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Friday, 2 March 2012

Hurrah for Engelbert!

It must have been in 1967 or 1968 that our mother took us to see Engelbert in Christmas panto at the London Palladium, when 'Last Waltz' has just been in the charts. He had magnificent stage presence even then, and I suspect even more so now. An Engelbert ballad is just what's needed for Eurovision, along with Wogan and Katie Boyle. I haven't watched it for a decade, but this will bring me back to the screen. 

African aminism strains police & welfare

The conviction this week of the Congolese savages who tortured and killed their 15 year old nephew is just the latest in a litany of the appalling abuse of some African children by their extended families. Here in  London the Thames is swimming in the dismembered body parts of young black children, slaughtered in either magic ritual or witchcraft hysteria. Africans may describe themselves as Christian or Moslem, but read Christian-animist and Moslem-animist. For beneath the surface the figure of Christ on the cross has just replaced the village fetish, with the remainder of their primitive beliefs intact. Nor is this confined to the poorest and most ill-educated; when the Ghanaian Minister of Transport visited the site of a rail crash with fatalities, he still poured a libation of palm wine to appease the spirits of the dead before attending a modern press call at which he promised the inevitable 'full inquiry'.

Whilst primitive 'Christian' pastors may whip their congregations into a tribal frenzy of witch-fear, the same congregation will afterwards visit the ju ju man for foul potions and tokens to bring wealth, love, fertility or smite enemies. Our local ju ju man has even discovered the power of advertising (but remains ignorant of advertising standards) - the photocopied slip that drops through my letter box every month or so promises he can cure 'cancer, impotence, belly disease, ankles and infertility'. And when misfortune visits an African family, as is seems to do often to these benighted people, they are as likely to believe it the result of a curse as just bad luck. The witch doctor is too powerful to go after, so some innocent like Kristy Bamu gets the blame.

Greg will blame 'faith' in general, but it's deeper than that. It's part of the African psyche. In Mozambique Africans brought up on nothing but dialectical Marxism will still see the spirit of Fredrich Engels in an Owl. Ten thousand years of cultural conditioning can no more be removed by Marxism than by Christianity. Let's at least be grown up enough to recognise it. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Swedish flatpack interrogation suite

"Spring is here and time to change and reinvent yourself; our complete range of interrogation suite products will give you the best of Scandinavian design, whether you're a rookie waterboarder or an experienced secret policeman;

The Ådolf bench - made from finest beech veneered particle board with tie-points for wrists and ankles; warranted resistant to blood and body fluids, complete with our Jösef rubber hoses in a range of bright colours  

The Hædrich posture stool, perfect for maintaining comfort and muscle tone during those long surveillance shifts in cramped spaces, covered in a range of three wetpruf fabrics - Hermann, Albert and Hans

In the picture:- The Eva toy bear that cleverly hides a miniature spycam, the Franz microphone made to look like a friendly daffodil, Rudolf candles with Ernst heatproof tongs - perfect for holding a suspect's arm over the flame - and the Erich acid bath, for getting rid of unwanted matter in a hygienic Scandinavian way

Don't let your torture suite stay chintzy this Spring! Spring into life with our Guantanamo Range!"

Google privacy

Whether you're one of the tinfoil hat brigade or just tad concerned at Google's new privacy policy (or 'all your data belonga us') it's worthwhile at least taking the few simple steps published by ZDnet's Google Privacy Policy changes survival guide. That's all.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Another stinking foul shite of a lawyer

This one is called Ellis. He's an MP. A Tory MP. I can't add to Quentin Letts' piece in the Mail, which concludes;
Mr Grieve, who washed his hands of any responsibility for Government policy (while conceding that American justice may seem harsh), had not bothered to listen to Mrs Tappin’s evidence. His failure to salute the humanity of the matter – the sheer misery, so poetically conveyed – was inept.

He is almost the worst sort of lawyer. But let us reserve that stinking garland for one of the committee’s MPs, a revoltingly ambitious Tory called Ellis (Northampton N). This Ellis, a barrister, asked questions greatly to the convenience of Mr Grieve. No doubt the U.S. embassy will be delighted with him. No doubt Mr Grieve will recommend him for promotion. I hope he rots on the backbenches for an aeon.

