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U R NOT WTD – PLS GO HME!

By ATWadmin On March 7th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

So, Home Secretary John Reid’s big idea when it comes to "clamping down" (as if) on the deluge of immigrants is to…send ’em a TEXT MESSAGE reminding them not to overstay their welcome! Way to go, what genius. This government is a joke and John Reid’s Glasgow hard-man approach is risible. Is there anybody convinced by this stunt?

We Love the Welsh

By ATWadmin On March 1st, 2007 at 6:56 pm

In our ongoing debates about the unity of our country we tend to overlook the Welsh.  Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland there is no firm will of a declared minority to secede from the United Kingdom.  Due to its relative Unionist stability in comparison to the other areas of the ‘Celtic Fringe’ we often forget about the position of the principality in relation to the Union – a Union which, to we dedicated Unionists, is as worthless without Wales as it would be without Scotland or Ulster.

So, on this day, I’ll take the opportunity to wish our Welsh readers a happy St David’s Day.  Here are ten obscure facts about Wales you may not know:

  1. A Welshman (David Thomas) was responsible for the mid-19th Century American industrial might.
  2. America’s oldest ethnic society is Welsh (the Welsh Society of Philadelphia).
  3. The Mumbles to Swansea railway was the first in the world to charge fares to passengers.
  4. The town of Hay-on-Wye has the largest collection of second-hand bookshops in the world.
  5. The last British soldiers to die in WW1 was a Welshman (Richard Morgan).
  6. A cup kept in the vault of the mansion of Nant Eos near Aberystwyth is reputed to be the Holy Grail – brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimethia.
  7. The world’s first wireless transmission took place in Wales.
  8. Welsh immigrants began the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
  9. Lawn tennis was invented in Wales.
  10. The New York Times was founded by a Welsh American (George Jones). 

WISHFUL THINKING…

By ATWadmin On February 27th, 2007 at 7:21 am

I suppose the basic idea is fair enough. Immigrants should carry out community work before being granted UK citizenship, according to the UK Chancellor Gordon Brown. He is expected to tell a seminar on Britishness that the move would help new arrivals settle. Mr Brown’s comments follow his earlier call for all incomers to learn English, and for the UK to have its own day to celebrate its national identity. BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Brown sees citizenship as a two-way contract which could be revoked. The chancellor will tell his audience in London that obliging migrants to carry out community work would help introduce them to the people they will be living alongside. It would also demonstrate to the host community that new immigrants will contribute to society as a whole.

But how can people who speak no English and who wish to be separate from the host community fulfil such an obligation? And how will Brown enforce the idea that should immigrants fail to conform to the voluntary work idea lose their citizenship and be deported? And what exactly constitutes "voluntary work"? Then there is the rather pressing issue of those millions who have entered this country and who seek separation. What will Mr Brown do about them?

I don’t wish to seem uncharitable but this all rather smacks of closing the stable door AFTER the horse has bolted! What do you think?

only three quid? why not ten?

By ATWadmin On February 12th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

There is a world of difference, in attitude as well as in acceptability by my lights, between the dignified requests for donations from those such as the Salvation Army, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the Air Training Corps, and a multitude of other outfits whose volunteers give people the choice of stopping to make a donation, or passing by; and the latest scourge to hit our High Streets and side-streets. This epidemic goes by the collective name of Chugging, or to expand the term, Charity Mugging! This takes the form of sometimes a veritable mini-horde of ‘volunteers’, all dressed up in their silly T-shirts and ‘high-vis’ vests, who buttonhole everyone in their sightlines and proceed to badger them into signing up for a monthly ‘donation’ by direct debit, from their accounts to the Charity concerned.

What is not generally known, however, is the fact that these ‘volunteers’ are actually paid employees of a separate Company, itself contracted to the main Charity, to provide a new source of on-going revenue for the afore-mentioned Charitable concern! The activities of these ‘volunteers’ in ‘raising funds’ for Charitable causes without stating that the Company for which they work actually takes a healthy ‘rake-off’ from the money is approaching dishonesty! I have had to literally push past these clowns in order to make my way along a public footpath, and I do not appreciate having the Queen’s highway littered with pushy ‘highwaymen’, even if the only weapons they brandish are pens and a clipboard!

Who I give to, and what I give,  to Charity is my business, and I don’t appreciate the insinuation peddled by these young clowns that I am either mean, or nasty, or uncharitable if I don’t hand over my details and sign on their ‘dotted line’!

 

About Turn?

By ATWadmin On February 12th, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I was delighted to hear the the SDLP Mayor of Londonderry, Helen Quigley, has called for greater links to be established between Ulster’s second city and the capital.  The story is carried in the Derry (sic) Journal as the collective conclusion of a major gathering of business and community leaders from the Maiden City.  They attended a reception at London’s Guildhall where they said that, with Londonderry now only an hour’s flight from the capital, every effort should be made to capitalise on the effect the 2012 Olympics might have.  It was even mooted that Londonderry should perhaps become a satellite training base for Olympic teams.  Councillor Quigley said:

‘I think it is important that we have a relationship with the financial capital of the world. We need to maximize the potential that is there. This event is a wonderful opportunity to build relationships right across the four themes.  The two cities have a rich history and we should be using it’.

