In the light of the miscarriage of justices that brought Nigel Evans MP to near-bankruptcy and all but ruined the names of Michael Le Vell and Bill Roache, may I humbly propose the following two suggestions.
First of all, there ought to be legislation [aside from libel and slander laws] which ensures that false accusers and false witnesses are penalised. It seems scandalous that anyone can denounce someone to the law and the CPS [the Crown Persecution Service] and such individuals get away with their half-baked accusations scot free, while the accused must suffer enormously during the pre-trial period as well as during their court ordeal. Nobody wants to deter witnesses or anyone speaking up against criminal activity, but by the same token there needs to be a mechanism in place whereby anyone who wrongly accuses someone is penalised with say a £1,000 fine if the accused is acquitted in a subsequent trial. It simply won't do for all and sundry to be afforded carte blanche in future to accuse anyone on the back of dubious charges and flimsy evidence.
Secondly, I think that solicitors have a lot to answer for. Many solicitors are at least as reptilian as the much-reviled bankers and expenses-claimers. It strikes me that solicitors mischievously 'egg on' their clients to pursue legal action [irrespective of the potential outcome] safe in the knowledge that he or she has a big payday coming their way. It seems to be in the monetary interests of many mercenaries within the legal profession to pursue legal cases because they are a "nice little earner". Again, some form of regulation is belatedly overdue to ensure that solicitors don't gain enormously from other people's suffering. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we frequently find solictors advising clients whose chances are clearly hopeless to plead not guilty and contrive to engineer a costly trial which is a drain on the public purse while solictors and barristers laugh all the way to the bank.
Just as there is a real need for regulation of bankers, and of newspapers, and of parliamentarians, so there is also a need to review and legislate against abuses and injustices in the law.
It would be more apt to state that my faith [what's left of it] is hanging by a thread. Everything has been going wrong for far too long now. I'm on an almighty [or should that be Almighty] losing streak. I actually have nothing left to live for, so it is becoming increasingly difficult to be motivated. It seems that everything that I touch turns to shit. To quote one of many examples, my Blackberry broke down in November. After a labyrinth of attempted repairs and time-wasting and money-wasting, I had little choice but to buy a replacement 'phone. I chose a Nokia Lumia 520 [reduced from £160 to £80]. Well, I can scarcely afford to be making such luxury purchases. [Some people probably consider this a cheap acquisition, but that's where they are financially that they can think along such condescending terms.] Well, this not very clever, smart 'phone was bought at the end of January and by the end of March it has broken down, a bit like its owner. I've paid eighty pounds for two months' use. This scenario, for me, is the norm rather than the exception. I had to write my last car off for scrap and am still tramping about the streets of my smalltown, hometown on both feet. Tis good for my improving fitness and athleticism, yep, but definitely not a good step [excuse the pun] to wards any remaining street credibility. To live in the smallville of Cold Rain and not possess a car is akin to pauper status. It further undermines any pretension or delusion about presenting myself as 'the catch of the century'.
Anyhow, I digress. I have had it up to here [here being the top of me bonnet] with the big Fella above. He has been a monumental disappointment to me, and God knows [He probably does] that I've been equally a monumental disappointment to Him! Well the difference is explained thus. Whereas I am led to believe that 'God smiles when He thinks of you', well I certainly don't smile when I think of Him. Actually I frown, big style. His followers amongst the doo-lally, happy clappy, middle-class churchgoers only serve to undermine my evaporating faith further. Some like to harp on [or cling to] the notion, sourced from the Book of Jeremiah, that God has big plans for us, plans to do us good, and not to do us harm. Well, this is not a blueprint for a positive outcome to everyone's existence, be they believers or non-believers. Ya see, this is an ideal, an aspiration. The notion that this is a concrete promise from an accountable God is just mischievous. What happened after all to God's great plans to the nation of Israel [i.e. the Jews] when they were carted in their millions like tins of sardines to the gas chambers and death camps in the early 1940s? Did God go on holiday for several years? Was He on a sabbatical perhaps? Did he go on a holy retreat, while the rest of humanity wholly retreated from the satanic horrors of Nazism? Where is God's great promise for my life [and for yours?]. Is it on the bottom of the pile of his 'To Do' list? Incidentally, is the return of Jesus Christ still on the 'To Do' list? Funny how we were assured in various passages of the New Testament that Christ will be "coming soon". Soon?! Well, two thousand years is not my idea of "soon". Are you coming round to my house? Yes, I'll be there "soon". When is my bus coming? Oh it will be along "soon" - like maybe in over two thousand years time - that kind of "soon". I have to concur with Stephen Patrick Morrissey when he asked 'How Soon Is Now?'
Oh no, but that would be too soon. You see, I get the impression that God likes to play with us, His cretinous creation, and that He plays us a little too well. Have you had many prayer requests accepted and granted recently? Is your prayer perhaps held in a queue? Your prayer is very important to us and one of our agents [or angels] will deal with it as soon as possible. Is a prayer to God equivalent to a call to a contact centre? It certainly feels like it. My prayer supplications have all got one terrible thing in common - they are constantly snubbed. It is very difficult to proceed when one feels under a curse and that God refuses to grant any of my requests. My requests incidentally are quite reasonable and tend to be far removed from any demands for world domination. Maybe I'm not praying in the right tone of voice, maybe I am not prostrate enough on the floor. Maybe my attitude stinks. Maybe I never donated enough money in the Sunday collection plate.
Well, I marvel at how good God is to the heathen sons of bitches and assorted low-life around me. There are copious amounts of people, past, present, and future who are richly blessed with all manner of possessions and abundant company and opportunities by Yahweh but none of these pagans give a hoot about their Creator. Why does he shower such riches on people who don't love Him? Is He trying to buy their adoration? Is there any chance that he might buy a little affection from me with several belated, long overdue opportunities and blessings in my desert of hope? No doubt the preachers will butt in and remind me that Jesus bought my love when He died on the cross because I am such a horrible person. Look, Your sacrifice on Calvary is outstanding and remarkable in the extreme, but do you really think that I am going to praise you night and day, whilst I have nothing else going on in my life of any meaningful or positive value? Shall I just lie in bed ad nauseam and fondly reminisce upon Jesus' painful death on my behalf?
Oh come on God. If You've really given me a life, then let me lead one and stop snubbing all my hopes and dreams, while allowing other bastards to flourish. The injustice of it all makes me angry and bitter in the extreme. This is not how I want to go forward as a human. Keeping me alive just so that I can continue to be an embarrassment is downright cruel. If You're not going to help improve my sad existence, then take me out of this world now, today - away from a dysfunctional family and a disapproving neighbourhood and a greedy society full of selfish swine who earn disproportionate and obscene amounts, while the rest of us paupers must feed off the remaining scraps? Thanks be to God!
The more I hear Christian bullshit from various voices, the more I wish to flee in the direction of the haven of logic from the late Christopher Hitchens.
It's all very well stating that God "can" take a broken person and restore he or she to a thing of beauty. It's all very well stating that God "can" heal. I have never doubted His abilities and never will. What I doubt is his willingness, not his potential or his capabilites. After all, not everyone gets healed. Not all prayer requests are granted. I mean, don't you think that maybe at least one or two of the poor souls being transported to the extermination camps in the early 1940s might have called out to God to intervene and rescue them? You see, God intervenes whenever He feels like it. His interventions don't appear to be consistent or constant, or fair. He does what He wants when He wants. That appears to be His will. To suggest that God perpetually heals each and every person and restores all broken lives on request is very much open to question. I am beginning to wonder if the Depeche Mode song is close to the truth: "I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that God's got a sick sense of humour, and when I die, I expect to find Him laughing."
