Attacking the Defence

CamoA significant issue, of course, in the run-up to the U.K.’s EU referendum is the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. This would be of concern to many voters, not only because Turkey is an Islamic state, but also because its relative poverty, compared with the UK, and its very substantial population. The principle of free movement of people is absolutely fundamental to the EU, and so the prospect of many tens of millions of Turkish people having the absolute right to move to the UK is, for many voters, and alarming one. Personally, I have found the Turks that I have met in the UK, and who I now occasionally meet on the international stage, absolutely charming, and I would not myself put this issue centre stage. There is no denying, however, that it is a political “hot potato”, and the Prime Minister David Cameron steamed in, claiming that one of his own ministers, Penny Mordaunt, was “absolutely wrong” on the topic. She is alleged to have said on the Andrew Marr Show that the UK would have no veto on Turkey joining the EU.

So I decided to look up the transcript. There was initially Continue reading

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The Huffington iPost



The Editor of The Huffington Post (HuffPo as Delingpole calls it) has posted this image of an editor’s meeting there:


The text for the post was:

Notice anything about this @HuffingtonPost editors meeting?

Well, obviously, apart from the observation that an all-female team is no more balanced than an all-male team (so no room for smugness), many have noticed the absence of any black people.  And all pretty much the same age. So a bad score for diversity there.

What strikes me is the ubiquity of those girly iPads.

I bumped into some American Continue reading

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Cows in the Rain

IMGP6278The cattle on the hill opposite my house are a regular and welcome sight.

Today, it is is pouring with rain. And windy. I am fine, because I am inside, and there is a nice big wood stove I can fire up whenever I like.

But what about the beasts opposite? Are they discomforted by the rain? Some of them are lying down? Is that like a sort of protest, like a bovine sit-in?

And why is there no single noun in the English language for these animals? We have a collective noun, of course – cattle. But what about just one of them? We have subsets – cow, bull, steer, ox, etc Continue reading


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We Want Paxo!

PaxoThere is not much I miss about living in England these days. Most of the good things – Marmite, The Times Crossword Puzzle, The News Quiz etc – can be had here in Australia, where it is warm and sunny.

But not BBC iPlayer.  I want to watch the Paxo Doco on the EU, but it is blocked for ip addresses outside the UK.  The BBC has even shut down VPN access.

Like many expatriates, I have paid a shedload of UK tax, not to mention many years of paying the BBC licence fee. Surely, there could be some sort of system whereby holders of a UK passport around the world could subscribe for a fee to BBC iPlayer?  There are some millions of us, and the income lost Continue reading


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U Suck?

BushThis image has been doing the rounds this week.  Perhaps I am being thick, but I do not understand it.

It is obviously an old fake from a decade ago, as others have noted. But this one is fake loaded onto fake, in that the name IG@davie_dave has been added. Why would anyone want to claim responsibility for such a lame old canard?

Why didn’t whoever did the photoshopping remove the shadow of the cord (as seen in the original image) from Bush’s tie?

Why put replace the original framed photograph with one of Tony Blair? Not Continue reading

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The Unity of Europe

DDayI was in South America last week, so had time for a bit of plane reading whilst flying over the Pacific.

A really good read is Holger Eckhertz’ collection of interviews with German soldiers who fought on 6th June 1944: D DAY Through German Eyes.

One of the recurrent themes was the resentment that was apparently common among these German soldiers of the English.  Not, surprisingly, for frying them to a crisp (often quite literally, with flame throwers and phosphorus bombs). They seemed to think that was fair enough. But because they felt that they had gone to good deal of trouble achieving – as they saw it – a United Europe, and just when they were busy fighting off the common enemy (the Russians) the English – instead of being good Europeans – were stabbing them in the back. This phrase – a United Europe – cropped up again and again.

Equally recurrent was their perception that the vast majority of the French among whom they had been living in Normandy were entirely on side with them (the Germans) and the Anglo-Saxon invasion by British, US and Canadian troops was violently unwelcome to the French. There were a few exceptions among Continue reading

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Eagles and more eagles

The eagles are getting closer these days.

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Mildly Droll: A Tale of Human Wrongs

ECHRThe Guardian has put up a skit in which, they say, “Patrick Stewart, Adrian Scarborough and Sarah Solemani expose the problems in the Conservative plan for a UK bill of rights.”

Well, no, actually.

The Guardian is the newspaper of choice for the Watermelons, and famous for its inability to spell. It is not famous for being funny. Except inasmuch as it is the butt of long-running jokes in Private Eye.

Human rights is one of those topics like UFOs, fairies and homoeopathy – it tends (with some noble exceptions) to be those people with the greatest interest in it that are the most misguided. It sounds good, of course.  But when it comes to the details, what one sees time and time again is that the protections of something like the European Convention on Human Rights are protections that are already present in a well-developed legal system like English law. And so, in the various “What has the ECHR done for us?” questions posed in the skit, it turns out that the answer is “Nothing useful at all”.  The gloss that it adds to the rights that were there all along is pretty much all bad news, harming the lives of citizens, not protecting them.

In short, the ECHR does a very poor job in areas where the English law had already done rather better. The skit is wrong on every Continue reading

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Hillsborough Baby Of Truth Thrown Out With The Bathwater Of Fudge

I posted a while ago about the Hillsborough Report, in which a panel set up by Liverpudlian Government Minister Andy Burnham[1] and chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, exonerated some Liverpool football fans.  These were the fans who in 1989 crushed to death 96 other Liverpool fans while trying to get into a football ground in Yorkshire to watch a football match that was just starting.  The finding was that the fans who did the crushing were not at all responsible for those deaths. It was all the fault of the police and other authorities.

map hillsboroughNow, in case you, dear reader, are American or otherwise a bit vague about English geography, I should explain that the north of England is divided by the Pennines, a range of hills which runs North-South. The Pennines are too hilly for anything much apart from a National Park.  On the West is Lancashire: the two big cities are Liverpool and Manchester. And on the East is Yorkshire, including York and Sheffield. There has been a bit of rivalry between them.  In 1455, for example, they went to war[2], and stayed at war for 30 years. Exact figures are hard to come by, but perhaps about 50,000 people were killed in that conflict[3]; it was ended, ironically, by a Welshman, Henry Tudor, at the Battle of Bosworth, who promptly got himself Continue reading

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Reprise time

It seems that Google has stopped lindexing my old posts, from my old site 2008 etc.  I do not blame them – it is probably rare that anyone looks at them. Well, especially so since Google do not index them any more.

So, just to confound the sytem, here they are. The images have not copied across, but if you really want to see them, they should be available by following the link above:

Robert Fenwick Elliott’s Blogging Diary Continue reading

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