I can’t argue with that.  Every part of the country should be able to benefit from the economic powerhouse that is Europe’s largest metropolis and the world’s most important city.  What I do find a little strange is that the bedrock theme of this reception was the historical linkages between London and its Foyleside virtual namesake.  Yet, only a few months ago, we had the spectre of Quigley’s party teaming up with the IRA in an – ultimately futile – attempt to remove one of the principle manifestations of those ‘historical links’ – namely the official name of the city itself.  Alderman Sir Gavyn Arthur hailed the 400-year old special relationship between these two cities of the United Kingdom.  How ironic is it that a party so keen to airbrush the titular aspect of that link should now be shouting about ties in general from the rooftops?

Could this herald a new dawn by the less unpleasant brand of insurrectionists?  Who knows, the SDLP may, in time, drop the aspiration to ‘Irish’ unity as a cornerstone of its raison d’etre, and instead concentrate on something that IS actually possible.  We look on with interest.  Meanwhile, we who believe passionately in the Union should applaud Quigley for her new-found conversion to appreciating reality.

diggin’ the dancin’ queen!

By ATWadmin On January 31st, 2007 at 9:35 am

I watched a trailer for a t.v. programme which featured children ballroom dancers, and I wondered if I had somehow entered a parallel universe; one where the silly was normal, and the unbelievable was credible! Here were featured boys and girls aged somewhere between nine and thirteen, dressed as adults, twirling and revolving as though they understood the nature of the sexual element ever present in dance. Am I alone in my revulsion of the exploitation of innocence and the innocent; or am I just not ‘cool’?

The same pattern of parents pushing their children, whether it be in dance, as in the trailed show, or teeny beauty contests where the tragic JonBenet Ramsey held court before her murder, or sports such as tennis where pushy parents dredge their reluctant children from the depths where they hide, into the vicious spotlight of competition, just to fulfil their own failed aspirations! We see the children pushed into competitions for swimming and gymnastics; we even see attempts beam jump.jpgmade to hold back the onset of puberty because the body of a child is so much more ‘limber’ than an adult’s! We see the ‘winners’, but what about those who stand just outside the magic spotlit circle! The tension and the stress placed upon minors due to the peculiar pressures exerted by ambitious and adrenaline-addicted parents must be both immense and destroying!

There ought to be laws protecting children from parental abuse disguised as ambition; hang on a bit, there are such laws, it’s just that they’re never enforced!

 

INSTITUTIONAL INCOMPETENCY….

By ATWadmin On January 19th, 2007 at 2:02 pm

I laughed when I read a contrite Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt say that "in hindsight" ministers would have wanted to ensure that British GP’s doctors did not take so much out of their inflated contracts!  Unsurprisingly, the proportion of profits GPs take out of their practices has increased since the generous new contract started in 2004, pushing average pay well above £100,000.  In exchange for this higher pay, many GP’s have generously decided to stop working out of surgery hours and weekends. Hurrah!

So the tax-payer has to pay MORE for their higher salaries, and then MORE for the medical cover required for the hours that British GP’s just won’t do. Hewitt claims "no-one" could have foreseen that GP’s would have opted for more money and less hours. LOL! If you need to get a GP out of hours these days, as has been my experience in the past few years, it will most likely by some earnest Eastern European doctor, with AT  BEST pidgeon English and no knowledge of the patient. Still, Ms Hewitt is fond of telling us that our WONDERFUL NHS has never been better! Who’s kidding who?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

By ATWadmin On January 16th, 2007 at 8:35 am

UK.jpg

We try and cover many different issues here on ATW.  For me, there is no greater issue than the retention of the Union in ALL FOUR of its component parts.  Yes I have strong opinions on Europe, Islam, the protection of Israel, our ties with America and the Commonwealth, transport and the operation of the economy.  Nevertheless, each pales into insignificance when it comes to my conviction on the need to keep my country together as one functioning unit.

This, the 300th anniversary of the first Act of Union, should allow us to think about the UK and what it has achieved.  It once ruled the world and, as recently as the end of the First World War, was considered the only global superpower.  It created the largest Empire the world has ever seen and, in contrast to many other imperial ventures by our European neighbours, did far more good than ever it did harm to the countries which submitted to its control (whatever you may think about the principle of empire, that is a fact).  Today, there is nothing equivalent to the Commonwealth for the former conquests of France, Spain or the Netherlands.  Not only did the United Kingdom build much of the infrastructure in its imperial backyard, it also forged great and significant ties with countries never under its colonial stewardship.  The two best examples of this are Argentina and Chile, where the railways, roads, agriculture and naval strengths of those two countries were created and built by the British – not the Spanish.  Even as recently as the early 20th century, more people in Argentina spoke English and Italian than Spanish.

