Saturday, October 09, 2004

What Does This Say to Us ?

Who wrote this ? What is their class and cultural background ? Whose objective interest does the story serve ?

Can the story be said to have any meaning unless the above questions are answered ?

"Oh little body, do not die"

Oh little body, do not die.
The soul looks out through wide blue eyes
So questioningly into mine,
That my tormented soul replies
"Oh little body, do not die
You hold the soul that talks to me,
Although our conversation be
As wordless as the windy sky."

So looked my father at the last,
Right in my soul before he died,
Though words we spoke went heedless past
As London traffic-roar outside.
And now the same blue eyes I see
Look through me from a little son,
So questioningly, so searchingly
That youthfulness and age are one.

My father looked at me and died
Before my soul made full reply.
Lord, leave this other light alight
Oh little body, do not die.

('A Child Ill' - John Betjeman)

It's rarely that a news item's so depressing as to stop blogging for a day or so. But the decision of 'good Christian' Mr Justice Hedley to allow baby Charlotte Wyatt to die, and its media coverage, was enough to make one despair. The media debate was almost entirely devoted as to whether or not the child should be allowed to die - completely missing the key issue of who should take that decision.

You can argue the case both ways. The doctors obviously thought the life-saving treatment was a form of torture - prolonging the agony but only postponing an inevitable end. To the parents the issue was simply one of keeping their child alive.

The person to make the decision should, in nearly all cases, be the parents. Not doctors, not judges. Who has the best interests of the child at heart ? Apparently a judge and some doctors, who are so confident of their rectitude that they are being kept anonymous. Only the Times seemed to find this judgement disturbing. The Guardian, and all those who believe that the State, not parents, are the arbiters of 'family life', and who want to protect murderers but kill the sick, old or unborn, were chuffed to bits - especially as the parents were Christians.

Who loves that child the most ? To ask the question is to answer it.

We've seen a barrage of sickening 'if they really loved her they'd let her go' (this guy has a lot to answer for) opinion over papers from the Guardian to the Mail (Bel Mooney), from people who have every right to an opinion (I don't know what I'd do myself in such a case) but who can't put themselves in those parents shoes. It should be their choice. Instead, they've had to listen in tears to a judge telling them why, when their baby next stops breathing, the medical staff of the 'National Health Service' they've paid for all their lives will disconnect her tubes and hand over a limp form for the parents to feel the final heartbeats. Bloody great.

"She's gone"
"I'm sorry. We tried so hard to save her. Then we decided not to bother any more"
"We know you didn't do all you could, Doctor

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Another One ...

Newbie blogger Andrew at Non-Trivial Solutions makes a promising start. Bit of a metropolitan Mr Free Market as far as attitude's concerned.

On Mary Ann Sieghart, Blairite cheerleader at the Times, and the 'women's vote', he'd just like the girls to make their minds up:

The priorities of women are health, education and childcare, presumably because of their non-existant genetic predisposition towards being caring. These PC acrobatics make my head spin. Which is it, then? Do women really want a fluffy, cuddly agenda because they genuinely think differently? Or are they the same, and want what us guys supposedly want?

Extending Career Choice

The Grauniad wobbles between prostitution as evil exploitation of women and as 'sex work' - a job like any other. Today we're back in sex work territory.

For those who have made a choice, albeit restricted, to sell sex, more needs to be done to improve their safety, to increase their access to sexual health and support services, and to extend their career choices.

Erm ... is this what they had in mind ?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Scary ...

The Iranian government, subject to increasing unrest at home, has announced that its latest missiles have a range of 2000 km (1300 miles).

This might not be such bad news were it not for the signs that Iran is engaged, not only in a project to build nuclear bombs, but in a project to create the necessary enriched uranium in a large number of dispersed centrifuges, making interdiction (as happened to Iraq's nuclear facility) by a third party difficult if not impossible.

Difficult one. There's a fair chance that the regime might collapse from within, and that taking out (if 'twere possible) the facilities might put back a liberal 'revolution'. Worst case there is that it starts a nuclear exchange.

Yet do nowt and former Iranian President Rafsanjani's prediction may come true.

"In due time the Islamic world will have a military nuclear device, and then the strategy of the West would reach a dead end, since one bomb is enough to destroy all Israel."

It would also destroy a lot of Palestinians and the '3rd holiest shrine in Islam', but as we've seen in Najaf, holy shrines don't seem to be quite so important if true believers are trashing them. Only the tread of the infidel causes outrage. For a Mullocracy on the way out, what better way to go than taking out Israel, or passing on the components for a small device to some third party ? Of course the third party may not have Israel as a first priority. There is the Great Satan and his lapdog Blair.

I suppose London could do with a makeover.

Keffiyeh-tip - Irene Adler

One In One Out

Welcome aboard the links to EU Serf, who posts mainly (surprise) about the EU and all its dark Satanic works.

Sample on Mandelson, who joins Chris Patten and Neil Kinnock on the gravy train shortly.

"He was visibly put on the spot when an MEP asked where his chief allegiance now lies: to Blair, to the European Commission, or to the EU assembly to whom he has to regularly account".

They obviously don't know our Peter, whose only loyalty is to himself.

EU said it.

