Bardiness

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Pendragon

Stonehenge

Druids. We don’t know the real truth about Stonehenge, their sacred place of worship, other than it was built several thousand years ago and long before the Pyramids.

Before the Romans arrived Druids were the all powerful religious rulers, with evidence of prolific human and animal sacrifice; the Romans seemed genuinely horrified by their behaviour and subsequently set about destroying them during the first century AD.

Of course the Romans were no angels, and clearly the British Druids presented a threat to their rule – long before they adopted Christianity.

There isn’t all that much known about the Druids because they never wrote anything down. When the Romans left Britain in the 5th Century they attempted a revival, but by then the force of Christianity was truly set against them, and as the invading Angles and Saxons slowly took over, conquering the remaining few British pagan kingdoms, it was truly the end of the road.

They had a revival in the Victorian age, and now they are perceived as a bunch of throwback 60’s hippies lost in a time warp. Twice a year they descend in their thousands to Stonehenge to watch the summer and winter solstice, and although they visit peacefully they always complain – mainly about their lack of access within the hallowed circle.

So what do Druids believe in? It’s an apt question because the title of this post is “Pendragon” – synonymous with the Arthurian legend, and when it is stripped of the Victorian romanticism, we are left with possibly a local warlord hailing from the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia (Cornwall) during the early dark ages after the Romans left Britain, fighting against the Saxons who were Germanic tribes seeking more land.

The country was beset with conflict, where individual kings were fighting against each other as well as the invaders. It was truly a dark period in British history, with the Picts invading from the north, now free of a Roman held Hadrian’s Wall, with Celtic and Irish warlords invading from the west, and the Saxons invading from the east. It’s a fascinating period of history, made all the more mysterious due to the lack of knowledge available.

Those British kingdoms did not embrace Christianity, but held to their pagan beliefs, and the Druid priests flourished in the vacuum left by Rome. If Luther Pendragon (King of the Britons) was the father of Arthur there isn’t much evidence of it. So why then would we assume to know of the Druids, who never committed themselves to the written word, and most of the information comes from Julius Caesar (who had a particular propagandist agenda) and the documented writings of the then contemporary Roman historians such as Tacitus, who wasn’t very impressed by them at all?

Druidry today regards itself as both a philosophical viewpoint and a religious world view, in tune with the earth and sky, mysticism, ritual and the sacred worship of the Sun.

Throw in the moon and the stars, and one could argue it is the perfect repository for anyone who rejects the principle tenets of a resurrected Christ who through love for us took on our sins and died on the cross to save our souls.

Pagans struggle with that concept because in ancient times, the Gods were powerful, warlike, and unforgiving. They demanded sacrifice to appease them.

Christianity to those pagans and druids was a weak religion – yet, in that weakness, so was strength, and it’s success today is testament to the power of it.

There’s nothing wrong with Druidy of course – and they have their temples in the shape of Stonehenge and the thousands of other ancient stone circles dotted around Europe to congregate within.

They are also generally peaceful and no longer indulge in the practice of human sacrifice – for obvious reasons.

In short, they have moved on – to a degree – because the Chief Druid calls himself King Arthur Pendragon, and if there is one thing the modern Druid believes in, it is the legend of King Arthur.

Sadly, for the romanticists it is just that, romancing the legend. When the Romans left Britain, they took away their knowledge and their skills.

In those dark ages, the roads they left slowly became ruined, and their walls and villas deteriorated, their central heating systems, stone buildings, tiled floors and roofs, irrigation systems, baths and aqueducts became mere ruins. Within two hundred years, the Britons were living in thatched houses with wattle and daub, and they had regressed. The Roman infrastructure had disappeared.

Such was the glory of Rome, no other place clearly demonstrates her rise and fall than Britannia.

So Arthur could not have lived in a grand castle called Camelot – such structures did not appear for another 600 years. The Round Table, Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake, Guinevere, the Knights, Gawain, Galahad, Lancelot, Tristan; the chivalry, the tragedy, were all deliberately manufactured perfect ideals by the Victorians to enforce the principles of Englishness and the British Empire – and who could blame them?

