DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
June: a month of wine and roses
They say best men are moulded out of faults,/
And, for the most, become much more the better/
For being a little bad."
Shakespeare: "Measure for Measure".
Annual National GDP. Can we really show an increase next year? Surely not, not having a sound manufacturing base on which all prosperity depends.
There is an old Chinese curse saying: "May you live in interesting times". These are certainly interesting times, for on the 12th June the Office for National Statistics announced that the UK economy had fallen by -20.4% in April, 2020, following on from a fall of -2% for the first quarter of this year. Not surprisingly, there was the concern that May and June could bring even worse figures, taking the country into the worst recession since records began, even worse than the 1930s, unemployment expected to rise to 2.5 million by the end of August.
What is so worrying is that there is nothing to take us out of this ever deepening recession ,the country not having any substantial manufacturing industries on which all economic prosperity is based. Instead, we have to rely almost entirely on the financial sector and vulnerable service industries, the latter having taken a massive downturn so far this year, crippled by the COVID-19 virus - COVID presumably standing for Chinese Originated Virus Identified Disease.
On reading about this extreme recession it makes me so thankful that I am nearing the end of my life, glad that I do have another 40 years of this decline and fall, not having to worry about losing a job or paying the mortgage. To lose your job at the age of 40, when married with children and a mortgage must be very worrying, few jobs being available in the deepening recession.
Much to my amazement, indicating that everything in this country seems to have turned upside down, all our beliefs and values demolished, the aforesaid announcement from the ONS that unemployment will be reaching 2.5m by the end of the summer brought a +178 rise in the FTSE. In the good old days the FTSE reflected the state of the economy, but now we have this dangerous "bubble", likely to burst at any time, possibly within the next month or so.
On the 18th June the Bank of England pumped £100bn into the economy, supposedly to create jobs and send us shopping again. We will see what we will see, as granny used to say.
Meanwhile "The Times" on Saturday 20th June (I only take the paper on a Saturday for the book reviews) had a headline in the business section saying: "National debt now bigger than the economy." Goodness knows how we are ever going to get out of this fine mess; in all probability we never will, passing our muddled finances onto the next generation to deal with.
Job losses during the month have already been quite frightening, including Royal Mail shedding 2,000 and Qantas 6,000. Yet amidst all these losses, the blasted "Red Arrows" kept fooling around in the sky during the month, going round and round in circles all day, just like the Government. It really is quite shameful, especially at annual running costs of £20m. However, I still confidently believe that the team will go in the defence cuts coming shortly, and what a party we will have then!.
During the fierce gale on the 28th June a huge branch from one of the oaks in the avenue came crashing down. I wonder when it will be removed?
I have recently started contributing to an "ap" with the husband of a family relation in which we discuss economics and politics. When I asked him about the prolonged EU trade talks he responded: "It is impossible to deal with a participant who doesn't want to negotiate. The EU from the very start have stalled, muddled and blustered and apparently now they are offering a 2-year extension, thus extracting many more billions out of the UK economy. Boris has to say agree or we walk. Those four pricks - Junker, Tusk, Barnier and Verhofstadt are responsible for us handing over billions after voting to leave. Enough is enough and we must leave Dec 31st deal or no deal".
The problem is that the French, regarded by many Englishmen as our natural enemies, are the main troublemakers, wanting in their hatred of us to make the trade talks totally impossible, doing everything possible and impossible to drag out the talks for another two years so that they can, as my correspondent indicated, continue fleecing us for billions. Yet we all know that the European Union is falling apart at the financial seams. Within 2-3 years it will hopefully be gone, making us wonder why on earth we had all that trouble with an unnecessary referendum.
According to a report on Google news the Lib-Dims, who have a new leader every third Tuesday, along with the SNP with that funny woman who incredibly believes in Scottish Independence, together with a group of Remoaners, have been having secret negotiations with Barnier in an attempt to extend the trade negotiations for the further two years. So much for honesty and democracy when aberrant political parties behave in this shabby and underhanded manner. Mercifully they will never succeed. our Prime Minister categorically saying that there will be no extension. Er - that's what he has promised. Unfortunately he does more U-turns than a London taxi, having changed his mind about school dinners to mention just one of the many changes of heart and policy.
Flowers in the garden
At least it was good to hear that foreign aid is being drastically cut back to a more acceptable level, the Department for International Development having been integrated with the Foreign Office, thereby preventing the excessive donations overseas, especially to hopeless countries like Zambia and Tanzania, so much of the money ending up in the pockets of corrupt politicians and bandits. Not so long ago officers of one of the major charities were spending donations on prostitutes, making me so thankful that I have never give anything to any charity, except Macmillan Nurses who do a fine job, having helped me a great deal during my lymphoma cancer treatment.
Blair and Cameron, undoubtedly the worst Prime Ministers this country has ever seen, opposed the charity measure, so we therefore know that it is correct. and sensible. Like the teachers' unions opposing anything that is beneficial to children in the classroom, so anything that these dreadful politicians either support or oppose is thoroughly wrong. Dear old Matthew Parris, the loveable "Times" columnist, also manages to get everything arse about face, but he is at least amusing.
The endless trouble with Mr. Cummings not following the virus rules.
There are times when I have to wrestle with religion, finding it so difficult to appreciate some of the catechism and beliefs. For example, our worthy local church, consisting of about 11 parishes, had for its video assembly on Sunday 31st May:
"Oh let the Son of God enfold you,
With His Spirit and His love
Let Him fill your hearts and satisfy your soul.
O let Him have the things that hold you and His Spirit like a dove
Will descend upon your life and make you whole."
"Jesus, o Jesus
Come and feed your lambs.
Jesus o Jesus
Come and fill your lambs."
