Happy Birthday William Shakespeare.
Happy Saint Georges Day to all!!!
To the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of your son.
May the Prince of Cambridge live a very long and very happy life.
On August 19th 1987 Michael Ryan strode down the high street of the sleepy Berkshire town of Hungerford.
By the time he had finished his walk 16 people were dead and 15 were wounded!
Michael Ryan had chosen to take his walk with a pistol and two semi automatic rifles and “The Hungerford Massacre” went into the history book.
He was later joined in the same book on the 13th of March 1996 by Thomas Hamilton who entered a school in Dunblane, Scotland armed with four pistols and killed 16 children and an adult before committing suicide.
In the wake of these two incidents Britain passed into law the “Firearms Amendment act” which effectively banned the private ownership of handguns in the British Isles.
In the London Olympics earlier this year the British team were denied gold medals because as a result of this legislation British shooters now have to leave Britain to practice.
Yesterday Americans watched as what they proudly call “the most powerful man in the world” wept on international television for the lives of the 20 children slaughtered in Newtown. The president talked vaguely about gun control but in reality he must know what I know….He might as well learn to fly!
He also knows that even in spite of yesterdays tragedy he will have to fight tooth and nail for something which will probably (in the end) amount to nothing.
The Republicans and the National Rifle Association will drag this out until any one who believes legislation is needed will be worn out by the fight!
And we will have the “2nd Amendment” shoved down our throats until we choke on it.
This amendment reads; “ A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
I am often introduced by people who know me to people who don’t along the lines of; “He comes from a country who’s banned guns.”
I am not a pacifist but it would be more accurate to describe me as; “a person who does not think about guns." Or “a person that doesn’t need a gun.” Or even; “A person secure in himself enough not to require a deadly crutch.”
There is a sickness in the American society! It’s symptoms are machismo, self denial delusion and insecurity.
I don’t read the 2nd amendment and see it as giving me a license to buy 15 firearms just because I can, just as I know that there are people that do.
I am not insecure enough to read it that way because I can kill an intruder with one gun as well as I can kill them with 15.
I am not in denial either I know that guns (and some people) are a problem in American society and I will not make an argument that they are not as a justification for owning one.
I do not think I will be “more of a man” because I own or can use a gun….It does not make my penis larger.
And I am not in delusion! I do not believe that people kill people or guns kill people it is a combination of the two.It is easier to kill with a gun than it is with a “little pink fluffy wuffy.”
To the delusional people who defend the “guns don’t kill people kill people” argument I would ask this…… Could they realistically see 20 children killed in a classroom with a knife? Could Aurora have been done with a knife? Would we ever be asking “Who was the knifeman on the grassy knoll?”
To borrow a phrase…. America needs to get real and face up to the enemy within.
The people of this country need to do some soul searching and find some way to put the genie back in the bottle….. Only then will the children of Newtown lives not be wasted.
When I was a child (read toddler) growing up on the streets of London in the sixties my mother (contrary to popular belief I have a father too) filled my head with the usual advice that mothers of that time period filled every child’s head with.
If you grew up in those times you know the types of things: Don’t cross the road, wear clean underwear (in case you have an accident and have to go to the hospital,) Don’t talk to strangers and if you get lost, ask a policeman for help.
The last, I certainly never passed to my son. Living in a foreign country now I grew up with the perception that the “British Bobby” was the best in the world, a man (for almost all were then) of honesty and integrity and foreign policemen were of a much lesser standard.
That is no slight to Texas policeman…. It really is just not that terribly “British” to trust a man with a gun; Policeman or not!
Maybe the sixties were simpler times, maybe the prism of childhood becomes more fractured with age but a British policeman was someone to be looked up to and if you were a child, someone who could be looked up to (quite literally) and respected. Someone in who’s presence meant safety and security.
Even today I still get disbelieving questions from Americans about the fact that the British police still do not usually carry guns.
Slowly, over the years the British force has eroded that reputation, in the eyes of the British, the Police force is (as they say here) lower than a snakes belly!
Sadly they only have themselves to blame!
This week (after far too long) comes another report on the Hillsborough Disaster.
For those of you reading in a foreign country not familiar with British culture I will try to explain as briefly as I can what the Hillsborough Disaster was.
