He Was Not As Bad As He Was Made Out To Be!

It has been a traumatic week throughout the world, what with Donald Trump leaving office, the Coronabug outbreak seeming ever stronger and Britain being racked by more stormy weather.

But it is Trump leaving office that I want to deal with today. Donald Trump is not a nice man by any standards. He is brash, boorish, outspoken, boastful and probably narcissistic, but in that respect, he is surely a typical politician.

Yet in every other aspect, the Trumpet is the very antithesis of a modern politician. Devoid of diplomacy, he was never afraid to offend others and stuck to his guns throughout his four years in office. His main problem and it eventually unseated him was that his brash egotistical manner offended the American establishment as well as the Media Mob and they eventually brought him down.

Indeed, even before he was elected, he was cast in the role of a would-be Hitler. ‘This is how fascism comes to America’, declared neoconservative commentator Robert Kagan immediately before Trump took office.

Yet Donald Trump came to power with what certainly seemed to be a laudable agenda based on sound principles. He never failed to express his pride in the underlying goodness of traditional American values and core beliefs that were based on Christian fundamentals. This infuriated the progressive elites of the metropolitan East and West coasts and that same establishment, which the president liked to refer to as ‘the Swamp’.  He seemed to understand the plight of the American working class and moved to cut taxes. He wanted to secure his country’s borders, cut better trade deals for America, confront China’s expanding global aggression, pressure the presumptuous Europeans to spend more on their own defence and extricate US troops from costly, unwinnable wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

He rightly pointed out that America was overly indulgent to its enemies and started to withhold aid to countries he considered hostile. Closer to home where I am concerned, he criticised African governments and was rude about the state of some countries and anyone familiar with what is taking place in Africa today will struggle to disagree with his opinions. Through Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, he did what no other Western politician has dared to do and expressed concern about the safety of South African farmers. Though many of his goals have been frustrated, to a large extent as a consequence of relentless harassment from so many different directions, he achieved much that is positive during his term of office.  He said himself that there is more to do and that opportunity is now denied him. The new administration will move quickly to undo what was done and reverse course.

With the election of Joe Biden, this sad course of events is set to accelerate, not least because his Vice President, Kamala Harris, a racist who hails from the radical left is likely to assume the presidential reins sooner rather than later. Their policy programme looks set to strengthen and consolidate the liberal tyranny that seeks to destroy western democracy as we know it.

Uncontrolled immigration into the US will speed up the process of marginalising and diluting the soon to be white minority. An abrupt move to socialism will increase the burden placed upon the predominantly white, working and middle-class while the number of people wholly dependent on the State for their survival ratchets up. The new administration is likely to be largely bereft of conservative whites who hold dear their country’s history and traditional ideals and culture.

In a way this follows the same path that so many of us went down in Africa and I fear there is little doubt where it will lead. America is on a path to self-destruction and that is not good for any of us in this topsy-turvy world. But for the Chinese and all those who seek the final erasure of all semblances of Western civilisation, it is a bonanza that is not to be sneezed at.

In his twenty minute pre-recorded farewell speech, Trump said that his administration did what it came to do – and more.

I suppose, one can debate the significance of his accomplishments – whether four hundred miles of rebuilt border wall, tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks, confirmed judges, trade wars, and modest Middle East diplomatic agreements amount to much in the way of substantive achievement. He was the first American President in a very long time not to start any wars during his time in office and it is perhaps significant to note that Joe Biden in his eight years as vice president was instrumental with Obama in starting no fewer than seven conflicts. In the course of those little wars, America dropped well over twenty six thousand bombs. Yet the liberal establishment hails this man as a peacemaker?

Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 to shake up the existing political order. He campaigned as an outsider giving voice to those who distrusted the establishment. Opportunistic perhaps but I find it sad that the unrest and resentment that bore the Donald triumphantly to the White House came to a sad and possibly predictable end in the US Capitol two weeks ago.

After four years of shattered norms and traditions, of turning expectations of presidential behaviour on their head, Trump leaves US government changed – fundamentally and hopefully irreversibly.

I am not an admirer of the man for himself but do believe that he had his country’s best interests at heart and did not deserve the vitriol and abuse that has been heaped upon him. For all his faults, Donald Trump was a man who put the welfare of the American people before everything else and that is something that most other politicians in this supposed ‘free world’ would do well to bear in mind. We, the ordinary people want politicians to pay heed to our views and look after us rather than the ruddy ‘Establishment.’

(I seem to have had another disaster with the font on this one but have no idea why it keeps jumping around the way it does. Sorry.)

Is Gardening Racist?

Having run my own little gardening firm for over fifteen years, I cannot say that I enjoy the practice. However, it is a huge comfort to many people, particularly in these stressful times.

In fact, can there be a more harmless, innocent diversion than pottering about in a garden? We are continually told by the ‘experts’ that it is good for body and soul, as well as for our mental health. But I fear that the green-fingered ranks of Britain’s gardeners are in for a shock – according to a new book, by pruning our roses or digging the vegetable patches, we are all somehow perpetuating the evils of racism.

Last week Corinne Fowler, Professor of Post-Colonial Literature (Can that really be a subject for study?) at the University of Leicester published a three hundred and sixteen-page book examining the links between the British countryside, racism, slavery and our colonial past. What new woke madness is this?

This idiotically politically correct academic insists that gardening has its roots in racial injustice.

The title of the book, Green Unpleasant Land, gives us an indication of Professor Fowler’s thoughts on the countryside. One might expect her writings to be consigned to academic obscurity, but no, her views on rural Britain are in fact very influential.

Because this female turnip is at the centre of the ‘culture war’ that has overwhelmed one of Britain’s largest and best-loved charities, the National Trust. I am not a member of the Trust but have thought about joining at times, if only to see some of the magnificent mansions in their care. That though was in the past. I have completely lost interest in the entire organisation, but they do still wield enormous influence.

Professor Fowler is one of the principal authors of a report published in September last year that ‘outed’ many of the properties belonging to the Trust for their links to slavery and Britain’s colonial past. Among them were Buckland Abbey, the Devon seat of Sir Francis Drake, Ham House in West London, Wales’s Powis Castle and, most controversially of all, Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill.

The report infuriated not only grand families who had bequeathed their homes to the Trust, but also many of the charity’s five and a half million members who resigned over this ‘woke’ agenda, arguing that the Trust’s role is to preserve our ancient houses and monuments, rather than get involved in what many saw as a highly political witch-hunt.

Such was the anger that the head of the Charities Commission publicly suggested the National Trust should focus on looking after stately homes – not waging ‘broader political struggles.’

Yet the Trust had already ‘doubled-down’ in its determination to exhume the unsavoury history of its properties with another project, which started in 2018 – and Professor ruddy Fowler was in charge of that one too.