I like to think that I am a believer, trying hard to understand that Jesus wants to look after us and care for us, yet I see precious little of his presence in recent times, certainly not during the coronovirus saga, though I realise that our hopeless Government could certainly do with some feeding. As I have so often said in the past, my concept of religion comes down to believing there is a God, but not a caring God. It therefore seems to me that God gives us free will and lets us get on with our lives, prayer being a negation and a nuisance of that freedom. Accordingly, I never pray, not even to prevent the disaster of a Labour Government, or that Biden doesn't become President in November, God forbid.
On Sunday 28th June I managed to install "Zoom" to watch the our local Church's Springline service, taken by the Rector, Father Sebastian Matapally, the responses made by his wife. It came over incredibly clearly, the sound excellent, a splendid facility. I greatly enjoy inviting Father and his delightful wife to my house, occasions when we can put the world to right
The "Spanish Influenza" of 1918. Far worse than the present COVID-19
Under revised and relaxed virus rules, most of the shops were open on the 15th June, some having opened earlier, all having to observe the 6 ft social distance apart requirement. I was subsequently told that there was a queue at Primark in Lincoln at 5 a.m. on the 15th. Have people gone quite made, somehow damaged by the virus in this sick and thoroughly nasty society, shopping being so vitally important, along with holidays. As one of my relatives was saying: he prefers to be on his own nowadays, other than with family and close friends. I find myself having similar sentiments: hell is other people.
As might be expected, the teaching unions did everything to prevent a return to work - and who can blame them when they have to contend with today's free-ranging children. I would rather be a coal-miner than a teacher. Reluctantly, this weak and spineless Government caved in to the unions' demands, all the schools not opening until September Forget about learning! . Meanwhile, Mrs. Copeland remained "at risk" throughout the month, so we had to be careful about lockdown and keeping the 6 ft distance with others.
My main regret during the lockdown was that we could not have the Friday luncheon at a restaurant or pub that I always enjoyed so much. Neither could we go to the local Club for the Sunday afternoon alcoholic session. It is planned that the restaurants/pubs and our local Club will be open from about the 4th July, always supposing this Government doesn't change its muddled mind in the meantime
Absurdly, it was announced in the newspapers for the 27th June that holidays in low-risk European countries would be allowed from the 6th July, presumably meaning the end of the social distancing rule. Yet pubs will still have to observe the 6 ft rule throughout the month. What kind of nonsense is this, the impression being that these rules are made up by politicians who have not a clue what they are doing, not that that is in any way unusual, our Members of Parliament managing to bugger up everything they touch.
Allowing people to travel abroad, especially to countries such as France, not noted for its hygiene, is tantamount to allowing a second wave of the virus, with terrible consequences. But there is such an obsession with holidays, so vitally important for so many people, presumably by way of escaping our hateful climate, that there would have been a major revolt and extensive disobedience if the restriction had not been lifted. The Government therefore face no choice..
One of the worst features of the lockdown was that it was impossible to contact most firms by telephone, and letters never received a reply. Mrs. Copeland had trouble with her income tax demand, but although she waited at least 15 minutes on the telephone, there was no reply. Similarly I could not contact the DVLA or "3", all closed down - the easy option..
The Government's "Keep Safe" policy.
During the heat wave of the 24th and 25th seaside resorts were packed with people, nobody taking the slightest notice of the 6 ft apart requirement. It would seem that a lockdown measure cannot be continued for longer than three months. After that time the measures are ignored, the worry being that if there is a return of the virus, widely predicted by the mischief-making press, it will be impossibly difficult to re-impose the distance limit, certainly among the irresponsible young.
There were massive and violent demonstrations in London when police tried to break up parties, many policemen being injured in the subsequent bruising scuffles. Sadly, that miserable politically-motivated Muslim Mayor of London refused to condemn the rioters. No wonder the "Smoke", as we used to call London, is in such a mess, possibly not helped by an extensive immigrant contingent. Khan is generally regarded as being the worst mayor the capital has ever had.
And where is the toughness of Ms Dick, head of the Metropolitan Police? All she does is mouth weasel words about the naughty demonstrators. The police should have wielded their truncheons, knocking some sense into the heads of these irresponsible young thugs, followed up by 5-year prison sentences. A pity hard labour is no longer instituted in the prison sentencing in our spineless society.
During the month we had some Waitrose runner beans from Kenya. Waitrose is always associated with fine products, but this was an exception, the cooked beans impossible to eat, having to be thrown away.
Fortunately, we were greatly helped during the lockdown by our two daughters, Caroline and Kate, who alternately went to Waitrose and Tesco each weekend for the weekly food and drinks provisions. Perhaps not surprisingly, there was a great deal of difference between the two supermarkets. Tesco was described by Kate as resembling a concentration camp, a loudspeaker blaring away instructing people to keep people six feet apart and in the queue, people often shouting and complaining about queue jumping. At middle-class Waitrose all was peaceful and orderly, good elderly middle class gentlefolk behaviour.
On the other hand, prices were a good deal cheaper at Tesco. Although it is difficult to make a definite figure as different items were ordered each week, the likely difference was that the bill was probably £25-35 higher at Waitrose, but then the quality was so much better. You get what you pay for in this life - sometimes.
Discrediting this high quality tag, on one of the visits to Waitrose a packet of runner beans was purchased, alas not up to the usual high standards. To our horror we saw that they came from Kenya. When Mrs. Copeland cooked the beans according to the instructions, they ended up a ghastly brown colour, limpid and totally uneatable, having to be thrown away. Why on earth do we need to import vegetables from abroad, even if they are out of season here? Potatoes we had from Tesco were imported from Egypt, making me wonder whether we grow anything in this country any more, our farmers seeming to be more interested in growing houses, offering a quick buck.
Item sent to me by a reader.
As I mentioned last month, we were also very fortunate in living in such a splendid environment, overlooking the field of the magnificent avenue of oaks, cattle feeding in the grass - a truly pastoral scene, only spoilt as mentioned earlier, by those blasted "Red Arrows" going noisily round and round in circles all day, rather like the Government. How different it must be to be in a small urban apartment in London, the husband on furlough, longing to get back to work, and young, unhappy children having nothing to do all day, certainly not wanting to study. The sheer misery of it all, especially as the children will be at home until the beginning of next September.
