Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: November 2005

29 November 2005

Don't Talk To Me About A Trophy Video ...

** Four dead children, of a Kurdish Shiite family, lie inside a morgue in Baqouba, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2005. Eleven members of a Kurdish Shiite family were killed Saturday when gunmen sprayed their minibus with automatic weapons' fire northeast of Baghdad, police said. Three other family members were wounded. (AP Photo/Mohammed Adnan) **

Whether or not the vehicle in which these innocent Iraqi children were unmercifully slaughtered was one of the vehicles fired upon - for fun - by the so called 'contractors' of the instantly infamous "Trophy Video", is of little or no consequence.

Since whoever the uncivilized scum responsible for such serial, Iraqi atrocities were -- these dear little ones are no less dead.

Earlier, along with many millions of others, no doubt, I watched that foul 'Trophy' footage. But I'll bet I certainly wasn't as shocked as some.


Because, just a few hours earlier I'd been looking at the photo posted above -- along with many others like it.

And, as I've believed for a long time that a picture really can be worth a thousand words, I 'll simply shut up right now and let these pictures speak for themselves.

But be warned, these don't remotely resemble any video game. These truly testify to the 'in-your-face' reality, of the indiscriminate brutality brought about by war.

27 November 2005

Thank You : Fifty Thousand Times ...

In the immortal words of whoever it was or whoever they were who used to say so: And now for something completely different.

After having to be greeted by This Old Brit's mugshot atop the blog each time you visit, we thought it was time that the other half of the act got a look in.

So, thanks to the modern miracle of that new fangled, digital photography palava thingee, here in brilliant technicolour we proudly present for your personal perusal, the [ wannabe] celebrated reprobate, Richard. As seen sunning himself [above] on his summer holiday whilst sat slowly sipping tumblers of sweet, strong Turkish tea.

Phew, it's all go, ain't it?

'Cos that stuff certainly won't shift itself y'know, so somebody's got to do it.

"Oh, yeah?" I imagine I hear you intone, " Why?"

Because around here I happen to be a head honcho - [ when me missus ain't around] - that's why.

Right! Now then.

Go on, grab a good look. Then get it of your chest and out of your system. Hoot, holler, snigger, giggle, guffaw, whatever.

Then cut the cackle; jack in the jokes; wind up the wisecracks, stick a sock in it and stop the sarcasm -- since now there's something serious This Old Brit and I should say.

Just six months ago [and a bit] our Old Brit blog was born; brought into this wide-web-world with the help and often hindrance of the aforementioned [and occasionally, allegedly demented] dynamic duo . Some say super heroes. But sheesh -- some are sometimes as silly as ourselves.

But to get back to the business of bringing about the amazing announcement that actually brought us here today, to bang out this special Saturday edition.

Still with us? Well what are you waiting for? Don't just sit there. Read on.

[ Incidentally, do you ever try rapidly reciting and/or repeating any particular portions of whatever's written here -- with your mouth full -- or when you're not exactly sober? Eh? ]

Sometime yesterday, our site stats' alert alarm, unexpectedly activated all alone -- spontaneously even, one might say. And what follows is the super-surprising, reason why.

This Old Brit's blog has recently reached a marvelous milestone -- in our own opinion at any rate.

Less than 24 hours ago we welcomed our ~~ 50,000 th visitor!

Yep, really!

That's neither a typo nor a misprint ~~ FIFTY THOUSAND VISITORS ~ have managed, one way or another, to beat a path to this place.

And lets make no bones about it, this particular pair of old codgers are damned proud to be in the position to be able to publicly proclaim so. Comprendo ?

But we could NOT have done this without YOU -- our regular readers and poster-commenters.

Nor without the confidence and unsolicited support of the 34 websites who have, over the past six months, chosen to link to us.

So thank you all sincerely ~ fifty thousand times ~ and hip-hip-hooray ~ who'd have thunk it, eh?

Finally, as faithfully promised a while back, here's the official list of the lands of our visitors.