She describes the scheme – Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted – on the Leicester University website as ‘a child-led history and writing project which seeks to make historic houses’ connections to the East India Company and transatlantic slavery widely known.’

It involves a team of historians working with one hundred primary school children to explore these links at eleven Trust properties. To me it seems somewhat obscene to use children for this, but the Trust received lottery grants amounting to £160,000. Under the scheme, the Trust had been inviting teams of children to lecture staff and volunteers – presumably about the evils of colonialism. Surely that is deeply damaging to all concerned.

Amid criticism of the project last month from MPs – one of whom complained the charity had been ‘overtaken by divisive Black Lives Matters supporters’ – the Trust defended it, saying: ‘We always look for excellence, fairness and balance in the assessment of all aspects of the history at National Trust places, often working with external partners and specialists to help us.’

Primary school children? How can that be justified?

And just how fair and balanced are Professor Fowler and her team of academics? Are they impartial historians – are they hell! There is a viciously biased political agenda behind their interpretations of the past?

Professor Fowler insists that our ‘green and pleasant land,’ as the poet William Blake put it, is anything but. The countryside, she suggests, is a hotbed of oppression, racism and exploitation – and it is time for its dark history to be exposed.

The professor also writes that her parents gave her a love of country walking. She appears to have rambled tirelessly along country lanes finding evidence to prove her central premise – that the British countryside is somehow linked to racism and colonialism.

‘The countryside is a terrain of inequalities,’ she writes in her book, ‘so it should not surprise us that it should be seen as a place of particular hostility to those who are seen as not to belong, principally black and Asian Britons.’

I am sorry and admit that my aged brain is probably not as acute as that of the professor but try as I might, I cannot see the connection.

Yet this silly woman tells us that ‘many great estates were financed by slavery and colonialism, and the origins of gardening were fundamentally elitist. Knowledge about gardens and plants, in particular botany has had deep colonial resonances,’ she says.

‘The scientific categorisation of plants has at times engaged in the same hierarchies of ‘race’ that justified empire and slavery . . .

‘Inevitably, then,’ she adds, ‘gardens are matters of class and privilege.’

Oh God! How much more of this over-zealous cant can we take from these so called academics who have little experience of real life but are sadly responsible for teaching future generations?

Somehow it has to be stopped before mass madness sweeps through the nation even faster than has the Coronabug.

Brexit, Borders and the Bug.

I voted for Brexit – of course I did – but one of the reasons for my vote was the promise that this country would ‘take back control of our borders’ – remember that promise? For five years, we had it trumpeted to us by politicians, day after day.

Yet has it happened now that this country is apparently free of European shackles? Has it hell! Right from the start of the Coronabug pandemic, ministers have been woefully slow to act when it has come to stopping potential carriers of the virus from entering the country.

Last weekend, news of a dangerous new strain of the virus, which could be resistant to the vaccines currently being administered here, emerged from Brazil, yet it was not until yesterday afternoon that the Government got around to banning flights from Brazil and South America.

This is despite the fact that Brazil halted all flights from the UK three weeks ago after the mutant Kent variant was discovered. Faced with government inaction, the airlines were forced to act unilaterally. Back in December, BA took it upon itself to cancel all flights to and from most of South America until the end of February.

That does not stop passengers from Brazil and elsewhere travelling to Britain via third countries in Europe. Thousands of passengers are still arriving every day at British ports and airports, and on Eurostar trains, without any checks on their Covid status.

Only yesterday, travellers from all over the world were swanning through Heathrow with nobody asking them to prove they had tested negative for corona. Despite all those coming from overseas nominally being required to quarantine for ten days, there is little evidence this has been widely enforced.

The overblown team of Yes-men, appointed by Bunter Johnson appear to have no sense of urgency when it comes to policing our borders. 

A law insisting that all international arrivals – including returning British nationals – must produce evidence they had a negative test seventy two hours before they travelled was due to take effect today. But sneaky as ever, this craven government extended that deadline till Monday, ensuring that this was only announced on Twitter by Grant Shapps just after eleven last night.

Why did this pratwinkle not issue a proper ministerial statement dammit? Many of us do not have access – or want access dammit – to twitter. I suppose, doing it properly would have been too straightforward and Shapps even ended his message with a stopwatch emoji – just in case we are all too stupid to understand plain English.

Who knows how many more people infected with the Coronabug might have entered Britain by the time the new deadline expires?

Perhaps if this idiotic clown, Shapps had spent less time since March littering the country with ridiculous cycle lanes and more time concentrating on preventing the importation of the bug, we’d be in a safer place.

Still, his complacency is merely a reflection of this government’s callous indifference in failing properly to address the threat of Covid coming here from overseas. On January 31 last year, the much-maligned President Donald Trump banned all flights from China landing in the U.S.

Yet even when it was obvious that corona posed a clear and present danger, our witless government allowed scheduled services between Britain and China – including Wuhan, where Covid originated – to continue to operate.

Nor were there any enforced flight cancellations from Northern Italy, where Coronabug was rife. Back then, the official line being peddled by the chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance was that, since the virus was here already, closing the borders would not make much difference.

As late as May, Vallance resisted travel bans from individual regions on the grounds that they simply did not work. This is the same gloomy Professor Unbalanced, who has spent the past ten months demanding ever tougher curbs on civil liberties in this country.

So while British citizens can be arrested and fined for sitting on a park bench or refusing to tell a copper where they are going, travellers from all over the world have been free to enter this country without having to declare where they have been in the previous few weeks; whether or not they have tested positive or negative for Covid or whether they are complying with quarantine regulations.

All sorts of strange folk from different and often highly infected countries are allowed to hail taxis at Heathrow or travel on the railways to unknown destinations after sailing unchallenged through immigration.

Meanwhile, joggers and dog walkers going about their lawful business in their local park are being treated like criminals by overbearing coppers and the standing army of so-called Covid marshals.

Throughout this crisis, it has been instructive to compare the sympathetic treatment of foreign nationals with the draconian, knee-jerk restrictions forced on the rest of us on the home front. Even now, at a time when we are told the threat from corona is worse than it has ever been, those arriving from abroad have been given an extended period of grace before they must produce evidence of a negative test.

Contrast Shapps’s generous decision to postpone until Monday morning today’s planned deadline – to give people ‘time to prepare’ – with the knee-jerk order issued a few months ago giving British holidaymakers in Europe just a few hours’ notice to get home.

On August 13th, Shapps – yes, that bloody man again – announced that anyone who wasn’t back in this country by 4am that Saturday morning would have to quarantine for fourteen days or face a fine of £1,000.

Around a hundred and sixty thousand people stranded in France were forced to race through the night to catch ferries. Some even had to hitch rides on fishing boats. It was the biggest and most humiliating British evacuation since Dunkirk. Families who had flown to other newly designated corona hotspots in Europe had no option but to turn around and catch the first flight back. Tens of thousands of other planned holidays were lost.