Burby and the Sultan

The Telegraph claims an exclusive this morning in reporting alleged threats to the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions amongst others to prevent the airing of a litany of allegations of misdoing catalogued by Mark Burby against the ex-wife of 'an Asian Head of State' whom one may fairly assume to be the Sultan of Brunei from Burby's previous dealings. The Sultan has two ex-wives; Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam, divorced in 2003, and Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, divorced in 2010. Any reference to either of them as 'Asian babes' should be discouraged. The evidence in question is in the chapter headed 'Mark Burby - supplementary evidence' in this document.

Not of course that you'll find any of the details above in the Telegraph's report. The press are still wary of m'learned friends. So one has to tackle these things as one does the Telegraph crossword, then with a supplementary 'google'. It takes most folk about five minutes. It's a bit like those part-baked rolls one can buy in the supermarket, or tinned croissants. Hey ho.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

When Liberty is not to my taste

Bear with me for a moment; there's a libertarian principle here somewhere. Firstly, I'll admit to either snobbishness or good taste (depending on your point of view) in relation to how homes look. I scorn laminate floors, despite having one in my kitchen, wince at 'Tudor' plastic windows in honest Victorian frontages, despair at concrete blocks paving over front gardens and yes, loathe satellite dishes. Most of the time it's none of my business how other people's houses look, except perhaps if my neighbour covers his elegant Edwardian facade with stone cladding and Tudorbethan 'leaded' plastic windows augmented with a 6' satellite dish; this would make my own home less saleable and lower its value and would be of legitimate concern. 

Because some buildings and groups of buildings are exceptional, their very presence adding to the general quality of life, they are protected from inappropriate alteration or destruction by law. If a home is listed, you can't do the things that are normally, in planning terms, Permitted Development. You can't change the external appearance without consent, or mount a satellite dish without permission. Sensible democratic constraint for the greater good, or insufferable restriction of liberty?

Of course much depends on how powers are used by the enforcing authority. In the case of Hackney council's blitz on unlawful satellite dishes,  I tend to agree with the Council. They look hideous. But that's just my own taste ...

Monday, 27 February 2012

In praise of Rhubarb

I'm not a big pudding person, preferring most times to follow a main dish with cheese and an apple. The exception is crumble. I always keep an eye out for discounted fruit - berries and stone-fruit reaching the end of their brief shelf life, fully ripe pears and the like. What may be past table fruit is perfect for crumble. The mix of flour, butter and sugar to cap a 9" iron gratin dish is as memorised as a batter mix, and takes five minutes to make and chuck in the oven. Perfect for two.

Now of course is the time of year when forced Rhubarb from the Wakefield triangle hits the market and this is the one filling I pay top dollar for; with a little ground ginger, and not too heavy on the Rhubarb, one gets a dish fit for the Gods. I can't begin to describe the light lemony zingy tartness of this dish, the perfect mouthfeel, the sophisticated top-notes that fade slowly and the perfect combination with ginger that creates an entirely new flavour that is neither Rhubarb nor ginger. Try it.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Eurozone doomed to colonisation?

There is one single overwhelming and compelling reason why the UK should stand apart from the Eurozone, and it's apparent in the following graphic:-
In fact, the plummeting percentage of population of working age in the Eurozone is worse than shows above. Germany, with Japan, faces a reduction of more than 20% in the working age population by 2030; Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Poland, South Korea and Russia are set to fall by more than 10%. The old Anglophone core of the UK, Ireland, Australia and NZ are expected to see modest growth of about 2% in the working population, the US 10%.

Buttonwood notes in the Economist "These figures are quite remarkable - not since the Black Death can there have been such a fall in workers - and the implications must surely be very profound." Japan, with an ultra-racist attitude to miscegenation, is doomed to oblivion, it's people extinct. Germany must start marrying and breeding with its Turkish Gastarbeiter with Teutonic alacrity if she's to pull out of the dive, and the rest of the Eurozone and Russia should prepare to admit hundreds of millions of first-generation Africans to stay afloat.

It may be by 2030 that the UK, by then comfortable with a young population having an attractive cafe au lait complexion, integrated and absorbed, again stands aloft from a troubled and divided Europe, secure in our Britishness, albeit slightly chilli-flavoured.