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May 16, 2018

WHITE ruddy-faced middle-aged men who oppose Corbyn and the metropolitan liberal Brexit-denying elite are now being termed “gammon” by the left.
It’s a part of the pig, of course, and is often greasy, fatty and sometimes bland and fairly nondescript in taste. It’s also a lower class favourite (gammon, egg and chips often features on menus in transport cafes and the like where unsophisticated blue collar workers dine out. They wouldn’t know what guacamole was if it hit them in the eye, rarely talk about the opera and never order organic food).
I am definitely not gammon.
No, I am much more fine-cured, mature jamon iberico, thinner but much more powerful and challenging on the palate, improving as it matures – high quality gourmet fayre with a long shelf life which gains in flavour, dryness, and zesty saltiness if it is left to hang out (not, crucially, hang) in natural conditions free from any overpowering temperatures or intrusive tampering by loud and intrusive people who might poke or prod, refined and distinctive so expensive to buy, a little bit Marmite (some love it, some hate it) best taken in small portions on dry bread with very high quality chilled wine sipped slowly on a balcony with a sea view.



May 11, 2018

WHO can forget that awkward, clammy, fake brotherly love bear hug between little Ed Milliband and big brother David after junior plunged the knife into senior’s back, which ultimately led to the current mess of New Labour backsliding into Old Labour under Comrade Corbyn….
Mr Ed, sounding a little hoarse, was out of his stable box and back in Westminster this week, whinnying and neighing in that bizarre manner which is as unique as his hair, arms windmilling erratically like an orchestra conductor in a puff of outrage, his voice breaking like a sulky choirboy who’d sniffed too much of the communion wine to angrilly attack MPs for not protecting the likes of Kate and Gerry McCann by voting against Leveson Two, the sequel. At one point, I actually thought he was going to swear and, of course, hoped that he would REALLY swear.
Leveson One was bad enough, for God’s sake – a procession of privileged, pampered “personalities” groaning about press intrusion like war ship captains whinging about rough, stormy seas in a pointless, expensive orgy of virtue signalling and righteous indignation (Max Moseley, who enjoys a bit of orgy-bargy, but only in private, is the highly unlikely admiral of the fleet of the loyal naval righteous indignation) – so why would you ever go there again?
To make sure that the stories that the likes of “spanker” Moseley and the McCanns tell are perceived by you and I to be true, of course, and to not be challenged by anyone, anywhere, at any time and at all costs.
But two Labour heavyweights Mr Ed and the now considerably less heavy deputy leader Tom Watson – our very own paedo-finder general – thankfully lost their bids in parliament on Wednesday on behalf of people like Moseley and the McCanns to clamp down on investigative journalism by making newspapers pay crippling costs even when they were printing truths and to further shame and punish journalists for questionable behaviour in another Leveson-style probe.
But Moseley, the McCanns and the Labour commissars were firing their ammunition at the wrong target – in fact, they were trying to shoot down an already severely diminished, wheelchair-bound and defenseless mainstream media – print journalism particularly, which is on its knees and now struggles to afford to pay for any kind of meaningful investigative journalism and has shed so many of its reporting staff that there are now none left to cover even basic events like courts, councils and inquests so vast amounts of information now gets ignored and is left unreported and unrecorded, leaving a dangerous void for democracy and human rights.
Huge numbers of local newspapers now are forced to align themselves with the execrable council-produced town hall Pravda “newspapers” in spouting sunny propaganda and approved dogma because challenging them in any way would cost them too much as their business model was built on quicksand.
The obvious danger in this slow slide into totalitarianism is that we stop asking “why?” “what?” “when?” “where?” and “how?” and just accept what is fed to us.
The real dirt on the McCanns, for instance, is now on the internet. I have read stories which have made me realise that protection was one of the things they never did lack in the aftermath of Maddie’s “abduction” in Portugal. Some stories state that it was protection from rather than for the McCanns which was needed.
I am able to read these stories because of the democratisation of news and opinion which the internet has brought about.
It would be far easier to control the news if the news was isolated to only mainstream media – as, indeed, it once was – and “control” is exactly what Moseley, the McCanns and the Labour high command want.
The defenders of objective, robust and intrusive investigation of those in public office tend, in my experience, to come more often from the political right than from the political left (note to the Welsh Assembly Government) and that was, again, the case on Wednesday with Tory toff Jacob Rees-Mogg leading the fight against state-sponsored censorship and oppression.
Enough like-minded politicians voted to defeat the call for Leveson Two by a slim majority.
Now, though, it seems that the House of Lords – that ludicrously rebellious bunch of geriatrics who seem to think they know better than anyone, especially us, the voters – will try to overturn it and order yet another expensive probe to persecute even more of the dwindling number of hacks still left to point bright torches into dark and dingy corners.


