Abite with me


We all write from a personal perspective. Most readers accept that, and for the most part refrain from partisan or objectionable comments on those posts. We all have our prejudices, our points of view; and just about all who either write or comment on blogs use those prejudices, those heart-felt beliefs, as a basis for the words we send into the electronic ether.

So when I read of a woman who defends her huge dog against the wounds and damage inflicted upon herself by that same huge animal, I try not to judge her as maybe a complete fruitcake, but attempt to find out what makes this particularly silly woman tick.

After the attacks he showed genuine signs of regret, cuddling up to me.

So it is not the bite scars and wound marks which lead me to my belief that this woman lacks any idea of what is acceptable in any environment, it is the marks of the huge, prominent tattoos which surely disfigure this woman’s arms that give an insight into this stupid, silly and ultimately shallow woman’s fate as a future statistic in the list of severe injury or death resultant from keeping a large, dangerous and aggressive animal in her own home.


Heartening, if not warming

As I last visited Australia when I served in the Merchant Navy decades ago, my own memories of ‘Oz’ are somewhat faded, but I remember a country where one expected straight talking in response to any query, alongside the famous Australian sense of humour and barbed responses to some queries of, shall we say, memories of olden days when chains rattled. The nature and build-up of Australia has altered radically in the decades which have passed since my visit, including huge waves of legal migrants looking towards life in ‘the Lucky Country’. After some disastrous political forays towards the Left, I was delighted to note that a Conservative administration under Prime  Minister Tony Abbott wiped the floor with their Opposition, and assumed power.

The extent of the changes, especially in the field of the ‘Global Warming’ and Climate Change CO2′ crap has been exemplary, and are catalogued here for a more leisurely inspection, but a trawl through these posts reveals a certain lightening of the atmosphere, without a corresponding rise in temperature, if you get my drift.

But the biggest change, from my viewpoint, since the Abbott administration grasped the reins, is in the field of ‘illegal asylum seekers’ a code phrase for a bunch of chancers on the make; and that change can best bechecked by reading this post from a Mercantile Marine blog I read regularly. Seems as though the failed ‘bogus asylum seekers’ were ‘forced to grasp hot engine exhaust pipes’ while being towed back towards the cess-pit where they came from, the cess-pit also going by the name of Indonesia.

I particularly relish the statement from Immigration Minister Scott Morrison as he lashed out at the media for reporting what he called “unsubstantiated allegations” and said that he would conduct no investigation into the incident as he accepted the word of navy personnel. “The Australian government is not going to put up with people sledging the Australian navy,” he told reporters in Sydney. “I’ve been given assurances about their conduct and I believe those assurances because I believe in those individuals.”

Good on you; Mate!

A measured response?

Yesterday evening, my daughter asked me what my opinions were on the huge search underway for that small boy who was reported as missing from his Scots home. I did not pause or attempt to maybe gather my thoughts together, I replied that it was a complete waste of time, the massive police presence and the search parties were deluded; as it was clear that a small boy simply could not have made his way out past two heavy doors from his home: the child was most probably dead, and the police should concentrate on the family, first and last.

I may sound cynical, in fact I probably am, but Police Scotland should never have organised or encouraged all the volunteers to join in the searches, as the probability of immediate family being involved in the death, as it turned out to be, was in the high 90%-ages.

Another tiny statistic has been written in the annals of this, the Nation which once claimed it cared, but now seems to be almost used to revealing the battered body of yet another victim of familial terror; probably brought on by drug abuse or parents who do not even deserve that title.

Mikaeel Kular is now out of reach of the person, probably his so-called mother, now in custody, possibly his father; as he is now in the ultimate ‘place of safety’; but hey, it is not all bad news, the small soft toy industry will probably see a boom in sales as silly people place ‘tokens’ all over the landscape; and the florists will be getting extra supplies in from overseas, as the ‘floral token’ industry  will also see a massive increase in sales!

A small child has been murdered, he should be laid to rest, but please, no more ribbons, or flowers, or candles, or cuddly bloody toys; please!

You just do not argue; you run!

My mate and I were on a business trip from Johannesburg to Zimbabwe some thirty-five years ago, and we were heading down a partly-tarmacced  road in a Game Park, en route to the Hwange power station. My mate was driving, and I was slouched against the passenger side door, arm out and trying to catch a breeze. We were driving along, a wide stretch of grass to the right, and fairly thick dry bush to the left. We saw a big bull elephant standing by a large tree to our right, and my mate just had to stop and take a photo.  I tried to argue that it wasn’t perhaps the best idea to stop some thirty-odd yards from five-odd tons of very unpredictable wild animal, but Sarel had to get his camera out.

