There is nothing even remotely funny about contagious diseases and Ebola in West Africa is just about as serious as things can get. It is so serious that western governments are now urgently deploying military personnel to fight the deadly virus. Cuba, it seems, are sending doctors.
Ebola is not funny; it was not funny last week or last month or back in December or even further back in 1976 when the virus began spreading in Sudan and Zaire. Similarly, it did not raise many laughs in 2007 when it killed more than 400 in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only medical statisticians can tell us when an outbreak becomes an epidemic and when an epidemic becomes a pandemic but, according to some western governments and the feral media that supports them, we are now facing the end of the world. (more…)
The polling places have closed, the ballots have been cast and the votes are being counted. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day but I have a bottle of Lagavulin, a huge bag of Twiglets and the day off tomorrow. By breakfast time, both the Union and I are likely to be wasted.
Shakespeare knew a thing or two about politics and statehood but even his fertile imagination could not have conjured up such an incredible plot. If MacDuff were to ask “stands Scotland where it did?” the answer would be “no”, or possibly “yes”. For the first time, Scotland`s fate has been decided by the pencil rather than the sword and the biggest loser regardless of the vote will be David Cameron. (more…)
Diving for pearls
Of all the important things taught at seats of learning both great and small, how to be a parent stands little chance of being included on the curriculum. Like parachuting, deep sea diving and mating, all the manuals, theory and research in the world cannot replace the hands-on experience of on-the-job training. Failure seems inevitable as attempting to channel positivity, hope, compassion and basic human decency without imposing anxiety, fear and an all consuming ambition is a balancing act that is almost impossible to carry off. Thus, misplaced and erroneous reflected parental glory came a knocking on the door on AS-Level results day.
We have tried our very best not to impose pressure in the pursuit of top examination grades preferring to allow young minds to chart their own course. We failed on occasions and with hindsight comments such as “what do you mean you can`t grasp the concept of filial piety in King Lear” and “for heaven`s sake, child, it`s only a quadratic equation” barked across the dinner table did not exactly help. After a while, the stock question “have you done your homework” was always replied with “yes” even though we knew the answer was always “no”. As one wag many years ago wrote on the wall of the gents at my student union; “knowledge wilts in the greenhouse of academia”. (more…)
Enjoying yet another holiday in Portugal pointing at fish, David Cameron will be delighted that Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has picked her moment to jump overboard just as the nets of moral outrage snag the truly awful coalition government. In the strange world inhabited by Cameron, every silver lining frames a huge, black cloud and Warsi`s resignation might give him short-term relief but the storm is about to break.
In 2007, Cameron appointed an unelected, failed parliamentary candidate hastily elevated to the House of Lords to his shadow cabinet. Promoted not due to any actual ability but because she ticked various electoral boxes, Baroness Warsi became a rare thing in British politics and something of a paradox worthy of Nietzsche. In short, she quickly became unsackable. As a token woman suitably northern and, more importantly, as a token Muslim, her seat at the cabinet table was assured as long as her electoral value remained viable. (more…)