Posts Tagged ‘Lady Warsi’
Having been in an horizontal position for almost a week it is hard to work out how I can comply with my Father’s Day cards which urge me to have a jolly day. I was still considering a plan when Albert arrived. I commented that it was the first sickbed visitation by a member of the allotments gang, he replied that he had been afraid of “catching something”, but had decided that since I was still alive it couldn’t be that bad. Great pal Albert, but he doesn’t do jolly. However he did bring me a giant-sized turnip.
Al told me that the chicken-keepers have been banging on about the man they call the ‘poison dwarf’, Michael Gove. Possibly because some of them are ex-teachers they definitely do not like what they see, or read about, the education secretary. Then again, I don’t like him and I have no links with the teaching profession. Maybe it is because he comes across as a bumptious know-all.
Either way, he has once again imperiled the reign of our dear leader. According to some government sources Lord Leveson was so infuriated by a speech given by Gove that he wrote to the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, demanding that the wretch be fitted with a silencer. Failng that the Judge was prepared to quit. Think about it. Had that happened the whole pack of cards would have fallen. In his speech Gove claimed that Leveson had created a “chilling atmosphere” towards freedom of speech and “should be gagged”.
You may recall an earlier blogpost that described Gove’s own appearance before the Inquiry. For the first, and only, time Lord Leveson lost his cool and told his witness ;”Mr Gove, I do not need to be told about the importance of freedom of speech, I really don’t”. Unabashed, our pet hate-figure went on to praise Rupert Murdoch as one of the greatest men ever to walk this earth. Second only to Gove himself perhaps?
Like Cameron and Osborne, Gove is a close member of the Murdoch clique. Unlike them, he continues to bang on about it and with great apparent pride. Clearly he sees no distinction between freedom of speech and lies, phone-hacking, harrassment and blackmail. Murdoch, he clearly believes, must be free to do or say whatever he pleases. And this is the twerp responsible for our schools!
In his speech to political journalists, Gove said that there is great danger of regulation being imposed by “judges, celebrities and the establishment” … all of whom have an interest in taking over from the press as arbiters of what a free press should be”. Is he seriously contending that the press has shown itself capable of being arbiters? The parents of Millie Dowler and countless other victims of Murdoch may well take another view!
He probably believes that someone like himself is best placed to ‘keep an eye’. Really? Today’s papers give yet more details of the affairs of Lady Warsi, who as co-chairman of the ruling party is presumably an example of the absolute impartiality and trustworthiness of politicians. She has been found wanting, she is far from alone.
Of course Gove makes no secret of his passion for Murdoch and all his works. He undoubtedly sees his role as protecting his hero, of allowing him to plough on with the ruination of lives for a large handful of silver. This man is potentially more poisonous than Jeremy Hunt. Our dear leader should sack him before it is too late.
But he won’t. The hold and threat of News Corp is tightening around many memebrs of this beleagured coalition.
QUOTE OF THE DAY; ” Which pub did Cameron leave his integrity in? Each time I watch coffins coming back from the futile Afghan conlict, the horrible thought crosses my mind that those soldiers would not have died if it hadn’t been for Mr Slippery’s desire for office at any price. Disgust is not a strong enough word, really. ”…..Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday.
Albert’s soaked Jubilee bunting hangs limply, the ‘street party’ detritus is scattered across the allotments and the sudden outburst of the bulldog spirit has given way to excessive grumpiness, most of it directed heavenwards. The whole range of televised Jubilee events proceeded like clockwork, now we Brits can get back to doing what we do best – cocking things up. And few can match our dear leader in that art. Even whilst he was reading the lesson in St Pauls another huge row was building about his decision to refer Lady Warsi for investigation into whether she has broken the ministerial code, whilst refusing to do the sane for his pal Jeremy Hunt.
He will have little time to mull that over this morning for a significantly bigger challenge is about to engulf him. He faces a battle over a new European Union treaty to create the federal Europe demanded by Germany as its price for saving the Euro. Suddenly the Germans are seeing the ludicrous nature of a single currency based on a one for all and all for one. Germany is an economic giant amongst pigmies, and the popular demand is that it hands over its hard-earned prosperity to bail out those who have failed utterly to mange their own affairs. The price it is demanding is a federal Europe with budgets controlled from the centre. And there sit the Germans who are about to gain the supremacy that has twice eluded it.
The proposals will be presented to European leaders at a summit on June 28. Britain has so far been excluded from the negotiations, but suddenly David Cameron has a big decision to take. And we all know that he is not too hot in that art. Yesterday a leading EU diplomat said ; “We’ve heard the British lecture about what needs to be done but they’re not part of the negotiations. Cameron will be asked to sign on the dotted line and that’s all he will be allowed to do”.
