Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Send in the Crusaders

It's said that a quiet majority of Pakistani Muslims in cities like Bradford, Rotherham, Birmingham and Manchester, broadly support what ISIS (or whatever their latest name) is trying to achieve. To some there is unease at their tactics but it is a fact that the Koran states that all infidels must be conquered, given the chance to convert to Islam and, if they refuse, beheaded.

There have been lots of discussions over the years about what bits of the bible mean but no such discussions take place within Islam. The book is clear as crystal, it's words unambiguous, it's instructions clear. So why should we expect Muslims to condemn ISIS for doing exactly what the Koran demands?

And there is history on their side. The use of extreme force, inhuman violence and gut wrenching brutality has worked before for a religion and succeeded in turning it into an all pervasive power across the globe - I speak of course about Roman Catholicism.

The RC religion was borne of controversy and violence. After 300 years of persecution the Christians who lives in Rome (and who were a very small sect within the overall Christian faith) dropped lucky. The Emperor Constantine was thinking about his sins - he is widely regarded as the worst of all Roman Emperors - and as all top folk did he went to the muses seeking absolution. The fact that his transgressions were so legion that they refused him tells you a lot about the guy, so he went in search of another religion that would assure his forgiveness and absolution. After a lot of searching up popped the Roman sect of the Christian church. They offered him absolution (when nobody else would) in exchange for his promise to wipe out every other Christian sect. Given his talent for butchery (this is the fella who raped and murdered his own mother and sister remember) he readily agreed.

The Roman Catholic Church was founded in a blood bath of Christian persecution by a guy who just wanted to get to heaven and was being told by the RC's that this was the way to do it. It's estimated that in the next twenty years Constantine butchered over 300,000 Christians who wouldn't adopt the RC version of events. Most wouldn't as the RC faith is contrary to scripture, adorating Mary, and was also at odds with many other parts of scripture (they later rewrote the entire New Testament to fit their version).

From their base they expanded across Europe thanks to Roman patronage and then, when the New World was discovered they sent their top man Torquemada there to 'convert' the Aztecs and Mayans. This was achieved again by wholesale massacre. In Mexico they butchered the top 6,000 elders of the Aztec people to show their force - publicly executing the leader in horrific fashion and killing his four wives and sixteen children in front of an appalled people.

Of course they had also encountered the Cathars in Europe two centuries earlier and the horrific brutality they exercised there is significant in terms of ISIS today.

The Cathars were strict followers of the New Testament. They condemned Rome for its temples, pomp and extreme shows of wealth. Rome's response was to destroy them. Cathar settlements would be surrounded and left to starve for several weeks. Then they would enter, line the men up on one side and the woman on the other. The children were herded into the middle where they were spit roasted (alive), then the women were gang raped until they died. Finally the men were beheaded. It's estimated that over a half million Cathars were murdered. Rome prevailed.

The tactics of Rome against the Cathars showed levels of brutality never seen before or since - until today. ISIS seem to be copying what the RC Church did with historical precision. And it's working of course. They control vast tracts of Iraq and Syria, their rule is absolute and totally accepted. Everybody in their region is now Muslim. If fact cold logic says they've done a very good job. And one suspects they will continue to do so.

ISIS was born out of the glorification of the various terrorist sections, by people who wanted to make fundamentalism the true religion. This is exactly what the RC Church did under Constantine. They removed the ambiguity and created one Christian faith - even if it was totally at odds with everything Jesus had said - and that faith survives to this day as the worlds biggest religion.

ISIS can look to the success of the RC church and legitimately hope and aspire to be as successful. Islam is an evangelical religion as was Roman Catholicism; spreading the word with brutality and fear works - ask the Pope!

Perhaps the west thinks it can stop ISIS, perhaps it can, but it will pop up somewhere else, converting as it goes. Pakistan will be next, and China will also see its docile Muslim community rise up. The next 100 years will be about religious wars, and Islam will be the biggest region in the world by the end of it. How that effects us remains to be seen.

Diplomatic efforts and nation armies certainly won't stop it so maybe give the job to the one organisation that is as brutal and determinedly self preservationist as ISIS - maybe we send in the Roman Catholic Church to short them out. It's brutality when conversion opportunities arise is way beyond what ISIS could dream of.

You might think me flippant but I am a bit serious here. The chance to confront Islam as they did in previous centuries would be accepted by Rome. Conversion and perhaps a glimmer of hope that they could finally wipe out a religion that they see as being borne from the drug and alcohol fuelled delusions of a Paedophile from the Yemen (a pretty accurate definition as it happens) would be very attractive. If they were given clearance for a 'no holds barred' approach they'd be up for it and they would prevail.

During the Crusades Rome fell down because of manpower issues. Here they would have technology so superior the numbers wouldn't matter. And let's be clear, the west would like to see the back of Islam, it's always been that way.

First we'll do the diplomatic stuff, send in Arab troops and British planes, but none of that will work. Trust me, what's needed is the Catholic Church with its gloves off.  

Monday, 10 November 2014

A little dilemma

I've been having a bit of trouble recently with politics.

You see, I've voted Labour all my life, until the last GE. With Nasty Gordon in charge I couldn't bring myself to vote for him or the party. He is a Marxist as are his supporters who had risen through the ranks (the two Ed's being the most prominent) I didn't like what I saw.

To be honest me not voting didn't really matter. I was living in one of the safest Labour seat in Britain, my participation could be excused.

But now I have a real dilemma. I live in Hove which could go either way. I must vote next year but who for?

Instinctively I don't like the Tories; there is a smell of sleaze about them, but when they formed the current government I had to admit that they, the right, were the right people for the job. Had Labour got in the cuts to public services would not have happened, they couldn't have made their core voters redundant, benefits would have gone unchecked and they would have battered entrepreneurs, business and the Middle class. Marxists don't ever manage to see that the private sector makes the money that pays everybody's wages - they don't get it.

I have no time at all for the LibDems. Quite frankly Nick Clegg makes my flesh crawl. His is smug, insincere and a showman - none of those qualities belong in politics.

So what's left?

Labour are poised to pull off an electoral victory despite the plain fact that their policy announcements so far wouldn't work, don't add up and only effect the efficiency of Britain's internal market making thousands redundant and losing our export leverage. Their policies pander to their magical 35% who they know will vote for them - public sector workers, those who live on benefits and, of course, former foreign nationals. I have to conclude that the shunt to the far left that Ed has presided over is a disaster area for the UK. And they continue to say they know better than us - so no referendum.

I cannot vote UKIP - they are a party of strange people who hold views I find disturbing.

I cannot vote Green - I have watched them destroy public service provision in Hove, I would have to be insane to vote for these idealistic children.

So I'm stuffed! I will vote of course and I will vote tactically to preserve the recovery and stop the Marxists from destroying this country in the same way they're destroying France. I will vote Conservative, and in doing so I will shudder.

Had David Milliband won the race for Labour leader I don't imagine this would be a difficult decision. He is Blairite and centred, but he didn't and he won't be back anytime soon. Others are now pointing out that the Trades Unions, in gaining central power once more over Labour have sunk the ship, all I know is if David was running the shop Labour would now have a 20 point lead. Sad really.

So, against every instinct I have, against all my principles, I'll vote to keep the present government in power.

Never thought I'd say that.........

