Tag Archives: politics

Day 188

There had been few sales, despite us being closed yesterday. Summer is always quiet and when you add the Russian Roulette nature of holidays at the moment (will the flight be cancelled, will the queues be huge?), the cost of living crisis they keep talking about, the war, covid . . . Well, it’s a wonder anyone ever feels like doing anything.

I feel like doing something, I feel like being a highly paid parasite, which is fortunate as there seem to be quite a few jobs going in Westminster at the moment. A whole new set of career opportunities has opened up for me. Boris, betraying a total lack of class is ignoring Macbeth (’twere well It were done quickly) and hanging about like a bad smell. He’s either hoping that we will forget he’s supposed to go, or he is trying to book dates for his forthcoming speaking tour.

We had a parent like that in Midlands Rugby League once. He was convinced that his younger son was fated to be a great rugby player. The kids was, in truth, mediocre – a good club player but not worth a step up to regional level. He hadn’t made it to county level in Rugby Union and they saw RL as the route to the top.

So, he came to the regional trials and was duly thanked for his efforts, but told he wouldn’t be required in the second round.  He still turned up the next week, and once again, missed the cut, being thanked for his efforts and told he wouldn’t be required in the next round. This time I made a point of it, to avoid any misunderstanding.

Imagine my surprise when, the next week, I noticed his father lurking behind a shrubbery. He had  decided to come back anyway and put his kid into the next round. It’s nice to have supportive parents, but there are limits.

And that’s how I feel about Boris. It’s good that he enjoys being Prime Minister, but there are limits. Fortunately, with him being born in New York, he can go and bother the Americans, as he attempts to be the first man since George III to be head of state both in UK and America. I doubt it will end well, but recent events in both countries suggest that the joke candidate does well.


Day 62

A couple of days ago, searching for “pig” on the blog (I wanted that photo with the pigs and cornflowers) I ended up with a lot of pigeon pictures. This, I suppose, is a clue to the workings of search engines.

I offer that thought as nothing more than a stand-alone musing. My brain is in neutral and that is the sort of thing that crops up.

The colour of soup is another thought – I mostly  tend to make soups that are in the fawn/beige range these days. I used to make them more golden, or more orange. Somewhere along the line I seem to have become less colourful. It might an example of food-related pathetic fallacy, or it may just be that I’m using more swedes (rutabagas).

Time, I think, to bring a bag of frozen peas to the party. I like pea soup. Or nettles. It will be that time of year soon and nettles always brighten a soup up. This must be how old age starts (for me at least), beige food difficulty in thinking, beige food and those bedroom slippers with Velcro straps . . .

I went to the pharmacy tonight. I have no choice. It’s the first shop I’ve been in for a month (apart from the one where I work). A month ago, you guessed it, I went to the pharmacy. I haven’t been out in public since we went to see Number One son just before Christmas. Whether this is old age, Covid or a mental health condition remains to be seen.

I’m also speculating on the nature of international politics. I call it the cesspit theory of politics, and anyone who has ever had dealings with a septic tank will know what I mean. In cesspits and politics the same sort of thing seems to rise to the top.


Day 54

I’ve been looking at lists of 10, 30 and 50 Greatest Poets and Greatest Poems to give myself some perspective on yesterday’s surprise about people not recognising the name Adlestrop. Robert Frost ranks highly in most lists. Edward Thomas, his friend, does not. Frost after surviving the trip back to America in 1915, which was not a foregone conclusion in that year, as the Lusitania shows, developed a poetic career and eventually died at the age of 88. Thomas enlisted in 1915, prompted by Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, and was killed in 1917. It seems to me that poetic reputations are often developed by such quirks of history, rather than by the quality of the poetry. Death, and its timing has a lot to do with reputations. Thomas died too soon, Byron died at about the right time, at which point he became a legend rather than a mere poet. I could name several poets who died too late, but that would be mean-spirited.

What I can tell you about some of the lists is that I haven’t heard of many of the poets on one of the lists, which, as far as I can tell, was chosen on political rather than poetic grounds. Such is life when you start making lists. Any list you make is bound to be biased, though you only notice when it is biased in a way you don’t like.

