Friday, 16 December 2011

Landslide Victory for Apathy

Yesterday's by-election at Feltham and Heston was a landslide victory for apathy, bad weather and Christmas shopping.
The turnout among voters was only 28% per cent - the lowest in any by-election for 11 years.

Labour was anxious to hold onto the seat and hoping nobody would remember the part played by the last MP Alan Keen in the expenses scandal. They fielded an attractive young female candidate Seema Malhotra, a highly-paid chartered accountant who lives in a £3 million mansion in Chelsea, so she really understands the problems of unemployed people and the homeless. She was duly elected by all the robotic voters who say, "Well, I'm voting Labour because I always vote Labour. We're Labour voters in this family. Who's the candidate?..."
I looked for her website and she hasn't got one. Her leaflets contained no sign of any intelligent policies at all to address this country's problems.

The UK is in deep and deadly crisis, we are bankrupt and our right to govern ourselves is being snatched away by encroaching EU dictatorship. All over Europe democracy itself is being overturned by the Brussels politburo and yet here in South London people cannot even be bothered to go to the polls. Even the fact that our NHS is being dismantled does not galvanize them. They would rather stay at home and watch soap-operas. Perhaps one factor is that Feltham and Heston is full of migrants and transient residents who have no long-term concern for this country and no particular interest in it or loyalty to it.
Otherwise one really has to ask whether Britain has become a weak, soft and decadent country. So it seems. Its citizens have grown childish, and lost all sense of responsibility.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Veto? What veto?

David Cameron is an amazing vacillator. What does he believe in? Only three weeks ago, he used a three-line whip to stop his own party voting for a Referendum here on our membership of the EU. It was a repressive step and a signal that he did not want to offend the powers in Brussels who have just overturned democratic rule in Greece and Italy.
Now he has gone to Brussels and refused to sign the latest treaty, to their great and visible annoyance. He is wobbling around all over the place, like a drunken driver.
The media are overwrought with excitement reporting that our PM has gone to Brussels and used his "veto". Suddenly the chicken has learnt to squawk, Dave the Knave is now Dave the Brave and he has confronted and defied the will of the EU's leaders. Or has he?
What precisely did this veto consist of? It consisted of refusing to sign a plan that will go ahead without him and which will probably be accepted by at least 25 of the 27 current member states. Refusing to sign the new treaty does not exempt us from having to pay the massive contributions to the IMF which will still be demanded to try to shore up the sagging euro currency. It will not stop the EU from passing its legislation taxing financial transactions and unless we withdraw altogether from the EU it is hard to see how we can avoid paying it - with all the damage to our economy and tax revenues that entails. The new tax will go straight into the coffers of Brussels, along with all the other billions we have paid for a succession of bail-outs and the £50 million per day that we continue to pour into the EU's pot as our "membership fee".
Cameron has not vetoed the treaty. What he has said is that he will not sign something that gives the EU commissioners even more power to dictate our internal affairs and run every country in Europe with a puppet government. He has not vetoed anything - but he has taken a step back from that "ever-closer-union" that leads to the setting up of a EUSSR. The fact that he has done so is a credit to the UKIP campaigners and Eurosceptics in his own party who have often wondered whether he is listening.
But it is a step that leaves us in an awkward limbo. Are we in the EU or aren't we? Are we going to carry on paying unlimited bail-outs and propping up a failed system when our own country is suffering such crippling cuts and our own pensioners are being denied the support they earned and were promised? Without a doubt the scare-stories about how bad it will be for us if the single currency fails are wildly exaggerated. It would only take a few months for Greece and Italy to start printing and circulating their own currency again and re-float their economies. During the twentieth century, almost every country in Europe did that once or twice. There is a rumour that Germany is already printing deutschmarks, just in case. Anyway, a short-term disadvantage should not be compared to the permanent calamity of the UK losing all right to govern itself. That is what the EU politburo is demanding from us.
It's not much use Dave just refusing to sign one new treaty. We are now left in an awkward position as it is always difficult to work with people after you have antagonized them. They will never kick us out - of course not, because they want us to go on paying for bail-outs and don't forget that little matter of a mere £50 million per day...
Have we got the guts to turn our back on all this madness once and for all? Because just refusing to sign one treaty does not solve all our problems.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How Can We Defend the Middle Ground?

The middle ground of politics and social behaviour is under attack from both sides.
On one side there are the reactionary islamic fundamentalists who would like to ban alcohol and make adultery, along with homosexuality, a capital crime. If they got into government you could say goodbye to free contraception and abortion - they would probably outlaw both altogether. And on the other side there are the anything-goes, negative-ethics kind of people who not only want to legalize the marriage of homosexuals but are determined to force their ideas and attitudes on 100% of the population. Gay extremists are just as intolerant and opposed to democratic freedom as any mad mullah.
Not long ago, pressure-groups were at work trying to stop Facebook and Twitter from permitting pages used by people who want to defend traditional marriage. The gay extremists think they have got a right to impose censorship and strangle everybody into agreeing with them.
I have just come across a piece of news about a Canadian TV sports commentator called Damian Goddard. Hearing that someone had started a discussion on Twitter about marriage and had put the view that it ought to remain what it has always been, i.e. a union between one man and one woman, Damian commented that he fully agreed. He also believes that in a marriage there must be a husband and a wife. Two left feet don't make a pair! The outcome of this was pretty shocking. A couple of days later, his bosses called him into the office, asked him if he's written the comments, and then told him he was sacked.*
That's right, an employee of a major TV company was told that his contract was torn up merely because he had, when not working, expressed the view that he didn't regard same-gender unions as marriage.
>>> This is like something out of the McCarthyite era.
People are being bullied and intimidated by organized intolerance, working behind the scenes to take reprisals and aiming at complete control of the media.
How many more people are being bullied by gay extremists? Will any court have the guts to defend Damian Goddard's rights?
It seems that most of our career politicians are so busy seeking the approval of extremists on both sides that few if any of them have got time to defend the middle ground. Yet that is just what we should be doing. We should be defending our values and our way of life from erosion. If we don't, the mess is going to be a serious one.