Partly freed from my imprisonment during the month I went shopping for the first time in about 10 weeks on the 4th and again on the 15th following the relaxation of some of the virus rules, collecting some medicines from the chemist, and items from a hardware shop, going in to town on the scooter. It was good to be back to normal - well nearly normal, quite cheering me up as I had found the long imprisonment becoming quite depressing, there being no relief, nothing to look forward to, every day being the same. Yet somehow both Mrs. Copeland and I were always very busy. As always, I spend ages most days mending things and searching for things, going upstairs to get something, only to forget what I had gone up for on reaching the top of the stairs. So annoying!.
Even when this seemingly endless virus saga is over I will continue to use the excellent services of Amazon for books and major items, orders always arriving with 2-3 days. I am certainly not going to queue up, six feet apart, at Waterstone's in Lincoln, going into the bookshop two by two like the animals in the Ark, not being allowed to touch the books - if they are touched they have to be quarantined for 3 days. What kind of nonsense is that? It is surely easier to have a 2-day delivery from Amazon, no fuss, pleasant and cheerful couriers, usually immigrants, not even having to leave the house.
On the other hand, on 20th I attempted to purchase some notebooks from a store in the city, only to find that there was an enormous queue outside, all 6 feet apart, so I ordered instead from Amazon, something I am obviously going to have to do for a long time. I dread to think what we would have done without the services of Amazon. Thanks you Mr. Bezos, you deserve every penny you earn. A pity, though, you are not more generous with your staff, but that is business, which President Trump understands.
As mentioned last month, I have given up buying a newspaper, only having the Saturday "Times" for the book reviews, the dumbed-down newspaper being free with the weekly provisions from Waitrose. Much to my surprise, I haven't missed the newspapers at all, relying instead on the BBC news website and Google News, as well as "The Lincolnite", thereby saving £36 a month at a time when inflation, now at a very low level, is about to rise sharply. Stagflation here we come again.
A vegetarian barbecue. How you have to laugh at these sadly misguided peole who have made eating a misery. Bearing in mind they eat rabbit food, it is a wonder they don't grow tails.
At least amidst all the miseries of the lockdown imprisonment there was always something to make us laugh, and not just about the very funny Lib-Dims. In particular there was the hilarious delights of the ghastly food the vegetarians eat, along with those quite barmy vegans living on bunny-rabbit food in the belief that it will add years to their miserable lives, the years only really seeming longer. It is a wonder the vegans don't end up growing a little tail; indeed, maybe we ought to call them "Bobtails". There is no doubt that there is a need to find a medical cure for this confused catechism. If the vegans had their way there would be no cattle, no pigs, no goats and no hens, totally changing the English landscape, and not for the better.
It made me laugh out loud (LOL as they say on the Internet) to see a photograph in "The Times" for the 6th June of a "veggie barbecue", sounding like a contradiction in terms, rather like "military intelligence". "Pass another cooked carrot, will you please, Nigel old chap." I suppose, though, that it is a bit unkind to mock these sadly misguided folk who deliberately make eating such a misery, not being able to have a sirloin steak or bread with thickly salted butter. We really ought to say prayers to make them better, not that I believe in prayers.
It was pathetic that so many firms and organisations took the easy option of closing down. I found, for example, that the customer services of the Driving & Licensing Authority (DVLA) had completely closed down, along with 02 which I tried to contact regarding an overpayment. At least our unloved County Council had thankfully completely closed down, no longer doing us any harm, none of us missing the authority one little bit. Fortunately, the better organised District Council continued with its household waste disposal, a fine service. Thank heavens it is not provided by the County Council as that service would also have closed down. We were also spared that appalling "County News" with all its trumpet blowing, never mentioning all the cuts.
Marigold in the garden - a wonderful display this year.
Having seen a favourable review of a book on the Spanish Influenza of 1918 - "Pale Rider -The Spanish flu of 1918 and how it changed the world" by Laura Spinney, I duly ordered it from Amazon, arriving in the post three days' later. Alas, it was a ghastly paperback with the tiniest print, almost impossible to read unless you had 20/20 vision or powerful reading glasses. How I hate paperbacks, avoiding them like the plague and female politicians. Sadly there was no hardback edition available.
After two pages I gave up reading the impossible cramped and tiny print, but at least I saw that "The Spanish flu infected one in three people on earth, or 500 million human beings. Between the first case recorded on 4 March 1918, and the last sometime in March 1920, it killed 50-100 million people, or between 2.5% and 5% of the global population."
Although the present coronovirus is not (yet) on that scale, it has been reported that in this country we have the greatest number of deaths in Europe, and the third highest in the world. All very worrying, especially as our hopeless politicians have managed to make a really fine mess of the precautions, the policies changing every third Tuesday. Yet by the 8th June, New Zealand was completely free of the virus - until they unwisely allowed an infected couple from this country to visit dying parents. Obviously better politicians and health officials. We were too slow in starting the restrictions, causing a lot of deaths.
President Trump and "Creepie Joe" Biden. Trump will enjoy a massive win in November.
Over in America there were violent protests resulting from a white policeman throttling a black man to death. As always, President Trump was correct in his judgement, arguing that law & order must be maintained at all times, whatever the issue, but as always his subsequent twitted comments were totally out of order, only fanning the flames of an unruly, ugly and irresponsible rioting. These riots, in which the riffraff and Marxist troublemakers joined in, burning cars and property, only serve to make the bitter and deep racial divide even worse, just as the Equality & Human Rights quango in this country has made race relations so much worse with its blatant bias towards the coloured community - not that you hear much about the quango these days, having been largely discredited.
