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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Hail to the Chief. Eventually.

"America" said Churchill "always does the right thing. Eventually". We take it for granted now that the 20th century's mightiest nation, a country that assisted us with money and vital war materials in the many years before they themselves joined the battle, both in 1917 and 1941, could never have been anything but a member of the original United Nations - united, at that time, against the Axis. It was not always so certain. America's population in the 20th century was filled with first and second generation Irish, Germans and Italians - indeed, German almost once became the young nation's official language - which explains much of why the US could not do more in 1914 or 1939. And yes, I reject wholly the notion that in the last century the US should not have been involved at all in Europe's wars. 

In trying to form a new role for this century, Americans are asking themselves whether they just reprise the roles of the cold war, in which Russia was rich and China poor, with a new version in which Russia is poor but China is seeking economic (though not per capita) parity with the US but both are prioritising guns over butter. 

And all this at a time when we in the UK, who should maintain an army of 100,000 and a fleet of 50 vessels, are still shrinking our defences to help pay-off  Brown's lunatic tsunami of borrowing. That bloody man's irresponsible party politicking with the security of the realm should see him in the dock. But our inadequately resourced armed forces mean that America's election is a matter of national interest for the UK, though not an excuse for interference. 

We will need to work with whomever the US elects as President. Whether that person is a narcissistic lunatic or a chiselling crook. But we must wonder if the candidates are really the best that a nation of 325 millions can do?

Thursday, 27 October 2016

One battalion doth not an army make

Britain has announced that the deployment of a mixed battalion to the Russian border is to be increased. Cpl Jones has now returned to duty from paternity leave, and Rfn Hawkeye's hernia repair has been successful. The pair will deploy-out to Poland within the week. An additional GPMG has been released from store and will leave with the next BFPO consignment from Amazon.

Defence experts were warning of overstretch as the RAF still has three aircraft in Syria, and the Navy's destroyer HMS Beyonce patrols the seas between the Western Approaches and the Norwegian Gap. At a Naval conference in London attended by all 73 Admirals, the government was called upon to increase the number of flag officers by 10% to counter the Russian threat. "Russia has over 100 Admirals" said a spokesperson "and the Royal Navy is committed to achieving parity by 2020".  

Retired Armoured Brigade commander Gen Smallbit also called for both of the Brigade's tanks to be sent to Poland, subject to Number Two's pneumatic starter being replaced. The vital part is expected to be delivered by Amazon in the next few days. 

Con Coughlin, commenting at an MoD journalists lunch said "It's bloody soul destroying. We're doing our best to talk-up a war, but the public can't be arsed. Whether it's 'Bake Off', 'Strictly' or they just won't be spooked by us any more I don't know".  

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Feiertag - Shedporn

Today is a holiday here, and this morning before going down to the pub for an afternoon of oompah band, beer and kasknödel I thought I'd clean up the workshop and have a muse. However, it's impossible to maintain indignation in a mancave, really quite impossible. That's the whole point of them. So with apologies, here's a little shedporn instead;

The workshop is in one of the side aisles of the middle floor of the 300 yo barn; under will be the microbrewery. Workbenches I made for peanuts from 200 x 40 Spruce (ripped as required) which costs £2/m here. Two English FAQs: (1) No, the rain or snow never comes though the gaps / holes / owl openings because the roof overhangs by at least four feet and (2) no, nothing rusts because the air is so much drier here than In England.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Polly's weekly butt-hurt really does cheer me up

I once worked with a woman whose boyfriend had left her. After some time off sick, she returned to work heavily medicated enough for her to spend 90% of the time in a sort of monotonal zombie world of fluffiness. The other 10% was spent shrieking in tear floods of self-pity. The first week, the other girls would huddle around her like worker bees and carry her off to the ladies. The second week, they were mostly urgently engaged in doing other things when the breakdowns came. 

The problem was, we never knew when the whining fits would hit. She would finish a perfectly normal phone call quite calmly then collapse on her knees howling. I had a seasoned groundworks contractor with me once when this happened, and the poor man leapt straight out of his chair. 

The joy of Polly is that one knows exactly when the shrieking fits will start; every time her column is published in the Guardian. The consistency of her whining butt-hurt over Brexit makes it a joy to be savoured. And she doesn't work up to it - it's straight in  
Hardly anything in Britain is untouched by the Brexit vote. With the country angrily wrenched apart, this has caused the greatest political, social and cultural rift of our life-time. But in few places is the hurt felt more deeply than inside the NHS....
And it gets whinier and whinier .

Which means we are still going in the right direction. She's a sort of Brexit monitor - as long as she whines when exposed to newsprint, we can be reassured. I'll bet she never imagined how useful she'd turn out to be.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

We don't lack compassion, but we won't be lied to

The issue around the fake migrant children - those who will never see 20 again - is not that we lack empathy or compassion for their situation, but that the government, and in particular the Home Office, has lied to the British people. That is why the Permanent Secretary must now be sacked. 

We have, as a nation, made a decision that we will not admit economic migrants who are fit young men of an age for military service who have run away from their homes. They are the least vulnerable and the least deserving of help. They have crossed Europe unlawfully and should not be rewarded. Whatever shady deal the Home Office have done with the French, to flagrantly breach such a democratic tenet and to lie to and deceive the British people about it is simply unforgivable. That is why heads must roll.  

Widows and orphans, the elderly and infirm, those least able to cope with the desolation of global upheaval, are rightly the focus of our compassion, our care and our charity. We have a scheme under which such vulnerables can be taken directly from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere to the extent that we can accommodate them. Would-be migrant parents who subject their young children to suffering, sexual abuse and the risk of death in sending them unaccompanied and unescorted to establish a 'bridgehead' that will enable these evil and lazy people to follow safely should be forever excluded from the UK; their poor young children can be adopted by caring, compassionate Britons.

Our message must be clear; bullying, violence, blackmail, lying, deceit, selfishness and a thuggish sense of entitlement are not human qualities we wish to import into our realm. These fit young men must go home or find safety where they are. Those who with the complicit malfeasance of Home Office officials have wrongly entered the UK must be deported. 

Our government and civil servants ignore the strength of popular feeling on this matter at their peril.