The average list is composed of classic white men with a few Indians, Japanese and female poets thrown in jut to show how well read the lister is. I’m always left with a feeling that these lists reveal just how little I really know about poetry and how any list I write on this subject should not be titled “100 Best Poets” but “100 best Poets in the Opinion of a man of limited reading and ingrained prejudices”. This would be more accurate.

It’s the same with many articles in the news, in the UK they should all be qualified with the words “written by a young and overconfident Oxbridge graduate”.

And that is the opinion of the blogger Quercus Community (a miserable old git who is not fond of modern life and young people).

Am I the Only One?

WP seems to be running very slowly, added to which I am not getting my normal pages when I try to write. Am I the only one or has WP decided to give me more unwanted “improvements”?  I really hope ntm as i’m not in the mood for more messing about.

There were more people out on the roads yesterday, and more people walking around in the evenings, so it looks like the easing of lockdown restrictions is having some impact. I’m not sure what the easing is, to be honest, aas I no longer bother to keep up.

I just checked – we are still supposed to minimise travel and work from home if we can. Not sure why there is more traffic about, in that case.

People can met outside, including private gardens – two households or groups of six, though it doesn’t say if you can repeat this every hour or whether you are limited to just the same other  household for the next few weeks. The stay at home rule is ended, though w are still asked to minimise travel and no holidays are allowed.

Outdoor sports can start again, though that’s a bit vague.

You can get married, with up to six people attending. Not sure if that includes bride and groom.

Other countries within the UK have different systems, so if you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland the timings will be slightly different. They do this to justify the huge costs of their devolved governments and to show they are different from England, rather than because it makes any difference.

I am fairly sure that life in the Midlands is different from life in London, and we could  justify having our own government. The West Midlands has a population of 5.9 million, which would make it 114 on the world list, above Singapore and Denmark, for instance. The East Midlands is slightly smaller, at 4.8 million, which puts it around 125 on the world list – slightly below Ireland and level with New Zealand.

Compare to Scotland (5.4 million, Wales 3.1 million and Northern Ireland at 1.9 million, and the Republic of the East Midlands starts to look like a viable proposition. We have access to the sea, an airport and a world class cheese industry, what more do we need?




A Tour Around the Internet

February has a habit of catching me out. Spring starts to drop hints, the birds begin to act amorously and then it snows. Even in years that are generally free of snow February often manages to squeeze out a few flakes. As I’ve said before, it probably wouldn’t be considered snow in many countries that get proper snow, but in the UK a couple of inches for a couple of days brings us to a halt.

It’s a bit like those summer heatwaves we have – we don’t get one every year and they only last a couple of days. We all complain and need a lie down in temperatures that would be considered mild in Australia.

As a result, we have few snowploughs and no domestic air conditioning.

However, that doesn’t stop me complaining that it’s unseasonably nippy this morning. Nor does it stop me becoming a stereotype, British and talking about the weather. Whatever next? I’ll be on to Europe, immigration and capital punishment next.

Talking of which, I’ve just been looking at Albania on Wikipedia. I find that it is a member of two organisations I had not previously heard of – the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Union for the Mediterranean. I didn’t even realise it was on the Black Sea. And when I check it up, it isn’t. Quite a few of the members aren’t on the Black Sea, and when you check the “Observer Members” the link becomes even more tenuous – they include Egypt and Israel (which must make for some fun meetings), France, Poland, Tunisia and the United States.

It’s much the same with the Union for the Mediterranean, but the entire EU is in that one – even Ireland, which it’s notably lacking in olive groves and sparkling blue seas. It seems, from reading the Wiki entry, that this is not a particularly effective organisation. One meeting ground to a halt when nobody could agree whether to refer to certain territories as  “occupied” or “under occupation”.  Such is life as an international diplomat.

It’s a good thing I don’t blog about politics or I might be tempted into sarcasm.