* Information from Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance: Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance: Damian Goddard

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Party's Over

The number of people in the UK who actually belong to any political party or pay a subscription is dwindling all the time. So what are the hard-up so-called "main parties" doing? They are putting their heads together and demanding state funding. That is outrageous, Why should we be compelled to fund and perpetuate political parties if we don't want to?
Of course such an approach gives the old parties a huge advantage over any possible competitors. It means that the old-established party machines can cling onto power even if people are disenchanted with them.
In my view, political parties should not be funded by the state. State funding is just a way of embalming dead political parties after their useful life is over.
The self-serving career politicians of the Conmen party (blue) the Layabout party (red) and the Glibdummies (orange) are already raking in obscene amounts of money for doing nothing except betray this country. If the public will not fund them - well, thank God for that!

The latest proposals for the funding of political parties, which will see the taxpayer foot a £23 miliion annual bill, have been condemned by UKIP.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Black Mark for Clegg

It seems that the heart of our deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has been bleeding for black people recently. He has gone to Brixton, in darkest South London, and made a speech deploring the way that ethnic minorities are still, according to him, downtrodden and hard done by. Why is it, he asked, that young black men are more likely to go to prison than to go to university?
Has it occurred to Nick Smegg that the reason for this may be that prison is less expensive?
Prison doesn’t cost £9,000 per year in fees, and another £6,000 in maintenance bills. Prison, Mr Clegg, is free. Even the working class or the benefit classes can afford prison. University is expensive, and curiously enough, within hours of being elected, Mr Smegg went back on the pledge to freeze university fees which was the main pledge in his election manifesto. He toured this country in April 2010 addressing thousands of students and school-leavers promising that he would oppose any rise in their fees. Once in power he tore his manifesto up and threw it in their faces.
Yes, Mr Smegg, prison is affordable. Prisoners don’t have to pay rent, or mortgage. They have no council tax and no fuel bills to pay. They are not responsible for buying or cooking their own food. They get free medical treatment, free dental treatment and free use of a gym, and very soon they will get votes and benefit payments while they are in there too, thanks to your own beloved EU.
University is now exorbitantly expensive. After a three-year course, a graduate leaves with debts between £30,000 and £50,000. And things are set to get worse. The government has signed up to a plan originating with the Council of Europe to extend all degree courses in Britain to five years. Yes, you didn’t mention that in your triumphalist speeches to all those student unions, did you? At the end of a five-year degree course, how much money will a student owe - £60,000? Or nearer £75,000 if they have gone to a good university. It is a financial millstone that many people would be terrified to tie around their necks. Maybe the young black men who are so reluctant to go to university are smarter than the Deputy Prime Minister (whom Brussels would so dearly love to put at the helm of this country).
I wonder how many people in Brixton will be taken in by Smegg’s latest vote-catching ploy. He is playing the race card, vicariously, whinging that black people find it harder to get bank loans and that there are no black managers of Premier League football clubs. After he made the speech, Channel 4 news did a foray into Brixton to ask black and Asian people there if they thought this was true. Most of those they asked disagreed with Mr Clegg! They were not aware of any bias or injustice in those respects, nor were they keen to adopt an underdog mentality, and their votes are not going to be so easily bought with a few egalitarian statistics and clich├ęs.
It must be that Clegg’s team told him to make this speech as a calculated attempt to rally support after recent opinion polls show that the Coalition’s popularity is drooping. (It can only be explained by supposing that there are some people who don’t like being unemployed, losing their homes, struggling against rampant inflation and tax rises or being left to rot in geriatric care homes staffed by bullies and psychopaths.) If the students are not going to vote for him next time round, Smegg wants the ethnic vote, and he probably also wants the women’s vote and the handicapped vote….Watch out for more bleeding heart speeches making a grab in those directions too!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Foreign Aid - Can We Afford It?

David Cameron has timed his decision very badly. To give an extra £819 million in foreign aid when cutting basic services in this country is irresponsible.
We have recently given billions to a succession of EU bail-outs. Meanwhile we are denying care to old people here in the UK and our pensions are some of the lowest in Europe. Cameron is scrapping the disability living allowance, leaving disabled people and their families in the lurch. There are homeless people in this country and some cannot afford to heat their homes as energy prices zoom upwards. Cameron has cut £100 from winter fuel payments to the elderly.
Let us be honest - the true purpose of foreign aid is not one of compassion. It is really a way of buying friends. It is supposed to encourage trade and ensure we have strategic allies.
But in many cases this policy is not working.
Why are we subsidizing Pakistan, which sheltered Osama Bin Laden? We give India £295 million [] yet they can afford a space programme and aircraft carriers from Russia. Believe it or not, Britain gave £420,000 to Afghanistan to build a theme park complete with ferris wheel:-

Picture here

And this is at a time when we’re selling off our Harrier jump jets to America for peanuts and cannot afford to defend ourselves.
While I am not against giving any foreign aid we must get our priorities right and there must be a quid pro quo. The priorities for aid should be victims of recent wars or natural disasters. We should be very careful not to pour money into the pockets of dictators or prop up regimes that violate human rights.
(Julia Gasper Oxford Mail April 2011).

I wrote that three months ago. Since then, the Indian government has made a large purchase of armaments from France, and when reproached by David Cameron for not buying them from England after all the aid we gave them, the Indian PM retorted that they don't need the measly little £280 million that we give each year.
Well, what did I tell you....?

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Breivik is a Gift to Islamic Fanatics.

The terror attacks in Oslo were appalling. The random bomb explosion, the deliberate massacre of seventy-seven young people at a summer camp, were examples of the worst kind of anti-social violence. The grief they have caused will go on and on for a long time – for as long as all those so cruelly bereaved live to remember it.

