Friday, September 30, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Shigeru Umebayashi, by JD

Shigeru Umebayashi (born February 19, 1951 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka) is a Japanese composer. He is best known for his film scores.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

UKROMANIA: The Texican War of 2072

From my Substack column - why not join for FREE updates?

This is set in a parallel universe; you can draw some parallels…

Seen in retrospect, the war was inevitable.

It was a long time coming. Back in 2041 the United States had fallen apart under the pressure of globalism, the FIRE economy and the over-concentration of wealth while public squalor grew. Out of the flames arose a new American Federation comprising most of the States and with a fresh Constitution, the nation’s third - as Jefferson had rightly said, the dead have no power over the living.

Most of the States, but not all. The ancient Mexican possessions had developed a different identity as their populations swelled with migration from the south. A group of territories including Colorado, New Mexico, Baja California and Arizona declared independence. Recognising that they were weak individually, over a period of years each joined the Latin American Union (LAU), flying its flag, a circlet of stars on a red ground, alongside its own.

Joining the LAU also meant becoming members of the Central American Treaty Organisation (CATO), sponsored by China and ostensibly formed to resist imperialist aggression. The creeping acquisition of non-aligned States had gone on despite Mexico’s assurances to the contrary, and made the government in Washington nervous. Accordingly, CATO had wisely desisted, at that stage, from stationing nuclear missiles in these areas.

One former US State with old Mexican links had remained neutral: Texas.

Potentially, Texas had vital military and economic significance. Its northern border was only some 500 miles from the AF’s Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. In the south, its western edge was a mere 100 miles or so from Monterrey and its eastern shores were in a position to control naval activity and maritime trade in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Texas had a challenge to maintain order, what with the notorious corruption of its post-independence political establishment, the power of the oligarchs and the tensions beween its Hispanic and Anglophone communities. The government in Austin tried to maintain a balance between its two great neighbours, despite financial blandishments from both sides, but it was only a matter of time before somebody shook its tree.

For the hawks of Mexico City, the prize was too great to resist; it was the key to unravelling the American Federation. They coveted the immense natural and energy resources of the AF. Also, they disliked President Jackson, now in his sixteenth year of office. The President had disciplined the super-bandits that had been eating the country alive and he was popular with his voters, despite being portrayed abroad as an evil tyrant. He was proving himself a tough old bird.

It was time to pluck his feathers.

Mexico’s foreign intelligence agency, the CNI, decided on a policy of ‘overextending and unbalancing’ the Jackson regime, initially without direct military confrontation.

Canada was to be useful, having fault lines that could be exploited. There was the simmering separatism of Quebec, so mischievously played by France’s President de Gaulle on his visit in 1967; the enduring links between the Francophone populace there and their relations in New England; the activism of First Nation peoples of both countries, whose ancestral lands in many cases straddled the border; even some Georgist factions, descendants of the royalists who had been forced to flee revolutionary America three centuries before.

Accordingly, various Canadian provinces broke out in conflicts that spilled over into the northern AF; distractions that were difficult and expensive for the latter to settle, that soured relations with Ottawa and further served to confirm Jackson’s international profile as a warlike imperialist and oppressor of dissidents.

The hour seemed right to ignite the Lone Star State. In 2063 the President of Texas, urged by the LAU/CATO to submit to them, had opted instead for a closer-but-fraternal relationship with the American Federation, and a seemingly spontaneous wave of demonstrations broke out in Austin; perhaps not unconnected with Mexico’s CNI, whose Head had been spotted in the city at the time - there were even bizarre reports of snipers who shot not at one side but both.

The revolution in the following year replaced the President with another who not only agreed to join the LAU but set out to make Spanish the official language across the whole country (five years later in 2069, the Texan government passed a law to make Spanish compulsory in schools, universities and many other areas, including official departments, electoral procedures and political campaigning.)

This clove the nation in two. The predominantly English-speaking areas in the north understood that they would be victimised; the AF’s President Jackson annexed a portion of the territory and helped the citizens declare independence in a referendum. The new Texan President immediately sent large forces to besiege the Anglophone separatists and the shelling of Dallas began. A trilateral commission sought to resolve the conflict through regionalisation, but the ‘Austin agreements’ were never fully implemented.

After five years in office the President of Texas was himself deposed, partly because he was seen as grossly corrupt; his successor, President Zapata, came in on a platform of cleansing corruption and seeking to make peace, things he had promoted in his previous career as a television satirist. He soon became a cat’s-paw of the oligarchs who still effectively ran the Lone Star State; the oppression of the Anglophones continued and intensified. The Texan Army not only fought the northern militias but in towns where they gained a foothold they set up snipers to shoot civilians going about their daily business.

