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By ATWadmin On June 26th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Do you get “free” newspapers from your local Council? Occasionally, I get some glossy brochures (not printed in NI!) telling me how wonderful the local Council is and these go straight into recycling! Anyway, I read today that the government wants to tighten the rules on council-funded free newspapers, saying they undermine a free press.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said independent local papers should not face competition from “propaganda on the rates”. Mr Pickles wants to stop what he called “town hall Pravdas” passing themselves off as independent journalism.

It’s an interesting situation. Pickles is right in claiming these are nauseous propaganda sheets, funded by the rates. So in a sense I would love to see them all scrapped. But then again, local people ELECT these Councils so if these locally elected Councils seek to promote their virtue, is it draconian of central government to strip them off this?

Lying at the heart of this, to be honest, is my inherent dislike for any local Councils. I see little virtue in any of them (Right or left or central) and wish they did much less than current, for much less of our rates. Is this an anarchic wish? Maybe so! One of my fundamental views is that the LESS power we invest in any form of political institution the better. So, I salute Mr Pickles at one level and look forward to him also announcing the drastic cut-back in ALL forms of central government Pravda communications. 


By ATWadmin On June 26th, 2010 at 6:58 am


By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 11:15 pm


The rain, in  Spain, falls mainly on the plain!

By George, He’s got it!


By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Because Friday Night’s Music Night – for the sad lovers out there edition.

Film buffs might recognise him from Braveheart while the soap watchers (nah, me neither) might remember him as Tony Macrae from Eastenders. In real life he was Tam White, Scotland’s greatest singing stonemason, who died this week. Apparently this was the first live performance on Top Of The Pops. Not bad at all.


By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hello everyone – just back from my break in Sorrento and trust this finds you all well. As ever, my first duty is to thank all my fellow writers for keeping the show on the road in my absence – I am indebted as ever to you all! Next, a big thanks to you, dear reader, for continuing to come here.

Though I would ease my way into things so what better way to play this – it is by Enrico Caruso, the legendary Italian tenor who was worth a million. When in Sorrento, I had a lovely meal in “Caruso” restaurant which is really a museum to the man, with the walls covered in photos of him, along with loads of caricatures he liked to create. The food was superb and I commend this restaurant to you if ever you visit Sorrento. (Along with Parrucchiano’s “La Favorita).

Visited the ruins of Pompeii it’s a strange place, eerie even – buried all those centuries ago as Vesuvius showed just how destructive nature can be. I was standing in one of the great squares, looking up at the towering volcano, trying to imagine what it must have been like on that day when annihilation came showering down on them. One lesson is that mankind rarely learns lessons – the still active volcano has many more inhabitants to destroy these days than it did in 79AD!

Visited Capri through a surprisingly choppy Bay of Napoli. I get sea-sick just thinking about being on the water but the effort was worth it. Took a chair-lift, swinging in the breeze, to the very top of the island  – amazing views. No wonder Tiberius was so keen on this location – those Emperors may have been a bit volatile but they had an eye for scenery!

All in all, had a lovely relaxed time – although Italian hearts were broken by Slovakia the other evening and I felt sorry for them – such a lively people who have not quite mastered the concept of driving cars along the road with due deference to other road users!

Will sort the world out tomorrow but for this evening, just this….all the way from 1916,,,



By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 6:20 pm

According to Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph, Ben Bernanke has snookered himself and, faced with a collapsing, deflating economy, is contemplating another $multi-trillion counterfeiting operation. That’ll do the trick after his previous, failed (say, did anyone predict that?) attempts at re-inflating a burst balloon: more, more and yet more money!

Key members of the five-man Board are quietly mulling a fresh burst of asset purchases, if necessary by pushing the Fed’s balance sheet from $2.4 trillion (£1.6 trillion) to unchared levels of $5 trillion.

Why not? It’s only fiat paper, not real money anyway.

I’d be interested to know just when Zimbabwe Ben Bernanke plans on sinking the American economy in a climactic last stand of the Keynesian lunatics. You’d think Obamses will want as smooth a path as possible between now and the mid-terms, no new crises please chaps, so that means early-2011 at the earliest. You have been warned.


By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I know you’re dying to ask: “Pete, what do you think of the new-fangled iPhone 4 thingy?”

“No idea” is your answer. Ye Olde Nokia is still in the game, original crank handle and all, making and receiving calls and delivering the text messages I ignore. Apart from that, give me a decent book.

House rules are in order, play nicely.

One law, or is it Two?

By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 9:32 am



Two young men.

Two different skin colours

Two different manners of death

Two very different outcomes.