The killer Anders Breivik differs from the 9/11 killers only in that he did not commit suicide and relishes the opportunity a trial will give him to air the views which he says motivated his attack. However, the guy is clearly barmy. He is confused and incoherent, if he imagines that bombing government offices and killing white Norwegians who were not immigrants or followers of any foreign faith, will do anything at all to discourage immigration or the threat to Western Europe of becoming islamified. Many lawyers claim their clients are insane, but in this case, there can be no doubt that Breivik is totally bonkers.
The left-wing press was of course quick to exploit his weird manifesto in order to discredit all those who do believe that there is a threat to European democracy from militant Islam. And there is a growing disquiet in the UK about this problem, not placated by the recent events in Tower Hamlets and elsewhere, where a group calling itself Muslims Against the Crusades proclaimed (a few weeks before Breitvik’s crazed attacks) that they would be imposing Sharia Law on their local communities. The governing parties, who are all committed to a path of multi-culturalism, have so far been too embarrassed to acknowledge this development or respond to it in any articulate way.
There are many groups and some political parties which seek by peaceful, democratic means to oppose the growth and spread of Islam in Western Europe, and the left-wing would dearly love to vilify all of them, classing them alongside Breitvik and his maniacal behaviour. I think they are making a mistake. Many of those same left-wingers supported the demonstrations in London last December against rising tuition fees. They were with the demonstrators in opposing education cuts and critical of the government policy that will discourage youngsters from poorer backgrounds from going to university – but does that mean they condone all the extremist behaviour and antics of every anarchist or drugged-up student who took part in the demonstrations? Do they condone setting fire to buildings, smashing windows or looting shops? Do they condone the behaviour of Charlie Gilmour, the son of a pop-star, who was gaoled in July for admitting he went on the demo under the influence of drink and drugs, and caused criminal damage?
Would it be fair to suggest that the behaviour of these loutish demonstrators in any way discredited the political arguments against the rise in tuition fees? Does everybody who believes education should be free, and openly available, share the guilt and shame of the rioters? I think it is not fair and I think it would not be logical either. A few days ago I was talking to a left-winger who said he thought it would be a good idea to kidnap the children of the Duke of Westminster in order to raise a ransom and use the money for public services. Does that discredit everybody who opposes the cuts? I hope not, because I also oppose them. I just disagree (rather strongly) about methods and tactics
In the same way, the case against creeping islamification in Europe should not be damaged by the behaviour of one person who claimed to be motivated by such beliefs but was simply insane. Breivik’s supposed links with any parties or organisations in other countries have been wildly exaggerated and it seems more and more clear that he acted alone. The political views of those who use persuasion and democratic means to further their cause should be respected no less, and listened to with as much attention as anybody else’s.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Wicked Generation?

There is a play on at the Oxford Playhouse called "Love, Love, Love”, which presents the Baby-Boomer generation as guilty of just about everything.
Selfish, irresponsible, they apparently thought of nothing but enjoying themselves and left the world in a wrecked state behind them
The author, Mike Bartlett, thinks that the people who had fun in the swinging sixties were monsters who voted in a harsh and unjust Thatcherite era, and they were also bad parents who have let their children down. “You climbed the ladder and broke it behind you,” someone complains. Bartlett is not, of course, the first to come out with this nonsense. He is following a fad, of which the book by Tory MP David Willets, “The Pinch: How Baby-Boomers Took Their Children’s Future” is another example. Willets seems to imagine that the generation born in the post-War Bulge were all prosperous, successful and had an easy time, while their children face poverty and other forms of deprivation. That is a complete myth. There were successful and unsuccessful people in the post-War generation, just as there are now. There were severe economic problems in the 1970s and a massive recession again in the 1980s. Not everybody who went to university ended up rich or even had a steady job. The grants in the 1960s and 70s were very minimal. I was at university then and I remember living in a shared room with a shared bathroom and heating from a gasfire that needed to have shillings put into the meter. Students these days expect private rooms with central heating, an en-suite bathroom and broadband. They also expect mobile phones and laptops. Could that have anything to do with their high cost of living? It is a fallacy to imagine that graduates necessarily earn more than people who don’t go to university. The sociology of Bartlett’s play is shallow and inaccurate.
The dope-smoking pop-fans of the sixties were simply not identical with the yuppies of the eighties, nor did they all end up rolling in money or sending their children to private schools. The play takes a bunch of stereotypes and strings them all into one, and the result is unconvincing. The truth is that the Bulge generation had their share of unemployment, redundancy (often without compensation,) mortgage foreclosures, debt worries, frustrations and disappointments. If some of them got divorced, there is really no reason to imagine that fewer people in the younger age-group will get divorced - unless it is because they don't get married in the first place. In the play, the children of the Baby-Boomers are supposedly traumatised by their parents splitting up. Don't tell me they are really more traumatised than the children who were subjected to the First World War, the Second World War, or all the massacres that have taken place around the world since. Would they prefer to leave school at fifteen and go and work in a factory or a mine, as many people did well into the 1960s?
Personally I feel that along with racism, sexism and handicappism, there is now a new form of bigotry, “generationism” and this is what Bartlett is offering. He is trying to blame the world’s woes on a single generation who listened to the Beatles and went downhill from there. It is true that the Bulge generation had fewer children than their parents, leading to a demographic wavy line. But what would be the point of having more? Surely a rising population would only create a housing shortage.
I felt quite disgusted by the play’s final scene, in which the wicked parents are blamed for wanting to spend the money they earned on a trip around the world instead of buying their daughter a house. We are facing a crisis in this country of lack of care for the elderly. There are very few baby-boomers who have huge private pensions like that of Ken in the play, and a lot of old people now have to sell their houses to pay for care. Moreover we have a severe lack of care homes, and standards inside some of them have been exposed as shockingly bad. In such a context, Bartlett’s whinging about the awful deprivation of his own generation is in poor taste.