Admittedly, not arranged alphabetically -- but wadaya expect, ex gratis?

** America - coast to coast - including Alaska and Hawaii.
United Kindgom - including England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Republic of Ireland (Eire). Canada. Mexico. Seychelles. Brazil. Costa Rica. British Virgin Islands. US Virgin Islands. Colombia. Venezuela. Argentina. Antigua & Barbuda. Jamaica.

Uruguay. Chile. Peru. Iceland. Sweden. Denmark. Norway. Finland. Lithuania. Estonia. France. Germany. Luxemburg. Belgium. Netherlands/Holland.

Switzerland. Austria. Italy. Sicily. Morocco. Portugal. Spain. Canary Islands. Balearic Islands. Poland. Slovakia. Czech Republic. Hungary. South Africa. Senegal. Ghana. Kenya.

Russian Federation. Bulgaria. Romania. Ukraine. Turkey. Greece. [ Slovenia. Croatia. Serbia. Montenegro = all former Yugoslavia]. India. Nepal. Mauritius.

Pakistan. Kazakhstan. Iran [Islamic Republic Of]. Israel. Iraq. Malta. Egypt. Saudi Arabia. Palestinian (Occupied) Territory. Brunei. United Arab Emirates. Kuwait. Lebanon. Cyprus.

China. Japan. Hong Kong. Singapore. Malaysia. Taiwan. Thailand. Republic of Korea. Dominican Republic. Indonesia. Phillippines. Australia. New Zealand. Vanuata ( South Pacific Island). Vietnam.

Phew! Time to take a break again. Time for another cuppa -- and perhaps for a comfy couch.

So ciao for now - but please stay tuned - because believe us, we'll be back.

** Editors Note: For the enlightenment and benefit of all cerebrally challenged, narrow minded fundamentalists everywhere - and apropos the advancement of absolute accuracy and honesty - readers should be aware that there is really only one of him -- the other old bloke also being him, but dressed up differently ........... heh ..... ;^)

25 November 2005

The Third Thanksgiving In Iraq ...

Some thoughts on the third Thanksgiving for U.S. troops in Iraq -- starting with a short, sombre snippet of something seen in today's Guardian.

In Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, soldiers set up a "fallen comrade'' table for those killed, laying plates and lighting candles ...
What a highly commendable form of commemoration for fallen comrades. Such a perfectly pitched simple yet sincere statement of respect, yet powerfully and poignantly understated as to appear instantly and clearly understandable.

But then there was this.

"We feel like we're protecting our friends, family and loved ones back home,'' said Lt. Col. Guy Glad, a military chaplain from Colorado Springs, Colo.....
Is such logic as that sort, even close to understandable?

And this?

"Serving my country is important but losing friends makes me more thankful for what I have and for what I used to take for granted,'' [said] the 20-year-old Marine ......

And what about this?

"I could be sitting on the couch at home watching football with my dad. Instead I'm driving in Iraq,'' said Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Maxwell, 21 ......
And then this?

"I miss not seeing my little daughter run around the Thanksgiving table,'' said Cpl. Chaz Wheeler, 22 ......
But every word these young men said was truly sincere and spoken straight from the heart.

Indeed it's those very things which make the whole sorry story all the more difficult to understand. Well, at any rate, for anyone as old as This Old Brit.

Yet amazingly, by that very same age related token, the actual explanation is so patently apparent. Look at their ages; 20, 21 and 22. Then look at this Old Brit -- old enough to be their grandfather. Surely that says something -- if not everything.

Older equals wiser? Well, that's for you in your own wisdom - and in all honesty - to decide for yourself.

Anyhow, here's hoping that each and everyone one of those young soldiers gets home safe & sound -- and soon. Hopefully only a tiny bit older, but a lot more understanding and eminently much, much wiser.

And lets hope all those who lied to them and misled them into this whole damned, desert debacle soon pay the price required of them -- with even a semblance of the bravery shown by the boys they sent to wage their illegal, needless war of greed.

