Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Bethnal Green Tube Disaster: 70th Anniversary.

This Sunday, March 3rd, the 'Stairway to Heaven' memorial will be unveiled alongside Bethnal Green tube station. This will commemorate the 173 civilians, mostly women and children, who died there during an air raid on March 3rd 1943.

A service will be held at 2pm at St John's Church nearby.

This tragedy was kept a secret at the time, as civilian morale was low enough already. It has always been a sore point with Londoners.

There are sure to be a number of survivors present, and it promises to be an emotional event.

Monday, 25 February 2013

And Shoot Him in The Corridor...!

Vladimir Zhirinovsky is everybody's favourite clown. He has also now evolved from dangerous facist and enemy of the state into a deputy who can be relied on to support every one of Putin's whims. I guess it pays well.

Many years ago, he tabled a plan to dump nuclear waste on Russia's borders with the Baltic states, and then erect giant fans to blow the fallout towards neighbouring countries. I have to tell you, amongst Russians of a certain generation, this proposal went down rather well.

Now we have something new from Mad Vlad, and this one is a beauty.

Putin has just signed off a an anti-smoking bill that goes way beyond anything we have in the UK. Now this is not the most popular of moves, but when did Putin care what the people thought? Really though, the tobacco industry could have bought that one off the books easily enough. Interesting that they didn't.

(I remember Gorbacev's anti-alcohol laws - was it just coincidence that he owned a mineral water production line in the affected area!)

But for Zhironovsky this new legislation is not enough. It never is. He also wants restrictions on eating because paople are too fat (does he own a mirror, I wonder?) and on sex.

He feels that sexual activity should be restricted to one activity every three months, and that this should be controlled through the issueing of licences and coupons.

I sat and thought about this over a cup of coffee, and try as I may I cannot see how that is going to work, although I can clearly see some great financial opportunities for police officers and the issuers of licences and coupons!

I once had a bizarre encounter with a Russian police woman in a station in the back of beyond. It involved some paperwork relating to some property rights, and I had to be present to sign a piece of paper. This woman kept me waiting for 30 minutes while she chatted with another equally horrendous looking harridan. They both stank of vodka, and had little beards. The equally horrendous looking harridan reminded me a bit of Acker Bilk, only without the bowler hat.

After a while - because they alsways have to find something wrong - she announced that she wanted to put a stamp in my passport. Stamps in my passport have caused me enough trouble over the years, so I refused. We then entered into the inevitible negotiations.

She had a proposal: if I refused to have a police stamp in my passport, then for 200 rubles she would be willing to stamp a scrap of paper and I could keep it in my wallet.

We are talking about 4 quid, and I figured that it was worth it just for the entertaiment value alone. I was in a different world here, and it was worth seeing. I paid the 200 rubles and went on my merry way.

We Demand A Referendum

We Demand A Referendum held a highly productive meeting at Smith Square in London on Friday. It was a pleasure to see so many old friends, and to welcome some new activists.

I've had rather a lot of experience in politics, and I never saw so much headway being made so quickly by a new party. It is also nice to see - and this is unusual in eurosceptic circles - so much optimism and positive energy as opposed to the moans and complaints that emanate from the cranks and gadflies.

It is somewhat ironic that the European Commission and Parliament have their offices in what was once Consrvative Party Headquarters. But then I suppose it was the Tories that got us into all this, so perhaps it is appropriate.

Monday, 18 February 2013

UKIP: Wrong Again!

I note from a UKIP member on Twitter, who I do not know personally , but who I am sure is a very nice chap, that EU diaries do not make any reference to Christmas. Here is a scan of my own EU diary, which clearly mentions Christmas.

Are they this wrong about everything?

There are many things we can criticise the EU about, but should we not stick to reality?

Strange Round Object Spotted In Sky Over Brussels!

Fingers crossed everybody - this morning I left home to blue skies and sunshine!

You cannot imagine how bleak this winter has been in Brussels. Its been all cold and grey skies, with just a little snow to cover up all the debris and rubbish that is a permanent feature of the Streets of Brussels.

It put me in such a good mood I managed to get all the way to the office without snarling at a single person!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Oy, Nutter!

'British Influence' is a recently formed pro-EU think tank. As a eurosceptic it is not an organisation I would normally engage in, but the Chairman is an old friend from Brussels, a Conservative, with whom eurosceptics have always enjoyed a good relationship.

I have been watching developments with interest, and it is a pleasure to see some reasoned debate in an area where, God knows, we could do with more facts and less factoids.

