Saturday, 30 July 2005
I spent the first 10 minutes of last night’s Question Time Special believing I had been transported back to the post-9/11 edition of the same program, a program so utterly beyond the pale that it made me feel ashamed to be British.
The way we started, one could have been forgiven for thinking that everybody, but everybody was responsible for the 7/7 atrocity, apart from the fanatics who actually carried bombs onto trains. “We need to understand why these young men felt so detached, blah, blah…” Self-hating Brits, I’d call them. Well, I’m sorry, but I’m just your ordinary Joe: wife and kids, mortgaged up to the hilt, unfulfilling job, not enough money, etc., etc.. It’s a hard enough slog as it is without some one-step-removed apologist insisting that I take partial responsibility for the irrational actions of people I’ve never met, never hurt, but who would, given half the chance, slaughter me and everyone else I love. Its not my fault, see, and I resent being asked to contemplate the possibility it might be. In fact, it makes me quite angry.
Which is my problem in these sorts of public meetings. I tend to spend more time with my head in my hands than I do with my hand in the air. So when I hear people whose most important decisions each day are what to play on the iPod lecturing the country’s most senior policeman about the rules of engagement for suicide bombers, telling him how his men are “executioners” (these being the officers who ran towards, not away from, a man they suspected of being half a second from committing mass-murder), I want to be sick, have a shower, scream……do anything in fact, but speak.
The media are now gathering together some good accounts of all the factors and events. Obviously, the thick Sunday papers will be big on analysis and opinion so they will go into the bundle I have of contemporaneous media – alongside Diana’s death, 9/11, tsunami and other odds and sods of events.
This is left over from the shoot where I got the owl. Didn't post it to the photo blog as that would have overloaded things with bird pictures. Had intended to spend time at the show but the weather was just no good at all. Funny thing is that I have noticed another personal change there. I used to be perfectly happy out in the worst weather the Lord could throw at us. Out in the hills and dales with no worries; I had proper kit, good navigational toys and was fit enough for what I did. Now, even a misty rain makes me want to scuttle for cover. I know that I'll end up with aches and pains I suppose and that is what makes me chicken out - I think. I've still got the kit and the toys so it must be the fit bit that has gone tits up.
I will always respond to those sent me but retain discretion as to further spreading of the virus. I know, I am just an anti-social old git only slightly better than the Victor Meldrew guy but that is it.
List ten songs that you are currently digging ... it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're no good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the ten songs in your blog. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to.And the answers in no particular order.......
Ten songs is a bit of a problem. I do not have sessions where I listen to music. It is generally playing in the background so it is mostly artists rather than tracks. That said, here goes:-
1 Mahler's 9th Symphony. Berlin Philarmoniker conducted by Von Karajan.
The last 15 minutes get listened to properly. Von K. is a particular favourite of mine and I have a lot of his interpretations.
2 Angel flying too close to the Ground - Willie Nelson. Again, this is the best of Willie and again I have loads of his work. It is just his nature of doing his own thing that gets me with him.
3 It wasn't God that made Honky Tonk angels - Kitty Wells. Takes me back to time spent in Austin checking out what made honky tonks so attractive. (Yes m'Lud. It was the Angels!)
4 He stopped loving her today - George Jones. Just the 'over the top' of it. I like those 'wife has left me, dog's died. pick-ups busted and horse is lame' sort of songs. What Tammy went through with this bloke gets to me.
5 That ex-Army guy Blunt. Don't know why as he is quite new to me but I find myself humming his tunes. Don't like his BGs style all the time so he may drop out.
6 Johnny Cash. Don't know the name of the song and it is just one line that gets to me. He is thinking of leaving home and sings, "You can give my other suit to the Salvation Army" Had I ever walked away, that would be my finale, encore and all that. It is the sense of freedom - just one suit going with him.
7 Me and Bobby Mgee by Kris K - I cannot spell it. Again, the idea that one can just drop out and do it on the thumb really appeals to me as a way of life. Also, that something good hardly ever lasts and can get on another road just like that.
8 When you are in love with a beautiful woman by Dr Hook. Takes me back to a time when I was really really happy - in my life, friends and work. Anything from these guys gets me that way.
