Tuesday, March 31, 2009
In my earlier years, they were known variously as 'Gypsies', 'travellers', 'pikies' and 'Romanies', but I am, of course, talking about the people who choose to live in caravans and travel from town to town and county to county, stopping wherever they want.
They are constantly an embarassing problem to local authorities and they know how to use the social system to its full advantage. They are continually 'moved on' by the police and the sites they create often resemble the local scrapyard; there is not a great deal of desire to be living near their camps. I do not know if they pay their taxes.
Of course, some of them have a long and interesting history and there is confusion between those with a lineage and those who are economic migrants.To most of us, though, there is little difference.
It seems that now they are at the centre of a new controversy, with London boroughs arguing over who should pay for permanent 'traveller' camps to be built. Once again the caravan dwellers are pursuing their 'rights'.
A traveller was quoted on the radio last week, as saying: "Gypsies just want to be accepted"
Surely, though, it is the case that first, they must make themselves 'acceptable'!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, has been forced to pay back money claimed on her expenses. Her husband had been watching pay-per-view adult films on a cable TV subscription, paid as part of her controversial second home allowance.
Ms.Smith has already been in the spotlight for the dubious method by which she accounts for the claim and this latest news can only add even more fuel to the fire.
Her husband, Richard Timney, works as his wife's Commons adviser and, presumably, is also used as a 'claimable item' from the public purse.
While I would not criticise the right of anyone to watch adult films in the privacy of their own homes, it does seem a bit rich that the husband of the woman responsible with any legislation regarding such a right, is caught with his proverbial pants down.
Maybe it is time for Ms. Smith to get the handcuffs and truncheon out of the playbag!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Q. "What do you call a Pakistani cloakroom attendant?"
A. "Me hat, me coat."
Did the above joke make you chuckle or did it offend you?
If you chuckled are you feeling you are racist or are you just amused by jokes that are a simple play on words?
If you happen to originate from Pakistan are you outraged or do you appreciate a little humour as being an acceptance of your origin?
Sir David Jason, much loved British actor and a man who has starred in many situation comedies where humour is the main foundation of the genre, thought it was amusing. I thought it was too!
Not because I thought it was derogatory to Pakistanis – in fact, I hardly registered the origin of the person referred to in the joke – but because it was a simple, silly bit of humour.
Sadly, the BBC did not see the funny side and the remark has now been removed from a recording of the radio programme in which Sir David uttered the controversial words.
If we cannot make light hearted and possibly affectionate, remarks about each other's race we will never knock down the boundaries that separate us and we will never integrate as a society. The politically correct 'police' are not known for their sense of humour; they are a handicap, rather than a healing hand towards race relations.
We should not feel guilty for having a bit of banter with each other. Humour spoken without malice is a medicine and not an illness.
If I have any criticism of Sir David Jason, it is that he felt pressured to apologise, for something he had not even done!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This week saw the start of Canada's annual commercial seal hunt. It is a disgusting spectacle where up to 280,000 young harp seals are killed for their fur, meat and oil, which is sought for being rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
While the majority of the innocent young are shot, there are still a large number that are killed by hunters using large spiked clubs called hakapiks; they are literally beaten to death without any chance of escape.
Despite the high profile objections of conservation groups from around the world, the Canadian government remain deaf to criticism and say the killing of seals is necessary to provide financial security to isolated communities.
It is not only the ice that is left stained by the blood of the dead seals; it is the reputation and morality of a country that would lead us to believe it is a part of the civilised world!!
The news this week, that the government want to monitor all the details of one-to-one activity on social networking sites like Facebook, must have come as a major relief to prospective terrorists in the UK.
They will now feel safe in the knowledge, that while the security services are drooling over pics of nubile mini-skirted students being sick on pavements across the country, they will be able to meet face-to-face, in public, without fear of being followed.
Another great idea by our ridiculous legislators!!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Governor of The Bank of England, Mervin King, has publicly stated what anyone with a brain bigger than an ant, has known all along - you cannot spend your way out of trouble!
After distributing £20bn of borrowed money on a so-called stimulus package last year, the government have failed to 'kick start' a financial recovery. In short, they have not managed to persuade people to start spending again or to save thousands of lost jobs.
