Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Please Gamble Responsibly

How touching that our local branch of Betfred display posters with the sage counsel "Gamble responsibly". Responsible gambling is now the watchword. We are not here to gloat while you gamble away your last penny and run up debts that mean you will soon be sleeping behind a row of giant wheelie bins in the street. No! We are here to give you innocent entertainment and enhance your excitement about sport.
    If you are a worn-out teacher who is on strike for one day, in protest at ever-increasing workloads, frozen salaries, eroded pensions, being forced to teach a rubbish curriculum and being threatened with knives in the language lab, don't spend your one day off gambling your entire earnings on the outcome of the Football World Cup. Don't wager your wife, your children or your pet tortoise. You might later regret it  - or the tortoise might regret it. Sit down and do your annual accounts and work out exactly how much you can afford to lose in the betting shop per year, and memorize this figure. It won't be a large one.
           If you are a cheesed-off nurse who is fed up about disguised pay cuts, falling nurse/patient ratios, working in an environment of simultaneous stinginess and ludicrous waste, don't gamble away your last hairpin, or the rusty bicycle you ride to work. Find a depressed patient and gamble them away instead. Call it assisted suicide.
           If you are an MP, an MEP or a government minister, you have had an 11% pay rise this year so you may think it's time for a splurge, but wait! The message is still, gamble responsibly. Never go straight to the betting shop when you are tipsy on subsidized champagne from the House of Commons bar or enjoying a snort of coke. Leave that for dull debates on the green benches. Wait till your head is clear and you get a nice long vacation - six weeks should do it - and never stake more than a few hundred quid at a time. If you lose you may have to claim it back on one of your expense allowances and claims are published. And whatever you do, if you are a Conservative or a LibDem , do NOT gamble on being re-elected in the next General Election. That is not responsible gambling, it is sheer foolhardiness.


GamCare is a registered charity that provides confidential telephone support and counseling to anybody who may be affected by problem gambling. You can contact GamCare on 0845 6000 133 (local rate from the UK) or you can visit
Problem Gambling

If you are concerned that gambling may have taken over your or someone else's life then ask yourself the following questions:
Have others ever criticised your gambling?
Have you ever lied to cover up the amount of money or time you have gambled?
Do arguments, frustrations or disappointments make you want to gamble?
Do you gamble alone for long periods?
Do you stay away from work or university to gamble?
Do you gamble to escape from a boring or unhappy life?
Are you reluctant to spend 'gambling money' on anything else?
Have you lost interest in your family, friends or pastimes due to gambling?
After losing, do you feel you must try and win back your losses as soon as possible?
When gambling and you run out of money, do you feel lost and in despair, and need to gamble again as soon as possible?
Do you gamble until your last penny is gone?
Have you lied, stolen or borrowed just to get money to gamble or to pay gambling debts?
Do you feel depressed or suicidal because of your gambling?

The more questions you answer yes to, the more likely you are to have a serious gambling problem. If you wish to speak to somebody about this, you can contact the GamCare confidential helpline on 0845 6000 133 or visit for further advice.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Oxford School Pupils Study Arthurian Legend

What a good idea for school pupils to be studying the Arthurian legends, the great national epic of the English culture.

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There is an immense amount to be learned from these tales, which date back to the earliest mediaeval times. Nobody really knows who the real King Arthur was or if he even existed, but he certainly has associations all over south-western England, notably at Glastonbury and Tintagel, and he may have been a Celtic hero.
Tennyson was one of many poets who wrote the stories down. His verse narrative has been adapted for the stage and turned into a fast-moving drama acted and sung by the pupils of Magdalen College School.
Chivalry was a code of behaviour based on high ideals of dedication, self-discipline and service. When young Gareth (Shayon Bannerji) aspires to be a knight, he sums it up in one line: “Live pure, speak truth, right wrong.” How splendid for our younger generation to be studying those lofty ideals once more. Alex Cowan makes a strong King Arthur, with a fine voice and a regal manner. As Guinevere, Clio Takas was gracious and mild, her costume gradually changing from white to scarlet as her guilty love for the heroic Sir Lancelot (Dan Blick) tarnished her character.
There is no lack of strong female characters in these legends. The enchantress Vivien was played by Ellen Garbutt, who drew applause for her singing, Vivien studies magic with Merlin and seduces him to gain the power she wants. Motivated by revenge for her father, slain long ago by Arthur, she spreads the seeds of slander and rancour in the court of Camelot, and ends by imprisoning Merlin in a tree, rather as Sycorax did to Ariel in The Tempest.  The Lady Enid is strong in another way, enduring with patience the wrongful suspicions of her husband Geraint until she eventually wins back his heart.
The stories are told with a lot of imagination in the use of props, symbols and interconnecting space. Gareth and the too-proud Lady Lynette (Sophie Leydon) appear riding bicycles instead of horses, and later trusty steeds are represented by model horses’ heads or even by hobby-horses. Lakes and rivers are represented by billowing sheets of blue silk. On these make-believe waves floated the catafalque of Lady Elaine, who dies broken-hearted when Lancelot rejects her. The giant knight fought by Gareth at the Castle Perilous is represented by a cluster of kites, each one being struck down separately, and this stylized approach works well in this context. The music is all very appropriate and the use of plainchant gives the atmosphere of a monastery in part two most effectively.
It must be said that the stories are hard to follow unless you know them already, so anyone seeing the show would be advised to do their homework or at least study the programme notes closely in advance. The play is somewhat long and the induction could well be dispensed with. However, it is a creditable achievement and much praise goes to all those involved.

