This blog has been marked as containing adult content. Your current adult settings prevent you from seeing it. Please go to your account settings page and change your settings to allow adult content to view this blog
This is a book extract from 'Garry Potter And The Same Old Nonsense', written by david backhim:
Oh yes there is scarcely a country or city on the planet that doesn’t have its very own resident drunkards, but ask almost any citizen of the world about the problems of alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour, and regrettably the British and Irish ‘yoof’ spring to mind all too often. In the British Isles after all, such annual celebrations as New Year’s Eve, Christmas, St Guinness’s Day, St George’s Day, and the 12th of July are merely drinking festivals. It even seems nowadays that the obvious pleasure of enjoying the gift of summer is blighted by the prospect of young people in the neighbourhood congregating in the garden next door and swallowing copious amounts of poison at literally all hours of the day. One only has to randomly trawl through the Myspace, Facebook and Bebo personal profiles to disgustingly discover thousands of young people paying homage to various alcoholic drinks, not to mention countless photographs of them taken in night clubs with such beverages in hand.
Just how do so many under-18s get access to alcohol? Night clubs in a shameless quest for extra revenue will accept almost anyone of any age, with the result that the rest of us suffer the dreaded prospect of boisterous, out of control teenagers pouring onto the streets in the early hours with more drink inside them than their body and mind is equipped to accommodate. All night clubs without exception, like any other club, should be members-only institutions with members aged over eighteen, or better still 21 only admitted. Identity ‘prove it’ cards or passports should be required by any responsible night club before it sells its soul and allows its premises to become a playground for under-age alcohol enthusiasts. Such clubs should be infiltrated by plain clothes police who can spot the presence of under-age occupants and then prosecute non-complying night clubs. Ask night clubs to sign up to such suggestions and one is likely to receive not co-operation but hostility. Ask police to take a more pro-active stance in the war against under-age drinking and they will shrug their shoulders and complain of a lack of resources.
I have come to realise that the police are loath to seize and process the arrest of large groups of anti-social practitioners because of the potential tedium of paperwork. The police much prefer to take the easy option and target one individual here, one individual there. The very notion of challenging a mob of drunken youths is anathema to the so-called forces of law and order. Alcohol consumption should be confined to people of 21 and over, instead of which fifteen or sixteen year olds are already downing poisonous liquids.
What is even more ludicrous but potentially tragic are the glamorous television commercials in which dozens of beautiful people are ‘enjoying’ a cool, sexy Bacardi, Magners or Smirnoff. The trouble is that the models in these advertisements are filmed when they are stone-cold sober. It would be an eye-opener if such commercials were displaying people with a dozen or half a dozen spirits or pints in them. Such enthusiasts would not look so remotely attractive then. Alcohol advertising is massively misleading and should be banned. This will not happen, because in the final analysis, money talks and the rest of us will just have to grin and bear the spiralling problem of alcohol-induced anti-social behaviour. The alcohol manufacturers do include the drink responsibly suggestion in small writing on their products, but asking a young person to drink sensibly is akin to expecting a Formula One racing competitor to drive carefully.
I recently saw an article in 'The Guardian' which made me aware in black and white just how much money the top earners at Santander UK were receiving. Let's just say that hitherto, I was blissfully unaware, although that isn't to say that I was under any illusions. However, to see the obscene salaries mentioned, which are typical of the whole banking sector, I feel stirred to take action.
You see, I am currently repaying £83 per month to this very same bank. The total debt of 3.25k is relatively small, and I have been faithfully paying each month as arranged. However, the question that I now find myself asking is why should I continue in debt bondage to a company that can afford to pay Ana Botin four million pounds per annum? Apparently there are eight non-executive directors who each pocket in excess of one million pounds each year. If Santander can afford to dole out such obscene, disproportionate sums to its top earners, then presumably they can afford to write off my debt. At a micro level, if I owed you 3.25k and you won the lottery, I am guessing that you would have the good grace to tell me to forget the amount owed as you no longer need it.
There is something grossly illogical, incongruous, and immoral about a firm that demands repayments from those subjected to debt bondage and yet they are clearly able to pay outrageous amounts to a high-flying elite.
Consequently, I am no longer willing to repay the amount owed. Santander, true to form, have quickly despatched a threatening letter to me, reminding me of my apparent legal obligations. At face value, I am breaking civil law if I refuse to pay. However, I am wondering out loud if there would be any solicitor who would be willing to take my grievance forward as a test case and ask the courts if it is permissible, morally, for a bank or any financial institution to allocate millions of pounds to its top earners while demanding debt repayments? I am guessing that if I engaged the media in any possible stand-off with Santander that they would be terrified of bad publicity. They do after all operate in a competitive market, and negative publicity would be bad for business. Moreover, I am sufficiently exorcised and bloody-minded to take this forward.
Do you know if I would have a leg to stand on in any dispute with Santander? Do you know of any solicitors [Legal Aid ones!] who would be keen to explore this potential conflict? Any suggestions or thoughts are most welcome.