Monday, 13 October 2014


Whether you like to admit it or not, Christmas is now coming up fast on the rails and will soon be among us.

It's a strange time for me; for many years, as a musician, I worked over Christmas and saw it as a mega pay day. I was sober on New Years Eve as well (can't play with any alcohol in my system) as you lot all partied.

I've also never been one for the joy of present giving to be honest. In most cases we give people stuff they don't really want and, in doing so, spend money we can ill afford.

I know what you're saying now "grumpy bastard" but truly I'm not.

When I worked I loved Christmas. All the effort that went into parties and New Year was excellent.

Prior to working at some extraordinary venues where money seemed to be no object I had struggled through the Christmas of 1978. Hard times with no money sleeping in a bedsit waiting for the big break. That Christmas, in London, was supposed to be dire. On Christmas Eve I walked the West End watching people having a great time when I didn't even have the price of a pint, my Christmas Dinner was an egg mayo sandwich and half a pint of milk.

But, strangely I enjoyed it. Maybe it was the pain I enjoyed, I've no idea really, but I still have fond memories. I was alone in London, I didn't see anybody or even speak to anybody for the five days surrounding Christmas. Yet somehow it seemed safe and comforting. Nobody had any expectations of me and I had none of them. My friends up in Yorkshire were partying like crazy but somehow I was happy to be alone. I'm weird I know........

Now I'm retired I don't work at Christmas or New Year. I have them at home. Normally mum would come down but with her passing in the Spring it's just me, my wife and whoever from her family turns up (which is currently looking like nobody).

I love to cook at Christmas, I do the lot, all the trimmings, that stuff.

But this year there'll be the two of us so I found myself looking at the Waitrose Christmas food catalogue and thinking I should let somebody else do the cooking. Now this does seem weird.

Having everything delivered, just warming it up. That's not Christmas is it! Well it appears it is. And this is what I have to look forward to for the coming years.

So suddenly Christmas isn't a time for self flagellation, nor a time for work, it's just a dead spot in the diary.

And that's sad. I have no intention of becoming one of those sad bastards who goes on a cruise (I worked cruise ships for five years). Or of finding some romantic restaurant where we can be crammed in with too many other people whilst the staff stay happy and the chef shows how much he loves producing standard Christmas fair instead of his normal fabulous creations. Staff working Christmas Day while folk party just love it!

So I guess we could climb Kilimanjaro or walk to the North Pole but it's just not me. We could lay on a beach (sounds a bit better) and take in the rays somewhere obscure but none of the above floats my boat.

Christmas will be rubbish this year, got to fix it for next............

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Thinking myself thin

Over the years I've collected a few additional pounds. I dislike being overweight intensely but struggle to deliver on my occasionally formed pillar of good intentions. So I stoically hold on to the extra 20 or so pounds that straddle my middle and strangle my self confidence.   

Travelling back from Greece on Friday I encountered all manner of shape and size. From the worryingly thin (is she ok do you think) to the grotesquely fat (shouldn't she be made to buy two seats) and I begin to wonder if I am alone in my self flagellation about the undesirability of my shape. Am I the only one being emotionally destroyed by my fat cells?

To be honest, I know I'm not alone, there are loads of people who constantly delude themselves about their ability to govern their weight and then suffer emotional humiliation when they finally realise they simply don't have any power over it at all.

But what I do marvel at are the hoards of overweight folk who seem utterly content to be porkers. 

On the plane I sat opposite two girls in their mid twenties, both massively overweight and already, at such a young age, having embraced the black leggings look - fat of face, chubby of hand and enormous of arse. There was also a simply huge woman, so large she could only navigate the centre aisle sideways and then with a squeeze; I have no idea which poor sod sat next to her but it must have been excruciating. And yet, all these ladies seemed happy and relaxed. They showed no embarrassment for how they interfered with 'normal' folk trying to go about their business and (probably) showed no embarrassment when exposing their flab on the beach.

Yet my obesity causes me angst everyday. I look at myself in the mirror and think about what used to be. I constantly beat myself up for not sticking to my food goals, I insult myself verbally (in my head) I refuse to buy new clothes even though the ones I have are falling apart and I can afford a new wardrobe. None of this does any good.

My wife tells me I look fine (I don't, she loves me so she lies) and just to be content like all these fat folk we encounter every day, but I can't and she knows it. I'll just have to read a few more rubbish science papers and quack diet books before realising that all I have do is eat less and move more. How simple is that! Well, regrettably, it's nigh on bloody impossible. But we live in hope.

So, over the next few weeks I'll rediscover that counting calories is the thing, that eating as much as you like as long as there's no carbs really sheds the pounds, that fasting every third day is our natural state and reflects our primeval diet, that staving yourself for even one day panics your body into storing fat and makes you more inclined to illness. Of course what I won't do is admit my angst to my mates.

You see, whilst women seem to talk about their weight worries openly and constructively, men don't. If I admitted my concerns to my drinking buddies down the pub they'd look strangely at me and then say "well lose some weight then you fat twat" or some other highly constructive words.

And I can't do with the power thinkers either. Middle aged men in Lycra (MAMILs as they are wonderfully called) are simply hummungeoius twats who seem to have anger issues and a point to prove. Then there's the guy who's 60, still runs 5k everyday and is built like a whip - am I alone in hoping he dies before me so I can look smug?

The fact is I, like most men, don't understand what we can do to change. Unlike women, men have no stomach for nonsense yoyo diets that plainly don't work. It needs to be simple. 

I have to get back in shape for my own sanity and I've resolved to do the following:

steer clear of carbs, they are clearly evil. I'll also dump the starchy stuff
exercise a bit. Not running that's just dumb, but I'll get back in the routine of doing sit ups and lift a few weights
swim, I like swimming and there's always the chance of seeing something pleasant in a bikini so we can live in hope
Sleep more, evidently getting a good nights sleep is good for your metabolism. Don't know where I read that but who's going to argue
And stop eating sweets, chocolates and biscuits. Tough one that

You'll notice I didn't mention beer. That of course would be a step too far towards being one of those sad thin people who can get into skinny jeans but have nowhere to go once they've done it.

Probably the three fat ladies I encountered on the plane are lovely, bubbly sorts. When they're not eating that is........

Friday, 19 September 2014

Smoking is good for you?

I'm a smoker. I like to smoke. Unfashionable I know but there we are. I've stopped three times since starting almost 40 years ago, once for 12 years - so I don't take shit from 'former smokers' - I simply tell them they're never out of the woods.

The first time I gave up (3yrs) it was in protest at the price of a packet having gone up to 50p, given they're now about nine quid that seems churlish but it mattered at the time. The second time (the long one) was when my kids were little and the last time was six years ago (2year abstinence this time).

I won't be giving up again (unless they make it illegal) and here's why

During my life I've seen smoking move from being what everybody did to being something that pompous twats now feel able to moan about. I can't smoke indoors because Roy Castle's wife invented passive smoking and big business loved this trashy pseudo science so much they created an agenda that GP's then happily 'confirmed' by bending health figures. I am clear, and so should you be, that passive smoking is a myth - it's like the tooth fairy, it makes some people happy and others slightly wealthier.

Airlines loved banning smoking. Like businesses it reduced their cleaning costs but, in the case of airplanes it allowed them to turn down the air circulation systems - the air in the average airline cabin is now ten times as dirty as it was when smoking was allowed on planes- but the airliners save a fortune while you catch colds.

