78 3 mins 9 yrs

In a review of newspaper headlines this morning, I note the following:-

  • Comments on the alleged shut-down of America; or not, as the case may be
  • The Home Secretary in a row over who said what about some other lying politician who refused to dismount his bike whilst leaving Downing St.
  • Caroline Lucas gets her name up through her ‘fracking’ arrest.
  • Lots of chatter about some weird football game and trophy.
  • More talk about Jimmy Savile, and how he got away with everything.
  • A New Zealand novelist winning a literary prize.
  • Crisis, once more, in the NHS Mental Health services.
  • No strike in Grangemouth, Union backs down!
  • Mark Duggan executed whilst holding gun which strangely enough, subsequently appeared over thirty yards from car.
  • Iran’s nuclear ambitions continue, as do the ‘talks’.
  • Labour Party female MP defends decision to pose topless when 15 years old…”I needed money for some clothes!”

 

abritsoldierBut strangely enough the number 445 does not feature prominently in most news organisations web screens. Is it an important number? Yes, I believe it is, because it tells the story of how a bunch of weaselling, lying politicians failed our Armed Services in the worst possible way, and how they continue to lie, which is why yet one more British soldier’s blood garnishes the sands and soil of an ungrateful Afghanistan.

My father served in the British Army throughout WW2, as did many thousands more. My uncle died in Northern France days after D-Day, and thousands more Allied troops died after him in the weeks and months that followed. But they, the living and the sadly-dead, fought  in a just cause, to defeat the Nazi war machine of Adolf Hitler. As the late King George VI said in his famous speech on the day war was declared, ‘Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right ‘, and the politicians, who guided our Nation and our Armed Forces through the storm to fight against the very nature of the Nazi machine, were worthy of that task.

Compare them with the bunch of weasels in charge now, and then determine if we are still well served!

 

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78 thoughts on “The missing headline.

  1. How very naive we were as a a nation ‘back then’. The response to this and other rallying calls was tremendous and ultimately successful – in the short term!

    As many octagenarians and veterans that I have spoken to, when asked the question – “If you knew then what you know now, would you still have been prepared to ‘answer the call to arms’, and to make the necessary sacrifices that ultimately proved so necessary”. Surprisingly, where one might have expected a resounding ‘Yes!’ the majority of replies are somewhat less than enthusiastic. Yet when considered in the light of our society today, is quite understandable.

    Many of the values that were fought for, – and which were a large part of the King’s rallying call, – are now long gone, so much so, that such a speech, if delivered today woud be met wih derision. We no longer enjoy the unity of purpose i.e. a civilised and prosperous society, perhaps a conglomeration of people would be a better description of the current situation.

    Of course the subsequent conversation after ‘that question’ was asked and answered, usually dissolved into an anti politician diatribe that would not be out-of-place in a dockside bar. The general feeling is more than one of mere disappointment, it is more a feeling of a general political betrayal.

    One can only have sympathy for those that have suffered and sacrificed so much over the last decade, while acting as litle more than mercenaries, in the series of faux ‘crusades’ that are supposedly in ‘our defence’. I wonder what their reply might be if asked a similar question, – at a later date, – to that asked of our ‘senior’ generation.

  2. my prayers to the family of the lost, to all those that a member in the service of their nation.

    Ernest I found your comment very interesting. What your saying is that those who in retrospect would say no now look at what their nation has become by choice and by vote, and believe that they would be better off under Hitler.

    Says a lot about who you have elected doesn’t it?

  3. There is very litle wrong with Afghanistan and Iraq that a flock of B17’s visiting on a daily basis couldn’t cure. Bomb them back to the stone age…in some cases they are almost there anyway.
    I’m reading Churchills First War by Con Coughlin at the moment. Young Winston and the fight against the Taliban.

    Lance Corp Jones had the right idea, they don’t like it up them they just don’t like it.

  4. ungrateful Afghanistan

    The truest words ever spoken.

    The Afghans freed from the Taliban, and the Iraqi Shias freed from Sunni dictatorship have less than zero gratitude.

    They deserved every link of their chains, and we should learn from the past 12 years’ experience.

    The only ones who have shown gratitude are the Iraqi Kurds, so fair play to them. I think.

  5. Says a lot about who you have elected doesn’t it?

    No it doesn’t. It says a lot about the pampered fools who would believe that we would ever have been better off under Hitler.

  6. //What your saying is that those who in retrospect would say no …, and believe that they would be better off under Hitler.//

    Poor Troll.

    // Iraqi Shias freed from Sunni dictatorship have less than zero gratitude.//

    Why should they be grateful?

    The US didn’t exactly invade their country with a view to helping them, but only for some vague geostrategic advantage for itself.

    Besides, not only did the US invasion kill thousands of their people, it also triggered a civil war that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of them.

    And you expect them to be grateful for that?

  7. I want them to have the backbone to say that they’d be better off under Saddam’s boot.

    The Iraqi Shia and Karzai and his Afghans are like DeGaulle and many French in post WW2 France – utterly ungrateful, completely undeserving of their liberation.

