The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for December, 2010

26 December
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…The Aged P Remembers Those Summer Days…..

Difficult to remember now that only a few months ago..

We were doing this

on a French beach

enjoying the sun..
E

with my wife

…..son…

…near a sand dune…

…where our grandson…


….did what boys do…

on a dune..

.

..while the kite flyer was up above…

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22 December
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Katherine Jenkins Sings “Silent Night” For Troops…

Katherine Jenkins was due to fly out to entertain British troops in Afghanistan over Christmas alongside James Blunt (a former military man himself) but the flight was cancelled due to snow. However she gave an impromptu performance to some soldiers on the plane before they had to disembark.

Beautiful lady, beautiful voice and probably one of the best loved of carols…..

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22 December
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Hey You Old People – That Iconic Beatles Crossing Will Be An Icon Forever…

Rest easy all you old folk – one of the great icons of your youth is now saved for eternity or the last trump (whichever comes first)….the hallowed black and white tarmac on Abbey Road, London NW8, which graced the cover of the Beatles 1969 “Abbey Road” album, is safe.

John Penrose, the tourism minister, will announce today that the Government is to publish an order granting the crossing Grade II-listed status on the advice of English Heritage. A Grade II listing, the most common protected status, means that a building or monument is recognised as nationally important and of special interest.

So now it cannot be moved or transformed into another type of pedestrian crossing. Generations of Beatles fans can imitate their heroes forever – and all they have to do is cross a road
 

Sweet – and so nice for the old people to know that not all their 60s memories will crumble into dust.  Indeed, for the hardcore Beatlemaniac, they can watch the Abbey Road crossing in real time – a great way to keep grandad occupied and out of the way.

One more fascinating factoid – tell granny and grandad that “Abbey Road” is as far away from 2010 as “If I Had A Talking Picture of You” by Johnny Hamp’s Kentuckey Serenaders, one of the biggest hits of 1929, was from the Beatles…

But you didn’t hear much about the Kentuckey Serenaders in 1969…. 

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19 December
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Hey, Mr Obama…Why Not Be Like The UK And Cut Public Spending?

One of the new wave of British entrepreneurs unleashed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s Sir Martin Sorrell has built up WPP into the world’s biggest advertising company and now employs 140,000 people across the globe, so, unlike many politicians – and academics  – when he talks about business it is worthwhile listening to what he has to say. However I don’t think the Obama administration (which has very little collective business experience) will be particularly enamoured with his words

With 2011 coming into focus, “for the first time in a long time you can feel bullish about the UK in the medium-term”, Sir Martin believes. “What the UK is doing is the envy of people in Washington.”

He’s talking about David Cameron and his coalition government’s attack on the massive deficit inherited from Labour which involves quite drastic public spending cuts.

“The Coalition’s economic policy has a lot going for it,” Sir Martin said. “They’ve done the tough stuff and they’re dealing with the deficit.”

Not that it will have an easy ride. The recent angry and sometimes violent demonstrations against the increase in university tuition fees are merely the forerunner of a series of protests, not only in the streets but from the left leaning BBC and a whole swathe of academics. Cameron, however, has, at present, the advantage that, in general, the ordinary voting public appear to support the need for a period of fiscal prudence. Once the cuts start to hit home, however, he needs to be able to convince the electorate that it is a shared enterprise and therefore everyone, including the political class, needs to feel the pain – so he has to lead from the front in a mode that echoes Churchill in 1940.

And he needs to have nerves of steel to face down those of his colleagues who will flinch under fire – surprisingly they might well be from his own party rather than his Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

But at least Cameron has raised his banner and set his troopers on the march. America, led at the moment by a posse of seedy, economically illiterate hacks is rudderless in a dark and threatening world. The next President would do well to pencil in an early meeting with David Cameron not so much get some tips on what worked and what didn’t – though that in itself could be useful – but to gain the reassurance from knowing that someone else has been in the trenches….

…..and, of course, to restore a certain bust of Sir Winston Churchill back to its place in the White House.

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18 December
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Chavez Goes Hitler – Crickets Chirp…..