One of my friends sent me an e-mail showing a very different side to the character of the murdered Black George Floyd saga: https://youtu.be/SdrPM-N3LI, indicating that he spent several 10-month sentences in jail for drugs offences and, with a group of four associates, forced his way into the house of a pregnant woman, shutting her in a room and threatening her with a gun while his associates ransacked the house for drugs. At the time of his arrest he was high on drugs, having tried to make a false payment in a shop, subsequently being arrested by the police for his erratic behaviour outside in the street. Hardly the martyred icon for the Black community, you might possibly say.
Indeed, he could be regarded as a disgrace to the black community. Yet how easily the demonstrators are whipped up by the media in a blind fury, there being no consideration for reality and the facts amidst the uncontrollable mayhem. It is all quite frightening, reminiscent of the hateful early Hitler years when there was rioting against the Jews and the burning of books. There is clearly no justification for the police murdering a black criminal, but there is similarly no justification for rioting for a criminal with several prison sentences for repeated drug offences.
Sadly, the "Black Lives Matter" campaign brought shameful violence in America and here, doing nothing to help the cause of the downtrodden black people
Not unexpectedly, Joe Biden showed just how useless he is during the rioting, clearly displaying that he has no leadership qualities, pathetically saying that we all ought to come together and love one another. Yes, indeed, and all live happily ever after, but how do you achieve this supposed racial harmony when there is such a hopeless and seemingly endless bitter divide? As my old grandmother used to say: "Fine words btutter no parsnips."
Even more unwisely, old Creepie Joe participated in the funeral of the criminal on the 9th June by video link, shamefully trying to make political capital out of the event, using all manner of weasel words in praise of a convicted criminal .For once President Trump did the right thing, not involving himself with the funeral at all.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the U.S. National Association of Police Organisations, commented during the riots: "For Joe Biden, police are shaking their heads because he used to be a stand-up guy who backed law enforcement, but it seems in his old age, for whatever reason, he's writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement."
At least there was the splendid news that the opinion polls are showing that Creepie old Joe is increasing his lead over Trump for the November election. Opinion polls are always hopelessly wrong, saying for example that the Clinton woman was going to become President in 2016, and that Mrs. May's re-election would see her with a 100-seat majority. Clang! Clang! The polls really are a joke, principally because those interviewed only say what they are expected to say. For example, if a person is a blatant racist, as so many people are these days - possibly more as a result of the disgraceful and disgusting riots, they are not going to admit it to a pollster, and those in a Labour stronghold are not likely to say that they are voting for Boris. At election times the polls should be banned, as they are in some countries.
Another factor deciding opinion polls is the mischief-making press. In this country a poll has recently shown that a majority of people want us to stay in the European Union, which is totally untrue. Several people I have spoken to this month have told me that although initially they were Remoaners, they now accept the referendum vote and that we should stay out,
As the weeks go by more and more attempts are being made by insurgents and the liberal fraternity to discredit President Trump, the obvious aim being to prevent him from winning the election in November. For example, his former National Security adviser, a useless chappie named John Bolton with a dreadful moustache making him look like a forlorn walrus, was fired by the President on account of him wanting to bomb everybody, including Iran, presumably referred to as "Bomber Bolton".
Now, in his bitterness and bile, Bomber Bolton has written a damning book about Trump, relating confidential items in his anger, serving as a reminder that when trust is lost, truth goes with it. A horrible man, totally untrustworthy. Trump described him as: "A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!" .
As might be expected, the Nasty Nancy Pelosi woman came trotting into the race-relations fray by having paintings of Confederates taken down at the Capitol. Don't you just love women in politics! The only good thing about the old woman who ought to be at home tending the roses or in a home at her advanced age, is that she will ensure Trump's victory in November, the Americans not wanting her version of the aforesaid Socialist state having no defence. If I had to make a prediction on the result of the November election, I would put the Electoral College numbers as: Biden 230, Trump 308.
Meanwhile, it was good to read that President Trump is proposing new trade tariffs on beer, chocolate and olives from the European Union, involving 30 products worth $3.1bn in trade every year. Good old Donald: hit those nasty people where it hurts. Whatever Trump's social faults may be, he certainly stands up for the business interests of his country, whereas Creepie Joe in his version of a glorious Socialist state is opposed to capitalism. "Vote for Biden and lose your job" would be a suitable campaign slogan for Donald Trump.
Item sent to me by a reader
In any objective and reasoned debate on the racial issue the question has to be asked why the black community in America lives in such squalid communities with terrible housing conditions, poor education, extensive unemployment, rampant crime, and the residents squabbling violently with one another. Why do these dreadful conditions prevail, all measures of social improvement, however well financed and intended, always seeming to fail? Is it because the white people deliberately suppress them, shamefully regarding them as an inferior race?
Or is it because in their indolence and lack of enterprise the black community makes no effort to improve their appalling conditions? I ask the questions, not sure of any reply. The real problem seems to be with the Black Africans, whereas Pakistanis, Indians and Jamaicans seem to be integrated and accepted. According to Ian Duncan of "The Baltimore Sun" "The fundamental problem is that American black culture has evolved into an un-fixable and crime ridden mess. They do not want to change their culture or society , and expect others to tolerate their violence and amoral behaviour. They have become socially incompatible with other races by their own design, not because of the racism of others - but by their own hatred of non-blacks.....The Black Africans continue to show an inability to function and prosper in a culture unsuited to them."
The boarded up statue of Sir Winston Churchill, shamefully daubed with red paint indicating that he was a racist. Later the boards were taken down when the rioters departed.
Inevitably, there were copycat racial demonstrations in this country, the unruly mob never wanting to be left out, just as the Tories always want to join in any war. On the 6th June and again on the 12th and 13th June a mob of hooligans and thugs threw bricks and bottles and let off fireworks in attacking the police, several police officers being wounded, some badly, including a woman on horseback. A hundred or more rioters were arrested, hopefully receiving long prison sentences. Disgracefully, the rioters damaged the Cenotaph and daubed a red slogan on the statue of Winston Churchill in London, saying that he was a racist. In Bristol a statue of a slave trader, a benefactor to the city, was thrown into the harbour, subsequently dragged out and removed to a museum. Fortunately the museum was not burnt down..
