December 2010

What does 'resilience' mean?

Time to get angry and riot?

Time to get angry?Time to get angry?
All things come to an end and it looks as if the snow is going, for now. Fazed by the bad weather, the typical UK resident let the failing UK authorities get away with all sorts of tricks, like turning off the heating in airport buildings despite the fact the buildings were now home to many stranded travellers.They simply lay down on the floors and shivered. Why do we do this? In Moscow the travellers are made of different stuff, here they had a riot when things went wrong, see HERE.

As mentioned before on this blog, it snowed last year and chaos ensued so the UK went for what it does best and had an inquiry. Perhaps it's not just our authorities that are useless but we, the citizens, are too. It would seem the present government think so, or at least they think they can get away with treating us as if we will fall for another cheap trick. The latest wheeze is the idea of government by petition. It's an insult rather than an addition to democracy. The last government gave us e-petitions and we could all see through that for it was a stalling device, a way a getting the steam out of an issue and, as a trick, it worked. Now we see the coalition doing the same thing; are we surprised?

Jeffrey Bernard and Paul Chambers

United by a desire to laugh but divided by time

Jeffrey Bernard Jeffrey Bernard
As a way of giving their reporters time off during the holiday season, or perhaps out of pure laziness, the Spectator has resorted to the time honoured routine of a trip to the archives. So they reprint an article written by Jeffrey Bernard called 'Eastern Promise', dated 17 December 1988. Oh what a different world it was those twenty years and more ago! Bernard worked for the Spectator for over twenty years though to describe him as either a reporter or a journalist (if there's a difference?) misses the point. For he was an alcoholic, the term 'heavy drinker was wasted on the man, too mimsy and part-time. Bernard gave not just his heart and soul to drink but a leg too, amputated late in life when his body was falling apart; although the purveyors of strong drink cannot take all the credit here as Bernard took his drink with a steady supply of cigarettes. He wrote in between drinking himself into a stupor, he was basically honest as he wrote about what he knew, hence his work for the Spectator was published under the tile 'Low Life'.

The facts, if you have a thirst for them, can be found propping up the bar in Wikipedia under the heading of his name. What we learn is that he was determined from an early age to live this way.

Cable versus Murdoch

Standards in public life and other stories

If only!If only!
Oh how complicated! The tale of Dr Vince Cable, (see right) the Business Secretary, has enough twists and turns to be, under normal circumstances, the plot of an airport novel. However, with air travel being especially fraught at the moment most readers might prefer the central character to be more deserving of sympathy. For Cable is just self serving and his own worst enemy. Funny how it goes but the last Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson, was the same and mad too. The Daily Telegraph did us all a service when it printed, leaked if you prefer, the details of the MPs expenses' scandal. Just to remind you it was Labour in government then and simple souls might have thought that they were motivated by politics alone; wrong, journalism was the driving force and the fallout, still evident, from that story did damage to parliament and not just one party.

Thinking aloud, should it be, allowed?

Was it better years ago, before climate change?

Ford Popular, like the horse, ideal in the snowFord Popular, like the horse, ideal in the snow
Winter, a disaster for some but an opportunity for others? So here we are, not even the New Year yet but the weather has brought us down. In countries with a tradition of very low temperatures there is the concept of 'cabin fever'. This affects people who stay inside from the fall of the first snow until spring and, as a result of their self imposed imprisonment, they go a bit mad. Oh dear I hear you say! Remembering that 'stay inside' is the advice of the 'authorities', of all stripes, who don't wish you to experience their ineptitude first hand. In an age of air travel a larger than ever number of UK residents have had experience of winter in countries where a lot of snow is to be expected. I have watched snow blowers at a small rural airport in Canada clear a runway in a blizzard so a mid-sized Boeing jet could take off. It was -20C and just minutes after take off the runway was again covered. The journey to and from the airport was done in a small Toyota with snow tyres and was both safe and done at a reasonable speed. By contrast we have all seen the pictures of life in the UK, even gritting lorries have gone into ditches; from the top to the bottom of the great pyramid of public servants it seems hard to find anyone able to do it right. Years ago it was deemed reasonable to suggest we have in the UK "the wrong kind of snow". Increasingly it looks as if we have, as a nation, the wrong sort of attitude and the wrong sort of public servant too.

