Archive for the ‘current affairs’ Category

Good Grief…

January 1, 2015

An extract from Deborah Lipstadt’s Beyond Belief:

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 06.19.58Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 06.20.51

On the Relative Courtesy of Bullets

October 13, 2010

And now, somewhat belatedly, I come to the verdict of the Inquest into the Death of City Barrister, Mark Saunders.  The Coroner’s Court yielded to common sense and returned a verdict of lawful killing.  So it is now, thankfully, at an end.  My favourite newspaper  The Daily Mail seems determined to squeeze the last few drops of blood out of the case.

I wonder what the Daily Mail’s traditional readers would make of Peter Hitchens’ comments in his column two weeks ago, in which he attributes Mr Saunders’ behaviour to the fact that he had been taking anti-depressants: Oh, and please note, the crazed, shotgun-wielding barrister Mark Saunders was taking ant-depressants – another connection everyone refuses to see.’

Yes, Mr Hitchens, Mr Saunders was indeed taking anti-depressants but he had also imbibed alcohol and taken cocaine along with a whole host of other legal/illegal drugs, non of which would have been compatible with one another.  A doctor can only go so far in ensuring that a non-compliant patient (who is not a candidate for a section) adheres to the drug regime that has been prescribed for him.

And now another ‘Daily Hate’ columnist is in on the act.  Max Hastings claims that the police shot Mark Saunders like a ‘mad dog’.  (Is it common for armed police officers to launch into lengthy negotiations with mad dogs before they eventually shoot them?  And who is in charge of negotiations?  I knew police dogs were smarter than your average pooch but still…).  It is, Hastings asserts, ‘an affront to the values of a decent society.’  And to have simply left him to get on with it would have been a lesser affront?  Hastings is at pains to emphasize that Mr. Saunders was ‘drunken and depressed’.  So, wouldn’t that have made him even more dangerous to the public then?  And intoxication itself is no defence in law.  Hastings proceeds to berate the police officers on the scene for denying Mrs Saunders access to her husband.  Given that they were separated, it is hard to see what good that would have done.  Now let’s imagine what would have happened if the police had permitted Mrs Saunders contact with her husband and she had been harmed in any way.  There would have been an outcry, of course, led by The Daily Mail itself.

It occurred to me that Max Hastings and the tabloid for which he writes have chanced upon some scientific evidence which reveals a difference in lethality between the bullets from a gun fired by a city barrister from his 2.2 million pound home and the bullets fired by the gun of some ‘yob’ from a Liverpool council estate.  Perhaps the brilliant barrister’s bullets were gentler, more civilised, more refined.  Perhaps each one presents a summing up before it tears through your flesh and turns your insides to mush.  Lesson learnt: if you must get yourself shot, get yourself shot by a barrister


July 26, 2010


Disturbed by the desolation
Angled, incongruous, always precarious
The sky is unrefined, wild
And we worship it
The natives of this land
Discuss pre-war delicacies
And split girders outline
Anticipation of crumbling granite

There is a kind of dignity
In this display, in this decay
Citadels collapse, entire epochs vanish
At this moment opulent arrangements
Of steel birds descend
Astounding winged instruments
That stretch the webbing
Of the etiquette that constrains the hurricane
With such ruin inflicted upon this destitute nation
There is no serene ritual to repair the annihilation

Peace in Our Skies

April 20, 2010

I bought a black dress from Topshop – size 12. (their sizes are a bit weird). Long, flowing, layered. As soon as I got home Ginger the Cat jumped into my lap and I now have ginger fur all over my lovely new dress. I got around to registering to vote so I won’t be one of the disenfranchised on May 6.

No drugs from Hong Kong, no zopiclone, because of the flight ban. Nature, it seems, is more powerful than any corporation, government or world statesman. It is asserting itself forcefully, dramatically and loudly. My brother, his partner and their new baby daughter live near Birmingham airport so they are enjoying this brief respite from the usually incessant engine noise. Here, in Cambridgeshire, on the airbases, the Americans are also grounded so there is peace in our skies too.

