Saturday, 10 May 2014

Miliband speaks for the Common Man

"Good evening. I want to tell you this evening why you should vote Labour - the party of the Common Man. For many of you faced with the price of basics such as Focaccia and Virgin Olive Oil, or bottles of white asparagus or Southwold marsh Samphire, you will know already how rising prices have forced you to cut back on the hours that Nanny does, or even to postpone a simple night out at the theatre with a two course supper at St John's. .

Some of you may even have delayed settling your wine merchant's account, or contemplated switching to VDP from AOC. This is the fault of the Tories, who have squeezed the number of public jobs paying over a hundred-kay to the point where many of you are having to work. My own partner had to let go of a driver recently, as even paying minimum wage she couldn't afford both of them. One more Tory unemployed. One more Guatemalan out of work.

If you elect labour we will abolish VAT on food, books and newspapers; nothing is more important than encouraging reading and good food. We will install Jamie as our Food Tsar, to bring braised trotter stuffed with game terrine to all corners of the UK and an end to food banks. I know all about the challenges faced by the Common Man - and you can rely on me."

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Halal? No thanks

The news that our large supermarkets are selling us unlabelled Halal meat does nor surprise me - any mega large organisations more concerned with profits than morals can easily serve up anything from horsemeat to carcass-slurry burgers for the sake of the bottom line.

However, as I choose not to eat meat from animals slaughtered in this mediaeval fashion - halal or kosher - I will use the traditional butcher in Blackheath in future for all beef, lamb and chicken and buy only pork from the supermarket. My bacon already comes from Borough Market, where it isn't a soggy wet slop of pinkish stuff pumped full of water and chemicals.

As a Christian, there is also something unclean, something dirty and unpleasant, about eating Halal meat - its  properties contaminate the purity of faith in a minor but significant way, and I am minded to take legal action against any retailer who deceives me as to the origin of meat sold.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

EU-shill Con Coughlin writes drivel again

One must have to be both wilfully stupid and amazingly gullible to get the defence correspondent's job on the Telegraph these days; EU shill Con Coughlin, perhaps repeating what some bloke told him in a bar, writes today;
"The military professionalism of the pro-Russian agitators, which has seen them shoot down several Ukrainian helicopters with shoulder-launched missiles, also suggests these fighters are no amateurs, and in all probability are members of Russia's elite Spetsnaz special forces."
Firstly, 'shoulder launched missiles' sounds as though they were using some sort of infra-red guided homing surface to air missile such as the US 'stinger' ($250k each) or the Russian 9K38 ($75k each). In fact, all the helos destroyed were stationary or very slow moving and close to the ground, operating in wooded or built-up areas - making it far more likely they were destroyed using the RPG7, a standard eastern-bloc infantry weapon produced cheaply in the hundreds of thousands for a couple of hundred dollars each that can be fired by untrained guerillas the world over with a few minutes instruction - a weapon any Ukrainian who had done their military service would be familiar with. An average squaddie can expect to hit a 5m x 2.5m moving target at 180m range first shot 50% of the time - rising to 96% probability at 100m range. 

So, the weapon was almost certainly a tube-launched grenade powered by gunpowder propellant rather than a missile, fired by an amateur fighter or one who has received a very basic military training rather than a professional, and in all probability was fired by a Ukranian militiaman not a Spetsnaz expert. 

Perhaps if the editor got Con to file his stories before lunch the quality might improve.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ukraine - May God forgive us