Jackson had started to champion the interests of former US citizens who now found themselves domiciled in post-collapse satellite states, often experiencing discrimination as English-speaking minority communities. A survey conducted in the AF - it’s not clear whose initiative this was - put Texas as the top place where Americans felt their former compatriots to be persecuted. The narrative suggested that part of Jackson’s role was to take action on behalf of ex-Americans.

After eight years of unarguably severe provocation, Jackson did what most of his voters thought right and much of the rest of the Western world saw as inexcusably wrong: he invaded Texas to combat the Lone Star forces.

This was a godsend for the LAU, who continued to stand off but provided enormous help in the form of money and arms, military training and advice. Jackson had fallen into their trap: Texas would be his Vietnam.

The personable and vigorous Zapata used his PR and entertainment skills to promote the image of the Austin government as victims. The Latin internet burst out in Lone Star flags, pro-American sites were censored, Zapata was invited to address foreign national assemblies and even open a session of the Mexican Stock Exchange to signal his willingness for Texas to be opened up to LAU capital.

Another attempt to make peace, in April 2072, was stymied when the British Prime Minister flew into Austin to tell Zapata that it would not be accepted by… those that mattered, even though continuation of the conflict was seriously hurting vital trade between the AF and northern members of the LAU.

The pro-Texan propaganda became so one-sided that even a distinguished journalist merely asking for open discussion felt forced to salt his article with condemnations of Jackson: ‘a sinister tyrant’, ‘regards dissent as treason’, ‘the invasion (w)as barbaric, lawless and stupid’, Jackson’s ‘idiotic crime, which has done limitless damage to the peace and security of that country for decades to come and perhaps forever.’

The rest of this old and tragic tale, you know.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

WEEKENDER: Hits the Ground Running? by Wiggia


This is the new Health Secretary, I have never cared about what someone looks like or their ’charisma’; my only concern is that they do the job they are paid for. In the case of the new Health Secretary I already have doubts, not because of the above photo but simply because she has no knowledge of the NHS and is a ‘friend' of the PM; that alone suggests nepotism and lack of merit in getting the job. If I am proved wrong, then good.

Most of us know what is wrong with the NHS; we have to put up with its shortcomings on an almost daily basis.

Sadly as is the case with all newly appointed officials that want to appear to hit the ground running, though in this case that conjures images I won't go into, n announcement is made re GPs and appointments:                                                                                                                                                                              

The woman is deluded if she thinks making such a statement will make the slightest difference to our everyday experiences.

And within minutes of the announcement representatives of GPs were saying it is impossible to implement the pledge. Today in the Times a GP makes a claim that GPs are tired with workload they are having to support; perhaps she should put her head round the door of our surgery and see if she can find more than two GPs on the premises, out of eight, on any working day. Methinks they do protest to much.

But it gives an example of what any health secretary is up against: radical reform is needed but won't come from statements such as the one above.

This is no different to the announcement by the then health secretary under Cameron who declared we would all have choice over the GPs and surgeries we can go to, the result of which was an actual decline in all choices. Still, the revolving door of opportunity keeps these people from ever having to account for their proclamations.

The intention as with this one is to buy time, to be seen to be doing something, when the truth is that only a radical change in the GP set up will change anything.

As we pay them with our taxes there should be a revision of their contract. We don’t pay them to choose to work one day a week for the same salary as many now are, and the students who are currently studying and stating they have no intention of working more than three days should be told that they work five days a week for say ten years in the NHS, as again the taxpayer has paid for their tuition and demand a Quid pro quo in return.

At this moment in time we pay and receive a third world service at best in return; in a sane world that should not be allowed to continue.

I don’t even have to go into the reasons why the statement is just that, words. If you can’t even get someone to answer the phone at the surgery how are you going to enforce your ‘rights’? Time for someone serious to take charge of the NHS and all who sail in her.

At the same time Rosie Cooper MP for West Lancashire has stood down from being the MP for that constituency at the age of 72, to take the lucrative position as the Chair of Mersey Trust at a time in life most have retired. This woman has only become an MP after five attempts with three different parties? And despite some political alliances with health matters has never run anything of substance.

Her reason for changing careers is said to be because of death threats, but it took this offer a couple of years and much ‘soul searching’ to jump ship. It seems the revolving door is still revolving. Is this really the best they could come up with? Nothing changes, especially within the NHS or the political establishment.

Friday, September 23, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Fauré's Requiem

 Well it has been a strange couple of weeks and the funeral and interment were spectacular, if a little 'over the top': I thought Monday's procession/parade was too long and the Queen's coffin got lost from view in that multitude of service personnel. Camera angles may have had a lot to do with that, I don't know.