Mr King told the Treasury Select Committee: "Given how big those deficits are, I think it would be sensible to be cautious about going further in using discretionary measures to expand the size of those deficits."
Translated into plain English, he is saying to the government: 'for god's sake stop borrowing money, or we will never get out of the s**t you incompetent idiots have gotten us into. Nothing you have done is working and you are just making certain that future generations will still be paying for your mistakes.'
Of course, given his distinguished position, Mr King is not able to speak in plain English.
I can only hope that MPs on the committee, fully decrypt the coded message he has been sending and pass it on to the idiots in the Treasury!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Jade Goody has finally passed away and it is sad. It is a huge loss for her immediate family and an even greater tragedy, for her young sons, that she died on Mothering Sunday.
What I still do not understand, is why her death warrants a tribute from the prime minister. Thousands of women die unnecessarily from this terrible disease every year and it seems wrong, that just because Jade managed to attract the attention of the press and its readers, she should be singled out for special attention from the PM.
Of course, she has been praised for raising awareness among young women about the necessity to be screened for signs of cervical cancer. That, though, was a by-product of the press fever over her dying days, for which her publicist negotiated huge sums to be put into trust for her children's future. It was not a selfless act, but a money making opportunity - albeit too late for her personally.
I do not blame Jade for making the most, financially at least, of her final days. I do, however, blame the ghoulish press and its readers for turning her death into a public event. As I have written in an earlier post, I consider it has removed the dignity from her dying days.
Which brings me back to the prime minister's tribute. If Jade Goody had not attracted so much attention and been the subject of special tribute editions of celebrity magazines, would Gordon Brown even have known who she was? I can only conclude his remarks are just a cynical attempt to attract votes by riding on the back of the massive wave of publicity, her demise has created.
Whatever his motives, I hope that Jade is now truly able to rest in peace and that the celebrity circus is finally able to leave town!
Mention greedy bankers and the name Sir Fred Goodwin automatically comes into the conversation. He is the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), who was forced to step down with a pension of £693,000 a year. He has become the focus of all that was wrong within the failing banking industry; he was paid off with a huge amount of money for presiding over a financial disaster.
Of course, the prime minister and a variety of his ministers, have publicly demanded that Sir Fred hand back the money he has received, after billions of pounds of our funds were poured into the RBS to save it. Sir Fred has - so far at least - refused.
There has even been mention of legal action against Sir Fred, but so far nothing has been attempted. Probably, that is because in legal terms, he has done nothing wrong. He has walked away with a ridiculous sum of money that was negotiated with the full knowledge of the governing bodies of both the RBS and the country.
Of course, morality is another matter and there are serious questions that reach beyond the case of Sir Fred about the excessive amounts of money, it has become the norm to pay in compensation, to those who have failed in the corporate world. A similar argument relates to the paying of huge bonuses.
My own view is he should not have been awarded anything.
But, for the moment, it is convenient to use Sir Fred's name to deflect the awkward questions about the government's knowledge, or participation, in the lead up to the present financial nightmare. Like any good magician, they are using distraction tactics against us.
Maybe Sir Fred is starting to earn his money now!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
All homosexuals should be stoned to death according to the radical Muslim cleric, Anjem Choudary.
I am sure that a large majority of us, who are made up from all sexual and religious persuasions, would rather be stoned - but using a different sort of method from the one being suggested - than listen to the ridiculous, extreme, attention seeking views of someone like Mr Choudary.
I am also certain, there are many travel agents who would be willing to arrange his passage to a more suitable country, should he really be that unhappy with the tolerent society here in the UK.
We would all miss him!!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
In two weeks time, on April 1st, the price of fuel is set to rise by 2p per litre when the government increase fuel duty.
This latest rise will mean that taxes account for a staggering 71p in every pound spent. The tax goes directly into a central government account and is not necessarily used to improve motoring conditions but instead, can be allocated for anything from running the NHS to increasing MPs expenses.
On July 16th 2008, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, promised the nation that he would not increase fuel duty for a whole year. He then broke that promise in December 2008 when he activated a 2p rise, saying it was needed to balance the books, after he had implemented his rushed decision to reduce VAT to 15 percent.
The media have been unusually quiet in passing on this piece of information to the country and it has been left to organisations like Petrol Prices. com to highlight the government's deception.
