Monday, March 31, 2008

Whoever he really is, he must be a Jesuit

He always says what I think, or think I probably would have thought if I had thought of it first. He just says it a lot smarter.

Like the military, the clergy has its peaks and troughs. There was a time when it was conceivable that a bishop would tell the truth -- even to his own disadvantage, and even when an opportune lie would be undetectable. Today a "scrupulous bishop" seems a near-comic contradiction in terms. Because the laity has turned against them? No, but because bishops hold their own vocation in contempt.

...and the classic terrorist joke

Don't worry Rev., you're definitely not alone.

You've got the entire scientific and medical establishment with you. In fact, thinking this way, makes you one of the Cool Kids.

A prominent Church of Scotland minister was criticised yesterday for suggesting that too much money was spent in Britain helping old people to "cling to life".

The Rev Maxwell Craig, a Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland who led a televised vigil in the aftermath of the Dunblane massacre in 1996, claimed that spending public money on people over 75 often maintained a "half life".

The minister, who is 76, added that most older people would probably prefer to die before reaching the age of 95.

He said he was not advocating withdrawing care from the elderly, but believed that the well-being and health of the next generation was more important than "squeezing out another few years".

In a column in his local newspaper, he added: "Is our nation, acting wisely to plough so much of our NHS and social work funding into the care of the elderly at the risk of giving less focus to the needs of the young?

"Am I alone in thinking that disproportinate spending for the rapidly growing elderly section of the population may not represent the correct balance between the needs of the generations?

"Am I alone in thinking that disproportionate spending for the rapidly growing elderly section of the population may not represent the correct balance between the needs of the generations?"

The leading thinkers are with you. In fact, there's even a name for the movement you unconsciously belong to.

What do they teach them in these schools?

I'll take that meme

Kathy links to a thing at Libertas (a forum for conservative thought on film): "Top-Five Critically-Lauded Movies I Simply Detest"

he lists
1. Raging Bull
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
3. Being John Malkovich
4. Vertigo
5. Mystic River

Kathy gives
1. Anything by the Coen Brothers after Raising Arizona. Too much hipster hick-mockery. Fargo? Don't get it. Never will.
2. Anything with Quentin Tarrantino's name on it except True Romance. Pulp Fiction will one day be remembered as the Worst Film of the 1990s.
3. 2001
4. Night of the Hunter. Ultra-stylish anti-American, anti-Christian fairy tale. More hick-mockery.
5. Every "great" Oscar-nominated movie made in the last 15 years (Gosford Park, Moulin Rouge, Mystic River, Gangs of New York, Age of Innocence, The Thin Red Line, blah blah blah)
6. Because it has to be said: the entire Star Wars franchise
And I still don't understand why Chinatown is called Chinatown.

It's funny that (as I was killing my knees scrambling up mountains yesterday) I was thinking about a movie that everyone swooned over that I think I really detest:

The English Patient.

Pretty sure I can come up with four more.

2) Apocalypse Now

3) Like Water for Chocolate

4) Everything by Woody Allen (even before he started sleeping with his daughter)

(I know this isn't a movie, exactly but)
5) the BBC version of Brideshead. While watching, I could feel myself losing the will to live, even before Charles Ryder met the fam.
6) (Comrade) Ghandi

But Kathy stole one of my favourite Peeve Films.

2001 was just stupid. There was no excuse for it. I had a huge argument with the instructor in a screenwriting class I took once, who tried to convince us it was brilliant and a metaphor and a lot of other blithering po-mo hogwash. I was only 17 at the time and didn't know much of anything, but I knew this guy was a prat for liking that film. He tried to make us read the script. What script? Was there any talking in it?

You can't even say, "well, it was the '60's and everyone thought a lot of absurd rubbish was 'profound' and 'moving' when it was really just a lot of LSD-induced tat. After all, it was the age when people wore tie-dye without the intent-to-mock and sat around interpreting the spiritual meaning of Beatles' lyrics." But I don't buy it. The sixties also brought us Planet of the Apes, which was cool and fun and is still regularly watched by Real People.

How could our parents have sat through forty-five minutes of the wormhole effect from Stargate and come away thinking they'd seen God? Were they just dumb or something?

I was seven when I first saw it and was bored out of my tree, and I was an SF fan from toddlerhood. I knew what was good. Kirk beating up aliens in rubber suits and kissing big-haired women in sparkly dresses: that was good. I think 2001 was my earliest inkling that the adults didn't know what the hell they were doing. It was an emacipating moment.

So, on the other hand, maybe I should be thanking Stanley Kubrick.

I think I'll tag someone:

Fr. Finigan
and John

It's an English thing

The English don't like foreigners. Never have.

It's just a thing. Comes of being on an island for ten thousand years.

"The people are bold, courageous, ardent and cruel in war. But very inconstant, rash, vainglorious, light and deceiving. And very suspicious, especially of foreigners, whom they despise".
Emanuel van Meteren
September 6, 1535 - April 11, 1612

"The inhabitants are extremely proud and overbearing. They care little for foreigners, but scoff and laugh at them".
(An unknown German author, describing visit to England by Frederick, Duke of Wurttemberg in 1592.

"Someone shouted that we were all English. Why are we running? The English don't run. And so it went on. Having fled in panic, some of the supporters would then remember that they were English and this was important, and they would remind the others that they too were English, and this was important, and with renewed sense of national identity, they would come abruptly to a halt, turn around, and charge the Italian police".
(upon witnessing English football hooligans fighting a pitched battle with the Italian police, Sardinia 1990)

"The best thing I know between England and France is the sea".Douglas Jerrold (1803-1875) - English author & journalist

"Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live".John Milton (1643) - English poet

"He that wishes to see his country robbed of its rights can not be a patriot". Samuel Johnson

"Yeah? So, what's your point?"

Radical Muslim world sees Wilders' film depicting them as immoral murderous savages...

...and shrugs.

Omar Bakri, the Libyan-based radical Muslim cleric who is barred from Britain, did not think the film was very offensive. ‘On the contrary, if we leave out the first images and the sound of the page being torn, it could be a film by the [Islamist] Mujahideen,’ he said.
"Don't know what the problem is."

Melanie Philips writes:
Wilders’s crime is to incite hatred and violence by Islamists through saying that they practise hatred and violence. Or to put it another way, they are saying to us: ‘If you insult my faith by saying it’s violent, I’ll kill you’ and we're supposed to endorse the logic.

There’s a comedy in here somewhere underneath the horror.

Listen, try ten years in the pro-life movement, hon.; nothing better for helping you develop an exquisitely macabre sense of gallows humour.

Here, I'll help you:

it's art. Titled "Hopscotch to Oblivion". It's funny. Made me burst out laughing.

Here's another one:
Achmed the Dead Terrorist


It's easy.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How's the weather over there?

For all our Kathy-originated Toronto and assorted mid-west visitors, I guess you guys must have pretty much dug yourselves out by now huh?

Ah, how well I remember it. In fact, I quite distinctly remember the Big Snow last year on March 21. Yes sir. That was a doozy.

Just thought I'd mention the weather in Cheshire. Got a bit rainy today, decided to stay in and save the walk for tomorrow.

But I thought now was a good moment for a few pics.
Took these a couple of weekends ago around the village.

...though the plum blossoms are all finished now, of course.

The daffs actually started blooming in January, at least the little white ones. In fact, they line the country lanes here, and grow wild all over the place, masses of them. Nice that no one picks them.

the apple blossoms were the first out. It looks like it will be a good crab apple year.

Yeah, I remember life in Parkdale so well.

Like it was yesterday.

Welcome Kathy Shaidle fans!

I hope you will find much to offend delicate sensibilities here.

(Thanks for the link Kathy.)


Since returning to the 'Sphere in September, I'm happy to say that all my old readers seem to be back and we've picked up a few friends from some unexpected locations.

Welcome to people signing in from

Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire

Chico, California USA

Rezekne, Latvia

Mersin, Turkey

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

and Singapore (is that you Beishlag?)

Friday, March 28, 2008

OK, you can click the thingy on the stopwatch

One day, is all it took.

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.

Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.

Muslims worldwide still failing to get irony.

Thanks Louise

I see the Canuckistani Dhimmi hive queen didn't waste any time condemning the film.

