Posts Tagged ‘Proportions’
The chickens were in a particularly quarrelsome mood this morning and after one altercation of Lib Dem conference proportions, as the corn was scattered, one drew blood. When that happens quick isolation of the victim is called for before the entire flock weighs in. Given the chance, hens will indulge in cannabilism and at such times they are somewhat different to the images portrayed on Easter cards. And we share the experience of nurses in an NHS A & E department in that the response to an application of antiseptic is a well aimed peck. Having kept hens all my days I still cannot relate to those who claim that their chooks are lovely little Nick Cleggs. But then we Brits are a soft touch and forgive everything.
We certainly do in the case of squatters. In fact their occupation of other people’s property is not illegal and shifting them involves an enormous amount of court action and costs. Today’s headlines feature a classic example. St Mary’s Primary School in Wimbledon was looking forward to converting the adjacent building into much needed extra classrooms and work was about to begin when a group of migrants occupied the place. They arrived with a van laden with furniture, hi-fi equipment, washing machine and a television. They expressed themselves as delighted since in their countries “everything is private and we would never dream of entering someone’s property there”. Their spokesman, Ole Terve, added that were they to do so they would be “arrested, or worse”. He and his fellow squatters are unemployed and hail from Latvia and Lithuania.
Mr Terve went on to explain that they like the laws of England. “There is more freedom here and we can live for free and save money for things like travelling”. They may soon be travelling again for Merton Council has obtained a court order, although there is no sign of it being obeyed. Indeed another member of the group complained at some of the windows being boarded up and called for the boards to be removed to “provide more light and fresh air”. But things are not that bad since they have free access to water, gas and electricity since to cut those off would be an infringement of their human rights.
Meanwhile down the road in Essex, Travellers have established a huge illegal site at Cray’s Hill. This week they received a visit from the new EU Committee for the Protection of Minorities, the leader of which is Lidija Basta Fleiner who hails from Serbia, hardly the perfect example for inter-ethnic harmony. The committee did not visit local residents yet is said to be planning a report supporting the Travellers right to stay. The whole thing came as a surprise to me since I hadn’t realised that this is yet another area of our lives now controlled from Brussels.
In this case eviction can be authorised, the Council having offered housing. But encouraged by their new EU friends the large encampment is not for moving and police estimate that the cost of handling the violence would run to many millions. Restoring the environment afterwards would cost even more for no rates are paid yet rubbish is dumped over a wide area.
I may be wrong but I imagine that right across the EU, including Ireland, groups of the work- shy gather to consider their alternatives to earning a living as most of us have to. Within minutes someone probably says ” Lets head for the UK. No need to work, we can get good benefit payments and simply taking possession of empty property or land is not a criminal offence”
It is easy to believe that we will one day become the repository for every unemployed person in Europe and beyond. I guess one can see it in one of two ways. Either we should be proud to be the kindest people in the Union, or we should rage at the fact that we are a soft touch at a time when many here are suffering the fate of a thousand cuts.
QUOTES FOR TODAY; “When I get a lot of tension and headaches I do what it says on the Aspirin bottle. I take two and keep away from children”….Roseanne “Some tortures are physical and some are mental but the one that is both is dental”……Ogden Nash “I went to the dentist and he said say Aaah. I asked why. He said ‘my dog has died”….Tommy Cooper “She had so much bridgework, every time I kissed her I had to pay a toll”…..Lou Costello “I have a crush on my dentist. He said ‘You have a cavity’. I said’ I know, and I’d like you to fill it’ “…..Caroline Rhea “Laughter is the best medicine. Unlesss you have VD in which case penicillin’s probably a better bet”……Bob Monkhouse ” I’ll take a drugs test when George W Bush takes an IQ test”……Dick Flanagan “The wine tasted like a urine sample from someone who is gravely ill”……FRank Muir “Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I’m thirsty, not dirty”…..Joe E Lewis
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Tommy Docherty 2. The Food Programme
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1.Which was Mel Brook’s spoof Western? 2 Where were the 1978 soccer World Cup finals staged?
“They’re just a pair of big girl’s blouses” muttered Albert as he shook the rain from his ferreting coat. It is a long time since I took an interest in blouses, big or otherwise, and his meaning was lost on me until others joined in the moan and I realised that the brothers Miliband saga is beginning to irritate my pals.
To the newspapers it is a soap opera of Lady Gaga proportions but even by those standards some of the explanations given for David Miliband’s decision not to serve under his young brother beggar belief. Most ludicrous of all is the claim that he wishes to spend more time with his sons, Isaach and Jacob. Does anyone seriously believe that he would have said that had he won? Almost as daft is the stuff about giving his brother space or being embarrassed by their conflicting views on Iraq. The history of Cabinets, shadow or government, contains hundreds of examples of ministers serving together yet retaining individual beliefs. No, the explanation is , we ferreters suspect, a much simpler one.