Read the rest of the Guardian's revealing, G.I.'s Iraq Thanksgiving piece, at the link below.,1280,-5436912,00.html

22 November 2005

F*ck The Mentally Disabled And Orphaned And Foreign Kids ...

And before anyone thinks This Old Brit has finally gone totally blooming barmy -- no -- it's not him saying what's in today's blog-header-horriblis.

Nor is it Gary - the 'suffer little children' pervert - Glitter.

Nor is it a dozen or so civilised regular readers and posters here. Nor is it a handful of other similarly, socially conscienced small time bloggers.

But apparently it certainly seems like one helluva lot of others are openly admitting - by sins of omission - that that's exactly how they view things -- apropos this blog's previously published piece regarding the chemical experiments being touted in America, on poor 'no account' kids. Both at home and abroad.

Angry? Amazed? Appalled? Ashamed?

I should bloody well, say so. You bet I am. All of the above.

Moreover, maybe I've even become a bit obsessed.

A man on a mission? Maybe that too.

Unhealthy? Unrewarding? Useless? Well, you tell me.

This Old Brit and Richard just report. You decide.

Maybe things will have taken a turn for the better by tomorrow.

Maybe some others somewhere shall have snapped out of it, and also started shouting.

Who knows? Only time will tell. But time is already running short.

But for now, to coin a corny played out kind of phrase -- that is all.

So good night and good luck. Right now, some of us certainly need both.

18 November 2005

Now Another American Nightmare Looms; Chemical Experiments On Children ...

This pitiful picture was procured - via Australia - from their WW2 archives, showing just some of the suffering of some of the children who were the 'subjects of experiments' carried out by Germany's Third Reich; with the full knowledge and consent of that country's then dictatorial leader.

That, of course, was then.

But this that follows is now. This is today. This is George W. Bush's 21st century 'home of the brave and land of the free,' United States of America.

And it's thanks to a long time, online friend and fellow [tireless, voluntary] researcher 'harper' from TAPA forum [see permanent side-bar link], for first flagging to us this tale of terror in the homeland, set soon to be.

So read what follows and weep -- and for pity's sake, Americans awake.

1./ Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research.
That's number one. Now here's number two.

2./ Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused.
Then next comes number three.

3./ Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable.
Why and how in the name of hell, mainstream US media's faux television news screens and the printed-paper-press front pages haven't been absolutely awash with such an astoundingly awful announcement as this, is impossible to imagine.

Nevertheless, here's some more.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Public Comment Period for this rule Closes December 12, 2005

Public comments are now being accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its newly proposed federal regulation regarding the testing of chemicals and pesticides on human subjects.

On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children. But the EPA's newly proposed rule, misleadingly titled "Protections for Subjects in Human Research," puts industry profits ahead of children's welfare.

The rule allows for government and industry scientists to treat children as human guinea pigs in chemical experiments in the following situations ....

Therefore, This Old Brit earnestly and respectfully requests - nay, urgently and implicitly implores - every American citizen to do their honour bound duty, in the name of all mankind, and create a national outcry/uproar as has rarely been created before.

Please pass this information on as far and as wide as possible, for as many hours as your own particular personal day may allow you to. And please ask that all those you make aware of this impending possible nightmare, to do exactly the same.

For forewarned is forearmed. And even now, that dreadful December 12th deadline looms ever larger.

This Old Brit begs you - don't delay - do something, right away.

Because, make no mistake, these evil 'entities' are talking about EVERYONE'S babes, children and grandchildren -- EVERYWHERE -- including yours and mine.

Read the revolting rest about this indescribably, inhuman and insane idea at the link below.

Then please act fast - before it's too late. This must not be allowed to pass into law.

Never, ever, anywhere.

15 November 2005

U.S. Torture Shame; Spain Also Steps Up To The Plate ...