Stephen Lawrence, a tall, slim black youth with aspirations to be an architect, lived in Eltham, and was attacked and stabbed by four young white men. He was stabbed to a depth of about five inches on both sides of the front of his body, in the chest and arm. the stab wounds severed several arteries. Although he tried to escape, he collapsed and bled to death. He died near the scene of his attack. No one has yet been successfully prosecuted for his death, plenty have pointed fingers, there have been unsuccessful prosecutions, but so far, no one has paid a legal price for this racist attack.


However, we have so far seen, regarding this young black man:-

  • A multi-million pound inquiry into his death, and the police investigation of that death.

  • Some half-million pound paid in ‘compensation’ to his parents.

  • A £3 million pound memorial centre

  • The establishment of a yearly Stephen Lawrence Lecture

  • The generation and awarding of an annual Architectural Prize in his memory

  • His name as a feature on a memorial website, as well as the website of the memorial trust.

  • Many politicians visiting, commenting upon, or otherwise remembering young Stephen.

  • Television specials, comment programmes, all exclusively devoted to that death and memory of that death.


Kriss Donald, a slightly built, 15-year-old White schoolboy was abducted from the streets of Pollockshields, Glasgow, on March 14, 2004. His kidnappers were five British Muslims of Pakistani descent, intent on exacting retribution on a white male in revenge for a previous fight, although Kriss was believed to be a stranger to his five attackers. He was taken to an area of waste ground where he was finished off after being tortured. Before he died, it is alleged that he was castrated, burned with cigarettes; his eyes were gouged out and he was stabbed repeatedly. Once on the waste ground he was doused with gasoline and set alight whilst still alive. He crawled a few metres and then, mercifully, died. A walker who discovered his body the following morning was unaware that it was even human, remarking, that at first, he thought it was the carcass of an animal.

The results of the investigation was that three Muslim Asian men, all born in Scotland, are serving minimum sentences of twenty-three years or more for the unprovoked death of this defenceless young man.

We see:-

  • No Memorial

  • No Building in his memory.

  • No politicians, no Prime Minister standing weeping crocodile tears over his grave.

  • Hardly any press coverage, and no ‘horrified’ commentaries by the ‘liberal elite’ and Guardian readers.

  • No further inquiry into the circumstances of his death.

  • No £500,000.00 compensation offered to his grieving parents.


Strange, that disparity in the aftermath of these two deaths; very strange! Wonder why the difference?



Graeme McDowell Would Have Won By A Wider Margin if Not For The Peace Process

By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 2:45 am

In a What Would David Do Moment I realized that I had to note NI’s golfer Graeme McDowell for winning the US Open this weekend, but in the spirit of the host of ATW find some way of damning the Peace Process despite actual success.   

My Life as Job, or why does God make me drive an SUV insead of a Mustang Convertible?

By ATWadmin On June 25th, 2010 at 1:46 am

A hot summer evening here in New York.  Middle-aged me drives up to the local General Store and parks the Honda Odyssey like the Captain of the Queen Mary docks, with slighly less fanfare but about the same speed.  Summer means girls in their summer clothes, a vicarious delight for the married father of three enfants, but a delight none the less.  The evening does not disappoint as I spot two lovely girls exhibiting the short in short shorts sitting on the hood of the car next to my Honda Odyssey, and they have the decency not to roll their eyes as I open the door allowing diapers, Elmo dolls and empty baby bottles to roll out onto the ground.   They pity the fool that is me.  Not a Paul on the road to Damascus revelation moment, but more of a Mahons on the road to entrenched middle years moment. 

Are Depends that far off in the future?  I fear not. 

My suburban assault vehicle is a minivan designed by the Japanese to seat eight people, and not merely eight Japanese people.  My three offspring have luxury I never knew as a child.  They have a DVD rear entertainment system that plays their favorite movies (endless Little Mermaid viewings).   When I was a kid we had to amuse ourselves by territorial wars of space (“you are on my side of the seat”), hoping my parents would fight over getting lost, and giving passing cars the peace sign (or the finger).  My children don’t realize that their inheritance is being spent on putting gas into the vehicle to drive them around in a custom only enjoyed by the Saudi Royal Family on their private jet. 

But I digress.  There is nothing like driving a convertible along the main street with the radio up on a hot summer night – imposing your taste in music on the world.   It is why summer was invented.  But like playing professional baseball, weighing under 170 pounds and drinking gin straight for an entire week in New Orleans it is a dream that has passed for me.  Alas.  I am that guy, the chauffer of children, the 55 mile an hour citizen-driver, the black socks in the sneaker Dad at the beach.  The poor son of a bitch who unloads the SUV and carries, sherpa-like, the loads of beach equipment allegedly required by his children to enjoy the surf and sand.

I suppose it is the summer of my discontent.