April 1st is April Fool's Day. It seems that Gordon Brown is, once again, trying to make fools of us all!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) which is supposed to be the watchdog of the city, has today said that under new guidelines, banks would be facing "intensive supervision"in the future.
The FSA's chairman, Lord Turner, has promised a more intrusive approach which will include new rules to control banks' bonus policies and monitoring the level of capital that banks should keep in reserve to mitigate the potentially disastrous effects of overly risky investment.
All fine aims, but surely it is the function of a financial watchdog to be proactive and not reactive.
Today's announcement, is what is more commonly known as locking the stable door after the horse has bolted!
The latest unemployment figure, released today, reveals that 2.03 million people are now without work in the UK.
The prime minister said in the Commons, it was a "matter of personal regret for me and for the whole government".
There are at least 2.03 million people who will see it not as a matter of 'personal regret' but as a matter of shame!!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Africa is fighting a losing battle against the spread of the HIV virus and Aids.
Common sense would suggest that protective contraception would immediately help to stop the spread of the pandemic, which is ravaging the continent.
However, according to Pope Benedict XVI, who is on his first papal visit to Africa: "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms" He added: "On the contrary, it increases the problem"
According to the Pope, encouraging sexual abstinence is the best way to fight any further spread of the disease.
While technically he may be correct, he may as well try telling the sun to stop shining!
Sometimes, it is advisable to take a dose of the reality pill before making such ridiculous statements!!
Universities in England and Wales want to double the cost of tuition fees, when the present system of charging is reviewed this year.
It could mean that tomorrow's graduates, who do not come from wealthy families or who are not subsidised by educational grants for the reason they come from low income families, might still be paying off their student loans when they are into their middle years.
It makes for a very unfair system for those whose parents have struggled and saved to give them the chance they never had themselves.
Surely, it is the right of everyone, to have an equal chance at getting the best education.
It should not be the case that those from the middle income bracket are left holding the bill.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I have just been watching a recording of a speech given by US President, Barack Obama, decrying the greed of bankers and I was amused by the differences between the president and our own esteemed prime minister.
Obama looks like a leader, speaks like a leader and has the charisma of a leader.
Gordon Brown looks like Gordon Brown, speaks like Gordon Brown and has the charisma of a cream cracker.
How lucky are we?!
The Bogey Man is back!
According to official sources, an audio tape sent to various Islamist radio stations last week, could be that of the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.
The voice on the tape calls for a jihad (holy struggle) against Israel, using the theory that the influence of the US in world affairs has been seriously weakened and that Israel as a nation would be weakened as a result..
So, is it really the voice of Osama Bin Laden on the tape? Does he even really exist?
It seems almost inconceivable, that while the US have satellite surveillance systems that can focus on the fluff in the belly button of a sunbathing teenager, they have not as yet managed to find the man they say is the most dangerous in the world.
If he does exist, then could it be they do not really want to 'find' him? After all, what would they do with him if he were to be caught?
If he were to be brought to trial, he would be the cause of total uprising in the Muslim world and no Westerner could ever feel safe again. He would become the rallying point of every dissident group that had ever had cause to want to attack the West.
If he really does exist and he were to be tracked and 'terminated' by western forces, there is no way that news of his demise could be kept secret from the Muslim world and the consequences would be the same.
So, alive or dead, it seems that no-one really wants to find the man who's name has been used as an excuse to invade countries and destroy lives with no measurable result - so far at least.
But what if......he never really existed at all and was just a character dreamt up by governments to keep us all fearful and compliant while they imposed the measures that have eroded so many of our rights and personal freedoms for ever?
It's just a thought but......could it be that Santa really does exist?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The long awaited release of documentation, requested under The Freedom Of Information Act, has revealed a memo that states we were never under "imminent danger of attack" from Iraq's former leader, Saddam Hussein.
Our own former leader, Tony Blair, had used the excuse of weapons of mass destruction being released against us within 45 minutes, as his main justification for taking action against Iraq.
It seems that another small piece of the lie has been exposed and we can only hope that the complete story will eventually be told.
Meanwhile, thousands of lives seem to have been wasted on the whim of a man who appears to have been manipulative and, at best, economical with the truth.