It’s an amazing story – but that’s all it really is, and along with the Druids, it’s filled with romantic mythology.

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November 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pagan Christmas

How was Christmas celebrated in Romano and post-Romano-Britain? The simple answer is that it wasn’t.

Christianity didn’t arrive sufficiently to create an influence until the late 6th century AD long after the Romans had left and Paganism had revived.

Christians existed in Britain long before then but in the early quarter of the Millennium there was no organised attempt to convert the pagan British and it was regarded as just one cult among many.

The Romans persecuted those early Christians because unlike other cults which they were familiar with, Christianity demanded exclusive allegiance to one God from it’s followers, and the Romans were angered by what they perceived as an intolerance of other gods. That’s an interesting perspective, because it implies that the Romans were content to allow anyone to worship anything, so long as they didn’t force it down other peoples throats nor interfere with their general order. Something we could learn from today.

It wasn’t until 313 AD when Christian worship was tolerated within the Roman Empire – thanks to Constantine who realised that a single religion with a single God i.e. Christianity, could be embraced to unite his empire and subsequently achieve military success.

Meanwhile back in Britain Paganism was the overwhelming religion and Christianity was firmly in the minority. Indeed, after the Romans left it was a wonder it survived at all – but it did, and how it did is a story for another post.

The most important date for Pagans then and now is the Winter Solstice which always occurs around December 21st marking the return of the light after the longest night of the year. They call it Yule.

Of course, those Pagans would not have known it was December 21st because the calendar as we know it was centuries away – but they would have known it as the Midwinter Festival, and their calendar was dictated by the solstices and equinoxes and the phases of the sun and the moon, and given more accuracy by structures such as Stonehenge (if it’s believed that it’s some kind of observatory).

That’s pretty close to Christmas Day, and the Pagans believe that the early Christians hijacked the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus because they saw that everyone else was having a festive time already. A remarkable coincidence nevertheless and debate rages over the exact birth-date of Christ, with it ranging from anywhere between September and February. But we all accept that it’s December 25th now and it will never change. What matters is that he was born and died and was resurrected (at Easter – which is another pre-Christian Pagan festival and the subject of another post nearer the time).

So back to those annoying Pagans who blame the Christians for hijacking their festivities. They don’t hate the Christians, but they are obviously peeved with them for superimposing their great year end festivals which were very popular in the Graeco-Roman world.

Take the custom of giving presents and over-indulging – it was those Romans who started that with their festival of Saturnalia around December 17th. Saturn was the Roman God of agriculture and the giving of gifts symbolised the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor during the season of greatest hardship. Then the next one was the solstice feast of Mithras, the Roman God of Light on December 25th, a festival to mark the renewal of hope. This is the one most likely adopted by Christians in the 4th century as the birthday of Jesus.

The Pagan Yuletide has it’s origins from Scandinavia, and also known as “Mother-Night” from Anglo-Saxon traditions. New Years Eve was celebrated by the Romans who dedicated it to Janus, their two-faced god who looked both forward and back. Part of the celebration was to gather fir trees and holly – which is what we now do at the beginning of the Christmas season.

Finally, at this time, whatever your faith, whatever you believe in, the whole season is about birth, light, giving, and celebration. Peace on Earth may be a distant dream of hope, but it’s a worthy cause and the key message is tolerance, understanding, compassion and care for your fellow man.

That’s the Christmas message, and who could argue with that? Merry Christmas! Merry Yuletide!

November 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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Happy blogging!

June 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Churchill and the piss-pots he fought for……..

Whilst some of our future brain boxes where pissing on Churchill's statue in Parliament Square, or climbing up a flag at the Cenotaph, another group high on testosterone with the usual common daily pocket contents of paint, snooker and golf balls suddenly found themselves in the direct path of non other than a Royal Rolls carry the future king of England and his consort. Writers of fiction take note. Nothing is impossible. Churchilldefacement

Chanting "off with their heads" and somewhat familiar even colloquial expletives to the bemused Charles, they pounced on his vehicle with all the venom of a mob which would not have been out of place during the French revolution.

Rumour has it that some old toothless hag was knitting on the balcony of the London Palladium.