A thick looking white yob was photographed disgracefully urinating near a statue of a murdered white policeman. Spineless magistrates subsequently only punished him by 14 days in custody, when it should have been 14 months. Most of these magistrates seem to be do-good middle class men and women with liberal views, usually imposing the lightest of sentences, presumably explaining why we now live in such a lawless country, crime rampant everywhere.
The ugly face of protest
Subsequently, the statue of Winston Churchill had to be boarded up to prevent further damage by the rioters, many of them so ugly, unkempt and uncouth, surely a very sad comment on our sick society. Had it not been for Churchill standing up to Hitler and against the appeasement of Chamberlain, Lord Halifax and the weak and pathetic R.A.Butler, we would now be living under German rule. Mind you, this might do these foul rioting creatures a world of good, finding themselves languishing in a concentration camp if they dared to defy the authority, certainly the best place for them. Towards the end of the month the boarding was taken down.
Presumably these rioting imbeciles could follow the Nazis by burning books that offend their sensitive nature. Already the BBC (The Biased Broadcasting Corporation), initially banned the issue of "Fawlty Towers" depicting the Germans ("Don't mention the war"), but widespread protests at this shameful and cowardly gesture had the episode put back. Somehow there seems to be a link between a country facing economic and social decline and civil unrest, seen especially in Germany in the 1930s.
"Rule Britannia" is associated with slavery, and there are demands that it should not be sung at the Promenade Concerts, not that there will be one this year on account of the virus.
In all probability Alf Garnet's "Till Death Us do Part" will also be banned, especially the Christmas edition in which Alf is in a pub with Arthur (English) discussing immigration and the Empire, using banned and offensive appellations that would have people fainting today. "Gandi wouldn't eat his dinner, so they gave him India." When the series was on television in the late 1980s there was no outcry; instead we all laughed. So what has brought about such a change in our attitudes? It is certainly not a caring society today, not when football fans make monkey gestures when a black player comes onto the field. .
Oxford University students, not to be outdone, want the statue of Cecil Rhodes removed. Rhodes was a financier, statesman, and empire builder of British South Africa, serving as Prime Minister of Cape Colony (1890–96) and organiser of the giant diamond-mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. (1888). In his will he established the Rhodes scholarships at Oxford (1902). Presumably the ignorant students will want the College closed down, not wanting him as a benefactor.
Presumably these are the same students who shout down a speaker when they disagree with his views, serving as the very negation of the purpose of higher education. What is the matter with these people: are they just bone ignorant, having no understanding of our proud history, or do they want to cause mayhem and mischief in their deadly dull lives? It makes me so thankful that I went to the London School of Economics in the 1950s, when we all listened politely to speakers, reserving any criticism in questions and discussions afterwards. certainly not wanting to pull down statues we disagreed with.
As undergraduates in the 1950s we also mercifully escaped those highly offensive "Diversity courses" in which students are nowadays brainwashed to forget everything about our Englishness, having to accept that we have become a happy and harmonious multicultural society. Oh, the nonsense of it all. Somehow it is just as well that I am not at university now, for I would most certainly refuse to attend such courses, knowing that they have no realistic foundation, being merely pipe-dreams.
Item sent to me by a reader.
Over the years our politicians as always buggering everything up, increased the availability of university education to 50% of the age group, whereas it should have been kept to 10-15% as in my day when there was a complete absence of the Mickey Mouse courses that nowadays lead straight to the shelving top-up at Tesco.
As the Vice-chancellor of Oxford University so wisely commented: history has to be considered at the time and in the age in which it took place, not subsequently modified and mixed up by another very different age. It could even be argued in this context that the alleged sexual misdemeanours that are now endlessly being resurrected today, often going back 50 years or more, took place in an age in which there was a free and joyful expression of sex, especially in the 1960s - the "swinging sixties", not the puritanical, narrow-minded approach we see these days, despite sex being thrust down our throat by the media every day.
On the 19th June there were demands from the silly Billies that the last night of the BBC Promenade concerts (cancelled this year on account of the virus) should not include the patriotic singing of "Rule Britannia" as it is supposedly connected with slavery. When, oh when, will all this pathetic immature nonsense ever end, but then I suppose it has become a fashion, soon to be discarded by another. Interest in these campaigns never lasts long.
I have always believed that I had no racism, but these ugly riots have somewhat hardened my views, not wanting to be associated with angry people hurling bottles at the police and pulling down and damaging statues. Sadly, I find it rather disappointing that the female head of the Metropolitan Police, the liberal-minded and unfortunately named "Ms Dick", has been a big disappointment in dealing with the rioters, not having taken decisive action against the braying mob until the last minute.
A helpful understanding sent to me.
I continue to believe that this shameful rioting is largely a consequence of the frustration that the teen and twenty group have had with the miseries and prison-like confinement of the Lockdown, unable to go to the pubs, not having their erotic parties and social intercourse, the pubs all shut. The rioting has therefore probably been a release of pent-up tension and energies. Although the "Black Lives Matter" campaign will all be over and forgotten within the next month, it will nevertheless be remembered as a very unpleasant episode in our sick and selfish, violent society in relentless economic decline - as mentioned earlier: all reminiscent of the economic and social failures of Germany during the 1930s.
A study of demonstrations and the people who take part in them and why they partake, would make an interesting Ph.D. psychological study. Possibly some overblown sentiment, invariably stirred up by the mischievous press, would be amongst the foremost considerations, along with some kind of personal grudge, political or economic. Most of the rioters seem to be muddled youth, not understanding what life is all about in their innocence. As Bernard Shaw said: "If you are a Tory at 18 you need your heart examined. If you are a Socialist at 40 you need your head examined" - something along those lines.
