DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 20th May - Thursday 26th May, 2016
The 24th May used to be known as Empire Day, marking an empire upon which the sun never set. Now the empire is over here. According to Mr. Gove there will be another 5 million immigrants who will soon be here if we remain in the hopeless European Union, humiliatingly being dominated by the Germans, having to endure uncontrolled immigration, and endless worthless legislation from Brussels. If the Engllish people have the good sense to leave, we will henceforth have the 23rd June as Independence Day, having regained our sovereignty. and the ability to control our own affairs.
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
FRIDAY 20 MAY
Yesterday evening I finished reading the book "The Somme - The epic battle in the Soldiers' own words and photographs". It seems utterly incredible, beyond any reason, that thousands of men were lost when going over the top, straight into the path of the German machine guns. Yet wars still continue, history teaching us nothing. Perhaps that is why Henry Ford, a Hitler enthusiast, said that history was bunk.
Continuing with a study of the First World War I have now made a start on "Breakdown - The crisis of shell shock on the Somme, 1916" by Taylor Downing, published this year by Little Brown at £25. In the Prologue the author states that "By the beginning of August, the Fourth Army under General Sir Henry Rawlinson calculated it had lost more than 125,000 officers and men killed, wounded or posted missing", whereas at the Battle of Waterloo 17,000 were lost, while the British dead in the Boer War amounted to 22,000.
The author also explains that all officers had to be educated at public schools, yet a public school "put much more emphasis on learning Latin and Greek than it did on understanding physics or chemistry." He quotes the foolish Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, Assistant Commander at Woolwich, who went on record to laughingly say: "We would rather have a classically educated boy than one who has given up his mind very much to Electricity and Physics and those kind of subjects... Power of command and habits of leadership are not learned in the laboratory...
"Our great point is character, we care more about that than subjects. Gentlemanly virtues did not usually include a vigorous enthusiasm for new ideas and technologies", presumably explaining why cavalry charges went straight into the path of German machine guns, tally ho, resulting in such disasters. Thank heavens the Americans rescued us later in that war, just as they had to rescue us in WWII.
How absurd such comments sound today, just as it is laughable now to read that "the public schools were particularly strong on trying to develop character They emphasised values like group loyalty, obedience to the existing hierarchy, hostility to intellectual debate and a preference for healthy, outdoor team sports". The ridiculous idea that there can be character transplants, making foolish boys into leaders, is today seen as being totally absurd, but it remained one of the dangerous myths of those dreadful, socially divisive murderous times.
As I mentioned last week, this Spring has been a very poor publishing season, hardly any new books on the First and Second World Wars. Perhaps everything has now been written. In view of this shortage I will soon be running out of books, having to resort to fiction. Today I therefore bought Rose Tremain's latest book "The Gustav Sonata". I enjoy her books.
The poll of polls on the BBC News website, showing that there is hope for the Out campaign, now only 4 points below the dreadful Remain contingent.
On the BBC news website I saw that in Cornwall "A police force has apologised after its officers made a sandcastle 'crime scene' featuring a naked dead woman." Obviously not the most tactful of depictions, but oh the fuss that was made, especially by a Labour Party woman - a "Ms" as you might expect, one of those fierce feminists who want to be like a man. What a sad and miserable country we have become, totally humourless, but then there cannot be much to worry about if this is all there is to complain about in Cornwall.
A reader sent me a fascinating article that appeared in the "Guardian" this week, written by Ha-Joon Chang, explaining why the UK is in such a hopeless economic mess. I reproduce part of the article below. It is well worth reading in full at http://gu.com/p/4jbdt/sbl as it explains in a nutshell the complicated issues of our relentless economic decline, the best explanation I have ever read:-
"It's being blamed on the Brexit jitters. But the weakness in the UK economy that the latest figures reveal is actually a symptom of a much deeper malaise. Britain has never properly recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. At the end of 2015, inflation-adjusted income per capita in the UK was only 0.2% higher than its 2007 peak. This translates into an annual growth rate of 0.025% per year. How pathetic this performance is can be put into perspective by recalling that Japan's per capita income during its so-called "lost two decades" between 1990 and 2010 grew at 1% a year.
"At the root of this inability to stage a real recovery is the serious imbalance that has developed in the past few decades – namely, the over-development of the UK financial sector and the atrophy of manufacturing. Right after the 2008 financial crisis there was a widespread recognition that the ballooning financial sector needed to be reined in. Even George Osborne talked excitedly for a while about the "march of the makers". That march never materialised, however, and manufacturing's share of GDP has stagnated at around 10%.
"This is remarkable, given that the value of sterling has fallen by around 30% since the crisis. In any other country a currency devaluation of this magnitude would have generated an export boom in manufactured goods, leading to an expansion of the sector.
"Unfortunately manufacturing had been so weakened since the 1980s that it didn't have a hope of staging any such revival. Even with a massive devaluation, the UK's trade balance in manufacturing goods (that is, manufacturing exports minus imports) as a proportion of GDP has hardly budged. The weakness of manufacturing is the main reason for the UK's ever-growing deficit, which stood at 5.2% of GDP in 2015."
A really splendid account, explaining that a nation can never be successful without a sound and extensive manufacturing base.