Strictly speaking, the copy on the powerful picture placed above is only half true. Since, as the sane civilised half of the United States well knows -- as well as over half the rest of the world -- it seems the brain dead, belligerent bloodthirsty Bush supporting bunch couldn't care less.

Moreover, there's a considerably sized sub-set and/or sub-species of red necked, extreme right wingers who would welcome even more blood & gore. So long as it's some other poor sod's of course, and not their own.

Shame? Such Neanderthals have yet to hear of such a word.

Carefully crafted yet demonstrably, dubious denials from Donald Rumsfeld et all, cut precisely no ice at all in the real free world outside the United States' very own, albeit candy-coated, Bush era's iron curtain.

Bush's America [often aided & abetted by Blair's Britain] is serially sending out 'subjects' to countries where torture isn't outlawed -- indeed, such appalling mediaeval 'sport' is almost the norm in some of the places some sad souls are still shipped.

But even though the deny, deny, deny crap keeps on coming, the wider and wiser world knows better.

The latest in an increasingly longer line of civilized countries catching on to what's going on, is Spain.

Spain probes 'secret CIA flights'

Secrecy surrounds US "war on terror" prisoner transfersSpain is launching an investigation into claims that CIA planes carrying terror suspects made secret stopovers on Spanish soil.

Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso made the announcement on Spanish television on Tuesday.

He said that if proven, such activities could damage relations between the Spanish and US governments.


The first flight allegedly landed in Palma, on the island of Majorca, on 22 January 2004. The suspect flights - by two Boeing 747s and two Gulfstream jets - allegedly continued until 17 January 2005.

And now even the EU itself, is advising it's member states how best to go about uncovering more evidence of these unforgivable, state sanctioned undercover operations.
EU urged to probe 'CIA prisons'

Human rights groups have criticized US treatment of prisoners

Members of the European Parliament have urged the EU's executive Commission to investigate allegations that the CIA used secret prisons in eastern Europe.

But EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini told the MEPs late on Monday that it was up to individual governments to investigate the claims.

Recent reports in the US press alleged that US secret agents had interrogated terror suspects in eastern Europe.

Poland and Romania - named in the allegations - have denied the reports.

Yeah, sure. So poor innocent little Romania and Poland are just being picked on, eh? Yeah, you better believe they are -- and with very good reason.

So simply stick to the script, eh? Deny, deny, deny.

Well, This Old Brit wants you to know this, you shameless shower of sycophantic, sicko shits; your sold-out souls are already way beyond saving.

And today, courtesy of Common Dreams we can read this -- straight from the horses mouth, as they say. Though the Tony in question still stops short of actually admitting to torture -- erroneously, electing to employ excruciating euphemisms such as 'Harsh Techniques'.

Former U.S. Army Interrogator Describes the Harsh Techniques He Used in Iraq,

Detainee Abuse by Marines and Navy Seals and Why "Torture is the Worst Possible Thing We Could Do"

*With deep remorse, former U.S. Army interrogator Specialist Tony Lagouranis talks about his own involvement with abusing detainees in Iraq and torture carried out by the Navy Seals.

He apologizes to the Iraqi people and urges U.S. soldiers to follow their conscience. Lagouranis returned from Iraq in January and until now had given no live interviews.

But Lagouranis says he now feels it his duty to speak out about what he witnessed in Iraq:- His use of harsh interrogation techniques on prisoners in Iraq including dogs, sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation and dietary manipulation.- How Navy SEALS induced hypothermia by using ice water to lower the body temperature of prisoners.

As always, along with This Old Brit, Richard reports.

But you decide.

12 November 2005

Lest we forget ... ALL ... the fallen ...


Not many words here today.

Neither from This Old Brit, nor Richard.

It's video watching time again.

And we should weep as we watch.

Lest we forget ..... all the fallen.

Including the innocents of Falluja.

* Lengthy video includes U.S. troop interview. Please allow time to download.


10 November 2005

Bowed & Bloodied Blair Beaten As Draconian Demands Are Dumped

It's a picture no artist could paint; it's written all over Blair's face - as well as all over the wall.

