People, Wildlife and a New Book

At last the general election is over and with such a huge Conservative majority, I had hoped that the country would settle down and start pulling together.

But no – there were anti Bunter demonstrations in London last night and I watched a particularly rancorous Question Time programme on the iplayer this morning. Admittedly it was a London audience but it did not make for easy viewing with many irritable arguments plus claim and counter claim. What is the matter with these people? Surely, they must realise that it is time for the Nation to come together and move on, yet it seems that nobody in this day and age is prepared to accept any view that differs from their own.

I fear that this way of looking at life is what leads to eventual anarchy.

The day was a good one for me though as I received advance copies of my new book, Ivory Challenge. It is another short novel that while being a love story of sorts, also tries to show the difference between trophy hunting and poaching. I suppose it is my own small attempt to counter the general hysteria that accompanies trophy hunting these days. I don’t want to hunt myself but I can understand the people who do and believe it or not, professional hunters are the most efficient conservationists of all.

I am often told that photographic safaris are equally good for conservation but I’m afraid I can’t agree with that. Eco tourists as they are called look at a totally artificial and unreal Africa. Yes, they see a number of wild animals and take photographs that have been taken many thousands of times before, usually from the rear seats of luxury safari vehicles. Yes, it means that individual animals can live to a grand old age, but in the bush that usually means they are ripped to pieces by hyenas in their old age or starve to death because they can’t catch prey any more or have lost their teeth.

In hunting areas, the land is harsher. There are few roads and the ethical hunters shoot only the oldest animals, because (a) they are the ones on hunting licenses and (b) they are invariably the animals with the largest, tusks, horns or other attachments. In general hunting clients kill cleanly and if they do not, the professional hunter with them will ensure that the animal is followed up and despatched before it is allowed to suffer unnecessarily. This keeps the populations of individual species at a manageable level and in the process, brings money in to local tribesmen. This in turn means that the tribesmen look on wildlife as a source of income rather than a dangerous nuisance so they learn to protect the animals in their areas. They also keep poachers away rather than encouraging them as they have always done in the past.

Well meaning people tell me that all hunting is barbaric and if one takes the basic concept of an armed man stalking down and killing a noble creature, then yes it is, but there is a great deal more to it than that. Hunting and killing are in the genetic makeup of Mankind and surely it is better that this is used to benefit wildlife rather than allowing wild life to be snared, to die in agony or poached by unscrupulous people who don’t give a damn for the animal itself.

I could go on but would suggest you read the book. It is entitled Ivory Challenge and is available on Amazon for £7.99 or as an ebook on Kindle for £2.99 or if you want a signed copy, through me, for £8 plus postage, which in the UK amounts to £2. An extra penny for a signature that could be valuable in a hundred years time can’t be bad surely?!

If any of you do buy or read the book, please send me your comments when you have. For a professional scribbler, readers’ comments – whether good or bad – are what keeps us glued to our typewriters.

So go on, buy the book and tell me what you think. If my little tale can change the outlook of a few irate people who have never given the hunting dilemma any serious thought, then it will have served its purpose.

Elephants and Immorality

I wrote an impassioned rant about politics and the Media earlier today but with my usual technological expertise, managed to ‘lose’ the lot while trying to post it. I know it is not really lost and is doubtless cowering somewhere in the bowels of my laptop but I don’t have the energy or the time to search for it.

In the meantime though I was sent an article entitled The Immorality of Saving Elephants. As most of you know, I spend a great deal of my time lecturing on the need to save elephants so the title of the piece set me back a little.

I do read everything I am sent though – apart from advertisements for this, that or the other – and when I read the article by John D. Holm and Robert K Hitchcock, who are both American university professors, I was impressed.

Let me quote from the piece.

Over two-thirds of the world’s African elephant population lives in four southern African countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. By contrast, in the remainder of Africa herd numbers from poaching and population pressures have been in dramatic decline.

One would think that the four states protecting most of the surviving elephants would be rewarded for their exceptional efforts. But to the contrary, these states have been punished. This outcome was strikingly evident at the August meeting in Geneva of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The voting parties to the Convention rejected a proposal by the four southern African states that they be given the legal right to sell their stockpiles of ivory on the international market. They proposed to use their profits to pay for wildlife conservation and village damage caused by elephants.

How on earth can CITES justify such a moral failure to reward the four governments which are successfully investing in saving over two-thirds of the world’s African elephants.

The CITES majority, led by animal rights groups in the developed countries, claim they must be pragmatic. Effectively, this pragmatism means preventing all trade in elephant products, regardless of the moral cost. A recent Economist essay states that this pragmatism derives from a simple correlation. The one-time legal sales of ivory CITES allowed to three southern African states in 2007 resulted in increased smuggling for over a decade. The theory is that legal ivory comes on the international market one year and creates demand thereafter for smuggled goods. Most surprising in the case of the last legal sale in 2007, the poaching and smuggling is alleged to still be evident in 2018, eleven years after the legal ivory went on the market.

