Indigenous Knowledge and Aid for Africa

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised a ‘comprehensive’ inquiry into the ongoing bushfire crisis which has so far killed twenty-seven people and scorched more than ten million hectares.

When it goes ahead, they must surely take the time to talk to Aborigine elders in each different area and listen.

But it seems that not a single Indigenous person sits on the board of the national bushfire research centre. Why on earth not? These people know the land better than their white counterparts and have managed it successfully for generations.

Shannon Foster who is a ‘keeper of Aborigine tradition’ is keen to work together with government agencies, but she worries about expanding development: “It terrifies me that now so much land has been decimated, developers will move in and say ‘we might as well put this estate here; the land is cleared.’

“Aboriginal people have looked after this place for so long – to see it now destroyed because nobody has allowed us to care for it is devastating,” she adds.

I am sorry to blow my own trumpet, but I have been saying this since the fires began. Local people know about looking after the land because they have had to cope for centuries, yet they are so often ignored by the pompous twits in power who feel that they know what is best for everyone.

Judging by the current crisis, they palpably do not.

I have ranted before about the fact that Britain sends a large chunk of its international aid to Africa and this does nothing but harm. When I house-sit in ‘my’ various mansions, I usually watch Sky television and am appalled at the endless begging for monetary handouts to be directed at Africa, usually featuring some helpless child, said to be starving, running out of water, going blind or whatever.

I can see how these photographs stir the conscience of kindly folk, looking to do good, but please believe me, the money that you give is wasted.

The current drought afflicting much of Africa is not the worst in fifty years as the BBC and aid organisations claim. It is nothing compared to the droughts in 1960/61 or 1973/74 and there are major droughts every five years or so. As with the Aborigines in Australia, people have always coped with them, but suddenly the population has quadrupled, mainly due to the fact that they are kept alive by famine relief, supplied by I suppose, well intentioned, aid agencies and kindly folk who want to help others.

The effects of these droughts and poor nutrition in the first three years of a child’s life have a devastating effect on the development of the infant brain, so that if these children survive, they will never achieve a normal IQ and they get to the stage where they just cannot be educated. This surely has to be a recipe for disaster.

So do we let then starve? I don’t know but African governments have become so used to these handouts that in many government budgets, they cater for ‘aid’ and this cannot be right.

Africa is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa apart from AIDS and other new diseases. It is a quarter of a century since that benighted Irishman Bob Geldof started his Live Aid nonsense. It was aimed primarily at Ethiopia and in that quarter of a century, Ethiopia’s population has grown from thirty three and a half million to over seventy eight million. The country cannot support that and the more we in the west pour money in, the worse the situation will become.

The wide-eyed boy-child who featured in television adverts twenty years ago will now be a low IQ, AK-wielding moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind.

Yet still the pleas come for more money and still the aid agencies flourish. I have seen them many times, touring villages in their fancy cars and telling the people that they do not need to work hard because we, the good and generous folk of the west will look after them. Many of the aid workers are undoubtedly sincere and devoted to doing good for the rest of the world, but all they are really doing is exacerbating an already perilous situation for all the people of Africa.

If the present state of affairs continues, the population of Ethiopia will top one hundred and seventy seven million by 2050 and that is equivalent to half of Europe today.

The same thing applies to other African countries and in the end, the entire continent will be one sprawling shanty town where people survive in misery and the rich heritage of Africa, together with its wonderful wildlife will disappear for ever.

Is this what we want? I don’t personally but then mine is very much a tiny voice in the wilderness. But what little money I have will remain in my pocket.

Whittering Experts and Global Warming

I don’t watch a great deal of television but of late, coverage of world affairs seems to have been totally skewed. Take the recent assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the hardline leader of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Listening to coverage on some TV stations, you’d be excused for thinking he was a cross between Mother Theresa and Dumbo.

But let’s face it – as Bunter Johnson pointed out – this is a man ‘with the blood of British troops on his hands.’ He has been in command of an organisation with an off-shoot of a terrorist group for two decades and has been engaged in terrorism in countries such as Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and, of course, Iraq. An international travel ban had been imposed on him and the UN had imposed a financial restriction order on any assets he had overseas. 

Last year, a British tanker was seized in the Straits of Hormuz after Iranian troops descended from a helicopter. Add to this that the current Iranian government wishes to keep advancing until all Israelis are pushed into the sea, and you start to get a feel for this bunch of international murderers and cut throats. 

While that should surely be enough for most of us, the human rights activists, lawyers, peace campaigners, US-haters and ‘Middle East experts’ have been queuing up to get on TV and radio here and in America. The BBC and Channel 4 showed footage of protesters burning the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes in Tehran as if this had never been seen before. Of course it has damnit and frequently. Some of these fanatical demonstrators would probably set flags alight if Britain won the Eurovision Song Contest! This is what they do. Why should it be news?

The parade of doom prophets have predictably, been joined by the usual suspects from the world of politics. Jeremy Corbyn, who has seemingly never encountered an enemy of the UK he didn’t support, piously lectured the House of Commons about the legality of the US action? His Marxist pal John McDonnell also expressed his opposition, but then he would, wouldn’t he?

These two buffoons are the biggest Labour losers in nearly eighty years. The idea that the pair of them, who have been cosying up to terrorists and terrorist sympathisers for years, can lecture us about international security is as laughable as their campaign that failed so spectacularly last month.

