Friday, 25 January 2013


Now that the Devil has retired, his work on earth accomplished, who are we to blame when things are still going wrong by the hour?

The smart money seems to be on Lady T. True, she behaved like a prime minister, a mistake made by few called to that high office. I suppose it was her Falklands Moment that made me doubt her. You may recall, she sent ill-equipped troops, in borrowed troop ships, to an unnecessary war, defending the right to be British of islanders from whom British passports had been withdrawn. We were to recapture a land owned by British Coalite, fighting an enemy led by officers trained in Sandhurst and using armaments largely bought from us. The error was compounded when we celebrated our victory by immediately putting Goose Green up for sale.
Three centuries ago, wiser views prevailed. In the 18th century Dr Johnson said of the Falklands:

“A bleak and gloomy solitude, an island, thrown aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren in summer; an island, which not even the southern savages have dignified with habitation; where a garrison must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy the exiles of Siberia; of which the expense will be perpetual, and the use only occasional.”

Alas, Lady T started a fashion, irresistible to those who succeeded her. Blair, and now Camerloon, saw her transformed from Alan Clarke’s erotic dream into a victorious Nelson, empty blouse sleeve pinned to her bosom, metaphoric eye shield and all.

So they both had to have a Thatcher Moment. In Blair’s case, two; whereas The Camerloon is taking on the whole of Africa in days when he has reduced the size of the army to platoon strength. He has form. He did the same in Afghanistan. To go for the treble he will have to send the Lone Ranger. Though I suppose there is still the Army Cadet Force. It is coming to something when I have to admit the only branch of the Establishment left to admire is the Royal Family, though even there Prince Hal is in trouble for killing the enemy. The first, and clearly identical, Prince Hal was written about by Shakespeare. This brave successor’s chronicle appears in discredited tabloids.


“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver.”

-      Thomas Paine. Common Sense


The Vaportini website refers to blood alcohol tests still detecting the alcohol but doesn't mention breathalysers. I performed a little more research and it seems that the breathalyser test works because the blood stream through the lungs is so close to the surface of the lungs (for oxygenation purposes) that it acts to increase the amount of alcohol in the air in your lungs. In short, that which you blow into the tube is a strong indicator of your blood alcohol content. The Vaportini won't circumvent (vent - geddit?) this. However the alcohol taken in via a Vaportini does get into your blood more quickly and maybe it can be processed by one's organs more quickly. It's almost certain that the time between first imbibing and passing a test is shorter with a Vaportini, however the time between finishing your drinking and passing your test may not be. I think the best way to test this theory is empirically. 

“If only I applied myself to banking in the same way I do to theoretical and practical application of alcohol theory maybe we wouldn't all be stony broke.” 

Blocks and chips spring to mind. In the army when we were down to our last shilling to finance a night out we would spend it on a pint of beer, empty a box of matches on the floor, drink the beer, bottoms up, then bend down and pick up the matches one by one. Worked every time. The more rich and fastidious would empty a glass of whisky, roll the emptied glass in their warm hands releasing the film of whisky on the wall of the glass in sufficient quantity to pour into the beer.

One group in my regiment went further. Detailed to guard a flying bomb site, they drank the flying bomb fuel. Chewing Duraglit and drinking Brasso was widely practised. God, I could do with a snatch of Duraglit now. 


Definitely the read of the week.

The year is 1967.

Charles Ritter is an ordinary journalist, filing everyday stories. On an assignment in Ireland, an elderly German doctor helps him with his migraines.

But Doctor Theodore Morell is not what he appears. He is a man with a past - and a man with a secret. He was Hitler's personal physician during the last days of the war. From his bunker in Berlin, Hitler masterminded one final conspiracy. And Ritter is about to find out how World War Two really ended. But as he gets closer to the shattering truth, the intelligence agencies of three great powers are alerted to his pursuit of the story.
So far as they are concerned, Hitler met his death in 1945. And anyone who thinks otherwise must be eliminated. 

'Hitler: The Last Conspiracy' is a blockbuster thriller that is meticulously researched and brilliantly told. It is perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Harris and Robert Ludlum.

'A ripping yarn.' -- Sunderland Echo. 'An entertaining yarn, filled with vivid characters. And the finale is intriguing.'  Yorkshire Post. 'Most thought-provoking novel of the year. Truly sensational.' - Northern Echo

The author Revel Barker started writing for newspapers while still at school and joined the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds before becoming the youngest reporter ever employed by the Daily Mirror. As a reporter, defence correspondent, foreign editor, and managing editor he travelled the world, gaining first-hand experience of many of the situations and meeting many of the people described in 'Hitler: The Last Conspiracy'.
He now lives on an island in the Mediterranean, and is also the author of the best-selling 'The Mayor of Montebello'. ‘Hitler’ is published by Endeavour Press, the UK's leading independent digital publisher.

PRAT OF THE WEEK of the Week.
Michael George Bichard, Baron Bichard, KGB,A former benefits chief  sits on a quango looking at demographic changes and their impact on public services.He has said that retired people should do community work or face losing part of their pension so as not to be a burden on the state.Pensioners have paid in for their pensions in good faith, having been told that National Insurance would give them a good pension. People have contributed for their pensions and it is their pension. It is not for the government to use as a carrot or a stick. During good times, the government should have built up a pension reserve rather than used pension funds for funding vanity projects like the millennium dome so that state pensions were not the giant Ponzi scheme they are now.

Lord Bichard also needs reminding that community service is a judicial sanction judges can give criminals. Is being a pensioner therefore, going to be a criminal act in his brave new world?
His lordship is setting a perfect example At the ripe old age of 54 he retired from the Civil Service in May 2001 with a pension of £120,000 p.a.! (Index Linked)