This is arrant nonsense I’m afraid but let me go on with the article.

We would suggest that according to standard economic theory, the causation runs in the reverse: When there are no legal products on the market, the demand for smuggled products goes up. What the animal rights groups and CITES are doing is creating demand for poaching and smuggling by clearing the international market of all legal ivory. To add insult to injury they are unwilling to reward the African governments that prevent elephant poaching from engaging in delimited international trade, the profits of which should be used to fund policing the poachers.

Surely this must be obvious to even the most determined animal rights campaigners. If trade is allowed and ivory is available, the demand for illegal ivory must diminish. Black markets are particularly vile and the black market in ivory ranks second only to the black market in hard drugs in terms of profitability.

The animal rights cause is further undermined by the fact the key organizations in this movement raise hundreds of millions of dollars from their supporters for their activities in saving the elephants. Yet neither they nor CITES itself allocate any of these millions to compensate rural villagers in the four countries whose crops, livestock, water points, and people are endangered periodically by the massive wild beasts roaming free in their midst. Nor have these organizations offered to financially assist the four African governments that are using costly police powers to prevent poaching in their territories. In effect, the wealthiest countries in the world are employing their overwhelming power and influence to impose trade policies on African countries with much less wealth.

The immorality of the current situation is multi-faceted. The animal rights organizations are raising millions of dollars from their unsuspecting supporters to save the elephants in developing countries, and they are using that money to lobby their governments to impose a policy which:

1) does not achieve the objectives their supporters are promised,

2) forces African countries to fund these failed policies,

3) punishes governments which save their elephants, and

4) offers no compensation to villagers for financial loss and physical suffering.

The Authors are quite correct you know. My latest book Ivory Challenge has recently been published and although it is a little love story set in the African bush, I have endeavoured to put forward most of what these two chaps have said in their article.

The situation is desperate and it is time that CITES ignored the voluble rabble who comprise so many of the animal rights groups and brought a little real pragmatism to bear.

With their current policies, they are merely hastening the ultimate extinction of the elephant – a result that I spend a great deal of my life campaigning against.

Pen Pushers and Politicians

I have just come back from a weekend house-sitting stint in Darkest Gloucestershire and due to fog, the journey up there took a good three quarters of an hour longer than it usually does.

At one point, I was peering into the gloom ahead of me and concentrating with everything I had when I was distracted by a motorway sign way above my head.

‘FOG’ it told me proudly. As if none of us knew! Visibility was less than twenty metres and traffic was crawling along, yet some pen-pushing paper-shuffler in his nice warm office spends time, designing a sign that informs in very large letters what Nature has already made abundantly apparent.

God protect me from fools in offices!

As we enter the last week of election campaigning, God protect us all from modern politicians too. Not only in Britain but throughout the ruddy world. I understand little about American politics but the American people elected Donald Trump without being subjected to the thuggery and intimidation so prevalent in my own country.

Trump is a braggart and in many ways a bit of an ass, but like him or not, he has done most of the things he promised and seems to me to have proven himself a better president than his immediate predecessors.

Yet when he attended the recent NATO summit in London, he was subjected to ridicule by a quartet of political buffoons and stomped off in a huff.

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was quick off the mark with his political ad mocking President Trump. Only hours after Trump returned to America, the contemptuous footage was being rolled out across the globe in a damage maximisation bid.

‘Look, the world is laughing at him, world leaders cannot trust him,’ crowed Biden, showing footage of Bunter Johnson, Macron of France, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Canada’s Justin Trudeau sniggering behind Trump’s back at a Buckingham Palace reception. Their remarks were caught on an open mic because they were all too idiotic to realise that the presence of so many TV cameras tends to suggest that a number of microphones will be dotted around the room too. Yes, the saga certainly said something about the kind of man Trump is, but it said far more about his smug tormentors.

It seemed somehow pathetic to see this sad quartet of losers and chancers, who found safety in numbers and their joint ineptitude jeering at a political colleague who wasn’t there to defend himself.

Princess Anne is one of the few hard working Royals, but she didn’t do herself any favours either, hovering around at the edges of this group, snickering away with the best of them. Perhaps she had forgotten that her calamity-prone younger brother Andrew was banned from the event because he is up to his sweat-free neck in a rolling boil of sleaze and scandal.

Bunter was in the thick of it, of course. Yet with his priapic tendencies and chaotic private life, he has little call to laugh at anyone.  Many of us live in hope that come Friday, a solid majority and a good wind behind him will be the making of Bunter, both as a human being and a politician. But I certainly won’t be holding my breath.

Meanwhile Emmanuel Macron’s two-year presidency has been disastrous, with a strike that will bring the country to its knees, but worst of all is Trudeau, the idiotic Canadian leader who does yoga, had sympathy pains when his wife was in labour, wants to ban the word mankind because it is sexist and seemed to spend most of his youth wearing blackface make up at parties and then abjectly apologising for it.