Camilla could clearly be seen mouthing "let them eat cake" by some of the little naive prats, as she looked horrified at the baying crowd. Too bad she didn't have any to pelt with them as they tried to poke her through the windows.

I suggest she carries an English sherry trifle in future, ready for the next installment of Carry on Royally. Jokes aside this was a serious matter and one wonders how the mob would have reacted had non other than the Queen been in the car instead?

Student protest is a tradition in this country and its been many years since they were so anarchic. However this generation of young aspired have really never had it so good. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the increased fees for graduates, thirteen years of New Labour political correctness and health and safety have suffocated the police, the law, and how society reacts to protest.

I despair for the police, because any percieved aggressive act on their part, or moment of force, will result in a public inquiry and an officer could be reprimanded, dismissed and even charged.

To expect them to behave reasonably in the face of extreme threat is asking too much, and we should be supporting them – not chastising them. Furthermore, news cameras and phone cameras are ever present. Their every move is under scrutiny. Horses are clearly an important element to their operation, yet these creatures are also vulnerable, and the alternative would be armoured vehicles shooting water cannon or rubber bullets. A common response in most other countries.

The chattering classes and those who really should know better would like to see security heads roll for the management surrounding this event. It does beggar belief that on a well broadcast day of action, the Prince of Wales will be driven sedately in a sedan of Edwardian vintage on route to a Royal Variety Performance just a stones throw from the Palace of Westminster where all hell is breaking out.

He was even seen giving the royal wave at the protesters, probably in the hope that this is always the best policy. The armoured Bentley would surely have been the best mode of transport, but heck, this is England and that's how we do things. Nor do we have banana republic dictators who require tanks surrounded by military bully boys, nor do our prime ministers traditionally have an entourage of black cadillac sedans occupied by shaded characters more suited to a Bond movie.

Look, we are losing freedoms left right and centre. The more terrorist threats which we fear and more violent protests will diminish them further. Students or anarchists (for whatever cause) who believe in the right of protest in a democracy also have a duty of responsibility to keep it. There are no winners in this type of action.

But one thing above all requires serious self analysis. Defecating on memorials which were erected to the memory of those who fought and died for those to have the freedom to commit such acts is a diabolical insult. If our universities mean anything, than they can instil values on their charges. Left-wing academics and tutors who remain silent merely condone. In which case they don't deserve to be in their positions.

There will be some sore heads today. But with luck they may have had some sense knocked into them.

December 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Killer Mail – Adam Crozier

In the recent weeks leading up to Christmas, I've received three cards from the Royal Mail asking for money. Each one says that additional postage needs to be paid before they can deliver a piece of mail.

There are three options: 1.Go directly to the sorting office and pay and collect. 2. Return the cards with stamps to the value. 3. Make a payment online.

The latter two will result in redelivery at a later date.

This is because the post office has begun charging over and above the regular price of a postage stamp depending on the size and shape of an envelope.

However it appears that the general public have not been very well informed.

I rejected the first option because it is time consuming and difficult to park. I rejected the second because it is stupid. It entails going to a post office (assuming one can be found) to buy stamps, sticking them on the card which the postman has already delivered, posting them in the box to be recollected, and then the annoying item being returned to him to be delivered.

The third option was the best. Save your legs, pay the bloody fee, and get the posty to deliver as normal.

I wonder if this is the reason why the size of the majority of greeting cards I've received have been rather small. Clearly those sending a six by six square inch card with the best intentions would be horrified to learn that I had to pay an extra £1.17p to receive it.

The Post Office says that £1 is a handling charge. Handling? It's a Christmas card for Gawds sake. That's why people post them. They are light, do not require a fork-lift truck, and are designed to fit through letter boxes!

In the same post I received a card that was ten inches by six. No problems with that one. It would indicate that equilateral cards are more troublesome than rectangular ones, and this causes problems for HM Post.

 Anyway, the three items which I had to pay for were all christmas cards, and all sent by people with best intentions. How many similar cases are there?

Supposing I sent a lovely card to an elderly aunt. Being unawhere of the new policy I would have stuck a first class stamp on it. My beloved relative who may be housebound would receive a mere formal notification that an item could not be delivered due to insufficient postage.

