Tuesday, 31 March 2009

You couldn't make it up!

“You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the old Fox and his sons do upon no account escape your hands, you are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to put in execution at five of the clock precisely……”

These were the orders issued to William III’s troops before the infamous massacre of 1692. It seems a trifle unfortunate that the Metropolitan Police codename for its G20 security operation this week is “Glencoe”. Protesters would be well advised to disperse not later than 4.50 hours.

Gee, Officer Krupke.......

If I may emulate Ken Frost on Nanny Knows Best, I hereby award my Solemn Noodle of the Year prize to Plymouth's Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton who, when asked to clarify the nature of material seized in the recent "terrorist" arrests, sagely observed that

"It's political, it relates to political organisations, it's not extreme but it's a different political view. It leads to motives and things like that."

Whoever would have thought it?

Sunday, 29 March 2009

"Furious and mortified"? Diddums, diddums!

It is becoming crystal clear that the distinctive quality of this government is that they are sanctimonious humbugs – simple, if not pure.

Our stern unbending puritanical feminist ‘two-homes’ Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is reported to be “furious and mortified” at the disclosure that she paid a video hire bill on her parliamentary expenses that included two ‘adult content’ movies which were allegedly watched by her lonely and doubtless frustrated husband at their ‘second’ [main] home in her Redditch constituency whilst Jacqui - who, like Pooh-Bah, wasn’t there at the time - was residing at her ‘main’ London pied-a-terre home busying herself with her official duties.

This is the woman who is currently pushing legislation through parliament which will make it a criminal offence to have sex, even unknowingly, with a prostitute who has been ‘trafficked’ under the very wide definition of that term in the Bill.

Presumably many women who are paid to perform sex acts in pornographic movies fall into the category of being ‘trafficked’ one way or another. How is the viewer to know? Ms Smith’s husband may well have committed an equivalent moral offence [if not a criminal one], albeit unintentionally, through watching these films.

It should be obvious by now, even to the myopic tin-eared Gordon Brown, that Ms Smith is a walking disaster. Not only is she inept at her job; she has no sense of propriety in the conduct of her personal affairs.

So a little additional mortification in the shape of swift removal from office would not come amiss. And if Ms Smith still does not feel sufficiently mortified, her erstwhile colleague Ruth Kelly no doubt has a range of suitable cilices she can borrow. Or she can obtain one – though not, alas, on parliamentary expenses, but bargain offers available during Lent – from those on view here.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Is this happening here now?

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider... the whole process of its coming into being was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.... and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated..... by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted’, that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'.....must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.....Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next.

"You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone.....you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.

"That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.

"You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father.....could never have imagined."

- MILTON MAYER, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)