Fireman rings the bell,

A couple of days ago I flew down to Gatwick to spend a day with my grandson Marco, along with his Mom and his Dad, my eldest son. Our few hours together was the stuff of legend; the same legend which has come to be expected from a family grown wider, of harmless laughter, of silly jokes and of watching a small boy’s wide eyes when introduced to that greatest of England’s inventions, the railway steam engine. I could, and indeed have maybe mentioned, my great happiness with the smaller members of my family; of the sheer wonder of being introduced to a ten-weeks premature scrap of humanity some five years ago, and of having my own worries brought down to earth by the response of a paediatric nurse who casually named my first grandson as ‘the noisy one in the corner’. Of the equally special happiness shared with my second son, who has presented me, care of course of Mom, with two more grandsons; both of whom have been introduced to the wonders of steam, along with the proud heritage of engineer-driven advances with which we fuelled the true Industrial Revolution which still changes our world even today.

Because it is the visit which we made to the privately-run, funded and operated Bluebelle Railway is that of which I write today. I cannot claim that it is a peculiarly-British trait to rescue and rebuild rusting steam locomotives, to spend literally millions on progressing the refurbishment of a branch-line closed long ago, and then to get thousands of people to pay for the privilege of sitting in a rail carriage which is drawn by one of the steam, smoke and noise-belching behemoths from our past, but we have over two hundred Rail Preservation societies all across this country of ours. The engineering and construction feats which faced this outfit would have daunted professionals, but they calmly made plans, raised money, sold shares in their Company, and moved over 80,000 tons of rubbish to get the trains running where they once rolled some sixty years ago.

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The peculiar thrill of standing close up to a working steam engine, with its steam, water and smoke smells and noise, is one which lived with me from my first memories of travel after the War ended. To be favoured with a smile or a wave from these minor gods who bestrode the cabs of the locomotives was to know that you had been recognised as a true aficionado, and it is no lie when drivers and firemen said that once fired up, the railway engine was as ‘a living thing’. We as a nation still innovate, still experiment and invent, but the advances usually flow towards America, partly because we don’t seem to acknowledge that seed money without financial control is not welcomed by young entrepreneurs. But when it comes to men and women who dream of a time when ‘the railway’ meant a service which was prompt, reliable, efficient; employing machinery which maybe wasn’t ‘super-efficient’, wasn’t ‘ecologically friendly’ (whatever that is supposed to mean) but struck a spark of recognition within the engineer hidden within our hearts, we have them is spades!

Hi Sarah!

Somewhat surprisingly, I’m with Sarah. Obama’s White House  Administration has been exposed once again as wanting to ‘control the story’ rather than facilitating the open access to news about that same Administration.

As more information about the IRS scandal trickles out daily, the White House’s involvement is becoming clearer. Those of us who’ve been warning about the demise of freedom with Barack Obama’s efforts to “fundamentally transform” our great nation are about to witness some sad vindication. Will awakened Americans finally join us in saying “enough is enough”?

The president would like us to believe that he only learned about the IRS corruption from watching the news. But we recently learned that the White House was actively working with the IRS on how to roll out the story of this scandal. So, Mr. President, how can you have your staff work on the roll out of the biggest controversy since Watergate, and yet claim that you only heard about it by watching the news with the rest of us?

For the president to deny any knowledge of what was brewing and to claim to know nothing about the Benghazi cover-up or anything about anything White House-related lately, he’s either a liar or a hugely incompetent CEO. You decide.

Yesterday, we also learned that the top IRS official involved in the targeting scandal is planning on pleading the Fifth during her Congressional hearings. That’s keen – she’ll be able to enjoy her Fifth Amendment rights in a hearing about how her intimidating organization denied Americans the ability to fully exercise their First Amendment rights.

Keep in mind that the IRS considers you guilty until proven innocent when they audit you.  The Fifth Amendment doesn’t apply.

This scandal is not just about the IRS targeting Americans to deny them tax-exempt status or subjecting them to harassing retaliatory audits. The IRS also leaked to left-wing reporters the confidential application information submitted by conservative groups.

