Monday, April 23

The media has a lot to answer for

Is your glass half full or half empty? Listening to neighbours in the Dog & Duck you’d think the latter. Brexit has buggered relationships across the community. Our general funk is driven by the news in general: whether reading the papers or listening to MSM, we could be forgiven for thinking the world is going to hell in a handcart. Counter-intuitively, when asked about our own happiness, almost all of us appear content: 92 per cent rate ourselves rather happy or very happy with our lives. For whatever reason we also believe that fewer than half our fellow citizens are of the same cheery disposition. The country is full of happy people who believe they are surrounded by misery.

Sunday, April 22

The Goldilocks principle

Millions of voters can’t be arsed and just want to be left alone, a poll has revealed. Meanwhile in a secret government laboratory countless scientists are hard at work attempting to clone a Cameron-Clegg-David Miliband mannequin they believe will mollify the electorate.

Running out of time

Mrs G. is well pleased. “With an entitled air and customary fist pump, Mourinho greeted full-time as Manchester United supporters waved their red flags. He will be returning to Wembley next month to try to win another FA Cup.” Graceless he may be, but José remains a winner. Tottenham (Pochettino) meanwhile…you only had to look at the supporters faces. Spurs fans must be hoping their club doesn’t use the new-stadium debt to excuse another trophy-free decade. One of the lads at the Dog & Duck has an autographed shirt from the 60-61 season. He ain’t getting any younger.

Saturday, April 21

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

“The cracks are showing in Austerity Britain,” says Matthew Parris, “Unfilled potholes put lives at risk and have become a symbol of the damage done to every walk of life by spending cuts.” Although we are a high tax country it will never be enough. Hard choices have to be made, but not until after the next general election – post Brexit. Theresa May broached the subject prior to our voting at the last election and promptly lost her majority. If you’re going to steal people’s money it’s best not to warn them in advance. As to pot holes…I seem to recall Labour have promised the under 25’s free bus travel, to be paid for by raiding council pothole funds. In the end it will always come down to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Middle earners suffer most under the taxman. The 400,000 people who pay additional-rate tax (including experienced nurses, teachers and police officers) contribute almost as much to the exchequer as the 25 million basic-rate taxpayers. In total, higher and top-rate taxpayers are responsible for more than two thirds of income tax receipts.

Friday, April 20

‘Rivers of blood’ anniversary

Wolverhampton West’s ‘infamous’ MP. Infamous or not, Enoch Powell was a reflection of the times, a popular man…and looking back, am not so sure society has moved on. We’ve reached an accommodation with each other, learnt to smile and to say the right thing. For a while during the 70s, around the 2 Tone era, I thought we were getting there… Powell seems such a long time ago. Three days after his speech, on St George’s Day, I walked into the army recruiting office in Wolverhampton and signed up.

Today’s newspaper review on the box touched on what interests the public and what is in the public interest. For many, today’s news centres on the Empire Windrush fallout and anti-Semitism, Brexit, the Commonwealth, toxic nerve agents and chemical weapons, cotton buds and plastic straws. For a similar number the news is primarily about our glorious weather, Dale Winton’s sad demise, the Irish Guard’s mascot and Meghan Markle. I’m not making judgements, just acknowledging the electorate’s diverse priorities.

An Arsène Wenger steak

Enjoyable steak for supper. It wasn’t particularly clever: bland flavour, under-aged – poor texture, the sort of thing you’d expect in the pub on steak night. But as it turned out, given the weather and my lack of appetite, it was just the job. Be a long time till I eat something similar.

Thursday, April 19

Chaffinch


Sometimes known as a Pink Twink here in Devon, in Aberdeen
a Chy or Blue Cap, the Chaffinch is today’s prominent visitor.

GlobeLink News

The BBC journalist who broke the story about the police investigation into Sir Cliff Richard has told the singer's privacy case he acted in a "professional and fair" way. Looking at and listening to Dan Johnson, I can’t be the only person to reimagine GlobeLink’s Damien Day.

It's a thought

Could the Windrush scandal end identity politics in Britain? It would be nice to think so, though there will always be the usual arseholes we have to contend with. I know they are expensive but you’d think his pension could run to a packet of razor blades.

Building a dependent voter base

Corbyn’s Labour Party professes the laudable aim of building more ‘affordable’ homes, one million in ten years. More power to their elbow. We need more homes. Leaving aside what we consider affordable, however, I’m drawn to John Healey’s categorisation of the just coping class (those on ordinary incomes) who he says are priced out of the system and would qualify for state largess – for affordable/social (subsidised) housing, not least those he identifies as the hard pressed: IT workers, joiners and nurses. I highlight the three occupations because I’m familiar with several individuals that perform these roles – traditional aspirational lower (and not so lower) middle class. And I’m pretty sure a home on a council estate has never featured in their plans.

And anyway, the ground’s still sodden

The spell of fine weather continues. Unfortunately I buggered my back a couple of days ago and can barely stand let alone lift and carry. When you’ve places to go and things to do, minor inconveniences become a major frustration – and it’s Thursday already. Then again, a brief scan of the papers reminds me how fortunate I am.

Wednesday, April 18

A welcome sunny morning

The neighbours’ spring lambing season has begun in earnest and the homestead is surrounded. We’ve a couple of days sunshine: am hoping the place dries out a little, enables us get on with some work.