DIARY OF AN OCTOGENARIAN
- John Copeland -
Friday 25th September - Thursday 1st October, 2015.
I missed the eclipse, but took a photograph of the full moon a day later. I believe it is known as the "Harvest Moon."
"Nearly 100,000 children in England are living in temporary accommodation after being made homeless, new figures show. At the end of June, 66,980 individuals or families were registered as having no home of their own - an increase of 12% from the same date last year."
Life in Lax Britannica today: Report BBC News website, 24th September, 2015.
FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER
I greatly enjoyed the session at our local Club yesterday evening. At one stage I was talking to a retired rocket scientist about the UK economy, which prompted him to say without any nudging from me: "It's in a mess, isn't it! The Chancellor hasn't a clue." This is certainly true, yet the Government is not helped by the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) of the Bank of England, one of its members having said yesterday that interest rates should start being raised "to prevent inflation overshooting in two to three years' time."
What utter nonsense. Raising interest rates would enhance an already grossly overvalued £, causing a serious setback in our export trade, on which our living standards ultimately depend. When Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister his first job should be to take back the Bank of England to Treasury control, it being madness to have an independent central Bank. After that, another assignment, already agreed as policy, should be the re-nationalisation of the railways, followed by the abolition of all foreign aid.
The Club is looking really excellent now, especially with the splendid medley of furniture, nothing matching. Yet so many women love uniformity and those ghastly colour matching schemes that always look so dull and gloomy. There is no doubt that our excellent chairman and stewardess have done a grand job in making the Club a most welcoming and pleasant place. Goodness knows would happen if they left. In all probability the place would close down, nobody wanting to work these days, especially unsociable hours.
Whilst we were at the Club a thugby televised match was being shown, relayed to the large screen we use for showing films. I watched it for a few minutes, wanting to have a better understanding of this brutal and barbaric game, seeing one of the players head-bump an opponent in the chest, sending him flying.
Another player was punched on the nose, bleeding profusely. However, there were some really funny moments that had me bursting out laughing, especially when the players all jumped on one another, almost if a bag of sweets had been thrown onto the pitch. The players ended up in a great big heap, some of them struggling and wriggling to get out, others emerging with bloodied noses and dazed looks. There were also line-ups in which one of the players is thrown into the air by his colleague to catch the ball, usually ending up flat on his back, much to the amusement of the spectators.
It really was hilarious, making me realise that the game was redolent of ancient Roman times, when the spectators brayed for blood. On the other hand, there was, so I am told, a report on the BBC Panorama programme last night that research had shown that the game causes extensive brain damage. Bearing in mind that these big, burly players probably do not have many brain cells to start with, this could be a serious issue.
I liked the comment of a new member who has recently moved into the village, taking part in its social life, unlike so many of the miserable urban refugees who remain in ignominious isolation, making us wonder why they ever moved to our small village: "I think I'll take my wife home. She's been out long enough tonight!"
I found it awful that the chairman of a leading supermarket has warned that staff benefits would have to be cut if a living wage were to be introduced. We seem to be living back in the days of Speenhamland, when employers paid miserable wages that had to be supplemented by parish relief. When so many of these stores pay their chief executives an enormous amount of money, it surely behoves them to pay a living wage. This is something else that Mr Corbyn will need to look into, suggesting a very busy first year as Prime Minister.
It made me laugh that those fierce feminists, women who have difficulty formulating a relationship with a man, have complained bitterly that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that his successor could be a woman, but she "would have to look very, very attractive or be not much use." He is correct of course; however ridiculously "sexist" the remark may be, for the world is controlled by men, and if a woman was forced upon them they would no doubt much rather have one who is attractive than an ugly old harridan. If you ask me, these feminists are often not very pleasant people, so bitter and strident in their weird views.
I was amazed to read about the problem with Volkswagen diesel emissions. It seems that diesel cars are now generally going out of fashion on grounds that they cause far more pollution than petrol engines. Throughout my driving days I have always bought a petrol-engined car, regarding them as being quieter, if not so efficient in terms of miles per gallon. Presumably this latest problem is going to devalue the prices of Volkswagon cars around the world.
I mentioned last week that I was very disappointed that a delightful emporium I used in the past for kindling wood had closed down. Luckily, I have found an alternative source for the kindling wood, which was delivered promptly this morning - 10 sacks @ £3. The new supply seems even better than the earlier supplies, so some things work out for the best.
I now have to order some more coal for the winter, no doubt finding it has gone up in price. When a load was delivered earlier this year, the coalman told me that the last coalmine in Yorkshire, from whence my coal came, will be closing at the end of the year, all future supplies coming from abroad, possibly from Columbia.
I suppose this makes some sense to our Government in their single-column bookkeeping, scant regard being paid to a whole community being put out of work, involving the payment of massive welfare benefits, thereby cancelling out the cost-saving benefits of the cheaper imports. Arthur Scargill was obviously right in predicting that a Conservative Government would shut all our coal mines.
In the construction of "Mon Strosity", the ugly eco house now being built in our historic community , wooden planks have been put on the outer walls as cladding. As one of our neighbours has said, it looks like a big box. I find it amazing that anybody could want to live in such a dark and depressing house, totally soulless.
"Mon Strosity", the unsuitable and unpleasant eco house being built in our community, has had wooden planks put on the outside as cladding, as shown in the photograph. Seeing this cladding, one of our neighbours said that the ugly house looked like a big wooden box, presumably resembling something out of the Wild West. Another comment was made that in a different location, in its own grounds, the so-called "eco" house might be acceptable, but not in a restricted site in which the main windows and doors lead onto a balcony that looks straight into the sitting room of a neighbouring property a few feet away, giving no privacy. The house is also surrounded by tall trees on three sides, taking away the light. How that was allowed on appeal seems amazing, suggesting that the Inspector allowing the appeal had scant regard for local planning rules and regulations, and certainly no concern for the environment.
