Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Huge congratulations to Shakespeare-quoting Royal Marine Alexander Blackman on the news that he's about to be released

There was nothing - literally nothing - in the Alexander Blackman case to justify the grotesque 10-year sentence handed down to him by a British court for dispatching a Taliban fighter on the battlefield in Afghanistan. As far as I can see, the British government, its minions, and the Army indulged in a sordid vendetta to cover their own sorry arses. Some sort of sanction was evidently required - but a ten-year prison sentence? Ridiculous. Anyway, he'll be out in a couple of weeks, thanks to his splendid "lioness" wife, Claire, the author Freddie Forsyth, who brought this dreadful miscarriage of justice to the attention of Jonathan Goldberg QC (who I want defending me if I ever get into trouble), and everyone else - including those newspapers and fellow marines -  who fought to get the soldier released. Well done, all of them.  I want to make just a few points:

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Spirit of the Blitz is alive, thanks to Phillip Schofield

There were several acts of genuine heroism in and around Westminster on Wednesday, but, obviously...

In case you only get your news from the BBC, here are the names of the 29 people charged yesterday with historic sex offences in Huddersfield

I missed this story yesterday, what with the blanket coverage of the murderous terrorist attack in Westminster on Wednesday (or "dangerous and violent incidents" as Jeremy Corbyn prefers to call them). I only became aware of it thanks to a link to a Daily Mail item in a tweet this morning. The story was headlined:
Twenty seven men are charged with dozens of historic sex offences including rape and trafficking against 18 women aged as young as 11 in Huddersfield
The charges include rape, sexual activity with a child, child neglect and child abduction. I read the names of those charged with a dispiriting sense of déjà vu. Some sixth sense prompted me to check the BBC website to see how they'd covered the story: not a name in sight...

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

No need for comment...

When "our" side next loses a major vote - let's behave really, really badly!

I'm finding politics rather dispiriting this year. At first I thought it was a natural reaction following the wholly  unexpected triumphs of 2016 - an inevitable period of dullness after the excitement generated by the Brexit vote and the defeat of Hillary Clinton: unconfined joy can only be sustained for so long. But I've recently begun to realise that it's also partly bemusement at having all one's suspicions confirmed. I've spent years raving about the sinister liberal-left establishment which runs this country (and Europe and America), and how, because "it" or "they" have such a firm grip on all of our major institutions, "they" will still be in control - whichever party is in power. Every day and in every way, this wild delusion is turning out to be true. I feel a bit like Mel Gibson's deranged cab-driver in the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory whose paranoid fantasies concerning vast global plots to undermine democracy turn out to be spot on - i.e. he's evidently nuts, but he happens to be right. The same could be said of me. It's disconcerting.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Farewell, Chuck Berry - the rock 'n' roll giant who never seemed to understand just how great he was

Let's get the non-musical stuff out of the way first. Several commentators have bemoaned the general lack of fuss about Charles Edward Anderson Berry's passing at the age of 90, compared to the oodles of coverage devoted to David Bowie and Lou Reed, etc. Racism has been cited as a possible cause of what they claim was a lack of recognition while he was alive, and the muted reaction to his death. That's silly. First, you'd have to be in your late '50s to have been aware of Chuck Berry in his glory days - roughly, 1955-65. Most working journalists (especially in TV or radio), and most of their audience, simply aren't old enough to have experienced anything but the faint echoes of Berry's immense influence on popular music... 

Friday, 17 March 2017