A Burden on the Parish

August 1, 2009


I had to reread this article in The Daily Mail to establish whether or not it is satirical a la Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. It is not. The fine specimen of the master race pictured above uses the extreme example of Theresa Winters, a woman who in her relatively short life has given birth to thirteen children all of whom were taken into care, to justify eugenics. He takes pains to emphasize that this is not what he is advocating. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.  He is more candid about his views in this article in The Telegraph:

“Eugenics, as advocated by kindly figures such as its pioneer, Sir Francis Galton, or its most eloquent exponent, Dean Inge, was simply the notion that the useful and intelligent classes should be allowed, indeed encouraged, to breed, and the murderous morons, who are never going to contribute anything except misery to themselves and others should be discouraged. No one need be killed.”

The article in The Daily Mail is replete with inconsistencies much like Wilson’s own life – he has oscillated between atheism and faith in God for most of his adult life and has pontificated endlessly about this in various right wing newspapers.  Indeed that is what he appears to do in this article.  It is the very embodiment of cognitive dissonance.

‘Human life is not for playing with. Human beings, each and every one of us, are of unique and equal value. And, as I will explain, it is precisely because I share this view that I believe women such as Theresa Winters should be sterilised.”

He then reduces each ‘unique and valuable’ human being to their economic worth and their worldly success.

‘If we pay for these children from the moment of their conception and through their whole lives – of being taken into care, through their early convictions for petty crime, through drug and drink problems, through healthcare and eventually to sickness and old-age benefits, state-funded housing and hospitalisation – why on earth should we not ask ourselves whether we wish to foot the bill?’

He also uses this case as a stick with which to beat benefit claimants. He does not seem to realize that if her children do not reside with her then Ms. Winters is unlikely to receive benefits on their behalf.  He also seems to be unaware of the fact that if these children had been taken from their mother from birth or before the age of two then it is highly likely that they would have been adopted.  By a loving, caring and probably middle class family.

The views expressed in this article are so repugnant that even the average Daily Mail reader would find them hard to stomach. The children AN Wilson refers to may also be future cannon fodder in wars started and sustained by their social superiors.  I wonder if that thought has occurred to him. ‘You are a burden on the parish’ Mr Bumble said to the eponymous protagonist of Oliver Twist.  It appears that little has changed.

Addendum: : Just noticed this: ‘As a society, we already accept abortion on demand, we already experiment on human embryos and we are on the verge of legalising suicide.’ This intellectual colossus is so dim that he isn’t even aware that it is not suicide that the law forbids but assisting a suicide. Didn’t they teach you basic research techniques at New College, Oxford? Or even how to make use of your minions (aka PhD students.) I’m sure your alma mater is very proud of you.


January 24, 2009

innocence defiled

And so the latter day Moll Flanders also known as Karen Matthews has been sentenced.  What she did was wrong.  I’ve never disputed that but is what she did really worse that this?

It gets worse: ‘He said: “Only four of these assailants would probably have been convicted – six had to be let go.’  And it wasn’t even headline news. It was tucked away on the inside pages of tabloids and broadsheets. It was an afterthought.  Will the perpetrators of this truly evil crime spend their time in gaol fearing for their lives as Karen Matthews is?  Have their fellow prisoners expressed animosity towards them?  Is there a price on their heads?  And, above all, where is the public outrage in this case?

Addendum: From The Guardian: ‘Rogel McMorris, 18, now living in Stockwell, south London, was jailed for nine years for rape and grievous bodily harm.  Jason Brew, 19, from Tottenham, was jailed for six years and Hector Muaimba, 20, from Walthamstow, was given eight years for rape and robbery. Stephen Bigby, who was charged with rape, was stabbed to death in a gang fight in Oxford Street before he could face trial.’  Pitiful.  Quite pitiful.  I wonder if Sun readers will protest on the streets for this young woman.  I wonder if Daily Mail readers will be writing indignant letters to their MPs on her behalf.  Probably not.  We inhabit a strange and seriously fucked-up world.  And no one will ask them why because no one ever does.

All Aboard the Gravy Train

December 14, 2008

Circle of Visciousness

Interesting comment by Peter Hitchens in his Mail on Sunday Column.  And, God forgive me, I agree with him.  I feel all dirty now.  I’m going to be scrubbing my skin with scouring pad and bleach for the next week.

My mother, a psychiatric nurse in inner city Birmingham, on an acute ward told me how the addiction gravy train works. Here’s what happens: police bring addict in to the acute ward.  The next day they meet with the consultant psychiatrist and key nurse and a care plan is drawn up.  One of the conditions of that care plan will be that if the addict leaves the hospital and returns obviously under the influence of drugs they will be discharged.  In numerous cases this is exactly what they will do – leave the hospital and return clearly under the influence of their drug of choice.  The nurses will recommend discharge.  The patient will meet with his/her consultant and the nurses will almost invariably be overruled, proving that the care plan is, quite literally, not worth the paper it’s written on.