Other issues could be the tribe mentality, wanting to be part of a group in what has become a lonely society, rioting being seen as an exciting event. Lacking any stimulus and excitement in their lives, young people willingly turn to violence, seen at football matches, and the gang warfare in London, the aforesaid Muslim left-wing mayor of London doing nothing about the trouble..
All history also shows that demonstrations, especially if they are violent, are never successful. It was the employment of women in the First World War that brought about a degree of independence for them, (not until 1928 did they all have the vote), certainly not the demonstrations of those appalling Suffragettes whose angry and irresponsible actions, including a Suffragette throwing herself under the King's horse during a race meeting, that ironically indicated that they were not fit to have the vote. Similarly, the ban-the-bomb brigade never achieved anything, while the Remoaners, albeit very peaceful, lost hopelessly in trying to prevent us from leaving the European Union.
A holiday many years ago in Mijas in Spain. Nowadays the very mention of "holidays" makes me feel depressed.
The wonderful weather that we had for the last two weeks in May, seeing the sunniest month on record, abruptly came to an end on the 3rd June when there were frequent showers, some very heavy, for several days. We had to put the central heating on, and I went into winter clothes. However, we needed the rain though the showers made lockdown even more unendurable. During those splendidly sunny days we sat out drinking wine with two of the female neighbours, feeling as if we could almost be in Spain, back in Mijas where for several years we had family holidays, alas no more. The weather improved during the week commencing the 22nd, seeing a temperature of 26 C on the 26th, but the following week it turned cooler.
Regrettably, nearly every weekend during the month brought gale force winds, often 40-50mph, usually dragging down the temperatures and shaking the leaves off the trees. I call this prevailing wind "The Miseria", for it really is most unpleasant. If there really is climate change - and I still doubt it, this must be one of the new features. At least we have some hot weather, so that could be another changed consideration.
In my old age I have come to loathe holidays, never again wanting to face the miseries of another flight, the relentless and undignified security at airports making travelling an absolute misery. There is also the consideration that the badly behaved and uneducated, slovenly riffraff can now afford to travel abroad, causing further distress to gentlefolk. Fortunately, we managed to go abroad during more peaceful and pleasant days, not having to endure the madness of the mob. Nevertheless, holidays, like endless shopping and obsessive exercising, remain immensely important for the masses. They would rather go without food than miss a holiday.
It might possibly be thought that holidaymakers might give up going on cruises, knowing that the virus could return and that they could be stuck abroad for weeks, but advertisements for cruises started appearing in the Saturday "Times" for 20th June. I find this mentality so incredible. And at the end of the month, when restrictions on some European resorts were lifted, there was a flood of bookings, people going crazy if they don't have their holiday in the sun, even if it means sitting on the beach wearing a mask.
Restrictions on pubs were also lifted on the 4th July, including "The Woodcocks" in our village, but Mrs. Copeland and I would not want to go there before the end of July, when things may have been sorted out. The danger is that all this easing of restrictions could bring a second bout of the virus, as has happened in some American states.
Books read during the month
During the early days of the month I finished reading "The Second World Wars", an analysis rather than the usual descriptive account of the War. The author ends by saying: "The tragedy of World War II - a predictable conflict - was that sixty million people had perished to confirm that the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain were far stronger than the fascist powers of Germany, Japan and Italy after all - a fact that should have been self- evident and in no need of such a bloody laboratory, if not for prior British appeasement, American isolationism, and Russian collaboration." A splendid book.
Other books read during the month were "Crossing the Line - Lessons from a life on duty by retired police officer John Sutherland; "The Splendid and the Vile - A saga of Churchill, family and defiance during the blitz" by Erik Larson; "Crucible of Hell - Okinawa the last great battle of the Second World War" by Saul David; and "Sons of the Waves" by Stephen Taylor.
The policeman's book clearly and not surprisingly indicates that so many felons had an unhappy childhood following divorce, separation and the manifold domestic violence, their battered early years affecting and damning the rest of their life. As Philip Larkin's poem "This Be the Verse" splendid puts it: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/ They may not mean to but they do/ They fill you with the faults they had/And add some extra one, just for you."
When, long ago, I was the Divisional Education Officer for Lincoln and district, we undertook a survey of children causing trouble at school. In 75% of the suspended and expelled children we found that there was a broken home, history showing that there was no subsequent redemption
The book also indicates, all very relevant to the recent rioting over "Black Lives Matter" that: "There is in particular a trust and confidence deficit between the Met and young black Londoners - a group are disproportionately represented among the victims of knife crime in the capital.....Specific data on the ethnicity of victims is harder to come by, but my own review of those 2018 cases would suggest that a significant majority of the young men killed (potentially as many as 75%) come from black and minority ethnic communities." Clearly the police have a tremendous task in dealing with this racial trouble, not helped by the hateful "Guardian" easily and wantonly blaming police as being racist.
In one chapter of "Crossing the Line" it is mentioned that "every year between 2009-2012 there were 78,000 women aged between sixteen and fifty nine who were victims of rape , attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration." At a time of mounting crime, the unbelievably awful May as Home Secretary reduced police numbers by 20,000. Don't you just love women in politics, this one totally out of her depth, having to be deposed along earlier with Thatcher the Great Destroyer?
The author mentions that our politicians set up the post of Crime Commissioner in each local authority, headed by a civilian in most instances having no understanding or experience of policing. Such an arrangement beggars all belief, though yet another example that politicians bugger up everything they touch. Invariably, there is endless conflict between the ignorant Commissioner and the Chief Constable.
"Sons of the "Waves" gives vivid details of the horrors of the press gangs and sailors being punished with 300 lashes (How could any man endure that, vinegar being rubbed into the wounds to prevent infection). In a way, I suppose they are similar to our former National Service, which I mercifully escaped on account of severe migraine, though Mrs. Copeland says it would have done me good. I very much doubt it. According to the author, the expanse of the seas amount to 320m cublic miles.