And a sad farewell to Assistant Brighton. I was never sure why a young gay musician who hates George Bush, Christians, and the Daily Mail was linking to me, but I need all the links I can get - and I was a young gay musician myself once. Played the fool. Obviously he must now have actually read my posts and realised items about Goth and the late Christa Paffgen are few and far between.

UPDATE - an outraged Jonathan points out that he in fact bowls over the wicket and accuses me of being "mean". I must admit I'm shocked to discover there are still some straight men in Brighton, but I'm happy to put the record straight - le mot juste.

More Urban Nightmares

You may remember a post some weeks ago about an idealistic liberal couple who moved to a North London council estate.

More liberal angst here.

They chased them and robbed three of them of their bikes. My son was punched in the eye while a friend was kicked in the head. Not one adult came to help, even though the park was busy.

The police took statements from the boys and seemed to know the gang involved, but we heard nothing more from them.

When I went with my son to the local police station to look at photographs of suspects the police officer told us that only a tiny fraction of attackers were ever convicted because of the difficulties of getting conclusive evidence. He added that there were just too many attacks in the area.

And a familiar refrain comes from Professor David Canter, the guy who recommends cooperating with any burglars you find in your home.

Hide your school uniform. No short cuts. Hand over what they want without resistance. Don't cross estates. Carry a personal alarm.

The walk home from school. London, England in 2004.

Dodgy Deals

I once bought a car from a close colleague renowned for his negotiating skills and streetwise nous. It lasted precisely six months and our relationship has never quite been the same.

I imagine the Canadians regard their latest purchase from H.M. Government with similar feelings.

Only In Scallyland ....

Stolen bike collides with car, which then crashes. The car driver runs off. Car's been stolen too.

Elsewhere ...

what's worse behaviour in a police officer - this or this ?

Greater Manchester Police are checking for racist text messages.

"They are alleged to have used the word n****r on their mobile phones."

Probably just swapping the lyrics of Mobo winner Kanye West, who also has an interesting take on implied consent.

Why them girls figure no means no ?
No means no just as sure as green means go

Monday, October 04, 2004

Random Jottings ...

The Government is to follow the criminalisation of foxhunting with the decriminalisation of stealing, Bob Geldof calls for the return of the two parent family and those happy days when a man could come home from work and find his wife ready on the table, Mount St. Helens is erupting. As is this bloke.

There is a new class strata system with 3 levels of working class - those that have crap jobs but graft to get a decent place and might have bad table manners but wouldn't think of p*****g it up in the daytime , then there are the working scum who are orrible with loads of kids scuzzy demeanour but go out and work all week in quickfit and scumerfield then get bombed on the weekend but still pay taxes, then there is the uberchav of hartcliffe or st georges or knowle west, who have got the system licked - get at least 3 kids - that's 5 incomes - start selling drugs from a council house, and arm yourself.

And a couple of little urban vignettes from today's Gloucester Citizen.

Careerist Types

"The most notable feature of the LibDems' conference was the number of young, sharp suited clearly careerist types. They flocked to the Tories in the 1980s, to Labour in the 1990s and now, it seems, they are descending on the LibDems."

Stephen Pollard on the party conference season. I would advise Tories against reading it if they're on Seroxat.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Could It Be ... ?

11.47 on Sunday morning, M5 heading south. A blue Astra (newer style) zaps past in the fast lane at about 90, burning up those precious fossil fuels.

The number ?


On his way to Tinker's Bubble ?

Super Mario

What is it about the Catholic Church in Scotland, that they can produce great leaders one after the other ? The blessed Cardinal Winning is no longer on earth with us. Step forward Archbishop Mario Conti with a robust view of Scotlands 'neds'.

"It is not only serious violence on an international scale which mars our society, but also the raw sewage of anti-social behaviour at home which provides so unpleasant an odour.

"I have become aware in my own ministry as Archbishop of Glasgow of the deadening grip of anti-social behaviour on many communities in my own archdiocese.

"How often I have heard priests lament to me that their people do not respond to events and services being held in the evening because of the fear of leaving the security of their homes in the hours of darkness."

I think what the good Archbishop is implying is that those guilty of anti-social behaviour, like raw sewage, should be turned into fertiliser and scattered on fields.

The Bish's remarks were greeted warmly by a spokeman for the First Minister as well as the Tory and SNP justice spokesmen. Only one dissenting note was sounded.

SSP leader Tommy Sheridan said: "I do not know Mario’s social background in detail, but anyone from a working-class household would find it difficult to accept that those involved in anti-social behaviour are always the raw sewage of society."

I don't find it difficult to accept - but what do I know ? It's obviously someone else's fault - international capital, maybe, or the accursed Jewish Conspiracy. Maybe it's not too late to blame Mrs Thatcher ?

We're back in Rosie Kane territory - the semi-literate 'socialist' (if she's the 12th most eligible woman in Scotland who's the 1st - AL Kennedy ?) who caused a huge BBC mailbag when she said that 'ned' (non-educated delinquent) was 'hurtful and disrespectful to young people'. After all, tormenting the old people in the sheltered housing down the road is just a cry of pain against Trident, isn't it ? I see at this excellent Scots politics site that Ms Kane got 18% of the vote in the Glasgow constituency of Toryglen. Could this be her campaign site ?

Thank God for the Bishop - and the IWCA.