Arbour urged all those who understandably feel profoundly offended by its provocative message to restrict themselves to denouncing its hateful content by peaceful means.
Err... so Louise, what are you saying? That the film accusing the Muslims of being violent savages is so terribly offensive to Islamic sensibilities that you thought it prudent to beg them not to respond with outbursts of violent savagery.

"We realise that it is utterly hateful and nasty, and not to mention in poor taste, to make a movie accusing Islam of being violent and barbaric and we beg our future keepers not to retaliate with violent or barbaric acts. Or at least, to only blow up and/or behead someone else."

This is something that comes up again and again with these people. The southpaws, commies and various stripes of internationalist socialist, seem to have not the slightest notion of their internal logical contradictions. It is why they are blind to irony and are mostly incapable of self-criticism. And, I suppose, why they are so sympathetic to the Islams, whose total blindness to the irony of their outbursts of violent savagery in response to any observation that they are somewhat prone to outbursts of violent savagery, has ceased to be even slightly amusing.

* ~ * ~ *

Did I ever tell y'all about the conversation I had with the pretty coffee coloured girl in Chapters in the Manulife Centre in Toronto one evening shortly after the Western Standard had published the cartoons? I was killing time before a movie, and thought I'd cause a little random trouble. I asked the girl (who I swear I didn't pick because of her colouring) if I could please have the latest issue of the Standard, since I had heard the controversial cartoons had been published in it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Now, I knew perfectly well that Chapters had "nobly" refused to carry that edition of the magazine on the grounds that it tended to offend "people". It had been announced in the papers that were carrying coverage of little else that week.

The girl said, rather awkwardly, "Well, ummm...we aren't carrying that this week."

I asked why not.

"Well, you can't go around offending a volatile people", she replied with a hint of a you-know-what-I-mean wink.

"So, what are you saying? That Heather Reisman decided not to carry the magazine because she was afraid of offending religious sensibilities? or because she was afraid of being killed and having her businesses bombed?"

The girl got a kind of bunny-in-the-headlights look and stammered, "Hey that's my culture, you know..."

"Well, you're the one who just said that it is a culture of 'volatile' people and implied that they can't be trusted to behave in a civilized way."

I pointed to the "Christianity" section that was a busy purveyor of John Shelby Spong, Deepak Chopra, Joanna Manning and Tom Harpur and said that it was jammed from top to bottom with books that deeply offended my religious sensibilities, that insulted and degraded my religion and ought to be re-named the "anti-Christian" section, but that thought I was unlikely to be afforded the same kind of consideration, and I said that I wondered why.(I didn't wonder.)

Could it be, I asked, that the reason was not Heather's deep sensitivity to the religious beliefs of others, but rather was drooling cowardice?

"Why do you think your boss don't have any problem offending Catholics?"

Blinkblink went the big brown eyes...

"Because the Vatican doesn't issue fatwas."

Ooohhh kaaaay...

I just watched Geert Wilders' film Fitma, or Fitwa, or Islams Like to have Fits, or whatever it's called, and I feel like screaming and crying and running around in little circles,

so now I'm going to take a few ragged breaths, look at pictures of the Big Bunny

and listen to some Jordi Savall

to try to remind myself that those people are not in charge yet.

Today the tag label, "Islamonausea", is not figurative. I don't feel so good. I see that Kathy has changed her blog tag again to read, "Flagrantly Islamophobic". Can I get that on a t-shirt? Can we make it Kevlar?

I saw also that the film "went viral" within moments of its internet release. I read someone today who said that in the time it took him to watch it, post it and comment on it on his blog - about an hour - the viewing stats had gone up by 700,000 hits.

Remember the other day I was saying I felt "vaguely anxious" but wasn't sure why?

I think I got it.

If you hear a news report of some woman discovered curled up in a corner somewhere muttering "bunnybunnybunnybunnybunny", you'll know not to expect any posts at O's P for a while.

What she said...

By the definition of those who hate me, I am a racist, not because I hate, but because I love too much, because I love my native land in whose earth I can trace my line back a thousand years, for which my ancestors fought and in which their bones are buried. To them, I am a racist because I love my people, a race which has done more to benefit mankind and the greater good than almost any other which has walked the earth.

Let them call me racist I will not renounce my love for my land and my people, even if, as a result I must accept the ugly words my enemies throw at me.
Sarah: M of A.

My mum was buried in Vancouver, a fact which saddens me. I received a call from my cousin in Surrey, who asked if it would be OK to plant a rose bush in the family plot there in her memory.

I haven't gone to visit the Lindsay's yet, and I want to do so soon, now that the weather shows signs of improvement. I was the first in all my family's history to have been born away from the sacred native soil, and I want to make up for lost time.

How to be lured into the vast right wing conspiracy.

Did I ever mention how I became a full-blown social conservative?

When I first arrived in Halifax in September 1997, I quickly found a small apartment but had no furniture. So, after rising and saying my morning prayers, I would start my day by going to the Trident Cafe (now sadly defunct) on Argyle street to sit on their chairs, use their tables, drink their peculiar and extremely caffeinated blend of Earl Grey tea and read the newspapers and magazines they had there for customers.

The Trident was run by a pair of aging hippies who had come to Halifax years before, in one of those strange twists of the 60's, to help found a Buddhist retreat centre. (If you don't know Halifax, this is a very strange and unlikely sort of thing for a place like that. Halifax is now and always has been a military town...really not the sort of place you'd think would attract a lot of hippies and white "Tibetan" Buddhists).

Which is why I was all unsuspecting when they had a magazine on the rack called The National Review. At the time, I didn't know the first thing about politics, having been more interested in philosophy and religion for several years. I had never heard any of the names that are now a normal part of my daily card-readings and rune-tossings.

Even less did I know anything about US politics, above what I heard on the news. I certainly had no clew who W.F. Buckley was. But, despite that quite a lot of it went over my head, I did notice two things about NR that I liked right away: Buckley's columns about grammar and English usage and the cartoons page. Very soon, I was going to the Trident specifically to read the National Review, even after I got tables and chairs of my own.

The jokes I was able to get were really funny. Funnier by a long stretch than anything I had read in (what I am now able to identify as) the leftist rags I was used to. I found myself often barking with unexpected laughter, much to the annoyance of my fellow Trident regulars who relished a quiet morning's cuppa.

So, many years later and several time zones away, when John Muggeridge sr., John Jr., Matt M. and Cecelia M. were invited by Buckley down to Wheaton College to the 100 centenary do for Malcolm, I asked Matt (who doubtless forgot) to mention to WFB, that there was at least one Canadian he had directly helped to dredge out of the mire of thoughtless unexamined liberalism with his magazine; specifically by the cartoons page of it. And to thank him for having saved a soul.

PJ O'Rourke, is one of those funny American conservatives who have a knack of making even liberals bark out loud with laughter and think twice about their brainless assumptions.

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosphy of sniveling brats."

"You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism."

"I can understand why mankind hasn't given up war. During a war you get to drive tanks through the sides of buildings and shoot foreigners - two things that are usually frowned on during peacetime."

"The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you."

"Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen."

"There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as "caring" and "sensitive" because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money -- if a gun is held to his head."

"The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors--psychology, sociology, women's studies--to prove that nothing is anybody's fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view."

"Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer. We can just step off the sidewalk. And sometimes we can get impressionable members of the opposite sex to perform sacramental rites with us. "Every drop of water wasted is a drop less of a wild and scenic river, Jennifer. We'd better double up in the shower."

Sarah: Maid of Albion

sane, calm, articulate and a British Nationalist.

Let any scholar or academic remind us that Europe and North America were only briefly involved in the international slave trade, compared to the millennia it had existed, but travelling in an Easterly direction and in much greater numbers, or let him or her express the opinion that the British Empire was one of the most benign forces for good in history, which brought benefits to its subjects they had never known, and of which independence has since deprived them, then they will be hunted down. There homes may be targeted, they will be pilloried in the media, and any speaking engagement they attend will be besieged by placard carrying protesters, chanting, like some medieval mob “Racist, racist, burn the witch, racist, racist burn the witch” until the miscreant is silenced.

By the very act of writing this article I am forever condemned as a racist, by the definition of our enemies. However, as their definition is forever being rewritten and redefined so that it can apply to every new threat to their ideology, it is hard to avoid such a label. Indeed why avoid it? If it is racist by their definition to love my country and be proud of my race, then I am a racist.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's a chicken and egg thing.

