Turmoil in Southern Africa

The great and the good are meeting again in Davos this week to discuss what to do for the world. To my mind, it is all a bit of a farce but earlier in the week, they brought out what is known as the Edelman Trust Barometer. This is basically what the citizens of different countries think of their respective governments.

I don’t suppose it came as a surprise to my fellow displaced Africans but Cyril Ramaphosa’s government in South Africa came last in the table, to be rated the least trustworthy on earth – and that by some distance.

It would seem that only twenty percent of South Africans trust their government and I don’t know where they found that twenty percent. Closest nation to South Africa in the untrustworthiness stakes is Spain and they have a whopping thirty percent.

The survey – apparently the biggest of its kind globally with thirty four thousand respondents – was conducted between mid-October and mid-November last year. Now in its twentieth edition, it recorded how the SA Government’s trust ranking slumped into the bottom slot during the Zuma era, with only similarly scandal-wracked Brazil keeping it company.

Under its new president, Brazil has left the South Africans behind and at thirty nine percent is now well clear of the relegation zone. How much of that improvement is due to the ongoing success of the anti-corruption, Operation Car Wash or Jair Bolsonaro’s leadership wasn’t mentioned. But it does show Team Ramaphosa what’s possible.

Rainbow ruddy Nation indeed!

Further north across the Great Grey Green Greasy Limpopo, Zimbabwean woes deepen by the day. Unsurprisingly they were not invited to the recent UK – Africa Investment summit held in London last Monday.

During this self-congratulatory – on both sides – bun fight, leaders from twenty one African countries were treated to a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Crocodile Mnangagwa was notable by his absence, but as I said, he was not invited, even though my little country was once the food bowl of Africa.

Harare’s response to this diplomatic snub was to describe Britain as ‘no longer an investing global power’ and send the Crocodile on to the next and larger bunfight in Davos, inevitably in another private jet, hired for the occasion. I mean, the politicians of Zimbabwe can’t be expected to travel like ordinary citizens!

Mnangagwa has recently boasted of a deal with Russia, trading precious minerals for military hardware. That hardware will come in handy to further subdue an increasingly restless and angry population.

At the moment, Zim is verging on destitution. The United Nations special rapporteur (where do they find these grandiose titles?) on the right to food, Hilal Elver spoke in terms of man-made starvation when she estimated recently that sixty percent of the population is ‘food insecure.’ I know Zimbabweans are gentle and peaceful people, but how much longer can they take this?

Ms Elver’s statement has proved frighteningly accurate as many Zimbabweans are fortunate if they can find one good meal every two days. World Bank estimates currently show that five point seven million Zimbabweans are living in extreme poverty. It costs a hospital doctor more to get a bus to work than they can earn in a week and unsurprisingly most of them are currently on strike. The head of their Doctors’ Association Peter Magombeyi was abducted from his home last year and after he was ‘found,’ the authorities would not allow him to go to South Africa in order be treated for suspected poisoning.

These people are doctors damnit. Ordinary people need doctors but are being deprived of their services so Mnangagwa and his considerable entourage can fly around the world in private jets. A tiny proportion of the money spent on their international junkets would provide doctors with a liveable wage.

And it is not only the doctors. Last week, public servants went on strike for a day. They want pay rises too as their earnings are disappearing under an inflation rate of five hundred and twenty one percent and rising.

Those who dare to protest are met with uncontrolled brutality from a police force that is underpaid, under-trained and desperate for survival. When there is nothing more to lose, starvation drives people to new levels of courage – or thuggery.

Over the past few months, there have been increasing reports of killings carried out by the waShurugwi — a gang of twenty year olds with nothing who are killing with machetes anyone who has anything. This started with the murder of itinerant goldminers in the Midlands but in the past few days, the waShurugwi have spread from rural areas to the suburbs of Harare.

The public fear of these horrible little thugs has not been helped by photographs showing that among the disguised killers are members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. So many of us were proud to be members of that force, but over the years it has degenerated into a corrupt and useless shambles.

When he was foreign secretary in 2018, Bunter Johnson said he would give Mnangagwa a year to improve human rights and get the economy working before there could be any consideration of the readmission of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth. Huh! As things stand today, the whole country is fast becoming a human rights disaster.

How long will Britain and other members of the Commonwealth, as well as the United ruddy Nations stand by and watch Zimbabwe, with all the potential and promise of its well-educated populace and abundant natural resources, make a violent descent into mayhem?

