Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bollocks to Political Correctness

Golliwog Scandal: Police Called After Racist Costumes Spotted At Wick Gala In Scotland

Police were called after three youths attended a summer gala in Scotland dressed as golliwogs. The trio attended Saturday’s Wick Gala in Caithness, wearing brightly-coloured costumes, curly wigs and black-face.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “On Monday 27th July 2015, Police in Wick received a call from a member of the public seeking to raise awareness of what they deemed as possible inappropriate behaviour at a public event known as the Wick Gala. Officers have also been in contact with the charity event organisers to provide advice on guidance for future events of a similar nature.”
Donna Plowman of the  the Wick Gala Committee commented: “We strive to make the gala week entertaining and inclusive for everyone If we said to people they can't go out as famous characters such as the Jackson Five, it will be difficult to know where you stop dictating. I don't know if it will get to the point if people would have to produce a picture of what they are coming as before they take part.”

Racist costumes my arse! What a waste of police time!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sakal kecide de var

The Bishop of London has praised two Tower Hamlets priests for growing beards to "reach out" to local Muslims. Richard Chartres said the men - "two of the most energetic priests in east London" - have facial hair that "would not have disgraced a Victorian sage".
"The clergy of Tower Hamlets are safe from episcopal censure, and their desire to reach out to the culture of the majority of their parishioners can only be applauded," Chartres wrote in The Church Times.
"Most of the residents [in Tower Hamlets] are Bangladeshi-Sylheti, for whom the wearing of a beard is one of the marks of a holy man."
The east London borough is 38% Muslim, the highest of any borough in England and Wales. Muslims are the largest single religious group there. Only 30% of the borough is Christian, compared with a national average of 59%.

That's it, then. I'm shaving my beard off. Sad really, when you think that I've had this beard the best part of fifty years and never once reached out to a Muslim.

PS The title of this piece is a Turkish saying: Even goats have beards.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Brave Old World

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that the UK could retain nuclear missile submarines, but they would go to sea without their warheads. The plan appears designed to win over trade unions who fear that scrapping Trident - as the Labour leader wishes - would destroy tens of thousands of jobs in the defence industry.

He has also  suggested opening up a line of communication with Islamic State (IS) and has also called for a "sensible dialogue" with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. 
He also wants to repeal the legislation that made "sympathy strikes" and "flying pickets" illegal.

Well, that's all right then. For a minute I thought we were in trouble. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

How do you spell N-I-G-G-E-R?

Here's a funny thing: bok. Here's another funny thing: zoob. And here's another funny thing: stronzo.
The first word is Turkish, the second Arabic, and the third Italian. If you don't know these languages, nothing nasty has happened to you. If you do, then you might be quite shocked, and begin to wonder why a nice boy like me can utter such filth.
Isn't it odd that we can be mortally offended by a particular combination of phonemes? In our own language, we mostly apply the Auntie Mary Test: is it a word you would not use in front of your Auntie Mary?
It's a reasonable test, I suppose, but it does mean that our freedom of speech is determined by (in the case of my Auntie Mary) someone who is very easily offended. It amounts to a serious limitation on my freedom of expression.
All this sounds trivial, but we are living in a grundian age, where people can be banned and punished for saying things that other people don't like. When those other people are our elders and betters, the leaders of public opinion and mores  - politicians, intellectuals, teachers, etc - we are on a very slippery slope indeed.
I am in fact too old and too ugly to give a fuck any more, but I fear for the world my grandchildren are inheriting. I just hope that they give a fuck, and I am not sorry if that phrase upsets you. 

Raging against the dark

British MPs are debating a petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK. The petition has so far been signed by 574,000 people. Signatories believe Trump should be barred on the grounds of hate speech, following his calls for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., and his claims that London has become “so radicalised” the city’s police force are “afraid for their own lives".

The new approach to freedom of speech, as Voltaire didn't say: 

"I may disagree with what you say, and there is no way I will defend your right to say it."

The barbarians have entered the castle and the lunatics have taken over the asylum. It is a measure of the inferior intellectual and moral stature of so many of today's Members of Parliament that they can even contemplate this kind of fascistic action. The Age of Enlightenment is entering into an age of darkness, and I am very very scared. By the way, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump; it's about the politics of intolerance and bigotry.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Hello? Is that Meester Allspop?

(ring ring)
-Hello? Is that Meester Allspop?
(I can't place the accent, but I can hear the hubbub of a call centre in the background)
-Well, my dear (good attempt on my part at a Fen accent), that all depends on which Mr Allsop you want.
-The houseowner.
-Ah, well, that'll be my brother, George. Now you just hang on a moment, my dear, and I' call him.
(I hold the phone away from my ear and pretend to be shouting down the hall)
-George! George! Phone for you!
(pause, then)
-I don't know what they want. Just said they wanted to speak to you.
(another pause, then)
-No, I think it's one of your mucky women, George.....
(back to the caller)
- He's just coming, dear....

But I needn't have bothered. She's already hung up.

Explanatory leaflets

Explanatory leaflets, they are everywhere. Inside the packet of every medicine there's a folded paper, often in several languages, advising you of the horrendous side effects of everything: even toothpaste and handcream are not exempt. The bummer is that if you leave the leaflet inside the packet, it's a nightmare to put the contents back in afterwards. So, I throw the fucking leaflets away. Grrr.
Then comes the next delight: blister packs. Pills these days come embedded in a foil or plastic "blister pack", impossible to get out neatly. The result is tablets suddenly fly out from their cosy little bed and shoot all over the place. My kitchen floor contains enough stray tablets now to cure the mice in the house of every condition imaginable.
You might try to avoid these inconveniences by buying only medicines that are in bottles. Oh yeah? They all have safety caps, easily enough opened by savvy kids, but impossible for us geriatrics with our arthritic knuckles. Grrr again. Sometimes it's possible to clip a piece out of the cap to overcome the safety device, but mostly it's a matter of knocking the top off the bottle and bunging a tissue in as a stopper.
Enough to give you a headache, right? Go to the pharmacy to stock up on paracetamol and be prepared to be talked down to by some superior uniformed doxy, all tin tits and iron stare, asking personal questions about your habits, the subtext of which is to confirm her suspicion that you are a moron not to be trusted with anything stronger than a jellybaby.
Bugger it, let's forget the whole thing and have a beer. A beer?? Are you joking? Do you know what alchohol does to you???