9 Scotland the Brave by anyone who plays bagpipes. Norma and I started our courting on a troopship that took 9 weeks to get to Singapore when the Suez Canal was closed. There was a soldier on board and all he could play was this damned song - all day, all evening and all night. I was the ship's policeman but very nearly paid some of the crims on board to toss him over the side. All those nights under the stars were the only things that calmed a savage breast.
10 A very obscene Army song about the harlot of Jerusalem. Not recorded - I hope - but I know almost all of the 30-odd verses anyway and I sing it - under my breath - as it soothes me. Four kids were brought up with this as the ultimate sleep-inducer even after the warm milk and brandy failed. Yes - I know there is a version on the web but that is the Rugby version and much tamer than that sung by the brutal and licentious.
Friday, 29 July 2005
My translation of professional is someone who is not content with just the basics of their job. A professional goes much deeper with the desire to be the very best at what he does. This attitude and knowledge gives them the attitude and ability to confront any problem that confronts them. “I’m better than this challenge”.
Again, in my alternative wikki, discipline means sticking to the task despite many good and valid reasons to give up. One has signed on to do something and has been well taught how to do it so that it becomes almost impossible to give up. One does not need to be an Old Soldier; even relatively inexperienced individuals can exceed everything one might expect from them. I only ever had good knowledge of one person who was decorated for gallantry. The citation was along the lines that despite working for long hours and in dangerous situations, he kept on doing his job time and time again. Even when he was very well aware of the risks, he faced them over a long period of time. That was someone whose professionalism supported him – along with family joke that his mother had not raised him just to die in Ireland and his discipline meant that he got on with the task and role he had signed up to.
As the average civilian has never been exposed to the training and situations that create discipline and professionalism, it is unfair to expect them to be much other than headless chickens in an emergency. Fire drill in IKEA, B & Q or some such does not equate.
None of my ramblings here should be interpreted as taking anything away from those people Gemmak commented upon. Rather, I aimed to show that, given the training and opportunity, almost any one of us could turn out to be a hero. Perhaps that is what differentiates one race from another?
Well, that is the easy bit over. Excellent work by the police has garnered all four known would-be bombers from the 21st effort. I say police as I cannot think that the intelligence resource did an awful lot given how flat-footed they were caught on the killings of the 7th July. I imagine that the police have found information as they raid houses that leads them onto the next house. What has to be done now is to tie up all the loose ends but that will require long hours of interviewing and statement recording. Documenting the forensic stuff will keep a small team going for a good while. The coppers get a shafting in normal times from smart alecs going on about speed cameras and arrests for saying police horses are gay but when push gets to shove they are better than most. Well done the lads!
So I was interested to find this blog. I've had to cut and paste as there is a problem with the URL and I cannot do it as an imbedded link (if that is the sort of thing I mean anyway). See if it helps.......
BABY, I DON'T CAIR
A caller to the Hewitt show said that the silence and inaction of mainstream Muslims towards Islamic-inspired terror was “the elephant in the room,” and my immediate thought: elephant? More like a mule. It just looks like an elephant because it’s wearing a bulky coat.Hugh had on Hussam Ayloush, a California CAIR spokesman. Others have taken him to task for the
first interview, which I too thought was somewhat . . . credulous. Hussam was reasonable and mild for the most part, but he choked when it came to simple questions like the right of Israel to exist. Then he sounded like someone trying to gargle a Mozart aria while choking on a fishbone, thinking that everyone would merely think he had a sore throat. Schooled and prepped in the job of PR, it was as if he still could not grasp the importance of covering up his true feelings on this issue. He was incapable of quality dissembling.It made me realize something, but I didn't quite know how to put it. Yet.Hussam came back the next day, matched with Frank Gaffney, who knows the subject well. Many telling moments, but the one that made me sigh in despair was Hussam’s response to Gaffney’s recitation of an FBI intercept of a meeting of CAIR’s founders. (Details and a transcript will, no doubt, show up at radioblogger.com; say a rosary for Duane’s