I confess to being a student of twentieth century popular music, but nevertheless, permit me to list what I consider to be among the best offerings of the 21st century. Step forward and take a bow:
Brother Brown, featuring Frankee – Star Catching Girl
Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me
Cinematic Orchestra – Build A Home
Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Depeche Mode – Halo (The Goldfrapp mix)
DJ Shadow – Seven Days
Duffy – Warwick Avenue [or Duffy - Mercy]
Fun Lovin’ Crminals – Loco
Goldfrapp – Utopia
The Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
Keane – Everybody’s Changing
Koop – Summer Sun
Manic Street Preachers – Your Love Alone (Is Not Enough)
Maroon 5 – This Love
Morcheeba – Antidote
Morrissey – The First Of The Gang To Die
Mylo – Need You Tonite
One Self – Unfamiliar Places
Nerina Pallot – Damascus
Pink – Try
Poloroid – So Damn Beautiful (Chris Coco mix)
The Scissor Sisters – Laura
The Stereophonics – Have A Nice Day
Sebastian Tellier – La Ritournelle
KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See
Amy Winehouse – Valerie
The consensus of expert opinion is that our Rory Best will at the very least be selected for the British & Irish Lions tour party Down Under this summer. He may also be worthy of a starting berth in the middle of the front row, although Richard Hibbard of Wales emerged as a strong alternative at the end of the recent Six Nations tournament. With the Lions’ big rugby vacation looming just over the snow-filled horizon, I thought that I would take the liberty of reminding y’all of the previous Ulstermen who have represented the British & Irish Lions at TEST level since the tour of 1971.
Most recently big Tommy Bowe appeared in all three tests in South Africa in 2009. Tommy of course is that rarest of Ulster rugby species in that he hails from south of the border. [Stephen Ferris, it must be noted, did not play in any of the tests in the last series because he got injured, not for the first time, after one of the warm-up matches.]
No Ulster pla
The Lions test matches of 1993 and 1989 did not feature any Ulstermen. I do recall an unofficial Lions match at Cardiff in 1986 when both Nigel Carr and Trevor Ringland both started. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to state that Nigel Carr may well have been a Lions tourist in 1989 had his career not been tragically cut short by a bomb attack in the spring of 1987. Nigel was after all regarded as the ‘new Fergus Slattery’ and such a comparison demonstrated the high esteem that this open side was held in.
Meanwhile back in 1983, Ulster had the distinction of two pla
The dynamic scrum-half Colin Patterson flew the flag for Ulster in the 1980 series in South Africa where he played in the first three tests, all of which were narrow defeats. Unfortunately, the impressive Patterson badly injured his knee before the final test and never played rugby union again, which was a huge loss to Ireland, Ulster, and the Lions.
No Ulsterman featured in the Lions’ unsuccessful adventure in New Zealand in 1977, but 1974 and 1971 were the two historic tours where three Ulstermen contributed to the glory of those occasions.
Willie John McBride appeared in all the test matches of those two tours, captaining the British & Irish Lions with distinction on the unsurpassable tour of 1974 and setting a record for most Lions caps into the bargain. Remarkably the great Mike Gibson could not force his way into the starting XV in South Africa because his way was partially blocked by another Ulsterman, Dick Milliken. Dick was an ever-present in the four tests in that unbeaten series. He even scored a try in the Lions rout of the hosts in the second test. Regrettably, Milliken badly injured his ankle and knee [a recurring theme for Ulstermen] the following year and never represented Ulster or Ireland again, another terrible loss.
It is worth pointing out that Bangor’s Dick Milliken has the distinction of being the last Ulsterman to score any points in a Lions test, a piece of trivia that is worthy of a quiz contest!
Last and certainly by no means least, Mike Gibson lined up alongside big Willie-John in all four tests of the triumphant venture in New Zealand in 1971. Mike was probably Ireland’s best-ever centre until a certain Brian O’Driscoll emerged over a dozen years ago.
That is a brief history of Ulstermen who played in Lions test matches dating back to 1971. They were justifiably amongst the creme de la creme of British and Irish rugby. If you google their names, you may find further tributes to these rugby giants on various sites on the internet.
Gary Watton; author, blogger, historian, and sports statistician [gw930.blog.com]
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I, Gary Watton [author and commentator] have taken the liberty of lobbying a number of British MPs regarding the need to fine the next of kin who permit the firing of shots over the coffin of their loved ones. This abominable practice is thankfully very much a thing of the past in Northern Ireland, but given the preponderance of so-called dissident terrorists in Ulster, then it remains likely that any such future funeral for a deceased ‘volunteer’ will be accompanied by the firing of shots. Consequently, I think that it would be best to legislate against any such eventuality rather than to tut-tut after the horse has bolted from the stable doors. Below is a transc
In light of the recent volley of shots fired in ‘tribute’ over the coffin of the deceased dissident terrorist Alan Ryan in Dublin, a
practice that has been previously exercised on frequent occasions north of the border, I would urge you and other like-minded representatives to pursue a change in the law which prohibits such behaviour in future. I humbly suggest that the next of kin, yes that’s
right ‘the grieving widow’ or who the next of kin might be, should be fined £10,000 if they permit any proscribed organisation to fire shots
at the graveside of their loved one. It clearly should be within the remit of the next of kin to decide how their loved one’s funeral ceremony is conducted. Naturally, the human rights apologists and
liberals will hit the roof at such legislation. Have you any thoughts on this?
Gary Watton; Coleraine
***In response to my communication, both Gregory Campbell and Sammy Wilson have expressed their approval of my idea while Sylvia Hermon has commendably gone even further and decided to contact Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister, David Ford, in order to ascertain whether any possible legislation on this matter might be forthcoming.
If nothing else, I do take some semblance of pride from having initiated the process of belatedly legislating against the obscene hijacking of funeral ceremonies by illegal paramilitary organisations.
