Sunday, 24 June 2012

Advice from a Chinese Communist

"I hate the burka," said the woman from Camden, leaning towards me over her vegetarian starter. "You see more and more of them in North London. Today on the Tube coming her there was a woman wearing one right opposite me. It was so sinister, just that little grille with her eyes peering through, I got up and moved to another seat. It really makes me feel uncomfortable."
A journalist called Dave said to me, "For me, Islamophobia is a non-word. Would you blame someone for Nazi-phobia?" A young Iranian on my left said that he did not regard the outcome of the Egyptian election as valid. Why? Because he said, (grating pepper on his pollo diavolo which was by no means spicy enough for him) when you have one dictatorship, it does not create the conditions for a true democracy to flourish. It can only be succeeded by another dictatorship, which is what happened in Iran and what is now happening in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. The cross-dresser on my right agreed. Everybody in the room was completely unanimous in deploring the spread of Muslim schools in the UK. Why on earth was the left-wing in the UK so in love with Islam and determined to subsidize it in the guise of multi-culturalism?
This event was the 5th anniversary celebration of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Great Britain, held at the Grappolo restaurant in London yesterday. The CEMGB was founded to support people breaking free of their islamic upbringing. The penalty for leaving Islam is not just a scolding from your parents - it is death, and it is carried out quite frequently. There are ex-Muslims who have to change their identities and flee across state boundaries to try to escape reprisals. Unfortunately the CEMGB is run by utter wets whose main idea in leaving Islam is to sign up to another tyrannical, sterile ideology, that of pinko-Trot-Guardianistas.
     Maryam Namazie who runs CEMGB, is the dumbest of the dumb. She typically writes "Religion is just stupid sh-t which somebody made up." Er...yeah, thanks for that, Maryam. Apparently you can get awards for that kind of in-depth analysis from left-wing organizations such as the Secular Society.
    Rushing back to Oxford, I just had time to change before going out again to the reunion dinner of an Oxford College. At the Pimms stage, I met an elegant young lady in a pink satin cocktail dress that showed off her enviably svelte figure. Pinned to the dress was a name label revealing that she had matriculated at the college only two years ago. She explained to me that she had come from China to do a one-year postgraduate course in Economics and now had an internship in an investment analysis company in the City. I half-jokingly told her that we needed some Chinese economists to come and show us how to run banks, as our banks are not doing very well in Europe or America. Soon she was telling me all her opinions on current affairs. She thought that it was a pity that Francois Hollande had come to power in France, and that his policy of raising taxes would very soon drive a lot of businesses and business people out of France. Why pay 75% income tax when you can just move away? It amazed her that here in the UK we had so many taxes. Income tax, council tax, VAT, corporation tax, capital gains tax. And the highest rate of tax starts at £35,000! Why did we accept this extraordinary burden?
I told her that I had been brought up in the pre-Thatcher era when super-tax was 85% and it started when you earned about £10,000 per year. Mrs Thatcher had been called an ogre for reducing taxes to 60%. Ms Xiang laughed and thought this was incredible. "If you want to get the economy going," she said, "it would be better to reduce tax to a maximum of 20%" What about the welfare state? My Chinese economist said that she thought we were far too reliant on the welfare state. "Most people here don't save money," she said, "That is one of your problems."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

String Up Jimmy Carr.

Let's string up Jimmy Carr.
The cheeky-faced comedian has been caught putting his earnings in an offshore scheme than enables him to avoid paying all but 1% of his income tax. Doesn't he know that only mainstays of the Labour party, like Ken Livingstone, are allowed to use these legal-but-crafty setups?
Jimmy should be swinging from the lamp-posts because what he has done is stingy and anti-social. If nobody paid tax, how could we find the money to pay £400,000 per year to Ed Richards the boss of OfCom? Where would we find the funds to disburse around £250,000 per year to six other OfCom bosses? How would all the Labour cronies in all the other quangos get their similar inflated salaries?
Jimmy Carr's stinginess means that we might not be able to find £328,000 p.a. to pay Baroness Ashton, another Labour crony who is head of the EU’s diplomatic service, and recently admitted she didn’t know what the President of Serbia looked like. Cathy Ashton makes us laugh just as much as Jimmy Carr, after all.

Without tax how could we issue corporate credit cards to County Council staff so that they can spend £5 million in two years on personal luxuries – including make-up, takeaway meals, holidays and (believe it or not) their court fees?

If people like Jimmy Carr all avoid paying tax, the rest of us have to pay more, to finance the pointless and tragic war in Afghanistan. If nobody paid tax, how could we bail out eurozone countries that ran up crazy debts over-spending? We might not even be able to afford to give the EU £50 million per day.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Burmese Democracy Matters More Than Ours.

For many years, Amnesty International campaigned for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the fragile lady kept under house arrest in Burma despite winning a general election in 1990. I remember sending letters on her behalf and gifts that may or may not have reached her. Today she is free and re-visited Oxford, where she went to university and lived for many years.
It is good news but full of sad irony. When Aung San Suu Kyi studied in Oxford, married here and had children, England was a self-governing democracy. Back in the 1960s and seventies, the UK government still had powers to make our own laws, control our own budget and institutions, and decide who can live here. Now it hasn't, because all those powers have been transferred to the EU commission at Brussels. Decisions are taken over our heads by Spanish or German politicians we never elected. As Burma gets closer to democracy we get further away.
What is curious is that the media still regards Aung San Suu Kyi as a heroine, almost a saint, yet those who campaign for democracy in the UK are treated as villains. She is feted in the streets, while they are reviled and denounced. The EU has already passed a law making criticism of itself illegal. It may be that one day soon, people who campaign for democracy in the UK will also be held under house arrest, or just sent to goal. They can certainly expect to have very little chance of employment or advancement in the EUSSR.
Let's hope the whole thing falls apart soon and we can crawl out of the wreckage.
Happy Birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

It's My City

It was thanks to Oxfordshire County Council that I got soaked on Friday morning. So did anyone else who was outside in the town centre at 10am. The deluge of rain was quite sudden and like a monsoon.
Only a few years ago you could get a bus that went right through the city centre, then up the Banbury or Woodstock Roads. But now you have to get off at the top of the High Street and walk up Cornmarket. I was only going as far as the Ashmolean, and I was wearing a thick hooded raincoat and carrying an umbrella but in that short distance I was utterly soaked. The rain fell in torrents and turned Cornmarket into a river rather a road.
I still remember the utter tosh that the County Council issued as publicity for its pedestrianisation scheme. It was called Transform Oxford. The blurb told us over and over again how good for us it was to have to walk everywhere. There used to be a bus-stop just opposite the Ashmolean. Now you have to walk all the way down into Castle Street, regardless of the weather or what you may be carrying. Are you old, disabled or struggling with heavy shopping? Never mind, five helpings of inconvenience per day make us healthier, happier and better people.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Who Do I Think I Am? Part 2

My mother's family were in India for many generations and it is plain that they were stalwarts of the British Empire, serving in the Indian Army.
How stalwart I didn't realize until doing a bit of research lately. I knew that my grandfather was a Colonel as there is an old photograph of him in uniform, jodpurs and all, with an alsatian dog at his side. But I didn't realize that his father had been a Captain in the Bengal Sappers and Miners, and had actually served in the second Anglo-Afghan War. In fact he even got a medal. The war began in 1878 when he was 21, and it was the most futile war since the first Anglo-Afghan War. You could even say it was the most futile until ...well, until the current Anglo-Afghan War. All part of a great tradition.
The Cocksedges were a military family and a Private Thomas Cocksedge fought at the Battle of Inkermann in the Crimean War. In fact, a Cocksedge even fought at the Battle of Waterloo. So Samuel, who left England at the age of 19, had a lot to live up to as he slogged in the hell and the heat of Kabul and Kandahar. The medal he got shows Queen Victoria on one side and a fortress on the top of a mountain on the other. The clasp on the red and green striped ribbon indicates that he fought with distinction at the battle of Ali Masjid on the 21st November 1878. Ali Musjid was a fortress on a hill overlooking the Afghan end of the Khyber Pass.
After the victory at Ali Masjid. the Sappers and Miners went on to help defend Kabul in 1979, and were among the troops that took part in Major General Sir Frederick Roberts' famous march from Kabul to Kandahar in 1880.
By 1887, Captain Samuel Cocksedge had left Afghanistan and was in Fyzabad, Bengal, where he married the 17-year-old Hilda Gertrude Budd. His subsequent career is charted by the ever-changing birthplaces of their ten children. Beatrice, the eldest, was born at Indore in Bengal in 1889, and the second, Edward Charles, at Mhow in Bengal in 1892. The gaps between children suggest absences on military duty. Their third child William George Harrington Cocksedge was born in 1894 at Sewree, Bombay, but died at birth. Two more daughters Dorothy Gertrude and Gladys Hilda, were born in 1895 and 1896 at Secunderabad in Madras.