The IRS claims that their leaking of information was “inadvertent and unintentional disclosures by the employees involved.” They at first blamed the entire IRS scandal on a couple of employees who “went rogue,” but we soon found out that this was just more malarkey coming from the president’s spokesman. But even if these were “inadvertent and unintentional disclosures,” is that supposed to make us feel better? With the IRS running Obamacare, what are the chances that our confidential information and medical records will “inadvertently” and “unintentionally” be disclosed? Please remember that some of us warned America about the dangers of having the IRS play such a big role with the administration of Obamacare. We were laughed at and mocked relentlessly back then. It sure doesn’t seem funny now, does it?

This IRS scandal is especially terrible because Americans live in fear of the IRS like no other entity because this monstrous bureaucracy has the power to take your hard-earned money. Your wages are the sum of your labors; hence, the IRS has the power to steal the fruits of your labors. Average Americans live in fear of making an error on their tax returns that could cost them massive amounts of money, plus their reputation and good name.  If a small business makes a mistake, the IRS can shut them down and send them to jail.

The IRS has always been the face of intimidating and controlling big government. Now it’s the face of corrupt big government that actively attacks the people it is supposed to serve. This isn’t the change America was hoping for, Mr. President, but it certainly is transformative.

Average everyday Americans like my dad and his non-political buddies are outraged by this IRS scandal, perhaps more so than all the other White House fiascos that are making the radical Left’s intentions crystal clear. It’s because this IRS cluster hits close to home for everyone. It’s tangible proof of how a corrupt government can intimidate and target a person’s record, reputation, and life, and make them feel helpless.

These Obama administration scandals are a sad and stark reminder that only limited government can ensure liberty. At our core, we Americans just want to be left alone to live freely, peacefully, and productively.

Last year the Obama campaign told us that government is something we all “belong” to. I guess they’re right because when the government is powerful enough to target, intimidate, and harass us, we do “belong” to them. The real question is: Will we stand for this?

These atrocious government actions are bigger, uglier, and much more dangerous than “a few rogue employees.” It’s time for all Americans to stand together and join in the growing outraged chorus that looks at our out-of-control government and says, “Enough is enough!”

Newspeak rules again.

 

Cameron to launch new terror task force to bring an end to religious extremism

 

Translated into ordinary English, this headline should actually read “We shall now be shovelling obscene amounts of taxpayers’ money towards the many muslim ‘community leaders’ and mosque imams from the Wahabbi sect of Islam, in order to shut the slimy bastards up, and give us a little peace before another crazed jihadi clown decides to avenge the imaginary insults done to ‘Islam’ half a world away.’ We know it didn’t work before, but, hey; thats never stopped us from doing it again!’

avowal, consent, token, word of honour

When I married my wife, some forty-six years ago, we married in Church. We married by exchanging vows before the symbols of God. Over our heads was an invisible sign which stated “Be still, and know that I am God”. We promised to love and honour each other all the days of our lives, until ‘Death do us part’. Implicit in this ceremony was to acknowledge the fact that we would be having a family, because marriage and the conception of children have been inextricably linked, both in and out of religious belief, for almost three millennia; from the earliest days of what has become to be known as civilized society. I do not look upon the past nearly half-century as anything other than a testament to my own good fortune, in meeting, courting and finally persuading my wife that we should marry. I knew, approximately ten seconds after we first met, that she was the one for me; and the delay in our marriage of nearly two years was mainly due to the fact that I left England to join my last ship for a thirteen-month trip some four weeks after we first met. We have seen great happiness, and also great sadness in the long years together, but my view is simple; we made a promise together, and I would be a poor imitation of a man if I ever broke that promise. 

So don’t ever let a set of mealy-mouthed politicians, who have joined with another, and larger set of scheming liberals and socialists equate the joy, the wonder, the sadness, the happiness and the hope of my marriage, along with millions of similar marriages; to the ‘union’ between two mincing queers as the same thing: because it is not, will not, and cannot be anything but a pale imitation of our promise that day, in that church; some forty-six years ago

Behind the headlines

A child, someone’s daughter, has died. This is indeed a personal tragedy.