And here is the nightmare scenario. The Conservative Party is pledged to initiate a referendum in the event of Treaty change, and what is proposed is the biggest change ever. If our dear leader signs without conceding a referendum he will face a potentially destructive attack by the majority of Conservative MPs. If he signs and announces a referendum the Cleggites will walk away from the coalition, and a general election will loom at a time when Master Miliband has a massive lead in the polls. Refusing to sign will trigger the same Lib Dem reaction.
In theory the answer is obvious. Allow a referendum on the assumption that the people will vote to stay in the European Union. That, after all, is what the suddenly dominant Labour Party will urge them to do. A yes vote would silence Cameron’s own party, would keep his Lib Dem lapdogs on side. But the Jubilee celebrations have served to show that the great Britsh public is in no mood to listen to politicians of any colour. The millions across the country who demonstrated so dramatically their support for the monarchy were also demonstrating something else.
Yes, the Queen commands great respect but, above all else, those hordes were saying we are proud to be British. One woman who spoke to camera said it all. “We love the Royals”, she said, “they remind us what it means to be British. If we didn’t have them what would we have left?”. Her answer to her own question was “nothing”.
Right now those who would campaign for a no vote would have a field-day. They would present the vote as a decision on whether we wish to retain our own identity. They would bang the drum along patriotic lines. They would organise a metaphorical fly-past of those Wellingtons and Spitfires that caused such emotion yesterday. Knowing Nigel Farrage they would probably stage a real one. And Ed Miliband, although against withdrawal, would hedge his bets, he is not about to slam the Number Ten door in his own face.
Of course the intelligensia would ridicule the concept of isolation, would point to the fact that we are now just part-actors on the world stage. But, like the anti-monarchists over the past few days, their numbers would be quickly submerged in the patriotic fervour that is usually less visible.
So what will the great man do? His instinct will be to find a fudge, to claim that this is not really a significant treaty change. That sleight of hand has worked in the past. This time it simply won’t wash.
Sadly our dear leader is no Churchill. He would have had no quelms in telling Clegg that if he adores Europe so much he should perhaps consider living there!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY;
“If you found yourself in paradise, it wouldn’t be long before your mind would say “yes, but….”. Ignore your mind, there are no problems. Only situations – to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the ‘isness’ of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of the Now. Focus your attention on the Now and tell me what problem you have at this moment”…..Ekhart Tolle in The Power of Now.
As we cleaned out the squabbling hens this morning there was a good deal of chat about Prince Philip, our irascible hero on high. When we first noticed his absence from the Palace concert we assumed that the Duke had tossed a coin to decide whether to wear ear plugs or simply stay at home. Sadly, it transpired that he is in hospital. We are not too surprised. When several of us were watching the Thames pageant, Tom commented that his bladder must be in better shape than that of most elderly men. We ancient owners of ancient bladders know only too well that standing for long periods in very cold temperatures is a recipe for trouble. Based on our experience he will be fine after a few days rest.
The other snippet of news that caught our eye was the instant decision of our dear leader to refer the case of Lady Warsi to Sir Alex Allan, the adviser on ministerial interests. He is right to do so given that she faces several accusations of what sounds like, er, dodgy practice. But his decision raises a big question. Why did he not refer Jeremy Hunt, whose practices sounded a good deal dodgier. To be honest that is a rhetorical question, we all know the answer. A guilty verdict on Warsi represents no threat to David Cameron, the same on Hunt would bring down the dear leader himself, given his participation in the BSkyB bid plot.
But it was another story that really shocked us. Everyone is painfully aware of the obscene level of top executive pay, and its continuing escalation at a time when people at the other end of the social scale are suffering hardship unknown since the days of Dickens. Each time a new scandal breaks we are assured that the Company’s remuneration committee is advised by independent consultants, whose views are made known to shareholders. Today we learn that almost 70% of those supposedly independent ‘experts’ also sell general consultancy services to the same companies. In other words should the consultants not play ball with the Board they will lose out on other lucrative contracts. No surprise that the High Pay Commission has spoken out at what is a conflict of interests to beat them all.
So its champagne all round for the ever richer rich boys, irrespective of their performance. By way of contrast we learn of the treatment dished out to long-term unemployed jobseekers who were bussed from Bristol to London to work as unpaid stewards during the jubilee celebrations. As part of the government’s Work Programme they were obliged to board coaches at 11.00pm en route to London. On arrival, in the early hours, they were told to sleep under London Bridge in driving rain and near freezing temperatures. They had no food or access to toilets and were obliged to change on the pavement into their security uniforms.
Ater then working a 14 hour shift in pouring rain alongside the Thames they were taken to tents standing in, what reporters described as, a near-swamp. This appalling treatment was handed out by Close Protection UK, one of the magnificent private sector warriors we hear so much about. It confirmed that it was using 30 unpaid staff and 50 apprentices. The unpaid work was, they said, a trial for paid work during the Olympics.