I have a lithograph by Peter Howson, our official war artist for the Bosnian conflict, that doesn't allow me to forget the horrors of that terrible civil war. Rape, murder, mutilation, boy prisoners torn apart with full-auto fire, the screams of mothers, the stink of charred human flesh. As the Guardian today persists in the wilful, wrong and sinister repetition of the official EU / US line on Ukraine, the paper's correspondents don't believe a word of it; how the MSM has the gall to keep trotting out these official lies in the face of their own readers' scorn and hostility is beyond me. One example of the comments on this mendacious, heinous Guardian piece that purports to be 'journalism';
"Nationalistic hellhounds strangled a pregnant woman inside the Trade Union building. There is a YouTube video with her horrible agonized cries [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvnLsshOJ18]. The video gives comments of the nationalistic mob: «Kill her!», «This is not a woman, she is a separatistic whore!», «Normal women keep the house, but this one is a slut!». Then the nationalists in the window display a Ukrainian flag and the mob ecstatically wawls."
Let's be under no illusion that this sort of horror is confined to one side only; both the fascist thugs of 'Right Sector' and the Russian nationalists opposing them will both become more and more brutal. more and more like beasts, losing their humanity in an orgy of hate, death and destruction. Just as we saw in Bosnia. Just as Howson depicted. Both sides equally possessed of a dreadful evil. 

In the name of God we must stop this lunacy. Our own warmongers and the Russian death-dealers. The stench of putrescent human flesh from Bosnia's mass-graves still sticks in our throats - surely we cannot allow a repeat?
Peter Howson - 'Hos'

Teflon coated fat-cats and bent ministers: Welcome to Britain

It is not just a British phenomenon, of course. In Italy the immunity from Law of the political class and the corporates has given Beppe Grillo's Five Star 109 seats in the Italian Parliament and over 25% of the popular vote. In Britain, as George Monbiot points out in the Guardian this morning, we have G4S, a company that has given us 'Institutional Peculation', and Cameron's crony government, where every chiselling little crook of a minister is immune from the sack if they are chums with the boss. Teflon-coated fat cats and bent ministers; welcome to Britain in 2014.

All over Europe there is a groundswell of opposition to the entrenched corruption of big business and a self-serving political class, though whether it's building to the sort of cathartic cleansing that Europe last saw in 1848 is questionable. Monbiot's parallel with Brazil in the late '80s is a useful one; it's more likely that government will just spiral in a cesspit of corruption, with a merry go-round of bent leaders; Sarney, Collor, Franco, Cardoso, Lula. 

There are times when you can understand the need to vent popular anger; I think it was in Sierra Leone that the ministers of the old government were summarily taken to the beach, tied to telegraph posts and shot. Perhaps its just as well Britons are not this way inclined, or ministers would be gazing at rows of posts embedded in the Thames foreshore opposite the Westminster terraces on which they sip their Pimms.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Sorry, but I like railways

Oh no, not to any sort of geekish extent - I don't have photos of trains, or collect old platform destination plates or anything. And during the working week I have nothing but loathing and contempt for Southeastern and its cheapo cattle-trucks. But then again their rolling stock has to transport spliff-smokers, women with scabies, late night vomiters and people who live in Dartford. Far safer to stand, anyway. No, I like trains in the Michael Portillo sort of way - but sans the campness and too-tight pink trousers. Which is why I don't want them run by Miliband.

Re-nationalising the trains is something that comes up from time to time. We learn in Economics 101 that the rail network is a natural monopoly, on which basis we've handed it over to a body that as a consequence, as any construction firm knows, is utterly unresponsive to any sort of approach short of a court-order. If your scheme means moving one of their fences a metre for six months, better schedule the start-date for 2018 - for that's realistically how long it will take them to agree. They are an 'authority'; slow, bureaucratic, riddled with jobsworthery, inefficiency, obstructionism and with an infuriating arrogance in the knowledge that you can do nothing about it. Even though the actual trains that run on their tracks are private, Network Rail is exactly what a nationalised rail operator in the UK in the 21st century is like. And that moronic lunatic Miliband wants more of it?


Is Blair getting ready for prison?

In what could be part of a series of moves to prepare for prison, Blair has been depicted wearing prison clothing in a recent illustration. Modern prison clothing includes denim trousers, polo shirts and track suit tops with generic trainers. The tough-guy stance may be an effort to try to ensure he is not later troubled in the showers, though few professional crims will rate his chances of standing up to a real beating.