Treating addicts as helpless victims is not always helpful and, in many cases, it can be downright destructive.  Because the hidden message is that they will always be addicts, that they are not capable of anything else; that this is all they are and this is all they ever will be.  By failing to treat addicts as autonomous beings who are responsible for their own actions, you are depriving them of their humanity. And that’s more insulting than a thousand ‘right wing tirades’ could ever be.

Sometimes kindness can kill.

Damned Cheek!

December 9, 2008

The unexamined life is not worth living

– Socrates

The unlived life is not worth examining

– Anonymous.

Life has not ravaged me because I have never lived’

– Me

‘I do think the right wing press is evil’

Michael Portillo

Amanda Platell’s ‘contribution’ to the ‘Karen Matthews’ debate can be found here.  It is referenced on this blog.  Ms. Platell proceeds to label ‘Formula 1 champion and Swiss resident Lewis Hamilton’  ‘hypocrite of the week’.

This is the same Amanda Platell who was press officer to William Hague from 1997-2001. No, it is Ms. Platell who is the hypocrite of the week. Hypocrite of the century. Those of us with a half decent memory recall how she betrayed the Tories after the general election of 2001. She kept a ‘secret video diary’ of the election campaign and then unleashed it on the world when the Tories, to whom she had pledged her loyalty, lost.  She exploited their downfall.  What motivated her then? Greed and the desire for fame would be my guess which makes her, ultimately, no better than the ‘terrifying underclass’ she condemns.  Karen Matthews, she asserts, is the ‘personification of that terrifying growing phenomenon: a feckless, amoral, workshy, benefit-dependent underclass’.  Ms. Platell is, in my humble opinion*, the personification of the lack of personal loyalty endemic in the ‘political class’.  And, if those people can’t be loyal to one another, then how can we expect them to honour their commitments to the public?

*A phrase that will probably never emanate from the keyboard of Ms. Platell.

Addendum: And, according to this blogger, every member of the ‘underclass’ is a clone of Karen Matthews.  This is what she has to say about Ms. Matthews’s neighbours: ‘I know all the neighbours ‘rallied round’ but these are exactly the same people who would also get up a lynch mob in a nanosecond, were there even a whisper of paedophilia in their area.’ (Let’s rephrase that sentence: ‘these are exactly the same people who would get up a lynch mob in a nanosecond, were there even a whisper of  ‘a member of the underclass’ in the area’.  That’s more like it.  The words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ spring to mind for some reason. Cool header/graphics though!)

My Response: ‘I can’t see how you could possibly know that.  And the ‘lynch mob’ mentality you refer to can be found in our mainstream media, in newspapers staffed by (mostly) middle class journalists.’

Addendum 2: :  the nihilist in me, however, finds it hard to disagree with this: ‘It’s hard for me to imagine being so brutish and de-sensitised, living each day totally in the moment, like a hyena. If that is the direction we are heading in as a species then we may as well just nuke the lot just now and leave it to the cockroaches.’  I don’t believe, however, that people who live their lives in this manner are confined to a particular social class.  If you want proof of that then look at the antics of the so-called British ‘aristocracy’.  And I derive hope from stories such as this. The sentence handed down by the judge was pretty derisory and this case received relatively little publicity in the British media.  One fact the journalists picked up on was that reading was for this girl a ‘passion’. I hope she can carry that with her into the future. I hope she succeeds in spite of the abuse that was inflicted upon her by her so-called parents. No one should be written off and many people from abusive backgrounds can and do make a success of their lives. No one is ‘doomed’ to failure and, if society believes that they are and condemns them to a state of eternal victimhood, then it is compounding the injustice inflicted upon them by those who were supposed to care for them.  And this, heartbreakingly, is the future that certain people seem to be wishing upon Shannon Matthews.  That is the last thing this little girl needs right now.  What she needs, more than anything else in the world, is for people to believe in her.

And for some reason every time I think about the Matthews children a phrase enters my head: ‘Done because we are too menny.’

In case you’re curious, my opinions on ‘mindless procreation’ and promiscuity can be found here and here.  In the meantime instead of  ‘paying people to have brats’ (not my words) we should pay people to have cats because they’re cooler and cheaper to keep and you don’t have to spend half your life looking like a beached whale!

