Posts Tagged ‘Calamity’
Not quite so warm today as we cleaned out the chicken coops but everyone seemed in high spirits. ‘Calamity’ Clegg does much to raise spirits here as his clangers follow in quick succession. Yesterday saw yet another. When challenged about the cuts to pensioner’s fuel allowances he replied that it was just another scare story dreamed up by Ed Balls. Clearly Kenneth Clarke was not the only coalition minister asleep during the Chancellors oration! But it has to said in the Lib Dem leader’s defence that he makes us laugh and we should perhaps be grateful for small mercies.
Laughter is becoming a rare feature of our community where the cuts are beginning to bite. Some of our libraries face the axe, the number of beat bobbies is to be halved, a number of centres for the severely disabled are to close. In fact no part of our daily lives will be untouched by the severest cuts ever experienced. No doubt the politicians will reply that times are hard and every penny counts. And they would be lying through their teeth!
Hidden away in the Budget are statistics capable of sending even the mildest amongst us into a rage. Our annual contribution to the European Union is set to soar to £9 billion by 2015 and we face an almost immediate rise of 17 per cent. In the past year our contribution rose from £4.7 billion to £7.6 billion and it is planned to rise again sharply this year. And that is far from the total bill, the near certainty is that we will have to follow up our massive payments to bail-out Ireland with bail-out contributions to Greece and Portugal.
Tory bankbencher Bill Cash yesterday said that the expenditure is “totally unnecessary” and added “I’m utterly opposed to the EU enlargement process”. Fellow Tory MP Douglas Carswell described the figures, and the latest news of payments for pros[ective new members Croatia, as “absolutely shocking”. He went on to complain that “this week we are cutting public services in my constituency while planning a huge payout to Croatia”. This shows, Mr Carswell said, that it is high time we had an ‘in or out’ referendum on EU membership. ” The EU project is a debt union and whatever the politicians promise, Britian seems to keep on paying”, he added.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, was also in a rage. He described our contributions as ” extrememly worrying”. He added; “A combination of the grandiouse ambitions of European politicians and the needs of new member states are set to make EU membership a worse and worse deal for British taxpayers. If Eurocrats won’t embrace the austerity measures that people here have had to, the government should refuse to finance that and not just accept Brussels’ demands for more and more money”.
It really is extraordinary that at a time when so many are facing extreme hardship in this country we are still pouring money in to the EU. Slowly but surely we are being bled dry by the Brussels machine. Bailout follows bailout, subscriptions continue to rocket, regulation after regulation encircles us. To say all this is not be be anti-European but simply to recognise that the more we pay out the greater the domestic cuts will have to be.
In fairness to David Cameron it was the concessions made by the Blair government that landed us in this horrific situation, and it is his need to placate Calamity Clegg that prevents him even considering a referendum. The irony is that we are to have a pointless one about a tweak to our voting system but are not prepared to consult the public on a far more important issue.
In defiance of the views of member-states the EU parliamentarians have just voted themselves another huge increase and hardly a day passes but we read of chauffered limos, massives expenses for which no receipts are required, and perks the like of which would have our Westminster crowd on the front page of every newspaper. It surely has to stop and if it doesn’t we should be heading for the exit.
Despite what the right-wing press says this morning not everyone marching in London is a left-wing militant. Coachloads of people who have never demonstrated before are on the road. They are demanding that the rate of cuts be slowed down. They should also be demanding that our ever escalating payments to the money-grabbing Brussels empire-builders be cut too!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; SPORT “I never comment on referees and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat”…..Ron Atkinson “The entiure contents of the Manchester City trophy room have been stolen. The police are looking for a man carrying a light blue carpet ” …….Bernard Manning “If that had gone in it would have been a goal”….David Coleman “You’d think if any country could put up a decent wall, it would be China”….Terry Venables “The first time I went skiing I wasn’t very good, and broke a leg. Luckily, it wasn’t one of mine”…..Michael Green “The manager has a fresh pair of legs up his sleeve”……John Creig “Games are the last resort of those who do not know how to be idle”….Robert Lynd “The English football team – brilliant on paper, shit on grass”…..Arthur Smith ” The Premier League is a multi-million industry with the aroma of a blocked toilet and the principles of a knocking shop”……Michael Parkinson “I never make predictions and I never will”….Paul Gascoigne “I went to a fight the other night and an ice hockey game broke out”……Rodney Dangerfield “For me the worst part of playing golf has always been hitting the ball”…..Dave Barry
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. A rocket 2. They died durinbg the return to Earth when the cabin pressure failed
TODAY’S QUESTIONS 1. How many pennies made up a shilling in Britain’s pre-decimal currency? 2. What was a shilling worth in new pence after decimalisation?