  8. Troll,

    No – I didn’t even suggest that we would be better off under Hitler.

    What I was implying is that many of the things we believed in then, as mentioned in the King’s speech, no longer are even on the political agenda, and that much of which we were opposing then has now become todays reality.

    I take it that you did listen and read the link Mike gave covering the King’s speech in September 1939. – it lists many of the things we found worth dying for. Such things as the right to a civilised, self-determined law abiding nation, with a government that has the nation’s best interest at heart, and not one that is driven by principle bereft, dogma driven, individuals whose only ideas involve self-interest.

    Long gone are the days when we had anything remotely resembling a democracy in any true sense, we are reduced to casting a vote for those we dislike the least. As in the US, we are reduced to a choice of the conniving, the corrupt or the stupid. Not for us the glorious revolution, – after all you cannot have a revolution without having someone or something to believe in, and multiculturism does not fit that bill, – it fragments a society making any form of unity almost impossible.

    “Says a lot about who you have elected doesn’t it?”

    It certainly does, which is why I wrote :- “The general feeling is more than one of mere disappointment, it is more a feeling of a general political betrayal.”

  9. and who is to blame Ernest except yourselves?

    People on here love to attack the Tea Party or laugh at them. When all they are doing is trying to prevent exactly what you and your fellow citizens failed to do.

    We want our country back on the right track.

  10. There is no Tea Party.

    There is a minority of angry and confused people shouting at each other, and at everyone else and wondering why they hold no attraction for America.

  11. Ernest, assuming that what you say is true, do you really think this trend could at any stage have been avoided?

    After the war, there was still very much hardship in Britain. People were perhaps sick of suffering and sacrificing, and pretty much immediately got rid of the war government. A race for material comfort and some kind of prosperity, if not wealth, started, and that took us into the sixties, by which time consumerism had taken on a life of its own.
    The modern world with all its ills is created also by your generation more than you think.

    But even more generally speaking: society is where it is because of a whole range of factors and influences that we can hardly even understand, never mind control. The general rise in prosperity, technology, better, cheaper and quicker transport, which brought in new goods and ideas and brought out people to see foreign climes like never before, changes in medicine, more leisure, which gave more people time to consume more media and become targets for the trash that comes out of it, vast changes in culture in all its forms….

    Even if, say, all the western world had come to a consensus that they wanted to preserve certain values and attitudes, it would still IMO have been impossible to defend itself against the relentless march of technology and communication that drives change. And Britain as an island on itself never had a chance, even if it had wanted to.

  12. We have been fighting, off and on, in Afghanistan for over a hundred years, as have many others. All have suffered ignominous defeat, none seem to know an impossible task when they see one.

    I offer you the following poem written after one such escapade:-

    The Last Berkshire Eleven.

    The Heroes of Maiwand.

    ’Twas at the disastrous battle of Maiwand, in Afghanistan,
    Where the Berkshires were massacred to the last man;
    On the morning of July the 27th, in the year eighteen eighty,
    Which I’m sorry to relate was a pitiful sight to see.

    ‘Ayoub Khan’s army amounted to twelve thousand in all,
    And honestly speaking it wasn’t very small,
    And by such a great force the Berkshires were killed to the last man,
    By a murderous rebel horde under the command of Ayoub Khan.’

    to read the rest of this harrowing tale —-go to:-

    The Last Berkshire Eleven

    No-one took much notice then of the lives lost, although there was much shedding of ‘le tears du croc’, and so it still seems to be the case today – the irony of it all is that the Afghans are doing just what King George VI was so vehement about, – resisting a bullying oppressor!

    “It is a principle which permits a state, (read, UK, USSR, USA, NATO et al) in the selfish pursuit of power, to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, which sanctions the use of force or threat of force against the sovereignty and independence of other states.

    Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right, and if this principle were established through the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole British Commonwealth of nations would be in danger.”

    Does the fact that ‘the west’ is doing the oppressing make it all ok then?

  13. Noel,

    “it would still IMO have been impossible to defend itself against the relentless march of technology and communication that drives change.”

    I quite agree, it was a wonderful opportunity, but largely squandered by those whose ideas were limited by a primal interest in ‘social engineering’ rather than anything that might constructive rather than destructive.

    “After the war, there was still very much hardship in Britain. People were perhaps sick of suffering and sacrificing, and pretty much immediately got rid of the war government.”

    Very true, we chose our ‘horses for courses’ for the war and then did the same for the peacetime. The big difference between then and now is that we had HOPE! – hope for future generations, sadly all was too quickly eroded by the the series of incompetents we then chose to lead the nation, not least Heath, Wilson, Callaghan Thatcher and Blair et al. Sure we thought they all had something to offer, – many promises made, all to few kept, and so we end up at the point of no return.

    ‘ And Britain as an island on itself never had a chance, even if it had wanted to.”

    Hardly surprising as we had lost virtually two conescutive generations of young folk, in the WW’s, the product of several centuries of world leadership, and the very people who might have sustained our continuing role of leadership.

