Monday, March 30, 2009

Come, come......

Just one question.... Did Jaquii Smith's second-house hubby put a claim in for the bumper box of man-sized Kleenex to go with the porn double-bill?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gordon Brass-Neck feels our pain.....

This Q and A from yesterday's PMQs perfectly illustrates both the arrogance of the Prime Minister and the supine, roll-over and tickle-my-tum puppy-pleasing uselessness of yer average English MP. (Especially when tricky questions on English vindictiveness are raised)....

Mr. Fraser Kemp (Houghton and Washington, East) (Lab): Six months ago today, a constituent of mine, Claire Walker, died of cervical cancer. She was 23 years of age. Will the Prime Minister join me and Claire’s family, friends and supporters who are campaigning in London today in wholeheartedly welcoming last Friday’s announcement that there will be a full, independent and comprehensive review to consider the urgent case for the reintroduction of cervical cancer screening for young women under 25?

The Prime Minister: I appreciate everything that my hon. Friend said. Any family that is suffering because of cervical cancer—or, indeed, because of any form of cancer—has all our sympathies. We want to do everything we can to help, which is why we have introduced the vaccinations for teenagers—we have extended that programme and are ready to extend it further—and why the independent review that he mentioned will consider the case for making cervical cancer screening available to women under 25. It is our responsibility to look at all the available medical evidence about the risks as well as about the advantages of such screening. That will be done and I assure him that we take seriously the needs of anyone who is facing cancer at this time.

As I've said before - there ain't no case to consider by any independent jobsworth-quango. The case has already been proven for screening to begin at 20 - just like they do in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland...

Yet another opportunity lost to hold the administration to account by an English MP. But then again, maybe lives in England aren't quite so precious as those in Mr Brown's constituency?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jade Goody will be pleased.....

A panel of experts is to carry out an evidence review to determine whether women (in England) under the age of 25 should be routinely screened for cervical cancer, Health Minister Ann Keen announced today.

SPIN - "We are very proud of our cancer screening programmes in the NHS, which are internationally recognised as world-class." said Ms Keen.

REALITY -Yeah, but not quite as 'world class' as screening in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - which all start screening women from 20 years onwards.

SPIN - "Cervical screening saves around 4,500 lives every year and we want to ensure that our programme remains in the best interests of young women. Experts will review the latest available evidence in this area as well as consider how we can increase awareness of the importance of screening and encourage more women to decide to take up this important service."

REALITY - The tragic case of Jade Goody and the negative publicity it has generated has caused a problem for English NHS spin doctors. In order to try and diffuse the dawning realisation that all is not as equal as the sharing, caring Unionists would like us to believe, they have hurredly announced a review.

SPIN - 'The Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening will consider the latest evidence available, including evidence from the key cancer charities who will be invited to contribute to the review. The board of experts will then recommend whether it is beneficial for women under 25 to be screened'. The evidence review will be presented to Ann Keen later this year.

REALITY - Another 'long grass' exercise. By the time this snouts-in-the-trough quango eventually get back with the report, Jade Goody will be dead, the story will have disappeared from the celeb press, and Posh will once again be dominating the front cover of Heat magazine..

SUMMARY - The case is proven. There is nothing to find out because the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish Health Services have already completed all the necessary checks and balances -and then committed those findings to paper. If the English NHS was truly interested in saving the lives of young English women, they would pick up the phone today, and get those reports delivered to English NHS HQ by tomorrow morning. Hours later, they would be announcing a change in the age of screening down to 20..... IF, they were interested.

Clive Anderson, Sarah Miles, English imperialism and me...

Clive Anderson,
President, Woodland Trust.

Mr Anderson,

I am currently a member of the Woodland Trust.

During a recent radio edition of 'Loose Ends', you interviewed the actress Sarah Miles. During the conversation, she expressed her pride in being English - and also bemoaned the fact that so many English people are apparently shy about celebrating their Englishness....

Your reaction was to utter a statement along the lines of 'Well, 200 years of English imperialism might have something to do with it'.....

