Keeping politics out of sport is a wise policy sadly ignored these days as football has become yet another battle ground in the culture wars being played out across the West (funny how it only seems to affect democracies?). I had written previously on the subject, much as I love football, still being a regular player, I felt there was something sinister and cultish with the gratuitous supplication our sportsmen and sportswomen are expected to perform before a woke God. I won’t bore you with details on my views here but when asked I always reply ‘would you like to have to kneel every time you started work – what happens if you do not agree with it?’. Personally, I just want to watch a football match and maybe have a beer after, that’s it, simple I know but that’s how I prefer things, because that’s how they always were.
As a consumer I have long applied the ‘go woke, go broke’ philosophy so I no longer pay for sports channels, nor do I buy any football related merchandise or anything else that would provide them any income. Football is a game and it cannot be really killed so I will sit them out.
On Sunday I watched the Euro Finals as a detached observer, I am indifferent to the current England set up so my analysis of the game is slightly more forensic. England played well, and should have pushed more in the first half to get a second goal. The Italian equaliser could have been prevented, the goal keeper made a fine save, the defenders failed to track the runners. The England substitutions saw the team’s performance deteriorate not improve and Saka was clearly suffering from stage fright and had a poor game by his standards. As for the penalties – well you miss three in a row what do you expect? Rashford’s was particularly poor, if he had done that on the training ground, I am sure he would have been torn off a strip.
I went to bed suspecting the inquest on the next day would be a wokefest on the achievements of a diverse team – which I felt on balance was a fair thing to say. I guessed wrong, its all went back to the media’s current narrative that Britain is a hot bed of racial hatred where Police literally shoot young black men on sight and gangs of marauding skin heads patrol the streets lynching anyone that hasn’t read Mein Kampf. The spark for this? On line racial abuse.
Now I don’t doubt abuse has happened – not sure all of it was racial though, some of us are old enough to remember the vile abuse David Beckham got when he missed a penalty in the World Cup but clearly some of it was racist. Now here is the thing, social media works over the World Wide Web – it is open to the entire World, why is the immediate assumption that this abuse was from England fans? Of course, I am sure some of it was but there are plenty of malign agents out there who thrive on sowing social division. With a media hell bent on amplifying that division rather than doing their job and finding out who is doing this then I am afraid you can expect this to be the narrative over the coming days.
Robbed of their dream of showcasing a diverse England side as World beaters the oikophobes who riddle our establishment, eagerly assisted by their client media are now using the defeat as a platform to vent their hatred of the white working class.
Well, none of this matters to me much now, I simply don’t care, football has been politicised so the powers that be that decided to introduce politics can sit back and enjoy their handiwork . A year or so ago I could not have cared less over who put on an England shirt, I always felt England were pretty much unbeatable when Paul Ince played in front of the back four, I just don’t remember thinking much about his skin colour at the time. Yet thanks to this politicisation it is now firmly in focus so here are the facts, England scored two penalties both taken by white players, the goal keeper who was also white saved two penalties. Three England players missed, all three were black. The team who won were all white Italians. Well done, that’s very clear to the whole world now thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. I hope you are pleased with yourselves? Because I wonder – is this the real reason for your rage – the facts? I mean, it’s almost as though you spent an entire year trumpeting diversity and then you suddenly decide to distract me and get off the subject when it doesn’t fit the playbook.
The England Team is dead to me now, the media and wokerati can shake that corpse in front of me as much as they want to – and they will for weeks to come, I’m just waiting until it rots and decays in their hands and they move on to poison yet another simple pleasure. I will bury the body when they are done.
Looking back on things I guess it was about November 2019 when the Corona Virus started to catch my attention. The story itself seemed distant, yet another one of those weird viruses the Asians seem prone to, nothing there to suggest this would be any different to any of the others, after all they had dealt with SARS so I fully expected it to be a filler item on the news when nothing else was going on in the World.
Christmas 2019 I was in Madrid, Spanish news tends to carry more foreign news, so it featured more prominently, Wuhan now entered my thoughts, still distant but now of more concern as more and reports came in on how the virus was raging through China.
I can’t really focus on any key moments upon my return to the UK in January, I do remember cases starting to occur but still I felt that although there would be a few scares, the virus would be isolated, and life would return to normal. Yet as the month progressed so did the virus, my journey to work on the Tube becoming ever-more troubling, this was a time when we were still being told to wash our hands, the message did not re-assure, most of us had a modicum of knowledge about the spread of infectious disease, I don’t think any Londoner ever believed a dollop of hand gel was going to cut it. Even so I remember getting on a Piccadilly Line train full of passengers from Heathrow and a German visitor expressing surprise to me that no one was wearing face coverings, ‘that’s ‘cos we’re tough’ I kidded myself.
