"..a bardy view!"

Bardiness 400- Speakers’ Corner……

Speakers-Corner-006This is my 400th Bardiness post.

In a democracy where the ballot box is the measure of freedom, sometimes the common man needs to voice his concerns beyond the electorate system. The internet has given a voice to the silent, and blogs have given a platform to the unheard. Those voices are all shouting now, and the noise is deafening.

Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park is a place where those with a point of view can stand up and express themselves. Some will get an audience, some will not, and some will get heckled. It has been designated a space for freedom of speech for over 165 years.

Anyone can turn up unannounced, and talk on any subject. As recently as 1999 a ruling by Lord Justice Sedley in his decision with a case involving the UK Director of Public Prosecutions, described Speakers’ Corner as demonstrating “the tolerance which is both extended by the law to  opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear,”

This ruling famously established in English case law that freedom of speech could not be limited to the inoffensive but extended also to “the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence” .

That Right, accorded by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, also accorded the right to be offensive.

What is a blog then…if not a virtual Speakers Corner? A place where we can be “irritating, contentious, eccentric, heretical, unwelcome and provocative”, providing we don’t provoke violence or hatred? There may be many blogs inciting the latter two, but Bardiness stands by English Law, and the European Convention of Human Rights.

This post is an expression of the fundamental principles of freedom of speech. Bardiness may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but there are countries in the world which won’t even allow the leaves in the pot, never mind allow them to brew and be poured.

Perhaps in the future “Englishness” will become synonymous with “freedom”.  Archaic words along with lost Latin meaning  tolerance, courage, dignity and self-respect.

They say that every Englishman is born free. Living free however is a constant battle and something we must fight for everyday……

Freedom in death is freedom too late.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

(Shakespeare HenryV scene III)


March 3, 2016 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Education, History, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Will a kindle light my fire? What the Dickens is it all about?

Kindle2I bought a Kindle recently.

Not the "Paperwhite" or "Fire". Just the lightest and most basic.

There's a limit to how many bells and whistles I need to rattle my cage.

I held off for a while because being a traditionalist I was averse to replacing the standard book.

Apart from all the free e-books available I decided to purchase the complete works of William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, and Charles Dickens. All for under six quid.

Those collections alone would fill a couple of
bookcases, so imagine being able to have them all on a single device that can fit in a

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December 22, 2012 Posted by | Books, Culture, Education, Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Olympic Closing Ceremony – how was it for you?

Closing ceremonyOlympic closing ceremonies are not designed to upstage the opening ones, and that’s why they are the least remembered.

Although the British contribution during the Beijing handover in 2008 was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Most notably the use of a London double-decker bus which opened out on the top looking remarkably similar to one destroyed during the city’s terrorist bombing in 2005.

The 2012 closing ceremony was meant to celebrate the nation’s arts and music, but even I, an adopted Londoner of over 35 years, was bemused if not confused by most of it.  

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August 13, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, History, London, Music, Olympic Games, Sport, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slowly, Slowly – the Chinese are Roving…..

Rover The Chinese. Don't we love 'em! The big noodle and Shakespeare lover (hope he understands dramatic tragedy) Premier Wen Jaibao, is in Britain right now bestowing the virtues of the Longridge MG plant.

That place which once produced Rover cars – went belly up – and whose marque was sold to the great Chinese take-away at a bargain bucket price. But this is not about finger-lickin' chicken (which incidently the UK is keen to export). It's a fowl  business!

The Chinese understand that economically they are having a negative impact globally. They need more imports. Cue the Brits, who export more to Ireland than the People's Republic. Hard to believe when one considers the difference in Population numbers.

So Longridge will design the new generation of Chinese autos, the parts will be made in China by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (one of the world's biggest car makers), and returned to England for assembly. If that makes economic sense then I'm a Chinaman.

How many people are going to buy all these new Chinese cars from a country that traditionally has a reputation for mass produced inferior quality goods, is yet to be determined. After all – they are not Honda ,Toyota or Mitsubishi. But they'll probably be cheap and cheerful.