They say every dog has it's day - and now it appears this particular poodle's had his.

When his first parliamentary defeat was announced, Mr Blair did not exhibit fury.

He just shook his head, apparently confused and irritated that his party had not bowed to his will.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Blair had said: "Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing."

Rebels on education and health reforms now intend to help him experience that losing feeling again.

And it couldn't possibly have happened to a more deserving man.

Mr Blair's personal offensive began in earnest on Monday.

He used his monthly press conference to deliver an irritable message that he was not going to bend, admonishing journalists and frequently losing his temper as his judgment was put in the spotlight.

Hmm. Who, we wonder, does all that remind everyone of ?

Here are a couple [or more] clues -- as if they were ever really needed -- he's a pretty close pal of the poodle and his name begins with the same letter. He also, is a serial liar and his hands drip with blood too. Could it possibly be that it's G.W.B.?

So where did it go so disastrously wrong for a Prime minister whose touch was once so sure?

The problems began last Wednesday when David Blunkett was forced to resign and Labour's majority was slashed to one vote on a less-contentious element of the Terrorism Bill.

With defeat on 90-day detention staring the Government in the face, a potentially crippling double blow to Mr Blair's credibility, the Home Secretary announced that the Government was ready to seek a cross-party consensus.

The vote was postponed.

The move bought Mr Blair some time, but very soon compromise was off the agenda.

He ordered his MPs to spend the weekend talking to their police chiefs, who originally proposed the 90-day detention period.

Controversially, pro forma emails had been issued for police chiefs to send out backing the plans.

Well, it's certain nobody can say he didn't do his best to bully all & sundry. The truth is, he did his darned damnedest and gave it his best shot -- but his best wasn't bloody good enough;in fact, it never was.

Here's more from today's Daily Mail.

Mr Blair blocked attempts to seek a compromise with the opposition parties and launched a hectoring campaign to convince the waverers, recruiting senior police officers to twist the arm of Labour backbenchers.

His fatal mistake was to defy advice from his whips that he would lose.

Mr Blair failed to realise that his majority is no longer large enough for bullying backbenchers.

As a lame-duck Prime Minister, he no longer has the power of patronage to win them over.

And a significant number of his MPs are no longer listening.

We say, it's about time our dear Tone took a hint. He should simply sod off soon, while the going's still reasonably good. From here on things can only get worse for him -- and for most of the rest of us.

Perhaps he could now return that recent Carlyle call, and tell them he'll take them up on their earlier offer -- since he'd almost certainly find he had more friends there, than he now has here at home.

Finally, for what it's worth and for the record, This Old Brit backed the winner. On all the online opinion polls, he voted for 28 days too.

Full Dail Mail article link follows; read it and rejoice.

07 November 2005

France In Flames; Islam Fatwa Issued ...

If it was the eye-catching headline which first caught your attention, then it's to be hoped that you're not too disappointed to learn that the actual facts may not be exactly what you expected.

However, if that is indeed the case you have probably already helped to prove a point; most things are rarely as straightforward as they first appear.

Propaganda, preconceptions and presumptions all too often colour many people's judgment and almost always, culminate in incorrect conclusions being drawn . (When you find out about today's fatwa, the truth of that should dawn).

After 11 days of still spreading rioting across many areas of France - more marching than crawling - from out of the metaphorical woodwork come in ever increasing numbers - the so called experts. The majority of whom are invariably self appointed 'specialists'. Many, most probably can neither speak a single syllable of French, nor claim to have ever set foot in France and lots [particularly 'across the pond'] wouldn't even be able to point out the place on an atlas.

The truth behind the current 'troubles' is that it's not a war, of any kind, as so many mainstream media whores would have you believe. And whilst there are undeniably elements of religion and ethnicity involved, the whole sordid spectacle the world is now witnessing is basically about blatant class discrimination, deprivation and segregation.