blistered fingers) Hussam defaulted to the grievance posture, complaining that all Muslims had to be tarred with this brush, be profiled as terrorists, etc. In the end, you came away with three or four swords embedded in a sea of honey pudding. If, in the end, he cannot say “Of course” when asked if Israel has the
right to exist, cannot condemn the ‘48 and ‘73 wars, and retreats to victim status when confronted about the questionable actions of CAIR members, well, are we required to shrug and point out that at least he brought a nice dessert? Not to say that CAIR represents all Muslims in America. Not to say most Muslims
oppose Israel. Not to say not to say not to say etc., and all rest of the interminable disclaimers one is required to offer while approaching the elephant. Not to say many haven’t spoken up and denounced terrorism – although when the denunciation is followed by “whether it is committed by one side or by the Israelis,” I am less inclined to put that one in the “Condemn” column. And when one lists the numbers of Islamicist attacks over the last few years and is met with “Timothy McVeigh” and “Eric Rudolph” (or Hitler, for Odin's sake) one suspects your interlocutor lacks perspective. As well as facts. Or perhaps there
something else at work. Could it be the old problem of is harmonious fact-sets. Noncontiguous information streams. At the heart of the matter, we may simply lack the terms to forge consensus. a different set of facts . . . and a different understanding of the value of a fact. This isn’t a pleasant thought, because it might mean that rapprochment isn’t likely, and confused, mistrustful coexistance is all we can hope for. (As if most of human history has been different, but that’s another story.) From the comments section of Froggy uminations:Hugh Hewitt is one of the finest talk show hosts on the air today. I love his show. However, like all "respectable" main stream conservatives (Dubya included) he is so desperate to find "moderate" Muslim leaders to display that he had to pull CAIR's wacko spokesman out of the gutter.I wouldn’t go so far with the gutter comment; CAIR is board-room penthouse material, smooth and polished. But I understand what the commenter
meant; there’s a deep and almost anguished desire to find moderate Muslims who are indistinguishable from Unitarians. And find them by the millions. But alas.When defenders like Hussam make the standard dismissal – they are not acting in the name of Islam, because Islam forbids such things – they makes a strategic mistake. No one really believes him. Islam may forbid it here, but it may well permit it over here. A preacher may forbid it in Michigan mosque, but he may well demand it in a Saudi one. In short: the denials ring false. Most of them, anyway. When I hear the spokesmen and apologists I cannot shake the feeling that they’re holding something back. Not telling the whole story. Not saying something that might be true but is inconvenient to admit to the occupants to the House of War.What might that be?Googling around tonight, I found this simple description of Islam: at submission.org1. What is Islam?That is the most misunderstood Word. It simply means submission. Anyone submitting to the one God is practicing Islam and is a Muslim or a Submitter. (Quran 3:19, 3:85, 21:92)2. One God? Which God? Allah?Yes, but Allah is simply an Arabic word meaning 'The One God', that being the Creator of the Universe. (Quran 2:255). Arab Christians and Jews also use the same word (Allah) for God.A verse in The Quran says "Such is God your Lord, there is no god except He, The Creator of all
things. You shall worship Him alone..." (Quran 6:102). This is The same God that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad worshipped.3. So anyone who submits to Allah or God is a Muslim?Yes. Again Islam means submission. Anyone
who submits to the One God, believes in the Hereafter and leads a righteous life is called a Muslim or Submitter. (Quran 2:62)By this logical construction, all Christians are Muslims. Of course the hardcore death-cult sects believe that you have to be a Muslim to be right with Allah, you have to pray five times a day,
you have to accept shar’ia, and you have to ululate with joy when the head of a Jew gets sawed off on general principle. Leave them aside for a moment, if you can. What if the heart of moderate Islam consists of a frustration with the stubborn refusal of the People of the Book to realize that they are really
Muslims, and just don’t know it yet?Before we all got into the big messy incoherent debate about Islam – before the Towers thundered down, in other words – most Christians regarded Islam as another path to God. Mistaken, of course, what with their ideas about Christ getting off the cross and all that. But the devil’s in the details; nobody here but us monotheists, and we all in the end yearn towards the same God. If some wanted to move Muslims to Christianity, though, it involved a change in fundamental attitudes, to say the least; it meant a different channel to God. Dial back, forget about Mo, dig this dude from