Equally as laughable are the claims from so many of these whittering ‘experts’ who warn that we are on the verge of a Third World War and Iran will unleash untold hell. Yes, there will undoubtedly be incidents but in their first attack on the US air bases, all they managed to achieve was to shoot down a civilian air liner, mistaking it for a missile. I don’t think we really have much to worry us.

When Barack Obama sanctioned the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, the world rightly breathed a sigh of relief, so why should this be any different?  The obvious answer is that these armchair generals on both sides of the Atlantic share a visceral loathing for Donald Trump and his policies. 

I might be completely wrong but I don’t think there will be much of an escalation of danger in the world. A few more flags will be burnt and a lot more vitriol will be spouted by ‘experts’ but the world will be a safer place without General Soleimani.

Then there is the coverage of the Australian bushfires, particularly by the BBC. Night after night, I watch and listen to reports highlighting the tragedies that are occurring. Yes, it is all very tragic and my heart bleeds for those affected but the BBC labour the point only because it supports their fanatical preaching about man-made global warming.

But does it? I have been researching the matter ever since my last little rant about the fires and a have discovered that Australia has been just as hot before, according to measurements as far back as 1889. 

Various excuses are now made for ignoring these inconvenient figures but there really isn’t much doubt about it. Huge forest fires are also common in Australia’s history, some of the worst having been in the very hot summer of 1938-9. 

After lethal blazes in 2009, a Royal Commission in Victoria strongly recommended the ‘prescribed burning’ of brush to prevent future fires – an old Aboriginal method and one used extensively in Africa. 

The Commission report criticised the ‘minimalist approach to prescribed burning despite recent official or independent reports and inquiries, all of which recommended increasing the programme. The State has allowed the forests to continue accumulating excessive fuel loads, adding to the likelihood of more intense bushfires and thereby placing firefighters and communities at greater risk.’ 

It doesn’t appear that anyone took any notice of these findings in Victoria or any of the other states. The Green lobby didn’t want any interference in ‘National Parks’ and indeed, they managed to increase the area of these parks, thereby increasing the risk of fires, which are now taking place.

This is hardly the fault of global warming damnit!

Royalty Racism and Politicians

I have been quiet over the past few days because it is difficult to keep up with the media storm about the Royal Biscuit and his Tame Yank. I don’t know much about either of them but for me it is the sheer rudeness of it all that grates. How can two people who’ve been given so much still be as selfish and disrespectful as this pair? Because while they have tried to convince us that they are all about charity and saving the planet, it seems to me that what they actually care about is money. They’ve already trademarked their royal ­bottoms so they will be able to flog T-shirts, hats and even pyjamas. They’ve also set up a ­website that PR experts predict could net £1billion in ten years. But worse than all this is their insensitivity and disrespect for the Queen, the monarchy and the British people whose love and loyalty they have abused in order to set up an empire Del Boy Trotter would be proud of. 

Did it even occur to either of them that ninety-three year old Queenie should be focusing on her sick husband and her own aches and pains now – not having to deal with their nonsense? Their announcement this week about quitting royal duties was totally selfish and must have hurt the Biscuit’s grandmother badly yet she was the one who gave them Frogmore Cottage – for which we paid a couple of million to have it done up to their satisfaction – and who for at least eighteen months has been doing her best to meet their ever-growing list of demands. 

Let them go for God’s sake but they must really go, not rely on the taxpayer to subsidise their luxury lifestyle. They speak nobly about becoming financially independent but they certainly show no signs of that at the moment. They want the best things in life but can only have them by taking favours from their super-rich ­cronies – holidays in mansions, private planes, hotels. Even their last few weeks spent holidaying on Vancouver Island was courtesy of some unnamed multimillionaire. 

So, what’s the ­difference between Prince Andrew accepting hospitality from tycoons who want royal favours and what these two are doing?

I don’t suppose for one minute that they will have the courage to relinquish their royal titles in order to pursue the ‘progressive’ new role they are banging on about. Without those titles she will be just another game show host turned minor actress whose star quality if ever she had it, will soon be forgotten and he will be a pleasant but pretty dim former aristocrat with no status that any of their rich ‘friends’ will be interested in. 

What a sordid little saga it has been and the furore shows no sign of dying out. Other minor ‘celebrities’ are screaming about racist attacks on the pair of them in the media, but that really is rubbish. Like his mother before him, these two have courted the media when it has suited them and when they don’t like what is written or said, they throw up their hands and cry ‘racist’ or ‘bullying.’

As the English rugby player Courtney Laws who is also black is reported to have said today, ‘no wonder the word racism is no longer taken seriously.’

Please Queenie, let these two twonks go their own way and let the media concentrate on the more important aspects of life.

While I am no admirer of Bunter Johnson, I have been happy to give him time to prove himself, but one small paragraph in a newspaper caught my eye this morning. It was a report that Jacob Rees-Mogg who is leader of the House of Commons has announced that MPs will get an extra month’s holiday this year, including a ten-day ‘ski’ break in February and extra weeks at Easter and in the summer. So much for reaching out to the ordinary people. Most of us who lent our votes to Bunter wouldn’t know one end of a ski from the other and few people – apart from the royal couple currently in the news – get more than two weeks paid holiday a year.