So I guess the question is, does feminism and a life lived on the extreme left make you ugly? Or is it just that ugly chicks tend to turn to baby-hating feminism for solace when they can't get a date?

A sign from God

I couldn't believe it.

I was in the little second hand bookshop in Chester, you know, the one up on the Wall above the Roman bits...the one that looks way down into a ravine to the no, the one next to the bridge of sighs next to the North Gate...

Anyway, I was looking in the Greek and Roman history section for stuff about the Roman foundations of Chester (I was about to say "occupation" of Chester, but that would be unfair; they founded Chester, so it was rightfully theirs), and there was a perfectly good Cassells Latin/English dictionary sitting on the shelf loudly and impatiently going "aHEM!" as though it was fed up with sitting there on that dusty shelf being ignored by passers-by and wanted to be taken home and given a cup of tea forthwith.

I was so excited that the nice lady who runs the shop, (who's from Alberta, oddly enough) threw in the other book ("The Legacy of the Middle Ages" an from Clarendon, my favourite of the OUPs) for a pound.

So, that means I'm back to Latin study again.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Gelded social workers"

the original quote:

"[I]f you were an Andrew Sullivan or a Peter Tatchell or the editor of the Tablet ... you want a weakened Church, you want a Church cut off from her own teaching, you want a purely ceremonial association of off-duty social workers presided over by moral realize the Catholic Church is your prime obstacle in the path forward."

in the context of the adoption thing a year ago as it was washing up on the Atlantic tides from Boston.

Why I don't go to church any more

because there isn't one.

This bit from Kathy is about an Bishopess, but change the names sewn into the back of the underwear, and you've got the English "Catholic Church".

Why do churchmen -- black and white -- focus so much on our ancestors' sins and not our own? Because they don't think we sin. They don't think they sin. After all, they have at least one PhD and have read all the right books and memorized all the latest liberal talking points; they are innoculated from sinfulness.

The sight of women in priestly garb is bad enough. Note the mandatory butch white hair. Yep, that's a real role model for young women in the pews; who'd want to be the Little Flower when they could be this chick, or Joan Chittister or any number of dykey old broads running Christianity for the past thirty years, with their endless degrees and tri-annual "sabbaticals" and really bad haircuts?


Telling yourself "soon they'll all be dead" only takes off so much of the edge...

I think as a description of the English Catholic episcopate, "dykey old broads...with their endless degrees" is about the best I've heard since Diogenes called them the English Catholic "Gelded Social Workers".

Mood: worried

The pollen count must be up or something but in the last day or so, I've been plagued with a vague sense of free-floating anxiety about nothing in particular.

If I focus, I find I'm worried about:

the bees;

Peak Oil;

being thrown in jail for being a wildly politically incorrect Christian;

rising food prices;

the possibility of the village post office being closed by the government;

my council tax bill (which is odd, because I just paid up in full);

the fact that there was nowhere to go for Triduum that wouldn't send me into a blinding fury and make me want to raze the church to the ground with my bare hands (I realize now, I should have taken a day trip to year);

the fact that Gordon Brown is going to be Prime Minister without-a-mandate for at least another year;

the fact that, despite his good looks and charm, moderate intelligence and vague good will, I really don't think David Cameron is up to the job;

the fact that despite all the evidence that it was a Really Bad Idea, women still have the vote;

the fact that the ancient system of English Common Law is being systematically replaced with a European/French/Napoleonic concept of law in which citizens only have the rights specifically detailed in legislation...all other activities and thoughts are outlawed by default;

the state of the trains;

the fact that every time I read a passage from Hansard, it becomes more obvious that the Honourable Members and Peers are totally barking mad;

the fact that Britain seems to have fallen under some kind of mass enchantment that seems to be equal parts pathological indifference to civic life, cultural amnesia, and rabid addiction to pleasures of appetite.

and the general nightmare horribleness of everything in the modern world.

Today I did a bit of shopping and the person I went with bought a little flannel for her grandson who likes Winnie the Pooh. But he doesn't like the Winnie of A.A. Milne and E. H. Shepard. He doesn't know about that Bear. He only knows Disney's nasty greedy Americanised cartoon. That's all you can get in shops if you look for Winnie stuff.

Is the real England in hiding? Is it living in caves in the hills waiting for rescue?

"Narnia was a sad country. Taxes were high, laws were harsh and Miraz was a tyrant."

Thoughtcrime of the Day: "Martial Races"

Martial Race or Martial Races Theory is an ideology based on the assumption that certain ethnic groups are inherently more martially inclined than others. It was a term originally used by the British, who observed that the Scottish Highlanders were more fierce in battle than others on the British Isles, and extended this concept to India, where they classified each ethnic group into one of two categories: 'Martial' and 'Non-Martial'. A 'martial race' was typically considered brave and well-built for fighting but was also described as 'unintelligent'.[1] The 'non-martial races' were those whom the British believed to be unfit for battle because of their sedentary lifestyles. Of late, this concept has been dismissed as Imperialistic and based on racial stereotypes.
ie: true but deeply embarrassing to modern sensibilities.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Labour Revolt"

Google is interesting.

I put "Labour revolt" into the news search and came up with some interesting findings.
Ones we already knew about:245 articles on Brown's headaches over the Embryo bill.

and the Gurkhas,

the Lisbon Treaty and the referendum,

and two I haven't been following very closely:
Post office closures,
Dozens of Labour MPs and Ministers who campaigned against closures in their own constituencies were accused of hypocrisy and betraying vulnerable constituents after refusing to back the Tory motion to suspend the programme, the first time MPs have voted on the issue.

But the revolt by Labour backbenchers was embarrassing for the Government, whose majority was slashed to only 20 as Ministers felt the strength of feeling over the closures.

Early indications were that 20 Labour MPs joined the revolt by backing the Tory motion. It was defeated by 288 votes to 268.

The vote came after a succession of MPs from all three main parties condemned the closures in the Commons and criticised the consultation as a "sham" and a "farce" that has seen busy and profitable branches close as well as those with few customers.

and a proposal to allow police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days.
Brown has a Commons majority of 67 which means the government could be
defeated if 34 Labour MPs rebel, assuming every opposition MP votes no.

The Guardian contacted all 205 backbench Labour MPs. Of the 78 MPs spoken to, 27
said they were planning to vote against the government. Twenty-nine said they would
support the government, while a further 22 were undecided or would not

See? I knew I wasn't a racist

Not only do I think they should be here, but if they're not getting full pensions for their service to this country, someone ought to be strung up.

Daily Mail:
Gordon Brown was facing a growing Labour revolt last night over the Government's "pathetic" treatment of Gurkha veterans.

More than a dozen Labour MPs are calling for an end to the "arbitrary" rule which bars retired Gurkhas from taking British citizenship if they left service before 1997.

Plus a bonus. Anything that involves a "growing Labour revolt" against Brown is music to my ears.

The grievances of the Gurkhas are legitimate and long-standing. You could be forgiven for imagining that they were resolved in September 2004, when Tony Blair, then prime minister, announced after an 18-month Whitehall review that Gurkhas who had served with the British Army and wanted to settle here with their families would be allowed to apply for citizenship.

The Government confirmed it would change immigration rules to let them stay. Prior to that decision, they had no pension rights, no leave to remain in the UK, and could not apply to become British citizens. David Blunkett, then the Home Secretary, said: "We have put together the best package to enable discharged Gurkhas to apply for settlement and citizenship. I hope this decision makes our gratitude clear."

But note the weasel word "discharged" in that statement; and, indeed, the devil was in the detail. The change meant that only Gurkhas who have served at least four years and were discharged after July 1, 1997 - the date at which the brigade's headquarters moved to the UK from Hong Kong - would be eligible for "fast-track" citizenship.

Gurkhas are best known for their history of bravery and strength in the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments.

Gorkha is one of the 75 districts of modern Nepal.

The Gurkhas were designated by British officials as a "Martial Race". "Martial Race" was a designation created by officials of British India to describe "races" (peoples) that were thought to be naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, and to possess qualities like courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, the ability to work hard for long periods of time, fighting tenacity and military strategy. The British recruited heavily from these Martial Races for service in the colonial army.

"Everyone has to do what I say

except the ones who don't."