Sunday 27th November
Even a cold heart like mine was taken aback by the shattering news that the manager of the Wales soccer team, Gary Speed, had been found dead at his home at the age of forty-two. It later transpired that the former Leeds, Everton, and Newcastle United pla
Of course this shocking news prompted everyone great and small to wheel out the customary tributes. Oh what is it with the cult of celebrity that when a famous personage departs permanently, then everyone must pay homage? Robbie Savage hosted a Radio Five Live talk show where he might have been better persuaded to grieve in privacy. David Cameron even had to get in on the act and tweet his own terse tribute. I swear that fascism is alive and thriving as some persons are more worthy of respect than others. Such hero-worship makes me want to vomit.
Consider the following typical Faecesbook comment: 'rest in peace, Gary Speed, true legend'. Well, I had to take issue with that nonsense. This guy had the blessings of a wife, children, wealth, a roof over his head, a dream job, a great salary, a wide circle of friends, and good health. In spite of all of this, he still chose to take the easy way out. Contrast his existence with those poor souls who are alone, or don't have children, or have little or no money, or don't have a roof over their heads, or their dream job or indeed any job, or much income, or are friendless, or worst of all suffer from ill health. Such people, and there are many who can relate to such predicaments, don't throw in the towel and end their lives. No, Gary Speed is not a true legend. The genuine legends are those who persevere in the face of huge adversity. Such is the perversity of this modern world but the poor and the sick suffer in silence far from the media spotlight. They will never receive plaudits from a Prime Minister's tweet or prompt a radio show host to descend into tears.
Elsewhere in soccer, Glasgow Strangers have failed for the second successive week to score. In the event they lost by one goal to nil at Rugby Park to Kilmarnock. This is the second consecutive match that a Northern Irish manager had supervised a clean sheet against the Scottish champions. This means that Neil Lennon must be the third best Ulster soccer manager in the Sectarian Premier League as his wee team failed to take any points against Rangers this season while Stephen Lomas and Kenny Shiels fared considerably better over the last two weekends. Nevertheless, likeable Lennon can console himself that Celtic have cut the Gers' lead to 5 points.
Born on this date: Ernie Wise (1925); Arthur Smith (1954)
Died on this date: Len Shackleton (2000); Alan Freeman (2006)
Monday 28th November
The think-tank known as the OECD (the Office for Economic and Commercial Development) has predicted that Little Britain is on the brink of a double-dip recession which will apparently last for the duration of this winter. In all probability, this septic isle is already in the midst of a recession. Tomorrow the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne delivers his autumn statement. It's fair to say that this particular Santa ain't going to be giving away too many presents and sweeties.
Elsewhere, the Syrian authorities are complaining about the sanctions now being imposed by the Arab League. The government claims that these new measures will inflict much suffering upon the Syrian populace. It's not like the brutal régime would itself ever contemplate tormenting its people.
Back in Blighty, it was the turn of Charlotte Church, Anne Diamond, and Chris Jefferies to denounce the verminous antics of the red top press. The latter was the original murder suspect in the death of Joanna Yates in Bristol. Regrettably for him, the tabloids got it into their silly little heads that he was guilty even before he had ever been charged. In the event this entirely innocent man had his character blackened by swine who are only too quick to jump to conclusions. Anne Diamond testified how the press intruded on her private grief after the death of her son. Nothing is sacred as far as the unscrupulous hacks are concerned. Then there was the tale of how sweet little thirteen-year-old Charlotte Church was approached to sing at Adolf Murdoch's wedding in return for either a substantial sum of money or a clear run in the newspapers, free of negative publicity. It's funny but we always believed that Mafia bosses spoke with an Italian-American twang. Little did we know that Don Corleone is alive and thriving and has an Australian accent.
I wonder if the sub-standard hacks have learnt from the exposure of their unsavoury behaviour, or will they be climbing all over the family of the late Gary Speed in order to get a piece of the action? I hope that they can at least afford his grieving relatives a morsel of courtesy and respect.
I must row back ever so slightly about my reaction to the Welsh soccer maestro's death yesterday. Suicide is as much an act of illness as it is of cowardice. I do however remain repelled by the tidal wave of empty words and clichéd tributes that flow in such times. Sometimes it's best if self-important broadcasters and media mouthpieces just button their lip and stop looking for something important to say. It's not all about you, y'know.
Born on this date: Martin Clunes (1961); Armando Iannucci (1963)
Died on this date: Buster Edwards (1994); Leslie Nielsen (2010)
Tuesday 29th November
At today's latest episode of the Leveson Inquiry, it was the turn of the gents of the press to explain themselves. The star of this day's show was Paul McMullan. Mr McMullan had previously earned notoriety for his on-screen spat with the comedian Steve Coogan on 'Newsnight'. The journo's performance on that occasion was bordering on reptilian. This time he redeemed himself somewhat by denouncing Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, declaring that their fingerprints were, so to speak, all over the practice of 'phone hacking. Remarkably Mrs Brooks in particular persists in denying any complicity in phone 'hacking. Could it be that when you are accustomed to working in such deceitful ways, you eventually lose sight of what constitutes the truth? Or could it be that the top brass at News International are holding to the approach that if you tell a lie often enough, it will eventually pass for the truth? They make my stomach turn in their quest to undermine other people and launch witch-hunts. The tabloids are the modern-day equivalent of a lynch mob. What an unsavoury bunch.
I have been musing about the sudden and tragic demise of Gary Speed. He must have taken his life late at night or in the small hours of Sunday morning. Easier said than done you might say, but surely when many of us are feeling low at such a time of the night, the sensible option would have been to go to bed and try to sleep off the anxieties or defer them until the morning. To coin a phrase, some people like to say that 'oh things will look so much better in the morning.' As someone who is not averse to late-night melancholy which itself translates into angry, melodramatic, and downright sad pieces of writing, I am all too familiar with negative feelings as another day closes. One finds one's hopes and dreams didn't advance a millimetre on a given day and that one is instead one day closer to the grave. It's not a cheerful thought. However, we all live to fight another day, to persevere and try to achieve improvements. I concede that I possess a naïve lack of understanding of Gary Speed's circumstances, but why didn't he display the battling qualities that characterised his lengthy soccer career?