When will these pratwinkles realise that they are supposed to be like the rest of us and not little Gods enjoying their own private Mount Olympus.

I do wonder fairly frequently why I read the newspapers every day because they make me hot under the collar and raise my blood pressure. The childish selfishness of those who are in positions of influence in this land prove that whatever their intellectual capacity, they are completely and utterly out of touch with reality.

I would be better off living without access to news in one of the bronze age settlements on Dartmoor. I wonder if those long ago folk had the same problems with their own ‘celebrities.’

I have said it before, but Mankind is certainly a peculiar animal – and not a very pleasant one.

Putting Down the Luvvies and Bushfires

I have never had much time for the actor Ricky Gervais. I watched one episode of the comedy that made his name, The Office and found it extremely unfunny. Yet over the past year or two we have been subjected to tirades of aggravatingly ‘right on’ virtue signalling from the likes of Greta Thunberg, Meghan Markle and her Royal Biscuit, Libdem harpy Swinson, the Extinction Rebellion lot and an assortment of overpaid, empty-headed luvvies, so Gervais’ speech at the Golden Baubles show last week was refreshingly honest. A more unlikely saviour of sanity and common sense, one can hardly imagine, but he stood there in front of this ‘celebrity’ audience and really laid into them.

His speech was brash, brutal, highly offensive in parts and absolutely spot on. From their collective expressions, it went down badly with the people in the room. But to the rest of us, we ordinary people who are sick and tired of being lectured to by limousine liberals and sulky schoolgirls, it was a real beauty.

There was something almost Churchillian about the passion with which Gervais delivered his diatribe. This was not just a good-natured ribbing. There was a sharp edge of viciousness, a fine line between comedy and cruelty that few speakers know how to tread.

Even for a man as seemingly immune to the feelings of an audience as Gervais, it must have taken every ounce of his brazen courage to press on through the gasps and jaw-dropping disapproval of the assembled luvvies. Let me quote.

“Let’s have a laugh at your expense. Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, remember that,” he began and went on to insult everyone with equal impunity: various names I had never heard of, the film industry itself – “an actor’s job isn’t acting any more – it’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids,” his colleagues in general and he finished off with a plea that was largely ignored;  “If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech . . . You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”

How right he was. The audience he was addressing were a bunch of self -satisfied, self-admiring and self-congratulatory clowns who know nothing of life and I for one am heartily fed up with being lectured by these people. Without exception, they seem to believe that anyone who disagrees with any of their plainly barmy theories is completely wrong.

Could this speech of Mr Gervais possibly mean that we might yet see the beginning of the end of the manufactured hysteria that has held modern culture in its grip for much of the past decade? That has narrowed the parameters of human experience in the name of inclusivity while at the same time shutting out all who show even a tiny bit of disagreement.

If so, I will completely change my opinion of Ricky Gervais and nominate him for whatever honour he might aspire to. The do gooders and tree huggers are dragging us all down into the pits of their own clownish beliefs and if it takes someone like Gervais to convince the world that it can cope without all the attendant loopiness, I am right with him.

I have watched coverage of the fires in Australia and felt desperately sad for those people who have lost their homes, their towns and in many cases their loved ones, but a number of aspects disturb me.

First of all, I ask myself can this really be the result of global warming when so many people around the country have been charged with arson in respect of the fires? Yes, I know the fires are being used by the likes of the Thunberg lass as being a portent of imminent doom for us all, but is this really the case? Whenever there is a major fire in the world, it is usually discovered later that it was started deliberately – even here on my beloved Dartmoor. Any ex copper or student of human nature will tell you what absolute asses – I could have used a more vulgar term – some people are and fire seems to hold a curious, morbid attachment.

Secondly, are the Australian woodlands properly managed? I read somewhere that not creating firebreaks was a political decision made by the Australian ‘Greens’ but anyone who has ever seen a eucalyptus tree burn must surely be aware that these plants are highly incendiary and while organised and pre prepared firebreaks might not contain major outbreaks, they are certainly a huge help with preventing them.

We have bushfires in Africa most years and occasionally they are pretty ferocious. Many species die but generally they help revitalise the landscape and do good. These Australian fires are destroying the landscape as well as everything else, but I do believe they could be prevented or at least kept under control with suitable forest management.

After all, they are not something entirely new and as in Africa, they occur on a regular annual basis.

And on the subject of the Australian fires, can I suggest to Bunter Johnson that instead of spending millions eradicating rodents from uninhabited islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, or funding yoga classes in India and tribal dancing in Ethiopia, his bright new government can surely divert some of the £15-odd billion in the foreign aid pot to helping communities devastated by the fires. 

Surely if anyone deserves British help right now, it’s our beleaguered commonwealth cousins Down Under. 

What Can We Believe

I spend the first hour or so of most days trawling through the online newspapers and trying to see exactly what is going on in the world. It can be a thankless task and is becoming ever more thankless due to the ineptitude and unethical bias of so many modern journalists.

As a schoolboy, it was my ambition to become a journalist and although that never did really happen, I spent eleven harrowing years as a freelance reporter for the Sunday Express, covering the farm invasions in Zimbabwe. I reported the facts as I saw them and like to feel that I helped the people of Britain understand exactly what was going on.

