April 02, 2009

Protestor or Terrorist?

The G20 Protests in London have gone down the route I expected. There is no such thing as a "peaceful" protest, any and every protest I have ever witnessed has turned into an excuse for the violent fringe to make trouble. But there is now a much more sinister element at work here, look at the pictures in any orf the papers or on the TV News and you see the protestors dressed in dark "hoodie" fleeces and with their faces hidden by masks. If they intend a "peaceful" demonstration, why do they feel a need to behave like the Mujahedin, Al Qaeda or the IRA's "soldiers" who routinely hid behind masks.

I do not believe in "gestures" which is what these mob marches and "protests" are and find myself very much in agreement with Bounaparte who famously surveyed a rioting mob in Paris and ordered that they be treated to a "whiff of grape shot". It certainly stopped the riot and it rapidly restored order. This is the problem with "protests" and "protestors" - they seek to force governments and elected bodies to change policy or ideology by riot rather than through persuasion or the ballot. Any government that kowtows to it is surrendering to the rule of the mob and that is one step away from tyranny and oppression of everyone the mob's incitors decide is "an enemy of the people". We live in a democracy, not perfect, but still a democracy. It has institutions and powers to address the needs and desires of the electors - and mobs have no place in such a society. Yet, since the 1960's (and most of our present government are of that mindset) the idea has grown up that governments can be forced to change any policy or to adopt the agenda of a small and usually very unrepresentative, but vociferous and frequently violent mob.

Mobs have never yet brought peace, fairness or justice, they bring anarchy and do immense damage to our society and the fabric of our instruments of wealth. What is more the most violent of these "protestors" are frequently unemployed and have no intention of being gainfully employed. They are parasites feeding off the generosity of the very society they attack. Gestures are one thing, letting my MP and his or her Party know what I think of any policy or proposal is another, but mob rule through riots and "protests", "peace camps" or any of the other plethora of Hippy generation claptrap is unacceptable.

Isn't it ironic that the organisers of these riots are dyed in the wool "socialists" on the extreme left who want to create a unitary party state ruled by socialism - their brand of course - the very antithesis of democracy and the least likely type of state to ever permit their antics.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2009

A long day

It's been a long day in what promises to be a very long week. As ever, it's not the work I'm being paid for that is making the biggest demands and though I normally give my time happliy, I have an incipient cold which won't go away and I'm tired. Sorry folks, tonight there won't be a post of any great interest.

Mind you, it could be worse, I could have the Press trying to make a storm in a teacup out of nothing as the Conservative Party now has. Its fascinating how much noise the Press are able to make over a simple musing. The Conservatives are not the government and may not be elected, so what the blazes is wrong with the Shadow Business Secretary using the words "an aspiration" in relation to a tax they want to change? It will be an aspiration until they are in a position to change it - but the left dominated press have had a field day trying to make political capital for their paymasters in Labour.

Its tiresome and its a sham. Crocodiles do not weep and the Press itself has nothing whatever to be self-righteous about. Now, I'm knackered, so its off to bed.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2009

Spam attacks

Twice yesterday MuNu seems to have been hit by Spam Attacks. For a while PixyMisa actually shut down comment acceptance on the whole of MuNu, yet the spammers still managed to get a few under the radar. I have to say though, that since PM fitted Fluffy the Spamhound, the spam has been much reduced. Its still a nuisance though.

Spamming should be uprated to major criminal offence - it is, in fact, a form of terrorism since my Doctor's system last night was running very slow due to attempts apparently, to hack into it. Fortunately it is almost hack-proof, and the source is a Far Eastern spammer. Why do they feel the need to do this?

Terrorism does seem to be about the only explanation.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2009

Why I hate Civil Servants

In these financially disasterous times everyone is vulnerable, none more so than those who have been made redundant. Such is the fate of one of my fellow MuNuvians - Practical Penumbra aka Suzie. She used to run a multiscreen cinema complex in her home state in the US. A little over a month ago her employer decided to close. Just like that, no warning and no consultation. Suzie has paid her taxes and contributed to social security as long as she worked, so now, she thought, it was time to sign on and get the benefits she is entitled too. Pity her employer fouled up the social security number for her contributions - not something she could or necessarily would spot. But enough for the bureaucrats who are supposed to "serve" her, to withold any payment.

This is why I hate Civil Servants. They are, without exception, parasites on any society, but thrive especially in any society which falls for the line that "management" is a matter of following a set of "rules" determined by - you've guessed - Civil Servants. The experience of Suzie at Practical Penumbra who was made redundant five weeks ago. Her claim for unemployment benefits is now being shuffled from in tray to in tray. "Enquiries are being made is all the answer she gets, yet, nothing is being looked at, the file is still lying on a desk somewhere (One of the parasites actually admitted that!) and it seems unlikely that there will be any movement in under six months if she is lucky. This is typical of the way the Civil Service handles their cock-ups. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, there is always some damned Civil Servant who will slavishly follow the "rules" and deny you what you have paid for through your tax while happily pocketing a huge amount of that same tax for doing absolutely nothing useful at all. As for actually doing what they are paid to do - forget it! As for admitting they may have got something wrong - forget it, Hell will be 10,000 years into an Ice- age before that is even likely.

I recommend that you read her story and weep. This is absolutely typical of every civil service I have ever had to deal with and I have dealt with several over the years.

In my career I have had to attend numerous meetings presided over by civil servants. The minutes never record the discussion, just that there was one, they never record a decision, because there never is one. By keeping it "corporate" they avoid blame of it goes wrong. The "Minister" is always the fall guy and always the excuse. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told it was "the Minister's decision", yet, when you confront the Minister (as I have done twice!) with the facts he turns to the civil servant and demands "why wasn't I told about this?" Of course they have had their revenge, I have been sidelined in my career and eventually retired without recognition, but I know where they are hiding the skeletons and one day I will have my moment, always assuming someone else doesn't get there first.

There is only one thing wrong with every civil service. It exists. There is only one way to cure it - make every civil servant responsible for everything they do wrong and that means all the way to the Permanent Secretaries right at the top. Make them responsible - if the Minister takes a fall they should go too! The list of things the civil service in the UK have destroyed, degraded to the point of uselessness or simply "managed" out of existence is long enough to fill a book. Those who have encountered the "Prince 2" system of Project Management will have rapidly (Unless they are a Civil Servant and therefore completely unable to identify reality when they see it) discovered that it is completely and utterly useless. A paper exercise which is so bureaucratic it does nothing except drive the project costs sky high and all technical staff involved to despair. Prince 2 has never delivered a project of any descriuption on time or on budget, yet it is the Treasury's ONLY permissable "Project Management System".

If the "Rules" do not allow you to do a job efficiently, don't think they can be amended. The "Rules", accroding to the Civil Servant applying them, were invariably "made" by the Minister, Parliament or - worst of all - the Treasury. B******t! They were usually written by the idiot you are talking too, or, if they were by some miracle "made" by any of the usual scape goats, they were merely signed by some twit who didn't understand them when they were shoved in front of them. Take my word for it, I have worked alongside some of these morons, their only problem is that their egos are so huge they can't see anything else and they are completely and utterly incompetent. Sadly it goes all the way downward as well. Human cloning? Just look at the Civil Service in any given country. Toe the party line, suppress all desire to actually do anything that serves the people you are supposed to be serving and you'll do very well indeed. Might even get a Knighthood out of it.

Suzie's experience of the American Civil Service is a case in point. The fact that she is trying to sort out a problem which has serious consequences for her (loss of home, etc.) just doesn't register with them at all. So what if their "investigation" of her case takes all year? It's only another benefit claimant. Another tax payer trying to take money back from the taxes they have paid toward the civil servant's pension scheme (Bomb proof) or the civil servants salary (also bomb proof) and which the civil servants of every society see as their right to spend, waste and withold as they see fit. The very term "Civil Servant" is an oxymoron - I have yet to meet any who are either civil or servants. In fact I know one very senior Civil Servant who is unqualified to do what he does, yet happily takes home an annual salary of £160k, looks forward to a pension almost two thirds of that (with a substantial lump sum commutation!) and whose contribution to the good governance of this country includes the delisting of Blue Tongue as a notifiable disease (You can't cure it so don't report it!), a hugely expensive computer scheme which is now running over budget and undelivered (from his previous post) and who will sit through every meeting with experts and then demand a single paragraph summary of the discussion with "a decision I can take to the Minister".

It is my belief that the Civil Service is a genetic defect. We should sponsor genetic research in order to identify the gene and eradicate it.

Pray for Suzie. Unfortunately prayers targeted at the death of the appropriate civil servant are unlikely to meet with Divine approval. Frankly, the Devil must be laughing his head off - Civil Servants are far more effective at driving people to despair than millennia of demonic activity. Pratchett is right - the Devil and demons don't have the imagination.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2009

Dishonoured Honours

Only the Labour Party could possibly think that the award of a knighthood to a man who supported the IRA terrorists murder campaign in Northern (And Southern) Ireland, supported Noraid which funded the IRA and did more to promote their "mythology" than anyone else for his efforts to promote "peace", was a good idea. It simply proves that the entire "Honours" system has now become nothing more than a way of rewarding the undeserving pop-stars and sycophants who fund Labour and their social engineering schemes and of insulting all the truly hardworking and self-sacrificing individuals who really do deserve the recognition.

Ted Kennedy's "knighthood" is intended to insult the Loyalist side of the Irish Divide and promote the Sinn Fein/IRA who are Labour's partners in the process. Labour hate the Loyalists with a passion born out of the rejection by the Unionist Parties of Labour's communist ambitions. The New Year "Honours" were stuffed with the undeserving, mainly Civil Servants who should be sacked for their incompetence and the damage they have done to our society, the public services they are supposed to deliver and our economy. Ted Kennedy is simply the most visible example of just how dishonourable our "Honours" system has become under this government of apparatchiks and closet communists. I am glad to see that I am not alone in thinking this either, several of our more serious journalists concur, though as expected, The Grauniad thinks its good. But then, you'd expect the British version of Pravda to think that.

Coming, as it does on top of the most recent murders of Servicemen and Police Officers by those Mr Kennedy and his family have done so much to arm and encourage, it really is insulting to everyone in Ireland and particularly to those who have genuinely sought peace. At least all sides in Northern Ireland know how to show Braown and the IRA their feelings, the silent vigils yesterday said everything.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2009

Green Lord?

I will confess to being very amused by the sight, on TV, of Lord Mandelson, Mr Blair's favourite EU Commissioner, disgraced MP and now Life Peer and chum of Gordo the Brown, getting a faceful of green custard. A pity it was thrown by a misguided "Green" protester, but I cannot fault her aim. Of course, she could now face charges under the Terrorism Act, but I rather think Lord Mandelson hasn't complained to the police - who have egg on their faces for the total failure of any protection squad member, or any of the many police present, to apprehend the llady and prevent the assault.

I suspect she will be "cautioned" for common assault and that will be that.

It couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. I wonder when someone will land one on the rest of this Party of thieves and thugs? Mind you, I have to admit a grudging respect for the man, his calm behaviour in the face of this assault and his subsequent good humour about it deserve acknowledgement.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2009

Incompetence in the Civil Service? It seems its official!

A major "Think Tank" report out today identifies a number of issues I have been banging on about for years as major problems with the Civil Service and recommends root and branch reform. Personally I think its far too late for reform - nothing but its total annihilation and replacement will serve to fix it. What can be done with an organisation that buys 8 Chinooks, then tries to save money by demanding "modifications" which mean the software necessary to fly the damned things has to be rewritten and can't be - so the helicopters still can't fly eleven years after we bought them! The Civil SErvants say that its the military changed the specification after purchase, in fact if the military spec had been followed by the Civil Servants to begin with the whole sorry mess wouldn't have arisen!

Then there's the debacle of the Passport Office computers which still don't work properly and the NHS has just written off £125 million spent on a computer system that could not be made to work, the MOD (again!) who ordered Eurofighters (Called Typhoons by the RAF) without the "chain gun" supposed to mounted in the wing (To save money) only to find that the plane won't fly without it - so we now have strike aircraft with chain guns fitted that can't be fired. The Civil Service was the invention of the 19th Century. The remarkable thing about it then was that it worked, mainly because it stuck to setting strategy and left the management to "then man on the Ground". It also had a preponderance of Oxbridge academic types running it who recognised that "big government" was not a "good thing". Then some damned fool gave them "management" responsibility for the day to day running of the government. And its gone down the pan from there.

The Report calls for the Senior Civil Servants to be appointed my Ministers and for their appointment to be restricted to three years. Good idea except for the "appointed by ministers" bit. It goes further however and calls for incompetence to be punishable. At present it is all but impossible to get rid of an incompetent or obstructive Civil Servant, and what is needed is a change in the law which allows them to be held responsible for their botches. Not before time, in fact, well overdue! Attend any meeting chaired by the Civil Service on any matter and you will be struck by the fact that no decisions are ever taken and no discussion is ever minuted. Just a heading and a set of initials and a note which usually says, "further investigation" or "deferred".

And the remaining thing that has to be smashed from the psyche is this - and I feel it merits capitals!

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MANAGEMENT PROFESSION! MANAGEMENMT IS A FUNCTION OF EVERY ROLE AND EVERY PROFESSION - NOT A PROFESSION IN ITS OWN RIGHT!

That has to be struck from the Civil Service appointments and promotions Rule Book before there can be any hope of a return to the sensible practice of allowing the professionals to manage their profession and not to have glorified filing clerks and HR specialists dictating how rocket scientists, military professionals, fire fighters, police officers and health care professionals do their work!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2009

Disaster in Cologne

Work in Cologne has been going on for some time to build or extend the Underground Railway for the city. Today it appears that someone got something horribly wrong. The entire Historic City Archive building collpased into a huge hole in the ground which is directly related to the tunnels being constructed along the street in front of it. Two people are still missing, probably dead by now and the archives priceless collection of documents dating back to the reign of Kark der Grosse (Charlemagne to the French and Charles the Great to everyone else) now lie buried in the rubble.

Some pictures of the disaster can be found here.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2009

And I thought I was the only one ....

This post is worthy of a much wider audience. Sleeping Albion, an image of a sleeping giant from the poetry of William Blake, is the feature at the heart of the post on "Little man -what now".

He makes several excellent points and his words on the loss of our "freedoms' and the supine manner in which our majority have accepted the canards and slanders of the "liberal left" ex-hippies now running this once great country are more than just memorable. There can be no greater truth than the statement - "Opinions are dangerous," and the rest of the statement which reminds us that our present set of rulers do not, under any circumstances allow anyone to express any opinion which conflicts with the new "Truth" as they promote it.

Do pay this blog a visit and spread the word. There may yet be time for Sleeping Albion to awake and throw out these thieves of our identity and our freedom.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:46 PM | TrackBack

February 28, 2009

Blame games

It's interesting watching Whitehall (That centre of ultimate incompetence) and Westminster's denizens (The Centre of ultimate freeloading) accusing the banks and bankers of greed and incompetence. Firstly, the rogues among the banking community got away with it because the Regulatory body was being run on minimum intervention on the orders of Westminster/Downing Street and Civil Servants staff it. Not a Banking qualification or experience between either body as far as I can see.

Then when you look at the Boardrooms themselves you rapidly discover that these are also filled with parachutists - no Banking Qualifications there either, much less actual experience at Branch level.

Many more years ago than the Monk likes to remember he joined the staff of one of the then largest banks in the world. It didn't last, the Monk was not meant to be in banking and he moved on after a few years, but the interesting thing is this, at that time the Chairman of the Bank (Logo: Black Spread Eagle with coronets on each wing and its chest and the initials DCO under it) had worked in a Branch and actually knew what we, the numerous clerks actually did in the "Waste Department", in "Clearances" , "Remittances", "Bills" or "Securities". The likes of the gent now under scrutiny for his part in the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland and his £650k pension, have probably never heard these terms and wouldn't know how anyone actually did the work it involved anyway. In fact I doubt if any of them have any acquaintance at all with the operational side of any branch of any bank, let alone the ones they supposedly managed.

What Whitehall is eager to hide in all of this, and to an extent Westminster as well, is that the Cult of Management is at the root cause of this collapse. Gone are the days when, in order to be a "Manager" you had first to work your way up the particular branch of the particular profession to become one. Now any over qualified filing clerk waving an MBA can parachute into any profession and "Manage" the professionals. What rapidly happens of course is that the professionals very quickly find that their time is increasingly spent writing "Business Cases" or filling in forms for an ever increasing army of paper shufflers to discuss in meetings from which the professionals are excluded and never actually action. Westminster used to be filled with people who were bankers, industrialists, ex-military, police or fire fighters, doctors etc. Now it is stuffed with professional politicians who have never done a day's work in their lives and haven't got even the vaguest idea how the people they claim to be "serving" with their ill-judged and ill-written legislation are affected. Why? Because they are advised by Civil Servants and Trade Unionists, neither of whom would qualify as knowing anything about the reality of the work either......

So, as I said, its interesting watching Parliament, the Civil Service and their "advisers" and cronies blaming the banks. It distracts attention from the fact that they haven't got a clue on what they are talking about, can't do anything to fix it anyway because they broke it in the first place, and don't give a damn about the rest of us - because, boy, have they got the pension stitched up a treat! They daren't touch the big pensions the Boards are getting lined up for because that exposes their own scam. A full pension after only two terms in Parliament? A gold plated pension, medals and knighthoods after 40 years screwing the public as a Civil Servants? That's where we should be looking for a bit of "claw back" after all, its our money that pays for it and that is where the blame really rests.

Management is NOT an independent "profession" it is a function of professional activity. We would do well to re-establish that principle in all corporate activity, commercial, industrial and perhaps most importantly, in government at all levels.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 27, 2009

A winner for a long week

Sorry this post is so late folks, but its been a long a very stressful week. So it was a great piece of news to get a call from the Law firm I have been acting as "expert" for to tell me that the case has been settled out of court and that my report was one of the reasons for doing so. Everyone is happy - especially my clients as they walk away no worse off and without having to pay a very large contribution to the owners of the building that was lost.

Nice to know you're getting something right. Even nicer when you get the personal thanks of a high powered Barrister for your assistance "in this matter".

And so to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day too!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2009

Selling off the silver ....

So our esteemed ex- EU Commissar, Lord Mandelson, is trying to sell off the Royal Mail and offering all sorts of sweetners and "guarantees" to get it through that House of Perfidy in Westminster. The Royal Mail is in a mess precisely because this same bunch of dangerous buffoons allowed its profitable bits to be "cherry picked" in an earlier botched attempt by the Civil Service to "free up RM to focus on its core business." Well, guess who's behind this latest attempt?

You guessed, the Civil Service again. Show me one project the Civil Service have managed to deliver on budget, on time or indeed according to plan.

Royal Ordinance was "privatised" with guarantees that our armed forces would still have access to UK based production of their weapons and munitions. Well that lasted about five years and then, guess what, the bits were sold off and now all our arms and all our munitions come from outside the UK. The MOD was ordered by this government to close its hospitals and care facilities for wounded service personnel and give it all to the NHS - on the grounds that it would save money and the NHS would provide the specialised services and support. Guess what, the money has vanished into that well known Black Hole and the services for the military have failed to materialise - so now we have desperately ill and wounded men returning to be treated badly by ill equipped and ill prepared medical staff alongside Tom, Dick, Harry and Harriet and be abused by the Civil Servants this same shower of incompetents have put in charge. Ask the lad with his leg blown off and serious injuries who was asked by a "manager" to remove his uniform because it "upset" some of the layabouts in A&E where the "caring" NHS had dumped him.

Let's ask about the £165 million written off in an IT project the Civil Service has decided to abandon because it can';t be made to work and do what they were wanting. Or the £400 million overspend on building the Scottish Parliament.

The Royal Mail may not be the most efficient organisation in the Public Services, but it is a hundred times more efficient than anything else in Whitehall! The only reason this government can have for further selling off of the family silver is that they stand to gain from it. I wonder who is lined up for a Directorship on which Board in the buyers?

And here's a funny thought for the day. Napoleon fought and lost a war to take us over and conquer Europe. Lord Mandelson and his cronies seem to have done very well handing the country, its industry and its services over to Napoleon's successors. The bits they haven't given to the Brussels Bureaucracy they have sold to French Companies, Spanish Banks or anyone else with the right price and the right incentives. Perhaps that's why they are terrified to hold a referendum on our continued subsumation into the USE to be.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2009

Socialist Economics explained....

Labour Economic Policy Explained

Shortly after class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand the Chancellor's latest plan to stimulate the economy. Can you explain it to me?"

The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.

At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool.

They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said,

"First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed.

The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told.

The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool.

The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?"

The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper.

The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough.

However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad.

The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!"

The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations. You now understand the Chancellor's economic plan."

With apologies to the friends who have sent me several versions of this - most from the US explaining the Stimulus Bill. Trouble is it fits what is happening here to a "T".

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2009

Future perfect?

A friend has sent me this and its so close to the truth I have to share it with a wider audience!

A Prayer For The Future:

BROWN IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WORK.
HE LEADETH ME BESIDE STILL FACTORIES.
HE RESTORETH MY FAITH IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY.
HE GUIDETH ME TO THE PATH OF UNEMPLOYMENT.
YEA, THOUGH I WAIT FOR MY DOLE,
I OWN THE BANK THAT REFUSES ME.
BROWN HAS ANOINTED MY INCOME WITH TAXES,
MY EXPENSES RUNNETH OVER MY INCOME,
SURELY, POVERTY AND HARD LIVING WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE
DAYS OF HIS TERM.
FROM HENCE FORTH WE WILL LIVE ALL THE DAYS
OF OUR LIVES IN A RENTED HOME WITH AN OVERSEAS LANDLORD.
I AM GLAD I AM BRITISH,
I AM GLAD THAT I AM FREE.
BUT I WISH I WERE A DOG
AND BROWN WERE A TREE.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2009

Things that go bump .....

The collision between HMS Vanguard and FS Triomphe in mid-Atlantic is a testament to the effectiveness of stealth technology as fitted to these ships. It also highlights the dangers of using it. As usual the "safety" police are screaming blue murder about the dangers of allowing nuclear powered boats to charge about in the dark - but they miss the point entirely. No one is supposed to know where they are, except those that sent them out.

It speaks volumes that neither ship was able to detect the other and that, as a result, they ran into each other. The French ship seems to have suffered worse than the Vanguard, though both will need dockyard attention. Conventionally the UK and our other NATO partners tell each other where our ships are patrolling - not in detail, but certainly in general. How much detail is imparted is an open question since the whole point of these ships is to assure annihilation of any attacker. And telling the French with their record of passing on information to the enemy ....

A tricky question this, and one which will run and run, especially as this Labour shower of peaceniks and traitors are already trying to find excuses to close down the navy anyway. The enquiry will be an interesting one!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 15, 2009

Freedom of speech? Not under Labour and the PC Police

The Daily Telegraph letters page made interesting reading yesterday, with many focused on the banning of Geert Wilders, the Dutch MP banned from entering Britain. The one that really stood out for me was that written by a Muslim Scholar which takes the same line as many of us in saying that banning Mr Wilders is a serious blow to the right of freedom of expression. The author makes the very telling point that criticism cannot be silenced by bans, it can only be silenced by intelligent and rational engagement. And therein lies the rub - Labour do not do "intelligent" or "rational" and certainly these are both alien concepts to anyone in the Polictically Correct lobby. Both operate purely on prejudice and try to pass their prejudice off as "morality".

The last ten years of Politically Correct dictat from Labour and their cronies in the Civil Service have seen our rights to freedom of expression and freedom of thought eroded on an unprecedented scale - in fact the last time anyone assaulted these freedoms to such a degree was under the heel of Cromwell and his Roundheads.

I confess that I would be much more inclined to give conseideration to the protests and strictures of the PC brigade if the loudest protesters were in fact operating on any sort of intelligent debate. As it is they twist information, make up new interpretations of ordinary speech and invent grievances. Many of the worst offenders I have encountered in this regard are not members of the ethnic minority they claim to be "defending", are not themselves disabled or connected to anyone who is, and cannot even check their facts before launching into misguided and ill-informed campaigns against things they have no understanding of at all.

I suggest that Political Correctness should be recognised by the medical profession as an incurable mental illness and anyone suffering from any form of it should be immediately "Sectioned" under the Mental Health Act, to be placed in a secure Institution for the most serious sufferers who pose a threat to society as a whole. Dr Al Qutob is right - this latest piece of Whitehall stupidity is a serious threat to everyone's right to express their opinion. It is not, and never will be, Whitehall's function to determine an individual's thoughts. The continued drive in this direction will guarantee that the BNP eventually enjoys the support of sufficient numbers to become a serious element in our political scene.

And they couldn't have a better recruiter than our present Home Secretary and her counterpart in the Foreign Office!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2009

So much for freedom of speech then ....

First it was the General Synod, the ruling body of the Church of England, voting to have an outright ban on any member, but particularly clergy, belonging to the BNP, and now its the Home Office refusing entry to a Dutch MP for his anti-Islamic views. As a spokesman for an Islamic Society that is trying to promote integration said on the Beeb this morning - now the Home Office have created a martyr for those who agree with him - and they have also made it more contentious by drawing attention to his views.

So is the problem with so much of the - probably well intentioned - political correctness that causes people to object and make a fuss about off the cuff remarks, views they don't like or jokes. Prince Harry is being sent on a "Race awareness training course" and has his record permanently marked as a "racist" because of a schoolboy jape, the Dutch MP is now a martyr to the PC view that seeks to suppress all contrary views to their own instead of engaging them and opening a debate and Carol Thatcher is now barred from the BBC because she remarked that someone looked like the Golliwog on the Robertsons Jam label.

I would be interested to know if the Dutch MP would have been refused entry to the UK if his film had been anti-Christian or "exposed" the Bible as warmongering. Probably not, its alright to denigrate and belittle everything Christian and Western, or, better still, Jewish, but heaven help you if you "offend" anyone of colour, of non-standard gender, or from an Islamic background.

I will be very interested to see if the Dutchman - and I can't recall his name - takes his case to the EU Commission and the Court of Human Rights. I think, under the "Its not a Constitution" Lisbon Treaty, he has a case. After all, it lowers all the EU Nations border controls in respect of any citizen of any of the nations within the EU. I firmly believe the Home Office was wrong to bar this man's entry. I think they have actually helped to publicise his views and given those who support them a martyr. But then, Labour have never been even remotely tolerant of anyone who does not agree slavishly with everything they chant. Engage in a debate? Try to persuade? Never, not their style - ban it, label it "Fascist" and use every tool in the box to make sure that any opposing view is strangled. I hope the Dutch gentleman does take us to court. I have a feeling that Whitehall will lose.

As for the Synod, well, its at times like this that I find myself thinking we should disband it and send all the funny-bunnies who use it as their own little "power base" back to their narrow little boxes - preferably under six feet of good English earth. I do not support the BNP, in fact I support no political party at all, but I regard it as everyone's RIGHT to express their views, to engage in political activity and engage in debate on those views and activities when challenged by an opposing view. But, like the present government, that is not the Synod's style either - "Ban it" they scream in four part harmony and go home feeling they have advanced the cause of the Gospel in so doing. No they haven't, they have simply given even more power to the view that the church has become an irrelevance in our secular society, alienating many who currently feel threatened and driving even more into the arms of the BNP.

As I said, Synod has once more shown itself to be an intolerant petty gathering of airheads. In short, an irrelevance to the Gospel. Like this government, in making such a stupid resolution they have shown themselves at one with the government - don't debate, don't engage, don't persuade - Ban It!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 12, 2009

Revelations of the other half?

The public vilification of the banks, banking system and bankers by our political lords and masters in Westminster and Whitehall has been revealing. Not least because the politicians and their worthless henchmen the Civil Servants, are obviously trying to cover their own tracks and push all the blame onto the bankers. Mind you, the bankers aren't doing themselves any favours whinging about not getting bonuses that are measured in multiples of salaries that most of us could not dream of earning in a lifetime of hard and dedicated work - often with responsibilities that are measured in the potential to lose lives. I'm afraid that the revelation that one of these "poor, hard done by" individuals earns £60k per MONTH was enough to have me spitting with rage. I never managed to achieve that figure per year, and sometimes was charged with protecting the assets this and other buffoons like him have squandered, risked or thrown away and given away to foreign investors.

Coupled with that was the revelation that not one of the bankers interviewed has a single Institute of Banking or any other body's qualifications in banking! All are MBA "generalist" managers who skip from one disasterous senior management position to another without any knowledge of what the company they "manage" does or how the staff who do it, actually achieve whatever it is. In other words, they can read a Balance Sheet and little more.

Just shows, I should have made a play for a different career - I too can read a Balance Sheet and the "Bottom Line". I suppose the only satisfaction is that the man who set up one of our biggest banks for a fall and was rewarded by Gordon Brown with the Chairmanship of the Financial Services Authority - fancy Civil Service speak for "bugger us - we don't know either" - has been forced to resign now that his role in the collapse has been exposed. Mind you, he'll probably be laughing all the way to the bank - his salary was large enough to make our eyes water and now he'll have some gold plated pension benefits due as well.

Ce la vie, as the French say.....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2009

So who needs sleep?

The last few days have certainly kept me busy, with a course to run with most of the students having a limited grasp of English plus the weather - well, life has been interesting. We haven't been able to do any of the outside exercises and as a result I have had to add extra lectures. OK, so the lectures take longer than normal to deliver because of translation and explanation problems, but its tiring. I'll be glad to reach the end of the week.

Now on that subject I've been looking forward to wlcoming some visitors to the Abbey from our link parish in Sweden, but have just found an e-mail informing me that I am about to receive a bundle (another one!) of "expert" reports from the legal firm I am advising in a multi-million pound lawsuit - and they want me to read them and prepare "headline" comments by the end of next week. There is only one problem - I have a job in Devon next week which will take up all of Tuesday and Wenesday and means going down there on Monday afternoon. It sounds as if I'll be sitting up with some rivetting reading ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2009

Australia burning ....

My sympathies go out to the men and women currently fighting the out of control wildfires in South Australia, Victoria and Southern New South Wales. With the toll now at well over 100 dead and rising - with may more remote towns still not fully accessed or searched, this will be far worse than the Ash Wednesday fires in the 1980's which, until now, have been the benchmark for this sort of disaster. The Victoria Country Fire Authority is well equipped and well motivated, but even with all its resources committed, the combination of heat, aridity and fire has overwhelmed them. It is soul destroying to spend day after day chasing fires that are no sooner brought under control than they break out and make a new run for it. It is even more so when your home, your community or your livelihood is destroyed or in the path of destruction.

I have no doubt at all that we will now see the well rehearsed arguments breaking out again over whether it is better to have small controlled burns regularly to clear the underbrush and maintain fire breaks - or - as the "green" lobby always argue - to stop all clearing and allow "natural growth". The truth is that Australia's bush has been subjected to bruning for more than 10,000 years of human activity. It was the manner in which the Aboriginal population cleared the bush and hunted down certain game animals and the vegetation has adapted to this. Many of the Euchalypts which make up the bulk of the natural vegetation now need fire to germinate their seeds!

No doubt we will be told endlessly by the same "green" lobby, that the fires are not the fault of a lack of contol of the vegetation, but of "global warming" and "man-made emmissions". Yeah, and the moon is made of green cheese don't you know.

Prayers for the fire fighters and for those who have lost everything, relatives, friends and children need to be offered by us all. I hope that the fires can be brought under control soon and that the debate on how to prevent it happening again can now occur without the usual "green" emotive chicancery.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2009

Difficulties in the snow

Yesterday's snow was something else in the North Cotswolds - around a foot of the stuff fell on us in a few hours. Getting my car out of the car park took the efforts of several Dutch Fire Officers, a colleague and myself. Once on the roadit got mariginally easier and I had to take the long way home via Bourton on the Water and Cheltenham. Snow drifts and icy patches made driving tricky, but once off the Cotswold escarpment - the snow all but vanished!

Car Park in snow.JPG
Snow lying "deep and crisp and even?" in the carpark. The rear of my chariot can be seen in the bottom right.

Today is cold, slightly damp and the snow is vanishing fast.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2009

Weather 1 - England 0

So far it seems to be a case of "Weather 1 - England 0" or certainly that was the overriding impression this morning as I tried (unsuccessfully) to reach Moreton in Marsh to earn a days pay. I got as far as Teddington Hands and gave up on being told that all the hill roads between me and the top of the Cotswold escarpment were all but impassable to anything without 4x4 capability. As I don't have a 4x4, giving up was the best option.

Listening all day to the traffic news it seems I made a wise decision, the early part of the day seemed to be filled with lorries skidding, sliding or jack-knifing everywhere and then the gritting trucks got busy again and the roads started to clear, but remained treacherous in all the key places I would need to pass through. So I have had the day at home, trying to catch up and field a range of things. It's been useful, even at the cost of a days pay, now all I have to pray for is that tomorrow isn't as bad, there is rain and some more snow predicted and the Highways Agency and the County Council - responsible for gritting - are running out of salt and grit. Apparently the accountants decided that holding stock sufficient for more than a few days was "uneconomical". What they forgot is that it takes several weeks to get more .....

Ce la vie. The paper shufflers will get away with it again and we pick up the price tab. At least the local kids have had a great day tobogganing in the Vineyards and on just about every slope they could find. There are several huge snowmen around as well and I can't remember when I last saw so many happy faces and so much fun being had by the kids in my area. Madam Paddy Cat ventured as far as the front door, spent several minutes staring at the white powder lying everywhere, ventured a paw into the drift at the door and declared her disgust, turned swiftly and found a warm spot next to the radiator.

Her message? "Wake me when its summer/dinner time!" I confess though, I've actually enjoyed the walk I took in it earlier. Tomorrow will be another day - sufficient unto itself.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:32 PM | TrackBack

February 03, 2009

Planetary displacement?

On my way to a job yesterday I listened to BBC Radio 4 and the discussion over the series of "wildcat" strikes which seem to have rippled out of the Total Refinery in Lincolnshire over the awarding of a contract by Total (A French based and owned company) to do some work on upgrading certain parts of the refinery to an Italian Contractor who employs only Italian workers. Given that this is more and more commonly happening, in fact is getting worse across the board as almost all our energy companies and certainly almost all our fuel suppliers are now owned by EU based companies, it is hardly surprising to find that men, laid off from these same company sites because the contracts their employers were working under have been cancelled, should feel aggrieved.

Total claims that the company they had contracted had failed to do what was required, the company concerned counter claims that they were not given a fair crack at the work because the requirement kept changing. This is a well-known and fairly common tactic when trying to break a contract to your advantage. The UK now has most of its industry foreign owned and offshore "managed" and UK workers are usually the first to be axed by these companies as they are not "domestic" as far as the new owners HQ and Board are concerned and therefore easier to dismiss. Total also claims to be paying the Italian workers the same rate as they would pay a UK contractor - but the truth is that labour "on costs" for workers domiciled elsewhere in the EU are lower than the cost of employing someone domiciled here - thanks to Gordon Brown's stealth taxes.

The UK now has almost 3 million workers out of work but our government claims that these men are "free" to do what the French, Italians and others are doing - bid for contracts in those countries and go there to work. What they will not say is how many UK based companies have succeeded in securing any such contracts. Its not that they don't try, many do and I have had some peripheral involvement in one or two myself - but the French will never ever give a contract to a British company if there is a French one that can do the job. Nor will the Italians. It isn't "protectionism" as Gordon Brown accuses us of trying to practice, it is simply looking after your people and making sure that if the skills exist in the area where the work is to be done, that that skills pool is used. You don't allow a company to "import" a complete workforce to do jobs where there are local people available to do it - you may award the contract to some EU company, but the proviso has to be that they use local labour. That is what the stikers are arguing for and though I do not generally support strike action and have never myself gone on strike (Often to my own disadvantage!) this is one time when I do think there is a legitimate complaint.

The EU "free" labour market is being ruthlessly exploited to the advantage of everyone except the native British. This is not the first time this has happened and as long as Westminster continues to ignore the inequalities - presumably because they have their pockets being generously lined by their EU chums and have vested interests in shafting every British worker as far as they can - our "competitors" will continue to exploit this loophole in the UK's interpretation of the EU Directive.

Listening to that prat "Lord" Mandelson and the Europhile Kenneth Clark refusing to recognise that there is a problem and defending an argument which is as far removed from what the strikers are complaining about as it is possible to be without actually speaking different languages - I got the impression that Westminster and Whitehall have been transferred to another planet. It certainly hasn't the same number of moons that circle the one I and the strikers currently inhabit.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 01, 2009

Climate change and the Obama roadshow ...

An item on The Gorse Fox alerted me to this most interesting item in "The Register", an American publication. IT reproduces a letter written by the man who headed the NASA team that has given us the hysterical "manmade global warming" and points out that the scientists behind that scam have manipulated the models and the data until it shows what they want it to show.

Frankly, it ain't science and it ain't as transparent as the eco-terrorists of Greenpeace, Fiends of the Earth and their cohorts like to claim. What's more it calls into question the real science which shows that we don't understand the mechanisms at work here and panders to the hysterical anti-science that is the mainstream media functioning on fear, gloom and bad news to sell their badly researched and badl written drivel.

Thansk GF for the heads up. I heartily recommend the read.

If Mr Obama and his "advisers" plan to use any of this garbage in formulating their policies I suggest they talk to the man who wrote this piece first. Otherwise they will simply enrich the fraudulent and give power to the eco-terror mob.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 30, 2009

Dangerous move

Today I am attending a Business Lunch with my MP, "The Right Honourable" Lawrence Robertson. OK, so I am a small "Sole Trader" in my field, but that does also mean that I am affected by the credit crunch among other thinbgs and some of my clients certainly know how to defer paying.....

I thought I'd go to this in case I get asked for a view on how the government and the economy is affecting me. I'll probably have to tone down my opinion somewhat, but I'm going anyway. I suppose, putting myself in the company of a politician is bound to be a risky affair, I have a penchant for saying what I see which isn't always the way they want to hear it. In fact usually it's not what they wanted to hear. Especially when it comes to taking everything they can out of my pocket to give to someone who isn't prepared to work all the hours I need to in order to pay my way in the first place.

So its probably a dangerous move going to this lunch. And it isn't "free" - it's being funded by the local Housing Association who get their money from .....?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2009

Government take notice!

Caught this on One happy dog speaks and I agree with her.

This should be a banner in the House of Commons and a compulsory notice on every MPs desk.

The government cannot give anyone anything without first taking it from someone else.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009

Why the fuss?

The BBC and now Sky News are in the political firing line from every bleeding heart and it seems most of Labour's anti-Israel squad over their refusal to broadcast an appeal for donations for Aid to Gaza. Frankly, I think the Beeb got it right this time and the more I listen to the "angry young things" and the "representatives of the .... charity" the more convinced I am that they should stand by their decision.

Why am I so convinced of this? I suppose I should say thatI know how "Aid" can be abused once it becomes a political tool and in Gaza that is precisely what Hamas are doing. THe "Aid" and its distribution is controlled by their bully boys with the willing co-operation of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and all the other Aid Agencies - and they are dishonest if they deny it. "Aid" in Gaza is Hamas' way of controlling the population and ensuring that they, and they alone, get the credit for this "generosity." I have seen this happen in Southern Africa where "Resistance" movements to White Rule became the recipients of well meaning "Aid" programmes and drained it away from those it was intended to help in order to exchange it for guns, bombs and loyalty. There is a mountain of evidence that this is what Hamas is doing with it in Gaza, the bulk goes to them and their supporters directly, most is then "sold" on in exchange for weapons and what little remains is distributed to their foot soldiers in a form of "loyalty" bonus. I, for one, do not intend to make any donation to any "Aid" organisation that is working with Hamas.

As for the "Cease Fire" - well, perhaps the "humanitarian disasster" mongers in the Aid Organisations should listen closely to their Hamas chums public statements. First, to declare that they have "won a great victory" would be laughable if it weren't for the devastation their actions have brought upon their own people. Hamas, and Hamas alone must accept responsibility for the destruction - Israel would not have attacked Gaza and destroyed so much if they had not been attacked and provooked beyond reasonable endurance. Secondly all I hear from the Hamas spokesman is that they intend to attack Israel again with rockets as soon as they know Israeli soldiers are no longer where they can strike back.

Yes, there is a humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, yes, there is a need for Aid - but it should not flow into that area at all until Hamas has been disbanded, laid down its weapons and been charged with the humaitarian crimes they have perpetrated against their own people in their pointless and stupid "war" against their neighbours. Those screaming at the BBC should think carefully about their support for Hamas, it is, after all, a Terrorist organisatioin and receives its funding from some very dubious sources, sources the west is trying to defeat. To rush in with "Aid" and allow them to claim, however ludicrous the claim, that they have "won" and that the "Aid" is a result of their "victory" as they are doing is folly of the highest order - but then, the Left Liberal arm of the political spectrum is hardly renowned for being able to seperate fact from fiction in anything once their ideology has been determined.

I say again, the BBC and Sky News are right in their decision, though probably not for the reasons I would have used.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2009

Meetings, bl**dy meetings - and public transport!

OK, so I suggested yesterday that there might be some pictures from Mausi today, but I'm sorry to say I haven't had the time to put them up. In fact, I'm currently on a Great Western Train trying to get to a meeting in London by 10.00 and at current rate of progress I might be lucky to get there by 11.00

If I'm that late for the first meeting in Hammersmith, I've no chance of getting to the second meeting in the City iteself by 12.00! There's at least a half hour tube ride between the two - assuming of course, that the connections all run on time. And now, before my Dongle runs out of signal on this section. Adieu!

Tomorrow I have to be in Tenby in Wales early as well, but that will be dependent on the state of the M50 ......

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:09 AM | TrackBack

January 24, 2009

Democratic process?

I note with interest Ms Harman's latest tirade against the possibility of the BNP actually winning a seat in the European Parliament in June. According to her they need to win only 8% of the vote, very helpful of her, I would have thought, to put this into numbers. Now they actually have a target and know it can be achieved. Reading on the report of her address to a typical Left-wing Think Tank she does her usual tirade against the Right-wing "racism" she sees in everyone who doesn't subscribe to Labour's vision of a Britain divided into small "cultural groups" all living, so they claim, in harmony. What she refuses to recognise is that it is this very policy - which calls for the destruction of anything which might suggest that there is a "British" cultural heritage to celebrate and preserve - which is fuelling the rise of the extreme views espoused by the BNP.

The democratic system is "the worst form of government - except for all the others", according to Sir Winston Churchill, and one of its vagaries is that it will sometimes allow the election of people or parties who's ideology the majority would reject out of hand. If a party or ideology in government pursue a policy or ideology that is seen as a threat to their own security, happiness or ideology by a significant group of people, the reaction is to espouse or support any group which takes an opposite view, no matter how extreme. Labour used this process through the media in the dying days of the last Conservative Government to portray the Conservative Party as next cousins to the Nazi's and now they are trying to use the same tactic on the BNP. The tragedy is that with a recent survey of 14 - 19 year olds (of all racial groups) telling us that they do not feel that their group is a part of our society, the espousal of ever more extreme ideologies is almost inevitable.

Certainly the BNP is drawing its support from white British groups who feel that they are having their rights eroded or subsumed by a minority group deemed by the denizens of the Whitehall "Village" of Ideologues whose contact with the reality of the communities they claim to represent is, at best, minimal, to be "more deserving".

History, which Blair, Brown and the "Babe" Squad they have parachuted into high office claim to reject as "old news" teaches that democracy has a nasty habit of throwing up abberations when a government loses the trust of sufficient numbers of the electorate. Hitler, after all, only got a third of the electoral votes in 1933, yet managed to strong arm his way into the Chancellorship and within months had all but eliminated all the opposition parties. Labour did this in 1997, but now the glitz, as it did with Hitler, is wearing off and people can see the threat to their ambitions and position that the "multi-culture" vision brings. Hence the continuing rise of the BNP.

Something all our political leaders need to consider carefully is the fact that the further the "Centre" of the political spectrum moves to the Left, the more likely becomes a rise and swing to the right. That is politics, that is what brought Hitler to power. It brought Mussolini to power and it has brought many other dictators to power as well. Ms Harman can bleat all she likes about how unacceptable it is - but her party and her champagne socialism (She is, after all, the daughter of wealthy upper Middle class parents and has perpetuated her moneyed educational advantages by stealing places for her children at Grammar Schools her own Borough and Constituency had closed in favour of the Comprehensive Failure System).

The BNP will continue to gain strength, right alongside the Islamist Groups and other extremist minority movements, as long as our present political elite continue to pursue policies which see our industries, commercial enterprises and political structures sold off or handed over to minorities who seek to recreate the cultures they left behind, here in Britain. This is why so many young people feel "disconnected" from society, it is also why so many older people (though no one ever asks us) feel isolated and neglected, our contribution to society pushed aside and rejected and our pensions stolen to pay for Labour's folly and to support those they consider more worthy.

No Ms Harman, I'm not surprised to learn the BNP could win a seat in Strasbourg, what surprises me is that you are surprised. It's called democracy - but then Labour are strangers to that concept after all. Just ask Mr Brown about the promised Referendum on the EU Constitution.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 20, 2009

Battle of the Sound System

I am presently freezing quietly in Tewkesbury Abbey. There is a service going on in the South Transept so we have temporarily suspended work on the sound system which I put in hand in order to sort out some of the problems which arise basically from having tried to build a system in a piecemeal fashion. The original intention was fine, but it meant that we ended up with a system that had elements built in that were designed to compete with each other. Now we have in hand the process of identifying these and sorting them out.

And the first problem we have found already is that there is another part of the system which is not functioning and now we have to find out why. The remote sub-woofers are dead and they are an essential part of the "fill" sound. Located in the clerestory they aren't exactly the easiest to access, and should be least suceptible to damage, interference or failure - but, like the Ringing Chamber Relay - they've been and gone and died on us.

OK, so we have a lot of work ahead of us this week - but one way or another - this system will be sorted and it will be the best we can get when it is finished.

As Captain Picard so famously says on occassion. "Engage!"

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2009

A tribute to those who serve

Sometimes someone sends you something which you simply have to share, usually I forward these to my friends. Recently however, I got the poem in the extended post from a friend in Australia and, though it is mainly about Australian troops serving in Afghanistan, the sentiments in it sum up exactly what every Western Society owes to those Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen and Women who serve on our behalf in all the world's trouble spots.

Do read on. I wish I knew who the author was .....

The Soldier stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Gospel have you been true?'

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, my Lord, I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a dollar,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the Saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

~Author Unknown~

It's the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It's the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It's the Soldier, not the politicians, that ensures our right to Life, Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It's the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for our Armed Services Men & Women, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson?

The crash landing of the Airbus 320 in the Hudson River is a remarkable tribute to the Pilot and his crew. It is a remarkable tribute to the designers and builders of the Airbus as well. This is the first time anyone has succeeded in landing an airliner of any sort on water in one piece. To do it on the fast flowing Hudson, dodging buildings and bridges is little short of incredible. THat the aircraft remained afloat for the better part of a half hour is in itself a tribute to the buildiers, after all these things are meant to fly, not float and after being bounced onto the unforgiving surface of the rivver at something like 200mph it is surprising that it didn't shed panels, hatches and all the rest of its trailing underbody in the process.

As for the Pilot, there is only one thing to say. He was ex-military, a fighter pilot with combat experience. He knew how to deal with an emergency that can only come from combat training and experience. It speaks volumes that he maintained not just his cool, but also his sense of command. What a display of leadership, to calmly ensure that his passengers and then his crew were all out of the aircraft, to make a final check of the now sinking aircraft and then see to his own escape. Hero? The man is more than that, he's a role model that should be held up for every boy and girl to follow!

This is leadership and this is where those who call themselves "Managers" and promote the idea that they provide "leadership" will never be able to hold a candle to a real leader. THey simply don't know the true meaning of the word - or the price it sometimes demands.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2009

The creep towards the Communist State

The recent nationalisation of various banks should concern us for several reasons not least because the creep of socialism into every aspect of our daily lives has become almost unstoppable and because the inceasing burden of bureaucracy and the utter incompetence of those who are drawn to the parasitic jobs it creates will destroy all enterprise and strangle all wealth creating and wealth distribution as surely as the Soviet system did in the 90 odd years it was in force in the USSR.

The second is the passage below -

"Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more
and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing
them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt
becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of
banks, which will have to be nationalised, and the State will
have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism"

Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 1867

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 13, 2009

Stalking and the Royals .....

The latest brouhaha involving Prince Harry exposes an ugly element in the British Press. The act of acquiring and then publishing something like a private video, letters or even a note is a betrayal when done to anyone, when it is done, as the News of the World regularly do, to cause deliberate damage to an individual who, like the rest of us, is human and entitled to the occasional lapse of sense, it becomes questionable. The paper claims to be taking a "moral" stance, but lets be honest here, how "morally" was this video obtained. You can bet that it wasn't handed over to the reporter without a sizeable chunk of "Coin of the Realm" being handed out.

You can also bet that if it had been a Minister or a member of the government it wouldn't have even been of any interest to the reporter. So where is the "moral" element in this? Frankly, this newspaper employs tactics to "get the dirt" on the Royals that, if an individual embarked on, would be declared to fall within the scope of the Act that forbids "stalking" with intent to cause distress or harm. If it attempted the same tactics against any member of the government the entire Security Service would be onto them like a ton of bricks - so why is it "moral" to attack a young man who is serving his country in ways and theatres that the reporter, the editor and frankly the owners of the News of the World haven't the balls to do themselves?

As for the politicians rushing to denounce him for his frankly silly choice of words, well, they're politicians and desperately trying to seize some sort of "moral high ground" out of it all to show their "anti-racist" credentials. All it does is prove that, when you live in a swamp, climbing on the back of a crocodile is hardly moral high ground. Many of these same self-serving and over ambitious twits have caused me and many others far greater offence with their insulting and often derogatory assumptions about my supposedly "institutional racism/sexism/masochism" than merely calling me names can ever do. Yet, although this happens now on an almost daily basis as some politician or another proposes some new "offence" in the use of language, behaviour or attitude toward anthing not conforming to the Nu Labour Vision of a society of incomptents running everything from the lofty headquarters stolen from the taxpayer in Millbank House, I am expected to simply put up with it. Their propagandists, however, have free reign to pry and sneak and use inuendo to degrade anything which dares to stand above the herd.

Frankly, the tactics the News of the World uses in getting these stories and the "moral outrage" the politcians exhibit is a case of the pot calling the saucepan names. They have no morals at all and all they hope to achieve is to divert attention from their own utter lack of moral code. The British Press and the Political Classes have obviously all decided that the Royals make great scapegoats for their own shortcomings. Convenient and morally immoral.

The biggest problem we all face today is that our entire society is being driven down a path in which morality has been redefined as the prejudices of the current chattering classes. Whatever they find "unacceptable" is now "immoral". Prejudice is not moral and never will be, yet it is prejudice against everyone better than themselves, more able, more fortunate or simply of higher social standing than themselves is now defined as a "moral crusade" to ensure that "moral behaviour conforms to the current prejudices."

As I said, I look at the press reactions and the politicians and all I can see is a bunch of moral deficients calling someone with far more talent and courage, names. Its sickening.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 10, 2009

Ceasefire?

Watching the news you could be excused for thinking that the Israelis are to blame for the lack of a ceasefire in Gaza, but, what did anyone expect when the UN passes a resolution demanding a ceasefire and the one side, Hamas, refuses to even recognise the rights of the other, much less the authority (Unless it suits them) of the UN? One sided ceasfires never work, cannot be imposed and do not bring peace.

The Demonstration today in London certainly demonstrated to me the naiviety of a large section of the British public and their patently anti-Israel sentiments. When you see placards being waved reading "Free Palestine" and the sub-title screams from Israeli Oppression, you do have to wonder what they believe would happen if the Israelis did withdraw immediately from Gaza and everywhere else, tore down their defences and disarmed. Do they seriously believe that this is all onesided and can be resolved by an Israeli surrender to terrorists? Certainly a hardcore of the protesters who smashed the Starbucks Coffee Shop window and used the furniture and cups, saucers, condments and other fittings as missiles against the police seem to think that their violence is justified.

It never fails to amuse me when I see these protests carrying the same anti-US banners that appear whenever there is an left-wing inspired protest about anything at all. GWB may not go donw in history as the brightest crayon in the mixed bag that the US has had for Presidents, but, unlike Nixon, his enemies have never managed to impeach him - and they've certainly tried everything including a Hollywood movie sold as a "documentary" on 9/11 but so distorted a presentation of the facts that only the completely ignorant, gullible or terminally left/liberal could possibly believe any of it.

If the majority of Palestinians genuinely want peace, if they genuinely want to negotiate, if the Arab world genuienly wants to put a stop to this violence and hostility the solution is in their hands, not the UN's, not the Rent-a-Mob that turns up everytime there's a protest against anything they regard as "oppression" or "elitist". All the Palestinians have to do is disarm and reject the men of violence who are Hamas. Disarm them, reject terrorism and deal with the terrorists. That will make the walls redundant, the blockades unecessary and the incursions in pursuit of terrorists redundant. If, as is so frequently said by the usual talking heads that is what the majority in Gaza really want - its in their hands.

Only when the terrorists are stopped by their own people will any ceasefire ever have any chance of coming into force.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 09, 2009

Quick the Aliens are attacking ....

An interesting event has sparked a UFO interest surge, almost enough to push the usual political propaganda out of the news. First came the sighting of a lot of unexplained lights over the midlands and then it was unexplained damage to a wind turbine in one of the wind farms that eco-nuts think can replace all other forms of power generation. It has made quite a stir and is certainly a strange one. The BBC has a good report on it titled UFO claim over wind farm damage.

The lopped off blades certainly look as if something hit them, or at least hit one of them and possibly it then hit the second. I guess we will have to wait to hear what really happened if we are ever told of course. No, I don't think it is little green men opr any other colour, shape or size alien, but I would like to know what has happened here.

In the meantime I suggest its probably down to an eco-warrior protesting about the damage to sea bird life using a Plasma Cannon .......

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2009

Godless society .....

So now we have the Atheist message, which, I note, is not definite. So perhaps they aren't sure either .....

I do agree with one aspect of their objection to the Christian adverts which warned that failure to "sign up to God" meant eternity in hell. For one thing that sort of Calvinist Protestant fundamentalism presumes, as Jonah did, that God is not loving or forgiving to those who, like Thomas Didimus, have their little doubts and reservations and maybe aren't quite so "black and white" in faith. Personally, I believe in a God who welcomes all comers, even those who may realise at the last moment that He is there and has been all along - attendance at Church Services is not some sort of guarantee of heaven, though it may help you to find the road!

On an amusing aside though, I note that the quote from Albert Einstein is supposed to imply that he didn't believe in God at all. His words were "I don't believe in a PERSONAL God..." But he also never specifically denied that there is one and lived and died as a practicing Jew. The truth is that it probably takes greater faith to be an Atheist than to bumbling along believing there may be a God. All that is truly demanded of believers is that they live their lives in accoprdance with the tenets of their faith - and that can be boiled down to two simple things -

- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your soul, and
- You shall love your fellow men and women as you love yourself.

Not too hard, even for an Atheist, surely?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 06, 2009

Biased media

I have, over the last several years, come to the conclusion that the British political establishment and the left/liberal controlled media are anti-Israel. That is certainly the immediate impression you get from every news report which always seems to emphasise the Israeli response to attacks on its citizens as "excessive" or "disproportionate" while dismissing the Hamas bombardment of Israeli homes, towns, farms and border posts as "minor incursions, justified by Israel's draconian actions." The latest Sky report on the bombardment gives this impression clearly, stressing the "suffering" of the Palastinians and dismissing the Hamas attacks - which actually number several dozen every day - as 'nuisance' value. Tell that to the Israeli dead and injured daily.

I recently had a conversation with a longterm friend, an erudite and very well educated man who quite shocked me in his vehement anti-Jewish views. So much of what he had to say is based on the spread of anti-semitic propaganda including the now freely circulating "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" that I found myself appalled, especially as my friend is a man whose career is based entirely on the assessment of evidence and facts and not on the acceptance of assertions, rumours and hearsay. Yet, here, obviously, he has a blindspot and a very real dislike of a particular group and faith. I find it all the more shocking as he is a practicing Roman Catholic and perhaps that is the clue to his vision since it is only recently that the Curia have announced that the doctrine that the Jews "murdered" Christ was no longer to be taught. It was very much this doctrine that allowed the abuses practiced against Jews in the 1930's and 40's to be acceptable to otherwise intelligent and decent peoples in France and elsewhere. Very disturbingly, and the demonstrations last Saturday in London lend support to this, is the fact that these views are widely held among the upper classes in London in particular and across the board among working folk. I spent a lengthy drive in a taxi having the taxi-driver expounding on how the Jews have "infiltrated" the West and "control" the banks, the legal profession and so on. I silenced him eventually by pointing out that his quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were the work of pure fantasy and concocted by the Tsarist Secret Police to justify the Pogroms of the 1890's - and finally by suggesting to him that the spread of such views was, in fact, now a criminal offence under the Racial Hatred legislation.

Particularly distressing is the fact that our news media focus entirely on the Israeli response and there is almost no mention of the fact that the Hamas organisation has been smuggling arms into Gaza from Egypt for use in their daily strikes against Israeli civilians. Of course it is a tragedy when children of any race or faith are killed in these strikes, but you seldom see any reports of the Israeli children daily injured or maimed by the Hamas missiles and mortars - unless, of course, to the accompanyment of some "Save the Children" or other "Aid" agency worker justifying it as the "just" reward for Israel's "oppression" of the Palastinians.

Perhaps I have a particular bias myself, after all, I have been the target of terrorist activity, and for far too long I have had to listen to the apologisers who seem to be able to justify just about any attrocity as long as it the activity of their "freedom" fighters and not those of the "oppressor" - and the US should remember that they are seen as "oppressors" by everyone of the Liberal Left who sees the conflict in the Middle East in simplistic terms. Frankly I rejoice everytime a terrorist blows himself or herself to pieces, I just wish they would take their evil paymasters and encouragers with them instead of the innocent victims they usually target.

What sparked this tirade? Several things, but not least was a conversation with a friend whose job takes him to investigate terrorist activities in many different places. He confided that a recent scene blamed on the Israeli's was actually the result of an incompetent attempt to manufacture a Peroxide Based explosive. It demolished a block of flats, but the local police and Hamas operatives managed to "find" evidence of and "Israeli missile", pieces of a missile to be sure, but actually from several different missiles of different age and not of Israeli manufacture - yet the Western Media faithfully broadcast the "evidence" in the face of Israeli denial. Therein lies the real problem, the media simply do not want to know the "truth" of anything and simply don't believe any "oppressors" statements whether the evidence suggest its true or not.

Put simply, I am now of the opinion that this government is anti-Israel, that this is confirmed by the ease with which anti-Jewish propaganda is circulated and spread among the chattering classes who rule us and by the open bias of the media and the so-called "Aid" agencies that operate from here. The government have a vested interest in being anti-Israel, after all, it was a Labour Government that attempted to hand over Palastine to an Arab regime that had publically declared that it would drive every Jew into the sea. They have never forgiven the Jews for defying them and eventually winning a war the British Government of the time was confident they would lose. Every Labour Government since then has quietly encouraged the Palastinian cause and tried to undermine the Jewish one and the latest view is a prime example of this.

I find it incredible that the establishment as represented by our legal profession, our politicians and the financial sector can accuse the "Jews of Wall Street" for the collapse of the world's financial system. Can one of them please show me which wealthy Jew got Northern Rock into trouble? Or which wealthy Jew invented "Junk Bonds" or "Sub Prime Lending"? The vast majority of Jews I have had the privilege of knowing would not have gone anywhere near such shaky practices or investments since anything bad for business is bad for everyone.

OK, so I've set out my stall. Now I await the Thought Police and the Fatwas.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 17, 2008

The Arrogance of Incompetence

The publication today of a report by the Public Audit Office, since 2004 also responsible for Inspecting the Fire and Rescue Services for "efficiency", which claims that the public Fire and Rescue Services in the UK can save £200 million by using smaller fire engines and changing (again) the shift patterns demonstrates to me that the authors have no understanding of the purpose and function of a fire and rescue service and are therefore utterly and completely incompetent to even comment, never mind prepare reports for parliament, on the fire and rescue services.

As usual they claim that they have "consulted widely" and "sought expert advice" in preparing their report. Yes, as usual, they have consulted only those who agree with the outcomes that were written before the report was even commissioned. As with all such Whitehall reports, the outcomes are determined before the so-called authors are briefed and then they are directed to find the evidence that supports the outcome required. Anything which suggests a different outcome is suppressed or ignored and only that which supports the conclusion, however nebulous or untested, goes in as "proof". Let's face facts, in another few years the fire and rescue services will be so under manned and under equipped that we will be lucky if they turn up, and if the fire has spread beyond the first room at that point, contact your insurers and write off the entire building because the service will not have the manpower, the equipment or the resources to deal with anything larger than a small one room dwelling.

For the PAO to publish this garbage displays an arrogance that would almost beggar belief were it not matched by their ignorance of everything to do with the operation of a fire and rescue service. But then, what do you expect when qualified fire officers are being replaced up and down the country by ex-supermarket managers who are placed in charge of operations with no experience and no knowledge of fire fighting?

Mark my words, there will be a steep rise in fire losses and in deaths among fire fighters from here on - and the Civil Service and those parasites in Westminster will be to blame. I am not normally a "shroud waver" - but this simply cannot go unchallenged.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2008

Mugabe's fantasy .....

If anyone needed proof that Robert Mugabe is off his trolley, his latest fantasy has to be definitive. According to his Foreign Affairs Minister, the British Government is "waging a war of genocide in an effrt to re-colonise Zimbabwe" and has launched a "biological warfare attack" on the country. The Cholera epidemic currently killing off the population there is apparently the work of "British Agents".

The placard waving foot soldiers of ZanuPF obviously believe this garbage as they brandish their posers proclaiming "Brown's Germ War". Sadly, I have no doubt that many in organisations like Amnesty and the Civil Liberties/Human Rights mob will now spend inordinate amounts of time and our money trying to establish what the British Government and specifically our armed forces or MI5 might have done to "introduce" this agent. The simple truth is that with all normal health, hygiene and welfare services destroyed by that monster Mugabe and his cronies, Cholera and several more highly contagious diseases, always present in populations where housing is basic and sewage and water supplies can contaminate one another, are always present. With reasonable medical services any outbreaks are usually caught early and contained - but not where the infrastructure has been so badly degraded.

I confidently predict that before much longer an explosion in the vermin population will see bubonic plague make a re-appearance. Impossible you say? Its been eradicated? No, it is still out there, but control of vermin in towns has kept it at bay, Zimbabwe could well see the first major outbreak with rubbish uncollected and a burgeoning rat population. Ironically, our wonderful Labour Government and their cronies in local government have almost succeeded in creating the medieval conditions which gave rise to the rapid spread of that disease in this country with their attempt to force us into greater recycling - by reducing the rubbish collections from weekly to fortnightly. In Mugabe's Zimbabwe, he's gone one better, don't collect it and let the rats and the starving eat it. Certainly solves the landfill problem.

Mugabe and his cronies learned their lessons well from the Labour Propagandists who funded them in exile and supported them "morally and ideologically" here in the UK during the Smith UDI years and the Bush War. Propaganda need conatin no more than a kernel of truth for the vast bulk of those receiving it, to believe it. This has been the great success of the Communist and Socialist propagandists through the 20th Century - and Mugabe is an apt pupil. He has repeated the story of the "British want to re-colonise" Zimbabwe so often that there are people who now believe him. Now he has an outbreak of a vicious disease and he immediately screams - "See! I told you so! Now the British are trying to kill you all!" Smoke and mirrors works every time if you control the media and can spin the story any way you like. Sadly, a lot of his own people will believe this cr*p and some of them are right here in the UK.

The truly terrible part of all this is that British taxpayers put this arrogant lunatic into power. The very government he now labels an 'enemy' has done their utmost to defend him and excuse him right up to the moment they could no longer ignore his rapacious destrcution of the legacy he was given on a platter. And now we can do no more than watch him destroy his people and his country.

And Mugabe's fantasy will kill still more of his people before someone, somewhere, removes him and his vile henchmen from the scene. Wouldn't it be ironic if it was a simple bacterium that his incompetence has let looseamong his own people. Now that would be justice!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:23 AM | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

Something stinks in the State of ....

I suppose it is a very sad reflection on the society nearly forty years of socialist meddling and social engineering have created - and not just in the UK. The Civil Libertarians and Child Protection/Rights lobbies have created a "Youth Culture" and a disrespect for others and the law that is now straining the very fabric of our civilisation. Why am I saying this? Very simple, the son of my publisher was attacked at a friend's birthday party last Saturday night by three boys from his school and beaten into unconsciousness in the presence of witnesses. The attack was unprovoked and apparently fueled purely by "let's rough him up a bit." Apparently this is known as "Happy Slapping" and is often filmed on a camera phone so it can be shared with all their cronies. It put their victim in A&E for several hours in an unconscious state and even now there may be injuries that have not fully revealed themselves.

The Police have shown themselves remarkably reluctant to actually interview the victim or to get on with pressing charges of assault. Probably they are motivated by a sense that, as this will go to a "youth" court, there is little point - because "youth courts" notoriously try to protect the perpetrators and further victimise the victim - I have another example of that closer to home. To make matters worse, I am told that the parents of the attackers phoned the Headmaster of the school involved to ask if the father of the victim intended to press charges - not to find out what damage had been done or what injuries he had suffered. The only thing they are concerned about is protecting their violent offspring from the consequences of their actions.

All I can say is that if this was my son, the Chief Constable and the Chairman of the Police Authority would by now be facing angry demands for action, the Headmaster would have a letter from a lawyer demanding disciplinary action against the boys concerned and the parents would be receiving writs for "pain, distress and damage" arising from the assault. Yes, it would cost me, yes it would probably make me a lot of enemies and I have no doubt that there would be enormous pressure from the school and the police to "let it drop", but I am far to much like my Grandfather - cut one of mine and I bleed.

