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The House of Lords, and I.

By Mike Cunningham On May 18th, 2020 at 11:17 am

When we look at, or rather read of, the people who have been elevated above their station in life to become members of the House of Lords, I suppose that the opinion of most is that of failed politicians ennobled to swell the ranks of the particular party in power at the time, along with the strangely British notion of ennobling certain ‘celebrities’ so that the ruling Politicians can be seen and acknowledged as ‘on the ball’, or whatever the catchphrase is at that time.

We see dozens, literally dozens, of politicians, from all Parties, ennobled for the specific purpose of adding to a headcount when votes are counted, so that the Government can depend upon those when voting on certain contentious Bills is necessary. We also see members  of the Lords whose ennoblement can be a mystery. I note the presence of Lady Floella Benjamin, whose expertise was seemingly to preside over certain children’s t.v. programming. Oh, and she also did lots of ‘Chariddee Wuk’ as well, so that is why this unelected drone is given the power to influence all Bills wending their way through Parliament: or was her ennoblement due to the fact that she is Black, and they had to get the ‘diversity’ numbers up?

I also note the presence, in the Lords chamber, of Baroness Doreen Lawrence. It is accepted that, besides being awarded £500,000.00 of taxpayers money because the Met. screwed up the investigation into the murder of her son, she was give the Title just to shut her up, and stop her mewling. Her husband, who was much the more worthy recipient of high office, did not receive any such distinction: possibly because he kept his mouth shut.

I have personally only knowledge, through correspondence of one Noble Lady, and her name is Baroness Caroline Cox. It was she who travelled to Syria to test, and in doing so, certainly to my knowledge, demonstrated that the Assad Regime, whilst guilty of many things barbaric, had no hand in the alleged chlorine gas attacks on Jihadi- and rebel-held positions within certain Syrian cities. She travelled as part of a Christian delegation, and they collectively received a barrage of criticism for their pains. She protested that the missile attacks from America, the UK and France were illegal because they were made without any UN authorisation.

There are a few Members of the Lords who are worthy of their titles, such as senior Judges who are automatically ennobled, but they are outnumbered by the ‘paid for’ vote, inclusive of the lackeys wearing dog-collars under the ermine.The only name mentioned as being readied for the Lords, and subsequently the recipient of vociferous denunciations is of course the former Speaker, John Bercow. Corbyn added him to the lists for ennoblement, but fortunately, the Commission was told, firmly, that if put forward, his name would be black-balled.

We need a Second Chamber, because Legislation without  independent scrutiny is dictatorship writ small, but the Second Chamber which I dream of is unpolluted with failed politicians, and diversity seat fillers.


By Patrick Van Roy On May 17th, 2020 at 7:52 pm


By Pete Moore On May 17th, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Up to a fifth of patients with Covid-19 in several hospitals contracted the disease over the course of the pandemic while already being treated there for another illness, NHS bosses have told senior doctors and nurses.

Between infecting patients in hospital for non Chinese-related conditions, and sending infected pensioners into care homes, the NHS is responsible for an awful lot of Covid-19 cases in the UK. National numbers of infections and deaths are high, but it’s increasingly clear that most of us were at little risk if we didn’t step into a hospital.


By Pete Moore On May 17th, 2020 at 7:11 pm

The mathematical models underpinning the government’s Covid-19 strategy are largely informed by “educated guesswork, intuition and experience”, one of its scientific advisers has said.

“Educated” appears to be redundant there, given how far out the models have been. The days when mega-billion decisions hang on “modelling” must be over. Academics feeding their prejudices into poorly coded models simply doesn’t cut it.

It goes double for that other fiercely asserted but highly dubious crises, which is also predicated on modelling which invariably turns out to be at odds with the real world.

The Awakening

By Patrick Van Roy On May 17th, 2020 at 4:47 pm

Guest Post from Noel

“If the reader has ever been present in a vast metropolis, on the day when some great national idol was carried in funeral pomp to his grave, and chancing to walk near the course through which it passed, has felt powerfully, in the silence and desertion of the streets and in the stagnation of ordinary business, the deep interest which at that moment was possessing the heart of man,—if all at once he should hear the death-like stillness broken up by the sound of wheels rattling away from the scene, and making known that the transitory vision was dissolved, he will be aware that at no moment was his sense of the complete suspension and pause in ordinary human concerns so full and affecting, as at that moment when the suspension ceases, and the goings-on of human life are suddenly resumed.” 