In 1989 a sporting semi final game was held betwixt Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs (soccer.)
The game was held at a neutral venue known as Hillsborough in the city of Sheffield.
During the event a wall collapsed due to overcrowding and chaos ensued as fans watching the game were crushed and thrown onto the pitch.
96 football supporters lost their lives!
Almost immediately stories (originated by the West Yorkshire Police Force) began to surface blaming the Liverpool fans solely for the tragedy and of course everyone from government down appeared to believe them. Why should they not?
The reports stated that:
The disaster was caused by Liverpool fans without tickets “crashing the turn-styles” (effectively forcing their way into the ground without tickets) leading to the venue being overcrowded and thereby the collapse of the wall.
Liverpool fans robbed the bodies of their dead fellows.
That Liverpool supporters had urinated on a policeman whilst he gave the “kiss of life” to a colleague.
Inquests were held! Reports were published! A commission formed and all supported this view of events.
A daily newspaper published these stories and has been shunned in the city of Liverpool ever since.
Throughout these long 23 years the only people to question and refute the official line were the families of the 96 who lost their lives.
Seen to some extent (certainly by me) as over sentimental and misguided these families never let the public forget that they felt their loved ones had been unfairly slandered.
Like the drip of water on a pebble the families kept the memory of Hillsborough alive in the public consciousness until two and a half years ago a new enquiry was held.
Surprise, surprise! Everything that was previously held as “gospel” about this tragic loss of life turns out to be lies from start to heart wrenching finish!
The report states that the “Football Association” should never have ordered the use of the Hillsborough ground. It did not hold a safety certificate.
The report also states that the West Yorkshire police “doctored” the evidence that they released to cover their own incompetence which directly lead to so many deaths.
Without researching thoroughly and working from memory the following points struck me very strongly.
That Liverpool fans did not force their way into the venue without tickets! They were actually encouraged and herded into the ground by the police.
The fact that only one single ambulance made it onto the pitch was not due to the disruption of animalistic Liverpool fans but rather the ineptitude of West Yorkshire police who panicked and totally lost control of the situation that they themselves had created.
It appears that no Liverpool fans urinated on emergency service personnel and did not rob the bodies of their own dead Liverpool supporters.
The senior officers at the West Yorkshire police force doctored sworn statements even from their own lesser ranking officers to reflect the story which they subsequently fed to the world.
The “cover up” seems to have been known about by the Thatcher government.
The only abuse perpetrated on the people of Liverpool by the daily newspaper was to actually accurately report what they had been told by the police about the events which had supposedly taken place.
Is this corruption just limited to the West Yorkshire police? With arrests recently having taken place for bribery of police officers in the “Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal” and previous similar overturning of convictions of the “Guildford Four” one can hardly think so.
It seems that to be a police officer the qualification is to be “bent” enough to have to sleep on a spiral staircase! No wonder that they are often referred to on the streets of England as “The Filth.”
The damage done by the West Yorkshire police reaches far further than just a few corrupt police officers, it affects the perceptions held by every man woman and child in the world.
Think that statement is to dramatic? Too Sweeping?
The following is personal from me.
As a result of the Hillsborough Disaster Margret Thatcher’s government commissioned the “Taylor Report” who’s recommendations now dictate how football clubs and fans interact as well as enforcing standard for football stadiums. How can that report (as genuine as I believe it to be) not be re-examined on the basis that most of the evidence presented on which its final conclusions are drawn are a pack of lies.
As a person and a football supporter my opinions of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Cubs supporters have been formed based on the lies told by West Yorkshire police.
I cannot speak for anyone else but for my own part I personally apologise and I hope that many more will come forward to do so.
This is not so much about personal redemption for misplaced prejudices but rather a cause for deep reflection about how those prejudice’s were caused to be formed.
I believed the lies I was fed because “it was the police” and we are taught from a very early age to trust the police and they wonder why they are no longer held in such high regard.
As I person I am finally left with that feeling that a child gets learning that there is no tooth fairy and that Father Christmas doesn’t exist after all.
To misquote Sir Winston Churchill…. Never has so much been owed to so many by so few!”