Luvvies and Lords

It seems that Foxy is in trouble again. He has risked sparking further controversy by criticising Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes for including a Sikh soldier in his World War I drama 1917. 

He is quite right of course. Natural warriors, Sikhs fought with outstanding bravery in their own regiments, rather than in British ones in many of World War I’s most horrific battles, including Ypres and the Somme. Yet putting a token Sikh into a British regiment is playing to the politically correct Luvvie gallery I fear.

This seems to be the gong season among the acting fraternity with award ceremony after award ceremony hitting the headlines every week. This week it was the SAGS – whatever they may be. But what on earth is it all about? Actors are paid vast sums of money for mouthing the words of others and surely do not need these additional plaudits which seem to come mainly from their fellow actors and the comic section of the media..

As for the ceremonies, they really are cringe-worthy. Women glammed up to the nines, sometimes in outrageous gowns and winners standing up to lecture the rest of the world on what we are doing wrong – in their opinions, which really are not worth a pinch of salt. None of these people live in the real world, yet they seem to feel themselves so superior to the rest of us.

Why is this I wonder? Yes, they have far more money than most people can ever aspire to but this surely doesn’t make them experts on how you, I and the man next door should act.

As for 1917, I won’t be watching it but as far as I can make out, it is a fairy tale with almost no connection to reality but doused in blood – perfect for the war game videos that the younger generation – and I watched my grandsons growing up – seem to enjoy.

Two Great War soldiers are sent on foot across no-man’s-land on a ‘desperate mission’ to prevent a massacre. What rot!! Futile massacres were a regular occurrence throughout the First World War, and there’s no sign that the high command cared all that much, so why go on foot?

As the two heroes stumble from hazard to hazard in what is apparently just like a video game, they watch British planes flying overhead. Couldn’t these planes have taken the message? 

Having wriggled and struggled sweatily through a deadly maze to get into no-man’s-land, the pair are then overtaken by a convoy of British lorries, which appears to have got there by taking the first right turn off the Ypres by-pass. If the roads are open for trucks, why not send the message by motorbike? And here’s another question. 

When was the last time a film started collecting awards before it had even been shown in cinemas? This really doesn’t make sense but is typical of the plastic world inhabited by these so-called ‘stars.’

I read with horror that Jeremy Corbyn has nominated both former Squeaker Bercow and Tom Watson to be elevated to the House of Lords. On what possible grounds can he claim that either of these two numpties are fit and proper candidates to grace the benches of the Upper House? I know there are a lot of other unworthy candidates in there but surely it is time for common sense, or are we going to stuff all political failures in there so they can keep drawing the tax payer’s dollar?

Bercow did all he could to defy the democratically expressed will of the British people to leave the European Union. Surely he has forfeited any right to have a say in the future governance of this country. He was a disgrace to his position and loved humiliating those unfortunates over who he held power.

And how on earth can Corbyn possibly believe that his former deputy, Watson deserves to be elevated to the peerage? As a reward for services to perverting the course of justice perhaps?

Let’s just remember that this man was in cahoots with a convicted paedophile and a dodgy ‘news’ agency to bring very nasty allegations against predominantly Conservative members of the Establishment. He put pressure on Scotland Yard to pursue investigations into outrageous claims made by a known fantasist, smearing decent men with impeccable histories of public service, as rapists and murderers.

While their lives and those of their families were ruined, Watson has been able to walk away from the wreckage and reinvent himself as a diet guru and author. I find it quite sickening to see the way in which broadcasters fawn at the feet of this odious man while ignoring his disgusting track record. If Watson had any sense of shame or decency, he would have slithered back under whichever stone he emerged from – and ruddy well stayed there. If he makes any money from his new book, he should be forced to donate all profits to the families of his victims, some of whom died before they could clear their names. 

The idea that he will soon be in the Lords is an appalling one. Presumably, it’s a pay-off from Corbyn for not rocking the Labour boat during the election campaign. Watson was noticeable by his silence and absence from our screens. What a relief that was.

Meanwhile, Bercow has embarked on a new career as a circus act, recently demeaning himself, parliament and the nation, yelling ‘Order, Order!’ on a late-night Italian TV show. He also plans to cash in his notoriety on the after-dinner speaking circuit. Surely the Lords can live without him.

So can this anti-democratic outrage be stopped? Perhaps. All nominations have to be ratified by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. They are vetted to verify that potential life peers ‘ensure the highest standards of propriety’ and satisfy the commission that ‘the past conduct of the nominee would not reasonably be regarded as bringing the House of Lords into disrepute.’