Instead of laughing at Trump, this pratwinkle should be studying his economic record. For while America’s economy is booming, Trudeau has driven Canada’s into prairie dust.

Yet many professional Trump haters admired this pathetic display of playground nastiness as further proof of Trump being unfit for office. Well perhaps he is. I don’t know but hopefully the impeachment hearings will decide his future one way or the other.

In the meantime, whatever happened to statesmanship, to ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man,’ to strength of character, rising to the occasion and doing one’s country proud? All that seems to have disappeared from public life a long time ago.

Instead, we are left with this shower of half-baked twonks. The political class of today are more than just a disappointment – they are a disgrace to their profession and their respective countries.

And we have to elect more of them on Thursday.

Human Rights and a Broken System

I have always had mixed feelings about the thorny issue of capital punishment. In general, I don’t approve because few murders, no matter how brutal are carried out in totally cold blood.

Terrorism on the other hand is a different matter. Terrorist crimes are carefully planned and executed with no feelings for the innocence of the victims. As a relatively young man, I was heavily involved in the Rhodesian war and while the rest of the world looked on our opposition as freedom fighters, to us on the ground, they were terrorists, pure and simple.

I won’t go into details here because the memories still haunt my dreams, but the victims of that war were generally helpless and uninvolved. They were usually incapable of defending themselves and despite public opinion in the west, most of them were black.

Thankfully, capital punishment was in force at the time and convicted terrorists were hanged, which to me and to most other folk who witnessed their atrocities was the correct thing to be done.

For some years now Britain has been fighting – not quite the right word I’m afraid – a terrorist war. There has been a long sequence of killings of innocent members of the public, culminating in last Friday’s horrific events on London Bridge, wherein two young people were murdered while merely going about their daily lives.

Now it turns out that the terrorist involved, one Usman Khan was convicted of terrorism offences many years ago but due to the feebleness of the legal system in this country was released early to continue his war on innocents.

When he was convicted less than a decade ago, the judge gave Khan an indeterminate sentence – he could only be released after a ‘lengthy term of imprisonment’ if he convinced the Parole Board, he was no longer a danger to the public. That was as it should be but the initial robustness quickly unravelled. 

In 2013, the Court of Appeal overturned the earlier ruling and gave him a sixteen year jail term instead. This meant that, under the automatic early release regime imposed by the last Labour government, he would be set free just halfway through his sentence. Due to the system, not even the Parole Board was involved in the decision to release the man. This is surely highly disturbing and just as disturbing was the pathetic gullibility of the penal authorities. 

As soon as he was jailed, Khan pretended to have abandoned his violent fundamentalism. 

“I want to live my life as a good citizen of Britain,” he wrote deviously. 

His ruse worked so well that he became a poster boy for the supposed success of rehabilitation and deradicalization programmes, but as is now palpably evident, Khan’s assertion of civic responsibility was a front. He was still a terrorist at heart.

Tragically for those who died, the judiciary and academia were fooled, largely because of their addiction to institutional leniency. That outlook is also revealed, as Bunter Johnson indicated yesterday to Andrew Marr, in the early release of more than seventy other convicted terrorists.

Why for God’s sake. Even if they haven’t yet killed, these people are killers of the most barbaric sort. One recent study of European jihadists found that almost twenty percent of convicted terrorists become repeat offenders. 

Ian Acheson is a former prison governor who carried out a review for the Government of Islamic extremism in our jails. Yesterday he wrote that there are ‘shockingly bad’ deficiencies ‘in every aspect of the management of terrorist offenders,’ characterised by ‘jaw-dropping levels of naivety and bureaucratic obfuscation,’ which mean that rehabilitation courses are ‘easy to game.’ 

So the state is failing in its duty to protect us, especially with an estimated four thousand would-be jihadists in our midst. Unfortunately the term ‘jihadist’ lends them a spurious respectability as it makes them out to be fighting for a cause. While this may be true in a few cases, these people are terrorists at heart – inadequates trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of others.

Surely a stricter approach is needed and although I am no great admirer of the Conservatives, at least in Bunter Johnson and Priti Patel, they have two people at the top who seem determined to adopt a far tougher approach.

But what about Labour. Surely they must understand the feelings of ordinary men and women going about their daily lives in ever more likely danger from released terrorists?

Jeremy Corbyn does not give me a great deal of confidence I’m afraid. His Party was the architect of both automatic early release for prisoners and the 1998 Human Rights Act which has created a gold mine for the legal profession but undermined the fight against crime in general. 

In fact, Corbyn’s own oft-expressed philosophy is hardly a boost to the confidence of those who favour a tougher approach to the problem. An acknowledged terrorist sympathiser and anti-Western Marxist, he called the death of Osama Bin Laden ‘a tragedy’ and has questioned the shoot-to-kill policy against IS leaders. Is it any wonder then that the notorious extremist Anjem Choudary once called Corbyn ‘the voice of the oppressed.’