De Quincey

Kids are this week returning to schools, not sure what to expect, afterwards to playgrounds as once before, meanwhile gyms are reopening for their parents who’ve been gorging themselves for weeks out of sheer boredom, and on Sunday the various faithfuls will again flock to their various churches as if nothing had happened. You go out to have a look and walk through the city just to see who is going to stand up again after this wave has passed and who will remain lying never to arise again: your favourite café or bookstore,  that old bar that you always wanted to visit but for some reason never did and now perhaps will never have the opportunity to. 

Tourists are nowhere to be seen. The industry that normally contributes EUR 782 billion to European GDP and accounts for 22 percent of jobs in the services sector has practically disappeared. Very bad for cities like London and Paris, but for countries like Italy and Greece, already in dire financial straits, it will be a complete disaster. Nobody expects much from the pathetic efforts being made by Croatia and other places to entice travellers back with some kind of Corona-compatible tourism offers.

The finer things of life seem to be all suspended. Haute couture is now on the floor. Givenchy has dropped perfume and switched to disinfectant production, while Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga are churning out protective clothing. Although I’m told the creative people there are very positive (no, not after the virus test) and full of ideas for the future. Some say the Black Death ultimately led to the sensual joy of the Renaissance, and maybe they’re hoping for more of that.

Then there are all those cinemas, opera and concert halls everywhere. The live entertainment industry needs closely packed crowds and conviviality. A sprinkled audience at safe distances from each other in the venue is a certain killer, both for the artist and the audience. But nobody can enjoy a performance in the knowledge that the person next to him could have the virus, as Abba’s Björn said about London’s West End yesterday, so audiences will probably simply stay away, and those awful notions like live concerts online will pretend to take their place. 

We will never know the amount of great new talent that will never make it, never have a chance to get their performance across and who simply disappear into other fields because their stage is no longer there. 

People can grit their teeth and bear the lockdown and defy Corona, but many will not be able to bear the ugly moment in which “a sigh and a stirring announce the recommencement of suspended life” as after the passing of De Quincey’s funeral cortege.


Pet Sounds

By Mahons On May 17th, 2020 at 2:11 pm

On Facebook there is currently a sort of chain letter in which you get nominated to post a certain number of albumns 10-20) that influenced you. So not the greatest of all time, not the ones that influenced others or even the ones you enjoy most now (although things may overlap). A nice diversion. I’ll give mine with the caveat of limiting any one artist to their most influntial record to me for variety sake. Thus, even though a Sgt. Pepper or Let it Bleed would make my top ten list, I left each off due to other records on list by those bands. Dont feel compelled to do the same – sometimes a series of albumns by the same band had the most influential impact on a person.

If you really like music you could probably add another ten records just as influential (how is Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon, Making Movies by Dire Straits and St. Domenic’s Preview by Van Morrison not on my list?) However part of the fun is in the trim (as Colm might say)
I reluctantly left off greatest hits as somehow unfair, although Bob Dylan’s Legend, Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest and Cat Steven’s Greatest were records ive played for decades.

There are great records out now, The Avett Brothers, Brandi Carlyle, Old Crow Medicine Show that i listen to now but they dont meet the influential element of the challenge which goes more to your youth. So be it.

In no certain order mine are:

1. Rocket to Russia -The Ramones
2. The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society – The Kinks
3. Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan
4. Abbey Road – The Beatles
5. Exile on Main Street – The Rolling Stones
6. Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
7. Darkness on the Edge of Town – Bruce Springsteen
8. London Calling – The Clash
9. Rum, Sodomy and the Lash – The Pogues
10. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

In these days of Alexa you just call out a song and it plays. But there was something to dropping the needle and playing through a series of songs that flowed from one to the next, flipping the record over to the next side and listening to more magic.

Let me hear your thoughts, comments or selections.

There really aren’t  that many heroes around

By Mike Cunningham On May 17th, 2020 at 1:58 pm

The noisy, very bright bus-shelter digital adverts plaster the same message over and over again: ’We salute the NHS / lorry drivin’ / potato pickin’ / ambulance drivin’ / loo-roll deliverin’ / etc., etc, etc. “heroes”.