Today's autumn financial statement was enough to make the whole ofthe UK contemplate suicide. I believe that there is a myth that Labour cannot manage the economy and that the Conservatives are so much better. Sorry, but such is the parlous state of the nation's finances that it is difficult to proclaim that George Osborne is playing a blinder. Experts are warning that his forecasts are ba
Born on this date: Mark Pembridge (1970); Ryan Giggs (1973)
Died on this date: Giacomo Puccini (1924); Ralph Bellamy (1991)
Wednesday 30th November
In a throwback to the dark days of 1979, a mob of Iranian lunatics have stormed a western embassy yesterday in Tehran. The unwilling hosts of this gatecrashing incursion were the Brits. Apparently, the British have urged all their compatriots in Iran to stay indoors and keep a low profile. I do that most of the time anyway and I don't even reside in Iran.
It's definitely 1979 revisited today avec the mass stoppage caused by three million public sector workers who have never had it so good. It's not really a re-enactment of the industrial strife of yesteryear because we don't have donkey-jacketed strikers worrying about whether they will have enough money to put food on the table. No we have miserly middle-class strikers anxious about whether they will have to downgrade their choice of car from a 4x4 to something more plebeian.
On the subject of strikers, the ailing football institution that is Chelsea soccer club could do with a few centre forwards. I mean the poor souls only have at least six international strikers to choose from, but after last night's two-nil reverse in the league cup at home to Liverpoo, perhaps toothless Torres should be replaced by a more prolific striker. I would recommend that plucky little left-winger Arthur Scargill.
Credit must go to the Lancastrian pair of Liverpoo and Manchester Mercenaries who each overcame the handicap of having to play a cup tie a mere two days after a league tussle against one another to emerge from away trips to London with clean sheets and a ticket to the semi-finals.
I am afraid that Andre Villas-Boas is fast becoming surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. His boss Roman Abramovich isn't exactly covering himself in glory either. The silly Siberian forked out approximately eighty million pounds last January on a goalscorer who isn't scoring goals and on a Brazilian defender who cannot defend. I hope that the Russian idiot kept his receipt. Perhaps it is true that a fool and his money are soon parted. Worst of all, Abramovich sacked Ancelotti, Grant, and Scolari while AVB is faring even worse. The stupid Siberian has made a rod for his own back now. He is like the referee who dishes out a yellow card in the first few minutes of a match for an innocuous challenge and thereafter is obliged to produce yellow cards for more serious fouls. Mind you, the Chelsea crowd have a dilemma of their own. They used to chant at Avram Grant “you don't know what you're doing”. Well, old Avram was a lot more switched on than fancy Dan Villas-Boas appears to be.
Born on this date: Andy Gray (1955); Gary Lineker (1960)
Died on this date: Oscar Wilde (1900); Evel Knievel (2007)
Thursday 1st December
There has been a furore over the last few days regarding the ten people short-listed for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award. Some silly sods have bemoaned the absence of a woman amongst the top ten. Yes it would be great to see a lady tennis pla
On the subject of this forthcoming beauty contest, may I state my own preference for Alastair Cook as the Sports Personality Of The Year, with Darren Clarke my second choice, followed by Rory McIlroy, slightly ahead of Luke Majors-virgin Donald. Apparently the bookmakers' favourite is Mark Cavendish. Why? It's not like he actually won the Tour de France.
Also on a sporting theme, the likeable Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has become the first English Premiership managerial casualty of the season. I suspect that another Steve, Mr Kean of Blackburn Rovers, will soon join him on the ever-increasing dole queue.
Last night was not a good one for ManUre, Tottensham Coldspur, and wee Glasgow Wannabees. All three soccer clubs suffered home defeats, with the Red Devils evicted from the league cup by Crystal Palace.
Oh, I nearly forgot, but yesterday's big public sector strike was dubbed a “damp squib” by Fuhrer Cameron. Oh dear. Mind you, Il Duce's comments are remarkably generous compared with the latest outburst from Jeremy Clarkson PLC who suggested that the strikers should be shot. The man with the disturbingly same initials as Jesus Christ has been obliged to issue an apology. Ultimately, bad publicity will boost the sales of the latest books from Jeremy Clarkson PLC. I reckon that he should be crucified.
Yesterday was also Saint Andrew's Day, but poor Andrew gets less attention than Patrick and his fame is even eclipsed by Rabbie Burns, Billy Connolly, and Kenny Dalglish. Andrew will need the patience of a saint.
Born on this date: Woody Allen (1935); Richard Pryor (1940)
Died on this date: Sergey Kirov (1934); Aleister Crowley (1947)
Friday 2nd December
There is something that continues to baffle my beautiful little mind. I thought that Abdelba
Well, as far as I am aware, Jeremy Clarkson PLC has managed to live a day without publicly condemning anyone with his zero tolerance outbursts. What is most ironic is how Jeremy Clarkson PLC manages to be tolerated when he has little patience or apparent compassion for anyone else. While Andy Gray, Russell Brand, Richard Keys, and Jonathan Woss have all been chastised for indiscretions, charmless Clarkson continues to lead a charmed life. Jeremy Clarkson PLC is a throwback to the days when poor souls were executed or transported to Australia for having stolen a sheep. One can imagine Jeremy Clarkson PLC would have been at home in such unenlightened times. Some day, Jeremy Clarkson will knock an old person down who was crossing the road. He will claim in his defence that the old bugger should have crossed the road a lot more quickly and that he was doing the old blighter a big favour by finishing he/she off very quickly. Is this an implausible prospect? Far from it. Of course Jeremy Clarkson PLC is a hero to the middle-class morons and ladettes who think that his poor taste rants are a bit of a larf. They should all be taken out and shot.