We are told that the ‘family are angry, angry and hurt’

We are also told that lifeguards were chatting whilst girl drowned

We are also informed that ‘a full and thorough’ investigation would be carried out.

 

We were not told why a FIVE-year old child was allowed to go into a swimming pool area unsupervised by her ‘devastated parents or grandparents’.

Just in the course of ‘full disclosure’!

UPDATE

In the course of full disclosure, I might add that two of my grandsons are already learning to swim, and the third is being introduced to the water. All three of my grandchildren, whenever near the water, are supervised as if they were about to disappear, and I would expect nothing less from their fathers, my two sons. Also to be disclosed is the sad truth that their Grandad cannot swim a stroke, and is terrified of the water.

 

Not Forgotten

A re-post from a few years ago, in remembrance of true, undiluted bravery.

Some seventy years ago today, nineteen Lancaster bombers of R.A.F. 617 Squadron took off on a mission which, many hoped, could drastically alter the war in favour of the Allies. They hoped, by use of a special weapon, to breach three of the Ruhr dams when they were at their highest level of water storage. The weapon was a product of the agile mind of Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, and it became the precursor of many of the exceedingly effective weapons which issued from the agile mind of this superb scientist. The bomb was built in the shape of a drum, and dropped with the case spinning in reverse to the motion of the aircraft. The idea was that the spinning bomb would hit the waves and then ‘bounce’ forward, dropping, bouncing and slowing on the water as the bomb advanced.

The trouble with the attack, which had to be carried out at an extremely low altitude and in a straight line, was that the bomber could be tracked and attacked by seriously-accurate German anti-aircraft fire during the predictable approach path. The Moehne, Eder & Sorpe dams were chosen as targets, and the Lancasters of 617 Squadron, modified to carry the three ton weight of the bombs which had to be held partly outside the bomb-bay as the spin had to be applied before the bomb was released, set off on their mission. The Moehne and Eder dams were successfully breached, albeit with heavy loss to the attacking squadron; with eight of the nineteen bombers failing to return, and fifty-three fliers in total died during the operation.Squadron Leader Guy Gibson received the Victoria Cross, there were also five D.S.O.’s, ten D.F.C.’s and four Bars, two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals and eleven Distinguished Flying Medals and one Bar. 

It was hoped that the resultant torrents of water would damage war industries, halt electricity generation, clog rail routes and damage the German war effort. The actual effect was rather different; in that the electricity supplies were back in business due to an emergency pumping system built by a forward-looking German generation industry; the great percentage of deaths were actually of P.O.W.’s, and the rail system was rebuilt where damaged in typical German quick-time, mainly by the use of slave labour. The surprising outcome was a rapid decline in food production, as large areas of arable land were flooded, as well as huge numbers of farm animals killed. German civilian morale suffered greatly. British morale went sky-high, as the pictures of the broken dams were shown in cinemas and in the newspapers.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.  

Image from the works of Ronald Suchiu

a true advocate for ‘crime in the community’?

Read a ‘spin’ piece in the Telegraph about the complaints and inner sadness of a Mr. Shaun Bailey, a one-time Tory Party candidate, an ‘adviser’ to the Prime Minister on ‘youth, crime and race issues’ who has apparently been demoted and side-tracked to a part-time role in the Cabinet Office. Seems Mr Bailey has many ‘friends’ who have spoken to the newspaper about his great abilities, his great interest in politics, and his deep and wide knowledge of problems in the black community in the wider wastes outside the Westminster circle. Our shy and humble activist, who apparently has fallen out of favour with the Eton-educated friends who surround David Cameron, is sad that his many words of advice have fallen on stony ground, but has not spoken out himself as he still dreams of being a Tory Party MP.

