Saturday, 29 December 2007

Gangland refugees

One thing I have discovered in the last few days has been the realisation that the streets my gg grandfather and family lived in were at the very heart of the Glasgow razor gangs of the 1920s and 30s.

Carstairs Street, Swanston Street, Poplin Street and Colvend Street were within a stone's throw (probably literally) of Norman Street, home of the notorious Norman Conks and where a pitched battle took place between the Conks and the even more vile Billy Boys, led by the fascist Billy Fullerton.

It must still have been a major decision, to board a ship for New Zealand, but it is easy to see why it was tempting for my relatives who did choose to emigrate.

Electoral discrepancies in Labour constituency

Don't get too excited - the constituency was the Labour stronghold of Glasgow Bridgeton from 1929-39: the local MP being the legendary Jimmy Maxton.

My great great aunt, Rachel McCartney emigrated from the slums of Bridgeton to New Zealand back in 1929, leaving her husband and young son. The McCartneys in 1929 had just moved in with Rachel's mother, my gg grandfather's widow. Presumably, Rachel wanted to make sure that her son would be safe with granny before she left. Altogether, there were 23 adults in the tenement listed on the voters' roll. Rachel emigrated in November of that year, leaving her husband and son behind. It had been thought that she had abandoned them. However, John continued living at that address until after the Second World War. Presumably, he was sharing the childminding duties with his mother in law all the way through to 1939. The funny thing is, Rachel remained on the voters' roll all the way to 1939 also.

So, did Rachel abandon her husband and son, and her grief-stricken husband hoped desperately she would return, so maintained her on the electoral register? Or, had he known she wanted to emigrate (along with several of her siblings) and went along with it for reasons of his own? Who knows?

Perhaps there was wholesale electoral fraud at the time and the population of the supposedly overcrowded slums consisted of fifteen people and a dog actually living in some comfort. History is wonderful.

OK OK, I missed a day

I didn't get round to posting yesterday. The rain was coming down in sheets and Didactophobe decided to get round enjoying his holiday. Pursuing my genealogy hobby, I drove with Mrs Didactophobe around the part of Glasgow where one of my great great grandfathers lived. I found the streets where he and his second family lived, but the buildings had all gone. It was at the centre of the slum clearances, and the families who lived there have long gone.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto

One consequence of today's horror journey is that I will remember where I was when I learned that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated.

Having arrived at Glasgow, I went for some chips and I spotted the Evening Times billboard. It was incredibly brave, and perhaps foolish, of her to go back to Pakistan. Politically, the country is now a basket case. In the 'War on Terror', Bush and Bliar got too far into bed with Musharraf. He has to go and go soon: equally, it is important that we do not get an Islamist nutjob replacing him. The last thing we need is for an unstable state with nuclear capability falling into the hands of fanatics.

Take the National Express when your life's in a mess...

The song is wrong. It didn't make me smile. Having spent a fruitful genealogical day at the General Register Office in Edinburgh, Didactophobe arrived at Waverley Station about 4.30 for a train to Glasgow. I knew engineering work was playing havoc with services and I was just too late for the Scotrail trains to Queen Street and to Glasgow Central which were just leaving. Like any infrequent visitor to Waverley, I have never managed to figure out the platform layout, which is peculiar to say the least.

However, there was a late running National Express East Coast Mainline service about to arrive at Platform 19, which I was able to locate. The train trundled in about 10 minutes late, which the train manager helpfully announced was due to delays at Peterborough. Fair enough. It would only stop at Motherwell and would arrive at Glasgow around 5.35.

I was jolly hungry by this point, so Didactophobe located the buffet car. "What do you have to eat?" I asked hopefully. The helpful man behind the counter indicated the two leftover sandwiches which were all the stock he had left. Chicken tikka and chicken-something-else. Not much good for a veggie. The guy had a good go - credit where it is due. He highly recommended the chicken tikka.

So Didactophobe resolved to starve. Let's be honest - I expected the train to arrive comfortably before the ETA - why should it take nearly an hour to travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow with just one stop?

The train trundled along, taking an inordinate amount of time to pass Carstairs and arrive at Motherwell. Peterborough Schmeterborough - it hadn't made up a damn second of time. At about 5.50, the train arrived at Glasgow Central - or at least I thought it had.

The train came to a halt just shy of the platform. Nothing. Then there was an announcement from the driver for the guard to contact him. Then the guard announced there was a points failure just ahead of us. An engineer would come out and change the points manually, and the train would move again in about 5 minutes.

Cobblers! A good 15 minutes later we were still stuck: the update from the guard was that there were now three engineers working on the line ahead of us. After at least 30 minutes of being stranded, we finally reached the station. An hour and three quarters to travel 50 miles.

Back on 24 September I had a rant about public transport. Much the same applies today.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

And Adhanother thing

Muslims in Oxford are apparently demanding the right to broadcast their call to prayer by loudspeaker, to the anger of local residents.

Let us hope and pray that this is not allowed. This country has been Christian for 1000 years, and the sound of church bells on a Sunday morning is one of our finest traditions. Hearing warbling and wailing from a loudspeaker three times a day (and I have heard it in Turkey) is just not on. It is intrusive and threatening: a more sensible solution would be for the Adhan to be transmitted by text to Muslims' mobile phones - it would not disturb anything else.

Home truths for Islamonazi

In the 1992 US election, Bill Clinton famously had the words prominently displayed in his office, "It's the economy, stupid." It was a reminder that, whilst attacking George Bush snr on his foreign policy was all very well, the election would hinge on the economic downturn being suffered by the US.

Ahmadinejad's ranting about Israel has often been effective in Iran when it comes to rousing rabbles. However, as George Bush snr discovered, if a president does not deliver on the economy he is liable to find himself being severely criticised.

Her Majesty on Youtube

Being out for Christmas dinner this year, I did not catch the Queen's Speech live - I had to rely on Youtube.

It reminded me how lucky we are to have this Queen. This year's speech was excellent. Merging in scenes from her first ever Christmas Broadcast was a superb idea, which emphasised the continuity of her reign as well as the myriad of changes which have taken place in society and in the world during it. The theme of her speech: to remember the poor and the outsider as well as the brave men and women of our armed forces reminds us, as Her Majesty put it, that we are all part of one human family. The existence of our common humanity as well as the timelessness of Christ's Greatest Commandment to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves should be at the forefront of everything we do. Her Majesty's frequent references to the teachings of Jesus remind us that, throughout her long life, she has been a faithful Christian, dedicated to duty.

I look forward to The Royal Channel's continued success and to many more videos being uploaded to it, to bring the monarchy and their part in this country's history to a new worldwide audience. 800,000+ views within its first week speaks for itself.

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save the Queen.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

A peaceful Christmas

At least it has been in the Didactophobe household. Christmas dinner at a delightful country inn (albeit pricey), with a vegetarian option for Didactophobe himself.

It has led to me thinking: What is Didactophobia? Is it a blog on religion, politics, education, current affairs, genealogy, all or some of the above? It has been one thing and another in the six months or so that it has been occupying cyberspace.

I think Didactophobia is, and should be, a record of my outpourings. In 2008, I shall aim to update it every single day. Obviously, that may not be possible; however, I shall get as close as I can. I don't expect my blog to reach a massively wide audience: I would be as thrilled as any other blogger if it did, but it is not my aim. It is, basically, a personal diary in which I shall write whatever seems interesting, relevant, funny or important to me. Bloggers such as Cranmer compete in the Champions' League of blogs: mine is in the fourth division of the pub league. But the pub league can be fun.

This Christmas, pray for the oppressed

I reprint extracts from an email received from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Read it and weep.

"Ironically, soon there may be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Oppression of Christians by radical Muslims, which rose sharply after Israel turned over control of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority in 1995, has led to a Christian exodus from the area. In 1995, Christians made up 62 percent of the population in the city of Jesus' birth. Today, that figure stands at approximately 15 percent.

Given the stories we've heard of threats and violence against Christians, it's easy to understand why. One pastor, Naim Khoury, who heads the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, tells of being shot three times, and having his church bombed on 14 separate occasions.

The oppression of Christians by hard-line Islamists is common not only in Bethlehem, but throughout Palestinian-controlled areas. In Gaza, where 3,000 Christians live among 1.5 million Muslims, it is sometimes deadly. Last fall, Rami Khader Ayyad, owner of a Christian bookstore, was murdered by Islamic radicals. When Hamas terrorists seized power over the area in June 2007, numerous attacks against Christians were reported, including the ransacking of a convent. Clearly, in Gaza Hamas has created an atmosphere deeply hostile to Christians.

In Israel, on the other hand, the right to worship freely is protected for Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze alike, and perpetrators of religiously-motivated attacks are punished with the full force of the law. No wonder, then, that even many Palestinians living in areas of Israel that could be turned over to the Palestinian Authority in peace negotiations have voiced strong opposition to any such deal...

Please take a moment to pray that Christians in hostile Arab and Muslim countries will be released from their bonds of oppression. And, to all my Christian friends everywhere, please accept my sincere wish that this Christmas is one of joy and peace. I feel greatly blessed by your continued support for Israel and the Jewish people, and your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem."