When Hugo Chavez assumes plenary powers in Venezuela where are the cries of outrage from leftist heroes Michael Moore, Ken Livingstone, John Pilger and Sean Penn when you need them?

Apart from my friend Cubachi and Fausta Wertz  the only chorus of disapproval being heard around the mean streets of the media both here and in the US comes from a crowd of crickets – I wonder why?

Venezuelan lawmakers granted President Hugo Chavez broad powers Friday to enact laws by decree, undermining the clout of a new congress that takes office next month with a bigger opposition bloc.

But it was this that gave me a vague feeling of déjà vu

Chavez has argued he needs decree powers to fast-track funds to help the victims of recent floods and landslides, and also to hasten Venezuela’s transition to a socialist state.

Where had I heard that before? And why did the Chavez regime’s Social Responsibility Law also start bells ringing in my head?

Another measure under discussion Friday was the revised “Social Responsibility Law,” which would impose broadcast-type regulations on the Internet and ban online messages “that could incite or promote hatred,” create “anxiety” in the population or “disrespect public authorities.”

Then it struck me….

Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich = Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation

 Adolf Hitler 1933

In February 1933, a few weeks after being appointed Chancellor of Germany, the NSDAP leader, Adolf Hitler, promulgated the Reichstag Fire Decree (Reichstagsbrandverordnung) as a response to the recent arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin. Simply stated it suspended all civil liberties in German. The actual text was brutally brief and wide ranging.

Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed

Hitler claimed that the fire was merely the opening salvo of a Communist insurrection and and he needed these special powers to cope with the threat.

One month later, after a general election which gave NSDAP and it’s allies a slim majority in the Riechstag, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz) which allowed his government to introduce laws without the permission of the German parliament. Between them these pieces of legislation provided a legal (if not moral) basis for the exercise of totalitarian power. To all intents and purposes Germany, within four weeks, had become a legal dictatorship.

It is interesting to observe that both decrees were ostensibly temporary in their nature yet were never rescinded.

So Chavez is going Hitler.

No doubt the United Nations, Hamas, Ahmadinejad and Sean Penn will soon be on the case……chirp chirp chirp…

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18 December
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CNN’s New Brit Larry King Replacement Piers Morgan Says Sarah Palin Is “Mesmerising”…..

What with the heavy snowfalls this winter in the UK (nice going, Al Gore) and rehearsals, new carpets etc recent blogging from the depths of the Sussex Weald has been a bit like the “Executive/Management/Team Leading” section on President Obama’s CV – about as slim as a burglar’s picklock. But a flurry of tweets about new CNN Larry King replacement Piers Morgan suddenly caught my eye, partly because they included two fellow conspirators from the Palin Underground, Cubachi and ginthegin, and also because Morgan (universally known as “Piers Moron” here in the UK) has always appeared to me to be, in my nuanced opinion, a self publicising, amoral, two faced weasel who is about as trustworthy as a Chicago Democrat operative helping to count the votes in a Nevada senatorial election.

If you want something less nuanced and more robust then read this – it sums up Piers Morgan to a T.

However Piers is like Bill Clinton-you know he’s a weasel but you have to watch him and, despite his champagne socialist lifestyle, as with Bill, you cannot fail to admire the Houdini like skill with which he so often extricates himself from a vast pile of steaming manure and manages to come up smelling of roses.

The key to his survival is an unerring ability to sniff the wind and anticipate the change of direction that vital millisecond before any other player. He also has, as befits a former tabloid editor and a talent show judge in both the UK and US, a healthy suspicion of the academic and media elite which is why I see his remarks about Governor Palin on John King USA as of more significance than just casting his net to get her on his own CNN programme sometime next year.

She’s a mesmerising character on television…she tweets all the time. She is leading from the front…she is using those platforms in a highly effective way. She is driving a movement through the prism of social networking, and recognizing that if she can talk and communicate to people in a simple, effective manner, through these social networking sites, she’s going to get votes

A few months ago he would have parroted the HuffPo/AP/Frum line (we know it off by heart, don’t we?) but he, like a handful of others, has detected a sea change and he wants to get on board. Moreover, despite my previous remark about “trust” I think Morgan would see it as being in his own interest to treat The ‘Cuda with respect – and it might just be worth a gamble for her to offer an interview. His interviewing style is fascinating and always succeeds in making famous people more three dimensional without robbing them of their own self respect.