The West Yorkshire police force has a reputation for endemic corruption. I have since learned that and I have never lived in Yorkshire.
It is right and just that the sitting Prime Minister should rise in Parliament and offer his apologies to the families of the victims but what might be just as appreciated is if he rose and offered his apologies to the people of Britain (also on behalf of his predecessors) for the slide in standard of those who hold such offices of power. no matter how small.
This story made world wide headlines and the damage done to the reputation of those genuinely honest hardworking police officers that do exist will be incalculable for many years to come.
I would recommend that readers of this page who feel my comments are wrong or too sweeping read the “Red Riding Quartet” of books by David Peace. Whether the claims of historical accuracy are true or not they do show the reputation of this police force.
It used to be a joke that policemen used to say; “Anything you say will be taken down and will be used in evidence against you.” Now it’s more; “Anything you say will be taken down, bent and twisted before being given in evidence against you!”
Every once and a while a story comes through that has you reaching for your mobile phone to check the date is not actually April 1st.
I am very much indebted to a friend whom we shall on name as “Sid” (that ok with you Sid?) for this story which definitely requires filling under the “you couldn’t make it up if you tried” category!
It appears with 25 channels of wall to wall Olympic coverage (I can remember when Britain only had 3 channels) Sid is now having to trawl in very difficult waters for news and he sent me this story.
Those nice people in Scandinavia are taking a more humane approach to war. Instead of wounding their enemies and allowing them to die later, they would rather that they survived.
So they have recalled all of their ammunition and replaced it with a Lead free alternative. They are concerned about the amount of Lead pollution around firing ranges.
Isn’t Lead mined from the ground anyway? Perhaps it’s a redistribution of wealth they are concerned about?
Well at least no one has to worry about Lead poisoning on the battlefield.
Police: “Come on out Mugsy! We got ya surrounded, let your hostage go!”
Mugsy: “Ya lousy coppers. One move and I tickle the hostages!”
Def Con One with Mutually Assured Destruction coming via an exchange of feather pillows?
Before I get into this Crazy Bob would like to offer a small disclaimer.
I am not a U.S. citizen so therefore I am not allowed to vote here. I just get “taxation without representation.” That’s why I rarely offer comment on the U.S. political scene and allow Ugly Pete to get into it. I have no skin in the game!
But…… It was nice to see a U.S. politician with the genius of George Bush and Dan Quayle during his “charm tour” to several cities.
After breezing into Great Britain Mitt Romney saw fit to critisise and comment on the Olympic security debacle before insulting the country’s National Health Service.
Romney said the (Olympic) security shortfalls were “disconcerting.”
With that I agree, however if I were an American politician and one hoping to be shortly elected U.S. president I might have kept my mouth firmly shut! If I had been tempted to open it over this then it might have been to offer the British people an apology for the “shortfalls and disconcerting failure” of G4S…. Which is an American owned company!
He then went on to critisise the National Health Service for apparently making his son wait six weeks for a colonoscopy.
According to Romney this wait might have made a cancer inoperable!
One wonders whether Romney’s son (who was living in Britain in 1995) would have paid for his treatment with medical insurance or would have been seen as a N.H.S. patient.
The reason I wonder is because there are many private doctors and hospitals in Great Britain that would have been more than happy to claim under his health insurance policy.
Of course if he wanted to use the free publically funded health service then perhaps the judgment of those doctors should be taken into account.
The National Health Service treats potential cancer patients as a priority and arranges for them to see a specialist within two weeks, the fact that this didn’t happen suggests that there is more here than his father would lead us to believe.
It transpires that Romney’s son was only 19 at the time and therefore at very little risk of having cancer.
Maybe Romney will be better when he visits Jerusalem…… Oops! spoke too soon.
I wonder why a CNN anchor said it’s a good job the British are not allowed to vote in our elections.
Would you buy a used car from this man….. Or elect him president?
Shame on BBC News too!
I get (quite legally) the same BBC news service that is seen in British homes. They seem in the last few days to have fallen into the same trap that CNN perpetually falls into. That of examining it’s navel fluff!
Since Friday good old auntie Beeb seems to have forgotten that there is a “real world” out there. A world where people are dying under brutal regimes or living without basic human rights or living without electricity.