Sort of a whipped vote, but not really...

Melanie Philips said a few weeks ago that reports from inside the Party are that Mr. Brown is losing his grip on both his power and his mind. I've been hoping that since the absurd fiasco of the Lisbon treaty vote, his loss of prestige as party leader would carry through to the Embryo bill. As a piece of Queen's Speech legislation, there's a chance that it will result in the defeat of the government.

His behaviour is erratic and bizarre; he phones colleagues at all hours with imperious demands while dithering over every decision he has to take. Ever since things started to go wrong for him and public fury and cynicism boiled over, he has clearly been radically destabilised. He seems to be wholly unable to cope with criticism, and more to the point unable therefore to look clearly at what is so patently going wrong and put it right. He tries to big-foot every minister and meddle in every department for all the world as if he has an uncontrollable tic; he is the Touretter of public administration. Yet the more he meddles, the more everything falls to pieces underneath him.

One clings to these small hopes. They keep the dark from closing in.


That's the trouble with reality; eventually even the stupidest among us become able to perceive it.

So, the disillusionment of the public with the political culture is so great that even the Parliamentarians are starting to notice, the murmuring of the rabble is loud enough now to penetrate the ten-foot thick walls of their skulls.

What's the response of our Keepers to this lack of faith? Why, to make voting compulsory, and to give a "second vote" so if the first one doesn't turn out well, we can go with the second pick.

Yeah, that's what we need, more irrelevant legislation. That'll help.




EU Referendum summs it up:
What they don't seem to get though is that, having given away most of their powers to the
European Union, with at least 70 percent of our laws made in Brussels – a figure set
to increase – MPs are largely irrelevant...tinkering round the edges and changing
the voting system is not going to increase the relevance, much less the authority of
MPs. They will be seen to be relevant when, as a matter of fact, they *are*

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What's Good

Take a sweet potato and a couple of parsnips and steam until mostly cooked.

Heat up in a frying pan, three tablespoons butter and about half a cup of rosehip and crabapple syrup (that didn't gel). Cut up the veg to fork-sized bits and stir fry in the syrup until they start to caramelize slightly.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Stopped Watch...

Here's some hippie-originated stuff I actually agree with.

The Slow Food movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy as a resistance movement to combat fast food. It claims to preserve the cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals, and farming within an ecoregion. It was the first established part of the broader Slow movement. The movement has since expanded globally to over 83,000 members in 122 countries.

(from Wiki):

The Slow Food movement incorporates a series of objectives within its mission, including:

* forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems
* developing an "ark of taste" for each ecoregion, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated
* preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation
* organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products)
* organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions (for example, the Feast of Fields held in some cities in Canada)
* promoting "taste education"
* educating consumers about the risks of fast food
* educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms
* educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties
* developing various political programs to preserve family farms
* lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy
* lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering
* lobbying against the use of pesticides
* teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners
* encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces

Although, I've got to admit, a pressure cooker is a great fast-food thing. I did a batch of Scotch broth today in a total of two hours in the P.C., a process that can take as much as five hours.

Scottish Power should lobby to ban pressure cookers.

I tried nettles yesterday

sauteed in olive oil with a crushed garlic clove.

They were great.

Tomorrow I'm going to try Vicountess Ridely's nettle soup recipe.


1 lb potatoes
½ lb young nettles
2 oz butter
1½ pts chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt & black pepper
4 tablespoons sour cream


Cook the peeled, chopped potatoes for 10 mins in salted water. Drain.

Wash & chop coarsely the nettles (Only pick the new, young tops,using gloves!)

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the nettles and stew gently for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and heated stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

When all is soft, cool slightly & purée in a blender, adding seasoning and the sour cream.

I hope you enjoy the nettle soup. The hardest work is picking the nettles. Half a pound is a lot of small leaves, but it is fun to do, in season, once a year.
The Viscountess Ridley

Friday, March 21, 2008


Well, I'm extremely irritated.

Last fall I picked a bucket of rosehips and boiled them with a big batch of crab apples and saved it all in the freezer. It was to be my second batch of jelly to get me through to the summer.

I jelly-bagged the boiled fruit and got a lovely few pints of juice, but when I tried to boil it up today, it just wouldn't gel.

Boiled and boiled and boiled, more or less all day. Added four pounds of sugar and three bottles of Certo and still no gel.

I must have boiled off at least half of the volume in water and the sugar has caramelized and the unjelly is a very dark red. I stopped boiling because I thought if it went any further, the stuff would be ruined. It got very thick and viscous but no gel.

Anyone know anything about making jelly?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's not me that's wicked, it's my brain.

I'm just as much a victim as you guys.

Reading John Smeaton's thing on Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad who has been saying some very stern and sensible things about human rights law and the UN.

But my Evil Brain, when I read it whispered, "Metropolitan Krill eh? Man, these foreigners have funny names" and then it burst out laughing.

And you wonder why I live alone in a remote English village.

By Request

Oh those wacky Anglos,

Anglos at prayer:

So, the Anglos are working hard to bring men back to church, eh?


typing with one hand while looking at the keyboard is surprisingly difficult.

When the crazy Islams take over and impose sharia law,

remind me not to steal anything.


I'm so bored.

I think I'm going to write everything today with my left hand.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Grim Up North

Liverpool Lullaby

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he hears the things that you did,
You'll get a belt from your Dad.
Oh you have your father's nose,
So crimson in the dark it glows,
If you're not asleep when the boozers close,
You'll get a belt from your Dad.

You look so scruffy lying there
Strawberry-jam tarts in yer hair,
Though in the world you haven't a care
And I have got so many.
It's quite a struggle every day
Living on your father's pay,
The beggar drinks it all away
And leaves me without any.

Although you have no silver spoon,
Better days are coming soon
Our Nelly's working at the Lune
And she gets paid on Friday.
Perhaps one day we'll have a splash,
When Littlewoods provide the cash,
We'll get a house in Knotty Ash
And buy your Dad a brewery.

Oh you are a mucky kid,
Dirty as a dustbin lid.
When he hears the things that you did
You'll get a belt from your Dad.
Oh you have your father's face,
You're growing up a real hard case,
But there's no one can take your place,
.... Go fast asleep for yer Mammy.

Look, it's very simple

That, does not go there.

It doesn't

And we don't have to say it does in order to make a certain lobby group happy.

Sorry, but really!

Is there some reason we can't get that?

But Fooling About Aside,

Andrew has a great post on Fra Bertie, Catholic Prince, Statesman, humanitarian, black belt in Judo, raiser of oranges and all 'round good egg.

Requiestcat in Pace.

Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie
Prince and Grand Master
of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John
of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ

May 15, 1929 - February 7, 2008

He might be a leftist poof, but he's our leftist poof.

Rick Mercer on meeting up Ezra Levant after a TV show about environmentalists:

"Ezra picked me up after the show for a beer. I walked out front; there was Ezra, leaning against his Hummer, smoking a cigar...and yes, the engine was running."

"...Ezra believes in freedom of speech, which is why I knew when half the world exploded because some newspaper in Denmark published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, I knew Ezra was going to publish those cartoons so we could see what all the fuss was about. Yes, it would offend people, but I knew he'd do it anyway because that's what Ezra does. But hey, it's a free country. Well it used to be. Since then he's spent over a hundred thousand dollars defending his right to republish the cartoons...If we force the Ezras in this country to shut up, our freedom of speech could be next."

Like lifting up a rock and finding something scary and wiggly underneath

Rick Mercer's a Poof!??!!?


I HATE learning new things!

Cardinal Say-It-With-Bongos Arinze

is criticising liturgical abuses.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Church’s head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments recently made a speech in Kenya in which he criticized liturgical abuses and protested Masses where the recklessly innovative priests act as “Reverend Showman”...

While he was at the Catholic University of East Africa, the cardinal delivered a public lecture in which he discussed the importance of following liturgical rubrics and the proper place of inculturation in the liturgy.

It always makes me laugh. A hollow, mirthless sort of laugh.

Dear Mainstream Media

Once again, Steve has, to borrow his own expression, hit the ball out of the park.