I have stuck up for my 'Father' in Heaven when people have scorned or questioned his existence. I've sang to Him in church. I've pleaded to Him in private. It seems to have been all in vain. It's like the other great Christian line about 'ah you might suffer in this life, but in Heaven you'll have luxury and great times every day forever and ever'. Is that another Christian untruth or exaggeration? I mean, there are so many billions of people, past, present, and future all apparently going to Heaven from Joe Stalin to Jade Goody to Frank Lampard's mum that there is not going to be much else besides massive overcrowding! Oh but God's got that all figured out, right?
I'm left to echo what Elijah remarked when he teased the prophets of Baal when they called out to their gods. Maybe God in Heaven is daydreaming? Maybe I need to pray louder? Maybe God is busy relieving Himself? Well, I don't know but I'm heartily sick to the armpits and beyond of promises, promises. Perhaps this illustrates the very essence of our lives on earth - the problem of managing expectations and how we react to unfulfilled expectations. It seems to me that I and others have expectations of God that He has no intention of realising. This only serves to reinforce the fact that God's promise as embodied in that passage in Jeremiah is not a blanket pledge to all humanity. The bottom line is that God is selective. He heals who He wants to heal. He intervenes when He wants to intervene. For any Christian daydreamer to suggest otherwise is pure mischief-making and only serves to drive the rest of us far from the kingdom of God. God help us.......though He seldom does.
In Norn Iron, folk sometimes refer to members and devotees of Sinn Fein as the Shinners. At least when we're being polite, we do. However, maybe Sinners is much more apt. Along with many people on both sides of the Irish Sea, I have been horrified by the recent revelations that IRA suspects have been given written assurances that there is an amnesty on the unsolved crimes that they have been implicated in. It's all very well absolving the Irish republican terrorists of responsibility for a catalogue of atrocities and assorted offences, but surely the same standards must then be applied to the perpetrators of Bloody Sunday.
Don't get me wrong. The more that I've launched my own personal inquiry into the terrible events of the 30th of January 1972 [a much cheaper inquiry than the publicly-financed version], the more that I've been horrified by the trigger-happy soldiers who shot unarmed people in cold blood and sometimes from behind. The greatest tragedy of all is that there have been countless, yes countless, acts of compassion, courtesy, heroism, and humanity from the British security forces over the course of 'the troubles' but they never got reported or placed under the microscope of public scrutiny. Instead, the actions of the Paras totally undermined all that and provided the Brit-haters and Brit-begrudgers literally with the ammunition to embark upon a three-decade campaign of wickedness against the British citizens of Ulster and the rest of the UK. The Irish republicans have always harboured hostility towards the big bad brutal Brits but Bloody Sunday kind of legitimised their antipathy. In much the same way as the Islamic extremists truly wish to regard their American and British foes as worthy of their vile behaviour, so too the Irish militants share a similar perverted stance towards all agents of British rule.
The thing is that I now have much sympathy for the plight of the Derry families and extended community who were subject to this act of unacceptable aggression on that notorious winter's afternoon. Furthermore, I even buy into the rationale behind a thirty-two county state. I find it ludicrous after all that Ulster unionists would want to remain united to a 'mainland' that is remote both geographically and emotionally from the bothersome six counties of Northern Ireland. I mean, what on earth do the protestant, working-class loyalists of Norn Iron have in common with the middle-class, Middle Englanders of the shires and the home counties? Such folk are poles apart. Furthermore, where is the common ground between the almost exclusively, white smalltowners of Ulster and the cosmopolitan, multi-cultural burghers of L'Angleterre? Given the fact that the neanderthals of Ulster are so committed to their own culture, it seems illogical that they could accommodate a plethora of different cultures which are requisite in the large urban centres of the UK? Ultimately, the Norn Irish citizens have more in common with their southern counterparts, more than they care to admit. Even the age-old scaremongering about Dublin rule equates to Rome rule or Pope rule is now sheer and utter drivel. The Republic of Ireland has ventured away from its theocracy towards a secular society, partially driven by public disdain at the scandal-ridden catholic church, whose bunglings and incompetence have been much closer to the Craggy Island parody than even the writers of 'Father Ted' dared to imagine. The folks north of the border have little to fear from unity, other than financial meltdown! Given the recent economic incompetence of Paddy the Irishman, this remains the biggest deterrent to the re-unification of the Emerald Isle.
Right, so we have established that I am broadly in sympathy with Irish republicanism and with the victims of Bloody Sunday. However, the Irish republican constituency then proceeds to shoot itself in the foot with its insistence upon retribution against the English soldiers whilst shrugging their shoulders at the recent acquittal of John Downey and the news that Provo suspects will be 'above the law' in terms of the unsolved wickedness of past decades. Funny how the 'oppressed' Oirish demand their pound of flesh when they feel aggrieved but then equally call for forgiveness and no prosecution of their vile 'volunteers'. This is complete hypocrisy in all its ugliness.
The slippery Downey recently observed the well-rehearsed twofold policy of terrorist suspects.
Firstly, he denied responsibility. It's a pity that such heroes cannot be man enough to admit their culpability. Instead, they delude themselves that if they confess to their priest or to God behind closed doors, that this washes away the Shinner's sins. I guess that the bottom line is that in the affluent west, it simply won't do to spend an extended spell in prison as everyone is in the business of preserving their quality of life and keeping up with the Joneses or the O'Joneses perhaps. A stint in clink seriously jeopardises one's custodianship or aspirations towards another Chelsea tractor or semi-detached residence. So much for the socialism of James Connolly. The modern Irish republican is a capitalist wannabe. He hasn't the honesty or integrity to admit his part in Irish 'acts of war' because the family's place in middle-class society is at stake. Who says that crime doesn't pay?
Secondly, Downey, we are informed, is a committed follower of the peace process. This is another piece of skullduggery practised by all terror suspects in Norn Iron. They are briefed by their 'brief' to tell the judge that they are innocent and that they are now devoted to the peace process. This double whammy, it seems, is sufficient to acquit any Ulster terrorist nowadays. Why bother arresting them now in the first place if they are such blameless pacifists?!
Oh it all stinks. The British soldiers must be prosecuted [or persecuted?] while a plethora of republican suspects go scot free. Where is the justice and equality there? It is still repugnant for many people that the past unsolved atrocities of the thirty years [or thirty thousand tears] conflict must be whitewashed while any British wrongdoing must be dealt with severely. Even more laughable is the Irish republican insistence upon their misbehaviour merely being excused away as 'acts of war' while the British response of shoot to kill in this same 'war' is deemed as beyond the pale. If the Irish republicans regard bravely shooting people from behind, or burying unarmed and innocent women, or bombing children in English shopping centres as legitimate acts of war, then how can they complain [as they interminably do] that the actions of Special Branch or the SAS are unjustifiable. It seems that the British were expected to treat the conflict as if it were a cricket match, with a whole host of rules and regulations to observe, whilst the enemy guerillas could run amok in west Belfast or south Armagh. Well, it's just not cricket. In fact, strictly speaking, it wasn't a war either. In the accepted sense of the word, a 'war' is a conflict between two states. However, the Republic of Ireland never declared war on the UK and indeed 'colluded' [that word again] with John Bull in their joint efforts to counter the insurgency of the Brit-haters. In fact, the Irish republicans have been getting away with the same, twisted terminology for way too long. Not only is it erroneous to speak in terms of a war, as if it were some military contest between two states, but just as preposterous has been the republican insistence upon 'collusion' between the British state and loyalist terrorists. I am not denying the practise of the latter. Far from it. However, has it never occurred to anybody to describe the teamwork between the Provos and Sinn Fein as itself a grand act of collusion? Ah yes, it's okay for them to collude and shoot to kill, but dearie me, the Brits dare not shoot to kill or collude. Smell the hypocrisy folks. It absolutely reeks.
I cannot quite decide who is the more repulsive: the union jack dinosaurs or their polar opposites in the militant republican ranks. Between the two of them, they seem to be in league to completely ruin any opportunity for the normalisation of the north.