The news is full of these cases and we constantly have the politicians wittering on about more legislation and more "responsibility", but they are the very ones that have created this society of "do as you please - its your 'right'" amoing our young people. The sad thing is that these yobs will one day graduate from university, paid for by the taxpayers they abuse and scorn, and go on to become the next generation of parents raising yobs. All protected from the consequences of their actions by the police, the twisted legal system and the hand-wrining politcians.

Something stinks in the State of Cool Britannia - and it is easily identified. It is the complete loss of morality and values right at the heart of the political class and in Whitehall. Yes, it stinks.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2008

Vanishing armed forces ....

I recently bought a copy of the International Fleet Review, a journal that looks at naval forces around the world and almost boiled with rage as I read the editorial. The writer has done an excellent job of assembling his facts and they reveal the true cost of the last ten years of socialist liberal incompetence to this nation. Our once proud Royal Navy has been reduced from a fleet of one hundred and eighty four ships when Blair and his thieves took power to a force which will dip below 80 ships before any of the new ones on order come on line. Worse, in order to "save money" the Fleet Air Arm has been reduced to a helicopter force only and must embark RAF aircraft and pilots if it needs fixed wing fighters and bombers. They tried that in the 1930's and it is the reason the Navy had to start the war with the obsolete Fairey Swordfish "Stringbags" as its only operational aircraft. But Nu Labour and this coterie of Scottish and Welsh anarchists have no love of any "British" institutions and certainly no love of the Armed Forces - especially the Navy.

These cuts in manning and in materiele mean that as of this month, there will be no Naval patrol based at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Watch this space for a deal that hands the islands over the Argentina in the next few years the way these same treasonous morons have tried to hand over Gibralter to Spain against the wishes of the people of Gibralter.

The Navy is not alone in suffering these cuts. The Army has all but lost its Main Battle Tank capability, the RAF is reduced to mainly a transport role and even with the new Typhoon Eurofighters coming on stream is still woefully under strength and under equipped. The list is almost endless - and Labour refuses to increase the Defence spend which is around half the EU average. Face it, Labour HATES the military, it represents everything most Labour voters and most Labour MPs are not, disciplined, competent and proud. To the Labour Aparatchik that spells "elitist" and note how they have done everything in their power to make it impossible for the military to actually do their job. First comes orders not to return fire if attacked in the Shatt al Arab, then they are forbidden to intervene when a ship is seized by pirates. Our troops face charges of "murder" for defending themselves when attacked and killing any enemy or anyone supporting the enemy thanks to Cheri Blair's cronies in the "Human Rights/Civil Liberties" lobby who rush to bring charges of murder against the troops as soon as they are in a battle anywhere.

Maintenance of ships, vehicles and aircraft is all "contracted out" to private companies and even our armaments manufacturing has been sold off to foreign owners so that now our people have to rely on euqipment bought in from potential enemies.

It is a disgrace - and one that every Labour voter ought to take personal responsibility for. This country has been reduced to impotence by the self serving incompetents of the Labour Party - but they are not alone in this betrayal - the Conservatives must take at least a part of the blame for their cuts in the 1980's and 1990's to deliver the "Peace Dividend" that was supposed to flow from the ending of the Cold War. Have we seen "peace"? of course not - the end of the Cold War left the world in a more unstable and volatile state than ever - and the W*nk*rs of Whitehall and the Wastralls of Westminster continue to cut the Defence Budgets - in fact, our wonderful Prime Minister is vehement in his opposition to any funding for defence.

I wonder why?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2008

Human Rights - Was Mister Straw admitting he's got it wrong?

It seems that The Right Dishonourable Minister of Justice, none other than that great upholder of Britishness, Jack Straw, is "frustrated" with the way the Human Rights Act is providing a "Villian's Charter". Oh dear, oh dear. I wonder if there is irony in this? After all, Mister Straw was the one who, as Home Secretary, introduced this legislation in the face of warnings that it would create enormous problems within the British Legal system. Ironic too, that he is a member of a government that has eroded our ancient rights to freedom of speech, freedom of thought and privacy like no other democratic government in history - and, in fact, like very few of the world's most draconian dictatorships.

Under this government our ancient right to privacy has been removed, eroded by the Security legislation they have introduced, Child Protection legislation and so-called prevention of religious hatred legislation. We are monitored by forests of CCTV cameras, our use of everyday idiomatic expressions is criticised as betraying our racist thoughts by the PC Police, and even photographing your grandchildren can lead to your being subjected to a grilling from the Gauliters of the Child Protection movement - or worse - to your detention for questioning by the police. It says it all really when a photograph of a Pop bands CD cover on Wikipedia is decalred "Child Pornography" by some Whitehall Nanny and they attempt to block anyone in the UK from accessing it. Take your camera or your PC in for repair and the Thought Police will be going through its stored files (and the deleted ones) in search of evidence that you are a paedophile or a sexual predator and prosecution will follow - as a Chief Fire Officer has recently discovered when his laptop was stolen. On being recovered it wasn't given back to him - oh, no - the police searched through the files on it for any "unlawful" activity. He's now being investigated for offences involving the making of pornographic images .....

But Mister Straw is now proposing that we have another piece of legislation, one which will "balance" Human Rights with responsibilities. Oh? Really? And does Mrs Blair approve? After all, she is the one that insisted on us adopting this worthless Villian's Charter in the first place and she and her Chambers have done very nicely out of it thank you. So have various "Civil Liberties" lobbies and not a few terrorists. I think the question is not "Do we need new legislation to address the balance between rights and responsibilities?" but, "Do we need the Human Rights Act at all?" I think the answer is no we do not. Neither do we need all the nannying and "Big Brother" survellance - if our police were allowed to deal with yobs as they used to in the 1950's before the "liberal" "rights" mob perverted every aspect of the law, we wouldn't need the CCTV. Likewise, if crime were punished instead of rewarded.

The law in this country has been perverted to the point where the law abiding are no longer protected and the criminal has more rights than the victims. Its time to change that. Come to think of it its time to rid ourselves of this current crop of Pot smoking 1960's boycotters, hippies and "activists" who have spent a lifetime undermining demorcacy and now have imposed a "Big Brother" society that would horrify George Orwell and cause our forefathers who fought two world wars for this nations freedom to take up arms against them.

Perhaps that's why Gordon Brown has cut the Defence budgets and our Armed Forces to a parlace state of under strength and over committed exhaustion. He's afraid they might.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2008

Publishing update ....

Just as I was about to post today an email pinged in from my publisher. The pressure on the printers at this time of the year is impacting on the publishers. My book may now appear in print late in this week or early next. It will take another two to three weeks to appear on the Amazon site from experience and probably a week or more to appear on any other "online" book seller.

Oh well, at least the marketting will have gathered momentum by then - I hope. I guess I'm just a bit paranoid about this now, I've waited so long for this moment that I'm being very impatient, but I'm also very conscious of the cometition and when you have ventured as much as I have on getting this to the publisher in terms of time and effort, I'm naturally just a teeny bit anxious to see it actually selling and reaching an audience. Out of Time has done well without the big publicity machine behind it, with publicity I'm hoping that The enemy is within will do even better - and pull in some more sales for Out of Time in the process.

Well, back to reality I guess, I'd better get some more paying work done. Time to bank with the bank again, they seem to get ever so twitchy when they bank with me.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

A little excursion in search of a visa ....

Last week I took my passport to the Embassy of Kazakhstan to apply for a visa - their consular section which deals with this is open between 0900 and 1200 on four days of the week only. Second, the don't offer a "same day service" even for those of us who have to travel considerable distances just to get it.

Perhaps I should explain that to get to London from my neck of the woods takes a minimum of 2 hours by train - no one in his right mind takes a car into central London if you don't need to! - and to get there between 0900 and 1200 means setting out very early. My train leaves Evesham at 0754 and arrives in London at 0935 and then you have the Underground to contend with. OK, so you would think that, even given the restricted times of opening, it should be a doddle to get the visa, even if it means posting the visa and passport. Er, well, normally - yes.

But apparently not at this particular embassy. An envelop was provided, the requisite fee paid to ensure it was posted "recorded delivery" and, as it would arrive while I was away in Chester, I had even arranged for the postman to deliver it to a neighbour. All to no avail - the passport failed to show up. The Post Office denied all knowledge, the Embassy failed to answer emails or the telephone (Perpetually engaged!) and so, it was off to London this morning to confront the consulate and find the passport even if it meant refusal of a visa and a "diplomatic incident".

Surprise, surprise, a brief search by their staff turned up the passport in the original envelop, with the story that it had been posted, but returned by the Royal Mail as "undeliverable" the following morning. Hmmmm, my Postie is a man who knows the score and he denies ever seeing it. Notably I wasn't given the chance to see the front of the envelop. My money is on its not having been posted at all.

Never mind, I now have the passport and the visa. So its off to Kazakhstan for me next Saturday. Hi Ho, I do get to the strangest and most interesting places sometimes and this will be no exception - as long as Messers Putin, Obama and Bush don't decide to start WW3.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 09, 2008

A world gone by - thrown away by spineless politcians and bureaucrats ....

A friend in Australia sent me this some time ago. Having read it I decided it should be posted here on the date in the poem but other things prevented it. So here it is.....

The Anzac on the Wall

I wandered thru a country town 'cos I had time to spare,
And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.
Old Bikes and pumps and kero lamps, but hidden by it all,
A photo of a soldier boy - an Anzac on the Wall.

"The Anzac have a name?" I asked. The old man answered "No,.
The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago.
The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale,
The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.

"I asked around," the old man said, "but no one knows his face,
He's been on that wall twenty years, deserves a better place.
For some one must have loved him so, it seems a shame somehow."
I nodded in agreement and then said, "I'll take him now."

My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight
A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right
To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,
"Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.

I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
The first reveals my Anzac's name, and regiment of course
John Mathew Francis Stuart - of Australia's own Light Horse.

This letter written from the front, my interest now was keen
This note was dated August seventh 1917
"Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
They say it's in the Bible - looks like Billabong to me.

"My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers she's still my bride to be
I just cant wait to see you both you're all the world to me
And Mum you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out
I told him to call on you when he's up and about."

"That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the Co's dunny.
I told you how he dragged me wounded in from no man's land
He stopped the bleeding closed the wound with only his bare hand."

"Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast
It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn't last
He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind
Cause out there on the battlefield he'd left one leg behind."

"He's been in a bad way mum, he knows he'll ride no more
Like me he loves a horse's back he was a champ before.
So Please Mum can you take him in, he's been like my brother
Raised in a Queensland orphanage he' S never known a mother."

But Struth, I miss Australia mum, and in my mind each day
I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away
I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight
And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down
I'll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town".
The second letter I could see was in a lady's hand
An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land

Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean
It bore the date November 3rd 1917.
"T'was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war
I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more"

"Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day
And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been
We talked and laughed for days about the things you've done and seen"

"He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
I read the same hope in his eyes that you wont come to harm.
Mc Connell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed
We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange."

"Last Wednesday just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight
It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright
It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared
And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared"

"They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear
It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near
Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?
Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,"

"That's why we need you home son" - then the flow of ink went dry-
This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why.
Until I started reading the letter number three
A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy

Her son killed in action - oh - what pain that must have been
The Same date as her letter - 3rd November 17
This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.

And John's home town's old timers -children when he went to war
Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell
How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.

She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
"My Johnny's at the war you know , he's coming home next week."
They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end
A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend

And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak
And always softly say "yes dear - John will be home next week."
Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say
I tried to find out where he went, but dont know to this day

And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd
She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God
John's mother left no will I learned on my detective trail
This explains my photo's journey, that clearance sale

So I continued digging cause I wanted to know more
I found John's name with thousands in the records of the war
His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim
The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame

That last day in October back in 1917
At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean
That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear
But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here.......

So as John's gallant spirit rose to cross the great divide
Were lightning bolts back home a signal from the other side?
Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?
Because he'd never feel his master on his back again?

Was it coincidental? same time - same day - same date?
Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
I think it's more than that, you know, as I've heard wiser men,
Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

Where craggy peaks guard secrets neath dark skies torn asunder
Where hoofbeats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder
Where lightning cracks like 303's and ricochets again
Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track
They've glimpsed a huge black stallion - Light Horseman on his back.
Yes Sceptics say, it's swirling clouds just forming apparitions
Oh no, my friend you cant dismiss all this as superstition

The desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range
John Stuart rides forever there - Now I dont find that strange.
Now some gaze at this photo, and they often question me
And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.

"You must be proud of him." they say - I tell them, one and all,
That's why he takes the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall.

A memorial I hope to all those who gave their lives to keep our freedom and to build a better future - a future squandered and thrown away by the wastralls and spineless policticians of every Western nation who could only think of their own comfort, avarice and the power they have stolen from the men and women who gave their all for our freedom ...

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:27 PM

November 07, 2008

Sharia through the back door

In another blunder by a government that specialises in blunders, they have legalised Sharia Courts - by passing an Act with holes big enough to drive a double decker bus through it. Read the Timesonline article and mourn for the demise of Christian Western Britain.

Interestingly the same media circus that attacked the Archbishop of Canterbury for suggesting that elements of the Sharia could be used within our system, have remained extremely silent on this little issue. Equally interesting is that only one politician has so far denounced the development - but he isn't a member of the government.

So much for "One nation; one justice system." Watch this space, it could be the beginning of the end for the now fatally eroded "British Nation".

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kazakhstan? Where's that?

Well, OK, I do have a vague idea. Somewhere behind the Himalayas and beyond the Caspian Sea. Sort of outpost on the Silk Road kind of place. Well, I'm due to speak at a conference there in a couple of weeks, so today I'm off to London to get the visa. I hope.

Blogging may be a little short today.

FOOTNOTE: Thought I'd posted this yesterday - but obviously was in too much of a hurry!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2008

The Dawkins Delusion

A commenter left a link to a very funny reworking of Gilbert and Sullivan's famous "patter" song, "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" and it is worth dropping by to have a read of it. The Emerson Avenger has obviously taken about as much of this pompous git's insulting our intellect and our faith as I have.

I do like his riposte though!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 02, 2008

There is no God but Dawkins ...

I'm getting a little tired of the media acclaim for the man who has to be the arch-bigot of our time, Richard Dawkins. The arrogance of this man is the only thing that surpasses his own ego. Now it appears we are also to be subjected to adverts emblazoning busses proclaiming that "There is probably no God". Well, is there or isn't there? Is it that Professor Dawkins is uncertain?

No he is certain there is no God, at least according to his "proofs" there isn't, but to stay clear of the laws against offending Islam and one or two other religious bodies (But NOT Christianity which seems to be fair game for every crackpot and ignoramus going!) the ads have to allow for "interpretation" and allow the possibility that "proof" may yet surface which changes Dawkins mind. Personally I'd say its unlikely, like most of his ilk they don't want a debate unless it agrees with their argument. Anyone who has watched Dawkins or any of his fellow travellers response to any attempt to present a counter case to their blinkered and gigotted view will know that they fall back immediately to sarcastic and ill-informed quotations taken completely out of context and without any consideration of alternative interpretations. Frequently they are misquoting and even mismatching and mangling two and even three different sources into one.

OK, so if you';ve read "The God Delusion" you might find it persuasive. Frankly I do not, simply because in every "proof" Dawkins advances there is a large element of the inexplicable. In addition, he fails to realise that he is himself falling into the oldest trap in the Book, be it the Bible, the Quran or the Kama Sutra. The absence of belief in God does not mean the absence of belief - belief and faith stemming from that belief is simply transfered to something else - in Dawkins case he "believes" in the "scientific proofs" he advances as "proof" that God doesn't exist, that this life is it, finished, comlete and total. Ergo, for Richard Dawkins, there is no God but Richard Dawkins.

There are now several ripostes to Dawkins available, perhaps the best is McGrath's "The Dawkins Delusion". Unsurprisingly in the light of an official campaign to denigrate all forms of Christianity by the Westminster government and their Whitehall W*nk*rs, none of these are getting the attention the obnoxious Dawkins gets from the BBC and their fellow left wing propagandists. Secularist Humanism is the government's unoffical line and the spate of attacks in the press, on television and in every Christian forum on the internet by socalled pagans and atheists (Who noticeably avoid going onto any Muslim, Budhist or Hindu Forum to insult their beliefs) one must conclude that there is now in operation an official policy of persecution of Christianity. Don't believe me? Just visit the BBC website and look for the Radio 4 Christian Forum.

It is subtle and so far doesn't go as far as the campaign against Judaism has been allowed to go with Synagogues regul;arly defaced or attacked and Jewish graves defaced and desecrated - but it is not a large step to that from this current position. And the real problem underlying it is that the incompetents in Whitehall genuinely do not understand the differences between faiths when they yammer on about "multi-faith" and tolerance. Worse, they believe the lies that Dawkins and his supporters peddle at every opportunity about Christianity having been responsible for all the wars in history, for slavery and for every form of bigotry they themselves display.

Frankly I find Dawkins offensive, I find his ideas and his abuse of science to support them offensive, but above all, I find his assault on my freedom to believe in a universal and omnipotent God deeply offensive. He may choose to believe in himself if he wishes, but let him and his supporters keep it to themselves.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 30, 2008

What's Gordon Brown got to laugh about?

Well, I don't know who put this on You Tube - but do pay it a visit, it explains just what is making Gordo laugh - and who he's laughing at. And this one is by a reputable economist who has provided proof that Brown was warned that his policies were heading us toward an inevitable bust!

Interesting that the changes Labour (Gordon Brown) made to our financial regulations are the single major contributing factor to this present BUST. Yup, Gordo's got a lot to laugh at.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:07 PM | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

Collapsing £ound

In all seriousness, the value of the pound sterling is falling dramatically - something our closet communists in Whitehall and Westminster must be relishing as they watch their goal of ditching the Pound and surrendering the last vestiges of our sovereignty. With Gordon Brown destroying the last vestiges of capitalism in our economy with his mismanagement of the remaining commercial and industrial activities still in British ownership it is a mere matter of time before we are returned to being the basket case of Europe. This is how Labour did it in the 1960's and they are busy doing it again.

Take a look at the realities of "British" business. Almost all of our merchant shipping is now owned and operated by foreign based companies. All our manufacturing industry is owned and operated by foreign based companies. We import most of our food and even our so-called "capital" is managed and "owned" by foreign owned banks.

I will make some predictions here.

1. The pound will vanish after the next election - which Labour will win by virtue of their gerrymandering and propaganda manipulations, and
2. The government will then start attempting to nationalise and centralise the economy in a communist style return to "Command Economics" . Jobs will vanish as the real owners pull their investments out of the country, something that is already happening as the government attempts to nationalise and take control of the banks - foreign money is running before the Whitehall W*nk*rs can get their hands on it.

And the last prediction, two thousand years of the English Monarchy will vanish as Brown and his greedy incompetents finally wreak their "vengeance" on England and dismember it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stock market operations

Once upon a time in a village named Caveat Emptor, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at $20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching some of the few remaining monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each."

The villagers rounded up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys. Then they never saw the man, nor his assistant again, only monkeys everywhere!

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2008

Overcrowded trains on the Tube?

Not any more. In a creative solution that leaves one almost breathless for the sheer "chutzpah" (A Yiddish word which is a lot more polite than the Anglo-Saxon 'B***ls') Transport for London have solved their overcrowding problem at the stroke of a pen. It proves that the pen is indeed far more dangerous than the sword, especially in the hands of career politicians and bureaucrats.

Its official, the tubes are no longer overcrowded in London. No, there are no extra trains and no extra carriages, nor are there extra busses or bigger busses. So how have they done it? Selective passenger arrangements? Nope. Restrictions on travel at rush hour perhaps? Nope.

Its so simple its breathtaking.

They changed the definition of "Overcrowding". It used to be 30 people standing in a carriage. Now, to be overcrowded, there have to be 60 standing .....

TfL Notice[1].jpg
Spotted in a London Underground carriage - the next step in beating "overcrowding" perhaps?

As I said, breathtaking in its simplicity!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 24, 2008

Socialist asset grab?

One of the BBC Chatrooms is currently running a discussion forum which seems to be being led by smeone who is a form believer in communist central planned economics. Having read this idiots ranting, I'm afraid I failed to join the discussion - one which seems to be a revival meeting of the Socialist Workers/British Communist Party. All the usual arguments are being trotted out for tighter regulation, state control of wealth, industry, commerce and the distribution of jobs, benefits, wealth, education and everything else. It seems that there is always someone who believes that the unworkable socialist/communist system of "command economics" can be made to work and will, somehow, ensure a fairer political and economic system.

I can recall discussions when I was a lot younger, which centred on the idea of everyone being paid the same rate no matter what the role. I always seemed to be the one who pricked the bubble - by simply pointing out that there was no way I would accept responsibility for managing a factory if I was paid the same wage as the man who swept the floors. Inevitably I was always branded as "reactionary" and "weddedto an outdated and unfair system." Maybe, or maybe I was just being pragmatic.

Yes, the greedy MBA toting wide boys who have infested the Financial Trading Halls and the Boardrooms of once great and responsible companies have played fast a loose with the assets of their shareholders and investors. Yes, they deserve to be taken to task and, if appropriate, relieved of their lucrative positions, but not to be replaced by even more incompetent Civil Servants and politicians whose MBA's are from the same universities and the only difference between them is that the Civil Servants, in the former Soviet Union labelled the "Nomenclatura", are not sufficiently entrepenuerial to run a company. Take a look at their track record and how they have ruined almost every public service and preside over the wastage of vast amounts of public money annually. What makes anyone think this shower could possibly manage the instruments of wealth creation any better than the wide boys currently ruining it? As for their ability to distribute it more fairly? You have to be joking - they are no different from the idiots who have ruined the banks and will look after their own interests at every turn. The only beneficiaries under any socialist/communist economy is the Party Apparatchiks and the Nomenclatura themselves. And look what they managed to do to every economy they have ever managed.

We need to ensure that our socialist politicians do not make this recession the excuse to seize our assets and appropriate to themselves and those who have done nothing to earn it, what does not belong to them or to their sycophants. Already the Chancellor has nationalised three of the biggest banks, we should be alarmed by this - and those who continue to try to capitalise on the current difficulty should be cautious - lest they play directly into the hands of the asset grabbers.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

Selective sciences

I have always had some respect for the World Wildlife Fund or WWF, they did quite a good job on a number of fronts in my view, helping to save a lot of our rarer animals from extinction, the Panda, the Siberian Tiger and one or two other notables among them. But now I'm not sure what they are up too. Firstly, like Greenpeace and Fiends of the Earth, they have strayed into the realms of pseudo-science, and that I will not give money to support.

What has sparked this tirade? Well, I came across a little gem in the Daily Telegraph, a stunning photo that shows that the Arctic ice sheet has almost vanished. Or has it? Digging around I discovered that the Telegraph has fallen for a "new" report published by the WWF that says we are heating up the planet faster than even the most hysterical of the "Global Warming" pundits has previously foamed at the mouth over. Tim at An Englishman's Castle certainly has picked up on this as well, but the most telling information I found comes from Watts Up With That? and a fascinating piece he has on this issue.

Or you can go directly to the best photos of the Ice Caps available - at The Cryosphere Today. These are updated daily and show the extent of the sea ice and its thickness - and interestingly they show more ice than the Telegraph/WWF pictures show.

Now I'm not a suspicious man, but the fact that the WWF pictures show not a vestige of cloud suggests that someone has "cleaned up" the images - I wonder if, in the process, and all accidental like - a bit of ice got cleaned off the pictures as well?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2008

Credit crunch

The forcasts don't look good, in fact the latest suggestion is that, contrary to Whitehall's rose tinted visions from the Treasury, the UK economy is already in recession. This will be the second one I have had to survive in the last twenty years and it is probably all the more annoying because, if anything, the Whitehall w*nkers and their political chums in the Cabinet have ably helped to plunge us into it. Interestingly they now are crying that MORE regulations are required, when I am convinced that at least one of the reasons so much of our manufacturing capacity, not to mention almost all of our mainstay commercial activity, is now based "offshore" is precisely because the "regulation" in the EU has reached stupid proportions.

Yes, the financial sector probably does need a bit more commonsense applied in their dealings, after all most of the "trading" in the finance markets (as on the Stock Market) is little better than what one can find in any betting shop on the High Street. The stakes are higher and the odds longer, but its still no more than gambling on a monumental scale - and best of all, the traders win regardless of whether they lose the lot or not. Never bock the "House Percentage" is the maxim they need reminding of, but now that Mister Darling has Nationalised two of our biggest banks on the excuse that they have "borrowed" Public Money, I do not hold out a great deal of hope for anything more than financial stagnation of the worst kind. I know they haven't put Civil Servants on the Boards (Yet!) but the directors they have installed will be having their strings pulled by politicians. In short, the banks will not be allowed to respond to market demand, and everything will grind to a halt. And watch the Red Tape that will now erupt out of Brussels and the Whitehall back rooms.

I do not believe that "Public Ownership" is a solution to the spread of wealth, if anything the Century of Socialist/Communist Command econmics demonstrated by the former USSR and even our own dear Labour Party machinations in the 1950's and 60's should have proved that. But it seems that Whitehall is still in loive with the idea and the very last people who should have any say in the management of anything at all, especially something as important as the national economy, are the Civil Servants who are now being given control of it. If you want something to die on its feet, put some Civil Servants in charge of it. It may take a while, but they will kill it as surely as poison will kill a fit human being. Take a look at the record of Civil Service management of any nationalised industry anywhere, or any major project managed by civil servants in the last half century. I rest my case!

What is worse, the gullible among the voting public are falling for the line that the present PM is "the best man for the job os steering us through this crisis" - a ridiculous assumption precisely because HE has created the mess we are in. He inherited a recovering and sound economy from the Tories in 1997 and has squandered it. Under his Chancellorship our taxes have risen by the Treasury's own admission by 51% and our National Debt is now the highest it has ever been in all of our history. He has embarked on a policy of raising taxes to spend, spend, spend and when he couldn't get it from the tax pool he borrowed and borrowed. This is as bad as the Pre-Thatcher Labour Government whose solution to needing more money was to simply let the printing presses print as much as they wanted. That got this country into a financial crisis that put us under IMF management!

Yes, the Credit Crunch is the result of stupidty and greed in the Finacial Markets and among our top bankers, but they are not solely to blame, some of it must rest with the politicans who have created the climate in which that could happen. And you can be very sure that they won't be reducing their salaries or pension benefits anytime soon.

Snouts in the trough! We're alright Jack, we're inboard!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 18, 2008

A legal step too far?

If anything was proof that the legal profession will do anything if someone is paying is the case brought by a State Senator in the US against God, for "Threatening to bring widespread death, destruction amd terrorism to him and the people of Nebraska." Seems to me that he missed the target, it might have been better to sue the hellfire and damnation fundamentalists there who persist in preaching the anger of God instead of the love He so clearly displays. Perhaps the Judge who dismissed the case deserbes a pat on the back - but when you look at the reason for dismissing it, you wonder.

Why was it dismissed? Because God doesn't have an address to which the summons can be delivered.

In Britain this would be called a "vexatious suit" and the perpetrator sent down with a hefty fine for wasting the court's time. In the US apparently, or in Nebraska anyway, the Senator is considering an appeal.

I am reminded that a group of Rabbis, incarcerated in Auschwitz, tried God in a court they convened in the Camp, charging Him with failure to prevent the wholesale murder of the Jewish people in Germany and the occupied countries. After considering all the angles carefully they decided that the only verdict they could bring was "Not guilty" as "The ways of God are not to be understood by the minds of men, nor is His will to be questioned." A point made in the final Chapter of the Book of Jonah.

State Senator Chambers seems to me to be wasting both the court's time and the people of Nebraskas money in a stupid gesture to make political capital. He would not be my choice on any ballot were I a voter in his constituency. The legal system has better and more important things to do than waste time on self serving and self important stunts perpetrated by bigoted idiots.

Legal case against God dismissed

The plaintiff argued an omniscient God would know of the lawsuit
A US judge has thrown out a case against God, ruling that because the defendant has no address, legal papers cannot be served.

The suit was launched by Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, who said he might appeal against the ruling.

He sought a permanent injunction to prevent the "death, destruction and terrorisation" caused by God.

Judge Marlon Polk said in his ruling that a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a case to proceed.

"Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice," Judge Polk wrote in his ruling.

Mr Chambers cannot refile the suit but may appeal.

'God knows everything'

Mr Chambers sued God last year. He said God had threatened him and the people of Nebraska and had inflicted "widespread death, destruction and terrorisation of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants".

He said he would carefully consider Judge Polk's ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

The court, Mr Chambers said, had acknowledged the existence of God and "a consequence of that acknowledgement is a recognition of God's omniscience".

"Since God knows everything," he reasoned, "God has notice of this lawsuit."

Mr Chambers, a state senator for 38 years, said he filed the suit to make the point that "anyone can sue anyone else, even God".


Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:28 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 15, 2008

Saving the world or a cunning take-over?

It is difficult to see what else the government of this and several other countries could have done in the face of a collapsing financial sector, but it must also set alarm bells sounding in every free citizens ears. Two of the UK's (and Europe's) largest Banks have now effectively been nationalised by our Chancellor. Hoorah! Scream all the Socialist Closet Communistas - at last! They now have control of the money supply and therefore the distribution of wealth. Frankly, that in itself, is enough to make all right thinking people want to emigrate immediately! What is their next move? Nationalisation of industry is out - they've destroyed what we had, so probably all commercial activity will now be targeted. After all, the Left wing of the Labour Party is still wedded to the idea that the State should control all industrial and commercial activity - only a very short step away from their having control over who gets employment and who doesn't.

The financial crisis needed to be dealt with, but is giving control of the banks to political placemen (I notice that even our ex-Communist Party associate Chancellor has not placed Civil Servant Incompetents on the Boards of the Nationalised Banks, probably the only sensible thing in this debacle) the right way to do this. I agree entirely that the "rewards" for irresponsibility needed to be curtailed and the reckless gambling with what is, after all, their customers money (And most Tax Payers - Mr Darling's favourite sound bite - are also customers of these institutions) so to give the Treasury any sort of say in commercial activity is far from ideal for either customer or taxpayer. How can I say that?

Easily, these are the same incompetents who have visited upon us the Bureaucratic waste of time "Prince 2" contract management which has never delivered anything on time or on budget. And worse, the entire Civil Service is unable to deliver anything on budget, much less specify anything so that it can be. Why? Because they are none of them practitioners of the things they purport to "manage" on behalf of the tax payer. They are "generalist" managers who specialise in nothing and leap from one "empire" of their own creation to another just ahead of whatever they have ruined in the last post being uncovered.

I am automatically nervous of any politcian or Civil Servant being given control over any instrument of the wealth of the nation. Both are anathema to me, because both are biased and both will misuse the power it gives them for their own narrow and self-serving ends.

And now I will make a prediction: Watch the Financial Centre that has been at the heart of this nations wealth and economic growth for the last thirty years vanish abroad. Where will it go? Why, to the "Free Trade" zones being set up all round the Gulf, unregulated and untaxed, they will move there and escape the strictures and restrictions of Socialist Europe and the politcians vain belief that they can generate wealth and distribute it more fairly than any other system. Mark my words, in the not to distant future our wealth will have vanished and we will be in thrall to the new world economic muscle that is being built up carefully in the Middle East. They know exactly how to attract the money men just as our lot of scheming politicians can't see the danger of telling shareholders (the Owners of the banks) that they won't get a dividend "because we won't allow this use of public money" or the even greater danger of allowing all the ownership of our commercial and industrial assets to be in foreign hands.

Prime example? British Airports Authority. It should be called Spanish, just as P&O Ferries is now owned by a Dubai based company and the QE2 has been sold to someone else in the Gulf ..... Don't even ask who owns the major shares in the banks - and it isn't the UK government!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 05, 2008

Prophetic writing?

I have recently reread a book called "Erewhon" by a gentleman named Samuel Butler. And before you all start reaching for your best seller lists, I had better explain that the book was published in 1872 and is a very clever political satire in the same spirit as those written in the 18th Century by Jonathon Swift, The title is in fact an anagram of "No where" and it is a sort of anti-Utopia tract, written, I think, as a riposte to much of the Utopian social writing of the period in which so much of our current socialist thinking is rooted.

Erewhon is set in a remote part of the British Empire, a land hidden behind a virtually impenetrable range of mountains. In contrast to our own society (or the Victorians for that matter!) it is a place where beauty represents health and prosperity, illness is a criminal offence and disability leads to banishment (if you're lucky!) or death (if you're not!). Children choose their parents and "bad" parents are punished - the definition of "bad" parents being decided by the accusations of their offspring. In short, it is a society which turns on its head all the norms by which any normal society would operate. Or does it?

Butler attacks the Ecclesiatical institutions and theology of his day robustly, but as I read through this again, I suddenly found myself wondering what he would make of the society we live in. The emphasis on "Children's Rights" comes very close to what he has written in fiction more than a century ago. So does the NHS farce which allows the wealthy to bypass the blockages and bureaucratic clap-trap the rest of us have to suffer not to mention the selectivity when it comes to the availablility of some treatments and drug regimes.

For all its age and the dating of some of the technology in which it is set, it is very readable and entertaining - but do look deeper. That is the scary bit.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:54 AM | TrackBack

September 27, 2008

Stupidity on the increase?

There are definitely times when stupidity should be a capital offence. The extended post gives an example of one such - a British (I'm ashamed to say!) woman who bought a live artillery shell in France, placed it in her hand luggage and then, when stopped by French Security staff at the airport, claims not to have any idea why it caused such a fuss!

I think the only thing that tops that story is the Russian ship, carrying thirty - you got it, count them yourself - tanks which has been captured by pirates off Somalia......

One can only hope that they are not fully equipped and haven't the ammunition with them, but don't count on it.

ITN - Friday, September 26 01:07 pm An entire French airport had to be evacuated when a British woman tried to board an aircraft with a bomb in her hand luggage.

Security guards spotted the 55-year-old had a World War Two shell, used in army field guns, in her case ahead of her Ryanair flight from Bergerac, in the Dordogne, to East Midlands airport.

The woman, from Nottingham, said she had bought the 37mm military explosive in a second hand shop as a present for her husband.

As more than 1,000 passengers and staff were forced to leave the terminal building, bomb squad officers took the shell to nearby wasteland and carried out a controlled explosion.

A French police spokesman said the woman, who has not been named, was questionned at the scene.

He said: "She told us she had no idea that taking a military shell through airport security would cause such a fuss. She said she bought the device in a second hand shop because her husband collected military memorabilia."

He added: "Checks were made with the tradesman she bought it from and her story proved to be genuine, so charges will not be brought and she was allowed to leave."

The flight finally took off 90 minutes late with the woman on board, airport officials said

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:22 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 19, 2008

Confused signals

I find the current Archbishop of Sydney a contradictory man. First, he rails against the Lambeth Conference, saying it refuses to make decisions, precisely what it was set up NOT to do. It is essentially a "talking shop" one which allows the views of all sections of the Anglican Church to be heard and not just those with an agenda to run. He defends his non-attendance by asserting that it was "To English Centric" and does not reflect the Church in Africa or elsewhere, a charge that falls flat on the fact that the African Bishops and leaders were not only there, but took a lead in the many workshops.

But the most contradictory aspect of his charge that Lambeth is "too England centred" is his own Archdiocese's insistence on adhering to the Canons, long since repealed or modified in England and everywhere else, governing clergy dress and vestments written for an English political setting in the 16th Century. Let's face it, the Diocese of Sydney makes many of the Methodist communities look like Anglo-catholics, and the reason is simple. They stick like glue to the Rubrics and Canons of the 1662 Prayer Book which was a major compromise in itself and led to a number of divisions within the Anglican Church at its inception.

The Anglican Communion has followed the model of the Early Church in which, contrary to Rome's claims, the Diocesan Bishops held all the authority in their own Diocese. We are a synodical church and though I do not agree with a great deal its Synods decide, I am, as a member bound by the enactments of the General Synod and the Diocesan and Deanery Synods. That is the ancient model and it has worked well throughout the history of our church. Lambeth is not the Roman Curia, nor should it be. GAFCON is attempting to replace Lambeth and become a Curia - a strange situation again for Dr Jenkins because, as a member of the Ultra-Evangelical wing of the church he is linking up with Ultra-catholics who can't bring themselves to accept the Papal Authority, in order to create an sort of Anglican Curia ....

As I said, this is a very confused signal. I hope our Lord can make sense of it!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:25 AM | TrackBack

September 17, 2008

Darwin was not wrong - the Churches agree

One for the record I guess, the Anglican Church has broken over a century of silence and said publically that they owe Charles Darwin an apology. The official statement says that the Church "misunderstood" and "misrepresented" his theory. While this isn't an "official" apology, it does, in fact, reflect the Churches "official" position on the Origin of the Species.

It is interesting to note that the Roman Catholic Church has long held the same view as has the Orthodox Church. All agree that there is nothing in the theory that conflicts with the Bible and Christian Doctrine or Dogma - a position not shared by some "Protestant" fundamentalist groups. Still, the bulk of Christianity is "enlightened" enough to accept the facts as science presents them.


spokesman for the Anglican Church says it should admit it wronged Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution is still considered anti-Christian in some circles, even as it's become a cornerstone of science.

"The Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still," Rev. Malcolm Brown writes on a church Web site marking next year's 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

"There is nothing here that contradicts Christian teaching," he says, adding that the church's "reaction now seems misjudged."

While the church didn't take an official stance against Darwin, its officials — in a widely publicized 1860 debate — made nasty arguments against his theory that species evolve through natural selection, the church says on its Web site. Today, some fundamentalist Christians argue that evolution can't co-exist with the biblical story of creation — a concept gaining new traction thanks to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who believes creationism should be taught along with evolution in schools.

Brown's statement, posted yesterday, reflects the church's position on Darwin but isn’t an official apology, the Church of England told the Associated Press. Pope John Paul II said in 1992 that the Catholic Church should say it was sorry for putting Galileo on trial over his assertion that Earth revolves around the sun.

Darwin's great-great grandson, Andrew Darwin, told Britain's Daily Mail on Saturday that he was "bemused" by the apology, which he described as "pointless."

"Why bother?" he told the newspaper. "When an apology is made after 200 years, it’s not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organization making the apology feel better."

Updated 5:05 p.m. Sept. 16: The Vatican says Darwin's theories are compatible with the Bible, and doesn't plan any apology like the one a Church of England spokesman suggests the Anglican Church should offer, Reuters and DPA are reporting. "Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session," said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister. Darwin's theories, he said, were "never condemned by the Catholic Church nor was his book ever banned," according to Reuters.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:54 PM | TrackBack

September 13, 2008

Political meltdown?

Hardly, but it does seem that the present government has run into a few problems. As usual the extreme left of the Party is the first to break cover with their demands for "Windfall taxes" on everyone still managing to make a profit, but especially on the energy companies. Now, while I have some sympathy with the argument, I have to say its not as simple as a case of "mega-profit" flowing from high fuel bills. These energy giants now have very diverse activities and the supply of fuel for domestic and industrial users is actually quite a small percentage of where their income comes from. Besides which, all corporations exist only to make a profit for their shareholders and NOT for the benefit of the customer. In fact, in law (Made by the same morons who now scream for "windfall" taxes!) corporations are required to maximise the profits for their investors. The fact that they succeed in doinbg so is hardly a reason to criticise them, in fact, when they fail to do this the first to suffer are the workers most of the Windfall Tax advocates supposedly represent!

Labour has, as usual, enjoyed the fruits of the fiscal stability built by the last Conservative Government and, as usual, have shown their predilection for "Tax and Spend" - so much so that over 33% of my paltry pension is deducted in tax as is almost everything else I manage to earn now working for myself. I'm not allowed to be independent or to make a profit according to the communistas running Whitehall - that's not fair. I'm supposed to pay for the feckless and the terminally incompetent Whitehall apparatchiks and their parasite followers who have never done a complete days work. But even more interesting is how the Left of the Labour Party is suddenly emboldened by the propsect of being botted out of power. All the Old Labour mantras are being aired again, nationalisation, worker power, collectives and many other discredited ideas of the 70's are being bandied about as "back to our roots" becomes the warcry. And Gordon Brown is vulnerable, because he has never been elected as PM, he has never fought an election as PM and he is a Scottish MP ruling the English as head of HM Government. Nothing he does in Whitehall applies to his constituency in Fife. If nothing else gets him and his band of Closet Communists kicked out of power in England, it will be that.

The Civil Service is now so riddled with the Labour Apparatchiks that it will take decades to get this country back into the Black and deconstruct some of the bureaucratic crap that Labour has signed up to. Westminster has, under Labour, become increasingly irrelevant since almost everything they now debate is generated in Brussells by the totally unelected Commission and their Socialist Apparatchiks. The flow of tax money out of this country is phenomenal, particularly out of England which not only subsidises Wales and Scotland heavily - and we didn't mind as long as we had the illusion of being a "United" Kingdom - but now we subsidise Brussels and its parasites as well.

In its usual deceitful way the Labour Party has further complicated the situation by bringing in the Regional Assembly and Regionalisation through the back door. They lost the argument when it was put to voters who resoundingly rejected the concept of breaking England up into 8 independent Assemblies, but they had already put in place the expensive and unelected apparatus to run the Regions. Now they have to try and justify it in the face of opposition at every level. Do they pay any attention to the voters anger? No, but again, enter Old Labour and we hear them arguing that this brings "power to the workers" and enables local control over services. Really? Sounds more like the Soviet system to me - you'll take what we give you and like it!

Labour has a problem, a big one. They can only rule the UK if they retain all the Scoittish and Welsh MP's in Whitehall, but increasingly people are asking why they should. After all, the Scottish Parliament is now ruled by a Scottish Nationalist who wants total independence and to redraw the boundaries and seize some of the assets we have long held as common property. Nothing Westminster decodes affects Scotland, so why have any Scottish MP's in Westminster? The Welsh Assembly is acting more and more like an independent parliament, even challenging some of the Westminster/Whitehall legislation. If that continues, why have Weslh MP's in Westminster?

Blair opened Pandora's Box on this, now Brown must face the music - especially after signing away our sovereignty in the Lisbon Constitution which strips the UK Parliament of any pretence of Independence. He knew he couldn't get the voters to accept it so he lied - and now must face the music for that one as well. Personally I hope there is a challenge to his leadership - it may force a General Election and we can be shot of this bunch of 1960's pot smoking, guitar twanging, squatters, university sit-in architects, con-artists and Che Guevarra worshippers.

The downside of that is that we will only swap one lot of idiots for the other lot - and we won't be shot of the Civil Service which is the real problem in Whitehall.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2008

Collapsing justice?

The lengthy trial of the eight men accused of plotting to blow up airliners has been much in the news these last days. It seems that the jury could not, despite the evidence of videos declaring their intent, make up their minds that they actually meant what they said. To me this simply means what I have long suspected. Its time to scrap the jury system. It would seem that a section of the jury (and I suppose we have to remember that the trial lasted three months) lost track of the evidence and only allowed themselves to remember the defence teamns repeated question "Was there an intent to ....?"

The final piece that members of the jury decided supported this (the ONLY piece in fact) was the "proof" that none of the accused had actually bought a ticket to fly. Big deal, so because they were caught before they could do that, they are, according to at least six members of the jury, Not Guilty. As I said, time to scrap the jury system - you simply can't get anyone intelligent enough to serve on them anymore. Certainly not in cases like this one.

Of course, the Liberal press has gone to town declaring that the Prosecution "failed" because the evidence was "flawed". I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but some morons who serve on juries now insist on levels of "proof" that are almost impossible to achieve. Particularly when it is a case against anyone from a "disadvantaged" or "minority" background. The same idiots would convict and single white male of rape or pedophilia in the blink of an eye on far less evidence if the "victim" was from a minority group, so you see my case.

Time to scrap the juries and adopt the continental system.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:18 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 09, 2008

High tides ....

We are surrounded by water again. Though not as high a tide as in July last year, it is still unseasonably high. The Vineyards behind the Abbey are submerged, something we usually only see in the winter months, but at present we seem to be getting the remnants of the Caribbean's hurricanes. I know that is not the "fashion" among climatologists who claim that those storms have no connection with our, but they do follow a similar track and these are the ones that "blow themselves out" somewhere around the Carolina coast and then head off across the Atlantic following the Gulf Stream.

Today was spent in rain and wind out on the fire ground for a course in Fire Investigation (One has to earn the odd crust after all!) and the air temperatures and the humidity certainly put me in mind of the sort of conditions that go with hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. But then, I'm not a climatologist.

Ah well, I guess its time to find the waders again.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2008

Christianophobia?

The Vatican has now issued a statement in which it alleges that the world is in the grip of growing "Christianophobia". In the extended post is the BBC's version of this statement, which, considering their own contribution to this in the UK, is pretty mild. Personally I have felt for some considerable time that there is a concerted and active policy in the UK government and among the left/liberal intelligentsia that infest the corridors of power these days, to stamp out the Christian legacy and, if possible, the faith. Of course it is not overt, they cannot afford to be open about it, but Whitehall now has "targets" for "representation by other faith groups" alongside their targets for ethnic and female representation.

The BBC and other mass media seize every opportunity to denigrate any Christian initiative and the literary field is laden with "best selling" authors like Dan Browne whose "historical" "facts" are widly misleading to say the least. Downright wrong is perhaps a better way of saying it. Anything which makes any faith, but particularly the Islamic faith, look better than Christianity is seized on and blown up to "prove" that Christianity is the root of all evil.

Well, maybe the Vatican's having come out and said it loud and clear will make the anti-Christian movement in the UK a little more cautious. You may be sure of one thing -0 there will be loud protests of innocence from Whitehall and Westminster on this - but they are as guilty as sin.

ROME (Reuters) - "Christianophobia" is a growing problem around the world and it must be fought with the same determination as anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, the Vatican said on Friday.

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Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, spoke in the wake of attacks against Christians in India that have left at least 13 people dead this week.

Mamberti, addressing a conference in northern Italy, said religious freedom was a vital part of international relations and human dignity.

"In order to promote this dignity in an integral way, so-called 'Christianophobia' should be combated as decisively as 'Islamophobia' and anti-Semitism," he said.

This week in eastern India, thousands of people, most of them Christians, have sought shelter in makeshift government camps, driven from their homes by religious violence.

Hindu mobs burnt more than a dozen churches and attacked Christians after a Hindu leader was killed.

Mamberti said the events in India made the issue of religious liberty today all the more pressing.

While Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith, the Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape a complex caste system.

Pope Benedict has condemned the violence against Christians in Orissa but also deplored the killing of the Hindu leader.

Italy's foreign ministry said it would summon India's ambassador to demand "incisive action" to prevent further attacks against Christians.

Mamberti said 21 Catholic missionaries were killed in the world in 2007 and lamented that the Christian population of Iraq was now down to about 500,000 from about one million before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Last month, Pope Benedict told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that minority Christians in Iraq needed more protection.

The Archbishop of Mosul of Iraq's largest Christian denomination, the Chaldean Catholics, was kidnapped in February and found dead two weeks later.

The Vatican has often expressed concern that conflicts in the Middle East are greatly diminishing the Christian population in the areas of the religion's birth.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:12 AM | Comments (1)

August 27, 2008

Harry Potter according to Bollywood?

I find it hilarious that an Indian Film maker can launch a movie entitled "Hari Puttar" about a ten year old from the Indian sub-continent who moves to Britain (allegedly!) and claim not to be trading on the "Harry Potter" name and franchise. Well, it's for Warner Bros to sort out through the courst - expensive though that may be. It will, no doubt be fun to watch - especially as Warner Bros are having to fight the case in Bombay.

In the meantime Warner's are about to launch the latest Harry Potter film - and I for one am looking forward to seeing what they have done with the Half Blood Prince.

Could the legal challenge be part of the pre-launch publicity? Perish the thought!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2008

President Brown .....

This was sent to me by a friend (Scottish - just to prove they have a sense of humour too!) this morning. Trouble is its so close to the reality of our political situation - and our American friends understanding of it from their media that it is almost documentary.

From our own correspondent

Gordon Brown flies into Washington, still an unknown quantity to most people in the U.S. despite his bizarre appearance on American Idol recently. In advance of the trip, profiles of the Prime Minister have been appearing in the U.S. This column tuned in by satellite to Eye-Witness News, Palm Beach , for a preview of the visit:

'Good morning America , how are you? This is your favourite son, Chad Hanging, reporting. The President of Englandland, Norman Brown, is arriving in our nation's capital this afternoon to meet with President Bush. But just who is this guy? Let's cross to our special correspondent Brit Limey.'

Hey, Chad . As you can see, I'm standing in the world-famous Trafalgar Circus, with the House of Fayed directly behind me.

So what can you tell us about Norman Brown?

Well, Chad , he has been President for some nine months now. He used to be Chancellor.

What, you mean he's, like, German?

No, that's what they call their Treasury Secretary over here.

And is he a Conservative, like President Tony Blair?

No, Chad . He's Labour. President Blair wasn't a Conservative, either. He only pretended to be.

So how did Brown get the job?

He just kept shouting at President Blair until he stood down.

But he won an election, right?

No, Chad , there wasn't an election. He did think about calling one, but decided against it because he was frightened he might lose.

How can you change Presidents without having an election? I mean, it's not like President Blair was assassinated.

That's just the way it works in Englandland. The leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Lords gets to be President.

So Norman Brown was elected leader of the Labour Party?

Negative again Chad , he did raise money and have a leadership campaign, but no one stood against him.

What, nobody? No primaries, no general election, nothing?

That's affirmative, Chad .

Let me get this straight. His party hasn't elected him, the country hasn't elected him, yet he still gets to be President. Sounds like a tinpot Commie dictatorship to me.

You could say that Chad . Norman Brown doesn't really like anyone being given the chance to vote on anything.

Someone must have voted for him, some time.

Oh, yes. He was elected to the House of Lords by his constituents in Scotlandland.

He's Scoddish, then?

That's a big Ten-Four, Chad.

So is he President of Scotlandland, too?

No, that's a guy called Alan Salmon.

Hang on, if Brown's from Scotlandland, how can he be President of Englandland?

That's just the way it goes in this crazy country, Chad . Brown can make laws for Englandland, but not for his own people in Scotlandland. Not that it matters much because Brown has signed away most of Englandland's lawmaking powers to unelected European bureaucrats in Brussels , Belgiumland.

That would be like stripping Congress of the power to make laws in America and handing it over to Mexico !!

I guess so.

How in the Hell did the people of Englandland vote for that.

They didn't. Brown wouldn't let them, even though it was a solemn promise in his party's manifesto the last time people were allowed to vote.

Couldn't the Supreme Court have stopped him?

Not really. The Supreme Court of Englandland is now in Strasbourg , you know, where the geese come from.

Isn't there any opposition?

There's a guy called Boris.

Sounds Russian.

I wouldn't be surprised, Chad . There are millions of Eastern Europeans living here now, mainly in Peterburl. Englandland has seen mass immigration over the past ten years, but no one voted for that, either.

What in the name of Ulysses S. Grant is going on over there, Brit? We're talking about the country which gave us Magna Carta, saw off the Armada, stood alone against Hitler and invented parliamentary democracy. How does Norman Brown get away with it? He must be one popular guy.

Far from it Chad . According to the latest opinion polls, he's the most unpopular President ever. His approval ratings are even worse than George Dubya Bush. There's talk about him having to stand down soon. He's already promised the job to some guy who works for him - name of Balls.

Say again, Brit, you're breaking up.

Balls.

You're damn right there, buddy.

As I said, a little too close to the truth of how Labour sees their Prime Minister and how little say we actually have over what our politicians do!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2008

Science and religion

Reading the New Scientist letters pages for this week has provided an interesting insight into the minds of those who refuse to see any value in faith and write God off as a "fantasy figure not worthy of scientific consideration". Having watched Richard Dawkins make a real meal of trying to "prove" that all life is an accident and not influenced at all by any form of God - his catch phrase was throughout "Who needs a god to do this?" - I have to wonder what those like him are afraid of. They make such desperate attempts to discredit any form of belief system, but particularly any form of Christian faith, that one has to ask, why are they so anti-God? Are they afraid that their "Reason" might not be enough and that "faith" based moral codes may, after all, prove necessary?

The letters page has a section in which the atheist lobby are attacking New Scientist for giving column space to a report on the Templeton Foundations plan to use funding to try and scientifically "prove" that God is real. Personally I can't see them succeeding since every "test" they can apply scientifically is probably not going to give the results it would get if applied to something physical. Secondly, what difference will it make to those who deny God's existence? Not a lot I would suggest since that lobby will simply fund a raft of new research to "prove" that the results of the first set of research was flawed. Those who will not believe in anything other than their own reason are as blinkered as those who will not accept that much of the Bible is allegorical and must be read in context with the society that created it if we are to understand it at all.

As for the argument advanced by many of the correspondents who rain abuse on any form of faith adherence at every opportunity, that mankind does not need faith to exercise moral and ethical restraint, I would say that there are any number of examples of utterly depraved science based attrocities that defy any form of ethics or morality to refute their argument. Two examples spring immediately to mind - the work of a Russian biologist who attempted to breed a human/ape hybrid in the 1920's as part of the Great Socialist attempt to brred competitiveness out of the Russian people and develop a "model" "worker". It failed, thankfully. The second is the experiments of Doctor Mengele and others on twins and on human beings to determine how much trauma a body could absorb before death occured. All in the name of science of course, and no doubt supported by a barrage of "reasonable" arguments. Like the famous Socialist mantra that runs "Some must lose out in any effort to improve the lot of the majority." Well we all know who the losers are usually - everybody but the "leader" making that "rationalist" statement.

Christianity as we practice it and as it has been abused over the centuries, certainly has its faults, but it has given us a moral code and a set of ethics which have shaped the modern wortld and will continue to do so. In one sense I hope that the Templeton Foundation's experiments do find the "proof" they want - if only to be able to say "Told you so!" the next time I'm confronted with an arrogant "Scientific Rationalist". Given the speed with which our scientific knowledge is changing the great "truths" of science and the lack of progress in actually understanding some of the most basic matters that run our universe - I ain't holding my breath!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2008

Even in the Grauanid now?

Every now and then someone manages to get noticed by the left wing mouthpiece that used to laud the Soviet system as "free" and "fair" - until even they could no longer ignore the bankruptcy of the Socialist Communist Model. They still refuse to recognise that Socialism is a bankrupt and bankrupting system, one which drags everyone down - except , of course, those who impose it, control through it, and have the levers of distribution in it. For those who don't know, the Grauanid is that well known Socialist newspaper which has the exclusive rights to all government job adverts. The Guardian got its nickname after a typesetter reset the banner in protest at proposals to modernise their presses.....

Under "Treasury Rules" ads for any Civil Service position or any position connected with an government department or agency may only be advertised in the pages of this socialist mouthpiece.

So it is with a little skepticism and some surprise that I learned that the tirade in the extended post was actually published in that newspaper. Their censorship of anything "Un-socialist" or "Non-PC" must have slipped badly that day - or perhaps it was far too intellectual for them.

IMMIGRANTS, NOT BRITS MUST ADAPT.

I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on the 7th of the 7th we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits. However, the disgust about the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct! ' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain, Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. (The Danes, Romans etc.) However, there
Are a few things that those who have recently come to OUR country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of the Brits being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britain's we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Indian, Urdu, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! 'Land of Hope & Glory' is our motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If the 'Union Jack' flag offends you, or you don't like our QUEEN, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY,Our land, and our lifestyle. Our Laws give every citizen the Right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so! But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our lifestyle our government, or our way of life, I highly encourage you. Take advantage of one other great BRITISH freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

It is time for Gt. Britain to speak up.

The person who sent me this added -

Will we still be the Country of choice and still be Gt Britain if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in Britain because it is the Country of Choice??????
Think about it . .

All I have to say is, when will they do something about MY RIGHTS? I celebrate Christmas, but because it isn't celebrated by everyone, we can no longer say Merry Christmas. Now it has to be Season's Greetings. It's not Christmas holiday, it's Winter Break. Isn't it amazing how this winter break ALWAYS occurs over the Christmas holiday? We've gone so far the other way, bent over backwards to not offend anyone, that I am now being offended. But it seems that no one has a problem with that.

This says it all!
This is an editorial written by a British citizen, published in a National newspaper He did quite a job; didn't he? Read on, please!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2008

The cause of family breakdown?

Now here's something that will get the PC Brigade up in arms I'm thinking. THE big revolution of the 1960's wasn't actually the Hippie movement or even the feminist movement, it was the introduction of The Pill. At last women had control over their reproductive cycles and could - ahem - 'enjoy' the same 'freedom' as men. But it seems that once again, modern medicine has messed up something without intending too. You see, according to the latest research into the field of human biological process, The Pill may be the reason so many men and women make bad choices when it comes to picking out their future husband or wife.

An paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of British Biological Sciences has revealed that our choice of 'mate' is governed by our noses which tell us who is and who is not genetically compatible with us. This is, apparently, especially the case with women, whose noses guide them to find a partner they can be compatible with. It seems that taking The Pill knocks out this built in Mate Sensor system and leads them astray! So, it seems that the contraceptive pill has freed us up in one sense, but has caused a possibly larger problem in another.

Could this be why so many marriages made since the 1960's have ended in divorce? One is forced to wonder, after all, modern medicine has caused an explosion of the human population around the world, directly exacerbating the strain on all manner of resources and increasing the chances of a major conflict in the not too distant future. It has also been suggested that this single development has done more to free women in our society from the biological constraints that have restricted their activities in a raft of occupations in the past, than any other. But now the question seems to be should we continue to mess around with our genetic programming in this way?

The trouble is that, like many other "wonder" inventions we have pulled from Pandora's Box - it cannot now be put back. The Pill is with us for the future - whatever the research says it is doing to birth rates, sexual orientation and a whole raft of social issues. Like the bomb, now we have it, no one wants to give it up.

PARIS (AFP) - Contraceptive pills taken by tens of millions of women around the world can disrupt the innate ability to sniff out a genetically compatible partner, a study released Wednesday has found.

Normally women are instinctively attracted, via their sense of smell, to men who have a dissimilar genetic makeup.

Overly similar gene profiles can result in difficulty trying to conceive a child, an increased risk of miscarriage and a weaker immune system, earlier research has shown.

A group of about 140 genes in an area called the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) -- which helps build proteins involved in the body's immune response -- also plays a key role in odour through interaction with skin bacteria.

How these genes are expressed can help determine which individuals, unknowingly following their nose, find us attractive.

A team led by Craig Roberts at the University of Newcastle, England, conducted an experiment to find out if taking the pill influences odour preferences.

One hundred women were asked to indicate which of six male body odour samples they found most attractive, both before and after starting to take the contraceptive.

The male scents were drawn from 97 volunteers.

"The results showed that the preferences of women who began using the contraceptive pill shifted toward men with genetically similar odours," said Roberts.

The research not only suggested that taking the pill could induce women to pick Mr. Wrong, but pointed to the potential to wreak havoc in couples.

"It could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odour perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners."

Oral contraceptives combine two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen, to inhibit normal female fertility.

The study was published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Greenhouse to Concrete?

A new technology has been developed and a California based company says it can turn CO2 into cement by simply bubbling the waste gas from a gas fired power station through sea water. You can read about it in Scientific American in the online version. It seems to me to be an emminently sensible way to go with this gas, after all, we need to meet the growing demand for electricity, yet the options for producing it are almost all polluting in some way. And according to Greenpeace we only have enough nuclear fuel for another 75 years.

Mind you we ran out of petroleum around 1940 if you believe the sort of "estimates" they usually run with.

It seems to me sensible to explore recapturing CO2 and converting it to cement. We need cement for the housing and structures our out of control populace demand and currently cement production requires the burning of limestone in order to produce the quick lime and slaked lime that goes into the raw cement mix. And that produces CO2! Now turning the CO2 into cement means no only less "Carbon Footprint" but it also means that we tie up the nasty stuff in a permanent bond that will keep it out of circulation.

Let's hope it works and, more importantly, that the bureaucrats and political a*s*h*l*s that usually delay or scupper any sensible solution don't get in the way this time.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2008

European coercion?

It seems that the Irish are being blackmailed by other EU leaders into holding a new referendum - one which asks "do you want to stay in the EU? If so, sign Lisbon! If not, get out!"

The argument coming from Brussels is that they must sign or leave because it is "undemocratic" of them to hold up the adoption of the Treaty. Undemocratic? Which other EU country has had a choice on this? It is reported that Her Majesty is herself furious over the fact that she has been obliged to sign an acceptance of the removal of British Sovereignty and its holus bolus handing over to the utterly unelectable EU Commission and their poodles in the Strasbourg "Parliament". Worse, our Foreign Policy and our Defence will now be run from Brussels - with no reference to our national interests at all.

If the Irish are blackmailed into a second referendum on the lines Brussels wants, it will be the final proof, if any were needed, that the EU is not democratic and is totally divorced from the wishes and desires of the people it claims to represent.

Open Europe

Europe

Jean Quatremer: Open Europe poll won't change minds of EU governments - they want the Irish to vote again

Under the headline "24 to 1" Liberation Brussels correspondent Jean Quatremer argues on his blog that "the recent poll showing that 71% of Irish people are opposed to a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty has not had much impact in European capitals, since the wording of the question indicated that the vote would be on the same text. There is no question of that: either the Irish will be asked to adopt the Lisbon Treaty with ad hoc declarations responding to their concerns (like in 2002 for Nice), or they will be asked if they want to continue to be part of a Union that is governed by the Lisbon Treaty... This second possibility would clarify things: either you stay or you go, but you do not block Europe as a whole."

Italy has now ratified the Treaty, welcomed with a standing ovation in the Chamber of Deputies in Rome. Meanwhile, three countries have yet to decide on the treaty: the Czech Republic, which is waiting on a judgement by its constitutional court; Sweden, whose parliament will vote in November; and Poland, whose president has said he intends to wait until the Treaty's fate is certain before giving his assent.

David Quinn argues in the Irish Independent: "Here is why the Lisbon Treaty referendum was lost -- and if the Government does not address this, the next one will likely be lost as well: people are worried about the loss of sovereignty and national identity... the European Court of Justice, an institution of the EU, will gain immeasurably more power over Irish law if the Lisbon treaty and the accompanying Charter of Fundamental Rights is ever passed... We have to wake up to the fact that the more power we cede to judges, lawyers and other experts, whether they are based in Ireland or overseas, the less democratic we become. The heart of democracy in any country has to be the national legislature with its elected representatives, not the courts and the law library."

Coulisses de Bruxelles AFP European Voice BBC NZZ Irish Independent Quinn Irish Times Open Europe blog

UK faces looming electricity supply gap - families face £4,000 bill for renewables

A new report commissioned by the WWF and Greenpeace attacks plans to build new coal plants in response to Britain's looming electricity supply gap, predicted to reach 20GW by 2020. The report argues that if the UK meets its EU targets of sourcing 15% of energy from renewables (translating to 35-40% of electricity), together with a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, new coal plants will not be needed.

However, the FT notes that keeping the lights on without increased use of fossil fuels may not be possible if the UK fails to meet the EU targets - which all sides agree will be a struggle. Paul Golby noted in the Guardian yesterday that the necessary investment in renewables would cost the equivalent of £4,000 for every household in the country.

In the Guardian Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the Earth & Biosphere Institute, University of Leeds, argues that E.on's use of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme "won't deliver real cuts, as its own business case shows".

FT BBC Guardian Golby Guardian Lewis

Commentators analyze the failure of the Doha round

Following the failure of the Doha round of world trade talks, fingers have been pointed as to who is to blame for the breakdown. Open Europe's Mats Persson had an op-ed in Swedish daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet, arguing that the global food crisis illustrates the need for freeing up trade in agricultural products and that the EU must bear part of the blame for the break down of the Doha talks.

Philip Stephens argues in the FT that "the French president's language betrays temerity. In spite of all its manifest strengths - economic, technological, cultural, political - France, it seems, cannot stand on its own feet. Europe's leaders must protect the continent from the ravages of globalisation...The collapse of Doha, however, speaks to the failure of both sides to own up to the world as it is. On the side of the rich countries, particularly the US but no less many European nations, there is a refusal to acknowledge that globalisation no longer belongs to the west."

Economist FT Stephens Independent Hari Sydsvenskan

City fears "reactionary legislation" from the EU will exacerbate the downturn

The FT reports on the hostile reaction from the City of London, and the banking sector in general, to the European Commission's proposed increase in regulation. "Proposed changes could greatly increase the cost of capital across Europe with detrimental effects far beyond the financial services industry", said Stuart Fraser, chairman of policy and resources at the City of London, which will today publish its forecasts. These forecasts are expected to predict the sector's contribution to the EU economy by 2009 will have fallen by 8.3 per cent from the 225bn euros ($350bn, £177bn) of last year. Fraser goes on to say: "The message we're trying to get across is that it's a very difficult environment for financial services. What we don't need is regulation that will exacerbate the downturn".

Fraser also has a comment piece in the FT where he compares Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy's approach to the current problems in financial markets as using the "proverbial sledgehammer to crack a walnut".

FT FT Fraser

Russia plans to form a Gazprom-style state trading company for grain exports, raising fears that Moscow will use food as a diplomatic weapon, according to the front page of the FT.

FT

Scottish sheep farmers fear that Commission plans to review existing transport legislation could pose a threat to their livelihood. The changes would cut driving times, restricting access to the Isle of Skye and adversely affect their sheep trade.

The Scotsman

Independent assesses the Conservatives in Europe

As part of the Independent's series, 'Preparing for Power', the paper has assesses the role Europe will play in a future Conservative government. The article notes that Europe is no longer the divisive issue it once was for the party. However, it argues that in opposition the party has not had to make the tough policy choices over Europe that it will have to face in government and implies that it will be difficult to live up to the expectations of the party's eurosceptics while in power.

The article argues that major problems for David Cameron over Europe include the opposition he will face from other EU member states in attempting to renegotiate the Lisbon Treaty and the UK's membership of the EU's Social Chapter.

Independent

EUobserver reports that almost 900 immigrants have arrived in Italy just days after the government declared a state of emergency over what it called an "exceptional and persistent influx" of clandestine immigrants.

EUobserver

John Torode: Turkey plans to annex North Cyprus

John Torode writes in The Spectator that new Greco-Turkish tensions in Cyprus are a real possibility. In light of the upcoming peace talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders, many now believe that Turkey has lost interest in a bi-zonal settlement, and is "bent on annexing the North". Former President Papadopoulos is said to have added fuel to the fire, by saying that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talet, is "Ankara's man." Furthermore, Torode argues that this outcome is likely to be accepted by the west, which wants to elevate Turkey as much as possible before its accession into the EU.