Yesterday I unearthed an old Jim Reeves 'Twelve Songs Of Chrstmas' long-pla
Elsewhere, Dave Cameron was visiting President Sarkozy ahead of the big Brussels talking shop due to open for business this forthcoming Friday. European fiscal and even political integration appears to be drawing closer.
Born on this date: Monica Seles (1973); Britney Spears (1981)
Died on this date: Aaron Copland (1990); Shirley Crabtree (1997)
Saturday 3rd December
I wonder who Jeremy Clarkson PLC will insult today? My money's on starving children suffering from famine, or failing this he will amuse his disciples with a jibe at the Holocaust. Good old Jeremy, such a buffoon.
Mind you, it's my turn for a controversial remark. You see, I really cannot abide all the theatricals before each soccer match today as everyone pays tribute to Gary Speed, a guy who was clearly in so much pain one week ago that he decided to end it all. Oh these one minute silences and subsequent applause and wreaths are so insufferable. If everyone is so fond of him, let Mr Speed rest in peace and stop transforming a person's death into a public pantomime.
Before I take my leave of this subject of this superior human being who was tragically taken from humanity, I must say how I always found forty-two an interesting age to actually die at. This was the age when Elvis succumbed to an early grave. Well, I know of another talented but far less celebrated guy called Gary who is also forty-two. Given the heap of problems and shit that he has either suffered or brought upon himself, it's a near miracle that he hasn't quit living too. He has chosen to persevere. He won't however receive the acclamation that the quitter, Mr Speed receives.
Okay let's swiftly move onto matters on the soccer field itself before I seriously incur the wrath of the idolaters who follow Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Leeds United or Newcastle United. In fact the Magpies were in action in the early kick-off where they proceeded to serve up highly entertaining fare with the visitors, the ailing Chelsea. It was however the latter who eventually walked away with three goals and three points, leaving the hosts empty-handed. Chelsea remain nevertheless a team that is nervous in front of goal, both goals. They lack composure when they have scoring chances and their lack of composure whilst trying to defend is gifting their opponents a number of scoring chances. Could it be that an anxious team are merely mirroring an anxious Andre Villas-Boas?
Elsewhere in Blighty, the juggernaut that is Manchester Mercenaries slaughtered Norwich City by five goals to one. The runaway leaders are actually due in London in nine days time for a meeting at Chelsea in a clash of the rich spoiled brats. Staying in London, Tottensham continued their impressive surge with a three-nil home win. Regrettably, some slow learners in the Spurs' faithful anticipate a challenge for the Premiership. Sorry folks but your little team can't even win their Europa League group!
Born on this date: Paul Nicholas (1945); Mel Smith (1952)
Died on this date: David Hemmings (2003); Richard Todd (2009)
Immigration to Britain needs to be drastically curtailed. This is not for race reasons, but purely for economic motives. It isn’t even fair on the ethnic and immigrant communities of the UK to allow more immigration. It is scarcely in their economic interests especially when some of them claim to be economically deprived and marginalised. To allow more migration to Britain is a prime case of shooting oneself in the foot. Until that happy day when there is full employment in the UK and there are no waiting lists for healthcare provision, it should remain illogical to import extra people who will simply increase the burdens of the state. If you have a house with limited room for many other inhabitants, you would not permit more people to occupy your property. By the same token, Britain is a land of limited, finite resources, and it simply beggars belief that liberal, soft touch Britain allows herself to become a haven for all international hard luck stories. Of course such sentiments will not sit well with the idealists who wish for Britain to be a multi-cultural Utopia. Well, the rest of us live in the real world and cannot see the economic practicality of such abstract nonsense. Mind you, for those who are ‘asylum seekers’, if it is an asylum that they seek, then perhaps they have come to the right place! On a more serious note, I do envisage Enoch Powell’s terrifying vision being realised post-2014 when a depressing influx of Bulgarians and Romanians will come to our shores. Will they add value to the UK or add to the nation’s woes? Regrettably I predict outbreaks of strife as a consequence. I do believe that the UK is “busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre” and I do foresee “rivers of blood”. The notion that any immigrants will be asked to leave if they have not found employment within three months of entry is a flight of fancy. The human rights do-gooders will move heaven and earth to keep the large families in Britain. Once they arrive, it will be a case of trying to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Gary Watton, commentator
Oh I have bitten my nice tongue for far too long now, so the time has come for me to pour forth my highly esteemed [sic] wisdom about some of the recent developments and absolute bullshit that has been seeping through the corridors of English football in recent weeks.