    ‘Tis the waste of the opportunity that is so aggravating!…

  14. Britain was going to have a really tough time adjusting to the postwar world anyway.

    Churchill, who was the perfect war leader, actually wanted to continue the Empire, as you would know. Had he remained in office, and had he pursued that policy aggressively, things could have been even worse.

    The losses of the World Wars ate still felt? Yes, of course.

  15. Phantom,

    ‘Britain was going to have a really tough time adjusting to the postwar world anyway.”

    Certainly were, what with paying back all that ‘Lend-lease’ debt! and not to mention the money the US poured into Germany to rebuild its manufacturing base, in direct competition to the UK, Followed by its subversive tactics in the Middle East to unseat the UK’s position there, but to mention just a few of the hurdles we had to overcome.

    As we all say – ‘Lovely folk, shame about their politicians!’…

  16. Phantom your delusional.

    Keep telling yourself that, you’ll believe it. As with most lies and propaganda say it enough and the sheep will buy it.

    Then we get to sheer you 🙂

  17. Phantom,

    No, we rightly paid back our debts, but we are one of the few countries to have done so, but it does sometimes seem strange that some of you Yanks point the finger at us, and say ‘You could have done better!’, while praising those, such as Germany, who being the ‘losing combatant’, received much help for gratis.

    Yes, Suez was but one of the incidents I was referring to. A lot of diplomatic documents from that era were recently released under the ‘thirty year rule’, just a few weeks ago, and will be avaible from the British Library for all to see.

    A brief summary of the contents of the thus far ‘secret’ papers, gave cause for surprise at the sheer duplicity of the US when dealing with ME matters in their succesful attempt to unseat the UK as an major influence there.

    I have been looking for the article, so far with little success, and I will comment on it when I find it.

  18. You could have done better!

    On what?

    The war? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that.

    Economically, the UK really harmed itself by nationalization of industries. Is that what you refer to?

  19. Phantom,

    Here’s the link re US duplicity that I mentioned

    http://bit.ly/19N8HPc

    Re nationalisation, while not being necessarily a bad thing all the time, does rather depend, – as so many political decisions do, – on the way it is done and the agenda behind the need to nationalise. Also the timing is very important.

    Post WWII it wasn’t just the economy that was in a bad way, private finance was also in a diminished state, with little cash available for investment in improvement, expansion or developement.

    Many firms, and in particular the mining industry, would, if left to their own devices have gone bust long before they did, due largely to miners strike action. It was an industry that was vital to the nation and the unions did their best to destroy it, thereby cause untold misery and mischief, and all to further a political agenda.

    Have I mentioned that the Welsh miners went on strike several times during the war, at times when supplies were in a criical state.

    Of course Thatchers big sell-off of vital prime basic infrastructure industries was just as wrong headed, as it has left us open to blackmail by the foreign owned companies that rushed to buy when they became available.

    There are industries that should be ‘state owned’, those that provide the most basic of our needs, such a power, water supply and yes! even our Royal Mail system. The criteria is the degree of how essential they are to providing the most basic basic of the nations needs.

  20. Phantom – p.s.

    “On what?

    The war? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that”

    No, not on the war, but in the immediate decades after it..

  21. I’ve heard Americans speak of Britain during the Second World War all my life, only in terms of open admiration.

    The strikes, both during and after the war, were own goals that are hard to understand.

    But, apart from the geopolitics or what the US did or didn’t do, I have always heard that much of educated Britain actually looked down on industry, on forming companies, all of that. Which was one reason why the UK, which produced so many great engineers and scientists, did not capitalize on inventions it made or in which it had a hand.

    Germany had the tradition of good small companies, and its apprenticeship programs, while too many educated Brits wanted to work for the government someplace, and too many working class British thought that going on strike was some kind of game, and that the employer had no options other than to knuckle under to them.

  22. Ernest – The Lend Lease program provided the critical materials at something like a 90% discount of the value so the repayment of same( which the UK did pay back) while a significant sum was still nominal when compared to the total value.

    Despite the ebb and flow of various issues over the years, in reality it has been a strong alliance and if the World is lucky will remain so.

  23. Roosevelt used every bit of his political capital against the isolationist Ron Pauls of his day to get Lend Lease through. And now, that really critical program is being referred to almost as a ripoff of some kind.

    Does not compute…..

  24. Phantom, Mahons,

    Yes, I know what you are saying, and largely agree with you.

    “have always heard that much of educated Britain actually looked down on industry, on forming companies, all of that”

    Well that is not, and never was the case. We have a long reputation for being craftsmen and skilled artisans. Yes, we might have been a nation of ‘small shopkeepers’, but we were also a nation of entreperneurs. Of course there is a strata in every society that denigrates those who might get their hands dirty, don’t we all know a ‘snob’ or two? Nowadays we call them politicians! and no – what they call ‘education’ is more akin to indoctrination.

    We too, used to have an excellent apprenticeship system and a heavy engineering industry to match any, even that of the Germans. And so, yet again we return to our one big national failing – our politicians!