I had thought about buying "An American Uprising" - an American uprising in Second World War England, describing problems in Cornwall with Black GIs, but it was written by a woman, and I do not like non-fiction books written by women, finding them too sentimental. I know it is very bad prejudice that I should never even express, but like racism, but such deeply inbreeded views are difficult to shed. At least I enjoy novels written by women, so all is not lost.
Lupins in the garden, alongside a vine plant.
"The Splendid and the Vile" book clearly demonstrates that Churchill was the right man in the right place in 1940, having beaten off the cowardly and pathetic appeasement of Chamberlain, the dreadful fox-hunting Halifax and the two-faced R.A.Butler. It made me wonder what would have happened if the spineless, muddled politicians now at the helm had been in power in 1939/1940, changing their policy every third Tuesday, and putting off a decision for the next fortnight. In all probability we would have ended up under German rule, though at least we would have some fine manufacturing industries, as well as discipline, not having those unpleasant demonstrations for lost causes in the streets. These rioters, as mentioned earlier, would soon find themselves in a concentration camp.
"Crucible of Hell" is a grim book about the American attack on Okinawa, the Japs putting up a fierce resistance from caves and tunnels on the island, fighting to the bitter end, it being a national disgrace to be taken as prisoner. During the bitter conflict Japanese pilots served as kamikaze killers ("Divine Wind"), sinking many ships as they crashed to their deaths (why did they wear crash-helmets?). On the other hand, it was good to read about American B29 bombers knocking hell out of the huge Japanese battleship "Yamata", soon sinking it with the loss of a thousand or more sailors. The B29 bombing caused overall more deaths in Japan than the atomic bomb, both being necessary to bring the war to an end.
The splendid Valerania plant in the garden, giving a wonderful scent in the evening.
During those lugubrious early days of June, I spent afternoons in the conservatory re-reading the novels of Thomas Love Peacock, born in 1785, his father a glass merchant. He wrote 7 novels, including "Nightmare Abbey", which I like most of all. The following line is typical of his wit and humour, so absent from the juvenile present-day comedies of the Biased Broadcasting Corporation:
"When Scythrop grew up, he was sent as usual to a public school where a little learning was painfully beaten into him, and from thence to the university, where it was carefully taken out of him; and he was sent home like a well-threshed ear of corn with nothing in his head; having finished his education to the high satisfaction of the master and fellows of his college, who had, in testimony of their approbation, presented him with a silver fish-slice, on which his name figured at the head of a laudatory inscription in some semi-barbarious dialect of Anglo-Saxonised Latin".
I am so pleased and delighted that Mrs. Copeland shares my love of books, though she reads recently published novels, rather than books about Hitler . How unbelievably awful it would be if she wanted to watch the idiot's lantern every night, meaning that I would have to go into another room, not wanting to see all the rubbish. How anybody can sit through those dreadful advertisements on commercial television is a mystery to me. When in August the licence fee is imposed on those of us over 75 years, we will be giving the television set away, for there is "no way" that I am going to pay the annual £154 for all that nonsense. Apparently, "Newsnight" is so biased against the Government that the Prime Minister has banned ministers from appearing on the programme.
Peony in the garden, not lasting very long.
In terms of my health, always a worry at my age as everything declines, sans eyes, sans teeth and all that, I had an awful experience on the night of the 10th June, waking up about 4,30 a.m. with horrible phlegm in my mouth and a hacking cough, making me momentarily fear that I had caught the dreaded cornovirus, almost cancelling the milk. Fortunately, I had no temperature, and the cough had gone the following day, though I was left with a pain in my chest, painful every time I laughed, especially about Government polices, that ensured for several days.
Earlier I had difficulty sleeping when, after extensive cobble-weeding, I had an awful pain in the right hand side of my back. Otherwise, apart from these short-term impediments, I was all right, though my blood/glucose level, associated with diabetes, rose to 8.2 mmol/L during the month (it should be under 8.5 after two hours of eating). Blood pressure around 133/80, the systolic being a bit on the high side. A normal blood pressure should be within 120/80. Surprisingly, my arthritis in both knees was worse during warm and sunny days, whereas when it was cold and wet the pain was not as bad. Most odd, the reverse of what the medicine men say.
As I mentioned last month, Mrs. Copeland and I have finally decided to give up having a living fire this Autumn, relying instead on central heating and an electric flame-effect stove costing £650. Over the years we have greatly enjoyed sitting by the blazing logs and coal on a cold and frosty night, but my ever worsening arthritis in both knees has made it increasingly impossible for me to bend down and clear out the fire, as well as humping up the heavy coal and logs up several steps from the bunkers.
In addition, the coal that now comes from Columbia, at a time when we have plenty of coal in Yorkshire only a few miles away, is unbelievably awful, while our politicians with their fashionable concern for the environment have ruled that we must have smokeless fuel which is even worse, quickly burning and giving out little heat, as well as making an awful mess. . We also have to have kiln-dried wood that only lasts a few minutes. So on health and political grounds it is regretfully time to give up the fires. All very sad, yet another symptom of the relentless decline in old age, more and more things having to be given up
Part of Mrs. Copeland's splendid flower garden.
During the month Mrs. Copeland received an 8-page survey from a marketing organisation in the post relating to the purchase of her new car back at the beginning of last March, asking her endless questions about her views on the vehicle. At the end of the manifold questions on how she felt the car performed, there were numerous questions under the heading "About yourself", asking about age, marital status, number of people in the household, employment, place of residence, and "what is the total income of your household?"
I have always been aware that these surveys are essentially for marketing purposes, the personal information "processed " and sold on to other firms and organisation. Some years ago, when filling in a registration form for an appliance I had bought, I gave a false name on the completed form - Robert Salmon, seeing what would subsequently happen. Sure enough, within two months I started receiving scam telephone calls asking if I were Mr. Robert Salmon, and I still have these calls most weeks.