As a proud Englishman, I was frankly amazed that you, a barrister and de facto, a supposedly intelligent man would make such a bizarre statement. Can you tell me when this 200 years of English imperialism happened? Do you mean the last 200 years and the days of Empire? If so, then you are mistaken. It was not 'the English Empire' - it was the BRITISH Empire'. Last time I looked, 'Great Britain' consisted of Wales, Scotland and England....

Maybe you were referring to the Middle Ages - a time when Scotland did more than its fair share of imperialistic invading...

Sarah Miles was right. Those born in England should be proud. Aside from coming second (behind China) in the list of nations responsible for the greatest number of inventions in the UN top 100 that have most benefitted civilisation, England has given much to the world. For example, England produced Magna Carta, the world's first document to formally set out the rights of the individual - a document much copied throughout the world, including the Declaration of Independence. And the 2 tier model of modern democratic representation originated in England, also.

England is a great country which is suffering grievously under New Labour. The only time people at the BBC mention England is to comprehensively rubbish it - and you appear to be no exception to that rule.

As you are a barrister, I am sure you would agree that we, the English should have our own national parliament. We are currently the only country in Europe without any national representation. No First Minister for us, no parliament - we aren't even allowed our own national anthem for God's sake!!!

I joined the Woodland Trust at the end of 2008 - I am passionate about the ever few remaining green spaces left in England (the 3rd most densely populated country in the world). However, I will not stay in an organisation which has as its head a man who apparently so flippantly rubbishes England.

Can you please explain your comment - your reply will decide whether I retain my membership or not.

Alfie the OK
Englishman (and therefore rubbished)
England (a country with no national representation).

Dear Mr OK,

Thank you for your E mail.

I’m sorry a remark of mine on Loose Ends has caused you so much distress. I particularly regret that it might lead you to disaffection with the Woodland Trust, an organisation you rightly identify as addressing an important issue.

When on Loose Ends Sarah Miles raised the question of Englishness, somewhat tangentially to the main thrust of our conversation, I attempted an off-the-cuff and, I hope, amusing explanation as to why England or Englishness might be unpopular.

If I had specified 200 years of imperialism I think your point, as far is it goes, would have been a fair one, as perhaps I would have been confusing England and Britain (or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , or in later years the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)– an error that almost everyone risks falling into from time to time – but one which I would have wanted to avoid in the context of the conversation we were having, however light-hearted.

In fact according to the BBC transcript of the programme I said

I think it’s a few hundred years of imperialism that have made England very unpopular.

This is vaguer, but I think more apt. In any event , I had in mind not just the years of the British Empire but also the centuries before that in which English kings, queens and state attempted, with some success, to acquire dominion over the rest of the British Isles and elsewhere. All in all I think there is a perception that Britain, and particularly England, has over long periods of history sought to rule parts of the world beyond its borders. While there is much to be proud of in England’s history it is perhaps understandable that this has provoked a certain amount of resentment in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and overseas.

Or perhaps there is some other explanation for the situation Sarah Miles identified?

With best wishes,

Clive Anderson.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Perfect Day...

On Saturday, we tootled down to Cambridgshire to meet up with our Son. He's joined the Army with a view to becoming a helicopter engineer and is currently completing his basic training. Pleasantries over, we decided to spend the day in the county town.

I've never been to Cambridge before. What a place. I haven't felt as English since we visited Bath last year. The centre is a synergy of fantastatic architecture, bicycles and Mensa'd grey matter in long wooly scarves. It was weird really - the place is one of the most cosmopolitan cities I have ever been in. There are students and visitors from all over the world - but at the same time, it is quintessentially English.

First stop was a look at the simply awesome King's College Chapel building. If anyone wants to see the best medieval building in the world then this is it.

From the wafer thin fan-vaulted roof to the enormous size of the beautiful stained-glass windows, this building is just sensational. Built in 1441 under the patronage of Henry VI, it is the zenith of medieval master masonary. So it was a bit of a let down then that we couldn't get inside because of a students' function. Never mind - there was always the pub.

