Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Dementia is a terrible curse on the elderly and those who care for them, and this blog is not in any way intended as a slight on anyone who has the condition. It is clearly a bewildering and frightening world to inhabit. A lovely old lady near us suffers. We have been neighbours for over twenty years, and the other day she tottered past our drive as I was getting into the car, and said, "I do hope you are settling in well. It's lovely to have new neighbours. You'll find we are a friendly lot round here." Weird, slightly wonderful, but very sad.

My post concerns a much loved elderly relative. Someone who has been in part of our family since earliest memory. She was known as 'Auntie', not just by us, but by countless others across the country. I am referring to the BBC. I can vividly remember being in our kitchen on a July day in 1953 when the austere voice of a lunchtime newsreader announced that an armistice had been declared, bringing the Korean War to an end. My mother had a little weep and got on with the cooking. That was typical of the way in which the BBC was an authoritative lifeline and conduit of information for all families, rich or poor.

Now Auntie is seriously ill. Her delusions are sometimes laughable, frequently embarrassing, but increasingly dangerous to herself and those around her. She totters about the place, and her regular falls seem ever more likely to cause her lasting, even terminal, damage. We support her, loyally, of course. Only the other day I stumped up nearly £150 as my small part of the multi million pound care package which pays for her care during her sad decline.

Auntie's bizarre behaviour is happening more and more often. She has developed a worryingly peculiar way of responding to world events, where, when something happens which she considers 'relevant', she will send a team of alleged journalists to the scene of the event, where the dutiful stooge will stand around in the crowd of onlookers/mourners/innocent passers-by, shove a microphone under a random nose, and ask such penetrating questions as, "Well, what's the feeling in your village now that Nelson Mandela has died?" Every mundane reply is then transmitted back to an adoring audience, no-doubt glued to their radio or TV set. The whole Mandella farrago was a disgrace, and I have only just felt that it was safe to turn on Radio Five Live again.

Only the other day, there was a terrible and heartbreaking murder of a young girl in Didcot. She was last seen at the railway station, late on a winter's afternoon. So what did Auntie do? She sent a reporter to the scene, and announced with breathless excitement, "And we can now speak to (anonymous hack) who is STANDING OUTSIDE THE STATION WHERE THE MISSING GIRL WAS LAST SEEN!" Wow. Amazing. Bear in mind, this is radio. What were we to expect? Would the latter day John Pilger might stumble upon a vital clue to the girl's disappearance? Would the perpetrator of the crime suddenly appear, and confess on air?

My small but loyal readership will have gathered by now that my views, in political terms, are some way right of centre, but not, as one critic has alleged, some way to the right of Eugene Terreblanche. 

 Auntie used to pick her way slowly, but safely and surely along the ridge above the political divide. Now she has lost her footing, and although she occasionally tries to grab a protruding bush or a rock ledge to break her fall, her momentum gathers force as she plunges into the left-wing abyss.

Take Auntie's pride and joy, BBC Question Time. The format is simple. Ship in a rent-a-mob audience of students, malcontents, entitlement freaks, Guardianistas and beards. Choose any three from Auntie's centrally-contracted cast of stars - Owen Jones, Baroness Toynbee of Tuscany, George Monbiot, Mehdi Hasan, Chuka Umunna, Kevin Maguire, Diane Abbott…(need I go on?) 

Then drop into this toxic mix a random right-winger, and let the death of a thousand verbal cuts commence. I am also reliably informed that Anjem Choudary, after his star turn on The Today Programme, is being lined up for a regular spot on Thought For The Day.

While we try to persuade Auntie to take a holiday, and to come with us to a lovely health resort in Zurich (DIGNITAS, P.O. Box 17 8127 Forch), she seems content to sit in her dusty old home, surrounded by memories of old boyfriends from the ANC, Hamas, Al Qeda, The Provisionals, Stonewall, Greenpeace and the RMT union. Maybe we will all be sad when the first Christmas comes when she is no longer with us, but I, for, one will look back on a long life, largely well led, and raise a thankful glass to her her

Saturday, 21 December 2013


This confession gives me little pleasure. It is like appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to lay bare my soul, and utter one final - yet-primal - scream, which will wipe away my sins. I am reminded of the (apocryphal) pun from Sir James Napier in 1844. 

