Kick Some Ass

The news this week: it was announced that the Chilcot Report into the legality of the 2003 attack on Iraq will be released in July. Only 6 years after the inquiry was launched. Only 13 years after the event. Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan continues – only 15 years old. For the younger generation, this state of affairs is normality.

President George W Bush was planning to attack Afghanistan. According to an observer at the meeting, when someone told the President that the attack would violate international law, “the president yelled in the narrow conference room, ‘I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.’”

Boris says diddly squat

I happened to be passing a real newspaper stand the other day and noticed that the front page carried a story about Boris Johnson (current Mayor of London, MP, future Torymeister?) and what he thought about the UK leaving the EU. According to Boris, Cameron went to Brussels to get a deal and got “two-thirds of diddly squat.” So I thought about it some more, especially the phrase “diddly squat”….. and the result is plainly for your ears only, dear listener.

Germans in our subconscious

I was watching the telly the other evening when I saw a comedian do a little routine about German people and he just couldn’t resist dragging out a few stereotypes. You know what they are, don’t you? Harking back to the war, mainly – the war that ended over 70 years ago. I then realised that I’ve been getting tired of this lazy wartime stereotyping for quite a while.

By the way, the picture shows the England football team giving the Nazi salute at a 1938 friendly versus Germany in Berlin.


Health Tourism

According to some sources, loads of foreign nationals are coming to the UK for their health! Good for them – just like in the picture, they can convalesce by swimming in our tropical seas and lazing on the beaches of the English Riviera.

I think some of them might even be living here.

Raif Badawi’s blog is gone

Last year sometime I received an email from a campaigning group about this guy in Saudi Arabia who had been sentenced to 1000 lashes. His crime? Writing a blog. Nothing particularly revolutionary or subversive – certainly not by our standards – but obviously this was seen as a threat by the Saudi regime. He’s still in jail and he’s had 50 lashes so afar. There’s no diplomatic movement on our side: we buy their oil, they buy our guns.

Amnesty International webpage on Raif.

Are we going back in time?

“Get a proper suit and straighten your tie”, says the Tory politician…..footballers with short back ‘n sides and baggy shorts ….. flat caps in fashion…..right-wing parties on the rise across Europe – remind you of anything?


Never doubt that a group of committed people ….

….can change the world, said someone vaguely famous. Or start to change it.

Do we really need airport expansion? For the sake of the planet – no!

This group of activists have highlighted the complete contradiction in our aims as a society to limit our emissions from fossil fuels – thus limiting climate change – and our actions and policies in continuing to press for expansion of the highly-polluting, subsidised aviation industry. It’s not a case of denying pleasure  – 70% of UK flights are taken by just 15% of the flying public.

Cross border relationships

If you are travelling abroad or going abroad to live, beware: don’t fall in love unless you have a solid job. Don’t let chance or luck fool you – you will rue the consequences, my friend. You need an income of at least £18,600 to be allowed to bring your foreign (non-EU) spouse to live in the UK. If you have kids, you’ll need around another £2000 per child.

The Bard of Glastonbury is among those affected – he has an American wife (what was he thinking?).

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.