May 2, 2018

NORTH Wales UKIP Welsh Assembly member Michelle Brown has been punished for calling Chukka Umunna a “coconut” – a nourishing food which is black on the outside but all the “meat” and substance inside is white.
I wondered what a white person with all the “meat” and substance inside being black could be called and I struggled, finally coming up with “snowball”.!
It is far easier to find foods that are black or dark on the outside and white or light on the inside than foods which are black or dark on the outside and white or light on the inside. I wonder if this reflects the fact that it appears far easier to offend a black person on the grounds of race than to offend a white person.
I wonder if calling a white person a “snowball”, for instance, would be considered “racist” language at all and I wondered who you could call a “snowball” and if they would take offence and call it “racist”.
What disturbed me most about the story was that a “private” conversation where the AM let loose her inhibitions and really went for it was being recorded and was repeated later. Did she enter into this conversation knowing that it would be recorded and repeated? Is everything “on the record” now?
It brought back that Gordon Brown Gillian Duffy moment when after smooth talking and charming the woman, he said what he really thought in private and called her a “bigot”.
It did for Gordon – who didn’t know the microphones were still on – because the electorate suddenly knew how he “really” felt.
He was forced to make a snivelling, grovelling apology to the woman (at least Michelle Brown hasn’t done that) which he very clearly did not “really” mean.
He said at the time: “Sometimes you say things that you don’t mean to say, sometimes you say things by mistake and sometimes when you say things you want to correct it very quickly.
“So I wanted to come here and say to Gillian I was sorry, to say that I made a mistake, but to also say I understood the concerns she was bringing to me and I simply misunderstood some of the words that she used.”
No, he didn’t. He knew exactly what she said and he “really” did think her a bigot, as he did many other people in the Labour Party with similar unreconstructed views and he desperately wanted to undo an error which he knew would haunt him.
I would far rather hear my elected representatives using words like “bigot”, “coconut” and “snowball” openly and sincerely in an atmosphere without oppressive fear of a Stalinist militia than constantly try to bewitch and beguile us with pretty, impressive words and phrases they don’t mean at all.
And that does NOT make me “racist”.


May 2, 2018

HOW DELIGHTFUL to hear that Mr Speaker, the odious little Tory MP John Bercow – who regularly chastises others publicly in a deeply patronising, showily verbose tone and manner like a strait-laced, strict and unyielding master straight out of a dark and forbidding Victorian boarding school for their rude and offensive outbursts – has himself been rude and offensive to his own staff.
A former member of his staff says he shouted at him, undermined him in front of other staff, swore, and attempted to physically intimidate him.
Didn’t anyone shout “ORDER, ORDER” and say to Speaker Bercow “You really are a thoroughly juvenile and galling, vexing and exceptionable little person with a most unfortunate, obvious Napoleon complex!” Perhaps the former member of staff should have.


April 25, 2018

WHERE does the property website Zoopla – which collects a surprisingly large amount of data about where we live, the people who live there and their social attitudes as well as statistics on crime – get all this information from and how reliable is it?
I was fascinated to find from their data, for instance, that in Newport – where I live – anti-social behaviour is well above the national average yet burglary and robbery are both below the national average and violence and sex crime is slightly above the national average.
It collects data on the houses themselves in terms of how many are owned, rented privately or social renting, or shared ownership and the occupants themselves are measured from “higher managerial” down to “unemployed” and “students” along with data about their personal living circumstances, with “single-parent families” “single individuals” and “students” dominating.
Their interests are also measured (how on earth could you accurately measure this?) with “football supporters”, “cinema goers” and “DIY enthusiasts” dominating and even the newspapers they read are measured. Most people in my street read the Daily Mirror, apparently with almost no-one reading The Times.
In the many years I have lived here, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone with a copy of the Daily Mirror.
You can then compare all that data with similar data in another area of the UK – Belgravia or Chelsea, maybe, where no-one reads the Daily Mirror, and their interests mainly revolve around “opera”, “ballet” and “building property and share portfolios and buying more Rolls-Royce cars”.
The website also tracks property values – perhaps most significantly and these can, again, be compared with other areas of the UK.
Of course, nobody used to know this information. I don’t think it necessarily a bad thing that we now have the opportunity to find out so easily but I wonder where the information is really coming from and how it is really being collected.
Surely, a website designed specifically to promote trade in the buying and selling of houses is unlikely to be a reliable and trustworthy source dedicated to giving an impartial, fair and accurate comprehensive picture to inform decision makers and local planners.
This is a marketing exercise on their part designed to create a picture of an area to sell it rather than assess it socially.