On such a beautiful morning it is hard to understand depression. But our allotment gang has come to understand the insidious condition well since one of our members has fallen victim to the dark night of the soul. Of course we all get low from time to time, but we have learned that ‘black-dog’ in its worst form is different. Sometimes it can be due to chemical imbalance, sometimes the result of battling on through nervous exhaustion. But it is not, as Geoffrey Boycott yesterday inferred when talking about the departure of Michael Yardy from the cricket World Cup, simply proof that the victim is ‘not good enough’. For heavens sake, we thought that this type of ignorance had long gone. What victims need above all else is an acceptence on the part of their family and friends that depression is simply an illness and no more deserves stupid stigmatisation than cancer or any other condition. The very fact that we openly discuss the problem in an everyday setting has helped our pal enormously. He now wears a cap emblazoned ‘Stuff Depression’, a sure sign that his old humour is returning.
If it hadn’t been for Boycott’s stupidity we would all have been tickled by the latest Clegg fiasco. Around the Commons he carries the nickname ‘Calamity’ and it is not hard to understand why. Yesterday he forgot to switch off his mic and was heard to tell Cameron that “if we keep doing this, we won’t find anything to bloody disagree about on in the bloody TV debates”. It summed up perfectly the hole into which he has dug himself and his party. Clegg does not appear to be a man blessed with an excess of self understanding and he has never come to terms with the concept of a coalition of differing views, preferring instead to simply support Cameron in whatever lunacy (viewed from a Lib Dem viewpoint) he may be engaged. Indeed Labour has already signalled that it will not enter a debate with both Clegg and Cameron since they are in effect one party.
All this is happening against a background of a collapsing economy and draconian cuts. Yesterday I heard of a respite service for severely disabled children being axed for want of £8000. Undoubtedly every community in the land has similar tales to tell whilst they read of our now facing a further massive payout to bankroll Portugal. The polls suggest that the effect is poliarisation. Those who voted Lib Dem now see them as irrelevant and are pondering the best alternative.
Without doubt some will return to their Tory roots. But will Labour gather in the major benefit? Many Lib Dem voters were people dissilusioned with the ‘New’ added to Labour’s brand by Blair. They were unable to detect any real difference between the traditional persecutors and defenders of the poor and vulnerable. To win them over Ed Miliband has to move to the left to disassociate himself from the City crowd. But if he moves too far the possibility is that he will find himself lined up beside the dinosaurs that still inhabit parts of the trades union movement. Indeed, even tomorrow when he attends the London protests he would be well advised to sit clear of the more extreme. People are in distress but they want fairness not revolution.
Over the past few weeks Miliband has certainly won over many in the House. He outdid Cameron in prime minister’s questions on the subject of the NHS, was sustained in his response to Libya, and wasn’t upturned in his response to the Budget on Wednesday. Cameron is now finding it harder to bully him or to rattle via personalised attacks.
But he has some way to go before he is perceived by the public as the people’s champion. Some say that he is too honest for his own good. That may be a handicap in the world of spin but he has stuck to his guns by sticking to his description of the “squeezed middle”, which all the presentation experts advised him against. Clearly he believes in it and shows all the signs of growing into the first senior politician of principle that we have seen for very long time.