Mind you, I wrote a piece on Heather Bennet at one stage. Her husband Roy was still in prison and Heather graciously gave me her time, but I was forced to apologise to her afterward because what was published, bore little resemblance to what I had submitted. My News Editor – bless him – answered my complaint by saying that my words had been changed to convey ‘more atmosphere’ to the piece.

To me this attitude is not reporting as I understand it. All too often, modern journalists are painting a picture that just is not there, merely to satisfy the whim of an editor who sits in an office many miles from the scene.

Take the Victoria Falls for example. I ranted some time ago about a piece I had read in one of the tabloids which had it that the Falls were on the verge of drying up. This apparently came from a report by Alex Crawford, the South African correspondent for Sky News who went up to the Falls for a few days ‘fact finding.’

The ‘facts’ she described bore little resemblance to the truth I’m afraid. As one local resident put it, ‘I have heard some tall stories before but this one really takes the biscuit.’

The same resident reported that all the tourist operators on both sides of the Falls have lost bookings due to Crawford’s report and some lives have taken a definite turn for the worse. Apparently, Crawford spent time as a child in both Zambia and Zimbabwe but she shows little sympathy nowadays for those people her words so adversely affect.

Other locals in the area are equally displeased with Ms Crawford’s investigative work. Indeed some of them insist that she ‘told them what to say.’ She is also alleged to have twisted their words and left out large parts of the interviews they gave. She seems to have totally ignored those who tried to reason with her over what she was saying.

Of course, Crawford was intent on following the modern Holy Grail of climate change but to paint a totally false picture to justify an opinion is not good journalism. We are all worried about the effects of climate change. Yet climate has been changing constantly over many generations and between 1914 and 1924 the Zambezi suffered five of its lowest years on record and no comment was made about the climate creating the problem. It is quite normal to have a very high water level every ten years or so (2018, 2009, 1997, 1969, 1958) as much it is normal to have very low level at least once every decade, but this is never referred to by the modern journalist.

Alex Crawford, Stephen Sackur of the BBC and a few other scribblers clearly went out to the Falls with a set agenda and had every aim of sticking to this despite local people telling them that perhaps their story was out of kilter with reality.

Tourism is a very fragile industry and takes time to build up. It takes a single moment of violence to turn it upside down as happened in Kenya with the Nairobi bombings and the Ebola outbreak. Now this badly thought out, scantily researched idea that the Victoria Falls is somehow going to dry up will do the same.

Reporters on expense accounts sip their gin and tonics on the verandas of riverside hotels yet cannot seem to see that the Zambezi is one of the world’s great rivers and in absolutely no danger of drying up. It has run freely through all the climate changes the world has suffered and it will get through the next change just the same.

Yes there is a drought on at present and life is hard for many people, not least among them the tourist operators. Trying to run businesses and keep their workers in employment is a continuing struggle but they will all manage somehow. Reporters like Crawford, Sackur et al love to stir things up even when there is no story, but the damage they cause is frightening.

And the sad thing is that other news stations around the world have now followed up with their own stories about the Falls drying up, because so many modern journalists want to merely copy someone else’s story and keep the deception going, even if it is based on a few ill thought out, careless, inaccurate, hopelessly wide of the mark bits of reporting. These people should be ashamed of themselves but why let the truth get in the way of a good story? They have their premeditated script all based on some editor’s wishful fancy. They pocket their thirty pieces of silver then return to their comfortable, subsidised homes in the better areas of Johannesburg, Nairobi or Cape Town leaving behind and forgetting the people whose lives they have messed up.

A former newspaper editor and highly respected journalist is Charles Moore and after acting as Guest Editor on the BBC Today programme (they also had Greta Thunberg in that slot a couple of weeks ago) he argued that the Corporation’s news reporting reflected the prejudice of its managers. He had wanted to interview a climate change sceptic but could not secure a slot because the BBC objected to critical reporting on the subject.

Is it any wonder that more than two thirds of the public want the licence fee scrapped? Fair and unbiased reporting seems to have been abandoned for liberal left theories. It was revealed last month that Downing Street was drawing up plans to decriminalise failure to pay the fee – and had ordered Ministers to boycott the Today program in the wake of complaints about its General Election coverage.

Mr Moore said the BBC had become a secular church which has nationalised culture and needed to be ‘disestablished.’ He said: ‘What I am objecting to is preaching. The BBC tells us what we ought to think about things. So it tells us we shouldn’t support Brexit and we should accept climate change alarmism and kowtow to the doctrines of diversity.

‘The difficulty I have had trying to get all this stuff about climate change on to this programme, even though I am the guest editor… The obstacles came in every single time because of rulings and bureaucracy and the fact that Roger Harrabin, the environment editor, is so biased.’

Mr Moore added: ‘I think the BBC news coverage does reflect the politics and prejudice of the people who run it and this is wrong and this is what I’m objecting to. We are a divided country in terms of our news consumption because the BBC has an artificial privilege which it abuses to put forward particular views.’

I find it sad that a noble profession should be debased in order to reflect the mad ideas of a few modern editors. I can remember how after eleven years of reporting on farm invasions for the Sunday Express, the 2014 (I think) election was coming up and I told the News Editor – new at the time – that they needed me out in Zim.