Monday, 24 December 2007

Sarah Boyle

You have probably never heard of her. She is Didactophobe's great great grandmother. She lived between about 1860 and 1944. She was orphaned at an early age and was looked after by her grandmother. Sarah married a man called John Reddock in 1875. Within six weeks, he had abandoned her to join the army, leaving her pregnant. Life in those days was not easy for single mothers: no council house; no truckloads of welfare benefits. She didn't know whether her husband was alive or dead, and she took up with a man called John Smith. A very ordinary man: a poor labourer, as unremarkable as his name.

Within a few months, she found herself pregnant by him. What to do then? She got married: she committed bigamy. She needed a man to protect her (that is the way the world was) and she had found a man who would love her and look after her. So they married in late 1880. Irony of ironies, within a century one of her descendants would be divorced on the grounds of five year desertion. If that had been open to her in 1880, there would have been no problems. But this was the Victorian era.

Sarah gave birth to her second child. Marion was sickly and would die within the year, of measles and bronchitis. Ailments of the poor. Sarah worked as a steam loom weaver to support her children and her new husband John laboured away.

At some point in late 1881 or early 1882, John Reddock was discharged from the army. He came looking for his wife, and discovered her living with another man. She was also pregnant, expecting twins.

Sarah was charged with bigamy and appeared for a first hearing in court. She was almost eight months pregnant: she was committed to prison on remand. After five weeks, she came back to the court for a second hearing. Her lawyer, Arthur Sturrock, asked the court for leniency, given that she had already spent time in prison. She was sentenced to two months: no backdating of sentences in those days, nor time off for good behaviour. She was sentenced on 6 April and it would be 6 June before she was released from prison.

On 10 April 1882, at 2am, the prison governor was woken from his slumbers. Sarah was going into labour. At 7.30am, she gave birth to a son, whom she named John after his father. Shortly afterwards, the second twin was born, stillborn. The sex was not recorded.

What happened then? Don't know. By 1891, she was living with her grandmother and John Smith, the son she had given birth to in prison. Her second husband had disappeared. Her bastard of a first husband had custody of their daughter and was reproducing at a fine old rate with his second wife, whom he married bigamously.

Sarah lived a long life and died of cerebral thrombosis on 9 March 1944 at the age of 83 (approx). What happened to her in the intervening 53 years? Don't know. Maybe I shall find out some of her story. I certainly intend to try. I hope and pray that she had some happiness.

I am no socialist. I am no feminist. But stories like this make you realise how and why they began.

God bless you, Sarah. May you rest in peace.

I'm back - in time for Christmas

Yes, Didactophobe has returned to the blogosphere. The end of term has arrived; Christmas Eve is here; Mrs Didactophobe is working nightshift and it is just me and Didactofeline in the Didactoresidence.

Bethlehem this Christmas is enjoying a period of relative peace. What the future holds for the besieged Christians, God only knows. But let us be thankful for this year.

We celebrate the birth of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ, God's greatest ever gift to humanity. Through faith in Jesus, we can achieve salvation, overcoming the effects of sin. No other man in history made the claims Jesus did and was taken seriously. No other man in history has inspired so many to good.

Matthew and Luke tell in their gospels of the miracle of Jesus' conception: the Virgin Mary being impregnated by the Holy Spirit. A ridiculous story? There are lots of stories concerning Jesus' life and death that would be ridiculous, were they told about anyone else. Yet people, not only Christians, sense that there is something different about Jesus. Why is Christianity the major target of secularists and militants? Why do dedicated atheists like Richard Dawkins expend energy attacking Christianity? What is it about Jesus that he can motivate and inspire even those who claim not to believe in him?

Jesus Christ WAS God incarnate. Jesus Christ is alive today and for ever more. The child born in Israel 2000 years ago IS the greatest man who ever lived and the ONLY one who can promise salvation for those who believe in him. God offers you charis, his grace freely given; a gift which can never be earned. It is the greatest Christmas present ever. Accept it.

Peace to all the world.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

So much for 'education, education, education'

According to the OECD, the educational attainment of Britain's 15 year olds is dropping down the world rankings. This does not bode well for the future.

I think the problem is deeper than that envisaged by David Laws or Michael Gove, though. The problem is not that of the 'educational establishment', or teachers, or schools, or investment, per se. I don't actually think we would be ranked quite so lowly were that the case.

The problem is society. We have a culture in which it is too easy not to work hard: I don't just mean the chav drop outs; I mean the middle class kids who cruise through dumbed-down exam after dumbed-down exam until they run into the brick wall of life in the real world. I mean the aspirations of many teenage girls to become single mothers in order to get council houses. And that is true.

And it is not always illogical. With property prices as they are; someone with modest earning potential knows that it is next-to-impossible for them to aspire to home ownership, unless... you know the script. Every time one of the tabloids rants about the scrounging family with 20 kids who have moved into a mansion converted out of six council houses, all at the taxpayers' expense, they are getting the wrong targets. The problem is much deeper and more complex. Far from being feckless parasites, these people are pursuing enlightened self-interest. They understand the workings of the market place and they make the right choices for them.

All of which is not conducive to education. Kids turn up at school knowing all of their rights and none of the associated responsibilities. "I'll get you done for that!" is hurled at teachers as a threat. Parents who do not notice when their little darlings post pornography of themselves on social networking sites will be the first to ring up and complain when a 'paedo' (who could be anyone from the bus driver to a concerned head teacher) so much as looks at them.

The kids who turn up without pens and pencils; the kids who never do homework and whose parents do not respond when letters are sent home; the alcohol and drug abuse; the sexual promiscuity; the kids who cannot be excluded because head teachers do not want to admit they have problems in their school or because they are not allowed to by the local authority or who are pressured by Government targets to conceal problems.

The knowledge that Waynes and Waynettas get more money on the dole than Asian sweatshop workers earn for 80 hour weeks so that we can buy consumer goods ever more cheaply.

The knowledge that the Nanny State ensures there is always a 'second chance' and a third, fourth, fifth...

The knowledge that when pupils fail exams, it is teachers who are blamed by kids, by parents, by head teachers, by local authorities, by Government. So they coach kids to pass national assessments, and to hell with trying to turn out balanced citizens.

The parents who never come to parent evenings; the fundraising events which fall flat because of lack of support because in the Nanny State the state should provide everything.

The broken homes where kids don't know who their dad is; or have six half-siblings all by different fathers.

The kids who feel they have a right to text their friends or listen to their Ipods during lessons.

The kids who put vile videos on Youtube, showing teachers being abused.

The teachers whose careers are ruined because of pupils' lies.

The schools which employ a dozen translators for parents' nights, because of parents who do not bother to learn English and cannot communicate with teachers or their own kids.

I could go on. The list is endless. This is why education is failing in this country - not because of the education system, but because this country doesn't function any more. And politicians don't have the balls to say it, because there aren't any votes in it. All that works, politically, is to throw more billions at the problem to pretend it isn't there any more.

The Emperor has no clothes. Someone needs to say it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2007

Iain Dale's Diary alerts Didactophobe to the existence of the above award, being organised by Channel 4.

There are some real numpties among them. One name, however, is very curious: Aishah Azmi. According to the citation, she raised "a voice against discrimination" and "does not seem to be forcing her views on anybody". It is signed by someone called 'Sarah'.

I understood that Aishah Azmi wore her veil because of religious reasons: to find it categorised as a political act seems rather curious. In other parts of the world, Muslim women are raped, beaten and murdered if they dare not to wear the veil.

If you want to find out about Muslim women and discrimination, try Shiva Mahbobi's site. If you want to see how sympathetic this country's liberals are, you can see Shiva and her friend Reza Moradi being threatened and assaulted by left wing scum for daring to interrupt Comrade Benn. Unless they have the chance to attack Christians, Jews, capitalism, the UK, US or the West in general, lefties couldn't care less about human rights.

Back to Aishah: she discriminated against her male colleagues by refusing to remove her veil. As a male teacher, I would certainly object to a colleague treating me as an inferior being who is not worthy to look at them. How are the children supposed to communicate with someone who dresses like Darth Vader?

In my opinion, no one should be allowed to wander around in public with their face completely covered. You have no way of telling if they are male or female, friend or foe.

Bring back Latin

I am fascinated by this article from the Evening Standard concerning the resurgence of Latin in London schools.

Latin can make an outstanding contribution, not just to language ability but also for children's general thinking and reasoning skills. In one Scottish school that I am aware of, Latin was ditched in S1/2 (Years 8/9 for my English readers) and replaced by extra ICT classes. At first glance, ICT may seem to represent 21st Century technology and 'the way to go' - in practice, I am highly dubious as to the efficacy of kids fiddling around with computers as a discrete subject. I have considerably better ICT skills than the vast majority of pupils in any school where I have taught; yet my skills are self-taught.

A friend who is a Latin teacher made the point that anyone who is serious about taking their ICT skills to a high level would actually be better learning Latin - by the time you have got your head around your vocative cases and your ablative absolutes, you will have covered not only every grammatical construct that you will ever encounter in any other language you study, but also have the sort of analytical and reasoning skills that are invaluable to a whole range of careers, eg computer programming.

So, there is my solution. When I am a head teacher, ICT as a discrete subject in S1/2 gets binned and it is 'welcome back' to Latin. With a move to a 33 period week, maybe we don't actually need to bin anything, come to think of it. Just give Latin one of the 33 periods.

Wot, no Wendy?

I had hoped that Wendy Alexander's election agent Terry Kelly would illuminate us about her recent financial controversies. Not even a snippet, though. The pair of them are pictured together here, and a lovely pair they make. Back on 17 August, Terry was keen to show his support for her.

I must say, his forecast that Wendy will become First Minister of Scotland now looks distinctly unlikely.

Going down, going down, going down (2)

Tip for would-be fraudsters: Keep a low profile. Being elected your local mayor; getting chauffeured around and appearing at public events whilst claiming disability benefit is going to arouse the suspicions of the doziest social security fraud investigator.

This advice was not heeded, unfortunately, by ex-Labour councillor John Walker and his wife, who are both starting prison terms. As Billy Connolly might have put it, Mr Walker looks as though he is no stranger to a fish supper and a few months of porridge might be just what he needs. One suspects that his swollen arms, legs and head, not to mention his 'extreme pain and discomfort' when walking might be to do with him being a fat lump.


Update: Apparently, they were using the money to pay for their daughter to attend a private school - and what socialist wouldn't?

Monday, 3 December 2007

Beyond a joke

I had intended this to be a satirical post on the state of education. Unfortunately, when I began to research it, I discovered so many facts that are beyond parody I had to completely change my focus.

Apparently, officials from the amateur boxing world want their hideous 'sport' included in the National Curriculum. A spokesman, describes it as 'injustice' - eh? - and had been hoping that it would also be included at GCSE level (I think the Torygraph reporter may be confused about some of the educational terms involved). What the hell would employers or colleges make of a young person who proudly displays his (or her - once it's there, you can't discriminate) GCSE in boxing?

What school and which local authority would take the risk of lawsuits after a child got brain damaged from boxing? A colleague of mine from a neighbouring authority has to complete a ten page risk assessment before he can take his chess - yes, chess - team to an away match. Where would you start with a sport whose objective is to inflict brain damage?

According to Sunday's News of the World, Edexcel is planning to have exam scripts marked in India this summer. Didactophobe marks for a major exam board and is absolutely horrified by this prospect - not just because he earns a useful amount each summer from marking exam scripts. All the major boards have either moved, or are moving, to online marking, which means that scripts are scanned and are then marked by teachers sitting at home.

This saves the exam boards a huge amount of money and does have some advantages. However, having marking done overseas is a step too far. Anyone who spends two years teaching a GCSE or A Level course is entitled to presume that their students will either pass the course, or be failed by someone with equal competence and qualification to themselves. Students and parents are also entitled to know that the scripts are being marked by people who are qualified to teach in this country, not by persons unknown thousands of miles away. Many people with experience of Indian call centres will be shocked to think that their child's exam success could depend on the accuracy of foreign markers who may or may not be able to find Britain on a map.

Meanwhile, 40% of English children are failing to reach the appropriate standards in basic skills of reading, writing and maths.

We have a five year old being expelled from primary school after punching a teacher after the child's mother had begged the local authority to provide a place in a special school for them. When will the public learn that social inclusion is about saving money, not about providing opportunities for children. Including children with severe special needs in mainstream schools disrupts the learning of other children, whilst failing to meet the needs of those it is meant to help.

And we have the tragic case of Bob MacKenzie.

If you want to know what is really going on in schools, grab a copy of Frank Chalk's excellent book, It's your time you're wasting or take a look at the comments of former union leader, Alan McKenzie.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

A week is a long time in politics...

It is precisely one week since I posted the question How bent is Labour?, and today one answer is obvious: even more bent than we believed possible last week.

According to the Sunday Post (Jings, Crivvens, Help ma Boab), Gordon Brown 'has put pressure on Wendy Alexander not to quit'. If you are unfamiliar with the Sunday Post, let me assure you that it is not the sort of newspaper to run sensationalist stories. Quite the opposite. It is a quaint and homely organ of DC Thomson, whose 'The Broons' cartoon has provided the inspiration for Private Eye's 'The Broonites'.

If this story is true, then it demonstrates unbelievable moral cowardice on the part of the Prime Minister. He has already shamed the office which he holds by his cynical manipulation of 'the Election that never was'. According to the Sunday Post, Broon believes that if Wendy Alexander falls on her sword, he will be forced to do the decent thing, too. I am beginning to believe that this might just, absolutely counter-intuitively, given the Labour majority, be sufficient to bring down this sleaze-ridden Government sooner than anyone dared hope.

Labour was fortunate to have two politicians in a generation with genuine brilliance: Bliar and Broon. At first, they were surrounded by less talented but pretty able people. Broon is now holding the fort on his own, with absolutely no one with the ability to share the burden. If he goes, New Labour is finished. Perhaps it is already. The dustbin of history awaits.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Miss China is Miss World

What a shame it is no longer PC for this to appear on terrestrial television.

Miss China's favourite activities are the 100 metres and the high jump - yeah, right. And she wants to 'support those in need'. In other words, the sort of tosh that Miss World contestants have always spouted.

They have a new campaign though - Miss Angola wants to "spread awareness about AIDS/HIV". Don't worry, Miss Angola. Millions of male students/social misfits wanking about your pageant are in no danger from AIDS or HIV.

And there's more: "a week after Chinese state media reported hotels in Beijing have been ordered to stock condoms in every room". Well, the hotel we stayed in last year had ample supplies of condoms and other nicknacks in the bedrooms - one for every taste (literally). The English translations on the packets of what you were to do with them were predictably hilarious.

The lefties and apologists miss the point - we ALL insult Muhammad

Looking at the pictures of the savage protests in Sudan, the following thought occurs to me:

The crowd's chant of "Those who insult the Prophet of Islam should be punished with bullets" applies to whom, exactly?

The Prophet of Islam is Muhammad. Muslim belief is centred that the Qur'an was dictated by the angel Jibril (Gabriel) to Muhammad in a series of messages brought directly from Allah. It is, therefore, the literal and precise word of Allah.

If you accept the above belief, you are a Muslim.



If you do not accept the above belief, you are not a Muslim. This leads to several possibilities:

1. You are evil. You are knowingly rejecting the word of God. Your insult Allah and his Prophet. Those Sudanese protestors (logically) want you dead.

2. You believe Muhammad was a liar and warmonger, who used the above belief to manipulate superstitious savages into fighting for him. This explains the spread of Islam by force across the Middle East and North Africa. Your belief insults Muhammad, but not God (if you are right: Hell mend you if you are wrong). Those Sudanese protestors (logically) want you dead.

3. You believe Muhammad was a madman and warmonger, who used the above belief to manipulate superstitious savages into fighting for him. This explains the spread of Islam by force across the Middle East and North Africa. Your belief insults Muhammad, but not God (if you are right: Hell mend you if you are wrong). Those Sudanese protestors (logically) want you dead.

4. You believe Muhammad was mistaken, despite the fact that the revelations took place over many visitations. Perhaps he imagined it all. Perhaps it was inspired by Satan. Your belief insults Muhammad, but not God (if you are right: Hell mend you if you are wrong). Those Sudanese protestors (logically) want you dead.


The Muslim belief in the divine revelation to Muhammad, like the Christian belief in Jesus as the son of God, leaves no middle way. It is either true or it isn't. Either the man in question was whom he claimed to be, or not. If he was not, then he was a fraud and you are logically obliged to recognise this.

I believe that Jesus was whom he claimed to be. I believe that Muhammad was a false prophet. I love the Muslim as my neighbour, but I cannot in a million years recognise their beliefs as anything other than deeply mistaken.

Going down, going down, going down...

...according to the Daily Record, at any rate.

It is clear that someone, somewhere, is fibbing big time over the sundry Labour donor scandals. Perhaps lots of people are. Perhaps some of them are elected politicians.

For the ultra-loyal Daily Record to speculate on the prospect of a leading Labour politician going to prison takes some doing. As Scotland's largest-circulation newspaper by far, it played an enormous role in turning Scotland's politics against the Tories in the 1980s and 90s.

The cash-for-honours investigation came to a rather unsatisfactory conclusion. I hope the police investigations over these donations will be conducted free from political interference and the due process of law will be followed.

I suspect that, as they tuck into the turkey in some Labour households this Christmas, one or two people will be reflecting on the fact that they may have rather different surroundings this time next year.

All of this is only newsworthy, of course, because of the incessant Labour attacks on 'Tory sleaze' in the 1990s, Blair's intent to be 'purer than pure' and the subsequent reform of the law governing party donations.

Apparently, Blair now regrets it all. I'll bet he does!

Friday, 30 November 2007

Tories are sexier

According to the great Boris Johnson, 'voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts'. Well, Didactophobe has nothing to worry about on that, er, front.

Today's Daily Mail highlight's Theresa May's choice of top for yesterday's PMQs. There are rumours that she is trying to compete with Jacqui Smith - yeah, right. There is NO contest, folks. Theresa wins with a double whammy.

Jill Parkin in today's Mail has criticised Theresa, saying that she would not expect her dentist to expose 'a plunging neckline'. As my dentist is a man of a certain age, I would concur with that. However, she misses the point. Dentists are expected to be experts in their field and to get on with their job of keeping your teeth healthy. MPs are jacks-of-all-trades, for whom presentation is a large part of the job. Theresa helps to present a stylish, lively image for the Tories: let's have more of it!

"We are all Christians"

Today is St Andrew's day; brother of Peter, the Rock on which Jesus would build his church (Matthew 16:18). The founder of the Christian church in Byzantium would no doubt have been curious to read the above message displayed on a banner in Istanbul last week.

The Orthodox Church regards Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople Patriarch of Constantinople, to be the direct successor in an unbroken line back to Andrew himself, although their city is, sadly, no longer Christian.

Anyhoo, the demonstrators last week were protesting against the increasing intimidation and violence practised against Christians in Turkey. For decades, Turks have recognised the unquantifiable debt which they owe to Ataturk, who dragged the country out of the Middle Ages and out of its humiliating defeat in WW1. He did so by smashing the power of Islamic leaders and by re-inventing Turkey as a modern, secular, European state. However, we live in dangerous times. There are huge discrepancies in wealth and lifestyle in Turkey. The standard of living for the elite in Istanbul is comparable to western cities.

Cross over the Bosphorus and you pass, figuratively and literally, from Europe into Asia. The peasants of the south and east of the country close to the borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran have not shared in all the progress the country has made. Nor, in common with western cities, have the urban poor of Istanbul. This is fertile ground for resentment and hatred. If the dispossessed and downtrodden of western cities arm themselves, they are despised and prosecuted - rightly, of course. When their Muslim equivalents do likewise, they have cheerleaders by the million, ranging from the peasant fanatics on the other side of some of the world's most dangerous borders right up to the governments of Iran and Syria. It isn't really hard to see why many young men, with little else in their lives, find that attractive.

The sentiments expressed by the protestors in Istanbul were courageous and right. Civilised people of faith are under attack from an unholy trinity of fanatics, secularists and atheists. Where it is appropriate, we have to seek common ground with each other.

More Christophobia

Funnily enough, Mr Mole somehow sounds like an appropriate name for the villain of this story from the Daily Telegraph.

Cristina Odone had been asked to write a piece for the carol service to be held at St Martin-in-the-Fields this Christmas that would be 'political and controversial'. When she did precisely that, Mr Mole informed her that it was too Christian for a 'multi-faith' service.

And therein lies the problem. 'Multi-faith' is a weasel phrase normally used by people with no faith at all: at the heart of it is usually an intention to undermine and demean all faiths. There is no such thing as multi-faith: you either have faith in something or you don't. If you don't feel able to participate in a Christian service, then don't. It would be bizarre if a mosque, mandir or synagogue were invited to host a 'multi-faith' anything at all, and of course it would not be PC to do so. Attacking the Christian faith is, uniquely, permitted. Atheists should be grateful for the freedoms that living in a Christian country, uniquely, gives them. These facts are not unconnected.

The event planned by the Royal Commonwealth Society is patently not Christian, and it is offensive to Christians that it should take place in a church at all. Let the Royal Commonwealth Society retreat to a secular place for their secular sing-song.

Even worse than Sudan?

Even more horrific than the Gillian Gibbons case is the one of the so-called Qatif girl in Saudi Arabia.

Gang-raped by seven thugs, she faces 200 lashes as punishment for being in the presence of a man other than a relative. Not to mention six months' imprisonment. And a brother who wants to murder her for bringing dishonour to her family.

She is fortunate to have a husband who loves her and who supports her in all of this. If he does not believe that she is an adultress, it is beyond my comprehension why anyone else should feel she needs to be punished.

Do remember, a survey last year indicated that 40% of BRITISH Muslims support the introduction of Shari'a law in this country.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello

So, the Met is being called in to investigate the alleged financial illegality in the funding of the Labour Party. Meanwhile, according to the latest YouGov poll, the Tories now have an 11 point lead, the biggest since 1988.

I must admit, I used to have a lot of time for Broon. I suspect that if he had had the bottle to challenge for the Labour leadership earlier (in 1992, for example, he could have cemented himself in to being the eventual successor to John Smith), and had been successful, the country would have been better governed over the last ten years. However, he had to wait too long. That meant too much frustration for him all those years and, as David Cameron said at PMQs yesterday, he is now increasingly not cut out for the job.

New Labour has been sleazy for years. It is a shame that Bliar managed to move on, while Broon is the man who is likely to be destroyed by it, but destroyed he will be.

Facebook - blessing or curse?

For the first few months I had a Facebook account, I did not have any friends. I do now. And I have been quite pleasantly pleased to add a rather well-known blogger and sundry real-life friends and acquaintances, past and present.

However, the deluge of mindless messages does get on my tits. I do not want to have sheep thrown at me, nor be chest bumped, hugged or headbutted by people I haven't met for years. One has even thrown an imaginary snowball at me. Maybe I am just getting old and cynical, but FFS people! And if I ever get poked, kissed, licked or spanked by any of them, I am claiming sexual harassment.

Mrs Didactophobe leaves the NHS...

... in exchange for the private sector, in exchange for a 30% pay rise, shorter working hours and a culture which is not dominated by pen-pushers keeping themselves in a job. Didactophobe is happy.

Teacher sentenced to 15 days' imprisonment

Well, I suppose it is less bad than being flogged to death. However, the sentence passed on Gillian Gibbons today still demonstrates mind-boggling backwardness and mean-spiritedness.

What are we to make of a country which, over the last three years, has hoovered up £275 million of our infidel aid, yet which sticks two fingers up at an appeal for clemency over the naming of a teddy bear? I am not sure that I can find the words to express it.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Fascist scum oppose free speech

Predictably enough, hoardes of left wing thugs have disrupted an attempt by the Oxford Union to host a debate involving Nick Griffin and David Irving.

David Irving has rather peculiar beliefs about the Holocaust, but to his credit they were sincere enough for him to go to prison over. Nick Griffin, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that the BNP is not a racist political party. We may have reservations about that, but in a free society they deserve the chance to accept an invitation to address a private meeting on private property. We may dislike what they say, but behaving like Nazi or Stasi thugs is not the way to oppose them.

Of course it won't happen, but I would like to think that if the hooligans who disrupted the meeting were Oxford students, they would be thrown out of the university for this behaviour. Attending university, especially a world-class one like Oxford, should encourage people to open their minds and be willing to listen to alternative points of view. If the students find they disagree with what is said, they should exercise their brain cells and demonstrate why it is wrong, not behave like petulant infants.

Labour drowning in sleaze

So, now that David Abrahams has been officially outed as the secret donor behind Ray Ruddick and Janet Kidd, the BBC alleges that there was ANOTHER £200,000 donated via a solicitor.

Apparently, Mr Abrahams is claiming that he was ignorant of the electoral law. It may be a bit harder for a solicitor to make the same claim.

Labour's general secretary has at least had the decency to resign, which is unusual these days. How much did Gordon Brown know about all of this? PMQs should be rather interesting: Brown is rocking and just waiting for Cameron to punch him out.

A bear called Mohammed...

... is offensive, in Sudan. Not a pig called Mohammed, you could see their point about that - maybe. But a teddy bear.

A British school teacher called Gillian Gibbons is being held in a Sudanese police station because she allowed a primary school class to name a teddy bear 'Mohammed'. She didn't name it herself; didn't force it on them: they chose it.

In a country CIA World Factbook describes as suffering from "inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification and periodic drought", not to mention a life expectancy of barely 50 for women and 48 for men; a literacy level for women of barely 50%; unemployment nearly 20%; per capita GDP of $2400 and 15% of the population are refugees, do you laugh or weep at the authorities' sense of priorities?

Well, I weep. I weep that the authorities there follow the hateful beliefs which have led to brutal oppression of Christians and other minorities; I weep that human life means so little to the evil regime of Ahmed al-Bashir; I weep that, as always, it is innocent victims who suffer.


UPDATE 2245: The British Embassy in Sudan is reporting that Gillian Gibbons faces 40 lashes for blasphemy. This is savagery. Until 1956, Sudan was a British colony - can anyone seriously argue that independence has been a good thing?

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Shagging the village bike

I have restrained myself until now, but I have to mention this story. A man who has severe problems with alcohol ended up in a homeless hostel. Somewhere that you might think he would receive some measure of sympathy and understanding.

He had a wank (as most of us do) and his self-pleasure involved an inanimate object (as it does for many of us). He locked the door of his room because he did not want to disturb anyone else.

A couple of cleaners entered his room (and of course he should have heard them knocking, and told them to stay out) and witnessed him having a wank. Now, what kind of cleaners work in homeless hostels? Would it be unreasonable to presume that they tend to be hard-bitten sorts, certainly not blushing Victorian virgins? How shocked could they have been.

It must be an occupational hazard for cleaners/chambermaids etc in any kind of hotel or hostel setting to come across sexual activity. The man should have been more considerate, of course, but he has problems. That was why he was in the hostel to begin with.

What a shocking waste of money to bring this case to court. How utterly despicable that this man should be publicly humiliated.

How BENT is Labour?

The latest example of corruption from our governing party - one of its largest 'donors' is a builder who claims to know nothing about the donation made in his name.

£381,850 donated by two ordinary working people, or so we are asked to believe. I suppose it explains why Mrs Kidd's husband is "not happy with her". If I discovered that Mrs Didactophobe had been writing huge cheques to a political party, I would certainly have words with her.

I trust that the police will be investigating this thoroughly. If Mr Ruddick sticks to his latest story that he "made donations to Labour... which totalled £80,000", I presume that Mr Taxman will also be intrigued to know where he got the money from.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Bob MacKenzie - victim of political correctness

Dedicated teacher Bob MacKenzie was, according to newspaper reports, the victim of a racially aggravated assault by a pupil. Yet he loses his job, while the thug who attacked him walks off scot-free and his anonymity is protected. Where is the justice in that?