Spectator

The Irish Independent reports that the EU mission in Chad may be extended for up to three months.

No link

Ultra nationalist Bulgarian MEP Dimitar Stoyanov was one of the five Ataka sympathisers arrested on Wednesday. The arrests caused clashes between police and other Ataka supporters in Sofia.

Sofia Echo

Rosemary Righter has a comment piece in the Times where she suggests French President Nicolas Sarkozy's return to his reformist election promises is not only supported by the French public but may change the face of France forever.

Times Righter

Tisdall: EU needs common defence

In the Guardian, Simon Tisdall looks at the recent report on EU defence from the European Council on Foreign Relations. He argues, "with a less well-disposed Russia once again prowling around the neighbourhood, the need for a coherent, organised, collective European defence that is neither reliant on nor subordinate to Washington could become painfully obvious."

Guardian

UK

A new poll by YouGov in the Telegraph shows a 22-point lead for the Conservatives. The poll also shows that Labour would not perform much better under any other leader including potential leadership challenger David Miliband. A Labour Party led by Tony Blair however would only be 9 points behind.

Daily Telegraph

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2008

Far Right and Lambeth Conferences ...

I am increasingly aware that, in the eyes of the liberal/left dominated press to be either a Christian or to object to some part of the liberal left agenda is to be labelled "Far Right" and even "Fascist". The latest group to attract this label are a Flemish Group of teachers who have lodged an objection to what they see as the Islamification of their cities. They point out, reasonably in my view, that the over six thousand mosques built in the last twenty years in Europe have provided a focus for the Islamification of neighbourhoods with the European populations gradually being forced out or forced to live under Islamic rules. As this is evident to anyone who cares to take an objective look at several British cities - why is it "Far Right" to object to this? I wonder what they will make of the Italian Court that has ruled that it is OK to describe Romanies as "thieves and layabouts" - apparently on the grounds that they are.

Equally notable is the fact that the Lambeth Conference, which attracted a lot of negative press in the run up to it, has had almost no coverage that I can find since it began last week. Perhaps its because, after all the hype about the Anglican Communion being so divided it was about to fall apart, the presence of 650 out of 880 Bishops of the Communion rather spoils the image of a dying or fragmenting church? And even of the possible 230 not attending, some 60 of those are not there because they have retired or died or their Diocese currently have no Bishop. Given that Lambeth (Which is actually being held in Canterbury) is discussing some far reaching issues affecting many aspects of everyday life as well as some pretty thorny theological issues you might have expected some press coverage - but perhaps its too "far Right" for the luvvies in press and television.

That said, I wouldn't have the job of Archbishop of Canterbury for all the tea in China. He simply can't win. Unlike the Pope he has no authority outside his own See, he is simply the Senior Archbishop among equals. That is in fact, the model of the early church, the church before the Bishops of Rome declared themselves to hold the Imperial Authority over the Church. And not all Bishops agreed to accept that for at least six hundred years after Leo VI declared himself head. Poor Rowan frequently makes a lot of sense if you bother to read what he has actually said or written instead of the usual biased claptrap the press paraphrase it too.

At lest the Lambeth Conference is getting some important issues discussed. Whether the Church outside the UK, Europe and the America's will agree on all of them is a matter for God. I do note with interest that the extreme Evangelical Archbishop of Sydney who has absented himself seems to be alone in that stance as all his brother Archbishops and Bishops from the rest of Australia are here. Likewise, many of the African Bishops have turned up leaving only a few who have found other things to do.

So, being a Christian of the Anglican persuasion, I pray that our Bishops will find ways to keep the dialogue going, to keep the Communion in communion and to further the work of the Gospel. And if that makes me a member of the Far Right in the eyes of the media - so what. It is time Christians of all persuasions stood up and objected to the liberal left agenda of destroying Christianity by importing Islam.

There, now I have put myself out to the Far Right.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 19, 2008

An interesting admission ....

Has been made this week by our Chancellor of the Exchequer. He's admitted that taxpayers are "at the limit" of what we can bear. Oh dear, especially as the best estimates of what the government needs to take out of our pockets in order to pay for their continuing expansion of the Whitehall Wastrels and bureaucratic garbage suggests that our taxes should rise on average another 2% each. So will they reign in their spending? Of course not, our MP's have retained their slush fund that allows them to furnish second homes and pay the mortgages on prime property, they have given themselves a nice pay rise and the Whitehall Wankers have benefited because their pay is linked to MP's. Meanwhile Local Government workers (Bin men, teachers, etc.,) are on strike because councils are offering a below inflation pay rise and accuse their workers of "fuelling inflation". That's a bit rich coming from a bunch of parasites who rake in almost limitless amounts of "expenses" from the tax payer to supplement their incomes.

How can I say that? Quite easily, one Labour MP claimed expenses last year in numbers that took the breath away - and justified it by claiming that this was "correspondence" and "information to constituents" in the form of telephones, travel to constituency etc. From memory a six figure number was involved - on top of a "salary" of over £60k and a further £40k for "running an office". Now I don't know about anyone else, but running my own small business these days, I certainly can't claim back these sorts of numbers for staying in touch with my clients - and there's only a small proportion of it that can be offset against my tax. But even this only masks the bigger problem, the fact that this government has expended the Civil Service to make it the single largest employer in the UK - roughly 21% of all workers are directly employed by the Civil Service. And I am well aware of the charade that they employ to disguise this, by claiming that people who work for Government Agencies, certain "Public Services" and other "agencies" aren't Civil Servants. Yeah, right, and the taxpayer isn't paying vast amounts of money to employ "consultants" to do what used to be done by specialists in Whitehall. If Mister Darling really wants to save money let's see some real savings across the civil service where there is a now a culture which is protecting incompetence on a breathtaking scale among the senior managers of all departments.

Despite government claims, inflation at the moment is being driven by the price of fuel, just as it was in the 1970's. Again, despite the government's protestations, the fuel price is further inflated by their tax system which sees tax on tax to escalate the cost to us the users. The "enemy" on this is not the oil companies and suppliers, but the producer countries and our very own government.

I confidently predict that over the next few months we will see the following "campaigns" by this bunch of charlatans:

- we will be told that the Royals cost far to much and are extravagant,
- we will be told that the government cannot reduce fuel duty "because this would be contrary to an EU Directive";
- we will be told that Whitehall has to be further expanded in order to deal with the "world energy crisis"; and
- we will be told that we have to pay more in order to pay for the "green" energy developments this government is wasting money on.

In short, we can expect tax to continue to rise, costs to continue to rise and inflation to continue to rise - because Westminster and Whitehall cannot - perhaps dare not - admit that their own policies lie at the heart of this problem. In short, high taxes fuel the inflationary spiral by pushing everyone's costs higher. The so-called "green" taxes are nothing other than another deception since they hit the lowest paid and the non-political classes hardest.

It's time to call Whitehall to account - and their stooges in Parliament with them

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Crisis? What crisis?

The recent spate of knife murders in London and elsewhere in the country are a tragedy, but one, which, with a little forsight should have been seen coming. In my own teenage years I always carried a knife, not for self defence or even because I wanted to look macho, but because it had many uses. With my sheath knife I could cut wood to make a fire over which to cook the meat and vegetables I had cut up using, you guessed, the same sheath knife. Every Boy Scout carried one, and to the best of my knowledge never dreamed of sticking it between someone elses ribs or into someone's arm, leg, neck or stomach. One didn't, the knife was a tool, not a toy; we were taught to use it properly and safely and even if we weren't carrying a sheath knife, we had a pocket knife with us for the same essential reason.

There was one other thing we were taught, sometimes with a well deserved clip on the rear end, which modern youngsters are not. We were taught to respect our elders, our fellow teenagers and to exercise self control or self discipline.

Today if I were to appear at a Scout Camp with the knife I still have packed away in the loft on my belt I would probably be arrested and charged with threatening the public safety or some equally nebulous formula. The proponents of "lets disarm everyone" fail to realise that it is not the weapon which is at fault. True, if no one had a weapon you could argue that no one would get hurt, but that simply isn't borne out by history or facts either. Usually it is the boy who isn't armed who is attacked. Reason? He's a soft target, unlikely to have the means or the skills to defend himself - so let's go for him. We banned guns after Dunblane, but what no one seems to be willing to admit is that there were several million guns in private ownership - yet one rogue owner is taken by press and politicians (And I am always suspicious of any politician who wants to disarm the public!) as proof that ALL gun owners are a threat to the public. One of the most ridiculous things I have seen recently is a statement by a police spokesman that a twelve year old displayed an "inordinate interest in guns". Of course the kid does, most boys are fascinated by things that make loud noises and look cool - and any news bulletin contains at least some shots of weapons in action in Afghanistan or Iraq at present. Video Games contain violent (and totally impractical weaponry) in abundance - but perhaps it is convenient to overlook that. Even more ridiculous is the woman who called out the Anti-terror SWAT team because she saw a kid in the street playing with a toy pistol. And I'm sorry, but any 'trained' police officer who can't tell the difference between a real weapon and toy needs to be retrained.

Yet, to return to my opening on knives and the so-called "knife crime" currently in the headlines we really do have to ask ourselves an important question. If the problem is the misuse of knives, why is it now becoming so accute when a generation ago it wasn't a problem? There are two possible answers, one is that the media now hype it a great deal more than they did, and the other is that our youth have no respect for each other or for law and order. I think that it is probably a mixture of both, with a great deal of emphasis on the latter though because we are now seeing the children of the 60's "Free Love" "Anti-discipline" generation - the children brought up on Doctor Spock's discredited theories which they now loudly and incessantly proclaim to be the only way to achieve peace and harmony.

Well, I know what my recipe for peace and harmony is, and I know what I al;so know that it cannot be achieved by derogating all responsibility to the Whitehall nannies, by banning normal usage of everyday items or by passing yet more laws restricting our rights. There has to be a sea change toward bringing up children to respect discipline, to know how to control their own emotions and to respect others they may encounter. We don't need more Whitehall and Westminster solutions, we need less restrictions on decent parents to do the job properly and less support for the criminally incompetent or criminally irresponsible which simply feeds their bad behaviour and perpetuates it into the next generation.

Crisis? Well we may have one, but, given that the media now hype bad news to the skies, how big a crisis? Given too that Whitehall has a magic way with bad statistics - keep changing the way they are presented or simply change what is measured or collected - and you simply cannot verify whether the situation is any better or any worse than it was. Personally I think there mnay well be a problem, not as big as the press appears to make it, but certainly a problem. But the problem is not the knives or the guns, but the people who carry them without a vestige of responsibility or any form of self discipline or, indeed, understanding of the consequences of not exercising it.

We have to re-introduce discipline into our world, or it will descend into a free for all in which only the lawless and armed will prevail. Tacitus wrote; Si vis Pacem; para Bellum.

If you seek peace; be prepared for war.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:53 PM | TrackBack

July 06, 2008

Erratic posting

MuNu seems to be having problems, I can usually get into the MovableType menu and write a post - but the "Save" button then is either missing or doesn't work.

Please bear with us, I hope to be able to resume normal service as soon as Pixy Misa and MuNu resolve the problem whatever it is! An example of what happens when you do manage to post anything is: -

Internal Server Error The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@mt3.mu.nu and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apache/1.3.39 Server at mt3.mu.nu Port 80

I'd be delighted if I knew what it was ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:24 PM | TrackBack

June 29, 2008

Believable rumours

Recently e-mails have been circulating in Britain, and no doubt the rest of the world about various things the government here is up to. Or not up to as the case may be. The problem the government faces, and this applies whether it is a polictician or a civil servant speaking, is that we no longer believe anything they say. We know they lie on all the big issues, so why wouldn't they lie on all issues? Facts, when they are incovenient to the party or the civil service, tend to get buried in irrelevant data in the hope that no one will challenge them.

This is why it is so easy for rumours to become believable.

A few days ago I posted an item entitled The Islamification of Britain. I was provoked into writing that partly by a rumour e-mail claiming the holocaust was not to be taught in British schools, and partly by my very real understanding of the fact that there is a definite bias in Whitehall and Westminster against the Christian Church (I have to say not helped by the extreme Evangelical and "Catholic" factions constant contrariness and threats of splits). Muslim organisations are favoured on a wide range of matters when it comes to Community development, social aid and even promotion of their religious views, some of which, I have to say, are decidedly offensive to Christians and others. I know that the stated object is to create an "inclusive" society and to "redress the historical imbalances" but the consequences are something Labour needs to consider very carefully. In this bias they have created an isolation culture for the Church of England and other Christian communities and fostered an "Islam is superior" mindset among many uncommitted to either. And not just on this issue - Ms Harman's latest Bill is a classic case in point. No one in their right mind supports inequality whether it is based on gender, race or religion, but now she is promoting a Bill which will enshrine in law "positive discrimination" forcing employers to discriminate against white males.

Yes, I know that is not the intention - but it is the way it will be applied!

Likewise the legislation Jack Straw wants to ram through Parliament allowing the use of anonymous evidence. We already have that in Children's and Family Courts and it makes it ever so easy for a lie to go unchallenged and for justice to miscarry. Yes, I do know what Jack Straw is concerned about, some very serious crimes are going unpunished because witnesses are being "got at" and intimidated, but there must be other sanctions that can be used here to deal with the problem - like better protection and less 'fishing' by defence attorneys who make very good use of the law which requires full disclosure. That too was intended to ensure that justice was done, but the complexity of the bureaucracy that went with it in Whitehall has made it almost impossible for the police to do their job and stay within the requirements of the paperwork. Any slip, any ommission, and the defence can scream "mistrial". The more the government meddles, the worse it all gets.

So, back to my original premise, why are the rumours so instantly believable? Put very simply, the governing class has lost the trust of the voters on everything from Europe to crime. Government reports are invariably biased to support the ideology of the day and the outcome the particular minister or department wants. Statistics are invariably abused and used to blind people to the fact that they are, at best, biased by the method of collection and meaningless to anyone unless seen against a background of analysis of a wide range of influences. So no one believes anything in a Report, since the outcome is frequently contradicted by the reality experienced by ordinary people on the street. The view from Whitehall is invariably rose tinted by the rarified atmosphere and the special glass in the windows. The media have also lost our trust, we no longer believe what we read in the newspapers or hear on the radio or see on television. We know it has been edited and biased to reflect the view of the writer and editorial policy and in the absence of that trust bond, we are prepared to believe rumours, especially those founded on a kernel of provable fact - as was the holocaust story. That story has its origins in a report that stated one school was shying away from setting the holocaust as a project at GCSE level.

The masters of the Nu Labour propaganda machine have only themselves to blame. They have corrupted Whitehall (It didn't take much!) and they have turned so many rumours into "fact" (Remember the BIG scandal of the kid with "Glue Ear" who couldn't get instant treatment? never mind the thousands who still can't get treatments for life threatening conditions under the same Party that gave us that one!) over the last forty years that we should not be surprised when people believe the lie and ignore the fact.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:28 PM | TrackBack

June 28, 2008

A real Star dies .....

This morning I recieved the following from a friend and colleague. Clive and Star were well known, Star being the nicest natured dog I have met in a very long time. Star was the UK's first dog trained to detect the presence of a range of accelerants (Flammable Liquids) in fire debris and his phenomenal performance has contributed in no small way to the resolution of numerous fires. Star will be missed by all his friends and fans, but I'm sure he will be waiting for his handler and friend somewhere - squeaky toy at the ready, to go and find some accelerants ....

Star.jpg
Star at work. He indicated a 'find' by sitting down and placing a paw on the spot.

Star 1995-2008 It is with great sorrow that I report that “Star” is no longer at my side. He had been my constant companion for almost 13 years and had enjoyed a wonderful life before his health finally failed. Star was much loved by so many and had made an indelible contribution to the world of working dogs. He will never be forgotten. Clive G.

Star lived for his handler - and together they have left an indelible mark on Fire Investigation as a whole.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:54 AM | TrackBack

June 26, 2008

We want a referendum Mr Brown

If you follow the progress of the Lisbon Treaty since the Irish rejection, you could be forgiven for thinking that the rest of Europe has been consulted and given a resounding "yes". At least you could if you didn't know that the rest of us haven't been allowed by our illustrious leaders to have any say at all.

I received the e-mail in the extended post from the Campaign Group lobbying for a a Referendum in Britain. It sums up rather nicely just how much our Leaders think of the electorates that put them in power. What they have forgotten is that we have never agreed to surrender our national identities or sovereignty.

We want a referendum Mr Brown, you gave us that assurance in the last election manifesto and you promised it right up to the moment you realised you had no chance of getting a Yes. What are you afraid of? Better still, what are you trying to hide?

Campaign News: 23 June 2008

1. EU leaders carry on with Lisbon Treaty regardless of Irish no vote

On 12 June, voters in Ireland rejected the EU Lisbon Treaty by 46.6% to 53.4% in a national referendum. Turnout was relatively high, at 53%.

However, despite the resounding no vote, EU leaders meeting in Brussels last week decided to press ahead regardless, agreeing that ratification of the Treaty should continue in other countries. They also agreed that Irish voters should eventually be asked to vote again, until they say 'yes'.

Despite claiming that they want to "respect" the Irish no vote, EU leaders across the whole of Europe have no intention of doing so. They are determined to press ahead with the Lisbon Treaty.

Here are just some of the extraordinary reactions to the Irish vote from Europe's leaders:

"They [the Irish] are bloody fools. They have been stuffing their faces at Europe's expense for years and now they dump us in the s***."

- Nicolas Sarkozy, French President (Times, 20 June)

"The Lisbon Treaty is not dead... It is imperative that they vote again."

- Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former French President and author of the EU Constitution (RTL, 19 June)

"I don't think you can say the treaty of Lisbon is dead even if the ratification process will be delayed."

- Jean-Pierre Jouyet, French Europe Minister (Reuters, 16 June)

"I am convinced that we need this Treaty. Therefore we are sticking with our goal for it to come into force. The ratification process must continue."

- Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (Reuters, 14 June)

"Of course we have to take the Irish referendum seriously. But a few million Irish cannot decide on behalf of 495 million Europeans."

- Wolfgang Schaeuble, German Interior Minister (Deutsche Welle, 15 June)

"We think it is a real cheek that the country that has benefited most from the EU should do this. There is no other Europe than this treaty. With all respect for the Irish vote, we cannot allow the huge majority of Europe to be duped by a minority of a minority of a minority."

- Axel Schäfer, SPD leader in the German Bundestag (Irish Times, 14 June)

The Treaty "will be applied, albeit a few months late."

- Lopez Garrido, Spanish Europe Minister (Forbes, 15 June)

"The Treaty is not dead. The Treaty is alive, and we will try to work to find a solution."

- Jose Barroso, European Commission President (Press Conference, 14 June)

To see more, click here: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/irelandbriefing.pdf

This is an extraordinary refusal to accept the democratic will of the people. Ireland has been the only country allowed to have a referendum on the Treaty, and has said no. By the EU's own rules, the Treaty can only enter into force if all 27 member states have ratified it. Therefore, the Treaty should now be dead. It is completely unacceptable that other countries are continuing to ratify the Treaty in the hope of forcing Ireland to vote again, under pressure from the prospect of 26 other countries having ratified it. EU leaders are proving once again that they are simply unable to take 'no' for an answer.

In protest, last week we went to the EU summit in Brussels and held up giant letters spelling out ''NO MEANS NO" in the colours of the Irish flag. The stunt was televised on all the main evening news bulletins, including the Channel 4 News, the BBC 10 O'clock News and Newsnight. To see a picture of the event, click here: http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/brussels-hearts-gordon.html

2. Petition against UK ratification gains 26,000 signatures in under a week

Following the no vote, we set up a petition on the Downing Street website, urging Gordon Brown to respect the Irish decision and stop ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the UK. In only 6 days, the petition received over 26,000 signatures, making it the fastest growing online petition. Click here to see it: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Abandon-Lisbon/

Many thanks to all those of you who signed our petition and sent it on to your friends.

Despite this, ratification continued, with the House of Lords last week voting in favour of the Treaty. The final stage of ratification in the UK will now take place once the Government has heard the verdict of Stuart Wheeler's court case, who is fighting against the Government's refusal to hold a referendum. The outcome of the case is expected this week.

3. What you can do now

Of all 27 EU member states, the Czech Republic is the only country which appears ready to accept the Irish no vote. Czech President Vaclav Klaus called the vote a "victory of freedom and reason" and said "ratification cannot continue", and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has said, "The Irish 'No' is not of a lesser impact for us than the French and Dutch 'No'."

Despite pressure from all the other EU leaders at the summit in Brussels last week, Mr. Topolanek objected to a declaration calling for rapid ratifications in the seven other countries - including his own - that are yet to agree the Treaty.

The Czech Senate has stalled ratification to await a constitutional court ruling on the Lisbon Treaty and Mr. Topolanek said: "If the vote was today, I would not bet 100 crowns [about £3] on a yes vote."

Please write to Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, offering him your support and letting him know he is not alone, despite the immense pressure he is under from other EU leaders to continue to ratify the Treaty regardless of the Irish no vote.

You can contact him here: topolanek.mirek@vlada.cz

4. What happens next?

The Irish no vote has bought us time, but the struggle is far from over. The I Want a Referendum campaign team continues to fight the battle for democracy on all fronts. You can find much of the work we do at the Open Europe website - www.openeurope.org.uk.

From now on, we will also send you Open Europe bulletins, every fortnight or so. Open Europe is an independent think-tank which produces research on everything to do with the EU, as well as a daily summary of EU news, which you can sign up to through the website. You will be able to unsubscribe from the fortnightly bulletin should you wish to.

Many thanks for your support.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:09 PM | TrackBack

Tewkesbury revived ...

The BBC Gloucestershire is hosting a website entitled "Why I like Tewkesbury". Do pay it a visit and leave your thoughts on the site.

We still have some scars but we are back up and running and have a lot to offer.

Next month we plan to celebrate and give thanks for all that has happened to restore the town and those affected by the floods last year. It will be a good end to a difficult period.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:56 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

Greenpeace's "Green energy" Plan exposed as a sham

This article by a Professor of Physics is a must read for all those who might still believe that Greenpeace is a sane and sensible organisation with the planets interests at heart. Entitled "Without the hot air" it makes very interesting reading. My thanks go to the Gorse Fox for bringing it to my attention.

In summary, the professor has calculated what would be needed in terms of wind turbines, sea barrages and other "renewable" energy sources such as solar panels and found that even if we covered our island home in windfarms, ringed it with barrages to trap the tides and covered everything else in solar panels - we'd still have to buy energy (probably generated by nuclear) from someone else. Assuming of course that there was anyone still able to live here with all the turbines.

Just proves to me that Greenpeace is nothing but a bunch of charlatans, eco-terrorists and pseudo-scientists who like to trot out the scare stories regularly to keep the gullible entertained.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 23, 2008

Mugabe wins ....

Mugabe has won the battle of nerves and violence - his storm troopers have succeeded in calling a halt to the elections and now the hand-wringing in the West begins. But should we be accepting the blame for this very African problem? I'm inclined to the view that the answer should be no - except that our dearly beloved Nu Labour government feted and lauded this monster before he (and they) came to power.

Frankly, what is happening in Zimbabwe is a bare hairs-bredth away from happening in South Africa and several neighbouring states. Perhaps that is why the African heads of State are being so quiet - if Mugabe gets away with this, why can't they pull the same stunt when it suits them?

Why not indeed.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:42 AM | TrackBack

June 22, 2008

Islamification of Britain

In a stunning example of insensitive and crass stupidity, or perhaps deliberate signalling of their intent to marginalise everything Christian and to promote their Islamic credentials, Labour's placemen in the Department of Education and Employment (Another Oxymoron - education is so poor in this country now that employment isn't necessarily a consequence!), are turning a blind eye to the fact that some schools are not teaching pupils about the Holocaust. Reason, it upsets our Muslim adherents who deny that it happened. So now we are not to discuss the Holocaust because Labour's gurus agree with Iran's President and other Muslim "Scholars" that the Holocaust is a "Zionist Fiction".

Apparently it is sanctioned because teachers might face a "reaction" from Muslims. Tell that to the 6 million Jews who died and the hundreds of thousands of non-Jews who were also exterminated for their ethnic origins. Tell it to the 10 million Stalin and his successors killed in Russia - of course that didn't happen either, Labour deny that Stalin was a Bad Man and don't forget that card carrying members of the Labour Party were involved in handing over the nuclear bomb secrets to Stalin's people in 1949 - 1952. How can one challenge the fact that, once more, the Jews are being set up as scapegoats and Labour is up to their collective necks in this. The "Protocols of Zion" is once more being circulated in England, it is available through any Muslim sponsored bookstall and others sponsored by the most unlikely ally - the British National Party - I have even found copies in bookshops in London. Tell me that isn't offensive to Jews. Or doesn't that matter? For those that don't know, the "Protocols of Zion" made an appearance in the late 19th Century - initially in Russia where it is now known that they were written for the Tzarist Secret Police to enable them to carry out the pogroms against Jewish communities. Hitler used them as the foundation of his philosophy to rid the world of Jews and it is now being actively promoted and sold to the gullible (who Labour feel shouldn't be told of the consequences!) as the reason that Jewry should be suppressed by Islam.

What this reveals more than anything else is that Labour's agenda is to marginalise all those who don't agree with their anti-Christian and anti-Jewish doctrine of creating a state in which the Christian voice is marginalised and the way can be prepared for the Islamification of all our institutions. The announcement recently that the government is setting up a "Religious Focus Group" leaves me absolutely cold. It is nothing but yet another smoke and mirrors trick to give the Islamic community even more power over the rest of us since their voice will always be the one Labour bows to. The Christian stand-point for this Forum should be based on the findings of the study recently released (and notably NOT reported on by the Labour controlled media) that Christian Organisations and Church based social programmes are consistently excluded from government funding programmes and ignored by government Departments and Local Councils. There should be an immediate demand that that situation is made illegal - and the perpetrators brought before courts. In promoting this "apologiser" approach to the Holocaust, Labour is in the same camp as Stalin, Hitler and Hamas, to mention but a few genocide promoters and those who have denied, or still deny, that the holocaust happened.

Perhaps even more importantly, the teaching of the holocaust must be restored and made compulsory - with, preferably, visits to Aushwitz and Bergen-Belsen as compulsory parts of the curriculum. More Synagogues are desecrated, and more Jews assaulted in Britain every week than at any time in the past - and the perpetrators? Almost without exception from a small minority group from the very religion Labour is trying to appease. Is there any prosecution? We don't know. Why? Because our left wing, Labour controlled media don't report it - its "only a Jew" or its "a Zionist Institution" - so its a legitimate target to them. But let there be any affront to Muslims or to a Mosque and the whole press pack is howling for action and blood.

Labour constantly protests that it merely wants to promote "fairness" and "balance" and to allow Muslims the same freedom that Christians enjoy. What freedoms don't they already have? And what of Labour's next campaign? They now want to silence church bells - a coalition of "green" MP's and Labour anti-Christians want to ram through an Act that will make ringing church bells illegal as "noise pollution".

Its time to stand up to these dangerous commissars and send Labour into the wilderness for good. Roll on the election.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

Mugabe shows his hand

No surprises really in developments in Zimbabwe. The beloved leader, Robert Mugabe, the hero of the bush war against the evil white regime of Ian Smith, has no intention of allowing anyone to take the trappings of power away from him. Morgan Tsvangiri is lucky he is still alive - and as for his supporters, well, they haven' a prayer now that Mugabe has let slip his "war veterans" most of whom are far too young to have been involved at all in the bush war, and his police and military hardmen are now on the rampage.

Pity its taken this long for his neighbours to announce their disapproval. And even that is a pathetic little whimper which Mugabe will ignore completely. As for the likes of Hain, Harman and the rest of our own shower who hailed Mugabe as the "Liberator" and "Saviour" some thirty years ago - well, their silence speaks volumes.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 20, 2008

New Speak on the Euro-farce

Listening to the radio the last couple of days you could be excused for thinking that the voters across Europe have been given the opportunity to read, consider and have their say on the EU Constitution, aka The Lisbon Treaty. Our own dear Mr Brown was on yesterday proclaiming that the electorate must "trust" the House of Commons and "respect" their decision to ratify a treaty he first promised to hold a referendum on and now lies about, claiming it is a "new" treaty when everyone else says it isn't. Trust the denizens of the House of Commons? I'd feel safer handling the world's most poisonous snake or sitting down to dinner surrounded by lions.

Listening yesterday as I drove across country in horrendous traffic, I listened to that smooth talking Del Boy, Milliband, as he pronounced in New Speak, the EU mantra which translates basically as "The Irish will have to vote again and again until the get the answer right". In short, the voters of Britain and every other EU country don't matter a damn. Our Socialist Masters across Europe have spoken - we will be subsumed into the United States of Europe and like it.

That much was confirmed by the current Commission President, who basically said that the Irish will have to think again - or the rules will have to be changed.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 17, 2008

Ignoring the electorate

It seems that, as is now standard practice in the EU Ivory Tower, the vote in Ireland will simply be ignored, in contradiction to their own "Rules". The Irish have comprehensively rejected the Lisbon Constitution, but Brussels says it will go ahead anyway, that the Irish "got it wrong" and will have to do it again until they get it right.

It seems that, as usual, the Oligarchs in Brussels simply will not accept the fact that their Utopian vision for Europe is not shared by us all. In fact most Europeans do not want a political union even though we all like the idea of a Europe we can travel in freely and work anywhere. That is an economic union - not a political one. Even the "dream" of a single currency has its problems, because different countries within it interpret the "rules" for their economies differently and having a centrally fixed interest rate is not universally good as it means that individual states cannot slow or stimulate their own economies. Talk to the Irish and the inflation they are dealing with on that one. The fact that the so-called Treaty is in fact an "amendment" list and not a new or consolidated text which makes it impossible to read the document they are asking us to just accept, was supposed to ensure that most of us would not have access to it. In fact only 3% of the original has been changed, the rest is eye-blind meant to confuse and hide the fact that sovereignty is being stolen and subsumed to the unelected and unelectable.

Much is made of the "strengthening" of the EU Parliament. Really? Just what powers has Brussels transfered to the Parliament? Well, less a power, and more a bigger rubber stamp really. So thanks, but no thanks on that one. The Commission will still "propose" legislation and the Parliament will "adopt" the proposals - but there is still no direct election of the Commission or of the "President of the Commission" - usually another reject from one of the member states. More jobs for the "boys" all round. A bigger, sleeker and more generous (with our money!) gravy train.

Brussels can afford to ignore the electorate since they are not answerable to any electorate. The Commissioners are appointed by the "Council of Ministers" another unelected body, although the Mnisters are, of course, for the most part, elected by the voters in their own countries. The problem there is that they are able to distance themselves from the fallout created by the Commssioners - "honest people! It wasn't us, its the Commission!" when it comes to elections, failing of course to remind us that they appointed the Commissioner concerned. And who are the Commissioners? Usually failed or disgraced politicians from the member nations, each one having a certain number they can appoint, usually apportioned on a contributions basis. Now comes the problem, Brussels based Commissioners are res[onsible for over 80% of all the legislation currently approved or considered in our Parliament. In short, Westminster is irrelevant, we might as well scrap our legal system and Parliament and just accept that Brussels has direct Rule over our affairs.

Recently a British business was destroyed by our own Department responsible for food, agriculture and fisheries on direct orders from Brussels. The Brussels team were deliberately misrepresenting and interpreting their own rules and data and despite losing two court cases ordered Defra to issue a Statutory Instrument proscribing the use of any material from a NAMED company. Not only was that an abuse of power, it was a direct and flagrant breach of our constitution! Unwritten it may be, but it is still a constitution and we have spent centuries defending the principles it embraces. So the Labour Party's spineless surrender to an unelected Commissioner and his cronies who directly beneftted from this act of treason is nothing short of betrayal of the electorate here in the UK.

So, according to Brussels, the "Ratification" of the Lisbon Constitution must continue. In short, the electorate no longer matter. Democracy is well and truly dead in Europe.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 15, 2008

Rights

Human Rights are something we often take for granted without really considering what these really are. Since the adoption of Labour's much vaunted Human Rights Act, our rights have actually, in this country, been considerably diminished. There are several reasons I say this and one is that our freedom of speech has been, and continues to be, curtailed. One of our senior Bishops and a team of lay and clergy in his Diocese recently published a study which found that Christianity is now seriously threatened in the UK by a combination of proscription on what one may say in regard to any other religion, but especially in regard to Islam, and by the fact that government ministers and departments focus all their social aid efforts through Muslim organisations and actively discriminate against Christianity.

Under current "Race Hate" legislation I could probably be prosecuted merely for pointing this out. It is refreshing therefore to find that our cousins on the other side of the pond have idiots who think free speech should be restricted. Reading a post in The Anchoress on the subject of freedom of speech I found this post entitled "Cling to the Bill of Rights". It is worth visiting and reading her thoughts on this important matter - certainly one that we seem to have forgotten in England under Blair and his closet of "single issue" merchants.

There is a very fine balance between suppressing free speech and preventing anyone from causing offence by expressing hurtful or damaging views. I agree with The Anchoress when she says that it may be almost as important for those views to be heard and held up to scrutiny so that they can be dismissed in open debate, as it is to ensure that the right to criticise is not restricted in any way. Free speech means hearing many things that I find offensive, but there is nothing more offensive to me than to be told I may not express a view or challenge a view held by someone because it "may cause offence" and is therefore proscribed. I find it particularly offensive when those telling me this and restricting my liberty are the same group who, in my youth, staged protests over their right to choose who could and could not teach them, play cricket here or trade with us. And when they weren't doing that they were smoking pot, strumming guitars and dancing round the stones at Stonehenge. Come to think of it, some of them still do! This is the "single issue" generation who hate to be confused by facts and who often get their prejudices confused with their morality.

The freedoms they seek to restrict are ones hard won by our fathers and grandfathers. They were won by the blood, sweat and tears of our forebears and they must not be given up lightly. Democracy is not a robust institution, the natural state of humanity is living under tyrrany whether we like it or not and in its present form it is barely two hundred years old. If we are not careful it will not last another two hundred years for it will have been strangled in red tape by bureaucrats and single issue campaigners who never look beyond their own narrow confines.

The Anchoress is right, the Freedom of Speech, no matter how distasteful the view of the speaker, is one of the most important pillars of our democracy. It must be defended at all cost.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2008

The Treaty is dead?

It certainly looks as if the Irish have killed it. But then, the last time this happened there, they held another Referendum with a slightly different question and got the answer the politicians wanted. Let's hope it doesn't follow the same path this time.

The Treaty of Lisbon is the EU Constitution in disguise no matter what Gordon Brown and his henchmen say. There has, according to my MEP been just over 3% change to the original document and that in only peripherals. Furthermore, the "new" treaty is simply a list of the amendments to the original - it is not a corrected document or even a comprehensive document. No one has published an "Amended Text", in fact the Commission has expressly forbidden the publication of such a text. Even that apology to democracy, our European Parliament, have not seen an amended text, only the original and the lists of amendments. In other words it is a scam. It is a pile of ordure and it stinketh to the heavens - but that hasn't stopped the unelected Commission and their bureaucrats from trying to sell it as fertiliser - "It hath much power and maketh the grass to grow" is how they have tried to hoodwink everyone.

Visiting the BBC Website I found hundreds of comments on the story of the Irish Referendum, perhaps the richest coming from Italians suggesting that the British should leave the EU now. Believe me we'd probably like too, after all we pay three times what we get back from it, most of that going to Italy and other basket case economies threatening to destroy the Eurozone. What was interesting was the number of comments from all over Europe saying "Good for the Irish, why are we all not being allowed to vote on this". Some apologisers for the Treaty insisted that it was such a complex matter that we should simply trust our "elected" representatives to sort it out. Oh yes? Which "elected" representatives would they be? Labour's stool pigeons elected with a total vote of 28%? The Unelected Commissioners? The Council of Ministers made up of self-important and self-interested con artists? They have a better understanding of the "technicalities" than we do?

We in Britain were promised a Referendum on this issue at the last election, the government have reneged on that for one reason only - every poll they have taken has shown a nation-wide refusal to give up any more of our sovereignty to Brussels. Brown will discover just how deeply we feel on this issue at the next election.

In the meantime we need to thank the Irish people for exercising their constitutional right - and killing the Treaty.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2008

Irish Referendum

How ironic that we in Britain are all holding our breath for the outcome of the Irish vote on the EU Constitution. It says a great deal about the state of democracy everywhere else in Europe that not one other government has the guts to own up to the subterfuge they are pulling here to secure themselves in power as "super-power" mongers and give their nations an option to determine whether or not we want to be a part of this Oligarchic Super-State.

Why Oligarchic? Simply because what this consitution does is "crown" one of the unelected nominees put forward by the equally unrepresentative Council of Ministers and the Commission as "President". It has echoes of medieval Europe and the Holy Roman Empire where twelve "Electors" (Kurfursts) - in effect, vassal Kings - "elected, the Emperor. Here we have the same process being proposed. The Commission and the Council of Ministers will propose an "annointed" one who becomes President. Why can the people of Europe not have a say in this? I for one don't want to have to accept as head of state someone like Tony Blair. We have a perfectly good head of state - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. And, frankly, none of the other "candidates" fill me with any enthusiasm.

As for the rest of it, can you imagine how our Foreign affairs will be conducted if they move to Brussels? It goes without saying that Israel will have a hard time from there on because the French have long been in bed with the Arabs and European sympathies lie in that direction more than any other. One good thing I suppose is that the "Single Issue" lobbies that so bedevil our national politics will be drowned in the realpolitik of Europe. That aside, and its the only good thing I can think of in this, we lose control of our military (A Frenchman is head of the EU Fleet in the proposals - yes the rattling is Nelson, Anson, Howe and St Vincent, not to mention Hood and every other famous Admiral!) and no doubt the Falklanders will find themselves sold off to Argentina pretty quickly too. Any Falklander reading this should maybe start to learn Spanish.

Unless of course, the Irish have rejected it. A slim hope perhaps, but our only one.

I do want to see Europe united and strong. I do want to see it play a leading role in the future of humanity, but I don't believe the political vision of the 1930's is the way to go. It is too bureaucratic, too centerist and far to socialist. I want a voice in Brussels and a strong voice in Strasbourg, not a puppet parliament in Strasbourg and a bunch of unelected dictators in Brussels who call all the shots. Above all, I want to have a say in who represents this new state as its head - and that would not be that complete moron Blair!

Come on the Irish - save our democracy!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

The nations children are demonised, stressed and criminalised?

So say our Children's Commissioners. I wonder which planet they live on? Presumably one with nice fluffy pink clouds? These morons should try living in my street. Its been peaceful around here for the last few weeks - because the gang that used to terrorise us all (Eldest was aged 13!) with their threatening behaviour, foul language (I use expletives occassionally - but these kids seem to have no other adjectives) and the violence they exhibited against other kids who dared to get in their way. They put one boy in Intensive Care and then pleaded "Self defence" when charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Well the good news on that was the Judge in the Crown Court didn't believe it either - and took note of the fact that between them they had a record number of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. He sent them down and we now have some peace in the street. Sadly though, they'll be out again soon.

I firmly believe that these "Children's Rights" champions have got it badly wrong - indeed the entire Children's Rights lobby have it wrong. The system they advocate of "reward/Penalty" simply does not work unless you are able to devote an enormous amount of time to it and follow it through rigorously. One slip where something is either not rewarded or punished undoes everything you have achieved. Penalties must be applied, and by that I do NOT mean the sort of belting with some instrument that leaves bruises or scars - but a sensible application of a penalty that is appropriate and meaningful to the child.

Chidren need to know where the boundaries are and those need to be firm, not flexible. Children should be listened too, but they do not have either the experience or the knowledge to be rulers. Parents need to be responsible and need to have the backing of the law in dealing with children who refuse to recognise others rights and the boundaries set by parents or teachers. I regularly have to watch one particular boy in one of the Abbey choirs who knows he can do as he pleases and face no penalty - his parents simply refuse to accept that the little darling is disruptive, rude and downright obnoxious. Frankly, I'd have slung him and his parents out of the choir a long time ago regardless of how good a voice he has - but they are big donors to the school the choir is attached too....... And therein lies another huge problem. Many parents today try to buy their kids good behaviour, a system guaranteed to bring disrespect and bad behaviour.

Children do have rights, but, as I was taught, the exercise of MY rights should never include depriving you of yours or of in any way infringing your exercise of the same rights. The balance has swung far to far towards the children of today having all the rights and the adult population being deprived of theirs. You cannot reprimand a child for fear of being dragged into court on some trumped up charge - because the little darlings all know exactly how to make accussations which will stir up a hornets nest. And because of the "protection" they then enjoy in court, and the fact that there is an automatic presumption of guilt if a child accuses an adult of anything at all, there is little or no chance of your receiving justice.

It seems to me that the "children" are stressed precisely because they are given no boundaries, there is no firm guidance for them on any aspect of preparing for adulthood from their parents and their role models are drawn from the alcoholic football "stars" who spit, swear and throw tantrums, or from the world of popstars and super models who snort coke, take other drugs and behave like the pampered brats they are. Of course they get stressed out at exams - we all do - but somehow there has to be a measurement of how little they have managed to absorb in the disrupted classes our "gurus" in the Department of Education insist must have "all ability" mixes.

If these things are to be addressed properly it is not for the state to address them. The solution is simple, the police, the teachers and the parents must be empowered to impose discipline. Yes the child can enjoy their rights - but they have to learn discipline in order to exercise self-discipline, they must have boundaries and understand those boudaries. You don't get either if you are counselled everytime something doesn't go your way, or from "anger management" classes if all they teach is how not to beat up the person who says "no". It is not acceptable to have a small group of out of control hooligans making life miserable for anyone else - their liberties and their "rights" must be forfeit if necessary to guarantee the rights of everyone else. Thirdly, our education system needs serious rethinking - preferably without the moronic bunch of "educationists" and left-wing ideologues trying to impose their unworkable theories. The kids are stressed because they are not being taught things properly and that is not the fault of the teachers but of the theorists who argue against the tried and tested methods which have worked for centuries.

Children in this country are demonised, criminalised and stressed - and no wonder. They are given rights their parents can't exercise and which they are themselves unsure of how to use and at every turn warned that all adults are sexual predators. They are bored out of their heads because all they can do "safely" according to the "gurus" is watch television, play video games or "hang out" in gangs. However, what I would like the Commissioners to answer is this - if the children are such saintly and well behaved model citizens as you seem to suggest, then why do they indulge in violent assaults on innocent passers-by, even filming their assault on videophone to share with those who missed their latest "Happy Slapping" of some poor person who happened across their path? Why do they vandalise peoples property and never suffer any penalty in courts which are a sick joke, dominated as they are by hippy social workers whose only stock in trade is to try to make out that it is the property owners fault for having something that the youff could destroy?

Somehow I don't expect an answer - after all, the Commissioners only purpose is to tell the rest of us how bad we are, not to find solutions of any merit to any of the problems they, and those they represent, create.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2008

A typical example of what is wrong with our nation .....

Are the comments by Mister Rupert Everett to the Sunday Telegraph - which he is now desperately trying to amend. Too late Sonny Jim, you're on record as having nothing but contempt for the young men and women who put their lives on the line - at lower pay than you and your arty-farty chums and cronies pay Traffic Wardens - so you can exercise the freedom to speak out like that. Try saying that sort of thing in Iran, Russia, China or any number of countries who do threaten our freedom. The least you would get is a long spell in an unpleasant jail.

This creep is typical of the class that now control our media, our government and most of our town halls. That is why our soldiers and other service personell cannot wear their uniforms in public anymore - because scum like Mr Everett constantly drip their poison of anti-military garbage to the gullible. The Labour Party have long been the leaders of anti-armed services propaganda and there is a good reason for it. They HATE the military because they are afraid of the discipline and the loyalty the troops display to the nation and the country - not to the tuppenny-ha'penny politicians who might be in power at any given moment. In a world in the grip of some of the most unstable and dangerous regimes it has ever seen, we still have the vocal lobby in control in this country trying to reduce military spending below the pathetic 2% of Gross National Product that it currently is. Every time the military ask for better equipment or a new ship, aircraft or tank to replace the aging equipment they have - this same bunch of wimps and scum scream blue-murder that the money should be spent on more waste in Whitehall or even more waste in the sinkhole that is the NHS. Or even better - on more money being thrown at some of the Labour voting wastrals on permanent benefit. You know the ones - they have fifteen kids, have never worked a day in their lives and constantly demand upgraded housing to replace the most recently trashed property they have infested.

Personally I will not be wasting my time or energy attempting to see any production in which Mister Everett features. I heartily commend that course of action to everyone else as well.

By Sky News SkyNews - 1 hour 47 minutes agoRupert Everett has apologised for calling soldiers "wimps" and suggesting they went into the Army to torture prisoners.

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He says his comments were "flippant and irresponsible" and never intended to question those who had lost their lives or limbs.

The 49-year-old star of My Best Friend's Wedding - and the son of a retired Army major - had been quoted in a newspaper criticising soldiers for whining.

He made his comments in an interview to publicise a documentary, The Victorian Sex Explorer, in which he plays the Army officer and explorer Sir Richard Burton.

Everett said: "In Burton's day they were itching to get into the fray. Now it is the opposite. They are always whining about the dangers of being killed.

"Oh my God, they are such wimps now!"

He told The Sunday Telegraph: "The whole point of being in the Army is wanting to get killed, wanting to test yourself to the limits.

He also said: "The whole point of being in the Army is going to war and getting yourself blown up. That and (urinating) on prisoners. Yet we all get shocked by Abu Ghraib."

Now he has issued a statement apologising "without reserve" to the "many in this country, and hundreds and thousands of others across the world who have lost their brothers and sisters, their fathers and mothers to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the countless others".

Everett, 49, said: "I never meant at any point to question the bravery of those who lose their lives, or survive, but without arms or legs.

"Just seeing these people in my mind's eye right now makes me feel a terrible anguish."

He said he was trying to make the point that "we still go to war, but actually we haven't the stomach for it".

He added: "My flippant and irresponsible behaviour arises from a deep frustration at the fact that we seem to be continually making war, dreaming up new ones, instead of doing everything we can to avoid them."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:18 AM | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

Mugabe's "veterans".

Listening to the Zimbabwean government I am strongly reminded of Saddam's last days in power. His Foreign Minister seemed to have a problem with reality too. Mind you, a while back I commented here that you should not expect Mugabe's thugs to allow him to be voted out of power and I was absolutely right. They are so afraid of losing the "run-off" their puppets in the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission have engineered by manipulating the votes that they now don't bother to hide their campaign of terror from the rest of the world.

Sadly, unless the South African Military and some of the other neighbours are sent in to disarm Mugabe's thugs and confine them to barracks, the violence will continue until Mugabe "wins" the election. President Mbeki has shown himself unwilling to act against his thuggish friend and Zuma will not be able to do anything if and when he comes to power.

Mugabe's "War Veterans" are most of them far too young to have ever fought in the Bush War and are rather like Winnie Mandela's "Football Club" - thugs recruited simply to put the fear of Mugabe into anyone who dares challenge Mugabe. The biggest problem here is that Mugabe's people control the Police, the Judiciary, the Army and their Central Intelligence Agency. And he is fully prepared to use them against anyone and everyone - including Diplomats engaged in lawful diplomatic activity. Yesterday they tried to abduct, arrest and intimidate diplomatic personnel from the UK and the US. Today they have arrested Morgan Tsvangiri - how unfortunate that he could easily suffer a fatal fall while in custody - and the UN, the UK and the US bleat about it but do nothing. The only thing this thug and his cronies understands is the threat of annihilation. Learn to talk his language - or shut up and get the hell out of there altogether - and that includes the "AID" workers.

The only thing left to say is addressed to Whitehall and Westminster. You put him in power. You lauded and promoted him even though everyone of you knew he was a psychopathic murderer who ran "re-education" camps, organised abductions, ordered the murder of white farmers and their labourers and any and all opposition groups. You knew he had Maoist sympathies and operated one of the most indescriminate terror organisations in the world at that time - the Fifth Brigade.

Congratulations, you created a monster. Now tell us how YOU propose to deal with him.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2008

Broadcast Evensong

Yesterday afternoon BBC Radio 3 broadcast Evensong "live" from Tewkesbury Abbey. A very good congregation were treated to some stunningly beautiful music sung by Schola Cantorum Choir directed by Benjamin Nicholas and a virtuoso performance by Carleton Etherington in the Recessional voluntary. For the next few days, those who would like to hear it can go to the BBC 3 website and hear it on their iPlayer webcast.

Despite the braodcast, this was no concert. It was an act of worship, worship worthy of the angels themselves. I recommend that you listen to it yourself - you'll see what I mean.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:53 AM | TrackBack

May 31, 2008

A tribute to one of ours ...

In stark contrast to our own national response to our men and women currently deployed in Iraq (Hamstrung by Labour's "Human Rights" lobbists "Rules of Engagement" which prevent their actually shotting anyone shooting at them!) and in Afghanistan (which doesn't seem to attract the same level of support as Iraq in the "Human Rights" forum), I find the support for the armed forces in the US enlightening. Yes, there are dissenting voices, but they have not been fed the anti-military lies of the left wing pacifists for the last 60 years of socialism as we have.

Recently I was moved to discover this tribute to one of ours - barely mentioned in the UK Press, let alone on any UK based Blog I have found - on CrosSwords. I hope that Lance Corporal Croucher has now been awarded his well deserved VC. If he has not, I can only say that it is yet another example of the sickness at the heart of Whitehall and Westminster - infested by worthless, faceless and incompetent cowards who hate anyone with more initiative, courage and ability than themselves. I could add the poisonous left-wing "educationists" to that list - men and women who teach a poisoned and biased vision of the deeds of men and women who made this country great so that they could have the freedom to destroy it from within.

No prizes for guessing where the title of my next book comes from!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in the US. Quite and experience - one which makes me all to aware of just how much the Blair/Brown/Hain generation of squatters, boycotters and terrorists have undermined my own nation and its defenders. Recently I saw an e-mail on the BBC's "Comment on the news" blog which questioned why we should mark Armistice Day or show any respect to men (and women) in uniform. The writer stated "These people don't need our respect, they're nothing but natural born killers, licensed to murder innocent civilians by our government." The writer of that didn't leave a name, but their location showed up - a university campus.

Therein lies the problem for our nation. Our centres of education have become the home of left wing socialist doctrinaires who rabbit their poisonous claptrap about "better Red than dead" to youngsters who have no concept of the realities of history other than the slewed and twisted garbage that our schools and universities peddle as history (Che Guevarra was a misunderstood philanthropist struggling to free the oppressed from the evil western capitalists) and completely ignoring the fact that they enjoy the freedom to spread this poison because others have given their lives or a significant part of their health to the cause of freedom. And they weren't named Che or any other psychopathic left wing "hero".

I envy the Americans their pride in their nation and in their armed forces. I envy them the pride which sees the stars and stripes flying on almost every house, on every building and anywhere else they can put it. I resent the bureaucrats and the Labour communistas who deny me the right to hoist the Union flag at my own home, or even to have a pole to fly it from when they think I should. Why are they so afraid of our being proud to display our national symbols? Probably because it would expose the bankruptcy of their entire political and humanist ideology and see them thrown forever into the political wilderness.

Sadly, I would have to say that many in the US are very deeply ignorant of many things outside of their own nation, but then they have good company in Europe and elsewhere on similar issues. Equally sadly I have to say that I do not see the European "nation" surviving as long as the socialist poison drip against anything that speaks of discipline, self responsibility or service to anything greater than one's own wants holds sway.

We need to kick these poisonous vipers into touch and rediscover our pride in ourselves and our history and bury the socialist poison version forever.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:58 AM | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

Fire in the Berlin Philharmonic roof

Mausi drew my attention to a news item reporting a fire in the roof of the Berlin Philharmonic's home base. It appears that there was a smouldering fire in the roof - a very modernist building with a huge and very high structure - which engaged the attention of over a hundred fire fighters.

The Monk hated roof fires - you can't get at them for a start. And this type is the worst because the only way to get at it is to get on the roof and then make a hole in it. That weakens the structure and ventilates the fire allowing it to develop and spread while putting the troops in danger as they work. Hopefully the fire is now out - I make that assumption on the fact that I have seen no news report of the Philharmonic Hall having burned down.

The design of these very innovative structures often takes no account of access for maintenance or any other "service". I wonder what it will take to get designers to consider the unexpected event such as this?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:08 PM | TrackBack

May 11, 2008

Returning to/from Bucharest

Today I am travelling back from Bucharest, believe it or not, via Zurich! The long way round I'm thinking, but there, that is the way of airlines these days.

Every visit to Bucharest, since my first in 1995, is fascinating. Every time there are changes to be seen, many of them for the better, but one is also reminded that in any change of economic situation there are always winners and losers - one can really only hope that there are not too many of the latter and attempt to provide some sort of cushion for it. The city has changed enormously in the last thirteen years and even more changes are on the way. Buildings are being renovated, but it is a slow and expensive process. Many of the owners do not have the funds or the resources to do the work necessary and the city is built on a huge earthquake fault. Worse, many of the buildings were damaged badly in the 1977 and 1984 quakes here and the regime simply didn't bother carrying out the structural repairs necessary - so they papered over the cracks and now the restored owners face the bills.

New building is booming though and one thing is the extensive use of glass - about which I have a few questions in an earthquake zone! Tall buildings are on the drawing boards as well - currently not much more than 40 storeys, but it won't be long before someone decides to reach for the sky. The biggest problem for builders and designers here is the soil - it is millenia of silt from the Danube and another big river with bedrock several hundred feet down - and the high water table (About 4 metres below ground on average.) Then there is a problem with electrolytic action between power cables and steel re-inforcing in some areas where concrete with a certain type has been and is being used.

I am always a little sad to be leaving here, the people are amazingly friendly and generally very hard working. They are also determined to put their country onto the European map and to change their image from "sick" nation to "equal member" - one they are very proud to be part of and they are nothing if not proud as it is.

One final thought which sums them up rather well. Near my hotel is the memorial to those who died on the day the Revolution against the Communists and Ceacescu started. I was looking at it and trying to decipher the Romanian Inscription yesterday when an older Romanian joined me and commented, "There are many arguments about whether they are martyrs and whether the Revolution was a revolution. The improvement may be small - but at least we did something."

I wonder if anyone will say the same of us someday?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:12 AM | TrackBack

May 10, 2008

Good riddance to Red Ken ...

I suspect that there will be many raising a quiet glass in toast to the ousting of Red Ken Livingstone - another of the Labourites who think that Che Guevara was a man of vision and compassion - from the Mayorality of Greater London. I don't think I envy his successor. The GLA and its Admninistrative bureaucracy will be riddled with Labour placemen and spies whose mission now will be to sabotage everything Boris Johnson attempts to do.

In Boris' shoes I would sack the entire Administrative staff and recruit fresh, with filters in place to ensure that nothing and no one with sympathies with Labour or the Left gets a job.

Boris will have to watch his back at every step of the way until he can rid himself of Ken's poisonous cronies, many of whom will not be obvious. He's going to need a stab proof jacket for quite a while because a major part of Ken's tenure has been spent on building a bureaucracy as poisoned and as inefficient as the late and unlamented Greater London Council over which he presided for far to long. Since Ken has created the GLA and London Administration from scratch, it will have been designed to be entirely selfserving and utterly incompetent.

Many commentators have remarked on the fact that one newspaper in particular set out to "get Ken", led by a senior journalist. When confronted by the BBC, the journalist admitted that it had been his intention to do this - pointing out that he, unlike Ken Livingstone, had been perfectly open about his intentions. He also reminded the BBC that Ken Livingstone's tenure as head of the GLC had been brought about by a coup against his own party leader at the time.

Those who know Mister Livingstone evidently will not be shedding any tears. I did not know him, and I'm still delighted to see him ejected from office.

Thoroughly un-Christian of me I know - but then this little twerp has spent a vast amount of taxpayers money promoting a lot of anti-Christian propaganda and supporting the promotion of everything that is against the Christian ethos. Only one thing can make me any happier than his election defeat - to see him fall completely from grace, preferably through the criminal courts.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:03 PM | TrackBack

May 03, 2008

A publisher in sight?

I have received an offer from a publisher based in the US to explore the publication of "The enemy is within!". It is a tentative one and they certainly aren't predicting instant "best seller" or even "prize winner" status. They suggest modest sales and what looks, on the surface, like a sensible Royalty agreement. Even better it looks as if there could be some interest in re-publishing and marketing "Out of Time" once we get under way on "The enemy is within!" However, having taken a good hard look at the contract they offered, I am being very cautious. On closer scrutiny it appears that this may just be an upmarket version of the self-publishing route. It looks as if I would be putting up the manuscript, doing the edit and the proof-reading and they would simply publish it and put it onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc.

I could do that on my own. However, all is not entirely lost because there is a UK based publisher currently considering the work and they offer a much better set of options - including a really good marketing system. After all, they have to make some money out of this as well. I am not saying "no" to the US offer just yet, but I am considering every clause in the contract very carefully - and have a number of questions on each point already.

I have to say a huge thanks to all those of you - my long suffering friends - who have read my work, bought the first book and encouraged me to keep going. I had hoped to have "The enemy is within!" published almost a year ago. I have to say that I'm glad it didn't get done and that I have had this time to work on it and make it into a really great story - a worthy successor to Out of Time. That too, is thanks in very large part to Mausi's critiques and to the use of a professional editing service called Writer's Services. I can really recommend their services to any budding authors, professional, helpful and encouraging in their criticisms.

Thanks to all of you too for your patience and forbearance as I have wrestled with the system to get this far. Perhaps, as Sir Winston Churchill once said, this could just be the end of the beginning.

Well, watch this space and Amazon.com more news will follow soon.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 01, 2008

Thanks for nothing Mister Brown

Personally I hope to see a Labour wipeout in todays local government elections. It might, just might, alert our Lords and Masters in Westminster and Whitehall to the fact that we have had enough of meddling, nannying legislation and the theft from our wallets each month for their bloated pay packets and benefits.

The debacle over the scrapping of the 10% tax band which benefitted many of us between the ages of 60 and 65 who get no tax relief, no "benefit" and try to make a small pension stretch has, I hope, provided those who wavered towards giving this shower of charlatans and thieves the benefit of any further doubt with the excuse they need to vote differently. The tax on my pension just doubled, but does Gordon Brown and his coterie of non-working class champange socialists give a damn? Of course not, they're all right Jack ... And Brown's admission that "ministers failed to spot the impact on certain groups ..." just doesn't excuse it. That shower of parasites called the Civil Service, especially the bunch of trolls, thieves and thugs of the Treasury, didn't bother considering us either.

Since Blair and his luvvies brought Labour to power in 1997, we have seen our taxes rising steadily and inexorably. We have seen wave after wave of badly thought out legislation imposed on our lives by little tyrants who want to control every aspect of our lives and have brought upon us a society that is almost as bad as that created by the communists in East Germany. Neighbours now spy on each other and woe betide the mother who dares to smack a badly behaved or recalcitrant brat! And our taxes pay for what? An ever rising number of incompetents who cannot supply our troops with working weapons, usable ammunition or the most basic personal equipment. A growing army of "managers" who couldn't manage if their lives depended on it, a failing NHS subjected to more political interference and meddling than at any time in its history. An education system that changes every five minutes so that its failures can be concealed. Prisons bursting at the seams with parents who dared to smack a child, fuel prices rocketing through the roof (They try to blame that on the Oil Companies) with the Treasury stealing even more of our money through a Tax Escalator which sees tax imposed on tax. As the price rises the Treasury's tax take actually inflates it further because they use a percentage calculator - the higher the price, the higher the tax. No one else in Europe does that!

As I said at the start, I hope Labour sees a meltdown in the Local Government elections - its the only hope we have of shaking these arrogant, ignorant and idle thieves out of their complacency.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

Power blackout hits Power Outage protest meeting ....

Only in Africa could this happen. Or could it? It's not that many years ago that Britain underwent a period of power outages daily due to an ongoing power struggle between the Unions and the Government. This though is different, this is about resources not meeting demand.

The South African power supplier ESKOM is saddled with an infrastructure and generating plant designed to supply a population around half of what the current population level of the Republic is. There has been no development of these resources or investment in them since the ANC came to power and scrapped immigration laws for African migrants. Result? Cities bursting at the seams, power demand soaring and an infrastructure that will require probably ten years to extend, replace and increase to meet demand. Even then I doubt it can be done.

After all, even if they built a million houses a year for the next ten years it would still not meet demand ......

So, could this happen in BRitain? Guess what, it most certainly could. Green policies have severely restricted the development of our own power generating infrastructure. The ONLY sensible solution is to go for nuclear - but don't mention that in the presence of any of the green lobby or the Grenham Common fraternity. They'd rather see the Severn estuary destroyed by a barrage which will silt up the Bristol channel and damage the ecology of this extremely sensitive area and the country covered in windmills. I give it about ten years at present rate of growth and we'll be sitting in the dark for at least part of every day.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African union was holding a public conference protesting against the country's power crisis on Thursday when the lights went out.

(Advertisement)
"It was symbolic," Solidarity union spokesman Jaco Kleynhans said.

The Solidarity trade union was hosting a briefing on its possible class action suit against troubled state utility Eskom over job cuts when it was reminded of South Africa's power woes.

Delegates were left in the dark when Eskom implemented its daily blackouts that have caused traffic chaos and darkened homes.

South Africans are seething over a power crisis the government has warned could take years to resolve.

Eskom produces about 95 percent of South Africa's electricity and is spending billions of dollars to expand its generating capacity as it struggles to cope with rising demand from the country's growing economy.

(Reporting by Michael Georgy; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:10 AM | TrackBack

April 26, 2008

Sorting out some pics ....

Having taken quite a few pictures in Tehran I now have to downsize them so that I can post some. I also have to download them from my laptop and upload on the desktop ......

Sigh, this could take a while.

Patience please dear readers, it will get done, once I have sorted the junkmail from the important stuff, sorted out my presentation for Bucharest on the seventh of May and a few more pressing tasks. Three weeks away from home plays havoc with normal business ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:58 AM | TrackBack

April 20, 2008

Smoke free?

German restaurants and pubs went smoke free recently. Smoke free in theory, that is. Mausi cannot understand why it is apparently such a problem in Germany when Ireland, England, Scotland and even Italy went smoke free without a problem. The Irish even invented a new form of social intercourse - smirting, a combination of smoking and flirting or what else would you do if you have to go outside for a smoke?

In Germany there have been endless discussions in all the different Federal States. Each state wanted have some sort of exemptions or at least modifications to the law. Rhineland-Palatinate started the ban on smoking later than the others because they were afraid inn keepers were going to loose too much money during the carnival season because people would stay away from pubs if they weren't allowed to smoke there. Bavaria wanted the strictest of all laws in the first place and were even going to ban smoking in the big tents at the famous Munich Oktoberfest. But after the last elections in Bavaria a few months ago where the dominating party lost a lot of votes they are going to lift the ban on smoking a bit and allow smoking in tents again.

Bavarian inn keepers are also very inventive on circumnavigating the law. Some of them founded smoking societies whose members meet in the former pubs. They are all issued a member card which they show when they are inspected by law enforcing agencies. The only draw back is that societies are not meant to make a profit. Mausi has no idea how they are going to get around that. Another proposal is to define smoke free and non smoke free restaurants and pubs. That seems a bit unfair, as the non smoke free ones would retain their old customers and the smoke free would have to look for new ones.

The inn keepers keep complaining that they will loose all their customers if smoking is forbidden. Nobody seems to give all the non smokers a thought who have stayed out of pubs for years because they couldn't bear all the smoke and stink which settled in their clothes. Mausi hadn't been to a pub for the last 25 years if she could avoid it. And she was really looking forward to being able to have a beer inside a pub again. Now it seems that the law that bans smoking will be so full of holes that it is not worth the paper it is written on.

Germans seem particularly good at making things as difficult as possible....

Posted by Mausi at 07:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

A thought on Africa

Listening to the news on the difficulties of electing or changing a government in Africa today one could be excused for wondering why we bother. After all, democracy is an alien concept in sub Saharan Africa and Robert Mugabe is behaving exactly as a Tribal Paramount Chief would behave if someone challenged his authority. The veneer of civilisation (Western that is) is just that, a veneer.

Watch Kenya and you see the problem. For years it has been held up as the model of "Western" government in Africa, but beneath the veneer the ruling elite have carried on exactly as they would have done as tribal chieftains. Nepotism, bribery, and all the things westerners think don't happen at home are the norm. Naturally, the opposition to any government is really only seeking a place in the hierarchy. OK, I know, that sounds cynical, but it is the reality that our media and our bleeding heart Aid Agencies (Who, if you really look at them, are primarily concerned about the perpetuation of the nice little "feel good" industry) do not want to acknowledge. Perhaps because they cannot understand that Africa is not and probably never will be, a "Western" country. And there lies another problem - many people even now think of "Africa" as some sort of unified land, populated by poor downtrodden and oppressed black people. Just how insulting can we get?

Africa has more human genetic diversity than any other continent on the planet. Yet, south of the Sahara no major civilisations have emerged. Several have stuttered into the first faltering steps, but have then vanished without ever having got going, perhaps through being wiped out by a more powerful and envious neighbour. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe suggest one such failed attempt - no one even knows who built it.

What has all this to do with anything? Well, a friend forwarded the editorial in the extended post and frankly, as I posted before my excursio to Tehran, Robert Mugabe has reacted to his election defeat exactly as I said he would. Morgan Tsangari will probably have to remain in exile in Botswana unless he wishes to languish in Harare gaol on trumped up treason charges. And it will all, undoubtedly, stiull be the fault of those horrid white settlers .....

David Bullard's editorial says it all.

Article in the Sunday Times by David Bullard

Published:Apr 07, 2008

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Imagine for a moment what life would be like in South Africa if the evil white man hadn’t come to disturb the rustic idyll of the early black settlers.

Ignored by the Portuguese and Dutch, except as a convenient resting point en route to India . Shunned by the British, who had decided that their empire was already large enough and didn’t need to include bits of Africa .