Gary Watton; commentator
I was watching one of my favourite films the other night, 'The French Connection'. There is a remarkable scene mid-film in which Charnier and his heroin-smuggling associate are both seated in a New York restaurant, indulging themselves in helpings of fine wine and cuisine, like a couple of respectable bourgeois gents. However, this duo represent evil. Across the road, sheltering from an icy cold winter's day in the Big Apple is detective Popeye Doyle and his partner Cloudy Russo. These guys purportedly represent the forces for good, namely the law. Well, the good guys are huddled in a doorway, drinking tea from a plastic cup. This scene is something of a microcosm of modern society as it expertly reminds us how perverse our world is. The criminals are enjoying an extravagant lifestyle while the law-abiding, hard-working souls suffer hardship by comparison. This regrettable disparity must not be allowed to prevail - but it does.
Meanwhile, I was particularly struck by a characteristic outpouring of vitriol from Kelvin Mackenzie, the fomer tabloid newspaper editor, who was appearing on 'Pienaar's Politics' on Radio Five Dead. Motormouth Mackenzie described the looting and rioting perpetrators during the street disturbances of early August 2011 as "scum." There may be some validity to such a remark, but I would venture to suggest that such an unenviable epithet need not be confined to the so-called 'feral underclass'.
Fast-forwarding to recent days, the British nation (and beyond) has been treated to the unedifying spectacle of Nigella Lawson and her ex-husband Charles Saatchi having their dirty linen washed very publicly, at Isleworth Crown Court to be precise. From the court proceedings we learn that Charles Saatchi appears to be a horrible, nasty, vindictive megalomaniac (perhaps not a new discovery for those in the know). Futhermore, we are also informed that Nigella's pampered lifestyle features a regular intake of such substances as cocaine. Now, Nigella isn't the first and won't be the last rich bitch to partake of some illegal, naughty 'medication', so her misbehaviour is scarcely exceptional. However, what is more revealing is just how trashy the lives of the wealthy and famous really are. I guess that there have been sufficient tabloid exposures since Profumo's scandal in 1963 to reinforce this. Maybe indifferent Joe Public has grown immune to the shock value of such sensational stuff. Well, for me, the sorry episode of Lawson and Saatchi's private lives perfectly encapsulates the fact that when you strip away the glossy veneer of the opulence of the rich and assorted celebrities, one finds murky, trashy lives lurking underneath. I would therefore argue that people who present themselves in slick suits, shirt, and tie, and elegant frocks and gowns are probably at least as scummy as the 'feral underclass'.
Mick Jagger once sang "raise your glass to the hard-working people/say a prayer for the lowly at birth" in the excellent 'Salt Of The Earth'. I totally concur. Meanwhile, it is high time that people woke up to the fact that our so-called superiors and the high-fliers in our society and expenses-claiming fraudulent members of the Establishment are indeed just as worthy of the word "scum." Of course, one could go further and state that our greedy financiers, politicos , and bankers are on a par with pedophiles - or is such a comparison too harsh and disrespectful towards child molesters?
Tags: cocaine; lawson; opulence; saatchi; trash
I am now the wrong side of forty and I do not have the blessings of a partner. I do not have the blessings of any children either. Admittedly, I had a ‘respectable’ career once upon a time but I ruined it, but the God of second chances has chosen not to furnish me with a second chance. I also used to have a lot of money but through the march of time I frittered it away on gambling and on property investments that backfired. Again the God of second chances has apparently gone missing. You also allowed my daddy to be taken away from me at the age of fifty from cancer. I am left with few friends, no brothers, no car, no nothing. You even sent your son to die a horrible, torturous death apparently because I am such a bad person, thereby making me feel guilty that Jesus had to suffer such an agonising ordeal. You expect me to sit in church and suffer folk who humour me and patronise me [while inside they are thinking "Thank God that I'm not in his sad shoes".]
Maybe I didn’t sing loud enough in church. Maybe I didn’t pray in the right tone of voice all those numerous times when You refused to grant my prayer requests. Maybe I didn’t put enough money in the collection plate. Maybe I’m the only person who ever went to bible study and spoke impressively, but whose life has been a paragon of hypocrisy. Gee, I must be the only person in world history whose Christianity was a bunch of empty words. [Surely not?!] Maybe my angels who have apparently been sent to watch over me aren’t up to the job. Maybe when I ‘repented’ and said sorry, I didn’t really mean it. Maybe I’m just a cruel, evil, nasty son of a bitch, and everyone else around me is a model citizen, a shining beacon of morality and righteousness.
Oh well, whatever the reason for the absence of your blessings, Father, I forgive You!
Tags: cursed; divine intervention
We all have different taste buds and a variety of preferences. This is all the more evident at Christmas time when we are subjected to a vast range of seasonal stuff on the airwaves and in the shops which can diplomatically be divided into the good, the bad, and the ugly! Sorry folks but I cannot tolerate Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody' or Shakin Stevens' 'Merry Christmas Everyone' or Cliff Richard's twee 'Mistletoe And Wine'. Even more cringeworthy are the Christmas material from Frank Sinatra or Bob Dylan and other American dross from yesteryear, not to mention updated versions of old classics. Here is a 'chart' of the dozen Yuletide tunes [in order of appearance] that I find are most worthy of airplay each November/December:
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John and Yoko 
I Believe In Father Christmas by Greg Lake 
When A Child Is Born by Johnny Mathis 
Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord by Boney M 
Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie 
2000 Miles by the Pretenders 
Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid 
Last Christmas by Wham! 
Fairytale Of New York by the Pogues 
Keeping The Dream Alive by Freiheit 
Saviour's Day by Cliff Richard 
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey 
In terms of albums, there is only one Christmas LP that counts and that is 'Twelve Songs Of Christmas' by the late Jim Reeves. Everything else attempted since is a poor imitation.
Personally, I feel that 'Fairytale Of New York' is good, but over-rated. Nevertheless, I must concur with the sentiments of the late Kirsty MacColl: "Happy Christmas? Your arse. I pray God it's our last."
A couple of months ago I rescued about eighty of my old vinyl albums from almost ten years of captivity in my late mother's attic. (Actually, she's never late nor even dead.) Anyhow, I have proceeded to re-acquaint myself with the music that entertained me during my 'bedroom years' of bygone days of yore. In the last ten days I have bravely endured my collection of UB40 LPs. Regrettably, I now find such product rather dreary and uninspiring from a combo that I once held in the highest esteem in my mistaken youth.
What strikes me most about this Brummie outfit is the unremitting politicising, pontificating, preaching, and downright gloom that characterises the large majority of their own compositions. They basically set the tone on their debut album with the delightfully cheerful 'Burden Of Shame' (a critique of British imperialism) and well ever since, their output has been almost exclusively a musical rant. Each track appears to remind us that capitalism is wicked and poverty is wicked and Apartheid is wicked and inequality is wicked and racism is wicked. Oh come on fellas. Change the record, please. You don't have to perpetually persuade me of such dogma. The truth is: I believe you, and indeed most of your listeners are presumably equally sympathetic. I doubt whether the UBs feature prominently amongst the musical preferences of bankers, financiers, and racists!
The only occasions when UB40 mercifully strayed from the tiresome evangelising was when they ventured into the territory of cover versions of classic reggae love songs on the outstanding 'Labour Of Love' project and its inferior successor, 'Labour Of Love II'. There has probably been a mark III and maybe even a IV. Happily, I am blissfully unaware of the group's post-1990 material, with the exception of the awful karaoke rendition of Elvis's 'Can't Help Falling In Love' (a 1993 UK chart-topper which just about sums up the poor musical taste of the British record-buying public.) Oh yes, I did chance upon a new UB40 offering from 2005, 'Who You Fighting For?' which the Mail On Sunday (or possibly the Daily Malice) cruelly supplied as a freebie to every lucky (or unlucky) reader. Not surprisingly (to quote another west Midlands singer, Mr Robert Plant) "the song remains the same". Unfortunately, the Campbells and their cronies just cannot resist the temptation to revisit the same old themes in almost every track.
