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Abide with… who?

By Mike Cunningham On October 20th, 2013 at 11:07 am

You are a lead musician on board the world’s most famous liner. You, along with all the other crew members and the thousands of passengers, have all been told, time and again, that this ship is ‘unsinkable’. So perhaps you are a mite puzzled to find that, after heading at full speed into known iceberg territory in the freezing North Atlantic, your ‘unsinkable’ ship is less than two hours away from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean after ramming the outcrop side of a huge iceberg, slicing open the hull past five ‘watertight bulkheads’; and dooming the gigantic liner to sink, also dooming most of her passengers.

You stick to your duty and your job, which is that of lead violinist, and play whilst some 700 are lucky enough to gain the outnumbered lifeboats, most sticking to the ‘code’ of ‘women and children first’; and you join the 2200-odd souls who died, most in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic; with your violin in a case strapped to your body. No-one can imagine the terror of that cold, cold, lonely death in the water, surrounded by so many others who suffer the same fate as yourself.

So, as you gaze down from the Valhalla reserved for the souls of the drowned and forlorn, I bet you are so pleased that some very rich ghoul has just bought your violin for £900,000.00!




By Pete Moore On June 25th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Sad to see that Professor Mick Aston, the well-known archeologist from Channel 4’s Time Team, has died. Part of my Sunday routine was to watch it each week religiously. Aston, easily spotted with his wild hair and multi-coloured jumpers, helped devise the series and appeared in it from 1994 until 2011.

For those not in the know, the show’s archeological team had three days to investigate a site and reveal its story. All this would be distilled into the weekly one-hour programme. It’s pretty clear that Aston wasn’t made of traditional TV stuff, but he always had a wise and avuncular way about him. Every time he spoke you learned something, and it’s a prime reason why the programme had me hooked. It’s fair to say that a generation of Britons have become much more knowledgeable about our history and cultural heritage than otherwise because of his efforts. That’s real public service.

Here’s Aston talking about church history. Being a history freak, particularly of English medieval history, and the kind of person who’s always mooching about an old church, I just find this kind of thing fascinating


By Pete Moore On December 26th, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Another piece of your childhood passes with the death of the great storyteller and artist Gerry Anderson.

Crikey, that’s still a cracking intro. Can you imagine what it did to millions of us children? From the 1960s on this great man created Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and Space 1999. Every one of them was essential viewing, every one of them packed with thrills, fantasy, excitement and anticipation. That’s real public service. For that, and Lady Penelope, I’ll be forever thankful.

signs of our times

By Mike Cunningham On May 22nd, 2012 at 9:55 am

‘There were about 20 young black guys all with their hoods up armed with sticks and bats and knives. They just ran in the pub and started trying to attack people.

‘It was really frightening. But it should not have happened to Luke, it shouldn’t have happened to anyone, but he was a complete innocent.’

The adjoining picture is that of a British Police Officer, stationed at the scene of the crime.

That information is placed so that those who have never seen a Policeman now know what they look like.


By Pete Moore On April 23rd, 2011 at 7:02 pm

John Sullivan, creator and scriptwriter of Only Fools and Horses, has died. His other works include Citizen Smith, Dear John, Just Good Friends and The Green Green Grass. When he wasn’t writing sitcoms he was contributing sketches to The Two Ronnies.  Looking at that list, you realise most of us grew up watching his work. All told, there can be few people who have brought so much pleasure to so many. RIP John Sullivan, a true comic genius.


A death in the Family?

By ATWadmin On April 11th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

As the crowds throng the streets of Warsaw to show their grief and sorrow at the death of their President Lech Kaczynski , a random thought crossed my mind, and it was this:-

Which British Political leader would generate the same kind of mass sorrow as seen on the sombre streets of Warsaw?

Apart from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, who has performed her role over the past decades flawlessly, I can think of very few people in political public life today for whom I would even cross the street, never mind stand in sorrow or mourning.

When I see the corteges as they process slowly through Wootton Bassett, and the respect which is given for the fallen as they return from the drug- and corruption-filled failure which is Afghanistan, those men and women who have given their blood and lives in the service of their country deserve every second of silence given them by those townspeople. 

Are any of our so-called political, religious and government leaders worthy of the same? Apart from Baroness Thatcher, no names spring to mind, none at all!