What was brushed past in the Telegraph piece was the news about our Shaun and his ‘Charity’ which was closed down by himself, but not before such headline comments as accounts indicated massively disproportionate back-office costs and a failure to account for nearly £16,000. and ‘It seems Bailey wouldn’t know voluntary sector best practice if it jumped up and said “marginal constituency”. from Political Scrapbook were published online. Shaun has also come across our sights before, as when he and several other candidates clowns posed in the pages of the Daily Mail as part of the A-listers who were supposed to claim the votes of marginal constituencies all around the country in 2010.

Seems as though Shaun is trying a bit of self-publicity out, to see if it works. For a front-page spread in a national newspaper, seems to me as though news is a bit thin on the ground to give a whole heap of free publicity to a scrounger.

The badge of honour.

aMerchantcap I wore the cap badge of the Merchant Navy in the years of my youth, along with the purple-stripe bordered by gold braid denoting Engineer Officer on my uniform. Before I met and married my wife, I had many ports and many trips under my cap, and it is only now, in the evening of my life, have I come to understand how important the sea was and is to us; a Maritime Nation.

Imagine, if you will, your departure from the port of Halifax in Nova Scotia in the early years between 1939 & 1945. Your ship is tasked to a convoy, protected by a tiny number of inadequately-equipped escort vessels; tiny because of the short-sighted policies of successive British Governments who had decided that the best form of defence for a maritime nation was to do very, very little indeed. You sailed on that ship in the full knowledge that there were men intent upon only one thing; your death, along with your shipmates, and the destruction of your ship by means of torpedoes, or heavy-calibre gunfire. The gunfire was preferred by the German U-Boat commanders in the early days of the War; partly because the shells were easier to carry in a cramped submarine, and partly because many Merchant vessels sailed completely unarmed, and the escort vessels could not be everywhere at once.

If you were an Engineer Officer, eight hours out of every 24 were spent on watch in the Engine Room, sited by necessity in the bowels of the ship. Your job might also be an engine-room greaser, or a fireman, keeping steam up in the boilers to help propel your ship across the Atlantic, but you shared the same hours as the Officers, and the same dangers as well. The only protection from the ever-restless sea were  sheets of steel, riveted together to form the hull of your ship, and clear access to ladders leading up top. Ladders which were never bolted to the supporting girders, but instead were firmly held by rope; so as to minimise the effects of shock after an explosion. An explosion which, if aimed at the midships of the vessel, would almost certainly result in a huge influx of water, acting as its own battering ram, flooding the very bowels of your ship, and drowning anyone in its path who was unlucky enough to be caught down below.

Some time back, re-read a novel entitled Westbound, Warbound by Alexander Fullerton, and once again realized how good a writer this man is. His writing career commenced with an autobiographical novel of his service with HM Submarines in the Far East towards the end of the Second World War, and the instant success of his first offering pushed him to write on a full-time basis. His novel ‘Westbound, Warbound’ is a one-off, telling as it does the story of a tramp steamer caught up firstly in the seas which embraced the final days of the pocket-battleship ‘Graf Spee’, and then to their travails whilst inching through a North Atlantic hurricane at the same time as being in constant danger of sinking! This book is about the men who brought Britain through the War by offering themselves as open targets for the U-boat menace, armed with a single six-pounder and a rationed number of shells! The men whose work, sacrifice, lives and deaths are forever remembered in the Merchant Seamen’s Memorials opposite the Tower of London and in Liverpool have had very few books written of their deeds, partly, one supposes, that there isn’t much glamour in stories of drowning, or burning alive, or freezing to death within three minutes of your ship’s slowly sinking beneath the waves after enemy action!

His hero is a deck officer, doing the everyday things which are his calling, from taking a ‘star sight’ to advising an illiterate seaman about the benefit of learning how to read.  Fullerton has met men such as this young officer, and more than likely has killed very similar young men who sailed in the Japanese ships which his submarine sank in the shallow waters of Sumatra and Malaya! The novels which have been bought by the thousand telling of the fighting ships of the Allied forces sometimes forget that the slow, plodding freighters, tankers and liners have stories too, and they should also be remembered by an audience which unfortunately these days, doesn’t even know, never mind remember, of the sacrifices which were made so that they can slouch down and watch  ‘Top Gear’ or ‘Broadchurch’ in warmth and comfort!

amemorial1

The photo of the Merchant Navy Memorial in Liverpool is of course self-explanatory, but the next photo depicts a ship heading into a storm, showing what perils there were even without the torpedoes and the gunfire, and the final one shows what might have been seen on a convoy to Murmansk.

aShip

anicedship

 

‘Oh hear us when we cry to thee, For those in peril on the sea.’