In the 21st Century, the UK is still a global player and is one of only 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council.  It is Europe’s (excluding Russia) foremost military power and has ties to the United States unequalled by any other country.  The importance of this alliance cannot be underestimated for anyone who has lived through WW2 or has seen the global ventures undertaken by ourselves and the Americans since that time.  The United Kingdom has given the world the English language, the business lingua franca.  Although Mandarin and, since 1999 Spanish, are spoken by more individuals than English, it is still the world’s most important language.  No less than 27% of the countries of the world have English as an official language and in others, such as Holland, Sweden and Denmark, English is understood by over 60% of the population.

Our United Kingdom has pioneered arts, modern music, legal institutions and inventions far out of proportion to its size.  It has given the world items from the lawn mower to the umbrella.  Britain remains one of the largest economies and has the most important city on the planet as its capital.  It is culturally, socially, emotionally and economically intertwined between its four components.  Unlike many other countries, the territorial unit did not come first.  Our country is a formal legal expression of the internal ties it has developed throughout history.  And it would be inevitably weaker as a result of losing even one of those parts.

Which brings me to the final part of this piece.  Our United Kingdom has been periodically under threat from Irish insurrection since 1921.  It has more recently been attacked by the petulant voices of Scottish and, to a lesser extent Welsh, separatism.  However, it has endured notwithstanding these attempts.  No opinion poll in Northern Ireland has ever even come close to suggesting that it requires a divorce from the Union.  If the results of this poll are to be believed, there is no similar desire amongst the three parts of the mainland, either.  So today, on this 300th birthday celebration, we raise our glasses to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (which is also the longest official name of any country in the world) and hope it survives for another 3 centuries.

UPDATE:  I found this article on the legal moves necessary to grant Scottish separation interesting. Contrary to Irish nationalist assertions, the exact same procedure would be necessary for Northern Ireland.  The ONLY difference between the two is that Parliament at Westminster is not compelled to hold a referendum on separation in the event of a nationalist majority in Scotland as it is in NI.  However, Parliament also has the legal and constitutional right to vote down the results of a NI referendum, as has the right of Dail Eireann to refuse the annexation of NI within its territorial remit.  Both decisions would be valid in international law.

define: british

By ATWadmin On January 12th, 2007 at 3:05 pm

It is because the British have lost pride in themselves that they conceive of British identity as membership in a mildly left-wing social democratic club devoted to abstract principles such as ”tolerance.” It is because they conceive of British identity in this neutral way that they have lost the ability to persuade others to assimilate to it. And because of that, discontented young jihadists murder people against whom they have no legitimate grievance.

Neither Blair nor New Labor understands this basic political fact. It runs up against all their natural political instincts. Unfortunately for the British, the other respectable political parties that used to understand these things, notably the Tories, have made a heroic effort to forget them. (‘Chicago Sun’, Dec 2006 – sorry ive just lost link, will add in later)

Its not all down to the government though. We do a good job ourselves. Even the Left’s grossly devisive policy of multi culturalism creating rifts – are acerbated by a general self loathing right across the board. The Right is as much to blame.  It isnt simply a mind of the political elite ‘to forget them’. Who would seriously want to try and stop the snow balling effect of self loathing Brits who enjoy indulging in Victor Meldrew syndrome quite unlike anything you see elsewhere? It’s a national sport we actually do excel at. On that note, the most banal but equally the most positive of role models gets short shrift from the British public even when he demonstrates himself working class made good. LOL.  What hope anyone else?!! If as an example I looked at Mikes America directly after the elections at the tail end of last year, rather than casting my eyes over an entirely glum piece, I saw an acknowledgement of what was wrong coupled with a set of proposals for how to challenge in the future.  Belief in America was never in question.  Likewise if you read any democrat sites in their constant struggle with their arch-nemesis Bush, belief in America is still never in question no matter how sold out they might feel they are. Their criticisms stem from a belief that their version of America is the preferred version.  Belief in the country lies at the heart of the issues. Taken to the extreme it even looks ridiculous to me. On a trip to the US a few years back without too money between us my friend and I ended up camping for part of the trip. On one site, up rolls some huge van, out drops Mr and Mrs America and the first thing they did was drive the Stars and Stripes into the ground right outside their van. We cracked up laughing it seemed so ‘unreal’.

untitled.bmp

I wonder if we are actually capable of criticising what’s wrong without running ourselves into the ground doing it. The French recognise a blip and define it. They call it ‘le declin’ and countless books are written worrying about it. They don’t embrace it as intrinsic to who they are.  

On the other hand – is this healthy contempt for everything and everyone a definition of who we are?!