Saturday, 30 May 2009


I blame Io, the daughter of Inachos, the King of of Argos. If she had not been putting it about on the beach in Helas a few thousand years ago, she would never have been kidnapped by Phoenician traders and the long war between East and West, which we are about to lose, would never have happened.
The Father of History ,Herodotus, who could have walked onto a job on the Daily Mirror, reckoned it was all a put up job. He reckoned she was pregnant by a Phoenician ship's captain and daren't tell her father. A generation later, a bunch of Greeks on a booze cruise used the kidnapping as an excuse and kidnapped Europa, the daughter of the Phoenician king of Tyre. When they got away with this, some other Greeks took a ship of war to Ae, a city of Colchis, where they carried off Medea, another king's daughter.
In the view of the Asians, this business of the ship of war was over reaction and that is when the brown stuff hit the fan. Up to this, according to Herodotus, the Asiatics weren't all that bothered about the loss of kings' daughters. They were, after all, only women and in Asia the glass ceiling was about ankle high. As Herodotus puts it: “To make a stir about the carrying off, argued a man was a fool. Men of sense make nothing of such things since it is plain that without their own consent they (women) would never be forced away.”
When Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, thought he would like a slice of Helen, why not? The Asians had not made a fuss when the Greeks stole their princesses. When the Greeks got so upset at the hijacking of Helen and raised an army and destroyed the kingdom of Troy, the Asians took a very dim view and things have never been right since.
Nevertheless, things were pretty quiet until the West demonstrated the truth of Machiavelli's tutorial “The Prince”, in which he said the best way to unite people behind you is to invent an enemy. A device which Bush and Blair were to use to great effect.
Faced with a warring ASBO aristocracy, in 1095 Pope Urban II invented an enemy they could fight to their hearts' content, the Saracens. . The Crusades were quite unnecessary. The Arabs had never prevented Christian pilgrims from visiting the Holy Land. They being very big in the tourist trade. In Western eyes, it was, nevertheless, an opportunity not to be missed for rapine and slaughter.
By the 19th century when Palmerston ruled out invading the Ottoman Empire because it was a buffer between Russia and India; and thanks to a number of eccentric English men and women Arabists, the stock of Englishmen was never higher in Arab lands.
Then Lloyd George and his merry men cheated the Arabs at the Versailles Congress of Peace that Passeth All Understanding. Compounding the evil done by handing their cousins, the Jews, the poisoned chalice and condemning them to a perpetual war with resentful neighbours. It was a shrewd move by Lloyd George, whose family legal firm's most lucrative clients were the Christian Zionists. From that day on it has been off at all meetings, as the bookies say.
If you lied to a neighbour and stole his back garden, your chances of a Christmas card from him would be limited. So everyone loses.
In the face of considerable competition from his colleagues, the most unpopular MP in Britain is the man who boasted his large house was often taken for Balmoral. A boast which would only impress those who have not seen Balmoral in all the tawdry glory of its Haberdashers' Gothic, where the curtains and the carpets are made from matching tartan. Thus demonstrating the deep inherited vulgarity of our monarchy, even greater than that on show in the stately homes of the aristocracy.
But I do have a small niggle over the Long Mea Culpa. As the tiresome litany of parliamentary greed unfolded, it struck me that journalists are the last people to criticise expenses fiddles.
Indeed, I wonder how many of us outraged Holier than Thous, given a Lewis's list and urged to use it, would not rush to the counters and come home laden with bulging shopping bags. I was often told in my newspaper days that I could not be given a further rise but I could make up my income on expenses. Indeed, on the Mirror News Desk we had charge of a “Lolly Box” filled with bank notes, ostensibly to provide funds in emergency. Actually it provided ready cash to go to the pub with; and the size of one's expenses was determined by the amount of money one had borrowed. The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our MPs, but in ourselves.
In Roman times the people enjoyed the humiliation of gladiators and the prospect of Christians being torn apart by lions. I wonder how many of the half a million new readers of the Daily Telegraph bought the paper to enjoy the humiliation of our venal tribunes? It is significant that the TV show which should be called “Britain Has No Talent” claims so many viewers. Never mind the truly dreadful acts. Watch the excitement of the audience at the public humiliation of those luckless entertainers. An MP turned the tables on an BBC interviewer when he asked how much SHE earned. The girl told him £92,000 a year. Which is not much less than I made in five years broadcasting three times a week to 26 million listeners worldwide.. Listeners to Feedback on Friday were not slow to point out that the BBC is also funded, as he was, by the taxpayer. Ought not some paper publish the salaries and expenses of broadcasters, they asked.
Nevertheless, I will be voting UKIP in the European elections. Not because I believe in them but because they are the only party that will even try to get us out of Europe. I will not be voting at all in the General Election. I have suggested that everyone fiddles their expenses if they think they can get away with it, but our MPs are something else. An idle bunch of greedy gossips; and three quarters of the legislation that is enslaving us comes straight from Brussels without a hint of protest.
Another reason I will not be giving my name to this charade is because they allowed the Iraq and Afghan debacles to happen, and I have just watched a You Tube tribute to the Scottish soldiers who gave their lives to boost politicians' vanity.
Readers have wondered why last week I was so rude about the nation's favourite, Stephen Fry. I object to the way he uses knowledge as a bicycle to demonstrate how well he rides. Listen to Libby Purves, who is humble from a position of superiority. Or Melvin Bragg. Andrew Marr on his R4 programme is another who interviews knowledgeably over a wide range of subjects from science, to literature, to politics, to philosophy. By unobtrusive questioning, they all demonstrate a wide knowledge without drawing attention to their undoubted cleverness.

SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN....................
From the Irish Independent
THE architect of a deal which will result in the taxpayer being hit with a bill of over €1bn for the compensation of child abuse victims last night said he had no regrets over the controversial arrangement.
Former Education Minister Dr Michael Woods said he did not believe that the Government could, or should, seek a renegotiation of the deal which allows the Catholic Church to escape 90pc of the cost of compensating victims.
The Government said that it will not seek renegotiation of the deal. Instead the taxpayer will be hit with the bill for compensation for the thousands of victims of systematic cruelty and abuse inflicted by members of religious orders.
The contribution of religious orders was capped at a once-off payment of €128m under an indemnity agreement overseen by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2002.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen expressed doubts about the Church contributing a greater sum.
A total of 32,000 people had been though the institutions, and "they weren't all abused, let's be frank about it," he added.
Meanwhile, Minister for Children Barry Andrews refused to agree that the Catholic Church should be told by the Government that it had a moral obligation to pay more.
He said the best legal advice available to the Government in 2002 was that they had no power to coerce the congregations to pay.
"If there is a moral obligation, then that is something that should be discharged by themselves," he argued.