    The whole basis of the Industrial Revolution was based on the formation of companies, both large and small. The larger ones being financed by the more wealthy of the landed gentry, so if there was a class of ‘sneerers’, they were probably that way by reason of jealousy, – and could be considered generally as failures, full of opinion and yet with little of intellectual worth to offer. Somehow many of those that managed to avoid military service seem to fall into this category, – as I said, today we call them politicians, or more than likely – civil servants.

    They have constructed a bureacracy in their own image, i.e. lazy, idle, spendthrift and of dubious morality.

    Having said all that, there are big differences between the two of us, mainly in attitude, – as has been said ‘a single nation seperated by a common language’, – hardly surprising considering the general differences in the cultural make-up of our two nations.

    One – full of vim and vigour,and with perhaps much to learn, the other, overly mature, with perhaps too much of a cultural and emotional baggage to change in the ways necessary to ensure any future success.

  25. This thread is an example of good honest but respectful debate without rancour (largely) and with all participants reading and responding to the arguments and views of the others. It is refreshing to read it.

  26. Agreed, Colm. I was reading it and had to check a few times that I was still on ATW! 🙂

    What Ernest writes about asking older people, had they known how things would turn out, would they have done the same, is very interesting. I had supposed that they would, almost to a man (or woman) replied “Yes!”

    It is understandable though, that some of them might be hesitant in their answers, and completely understandable why the conversations would often revert to attacking the political class. After all, if you take up arms in defence of not only your own country, but other nations as well, you might expect, in your later years, to be looked after by the government, not made to look like some beggar, waiting for your Winter Payment to stave off hypothermia.

    I remember meeting a Great-Uncle of mine, back in 1982. No-one in the family had seen him for years. My Grandmother’s family had been split up on the death of their mother, and he had been raised in London. He was in his 80s when we met him, and he told us about his life and about fighting in WWII. He showed us some of his memorabilia from the war, I remember. He died a few months later, on his own, in his flat in London. My Dad and my aunt went over, because his solicitor had written to say he had left the family something in his will. They were told to go to a pub in the area in which he lived, and when they arrived, it was the barman who handed over Jimmy’s legacy – a couple of hundred pounds, to be divided amongst the family, and some photos and letters. Some legacy, for a man who came from Armagh to England, fought for his adopted country and lived to tell the tale. A few quid and some photos, handed over by a man in a pub.

    I think he held the same view as some of the people Ernest mentioned. He was proud of what he had done, but frustrated and angry at the way the country turned out.

  27. By coincidence today we have a teachers strike, and as per usual, we have interviews with selected strikers.

    One was asked – “Would you recommend teaching as a profession?” – his reply was – “Well, it used to be great, but not so much now!”.

    His complaint was basically very similar to those pensioners I mention in one omy comments above, – i.e ‘we were made promises to encourage us to become teachers, and now when it is time for those promises to be fulfilled, our employer is reneging on the deal!’.

    Is this a pattern I see before me? – of course it is, and a pattern that is at the very core of politics, – I make promises today which don’t have a hope in hell of being fulfilled, for tomorrow I will be long gone!.

    So much for a democratic system that carries no penalty for incompetence, outright corruption, or failure.

  28. Today’s politicians can’t always bind future leaders to anything.

    When conditions change, you adapt.

  29. Phantom,

    Why do you comment on posts of which you have little or no knowledge or interest in?

    Apparently when taking up employment as a teacher they were promised a pension scheme that matured at age 65, – that has mow been raised to 67. – So what, it isn’t a big deal! – well actually i is, – if a private pension company had done anything similar i.e. altering the terms of a longstanding contract, it would be considered a fraudulent act, and penalties would ensue.

    They also had a contract of employment which specified certain increases and the size of those increases, – that too has been altered. A fraud by any othe name is still a fraud, no matter how many excuses the bureacrats make for longstanding promises being broken. They are being ordered to work longer for less recompense.

    Now while I am in agreement that in times of austerity salaries and any increases should be regulated, and all in the name of ‘sharing the burden’. However, it is a very different matter when those increases and contract terms are predetermined at the start of those contracts, and some decades later one of the parties attempts to renege on the deal, – for that is what it is, – a deal, – made to encourage folk to take up lifetime career with specified remunerations.

    The government is in default, simply because of their extreme naivete in making such a ridiculous promise, deal or whatever, in the first place.

    Many folk plan their working lives on the basis of such contracts and agreements, to change the detail at what is, for many nearing retirement, the last monent, is a very cynical act, an act by people who have little, or no, concern for the people they govern. One might even call it dictatorial.

  30. Pantom, p.s.

    “Today’s politicians can’t always bind future leaders to anything.”

    Then why do they make such promises in the first place? It wouldn’t have anything to do with votes, would it?

    There was an era when such promises really meant something, a ‘man’s word being his bond’, – and all that jazz! but then, as we all suspect our politicians really aren’t ‘men’ at all are they?

  31. Why do you assume that I have no interest in something that I have commented on? That is an illogical and cranky comment.

    Public service unions are very great at changing employment terms as it suits them, thinking that it can only work one way – upward and better, the taxpayer be damned.