Today's "Daily Mail", which I now buy on Fridays for the excellent book reviews, had as an anti-EU headline: "Migrants spark housing crisis. Now EU tells Britain to build more houses as open borders send population soaring." Yet the latest opinion poll in "The Daily Mail" shows that the Remain contingent now has an 11 point lead over those who want to leave the hateful Union. Fortunately, other polls, shown in the poll of polls below, indicate a closer divergence, with the Remain only slightly in the lead., suggesting that there is still hope that we will leave.
The question remains in terms of the referendum: Do we really want to remain under the domination of the Germans, having Angela Merkel telling us what we should do and not do - a domination clearly and cogently seen when she sent the PM home with a flea in his ear when he wanted the EU reformed. And do we want to have more and more immigrants flooding in unchecked into the country (Michael Gove reckons there will be another 5 million of them if we remain in the EU), adding further problems to our already overstretched public services, especially the NHS Not surprisingly, the EU tells us that we need to build thousands more houses for the newcomers. Furthermore, do we want to endure all manner of worthless legislation from Brussels, especially the health & safety edicts that will soon make it too dangerous to get out of bed in the morning?
If, as is proposed, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey become members of the European Union, Germany will virtually have complete control over Europe, something that Hitler only managed to do for a few years. For my generation, although I was only 11 years of age at the end of the Second World War, this German domination seems a cruel twist of fate, those arrows of outrageous fortune. How right our Boris was to make this historical point.
Leaving a hopelessly badly organised Union in terminal decline with its problems of migration would have given us a wonderful opportunity to start all over again, standing on our own feet and building up our manufacturing industries, as they have done in South Koreas (I have a Samsung television, Smart watch, a mobile telephone and a recently acquired washing machine). When I see the Remain group is leading in the opinion polls for what they are worth, I begin to feel that I do not believe in democracy, especially as it is so vulnerable to irresponsible propaganda, as Goebbels always understood and appreciated.
A thermostat on the kitchen radiator had broken, and today the plumber arrived at the scheduled time to fit a new one, the cost being £80. More expense. We seem to have had a rather bad time of repairs recently, one woe treading upon another's heel.
I went in to Lincoln on the scooter in the afternoon to withdraw some money from the bank. On the way home I was driving behind a youngster on a clapped-out 50 cc motorbike in poor condition. Suddenly, obviously having missed a right-hand turning, he braked violently and without any warning turned abruptly to the right.
Had I been any nearer to him we would have collided, my scooter falling with me onto the ground with his machine on top of me in a heap, resulting in a very serious accident, obviously with broken limbs. For a few minutes afterwards I felt quite shaken, and on the way home I was obviously suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, realising that I could have ended up in hospital with several broken bones, maybe crippled for life. Presumably it illustrates the dangers of being on two wheels, having little protection, as well as the need to keep tat least two vehicle distances away from the one in front..
During the early part of the evening I did not feel all that well, having an awful headache, probably having some stress after that near accident that quite upset me, though in recent days I have not felt well, having a permanent mild headache. I took my blood pressure, during the evening, which came out as I48/78. The systolic is a bit on the high side, normal being no more than 140 at my great age, though it is nothing to worry about. However, I went to bed for an hour. Later I got up and read some more of "Breakdown" - an excellent book.
The author explains how Haigh was such a weak leader - that "he suffered from being extremely inarticulate, almost shy, with strangers. He liked to surround himself with familiar figures he had known and worked with before - and this was not always the best way to bring out new ideas and strong leadership." Even worse, he could not maintain a consistent policy and strategy for any length of time, always changing his mind. Another consideration is that he was very religious, believing that God was guiding him, which is never a good sign in anybody, especially as leader.
The author also explains that there was a very different interpretation of shell shock between officers and men, emphasising the great social divide in this country that still exists today. Officers suffering from the affliction were said to have neurasthenia, worn down by giving orders and bravely serving relentlessly at the front (if they were not killed), whereas the men, especially from working class backgrounds, had instant hysteria. This was the age of that madman Freud with his belief that everything was determined by sex. How this is related to warfare is not explained. Today these concepts are laughable, but they were sincerely and seriously held at the time
SATURDAY 21 MAY
I was interested to see in the Tom Winnifrith newsletter (http://www.tomwinnifrith.com/articles/8753/tom-winnifrith-postcard-ignore-the-british-liberal-media-why-trump-will-beat-clinton-in-november) that: " a new poll shows The Donald leading the loathsome Clinton woman for the first time. The British liberal media told you Trump would not win the Republican nomination. Folks like that could not see outside of the beltway and got that totally wrong. The same folks said with Trump the GOP choice the lyin' Hillary was sure to win".
I would certainly rather see Mr Trump winning than that untrustworthy woman who would drag America down into the depths, risky though the Presidency of Mr. Trump may be. I realise that some of his policy pronouncements may be difficult to accept in electoral terms, including banning Muslims from entering the country and restoring male dominance, but I believe he will be far better as a President, especially as a friend of this country, than that dreadful woman. The Americans ought to understand what happened to this country when we had a woman leader, still not having fully recovered.
As another fine example of the sham democracy in this country, the worthless parish councils being a classic case, the Queen's speech contained an item relating to town and country planning, saying that towns and villages will henceforth be given legal powers to set their own priorities for new housing. However, they will not be able to turn down new homes, but they will have a say where they can be built. In other words, we will be forced to have a grim estate, but we can decide where our village/town can be ruined. How you have to laugh. There are times when I think this Government has gone barking mad.