[from Oxford Prospect]

Friday, 4 July 2014

Save Temple Cowley Pool Campaign continues

Exciting Plans to keep TCP running - we have until October 2014 to convince the Council that we should take over and run TCP - we need lots of help to do this, and have formed a Community Interest Company to organise things. The plans include a new gym, a working diving pool, a community centre and lots more...

New pool at Blackbird Leys - lots of publicity on this at the moment, and remember this is £13m of our money being spent on a 25m swimming pool that only the Swimming Club wants. It is NOT a replacement for TCP.

David Haye - no, this isn't a sports bulletin item about champion boxers in the middle of our Campaign! We are delighted that two of our Campaign team, Sal and Faizal, have met with David and he has fully endorsed keeping our health and fitness centre open. More on the website...

Cowley Road Carnival - we will have a stall, so come and see the plans for the new TCP, tell us what you think, and sign our 8th petition! And yes, have great time at the event itself!

Council Meeting - we will be speaking at the next Full Council meeting on Monday 14th July, 7pm. Please come to the meeting if you can to show your support for the Campaign

Cowley Ward By-election - if you are in Cowley Ward, there is a local by-election on July 17th - please make sure you vote!

There is lots more going on, but we only have until October - please email us at if you can help in any way.

[from Save TCP campaign]

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Joys of Diversity

Oxford's Labour mayor, Delia Sinclair, admitted recently that there has been a severe shortage of school places in Oxford for the past five years.
Many parents have been deeply disappointed, or shocked to learn that they can't get their child into the school they chose even though they live in the official catchment area. Sandhills school is very over-subscribed and so are most of the state primary schools. Yes, it's frustrating but never mind, the County can still spend a fortune on driving some children to school in taxis. 
     The mayor, who is a great fan of "diversity" and loves to hear people on buses speaking a range of foreign languages, gave no reason for the strange shortage of school places. Is it because English people are suddenly having a lot of babies? No, the birth rate is rather low. Are schools being burnt down? No. Could it then have anything at all to do with the floods of EU citizens who have decided to come and seek work here in the UK? That of course would be a TABOO suggestion from any member of a political party that still, despite all the misery and the chaos, supports our remaining in the EU superstate. 
      Coming here, as most of them do, with perfectly good intentions and a wide range of skills, these EU citizens also bring children, and some of them bring their aged parents with them too. That is their legal right and the fact that it causes overcrowding or a steep rise in costs for schools is simply NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DISCUSSED. After all we also have a legal right to go and live in Poland or Bulgaria where the wages are £50 per month if you're lucky. We can send our children to school there, though I doubt whether the County Council would pay for a daily taxi ride there and back. 
      I recently met a young man from Granada who is working in the catering department of an Oxford college. He is qualified as an electrical engineer but left Spain because the job situation there is so utterly desperate. He is sharing a house in Oxford with four other young Spaniards who are all here for the same reason. In a few years' time there may be houses full of Serbians and Albanians job-seeking likewise, if their countries (thanks to the well-paid intervention of the creepy and ever-mercenary Peter Mandelson) get into the EU. It's all part of Diversity and if you have a secure well-paid job, a vast pension like Milord Mandelson, and no children trying to get into the local school, you have no reason at all to worry. 

Alexander Puts the Boot In

Alexander's picture
On the topic of London Gay Pride Day, Alexander Boot writes, "Why not have Adultery Pride Day? Bestiality Pride Day? Necrophilia Pride Day? Masturbation Pride Day? Incest Pride Day? And so forth? Assuming that there are enough days in the year to cover every known deviation from what’s criminally described as the norm, wouldn’t this be a natural extension of amorous self-respect into true universality?"