Perhaps the slogan "Designed and Built in Britain" may be the unique selling point. They won't advertise the fact that  the parts will be made in China, which is a bit like an Airfix model kit being sent overseas boxed and ready to be stuck together (with something more than plastic adhesive one hopes).

How many jobs will this create, and what value will the marque have? Rover surely wont be apart of it, but MG will. Which may appeal to the traditionalists and nostalgic amongst us.

The Longridge plant is owned by China as well. So it's win win all the way. Until of course they decide to up sticks somewhere else. Which is the history of the British car industry, and governments have failed to prevent for the last four decades.

Of course it's all a clever propaganda ruse. There are sufficiently intelligent mandarins in the British Government to recognise it as such, but know that it will be politically expedient to fall for it. Jobs mean votes – until they are lost! But that's for the future. When that time comes the Government, whichever it may be, will pontificate about market forces, wax lyrical about private business outside their control and the unions will grandstand and fail.

China needs to reduce it's foreign trade surplus whilst at the same time buying up and controlling oil and aggregates, quarries and land in South America and Africa to ensure resources for it's population. Right now they are even making greater claims on the oil rich Spratly Islands in the West Philippines Sea. Much to the anger of the USA and the neighbours.

The Philippines are huffing and puffing, but they are helpless with their vintage navy, and are relying on the US as the big brother to kick the bullying Chinese back to Beijing.

There is a potential conflict here – but the Chinese are not quite ready for it. They are doing what they always do – slowly, slowly catchee monkey!

Meanwhile European Governments are embracing this new found rapport and trade opportunities with China, and will not voice a single criticism.

Criticism to a nation that wants to provide wealth and prosperity to her people, but without the freedoms. 

Keep the natives happy and they won't complain. Its the new communi$m.

It will end in tear$. Marque my words.

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, General, Humour, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Something is Rotten…in the States….

Regular readers may believe I'm peculiarly preoccupied with Kim Jong-il, the Dear Leader of North Korea. But he just can't stay out of the news. There's something of a Shakespearian comic tragedy about this chap, although there isn't much to laugh about for his people. The latest is his permission to allow the live broadcast of a World Cup game (the first for 44 years), between his country and Portugal. Not a good move – they lost 7-0.

But I find the antics of North and South Korea an ongoing soap opera even though the potential for war is ever present.

Unfortunately this localised conflict is far from being that. The North looks to China for support, whilst the south seeks defence from the USA. It is this potential for the two to meet in conflict which hopefully will contain the threat.

Whilst China is seeking economic resources globally, they will increasingly threaten the interests of the USA. The US is in considerable financial straits. Individually, the states are suffering, and traditionally supportive news media are questioning policy. US citizens are struggling and fear that their nation may be about to embark on another military mission. Many young men of an eligible age are deeply concerned that a new draft may be instigated.

These missions are crucial to maintain national fervour, revitalise the economy and free up funds.Their allies however may not be so willing to follow them next time around. Unfortunately Europe could be dragged into one regardless.

Every president has had to face this, and Obama is no exception. After all, there is little point in having the greatest military in the world if they are not utilised. Peace does not justify it, so enemies must be maintained or created.

As shocking as the twin-towers attack was, Bush found a new enemy in Bin Laden. The 21st century globo-politic has been dominated by them both. The world changed that day and our freedoms were curtailed. If that was the plan, then it succeeded.

Without extreme Islamic terrorism one wonders how peaceful the last ten years could have been? Europe may have been at peace for over 70 years (with exception of the Balkans in the 90's), the Soviet Union may have collapsed but neither were conducive to a nation which actively engages conflict, from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq as well as countless mini-events in small backwaters since the end of WWII.

So as well as Bin Laden there is also Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, together with the ever present threat of the Taliban either in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Add to that the plight of the Palestinians which fuels and encourages Islamic tension and discontent. Could not this problem be solved conclusively if the USA and Israel had the will?

Is it conceivable that these issues are not such a threat to the future of the west as certain pundits would suggest, or is it not the case that having them around maintains the status quo?

I don't see any Hitlers, Stalins, or Mussolinis here. Saddam Hussein has gone. Who's next on the list, and who will follow after that?

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" – Hamlet. Act I, Scene 4

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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