Looked at from my point of view, and I admit I was born in the 1950s, the generation now in their twenties and thirties looks like a frivolous one. They have never fought for their country and most of them cannot be bothered to join a political party or a union. Most of them don't even vote. Just look at their lifestyle as portrayed on Facebook. Their interests are largely centred on their relationships, their foreign holidays (of which they've had more than any other generation in history), their cats and dogs, their parties, the films they see and the music they download from the internet. They give a running commentary on Twitter about how many vodkas they are downing on a Friday night. How can they call other people selfish? They have spent more time having sex and going clubbing than any previous generation, and their level of education is definitely lower. Many of them have never passed any real exams, only gaining qualifications on the basis of "coursework" which can be largely fudged and is marked by their teachers, who have a vested interest in passing them. This means they are finding it hard to compete in a global economy. There are plenty of rivals for every job, and every house, pouring in from all over the world.
Instead of blaming their parents and demanding to be bought houses, the pampered twenty-something generation should take more adult responsibility.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

So who will volunteer?

The news that the County council is prepared to allow all the libraries to stay open should be greeted with "cautious optimism".
Of course it's wonderful to see Keith Mitchell climb down from any decision or revise any policy. But if you read the small print, a lot of libraries are going to be expected to rely on automated check-out for books or staffing by volunteers.
Who is going to volunteer? Who is going to train volnteers? Who is going to decide if volunteers are good enough? (A tricky question as there could be hurt feelings involved). And what can be done if a volunteer does not turn up or does not want to continue in their commitment?
Presumably the volunteers will have to be managed and a great number of them will be needed.
I'm glad I don't have to organize that as I think it will turn out to be a considerable headache.

Monday, 9 May 2011

As Mad as a Hatter

Last week, two young British undergraduates, one of them studying at London university and the other at Newcastle, had an enviable opportunity. They appeared on TV at an event where they could have impressed thousands of potential employers around the globe. But instead of showing their poise and maturity, they behaved in such a fashion that now most of the world just thinks they are insane.
I'm talking, of course, about poor Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and their bizarre outfits at Prince William's wedding. Their mother certainly had a reputation as a fashion victim, (a reputation she no longer deserves as she is always very soberly dressed nowadays) but this was in a different class. If Beatrice and Eugenie had been acting the Ugly Sisters in a pantomime, their choice of garb could hardly have been worse. Beatrice appeared with what looked like a giant TV aerial strapped to her head. Her eyes were so heavily ringed with black she was compared to a racoon. Eugenie's hat looked like a dead bird fixed to a pineapple stuck on top of a bedroom slipper. She can't help being a bit overweight, but her tight, corsetted blue dress was the most unflattering thing she could have chosen, and the skirt was badly made, with a rumply uneven hem. She also was over-made-up and had a sulky expression. They looked comical, uncomfortable and much older than they are. Unfortunately, they were seated just behind the Queen in Westminster Abbey so that every time the camera focussed on Her Majesty, it got Beatrice and Eugenie as well.
Rarely seen before in public, this was their chance to convince the world that they were worthy members of the royal family and competent to carry out official engagements. But now they have annoyed the Queen so much that they have had their police protection withdrawn and they are banished to obscurity. The two girls seem to have inherited all the genes of sartorial dyslexia from both sides of their family. They made Princess Anne look almost elegant by comparison. As the national and international hilarity grew, a Facebook page sprang up called "Princess Beatrice's Ridiculous Royal Wedding Hat". It got 135,000 followers in one week. The Hat has been compared to a toilet seat, a giant pretzel, a stag's antlers and a mass of writhing serpents. One Facebook site even claims "Princess Beatrice's Ridiculous Hat Killed Osama Bin Laden." Why didn't these girls get the advice of someone like Trinny and Susannah? Have they never heard of What Not to Wear?
It's not a matter of whether the girls are good-looking (both could look very nice if they didn't have such appalling taste). People are worried that the entire York clan is an embarrassment to the Royal Family and nothing but a standing joke. Both girls spent a fortune on their ghastly outfits and both have stubbornly announced that they will go back to the same designer next time. As mad as a hatter? It looks like it.
Beatrice will now forever be known as Batty Hatty, and her sister as Eugenie the Zanie. Copies of their hats are being sold at joke shops and on E-bay for fancy-dress parties and innumerable mock-ups of them continue to appear on the web. All this does have one positive outcome: while the world's press attention is focussed on the battier members of the Windsor dynasty, the happy couple William and Kate, (who looked fabulous on their wedding day) might be able to get a little bit of privacy!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Now the EU is banning yoghurt

Is there anything at all the evil EU will not mess up?
Answer: No.
Now they are even causing a problem with yoghurt. Yes, yoghurt, I learnt this on a chat forum only today. EU directives have decreed for some stupid reason, that the shops can no longer sell real "live" yoghurt . Only probiotic which you can't use to make your own yoghurt.
Has there been a string of yoghurt deaths?
Has there been an EU-wide campaign supported by the public to ban live yoghurt?
Has there been any discussion of it in the public forum or convincing reasons given for the change?
Did many people until now enjoy exercising their BASIC HUMAN RIGHT to make their own yoghurt using the live bacillus?
Did the EU have a right to interfere?
So is this another proof that the EU is an arrogant, tyrannical and OPPRESSIVE organisation?
Yes, very plainly.
Can we change their oppressive laws through the ballot-box?
So do we need to leave the EU and tell them to go to hell?
This is not a democratically passed law so that justifies civil disobedience.
I'm going to set up an international yoghurt-smuggling ring, on the lines of the heroine racket, bringing in genuine yoghurt with friendly bugs in it from Bulgaria, so that people can make their own in a thermos flask. If caught I will become the world's first yoghurt martyr.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Builders, don't you just love'em

When is this definition going to get into a major dictionary?
"Builder: somebody who smokes cigarettes and leaves their stubs all over your garden, in your pot plants and just outside every door of your house. Generally known to leave rubbish of every sort behind them."
Or what about this one:
"Builder: somebody who thinks that your kitchen pans are there to be used for mixing filler."
"Builder: someone who wedges doors wide open so that anyone can walk in and take whatever they like."