No wonder we have no faith in our politicians!
A report by Lord Laming has concluded that a higher priority must be given to protecting vulnerable children. It is only surprising it has taken until now for that fact to be recognised!
Also this week, ageing superstar, Michael Jackson, has been in London announcing his series of concerts at the O2 in the summer.
The two stories are not connected.
But, if anyone approaches your children and asks them if they would like to stroke a monkey........run!!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Max Mosley, the motorsport boss who was named by a red top Sunday newspaper for taking part in privately run sadomasochistic activities, has claimed the experience of the unwanted publicity, has robbed him of his dignity.
Speaking to members of the Commons Culture Select Committee, he is reported to have said he had been "shocked, annoyed, angry and outraged" when reading the embarassing details in the paper. He also said: "If someone takes all your goods and money, you've got a chance of replacing it.If someone takes away your dignity, you will never replace it."
I would have thought, that when you engage in sadomasochistic play acting, you leave your dignity with your everyday street clothing. Perhaps, then, he is confusing it with the embarassment of being found out?
Calling for a privacy law, to allow people like him, who are in the public eye, to get away with doing things they would rather we did not find out, Mosley also complained about being £30.000 out of pocket, after his successful legal action against the newspaper, which had to pay £500,000 towards his legal costs and £60,000 in damages.Perhaps, he should have asked the committee for a whip round!
A nine year old Brazilian girl has had an abortion after being raped by her step-father. Her doctors warned her mother, when the child was four months pregnant with twins, that her uteris was too small to hold the twin babies and she would almost certainly die if the pregnancy was not terminated immediately.
The girl's mother, a devout Catholic, was completely torn by the burden of balancing her religious belief, with the certain knowledge her daughter would die if she did nothing. She authorised the termination - as almost any mother would.
Her regional Archbishop, excommunicated both her and the doctors from the Catholic church and the Vatican has upheld the decision.
While the Pope has not spoken in person, one of his Cardinals stated: "The real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated".
He conveniently forgot to comment on the fact that the nine- year-old girl had a similar right to live and had not chosen to be raped by her step-father.
On the day it was announced that scientists think they have discovered the part of the human brain that is programmed to accept religion, it seems the ruling members of the Vatican are still not showing any sign they even possess such an organ!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Following on from the weekend shooting of the two soldiers in Northern Ireland, comes another killing, by another group, claiming to be a splinter from the old IRA.
This time, it was a 48 year old police officer responding to a woman's call for help who was shot dead.
There will probably be even more attempts to disrupt the peace, that has now become the accepted way of life by most people living in the province.
It is now even more essential that politicians, community leaders and the security forces demonstrate complete unity and stay calm, while sending the perpetrators of such crimes the strong message that they will crush any attempts to renew terror before it is allowed to take hold.
Monday, March 09, 2009
The death, at the weekend, of two young soldiers in Northern Ireland, has brought back the blackest of memories to those of us who lived through the worst of the troubles.
The last few years have seen a major re-birth in the province and those who live there have finally been able to shrug off the uncertainty and the fear under which they lived for so many years. It has always been a lively and friendly place to be and the hospitality of the Irish people was - and still is - second to none.
However, it has always been a country of extreme views with sections from both sides of the community forever rigid in their ideals and hatred - even though they often had no idea why. Distrust was passed on through the generations and intransigence in refusing to compromise over things that were not really that important, was often the norm; it was a country of stalemate.
Thankfully, the stalemate was broken and common ground was finally found.
Some of the extremists have now lost the career they once had and they seek to put themselves back into the full time work that is provided by terrorism. They only win if they can re-kindle the fear that once overshadowed the people of Northern Ireland.
They must not be allowed to succeed.
The communities from both sides of the province must join together to make sure they stop the cowards who seek to fan the dying embers of the troubles, before the fire is allowed to flare up again!
The Vatican newspaper has shown it has its finger firmly on the pulse of history, for it has announced that the one thing that has liberated women throughout the 20th century was the invention of the washing machine.
How it has come to this startling conclusion one can only guess,but maybe they are thinking that without such an addition to their lives, women would not have had time to fight for the right to vote or do the sort of pleasurable things that require the taking of a daily pill!
No wonder priests in the Catholic Church are celibate!!