She would not be able to trudge to the sorting office. She wouldn't know who sent it. She's not internet savvy and not online. If she was fortunate, a neighbour would collect it for her, but that is reliance on good will. Something which the Royal Mail once had, but has long since lost. Suppose my Aunt was poor. Suppose she spent money retrieving my card, suppose she got a taxi and queued to get it. Suppose she was ill.

These examples are not extreme, and I suspect there are thousands of elderly people being inconvenience by the Royal Mail's inconsiderate and officious behaviour.

The Chief Executive of Royal Mail is Adam Crozier.The same man who was Chief Executive of the English Football Association six years ago. In 2007 his earnings were over £1million. That year he decreased Royal Mail's workforce by 45000, and to date has closed over 7000 post offices.

In his drive to increase profitability, he has decimated the nation's most loved organization, and turned the public against it. Today, his pay packet is five times higher than his boss – the UK's Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Yes. Adam is a public servant!

Rarely will he be seen giving interviews. It was he who presided over the most embarrassing events involving English football, when the FA was rarely out of the headlines. It was he who appointed Sven Goran Eriksson. He who oversaw the debacle, and he who knew when to walk away from the mess in a Blairite fashion leaving others to clear up.

His history does not instill confidence. His time is up. Yet I predict that he will walk away without much distress in 2010 and no doubt some other organization will suffer at his hands. Remember his name.

The postal worker is as much the victim as the customer served.

Lets send a  card to Crozier – six by six, with the following sentiments: 

Merry Christmas, Now bugger off!

Address it to: Adam Crozier, Chief Executive, Royal Mail.

He'll get it!

December 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for a seahorse’s Willy!

How big is a male seahorse's johnson? Seahorse

The question is inspired by an article in the ABS-CBN news "How big is a blue whale's penis?"

The answer to the first question is of course that he doesn't have one! The female has one, which she uses to deposit her eggs into the belly (marsuppium) of the male, who can then secrete sperm to achieve external fertilisation of the eggs, which he then broods (somewhat like a chicken), until they hatch.

The female seahorse must be a feminists dream. She's got her own willy and therefore conceives single handedly (so to speak), without any assistance of the poor male (lothario is not in a seahorse's vocabulary), and then gets the male to do all the hard work.

It's worth noting that some copulation is required, but it only lasts for six seconds – plenty of time then to down another can of fourex!

However, the system is clearly flawed, as without the male of the species, her offspring wouldn't have anywhere to develop, and subsequently they would become extinct. So the bottom line is – the male is still crucial.

It's life Jim, but not as we know it!

So in an age where women can receive IVF from sperm donors who they do not need to know, nor even partake in the act of sexual reproduction, they still have to carry their young,  for as yet, no equivalent of the male human seahorse exists.

One wonders if this may not one day become reality? Unfortunately, for all the biological uniqueness of the seahorse, they remain an endangered species.

Due to their sloth-like existence they become easy prey for other sea predators, as well as gift shop curios for tourists.

Perhaps it's just as well that nature appears to have rejected this biological design for most, and purely maintains it as a work in progress.

Even female marsupials incubate their young externally (in the pouch), but they still require some horny buck to plant the seed. As yet male kangaroos do not have the capacity to carry their young.

Well, lets face it, they're Australians, and no matter how many six packs of Forsters they drink, it would really be a leap to far! 

So the next time you meet a man from down-under, ask him "Could you be left holding the baby for a lorry-load of Castlemaine XXXX?" Tough question!

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beano? It’s Dandy for Some!

The comic character of your local burglar, with striped shirt, mask and bag marked with "Swag" seems like innocent remnants of a bygone age. Of course, such types were common fodder for the Beano and Dandy, and children knew that no such villain or amiable rogue actually existed in real life. Yes, even back in the seemingly innocent times of "Just William" in the 50's and 60's the readers knew that this was a harmless representation of criminal low life.Beano

Not so anymore. Such is the extent of fame and celebrity, regardless of intellect or common sense, todays burglars actually want to be seen. Mathew Maynard – a second rate tea-leaf, discovered his mug in a newspaper among a group of others which the police in South Wales want to track down.