Why do all builders wedge your front and back doors wide open and leave them like that all day in the middle of winter so all the heat goes straight out into the garden? "I'm in and out to my van," they shout from the back of the house. Do they think doors can only be opened and closed once per day?
The builders who did my underfloor work in this house did exactly that and later I found that many things had been stolen. Pictures, a plug-in radiator, food, what do you expect if you leave the whole house gaping open?

Why is is that British builders don't know what a dust-sheet is and seem to assume that in any job, they are entitled to trash every single thing in the house and garden?
A relative of mine recently hired a builder to put in a damp-proof course in two downstairs rooms. The builder never covered anything at all with dust-sheets. He tore down all the plaster from walls and ceiling, with all the doors in the house wedged open so that the draught blew dust and filth into every room in the house. The kitchen cupboards were filled with rubble - not just dust, not just dirt, but rubble. So was the cooker and the brand-new sink, which was used to clean plastering tools. He tore out everything from the walls and broke it - all the light fixtures, shelves, wall fixtures, blinds, even the cooker hood vanished, thrown onto a skip. The shower screen in the bathroom disappeared. He did not have the sense to take up the lino either before doing the job. It was ruined. When asked why he said, "What? I fort you was 'avin' a new kitchen 'n' barfroom."
Not content with that, he opened sacks of cement and plaster on brand-new carpets. The carpets all over the house from top to bottom were completely ruined with plaster, rubble and cement trodden in. When the owner complained about this he said, "Can't you just hoover it, like?"
The damage caused by builders often exceeds in value the work they do.
I have lost count of the times workmen have come to do jobs in my house and have failed to put down a dust-sheet. This is typical of carpenters. They assume they can leave the mess or grab your own domestic hoover to clear it up. Two of my hoovers have been broken by workmen doing this. They don't understand that ordinary household hoovers cannot cope with heavy waste such as paint-chips, rubble, wood-shavings, cement, plaster, and sand.
And just why do builders think that a garden is there to be trashed? I have seen builders load rubble and waste knee-deep onto flower-beds, crushing shrubs and plants. They mix cement on lawns and have fires there without asking you. They leave heaps of rubbish in the garden and even when it is cleared away, there is a scattering of paint-chips, wood-shavings and rusty nails. Why is it that when builders have got a bucket in which they have mixed some sort of plaster, cement or glue, the first place they empty it is in the middle of your garden? They don't stop to think about the result of emptying that stuff on flowers and bulbs that are coming up. Or vegetables!
I had someone in to clear a drain not long ago. He had to bail out some filthy greasy water from the upper part of it first. Instead of carrying it around to another drain to dispose of, he tipped it straight on top of my strawberry bed. Yeeeugh!
How can anyone anticipate so much collateral damage from a routine maintenance job?
I caught the last handyman I employed stuffing his plastic bottles and other rubbish into my garden disposal sack. I made him take it out and put it where it belonged. He wasted the cup of coffee I made for him and preferred to drink two bottles of fizz and smoke three cigarettes in the course of a single morning's work. The stubs were put in the usual place on the garden path.
When is this country going to start training its builders and workmen properly?
We need a code of conduct for them.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Why the Bull Verdict is Wrong

I hope that Mr and Mrs Bull, the Cornish hoteliers who have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds in compensation to a pair of homosexual men, will appeal against the verdict.
I think Judge Rutherford’s decision is unfair and amounts to religious persecution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which our government is a signatory, states:-

Article 18 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion...this right includes the public or private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Note that word "practice". What the Bulls did was to have a policy that they would only provide a double-bedded room to married couples, whether homosexual or otherwise. They put this policy clearly on their website and they made it clear that it was because they are devout Christians. All the unmarried heterosexual couples who went to their hotel near Penzance (and there must have been hundreds of them) were polite enough to respect it. Yet a male homosexual couple were so aggressive - and so opportunistic - that they rang up their solicitors and sued.
They acted without any respect for the rights of the Bulls to hold and to practise their religious principles. They even got funding to fight their case from the Equality Commission, which means they got tax-payers' money. Our money. Why?
What they are demanding is not equality. It is domination.
All over the country there are gay clubs, gay bars and gay websites which make it absolutely clear they are not catering for heterosexuals. Would it be legal for a heterosexual to barge in there and impose themselves? Could I sue a gay dating agency for not accepting me as a customer? Could I force a gay club to let me join it, and then complain they did not welcome heterosexuals?
Of course not. So why is it that homosexuals are allowed to behave like that?
These pushy, greedy extremists are taking away the choices and freedoms of others. They are imposing themselves in a wholly unjust and improper fashion. Instead of being grateful for the tolerance given to them by society, they have exercised intolerance in return.
That is unfair and I hope that the verdict (which of course reflects EU policy on so-called "gay" rights) is overturned one day by a higher court, which is mindful of the respect due to ALL the people involved in this sort of situation.

Postscript. Interestingly enough, the historian David Starkey was one of those who expressed concern about this and similar cases. On TV's Question Time, he commented, "It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old." As a historian, he is of course accustomed to taking a detached and long-term view of human affairs, not merely the fashionable views and prejudices of one generation. Incidentally he is also homosexual as he says on this video recording:-


Monday, 24 January 2011

Why Muslim Schools Are a Bad Idea

From time to time I get E-mail circulars from people campaigning for Muslim schools in this country. They want the government to give them state funding to set up separate schools for Muslim pupils where they will learn the Koran off by heart and will not get contaminated by the beliefs of the rest of us.
I don't think that is a good idea. For a start, this is surely racist. If a white organization suggested putting all the pupils of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin into a separate school there would be an outcry. People would denounce the idea. Words like apartheid, fascist, and BNP would be thrown about. So why should Muslim leaders be allowed to make what are in effect the same demands, from a different angle?

