Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A daughter’s future gets slowly underway, pub food and English salad, that curious M. Hollande and did Bin Laden have a case? Discuss (or simply kill innocents, whichever comes easiest)

No self-respecting blogger, or even a blogger like me, can resist posting an up-to-date, state-of-the-art, 24/7, no-holds barred, no stone unturned and no cliché ignored entry. So that is what I shall do now. The occasion is, I admit, of no great import: I am merely killing time. About two hours ago, my daughter and I arrived at the University of the West of England (the former Frenchay polytechnic and secretarial college, but UWE is apparently wha they like to call themselves) where she is due for interview for a place in its filing and office and tearound management course.

The world has moved on since I spent several years analyising Aristotle’s, Sartre’s, Kierkegaard and Heidigger and Jasper’s bowel movement and in modern Britain you are no longer allowd to apply for any job at all unless you have a university degree. Not that it makes our superstore checkout till persons (they are no longer all women and many of them aren’t even all woman – Lord, those were the days when you could buy two pounds of sugar and a pint of milk, then hurry home and have a wank) any more educated, whatever Labour had in mind when they introduced their ‘all working people must have a degree’ laws. It just means that the range of possible degrees, which once encompassed law, engineering, medicine, languages and ‘the arts’ has over these past 20 years been hugely expanded to include a remarkable number of imaginative degrees.

Would you believe you can now get a degree in ‘toyshop management’ (at the University of Tring), in ‘seaside tourism’ (at more or less all of our landbound universities most notably at the Unversity of Consett – a Commons select committee is investigating why our seaside universities aren’t interested in offering that option) and, for those of a more practical bent, shepherding? I didn’t, either, but, as I say the world has moved on since I used to visit my local supermarket several times a day and always use Jackie’s checkout till in Kings Heath.

I dropped off my daughter (hereafter referred to ‘my daughter’ to avoid confusion) and then head for the nearest coffee bar offering wifi to scout out possible lunch eating opportunities. Infortunately, this neck of the woods, Hambrook, nestling between the M4 and the M32, is pretty much a post-seventies built-up wasteland where gastro-pubs offering haunch of pheasant lightly sauteed in Grand Marnier and served on a bed of teriyake mushrooms in a raspberry jus are thin on the ground.

So I eventually washed up at the Crown Inn, which, for what it is, is fine. I had deep-fried brie in breadcrumbs followed by strips of chicken breast fried in garlic butter and potato wedges, coleslaw and ‘salad’. (It is always worth writing the word salad in inverted commas when describing and English ‘salad’ so as not to confuse foreigners from countries where food is taken a little more seriously and might think the ‘salad’ served is rather more than a few gratings of carrot, a slice of tomato, one and a half red

onion rings, two slices of cucumber and two lettuce leaves.) But I am being unfair: it was fine for what it was and I would have chosen Eton mess as a pudding if my daughter and I weren’t planning to visit a Pizza Express later tonight on the trip home to Cornwall.

. . .

More or less every morning – OK, every morning, I do two things: I check my emails (99.9pc of which are offers, deals, opportunities and bargains to be had and never personal messages from anyone) and look at the ‘statistics’ for this blog. These, as I have remarked before, are quite informative. And for at least the past month or so, the most visited entry by far has been what I had to say about M. Francois Hollande and his various shags. But I can’t think why he still arouses such interests. These days he is notable only for the low profile he is keeping and his complete silence on the ‘crisis in Crimea’.

The last time I saw a reference to him in a newspaper was a story – more a suggestion than a story – that he had jacked in his latest squeeze and was cosying up again to Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children and, if she has anything further to do with the twat, a total idiot to boot. Hollande’s silence is all the more remarkable because he has achieved the impossible: his approval ratings are in minus figures, and judging by the results of the first round of the French local and municipal elections, a great many of our cheese-eating cousins prefer Marianne Neo-Nazi of the Front National to any of the socialists and left parties.

Where the Front National stood, and they restricted themselves to only some of the cities and towns, mainly in the North, they did rather too well for the comfort of those who pride themselves on being intelligent (as in that weasel phrase ‘intelligent people like us’ – if anyone here has ever used the phrase with any degree of serious intent, you are officially banned from ever reading this blog again). Here in Britain, I think we, too, might be in for a surprise at our local elections: the usual wisdom is that at our upcoming council elections the Tories will see many of their traditional supporters desert them for UKIP (Motto: The gins are on me).

I suspect, based on chit-chat here and there, most recently last night in the Brewers Arms in South Petherton where I stop off on my way home, that many who have usually opted for voting Labour might well give UKIP a chance. Not that UKIP can, on the face of it, be directly compared to the Front National, but I do think that it has become a quiet refuge for some who could see themselves supporting our own British National Party if they didn’t think their neighbours would stop talking to them.

Me, I think, to use that Cameron quote (which he has since regretted, but which I still thinks holds true) that UKIP are largely ‘fruitcakes and looneys’. Or, to quote myself in my resignation letter of several years ago when I informed the vice-president of the North Cornwall Conservative Association that I would not be renewing my membership, as far as I am concerned the vast majority of UKIP supporters are just British National Party sympathisers in clean underwear. One of UKIP’s main gripes is ‘the number of immigrants coming to Britain: ironically, as the Economist established a few years ago in a survey, ‘concern’ about the number of immigrants is inexplicably higher where the proportion of immigrants is lowest. Odd that.
. . .

OK, I’ll come clean: my daughter is not vying for a much-coveted place on a course teaching file and tearound management, but wants to become a primary school teacher. I didn’t know this until I was dragooned into ferrying her around the country to various open days, that these days our universities don’t all offer a full range of courses, but choose to speicalise. And UWE, the University of South Wales, Oxford Brookes, Plymouth University and ‘Marjon’ in Plymouth, all to which she applied, heve departments specialising in teacher training.

Like me, my daughter likes children. Trouble is that what with all the paedophile scum who are now being flushed out of every cranny imaginable, you have to be very careful making such an admission. But I’ll make it any: I like children and think each and every one of them is a treasure to which nothing else comes close, and that they should be cherished and protected more than our own lives. And I would like to see far, far tougher penalties on what are colloquially known as ‘kiddy fiddlers’. Rant over.

. . .

Anyone reading his or her newspaper in these past few days, one which gives less prominence to what Kim Kardashian had for lunch yesterday and more to what is happening in the world, might have come across the astounding, though not at all unsurprising news under the circumstances, that 529 Egyptians, all supporters of the ousted Egyptian president Morsi, have been sentenced to death, all for the murder of ONE policeman.

Heard anything from your local democracy friendly Western government in condemnation and protest about it? No, nor have I. The mystery of why one Osama Bin Laden and many others came to hate the US and the West over the years and why their cause continues to gather support becomes less and less of a mystery as the years go by. There, I’ve said it.

A few nights ago I watched a very, very silly film called Zero Dark Thirty which portrayed – in a highly fictionalised form – the hunt for Bin Laden and his subsequent cold-blooded murder and that of members of his family
(I think ‘cold-blooded murder’ is a pretty good description).  I became so angry that I almost turned the film off after just a few minutes, but knowing I was going to write about it, watched it all. Quite apart from the fact that the film was facile in the nth degree, it seemed to accept the notion that torture is unacceptable as a rule, but acceptable if it is done in a ‘good cause’.

Actually, I shall save my outrage for another blog entry because I am already getting angry and that will only make what I write incoherent. A happy Rule Of Law to all my readers in the West.

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