Morgan and Palin – might just be worth a punt….

Cross posted at Conservatives4Palin

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04 December
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About that FIFA World Cup farce, Johnny Foreigner – can I have a quiet word with you?

The FIFA fiasco, I hope, will have at least one good outcome – it must provide the final piece of evidence to even the most internationalist of Brits that, as far as elites of the rest of the world is concerned the UK is almost as unpopular as the USA.

The political/media complex, of course (otherwise known as our “ruling class”) has always been in denial about this. Listen to the BBC, read the “quality” dead tree press, listen to most MPs, Government ministers and all civil servants and they act and articulate as if we are beloved on every continent. They do this, of course, because they gush over all other non English speaking countries so much they assume it must be a passion reciprocated.

But it’s not – it is an unrequited love. They hate and despise us and, whenever they have the chance to give us a poke in the eye (UN,EU,FIFA, Eurovision, the Iraq war etc etc) they do it with a gleeful malevolence so openly displayed that only the most obtuse BBC/Guardian hack would fail to detect the stench of withering contempt.

Why do they hate us so much?

Partly, I wager, it is a reaction to the grovelling subservience often displayed by our ruling class when engaged in some form of international negotiation. Other countries are quite happy to make airy promises about future actions in areas such as immigration, environmental legislation, health and safety regulations, military commitments, fiscal discipline etc fully aware that even as the ink dries on the agreement there is no intention of implementation whereas they all know that our zealous, relatively incorruptible will enforce everything in that agreement down to the final dot and comma – and they despise us for it.

But, I suspect, there is also something deeper. Drill down into individual manifestations of hatred and so very often it springs from those most corrosive of human attributes envy and jealousy…

Envy of our thousand year culture of civil law and political continuity

Envy of our long established tradition – from Magna Carta onwards – that even kings are not above the law..indeed in 1649 we cut off one royal head just to reinforce that notion and invited the son to return in 1660 on condition that he remembered to keep within those boundaries

Envy of our golden gift to the world – the English language, so expressive, so adaptable that it has become the globe’s universal language.

Envy of the literary genius that has flowered from the language – Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens and so many other giants of the written word..

Note well, America – it’s not your military and economic power that provokes an even greater wave of hatred, it’s because of your shared collective inheritance of those concepts enumerated above.

We are not perfect and sometimes things have been done in our name that have not been right. But part of our strength is that we have the courage to acknowledge our failings. However willingly grovelling in subservience to a native tyrant, a political or religious creed or remaining quiescent under the heel of an alien invader is not of our nature – unlike most other peoples outside the English speaking world.

So maybe it’s time for us to stop turning the other cheek and trying our best to appease the haters – however much we try to please them they will only despise us more. Let’s play a straight bat, look them in the eye and tell them enough is enough. If you don’t like us we don’t give a damn…

So, Johnny Foreigner, take your bribes and your corruption and your religious/political/tribal fanaticism and put ‘em where the sun doesn’t shine because, believe me, without us, the world would be a poorer place…

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02 December
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US Embassy On Thatcher In 1975 – “She Came From Nowhere”

In 1975 an official in the US Embassy had the wit to work out that there was something special about the unknown Margaret Thatcher long before she became Prime Minister in 1979.

By the beginning of 1975 there was a degree of unrest in the UK Conservative Party with the leadership of Edward Heath.  The Tories had just lost a General Election but, as usual, very few were willing to stick their necks out and challenge Heath for the position of leader. Margaret Thatcher, however, who had been a minor figure in Heath’s cabinet had no such doubts. She felt that Heath has led the party away from conservative first principles and it was time to redress the balance so she through down the gauntlet and defeated Heath in a leadership ballot.