If you had separate schools for one religion, wouldn't you need to provide separate schools for the Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and any other religious minority as well? How many different schools would there be in each neighbourhood? Everybody would go to a different school and grow up in a little airtight compartment regarding others as aliens. The prospect of peaceful integration would be much reduced.
Secondly, once you start setting up sectarian schools, it would not be enough to send all the Muslims to one school. You would have to divide the Sunnis from the Shi-ites, since there are such deep and bitter disagreements between them. You would also have to divide the Catholics from the Protestants, as they used to be in Northern Ireland. The result there was to perpetuate sectarian hatred and I am certain it would have the same effect anywhere.
The more separate schools you set up, the more costs would escalate so you would be spending billions, in order to achieve an outcome of a society where people had less knowledge, trust and understanding of each other. That sounds pretty awful.
The fanatic who keeps writing to me demanding Muslim schools argues that English is a bad and harmful subject for children to study. Why? He gave the example of Romeo and Juliet, which he said advocated rebellion against parents, and pre-marital sex. Now it is quite wrong to say that Romeo and Juliet contains any pre-marital sex. My busy fanatic ought to read or see a performance of the play before he tries to judge it. It does show the harmful and tragic results of forcing children into unwanted marriages, and it does also show the appalling results of sectarian strife, where intolerance turns to violence. I think that he actually has a lot to learn from studying Romeo and Juliet.
He claims that it is more important for Muslim children to learn Arabic than European languages, or "Euro-centric" culture. Why does he want to live in Europe if he is opposed to what he calls Euro-centrism? By enclosing these unfortunate children in an all-Muslim school, he would be taking away their choice to learn European languages and with it much opportunity for employment.
He also objects to children being taught that homosexuality is normal. One of the side-effects of the aggressive "gay" agenda in present-day society is that it may drive some people to retreat into isolation because the mainstream is no longer in the centre. If we kept our curriculum more balanced then these objections to sending their children to a mainstream school would no longer apply.
Some of the points he made were quite interesting. One point is that Muslims prefer single-sex schools for their daughters. But so do many other people. The state should provide such a choice for everyone, not just one religious group. We used to have an all-girls state school here in Oxford, Milham Ford, until the County Council closed it down in one of their perpetual rounds of cuts and sold off the buildings.
The NHS estimates that each summer, during the school holidays, about four hundred British girls from Muslim families are taken abroad and subjected to the horrible operation that is misleadingly called "female circumcision". Many more are taken abroad to be married to relatives, often while under age. This worries me. To ignore it would be complacent. I want these families to be more integrated into the British way of life, not less.
Personally, I doubt whether parents have the right to isolate their children completely from the wider world. It is one thing to teach them yuor own religion - that is everyone's right, outside school - but another to keep them as prisoners inside an ideological fortress. I am sure that the long-term interests of all children are best served by going to integrated schools, where they learn to mix with and get along with a broad cross-section of society. If you live in a country, then you should aim to become a citizen of that country in the fullest and most inclusive sense.

NB 14th February 2011 Watching this evening's Dispatches programme on Channel 4 "Lessons in Hate and Violence" has re-inforced my views. While not all Muslims are extremists, it is clear that some of those who are are getting huge influence over the rising generation by teaching in faith schools. This is a matter for serious concern. We certainly should not give state funding to schools that teach children to hate the rest of society or to call non-Muslims "kaffurs" - a term of insult comparable to "nigger" or "pariah". The films of children being hit and kicked by teachers were damning and in each case this was happening in institutions that claimed they had investigated the problem and solved it. Clearly the people running some of these schools cannot be trusted.
I was pleased to see the admirable Dr Taj Hargey of the Oxford Muslim Education Centre providing some sensible comments.

Monday, 17 January 2011

This is the "Reformed" House of Lords...?

The Blair government was very proud of the way it reformed the House of Lords.
Instead of having hereditary peers who were entirely honest and straightforward, we now have an upper House consisting of aging MPs and cronies of the established political parties, up to their eyeballs in bribery, embezzlement and crooked dealings. Some of them have sinister names like Moonie, Truscott and Snape (which sound like something out of Harry Potter) but to show it is not old-fashioned the new House of Lords has lots of mercenary women peers and members of ethnic minorities proving that when it comes to fiddling, they are absolutely equal.
It is only fair to mention this Tory since I mentioned two Labour MPs yesterday:-

Life peer John Taylor claims he didn't know it was wrong to make false statements to get money because he is only a barrister with a university degree. Studying the law had never taught him that to misrepresent whether you live in London, Oxford or Birmingham in order to get travel and hotel expenses paid for by the tax-payer might be regarded as improper or even immoral.
Nobody told him that what you put on your expenses forms was supposed to be true!
And having studied the law convinced him that if other people are doing something, that makes it OK - doesn't it?
That's what his own lawyer says about him and after all, who would be so unreasonable as to expect you to write down your own address, when writing someone else's can get you £170 per night? He only did it for five years so he never had time to check the legality of it.
This is not the Lord Taylor who boasted last year that he is paid £100,000 a go to influence legislation - and that's "cheap" according to him. That was a much older Labourite and a chum of Snape and co. This is the relatively young Conservative Lord Taylor of Warwick who needed the extra £110,000 because otherwise he has only got six directorates to live on, according to his online CV:-

Non-executive Director, Mottram Holdings plc
Consultant, Kleinwort Benson Bank
Chancellor, Bournemouth University
Chairman, Warwick Communications Ltd
Vice President, National Small Business Bureau
Vice President, British Board of Film Classification

Oh yes, and from time to time he jets around the world making speeches about "human rights".
So long as his lawyer is as smart as he is, he probably won't go to gaol.