I remember my last few days at work, hand gels abounded in the loos, we were encouraged to social distance in the office, the Tube journeys were becoming very tense affairs indeed, The Corona virus had crept into my Monday night five-a-side game, players were briefed on the FA guidelines – not that I was ever one to enjoy too many goal celebrations. I just looked forward to my return to Madrid in early March – even though friends and family were warning me that Spain was in a bad way. I don’t know why, I just shut it out, something in me just refused to accept the reality of what was happening.
In a way my trip to Spain gave a false sense of normality, a hassle-free flight, a quick exit and a taxi into Madrid. As the cab neared my destination, I checked things out through the window, people were out and about in the bars and restaurants but fewer than you would normally see.
It was in Spain reality set in, I arrived on a Tuesday, I watched a developed sophisticated society with a World class healthcare system collapse in less than a week. On the Wednesday I went to the supermarket to buy groceries for a relative (and beer for myself), social distancing much more evident than I remember in London, there had been no panic buying like in London but it all felt eerie, the people like me now worried and apprehensive about what lay before us. Corona virus (the COVID name was to come) dominated the news, there was nothing else, the Spanish health service was overwhelmed, horror stories from Italy – a country a week or so ahead of that awful pandemic curve were now front and centre in our minds.
Madrid went into a lockdown far more severe than the one imposed on the UK, from being able to pop out for a beer and meal on the Tuesday by Friday President Sanchez had declared a State of Alarm (not emergency since the Cortes had not had time to pass the necessary laws), by Saturday the streets were clear, I still went out for a nervous run, the parks and play areas were being taped up and secured by Council workers, by Sunday that was it, no one was allowed out – and the Police meant business.
Fortunately for me I had one day of it – my flight back to London was on the Sunday evening. The friends and family I left behind had three months of what was essentially house arrest in front of them There had been a rush to get out of Spain if you could, some of my fellow travellers had spent considerable sums taking convoluted journeys to get back home, we were all scared now, we all knew we faced flying on a packed plane not knowing if the person next to us had the virus but having no choice. The flight was awful, one passenger lost control of himself, his panic affecting others, to add to our misery our plane developed a defect, we remained on the plane still in Madrid for four hours – all the while painfully aware of the thought – this is how the virus does its work. A very real darkness closed in on my mind, this is it, this is the end of days. I remember sending out a defiant tweet on Twitter, ‘remember those science fiction films we all watched as a kid? Well you are in one now, make sure you are the hero of your story’. I guess I was really speaking to myself.
I finally got home (virus free), pubs were still open – but with fewer customers, it was the pattern I had seen in Madrid, I tried warning people what was coming, few appreciated what I was telling them – but it happened, on 23rd March 2020 Boris Johnson placed the U.K. into lockdown.
I remember the night of the 23rd so very clearly, it had been a truly beautiful day, I live in Ealing a part of London on the flightpath to Heathrow. There were scarcely any planes or cars, a tranquillity descended, I am a keen astronomer, as I gazed up I could not remember ever seeing the skies over London so clear, Venus shone so very brightly, Venus, Morning Star a name shared with a fallen angel now sending his signal to mankind, luckily I had the foresight to protect myself from his sulphurous designs by way of the slab of beer I had ordered in a few days before.
Trying to condense three months of lockdown into something that is smaller than a telephone book is not possible so I will just mention some themes and memories. I remember the first few visits to the supermarket, many goods were scarce, hoarding was still evident, but I recall queuing behind a pensioner, the conveyor for the till consisted solely of tins of cat food. An overwhelming sadness hit me, I just wanted to hug her (which was clearly forbidden), when all around us was collapsing her sole thought was for her beloved cat, I wouldn’t be surprised if she had spent her last penny on her life companion.
In a way she was a metaphor for what I saw more widely, far from turning into savages people found the better angels of their hearts, we reached out to each-other, we forgave past trespasses to tell long lost friends and family we cared for them. We clapped the people who kept society functioning, we reconnected with nature, we smiled at strangers (and they smiled back), we learned that we were not the self-centred material obsessed individuals we had been led to believe we were, far from it, I saw a great nobility and compassion in the people of this country, they were magnificent, I am so very proud of them.
One year on and at last there is hope, the vaccination programme has been an outstanding success even though I expect a few bumps ahead it is something we can be proud of. Restrictions will probably remain for a few months yet but shortly I can enjoy a few socially distanced drinks with neighbours (Gins by the Bins as it is known in Ealing). As to the question how will I emerge from the pandemic – a hunk, a chunk or a drunk? I can relate that I did manage to lose weight, mainly due to all the additional walking I do these days, I drink no more (but sadly no less) than I did before.
