Saturday, December 20, 2008

Laban Agrees ...

... with Chick Yog. I'd thought the Tories had selling off the family silver down to a fine art, but they're just amateurs compared to this lot ...

(btw, there's a small Cultural Studies paper waiting to be written on names - how the Amalgamated Union of Wire-Drawers, Fettlers and Allied Trades turns in thirty years into something called "Together" or "Unity", British Insulated Cable and Radio Limited into "Xantippe" or "Xenith", and the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment via "Defence Research Agency" into "QinetiQ". The key being that the old, wordy, literate names actually described what the organisation did, the new ones conceal it and are post-literate, logos in letter form)

UPDATE - can there have been a worse government since the Baldwin/Chamberlain administration ? I'm speechless.

The Treasury is considering privatising other state assets in what critics have called a recession "fire sale". These include:

*Ordnance Survey

*The Met Office

*The Forestry Commission

*The Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster

*The Covent Garden Market Authority

*The Royal Mint

*The Tote

*Buildings owned by British Waterways

*British Nuclear Fuel's stake in uranium enrichment company Urenco

*The Oil & Pipeline Agency, which manages the UK's underground network of fuel distribution pipelines.

Why don't they sell the Palace of Westminster to Donald Trump and lease it back as well ?

"‘A careful reading of the text ...."

Children as young as eight were among the audience at the performance of The Comedy of Errors at The Old Laundry Theatre, in Bowness, Cumbria.

Actors from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) took part in the show.

It featured one of the play's characters Dromio guarding a door when a man dressed as a woman walked up to him, pulled down his pants and Dromio's pants, before the pair simulated sex.

Not tebbily surprising.

Peter James, LAMDA principal, said: ‘A careful reading of the text would demonstrate that we did nothing that was uncalled for by the Bard'.

It's all in the interpretation - and these days the interpretation is likely to be one that Thomas Bowdler would be uneasy with. Even Cymbeline at the Swan last year featured a few single-entendres - and as I said at the time, I hadn't realised what a huge influence on modern drama Benny Hill and the Carry Ons were.

We took the kids to A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stratford a month or so back, where as ill-fortune and a dodgy wall would have it, the famous lovers Pyramus and Thisbe were forced to communicate through the legs of the Wall (who sported a fetching pair of red Y-fronts) - and, golly, if Pyramus doesn't accidentally kiss the Wall's bottom in time for the line "I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all". Thirteen year old boys find that kind of stuff hilarious.

Now you could argue that the baying mob in the pits of Shakespeare's day would have expected - nay, demanded such toilet stuff. But you can't tell what some transgressive director will come up with next. We considered another trip to Macbeth at Stratford, and while I know the play comes with its drunken porter you do have to check out first whether the director has given the text 'a careful reading'.

"The way I read it is this. Lady M is desperate to get hubby's courage screwed up to the sticking place. Given the position of women in medieval Scottish society, her sexual hold over him is one of the few levers of power available to her. Lady M is a strong, ambitious and determined woman. Surely in such a circumstance she would use all her wiles - including ..." we get a radical new interpretation of 'sticking place' and the play is sold out for months. But it's art, darling !

After all, the then artistic director of the Globe, one Mark Rylance, read Macbeth so carefully that Lady M, in the form of the delightful Jane Horrocks, wet herself on stage every night in a perfomance that sold out every mackintosh within ten miles of the theatre. There wasn't a dry seat on the stage ...

(btw, I do love the bit in Macbeth where the murderers are waiting for their quarry and discuss the beautiful evening ... 'the west yet glimmers with some streaks of day ..')

(I'm sure David Duff will have views on this .. he usually does !)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Do you mind if the dog smells your breasts?"

There are more things in heaven and earth ...

It's Cognitive Dissonance Time ...

Aren't (Christian) 'fundies' funny, with their weird views on women and homosexuals ? sayeth Sheffield's Incurable Hippie.

Not so the 'fundies' of other religions. It appears that one Benyam Mohammed, current address Guantanamera Bay, is on her Christmas card list.

"I used some of my photographs to make cards" quoth the self-confessed 'pacifist warrior'.

I hope she sent him this one - I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

On the other hand, perhaps not this one - don't want to put ideas into a chap's head, do we ?