Not surprisingly, my favourite UB40 tunes hail from their earliest days when they treated the listener to a whole array of fine reggae instrumentals on their debut 'Signing Off'. Then they atoned for the typically depressing 'Present Arms' project by releasing the marvellous (and largely undiscovered gem) of 'Present Arms In Dub' when the lads jettisoned the left-wing wailing and merely provided the tunes in instrumental dub versions.
In my semi-humble opinion, the UBs missed a trick when they failed to take a leaf out of the book of their contemporaries Madness or such luminaries as the Kinks by providing observations of modern life and the quirky individuals that they encountered along the way. Whilst Madness delivered the anecdotal 'Bed And Breakfast Man' and 'Mrs Hutchinson', UB40 were providing the non-joyful 'One In Ten' and 'Don't Do The Crime'. However, don't get me wrong. UB40 have composed the occasional gem. 'Tyler' was a worthwhile tribute to an unjustly convicted murderer, Gary Tyler. However, their song-writing formula almost always seems to be confined to pouring scorn at the same old injustices. The gang rarely stretch their creativity towards mini-dramas and soap operas about everyday people and places and events. The guys may be uneducated [a fact that they certainly don't hide] but you don't need to have gone to Oxbridge to be able to compose a variety of very different songs about a whole range of non-political subjects.
When UB40 did wander into film-making with their half-hour 'Labour Of Love' movie, the result was distinctly drab. The flick lacked any originality and culminated in a scene of police brutality and racism that even the most ardent Trotskyite dramatist might not have conceived for a Channel Four late-night production. The only redeeming feature was the glorious video to the perennial favourite, 'Red Red Wine' in which Ali comes to the pub to meet the woman of his dreams, only to find her arrive afterwards with his brother [and rival]. As if that isn't bad enough, Ali gets his car keys nicked whilst being hoodwinked at the bar by a couple of chancers, masquerading as friends. All of this would be enough to drive anyone to drink, and Ali C doesn't disappoint, as he ends the tune doing a fine impersonation of a drunk, down on his luck, being helped home by his Dad. T'was superb stuff.
For me, UB40 were okay musically until they added the brass sounds of the Tenyue brothers in the mid-80s which only succeeded in drowning out Robin's lead guitar and Mickey Virtue's fine keyboards. Admittedly, the big brass sound of the poptastic 'If It Happens Again' was a glorious exception, but thereafter the band just got submerged in an over-reliance on brass instrumentation.
Sorry UB40, but I have long since fallen out of love with you. Perhaps this is symptomatic of a 'maturing' codger who is no longer easily impressed by anyone or anything, musical or otherwise.
Gary Watton (a former fan)
My UB40 albums and my favourite song on the LP:
Signing Off (1980) - King
Present Arms (1981) - Don't Let It Pass You By
Present Arms In Dub (1981) - The Return Of Dr X
UB44 (1982) - The Prisoner
UB40 Live (1982) - Sardonicus
Labour Of Love (1983) - She Caught The Train
Geffery Morgan (1984) - D.U.B.
Baggariddim (1985) - Demonstrate by Admiral Jerry
Rat In The Kitchen (1986) - The Elevator
UB40 (1988) - Where Did I Go Wrong?
Labour Of Love II (1989) - Kingston Town
Tags: ali; astro; brian; earl; jimmy; mickey; norman
The dismal, not to say embarrassing, recent failures of both
Northern Ireland and their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland has
convincingly persuaded me that drastic surgery is required to heal the
sick men of Europe. Passing the managerial baton back and forth to
various hapless managers has clearly not worked on either side of the
border. In defence of the poor, wealthy managers, they can only do so
much with what they are provided with. There is after all no rich
sugar daddy owners or transfer windows at their disposal, so room for
manoeuvre is extremely limited. Northern Ireland in particular is
handicapped by a scarcity of footballing manpower, while in the
Republic, soccer must compete against the popular GAA for the
attention of the young. Furthermore, rugby union throughout the island
probably attracts more youngsters than was the case in previous
decades. Even the profile of Irish cricket has been elevated over the
last half a dozen years by the exploits of the national team at the
cricket World Cup.
Not surprisingly, the six northern counties is seemingly unable
to supply the footballing superstars of yesteryear. The days when
Northern Ireland could produce high quality performers such as a Best
or a Jennings or a McIlroy are long gone. Nowadays, top English
teams, so what chance have the humble journeymen of Northern Ireland
got in such circumstances? Consequently, the majority of Northern
Ireland's squad are drawn from mediocre lower league clubs. This
speaks volumes for the calibre of pla
days. Where once we had Armstrong or Blanchflower of Tottenham
Hotspur, Neill, Nelson and Rice of Arsenal, and Gregg, McGrath,
McCreery, Nicholl, and Whiteside of Manchester United, we can no
longer foresee the cream of English soccer acquiring Northern Irish
or the English Championship. Most of the Northern Irish team would
struggle to be known or recognised by the next-door neighbour, let
alone the wider footballing public.
The solution has to be an all-Ireland one. Regrettably, clinging
on to a separate Northern Ireland team is logic-defying and is a
manifestation of a sectarian undercurrent that will have no truck with
any vestige of Irish unity. This is all the more ridiculous when one
observes that we have a long-standing and thriving tradition of
all-Ireland cricket and rugby union teams. The existence of such
thirty-two counties sporting outfits has not led to the walls caving
in on Northern Ireland or the six counties being invaded by the forces
of the Vatican, so please let sanity prevail and combine the dubious
strengths of the six counties with the rest of the island into an
all-Ireland team. In fact, there was an all-Ireland team until about
1950. It needs to be revived, as two separate teams are merely
hopeless also-rans on the international soccer stage, and any
pipedream that Northern Ireland can revive the glories of 1958 or 1982
is delusional in the extreme.
So why doesn't the IFA of the six counties and the Republic's FAI
join together in unholy matrimony? I don't know if the FAI has any
burning desire for such a move, but certainly north of the border, the
rationale for remaining separate and adopting a Sinn Fein attitude of
'ourselves alone' is itself irrational. About half of the grassroots
supporters unfortunately view a day or night out at Windsor Park as a
boozing session 'with the lads'. I've seen the loyal Northern Ireland
supporters on a number of occasions congregating at the junction of
Tates Avenue and the Lisburn Road, bedecked with scarves, football
tops, and oh yes the obligatory cans of beer. To remove the
'privilege' of huddling together en masse in south Belfast at various
times in the year would merely deprive certain northern citizens of
the opportunity of a good old piss-up. Mind you, they could still
avail themselves of Dublin's hostelries, which admittedly are
considerably more expensive.
As for the 'top brass' of the IFA, this organisation will cling
on to its status for dear life. It's a mirror situation of the
northern unionists who would not wish to cede their hegemony at
Stormont and join the ranks in the Dail because they would be
transformed from big fish in a small pond to small fish in a bigger
pond. By the same token, the same political considerations condition
the IFA's attitude. They want to dictate their own neanderthal ideas
about soccer to the six counties. They do not wish to be subordinate
to an all-Ireland body where they would not possess the same
influence. Furthermore, Linfield Football Club has benefited a little
too well from being the hostess of Norn Iron internationals, and so
the unique status of Linfield must be preserved by various
self-interested parties. It simply wouldn't do to merge avec the
Republic's FAI. It might be deemed as an equivalent of turkeys voting
However, the bottom line is that toothless Northern Ireland
cannot even overcome the perennial punchbags of Luxembourg. Our
assembly line of future superstars nor the resources. The writing is
on the wall for the IFA. They are but a cabal that desperately avoids
facing the grim reality that their national team is now little more
than the international equivalent of a non-league team. An all-Ireland
soccer team is not another step towards the unification of Ireland nor
an erosion of Ulster's so-called culture. It's a common sense step to
ensure that soccer supporters north and south can have a team worth
cheering on. If we can do it in cricket and rugby union, then why
doesn't soccer step into the brave new world too?
