Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"



Friday, 7 April 2017

US attacks Syrian Airfield

I wrote last night that I was not really convinced that Assad had been responsible for the sarin gas attack on civilians in Idlib as their seemed no logic behind it. Little did I think that overnight the US would launch Cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield, presumably in an attempt to destroy or ground Assad's air force.
I was pleased to read today that the former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, says he believes it is 'highly unlikely' that Russia or the Assad regime was behind the attack in Idlib. At least I'm not alone in my doubts.

During the US election campaign,  it was Trump who repeatedly campaigned to stay out of Syria, but as a result of this attack, he is now right in the heart of it. I hope that Trump acted with his head rather than his heart and that the attack was as a result of information that they got from reliable sources, possibly satellite pictures or drone surveillance which is not yet in the public domain.

A possible side effect of this attack is where North Korea is concerned. When Obama was president, the regime could do almost anything they liked because they knew that America would have no wish to get involved. Perhaps they will realise Trump is not the same sort of person and that they will now be somewhat more cautious in issuing threats in case they are taken seriously.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Today's News

Some small items.

The father who was fined for taking his child out of school for a week's holiday has lost his appeal against his fine at the Supreme Court. The main argument was that a child's education can suffer badly even from a week away from school.
Contrast this with an acquaintance of mine whose boy had to be kept at home for about eight weeks following a serious operation because the school wouldn't accept the responsibility for ensuring thet he took his medicine at the appropriate times.
When the father raised the issue of the school giving the lad some work at home so that he could keep up with his studies, the school insisted that the absence would make little difference and that he would soon catch up!
Who is correct? The court in accepting that a child can get behind with a mere week's absence or the school which said a child would soon catch up after 8 weeks absence?

Breitbart reports that former European Union employee Peter Mandelson has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to pay the £50 billion “ransom” the bloc has demanded as the price of Brexit.He added that she should deal with the small change of the financial settlement in the first negotiation as quickly as she can in order to advance in as propitious as way as she can to the second stage of the negotiation, which is about the future trade arrangement.
This shows his, and one suspects most Labour MPs',  attitude to taxpayers' money. To Labour, £50million is "small change". I wish I had a bit of that small-change in my pocket!

Finally Syria. The consensus of opinion is that Assad was responsible for the sarin gas attack against civilians in Idlib. My question is "Why?". He is winning the war, the 'terrorists' are being pushed back, Trump had recently announced that he no longer considered the removal of Assad was a priority and the attack has changed Trump's attitude as well as, presumably, embarrassing Putin. So I still ask "Why?", could it have been one of the various terrorist groups or even as someone suggested, as a result of a bomb or shell fire on a chemical weapons dump in the city? Hard facts are difficult to get and the BBC initially reported it as a Napalm attack.
I remain undecided.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Brexit - Let Battle Commence

It's started. The President of the European Parliament (how many presidents does the EU have or need?) has said that the EU Parliament will veto any deal reached between the UK and the EU negotiators, before the discussions have even started. That's EU democracy for you!

If this report is true, our PM had better send a second letter saying that
a. Any discussions have been rendered pointless  by this proposed veto and
b. The UK has no intention of wasting our Ministers' and Civil Servant's time on such pointless discussions because
c. The British public won't tolerate waiting two years for what could be done tomorrow.
d. Therefore she is formally informing them that we will be leaving the EU and reverting to WTO trading rules as soon as possible.

Just to add to the fun, the French President has demanded that we pay the "divorce bill" up front before they will be prepared to start trade talks; as we've said we won't pay it follows that there won't be any trade talks so providing yet another reason for sending a second letter as above.

Meanwhile the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said he will take the UK to the International court of Justice at the Hague if we don't cough up! At the same time, he says that he has fears that a 'Hard' Brexit will cause a financial crash – which could have dire implications for the struggling Eurozone. Talk about "Cutting off your nose to spite your face" as my old mum would have said!

And for the last laugh, Jean-Claude Juncker has issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States  that EU could break up the US!

All this idiocy would make a good comedy show for television were not the issues so serious.  Perhaps it's time for Boris to get involved, I'm sure that he could come up with something equally outrageous!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Brexit letter sent at long last!

It has taken nine months since the referendum on Brexit.
The letter required under Article 50 of the EU treaty has been sent; not just sent but handed over by the British Ambassador to the European Council President, Donald Tusk, in person. No chance to mess around claiming it was lost in the post or any such rubbish, it was delivered in full view of the media!

Rather strangely, the BBC web site only provides the first page of the letter, with the Prime Minister's signature apparently at the bottom of this page and you need to download a pdf to discover the fact that letter comprise six pages, with the signature at the bottom of page six. I can only assume that this is because the rest of the letter is not in accordance with BBC ideas in that it strikes me as being very firm but at the same time making it clear that we have no wish to harm the EU in any way. Somewhat different to the attitude of one of the other EU Presidents, Jean-Claude Juncker, who wishes to see us "punished" for wanting to leave.

The full letter can be viewed on the BBC site at this location.

Any way, after nine months it has happened, I was beginning to doubt whether the letter would ever be sent, especially when it wasn't dispatched the moment that Parliament gave its approval. But it's been delivered, and hopefully in two years time we will be out and free to 'do our own thing' once again.

I notice that the EU is still demanding a huge sum when we leave. If this were a divorce, as much of the media seem to think, surely the lawyers for the party receiving such a claim would immediately lodge a counter-claim and not simply ignore it. The EU has considerable assets in terms of property such as the huge number of buildings it owns in Brussels and elsewhere; surely we should get our share. There is also, one reads, one of the finest wine cellars in Europe; we should demand our share in order to celebrate the completion of Brexit in due course!