Amazon / Home Delivery Network Saga II

I just took a look at the Amazon site again. The delivery was booked out of the depot at 7:17 and "delivery attempted" at 8:18, 61 minutes later.

A quick AA Autoroute tells me the depot is nearly 46 miles away and about 59 minutes drive in a car. I suppose the driver booked out the parcel as the very last one then leapt into the van and caned it directly to my house before tragically finding I wasn't there even though I was. They're making it up as they go along, aren't they ?

It was booked out at 7:11 this morning. It's now 9:09 and I'm typing this in the kitchen, looking out at the road. I wonder what time they'll 'attempt delivery' today ?

Well, I've written to Amazon and now I'm trying the phone to the depot. Wish me luck.

UPDATE - no answer. There's a surprise.

Home Delivery Network The , Hitchin , HERTFORDSHIRE , SG5 1RT , 01462 421336
Home Delivery Network , Eastleigh , HAMPSHIRE , SO50 4NG , 023 8061 9866
Home Deliver Network Ltd , Lynx Trading Estate , SOMERSET , BA20 2NZ , 01935 432924
Home Delivery Network , Sunderland , TYNE AND WEAR , SR2 8QS , 0191-564 0924
Home Delivery Network , Dafen , DYFED , SA14 8QW , 01554 777877
Home Delivery Network , Warwick , WARWICKSHIRE , CV34 6QP , 01926 311404
Home Delivery Network , Rochdale , LANCASHIRE , OL11 3JR , 01706 352537
Home Delivery Network , Eastleigh , HAMPSHIRE , SO50 4NT , 023 8061 8398
Home Delivery Network , Yate , AVON , BS37 5QZ , 01454 316101
Home Delivery Network , Glenrothes , FIFE , KY6 2RU , 01592 773297
Home Delivery Network , Stoke On Trent , STAFFORDSHIRE , ST6 4PB , 01782 836071
Home Delivery Network , Park Royal , LONDON , NW10 7UA , 020 8961 8774
Home Delivery Network , Bolton , LANCASHIRE , BL3 6AX , 0870-154 5414
Home Delivery Network , Fareham , HAMPSHIRE , PO15 5ST , 01489 581544
Home Delivery Network , Lenton Lane Industrial Estate , NOTTINGHAMSHIRE , NG7 2TG , 0115-986 0431
Home Delivery Network , Gateshead , TYNE AND WEAR , NE10 0ES , 0191-495 2211
Home Delivery Network , Oldbury , WEST MIDLANDS , B69 3EX , 0121-552 5541
Home Delivery Network , East Kilbride , LANARKSHIRE , G75 0YA , 01355 233085
Home Delivery Network Ltd , Newbridge , MIDLOTHIAN , EH28 8LD , 0131-333 3651
Home Delivery Network Ltd , Morley , WEST YORKSHIRE , LS27 0BN , 0113-253 8226
Home Delivery Network Ltd , Basildon , ESSEX , SS14 3DT , 01268 286666
Home Delivery Network Ltd , Mitcham , SURREY , CR4 4HX , 020 8685 1032

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Should You Be Buying From Amazon ?

In the last 18 months I've probably bought more from Amazon than from any other online retailer, as it's overtaken my previous top site of ebuyer (the house now has 5 PCs built from Ebuyer components plus two 'bought-in' boxes, so my purchases there have diminished). Admittedly a single Ebuyer order might have been for £150-odd compared with my average £30-40 on Amazon, but the family between them have probably spent getting on for £500 this year, including Amazon gift vouchers.

Following the revelations in the Sunday Times about the way Amazon UK treats its staff, I'm wondering if I shouldn't diversify - maybe look to Borders for the books and CDs and elsewhere for the electronics. They're getting too dominant in the marketplace anyway.

An investigation by The Sunday Times at Amazon’s enormous warehouse in Bedfordshire has found that workers were:

– Warned that the company refuses to allow sick leave, even if the worker has a legitimate doctor’s note. Taking a day off sick, even with a note, results in a penalty point. A worker with six points faces dismissal.

– Made to work a compulsory 10½ hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week. The overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday, means they have to work every day of the week.

– Set quotas for the number of items to be picked or packed in an hour that even a manager described as “ridiculous”. Those packing heavy Xbox games consoles had to pack 140 an hour to reach their target.

