Friday, 12 April 2013


Schopenhauer and Freud have been putting it about that I am suffering from Hedgehog's Dilemma, according to an American reader.
He explains that hedgehogs want to get close to one another in order to share heat during cold weather. They must remain apart, however, as they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp spines. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur for reasons they cannot avoid.

The hedgehog's dilemma suggests that despite goodwill, human intimacy cannot occur without substantial mutual harm, and what results is cautious behavior and weak relationships.
Now I have nothing against hedgehogs but I have  enough to worry about with Wandering Leg Syndrome. I cannot start worrying about prickle pelts.

It's all very well you sitting on your ivory clouds, strumming your harps and bad mouthing people you have never even met. You don't know what I have to put up with. No wonder the prickles are out. Here is Duncan Smith boasting he could live on £53 a week. In the late fifties with two children my weekly income was £4.50, the fee for a Saturday shift on the News of the World at a time when the average wage was three times that. I still carry the marks.

Anyone can live a week on very little. Hell is having to do it week after week, year after year.
Why should our poor have to struggle, even if some are playing the system?  In the last century there were 165 wars in which 180 million people were killed. That spectacular massacre did not come cheap. It cost 350 billion dollars. If our governments are happy to spend that amount of money to kill perfect strangers, why should we be loath to spend a fraction of that to keep our own people alive?

The experience of poverty turned me into a spendthrift. I have owned hunters, a race horse, bloodhounds, flash cars, and lived in a succession of manor houses enjoying the best of food and wine. Looking back, it was all a compensation for the lean years when I only ate three times a week on the days when we lunched on Liverpool liners interviewing the passengers. Nowadays I live off tablets. Dell, Samsung, Chrome, Apple, Nexus and now Acer. I mainline computers. They don't stay because I can never make them work.
This week I have tried a Samsung Chrome and an Acer 500 conia tab.

I was sad to see the Samsung go for a refund but I had already spent the money on the Acer. For an anxious morning not only could I not get the Acer to work, I couldn't even open it and I couldn't find the instructions. Nowadays they don't bother to enclose them. You get them online, which is fine until you try it. I made phone call after phone call, chased down a tangled net of networks. The offers proliferated. I have forgotten how many times my computer has been compulsorily cleaned. Time and again I was randomly chosen to compete for an Ipad or Smart phone free. The last things I wanted. Blindly I had surveys pushed at me by the bushel. Invariably being told the prize was within my grasp. Only three more questions and then the message that the results had been sent to your mobile phone. I do not have a mobile phone, God be praised.

Salvation came through new friends on Facebook. One gave me the email number of free downloads of manuals; another suggested ringing a knowledgeable friend. The knowledgeable friend told me that if I wanted it to work I had to charge the battery.

Looking back over that stable of costly cars reminded me that the only totally reliable car I
have ever owned was a Lada. The Lada forbye was the butt of a million jokes. At the time, although I am not a conspiracy theorist, it was obvious that rival car manufacturers had hired a scriptwriter to flood the market with anti-Lada jokes.

I believe the same thing happened with Lady Thatcher. Nothing she did was as disastrous as Brown's destruction of the economy or Blair's introduction of new legislation every quarter of an hour, but she became a cheap vehicle for cruel jokes. Presumably that is why the feral young who weren't even alive in her day, fired by the media, held parties to celebrate her death.

I was not a fan. To be a fan of a politician argues a feeble mind. The Channel Tunnel was an idea born in a late night carousing on the Paris Embassy's whisky; the Falklands were a clumsy error; the Poll tax was designed to be a vote killer; and she typified a certain type of Tory Lady, all blue rinse and hats that were artificial orchards. But let the dead lie in peace.