    This sounds like an adjustable contract has been adjusted. Happens every day, bro.

    When the facts on the ground change, you adapt. We taxpayers don’t have unlimited pots of money.

  32. Send me a copy of the promise.

    How do you know the facts as presented by teachers unions are exactly as described by them?

  33. There was never an era when such promises meant something. Politicians have always been slippery. It has always been part of the nature of how to win elections. On the topic of pensions, in recent years there have been numerous and mostly negative changes to pension entitlements for both private and public sector workers, with private sector provision hit much harder. Changes to the age of pension payouts is happening to virtually everyone and is part of the reality of dealing with increased life expectancy. This is not some unique betrayal of teachers. It is universal.

  34. No one was going to win any elections by promising teachers pensions.

    Colm, the exception to the rule you state of universal giveback is US cops, fire and other public sector unions, esp in the Northeast. Their pensions remain gold-plated defined benefit plans, often with the ability to retire at the age of 40 or so, while those who pay them have defined contribution plans, if that.

    No Republican or Democrat politicians are addressing this monstrous inequity that I can see

  35. Retiring at 40 ! Ridiculous.

    The only workers who should be retiring at that age are Porn Stars 😉

  36. So we all come eventually to the same conclusion, via different routes – politicians are a bunch of duplicitous liars who are neither fit to govern or to even touch a dollar or pond note.

    In other words democracy as we practice it is a nonsense, for the simple fact that personal integrity is now an extinct human trait.

  37. Re-forming unsustainable pensions isn’t being duplicitious

    Public sector workers are not immune from the larger realities.

  38. Phantom,

    Maybe admitting past errors and taking the consequence of bad judgement isn’t duplicity, but making outrageous promises in the first place most certainly is!

    Anyone with one eye can see that tehy will do anything for a vote and a quiet life, – duplicity exemplified!!

  39. I’m from the Reagan ” trust, but verify ” school on things like this

    Have we verified that such promises were ever made?

  40. Phantom,

    Of course they were, and no doubt about it! governent has been at the mecy of the civil service unions for decades, especially the socialist ones, after all, it is their prime source of votes, – what you might call a captive audience. Especially so under the Blair regime.

    You do love playing the Devil’s advocate don’t you!

  41. you say these things like reforming pensions and they aren’t immune to reality and you support the largest entitlement program ever designed Obamacare.

    do you no how ridiculous you sound?

  42. Ernest

    Phantom isn’t playing devil’s advocate. Also, you seem to be contradicting yourself. One minute you are berating the government because they won’t accede to teachers demands and then you attack them for being in hock to the demands of the teaching and other public sector unions. Make your mind up !

  43. Troll

    Phantom doesn’t fully support Obamacare, but he does regard it in principle as better than the situation that existed before it.

  44. why?

    Obamacare punishes everybody and still leaves 30 million un-insured.

    It destroys what was the best system in the world (which wasn’t perfect), while not solving anything and creating 10 times the problems.

    If it’s so perfect why does every politician and everyone who works for them have a waiver? Why do the major Unions have a waiver?

    Vladimir Lenin: “Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.”

  45. Troll – Your habit of using misquotes continues. Lenin never said any such thing. If you are interested in history the line came about in a campaign against Harry Truman’s own plans.

    But even if he had said it it doesn’t make it true, unless of course one wishes to suggest Canada, Finland and other industrial democracies are (which of course the yare not).

  46. Jesus Christ, he’s in Allan’n’Harri land now. Not even trying to be correct on anything.

    Pass the Stoli and say hello to Alex Jones for me.

  47. so now your an expert on Lenin. I got it off a quote page. but hell I’ll bow to your expertise on communist icons.

    Socialized medicine which this is is complete societal control of our lives by the government. That’s communism. You support it,. Your a commie.

    The fact is mahons you Phantom, and Daphne came on this site as people on the right your anything but. 3 RINO’s that support communism and attack conservatives.

    You don’t just disagree, you attack, you abuse women, you support communism.

    The 3 of you represent everything that is wrong with our nation. You educated idiots that have no interest or knowledge in what this country was founded on so you do what “feels” right. It matters not how destructive it is because your intentions are pure.

    You no different than a democrat. A democrat at least is honest.

  48. Colm,

    You seem to have misunderstood my arguments. I criticised the government for making such a stupid wage settlement in the first place. I also criticise them for once having made that legal and binding agreement, that they feel under no obligation to honour that agreement.

    That they feel they can do so without any qualms whereas a private enterprise should they behave in the same way would be sued for all manner of things, fraud, being the least of them.

    The government is guilty on so many counts, both when negotiating new agreements and on defaulting at a later date and for their convenience.

    Strange though it may seem, the government is not above the law, although I fear it would be a pointless excercise were one to sue them.

    Read the whole thread and it should be quite clear that I find the

  49. Troll – Your hero Dr. Carson has been using that quote to much amusement of those of us in the fact-based community so you aren’t alone in your mistake.

    Calling people communists who are not is a tactic that failed about 50 years ago, but do keep trying.