There is, it seems, tension between the EU and some of the less progressive states over Human Rights. This led me to checking which countries still executed homosexuals, and then to checking where the UK stood on this.   We last executed men for homosexual activity in 1835. Times and sensibilities were different then, but it was a surprise to find it was so recent.

So there you are, a discussion on the weather followed by world politics and capital punishment for something which isn’t actually a crime in the UK. Only on the internet…


A Few Words For Our Leader

Whilst chatting to Tootlepedal last night in the comments section, I was able to formulate an acronym for Boris. He asked me if I could make it into a haiku, but I admit I am unequal to the challenge. It runs to twenty syllables and even the old-fashioned 5-7-5 Haiku only run to seventeen. I have managed to work it into a haibun.

Warning – contains an acronym of dubious taste.

After admiring the acronym POTUS for some time, I have decided that our Prime Minister needs an acronym. I’m still working on one as a general acronym for our leader, but have managed to develop one specific to Boris. Few, I imagine, would dispute that he is a Famously Unprincipled Conservative Kingpin Without Intelligent Thought.

Julia says it won’t catch on.

a few letters
to sum up his Covid work

Fish & Chip Friday

I must admit I woke with worries about the Cats of Salmon Brook Farm. I know they were packed and ready to move as the fires advanced, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them all. Ideally the fires will magically die out as they get closer to the farm but I fear this may not be the case.

Julia had set her clock for 6.30 and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep, which allowed me more time to listen to the news. It seems that this country has sunk so low that even American politicians feel able to take the moral high ground from us.

I Googled “honest politician” and did find this man, so all is not yet lost. I do love this quote:

“People of Kentucky, you deserve complete honesty, so here it is. I don’t care about you. Unless you are a donor, a lobbyist who can write a big fat check, the result that you get from voting for me is negligible.”

If the Americans don’t want him, can we have him for the UK. I’d happily vote for him. As for the rest of them, I’m seriously thinking of giving up voting as it only encourages them.

We sold one thing overnight on eBay and another during the day, the second day in a row this has happened. It’s not good. We also got two stupid offers from people. I was on my best behaviour when I declined them, even though they were just wasting my time.

I then went shopping, ate chips, fell asleep in the chair and woke up just in time to post.

The Fifty Foot Johnson

I suppose I should start with an apology to my American readers for my poor taste, and an explanation to my British readers – johnson is American slang for penis. If you know my views on the Prime Minister and the way my minds works, I’m sure you can see what direction this post is moving in.

Last night I was musing on the chain of circumstances which, if applied to Stanley Johnson, might result in the non-birth of Bungling Boris. As you may have gathered from yesterday’s post, I am not a fan.

Mumps or measles would have done the trick, as would an unfortunate rugby injury. It’s less likely that I could have invented a time travelling burdizzo, despite the obvious attraction of such a direct and effective method. Then I thought of radiation. Would it be possible to travel back in time with a microwave and secure the required result. I’m not quite clear on the use of radiation, which seems to have variable effects. Doctor Bruce Banner seems to have swollen up and turned green as a result of exposure to radiation while Peter Parker assumed many of the characteristics of a spider.

I may have to drop the idea of irradiation, due to the side effects.

Anyway, if one of the Johnsons was to become a Marvel Superhero it would have to be Boris’s younger brother Jo Johnson. Marvel superheroes have alliterative names so there is no other choice. And why, you ask, do they have alliterative names? Because Stan Lee had a bad memory and it helped him remember them. Sounds slightly unlikely, but that’s what it says on Wikipedia.


Due to this I am going to abandon the idea of irradiating Stanley, as it might turn him into  a giant, and nobody would want a fifty foot Johnson. Let’s face it, nobody actually wants a six foot Johnson.


Burbling Boris the Blonde Buffoon

I was thinking of other alliterative terms too, but good taste prevents me from using them.

The long-awaited speech from the Prime Minister on TV tonight turned out, after two days of leaked snippets, to be pretty much useless. It wasn’t so much a speech as a succession of vague mumblings, and very short on detail. It did verge on the Shakespearean in being told by an idiot and signifying nothing, but there was a sad lack of sound and fury.