Please Committee members, use a little bit of common sense with these two nominations – or is that too much to ask of politicians?

The election result was supposed to mark the moment that voters took back control from the rotten, arrogant political class. Those politicians who did their damnedest to defy the will of the people were booted out. Others, like Bercow and Watson, scuttled away in disgrace. If they are now allowed to resurrect their political careers in the House of Lords, it will send a depressingly clear signal that absolutely nothing has really changed.

Private Frazer had it right – ‘we are all doomed!’

Northern Ireland, Laurence Fox and an Each-way Bet

One of Bunter Johnson’s promises during the election campaign – and it must have gained him a sackload of votes – was that he would put an end to the prosecution of long-retired British soldiers for crimes allegedly committed during the Northern Irish Troubles. I for one, fully approved. A soldier’s job is difficult at the best of times and the war in Northern Ireland was a particularly horrible one.

But Bunter seems to have changed his mind and has agreed to do exactly the opposite. A key part of the recent resurrection of ‘power-sharing’ in Northern Ireland is a pledge to revive a rather nasty deal called the Stormont House Agreement, agreed to by the wishy-washy Cameron shower in 2014.

This ‘agreement’ ensures that there will be more of these politically motivated cases. In fact it is the latest stage in the appeasement of the IRA and the other terror groups, which began in 1998 with the mass release of scores of terrorists, both loyalist and Republican. This surrender to criminal violence, the most shameful and abject in modern British history, is generally ignored or forgotten on the mainland, but there is one part of this which reaches across the Irish Sea, and that is the unceasing attempt to pursue these cold cases.

Every time it happens, the Tories say they will stop it. But they don’t and it happens again. This is because it is what the IRA (and its political wing Sinn Fein) want. And rather as the Royal Biscuit said of his tame Yank, what the IRA wants, they get because the British government are scared stiff of offending them.

Maybe some of these old cases are justified. Nast things happen in any war and this one was dirtier than most. But that is not the point. Justice has never been the point of the 1998 agreement. Let’s face it, this pathetically one-sided deal not only led to the rapid freedom of many murderers, it also prevented the prosecution of terrorist criminals who were not tried before the deal was reached.

Take the case of John Downey, the alleged culprit of the Hyde Park bombing. He was one of nearly two hundred people who had been given written official promises that they would not be prosecuted. As the judge said, even if he had been convicted, he would have served no more than two years – for a crime of such brutal savagery? It beggars belief, but the ‘deal’ was a deal for the terrorist side, who we are told were finally defeated in 1998. 

Now the Stormont House Agreement, which Mr Johnson has just agreed to put into effect, promises: ‘Legislation will establish a new independent body to take forward investigations into outstanding Troubles-related deaths; the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).’ 

It adds: ‘In respect of its criminal investigations, the HIU will have full policing powers.’

Last year we were told that the Prime Minister was going to bring an end to all ongoing investigations from the conflict, and he said only last Monday that he would not support vexatious claims when there was no new evidence. 

But the Stormont agreement includes the HIU, and the point of all the ongoing investigations is that the original evidence has never been properly investigated. Does this mean that Bunter has now decided to support the investigation of every single outstanding claim?

He also said last week that ‘Nothing in the agreement will stop us going ahead with legislation to ensure that no one who has served in our armed forces suffers vexatious or unfair prosecution for cases that happened many years ago when no new evidence has been provided. We will legislate to ensure that cannot happen.’

What a load of sanctimonious woffle but my question would be, who decides what is vexatious or unfair? What if the HIU insists that the evidence is new and the Belfast prosecution service agrees? Heaven help poor British soldiers if this is all the protection they have.

It would seem that terrorism wins again – as it so often seems to do!

I ranted with much glee last week about the actor Laurence Fox standing up for common sense on Question Time. The following day, The Times reported that Mr Fox’s comments were condemned by the actors’ union Equity as ‘disgraceful playing to the gallery’ and called him ‘a disgrace to our industry.’

Are not actors paid to play to the gallery or am I missing something?

At the other end of the newspaper social scale, The Sun’s editorial praised the actor for ‘having the guts to defy the suffocating liberal-left consensus in the arts.’

I don’t often read The Sun but I do so agree with them.

When Anthony Blair allowed gambling firms to advertise openly, I predicted that it was going to cause huge problems. I know I am rather biased as my Grandfather betted away a considerable fortune, but this country is now gripped in an epidemic of gambling-associated problems.