    I’ve never claimed to be a Republican, I am a registered Democrat. The fact that I (and others here) know more about the Republican Party, its positives and negatives, may gall you, but you’ll have to live with it.

    But please don’t stop using fake quotes on my account. It is entertaining. As George Washington once said “Television and Political Blogs are great sources of laughs.”

  50. I don’t claim to be right wing. Or left wing.

    I call ’em as I see ’em. I endorse policies that I think will do good in the real world.

  51. Where’s my boy Harri?

    He was the best when he gave quotes then the next day said he had no idea if they were true.

    There was a certain half honesty to that.

  52. Basically if a historical figure says something that is extraordinarily convenient for modern partisan point scoring it is probably fake.

  53. Ernest

    Over the last few years millions of people in Private companies have been told that their expected pensions will not materialise. In some cases they have been told that there is nothing in the pot. Public sector workers have not been anywhere near so badly affected but cannot in all honesty expect to be untouched by the huge financial burden that future pension provision is becoming.

  54. Who said

    ” I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy ”

    A) Dorothy Parker

    B) Todd Rungren

    C) Graig Nettles

  55. //so now your an expert on Lenin. I got it off a quote page. but hell I’ll bow to your expertise on communist icons.//

    Poor Troll

    //politicians are a bunch of duplicitous liars who are neither fit to govern//

    Saying politicians aren’t fit to govern any more is like saying the Rolling Stones aren’t fit to make records any more.
    In both cases, as long as people keep buying them, they’ll keep on the road. A majority of British people give democratic parties license to govern them every few years, so then democracy it is for the time being.

    It looks like it’s the only game in town. There of course many alternatives, some bad, some not so bad, some terrible. It would be interesting to hear the choice of those who say they are fed up with the kind of democracy we have. Of course even trying to implement such ideas is an extremely risky business. It may work some time in the future, but so far each time any has been tried it has ended in tears.

  56. Colm,

    I’m well aware of the private pensions fiasco, to my personal cost, however, the companies involved are being held to account, the government, or rather those responsible are not. They are using their incompetence as an excuse for what amounts to a fraudulent default, or a breach of contract.

    A contract is binding, and to use the private disaster as an excuse for the government to break its contract just isn’t acceptable, – and certainly not without someone being held responsible and subsequently being held to account. Of course, I must remember that there is no honour, honesty or integrity among thieves or politicians…

  57. Noel,

    Surely there must be a legal way other than by voting of disposing of a democratic system that has been corrupted by politicians manipulating said system so that they are not held responsible for their ineptitude, graft and overall corruption. They seem to live in a world of ‘no consequences’, – there must be some sort of ‘recall’ or similar, that can actually make them personally of ‘no consequence’.

  58. Ernest- Have they failed or have we failed? We vote for them the same way we go to McDonalds to eat or to watch reality television. If we are willing to lower our standards then those doing the selling will be happy to oblige.

  59. //– there must be some sort of ‘recall’ or similar, that can actually make them personally of ‘no consequence’.//

    You just have to wait for the next Westminster election.

    The problem is the political culture, not political structures or parties, which can be changed basically at any time. Political culture is of course part of the wider social culture – which is often intellectually lazy, excitable, easily misled, prone to hero worship etc., so in that sense you are right.

  60. Have politicians at least in our Western world really failed so badly ? Do we live in dreadfull chaotic poverty stricken misery, or if we are honest are we prepared to admit that really we live in very comfortable largely well ordered circumstances. There is too much of a tendency everywhere to claim that ‘fings ain’t wot they used to be’ but actually we really have never had it so good.

    I like to be an optimist.

  61. Colm,

    Of course there are many aspects of life that are now better than before, but it is far from the generalised environment that you would like to believe There are far too many areas where poverty is in the ascendancy. Maybe for you personally, life seems grand, but that is far from the case with everyone.

    Do you honestly think that the NHS is ‘the best it’s been’. In reality it is not the service that sparked the initial dream years ago, and is probably as near collappse now than it has ever been.

    How about the housing situation, – probably less affordable now than for the past sixty years. Linked to that is todays current topic of ‘elder care’, do you really think that the situation today is better than before? – it wasn’t that great twenty years ago, and now seems to be even worse.

    How about the education system are you happy with the way that is going? – downhill, at a pretty rapid pace.

    Perhaps to save time you would describe a few areas which you consider better than before.

    Perhaps claims that things ‘ain’t wot they used to be’, has some validity.

    As they say “you can’t be optimistic with misty optics, – nor with rose coloured ones!

  62. Ernest

    The NHS – Not near collapse at all but yes increasingly demanding and expensive. Its main problem is that it is expected to and can do so much. The medical expertise and surgical/ medicinal/technical abilities to deal with illnesses and save lives is on a scale that would have been unimaginable even 50 years ago and that is expensive. Go into any intensive care ward and see the incredible machinery that is wired up to save people who would never have survived with the illnesses and injuries they have in decades past and you can see that heath care is actually much better than ever before. Yes the NHS is straining to cope, advances in abilities outstrip the ability to fund such treatments but that is a perennial problem that will always be with us.