So how does our 23 year-old wannabe Pink Panther respond? Is he concerned about the likeness? Is he worried about the exposure? Is he frightful about being caught? Does he go into hiding? Does he keep a low profile? Does he formulate alibis? After all, these are the things that most sensible burglars or international jewel thieves would do, whether they reside in Manchester or Monte Carlo.

In a breathtaking display of ineptitude, arrogance and incredible stupidity, acts which Peter Sellers or Monty Python would have rejected as totally stretching the bounds of humour, our intrepid burglar took offence at his image, called the newspaper (the South Wales Evening Post), expressing he wasn't happy with the photo, and would send in another! Such was his blatant contempt, he even sent the snap with him standing in front of a police van.

The police replied that he is a berk, and that everyone in Swansea will know what he looks like now. Well, surely that's what he wanted? Berk he may be, but he also knows that it is instant celebrity, and he also knows that when he's finally up before a beak, a small fine, perhaps a suspended sentence, even some community service is all the punishment he's likely to receive. Benny Hill would have have made a great set piece about it – all that's needed is a few scantily clad girls running around with a few bobbies in fast forward motion chasing our anti-hero. Da da diddy, diddy da diddy diddy, diddy da da diddy, diddy da!

Meanwhile he gets fame, the police look like plods, and spend their time wasting tax payers money because they know that the law will be lenient upon him regardless of their efforts to bring him to justice. After all, he's not exactly Britain's most wanted!

So how did it all come to this? In a separate observation, apparently offenders due for release on December 24th will not have anywhere to go and will be homeless on Christmas Day. Some aren't looking forward to the prospect and would rather stay as a guest of her majesty.

The liberal do gooders moan that we should be providing accommodation for them, but charity for ex-offenders is in short supply.

Lets get this straight. They've committed a crime and spent porridge – been fed, clothed and watered. Now after they've done their time, we should give them a home to live in as well. So not providing them with that, they will re-offend, and then society can take the blame for not caring for them properly. 

Yes! It all makes sense. Bring back Bedlam – it was more sane.
 

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mary Rose, HMS Victory and the Fighting Temeraire…..

The news that the Mary Rose is going to be mothballed for three years whilst awaiting a new home brought my own memories back when I went to see her earlier in the decade.

Maryrosehull

It was a trip to Portsmouth and a tour of the historic Royal Naval dockyard which brought me upon her.

Not far from HMS Victory, the Mary Rose is situated in a protective environment, where the temperature is strictly regulated together with a constant spray of water and chemicals to prevent her wood from drying out. Visitors can only view her through thick glass.

It was an amazing feat of human and technological endurance over 20 years which finally lifted her from the briny depths.

Moving her to a new home will be equally challenging. Three years is a long time, but if it will ensure the survival of Henry VIII's flagship then it will be well worth it, regardless of the cost at £35m.

I also enjoyed visiting HMS Victory. One of the guides remarked to me that almost nothing original is left of the vessel, having been restored so many times. Considering the ships age, it would be churlish to labour the point.

Improvisation is the key, but that doesn't detract from the sense of claustrophobia and harsh conditions which the sailors must have endured.

Victory1

From the orlop deck in the ship's bowels where the surgeons carried out their grim trade, to the gun decks where the confined spaces restricted the crews ability to stand upright,and up to the foc'sle, the atmosphere is still palpable and little imagination is required to sense the chaos of battle and smell of cordite.

Signs indicate where Nelson fell and later died below decks.The surgeon William Beatty refused to operate on him as it would precipitate certain death early in the battle, and consequently Nelson hung on in extreme agony solely to maintain morale until the battle was over.

Thanks to HMS Temeraire, who came to Victory's support, the Battle of Trafalgar was won and ensured British maritime supremacy for another 130 years.

Nelson's body was placed in a vat of brandy to preserve it during the long journey home. Finally he was laid to rest in St. Paul's Cathedral.

As for the Temeraire, she has since become an image of faded glory. The artist Turner painted her as she was being hauled for scrap.