William Shakespeare - The British Library

Shakespeare – British Library

As a result, I am none the wiser about the way forward, but I do have a feeling of deep gloom. I didn’t have much confidence in the Government before lockdown, and I have less now. The only time I’ve been reasonably happy with the conduct of the Government coincided with the period the Prime Minister spent in hospital.

We don’t have a plan, it seems, just ‘the shape of a plan’.

It reminds me of Churchill – ‘ this is not the end.  It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’

It is not a plan. It is not even the beginning of a plan. It is the shape of a plan.

Sadly, Boris Johnson, in addition to being no Shakespeare, is no Churchill.

History of Sir Winston Churchill - GOV.UK


Forgive my underwhelming response, but I now have to plan for going back to work.

This starts tomorrow, or Wednesday, or the first week in June. It’s even more non-specific if you work in a pub or restaurant.

They would like me to walk, cycle or use my car because public transport is going to be limited due to the need for social distancing. That should quickly undo all the gains we made by staying at home for six weeks.

And there was no mention of masks.

Although we are allowed to do a bit more mixing they are going to beef up the police powers by doubling the fines for breaches of the regulations. If severe punishments worked I’m sure we’d still be hanging people for stealing handkerchiefs, but try telling a politician that.

That never looks correct in writing, but I checked it up and dictionaries seem happy with either handkerchiefs or handkerchieves. The spellchecker isn’t, but that’s life. The strange thing is that I pronounce it handkerchieves, but spell it handkerchiefs.

I’m just watching a programme about Ladybird books, which is why I’ve missed my deadline. It seems that a child only needs a vocabulary of 12 words to start reading. One of them appears to be ‘dog’ but ‘cat’, it seems, is not necessary. Adults, they claim, have a vocabulary of 20,000 words. I am dubious about that. I honestly doubt that I use 1,000, but I really can’t be bothered to count them. I do know it’s possible to get by with eight words on my drive to work. These eight don’t feature either ‘cat’ or ‘dog’.

I just went looking for a vocabulary test to see how large my vocabulary is. Instead, I started to do a quiz about how long I’m going to live. Based on diet, lifestyle and various other quasi-scientific mumbo-jumbo I have 6 years 293 days and 32 minutes. That’s a bit less than I calculated in a previous post. (2,483 compared to the previous calculation of 2,920). That’s a nuisance as I was planning on using those 500 days to write my memoirs.



A Man with No Plan

The 51st State

No, not the film, though it is an excellent film. If you like violence and black comedy.

I am, after a recent post, and some associated comments, thinking of starting a serious political movement to integrate the UK into the USA.

Ideally I would incorporate the USA into the UK as “British Empire 2.0” but I can see that there are slightly more problems that way. I’m not sure, for instance, how keen Americans would be on the idea of reintroducing tea as the national drink, and I’m also looking for a way to get rid of the royal family that doesn’t involve the Romanov Solution. All in all, the 51st State solution may be the way forward.

It may be 52nd or even 53rd by the time we get round to it, but the idea will be the same.

Part One is to establish a political career for myself based on one big idea. It worked for Nigel Farage so it can definitely be done. Let’s face it, many recent politicians have functioned perfectly well without even one idea.

The quickest option would probably be to find a gullible American tourist and sell them the country. There is precedent for this, which is how Louisiana and Alaska both found themselves in the USA. Anyone who can offer me enough cash can have it. We’ll have to hammer out a few details but if I could have a $5,000,000 deposit I’ll get back to you from my newly registered office in a country I have yet to select. I have a list of likely destinations here. Some, to be honest, are better than others.

If not, there’s the political option. It might take some time, but look at all the problems we could solve. We could be a state, Scotland could be a separate one and North and South Ireland (like the Dakotas or the Carolinas) could also be states. Wales could even have a go at independence within a federal framework. At one stroke we get rid of the Royal Family and loads of political problems.

I don’t really have any pictures to go with this one – I can’t find the one with pigs with their snouts in the trough, which always reminds me of Westminster for some reason.

I will try my best. Something seasonal, but no Robins.


Tampled Leaves – Arnot Hill Park