But UKIP knows differently. According to one UKIP MEP British Influence is a front for the 'Bilderburgs'.

In the land of the swivel-eyed loon, the Bilderburg group is a top secret organisation bent on taking over the world. It is the conspiracy theorists wet dream. UKIP love conspiracy theories, and the fact that only a bunch of nutters who left school at 15 really know the truth about what happened on 9/11 seems perfectly reasonable to them.

Having been around for a while, I thought I might compile a wee list to help you to identify nutters. As soon as your interlocutor raises any of the following, switch off and walk away.

1. The aforementioned Bilderburg Group.

2. The New World Order (NWO). If the average UKIPer knew what the Westphalian order is, then he or she would probably cling to the concept desperately. The Westphalian Order has had its day, chaps. Live with it!

2b. Its worth mentioning here that Global warming is apparently a myth designed to help the NWO to acheive world dominance, and reduce our living standards to those of the 3rd world. I have'nt quite worked out how this will happen in practice, but I don't intend losing sleep over it.

3. Zionist Occupational Government (ZOG). This is really big in the US and Russia, but it crops up sometimes in the EU debate. Basically, Zionists are taking over the world according to the nutters. This leads us nicely into item 4....

4. Jews. When you get to know a nutter really well (which I do not advise), conversation will eventually turn to the Jews. I used to edit a UKIP magazine 'Bulletin From Brussels', and I made the mistake of putting my mobile number in it. The phone calls from tortured souls would come late at night. They would tell me "what you should do..." and the subject of Jewish Bilderbergers in the European Commission would soon come up.

5. EUrabia. The muslims are apparently also trying to take over the world now. Muslims have the advantage in that they are often darker-skinned than the average paranoid extremist, and so are easily identifiable. Its easier to fear and hate someone if they look a bit different.

6. Freemasons. A UKIP official, a really nice guy, and one of the brighter ones by a long way, once gave me a bit of a lecture on the sinister implications of masonic symbols on US dollar bills. He actually managed to link the adoption of the Eye of Providence in 1782 with the destruction of the World Trade Centre. This was a hell of a stretch, but he did it. Now, just ask yourself, is that what you want in Westminster?

I am glad I am not the only one who noticed!!!!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sha Na Na

Danny McBride was a guitarist who sang lead with Sha Na Na in the late 70s and early 80s. I saw him at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park. I reckon that must have been about 1979 or thereabouts.

I don't know why I suddenly found myself thinking about Sha Na Na, but they were just great. And 'Dirty Dan' McBride was an absolute stalwart!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

UKIP: All Romanians Are Criminals?

Alina Vaca - well known
Romanian Actress (& Criminal?)
 Apparently, all Romanians are criminals, that is the message that the UKIP campaign in Eastleigh appears to be opening with. A moratorium on immigration is required, UKIP have announced, in order to stop Romanian criminals. This is not about space, the NHS, overstretched public services, no: they have identified one national group as being the source of our woes. Are they talking Romanians per se, or do they include ethnic Hungarians who make up nearly 7% of the population? Or, and let's really get to the point here, are they really referring to the Roma? Roma make up just 2.5% of the population of Romania, but with their darker complexions and distinctive culture they make a easy target, don't they? Time to start hating, boys, we found our scapegoats!

I would like to apologise to my Romanian friends and colleagues, and assure them that not all English people are ignorant little racists. But then they know that, its UKIP that they cannot believe are real.

Immigration is the main concern of UKIP members - eclipsing even the desire to leave the EU. The problem is that this most sensitive of policy issues requires delicate handling, and a great deal of understanding and wisdom. And this is UKIP we are talking about here, remember. See the problem?

Entering this particular debate in such an aggressive way is likely to lead to tears for UKIP, but I can imagine certain elements within the current party faithful slavering over such outbursts. Its a shame it has come to this. I cannot imagine such a vile statement being allowed to be made under the leadership of Roger Knapman.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Eastleigh: LibDems Polling in First Place!

Alan Howlin' Laud Hope
Its early days yet, but the Eastleigh by election is due on Feb 28th. Its to be a short campaign, which is wise from the point of view of the incumbents. Of course, it is difficult to defend in a by election if the outgoing MP is looking at a possible spell on the chain gang, but British politics are so parochial that even in thiese circumstances the party faithful will still follow their instincts.

I am delighted to report that Howlin' Laud Hope will be contesting the election on behalf of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

The Lib Dems are currently polling on top.

That surprises me, but that is how it is.

