Friday, 16 January 2009
Source: PA NewsA Lithuanian debt collector has hired a witch to hunt down companies and individuals who are failing to pay their debts amid the credit crunch.
"Our new employee will help them to understand the situation, reconsider what is right and wrong and act accordingly," said a company spokesman. Vilija Lobaciuviene, who describes herself as "Lithuania's leading witch", is renowned in the former Soviet republic for providing such "magical" services as predicting the future and casting spells.
“We live in a police state? No such luck… The Idiot Left are wrong: the police are powerless to stop our lives being blighted by rogue males.”
Arterial blood clings to Farrow & Ball paint as well as to any other. I learnt this one recent Saturday night.
At or about 8.05pm, having answered our front door to urgent knockings, I found myself simultaneously applying a tourniquet to a deeply slashed arm, calling 999, trying to keep the blood off ye olde F&B paintwork and attempting to marshall a swooning drunk (whom I knew to be just out of prison for a serious assault) away and on to the pavement, so that he could bleed there rather than in our garden - while all the while shouting to my partner and our three boys, in tones as seasonal and unstressed as I could muster, that no, it was not carol singers actually and that they should all just keep on watching The Incredibles (darling, just keep them inside, it's the neighbours again!)
Now, anyone exposed to the after-dinner jeremiads common at the groaning tables of our chattering classes might be forgiven for assuming that Britain is fast becoming a quasi-police state.
It is an article of belief among certain folk that the cops, given half a chance, would gleefully strip the hapless citizenry of its few remaining liberties (that there is no empirical evidence whatever in our history for this rather thrilling notion is neither here nor there to them).
The much more alarming truth is that in Brown's Britain, there is practically bugger-all that the police, however swift, helpful and sympathetic they are (and they are), can do to stop ghastly neighbours ruining people's lives.
Ours is the perfect middle-class nightmare. When we bought the place (from a smiling C of E cleric, no less), we paid the sort of buck-per-bang that, even in the Home Counties (which we're not), would normally guarantee that all-important child-friendly location, complete with parks, cafés, delis and suchlike in toddling distance.
All that we have.
Sadly, we also have, near by, a nest of bachelor alcoholics “well known to the police”.
Their house is privately owned. If the owner-occupier, a free-born Briton, wishes to lay out his benefits in drinking himself noisily to death there, that is his right. If he chooses the company of violent ex-convicts, who is to say him nay? If they appear at our door, blood-spattered, begging for policemen and ambulances to protect them against each other and their own stupidity, but thereafter elect neither to press charges nor mend their ways, what business is that of the overweening State's?
In less blessed countries, some local version of the Napoleonic Code would be swiftly visited upon them, citing the General Good - but not here.
My consolation is that this may all be poetic justice for the years I myself spent (horrid to admit, but true) insulting policemen, shouting Troops Out, baying at Arthur Scargill's every word and generally lambasting the Bourgeois State that had so viciously subsidised my four years at Oxford.
Dear God, if there is no special circle of hell reserved for we amoral young trots of the Eighties, divine justice is mocked!
But if our troubles are rare among the middle classes (and in my own case arguably deserved), for millions of decent working people the nasty proximity of rogue males, benefited up to the eyeballs, structurally violent, functionally illiterate and virtually beyond legal sanction, is a daily fact of life.
Pace the Idiot Left, “the Workers” and “the Minorities” are not different moral species, to be idolised or slummed with when the fancy takes one, whether in 1960's Notting Hill or modern Whitechapel (my dear, how unbourgeois, how real, how too, too vibrant!).
Decent working people of all colours and creeds are treacherously non-entertaining.
They want exactly the same as you or I would want in their places.
They want more police in their streets. Lots of them, freed from red tape, backed by courts that will ensure that dangerous males are swiftly convicted and effectively removed.
Well, that Saturday night one of our neighbours was indeed arrested pursuant to the arm-slashing of his ex-con drinking buddy. I doubt the charges will stick. The arterial blood did, though.