Firstly, managers say the stupidest things and speak way too soon when they make their ludicrous predictions. We often hear that children say the silliest things, but they are not in the same league [if you excuse the pun] as English football’s Premiership supremos. In no order of self-importance, let us scan over the following twits with their tosh:
Recently Brendan Rodgers entertained thoughts that Liverpoo might attain a Champions League position. This was presumably ba
Next in the hall of shame is Monsieur Arse-nil Whinger. Mr Wenger is often heralded as one of Europe’s great coaches, but a recent bout of hot air has led me to deduce that the National Express from Birmingham to London is a better coach than Mr Whinger. Arsene suggested that his little team could conceivably finish second in the Premiership. He made the age-old mistake of basing this gobbledygook on a ‘string’ of victories, or to be precise, a 1-0 at mighty Sunderland and a 2-1 at home to Aston Villa. It was another insult to the top four to dare to think out loud that Arse-nil could ascend to second in the English charts. What the supposedly wise one ought to have done was to button his lip until Arse-nil had overcome Tottensham Hypespur and then make his bold prediction. Instead of which, Monsieur W spoke way too soon and then had to eat his words when Tottensham, ‘spurred’ on by Gareth Bale awarded Arse-nil nul points in their north London skirmish. At the moment Arse-nil may be struggling to finish fifth, let alone push on for the runners’ up prize. Ooh la la, monsieur.
Then of course there is dear oul Sir Alex Ferguson. This self-appointed football pundit remarked that his ManUre team were stronger than the celebrated one which sneaked past Bayern Munich to win European football’s greatest prize in 1999. Well, now that ManUre have been humbled in their own front garden by Jose Mourinho [yet again!], Sir Alex’s pronouncement has been shown up for what it was: arrogant, misguided drivel. It’s much better to get way beyond the small potatoes of the last sixteen before one should make big statements about the value of one’s squad. The difference between 1999’s minor miracle and 2013 is stark. The current bunch fell at the last sixteen hurdle and therefore bear little comparison with their illustrious predecessors, especially if you hold to the theory [as you should] that facts speak for themselves. As per usual, ManUre have an inflated opinion of themselves. For all their apparent dominance at Old Trafford against Surreal Madrid, all that the Red Devils could muster was an own goal from their visitors, whilst at the Bernabeu, ManUre could count themselves lucky to escape with a draw. Sorry Sir Alex, but your hyped little team are clearly not as cosmic as you would have us believe.
Then of course we were treated to Sir Alex behaving as only he can in a sulky and manipulative fashion when he declined to meet his managerial obligation and speak to the media after yet another humiliation at the hands of Jose Mourinho. We were informed that Sir Alex was “too distraught” to face the cameras. Perhaps he had a sudden bout of embarrassment, on account of his pre-match stupidity that his current team were stronger than the vintage of 1999. What Sir Alex ought to have realised is that many managers have lost at the hands of his little team, sometimes in dubious circumstances when refereeing decisions went in ManUre’s favour. However, all such managers still had the courage to face the post-match cameras and public post-mortem. They at least did not descend into tantrum territory and claim to be “too distraught”. Clearly, Sir Alex is a special case and feels that he and his little club are worthy of special treatment. It must have come as a shock to them to find that UEFA does not appoint Mark Clattenberg-type referees who overlook ManUre’s on-field naughtiness. Obviously, only at Old Trafford is a studs-up, career-threatening, dangerous tackle perfectly permissible.
I can only assume that managers make nonsense remarks as a means of boosting their little club’s share price. Either that, or the tedious ritual of pre-match press conferences has induced them to find new interesting ways of talking tosh. I mean, let’s face it, but these pre-match press conferences are the biggest waste of time since time itself was invented. They are merely a platform for accusation, counter-accusation, hype, and hot air.
Finally, I have refrained for the time being from commenting on the ongoing circus at Chelsea involving the employment of Rafael Benitez and the drama queen histrionics of the so-called Chelsea ‘supporters’, but my thoughts on that are coming to an internet page near you soon. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Gary Watton; author, commentator, and football historian
The late Joe Strummer once sang back in 1982 that “murder is a crime unless it is done by a policeman”. Thirty years on and it is evident that murder is a crime unless it is committed by a celebrity. Of course I am aware of the premise that all are innocent unless and until proven guilty. God knows the scene is now set for Oscar Pistorius to be “found innocent” of murder. Clearly in South Africa it is perfectly permissible to take a firearm and pump four shots at point blank range at an ‘intruder’ who has taken refuge behind a shower. Poor South Africa, a land that shamed itself for several decades with its prosecution of the abominable apaartheid laws has now sank to new depths. Never mind the murderous assault on Steve Biko in September 1977. Never mind the massacre at Soweto the year before. Never mind the massacre at Sharpeville in 1960. Never mind the prolonged incarceration of Nelson Mandela and other leading ANC activists. This granting of bail to Oscar Pistorius by the magistrate Desmond Nair is an atrocity.
One is reminded of the summing up by the judge in the Jeremy Thorpe trial back in early 1979 when the judge did everything he could, short of pronouncing an innocent verdict himself, to discredit the case for the prosecution and ensure that the disgraced Thorpe should walk free, after his apparent complicity in the murder of a former associate, the homosexual Norman Scott. The poor old jury were left with little choice but to acquit Mr Thorpe. This travesty was expertly lampooned by Peter Cook, performing live at the Secret Policeman’s Ball, which can be found on YouTube where Cook parodies a judge who in his summing up makes a less than subtle defence of the defendant. It seems to me that the magistrate Desmond Nair came close to plumbing such depths in the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing.
I guess that Friedrich Nietzsche was correct in stating the theory of the Superman, a better breed of people who are destined for greatness and who are a cut above the hoi polloi. Well, the flame of fascism was obviously not extinguished in the 1940s as we had hoped but is still burning bright today in this world. It appears that any celebrity is above the law and fireproof against the normal prosecution of the law as inflicted upon the rest of the great unwashed.
If celebrities are to be spared prison time and again, can we please at least construct a golden jail where the rich and famous can languish and be pampered?