I tried to have this study published by The Nightwatchman publication, but Matt suggested that it was too "stats-focused" . Of course, if an eminent member of the cricket media had compiled this report, he may have found it perfectly acceptable. C'est la vie, mes amis. Happy browsing, fellow cricket anoraks!
Statistics rarely lie, and with this in mind, I have lovingly compiled various facts and figures which go some way to explain why the Division One of the 2013 County Championship ended as it did. The tables underneath focus upon bonus points, while I have also studied and revealed which counties possessed the best opening partnerships. I do take the view that a first-wicket stand can be crucial in laying the foundations for a competitive innings, so it might be of considerable use to the various protagonists to take heed of my findings. Obviously, the opening pair in any encounter face the perils of the new ball in demanding conditions which sometimes favour the bowler. Therefore, it is perfectly understandable that one of the opening batsmen may succumb early in his innings. This explains the plethora of single figure first-wicket stands that each county has incurred.
Derbyshire: 4 fifties; no tons; highest: 89; 13 single figure scores; 652 runs at an average of 21.7
Durham: 3 fifties; 2 tons; highest: 125; 13 single figure scores; 822 runs at an average of 27.4
Middlesex: 3 fifties; 5 tons; highest: 259; 8 single figure scores; 1255 runs at an average of 52.3
Nottinghamshire: 4 fifties; 1 ton; highest: 105; 12 single figure scores; 715 runs at an average of 27.5
Somerset: 6 fifties; 1 ton; highest: 103; 6 single figure scores; 1026 runs at an average of 34.2
Surrey: 4 fifties; 1 ton; highest: 171; 13 single figure scores; 693 runs at an average of 26.7
Sussex: 4 fifties, 4 tons; highest: 163; 7 single figure scores; 1132 runs at an average of 41.9
Warwickshire; 1 fifty; 6 tons; highest: 153; 6 single figure scores; 1107 runs at an average of 46.1
Yorkshire: 2 fifties; 1 ton; highest: 126; 9 single figure scores; at an average of 24.3
It was quite startling to discover that Middlesex were head and shoulders above les autres, with Warwickshire and Sussex also recording healthy first-wicket averages. Paradoxically, Yorkshire accumulated more batting bonus points than anyone else in spite of possessing a welter of mediocre opening partnerships. The County Champions, Durham, certainly did not have too many opening partnerships of note, but their strengths lay elsewhere.
OPENING WICKET AVERAGES TABLE
In spite of boasting the best opening partnerships in the County Championship, Middlesex were less successful at converting their good starts into many batting bonus points. This obviously amounts to one of two explanations: Either their best opening partnerships occurred in the second innings or more likely that the rest of the batting line-up proved more fragile and less able to capitalise upon good starts. This surely must provide food for thought for the north Londoners.
Yorkshire by contrast did not benefit from many good opening partnerships but were instead able to draw upon a strength in depth in their batting formation, as their middle order batsmen of Ballance and Rashid [and Bairstow when available] rescued the team. Consequently, Yorkshire amassed most batting bonus points in spite of having less than impressive opening partnerships.
Durham, rather surprisingly, were well down the batting bonus points list, but clearly their potency derives from a knack of bowling teams out twice.
BATTING BONUS POINTS
Let us examine the table that not surprisingly reveals the county champions of Durham as the most lethal in terms of acquiring bowling bonus points. Graham Onions and the gang excelled themselves at bowling most teams out twice, hence the county's impressive haul of ten wins from their sixteen fixtures. Moreover, Durham also accumulated a staggering forty-six bowling bonus points from a maximum of 48. Herein lies the deadly secret to their success. It's not that Durham were less competent at batting, yet when one observes the assorted batting statistics above, it is clear that Durham did not stand head and shoulders above the other counties in the categories already listed - far from it. Secondly, it is also worth noting that the two demoted teams, Derbyshire and Surrey did also finish at the foot of the bowling bonus points table. Clearly, a successful bowling unit is most necessary to thrive in the premier division of the County Championship.
BOWLING BONUS POINTS
Middlesex/Sussex/Yorkshir e 39
The table below for the combined bonus points does underline how adrift Derbyshire were in terms of their first-innings performances and when you loiter many points below les autres, then there is extra pressure to make amends by winning as many matches as possible. Sadly for Derbyshire, they could not win enough matches and collect the crucial sixteen points on offer to redeem themselves for their inability to amass sufficient bonus points. Not surprisingly, their bonus points deficiency was a huge contributory factor in the county being relegated back to Division Two, one year after winning the Division Two league.
COMBINED BONUS POINTS
Finally, the following facts make for interesting reading, thinks me:
1. Durham lost more matches than Sussex, Warwickshire, and Yorkshire, but still comfortably won the County Championship. The moral of this story is that wins are infinitely more preferable to honourable draws that yield far less points.
2. The two teams at the summit of Division One did win more matches than their counterparts. This again underlines the desperate need to win matches and obtain the sixteen points for such an achievement.
3. The two teams at the foot of the final table lost more matches than anyone else, so clearly they were more vulnerable than their competitors and most likely to be bowled out twice. Their relegation was therefore 'merited'.
4. Derbyshire won more matches than Somerset [who finished two places above them] and as many matches as Nottinghamshire [who finished above them too]. However, Derbyshire's undoing was a distinct lack of bonus points which suggests that their first innings performances were not up to scratch.
5. Middlesex also won more matches than Sussex and Warwickshire who were perched above them. Again, as a mirror of the Derbyshire situation, Middlesex finished fifth and not third because they did not record enough bonus points to match their haul of six wins.
Like most 'normal' people, I was repelled by the latest dirty trick from the grotesque, self-righteous, holier-than-thou Daily Mail. This organ of hate against the Left chose to pick a fight avec Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition. To do so, this reptilian newspaper launched an unprovoked attack upon Ed's dead father, the respected Marxist intellectual, Ralph Miliband. It is a low tactic to pour scorn upon an individual who is sadly unable to defend himself. Adding insult to injury, the humourless Daily Mail spewed forth a pun in poor taste about the grave of the late Mr Miliband. I would dearly love to see how the awful bully Paul Dacre and his Mail minions would react if the gravestones of their dead loved ones were published with accompanying puns. Yes, herein lies one of the plethora of fundamental flaws of the Daily Mail: they are experts at dishing out hostility but are less disposed towards anyone who dares to confront them or regulate them.
Nick Clegg was correct when he stated that the Daily Mail is responsible for overwhelming bile against the British people. It was Nick's greatest remark. However while immediately listing those groups that this viewspaper denounces, Mr Clegg generously omitted immigrants, benefits claimants, and people who go on strike amongst the multitudes that the Daily Malice despises. Meanwhile Alan Sugar is equally spot-on in his observation that the Daily Mail are "nasty, nasty people". Alastair Campbell is also accurate to assert that the Daily Mail is poisonous. What irks me is how they published a vicious attack upon the Milibands and then lacked the courage to face the broadcasting media, with the exception of Jon Steafel's feeble performance on 'Newsnight'. Steafel's obvious impotence under cross-examination typifies the Daily Mail: a rabble of disapproving journos who mercilessly launch vitriol and stamp upon anyone that they take exception to whilst courageously doing so from behind their computer screens. It is abundantly clear that they dare not leave the refuge of their comfort zone and engage in debate. The activities of the foul-mouthed Paul Dacre and his cowardly cronies are that of a bully.
It's hugely ironic how Dacre and his agents of hate campaign for tough laws and yet are terrified of press regulation. Human nature is so flawed that we all need boundaries. Why should the deluded hypocrites of the Daily Mail be exempt?!