 

..and the purpose of your visit?

There are many things I could state in reaction to the results of this Demos survey, but I will attempt to keep things on a civil level.

When Trevor Philips, one of the architects of the cuddly multi-culti state of garbage we have been forced to live in states ‘the findings should make us ‘a little anxious’, and were ‘not good news for the cause of integration’; do you agree with him? Or do you ask why we should even consider integrating with a whole bunch of foreigners who definitely do not want to ‘integrate’ with us?

Were we ever, ever asked, as a Nation, whether we wanted to have hundreds of thousands of people who think and behave so differently to ourselves, planted within our town and cities, all in the cause of ‘Diversity’?

It is true that a fair chunk of the newly-arrived are ‘people like us’; such as the Polish migrants, largely Catholic as can be seen from the enlarged congregations in many Catholic churches; and with such as them, I have no problems at all. No problems because all they wish for is a chance to work, to make a better life, to set down roots. But I do have a problem with the vast herds of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Iraqis and other clumps from the cess-pits of Asia and the Middle East. Why, because they do not wish to assimilate.They do not wish to adopt our ways. They carry with them the seeds of destruction of our very way of life because, deep down, they want to change our nation into a Muslim society.

Consider the results of another survey, one where over 30% of young Muslim respondents accepted the use of murder to further their religious ends to be justified.

The simple truth is that this violence is in their very DNA, in their koranic scriptures; ready to be subverted and used by any messianic mullah with access to a computer and a mosque meeting-room. Take a student, fill his mind with rhetoric, subvert the very teachings of his prophet towards a hatred of the people who have welcomed him in to their very homes and hearths; and what do you get?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev!

Your voice…. Your vote

As we approach the day when we, as the people who are supposed to count; supposed to have been consulted; and supposed to be satisfied with the results of previous endeavours; finally have to chance to actually VOTE,  just pause for a second and ask yourself if you are indeed content with the ‘status quo’ of Local and indeed National Politics over the past few decades?

Because of decisions taken by a very few, we no longer hold control over much of our local assets, over how they are handled, or indeed mis-handled. We have seen large swathes of matters which used to be held under local control grabbed by Central Government; and indeed much of our Sovereign identity handed over to a bunch of bureaucrats in Brussels without so much as a murmur raised at the wholesale looting of the public purse which has been the result. One glaring example of the ‘Looting’ was seen as it emerged that my uncle died in Normandy, and my father served throughout 1939-45 whilst Great Britain, alongside its Allies, were fighting the European Civil War.

So go to the Council Election Polls tomorrow, and vote; but think well before casting that precious token. I would not dream of attempting to tell anyone how to vote, but just take a wry look back, and then attempt to reassure yourself that your vote has been well spent in years gone by. I shall be voting tomorrow, but not one of the candidates who stand behind any of the three main Parties’ banners shall get my vote. I shall be voting for any candidate brave enough to hold to an ‘Independent’ banner. We do not have a UKIP candidate in our local constituency, so the Independent Candidate shall get my vote.

But whether you take my advice, or listen to your own mind and experience, it does not matter which: as long as you go and vote, that is what men have fought, bled and died for; so that you can tread the boards into the booth, and choose!

“We who are living in the west today are fortunate. Freedom has been bequeathed to us. We have not had to carve it out of nothing; we have not had to pay for it with our lives. But it would be a grave mistake to think that freedom requires nothing of us. Each of us has to earn freedom anew in order to possess it. We do so not just for our own sake, but for the sake of our children, so that they may build a better future that will sustain over the world the responsibilities and blessings of freedom.”

Margaret Thatcher.