I also used to get terrorised by my GP. He's a fat lad and I finally snapped and said that whilst I was 20 years older than him I'd be prepared to race him down the seafront and I guessed I'd win. We don't discuss it anymore, I still smoke and he's still the size of a house - we are both comfortable with our existence.

Then there's the stuff about how we smokers cost the NHS loads of money. This also is a terrible lie. We die early, the savings in geriatric care and pension provisions when added to the tax revenue on cigarettes actually amounts the five times what the NHS has to spend on us. We are not a burden we're a revenue stream!

My dad smoked, he was a professional - 80 Capstan Full Strength a day (for the uninitiated trust me that's serious smoking). He loved life, liked his beer,worked hard and died of cancer when he was 69. My mum neither smoked nor drank, at 86 a consultant told me she had the heart and lungs of a lion and would live to be 100. Twelve months later she didn't know who anybody was except me but her internal organs were still going to take her through another 10 years or so.

I decided I'd rather go like my dad - that's when I started smoking again.

So I smoke, I like smoking. I won't be preached at or have some prick screw their nose up when I spark one - good chance I'll break that nose for you if you push it too far. 

Every year 'science' decides they got something wrong. Generally after we've paid them lots of money for their shit research and bad advice. Suddenly chocolates ok, global warming is bollocks and low fat diets are the wrong way to lose weight.

I'm living in hope they'll realise one day that smoking is good for you. But I'll probably be long dead by then......

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland the brave or Scotland the dumb?

So there are rumblings in the Westminster jungle as the Scots head for the polls. Interestingly I think the man who has dedicated so much of his life working for a "better Scotland" as he perceived it, Mr Alex Salmond, may well have put the kibosh on the place in more ways than he can imagine.

Perhaps he's right in his conviction that an independence vote leads to a brave new world of prosperity and internationalism, but all the signs suggest he isn't. Whether it's the Bank of England, the EU Commissioners or the UN, nobody seems to think it's a good idea on any level and, surely, all these smart folk can't be wrong?

Many Scots prefer the "Devo Max" idea but all this chatter about Scotland has educated great swathes of the English middle classes who now realise that they actually pay for Scotland's current socialist empire and are now being told to pay even more.

The thing is, Scotland delivers Labour governments for the UK; without those northern MP's we would be blue to our core, BUT general elections are won and lost in the leafy English suburbs whee the middle classes drink tea. Neither Labour nor Tory will ever intentionally alienate them as to do so is to kiss goodbye to power. And the middle classes of England are now chattering.

If Scotland votes YES today, which seems unlikely now, then none of this will matter. The UK can relax with added prosperity from no longer subsidising the Scots and the Tories can be certain of being in power for a long time.

But the likely result is that Scotland will vote NO. This then draws a battle ground which Cameron and Miliband should have seen coming but for some reason didn't. There will be calls for an English Assembly with the same powers as Scotland and Wales. The formula that gives Scots over a £1,000 more per head in state spending that in England, will be scrapped. In short, Scotland could see it's socialist universe collapse.

Ironically our esteemed leaders, camped out in Edinburgh, have promised the earth to get a NO vote - Cameron in particular seems to have forgotten that we don't have a Presidential government system here - they have made promises they can't keep and that's dishonest.

I guess my belief is that today will be a turning point for England more than for Scotland. Either way they vote the Scots are heading for hard times (ironically had they shut up and just got on with things they would have been fine) with less public spending. England may well be the big beneficiary and a slight political change on the part of Nigel Farage could see leverage being created for an English referendum to leave the UK and EU; one that I think will provide a YES vote.

So, Mr Salmond, one way or another you've stirred up a hornets nest and I'm pretty sure your country will be the big loser.

Life's weird isn't it?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Why all this fuss about Scotland?

I know that tomorrow is a momentous day for Scotland. They'll be deciding whether to stick with us lot or bugger off into the sunset. But why all the hype on the sunny side of the border?

From what I can see, whether Scotland leave or not, things won't change much on our side. Of course we lose the oil revenue but we subsidise the Scots massively and I'm pretty sure financially we'll be better off.

We'll also never have a Labour government again and we could debate whether that's a good thing or not, but, whatever your view of it, the English always vote Tory so that's just democracy in action.

If they stay then I can't see that ending well. The YES campaign is quickly turning into a guerrilla movement with violence and mob rule being claimed (some hype and hysteria I'm sure) and that won't go away surely? Do we get the Scots version of the IRA being formed? Also by staying they will start the demands for an English Parliament with the same powers as Edinburgh, and it will happen - maybe not soon but it will.

If they go we just get on with stuff while they have an exciting time negotiating with everybody (UK, EU, UN, Tesco) and I would presume getting the rough end of the stick in most of those talks. But that won't bother us. Our economy will recover (probably quicker), we'll be more likely to leave the EU and the Welsh will still be unhappy.

To be frank I don't really care whether they stay or go. I view it like a relationship that's gone bad. If they go we'll both get over it, if they stay we'll rumble on wondering if we still like each other. Resentment will abound and the English will go for broke on asserting their authority.

It's one of those things that was probably better left unsaid. A bit like when your kids are teenagers and they annoy you (a lot). It's best just shutting up because you know they'll mature in a few years.

But perhaps our little Scottish teenager wants to move out. Find their feet in the real world. That hardly ever ends well does it?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Have I got the X-Factor?

I'm currently in a lovely little spot. It's hot, and the view looks out over a bay where little houses are dotted about like salt flakes on the craggy coast. Boats are bobbing in the harbour and the sun is kissing everything it can.  And I'm being paid for being here.

I sometimes wonder at my work. Is arranging melodies and teaching folk with Karaoke voices how to maintain their vocal chords through what might be a long and arduous competition really work? Should it really pay this much? In what way does this relate to reality?

But it's big business as I keep being told. The mighty boss man turned up yesterday to make that point. Millions of pounds of advertising revenue is reliant on this little singing competition. And of course, his private jet needs paying for.

It's pretty relaxed here. No cameras at this stage, just hard work for the three acts as they learn that being a professional artist is about a lot more than picking your favourite song in the pub - and that vocal discipline is everything.

I once worked with Celine Dion. She banged out huge numbers every night for 20 gigs in a row, always in control of her voice, never straining, never pushing to that point where things crack and break. Professionals learn how to do this. I've also worked with West End singers who are expected to give eight performances a week for months on end without once cracking the voice. It's a trick (like most things) and a discipline honed over years of lessons - believe it or not most famous singers have lessons every week - but here it's got to be a fast track to survival.

Most contestants on talent shows don't even understand the basics of singing. They have good voices but they don't breath correctly or in the right places. They can knock out one great song but not every day. Learning something that takes professionals years to master in a matter of a few weeks isn't easy and sometimes it's impossible.

So my job is a bit demanding. But it's still not a job really. Nothing horrendous happens if it isn't done. Nobody dies (although they might die inside a little) and I do worry that most of the contestants don't get the fact that this is a talent show; it's very rarely a path to music glory. If you want to succeed in the music biz then, just like any other vocation, you have to work at it over years. The instant stardom given by talent shows is short lived and often has tragic endings.