The May elections will give a better indication of just who are the inheritors of Clegg’s blown opportunity. You could safely bet your mortgage on the death of the Lib Dems who are now seen as Conservatives. The worry is that their death may lead to inheritors such as Ukip and the BNP or, more likely, turnouts at a new low.
One thing is sure. If by any chance a new coalition is called for come the next general election, Ed Miliband will treat Nick Clegg with even more caution than the born-again Union barons!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; COUNTRIES “I find it hard to offer an opinion on New Zealand because when I was there it seemed to be shut”……Clement Freud “New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand sheep, three million of whom think they’re human”…..Barry Humphries “The way I understand it the Russians are a sort of combination of incompetence and evil – sort of like the Post Office with tanks”……Emo Philips “A Scotsman is a man who, before sending his pyjamas to the laundry, stuffs a sock in each pocket”…..Ambrose Bierce “In Britain, a dog is for Christmas. In Korea, it could be for breakfast, dinner or lunch”…..Anon “Wales is a country where Sunday starts early, and lasts several years”…..Peg Bracken “The Welsh are always so pleased with themselves. I’ve never taken to them. What are they for ?”….Anne Robinson “Sweden is where they commit suicide and the King rides a bicycle”….Alan Bennett ”India; done the elephants, done the poverty”….Phil Tufnell “What I look forward to most on returning from India is a dry fart”….Phil Edmunds “The Irish are a race of people who don’t know what they want and are prepared to fight to the death to get it”……Sidney Littlewood. “There’ll always be an England, even if it’s in Hollywood”….Bob Hope “Boasting about modesty is typical of the English”….George Bernard Shaw “An Englishman’s ultimate ambition is to get a railway compartment to himself” …..Ian Hay “If I were God and were trying to create a nation that woulkd get up the nostril of the Englishman, I would create the French”….Julian Barnes
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Two 2. Astronomy
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. What was ‘Blue Streak’ on which Britain stopped work in the 70s; a jet fighter, a rocket or a superfast car? 2.What happened to the three-man crew of the 1971 ‘Soyuz’ 11′ flight?
The belief that a focussed mind can in some mysterious way control and cure any part of the body has been around for a long time. One of the many books published on the subject first caught my eye back in the fifties. W.J.Ennever wrote ‘Your mind and how to use it’ and emphasised the need for willpower and concentration plus the importance of focusing your attention. Given this all things are possible. Over the years since then I have read with fascination a succession of articles on ‘miracle cures’, a phenomena resulting from terminally ill patients suddenly being found, to the amazement of their doctors, to be clear of cancer. In almost every instance the patients has reported that he or she ‘willed’ the tumour to go.
Today we learn of yet another example of the extraordinary power of the mind to mend the body. Graham Miles, 66, is a stroke victim and has told how he amazed doctors by overcoming ‘locked-in’ syndrome as a result of which he was left paralysed except for his eyes. Graham was diagnosed with ‘locked-in’ syndrome at the age of 49, having suffered a stroke on the way home from his work as a gas engineer. He spent six months in Mayday University Hospital in Croydon and six months in a rehabilitation unit before he went home. He recalls that his initial paralysis was so complete that he even found it hard to breathe. He felt that he had been ‘left to die’ by clinicians.
Moving his eyelids was his only means of communication but he remembers thnking that he had a major problem and knowing that he had to deal with it. He began to focus. The first ‘target’ was his voice and after two months it began to return to the extent that he could manage one word at a time. He then began to concentrate on his big toe. He would close his eyes and will it to move. One day, after about three months, it flickered. Thus encouraged, Graham started working on different parts of the body. Toes first, then fingers. Five months after his calamity Graham took his first steps using a zimmer frame.
His consultant was bewildered and confessed that he didn’t know how he was still alive. But alive he is and today Graham drives a manual car and races Jaguar E-types. He now lives a normal life and is sure that the brain isn’t totally understood – “apparently there is a lot of extra capacity in it and it seems as though I’ve found some of it”. The father of two believes that “if you are totally focused and have sufficient commitment and mental stamina, you can break down the barrier between brain and body”.