What does this long, ugly succession of expenses scandals reveal about modern Britain?
This: we need to question our priorities.
We have had a generation which has been very concerned about racism, sexism and so-called "homo-phobia" - but many people have forgotten that it is wrong to lie, cheat and steal.

Peer was encouraged to claim false expenses in lieu of salary, court told | Politics | The Guardian
Lord Taylor of Warwick claims he was told he would be 'crazy' not to register living outside of London, expenses trial hears
18 minutes ago ·

CND campaigner wants to sell arms to China

Labour peer Cathy Ashton, who occupies the ludicrously overpaid post of foreign minister in the EU, is now lobbying EU ministers to raise the embargo on selling arms to China.

What's curious about that, you might say?
Ms Ashton came to power via the CND and told the public that her principles were "pacifist". Now she is openly touting for us to sell arms to one of the most heavily armed nuclear states in the world, with a shameful record of violating human rights.
What does CND stand for? Campaign for Nauseating Double-standards?
Ms Ashton is paid about twice the salary of the Prime Minister to oppose our own policies and bring this country into disrepute.
She is just following the great Labour tradition of David Milliband, who told China the UK no longer opposes its tyrannous annexation of Tibet.
Ms Ashton has been criticized by European leaders because she can't speak French, or any other foreign language, fluently. Her qualifications are modest, and if she had not married a friend of Tony Blair, she would be lucky to have a job as a typist or receptionist with her level of skills.

Is there any way we can get rid of her? Could David Cameron sack her? It is sad to realize that he has so few powers and his title as PM does not mean much these days.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Oldham Votes for Corruption

The voters of Oldham and Saddleworth have made it clear what they believe in. They went to the polls on Thursday in a by-election and voted for the Labour party, two of whose members have been gaoled for financial corruption in the last fortnight.
Eric Illsley was convicted two days before the election, and found guilty of financial fraud. The court decided that he fiddled fourteen thousand pounds by making false declarations on his Commons expenses account. At first he did not even have the decency to resign, and was cheekily turning up to take his seat in the House.
Only the week before, another Labour M.P. David Chaytor, was convicted of fraudulently claiming an even greater sum from M.P.'s expenses. This was not a moment of weakness in an otherwise blameless career. Chaytor fiddled systematically for years before he was caught. He too has been gaoled. Shameless to the end, he and Illsley claimed huge amounts of legal aid to conduct their defence. Not satisfied with embezzling fourteen thousand here or there, they were intent on costing the public even more money.
The voters of Oldham knew this, or they certainly should have known it. They had every opportunity to read the newspapers, watch TV news, listen to the radio or follow the stories on the internet. How did they react?
In the most perverse possible fashion, they voted for Labour with a higher majority than before!!!
Who came second? The Libdems, whose MP David Laws resigned a few months ago having been found making improper expenses claims in the same great parliamentary tradition. Did Laws ever return the money? Not so far as I have heard.
There is only one conclusion that we can draw. The people of Oldham like criminal behaviour. They want to be ruled by cheats and crooks who are on the gravy train and only in politics for what they can squeeze out of it. They want to be represented by thieves and ruled by criminals. Oldham has voted for corruption. The trouble is that when they vote for it, we all suffer.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

We are being ruled by children.

Of all the people who have, over the years, attacked the Queen, few can have done so in such a fluff-headed way as Charlotte Church.

Did you ever wonder what happened to Charlotte, after her brief career as a child singing star? No, neither did I.

But now, in her desperation to get publicity for her new career as a pop singer (well, sort of) she has resorted to being downright rude about the Queen. The Queen, it seems, according to Ms Church, has committed the unforgiveable crime of being OLD and what is worse, she cannot even remember who Ms Church is!
Goodness me, well that makes about fifty million of us, doesn't it?

Why the heck should the Queen remember her? Hasn't the Queen got far more important things to think about than second-rate pop-artists releasing banal songs and having their lives run by a publicity agent and a make-up artist?
Ms Church's remarks reveal a naive self-importance. She really does think that everybody in the world ought to know who she is!
Because the Queen is old, Ms Church assumes she is stupid, ridiculous, boring and unworthy of any respect. That is what is called ageism. It is certainly very narrow-minded and intolerant.
Nobody in Ms Church's world of glitzy, shallow celebs is ever allowed to get old - no woman, anyway.
This is truly a sign of the times. The cult of youth affects politics too, because people nowadays tend to vote for a leader because of his looks. It's a fact and television aggravates that problem. Why else are all our leaders tall, youngish men with regular features and a good head of hair? Short, fat or old people need not apply. Even people with glasses or grey hair are ruled out. The Tories never won an election so long as they ran bald leaders.
When I think of all the virgin voters, teenagers, who voted Libdem because they believed Nick Clegg's promises and because they thought he was tall and good-looking, I wonder if it was a mistake to reduce the voting age to 18. If we had kept it at 21 we might have a more thoughtful, experienced electorate. The danger is that it may be reduced again, to 16. Why not 12? Or 10? or 5?
If it's OK to be governed by children, then why have a lower age-limit at all?
We are turning into an infantocracy. When the age of voting is reduced to three, Charlotte Church may be elected Prime Minister and even then, I doubt if anybody with any intelligence will be able to remember who she is.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Why I am Not Sorry for Vince Cable

