Monthly Archives: March 2016

Bald Eagles

baldAt Christmas, I had all of my children staying, which was brilliant. I have four children, two by my first marriage and two by my second.

My older two were more interested in Donald Trump. They both live, or have lived, in the United States, and unsurprisingly think that Trump is absolutely ghastly. They were a little shocked by my suggestion that there was probably little to choose between Trump and Hillary Clinton. This is not to say, of course, that I approve of Donald Trump. He looks like, and very probably is, extraordinarily vulgar, a bigot, ill-informed, a rabble-rouser et cetera et cetera. But the thing is, he has hair. Bizarrely, the Americans do not elect people as president without hair. The last exception was Continue reading

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Romeo and Juliet are now Both Sex Offenders

randj

Romeo and Juliet would now both liable to lengthy prison sentences for sexual offences including “grooming”

Some months ago, young man and a young woman engaged in some snogging and even some heavy petting in his car in the North of England. It was entirely consensual; they had been exchanging messages about getting together.

Why, you might ask, is this normal if somewhat tawdry behaviour of any concern to any of us? The answer is that the intrusion of the heavy arm of the law on this occasion has proved to be hugely damaging, both the young man and the rest of us who pay tax.

The young woman in question was 15 years old, and for most of the population of most of Europe[1], the behaviour of this young couple would have been absolutely lawful; the pair of them could have snogged, heavily petted and bonked to their hearts content, so long as they were both willing. These sorts of interactions are very common; it seems that about a quarter of young English women first experience sexual Continue reading

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The Times is Not for Changing

timesSince arriving in Australia, I have used the BBC website as source of UK news.  It is annoying, of course, for its ridiculous proselytising about climate change and the endless ads which interrupt any video clip. And more recently for its Remainian bias.

And so I have subscribed to The Times, getting over my irrational annoyance about the paywall thing. It is fair enough to pay for good quality news.

Generally speaking, there is far more diversity of informed opinion in The Times than over at the BBC. But nevertheless, even The Thunderer is largely pervaded by the establishment view that the UK should not leave the EU.

There are pros and cons, of course.  It is really quite a complicated equation. But it is hard to ignore that Continue reading

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As flies to wanton boys…

marcusWhen I was married, I used to say that the greatest risk in my life was my beloved wife running off with the milkman. I did not think it would really happen of course. It was just the worst thing I could possibly imagine.

Well, she did run off, and will shortly be marrying her lover, who is (I understand) not a milkman but an architect.

My way of coping with pain is a sort of Marcus Aurelius thing. You just work on the basis that you are already Continue reading

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The EU referendum – a Matter of Religion

godAs I get older, more and more I find that a diverse range of interesting questions turn out, at root, to have a comparatively small repertoire of solutions. And time after time, it is religion that provides the answer.

I do not mean, of course, that I think that religion is any more than bunkum. I mean that when a large number of evidently intelligent people herd together to say or do something that is – or should be – self-evidently stupid, there is usually some mechanism work which organised religion has cottoned onto a long time ago and been exploiting ever since. If one can work out how organised religion has made people do something stupid, one is well on one’s way to understanding why people are doing something stupid now.

Before getting to the point of this particular blog, there are a couple of waypoints I need to establish Continue reading

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Operation Nightmare

illI have never been a great believer in private health insurance. Or any sort of insurance for that matter. Insurance companies are in business to make money. They have to collect much more in premiums than they pay out in benefits, not only to make a profit, but to pay for the vast administrative costs that are associated with collecting the premiums, and then meeting claims. Or more often, in my experience, employing lots of people to avoid having to meet claims.

And so, if you don’t pay health insurance premiums, then you are going to have more money to pay for medical bills. I appreciate, course, that if you’re really ill, then the medical bills might well be substantial, but then again, if you’re really ill then in the places where I have lived (the UK and Australia) there’s probably not much difference between the treatment you get whether or not you “go private”. And if you are really, really ill, then death will level out the playing field even more.

Besides, my grandmother used to have private health insurance, and she used to require medical attention on an absolutely prodigious scale, notwithstanding that was nothing wrong with her. There is no way that Continue reading

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Country Living V

Some animals:

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Dead Masters

News-2015-06-26-young-michael-crop-500I have only just learned that Mike Young, who was housemaster of Pennell House whilst I was at Wargrave House at Eastbourne College, died last year.

Well, it hardly surprsing that these guys die in the end.

Mike Young was not really supposed to be teaching me anything much, but contrary to the prevailing rules, I spent some in his house rather than in my own because it was a lot more civilised, and I had friends there.

Mike Young was a friend in the rather harsh environment of a 1960s public school.  He persuaded me that it was OK for me to spend my time reading pretty much all of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky while I was supposed to be Continue reading

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