A little late but while I was on my travels I came across this on Deborah Lipstadt’s blog.  Channel Four never had much of a mind to lose. Controversy at any price.

Yet Another Freaking Addendum: I wonder if people regard the behaviour of the bloke in this article as being ‘typical’ of the ‘educated middle classes’ aka the Übermenschen.  A rhetorical question really because we all know they wouldn’t and I’d be prepared to stake my life on that.  And they’d be right not to.  Unlike Karen Matthews he is not expected to be ‘an ambassador for his class’. Funny that.

‘Little Shannon’

December 5, 2008

The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country…an unfailing faith that there is a treasure if only you can find it, in the heart of every man – these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it.

Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, July 1910

 ‘…the individuals who sat at the table at the Wannsee conference were salaried functionaries from one of Europe’s great nations, not back-street terrorists, though their crimes were to be greater than any conventional ‘criminal’ act in the history of the world. Equally instructive, when some still refer to an ill-educated ‘criminal underclass’, is that of the fifteen people around the table eight had academic doctorates.’ (My italics).

Auschwitz, the Nazis and the Final Solution, Laurence Rees

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes  1:9

Shannon’s mother, the now infamous Karen Matthews is, according to Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan pure evil‘.  If this is so then what does that make this man (Peter Tobin)?  His story barely registered on my radar simply because it was not front page news and my patience with the mainstream media is almost at an end.  If the mainstream media coverage reflects the severity of a crime then that would make Ms. Matthews more evil than Mr. Tobin.  Feckless, inarticulate and not exactly over-endowed with brains she may be but ‘pure evil’?  In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think so.  She sucks at being evil and is, at this very moment, awaiting a rejection letter from hell.  Satan himself wrote: “Evil?  We’ve got Hitler, we’ve got Pol Pot, we’ve got Stalin.  Sorry, love, but your name ain’t down here so you’re not coming in.’

Superintendent. Brennan also (most unwisely in my opinion) stated his belief that if the police hadn’t found Shannon and arrested Michael Donavon when they did then she may have been murdered.  There appears to be no concrete evidence to support this, only speculation.  One has to wonder why, if this is true, Mr. Donovan was never charged with attempted murder.  This:  ‘Little Shannon Matthews may have been just minutes from being murdered when she was rescued, senior detectives revealed last night. They believe Michael Donovan was poised to kill her and flee when officers burst into the flat’ sounds like pure conjecture to me. ‘ Supt Andy Brennan, who led the massive hunt for the youngster said: “I am convinced Donovan was planning to take Shannon’s  life rather than face justice.’ ‘

I am not defending the actions of Ms. Matthews.  I condemn them unequivocally.  I also believe that her treatment at the hands of the mainstream media is, in comparison to the treatment of offenders who have committed similar crimes, somewhat disproportionate.  And I have a feeling her sentence will be too.

As for ‘Little Shannon’, she will probably wind up in care or spending what is left of her childhood in the custody of a seemingly endless stream of foster parents.  Until she is sixteen, that is, and the media lose interest in her and the cycle starts all over again.  Or maybe she’ll get the support she needs, compete school and even end up at university before embarking upon a high flying career.  In a parallel universe perhaps, one in which things actually make sense.

Predictably, this case is being used as a stick with which to beat the so-called ‘underclass’ and, even more predictably, it’s being used as a stick with which to beat new Mainstream Media Enemy No. 1: social workers.  No surprises there then.

This Week…

April 16, 2008

I have been mostly shopping. And yes, I am aware that I shouldn’t be indulging in such frivolous pastimes.  I should be wringing my hands and weeping helplessly over atrocities occurring on the other side of the planet. On second thoughts:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference


A Refusal to Mourn the Death, By Fire, of a Child in London

Dylan Thomas

Never until the mankind making
Bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence the last light breaking
And the still hour
Is come of the sea tumbling in harness

And I must enter again the round
Zion of the water bead
And the synagogue of the ear of corn
Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed
In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn

The majesty and burning of the child’s death.
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Deep with the first dead lies London’s daughter,
Robed in the long friends,
The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
Secret by the unmourning water
Of the riding Thames.
After the first death, there is no other.

Some ‘photies’:
(My Liverpudlian therapist is getting me to take photographs of myself from various angles for obvious reasons.)

And another thing:

%d bloggers like this: