Saturday, 26 January 2008

Football can still be fun

I haven't bought a season ticket for five years: the last season I had one, I felt that I just didn't enjoy it very much any more. Matches being moved away from the traditional 3pm on Saturday also contributed to destroying the habit of Saturday being devoted to football.

Anyway, for once I watched a match on TV today, and what a cracker it was. Mansfield vs Middlesborough does not sound particularly exciting on paper: I could not have told you in advance which division Mansfield were in, only that it was not one of the top two. They put in such a brave effort today, though, against their expensively assembled opponents. Second bottom of the Football League, having a wretched season, Mansfield gave Boro a real fright.

Nothing, perhaps, compared to Liverpool vs Havant & Waterlooville. I thought all along that if Liverpool had only been drawn against one of them it would be easy. Having to play Havant AND Waterlooville made it a bit tougher. For Liverpool to fall behind twice, playing at home, really was remarkable. If the part-timers had just had that extra bit of fitness and stamina, who knows what might have happened?

I might just start watching football more regularly again.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Happy birthday Rabbie

Today is the 249th birthday of the world's greatest poet, Robert Burns. Alex Salmond has announced that Burns is his favourite Scot, and with good reason. Burns is a man for all time. Born into poverty, yet into a society which prized education and believed that a man should rise as far as his ability, ambition and luck could take him.

He was no Scottish Nationalist in the modern sense, though. In the 18th Century, it was said that Tories were Jacobites when drunk and Hanoverians when they were sober. That, I think, is where we can best place Burns. He had a romantic attachment to the Jacobite songs and traditions, yet he was a lowland, Presbyterian Scot who took a Government job and was realistic enough to see that Jacobitism was finished.

Would his life have had a happier ending if Nancy McLehose had not rejected his overtures? According to legend, she was the only woman who ever turned down the old shagger. It would certainly not have produced the incredibly poignant song Ae Fond Kiss. My favourite poem has to be Tam o'Shanter, though. It is both a thriller and light-hearted.

And what other poet would have called a poem "Cock up your Beaver"? Did he know the title was ambiguous? Of course he did.

The final two verses of "Address to the Unco Guid" speak to all of us:

Then gently scan your brother man
Still gentler sister woman
Tho’ they may gang a kennin wrang
To step aside is human.
One point must still be greatly dark
The moving Why they do it
And just as lamely can ye mark
How far, perhaps, they rue it.

Who made the heart, ’tis He alone
Decidedly can try us
He knows each chord, its various tone
Each spring, its various bias
Then at the balance let’s be mute
We never can adjust it
What’s done we partly may compute
But know not what’s resisted.

God bless you, Rabbie!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Anti-Islamic activity

I noticed this story in passing a week ago, but I haven't really thought about it until now.

According to the deranged world view promoted by New Labour, Islamic terrorists who kill because they see it as serving their faith are to be described as 'anti Islamic', because they are not acting in accordance with their faith.

A few problems:

1. If one man claims to be a Muslim and supports terrorism and another man claims to be a Muslim and does not support terrorism, which one is the true Muslim? One thing I am sure of: it is not the place of politicians to decide.

2. "Youngsters will be taught about all faiths in schools" is an impossibility. Do you include Zoroastrianism, Yazidi, Aztec human sacrifice? Where does it end, and where do we find the time? Kids are already taught a range of faiths in schools. I really cannot see what difference there will be. Part of the problem is that schools try to be 'all things to all people' as it is.

3. Here are some quotes from the Qur'an:

Surah 48:29 - "Muhammad is Allah's Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers..."

Surah 47:4 - "...when ye meet the unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks... bind a bond firmly on them..."

Surah 4 - This section commands that prostitutes should be boarded up in their homes and left to starve to death and states that Allah has made men superior to women and states that men should receive twice the inheritance of women and that disobedient wives should be scourged.

Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the LITERAL word of God, remember. It is IMPOSSIBLE for any of the above not to be God's will. When the terrorist accuses the moderate Muslim of apostasy, they can have a strong theological basis for it.

4. Here are some quotes from the Hadith of Bukhari, considered the most reliable Hadith source:

Bukhari 9.57 - "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him"

Bukhari 1.24 - "I have been ordered by Allah to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah"

Bukhari 1.234 - "He [Muhammad] ordered to cut their hands and feet... their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron"

Bukhari 3.427 - "Allah's Apostle said, 'May Allah curse the Jews'"

Bukhari 3.435 - "Allah's Apostle was asked about an unmarried slave-girl who committed illegal sexual intercourse. They heard him saying, "Flog her, and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse after that, flog her again, and on the third (or the fourth) offense, sell her"

5. If you believe that Muhammad was visited by the angel Jibril and given the Qur'an directly from God, then you are a Muslim. You cannot logically reject any of the Qur'an. If you do not believe the above, then you cannot be a Muslim. Full stop.

BBC's anti-Israel bias continues

Unfortunately, it is considered trendy among the sort of coke-snorting, Marxist homosexuals who work for the BBC to promote anti-semitism under the guise of reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We all know that, but has produced a very detailed analysis of the phenomenon. The content of reports; the headlines used and the pictures selected have all consistently favoured the Palestinians and have been intended to show Israel in a bad light.

One example is, of course, the terribly PC way in which murderous terrorist scum are referred to as 'militants'. They are not militants, they are terrorists. Please say so. Arthur Scargill was a militant. Say what you like about him: during the miners' strike, he did not fire rockets at civilians, nor did he encourage suicide bombers to blow themselves up. The distinction should not really be hard to spot.

Vote for Ken or London gets it...

That is the gist of this risible piece from the loony Grauniad.

According to the Grauniad, it is frightfully naughty to criticise Red Ken's links to terrorist-supporting, Marxist thug Hugo Chavez and his aides' links to the Marxist nutters of Socialist Action.

Moreover, a win for Boris will be bad for "working-class Londoners, women, ethnic minorities and greens" as well as being "a wider defeat for progressive politics, in Britain and beyond".

You couldn't make it up!

MPs show pay restraint

MPs have followed the Government's urging to accept a below-inflation pay rise. Setting a good example to other public sector workers, no snouts in trough, etc, very worthwhile.

Or is it?

A below-inflation rise is effectively a pay cut. In any case, the 'official' rate of inflation was fiddled by Broon when he was Chancellor: one of the many 'stealth' activities which not enough people picked up on. Instead of being based on the Retail Price Index, ie what things actually cost [and what you would think of as inflaction], since 2003 it has been based on something called the Consumer Price Index, which excludes pesky things like mortgage payments and council tax [ie a large chunk of the average household's expenses].

So, this sends out a message to teachers, nurses, police officers and other public sector workers that we should accept a pay cut, too. In the interests of Labour being re-elected the good of the country, you understand. People who earn a great deal less than MPs.

Personally, I think that a worker should get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. If the basic salary is right (and I don't hear MPs demanding it being reduced), then maintaining it by the rate of inflation each year is also right. So, they should take their pay rise and allow other workers a rise, too. It only has a negative effect on inflation if you have militant 1970s-style unions demanding huge pay rises, and I don't see many of them around at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Auschwitz trip upcoming

The tickets are in, the kids have been told to wrap up warm and we are all set for our school trip to Krakow and Auschwitz in a few weeks' time. The kids have been told that it is an awesome experience, and I certainly hope that is how they feel.

Having made the trip to Auschwitz a few years ago, I can certainly testify that it is a harrowing experience. However, strangely enough, I found the visit to the site of the Warsaw ghetto the most moving of all on that trip. At Auschwitz, it is possible to dissociate onceself to some extent. It is a place where evil people did evil things. The ghetto was a place where very ordinary people - just like you and me - failed to love their fellow man and allowed them to be abused, starved and killed. Where people tried to say nothing to do with me, mate, when in actual fact, it was everything to do with all of us.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Bobby Fischer

As a chess enthusiast, Didactophobe cannot allow the funeral of Bobby Fischer to pass without comment.

Fischer was before my time. Of course. When I were a lad, Anatoly Karpov was world champion and one of my earliest memories was of him defeating Victor Korchnoi. However, one was always aware of Fischer as the king over the water, so to speak. Whilst the bland, loyal Communist Karpov went through the motions, everyone knew that a far superior player was lurking in the background. Then along came Gary Kasparov, and Russia had finally produced its own charismatic champion.

Fischer was a Jewish American chess grand master who hated Jews, America and chess grand masters. Armed with that knowledge, it is not hard to make the connection that what really destroyed him was self-loathing. The man hated everything that he himself was. Hated it with a passion. His relationship with his mother was said to be the root of it all. Very Freudian.

So, who was the greatest, Fischer or Kasparov? It is hard to say. It is a bit like comparing George Best to Pelé. In terms of natural ability, it is virtually impossible to separate them. In terms of their longevity as top players and their actual achievements, it is all too easy to separate them. However, in each case, the man who may be said to have ruined his career and his life was very arguably the more exciting player. The one who would have supporters most gasping at his genius.

Fischer was very troubled in this life. I pray for his soul as he enters the next one.

£180 billion wiped out in one day

No, it is just an unimaginable sum. However, that was what happened to the stock markets of the UK, Germany and France today. For your average Joe, it is terrifying. To be told that it is the fault of the underperforming US economy and we are relying on Dubya to put it right just makes me want to hide under the bed.

Terry Kelly says women are thick

I just spotted an amusing story about Councillor Terry Kelly. He is the election agent to the Scottish Labour leader, Wendy Alexander, and his ward consists of one of the most deprived communities in the western world. I suspect that his best friend would concede that he is no candidate for Mensa, nor is any great political powerhouse.

He does, however, like to fan the flames of controversy on his blog. His latest offering, according to
The Herald, is to describe women as 'thick'. The saddest thing about the article is Kelly's expressed intention to give up being Wendy's election agent. Is it 'cos she is thick? Who knows?

United Kingdom RIP

So, now the Labour government has reneged on its promise to hold a referendum on the new European Treaty, Gorbals Mick has even refused to allow Parliament to have a vote on it. The pathetic Lib Dems had planned to abstain from Ian Davidson's amendment, because democracy only suits them if they think they can win. Because they rarely win anything, they generally favour changing the voting system so that they can have greater influence without bothering to win any extra votes.

Now, I am a simple old organism, and do not profess to know all the ins and outs of the Treaty. However, I do take the expert of advice of those who do know and have concluded that it is essentially the same as the proposed Constitution which was rejected. I do also believe that if a manifesto promises a referendum, then that is what should happen. I want to know that laws which affect me and my fellow citizens are made by elected politicians in national or regional BRITISH parliaments. Under the new Treaty, there will be greater power for the unelected European Commission, and not every country will be represented at any one time on the Commission. Even I can detect that this reeks of corruption.

That this Treaty will be approved by Parliament, there is little doubt. We live in an era of elective dictatorship in which the vast majority of Labour MPs are brain-dead morons who exist only to act as voting fodder to rubber stamp what the Executive dictates. My local MP, for whom the phrase 'waste of space' would unfairly impugn other wasteful spaces, I recall once notably spoke passionately against a controversial Government proposal, yet when the vote was called, trotted like a particularly obedient sheep into the lobby to vote in favour of it.

Uncle Didactophobe, please help me with my homework

One pleasant consequence of having tracked down my family is being called 'Uncle' by my cousin's kids. Of course, I am not really their uncle, but it is a nice courtesy title to have.

Today, I got a message to my Bebo page from middle daughter, asking for help with her maths homework. And I was happy to oblige.

Happy birthday, Bill S

Didactodaddy, Bill S____, turns 59 on Tuesday. It is quite frustrating that, having tracked him down after all these years, I am still not yet in a position to contact him directly and offer him my birthday greetings. He has had a stroke and is not in the best of health, apparently. However, he now knows that I have tracked him down and maybe by next year I will be able to phone him up and say "Happy birthday, dad". Here's hoping.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Hamas terrorists turn out the lights

Of course, according to the coke-snorting, Marxist, atheist, terrorist-loving homosexuals of the BBC, it is all the fault of Israel!

According to Israeli authorities, all the terrorists have to do is to stop firing missiles at Israel. This should be easy enough to comply with: however, the terrorists have no interest in easing the suffering of the Palestinian people. They are more than happy to use them as hostages in order to attack Israel. To paraphrase Golda Meir, there will be no peace in the Middle East until Arab leaders learn to love their own people more than they hate Israel. They don't.

This is why Israel is forced to get tough. Innocent people being attacked by terrorists; having their homes attacked; jobs being driven away.

Israel is a forward-looking, peaceful, Western capitalist country which seeks to benefit its people. Every sane person with more than three brain cells supports that. Hamas are backwards-looking, violent scum who seek to enslave their people and use them as pawns in their quest to wreak destruction on anyone they choose to attack. We need to use our brains and make sure we are on the right side here.

Please pray for the Holy Land.

Who killed Madeleine?

Don't know. And I don't care. And nor do you. You feel obliged to care, but you don't really. Not unless you are soft in the head.

No, I haven't turned into Didactomonster. If Madeleine McCann turned up safe and well I would be genuinely pleased. But... it has turned into an industry. Well-meaning simpletons have turned a missing child into a gruesome 'reality' show played out in the media.

If you want to save children, log on to the Wateraid website and give a few pounds to provide clean, safe water for people in poor countries. Lack of clean water is the single biggest killer of poor people worldwide. It is so obvious and so simple that it just isn't sexy enough to get the media excited.

Anyway, the latest story made me laugh. Is this who took Madeleine has you gazing into the eyes of someone who would be arrested for vagrancy if he were raking through refuse in a third world slum, let alone be able to wander unchallenged around a Portuguese holiday resort. It is a photofit of a 'bad man', which somehow exemplifies the infantile reasoning which has surrounded the whole investigation.

Right at the beginning of the affair Robert Murat, a middle aged man who lives with his mother, attracted suspicion because he apparently behaved like, frankly, a middle aged man who lives with his mother. Then he was a suspect, then he wasn't, then he maybe was. The parents are still officially suspects.

Perry Mason isn't real life. Whoever is responsible for Madeleine's disappearance isn't about to break down and confess everything. Chances are the body will never be found. Because of errors in the investigation, the chances of getting a conviction against anyone even if they do get caught are next to nil. Show's over. Time for everyone to go home.

And if you still want to mewl and fret, give some cash to where it will do some good.

The streets of London

According to today's Sunday Times, the Home Secretary thinks the streets of London are safe, but admits that she would be afraid to walk them at night. There is no problem, however, because it is not 'the kind of thing that people do'.

Which planet has this creature descended from? If one is a cabinet minister with a vast salary, expense account and an army of flunkies, maybe one doesn't need to walk on the same pavements as common people. However, if you are poor, a shift worker, or you just think that in a free society we should be able to walk wherever we damn well please, you may beg to differ. 'Safe' should mean just that. Safe. Not because the nanny state has decided that you shouldn't be out of your bed or because some over-promoted, over-paid clown wonders why your chauffeur isn't taking care of you.

Let us remember that Jacqui Smith has admitted smoking cannabis in the past, and has risibly claimed that her 'experiences' give her an insight into the need to tackle crime. I certainly suspect it has done something to her brain.