So, what do I want to see carried to the future? I said throughout I would never judge a Government too harshly over genuine mistakes made under such extreme circumstances, I don’t envy any national leader right now. Yet there are things that I want to see addressed for the future. I was never a fan of the NHS and the pandemic has reinforced my views, this was an organisation that prepared for a global pandemic having more Diversity Managers than ventilators, an organisation where 20% of infections happened to people in hospitals, an organisation that knowingly sent infected people back in to Care Homes for the bizarre decision to free up beds. Whilst the front-line staff were magnificent the NHS itself is simply not up to the task.
I also consider the future role of a media and in particular the BBC, like many I have mainly worked from home, quite quickly I learned to switch off the news throughout the day, I would catch the headlines in the morning and last thing at night but beyond that I simply could not suffer it. In the early days all too many self-styled journalists revealed themselves as little more than political activists using the news as a platform to push their views. All too many seemed to take a perverse pleasure in panicking a nation at a time when calm voices were needed. When hysteria bored them they turned to a constant drip, drip that British people are racist – a view I find out odds with the fact that millions of foreigners live on this island quite happily many of whom have been provided for by the furlough scheme paid for by British taxpayers. The narrative is one sided and pernicious. There is only one race, the Human Race.
There are a couple of other themes, their unusual interest in pushing the narrative that the Union is finished, personally I disagree, but I do wonder why they have a certainty in their position then I do, after all both are speculative views. But I will put that to one side for the most troubling aspect. I have painted a broad brush picture of my experience over the year but the one constant thought has been this, why have the Chinese Communist Party been given such a free ride? – At the end of the day they caused this shit show, I want some answers, not more trivial distractions from Oprah Winfrey.
Although I can no longer suffer the broadcast news these days, I still enjoy television as a medium. Following a recommendation, I recently caught Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich – a documentary on Netflix. It would probably be distasteful to say I enjoyed the series, given the appalling crimes the man committed but I certainly found it interesting.
As I watched a thought came to me, Jeffrey Epstein was indeed filthy rich, he owned multiple mansions, private jets, luxury cars – he even owned a tropical island, Jeffrey had enough money to hire an army of hookers to satisfy his sexual lust, but no, Jeffrey liked under age girls. Then a thought crystallised in my mind, his gig wasn’t really about lust, he wanted to corrupt innocence, he wanted to ruin the childhood of young girls and leave them with a permanent mental scar.
Now this thought gradually connected with another. Since I no longer trust journalists to curate information fairly anymore, I prefer to get my news from the actual source so I was rather struck by the decision of the Premier League to sport the propaganda of the divisive Black Lives Matter movement. Despite being clearly against their own rules, despite celebrating a race-based organisation with a clear agenda against another race the Premier League thought it would be a great idea to sport their logo on footballer’s shirts as the league re-started. Personally, I would prefer that sport stayed out of politics but if you were to celebrate something surely the efforts of key workers and medical staff during the pandemic would have been a better choice that we could all support?
And then it dawned on me, the people behind this knew full well it would antagonise millions. You see that was the whole point, they are deliberately provoking us, they enjoy our anger, the revel in our sense of helplessness and frustration.
There has been much talk of the march through our institutions and certainly to me an unwanted dogma has been adopted without any democratic accountability. We may perhaps have focussed too much on the control it seems now to exert over our institutions but have not quite acknowledged another aspect. Things in our life that were wholesome and true, things that reflected the purer aspects of the human spirit are gradually been corrupted and perverted.
People in power knew all about Jeffrey Epstein and his activities, they protected him, I cannot think of any innocent reason why you would want to protect such a monster. I must therefore assume they were somehow involved. These people are still there.
I think we are going to see more and more of this, nearly every simple pleasure in our lives is going to be poisoned by these people, they are not going to stop. I am either missing out on some module they teach at Harvard Business School about alienating your customer base or this is a very malign agent in our lives.
In truth I cannot believe this is a viable business model, I am increasingly of the opinion that the whole purpose is to antagonise and alienate. Our anger and frustration is actually the purpose – do you really think they actually care about Black people? I don’t, I think they are using them to stir up division. Don’t give them what they want, don’t get angry, don’t bite because I am pretty certain this is going to get a whole lot worse. Every simple innocent pleasure in our lives is going to be corrupted – just like Jeffrey Epstein this seems to be their gig.