But this sceptic sits back ,and asks himself, ‘Just what makes a hero out of a person who is just doing the exact same task / job / position that he, or she (As we all are forced to add in these discriminatory days) was doing last month, or indeed last year. Is a man a hero because he continues to do a job which hasn’t been closed down by Government edict? I would rightly state my admiration for the professionals who treat, at great personal risk to themselves, the unfortunates who  lie, gasping for breath, within the I.C.U. beds and wards, stricken by the CHINESE VIRUS;  but heroes? Nope, they knew the risks implicit when they commenced studying for a medical or nursing degree, because those very risks are written down in medical textbooks. If the requisite Protection Equipment is not available, or not up to standard, they have a choice whether to go forwards or not. The very fact that some allegedly choose to go forwards makes them foolhardy, and certainly not heroic

When a British soldier set out on a death-strewn patrol through a grungy back street in Belfast, or on a ‘guidance’ mode in Afghanistan, or a similar model in Mali, he along with the rest of the patrol; are in acceptance of ‘Military orders’. These aren’t something which you can dismiss with a ‘Can’t be bothered today; Mate’! If you do not obey military orders you can either submit yourself to immediate justice before your Officer Commanding; or accept to be subject before a court martial, in the worst possible case, and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. These men, and by and large they are ‘Men’, are not heroes, they knew that their task would involve danger sometimes

But, in civilian life, heroic actions, where a man or woman places themselves in peril, are, in  strict reality, very, very rare. Those who are termed ‘heroes’ are, in reality; nothing approaching the true definition of a hero. Usually, almost always, heroic acts are confined to either the battlefield, or to the defeat of terrorist acts.

Within the same theme, how do readers feel about the ‘Thursday Happy Clappers’? My sentiments? I listened, inattentively, to the calls broadcast for a National Clap, and I did disregard them, because, being of a logical frame of mind, I simply asked myself the question: Why?

What good would a few million clowns all clapping and hollering at the same time do, apart from ‘making themselves feel good?

As the day wore on, I read ever more calls for all to ‘Salute’ our wondrous NHS: and still asked that very same question: Why?

Needless to state, I do not take part in this now weekly mindless outpouring of ‘Love’ for what is, in effect, the workers inside the largest State employer in, certainly, the whole of Europe. And, I might add, the most inefficient, backward, dictatorial  and secretive outfit into the bargain. Secretive?, you may ask. Just add up all the NDA (Non-disclosure Arrangements) sums of Taxpayers cash forced upon the multitude of whistleblowers under peril of losing their jobs, reputations and very livelihoods, to discover just how the NHS protects their shabby reputation.

May 17 1954

By Patrick Van Roy On May 17th, 2020 at 1:10 pm


A lawsuit against unfair segregation is heard before the Supreme Court, and the unanimous ruling finds that establishing separate public schools for black and white students is unconstitutional. ‘Brown v. Board of Education‘ will be a major landmark in the growing civil rights movement.


By Pete Moore On May 16th, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Everyone and everything have failed us. The government has failed. The NHS has failed. Public Health England has failed. Professor Nutcase and his Imperial College chums have failed 500,000 percent. The media has failed us big time. Procurement managers, PPE buyers and dodgy foreign PPE suppliers have all failed us. (Tesco and other heroic supermarkets didn’t fail us.)

What then is left? Dogs, that’s what’s left. We know the miracles that their wet noses perform. We know that they can sniff out cancers, malaria, Parkinson’s disease and alert diabetics epileptics to impending attacks and seizures. These are just some of those miracles. Now they will learn to sniff out the Wuhan flu. It’s just at trial stage, but it has full funding and is going ahead. I have no doubt that man’s best friend will do it and that the result will be an instant, non-invasive, fully accurate test with a biscuit and a belly rub afterward.


By Pete Moore On May 16th, 2020 at 8:26 pm

Britain’s most senior police officer has apologised after it emerged that everyone prosecuted under the Coronavirus Act had been unlawfully charged.

The cases of 44 individuals have all been withdrawn or set aside because they were wrong, the Crown Prosecution Service has revealed.

The police are emblematic of the chronic state of British public administration. It has never had so many graduates in the ranks doing so much study on so many courses. All of which is entirely related to it being held in such low esteem. It doesn’t account for all the cock ups, but a head filled with the kind of mush which only three years at a British university can provide is no preparation for being a copper.

Also related, I suspect, is the vast and ever growing number of laws in the land. The police have clearly been confused about what people can and cannot do in these Wuhan times. We always forget that it’s more important for legislatures to repeal bad laws than it is to pass new ones.