27 May, 2014

See what it is yet?

I wonder if it was entirely appropriate for Rolf Harris to perform, at his trial, 'Jake the Peg (with the extra leg)'.


So,did the earth move for you? Earthquake is one of the commoner descriptions of the election results as Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen sweep all before them, but....I'm not so sure. A Euro election is a good time for a protest but that doesn't mean the voter won't return to type, certainly in France. A few years ago the socialist vote collapsed but left-wingers were seen going into the poling booths holding their noses as they voted for Chirac in order to keep out Marine's father, Jean-Marie.

The British voter is a little different. I remember people saying to me that they wouldn't vote for me because I couldn't win. Farage's success this time will make more people think it is OK to vote for him.

But the mainstream politicians are wondering what they should do now. I think it is easy to guess what will happen in Europe: they will ignore the vote, as they always do. They will tell themselves that what the silly little people really meant was that they wanted more Europe.

In the UK there may be some small change. Ed Miliband might now endorse the idea of a referendum, although I think he was Always going to do that anyway. What would be a breakthrough is if Cameron announced that in the event of his renegotiations not working he would campaign to leave. We'll see.

I have a piece in the Commentator about the European results. Read it; it's free.

Still Life

I must say I find it strange that in the 21st century the cure for fractured vertebrae is to lie still in the hope that they heal up. There is apparently an alternative of injecting plastic into the broken bits but that seems unappealing.

Anyone who finds themselves dependent on rolling news broadcasts will immediately notice how they seize on a topic and won't let go, however uninteresting it becomes, like a puppy with an old shoe it has found. One of the worst of these was the Sky News coverage of the Oscar Pretorius trial, a minute-by-minute coverage of tedious legalisms and nothing serious (we know he shot her, the question is why).

Then we had the Ukraine, of course, and Prince Charles saying Putin was behaving like Hitler. Charles was wrong, of course: firstly he should have kept his mouth shut (he surely can't seriously have thought a woman he had just met would respect 'a private conversation'?). He was also wrong in that the crisis was caused by Hermann van Rompuy and Baroness Ashton's naive foreign policy, not by President Putin.

And there was Astra Zeneca. In the first place it would be hard to describe this as a British Company: the great majority of its employees work in other countries, the great majority of its shareholders are foreign institutions, its Chief Executive is French and its Chairman Swedish. Then there is the madness of the Government intervening. I own shares in Astra Zeneca and I don't want the likes of John 'Vince' Cable telling me who I can sell them to. Supposing a Russian oligarch offered you an excellent price for your house, and then this whining ballroom dancer appears and says you can't sell to him because he may be horrid. B****r off!, is what I say.

Then there were the elections....

14 May, 2014

High score

My latest kitchen accident was higher scoring than I thought: 2 fractured vertebrae and I must lie still for a bit.

I am resolving for a life on takeaways but the kitchen bug will probably get me again. Hey-ho

10 May, 2014

This time?

It is the Eurovision song contest again (Hurray!) and this year rather than offering a 1960s loser Britain's candidate will be Molly Smitten-Downes, who must have had a tough time at school with a name like that.

To save you having to watch the whole affair, here it is.

Still, I expect she's a nice girl underneath all that cliché

Our boys

There are outraged reports in today's press that British soldiers have been photographed next to dead Taliban in Afghanistan.

I don't know who the Left think we are sending out to Afghanistan - perhaps they imagine it was an army of Guardian reading social workers. In fact it was thousands of tough young lads, whom our schools system has largely neglected, who are trained for fighting and told that their job is to kill Her Majesty's enemies.

If we don't want this type of person representing Britain abroad, we shouldn't send them.

The r-word

One of the silliest pieces of news has been the story of Jeremy Clarkson and the n-word. Incidentally, don't you find this terminology daft? I first heard it from George H Bush (Bush père) referring to the F-word. It doesn't seem to convey meaning in a straightforward way.

Anyway, Clarkson previously had referred to an Asian gentleman as a 'slope' (the s-word, or perhaps one of the s-words, this is difficult). For myself I shouldn't have known this was slang for an Easterner had not some daft woman threatened to sue.

Now, apparently in an out-take, Clarkson recited the Eeny.meeny-miny-mo tag, mumbling the n-word, but this was not enough. So he's a racist.

Surely this is pretty low-level offensive, indeed not much more than silly. Why didn't the BBC edit it out?

Contrary to newspaper reports, the BBC will not fire Clarkson. The reason is that the licence fee goes towards making the programmes. There is some other income from sale of material, much of which is provided by Clarkson, and this pays for the chauffeur driven cars and decent lunches of the executives. There would be uproar, not just among the general public, if they got rid of him.

I am just wondering if our problem isn't over-use of the n-word, but of the r-word?

The Master

I generally regard myself as a modest type, but on one issue I will brook no dissent. When it comes to kitchen accidents no one comes close.

Over the years I have suffered sprains, bruises, dropped stuff on my feet, got hot oil, water or fat in most anatomical locations and of course got burns everywhere. My culinary career has been tantamount to self-harm.

My latest contribution was to put a pan of hot oil on the cooker such that it could not balance. As I noticed it falling towards me, with great presence of mind I leaped backwards. During this manoeuvre a shoe came off, I slipped and lost my footing and landed heavily on the terracotta floor on my backside, sliding along until my head struck a solid chestnut door.

Don't try this at home, children.

In over a week of enforced misery, lying on my front, under heavy medication, I have absorbed the news stories without being able to comment or even, as is my usual practice, throw things at the television.

I am now heading for the land of the living, if not for civility. 

01 May, 2014

The LoUC

Interesting news for fans of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Europe doesn't allow the death penalty, but is good at making the drugs to execute criminals in America.

Europe banned the export of these drugs, because of the use the Americans were putting them to.

Since the Americans have had to find other drugs, the average execution has taken a lot longer, perhaps 20 minutes more, and, as we saw in Oklahoma the other day, the prisoner can die in pain.

What is the answer to this (other than the USA banning the Death penalty, which is unlikely)?

It is for an American company to buy the companies which make the drugs, then manufacture them in the USA. Obama should tell Pfizer to add them to its shopping list.