He agreed but rather than stories about the election, he wanted me to dig out stories on Chelsea Davy, then being courted by the Royal Biscuit. I assured him that I was not that sort of reporter and that was the last occasion I worked for the ruddy paper.

Now I just find it all rather sad. Can I really believe what I read?

Achievement, Plans and Life

The second day of 2020 so we are well into the New Year. As always seems to happen at this time of year, the newspapers are full of their nominations for player/actor/circus clown or person of 2019 but to me, there can be only one real candidate, certainly for Person or Politician of the Year.

He set up a brand new political party and then barely six weeks later led that party to an overwhelming win in the European elections, becoming the largest single party in the entire EU Parliament.

That in itself was pretty impressive but he also brought down an inept Prime Minister, killed off a second referendum, forced a policy shift in the Tory Party and through a tactical approach in the general election delivered a sound Brexit majority in the House of Commons.

And he did all this from outside Westminster. That in itself is a feat without parallel in modern politics. So for me, the Person of 2019 has to be Nigel Farage, without whom the fate of the nation would be very different and millions of voters would have been loftily ignored by the political clowns in Parliament.

Yet there is little likelihood of Farage being given any official recognition by those particular clowns in Parliament.

I received a letter the other day that described a family Christmas in Zimbabwe and emphasised for me the way that Zimbabweans and Rhodesians before them are incredibly resourceful.

Needless to say, there was no electricity in Harare suburbs on Christmas Day, but it didn’t matter; everyone ‘made a plan.’ This particular family had only a small gas stove in which to cook the ham. They cooked chicken – no turkeys available in Zim -on a barbecue and ate it all in their garden. The mince pies were made in the gas stove the day before, as was the butternut & ginger soup, cheesecake & potato bake with cream & cheese. A table, placed under the trees in the garden was cool enough, and they ran an electric cable from batteries charged by the sun, to play carols & Christmas music. Their drinks were cooled in a plastic bath filled with ice, and even the Amarula found a spot to chill down in. They had Christmas hats brought over from England by a visiting relative, and crackers left over from the previous year. Even their dogs had a marrow bone each and everyone had a fine old time.

And really it is typical of a very resourceful group of people who expect a lack of amenities and always manage to make a plan. Although they live in a modern city suburb, their water comes on a truck, their lights come from the sun, and their resilience comes from experience. All of them and the generations before them grew up with a lack of ‘stuff’ and learned how to get by. Their children play simple games as we did long ago and there is rarely an electronic toy in sight. In twenty years’ time, those kids will be ‘making a plan’ to get Christmas lunch on the table the best they can. Without electricity, without water, without massive fridges and freezers, without ready-made shop-bought food. And they too will have a fine Christmas Lunch.

Now that it is all over, I hope you did too.

I want to start my 2020 with a bit of blatant plagiarism from a little piece that I did so enjoy reading. Let me tell you the story.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Sums life up really. Have a wonderful year wherever you are and don’t forget to leave time for the occasional beer.

Another Mad Year

As another year comes to an end there seems little hope of sanity appearing in this sadly muddled and confused world. Everybody seems to have an axe to grind and nowhere is this more apparent than here in Britain.

Take the vexed question of race for example. In general black Britons and white Britons get on reasonably well. Of course there are occasional flare ups over ‘difference’ but these are soon forgotten. In the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by the liberal elite however, this is far from the case. When it comes to achieving equality of opportunity, there is institutional virtue signalling, self-righteous guilt-tripping and ideological posturing.

As a result, instead of meeting genuine needs, many policy-makers indulge in the worst kind of stereotyping, where ethnic minorities are automatically treated as victims in need of support and white people are regarded as potential oppressors who deserve to be either prosecuted or ignored.

Two very different examples of this kind of behaviour emerged this week – both telling a great deal about the British neurosis over race, and the damage that it does.

The first was the row over the decision by two leading public schools – Dulwich and Winchester – to reject large philanthropic donations, worth more than £1 million, to fund scholarships for talented white boys from poor backgrounds.

The donations were offered by Sir Bryan Thwaites, a former principal of Westfield College, part of the University of London. He is rightly concerned about Britain’s ‘severe problem of the underperforming white cohort in schools.’

The second was when Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, stated that the region should be made more accessible to the disabled and ethnic minorities. This follows a decision by his park authority to run a four-mile tarmac path through woodland at Keswick to improve access.

In each case, the people behind these decisions will have thought of themselves as generous and progressive. But their approach is little more than condescendingly puerile. All recent studies show that white boys from deprived backgrounds do worse at school than almost all other ethnic groups and are significantly less likely to go to university.

Sir Bryan’s wish to promote social mobility through these scholarships is wholly justified. Nor is there anything unorthodox about wanting to provide financial backing to pupils from certain ethnic groups which face disadvantages in the system. After all, the rap star, Stormzy has established a number of scholarships exclusively for black students at Cambridge University. Other charities have done the same yet there has never been a flicker of indignation from the liberal twits.

Sir Bryan’s proposal was certainly not illegal under current equality legislation either. Trevor Phillips who was one of the authors of the 2010 Equality Act states categorically that in circumstances where a racial group suffering disadvantage is white, then there is no bar on doing for them exactly what we would do for black and ethnic minority groups.