Older brothers find it impossible to accept their younger sibling, however much loved, as their boss. And who can fail to sympathise? Just imagine the case of the Milibands. David was born into the home of famous Marxist academics who regularly entertained the likes of Tony Benn, Tariq Ali and all. We read that by the time he was ten David was a regular participant in the discourse and it is easy to imagine that the much younger Ed was packed off to bed.
Anyone who has had sons, or is a brother, will know only too well the extent to which an older brother – four years is a chasm in early years – dominates and protects his younger brothers. Often he is asked by Mum or Dad to ‘set an example’ and , equally often, to keep an eye out for him at school or play. Often he enoys the role of playing ‘Mr Superior’ when passing on knowledge. Always there is rivalry and competition for parental approval. In all but disfunctional families there is always an underlying feeling on the part of the older boy of affection mingled with scorn at how relatively little junior knows about cricket. As the years roll by the intellectual gap may narrow but the innate feeling of seniority prevails.
By the time he was in his 20s, David Miliband was part of Tony Blair’s policy circle and it is not hard to imagine that thoughts of his young brother overtaking him in the political heirarchy would never have occurred to him. In fact he almost certainly enjoyed telling him of encounters with the then political elite. And as the boys became men the gap in seniority was maintained. Ed eventually entered parliament in 2005 but by then his brother was almost a household name. Again it is easy to imagine that David provided a good deal of advice on the peculiarities of Westminster.
Loyal by nature David refused to challenge Brown when the chance came but defeat in the general election opened up another opportunity and this time he made his move. Everyone around him would have assured him that his victory was a mere formality. And then his younger brother, his prodigy, announced his candidacy. That would have been a surprise but older brother probably regarded it with equanimity. If young Ed did well it would provide the chance to include in the Shadow Cabinet someone he could trust.
And suddenly the world of David Miliband is turned upside down. The lad whose ear he occasionally clipped had, against all expectation, won. Would he accept him as his boss? Impossible to live with such a notion. David is undoubtedly a man with great self undertstanding. He will quickly have realised that his only route to self pride lay in mounting another challenge in two years time. He could only do that honourably from the backbenches. At no time will he do other than support his younger brother but he must either challenge him or leave politics altogether.
Meantime Ed has his chance. Yes, he is considerably less experienced than David but there is little likelihood of a general election for four years given that the Lib Dems risk annihilation if they bring the coalition down. He has already shown good judgement in replacing the mischievous Nick Brown with Rosie Winterton as chief whip. Her powers of persuasion will help. But he has a way to go befiore convincing the electorate on his penchant for increased civil liberty, even if his condemnation of Iraq has proved popular.
I may be wrong but I cannot believe that David Miliband will ever be able to reconcile himself to serving under his young brother however much he loves him. If Ed manages to lead well the turbulant ranks of the Labour Party we may well have seen the last of the former Foreign Secretary in a political sense. On the other hand if Ed falters or even if he does well but loses an election we can be sure of two things. David will be back and Ed will be happy to serve under him.
After all that wouldn’t be a new experience! I suspect that when Wordsworth wrote ’how fast has brother followed brother from sunshine to the sunless land’, he had in mind that the leader would be the older!
BANKS ARE UNREPENTANT!
Today’s report from the Financial Services Authority makes interesting reading. Given their record of abysmal failure one would expect to learn of improvements all round. One would be wrong!
Over the past six months an astonishing 1.3 million complaints have been lodged. The subects include sloppy service, poor advice and the misselling of financial products. State-owned banks such as RBS-Nat West are among the worst offenders in terms of the proportion of complaints upheld.
Nice to know that they are still earning their bonuses isn’t it?
SO MUCH FOR NICK CLEGG’S WORD!
“After Labour’s long assault on civil liberties, we’ve scrapped child dention in the immigration system” boasted Nick Clegg in a letter to supporters attending the Lib Dem conference. Not true! Almost as delegates found their rooms, two children were reported to be locked up in the infamous Yarl’s Wood centre in Bedfordshire. And Immigration Minister, Damian Green, no longer talks of ending child detention but speaks of ‘minimisng’ it instead.
Get those tee-shirts out. It is Nick’s fault after all !
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. 1974 2. Amnesty International
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Whio was the author of the 1973 title ‘The Honorary Consul’? 2. In TV’s ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ whom did Mr Hudson marry in the 1975 showing?