Maybe Mr Shapps had a special emoji minted for that occasion too? Sometimes it seems as if this country is being governed by a Cabinet of ruddy emojis. Mind you, I had to look up the meaning of ‘emoji’ this morning and it seems the word describes those irritating little cartoon symbols some people attach to emails. Thumbs up, thumbs down, that sort of thing. 

Perhaps the government could scrap their gloomy briefings of an evening and replace it by by emojis for every occasion – Covid cases are down, let’s have smiley face – Covid cases are up, show us a sad face. Instead of Priti Patel hectoring us on occasion, they could just show an angry face!

Yesterday, the Government sent out a Home Office emoji – sorry I could not resist it –  called Victoria Atkins to defend the decision not to close the air corridor between Britain and Brazil earlier. She was asked why it has taken ten months to demand all international travellers produce evidence of negative tests, something other countries have insisted upon for months.

Atkins said that ministers had to balance controlling the virus with ‘not putting too much burden on the economy.’ WHAT? They really do seem to think we are all stupid. That preposterous justification will have been received with incredulity by businessmen and women right across the land. They won’t have known whether to laugh or cry dammit. The economy has always come a very distant second to combating this bug. Countless businesses, many of them household names, have gone to the wall. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost for ever, with many more to come.

High Street shops and hospitality have been devastated by repeated lockdowns. Family-run enterprises are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Cafes and restaurants are surviving on takeaway custom. And how does this Government reward their dogged determination? Yesterday we learned that Bunter’s stormtroopers are planning to put them out of business, too.

Believe it or not, Whitehall is declaring war on takeaway food and drink in an attempt to force people to stay at home. Now they have brought out another pathetic and infuriating advertising slogan that urges us ‘Not to let a coffee cost a life.’

This is pure fear mongering and they seem to have forgotten that as the old song stated, there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil – as well as an awful lot of the Coronabug. Yet until now, Bunter’s buffoons have not bothered about trying to prevent it spreading in this country.

Any more than they’ve turned away record numbers of illegal immigrants making their away across the Channel from France. Border patrols, who would be better employed carrying out Covid checks at Dover, have been instructed to pick up migrants in the Channel and ferry them ashore.

Do these hapless politicians have any idea whether the Coronabug is rife or not in the camps around Calais? Do they care? Can we be sure that the ‘Kent’ strain was not brought to Britain by dinghy?

Unfortunately, we will never know, any more than we’ll know how many unchecked airline, ferry and Eurostar passengers have helped spread Covid-19 around Britain over the past ten months.

So much for Taking Back Control of our borders.

A Mad, Sad World

As we get further into the year, I can only shake my head in despair at the ineptitude and illogicality of our elected leaders – most of whom I would not trust to lead an under fourteen cricket eleven.

The first two lockdowns did not work and Coronabug continues to spread, so the immediate reaction is to blame the public for not following rules and lock us in again. We are mournfully told by our revered leader that this is only so that all we old folk and vulnerable people can be vaccinated but the initial rolling out of the vaccine has once again been characterised by ineptitude and confusion. Doses are being lost and even when Hapless Hancock visited a surgery this week – complete with photographer – to show us how efficient he is, he was left red faced – he ought to have blushed at any rate – when the promised shots were not delivered.

Thankfully the Army have now been called in to take over distribution of the vaccine so that should speed up the process, but in the meantime and while the NHS still tell us that they are short-staffed and desperately overstretched, many thousands of former health workers who have volunteered to lend a hand are ignored or find themselves confused and angered at the bureaucracy required before they can be called up. In Parliament last week, Bunter J assured Liam Fox – himself a non-practising doctor – that he would instruct the Health Secretary to speed things up, but Hapless Hancock has either chickened out of confronting the unions or is scared of being regarded as politically incorrect because nothing had changed since that parliamentary session.

And you know, I cannot see why these mass vaccinations should be so difficult. Why are things moving so slowly? We have six hundred and fifty constituencies in this country. Thirteen months ago we had a general election. In one single day thirty three million people went and voted in about ten voting centres per constituency. The votes were ready, the booths were ready. They even had the ballots and pencil stubs ready.

We are supposed to have a hundred million Oxford-AstraZeneca shots available. It takes about the same time to give a shot in the arm as to cast a vote. As mentioned, we even have the forty thousand qualified administerers available. So why do we apparently have months to wait? Why a few hundred thousand per day maximum? There is only one answer and that to my simple mind is gross incompetence. We can do it in a day to put Bunter J into Downing Street – so please let someone hurry up and sort this nonsense out.

Meanwhile once again, the police have appointed themselves to be ‘exercise monitors,’ taping up park benches, questioning people daring to walk around in a less than purposeful manner and even stopping people at stations to ask why they are travelling on a train.

The cops say they are adopting a ‘four E’ strategy to ensure that the public follow the rules. Engage with rule-breakers, Explain the restrictions, Encourage us to change our behaviour, and if we decline, Enforcement (penalties) follow. But every force in the UK has interpreted the government guidelines in their own way, some adopting a very heavy-handed approach, which surely is not needed.

So far, over thirty two thousand fines have been issued for breaking restrictions in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Thousands of cases have immediately been chucked out by magistrates who say that police are misinterpreting the law.

Whilst infections are soaring from the latest variant of the bug, the greatest number continue to be focused on the 20-30 year olds. Yes, the generation who were out partying over New Year, the people we saw hanging around streets outsides pubs and bars in the run up to Christmas. These are not the majority of the people dammit! Even as I write, I look out and see people walking across the Moor who are obviously sensible anorak wearers. People with dogs, parents with pushchairs and small children, excitedly carrying their sleds.

Yet now we are back to criminalising walking in the fresh air. Have these uniformed idiots – and I was a cop for almost half my life – nothing better to do? Every day we read stories of innocent walkers being fined in isolated beauty spots by numbers of uniformed coppers – they too claim to be short-handed – and it makes me despair of this modern society and the half-wits controlling our lives .

And as these inept uniform wearers – do they deserve to be classed as coppers any more – get tougher than ever during this lockdown, West Midlands Plod are advertising for a new ‘assistant director of fairness and belonging.’ The post pays £74,000 a year, three times the average wage of a police constable. This from a force that is always pleading poverty and has axed two thousand frontline officers and closed dozen of police stations in recent years. 

The successful candidate will have to ‘deliver a first-class diversity and inclusion function,’ whatever that means.

Meanwhile, presumably in the interests of ‘fairness and belonging,’ the West Midlands Police Commissioner is demanding more Covid-related powers. West Midlands have a woeful crime fighting record yet this turnip wants powers to enter houses without a warrant merely to see if residents are disobeying anti coronabug rules.

Elsewhere, the cops are already throwing their weight around, stopping cars to ask drivers where they are going and demanding to know if their passengers are from the same family.