Temeraire

The mighty sailing ship, no longer wanted in an age of steam, is portrayed being tugged to the breakers yard as the sun sets behind her. It's an evocative image which Turner captured brilliantly.

"The Fighting Temeraire" is rightly regarded as one of the greatest paintings of the Nineteenth century by one of the greatest exponents of the art.


Anyone wanting to see the Mary Rose should do so before September 25th. Otherwise it will be late 2012 before she resurfaces. Victory is on permanent display, but if you want to see the "Fighting Temeraire", then I suggest you buy a print and hang it on your wall!

September 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Independent Safeguarding Authority – Guilty until proven Innocent

The news that yet another government organisation is setting up operations to pry into the lives of British subjects comes as no surprise.

Since 1997 when New Labour came to power, they have created hundreds of new laws, established scores of new agencies, and messed around government departments with impunity.

Some examples: The DHSS (Department of Health and Social Security) became the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions).

The DoE (Department of Environment) became the ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) which later became the DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government).

The Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise is now the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food) is now DEFRA (Department of Food and Rural Affairs). The Home Office has ceded powers to the new Ministry of Justice. The list goes on.

In addition agencies and quangos were established, such as the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and now, beginning in October we have the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority).

There's also been the embarrassing creation of the Swine Flu hotline, manned by telephone operators with no medical qualifications whatsoever, and all because of a government which is constantly chasing it's tail and pandering to knee jerk reaction.

The ODPM was a creation to give the then deputy prime-minister John Prescott something to do. Due to his bumbling and officious nature, and his subsequent fall from grace, it was hastily renamed. Unfortunately it came too late as the damage had already been done. Talk to any member of the Fire Brigade about what they thought of him and you'll know the reason why.

But back to the new ISA (not to be confused with the Individual Savings Account, which was created by Gordon Brown when he was chancellor to replace the highly regarded PEP – Personal Equity Plan).

This new ISA is designed to ensure everyone who has any remote contact with children are not known or secret paedophiles. It's likely to effect over 11 million people, who must prove they are not a danger to children or the elderly.

Volunteers who drive children to clubs and sports grounds, dinner ladies, authors reading their works in schools, host families opening their homes to overseas students & etc will all be vetted. Failure to seek approval will result in a £5000 fine or imprisonment, as indeed will those organizations who didn't seek appropriate references. They say that this will not affect any private arrangements between family and friends, but why stop there?

The enhanced CRB check is not good enough (which costs about £35) so another check is required (costing £68), to ensure that the average Brit is not a rampant sexual pervert. Volunteers will get it for free apparently. But that's beside the point. This will create the largest database of personal information on a citizen anywhere else in the world. This new office will employ 200 people.

How long it will take to do the necessary checks is anyones guess, and I foresee severe disruption. My own daughter who is studying to be a teacher, and has no previous convictions, had to wait more than six weeks for her CRB check. She even had to pay for it. Nice money for the treasury, but then again it's paid out into the salaries of the employees responsible for running it presumably.

How much more can we take? The UK already has the highest number of CCTV cameras anywhere in the world, indeed there are small London boroughs with more of them than in the whole of New York City.

But what does all this say about our society. Indeed, what does it say about the power and control of government. I doubt Stalin had a third of the surveillance techniques which Britain now has, and he was ruler of one of the most state controlled nations on the planet. Even the Chinese don't have this level of control – how they must be envious!

Meanwhile we march on ever blindly, allowing our so called elected representatives to create a society that George Orwell could not even have envisaged when he wrote 1984.

And how damaging is this for our children? To grow up in a world where the only contact they have with adults is if they have been vetted and rubber stamped for approval?

How is it likely to encourage volunteers, who must have their privacy examined just so they can make an innocent contribution to their community? Very rich from a government that only two years ago embarked on a drive to encourage more volunteers in society.

The same shower that can't address drunken yobbish behaviour yet still permitted 24 hour licensing. The same bunch of hypocrites that acknowledges problem gambling but still tried to open mega-gambling palaces. The same arseholes who denied settlement rights to Gurkhas but quickly changed their tune. My God! This government has done more u-turns than a Polish plumber laced with vodka! There are scores of other examples, and yet so conditioned to them, we accept them as par.