– Set against each other with a bonus scheme that penalises staff if any other member of their group fails to hit the quota.

I'm surprised the sicknote stuff is legal. Anyone out there got good ideas for Amazon-replacements ?

There's another thing. My son is waiting for the delivery of his new Acer netbook, sourced from Amazon. While awaiting I did a quick bit of googling for the delivery company Amazon use, Home Delivery Network.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

HDN tracking system said they had 2 failed deliveries, and had left cards each time. Funny how I was working in my hall the whole time, and never saw or heard a vehicle, no ring or knock at the door and certainly no cards. Amazon apologised and said they would "follow it up". Its difficult to NOT use HDN with Amazon, as they use it by default on many items, and you have no choice unless you upgrade to much more expensive shipping options. The lack of contact details of ANY KIND on their website just confirms their incompetence, as they obviously have far too many complaints to afford staff to man the phones or email relies. Avoid if you can...

In over 10 years of shopping online I have NEVER had to deal with a shower such as this company! I finally gave up on the call centre and phoned my local depot after the website was updated showing I had missed a delivery for the FOURTH time despite me being in all day.

08/03/2007 00:00:00 Customer Parcel Data Received
08/03/2007 19:30:01 Sort Centre - Shaw, Oldham Sorted
08/03/2007 23:42:00 Leeds Depot Received
09/03/2007 06:36:42 Leeds Depot Loaded onto vehicle
09/03/2007 09:40:02 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded
09/03/2007 13:48:23 Leeds Depot Received
09/03/2007 13:49:09 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded
12/03/2007 06:31:17 Leeds Depot Loaded onto vehicle
12/03/2007 14:06:28 Leeds Depot Received
12/03/2007 14:08:43 Leeds Depot Unable to Deliver Carded

I rang them and the guy on the other end was very unhelpful. making out like I had missed them and they would be trying again on Monday. Of course he wouldn't listen no matter how much I insisted no attempt was made to deliver the parcel and the same thing is going to happen on Monday.

I had been in all day and had no cards and heard nothing.

Well, you know what's coming. The beastie was recorded as leaving the depot for delivery at 7 this morn. No further update (and my son stayed in all day) until nine tonight, when finally the Amazon 'tracking' page updated.

Apparently the driver was 'unable to deliver' at 8.20 this morning - when I was still in the house and would have heard any delivery vehicle arriving. No one rang, no-one left a card. I get the impression the drivers have too much stuff to deliver and end up inventing 'failed deliveries' for those households they don't get round to. We stayed in till 7 tonight and left a note for the driver when we went out. We were wasting our time. Why wasn't the site updated in real time ? Don't they carry little digital, mobile-linked tablets to record failed deliveries as they happen ? Or do they wait till the driver's returned to the depot (having had plenty of time to think up plausible non-delivery scenarios) ?

There's a fortune to be made for the person who devises a decent delivery/tracking system, although nothing will avail if the company are screwing their drivers with too much work and the drivers are returning the compliment by lying about 'failed deliveries'.

Most of the delivery companies are incompetent to a greater or lesser degree. I must at this point give due to one of the senior guys at Initial Citylink. When my son's birthday present didn't arrive I phoned head office and actually got through to (I think) the sales director. He put me through to a regional manager - with the result that the manager of the depot where my son's gift was ended up putting it in the boot and delivering it personally on his way home ! He didn't look too chuffed about it either ...

Anyway, what think you ? Where can an ethical(ish) consumer turn to as an Amazon-alternative ?

Beheaded ?

Crumpsall ?

Now who would do a bad thing like that ?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Nation Under God

via Martin Kelly I learned the story of George M Docherty, the Glaswegian pastor of Abraham Lincoln's local Washington church, whose 1954 sermon to a congregation including Dwight D Eisenhower resulted in the words 'under God' being added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

In his sermon, Docherty anticipated the theme of Gregory Isaacs - that "Men without religion Just can't keep in a righteous man's position" :

"Philosophically speaking, an atheistic American is a contradiction in terms. Now don't misunderstand me. This age has thrown up a new type of man - we call him 'secular'; he does not believe in God; not because he is a wicked man but because he is dialectically honest (? LT) . He would rather walk with the unbelievers than sit hypocritically with people of the faith. These men, and many I have known, are fine in character; and in their obligations as citizens and good neigbours, quite excellent.