The vast mineral wealth lying undisturbed below the Highveld soil as simple tribesmen graze their cattle blissfully unaware that beneath them lies one of the richest gold seams in the world. But what would they want with gold?

There are no roads because no roads are needed because there are no cars. It’s 2008 and no one has taken the slightest interest in South Africa , apart from a handful of botanists and zoologists who reckon that the country’s flora and fauna rank as one of the largest unspoilt areas in a polluted world.

Because they have never been exposed to the sinful ways of the West, the various tribes of South Africa live healthy and peaceful lives, only occasionally indulging in a bit of ethnic cleansing.

Their children don’t watch television because there is no television to watch. Instead they listen to their grandparents telling stories around a fire. They live in single-storey huts arranged to catch most of the day’s sunshine and their animals are kept nearby.

Nobody has any more animals than his family needs and nobody grows more crops than he requires to feed his family and swap for other crops. Ostentation is unknown because what is the point of trying to impress your fellow citizens when they are not impressible?

The dreaded Internet doesn’t exist in South Africa and cellphone companies have laughed off any hope of interesting the inhabitants in talking expensively into a piece of black plastic. There are no unsightly shopping malls selling expensive goods made by Asian slave workers and consequently there are no newspapers or magazines carrying articles comparing the relative merits of ladies’ handbags.

Whisky, the curse of the white man, isn’t known in this undeveloped land and neither are cigars. The locals brew a sort of beer out of vegetables and drink it out of shallow wooden bowls. Five-litre paint cans have yet to arrive in South Africa .

Every so often a child goes missing from the village, eaten either by a hungry lion or a crocodile. The family mourn for a week or so and then have another child. Life is, on the whole, pretty good but there is something vital missing. Being unaware of the temptations of the outside world, nobody knows what it is. Fire has been discovered and the development of the wheel is coming on nicely but the tribal elders are still aware of some essential happiness ingredient they still need to discover. Praying to the ancestors is no help because they are just as clueless.

Then something happens that will change this undisturbed South Africa forever. Huge metal ships land on the coast and big metal flying birds are sent to explore the sparsely populated hinterland. They are full of men from a place called China and they are looking for coal, metal, oil, platinum, farmland, fresh water and cheap labour and lots of it. Suddenly the indigenous population realise what they have been missing all along: someone to blame. At last their prayers have been answered.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 05, 2008

Dear Mister Brown ....

Is the title of a song on the Tewkesbury Flood Relief Fund's CD and it pretty much sums up our town's response to his visit and crocodile tears over the floods last year. Listening to his response to the report from a very eminent committee of Cross-Party Peers, it struck me that, with a few minor modifications it could easily become the expression of the English Nation's feelings regarding him and his worthless collection of social engineers and ideologues.

It just goes to show how far removed from reality these idiots are. The Peers' report agrees that the unprecedented level of immigration into Britain brings in "around £6 billion" in revenue to our economy. It also agrees that there are roughly 600,000 jobs going begging at any one time in the UK. Where they part company on this is the government's view that we can continue to absorb indefinitely these levels of immigration and that this mythical £6 billion is of direct benefit to everyone. The Peers say that it is not, that the DIRECT benefit is measurable in pence per head of population. It also challenges the concept that the immigrants are closing a "skills gap" and asks why it is that the small number of employers who benefit from immigrant labour cannot train the million or more Britons who are currently drawing work seekers benefits or unemployment benefits.

Please do not misunderstand me, I happen to know a number of immigrants - in fact I am one myself - and almost all those I know have brought some new skills to this country, but that cannot be said for all those now pouring in. Whole cities and entire counties have changed irrevocably in the last ten years with long established British communities moved out, moved aside or simply subsumed. Parts of Birmingham more closely resemble parts of the Middle East or the Indian Sub-continent than they do an English city and there are parts of London where you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a different country. Yes, the Press do play up the numbers but they are high. Yes, this country has long had a tradition of absorbing immigrants, and rightly so, but never before have we had more than five percent of the total population as "immigrant" communities and never before have they so stubbornly refused to integrate.

Now 5% may not sound like a large number, but it is projected to grow dramatically, and it is further compounded by distribution. Most immigrants congregate in our cities and towns, driving up property values and driving lower paid working class folk out of them. That too is compounded by the various "Housing Authorities" operating sets of "rules" for dealing with applicants for scarce "social housing" which are biased against married couples where one or both are employed, in favour of single parents, people from "ethnically under-represented" groups and others perceived by Brown's closet communists as "disadvantaged". It gets worse when you realise that, under this government's open door policy on this issue (And you also have to take into account that almost everyone employed in the Department of Immigration in Croydon seems to be from an "immigrant" background and mostly from the Sub-continent and a particular faith.) it is expected that this number will continue to rise rather rapidly.

Rightly or wrongly, and a recent radio programme devoted to the subject of "Is Britain's White Working Class becoming invisible?" seems to suggest that it might be right, there is a perception that certain immigrant groups are simply exploiting the opportunity at the expense of native Britons. It is particularly noticeable that our taxes are rising at a rate that is almost enough to trigger a mass migration of those who can afford it to elsewhere in the world where their political leaders do not expect them to fork out almost half their earnings to fund their gerrymandering and social engineering. In one sense it is a form of "Gerrymandering", of manipulating the voting population to ensure this present government always have a majority in any given seat. It is equally noticeable that our unemployment figure remains high - and 600,000 vacancies or not, refuses to come down. Our shortage of housing remains high and more and more young people cannot get onto the property ladder at all, not even to rent because they cannot afford the huge deposit demanded on private letting plus the first months rent up front.

The expansion of the EU has brought with it a flood of young people from the former communist territories of Eastern Europe, and I, for one, welcome them. These youngsters have taken the trouble to learn to speak English and throw themselves into our culture and our way of life. Generally they also work harder than anyone else and have a far higher code of conduct than many of our own spoiled youth. But the key here is that they come here to learn, to gain experience and to send money home. One young Polish man who regularly serves me in my favourite watering hole earns just over £200 a week and sends half that home to his mother to support a brother and sister who are in university. When I asked about his own ambitions, he just grinned and said, "I like it here," then he shrugged and added, "I like to stay here, to get to be English maybe?" And he will probably succeed, because he is making every effort to "fit in".

In contrast, when my family and I migrated to these shores a little over twenty years ago our children were in a minority in the first school we could find and none of the notes they brought home were ever written in English. We always had to phone the school and ask to be told what they said. Twenty years on and nothing in that community has changed - in fact it has gone even further towards becoming completely detached from anything recogniseably "British". That is the problem created by Labour's "Open Door" and focus on "Multi-culturalism". It has dispossed the British and created ghettos by insisting that it is "OK" to refuse to integrate into our society.

Well, the Lords Committee has blown the whistle. Mr Brown and his coterie of socialist ideologues can object all they like. Facts remain facts and they cannot refute them. Their own statistics are now starting to give them the lie and no matter how much they massage the figures and move the goal posts the truth is starting to emerge. One important thing I notice that no one has addressed in this row is the cost to the taxpayer of the continuing employment of so many native Britons or the failure to invest in providing them with the skills our politicians say they lack. 680,000 vacancies the ministers trumpet, but they don't answer the important question. Why are we unable to fill these from our domestic labour pool?

I welcome the vast majority of those who have come here to make a better life - after all, I did and I would hope I have contributed more than I am getting back. I do not welcome the professional agitators, the parasites, the criminals and those who want to change this country into the third world, seventh century Theocracy they have come from. Nor do I welcome those who, for whatever reason, want to remain living in the manner of a distant country and force everyone else to live that way too.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 04, 2008

Good bye to a tyrant?

The prospect of Mugabe going quietly is one we can all hope for, but I have my doubts. As the Madam and Eve cartoon for April 2nd put it "The elections were definitely free - and one out of two isn't bad." Personally I will not be surprised if the delay in announcing the outcome of the Presidential election isn't caused by Mugabe's need to get his troops and police in place to arrest everyone who might even think he is about to give up his palace and his power just because the electorate say he must. Democracy doesn't work that way in Africa - or perhaps the West failed to take note of the Kenyan election debacle.

I will not be at all surprised if, no sooner is Morgan Tsvangira declared the winner, than Mugabe's General's will declare the election void and re-instate their "Glorious Leader" as President for Life.

I think its a case of "watch this space". But don't hold your breath - everything in that benighted country now depends on how loyal the army is to Mugabe.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:51 PM | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

When enforcers differ ....

Mausi finds herself in a strange position today. She is appearing in court as an "expert" witness, a job she normally does for the prosecution. Today is different because this is an appeal and Mausi finds herself testifying in favour of the Defence case and in direct conflict with the local police. Already someone has "leaked" this to the Press and the local and national dailies in her part of the world are full of stories about her organisation "gunning" for the police side.

Nothing could be further from the truth. She has, as usual, done a meticulous job of sifting through all the evidence and found that the original prosecution was badly flawed. The original investigators were offered this information and have tried to defend the indefensible.

The court will, I think, be an interesting place to be today, but of one thing I am certain, there can only be one outcome and if it improves the quality of future investigations by the force involved, that will be an even better outcome. As it is, someone has spent two years in prison for something they did not do. It isn't just embarassing when that happens - its a travesty. At least Mausi's Institute is interested only in the truth and the facts, not the target for "success" in prosecutions.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:56 AM | TrackBack

March 24, 2008

Gone beyond the rim ....

Arthur C Clarke has long been one of my favourite reads in Sci-fi. Alongside Isaac Asmiov, Robert Heinlein and one or two others who wrote scientifically plausible and realistic fiction. You don't get lost in the science with them, and you can enjoy the story without falling over scientifically impossible technology or concepts. Even their monsters were phgysiologically plausible and followed the "rules" as far as inter-species reactions were concerned. The most remarkable part of them was the fact that Clarke and Asimov were scientists by day and wrote for fun. Even Heinlein had a degree in Science.

Now Arthur C Clarke is dead, called to join his fellow travellers at last in the next dimension. To put it in the language of Babylon 5 - inspired in many ways by their writing - they have gone beyond the rim.

Personally I have found a couple of things Clarke wrote philosophically interesting in an intellectually provocative way. These have all appeared in different guises in his books, but he has also stated them in various interviews over the years. They include: -

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

This one always reminds me of the fact that many of the theories on which much of science is founded, are just that, our best guess at the "rules" as we understand them at present. The wise scientist almost always adds - "with the information/data currently available ..." to any "definitive" statement somewhere in his/her paper. Think of the Phlogiston theory popular in the early 19th Century - or the theory that cholera was spread by the stink of sewage - a view the medical profession refused to give up until forced to do so by incontrovertible evidence of the bacterial source.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Again, a hundred years ago many thought it would be impossible to launch men into space. But then only a few years before that it was considered that flight was an eccentric idea unlikely to ever be practical. Yet in living memory flying has gone from canvas and string gliders to hi-tech carbon fibre/titanium alloy powered by engines of unimaginable power at two and three times the speed of sound. We have even achieved one of the sci-fi writers stock-in-trade vehicles - the reusable passenger and goods shuttle.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Think of the impact electricity has had, of the ability to transfer our voices and our images around the globe in the blink of an eye. To any society that had never seen this - magic!

One of the truly interesting things about Clarke's writing is just how much has already become science fact. Space stations with men permanently in space, shuttles, moon walkers and even computers now edging into Artificial Intelligence.....

HAL 2000 may be just around the corner.

I hope that Arthur C Clarke will join his fellow scientists at rest beyond the rim and continue their exploration of the universe in both fact and fantasy. What an interesting company they must make.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:31 AM | TrackBack

March 15, 2008

Bureaucratic games ....

Yesterday's trip to London was an interesting experience. Firstly, having followed the web site times for applying for and collecting a Visa to visit a middle eastern state, I turned up at the Consulate at 10.45 only to be turned away again because "visas can only be applied for between 12.30 and 15.30". And no, you can't wait in the waiting room .....

So I found a quiet cafe and had breakfast (to get there as early as I had meant leaving home at 07.00 in order to get an early train which meant not being able to get a cheaper fare ...) and reviewed and got the missing details for my application sorted out. Eventually I returned to the Consulate fortified and armed with the form, correctly filled in, photos and all the other items demanded of visitors to the country concerned. Now there was a queue. I joined this queue in order to get a queueing number to join the visa queue. Ahead of me was a young lady, training she told me at Oxford to become a doctor. She was bareheaded, her blonde hair on view. An elderly man, obviously official, approached and informed her that she could not enter the Consulate without a headscarf. As the queue wasn't moving I suggested she nip round the corner to a shop that sold suitable items and get herself one and that I would keep her place. She hadn't realised that once across the threshold of an embassy or consulate you are technically in the country of that embassy .... So, off she dashed to return about fifteen minutes later (the queue hadn't moved so I let her back into the row ahead of me), her head now suitably covered in a rather heavy cashmere type scarf. I wish her well of her trip, no doubt she will discover a great deal about religious bigotry once she gets there.

Having got the ticket I now went downstairs as directed to make the application, joined a queue there only to be told, on arrival at the window, that I should have been upstairs - so back up the stairs, find the right queue (fortunately my number had not yet come up!) and waited. Eventually I managed to get my application in and was told - OK, come back Tuesday at 16.00. Aaaargh! Aother trip to the cesspit! Could they not do a "same day" service I asked as I live some distance from the said cesspit. Ah, well, OK, but it costs more. Fine - just give me the bl**dy visa.

So, at 15.35 I returned expecting to have to wait and queue again, only to have the passport and the shiny new visia returned to me immediately. Obviously as a representative of the Great Satan's ally I am fair game for these little bureaucratic games. I wonder if the rules will have changed when my colleague goes to sort his out next week? Probably, they seemed to make it all up as they went along anyway.

Still, I get paid for it ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2008

The right to choose?

The row currently in the news over the challenge to the government's new legislation governing embryology and genetic research comes from the unlikely source of a deaf couple who are challenging the legislation on the grounds that they should be allowed to choose that any child born to them by IVF treatment should be deaf. Now, leaving aside for the moment the concept of screen embryos to check for the genetic defects that cause congenital deafness, surely the debate should be addressing the question of giving any future child the opportunity to be born fully equipped for this life with eyes, ears that function and all the other organs functional as well - and not about whether or not the parents should have the right to decide whether or not a future child should be deaf, blind or limbless?

I found myself listening in disbelief to the arguments advanced by this couple and their supporters who are arguing on an emotional level that satisfies their needs - and completely ignores the childs. THEY want the child to be like them - deaf - and not to have the chance to be able to hear and appreciate all the things they cannot. THEY do not consider themselves disabled - and want their children to "fit into their 'culture'". Excuse me? So being deaf is now a "cultural" issue? So now perhaps we can look forward to demands from the wheelchair warriors for "cultural recognition" of their right to cripple the rest of us as they barge their powered wheelchairs through crowded shops and supermarkets?

This is definitely the thinking of the lunatic asylum. Offered the choice between bringing into this world someone with the full use of all their faculties and all their limbs and bringing in someone whose entire life will require a huge amount of support and assistance, will be handicapped in so many ways, these people would seem to be saying that they would deliberately choose to bring someone into it deliberately disabled.

I sincerely hope that the Judge in this vexatious case rules that the parents have no right to deliberately choose to disable their offspring when they have the choice. I know what my response would be if I learned that my parents had made this choice and that I now had to live with their bigotry. Bitter doesn't describe it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Its beginning to get to us ....

This is doing the rounds, and rather than send it on by e-mail, I thought I'd share it with the blogosphere. This is the sort of form filling, paper shuffling bureaucracy that I always get mad at ....

Subject: Passport Application


Dear Minister,
I'm in the process of renewing my passport but I am a total loss to understand or believe the hoops I am being asked to jump through.

How is it that Bert Smith of T.V. Rentals Basingstoke has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a satellite dish from them back in 1994, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date?

How come that nice West African immigrant chappy who comes round every Thursday night with his DVD rentals van can tell me every film or video I have had out since he started his business up eleven years ago, yet you still want me to remind you of my last three jobs, two of which were with contractors working for the government?

How come the T.V. detector van can tell if my T.V. is on, what channel I am watching and whether I have paid my licence or not, and yet if I win the government run lottery they have no idea I have won or where I am and will keep the bloody money to themselves if I fail to claim in good time.
Do you people do this by hand?

You have my birth date on numerous files you hold on me, including the one with all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30-odd years. It's on my health insurance card, my driver's licence, on the last four passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes and boats over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done every ten years and the electoral registration forms I have to complete, by law, every time our lords and masters are up for re-election.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, I was born in Maidenhead on the 4th of March 1957, my mother's name is Mary, her maiden name was Reynolds, my father's name is Robert, and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and the day I die!

I apologise Minister. I'm obviously not myself this morning. But between you and me, I have simply had enough! You mail the application to my house, then you ask me for my address. What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthals working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to activate the Fifth Reich for God's sake! I just want to go and park my weary backside on a sunny, sandy beach for a couple of week's well-earned rest away from all this crap.

Well, I have to go now, because I have to go to back to Salisbury and get another copy of my birth certificate because you lost the last one. AND to the tune of 60 quid! What a racket THAT is!! Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day? But nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some tosser to confirm that it's really me on the goddamn picture - you know... the one where we're not allowed to smile in in case we look as if we are enjoying the process!
Hey, you know why we can't smile? 'Cause we're totally jacked off!

I served in the armed forces for more than 25 years including over ten years at the Ministry of Defence in London . I have had security clearances which allowed me to sit in the Cabinet Office, five seats away from the Prime Minister while he was being briefed on the first Gulf War and I have been doing volunteer work for the British Red Cross ever since I left the Services. However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am -- you know, someone like my doctor...
who, before he got his medical degree 6 months ago WAS LIVING IN PAKISTAN ...

Yours sincerely,
An Irate British Citizen.

I think the letter encapsulates exactly what drives me up the walls with rage at the way we are treated by the faceless wonders of Whitehall. They can make the most mounmental botch of anything without even trying, but they are NEVER held to account for it. In a case exposed recently a Taxi driver was made bankrupt by the incompetent nincompoops at HM Revenue and Customs. How? Easy, they LOST his files and declared he owed them £12,000 in unpaid tax. Where that figure came from they are unable to explain - and, when he rightly refused to pay, they dragged him into court, declared him bankrupt and seized his property (including his cab - his means of earning a living) and left him destitute.

It has taken a year to sort it out. His outstanding tax was just £0.88pence. But he still has the label "Bankrupt" attached and even though he has been declared "rehabilitated" still cannot get a mortgage or any other finance deal - all due to the incompetence of some little toe-rag in the tax office. A faceless wonder who has now, no doubt, been promoted as a reward for his or her utter contempt for truth, justice or actually doing a useful job.

Coupled with that comes the admission from a senior civil servant that HMRC never pursue the rich - they have accountants who make life for the incomptents in HMRC difficult and look like the fools they are - so they target self employed middle class earners and working men, hounding them and accusing them of non-payment or underpayment of tax.

It really is time to hold the Whitehall W*nkers to account for every mistake, every unnecessary form and every wasted penny of our money.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:32 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

Stormy weather ....

As the old sea shanty says: - "For the stormy winds do blow, and the raging seas how they flow!"

Got up this morning to prepare to go to work today to wind howling round the windows, rain slashing across the landscape and threats of flooding, fortunately not here. The road reports are of trees down and slow journeys, so this is a very short post. I have to drive some thirty miles to the job - and I better get going.

Seems the forecasters got it right for once.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Left/Liberalism a mental disease?

Da Goddess (See my Blogroll) has posted an excellent piece outlining the dilemma many people face now that the "Liberal" trend is gaining dominance. In her piece labelled Liberalism Leftism As A Disease, she quotes a study made by Dr Rossiter - a doctor of psychiatrics - and analyses the problem of the "Liberal" who is anything but.

This is something that has worried me for years, the term "liberal" used to mean someone that followed a "live and let live" approach, Someone who was tolerant, recognised the individuality of people and stood for the right to be individual, free to speak as we saw even if we disagreed. Not so anymore. Today, certainly in Britain it has come to mean someone who subscribes to what Da Goddess calls "victimology" and wants to tie everyone up in "rules" which are supposed to be "for the greater good." Nothing, in recent years, has made me more angry than being told that "in order to redress the imbalances in our society, some people will have to sacrifice their rights and choices in order for others to be advanced." This is the mantra our Civil Service has adopted as an article of faith and what it means is a disproportionate number of immigrant minorities being recruited, often regardless of ability, to fill posts in the Whitehall Departments. Considering that across the nation the immigrant population numbers around 8% of the total - and roughly a third of that is from Europe and Eastern Europe in particular, we have to ask the question - why is it that some Departments now have amost a third of their staff from Asian or other non-european backgrounds? This is not liberal, it is a deliberate policy of exclusion aimed at the majority of Britons. The "sacrifices" that have to be made are notably NOT being made by those who espouse these policies or their families. The BBC recently rather bravely highlighted the plight of white working class Britain, excluded, unemployed and now invisible behind the rampant promotion of "Immigration is Good for Britain."

One problem with that is the news headline today that RAF personnel in Peterborough have been ordered NOT to wear their uniforms in public. Why? Because that centre of Christianity has become an Islamic ghetto under Labour and the servicemen and women are now being subjected to verbal abuse and physical threats whenever they leave the Base just outside the town. But the RAF personnel, argues the Left, are seen as the "oppressor" by these Muslim "victims" of the West's aggression.

Some years ago I was accosted in London by a protester waving a petition he demanded I sign. I refused as I did not, and still do not, believe that what was being demanded then was right. He immediately called me a "racist" and began to harangue me for my "Right wing" fascism. He never even paused to ask why I was not willing to sign, or to support his view, he was only interested in his own narrow vision. Angry, I told him that it took a racist to know a racist and walked away, followed by a torrent of abuse from him and his fellow protesters. Ironically, I recognise that twerp - now balding slightly, still arrogant and loud, and dressed in bespoke Saville Row suits, chauffeured by men worth a hundred of his sort. You guessed it, he's now in the Cabinet. And his petition was in support of Robert Mugabe .....

Dr Rossiter highlights several things about the "Left wing" mindset, including:

.....the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

- creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization; satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;

- augmenting primitive feelings of envy;

- rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

One thing I learned when studying Political Science some years ago is that the political spectrum is rather like a rainbow - it is a circle or a curve, it is not linear. At both ends of the rainbow you find yourself standing in the same place. If true Liberalism and Democracy are on one side of it, the other is where the dictators sit. The Left of today - I can't call them "Liberal" - sit on that end. Why? Because their clutching at regulating every aspect of our lives and their constant desire to "redistribute" wealth from the pockets of those who actually work, to their own and their "victims" pockets spells out very clearly where they are coming from and going to. Take a look at the denizens of Westminster - desperate to hang on to power at all costs, desperate to "prove" their credentials by constantly introducing more and more regulations to impose control on our lives - and desperate to defend their view of the rest of us needing their guidance and defence in order to manage our lives.

I think the good Doctor is right. It is a mental disorder, but I have no doubt that he is already under attack from the Left for even thinking it. Watch this space .....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

Misleading Parliament is a crime ......

Misleading the public seems to be a stock in trade. One does wonder, having watched the performance of the treasonous bunch who voted to deprive us of our democratic right to determine whether or not our nation is subsumed into the United States of Europe, what the penalty should be when the entire House "misleads Parliament" on a scale that must defy comparison. Gordon Brown dares to stand at the Despatch Box and declare that this is not the same as the treaty the French and Dutch electorates threw out. That it does NOT create a US of E, yet, every other government in Europe is saying that it DOES! The French President, the German Chancellor, all say that it is a constitution and that it does create a European State - so why is Brown lying?

It is easy to understand why this Parliament refuses to allow the democratic process to be followed, every opinion poll taken in the last six months has indicated that the electorate will reject the Treaty - and Brown and Labour cannot afford that. So they hide behind the lies.

Several newspapers and one of the political parties have said that this is the day our democracy died. They are wrong, it died, for England, on the day Blair's Party ramraided the legislation through Parliament creating the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament without providing a separate Parliament for England. Again, they didn't dare since Labour could not expect to ever be elected to power in it. So we now have the spectacle of a Scottish MP as Prime Minister, elected to a seat in Scotland which is ruled by the Scottish Parliament and not bound by any Act passed in Westminster, passing legislation and formulating legislation which affects people who did not elect him and would not elect him. Nor does it end there, since the majority of his cabinet and tranche of "Junior" Ministers are in a similar position. Even the occuppant of the Speaker's Chair is a Scottish MP, representing a Scottish constituency. They do not represent English constituents, they do not control what is happening in their own "countries" (Again, if they are elected by Welsh or Scottish voters, why are they sitting in a Parliament that does not 'govern' their constituents?) It goes further, for, as the government itself admits, more than 75% of the legislation they now rubber stamp is drawn up in Brussels by the unelected and unaccountable Commission. In other words, we, the voters have no say in the process of government. And in England we are now the subject of the rule of the Scottish, Welsh and Immigrant minorities in our own country.

The only conclusion one can draw is that democracy is dead, Westminster is now an irrelevance and we are ruled by an unelected elite of bureaucrats based in Brussels. Parliament is not only being mislead, it is being deliberately mislead, mismanaged and used to mislead the electorate - by the very people who so jealously guard their own interests and freedoms. Misleading parliament is a heinous crime, but misleading the elctorate is now the stock in trade of all politicians and their bureaucrat parasites.

I may be wrong, but was not the American Revolution fueled by the sentiment that there should be "No taxation without representation"? Perhaps it is time to ask what representation I have in Brussels - since my taxes pay for it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

Prince Harry

It is a great pity that some journalists simply can't help themselves. Common sense dictates that some stories are better not told - especially when it will put lives in danger. Yet the newshound named Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report simply could not resist publishing the news that Prince Harry, or to give him his correct title, Lieutenant Windsor, was on active service with his troop in Afghanistan.

He knew when he decided to publish it that this would have an immediate impact on both the Prince and everyone around him. One has to ask therefore, what his motive was in doing it. Public interest? That beloved catchall of the journalist hack? Try the other one, certainly the US audience is hardly interested in what the Prince does for a living, so perhaps he hoped that shooting his pen off with this would get Harry killed - big headline in that and masses of press coverage in the funeral. You can just see the banner headlines - "Tragic Princess' Tragic Son dies at the hands of the Taliban" and in the byline - "XXX British Soldiers die in massive bomb aimed at the Prince" followed by acres of handwringing prose agonising over "why was he sent there?"

Prince Harry is a soldier. It is what he was bred to be. A leader of men under pressure and by all accounts he's a damned good one. What he doesn't need now or at any time in the future is a bunch of idiot journalists hounding him everywhere he goes and endangering him, everyone around him and everything he and his troops represent. My sympathy lies entirely with Harry on this one. I wouldn't want to be kicking my heels in the Regimental Barracks either while my troops were out in a war zone. Like Harry, I'd want to be with them, but patently, as long as people like Matt Drudge can't behave responsibly, this desire to serve his country well will be frustrated.

What the Drudge Report has exposed more than anything else is the media obsession with "Celebrity" and their desire to destroy anyone who stands above the common herd - a herd they claim tomrepresent, yet do everything they can to stand aloof from while trying to influence and steer it. Prince Harry and his brother Prince William have been bron into one of the toughest roles anyone could have to assume. They did not choose to be what they are and now they have to learn to be something the media and politicians loathe while under the constant surveillance of the media circus. Neither of them can even pop out to their local club or pub without some damned idiot trying to embarass them, provoke them or get a "story" on them. In my book, both of them are a thousand times the men that the media hacks will ever be, and ten thousand times the people any politician will ever be.

Prince Harry is, in my view, a damned fine young man, one I would be proud to serve under or with. I hope he does get his wish to return to his unit and his role, he has a lot to offer and the media should butt out and let him get on with it. As for Mr Drudge, he should be asked to answer charges of endangering the lives of our troops in Helmand Province and attempting to undermine the effort to suppress the terrorism the Taliban represent. I, for one, think that was his intention - to get some British troops killed and to sabotage their efforts to overcome the Taliban. Perhaps the FBI should look into that for us.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 29, 2008

Circular thinking .....

Various regulators for the government in this country have been handing out huge fines to service providers lately. This is supposed to "encourage" them to provide better services in future. Now maybe I'm missing something here, but how will fining a government agency - one that was privatised and then renationalised by this same bunch of closet communistas - £14 million improve their abysmal service? How is this "value for money?" Especially I ask, how can it be value for money when it must come from my taxes in the first place - and will have to come out of the budget for maintaining the railway system in the second - unless, of course, some other Whitehall W*nker will simply take the money from the Treasury and pass it to the Network Rail Chairman in order for him to pay the Treasury .....

Circular thinking if ever I saw it.

But then, what do you expect from Whitehall? Common sense? Actual solutions? See your psychiatrist quick - it will be fairies in the garden next! The rail regulator evaded, no less than four times, a direct question concerning where the money to pay this fine would come from. Instead he burbled on about how the fine would "improve" performance. How?

Corrupt? Incompetent? Out of touch? Unable to face reality? One really does despair of the shower earning vast salaries to screw the country up completely. And they are completely unanswerable to anyone. Bomb-proof no matter how big the c*ck-up they create. In fact its a well known dictum in Whitehall - the bigger the c*ck-up, the bigger the promotion.

And the tax payer just keeps getting soaked for more of their earnings to pay for it ......

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:55 PM | TrackBack

February 28, 2008

What price democracy Mister Brown?

The refusal by our government to allow a debate on a Libdem Amendment to the EU Treaty ratification Act currently being rushed through Parliament with indecent haste by Brown and his Labour pitbulls exposes just how far we have drifted from being a democratic state. In a debate on Radio 4 a day or so ago, Charles Kennedy of the Lib Dems found himself having to agree with the UKIP MEP on almost every point the man raised against our remaining a part of the EU. The fact is that we, the British People, have never been allowed to say whether we wish to be a part of the United States of Europe or not. We signed up in 1974 to being a part of a Trading Partnership, NOT a political Union.

Again, it is a fact that Westminster and our Parliament has become an expensive irrelevance. It was already getting that way when Labour decided to devolve powers to Scotland and Wales and that has simply exposed it to the true state of affairs - it now is not Sovereign, nor is it acting on behalf of the People of Britain. The Scottish Parliament speaks for Scotland, not Westminster, the Welsh Assembly speaks for Wales, not Westminster. England is now ruled by Scottish and Welsh MP's who have no constituency in England. How's that for democracy? Brussels formulates and imposes almost 80% of all legislation that Westminster Rubber Stamps. Legislation, moreover, that conflicts with our legal system and practice and imposes ever more restrictive and postively damaging restrictions on our industry, commerce and trade without ever being responsible to the British People or subject to election as they would be in a democratic society. So who does Westminster speak for? It would seem now to speak only for the English, yet even here it is not democratic since Brown's Party majority rests upon Scottish and Welsh MP's who are not affected in the slightest by the taxes and legislation they impose on the English.

Yesterday a mass lobby of Parliament demanding our rite to a Referendum on this issue was highjacked by the loony Greens of Greenpeace who don't give a damn and pulled off a silly stunt to make sure they got the press coverage while the real issue was ignored. On top of this we have to listen to Brown and his Gaulieters spinning that the Treaty isn't a Constituition. Well, pardon me, but almost everyone else in Europe thinks it is - so what is Brown afraid of admitting here?

Certainly one of the things he and his party of traitors isn't admitting is that our Armed Forces have been handed over to Europe. That's right, the "Treaty" creates a European Defence Force and the Royal Navy is now no more than a squadron within that Fleet - led and Commanded by the French. Nelson must be deafening anyone in St Paul's crypt right now. Our Army too has been cut back and cut back so that it can be slotted into the European Army as "the British Division" which is all it now is. Even the Royal Air Force is being cut back to just a Transport and a Strike Wing. Lord alone knows who will be in command of the European Airforce - but he or she probably won't be British either! And Whitehall has just announced another Defenece Review - with the "proposed" aircraft carriers now being projected as "deferred" until 2020. By which time the UK will be mere provinces of Brussels.

We no longer live in a democracy. Labour have seen to that. This is now a Socialist Oligarchy, our democracy died the day Blair won the election in 1997 and it will not be revived in my lifetime. The Civil Service is now the single biggest political power block in the country, employing over 20% of the workforce. Blair himself commented recently that he had found it almost impossible to actually get his intentions implemented because of the blocking and delaying that the civil service employs to prevent anyone actually doing anything they do not appove of or which would reduce their grip on the real power. Yet his party are the very people who have created and fed this monster.

One further affect of the Brussels usurpation of our sovereignty is the manifestation of vexatious legislation meddling in the minutieae of peoples lives. There is a historical precedent for this - the Roman Senate in the dying days of that empire enacted similar rafts of legislation in a desperate effort to assert power of an increasingly disenchanted populace as the real power shifted inexorably into the hands of the Emeroros and their immediate court. Who weilds the real power here now Mister Brown? You? I think not, personally I think it is the Commission in Brussels. Unelected, unaccountable and all powerful - thanks to your and your party's treason.

Westminster is now an expensive irrelevance, corrupt, incestuous and totally unnecessary. It is time to use the words uttered by this shower's equally corrupt and bigotted hero - Oliver Cromwell, dictator, traitor and regicide -

"For too long you have disgraced this house. In the name of God - go!"

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:06 PM | TrackBack

February 25, 2008

Time for root and branch reform of Westminster ...

The news that the Speaker of the House of Commons is having his expenses investigated by the Parliamentary Wtachdog shows up the fact that our government is now so mired in sleaze that it is incapable of managing its own affairs - never mind ours! Mister Speaker is supposed to be absolutely squeaky clean - but then Gorbals Mick as his detractors nicknamed Labour's Scottish MP incumbent of the most important post in Parliament was always on a knife edge when it came to probity. The Scottish Labour Party has always played fast a loose with our money, particularly when given control of English Tax money. And they have a record of corruption and mafia style bullying and nepotism that makes some Third World States look like Cub Scouts.

When Mister Speaker can be accused of fiddling his expenses, the time has come for the appointment of some body to oversee Parliament and make sure they are playing straight. After all Mister Speaker is the man who agrees MP's allowances and approves their claims. If his aren't quite what they should be, what the h*ll are the rest up to?

Parliament is only a part of the problem. The way money is thrown around Whitehall it should come as no surprise that much of it finds its way into the pockets of corrupt civil servants and their political paymasters. It must surely be time to call a halt to the way Whitehall is run (or not run as the case may be) and put in place public oversight of the activities of the Treasury, demand proper Budgets, not the cobbled together "we don't really know how much we need so we make a guess at it and double it," style of budgeting. This government has done more "spending reviews" than any other in our history - yet the cost of government keeps rising. Why?

Probably because no budget is ever really cut - they just find more creative ways to spend our money to their advantage. Definitely time to clean out the house and bar the CIvil Servants from "managing" anything.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 23, 2008

Another assault on our freedom?

The news today that a new camera is to be installed on our roads to police the new government backed installation of special lanes for use by motorists who have more than one person in the car confirms to me that this government wants to deny most of us the use of private transport. Let's face it, most of us use our cars to get to and from work because there isn't suitable public transport or because we need to be flexible and work either longer hours or at different locations from time to time. So the Transport Minister babbling about "choice" and the need to compell us to use inadequate, inconvenient and packed with inconsiderate, ill disciplined and badly behaved yobs is a bit outside of reality. OK for those who have the use of chaffeur driven Jaguars with Police escorts - for the rest of us it will mean being forced to sit in traffic jams in the lanes single motorists, HGVs and everyone else are confined to while the "multi-person" lane is empty.

It seems that the proponents of this latest batch of stupidity traffic management argue that, if you convert one lane of a two lane highway into a "High Density Vehicle" lane and force all other road users into the other lane, you will ease the congestion. Anyone see the flaw in this? Anyone see the problem of forcing all the traffic into one lane so the fortunate few, such as the Minister of Transport and her chums with the kiddie seats and communal transport habits can have the freedom to drive unmolested and unobstructed - no HGVs means no crawling traffic to hold you back - at the expense of the rest of us who will now not only have to pay an exorbitant road tax for bugger all, but will burn more fuel, creating more pollution - and paying more fuel tax - for the privilege of using our own cars.

Some time ago I did share a car with several others. It was never an easy mix since well had to arrive at work or leave work together, it meant that whoever was late at the pickup point or delayed in the office held the rest of us up. It also meant that, if for any reason one of us had to work late or get in early, and sometimes we did, you had to make other arrangements to get there or get home.

As usual, the problems of the city are to be imposed on those of us who choose not to live in the cheek by jowl situation imposed by city life. And, as usual, the politicians and the bureaucrats are the only beneficiaries of yet more legislation and yet more criminalising of the general public as soon as we exercise our freedom of choice. Have any of these morons had to try living without their cars? Easy if you can afford the rents (or have the taxpayer pick them up for you) of central London. Easy if you have the chaffeur service at your beck and call - not so bloody easy if you have to catch trains, tubes and buses while carrying the family shopping!

Even worse, if you live alone and frequently have to travel alone, it is usually not a matter of choice. Where I live (Can afford to live!) is not on a mainline. Even if it was, I still could not travel to my most frequent destinations directly from here. It would involve several changes and is vastly more expensive than using my car. Even if I mix my transport, driving part way, then switching to public transport, I find myself heavily out of pocket vastly inconvenienced by the constraints of the train or bus timetables.

Let's face it, the real reason this government of control freaks, puritans and c;oset communists want to deny us the free use of our cars is that they hate our having any choice at all about how we live, where we live or where we work. They want to confine us in neat little units where we can be more easily monitored and fed the b*llsh*t they would have us believe.

Face it, the real problem on our roads is not the private motorist. It is the huge load of freight that is carried in juggernauts on roads not designed for them, through villages not intended for such traffic and into towns where they damage roads, buildings and lives. If you seek the real cause of pollution look no further than the huge fleets of trucks carrying goods that could be more efficiently carried by rail or sea around our coasts. Look no further than the lunatic "traffic calming" measures forcing motorists to drive at uneconomically low speeds in uneconomical gears around towns and cities and at the lunacy of empty lanes on raods that motorists are banned from using because they are reserved for "mass transit" vehicles. And all the while our Ministers andtheir Civil Service chums ride around at our expense in chaffeur driven limosines. Nice for some.

The last time I had to use the bus to go from my home to the neighbouring town - 8 miles in my car and only a matter of twenty minutes - the bus took a little over an hour and was filled with unruly teenagers who shouted, spat screamed and generally made themselves unpleasant. The bus driver could do nothing about it and the rest of us had to endure it. I have not travelled by bus since, and I don't intend to do so again until I can be assured that that sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and that such passengers will be ejected from the bus immediately.

On those occassions when I can take the train to my destination I find that more often than not I have to pay a premium fare in order to be able to travel when I need to in order to arrive on time at my business - and then, as often as not, I can't find a seat and end up paying over the odds for the privilege of standing for two hours.

Mark my words, this scheme is the thin end of a very large wedge. If this doesn't force you out of your car - and the schemes will be introduced in rural as well as urban areas - there will shortly be another assault on your right to drive your own vehicle. Ironic isn't it, that the present government are the very same people who boycotted lectures, staged "sit-ins" in colleges, schools and universities to force the governing bodies into accepting "freedom of choice" for students - and now they want to remove all freedom of choice from the rest of us.

If it wasn't so blatant, it might even be funny.....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 21, 2008

Investment theft ...

So Labour is again stealing investment capital. Northern Rocks long suffering shareholders are to have their shares in the business taken off them at a token value by this government of incompetents and thieves in their latest grab of peoples investments. The excuse that it is "to protect the taxpayers investment" is wearing a bit thin. After all, they created the crisis with their ill considered insistence on making the Bank of England reveal who it was lending money too. The real problem here is that having created the problem they compounded it by letting the panic run on and on until the Bank needed to borrow far more than it would have done. Then, of course, the Chancellor stepped in with that great Socialist/Communist panacea for all ills - put an incompetent bureaucrat in charge.

Or if you don't think you'll get away with that - put one of your tax dodging chums in the driving seat. That has to be the biggest con job of all. After making a huge song and dance about "Non-doms" dodging tax in the UK on money earned in the UK by actually living in a country with a lower tax rate, who does the Chancellor appoint to take over the Bank - a "Non-dom" chum ....

The truth is that the Northern Rock has been nationalised "temporarily" to protect the tax payers investment in keeping the bank afloat. As I said earlier, the crisis was engineered by the government, so I think the money should come from their pockets, not ours. Secondly, the shareholders can expect little or no moeny for their investment - the Treasury's creative accountants will value the shares at way below their market value simply to avoid paying out their real value - and there is no way the investors will be able to recover this. Again, all the Labour Communistas are rubbing their grubby hands gleefully and triumphantly declaring that the investors "can't be bailed out by the taxpayers". I think I'd rather know my tax money was doing that than paying the salaries of worthless bureaucrats and politicians who are totally unaccountable. This is exactly what they did to the shareholders of Rail Track when the same moron re-nationalised that!

The other problem is the word "temporarily". In Civil Service terms that embraces everything from "until the wind blows from the East" to "Forever". I suspect that Northern Rock is going to prove a permanent passenger on the Civil Service list, just getting gradually less and less efficient until it becomes obvious that it has, like the rest of Whitehall, just become a financial Black Hole, sucking in money and producing nothing of any worth or value.

Time, I suppose, will tell.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2008

Eclipse of the moon

Tonight sees the eclipse of the moon, a fascinating sight if it is visible. The moon darkens and takes on a red appearance as the shadow of our planet passes across its surface.

Traditionally, eclipses are portents of disaster, so I wonder who is predicting what for whom on this one. Darius III lost the battle at Gaugamela to Alexander the Great after soothsayers foretold disaster when a total eclipse of the moon occured a few days before the two armies clashed in 331BC. I must confess that I have seen a reference to Alexander being told the same thing - but having the courage to say "b*llsh*t!" and went into battle having given his troops a right old talking too. Darius III probably wished he had.

I wonder how often in history the torch of history has been passed on from one hand who believed the soothsaying to a victor who didn't. I would suspect that we will never know for the simple reason that the winner is unlikely to repeat the soothsayers doomsaying while laughing at the fact that his enemy fell for it.

Wonder if some clown will now try telling us that this ecplipse portends the ending of our civilisation. Won't surprise me at all if someone does!

Whatever, as it is happening at 03.21 - I won't be sitting up to watch it!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:25 PM | TrackBack

February 19, 2008

The Diana farce .....

Rumbles on. Listening to Mr Al Fayed on the radio after he gave his "evidence" today, I found myself wondering if this man is quite all there. I am convinced that he inhabits a world with several more moons around it than the one I am on. In fact if he continues to rant in the manner he was doing this evening when asked to comment on the Enquiry by Radio 4 I fully expect him to be either called to apologise publically by the Judge - a very senior Judge in the Lords - or charged with Contempt of Court, a very serious offence in the eyes of the law.

From what was broadcast the "evidence" now descends to the level of accusations which cannot be substantiated, downright defamation and, when challenged to provide hard evidence, invective and abuse. He clings to the view that the Princess was pregnant in the face of medical testimony that she was not. He declares that she and Dodi "were engaged" when all her friends say this was rubbish and, of course, no one can now prove or disprove it. To cap it all, he accuses the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip of racism and of complicity in "murder" - despite the fact that the Duke's letters released to this court show that he did more to try to help Diana than anyone else. And, much as I loathe Tony Blair, I find the accusation that the little creep colluded with MI5, MI6, Prince Charles and the Duke to have Diana and Dodi killed, just plain ludicrous. Especially as the conspirators are now supposed to have included the French Secret Service and the Sapeurs Pompiers and Ambulance service in Paris! If it wasn't such a monumental waste of money and tragedy for Princes William and Harry it would be laughable.

It really is time to draw a line under this - and send Mr Al Fayed the bill.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:09 PM | TrackBack

February 18, 2008

As civilisation fades ...

In South Africa, it seems that they are finding ever more amusing ways to have a dig at their leaders. The cartoon Madam and Eve has just run a series on "modernised" nursery rhymes most of which hit the mark - pardon the pun - right on the nose.

In a society where crime is so high no one is immune, corruption scandals are the order of the day and the most corrupt of all are sitting in Parliament or about to be crowned as President, there is nothing left buyt to resport to satire. And all nursery rhymes are, or were originally, just that. A poke on the nose for the government of the day. The Madam and Eve versions are amusing and fun for most of us, but do carry a serious message for those who have to live through their current difficulties.

So, is Western civilisation about to collapse completely? Perhaps not entirely in Europe and the North Americas, but it does seem doomed to fade and fail in AFrica and many other places it has been "planted". It is, however, comforting to hope that the "Dark Age" as we might view it, may be shortened by technoloy and the internet. Possibly even by the effect of "Globalisation". But, if Africa does go into a Dark Age, it will impact on the rest of us, and that should worry us all.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:49 AM | TrackBack

February 17, 2008

The cost of an ego?

The Public Enquiry into the death of the late Princess of Wales rumbles on. Or at least, apparently, its gravy train does. It sometimes seems that every nutcase idea that Al Fayed can dream up has to be explored by dragging in every recalcitrant ex-MI6 agent they can find and trotting him through his "conspiracy" piece. But the cost mounts daily and what is the likely outcome? Forgive me for asking I'm sure, but, if this little exercise is assuaging Mr Al Fayed's over expanded ego is already £6 million (Of Taxpayers money!) what benefit are we, the tax payers getting from airing all of this half baked trash in public anyway?

There has been nothing new exposed - except some rather dodgy individuals spouting garbage - that was not revealed in any of the earlier inquests. OK, so maybe our "Loyal" Government have indulged in this orgy of public hysteria by the small "Diana was a Godess" mob in the hopes of speeding the introduction of their Republic of Britain, but I doubt even they would be stupid enough - unless Al Fayed threatened to dish the dirt on them they way he did to John Major's mob. Mr Al Fayed seems to me to be pursuing a personal vendetta against the Royal Family and it also appears that some in our government are hell bent on helping him. Perhaps the time has come to ask whether or not he will accept the verdict, when it is delivered, and how much of the bill he will be personally picking up.

I like the approach that Lord Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, has taken over the allegations that Mr Al Fayed's lawyers have made regarding the integrity of his investigation into the circumstances of the death of Diana and Dodi Fayed, Mr Al Fayed's son. He is asking for an apology on behalf of his staff whose integrity has been questioned by the Al Fayed team and has been rather robust in defending his report and his own reputation in the Inquiry. (See the extended post!) Interestingly Mr Al Fayed's head of Security, a former Chief Inspector in the Met, has been forced to admit that he lied in public on an ABC TV show.

And, as I have said before, if the outcome isn't what Al Fayed wants, we will be subjected to more accusations of cover-ups and conspiracy. And he will have that loyal bunch of idiots who seriously need to get a life to support him.

Then there is the group that are now bringing a private prosecution against the Serious Fraud Office, a special unit which investigates fraudulent trading or corruption, on the grounds that they acted unlawfully when they stopped an investigation into allegations that British Aerospace had handed out "sweetners" to some important Saudi's. Their case seems to me to be deliberately disingenuous. The case was stopped because it was seriously damaging relations between the EU and the Saudi Kingdom at a time when we really needed their co-operation in the War on Terror. The spokesman for the group sounds like a typical failed student agitator when he protests that "the ethical principle overrides any other questions".

Like Mr Al Fayed, it seems that these groups recognise no truth but their own. I trust that the courts will eject them and their suite with full costs. And I look forward to hearing that Mr Al Fayed has offered to meet the full costs of this massaging of his ego - and perhaps Liberty and one or two other groups should be invited to pay as well.

Mohamed al Fayed's controversial theories about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, have come under fire.

(Advertisement)
The Harrods tycoon listened quietly as layers of his theory that Diana was murdered in a 1997 car crash by MI6 on the order of the Duke of Edinburgh because she was pregnant and set to get engaged to his son Dodi were stripped down.

The jury heard Lord Stevens, who carried out Operation Paget, the official investigation into the conspiracy theories, publicly denounce for the first time "scurrilous allegations" about his professionalism.

He condemned suggestions that he or his team had been negligent, not done their job properly and that he had been "got at" regarding the evidence in the report.

Calling the allegations "quite outrageous," he said: "I will take that on my behalf, but I will not have it said about people who worked for me for four years, who sometimes cannot defend themselves on these issues."

Lord Steven's report, published in December 2006, found the deaths were a tragic accident and also that driver Henri Paul was three times the French drink-drive limit.

In contrast to an eye-catching headline back in 1997 which claimed Mr Paul was "drunk as a pig", Lord Stevens described him on the night as "under the influence of alcohol". He told the jury: "Looking at the CCTV, looking at the witness statements, we knew that Henri Paul by account had a high tolerance for drink and in all honesty we could not say he was drunk, in our definition."

Lord Stevens also hit back at the suggestion he had used a November 2006 meeting with Mr Paul's parents, Jean and Gisele, to deliberately mislead them over what he would say about how much their son had drunk. He said: "That's outrageous, and I'm looking for an apology in relation to that."

Meanwhile, John Macnamara, a retired Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent and Mr al Fayed's director of security in August 1997, accepted he had lied in public when he claimed in a television interview that Mr Paul had only drunk pineapple juice.

The jury heard that Mr Macnamara knew Mr Paul had two drinks from bar records he was handed on a visit to Paris immediately after the crash. But he failed to mention it when he took part in an ABC programme on US television on September 10 1997.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

February 16, 2008

Soft touch/Out of touch ...

The report by the Royal United Services Institute which states that the UK is now a "soft target" for terrorists should worry the government. Instead, as is usual for the Labour Ideologues who cannot distinguish fact from the fiction they are fed by the Civil Service, The MP Keith Vaz denies that the report has identified what the rest of the population is all too aware of. Labour's Mass Immigration policy, particularly from their Islamic favourites, has seriously weakened the very fabric of British Society. Worse, it has created tensions by fostering isolationist groups setting up ghettos.

Mister Vaz and the Cabinet Office deny that this is so - but the reality is that every Muslim man who walks the streets of London, Birmingham, Leeds or Bradford (to name just a few) dressed in his Palestinian Refugee camp garb and sporting the fundamentalist whiskers, is demonstrating his rejection of everything British. Mister Vaz can protest all he likes that this projects a "tolerant and multi-cultural society" but the reality is that it does not. It projects a desire to supplant everything about our society with their own values, rules and laws. That is, perhaps, why the Archbishop's rather esoteric suggestion that "elements" of the Sharia Civil Code could be adopted, provoked such a hysterical backlash among the rest of us. Whether Mister Vaz and the rest of his Labour Storm Troopers and Gauleiters of the Multi-Faith, Multi-cultural ghetto building PC Brigade want to acknowledge it or not, the way forward for this country is most emphatically not to allow immigrants to come in on their terms and bring with them all the baggage of the country they have left behind.

Personally I have no objection to someone practicing a faith different to mine. But I do insist that this is my country and I expect them to adopt our rules and our way of life. If that is not the way they want to live - then they know where the airport is. Whenever I visit the Middle East or other Islamic countries I am proscribed in every regard as concerns my faith. I may not carry a Bible with me into many countries and even a prayer book or any other Christian book is definitely enough to get me the next plane home. I do not wish to impose that on them - but I repeat, this is my country and its traditions, however badly undermined by the likes of Keith Vaz and the rest of Labour's ghastly crew, are firmly based in Christianity. If you want to wear a dishdash, burnous and a head covering designed to keep the sun off you - then go and live where it is the norm. Nothing looks more idiotic than to see someone wearing the full Palestinian (and it is Palestinian - it is not some sort of "Muslim" uniform, it was invented in Lebanon by a leader of the PLO) with a couple of thick padded bomber style jackets over it. In fact most of the guys I worked with in North Africa recently don't even own this outfit and they are as Muslim as any of the Middle Eastern types.

It was to be expected that Labour's motor mouths would scream that the RUSI report was "out of touch" but the truth is that it is they that are out of touch and out of step. Tellingly an Afro-Caribbean gentleman phoned the Radio 4 phone in this morning and had a mouthful to say about "newcomers" trying to turn Britain into a Muslim Middle Eastern state. And the show's host did his best to denigrate the old boy - who freely admitted that he had come here as a young man in the 1950's - but singularly failed to do anything other than show up his own prejudice and bias. It was enlightening to say the very least.

Labour has much to answer for and the fact that it is their policies which have created this situation and, what is worse, lit the fuse on the powder keg, is likely to come home to roost for them soon. No one but a fool still believes that they are any way, shape or form, capable of resolving this. How can they - they refuse to even admit that there is a problem. So they continue to parrot their fairy tale version of how good it all is and to live in their cushioned and pamperd ivory towers in Whitehall.

After listening to Mister Vaz I concluded that he has fairies living at the bottom of his garden - along with the rest of the Cabinet.

By Sky News SkyNews - Friday, February 15 09:09 amBritain is becoming a "soft touch" in the face of increased threats from home and abroad because of its failure to "lay down the line" to ethnic minorities.

That's the claim from a defence think tank which says a lack of confidence in British identity and institutions is increasingly making the UK a "target" for attack.

The influential Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) also believes successive governments have presided over a decline in the nation's armed forces.

A contrast is made between the sense of national "fragmentation" and the "implacability" of Islamists who challenge the UK's interests domestically and overseas.

The report says: "That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate.

This is a problem worsened by the lack of leadership from the majority which in mis-placed deference to 'multiculturalism' failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism.

"The country's lack of self-confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy.

"We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without."

The think tank believe terrorism is not the only threat the UK faces; Russian nationalism, and increased competition for energy resources means that in future the Armed Forces may be called upon - and found wanting.

It said: "There is now such disjuncture between Britain's enduring security interests and the manner in which the state's moral and material defence of those interests has been pursued since the collapse of the Soviet Union (and especially during the last decade).

"This disjuncture is like a breach made by the defenders themselves in the walls of their own city," it said.

But the Government said that RUSI's claims "do not stand up to scrutiny".

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "The safety and security of our citizens is the Government's main priority and the Government rejects any suggestion that Britain is a soft touch for terrorists."

The Government say that counter-terrorism funding has increased, that policy is indeed co-ordinated, and that the report's conclusions on community cohesion are "out-of-date".

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2008

Apologies/apologisers

I listened with interest to the debate around the apology by the current Federal PM of Austalia to the Aboriginal people. He apologised for several things done to Australia's aboriginal people over the last hundred years, including the "forced" removal and "conditioning" of aboriginal children. By this is meant that they were placed in regular education, instead of being allowed to follow the practice (which I understand has been re-introduced) of children in this group attending when they happen to take the fancy or to simply go "walk about" when the mood strikes them and their families. Listening to the various sides of the debate I repeatedly heard the words "racist views" or "apartheid" and then that crowning insult thrown by the left - "conservative" - which in their view equates to "Neo-Nazi". The one thing I didn't hear was any suggestion that the attempt to assimilate (another of the words used in the debate) the aboriginal peoples into the mainstream, might have benefited at least some among them.

What was clear from the debate was that the government, having issued the apology, now regards the matter as closed. Those who opposed the issue of the apology made an interesting point, one I find myself agreeing with. What good is an apology if there is to be no attempt to address the still very obvious issue of what to do with a large section of the population (about 300,000 people) who stubbornly refuse to lift themselves out of the stone age culture they would like everyone else in Australia to adopt? Clearly even the Left on this argument haven't a clue either, since there were the usual mutterings about returning the land to its rightful inhabitants, compensation and then - nothing constructive or practical. Except of course the usual propaganda, twisted history and ideology.

It is a very interesting and difficult conundrum. First it is filled with emotions, which never help to settle any problem. I have no doubt that the Australians of the 1890's saw the aboriginal peoples (as indeed did many Europeans) as an unfortunate sub-species to be protected, educated and, if possible, helped toward "enlightenment". In frustration, no doubt, they adopted the policy of enforced separation of children from parents deemed to be beyond reform and genuinely thought they were doing the "right thing". I have equally no doubt that those who now jump up and down about this and other "abuses" of the past will reject any thought that their fathers and grandfathers might have had the highest of ideals - ideals they held as dearly as the current crop of apologists cling to their desire to wear sackclothe and ashes and go about flagellating the rest of us for the "sins" of the past. The fact is that we look back with the perfect vision of hindsight and, as a philosopher once remarked, "The past is a foreign country from which we are now barred."

We cannot put right the mistakes of the past with meaningless apologies. And the apology is meaningless if it does not include a determination to provide a clear and acceptable means to provide a way out of the hardship that so many aborigines claim is a result of the history for which the apology has been made. That was very much the point made by those who opposed the statement. Yet this is the latest fetish of the left of any and every political spectrum. It is, in fact, part of the "victim" culture so beloved of Labour in this country and in Europe - and certain sections of the US and Canadian political spectrum.

Wherever you go these days there is some lobby campaigning for an apology for something done to someone with whom they seldom have much more than a tenuous connection. A classic example has to be Stephen Spielberg's dumping the Chinese Olympic Directorship. Instead of using his role to campaign quietly, he's decided to "grandstand" it and publically attempt to humiliate the Chinese. Now I would not rate the Chinese government as the world's most benevolent regime, but the fact is that they have to work out their own solutions within their own culture. And the culture of "Protest" is not one they have any truck with. So to promote protest in that country is not only to ask for trouble, but to visit it upon the heads of those gullible enough to listen to Westerners who have more sensibilities than sense. Yes China has an appalling Human Rights record, but so do a number of the "Protest" lobby's favourite regimes. I'm sorry, but Spielberg's resigning on the grounds that China should have stopped the slaughter in Dharfur is plain stupid. China is not concerned with what happens anywhere outside China at the moment, though I fully expect that that will change drastically if they are put under enough pressure - and it won't be the countries we disapprove of that they then target.

This culture of apology seems to me to have sprung from the protest movements of the 1960's and the Hippy culture that gave rise to these neo-puritans (on any matter THEY disapprove of) is now propelling the West into a very dangerous possible confrontation with the vigourous and rising powers off the East that do not share our obsession with "Human Rights" or our concept of "democracy".

Perhaps it is time to sit back and think carefully about the whole ethos that drives this urge to apologise for everything while at the same time trying to dictate behaviour to everyone else........

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 14, 2008

Valentines Day

Is not big on my calendar. Frankly it has become just another of those days/events in the year on which we are encouraged to part with huge amounts of our cash by the merchants and their marketing people.

That is not to say I don't think I should tell those I love that I love them - I do, and I have learned that that should be daily, if not all the time I am with them and even when I'm not. And I don't have to give fancy cards, chocolates or flowers to do it. In fact sometimes just doing something a little out of the ordinary or making some small gesture to make the other person feel really special is a far better way of saying and doing it. Even better is to get to know the other person so well that you can anticipate their needs and place these ahead of your own wants and desires without making yourself a martyr to it since that simply turns them off big time. Modern Valentine's Day frenzy is simply pandering to the Hollywood image of "Happily ever aftering" - the problem is that the glitz soon wears off.

And remember that Hollywood marriages are often measured in hours.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:39 AM | TrackBack

February 10, 2008

Coping with a collapsing civilization .....

The South African power crisis rumbles on and their hold on civilisation becomes, like Zimbabwe's, more and more tenuous. As Africa enters a dark age, with shortages of housing, food, electricity and water. As dictators rise from the ranks of the criminally insane, rapists and murderers, the general population have little choice but to defend what little they have and try to live as normally as they can.

My brother sent me this latest prayer from a frustrated South African - and I share it with you ....

Our father who art in Eskom,
Powerless be thy name.
Thy kingdom badly run, thy power undone,
In Joburg as it is in KZN and CPT.
Give us this day our half-baked bread,
And forgive the trespassers who shoot us dead.
Lead me not into a dark nation,
But deliver me from load shedding.
For you have no kingdom,
No power and no electricity,
Forever and ever
Amen

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:58 AM | TrackBack

February 09, 2008

Opening one's mouth to change feet ....

Seems to be speciality of Archbishop Rowan Cantaur. Out of loyalty to our Archbishop I have to say that I think I understand what he was trying to say - that the conflict for Muslims between our secular legal system, based as it is (Despite numerous denials by our atheist leaders, judges and civil servants) on Judeo-Christian moral principles, does cause some conflicts for Muslims. The problem is that you cannot allow two legal systems to operate in the same country. One or the other must be given precedence and override the other. But, if you actually read what Archbishop Rowan was saying, he wasn't proposing the adoption of Sharia Law in the UK. Though I have to admit that the journalists who made these assumptions probably couldn't understand half his paper anyway.

Some of you may recall that one of our Blair Babe ministers of state made similar remarks not that long ago, so the Archbishop is not alone in this thinking. He is, in fact, in line with a number of Labour Ministers who see no problem with the idea that we can operate three different sets of laws in this country without a problem. That is what lies at the heart of unease in many minds about the EU Constituion - it is founded on a legal system which is completely in conflict with the way in which the English Law system works, So is the Sharia. Blair's Babes don't want to understand either argument - and most of Labour's foot soldiers wouldn't either. Don't confuse them or the press with facts - their minds are made up. And the same can be said of the General Synod members whose knickers seem to be too tight suddenly. They should shut up and try reading what he really said, and not what it is reported he said out of context and out of malice.

There is also some confusion about the Sharia Law, many, including some Muslims, believe that it is "in the Koran". It isn't. In fact it is the work of 17th and 18th Century law scholars of the Ottoman Turkish Empire who developed this system based upon the Islamic understanding of justice. I am not at all sure that many in this country would wish to subscribe to the rules of evidence it contains, or the fact that the accused is represented by a legal adviser appointed by the court whose job is to plead mitigation - the court having, in most cases, already heard the evidence it thinks relevant. Nor, I suspect, would many Western women willingly accept that three women's evidence is necessary to overturn the witness of one man. Of course there are variations in the way this operates and is applied throughout the Islamic world, but that is the strictest interpretation of it. But the Archbishop is not suggesting that we adopt the criminal part of that code, only some of the "civil" part, which does, in some instances, merit closer examination and, as he rightly points out, much of that is already a part of our legal code anyway. So why the hysterical response from the Press? They, after all, have helped to create this mess.

The Archbishop's statement that its adoption is "inevitable" only reflects the trend in this present government of traitors, who will go to any length to appease their Muslim electorate, including, as they already do, turning a blind eye to Sharia "Courts" already operating in the Midlands and the North East. It may be annoying to many to have the Archbishop express this view - and the hysterical response in the media is informative if for nothing else than the fact that it demonstrates just how frightened our politicians and the "intelligentsia" who have promoted this with their "multi-culturalism" - are about its exposure. As Shakespeare put it, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much!"

That said, the Archbishop has stirred up a controversy, one with the potential to do a lot of damage, not to those responsible for the mess he has exposed, but to the Church of England itself. Not least I suspect will be the renewal of efforts to caste the church off by the political establishment so they can divert even more money to their own comforts and wastage without having the Church to prick their consciences. But then, that is also what the Church needs to be doing, stirring up consciences. If it is to be relevant in this modern day and age it must not shy away from challenging secular thinking and secular immorality in government. Far more than just our Christian principles are at stake here.

Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, once described himself as a "Bipediorthodontologist". I think the Archbishop may well be in the same league.

Political and religious leaders have reacted with anger at the Archbishop of Canterbury's comments on the role of Islamic law in the UK.

Dr Rowan Williams said it was unavoidable that aspects of the Sharia system would become the norm in this country.

He said there was a place for finding a "constructive accommodation" in areas such as marriage - allowing Muslim women to avoid western divorce proceedings.

But Downing Street rejected the sugestion saying only British laws should apply here.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes."

He added: "If there are specific instances like stamp duty, where changes can be made in a way that's consistent with British law and British values, in a way to accommodate the values of fundamental Muslims, that is something the Government would look at.

"In general terms, if there are specific instances that can be looked at on a case-by-case basis, that is something we can look at.

"But the Prime Minister believes British law should apply in this country, based on British values," he said.

Alistair McBay, spokesman for the National Secular Society said: "In a plural society, all citizens are equal under the law and the Archbishop's comments directly undermine this."

Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice said: "This is a Christian country with Christian laws. If Muslims want to live under sharia law then they are free to emigrate to a country where sharia law is already in operation.

"Any accommodation with sharia law does nothing to help social cohesion. Christian law has been eroded by secularism and this country was founded on Christian values."

Dr Williams said other religions enjoyed such tolerance of their own laws, but stressed that it could never be allowed to take precedence over an individual's rights as a citizen.

He said it would also require a change in perception of what sharia involved beyond the "inhumanity" of extreme punishments and attitudes to women seen in some Islamic states.

Dr Williams said Orthodox Jewish courts already operated in the UK, and anti-abortion views of Catholics and other Christians were "accommodated within the law".

"Sharia law for civil matters is something which has been introduced in some western countries with much success; I believe that Muslims would take huge comfort from the Government allowing civil matters being resolved according to their faith."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Provided an activity prescribed by sharia law does not contravene the law of England and Wales, there is nothing in English law that prevents people abiding by sharia law if they wish to do so."

But the spokesman added sharia law "has no jurisdiction in England and Wales. There is no intention to change this."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:42 AM | TrackBack

February 08, 2008

Laughing in the face of adversity?

I have recently received this from someone who has been on a month's holiday in South Africa and experienced the "load shedding" first hand. These are some the jokes that are circulating the country.

1. “In a drive to save on electricity consumption, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Kindly postpone all hopes and dreams.”

2. "Apparently we now have a new national anthem: Hello Darkness my old friend."

3. "Apparently the electricity supplier is changing its name and motto from “Eskom, together building the powerbase for sustainable growth and development” to “Eishkom, it‘s broken, welcome to our world, pitch black and powerless”.

4. Satan went on holiday to Cape Town and he ran into Gatiep.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked Gatiep.

“Nay,” said Gatiep. “Gimme a hint.”

“I am the Prince of Darkness,” said Satan.

“Damn,” said Gatiep. “So you‘re the CEO of Eskom!”

Another friend sent me this ....

This was emailed to me by my Internet Service Provider because their towers were down this afternoon due to load shedding (their UPS battery back up died because it was off for so long) so I had no internet...

Eishkom Letterhead. (It used to be Eskom, but now its broken ...)

Dear Electricity Consumer,

Just a little note to let you know we understand your anger in the recent price hike & power cuts.

But it should be noted that you have no choice.

We are a big company and you will pay what we tell you.

You have no choice.