To distract from his past utterings, Corbyn at the weekend spoke of the need for more police, but that is not going to help I’m afraid. Police numbers were irrelevant in the Khan case, given how quickly and decisively they were on the scene. The real issue was Khan’s freedom to murder and maim. 

That is why Bunter Johnson’s policy would be a far more effective way of dealing with terrorists. 

If they stand by their promises, the Conservatives will immediately introduce longer sentences, to be served in full, if they win the election. For all that, a hung Parliament will mean more paralysis just when action is so badly needed against these murderous people.

I know capital punishment won’t be brought back, but sometimes it is the only answer to keep people safe when going about their daily lives. If we can’t hang them, put them away for ever even if it does go against their ruddy human rights.

Those two young people who were murdered on Friday had human rights too, but their rights were obviously not as justified as Usman Khan’s rights. 

Words, Trees and the NHS

Some people use spanners but words are the tools of my trade. I can remember in my youth we used to catcall at each other that ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’

With hindsight that is obvious rubbish as all too often, words can and do hurt but in the twenty first century, this so called ‘hurt’ is taken to extremes.

Take the case of the Conservative candidate for Ludlow in the forthcoming election. Philip Dunne will probably face a police investigation for alleged hate crime but what was this heinous offence?

Mr Dunne said that a Sikh Labour rival for the seat was ‘talking through his turban.’ This allegedly racist ‘insult’ was taken badly by the said rival, Kuldip Sahota who promptly reported the matter to West Mercia police and demanded that Bunter Johnson suspend Dunne over the incident.

What puerile nonsense but oh so typical of the snowflake generation of today, many of whom like the worthy Sahota are standing to become our elected leaders.

Sahota is quoted as saying, ‘His comment about my turban was hateful. He shamed and humiliated me in a public attack on my faith and my community.’

What bigoted and pathetic claptrap! So if someone accuses me of ‘talking through my hat,’ – an old fashioned but still widely used English expression – am I to take offence and regard it as a hate crime?

Or do I just get on with talking through my hat to the best of my ability?

I did smile when I read about the Labour pledge to plant two billion trees by 2040. Taken literally, that is eight point three million a month, three hundred thousand a day, two thousand four hundred an hour and the scheme will cost two and a half billion pounds.

Quite apart from the impracticality of the logistics, where will these clowns put all these trees? There is no room left damnit! Everything has been or is being built on and space of any sort is at a premium in twenty-first century Britain.

I was sent an interesting article this morning on what is really happening to the world. The piece was written by a bloke called Kevin Casey and says what I have been saying and writing about for years. There are too many people in the world. Let me just quote from a couple of paragraphs in Casey’s article.

In this century, what we still mistakenly call economic growth is environmental destruction, pure and simple. Nothingwe do today can be called sustainable on a planet that has already endured four solid decades of irreplaceable resource use. The 1970s were the last sustainable decade for mankind. Unfortunately, at the time, no one took notice that a tipping point had been reached and passed.

Our current environmental woes have almost nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with how we’ve been treating the earth – not just recently but for many centuries. We’ve always abused the earth horribly and managed to get away with it because our numbers weren’t significant enough to cause lasting damage. Now our numbers are out of control, and that presents us with limited options.

How right he is. Surely even the most imbecilic of political leaders – I am not naming names – can see that the time for more and more development as they keep promising has long gone. It is surely time to try and repair the damage we have already caused – if it is not far too late.

I watched Question Time a couple of days ago and amid the usual lies, counter lies and childish arguments that went on, one remark did make me smile. The question was based on Labour’s claim that Brexit will mean selling off the National Health Service to America. The American writer Lionel Shriver was on the panel and she wryly commented, ‘Who in their right mind would want to buy it?’

That rather summed up the state of modern Britain I’m afraid.

Christmas Clowns

I was in the pub with a friend the other day when the ladies were putting up Christmas decorations. It seems to start earlier every year with Christmas culinary delights on supermarket shelves in August, but for me, the magic of Christmas has long gone.

As a boy it was always a magical time with a Christmas stocking and little gifts, most of which were home made. Nowadays that doesn’t seem to do and gifts for children become ever more lavish and expensive. Does that make them more appreciative I wonder? Somehow, I doubt it.

But for many, it is still a wonderful time of the year – if adults don’t spoil it for them. My youngest Grandson – bless him – prepares for the arrival of Santa with a great deal of refreshing enthusiasm, decorating the tree and leaving snacks and sherry out for the great man. He is getting big now but I pray it continues for a while yet.

Yet only this week, in a speech for which she has since apologised, the Mayor of West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire, Christine Jeffreys used a Christmas countdown event of all places, to tell an audience full of very young children that the rustling under the Christmas tree is ‘just mum and dad.’ What happens to these political bigwigs when they take office. Are they all compelled to undergo a lobotomy before donning their chains of office or is stupidity and lack of common sense a prerequisite for the taking of that office? This cretinous woman has intentionally spoiled a happy time for those children but I wonder why she stopped at that. Why not disabuse them of notions about the Tooth Fairy too? 