But they really are 'spiritual parasites'. And I mean no term of abuse in this. I'm simply classifying them. A parasite is an organism that lives upon the life force of another organism without contributing to the life of the other. These excellent ethical seculars are living upon the accumulated spiritual capital of Judeao-Christian civilisation, and at the same time (they) deny the God who revealed the divine principles upon which the ethics of this country grow."
That's exactly right. And we in Britain are, in the main, parasites living upon the accumulated spiritual capital of nearly 1700 years of Christianity, just as the Britons of the fourth century were warmed by the declining glow of Rome's glory - until the barbarian war-bands came.

Take a psalm ...

.. and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Well, he says it's a 2100 year old Greek song, played on a copy of a Jewish temple lyre - who am I to argue ? It's beautiful ... I love the harp in all its forms.

This is another lovely old song, and the very wonderful Sinfonye - three Aussie feminists and a hurdy-gurdy - are involved. If I have time I'll try and get some of their music - which is as gorgeous as they - onto Youtube. For some reason there's a chunk of Pentangle on the back end, but that's never a bad thing. In fact Jacqui McShee sounds a bit like the singer of the next piece :

North African Jewish music ? And isn't the first part a song to Our Lady ?

You may notice my preference for female voice again ... here's an exception. This is 900 years old but sounds to me as if someone like Philip Glass could have written it. Perotin - Viderunt Omnes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Few Damp Patches on the Curate's Wall

Dominic Lawson on "the right to die" - aka "the right to be killed". After all, "the right to die was granted" us in Eden, and there's no opt-out clause. the Netherlands, the supposedly enlightened pioneer of euthanasia, more than a quarter of “physician-assisted” deaths occur without any request from the patient-victim and people carry cards that read: “Please don’t kill me” ...

Perhaps the most compelling evidence given to the House of Lords came from Dr Bert Keizer, who worked as a geriatrician in Amsterdam for a quarter of a century and carried out many “physician-assisted suicides”– the basis of his book Dancing with Mr D.

Dr Keizer told our legislators: “It is useless to worry about the slippery slope. Once a society has decided that euthanasia is allowed in certain cases, one is on it. Thus in Holland we have given up the condition that a patient must be in a terminal situation. Next, mental suffering was allowed [as a reason]. Then one’s future dementia was suggested as a reason for a request for death . . . I believe, on the grounds of the more than 1,000 deathbeds I attended, that euthanasia is a blessing in certain exceptional situations, yet I would rather die in a country where euthanasia is forbidden but where doctors do know how to look after patients in a humane manner.”

Martin Kelly on the same subject :

"That has been the track of modern history; there is absolutely no reason to believe that doctors will not euthanise with the same abandon that they have aborted."

Why are misery-childhood memoirs so popular ? I'm sure future sociologists (if there are any) will make connections with the rejection of parenthood. My theory is that the childless buy them, but it's a theory based on zero evidence plus my prejudice.

... given the gravity of the allegations made in the millions of “miserable childhood memoirs” that have flown out of bookstores in the past decade or more, the wonder is that there haven’t been more law suits, both civil and criminal, arising out of this genre.

One of the few to hit such an obstacle was Kathy O’Beirne’s memoir of a horrific life in the Magdalene laundries, which sold 400,000 copies worldwide. But after Kathy’s Story was published, the Sisters of Charity issued a statement insisting she had never set foot inside any of their institutions, either laundries or care homes, and five members of her own family claimed she was a vindictive fantasist.

The Pub Philosopher brilliantly sums up what's going on with Sark and the Barclay brothers :

"Half a millenium of European history has been condensed into fifteen years."
He thieved, drank, took drugs, sabotaged religious meetings. Perhaps that would have been enough for many an Oxbridge lefty, but there was more to him than that. Paul Anderson remembers. Ernest Bevin is rotating at 7,200 rpm.

"The United Kingdom is officially a grey nation. The number of pensioners exceeds the number of children under 16 for the first time, figures published yesterday show."
And of the children under 16 in England and Wales, heading for a quarter are "ethnic minority". More on the latest ONS stats when I have time.

More questions on identity in the next census.

