Thursday, 10 March 2011


Until the advent of Diana the Huntress one would have hesitated to breed from the royal family. Earlier litters haveincluded two murderers, three bigamists, at least one barking madman (see History of the Court of England), a traitor, Prince Andrew the Salty,Duke of Pork and Prince Edward of sex known in an earlier incarnation as a tea boyto Lloyd Webber as Dockland Daisy. The Prince of Wales is too old to breed, though Camilla comes from sound stock with a good breeding record. I am a Monarchist solely because of the two young princes by Charles out of Diana. Doesn't always work. The darling Queen Mother, who many believe was the daughter of a Welsh maidservant (See Majesty by Judith Kelley), only threw off one decent foals though. I have the highest hopes of Prince William and the Middleton filly.
I am deeply worried about the country they will inherit after reading the Independent this week; This has become such an intermess that a world in which the internet suddenly goes down or is switched off is hard to imagine. The Hollywood-sized scenario reads like this: email, telephone and television services would go dark; media organisations become unable to gather and disseminate news; governments struggle to communicate emergency information; commerce grinds to a halt, shops run out of food; the transport system collapses and electricity supplies are severely disrupted. Within months, gangs of feral youths would take over the towns, cannibalising the weak and elderly, while citizens trembled behind barricaded doors. In Britain, apparently, there are two pieces of legislation which give the Government power to order the suspension of the internet and, in theory, bring about web Armageddon. The Civil Contingencies Act and the 2003 Communications Act can both be used to suspend internet services, either by ordering internet service providers (ISPs) to shut down their operations or by closing internet exchanges. Under the protocol of the Communications Act, the switch-flicking would be done by the Culture Secretary. In the eyes of the legislature, Jeremy Hunt is the man invested with the power to send us back to the dark ages. Not a particularly long journey. About as far back as Callaghan's Labour Govt. but it's nice to know we can accept with impunity China's kindly offer of a £50 million spy system for the Tube. Just as long as they show us the off switch.

The other thing that has bothered me this week is the Media jubilation at the recent misadventure of the SAS. wars. The Telegraph, which used to be known as the soldier's trade union, called the mission a humiliation. I loathe war because it is politics having a tantrum but I love service folk. I tried years ago to get my eldest daughter to join the Black Watch (RHR). Unfortunately the recruiting office across the road from our flat was closed, OR SO SHE SAID. I think an SAS man is the ultimate fighting machine but I don't expect him to win all the time. The French Foreign Legion has never won a battle in its history because it fights to the last man. What were the SAS to do in this case? The mission was to guard British diplomats - if that isn't an oxymoron - who were seeking contact with Libyan freedom fighters. A real diplomat, Christopher Meyer, wondered why they were there and why the diplomats didn't fly in to Benghazi airport. Crossed my mind, too.

Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill says he is "comfortable" with the club's financial situation, including debt and interest repayment levels. Mr Gill told a Commons committee hearing into football governance that net debt of £370m and annual interest of £45m was not hampering United. "We know it's there but it doesn't impact what we do," he said.

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