Saturday, 14 April 2012


I will be 83 shortly and too near the swinging of the Pearly Gates to ‘scape bruising. Yet I remain convinced the Creator is unknowable and that mankind invented gods to explain climate change. In earliest Peru, in Greece, even in cynical Rome, gods wielded forked lightning, evoked thunder, inspired tsunamis and started wars. The sudden rush of more sophisticated religions in 5 BC used fairy tales as a way of upholding tribal discipline. That said I stand at the barricades shoulder to shoulder with a former Archbishop of Canterbury defending the right of Xtians to wear the cross, the symbol of their belief, and for their right to talk and behave towards Muslims and Homosexuals as freely as they behave towards us. Even though I have little wonder that religion is losing its grip in the Western world when it continues to rely on myth.

In the less sophisticated East discipline is rewarded with gifts of spectral virgins. Or a handful of nuts - for vegetarians presumably. Yet even here the grip is loosening on all but the Wahabi-inspired zealots. In his book “Shadow of the Sword. The Battle for the Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World“ I read that historian Tim Holland disputes the Muslim belief that the Koran is literally the word of God handed down to Muhammad. He points out the Koran existed many years before the Prophet’s birth but the edition which has become the global version, he argues, was published as recently as 1924.
Nor does he believe Mecca was the place where Muhammad was born. Multiple references to cattle and olive trees which would not flourish in such a dry place suggest a site further north.
The most heartening aspect of this inquiry is that Omar Bakri Muhammad, the Muslimist who threatened the West with 9/11 every day, commented on the book:
“People are entitled to write the books they like as long as they do not insult the honour of the prophet... He can say he does not believe or even that the prophet does not exist and Muslims will just laugh. It’s all in the scriptures.”
Not all religions take such a relaxed view. A devout Jew Peter Beinhart has published “The Crisis of Zionism “in which he warns Israel will have to decide whether to be a Jewish state or a democracy.” Its occupation of the West Bank and aggressive settlement building there means that Israel is two countries”, he writes, “a democratic one in the West where Arab and Israeli citizens can vote and move easily as near equals, and a non-democratic one on the West Bank where Palestinians are cut out of any democratic governance “.
This fairly obvious statement has produced a vitriolic response from the Zionist establishment. Beinhart is accused of being one-sided, part of a privileged elite, and haughty. The Head of the Anti- Defamation League Abraham Foxman claims that a boycott of the West Bank will only worsen the anti Israeli campaign round the world which Beinhart opposes.
The Ferret runs a pretty tight ship. If called on she would water our garden with a teaspoon. She would not accept that my infirmities give me freedom of the hosepipe.
So hotly was my position attacked that it forced itself into my dreams. I dreamt I had rung Anglian Water for confirmation of the Blue Badge exemption. No sooner had I put down the phone that it rang again. A lady with a most beguiling accent announced she was from Wasser-Deutsch. She said she was sending me a four page questionnaire to assess my need. She then went on to list the questions in great detail and warned me of the consequences of not answering fully and truthfully within seven days. I have long accepted that Germany won World War 2 so I was anxious that I should comply. Most of the questions I could answer but I was worried about the ones that required me to stand in the first available water and measure how far it came up my leg. Ours is not to reason why but just to say “Heil“ and comply instantly. But I was in bed in my nightshirt. How could I answer the question truthfully? It would be difficult enough to fill in the form when I had only blankets on which to rest it. And what of the water test? Am I to stand in water in my bedroom? And if I found any within the seven days allowed for the return of the form do I raise my nightshirt higher than modesty permits to measure against bare skin or would the nightshirt perform an adequate platform against which to measure?
So powerful was my dilemma that I woke convinced that the phone call had happened and lay for several tense minutes worrying until it struck me that I was arguing at a time of drought. Why would I need to stand in water?
Bloody Krauts, I said, and went to stand in the shower with a curious elation that I had beat the Germans at their own game and would fill in the form satirically. I just hope that won’t bring the Gestapo knocking on my door. But would they be permitted to use the Water Torture a teaspoon at a time?


Were she still living, my mother would have been 111 on March 10. I scoured the papers, listened to all the bulletins - not a single mention of my old lady.
So why have the media showered us with films and stories about the Titanic, an unsinkable ship that went down on its maiden voyage? Why ever would we want to be reminded of poor seamanship and a shipbuilding failure?

“Philanthropists aren’t going to give money if they are not offered incentives”- multi millionaire on R4.
Actually contemporary philanthropists give with agenda. They reduce their tax bill by their gift. A true philanthropist does not look for incentives. He gives part of his income AFTER tax.

A panel set up to expose health and safety farces was facing ridicule last night after it failed to come to a decision on the seagull in the pond case – and said it could be five days before it did.
The Myth Busters Challenge Panel could not decide whether 25 firemen being told they could not wade into shallow water to save the bird constituted a misinterpretation of the rules.
The Daily Mail contacted the panel at 3pm. But despite being given a whole afternoon to mull it over and it being only the fifth inquiry since the panel’s launch a day before, it failed to give an answer.
Instead the body sent a weak assurance at 6pm that their experts would ‘consider’ the case – and later added that it could be a full five days before they came to a ruling on the matter.
Myth Busters said: ‘We are grateful to have this incident referred to us and will now check the facts of the situation, including if and why that number of firefighters were called to rescue one bird.
‘The Challenge Panel will consider it and give a view. Last night, the panel, set up by the Health and Safety Executive watchdog, was labelled a waste of space’ after failing to reach a decision on a case which was condemned widely as a farce.Each case is considered via the HSE website’s complaints page, by the panel members with the most relevant knowledge.But none of the cases presented to the panel since its launch have so far been resolved.
Churchill used his mother shamelessly to advance his career. This unattractive trait provoked this , from his friend Lloyd George; “Churchill would use his mother’s skin for a drumhead to beat and sound his praises.”