What also gets on my tits is the quote from his employer, "As far as the school is concerned, that is the end of the matter." Again, we don't know the identity of the pen pusher concerned, but doubtless Cheshire County Council (like every other local authority) displays signs on its premises warning that anyone who abuses a member of staff is liable to be prosecuted and that assaults on staff will not be tolerated. Every time a teacher is assaulted, all of that goes out the window. Young thugs get away with behaviour which, were it to happen outside of school, would get them a sacking, a severe kicking, or put behind bars, depending on the context.

There is no word of a teacher union being involved - have they just abandoned the guy? Who in their right mind would accept a job at Knutsford High School, or in any Cheshire school, knowing that they are liable to be thrown to the wolves if a pupil takes a disliking to them? Cheshire County Council needs to show some moral fibre and offer the man his job back - pronto.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Spot the Taliban man

Can you tell the difference between this and this Anwar Khan?

I can only say, that if a Mr Didactophobe (or my real name) were released from Guantanamo Bay, I would expect people who knew me to make some good humoured comment. I would probably join in the fun. If there were some obvious facial feature (the beard in the Messrs Khan case), then I would know I was in for some serious banter. If there was systematic bullying of Mr Khan, then obviously that is unacceptable. I was not there, after all. However, from what I read, his complaint seems weaker than a cup of weak tea where the tea-maker has omitted the tea. And the cup.

School leaving age

According to the Queen's Speech, the school leaving age is to be raised to 18 in England and Wales.

Utter insanity! I have taught in England and I have seen kids in Year 9 who should have been allowed to leave at the end of Year 9. They were not academically-inclined, but were perfectly capable of taking up an apprenticeship at the age of 14. By the end of Year 11, and actual names spring to mind, their behaviour had significantly deteriorated and they were now considerably less employable than they would have been two years earlier before they had accumulated extra baggage.

Equally, there are lots of kids who leave at the age of 16 because they do not have support from their families (I was one), who would have dearly loved to stay on longer and would indeed have benefited from it. So, here is a sensible solution:

Introduce a flexible leaving age - allow young people to leave school at 14 if they have an apprenticeship/job/college course lined up and they have agreed a plan for future education and training up to age 18 with a careers adviser. That way, the less academic do not find themselves practising French verbs all the way to age 16 or 18, but they do need to have some kind of career planning.

By age 18, all young people should have spent the previous four years doing something constructive, and that would be a considerable improvement on the current situation. We also need to address the cultural problems. Academic and vocational courses have to be given equal status: a skilled plumber or electrician or carpenter is going to earn far more than most of us who have degrees, after all. There are also plenty of opportunities for partnership between schools and local colleges to allow young people to follow a combination of educational and vocational courses.

I agree entirely that young people should be compelled to be in education or training until age 18. The years from 14-18 are absolutely crucial in determining whether someone is going to be able to function as a useful member of society: it is when they are most vulnerable to committing their first crimes; indulging in promiscuity leading to single parenthood; experimenting with drugs etc etc. All of this means that they must have contact with appropriate adults throughout those years. However, there has to be flexibility. Keeping disruptive youngsters behind school desks in order to massage unemployment figures would be failing them, let alone those whose education would be ruined because of them.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

More loonies

You have probably never heard of the British Youth Council. Apparently, they are whining about 'unfair' campaigns which try to show young people that throwing eggs, flour and fireworks at people is a jolly bad thing to do. Read this: "the vast majority of youngsters... only use flour and eggs for cooking". BOLLOCKS! How often do young people barge in front of you in the queue at Tesco to buy flour and eggs to bake a cake for their dear old mum? Me neither. Bollocks and double bollocks.

If you want a sensible campaign for this time of year, then take a look at this one: Ban the bang is a campaign to ban fireworks. Why not also add your signature to the Petition to ban fireworks?

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Well, bugger me!

A caring couple of foster parents have become the latest victims of Christophobia. In the Marxist Republic of Somerset, the local social services have informed Vincent and Pauline Matherick that they are not fit people to look after children because they are not prepared to promote homosexuality to 11 year olds.

The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum, haven't they? In a sane society, people who do promote sexual behaviour (gay, straight, pigfucking, whatever) to 11 year olds are recognised as paedophiles and have their collars felt by police. Ten years of the vile, atheist New Labour government and we are fast approaching the world which George Orwell forecast in '1984', where truth is lies and lies are truth and normal is perverted and perverted is obligatory.

Would a Muslim family have been discriminated against? Silly me. They are the one group which takes priority over the homosexuals.

Footnote: I just had to find out. Somerset County Council is controlled by the Liberal Democrats. You had guessed, hadn't you?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

'Tormented' by Andy McLaren

This is the book I have been reading over the last couple of days. It tells the story of a remarkable guy. Andy McLaren is one of my favourite footballers.

At first glance, he has had a reasonably successful career: 1 Scotland cap; 1 Scottish Cup win; a couple of runners up medals; just under 400 matches for fair-to-middling provincial teams; decent enough but hardly legend material.

Then consider this: for the majority of that career, he was binge drinking, sinking crates of Budweiser at a time and for much of it he was also on cocaine as well as other drugs. When you read what he was on, it is astonishing that he was able to function at all, let alone pursue a footballing career. Andy himself in the book estimates that for the majority of his career, he was playing to no more than 60%-70% of his potential, if that. To anyone who had the pleasure of seeing Andy anywhere near his best, it is intriguing to contemplate how phenomenally good he would have been at full fitness.

It all came to a head when he was sacked by Reading in 2000, having failed a random drugs test. A spell in the Priory followed this, which helped Andy come to terms with his alcoholism. I had the pleasure of watching him many times when he was playing for Kilmarnock: he was both fascinating and frustrating; being able to do anything with a ball, yet never being too far from self-destructing. In his book, Andy explains that being sexually abused as a child was a dark secret which ate away at him even after he had dealt with the alcoholism.

It is tragic that Andy did not achieve more in his career. He has achieved more than most players, but then most players are not fit to lace his boots. There are guys who have won 50 caps and are not fit to lace Andy's boots. However, thank God that he has survived it all: Andy says that he wants to work in some kind of counselling capacity when he hangs up his boots, and I certainly hope that he gets the opportunity to do that.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Scrapping 'right to buy'

According to the Daily Record, the SNP administration of the regional assembly in Edinburgh (sorry, Scottish Government as they now call themselves - och the noo, up yir kilt Jimmy)is planning to abolish the 'right to buy' for council and housing association homes.

I believe firmly that it is misguided. Yes, the system is abused. Yes, there is a shortage of affordable housing in many areas which has to be addressed. However, it is wrong on several counts:

1. The major problem is that single mothers are prioritised. Some girl gets herself pregnant and she is rewarded by a house in perpetuity, paid for by the taxpayer. Meanwhile, decent people on modest incomes who try to earn a living for themselves see no chance of getting on to the private housing ladder, nor any chance of a council house. If we are to solve the problem, we need to crack down on this abuse. By all means, let us have hostels for single mothers, which give them a roof over their heads and a safe environment in which to raise their bastards. But don't reward them with handouts which poor but decent people cannot even dream of.

2. Similar to the above: why are we handing out houses to so-called 'asylum seekers'?
As I wrote on 26 July, "Genuine refugees do not need council houses, social workers, outreach workers or truckloads of welfare benefits. They need a place where they will be safe from their enemies and enjoy three square meals a day. They could get this quite easily whilst locked up in a detention centre"

3. It makes the labour force less mobile, increasingly so since there is such a housing shortage. If I buy my council house (as I did), I can sell up and move to another part of the country if required by my job (as I did). If you do not have the option to buy, you as the tenant may find yourself with two options: (1) Decline an offer of work to continue living on benefits or (2) Accept an offer of work; give up the security of your home and risk ending up homeless if the job doesn't work out.

4. Most people who buy their council houses continue to live in them. In the short to medium-term it makes no difference to the supply of housing whether the houses are bought or rented. In the long-term, the house will be sold, probably for less than the average price of a private house, thereby creating a relatively low-cost opportunity for a new homeowner.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Wasting Police Time, by PC David Copperfield

I am working my way through this excellent and terrifying book about the experiences of a modern police constable. It is obvious that the legal system in this country is such an utter shambles that, rather than expressing surprise or concern about crime levels, we should maybe express wonder that our society is as relatively peaceful as it is. Like every public 'service' these days, the police are over-run with pen-pushers more interested in preserving jobs for themselves and their ilk rather than actually serving the public.

Absolutely delighted, of course, that having left the police here PC Copperfield is off to begin a new law enforcement career in Canada. Lucky blighter!

Friday, 19 October 2007

"Tough sentence... will act as a deterrent" says DCI

"What is the tough sentence?" you may ask. Chopping off shoplifters' hands or rapists' goolies? In a local newspaper (the Greenock Telegraph, since you ask) from about 100 years ago, I once read a story about a couple of young boys who were flogged for stealing a pocket watch. That was a tough sentence.

Nowadays, a tough sentence is this - two measly years detention for the vermin who killed an old man by throwing stones at him. When they are released in no time at all, they will come out of their detention centre as tougher, meaner criminals who know that in Britain of 2007 people like them really can get away with murder (OK, I know it was technically 'manslaughter'; but I do not have a brilliant legal mind like yours: I am just the sort of punter who pays your wages.)