Two weeks ago, Vince Cable was in a top government post, as Business Secretary. I won't say he was powerful, as most of the power of the British Government has been handed over to the EU or the ECHR at The Hague these days. Vince only had the trappings of power, but he had a big salary, a high public profile and the fun of rubbing shoulders with all the others at the top of the Establishment. He also had a vast pension to look forward to.
Now he is in disgrace, stripped of his position, reduced to being a mere MP again, and all because he was tricked by two journalists from the Daily Telegraph. It was a sneaky thing to do, passing themselves off as his constituents, and pretending they had voted for him, while secretly taping their conversation. All he did was to admit that his attitude to the monopoly case about the Murdoch monster was not strictly unbiassed. As a minister, he was meant to take a neutral view until the report was out. He was caught saying one thing in private and another in public - hardly a big surprise.
Cable was stitched up, no doubt about it. And he was much less guilty than the other Libdems who have been, since last May, one by one, outed as liars and rogues. David Laws, working in the Treasury, claimed rent on expenses when his so-called "landlord" was actually his lover. (He couldn't afford the rent as he is only a multi-millionaire and happy to serve in a government that is cutting housing benefit.) You'd think after the biggest expenses scandal in history the supposedly "brilliant" Lawes might have been a teeny bit more careful - but no, he had learned nothing. Then there was Chris Paul-Huhne (to give him his full name) the energy minister who is not very good at Maths, or why else would he claim to be aged 55 when he was actually born in 1950? In the election he spoke of how attached he was to family values. A few weeks later, he tried to conceal his affair with his campaign manager by driving to the railway station in separate cars and sitting in separate carriages, only to meet again on the sly later. Well, the journalists who tailed him are not quite so dim as he thought. Huhne was recently prevented from going to a public meeting about the dangers of global warming in Britain by extreme snow-bound conditions.
Then there is the cowardly Nick Clegg, who knew perfectly well even in advance of the election that his public promise not to raise university tuition fees was never going to be kept. He got elected on the basis of great big fibs, and had to cancel a visit to Oxford University as he was scared to encounter crowds of understandably angry students. It is said that he is now the most unpopular man in Britain. Somebody sent him a package of human excrement through the post. Well, he can certainly afford the servants to clear it up, having made a fortune in the Brussels champagn-ocracy. Has Clegg got any real power as Deputy Prime Minister? One sincerely hopes not, though he has got the enviable privilege of using John Prescott's old toilet seat at Chevening. I wonder if it is in good condition or if it shows the same signs of wear and tear exhibited by all Mr Prescott's other toilet seats?
And so to Vince Cable. When he was in opposition he claimed to believe in Freedom of Information. When he was made a minister, he went along with the refusal of the FSA to make public the results of its investigation of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Just because the tax-payer put billions of pounds into the banks doesn't apparently make us entitled to know what is going on. Vince will do very well on Strictly Come Dancing if his U-turns on the floor are as fast as his U-turns on policy!!!
For years, we in UKIP have had to endure our own leaders and MEPs being systematically smeared, libelled, slandered, entrapped by journalists, and prosecuted in judicial stitch-ups. Some of them have been disgraced and even imprisoned for charges that were trivial compared to the massive corruption exposed in the Westminster MPs' expenses-scandal, or the Labour peers' bribery scandal (for which nobody was imprisoned). Lord Pearson, one of the most decent and principled people in public life, was subjected to defamation and insult from the left-wing and liberal press, who seem to think that any tactics, including perjury, against a UKIP member are OK.
Politics, we are told, is a dirty game, and you can only expect people to play dirty.
Well, Vince, in that case, HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Not-So-New-Year's-Eve television delights.

Maybe you were out at a rave party for New Year's Eve last night, but sensible people like me were sitting at home in front of the TV with a glass or two in the vicinity hoping to celebrate without worrying about getting a taxi home at 2 am.
Most of the evening there was nothing on TV except bad language offered as comedy, and repeats: repeats of last year's bad language and the year before that too, drearily carted out as "entertainment". While people are being urged to get bigger and posher TV-sets all the time, with cinematic screens and Haitch-Dee, the standard of what is actually broadcast does not really merit it. There are more and more channels, and there is less and less to watch.
Last night we were depressed to find a choice between a repeated thriller (The Judas Tree) and a repeated edition of Grumpy Old New Year, in which bad-tempered moaners related how they snoop around other people's houses on New Year's Eve, rifling through the bathroom cabinet to find out what pills their hosts take. How revolting! It's not even funny, and most of the comedians on every channel were the sort of people who think they are witty for saying a-se or sh-t or f-ck. Going to the opposite extreme, in the afternoon, The Sound of Music was broadcast for the sixty-seventh time - really, is there anybody who can bear to see that saccharine confection again?
In the end, we got out a video of an old fifties movie with Ian Carmichael and Terry-Thomas, and watched that until five minutes to midnight, when we switched over to Jools Holland. At least he keeps a civil tongue in his head.
Of course there were a few good things on TV over the Christmas period, but not enough. Victoria Wood's show was funny, and so was Ronnie Corbett - brilliant. Miranda Hart's comedy show is a really good laugh but the series finished shortly before Christmas. There were some good films less than ten years old but most of the truly outstanding things were classics. Patrick Stewart and Richard E. Grant in A Christmas Carol. Rowan Atkinson in the Blackadder spoof of A Christmas Carol. Both vintage material.
Almost every day during the Christmas period, at peak times there were soap-operas or interminable episodes of Strictly Come Prancing, calculated to bore you into a stupor. Personally, I would pay not to watch Cliff Richard, Bruce Forsyth and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It's like being trapped in a geriatric ward without a mobile phone. And there were also far too many TV-chef shows. There seemed to be about six on every channel every day.
Since Stephen Fry seems to be on TV every week in every possible sort of programme, why can't we get Lottery funding to straighten out his nose? It should have been done years ago.
And the same goes for Anthony Armstrong - have you seen the size of his ears? They are absolutely monstrous. He is like an elephant. It makes me shudder to look at him. If he can't afford plastic surgery, he could at least wear a crash-helmet to cover them.
While there are some good things on TV they are eked out so thinly now that by the time you have read through what is on fifteen different channels you have probably missed it. The digital switchover is really designed to make people pay more. If you don't subscribe to cable or satellite, you won't get the new programmes, or the best sporting events, just an endless cycle of repeats. If you try to protest against that by stopping your TV-licence payments, you will be cut off from television altogether. So although TV sets are getting bigger and grander and more like home cinemas, we have become a sadder, more authoritarian society.