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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

A victory for Civilisation!

On June 7th last year I wrote:
De Gaulle asked " How can you govern a country with two hundred and forty six varieties of cheese?". The Joy of Cheese is one of the great glories of France; the terroir, the weather, the altitude, the livestock are all captured in those delicious regional varieties. One can journey from Flanders to the Pyrenees, from Brittany to Alsace on a cheeseboard. As I write I am almost salivating at the remembered forest-floor taste of Saint-Nectaire and the salty bite of ripe Roquefort. We Brits have learned to love French cheese; Brie de Meaux and Camembert are even sold in polystyrene ersatz versions in British supermarkets. I am prepared to forgive French farmers almost anything for standing up to the supermarkets and big distributors, for making cheeses in farm kitchens in which poultry roam at will, for wisps of hay on the rind, for using raw milk still warm from the udder.

But perhaps Nanny's reach extends now even unto
La France Profonde. The Telegraph reports today that Camembert may disappear from the world. No, not the plastic pasteurised tasteless stuff from Tesco, but the real raw cheese made from raw milk. The cheese that glistens and bulges from its rind on the cheeseboard, a living small God of microbacterial activity, an irresistible meal-end squidge. This is a threat to our common human heritage every bit as great as that of a Taliban with a stick of gelignite and a Buddha statue in sight.
Now comes news today that only Camembert made with raw unpasteurised milk will be allowed to be called such. My heart is singing with joy, and there's a skip in my step as I go to refill the cafetiere with pungent aromatic French coffee. The world has, in a very small way, just got a little bit better. Aaaaah.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Lord, rid us of these cretinous dolts!

Children are to be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen in new classroom ceremonies. The move would strengthen pupils' understanding of what it means to be British, a review of citizenship by Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney-general, claims.
The Queen will no doubt be quick to dismiss this odious and risible suggestion. An oath of allegiance must be made by one who comes to it voluntarily and willingly; it is a sincere and mature affirmation, not some formulaic ditty dreamt up by some witless fool in the Department of Children's Services. This is the sort of totalitarian rubbish that comes from third-rate minds such as Goldsmith's, without any thought of the implications. Knee-jerk nationalism, government-prescribed patriotism, fatuous and empty gestures that will be more divisive than useful and unctuous flag-waving to disguise a mental and moral vacuity at the heart of Zanu Labour.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Yes, keep these loathsome people people out

This blog applauded the Home Secretary's decision to exclude the odious bigoted religious fanatic Qaradawi from the UK. This country should offer no hospitality to such loathsome bigots.

I am pleased therefore that the Home Secretary has also seen fit to exclude the equally loathsome and equally odious Moshe Feiglin, a nasty, bigoted, homophobe who has advocated the ethnic cleansing of those he considers racially impure and who supports the commission of criminal acts for which we hanged less culpable men at Nuremburg.

Let's hope these appalling people the world over start to get the message - we don't want you here.

Greetings to the Commonwealth!

Today is Commonwealth Day; 53 sovereign nations with a combined population of 1,922 million people. Warm greetings from these wind-battered islands to our Commonwealth friends across the globe!

Let us not forget that the graves of Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen mark the sites of just about every major conflict this country faced in the last century; from the Somme to North Africa, Monte Cassino to Neuve Chappelle, Gallipoli to Burma, the skies over Berlin to the seas around Iceland. We owe a profound debt of gratitude to those men who left their farms and kraals and fishing boats across the world to come to our aid.

How very different to our so-called European 'allies' who are conspicuous by their absence from the freezing Helmand plains, scuttering from the noise of battle like feculent cockroaches hiding from the light.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Bring it on!

As the Sunday papers are full of political consensus to impose swingeing increases on alcohol duty and Darling is being urged to raise the price of a packet of fags to £10, I can do no more than turn to my Kipling:
Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by!
The Burghers of Calais and the French government are set to do very well from Darling if he follows all the advice he's being offered today.

I haven't paid a penny in ciggy tax to the UK Treasury in 11 years. My regular 6-weekly shopping trips across the channel, to stock the larder as well as the cellar and humidor, leave me buying little more than fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish in the UK. And shirts, of course; even the French can't make shirts to compare with Jermyn Street.

And now I plan to rent an allotment. I've calculated I can grow an entire year's worth of Virginia tobacco on a single allotment plot, and it seems I'm not alone. The interweb is busy with websites offering advice, encouragement, seeds and practical tips for legal growing, curing and storage of home-grown tobacco in the UK. And no doubt home wine and beer-making will show a similar increase in interest for the law-abiding and practically-minded.

For those more indolent souls, and those who don't mind paddling in illegality, there will always be the smugglers.