Contrary to what some ‘progressives’ seem to believe, the Equality Act is not the judicial preserve of black people. It is not a kind of ‘be nice to blacks’ charter but a measure that aims to bring fairness for all. Yet that fact is being ignored by organisations such as Dulwich and Winchester. The two schools were too terrified of accusations of bigotry to accept Sir Bryan’s generosity.

In their anxious minds, the very use of the term ‘white’ probably conjured up images of the far-Right and aggressive English nationalism. Bristling with indignation, Dulwich boasted that its ‘community is profoundly diverse.’ In the same tone, Winchester proclaimed that ‘the school does not see how discrimination on grounds of a boy’s colour could ever be compatible with its values.’

What utterly sanctimonious liberal clap trap!

One state school has proved less squeamish than these supposedly elite centres of learning and has happily accepted Sir Bryan’s largesse. Unsurprisingly the headmaster is black!

Do these left wing intellectual types have any idea of how ordinary people actually live I wonder? They certainly show little sign of it. Despite their fixation with ethnic-minority victimhood, they show little understanding of the lives of the British working people.

The term ‘white privilege’ is so casually bandied about among these people and perhaps it applied in the colonial era when I was growing up, yet most low-paid workers in Britain are white. Does their skin colour give them any sense of privilege? I very much doubt it.

But neurosis about race means that guilt and condescension can be found everywhere in our public life – as the Lake District story shows.

‘We are deficient in terms of black and minority ethnic communities,’ declared Richard Leafe. He is probably well-meaning but he is sadly out of touch with reality. His belief that the Lake District should be enjoyed by as many people as possible is commendable, but what does he intend to do – drag black, brown and vari-coloured folk up there with instructions that they must enjoy the scenery and amenities on offer?

Black people do not need to be guided by the benevolent hand of the State for God’s sake. They have minds of their own and will surely choose their own places to visit.

As I said earlier in this piece, the deep anxiety that is so apparent in British political and media classes isn’t reflected among most people, who – generally speaking – want to get on with their neighbours, whatever their colour.

And you know, this squeamishness about race and colour can have disastrous consequences, as terrible crimes are overlooked.  Remember the long-running refusal by the authorities to face up to the reality of Asian predatory sex gangs on the streets of towns such as Rotherham and Telford? At the moment, we have the same shameful silence about the soaring incidence of knife crime in cities. Ethnicity plays a critical role here because the overwhelming majority of both perpetrators and victims are young black men. Yet the race aspect is constantly, almost feverishly down-played by liberals, who would rather grumble about poverty or lack of youth clubs. But none of this mayhem is taking place in the left-behind seaside towns of Kent or the devastated industrial wastelands of South Wales or the North-East.

The hand-wringing over these crimes does nothing to tackle the terrifying surge in violence. We need some realism about our racial differences – and the people who most want to see that realism are almost certainly the black people themselves.

Why on earth can the liberal, do-gooding ‘elite’ not understand this?

Mind you, hypocrisy is not all with the liberal elite and foppish white pratwinkles of Britain. At the moment it seems that half the world’s leaders are on holiday and it was refreshing to read that Bunter Johnson and his popsy went on their Caribbean jaunt, flying economy class on British Airways. Many of us know just what an ordeal that can be. Not only that, but he paid for his own tickets.

Consider that for a moment. Bunter is the Prime Minister of Britain, the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of $2.8 trillion.

‪‪Emmerson Mnangagwa on the other hand is the President of Zimbabwe, a country with the second highest inflation and a GDP one hundred and sixty four times smaller than Britain, yet he flies in private jets costing the Zimbabwean taxpayers millions of dollars!

And still he blames sanctions for the fact that virtually everything in my benighted country is failing.

I don’t really know what 2020 will bring but I have two wishes for the New Year. Firstly that the British people – no just one small slice of the British people – will learn to laugh at themselves and realise just how lucky they are and secondly, that some sort of miracle will take place in Southern Africa and bring peace and stability to what is one of the most beautiful regions of the world.

What chance do I have? None at all I suppose but whether you are black, white, pink, yellow or some unspecified hue, have a wonderful new year in any case.

Christmas Craziness

Christmas is over and very pleasant it was. Now in theory the world ought to be settling back to some sort of normality, but somehow I don’t think it is.

A brief supermarket visit yesterday left me speechless and upset at the sight of thousands of people almost fighting to fill up their trollies with piles upon piles of presumably cut-price goodies. Every till heaved with overloaded shoppers and as my basket contained but four small items, I made for the Express till.

Huh! That particular till was unmanned, so I ceremoniously placed my basket upon its shiny surface and walked out of the ruddy place.I know the Boxing Day Sales as they call them are said to be chaotic, but this was a supermarket for Pete’s sake!

And in the world of so called celebrities, the general inanity doesn’t diminish.

Take the South African actress Charlize Theron. This overpaid woman wails that when she was a mere nineteen years old in 1994 – that makes her around forty four, twenty five years later – she was sexually harassed.

Poor darling, wasn’t everyone who is anyone but what actually happened?

Well it seems that ‘a famous director’ actually touched her leg.

Then what happened, you might wonder?

Well, she got up and left and that was it. 

For Pete’s sake, that was a quarter of a century ago and this prancing nincompoop would have us believe she has been traumatised ever since. 