April 24, 2018


April 23, 2018

A BUSINESSMAN wants to build a hotel on the site of the abandoned and derelict North Wales Hospital, Denbigh, and says he wants it to be “edgy” with “men in white coats” to reflect the asylum’s shamefully destructive history.
Lawrence Kenwright, of Signature Living, says he wants to employ up to 1,500 people in the original site which would be restored and many of the original features retained to cash in on what the marketers would doubtless call “the unique selling point of an immersive experience” where you stay in a genuine, authentic Victorian “madhouse” where electric shock treatment, psycho-surgery and, by many accounts, barbaric abuses were carried out in a state-sponsored experiment to “correct” anti-social or abnormal behaviour.
I can understand that any plan which offers the prospect of new jobs in a depressed area where young people are desperate for lifelines would be warmly welcomed by local people.
My first reaction, however, was one of horror and incredulity.
People generally were taken to Denbigh, they didn’t go there of their own accord. So if nobody wanted to go there in the past, why would anybody want to go there now? What does Denbigh have to offer now which it didn’t have then?
There is clearly nothing to celebrate in the history of Denbigh Hospital – “Gone to Denbigh” was a euphemism when I was a boy in Bangor, north Wales, in the 60s and 70s which meant that someone else had been consigned to the “loony-bin”, usually without their full consent because they had done something “odd” in a judgemental, narrow-minded parochial environment like had a child outside wedlock (then called promiscuity), expressed homosexual tendencies or been overly critical of someone in authority.
I grew up believing that there was no logical reason for a sane and fit person to go to Denbigh or to want to go anywhere near there so it was rarely mentioned and even more rarely visited, certainly by my family.
That part of north Wales, also, seemed remote and difficult to access at that time because of sub-standard roads and severe Dr Beeching railway cuts which left places like Denbigh, Bala and Rhuddlan out on a limb.
The suspicion that what was out of sight may also be out of mind and that this might be very convenient for the psychiatric and judicial high command in north Wales lingered in the back of my mind as I watched powerful films at that time like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest exposing the horrendous abuses carried out by staff institutionalised into a system which made them casual and sometimes callous about suffering and injustice.
Former staff at the asylum have a historical website and meet for reunions.
Many of their recollections are fond and pleasant and they speak of a cohesive, harmonious group of professionals who hugely enjoyed their time working in a beautiful rural setting in a hugely impressive, large building with equally impressive facilities.
For many of them, it appears, it may have been a caring community which offered the mentally troubled and afflicted appropriate care and treatment with real hope of a new start and a new direction in life in a relaxed and comfortable place.
But you cannot help noticing when some of them refer to the patients (now changed to “service users” to promote the illusion of empowerment) that it often sounds paternalistic and authoritarian and remarkably like the way staff at a zoo might refer to the animals.
This is an excerpt from a report entitled “Infamous characters” by Clwyd Wynne.
“R.O. was a ‘cariad’ of a man. He had been a patient in the hospital since his discharge from the army shortly after the 1st world war where he was a radio operator. Everyone who came across him could not but like him although his communication skills were limited. He had bouts when he was extremely hyperactive and noisy singing “Black Dando” for days on end until he lost his voice and his favourite saying was “Away you silly duffer!” whenever anyone tried to stop him doing things he shouldn’t like going into other patients’ lockers to look for sweets. The stories about his escapades are legend. Has anyone got any other stories about this lovable character who lived almost to his 90’s and had sadly been in hospital for about 60-70 years when he died.
Patients who gave themselves the names Marquis of Normandy and Connah’s Quay Kid, Billy the Kid, and of course Sir Ivor. Gipsy, Wiggy, Monty, Papur Punt.”
R.O.’s surviving family will, doubtless, want to know why he was at the hospital for 60-70 years till he died and whether or not he was genuinely being assisted to recover by the staff. Was he, in effect, being humoured and neglected.
Significantly too, medical records for people who were treated there in the past are not being released by the authorities, those that can be accessed will tend to be brief and leave too many questions unanswered. There is, also, evidence of dreadful overcrowding and abuse.
So Mr Kenwright has to bear all this in mind when he asks for the views of local people.
I know what he means by “edgy” in this context but it is a term you would use for a film or a play which might tell the real story of the asylum in similar ways to the museums which document holocaust abuses in Poland in World War Two. People would visit to pay respects and commemorate a regrettable part of our collective past but they would not want to stay there for an “immersive experience” of the holocaust.
Nazi war criminals behind the holocaust were dealt with at the Nuremberg trials but nobody has so far faced judgement for the clear institutionalised abuse of powerless people at North Wales Hospital, Denbigh.
Something will have to be done about this spooky, ghostly old derelict pile in the country but turning it into an “edgy” asylum theme hotel for wealthy Americans who want to immerse themselves in a dark and sinister past for cheap thrills in between rounds of golf, boating and climbing expeditions is hardly appropriate.
Why not do it up then relocate all the senior administrative and other staff in the National Health Service there or even relocate the Welsh Assembly Government there. Another idea would be for the National Archive in London to relocate there. The money saved by selling these properties could go to the NHS.