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After 208 years you might be forgiven in thinking Nelson`s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was pretty conclusive but more recent events might result in Napoleon Bonaparte and Admiral Villeneuve rising from their graves to demand a steward`s inquiry.
As a relative stranger to the concept of electricity (Michael Faraday had just turned 14 at the time of Trafalgar and Georg Ohm was only 16), Nelson was probably aware of electric fish and the funny smell that is produced when lightning strikes a ship at sea. He could not, however, have imagined that a novelty experiment would, one day, become a basic human necessity and that pillaging the treasure of colonial rivals would be replaced by pillaging the pockets of his own countrymen. Similarly, if the musket round to his shoulder hadn`t finished him off, the very idea that steam would replace sail would have seen him descending to Davy Jones` Locker faster than a Liberal Democrat thrown overboard at an election. (more…)
I`m looking for the NHS
Those with an attention span longer than an average Twitter trend may recall the far off days before David Cameron was not actually elected as Prime Minister when he said that he would shine “a light of transparency” into the dark world of political lobbying.
Opposing a jaded Brown government beset with corruption scandals coupled with obsessive paranoia, Cameron`s advisors spotted a vote winner and offered salvation from self-serving fat cats on the gravy train. With greedy Labour peers being suspended from the Lords, Stephen Byers` describing himself as “a cab for hire” and government policy on tobacco advertising being reversed after Bernie Ecclestone bunged the Labour government a cool million, the days of Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken had clearly returned. It might be illuminating to spell out word for word what Cameron said in February 2010, three months before the general election, even as the then shadow cabinet were actively engaged in identifying chickens now coming home to roost. In a speech that promised to mend Britain`s “broken politics, he said: (more…)
Eisenstein edits Battleship Potemkin
In all the excitement of the House of Commons vote on the principle of armed intervention in Syria, one example of the increasingly partisan role of BBC news editors seems to have gone unnoticed and has attracted no critical comment.
I must admit that I did not watch the entire seven hour commons debate as it was necessary to take regular breaks to bang my head against the wall every time an overweight middle-aged man with no experience of war demanded the immediate bombing of civilians. Outraged at images of utter barbarity and fuelled by a rather good lunch funded by the tax payer, it is disappointing that our “something must be done” MPs lack the imagination or political logic to offer any policy other than firing high explosives at people. Labour wanted proof of atrocity before unleashing the six or maybe eight Tomahawk cruise missiles from our single available submarine. The Conservatives wanted to shoot first and ask questions later and the Liberal Democrats dribbled a lot and were told to keep their hands in full view. The arguments for war were preposterously weak with the government insisting that the Assad regime had crossed a red line in its use of chemical weapons. To re-enforce the urgency of armed intervention, Cameron told the house that Assad had crossed the same red line on 14 previous occasions. (more…)
I`ll show you mine if you show me yours
If Aeschylus is correct and in war, the first casualty is truth, then the second and third casualties after a parliamentary vote on not going to war must surely be the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister; Cameron and Clegg have engineered a train wreck of monumental proportions.
There are very few occasions when precise, surgical and punitive air strikes are successful in removing cruel, unelected despotic dictators. That, however, should not discourage President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in targeting Downing Street, Chequers and the safe houses used by Australian spin doctors. The oppressed people of Britain can now only live in hope of external intervention to halt a wicked, dogmatic and ultimately incompetent regime.
The coalition`s gung-ho desire to lob open petrol cans into an already toxic bonfire needs to be viewed with deep suspicion and the petulant foot stamping at not being allowed to unleash Tomahawk cruise missiles into a brutal civil war suggests that Cameron and his chums should lay off the Viagra for a bit. The Prime Minister said that he was unable to offer “certainty” but he was able to offer a “judgement” on who is poisoning Syrian civilians. This “judgement” is from a man who promised that the NHS is “safe in his hands” and would never endure a top-down reorganisation or “asset stripping” as ministers with directorships of private health companies would never publicly admit. Actual evidence and this coalition are destined to remain complete strangers as long as liars and fraudsters remain at the heart of a government prepared to wage war on badgers without scientific proof. The monthly fiction of falling unemployment, decreasing debt and rocketing growth combined with the compulsory BBC daily story slagging off the NHS cannot disguise a failing economy and impending electoral disaster. When everything is turning to guano, it is time to try to start or join another war. (more…)
Tory front bench
There are some days that are worth celebrating and some days that need to be remembered as being very, very dark; July 30th is just such a day.
We should rejoice at the anniversary of the first publication of the Beano 75 years ago which continues to this day to offer a “child focussed” critique of education through the “learning platform” provided by the Bash Street Kids. In 1818 Emily Bronte was born and with delicious coincidence the author of Wuthering Heights shares a birthday with national treasure Kate Bush who was born exactly 140 years later. They both share a notable day with Harriet Harman.
The dark side of July 30th 2013 marks a far more sinister watershed. The High Court has ruled that although blatant discrimination against people with disabilities is not very nice, it is perfectly legal and so can continue. Any sensible observer might conclude that the coalition government might be operating under an agenda that is not what it seems. When a spineless weasel like Nick Clegg crawls out from under a Cameron turd to claim that the waiting list for affordable social housing is growing because disabled people are hoarding spare bedrooms, it is obvious that history is about to repeat itself. Clegg is in charge because Cameron is away on holiday in some rented foreign mansion that has lots of bedrooms. We must forgive Cameron because his disabled son died and he will continue to remind of this even as he punishes other children with disabilities. Godwin`s Law is now obsolete, who did the National Socialists go for first?
The same day saw uniformed officers of the United Kingdom Border Agency stopping anyone who wasn`t white at Kensal Green station to check if they were “legal”. The Met were once again stopping early morning buses to check the “papers” of non-white people going to work and even if the Oyster card of ethnic profiled citizens was valid, they were removed from the bus and placed in a police van. Who did the National Socialist go for next? (more…)