A neighbour had a visitor with this wonderful Morgan car, showing that we can still make splendid manufactured items in this country, but lazily prefer to relay on the greedy and irresponsible banks that go bust every few years.
In his desperation to keep us in the muddled EU, our hopeless Chancellor, backed up by the Treasury, has warned that house prices could fall by 18% within the next two years if we leave, and that the £ will fall in value, unemployment rise, and consumer expenditure fall. It would not have surprised me if he had added that the weather would become far worse if we left - not that it can get much worse.
The irony is that all these things need to happen if we are to regain our sovereignty, no longer controlled by Mrs. Merkel. It has to be admitted, of course, that when we do the right thing by leaving, there will be a painful period, possibly about five years, when we have to sort ourselves out, developing our once fine manufacturing industries and formulating trading links with America and the Commonwealth, freed from all the petty restrictions from Brussels that do so much harm to our industries and trade. Donald Trump, if he becomes President, has said he will gladly co-operate with trade agreements between his country and ours, whereas that dreadful woman has said we would "go to the back of the queue".
With only a few years to live, I will not see the benefits of leaving the EU, but my two daughters and granddaughter will be living in a country that stands on its own feet, no longer being dominated by the chaos and confusion of that unholy alliance. On the other hand, I am firmly of the belief that within the next ten years the European Union will have fallen apart, indebted by trying to bail out Greece, Turkey and other troublesome counties, and weighed down by mass immigration, making administration and services impossible, the economy wrecked.
In today's "Times" there was a letter from a lord saying "It is in our interests to stay in, so that we can influence and safeguard the United Kingdom's interests in the development of the EU." Bearing in mind that Dodgy Dave was, as mentioned earlier, sent home Chamberlain-like by Mrs. Merkel when he tried to reform the dreadful Union, and when we are wisely not in the euro, how can we ever influence what goes on in the EU? His lordship will have to think of something better than that.
I read that there is a possibility of the privatised Royal Mail only delivering mail three days a week. Although we all knew that this would happen under the ever worsening privatisation of the service, I suppose the truncated arrangement does not matter all that much as the mail nowadays consists mainly of unsolicited mail-order catalogues and charity appeals that go straight into the recycling bin.
I mentioned in the diary last week that American films were often very violent, and that the bad guys were nearly always black. An American responded to this by saying: "While blacks make up only 13% of our population, they are responsible for 53% of all murders, and a like percentage of other violent crimes such as robbery, rape, etc." Of course, it is politically incorrect and racist to say such things, but we all know that political correctness, racism and sexism are invariably used to stop people hearing the truth, supposedly protecting weaker brethren.
I try to stay at home at weekends, not wanting to associate with the madding crowd that reminds me of how horribly overpopulated this country has become - and will become even more overpopulated if we remain in that dreadful Union. I can potter around at home; do some housework; catch up on items on the computer (even backing up items) and reading in the conservatory. Today it was yet again miserably cold and cloudy, the temperature barely reaching 14 C at noon, so it was well to be in the warm inside the house, gardening being impossible.
During the afternoon I saw thick black smoke that appeared to be coming out of "The Shed" in our community. For one moment I thought that the entire ugly edifice was on fire, its all-wooden structure soon be razed to the ground, thereby enabling a more suitable brick-built singe-storey house to be erected in its place. However, it was the owners having a bonfire, belatedly starting to do something to clear up the jungle of their garden.
The evening was spent reading more of "Breakdown". It is a harrowing book, explaining the incredible stupidity of our generals, especially Haigh and the unbelievably awful General Hubert Gough who dismissed a medical officer when he declared that a battalion of Lonsdales, having seen hundreds of their colleagues mown down the day before, were unfit to fight. The brainless general made them go into battle again, with enormous losses.
The author also recounts how we used the wrong kind of shells to break down the barbed-wire barriers of the Germans. Instead of deploying high-explosive shells, shrapnel shells were used that had no effect. Apparently 25-30% of the shells fired by the British Army were duds. Commenting on the hopeless battles, the author says, "The British and French generals had not yet learnt that it was useless to send human beings to go against machine guns and intense infantry fire, even after a night of softening up."
When it comes to leadership, the public schools with their cold showers and thugby, telling dim-witted boys that they are born leaders, do not seem to have much to crow about, especially in terms of the First World War and its embittered social relationships generated between men and officers. Fortunately, this country has become somewhat better with the lessening impact of public schools, though the Old Guard of the Establishment, seen in the Government Front-Bench, is still with us, still doing a great deal of harm.
SUNDAY 22 MAY
I mentioned in the diary last week that nothing ever seems to happen in Canada, whereupon I received an e-mail this morning saying: "Did you see on your news that we very nearly had a punch up in our House of Commons last Wednesday? I think we've got Westminster beat for excitement" I had forgotten that punch-up. It would not surprise me that if the Conservatives start fighting one another in the House of Commons if there is a joyous leave vote in the referendum. In any event, Mr. Cameron tells us that there is going to be a war if we leave, so we are in for an interesting time, probably not lasting much longer.
I find it very annoying that even if I do not switch on my upgraded mobile telephone for five days or so (and how I wish that I had not upgraded in order to use a Smart watch), the 300 mb allowance still goes down, usually about 15 mb during the 5-day period the phone is not used. I find this infuriating, meaning that I run out of the allowance after about 20 days, and as I refuse to buy more capacity I cannot thereafter use the Internet facility. Fortunately, I have had a Pay-as-you-go card put in my old mobile telephone, and this works far better than the new one, enabling me to use the new one only very occasionally. Moral: Never upgrade.