So, what can we do? Well the first part is fairly obvious, do as I do, switch off broadcasters, let them spew their bile into fresh air. So your sports team has gone ‘woke’, OK, ditch them follow a smaller team that needs the money and sit back and see how they intend to pay the multi-million-pound contract for Carlos Kikaball, stop buying their merchandise, want a shirt? Buy a retro one from an independent supplier – oh and cancel your TV sports subscriptions. Favourite brand gone woke? No problem switch brands to one that hasn’t – but maybe have a think, did you really need it in the first place? Fed up with Google, switch to a different browser, there are loads out there.
This is an initial response and something you can do yourself but clearly, we want something longer term. For me to outline a possible solution I think we first have to name the problem. Something seems to be waging an asymmetric war against the people of the West, but it is important to remember it is the West. China, Russia, India do not seem to be under the same assault so we are clearly its target. Since I am not convinced that an entire society can go mad my money is on foreign interference, who that is I don’t know, but let us be honest with ourselves, we have not exactly spent the past couple of centuries spreading peace and light around the world have we?
For those of you who ponder if there is a more supernatural element to this then look at it this way, our Universe exploded into existence some 13.8 Billion years ago, everything – including you came from the same thing. Whether you believe the science or something more spiritual there is a fundamental unity to all things, the forces that seek to divide cannot alter that underlying truth. This bit of cod philosophy brings me nicely onto longer term solutions.
I believe that what we have seen over the past few decades is a concerted effort to atomise society, I don’t get up in the morning and think about the colour of my skin, I just think I am me, I guess most of us are the same. Yet we are constantly reminded that we are different, we belong in different tribes and some of these tribes are the cause of our woes. This is older than Caesar, classic divide and rule, let me give you an easy example – People of Colour, like hello, everyone has colour, but the term is insidious it is designed to cut white people from the herd thus making it easier to blame them for the fact that many didn’t get in to Oxford rather than more prosaic reasons – such as growing up in a home without a Father around.
The current hysteria over Black Lives Matter can be used, since they seek to divide use their own strength against them. It is the simplest thing of all now for us to identify each-other and to unite, all we have to say is All Lives Matter. That simple truth is all we need, race, colour, creed is irrelevant to it.
All Lives Matter, that is all we need to believe and all we need to build a coalition of allies and become a force for good. Do this and I believe all things flow, from starting up our own broadcast channels to founding education establishments and developing a new political force that eschews the fake spectrum of left and right.
You see what we face seeks to corrupt and pervert institutions but it cannot alter a universal truth, everything that exists came from the same place. Those who seek to divide when faced with unity will have no choice but unite themselves and that delicious irony is their doom.
I cannot quite remember when my views on broadcast news started to deteriorate. In terms of watershed moments, I guess the BBC distortions over the Lisbon Treaty – which was the EU Constitution repackaged was a start, the appalling under-reporting, arguably an attempted cover up, of the mass rapes in Cologne at New Year 2015 was another step along that road. Yet it was not just the BBC, bias seemed to creep in across all new channels and not just about the EU, illegal immigrants suddenly became migrants or refugees, rape gangs where identified were described as Asian – despite the demographic and religion being common knowledge. I could go on but I think the ground has been well covered by myself and others.
I had hoped after Brexit we would return to the days when someone told me what happened and a balanced report where there were two distinct points of view on an event, sadly that has not come to fruition. I now find it impossible to listen to broadcast news, it is just a stream of ‘woke’ dogma and it seems to be getting increasingly worse. I have had almost two weeks now of round the clock carpet bombing telling me I am racist – without actually presenting me any facts as to why that is the case.
The fabricated hysteria by the media over the death of a black male in the United States seems to me and many others to be nothing more than a platform to sow social unrest in this country. Whether this has something to do with an establishment that still refuse to accept we are leaving the EU is difficult to say but I sense there is a connection.
Probably the last straw for me was an irresponsible Tweet from ITV, at a time when tensions were running high, with dozens of Police Officers injured as a result of the violence that occurred at a Black Lives Matter demonstration at the weekend (with one Police Officer very seriously injured) a responsible media should have been trying to calm tensions but no, instead they seek to further sow discord, the Tweet shown below strikes me as a news broadcaster picking out targets for lynch mob to destroy. This is where we are at now.
This coming weekend there will be counter demonstrations, people that want to protect their culture and their heritage will come out in numbers to protect statues and to prevent further desecration of war memorials, memorials that commemorate members of their own family. One would have thought that the protection of public property is the job of the Police – but given the events of the weekend the Police seem suspiciously inactive when it comes to actually doing their job, which explains in part the counter demonstrations. The rest I am afraid is depressingly predictable, there will almost certainly be scuffles and probably violence, the Police will come down hard (on the counter demonstrators) there will be a sudden new found zeal for imposing the guidelines for social distancing and my guess is a number of arrests. The coming week or so will see an orgy of fake outrage across the news networks of ‘far right’ violence and the rise of racism – probably blaming Brexit.
