U.K. Repel Boarders Force To Expand Its Activities.

Well, thank you all for coming tonight…and thanks to Bob for letting us use the back room once again. I’ll just get a round in and we’ll make a start.

Bob? Two Teachers, one Bells, two pints, a dry sherry, a gin and campari and a double rum, if you’d be so good.

Now, as you know, at the AGM it was proposed and passed nem con that Alf should be co opted onto the committee, given his experience in the Cod Wars, to give some persepective on the maritime side of the problem so, Alf, thank you for agreeing to take on the responsibility.

Oh, thank you Bob! And cheese and crackers…that is spoiling us!

Glad to help out, Mr. Chairman – and a nice drop of Pussers that, Bob!

Well, just as well that Alf is with us as the BBC have just said that the Navy won’t be able to keep foreign fishing boats out of our waters after Brexit.

Typical! Look how they’ve run down the Navy….reduced to sharing an aircraft carrier with the French…and that won’t be available when you need it, just you see…their wardroom will have run out of olives and won’t be able to put to sea…

I know, Deidre, but an aircraft carrier wouldn’t be much use in this case…Bob! A double gin and campari, please.

The thing is, there is already abuse as it is….Dave here likes to fish off the beach and, well, you tell them Dave.

Yes, Mr. Chairman. I have to dig for ragworm for bait during the day, of course, keeping an eye out for the council shitehawks now they have those quad bikes that can drive along the beach….

Sheer waste of public money! What was wrong with having a bike to ride along the promenade to spot baitdiggers without a licence the way they used to do? Too idle to shin down the wall and run after them, that’s what!

Yes, Mrs. Bracegirdle, I agree – Bob? Another round, please – but carry on Dave, will you?

Yes, Mr. Chairman. Well, as I was saying, I have to dig for bait during the day, but the fishing is good when the tide comes in at night and I like to get away from the wife’s soaps and cookery programmes anyway. Well, very often you can be down there and when the moon is up these French fishing boats without lights come along as close to the shore as they can get, dredging up everything in their nets….they come by night to avoid the coastguard spotting them, I think, but the point is that if they are doing that now, just imagine what they’ll be doing after Brexit! Hordes of the buggers, that’s what there’ll be, dragging the seas dry!

Language!

Sorry, Mrs. Bracegirdle, it slipped out.

And I heard some French minister say that Brexit or no Brexit they’d be fishing our waters, come what may! And what are we to do if the Navy can’t defend us!

Well, you can’t really blame the Andrew, Deidre, it’s not their fault if politicians don’t give them the means to defend our interests….Bob, could you do another double gin and campari, please?

Sold down the river, that’s what we are…and have been ever since they conned us into joining what was then the Common Market!

And don’t forget the Americans! We were winning the Cod Wars when we had to pull out because the Icelanders threatened to leave NATO and shut down the American bases there…

Too much foreign influence! That’s the problem!

Well yes, but we shouldn’t get into politics. We are just trying to help in a situation where official bodies, like the coastguard, are too hard pressed to do a proper job, and it looks as if the Navy will be needing a hand too…

Any ideas, Alf?

Well, round here, the problem is that we don’t really have home based trawlers of a size to do much for themselves….you need to ram the buggers – sorry Mrs. Bracegirdle – and cut their nets and you need to be of a size to do that. Bob, could you do another round please?…need to wet my whistle. So we have to think outside the box.

Where it comes to those trawlers Dave was talking about I have had one idea…and we don’t have to wait until Brexit, either!

Now, you need to confuse them about the depth of water…their sonar won’t be too good close in, with the sands shifting the way they do, so this might work. You’ll need an attractive young lady, though.

What…to lure them inshore?

Sort of. If she stands up, so that only her top is above the waves, always in the same spot, and they get used to seeing her – being Frogs they won’t miss clocking her – and then one night she sits down…still showing her top, they’ll think they have plenty of water but they won’t. They’ll run aground and then we can go for them and give them what for!

She’ll be pretty cold, though, won’t she?

She can wear a wet suit on the bits they can’t see…and she could take a thermos…

The other thing is to ask our local fishermen to harass them…surround them like, so that they can’t shoot their nets. It would be a bit chancy as your Frog is a violent bugger – sorry Mrs. Bracegirdle – but with enough of us we could board them and take over the boat.

But that would be piracy, Alf! Like those Somalis!

Well yes….but I had a think about that.

You know when Sir Francis Drake went after the Spanish, there wasn’t really a navy at all, so what he was doing could have been called piracy…but for one thing. Good Queen Bess gave him a Letter of Marque which authorised him to attack enemy ships and confiscate them and their contents – in return for a cut of the booty for the Queen when he returned.

So what we need is a Letter of Marque….and I reckon we might be able to get one!

How’s that, Alf? Bob, another round, please!

Well, the High Court of Admiralty used to issue them…but, of course, the bug….well, it’s sort of disappeared for years…but they’ve overlooked one thing. There’s still an Admiralty Court of the Cinque Ports, and it has jurisdiction over this area! Now, if we could persuade the judge to revive the Letters of Marque we could protect our boats if they attack the French!