Elizabeth Beckett, RIP

By ATWadmin On February 9th, 2009 at 8:05 pm

IT’S WITH great sadness that I’ve heard of the death of Elizabeth Beckett, a great patriot and stalwart champion of British liberty. She was born into an England at its greatest and fought every day of her adult life to defend our Constitutional freedoms from the vandals and criminals she saw tear apart her great nation and who she fearlessly opposed.

She fought on when wheelchair bound and ill,here petitioning the police to do their duty and defend her liberty to live free fomillegal taxes, a story told here. Even at 83 years of age she was prepared for bankruptcy and jail to defend her blessed country.

Elizabeth Becket died on saturday afternoon, 7th February after a long and debilitating illness. She was a great student of our Constitution and knew it intimately, an advantage she used quite gloriously against our enemies. From Elizabeth Beckett we have inherited the most incredible example and legacy in restoring our people again to self-governance and to our nation the Constitutional liberty it once knew.

On 4th February 2009, just three days before her death,Elizabeth Beckett sent her final petition to Elizabeth Windsor, reminding her of her duties. Our supposed Queen will be relieved to know she will be bothered no more by a far greater woman. If anyone is interested in learning a little of our Constitution, they can read it below the fold.

4th February 2009

Dear Madam

Re: Unconstitutional reign

Giving careful consideration to the mode of address in this letter, although in courtesy I have addressed it in conventional manner, it is clear that having, in effect, abdicated by failure to perform your coronation oath you leave the people of this nation without effective titular head to whom we may address our petitions. I write to you only in your pre-eminence in Common Law.

I write on Edmund Burke’s remark that for evil to flourish it is sufficient for good men to do nothing.

At your coronation you swore on oath to rule this country according to our laws and customs. This contract with us was written clearly in Magna Carta and replicated by Edward I in 1274. After saying that he would give no such oath, the archbishops, bishops, barons and freemen said that, in this case, they would get another king.

In Magna Carta it was made clear that if the monarch went against this oath then chapter 61 would apply, the contract would be broken and the monarch would have to give up his position and possessions. You have, throughout your reign, disregarded our laws and customs in the legislation that has gone through Parliament.

I believe that you have done this on the basis of the Fabian inspired Parliament Act of 1911 which argued untruthfully that since royal assent had never been denied by a monarch since 1707 (when Queen Anne sent back a Bill) the use of the royal assent had fallen into abeyance. This claim was untrue and treasonable. Only the year before, Asquith had been forced to go to the country by Edward VII who sent back the same Bill to Parliament. And indeed monarchs had refused assent on at least six other occasions since 1707. On each occasion this refusal of assent was because the Bills concerned breached our constitution.

In other words, the 1911 claim, is incorrect and the monarch’s assent was never and can never be deemed unnecessary or automatic, even though George V chose to accept that the royal assent was now a formality and that the monarch could not, in reality refuse assent – as in the Northern Ireland Bill.

Despite all the long years of your reign this method of agreement, either forced on you, or under “automatic assent” nevertheless cannot be upheld as lawful.

Many people who have written to you on constitutional matters have received replies from your secretary (most recently, Sonia Bonici) saying that their letter had been forwarded to the government department misleadingly called the Department of Constitutional Affairs and Ministry of Justice. Your compliance with this has permitted the judiciary under these government departments to claim, as in the Chagos Archipelago appeal, that our fundamental liberties do not exist and that the peoples of these islands have no rights under our law.

I am old and now seriously ill. I cannot die without making clear to you that you have broken your oath to us your people.

The 1911 act purports to permit taxes to be levied on us merely by a majority in the House of Commons and without reference to the upper chamber. This again is against our constitution and specifically not permitted by our Petition of Right of 1627. The most serious instance of this is the use of our taxes to fund the banking system of this country: this is being explained to the electorate as a step which will in some way make us rich, whilst in fact it is not only unlawful, but a most serious abrogation of our rights and your duties under our constitution.

Your contract with the people of this country and the colonies and dominions cannot be destroyed by the chicanery of the Fabians in the 1911 Act, nor by subsequent legislation. If you have the courage to fulfil your contract, however belatedly, you could prorogue Parliament now and have a free election with or without party divisions so that this country can go forward in a proper and united way to remove us from the difficulties that have ensued since the 1911 Parliament Act.