Less than twenty years before this utterly devastating and life damaging incident, many of us were watching friends and colleagues dying violently while at the same time being subject to ambushes, land mines, rocket attacks and other fiendish ways of being killed. We were delivering death messages to bereaved families and sharing their grief. Yet for all the attendant horror, most of us seemed to have managed to get over it.

And all that was happening very close to Ms Theron’s homeland.

Of course, by some amazing coincidence, this so terribly distressed woman just happens to have a film to promote and it seems any damn-fool story of persecution will suffice in that completely phoney world of Celebrity La-La-Land. 

Mind you, I certainly won’t be going to see her film, whatever it is called. It is far too much of a risk.

In the half-darkness, an usherette might brush against me and put me in a therapy clinic for years. 

One has to be so very careful not to be traumatised nowadays.

Bloody silly people! Sometimes I despair of my own species. 

Green Trends and Twitter

My last rant was about the iniquities of defence spending in this country, but of course, the Ministry of Justice are not the only department to have lost their marbles in the course of their trendy spending projects.

Perhaps the worthy Dominic Cummings should be asked to run a review of police spending as well. In their wish to appear politically correct and keep up with the twitterati, forces have spent millions of pounds on electric cars that they admit are useless for chasing suspects or rushing to help victims.

Forces around the country have bought at least four hundred and forty eight environmentally-friendly vehicles to help them meet green energy targets. But almost all of these cars and vans are being used in non-emergency situations or by chiefs to get to work.

Official police reports concede that electric vehicles cannot meet the demands of urgent response or pursuit driving. They take too long to charge up to be ready for 999 calls and could run out of battery before a shift ends. Now that might be embarrassing!

Figures from thirty of the country’s forty-six police forces show they have bought or leased four hundred and forty eight ‘green’ vehicles and have many more on order. Together they have spent at least one and a half million pounds, according to details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The true costs will be far higher as several forces refused to say how much they had spent.

Scotland Yard has a hundred and thirty four green vehicles and wants to make its entire fleet green by 2050, partly to avoid having to pay London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s daily £12.50 Ultra Low Emission Zone charge. The Met has bought dozens of ‘ultra-low emissions non-response cars’ from BMW, Mitsubishi and Toyota, but it then had to get more diesel vehicles for high-speed chases. An internal report admitted that ‘The market has not yet sufficiently matured to offer alternatively fuelled vehicles capable of meeting the requirements for the role of pursuit cars.’

A report by Staffordshire Police states: ‘Vehicles that are less damaging to the environment are struggling to cope with the arduous needs of emergency service; autonomous driving and safety systems are not conducive to pursuit or response driving.’  Jeepers, talk about officialese. When I was a cop, we were taught to keep our writing simple with as few words as possible!

Anyway, a number of forces have submitted long-winded excuses for their inept profligacy while Tim Rogers, spokesman on pursuits for the Police Federation said: ‘The public does not need to worry about police not being able to get to them because their cars have run out of battery.

‘It would be remiss of anyone managing a vehicle fleet to restrict themselves that way – they are still able to use other vehicles.’ 

We can only hope Mr Rogers is not also using a load of flannel.

I mentioned the twitterati and although I have never wanted to be on twitter, I think few of us whatever our politics, would deny that social media brings out the worst in people. We could all do with thinking a little more and tweeting a little less.

The last decade has been a low point for public debate, thanks not least to various activists’ or whatever they call themselves shouting and screaming in favour of their particular point of view. It baffles me that so many self-declared liberals are completely intolerant of difference and so reluctant to listen to contrary opinions. When the local candidate for the Libdems canvassed around Princetown – he was the only one who did mind you – I told his supporters that the party were no longer liberal or democratic. They immediately stopped trying to get me to meet the clown, thank God.

Indeed, earlier this year almost two-fifths of Brexit remainers told an opinion poll that they would seriously mind if their child married somebody who had voted Leave. So much, then, for their cosmopolitan open-mindedness! Yet surely democracy depends on competing opinions and we all learn far more from people who disagree with us than from those who reinforce what we already think.

So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and bid farewell to the second decade of the century, I can only hope that we will leave behind the age of confected outrage, the culture of ‘calling out’ perceived offences and the hysterical obsession with political correctness. I am not holding my breath but as animals of the same species, we all have so much more in common than we think; we just need to recognise it, that’s all.

So here’s my Christmas wish for the next decade – a bit more freedom of speech, a bit more tolerance, a bit more perspective and a bit more humility. Is that really too much to ask?

Happy Christmas everyone. Don’t forget to leave a wee dram out for the tubby fellow coming down the chimney tonight.

 

Inefficiency, Top Brass and Anthony Blair

Now that the Brexit squabbling and back-biting is hopefully behind us, we must pray that Britain is about to enter a new political era. With his huge majority in parliament Bunter Johnson must surely have been given a mandate to embark on a significant programme of reform.

And as far as I can see, the first priority for sweeping reforms is the Ministry of Defence. The duty of any government is to protects its citizens yet that duty has been forgotten in recent years and given way to warped priorities and gross mismanagement. In too many parts of the Armed Forces, a culture of inefficiency prevails, reflected in top-heavy bureaucracies, wasteful procurement processes and outdated practices.