A letter from a blogger to the traditional print media:
On the other hand, while you hate to admit it you benefit from my know-how and my friends in the digital landscape. If you can just let your guard down for a minute (and I know you’ve been hurt) and listen to me, I can teach you things. I can show you how to reach people who are put off by your façade of confidence and invulnerability. You need to just be yourself, and stop trying to be something you’re not. Sometimes you’re just so set in your ways. Please don’t take it the wrong way, but the world doesn’t owe you a favor. As you grow older, you lose some of your appeal. It’s natural. But I still think that you have something to offer that’s beautiful.

I mention it only

because I was just wasting some time taking the "Which Evil Mastermind Are You" quiz on Facebook, and was tickled pink to discover that I'm Angelus.

Hoo! Really!? Never knew I had it in me.

A Show of Hands

from all the Buffy fans out there.

Am I the only one who thinks Angel was a lot more interesting as a character when he was the murderous psychotic Angelus?

I enjoyed Angelus' disgust with Angel's constant whiney, self-serving brooding over his past sins.

Whereas the monster Angelus was delightful to watch for his absolute abandon and cheerful wickedness.

One does get fed up with the Deep Introspective Heroes.

(Yesyes, I watch trash TV in my off hours. It's well established. Shut up.)

Edification and Spiritual Uplift during Holy Week...

is rubbish...

Band of the Week:

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

(Crank it up LOUD)

If this stuff doesn't make you fall off your chair laughing, there's no hope for you.

What I notice too, is that most of the songs this band has covered, have also been done by the Muppets. There must be something inherent in "soft pop" that invites mockery.

H/T to David Kellow...where ever he is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happiness? No Market for it Son

The classical philosophers always concerned themselves with the big question: how can we be happy?

I attended a public lecture once at the philosophy department of Dalhousie University in Halifax, and realized that modern philosophers were not interested in these questions anymore. It was gibberish, and it seemed to concern nothing real.

Pope John Paul the Not So Great wrote in an encyclical once that philosophy as a discipline had gone off the rails and was concerning itself with things that mattered to absolutely no one.

True enough.

But I question his premise, that people want to know from their philosophers how to be happy.

I don't think anyone is interested in happiness or the Good Life or the big questions now. I think this not because people are any happier or any less desperate, but because we all know pretty much how to be happy already and we don't bother. We're just interested in other things and so accustomed to our nihilistic misery that we couldn't be induced to climb out of it if someone handed us the end of a rope.

The churches are all still open,

every Sunday.

And no one goes.

The Apocalypse Goes to the Movies

Found this:

Apocalypse in 7 not-so-easy steps

A list of End of the World movies. Some of my favourites are in here.

The Worst Thing in the World

In the good old SCA, we have a custom of the "No shit, I was there" story. Stories of bravery, valour or the sophomoric and self-destructive insanity of one's friends.

Here's mine.

I was there and remember the day the world ended.

Melanie Philips writes this week about
an underclass which is a world apart from the lives that most of us lead and the attitudes and social conventions that most of us take for granted.

But it is an underclass which affluent, complacent, materialistic Britain has created.

An underclass composed of whole communities where committed fathers are so rare that any child who actually has one risks being bullied.

Where sex is reduced to an animal activity devoid of love or human dignity, and boys impregnate two, three, four girls with scarcely a second thought.

Where successive generations of women have never known what it is to be loved and cherished by both their parents throughout their childhood.

How can such women know how to parent their own children?

These children are simply abandoned in a twilight world where the words "family" or "relatives" lose all meaning, as the transient men passing through their mothers' lives leave them with an ever-lengthening trail of "step-fathers" or "uncles" who have no biological connection with them whatsoever.


The people who are really culpable are all those who, intoning the mantra of "alternative lifestyle choice", have defeated every attempt to shore up marriage and the traditional family.

In its place, they have deliberately and wickedly created over the years a legal and welfare engine of mass fatherlessness and child abandonment, resulting in a degraded and dependent underclass and a lengthening toll of human wreckage.

To his great credit, David Cameron seems to have grasped much of this.

He has consistently said he will support and promote marriage and has spoken strongly about the need for stable and secure family life, as he did once again at the Tories' spring conference over the weekend.

I've been reading about the problem in Britain with "youth crime". How it is such a big shock to all the experts and professional heart-bleeders.

It really remains a puzzle to me why anyone us puzzled by any of this.

I know perfectly well what happened and why.

No shit, I was there.

I'm not sure if the history of the Divorce Cataclysm really adequately takes into account the speed with which the change came. It came at us like a tidal wave while we all just stood on the beach watching helplessly. I have always liked movies about the end of the world, ("Huh. No shit!" I can hear you saying.) Remember that MFTV thing, Deep Impact, where an asteroid hits the earth? I always think of that scene where the reporter-girl is standing on the beach with her father watching a thousand foot high wall of water rushing at them at a hundred miles an hour. It is no wonder to me who lived through it that nothing was done about it, or even written about it, until it was too late.

Melanie Philips writes about a couple of sociologists Norman Dennis and A.H. Halsey, who produced a book "Families Without Fatherhood (Civil Society)" in 1992.



Is that really the first time anyone in this country noticed that the world had ended?

I know what a lot of Catholics say about the legalization of contraception (eugenics movement anyone?) but I really think the civilizational apocalypse started when we decided it was not necessary for married people to remain married. Trudeau, of course, decided that things in Canada would move along more smoothly if he got all the bits and pieces of the apocalypse into one year and so we had the Divorce Act - which, unsurprisingly, came in the Great Year of 1968 - immediately followed by the Omnibus Bill legalising abortion, in case anyone was left in any doubt as to what Divorce was meant to lead to.

Didja catch that?

1968. And it took decades for anyone to notice and start writing about what the fall out was. Was it because everyone was just having such a great time sleeping around that we were too busy to see what was going on?

I was two and three when the Acts were passed. By the time I was in school a few years later the wave was only beginning to build offshore, but it picked up speed and strength pretty quickly.

In the early part of the Divorce Wave, which started about the same time I was starting school most of the kids I knew were born to married parents. When I was in early elementary school, the first generation of hippies hadn't broken up with their first "partners" (as we call them now) and even in the hippie free school ("Sundance"... I kid you not) I was pretty much the only kid in school who had "visits" with daddy. This lasted until we, the first generation, made it to the fifth grade. In those days the partner turn-over rate was a lot slower. "Relationships" lasted years, sometimes as many as four or five and marriage was still fairly common. It would be another ten years at least before these vestigial conventions were abandoned and the turn-over was reduced to the few months or weeks we're enjoying now.

By the time I was in junior highschool ("middle school"; grades 8-10) I knew almost no one whose parents were still together and the partner turn-over meant that most of the mothers and all of the fathers were on "partner" number three or four.

Of course, abortion tidied things up quite a bit, but there was still plenty of flotsam bobbing around in the filthy waters. We, the early generation, were offered courses on the weekends at the Y with titles like "The Divorced Kids Group" (yes, that was the actual title, from memory) where the kids could come and shaaaaare how they felt about their universe coming abruptly to a halt and the lights going out.

This was short lived, however, since the people running it quickly learned that the kids had a disconcerting tendency to say things that really ran counter to the Great Plan. After that early blip, there was nothing until I was in my 20s and I started noticing articles appearing in the Emancipated Womens' Magazines about the kids who just, for some reason,




arsed. ...

about anything.

Who were in a state of near catatonic apathy and hopelessness, had no plans, had no hopes, no aspirations and were filled with cynicism and loathing for everything their parents cared about. It was about this time that the suicide statistics started to be really alarming for kids born after 1965.

Melanie writes about an entire generation, now branching into three or four generations, who simply made no plans for the future, who knew that everything their elders said to them was a lie, that no other human being could be trusted, unless it was to trust them to be self-serving and callous. That in any case, no one would help them in whatever aspirations they may briefly entertain.

Underlying this was a deep well of rage and hatred for what had been done to them.

So, actually, no.

Not all that surprised by the "youth crime" problem.

Got a pretty good idea where it is headed too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Remember when they told you in school to stand up to bullies

and that cowering and hiding would just make the problem worse?

"Members of the clergy are being advised to take off their dog collars when they are on their own, to reduce the risk of being attacked. All that does is to attract people who see the dog collars, and if they are motivated towards violence, it puts them [clergy] in a very difficult situation."

National Churchwatch also says that most police forces do not specifically record crime against places of worship.

However, it says that crime against churches continues to be a problem, and there is "plenty we can do to help reduce it".