In the longer-term ordinary people may well conclude that the state is engaged in some asymmetric war against its own people, they will give up on the institutions of this country and our political class and turn to people who will offer to protect them.
I suspect there are people in this country that so hate having to observe a democratic outcome decided by the working class of this country they would rather see it burn. What I have described is a possible outcome – but only if we play that game. You see statues can be replaced and TV shows put back on line for us to watch, so let the Book Burners have their run. Let them choke on their own ideology, there is a delicious irony in seeing ‘woke’ comedians being denounced by their own Comrades for some off colour sketch they made a few years back, there is nothing more hypocritical than seeing an over indulged Black celebrity lecture poor White people about their privilege. When we are good and ready and their tantrum has burned up their energy, we can remind them of these things at leisure.
Let them have it, the revolution eats its young, just stand back and let them do it, no need to get violent, no need to do anything, just stop listening to the broadcast news, if enough of us do the same they can spout their vile dogma across the airwaves as much as they care to, no of us are listening. You have more control than you think.
There is an interesting philosophical debate on the question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Now you can go round the houses (and round the twist eventually) with that one but here’s the thing, even if it does make a sound, you don’t know which tree or even which forest, it has no interaction with your existence, it is irrelevant.
I have switched off, I have stopped listening to broadcast news, they no longer exist, the earth is my witness.
You should switch off too, you will feel better for it, trust me.
To summarise my thoughts on the NHS I firmly support universal healthcare provision by the state, I just think the NHS is the worst method in the world of providing it. Spain and the Netherlands both have far superior systems, yet here we are again in yet another General Election where no politician dare speak this heresy. Imagine that – a state funded healthcare system that can bully politicians into silence, yep that’s where we are and any sensible discussion on the topic will be prevented because we live in a political duopoly, which means:
The Tories are too scared to mention the system needs reform so instead throw money at a bottomless money pit to neutralise Labour.
Labour will weaponise the NHS in order to threaten voters that the Tories want to privatise healthcare and have secret plans to introduce cuts by shooting anyone that has so much as a bad tummy.
This stupid pantomime gets played out every few years and even manages to infect the other political parties that do not form part of the duopoly, at a time when I do think people are open to listening to alternative methods of providing universal healthcare. The Tory response to the NHS is fairly predictable, after all they have a long track record of forming governments so it makes sense to neutralise a predictable avenue of attack from the Labour party. Cynical as the Tory approach is I would argue it is nowhere near as cynical as the way the NHS seems to operate as a tax payer funded branch of the Labour party. As I write this blog support for the Labour party seems to be about 25%, so if you think about it 75% of NHS patients and the people that pay taxes to fund it do not vote Labour. Let that sink in.
We have all become so used to the control the Labour party has over the NHS that we all too often forget to ask why we have allowed one political party to have complete control of an organ of state. Why do we find this acceptable? I don’t. It’s for the same reason I don’t think it would be a great idea to allow Sinn Fein complete control of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.
Yet it is so blatant, I know of no organisation that would allow its employees to use its name and corporate branding as a platform to campaign for one political party. Most of us would reasonably expect to be on the wrong end of a disciplinary if we did that. Yet here we are, Twitter is awash with grandstanding NHS employees pushing their propaganda, which generally runs along the lines of ‘trust me I’m a Doctor, the Tories are evil’ or ‘It’s my duty as an NHS manager to tell you we only have 24 hours/days/weeks to save the NHS from the evil Tor-rees’. Even the BBC joins in with interviews with desperate Doctors gushing about how our casualty departments resemble the aftermath of an American Civil War battle thanks to the Tories, and our idiot journalists seem remarkably unwilling to ask if they are speaking in an official capacity.
Am I the only one totally fed up with evangelising angels from the NHS constantly bashing me round the head with their non-existent halos? Why does the NHS tolerate political activists using their name in this way – and why don’t the rest of us (who don’t support Labour) tell them to shut up and do something useful for a change – you know like doing something about the NHS’s appalling cancer survival rates? I suspect the reason is that they, like the rest of us, have been conditioned into accepting a politicised NHS and this will only change when we start to challenge it and remind them, most of us would actually prefer you to do your job and, like the rest of us, keep your politics out of the workplace.