Clinging to dreams of imperial grandeur, some of the generals and field marshals seem reluctant to face modern realities such as cyber-warfare, terrorism and unmanned weaponry. For decades, governments of both parties have colluded with this failure of vision by the Ministry of Defence because they appear to be nervous about challenging these bemedalled buffoons. 

Commitment to defence has repeatedly been judged by the size of the MOD’s ever-increasing budget, rather that the effectiveness of spending.  But there are signs that the new Government will take a different approach, focused on Britain’s national interests rather than grandiose fantasies. To see if taxpayers are receiving value for the £39.3billion spent this year on defence, a far-reaching review into the MOD is to be conducted by Dominic Cummings, the chief Downing Street strategist.

Few people like Cummings and I must admit that he does not appear to be a prepossessing sort, but he is the ideal figure to head this review, not only because of his indifference to criticism or personal feelings but also because of his record as an incisive operator. 

In defiance of all the odds, Cummings masterminded both the leave victory in the 2016 referendum and the Conservatives’ election triumph earlier in the month. A few years ago, he was Michael Gove’s adviser at the Department of Education, where his drive for reform provoked outrage from the unions and the teaching establishment. Yet he had a long-term impact in raising standards. The joy of Cummings is that he doesn’t give a tuppenny damn about what people think of him and thanks to his efforts, the United Kingdom is rising up the international league tables in maths, science and reading. 

The news that Cummings is now to turn his forensic spotlight on the MOD should be welcomed by the public – even if the top brass are alarmed. His outlook was recently captured in his ferocious condemnation of the procurement process which ‘has continued to squander billions, enriching some of the worst corporate looters and corrupting public life.’ 

The same dysfunctionality can be seen in the neglect of Britain’s home waters. A proper patrol force around the seven thousand plus mile coast, especially in the Channel, would enhance protection of borders and deter crossings by illegal migrant boats. Somewhat shamefully, the Border Force has just five cutters for such a vital task, compared to the six hundred vessels used by Italy to guard its coast, or the two hundred and forty by Greece. 

Yet Britain found over six billion to spend on a pair of aircraft carriers, which boosted the prestige of the admirals but did nothing to strengthen her defences against real threats. As floating targets, vulnerable to new types of anti-ship missiles and drone technology, they need much of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet to protect them. Not only that, but the F-35 strike aircraft they carry are ruinously expensive and have limited range. 

So what is the point of these juggernauts? Little wonder that Cummings has called the carrier policy a farce – it is damnit and seems designed only to create a few top jobs for the boys.

But this is just part of a pattern of destructive extravagance by this idiotic and overstaffed ministry. It has been estimated that over the last fifteen years, two hundred and eighty billion has been wasted by the MOD on disastrous equipment decisions. 

The sooner Dominic Cummings embarks on this review, the better. Perhaps he can bang a few heads together and fire a large number of official time wasters. This country needs money to spend, not grandiosely useless aircraft carriers.

Is it possible that Anthony Blair has already been mummified? His face certainly seems to have acquired an entirely new shape and patina.

I suppose that doesn’t matter to anyone but him and perhaps Mrs Blair but once again this horrible man is here among us to tell us that he knows better than anyone else, despite having made in Iraq, the worst single foreign policy mistake in the last fifty years.

Why do the media outlets still allow so much time for this pratwinkle, who seems to veer between being a ramblingly incoherent nonentity and a raging warmonger when he is not surrendering to terrorist murderers on shameful terms? His time is past. It is over. He no longer has any say or influence in the running of this country.

In recent weeks, the Blair Creature has been telling us all how wrong we were on the European issue, seemingly forgetting that not so long ago he urged this country to join the euro, a policy almost every breathing human now realises would have been a disaster. 

Since the election, he has reappeared to gloat over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure and claim that Corbyn’s ‘revolutionary programme’ and ‘Marxist past’ stopped him winning the Election. This is very odd coming from Blair. He has told us before that he was himself once a Trotskyist. 

He has never revealed which particular organisation he joined, although a close friend of his belonged to the International Marxist Group, which called for ‘Victory to the IRA’ and urged its student members to infiltrate and take over the moribund Labour Party in the 1970s, when no vaguely sane person under the age of fifty would have joined it. 

An astonishing number of Mr Blair’s Cabinet were also ‘former’ Marxists – and these are just the ones we know about. And, as we all now know, Blair did indeed give ‘Victory to the IRA’ in his Good Friday surrender to them in 1998 – the fact that it was a surrender is shown by the continued legal pursuit of British soldiers accused of crimes during the Troubles, and the effective mass pardon given to IRA killers, though some people still refuse to see it.

As for Mr Blair’s other policies – rapid integration in the EU, participation in mad foreign wars, sale of our gold reserves just before the price shot up, a gigantic splurge in welfare and NHS spending way beyond our means, unlimited immigration, fanatical pursuit of political correctness – they are a mixture of zealotry and stupidity, slightly different from Mr Corbyn’s, but only very slightly.

I just wish all those who managed to see the obvious Corbyn threat will one day understand the damage they have allowed Anthony Blair to do by praising him as the ‘moderate’ he never was.

He should be banned from spouting his nonsense because he is an excellent orator and manages to persuade decent folk that he is the voice of moderation and reason.

He is most definitely not I’m afraid. He is a very nasty man with a great deal of blood on his hands.