After his brutal conquest of the Indian province of Sindh in 1844, he is supposed to have issued the statement 'Peccavi' ( For the benefit of those who didn't learn Latin at school, that means, 'I have sinned' Geddit? No? Well let's move on.

MY SIKH BUDDY  When I were but a lad, I grew up in a street of ex-railwaymen's terraced cottages. Worth a fortune now, but then, pretty basic. We were on the edge of a lovely park - acres of green grass, trees, swings and a river. I had a mate. He didn't go to my school, because I went to the posh local school that offered Assisted Places. I guess his mum and dad didn't know the ins and outs of the system. His name was Sutje Manavinder Singh. We used to play cricket, tennis and football across the seasons, and he was a lovely lad, polite, loyal and friendly. It was all about innocent boys' stuff because we didn't waste time chasing girls. You have to remember this was the early sixties, and Sex was yet to be invented. But here's the confession. Like most of the other local rough and tumble lads, I called him 'Sooty'. He didn't seem to mind. We never talked about our cultural background or felt uneasy in each other's company. Our paths diverged and life moved on. But, I regularly wake in a muck-sweat thinking of what hurt my casual and thoughtless misinterpretation of his given name may have caused him. If he is, in his late 60s, still receiving therapy, then all I can say is, "sorry, mate, no harm intended"

SATURDAY NIGHT TELEVISION For what seemed like an eternity in my mid-teens, I sat and watched Saturday night TV. 'Yoof' didn't go out in those days. We were much too under the thumb of parents who believed in staying together, despite chasms of differences, and mutual irritation. So, there might have been Dr Who, followed by some anodyne bullshit, and then the evening's highlight - The Black and White Minstrel Show.

OMFG (as the liberated twitterati are wont to say) I was exposed to nearly an hour of entertainers dressed up as cartoon black men, with straw hats and rubber ring lips, singing mellifluously about 'de Swanee Ribber'. The show was my Dad's favourite, but to be brutally honest, I only stuck with it for the occasional glimpse of long-legged dancing girls. Well as you can imagine, this turned me into a raving fascist butcher, and very few weekends since then have not featured me launching myself into the ghettos in order to butcher random black people who are unfortunate enough to cross my path. And, I suppose the dancing girls whose long limbs stoked my adolescent fantasies, well, they were victims as well, yes? Objectified and demeaned by being ogled by a spotty teen sitting on a cheap sofa in a Midland town. Shameful.

PREJUDICE WEARS AN ARRAN SWEATER  God, this confession stuff is hard. I do understand that being Irish may be difficult. You have a great backlog of dodgy decisions and tactics to cope with. Some of your lot backed the Germans in two world wars, supported a murderous terrorist organisation, you had a banking collapse like none other before or since, and your clergy have a very questionable stance on women's rights …but, hey, let's not nit-pick. What may have hit you really hard is the shameful legacy of English hippies trying to be more Irish than Mick (sorry, Mícheál Ó Coileáin) 

Yes we strutted our stuff, sang songs about The Troubles, the Easter Rising, Bold Devileira, and all of the bullshit. And all this in the (not biblical) Upper Room of a Warwickshire pub. Probably serving Ansells. I have a 'wake in fright' memory of actual performing at a Sinn Fein benefit concert, again in a spit and sawdust Leamington pub. I can only hope that my performance was incompetent enough to have brought no glory on those we were raising money for.

THE PENNY DROPS, AND THE LID COMES OFF TO REVEAL A SORRY TALE OF BIGOTRY This is where it gets deadly serious. Two childhood aberrations, two cardinal sins, two journeys into the Dark Side…oh, heavens, did I just say that? What I mean to say was "two journeys which did not follow the Path of Light." Phew. Apologies. Moving on rapidly, I don't want to go into The Four Yorkshiremen territory, but as kids we were not very well off. I used to save my pocket money. It was usually two shillings and sixpence a week. Half-a-Crown. 12.5p in today's money. The half-crown was a substantial bit of kit. It was heavy. It had real value. If you had two half-crowns to rub together, then you were seriously minted. But that isn't the issue. It was where I kept my half-crowns. Can you believe that I used to force those half-crowns between the exaggerated lips of a cartoon black man who was enamelled onto the side of my money box? 