Bethlelem. Christianity is the proper route; Islam is a latter detour.That’s different from believing that Christianity is a rutted road running parallel to Islam, which after all came later and thus filled in the gaps, answered the questions, nailed it down. The final prophet has spoken. Imagine you’re a spokesman for a religion, and you have to appeal to the People of the Book, set their minds at ease. You could never tell them that they’re already Muslims. It would be impolitic and counterproductive to tell them what they so dearly need
to know, because you suspect that when you tell a Christian that he’s really a Muslim, he might not react well. O the frustration. But what do I know. I had long conversations about Islam and Christianity with cabbies in DC, and they always ended with happy faces and salaam and go in peace. I’ve no doubt millions
and millions of Muslims are content to let the Christians go about their errant path, content that in the end a just God will say okay, you crazy lug, you’re in. Just as millions of Christians are willing to say Koran, Shmoran, you’re just and upright and believe in the One Big Guy, meet you at the Old Country
Buffet in the sky. Bacon bits on my side, hummus on yours, whatever. But when you have your Clash of Civilizations, people retreat. MOOOON GODDDD! Oh yeah? Cough up the dhimmi tax, kaffir! The point is not to get to that point. We are
seriously need in live-and-let-live juice applied globally by aerosol spray, the sort of thing that makes people swallow big chunky doctrinal differences and concentrate simply on the idea of a God who is out of the smiting business for the time being. Take that as your daily verse: smite not. And the first one who
says “but” gets sent howling down to hell? Smite not. Tomorrow, smite we might. After a day of not smiting we might actually refocus and agree who is smite-worthy, who truly profanes God’s gifts. But today? Smite-free.It was a good start when President Bush had a revered Imam speak at the National
Cathedral after 9/11. Now it would be nice for the Saudis to invite the Pope to speak at Mecca. Ball’s in your court, guys.
Thursday, 28 July 2005
(“No To State-Organised Racist Attacks!” Statement of Revolutionary Communist PartyI'm not going to link to it - I didn't even go there myself but just those few words led me to create an image of what it might be. I think I could even write a TV comedy using just the title of the organisation.
of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), July 14, 2005)
Wednesday, 27 July 2005
Blair's Attack On Terrorists' 'Warped Logic'
The Prime Minister has said Iraq is just an excuse for terrorists, insisting there is no justification for what they do.And he said he wants to "expose the obscenity" of the terrorists' "warped logic".Speaking passionately at his monthly news briefing, he said the roots of terrorism go much deeper than Iraq or Afghanistan."Let us expose the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism. "If it is concern for Iraq then why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them? "Why are they every day in Iraq trying to kill people whose only desire is for their country to become a democracy?" And he asked why they are killing people in Afghanistan, Turkey and Egypt and wrecking hopes of a peace deal in the Middle East. "They will always have a reason and I am not saying any of these things don't affect their warped reasoning and warped logic as to what they do or that they don't use these things to try and recruit people. "But I do say we shouldn't compromise with it. I'm not saying anyone says any of these things justify it but we shouldn't even allow them the vestige of an excuse for what they do."
Mr Blair also accused the world of going back to sleep on terrorism since 9/11. He said: "September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again. "We are not going to deal with this problem, with the roots as deep as they are, until we confront these people at every single level. "And not just their methods but their ideas." He added: "It is time we stopped saying, 'Okay, we abhor their methods but we kind of see something in their ideas of maybe they have got a sliver of excuse or justification'. They have got no justification for it." Mr Blair also gave an update on the anti-terror Bill being put together by the Home Office, which will create a new offence of acts preparatory to terrorism. He said that an increase in the length of pre-charge detention is a possibility as well as a specific offence of attending a terrorist training camp. And he said the terms of the Bill are being fine tuned and he expects it to be before the Commons in the Autumn.
