“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968


Monday, 31 March 2014

That's better!

March saw me fall far short of my usual target of fourteen posts a month. My holiday on the Isle of Purbeck was followed by a bout of man-flu of a severity previously unknown to medical science. I lay in bed awaiting the grim reaper. Chicken soup and admonitions about my failure to, "look after yourself" have been delivered at regular intervals and I have been nurtured by the warmth of love. Listening to the radio has been my main source of entertainment and many and wondrous have been the things that I have learnt as a result. Until Gideon Osborn's Budget Speech I, like many people I imagine, had little idea what an annuity was. Probably thought that it sounded a bit boring but vaguely good. Now of course I realise that these annuities have been depriving all those better off pensioners of their sacred right to spend their final years para-gliding in the Maldives. Can they be trusted with their own money? Apparently, yes they can. Some Moaning Minnies have suggested that the Chancellor might have been better advised to help those pensioners for whom whether or not to spend their pot of gold on death by cruising is not an issue as just having a pot to piss in would be nice.
And then there's the whole issue of Gay Marriage. I never thought that I would agree with Brian Sewell about anything but I have to admit that Anthony Blunt's old chum is right on the money here. There is nothing in any way progressive about gay marriage. It's just another nice little earner for the loathsome wedding industry. Not stoning gays to death or drowning them in the mill-pond, that's "progressive". But the solution is there before our eyes. Civil Ceremony for all and Civil Ceremony the only arrangement recognised in law. If couples, straight, gay or whatever then wanted to go through a ceremony under the auspices of the Catholics, Muslims, Hari Krishna, Christian Scientists, Scientology or the League Against Cruel Sports they could fill their boots. That would be between them and the cult of their choice.
I think that I might be getting better.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A spoonful of sugar?

Few things are as irresistible as an idea who's time has come, or so said Victor Hugo at least and the time is surely ripe for a Nanny Subsidy. Clegg and Cameron are right on the money with this little gem make no mistake. Mind you, we all know what ex-public schoolboys are like with nannies. There could be tears before bedtime. Strict discipline maintained at all times.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Facing climate change down the plot.

It's seems almost certain that the so called "enhanced greenhouse effect" is leading to the warming of our planet. Climate scientists are a lot less certain about how this will impact on different parts of the globe but we are told that an increase in extreme weather events is one of the most likely outcomes. As an amateur veg grower I find myself facing the same challenges that confront the worlds farmers, but on a minuscule scale and without the added incentive of being responsible for feeding millions. Here in the South Eastern part of UK we are now recovering from the wettest winter on record and growers are revelling in the past week of warm dry weather and getting down to some early sowing. A wet,  cold April would soon put paid to all of our plans but a cold dry spring could be even more of a problem. Dealing with all the many trials and tribulations of producing a bit of home-grown veg down the allotment is sometimes a pain but usually a pleasure. Who knows what kind of a growing season we have ahead of us. Best get off this keyboard, get down there and crack on I reckon.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Swanage and the passing on of some notables.

Blimey! No sooner do I turn my back and swan off down to Swanage when Bob Crow goes and flatlines it, swiftly followed by that other lefty treasure Tony Benn, and Freedom finally calls it a day and ceases publication after almost 130 years.
We should never have illusions about trade union bosses and no doubt Bob Crow had his faults but he was a working class bruiser of the old school who doggedly fought to protect the pay and conditions of RMT members. I especially liked the fact that Bob was never one to engage in hand wringing about the downtrodden workers but would rather celebrate the good rates of pay that members had won by sticking together and fighting their corner.
Much will be said about Tony Benn over the next few days. Lefties will mourn his passing. Social Democrats will say that he ruined the Labour Party. The Right will say that he would have ruined the country given half a chance. My anarchist comrades will denounce him as just another self serving politician and a toff to boot, fair enough, but I take a more generous view. Benn spoke about a collectivist agenda at a time when it was deeply unfashionable to do so. He always struck me as an amiable old cove and anyone who irritated the power elite as much as he did can't be all bad.
Freedom. What can I say about Freedom? On and off, I read the old rag for well over 40 years and of course I will miss it. There will be an online version, a freesheet and the bookshop will continue as before.  I wish the Freedom collective well in the new endeavour.
Oh! Swanage was as wonderful as ever.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Swanage here we come!

No matter how many times the experts explain that all popular music is essentially based on the twelve bar blues the peculiar British obsession with the blues takes some understanding. But who needs to understand it anyway? This weekend sees the Swanage Blues Festival and your blogger will be in attendance. Post festival we will be walking the Purbeck Hills, sampling yet more of the local ale and eating vast quantities of fish and chips.  Normal service will be resumed next week.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Six points for the transformation of the nation.

On and on rolls the juggernaut that is the Class War 2015 general election campaign. With a manifesto that is nothing more or less than a six point plan for the transformation of the nation the old warriors intend to put a chicken on everyone's table and class warfare firmly back as the political talking point. Already both the Guardian and Independent have given space to the emergence of Class War as a political party. Neither of these esteemed organs are probably the reading matter of choice for most of the proletariat but any publicity etc. The six point plan ?
DOUBLE DOLE.
DOUBLE PENSION.
DOUBLE ALL OTHER BENEFITS.
50% MANSION TAX.
ABOLISH THE MONARCHY.
ABOLISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
So nothing too contentious. Forward with the people!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Billy Robinson. RIP.


Wrestling historians never tire of unpicking the tangled web that is the relationship between the bizarre, make believe world of showtime wrestling and the genuine competitive sport. One man who earned respect as both a wrestling entertainer and as a 100% real deal "shooter" was Manchester's Billy Robinson who passed away yesterday at the age of 75. Building on a successful amateur career that culminated in winning the 1957 light heavyweight championship, Billy was also schooled in the wonderful, almost lost art of Wigan catch as catch can and he made the most of his genuine skill when he turned professional. Recognised as the British Heavyweight Champion before decamping to the USA and Japan,Billy would have a long and successful career and brought an air of dignity to the sometimes tawdry world of pro-wrestling. He was a first class athlete by any standards. When Mixed Martial Arts arrived on the scene it was to Billy Robinson that many top cage fighters turned to for coaching. The man was a walking encyclopedia of submission wrestling knowledge and a true credit to the mat game.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Things don't look good for the Tatars

The huge swathe of land that we now know as the Republic of Ukraine has a long and complex history. Ukrainians, Greeks, Mongols, Ottomans, Russians, Poles, Bolsheviks, Anarchists, Cossacks, Anarcho-Cossacks, Nazi Cossacks, all have had a role to play. No part of the country is more difficult to understand than the semi-autonomous region of Crimea; now the scene of what the pundits of international relations tell us is the most dangerous scenario since the cold war. The people that I feel sorry for are the Crimean Tatars. Starved and purged by Stalin during the 30's the Tatars were expelled to Siberia en mass after the Second World War only being able to return to their homeland in the early 90's. Given their past it's hardly surprising that the Tatars would prefer to be a part of Ukraine rather than Russia but the choice is unlikely to be theirs for the choosing, History has an unpleasant way of dealing with minority peoples who back the losing side in conflicts between powerful neighbours. All the Muslim Tatars need now is to have the wannabe jihadist international riding to their rescue. That really would be the final straw.

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