Many of the other amazing recoveries reported over the years have told similar stories. In every instance the victim has been told that there is no hope and in every instance they have used their long period confined to a bed to focus on to a specific spot with the order ‘recover’. It is easy to be sceptical but pictures like those of Graham in today’s newspapers give living proof that powerful minds can achieve anything.
Many best-selling authors such as psychiatrist Scott Peck have recorded their belief that many of the functions of the mind are still a mystery to us. Others have advocated mantras, a popular one in the sixties was ‘every day and in every way I am getting better and better’. A whole range of techniques have burgeoned and many have recorded positive outcomes. Others have not and the key to the whole process seems to be the abilility to focus for long periods. I imagine that people who practice meditation are far more likely to succeed.
My self understanding tells me that I am unlikely to be a successful practitioner. I have a ‘butterfly’ mind that seems to hop from one subject to another at the speed of a ferret going through a pipe. As I walk around, Test matches, Alan Titchmarck, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a zillion other whimsies compete with each other for attention. But I am encouraged by the thought that if I found myself in a predicament such as Graham’s I would ignore the doom-laden prognoses and focus and focus. And so would you.
In going public, people such as Graham miles are performing a great public service. They are telling faint hearts such as me that there is always hope if you battle. But we need to believe in the possibility. In 1920 the Scottish physicist, James Dewar, said that minds are like parachutes, they only function when open’. Like many of my allotment pals I tend to have a closed mind and we undoubtedly miss out in many ways. Not all are grave life-or- death issues but all could benefit from use of the mind. Edwin Moses, the Athlete and Olympic champion hurdler, was asked how he achieved such incredible performances. He replied that he didn’t really see the hurdles, he merely sensed them like a memory. In today’s world of cricket, players such as Mike Atherton recall that in a long innings they always focussed their mind on one object to the exclusion of all else. In various ways they were all using the power of the mind.
Ekhart Tolle in ‘The Power of Now’ tells us that the problem is that the mind is a superb instrument if used properly and sparingly, but in the case of most of us the mind uses us, takes us over. I’m afraid that cap fits me! But my weakness doesn’t stop me admiring the amazing willpower and determination of people like Graham Miles.
WELL DONE TROTT AND BROAD!
Yet another appalling batting performance by the top England batsman today. Fortunately the supposedly less accomplished bats Trott and Broad (who both made centuries) saved the day as Pakistan did their usual version of giving up the ghost.
SLEAZE REVELATIONS CONTINUE!
Yesterday I wondered how long it would be before the Daily Telegraph came up with more sleaze revlations relating to the coalition government. The answer proved to be just one day!
Today we learn that the Conservative Party is offering meetings with David Cameron for £2000. It seems that businessmen who pay up two grand per year qualify for ‘Team 2000′. This entitles them to meet the Prime Minister for receptions, dinners and ‘discussion groups’. Even better is the ‘Leader’s Group where for a cool £50,000 per year it is even possible to be invited for dinner at Mr Cameron’s home.
Is it any wonder that most people now regard politicians in the same way as they would view a rattlesnake in a lucky dip!
GEORGE COHEN SPEAKS OUT!
George Cohen, a member of the 1966 England World Cup winning team, has lashed out at premiership ‘stars’ who abuse their extreme wealth to “hide behind the law” when they have committed indiscretions. His comments came after another England player was granted a further gagging order stopping publication of details of his private life.
As George rightly remarks these pampered peole have the money to prevent anything embarrassing coming out. Of course this is what happens when you pay someone more in a week for kicking a ball about than a brain surgeon earns in a year. And the irony is that the presnet England team is grossly inferior to the one that George starred in!
Thankyou for joining me for a few minutes each day. Can I pursuade you to leave a comment from time to time. I ask because some readers have said that comments make the articles more rounded. i would really appreciate your contribution whatever it may say! And so would the ferrets! THANKS!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS 1. Embroidery or needlecraft 2. The Nobel Prize for Peace
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1.Who wrote The Far Pavilions in 1978? 2. Who wrote In the Shadow of Man?