Of course, the little darlings are protected by anonymity - their names cannot be revealed because of their 'rights'. Now let's think this through. When the scum are released, the youngest will still only be 14. That means at least two more years of compulsory education; two years in which other children will have to be educated alongside a killer; two years in which those children will not have the right to know they have a killer in their midst; two years in which teachers will not have the right to know that the truculent child in front of them is not just making idle threats: they have a track record in killing an adult who got in their way. What about their rights? They don't have any, do they? Silly question.

It doesn't always involve killers, but the above scenario happens at schools up and down the country. Sex offenders and other criminals are mollycoddled and innocent children and their teachers are put in danger because the law and the pinko liberals do not recognise that some children are just evil and that the rest of us need to be protected from them.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

M8 - Major car park

I travelled from Glasgow to Edinburgh (round trip) today. OK, I was travelling at rush hour both times. OK, I would usually take the train but I didn't get my fat arse out of bed on time. But...

For much of the journey, the motorway was like one huge car park. Hundreds of cars stopped or crawling along at a snail's pace. The road urgently needs an extra lane in each direction. But...

Doesn't that just increase congestion in the long run, because the volume of traffic will expand along with the road's capacity to handle it? And there is the environmental impact, which I am not happy about.

Edinburgh itself, of course, urgently needs the park-and-ride facilities which other cities have. It has a ring road of sorts, although this needs upgrading, and we desperately need the sort of integrated transport network that politicians have spoken about for years without actually solving.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Immigration

Not an easy issue. One of those where it is easy to be branded as a racist, which along with paedophile, is the modern equivalent of being called a witch in the 17th Century.

Various statistics are banded around. £6 billion contributed to the economy by immigrants: £8.8 billion taken out of the economy. The truth is, that no one really seems to know whether immigration is definitively a good or a bad thing. What is bad is that the most densely populated country in Europe is gaining about 200,000 extra people each year, with the Government having abrogated all responsibility for monitoring the borders or managing immigration.

Is it good or bad that six immigrants share a room; go out each day and work long hours to earn enough to send home to their families; price indigenous workers out of a job and meanwhile 5 million of our fellow citizens are being supported on benefits?

Like the curate's egg, it is good in parts and bad in parts.

Good that we are gaining hard working people; good that they contribute to the economy; bad that it leads to public services being overwhelmed by people who cannot speak a word of English; bad that people who could fill these jobs are sitting on their arses (through choice or compulsion); bad that the net immigration masks huge numbers of emigrants, many of whom take large amounts of wealth out of the country as they head for sunnier climes.

And I wouldn't want to stop my Latvians being able to earn a crust.

Still, if it means Tory voters heading to live in France and Labour voters being kept in lucrative public service jobs to manage the hoardes of immigrants, guess what the Government is going to do about it? And who is going to pay for the whole shibang?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

BLINKing nonsense

The taxpayer-funded BLINK organisation reports that a Conservative councillor in Croydon has said that he will not support BoJo's candidacy for Mayor of London because of alleged 'racist remarks'.

Unfortunately, BLINK does not appear to have given us any examples of Johnson's alleged racism in its article. Having read many of Johnson's writings, I find it impossible to believe that he has a racist cell in his entire being.

Perhaps a clue lies in the final paragraph: Cllr Taylor... caused a stir earlier this year after losing his job as cabinet member for community cohesion. He described the fact there were no black or ethnic minority cabinet members on the council as "despicable".

So... man loses job... man causes a stir... man throws the proverbial rattle out of the proverbial pram... man finds easy way of getting some attention. Or am I being too cynical?

Monday, 15 October 2007

Al Gore

I am delighted that Al Gore has won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Whatever else we believe on any other issue, we have to protect the planet that we live on. When a magnificent animal like the polar bear is threatened with extinction, we have to act and act fast.

As a Christian, I have a certain ambivalence, however. Yes, we must do what we can. Equally, this world is not meant to last for ever. Read Mark 13:7-8: it is bloody frightening. Wars, famines, earthquakes and that is only the beginning, boyo. God has a plan and we must have faith that he knows best.

I once heard Rev Ewan Aitken, leader of Edinburgh City Council, say something which I reckon is good advice: Pray as though only God can solve the problem, and work as though only you can solve it.

End of the Ming dynasty

So. Farewell then, Ming. It is actually quite sad. Whatever role he played in the slaying of Charles Kennedy, Ming seems to be a genuinely decent guy who, like Michael Foot, will be remembered as a bumbling old fool who was his party's worst leader rather than for the distinguished career in several fields which preceded it. It is probably unkind to suggest that he was only elected leader following the debacle of the leadership contest because he was too old to get up to sexual shenanigans like this or this: he was (wrongly) seen as a safe pair of hands.

So whither now? Chris Huhne is much spoken of, but with a tiny majority in Eastleigh the last thing the Lib Dems want is a leader who could lose his seat. Nick Clegg and Steve Webb both have safe seats and appear to have considerable support in their party. Politics just gets more and more interesting, doesn't it?

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Brown is finished - good riddance

It is obvious, as confirmed by this poll in the Sunday Torygraph, that Broon is a political cadaver just waiting to be buried. Good riddance to him. He had it all - if he had had the courage to call an election, he would have won. Broon reminds me of one of my favourite political proverbs, that politicians are like bananas. They start off green and straight, but finish up yellow and bent.

Let's give Neil Kinnock credit, too. The Tories were heading for defeat in 1992, before he held his infamous Sheffield Rally to hand them victory on a plate. What is his view of Broon's vision for Britain? Schools, hospitals, jobs, economy, environment? Not a bit of it. He wants to grind the bastards into dust. One foul mouthed rant, and a reason not to vote Labour is firmly implanted in voters' minds. Lots of politicians appear not to be terribly bright, but Kinnock is the only one who has struck me as actually being thick.

Broon's bluff has been called, well and truly. He has no vision for Britain. He was the future, once. Like John Major in late 1992, the only issue for him is how long to grip what little power he has until he is forced to go. A lame duck PM - not exactly what the country needs, but if it is what we must endure to get rid of this shower, then so be it.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Public transport, eh?

I had a longish journey to make this afternoon, and for a change I decided to get an express coach. The driver asked me for £8.10, so I handed her £10.10 and waited for my £2 change. She didn't notice the 10p, which she dropped. She scrutinised the tenner as though it were a £9 note issued by Northern Rock before initialling it. The conversation then went as follows -


Driver: Have you got the 10 pence?

Me: I gave you it, you dropped it.

Driver (looking as though I had suggested anal sex): You GAVE me it?

Me: Yes. You didn't notice and you dropped it.

Driver: You never gave me it.

Me: Yes, I did. Look. There it is on the floor.

[Driver eventually deigns to look down and sees the coin].


I had honestly believed that she was not going to allow me on the bus. I wish more people would use public transport, but every time I experience it I can see why people don't.

Latvians

Wow - nearly three weeks since my last post. Anyhoo, I haven't written about Latvia enough. I was on a course in Oxford over the weekend and on my first day I was late. Oxford is definitely not car-friendly. However, on the second day I was up bright and early and stopped off at Sainsbury's for my Daily Mail. As I got out the car, a man who turned out to be Latvian asked if I would like my car washed. Since my car was filthy, I told him that would be lovely. Two of his compatriots then got to work, being absolutely meticulous in cleaning and polishing every inch of it and all for £5, although I also gave them a £5 tip.

If I had been wearing a hat, I would have undoubtedly doffed it to these young men. To come to a strange country in search of a better life; to show some enterprise and initiative rather than expecting a meal ticket and to be so damned decent and hard-working. Well done, chaps!

Frankly, it did get me thinking. Why are we allowing millions of people to live on social security benefits when there are clearly jobs out there for anyone who bothers to get off their arse? When I were young... in the 1980s... mass unemployment was a big issue. I didn't have much time for the miners, but at least they wanted to work. Nowadays, there are just as many people unemployed, but it is not as big an issue. Why not? Because the majority of unemployed now do not want to work: they know that the socialist government will keep them in benefits in exchange for their votes. The Tories have abandoned any thought of tax cuts and have pledged to maintain the record levels of taxing and spending that the decent majority (and there still is one) are required to fund.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

What is Michael Ancram up to?

Just as the Tories close the gap in the opinion polls (and are ahead in many key marginals), Brown is slipping and David Cameron sees a chance once again of becoming PM, Michael Ancram launches an attack on Cameron, accusing him of 'trashing' Thatcherism.

I am confused. There must be two Michael Ancrams around. One has twice lost seats in Scotland, and that Michael Ancram would surely be aware of the near-terminal decline of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Wales and the North of England in recent decades, and accelerated exponentially by Thatcher's influence - Scots, Welsh and northerners found it difficult if not impossible to identify themselves as what she called 'our people', after all. I know, because I was one of them. The other Michael Ancram has a nice safe seat in Devizes and can be excused for being unfamiliar with the situation north of Watford.

David Cameron has set himself the very tough task of reaching out to non-traditional Tories. At the local elections in May, this worked spectacularly. We won seats and councils in areas which had never voted Tory before, or had not done so for decades. These voters would not have elected neo-Thatcherites for the blindingly obvious reason that 25 years ago they did not vote for the originals.