But I do enjoy arranging music and I'm good at it. The show now allows for 'alternative arrangements' so I'm having fun. Teaching people who generally can't read music and, as yet, don't have the discipline to practice enough, how to deliver something special can be funny but it's also exasperating.

But as they say in show biz - it'll be alright on the night

And before you ask, no clues will be forthcoming about who I'm working with or where. It's in the contract darling!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Time for a Liberal comeback?

I've always been interested in politics but, apart from a brief spell whenTony Blair was running the shop, I've always been pretty disaffected with all of the main parties. I can remember in the 70's chatting to some chums and saying the Liberal Democrats were ripe for a takeover - they had just about disappeared from sight and were holding their party conferences in a phone box - as I always felt grabbing hold of an established party was much better than trying to start from scratch; well, it worked for Hitler......

Then they started their great comeback. Post Paddy they had the drunk Kennedy in charge, then a couple of confused geriatrics and now the EU loving Clegg. But despite being largely rudderless they've grown into something of a force.

Of course the last four years have changed all that. After twenty years of upwards mobility they are about to implode on a grand scale at the next General Election. UKIP have claimed the mantle of 'establishment position' that they enjoyed for so long, Farage is the man of the moment, and the LidDems may well be lucky to have 5 MP's post 2015.

Of course the Liberal Democrats aren't Liberals at all. John Locke must spin in his grave every time Nick Clegg declares himself a Liberal - he isn't, he is a far left social democrat who loves Europe and the nanny state.

True Liberals would choke at the thought of the EU. Nick loves it so much because he worked on making it the behemoth it is today. He loves non democratic big state manipulation,  he is 'continental in thinking' (whatever that means) and he wants to pass almost all of our democratically hard won rights over to the boys in Brussels because they know best.

The Liberal Democrat audience and support is also fascinating. Middle class, slightly wealthier than most, politically aware, economically insulated; they seem guilt ridden by their own success and want to give something back. You'll find them manning food banks and volunteering for homeless shelter duty. Not that any of them have ever been anywhere near needing those sort of services. They are members of the Caravan Club, the RSPB, National Trust Members and many do actually wear sandals and socks at the same time.

They are the politically disenfranchised, those people Ayn Rand hated, the property owning classes who want to be chastised for their own success and feel the best way to assuage their guilt is to cuddle every unfortunate or oppressed minority.

They are teachers, vets, farmers, PR Consultants and Diversity Coordinators. And vast swathes of them are retired (usually from the jobs just mentioned). For reasons of history the LibDems stronghold is in the far north and east of Scotland. I think those folk haven't yet realised the LibDems aren't the Liberal Party, in fact they couldn't be further from Liberal values if they tried.

In short, the LibDems are a wishy washy bunch of PC riddled middle class suburban folk who sign petitions and believe that matters. They have no right to use the Liberal name.....

So here's an idea. Post 2015 they'll be back to having a handful of MP's, no power and a leader who's hitting the bottle. Time for a take over.

Drop the 'Dems' bit, go back to being the Liberal Party and pick up where Winston Churchill left off. Fight for minimal state, leave the EU, protect our country against immigration blight, be strong in the world.

Funnily enough, these are all things the Liberal Churchill fought for, they are also all things that Clegg and his clowns would oppose.

It's time to take back the Liberal Party and make all it's current MP's read the definition of what it is to be a Liberal every day until they quit and join the communists. Of course, Farage is a Liberal, he just hasn't worked it out yet........

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Perhaps Enoch Powell was right

I have no religion or faith. Frankly it's brought about by a mixture of laziness and a love of history. Laziness in that I've usually got better things to do that worry about what happens after I die, and history because when you read about religion you see what nasty fuckers tend to make it to the top in that game.

Humans are unique amongst animals in that we understand mortality and we communicate verbally in complex ways. Easy then to see how human society will invent gods in order that they can invent the after life. It's just plain awful to think that 'this is it' isn't it? That when you're dead you're dead, so we to against everything that seems rational and obvious in the world that we see and talk about omnipotent beings and 'another place'. Utter bollocks the lot of it.

There have been, throughout history, religious sects that could unite the various dingbat sects. The Cathars who grew in the 12th Century believed that this earth was hell - a test for man, and that Jesus had been some kind of hologram who came to warn everybody about how shit this place was. It caught on and Christians, Muslims and Jews converted. Then the Pope at the time decided it needed to end and wiped them out; top class Roman Catholicing.

Religion causes most of the trouble in the world. If we all woke up tomorrow knowing there is no God and that when you're gone that's it, then most of the current wars across the globe would be pointless. Sadly so would the lives of many people so the religious bandwagon continues. In most cases it's pretty harmless. Sometimes it distils a form of decency into people who might otherwise be just plain nasty.

But, one religion stands apart. Every religion on the planet is based on suffering and love for fellow man conquering adversity - every religion expect Islam that is. The Muslim faith is built around vengeance and violence. Borne from it in fact. Their 'holy book' is a catalogue of violence, a misogynistic treatise of the superiority of man, the worthlessness of women and the need to kill all 'infidels' (that's you and me by the way).

The Christian book, the Jewish book, Hindu scripture and Buddhist thinking all preach peace - the Muslim book is all about hatred of none believers, how they are unclean and need to be destroyed.

Now this didn't matter too much until recently. The west rarely encountered Islam. But as we globalised and people started to mingle it became an issue - there are now 6 million Muslims in the UK alone and many millions more across Europe. Politicians try to tell us ISIS isn't Islam but sadly it is. Their fighters take their book literally and are no different to Cromwell's puritans or the Pope's Crusaders in simply wanting to see the Islamic faith followed properly. We call that radicalism, they call it fighting for their religious beliefs.

Muslims don't mix on the whole. They intermarry - Bradford Council recently published a report about child mortality blaming it's unenviable record on inter breeding amongst Muslims of Pakistani origin - they ghettoise city spaces, they keep to themselves. Only the intelligent ones move out into society and there are very few of them. When children start school unable to speak English and are them prevented from doing homework because they are too busy attending the mosque to learn the holy book, you have to be something special to get any GCSE's at all. Sadly the ones who do rise above the crowd and enter mainstream society then decide to use their skills to articulate the persecution of their fellow Muslims rather than to stand against the inward looking nature of Islam.

Muslims feel the rules of their religion surmount national laws. So they practice paedophilia, they abuse teenage girls turning those they see as unclean into slaves, simply because their religion allows it. Their 'prophet' married a 9 year old - what can you expect.

It's now become clear that their invasion of the Labour Party, populating local government alongside radically PC white activists of the worst kind, has allowed then to subvert UK justice, covering up their flouting of the law and leaving police and child services unsure as to what they should do. Let's be clear, they manipulated simpletons on the left and used their power to avoid UK laws they don't think apply to them.

The question is what to do about it. Any move to ban Muslims of Pakistani origin from public office would lead to screams of protest even if they have displayed reasons why it would be a very good idea. It's also hardly possible to repatriate people who are third generation British (and a bit fascist too). The only way this can end therefore is through the processes the Islamic faith dictates.

ISIS is finding it very easy to recruit in Britain. Those who are not going are supporting (a recent poll of Pakistani Muslims in Holland found 83% supported ISIS - nobody dare do such a poll in the UK) and that will lead to ISIS style thinking here.

