop of Rochester and the Church's only Asian bishop.
January 1, 2008
Hat tip Theo's new site Last of the Few