Derbyshire Police, last seen sending up drones to spy on dog walkers in the Peak District, have declared war on families out sledging, in breach of Tier 4 rules. West Mercia cops feel that throwing snowballs after dark is a criminal offence!

How long before the Derbyshire lot fit machine guns to their drones and introduce a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy I wonder?

I could not help smiling though when I read about the chap who has had coronavirus and responded to the NHS appeal for volunteers to donate plasma. Apparently, the blood of those – particularly men for some weird reason – who have recovered from the bug contains antibodies which can help others infected with it.

He was asked a series of questions over the phone to establish his suitability. After the usual drill – age, sex, ethnicity, etc – the lady on the other end said: ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I have to ask if you’ve had sex with another man during the past 30 days?’

The chap concerned had a sense of humour so he paused and asked the lass: ‘Could you hang on while I consult my diary?’

They both laughed and she apologised again. Not to worry, he reassured her, you are only doing your job.

Then she said: ‘Just one more question. Are you undergoing gender reassignment treatment?’

There’s no answer to that I am afraid, but I suppose there must be reasons why these questions are asked of potential donors.

Still, this chap confessed to being somewhat taken aback by the question. Gender reassignment surgery? You can’t even get a ruddy haircut right now.

We really are living in a mad, sad world and those who are controlling us all do seem to have collectively lost their marbles.

It is still only mid-morning and desperately cold but I feel the need for a stiff gin and tonic – or perhaps a warming sloe gin. Way back in the nineteen fifties, a book was written about the Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliani and entitled God Protect Me From My Friends.

All I can say is a variation on that theme – God protect me from my supposed rulers and the appointed officials just beneath them.

A New Year but What Has Changed?

Yesterday should have been a great day all round. It was the start of a brand new year, Britain was nominally at least, a sovereign nation again and there were two vaccines for the coronabug available to use.

Not only that, but it had snowed on Dartmoor overnight and the sun was shining – a perfect day to take the children out and give them a breath of fresh air to start off 2021 – or so one would have thought.

Unfortunately though, not much seems to have changed. We had more last minute U turns from our hapless government who then compounded the ineptitude of the Education Secretary by blaming the drug companies in advance for the logistical disaster they face in dishing out the vaccine. That seemed particularly daft when today, both the relevant drug companies vehemently denied that there was any blame at their end and they can bring out two million doses a week without a problem.

So it would seem that the government were trying to shift the blame in advance for the logistical debacle that they know is almost certain to take place – again.

With hospitals becoming overcrowded and the much vaunted Nightingale units not being used, the NHS are pleading lack of staff, yet of the forty thousand former health workers who have volunteered to come back – unpaid if necessary – less than five thousand have had their offers accepted. Others have been put off by the fact that to be brought back into the fold, one has to produce twenty one different qualifications, including the fact that a diversity course has been completed.

And at the helm of this nonsense, we have our ‘revered leader,’ Bunter Johnson. I find myself amazed that in the midst of what is a pretty serious crisis, Bunter’s first thought always seems to be for his own emotions, rather than the poor folk, he is trying to frighten half to death. How often have we heard a preamble to yet another daft decision like this?

 “I hate having to take these decisions …”, “I deeply regret having to do this …”, “I do this with a heavy heart …” Once you have noticed this nonsense, you can’t stop hearing it. I cannot remember any Bunter J podium address lately that wasn’t riven with subconscious invitations to consider the real victim in all this – himself. No matter what you might been through personally, please do take time to consider the heartaches and bellyaches visited upon a man who simply wanted to be world king, but would settle for being the kind of prime minister who smiled and drove diggers through polystyrene walls while wearing a high viz jacket and hard hat – yet now has to deal with all this covid nonsense in his in-tray instead.

Of course, there is the odd bright spark. Johnson would have enjoyed being told by Bill Cash during Wednesday’s trade deal debate that he was like both Alexander the Great and Churchill. Even if that is like being told you make a lot of sense by the Vicar of Dibley or Donald Duck.

It seems that hardly a day passes that we the suffering public are not subjected to self dramatising speeches about the latest anti virus measures he so hates imposing on us. They make me want to remind the prat that he is the prime minister and it is his job. The people listening to his woffle are the ones he supposed to lead, not his ruddy psychotherapist.

Was this the way with the PM’s noted idol and supposed political lodestar, Winston Churchill? Somehow, I doubt it.  I think we can all be sure that Churchill did not feel the need to deliver all his wartime announcements laced with frequent expressions of how he was handling the whole thing of having to deliver all these wartime announcements. Imagine it if you can.

“I hate having to be the one who suggests we shall fight them on the beaches … I deeply regret having to indicate we may be required to fight them on the landing grounds … Nobody likes being the one whose job it is to announce we shall never surrender …”

No it just does not ring true. It is fair to say that Churchill was not unburdened by self-regard, yet he seems to have realised that what the people really needed to hear in their hour of need was not how it was all making HIM feel.

Inevitably, the prime minister’s needy vacillation has proved highly transmissible among his ministers. Gavin Williamson has spent much of this week explaining his chaotic and belated actions on schools with the words “no one wants to be making these decisions.” And yet, I bet there are people who would quite want to be secretary of state for education, and to make those requisite decisions, so should hapless Gavin stand aside for them? Perhaps Bunter J will eventually steel himself to tell Williamson – with deep regret and a heavy heart, no doubt – that he is being moved on from a department he has turned into a full-spectrum disaster for a year now. Until then, the self-dramatisation continues. As you may know, Williamson prominently displays a bull whip on his desk. Does this mean he pictures himself as some sort of macho screen hero as he presides over the destruction of the educational prospects of an entire generation of children.

Speaking of touches of affectation, when the prime minister comes through the No 10 doors to announce close to a thousand deaths, as he has twice this week, it can be seen that this 56-year-old man has nonetheless still taken the trouble to mess up his hair just before. What felt mildly excruciating in pre-corona times seems truly grotesque when persisted with today. The podium turns themselves betray even more weirdly skewed priorities. A couple of weeks ago, a shielding and frightened member of the public asked a question in which she said she had already lost two loved ones to Covid. Clearly incapable of feeling compassion for anyone other than himself, Bunter J declined to express any, and handed the question over to Chris Whitty.

The reason all this is particularly important is because it tells us so much of why our pandemic story has unfolded the way it has. Time and again, Bunter Johnson has so deeply regretted even the prospect of having to do difficult things that he has not done them at all, meaning he has had to do even more regrettable things later. He seems most comfortable casting himself as forever the passive victim of events as opposed to someone who should be out in front of them, shaping them as decisively as possible. A fascinating article by a chap called James Johnson this week charted the PM’s descent in public esteem over the course of the past year. “As yet another inevitable decision was finally made,” he reported, “people came to think more and more that the man who was meant to lead them was following them instead.”

