Friday, 31 December 2010



.......... And God spoke unto Adam and He said, "Why does it take you so long to come to the phone?"

Adam said: "Have you seen the size of this garden? Also I wish you would have a word with that angel you sent with a blazing sword. I've got scorch marks on the dahlias and the heat is bringing on the chrysanths too early..."

God said: "The angel is Security and outside my remit. But there has obviously been a mistake.
He shouldn't be there till apple picking... "

"I wanted Dobermans,” He continued, “but Finance estimate an overall saving with flames that is very impressive. It's something they picked up from the Competition.

“We are working on garden staffing levels. Research and Development were going to let you invent the plough, then we planned electricity, which I personally am very excited about and cannot wait to
create Faraday."

Adam said: "Talk is cheap. When do I get to invent the plough?”

God said: "R and D have come up with this new concept. Run it up the tree trunk and see if it flaps."

Adam said: "God, sometimes you say things which are a mystery to me..."

God said: "Goes with the territory. But about this R and D idea. It will do the gardening; it's an
entertainment concept and does home nursing.

“R and D are working on a modem called sex which completely does away with the spare rib method I originally planned. It will need a User Manual. I'm thinking of calling it the Ten Commandments."

Adam said: "Does this machine have a name?"

God said: "What's in a name, as Shakespeare is going to say. We were going to call it a slave and then a skivvy but Marketing said names like that give off the wrong vibes, consumerwise. So what we finally came up with was Woman. What takes the Woe out of Man - Woman. Neat,eh?
Copywriting and Graphics reckon we could achieve a 98 per cent penetration of A and AB markets."

Adam said: "I want an assurance from management that this woman machine will never be programmed to take executive decisions..."

And God spoke and He said: "Thursday already? I have to go. I have two days' creating before my rest day..."

And He rang off. It was only later when Eve harvested the apples and there was this Leak from
Head Office about relocation that Adam remembered he had been given no guarantees about negative parity for the woman machine. And Adam was sore afraid.

Meanwhile, a very cross mass of people, 14 million of them, travelled and marked up £25 million on credit cards, spent £14,000 a second in Christmas shopping, tried to see the logic, as they shivered on draughty platforms or icy trains, of BR's boast it had improved its efficiency by cutting its services by a quarter. Nor was there much comfort to millions of land-bound air passengers when the head of BAA refused to take his efficiency bonus. He should have given his salary back.

I am convinced that we are witnessing the final collapse of Western Civilisation and not surprised that, according to The Guardian, things can only get worse.
The report predicts severe disruptions will become common at UK airports, which will become vulnerable to the changing climate. The Met Office could not forecast getting wet in a downpour. Britons might have to get used to power blackouts and disrupted travel plans as the country struggles to cope with the long-term effects of climate change, a report for the government has warned. Consumers will have to learn they cannot expect cheap heating and lighting and to go where or when they want as floods, rising temperatures and higher sea levels threaten the UK's road, rail, water and energy networks, it says. If that warning was not sombre enough in a month when air, rail and road travel has been badly hit by the weather, mighty storms and changes in wind direction could threaten some of the country's busiest ports and airports. That would mean the abandonment of coastal docks and increasing pressure for the building of new runways throughout southern Britain.
The transport system has failed; education is a bad joke; the lethal police dismisseth us; parliament is a nest of quarrelsome backbiters and thieves. We fight unnecessary wars; we give millions to other countries whilst denying our own needy all but the necessities of life; we cannot afford to offer our talented young free education. Our culture is an embarrassment: the music has no essence, the paintings are a mockery, poetry is copywriting. It is the bankers not the crooks who wear the black masks, symptoms of a social structure that has collapsed..
What is it we are celebrating between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night? Only twelve per cent of Britons practise Christianity. Christ's Mass? By any reliable computation the man we call Christ was born in September, 4 A.D. Tax collection in an agrarian society in the darkest days of winter when nothing grows would have been counter productive. A wise teacher has been obscured by conjuring tricks and tacky illusions.
There is no room for gods in my life. They are phantasmagorias created by frightened people to defend themselves in the dark which surrounds them. We are our own immortality, there is no death, life is endless. If Christ were to return no doubt he would be accompanied by hobbits and schoolboys with magical powers.
I do not do reverence but I am very strong on awe. I am gripped by it at the thought of the flower crouched in a tiny seed and the magic of creation. According to Freud, Moses was the exiled priest of a disgraced Pharaoh who tried to make the Egyptians abandon their many gods. Heeding his teaching, the Israelis abandoned Jahveh and Baal and worshipped only the sun, the creative spirit made manifest.
Perversely I believe in Christmas as a precious thing. But it is Christmas Past when I wore clean pyjamas, still warm from the iron, on Christmas Eve and woke on Christmas morning to feel a weight on my feet of a pillowcase filled with toys. It is the memory of the Christmas when I crept downstairs to find my father surrounded by my toys, saying tipsily: ”Father Christmas was too drunk to climb the stairs”; of Christmas dinner when he was flown with wine and impertinence.
Those Christmases lie crushed under the weight of a twelve-day sales promotion by the markets. Their symbols are from past advertising campaigns. Twelve days last for two months. In our family we have separate Christmases for two of our children and the in-laws; the third child in Verona we meet by Skype. For the three days of Christmas, my wife, the dog and I close our front door on the world. Christmas begins with fish and chips to the sound of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Correlli's Christmas music; we watch the Gondoliers performed by an Australian G and S Company, far better than D'Oyly Carte. We listen later to the carols from down the road at King's College, Cambridge. We watch videos of the Nutcracker Ballet, the classic Dickens' films of the Fifties, I take a little wine for my stomach's sake and we have the neighbours in for a drink after Boxing Day. As a special treat this year a TV network called Horse and Hound showed films of Drag Hunts.

Other religions have a rather different view of Christmas. A 'banned Islamic hate group', Islam4UK, planned to put up 'thousands' of billboards around the UK. They claim that Christmas is the reason for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity, crime, paedophilia, domestic violence (and that is not the complete list). The organizers hope to 'destroy Christmas' with this campaign.
The spirit of Christian Christmas is a little tattered. I cannot believe that my favourite paper, The Daily Telegraph, would send a pair of pretty reporters to encourage Cabinet ministers to badmouth the Government. It is mischief making of the worst kind. Its only effect will be to discourage MPs from talking frankly to their own constituents, almost the only role in which they are any use. There is an even more serious possibility for the journalists concerned and for their newspaper. According to David Howarth, a former shadow solicitor general and Lib Dem MP for Cambridge between 2005 and 2010, the criminal law Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to dishonestly make a false representation with the intention of putting someone at risk of pecuniary loss or with the intention of making a pecuniary gain for another.
My wife has a busy social calendar. I have not left the house since the first snowflake fell and will only come out with the snowdrops. Let us hope that this bright New Year I will make only one more resolution. Having heard from the father of a wounded soldier of the lengths Prince Charles and Camilla go to bring comfort to soldiers wounded in Afghanistan (every one of whom gets a bottle of Scotch and several visits from the couple), this column will never again be rude about the Royal Family.


Among my Christmas gifts this year was a splendid cap made from genuine hallmarked Harris Tweed. Harris is all but impossible to buy in this country since some evil Yorkshireman bought out the crofters, and the only mill on Harris, and standardised their wonderful setts into a few lacklustre designs. The cap was made in China. As was every one of the gifts we were given, including a Kindle reader. Next year I expect that Santa will be wearing Mandarin moustaches and riding a junk pulled by six red-breathed dragons.