By the time the police left, regretfully but helplessly leaving us to what sounded like a convention in honour of that foul old priest from Father Ted, it had coagulated awkwardly within the mid-19th-century mouldings of our front door. A bugger to gouge out, F&B high-gloss finish or no. Arterial blood is hard to get off your path, too, until swilled and brushed away with copious buckets of hot Flash, when it takes on an extraordinarily neon-like pink colour as it steams away in the midnight gutter beneath the streetlights.
An unusual experience, as I say, for a middle-class person. But one all too familiar to millions of hard-working, child-rearing people living in unentertaining, unthrilling, unexotic communities far from NW3 that are daily blighted by the brutes within them - brutes that our own social policies have engendered and whose alleged rights our idiot commentators are so intent on defending.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
So, what is missing? The work ethic or pride in themselves? The history of the chap's parents would be enough to destroy any idea that work is what we were put on this earth to do. They are surrounded by pals in the same state as themselves so shame does not come into it. I cannot see the Job Centre ever finding work for two people so unqualified as these two.
Mind, I did read something very interesting just the other day. I cannot now find it so you will need to trust me and appreciate that the figures are approximate. An economist did some research and found a couple an income of something in excess of £500 a week. This involved the male doing a specialist cleaning job for three days and two nights. She would have contributed money from a carer job that entailed getting an old lady to bed and up again in the morning. Minimal qualifications needed for both of them with training on full pay. Within five miles of where they lived. Neither of them had the confidence (or get up and go) to follow up on his research. That is the sort of thing that Job Centres should be doing with directed labour back-up. Have a genuine go or lose your allowances. Losing the dole is the one thing that seems to motivate people such as the two in the link.
What it did do was cause me to look up the Caesarean process. I had imagined it to be a relatively modern innovation. Not so:
1794: Elizabeth Bennett delivers a daughter by Caesarean section, becoming the first woman in the United States to give birth this way and survive. Her husband, Jesse, is the physician who performs the operation.
He was pressed into service after Elizabeth, struggling with a difficult labor and believing she would die, requested her attending physician to perform a Caesarean in the hope of saving the baby. The doctor refused on moral grounds, so Jesse stepped in.
Conditions were crude. The procedure was performed in the Bennett home, deep in the Virginia backwoods. A sterile environment was out of the question: The operating table consisted of a couple of planks laid across two barrels. Jesse Bennett resorted to laudanum — lots of it — to knock out his wife.
Despite these limitations, the surgery went smoothly. Bennett extracted a healthy girl and he closed the incision, but not before taking the opportunity to remove his wife's ovaries, saying he "would not be subjected to such an ordeal again." Elizabeth quickly recovered, but her feelings about Jesse's excursion into her ovaries were not recorded.
Although the surgery was successful, Bennett didn't immediately report what he'd done. He apparently feared being ridiculed as a liar, given the primitive conditions under which such a dangerous operation had been performed. Nevertheless, the details eventually came to light and Bennett (not to mention his intrepid wife) entered the annals of obstetric history.
Even in the Bennetts' time, the Caesarean section was not new. What was new was the idea that both mother and child could survive the ordeal. The operation itself dated from antiquity, but with very few exceptions was only performed when the mother was dead or dying. The first recorded Caesarean where both mother and child survived was done in Switzerland, in 1500. That was also a husband-wife affair, although in this case Jacob Nufer was a swine gelder, not a doctor.
Before the 19th century, the success rate for physicians performing C-sections in the hope of saving both mother and child was very low. Even with advances in medicine it remained a relatively high-risk procedure into the 20th century.
Times have sure changed. Now, Caesareans are so routine that some critics believe they are often performed unnecessarily, as the "delivery method of choice" even when natural birth presents no unusual danger.
The World Health Organization agrees, recommending that Caesarean rates should not exceed 15 percent of all live births in any country. In the United States, roughly 31 percent of all births are done by Caesarean section, including an increasing number that are performed as an expedient alternative to natural birth. Now, why would anyone opt for major abdominal surgery without a sound medical reason?
Source: Time magazine
However, that does not mean that I cannot suggest articles by my betters that - in my humble opinion - do not go a long way to explain how the heck they got where things are now. Both sides of the argument are represented.