We have the power, you need the power.

So sad, too bad. Sucks to be you.

We have enclosed a little picture to help outline our response.

Have a nice day and keep those cheques coming, loser!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:46 AM | TrackBack

February 07, 2008

Exploiting a tragedy ....

Some of you may have picked up on a report of a tragic fire which occurred in Ludwigshafen, Germany, on Monday. The fire occurred in a 19th Century building near the centre of town and nine people died while sixty were injured but rescued by the fire fighters. As the investigation teams assembled yesterday two things happened which, frankly, illustrate why politicians should stay away from disaster scenes and the media should be charged with inciting disorder.

First, the Turkish press got hold of a claim that the Feuerwehr had taken over forty minutes (That's right 40 minutes!) to respond. That was picked up by Turkish Language papers in Germany and blazed across their headlines and claims of racism and arson attacks are now the order of the day. The truth of the response is somewhat different. In fact the first Feuerwehr attendance was with 90 SECONDS of the call and the full attendance, professional and volunteer, was there within 4 MINUTES. But did the media check their facts? Of course not - the forty minute response sells more papers doesn't it? So they ran with that. The result was that a mob of youths spitting, shrieking insults and throwing things turned up at the scene and the hordes of reporters bombarded the Chief Fire Officer with so many hostile questions they reduced him to tears defending his men and his service. Eventually he told them to "get st*ffed" in more diplomatic langauage and was escorted away by a police colleague. The fire service then withdrew their support for the investigationas their men were "at risk" if they remained. Already an off duty fireman has been set on in a pub and beaten up and no doubt more will follow.

But, bearing in mind that the building is unsafe and the investigation is, at this stage, being conducted from suspended cages dropped into the building from above, cranes and turntable ladders allowing investigators to see into rooms and a host of other creative methods to search and find the evidence, the politicians got into the act. Turkey's Vice President and the Bundeskanzlerin, Angela Merkel are to visit today for a photo opportunity. Yesterday, all work was suspended for almost four hours while various politicans from both the Landtag and Turkey posed for their pictures with distressed Turkish Guest Workers in front of the building, laid wreaths and did all the vote catching things that are so blatantly false to any thinking person.

According to the press reports the building had fifty two registered residents, but that these had invited a large number of friends to watch the Rose Monday parades from the upper floors. It is a single staircase building, the staircase being open from the basement right up to the top floors. In effect, that makes it a chimney, so any fire starting in that space will do as this one appears to have done, run very quickly up the stairs and attack the upper floors first. The Monk has learned that the electrical installation in the surviving parts of the structure and in the basement, such as can be seen by the investigators at present, is "non-standard" - in other words, it has been extended, amended and added to without regard to safety regulations ....

That said, the invetigation team includes Germany's Bundeskriminalamt and they are considering the evidence of all options. The Press has been quick to scream "arson" and "racism" which is unfortunate, because now, no matter what the outcome the seeds of mistrust in the investigations outcome have been planted. Should they find, as well they might, that it is a tragic accident, the Turkish community will now refuse to believe that. Worse, the Feuerwehr in Ludwigshafen, which pulled off a fantasic number of rescues, hampered by the Carnival march and crowds, has now been branded by an irresponsible press as under performing and "murderous" to quote one reporter.

It never fails to sicken the Monk when he encounters such blatant exploitation of tragedy by politicians, both apparent and hidden behind the facades of journalism or "Community Leader" to push their own agendas. A tragedy has occurred here and whatever the outcome of the investigation the Monk knows it will have been conducted professionally and its conclusions will be an accurate representation of the facts. What the politicians of all flavours do with those facts is another matter.

Pray, my brothers and sisters, for those affected by the tragedy, the dead, the injured, the genuinely bereaved - and the investigators and emergency services now being vilified by an immoral media.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2008

Poll finds Labour more sleazy than the Tories ...

Well theres a surprise .....

Labour has made sleaze an artform. Dr Goebbels is credited with the dictum that "if you tell a lie big enough, it will become the new truth." Labour have taken that to heart and piled one huge lie on another. Their "New Clothes" of "NuLabour " and "Cool Britannia" have proved to be as covering as those of the fictional Emperor in the "Emperor's New Clothes".

Anyone with half a brain had only to look at the council's Labour have mismanaged for years, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Brent and the late unlamented GLC (lately replaced by the even worse GLA!) and so many more that I would run out of space here, to see that they are nothing but manipulative, work shy and corrupt career politicians. Look how they have debased the honours system. Look at the vandalism they have perpetrated on the Lords. Look at how they reward incompetents and promote dishonesty. Just look at how they select EU Commissioners. Financial impropriety? No problem - promote him and send him to a nice little earner in Brussels. Watch, that incompetent (The PM's words!) Hain will get a nice little backhander from his pal Gordo and a cushy job in Brussels as compensation for getting caught out with his funding declarations....

Sleaze? You bet. Ask those who have to work for Labour Councils. Ask those who have to live in them - apart from the Labour parasites on benefit who will always vote for whatever donkey Labour fields of course.

Labour have always been more sleazy than the Tories - and the Tories are no saints lets face it. But, as I said at the beginning of this - Labour have raised it to an artform. Worthy of a Turner Prize perhaps?

LONDON (Reuters) - The allegation of sleaze is linked more closely to Gordon Brown and Labour than the Conservatives, according to a poll on Tuesday.

(Advertisement)
The Times survey came just hours after the speaker of the House of Commons announced a root and branch review of MPs' expenses and donations after a wave of adverse publicity.

The Populus poll showed the opposition had strengthened its lead over the government -- with the Tories popularity rising three points to 40 percent, while Labour was down two points to 31 percent.

It found that in the public's mind Labour was more closely linked with sleaze allegations than the Tories despite the political storm over Conservative MP Derek Conway's payments of taxpayers' money to his family. It did, however, find that sleaze was linked to both parties.

In another setback for Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling, the poll also found Tory leader David Cameron and his shadow chancellor George Osborne had stronger ratings for economic competence

Conway, 54, was suspended from parliament and kicked out of the party after admitting using almost 50,000 pounds of public money to pay his son, Frederick Conway, 22, a Newcastle University geography student, for work he apparently never carried out.

Commons speaker Michael Martin announced the review of MPs' allowances on Monday. It is expected to report in the Autumn.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2008

So this is Labour's Multicultural, mutual respect society?

I was appalled to discover that a party of Jewish visitors to that stinkhole of a city, London, were stoned by gangs of youths while visiting the East End. For those who know, the East End was, at one time, the home of thousands of Jewish refugees, a hard working community that contributed far more to our nation than they took out. Unlike the present denizens of the East End who have gradually displaced everyone else and now feel they can impose their version of multicultural exchange on visitors.

Even more appalling is that fact that none of the major newspapers reported the fact that the ninety-six visitors were attacked by thiese yobs - described as "Asian" youths - while visiting sites of historical significance to their families. Equally, not one word of this has been on the BBC News or any other radio station or TV channel. Considering that the attack took place on Holocaust Memorial Day, that is nothing less than a disgrace. Had it been the BNP attacking a party of Pakistani's it would have been national headlines and Brown and his cronies would still be rabbiting on about it. But no, these were Jews and their attackers were Mr Brown's Paymasters in the inner cities - so let's be clear on this. Nothing will happen to the perpetrators and it will not be reported in the press properly either. It will, like so much more of this kind of activity, be swept under the carpet in the interests of peace and harmony in our "multicultural paradise". The fact that the only place I could find this was on a blog says everything you need to know about the attitudes and priorities of our NuLabour luvvies infesting the media. Dodgblogium has more links.

Go, read them and weep for our nation.....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:08 PM | TrackBack

Fact or fiction - the confused history taught in Britain ...

Following on from my blast at the idiots who think British History is too oppressive to be taught, there comes a survey that shows just how much damage these morons have done. Almost half the people surveyed think that several of our key historical figures, such as Richard the Lionheart, (Richard II), Florence nightingale, Sir Winston Churchill (25% of those surveyed) and others are fictional or myth. Believe it or not, almost a third thought the Charles Dickens was a character in a novel and others didn't even know who Charles Darwin was. The same group thought that King Arthur, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes and several other fictional/mythological figures were fact.

A number of people who served this country within the last century are believed by many of those surveyed, to have been characters invented by Hollywood. I wonder what Bernard Montgomery, Earl of Alamein, thinks of that? He was, apparently a figure invented for the "war" films and not real at all. The idea that 23% of those surveyed think that Winston Churchill is a fictional person - again invented to fill a role in movies - is unbelievable, but probably shouldn't be surprising. After all, he, Bomber Harris, Air Marshall Trenchard, Admiral Sir Max Horton, Admiral Cunnigham and every other real leader of that period have been villianised and demonised by the Liberal Left for the last sixty years. A number of the books on my shelves, purporting to be histories of the period, reflect this bias. Almost all use inuendo and selective facts to build a case for declaring that WW2 was unecessary, that all the Allied Leaders were warmongers and psychopaths or so deeply flawed that they should never have been allowed out unescorted. A pity the survey didn't go all the way and find out just how much the survey sample actually knew about some of the key events in our history and some of the realities faced by our forefathers. Mind you, that might have been far too revealing.

This report on UK News gives more details.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:44 AM | TrackBack

February 03, 2008

Parenting lessons are a waste of time and money?

So what else is new. Only the morons who persist in trying to create a "punishment free" society (except of course for people THEY disapprove of, such as motorists or citizens who dare to defend themselves!) still think that it is possible to create a model society in which boys are girls and girls take male roles, bad behaviour is "discussed reasonably" and not punished and crime can be "trained" out of the system.

Well, a major academic study has just concluded that the "Parenting lessons" offered at great expense in Australia are pointless, do not improve the statistics and are, in fact, a complete waste of money. The study also showed that one in every seven children has behavioural problems. There are a number of reasons underlying this simplistic statistic, some of them genetic (as with Aspergers Syndrome or Tourettes) but others seem to be connected to a wide range of things such as sybling heirarchies, environment and reward/punishment issues.

Interestingly the researchers insist that the trial results show insufficient improvement to support the introduction of a wider trial. Thank God for that, some common sense beginning to permeate the thinking of the social engineers and tinkerers? Probably not, but it is an encouraging sign that they admit its not working!

AFP - Friday, February 1 09:19 amPARIS (AFP) - A new study shows that parent training programmes fail to reduce behavioural problems in toddlers, suggesting that coaching on how to rear children may be a waste of time and money.

On average, behavioural problems afflict every seventh child aged 4 to 17, previously studies have shown.

Aggressive or extremely defiant youngsters are said to have externalised problems, while those of kids who withdraw, or suffer anxiety and depression, are described as internalised.

Troubles in childhood often have serious personal, social and economic consequences later in life, experts say.

Left untreated, approximately 50 percent of preschoolers with behaviour problems develop mental health problems, including depression.

Besides the direct cost of treatment, there are social costs as well: unemployment, family stress or violence, drug use and increased crime have all been linked to behavioural difficulties very early in life.

One approach is to deal with the problems as they emerge through counselling, drug treatment, or psychiatry. But this is expensive, and not always effective.

Another tack is to try to nip the problems in the bud by discouraging the kind of parenting that can lead to troubled behaviour, such as unduly harsh discipline and unrealistic expectations.

For the study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers enrolled 300 mothers and their eight-month old tots in the Melbourne area into the training programme.

Unlike earlier studies, this one looked not just at high risk families, but a representative sampling of parents and children from poor, middle income and wealthier families.

The scientists, led by Harriet Hiscock at the Centre for Community Child Health in Parkville, Australia, compared behaviour of the test group over an 18 month period with another set of mothers and kids who did not receive any special counselling.

The results showed very little difference between the two groups.

Mothers in the programme were somewhat less abusive and acquired more realistic expectations of how quickly their children would progress.

But there was no significant difference is the level of behaviour problems in the children, or in the mental health of the mothers.

"The outcome at two years are insufficient to support widespread introduction of a very early universal programme to prevent behavioural problems in toddlers," the researchers conclude.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:35 PM | TrackBack

February 02, 2008

Disgraceful history?

One of Labour's favourite "Think Tanks" has just published a report I would find risible, if it were not for the fact that it is intellectually and morally insulting - quite apart from the fact that it is so blatantly twisted against anything English, or for that matter, "British". The thrust of the report is that our history is so shameful we should not teach it to our children, that they should, instead, be taught about everyone else's history and how noble and good they were as they struggled to overcome our evil doings.

As I said, insulting and frankly anti-British.

These morons obviously have a serious problem. They cannot see the facts for the ideology they wish to push. They refuse to recognise that, until well into the 19th Century British subjects were being regularly seized and enslaved by the pirates who operated freely under the flag of Islam from North Africa. Anybody ever wonder why the French attacked Algeria and annexed it? No, thought not, mainly it was to stop the raiding of the coast of the South of France and the disruption of trade in the Mediteranean originating from the various Bey's of this that and the next controlling the coasts of Algiers, Tunisia, Libya and the rest. In 1836 a British Fleet assisted in an assault on Algiers for just that reason, Algiers based raiders had seized one too many merchant ships under British Flag. OK, so we turned the trans-Atlantic slave trade into a factory style process - that is one of the features of the British, usually slow to get off the starting block on anything, we simply don't know when to stop. Ask the residents of Hamburg, Dresden or one or two other German cities. Take a look at the same morons now making this proposterous proposal and you will see the same thing at work. They have spent so long campaigning for their "cause" that they can't see it has gone far enough and that it should now come to a gentle halt and consolidate what they have - not strive for more.

However, one of the more stupid assertions made by the "beat Britain for its slave trade" is that the Army or the Navy was engaged in capturing slaves in West Africa. If these morons knew their history instead of their prejudice they would know that the slaves were rounded up by locals who sold them to the Arab traders to their North as well. It was the Royal Navy and the Army that put a stop to the tribal wars that fueled this from 1820 onwards, noit an exercise in getting more slaves but in bringing peace to a region that had never had it! On the East Coast of Africa the slave trade continued in Arab Dhows well into the 20th Century, although, again, it was the Royal Navy that was hard at work to suppress it. Trouble was, being the other side of Africa and not affecting British shipping or people (except occassionally!) it was of little interest to the same bunch of w*nkers who now want our history suppressed. As late as 1942 my father's ship intercepted a dhow loaded with Africans being taken to an Arab slave market. But you won't find that in any "multi-cultural" history.

Yes our history is a bloody one, but it has also brought huge benefits to most of the worlds population. In fact, the very history these idiots want suppressed gave rise to democracy in the modern world - the Ancient Greek model was very, very different to what we now know. Modern democracy is founded on Magna Carta and the principles of freedom and human rights have their beginnings there. My father fought againts the oppression threatened by National Socialism and against the Communists afterward. My Grandfathers fought against the Kaiser and my Great-grandfathers against the enemies of their day. They all fought for the freedom they believed they had inherited from their fathers and it is a legacy and a history to be exceptionally proud of.

They most certainly did not fight to maintain our hard won freedom so that this bunch of closet communists could steal it by deploying their version of twisted history, denigrating everything that is good in our past and by proscribing our right to freedom of speech, expression and thought! I expect the thought police will be after me now for this heresy, but I am damned if I care. I too will fight to preserve the right to be free - and that means being free of those who overtax, over regulate and over govern this proud and ancient nation.

Why then, should we be forced to listen to morons whose understanding of our history is tenuous, biased and completely devoid of fact? I'd call for their being silenced - except that I, unlike them, believe that everyone has the right to an opinion and to express that opinion freely - even if it causes some idiot offence!

And just a sample of what is available as real history, not the doctored kind the authors of the report wish to see taught in English schools, the extended post contains some of what is available on the BBC History site.

British Slaves on the Barbary Coast
By Professor Rees Davies

Barbary pirates © The fishermen and coastal dwellers of 17th-century Britain lived in terror of being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa. Hundreds of thousands across Europe met wretched deaths on the Barbary Coast in this way. Professor Robert Davis investigates.

Page 1 of 6

1. Europe under attack
2. Estimating slave numbers
3. The slave's lot
4. The European response
5. The legacy of enslavement
6. Find out more


Europe under attack

'When we had arrived [in Cork], I made a request to Lord Inchaquoin to give me a passport for England. I took boat to Youghal and then embarked on the vessel John Filmer, which set sail with 120 passengers. `But before we had lost sight of land, we were captured by Algerine pirates, who put all the men in irons.'

'...the corsairs plundered British shipping pretty much at will...'
So wrote the Reverend Devereux Spratt - carried off in April 1641 for several years' bondage in Algiers, while attempting a simple voyage across the Irish Sea from County Cork to England. Spratt's experience has been largely forgotten now, though it was far from unique in his day.

In the first half of the 1600s, Barbary corsairs - pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, authorised by their governments to attack the shipping of Christian countries - ranged all around Britain's shores. In their lanteen-rigged xebecs (a type of ship) and oared galleys, they grabbed ships and sailors, and sold the sailors into slavery. Admiralty records show that during this time the corsairs plundered British shipping pretty much at will, taking no fewer than 466 vessels between 1609 and 1616, and 27 more vessels from near Plymouth in 1625. As 18th-century historian Joseph Morgan put it, 'this I take to be the Time when those Corsairs were in their Zenith'.

Unfortunately, it was hardly the end of them, even then. Morgan also noted that he had a '...List, printed in London in 1682' of 160 British ships captured by Algerians between 1677 and 1680. Considering what the number of sailors who were taken with each ship was likely to have been, these examples translate into a probable 7,000 to 9,000 able-bodied British men and women taken into slavery in those years.

Not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements, generally running their craft onto unguarded beaches, and creeping up on villages in the dark to snatch their victims and retreat before the alarm could be sounded. Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were taken in this way in 1631, and other attacks were launched against coastal villages in Devon and Cornwall. Samuel Pepys gives a vivid account of an encounter with two men who'd been taken into slavery, in his diary of 8 February 1661.

'...during these years, Britons were enslaved all too often.'
'...to the Fleece tavern to drink and there we spent till 4 a-clock telling stories of Algier and the manner of the life of Slaves there; and truly, Captain Mootham and Mr Dawes (who have been both slaves there) did make me full acquainted with their condition there. As, how they eat nothing but bread and water.... How they are beat upon the soles of the feet and bellies at the Liberty of their Padron. How they are all night called into their master's Bagnard, and there they lie.'

The very casualness of the account makes it clear just how commonplace unfortunates like Moontham and Dawes were in 17th-century Britain. Britons in later years have boasted that they 'never will be slaves,' but during these years they were enslaved all too often.

Estimating slave numbers

North African pirate ship © According to observers of the late 1500s and early 1600s, there were around 35,000 European Christian slaves held throughout this time on the Barbary Coast - many in Tripoli, Tunis, and various Moroccan towns, but most of all in Algiers. The greatest number were sailors, taken with their ships, but a good many were fishermen and coastal villagers. Out of all these, the British captives were mostly sailors, and although they were numerous there were relatively fewer of them than of people from lands close to Africa, especially Spain and Italy. The unfortunate southerners were sometimes taken by the thousands, by slavers who raided the coasts of Valencia, Andalusia, Calabria and Sicily so often that eventually it was said that 'there was no one left to capture any longer'.

'White slaves in Barbary were generally from impoverished families...'
There are no records of how many men, women and children were enslaved, but it is possible to calculate roughly the number of fresh captives that would have been needed to keep populations steady and replace those slaves who died, escaped, were ransomed, or converted to Islam. On this basis it is thought that around 8,500 new slaves were needed annually to replenish numbers - about 850,000 captives over the century from 1580 to 1680.

By extension, for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000 - this is only just over a tenth of the Africans taken as slaves to the Americas from 1500 to 1800, but a considerable figure nevertheless. White slaves in Barbary were generally from impoverished families, and had almost as little hope of buying back their freedom as the Africans taken to the Americas: most would end their days as slaves in North Africa, dying of starvation, disease, or maltreatment.

The slave's lot

Slaves in chains © Slaves in Barbary fell into two broad categories. The 'public slaves' belonged to the ruling pasha, who by right of rulership could claim an eighth of all Christians captured by the corsairs, and buy all the others he wanted at reduced prices. These slaves were housed in large prisons known as baños (baths), often in wretchedly overcrowded conditions. They were mostly used to row the corsair galleys in the pursuit of loot (and more slaves) - work so strenuous that thousands died or went mad while chained to the oar.

'...they received one change of clothing every year.'
During the winter these galeotti worked on state projects - quarrying stone, building walls or harbour facilities, felling timber and constructing new galleys. Each day they would be given perhaps two or three loaves of black bread - 'that the dogs themselves wouldn't eat' - and limited water; they received one change of clothing every year. Those who collapsed on the job from exhaustion or malnutrition were typically beaten until they got up and went back to work. The pasha also bought most female captives, some of whom were taken into his harem, where they lived out their days in captivity. The majority, however, were purchased for their ransom value; while awaiting their release, they worked in the palace as harem attendants.

'Some were well cared for, becoming virtual companions of their owners...'
Many other slaves belonged to 'private parties.' Their treatment and work varied as much as their masters did. Some were well cared for, becoming virtual companions of their owners. Others were worked as hard as any 'public' slave, in agricultural labour, or construction work, or selling water or other goods around town on his (or her) owner's behalf. They were expected to pay a proportion of their earnings to their owner - those who failed to raise the required amount typically being beaten to encourage them to work harder.

As they aged or their owner's fortunes changed, slaves were resold, often repeatedly. The most unlucky ended up stuck and forgotten out in the desert, in some sleepy town such as Suez, or in the Turkish sultan's galleys, where some slaves rowed for decades without ever setting foot on shore.

The European response

A priest negotiates ransom for the release of slaves © Europeans sometimes attempted to buy their people out of slavery, but no real system emerged before around 1640. Then the attempts became more systematic and were sometimes state subsidised, as in Spain and France. Almost all the actual work, however - from collecting the funds, to voyaging to Barbary, to negotiating with the slave owners there - was carried out by clergy, mostly members of the Trinitarian or Mercedarian orders.

'By the 1700s, the ransoming orders had significantly reduced slave populations in Barbary...'
Parish churches too, all over Spain and Italy, kept locked collection boxes marked 'for the poor slaves', with clerics constantly reminded their wealthier parishioners to include ransoming societies in their wills; slave-redeeming confraternities also sprouted in hundreds of cities and villages. Ransoming slaves was promoted as being one of the best of the charitable works a Catholic could perform, since slaves were ideal victims: 'Their [only] fault, their crime, is recognising Jesus Christ as the most divine Saviour... and of professing Him as the True Faith.' By the 1700s, the ransoming orders had significantly reduced slave populations in Barbary, eventually even inflating slave prices, as more cash chased fewer captives.

'Thousands of Dutch, Germans and British "languished for years in the chains of Barbary"...'
Compared to Catholic Europe, Protestant states could be lax and disorganised in freeing their subjects. Thousands of Dutch, Germans and British 'languished for years in the chains of Barbary,' without the aid of organised clergy or state funds for their release. England set aside its 'Algerian Duty' from customs income to finance redemptions, but much of this was diverted to other uses. Large-scale ransomings - like the one headed by Edmund Casson that freed 244 men, women, and children in 1646 - were rare, with the result that Protestant Britons were often more demoralised and likely to die in captivity than European Catholics. As one ex-slave noted:

'All of the nations made some shift to live, save only the English, who it seems are not so shiftful as others, and... have no great kindness one for another. The winter I was in [captivity], I observ'd there died above twenty of them out of pure want.'

How typical - even then it seems those in Whitehall could always find a way to spend the money intended to relieve the suffering of opthers on themselves and their own aggrandisement ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2008

You know things are going wrong when ....

As I told you yesterday, my brother and a raft of friends live in South Africa, a country which, until recently, seemed to have everything its people needed (and some things they didn't!). Electricity, water, mineral wealth, crime, corruption good education, work opportunities and farms that could, properly managed, supply enough to feed themselves. Slowly all that is falling apart. Food production has gone up, but not enough since the borders seem to have been thrown open and floods of migrants have arrived. Jobs to have become scarcer - due in part to employment laws that are ridiculously biased and almost a neo-apartheid system - crime has soared, (My brother was recently at home when someone tried to break in through his living room windows with him sat in the room!) - and the mineral wealth seems to be either remaining unexploited or the proceeds are being siphoned off to someone's bank account.

The recent election by the ANC rank and file of Jacob Zuma as "President in Waiting" (Forget democracy here, just as in the bad old days of Apartheid and the National Party, the ANC now has the sort of voter clout that means no serious opposition can ever unseat them) is a serious blow to confidence. It is only his political clout that has prevented him from being convicted as a rapist, as a serial fraudster and on a string of corruption charges. Interestingly all his cronies have been convicted and sit in jail while he remains free and will no doubt pardon them as soon as he is crowned President for life .....

The latest problem to beset the suffering people of SA is "load shedding". Technical term (Like the infamous British Rail "Wrong Kind of Snow") which means "Power Cut". Now I would guess that this doesn't actually lie at the door of the present government, but rather at the door of the last apartheid regime. It was they who, in their infinite arrogance, decided that the network of "local" power generating stations then in existence, should be closed down and all power generated in a few "Mega" Stations located at or near the coalfields. It sounded like a good idea at the time, especially as they "sold" the idea on the back of "mothballing" the smaller stations for re-activation when demand rose .....

The problem is that it takes several weeks at least to restart a RECENTLY mothballed station. One that has been idle for years takes months to bring back to life, possibly even years. And it costs big money to do it as well. Even in an active station, starting a generator set and bringing it online takes a minimum of an hour, which is why most stations have routines for meeting peak load periods by anticipating the demand periods and "running up" the turbines in readiness. Well, ESKOM (An acronym for Electricity Supply Commission - in Afrikaans "Kommissie") has now reached its capacity. This has been coming for some time, but the present government has been giving away the spare capacity to Mozambique and Zimbabwe among others, and has not been prepared to spend money re-activating the old stations. So now the country has run out of power. Those who don't use it are fine, so the rural areas where the open fire, LPG or paraffin stove and lamps are used have no problems. But the towns and cities are subjected to "load shedding" without warning.

Lots of promises are being made - but where's the money coming from?

Madam and Eve have been summing it up extremely well!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 25, 2008

A near run thing ...

My brother lives in Cape Town. In a very nice part of the city, on the edge of Flamingo Vlei (Flamingo Lagoon for those who don't have Afrikaans or Dutch) with stunning views of the mountain looking across the vlei and the sweep of Table Bay. It has always been a nice, quiet and rather safe area, but, no longer. On my last visit it was noticeable that squatter huts were gradually creeping along the verges of the motorway leading to Milnerton from the airport, and Flamingo Vlei is near Milnerton.

A month ago, my brother was in the house when there was a sound not unlike a gunshot and the front window disintegrated. He rushed out to find an intruder - and chased him off. THe Police, as ever, arrived too late to have any effect and handed out the usual useless advice about "greater security" and "fit burglar bars and improve the fencing". Everyone knows the spate of burglaries, assaults and murders in this area are related to the squatter encroachment - the very few perpetrators who are caught have all been traced to there. Meanwhile the car park at the local shopping centre has become a highjack opportunity for the thieves and it is no longer safe to even take your dog for a walk along the vlei. A neighbour of my brother's was murdered two weeks ago, walking his little dog along a path he has used daily for twelve years.

Last night I got a distressed e-mail from my brother to tell me that he narrowly avoided a similar fate - in his own living room. His young dog began to bark frantically and he went to investigate, just in time to see a large intruder emerge from his hedge and make a run for the open front room doors. My brother slammed them shut and locked them just in time, then dived into a drawer to grab the only weapon in the house, a pepper spray. The intruder must have thought it was a gun for he ran to scramble back over the fence getting momentarily caught on top of it and my brother, with more anger than thought, grabbed his leg and tried to use the spray. The Cape Doctor made sure they both got a dose.

As usual the police arrived to find no trace of the intruder and, as my brother wasn't actually attacked, have logged it, filed it and done little else. The neighbourhood is now in uproar and my brother is having razor wire installed in his hedge and along the top of the fences. He has been warned to get steel gates fitted to all his doors and to the windows. That is the level of threat everyone in SA now faces, yet, the liberal legal fraternity who now control the administration of justice refuse to impose meaningful sentences on those they do catch and regard the high crime rates as "the legacy of apartheid".

I spoke to my brother this morning. He has had a sleepless night - and so have I. One thing is for sure - the intruder will be back, and next time my brother might not be so lucky. Prayer is about all that is left to either of us.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 24, 2008

An unChristian celebration!

If there is one person I would cheerfully not lift a finger to help under any circumstances, it is Peter Hain. His resignation is sufficient excuse for me to open a bottle of good wine and toast his salary cut and his exposure as an - in the words of his own Party Leader - incompetent. I look forward to the day when I will open a paper or see on TV that ther rest of his murky past has finally caught up with him.

The fact that the electoral commission has handed its report to the police is sufficient for me for the moment. Of course the police will decide that there isn't a case for him to answer - what did you expect? A miracle that the political establishment will let one of their own go down? Not likely, but the sight of this evil man squirming is enough for me - at present.

I have a bottle of good champagne which will come out when he is finally ejected from Parliament and vanishes into the obscurity he never deserved to have left.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

High tide again

The tides are rising again around us in Tewkesbury, but, despite all the media panic this is our normal winter flooding. Nothing special, nothing like as high as it got in July and unlikely to get anywhere near that level. Yes, we are taking precautions, and yes, we are watching the rising water, but it is very different to what happened in July. Then the waters rose in the space of a few hours across the back of the town, filling the flood plains and covering the Vineyards park behind the Abbey - and that was the run off from the Cotswolds through the two small streams that bracket the town, the Swilgate and the Carrant Brook.

That initial flood from our two streams in July could not dissipate because the Avon came down in flood after the cloud burst dumped out over Warwickshire - and that was followed three days later by the Severn joining the party. That is what gave us the spectacular water levels.

This flooding is the normal run-off coming down the Severn from the Welsh Hills and North Wales. Yes, it is high and it is, obviously affected by the fact that the ground is still saturated from the July inundations. But for most of us it is no more than the inconvenience of having to take a longer than normal route when we want to walk to town. Mind you, I suppose I could get my high waders out and take the short route through Gander Lane, unlike the situation in July there is no more than four feet there now. In July it was more like eight feet. Such is the difference in the levels and the events.

For most of us its "business as usual" unlike the East Coast which does have a problem.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 21, 2008

Safety unsafe ...

I was recently listening to a news programme and almost choked on my tea. Now the "Raod Safety" nutters want to make it a custodial offence to use a mobile phone while driving. It seems that the fines aren't detering people. Doesn't this tell these morons something? Doesn't it tell them that people are being forced to break the law because the law is out of proportion already?

Yes, there is a safety problem with using a mobile phone while driving, but what the Whitehall Wankers and their chaffeur driven pals in Westminster, or their cycling "safety" advisers in the National Road Safety Association haven't asked is why are people obliged to. The bigger question is - how can it be made safer since it seems inevitable that people will be forced to at some stage. OK, so the argument is that you are distracted (Theior research says so anyway), and I would certainly agree that there are people who use a phone while driving in the most stupid conditions. Surely the sensible thing is to make it compulsory for every car to be fitted with a phone dock which is completely hands free and barrs outgoing calls? Yet, if it is a distraction to have a phone, why is it considered perfectly OK for some idiot to drive around in a car fitted with a stereo system that can be heard four blocks away? Or to have any passengers and to hold conversations with them? In fact, the last close call I had was not caused by someone using a phone or their stereo, but a woman with a car load of kids, who was so busy arguing with the backseat passengers that she wandered across two lanes and only my horns alerted her to the fact that she was heading for the armco barrier in the central reservation as she cut across the front of my car.

And if you are reading this madam, the V sign you flashed was the wrong way round.

The latest target of these so-called "safety experts" is the GPS now fitted or used by many of us. "Distraction" they scream, "Ban it", or, "Make it a criminal offence to use on!" Well, as long as they stick to riding the old fashioned sit up[ and beg bicycles or their broomsticks, they probably don't need them. But, as someone who has had to navigate around this country solo (and remember I have only been living here for the last twenty years) I have found the GPS an absolute godsend. I can concentrate on the traffic around me and rely on the GPS to find the turns, the addresses and so on. What would the "safety" twits prefer? That I drive at 5 mph while looking for the street names and sign posts they have had so cunningly concealed so that they are visible only from one approach and not the other? Far from making motoring safer, banning the use of GPS will make a return of the moron driving with a map book on his or her steering wheel far more likely - and believe me, I have seen quite a number of those.

Frankly, it should be made a criminal offence to lead a "safety" campaign from now on. It is time to restore the application of Common Sense. It beats the hell out of all this stupid legislation and nannying idiocy any day!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:04 PM | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

Guardian angels on overtime!

Yesterdays crash at Heathrow is nothing short of miraculous. No doubt the manufacturer's design will have played it's part, it is rare for these aircraft to remain as intact as this when they hit the ground at a hundred and sixty miles an hour. Given that their glide angle once the power is lost is only marginally better than your average housebrick (It's all about wing shape and load distribution) the pilots pulled off an amazing landing and walked away from it. A landing you can walk away from is a good landing as I have said before on this blog.

A hundred and fifty two people walking out of that aircraft has to be one of the most amazing escapes anyone could possibly witness, let alone be a part of. I have only one question at present for the passengers, did they actrually have time to adopt the recommended "crash position" with head down over their laps? If so, the aircrew deserve even more praise for having the forethought to tell them to do so. But, I wonder how those as tall as I am managed. BA notoriously has a short space between seats and when I have attempted to adopt that position I invariably end up with my head rammed against the seat back ahead - perfect to sustain a broken neck.

Once the aircraft was on the ground the response was exactly as it should be - the emergency teams were there almost as soon as it stopped. The BAA Fire Fighters deserve every penny they get and the praise of the rest of us - their response was impecable. To all those bean counters who constantly want to "save" money by cutting back fire service provisions I have this to say - "Do you pay your insurance premiums?" If you do, then this is exactly what the fire services are - insurance. You put the money in and they make sure they are trained, ready and available when you need them. And they don't quibble about your need either.

The investigation is now underway, and the immediate piece of news is that both engines failed during the approach. The big question must be - why? During the approach they are throttled back, then gradually given more power as it lands, before the braking systems are applied (essentially shields that redirect part of the jetstream as a "reverse" thrust until the normal braking system can cope. From the sound of it, this aircraft's engines "flamed out" as the pilots attempted to "throttle up" in the final approach. From there on, this was essentially a glider, without the best glide characteristics needed to stay airborne very long at that altitude.

We witnessed something close to a miracle yesterday - a lot of Guardian Angels worked overtime on this one. Let's be thankful.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Glaciation in the super greenhouse?

An interesting item in the online Journal "Science" caught Mausi's eye recently. It seems that a team of scientists have recently discovered that the Antarctic Ice Sheet may well have formed, at least in part, during one of the warmest phases of the earth's history.

It has been commonly held until now that during these super warm phases the poles were ice free. That seems to have been blown literally out of the water by this study which shows that at least the Southern Pole was covered by ice during the Turonian period - the warmest inter glaciation period we have ben able to identify. As Mausi hjas pointed out, it just provces that a lot of these effects are very localised and that it is extremely difficult to draw a single "overall picture" in isolation. As those who have followed my link will see - surface temperatures were , at this period, an average of 35 degrees. And the oceans were nice and warm too.

No doubt we will soon hear from the "Global Warming" lobby that this research is irrelevant. Just as they dismiss the evidence of core samples from the Pacific. I guess an article of faith takes some changing ....

Isotopic Evidence for Glaciation During the Cretaceous Supergreenhouse
André Bornemann,1,2* Richard D. Norris,1 Oliver Friedrich,1,3 Britta Beckmann,4 Stefan Schouten,5 Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté,5 Jennifer Vogel,1 Peter Hofmann,4 Thomas Wagner6
The Turonian (93.5 to 89.3 million years ago) was one of the warmest periods of the Phanerozoic eon, with tropical sea surface temperatures over 35°C. High-amplitude sea-level changes and positive 18O excursions in marine limestones suggest that glaciation events may have punctuated this episode of extreme warmth. New 18O data from the tropical Atlantic show synchronous shifts 91.2 million years ago for both the surface and deep ocean that are consistent with an approximately 200,000-year period of glaciation, with ice sheets of about half the size of the modern Antarctic ice cap. Even the prevailing supergreenhouse climate was not a barrier to the formation of large ice sheets, calling into question the common assumption that the poles were always ice-free during past periods of intense global warming.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2008

Honourable Member?

The current debacle in that house of liars and cheats called the Palace of Westminster revolves around a man who should never have been elected to it in the first place. Peter Hain is, as defined in our current legislation a terrorist or, at the very least someone who gives succour to terrorists. The irony of that is that he and the Party he represents have put that legislation in place. That he is now on the carpet for failing to declare "Members Interests" in the shape of a large donation to his campaign (failed) for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party comes as no surprise to any except this man's sycophants and apologisers.

This, after all, is the man who led the campaign against this country having any links with South Africa in the 1960's and 70's. I doubt he has ever done a days real work in his life. Put simply he was a student activist who became a Union organiser and bully boy. His road to the top of this particular political dungheap is typical of the denizens of Westminster and a major reason why the voting public have lost all confidence and faith in the present political system. This is the man who dug up cricket pitches, caused thousands upon thousands of pounds of damage to public property, threatened peoples lives and livelihoods and backed, and still backs, murder in pursuit of political gain. He is famous in South Africa for the fact that his family aided and abetted the first urban bomber in that country, a man - ironically a white man - who planted a bomb in a suitcase on the Johannesburg station. His victims were an old lady and her grandchildren. The grandson and the grandmother died, the young girl was scarred for life and now lives in the UK permanently in a wheelchair.

When confronted with her some fifteen years ago this piece of human filth refused to admit that her injuries served no purpose in the "struggle" he championed. Worse, he refused to even apologise or sympathise with her position, instead seeking to justify his position and the use of violence in pursuit of political "freedom".

Well, it may interest any reader to know that he shares something with another Labour Cabinet member. Like Mr Straw, he idolised Che Guevarra, admiring his "struggle" for justice. Justice dispensed from the barrel of a gun which they now deny to any law abiding Briton, but have singularly failed to stop their criminal gangster supporters from owning. He also, at one time, sang the praises of a certain Robert Mugabe at every opportunity.

If this man's career has finally been derailed, I will celebrate. Sadly, like so many of those who disgrace our Parliament, I suspect he will survive, or simply find an even better paid job in Brussels - just as a certain Mr Mandelson did when his failures became public.

Honourable Members? Not in THAT House.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:46 AM | TrackBack

January 07, 2008

I wonder who will "glorify" our surrender?

The report out today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation sum up, for me, the cancer which will destroy our society and our civilisation. It is so obviously compiled by those of the "the military is evil" faction that I am surprised that it is even being given serious media attention. Sadly though, these same "Peaceniks" are in charge of the media as well - so naturally they will promote their own exclusive view and try to make out that anyone who thinks anythinbg different is a rampant blood thirsty, murdering, enemy of the people.

The report states that the Army is deliberately misleading recruits and "glorifying war" in its recruiting and promotional material. Perhaps the authors of this complete load of ordure should be reminded that it was the Army, the Royal Navy and RAF that ensured they are now free to publish such cr*p. How do they conclude that the Army telling recruits that they will have to fight in defence of liberty, may be called upon to shoot at an enemy or be constantly vigilant "glorify" war? They are stating simple facts.

The second thing these idiots are whinging about is that once a recruit has signed on "it is very difficult to leave". Well, yes, it is, but then, if I sign a contract with anyone for a predetermined period there are penalties for breaking it! A recruit who signs up for a twelve year period of service should be very well aware of the fact that he or she now has three ways to leave - Dishonourable discharge, discharge wounded or dead and serving out the time! It is possible, in todays armed forces, to leave before the full contract is served, but it has a process and that process is fully explained to every recruit before they sign - and, in contrast to any previous system - the recruit is told to take the papers home and think on it for twenty four hours and discuss it with someone they know and trust.

The Rowntree Foundation is a well known left wing anti-war foundation, after all, the Rowntree family are Quakers and pacifists. But, sadly, they represent today, the rotten core of the anti-military, unilateral disarmament, better Red than Dead cowards that currently run the country. This anti-military attitude pervades every town hall, every publishing house and every part of our media. Even Whitehall would rather spend money buying furniture and paintings for the MoD office block than on proper ammunition or equipment for the troops. It is a parallell with the fall of Rome - and we will soon have no means with which to defend ourselves when the next Alaric arrives at the gates ...

A sad day for Britain, and probably a foretaste of our ultimate surrender to the very next aggressor to threaten our nation. Who will then "glorify" our surrender?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:36 AM | TrackBack

January 06, 2008

Blogging against Islam can now get you arrested ....

A blogger by the name of Lionheart is under threat of arrest and charged with "Incitement to Racial or Religious hatred" for blogging against the ongoing threat posed by Islam in all its guises in this country. The law being used to do this is one Mister Blair and his Labour Politburo imposed upon us to promote the spread of Islam and other "minority" religions and protect its Imam's from prosecution for their constant lies and attacks on Christianity. In effect they have handed Muslim fundamentalists the right to prosecute anyone for telling the truth about the means of spreading their religion and their plan to Islamise Britain.

Even posting this piece could get me into the same mess. But I appear to be in good company. The Bishop of Rochester could well be next to have his collar felt by the Thought Police under the Act....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 27, 2007

The Global Warming scam ...

Bali, it seems, might not have been the harmonious and "unified" front the "Green" organisers would like to present. In fact, perhaps the US had a point, a serious point that the "Green" Gauleiters don't want aired. My thanks to The Gorse Fox for bringing this great quote to my attention. As I have often said, I think the debate is being railroaded by a small group of "Witch Hunters" and my question is - why?

What is to be gained by denying the counter evidence to their theory? Who benefits if they have it as wrong as many of us believe? The answer surely is no one except those who are living on "research grants" handed out by moroninc politicians who would hand over any sum just to be seen to be doing something and maybe win a few votes - and the developers of all the hideous wind farms which are costing us an arm and a leg and destroying habitats and the environment around them. (Notably though, not in any of Brown's ministers' constituencies - except where said Ministers can't see the infernal things!)

Why do the "Global Warming" nazis refuse to take account of the satellite data that shows surface cooling on the continental masses and slowing oceanic currents? Because they will lose "research" funding if their theory doesn't hold up. This is why are they afraid of an open debate.

But why is the press so afraid to expose the scam? Primarily because the fear in the media of upsetting the green terrorists and having their offices torched, or their papers labelled as "Fascist" - and affecting thier sales - terrifies them all.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:17 PM | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Ban Lego immediately!

That has to be the only solution. Ban it outright - before the children of the UK and EU rush out to buy the book written by a pair of Danish anarchists who suggest - horror of horrors - a whole range of nasty weapon things that children might enjoy playing with!

Cue a collective howl of anguish from all the angst ridden feministas who have destroyed this generation's ability to cope with opposition, deal with bullying or any sort of aggression (other than their own!). As I said, the only solution is a total ban on Lego and any other toy which might have aggressive or alternative uses. So I guess that puts The Transformers, all military models and toys, The Dangerous Book for Boys and the Dangerous Book for Girls off the Christmas list.

Sorry folks, but those of you who have already bought these items, better rush out and find substitutes - preferably one's which can't possibly show a child how to make a nuke out of Lego ....

Forbidden LEGO Book Is Big Xmas Hit
Updated:11:17, Friday December 14, 2007

A book showing children how to make guns out of LEGO is climbing the list of must-have Christmas presents.

Book is a big hit in the USThe manual, written by two former employees of the Danish plastic-brick firm, is a big hit in the US.

The authors of Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against promise "you'll learn to create working models that LEGO would never endorse".

Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley added: "Try your hand at a toy gun that shoots LEGO plates, a candy catapult, a high voltage LEGO vehicle.

"Or a continuous fire ping-pong ball launcher, and other useless but incredibly fun inventions."

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The book was published in August by No Starch Press, a small independent publishing house based in San Francisco.

And it has become a surprise hit with Americans, shooting up the Amazon sales charts.

But in Britain, there has been concern about the effect the book may have on children.

The Daily Telegraph has dubbed the tome "the Anarchist Cookbook of the nursery".

And a commenter on ThisIsLondon.co.uk said: "This is a very dangerous idea.

"Kids could make atomic bombs out of LEGO, and just think what would happen if some Islamic terrorist get hold of a copy. The possibilities are terrifying."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2007

Sharia Justice?

Advice to any woman who thinks that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Don't get raped. At least don't get into a position where you could be raped in any country (or part of this country) where the Sharia Law is applied.

The King of Saudi Arabia's somewhat magnanimous gesture at "pardoning" a 19 year old raped by seven men - that's right, seven men - after a Sharia Court had sentenced her to a public flogging, is somewhat spoiled by the fact that he had to be pressured into it. Saudi Arabia has some of the most archaic laws going, but, and those who espouse Islam as an alternative religion for this country should note, this particular law applies in every country ruled by Islamic regimes. The fact that she was raped does not appear to have been addressed by the religious zealots running the court, all they were interested in was the fact that she had been taken by the men from the company of a man not a close relative.

In other words she was having a quiet moment with a boyfriend - and that seems to have been the excuse used by the rapists! No doubt screaming "harlot" at her, they grabbed her and raped her - perfectly acceptable in their eyes since any female who steps outside of the rules of "modesty" this religion insists on imposing is fair game. I doubt very much that they will be caught, and even if they are, I doubt they will be punished. After all, they are men. A single woman's testimony is unacceptable as evidence unless supported by another unrelated woman or a man's ...

Yup, I guess that's justice. Sharia style anyway.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:54 PM | TrackBack

December 17, 2007

Carbon emissions

Some may want to argue with me about my view of the Carbon Emissions League tables. On the table contained in Nation Wide dot Com site you will find a range of nations listed according to their CO2 output. Well, once you get down to analysing these, you will see the flaw in it. China, the world's biggest polluter at present is down at #80 as a result of the fact that the emissions are measured in Tonnes per 1,000 population! So Qatar (Population 750,000) is the world's biggest polluter if you simply read this table. Even the UK, which contributes less than 2% of the world total CO2 emmissions is up at #25 with the US much further down.

From the same site I discovered this YouTube clip which is one of the cleverest expositions on the need to see the whole picture - this Swedish Prof makes more sense than any of the emotional garbage I have found on Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace websites. Both of these insist on trying to present as "proof" the sort of data in the table I have linked to. The Professor is making a fantastic case for looking at things in context and arguing strongly that under no circumstances should anyone attempt to work with "average" or "comparative" data when addressing world issues and problems.

Now you can see why I don't believe the FotE or Greenpeace propaganda. As Dr Goebbels once said, a lie is easily detected and refuted, but a lie built on a truth or on half a truth is accepted as "truth". He must be proud of his students in Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and all the socialist dictatorships springing up in the formerly democratic West.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:39 PM | TrackBack

December 14, 2007

Incovenient facts ....

Further to the item posted by The Gorse Fox a few days ago concerning the theory that the Global Warming issue is a form of Collective Delusion of the same order as the Salem Witch (and other similar) frenzy of the 1600's, comes from Cross Swords, another of the blogs on my Blogroll. In a short but very informative piece he points out that despite the hype contained in the press releases and the political manifesto put out by the UN and its wastrells, the Geophysics satellite data shows that temperatures on the surface of our planet have been falling since 1998. In fact, contrary to what the UN and other pundits like Al Gore and Greenpeace would have us believe that hottest year of the last century was 1934 - NOT 1998.

There is other evidence out there to support this as well. For one thing the North Atlantic drift - the current that flows beneath the Gulf Stream and back towards the Equatorial zone, is slowing down. So is the Gulf Stream which has slowed by 2 knots in the last 10 years. That may not sound like much, but in terms of current flows, it is a lot. Yes, the Southern Ice Shelf in Antarctica is melting faster than anywhere else, but consider this, Antarctica has seen more human activity in the last hundred years than in the last several thousand - and the continent has been locked in an ice age for a very, very long time. It could well be that the pendulum is starting to swing back to release that area and freeze ours again - it is, after all is said and done, something like fifteen thousand years since the last Northern Ice Age. And it is the ocean currents changing their direction or flow which triggers that, something the "climatologists" refuse to model.

I don't think we have heard or seen the last of this. In fact I think the bubble may be on the point of bursting for the Global Warming shroud wavers.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:40 PM | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

The end to British Sovereignty ....

So our Illustrious Leader has signed away our Sovereignty. I wonder if that is treason? I rather think it is. He had no mandate to do this, in fact has reneged on the election promise of a Referendum on this issue - in fact he has no mandate to govern at present, having also failed to test the voter's willingness to have him take on the position of Prime Minister.

In fact, since Blair and his shower of closet communists, single issue politicians and luvvies came to power it seems to have escaped their notice that the PM is "First Minister of the Queen" and not some sort of independent authority exercising power in his own right. They have NO right or authority to give up our national rights and status to an unelected Presidency and Council of Commissioners in a foreign country. In effect, tonight, with his adding his signature to the rest of the collection of socialists who have cobbled together this treaty, the United States of Europe came into being. It is no good his Party whittering on about the Treaty being a watered down "Constitution" - all the other signatories have admitted it is the same Treaty the French rejected the last time round.

Do not get me wrong, I am not anti-Europe or even anti a European "Union". What I object to absolutely is the unelected Commission and the rule by Bureaucratic Decree from Brussels. When, and only when, the Commission and the Brussels Bureaucracy is brought under the scrutiny of election and full accountability will I support any form of USE. The British people have been lied to by the bureaucrats, by the current crop of political pygmies and by the current government.

We must have a referendum on this issue - it is either that or we need to descend on Whitehall and clean house!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

A cruel blow ....

It was announced today that Terry Pratchett, quite my favourite author, has a rare form of Alzheimer's Disease. Apparently this has been brought on by a minor stroke he suffered in the last couple of years and didn't even notice - until the symptoms of Early Onset Alzheimers started to show. TP is 59 and frankly really doesn't deserve this fate. But then, who does?

I shall be praying for TP as, I hope, will everyone else who loves his work. Not for some miracle cure, but for a healing that he will cope with this and that those who will tend him as the Alzheimers takes away his mind, have the strength to cope with that. In the meantime he has announced that he plans to continue lkiving and writing.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 12, 2007

PC Brigade told to lay off Christmas ...

I have to thank Skipjack for this lovely item. It seems that the "Multiculturalists" in Labours little coterie of closet communists have finally stirred the pot once to often even for our Race Relations watchdog. Trevor Phillips and a host of ethnic minority religions including Muslims, Budhists, Hindus and Sikhs met recently to celebrate Christmas. Read the Reuters report below.

Hopefully this will see an end to the spate of schools cancelling Nativity Plays, refusing to allow children to make "Christmas" Cards (X-mas is apparently OK) and local councils declaring that Christmas is now "Winterval". Somehow though I doubt it. The Gorse Fox has a fascinating item on his blog about mass delusions and wonders whether the phenomenon of "Global Warming" is a form of collective delusion in much the same form as that which gripped Salem, Massachusets in the 1600's. I suspect that the present frenzy of trying to denigrate anything British or vaguely Christian and turn it into something offensively non-anything for fear of "offending" this or that minority is another form of collective delusion - and as such is not only dangerous but unlikely to pay any regard to any voice of reason.

We believe that anything British or Christian is offensive to XXXX and it must therefore be banned. Hmmm, maybe Mr Phillips and his fellow celebrants have just set themselves up as possible victims of the PC Deluded witch hunters......

LONDON (Reuters) - Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain's equality watchdog Monday in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.

"It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," he said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.

Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain, a debate that has been echoed across Europe.

The threat of radical Islam, highlighted by the London attacks, prompted reflection about Britain's attitude to ethnic minorities and debate about whether closer integration was more important than promoting multiculturalism.

Phillips, reflecting on media reports of schools scrapping nativity plays and local councils celebrating "Winterval" instead of Christmas, feared there might an underlying agenda -- using "this great holiday to fuel community tension."

So he joined forces with leaders of minority faiths to put out a blunt message to the politically correct -- Leave Christmas alone.

"Hindus celebrate Christmas too. It's a great holiday for everyone living in Britain," said Anil Bhanot, general secretary of the UK Hindu Council.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:25 PM | TrackBack

December 07, 2007

Feeling swamped ....

I know, I know, I bring it on myself.

With Christmas only three weeks away I have only just finished writing Christmas Cards and those for overseas will probably reach their recipients late. The internal ones may just make it, and those for hand delivery at the Abbey haven't even been started yet - but now I have offers of work pouring in, and I dare not turn it away. Mausi is having the same problem so this could get patchy ....

Don't even mention Christmas shopping.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2007

Hug a Hoodie? The Clarkson option ....

Many of us feel that we now live in a society that no longer has any respect for the law. In fact many of us feel that the criminals now enjoy "rights" which exceed anything enjoyed by the law abiding citizen. The row in the papers today over the anti-terror laws is a case in point. According the Liberty and the Civil Rights bleeding hearts, to increase the time the police are permitted to hold a suspected terrorist without formal charge is excessive at twenty-eight days and to increase it to the proposed forty two days is to threaten the very fabric of democracy. Considering that Labour are themselves a threat to democracy that is a bit rich - especially as Labour are the people who now want to bring this in and not that long ago were opposing every attempt to tighten up on any form of justice.

One does have to wonder though, when the likes of Jeremy Clarkson find themselves the target of a gang of "youffs" in a public centre in Milton Keynes and then find themselves "helping police with their enquiries" after one of the fourteen year olds called the police because he wouldn't kowtow to their threats and bad behaviour. That the police haven't taken action against the "youff" concerned for "wasting police time" says everything we need to know about the state of our justice system, when a victim turns on this scum and is then accused of behaving "provocatively"it is pushing the limits of everyone's respect for the police and the justice system. The full story is in the extended post to this, and I am pleased to see that Clarkson will face no further nuisance over this, but it is not an isolated incident.

Last Sunday afternoon I had to suggest rather forcibly to a similar gang of "youff" making free of the cloister area at the Abbey, that they should remove themselves before I did. I got a mouthful of invective and the usual threatening gestures, but then my Sarn't Major voice came into play and I refused to back off or leave them alone - so they decided to depart - but I dare say that I could have found myself facing an interview with Mister Plod had one of the little devils decided to make a complaint. Pity really, because, interestingly, as Church Warden, I hold powers of arrest within the Churchyard. That could have provided the Magistrates with a lot of fun. I would also have to say that we have a lot of trouble with this particular group who are well known in our town - and earlier in the afternoon they had been in and stolen several candles from the Advent Crown at the back of the Abbey. No doubt to add to their collection of candles stolen regularly from the Chapel Altars in the Ambulatory and from the three stands for Pilgrim candles.

What it really highlights for me is that these children have been lost to our society. They are on a one way spiral downward toward a life on the fringe of society, a life of drugs, crime and despair. It breaks my heart to see such a waste of human potential, yet no one seems able to reach them in any form. Discipline is completely lacking, they have no concept of belonging to anything or anyone. Loyalty is to themselves only, they will turn on a "friend" in a moment if it will save their own skins. They demand "respect" but have none for anyone else and cannot see that respect is something you earn, that it cannot be demanded or taken from someone, down that road lies contempt, loathing and, ultimately, revenge. These are children with family life so dysfunctional that they will never learn any of these concepts from their parents - and know they can reject with impunity all forms of adult restriction.

Want to get an adult male into hot water? Suggest he's tried to "groom" you or had sex with you. Want to get your parents into trouble - phone Childline or the Police. Get caught stealing or causing damage to something? Accuse the owner of assault. And the list goes on - that is the society that has been created by those who, for all the best reasons, have forced through laws restricting how we may deal with our children. As usual, to crack a nut they have gone for a full scale hydraulic press so that every parent is now held in suspicion every time a child picks up a bruise or breaks a bone. And the "lost" children know exactly how to exploit the power they have been given. Why is it that most of the murders involving lethal weapons or firearms are now committed by youths considered to be "not ciminally responsible" in the eyes of our law? They know exactly what they are doing and they know exactly what they can expect if caught - a lenient sentence and an early release - look at the murderers of Jamie Bulger, now enjoying a new life in Australia under assumed names.

Those of us who try to abide by the law are not protected by it, but those who choose to break it most certainly are. If we are to ask why this should be so, there is a very simple explanation and it lies in the fact that there was a general revulsion of the use of the legal system in the late 19th Century which saw boys hung at ages under sixteen for comparatively trivial offences. Children were also sent to prisons sentenced with adults to hard labour and the abuses they suffered probably did ensure they ended up as gallows bait - it was quite possibly a relief to be free of that harsh a life. Since then reformers have argued for a steady increase in the age of responsibility, but are they right to say that a sixteen year old does know the difference between right and wrong and a fifteen year old doesn't? A child of four knows the difference if they have been taught it from an early age - but this is where the reformers have gone too far. Children no longer learn this and any parent who does try to impose discipline is likely to have a visit from a social worker and the police!

Somewhere a balance has to be found. Children do know the difference between right and wrong, and reasonable punishment is justifiable in teaching this. The Dr Spock "reward" system is a failure - he admitted it himself - yet in Britain far to many earnest "professional" mothers hold to it as a tenet of faith - and sometimes the results can be seen among their offspring as soon as mummy dearest is out of sight. Again this is something I have some personal experience of and I know instantly which boys have been brought up on the Spock method and which have been brought up traditionally. No prizes for guessing which children I will deal with and which I won't have anything to do with at any price!

One thing is certain, we do need to find a way to deal with these feral children. If for no other reason than that we need to break the cycle which will carry them inexorably into a prison and justice systems. More importantly we need to begin by rediscovering the concept of justice involving an element of punishment and retribution - and perhaps we need also to rediscover or reinvent the concept of "Outlawry" - if you break the law, you place yourself beyond the protection of the law and cannot therefore shelter from the consequences by manipulating the law.

A thought for the day perhaps?

By Sky News SkyNews - 7 minutes agoTV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been questioned by police after he wrote in a national newspaper about confronting a youth who was pestering him.

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The Top Gear star explained in his Sunday Times column that the incident took place outside the Xscape sports complex in Milton Keynes, where his youngest daughter was celebrating her birthday.

Clarkson had stepped outside for a cigarette when he was confronted by a gang of teenagers, who began to pester him and followed him when he tried to walk away.

"And so, figuring that attack was probably the best form of defence, I grabbed the ringleader by his hoodie, lifted him off the ground and explained, firmly, that it'd be best if he went back to his tenement," he wrote.

"I was standing there holding this boy by the scruff of his neck, and instead of worrying about being stabbed I was actually thinking: 'Jesus, I'm going to get done for assault if I'm not careful.'

"I therefore put him down, and in a flurry of swearing and hand gestures involving various fingers he was gone."

The children began filming the November 23 incident on their mobile phones, although the footage does not appear to have made it onto the internet.

Thames Valley Police said they received a call from a 14-year-old girl informing them a man had been abusive towards her friend.

But when officers arrived at the scene and spoke to witnesses it became clear the girl was part of a group who had earlier been warned by security staff about their behaviour.

A spokesman said: "Mobile phone images were viewed, as well as CCTV footage, and it became apparent that, if any offence had occurred, it was the man who was the victim."

Clarkson was later interviewed at his home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, but did not wish to make a complaint or provide a statement.

The police spokesman added: "There is no evidence that a crime took place and therefore there will be no further police action."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:25 PM | TrackBack

November 30, 2007

So Islam is "tolerant" .....

Nothing makes me angrier than any form of religious fanaticism. In fact, about the only thing that comes close is the cant of the Westminster and Whitehall W*****s who insist that Islam is equal or superior to Christianity. All that demonstrates is that they know nothing at all about the beliefs of either. And about now my temper starts to boil over. The news from Sudan that a teacher has been jailed (she could have been flogged and then jailed!) for allowing some of her children students to name a Teddy Bear "Mohammed" is enough to make me angry, but when the Sudanese authorities then proceed to whip up a frenzy that has thousands of protesters out on the streets demanding her death - that is where I draw the line.

Listen up Mister Brown and your Muslim paymasters. England is a Christian country with a Christian tradition that stretches back to the first century AD. You and your PC zealots and your atheist and humanist cohorts (I could add Presbyterian in reference to the fact that much of our present state of secularism and materialism has its origins in the 17th Century heresies and intolerance of that branch of Christianity) have undermined our nation and our culture for long enough. Islam is not capable of rational or reasoned debate at present, any more than the Spanish Inquisition of the 1500's (themselves a response to Islamic activities in Spain in the 1400's) were capable of reasoned or rational debate. The only time England has been that religiously intolerant was under Cromwell's Presbyterians and the Spanish led re-imposition of Roman Catholicism under Mary Tudor. It is time to silence your anti-Christian "hug a Muslim and revile Christianity" apparatchiks and get tough with those of the Islamic faith who yiou and your party have welcomed with open arms into Britain and then encouraged to attack all things tolerant in our nation.

It is time you and the rest of your atheistic followers and propagandists recognised the fact that if you continue to promote the religion of intolerance that is represented by Islam in its present form, the Britain we know will soon cease to exist and be divided into those who convert to the religion of slavery and oppression and those who do not and are thenceforth excluded from all positions of authority. Islam will not and cannot tolerate equality of any other faith, it is an underpinning tenet of their faith that all other faiths are inferior and therefore not to be tolerated irrespective of their own Prophet's injunction that they respect "the people of the Book" ´ that is Christian's and Jews who follow the Bible. That has been the case since the 11th Century when a late Caliph (Descended they claimed from Mohammed) decreed that "the People of the Book" were "Dhimmi".

The Civil Servants of the Foreign Office should be kicked painfully and repeatedly until the teacher concerned is released and returned and Sudan's diplomats expelled along with any Muslim who supports the actions of that ghastly regime. They should be on the next aircraft to the Sudan with cancellation of all rights to return. They want to bring the Sharia Law into Britain, the rest of us will not tolerate that under you Mister Brown or any other government. You insist that we tolerate their attacking our faith and their assaults on our freedoms and particularly the freedom to speak our minds - while at the same time you tolerate their intolerance of every aspect of our society. It is time to call a halt to this farce - if they want the freedom we enjoy they have to accept that we have the right to those freedoms as well - and that includes in the countries they hold sway in. Why is it that only Christians are prosecuted under your "incitement to religious hatred" laws? Every week articles defaming Christ and attacking Christianity appear in Islamic papers and periodicals yet your religious police do nothing about it.

This latest example of the "tolerance" of Islam should be the final warning to all those who promote this multi-cultural mishmash - it won't and can't work. It cannot work as long as Islam sees itself as having the right to overthrow and impose itself on all other religions and nations. The Sudanese have done us a favour - they have exposed their "tolerance" and we would be foolish if we did not take heed.

Islam the religion of peace and tolerance? Not from where I stand - unless, of course, Hell has just started into an Ice Age.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 22, 2007

Who will be held responsible for this?

So the incompetents of the Civil Service have succeeded in "losing" 25 million peoples personal information including their bank details - on CD's they sent unrecorded through the privatised "internal" post. If ever there were a case for firing every single "manager" in this incompetent and totally dishonest organisation this has to be it! But, watch this space - not one will lose his or her job beside the man who has already resigned. Frankly this is a part of the fundamental dishonesty that lies at the very heart of government. The Civil Service is totally unfit for purpose. It is a collection of willing individuals who cling to their rules and refuse to apply common sense. They have no professional ability so "the rules" become the liferaft in every situation. No doubt "the rules" were followed in this instance when these vital Computer Discs were committed to the hands of - not the Royal Mail as you would expect, but a "private" mail provider without any safeguards.

It is a disgrace - but worse, it is a disgrace which will just keep getting worse. Whitehall has to be reformed. Not just reformed, but stripped of every incompetent masquerading as a "Manager" and then rebuilt around professionals that can be trusted to use initiative, common sense and good practice. Above all by people who are actually competent to do the functions they manage. There is no such thing as a "manager" who can take charge of any function and "manage" it unless they are themselves fully competent to do whatever it is they manage. It is time to burst the little bubble that the Institute of Management has been allowed to build - the civil service is unfit for purpose for two major reasons - one; it is managed by people who are expert politicians but utterly ignorant of the functions they manage and two; it is subject to sets of Rules set by equally incompetent idiots who then blame ministers. There is another reason it can never be fit for purpose and that is simply that it is no longer delivering any service at all - its sole function has become, under this present government, to serve as an employer for incompetents selected, not for their ability, but for their sexuality, race or gender.

It is time to kill it - preferably with, as the Americans say, "Maximum Prejudice!"

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 17, 2007

Civil Service incompetence ....

If proof were ever needed, surely the saga of the Asylum Centre that was never built must rank high in the list of evidence. Twenty eight million of taxpayers money went into the black hole of an asylum centre proposed for Bicester in Oxfordshire that ran into immediate problems with planners and the preservation of historic sites and greenbelt. All of which, if the Civil Service weren't so incestuously arrogant and incompetent could have been forseen. But no, they blkundered ahead with the project and ended up costing us all £28 million for nothing.

Which Department you cry in disbelief? Why, that magnificent edifice described by the last Home Secretary as being totally unfit for purpose. Has it been remodelled or even sorted out? Of course not, that is not how the civil service or the whole of Whitehall works. If you want to stay in post in the upper echelons of the Civil Service, you identify a problem and make it your speciality. Not so you can sort it out, but so that you are secure in post for life. As long as you are the only expert on that problem, you're bomb proof.

So, what can we expect with the latest revelation to embarrass our "Wunderkind" government? Oh, just that our security services have been infiltrated by up to 10,000 illegal immigrants. Nothing much to worry about and it should keep another thousand or so Civil Servants in post to retirement while they become experts on the problem.

Good game really, incompetence of that order is little short of genius I think.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2007

Abbey roof thefts .....

Well, our thieving visitors didn't return last night, but I have still had to spend the day at the Abbey with TV crews, police and insurers. It hasn't left much time for anything else in fact. But the following photographs give an idea of what has been stolen and from where.

Lead theft gulley East and North.jpg
The East End gulley. This is a main part of the roof darinage system and can run up to twelve inches deep in water since all the upper roof drains into this. It measures some 3 metres in width by roughly 15 metres in length.

Lead theft gulley north.jpg
The North side of the gulley, showing a further 3 metres by around 6 metres stripped of lead.

Lead theft roof South.jpg
The small roof over an internal wall walk which has also been stripped.