Blairs at odds over anti-terror measures Matthew Tempest, political correspondentWednesday July 27, 2005 Cherie Booth, the prime minister's wife, last night warned Britain must not "cheapen" its reputation for civil liberties in response to the London bombings, while her husband called for tougher judicial attitudes. In a speech in Malaysia, Ms Booth told an audience it would be "all too easy" to undermine Britain's "deeply held values" with an unduly hasty response to the attacks. The remarks could be interpreted as a shot across the government's bows as it drafts emergency anti-terrorism measures. Last night in a speech to 1,000 lawyers, diplomats and civil servants in Malaysia, Ms Booth - who uses her maiden name when appearing in her professional capacity as a barrister - said: "It is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation." However, she prefaced her remarks by saying: "Nothing I say here could possibly be construed as making light of those horrible acts of violence" - the London bombings - "or of the responsibility imposed on the UK and other governments to keep the public safe, or of the difficult and dangerous task performed by the police and intelligence services." Ms Booth said judges made rulings in a way that taught citizens and government about the "ethical responsibilities" of participating in a true democracy committed to "universal human rights standards". She went on to praise the way the House of Lords blocked recent anti-terror legislation which could have seen foreign suspects detained without trial. "What the case makes clear is that the government, even in times when there is a threat to national security, must act strictly in accordance with the law," she said.
To Alnwick today to offload a large number of books to the bookshop. Things I would have thrown out were taken in for £80 or so – you know it makes sense. Well, not a lot as I came away with some £45 of stuff to read. Included T E Lawrence’s 7 Pillars of Wisdom which will be interesting in the light of where we are with the Muslim ‘situation’ just now.
The Met are still pulling plums on thumbs out of pies on a daily basis. Well done to them and I can imagine that this is one recent investigation that is not being tied down with political correctness and racial awareness.
Damned dog gets smarter every day. I gave her a leg stretch in Alnwick. Left the car at the bulk fish place and walked down to some waste ground. Sent her in to check it out while I followed. The weeds and grass were shoulder high for me and we lost track of each other. I got back out of the wild patch and waited. No sign of her so I called. No sign. After ten minutes or so, I decided to go back and bring the car to where I lost sight of her. As I turned the corner, there was a pointy-nosed dog sitting alongside the car. Much mutual appreciation ensued.
Tuesday, 26 July 2005
INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
This reminded me that I was obsessed at the time by this thought - how could I avoid this shading of the prison-house? As was the custom of those times, the ode was dissected out to the smallest detail and I discovered that it was not a literal fate but rather that the joys of childhood soon gave way to the facts of life as a middle aged adult and then an old person. This did not bother me too much as I accepted - indeed, sought, that maturity had to come but I was still aware of my first scare about the shades of the prison-house being opressive and limiting. How long was one in the prison? How did one escape?
I determined that I would be a growing boy who proved that prison-house was not inevitable. If this needed some Peter Pan syndrome, OK by me. So far as I am concerned, the most serious rigours of adulthood passed me by. I had a considerable degree of autonomy in what I did all through my working life and I was not afraid to stretch the rubber band where necessary.
All that seems to me to have changed. I have as much liberty now as ever I had but I feel the anology of the prison-house. Much of what I enjoyed by expressing my Peter Pan attitude is lost to me by age and nagging infirmity. Even some of the desire to play 'young boy' has left me. So, old William was right after all. All I have done is redefine 'young boy' so I suppose that is something to hold onto.
The same work includes another idea that I also endorse -
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
Turn wheresoe'er I may, By night or day,
The things which I have seen
I now can see no more
And that has nothing to do with eye-tests!!
Monday, 25 July 2005
At the north end of the eastbound Underground platform at Arsenal station, Piccadilly Line, a small staff room, which was formerly the signal cabin, had a kettle on a gas ring for brewing tea. The local station staff kept the kettle full of hot water for the convenience of train drivers, who would run in and fill their tea cans with hot water from time to time. Unfortunately, the room was closed to trainmen many years ago after a celebrated incident in which a driver dashed into the room to fill his can with hot water, only to discover the station foreman and one of the lady ticket collectors "in flagrante" across the mess room table. The driver kept his cool sufficiently to fill his can but the couple were somewhat upset at the interruption and the room was henceforth closed and remained closed forever after.