I used to know who it was, introduced to him in the golf club…decent bloke….someone stole his oar years ago and he was very upset.

I’d always thought he was happily married!

No, Deidre, it was the silver oar that was stolen…the oar that has to be in the court when it is in session.

Surely there’s some law against it, though?

Only some treaty with a load of Europeans…and after Brexit we won’t be bothering about any of them, will we!

Well, is it the sense of the meeting that Alf looks into it all and reports to the next meeting?

Carried, nem con. Thank you Alf! Now, Bob, a last round for the road, please…and could you order a taxi for Deidre?

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Offended of Kensal Rise Trumps Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

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What the blazes am I to do for a newspaper after Brexit and Trump?

Costa Rican ones very between po faced publicity for the party which lost the last election and photographs of the sheets covering victims of murder and traffic accidents – not forgetting the obligatory girl not quite showing her all while striking a pose which would puzzle an Olympic gymnast and the imprisonment of Cuba Dave for promoting sex tourism in Costa Rica contrary to the Human Trafficking Law of 2013.

Personally I do not think that he is singlehandedly responsible for the (mostly) North American men in muscle shirts frequenting what are euphemistically known as ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ in Gringo Gulch in San Jose, but it would be tactless to close these establishments as otherwise well connected Costa Rican gentlemen not wearing muscle shirts would have nowhere to go in the evenings.

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I still occasionally read my old local rag from France….well kent faces beam from the group photographs of the class of  1958 about to set off for a day trip into the unknown some fifty kilometres away, or it might feature shifty looking maires inaugurating something built or repaired by their brothers in law. As one of them once said to me….

As long as the name is different they can’t say it’s favouritism…’

I’ve given up on Le Figaro and Liberation….the former is obsessed with finding the right wing candidate capable of defeating Marine Le Pen of the Front National and the latter obsessed with working out how the Socialist Party is ever going to survive having Francois Hollande as President of France.

Most of my French friends are more worried about how France itself will survive the presidency of Francois Hollande…..the only penguin known to advance on thin ice bearing his own flamethrower…

U.S. newspapers? The New York Times has a good cookery section but otherwise the national level spectrum seems to be obsessed with bemoaning the sheer damned cheek of those who voted for Trump when told by those who know that they should not.

There may be exceptions, but I am not well enough acquainted with the sector to have discovered them.

So, back to the U.K. newspapers….

Growing up there were always newspapers in the house …I even had my own copy of ‘The Children’s Newspaper’ delivered to the house alongside my father’s (then) ‘Manchester Guardian’  – for information – and ‘The Daily Mail’ – for the horse racing tips, but which afforded me the pleasure of the strip cartoon ‘Flook’

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I had become fond of strip cartoons when visiting my mother’s mother who had stackpiled copies of ‘Chick’s Own’ where ‘big’ words were hyphenated,  from the 1920s and issued them to visiting children when the weather was too wet to sit in the garden.

I can still see – and smell – the formal room with the horse hair filled leather sofas, from whose slippery surfaces the comics would slip to the ground and have to be restored to pristine order before adult disapproval was manifested.

I know that ‘The Daily Mirror’ entered my grandmother’s house  – probably down to grandfather’s influence – as I remember not only ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ but also the later strip cartoon of ‘The Perishers’ whose annual highlight was the holiday by the seaside where the crabs inhabiting a rock pool had built a whole religion around the appearance of ‘the eyeballs in the sky’ as Boot the dog peered into the depths.

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Religious dissidents, or those who attempted to forward a scientific explanation for the eyeballs in the sky, were silenced by the high priest with the threat of ‘a cakehole full of claw’….

As time went by I began to read the newspapers…the ‘Manchester Guardian’ became ‘The Guardian’…’the Daily Worker’ became ‘The Morning Star’…’The Socialist Worker’ made a brief appearance…and I took ‘The Times for the Law Reports.

At that time, though each newspaper had its policy preferences, they did manage to report news. The reaction to such would appear in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ column, whence the generic term for choleric supporters of old fashioned moeurs – ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ – a town popularly supposed to be peopled by half pay colonels of the Indian Army and their memsahibs,  sniffing the wind for the least hint of subversion of established morality.

But things have changed.

In return for electoral support, governments have allowed foreign ownership of the national press…and as that foreign ownership has acquired global power, the politicians make their first kow-tow not to the people who were mad enough to elect them but to the press barons upon whose organs (to use the phrase beloved of ‘Private Eye’) they rely to maintain them in power.

Power has shifted from the politicians – the political parties – to the press, whose interest is that of maintaining their proprietors’ power.

News? Properly reported?

Forget it.

The readership is plied with tarts, tits and totty in the manner of a modern Eatanswill in the press aimed at the lower orders – in moral, rather than economic terms – and with flattery, foodery and fart arsery for those who believe themselves to be superior to the masses.

Thus ‘The Guardian’, made independent by ownership by a trust, stood out.