Seriously though, how the hell can someone who is a murder suspect be granted bail? Oh come on. He is a murder suspect. I repeat - a muder suspect. Bail? Is this a joke? It’s certainly another bullet in the Steenkamp family. Is poor Reeva to be denied justice? To suggest that the prosecution is flawed because of the inappropriate choice of detective is in itself a smokescreen, designed to distract the gullible populace from the burning issue which is whether Pistorius, who appears to have psychopathic tendencies, is a murderer.
Oh South Africa, you are on trial here, and the early signs are not good, neither for you nor for the concept of fair play or justice.
Well I am hopping mad that Pistorius has been spared custody before his trial. It does appear that heaven and earth are moved to keep high profile, rich people away from prison, which is presumably reserved only for the poor. Never has the phrase ‘one rule for one, and one rule for another’ seemed so starkly apparent. I guess that the bottom line is that Oscar Pistorius, like all other celebrities, is a multi-national corporation, and his PLC will do everything in their financial power [and beyond] to preserve their golden goose. Money talks, and in South Africa it has screamed at the legal system. Reeva Steenkamp was almost certainly murdered. Her killer will probably escape a jail sentence. Justice is a sick joke. I am going to go and puke.
Gary Watton; author, commentator, and historian; February 2013
The disgraced former MP Margaret Moran was able to escape prison on Friday the 14th of December when a team of so-called experts [or softies more likely] decreed that Moran was too doo-lally to enter a plea. This is a sickening example of a feeble society where nobody is willing to accept responsibility for anything. When our political superiors lack the integrity to put their hands up and admit their own wrongdoing and have the courage to face the consequences, like the rest of us poor bastards, then this country is finished. No wonder, the yoof go looting, when they see the middle-class law-makers deteriorate into white-collar law-breakers. The trouble with the actress, Margaret Moron, is that having been a legislator [and by implication, a parliamentary law-maker], she knows how the system works, and is therefore ideally placed to work the system in her cowardly favour. She is one of many bourgeois villains who appear to be too ill to stand trial but who were in perfectly rude health to commit crime in the first place. Chirac in France and Mubarak in Egypt are but two recent examples of folk ‘doing a Petain’ and faking ill health in order to achieve leniency. There should be a re-trial. Otherwise British justice is a sick joke. As someone who broke the law many years ago, I had to take my punishment on the chin. It would be good if other high-ranking hypocrites accepted blame too and took responsibility for their actions, like the rest of us plebs. To thwart justice and cling onto their pampered lifestyle sends out a terrible signal to the rest of the society. I believe that the ex
Gary Watton; author, commentator, and historian; December 2012
No this isn’t a homage to a Roxy Music album from the 1970s, but instead this page is my own vision for the Disunited Queendom. Tony Bennett once sang ‘If I Ruled The World’. Well here is my programme for government if I ruled Little Britain. [The following presc
There should be a referendum on whether or not Britain wishes to remain in the European Union.
There should be a referendum in the Falkland Islands on the issue of its sovereignty. Even if the islanders agree to preserve the status quo, there should be a conciliatory gesture of permitting a rolling increase of Argentine involvement in the administration of what they refer to as the Malvinas.
There should be a referendum in Northern Ireland to determine its constitutional position for the next ten years.
The BBC licence fee should be scrapped. The time is long overdue that the BBC should stand on its own two feet and not rely on a mandatory licence fee imposed on its viewers. No other broadcasting network demands such terms and conditions of its customers. The BBC must operate in the marketplace in much the same way as its competitors, relying either on subsc
The next of kin should be fined one thousand pounds if they permit the firing of a volley of shots at the graveside ceremony of their loved one’s funeral.
It should be illegal to fly a paramilitary flag from one’s own house. The occupant should be fined one thousand pounds.
It should be illegal to burn any national flag, as periodically and provocatively practised in Northern Ireland.
The number of MLAs in Northern Ireland needs to be cut from a scandalous six members per constituency to five, even four members per constituency, thus sparing the public purse an obscenely high outlay of funds.
The number of MPs at Westminster needs surgery too. A more realistic total of five hundred ought to be aimed at. However, no Member of Parliament should have to represent any more than a maximum of one hundred thousand constituents. Where a constituency exceeds a total electorate of one hundred thousand, then boundary changes are needed to keep every constituency to a maximum of one hundred thousand people. No constituency should have an electorate of less than fifty thousand constituents.
There should be an absolute bare minimum tariff of twenty years for all life sentences. To be convicted of murder and then issued with a minimum of seventeen years clearly values the life of the deceased victim at approximately seventeen years, which is preposterous and insulting.
The National Minimum Wage should be increased from barely beyond six pounds per hour to a more respectful eight pounds per hour.
Businesses will be able to cope with the burden of these increased wages by means of a reduction in Corporation Tax.
In order to offset the national debt, Jobseekers Allowance should be cut from £71 per week to fifty-nine pounds per week. By increasing the margin between one week on Jobseekers Allowance and one week on the National Minimum Wage, the whole concept of work will never seem so attractive and there will be a huge stimulus to find employment. As someone who is currently receiving JSA, I am well-placed to comment on the anomaly of working full-time in a low-paid job when benefits are considerably more rewarding. There are enough benefits claimants shelling out their apparent wealth each day at the bookies or at the pub to suggest that there is something sickeningly amiss with Britain’s benefits culture. Unfortunately, for every genuine hard luck story, there appears to be many others who are benefiting a little too well from the benefits bestowed by the misguided liberals of Britain’s nanny state.
Job application forms should be legally restricted to a maximum of ten pages. Anything beyond this total is not user-friendly and is inclined to be padded out with unnecessary and downright intrusive questions.