More flowers - tulips in the garden
Daughter Kate came to visit the old folks at home during the morning, which made for a pleasant interlude to the day. Afterwards I cleaned Mr. Copeland's car - a real suburban Sabbath Day activity, but not as bad as hanging out the washing on a Sunday.
Mrs. Copeland went to the local Club at 4 o'clock while I stayed home to cut the grass, which was probably a far healthier form of exercise than drinking several pints of beer that usually knocks out the rest of the Sabbath Day. The Club, which has a repairing lease in its contract with a local landowner, has to raise about £10,000 for a new roof, and some means therefore have to be found to raise such money for the essential repair. The problem is that the Club is privately owned and funding organisations will not usually make any awards with such ownership. A difficult issue, especially as the Club is an essential part of the social life of the community.
It was good to read that the Americans have "taken out" an Afghan Taliban leader in a drone air strike. None of these thugs is safe now, however, much they try to hide. Not such good news was the announcement that an excessive right-wing party could be taking over in Austria, giving further indications of the troubled state of the European Union. As Employment minister Priti Patel points out, "EU membership meant the UK was tied to a sinking ship and powerless to reach our own trade deals. Missed trading deals was costing the economy money, jobs and growth.
Meanwhile, our Prime Minister in leading the Remain group is becoming more and more ridiculous in his wild and irresponsible warnings, saying that prices will shoot up if we leave the EU. What an utter nonsense. Of more significance is the "Sunday Express" front-page headline saying "12m Turks say they will come to the UK," no doubt to be welcomed by our out-of-her-depth Home Secretary - "There's room on top."
The Out group that wants to free us from German control in the EU will be marking the 23rd of June as "Independence Day" if we are successful in getting out of the chaos - a day when we will regain our sovereignty, no longer having uncontrolled and unchecked immigrants flooding into the country, and no longer having all manner of tiresome rules and regulations that cramp our lives and progress. What a splendid day that will be. Free at last! Storm in the Channel - Continent isolated!
I still seem to be suffering from headaches, not bad ones, but just a background ache. I took my blood pressure again today and it was 141/84, so that seems to be all right. I begin to wonder whether the bottled water I have been drinking for the past three weeks could be cause of the trouble, taking it as I have been trying to cut down on alcohol consumption, usually having 7 bottles of wine a week. With all those impurities in the water, said to be 500 years old and probably with all manner of sheep-droppings in it, this could be the cause of the trouble. Either that or alcohol deficiency.
Another theory explained to me is that my regular quotidian intake of Zapain tablets (30 mg codeine phosphate and 500mg paracetemol) is actually causing me a headache because of an intake that is too large and too frequently. I take the tablets to ease the pain, but prolonged use of the tablets causes me headaches. It seems that I cannot win.
During the day, in between undertaking car cleaning and grass cutting, I finished reading "The Lie" by Helen Dunmore - a novel that Mrs. Copeland thought I would enjoy, and indeed I did, finding it a splendid book. Here I am now reading books written by women, obviously also becoming soft in my old age, though at least it means another prejudice has been dropped.
The evening was spent, after a duck dinner and a bottle of superb Eastern Australian "Storm Tree" Semillon Chardonnay wine, by reading some more of the harrowing book on shell shock during the First World War. The more I read of that terrible war, the more I learn how incredibly badly it was conducted by the British Army. Goodness knows what would have happened if the Americans had not joined in, thereby saving our bacon.
Bearing in mind the Americans also rescued us during the Second World War - a war that we could never have won on our own - we owe the Yanks a tremendous gratitude, and I continue to wish we had formulated better trade relationships with them instead of being involved in a Europe that is always fighting itself and with which we have no real identity. It seems a bitter irony that we declared war on Germany when Poland was invaded, yet at the end of the war we gave Poland to Russian domination. Fortunately, Russia fell apart, unable to keep up with America in defence expenditure.
MONDAY 23 MAY
It made me laugh out loud (LOL as they say on the Internet) to hear on the 8 o'clock news this morning that our Chancellor who has made such a mess of our economy has said that he has told the Treasury to say that "Leaving the European Union would tip the UK into a year-long recession and lower Britain's economic growth by 3.6%." Hopeless though these irresponsible comments are, you have to admire their deviousness, knowing that whether we stay in or leave we are going to have a deep and lasting recession next year in this country. I was reading today, for instance, that the UK has the biggest trade deficit in terms of GDP than any country in the world.
So what better excuse than for the Chancellor to blame the referendum and all the uncertainty that it has brought? As they say in French: "Chercher le motif", asking why these totally irresponsible frighteners are being made, namely because big business that Dodgy Dave & Co. support want the cheap immigrant labour, if illegal so much the better to pay even lower wages. It is as simple as that.
The worry is that a lot of people will believe all this nonsense as it comes from the Government - a Government whose leader puts his money into tax havens to escape income tax, and whose party is now being questioned about election expenses . Alas for democracy. It would still not surprise me if the Remain group warns that the weather will be far worse if we leave.
The claim has also been made by our spineless Chancellor that 820,000 jobs will be lost if we leave the EU, a figure that has no doubt been plucked out of the air as the Cameroons become more and more fearful that they may lose the referendum vote, still 44% for remaining and 40% to get the hell out of it, according to the latest poll of polls. . (I was surprised that the Chancellor did not say 820,205. How you have to laugh! What seems surprising is that there are hardly any comments from the sleeping Labour Party, zzz, zzz. Is the party still there?