The following hall of shame is derived from the Town Hall Rich List of 2013 as published by the very worthwhile Taxpayers' Alliance. The listed greedy bastards are all employees of Scottish councils. If I was a Scottish voter at local elections, I would be making my views quite clear about the disgusting siphoning of public funds towards a select group of selfish individuals. Is it acceptable for ratespayers money to be allocated away from public services to feather the nest of such pigs? Surely not? I would advocate a campaigh of civil disobedience to defy the councils that waste public money so irresponsibly. As far as I am concerned, the wealth-worshippers below are my enemies.
Fergus Chambers; Managing Director of Cordia, Glasgow: £394,719
Here are 100 of Nietzsche's Ubermenschen whose destiny it was to come into this world, shuffle paper, demand disproportionate salaries off the hard-pressed but gullible populace whilst blackmailing us with the bull**** that to downgrade their obscene salaries would result in a mythical 'talent drain'. The only thing being drained is the taxpayers and ratepayers hard-earned money whilst these corporate rogues laugh all the way to the bank. Given the fact that the foolish serfs in the UK regard the royal family as a deity, worthy of worship, then it naturally follows that a whole welter of fat cats and selfish swine can amass vast wealth and get away with this legalised robbery.
Mark Thompson; former director-general of the BBC earned £664,000
Andrew Marr; BBC presenter: £580,000
Jana Bennett; director of BBC Vision: £412,000
Peter Salmon; BBC North director: £375,000
David Nicholson; Chief Executive of the NHS: £255,000
Sir Liam Donaldson earned at least £205,000 as Chief Medical Officer
Christine Connelly; Chief Information Officer for the department of health: £200,000
Heather Lawrence OBE; chief executive of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust: £200,000
Gabriel Scally; regional director of public health: £200,000
Jonathan Michael; chief executive of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS trust (London): £178,000
David Salisbury; director of immunisation: £175,000
Dr Mike Anderson; medical director of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust: £170,000
Paul White; chief executive of Barts and the London NHS trust: £164,500
Michael Barton; Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary: £160,000
Ann Lloyd; Chief Executive of NHS Wales: £160,000
Dame Gillian Morgan; Welsh Permanent Secretary: £160,000
Derek Smith; chief executive of Hammersmith hospitals NHS trust (London): £158,508
Robert Naylor; chief executive of University College London hospitals NHS trust: £156,000
David Edwards; chief executive of Cardiff and Vale NHS trust: £155,000
Dr Tony Jewell; Welsh chief medical officer: £155,000
Sir Hugh Taylor: Permanent Secretary of the department of health: £155,000
Peter Reading; chief executive of University hospitals of Leicester NHS trust: £152,500
Mark Britnell; chief executive of University hospital Birmingham NHS trust: £148,500
Neil McKay; chief executive of Leeds teaching hospitals NHS trust: £147,000
David Highton; chief executive of Oxford Radcliffe hospitals NHS trust: £142,500
Malcolm Stamp; chief executive of Addenbrooke's NHS trust (Cambridge University teaching hospitals trust): £142,260
Andrew Cash; chief executive of Sheffield teaching Hospitals NHS trust: £137,500
Mike Deegan; chief executive of Central Manchester and Manchester children's University NHS trust: £137,500
Stuart Welling; chief executive of Brighton and Sussex hospitals NHS trust: £135,109
Mark Goldman; chief executive of Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull (teaching) NHS trust: £135,000
Gareth Hall of the Welsh department of the economy and transport: £135,000
Dr Gwyn Thomas; director of Informing Healthcare: £135,000
Simon Ash; Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary: £133,068
Martin Baker; Chief Constable of Dorset Constabulary: £133,068
Jacqui Cheer; Chief Constable of Cleveland Constabulary: £133,068
Tim Madgwick; acting Chief Constable of North Yorkshire constabulary: £133,068
Simon Parr; Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary: £133,068
Mark Polin; Chief Constable of North Wales Constabulary: £133,068
Jeff Farrar; temporary Chief Constable of Gwent Constabulary: £133,068
Patrick Geenty; Chief Constable of Wiltshire Constabulary: £133,068
Alfred Hitchcock; Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Constabulary: £133,068
Adrian Lee; Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Constabulary: £133,068
Carwyn Jones; First Minister of Wales: £132,862
David Roberts; chief executive of University hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust: £132,857
Bernard Lawson; acting Chief Constable of Cumbria Constabulary: £130,044
Michael Matthews; acting Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary: £130,044
Andy Parker; Chief Constable of Warwickshire Constabulary: £130,044
Neil Rhodes; Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Constabulary: £130,044
Jackie Roberts; Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Constabulary: £130,044
Lorraine Bewes; director of finance of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust: £130,000
Maggie Boyle; chief executive of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals NHS trust: £130,000
Jeff Buggle of the Welsh department of health and social services: £130,000
Gareth Goodier; chief executive of Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS trust (London): £127,500
Barry Johns; chief executive of West Midlands metropolitan ambulance service NHS trust: £127,500
David Jackson; chief executive of Bradford hospitals NHS trust: £127,360
David Moss; chief executive of Southampton University hospitals NHS trust: £126,500
Stephen Day; chief executive of Norfolk and Norwich University hospital NHS trust: £124,000
Jane Perrin; chief executive of Swansea NHS trust: £124,000
Julie Acred; chief executive of Southern Derbyshire acute hospitals NHS trust: £122,500
John de Braux; chief executive of Epsom and St Hellier NHS trust: £122,500
Jane Collins; chief executive of Great Ormond Street hospital for children NHS trust (London): £122,500
Ian Hamilton; chief executive of St George's healthcare NHS trust (London): £122,500
Cally Palmer; chief executive of Royal Marsden NHS trust (London): £122,500
Stephen Greep; chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire hospitals NHS trust: £122,400
Julian Nettel; chief executive of St Marys NHS trust: £121,566
David Astley; chief executive of East Kent hospitals NHS trust: £121,417
Sheila Foley; chief executive of East London and the City mental health trust: £120,000
Mark Hackett; chief executive of Royal Wolverhampton hospitals NHS trust: £120,000
Bob Hudson of the Welsh department of health and social services: £120,000
Amanda Pritchard; deputy chief executive of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust: £120,000
Peter Bradley; chief executive of London ambulance service trust: £118,000
Moira Britton; chief executive of Tees and north-east Yorkshire NHS trust: £117,500
Cornelius Egan; chief executive of Bradford community health NHS trust : £117,500
Sally Gorham; chief executive of Waltham, Leyton & Leytonstone (London): £117,500
Mike Atkin; chief executive of Leeds community and mental health services teaching NHS trust: £117,000
Christine Daws; finance director of the Welsh government: £115,000
Simon Dean of the Welsh health and social services department: £115,000
Nigel Fisher; chief executive of South-west London and St George's mental health NHS trust: £112,500
John MacDonald; chief executive of Queen's medical centre, Nottingham University hospital NHS trust: £112,500
Graham Nix; chief executive of United Bristol healthcare NHS trust: £112,000
Peter Morris; chief executive of South Manchester University hospitals NHS trust: £111,000
Therese Davis; chief nurse of the Chelsea and Westminster NHS trust: £110,000
Bernard Galton; HR director of the Welsh government: £110,000
Derek Griffin; chief executive of Cafcass Cymru: £110,000
Martin Sykes; chief executive of Value Wales: £110,000
Angela Peddar; chief executive of Royal Devon and Exeter healthcare NHS trust: £109,500
Peter Coles; chief executive of Whipps Cross University hospital NHS trust (London): £107,500
Erville Millar; chief executive of Camden & Islington mental health and social care trust: £107,500
Richard Davies of the Welsh department of public services and performance: £105,000
Mike Hopkins of the Welsh lifelong learning and providers decision: £105,000
Roy Male; chief executive of Blackpool Victoria hospital NHS trust: £105,000
Sue Ross; chief executive of Selby and York primary care trust: £105,000
Nick Temple; chief executive of Tavistock and Portman NHS trust (London): £105,000
Dr Jane Wilkinson; Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Wales: £105,000
Malcolm Lowe-Lauri; chief executive of Kings College hospital NHS trust (London): £104,000
Liam Hayes; chief executive of Doncaster and south Humber NHS trust: £103,161
Sue Assar; chief executive of Central Manchester primary care trust: £102,500
Stuart Bell; chief executive of South London and Maudsley NHS trust: £102,500
Brian Milstead; chief executive of Royal Cornwall hospitals NHS trust: £102,500
Christine Willis; chief executive of North Tees primary care trust: £100,000
If there are numerous underdogs in our society, it logically follows that there is a multitude of overdogs too. This after all appears to be the very essence and inherent flaw in unregulated, free market economies in that they produce winners and losers in a horrible zero-sum game. Here below lurking in the hall of shame are some of those money-grabbers whose very existence is motivated by a love of wealth. Their riches perversely buys them influence and frequently a lenience from the law, rarely afforded to or affordable by the hoi polloi of the inner cities. Hang your heads in shame, you irresponsible, selfish "thieves" in your slick suits.