So to round off this part of history here is Faure's Requiem in full. It is by far the best in my opinion because it has a positive 'feel' to it. I see it as a musical affirmation of transcendence rather than an ending of a life.


Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924) composed his Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, between 1887 and 1890. His reasons for composing the work are unclear, but do not appear to have had anything to do with the death of his parents in the mid-1880s. He composed the work in the late 1880s and revised it in the 1890s, finishing it in 1900.

Fauré wrote of the work, "Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest."

The piece premiered in its first version in 1888 in La Madeleine in Paris for a funeral Mass.

Faure Requiem Op.48
Gabriel Fauré (Composer), Robert Shaw (Conductor), Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (Orchestra), Judith Blegen (Soprano), James Morris (Baritone)

1. Introït et Kyrie (D minor) 0:00
2. Offertoire (B minor) 6:24
3. Sanctus (E-flat major) 14:36
4. Pie Jesu (B-flat major) 18:07
5. Agnus Dei et Lux Aeterna (F major) 21:48
6. Libera Me (D minor) 27:55
7. In Paradisum (D major) 32:16

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Only disaster can save us !

President Biden’s melodramatic speech in Philadelphia was an amped-up reprise of Hillary Clinton’s in Reno back in 2016: a combination of bogeyman politics with a promise to do something for the people.

It’s hard to tear our gaze away from the dirty tricks both sides are playing now, but really it’s the plans for the country’s reconstruction we should be considering. The question is, do they go far enough, or are they merely intended to get the Democratic Party safely through this November’s mid-term elections?

For example, there’s the Student Loan Relief scheme announced on 24 August. The $10k-$20k for qualifying applicants will be some help, yet not really solve the problem of the big debts and high interest charges. At an estimated cost to the taxpayers of half a trillion dollars (or even double that) it’s a very expensive token gesture. (It may also be technically illegal, if Biden has really declared the end of the pandemic.)

A more significant move would be to rescind the 2005 law - which Biden himself supported - that made it impossible for students to cancel their debt by declaring bankruptcy; that would make banks much more careful in assessing whether the chosen academic course was likely to boost the graduate’s earnings sufficiently to justify the lender’s risk.

Then there’s the ‘we beat Big Pharma!’ crowing over reducing the cost of prescription drugs, which on closer inspection won’t take effect before 2025, applies to a limited number of medications and won’t seriously impact that industry’s profits.

The recently released Biden-⁠Harris Economic Blueprint has much more in it and it remains to be seen how much of that is also subject to the death of a thousand provisos. The New York Post called it ‘58 pages of malarkey’ and ‘ financially illiterate’ and Fortune said it was ‘a love letter to the unions’; well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

At Philadelphia Biden boasted ‘the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’, yet the comparison is more like a contrast. One doesn’t feel there’s a real challenge to what Bernie Sanders has termed America’s oligarchs. Maybe it’s because the Democrats just don’t sense they are strong enough.

In 1933 the nation was in a five-star disaster; goodness knows how many Americans died of starvation, disease exacerbated by malnutrition, deaths of despair. Some who didn’t know what things were really like in Russia were beginning to think Communism looked a better option. In came FDR and warned in his inaugural address that if necessary he would use ‘broad Executive power’ to deal with the emergency. Among many other measures, he swiftly allowed some banks to fail and regulated others, in particular passing the ‘Glass-Steagall’ Act to keep depositors’ money separate from speculative investment banking.

In 1999, President Clinton - a Democrat - declared that the Act was ‘no longer appropriate’ and signed off its repeal, a step that some see as a major contributory factor in the Global Financial Crisis a few years afterward.

When, a decade later, another Democrat - President Obama - came to power, many people, myself included, had great hope that he would use the crisis and the deep support of the people to cleanse the Augean stables of high finance; but no.

I still can’t work out whether these two suffered a failure of nerve or were simply colluding with enormously powerful forces, ones that have kept down the workers and sucked up the economic growth of decades for themselves, and are even now buying up farmland and residential property wholesale so that they will control the nation’s food and turn its people into perma-renters.

The young are burdened with inescapable college debts, cannot afford to buy a house and have children, cannot support a family on one income… the cheerful, stand-on-your-own-two-feet Fred and Wilma Flintstone lifestyle is receding beyond their grasp. The growing demographic imbalance may make mass worker-age immigration necessary even as it magnifies the scale of America’s systemic difficulties.

