Friday, 8 February 2013


Come death and welcome before sweet Camerloon makes homosexuality compulsory. Pink is not my colour so just show me a mortal coil and I’ll shuffle off it with alacrity.

Do not misunderstand me. I do not mind other people taking the veil and handbag route. When I was younger I was even more in favour because it reduced the competition for girls. I was never a participant, though when I was a pretty boy soldier in a skirt I had some narrow escapes. Thankfully the secret gardens where one hears the rustle of lustful springers are still terror incognita to me. Like Mrs Patrick Campbell, I don’t mind what others get up to, just so they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.

Goodness knows what she would say about the new all-in marriage vowers introduced by the House of Commons this week. I know not whether the Camerloons are coming but when he talks of fairness and equality I remember that when he first dipped a toe into the murky puddle of politics it was as a PR man.

There are between thirty and sixty unannounced gay members of the UK parliament, according to the Independent on Sunday.  

The ex-MP and brilliant columnist Mathew Parris is the 49th most influential gay person in the United Kingdom. I was surprised when he outed Lord Mandelson on Newsnight. Light dawned when subsequently I read in the Sunday Times Review that he and the naughty Lord had met to work out a strategy to make homosexuality respectable. Looking back, their success has been astonishing.

In August 2006 Parris entered into a civil partnership with  Julian Glover, special adviser to the government. He had been Camerloon’s chief speech writer but  lost that job when the prime minister was upstaged during the Olympic Games by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. It is believed to have been Glover who put the section claiming that gay marriage was Conservative policy into Camerloon's leadership speech to the Party Conference.

Much of the Parris-Mandleson achievement has been praiseworthy. In my lifetime one could have gone to prison for life for an act which now has government blessing.

On the other hand I live in dread of going to hospital. For 3,000 invalids it carried the death penalty.We can no longer send children into care for fear they will be abused. Our soldiers carry redundancy notices among the kit they take to war; we cannot afford aircraft for the carriers on which we have lavished billions; home care for the old and sick has been savagely cut; Michael Gove’s plan to scrap GCSEs has been dramatically shelved because of significant opposition from the Liberal Democrats. Has it been worth it? The inherited debt that brought us to our knees which the Government promised to wipe clean is increasing year by year.
Camerloon is proud of his success as a war leader, though members of his government point out that Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are sliding into anarchy.

At least we can leave Afghanistan having trounced the Taliban, though they may look on the millions of pounds worth of weaponry we are leaving behind as a consolation prize. The poppy harvest is blooming.
“The cost of corruption in Afghanistan rose sharply last year to 3.9bn US dollars, and half of all Afghans bribed public officials for services,” the UN said this week.The findings came despite repeated promises by President Hamid Karzai to clean up his government.

The report goes on "The international community has long expressed concern about corruption in Afghanistan because it reduces confidence in the Western-backed government. Donor nations also fear aid money could be diverted by corrupt officials or mismanaged."

But according to a survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan’s anti-corruption unit showed only slight improvement in curbing the common practice of paying bribes for public services in the country.

Major General Jonathan Shaw was Chief of Staff of UK Land Forces between 2007 and 2008. He joined the Parachute Regiment in 1981 and went on to serve in the Falklands, Kosovo and Iraq before joining the MoD. He wrote recently in the Independent:

Take but degree away, untune that string, and hark what discord follows.This Jacobean plea for stability should be ringing in our ears as we watch the latest manifestation of instability in the Middle East/North Africa (Mena), this time in Algeria. And while much of the Arab Spring was self-generated, current troubles in the Sahel owe a great deal to the Nato 'triumph' in assisting in the downfall of Gaddafi.

“In autumn 2010 I visited Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt before my post in International Security Policy at the MoD was scrapped as 'nothing ever happens in the Mena region' (I then moved  to a newly formed cyber security post).

“As I had found in a previous trip to Sudan, the greatest threat in the region came from the changing manifestation of Islamic observance, from locally attuned or Sufi to Salafism/Wahhabism. The cause was the spread of madrasahs built, staffed and indoctrinated by Saudi money and theology, a spread evident across Muslim North Africa and down the Indian Ocean coast from Somalia through Kenya to Tanzania.”

Generals are a great deal brighter than politicians nowadays.

Swings and roundabouts…At least it's going to be a great year for wedding cake bakers.