It's still true.

The Rewards of Dhimmitude

"Normally community relations here are very good. We have had very strong messages of support from the East London Mosque and Tower Hamlets Mosque with whom we've got good relations.

"Clearly the Muslim community is very shocked. These individuals were under the influence and this was a random act."

Keep telling yourself that hon.

The Rev Alan Green, area dean for Tower Hamlets and chairman of the Tower Hamlets Inter-Faith Forum, said: "Any incident that involves an element of abusive faith-related language should be handled in this way.

"An important part of the work of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum is to bring together representatives from our local faith communities, the borough council and the Metropolitan Police to monitor and respond to all reported faith-hate incidents.

"This ensures that we protect people of all faiths or none and maintain the good relations that exist locally between our diverse population."

Is there some kind of multiculturalist noodle-spine handbook of cliches? And is it possible to swallow it?

Boris' new haircut and the British press

There's something weird about the British political press.

Or maybe there's something weird about Boris Johnson (more likely).

I was in Chester this afternoon, doing some banking and shopping and had an opportunity to read this week's Spectator over my fish n' chips and mushy peas. Reading Tamzin Lightwater's little columnette, she mentioned Boris Johnson's new haircut as a political setback. A joke, of course.

But just now, putting "Boris" and "haircut" into Google News, what do I get but no fewer than four articles, at the Times and the Independent, on the would-be London Worshipful Lord Mayor's new do.

Well, OK, not actually about his hair, but it's in there in each one.

Far flung

I'm always amazed to see where the O's P readers come from.

Greetings to today's readers from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Hi Matt!)

the Republic of Korea,


Canberra, Australia,


Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany,


Phoenix, Arizona,

Minas Gerais, Brazil,

Front Royal, Virginia, (Hi John!)

and, of course,


I'd love to offend you all personally by name, but the sitemeter doesn't give me specifics.

Just glad y'all are stopping by.

"Reverse Discrimination?"

I just don't know what you fascists are always banging on about.

You people are always going on your paranoid rants...

we're just interested in being fair to everyone.

Equality for's human rights...


Jack says we need more understanding, but something about that doesn't entirely make sense.

Before I knew anything about Muslims I was a paragon of multiculti tolerance. I thought, each to his own, we all more or less share the same kind of ideas. We all want to get on quietly with our lives.

It was exactly the kind of idiot pig ignorance that has allowed the situation to grow to the point where we suddenly fear for our country in a way we never have before.

The more I learn, the more I want Muslims, particularly the ones the BBC likes to call "Asians" out of my country. And quite frankly, I just don't care about the "moderate Muslims", (if any can be found), or the innocent families. These people are a threat and I don't see why my family, some of whom live in Blackburn, should have to endure that kind of fear, why they should have to live day to day, in their own country, on the knife edge of physical violence. Why should my precious little cousins live in fear and the threat of harm every day?

And even putting aside (just for a moment) the London Bombings, the riots, the fact that the police are both unwilling and incapable of containing the hundreds of currently active Muslim terrorist cells in Britain, I don't see, in a larger sense, why the entire country has to live with the threat to the national character, a character that has developed organically in these islands for thousands of years. This country is ours.

Just watch the bit about the two religious parades. The Muslims with their increasingly high pitched chanting: from the point of view of an outsider, how is anyone supposed to take this hysterical shrieking as anything but a prelude to some kind of violent attack?

Jack says they're "doing better" because they have (so far) avoided the kinds of riots they've had in other towns. And for how much longer Jack?

As a standard of multicultural success, I'd say that isn't exactly what one wants to hear.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I want to be Melanie Philips when I grow up

Sent this note today to a friend on Facebook:

I went for my first big Field Stomp of the spring today, and took lots of pics
of the lovely flowers and sprouty shoots.

But now I have to write the editorial about British politics that will gain
the attention of the British journalism world and launch my career as a British
Political Commentator who gets to write for the Daily Mail for a six-figure

so, I'm procrastinating, naturally.

I'm doing a blog post on all the funny titles of Facebook groups about David
Cameron (leader of the British Tory party).

I think he's quite handsome and fairly clever and better than Brown, but I still
don't trust him. Maybe I'm getting cynical because the reason I don't trust him
is that he keeps saying things I want to hear...which naturally must mean he's


Being me is hard.

Now I'm 42 and the thing I'm most worried about is that my political editorializing is boring.

I think I'm usually more interesting than this.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ron Liddle of the Spectator hopes

you are enjoying ‘White Season’ on the BBC — a brave and groundbreaking attempt by the corporation to devote 0.003 per cent of its airtime to issues which bother 92 per cent of its licence payers.

Well, yes, actually I am. Oddly enough, considering I don't have a TV and I, you know, hate the BBC.






The one part of this story that I didn't know was how huge the public support was for Powell.

Also interesting was that it was all in the pivot year 1968. The year the world ended.

David Cameron is a ...

So, I'm working on a Big Important political thing and I've been immersed in the last couple of days in party politics and boring stuff about the budget and the possible fallout. Not that I think the budget is not important, but really, who can figure out what the hell it's all really about?

Anyway, in the midst of all this, I finally had occasion to watch (most of) David Cameron's speech at the party conference in Blackpool that scared Gordon Brown so badly he announced less than a week later there would be no election. (Hey Gordo, when you wake up every morning, do you stick a new target decal on your shoes? or do you just have it painted on permanently?)

Apart from anything important like immigration, human rights law and all that, Cameron mentioned that there were quite a few Facebook groups dedicated to him. "David Cameron's a hottie" and "I hate David Cameron".

I had a look today and some of the titles were indeed quite amusing.

"If David Cameron shows up at Glastonbury Festival we will sacrifice him."

(and eat him?)

David Cameron has a big [effing] head

(very likely he does; most successful politicians and actors do)

David Cameron is a t__.

The get behind David Cameron and make a funny face group

I'm NOT a Tory, but David Cameron is teh SeX!

I Watch BBC America just to see the bloody hot David Cameron...

David Cameron has a big fat orange face

David Cameron broke my heart

David Cameron is a tosser but I'll vote for him anyway

People Who Think David Cameron Is the Guy On Facebook

If David Cameron Paid Me £500,000, I'd DEFINITELY Be His Friend

The "I Know Where I'd Like to Put David Cameron's Bike" Society

david cameron is a prat

David Cameron is a big cuddly bear

Shut up about the environment, David Cameron.


I am ambivalent about David Cameron

(which is the group for me)

and a bonus. Not a David Cameron Facebook group, but one I'd join anyway.

Bollocks 2 Brown!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So, how're things going in the Church in Germany?

Just great!

Clown n' Balloon Masses galore!

They Found Him

Just like the good old days, yes?

Remember, O Lord, the God of Spirits
and of all Flesh, those whom we have
remembered and those whom we have not
remembered, men of the true faith, from
righteous Abel unto to-day; do thou
thyself give them rest there in the land
of the living, in thy kingdom, in the
delight of Paradise, in the bosom of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, our holy fathers, whence
pain and sorrow and sighing have fled away,
where the light of thy countenance visiteth
them and always shineth upon them.

The Timeline

630 Two years before Muhammad’s death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a report that a huge army had amassed to attack Arabia, but the report turned out to be a false rumor. The Byzantine army never materialized. He turned around and went home, but not before extracting ‘agreements’ from northern tribes. They could enjoy the ‘privilege’ of living under Islamic ‘protection’ (read: not be attacked by Islam), if they paid a tax (jizya).

This tax sets the stage for Muhammad’s and the later Caliphs’ policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If they converted, then they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed back to the Islamic treasury in Arabia or to the local Muslim governor.

632—634 Under the Caliphate of Abu Bakr the Muslim reconquer and sometimes conquer for the first time the polytheists of Arabia. These Arab polytheists had to convert to Islam or die. They did not have the choice of remaining in their faith and paying a tax. Islam does not allow for religious freedom.

633 The Muslims, led by Khalid al—Walid, a superior but bloodthirsty military commander, whom Muhammad nicknamed the Sword of Allah for his ferocity in battle (Tabari, 8:158 / 1616—17), conquer the city of Ullays along the Euphrates River (in today’s Iraq). Khalid captures and beheads so many that a nearby canal, into which the blood flowed, was called Blood Canal (Tabari 11:24 / 2034—35).