The dysfunctional economy is in some ways as bad as back in 1933, but disguised by ‘magic money’ and terrifying levels of debt, otherwise surely something really big would have to be done now.

‘Getting’ Trump and the MAGA louts will only tackle the symptoms. The longer effective treatment is deferred, the greater will be the crisis. Better, perhaps, to desist from party politicking and admit that major catastrophe is upon us.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Remembering the Queen


Pietro Annigoni painted this in 1955, when the Queen was in her late twenties. I remember seeing it on the wall of the Sergeants’ Mess where we, the wife and children of an officer, had the rare honour to be invited to join their whist drive. The sergeants are known as the backbone of the Army and their privileges are jealously guarded.

Now according to Wikipedia the depiction was ‘criticised for its romantic treatment and for prioritising Elizabeth's role as the monarch over insights into her inner life.’ It is difficult to respond politely to such an insensitive perception.

It is not a picture of a woman but of a royal monarch. Queen Elizabeth is wearing the Order of the Garter, which dates back to 1348 and ‘is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.’ The sober cloak and the Queen’s mien speak of her solemn and steely dedication to the service of her people. No wonder the sergeants - and the public generally - loved it.

The muted colours of the sky and surrounding landscape also suggest the challenges facing the country, great ones in those first years after a war that had bankrupted us in the fight to preserve civilisation, and yet made us pull together and look after one another as we had not done before. It was to be a new and better world for us all.

On her twenty-first birthday eight years earlier, the then Princess vowed:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
The Empire was on its way out, but the Commonwealth of Nations grew to fifty-six member states during her reign and her diplomacy will have been part of the reason why many of them thought fit to join.

The Queen kept her word and symbolised the unity and mutual commitment of our people. That is why many thousands have queued day after day, even overnight, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Saturday, September 17, 2022

WEEKENDER: Overkill, the Media Circus, by Wiggia

Like the majority of the population I will be watching the pageantry surrounding the death and burial of Queen Elizabeth 11. Not only was she a remarkable woman in the role she played for seventy years, but in many ways her going is a final break with the past glories of this nation, it will not be and cannot be repeated.

Her funeral will be an event we do better than any other nation on this earth. Previous ones such as Churchill’s, still just within living memory, are examples of that, as was the Queen's coronation which as a child I witnessed; historic events that stay in the mind of those who witness them for the rest of their lives, I have no doubt that next Monday will be no different.

In many ways considering the appalling state we and the west are now in, it is as if a full stop has been imposed on an era that not only had the Queen reigning over us as a figurehead reminding us of past greatness but also her passing signifies the end of a nation of Empire and our standing in the world. Much of that had already gone yet the presence of the Queen softened the decline that we  see all around us. I am sure she was aware of the fact but at least she will not have to see the end product.

All that for those that care is common knowledge.

What we are witnessing at this moment in time is the total overkill by the media in the endless blanket coverage of all items to do with the death of our monarch. Past similar events did not have social media or umpteen TV channels to record everything or relay endless interviews with people of no interest and little consequence, but I write this with a week to go and already TV channels are repeating items that have already been flogged to death.

The initial silence, promoted straight away by David Starkey, over the status and more of the Harry and Megan saga that is a threat to the main focus of this funeral lasted hardly as long as his request. Analysis of one appearance in public and an impending book soon to be published gets more and more airtime when the whole issue should be parked till after the funeral.

GB news as an example, has abandoned everything unless there is a connection to the Queen's death. We are being reduced to examining the minutiae of items for the sake of it, simply to fill air time. The presenters will have been wearing black so long that afterwards we will be finding it difficult to imagine them dressed in any other way.

Even someone like the aforementioned David Starkey who I would in normal circumstances gladly watch and listen to even if he was reading the weather forecast, is being used to endlessly plug gaps in airtime to the point of being tedious.

The never ending interrogation of the Sussexes, and will the brothers ever speak to one another again, has reached the stage when 'body language experts', behavioural psychologists and others are being used to continue the examination of their behaviour, when the only obvious fact is Kate looks like she could kill Megan, and she may or may not have reason, but that is all.

In some ways all this should be expected. It is now the way of the world: tittle tattle. Social media has reduced events to endless sound bites. Fortunately despite all this the main event won’t (we hope) be diminished.

This type of presentation has been expanding for some years. The introduction has became a six part play: no longer do you get a half hour summary in the run up to the Cup Final, you get a whole morning where everyone from the managers to the beverage providers is asked for an opinion and then asked again.

The public can no longer be allowed to watch and form their own opinion. It is the media equivalent of the ‘nudge’ unit forever pushing other opinions in our direction to the exclusion of all else.