By the time my grandfather, Harold George, was born in 1897, they had moved to Bangalore, in Madras, and they were still there eighteen months later when his younger sister Ivy Millicent was born. His younger brother Percival Roy was born at Kidderpore in Madras in 1900 and curiously not baptized for three months. Two more younger sisters followed: Phyllis Marguerite, born in 1902 at Meean Meer in Bengal, then Eunice May, born at Belgaum, near Bombay in 1904. By 1907 they had returned to Madras, where a final child, Margery Mary, was born at Bellary, but died two months later. By the time she was 37, my great-grandmother had nine surviving children and the eldest, Beatrice, was grown-up. Beatrice had no intention of living a similar life. By hook or by crook, she got herself into Trinity College, Dublin and graduated in Modern History in 1910. Smart move, as so many young men of her generation were killed in the First World War. They included two of her own brothers.
A family tradition has it that she worked as a secretary to Sidney and Beatrice Webb. I don't know if this is true. [This is has since been confirmed by her daughter Freda Potts.] A century has passed since she got her degree but essentially she was the first modern woman in my family and my daily existence would not seem too strange to her.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Queen of Nowhere

Hurrah for the Jubilee! It's such fun to have a party, but wait a moment - have we really got a Queen or anything to celebrate?

Elizabeth II is the Queen of nowhere. Since we joined the EU - and she was forced to sign the papers handing over our sovereignty - she is no longer a sovereign. She is only a citizen of the European Union and how can you be a sovereign when the country in question has surrendered its sovereignty?

Queen of what? Yes, I admire her because she has been a dedicated and conscientious professional, keeping the rules in an era when our MPs and MEPS conspicuously flout them. She understands well the duties and responsibilities or her position. She carries out her obligations in a modern age where duty, responsibility and obligation are so old-fashioned they are regarded as dirty words. Having her there prevents somebody like Tony Blair or Carla Bruni getting elected as our head of state. Worth every penny!

But without Britain's sovereignty what does it mean to have a sovereign? Isn't she just a puppet monarch signing the papers of a puppet government? We are not independent. The Eurocrats have even abolished England as an entity. The United Kingdom is a term out of the history books and the all-wise rulers in Brussels, who have created poverty, unemployment and currency crisis in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy ...(need I go on?) have also decided that we are merely a bit of a region called La Manche.

We can wave our flags - for a few more years at least - but be careful we don't put the Union Jack on our car number plates because that is a criminal offence. Town Halls and all offical government buildings have to fly the EU flag. It is a requirement, How long until flying the Union Jack itself is a criminal offence? Even owning one or downloading one on your computer may become an offence that carries a fine.

Having a constitutional monarch was a good system, so long as it worked, and the only problem now is that we let outsiders overrule our own traditional largely unwritten constitution (actually it's not all unwritten but never mind). The Queen was always very careful not to interfere in our affairs of state. The eurocrats take a different view. They are now running everything and though our puppet government may talk twaddle about "re-negotiating the terms" of EU membership, anybody who knows what is going on realizes that there is no such possiblity.
It is in or out. Yes we could leave and regain our independence. Then it would make sense to have a sovereign. Until then, wave your flags and dream on.