634 At the Battle of Yarmuk in Syria the Muslim defeat the Byzantines. Today Osama bin Laden draws inspiration from the defeat, and especially from an anecdote about Khalid al—Walid. An unnamed Muslim remarks: ‘The Romans are so numerous and the Muslims so few.’ To this Khalid retorts: ‘How few are the Romans, and how many the Muslims! Armies become numerous only with victory and few only with defeat, not by the number of men. By God, I would love it . . . if the enemy were twice as many’ (Tabari, 11:94 / 2095). Osama bin Ladin quotes Khalid and says that his fighters love death more than we in the West love life. This philosophy of death probably comes from a verse like Sura 2:96. Muhammad assesses the Jews: ‘[Prophet], you are sure to find them [the Jews] clinging to life more eagerly than any other people, even polytheists’ (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004; first insertion in brackets is Haleem’s; the second mine).

634—644 The Caliphate of Umar ibn al—Khattab, who is regarded as particularly brutal.

635 Muslims besiege and conquer of Damascus

636 Muslims defeat Byzantines decisively at Battle of Yarmuk.

637 Muslims conquer Iraq at the Battle of al—Qadisiyyah (some date it in 635 or 636)

638 Muslims conquer and annex Jerusalem, taking it from the Byzantines.

638—650 Muslims conquer Iran, except along Caspian Sea.

639—642 Muslims conquer Egypt.

641 Muslims control Syria and Palestine.

643—707 Muslims conquer North Africa.

644 Caliph Umar is assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war; Uthman ibn Affan is elected third Caliph, who is regarded by many Muslims as gentler than Umar.

644—650 Muslims conquer Cyprus, Tripoli in North Africa, and establish Islamic rule in Iran, Afghanistan, and Sind.

656 Caliph Uthman is assassinated by disgruntled Muslims soldiers; Ali ibn Abi Talib, son—in—law and cousin to Muhammad, who married the prophet’s daughter Fatima through his first wife Khadija, is set up as Caliph.

656 Battle of the Camel, in which Aisha, Muhammad’s wife, leads a rebellion against Ali for not avenging Uthman’s assassination. Ali’s partisans win.

657 Battle of Siffin between Ali and Muslim governor of Jerusalem, arbitration goes against Ali

661 Murder of Ali by an extremist; Ali’s supporters acclaim his son Hasan as next Caliph, but he comes to an agreement with Muawiyyah I and retires to Medina.

661—680 the Caliphate of Muawiyyah I. He founds Umayyid dynasty and moves capital from Medina to Damascus

673—678 Arabs besiege Constantinople, capital of Byzantine Empire

680 Massacre of Hussein (Muhammad’s grandson), his family, and his supporters in Karbala, Iraq.

691 Dome of the Rock is completed in Jerusalem, only six decades after Muhammad’s death.

705 Abd al—Malik restores Umayyad rule.

710—713 Muslims conquer the lower Indus Valley.

711—713 Muslims conquer Spain and impose the kingdom of Andalus. This article recounts how Muslims today still grieve over their expulsion 700 years later. They seem to believe that the land belonged to them in the first place.

719 Cordova, Spain, becomes seat of Arab governor

732 The Muslims stopped at the Battle of Poitiers; that is, Franks (France) halt Arab advance

749 The Abbasids conquer Kufah and overthrow Umayyids

756 Foundation of Umayyid amirate in Cordova, Spain, setting up an independent kingdom from Abbasids

762 Foundation of Baghdad

785 Foundation of the Great Mosque of Cordova

789 Rise of Idrisid amirs (Muslims ) in Morocco; foundation of Fez; Christoforos, a Muslims who converted to Christianity, is executed.

800 Autonomous Aghlabid dynasty (Muslims ) in Tunisia

807 Caliph Harun al—Rashid orders the destruction of non—Muslims prayer houses and of the church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem

809 Aghlabids (Muslims ) conquer Sardinia, Italy

813 Christians in Palestine are attacked; many flee the country

831 Muslims capture Palermo, Italy; raids in Southern Italy

850 Caliph al—Matawakkil orders the destruction of non—Muslims houses of prayer

855 Revolt of the Christians of Hims (Syria)

837—901 Aghlabids (Muslims ) conquer Sicily, raid Corsica, Italy, France

869—883 Revolt of black slaves in Iraq

909 Rise of the Fatimid Caliphate in Tunisia; these Muslims occupy Sicily, Sardinia

928—969 Byzantine military revival, they retake old territories, such as Cyprus (964) and Tarsus (969)

937 The Ikhshid, a particularly harsh Muslim ruler, writes to Emperor Romanus, boasting of his control over the holy places

937 The Church of the Resurrection (known as Church of Holy Sepulcher in Latin West) is burned down by Muslims; more churches in Jerusalem are attacked

960 Conversion of Qarakhanid Turks to Islam

966 Anti—Christian riots in Jerusalem

969 Fatimids (Muslims ) conquer Egypt and found Cairo

c. 970 Seljuks enter conquered Islamic territories from the East

973 Israel and southern Syria are again conquered by the Fatimids

1003 First persecutions by al—Hakim; the Church of St. Mark in Fustat, Egypt, is destroyed

1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al—Hakim (see 937)

1012 Beginning of al—Hakim’s oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians

1015 Earthquake in Palestine; the dome of the Dome of the Rock collapses

1031 Collapse of Umayyid Caliphate and establishment of 15 minor independent dynasties throughout Muslim Andalus

1048 Reconstruction of the Church of the Resurrection completed

1050 Creation of Almoravid (Muslims ) movement in Mauretania; Almoravids (aka Murabitun) are coalition of western Saharan Berbers; followers of Islam, focusing on the Quran, the hadith, and Maliki law.

1055 Seljuk Prince Tughrul enters Baghdad, consolidation of the Seljuk Sultanate

1055 Confiscation of property of Church of the Resurrection

1071 Battle of Manzikert, Seljuk Turks (Muslims ) defeat Byzantines and occupy much of Anatolia

1071 Turks (Muslims ) invade Palestine

1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks (Muslims )

1075 Seljuks (Muslims ) capture Nicea (Iznik) and make it their capital in Anatolia

1076 Almoravids (Muslims ) (see 1050) conquer western Ghana

1085 Toledo is taken back by Christian armies

1086 Almoravids (Muslims ) (see 1050) send help to Andalus, Battle of Zallaca

1090—1091 Almoravids (Muslims ) occupy all of Andalus except Saragossa and Balearic Islands

1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Seljuk invasions of his territory; Seljuks are Muslims Turkish family of eastern origins; see 970

1095 Pope Urban II preaches first Crusade; they capture Jerusalem in 1099

* ~ * ~ *
With thanks to the Redhead

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If you can stomach the polite atmosphere of poisonous lies these people seem to live in and think is normal, the video of the proceedings at today's meeting of the Committee for Children, Schools and Families has the entire discussion.

I do like the way Bishop O'Donohue just cuts through the mounting bullshit these MPs were piling up, and just dives in and starts talking about the document. A good sign that he isn't interested in playing along.

About 1 hour 22 minutes in. (I wouldn't recommend watching the first half, and refuse to be held accountable for the coma you fall into if you try.)

A quick lesson on rhetoric

The term "begging the question" is now so often misapplied as to have almost lost its meaning. Despite what semi-literate journalists and politicians seem to believe, it does not mean the same thing as "raise the question".

It means, to assume what you are charged to prove.

As in a court case in which the prosecution must prove that a man beats his wife.

When the prosecutor questions the man, saying, "How long has it been since you stopped beating your wife", he is "begging the question. He has started not with the question at hand, whether the man actually does what he is accused of, but with the assumption of guilt.

Get it?

OK, now a real life example.

Today, Bishop Patrick O'Donohue and colleagues, were called to be questioned by a Parliamentary committee on Schools in response to his issuance last year of a document requiring Catholic schools in the diocese of Lancaster to actually be Catholic, in more than name.

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, who claims to be some kind of Christian, is the chairman of the committee began the procedings with the following:

Prefacing his questions with a disclaimer “I suppose you could call me
a Christian”, Sheerman started by assuring that the questions that followed should
not be seen as “hostility” to religious belief but “just a desire to know”.

“Doesn’t that worry you...that your schools are very good at excluding poor and less
fortunate children."