Of course they would have found out the truth soon enough as we all must do, not just about Christmas, but about life in general.  Children grow up so fast these days, terrorised by the likes of that irritating brat Greta Thunberg, confused by issues such as transgender that not in our wildest dreams would we have thought of during distant childhoods, but surely they deserve at the very least to hold on to the idea of a benevolent Father Christmas. 

The season of good will – huh! – is almost upon us. Don’t let’s shatter childhood dreams just yet. 

To illustrate my point a bit further, I can only shake my head in bemused wonderment when I read about the shenanigans going on at the moment with the political ‘debates’ taking place on television channels in the run up to the election. Last evening there was a debate between leaders on climate change (I didn’t watch it) and when both Bunter Johnson and Farage declined to participate, the Channel 4 organisers substituted ice sculptures for them. This despite the Gove fellow turning up and offering to take Bunter’s place. He was told that he could not as he was not the party leader.

Mind you, one report of the fiasco that I read claimed that the winners of the debate by a very long way were the ice sculptures themselves. The audience paid far more attention to their inexorable dripping than to the banalities uttered by the participants.

Which for me rather sums up the level of political debate taking place at the moment. I think I would prefer to believe in Father Christmas than in any of the political clowns squabbling to run the country.

At least I can trust dear old Santa.

Bureaucrats and Bullies

Well it seems that having seen a dry riverbed in some exotic country to the East, Jeremy Clarkson has suffered some sort of damascene conversion and become a believer in climate change. Does that mean he will be gluing himself to picture windows next time the Extinction Rebellion clowns decide to close down major cities I wonder?

Of course the climate changes and always has. This world has seen times of excessive heat and times of excessive cold but it has always coped. Now it appears to be struggling but that is because there are far too many people and because there are not enough jobs to go around, a veritable army of bureaucratic paper shufflers has been created and they are exacerbating the problems of a changing climate.

Take the scenes we see in this country year after year when countless homes are ruined due to flooding. Firstly, the demand for the building of ever more homes to house the ever expanding population means that these homes are built in low lying areas and with the building of every single home, natural drainage disappears and the risk of further floods multiplies.

And of course all British rivers and flood plains are now ‘managed’ by one of the said pen pushing armies, grandly known as the Environment Agency.

Every time there is flooding, this vastly over staffed agency defends itself vigorously, but then they would, wouldn’t they? And with their overriding power their defences have been widely published. But surely the majority of these floods could be avoided with a little bit of sound common sense? Before control of the rivers, drains and flood plains, were handed over to this self important quango, those in charge were the river agencies and before them the local farmers and landowners in their various water-management groups. And although there were autumn rains which were often torrential, we heard nothing of widespread misery and crippling, uninsured financial loss. Because they didn’t happen. 

The local people knew their individual territories intimately and, as they farmed them, had a vital interest in their maintenance. They understood the countryside whereas the bright young sparks of the Environment Agency most certainly do not.

Theirs is a story of out of touch, office-based ignorance, of low-lying areas such as the Somerset Levels (remember them flooding a couple of years ago?) being left untended, the rivers and drains there left undredged in case a vole or a rare woodlouse is disturbed; crucial run-offs choked with weed. In short, a load of once free-flowing watercourses are full to the brim by late October, just waiting for a few more inches to burst their banks and bring disaster to nearby country folk.

We have politicians running around the country at the moment, each of them making wildly impossible promises as to what they will do if we vote for them. I would like just one of them to pledge to conduct a really thorough enquiry into not just the Environment Agency but our entire quangocracy. 

These people sit in warm offices far from the real world, shuffling paper as they work on their real agendas – expanding their size, staff levels, budgets, salaries, pension pots, expenses, rules and regulations – the really important agendas of life! 

When crises emerge, or even just threaten to emerge with time to do something, a holed-up civil servant behind double-glazing eighty miles away is a waste of space and almost inevitably they react when it is far too late. 

When local problems were handled locally by people with a personal and vital interest, there may have been a few disturbed dormice or newts but we seldom got entire communities wading through their devastated homes.

The bureaucratisation of this country has been steady and relentless until all our lives are now administered by ‘jobsworths’ many miles from the crisis – which is why we get so many damned crises.

This week there was more government inspired violence in Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo. Yes I know it is on the other side of the world and part of that dreadful place called Africa, but while Mr Corbyn is again threatening to preach about the evils of colonialism, can we not spare a thought for those people who are suffering and dying because the benefits of colonialism have been taken away from them?

Film clips of men, women and children being savagely beaten by uniformed policemen in city streets are rarely shown on the British television channels, nor do they appear in the daily papers. However, they are smuggled out and posted on to social media where they tend to make one’s blood run cold.

This sort of ‘legal violence’ should not be allowed in this gentle twenty first century. But where are the politicians or demonstrators of the western world when this is going on? Why are they so quiet about it? Come on Mr Corbyn; take Emmerson Mnangagwa and his governing thugs to task, not long dead colonial administrators of a bygone age.