Surprised that it hasn't shown up on any of my CRB checks? Flabbergasted that I was allowed to work with children for so long? Well, as I look back on my life, I can only shudder in shame at the indignities I inflicted upon noble African-Americans everywhere. I have saved the least forgivable until last, because I don't want you to leave this blog with any shred of sympathy for my vile past. To quote Sir John Betjeman (who might have been a great poet if he hadn't been white, middle class and able to write and speak his own language) "I'm dying now and done for, what on earth was all the fun for?" My dying fall concerns jam, marmalade and badges. Yes, I can see the antennae of Race Industry professional are twitching with alarm. ("Surely even he wouldn't have sunk so low …?", "I could believe almost anything of him, but THIS …?", "Completely defies belief…and he's still out there, with access to our youngsters..?" OK. Time to come clean. There's no other way of saying this. Hide behind the sofa if you have a medical condition. I. Collected. Stickers. From. Inside. Jars. Of. Robertson's. Jam. And. Marmalade. And. Then. Traded. Them.In.For…….A GOLLIWOG BADGE!!! 

I know now, in the depths of my old age, that I was complicit in a vicious conspiracy to demonise, belittle, mock and denigrate millions of innocent black people. My greed and avarice probably contributed to the horrors in Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s, the Sharpeville Massacre, the Tottenham Riots, and the disgraceful imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. I would like to say that I wore my badge with pride, but that would be a lie. I think the pin fell off in the playground at school, and the gruesome effigy was probably swept up by the caretaker and put in the incinerator.

SO HERE ENDS THE CONFESSION I am a certifiable racist moron. My bags are packed. My final wishes have been scribbled onto the back of a BNP election flyer. When the BBC Thought Police make their dawn swoop, I am ready, Just one request. Please don't send me to an HMP where all the inmates, officers, and admin staff are forced to bow down to the east during Morning Prayers.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Grand reopening of Constantine House postponed. An FDC spokesperson says,"We are working tirelessly with approved partners for a successful outcome to this community project which has raised the flagpole for a holistic high altitude view of the ongoing situation."
March Town Band said to be "incandescent" over last minute cancellation by Fenland District Council. The band had been booked to play at the delayed opening of the refurbished Constantine House. At the last minute, the ceremony was cancelled. An FDC official said," We regret the inconvenience caused to stakeholders, but several high profile providers have dropped the ball on this occasion." Bandleader Alf Miggins said, "We are well gutted. We had been rehearsing a special arrangement of 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.'
Crowds had to be dispersed by riot police outside Constantine House today. They had gathered to celebrate the long-awaited reopening of the iconic Wisbech landmark, but the mood turned ugly when it became clear that the ceremony was not to go ahead. In a press release, the FDC Beloved Leader said, "We are involved in Blue Sky Thinking here, and when we have all our ducks in a row, we will fire the silver bullet which will set this exciting civic regeneration initiative up and running,"
A disappointed crowd of three people who had been queuing overnight to attend the proposed reopening of Wisbech's Constantine House turned ugly, as the ceremony was postponed at the last moment. FDC officers responsible or regeneration issued a press release saying, "We have re-baselined the green light governance of this integral initiative, and we are fully committed to maintaining the council's reputation for fostering a 'can-do culture'". In the resultant melee a journalist from Suffolk was arrested by police, but was bailed to appear before magistrates in 2020.
They are certainly dancing on the potholed streets of Wisbech's Nene Quay tonight, after a huge crowd gathered to celebrate the unveiling of three new giant photographs of idyllic Fenland scenes, which have been put in place to cover the crumbling facade of Constantine House. The only sour note was sounded by the ill-mannered booing by the crowd every time the face of FDC's Beloved Leader appeared on the many big screens erected around the town.
In a shock development, on the eve of the removal of the plywood windows of Constantine House, the Executive Institute of Environmental Infrastructure Organisations (Ee-eye-ee-eye-oh) called a halt to restoration work, as their scientists have discovered a colony of endangered rats in the building. The Javanese Bluefoot Rat (Caeruleus Piedica Javensis Rattus) is unknown outside its Indonesian heartland, but scientist believe it has been attracted to the Fenland site by the abundance of its main dietary requirement - pigeon excrement.
There was a widely supportive response on social media tonight, as the Beloved Leader of FDC, flanked by his media spokesperson, issued the following statement. "Regarding Constantine House, we are aware that there has been an unfortunate level of public cynicism about our approach. It is with deep sincerity that I say to you today, we have focused on area-specific benchmarking that, alongside our commitment to citizen-specific community engagement, will ensure a mutually beneficial outcome which will ultimately empower all end-users."
An attempt to stage an alternative  Wisbech Rock Festival on the roof of Constantine House came to an abrupt end when the drummer of the local band 'Negligence' crashed through the decaying timbers as the band launched into their opening number 'We Are Wisbech'. The drummer, Wayne Thribb, is in a critical condition, as he awaits a potentially crucial Basspedalectomy.
Several pleasure cruisers, three families of ducks, two migrant geese and a discarded sofa had their journey down the Nene disrupted today as a large part of the facade of Constantine House collapsed into the river. The Beloved Leader of FDC said, in an emotional broadcast to thousands of supporters anxiously gathered in Wisbech Market Place, "This is a minor setback. I have a dream. A dream that one day, people will be able to walk into The Belfast Building and buy rayon sheets and nylon pillow-cases. I have a dream!"
A plan to turn the derelict Constantine House into the St Pancras of NE Cambridgeshire has been shelved, after a bitter disagreement between local solicitors Hooke, Lyne & Sinker, builders Fenland Erections, and fourteen of the sixteen groups rivalling each other to restore what has been called "one of the most evocative railway lines between two Cambridgeshire towns which begin with 'M' and 'W'".
As more of Constantine House subsides into Nene Quay and the river, FDC officers hit back at critics " We have organised a fast-track facilitation of on-line resources to ensure a beneficial collective outcome to this minor problem. We have engaged users, introduced a framework compatible with community flexibilities and freedoms and, given the coterminous evidence based research by our investigative officers, we say, with the utmost confidence, that in 2015 we will be funding a feasibility survey to look into the possibility of replacing the existing photographs of Fenland scenes with specially commissioned graffiti by The Southwell Road Artists' Collective."
Grand reopening of Constantine House postponed. FDC officer in charge says,"Tirelessly, we are working with approved partners for a high altitude view of the ongoing situation to this community project which has raised the flagpole for a holistic successful outcome."