Come on Bunter – show us a bit of actual leadership for a change. Stop reacting to things that happen and bring a little bit of life back to those folk you have condemned to going this way, then that way then back again with their lives. You are not the most important person in this crisis. You are merely the one who was elected to lead people out of it and you are not doing your job as it should be done.

Right, that is my first explosion of frustrated feeling for 2021 and the sun continues to shine on remnants of moorland snow, so I feel the need to get outside for a while. Happy New Year to you all.

The End of a Shambolic Year

Judging from a few of the Sunday newspapers, Britain is about to turn the corner, escape from darkness and face a very rosy future. Others are not so optimistic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak tells us in one tabloid that we will be free from all restrictions by February because the new Oxford vaccine is due to be approved on Monday and will quickly be doled out to all we vulnerable folk.

How does he know it will be approved, I ask myself. He is not part of the panel issuing the approvals. I have never been a believer in conspiracy theories but a great deal of what has happened over the past few months is very difficult to explain without them and let’s face it, some people stand to make an enormous amount of money from the Nation’s collective panic.

No I will amend that. I should have said the government’s collective panic. They remind me of freshly caught fish on a sea front, all with their mouths open and tails flapping as they wonder how to escape the mess in which they find themselves.

Again in some papers, Bunter J is lauded as a bold innovative politician who stood up to the European dragon and slayed it with his trusty sword. Other are bitterly critical and tell us that he has betrayed large sectors of the economy. Meanwhile the politicians of the EU are also claiming victory so who on earth is right and how can an ordinary scribbler like myself make head or tail of the Sunday news?

After all, we have heard feigned optimism and wild claims of success from this government over the past nine months on many occasions and on each occasion, they have ham-fistedly managed to bungle things so that we end up far worse off than we were. From procurement failures with PPE to a test and trace system, large parts of which were contracted out – at huge expense – to corporations with track records of shambolic failure. A test and trace system that has proved completely unfit for purpose damnit! The government has also made it financially impossible for people on low incomes to self-isolate when required to do so.

Most of us can justifiably claim to have kept our side of the bargain. We have faithfully followed difficult and painful rules that have kept us away from loved ones and friends for months on end, but we have been let down by a government that has placed too much emphasis on making bombastic and reckless guarantees and too little on taking the action required to halt the spread of the Coronabug.

I loved Aesop’s Fables when I was a boy and am reminded sadly of the story of the prince who had longed to be King of the World since boyhood and finally ascends to the throne. He finds his royal duties surprisingly dull until one day, a courtier rushes in to say,

‘Panic Sire; the leaves are falling from the trees. Something must be done.’

And so the King orders his soldiers out into the forests to glue the leaves back on to the trees from which they fell.

Advisers who grumble that the fall of the leaves is a normal event called Autumn are shouted down, dismissed and accused of being callous and cruel to leaves. The King spends all the money in the country on glue, ladders and soldiers’ pay. 

And after he has made his kingdom bankrupt and autumn takes place as usual, he says: ‘We should have acted sooner.’

It sounds depressingly familiar and reminds me of another boy who wanted to be King of The World and having almost attained his goal is making a complete hash of it.

And you know, I get so tired of reading in the Bunter-supporting newspapers (of which there are pitifully few) that the man is a ‘libertarian’ who hates shutting the country down and cancelling Christmas. If he hated it, he ruddy well would not do it, as there is plenty of evidence that lockdowns are futile as well as being pathetically nasty. Rather than any sort of a libertarian’ Bunter J is an Etonian Napoleon. His politics are those of the Corleone family as depicted in The Godfather. Total loyalty is greatly rewarded, as his latest handout of a peerage to a totally unsuitable donor and crony shows. The body who supervise nomination to the Upper House advised against the appointment of Peter Cruddas but in his wisdom, Bunter J overruled them.

Mind you, the faintest hint of dissent or independence is fiercely punished. That is why he has surrounded himself with craven politicians who will not express disagreement with their leader and will do only what they are told.

It leaves the rest of us suffering and despite the cheer and hope for the New Year expressed in some of the tabloids this morning, I am not daring to hope as yet.

After all, we have been here many times before and my pub is still closed. I suppose I should convince myself that things can only get better from this deep in the swamp, but the events of the past nine months leave little scope for optimism. 

There won’t be too many New Year celebrations this year but as Rhodesia’s pioneer author Hylda Richards entitled her best-selling autobiographical book, Next Year Will Be Better.

We can but hope and pray.

Ineptitude, Confusion and a Chink of Light

It is over forty years ago now, but I still remember the dreadful days when diminutive bishop, Abel Muzorewa and his team of pickpockets governed the short-lived country of Zimbabwe Rhodesia. At the time, I did not think there could ever have been or would be again a more farcical and corrupt governing body of a sovereign nation.

I was wrong though. Bunter J and his own team of turnips are proving every bit as useless and out of touch with the needs of the nation. They seem to care only about themselves.

By failing to make difficult decisions and refusing to set clear guidelines, Bunter himself has offloaded anxiety on to the general population. He models himself on Churchill who was an excellent war time leader but not much good at any other time. Really good leaders make choices for us so as to help our collective lives run more smoothly. In order to do this, they have to be psychologically strong enough to risk the possibility that people will not like it or that something might go wrong. They take the pain of the choice on our behalf. What they definitely do not do is affably pretend to be doing us a favour by shirking responsibility. This does not help a nation to relax over the festive season.

What this government seems to have forgotten is that many of us have become accustomed to the idea that things are a little different at the moment. We won’t throw a complete wobbly if you tell us to spend a bit more time at home. We are all old hands at this Coronabug nonsense damnit. Someone will come up with a silly national game we can all play at midday, and Queenie will do her broadcast and all will be well. An enforced ‘Crappy Christmas’ might even give us back some of the sense of shared purpose we had at the beginning of the pandemic, before our trust was eroded out of existence, fatigue set in, and we started making up our own guidelines in the absence of rules that made sense.

At this point in the pandemic, some clarity would be a welcome relief from having to figure out each social interaction, or even how the queuing system works in your local post office. Contradictory advice is causing people to give up trying altogether. How can you reconcile obediently sending your children to school right up till the end of term, keeping them in a Covid-secure environment for two weeks before a grandparental visit, and doing Christmas on the allocated dates? Of course you can’t! Obeying the rules may be impossible, disobeying them is irresponsible, and even obeying them may be considered morally dubious when Bunter himself seems to be telling us that they are not actually fit for purpose. With such a large-scale celebration on the horizon, it is actually anxiety-provoking to have personal enjoyment given preference over collective safety. After all, we have been fed on predicted doom since this nonsense started If Bunter J wants to be liked, he might achieve this better by being prepared to limit our enjoyment a little, thereby reducing the fear he has spent so many months stoking up.

You cannot curtail freedoms and remain popular Prime Minister, so please stop trying. You are driving us all potty.