Let Mr Mnangagwa know of your disapproval, not that he will care. He is oblivious to what is going on in his own country and while the Zimbabwean economy struggles, inflation rockets upward by the day and the majority of his citizens are starving, this worthy president of one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world flies out on five State visits in a luxury Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. This gin palace costs a staggering seventy five thousand American dollars an hour to rent! The price tag on this latest trip for aircraft rental alone was twenty five million American dollars.

This did not even include the cost of food and luxury accommodation for himself and his large entourage!

The Vice President (as did Robert Mugabe) spends months in China and other foreign hospitals getting treatment for some secret ailment while four hundred doctors get fired in Zimbabwe and basic medical facilities are falling apart or have become non-existent as I told you the other day.

Hyperinflation is currently topping three hundred and seventy percent through poor governance and the complete lack of understanding of crisis management, or any management damnit.

Fuel and other basic necessities are largely unavailable. Unemployment is well over ninety percent. The media is controlled by the State and elections are routinely rigged.

Blame is packed on the colonialists, imperialists, whites and foreign countries that have imposed personal sanctions on a handful of leading politicians. No blame is taken by Mnangagwa himself. On the contrary, last week, ten city streets around the country were named after him!

Now it seems that Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party are going to encourage this corrupt buffoon by agreeing with him that everything that smacks of colonialism is inherently evil.

Sunday Semantics

Way back in June, the television presenter Eamonn Holmes described Meghan Markle as ‘uppity’ when she arrived at the Wimbledon tennis championship and her bodyguards would not allow spectators to photograph her.

I often used the word to my offspring when they were growing up and beginning to argue back, but now we are told by ITV no less that it is racist. What utter bunkum!

Apparently one viewer to Holmes’ programme – just one! – complained that uppity was a nineteenth century insult in America,  used against black people who did not know their place.

According to sources at ITV, Holmes is now fully aware of what the word means and has promised not to use it again. And the network has gone even further – banning the use of the word completely.

Has the advanced modern world really come to this?! I feel distinctly uppity when I read such nonsense.

I see that the Lib Dem harpy, Jo Swinson when defending her party’s policy of legalising marijuana should they come to power, now tells us that while she was at university, she smoked the stuff ‘with enthusiasm.’

Legalisation does not seem to have worked anywhere else and the Harpy’s rantings are yet more evidence – if it were needed – for the link between the use of cannabis/marijuana or whatever you want to call the stuff and reduced intelligence.

Despite my feelings on this election, I occasionally find myself drawn to watch these political twonks trying to out perform and outlie each other on the idiot box. For instance, I watched the said Harpy make a total mess of things for the Lib Dems the other night and shortly before that, watched part of the supposed clash between the two main party leaders.

None of it was particularly impressive but I did get the feeling that Bunter Johnson begins to twitch when he is questioned about his long record of dishonesty. The presenter of the Johnson/Corbyn clash, Julie Etchingham failed to push him on the subject as she should have, yet reports afterward named her the only winner in that contest. All she did was ask the two men to shake hands and be nice. Is this what modern politics is about? Being nice to each other? God help us all!

And you know, in that particular programme, it was macabrely interesting that the audience openly laughed at the various evasions of these two very senior politicians. Applause can be faked and often is, but scornful belly-laughter, which this was, cannot be. This is not a good omen for our future. If democracy has become such a joke, can dictatorship be far behind?

Just for good measure on another soggy Sunday, did you know that World Toilet Day (I didn’t know there was one damnit!) coincides with International Mens’s Day – I didn’t know there was one of those either, but this is surely very appropriate. After all, in my limited experience, men tend to stay in the loo much longer than women. Could that be perhaps because we do our best thinking in there?

Now there is a thought for what promises to be another wet week ahead.

Colonialism and Modern Politics

Among their eye-wateringly expensive plans for this country should they come to power on December 12th, the Labour Party intend to hold an enquiry into the history of the British Empire. Commie Corbyn has suggested that Britain should consider paying reparations to its former colonies and has demanded that children in British schools be taught about the ‘grave injustices’ of an empire that let’s face it – made the modern world what it is.

Corbyn’s scheme, designed to play well to his hard-left supporters is intended to make ever more apologies for our former Empire. This is just political gimmickry but let’s look at it seriously for a moment.

On the face of it, learning more about one of the most important historical occurrences of modern times, about which British people are woefully ignorant apart from a few clichés and images from TV dramas, is much-needed. If that is what crafty Corbyn were genuinely proposing, I would cheer him on. But his own statements on the matter show that it is not what he intends. He and many of those who share his political persuasions approach the Empire instead from the position that it was straightforwardly evil.

I was born a child of the Raj and have been proud of my colonial heritage all my life. There were undoubtedly a few ‘grave injustices’ but in the main, colonial administrators were genuine, dedicated and hard working men and women who cared greatly for the people among whom they spent their lives, often in appalling conditions. The British Empire did much to make Britain what it is today and greatly impacted the wider world.