It was then assumed that one of the big beasts from the higher echelons of the party would  step in to take over the leadership now that Thatcher had done the heavy lifting. But when Heath’s anointed successor, Willie Whitelaw, put in his bid Thatcher refused to give way and she defeated him in a second ballot.

The American government was puzzled by all this. They knew nothing about this woman so the US embassy in London was asked to provide some information. The result was this confidential cable now published in the UK Spectator’s Coffee House Blog.

2. Margaret Thatcher has blazed into national prominence almost literally from out of nowhere. When she first indicated that she intended to stand against Ted Heath for leadership of the Conservative Party, few took her challenge seriously and fewer still believed it would succeed. She had never been a member of the inner circle of Tory power brokers, and no politician in modern times has come to the leadership of either major party with such a narrow range of prior experience. Now suddenly, after what has been described as her “daringly successful commando raid on the heights of the Tory Party,” she has become the focus of unusually intensive media and popular interest.

3. There is a general agreement among friends and critics alike that she is an effective and forceful parliamentary performer. She has a quick, if not profound, mind, and works hard to master the most complicated brief. She fights her corner with skill and toughness, but can be flexible when pressed. In dealing with the media or with subordinates, she tends to be crisp and a trifle patronizing. With colleagues, she is honest and straight-forward, if not excessively considerate of their vanities. Civil servants at the Ministry of Education found her autocratic. She has the courage of her convictions, and once she has reached a decision to act, is unlikely to be deflected by any but the most persuasive arguments. Self-confident and self-disciplined, she gives every promise of being a strong leader.

4. Even before her great leap upward, Mrs. Thatcher had been the personification of a British middle class dream come true. Born the daughter of a grocer, she had by dint of her own abilities and application won through, securing scholarships to good schools, making a success of her chosen career, and marrying advantageously. It is not surprising then that she espouses middle class values of thrift, hard work, and law and order, that she believes in individual choice, maximum freedom for market forces, and minimal power for the state. Hers is the genuine voice of a beleaguered bourgeoisie, anxious about its eroding economic power and determined to arrest society’s seemingly inexorable trend towards collectivism. Somewhat unchivalrously, Denis Healey has dubbed her “La Pasionaria of the middle class privilege.”

Read the rest here – it will certainly provide food for thought for those who are reading comments from pundits pontificating on the 2012 race…

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02 December
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To My Family & Friends After My 70th Birthday – 20/11/2010

Apologies in advance for this word processed missive but my handwriting, never a thing of beauty at the best of times, has now descended to the level of prescription scribble so, thankfully, with the help of my trusty 17” Inspiron laptop (no wimpish, undersized netbook/Ipad pour moi) I can express my appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all our family and friends who helped me celebrate my rite of passage across  the threshold from the naive and untutored adolescence of 69 into the well rounded intellectual and emotional maturity of 70 – the transformation from soft and shapeless camembert to the sturdy ripe firmness of mellow cheddar.

To say the event was a surprise would really be an understatement. When that door opened I expected to see nothing but a redecorated, refurnished room – certainly not a crowd of well wishers waiting silently for my entrance. But it was good to meet up again with old friends and revisit those mist shrouded islands and atolls of the past and, more importantly, catch up with the swirls and eddies of the present over the clink of glasses and the satisfying aroma of good food.

Thanks to everyone for the cards (funny to see that at seventy those numbered cards that disappeared after my birthday in 1950 return to the scene) and presents (predominantly alcohol, books and drinking receptacles plus a selection of cheeses and a magnifying glass) that indicate an almost Holmesian familiarity with my weaknesses and foibles. Unfortunately all of them in their boxes became lost in the temporary black hole that consumed our house over the last week or so with the entry of the carpet fitters – hence the lateness of this response. But now, with the restoration of good order everything is in its place and there is a place for everything.

Hopefully it will be many years before I have to declare “acta est fabula plaudit” so I look forward to 2020 when I trust, as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would say

You and I will meet again
When we’re least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won’t say good-bye my friend
For you and I will meet again

 

Best wishes

David

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01 December
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Sussex Hit By Global Warming Again…..

Posted on Blogger because WordPress server having a little tantrum re uploading pics…..could it be the curse of Assange?

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