And this being Cambridge, we ended up in a hostelry with an illustriously intellectual past. The Eagle is a gorgeous pub, ancient, heaving, warm. and hearty. It was the place where Francis Crick interrupted patrons' lunchtime on 28 February 1953 to announce that he and James Watson had "discovered the secret of life" after they had come up with their proposal for the structure of DNA. The anecdote is related in Watson's book The Double Helix and commemorated on a plaque next to the entrance. How civilised. The meaning of life cogetated and chewed-over on the back of a beer mat in an English Pub.

The place was absolutely stuffed to the rafters with the world's intellectual humanity. Behind us, a group of South American students were having a deep discussion about the culture of Sao Paulo. To the side, a dozen Chinese people chatted about the Science Fair and the lecture they had just attended. A middle aged bloke in a panama hat and a crumpled linen suit ambled into the courtyard and greeted a couple of friends smoking roll-ups.

"Hey man, how's it hanging?"...

To be honest, I think his mate was past caring how anything was hanging...

It's funny, but not one person talked about football - especially as the biggest game of the season was happening in the north west as we drank.

We strolled around the back street medieval lanes and ginnels. It sort of reminded me of Venice - you turn a corner and in an instant you've gone back in time 500 years. I was brought back to the 21st century by my Jerusalem ring tone.

It was my youngest Son telling us that Liverpool had just spanked United, 4-1.

Like I said, perfect day.

Overheard in our local last week...

Man to new Landlord - "So what's happening this St Patrick's Day then?"

Landlord to man - "Bugger all".

"What do you mean, 'bugger all'?"

"I mean, bugger all is happening here on St Patrick's Day. No stupid floppy big green foam hats, no stick-on beards, no blow-up Shillelaghs, no special Guinness promos - nothing."

"But why? Why aren't you celebrating St Paddy's Day then?"

"Because I am not Irish. Because I don't live in Ireland. Because this pub is not in Ireland."

"But you must! Last year, it was wall-to-wall green and white, the 'craic' was all over the place and everyone got pissed on Guinness and felt all lovely and Irish for the day."

"Not this year they won't - at least not in my pub."

"Well that's a bit of a shame - I mean, it's traditional isn't it..... to celebrate the saint's day?"

"That's right. And that's what we're doing on 23rd April."

"Ohhhhh right. St George's Day......Hmmmm. Isn't that a bit, you know......"

"No it isn't. Not at all. On St George's Day, we will be having the biggest damned celebration of Englishness this pub has ever seen. English beers, English food, English Morris Dancers and English Folk Music. Why? Because I am English, I am proud to be English, I live in England - and this pub is situated in Lancashire, which is a county of England. So be sure to tell your friends!"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Compare and contrast....

It's great to see that the St George's Day event at Sandwell has been saved by the timely intervention of local businessman, Chris Kelly and his patriotic wallet.

To celebrate, my good friend Fred, a native Black countryman and English patriot sent this letter to the local wrags -

Dear Editor,
Declaration of interest, I am an Englishman and not a member of the BNP.

It is interesting to note the difference between the Stone Cross St Georges Day parade and Notting Hill Carnival. Both are run under Labour administrations.

Notting Hill Carnival:
An Ethnic Minority event.
3 murders, over 400 arrests. 190 offences involving violence, robbery and theft.
Over 400 injuries at one event and 94 people hospitalised. 2 shootings at one event.
Handguns, CS gas canisters and a stun gun confiscated before one event.

Public funding given.
Police costs £3,000,000!
£8.7 million pledged by London Development Agency and the Arts Council to provide a Notting Hill carnival Enterprise Centre!

Sandwell St Georges Day Parade.
An English Event.
Not one reported instance of any disruptive incident. One recognisable member of a rival party photographed walking quietly in the parade.

Public funding withdrawn. £10,000

Perhaps Sandwell Council would like to justify their actions.

Hey Jimmy, it's your round!...

Today, I shall be mostly trying to buy a couple of industrial sized off-licences in Berwick and Carlisle, stock them with bottles of ginger wine, nippy-sweeties, gallons of heavy and a favourite brand of super-strength lager. Because if this law is passed I dare say there'll be one hell of a marketing opportunity on our side of the borders....