It is true that the Empire ruled millions of people, usually without their consent. And if you think all rule by foreigners is ‘oppression,’ then the Empire was oppressive. But how much should we sympathise with those Zulu elders in South Africa who lamented in 1900 that under British rule they had ‘practically lost control over their girls and women?’ There is one for the militant harridans of the Me Too movement to ponder on.

British officers of the Empire also worked hard to end female infanticide, genital mutilation, widow-burning, cannibalism, head-hunting, tribal warfare, witchcraft and human sacrifice. Was it oppressive to ban these practices?

The Empire is blamed for famines but rarely credited with raising living standards, or for the great cities it built, such as Calcutta, Sydney and Hong Kong.

And a serious analysis of the Empire’s economics shows that Britain probably gained little or nothing overall from those centuries of rule. However, the countries that comprised the Empire gained a great deal: defence, medicine. law and order, road and railway systems, cheap credit, low taxes, technology, communications and profitable markets. That surely is not oppression Mr Corbyn.

The world of the 18th and 19th centuries was in a frequent state of chaos. A civilised power – Great Britain – that provided law and order was welcomed by many and this is shown by the fact that so few people were needed to govern it. In 1903, the Civil Service’s entire Colonial Office in London had just one hundred and thirteen clerks. Imperial rule would have been impossible without the full co-operation of its subjects but this seems to have been forgotten.

That is why from its earliest origins in the 16th century, to its apex in the late 19th when, as the popular saying had it, ‘the sun never set’ on it, the Empire was a source of pride to patriotic Britons.

If Labour’s future inquiry is to judge fairly, it ought to consider the lives saved by the Empire – not just those lost. It is true that, at times, the Empire was ineffective and destructive. It is easy to pick out acts of violence – and even sickening atrocities – in its history. That is true of every state or empire, even today.

Of all the accusations against the Empire, slavery is the most notorious. Most states in the world were involved in slavery and many of the slaves were provided by their chiefs and rulers for payment in kind. Yes, British traders were the biggest shippers of slaves in the 18th century but that was because they had more ships than anyone else at the time. Prominent left-wing ‘intellectuals’ – and I use the word advisedly – claim that all Britain’s wealth was built on slave labour. This is politically correct tommytwaddle I’m afraid. Yes, Britain profited from slavery but they were also the most energetic opponents of the trade and did more than any other country to stop it.

If reparations are to be paid for slavery as Corbyn wishes, who should receive them? Descendants of slaves, many living in Britain who are better off than the people of Africa? The black American comedian Bill Cosby publicly gave thanks for slavery as it has allowed him to lead a good life as an American rather than living in a mud hut in the bush.

So the entire issue becomes farcical and there is no chance that Labour’s proposed inquiry would fairly explore any of these issues and help Britons to understand and celebrate the diversity they enjoy thanks to imperialism. The verdicts of history depend on who sits on the jury. I fear that this one would be packed with the most biased jurors imaginable. 

Let Corbyn and his fanatics consider for a moment the plight of those countries who have thrown off the yoke of imperialism. Take my own country Zimbabwe as an example. Cecil Rhodes’ colonisers built a prosperous modern country out of virgin bushveld yet as soon as it was ‘given back’ to its supposedly indigenous inhabitants, corruption and greed turned the breadbasket of Africa into a basket case.

Take the medical services for example. Despite million of pounds spent on updating and modernising the system, it has completely collapsed. In fact if anything, it has gone backwards a thousand years.

Mortuary freezers are full, even when they are running. All too often they are incapacitated through electricity cuts and bodies are left to rot on the ground. The people have gone back to traditional midwives as too many mothers are losing their babies or dying in childbirth. Some mothers and babies die due to botched caesarean operations.

Most government hospitals have less than twenty-five nurses who respond to thousands of patients from communities within their area, according to their register. Their toilet facilities are in bad shape, with poor water and sanitation facilities.

There is rampant bribery for treatment, mostly perpetuated by the nurses. And who can blame them? Nurses are not paid enough even for bus fare. They would probably earn more selling fruit on street corners – if they could get hold of the fruit!

In most hospitals there are insufficient bedding facilities. The facilities are highly congested, with pregnant and lactating mothers sleeping side-by-side on a single bed and two to three children sometimes put on a single bed to sleep. 

It is entirely due to poor governance and corruption that the country’s health care service has collapsed, more especially with the ongoing industrial action during which nearly three hundred doctors have been sacked for striking. As their average pay was eighty dollars a month, they probably had good reason to strike and now they will leave the country to work elsewhere and receive a decent reward for their services? 

Compounded by acute shortage of clean, safe drinking water, poor sanitation and lack of access to electricity, most hospitals in the country have themselves become death traps. Yet the lack of response from the international community, including the Labour Party to the emergency posed by the current crisis is quite staggering.

Don’t blame the brave Victorians who developed the Empire for atrocities Mr Corbyn. Don’t look to pay out descendants of the indigenous people of long ago. Look to more recent actions by British governments and if you are to pay out compensation, pay it to those modern people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the actions of modern British governments. Governments who have been only to eager to leave formerly loyal subjects to the whims of corrupt dictators..