The Met have come back slightly on their shooting incident. They upheld my opinion that they have all the Cockney drives when they reported that the guy they shot was here on an expired visa. "See, told you he was a crook"
I think it just about sums up what we need to do today and in the future. As in any major project, the investigation will have setbacks but we need to focus on what we are trying to achieve and not get sidetracked on if, why and but. That can be done later; right now there is a much higher priority.
So - stand up straight you lot. Keep Calm and Carry On.
Sunday, 24 July 2005
Never the less, I’m going to add my 2P worth.
First thing is that we need to recognise certain facts.
There is no international solution. We still have North and South Korea at loggerheads, we were not really able to do much in Bosnia until too many had been slaughtered and Darfur is just a disgrace on the term ‘international action’. Our route to salvation lies in this country.
It is not going to be pretty. We have gone down a very long road to get to the situation now called Londistan. The multi-everything attitude has taken root in the consciousness of many people. Broad brush methods will be needed as there is no real way to identify and isolate the hotheads and activists from those who are as like as two peas in appearance and ethnicity. From what we know, the families of the bombers on 7/7 were unaware of what their kids were getting up to. Even if they had suspicions, blood is thicker than water.
There will have to be compromise. In order to put into action any solution, we need people to accept what happens and not to add what we do to the imagined or real grievances that cause them to dissent and destroy. The Palestinian solution has to be found. We have plenty of politicians skilled at weasel words so as to achieve what seems to be a valid answer. Iraq was a total nonsense. We have achieved as much as we can in the regime change that has been introduced. We need to get people to cease fighting amongst themselves long enough for us to undertake an orderly withdrawal. What they do once we have gone is immaterial. Think of our leaving India when we knew what would happen between India and Pakistan or Hindu and Muslim. In Aden we got FLOSY and FANY to hold off long enough for us to ship out. They then fought amongst themselves to see who was boss. In Cyprus, we got some 70:30 agreement and that blew out shortly after we had withdrawn to the sovereign bases. Northern Ireland is already sorting itself out as Nationalist vs. Loyalists. If Uncle Dubya wants to stay, bless him and let him get on with it.
OK, so that is what the answer will not be. What should we do then?
Firstly, recover our national identity. Whilst we cannot be total clones we can be versions of the same set of models. Possibly our most resilient period of modern times was the 1950s. We want to regain the ideals and morals we had then. This is not a call for some Luddite review of all we have invented and developed since then but should examine everything ‘new’ and consider it’s value and worth in improving what we had in 1950. Parliament must be more responsive to what the public want. Things that enhance the 50s should be adopted and introduced with vigour. Those that do not should be recognised and abandoned.
The legal system must be revised in the light of how we wish the country to be run. Fraud trials where a jury cannot understand the evidence. Long debate about whether or not McDonalds were libelled. Compensatory culture. In addition to the laws of evidence, the technology of crime trials should be updated to take account of facilities such as word-processing and data transfer pre-trial as well as in court. Rules relating to evidence must be made simpler so that police do not have to work with one hand tied behind their backs. They should be permitted to obtain whatever they consider evidential by whatever means they choose. The Mafia have learnt not to discuss their business by telephone after many successes from phone-tap operations.
These and other measures are designed to bring us back pride in our country and to be jealous of whom we allow to share with us. Strong immigration controls must be produced and strongly monitored. Increasing numbers of countries require to know what benefit an immigrant will bring before allowing them into the country. It is too late to try to control immigration once an individual is here and wandering about amongst others. Asylum seekers should not be allowed to choose where they will end up. If someone from country A gets into country B which has no affiliation to A, that is where they stay. Those lands around despotic rulers will realise that they cannot look after all who come in and they will adopt a more questioning role. People who cause a problem in their country of origin and then run for cover should be refused entry. They knew the consequences of their dissent and should have acted accordingly. This should not include lumbering another place with their support.
Those presently here and who choose to continue their fight must be evicted. Those who seek to stir up dissent should be imprisoned if British or evicted if not. Many of those who are causing the present unrest are refugees from justice in other countries who have asked for them to be deported but we just dilly dally and let them continue their poisonous tirades.