The sun, a new dawn?

Experts, wrong again!

Ricket free childrenRicket free children
Older people can remember when the sun and its antics were considered perfectly normal, if it shone this was good. Some took their shirts off, while others dozed. Then the 'experts', and there's never a shortage of those, decreed it was dangerous. So began the era of anti-sun speak; sun hats became not just fashionable but essential for the growing congregation of sun hating zealots. As with many an organisation the indoctrination of children was deemed essential, think Hitler Youth movement. So children had what looked like white paint rubbed over them when on holiday. Far from being the sort deviant fetishistic behaviour that would get your name put on a giant database it was those adults who did not indulge in this practice who faced being dubbed weird. These were the people who had dangerous habits, they were 'deniers', they failed to admit the sun was going to kill us all.

However, it now seems this is the dawn of a new age.

Bob Ainsworth on drugs

Another ex-minister craves the limelight

Start 'em young eh? Start 'em young eh?
Bob Ainsworth on drugs, if you see what I mean. He has, as you might expect, great faith in the state. His remedy, giving the control to "doctors and pharmacists", won't make much difference, unless that is, you give the drugs away free. This would mean another 'state benefit' to be paid for by taxpayers. And how popular would that be in the age of the cutbacks? You would have thought that after all these years of 'big state' and its attendant failure that Ainsworth would have known better than to offer this, especially in the age of David Cameron and his Big Society. But then it's hard to kick a habit.

Is Nick Clegg going home?

Failure rewarded, again

A welcome awaits? A welcome awaits?
What is the point of the EU? A simple question you may think, but it all depends who you are speaking to as to the answer you get. Politicians such as Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson could give you an answer and it would explain how it saved them from the scrapheap for, as an employer of the rejects of democracy, the EU has an impressive track record. This is one of the reasons why the political class love the EU so much. In the UK you start with being interested in politics at university, hoping to 'get noticed'. You will certainly stand a good chance of being indoctrinated into the 'benefits' of the EU by the teaching staff and syllabus content. Then there are student exchange programmes, what fun, study abroad etc. Then if it all works out well you could work for an MP.

Science versus hysteria, again

David and Goliath swap places

Waving not drowning? Waving not drowning?
Due to the wintry weather a lot of people are unable to go to work. Understandably this is the main focus for many if they are self employed, a plumber has told me that last year's winter had him rushed off his feet but this winter it's different, trade is slow. Trade at High street shops is well down too. The financial crisis in the EU is still rumbling on, no closer to a solution. The price, the true cost, of sorting it out lies beyond the reach of the EU elite, the high-and-mighty, but their vanity knows no bounds. This is funny, the euro, a one currency for all policy was based on hope, not reality, the high-and-mighty did not see that? But then the high-and-mighty failed to spot the WikiLeaks saga coming, which continues along its way. Who in their right mind would have thought that either of these dreams, a currency union built on hope and keeping all that 'data' secret was sensible. But then as time rolls on we all, struggling to go to work or not, can see that government tends to get it wrong.

So why is this? Well government likes, on the one hand, to tell us that the public values strong government; do they really? And what is strong government, does this strength extend to clearing roads and putting down salt for example?

Winter, a test failed?

Would global warming help?

Snow and football, what could be better? Snow and football, what could be better?
So two out of five people cannot get to work because of the snow but the students in London seem to be made of sterner stuff and are still holding demonstrations, is this praiseworthy or what? Once again it gets cold, as it tends to at this time of year, the white stuff falls from the sky and the nation goes into shock. They do say the army will have to help sort things out, that's a laugh. In a country like Pakistan the army takes a turn now-and-then when democracy, such as it is, fails to do the job expected of it. But of course it's different here isn't it? We are so superior, our democracy, such as it is, our coalition government, will have an inquiry into what went wrong. Cynics will say they had one last year so why bother? Or perhaps wait another year till it happens again and pretend there's nothing wrong. While super-cynics will say that such is our democracy, why not just wait till the EU issues snow and winter directives then comply with these?

But it's all very well fretting about the weather, or football for that matter. The MSM took the fact that the UK lost the bid to run the 2018 World Cup badly. However, if you delve a little deeper you will see that a significant number of the public either could not care or were even relieved the bid failed.