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Archive for July 1st, 2009

Cogito ergo bibo… I think therefore I drink, seems to me to be a perfectly sensible rationale for one of my main vices…although I am much taken with Bibo ergo cogito.

It was doing this drinking hobby of mine last night when I started to think about Wimblebore… a tennis festival put on by the British… well English to be really fair…  for the benefit of overseas tennis players who can actually play the game.   Most years there is a collective gasp of pleasure (and much clapping)  from the middle classes when Britain’s last remaining player makes it to Day Two  and, during the  time of Tim Henteeth, there was much national hand wringing and angst as they coped with the inevitable defeat.  Henman Hill used to irritate me beyond the irrational… the Henman Hillbillies seemed to clap anything and did, when it rained and Sir Stiff Pilchard popped up to sing The Young Ones or Summer Holiday or whatever it was he did sing that famous rain and brain sodden day.

But now we have a Scot who seems to be pretty cool and does not seem to be that bothered by the ‘expectation’.  Famously, he said of some football tournament – another game I do not watch – that he would support whoever was playing against England.  This did not go down well with the blazer wearers of Wimbledon and Surrey.  If he makes the Final I shall watch.

I hear on my sound news feed  the inane interviews with the pundits and the only one worth listening to from my perspective as a non-tennis watcher is McEnroe.  He talks straight, seriously and sanely about a sport he clearly has a passion for.

I was reading the papers this morning and the sports writers seemed to be rather pre-occupied with the state of British tennis.  The Mirror writer suggested that we are no good at it because it is a middle class elitist sport and there is probably some truth in that.  Apart from the somewhat surreal sight of out of condition people, suddenly enthused by tennis for three days after Wimbledon, patting a ball back and forth across the net and wheezing, the tennis courts in public parks are often emptyfor the rest of the year and it is not really on the  sports radar of most schools, let alone state schools.

I saw a film on You Tube of the famous Wimbebore roof closing. The hyperventilation, the almost insane smiling and more of that clapping,  the grave commentary and then bizarre music, was almost too much for me.  I reached for my injection… but fortunately did not have to euthanase myself.  Here is the video

This morning BBC Breakfast decided to stop any pretence of being a serious news Channel in the early mornings. Bill Turnbull, who actually does have a good sense of humour, decided (to my eye) to crank up the dumbing down. Morons watch television after 9.00.  Adults wanting to catch up on news watch it before 9.00.  We do not need to have matters dumbed down.  I lost patience when the hyperventilating weather girl decided that she was Matron and issued a Weather Fatwa telling us to watch the heat…. meanwhile the  elderly are dying in satisfactory numbers… I could almost hear the autocutie newsreaders (male and female) reading.

It is remarkably simple. The sun in Britain at this time of year is visible.  It can be hot and even reach 30 degrees or high 90s farenheit.  The sun can burn skin – but if you want your distended beer belly and skin on your face to make you look like a cooked prawn go ahead, be my guest.  The heat also makes you thirsty so it is not a great leap in thinking to ensure that you drink water.  And finally… on this matter… if you lie in the sun until you faint then you may well get heat stroke, severe burns and waste a doctor’s time at your local hospital.

Oh.. and finally.. to exorcize Wimblebore from my system and psyche before The Ashes start next week – a word about the effing bloody ‘Wimblebore’ strawberry.  I saw a news item on this on BBC Breakfast News for Cretins.  They are grown under plastic.  They have to be a ‘Wimblebore type’ – this was not fully explained by the interviewer who was too busy hyperventilating and holding his or her knees together with the excitement. I remember eating one or two on my only trip to Wimblebore a few years ago.  I may have been better placed nutritionally and in terms of pleasure if I had eaten the grass from Henman Hill.   £2.25 for a miserable portion with or without cream… “having a  farkin  larf, guv… but the farkin geezers got to pay for their farking roof…don’t they?” …. as Dave, from the Cafe in Chelsea, would say…

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The Guardian reported this morning: Police floated imposter theory over Ian Tomlinson’s death at G20 protests

A senior police officer who investigated the death of Ian Tomlinson told his family that the officer who struck him at the G20 demonstrations could have been a member of the public “dressed in police uniform”, it emerged last night….