    Housing – It is expensive but it cannot be denied that the general quality of homes we live in today are vastly better than years ago. Modern homes are warm, comfortable and with appliances and conveniences that would be the envy of an average working class family of any time prior to WW2. The price of housing is an example of success. People want to own, and property in many parts of the UK are in great demand, a signal of confidence in the UK as a safe entity. Yes it is very difficult for young people to get on the housing ladder but unless people collectively refuse to pay current prices, they are not going to come down but essentially those problems are a cause of success in the housing market not failure.

    Elderly care – The problems with this topic are very much a situation that has more than one cause. We have a much bigger elderly population and many more people being able to remain alive due to better healthcare lifestyles and the general easier way of life we have today. Yes there is also a growing cultural practise of families living in separation with the 3 generations under one roof accommodation becoming increasingly rare and of course this does also lead to many elderly people living alone or in care. Once again it is a hugely expensive requirement and while we hear of terrible situations in some care homes, I think it’s important to remember the many thousands of low paid staff who work diligently in care homes with genuine care and affection for the elderly they look after. Each situation has its own challenges but surely the fact of a much larger number of people living to much riper old ages must be a better outcome than the lower life expectancies of the past when most people barely managed to enjoy any full retirement age often dying soon after, if not while still struggling in gruelling day to day employment.

    Education – A mixed bag I think. I think one failing is the comprehensive, keep everyone in the same educational streams and send them all to University for as long as possible ethos that I think is causing a general dumbing down within the whole sector and I do agree that discipline in schools is certainly weaker than it was in the past. On the other hand I do think there are vast resources and wider opportunities in education than in the past with some wonderful facilities and a much bigger field to engage in for those who really have the aptitude and desire to learn a discipline they wish to work in.

    I also think in terms of general material and service choice, entertainment and range social/recreational activities we really have seen vast improvements and are spoilt for choice to an extent that previous generations cannot imagine. Both online and in physically, the choice and levels of service available for our personal desires has never been better.

    All in all, I think life is getting better. We live on a planet with billions of other people. There will always be frictions and difficulties particularly in an increasingly more mobile world and people will always disagree on what is or is not ‘progress’. But I think in general our world is an improving and not a regressing place.

  63. Have politicians at least in our Western world really failed so badly ?

    No, not really.

    It is funny that here you have some of relatively -rich- people by any world standard here on ATW, moaning and groaning 24/7.

    They’re not oppressed, but they say that they are, because it’s fun.

    They’re such romantic rebels, like Che in that phony T shirt.

  64. Wow, Colm, a tour de force of common sense! Everyone on ATW must read this.

    The nuts and bolts of government and public administration are always going to be a difficult, messy and somewhat dreary business. They are not possible without a lot of red tape and bureaucratic mistakes, which are all too easy to criticise but almost impossible to improve on.
    Ultimately a society will continuing knocking along on its winding road as long as there is at least general trust that public authorities are doing their best in the public interest. That general trust is still there in every country in the developed world, which means there are not going to be any unheavals one way or the other for the foreseeable future.

  65. Noel

    Thanks – I just thought some antidote is needed to the general tone of the posts and comments here on ATW which tend to focus on the doom and gloom glass is half empty and getting emptier view of our world. How many posts are ‘good news’ ones or rejoicing at something positive in comparison to the ones that highlight supposedly negative events or prophecies.

  66. Colm,

    Good reply, thank you, – not that I agree with it in its entirety!

    Your general assuption seems to be that progress, any progress is good, – and yes, to a degree that is so, if the results of that progress have quality as well as quantity. Much of the progress you note is of course of direct benefit, – the tumble dryer will always be better and easier than the mangle, and man’s ingenuity will always find a better way to do manual tasks, – which is, of course, one of the causes of so much of the current unemployment situation.

    However, it is the unintended consequences that seem to cause most of the problems, take your example of an expanding senior population, did the politicians not foresee that better medical care would extend the lifespan of the population. Surely that must have been seen as one of the benefits, did they just choose to ignore it, perhaps seeing it as a posssible problem for others to solve.

    Coupled with the trend for earlier retirement, it was bound to be a problem for the future. Perhaps it was expected and they chose to ignore it.

    Similarly with housing, yes, houses are more efficient than in the past, even I can appreciate an inside toilet! – and yet the average small family house is still some ten times an average earners annual income, and a house with sufficient accomodation for a family of four plus a granparent or two, is but a dream for most families – so no improvemnet there, – add the cost of a mortgage and sundry taxes and for many it is now an impossible dream, or a lifetimes millstone, and with the uncertainty of employment for even the most qualified, not something to be considered lightly.

    As for the wider choice of entertainment and sporting activity, well yes that’s true, but isn’t that yet another instance of quantity rather than quality? and despite large sums being spent to foster all and sundry to partake of a sporting activity, there does seem to be an inordinate number of XXX’s around, perhaps the entertainment part which seems to involve much alcohol and other mood enhancers is the reason for the expanion in that area.