Sadly the public have assimilated all this and over time have become the putty in it all, never questioning whether this the way forward is the right way: it is almost as though they prefer the media and the government to determine the amount of emotion that should be displayed.

The Diana effect has become the norm and is used as a template.

And the media milk it and encourage it with another of those overused phrases that appear at times like this, ‘the outpouring of grief was self evident‘ said x reporter on the ground, despite no real evidence of it. Whatever happened to the stoic approach that was the norm? Today we are encouraged by those same TV experts on air to show one's emotions as if in a competition; we are as one commenter said, ‘in a world of emotional incontinence’.

Fortunately one doesn’t have to sit there for eighteen hours a day listening and viewing padded-out time-filling nonsense, all one has to do is view the main event as that is all you will remember; judicious use of the off button will do wonders for your sanity.

Friday, September 16, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Commemoration for HM The Queen

On Monday I watched the service from St Giles' Cathedral, I watched the whole thing on BBC's red button which had no commentary. A blessed relief from the prattling on of 'commentators' who feel the need to fill in the silences. 

Don't know if you have walked along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh but it is quite steep so the slow march behind the hearse would have been hard work. It certainly looked it by the end. 

And a wonderful memorial service; I will admit to a tear or two when Karen Matheson was singing.

Which prompted me to find the video of it and to add a few more for this week's musical laments. 

The last video, Angels From The Ashes, was written as a tribute forNew York's fire fighters after 9/11.


Bays of Harris, Psalm 118, 
Karen Matheson St Giles Cathedral, HRH Queen Elizabeth II, 12th September

Gaelic psalms at Back Free Church, Isle Of Lewis- 20/21/oct/2003

Gaelic hymn - 'Mo Ghrá Thú' (by Aoife Ní Fhearraigh)

Margaret & Martyn Bennett - A Theàrlaich òig (Oh young Charles Stuart)

An Iolaire

Flowers of the Forest (Dark Isle Bagpiper)

Angels from the Ashes

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Covid Moron Home Testing Kit - re-post

 Monday, November 22, 2021

People who oppose, or even worry about, the 'vaccines' developed to combat Covid-19 are all lumped together in their critics' minds as 'anti-vaxxers'. This show a deplorable lack of discrimination and also calls for some objective means of verification.

We are glad to report that there is now a quick and easy self-test for Covid stupidity, and better still there is no need to stuff anything up yourself, unless that is your thing and if so there are already plenty of suitable materials in your house.

Simply respond Yes or No to each of the following statements and then score yourself according to the guidance given below.

1. The 'vaccines' are 100% safe. Nobody has been injured or killed as a result of one or more jabs. Any rumours to the contrary have probably been spread by the Russians.

2. The 'vaccines' are suitable for everyone, in every condition - young or old, pregnant or not, sick or well, fighting fit or immunocompromised by e.g. cancer drugs.

3. The 'vaccines' are 100% effective. Nobody who has been jabbed has been hospitalised or died as a result of catching Covid after immunisation.

4. The 'vaccines' not only protect you from catching Covid, they prevent you from passing it on to anyone else.

5. Unlike antibiotics, the indiscriminate and widespread use of the 'vaccines' will not, by eliminating competition, foster the development of new, medication-resistant strains of the disease.

6. The 'vaccines' will have no effect on genital organs or the pre- and post-birth development of unborn children.

7. The 'vaccines' will not reduce the effectiveness of your immune system, against Covid or any other infection, either temporarily or permanently.

8. The most rigorous longitudinal investigation into Covid will never show any positive correlation between immunisation and elevated likelihood of later serious illnesses or sudden deaths.


'Yes' to all: you are a sensible citizen. The world has always needed trusting people like you, often as infantry.

'No' to one or more, but not all, questions: you are a Common Moron. We can tell when your kind has learned to use a knife and fork from the scratch marks on your face.

'No' to all questions: you are that rare and beautiful thing, the Perfect Moron. Every government department and company board needs one of you, so they can consult you on all matters, listen attentively and do the exact opposite of what you recommend.


Test packs will be available to the general public as soon as supply line issues have been resolved.

Monday, September 12, 2022

START THE WEEK: Funny Old World, by Wiggia

 Macron says the days of abundance are over…………his Marie Antoinette moment…..

I doubt that he will along with our own, expenses paid energy bills elite, suffer from any lack of abundance.

Not that there is anything new in his statement……

Naturally ‘abundance in the eye of the beholder, it appears that Obama has dashed for gas before the winter arrives with the installation of a 2500 gallon propane gas tank that will if necessary see him through the winter at his pad in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s only fair that the proles should suffer for energy shortage while he pollutes the climate he is so passionate about.