When it comes it will shock the nation. Attempts to 'take' key cities and create Islamic States here will probably to swift and very bloody. It will happen out of the blue, organised but undetected until it's too late. Then they will be crushed - massively and swiftly - but only after politicians have dithered too long and the population at large have decided to take matters into their own hands.

The end of Islam in Europe won't be pretty, it will be horrific in its casualty rates and will inevitably turn Europe more right wing, but it will come. The reason is simple. Western society is hamstrung by it's desire to be engaged with all faiths, it's PC philosophies born out of the rise of socialism and the apparent ability of politicians on all sides to deny reality. As they have done in Rotherham,  Bradford, Rochdale and inner London, Muslims will exploit that and be forgiven for thinking the Islamic State inside the UK is possible.

It isn't of course, but our political correctness will take us there and it will be ordinary people, not the police, who stop it. But those days will be dark.

Perhaps Enoch Powell was a prophetic politician not a racist as the left loves to brand him.......

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Scotland and her divorce

They'd been having relationship issues for some time. Whilst he merrily ran through life confident in his decisions and friendships, she was unhappy and felt she was living her life vicariously through him.

When she told him she was unhappy he patted her on the head and said he knew best. When she said she was thinking of leaving him he ignored it, bought her the occasional bunch of flowers, agreed to go and visit her mum more often but still wanted his dinner on the table when he got home.

When she started divorce proceedings he told her she wouldn't survive without him. He said she'd be 'nothing', her finances would be a mess, the cozy life she had now was all down to him and she'd sink into oblivion. He almost got to the point of threatening her. She wouldn't be getting the house or the car he'd bought her. All their friends would side with him.

She waivered, maybe he was right, what sort of a life would it be. But in the end she knew it would be better even if it was hard. So he made more concessions. He would give her more control over the finances, if she wanted the new toaster he'd let her choose it, she could even redecorate the bedroom.

But never once did he admit that he needed her. That he loved her and couldn't imagine life without her. That as a couple they were ten times better than the sum of their parts. He was a mans man, he didn't do that, admitting he needed her just wasn't in his lexicon.

Nobody knows what she will do. Maybe she'll decide to take the concessions and limp along for another few years. But he'll never change and deep inside she knows that. He's just not the romantic, sharing type and that won't alter. He's not a social caring chap; she cares about friends while he sees them as a means to an end - his end.

In a few days time she will decide if she's going to leave him for good. If she's brave enough she will have a tough time. He'll throw his toys out of the pram, make it tough for her, tell everybody else not to talk to her. But in a few years time she'll be a better person. She will do the things she values, she'll make new friends and find ways to be her own person.

He'll be ok too, but will have to realise how much he needed her and that she leaves a hole in his life.

The Scottish Independence referendum is in a few days time. Will she be brave enough to make her own way in the world or will she stay with the bossy misogynist for a while longer.

There's nowt so strange as folk........

Friday, 5 September 2014

Why I shouldn't have a dog

Nine years ago (approximate timings ok) a friend called me out of the blue and asked a favour. She lived in a shared house and had bought a puppy, the other residents were cool about it but the landlord was coming back to stay for six weeks and dogs were banned. I didn't query her logic in buying the dog - I'm not like that. So, she asked me if I could look after her 12 week old puppy for six weeks.

I didn't know the first thing about dogs but, given I always try to help, I finally said OK and Willey arrived. A bubbly Staffy who just wanted to be happy.

Over the next six weeks I grew to love his company. I made a fist of being the good dog parent and we got on just fine. Then I had to give him back. It broke my heart.

As you do, I decided I'd get a dog of my own. As I do, I ran up a specification (female, small, intelligent) and set off looking. I settled on a Jack Russell but then read they were a bit yappy. But after a bit more research discovered that if they were crossed the barking often stopped and the brains came to the front. Enter Izzy, a Jack Russell Lakeland Terrier cross.

I took her to puppy school, I learned how to make her do tricks and be obedient, we both excelled at it and our happy co-existence began.

Izzy brings joy to me everyday and I try to do my bit for her, but she's an old girl now and she's got fat and lazy. She never really liked walking unless it was somewhere new - her brains get the better of her - and now she really objects, so I drag her three or four miles everyday.

Then she started limping. One of her back legs was hurting her so she hopped on three legs - to the vets we go. I then get chewed out cos she's fat (about 3.5 kilos overweight he says) and the guilt trip starts. I put her on a diet, now she cries a lot and looks unhappy all the time, but she is losing weight. Cruel to be kind they say.......

Now I'm a musician. I gigged till I was 50 and spent 30 years underweight after my first appearance on Top of the Pops and seeing myself back on the tele. I guess I should be 12 stone but I went down to 11 (or under). Food became the enemy, and ironically bourbon became my friend. I smoked to stop hunger pangs, I drank to stop hunger pangs, I messed up my body so much I'm sometimes amazed I'm still here.

Then I retired from the stage......... and I put on weight. Now I'm a stone overweight and hate it. I'm vain and I don't like what I see in the mirror. I have money but I never buy nice clothes - I mentally bribe myself "you can have that when you've lost the weight" - but I don't.

So me and Izzy have a lot in common. We're both overweight, we both hate exercise, we both like food.

Because I'm a sentient being I can think it out, I don't do a great job of it but I know that as you get older the girth widens and use that excuse a lot. But she's a dumb animal and I'm supposed to make the decisions. I'm also under pressure from the vet who clearly knows better than me.

But I've come to an epiphany. I'm overweight, I smoke, I drink, I eat chocolate and it works for me. I know I'm probably cutting ten years off my life but so what. Being old isn't much fun and the spin put on it by fit 80 year olds is just so much bullshit. I'm happy to croke at 70 to be honest. And I think Izzy is ok with the same logic.

So, stuff the vet, me and her are going to get old and fat together and if he doesn't like it he can stuff it up his righteous arse. No more broccoli florets and carrots as treats- it's just not happening.

We all have a right to 'be' and quite frankly she's more intelligent than some of the folk I see on Facebook, so she has that right too.

But maybe I'm just not cut out to be a dog owner. Maybe I'm no good at it. Perhaps I should give her to somebody who will starve her into shape and let her live till she's 20. I'm suffering lots of self doubt now. And all over a cute furry white lady who loves me.

Izzy and I are a team, but does that mean we are fit for each other? Fucked if I know......

Monday, 1 September 2014

Gobshites on Twitter

Thomas Farriner is one of those blokes who did a little thing that affected a lot of people. On this day in 1666 he was baking bread in his bakery in Pudding Lane and took his eye off the ball for no more than a minute. A fire started, the rest is history.

Thomas's minute of distraction led to almost 85% of all the houses in London burning down - he wasn't that popular. One little spark caused disaster.

It happens all the time (admittedly not on such a grand scale) that a little thing leads to something big and very unpleasant. None of us realise that a few words, spoken after a beer perhaps, can have massive consequences for us and for other people. Discretion is the better part of valour they say, but we seem to live in a world now - and a Twitterverse certainly - where people shoot their mouths off at will and always say it's all about free speech.

But it's not really guys is it. It's just about shooting your mouth off cos you can. Twitter makes it easy - it's impersonal, writing insults has always been easier than saying them to somebody face to face. And I guess most of the people being thoroughly unpleasant on Twitter wouldn't have the guts to say it if stood in front of somebody.