Abbey Roof Access.JPG
The probable route the thieves took to reach the gulley - a sheer climb of around fifteen metres up this "chimney" between chapels.

The value of the lead is not the problem for us now as we try to repair the damage. The thieves will have got no more than £1500 for their efforts, but it will cost at least £15000 and probably more like £20000 to replace it. The problem here is that they have damaged some of the timber understructure and we now have to relay an underfelt and then lay the sheets of lead over this, and it has to be brought up here in large and very heavy rolls, then unrolled and beaten into shape, fastened down and then made water tight - a dangerous procedure which has resulted in more than one fire in such a building as this.

I suppose we should be grateful that they attacked a school eight miles away last night and didn't return for the remainder ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2007

An interesting thought for our political classes ...

The comments recently that Britain could be saved by the adoption of Islamic principles on marriage, sex, family life and children to name but a few aspects suggested by the head of the British Muslim Council must have come as a shock to Gordon Brown's anti-religious and anti-Christian Party. After all, the Muslim Council is one of their biggest donors and propagandist organisations. That is also has a single agenda, to convert Britain into an Islamic society is something our present political class would rather not acknowledge.

Personally, I found the comments rather insulting. Primarily because Christianity has tried to promote these same values which are now "Islamic values" for centuries and it is the very political establishment which is now denigrating Christianity and everything it has contributed to our society that has eroded those values, replacing them with the free for all, do as you please and don't whatever you do, admit to anyone else having any right to a different view, that must now answer his challenge. Will they do so? Probably not, because that would really let the cat out of the bag - they simply do not have an answer. The mishmash of ideas that is "Logical Humanism" has no answers, none at all on any level. This is why the whole of the Presbyterian movement of the 17th and early 18th Century collapsed - and paved the way for the sorry state we have of religious belief today. It focused on the material action and not on the worship that should lead to change and understanding.

There are a number of things in Islam that are admirable, not least the devotion with which prayer is offered five times a day. You try and get even practicing Christians to do that! Even casual Muslims - and by that I mean those who are not so overt in their faith that they feel a need to wear dress more suited to the desert or the Lebanese refugee camps and sport silly beards to "proclaim their faith" - are devout in their observance of the ritual prayer and fasting. They prepare themselves properly for prayer as well, not our usual find a space and gabble some prayer when we feel a need, but five times a day ritually wash and place themselves in a position in which to do it properly. What I cannot admire is their refusal to accord any members of any other faith the same privileges they enjoy in worship. We need to remember that the date in the current Islamic calendar is 1400 - and to compare it with Christianity at the same period in the Christian calendar. Once you do that you will see the danger that is posed by simply accepting any statement from a leader of Islam at face value.

So now our political classes face an interesting conundrum. How do they respond to the Muslim Council? How do they explain that these same values shared by Christianity and Judaism to name but two faiths that place values on behaviour toward our fellow citizens; that place values on marriage; on treating children and women fairly and every other "moral" issue they have highjacked and devalued or declared "outmoded", how will they explain this to their Muslim benefactors? They will have to, or the money will dry up.

I wonder too when they will acknowledge that several of our major cities are now Muslim enclaves? Will we still be a materialistic "British" society of socialist humanists in ten, twenty or even thiry years time? Probably not - at current rate of immigration and take over, we will be an Islamic Republic methinks and Gordon Brown's coterie of friends will have discovered the importance of naming their children Mohammed, Ibrahim or Abdullah ...

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 13, 2007

Lead raiders attack the Abbey

The last two days have been difficult. On Sunday night/Monday morning, one of our gates was forced and a small truck or van driven into the Abbey grounds. Then apparently two men scaled the walls of one of the ambulatory chapels and stripped about thirty square metres of lead from one of the large "gulleys" which is both roof and drain for the main roof.

So Monday was spent with the police and the scenes of crime people, the insurers and others. To cap it all a man was then seen to force open a collection box and remove the money. He knew he had been seen to do it, but, bold as brass, went to another and forced that as well. More police.

Unbelievably the lead raiders returned on Monday night/Tuesday morning and removed another huge section of lead. The annoying thing is that we had said to the police that we believed they would come back now that they had "recce'd" the roofs and established how they would do it and what they needed for the rest.....

And in the midst of dealing with a fresh police visitation, the collection robber from Monday walks into the Abbey - and makes another attempt!

As I said, it has been a trying week - and its only Tuesday.....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2007

IT woes ....

The Monk's faithful computational appliance, commonly known as his Desk Top blew it's monitor last week. Disaster, the computer worked, but, of course, without said monitor you cannot operate the system! OK, so what to do? Well, first off, is there a way to make that system talk to another and show itself on - for example - that laptop's monitor? Well, there probably is, but the Monk is not sufficiently up to speed on the how and the operating systems to get it to work! Aaargh! Several failures, including the laptop apparently deciding to revert to its most basic formatting and programming! - he finally succeeded in getting the laptop to talk to the homehub and therefore could get onto the internet to at least read his e-mail.

Now, of course, it would be useful, desirable even, to be able to downsize some of the pictures he took of the desert and the Libyan capital Tripoli, but no, that programme is in the Desk Top not the Laptop so that is a non-starter. What to do, what to do?

Ah well, at least some of what he needs to work on is on either the Laptop (Back-up mode!) or a memory stick, so not total disaster, and it gives him plenty to do while he awaits delivery of the new monitor from Dell. He almost can't believe his luck. For the first time in his life, the warranty had not expired on the old one! Bingo, the new one will be sent immediately. Probably the first time ever the Monk has heard the magic words which he has come not to expect from the so-called service centres for "online" help - except if you can't get online how are you supposed to get help? Well, suffice to say, Dell went up several points in his estimation. Now all they need to do to confirm it is to deliver ......

Oh, the e-mail did say delivery between 09.00 and 17.00 ........ Sigh!

It turned up eventually and was easily installed. Too easily. A whole lot seemed to have been thrown into disarray by the failure of the monitor - so several more hours of frusttration to get all the other things talking again ...

Well, for now, I have a new monitor and a system that seems to be functioning. Except that it refuses to operate the scanner ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2007

Remembrance Sunday

Today is Remembrance Sunday - and coinciding with Remembrance Day, the 11th day of the 11th month, the day in 1918 when the guns of the Western Front stuttered into silence at the 11th hour of the day. At this distance in time one can only imagine what it must have been like for those survivors who, after four and half years of constant bombardment, sniping and trench digging, interspersed with suicidal assaults across the killing fields of no man's land when, at the appointed hour, the last shell burst, the last machine gun stuttered into silence and the last casualty fell wounded or dying.

I remember one old soldier describing a sensation of overwhelming relief - followed by an overwhelming sense of loss. He was eighteen on the day the guns stopped - but he had been on the front and in the trenches since the summer of 1916.

Today we always remember the dead, but I have long been of the opinion that we should also remember the survivors, for each and every one of them walked away from their own battlefields, ships or aircraft in that and every war, carrying scars that could not be seen. As a child I used to watch and wonder as I saw many grown men weep at these parades and services, now I begin to understand why. I can recall my grandfather, a boy of fifteen when he joined the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers in 1915, waking shouting and confused from nightmares when I was already in my teens. And my own father who, as an eighteen year old was among those detailed to remove the bodies from the flooded battery compartments of HMS Hecla after she had been torpedoed off the Cape of Good Hope. They had been in the flooded compartments for two weeks when the boy seamen, and others were put in to retrieve them. This was repeated a later when his own ship, HMS Ramillies, was torpedoed and saved by the deliberate flooding of her after magazines - an act of bravery by the officer concerned because it drowned him and around ninety others, but quenched the cordite fire. My father had nightmares of that and other scenes he had witnessed or been part of until his death - at 57 in 1982.

I looked around me this morning at the ex-servicemen in their blazers and medals, at the Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Training Corps, Boy Scouts and other youth organisations - many of the boys and girls on parade of an age with my grandfather and his generation when they went off to war against the Kaiser. And I felt enormous pride at the manner in which these youngsters took the process of remembering the sacrifices made for us all over the years as a matter of duty and pride. As the Vicar pointed out, the youngest ever Victoria Cross went to a young man of fifteen who, as a medical orderly, contiunued administering medical aid to the wounded despite his own serious wounds, while under heavy fire. Another, awarded at the Battle of Jutland, went to a Boy Seaman named Jack Cornwall - aged just sixteen. Jack Cornwall did not survive, he lost a leg and then his life and was eventually buried in a grave which bears a marker only because his messmates paid for the head stone. The oldest recipient of the VC was a Lieutenant aged sixty one - who, to prevent munitions falling into the hands of the enemy, blew up the depot and himself as this was the only way to ensure the munitions were totally destroyed.

Today, at 11.00 we remembered them, the dead, the survivors, and those who serve still.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,

Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn,

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.


A reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus.

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 44 vv. 1 – 15 RSV

1 Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations.

2 The Lord apportioned to them great glory, his majesty from the beginning.

3 There were those who ruled in their kingdoms, and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and proclaiming prophecies;

4 leaders of the people in their deliberations and in understanding of learning for the people, wise in their words of instruction;
5 those who composed musical tunes, and set forth verses in writing;

6 rich men furnished with resources, living peaceably in their habitations-

7 all these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.

8 There are some of them who have left a name, so that men declare their praise.

9 And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them.

10 But these were men of mercy, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;

11 their prosperity will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance to their children's children.

12 Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake.

13 Their posterity will continue forever, and their glory will not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations.

15 Peoples will declare their wisdom, and the congregation proclaims their praise.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:05 PM | TrackBack

November 10, 2007

High tide receding ...

The high storm surge tide yesterday certainly made its presence felt along the East Coast. Some of the news footage - of ships floating high above the sea walls and quays lining the seafront of one town, were amazing to say the least. I expect that another few inches and it would have been a case of what street? What town?

At least the danger has passed for the moment, but now it really should be a wake-up call to the government and to the enviromental types. Its all very well saying on the one hand that this is all down to Global Warming and we must all revert to living in wattle and daub, walking, and cooking on open fires in order to save the planet - but what do we do about flood defences if you lot won't let us build new ones or repair the few we still have?

Hopefully the storm surge will have started the alarms ringing in Whitehall - but someohow I doubt we will see any action. After all, no politician lost anything and none of their own died in it ...

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:45 PM | TrackBack

November 09, 2007

High tide on the East Coast

Images on the news of the great flood barriers at Rotterdam being closed for the first time should alert us to the reality of the threat of flooding from the storm surge tide currently threatening all the North Sea coasts and towns. Here in Britain it is, of course, made slightly worse by the failure of successive governments to invest in the sea walls and defences which, from Roman times, have defeneded the low lying East Coast. The excuse has been that it was "interfering with nature" and "damaging ecologically sensitive habitats". Not half as much as uncontrolled flooding will, or the damage which will be done in other areas when Gordon Brown rams through his new legislation to force local authorities to approve and accept the building of some three million houses in ecologically disasterous areas so he can flood the country with more of his immigrant mates and voters.

Mausi informs me that the Chief of Police on the East Friesian island of Borkum told a radio interview that he had been almost blown into the sea by the wind and the ferries cannot load as the cars would have to drive through two feet of water to board. That's quite a tide surge! In Hamburg the Fish Market is already ankle deep in water - something the denizens of that ancient Hanseatic city seem to think is amusing and "normal". That said, the storm has, apparently, been less severe than predicted, so perhaps they will get away with it this time round anyway.

Here in the west of England we are experiencing high winds and some rain, but then, we had our deluge earlier in the year and suffered the effects of a natural occurence and the lack of planning that this and other government's have driven through giving the OK to building houses and tarmacking areas without proper consideration to how this affects drainage and run-off. Likewise all along our East Coast, erosion is increasing year on year, ironically a knock-on of the work being done along the Dutch and Friesian coasts to stabilise their coastline, yet our government and their "Environment Agency" which seems to be entirely populated by Ecowarriors, refuse to allow the maintenance or rebuilding of any of the existing sea defences. The result is that in the last fifteen years we have lost enormous amounts of arrable land and a large number of buildings to the sea. Of course, they rabbit on about "global warming" and "climate change" being responsible, but considering that our Roman and medieval ancestors successfully reclaimed this land with fairly low tech systems and our immediate forebears held it for almost two thousand years, it doesn't take a genius to work out that the loss is directly attributable to ill-conceived and ill-implemented government policy.

It remains only to be seen how much we lose this time.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:56 AM | TrackBack

November 06, 2007

Remember, remember the Fifth of November ....

Gunpowder, treason and plot ....

Where is Guido Fawkes when you really need him? With our government not content to give away our sovereignty and deny any pledge to hold a referendum, with their "Parliamentary Expenses" running at the GNP of most African Nations and now another vicious attack on a man who dares to step out of line and say what most of his prospective constituents - in fact most 'native' Britons - think, it really is time to look at the complete removal of Westminster and Whitehall and its replacement with a body which does actually represent us, the tax paying public and our concerns.

Let us recall Guy Fawkes with a little more sympathy than is usually afforded with bonfires, fireworks and Guy's to be burned ...

Maybe he had the best idea of how to deal with politicians and bureaucrats yet ...

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:12 AM | TrackBack

November 05, 2007

Ongoing tragedy ...

One of the prime reasons given for tearing our fire and rescue service apart and parachuting in all sorts of people with no fire background and at all levels of senior management was to "create a leaner, more effcient and safer" fire service. It was stated that these parachutists would bring "skills lacking in management, training and community relations". In reality it was a baldfaced attempt to ethnicise the service and make it more cuddly and feminine. The results have begun to show.

The training system which had served us very well for over fifty years was deemed to be "elitist" and "exclusive" and thrown out. Knowledge based learning which supported skils with underpinning knowledge and built on experience gained by working your way up through the ranks with selection - everywhere apparently except London - based on merit and ability. Yes, there were a few "rotten eggs" and bullies, but the service soon found them out and they seldom prospered. Then the politicians and civil servants got their dirty hands into the service. Out went the structured training. Out went selection on ability, in came Itsy Pitsy Diddly Squat as the longer serving men and women named the "new" "competence" based system which declared that knowledge was unnecessary and so were qualifications. All you had to be able to do was squirt water and operate the equipment. Alongside that, in came a range of "Selection Criteria" which focus on matters having nothing to do with what the service actually does - the element which is based on knowledge and understanding of fire fighting, rescue and extrication is 10% of the selection process - and is optional. This to allow people from the Job Centre to parachute in as "Managers" - the service is no longer led by "Officers" - Mister Prescott would not allow the use of that word or "commander" the alternative and forbade it.

Now we have services led by Chief Executives who have never actually ridden a red lorry - probably only encounter one when they need a publicity shot for the local paper and certainly have no understanding of what it is like to have to search the remains of a building for your dead colleagues. And those who have quite probably last actually attended a fire more than ten years before they rose, by political manoeuvering, to their current level. Oh, they make all the right noises and shed a few tears in sympathy - but they don't feel the anger, the sense of betrayal that their decisions to allow buildings such as the one in Warwickshire to kill your colleagues by relaxing requirements to fit sprinklers or to cut the manning on appliances and reduce turnouts using that other great "management" tool invented by the Whitehall Wankers - "Integrated Risk Management Planning" - a system which allows the Service Managers to reduce the fire cover in industrial and high fire risk areas because there is "no significant life risk", engenders in every professional fire fighter. Except of course to the fire fighters entering the building to try and save the livelihoods of a couple of hundred people and reduce the damage to the economy wrought by fire every year.

Intergrated Risk Management Planning worls ONLY if it is supported by a regime of strict application and enforcement of the provision of sprinklers and other "active" fire suppression systems in ALL high fire risk premises. That is to say, EVERY industrial, commercial, mercantile and storage facility, EVERY theatre, cinema, Shopping Mall, hospital and high rise.

You can manipulate the numbers as much as you like CFOA, DCLG and all the rest - you signed up to this, and you, and you alone, are responsible for these latest deaths, just as you are all guilty of the increase in fire fighter injuries and deaths since you "modernised" a service which, while it had its faults, was described only two years before your vandalism, as "The best managed Public Service in the country, delivering an efficient and cost effective service at all levels." IPDS, IRMP and all your other "Integrated" initiatives have brought us a less trained, less professional, less efficient and much more dangerous service - and if you are reading this and live in London I would add this. DON'T under ANY circumstances have a fire. The once proud LFB is now so afraid to enter a building on fire that it will burn out before they even begin to lay a hose - and if you are in need of rescue.? Forget it - fire fighter discipline has gone, replaced by "personal Risk Assessment". In short, if I don't like the order I'm given I can refuse. After all, its just a job.....

Try saying that to the dedicated Firefighters who died in Warwickshire - they have given their lives needlessly as it happens, doing something they believed would make a difference.

Congratulations Whitehall and Westminster. You and your parachutists have killed another four honest, hard working a dedicated men whose only mistake was to believe your hype and to think they could make a difference. Their blood is firmly and irrevocably on your hands.

My prayers for the dead and for the bereaved will include a plea to the Almighty that those who have brought the service to this state receive here or in the hereafter the punishment and misery that they have brought to these families.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:56 AM | TrackBack

October 25, 2007

Expensive freeloaders?

Am I alone in thinking that we, the tax payers of the UK are being ripped off big time?

EIGHTY-SEVEN point FIVE MILLION POUNDS in "EXPENSES"? Between six hundred and thirty four MPs? What the hell are we paying for? A fleet of Rolls Royces to shuttle them from one public appearance to then next? Hot tubs and masseurs imported complete with gold taps and fake tans? Each and every one of these freeloaders is laughing their head off - all the way to the bank!

Definitely time to clean house, after all they are paid a wage which is more than generous, and an "allowance" for running their "office" which effectively doubles the salary. Then, those in "government" get "Grace and Favour" flats as well - and the basic MP's salary, let us just remind ourselves is GBP70k per annum! It is way past time this was looked at by the Fraud Squad and the Public Auditor. And it is time the whole damned house of cards was trimmed back dramatically. God help us, but you may be sure that the MPs in Scotland, the Welsh Assembly crew and every damned inflated hanger-on is deep in this gravy train.

And we are paying for it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:51 PM | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

Wrestling with another bureaucracy ...

I am supposed to go to Libya in a day or three. The flight is booked, the arrangements made - but the visa is another story. I was first told (and have the e-mails to prove it) that it was no problem and all arranged. I should have known better, I really should have, for now I have to go to London tomorrow in order to apply for a visa that has been granted .....

And then go back again on Wednesday to collect it.

I think bureaucrats must carry a gene which primes them to be bloody minded and bloody awkward for no other reason than that they can ...

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:43 PM | TrackBack

October 13, 2007

Peace on Earth?

The news that over a hundred and thirty of Islams most senior figures have addressed a joint letter to the Pope, the Leaders of the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican and other Christian denominations should be welcomed. The letter highlights their view that unless a peaceful path can be found between Islam and Christianity the world faces extinction should be taken seriously - especially with the weapons we now have available.

They point to the fact that our Faiths actually do share several concepts in common and should not, in terms of the guiding tenet of both, embark on conflict with each other. They claim too that the vast majority of Muslims do not share the violent aspirations of the al Qaeda factions, nor of the rest of the rabid minority, but genuinely want to live in peace with their neighbours.

The only problem I have with this is the enshrined tenet contained in one of the Shuras of the Koran - "It is permissible to lie to the infidel, if by lying to him, you may convert him."

I guess I will have to let others guide me on this and see where the Archbishop of Canterbury, York and the rest of the Anglican World lead us. But, as the Muftis point bout, never before in history have we had so many of different faiths living next to one another. Perhaps we should see what else they have to say before we make any judgement - after all, they are right, if we are to save ourselves we do need to find a way to live together ....

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 130 Muslim scholars from around the globe called on Thursday for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, saying "the very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake".

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In an unprecedented letter to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders, 138 Muslim scholars said finding common ground between the world's biggest faiths was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders.

"If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants," the scholars wrote.

"Our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake," they wrote, adding that Islam and Christianity already agreed that love of God and neighbour were the two most important commandments of their faiths.

Relations between Muslims and Christians have been strained as al Qaeda has struck around the world and as the United States and other Western countries intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Such a joint letter is unprecedented in Islam, which has no central authority that speaks on behalf of all worshippers.

The list of signatories includes senior figures throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. They represent Sunni, Shi'ite and Sufi schools of Islam.

Among them were the grand muftis of Egypt, Palestine, Oman, Jordan, Syria, Bosnia and Russia and many imams and scholars. War-torn Iraq was represented by both Shi'ites and Sunnis.

Mustafa Cagrici, the mufti who prayed with Benedict in Istanbul's Blue Mosque last year, was also on the list, as was the popular Egyptian television preacher Amr Khaled.

"MAINSTREAM VOICES DROWNED OUT"

The letter was addressed to the Pope, leaders of Orthodox Christian churches, Anglican leader Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the heads of the world alliances of the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Reformed churches.

Williams said he welcomed it as "indicative of the kind of relationship for which we yearn in all parts of the world".

"The call to respect, peace and goodwill should now be taken up by Christians and Muslims at all levels and in all countries," he said.

A Vatican official in Rome said the Roman Catholic Church would not comment until it had time to read the letter.

Aref Ali Nayed, one of the signatories and a senior adviser to the Cambridge Interfaith Programme at Cambridge University in Britain, said the signatories represented the "99.9 percent of Muslims" who follow mainstream schools and oppose extremism.

"In Islam we have had a problem for some time now where the mainstream voices are drowned out by a minority that choose violence," he said.

Nayed said organisers of the letter had set up an ad hoc network among Muslim leaders that could lead to more cooperation in future.

"These people don't take their signatures lightly," he said. "We are trying to institutionalise this so we don't lose it."

The overture to Christians could be followed by similar letters addressed to Jews or secularists, he added.

Pope Benedict sparked Muslim protests last year with a speech hinting Islam was violent and irrational. It prompted 38 Muslim scholars to write a letter challenging his view of Islam and accepting his call for serious Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Benedict repeatedly expressed regret for the reaction to the speech, but stopped short of a clear apology sought by Muslims.

The new letter argues in theological terms, giving quotes from the Koran and the Bible that show both Christianity and Islam considered love of God as their greatest commandment and love of neighbour as the second greatest.

"The basis for this peace and understanding already exists," it said. "It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the one God and love of the neighbour."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:40 AM | TrackBack

October 12, 2007

Unhealthy Health Services?

The revelation that the NHS Trust which runs three of Kent's hospitals has actually killed ninety patients by allowing the spread of a deadly bug in its wards is bad enough, but then to have the facile moron mouthpiece representing them mouth "we're sorry - and apologise to ..." simply adds insult to injury. How, you may ask, does this come about? Quite easily, a combination of meaningless targets, underpaid and overstretched medical staff - the big salaries and money all go to the Bureaucrats who run the Trusts - a lack of any understanding among "managers" of the impact their "management decisions" have on the delivery of services and hospitals that are unfit for human occupation all contribute.

Then there is the revelation that patients were not taken to the toilets or given bed pans, urine bottles or the facilities to help themselves when bedridden - and you have beds covered in the ideal material to breed super bugs. Is this Trust unique? Not from what I have seen, nor from what I am told by one of my daughters who works in the NHS as a Nursing Assistant. She was recently injured when a large patient fell on her and the hospital now refuses to acknowledge that her injury is their fault. Believe it or not their Health and Safety Policy explicitly forbids her to prevent a patient falling (which is what she attempted to do), claiming that her injury is a result of her own disobedience of a written instruction. The fact that she was attempting to help a patient is, according the managers, irrelevant, she should have called for help to assist her to pick the patient up after the fall and not attempted to intervene.

Well, I would like to meet the "manager" that wrote that policy - and ram it down their throats. Our hospitals are a disgrace precisely because they are now run by morons who think that way and understand nothing but their own rules.

Now that the Treasury and the MoD have shut down the Military Hospitals and "awarded" contracts to the NHS to provide medical services for the military we are already seeing our troops on the receiving end of appalling treatment and abuse by the creatures that have been placed in charge of the Health Services. One young man, flown back from the battlefield in Iraq was told to remove his uniform because "it upsets some of our customers" by a bumptious A&E Manager recently. She failed to realise that he had just been flown in and, what is worse, HAD BEEN LEFT IN A CORRIDOR ON A GURNEY FOR TWO HOURS BY HER STAFF. He evidently wasn't considered urgent enough - after all he was only missing a limb, had several chunks of shrapnel in him and a saline solution drip .... No, HE must get up himself and remove his uniform because it upset some of the drug addicts lurking in the waiting area .... Her customers no doubt. There has stillbeen no apology for this disgraceful conduct by eitherv the Manager concerned or the Trust who employs her - and both should be forced to resign immediately. Fortunately a military doctor came a few minutes later and blew several fuses - but this would not happen if the military still had their own facilities!

There is only one cure for the Health Service. Scrap it. Scrap it before it kills off any more elderly people, any more of our military - and every single "manager" should be placed on a Blacklist and barred from employment for life.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:28 PM | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

Constitutional referendum

Labour are, as usual, reneging on their promises. They know very well that any attempt to impose the EU Constitutional Treaty on us would be thrown out by the electorate. So the simple answer is - resort to their usual lies and half truths. Every other EU leader has admitted that there is almost no difference between the Treaty the French people rejected, and the new one, but Labour and our crop of traitors masquerading as Ministers of State, insist it is different and that "we have red lines to protect our Sovereignty. Well, Brussels let the cat out of that bag - those so-called Red Lines are totally worthless.

Brussels has stated again and again that the "opt outs" Brown and his bullies talk about are just chimera, worthless and unenforcable. Even our own legal beagles say so, but Brown's cabinet of arrogant failures still refuse to acknowledge that they are wrong. The truth is that they dare not hold a referendum. If they lost it, it would mean that all the horsetrading they have done and the secret deals they have made to keep themselves and their civil service cronies in power with Brussels would be undeliverable - and they would lose out completely.

We must force Brown into an election or a Referendum on this issue, failure to do so will see Westminster turned into an even greater irrelevance than it already is. Already 80% of our legislation is initiated in Brussels and not in Westminster. And once Brussels has decreed we must do something our Civil Service seize it gleefully and Gold Plate the resulting legislation. If we surrender to this "Constitution" we should bite the bullet and dismiss Westminster, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament - and the Civil Service in its entirety - and just let Brussels dictate. After all it would save us all several Billion in tax. Why pay a bunch of treasonous w*nk*rs to eat their heads off and do nothing for our nation?

I am not against the concept of the EU per se. What I am against is the interference from Brussels and the imposition of legislation which we, the people of Britain, have no control over. Our MEP's have no say in this either, it is all down to the whims and fancies of the unelected (and if the truth be told - unelectable) Commissioners and the so-called Council of Ministers, most of whom seem to to be nothing but poodles of the Commission and their bureaucrats.

We MUST have a referendum on this, it is not something that can be left to our Civil Servants and their arrogant, ignorant and self interested Cabinet of dictators. If you are interested in campaigning for a referendum please do visit the "I want a referendum campaign.com".

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 09, 2007

Busy times ....

The last couple of days have been entertaining in some senses and frustrating in many others. It has been wonderful to have my youngest daughter and her partrner to stay for a couple of nights. We have had time to catch up on a wide range of things and hopefully to help sort a few out that needed sorting. On the down side, my current project (whgich will pay a few bills) hasn't made the progress I had hoped for - in fact I have a meeting tomorrow which I have to complete a load of work for - and I still haven't managed to get all the information I need.

Ce la vie! Who needs sleep .....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:52 PM | TrackBack

October 08, 2007

No election this year ....

I am sometimes reminded of the Billy Bunter stories when contemplating the activities of our illustrious political classes. Most of the dialogue between politicians seems to be of the "Yah boo - sucks! to you" level, and the "debate" over whether or not to hold an early election is no exception. The oleagenous tones of Jack Straw this morning on BBC Breakfast almost had me spilling my cornflakes as he tried to tell us that an early election had never been under consideration, that it was all a "media fantasy".

Pity real live quotes from his own party conference give the lie to that, and it really shows the contempt our political class now holds for the average voter that they believe we won't remember them. They genuinely believe that our attention span is no longer than the proverbial gold fish. And it follows from that, that they will also genuinely believe that we don't remember that barely two weeks ago his party was beating the election drum and threatening to "annihilate" the Tories by calling an election in the Autumn. Some of his own cabinet members were loudly proclaiming that a snap election would destroy the Tories completely and "renew our mandate". Just shows, the Polls swing against them and suddenly they are terrified to ask us what WE think. So the sham of this government of minorities (Their last election "Victory" was based on a bare 50% turnout of voters and they took 41% of that - just 28% of the total possible vote!) continues.

England is now governed by the Member for Fife, a man with no constituency in England and no influence of the Parliament his own Party has provided to Scotland at huge expense to the English taxpayer. They are very right to be scared of our opinion.

Sadly however, this fit of cold feet means we will have to endure another two years of this bunch of sleazy, spin doctoring megalomaniacs and PC purveyors before we can throw them out of power - and even more sadly, the current Conservative alternative doesn't look any better!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

Climate changing ....

The ice shelf in Antarctica has been extending again, reaching its greatest extent since 1979 when satellite monitoring began. And now there is a new theory about "Global Warming" which castes more doubt on the sequence beloved by politicians and eco-frenzies. The latest research shows that the last ice age ended when the Great Southern Ocean warmed and sent a flood of warmer water northwards through the Pacific. That event also triggered a rise in atmospheric CO2 - because warmer water absorbs less of the gas.

The extended post following discusses this in more detail and is taken from the online edition of Scientific American. It makes an interesting read.

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Image: NASA
ICY EDGE: The retreat of Antarctic sea ice led to the warming of deep ocean waters—and thus the end of the last Ice Age—according to new research.
Earth's climate can be sensitive, changing after a variety of events. A volcanic eruption or meteorite impact, for instance, can send enough particles into the air to block the sun and cool the climate. A thickening blanket of greenhouse gases can trap heat. And, more commonly, according to some scientists, slight changes in Earth's orientation toward the sun can cause it to cool or warm in so-called Milankovitch cycles (named after the Serbian engineer who first described them). Now, new evidence from a marine sediment core from the deep Pacific points to warmer ocean waters around Antarctica (in sync with the Milankovitch cycle)—not greenhouse gases—as the culprit behind the thawing of the last ice age.

Ice cores drawn from Antarctica and Greenland have shown that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere began to rise at roughly the same time as the vast ice sheets began to melt. But it remained unclear exactly which came first: melting ice and warming seas released more CO2 or more CO2 led to melting ice and warming seas.

By studying sediment cores from the deep Pacific near the Philippines, paleoclimatologist Lowell Stott of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and his colleagues revealed that the temperatures of the deepest seas rose by around 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) at least 1,000 years before sea-surface temperatures. "Even accounting for the uncertainties of the age of CO2, the deep sea warmed substantially before the CO2 began to rise," Stott says. "The deep Pacific is such an enormously large volume of water that [this warming] reflects the input of a tremendous amount of energy into the global system."

Stott and his colleagues used the isotopes of oxygen contained within the remnants of microscopic surface and deep-sea creatures to establish temperatures; they then used a radioactive isotope of carbon to date their age. Combining the two techniques showed that deep-sea creatures dealt with a warmer climate long before their surface brethren did, they report in the online edition of Science.


Image: NASA
EDGE OF COLLAPSE?: Antarctic sea ice has been behaving differently of late, reaching a new record extent this year while also undergoing unprecedented collapses, like the loss of portions of the Larsen Ice Shelf pictured here.
Because such deep seawater circulates from the coast of Antarctica, this deep-water warming implies that the Southern Ocean drove the last major climate change. Stott notes that the periodic wobble in the Earth's rotational axis described by the Milankovitch cycles led to more sunshine falling on the Antarctic at the same time—a likely cause of the warming waters. "The amount of solar energy increased at the same time as this deep-sea warming," he says. "Sea ice around the Southern Ocean was withdrawing."

According to the marine core sample, a full millennium passed—enough time for both the deep and surface waters to entirely switch places—before sea-surface temperatures and global atmospheric levels of CO2 began to rise. The greenhouse gas then further warmed the changing climate, Stott says.

This year, the sea ice around Antarctica grew to its largest extent since satellite observation began in 1979—whereas the Arctic arrived at record minimum—meaning present climate change is a far different scenario. In fact, the Milankovitch cycles would predict gradual global cooling. Man-made greenhouse gases, primarily CO2, are unequivocally driving present-day warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "This kind of study discusses the natural cycle and could help define the likely positive feedbacks we can expect in the long-term future, [for example] as temperatures warm, the ocean will want to give up more CO2, or rather absorb less," says climatologist Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies. "But it has no direct impact on attribution of 20th century warming."*

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:23 PM | TrackBack

October 01, 2007

Expensive night out ...

In Zimbabwe, if you can afford to eat, it can be expensive to eat out. The picture here was sent to me by a friend in SA and the restuarant manager is simply collecting the money for a meal for four. Nor was it an extravagant meal, a starter, a main course, desert, coffee and some beers. The price? Z$6 million. Way beyond the ordinary man in the street's pocket, and even expensive for those who have slightly better incomes. No problem for Robert and his cronies of course, who have stripped the countries treasury and built nice nest eggs for themselves in Swiss Banks. And definitely no problem for Robert who considers that, as President for Life, he can have everything he wants in any shop, restuarant or hotel for nothing. Oh, and that goes for his entourage as well ... Any suggestion that he might like to pay is dealt with by his Goon Squad.

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Paying the bill for an evening out, Zimbabwe style. This Z$6 million in Z$1000 notes.

Considering that three quarters of the Zimbabwean population are starving in a country that was, until Mugabe started his seizure of farmland - which, far from being "redistributed" has been handed out to his cronies - was a net exporter of food, the world, and those who put Mugabe into power, should be ashamed. Those of us who remember Blair, Hain, Brown and the rest providing support and funding for this murderous psychopath should now demand an explanation for their rank disregard for the advice of almost everyone who had taken the trouble to look beyond the "struggle" and had taken account of Mugabe's known intention to exclude anyone who might have opposed him. In particular those in Whitehall and Westminster who put him in power should now be apologising to the families of those farmers who have been murdered so that their assets could be seized by Mugabe's Goons. They should be compelled to pay compensation to those who have been dispossessed out of their own assets - not the taxpayers money - and to make public apologies to those who tried to warn them of this man's psychpathic nature.

A pity they can't apologise to the forty thousand Ndebele men Mugabe's 5th Brigade slaughtered and hid down disused mineshafts within weeks of coming to power. That never got any media attention then, and they sure as hell won't give it any now. Forty thousand men from Zimbabwe's second largest tribe - Mugabe is a Shona - and all of them aged between 16 and 60, simply vanished in a well planned and executed bit of Genocide which the West condoned by its silence. Mugabe is a monster, surrounded by monsters. And the real reason the currency has collapsed is simple, Mugabe's policies have destroyed their agriculture, the treasury has been stripped of assets to pay for his luxuries and anyone who protests is simply visited by his Goon Squad and killed or jailed - and that in itself is as good as being killed, it just takes a bit longer.

Zimbabwe is a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes, but it is largely ignored and shunned by the media for the same reasons that Whitehall try not to talk about it - they too lauded this murderer and his cronies as "liberators" and "freedom fighters". Well now the result of their ignorance and stupidity is plain.

Z$6 million for an ordinary meal in a restuarant. For the same meal and number of people in this country I would have change from £60 in an equivalent restuarant. And in Zimbabwe there are people who cannot afford a half loaf of bread, never mind a night out.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Pass the parcel?

Watching the news at lunchtime today I was treated to the edifying spectacle of the Governor of the Bank of England being blamed by the policticians for the Northern Rock debacle. The Governor made several very telling points which the MP's (I noticed that they all appear to be Scottish) tried to pin the blame for the whole thing on him. HIs most telling point in my view was when he pointed out that the mechanism which would have allowed him to act earlier and secretly had been removed by the very same MP's, their Civil Service Poodles and Brussels ealier this year.

The law was changed, according to the rationale of Brussels and our ever incompetent bureaucrats and politicians, to guarantee "openess". Kick in the Law of Unintended Consequences immediately. Since the Bank now has to publically announce what it used to do quietly and perfectly legallywithout the gutter press having the opportunity to create panic, was now conducted in public, guaranteeing that panic would ensue in the minds of the idiots who spent days queueing outside a bank that was never in danger of going under.

So now we will have the spectacle of our "New Elite" power freaks doing their damndest to hang a man who has to operate under the rules they have set up - and which patently don't work. Of course it's not their fault.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:00 PM | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

The new "Ruling Elite"

I don't often buy The Spectator, but a recent headline caught my eye and I simply had to read the article. I'm glad I did, because I now know that I am not alone in thinking that the great institutions of democracy and even the Civil Service have been hijacked by a small elite whose sole interest is to take power and to retain power by any means they need to. The old "Establishment" has been turned out and replaced by career politicians, people who began their political careers as student activists, graduated to Trade Union councils, Borough and County government and then moved on into Parliament without ever having actually done a days work in the fields of manufacturing (they can tell you all the buzz words, all the statistics and all the reasons why our industry is no more), commerce (again all the buzz words, all the contacts, but not the faintest understanding of how it all functions) and the public services(except for photo opportunities when it suited). In short, we are now ruled by a small elite who are best described as Career Politicians.

They have never done anything else. And they are determined never to have to.

As the Spectator points out, this new breed of politician is totally focussed on having power, taking power and keeping power. They will lie, steal and if necessary destroy everything and everyone that gets in the way. They are ruthless, narrow minded and utterly corrupt. Morality is no longer a matter of religious belief, it has been perverted to reflect the prejudices of this elite. The Spectator describes them as self-serving and that is certainly one of the key hall-marks of this dangerous new breed. Their language is one of self-congratulation - the Spectator describes it as "self referential" - in which the key element is to keep telling the voters how good they are denying any evidence to the contrary and to describe any opposition as "Fascist". A close examination of their actions betrays the fact that everything is about manipulating they way we think, speak and even dress - just look at the way our ruling elite present themselves. It surely cannot continue to go unnoticed that Gordon Brown, the man who refuses to wear a black tie and dinner jacket never mind the white tie and tail coat which is de rigeur for any dinner at the Mansion House, wears the full Scottish regalia when in his Constituency North of the Border.

There is a new form of power dressing going on - one which deliberately sets itself outside of any respect for anyone else's feelings and seeks to confront, never to concede to anyone else's concept of etiquette.

This divorce from the voters has a sinister side to it - the voter is increasingly treated as being unable to think for themselves, so unable to engage in a debate on any subject. In short, they are there to be told what to do, how to vote and even what they may or may not think. Do not think that any of the Parties are free of this, you need only look at David Cameron's front bench to see that they have cloned their Nu Labour counterparts and are as boorish and disconnected with the real world as the present government. Nor does it end there, for the upper echelons of the Civil Service have been salted with their placemen and the institution of the Civil Service has gone from being merely incompetent, to being the single greatest threat to our freedom and democracy. Why is this so? Simply because it has become the natural home of the New Elite, an elite that recognises no ideals but their own, and which will use every means at its disposal to hold onto power.

Look about you at any political gathering and watch who cuddles up to who, who is left on the fringes and who excluded. This is not about good governance, this is purely and simply about who wields power and who hands it out. Watch the men with the dark suits, the dark glasses and the mobile phones that never seem to stop. Watch the skilled avoidance of answers to straight forward questions and the insistence of "spin" in every statement. Spend any time in their presence and you rapidly realise that there is nothing to distinguish one from the other. They are there purely and simply to have power, they have nothing in common with the voters they supposedly represent and, irrespective of party, are closely allied in retaining the fat salaries, over generous pensions and the very profitable careers they have all carved out for themselves.

And the real tragedy is that we - more fool us - have allowed them to do it. No we have helped them to do it - because we either voted for them or refrained from voting altogether. We have only ourselves to blame!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 17, 2007

The big Confidence Trick in British Politics

The latest Conservative Party policy statement shows just how far David Cameron has taken his party from being electable. I could go into a huge rant about this here, but I don't need to. The Gorse Fox has beaten me to it.

Visit and read his post entitled Politics - the big Con.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 15, 2007

Banking panic ....

What get's into people's heads? Or perhaps I should ask what is it that the media think they are doing when they sow panic in people's minds. The Banks borrowing money from each other and from the Bank of England is nothing new, they do it all the time. Yet, looking at the headlines in the papers over the last couple of days you could be forgiven for thinking that the bank at the heart of all this fuss was about to go belly up and take everyone's money with it. What nonsense - and more fool the idiots rushing down to the local branch and demanding their money back.

Anyone with any knowledge and a half ounce of common sense knows that NO bank EVER has all the money on it's books in it's vaults. Certainly not since the end of the 19th Century anyway. Read the small print on the bank notes in your wallet - it's a "promissory note". In other words it "represents" money, and its only value is the issuing bank's assets. Originally this was gold bullion, held in a reserve stock by the bank. Each "Issuing Bank" had to keep a certain percentage of it's circulating "Bankers Notes" available in bullion in case someone wanted "real" money. That standard vanished forever in the 1930's with the "Gold Standard" and now the "value" of any country's currency is made up of a mixed bag of "goods" which represent the nation's trading assets and reserves. Very little of the currency actually in circulation is backed by "hard" assets such as real bullion, most of it is in "intangibles".

The banking system is now run on a system which allows the bank to take a one hundred pound deposit from one customer and "lend" eighty to another customer. That customer deposits the borrowed eighty and they then lend another sixty five to the next customer and so on. This keeps the money working and in circulation. The first customer gets his five percent interest on his deposit and the borrowers are paying seven percent (or more!)interest to the bank, so the bank makes a profit and the actual hundred pounds is behaving as if it were two hundred or more. Everyone is happy - until there is a hiccough in the cash flows. Then the original bank borrows money from their neighbour or the Central Bank (In our case the Bank of England) and keeps the money flow going. The original depositor hasn't "lost" his money and won't, because the bank covers itself with insurance and under guarantees is obliged to ensure that depositors cash is kept safe.

But evidently the idiots running up and down High Streets grabbing money out of Northern Rock and shoving it into other banks or stashing it under their mattresses haven't figured out that if anything is likely to cause them to lose their deposits - it's themselves and their behaviour in stripping money out of the bank!

This is one of those cases where the media has triggered a panic by their sensationalist reporting. The Northern Rock was never in danger of "going under" and probably still isn't. But there is no doubt at all that the damage that has been done in this "run" on their liquid assets (money) will hit their reputation and their business extremely hard. Come to that, they, or their insurers, would probably do well to issue a few writs for damages against the more sensationalist headline writing rags. It might just shake our media out of its shock/horror sensationalist attitude and bring them back to earth and reality.

In the meantime, if you have money to invest, I suggest you rush round to the Northern Rock and negotiate an over the average interest rate for your deposit. You'll probably be welcomed and given whatever you ask for!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 11, 2007

9/11

Today marks the anniversary of one of the most appalling acts of atrocity - the seizure and use of airliners to destroy the Twin Towers and attemps upon other targets in the US.

Personally I will never forget the moment I learned of the attack - or, more importantly, the moment I saw the towers collapse. I will be making space today to remember those who died in that attack, and those who have died since in the war on the terrorists who seek to bring down our freedoms and replace them with the tyrany of a medieval vision of faith founded upon a Christian heresy.

I hope that those who read this will join me in praying for all those who struggle to throw off the yoke of oppression everywhere and maintain freedom of faith, freedom of choice and freedom of dissent.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:59 AM | TrackBack

Imperial or Metric?

So now we know. It wasn't Brussels and the unelected Commission that "forced" Britain to give up Imperial weights and measures, it was our own unelected and bomb-proof Whitehall W*nk*rs. Brussels now says that the Directive was intended as a "guideline" and to be "liberally" interpretted and that Whitehall "Gold Plated" it. Now there's a surprise.

It has long been the Monk's view that The Whitehall W*nk*rs have been very efficient at using every "suggestion" from Brussels to expand their numbers exponentially by interpretting the Brussels Dictats as strictly as they can. This ploy has been seized on by the control freaks who infest the corridors of Westminster who have ably played along with it in the interests of taking to themselves the power to take away from us all our democratic freedoms - the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression and the freedom to make our own choices in a wide range of activities.

The latest declaration from Brussels to the effect that they never intended BRitain to have to give up the system of Imperial Weights and Measures leaves Whitehall and Westminster exposed as the culprits in the whole sorry mess that is the "Metric Martyrs". What is more, it leaves the Trading Standards Gauleiters exposed as over zealous jobs worths. The real problem is the Weights and Measures legislation which makes it a criminal offence to use Imperial measurements. THAT was written by - you guessed it - The Whiethall W*nk*rs and approved by the Westminster Wastrels. For those who bother, reading the directive is informative - it states only that on materials traded between member states the weights or measurements must be in metric and not in any 'local' system. Whitehall decided to force the entire country into metrc - without a mandate to do so and without the consent of the electorate.

That tells you everything you need to know about the state of our democracy today.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 07, 2007

Crime and no punishment ....

My youngest daughter, Allison Monksdottir (to use the Icelandic manner of naming offspring), had, until sometime yesterday morning (very early!) as her pride and joy a red, white and blue Honda CBR400. It was her transport and her prize possession, something she worked hard to save up and buy and has battled long and hard to master. It was a powerful beast, one which gave her a lot of pleasure. But obviously someone else rather fancied it as well - and wasn't about to make an offer or even to go out and buy their own.

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Allison's bike, stolen in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Yesterday morning Allison's bike was stolen off the drive of her home in Bromley. It won't have been that easy to do because the bike was behind the family cars and in a difficult to reach position. Whoever stole it cut the security chain very carefully (and quietly!) and then obviously lifted it into a van to take away. It was evidently (according to the Met anyway) the work of someone who has been staking this out and planned very carefully, because the family were at home, windows open and no one heard it happen. Even less encouraging is the police reaction. "There's a lot of this happening at present and there isn't much hope of recovery - it's probably already been stripped for parts and the frame crushed."

Quite. So they won't be doing much looking for it then obviously. Makes you wonder why we bother paying the Police Precept on our taxes. And as for the leaflet they handed her telling her how to "reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime" - it is plain bloody insulting.

As for the thieves - there had to be more than one person involved - I hope the bike assists them to achieve a full and unequivocal candidature for a Darwin Award. I just wish I could present it in person.

For the record, if anyone sees a red, white and blue Honda CBR400 with the registration plate G 726 WKE in the next few days - call the police to take the scum away for theft.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

London Life

My daughters both live in London, as does my son. The cost of living in London is horrendous unless you are one of the overpaid "city" traders whose bonuses usually amount to the sort of numbers that would feed the population of a small African country. No wonder property is so expensive that most young people cannot afford them and are forced to remain at home living in their parents homes and seriously blighting their marital prospects. The properties these kids are supposed to have access to are now reserved for the floods of migrants Mister Blair and his cohorts always deny are causing a problem, and they are forced to the outer suburbs where prices are also rising furiously. Then there is transport to and from work - usually in central London ....

So now that "Mayor" "Red" Ken Livingstone has barred the cars - by imposing a tax on motoring - and increased the price of travel on public transport to pay for his fancy new headquarters how are these kids supposed to earn enough to live? According to Ken and Brown there isn't a problem, besides they shouldn't expect big pay packets, after all those are reserved for Labour Luvvies, politicians, civil servants and their cronies in the City. Why should nurses, teachers, fire fighters, police, not to mention the shop assistants,clerks and cleaners and the other ordinary "grunts" who actually do the work in this cesspit of a city expect any help from the "mayor"? That is now reserved for the hordes of Labour voting immigrants he has welcomed into the city and handed all the benefits and housing too. Well, my daughter suggested I quote her on this so here it is - especially as Mayor Livingstone's mismanagement of the GLA is now about to be expressed in a strike (Anyone else remember him and his cronies marching with striking dustmen in the '80's while he was head of the unlamented GLC?) and screw the workers who are forced to rely on his dirty, overcrowded and unreliable transport system.

I quote: -

Have you heard that London Underground staff are planning a 72-hour strike this week? The TFL website is telling people to get home by 5pm... am I still living in a first world country? Am I under curfew? Am I going to be able to keep my job if they hike fares again or go on strike again?!? I'm sure the London mayor would tell me to cycle into work, but I'm sure you can guess where I would tell him to stick that idea, the crocodile tear-shedding holier-than-thou central-London-ivory-tower-dwelling dictator-disguised-as-a-socialist freebie-snaffling gargoyle freak! Bah!

Need I say more?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

Now listen to Nanny children ....

I suppose it was inevitable. Now we are to have road signs telling us not to trust our SatNav devices. It seems that the Nannies in our councils, departments of state and government simply cannot stand the fact that we might think for ourselves - they have to tell us that occassionally the SatNav is a little "off beam". Nothing less than the outlawing of all GPS devices will satisfy this pack of morons who seem to think that it is safer to have the driver on his own reading the Route Instructions from a print out from Google Earth or the AA Routefinder.

Well I for one don't. My GPS is 98% accurate and a damned sight safer than my balancing a sheaf of papers or a map book on the steering wheel!

These idiots who spend a vast amount of money on these meaningless signs - meaningless to anyone with an ounce of common sense - simply cannot believe that the average motorist is a sensible person who doesn't need to be coddled in this way. The reality is that they simply hate the fact that we can find our way about - in fact they don't like a mobile population at all. Heaven forbid, you may just find out that the people on the other side of the hill are not two headed freaks and the world isn't flat. Above all they don't want you to be able to choose when, where and how you travel, they wanbt to regulate that and force you to go where they want and when they think you should. In short, this is another assault on private transport.

Tax payers in Wales should gang up and refuse to pay for these signs. Let the Nannies who want them pay for them, but it should not come out of our taxes at all!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 28, 2007

So when is a State a Fascist State?

I must say that I have noticed over the last twenty or more years an increasingly derogatory approach to our national image and the Defence of the Realm among the intelligentsia. I have often wondered if it was in some way connected with the socialist "global" or "internationalist" view, and now, it seems, I may have stumbled on something that suggests that I may be right. It seems that there are fourteen "tests" of Fascist leanings applied by certain political academics and commentators when forming an opinion of any government. Unsurprisingly this includes the level of support within the government of the military, of the "national image" and such national symbols as the countries flag.

The full list includes:

1. Continuing nationalism, such as flying the national flag everywhere and taking pride in the national identity,
2. Ignoring "Human Rights" ethics,
3. Martialling the electorate by identifying "enemies" and scapegoating sections or particular groups,
4. Influence of the military - measured by how much is spent on defence against how much is spent on "social" programmes,
5. Media control, whether by "direct" control or with control in the hands of "sympathisers",
6. National security having a high profile in policy,
7. Government is overtly religiously linked to a particular faith,
8. Protection of Corporate Interests,
9.Overt sexism, measured as "masculine supremacy" and "oppression of women",
10. Trade Union activity is restricted or controlled,
11. Denigration of Intelligentsia and or/ restriction or control of higher education
12. Emphasis on Crime and Punishment, measured as how harshly the criminal is punished and how much effort goes to "reforming" the criminal,
13. Corruption and cronyism, again looking at who gets what job, is connected to who and how the appointment is made,
14. Fraudulent elections - measured by the level of smear campaigning against opposition members and parties, dirty tricks and ballot box rigging to name but a few "tricks".

An interesting list, but I find it a little puzzling. The authors of this list have looked only at the regimes they considered "Fascist" in compiling it. Their list included Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, President Suharto and a number of South American Juntas. Notable for its absence are the Communist regimes all of whom subscribe to thirteen out of the fourteen - and probably, if one looked really closely, to number 9 on the list as well. Even our Illustrious Departed Leader's bunch of closet communistas subscribe to a minimum of twelve of them. In my book, that makes them Fascists and Gordon Brown's assuming the leadership will simply exacerbate it. Even number 14 is a bit misleading since, in any "party" election, the public do not truly have a say - the party selects the candidate (cronies) and the candidate doesn't represent those who don't vote for his or her party, but his or her party. There is a difference!

Even more ironic in this is the fact that these very same intelligentsia all come from that privileged Upper Middle Class band of the population, parents of professional background, well educated and represented in the professions, they are also the people stuffing the boardrooms of the Corporate paymasters of all the parties. Take another look at Number 13 and then at our own government - all the top jobs are filled by people with connections. Outsiders haven't a prayer! And that extends through the entire Civil Service as well, it is never what you know or how good you are, though that is always trotted out as the explanation, it is always who you know and who knows you. The ticket to every Boardroom is a spell in Westminster/Whitehall - and of course, the right "social" attitude, connections and old school tie help.

It never fails to amaze me how the intelligentsia of the Left in any society always blind themselves to the failings of their own political vision. Anyone who does not subscribe to their idea of Utopia must be a Fascist just waiting to herd people into gas chambers or line them up for shooting practice. Ironically this is not a new debate at all - in fact it is very clearly echoed in the Senatorial debates of the mid 5th Century in Rome when Senators argued that letting the Barbarian Hordes into the Empire and allowing them to take over control of the military (WE don't want to sully our hands with that darling!), local colonia and of letting them establish alternate legal practices and systems while arguing it was "good for the renewal of Rome" all came to nothing on 410 to 476 when Rome simply fell apart because no one was interested in holding it together any longer. I am fascinated to see these debates being raised in the US and across Europe again, it seems we never do learn that there is a moderate path in this, one which is not unreasonable and which does ensure that our society is not destroyed and re-invented every five hundred years.

Reading the reports on the advance of Fascism in government I was amused to discover that the authors of the list I have produced here are Democrats and are accussing President Bush and the Republican Party of Fascism. I find it amusing because their own party has subscribed for generations now to draconian immigration controls - far stricter than some of the really represive states I have visited. I find it very amusing that the list could be just as easily a list of the flaws of the Left and Socialism as it is of Fascism (And frankly I see little to choose between the two - certainly having lived under one really Fascist regime and seen the damage done by Marxist/Socialists on the other!), yet the authors seemingly refuse to admit the case.

To me it proves beyond doubt that my Political Science lecturer back in the 1970's was absolutely correct. There is no Left or Right. Politics is a circle, veer to far in either direction and you find they are the same.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Greek tragedy

One could be excused for wondering what has gone wrong in Greece. The Peloponnese seems to have gone up in flames, and while a lot of it is probably, as suggested by the Greek authorities, down to arson, the overall catastrophe is not just the single act of a few stupid idiots. The overall piucture must be seen, and it is not an encouraging one. Firstly, this part of Europe has been in the grip of a heat wave for several months. Just as Britain has been under water, so the Eastern part of Europe has been without it. The vegetation is tinder dry and just needed the proverbial match.

Now we have the spectacle of watching the Greek forests go up in smoke, and must mourn those who have lost their lives and those who may have escaped the flames only by sacrificing everything else.

There is much in this to commend the Australian approach to a risk of bush fire, they use a scale of assessment and put out a Fire Hazard warning across the states. When the risk is particularly high they have an outright ban on any sort of out door fire - including any BBQ. It doesn't stop the moron with a match or lighter and the sort of terminal stupidity to think it a good laugh to set fire to some grass, but it does limit the potential for other sources. And the penalties for starting such a fire are harsh enough to really hurt the perpetrators when they are caught, and the Aussies have a good record on that too.

Watching the TV news two things have struck me rather forcibly on this occassion, first that the Greek Fire Services outside of the cities haven't the resources to deal with anything on this scale, second that by the time they started water bombing it was probably too late. The one good thing emerging from this is the mutual aid flowing across borders from their European neighbours and the Balkan states. A Greek tragedy has become an opportunity to build bridges for the future.

Pray for those involved, they will need our spiritual and physical support as this tragedy continues to develop.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:10 PM | TrackBack

August 25, 2007

Gun free Britain?

One of the most stupid and disasterous moves ever made by our bunch of idiots and do-gooders infesting Westminster has to be the ban of all lawful ownership of handguns. Coupled with Labour's outright refusal to put the criminal community at risk of any sort of punishment or retribution by granting the law-abiding citizens - sorry, subjects - of this benighted land the right of self defence without qualification and obfustication, we should not be surprised that gun related criminal activity has gone through the roof.

The latest blatherings of the current Blair-babe (Sorry that should be Brown Babe) disgracing the office of Secretary of State for the Home Office, claiming that gun crime is falling to an "unprecedented level" and the fact that in the last four days one boy has been shot dead by another teenager for no apparent reason other than machismo and four other men have been wounded, one wonders which planet she is living on. Mind you, the way Whitehall counts or fails to count things for statistical purposes, its not surprising she thinks gun crime is falling. I suspect it is one of those figures that is subject to a considerable amount of "false accounting" by the civil service to produce a figure the minister can wave in triumph. Truth it most certainly isn't.

We have had a biker shot dead on a motorway. And the M40 is a motorway that isn't just busy, it's crowded! We have had a boy shot dead in Liverpool, we have had two bouncers at a nightclub shot and seriously wounded, we have had the police fiured on by a motorist they stopped for dangerous driving (He then drove off at high speed and escaped!) and we have had another shotting incident in which no one was hit, but which certainly put the wind up those involved. According to the Home Secretary, gun crime is down. Well it is if you don't count people who weren't hit by the bullets.

The truth is, if Whitehall and Westminster weren't such strangers to the truth, that illegal gun ownership is way up. Owning a gun has become a fashion accessory for every teenage gang member and for most of the criminal fraternity. And the law abiding subjects of this country are the first to be arrested and dragged into court accused of manslaughter or murder if they dare to defend themselves in any way at all.

A writer called J T Edson, ironically a one time British postman, wrote a series of very popular and successful "Westerns" one of which was entitled "A town called Yellowdog". The basic plot involved a man being killed by outlaws who had taken over the town of Moondog somewhere in Texas. This had happened after the twon council had voted to outlaw the carrying of or ownership of guns by the citizens of the town. So the townspeople found it much easier to simply do as they were told and let the outlaws have it all their own way. Until the wrong man got killed and his friends came looking for his killers. The clean up was, as I recall, bloody, but thorough and the angry young men who cleaned it up renamed the town for the cowardly streak that ran through its soul.

That I suspect is the problem with our present society. We tolerate to much from our cowardly legislators and their jobs-worths civil servants. We tolerate a legal system that is not about justice but about protecting criminals and we do so because it is easier than speaking out and running the risk of being made to appear "Right Wing" or "reactionary". What will it take to change this?

Probably nothing less than an armed insurrection.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:13 PM | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

Newquay fire ...

The discovery of more human remains in the rubble of the Penhallow Hotel will be upsetting for those involved and for the relatives, but it will also bring an end to the uncertainty and to the pain suffered by knowing that someone is "unaccounted for". As an ex-firefighter I know that some at least of the first arriving crews will now be asking themselves the questions, "Could I have done more? Could I have saved them?" These will never go away, if you have been there while someone was dying in something as ghastly as this, these questions haunt every dedicated fire fighter - and the UK Fire and Rescue Services still, despite the circus that is London, have more dedicated men and women who are thoroughly professional about what they do than of the sort I described in my last post on this subject.

I ask that you pray for all those involved in this ghastly fire, they will need those prayers in the days ahead, both the victims/guests and the fire crews who attended it.

Those investigating the fire will need your prayers and support as well. There are a number of features of this fire that should give us all some disquiet. Whether or not it was arson is immaterial, this fire spread very rapidly, suggesting that the structure had some features which may have helped it spread. That raises questions about the fire protection and the generally accepted concepts of "passive fire protection" and its effectiveness. In my experience it is, only if it is maintained and tested in realistic conditions which take account of the size and type of fire it is likely to be exposed to. Then, in an old building which has undergone numerous changes, a lot of the integrity will have been compromised - creating channels for the fire to spread in hidden spaces and in unpredictable ways.

And on top of that, the investigators must tread carefully as they look for the remians of any other victims who may be still missing. All of our prayers will help sustain them.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:06 AM | TrackBack

August 21, 2007

War on spam

My little battle on the spambots seems to be having some success, the junk pouring in is easing, the posts attacked are getting older and older and the number of spam "comments" I delete daily has dropped from a hundred or more to no more than ten. Irritating is the fact that I am now having to close comment acceptance on my sermon posts and most of those with a religious content, they seem to be the prime target for a rather unsavoury porn site.

For those who would like to comment on any of my theology posts, drop me an e-mail and I'll find a way to insert them without giving the spambot a chance to sneak something else in. E-mail gray.monk@btinternet.com

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:05 AM | TrackBack

August 20, 2007

Tragedy in Newquay

The fire on Friday night at the hotel in Newquay has, inevitably, raised a number of questions concerning the principal of "Integrated Risk Management Planning" or IRMP as it is known in Whitehall speak. It is slowly emerging that the fire cover in this area, whose normal population numbers some twenty thousand and rises to one hundred thousand during the holiday periods, has been cut back. Only one "pump" (the primary response unit of any UK Fire and Rescue Service) was able to respond immediately, a second was available but, thanks to the cut backs, could not be manned. Worse, the only high reach appliances in the protected area were bot out of commission - we don't know why - and the only available unit had to be sent from Plymouth some fifty miles away.

Now, to be fair, it must be said that the old system of a prescribed number of pumps to be available within a specified time for a series of risk categories was onerous and could be wasteful of resources, particularly in the larger cities where it often meant having duplication of resources within spitting distance of each other. In rural areas the picture has always been radically different - and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is a good example of a small rural service facing some difficult risks and terrain with minimal resources to begin with. Under IRMP the removal of the professionals from determination of the best way to provide the protection needed, by placing the political head - the Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority in overall charge - and by the use of a statistically based computer game to determine where your resources should be and what is required, has seen the available manpower and the equipment cut back below what most professional fire officers (Another term Whitehall has insisted be removed - everyone is now called a "Manager" to hide tha fact that many of the "new" "managers" know nothing at all about fire fighting) would consider either safe or adequate.

Yes, they eventuially mustered a hundred and twenty five fire fighters to fight the fire and twenty two pumps, but the critical time which determines whether the fire will be small or large is the first ten to twenty minutes. If it is not contained within the compartment of origin within that time, you have lost the war. Now it better also be explained that that first strike window is further narrowed by the fact that there is always a delay in first of all discovering the fire - much depends on the type of alarm system - and then in responding appropriately. Human instinct is always to try and deal with it first, only when it is already taking hold will the occupier think to call the fire services. Now enter a further "buggery factor". Thanks largely to the complete incompetence of most senior officers now in London, the fire service has become the focus of the "crew safety overrides all other considerations Brigade." Which means that the first strike against a fire may be delayed for up to twenty minutes before the officer in charge - and nowadays his crew are able to refuse to take orders if they disagree with them - may decide he has sufficient safety cover for an entry to be made. By that time there is little point in attempting an entry in most cases - the building is already a goner. And, anyone still inside it is a likely to be retreived eventually as charred flesh and bone.

I recently walked away from a circus performance in London that would have had the Keystone Cops in tears. The first pump arrived on the scene while the fire was still small and visible on the ground floor. The crew argued that they could not risk entry becauise there wasn't a second pump, which arrived, then a second argument ensued because there weren't enough "resources" on the ground. The fire meanwhile had spread internally and was now visible on the first floor. More resources arrived and the fire spread happily to the third floor and through the roof. Twenty five minutes after the first pump arrived the fire entered the adjoining properties through the roof and I walked away, sick to the stomach at what the service I had once been proud to be associated with has become. The sight of a fire fighter sporting dreadlocks and arguing with a senior officer was just too much for me. I hope the London Fire and Rescue Authority is sued for its back teeth!

One thing I am certain of is that already those responsible for this stripping of the fire and rescue services will be covering their tracks. You may be sure that the blame will be placed on the fire fighters or on the unwillingness of the service to "embrace new thinking" - a favourite Whitehall canard which conceals the fact that the fire and rescue service no longer has any professional guidance form Whitehall, all policy is now decided on cost and cost alone. The Fire and Rescue Authority in Cornwall will blame "Treasury Cuts" or "lack of government funding" for the parlous state of their service and any deficiencies uncovered during the investigation of this tragedy will be expunged from the report lest it embarass the "modernisers" and new non-professional Chief Officers.

None of which will bring back the lives lost or comfort those involved. And it will not change a thing in the "new" fire and rescue service which no longer enters buildings to fight a fire, nor is fire fighting its concern. The new regime is a major con trick, since the focus on health and safety, no risk fire fighting means simply that, if you have a fire in your home, the FRA does not expect its fire fighters to extinguish it, but to watch it burn. IRMP has reduced the fire protection provided by the Fire and Rescue Services, and it has allowed the politicians to spend money on glitzy and almost worthless projects aimed at "prevention". While I am a strong advocate of prevention I do believe it must be done professionally and not through comic books and showy demonstrations.

There is a second thing about this fire which should be called into question and that is the whole concpet of "Risk Appropriate Solutions" which allow the user to decide what protection is adequate - quite often without the slightest understanding of what they are actually dealing with. The FRA's are no better, several have dispensed with professional fire officers auditing this important work and engaged unqualified people as "Code Enforcers". In other words they believe that a building which "fits the book" is a fire proof. Nequay is a prime example of one that wasn't and there are thousands more around the country. For this regime to work, every hotel and every public building has to be sprinkler protected and there has to be a legal obligation on the water suppliers to maintain the pressure required for these to operate. For far too long the Wankers in Whitehall have resisted the requirement to fit sprinklers to these buildings and talked up the cost. It is time to fire the lot of them out of their cushy "no-blame" posts and expose their lies on this head - and their incompetence to "manage" anything.

If the politicians want to go down the route of a dumbed down, under equipped, non-professional fire and rescue service they have no choice. Sprinkler protection is an essential for every public building from here on in, schools, hospitals, hotels, shpoos and shopping centres are just the tip of the iceberg. Private homes should no longer be built without them either. The politicians, the civil servants and the "modernisers" in the FRS management have lied about fire and fire safety, now they stand exposed. Let us hope that this tragedy triggers another look at how the service is managed, staffed, regulated and organised.

But I won't be holding my breath - there haven't been enough deaths yet.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2007

Spam, spam and more spam

Thanks to Seth (Hard a Starboard) and Skipjack, One Happy Dog Speaks and all the others who have offered suggestions on dealing with the bombardment of spam. I will be looking into protecting myself with some of the software suggested, but for the moment at least the closing down of comments on the older posts seems to be helping. At least the spam comments are thinning out a bit as the spambot hunts for ever older posts.