I think it fair to say the recent case in the Supreme Court over the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament has added fuel to the burning platform that is the British constitution, the settlement between those who rule and those that are ruled looks severely strained as a consequence. Personally I was never in much doubt about the way the court case would go, if you have enough power and influence the path is well set now to change any outcome to your favour, hire some lawyers, shop around a Scottish court and then get the Supreme Court to sugar coat the ruling you paid for. As for the settlement, I was never much convinced we had one in any case, seems to me there is only one party in power – the establishment, we just get to chose which liar we want to send there to do their bidding. To take something positive from recent events it has at least provided clear evidence of what I have been saying for some time now.
Looking at events more coldly I do think the Prime Minister made an error to try and suspend Parliament for five weeks, that was clearly provocative, certainly excessive and in fairness to the people I profoundly disagree with they did have a case here, if you cannot provide evidence why you have suspended Parliament for such a long period of time it kind of does look like an abuse of power. Yet amongst all the heat and anger over the past few days a simple fact has escaped our commentators and media, our country is not operating within a rules based system, it operates within something called the law and we need to take pause and question something we have always been taught to accept because the law is unstable.
A few years ago I travelled around Arizona and Utah, as you push deeper in to these states you get to some very remote areas, I find Americans to be a generous, warm hearted people but as you go in to these places you begin to notice a hard edge about them. They have a deep mistrust of government (a healthy thing if you ask me) and deep resentment of interference in their lives. There is still a frontier spirit about them and if you think about it not so long ago the people that lived here lived according to natural law, thieves got horsewhipped, murderers got hanged, the Sheriff and the law, well they didn’t arrive until later in the day. I’m not someone who agrees with the death penalty by the way but I do see how free people would order their lives in the absence of government and law. It is also important to remember that harsh that their sanctions for crime might be outside of that there is a very real sense that if there is no law against it then you are free to do as you please, so ask yourself this – isn’t their hard edge really more to do with distant people trying to govern their lives? This is one of the central beliefs I have and why I want to see my country leave the EU, barely a day goes by when some distant unaccountable bureaucrat is trying to ban something in my life or force me to accept things that simply aren’t true – like there are more than two genders for example? I mean – seriously, you want to force me to believe that and make it a crime if I don’t?
Every day that passes a further layer of law is added to our lives, few if any of these laws free us to do anything, instead they constrain us further and further in how we act, speak and increasingly how we think. A recent piece of case law in the United States threw up an interesting change, a particular by-law insisted on dog leads being a certain length in the confines of a park, a dog walker unaware of this law was fined for using a longer lead, the dog walker appealed and the Judge found in his favour, ignorance of the law could now be used as a defence, the Judge accepted that people were now expected to operate within such a complex and ever shifting set of rules it was impossible for even the purest hearted of us not to transgress the law.
Returning to our recent court case, Parliament was recalled and the Prime Minister faced subsequent calls to resign. Now here is the thing and the germ of the thought I want to plant into your mind, the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament having received legal advice from Geoffrey Cox the Attorney General, the Attorney general is legal adviser to the Crown, if one of the most senior legal brains in the country cannot provide reliable advice to the Crown over what is legal then you don’t have the rule of law, you have a chaotic free for all, unpredictable in its outcomes and prone to misuse by the rich and powerful. I would not try to argue this is necessarily a result of EU membership but it does seem to me that EU law means anything the EU wants it to mean at the time. My perceptions apart, much of EU law is based on Napoleonic law which aims to build a system where the only aspects of our day to day activities we are permitted to do are the ones where there is a law that specifically says we can do it. That style of legal system I reject with all my heart since I have a pretty good idea where it ends up.
I am not making an argument for anarchy, good rules, indeed good laws help make a harmonious society. Sport provides an excellent example, we can argue until we are blue in the face about a player being off-side in a football match but that is the interpretation of the law, the law itself is clear and understood, also unlike the U.K. right now the referee cannot suddenly invent a new rule during a game to disadvantage one side. Currently our lives operate within an unstable game of snakes and ladders called the law, if our finest legal minds cannot predict its outcomes what value is it? Surely it is time to revert back to a simpler more instinctive rules based world, if the Attorney General cannot predict where this ends up don’t you think the smart thing to do is to take a pause and ask ‘we’ve kind of lost the plot here haven’t we’?
On July 20th, 1969 at 20:17 UTC the Apollo Lunar Module, Eagle, landed safely on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquillity. On board the Eagle astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin reported back to Earth “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Perhaps less well known is that shortly after landing Buzz quietly took Communion with some wine and bread to give thanks to God.