It's French, not foreign youth, that's decided their days of being designated 'the underclass' are done.

They have seen for themselves for all their young lives how their immigrant parents and/or grandparents have suffered for so long under successive French elitist governments. And to put it mildly, that's extremely poorly.

But this angry generation isn't one of immigrants; these young people were born, bred and belong in France. They are absolutely bona fide, full French citizens. But they have never been treated as such, much to their nation's shame, and now they're simply sick of their second class status.

Since lawlessness, violence, arson, assault and worse can never be excused nor accepted by 21st century civilised societies -- such a sad situation as currently seems set to continue, must be 'sorted out' - and sorted out soon. But no sensible solutions will ever be found if all parties involved in these terrible trying times [be they the alleged guilty or claimed innocent] can't or won't 'talk'.

Alarmingly, lots of the most aggressive 'answers' to the situation France now finds itself in, are arriving from the kick-ass type, right wing Republican loonies, thousands of miles away across the Atlantic. What's next from them one wonders? The final solution? A la fashion du Faluja ?

But to get back to the Islamic "fatwa" that's just been issued in France. Here's how it was disgustingly, under-reported today by the B.B.C. But at least they did report it. Who else has?

Well, now This Old Brit has too. Please pass it on.

Muslim leaders of African and Arab communities have issued a fatwa, or religious order, against the riots.

The link to the full piece [in which the Muslim leaders' fatwa proclamation lies well hidden] is below - along with some extremely enlightening excerpts from the French press, as selected and re-published by today's Guardian.



Important update:

To it's undying shame the BBC have [within hours] removed all reference to the issued "fatwa" mentioned in their report linked above. So, historical revisionism is still alive and well in Blair's Britain, eh?

However, the Guardian linked piece below also reported - and retains - news of the "fatwa" pronouncement.

A regular reader/poster Mark Abbot asks if we have taken a 'screen capture' of the original 'unsanitised' BBC report. To our undying embarrassment we admit that we haven't, but hopefully we won't make such a mistake again.

Another reader/poster 'dei' has alerted us to another reference to the "fatwa" in a Guardian report. To him/her, we offer our sincere thanks - and to the Guardian we offer our similarly sincere apologies for originaly [and mistakenly] implying that nobody else had publicized this vitally important, and extremely relevant fact.

The country's biggest Muslim fundamentalist organisation, the Union for Islamic Organisations of France, issued a fatwa forbidding those "who seek divine grace from taking part in any action that blindly strikes private or public property or can harm others".

Scroll down about three quarters of the page [approx para 17/18] for the above fatwa reference. Here's the link.,,1636153,00.html

04 November 2005

Tens of Thousands Protest & March Against Bush In Argentina ...

It's hard to imagine that millions of words will not be written and innumerable images won't be beamed around the world about today's free-trade, free-for-all in Argentina. And of course, about the attending visit of the rapidly, increasingly unpopular American leader, George W. Bush.

However, it's equally hard to imagine that American mainstream media editors and producers will see - or let their 'customers' see - any similarly related reportage, in the same light as millions of others elsewhere are allowed to.

Take for example this excerpt from the UK Mirror today, Friday 4th November.

Anti-Bush protests grow around summit

By Mary Milliken and Kevin Grey

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina (Reuters)

Tens of thousands of marchers protested on Friday against U.S. President George W. Bush and his free-trade push, as leaders from the Americas gathered in an Argentine resort for a contentious debate on improving Latin America's economy.

A mixed bag of protesters -- from Bolivian Indian women in traditional bowler hats to mothers of Argentine "dirty-war" victims -- filled 15 city blocks carrying signs with "Fuera Bush" (Get out Bush) ....

Then there's this from the B.B.C.

Protests began peacefully, with thousands of demonstrators chanted "Get out Bush".

They marched through boarded-up streets a few kilometres away from the summit venue itself.

Demonstrators included Argentine former football legend Diego Maradona.


Local media reports said 20 demonstrators had been injured in clashes with police.