Dave may be getting things right. Ancram has, in my humble opinion, little track record of his own with which to attack him.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

More drivel from Mr Kelly

Mr Kelly reports about 'two courageous Paisley women' who travelled to the Gaza Strip. I don't know whether they are related to these women who visited the West Bank, ie a very different situation. Still, I suspect that Kelly doesn't know the difference between the Gaza Strip and Paul Gascoigne's discarded football kit.

Kelly's hysterical reporting about the Israelis 'gassing women and children' conjures up pictures of the Somme circa 1916. The actual story seems to be rather less dramatic; tear gas being used to disperse a demonstration. Why were there any children around? What kind of vile parents would subject their children to the dangers of that kind of protest?

Apparently, the two ladies intend to return to 'give poor families a few dollars'. What planet do these people inhabit? If the billions which the late Yasser Arafat stole were returned to the Palestinian people, then maybe they would not be struggling so badly. If the Palestinian Authority had built factories, homes, schools and hospitals when Gaza was unilaterally returned to them by Israel, rather than building bombs, then without any doubt the plight of the inhabitants would be less severe.

Say 'hello' to Wendy's election agent - Mr Terry Kelly

Here is the guy. A man who claims to 'oppose racism, nationalism... and any kind of discrimination'.

To paraphrase Fox News once again, "I report, you decide".

He is keen to support the cuddly old Palestinians. Here is what he has to say in support of their nationalism: "60 yrs. of invasion and killing by Israel"; "a massive fence has been built to imprison Arabs and steal more land, an Aparthied Fence"; "Palestine is still occupied by Israel for a start"; "hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees all over the world can still remember their homes, farms and villages which were taken by force by the Israeli terrorists. "What I would like to see is a return to pre. 1948 Palestine with no Israel";


Here are some facts:

1. If the Arab nations had accepted one single UN resolution (Resolution 181), there would have been peace and an independent Palestine. The Arabs themselves chose for Palestine not to exist

2. Israel unilaterally handed Gaza back to the Palestinians, giving them a chance to improve the lives of their people. The Palestinians responded by launching terrorist attacks against Israel

3. If the late terrorist Arafat had used billions of pounds in foreign aid for the purposes it was intended, rather than embezzling it, the lives of many Palestinians would be rather easier now

4. The 'fence' has played a huge role in preventing unprovoked assaults and murders against Israelis by Palestinian terrorists

5. The mythical 'pre 1948 Palestine' was a land which had been ruled by other countries for 600 years. Is that seriously what the Palestinians want? It was a land in which the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (no, not a character from a Carry On film) Muhammed Amin al-Husseini approached Eichmann during the War to offer assistance in exterminating 'the Jews'

6. Palestinians have control over their own territories: meanwhile, the Arab population of Israel elects several representatives to the Knesset

7. Here is a quote from a Palestinian 7th grade schoolbook: "Martyrdom for Allah is the hope of all those who believe in Allah and have trust in His promises"

That's all I have time for right now. Unlike Mr Kelly, I have a proper job.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Human Rights Act - another victim

Headteacher Philip Lawrence died in December 1995, murdered as he tried to protect one of his pupils. The piece of shit who murdered him had the audacity to appeal against his conviction.

The Government now wants to deport Chindamo back to his native Italy, but has been thwarted by a tribunal which has ruled that this would 'breach his human rights'. You couldn't make it up, could you? This parasite who has contributed nothing to our country in all his years of being here has more taxpayers' money squandered protecting his miserable existence. Make no mistake - this is precisely what the Government has been warned about for years, but they have refused to listen.

The only way to stop this nonsense is to repeal the Human Rights Act. In the words of Basil Fawlty, "Who WON the bloody war?" Answer: we did. Unlike some of our European partners, we did not elect or collaborate with fascist tyrannies. They may feel they need a Human Rights Act: we sure as hell don't.

Go for it, Wendy!

I must confess that I have taken my eye off the ball politically recently. However, I cannot allow the expected coronation of Wendy Alexander as Scottish Labour leader to pass uncommented-on.

Maybe it is just me (although I know it isn't), but Labour in Scotland seems to be in major disarray. All their best people are at Westminster, leaving a reserve side to take on the formidable figure of Alex Salmond. Wendy is not a bad reserve captain. She is a clever woman. But but but but... she does not have the charisma of Salmond. I just don't see her as being able to win back the hearts and minds of people Labour has lost in recent years. I don't see her as being capable of rebuilding popular support for her party. None of which causes me any sleepless nights, of course.

It also causes major headaches for Broon. He can't risk a General Election with the SNP at 48% in Scottish opinion polls. Labour would be facing meltdown on his own doorstep and their parliamentary majority would have evaporated. Salmond, meanwhile, would be rubbing his hands in glee at the very real prospect of a government at Westminster relying on SNP support for a working majority.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Some very good ideas from Giuliani

Among his '12 Commitments to the American people' are:

1. End illegal immigration; control the nation's borders and identify every non-citizen. No faffing about with 'amnesties' for illegal immigrants, then! This will include a national database of foreigners in the country; deporting all immigrants who commit a crime and obliging all immigrants to read, write and speak English to a satisfactory standard.

2. Diversifying energy supplies, eg through increasing the use of renewable energy sources, nuclear and 'clean coal' technology, to bring about 'energy independence'.

3. Increase adoptions, reduce abortions and invest in serious attempts to reduce or prevent drug abuse.

4. Discourage frivolous lawsuits to make it easier for courts to dismiss them and to transfer the burden of costs to plaintiffs who cannot show they have brought the suit in good faith.

5. Creating the best trained workforce to compete in the global economy.

They all sound very sensible priorities to me.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Didactofeline strikes again

I was wakened this morning by a scratching sound. Then the cat landed on me. Tramp tramp tramp tramp. Purr purr purr purr. So I went downstairs with her and opened the front door. She sat in the doorway for a while and I could see through the glass of the door in the front porch that she had begun to jump about. I assumed that she was trying to catch an insect. Then I saw that she was picking something up with her front paws and throwing it into the air. I don't know how she had caught the mouse so quickly.

At one point the mouse landed outside. I opened the porch door to try and shut the front door behind her. At this, the cat bolted back in past me with the mouse in her mouth. She then proceeded to throw it around the living room as I watched in horror.

Many years ago, I saw another cat eat a mouse. She started with its head and worked her way down. It was all quite neat and simple. Didactofeline, however, began below the neck and systematically stripped all the skin from it then the flesh, leaving just its head, spine and tail. This all happened at an incredible speed. I grabbed the dustpan and brush from the kitchen, scooped up the remains of the mouse and threw it outdoors. Didactofeline followed. I locked the door behind her.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Didactofeline is a monster

For the second time, I shall devote a posting just to her. Why?

We had a catsitter while we were away. Didactofeline normally never uses her litter tray, because she goes outside for the toilet. However, whenever we are away, she uses it constantly. Our catsitter had also not cleaned it out: that was left to yours truly. Not to mention cleaning up a furball from behind the television in the living room.

To her credit, she was pleased to see us home. She seems to know when we are on our way and when the car turned into the driveway she was sitting there waiting for us. Then she began the plaintive wailing "Miaow! Miaow! Miiiiaaaaooowww! I haven't been fed since you went away!" OK, she doesn't actually articulate the last part but that is what she is saying.

That evening, the cat was up to her old tricks. The front door was ajar and she was scratching at something in the corner. Mrs Didactophobe shouted me through. When I opened the door, I discovered a very small mouse in the groove at the bottom of the door frame. Maybe I am giving her too much credit, but I am absolutely certain that Didactofeline had hidden the damn thing there. She picked up the mouse and trotted outside, where she began to chase the poor thing around the driveway. I managed to distract her and the mouse escaped. Twice. I think because I did not physically stop her Didactofeline did not hold it against me this time.

Back after a short break

Mrs Didactophobe and I have returned from a few days visiting Salisbury and Bath. I have a theory about Stonehenge, you know. I suspect that it was the neolithic equivalent of the Millennium Dome. 4000 years ago, people would have been saying "What a waste of money. All that work for a pile of stones sitting in the middle of nowhere. I bet that in 4000 years' time they still won't have put a roof on it."

Salisbury Cathedral is quite spectacular. One interesting point I noticed was the number of descendants of the brother of the bishop (Richard Poore) who founded the 'new' cathedral back in 1220 who have memorials there. The family seems to have remained eminent in the area for nearly 800 years. Another name was instantly familiary: Ted Heath's ashes were interred there.

If you are looking for an Indian restaurant in Salisbury, you could do worse than 'The Asia' in Fisherton Street. A good meal; friendly but unobtrusive service and about £30 for two fat people including drinks.

Longleat Safari Park was a fine place to visit, too. The monkeys are just too much like chavs, though. Seriously. You look at those creatures and you can just picture them in a white tracksuit and cap cheerfully ripping your car apart: well, the monkeys are just as bad.

The pussy cats were brilliant, of course. We saw three tigers and two prides of lions. One pride of lions were particularly funny. A group of lionesses were lounging around as Mr Leo approached. One of them rolled over on her back playfully, but he walked past her and kissed one of the others. Mr Leo then turned back to the one who had rolled over for him, but this time she was having none of it. She cuffed him with her paw and walked away from the pride to sit on her own under a tree. What was I saying about chavs?

