Saturday, 26 November 2011


Humiliations abound with age. This week I had a dementia test. It was just a test of memory, though it happened on Wednesday and I have forgotten what it involved. I do remember that I am halfway to dementia which conjures up a life in a strait jacket lived in a padded cell. Not for the first time I was struck with the terrible power of words and how they are linguistic chameleons able to dilute and intensify their power at will.

What is now ”dementia“ was once a chummy “hard of hearing”. I used to have depressions which are now the more sinister Bi-Polar episodes. Four letter obscenities and less unpleasant oaths are now part of the lingua franca and often used in newspaper comments and are indispensable in plays. If I used the word “nigger” in any medium I would be sacked. Yet in my youth it was the name of a river which gave its name to a country. I remember the affection in which the Nigger Minstrels and the gollywog were held. I always shared my bed with Teddy and a gollywog. Now the teddy reigns alone.


The news that the TUC is launching a pop song urging people to strike adds a new dimension of horror to our troubled Economic Times. What use will it be? I would suggest if you added together all the lyrics of pop songs performed over the past twenty years you would have difficulty assembling a coherent sentence.

Truly the world of pop entertainment is a jungle. The heartless elimination of Bleakley and Chiles from the “Daybreak” programme a year after they had been lured from “The One Show” is alarming. Their failure in the programme after their success in “The One Show”, a success which is being reaped by their successors, should lead ITV to think that the fault lies not in their stars but in themselves. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Widow devastated to find 'mound of mud' in place of memorial

Even cross bearing name of Second World War mechanic was taken away

Authority acted because records showed grave had not been paid for

But family claim it was bought by funeral directors 23 years ago


Council workers have left a family distraught after stripping a war hero's grave bare in a row over who owns the plot.

Widow Judy Collins, 72, found decorations had been removed when she turned up to pay her respects.

In place of her late husband Harry's memorial was a mound of mud, she claimed.



Let's be honest, Irish schools would probably be well advised to drop Irish classes completely and instead simply replace them with German language lessons.

After all, when you consider that one of Angela Merkel's aides sneered to David Cameron last week that "soon all of Europe will be speaking German", you can see what they have planned for us.

Sure, they may have lost two world wars, as the English never tire of telling them. But this time they have managed to conquer Europe and effectively colonise it without having to fire a single shot.

It seems that after years of them behaving nicely and being rather apologetic about that whole bit of bother between 1939-45, they have now decided that, given their current pre-eminent status on this continent, that they're not going to apologise forever.

That can be the only conclusion drawn from the latest war-related story to do with that country.

As you may know, those super-fun happy Germans had an unfortunate habit of importing hundreds of thousands of slave labourers from countries they had occupied, and one of the worst-affected victims was Belgium.

About 200,000 Belgian men were kidnapped from their own country and brought to work at places like Nordhausen, where the V2 project was based but, after long negotiations between the two countries, Germany finally agreed in 2005 to pay the surviving slaves a lump sum and a pension.

And now they want to tax it.

As the furious Belgian finance minister says: "It is shocking that people who, during World War II, were forced to work by the Nazis have now received tax demands related to the compensation they received."

He then went on to describe the move as "incredibly insensitive".

An insensitive German?

My God, who ever heard of such a thing?

Ian O’Doherty


A leading Welsh nationalist has called for the principality’s national daily newspaper to be taken into public ownership. Bethan Jenkins, who sits for Plaid Cymru in the Welsh Assembly, said radical measures were needed to save The Western Mail from decline. Writing on an independent Welsh news website, she said the Assembly government should nationalise the paper before handing it over to a not-for-profit company run by journalists. Its current owners, Trinity Mirror, told the BBC they were “not going to dignify this with a comment.” The call follows the announcement this week of a further 14 job losses at TM’s Cardiff-based Media Wales operation which includes the Western Mail.