It was never a newspaper of the left despite the years in the 60s where it displayed a conscience; it was always a newspaper of the soi disant enlightened bourgeoisie who kept their hand on their halfpennies while giving lip service to moral causes.

But it was all there was…so it was the first newspaper I turned to for news and opinion.

Until opinion overtook news, just as had happened in the organs of the press barons.

The Brexit campaign brought out ‘The Guardian’s version of Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells…but now the disgusted were not the readers but the columnists….those who were busy ‘gentrifying’ the suburbs of London like Kensal Rise where Edwardian terraced houses became desirable residences – once they had been stripped of their character – and where the local shops had been taken over by ‘organic’ butchers and high priced coffee shops.

These columnists were disgusted that it was possible to think of an alternative to membership of the European Union…those who opposed them must be part of the Great Unwashed…the very people whose interests they and their type had ignored for more than a generation: the people whose children had suffered a diminution in educational provision: the  people whose trade unions had been broken: the people who could no longer rely on a job which paid well enough to bring up a family in stable conditions.

News? Properly reported?

Forget it.

So tell me: where do now I go for news…real news?

I Cannot Hear You

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A phrase arising to the lips of judges who are improperly addressed, or who are addressed by advocates improperly dressed..or, horror of horrors… a combination of both.

A High Court judge  – his Lordship – does not relish being addressed as ‘Your Honour’ and certainly not if the person so addressing them is not in  appropriate court dress – or in a variant of court dress which, while possibly fashionable, has not been blessed by the custom of  ages.

Quaint, you might think…but it is an attitude not confined to the courts.

Brexit and the  American Presidential election have made it clear that those not observing the norms cannot be heard…well, at least, not with respect for their views.

When at school, we were taught that we must make – and appreciate on the part of our opponent – a reasoned argument.

Fine…we were taught logic, we appreciated the breadth of the English language and we could cite backing for our views. We knew how to debate within the norms.

Work taught me that people could make a case without those refinements, from their experience, from their own vocabulary – and from their sense of justice.

It was the job of the professional to put that case into the Procrustean bed of the law, to allow it to be heard with a chance of success.

The Procrustean bed seems to have expanded in recent years, to include political expression – as reflected in the media.

I should here declare an interest.

Had I been eligible, I would have voted for the U.K. to leave the European Union.

Thus, according to the ‘bien pensant’ media I am an ignorant racist.

It is not acceptable to say that you do not conform to the comfortable ‘bien pensant’ way of thought:  the way of thought of those who live a life divorced from need, from insecurity, from hope destroyed, who have no empathy with those whose experience tells them that the current system has nothing to offer them or their children.

The lesson from Brexit and from the downfall of Clinton is that we should learn to listen to each other, to take each others’ concerns seriously, even if those concerns are couched in a language or in a fashion which appears to us to be improperly dressed.

But I’m not holding my breath.

 

Addendum…somewhat foul mouthed, but heartfelt.

Life in a Small Country

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I live in a small country….nobody bothers much about it on the international scene with the exception of the U.S.A. when it wants a springboard for overthrowing other regimes in Central America, China when it wants non recognition of Taiwan and the exploitative Greens with their carbon exchange scam.

Its government is content to exploit its own people without bothering about those of other countries, doesn’t have an arms industry or even an army, runs an appalling fiscal deficit and bumps along from month to month and hand to mouth.

After life in two European countries trying to pretend that they are still world powers it is quite relaxing.

Had I still been living in the U.K. I would have voted to leave the E.U.: I hadn’t wanted to enter the original free trade area either and nothing since – not even the vestigial aid of European legislation to the protection of workers in the U.K. under Thatcher – has made me change my mind.

Twenty years in France reinforced my views…

The British system in which I had grown up had little in common with that of France.

We might  have had a common heritage  in the Western Church, but that was about all…

Napoleon had taken his authoritarian regime all over the continent and there its legacy stayed…keep your mouth shut, keep your head down and do as you are told.

Unless you are rich.

And this is the regime which has come to the U.K. with its accession to the  pan European regime.

The possession of money – by whatever means – gives immunity not only from the law,but from moral responsibility.

When I consider that we used to think Reginald Maudling and John Poulson as the epitome of corruption the mind boggles: today we have E.U. accounts that can never be signed off…commissioners paying their dentists with E.U. jobs…and the Common Agricultural Policy siphoning money to the big producers to the detriment of the family farms in order to subsidise the agroalimentary industry.

Next time you buy a pot of Danone yogurt seek the taste of corruption within.

The U.K.has, to the shock of its masters, voted to leave the E.U.

This is represented as a disaster.

To me, it seems like an opportunity.

A chance for the U.K.  to become a small country.

The imperial dream is long gone: could not the U.K. do without being an obedient satellite of the U.S.A., throwing the children of its young into wars which assist only foreign corporations?

Could not the U.K. revive the values of the post war settlement in order to found a future in which young people do not have to bankrupt themselves while obtaining an inferior education?

Could the U.K.not rediscover its talents without the limitation of an exterior straitjacket of rules and regulations?

And, most of all, could the U.K.not become a force for peace in the world?