They would rather cover the Olympics as headline news offering exactly the same coverage as can be found on BBC1.
While Syrians are fighting for their lives BBC news would rather spend four hours covering the Olympic cycling and other events and forgetting everything else going on in the rest of the world…. Including reporting on Mitt Romney’s visit to Britain.
Shame on N.B.C. for treating American viewers as morons.
Claiming that the American public would not understand the opening ceremony of the Olympic games they chose not to cover the event live.
Nice to see that the presenters who covered the recorded highlights didn’t know who Tim Berners-Lee was as he tweeted from the ceremony. Perhaps a member of the American public could have pointed out to these clowns that Al Gore did not invent the World Wide Web…..Tim Berners-lee did.
This lack of understanding was obviously the reason that N.B.C. decided to cut to commercials during the tribute to the victims of the 7 – 7 bombings. Obviously not 9 – 11 enough for them!
G4S chief executive Nick Buckles was called before a parliamentary select committee earlier today to explain his company’s Olympic security fiasco.
In the days since I wrote about this the revelations just have not stopped and include allegations that the staff that G4S can provide cannot operate scanning equipment properly. A whistleblower stated that a terrorist trying to smuggle weapons or a bomb into an Olympic event stood only a 50% chance of being caught!
On a brighter note it has also been revealed that tickets to some events have had to be withdrawn due to lack of demand. So maybe potential terrorists will find themselves in an empty stadium.
But back to G4S: the company have admitted that of the staff they can provide, they have no idea of how many can actually speak English…..
There have been many complaints that workers were taken for unpaid training and then forgotten. Applicants tried to follow up with G4S by telephone or email only to hear nothing more. This from a company that had to admit that it could not find enough staff.
In front of the cameras today the company seemed to still feel it was entitled to its fee. What planet does this company and it’s management live on?
No wonder that Nick Buckles was forced to agree with committee member and Labour M.P. David Winnick that; “It’s a humiliating shambles for the country.”
For those dissatisfied with both Barclays and Nat West banks should think very carefully before transferring their accounts to H.S.B.C.
To give Mr. Bagley his due, he did the decent thing and resigned in front of the senators.
In a follow up to the John Terry racial abuse story Anton Ferdinand’s brother Rio is enjoying a nice cup of tea and some “dippy dunkies” with Derbyshire police.
Over the weekend someone on twitter described Ashley Cole (one of John Terry’s witnesses) as a “choc ice.” Rio retweeted the remark, appeared to agree with it and has refused to apologise.
I am not going to grace the term “choc ice” with an explanation, readers can either use their imagination or research the term for themselves.
The Olympic athletes began arriving in London on Monday and travelled to the Olympic village crossing the magic M4 flyover using the special lanes assigned to them.
I am indebted to my friend Steve who passed this story along.
Unfortunately the special road signs turned out to be just as special!
These signs pointed every which way but not to the Olympic village. A one hour journey took longer than three hours as bemused athletes found themselves taking the “London Cabby with new tourist route.”
If you are person who believes in keeping up with current events, I wonder to myself if you have realized that you are watching the newest Shakespearian tragedy. Although not written by Shakespeare, it contains all the grandiose self-serving monologs, manipulation and Machiavellian fanfare that were the cornerstone of his tragedies.
The setting for the play is a family courtroom with your usual suspects present. The business at hand is a child custody hearing after a bitter divorce. The two main characters, the mother and the father, are there doing battle to win over the custody of the children. As in most child custody cases, the slight advantage is on the mother’s side because she gave birth and was the primary care provider for the children during infant and toddler years; typically the father was away from the home far more often as the bread winner.
Acts I and II play out a laundry list of all the things each side has ever done, no matter how irrelevant, that can be taken in a negative context and serves to bolsters the damage that can be inflicted on the other side. The mother’s argument: he’s never home; he is distant and detached from the family. He has no concept of how to run a household properly or how to care for children. The father’s rebuttal is that the mother is neglective, narcissistic, over spends, spoils her favorite children and is not concerned well-being of the rest of them. Although there is a certain amount of truth being introduced and of proportional importance to the case at hand, it seems to be the only arguments being made. Along with unsubstantiated accusation of wrong-doing, are presented with the intent to draw blood and whip up supports into frenzy reminiscent of the arena where Christians were fed to the lions.