    Quite apart from that, England still seem to be having some difficulty in raising a national football team, probably due to all those school playing fields having been sold off, where once school played school to the very real benefit to all the players and the general sense of community. That was before it was deemed wrong to compete and have winners and losers at the school level.

    Perhaps all this growth and variety of ‘entertainment’is just part of that ‘bread and circuses’ scenario we used to read so much about, – and which seems to be quite repetitive over the millenia. To history buffs it does all seem very familiar.

    I quite see why younger generations see the current situation as better than the past, – and it most certainly is in many respects, but not all, – as an ‘oldie’, I still see the very real imbalances that exist, not just in incomes, but in theh quality of lifestyles, in hopes,expectations and ambitions, all of which are based on a valid and beneficial education system, – which just coincidentally seems to be a point we agree on, – that our current system really isn’t fit for purpose.

    I see that Noel still believes there is a general trust in our public authorities, and a general bumbling along with ‘our best interests at heart’. If only that were so! It maybe used to be so, but the last two decades have seen a big change in management attitude, unfortumnately for the worse.

    How else can I explain the general feeeling of betrayal among ‘Seniors’ and the ‘not so senior’, and across the political spectrum?

    Could we be seeing the real cost of neglecting and dumbing down of our once satisfactory education system?

  67. Ernest

    Just a quick reply to let you know I have read your response. I can’t really disagree with much of what you have written , particularly about the negative effects of our having so much material choice and the easy ability to have a sedentary lifestyle. We expect to have things ‘free’ and have got used to the idea that the State will take care of so much and that when we are old it will all be taken care of but we don’t wnat to pay for that while we are working. I just think we can’t lay the blame for such lapses only at the door of politicians. We all want the greener grass but want someone else to seed it.

  68. Colm – You do make good points. There is a book out called The Rationalist Optimist which basically argues that things are getting better and have been for some time. There is undoubtedly sometime to this argument but it is also lacking in important respects. Firstly, it seems to me, these kinds of analyses are always grounded in the assumption that the ‘free market’ should be let rip. This is problematic, as the ‘free market’ (it isn’t free, and if it was things would be worse) serves only the minority well; the kinds of people who have internet access, go to work in some kind of office each day, and have a full stomach and a roof over their head as they go to sleep each night. This is a minority of people in the world.

    In some of us, there is an urge to be more ambitious for this world. This world in which we still see injustice, starvation, and poverty on an awesome scale. There also resides in some of us the urge to ask why things are the way they are, to not take the status quo as a given, but to analyse how we got here and to try to envision a way forward. History, after all, is on the side of those who’s aims are considered ‘unrealistic’, but who have a strategy to achieve them and work/fight towards it.

    None of this means we have to go round with long faces by the way; I’d simply point out that an ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude is unacceptable to many of us.

  69. …all the key indicators of unhappiness – depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness.

    — Mark Boyle.

  70. //In some of us, there is an urge to be more ambitious for this world. This world in which we still see injustice, starvation, and poverty on an awesome scale. …. History, after all, is on the side of those who’s aims are considered ‘unrealistic’,//

    Exactly, and that is for me the chief reason to be optimistic. There have been many real baddies around over, say, the past 100 years. They often achieved great power, but ultimately they and their causes have been defeated. Instead, the dreary old societies that simply try their best to improve things have survived, often against very unlikely odds.

    The Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, SA Apartheid, all those killer-dictators in Latin America and Asia have been overthrown and democracies have usually taken their place. The rule of law and democracy are now much more widespread than ever before, and even in the older democracies thre is much less injustice, bigotry and plain pig-headedness than at any time in history.

    There is still much to be done, of course, and the struggle for justice has hardly started in some places. But overall, from a broader perspective, the onward march of decency and justice over the past century has been little short of miraculous.

  71. What a very strange world it would be if the young ones were the pessimists and the old’uns were the optimists!

    I think our (Oldies) pessimism stems from once having similar wonderful ideas of how to make the world a better place, usually involving a lot of personal effort, hardship and sacrifice, as we grew older we have seen most of those ideas thwarted by various entities, and as old age finally grabs hold we realise that even our very best efforts have largely been in vain. Now surely, is there any one of you who would not feel somewhat disappointed and even pessismistic, when such a truth dawns?

    Has there ever been a man go to his grave with a smug grin on his face and a feeling that he had achieved all his hopes and ambitions to make the world a better place, – of course not, it has never happened.

    Our hopes are for our descendants, and yes, we worry about them, even though we know there is little more we can do for them. We have given our best, and there isn’t a parent among us, who wishes they could have done more. All we can do is advise on the pitfalls, and accept the sneers when we do so, knowing that you are only doing what we ourselves did when in our prime.

    Old age is a disability, and mentally acclimatising oneself to its progress will the hardest thing that any of you will do.

    So keep up the optimism, expand your minds and at least try to do better than we have done! – oh! and really don’t buy any bridges!

    Advice! – try and live by the edict – ‘Do as you would be done by!…

    Good wishes to you all….

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