While we can all with hindsight write articles and make comments about current affairs, so much today has no need for hindsight as we have been saying certain things for years. This comment below has no hindsight involved, it is just about a departing PM who has turned out to be an almost total failure; even his much applauded 'got Brexit done' is a joke as we have subsequently discovered, leaving Northern Ireland in the clutches of the EU.

This was the comment about his last public speech after a pathetic ‘legacy’ tour? One of many on the same theme.

“Saving £10 per year would take 300 years to compensate for £3k increase in energy bills. BJ is so far removed from reality as to be considered insane. He can have no empathy with the working man, we are space aliens to him.”

Boris doesn’t obviously do maths, or much else come to that, as his £20 kettle has to be taken from the savings; and how long does a modern kettle last? Two years. Rresult: no gain at all. The Daily Star got it right for once with a front cover with 'Prat' on it.

No doubt Boris thinks this is a planet-saving piece of equipment as well…

And before some clever Dick says the company site shows it can be charged in 2.5 hrs, that is with phase 3 electricity which a remote or new site will not have.

Another closet eco warrior is the unlikely Kevin MacCloud of Grand Designs fame. A, to me, strange article in the Times has him showing his credentials (ooh matron!) Despite years advocating, and rightly, the building of well insulated houses, he actually lives in a 500 year old farmhouse. Nothing wrong in that other than preaching about methods to save the planet with better insulation and renewables is a bit off the narrative if you live in a 500 year old farmhouse that is almost certainly listed and can’t be upgraded in any meaningful way. He then goes on to tell how he doesn’t shower, uses a basin of water and doesn’t flush his loo very often to save water; why?

He admits, despite prying into hundreds of properties in his TV program, that he won't let anyone look inside at his funny old world.

He has also installed a wood burner,  which for the greens is as near to a criminal act as one can admit to, only owning your own coal mine would top it. Living in the country is trotted out as an excuse for this; I have a wood burner and don’t feel any need to find excuses for it, even more so this winter coming.

And finally he is ‘incredibly envious of people who have built homes that export energy,' so why does he not follow his beliefs; or is he the same as all those Hollywood stars who preach about saving the planet but the restrictions they advocate do not apply to them?

As I say almost weekly, one could fill a book with the nonsense that is spouted on a daily basis now. The reverse ferret is in high demand as the ruling classes blame everyone else for the decades of wrong decisions, wrong thinking and downright incompetence.

An amusing finale is that annoying ex-MP Edwina Currie. Like a tic she can’t easily be got rid of, her belligerence is almost without parallel and here she has taken issue with Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame for using the word 'catastrophe' about our current energy crisis.

Apart from making a mountain out of a molehill and being a prat whilst doing so, the superannuated ex-MP then tells people how to improve their comfort using foil backing for radiators. On her pension she will not be concerned about energy costs; and to think she was once considered to be important in political circles!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Project Management, by JD

What is Project Management? Here is Wikipedia's definition -

If that is a little confusing and lacking in clarity allow me to offer a step by step illustrated guide to Project Management from initial proposal to delivery of the finished project.

This is what the customer wanted

This is the award winning design produced by the architect

Based on the architect's drawings the project management team 
delivered this detailed estimate to the customer

The local planning department gave their approval after making a few recommendations 
(it's elfinsafety guv, innit)

The structural engineer, after reading the planner's report, 
made a few more modifications

The builder finally delivered the finished project

... the customer, being English, was too polite to complain and was delighted with the result!

Friday, September 09, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Fisherman's Friends, by JD

The original ‘buoy band’, bound together by lifelong friendship and shared experience. For 30 years the Fisherman’s Friends have met on the Platt on the harbour in their native Port Isaac raising money for charity, singing the traditional songs of the sea handed down to them by their forefathers.

In 2010 they signed a major record deal and their album "Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends" went Gold as they became the first traditional folk act to land a UK top ten album. Since then they’ve been the subject of an ITV documentary, released the hit albums One and All (2013), Proper Job (2015) & Sole Mates (2018) and played to hundreds of thousands of fans at home and abroad.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Covid and flu: new vaxx kerfuffle

From my Substack column - why not sign up for alerts?

There are three new vaccinations currently on the agenda. Two are out now; the other is in clinical trials, but for how long? There is a debate about how to justify short-cuts in safety testing.

The first two are fresh booster Covid jabs which the US FDA authorised for emergency use last week. Made by Moderna and Pfizer, these are ‘bivalent’, i.e. a combination of the formulations against the original Covid-19 disease, with other ones to combat a couple of the newer Omicron variants.