In my criticism of the Acts I and II, what is not brought forth was any true concept as to WHY each parent would be a better choice – no concrete plan introduced to nurture and raise the children to be a success in life or to teach the children to be self-sufficient when it becomes time for them to move out on their own. Both arguments are chock-full of rhetorical statements, accusations, triangulation, and negativity with no positive argument or detailed plan being introduced to win over the judge to each party’s individual side.
The play has now entered into Act III. In the tradition of most of Shakespeare’s plays this act is climbing to it’s a crescendo at a feverish pitch with both main characters pulling out all stops and willing to say and do anything to win, while the friends and overzealous supporters of both parties cheering and goading the other side from the gallery like fans at a Yankees vs. Red Sox game. At the end, someone will score more points than the other and win the judgment. The losing side will go home in disgust, plan their appeal / revenge and we start all over again.
Compared to other Shakespearian tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet or Macbeth, I don’t come away from this play with any sort of satisfaction or feeling of being entertained by the high drama. I feel more worn out and dirty due to the level of immaturity, lack of parental leadership and an overabundance of muck being thrown about during the play. There is no uplifting, underlying moral to be learned here, nor hero that emerges from the shadow that you can wrap your arms around. Sadly there will be a sequel where the children side with one of the parents and fight amongst themselves, ultimately destroying everything that made that family great. I fear the level of raunchiness will be surpassed in the next play, Campaign 2016!
There used to be an expression: “An Englishman’s word is his bond.” Sadly that is no longer the case and day by day I become more ashamed of what I see in “Blighty”
Americans believe that money has become the idol of their country and I have always told them that they are wrong. There are business’s in the U.K. that could rob America of its eyeballs and then come back for the eyelashes.
There has always been a culture of “ducking and diving” among the common people and often an enquiry of the origin of something being sold in a pub would be met with a reply of; “It fell off the back of a lorry!”
What has happened over the last decade or so is that the culture of “spivery” (my word and I am keeping it) has now elevated itself to all aspects of British culture.
No longer is an Englishman’s word his bond, more likely it’s a con! Worse it’s almost a guaranty of failure as shortcuts are taken and the government of the country look on like a senile doting father.
There is no longer a culture of “falling on the sword” more a culture of tough, get on with it.
The British public look on shaking their heads as promises are broken, people are cheated and failure has become endemic!
Let’s look back over just the four weeks in the life of the United Kingdom.
The Nat West bank (and its Northern Irish subsidiary) has suffered a massive computer failure leaving people without access to their own money. Account holders were left financially paralyzed as bills and mortgages went unpaid and the treatment of a terminal patient abroad was threatened as the account that paid the bills for treatment was held by Nat West.
If angry consumers debated moving their Nat West bank accounts in protest they were in for a shock as it was revealed that Barclays had been fixing the Libor rate (the interbank lending rate.) This meant that just about every loan taken out by a consumer was fixed with an unnatural interest rate.
Several water companies have just withdrawn their hosepipe bans after parts of Britain suffered their worst flooding since records began, but of course nobody questions these same companies that have endemic inefficiencies in the transport of water supplies to the consumer. It has become a standing joke that if the sun comes out for two days, a hosepipe ban follows.
Even this week, Chelsea and England Captain John Terry was taken to court and found not guilty for supposedly racially abusing another player!
During the trial, evidence was given that the supposedly abused player had been taunting Terry with some abuse that was unproved and fairly personal. It also transpired that Terry’s accuser hadn’t even heard this supposed abuse and it appears neither had anyone else.
While awaiting his trial, Terry was stripped of his England captaincy (an honour) causing the resignation of the then England manager within spitting distance of a major competition.
Many would have turned their back on the England team and it was to John Terry’s credit that he refused to do so despite being found guilty without a trial.
The point is: what the hell were the Crown Prosecution Service doing even considering taking this case to trial? It was bound to fail!
Two players verbally abuse each other on a football field with the accuser appearing to be the antagonist and nobody actually hearing the offensive words?
If I had been head of the C.P.S. I wouldn’t have touched this case with a ten foot barge pole! It was bound to fail and rather than let it, I would have declined.