William Hill put the LibDems at 10/11 to hold the seat. Tories are evens, Labour third, with UKIP at a sad 25/1.  Given that Labour has yet to declare a candidate, this is not the greatest show of confidence in UKIP.

But never mind, even if UKIP do come near to last (as is now normal in by elections), their candidate has never stood there before, and if she didn't stand then she would get nothing. Therefore, even 0.1% of the vote is better than nothing, and will prove that: "UKIP, is, now, the turd largest, party, in the UK. To be sure, Sir. Yes it is, and wind turbines, do not, work. ever (they told me to say that)"  Now I am being a bit sarcastic here, but lets just say that I know the dynamics well!

Another Loony Landslide!!!!!!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Findus Lasagne: Why Would You Eat It Anyway?

Apparently Findus Lasagne has been found to contain 60-100% horsemeat.

Given the actual amount of meat in this type of product, I suspect that quarter of an ounce of horsemeat is unlikely to hurt anybody.

Horse is not my favourite meat, but I have it from time to time, it is widely available from butchers here in Brussels.

Actually, given the choice of a nice tender piece of Cheval, fresh from my local butcher, or some ancient piece of pale tasteless pork pumped full of water and wrapped in celophane and bought from a British supermarket, guess which I would choose?

It is one of the nicer aspects of life here. I buy meat from the butcher, fish from the fishmonger, bread from a baker, and cheese from a fromagerie. Fruit and veg only comes from the farmer's market. In London, it is Tesco or Waitrose for everything. Its a shame.

But back to Findus Lasagne. Why would you want to give that to your children? Lasagne is one of the simplest dishes to make. Why buy it in a bloody box? I can only imagine what it tastes like, and I bet the texture is pretty ghastly too.

I always loved to cook. On Saturday, when I was a boy, my dad used to get up early to bake bread - it was wonderful. I remember the smell as if it were yesterday, and to have a couple of thick slices while it was still warm was heaven.

I guess nobody bakes their own bread now.

Apparently not many people can make their own lasagne, either.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A Strange Night at La Passerelle.

I can find a Rock n Roll gig in the Sahara. Here in Strasbourg there are a couple of venues, my favourite being La Passerelle. Tuesday night is the best - it starts to heave at about 10pm, and is great entertainment. Its Jazz and Blues, with some Doo Wop and Rockabilly thrown in.

Last night I decided to see how it is on Wednesday, so with my old friend Cillian from New Europe  I strolled into town for some fum.

You have to really see it to appreciate it, but last night was a fancy dress night. These guys, mostly students and 20 somethings, really took this seriously. There was a Richard Gere lookalike, a nun jitterbugging with a guy whose outfit reminded my of Adam Ant, a US cavalry trooper - all of them absolutely convincing.

There was a superb Charlie Chaplin, although when two more Chaplins turned up there was a bit of a ruck on the dancefloor - apparently 3 Chaplins is 2 too many!

But for me the highlight was when I felt somebody rubbing against my side. It was a kangeroo. More precisely, it was a girl named Monique (of course I asked), dressed as a kangeroo. She was quite lively, but it worked for me.

La Passerelle - give it a try!

An End to Discards!

Some years ago, an MEP and myself  produced a booklet titled 'Dead in the Water'. This was a critique of the Common Fisheries Policy, and we were both rather proud of it. It was very well received, although we had a wee bit of a problem because of it at a UKIP conference in Exeter.

We had booked a stand where we coud talk about, and distribute, the booklet. Then something interesting happened.

The organiser, who we had already paid for the stand, called and told me that a certain senior MEP had called him several times "begging" him to keep us away from the conference. Doesn't like to be upstaged, see.

We attended anyway, and it was a success for us.

Yesterday the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for CFP reform that should see the end, at last, to the practice of discarding dead fish in the sea. This is an issue that unites eurosceptics and europhiles alike. It is a disgraceful practice.

But I note that UKIP failed to vote in favour of this much needed reform.

I have read much criticism by UKIP members of the discards policy. So why did they not vote in favour?

Because if discards are banned, then they will have nothing to complain about, and complaining about anything and everything is their stock in trade. There is a lot more to CFP reform than eliminating discards, of course. These reforms will benefit the fishermen and the communities they support. They will benefit the consumer, and relieve the pressure on fish stocks and the environment. It was interesting to note attempts to block the reform by the Spanish, who are responsible for much of the problem. They will have been pleased to see UKIP helping them out by failing to back the reform.

If UKIP is not going to stand up for the interests of British fishermen, what is the point of them? Perhaps it is they who should be discarded!