2012 June

Friday 29th: Sometimes I feel as though we are all living in Alice in Wonderland. Certainly Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Eady sitting in the High Court in London would not seem out of place in a book of literary nonsense. They have spared one of America’s most wanted paedophiles extradition from  Britain on “human rights grounds.” Shawn Sullivan is an American who has a conviction in Ireland and is wanted in Minnesota. What of the ‘human rights’ of his next victims?

Thursday 28th: The NATWEST bank allegedly outsourced IT functions to India. This was reported widely including by the esteemed UK Daily Telegraph. I wonder though where that newspaper is outsourcing its copy editors to? This phrase appeared yesterday in a report about a caravan which was caught up in a tornado in Lincolnshire: “rally sharp shared of plastic”.

Tuesday 26th: Another month is skittering away, time we will never recover but hopefully some good memories will remain. One highlight for me came at the weekend when I paddled up to not one but two white-bellied sea eagles. Nature really is red in tooth and claw. Just up from the eagles a carrion was attacking a dead lamb which had floated up onto a small outcrop of rocks at the last high water. Birds dont have to worry about the global financial crisis or intemperate carbon taxes, just where the next meal is coming from. There aren’t many fish in our river at the moment to feed one, never mind a pair of such magnificent birds.

Thursday 21st: While the West seems to be coming to terms that yet another Afghan war is unwinnable it is surely time governments recognised that another war has been lost and they are totally defeated. The ‘war on drugs’ needs an armistice which provides meaningful, legislated and intelligent education for potential users. It should legalise and license and tax the lot, make them available over the counter in chemists to everyone aged 18 and over. It must provide support for the weakest who still become addicted. Introduce random drugs testing for employees working with machinery and drivers etc with zero tolerance policies.  Overnight criminals will suffer, burglary and muggings will fall and much of society can be reclaimed. The error was to tell people they cannot do something, in this case ‘do’ drugs. Remove the thrill, educate the young and watch how many do not experiment because it has become, as it used to be before the mid-1960s, acceptable. I attended annual anti-drugs lectures for almost forty years and am convinced legalising drugs is the only solution.

Wednesday 20th: A controversial 24 hours if you are interested in the issue of freedom of speech/media freedom. In the UK Wikileaks’ Julian Assange claims asylum from the Equadorians in order to avoid  ultimate extradition (via Sweden) to the USA. Meanwhile in Australia a government whip supports the introduction of measures ultimately aiming to limit a mining billionaire’s influence on editorial staff in the Fairfax media group. “Concentration of news media ownership in the hands of a few represents, prima facie, a competitive market failure requiring compensatory regulation to ensure socially acceptable outcomes.” S’funny how its OK for politicians to get into bed with the media if they are reporting stories the way they like them. That makes it ‘socially acceptable’. If you are stinking rich and  thought you lived in a democracy then buy a newspaper group to get your anti-government message over and watch this space!

Monday 18th: Its reassuring to know the lunatics are still in charge of the asylum. It looks as though the Greeks have voted for a pro-Eurozone party while in the UK a billion pounds is being invested into the next generation of Trident, the UK’s ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent. Now while I once wouldn’t have been averse to employing a tactical nuclear weapon against a Soviet submarine and I have occasionally been overheard to use the phrase “we should nuke the bastards”, I cannot in all conscience support strategic nuclear weapons.  In any case, the The British government (unlike the USA) has ratified Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention.  Article 35 of that states: the right to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. It is prohibited to employ weapons and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. It is prohibited to employ means of warfare which may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment. So please, someone explain, how could a Christian country in ANY circumstances, employ a nuclear SLBM. Is that not evil, pure and simple ? An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, civilisation for civilisation?

Sunday 17th: Over the years a lot of people have criticised Tony Bliar’s former spin doctor, Alistair Campbell.  However, not only is he a loyal Burnley fan but apparently he has had the decency to twice turn down a peerage. Good for him – what a rotten, twisted system the British have where spin doctors are invited to join the legislature. The fact that I was twice rejected  by the House of Lords’ Appointment Commission around the turn of the century has absolutely no bearing on this view!

Saturday 16th: Perhaps following the recent myopic refusal by Keith Vaz (the Yemeni-born MP for England’s Leicester East constituency) to recognise that racism was a primary driver in the Rochdale grooming case there should be legislation requiring all members of the Palace of Westminster to be British born.

Friday 15th: What is it that make ‘growth’ always a good thing? Economic growth comes at a profit to some and a cost to others. Ultimately, like increased productivity or improved efficiency, it must prove unsustainable. Our bodies grow, which of course is fantastic news initially, but then they stop growing and start decaying. So perhaps economists and politicians should stop worrying about growth and concentrate on enduring sustainability – of jobs, standards of living, the cohesion of societies et al.

Tuesday 12th: Really sad to read about the armed forces’ redundancies in the UK.  Morale is an essential principle of war. Since the Berlin Wall came down successive British governments have ignored it or at best paid only lip service to morale.  Add to that the social and professional pressures of Change with a capital ‘C’ enforced upon the forces for over twenty years and to me it looks like Great Britain is failing to pay its insurance premiums for defence of the realm.

Sunday 10th: How multi-cultural is modern Germany? Angela Merkel may be creating an economic Fourth Reich in the Eurozone but look at these names from the EURO 2012 team which beat Portugal yesterday: Boateng, Khedira, Ozil, Podolski and last but not least, Mario Gomez!

Wednesday 6th: Wake up Australia! NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, not South Pacific or South East Asia. NATO’s own website states it was created to deter Soviet expansionism, forbid the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the European continent and to encourage European political integration. Sixty three years later, Russian aggression has replaced Soviet ambitions, the Euro saga is increasing nationalism throughout Europe and European political integration may yet cost us all very dearly.  It is not in Australia’s national strategic interests to remain embroiled within NATO’s spreading tentacles either in Afghanistan or in Syria (watch this space).

Sunday 3rd: Still on the domestic front. Its often said that ‘the best things in life are free’. Well I’m not all that impressed by the delicate Aussie Mud porcelain or Plumm glassware but my favourite everyday plate was given to us gratis by a Japanese supermarket….

Saturday 2nd: In about 4 billion years the Andromeda galaxy will collide with our galaxy the Milky Way. Of rather more immediate concern than the possibility of cosmic collision or even the next ice age here on planet earth is that the Taylor’s 80 Acres Clare Valley 2008 Shiraz Voignier has just run out in Tom Frederick’s household.

Friday 1st: ‘Tis the Glorious First of June. On this day in 1794 was fought the first and largest naval battle between the Royal Navy and the First of  many French Republics. Lord Howe’s force of 25 ships would today outnumber the frigates and destroyers remaining in the modern, politically castrated British navy while the French required several more attempts before they created the less than perfect Republic they have today. Waking up this morning with a vivid dream I was reminded at how good women are at interpreting men’s dreams – thanks mum!