And whether they are justified or not, the current rules are being taken in different ways by different people – particularly ‘celebrities’ or those who imagine themselves as being above it all.

I listened to former Foreign Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood being interviewed on Talk Radio the other day and he was piously entreating everyone ‘to obey the rules in order to defeat the pandemic.’

This is the same Tobias Ellwood who last Tuesday attended an event at the Cavalry and Guards Club in London, just hours before the capital moved into tier 3. Only a day earlier in parliament he had called on the government to review its plans to relax restrictions for Christmas to avoid a third wave in the new year.

The dinner, in Piccadilly, was held by the Iraq Britain Business Council and was initially described as a ‘Christmas party’ on its website before the reference was removed. It was also called a Christmas Party on the invitations handed out to the twenty seven attendees.

Ellwood, who is the MP for Bournemouth East, defended his actions, telling the media that it was a business meeting allowed under tier 2 restrictions that applied at the time. “I would not be attending a Christmas party, it was a business meeting,” he told reporters. “I went there to meet business people and that is what it was. The club went to extreme lengths so that as a business function it was absolutely Covid compliant.

‘I appreciate, given the current challenges, some will question the wisdom of my attendance. I am sorry that coverage of my well-intentioned attendance may have muddied the government’s clear message as we head towards Christmas. Whilst the event was fully Covid compliant – perceptions count. Something I will be more conscious of in conducting my portfolio duties during the difficult months ahead.”

What a mealy mouthed hypocrite the man is! Even Priti Patel has condemned his actions although that good lady has added to the general sense of confusion over Christmas. A couple of days ago, she urged us to consider cancelling Christmas plans that involve travelling to visit family or friends. But surely that was Bunter J’s big Christmas gift to the Nation, announced only a short while ago with cheesy enthusiasm and big smiles

The home secretary said that while, under law, people could mix in up to three households for five days over Christmas, people who had made plans to travel long distances should now not do this. “I would urge people to change,” Patel told Radio 4’s Today programme. “I won’t be seeing my parents this Christmas. My parents live in a different part of the country and I will not travel to see them.”

Very commendable Ma’am and we all agree that rules are rules – even though the way they are enforced depends on who you are rather than what you do. For it seems very unfair that Covid rule breakers Dominic Cummings; Tobias Elwood, Kay Burley and even the man who began this nonsense with his prophecies of doom, Neil Ferguson remain at liberty, while the love struck Romeo from Scotland who jet-skied to the Isle of Man to see his girlfriend has been sentenced to four weeks in jail.

Dale McLaughlan was banged up for making a four-and-a-half hour journey to visit his girlfriend – despite having never driven a water scooter before and being unable to swim. No one approves of rule breakers, but it is hard not to be swayed by the daft, drenching romance of it all.

Dale should not be in jail – he should probably be auditioning for the next James Bond film, even though he is neither female nor black. Or perhaps advertising Christmas boxes of Milk Tray at the very least.

Worst of all, his wee Scottish mum did not even know he had gone.

‘He could have killed himself,’ she said. If young Dale – mind you, he is twenty eight so should know better – thought he had problems before, wait until he gets home.

His is a heartening story though. He not only defied the daft Coronabug laws, but he also defied the mass pseudo logic that is being imposed on us all and tells us that we must avoid dying at all costs.

Well done Dale McLaughlin. You have brought a chink of light into some very dark times for this ineptly led nation.

A Time of Madness

The title of this piece is not original. Way back when, a Rhodesian author Robert Early wrote a book with the same title and although his book was about the Rhodesian war, my thoughts today centre on the madness affecting the world today.

To my mind, the world – certainly this crowded little island part of it – really seems to have gone bonkers. Britons in general still appear fairly evenly divided in their feelings on Brexit – with or without a deal – and the ‘authorities’ who regulate our lives seem to be abusing their new Coronabug powers to a terrifying degree.

When it comes to Brexit, I have always been in favour of leaving the EU without a deal and Britain finding its own way in the world as it has so many times before. Perhaps my feelings are coloured by having come from a landlocked country that was shunned and abandoned by the rest of the world for fifteen long years. No imports were allowed in to Rhodesia, but we were resourceful people and if we needed something, we made it ourselves.

It worked too and before Mugabe and his ruinous policies came along, my tiny little country was feeding and providing for most of Central Africa, so it can be done and if Britain leaves the corrupt EU without a trade deal then Britons will just have to do as we did and get their collective noses to the industrial grindstone.

As for the so-called ‘authorities,’ the most outrageous abuse of power I have heard of so far came in Barnes, South-West London, where a drinker pleaded with a pub landlord to sell him a pint.

When he was told that he could only be served if he ordered via an app in line with Government diktat, he said his mobile phone had run out of juice and he was gasping for a beer.

Eventually, the landlord took pity and pulled him a pint. The ‘drinker’ then whipped out a badge and revealed himself to be an undercover Covid inspector from Richmond Council. ‘Undercover Covid Inspector’ – talk about delusions of grandeur!

Anyway, the pub was served with an enforcement order and had to close.

This is a scandalous case of entrapment. Both the undercover turnip and whoever ordered this covert operation should be sacked and charged with using deception to solicit a criminal offence. It is truly disgraceful behaviour and at the very least, these moronic desk jockeys should lose their jobs although I would prefer to see them locked up.

This general madness must end and given what we know now, if the Government really wants to stop the spread of the Coronabug, they would be better off letting the pubs open and closing the hospitals.

Surely there must be someone in the seat of government with the courage to stand up and say ‘STOP?’

Or am I hoping for too much?

Yes, perhaps I am. Elsewhere a government lawyer convicted of ‘upskirting’ has escaped being struck off after blaming Brexit. Daren Timson-Hunt was arrested for using his phone to take pictures up a woman’s skirt at Embankment Underground station.

He claimed it was a ‘moment of madness’ brought on by the pressure of putting in eighty hours a week as head of the Department of Trade legal team working on our departure from the EU. 

Oh come on! Not even the architects of Project Fear in their wildest imagination came up with the idea of Brexit driving men to take covert photos of ladies’ unmentionables but this pratwinkle is allowed to continue practising because he works for the ruddy government.

Timson-Hunt could and should have been jailed for two years but was given community service and fined twelve hundred pounds instead. His law licence was suspended for six months and his future career prospects have gone down the tube, so to speak.

Sorry – that was a rather tasteless pun in the circumstances but this sort of thing makes me cross.

And to top off the collective madness of modern Britain, Bunter Johnson is now being sued by civil servants for clearing Priti Patel of bullying, despite an independent report which concluded she had shouted and sworn at staff.

Lawyers for Civil Service mandarins delivered a pre-action notice to Downing Street last Wednesday which accused the Prime Minister of acting unlawfully when he chose to stand by his Home Secretary and overrule his independent adviser.