Then there's the opinionated fools on Twitter who know little but say a lot. And insult with impunity. They read one tweet (let's not even bother scanning the persons timeline eh, takes far too long) and in they pile.

I suffered tons do bile recently. Louise Mensch is somebody I quite like, although her self publicist mentality is a bit hard to swallow. She wrote an excellent piece for the Jewish Chronicle supporting Israel, as I do, and saying that the recent Gaza conflict had been used by anti-semitics to voice their hatred of Jews. I happen to agree, and had tweeted many times that people like Dianne Abbot were simply a Jew haters who had used the conflict to reignite an age old left wing hatred. I replied to Louise that her piece was excellent and then made the point that it might be interesting (in the spirit of trying to say something positive) to explore the meaning of 'Semite'. I'll admit it was a complex point to make on Twitter in such few words but Louise got it and acknowledged it.

I then found myself deluged by Jews and Israelis hammering me as a Jew hater. They hadn't got it and hadn't bothered to see if I was on either side of the fence. I have condemned disproportionate response but supported Israel's right to defend itself against terrorists.

I tried to remake the point but they weren't listening. They couldn't listen as they weren't bright enough. Then in came the other camp, either twatting me for being a 'Jew lover' or thinking I was a supporter of their cause.

I despaired and eventually just ignored all of them.

One spark, taking my eye off the ball for one minute, led to a conflagration of immense proportions. And I felt helpless to do anything about it and also felt unjustly abused.

Thomas Farriner felt the same evidently. He took his eye off the ball, he didn't intend to burn London down. He expected to bake bread that people would enjoy. His life was hell afterwards as he knew he had started the fire, albeit that a French bloke got hanged for it, and he never really recovered.

I'll move on and will make sure I don't make complex points in an environment limited by 140 characters and populated by idiots and ingrates who speak before they think.

London actually benefitted from the fire and the city we enjoy today is largely the beneficiary of the disaster. So maybe I'll benefit too. I will try........

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Hove is where the heart is

There's a new gents hairdresser opened on the High Street. Being somebody who still has hair (no mean feat at my age) I took an interest.

He's trendy, well he'd have to be operating in Hove, but in ways I struggled with. For a start he calls himself a barber - I can remember when that meant you got a short back and sides, parted on the left and you liked it - but no ordinary barber; this fella is an 'organic barber'.

That quite excited me. I had visions of organic hair cutting, evolving to the mood. I thought, maybe he has 6Music on the wireless and just goes with the flow. I guess you'd have to hope there wasn't any Leonard Cohen playing. Then a read on and it said he uses organic produce. Suddenly I was losing the will.

There is a gullibility here in Hove which can send folk bonkers for the latest fad. Be different, and expensive, and you've cracked it basically.

Presumably he uses shampoos and lotions that mix crazy stuff together. Quinoa and Cherimoya (it's an artichoke, look it up) and lots of other nonsensically named edibles. Perhaps he uses linen towels hand woven by monks from the Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song, near Dengfeng ( we've all been there). Certainly he'll have josticks and his chakra will be a thing to adore darling!

He also puts these 'inspiration' signs in his window. Today's was "if you face the sun the shadows will be behind you". This is, of course scientifically undeniable but what else it can mean exactly left me way behind. I look forward to more inane nonsense in his windows in the future.

The one thing he didn't have - anywhere that I could see - was anything that showed him to be a good barber. It seems if you're organic and wear a kaftan you can get away with murder.

  He'll do well here. It's not called 'Hove Actually' for nothing.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Outraged of Hove

I went to a breakfast meeting this morning. Well, actually I arranged to see one of my team yesterday afternoon and he was in the pub so we met for a bit of brekky instead. He lives in the Marina and  there's only one decent cafe there but it wasn't open so we headed (at his suggestion) for the plastic drinking experience that is Wetherspoons.

There are two breakfast options. The standard one and the 'large' one. The only difference was mushrooms as far as I could see, oh and the £1.59 difference in price. But I like mushrooms so I thought 'what the hell' let's go large - I believe that's the popular vernacular of the type of people who populate these types of fake establishments.

When the breakfast come it had one mushroom on it - yes, you heard me, one mushroom.

Now my friend is a lawyer so I instantly saw an opportunity for him here. I pointed out I'd been charged £1.59 for a mushroom (and we're not talking giant mushroom here people) and grabbed the menu.

That's when I realised my error. The table of contents actually said "mushroom". I'd missed this subtle deception and been had. My pal pointed out to me that the description was right (if outrageous) and said the sausages were nice though. I could tell my plea for expertise was falling on deaf ears.

Now I know times are tough in the brewing industry, heaven knows how many pubs have closed in the time it's taken me to write this blog, but I hardly think ripping me off to the tune of £1.52 (I'm generously allowing them 7p for the mushroom) will make that much difference.

The breakfast wasn't actually that bad. My expectations were very low I must admit and edible now translates as not bad. But the sense of injustice has stayed with me. As a result I won't eat in there again. Now, having said that, I wouldn't eat in there out of choice anyway, so I guess my sanction is a bit lame.

I'm not very good at this public outrage stuff. When Cafe Rouge in the a marina banned smoking at their outside tables I took my business elsewhere by eating, instead, at the Cafe Rouge in town. See, I take rage to new heights. Others would write a letter to the Editor of some paper or other, or get a placard and stand outside. For me the boycott is as far as it goes.

Anybody fancy opening a cafe in Brighton Marina? I've got one customer for you if your mushroom pricing is reasonable........

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Back to the knitting

I am a writer of songs, well at least that's how I describe myself whenever I'm asked. Sometimes a say musician but given the fact that I can't actually play the piano anymore due to stresses in my hands that's no longer true. I'm a writer of songs.

But am I? Over the last few years my 'business' has moved into production and I now employ 37 highly paid musicians and a number of managers and seem to spend all my time flying a desk or rushing to meetings with 'executives' from this or that record company. I've even ended up baby sitting artists who fall off the lorry. Somewhere it went wrong.

In the good old days I used to sit at my piano all day tinkering till a ditty came into my head, then words and hey presto another hit was in the pipeline. Now I use software, drum machines, beat boxes and all sorts of other paraphernalia to 'generate' music. In short the who things sucks.

I do a lot of behind the scenes TV work too. I worked as a voice coach and mentor on X-Factor, then The Voice and now back with X-F again for this year. That's quite good fun ..... but it's not what I 'do'.

Years ago I wandered around the world as a band manager for two big artists. I was their Musical Director, I ran the band, I played on their records and concerts, it truly was rock and roll. But you get too old for that. I don't miss that at all. But how did I get into this soup of executive think and the touchy feely people who populate it?

I wonder if the same is true in other professions. Jobs that people loved being ruined by corporate  structures and the globalisation of this or that.

Well I've decided it's all going to change. Over the next three moths (ok it might take six)  I'm going to ditch all of it. I'm going back to sitting in a smoke filled room with my writing partner knocking out songs. No tech apart from a keyboard, no staff and bloody record execs. Just writing.

It might not work, who can say, but I'm going back to what I'm good at. I've written a lot of hit records and even one I'm quite proud of, I've won gongs, mixed with the great and the good and even class some famous folk amongst my friends list. Yet somehow I got sucked into doing more and more.

