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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, June 27, 2003

It's a good day to take a look at this island from the relative ease of a chair, inside, in proximity to a small fire if possible.. And while there are those who, dogged in their determination to play the golf they came to Scotland to bloody well play, still will wander the soggy links in this weather, most of the locals will confine themselves to work about the house til it's time to away for a pint..
But the point of this today, is the discomfort those who're dedicated to visiting this place are willing to endure.. This rain, this grudging service from those who deal with the public.. and this apalling public transport system..
There are those one is sure, who still, when visiting for the first time, having been prepared by the novels of Daphne Du Maurier, Neville Shute, Bill Bryson.. expect to see a British Rail station, immaculate, with uniformed people quietly going about whatever business they might have in an assured and responsible manner.. For the Thomas the Tank Engine locomotives to pull up, on time to the second, and for the waiting crowds to calmly wait for those who're debarking to make their way to the station itself before each passenger, as though by instinct, went into their compartments to enjoy their trip with their customary paper, music, or contemplation of the panoramic greenery..
As though it's not difficult enough for those who visit and must contend with not only being on the wrong side of the road but, gods between us and evil, roundabouts..
But we must watch this, and being fair, previous Transportation Ministries, fumble about wasting millions of Pounds Sterling maintaining a standard of performance that should inspire a blush of shame from the most hardened of grifters..
Perhaps 'coming to Britain is a wonderful experience, but..' is the slogan they've been looking for.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

One must stand amazed, at the seemingly general feeling among those elected to political office, that the public is a totally ignorant beast, willing to be led around by the snout by those who appear to be educated, concerned, and in control.
A fresh example of this political mindset is demonstrated by a statement by the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi.. who has announced that Britains decision to remain distanced from the Euro was a 'political rather than an economic decision..'
One wonders how one becomes a top political figure, with amazing plenepotentiary powers, and still not understand politics and economics are two facets of the same game, each interdependant upon the other.
One also wonders how daft we're really seen to be by those we elect..
This is the eve of the annual EU/US Summit, and effectively Britain's been pushed into some commitment or another regarding this islands eventual involvement with the Continent.. or equally into standing firm with 'The West' and tossing our fortuned in with the US.. and the status quo..
France would not be pleased.. nor would Germany.. for this economy of ours is desperately needed to bolster the false props supporting the vastly over-inflated Euro.. in the wake of the Iraq deposement..
Given the state of the main economies supporting the single currency.. it should perhaps be set closer to 50 cents American.. and Jaques is well aware..
Quick notes.. fleeting thoughts..
While the media coverage has certainly been downplayed to an amazing extent.. Iraq is still a thorn in the side of George and Tony.. Things are not going quite as smoothly along the Road to Peace as might have been wished, with the populations mistrust of the occupying forces growing daily..
One would have thought a more comprehensive plan for the re-establishment of a civilian infrastructure would have been in place long before the first American troops left the comfort of their barracks..
The depth of the Western ignorance of how to conduct business in the Middle East is staggering.. and shame on the British.. who seem to have forgotten all that happened since the collapse of the Raj..
An issue which bears thought.. certainly has inspired comment down at the pub.. This legitimising 'gay' clergy.. Canada legalizing 'gay' marriages..
Now one has used quotation marks around 'gay'.. because it is euphamistic..
We'll allow this to stew for a while.. for while Pat Robertson might have thought Scotland to be a 'dark and dreary country filled with heathens and homosexuals'.. the truth is the spirit of John Calvin.. or of traditional Roman tenet.. still runs deep beneath the veneer of sophistication and political correctness..
One elderly lady of our acquaintance rcently commented, with some disapproval mind, that the new Minister who'd replaced the one who'd been at the Kirk for some hundred and twenty years or so.. or so it seemed.. had preached the preceeding Sunday in a light powder blue cassock..
My gods.. perhaps in Liverpool.. or Glasgow (god between us and evil..).. but Kirkoswald..?
The mind boggles..

Saturday, June 21, 2003

An interesting exercise.. for those who have themselves been involved in a dispute within an adversarial judicial system.. wherein one finds it necissary to prove innocence, whereas it was always assumed guilt questioned..
Nevertheless.. an interesting exercise to be once again singularly reduced to public resources..
Peripatetic as this has been.. for the while it will likely become more so..
Interesting to note today though.. Prince William turns 21.. the curious mixture of the looney, bewildered, and devout have gathered at Stonehenge.. a wonderful sunrise there by the way..the village is quiet in preparation for this evenings celebration of the longest day..
For those keeping an eye on what the weekend might bring politically.. keep in mind the meeting of the Davos Group in Jordan..
Things are not going quite as smoothly as George might have hoped in Iraq..
And Tony.. these days he's turned his attentions to battering the daylights out of eight hundred years of government and judicial proceedures..
Watch this European Constitutional issue.. and the role France is taking, and that Germany will move towards..
Interesting times..

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Kipling said it well..
'If you can keep you head when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you..
If you can trust youself when all men doubt you, and make allowance for their doubting too..'
A meeting today which bears some attention.. a two day summit beginning in Thessaloniki. The European Union will be picking apart the articles of it's new Constitution.. at the least it will set a date for a meeting of the intergovernmental conference..
Recall 10 new states are due to join the Union next May.. France and Germany want something in place by that time which will assure them of their positions of first among equals..
As for the Euro in Britain.. one won't hold one's breath.. as yet too many of Gordon Brown's 'five tests' are not met.. and there's also the British public to deal with..

Friday, June 13, 2003

This is what justice has come to..
Farmer Tony Martin shot at the two men forcing entry into his remote Norfolk farmhouse, injuring a Mr Brendan Fearon and killing his 16-year-old while Mr Martin is serving a five-year manslaughter sentence, Mr Fearon plans to sue him for a reported £15,000, claiming his leg injuries have affected his ability to enjoy sex and martial arts...
District Judge Oliver said a full hearing would consider what rights a householder has to protect their property and whether a burglar can be deemed to be outside the law.
This is an issue that's been bandied about the pub for years.. and since the shootings at Hungerford and Dunblaine and the subsequent confiscation of all private firearms it's a contentious one with the farmer.. they claim an historic and legitimate right to own shotguns for the control of vermin..
Ahh.. what a pecadillo it all becomes though, when held up against the problems of uneducated gun owners such as those in the land of the free and the home of the household Glock..
Tony's recalibration of the larger cogs in his government bear mention..
Next time..

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Viewing such issues such as the Euro through the 'prism of personalities' would be a waste of time and effort.. this gem of a phrase came from Tony.. in response to questions concerning the soap opera being played out between himself and his Chancellor, Gordon Brown..
This show is attracting more loyal attendants than Eastenders these days..
But it is precisely this operatic carbuncle on the backside of Labour that has become the focus in the single currency issue..
The fact Gordon wants in now, and Tony's promised a referendum which at this point would certainly fail.. and the lingering resentment Gordon hosts after losing the Party Leadership to Tony lo these many years ago.. is enough to have the backbenchers muttering.. and the source of many a chuckle at the breakfast tables around this island..
But one has to love that phrase.. 'prism of personalities'..
His speechwriter should get a bonus..

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