I rarely have much praise for our revered leader but at least on this occasion he did support his staff, yet the lawyers’ letter accuses him of ‘setting a damaging precedent which gives carte blanche to the kind of unacceptable conduct which the home secretary was found to have committed.’

The action is the first step towards a judicial review which could force the government to make public the full Cabinet Office investigation led by Sir Alex Allan which concluded Ms Patel’s actions amounted to bullying.

Poor hard-done-by Sir Alex resigned last month after Bunter J tried to persuade him to tone down the report.

Overruling his adviser on ministerial standards, Mr Johnson acknowledged that while Sir Alex had concluded that Ms Patel’s behaviour could ‘on occasion’ be described ‘as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals,’ he had ‘full confidence’ in the Home Secretary and he considered ‘this matter now closed.’

Good for him but surely a little sanity should be brought to bear in the vastly overstaffed civil service. Yes, I know they are delicate souls and have those dereadful ‘yuman rights’ to prop them up but if they cannot take a little bit of shouting from a diminutive Asian woman who has had to fight all her life to get where she is, then how can we trust them to make decisions that affect the rest of us.

This is a rough world damnit and we need fighters looking after our interests, not snowflakes who worry about being ‘bullied.’ I went to boarding school at the age of seven and with curly black hair, choirboy looks and a name like Lemon I received more than my fair share of bullying so when I read about this sort of idiotic nonsense from some of the most powerful and privileged individuals in the country, I am afraid my blood tends to boil somewhat.

What little faith I had left in ‘The System’ has almost entirely dissipated and I fear for the future of this country.

Mind you, as I wrote those last few words, the rain was bucketing down outside my window yet despite this, two ladies from the High Moorland Womens’ Institute have just delivered some daffodils in a pot as a Christmas present to Shelagh and I. They remarked that it was a poor substitute for their usual Christmas meal – which we would not have attended anyway – and wished us both a Happy Christmas.

Perhaps there is hope for this soggy little island yet – provided we leave the future to ordinary folk and take responsibility away from the political class and their benighted civil service who have already proved themselves as being totally inept and horribly corrupt.

Triumphalism and Fake Tears

Well I am officially one year older since I penned my last rant and that makes me pretty damned ancient. Yet for all my advanced age – perhaps because of it – I find it difficult to believe that I am living in the real world rather than some sort of pantomime tragedy that is being enacted around me..

I mean, let us look at events yesterday for example. This was the day that a brand new and hopefully effective Coronabug vaccine was rolled out and administered to a few willing subjects. I was in this country when England won the 1966 football world cup and there was joy in the land then that was well deserved. It was a spectacular achievement and was duly trumpeted as such, but yesterday there was possibly even more self congratulation among out witless leaders and their obedient media followers.

The asinine health secretary Mathew Hancock pretended to cry on television while Coventry Grandmother, Margaret Keenan made newspaper headlines as being the ‘first person in ‘the entire world’ to receive a dollop of the vaccine in her arm. Yes, but I hesitate to point out that Britain is the only place in ‘the entire world’ where the stuff is available damnit.

As for Hancock, he dabbed his very dry eyes and burbled something to the effect that, “There is so much work that’s gone into this and it really, really … I’m just proud to be British.” Are you Mr Health Secretary? Really? Why? I am sure I am right in saying that a couple of Turks first produced the vaccine using German facilities and all Britain did was buy the ruddy stuff. That surely does not warrant a Red Arrows celebratory flypast – or tears from a prattish politician. Britain being the first country to roll out a Coronabug vaccine feels less of a gritty victory won in the trenches and more like camping overnight for three days outside an Apple store to be the first to buy an iPhone. Yes, you did it, Mr Hancock but I find it very difficult to give you any credit for it. Government handling of the pandemic has been inept, chaotic and terribly divisive and that is only so far.

Take the case of Trevor Payne who lives in Staffordshire. For many years Mr Payne has decorated the outside of his property with thousands of Christmas lights to raise money for charity. People come from miles around to see the display and most of them leave a contribution in the relevant collecting box and various mental health charities have benefited from this.

But last Saturday evening, the police were called to his property following reports of a ‘large gathering’ on the street. Officers ordered him to turn off his stunning seasonal display or face a hefty fine of ten thousand pounds for breaching coronavirus regulations – leaving families and children heartbroken.

People coming to see the lights told reporters that Mr Payne had gone to great lengths to make his garden safe from the Coronabug by implementing a one-way system with hand sanitising stations. They also claimed he had received full clearance beforehand from council bosses to ensure he was not flouting any Government rules.

Where is the common sense behind this sort of thing and why are this hapless government allowing it? Payne and his family were merely raising money in a good cause and doing no harm to anybody. In fact they were giving joy to a number of people and joy has been in short supply of late. It is surely worse than ludicrous that people are allowed to queue in and outside supermarkets and tacky shops yet not allowed to enjoy an event that is doing so much good for all concerned – not least the children attending who have little else to make this Christmas special.

In another instance of petty officialdom becoming power hungry, the manageress of a bar-restaurant which had only just reopened after the last lockdown says ‘bolshy’ Covid marshals were sent to investigate after it offered free Scotch eggs for drinkers.

Rachael Parke said the Number 29 was visited twice in the same day by two young men last week.

The local council said the marshals went to the restaurant to investigate complaints that it was offering the eggs in social media posts in an attempt to get around Covid rules on having ‘substantial meals’ with drinks.

But Miss Parke said the establishment in Burnham Market, Norfolk, had done nothing wrong and criticised the officials’ ‘aggressive’ approach.

.’They didn’t ask anything, they just came in and were bolshy, wearing high-vis jackets and looking more like security thugs than giving advice.’

She added: ‘The council need to think about the training. They need to be open and approachable and give us advice rather than this stern approach which makes you think they want to take over the premises in a really aggressive manner.’

A spokesman for North Norfolk Council said: ‘A complaint was received that Number 29 was advertising on social media that every customer would receive a free Scotch egg with an alcoholic drink.’

So what? Only last week, a cabinet minister told the world that a scotch egg would constitute a substantial meal so I would suggest that someone in this benighted government clears up the definition or more and more little businesses are going to be hammered into closing by overbearing council officials in their yellow ‘high-vis’ jackets – the sort of jackets in fact that out Revered Leader likes to be photographed in.

I feel that perhaps there is a moral there! Why does this clown always posture for the cameras in a yellow jacket and hard hat? Is he trying to show that he is a man of action? We want leadership and statesmanship Mr Johnson, not posing as a hard man for the cameras.

In 1966, the national jubilation was fully justified. In 2020 it is not. This terribly fractured and divided society has nothing to congratulate itself about and my personal concern is that we are all being urged to take a vaccine that has not really been properly tested.