As John Paul Jones is said to have proclaimed - "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 17, 2007

Spammer update

Following on from my post of yesterday, I have tried to identify what the posts targeted have in common that would attract a spambot. I am a little disturbed at what I find. Now I know this is not scientific, and I know there is probably some other mechanism at work - I certainly hope so - but I'm sure that this is a part of it. A computer software friend tells me that the fact that all the spam has the same series of false e-mail addresses means it is probably coming from a computer that has been cloned. In short, some corporation out there has had their computer taken over by someone else to run this spamming programme and doesn't seem to be aware that they are hosting a rogue programme. That is a bit scary.

Secondly, looking through the most commonly targeted posts I found they have the following words in common, though, obviously, not all of the words appear in all of the posts.
love,
youth,
parents,
leisure,
pleasure,
city,
politics and politicians,
children,
adults,
discipline,
crime,
punishment,
Jesus Christ,
God,
faith,
Church,
religion and religious.

The list is quite extensive and that is a sample. Obviously not all of the words appear in all of the posts, but enough are "common" to make me wonder what the spammer who set this up is trying to push. One of the worst hit posts is "Guest Post" which has a large selection of words in it which appear to be common to all the other posts that are being hit - and one very disturbing aspect is the post that I put up only four days ago, entitled "Letting go" is already a prime target for this scum. Why am I disturbed by this? Primarily because it has a number of the key words including "Parents", "children", "parenting", "teaching" and "love" among others. Could it be that this purveyor of porn is trying to target children or sell child pornography?

And yesterdays post was hit within hours .....

Regretably I will be forced to close down the comments on that post if this continues - I have already had to close comments on a very large number of older ones, a time consuming and very annoying task at the best of times. Equally obvious is the fact that accessing the MuNu server is becoming very difficult at times - and a quick check shows me that the number of spam comments arriving in my "Approval" bin coincide with these periods. Draw your own conclusions.

One of my more radically inclined friends has suggested that the whole spam bot thing is actually being run by various government secret services in an effort to drive bloggers out of the internet. Frankly, I doubt any civil servant would have the wit or the ability anywhere in the world, they are parasites, not original thinkers wherever they are. But I certainly wouldn't put it past some of our political masters and media barons to want to try it. After all, while there are many blogs that don't rock the boat, there are many more that do publish reports and information our politicians and media do not want publicised. A nice theory anyway.

My own feeling is that this is simply a mafia style operation being run from a convenient Developing Country and designed to make money for its originators. Pity it has to be so difficult to beat and so damned irritating.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Spam attack

I am under a constant bombardment at the moment from a spam generator. The "e-mail" address on all of these is Pakerson@mgmail.com which is obviously a false address. Up to now I have been able to contain this quite simply by deleting everything and then closing the comments on the post they were targetting. Now they are targetting posts almost as soon as I have put them up.

It could be funny I suppose, but I really do not appreciate being targeted to post links for porn sites, particularly those of a more marginal nature.

If this continues I will have no option but to close all access to posting of comments - and I'm pretty sure that it is only a matter of time before one of these damned spammers finds a way to bypass your login for your blog and start posting directly. I recently posted an item in which I mentioned the fact that a lot of blogs I used to enjoy have disappeared - and from the feedback I have had, spam comments and trackbacks are a major reason. I get fed up with having to clear out hundreds of spam comments every day and have several times contemplated giving up the struggle. Then I noticed that particular posts seemed to attract more spam than others and that led me to the conclusion that these things obviously hunt for a "key word" and attack any post with those words in them.

Well, for now I will continue to close down comments on the older posts and hope that has some impact. For the rest I shall just have to hope that Pixymisa and Co can find a way to install that clever system that makes a commenter enter a code .....

That seems to work.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 07, 2007

Foot in mouth?

So, after the floods comes the plague. Now we have Foot and Mouth again - and a rush of politicians and Civil Servants all eager to demonstrate its not their fault - really.

The most likely source of this outbreak seems to be a laboratory occupied jointly (it was once a Government Lab but has been partly "privatised" by the Treasury) by a Civil Service laboratory unit (Defra Managed!) and a private company. Already the Civil Servants are blaming the company with the usual claim that "Our Procedures have been followed to the letter." The problem with the "Procedures" is that, like any so called Quality Control system, it measures only certain things and ensures consistency of the measured parts. Thus, if the product is ordure, and everyone knows it is ordure, the ordure can at least be said to be absolutely consistent. The Procedures do not ensure that anything is improved or protected or even identified as being a potential risk. They just make sure that whatever they apply to is always handled in the same way.

So where is the problem in that you may ask. Simply this, if the procedure was written forty years ago, and is not updated or rewritten to take account of new knowledge or better methods of doing/protecting/safeguarding something all they will do is tick the boxes. They will not actually do a damned thing more. Procedures need to be flexible, they need to be written by people who know what they are doing and what they are dealing with and they need to be reviewed by people who know it as well. Any Procedure written by a non-specialist in non-specialist language to be interpretted and understood by jumped up filing clerks who call themselves managers isn't worth a damn.

I'm prepared to bet that the Commercial Lab side will get the blame for this - after all the Civil Service is investigating the leak so they won't find anything wrong with THEIR procedures now will they - and the politicians will try to tell us how well they and their Civil Servants have done to contain it. Will it get as big as the last outbreak? I doubt it, for one thing Whitehall daren't let it and the finger of blame from the last lot would now be pressed to their heads very much more firmly.

The real losers are again the British farming community, the British taxpayer and everyone whose livelihood depends on our livestock industry. I should think this outbreak will be it's deathknell.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:39 PM | TrackBack

August 04, 2007

Here's another nice mess?

Living in rural surroundings the prospect of another outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease is not one to contemplate with any pleasure. The response from our lords and masters in Whitehall has, however, been commendably quick on this occassion, perhaps some of the lessons of the last debacle have penetrated the corridors of power after all. We are told that the Dour Leader himself is on the way home from his hols to deal with it and his Agricultural Secretary is also homeward bound from Italy to be on hand.

Wisely, perhaps, the French and the rest of Europe have closed their borders to British meat. But I would suspect, from where this has occurred, that it may already be too late. More importantly perhaps we need to know where it came from to get here!

Last time the blame fell upon a pig farmer not cooking his pig swill either long enough or hot enough, I wonder who or what they will find to blame this time? Equally, perhaps it is past time to innoculate all animals against this terrible disease. That will, of course, be resisted by the farming community because they know that if they do so it will mean a permanent ban on their products across the EU, but should it? Why, if the animal has been innoculated, should it be seen as a threat? Surely the purpose of innoculation is to ensure that the disease is eradicated and does not spread or infect others?

No one wants to see the great pyres of slowly burning carcasses we saw up and down the country last time. That is too ghastly to contemplate. So let us hope that there is a quick and less drastic solution this time - and particularly let's have a dose of common sense to support the farmers affected by it. Now is not the time to start a "blame game" now is a time for solutions. Let's find some and let's not have all the usual spin and meaningless statements from Whitehall's chinless wonders.

I think it is long past time that the politicians stopped meddling and trying to 'manage' things they know nothing about and focussed instead on how they can get the sensible precautions that are needed to prevent the spread of this ghastly disease properly recognised and used. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and declare that we are not affected by Foot and Mouth, the fact is that we are.

So let's deal with it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:09 PM | TrackBack

July 31, 2007

Damning study of failure of "Youth" policies ...

If anything could have been a case of telling us what we already know it has to be the headline of the latest Government commissioned policy study. Teenagers in Britain are out of control. So tell us something we really didn't know. Better yet, tell us that the goivernment will now do what it should have done right at the outset. Purge the Civil Service, the schools and the universities of all the "touchy-feely" "reward bad behaviour" mob who have created this mess and silence the "child protection" mob who refuse to recognise the need for reasonable discipline in bringing up children. Better yet, make them pay for the long term soilutions we will now have to put in place.

THis debacle is not a revelation to any but those who have continually made excuses for bad behaviour. Those who felt that sending delinquents on expensive holidays to Africa, Disneyland and other destinations most law abiding families could not dream of sending their children to, should now be confronted and made to face their creation. They have given us a generation that does not understand restraint, does not recognise anyone's right to anything and certainly does not know how to deal with life.

There is no quick fix for this one, but, typically, the government's reaction is to throw good money after bad. More taxpayers money to reward bad behaviour. It is enough to drive the law abiding to revolution, it really is. Read the BBC news report and weep.

LONDON (AFP) - British teenagers are among the worst behaved in Europe, a study by a leading centre-left think-tank said Thursday, exposing high levels of fighting, binge drinking, drug taking and under-age sex. But the Institute for Public Policy Research, favoured by former prime minister Tony Blair, said young Britons were not to blame, accusing successive governments of leaving them to their own devices through policy failures.

The report -- "Freedom's Orphans: Raising Youth in a Changing World" -- was published as the government was set to announce a major injection of cash into youth projects as part of a 10-year strategy for children and young people. "Britain has a real problem with its teenagers," said IPPR senior research fellow Julia Margo, highlighting that children may be richer than their predecessors, more computer-literate and fashion-conscious but are "life poor. British teenagers are more likely to get into fights, hang out with other teenagers, binge drink, take drugs and have under-age and unprotected sex than teenagers in most other European countries. But it isn't their fault."

Margo said teenagers should be made to spend less time "hanging out" with each other and challenged the government to be less "touchy-feely", arguing that compulsory, not optional activities, would help reign in unruly teens. "They (children and young people) might not like it but the evidence shows that the ones who don't want to do it are the ones who would benefit the most," she added.

Outlining her intentions earlier this month, minister for children and young people Beverley Hughes said giving positive activities for young people, especially the most deprived, was a "real priority" for the government. A 115-million-pound (172-million-euro, 235-million-dollar) Youth Fund scheme has been providing activities and facilities like DJ-ing classes, childcare for teenage mothers to attend night school and a youth radio station, since 2005. The IPPR said it feared the government would only offer teenagers the chance to participate in after-school activities rather than make them whether they like it or not. Regular attendance at extra-curricular clubs helped pupils manage their emotions better, cut down on anti-social behaviour and "radically improve" life chances, it added.

Its conclusions were based on analysis of surveys of people born between 1958 and 1970 and those with young people today. They suggested that those who participated in sports or community-based activities aged 16 were more likely to be better off at age 30.

All were less likely to be depressed; single, separated or divorced; in social housing; have no qualifications; or be on a low income.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:47 PM | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

Another view of the floods ....

A friend has agreed to my posting an e-mail he has circulated on his experience of the flood - and those of a few of his friends and colleagues. Certainly gives another view ....

Dear All

I know that as I write, some of you reading may have had a worse time than me in the floods, I hope that things are getting better

I have just been out to the garden to fetch a bucket of rainwater to flush the toilet, it really is strange to think that we will be without water for up to two weeks, it really is something that you take for granted. Kate has reminded me that on her gap year she had to fetch all of her water from a well, for others in different parts of the world that is their way of life - but it is not what we expect in Cheltenham Spa.

At Foxmoor we are lucky in that we still have electricity and we have no flood water in the house, some people have flood water in their house nothing coming out of the taps and no electricity. For those of you in the UK you will probably have seen the news that the fire brigade and the military managed to save our electricity sub station, if that had flooded the 400,000 of us that have no water would also have no power.

The train line that I use, Hereford to Oxford, then on through Didcot, Reading and to London Paddington is closed. Much of the line is badly damaged between Worcester and Oxford, no trains expected until 6th August when I will be in Cyprus. The line from Oxford to Didcot is still flooded. Yesterday I drove to the office in London, from there people find it difficult to understand the severity of what is happening, whenever we see events on the television they give us a little window on the world, but in 90 seconds no feel for what it is really like. The rain was very heavy on Friday and even those without floods coming up were affected by surface water, I heard of friends in Kensington and Fulham (west London - for my Russian readers!) who had water in their flats.

Friday was a very strange day, as the rain and flooding stated to develop it was very difficult to understand just how severe it was. I had to visit a Visa operations site in Basingstoke, when I opened the front door I didn't really want to take the bins to the end of the drive as the weather was so heavy........I spoke to Nigel Brammar and Neal Manners who some readers will know, we had planned to get together at the weekend to watch some motor cycle racing at Prescott in the Cotswolds, I suggested we might cancel........I am sure that they thought that I was being dramatic. I set off for Basingstoke in steady rain. I missed the turn in Basingstoke and had to go a little further around the ring road, I drove through a huge puddle with two cards already abandoned, as a result of my error I had to turn around and go through the puddle, this was at about 10.30, three hours later when we drove past the same location, the police had closed the road, there were six abandoned cars and somebody wading through the water that was up to their chest.

When I had arrived for the site visit, I had to put on the hat and coat that I keep for in the car for dog walking on Cleeve Hill, not really suitable business attire, the rain was really very very heavy. Relecting yesterday (Tuesday) a colleague at Visa, Harin, said that rain like that is common in the Indian sub-continent, the monsoon season...........but Hampshire is not supposed to have a monsoon season……….especially in July!

Lunch on Friday involved going to a lovely pub, an old mill......by the time that we got there the mill stream was in the car park and the landlord had the carpets up, he took us to an upstairs room and served lunch, the rain had stopped and the sun was out, there was no feeling of how awful things were not far to the north.

I left Basingstoke at 4pm hoping to be back in Cleeve by 6ish, it is only about 85miles (130km) it was then that the adventure started! Tom called me and told me to find a hotel for the night. My journey actually took about 8.5 hours, for those that know the route, I knew that the road from the M4 past Swindon was difficult and so I tried to go across country via Hungerford, Lambourne and Farringdon – normally very pretty, but huge puddles and lots of abandoned cars. I made it to somewhere between Wantage and Farringdon but got turned back by the police as the road was deemed too dangerous for anything except tractors and land rovers. I had already made a 20 mile detour via Wantage to drop off two decorators who had swamped the engine on their van, one of them had tried to fix it and his mobile phone had fallen from his pocket into the water – really not his day………..he just wanted to be dropped at a pub!!

So having been turned back I had to go all of the way back to the M4 and onto the A419, the traffic was nose to tail, I made 12 miles in two hours and thought that it would be like it all of the way to Cheltenham, another 30 miles, but I suddenly came across the problem about 200 metres of surface water about 2ft (600mm) deep and everybody proceeding with great caution, once past that I was able to knock off the 30 miles in about 45 minutes, until I reached Cheltenham. An extraordinary scene awaited me, cars abandoned everywhere at all sorts of angles, I was lucky, I managed to stay on the east side of the race course, drive through Prestbury and get home. Prestbury was amazing, the main street was like a shallow river, but passable with care. While all of this was going on James was trying to get home from the east, he traveled down the A46 until it was impassable he somehow made his way to the A40 and got into Cheltenham from the east. As some of you know he is qualified in Agriculture and is used to driving on all terrains, his language when describing some of the driving that he had seen could be described as agricultural!! In the meantime my friend Karen was traveling from Alnwick (close to the Arctic circle!) with son William and dog Scruffy to spend the weekend with us, she made it to Birmingham by 4.00pm, but the next 38 miles (64km) took her 15.5 hours as the M42 and M5 ground to a halt with the severity of the flooding. She was able to walk Scruffy on the M42 and the M5. She had plenty to eat and drink but was afraid to, without going into detailed biology, she was more comfortable being thirsty and hungry than dealing with the consequences in a lady like manner – observed by three lines of stationary traffic. It is a strange thing, we all felt guilty going to bed at about 2.00am knowing that a friend was stuck in a car on the motorway. Many of you will have seen the M5 on news bulletins.

When Karen arrived, she had a sleep and we had a lovely Saturday with a meal at the pub in the evening, we knew that the floodwater was serious at Tewks but it often is, it was only on Sunday that we really realised just how bad things were.

A neighbour knocked on the door saying that her son was working with some engineers who were trying to save a pumping station, we should fill a few pans, we did and went off to the pub for a lunchtime drink, lots of talk about the water, but the opinion was that it was scare mongering. Home, and an agreement to have a BBQ in the evening, in spite of the rain Sunday was a great evening. Not much food, the local Tesco had been stripped bare, we talked about journeys on Friday. My neighbour Dean and I were still not sure if we should head for the station on Monday morning, him for the 6.40 and me for the 7.18, the website said that journeys would be subject to delay, after another bottle we decided that it was best to work from home than to stand on a station waiting for a train that may not come. The last bottle of red was a good investment, we have a 40 minute drive to the station and may well not have made it – if we had at the time of writing the train has still not come and is not expected until 6th August, that’s a long delay even by First Great Western standards.

During Monday the water stopped coming out of the taps, which is where I started, fetching water from the garden. Earlier this morning I passed a convoy of eight army lorries being delivered to Cheltenham, we can collect 12 litres of water per household per day from the centre of the village, there are police there to prevent fights, we also have “bowsers” dotted all over the place with water that can be drawn off, it has to be boiled – which would have been a challenge for many of the electricity had gone as well. More on BBC website

It would be great to hear from anybody who is still with me and has not lost the will to live!

Chris

PS I am new to commuting, but have met and talked to some of my fellow travelers, I know frowned on in some commuting circles! One of them Alastair, a latent eccentric is writing a blog, am entertaining few minutes if you are at a loose end, I am featured……so are the floods – and Sid (because I know you will still be with me!) so are two RAF officers, one a former Z4 owner

The blog – www.trainfellows.blogspot.com

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:40 PM | TrackBack

July 28, 2007

Newsnight

Yesterday we had the Channel 4 team setting up their equipment in the Abbey so that they could broadcast "Newsnight" live from the Abbey. At the same time we had the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall touring the worst hit areas of the town and it was encouraging to hear the very positive comments from those introduced to him - especially in a Labour constituency.

How different then the approach of the Channel 4 team to their carefully selected panel. Some, like the Bishop of Gloucester who cancelled another engagement to be there, weren't even given time to talk. Nor was our Chiuef Fire Officer whose people had performed almost superhumanly for the last week. Instead they obviously tried to stir up a "blame game" and I am very pleased to say that they failed. It probably didn't make for exciting TV, but it was good to see the Environment Agency and the Severn Trent Water representatives actually being supported by the two Mayors and the victims.

The problem here was that the water levels rose so rapidly that there was almost no warning and certainly no time to implement the flood defence plan. Thos parts of it that were implemented worked well and the post disaster recovery plan is also well on track. The damage at the Myth Water Treatment plant has to be seen to be believed. It isn't just a case of flood water in the tanks and filter beds - the gantry and the intake pumps - a pair of really massive submersible horizontal pumps which normally sit 12 metres above the Severn - are gone. The river took them and their gantry. So what are the Severn Trent people doing?

Well, they are not just trying to rebuild the pumps, they are also also creating some new links between the Tewkesbury and Gloucester reticulation system and those adjoining it. This is how they have managed to get water back on the Tewkesbury system within six days. This morning they are extending that to the Bishop's Cleeve and north Cheltenham area and I have absolutely no doubt these guys will get water back on to the rest of Gloucestershire within the fourteen days they originally estimated.

Finally, in what must be the first occassion such a thing has happened, the Church Missionary Society branch in Niarobe, Kenya has contacted our Bishop and wants to send aid to those affected by our floods. A Bavarian Friewieligerfeuerwehr has contacted the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service anbd offered its pumping vehicles and twenty-five firefighters and an Aid Agency also based in Germany yesterday delivered 80,000 litres of bottled water and 10,000 litres of bottled apple-tize drinks for distribution to children ....

What can one say? How different to the attitude of the media and the Westminster politicians whose only interest seems to be to find someone to blame so that the finger cannot be pointed at them.

I think that I prefer the attitude of our Town and Borough Mayors. Praise the work they various agencies are doing and have done - and then let's pull our community together to get back on our feet as quickly as possible. You cannot blame someone for the speed at which this flood arrived and we certainly cannot blame the Water supplier for the loss of a plant built by Whitehall in the 1960's on a flood plain, albeit the same plant was built above the level of the highest previously recorded flood.

It was an interesting experience watching the filming of the programme last night and I have to say that the participants displayed the best of the Tewkesbury spirit in responding.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:21 AM | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

We have water!

You can't drink it and you do need to boil it, but we have water in the taps! It trickled back slowly and there isn't a lot of pressure behind it, but it really makes you conscious of just how dependent we now are on our technology and infrastructures. As soon as they fail we find out just how unsustainable our modern style of life is.

These last four days without the simple luxury of being able to turn on a tap and draw water for every need has certainly brought home to me how vulnerable our entire society has become. After all, our homes depend on electricity, gas and water all being supplied - we are not able to draw water from wells, water butts or even the local stream anymore. We cannot cook or heat our homes without electricity or gas and I have watched families trying to use barbeque equipment in the rain to cook basic food for themselves. I have also seen some remarkable examples of people getting together to help each other and to share those resources and services which one may have had and others lacked.

Sadly we have also had examples of the moron mentality that seems to have embedded itself in certain sections of the community. Examples include the deliberate fouling of the street water bowsers, of "youffs" turning on the taps on these and leaving the water to drain away. It does make you want to bring back the sort of instant justice practiced in medieval times. Placing them in the stocks for public ridicule, chain gangs forced to work to repair damaged roads and bridges or dry out damaged homes, possibly even public flogging would be a suitable punishment.

But, on a positive note, I really do want to say to all those still working round the clock to restore the electricity supplies, the gas supplies and the most important of all - the water supply. Well done to you all! Not just well done - you're bl**dy marvellous!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:54 AM | TrackBack

July 26, 2007

Receding slowly ....

The Flood peaked on Monday so we are told and there has been a steady fall in the levels. Electricity has also been restored to most of us (as you can see - I am back online!) but the one key thing that will not be so easily restored is our water supply. That will take between seven and fourteen days. No baths, no washing up, no flushing the loo ...

Now is a good time to invest in deodorants and other "household" perfumes ....

Abbey North Porch flooded.jpg
The water sneaking into the Abbey via a low drain that has reversed its flow.

Abbey Mill and the Ham.jpg
Abbey Mill and the Ham at the height of the flood. Note the water has reached the first floor.

Former Abbey school and Gander Lane from the tower.jpg
The former Abbey School in Gander Lane and Gander Lane itself filled with water.

Westward to the Severn.jpg
And looking west towards the confluence of the Severn and the Mill Avon at Lower Lode. The line of trees in the middle is the Severn ...

Rain is forecast for the next few days, but is not expected to produce a rise in the water levels. We will just have to hope and pray that the rivers continue to fall back from their current height and that the Water Company can get their filtration plant and pumps running again quickly.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us and supported us through this disaster.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Recovery in the community ...

Yesterday our Bishop came to see us and to spend time with those affected by the flooding. His own home in Gloucester, though unaffected by the flood, has no running water and was without electricity for several days so he is able to identify very closely with all of us as we deal with sorting ourselves out. Many of the smaller parishes ditted around the Diocese have been devastated by the floods. Where the Abbey had a couple of inches of water at the West End, other churches have had four or five feet through them. And those are the churches, usually built on high ground ....

The houses around many of these churches are devastated. The hotels, restuarants and other businesses all face a huge clean up and loss of business in the interrim. The long term effect on everyone here is likely to be pretty harsh. Many businesses will not survive, many homes will not be repairable and sadly the death toll will continue to rise. So far we have one man missing, two confirmed dead and two babies born prematurely also dead.

It will be a very long hard road to put things right again and we will need your prayers and support to do it. Our Bishop has written the prayer below for use in all our churches as we start the recovery process, please pass it on for others to use as well.

Bishop Michael’s Prayer

Creator God, hear our prayer.
As we look with dismay on the floods across our county,
we ask you to look with compassion on all who are suffering on those whose homes are spoilt,
whose livelihood is threatened.

We thank you for acts of courage and of kindness
and pray a blessing on all who rescue and relieve.

And, when the floods have gone, guide us to learn lessons.
Help us to live in harmony with the laws of nature
and in reverence for a creation you have made to be very good.

Creator God, hear our prayer.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:57 PM | TrackBack

July 25, 2007

Real heroes

The current flood crisis has exposed the folly of many "managers" in the Public Services, the usual crop of non-specialist filing clerks who have risen to positions of authority over services they know nothing about except what they have been told in their famous "business cases" and "briefing notes". These are the people who keep appearing on the TV and answering the inevitable question of "how do we flush the loo?" with - "conserve your bath water and use that sparingly to flush." What bath water?

It has also seen a magnificent response from the troops on the ground. Police, fire, ambulance, life boat crews, army, navy and airforce personnel, electricity workers, water suppliers and the horde of volunteers who have worked non-stop to deal with the floods, rescue people, distribute supplies and try to keep services running.

My electricity was restored, by means of a huge mobile generator which arrived at 23.00 on Monday night, at 01.00 on Tuesday morning. This meant that a team of electrical technicians and engineers worked to find the cables, disconnect the flooded sub station and then connect their generator. Elsewhere my former colleagues in the fire and rescue services have worked round the clock dealing with rescue, flooding and every other type of incident. We have crews here from all over the country and no one is working to normal time. Sleep? They take it when and where they can. It makes me proud to have been associated with these folk and wish I could still contribute to the effort they are making.

These are the real heroes of the hour, the men and women who have done the job, know what they are doing and how to do it. They are pulling it off in the face of equipment shortages, poor planning and appalling conditions. Your prayers and your good wishes for them all should be shouted from the rooftops. Make sure they hear you!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Flood update

Sorry folks, I am accessing the blog through a friends computer. My home is not flooded, but our electricity supply is cut off. Seems someone's "Cost Benefit Analysis" after the last floods came up with "there would be insufficient benefit" in moving the sub station out of the flood plain.

So now we have the main distribution sub station at Gloucester about to go under water. I wonder what the cost benefit is of shutting down the power to 500,000 homes? On top of the several thousand already without powerfor the same reason?

Oh well, all my freezer is now emptied and the contenbts are in myt friends freezer. I still have gas, and I'm still dry.

The Abbey has about an inch of water in the nave as nd will require a thorough cleanup to get rid of the silt once the water goes down. At the moment everyone is concentrating on getting the people ssafely housed, fed and minimising the damage to their lives. The hotels in te centre of town havewaived their room rates and everyone is pitching in the help each other. It's good to feel part of a community that can do that. Well, that's it folks, time to get back to seeing whatcan be done. Keep the battery radio going and listen to the News.

But the next turd of a Civil Servant blatlhering from their nice warm, well lit and comfy home in the best and most expensive parts of London about how "they see no reason why more houses can't be built in flood plains and catchment areas, is likely to get my Bell Book and Candle routine and be cursed into everlasting damnation!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2007

More on the floods

The flooding has brought out some of the best and the worst in people. The worst behaviour has been the 4x4 drivers who charge at flooded roads and throw up a wash that has overwhelmed the sand bag defences carefully built by people along the affected roads. These same road hogs have turned nasty in several instances when stopped by the police or residents and been asked to be more considerate. And now it is difficult to believe the number of people who have driven over here to look and see .....

Returning boats gimped.JPG
You don't often see the RNLI Inshore rescue boats running on the roads ....

The best has been demonstrated by the inhabitants of the hostelry opposite the Abbey. When asked by the Vicar to help with the sandbagging of the Abbey doors and Porch they turned out to a man (and several women!) and shifted all the Abbey's furnishings into higher areas as the water crept across the nave floor. The Abbey folk are now cooking up a huge curry to share with everyone "on the island" - and Evensong will be held outside the Pub. A number of our congregation have been flooded, but again, others who are dry have rushed to find spare beds and places for those who can be evacuated. Christianity at it's best and at work. Our Curate, new as he is, has spent his time since Saturday morning in the Evacuation Centre offering help and comfort and some more practical help as well. And the Vicar managed to hold three Masses for those able to reach the Abbey ....

Butterfliy swarms.JPG
The rain has brought out swarms of butterflies and I captured these next to the flooded Mill Avon near Lower Lode.

The latest news is that the Monk's part of the town is about to lose it's power supply. No one seems to know when it will be restored, so, if I am absent for the next little while, it's because I am without that magic spark we call electricity for the next few hours/days/weeks!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Flood Pictures

Pictures at this point say more than words.

Gloucester Road looking to Abbey Terrace and Church Street Gimped.JPG
The Gloucester Road, with the flooded Abbey Terrace cotages. The water extends to the Bell Hotel and is still rising.

Lapping the Abbey walls gimped.JPG
The water was last this high in 1947 and is still rising.

Vineyards still rising gimped.JPG
The view from the Gloucester Road as the waters continue to rise.

Pipe bridge over the Mill Avon and the Ham gimped.JPG
The view from the Lower Lode Road looking north across the Mill Avon towards the Old Avon and Mythe.

The Ham and the Mythe gimped.JPG
The Ham, which divides the Severn, Old Avon and Mill Avon - completely submerged.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 21, 2007

And down came the rain ....

If you are wondering why I am a little tardy in attempting a post it is because I have been on my feet looking after people stranded or evacuated to the Abbey for the last twenty-four hours. I am now going to crash into bed and sleep.

If you want to know what the floods have been like, let me say this. Another three feet and the Abbey would have had very wet floors - and we would have had to move a lot of people sleeping on them. The BBC Gloucestershire has some pictures.

And now to sleep!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 20, 2007

Good bye to Regional Assemblies, Hallo Regional England?

Over at the blog, The England Project, I found this excellent piece on the apparent retreat by our new Ineffable Leader from the detested Regional Assemblies his predecessor tried to impose upon England. Like the author of this piece I have deepe reservations about the honesty of the government's intentions here. After all, there are eight "Regional Ministers" who face losing their fat cat salaries and probably a few hundred thousand parasitic civil service bureaucrats who face redundancy if the Regional Government plan is scrapped entirely as it should be.

This entire expensive debacle is the work of the Labour Party which sought to entrench itself in power permanently in England, as it has in Scotland (Although not presently in their Parliament by the slimmest of margins) and Wales. The grand plan was to break England up into eight semi-autonomous "regions", each with an "Assembly", thus reducing the English to a status below that of Scotland with a "sovereign" parliament, but on a par with Wales and Ulster in having an Assembly. IT did not take a genius to work out that of the eight, Labour would inevitably be able to win almost permanent control of four, leaving the LibDems with probably two and the Conservatives with three at the outside. Westminster would then have remained controlled by the preponderance of Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs. Unfortunately for Blair, we saw through it. Now Brown seem to have taken the hint, but only on a limited scale. It seems that we will have to continue to have a bunch of unelected bureaucrats and appointed "ministers" dictating to us through the vastly expensive and wasteful "Regional Management Boards" they have set up as a nice little gravy train for themselves.

One thing you will have noticed the Ineffable Leader has not mentioned and very likely won't is the "West Lothian" question. Don't hold your breath - there is no chance he will ever address that, after all, his own constituency is in Fife and nothing he decides to do to England applies to his constituents. It couldn't get any better for him, no matter how hated he is in England, he will be re-elected by his Scottish voters because he doesn't do anything to them and can't be held accountable for the MSP's misdeeds now can he.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:32 AM | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Pride and prejudice?

An interesting exercise conducted by David Lassman of the Jane Austen Festival has given rise to a bit of a flutter in the publishing trade. The Society sent in a range of very thinly disguised 'sample' chapters based entirely on well known works by Jane Austen. One, entitled "First Impressions" even included the famous opening line "it is a well known fact that a single man possessed of a large fortune, must be in want of a wife." Only one editor spotted the plagiarisms and the rest evidently never even read the samples, but simply sent in standard Rejection Slips.

While the revelation has caused a great scramble among the publishers to defend their process it has also revealed the great weakness in the system of selecting who to publish. I cannot escape the feeling that Miss Austen would not see the light of day as an author in today's publishing world. The reason, I suspect, is that almost all the publishers now employ as editors people who have come through university with a Literature degree and who select and defend only those works which meet the intellectual criteria they approve of. It certainly explains, for me, the reason I have found in recent years that the majority of best selling authors cannot hold my attention beyond around page three. Recent experience in my own writing with professional editors suggests to me that they are so wedded to certain formulae and forms that they would not accept works by the likes of W E Johns, C S Lewis or J R R Tolkien at all these days. Certainly any work which doesn't have a sex scene in every chapter, isn't brimming with aliens (in Sc-Fi - preferably seeking sex with everyone else) or in which the characters aren't using the "F" word perpetually as their only adjective seem to have no chance of publication.

So what are the publisher's looking at and for? Well, they all say they want a good story, but then you run into "what is the story?" or "this reads like a pale imitation of XXXXXX's novel ZZZZZ", which when you take the trouble to look it up, never having heard of XXXXX before, you find it bears no resemblance at all. They want a good dialogue, but then tell you that "more use of narative" would make the novel more readable. One agent summed it up recently, saying, "To get into the business today a new author can't be just good, he or she has to be outstanding because the industry isn't run by editors and publishers anymore, it is run by accountants who have reduced everything to a formula for sales."

Well, perhaps the latest little tongue in cheek "test" of the integrity of the Editors and selectors who dictate who and what we read these days will result in a review of what they are doing after this. That is the optimist in me - the pessimist says, it is unlikely. In the meantime, I will keep plugging away. My next book is out there doing the rounds and I have another to seel as well. Your prayers and support are appreciated!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 13, 2007

Terrorist police?

A headline recently caught my eye. As is usual with the modern media, it screamed across the newsagents. As it is not a paper I would normally read I ignored it, but the broadsheet I buy had also picked up the story so I read their version instead. It seems that our ever blundering bureaucrats, in their eagerness to "ethnicise" our society, have really screwed up this time. Many of those they have recruited to fill their "ethnic" quotas in the Metropolitan Police, and presumably other forces as well, have links to radical Islam, terrorist groups and Al Qaida. Nice one! Talk about scoring an "own goal" - they surely don't come much more embarrassing than this. It puts the old maxim of setting a thief to catch a thief in the shade.

It's either a very cunning ploy on the part of our Home Office clowns to deploy people from within Al Qaida to catch their rivals and, hopefully leave us alone, or its the most monumental blunder these blundering buffoons have yet pulled off.

What really gets my goat is that they will all continue happily in their overpaid jobs without a whisper of censure for it or even being kicked out as they should be. And we, the long suffering tax payers will have no choice but to pay their salaries, their final salary pensions and for the massively expensive and long drawn out investigations that must now take place. And they will all get "honours" for their outstanding service.

Pass me the sick bag, I think I'm going to be ill for some time.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:17 AM | TrackBack

July 03, 2007

A very Middle Class revolt?

The Timesonline recently published an item discussing the fact that many "middle class" taxpayers are cheating on their taxes. Having read the item I had a small smile at the irony since the present government purports to be mainly middle and working class and are therefore now criminalising their own. While the Times writer suggested that the Middle Classes are rebelling I am not so sure. After all, they are the people who voted for a government that wanted to redistribute wealth through "fair" taxes and who supported the "fair" concept of a society based on the respect for the rights of all "minorities" even where this disadvantaged the majority.

A commentator (in the extended post below) suggests that this is a sign of a rebellion in the middle classes at being constantly over burdened with regulations, taxes and nannying. Again, I am not so sure, I think this is more about the exercise of power - the dominance of ideas. Suddenly I think the middle classes - the professionals such as lawyers, doctors, small businessmen and women, accountants and bankerrs are waking up to the fact that they have been conned. What has happened in our society is a subtle shift of power away from the electorate to a coterie of semi-dynastic fulltime politcians and civil servants. The electorate and the taxpayer no longer has a say in what is fair, reasonable or affordable, that is all decided by a small and powerful group in Westminster and Whitehall.

So, is this a middle class revolt? I would say not yet, but I suspect it could become one very rapidly if they see themselves further disadvantaged in favour of other "empowered" groups favoured by this government, and increasingly, by the "New Conservatives" of David Cameron.

Watch this space, we live in a precariously balanced house of cards. One clumsy move by the politicians or the civil service could bring the whole thing crashing about our ears. Then the only winners will be the modern Vanadls, Huns, Goths and Visigoths this government has been so assidiously courting from decades, for they already have positions within the corridors of power. Put there by the policies of "affirmative action" and "positive" discrimination - the very things the Middle-class has now come to recognise as a threat to their future and their children's futures. And the real irony of that is that these same Middle-class voters and taxpayers thought they were being terribly "liberal" in supporting them.

It can't happen here? I suggest a reading of the history of Rome from 400 to 480 AD. It was the collapse of the Middle Classes then that triggered the total collapse of the whole edifice.

The article suggests that this is a form of rebellion,' I suspect these misdemeanours are an expression of middle-class resentment and revolt. Society, they might feel, hasn't been so civil to them, so they are becoming less civil to it. This is not immorality, necessarily; it is civil disobedience.

A civil society is based on common consent and shared respect. That means, among other things, that civic virtue must be fairly rewarded.

Taxpayers and law abiders should be consulted and respected and enjoy the returns of good behaviour. They should be able to feel their efforts benefit themselves as well as others and they should be able to take pride in both. When they no longer do, their inclination to civic virtue will be undermined. They will become demoralised and disaffected and sooner or later will start breaking rules and laws they no longer consent to; illegal fox-hunting is an example.'

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:45 AM | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Terror in our midst.

I should think the Police deserve our praise for the quick way in which they have managed to home in on the suspects for the attempted bombings. Considering that they started out without anything to go on other than the cars and their contents they have done a remarkable job. It will have been helped by the capture of two injured bombers at Glasgow airport, but it is still a remarkable job.

It remains to be seen what these idiots hoped to achieve and precisely what their plan was, although I would suspect that it was supposed to be a co-ordinated attack with the cars in London going off at the same time as the attack in Glasgow. It may even have been the intention to recover the London cars and drive them into some target in a suicide attack. All will no doubt come out in the wash eventually.

In the meantime we have to be vigilant, we have to be unafraid and we have to weed out this enemy lurking in our midst and all those that support and conceal them. There is no excuse for this sort of cowardly attack on civilians.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 30, 2007

The enemy is within ....

Is the title of my next book, currently doing the rounds of agents and publishers. But the events of yesterday brought the theme of that book into sharp focus for me at least because the activities of terrorists are very much an internal threat to any and every civilised nation. OK, so these bombs did not go off, but the unanswered question is - "Who planted them?" Perhaps more importantly is "Why were they planted at all?"

I could make an educated guess at the motives underlying such an action. There are usually three main ones:

- disaffection with the current political regime in any given country and revolutionary intent,
- religious zealots determined to destroy whatever "Great Satan" is flavour of this month/year/decade/era,
- intent to foment fear and disruption to damage the economy with the aim of achieving an economic advantage.

To that list you may add the desire to impose a new political order, to achieve "freedom" from oppression or just a hatred of some group the perpetrator feels threatened by, has a grudge against or feels is deserving of extermination. The callous use of indiscriminate bombing stems from the Marxist/Leninist mantra that "some must suffer for the benefit of the many." Ironically a mantr that Whitehall and Labour have adapted to "Some people will lose out, but it will benefit many more!"

It is my view that there are several possible motives for this latest manifestation of terror bombing. One is that a large part of the UK population, the "natives" if you like, feel decidedly excluded from the process of government. They feel ignored and betrayed by the traditional political process which is now focussed not on "majority" rule but on "minority" rights. I have recently heard it said by several young white males that they have no hope of promotion in their careers now because they are white, male and heterosexual. I would hope that they are wrong, but I am also afraid they may have a point. The religious motive is a more difficult one. Our own statistics show that Mohammed will soon be the most common boys name in the UK. Other punters have commented that in less than thirty years Europe will be an Islamic State. I sincerely hope they are wrong, Islam is not a religion I admire, nor is it one I will ever subscribe to in any form. Take a close look at the Islamic world - far from being progressive or even free from corruption they are generally the most corrupt, most restrictive and most intolerant governments in the world - the only ones that even come close in draconian control are the communist dominated governments of China, North Korea and Vietnam.

By the same token the "Faithful" of Islam have been fed a world vision of world conversion. That is the aim of every Muslim, indeed it is their duty - and the Koran even authorises that such conversion may be by force of arms if all else fails. So, we in the ex-Christian West have a problem. The "enemy" is within our societies in the form of a growing Muslim presence whose avowed objective is to convert everyone to Islam and to impose their model of government and state upon us. Nice one for those in Whitehall and Westminster who have promoted the denigration of the Christian faith and the bolstering of Islam to deal with, but, as is the manner of turncoats everywhere, when the time comes they will simply adopt Islam and carry on in power. Small wonder there is a growing element in our society who may be considering the use of force to prevent it.

The final one is much more difficult since this generally contains an element of "internal enemies" for individuals. We all have them, those irrational fears that lurk in wait, the fear of small spaces, the fear of ridicule, the fear of exposure of some minor infraction of the law. The worst one is fear of strangers or of people you have been taught to regard as "outsiders". Now we are into the realms of people who have real psychiatric problems, but they walk among us in society and the only time you might suspect them of being dangerous is when they let slip a remark or a comment which suggests an intolerance. These are the secret bombers, the ones who will allow their hatred of some part of society to fester until it reaches the point where they take action. It may be simply walking into a school and shooting everyone in sight, or it may be planting a bomb outside a public building frequented by the people the bomber hates.

The enemy is indeed within. Both inside our society and within ourselves. It remains to be seen who is responsible for this latest series of failed attacks, it will be a long and difficult investigation but they must be found. The difficulty for us all is that, throughout the "Cold War" all the super powers, the UK included, used terrorist groups and organisations to affect change in countries they wanted "on side". Look around Africa and you see former Terrorists now "respectably" ensconced as Presidents. There are many more similar models across the Far East and even in the Middle East. What does this tell the latest crop of disaffected "warriors"? Why that you can bomb and shoot your way to power - and believe me they will.

It seems to me that we have a very simple question to face. If the enemy is within our society, how do we isolate them and how do we defend ourselves in a society that is obsessed with protecting the right of protest - even violent protest. A society moreover that sponsored terrorism for political ends - until it came home to bite.

It is going to be a long a difficult haul I think, one we may not solve at all in the short term.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:45 AM | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Water, water everywhere ....

And more on the way. Tewkesbury sits astride the confluence of the River Severn (The longest river in Britain) and the Avon (One of four River Avons in England!). Ours runs through Stratford on Avon and flows into the Severn here at Tewkesbury. The Gorse Fox recently put up some pictures taken in Worcester of the flood rising in that city, so I thought I'd get my camera up the Abbey tower and see what I could see. And it makes quite a sight.

Flooded Ham and Severn.JPG
The view from the top of the Abbey Tower looking westward across the Swilgate, Mill Avon and Ham to the Severn.

I was lucky to have this beautiful clear day to take these pictures, although the wind was a little brisk at times, at least it wasn't raining. From the top of the tower you can see Gloucester Cathedral and I suspect you might even be able, in the right circumstances, to glimpse the top of Worcester's tower. Great Malvern, Bishop's Cleeve and even Pershore are all visible to one degree or another from here. But most spectacular of all at the moment are the vast sheets of water overlaying the flood plains which lie all around Tewkesbury. The town itself rarely floods, being built on a long ridge of higher ground between the Mill Avon and the Swilgate. Most buildings do not have a cellar, and those which do, have pumps and water proof linings.

Old Avon and Mythe.JPG
The view north from the Abbey with the Old Avon and the flooded Ham. In the foreground the town stands dry footed on its ridge and the man-made Mill Avon separates the town from the Ham.

My usual walk to town is impassable at the moment with Gander Lane under water and a large part of the Vineyards Park also submerged the option for anyone wishing to walk that way is swim or wear chest high waders!

Swilgate and Gander Lane.JPG
The flooded Gander Lane Cricket Ground and Car Park, the Swilgate runs along the edge of Abbey Meadow around the south side of the Abbey and joins the Mill Avon to flow into the Severn at Lower Lode.

If the weather forecasters are right, we can expect the tide to rise again next week as the water drains down the Severn and the Avon from Wales and the Midlands following the predicted heavy rain. I think its time I investigated buying a boat.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 05:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 28, 2007

Rising tides

The flood waters now coming down the Severn have filled the Swilgate and the Avon - which is itself contributing a lot of water - and the tide at Tewkesbury is rising steadily. The usual places are already underwater and others are preparing their defences, which will be needed if the volume of water is anything like what is expected. And the weather forecasts for the next several days suggest that we aren't out of the woods yet.

Ironically the Monk has either caught a cold or his hayfever is reacting to something which has just exploded in the rain. Another day or two will tell the difference methinks, but a cold on top of hayfever is no fun I can tell you. But that is another story altogether.

No doubt this unseasonal (Is it?) weather and the rainfall will be blamed on Global Warming and used as an excuse by the nefarious and ill-informed to demand even more punitive controls on the freedom of the rest of us. But the important question is unanswered - is this the result of Global Warming or is it in reality part of a natural cycle. Look back sixty years and you discover that wet summers were a norm. So were floods. No one was claiming it to be the result of Global Warming then.

In my humble opinion we are now emerging from a rather prolonged dry spell (think of the 1930's droughts that hit Africa, Australia and the North American continent as a cyclic example) and we are now seeing the result of two things. One the ENSA - El Nino Southern Ocean Anomaly - has reveresed direction for the first time in a number of years. Second, the sun is entering an "active" phase with massive sunsport activity. Both are related to colder wetter weather globally. I think it is a case of "watch this space" rather than "hit the panic button".

In the meantime we had better hope that Mr Prescot's successors don't approve any more building or development in flood plains along the Severn, something he was rather too fond of allowing. It is that, rather than the admittedly exceptional rainfall, which has contributed to the flooding we are now experiencing. And just for the record the floods of 1746 were higher at Tewkesbury than any of more recent date. In June 1746 the Vicar had to row himself up the ailse to attend the daily Divine Service. We are nowhere near that level now.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:10 PM | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

The PM is gone, or is he?

So Blair is gone and Gordon the Dour has taken his place? Do we get a say in any of this? Probably not, the Sovietistas of the Labour Party have decided that they rule, they know best and the rest of us don't count. Now there are rumours of Gordo calling a plebiscite in May next year - to see if we really do want him. Answers on a postcard methinks.

As for the man who has destroyed this country with his cronies and jobs for the boys - well he's off the a well paid job as a "Peace negotiator" for the Middle East. Talk about snout in the trough, he really has pulled a plum this time, the salary plus his pension from being the ex-PM will see him and his family nicely into the realms of millionairedom - without ever having done a proper days work. Marvellous what the right connections can do for you isn't it. Not bad either for the man who has almost single handedly done more to destroy the United Kingdom, the English and the British nation than any external enemy has managed in almost a thousand years. His nod of approval of the EU Constitution - ignoring the requirement in his own manifesto to hold a referendum,, one he knows he will lose - is his final act of betrayal and treason. Good riddance to him - but I suggest that we demand that we do not pay a single penny towards his salary or his pension from now on.

So what will his successor offer us? More stealth taxes, fewer services, smaller pensions and no doubt even more stupid, unecessary and meddling "regulations". The man is an unreconstructed Old Labour Socialist. He still believes that he can "redistribute" wealth by using the tax system - and ten years at the Treasury still hasn't taught him that only he and his cronies and the senior Civil Service have benefitted from this stupidity. He still believes that every social problem can be cured by throwing other peoples money at it, that "poverty" is the cause of crime - in the face of the evidence that the criminals are better off than anyone around them - and that "victims" of our society must now be given preference in everything. His greatest victims are us - the tax paying and law abiding public!

But what are the alternatives? Dave Cameron's lot? Don't make me laugh - the man is simply a younger Tony Blair, full of empty phrases and gestures.

God help us, I reckon it will take even less time for this nation to tear itself apart now than it took the Roman's in 410AD after Alaric departed. They managed seventy years - I reckon we will be history in twenty at the outside.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 09, 2007

Threat to Churches looming ....

If anyone doubts that the government of the UK, in particular the Labour Party and its current leadership (and that includes Gordon Brown) is anti-Christian and pro-anything except Christianity, take a look at the new Charities Act 2006. From this year, every church will have to be able to prove that it is a "public benefit" in order to continue to enjoy its charitable status. Worse, Trusts set up by Christians to provide assistance and sometimes housing to the most needy in their congregations now face being stripped of their charity status with the consequence that Gordon Brown's thieves in the Treasury can strip them of their income and treat them as "companies" under the tax laws.

Why will they be able to do this you may ask. Simple, the new law requires that to be a charity you must be able to prove the following:

1. The public confidence objective is to increase public trust and confidence in charities.
2. The public benefit objective is to promote awareness and understanding of the operation of the public benefit requirement.
3. The compliance objective is to promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of the administration of their charities.
4. The charitable resources objective is to promote the effective use of charitable resources.
5. The accountability objective is to enhance the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the general public.

There is further clarification of Public Benefit in 2(2) of the Act which states that this can include the promotion of religion, but then goes on to add that it includes belief in more than one god and in no god at all .....

Just to compound the situation, we must take account of the "Guidance" issued by the Commission which actually uses the word "unbenefit". Yes, you saw it here first. Whitehall speak no doubt, I despair I really do - someone should take the perpetrator of these abuses of the English language outside the building they disgrace, publically flog them and then hang them by their thumbs from the nearest bridge as a warning to others. But, back to the "Guidance". This allows the Commission to strip a body of charitable status if it or its activities can be deemed to be an "unbenefit" to the community. Can't see the problem? An "unbenefit" can be anything that is deemed to "promote religious hatred". Ergo; promoting the idea that Jesus Christ is Lord and the Son of the Living God, part of the Godhead is anathema to Muslims who see Him as a minor prophet. Promoting the idea that salvation is through Jesus and not through your good works, praying five times a day or any other "holy" action on your part is to "diminish" any other religion that does not share that view. In short, that could get your church stripped of its charitable status.

But, let's start at Number 1. on the list. Public confidence. Years of anti-Christian media coverage and even more years of promotion of the lie of "all faiths are the same" means that Public Confidence is something that will be incredibly difficult to prove. Compliance with the legal obligations on the part of the Trustees of any charity is not too difficult, unless you wanted to make life difficult of course. Then you could quite easily make it so difficult for the Trustees to provide all the proofs that it would drive them out of business. Job done, wind them up as a charity. That goes for Number 5 on the list as well, easy for the bureaucrats who make up the Commission to make life so difficult that it will be impossible to comply - especially if the Treasury is after the money! That leaves Number 4 - and what a wonderful catch all that will be. To ensure that Charitable Resources are effectively used. Well, what I may decide is the most effective use of the resources in a charity may not be what the Whitehall PC Brigade consider effective for their agenda. No more charity and again the Treasury sweeps the loot.

Looking at the proposed Guidance it is blindingly obvious that the Commission will be driven by secular ideologies and will want to exclude those "charities" which it does not consider benefit a sufficiently wide cross section of the populace. Thus "Lady Pevensey's AlmHouses for Impoverished Ladies of Quality" could find itself threatened with the removal of its charity status if it doesn't offer its almshouses to an open field (irrespective of the terms of the trust) to include the odd Billingsgate Fishwife, Pagan White Witch and Lesbian Single Parent. It is precisely this interpretation of "community" that led to a RNLI Lifeboat station near here recently being refused a Lottery Fund Grant because "it didn't benefit a wide enough section of the underprivileged and ethnic minorities." It's a bl**dy Life Boat Station for the love of God! I can well see that argument being applied to certain Trusts and Charities set up by Christian Churches to help members of their congregations - if they do not open it to all comers regardless of their faith, intent or membership of the relevant congregation they will not be given the status of a Charity.

Now there may be some out there who will think that this is an extremist position, but think carefully. Anyone recently who has had any dealings with the massed ranks of Whitehall will know that the denizens of the various Ministries never, ever, consider the consequences of what they do or say. The mantra is "there will always be some who must lose out in order for the majority to benefit". Well, if you believe that, you probably also believe in little green men, fairies at the bottom of the garden and the basic decency of the political classes. Don't worry, the men in white coats will have your strait jacket ready by the time you have finished reading this. Whitehall and those who run it, do not believe in applying common sense to anything. They will interpret this law, badly drafted and written as it is (as is all the legislation of the last ten years!) in the narrowest possible way. They apply it as strictly as they can - and they will get away with it, because most of those they apply it against will not have the wherewithall to fight them through the courts.

I forsee a bonanza for lawyers from this, an explosion of more worthless civil servants to administer it and the cramming of prisons with trustees of charities stripped of their status and assets on trumped up charges under this act.

Promote public confidence? Not unless it is in the purely secular fronts that promote the ideology of socialist control freakery. They will flourish because their trustees will all be the people who wrote this garbage and administer it. Watch this space as Christian Churches are picked off one by one.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:19 PM | TrackBack

June 08, 2007

Reducing Global Warming

While I do not doubt that our climate is changing and that there is some impact on this by human activity, I do take serious leave to doubt that the measures Blair and other "Green" converts are ramming down our throats are going to help in any way at all. For one thing, all their measures really seem to be about is to produce ever more worthless bureaucrats, more restrictions on personal responsibility and freedom and more centralised control of who may travel and where.

The evidence for CO2 as the agent of change is also decidedly suspect, since now new evidence is emerging that shows that CO2 levels rise as a result of warming and not as the primary cause. The prime cause, as I have remarked here before, is too many people and too much pressure on too few resources such as water, arable land and timber - after all, if you don't live where there is electricity and piped gas, you burn wood to cook.

And now I have discovered that scientists agree with me. Take a look at "Wired.Com" and in particular take a look at this piece on one of their linked blogs. Entitled "How to save the world" it really does raise some serious issues about the population levels at present and the pressures this creates for us all.

The over population of the Third World has led to a rapid increase in desertification of arable lands, the pollution of water supplies and the wholesale destruction of rain forests. I get really annoyed when I am told by half baked twits in the "Green" campaign that eating beef is causing the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest. Garbage, first I don't eat Brazilian beef, and second, the destruction of the rain forest in Brazil is down to uncontrolled spreading of desperate peasant farmers who have no other way to feed themselves alongside the uncontrolled stripping of the forest for gold and other ores buried beneath it. Across Africa the same pattern emerges and it is not the big western nasty capitalists who are forcing this destruction, it is the people who live there that are driven to it by the greed of their own leaders.

The problem comes down to people. Now the dilemma is, which two thirds of the population do you exterminate. And how?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

Hypocrisy of the highest order ...

When you find the Fabian Society, an organisation that has campaigned since its inception for "internationalism" and the destruction of "nationalism", suddenly switching its coat and now appealing for "A national Britain Day" to promote British Unity and citizenship I find myself almost speechless. Mainly because I am so enraged I am unable to think coherently.

This socialist talking shop is single-handedly responsible for almost every failed "social engineering" experiment of the last century in Britain. Its luminaries include those who have campaigned for the promotion of alternative religions (I suppose at least they spared us the invented religions of Nazi-ism and the Soviet system). This is the organisation which has consistently campaigned against the maintenance of our military at anything like a workable strength, against decent education, promoting instead the dumbed down and debased comprehensive system, label everything that disagrees with them on any matter "Right-wing" or "Fascist" and the list goes on. They have campaigned for separation of authority for Scotland, devolution for Wales and now that the lid has come off and they are faced with the consequences - they rush to the barricades campaigning for a "National Day".

One thing we can be sure of, if it comes to fruition we will be ordered to celebrate "diversity", "multi-cultural enrichment" and any prayers of thanksgiving will be led by someone prepared to pray to the great god Mammon. It certianly won't be a Christian prayer, the Established Church notwithstanding.

In fact, thanks to this shower of ideological pygmies it is much more likely that any prayers said for it will be led by the newly appointed incumbent of a newly confiscated Lambeth Palace - the Grand Mufti of Britain. Blair and his shower Christians? Wrong, watch them scuttle into the nearest Mosque as soon as it suits them to do so. Any National Day promoted by this present government and their mentors in the Fabian Society will not be Christian, it won't be Humanist either though they hope it might - it will be Muslim by the time they have finished seeding their proteges into every government department and every office in the land.

And I can probably be accused now of stirring religious hatred. So be it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:41 AM | TrackBack

June 02, 2007

Big Brother is taxing you...

Trust the bureaucrats to look after themselves. In Germany they've just invented a new Federal authority, the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern (BZSt). With lots of cosy jobs for pen pushers, to be sure. Up till now the tax offices in local authority districts were responsible for keeping the tax records of the people living there.You were issued a tax number and if you for example moved to another district you had to apply for a new number. That makes keeping track of an individual not an easy task, of course.

So someone had a brainwave and we, i.e. every single of the 82 million citizens of Germany, are to be issued an individual tax number which will stay with us all our live and even 20 years afterwards! That will be the first task of the BZSt. They estimate is that it'll take three to four yours until the last one has got his tax number. It is a huge task as for the first time all tax records will be accessible in electronic form and the local tax offices will be able to access them in a database. Seeing how many IT problems I encounter daily at my computer at work I am rather skeptical if this will really work. The new tas identification number will consist of 10 digits plus one, encoding things like name, former names, title, address, gender, day and place of birth and the local tax office. I wonder, why they would need to know about the local tax office. Probably to find your oldes tax declaration...

This system will of course make it easier for tax so offices to track down defrauders. As a law abiding citizen I wouldn't mind that so much, although if our tax regulations were less complicated getting around them would be a lot more difficult. (Someone told me only last week that about three quarters of all the existing tax regulations in the world were German.) But I do wonder if keeping data like that in a central database wouldn't make other institutions want to access them before long. And I am a bit worried about the protection of personal data.

The last example is the German toll system for trucks. Trucks carry little electronic black boxes in the drivers' units called OBUs (On Board Units) that send out signals. These are received at certain stations located on the motorways and the truck owners will get an invoice for the kilometers that have been driven by their trucks. The side effect of this is that it is possible to keep track of the movements of a certain truck and its driver. This has already been used in some criminal investigation. Rumours have it that plans are underfoot to install OBUs in every private car as well. Apart from getting a bit more money out of the car owners it will also accumulate vast amounts of data about individual persons. Who is going to guarantee all this information will be kept strictly confidental and will only be used by the proper authorities?

All this rather reminds me of George Orwell's 1984. And I think it will be one of the true challenges of our future life: with all this computer power and performace that is available nowadays it is easy to collect all sorts and vast amounts of data and information of all sorts. But what are we going to do with it? Will be not be buried by it? And will we be able to still protect the rights of privacy of individuals? It will be interesting to watch, I am sure.

Posted by Mausi at 02:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 29, 2007

Global what?

Came across a fascinating piece on a 15 year old in a site called Newsbusters thanks to a visit to another blog I haven't visited in a while. It seems that the climate change boyos might want to look at the data a little more closely. As I have long suspected, most of their scare campaign is based on outcomes from models that don't analyse the complete picture. Really useful that is. Read the newsbusters piece and weep.

Oh, and Mausi tells me that she has it on very good authority (Someone who spends his days studying the sun) that solar activity is increasing at the moment after a long period of calm.

Who knows, the next ice-age could be just around the corner!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:44 PM | TrackBack

May 28, 2007

Some people just don't get the message ....

I note with interest that the new French President has stated that it is his intention to force through a "revised" constitution for the EU and threatened that Britain could join the fast track or be sidelined. Apparently the fact that it was his nation that rejected the last such treaty has escaped his notice. Either that, or in typically French fashion, he has decided to ignore anything that disagrees with his worldview. Now it is proposed that the national veto should be removed on everything and that Brussels and the Commision should have even more power. Considering that the Commission is entirely unelected and unanswerable to anyone but themselves and their bank managers, I do not think there will be many who will agree to that.

Britain in particular suffers under the Commission since it frequently seems that each of the Commissioners looks after their specific nations interests first and foremost. Almost every attempt by smaller British firms to gain a foothold in Europe has been blocked or sabotaged by one or another of the Commissioners including some of our own appointees. The classic is the Food Commissioner whose officials deliberately misrepresented their own rules in order to force a small UK firm out of the market that a large French and smaller Italian company wanted to monopolise. The Commissioner was twice beaten in court and refused to obey the EU's own court! Not only that, but they then demanded that our government issue an unconstitutional Statutory Instrument prohibiting the use of the specifically named company's products! Our spineless Minister caved in and tabled the Order in Parliament. The Lord's rejected it, but the Commons - with Blair's foot soldiers flocking through the lobby, forced it through. It is unconstitutional and plain wrong - but we have no recourse to redress because the Commission is above the law. To hand it more power as the French President is demanding would be folly in the extreme!

To crown the French demands for more power to Brussels, we now have the Japanese Chairman of Honda Motor Corporation threatening to withdraw his company and their investment from the UK if we do not immediately sign up to the Euro. Well, I hope his Sushi has been properly prepared, because I won't shed any tears if it isn't. What is more, it is a classic case of an industrialist attempting to dictate policy to a democratically elected government by threatening blackmail.

Well, I won't be buying anything French for a while and the thought of buying a Honda to replace my aging Rover is now off the agenda as well.

Wonder where I can get a reasonably priced VW?

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 27, 2007

The evil in our midst.

This afternoon I opened my email to find one from a very dear friend, one which opens some serious questions. I am posting my reply to hers here, and the original e-mail which was forwarded, with her comments at the end, are in the extended post below. It may help to read them first.

It does encapsulate the evil at the very heart of our society and highlights the terrible dilemma we all face over these sorts of actions, and believe me they are far more common than simply this one. Remember Fred West? Well there are more like him out there and these two boys have just been licensed to carry on in his image - safely in Australia where the Australian public have no idea of the horror living in their midst.

I suppose I have a privileged view of this sort of thing, for one thing I had several years working alongside the police on murders involving fire and many of those were perpetrated by "children", kids under the age of 16. The frightening thing was that they knew exactly what they were doing and could justify themselves in doing it. This is one reason why if Peter Hain tripped and fell in front of me I would kick the living daylights out of him. One can only face so much horror.

Since the Bulger case I have had the privilege of working with three people who were directly involved in it, one a policeman who had to retire after it on stress, the HO Pathologist and the forensic scientist who provided the absolute conclusive proof of what these "boys" had done and how they had done it. All of them have been scarred by it - in fact all three say they had never before, and never since, encountered anything as evil as this. Their word not mine. What was not broadcast was that they had castrated him as well as everything else.

Then there is the matter of Justice. Little Jamie has not had justice and never will have it. What he has had is a media circus and the usual flurry of well-meaning libertarians who have campaigned to "protect" the two offenders from being confronted by their crime. Neither of the two has ever expressed remorse, and when the Psychiatrist who was responsible for the counselling advised the panel of probationary judges of this, he was swiftly removed from post and replaced by someone prepared to "make allowances for their age and 'tragic' background". I am told reliably that several of his colleagues have since refused to work with these boys at all and all have filed reports saying that they are manipulative and devious. None of this is supposed to be public knowledge, but the police are really worried about this and some of those most closely involved are quite openly saying that it is a travesty of justice.

For justice to be done, it must be seen to be done. The way these two murderers have been treated since their conviction has not shown justice at work. They have enjoyed shopping sprees, (reportedly) holidays abroad,the best private education, rather more luxurious accommodation than most prisoners get (or than they would themselves have had at home) and now have degrees and careers ahead of them. Little Jamie Bulger had his future, whatever it was, taken away from him in that single couple of hours spree of evil. During those few hours they cut off his fingers with scissors, rubbed paint into his eyes, forced foreign objects into his anus and castrated him before throwing him onto the railway lines so that a train would, they hoped, destroy the evidence. This is not "little white lie" territory, this is major calculated depravity. And our Justice system has failed to deal with it - continually fails to deal with others like this.

Jamie has not had justice and these two have not yet made any amends or apology for their murder.

The key here is that these two boys knew that they were doing something incredibly evil - but continued, secure in the knowledge that even if they were caught they would still "get away with it". That is the view of the psychiatrist whose report has been suppressed. Why? Who is trying to hide this and what do they hope to achieve by it? This "protection order" allows this pair to continue to get away with it - until one of them commits another crime, something, I am sorry to say, that is inevitable.

Lady Justice Butler-Schloss should be censured for her order, it is not justice that she has served here, but the narrow interests of the entire criminal fraternity and those who think they can "reform" them. She has now created a precedent which will be used to hide other murderers and criminals in our midst.

Like most people, I do have reservations about the death penalty, even though the one thing to be said for it is that it removes permanently any threat of a repeat offence, and it does reduce the murder rates despite the anti-captital punishment lobbies manipulation of the statistics. I have grave reservations about allowing Jamie's killers to live in the community surrounded by unsuspecting families, and I do not believe that they have been "rehabilitated". While I might not be prepared to see them hang, however much they deserve to, I do think they should be kept in detention for the rest of their lives and not allowed to enjoy the benefits they have had as a result of their crime.

I have seldom seen a hardened and very senior Detective cry, but I know one man who did - and he was one of those on the Bulger investigation. My good friend, the forensic scientist, doesn't talk about what he saw and had to handle, but he, one of the mildest and most gentlemanly men I know, has stated that he would be willing to pull the lever and hang both. The Pathologist is equally, though less pointedly, categoric about this case. Evil doesn't actually sum it up adequately.

Those two knew exactly what they were doing. That is what sets them apart in everyone's books. That is why they should not, under any circumstances, be released into the world again. Ever.

Now I know that this is all of it contrary to what my saviour tells me daily. I shall have to make amends for it to him myself when the time comes, but as I said, you can only take so much horror and then you want to rid the world of those who commit it. What prevents me? The knowledge that I would, if I once embarked on such a journey, I would soon be far more evil than they could even imagine. That is the thin line between morality and immorality.

Peace be with you,

I have just received the following, which is currently being forwarded via email in an attempt to put together a petition to overturn the recent ruling by Lady Justice Butler-Sloss. I have added my own thoughts at the end.
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Do you remember February 1993 when a young boy of 3 was taken from a Liverpool shopping centre by two 10-year-old boys? Jamie Bulger walked away from his mother for only a second, Jon Venables took his hand and led him out of the mall with his friend Robert Thompson.

They took Jamie on a walk for over 2 and a half miles, along the way stopping every now and again to torture the poor little boy who was crying constantly for his mummy. Finally they stopped at a railway track where they brutally kicked him, threw stones at him, rubbed paint in his eyes, pushed batteries up his anus and cut his fingers off with scissors. Other mutilations were inflicted but not reported in the press. What these two boys did was so horrendous that Jamie's mother was forbidden to identify his body. They then left his beaten small body on railway tracks so a train could run him over to hide the mess they had created. These two boys, even being boys, understood what they did was wrong, hence trying to make it look like an accident.