Now a short lesson in elephant behaviour is now due, as I later discovered. The big lone elephant is called an ‘Askari’, or sentry, and he stands guard at a distance from the females and calves who move together for safety. If he senses or sees danger, he tells that herd that they must be aware, and then faces the threat himself. If you have ever seen an elephant close up when he is really, really annoyed, you get the message really, really fast!


His head came up, his large ears flapped forwards, his trunk commenced waving, he trumpeted his annoyance, and then one of his forelegs came up, ready to charge. My mate Sarel still had his bloody camera out of the window, trying to focus his picture through the eyepiece. I literally pulled him back inside the car, and shouted, “Reverse, reverse; you bloody idiot!” We shot backwards for about seventy yards before we slowed down and stopped.

The big ‘Askari’ elephant, point firmly made, trumpeted once more, and some twenty elephants and calves slowly moved across the road to join the big elephant who now stood firmly at the edge of the road, mollified by our removal from his line-of-sight to the herd, which of course we didn’t even know was there until his alarm sounded. Once all these huge animals crossed over and moved away into the wide grassland, we started up once more and drove quietly onwards towards our destination; luckier than some who didn’t move fast or far enough so that another elephant might not be worried.

Polarisation, either a hero, or a traitor?

When history comes to look at the acts of Edward Snowden, and is able to look dispassionately at the results of his activities, will Snowden be acclaimed as a true hero, with his scattergun broadcasting of NSA secured files and activities as a necessary act to preserve his Nation’s privacy and deter an overweening and autocratic Security bureaucracy, or will he be reviled as a traitor of the worst kind, only secure in his own delusions?

I have my own opinions of that seemingly earnest but arrogant young man, but should we not examine the alternatives available to him had he not stolen the files, sent himself on a trip through Hong Kong and ending up given asylum in what is really his own Country’s worst  enemy, Russia? Once he had determined to extent, the true scope of the NSA’s drive to accumulate both data and metadata by literally trawling through both ISP and Telecom hard- and soft-ware, through illegal taps on fibre-optic hub connectors and by intercommunication with Britain’s GCHQ, how was he to proceed without sacrificing his own personal liberty in the process? Should he have approached his own supervisors or ranking managers within the organisation which controls all of his Nation’s spy satellites and observation arrays? Highly unlikely, as his own security clearance would have disappeared within seconds, and he would most likely have disappeared as well; probably dressed in an orange jump suit on a one-way ticket to ‘Gitmo’.

Should he have approached a newspaper or a journalist, as was told in the Watergate saga, with the ‘Deep Throat’ advice guiding Woodward and Bernstein along that dangerous path which brought down a President? Again, unlikely; as today’s American mainstream media gives Obama, along with his whole Administration, a very easy ride, with mistakes either papered over or sidetracked. We read today of an episode in America’s past, when a set of ordinary people decided to do what Snowden did, and expose, to the public’s gaze, the illegal efforts of the FBI’s top man, J. Edgar Hoover, to surveil and chart the  very movements of black students and activists because they were black, and therefore suspect. The Washington Post’s Betty Medsger charts the progress of these ordinary people who decided to break the law because they were disturbed at the lack of ‘due process’ by the people who were supposed to uphold the Law, as well as that same ‘due process’. The article makes for fascinating reading, as it gives an insight into the minds of the law-breakers, as well as the person who wrote the exposure articles.

Snowden, a young man faced with an appalling dilemma; should he remain silent in the face of huge violations of what he thought his Nation stood for, or should he break silence, and in doing so harm his Nation’s capabilities to detect and deter terrorist plans an actions?

Got to admit, in my own mind; if he has been careful to protect identities, he may have had a point. If he has been cavalier with people’s lives, however; he deserves to rot in a deep, dark cell for a very long time.


An ACRONYM too far?

I listened almost with one ear to BBC reporter and self-styled economist Jim O’Neill as he rhapsodised about the latest entries to the upcoming ‘Economic Giants’ race, labelling Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey as the MINTs, after the BRICs which he had labelled some years before. He had visited all four entrants, and was busy warbling on about how industrious they all were, and the horizons were endless, and it was just a matter of time before they all did a mini-China; and amazed us all with their massive rises in GDP, and advances in education, etc., etc.. As I said, he was rhapsodising about ‘Indonesia…this’ and Turkey….that, and of course ‘Mexico and Nigeria….the  other’ without expanding or lifting his gaze away from the statistics he was warbling on about.

Now I may be wrong, but if Indonesia, for example, is about to take off and experience this huge rise in productivity, energy and wealth; why are there all those Indonesian people grabbing standing-room only on board any leaky scow heading towards Australia? They are jumping from a country where this huge promise is prophesied, and sailing towards a country which, these days, not only doesn’t want them, but isactively taking hard moves to repel the very boats which come sneaking over the waves towards the ’promised land’.