Bath was terrific, too. A beautiful town where apparently a lot of famous stars such as Elton John and Hugh Grant own property. Out of interest, we glanced in the window of two estate agents. In the first, there were several fairly ordinary properties costing £1 million plus: in the second, we spotted a one-bedroomed flat that would have cost us (assuming we were to move there) about as much as we could expect to make on our 3 bedroomed suburban house. We'll stay put.

On the second evening of our trip, we ate at the Curry Garden Tandoori in Andover. Another restaurant I would recommend. About the same price as the other; an excellent meal and a 660ml botte of chilled Cobra beer (OK, I had two) for about the same price as a pint of lager. Anyway, after all of that we need to slim!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Didactofeline is angry with me

Mrs Didactophobe was working last night. Our cat was outside. Simple you may think. Ho Ho. At 11.30pm I call the cat in. Just as she is about to come in, she spots a mouse. She grabs the mouse and I have to slam the door in her face to prevent her bringing the mouse indoors.

When I open the door, the cat has dropped the mouse and is torturing it by chasing it around the driveway. I go outside in my bare feet and underpants (not a pleasant sight!) and chase the moggy to try and save the mouse. The cat picks up the mouse and eludes me. She eventually drops the mouse again and I pick up the cat and throw her into the porch. She springs back out the door before I can stop her and we resume the chase. This process is repeated. Meanwhile the mouse desperately tries to hide beside the steps. Didactofeline can't see it. I pick up the cat again and this time manage to slam the front door.

The cat by this time is frantic. She thinks I am mad to interrupt the hunt. She refuses to go into the living room and begins to scratch the carpet frantically. I eventually let her out again: thankfully the mouse has disappeared. The cat finds the spot where she caught the mouse and sits motionless.

Midnight. I see a shape outside the door and think the cat wants in. I open the door and call her name. No answer. Eventually she reappears and consents to be stroked. She then goes and sits in the hunting spot again. I go to bed.

This morning, the cat didn't speak as she came in the front door. Bad sign. After breakfast she glared at me and went off to bed. When she finally surfaced, she was still in a funny mood. When I threw one of her plastic balls at her (which she normally enjoys hunting), she looked at it contemptuously and told me to chase it myself (she has good communication skills). She has not forgiven me.

Tonight. She has gone back to the same spot and is standing guard. It looks as though she will be spending another night outside. I am made to feel a complete bastard because I spoiled her fun. But I did save a life.

I hope we know what we are doing

With this Government's record, I don't have a lot of confidence. However, maybe they will be proved right on this occasion.

On our behalf, the FCO has requested the release of five inmates of Guantanamo Bay. None of them are British, but for whatever reason they have been given permission to live here. According to the BBC article (and they don't normally give a fair hearing to the US), the Americans consider these men to be dangerous and are seeking assurances in that regard. It does not say why they cannot return to their own countries.

"These steps include an increasing emphasis on engagement with third countries over the transfer and resettlement of those detained," the Foreign Office said. Indeed. But why third countries? Why not make efforts to return people to their own countries? Perhaps there are good reasons in these cases but a bit of transparency wouldn't go amiss.

The FCO has assured us "Should these men be returned to the UK, the same security considerations and actions will apply to them as would apply to any other foreign national in this country." God help us, then. The usual actions are to allow foreign nationals to come and go as they please and to hope for the best. No wonder the Americans have doubts about releasing prisoners to us!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

New Labour bans Churchill

Browsing the e-petitions to our esteemed Prime Minister (joke!) I thought it would be a jolly wheeze to look at some which had been banned. One in particular caught my eye: Ban the Koran

Why was this banned? Because "it contained language which is offensive, intemperate, or provocative".

And the language was? A quote from our greatest ever leader, Winston Churchill, on the dangers of what he called Mohammedanism.

Admittedly, Winston was offensive, intemperate and provocative. He also protected the freedom which allows some snivelling, Marxist pen-pusher to decide that his words are not fit for the current incumbent of 10 Downing Street to bother with.

Interview me, chaps

David Anstee is a teacher. He is not an elected councillor or MP and he has not played any significant role in drafting Tory policies.

I am a teacher. I am not an elected councillor or MP and I have not played any significant role in drafting Tory policies.

David Anstee's support for Labour is considered newsworthy by the BBC and in some way embarrassing for the Tories. Quotes from him are considered relevant to political debate.

Presumably my support for the Tories will be newsworthy for the BBC and and in some way embarrassing for Labour. Do they plan to use quotes from me? Do they heck! It's a conspiracy, I tell you...

I've had a Brazilian

Now the Clustrmap seems to be ahead of the StatCounter. It appears to have picked up on visitors from Brazil and Germany which the other hasn't.

Anyhoo, greetings to all my guests!

Monday, 6 August 2007

What do the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Argentina, Italy and Turkey have in common?

They are locations of people who have visited my humble and dismal ramblings. I must say that the Clustrmap takes a little while to catch up with new locations after StatCounter has alerted me to them. Ho hum.

Thick blue line

Christian Voice reports that a 'police advisory body' (ie paid for by your taxes, which you wrongly assumed was for prosecuting crime) mistakenly linked to a spoof website which mocks the modern tendency for police to follow in the honourable tradition of the KGB, Gestapo, Stasi etc and invent laws on the hoof to criminalise so-called enemies of the state. ROFL.

I hope they will forgive me if I quote some of the text:

"Our TRUE VISION is to eliminate hate thought. The police want intelligence on all those who harbour hate thoughts - or even slight misgivings - about protected individuals and groups. Loss of hate intelligence is a loss we cannot afford.

POLICE INTELLIGENCE IN FULL
True Vision Police entirely support Mr Blunkett's wise and careful denunciation of "far-right evangelical Christians." We gave him details of all the murder plots evangelical Christians are planning in the United Kingdom at this very moment against those whose faith they reject. We informed him from intelligence gathering precisely how many church Sunday Schools are secretly training children to be suicide bombers. We told him how many evangelical Christians have been identified at weapons-training camps we know are held every spring in Skegness and Minehead. The heat is on for these violent thugs."

Not a prayer

Archbishop Cranmer alerts us to a report by Christian Voice which alleges that David Cameron has plans to introduce new bank holidays to celebrate Eid ul Adha, Diwali and Guru Nanak's Birthday.

Didactophobe has already replied to this outrage and repeats his answer thus:

"Eid ul Adha is a festival based on a belief which fundamentally contradicts the Christian and Jewish scriptures. Muslims teach that Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Ishmael, not Isaac.

This may seem a minor point to your non-Christian and non-Jewish readers, but it is from this that Muslims claim that the Christian and Jewish scriptures are false; that Ishmael was the true heir to Abraham and consequently the Holy Land belongs to the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) and not the descendants of Isaac (the Jews).

To make this a national holiday would therefore be a fundamental attack on Christian and Jewish beliefs and effectively elevate Islam to be the de facto state religion. It is no minor matter, as the Muslims are well aware.

Diwali is essentially an Indian New Year festival. Although it is used by Hindus to celebrate the defeat of Ravana and for the worship of Lakshmi, it is more secular than religious. There is no more reason for the rest of us to celebrate Diwali than to celebrate Chinese New Year. I can see little harm in them, but little point in making them public holidays."

Lefties play the race card (as usual)

As Boris's procession towards the mayorship gathers pace, Lefty writers have predictably descended into the sewers to try and smear him as a racist.

Doreen Lawrence, whose son was tragically murdered in a racist attack like lots of other young men, both black and white, is quoted in the Grauniad as saying that 'no informed Black person' would vote for Boris. You may recall that the Macpherson Report proposed draconian anti-racist measures that could have criminalised someone sitting in their own living room shouting abuse at a televised football match. Boris, rightly, criticised this for the lunacy that it was. According to Lawrence, though, this makes Boris a threat to the multicultural nature of London. Take my advice, missus, and actually read a significant amount of Boris's writings. There is no way that he can be described as a racist. Yes, he has said, done and written some careless things. Nothing, however, that merits the smears coming from such as:

These people. They attack Boris for not bowing down to the false god Mandela (not attacking Mandela, just failing to recognise his deification). Mandela was a brave man whose work since being imprisoned has shown tremendous compassion and forgiveness. He was also a convicted saboteur who led a terrorist orgainsation which murdered black people by hanging burning tyres around their necks. Rather than attack Mandela, Boris merely criticises the way in which South Africa has been run since white rule was replaced by black rule. The fact that Boris describes apartheid as 'tyranny' is conveniently ignored by these people.

They also quote at length a debate involving Boris and Clare Short where Boris commits the sin (in lefties' eyes) of failing to admit that Britain invented the slave trade. At least, I think that is what the point is. Conveniently ignoring the fact that no country did more than Britain to end slavery and also the fact that slavery has existed for thousands of years and is still practised today. Of course, if the slave traders are not white they are above criticism - a bit like the black African leaders who sold their followers into slavery in the olden days.

They do mention Damilola Taylor - what should be a salutory reminder that racism, intolerance and discrimination is a much more complex and multi-facteted issue than they give it credit for. The murders of Damilola Taylor, Stephen Lawrence and PC Keith Blakelock were all horrific and evil. The victims are equally dead. The white farmers of Zimbabwe thrown off their land, their families raped, starved and murdered deserve our sympathy every bit as much as any black victim of injustice.

Update: The Marxist BBC is trying to make an issue out of Labour MPs saying they will not vote for a Tory. The loony left really is getting desperate!