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bullied for Twenty Years

When Brian and Dot got married, she was a widow of over fifty and he was eighteen years younger than her. For some reason their neighbours in Birmingham regarded this as a crime. As soon as Brian came on the scene, people made their surprise and disapproval felt. They gossiped, they snooped, they dropped nasty remarks. Dot was disabled even then and in a wheelchair, and Brian has since become disabled but this never led their neighbours to offer them any help or support. On the contrary, Brian and Dot found that they were regarded with hostility and disgust.
         When they went out together, people sneered at them, even spat at them in the street and called them "perverts". They were ridiculed hurtfully in their own hearing. It went on and on.

         There was a next-door neighbour who held a spare key in case Dot ever lost hers. She started snooping. Brian would notice that after they had been out somewhere, things in the house had been moved. Doors that he left shut were now open, and doors that had been left open were shut. When they next went out together, he set a trap, leaving sealed letters inside drawers and when they got back to the house, he found that somebody had opened the drawers and opened the letters.  It was their snooping neighbour, who spread gossip about all sorts of things. "They sleep in the same bed...." she told people. Well that was hardly surprising since they were married! But in her eyes apparently they shouldn't be doing that. Some people may have assumed when Brian came on the scene that he was Dot's son, but they only had to ask.
        They confronted the neighbour and eventually had the locks changed, but she found another way to plague them. She would deliberately bang on the partition wall at night, for hours, disturbing Brian and Dot and preventing them from sleeping. Acts of vandalism started. Believe it or not, local people came along and broke their mobility-car. This happened more than once and so did damage to the house. Another neighbour took to parking his car right across their exit preventing Brian from getting the mobility-car or Dot's wheelchair out.
        Brian is a gentle, timid man who now uses two walking sticks and he did not want to get into any more confrontations. so he consulted a solicitor who advised him to take photographs next time this happened. He did so and even took some video footage that included the wheelchair, proving that there was not enough space to get it out. Then he took the wheelchair back inside. Shortly afterwards he was amazed to get a call from the police. The neighbour had gone to them and brought charges of criminal damage to his car, and Brian was prosecuted. Of course the police should have looked at the evidence and never brought charges, but they did and it seems that the neighbour had some influence with them.  He claimed that his car had been dented and scratched deliberately by Brian using the wheelchair as a weapon! Brian wanted to show his photographs and video in court, proving that he had done no damage, but despite having a lawyer, his evidence was not looked at. The lawyer  just behaved as if he was working for the other side. Brian was convicted for criminal damage.
        On another occasion when Brian was in the garden with his step-daughter, the neighbour verbally abused them and climbed up on the wall, causing part of it to fall down. He then claimed that Brian had injured him, using his walking-stick as a weapon. He took this charge to the police, and once again, he was believed, while Brian was not. Brian was charged with harassment and assault, and despite the fact that the neighbour was fit and able, Brian was convicted. The court just took his word against Brian's.
       Brian has made many approaches to the Criminal Cases Review Council in the hope of an appeal that will finally clear his name and get rid of this unjust criminal record. They have refused to re-open any of his cases and provided him with no help at all. He has complained to the Police Commissioner and he has written to his MP John Spellar, but neither of these complaints have resulted in any positive help or tangible improvement. He has even written to the Ministry of Justice and still got nowhere. A lawyer told him that if he could only put down £20,000 on account he might be able to get the cases re-opened. Of course Brian hasn't got even a tenth of that money and after his experience of lawyers and how useful they were, he wouldn't bet on it making any difference.
      After suffering this sort of misery for twenty years, Brian and Dot are now hoping to sell their home and move into a retirement flat where they will get some on-site care. But even if they move away, it will not change the fact that Brian has an completely unfair criminal record and none of this should have been allowed to happen.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Horrific Attack on Homosexuals in Nigeria

No, there has been no horrific attack on homosexuals in Nigeria. There has been another routine massacre of a few hundred Christians  - but who cares about Christians, or any other downtrodden, oppressed, persecuted group, apart from homosexuals? There are some forms of oppression that are fashionable and some that are not.

The three Christian villages of Attangara, Agapalwa and Ngoshe have been subjected to a brutal attack by islamic militia. They went to the villages claiming to be government troops, on a mission to protect them from Boko Haram, and asked the men and boys to come out of their huts first. Then with warning they gunned them down with machine guns. The women and children were next. Even babies were killed.
Nigerian MP Peter Biye said:
The killings are massive but nobody can give a toll for now because nobody has been able to go to that place because the insurgents are still there. They have taken over the whole area… There are bodies littered over the whole area and people have fled
A community leader of Attagara said:
Hundreds of dead bodies are lying there… because there is nobody that will bury them
the same thing is going on in Somalia , Sudan and many other countries. But never mind, hey? So long as they're not homosexual, their human rights don't matter.