Motormouth Kelvin MacKenzie once stated that the anarchic youth who engage in looting and rioting are "scum". That may be so, but I would venture to suggest that there is an elite of white collar, suburban "scum" whose activities and attitudes have completely discredited capitalism and which places them on a par with the so-called feral underclass. Underneath are the names of some such individuals. They represent but the tip of a huge, exploitative iceberg that is taking the piss while the large majority must cope with cuts, pay freezes, and much worse. This list is in its infant stages and the amounts are the reported annual income.
Although David Cameron was absolutely correct when he once diagnosed "broken Britain", little did this hypocrite realise that he and the Westminster/Whitehall elite are part of the problem. Why would any young people look up to and respect their political superiors when the personnel of the Establishment are each pocketing disproportionate salaries that are way beyond logic and good sense. Britain is indeed broken and it needs repaired from the top down to the bottom. The human body cannot function if the head is damaged. By the same token, Britain's sickness cannot be cured if the head of the nation (the political class of legislators and mandarins) is malfunctioning.
Admittedly, the list below is a bit random but it ought to illustrate quite clearly how the Establishment are legally stealing from the public purse with the kind of thievery that would have made the Artful Dodger blush with shame. When I consider the overwhelming number of leaders and 'responsible' people earning disgusting amounts of money, I am frankly staggered that the British people allow this injustice to persist. How the foolish populace of the UK have so deferentially accepted this sickening state of affairs beggars belief. Many revolutions have been fought for less. I am livid that Britain prefers to damn Guy Fawkes while the real criminals in the Establishment and business community can continue to take the fucking piss. Maybe the silly people of the UK and their grossly-overpaid masters actually deserve each other!
The trouble with the British masses is if they assembled at a demonstration, they would all quickly disperse if they were each offered a free pint. Yes folks, the Brits are easily bought, and gone are the days when this nation had backbone and good principles. Now it's every man for himself and to Hell with the consequences. That is the great legacy of Mrs Thatcher. She can take credit for having broken the spirit of the population. Everybody is seeking fame and fortune nowadays. The UK is a nation of wannabees. Instead of wishing to change a corrupt, decaying system, many of the dispossessed aspire to become part of the monster that is devouring them! Rather than protest against the fat cats, Joe Public harbours the hope of also becoming a fat cat one day. Most people are corruptible nowadays. In other words, offer anyone wealth or power or fame and fortune and they would abandon anything and everyone to attain such apparent 'prizes'.
Not that Labour can crow about the legacy of Mrs Thatcher. Mr Blair and Mr Brown presided over lavish pay increases for their cronies in the public sector as a means of currying favour with the opinion-formers and movers and shakers. So-called new Labour was zealous in its attempts to out-flank the Conservatives by allowing monstrous pay rises for the bourgeois elite. Austere Britain is still having to grin and bear the adverse impact of the bonus culture, the expenses scandals, and the pay-offs, pensions, and perks of the uber-rich. Keir Hardie must be spinning in his grave.
What really ought to concern the named individuals here and other fortunates who have been fortunate to be omitted thus far is the legacy that they are leaving for future generations. Their own offspring will grow up in the warped, mistaken belief that success is conditioned by how much wealth one has amassed and that a huge bank account and property portfolio are essential ingredients for a happy, fulfilled existence. The most influential members of the chattering classes will have a lot to account for as others see the bad example that they are setting and seek to follow in their flawed footsteps.
Some of the following figures are now probably out-of-date and inaccurate in so far as they err on the low side. If any of the named human parasites are now earning less than £100,000 per annum, I will gladly remove them.
Why is it that the major politicos now make noises about the disparity of wealth but then don't appear to practise what they preach? There are two likely explanations as to why the greedy won't relinquish their excess wealth. Either they have very demanding spouses who expect nothing less than to be maintained in regal luxury, or else the selfish swines realise that money purchases importance and influence. One gets to sit at the top table, so to speak. In other words, the pathetic pursuit of riches is essentially a desire to acquire a lofty status. A pox on all their mansions.
Ultimately the names and statistics derive from various media intenet sites, so if I am wrong, then so are they. I suppose that we all could pay thanks to the newspapers for originally sourcing such information about various obscene salaries. Of course, the viewspapers claim that their collective whistle-blowing is in the public interest. The real truth is that viewspapers are businesses that need to turn a profit. Consequently, as they are operating in a competitive market-place, they must produce attention-grabbing revelations and scandals in order to earn revenue. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to state that most journalists would knock their grandmother in her zimmer fr
The wealth-worshippers are as follows:
Ana Botin of Santander: £4 million
Mark Byford: £949,000 pay-off from the BBC
Mark Carney; Governor of the Bank of England: £874,000
David Mobbs of Nuffield Health: £850,000 in 2011
Tim O'Toole of First Group: £846,000
David Abraham; Chief Executive of Channel Four: £744,000
Sir Antonio Pappano of the Royal Opera House: £741,403 in 2011
Lord Burns of Santander: £600,000
Sir David Higgins of Network Rail: £560,000
Dean Finch of National Express: £550,000
Jay Hunt; Chief Creative Officer of Channel Four: £542,000
David Brown of Go-Ahead: £510,000
Lord Hall; Director General of the BBC: £450,000
Jez Maiden of National Express: £420,000
Patrick Butcher of Network Rail: £382,000
Andrew Wolstenholme of Crossrail: £380,000
Robin Gisby of Network Rail: £360,000
Simon Kirby of Network Rail: £360,000
Sidney Barrie earned £349,000 when previously employed by First Group
Darren Cattell formerly of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust: £340,000 in 2012
Stephen Montgomery of ScotRail: £333,000
Keith Down of Go-Ahead: £326,000
Peter Vicary-Smith of the Consumers' Association: £300,000 in 2012
James Purnell of the BBC: £295,000
Jan Filochowski of West Hertfordshire Hospitals trust: £282,500
Jeff Carr earned £280,000 when previously employed by First Group
Sir Robert Naylor of University College London Hospitals: £262,500
Bernard Hogan-Howe; Chief Constable of the London Metropolitan Police: £260,088
Sir Ron Kerr of Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation trust: £254,000
Professor Stephen Smith of Imperial Healthcare: £250,250
Peter Morris of Barts and the London trust: £247,500
Lord Igor Judge; the Lord Chief Justice: £240,000
Geoff Alltimes of Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council: £225,785
John Devaney of National Express: £225,000
John Foster of Islington Borough Council: £223,385
David McNulty of Surrey County Council:£222,053
John Cooper of CrossCountry: £222,000 in 2011 according to the Daily Telegraph
Derek Myers of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council £220,936
Roger Kelly of Gateshead Council: £219,521
Joanna Killian of Essex County Council: £210,000
Sir Bob Kerslake; Head of the Civil Service: £200,000
Peter Lewis of Haringey Borough Council: £200,000
Stuart Smith; formerly of Liverpool City Council received £198,568 plus £147,000 redundancy
Lord Justice Leveson: £196,707
Sir Jeremy Heywood; Cabinet Secretary: £195,000