Mrs. Copeland understandably did not want to complete the form, so it was torn up. I did, however, send a letter to the marketing firm expressing disquiet that such personal details were required, having nothing whatsoever to do with the performance of the car. It will be ignored, of course. How careful we have to be these days.
During the lockdown we have been mercifully free from telephone scams, but they started coming again during the week commencing 15th June. On five occasions during the month (3 on the 26th, all with false numbers) we had the scam in which there was a recorded message with the ghastly voice of an American woman saying that my Amazon prime account had been debited with £79.99. "If I wanted a refund press 1". If I had done so I would have had to give details of my bank account, and the rest can be guessed. What I cannot understand is why they keep sending the message, probably having had it about 8 times so far. As it is, I avoid Amazon's "Prime" (£7.99 a month) like the aforesaid virus and a woman politician.
Another telephone scam came on the 27th, purporting to come from my bank, the coarse and obviously uneducated caller telling me that there had been illegal activity on my banking account. It was so clearly a scam that I responded somewhat rudely: "You're a scam, aren't you. F**k off!" I do not usually use such appalling terms, but it made me so cross that somebody could telephone me to cheat me out of money. Subsequently looking at the caller display I saw, as I expected, that it was a false number. It would have been a bit embarrassing if it had been the bank, but they would never telephone me, sending an e-mail instead if anything was wrong with the account. Nasty stuff, but this is the kind of world we now live in.
I still cannot decide what to do about my Ford Scorpio, still having done only 36.000 miles, having been offered £1,000 for it
I keep dithering about what to do about my Ford Scorpio, whether to keep it or accept an offer of £1,000 from a villager. Although I seldom use the vehicle, having the battery on trickle charger, I find it very difficult to part with it, for it only has 36,000 miles on the clock, and is still in excellent condition, apart from some rust around the wheel trims. Mrs. Copeland says I am too sentimental about a piece of metal, and no doubt she is right. Meanwhile, it stays in the carport unused.
We had yet another water leak along the drive that leads to our houses. On reporting the fault on the 20th to Anglian Water we were told that it would take 3 days before anybody could come out. In the good old days before privatisation buggered everything up, the water firms being quickly sold abroad on privatisation, the nationalised company had its own repair teams, but this work now farmed out to private contractors to avoid paying pensions.
The system nowadays is that a fellow comes out after 3-5 days to examine the leak, marking it with paint. Thereafter , a team of 2 men arrives about a week later, digging down and making the repair, placing great barrier around the unfilled in hole. Finally, another team comes to fill in the removed soil, invariably doing it badly, the workmen doing a poor job. In all this takes about a month, whereas previously it would have been done within 3-4 days.
A team arrived on the afternoon of the 26th to dig down and repair the hole, but the filling- team could not come until Tuesday 30th, losing thousands of glallons of wtaer. Don't you just love privatised industry! The water companies keep telling us to save water, damanding that we should have meters so that they do not have to invest i new reservoirs, yet they do not practise what they preach so ardently .No wonder the country is falling steadily apart, the leak having taken 10 days to repair. Everything seems to go wrong these days. For example, we had new pvc windows in our main bedroom and in the kitchen, replacing the warped and rotted wooden window How I hate wooden windows, draughty and having to paint them every three years or so. Unfortunately, some wrong parts were supplied, so we will probably have to wait a month or so before they arrive. What a muddle! It really seems that this country is falling apart.
My Alexa Echo 8. I can now show my own photographs instead of the dreary landscape pictures.
When first set up my Alexa Echo 8 it was for landscape photographs to come up on the changing screen. However, I found these photographs so very dreary, so many of them being snow scenes, hardly appropriate for this time of year. Luckily, I found that I could change to my own photographs, which now come up in splendid details and colours. I will change them every few weeks.
It amused me when one of our friends had a bill from Anglian Water amounting to £3,336,982.48, presumably meaning that his wife forgot to turn off bathroom tap. Mercifully he is not on a Direct Debit for the account, which I avoid wherever possible, only having 2 in all, one for my O2 mobile telephone account and the other for "3" my Internet connection, having to set up a diabolical direct debit as I could no longer go into the Lincoln shop to top up on account of the lockdown. A Direct Debit is not too bad if the monthly sum is for a certain amount, as my two DDs are, but with a variable amount being charged you completely lose control of your banking account. Keep away from Direct Debits, for they are only beneficial to the firm, saving them money.
At the end of the month I felt very grumpy - more than usual - and depressed. Although many of the restrictions had been removed and were to be further relaxed early next month, felt as if I had enough of the imprisonment. Conversely, the lockdown has been immensely beneficial for the recovery of the planet, seeing fewer cars on the road, no commercial air flights, no cruise ship ruining a port with thousands of embarking passengers; everything quiet and peaceful, only disturbed by that cursed "Red Arrows Flying Circus", unreasonably still being allowed to practise their ridiculously training manoeuvres. With the pubs closed and no football there was a substantial fall in crime and disorder.
Each month the "hits" on this lugubrious diary continue to fall, rather like the popularity of the Government. From a high of 908 in October of last year it is down to 410 this month, making me wonder about its future viability. However, I think I will continue with it while my 9-year-old computer still works, it being a toss up whether the computer fails before my demise. I think of it as a personal record that I enjoy, so what does it matter if people are sickened by my old fashioned, right-wing views? Better standards, if you ask me.
At the end of the month there was the very real worry, fostered by by hateful media, that there could be a resurgence of the virus with the opening of the pubs on the 4th of next month. There is no way an undisciplined, unruly and uneducated youth will observe and obey the restrictions in the pubs, seeing attackks on the police. Oh, that they could bring back National Service, providing some law and order in the land.
A magnificent thistle in the garden, probably about 5 feet high.
Comments welcome - especially critical
Lincolnshire 30th June 2020
Diary of an Octogenarian
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