This week Lady Justice Butler-Sloss has awarded the two boys anonymity for the rest of their lives when they leave custody with new identities. They will also leave custody early only serving just over half of their sentence. They are being relocated to Australia to live out the rest of their lives. They disgustingly and violently took Jamie's life away and in return they each get a new life!

Please. If you feel as strongly as we do, that this is a grave miscarriage of justice. Copy this entire email and paste into a new email then add your name at the end, and send it to everyone you can! If you are the 600th person to sign, please forward this e-mail to: cust.ser.cs@gtnet.gov.uk and attention it to Lady Justice Butler-Sloss.
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Jesus said, 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone'.

What these two boys did was unquestionably horrendous and a vile, murderous act. Yet, as it states in this highly emotive re-telling of the story, they DID understand that what they had done was wrong and tried to cover it up. Who wouldn't? How many of us have told the odd 'white lie' to get out of trouble? It goes without saying that what Jon and Robert did can never be condoned within the society in which we live. But I believe in forgiveness.

Undoubtedly the Bulger family should not have to fear ever meeting these two 24 year olds who devastated their family's life. Therefore the only thing that can be done is to give the men a new start somewhere else in the world. It is unfortunate that Australia has been publicised as this 'new start'. People will no doubt seek to reveal their true identities and begin a witch hunt. I spent two years of my life with Jon Venables in a Young Offenders' Institute less that half a mile from my house. I should not have been made aware of that!

A disgusting act, yes, but I sincerely hope that during their time in prison - over half their lives - Robert and Jon received the appropriate care and therapy, have come to terms with what they have done and can live with themselves.

No human has the right to take away life. As a mother I would be devastated if something like this happened to Hannah. I would want those responsible to feel my pain. But I would not take their lives away. That would be a great a crime as the one they had commited. To quote Gordon Wilson, whose daughter Marie was killed in the Enniskillen bombing on 11 November 1987: 'I have lost my daughter, but I bear no ill will, I bear on grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. ... I don't have an answer. But I know there has to be a plan. If I didn't think that, I would commit suicide. It's part of a greater plan, and God is good. And we shall meet again.'

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:05 PM | TrackBack

May 25, 2007

The source of all spam?

I think we have managed to track down the sources of all spam. My daughter sent me a link today which took me to a website which explains all! It is the report of a conference held in Abuja. Read this and weep!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 22, 2007

Can she be saved?

What goes through the minds of the morons who see something of priceless value and decide to destroy it? Vandal is the word that we apply to those who perpetrate such acts, but it may well be a misnomer, since we use it for a range of far less devastating actions by this small and virulent running sore of a minority that infest our inner cities. These are the same yobs that bring our nation into disgrace when they go abraod as fottball supporters, or visit themselves upon the Spanish resorts. These are the same mindless sprayers of graffiti who deface our buildings, our monuments and litter our streets with their vomit when they can no longer hold their liquor or the latest designer drug.

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The magnificent Cutty Sark in her dock before the fire yesterday.

The one saving grace is that she was undergoing a complete restoration and had been stripped to a bare hull. Her masts and her deckhouses are currently at Chatham dockyard being stored or conserved so they are unaffected. Sadly however her original timbers on her decks and and the upper part of her hull are badly charred. While some of these can certainly be salvaged, it will be at a cost of loss of thickness and mass. More serious is the fact that this ship's uniqueness is in part down to her having been built in a "composite" form, that is, wrought irn frames covered by oak planking. It is those frames that have suffered most through the fire. If they can be straightened, then she can be saved and restored. If not, someone is going to have to be creative.

She had a budget of £25 million for the restoration. It now seems likely that she will need a further £10 million at least to correct the damage she has suffered through the fire. Perhaps we should ask the government to divert some of the money they waste each year keeping the most disruptive elements of our society spraying graffiti and swilling beer and drugs, to divert the money the yobs who do this sort of thing would have had, to the rebuilding project.

Nice thought, but most unlikely!

Will we see anyone prosecuted? Possibly, but don't hold your breath, if the perpetrators are caught, which is unlikely, they probably won't be prosecuted because they come from a "deprived" culture or background. Or, if they are, they will be given a light sentence (probably suspended) for the same reason.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:26 PM | TrackBack

May 12, 2007

Farewell Blair; but the nightmare is not yet over ...

So Blair has finally announced he is leaving Number 10. Many will say about time too, those who feel he should never have been allowed to darken its door in the first place will, no doubt, feel that some, at least, of the darkness of this socialist era is beginning to lift. They may be premature. If anything his successor is even more inclined to micro-manage and to impose blanket solutions than the unlamented Blair.

History will no doubt judge this age harshly, undoubtedly this ten years will be recorded in future as the period when this nation lost its will to continue as a nation state, lost the ability to see itself as a nation rather than a group of pampered and spoiled individuals dependent on the State for everything and responsible for nothing. That is probably the hallmark of our age, but Blair and his sycophants and Gauleiters have managed if anything to accelerate it. No one is now individually responsible, we can all hide behind a "rule" book dreamed up by some clown in Westminster or Whitehall - no doubt with the best of intentions - which allows us to abbrogate our personal responsibility for anything. Health and safety, child protection, driving, even walking down a street - failure to pay attention to our surroundings can all be blamed on "but I was following reasonable rules", or on "but the council knows that this is dangerous" or someone does anyway. Fish ponds now have to be fenced - in case some parent fails to recognise that a child could drown in one.

As a child I fell into numerous fishponds. I never managed to drown myself - some would say mores the pity - mainly because my parents taught me from a very early age how to extricate myself from a pool of water, and more importantly, they taught me that certain things were dangerous and not to be tampered with. Sometimes the lessons had to be re-inforced with a short sharp smack on the rear end - but the lesson seldom had to be repeated. I learned to take responsibility for myself and for my actions. I learned that any action has consequences and to weigh up those consequences and make sure that, if I did something utterly stupid, I was the only victim. Like the time I shot the tip off my finger or stuck a sword point into a teacher's rear end. Both had consequences and I should have seen both coming. I had, after all, been trained the handle a fire arm properly, and didn't, and I knew swords were not toys and indulged in some horseplay which could have killed a friend - instead it got me a caning, and a very well deserved one.

The last century has seen the rise and rise of a society and political philosophy that will destroy Western civilisation. Blair is the pinnacle of that ideology, and by now it should be obvious to anyone with any brain at all, that it is an ideology which cannot deliver. In short, it fails at every level to acknowledge that individuals though we may be, we are not capable, like ants, of forming stable and homogenous communities (even ants can't - but they are good examples of entirely enslaved populations.). We cannot be forced to all conform to a single idea or a single philosophy. Bishop Tom Wright writes in the introduction of his book "Simply Christian" that the twentieth century, particularly the latter part of it, is the most moral age in human history. I would disagree, even though he goes on the qualify that statement by saying that we have more awareness of morality, more awareness of injustice and more determination than ever to redress the wrongs - acknowledging that there is still, probably because the morality is being driven by a small and extremely vocal minority currently in power, a huge imbalance and injustice in the world. While the good Bishop is talking about a religious desire and ethics, once you take the element of faith out of the matrix and impose it as a political ideology, you find yourself only a hairsbreadth from the Hitlers, Stalins and Pol Pots and their desire to control everyone and everything.

To me the great mark of Mister Blair's period in office will be the level of power he has handed to those who, like Dr Goebels and Lenin's propagandists, have perverted education so that our children are being fed a daily diet of half truth, half fact and untruth as "history" and "morality". History has been "reinvented" to give the biased and bigoted picture these shapers of the "new" morality wish to present to the world. I would like to agree with Bishop Wright that we do live in a more "moral" age, but I find I cannot. The truth is that thanks to Blair and his predecessors who have peddled the Socialist myth for the last century, we now live in an age run by an elite, for that elite. An age in which "democracy" is the excuse for every excess, in which the criminal has more rights than the victim and in which the law abiding citizen is at the mercy of a draconian and ever growing state which subsumes to itself more and more power over every aspect of our lives. It is not a "moral" age, it is an age now driven by the prejudice of the elite and not underpinned by any faith system in the world. Morality which is not founded on faith is not morality, it is merely a system of control.

As Blair departs, watch his successor who is even more of a control freak than Blair. I confidently predict that three things will happen very rapidly under Gordon Brown.

1. Personal taxes will rise, either directly or indirectly.
2. Personal freedom will be further curtailed and additional restrictions will be imposed on freedom of choice for scholling and probably even upon the practice of religion.
3. The Civil Service will increase in size dramatically to exercise the "new" powers - but this will be masked by a promise to "axe" many jobs from the public service (exactly as his famous promise to axe 100,000 civil service jobs actually translated into employing and 600,000!)

I can also predict that we will see more meaningless targets imposed on the NHS, Schools, Police, Ambulance and every other "public" service. And a continued decline in what is actually delivered by any of them.

And the Illustrious ex-Leader? Well, he'll have his nice fat pension (Over £100k a year at last glance) and a nice cushy job in the EU or the UN - all paid for by us his unwilling paymasters. Oh, and his nice little world tour at our expense to share the joke with all his chums around the world while he has the chance. I suppose it's to much to hope for some Divine intervention to rid us entirely of him and all his party while he's at it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:45 AM | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Labour's legacy?

It's probably too early to say. But it does begin to look hopeful for those of us who detest Labour, their politics of envy and control freakery and BIG bureaucracy. Perhaps it is, as Sir Winston Churchil once famously said, "Not the end, nor even the beginning of the end, but perhaps, at last, the end of the beginning. The SNP is now the largest party in the Scottish Parliament. I could rejoice at that and even at their forming the next administration in Scotland but for two things. First, they have honed and refined Labour's propganda of hatred for their English fellow travellers on this small island and secondly that they have the avowed intention of destroying the very thing that made Britain Great. I am, of course, talking about the Union. This is the legacy of Labour's politics of envy, the mantra that has kept them in power in every area promoted as "victims" of the perfidious English for far too long. Perhaps the split is inevitable, it is certainly the legacy of Blair's era and of his party of incompetents driven as they are by prejudice, "class" hatred and ideological shibboleths.

The trail of destruction is unmistakeable and unprecedented. The Royal Navy reduced from a fleet to a squadron, the army reduced to a small collection of regiments created by the destruction of the originals with their proud history trampled under the feet of the vast horde of parasites called civil servants that Blair thinks will defend our shores with their masses of pointless targets and shuffling of paper. Even the Royal Air Force has been cut back to an air defence unit without the aircraft or manpower it really needs in this uncertain age. But the real legacy this government leaves us is a society which is now utterly spineless, "protected" by lawyers who rush to accuse anyone of "racism", "sexism" and a plethora of other "-isms" unable to discipline itself, addicted to pleasure and devoid of responsibility. This is the legacy of years of denigrating the military and depriving it of the proper respect, resources and status it deserves.

Everything is now run by "managers" the vast majority of whom have not the faintest idea of what the people they "manage" actually do, and often only the vaguest idea of what the organisation they "manage" is supposed to be doing. Look at the "Mission" Statements put out by the various Public Service Departments. Rarely will you find any reference to serving the taxpayer or the people they are supposed to be serving. What you will find is a lot of tosh about "respect", "equality", "ethnicity" and "value for money". That last is the biggest laugh of all, since, as every contractor on the Treasury "Preferred Supplier" list knows all too well, anything the Civil Service buys, automatically costs 40% more than it would if it was properly specified (That would mean hiring people who knew something about the job they do!) and put out to open tender as it is supposed to be. (But that would break up the cosy little nest egg building exercise the top civil servants have going for retirement and that comfy directorship.)

We may see the back of Blair at long last in the next few weeks. He was a charlatan in 1997 and he is still a charlatan. His successor is likely to be Gordon Brown, the man who has stolen our pensions, destroyed initiative and created more stealth taxes than any Chancellor in our history. He is also a Scottish Labour MP - whose Scottish MSP is now an SNP man. What irony, we could be the first country in the world to have as our Prime Minister, a man who represents a constituency technically in a foreign country.

Labour's legacy? Look around you and see the destruction, an economy based entirely on "finance" and fueled by stealth tax and government borrowing. Can it last? Not likely, and then we too will be reduced to the same state as the once mighty Romans - living on the fringes of things and masters of nothing. Well done Mister Blair.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 04, 2007

Blair's legacy?

OK, I can't resist. I don't like David Cameron, primarily because, like Blair, he is not what he seems and worse, he isn't a Conservative. He represents to me the the very worst of the current crop of politicians, lacking in vision, lacking in statesmanship, all spin and no substance. Blair has presided over the biggest expansion of bureaucracy in our history, he has eroded our traditional freedoms on an unprecedented scale and he has sold out to every terrorist currently seeking power. The Iraq war is a shambles because he and his ministers don't have a clue and interfere in military matters constantly, the "War on Terror" is a sham because he has terrorist sympathisers in his own government.

The meltdown in their control of Local Government continues apace and not a minute before time. The Conservatives have lost several tricks here because many of my age group (born between 1943 and 1949) see him as a young upstart who is going to do what our parents generation of politicians did to us in excluding us from the top jobs and positions of power (You're too inexperienced!) and then handed it over our heads to the Blair generation (born from 1950 onwards) We were working when they were smoking pot and strumming guitars - and paying into the pension funds Mister Blair and Mister Brown have now robbed to destruction. Am I glad to see this shower getting a hiding? Yes, but as far as I am concerned it isn't enough yet. I want to see them thrown out and their ideology discredited and destroyed completely. I want to see the voters of the world wake up to the fact that it is the socialist ideology that is destroying our civilisation and our nation. I want the voters to see that our present political system is no different to that operated pre- the Reform Act of 1836 in which the only way to advance in government was to have the patronage of someone above you. That system still operates but it is now the established means of promotion in the Civil Service as well. Promotion is not on merit in politics and it certainly isn't on merit in the Civil Service. It is all down to patronage. The right patron and you're in, regardless of your knowledge of the job or your ability.

The only reason this country prospered under that system before 1836 was that those who exrecised patronage then knew the importance of promoting protege's who did know what they were doing. Blair does not.

What a pity we have to wait another three years before we can throw Labour out of power completely in Westminster. Their losing power in Wales and Scotland is something of a sop, but we still have to endure yet another Scottish MP ruling the English and handing our money to the Scots and Welsh in order to bolster his parties power bases. It is a disgrace and it will not be addressed until the English are free of the overriding control of Labour's foot soldiers from Scottish and Welsh Constituencies. They have their own assembly and their own Parliament they should have no say over the English, just as we have no say over them any longer.

Let us hope that this swing in the voter choice continues - and Labour vanishes from our political landscape.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 26, 2007

Message to spammers.

Should any of the Spam Generator community be actually reading this I hope that you will take note of the following constructive comments.

1. I am no more likely to publish your spam comment if it begins with "Good site!" or "Useful information" than I am if it were to begin "This spam comment is..." 2. The Spam filter on this server catches them and holds them for my approval. I simply delete them. 3. It is irritating in the extreme to have to clear out my comments box daily, but, if it prevents your messages appearing, I am happy to do it.

I monitor the comments daily and delete upwards of a hundred of these irritating and utterly worthless messages every day. I am unlikely to allow you to use my blog to promote the sexual proclivities of any person or persons of whatever age, banking services, the sale of fake watches, furniture, perfumes, medications or any other commodity now or in the future. I therefoire respectfully suggest that you desist from this pointless and irritating activity.

Thank you.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:22 PM | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

The truth may be slow in surfacing - but it certainly bites when it does.....

So Brown wouldn't listen to his civil servants and pushed ahead with his robbery of our pension funds? Well, there's a surprise! The man is driven by self interest and entirely convinced that his "socialist" ideology is the only way to a "free" and "fair" society. But his concept of "free" seems to be a strange one - one in which those of us who are "rich" are "free" to be robbed blind by him and his cronies so they can hand our hard earned "wealth" to his voters and freeloaders. And, of course, his own pension is utterly bomb-proof, unless we, the voters and taxpayers refuse to pay up!

Interesting how the Welsh now have given themselves "free" prescriptions on the NHS, as have the Scottish Parliament - but the English, ruled by the Scottish and Welsh Labour Majority, are denied this - while their tax money flows in ever increasing amounts across the nominal borders to fund their constituency handouts in Wales and Scotland. The disgraced Paymaster General now admits they knew that taking £5 billion a year out of the pensions could be damaging, but I see and hear nothing of their being any compensation for those they have consigned to a life of penury as a result. Alright for some - the motto here seems to be the old "I'm alright Jack - I'm inboard!"

Well, we'll see what happens at the upcoming local elections - and then we'll see what happens in the General Election. But don't expect that idiot David Cameron to do anything to redress the pension theft. He voted for it.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:35 AM | TrackBack

April 03, 2007

A new tale on Amazon.com

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I am delighted to be able to put this up - it has been four weeks in the processing at Amazon.com - but at last it has made it's appearance. A Tall ship and the wind's song tells the story of Harry and Ferghal joining their first ship and their first short voyage in her.

On sale through Amazon Shorts as an "e-story" it's a bargain at $0.49c! Click on the picture above to visit the relevant page on the Amazon.com website.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 03:15 PM | TrackBack

March 30, 2007

Playing games with the West

The Iranian behaviour over the illegal detention of our sailors and Royals in the Shatt al Arab by their Republican Guard shows just how little evil regimes like this one think of the "Rules of Engagement" and "International Law" enshrined in things like the Geneva Convention. Perhaps this should be anobject lesson for the Human Rights lobbyists who are so quick to try and prosecute our troops for the slightest "infringement" of these same rules. It is of no comfort whatever to the hostages - for that is exactly what they are - or to their families to have the usual mantras trotted out by this particular abberant group on these occassions concerning "regard for the law" or the "we cannot be seen to be as bad as they are."

The Iranian Regime has, through its "Republican Guard" seized illegally the property of the British Crown and the persons of its serving men and women. That is an illegal act and one which the UN has once again shown itself to be useless to address. The Security Councils statement is nothing short of a slap in the face for Britain and I for one would wholeheartedly support both Britain and the US withdrawing support for all of the UN's activities until the organisation comes up with something a lot stronger in condemnation of the Iranians. The facts are that:
1. The Iranian government has breached the Conventions on the treatment of prisoners and is using them as hostages for its own political purposes. That is why they were seized and why they are being paraded on Television. That is a clear breach of all conventions on the treatment of military prisoners.
2. Iranian Vessels staged an invasion of Iraqi waters to seize these sailors, the ship they were investigating is still anchored where it was stopped for the search - and is well inside Iraqi waters.
3. The Republican Guard answers not to the Iranian Parliament but to their President and their Ayatollahs - it is therefore not a regular military force and should be seen as one raised, like Mugabe's 5th Brigade, as a terrorist organisation, and treated as such.
4. The Iranian Ministers and spokespeople are liars - and what is worse they consider this to be a legitimate ploy - after all they are dealing with people they regard as "Dhimmi" and whom they have clearly stated they intend to overthrow to impose their vision of a perfect society.
5. This is really all about humiliating the West and they know full well that the UK is so overstretched (It would not surprise me at all to discover that, under the Government's ethnicisation and feminisation of all Whitehall Departments that our MoD section dealing with Operations and deployment is staffed by Iranian or at least Muslim placemen passing on all sensitive information to Teheran) and that there is no way we could mount a retaliation or rescue mission.

Our sailors have been placed in this position by the stupidity and cupidity of those in Whitehall and Westminster who have reduced our armed forces to the point that we are so understrength and so overstretched that they are forced to rely on part timers to meet their commitments. And what is worse, when our boys and girls are wounded and injured in battle, they face being treated abominably by the disaster that is the NHS because that arch enemy of the armed services, the Civil Service, has decreed that the military do not need their own hospitals. The sight of Blair defending this in Parliament this morning had my blood boiling - especially coming on top of the recent incident when a lad was returned from the Gulf having lost a leg and, following emergency treatment at the scene, was evacuated back to Britain. Here he was rushed, by military ambulance, to the local NHS hospital and then had to wait his turn in the A&E Department - waiting four hours before a nurse approached.

Did she want to "assess" his injuries? Not a bit of it, she had been sent to tell him to remove his uniform as it might upset some of the other people waiting for treatment! The lad said later that if he hadn't been missing his leg he would have got himself out of there immediately - sadly he had no choice but to wait another two hours before he got proper attention - and nothing whatsoever has been done to the "manager" or the "nurse" responsible. According to Blair, our NHS Staff are providing our troops with the finest and best treatment available. No they are not Mister Blair - and you need to be taken out and shot for the appalling treatment our armed services are getting and the damage you have done to this once great nation - you and the rest of your treasonous party!

No wonder the Iranians are laughing at us. They know that as long as they want to play this game they can. Blair will do nothing because he can't. The UN will do nothing because it doesn't want to. And our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women will continue to be placed in danger and treated like dirt when they are sent home wounded - all so that Blair and his civil service stooges can continue to give themselves all the perks and kudos they want.

If I were now serving in any of the armed services, I would be seriously considering getting out before they sent me on yet another hostage taking trip for the Iranians or any other similar regime. Blair wants to fight this war? Let him and his army of worthless Whitehall W*nkers get out there and find out what the real world is all about, it might rid us of two problems simultaneously!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:39 AM | TrackBack

March 29, 2007

Whither Freedom?

Recently I came across an item about a recent BBC programme entitled "The Trap - What happened to our dream of freedom?" and it got me thinking. How "free" are we? How free have we ever been? And the answer seems to be - we never have been and we probably never will be "free" in the sense that most people (and the OED) would define as "freedom". Yet, it is one of the concepts that we, particularly in the Western Democracies, take as a tenet of faith, it is our great raison detre for all our desire to spread our "Liberal" concepts and democracies, but is this really "freedom".

The programme makers have examined the gap between our understanding of the promises of the last hundred years and the realities of our societies and concluded that we have the definition wrong, we don't understand the concept and we are probably not free at all. It seems that our idea of freedom is far too narrow and, most perniciously, our political masters like it that way. Why? Put quite simply it provides them with the means to circumscribe our freedom, to limit our control and to make sure that they have the ultimate say in what is and what is not permissible.

How has this come about? Apparently it arises from models of human behaviour that were developed by strategists as a means of manipulating public opinion mainly in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Unfortunately, as with all things taken out of Pandora's Box, it wasn't long before politicians realised that it was just as useful at home to direct public opinion and "steer" the gullible public in the direction they wanted us to go. The Mass Media are, of course, a party to this since they are the tool by which the manipulation is managed. This is how the largest part of the poplutaion has been deluded into thinking that Socialism, with centralising control of every aspect of life, ever increasing bureaucracy and the slow strangulation of enterprise and freedom of thought has been carefully managed, is a "Good Thing". Yet the concept is not new. This was the genius of men like Dr Goebels and indeed the Soviet Union's own propagandists. It is the stock in trade of every dictator; convince the public that, in order to "preserve" their freedom, you have to impose restrictions and limits.

It stems from the belief among radical psychiatrists and genetic biologists, anthropologists and other related sciences that humanity is basically selfish, a collection of isolated creatures who live in a state of constant suspicion that one or other of our neighbours might be up to something which will deprive us of something we have or want. The idea has been seized on by market economists and extended by marketing executives who all play on our supposedly inherent desire to be free of the herd. But, has this created the "freedom" we supposedly all crave? Has it actually created a "free and fair" society? Or has it created a society that is now more regulated, more controlled and less free than at any time since the beginnings of civilisation?

Personally, looking at the evidence these documentaries present, I would suspect that - to corrupt Voltaires famous saying, "We are born in chains, and these are added to as we grow". The Civil Service has never been more powerful - or more bureaucratically driven and more interfering in every aspect of our lives. Politicians thrive and mutilply - probably Britain's biggest growth industry at present, yet we enjoy no right of self defence, no freedom to bring up our children as we think is right, no freedom from wage slavery, taxes (They grow like Topsy!) and no freedom of thought or speech. Both those last are now restricted as never before by laws introduced to promote "tolerance". Even our freedom of movement is threatened by the government's determination to drive private motoring off our roads and force us to use the privatised and hugely expensive rail systems (Heaven forbid we should consider using the domestic airlines!). Even our choices in employment have been restricted by the collapse of our industries and their being driven abroad by over regulation of supposed "health and safety" and by "workers rights" which render labour here so expensive (not that the worker gets any more of it - it's the oncosts of employing anyone that are a killer!) that it is cheaper to sell the factory or move the factory and import everything.

Is the person on Benefits "Free"? Simple answer - no. They are tied up by endless "rules" restricting where they can go, how much they may have and how the "benefit" will be eroded should they dare to presume to take any paid work.

The concept of Freedom that we have lived with since the 1950's at least is fatally flawed. We need to have a wider concept, and a deeper understanding of what we mean not only by "freedom" - it has to be more than the right to vote! - and then we need to understand how it affects others, particularly those in other parts ofthe world who see things differently. The Cold War has produced many of the problems we face today, not least state sponsored terrorism, but equally the current trend to over regulate and to try to direct how society functions at a micro-managerial level. We need to restrict the power of politcians, bureaucrats and the media to a very large extent - and to rediscover the real meaning of freedom.

Have we ever been completely "free"? Probably not since we first formed societies and clans, however that is not to say that we cannot enjoy a form of freedom within that group which we would not have outside it. We do need some rules and we certainly need some moral guidelines to make any human society functiuon cohesively - what we do not need is constant interference by some group that considers itself better qualified than anyone else to direct our personal relationships, thoughts and utterances.

In short, we need to reconsider our concept of what it is to be truly "free" and to then explore where the boundaries of that freedom are - and what responsibility it imposes on the "free" to guard it and ensure it is enjoyed by all - and not simply by the ruling elite and their hangers-on in the bureaucracies.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Law and order or another bit of spin?

Listening to the Home Secretary this morning one could be excused for feeling a touch of de ja vu, after all, his Illustrious Leader has been parroting the mantra of "Tough on Crime; Tough on the Causes of Crime" ever since they came to power. We could, I suppose, also be excused for finding it a little thin at this point since the fact is that violent crime is up, the jails are full to bursting point - and they haven't even made a dent in the problem - apart from further eroding our right of self defence and disarming the law-abiding populace and targetting them with ever more draconian laws against motorists, taxpayers and anyone they think might have some money left over to pay the fine, pay the extra tax or whatever to get their hands on more of our incomes.

The Home Secretary proudly says they have built an extra 20,000 prison places. Yes? And shortened jail sentences to the point where they are a joke for the criminal fraternity. And they have written handbooks for the judges and magistrates that mean a mugger can be let off with a slap on the wrist but a pensioner who refuses to pay an unjustified increase in domestic taxes is jailed. A murderer can walk free, but a white collar criminal must be jailed. The list goes on and on. The extra places are all in "Open Prisons" where the inmates get time out to go shopping, visit home and even have "holidays" out of joail while serving their sentences. Tough on Crime? Not in this bailiwick - and certainly not when the PM's wife is a senior judge and partner in a law firm that specialises in "Human Rights" law. A gold mine for her if ever I saw one!

As for tough on the causes of crime, well, that's a joke too. It seems that our political masters think that one of the causes of crime is that some people have worked hard and earned enough to have a few pennies set aside so they can afford nice homes and some luxuries - while their constituents have grown up on benefits and are therefore in some way "deprived" of their right to help themselves to what everyone else has to earn the hard way. Crime, in study after study, has several roots, one is certainly deprivation, another, and perhaps more important, is a lack of clear distinction in what is now considered "unfashionable" - morality based on a faith of one sort or another. Let's face it, if you believe that this life is all there is ever likely to be, why not break all the rules and murder, rape and pillage your way to a comfortable lifestyle. Go ahead, Mister Blair and Co would seem to think that rewarding those who do, particularly the young yobs who make some city centres no go zones, is a way to make them consider becoming model citizens.

No society in the world has ever succeeded in creating a just and moral society without some belief system to underpin it. That is where our secularisation of society is failing us. The more the political elite try to brush religion aside and a life code, the more effort is put into promoting the flawed concept that "humanity is good - it is society that makes them go bad" is promoted by the humanists, the more of a social breakdown we will see. Blind respect for someone is never good, but we now live with a generation that has no respect for experience (even of the kind that helps us make a different mistake the next time!), no respect for authority and no respect whatsoever for the law - primarily because we are now so over regulated that we all break a half dozen or more laws every day without even being aware of it!

The Home Secretary and his cohorts in the Home Office still believe that they can fix the problem by setting the police and the courts more "targets", unrealistic and meaningless statistical measurements which divert the police from actually doing their job - preventing crime and putting criminals behind bars for realistically tough sentences. Listening to his patter on the Breakfast Show I'm afraid I was somewhat underwhelmed by the spin. I honestly believe that this is now so far out of their limits of understanding that neither the civil servants nor the politicians have got a clue what to do. Of one thing we may be sure, that whatever they do will see tax rise, less real policing and a lot more crime. Oh, and more law-abiding citizens charged with defending themselves.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:05 AM | TrackBack

March 26, 2007

Iranian arrogance; Western impotence

Yet again the Iranian Republican Guard have pulled off a spectacular and totally illegal seizure of British seamen and Royal Marines in a blatant act of piracy. The claim that our boats were in Iranian waters is a barefaced lie - it is the Iranians who were on the wrong side of the waterway - that is why our boats are monitored on radar and through GPS links. Their base and base ships know at all times exactly where they are and so do they. Ergo, the Iranian Republican Guard has committed what amounts to an invasion - if not an act of war. The only response if our people are not released, and their equipment returned within the shortest possible time is to sink every Iranian vessel that dares to show itself anywhere on the waterway. Sadly, our peaceniks in the MoD will not allow that to happen - and the Iranians know it.

Blair can bluster and posture all he likes, the Iranians will strip our boats (they never ever returned the last lot they seized equally illegally!), beat up our seamen and their RM colleagues and then, after parading them with sham "confessions" on Arab TV, will send them home ignominiously. And Blair and his coterie of luvvies will do exactly nothing about it at all.

What is more, with our fleet reduced to a squadron, with no strike aircraft and no carriers to call on for air support (shades of the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1941 and the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse!) there is not even the capacity to stregthen our presence in the Shatt al Arap. This latest raid was well planned and well executed, our boats were shadowed by several Iranian boats who then closed in at high speed when reinforcements arrived and left our people with the option of a fire fight against superior numbers and firepower, or surrender. The MoD should be very proud of their estimated manpower and equipment requirements for this area, you would have though they would have learned from the last episode - but that pre-supposes that either the Civil Service or the Westminster carrion can actually learn. Patently they cannot.

Sadly, the outcome of this debacle will be to leave the extremist Republican Guard looking superior to anything the Western Infidel is able to do, and the Western Democracies looking weaker than ever.

Blair and his anti-military party should be congratulated. All that remains is for us to surrender at the earliest moment to the Iranian government.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 25, 2007

The Climate Change sham ....

The climate change debate has recently featured on a number of blogs and in the media, most notable one in the UK was the show on C4. There has also been some fluttering in various scientific journals with some serious scientists demanding that their names be removed from various papers apparently "rewritten" to suit political rather than scientific outcomes.

There is a very good debate on this issue on On The Third Hand, although the main debate is in the comments section. Unfortunately, the link to the Google Video Clip no longer works, but I'm sure it can be tracked down by the determined. Well worth the reading.

The whole debate is particularly pertinent to the Monk at present as there is a group currently engaged in trying to drive the Abbey community into "Greening" the Abbey. So far they have come up with:
- Insulating the walls,
- Insulating the roof,
- Turning off the heating during the week,
- Changing all our lights to low wattage "energy efficient" bulbs,
- Covering the roof with Photo Voltaic cells and filling the voids with the battery packs to run our lighting and organ motors, and
- Encouraging the congregations to "turn down their thermostats".

Well, my response was perhaps a little robust. And just for the record, we now know and can prove, that when the Abbey was built in 1102 - 1141 this area was a whole lot warmer in climate than it is now! In all seriousness there is no way that we could insulate the walls - they are nearly twelve feet thick and solid stone. The same goes for the roof voids - double layer of close boarding (Some of it going back seven hundred years!) covered by lead and sitting over a stone Lierne Vault which is around four feet thick and thicker in some places than that! Changing the light bulbs is not as easy as it sounds. In fact its a non-starter until we change every single light fitting - and the lighting system because you cannot use dimmers with energy efficient bulbs and they don't make energy efficient Halogen lamps. Again, we would have to spend of the order of £20k to replace the lights and the controls to save around £500 a year.

Turning off the heating during the week would have a disasterous effect on the three organs and, as an experiment last years showed, result in a large amount of money having to be spent on repairing them every few months! As for covering the roof in PV cells, well, the life of a PV Panel is between three and five years, so we would spend, assuming we could even get English Heritage to consider the proposal, something of the order of £40k in order to save around £900 a year in cost of our lighting. I estimate that it would take us 45 years to pay it off - assuming we didn't have to replace a single panel until then!

Most of our congregation already do take sensible steps to conserve energy, and really, telling some of the older ones to turn their thermostats down on their heating would be the equivalent of suggesting they commit suicide.

Climate change is a serious issue. It does and will affect us all, but it is, in my view, complete and utter stupidity to think that we can change the course of nature. Think back to the comic books of the 1950's and 60's and the concept in many of them that by the end of the twentieth century we would either be able to control the weather using satellites or live in vast domed and closed city environments. It is time we stopped all rushing about trying to change things we have no control over and stopped letting politicians and the media scare the living daylights out of the tree hugger fraternity and looked at this problem rationally and seriously.

Yes, well, Hell has just formally announced it is experiencing an Ice Age.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 10:11 AM | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Gordo's give-aways ...

Seems to me that our dear Chancellor has done a very neat sleight of hand in his budget. In fact, if I wasn't one of those hit in the pocket (Nothing new there then!) I could quite admire the masterful piece of sleight of hand he has pulled off. First, the BIG bit of generosity, scrapping the 10% tax band for lowest income earners. Well, big deal, I happen to be one of those hit hard by that, because my pension is under £10k a year. So, for me, the tax rate just went up 10%. Ah, but wait, the Chancellor has been very generous, he has increased the tax allowance for pensioners - but only if you are over 65 - so that rules me out again. My local tax office is as sympathetic as ever, "well, of course it is hard for those who fall outside the net Mister X, but there are inevitably some losers no matter what!" Yes, there are, as long as it's not the Civil Servants and their Political Masters that's quite OK then isn't it.

Oh, and his BIG tax cut. Ah, well, that doesn't take effect until NEXT year. So, actually, he hasn't given the poorer end of the scale a damned thing. But he has raised the threshold for the top rate of tax, so all those nice champagne socialists who vote for him in the City can enjoy a nice little tax break. Funny that, throughout the years I was one of the so-called "middle income earners" he refused to make that change because people like me who were always just inside the higher rate zone, were "rich" and didn't qualify for all the breaks available below the "middle income group" (defined by the ever loving Civil Service as anything between £25k and £40k per year) and we certainly didn't get enough to take advantage of the tax breaks available to the people on the top brackets. Of course if I were to set out an father a whole herd of illigitimate children I could, I suppose, claim this ephemeral "Family Credit" which is supposed to be better than the former "Married Persons" allowance, but then probably not. Its so complicated to get onto it that most people aren't claiming their actual entitlement. What about Child Support. Ah, well, as a male I am NOT entitled to that even if I did have the proverbial set of rug rats to feed. THAT gets paid to the mother, mere males might just spend it all down at the local boozer you see. So single overage males just continue to get what they have always had, a good shafting at every opportunity and a demand that we continue to pay for the hordes of worthless pen pushers and sycophants in Whitehall and Westminster.

Looking at his latest adjustment to corporate tax, one has to ask which boardrooms have managed to engage his services. It will be interesting to see what Directorships he picks up when he is eventually kicked out of Downing Street and hopefully Westminster. At least we will then know who handed him the sweetners for this one. Small businesses have, according to him, been evading tax. So, the answer is raise their tax band and put the squeeze on them, then lower the rates for the really big players and give them further breaks for "research" and "investment". For both of those read "sweetners".

I suppose I could develop a "victim" mentality here, because all too often it is my generation, those born between 1943 and 1949 who seem to get shafted by the politicians at every turn. We always seem to be in that undefined zone where any change to pensions, tax or any other aspect of employment or income, seems to benefit those ahead or behind us - but hits us right in the wallet, bank account or investments. We are always the ones who don't qualify for the "new" deal or have our membership of the original deal curtailed. Just once in a while it would be nice to get included in something that actually benefits us.

I suppose I should be grateful, I don't drive a Chelsea Tractor and I drink very little anyway. With the extra tax coming out of my already shrunken pension, I couldn't afford to keep the tractor and I certainly can't afford to do much more drinking once the extra tax has been docked. I do trust that increasing the tax on beer while not hitting the Scottish Distilling trade isn't an anti-English thing, or we could really get paranoid about this budget.

Well, I suppose we can but live in hope that this malignant fraud will soon be history, but his legacy is unlikely to be disturbed by the likely successors - another bunch of self-interested idiots if ever I saw any.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 22, 2007

The joys of public transport ....

Subject: FW: Tube Announcements

I was going to add my tuppence worth of comment on the Thief of Downing Streets latest piece of sleight of hand, but figured I'd leave it to others less opposed to the political chichancery that is Whitehall and Westminster. So, what to blog. Well, here I am going to cheat quite a bit. My eldest daughter sent me these gems - and given that Mausi had a most interesting journey yesterday on a Deutschebahn ICE train (First Class of course!) - but she can tell that story herself.

Travelling around London on the ube can be an interesting experience. Trains can be delayed, run to their own version of the timetable, skip stations, and, of course, are packed. In summer it is even worse, because aircon was an unknown when the system was built and the trains are the mechanism for driving the ventilation ..... So, train stops, no ventilation. At rush hour that can be a very trying experience! Anyway, the following are all announcements, very unofficial ones, that have been heard on the tube. Guess the drivers and platform staff have a rough time too under the management they have to work with.

GOLD!

A list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers.. .

1) "Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologize for the delay to your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction."

2) "Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any further information as soon as I'm given any."

3) "Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham, which means we probably won't reach our destination."

4) "Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now.... 'Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall.....'."

5) "We are now travelling through Baker Street... As you can see, Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about things like that".

6) "Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity. Failing that, give it to me."

7) During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl: "Step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentleman... unfortunately, towels are not provided."

8) "Let the passengers off the train FIRST!" (Pause .) "Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care - I'm going home...."

9) "Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with 'Please hold the doors open.' The two are distinct and separate instructions."

10) "Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors."

11) "We can't move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.

12) "To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage - what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?"

13) "Please move all baggage away from the doors." (Pause..) "Please move ALL belongings away from the doors." (Pause...) "This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bl**dy golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your a**e sideways!"


14) "May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground.
However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage."

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:01 PM | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

Disgraceful incompetence

The news today that really got me going was the revelation that seven thousand servicemen and women who have been wounded or injured in Blair's little adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan are still fighting their way through the bureaucracy for the compensation they are entitled too. The MoD's usual lying mouthpiece says "everything possible is being done to expedite matters". Quite. In short, when enough of them have given up all hope and withdrawn their claims - we'll get around to dealing with the hardliners.

If this involved a member of the useless, incompetent, worthless and overpaid coterie of civil servants who have infested Whitehall and multiply their numbers exponentially without reason putting in a claim it would have been processed ages ago. Why then are these servicemen and women, many of whom are no longer able to serve or to work thanks to the wounds they have received, having to wait? Some of them have been waiting for over EIGHTEEN MONTHS! Without any other income - because their military disablility pensions are being withheld pending the outcome of their compensation claims! And what precisely is the MoD doing about getting it sorted out? Not a lot, after all, their main priority is to ensure that their pensions, their knighthoods and their nicely redecorated offices are purged of all traces of any Armed Services representatives.

Starting from the top of this disgraceful pile of ordure the relevant Minister should:

- Order the Permanent Under Secretary to settle all outstanding claims within seven days and deal with all subsequent claims within fourteen days,
- Resign his Ministerial post having sacked all the senior Civil Servants and all the Middle tier Civil Servants who have sat on this problem and failed miserably to deal with it, and
- request a Parliamentary investigation into the incompetence of the entire Civil Service and of the Treasury in particular.

Is it likely to happen? Of course not - the whole damned pile of sycophantic, symbiotic and parasitic leeches that is the Civil Service and the political establishment of this country is entirely Teflon coated and unlikely to change a thing. The losers will always be the boys and girls who join the services in good faith - only to be shafted again and again by these worthless and utterly immoral scum.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:42 PM | TrackBack

The Chancellor like Stalin? Really?

Well, the commentator on that one, an ex-VERY senior Civil Servant (who got a Peerage out of his years of doing nothing) says our Chancellor is rude, dictatorial and refuses to discuss anything with his colleagues and civil servants. Then, of course, he was 'surprised' when his remarks were published by the Financial Times. Oh dear. Really?

It probably doesn't help that said civil servant used to be the Permanent Under Secretary to the Treasury. That ought to put him in a position to really know where the bodies are lurking .......

And the Chancellor is the man Mister Blair announced today will not have to be elected to the post of Prime Minister - unless there is some serious opposition to him becoming that from within the Labour Party. How typically Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist - in fact how typically Left wing. What do the people know? Not enough to be trusted with doing what we want them to do! Funny that, until recently, the Prime Ministers resignation generally meant the government fell with him or her and the voters got to choose a new one - not the Party hacks. Silly me, perhaps we do live in a Stalinist State and .....

Sorry, the knock at the door could be Tony's Thought Police. I'd better stop there ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

Pandora's Box once opened ....

Recently I was told that Stephen Hawking thinks that the reason we have not been contacted by any superior space faring race is that they have all blown themselves up at about the same point in development as we have reached. Well, that has certainly refueled the "Unilateral Disarmament" debate. Why is it that in the face of all evidence to the contrary, the morons who support the idea that if we, the British people, give up all our weapons, everyone else will do so too? They tried it in the 1920's and 30's and look where that got us all. They have been trying to disarm us since 1945 - and very nearly succeeded - proclaiming that we would be "better red than dead!" Now they think that if we surrender our defensive capability, that the likes of Iran and every other funny bunny regime will give up their ambitions to overthrow our society and impose their idea of Utopia.

It is edifying just how many of Blair's Cronies are jumping ship so that they can vote with the rest of their ex-hippie, pot-smoking "Peaceniks" against the retention of our nuclear deterent. All the usual garbage about how much more we could spend on the NHS, Education and all their usual hiding places and gravy trains - if only we didn't spend it on defence. Considering that we spend less per capita on defence than any other EU nation and certainly less per capita than any one of the states threatening to blow us away if they get the chance, I find this posturing in Westminster absolutely sickening. At least - for this occassion - sense seems to have prevailed and we are, it seems, to build the next generation submarine fleet and missile/warhead system.

Once something has been removed from Pandora's Box, it cannot be put back again. Once nuclear weapons were built and used they can never be "disinvented". They are a fact of life and we now have to live with that - throwing away our capability as these idiots wish to do is sheer lunacy in this unstable and morally bankrupt age.

Tacitus wrote almost two thousand years ago - "Si vis pacem; para bellum". It is as true today as it was then.

He who seeks peace; is prepared for war.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 11:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Keeping a perspective

A big issue currently exercising the minds of the evangelically inclined and liberal members of the Church of England is the two hundredth anniversary of the prohibition of the carriage of slaves in British Ships. It took another thirty years for the owning of slaves to be outlawed in the British Colonies and a further thirty before this happened in the Southern States of the USA. In Spanish, Portugese and Arab controlled countries it continued for some time longer. In fact, in some Arab countries it continues still, although now disguised and even in Europe it has re-emerged in a different and possibly more pernicious form.

Several things make my blood boil whenever this issue is raised in any forum run by the evangelical liberals now organising a "March of Witness on Parliament", mostly the fact that they conveniently ignore a number of important facts in apportioning blame for this evil trade. One in particular got me going yesterday and several people got savaged by this impenitent Monk as a result.

I took exception to the description of the 18th Century Royal Navy as existing only to protect the British interests in the Slave Trade. Their contribution to the freedom exercised by every single Briton today means nothing - they existed only to protect the slave traders according to one speaker. The many thousands who died suppressing it - some of whom lie forgotten and neglected in Port Royal, Jamaica - are now seen as "oppressors" and "slavers". The fact that they suppressed the horrendous piracy in the Caribbean driving such luminaries and "freedom fighters" as Henry Morgan (whose amusement included betting on whether a near term pregnant slave was carrying a boy or a girl and then cutting her open to see which!), Blackbeard Edward Teach and many other equally psycopathic murderers from the seas, is now a worthless effort designed only to protect the slavers. I'm afraid a large group got a history lesson that pinned their ears back - and they are now in no doubt of my opinion of such revisionist history!

Secondly they are celebrating an event which, for all its good intentions, was so badly managed that it has locked certain nations and peoples into poverty for the last two hundred years and very probably for at least that long again for the future. All very well telling people one morning - congratulations, you're now free, please vacate the slave quarters immediately and by the way, you haven't got a job, an income or the means to support yourself, but what were the consequences? Great planning, and even greater idiocy was to think it could all work itself out! OK, so the Bishop of Exeter got a thousand pounds in compensation for the slaves he owned. What did the freed slaves get? Just a lot of grief and hardship by the look of it - and once again it was idiots like the group that annoyed me yesterday who "planned" the whole thing and actually thought they had done a good job! In one country alone three hundred thousand ex-slaves were out on the street without the means to support themselves. Is it any wonder that their nation now has the highest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere?

But another aspect which really annoys me about this is that, in focussing on the African Slave trade, this group have ignored the fact that right into the early part of the 19th Century Barbary corsairs regularly raided Cornwall and North and South Devon and even south west Ireland to carry off slaves to North Africa. The Royal Navy spent an inordinate amount of time pursuing them and trying to suppress this, but, with a world wide conflict in progress against Napoleon (in defence of our "slave trade" of course!) they were pretty stretched! And, Cornwall, Devon and Ireland were far enough away from the London Coffee Houses and the anti-slavery league that they could conveniently ignore the misery of our own people suffering in this way. The southern French coast, Italy, Sicily and Spain all suffered these raids as well - but I hear not one word of condemnation from our present crew of blame the "British Empire" pundits. Again they ignore completely the fact that it was the Royal Navy that suppressed this in Algiers in 1836 and freed literally thgousands of European slaves from there! But that doesn't fit the picture os us as nasty slave owning oppressors does it? Nor, it must be said, have I heard anything at all from this same bunch of whimps and intellectual cowards, about the fact that Christian boys and girls in the Sudan are regularly seized - usually on the pretext that their parents are debtors or rebels - and sold into slavery serving Muslim masters and families. They are not recognised by the UN and the rest of our Western revisionists as slaves for two reasons - they are Christian (and therefore oppressors!) and their Masters are those nice cuddly Muslims - whose religion condones slavery.

One of yesterdays statements which really got me going was "the Royal Navy regularly sent ships up the rivers to collect slaves for the slave traders!" Like hell they did, they were sent up the rivers yes, but to suppress the tribal wars which were feeding slaves to the coast and the various "factories" on the coast. Again the idiot making this statement had no knowledge of the Ashanti Kingdom's part in this or of the Barbary pirates and their raids into Cornwall and the rest! He even tried to say I was making it up. Well, he has now seen the error of that little exercise, since he got presented with my sources!

Why should we grovel and apologise for the actions of our forebears? It was a different age and a different understanding, I do not approve of it, and I certainly will not tolerate it in so far as it lies in my power to prevent it, but I see no reason to tell me to apologise for something my forebears actually gave their lives suppressing! If we want to extend that a bit further, will the Spanish apologise for the many British seamen that died chained to the oars of their galleys? Will the Irish apologise for the slaves they seized in Roman Britain (including Saint Patrick, seized from his family home - quite possibly on the Severn estuary?), will the Welsh? OK, so the "English" - that peculiar mixture of Celt, Pict, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Dane that currently inhabit "England", finally bit back - and generally did it better than anyone else. It is neither right nor proper for any man to enslave another, whatever his colour or race. But, let us keep a perspective. The English never sent armies to Africa to collect slaves, they bought them from local chieftains, much easier and much more commercially efficient.

Yes, we played a major role in the slave trade, but I have to ask myself why it is that there is this group in Britain who feel it was all our fault. That we were, and are, the only peoples who must "apologise" for it. Could it be because they represent groups who want to try and milk us for compensation? I am very much of the opinion that that is the underlying motive - and it is as immoral as the apologists version of our history! Our forebears certainly did transport a large number of people across the Atlantic, but why can we not keep the perspective and acknowledge the fact that the Spanish, Portugese, Dutch and French all shipped even larger numbers across the ocean and from even further abroad. Why are they not being told to apologise? And why should the present generation apologise at all?

I feel very strongly that this is simply a distraction. Britain played the most prominent part - and its Armed Forces are the instrument of Westminster, not an independent money maker - in putting an end to this trade in the west. It has never been completely supppressed in Africa and has re-emerged in modern times mainly in the Middle and Far East. If we feel so strongly about it, focus on those still practicing this evil trade - and suppress it. Don't sit here wringing your hands and blaming this generation for the sins of the past! And don't start arguing that the British Armed Forces existed to support and promote it. That is a canard of the highest order and an insult to the many thousands of men who were sacrificed by the do-goody stay at home feel-goody factions that still infest Westminster and Whitehall - and expect everyone else to pay the price.

Grow up, get your history straight and stop trying to pin guilt on those who can no more change the past than you can!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Owning weapons

In an interesting commentary on the state of the minds behind our anti-defense league in Britain I have stumbled across an interesting piece in the Times Online thanks to Tim of An Englishman's Castle. For some time now we have had to listen to an interminable procession of drips whinging on about "violence begets violence" and that the only way to stoip the cycle is to all surrender to anyone who threatens us. This, so they argue, will eventually mean the destruction of all arms and armaments. Yes, and probably the reappearance of fairies in every garden. The simple fact is that the removal of any threat of retribution, and of any possibility that the victim may fight back, has not seen a reduction in crimes of violence, but the opposite. These crimes, particularly gun crimes, have exploded!

The author of the Times piece points out that in Victorian London gun ownership was widespread, yet gun crime was very low. Primary reason for this was that if everyone is armed, someone may shoot back - and he/she may well be a better shot! That is certainly my interpretation! That said, the figures do speak for themselves as do the reasons behind the progressive restriction of general ownership of weapons and the steady erosion of our right to defend ourselves.

The first restrictions were introduced after WW1 when LLoyd George was afraid that the disillusioned and isaffected soldiers returning from the trenches might join forces with the rising militancy of the Trade Unions to over throw the ruling classes. I suspect that that is far more the reasoning behind Blair's outright ban on the ownership of handguns - the excuse is "public safety" but the truth is that he is afraid of a popular uprising against him and his Whitehall W*****s in the Civil Service.

Do read the Times article, it has some very revealing facts and figures about gun crime and the rising attraction of gun possession by the gangs of today. Do I feel safer in a "gun less" Britain? Not at all - especially since I have no right of self defence and could get arrested for carrying the Dirk in yesterdays post in the street!

Welcome to Big Brother Britain. Only the State and the Gangs are allowed weapons.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:15 AM | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Another Whitehall Fairy Story ....

The newspaper today is full of the major story - the plight of the Junior Doctors sold down the river by their own British Medical Association and the Senior Consultants who are in bed with the Whitehall W******s who have implimented the latest waste of taxpayers money. The Government has launched yet another "modernisation" on the Health Service. And you would be wrong if you thought it was about delivering a better medical service to patients and a reduction in the wasteful use of funds and acutely short space for waiting rooms and treatment rooms by sacking the infestation of bureacrats. No, this scheme is forcing all our junior doctors to apply for the jobs and specialities they have been studying for or already hold. One can only ask why the BMA even considered for one second supporting this scheme - or why some Consultants seem to have done very well out of supporting it according to the Doctors caught up in the farce. The whole is rapidly developing into yet another expensive and totally unnecessary change for changes sake scheme is imposed on professionals by the faceless and utterly incompetent Wonders of Whitehall.

The Junior Doctors caught up in this disaster are forced to complete an online application form - most of the questions having no direct relationship with anything medical - and then wait to hear if the bureaucrat at the other end has managed to read it; process it; and allocate the doctor to his or her own job. Whitehall doesn't seem to have considered that (a) most Junior Doctors have families and working partners, and (b) may have invested a considerable number of hours or years even in training for their present speciality. So, the faceless wonder processing the form decides the Doctor X is not required for their current post or speciality and either (a) informs them they are no longer required and are on notice, or (b) can continue in the health service but at a new hospital in some other part of the country. The lucky few who get to keep their jobs are also sometimes told they will have to change speciality.

It is nothing short of disgraceful that someone who has invested five years at university and another five years working as a House Doctor in one of our now increasingly disgracefully maintained and managed hospitals is now at the mercy from a career perspective of some jumped up filing clerk who has no university degree, no medical qualification and is simply processing a form designed by some equally unqualified and overpaid consultant. Morale among Doctors has collapsed completely. Understandably they feel betrayed by the BMA and equally understandably they feel bitter and betrayed by the Consultant Physicians and Surgeons who have managed to not only remain in post but have aided the incompetent civil servants in setting this up.

In the 19th Century the Civil Service was created to do away with the rotten "patronage" system. It has not succeeded. In fact it has simply replaced one rotten system with a new one - one that is even more rotten in that it pretends to be based on fairness and openess when it is neither. Pity the Junior Doctors, but I have to say they are simply the latest casualties in the New Labour (Old Socialist) programme of replacing every professional in management of every public service with incompetent civil servants who will do as they are told.

As for the BMA and the senior Medics supporting this process - well, meet the modern face of Judas Iscariot.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:36 PM | TrackBack

February 28, 2007

'Twas a wild and stormy night ....

Every book and tract I have read about how to sell my books and stories to prospective publishers begins with an admonition never, ever, under any circumstances, to submit a piece of work which opens with those words ..... But then, this blog is my own publication forum so here I can.

Monday saw me in that den of expediency and cynical abuse of power, the so-called mother of parliaments, for a seminar. I managed not to set a match to any fuses - and there were plenty about. Having to listen to a series of pompous and opinionated Labour placeholders telling us what a magnificent service the fire services will be when we get rid of all tradition, all professional officers and replace them with Managers was more than I could take by the cocktail session so I made my excuses and left. The most telling comment came from a little photographer who makes a living taking "happy snaps" of delegates at these functions. His comment - "The place has been ruined by this shower of s****! They are a bunch of vandals."

Still, I managed to give my paper and enjoyed a very good lunch in the Churchill Dining Room for my efforts. My biggest regret is that while I was sat in the large Committee room listening to the afternoon's papers there was a debate in the Commons on the future of the RN - one I would have given anything to hear!

But my MP was not in residence and he was apparently the only one who could sign my Pass. We're apparently now very strict about who is allowed to listen to these debates from the public gallery. It boils down to - only our friends, cronies and sycophants.

Sorry, my cynicism is showing again. Contemplating the supposedly "rotten" Borough PM's on the Grand Stairs, I was struck by the similarity to the state of play under their regime when their friends and cronies were openly awarded plum contracts and the present system where the civil service now awards the plums to their friends and cronies on the "Approved Supplier" lists. No change there then either.

As I said at the outset, It was a dark and stormy night ....

Posted by The Gray Monk at 07:49 PM | TrackBack

February 24, 2007

Keeping one's cool .....

One of the most difficult things about working for oneself is deciding which work to accept and which to refuse. My recent jaunt to Jamaica was not an easy decision to make in the first place and now appears to have been the wrong one. In accepting the offer I made myself unavailable for other work here in the UK, work which would have paid a lot better, but which wasn't on the table when I accepted the Jamaica contract. I was aware that there might be some work coming from the alternative source, but was also conscious of the need to build opportunities for the future.

Well, the company that enagaged my services in Jamaica now has all the materials I put together for them for their courses and, having had me deliver the first of these, now knows how they should run as well. Pricing this sort of work is always tricky, as to front load pushes the cost for the client out of the affordable. So you spread your costs over the estimated number of courses you will be delivering for them.

Generally it works out, but every now and then, you get stung. I have just been stung. I was scheduled to go and deliver the next course in a weeks time, no longer. I received a rather abrupt e-mail informing me that my services will not be required. No explanation, no apology - and no payment in lieu! So the Monk now has three weeks on his hands with no income (it's too late to pick up the alternative work since it has gone to someone else.) and there doesn't seem to be much on the table at present.

Lesson learned? You bet.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 06:52 AM | TrackBack

February 23, 2007

More unintended consequences ....

The Sun, a newspaper I would be reluctant to use even in the event of a world shortage of toilet tissue, has today carried a picture which surely sums up the problem we face in Britain with "Youff" and gun crime. The picture shows a young "hoodie" aiming his fingers, firearms style at the retreating rear of the Leader of the Conservative Party. Said Leader having just visited a deprived estate and spoken to the local gang members and general "youff" about their use of guns and other weapons to kill one another and generally terrorise the estates they infest.

Mister Cameron has echoed Mister Blair in stating the blindingly obvious - these youngsters have no respect for authority, no respect for the law and absolutely no respect for their parents. Their role models are violent crack and herion addicts, footballers whose behaviour on and off the pitch is disgraceful and "rap" stars whose "lyrics" praise the use of guns and violence to force people to "respect" you. So what do our favourite politicians do - rush about tellimng us that this is the problem.

Yeah, well. What did you expect? Leadership? Don't make me laugh.

These politicians have no respect for the traditions of our nation, no respect for the family (unless its theirs!) and even less respect for the forces of law and order. The role models of former generations, men who embarked on voyages of discovery, blazed trails through jungles, led their troops bravely in battles and showed compassion in victory have all been consigned to the rubbish bin by Blair, Cameron and others of their generation who have made an artform of denigrating our past and particularly the giants of our history, castigating them as exploiters, tyrants and sexual deviants. So what have we got instead? Footballers who can't join up words, rap artists who are so drugged up they can barely stand and violent gangsters who show their contempt for the new society in the traditional manner. Blair and his testoterone enhanced Blair Babes have downgraded men to inferior oppressors of women and destroyed our history and the structure of our society. They have disarmed the law abiding and empowered the criminal classes to the extent that the majority of crimes now involve the use of illegal firearms at some point.

With role models like these, is it any wonder that the disenchanted and essentially disenfranchised young men (who have been denied a decent education by the politically correct educational system now slewed entirely towards feminised learning styles) seek to find themselves a new "rebel" outlet for themselves. Part of this new image is the carrying of lethal weapons - weapons that society deems to be unacceptable and are therefore attractive to the disenchanted.

Change the culture? Well, we can try, but I rather think the damage is already done.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 01:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Since it is unlikely to be read by Mister Blair .....

The debate concerning the introduction of ID Cards has rather disappeared beneath the avalanche over the "Road Pricing" debate, but it is still a live issue. My daughter, The Postulant, was one of those who responded to Mister Blair's E-Petition to stop the ID cards and, surprise, surpirse, got an e-mail (Obviously Global!) explaining why the Whitehall W*****s think it is essential.

Her response is a gem. Pity Blair and his cronies won't read it or respond to it!

Dear Mr Blair (or the unfortunate person who has to answer any replies), I have a few questions: 1) Who will you be outsourcing the massive IT contract to? 2) Will they do a better job than all of the other IT contractors that your government has signed deals with? 3) Will the project be completely secure (which has been a problem in the past), 4) Will it be delivered on time and... 5) ...are you really really sure that the cost won't creep up like National Insurance contributions, council tax, bus fares, train fares, tube fares, inheritance tax, petrol tax, the Red Ken Olympic fund... the list goes on. I would want these questions answered in a way that suggested that you recognised the potential for identity theft from a leaky government second-rate database, outsourced to contractors who don't give a damn about anything other than the bottom line. You have taxed my generation into oblivion and given us nothing in return. You have presided over a deterioration in healthcare, education, transport and job security and you offer us... shiny new ID cards that the police and armed forces are under-resourced to deal with and that will be easily faked by some gang somewhere within a few months. We are no longer interested in style over substance. Stop waving nice futuristic ideas at us and get your hands dirty doing some real work for a change. Best regards (not), Signed

The PM's e-mail is in the extended post below - Read it and weep for the future of Britain and the (Dis)United Kingdom.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: 10 Downing Street [mailto:team@petitions.pm.gov.uk]
Sent: 19 February 2007 15:53
To: e-petition signatories
Subject: E-petition: Response from the Prime Minister


E-petition: Response from the Prime Minister
The e-petition to "scrap the proposed introduction of ID cards" has now closed. The petition stated that "The introduction of ID cards will not prevent terrorism or crime, as is claimed. It will be yet another indirect tax on all law-abiding citizens of the UK". This is a response from the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
The petition calling for the Government to abandon plans for a National ID Scheme attracted almost 28,000 signatures - one of the largest responses since this e-petition service was set up. So I thought I would reply personally to those who signed up, to explain why the Government believes National ID cards, and the National Identity Register needed to make them effective, will help make Britain a safer place.
The petition disputes the idea that ID cards will help reduce crime or terrorism. While I certainly accept that ID cards will not prevent all terrorist outrages or crime, I believe they will make an important contribution to making our borders more secure, countering fraud, and tackling international crime and terrorism. More importantly, this is also what our security services - who have the task of protecting this country - believe.
So I would like to explain why I think it would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to use biometrics such as fingerprints to secure our identities. I would also like to discuss some of the claims about costs - particularly the way the cost of an ID card is often inflated by including in estimates the cost of a biometric passport which, it seems certain, all those who want to travel abroad will soon need.
In contrast to these exaggerated figures, the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.
But first, it's important to set out why we need to do more to secure our identities and how I believe ID cards will help. We live in a world in which people, money and information are more mobile than ever before. Terrorists and international criminal gangs increasingly exploit this to move undetected across borders and to disappear within countries. Terrorists routinely use multiple identities - up to 50 at a time. Indeed this is an essential part of the way they operate and is specifically taught at Al-Qaeda training camps. One in four criminals also uses a false identity. ID cards which contain biometric recognition details and which are linked to a National Identity Register will make this much more difficult.
Secure identities will also help us counter the fast-growing problem of identity fraud. This already costs £1.7 billion annually. There is no doubt that building yourself a new and false identity is all too easy at the moment. Forging an ID card and matching biometric record will be much harder.
I also believe that the National Identity Register will help police bring those guilty of serious crimes to justice. They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register. Another benefit from biometric technology will be to improve the flow of information between countries on the identity of offenders.
The National Identity Register will also help improve protection for the vulnerable, enabling more effective and quicker checks on those seeking to work, for example, with children. It should make it much more difficult, as has happened tragically in the past, for people to slip through the net.
Proper identity management and ID cards also have an important role to play in preventing illegal immigration and illegal working. The effectiveness on the new biometric technology is, in fact, already being seen. In trials using this technology on visa applications at just nine overseas posts, our officials have already uncovered 1,400 people trying illegally to get back into the UK.
Nor is Britain alone in believing that biometrics offer a massive opportunity to secure our identities. Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition for their staff. France, Italy and Spain are among other European countries already planning to add biometrics to their ID cards. Over 50 countries across the world are developing biometric passports, and all EU countries are proposing to include fingerprint biometrics on their passports. The introduction in 2006 of British e-passports incorporating facial image biometrics has meant that British passport holders can continue to visit the United States without a visa. What the National Identity Scheme does is take this opportunity to ensure we maximise the benefits to the UK.
These then are the ways I believe ID cards can help cut crime and terrorism. I recognise that these arguments will not convince those who oppose a National Identity Scheme on civil liberty grounds. They will, I hope, be reassured by the strict safeguards now in place on the data held on the register and the right for each individual to check it. But I hope it might make those who believe ID cards will be ineffective reconsider their opposition.
If national ID cards do help us counter crime and terrorism, it is, of course, the law-abiding majority who will benefit and whose own liberties will be protected. This helps explain why, according to the recent authoritative Social Attitudes survey, the majority of people favour compulsory ID cards.
I am also convinced that there will also be other positive benefits. A national ID card system, for example, will prevent the need, as now, to take a whole range of documents to establish our identity. Over time, they will also help improve access to services.
The petition also talks about cost. It is true that individuals will have to pay a fee to meet the cost of their ID card in the same way, for example, as they now do for their passports. But I simply don't recognise most claims of the cost of ID cards. In many cases, these estimates deliberately exaggerate the cost of ID cards by adding in the cost of biometric passports. This is both unfair and inaccurate.
As I have said, it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport. We estimate that the cost of biometric passports will account for 70% of the cost of the combined passports/id cards. The additional cost of the ID cards is expected to be less than £30 or £3 a year for their 10-year lifespan. Our aim is to ensure we also make the most of the benefits these biometric advances bring within our borders and in our everyday lives.
Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair

Useful links
10 Downing Street home page
http://www.pm.gov.uk/
James Hall, the official in charge of delivering the ID card scheme, will be answering questions on line on 5th March. You can put your question to him here http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10969.asp
To see his last web chat in November 2006, see: http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10364.asp
Identity and Passport Service
http://www.ips.gov.uk/
Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee
http://www.identity-theft.org.uk/

Posted by The Gray Monk at 04:30 PM | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

Computers, don't you just love their little ways .....

About six months ago I bought a "Portable Drive" with 50 Gb of storage space on it. Great, I thought, now I can carry my working files around with me and work on them where ever. I could even find space to download and copy all the stuff I had accumulated on my computer at work before I retired - taking care that I took only the stuff that was my own and nothing that was theirs! The result was that I had the means to carry my presentations, my book drafts and a whole load of useful and irreplaceable information that I use all the time with me.

Most of it was "backed up" on other machines, drives and sticks. Most of it.

Yesterday the Portable Drive ceased to function. My desktop can "see" that it is there, but cannot "read" any of the information on it. This is when you discover that what you thought you had stored on other drives and machines isn't. Ninety-nine percent of it is, the one percent that is vital isn't - including the draft of a technical book I have been writing for the last eight months.

A visit to a hardware fixer and data retriever was my first step. He has done his best, he tested everything on it and in it. He has tried inserting it into a laptop as the "main" drive, he has tried to breathe life back into the device, to no avail, my Portable Drive is now, like John Cleese's parrot, an "ex-Portable Drive". It appears that there is a tiny motor inside the thing which allows the disc to spin and be read. The motor turns but the disc doesn't and as it is sealed there is no way to discover why without destroying it entirely.

The supplier is sympathetic - bring it in and we'll exchange ot for a new one. Fine, but I have still lost almost 30 Gb of data ........

I could weep, but it will ser