So I'm going back to the knitting as my old dad would have said. Stick your corporate life up your arse and leave me be. Two weeks ago a man with vast wealth from the music business told me I could become one of the biggest producers in the world. He thought I'd be pleased - instead it horrified me and was a wake up call.

I've always stayed below the radar. People outside the music business have no idea who I am. I like that. So I'm going back to being a big fat nobody. But a nobody without tension, stress and bloody meetings.

Let's see how it goes..........

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I think I'll come back as a woman

We men are a funny bunch. We are still the dominant one in the species largely for historic reasons; we are stronger and violent and in the past that's what determined top dog status. Obviously we are no more intelligent and certainly we are less practical but nonetheless, we sit in the position of power - and to be honest most of us quite  like it.

It's a confusing time. I was taught to open doors for ladies but now it's not PC, we're all lads together and actresses are no longer actresses, they're actors now like us blokes.

In the middle of last week the downside of this cultural Alpha Male thing hit home to me when I had to do a bit of car management. You know the kind of thing; we have a garage and a drive. Hers sits in the garage, mine on the drive, even though hers is a Mini and mine's a Porsche, cos I'm a gentleman right? So I have to shuffle them if she needs hers.

I did the car waltz as I've done many times before but, as they have to be left on the road for a minute or so while I shuffle, I turn the hazard flashers on and, when popping hers back in the garage, I forgot to turn them off.

Three days later she needed it and the battery was flat as a cows bowel movement.

So the Alpha Male swings into action. I went to Halfords and bought a charger for £90, plugged it in and then spent two days checking it.

Of course what then ensued was my punishment for being a 'stupid man'. I had to play chauffeur for two days, taking her to the nail bar, the massage parlor, to see a friend for coffee and the supermarket run was achieved in a car with a 'boot' the size of a gerbil, by piling everything in the back (shop couldn't wait evidently).

She won't drive my car - it's much to powerful evidently. So this fragile little woman had to be driven around (cos it was all my fault) and I had to suffer.

I got it started yesterday and then drove it round mindlessly for two hours to make sure the charge was topped up. My pain and punishment is now complete.

Sometimes I wish we could get rid of this dominant handle, I mean the feminists think we should, but I realize women quite like it. There are upsides to being 'helpless' and 'in need of looking after'.

Think I'll come back as a woman........

Let's have another go

Today Nigel Farage may be selected to fight a seat at the next General Election. A seat he'll probably win. But for UKIP that's about as much as they can hope for. Ok, maybe they'll end up with two or three MP's but nothing that will matter.

The reason why his roller coaster will see the wheels fall off is simple. Whilst UKIP were a one policy party they were unstoppable. If they had stayed just that and said 'elect us, we'll sort out the Brexit then resign' they might have seen a different result. But they didn't. Instead they tried for government, tried to be a party with all the bells and whistles and, quite frankly, they picked a bunch of racist idiots to achieve it. The quality of their candidates is astoundingly poor, even Nige would admit it.

The UKIP mission is gone as far as I can see. Who in Scotland, Wales or N Ireland would vote for leaving the EU; they are left wing to the core and so is the EU. It makes no sense.

So here's a new plan for you Nige. The EIP - the English Independence Party. Go for the English vote. For exit from both the UK and the EU.

Let's face it the UK no longer works for England. The other bits have their own assemblies and, after the referendum in Scotland, they'll have just about every power you can think of. But not England.....

England is a Conservative nation yet we suffer Labour governments voted in by the Scots and the Welsh and then watch as they wreck our economy. Enough is enough.

So the EIP, a single mission party which will give England back governance of itself. England doesn't need the EU, neither does it need the Scots and the welsh. They could stay in the UK and stay in Europe - they'd get tons of grants - and we could leave, consolidate our strength as the finance capital of the world, get the shale gas going and be a power again.

The balance of power in the world is shifting. Away from the west to the east. It can't be stopped and shouldn't be. England, unlike Europe has history there. Good history. The Arabs like putting their money here as do the Chinese. The chinks like our efficiency, our financial products and our workforce. And please, don't tell me the old Commonwealth will rush to our door UKIP people cos they won't. But that doesn't matter. The USA will turn up and we will also have Russian pals; maybe, just maybe we can use the NORC (look it up) and get a position as middle men in what will be the biggest money tree in the next 100 years.

Then case for England to leave the EU is hard to refute. The case for the UK to leave is neither solid nor supported by our little chums to the west and north of us.

So Nige, how about a whole new slant. How about EIP?

Ode to Celebrity

I don't do celebrity gossip. I am blessed to know many folk who are in the public eye and number many as good friends but to chatter about them is, to my old fashioned sensibilities, a little crass.

But I thought I should drop a little insight into that world here without mentioning how I know what I know and, if you fancy, invite you to comment.

People are shouting a lot on Twitter at the moment about the end of the world being on us thanks to the Muslim hoard. They tell us our society will be undermined and we need to send all the johnnies home (despite the fact that this is their home) or some such bollocks. But funnily enough on one level I do agree with them; we are living through an era where our society is being undermined, when the values we all hold dear are being shovelled out of the window. But it has nothing to do with Muslims and everything to do with the boys in blue.

Coppers have been pretty upset of late by the government daring to suggest that their Association is corrupt. They also got themselves in a fizz when they backed a bunch of lying bizzies who were trying to get a Minister sacked for riding his bike. They are now getting their own back.

Coppers are no different to most folk. If they get a chance to meet somebody famous they get all excited. The thing is though that they can arrange it whereas you probably can't. They get to meet these folk by arresting them. Usually some sad, attention seeking tosser with a compensation lawyer in tow has turned up and said they got their arse felt and whilst it's not much of a claim the fuzz know that by using the press they can get a celeb to sit down and chat to them. They might even be able to find a bunch of other fantasists who are willing to say stuff and that means they get to meet the celeb a few more times, get an autograph, maybe even a song.

Then they line up all the compensation lawyers and instead of shooting them (that would be public service) they call the CPS and ask this left wing bunch of clowns if they fancy taking it on. Of course the CPS has become an ally of the beak, they've had cuts too so anything to upset the apple cart and they're up for it. So we have a trial.

The pigs feed the press with everything before the trial so the jury are either just back from a sight seeing trip to Syria or they've made their minds up before it starts. Now this used to be illegal -  but now that we operate guilty until proven innocent it's all fine.

The well briefed witnesses, who have been coached by the Met on how this will all go down, give their best attempt at outIining why they need the celebs money and the prosecution keeps their identities secret so the defence can't take a closer look at them and establish that they are nut jobs with attention needs (and money needs) so the jury, who've already made their mind up, don't get to know anything about the witnesses. Then the celeb stands up and gets hung, drawn and quartered.

Oh how they laugh down the pub as they eagerly leaf through Heat magazine trying to decide who to go after next. It's a great job and could see them through to retirement and the fat pensions that are at the centre of this whole business.

But they are unstoppable. They have looked at David Bowie, Ozzy and the boys, Duran Duran and even Sir Bruce. Meatloaf, the front man from the Bay City Rollers (yup he's still alive) and even John Craven. Everybody who has ever been famous is fair game (that includes you Noel). And game it is; endless investigations costing millions.