In a further bid to capture how society has changed since the last census, the 2011 poll will ask residents whether they consider their "national identity" to be British, or English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish.

People will also be asked if they have step-parents or step-children, if they have entered into civil partnerships and whether they have second homes.

New proposed questions, which must be agreed to by MPs, require each member of every household to state what month and year they came to live in the UK, how long they plan to stay in the country and what passports they hold.

Elected police commissioners ? Blood on the streets if “white, middle-class, middle-aged men in suits” get the jobs, according to Chris Huhne.

He told MPs: “In complex urban areas, with substantial ethnic minorities, such as Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands, the Conservatives’ proposal – and to a lesser but almost equal extent, the Government’s proposal – would ensure that the people elected as commissioners and members of the police authorities would be white, middle-class, middle-aged men in suits.

“They would not represent the genuine differences, especially ethnic ones, in police force areas.

“That worries me, because it would set up exactly the sort of problems that led to the riots in Brixton and cities such as Bristol in the early 1980s.”

I like that 'complex'.

Chicago politics does sound like a TV script. The Times, unlike the BBC, let us know Rod Blagojevich's political affiliation.

The Invisible Hand.

This sounds like a non-story.

Muslim children are being beaten and abused regularly by teachers at some British madrassas - Islamic evening classes - an investigation by The Times has found.

Students have been slapped, punched and had their ears twisted, according to an unpublished report by an imam based on interviews with victims in the north of England.
While reports of a child being kicked in the head are obviously bad news, most of this sounds like standard school discipline in a 1960s State grammar.

" Madrassas and similar religious classes are not subject to any regulation nor are their teachers required to be vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau."
I bet they are. And I bet the massed ranks of infidel Western social workers don't want to "go there".

"Is Britain Civilised ?"

On 9/1/2003, Neil Clark wrote the following in the Telegraph, but the link no longer works. If anyone can find a link I'll link to the post - in the absence of which here's the whole thing.

Roy Jenkins made Britain a far less civilised country

By Neil Clark

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 09/01/2003

In his Guardian obituary of Lord Jenkins, David Marquand listed four "achievements" of his hero on which, to him, "the verdict of history seems plain". As Home Secretary, "Jenkins did more than any other person to make Britain a more civilised country to live in". As leader of the Labour Europeans, he played an "indispensable part" in taking Britain into what is now the European Union; and, as president of the European Commission, he played an "equally indispensable part' in paving the way for the single currency. Finally, by forming the SDP, and "breaking the mould" of British politics, Jenkins created New Labour.

As an Old Labour Euro-sceptic, I believe the last three "achievements" that Marquand lists were ones we could have well done without. But what of Marquand's first claim: that Jenkins made Britain a more civilised country to live in?

As an up-and-coming Labour backbencher, Jenkins had written, in the late 1950s, a tract entitled Is Britain Civilised?, in which he attacked Britain's "archaic" laws on censorship, homosexuality, divorce and abortion, as well as arguing for the abolition of capital punishment and changes to the country's "Victorian" criminal justice system.

At that time, Jenkins's "progressive" views on social reform were still in the minority in the Labour Party, dominated as it was by its socially conservative, working-class ethos. But by 1964, when Labour eventually regained power, much had changed. A group of middle-class, mainly Oxbridge-educated "intellectuals" had risen to prominence in the party and, for these "modernisers", led by Jenkins and his Oxford friend Tony Crosland, the main aim was the social, rather than the economic, transformation of Britain.

Although their views had little support among the British public at large, this group was able to push through its liberalising agenda when Jenkins became Home Secretary in 1965. Already, earlier that year, the death penalty had been suspended. Now it was full steam ahead to give support to private members' Bills to decriminalise abortion and homosexuality, relax censorship and make divorce easier.

Jenkins's impact at the Home Office did not end there. He also embarked on the most radical programme of penal reform since the Second World War. His Criminal Justice Act of 1967 said very little about the victims of crime, but plenty about the perpetrators. The Act introduced the parole system of early release of offenders serving sentences of three years or more, established the Parole Board and introduced the system of suspended sentences.

In two years, Jenkins had succeeded in transforming the criminal justice system from one whose raison d'etre had been to deter wrong-doing to one designed to be as "civilised" as possible to the criminal.

