Monday, May 24, 2010

Of Monkeys and Organ Grinders

It has really been quite embarassing to hear Nick Clegg, at the weekend, and Vince Cable today (on Radio 4) attempting to justify their support for policies which, throughout the campaign, they so vociferously opposed.

Interesting that the BBC should choose to interview the monkeys, rather than the organ grinders, as the cuts are announced. It's no real surprise though, to see that these opportunists are already being set up as fall guys by their parliamentary marriage bed partners!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Visitor

The door opens and, with ungainly gaited glide, the visitor zeroes in on a chair right next to mine; a harbinger of claustrophobia in what, until this moment, had been an airy space.

I feel his breath on the back of my neck, perceive a penetrating gaze absorbing all that appears on my laptop's screen. An intense sense of dis-ease crushes me, I find myself almost gasping for breath.

It's rare that just a few minutes can seem like endless hours but, today, this was the case. I had no desire to rudely scream and exorcise the presence from our dwelling place, for here is history, albeit a quite tenuous family tie.

I vacate the room and head for the garden, an opportunity to breathe freely once again. Fortunately ma belle senses my un-ease, coping remarkably well with her own, relieves me of the need to endure this painful companionability for a moment more than necessary.

When one's stamina levels are already low, entertaining can prove a stress too far.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Birth of ConDemNation

In spite of the past extended weekend of depressing parliamentary goings on, the total lack of principle on behalf of the LibDems, I've just about managed to keep myself buoyant. A Tory by any other name is still a Tory no matter what colours they wore to deceive the electorate into casting a vote for them. No amount of adjusting / reforming the electoral system will compensate for the lack of principle and integrity so in evidence amongst politicians. The words uttered during the campaign all prove meaningless.

Clouds of gloom kept falling around us as we struggled to get on with life. We had a most enjoyable visit from my brother and his wife, from Saturday until Wednesday, accompanied by some enticing wining and dining experiences. The weather militated somewhat against venturing far afield, though I must admit that suited me fine. Visits out were to Brio's Italian Restaurant, Cafe Culture, the garden centre at Otley and the local nature reserve.

At home, the fermented grape juice enjoyed ranged through, Deutz Marlborough Cuvee Brut NV, Bergsig Gewurtztraminer 2009, Alma Andina Torrontes 2009, Ungsteiner Kobnert Spatlese Pinot Noir 2007, and our customary Champagne region fizz accompaniment to a viewing of 'High Society'.


Although I had many areas of disagreement with the Labour government, not least of which were the illegal war in Iraq and Blair's neo-Thatcherite tendencies, I cannot fail to acknowledge the great number of social advances (at home) made during their spell in office and, Gordon Brown's commitment to combatting global poverty, as well as the way he set about dealing with the aftermath of the global capitalist crisis.

I felt rather nauseous as the newly crowned Cameron acknowledged that we had become a more open and compassionate society during the past decade; I remember far too well his tirades before and during the campaign, against the "broken society" which he attempted to lay at Brown's door. In fact most of the broken-ness is a long lingering result of the selfish asocial Thatcher years. My fear is that the Cameron - Clegg United Public Schoolboy Front are set to undo much of the good that has been acheived since 1997.

After more than a couple of decades outside of the Labour Party I have finally rejoined them!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Cameron's Disappointment

Regardless of the persuasive powers of the Tory biased media, their darling Cameron has not acheived a sweeping majority. That is the good news. A large Tory majority would have proved totally disastrous to our hopes of recovery, a point of view held by many significant economists which much of the media attempted to ignore. As all the bile was heaped upon Brown, the fact that the UK debt is smaller, as a percentage of GDP, than that of Germany, Japan and the USA, was totally overlooked by mainstream media. I am pleased that Labour's performance in the polls has not been anything like as disastrous as the Tory media hoped; perhaps some intelligent voters recognized that Brown had dealt effectively with the crisis faced by the banks (as a result of the global economic crisis). It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago a Tory landslide seemed inevitable.

As a lifelong committed socialist, and Labour activist throughout the sixties and seventies, I had never had much truck with Blairite New Labour but, for all their fairly large scale adoption of Thatcherite economics, new Labour did have a compassionate heart - at least at a domestic level. I have also admired Gordon Brown's commitment to international development against global poverty but, totally disagreed with Blair's Tory supported illegal war with Iraq.

Seemingly since the beginning of time, prior to 1997, our constituency had been totally neglected by its (Tory) MP  but, since then, we have been extremely well represented and served by Phil Willis (LibDem). Phil stood down at this election and, tragically, the seat has been lost to the Tories. The election of the UK's first Green party MP is a cause for rejoicing, albeit at the cost of another seat for Labour.

Even with the whole hearted support of the wealth accumulators, stock market gamblers, and their media mouthpieces, the Tories have failed to obtain an overall majority; far more votes have been cast against them than for them. Perhaps this really is the time for some kind of electoral reform to more equitably represent the will of the people.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Special Privilege

No need to go out bird-watching when the garden is receiving so many avian visitors. Apart from the regular starlings, tree sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds, wood pigeons, blue tits and collared doves, we are now receiving frequent visits from goldfinches, greenfinches and, today, a bullfinch which posed for us, in full clear view, within a few feet of our living room window.

Just a couple of days ago, a willow warbler perched itself within a few feet of me, whilst I sat in the arbour seat, and treated me to its wonderful liquid song. As I sit tapping this out, a couple of great tits are at one of the feeders whilst a blue tit is utilizing one of the bird baths, a male blackbird at the groundfeeder gives a brief burst of song and a female arrives at the same feeder. Meanwhile, another couple of blue tits gorge themseves whilst hanging precariously from the fat ball feeder.

I just feel so fortunate to have all this activity on my doorstep.
I'm almost anticipating the (frequently observed) red kite to glide over at low altitude to complete the picture. If Malcolm can't venture far to observe nature, nature will come to him!

Sunday, May 02, 2010