…The City of London police completely failed to persuade the Tomlinson family of its impartiality, not least when they were told by an investigating officer that he was not ruling out the possibility that the alleged assailant may be a member of the public dressed in police uniform,” it said. A source present at the 8 April meeting said the senior investigator’s comment was made after he was pressed on how the identity of the officer could be established from the video.The investigator agreed that the man who struck Tomlinson was likely to have been a police officer, but could “not rule out” the possibility that he was a member of the public.

This is a rather bizarre way to go about things….  fortunately independent investigation is being carried out… at least I hope it is.  Ironically… police officers are ‘members of the public dressed in police uniform’ – although some of them appear to think they are there to control us rather than protect.

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The news with a big update to law reports is up on Insite Law

PM warned that elevation of Michael Martin could damage Lords
Guardian: Michael Martin , the former Speaker of the Commons, was today elevated to the House of Lords despite a warning from the independent appointments commission that his presence could “diminish” the upper house. In an unprecedented move, the commission wrote to Gordon Brown to warn that Martin’s conduct in recent months, which led him to become the first Speaker of the modern era to be forced out, could damage the Lords’ reputation.

The article in The Guardian left a rather sour taste in my mouth as I rose very early to see the sunrise – cloudy. Michael Martin has been elevated to the Lords – a tradition going back some time.  The Guardian reports: The intervention by the commission, chaired by the former Foreign Office permanent secretary Lord Jay, is understood to be the first time in modern times that questions have been raised about elevating a former Speaker to the Lords….

… In a carefully worded letter to the prime minister, the commission referred to the terms of its vetting procedures. These state that the commission’s role “is to advise the prime minister if it has any concerns about the propriety of a nominee”.

In plain English… the Lords don’t want any more unsuitable people turning up to add to the carnival atmosphere of recent years with Peers being suspended for corruption and a couple of ‘master criminals’ with jail experience (although one currently in jail) among their noble ranks.

The Guardian noted:  Martin was nominated for a peerage by the Commons as part of a “humble address” to the Queen. In a message to MPs on Monday the government whip, Helen Jones, in her role as the vice-chamberlain of the household, reported that the Queen had agreed to confer a peerage on Martin “for his eminent services during the period in which he has, with such distinguished ability and dignity, presided in the chair of this house”. The traditional form of words was greeted with ridicule. Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, a Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said: “This is old-fashioned nonsense. Parliament should start using words that people understand and believe. Michael Martin should not be handed a P45 in an ermine envelope.”

Few  question the value of a second chamber, but the classic British fudge of half reform started by Blair has left us with an institution  still made up of unelected people, accountable to no-one,  with fairly extensive powers; powers which can be over ridden only by taking our ball back and  by invoking the Parliament Act. For my own part we should move to a position where we have an elected second chamber and remove the titles of Baron this and Baroness that and build a Parliament that reflects a mature and modern democratic country.

The whole business of titles is verging on the comic opera in the 21st Century. Orders of The British Empire and the like are ridiculous enough when Empire seems to be limited to a tedious lump of rock on the rump of Spain and a few islands dotted about the world. I have no problem at all in the State rewarding excellence – but surely it is not beyond us to call the awards something rather more meaningful?

The trouble is – people like all the flummery that goes with a title and this is harmless enough – but not when it comes to the government of our country. We are a democracy with a constitutional Monarch.  We are no longer a feudal society.  We are no longer a society where the robber barons of ye olde Englande rule in a gentleman’s club environment. An elected chamber (perhaps we could even call it a Senate?) would be a very valuable step forward in governance.  The trouble is, without the ermine, the titles and all the other nonsense that goes with it currently – would anyone want to be part of it?

In October the Law Lords become Supreme Court Justices.  It would be good, in time, if we could get rid of peerages and other titles denoting links with a feudal past from our judicial system as well.  What about Justice, Appeal Justice, Surpeme Court Justice?  They seem to describe the position more than adequately without the prefix Lord, Lady.  Mind you… why stop there? … let’s get rid of the whole shooting match and become a republic, enjoy our history and base our future on a classless society? The Americans  do it rather well – and they are celebrating Independence this very weekend on the 4th July. Anyone fancy that or as we say in the modern vernacular… Anyone ‘Up for it’?


They tell me that the Tower of London has space in it… I’d better keep my head down… but on reflection that is not really a good idea when talking about the Tower of London.  I’m orf for breakfast, some coffee and a bit of Smokedo.  I’ve been up since 3.30 and it is time for a walk.



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