Let us move towards Turkey. Yes, that Nation has made some impressive steps towards industrialization and wealth creation; but have you had a look at the headlines coming out of Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul recently. They may be building the third bridge across the Bosphorus to take some of the excess traffic into Istanbul, but the riots, the water-cannon and the helmeted police are just getting some rest before moving back into action under the orders of the once-admired moderate Muslim hard man Prime Minister Erdogan. He’s just found out that, if given a little freedom, the plebs all want a great deal more, and since the word ‘freedom’ isn’t even printed in Islamic dictionaries, and is probably not even understood in Koran-land, the heavy mob is going to crush any dissent. Since western capital is so mobile, if the people who arrange the investments see a few more riots put down with precision, they aren’t going to stop long in a country which is moving towards a heavy-handed theocracy, along the lines of Iran.

Mexico, the third nation in the list; well, what would any global investor think if his advisors said ‘Let’s all head towards Mexico City’? If he had any sense, he’d find himself some new advisors. What with the endemic corruption in the politics, the endless ferocity of the drug cartels, and the endless river of the crime rates, anyone in Mexico is planning to get out, towards America and sanity.

And then there is Nigeria, blessed with huge oil and gas wealth. For anyone  even thinking of investing more than a fiver in the land of the Niger and the Bonny, the list of deterrence is so large that its usually available online, but you need a good broadband connection to read it. The Best-known product of Nigeria is the scams, the thieves and the corruption, but coming up fast is the bloodshed between the muslim fanatics of the Boko-Haraam, and the Christians of the south.

MINTs? You’d be better off investing in some of Mr. Murray’s products; enjoyable, sweet, and you know exactly what you get when buying them.

Forgive? You must be joking!

I listened yesterday to the widow of Alan Greaves, murdered in a truly random act of savagery just a year ago, as she told how she had forgiven the killers of her husband, as it was the Christian thing to do.

This morning, I heard two more confessions surrounding the idea of ‘forgiveness’, one woman was the mother of a daughter murdered in the July bombings in London, ands the other was the daughter of one of the Brighton bomb atrocity’s victims. One stated that she could forgive her daughter’s killer, the other stated that whilst she had not forgiven the bomber, she had actually become friends with the man who had casually slaughtered her father. This was all told, and of course received by the presenter, as just the way things should be; lions lying down with lambs etc., and all the rest of the total tosh spewed by the fraternity which populates the BBC studios, and certain parts of our political structure.

If I was ever placed in a situation where someone close to me had been the victim of a murderous attack, politically inspired or not, I would be striving to have the privilege of tearing the very heart out of the killer’s body. I would also attempt to cremate his sorry remains and scatter them to the wind, burn his home and possessions; and obliterate his very memory.

But hey, thats just me! Christian values? There wasn’t much Christianity around when Patrick Magee planted his long-delay bomb, nor when those murderous ‘British’ killers got on the train heading towards London; nor when those two men chose Alan Greaves as a target a year ago. Hang them all, and then burn their remains; and leave nothing for the followers to admire or remember!

A timely celebration

These days, I never bother to watch all the fireworks, the false joy, the uninhibited imbibing of lots and lots of booze as the minutes click down to New Years Day. From the Petronas Towers, after the Harbour Bridge, through the truly-offensive celebrations in PyongYang and money-is-no-object splash around the Burj-al-Jumeirah, the fireworks flashed and cracked in a celebration. A celebration of what; exactly? The end of one year, the beginning of another? The passing of one second, as opposed to the one before or next?

I, along with most, wish family members a Happy New Year, whilst at least hoping that things, emergencies, family and health issues, are kept on an even keel. Again, along with most, I hope that we muddle along, in the manner in which the British quietly excel, at making the best of what we are allowed by our masters. I will continue to make a thorough nuisance of myself at the full County Council meetings, asking questions and holding to account the Labour majority which rules in County Durham almost by hereditary fiat.

There is, however, one happening, one remembrance which is, in my own estimation, worthy of a small pause for contemplation; this being the day, some seventy-five years ago when the British Government gave formal sanctuary to some ten thousand Jewish children who became the Kindertransport. The British Government had literally no idea of the fate which would befall their parents, along with the other 6 million-odd victims of Nazi Germany, but something, something strange occurred to move an Administration and a Government which was quietly partly anti-semitic itself. Letters of concern such as this (second icon on the left) may have helped, but no-one really knows what moved a Government, through its bureaucracy, to announce a not-very-welcoming messsage to those ten thousand that they could come over, as long as they were no burden on the taxpayer.