During the 80's and 90's I spent years on tour with some of the biggest acts in the world. As band manager I had clout both on stage and off. And just about every night I got offers from women who wanted to climb into the after match party by offering to climb into my pants. Some I accepted, most I didn't. But I cannot remember where or when these ambitious young ladies featured in my bed sheets. It happened, it still does, but nothing was about abuse. I also never asked to see proof of age but I'm fairly confident they were all legal (but how can I be certain?).

The fact is maybe you, the great unwashed, are jealous that folk like me got to bag a few blondes along the way, but I doubt you are so sad as to try and put me behind bars simply because my bedpost score is better than yours. But the blue meanies are. Anything to make society crumble. Anybody is sport for these fuckers.

But maybe his time they've met their match. With each case the celeb world shares info. Cliff has been on their radar for quite some time and he was ready for them. His lawyers have already pointed out at South Yorkshire Plod may have breached his judicial rights. Yewtree has been warned they will expose the accusers, and Cliff is calling in some favour cards. So if, and I say if, this lad who got fondled at a Christian gathering in Sheffield is telling the truth (which I doubt for reasons I cannot tell you) he will find things a little different as will Mr Plod.

And now that the celeb lawyers have got their heads around what is happening Yewtree might find that it's 'jobs for life' strategy isn't quite how it's going to be. Rolf has an appeal in and the substance thats in it is really worrying the CPS, even Stuart Hall may be on his way back to take a poke at them.

I hate Plod, I have no time for governments who don't keep them in line and my contempt for the press is immeasurable. I know this lot will all now come down on the like a ton of bricks and, in the middle of all that, the BBC is going to have a very tough time. Celebrities are operating a silent protest, turning down offers to fill those never ending chat show couches. But at the end of the day it could all have been so different.

The police have the lowest approval rating ever. Very few people in this country trust them to be fair and do what's best for the populace. They could have improved all that but instead they've stepped up the stakes and now there's no going back.

This will not end well. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Predictions & Forecasts - the danger of statistics

One of the things our technological world does is produce lots of numbers, too many in fact. Every day in our press we see Labour, the LibDems and the Tories picking different ones to justify their position or trash the other side. Too much information can lead to clever folk playing the stats for their benefit.

There are, out there, people who specialize in understanding which numbers are worth looking at (signals) and which ones simply pack the sample and can, in the wrong hands, distort it (noise). The trouble is those with an axe to grind tend to dislike these folk; whilst they get the right trends and debunk bad economics, poor thinking or trash science, they are rarely popular amongst pressure groups.

There are, of course, two things you can do with statistics. You can predict or you can forecast. Prediction means you have seen the trends, taken out all the noise and are willing to make absolute statements about what will happen. Forecasts are gentler, suggesting what might happen. Deciding what statistics tell us is a science in itself but the mathematicians who have the skills to do it hardly ever get asked for their opinions.

Let me give you an example of how statistical trends can be misread.

In 1916 the British Army started issuing tin helmets to their troops. After six months the statistics showed an increase in head injuries and at a War Cabinet meeting a ‘specialist’ contended that the troops were getting over confident because of the helmets – he suggested they be withdrawn. It took a professor of mathematics to show that they were looking at the noise not the signal. Deaths by head injury were actually massively reduced and so reported head injuries that were none fatal were increasing. Signal and noise and the inability of a scientist to see through the fog almost caused the biggest mistake possible.

Scientists know all about this phenomena. In fact they often use it to their advantage. Take the passive smoking debate for instance. In its early days there were no supporting statistics, just a huge amount of sympathy for Roy Castle’s wife and a lot of businesses (particularly airlines) who saw advantage in an excuse to ban smoking. Then along came GP’s to oblige those in favour of a ban. They were told to classify every respiratory problem in a child whose parents smoked as ‘passive smoking’. There was not a shred of evidence for this assertion, they just did it – and hey presto science emerges that can allow scientists to make preposterous claims about the effects of passive smoking. Bad, dishonest science wins the day. Yet the signal, the fact that particulate concentrations in exhaled smoker’s breath are too low to represent a threat to others is ignored. It is ignored because the ones following the noise say they have data – they don’t, they invented it, but it sticks.

But the best, the very best use of noise has to be Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or man-made global warming as it’s known.

There is so much data about; caused by scientists knowing that if they utter the AGW phrase governments will throw money at them (even scientists have to eat). And scientists are good at turning the statistical data their own way. Even when the mathematicians are screaming at them about finding the signal within the noise. They don’t want to look. They select the data that fits their views and anybody who dares to say otherwise is called a flat earther, an idiot or worse. It doesn’t even matter when the maths bods say they are just trying to point out facts about the data – dare to question and you are a Luddite.

But the AGW mob made a fatal mistake. If they had stuck to forecasting, and screaming about the likelihood that the world would end, they would probably have been fine. But they chose instead to predict. In fact for the last 10 years they have been making hard predictions, even as mathematicians told them they were not working hard enough with the data and that there was no possibility of making predictions with so much noise in the system.

Of course, when you get carried away like that and start reading things into the data that isn’t there, you will ultimately hit problems. According to the predictions made in 2003 the earth should be 0.3 degrees warmer than it is now (that’s a lot evidently) but it isn’t. In fact it’s cooler than it was in 2003. Interestingly when this prediction was made two mathematicians pointed out that the Pacific Carbon Sink, which stores heat and carbon had switched itself off in 1980, that data showed it did that sort of thing and that if it came back online nothing (REPEAT NOTHING) would happen. These two guys barely got out with their lives!

The Pacific system turned back on in 2004. Since then it’s been storing carbon and heat (as it does) and dissipating that heat though deep flow systems, cooling as it goes.

It may continue to do this for 50,000 years or 5 years – nobody knows because we don’t understand how it works. It is, however, a major signal in amongst the noise of the data collected by scientists who then bleated about their findings. As I say, their mistake was in making predictions.

2003 – the Arctic ice mass would be gone completely by 2010; the ice is thicker this year than since records began
2004 – 70% of UK rivers would dry up by 2014 – take a look outside!
2005 – the glacial waters that feed California with it’s water supply would be gone by 2010; today they are thicker than ever

and then you get the crazy stuff

2006 – there would be a 60% increase within 10 years of the incidence of scale 9 earthquakes – nobody can predict earthquake likelihood, they can’t even say how the after shocks will work
2007 – the warm water currents that keep the UK’s climate temperate would shut down by 2015 as a result of increased ice melt in the Arctic – today this weather system is stronger than in recorded history and again, nobody knows how it works
2008 – the jet stream would head south creating polar conditions behind it (in the UK). The jet stream has sat further north than ever before for the last 4 years and nobody knows how it works!!

And this stuff continues. Every major weather event is put down to AGW (even the floods we are having now which seem to be directly linked to the jet stream speeding up as it does on a 300 year cycle) without science, facts or in many cases the slightest attempt to prove the statement.

The message for the AGW scientists is stick to forecasts. Predictions using bad science tend to lead to egg on faces. Of course it would be better to invite the mathematicians in to find the signals and eradicate the noise from the statistics. Unfortunately the work in that area done so far would suggest what many think; that we are insignificant in the weather systems of this big rock we live on and there’s nothing we can do to stop it managing itself.

Sobering thought given all those expensive wind turbines, solar panels and the billions spent on ‘green issues’. It can’t be true surely? That governments and their scientists are conning us for their own benefit and spending our money pointlessly?