In the last 24 hours we learn that G4S a company supposed to provide security staff for the Olympics cannot meet its contractual obligations. As a result British Troops just back from a stint in Afghanistan and badly in need of leave will have to be drafted in to cover this shortfall. Just today we learn that extra police will also have to be used.
When was this announcement made? Roughly 24 hours after the Home Secretary assured parliament that security was in good order for the event.
The M4 flyover has been closed for over a week. So what? This is the road that will bring the Olympic athletes from Heathrow airport to the Olympic stadium and their lodgings.
They have now opened the road, after stating yesterday that they couldn’t even guaranty that the road would be open when the athletes arrived three days from now.
One wonders whether troops were drafted overnight to reopen the road or whether shortcuts (forgive the unfortunate pun) were taken to pass it fit.
One thing is certain! If the road collapses killing a couple of potential gold medalists, nobody will pay, or take the blame or even resign!
As I write this, news is coming in that the gamble taken by London future traders for J.P. Morgan Chase was misreported. The losses were not 2 billion….. They were actually 4.4 billion!
And of course if you want to use your mobile phone to tell someone about this posting or even show it to them, I welcome it. Shame is that if you are on the O2 network in the U.K. you cant! O2 decided what’s good enough for Nat West was good enough for them! Mobile phone users found themselves without voice and internet service for more than a day as the company suffered a failure of its computer systems.
I wonder how many people found themselves in a life threatening situation and were unable to call the police, or the fire brigade or an ambulance.
Let’s face it! If you were an O2 customer you couldn’t call in the army or the C.P.S. to report that John Terry might be racially abusing you (whether you heard it or not.)
I suppose this is what you get when you have a country governed by spivs, for the spivs lead by a man who can’t even go to the pub and come home with the same number of children that he left with.
How ironic it is that the London Olympic closing ceremony is set to close with a rendition of Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life.” As I have said before….You couldn’t make it up if you tried.
I read an article that was posted in the Guardian newspaper on Sunday by Tracy McVeigh with The Observer entitled “Beckhams a ‘bad example’ for families.” The first paragraph sums up the article nicely with this sentence:
“According to a growing group of campaigners, the birth of their fourth child make the couple bad role models and environmentally irresponsible.”
The article goes on to say that a growing number of public figure such as “Green” MP, Caroline Lucas, and Sir David Attenborough have joined other leading environmentalists in calling for an end to the “absurd taboo” of discussing family size in the UK. Well, my thought on that is, Ms. Lucas and Sir David should go visit China and see how that is working for them. Four guys for every girl…. What a party!
I try to listen and lend credence to important issues that need to be raised, but this sort of tripe is rediculous. In fact, most level headed people who would read this would dismiss any valid point the author might make. It is far too prevalent in today’s society to take absurd, cheap shots to make a point. To call a married, financially successful couple that can afford to raise four children in a home “a bad example” is insane.
Nowhere in the article did the so called “environmental experts” point out that the families in Somalia, India, Mexico and other impoverished countries act “irresponsibly” , or dare I say inhumanly, when they have far more children that cannot be supported by the land, the resources, the family or even by their governments. They don’t seem to be concerned about nor mention the “carbon foot print” caused by far more abusive scenarios around the world than they are with a Football star and a former Spice Girl. It is nothing more than a cheap stunt to grab a headline for their cause. No one should have respect for that.
When it comes down to it, I’m doubtful that a lot of couples in Britain sit around the dinner table discussing their future and family planning based on the Beckhams as a role model. The article sites that 50 years ago the world population was 3 billion, now it is 7. I know Beckham has a lot of energy and has played all over the world, but I don’t think he is responsible for that either.
Mind you, I am not a fan of European Football nor do I think that Posh Spice is/was very talented. With that being said, I do stand up against “drive-by attacks” on any person. If you truly want to pick on something, how about the name of their latest child, Harper Seven!?! What are you guys thinking? That makes the child “seven of four” and that makes no sense at all.
If we are to be as civilized a society that we claim to be, this kind of agenda driven, mindless, gobbledygook does not need to be give legitimacy by being broadcast in the media. Silliness detracts from the real issues.