You do not need to be an economist to drive a coach 'n' horses through the spurious arguments of the Remain group. Yes, the £ will fall along with house prices, but as I mentioned earlier, this is what is needed in what will be painful years of adaptation, having to negotiate trade agreement. As members of the Leave group have rightly maintained "Britain's trade policy is controlled by the EU. That means we are unable to sign bilateral agreements with countries such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, or for that matter any other non-EU country. Commonwealth countries such as India have been in talks with the EU about doing a trade deal since 2007 - to no avail."
Bearing in mind that we import many times more than we export to the EU, do the Remain group really believe that the EU countries will stop sending their goods to this lucrative country? Similarly, it is a nonsense to say, as one creepy-crawly NHS official has said, that the Service will greatly suffer if we leave. The truth is that we will not have to spend so many millions of pounds on unhealthy immigrants. With fewer immigrants - and this is the main point of the Leave campaign, wages in this country will probably rise - obviously a worry of the Remain group.
Significantly, David Cameron's former director of strategy has called for a vote to leave the EU, saying membership "makes Britain literally ungovernable". Steve Hilton, who was one of the PM's closest aides, attacked Brussels' "statism, corporatism and bureaucracy". In an article for the Daily Mail, he said the PM's "relatively modest" reform demands had received "arrogant and dismissive treatment".
After all the nonsense of the Remain frighteners, it also made me laugh to read in today's "Daily Mirror" the front-page headline: "Low-fat diet bad for your health - Experts say cutting back on meat, dairy and eggs is a disastrous mistake". The "Daily Express" has a similar headline. So common-sense at last has exerted itself, all those ridiculous frighteners, almost as bad as the nonsense the Treasury trots out on the referendum, having been found to be totally wrong - as most of us knew all along.
I think of my parents who ate meat and had dairy products in abundance, never worrying about a fat intake, mercifully never having heard of cholesterol - a word that became fashionable when the doctors learnt how to spell it, and they all lived to a ripe old age, my father to 95 years, and he died because of breaking his hip when dancing, the surgeons subsequently killing him off.
I continue to believe that I have managed to survive until 81 on account of eating plenty of red meat, full-cream milk, and loads of butter, whereas so many of my friends who took notice of the food frighteners and exercised, have nearly all gone, and at the age of 75. Admittedly, it is not just food intake that determines health. Other considerations are genes, environment, and work conditions. To put forward food as the main factor causing ill-health is a nonsense, and is now belatedly but not unexpectedly being seen as such, thank heavens.
A balanced diet is needed, which is presumably why so many vegetarians do not live so long, needing to have hip replacements. Interestingly, I saw that Her Majesty the Queen was reported in the press as deciding not to have knee replacements. At the age of 90, and even at 82, that is a wise precaution. In our village, three knee replacement saw two going seriously wrong, one leaving a woman crippled.
It was not so funny reading that an extreme right-wing political party calling itself "The Anti-Immigration Freedom Party" in Austria only narrowly lost out on being elected, indicating that the EU is frighteningly tearing itself apart as it struggles hopelessly with a massive army of immigrants, bringing about a massive wave of discontent that will no doubt spread to other countries. To think that if we leave the EU we will be well away from all those troubles, being able to restrict severely the numbers coming into this country from Europe.
The delights and wonders of Nature
In the morning's e-mails I had a notice of a petition relating to yet another cutback by our awful County Council, reminiscent of Viscount Grey saying in August 1914 that "the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our time":-
"In April 2016, Lincolnshire County Council started turning off the lights. 'Part-night' lighting was introduced, mainly in residential areas, where lights will turn on at dusk and turned off at midnight or even earlier. Lights are then switched off until morning. This was estimated to affect 38,000 street lights.
"This has already had a very negative impact on the people of Lincoln. The areas affected have been home to the young, the elderly and the vulnerable. The complete absence of street lighting has led to young people having panic attacks when trying to get home, elderly residents scared of the neighbourhoods they once felt safe in and the opportunity for crime increasing."
It seems outrageous that this disliked authority is cutting back in this manner when its officers and staff receive such enormous annual remuneration, the Leader of the Council "earning" £32,704 a year, while many of the officers are on 6-figure salaries, the Chief Executive receiving almost as much as the Prime Minister for running a tin-pot county.
In the day's post I had a communication from BT offering "BT Broadband free for 12 months". Bearing in mind that neighbours tell me that the reception on their broadband is only 0.8 mbps, and that on a good day, whereas my mobile broadband with "3", costing £10 a month, gives me a regular speed of 3.5 mbps, and for only £10 a month whereas BT would probably be nearly three times as much. So what is the point of changing, especially as I only use the Internet for this diary, e-mails, and looking up the BBC news website?
Apart from a brief visit to town it was a day at home, generally pottering around. I still do not feel all that well, having a feeling of nausea and a constant slight headache. Nevertheless, there is no point in visiting the doctor for there will not be a clue what is wrong with me, possibly being told to lose weight and cut down on alcohol, thereby making my life a misery.
Mrs. Copeland went out to have lunch with some female friends, so I had a prepared meal on my own - ham and baked potatoes, plus a half bottle of white wine. When Mrs. C. arrived home, I asked her whether the referendum had been mentioned, to which she replied that it had been, all the three women she was with wanting to remain in the Union. I gather that staying in is the option of most women nationally, which is presumably going to mean that, when it comes to the vote, we will have the disaster of remaining.