Protesters argue that US-backed free-market policies have pushed millions into poverty in the region.

Then this too: from The Guardian this time.

Around 10,000 protesters chanted "Get out Bush!" today on the streets of the Argentinean resort which is hosting the Summit of the Americas.

Celebrities including the Argentinean soccer legend Diego Maradona are among the demonstrators who have gathered at the resort of Mar Del Plata, where the two-day summit starts later today.

The US president, George Bush, arrived late last night at the resort, 250 miles south of Buenos Aires.

He faces a fight to press forward his administration's free trade proposals at the 34-nation summit.,11439,1634791,00.html

Hmm. It appears that whenever and wherever he may wander, this particular president isn't exactly popular with most of our planet's people.

Here's further proof, from further afield.

.... leaders shuttled between luxury hotels as security helicopters rattled overhead and armed frogmen guarded the coast in rubber boats that bobbed in a choppy sea.

"Bush out! To hell with the FTAA!" the crowds of demonstrators chanted.

Some self-proclaimed anarchists spray-painted slogans on a bank, but the crowd was generally peaceful.

Wearing "Stop Bush" T-shirts and unfurling leftist banners on the ocean breeze, protesters said they were also against the US-led war in Iraq and neo-liberalist policies they blamed for Argentina's 2001-2002 economic crisis.

They alternated between soccer chants of "Ole! Ole!" and screams of "Fascist Bush! You are the terrorist!"

03 November 2005

Blair Buddy Blunkett Bows Out ...

Oh, how the mighty are fallen.

One could almost have been excused for feeling sorry for David Blunkett today -- but only almost. For rarely has there been a case of a high ranking parliamentarian being so patently the architect of his own downfall - for the second time in, relatively speaking, no time at all.

Some may see such a concerted and sustained pressurising of a politician, as has bedogged Blunkett of late, as heavy handed. But many more may be inclined to agree that he had it coming to him. That this time he'd gone too far. That he had pushed his luck once too often. That he had been asking for it.

Well whatever, today he paid a price; a high one. And Tony-the-liar-Blair bid one of his best bosom buddies bye-bye ---- again.

Arrogance, dishonesty, deception, lies, lack of judgement, etc, -- all these things have lately been leveled at him.

With today's [some say] inevitable though none the less extraordinary, super swift exit from the government front bench - via the back door of 10 Downing Street - it seems his usual tactic of toughing it out hadn't worked out this time as well as it usually had, and that his latest run good luck had finally run right out

Looking back, when Blunkett first appeared on the political scene proper, people almost everywhere applauded. A poverty stricken little blind boy from the absolute personification of an underprivileged [and overly unfortunate] family background, who had -- against all the odds -- worked, slaved, clawed and fought his way to the top.

Witness these few words for a feel of what the man once was.

Mr Blunkett's childhood has been described as almost Dickensian in its bleakness.

Born blind, he was packed off to a council boarding school at the age of four, against the wishes of his parents, who were only allowed to visit him once a month.

Then, when Mr Blunkett was 12, his father was killed in a horrific accident at work, falling into a vat of boiling water.

Mr Blunkett and his mother were left virtually penniless and fought a long battle for compensation from the Gas Board.

Through his own determination, Mr Blunkett won a place at Sheffield university, after taking O levels and then A levels at a succession of blind schools.

He was already a Labour councilor when he took his degree and became leader of Sheffield council 10 years later at the age of 33.

Then today there's this.

How Blunkett affair damaged Blair

David Blunkett has left the Cabinet for the second time in a year declaring he did it for the good of the government and Tony Blair's premiership.

His simple "mistake" of breaking the ministerial code was proving a massive distraction from the real business of government and was embarrassing the prime minister, he declared.

He had done nothing wrong and there had been any number of lies and innuendoes spread about his business and private life.

In a charged press conference he gave the impression of a man who, under other circumstances, would have continued to fight his corner against his enemies, who he suggested were as much in the media as on the Tory benches.