Part of the information to support this decision is ‘nonclinical’ since the bivalent versions have not had the customary extensive testing, although thanks to mass vaccination there is plenty of evidence about the effects of the individual elements in them.

There is a parallel with the easier approval route for annual influenza jabs, as an article in Science magazine explains:
Influenza vaccines are updated each spring to try to match the strain most likely to circulate in the fall and winter. The reformulated shots don’t have to undergo new clinical trials unless the manufacturers significantly change the way they make the vaccine. A similar approach for new COVID-19 variants makes sense, says Leif Erik Sander, an infectious disease expert at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. The changes to the mRNA are minor and providing updated vaccines as quickly as possible is “an ethical issue,” Sander says. “We need to allow people to protect themselves from a virus that we can’t fully control.”
The speeding-up may help protect the public but raises the issue of trust, as the writer goes on to say:
But there is a potential downside: Authorizing updated vaccines without clinical data could lower public acceptance. “If a variant booster is going to reduce overall uptake, that’s a potential problem” that could offset the gains in protection from the new vaccine, says Deborah Cromer, a mathematical modeler at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales.
For the drug companies, Emergency Use Approval (EUA) not only gets their product earning money sooner but indemnifies them against lawsuits for damages. This is bound to raise suspicion that for Big Pharma, given carte blanche, profits could trump safety.

It must be stressed that there are definitely risks associated with vaccination against diseases. The UK introduced a compensation scheme in 1979 and the first Vaccine Damage Payments in respect of Covid-19 jabs were made in June this year.

Public confidence has also been damaged by previous over-emphatic Covid-related communications from governments, the use of social pressure to enforce mass vaccination and other strategies, and the associated campaigns of suppression of dissident voices.

There are signs that the government has rethought its position. Last December, the House of Lords voiced concerns about making vaccination mandatory for NHS staff; this April, the NHS deemed ‘non-urgent’ and merely ‘recommended’, jabs for children aged 5-11 who are not in a higher-risk category; and although twice as many people died this summer ‘with’ Covid as in the same period last year, we are no longer forced to wear masks, observe ‘social distancing’ or endure more of the lockdowns that have caused great and lasting damage to the economy and had negative side-effects on physical and mental health. Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has recently said he never received a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed measures to tackle the pandemic; today we are paying the price.

Now about the third newbie vaccination. One jab-dissident is Dr Vernon Coleman, a retired British GP who has long been skeptical of the safety and efficacy of vaccines in general. This and his opinions on some other matters have earned him a carefully damning opening paragraph in Wikipedia (a crowd-compiled site notoriously vulnerable to misinformation and malicious use) as well as abuse, censorship by e.g. Youtube and so on.

Nevertheless, Dr Coleman has raised concerns over a new-style influenza vaccine (BPL-1357) that, it is hoped, will protect against many or all variations of the virus. Initial clinical tests were run on mice (but in the case of the Covid boosters, only 8 of them according to this anti-vaccine writer !) and ferrets, and the formulation is now undergoing a Phase 1 clinical trial with humans.

A standard Phase 1 trial is conducted on a small number of healthy people, with a control group taking a placebo. This can’t prove that the medication is safe for everyone, but at least (one supposes) it will indicate that it’s not extremely dangerous for young-to-middle-aged people in good condition and without certain risky lifestyle factors. Larger-scale and longer-term trials (often taking years) follow.

What concerns Dr Coleman - perhaps prematurely, but we shall see - is that as with Covid/Omicron, there may be a rush to get this vaccination cleared for rollout. The motive for the government is that influenza kills tens of thousands in the UK every year; for manufacturers, the commercial incentive is obvious.

The efficacy of Covid vaccinations at least, is clearly not complete. It is generally accepted that you can get and spread Covid despite the immunisation; even quadruple-jabbed President Biden came down with the illness recently.

As to risks, I myself have had the double jab and a booster, and each time I was not advised of any potential hazards; in short, I was not put in a position to give informed consent. Nurses were injecting us as though on an assembly line, raising up to £20 a time for the group practice. GPs were earning well into six figures during the pandemic.

With all these rewards for medical professionals and product providers, there needs to be a counterweight of extra caution to protect the interests of the patient. So the real issue is Hippocrates’ principle, ‘First, do no harm.’

Sunday, September 04, 2022

COLOUR SUPPLEMENT: Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002), by JD

Lenkiewicz is ignored by the 'art establishment' because his work is figurative and as such is unfashionable and not "cutting edge" or "challenging" or whatever Artspeak is currently in vogue.

Based in Plymouth, he never courted the London art establishment, and became respected solely on his own terms - through hard work, skill, and his unique vision.