I continue to feel unwell, having nausea and a dull continuos headache. I felt so poorly in the early evening that I went to bed for an hour. Mrs. Copeland insists that I should visit the doctor, but there is absolutely no point in doing so. I will be told I have a virus if they do not know what it wrong - the most likely diagnosis, and if I have various tests I will be told I have an illness that cannot be cured. For all the good that such a consultation will do I might as well put a note out to the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
It seems that the design life of the body is threescore-years-and ten, as it says in the Bible. As it goes on to say in Psalm 90.v.10: "...and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow , so soon passeth away and we are gone." I was all right until the age of 70 years, but then afterwards everything started falling apart, my decline being greater than the present UK economy.
There are times when I think that the old witch doctors were more successful than the present medicine men in dealing with various maladies, especially stress that is now regarded as an illness rather than inadequacy. The witch doctor would dance round the sick member of the tribe a couple of times, put on a spell, and off would go the cured patient, mind over body, which is the basis of a lot of cures today, especially in terms of all those worthless vitamin pills and other useless pills of alternative medicine, which must be the biggest confidence trick since the South Sea Bubble.
At least it was good that the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, had the courage to stand up to the junior doctors who wanted office hours, 9-5 Monday to Friday. He has given in on one or two measures, but has managed to persuade the younger brethren that illness is a 7-day 24 hour business, so all credit to him for that. If Dodgy Dave had dealt with the strike he would have immediately given in.
There are times when find it difficult to believe in universal franchise and democracy. If there is a vote to remain, as looks increasingly likely as a result of the Government's totally misleading propaganda I will be broken hearted, having seen a wonderful opportunity to escape from all that muddle, migration and mischief being completely lost. The last chance saloon having been thrown away. Maybe we should have restricted voting to those with higher education or a professional qualification.
In terms of psychology and the referendum, it can probably be argued that women are more inclined to bow down to authority and accept discipline, presumably falsely believing that what the Government tells them three times is true, obviously not understanding the economics that clearly point to leaving, nearly every economist in the land taking this stance At least I will not be here to see all the chaos that will arise if we stay in, my days being strictly numbered now, and thank heavens for that.
On getting up in the evening, feeling a little better, I continued reading the book on shell shock during the First World War, reading the chapter on British soldiers being executed, even when the medical men has clearly identified shell shock. The author tells us that 438 soldiers were executed during that terrible war. Yet despite the thousands of deaths, soldiers being mown down by machine guns, the callous and stupid Haigh continued to insist on attacking the German well-fortified trenches.
If anybody needed to be shot it was Haigh with his callousness and lack of understanding of machine-gun warfare. Many of the other British generals were not much better, especially the incredibly stupid Gough who believed he was still fighting a bunch of savages rather than a well armed and disciplined German Army.
TUESDAY 24 MAY
Today is Empire Day, or rather what used to be Empire Day when children in schools sang patriotic songs about an empire upon which the sun never set. Today, according to people of a bent left-wing persuasion, the Empire has to be discredited and we have to be ashamed of ourselves for the exploitation. Yet can it be argued that some of the countries that have gained their independence, especially those in African countries with their cruel and tyrannical leaders, are any better?
Today's dear old "Daily Mail" has a front-page saying that "Conservative MPs are threatening to oust David Cameron as party leader over his handling of the EU referendum. Senior party figures are expecting him to name a date for his departure after the vote. MPs backing the Leave campaign are angry at the PM's use of a Treasury report on the possible economic impact of Brexit."
Cameron's hysteria regarding the referendum, ridiculously presenting all manner of absurd frighteners that have no economic credibility, has really been disgraceful, showing him in a very poor light as a leader - not that I have ever thought much of this spineless man who instantly gives in to any opposition. What is certain is that the Tory Party has torn itself apart over the referendum, and cannot henceforth be seen as a creditable government whatever the outcome of the vote.
Amazingly, "The Daily Torygraph" today says that old people are more likely to vote to remain in the EU, which is the very opposite to what I have found. The "Telegraph's" editorial must find themselves in a bit of a pickle, for the paper's inherent belief is to come out of the circus, yet it has to be loyal to the Cameroons. It is painful having to face both ways.
Today's "Daily Express" had a front-page warning: "EU threat to family life. UK mothers set to back Brexit over fears for children's safety."
During the morning I did some cobble-weeding at the front of the house, cutting back a bush, and watering the indoor plants - quite a busy day by retirement standards when we wonder how on earth we ever found time to go to work. At noon, I was invited to take wine with a neighbouring couple who are trying to sell their house, wanting to downsize in their old age. The wife was telling me that they have had only four visits from prospective buyers, one of them, on seeing the unbelievably ugly eco house that we call "The Shed" in our community, , said that they would not want to live in an areas with such a ghastly approach.
There is no doubt that this utterly horrible house had knocked several £s off the value of our houses, the ghastly structure looking like some overgrown shed or, as one visitor has said, a glorified warehouse. Perhaps not surprisingly, we have nothing to do with the aggressive residents, regarding them as persona non grata. They even hang out their washing on a Sunday, obviously indicating very different values.
The avenue of oaks showing the cow parsley in flower. Unfortunately, Mrs. Copeland is not at all keen on Anthriscus sylvestris, saying that it is enrcoaching in the garden.