Some six hours later Neil Armstrong opened the hatch to Eagle and descended a short ladder to place his feet on the Moon and make his famous declaration “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Nineteen minutes later he was joined by Aldrin and the two astronauts went on to spend two and a quarter hours together on the Moon’s surface setting up experiments and collecting about 21kg of Moon rock. Behind them they left a plaque, signed by both astronauts and Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, the plaque bore the words ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind’.
After seven hours of rest Armstrong and Aldrin were woken up by Mission Control to prepare for their return. Two and half hours later Eagle re-joined the orbiting Command Module and the astronaut Michael Collins (who for a time qualified as the loneliest human in history). The three astronauts then made their successful return to Earth. On August 13th the three astronauts, now hailed as heroes, enjoyed the honour of a ticker tape parade in New York.
There were a further six Apollo missions to the Moon, five successfully made landings, one – Apollo 13 made a story in itself, all returned safely to Earth. In total twelve men walked on the Moon, most were in the military although interestingly the first, Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11) and the last, Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17), were civilians.
I was too young to really remember any of the Apollo missions although I have a hazy memory of being mugged off by my Dad on one of the later missions when I complained it was still daylight when I was sent to bed, ’the Astronauts took the darkness with them’ he explained. Good one Dad, you had me there.
The debates about the cost of the missions continue to this day but few would argue that putting a man on the Moon was not one of mankind’s greatest technical achievements. For me it always meant more than any that, even as a child I sensed the wonder of what we had achieved, it was as though for the first time ever mankind looked up from our own world and understood our real destiny lay in the firmament and not our eternal squabbles about diminishing resources on Earth.
Still today when the moon is full I gaze up to the Sea of Tranquillity – that dark patch slightly to the right of the centre and I think of Neil and a very dear relative who passed away with him on the same day. Sometimes I think more deeply about what Armstrong must have felt, how could you even begin to describe the feeling as the hatch opened and he saw the lunar surface up close for the first time? How could any human control that adrenaline rush no matter how highly trained, no matter how self disciplined?
Some say he fluffed his lines forgetting the pronoun ‘a’, others argue he said it but the transmission broke at a vital moment, for me it matters little, no human has ever acted as the singularity in time and space for so much human endeavour, the pressure must have been almost unbearable. When I think deeper still I ask myself if part of me would despair at that point? Despair because the ultimate achievement not only in my life but in the life of every human being that ever lived will shortly pass. As I return to the lunar module and head back to earth is everything now one long anti climax?
Armstrong, an already intensely private man, gave little further insight into these emotions. His companion on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, has been much more talkative but still does not fully convey what must be very difficult to describe. Perhaps this is why I have always been drawn to Alan Bean – the fourth man on the Moon; Bean has painted his exploits obsessively since his return, for me his artwork conveys more completely the emotional connection I seek. You could argue the Moon really put a zap on Alan Bean’s head, which is something I can relate to, I figure if it had been me on the Moon I would have gone down the same path as Bean. Even though I can’t paint for toffee.
Fifty years on and the world is not the place I expected it to be, I live in a society that seems to have lost its way. It is difficult to see how today the West could produce political leadership that had the will to undertake a project like Apollo; after all John F Kennedy knew his two terms would likely be over before men walked on the Moon, one of his successors would claim the glory yet he still committed to it. All the more remarkable that Kennedy managed to commit the American people to it and caught the imagination of the rest of the people of the free world.
Sometimes we forget that in 1969 the Vietnam War was raging, it was over a year from the 1968 Tet offensive, America was quite clearly in an unwinnable war, race riots raged across American cities, and political violence saw the slayings of Dr.Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Against all of this Apollo shone through and in the annals of history I believe that a thousand years from now it will be for this that America is remembered.
Fifty years on and I feel there are more dark days than hopeful ones, maybe that’s just me getting older. I guess in a certain sense my obsession with Apollo is because it serves as a touchstone for a time when the world seemed more hopeful and the West had a stronger sense of direction. Fifty years on and we find ourselves led by politicians with little imagination, a media that few trust anymore, and a recalcitrant academia that appears to prefer to detach itself from what Heraclitus described as the logos and chooses instead the intellectual dead end of ideology.
Yet we are no different to the people that came before us.
Fifty years ago we set foot on the Moon. I really do think that if we just started to believe in ourselves a bit more, and stopped investing our belief in people that do not deserve it, we can reset things, we can get ourselves back on track. Look up at the Moon, and remind yourself that we went there, that there is the best of us, that up there is what the human spirit can achieve. Remind yourself to not always look down but to sometimes look up, up to the heavens where our true destiny lay. Fifty years ago we went to the Moon, we did that.