Had these youngsters been animals the RSPCA would right now be preparing charges of cruelty. The story illustrates vividly the growing divisions in our society. Those of us roughly in the middle are getting by, those at the top are raking in fortunes and avoiding the inconvenience of tax, those at the bottom are plummeting into hell of man’s making.
It was inspiring to hear the stirring words of Land of Hope and Glory yesterday. Sadly the reality in the coalition’s Britain is rather different!
QUOTE OF THE DAY;
” I believe that we create every so-called illness in our body. The body, like everything else in life, is a mirror to our inner thoughts and beliefs. Our body is always talking to us; we just need to take the time to listen. Every cell within our body responds to every single thought we think and every word we speak. So change your thinking now and get going. You can heal your body”….Louise L Hay, author of “I Can Do It”, a guide to the use of affirmations to change your life.
Bill brought a local paper with him this morning, his intention being to show us an article about an old friend. By the time we read it, our main task of cleaning out and feeding the hens was done and, with time to spare, we read the whole paper. And there they were! Every edition brings demands for one ban or another from the bossy busybodies who seem to have nothing more to do than tell everyone else how to live their lives. Today they want a campaign against fast-food eaters, Red Bull drinkers, those who chew gum and those who smoke. It seems that only breathing is likely to escape their censorious eyes.
I indulge in none of those activities, but am so sick and tired of the curtain-twitchers that I am almost at the point of taking them up merely to show that this is still a democracy. On a national level the aggressive intolerance of the minority is becoming ever more prevalent. A couple of days ago I wrote of the action by the National Secular Society which has succeeded in preventing Bideford Town Council doing something it has done for centuries – holding a short prayer service at the start of its meetings. The atheist former councillor who pressed the case argued that the council had no right to “impose” its religious views on him, conveniently ignoring the fact that no one had forced him to attend the prayers, and failing totally to see that it was he who was seeking to impose his views on others, not the other way round.
And such busybodies find easy victims amongst a wide range of organisations. In recent months we have had bans on staff wearing crosses and badges, even on people reading bibles at their desks during lunchhours. It was undoubtedly the growing tendency of the bossy ones to mind other people’s business that led Baroness Warsi to yesterday speak out against what she called “militant securalism”.
It is unsurprising that it has taken a Muslim member of the cabinet to speak out clearly and forcefully on the importance of faith in the life of the nation; followers of Islam tend to be less mealy-mouthed about their beliefs than many Christians. And she is right. Today Lady Warsi is leading a ministerial delegation to the Vatican.
Lady Warsi argues that society will be healthier if people feel “stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds”. That means “individuals not diluting their faiths and nations not denying their religious heritages”. She makes an important point. Whether we like it or not, our history and culture are formed by the Christian faith. It is at the core of who we are. It is too easy to forget this, largely because politically correct fawning by public bodies over the sensitivities of other faiths, and anti-faiths, has left many Christians feeling inhibited about asserting and celebrating their own beliefs. When Royal Mail restored the nativity to its Christmas stamps it seemed to regard it as an act of great bravado, it wasn’t. It was simply a reflection of what most people believe about Christmas.
I cannot claim to be a churchgoer, and rather doubt that to be a true definition of being a Christian. But I have long since lost resentment at dictatorial attitudes by the various faiths, they no longer exist. The days when the Church attempted to ban cinemas and shops from opening on Sundays are but a distant memory. Sadly its example of increased tolerance is not being followed by others.
If democracy is your thing it is impossible to do other than admire Baroness Warsi. She has warned of the dangers of instincts that are “deepy intolerant” and has pointed out that such attitudes have historicaly been the hallmark of totalitarian regimes. She was basing her attack mainly on intolerance as it effects religious beliefs, but she could equally have been speaking of any form of intolerance, any form of unacceptance of what others do.
Always provided that what they do does not harm others, everyone should be free to do, wear or say whatever they wish. And all those who try to impose their codes on others should do us all a favour. They should improve their self understanding and shut up once and for all!
THINGS PEOPLE SAID ABOUT APPEARANCE; ”Charles de Gaulle looks like a female llama surprised in her bath”….Winston Churchill “Andre Gide was very bald with the general look of an eldery angel travelling incognito”….Peter Quennell “Glamour is that indefinable something about a girl with a big bosum”……Abe Burrows “People on horses look better than they are, people in cars look worse than they are”……Marya Mannes “I never forget a face but in your case I’ll make an exception”…..Groucho Marx “My genitals are like a sort of travel version of Linford Christie’s”….Frank Skinner “Ian Hislop looks like King Edward – the potato not the monarch”…..Paul Merton “He had a smile on his face but it was as thin as airline coffee”…….Kinky Friedman “Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not colour, but to accept God’s final word on where your lips end”…….Jerry Seinfield