Jenkins was of course convinced that the "permissive society" was the "civilised society". In this, he - alas - got it all terribly wrong. What underpins civilised society is not permissiveness, but self-restraint, a phrase detested by libertines of both Left and Right. What Jenkins failed to see was how the freedoms he espoused would lead to the degeneration of British society and the selfish, me-first libertinism of today.

Jenkins was never a socialist, but in my view he was not much of a liberal either. Classical liberalism always understood that liberal freedom is dependent on moral self-restraint. Without it, freedom becomes licence - which itself is a threat to freedom, as it acknowledges no obligation to others. Before the Jenkins-sponsored social reforms made their impact, Britain was a country famous for the self-restraint of its people. "Letting it all out", extreme displays of emotion, and shouting and swearing in the street were all considered unacceptable. For Jenkins, the taboos that existed in 1950s Britain were intolerable. But the net result was a society remarkable for its civility.

More than 30 years on, the damaging impact of Jenkins's reforms on the society we live in is all too clear to see. One marriage in three now ends in divorce. Almost 40 per cent of children are now born out of wedlock, the highest figure in Europe. Since the 1967 Abortion Act, more than six million unborn children have been aborted.

The legalisation of homosexuality has not been the end of the chapter, but merely the beginning, with an aggressive "gay rights" lobby demanding more and more concessions. The policy of early release of prisoners has had a catastrophic effect on the safety of the general public: 14 per cent of violent criminals freed early are convicted of fresh violence within two years of their release.

As The Sunday Telegraph's Alasdair Palmer states: "Scores of men, women and children have been assaulted, raped and murdered as a result of the policy of releasing dangerous criminals before their sentences are completed" - a policy initiated and endorsed by Jenkins.

In addition to this tally, we must add the hundreds of innocent lives lost as a result of the abolition of capital punishment, which Jenkins zealously campaigned for and whose reintroduction he so resolutely opposed as Home Secretary in 1974.

Dividing his time between the palaces of Westminster, the delightful Oxfordshire village of East Hendred and the high table of the Oxford colleges, Jenkins did not, of course, see too much of the social debris that his "civilising" reforms had caused. Had he seen at first hand what the "permissive society" amounts to in practice on a "sink" council estate, he might have modified his views.

It is, though, unfair to blame one man for all of Britain's modern ills. Others, too, must take their share of responsibility for the nation we have become, not least the economic freedom junkies of the 1980s. Nevertheless, the Britain of 2003 is very much the Britain that Jenkins always wanted. The self-restraint and taboos of the 1950s have all gone. The "archaic" laws against which Jenkins railed have been abolished.

On the day of Jenkins's death, I looked at the other stories listed on the Teletext index. They were: "Man accused of bodies-in-bin probe", "Gun killers will be caught, pledge police", "Man faces charges over abbey axe attack", "Man charged with taxi driver murder" and "Freedom for hostage in 11-day siege".

If David Marquand believes the Britain of 2003 to be a "civilised country", it would be interesting to hear his definition of an uncivilised one.

What's German For "Schadenfreude" Again ?

Rowan Williams complaining about people not liking Britain is like Schopenhauer moaning about pessimists.

The Archbishop of Canterbury told shoppers yesterday that Britain was a country that was “unhappy” and “didn’t seem to like itself”.

Speaking in a city centre pub in Cardiff, Dr Rowan Williams told his informal congregation after a presentation on social problems that the nation seemed ill at ease with itself and was in urgent need of some help.

“What we saw was a picture of a country and society that doesn’t seem to like itself very much,” he said. “We are not very happy, we look around for people to blame . . . When society is that unhappy then society has a problem.

I can't understand it. After all, apart from a few surviving traces of sexism, racism and homophobia, Roy Jenkins' "Civilised Society" is pretty much with us today. That bad old Britain of the 1950s, when innocent murderers were hung, innocent criminals and innocent homosexuals were sent to prison, and the streets ran red with the blood of the victims of domestic violence and back street abortion (the victims of the latter being the mothers, of course, not the babies), classrooms rang to the screams of the victims of corporal punishment - and worst of all to the Archbish, the Church of England was a strong supporting pillar of such evil - is now history.

Only a few elderly bigots cling to the hideous morality of our wicked past - and they'll soon be dealt with.