Stephen Kavanagh: Chief Constable of Essex Police: £192,163
Alastair Hamilton; Chief Executive of Invest NI: £190,000
Mark Lloyd of Cambridgeshire County Council: £186,167
Sir Nicholas Young of The Red Cross: £184,000
Anabel Hoult of Save The Children: £181,930
Sir Peter Fahy; Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police: £181,455
Chris Sims; Chief Constable of West Midlands Police: £181,455
All High Court judges receive £174,481
Sir Mark Gilmore; Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police: £169,359
Justin Forsyth of Save The Children: £163,000
Karen Boswell of East Coast: £161,000 according to the Daily Telegraph
Sara Thornton; Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police: £160,290
Jon Murphy; Chief Constable of Merseyside Police: £157,260
Sue Sim; Chief Constable of Northumbria Police: £157,260
Michael Holden of Directly Operated Railways: £156,100
Alex Marshall; Chief Constable of Hampshire Police: £154,233
Steve Finnigan; Chief Constable of Lancashire Police: £151,215
Ian Learmonth; Chief Constable of Kent Police: £151,215
Shaun Sawyer; Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police: £151,215
David Crompton; Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police: £148,194
Colin Port; Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Police: £148,194
Martin Richards; Chief Constable of Sussex Police: £148,194
Peter Vaughan; Chief Constable of South Wales: £148,194
Boris Johnson; Mayor of London: £143,911
David Cameron MP; Prime Minister: £142,500
Chris Eyre; Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police: £142,143
John Bercow MP; Speaker of the House of Commons: £142,000
Andy Coulson; former Director of Communications for the Conservative Party earned £275,000 in that role and 'only' £140,000 as the Prime Minister's Director of Communications
Alex Salmond; First Minister of Scotland: £140,000
Ed Miliband MP; Leader of the Opposition: £139,355
Andy Bliss; Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Police: £139,119
Simon Cole; Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police: £139,119
Mick Creedon; Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police: £139,119
Mike Cunningham; Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police: £139,119
Tim Hollis; Chief Constable of Humberside: £139,119
David Shaw; Chief Constable of West Mercia Police: £139,119
David Whatton; Chief Constable of Cheshire Police: £139,119
Phil Gormley; Chief Constable of Norfolk Police: £136,092
Lynne Owens; Chief Constable of Surrey Police: £136,092
Nick Clegg MP; Deputy Prime Minister: £134,565
George Osborne MP; Chancellor of the Exchequer: £134,565
All British cabinet ministers receive £134,565
Loretta Minghella of Christian Aid: £126,072
Ed Llewellyn; Prime Minister's Chief of Staff: £125,000
Martin McGuinness; Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland: £120,000
Peter Robinson; First Minister of Northern Ireland: £120,000
Mark Goldring of Oxfam: £119,560
Dame Barbara Stocking of Oxfam: £119,560
Daniel Moylan earned £112,599 when previously employed by Transport for London
Carolyn Miller, formerly of Merlin, is rumoured to have earned £110,000 in 2011 (according to the Daily Telegraph, 5th August 2013)
Chris Patten of the BBC: £110,000
Nicola Sturgeon; Deputy First Minister of Scotland: £100,748
Geoffrey Dennis of Care International: £100,000
Kate Fall; Prime Minister's Deputy Chief of Staff: £100,000
Peter Murrell; SNP Chief Executive: £100,000
Britain is a fascist democracy. A what? I hear you say. Seriously, folks. Our parents, grandparents, and assorted ancestors went to war in the early 1940s seemingly to defeat the disease of fascism, or more particularly Nazism. However, fascism is still alive and thriving today in Britain and the western world, many decades after the heroic sacrifices of our predecessors. Permit me to explain.
Well, first of all, let us briefly tackle the myth that Britain fought and conquered fascism in the early 1940s. The reality is that the Nazi brand of fascism drew its racist inspiration from an Englishman by the name of Chamberlain: Houston Stewart Chamberlain [who married into the Wagner family]. Nazism was ba
Instead, I would argue that fascism is derived primarily from the Nietzschean concept of the Supermen – individuals who by dint of their skills and talent are supposedly superior to other lesser mortals whom he termed Untermenschen. Well, speaking as a self-respecting Untermensch, I live in a society where celebrities, sporting superstars, business leaders, politicians, and the royal scroungers all earn amounts of money which far exceed the income and ‘wealth’ of the great unwashed. How can it be permissible if fat cat bankers and MPs are not willing to get out of bed for less than about sixty thousand pounds per annum whilst they exhort many millions of the populace to make do with the minimum wage? Why are some people much more handsomely rewarded than others? Is this merely a manifestation of a meritocracy where the high-flying achievers acquire much more wealth and rewards than the under-achievers? Why do the middle-class professionals get exorcised when their retirement funds or pensions are jeopardised and are strangely silent about the have-nots in our selfish society? Could it be that many folk feel that their university education has earned them the right to become a two or three-car family with a holiday home or regular holidays abroad whilst the uneducated should content themselves with much less? Is this not fascism: the belief that some people are more superior than others and deserve much more? This is fascism in its purest, impure concept.
I would venture to state that it is a case of meritocracy gone mad and is instead in keeping with Nietszchean fascism, the notion that certain people are more superior than others and that these Ubermensch deserve more wealth than the Untermensch. The government policy as practised by administration after administration, regardlesss of their apparent political label, is one of containment of the grievances of the underdogs and doing the bare minimum to redistribute income and wealth. No government has the moral courage to confront the great taboo of British politics and society which is to demand that the Head of State and her vast entourage pay their fair share and make a suitable contribution to the economy. It seems that our political leaders are terrified of questioning the royal scrooges in case they take umbrage and refuse to confer knighthoods and such awards. Clearly, patronage is very much part and parcel of the British Establishment. It simpy won’t do to offend the monarch whilst the greed of the monarchy is itself offensive to any sensible observer. Perhaps John Lydon, vocalising in 1977, was correct after all when he stated “God save the Queen, the fascist regime.”
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)
Previous PostsBritain's Dreadful Legal Shitstem by the commentator Gary Watton [http://gw930.blog.com], posted April 14th, 2014
Losing My Religion, posted April 4th, 2014, 2 comments
Double Standards From The 'Sinners', posted February 28th, 2014
SCUM (by the author, commentator, and historian Gary Watton), posted December 20th, 2013
God, I Forgive You, posted December 19th, 2013
Christmas Favourites by the author, historian and musicologist Gary Watton, posted December 18th, 2013
UB40: A Critique by the author, historian, and musicologist Gary Watton, posted December 17th, 2013
An All-Ireland Soccer Team Is A Must by the football historian Gary Watton, posted October 26th, 2013
A Statistical Review Of The 2013 Cricket County Championship by Gary Watton, posted October 25th, 2013
Paul Dacre, editor of the viewspaper that hates Britain by Gary Watton, posted October 4th, 2013
GREEDY BASTARDS of Great Britain [***SEE ALSO THE WEBSITE http://aftu.webgarden.com], posted September 28th, 2013
GREEDY BASTARDS of GREAT BRITAIN; part two (see http://aftu.webgarden.com), posted August 15th, 2013
Greedy Bastards of Great Britain (see also http://atfu.webgarden.com), posted August 14th, 2013
Britain's Fascist Regime by the author and commentator Gary Watton, posted July 17th, 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