Monday, 9 December 2013

My overnight bag is packed. I have soap and toothpaste enough for a six-month sentence. When the Thought Police knock on my door in the early hours of tomorrow, I will go gently into that good night, provided by the BBC and a generation of lily-livered left-wing lunatics.
I expect that the intelligentsia will cast my words into the same depths as those currently occupied by Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and the editor of The Daily Mail. So, Nelson Mandela is dead. At 95, he has had a good innings, especially considering the years he spent in a inhumane prison. But what justifies the current blanket media coverage? The BBC have disgraced themselves with their fawning and uncritical coverage, but have failed to respond to annoyed listeners and viewers.

The picture is from a 1930s cartoon. A guest at a posh dinner has lit his cigar before The Royal Toast. The cartoon was by H.M. Bateman, and is titled "The Man Who Lit His Cigar Before The Royal Toast.' Look at the outrage, hate and vein-popping anger on the faces of the other guests. Brilliantly done, but there is a serious point. These cartoon toffs are nowhere near as outraged as some social media celebrities over the last couple of days. A decent, honourable and brave man, who had a huge impact on the country of his birth has died. We should praise his achievements, and be thankful that his wisdom changed the way people thought in his country. 
But wait. I read that an inconsequential newsagent has been arrested, questioned and cautioned (and had a DNA swab taken) because he cracked a feeble joke about Nelson Mandela's passing. Closer to home, a witch hunt was stirred up (by someone who should know better) because a local councillor re-tweeted another fairly dim joke about Madiba. The BBC have gone into saturation mode over Mandela's death. 
The moronic media pounces on the latest Mandela tribute like a fat vulture. "Why is there no Mandela tribute from Katie Price?" 'Why have One Direction stayed silent..?" "Why have Wisbech Town Council not renamed Churchill Road 'Mandela Boulevard?"
What we need is a little perspective. A brief but pertinent Q and A session

(1) Has Mandela's life and work affected anything in Britain? No

(2) How has Mandela's legacy improved the life of black SA citizens? Pass
(3) What has been Mandela's impact on world affairs? Negligible
(4) Has his legacy inspired a new generation of democratic black leaders? No
(5) Why are we bothered? Ask the BBC