Let's hope all goes reasonably smoothly and we are able to reach suitable deals in respect of trade, fisheries, and our citizens living in the EU.

Now all we need to do is to send a similar letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Murder in Westminster

By now, no-one in this country can be unaware of the mass murder committed in London yesterday by a follower of Islam. Politicians say the attack was nothing to do with Islam and that few Muslims support such actions. If this is so, why aren't there any Muslims out on the streets protesting against this maniac committing such a horrendous crime in the name of their religion? If someone had done something similar shouting "This is in the name of Jesus", I sure there would be plenty of condemnation from Christians as well as sermons in Church on Sunday. But Islam? Not a whisper from other than other than MPs who seem to believe that the murders at Westminster had nothing to do with Islam.

On this occasion I'm fully in agreement with Katie Hopkins in the Daily Mail
Welcome to London: We can say we’re not afraid, light candles and make hearts of our hands but the truth is that we can’t go on like this.
The full piece can be read in the Mail using this link.

It's important to note that the killer was middle-aged; it's not as if he was some hot-blooded, immature guy who just got taken in by his imam. He was living in Birmingham and had apparently rented the 4x4 locally. This was not an 'impulse attack', it was clearly carefully planned by someone who already had a sting of convictions for crimes of violence.

The truth is we just can't continue to go on like this. Our MPs make me very angry when the give our money as aid to the very countries from which these evil people originate. They make claims like 'extremism is born out of poverty'. Maybe, but this man was born in Kent and as far as I'm aware, the county isn't noted for its poverty.

I do not think Theresa May responded well to the attack. Empty hollow words repeated year in and year out without any substantive action to tackle the issues which led to this tragedy.  It's all right for our MPs,  cocooned in the safety of the Houses of Parliament to feel nice and safe, but what about the rest of us? If asked, they immediately say "What about Joe Cox?" and prefer to overlook the fact that she was killed by a person with genuine mental problems who had previously been treated in hospital. Jo's killing 'proves' to them that the threat is not just from Islam.

I get angry when MPs won't adequately fund our security services so they can only manage to watch 'potentially active' terrorists, preferring to give the money as foreign aid to the very countries for which most of these terrorists, or their families, originate.

I get even more angry when they place restrictions on what our security services do in terms of monitoring the communications of suspects citing their 'Human Rights'. We need to fight this battle with all the tools at our disposal, not fight with one hand tied behind our backs.

I have not found one person amongst my friends and acquaintances who would object to their phone calls, e-mails or use of the web being monitored by the security services as long as it was only the security services and not every government department, local council or quango that feels it would like to know what we are up to. It was the misuse of RIPA by local councils that have made people oppose surveillance, but I feel that we have reached a point where something needs to be done and where electronic surveillance is probably a very cost effective thing to do.

A major problem is that, unlike when we were fighting the IRA, who had no burning wish to die for their cause, fighting suicide killers is a far more difficult task by virtue of their belief that if they die fighting for Islam, the will immediately go to paradise.

Perhaps we should learn from the Japanese. Some years back they had a spate of attacks by Muslims using knives and where the attacker was invariably killed by the police. They started to bury the bodies of the dead attackers wrapped in pigskins or doused the body in pig fat. This apparently stopped the attacks quite rapidly; what is the point of committing suicide if your enemy renders it impossible for you to go to paradise?

Finally, it goes without saying that my thoughts are with the victims and the families of those killed and injured, and I'm sure we will all pray for them at our Sunday Service at my Parish Church, as I expect they will in most churches around the country.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Martin McGuinness is Dead

IRA Terrorist-in-Chief Martin McGuinness is dead.

Good, I hope that he burns in hell.

I've been listening to all the hypocritical apologists on television trying to tell us that he was really a saint in disguise and they made me feel sick. The only person prepared to speak his mind and tell the truth was Lord Tebbit who said:
'I'm just pleased that the world is a sweeter and cleaner place now.
'He was not only a multi-murderer, he was a coward. He knew that the IRA were defeated because British intelligence had penetrated right the way up to the Army Council and that the end was coming.
'He then sought to save his own skin and he knew that it was likely he would be charged before long with several murders which he had personally committed and he decided that the only thing to do was to opt for peace.
'He was a coward who never atoned for his crimes. There can be no forgiveness without a confession of sins. I hope he'll be parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity. My thoughts are with the many many hundreds of people murdered by McGuinness and his friends during the Troubles'.
I felt saddened that our Queen felt it was appropriate to to shake hands with this evil man when she visited Belfast in 2012 just as I feel the same sadness today reading that she has sent her condolences on his death to his widow.

Meanwhile, we still have to contend with investigations into the actions of our soldiers in Northern Ireland during the troubles 'in the interests of justice'. What justice was there for all McGuinness' victims?

Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams. One down and one to go.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Brexit (Continued)

Two points from today's news.

The Daily Mail headlines reveal that Juncker is boasting that no-one else will want to leave the EU after they see how badly the UK is punished for Brexit.

The problems with making boasts like that are twofold:
Firstly, in order to 'punish' the UK it seems likely that the EU would have to do itself more harm than that which it could do to the UK. Will the other countries who sell us their goods support such a crazy idea?
Secondly, What happens if we do well without being in the EU, as I believe we will? Surely this will encourage other countries to follow us.

The other matter reported today is that Theresa May has chosen March 29 as the day she will trigger Article 50 to start leaving the EU.
My only concern is about what appears to be even more delay; why give some Remoaner time to find an excuse to go to the courts and get an injunction for some spurious reason. If Churchill had fought WW2 with all the delays of the present government, the war would probably still be in progress!