I was greatly relieved that I felt so much better today, the headache gone. It makes me so thankful that I did not have a visit to the doctor, for I would no doubt have been given all manner of pills with terrible side-effects, probably having a brain scan to show that there was nothing there. I take the view that there should be an initial £10 charge for the first visit on seeing a doctor for an illness, to be paid by everybody over the age of 21 years. There is no reason why people on welfare benefits should be exempt, for most of them will have a mobile telephone and in all probability waste money each week on the National Lottery - that tax on the working classes.
As I tiresomely record in this diary, my old grandfather advised me to keep away from doctors, especially surgeons, bank managers, financial advisers and small-town solicitors if I wanted to have a good life, and it is wise advice that I have followed down the years, seldom going to see the doctor, knowing that there is nothing he can do for me.
During the evening I finished reading the book on shell shock in the First World War. A grim book, describing the appalling conduct of the war by our dim-witted generals. I have now made a start on a novel about the German occupation of Belarus - "Death Zones" by Simon Pasternak, published by Harvill Secker this year at £16,99, typeset in India by Thomson Digital pvtLtd, Noida, Delhi. I find it amazing that more and more of the books I buy are now typeset in India. What happened to our typesetting in this country?
WEDNESDAY 25 MAY
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the "UK could face an extra two years of austerity measures if it votes to leave the EU." There is no denying that contention, for if we have the good sense to leave that circus there will be a very painful period of adaptation as we renegotiate and realign trade deals, regain out manufacturing industries and build up our exports beyond Europe. People in this country will have to work a good deal harder and not live on credit, but these are correctives if we want to escape the humiliating domination by Germany, the undisputed and all-powerful master in the EU.
Meanwhile, I heard on the news this morning that the EU is pouring millions more of our money in the continuing bailout of Greece. Virgil warned about Greeks bearing gifts, whereas today we are among the countries that are giving gifts to that incompetent and profligate country that must be laughing all the way to the bank.
Although by this time in the week we have usually have had about five scam telephone calls, we have not had one so far. Just occasionally I like to tease the callers, invariably an Indian, giving completely wrong information, as we do with pollsters, trying hard not to laugh as the erroneous details are typed - aged 25 years, married three times, 4 children, on welfare benefits as unemployed, council house tenant, "Sun" reader, and holidays in Benidorm when I have saved up enough from the welfare. No doubt there will be a caller later this week, so I will give this information if I have a few spare moments from Mrs. Copeland's worksheet.
Pansies in the garden
That awful Home Secretary of ours who is so hopelessly out of her depth in dealing with immigration in this country, is now about to bugger up the Fire Service, insisting that more women must be appointed as firefighters. I had a friend who was in the fire service and who said that women were not strong enough to "man" the hoses, and were of only limited use in a fire, taking places of men who are more physically powerful to cope with the heavy equipment. I suppose the women y could drive the fire-engine and sit in the cab whilst the fires were raging, but why all this silly sexist nonsense, pretending that women are the same as men?
According to today's "Daily Torygraph" "Britain tops foreign aid spending league table". What an utter nonsense this is at a time when our National Health Service is in such dire straits, and when we have to endure appalling potholed roads, giving money away to corrupt politicians and bandits. It would be a Good Idea if we stopped all foreign aid.
As it was raining and so miserably cold at 9.2 C at 10.30 a.m., I decided it was far too cold and wet to go to town on the scooter to buy a paper . How I wish we could have some of that global warming those crazy climatologists are always talking about.
I was delighted to see that the "i" had a front-page headline saying: "Top brass fire off salvo for Brexit", arguing that the EU "is damaging Britain's ability to fight." One of the generals dismisses the EU as "being dominated by people who we do not elect, who we cannot throw out and who dictate many of the laws which govern us." An excellent summation, just as it is right for another general to have made the comment that the EU is "an unacceptable and illegitimate form of government." Amen to those sentiments.
Meanwhile, our pathetic Chancellor who is trying to blame his financial incompetence on the referendum, has been forced to admit that he has overshot his borrowing target by a massive £3.8 billion. And this is the arrogant little man who tells us that we are going into recession if we leave the EU! Obviously realising that he could lose his job, along with Cameron and the Governor of the Bank of England, if there is a decisive Leave vote, it is perhaps understandable that he is making the most ridiculous arguments for staying in, not any with an ounce of credibility.
There was the news on the BBC news website that "For the first time in this long election campaign, Republican Donald Trump has pulled ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls". I can see that the Americans have a very difficult choice in their election of the President: on the Republican side a rather wild man who can be quite frightening, wanting to keep Muslims out of America, and for the Democrats an untrustworthy woman who is not generally liked.
Without in any way wishing to be sexist, I would always vote for the man, having seen the disaster that overtook us in this country when we had a female Prime Minister, from whom we have still not fully recovered.
In the "i" there was a letter from somebody in Suffolk saying that "it is excellent news that the local council in North Yorkshire has approved an application for fracking development" the development taking place right near a village. I wonder if the little fellow would express similar sentiments if the fracking took place within a short distance of his house, ruining the environment for ever, and totally devaluing the price of his property. How easy it is to be joyful of other people's misfortunes.