If – Heaven forbid – you do become Prime Minister then please please make a fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe a priority.

Then ask me to be ashamed of my colonial upbringing!

We Pay For This

I am not sure which subject in the newspapers is more repetitively irritating at the moment, the election or Prince Andrew, the Duke of Pork.

Commentators seem to have succumbed to mass hysteria on both subjects and they aren’t helped by some of the better known Twonks in British society who keep chipping in with what can only be described as inanities.

Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said we should leave the Royals alone, when trying to defend the Royal Biscuit and his Yank against ‘unrealistically high demands’ in terms of their personal conduct from the media.

It was, he said, ‘absurd and completely unjust’ to hold them to higher moral standards than the rest of us. ‘The Royal Family are not superhuman. They are a very remarkable group of people, all of them. But you can’t lay that kind of extra burden on people.’

Why not damnit? We pay for their privileged lifestyle. How can this overly elevated Churchman assert that the Royal Family are ‘all very remarkable people.’ Queenie probably is as she has remained unswervingly faithful to her broadcast vow, made on her 21st birthday, in 1947: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.’

Thankfully for us all, that life has been a very long one. But her eldest son and heir, while he also seems to have a profound sense of public service, is another casualty of the sycophancy which is so startling in what is supposed to be a much less deferential society than it was.

Someone who worked for Prince Charles for many years described him as ‘appallingly selfish.’ I don’t suppose he ever dared say that to Charlie’s face though. And I don’t suppose he would have paid the slightest attention. For all his green credentials, the silver spoon shows through all too readily.

In his memoirs, Sir Max Hastings recounted a lunch in the mid-1990s at which he (then the editor of the Daily Telegraph) told Prince Charles that his demand for greater public sympathy was not becoming in someone of his privileges: ‘His fist banged on the table, rattling the silver: “Nobody but me can possibly understand how perfectly bloody it is to be the Prince of Wales!”’

That was the last time the two spoke. Those who criticise the Prince to his face are forever excluded. I had a colleague who was part of the Royal Protection squad surrounding Charlie and he told me that ‘he (the prince) is a hell of a nice guy but if you don’t obey his every whim, you will be thrown out forthwith.’

My friend has since moved to America, probably to get away from the pomp and hypocrisy surrounding the Royals. Over there, the criterion seems to be how much money you have rather than what family you were born into.

Nicholas Whitchell, the current BBC Royal Correspondent (he gave up an exciting job as a war correspondent for this one so it must pay well) commented the other day that suddenly there seems to be a complete lack of organisation in Buckingham Palace and it is leading to PR disaster after PR disaster.

He said: “There is now a lack of strong central control. We have had two episodes within just a couple of months of senior members of the royal family doing it their own way.

‘We had Prince Harry with his rant against the tabloid media which was absolutely against the advice of his communications officials who were in despair over it. We have a similar situation now. The mainstream advisors of the Queen at the Palace were not a part of this Prince Andrew debate.”

I think he should have said Prince Andrew debacle rather than debate. For the last three days, the tabloids have been full to bursting of photographs showing that this overweight prince lied through his teeth throughout the offending interview.

Personally I am fed up with it. I don’t want to comment on the farcical election that is going on at the moment, but I really don’t want to write anything more about the Duke of Pork or the Royal biscuit and his Yank.

They are just ordinary and somewhat stupid people damnit! The tragedy is that we as tax payers are paying for them.

I was truly horrified to read a couple of days ago that a former model turned jihadi who was jailed for helping the 21/7 Tube bombers was granted £1.4 million in legal aid during her battle to evade justice.

Yes that was indeed one point four million pounds! Again, it is tax payers’ money.

Mulu Girma then received thousands more for her human rights fight to remain in the UK instead of facing deportation to her homeland Ethiopia. The victims of the attack received a fraction of than that in compensation. Where oh where has justice gone in this country?

Girma was sentenced to ten years in prison for helping her brother in law Hussein Osman, just weeks after fifty-two people were killed on the London tube trains and buses on July 7, 2005. The callous former model helped him hide and dressed his wounds following his failed bid to kill commuters and then assisted in his attempt to flee the country. And then we, the poor bloody taxpayers fork out to help her. Does that make any sense at all even in this benighted twenty-first century?

Freedom of information figures reveal that she received £1,435,090 in legal aid for her crown court trial in 2008. They also show that Girma benefited from £30,162 in legal aid between 2009 and 2013 and is believed to have won her battle to remain in the UK, despite her horrific actions. 

To add to the ridiculousness of the situation, Girma was then recruited by the south London local authority as a trainee customer services assistant in 2013, shortly after she was released early from a 10-year jail term.

I know I am an old toppie and very old fashioned but there are times that I despair of modern society and feel reluctant to read the newspapers at all. But then I would have nothing to rant about so to hell with my escalating blood pressure – I will keep going.