Of course children must be protected, but would this legislation have prevented the Moors Murders from happening? And what about the horrifying murder of Sarah Payne by Roy Whiting, who was already on a sex-offenders register, but as a van driver would escape these new checks, because his job was not one involving children?

What about those with no history of sexual crime yet, but may develop it later? How far will things go?

This whole business began with the Soham murders by the school caretaker Ian Huntley. Yes, it was a shocking crime, and equally shocked the nation. Nevertheless it was very rare.

When I remarked somewhere else on this blog, that the time will come when even parents will need vetting just to visit their children's school, I said it with tongue in cheek. And yet it looks as if that day will soon be upon us. Anymore of this and prospective parents will require vetting before they even conceive.

Had this government been in power in 1940 when mass evacuation took place and hundreds of thousands of children were sent off to strangers throughout the country, it's unlikely we would have fought the war at all. By the time the bureaucratic forms and vetting procedures had taken place, Hitler would have already invaded.

You can imagine the scenario. "We are at war with Germany. However, due to the necessary ISA checks, it will take too long to evacuate our children to safe havens, and therefore, to prevent them being placed in danger, we have concluded that it's better to just let them stay at home. Consequently, to ensure their safety, we have informed Mr Hitler that it would be better if he didn't bomb us and we have invited him to move in peacefully. We are putting the best interests of our young people first, and we consider this to be the best option."

The day we get rid of this pathetic, useless, state-controlling government cannot come soon enough.

Postscript: Since writing this, it now appears that the cowboy plumbers running this country are about to make another u-turn. The ISA has suspended operations for three months while the system undergoes a review. You don't need to be a sooth-sayer to foresee the actions of this government. They can be read like a book. What a shower!

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Wire

I've just discovered The Wire on the BBC, and although I may have missed an episode, I'm hooked. It portrays an ongoing battle between drug gangs and the police in Baltimore, Maryland.

It presents a grim picture of inner city life, with little hope and a grim future for the residents. The-wire-3

There is a greyness and despair emanating from this show.

It's a microcosm of an existence, where the rest of the world is irrelevant. It's hard hitting, doesn't pull any punches, and does not glamorise anyone.

It's a picture of the USA which very few would recognise outside of the leafy green suburbs, the mid-west pristine towns, or the wealthy areas of the big cities.

Yet, walk around certain UK inner-city areas and the familiarity is all very common.

I am drawn to it because I have been to Baltimore. Only a few months ago I found myself accidentally on the wrong side of the tracks. There was flooding occurring and diversions were in place. The cops weren't very friendly – indeed, they appeared tense. Too tense to approach with a kind or civil word of enquiry.

I was on my way to New York via Atlantic City, and Ocean City, and the contrast could not be more evident. Atlantic City is the east coast Las Vegas. The Trump palaces, bright lights, the Boardwalk, the gamblers, losers, and wannabees.

There really isn't anything sadder than watching people spending hours over a fruit machine or gaming table. There are even sections where the punters can smoke.

You can't ban smoking outright when they're spending the dollars! That's why prisoners are allowed to indulge their habit – it's a home from home! It keeps them calm and happy. Likewise keep the punter happy and they'll spend more money!

Anyway this is not about smoking. If people wish to smoke that's up to them!

Throughout my time in Atlantic City, before heading to New York the next day, I saw equally many glamorous and shoddy people in the halls.

Everything exists inside to keep the punter occupied. Cabaret, restaurants, bars – everything to stop you from leaving. In fact, you don't even have to go outside to the real world to visit another casino – linked walkways connect each other!

Once you park your car in the high rise facility, you will never leave. It's Hotel California.

A view from any bar will not offer the coast, only row upon endless row of slot machines as far as the eye can see.

The horizon does not offer a sunrise or sunset. Only people and machines and not one with a single expressive glint. Do not expect a conversation. The noise is deafening!

Back to The Wire. Tough and educational. Perhaps with dramatic license, but without it, the punch wouldn't be packed!

I doubt the Baltimore Tourist Authority is pleased by it, but then again, Is Tower Hamlets pleased with Eastenders? Don't answer that! They probably are!

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

   

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