In view of my age, the call to be injected with the stuff will soon come. Then I must make the decision as to whether I want it or not. The last time I had a ‘flu jab,’ I nearly died so for me – advanced age or not – this will not be an easy decision and I only wish I had more faith in the system.

Johnson, Hancock and their gloomy and self important ‘experts’ have rather ruined any faith I might have had though.

More Tragic than the Coronabug

Yes, I know the world is in a mess. I know too that the leadership in this soggy little island are running around like decapitated tadpoles and treating us all like naughty children but I want to rant today about a far more important matter than the Coronabug and inept politicians. I refer of course to the possible death of that most British of institutions, the cricket tea.

I mean, think of an idyllic English summer – they happen occasionally – and what is the first image that springs to your mind? Yes of course, you will picture a cricket match in progress on a lovingly tended village green.

You will see in your mind’s eye an ancient oak tree just inside the boundary. Beneath it a village elder dozes in his deckchair, lulled by the thwack of leather upon willow and the droning of bumblebees in a nearby hedge.

Picturesque imagery perhaps but it really does happen – or did in gentler times.

In the nets by the pavilion, number eight in the batting order is putting in some last-minute practice against the bowling of his twelve year old son, as he awaits his summons to the wicket and his chance of glory or humiliation.

Meanwhile, from those on the pitch come distant cries of ‘well bowled!’, ‘good shot!’ and ‘howzat,’ carried muffled on the breeze to their watching friends and families. What idyllic pictures my memory produces!

But the real action of the afternoon will be taking place in the pavilion itself, where the wives, sisters and girlfriends of the home team are busy preparing the centre-piece of the occasion. For the clock on the medieval church tower, visible above the thatched roof of the Lamb and Flag, is creeping round to 4.15pm. It will soon be time for tea and what a prospect that is for players and spectators alike.

Under the firm direction of the club chairman’s or team captain’s wife, the women are bustling about, exchanging village gossip as they carry dishes heaped with cakes and sandwiches – egg, cucumber, chicken, ham and good old Robinson’s strawberry jam – to the trestle tables on the grass outside. As I write these words, I can hear it all.

‘I say, Penelope, would you give me a hand with the tea urn? I think we’re just about ready for curtain up.’

Okay, I admit that idyllic rural cricket matches are few and far between in the frenetic age of the twenty first century but cricket has been a major part of my life. I played a great deal of village cricket in the nineteen sixties and still believe that a match on a village green, with all its attendant rituals is about as close to Heaven as mere mortals can experience.

So how depressing it was to learn this week that the cricket tea is under threat from the game’s authorities – and that even after life returns to something like normal (God willing, before next cricket season) the idyllic summer afternoon of my fading memory may never be the same again.

For those who missed the story, the threat comes from the Sussex Cricket League – the world’s largest, compromising three hundred and thirty five teams from a hundred and forty  clubs – whose members have voted permanently to remove the requirement to provide fully blown teas, which has been suspended anyway because of the Coronabug pandemic.

The vote, by one hundred and fourteen to eighty nine means that home sides will no longer have to lay on food for themselves and the visiting team during the innings break (though they will still be expected to offer cold drinks or a measly cup of tea).

Said a spokesman for Forest Row Cricket Club, which plays in the league and voted for the resolution: ‘We think it will encourage new players. For too long cricket has had the stigma of cucumber sandwiches and a little bit of cricket.

‘Times have changed and not everyone wants teas. ‘Lots of clubs don’t have a tea lady or enough volunteers.’

Well, I hate to break it to those who voted with the majority – the type I suspect, whose idea of a riveting bedtime read is the latest edition of Wisden – but most who take part in amateur matches are not much interested in a sweet cover-drive or an unplayable yorker. Nor do they care all that much who actually wins, although of course it will add to the jollity in the Lamb and Flag later in the evening if the home team takes the spoils.

No, they are in it for the time-honoured ritual of the day, in which the tea interval plays a part as essential as the post mortem in the pub.

Do away with the sandwiches and cakes and what are you left with? One bunch of flannelled incompetents bowling at three sticks of wood, while another lot try to hit it with a carved lump of willow. How many would wish to give up a whole afternoon for that – let alone turn out to watch it?

As the late, great writer, critic and cricket reporter Sir Neville Cardus once observed, going to a match solely to watch cricket would be like going to a pub solely to drink beer. Include a lavish tea in the afternoon interval, however, and the match becomes part of a centuries-old ceremony that ranks with the church fete and the am-dram Christmas pantomime among the great social events in the village calendar.

It is an occasion that brings together young and old, landowner and labourer, postmistress and plumber, in a celebration of the sheer beauty of the occasional English summer afternoon. As for the true contest of the day, this has little to do with the two teams on the pitch. The real competition is to determine which of the rival villages can put on the more magnificent spread.

Will the ladies of Chalford Hill in Gloucestershire outdo last month’s efforts by those of Stow on the Wold with their Victoria sponge, chocolate-covered eclairs and those delicious melt-in-the- mouth scones? Surely not – now that was a tea to remember.

I have played cricket all over the world and have performed at every level apart from the Test match arena but my days of playing village cricket in the nineteen sixties and on tour with the Kenya Kongonis in later years stand out in my memory as beacons of what civilisation ought to be. Can there be any ritual more enticing than the sheer pleasure of a cricket tea? I really do not think it is possible. There are sandwiches of every sort, chocolate biscuits, cakes and even home-made cream horns and frothy sponges. No matter the stage of the game itself, these delights are there to be wolfed down and enjoyed.

But don’t just take my word that cricket isn’t cricket without a slap-up tea. Read the great Henry Blofeld, veteran of Test Match Special and fully accredited National Treasure, who was fulminating against the Sussex league’s decision in a letter to The Times last week.

‘Sir,’ wrote Blowers, ‘the tea interval has, since the game began, been one of cricket’s most charming, intrepid (wrong adjective there Blowers old chap) and surely immovable institutions: sandwiches, occasionally scones and strawberry jam, cakes and a huge battered tin teapot and mugs, some of which have lost their handles . . .’

On and on he goes, painting an elegant picture of the central role tea plays in the game, before spluttering: ‘Why can’t the petty bureaucrats of the Sussex Cricket League mind their own business?

‘I dare say that taking this large dollop of romance out of the game is all about saving half an hour. Talk about cutting off your cucumber sandwich to spite your batting average.’

Well said Blowers. I am right behind you and feel that we old codgers have to do something to protect the game that Britain gave to the world.

One club at least in that dratted Sussex league – the Horsted Keynes Horsemen – say they will continue to provide teas for any opponents who are happy to feed them in return.

‘In fact,’ they go on, ’we are working on a new pavlova recipe.’

Good for them and I hope other clubs will follow their example. The Coronabug has already inflicted lasting damage on too many of our traditional pastimes and pleasures. Please don’t let it be cited as an excuse to suck the social heart from the most English of Britain’s legacies to the world.