But it was the prime minister people really wanted to target, he said, and he clearly wasn't about to help them by staying.

He was certainly right about that, and the damage his continuing presence in the cabinet was doing to Tony Blair.

And whether he decided to quit after a long and interrupted heart-to-heart with the prime minister on Wednesday morning, or whether he was sacked as some suspect, there will still be questions over how serious and lasting that damage has been.

Had Blunkett held dear to his early beliefs and principles and not had his head turned by the likes of Blair and the the big-business 'bright lights' of London, things may have turned out better. Both for himself and for most other Brits.

But Blunkett blew it. What a waste.

Below are two links well worth a read.


01 November 2005

Village Voice Anniversaries, Absent Apologies, etc ...

Someone once said: The most amazing thing about coincidences is that they sometimes actually do happen. Well, here at This Old Brit we entirely agree.

Maybe you will too when you read this spooky - but true - Halloween edition.

Master writer, wit and blogger James Wolcott of current Vanity Fair [and past Village Voice] fame, very recently wrote reminding us - with some pretty fond personal reminiscences - that the Village Voice had reached it's 'big 50' birthday. And all credit to him; so he should have. Half a century of hard work certainly shouldn't easily be forgotten.

Now, lets just jump back to July. Stay with us; believe us; it's relevant.

On 26th July this year, This Old Brit wrote a follow up piece to an earlier one wherein he had claimed -- at the time, like a lone voice crying in the wilderness of the web -- that the London tube station shooting of the poor, innocent young Brazilian boy was the work of the shadowy S.A.S. --- and not the regular everyday run 'o the mill, common or garden variety of British bobbies.

This Old Brit had also pointed out plainly that the 'murdered' man had been shot some several times -- then some more. And how countless conflicting stories about the atrocity abounded, including what the relative identifying the body had said. And the seemingly dozens of differences,in what the coroner - the female senior police officer attending the inquest - her own superior officers - and some so-called close range witnesses had said.

Furthermore, it later transpired that whilst seven shots had been claimed to have struck the Brazilian boy, eleven shots in all had been heard by witneses -- four or five of them as late as when police had started ushering some shocked, carriage sharing commuters up escalators and away from the scene. Naturally, such 'sensitive' statements appeared only briefly in the press before being confined the depths of the mainstream media memory hole. Where they remain to this very day.

Some time later it was officialy admitted that indeed, military personnel had been 'loaned' to the Metropolitan Police for the execution of this anti-terrorist operation. And at this point it's perhaps appropriate to make it quite clear that we here, make absolutely no attempt at offering any apologies for the preceding pun. It was entirely intended.

Lots of regular readers readily grasped and agreed with the way This Old Brit 'saw' this whole horrible debacle. Most others eventually ended up agreeing as well. A couple, couldn't quite see things as clearly as we could.

However, one particular [perhaps new] reader-cum - [certainly new] poster, simply couldn't resist making a completely uncalled for - and as later was proved to be entirely inaccurate - back handed compliment type, smart arse, snide comment.

When the subject of the eventual [loaned military men] admission by the Metropolitan Police Commission came up again in another Old Brit edition, we recalled the undeserved derision we'd received from the 'snide'.

Here it is, and we quote verbatim: "... this is good writing, but you're starting to sound a bit loony".

Some time later we published an observation that an apology of sorts would be nice -- but none were ever forthcoming. So be it; we weren't too bothered; we're big boys.

Okay, stick with us. Sounds complicated I know but we're almost there. Soon it will become crystal clear.

Fast forward to today.

We had completely forgotten about said snide's sniping -- until Mr Wolcott [quite unknowingly and coincidently] reminded us by writing his excellent 'Voice' anniversary piece.

So, is this Halloween story's surprise ending more than a little spooky -- or what?

Said snide's name was Elisha Sessions and he wrote for the Village Voice, once.

Peruse the whole piece for yourself -- and Sessions' sarcastic comment.