Lenkiewicz could well be ignored also because he liked to paint beautiful young ladies and he often put himself in the picture.

If Lenkiewicz is known at all it will be for his association with a Plymouth tramp by the name of Edward McKenzie, known as 'Diogenes'. After McKenzie's death, and with his prior agreement, Lenkiewicz took posession of the 'vacated premises' as McKenzie had referred to his corpse and had the body embalmed. It was then kept in the studio (in a drawer according to rumour.)

The City Council were somewhat agitated by this but Lenkiewicz reminded them that they had two Egyptian mummies in the City museum asking "Is it because mine is new?"

He also painted other tramps as well as others on the margins of society and, until the year before his death, he would provide a free Christmas dinner for the homeless.

Read more about this remarkable man here

The painter surrounded by his muses -

And the mural he painted on the wall outside his studio in Plymouth -

Saturday, September 03, 2022

UK Teen ISIS Bride: should she come home?

From my Substack column - sign up for alerts!

Homework or terrorism? Tough choice!

You are a teenage girl in a British Muslim family. You go to school, and after that it’s homework and helping your Mum with her duties. Your family keep you safe because they know what boys will do with nubile girls given half a chance, and that would ruin you and dishonour the family.

Or you could run away and f*ck a hero!

Think carefully - hey, where are you going! Wait!

And so, on 17 February 2015, Shamima Begum and two of her school pals went to Syria to have husbands allotted to them, whom they would serve as the jihadis fought for what they saw as their noble religious cause; and who used this excuse to indulge in horrible violence and cruelty.

Aged only 15, Shamima went through a form of marriage with a Dutch convert to Islam, 23-year-old Yago Riedijk, who was later captured and as of last November was in a Kurdish detention centre, facing a six-year jail term for terrorism if and when he returns to the Netherlands. They had three children together, all of whom died in infancy.

Of the other two girls who accompanied Shamima, Kadiza Sultana reportedly died in a Russian airstrike on Raqqa, Syria; Amira Abase, together with another schoolfriend called Sharmeena Begum who had gone ahead of the trio, had been seen in Baghuz, Syria, but that town was obliterated in a US airstrike (18 March 2019) that killed many civilians.

It’s the tip of the iceberg. According to JAN Trust, in the 12 months to July 2015, 43 women and girls were seduced into leaving the UK for the Syrian warzone.

Now, we discover, Canada has been implicated in this people-processing. A man called Mohammed Al Rasheed, based in Turkey, was helping people like Shamima transit from the UK to ISIS in Syria but also passing their details to Canadian Intelligence. According to George Galloway, the just-published book that reveals this says that the then British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, was told of this by Shamima’s lawyer five years ago but sat on the information.

What Javid did instead, responding to public anger at the allegedly treasonous and culpable association of this British female with the ISIS atrocities, was to deprive Shamima of her British citizenship on 19 February 2019.

The Government argued that under the British Nationality Act 1981 the children of foreign immigrants (Shamima’s parents came from Bangladesh) have less protection against such a deprivation but that Shamima would not thereby be made stateless (which would go against the UNHCR Convention of 1954.) The UK’s Home Office expert Dr Hoque referred to Bangladesh’s Citizenship Act, 1951:
This says that “a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of Bangladesh by descent if his father or mother is a citizen of Bangladesh at the time of her birth”. It goes on to say that dual nationality is not permitted, so someone with another citizenship “ceases to be a citizen of Bangladesh” — but that proviso only applies to people over 21.
Dr Hoque said:
Until the age of 21, therefore, a Bangladeshi citizen continues to remain a citizen alongside being a foreign citizen.
For its part, Bangladesh refuses to accept her, or any militant.

So there she remains, stuck in limbo in Syria.

The Guardian newspaper is inclined to present Shamima as a victim of trafficking; Spiked’s Editor Tom Slater and writer Rakib Ehsan take the view that she was willing and aware of what she was doing.

Peter Hitchens reminds us that Shamima would have been rather more naive when she left the UK at age 15 and that it is ‘cruel’ to leave her stateless and abandoned; rather, we should bring her to the UK to face justice. Speaking on GB News, he emphasised the importance of holding to law and institutions, especially in cases where feelings run high; we can’t give in to the mob.

Friday, September 02, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: The Last Rays Of Summer, by JD

Summer is nearly over: autumn arrives on the 22nd. Following on from last week's bright and breezy summer music a wistful but beautifully melancholic musical farewell to the sun. Maybe summer next year will be more joyous.

Here's a bonus track; Summer Wine by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood -

.......fits the end of summer mood beautifully.