All employers should be legally compelled to email all applicants for a vacancy and inform them of the outcome. It doesn’t take an eternity to contact people via email in contrast to the costly snail mail. Failing to inform all applicants about the outcome of their application is hugely disrespectful and demoralising.
In much the same way as there is a national criminal databa
The ‘basic’ salary of Members of Parliament should be reduced from 63k to 60k per annum. This would provide an annual saving of two million pounds for the public purse. Admittedly, this is a mere drop in the ocean, but to quote the Tesco commercial, ‘every little helps’.
There needs to be an end to the golden handshakes culture that afflicts British society. The sacked, soometimes disgraced, sometimes underachieving chief executives and bosses of major organisations or corporations should not be rewarded for their failure. Employment law must be amended to outlaw employment contracts which facilitate huge pay-offs for departing employees. It would be good if the British parliament took a lead in this abominable situation and voted to stop the issuing of a large pension to MPs who lose their seats. Again, this is an example of rewarding failure, and it sets a terrible example.
Young persons under the age of eighteen should be legally prohibited from attending public protests. Anyone who breaches this law should be detained at a holding centre until a parent or guardian arrives and pays a spot fine of ten pounds before the underaged protester is released. If there is a repeat offence, the spot fine increases to £100. If there is a third violation, then a fine of £1,000 is issued.
All future motoring offences, such as speeding should result in a £100 fine for the perpetrator and a £1,000 for a repeat offence. Such measures would replace the outdated points system. For the first offence, the perpetrator would still have the choice between a fine or compulsory attendance at the drive safety course.
Whenever the police are asked to investigate a complaint of excessive noise at someone’s house, arising out of a late night, or early hours party, a spot fine of ten pounds should be issued to the property owner if the police record and/or film the noisy proceedings. Again, a repeat offence should incur a fine of £100, and a third offence should necessitate a £1,000 fine. Unfortunately, nowhere near enough is done to tackle such anti-social behaviour, and again the authorities seem impotent at protecting a person’s right to a quiet, peaceful existence, free from excessive noise in the night or early morning.
Young persons under the age of twenty who the police consider to be drunk and disorderly when attending or emerging from a night club or pub should be detained overnight in a holding centre where they can sober up, whilst in this temporary protective custody. The individual would then be released when a parent, partner, or guardian arrives at the holding centre and pays a spot fine of £10 for a first offence, £100 for a repeat offence, and £1,000 for a third such offence.
The revenue raised from the imposition of fines for the above offences can be allocated as follows:
1) The building and maintenance and staffing of new detention centres for those guilty of anti-social behaviour such as underage protesters and drunk and disorderly teenagers. Such centres would provide a brief, temporary stint of incarceration whilst arrangements were made for a parent, or guardian, or partner to arrive at the holding centre and settle the appropriate spot fine. Failure to pay the spot fine would automatically result in court proceedings being issued, after which an increased fine or custodial sentence would be bestowed upon any guilty party.
2) Funds from the fines would also be distributed to a central fund that would compensate anyone found innocent after having been remanded in custody. Any such individual who is acquitted after having been placed on remand would be compensated to the tune of £100 per week of their incarceration.
A maximum wage needs to be legally enforced to prevent Premiership soccer pla
Football clubs should not be permitted to spend money in the transfer market, unless they have paid off their debts. There is something incongruous about a football club which owes money but which simultaneously is purchasing new pla
Scotland's representation at Westminster increased from 71 to seventy-two seats. Many old seats were laid to rest while new ones were born in the recent boundary review. The new SDP contested 35 constituencies while their partners the Liberals competed in 37 constituencies. Meanwhile of the four main parties, the SNP finished last in no fewer than 58 constituencies.
Two extra seats were allocated to Wales in the recent boundary review. Of the 38 Welsh constituencies, the Liberals and their Alliance partners, the recently-formed SDP each competed in nineteen seats. Plaid Cymru trailed in behind the other three main, national parties in thirty-three of the 38 seats, and their overall vote share was now reduced to 7.8%.
Previous PostsA brilliant pop song in the informative music publication, 'You Are A Tube!', posted May 19th, 2013
Alcoholism: the British and Irish disease? by Gary Watton (see http://gw930.blog.com), posted April 18th, 2013
Corporate Greed: Santander UK by the author Gary Watton (see http://gw930.blog.com), posted April 11th, 2013
21st century music's finest musical offerings by the author and musicologist Gary Watton, posted April 2nd, 2013
Lions Of Ulster by the author, historian, and sports statistician Gary Watton M.A., posted April 1st, 2013
Firing shots at the graveside of dead Irish terrorists by the author Gary Watton, posted March 31st, 2013
A fabulous sample from a controversial diary [gary930.bravejournal.com], posted March 21st, 2013
Britain's Immigration Insanity by the author and historian Gary Watton (gw930.blog.com), posted March 18th, 2013
Managerial nonsense and soccer stupidity by Gary Watton (see http://gw930.blog.com), posted March 17th, 2013
Oscar Pistorius is *******-on-us by the author, commentator, and historian Gary Watton, posted March 10th, 2013
Margaret Moran: a cheating, cowardly crook by the author and commentator Gary Watton, posted January 22nd, 2013, 2 comments
Manifesto by the author, commentator, and historian Gary Watton (see http://gw930.blog.com), posted January 20th, 2013
1983 UK election in the politics book 'The Celtic Fringe' by Grant Toway, posted June 25th, 2012
BlogrollHere are some friends' blogs...
HelpEmbed Photos Embed Videos