Yours Faithfully,
Elisabeth Beckett

Copy to:
The Archbishop of Canterbury



By ATWadmin On January 18th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I see that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been pretending that she is taking a patriotic stance by tightening the immigration rules to try to ensure that firms take on jobless British people rather than skilled foreign workers during the recession. This is the PR line being retailed in the press today. But it’s not as iyt appears. What she means is that EU NATIONALS can have first pick off the job. I’m afraid Jacqui’s patriotism is to the EU, not the UK. Thing is – why should government  be TELLING business who it should employ? If people are lawfully here, how dare Kommisar Smith dictate who will be employed? 

Bill Stone, RIP

By ATWadmin On January 12th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

BILL STONE, the last British veteran of both World Wars, has died aged 108.

A modest man, he chose to speak only rarely about the horrors he had seen, opting instead to focus on happier moments of his life. He was also mischievous, planting a kiss on Princess Anne’s cheek when meeting her on one occasion, telling her: “When you’re my age, you can get away with these things.”

I see the old boy was still rattling the tin for the Royal British Legion up to when he was a mere 103.

Dennis Goodwin, secretary of the World War One Veterans Association, said Mr Stone endured an ongoing battle with chest problems. “He was always a battler,” he said. “He has survived many of his skirmishes and has shown tremendous fight.”

Bill Stone died at his residential home near Wokingham, Berkshire, with his daughter and son-in-law at his bedside.

The kind of quiet, stoic yet upbeat man who made his country great.


No More Flashy

By ATWadmin On January 11th, 2008 at 11:36 am

RIP George McDonald Fraser

180px-Flashmancover.jpgTODAY IS A BLACK DAY. George McDonald Fraser, editor of the Flashman papers, is cremated today after he popped his clogs last week. A few months ago I decided to re-read the novels, having done so twenty years ago the first time. So when sitting at Stansted airport last week and reading of his death in the Telegraph, it was particularly sad as I had two Flashies in the bag for the trip.

How Flashman came about is well known but bears repeating: Thomas Hughes had Flashman expelled from Rugby School, for drunkeness, in his 1857 novel ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’. GMF’s genius was, in 1966, to ‘discover’ Flashman’s memoirs in a series of packets which were published as the Flashman novels, supposedly drafted by Flashman before his death in 1915. Altogether a dozen were released and what they comprise is the greatest collection of history book to be found on any shelf.

In Flashman, GMF created history’s greatest bounder, a cad of the highest order, a thief, liar and utter poltroon. In his own (blazingly honest) words, his only talents were for languages, horsemanship and fornication (it’s the cavalry whiskers, don’t you know.) GMF put Flashman into many of the great events of the 19th Century. In his shameful life he became the sole survivor of the Retreat from Kabul, found himself leading the Light Brigade at Balaclava, stood with Custer at the Little Big Horn and shrieked his way through the Indian Mutiny. Along the way he unwittingly traded slaves, worked the Underground Railroad and fought head-hunting pirates off Borneo. His mark, of course, was that of the coward and, despite wishing for nothing more than to stay at home spending his wealthy wife’s money, the fates would conspire to have him off defending the honour of the Empire. Flashman, being true to himself, would then bounce the bedsprings with the age’s great beauties between hiding and screaming at the sight of the enemy. All that would be left if for Flashman to escape by the skin of his teeth from whatever fix he’s in (usually as the only survivor) be hailed the hero of the hour and take a bit more tin on his chest. Thus, history’s greatest scoundrel ends his days as Sir Harry Flashman VC KCB KCIE.

The Flashman novels stand out for three reasons. GMF’s English, which is wonderfully simple and rolls along page after page.  Second is the humour. Many is the time I’ve sat in public, Flashy open, with tears running down my face. I have never read any humour so sharp, observed or well-timed. Third, the Flashman novels are renowned for their historical accuracy, GMF’s research being deep and meticulous. As Christopher Hitchens says, "not only are the Flashman novels extremely funny, but they give meticulous care to authenticity. You can, between guffaws, learn from them."

So, if you want to know why the Light Brigade went on that mad, reckless charge, or why Custer’s personal failings led to the death of the 7th Cavalry, or how the Indian Mutiny cam about, Flashy’s your man. I both pity and envy those who have never picked up that first Flashman novel. Pity for the ignorance of the most wonderful series and envy for the joy to come. So if you haven’t had the pleasure, do yourself and your family the great service of buying all dozen novels and, like Flashy faced with a dusky pouting filly, get stuck in.