A textbook case.

"The Vatican"

"The Vatican", that imaginary prelate the media so love to quote, has issued quite a number of decrees in recent years that have surprised Catholics no end.

Recently, "The Vatican" has said that Limbo has been abolished, that Hell is empty, and more recently that Luther was a swell guy and just a little progressive for his time.

Most recently of all, "The Vatican" has said that the old "list" of sins is no more and has been replaced with the fondest wishes of the environmentalists and anti-Globalists.

The quick answer to the question,

"Has the Vatican abolished the seven deadly sins and issued new ones?"



Can we move on now?

Happy News

Tiny, but cheering.

My eleven-year-old cousin Millie frequently appears at my door after school, bounces off the walls of the cottage for half an hour or so whilst peppering me with ten-mile-a-minute questions, and then, without pausing to draw breath, flits off to have her tea.

My cousin, her step-father, (I'm sure future anthropologists are going to make entire careers out of tracing our postmodern, post-divorce kinship systems), his wife and their five children from various previous and current arrangements all live loudly and boisterously in the big house next door to my row-cottage I am often cheered while I am beavering away on the computer in the upstairs sitting room to hear the girls playing and shrieking from through the adjoining wall. I will miss them when the tribe moves this weekend into more capacious quarters about a mile down the road.

Yesterday, Millie popped over for her usual quick visit brandishing a little red plastic-covered book, and before she could even make it across the threshold wanted to know "What is this about?"

I was surprised and delighted to discover that the entire student body had been given sturdy little New Testament n' Pslams from the stalwart Gideons that day in school. She had looked at it on the bus home and found it intriguing though difficult to understand.

"What's this about? What is it?" she demanded, still standing in the doorway, waving the familiar little book under my nose.

I ushered her in and said, "It's a bible."

"Half a bible," I amended.

"What's it about? What does it mean? I don't understand it."

She was looking at Ephesians.

I took down my old KJV and explained as briefly as possible the difference between the Old and New testaments, the story of creation, the history of the Jews and the idea of the Law, and the prophecies of the Messiah. I flipped to the New T. and told her that the Prophecies predicted the coming of Jesus but that the Jews of His time misunderstood and mostly didn't recognize Him or realize that He was not supposed to be be a political messiah.

I told her that after the Gospels comes the bits about what happened to Jesus' followers after his Resurrection and how to live as a Christian.

She seemed satisfied with this, bounced around the parlour for a bit, poked at my map of the British Isles and my bookshelf before demanding to know which was my "best book". At this point I laughed and said, "Millie, you have the attention span of a distracted sand flea."

She very humbly agreed and after a few more pleasantries, was gone, like a jumping fish, to have her tea.

The miraculous school that still hands bibles out to students, (apparently without the slightest instruction on its contents,) is I hasten to add, a CofE school. Not Catholic.

Cousins Millie and Sophie, near Peckforton, Cheshire.

Clash of the Real Estate Lawyers

Evil in our times is so dull. There is so much about the Great Evils of history to admire. As longtime readers will know, I'm often to be found rooting for the Evil Emperors and Mings the Merciless. The bad guys of history are always so much more interesting than the gloopy saints and gusty heroes. There's a reason it is nearly always Grendel, and not the title hero, that gets on the cover of recent translations.

I find it somewhat disappointing from a literary standpoint that the evils of our times are so trite.


In our times, the downfall of an entire culture is being played out not on the glorious battlefield, but in civil courts, complete with worn vinyl-clad furniture and sad little polyester-suited men. The disputes not over the great questions but about who gets to keep the stuff.

A quote from the Great Anne Muggeridge I heard often from her late husband John, is, I think, going to end up being a sad epitaph for the Anglos: "It is all going to end in court arguing over who gets to keep the altar plates."

A rather sorry whimper.

How far we have sunk.


Perhaps I was just free-associating when I heard it, but the term Elizabethan Settlement, reminds me of a comment by the former Prime Minister of Canada, the thoroughly unmissed Jean Chretien, who told a group of school children at a Catholic high school during a campaign stop a few years ago, that abortion in Canada was a settled issue upon which Canada had found "social peace".

We tried not to let him forget the comment.

I find, BTW, that free association is a skill it is well to develop carefully for a blogger.

More on the Great and Wondrous Elizabethan Settlement later. Right now I have to put some oil on the slide down which Mr. Brown and Tony's Nu Labour party are sliding.

Every little bit helps.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I think Peter Hitchens called it the "wondrous Elizabethan Settlement".


Because, he said, it "refused to make windows into men's souls and allowed Catholics and Protestants to forget their differences in a rather beautiful ambiguity."

Tell me, do Anglicans actually read any history of their "church"?

On my first and only visit to date of the Tower of London, I was fascinated to see the
actual inscriptions drawn by Saint Philip Howard whilst
he was jailed for ten long years in the Beauchamp Tower before dying of malnutrition.

Over the fireplace a Latin message, which can still be seen today, translates as:
"The more suffering for Christ in this world the more Glory with Christ in the next,"
etc. It is signed "Arundel, June 22, 1587."

In some ways, the story of Saint Philip is similar to that of St Alban Roe. They both
were Protestants and converted to the Catholic faith through the example of other
recusants. But their stories are in the same way markedly different in that St Alban
was a humble monk whilst St Philip was a nobleman, a relation of the queen he would
eventually, at least according to the tyrannical law of the land, betray. These two
diverse backgrounds give us just a flavour of the richness and variety of faithful
people who helped keep Catholicism alive in Britain.

Born at Arundel House in London on June 28 1557, Philip was the grandson of poet
Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, who was executed under Henry VIII in 1547. His
father, Thomas Howard, was the Duke of Norfolk, one of the wealthiest landowners in
the country. Thomas was eventually executed in 1572 for allegedly playing a part in a
1570 plot to assassinate his cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and replace her with Mary I
of Scotland.

His father, who had conformed to the State religion, educated him partly under John
Foxe, the Protestant martyrologist. Philip was then sent to St John’s College,
Cambridge University. At the age of 14, he married Anne Dacre. Philip’s father had
taken Anne’s mother as his third wife by that time. In fact, Elizabeth, the widow of
Lord Dacre of Gillesland, matched her other two daughters with Thomas’ two other
sons. After Philip graduated, Anne eventually converted to Catholicism and became the
patroness of, amongst other priests, Fr Robert Southwell. She founded the noviate of
the Jesuits at Ghent, Belgium.

On February 24, Philip succeeded his father as Earl of Arundel. Frequenting the
Court, the witty, talented dancer fell into favour with the queen and began to
entertain her at his residence. He was not very well behaved at this time, having
numerous affairs whilst his wife was at home.

But one day was to change Philip’s life forever. He was present during Edmund
Campion’s staged disputations and began to be convinced by his arguments. Campion’s
speech is thought to be one of the earliest defences of Catholicism.

When his wife converted with one of Philip’s sisters, Lady Margaret Sackville, Anne
was placed under house arrest in Surrey, where she had their baby Elizabeth. The
Howards had many enemies and Elizabeth was definitely one of them.

As the Catholic revival gained strength, the earl found himself suspected and out of
favour. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a short while as suspicion
intensified about his religion. Shortly after being released, he went back to his
wife and on September 30, 1584, he was received into the Catholic Church by Father
William Weston.

As his change in lifestyle was constantly being monitored, Philip made a getaway on
a boat with relatives but was intercepted and arrested at sea in April 1585. It is
thought that one of his servants shopped him to the authorities. The group was
dispersed and sent to several different prisons, with the Earl of Arundel going back
to the Tower. He would never have his freedom again. There he was beaten, accused of
treason and fined a whopping sum of £10000 despite not being charged with anything.

After four years in prison at the queen’s pleasure, he was tried for having favoured
the excommunication of the queen, and for praying for the Spanish Armada invaders.
It doesn’t really seem clear how the authorities could prove what he said in his
prayers. As usual, he was found guilty and sentenced to death, despite the evidence
presented against him being fraudulent. Philip defended himself, saying that he had
not committed treason and that the only reason he was in prison was because of his
profession of faith.

Unlike most of the English and Welsh martyrs, Saint Philip Howard didn’t even make it
to the gallows. As a close prisoner for ten years altogether, he suffered with
several ailments. Severe malnutrition cost him his life on October 19 1595.