In the evening we went to the first-rate "Venue" cinema in Lincoln, seeing the film "Dheepan". Oh, dear: it was unbelievably awful, but then it has to be admitted that foreign films with subtitles always lose something, the eye diverted to the rushed subtitle and often losing the plot, always supposing there is one. I managed to get to sleep after about 20 minutes, which was a great relief, but hardly a welll-spent evening. Mrs. C and I have accordingly resolved never to see any film with subtitles - a resolution we must really keep to if we do not want to waste our money and time.
There are times when I wonder whether reviewers actually see the films they are wiring about, possibly only looking at a special trailer put out by the film companies. This dreadful Dheepan film was given 4 out of 5 stars by one reviewer, who also gave similar marks for that dreadful "Highrise" film that was so mediocre, said to be funny when there was not a laugh in it. Still, the reviews can be useful if you take 1 or 2 stars to be excellent, and 4 or 5 dreadful. As we found years ago, this worked well with "The Sunday Times" reviews.
I find it difficult to understand how the Lincoln Film Society can show such a large proportion of foreign films with subtitles. However, it has to be admitted that the members of that esoteric Society are highly intelligent and cultured people with very big brains, unlike irks such as myself.
I thought yesterday that my headaches had cleared up and that I was better, but today they were back with a vengeance, making me feel as if I am failing faster than the UK economy. However, as mentioned earlier, there is no point in visiting the doctor, for he will not have a clue what is the matter, probably diagnosing a virus, or I need to diet and cut down on alcohol, thereby ruining my life.
Back home I read some more of the novel "Death Zones", which I am enjoying, reading about the barbarity of the invading Germans in Belarus.
THURSDAY 26 MAY
I was disheartened to see that the latest poll of polls on the BBC news website shows an increasing lead of the Remain in the European Union referendum, now amounting to 6 points over those of us who want to escape, though 18% have not made up their minds. I really cannot believe that we have this wonderful opportunity to free ourselves from all the chaos of the unelected Union, yet are about to lose the chance. It just seems beyond all reason and logic.
Over breakfast, when Mrs. C. and I were talking about the referendum, my spouse pointed out that there was neither the will nor the inclination for this country to set up on its own by withdrawing from Europe. Mrs. C suggested that this country, having become so indolent and indulgent, having incredibly poor productivity, overpaying itself with massive bonuses for incompetence, and living on credit, will find it difficult to manage on its own, having to work much harder and needing to invest money instead of handing it out to greedy shareholders. There's the rub, as old Hamlet would have said.
I have to admit that this is a very valid point, especially as the UK is going into a deep and lasting recession next year, when we will obviously need support from the IMF and possibly the European Central Bank if we remain in the Union. It would be a very painful period of adaptation, and the worry is that the lazy British people are not up to it. Another consideration is that if we leave and prevent the massive immigration from Europe, who is going to do all the dirty work? - and I don't mean banking. Presumably, though, we can still import from non-European countries.
Just over a month ago the County Council's Highways Department put down white lines at the edges of the road that has been narrowed in the village to prevent commuters rat-racing along the highway. As the road was closed for several days, the painting probably cost quite a lot of money. So what does the Highways Department subsequently do? It resurfaces the road, blotting out the white lines. There are times when I worry about that department, just as I generally worry about that authority
About a month ago the Highways Department painted white lines on the edges of the narrowed road that goes through part of our village, the aim being to persuade the rat-running commuters not to drive over the banks. It must have cost quite a lot of money, for the road was closed for several days to make the improvements. So what has the Highways Department subsequently done? It has resurfaced the road and obliterated the white lines! This was the County Council department that wanted us to cut the yew trees ruthlessly back to a wall, thereby killing them, and it was only because I and a lady in the village managed to mount a massive press campaign that stopped the environmental vandalism.
To show the harm that the proposed ruthless cutting back would have resulted in, a section was cut according to the proposals, leaving bare branches. I looked at the section today, seeing that there was no sign of growth, as we had been told by people who were obviously talking out of their ar*e. Maybe these are early days, but I am nevertheless so thankful that we took no notice of those ignorant people, especially as the hedge is over a century old. I still feel upset that our Parish Council, of which I am a member, readily gave in to the demands of the Highways Department, putting a note in the monthly Church Newsletter saying that we had to do as we were told. What nonsense, what timidity!
On the BBC news website there was the grim, utterly awful news that the latest figures published today showed that "immigration into this country rose to 333,000 in 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics." This figures represents the size of nearly four cities the size of Lincoln - every year. We just cannot go on like this, for already our public services, including our schools and the NHS, are unable to cope with population pressure. The net migration figure for EU citizens was 184,000 - a record number - this is the number we will be able to stop if we leave the chaos of the EU.
It is to be hoped that this latest figure will play a significant and major boost for the leave campaign, enabling us to control our borders again. As Nigel Farage so rightly said: "The numbers showed immigration was "out of control". Not surprisingly, the FTSE plunged on hearing the dreadful news.
Apart from a visit to town to purchase an "i", which is running an excellent daily review and explanation of the referendum, supposedly being unbiased (but how can you be unbiased?), it was a day at home. This evening, I will be watching a film with an elderly neighbour, sessions that we have on alternate Thursdays, which I always enjoy, especially as we have a little something until midnight, sometimes later.
I accept that the diary is far too long this week, amounting to 9,261 words. It's that blasted referendum that's getting me worked up, making me cry out with anguish to think that there are some people who want us to remain in that chaotic organisation that is tearing itself apart with immigration.
Lincoln 26th May, 2016
Diary of an Octogenarian
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