A tale of two product launches, set against the most fawningly corporate Pride Month in American history
Imagine that you are Jerry Falwell, Jr. or some other notable socially conservative reactionary type, and you see the above image in which the makers of Oreo cookies announce that they are celebrating Pride Month by producing commemorative packs encouraging customers to “share [their] pronouns with pride”.
One can easily imagine Falwell, Jr. taking to his Twitter account in high dudgeon to complain about something (the ongoing erasure of the gender binary) so clearly against his own personal beliefs and conception of Christian morality being promoted on the packaging of a beloved, family-friendly American snack. Maybe this would be followed by an angry TV news appearance – or, in the good old days, a strongly-worded open letter, printed in the national press and addressed to the godless, degenerate executives at the National Biscuit…
Followers of my rants will know I am passionate about the flora and fauna of our natural environment so it is fitting that my latest contribution features an animal, more specifically a dog, a lost one, called Picky.
Last Sunday afternoon as I watched India thumping Pakistan at cricket on TV there was a bit of a commotion outside of my house with a couple of neighbours. No curtain twitcher am I – so I went straight out to find out what was going on quickly to learn that my neighbours had found a lost dog. Asking the blindingly obvious (I’m as sharp as a pin in these sort of situations) I asked if there was a number on its dog tag and had they called it? Of course they had, they even knew the dog was called Picky but sadly the number on the tag was dead.
Being a dog lover and all-round good egg, I offered to look after it until it could be re-united with its owner. Now it’s time like these that the often maligned social media comes in handy so I posted on the various neighbourhood networks in Ealing a picture of Picky asking if anyone knew the dog and its owner. In the meantime, my neighbours tried to make contact with a local refuge in case we could not locate the owner.
The rain now set in at Old Trafford so the cricket was stopped and at this point I had a brainwave, why not see if Picky knows where he lives and leads me there? Picky however saw this instead as an opportunity to take me around one of his favourite walks in the park but at least it gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. Of course! A Eureka moment! Dogs have a licence – call Ealing Police Station and notify them of the lost dog, simples. Or so it seemed. I knew not to call999as it was hardly an emergency so I called the Police Station, over a dozen times, the call just died, there wasn’t even a connection. Returning home Picky and I tried the web site of the Metropolitan Police which seemed designed to ensure you didn’t report anything at all – unless it was an offensive Tweet on Twitter.
And this got me thinking, our taxes have not gone down in the past decade or so, yet we seem to be getting less and less for what our government shakes us down for. There are war zones that are safer than some parts of London and the only time any of us seem to see the Police is when they are;
1.At your door trying to intimidate you because you said Islam isn’t very nice.
2.Dancing in a parade wearing nail varnish and a rainbow coloured wig.
You see as I walked Picky around the park, a park where children play, I walked past unpleasant men openly smoking cannabis and God knows what without any concern about the law – or how an adult should conduct himself around young ones. I walked past rubbish mainly now collected by local volunteers as the council does not seem able to do that any longer. Yet my council tax has not gone down, in fact the latest wheeze is to charge for parking where it used to be free and thus pretend, they have not put up tax. Ealing council does however seem to have a zeal for closing libraries – a zeal sadly lacking when it comes to looking after open spaces and this being Ealing so called Queen of the Suburbs.
So this now seems to be the direction of travel, our governments fleece us for tax and fritter it away on anything and everything that is not in our interest, giving billions to NGOs and fake charities that have a sinister agenda and deliberately spending less and less on the things that improve or at least maintain the quality of our lives.
Pete North at the Leave Alliance has been banging on for ages that without political reform Brexit is almost pointless and this view hardened like tempered steel in my mind. Pete is right – leaving the EU is not enough, we simply have to remove our current political class because if we don’t the neglect of our country and its people will continue and the legacy paid for in blood by our forefathers will be frittered away by a malign uncaring elite
A shaggy dog story needs an end, by early evening it looked like Picky was going to have to stay with me for the night until we could contact the dog refugeon Monday morningso it being a reasonably nice evening Mr Picky and I headed off to the Fox for a sundowner. Half way through my pint my neighbour called me – she had contacted the owner who was on her way to me. Shortly after a tearful owner is re-united with Picky, a Romanian lady with very poor English who explained the number on the dog tag was a Romanian mobile number. It was a nice moment to see the joy on her face and Picky once more at her owner’s side.
And then a final thought hit me, it was a Brexiteer and his network of friends and Brexiteers that helped bring this to a happy ending. So much for xenophobes, seems to me that the people of this country are a pretty awesome bunch governed by scum bags and the time is long over due to get rid of them. If we can unite a Romanian lady with her dog in hours, I am pretty sure we can fix the rest.