It is becoming predictably corrupt too. Take Fred and Peter Done, who are both billionaires. 

They created Betfred, a gambling company that made £728 million last year by luring men and a few women into the world of compulsive online gambling that has destroyed so many lives.

Now we learn that these two beauties have another company. This is Health Assured which believe it or not has contracts with the NHS and councils worth at least two and a half million quid – providing services for gambling addicts.

Talk about a successful each-way bet, but how on earth do they get away with it?

Question Time and Skewed News Priorities

Every Friday morning I try to watch the previous evenings Question Time episode. It is on far too late at night for an old toppie like me, but I always feel that the general tone of the audience members might give me some indication as to how people are really feeling about Britain and the world.

Yesterday, the actor Laurence Fox was on the panel and my initial reaction was ‘Oh no, not another ruddy actor, full of doleful piety and about to lecture everyone else on the folly of our ways.’

I was wrong. Mr Fox was refreshingly honest and stood up to politically correct bullying from an audience member and another member of the panel.

One inevitable question was about the Royal Biscuit and his Tame Yank and while Fox was giving his opinion, a lady called Rachel Boyle who described herself as an ethnicity lecturer – whatever that may be – at Edge Hill University in Liverpool butted in.

Now this good lady has appeared on the BBC on quite a few occasions so I couldn’t help wondering whether she was deliberately planted in the audience, but then perhaps I am being a bit cynical – maybe!

Anyway, Miss Boyle called Fox a ‘white privileged male’ for denying that Meghan M was ‘hounded from Britain for being mixed race.’ She was jeered by a goodly proportion of the audience for her comments and Fox was visibly exasperated. First, he looked up at the ceiling then he gently banged his forehead on the desk in front of him. I felt for the bloke. None of us can help being what we are and I am fed up with these crackpot people trying to make me feel guilty about my own ethnicity.

The row apparently continued on Twitter and yesterday Mr Fox quoted Martin Luther King who wanted to live in a nation where children ‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.’

Meanwhile the worthy Miss – sorry, ‘Ms’ – Boyle said she wasn’t ‘arsed’ about the spat and tweeted, ‘Fell out with LozzaFox (not arsed) upset a (majority white) audience (not arsed) but called the treatment of Meghan Markle what it is ‘racism.’’

Hardly suitable language from a university lecturer but all too typical of this modern world, I fear.

In another fiery exchange Labour Baroness, Shami Chakrabarti accused poor old Foxy of ignoring female candidates in the Labour leadership battle by backing Keir Starmer to replace Jeremy Corbyn, who he called ‘magic grandpa.’

He was asked who he was backing for God’s sake and was the only member of the panel who seemed to dare to give an opinion, yet this ennobled harpy was obliquely accusing him of misogyny!

Obviously completely exasperated again, Mr Fox said back sarcastically: ‘Jeepers creepers. Sorry, let me rewind. Any of the women. Is that better? Any woman. Because it’s really important what your gender is or what your sexuality is rather than what your policies are.’ 

The look of shock on Chakrabati’s face was priceless and the audience loved it. So did I.

Please Question Time producers, let’s have more panel members like this chap.

Another member of the panel was a Scottish National MP called Alyn Smith and while I am not fond of the SNP – as epitomised by the Poison Dwarf in Edinburgh and that pompous pratwinkle, Blackford in Westminster – *I did agree whole heartedly with one of his comments. When asked about the row about the Biscuit and his Bride, Smith said, ‘The rest of the world must think Britain has lost its marbles.’

How right he was. I am heartily fed up with diving into the papers every morning and reading piece after piece about these two spoiled brats. The world has far greater things to worry about damnit!

The Middle East is on the edge of catastrophic war, the Russian government has resigned – or was pushed – en masse and figures just released in South Africa show that on average, a farmer is murdered there every seven and a half days. There were four hundred and fifty three farm attacks during 2019 and forty eight farm murders.

The oldest person that was attacked was ninety six years old, on average there were four attackers per incident with the highest number of attackers being twenty.

Now that, coupled with the South African government’s insistence that there is no problem is surely something worth writing about.

I did smile when I read about Emily Thornberry’s opening to her leadership campaign yesterday. She is another who tries hard to give herself a working class background but is married to a High Court Judge and is in reality, Lady Nugee.

In her launching speech to the faithful, this paragon of working class worth whittered, ‘Labour in not beaten.’

Sorry My Dear, but you are wrong. Labour is not only beaten but it has just lost its fourth election in a row.

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.