Our local weekly newspaper had a front-page headline this week saying that 200 Syrians would be coming to reside in Lincolnshire. Where, it might be asked, will they live and how will they find employment, there being the worry that, as most of them are Muslims, they will never integrate. At least Lincoln City Council has recently given approval for a massive mosque in the heart of the city, so at least they will have somewhere to pray. I certainly do not want them in Lincoln, and my guess is that most people share my view.
I was rather concerned to see an article in yesterday's "i" alleging that AGV, the anti-virus protector I use, sells personal details of its customers, something known as "data flogging". The accusation relates to the free software, but presumably the paid version I use, costing £39.99 this year, could also indulge in this flogging. It annoyed me to receive an e-mail from AGV saying that the debit card I used to pay last year would be used again this year, a form of diabolical direct debit which I cannot accept. I think I will change my card when I make a payment this year. At least I have found the programme quite good, never having suffered from any virus, all of them being stopped at source.
Apart from the visit to a Post office to pay for the Scorpio licence and to buy an "i", it was a day at home. During the day I worked in the garden undertaking a general clearing up in preparation for winter. The evening was spent reading some more of the excellent book on the Ardennes, which I am greatly enjoying.
There is no doubt that the author, along with most other historians, has a poor opinion of the loathsome Montgomery. Following his failure to appreciate the importance of Antwerp as a supply port for the allies, and his complete cock-up at Arnem, he was equally useless in the Ardennes, being far too cautious to attack the Germans, causing immense trouble to Eisenhower with his arrogance and conceit. Indeed, after one confrontation with the nasty little man, Eisenhower said that Montgomery upset him more than the Germans. Not surprisingly, Montgomery was loathed by the Americans, Patton describing him as "a tired little shit. War requires the taking of risks and he won't take them."
I liked comments made by a correspondent in an e-mail on last week's entries in which I mentioned that I can go upstairs to fetch something, and then forget what I have gone up to get. "This is called the CRS syndrome - can't remember sh*t." And: "Early to bed, early to rise, and your girl goes out with the other guys."
The FTSE rose by 147 points today, taking the index to 6,109. It began the year at 6,566. A fool's paradise, you might say. Apparently the rise today was due to growing confidence in the American economy, now having an annual growth of 3.5% and rising. With problems in China, America remains the world's leader, and in my view always will be.
SATURDAY 26 SEPTEMBER
I heard on the 8 o'clock news on Radio 3 that an RAF officer in uniform had to be moved away from other patients in an Accident & Emergency ward because his uniform might cause offence.. This really does seem pathetic, for these crazy people who complain about a uniform are presumably the successors of those appeasers in the Second World War who wanted an agreement with Hitler.
These appeasers would be living a very different lifestyle today were it not for men in uniforms having protected them in the past. Silly Billies, who do no credit to this country, sometimes making me wonder what has gone so badly wrong with the nation. The sooner this Government abolishes the Human Rights legislation the better we will all be, replacing it with Human Responsibilities.
Mrs. Copeland went to Waitrose for the week's provisions during the morning, seeing a villager there with his wife, obviously representing splendid togetherness. On these dual excursions the wife is usually the sorter and the husband the pusher. For my part I never go with Mrs. C. to these outings; indeed, she would not want me to accompany her, saying we would end up with far too much alcohol. As it is, I think it is better for the women to go on their own. Somehow for my generation it does not seem right seeing a man pushing a trolley, but I suppose different values prevail today, not always for the better if you ask me.
I quite like the revamped "i" on a Saturday, having a double page illustrating the events of the week. The only problem with the paper throughout the week is there is far too much sport, all 10 pages of it, and I therefore fully agree with a letter in the newspaper today pleading for fewer pages. of sport. There are only 4 pages on business, whereas for most intelligent people the presentation should be the other way round, particularly for elderly readers who are in all probability not the slightest bit interested in thugby or football.
Mrs. Copeland brought home a free copy of "The Times", but I only looked at the section on the book reviews, seeing a book I would like to buy: "The Maisky Diaries" of the Russian Ambassador to this country during the period 1932-1943. According to the reviewer, the Russians tried to formulate a friendship with that unbelievably silly man Chamberlain, but he was not interested, subsequently driving the Russians initially into the hands of the Germans. However, I have spent far too much on books so far this year, close on £950, and I will have to ease off further purchases for the next two months, maybe persuading a member of the family to buy me the book for Christmas..
There is no doubt, though, that books - and I mean hardbacks, never those awful paperbacks and certainly not the cramped e-book presentations having to look at a tiny screen - represent my greatest joy in life, much preferring to read of an evening rather than watch the rubbish on the idiot's lantern. As I will not have spent so much as a penny on any holiday this year, perhaps I can therefore justify the book expenditure.
In the post the item I had ordered on eBay on the 30th August at last arrived. The last anticipated delivery date was the 21st September, and when I had not received it on the 24th I began to think that it must have gone astray, having received no response in an e-mail to the seller, but obviously I should have allowed more time for the postal service, especially as it was undertaken by Royal Mail. Even when we are sending birthday cards to friends and relatives out of the county we nowadays have to allow two days for delivery, even with a first class stamp. Before privatisation, the morning mail arrived no later than 9 a.m.; today, under privatisation, we are fortunate to receive the mail by 1 p.m.
So all is well again, there being no fault attached to eBay. Mrs. C. told me that I should not be so impatient. My apologies have obviously been expressed to the seller. We all get things wrong, as the hedgehog said as he got off the scrubbing brush. Even so, I do not think I want to order any more items from eBay. Maybe I am just too old.
The party from our local Club that visited the micro-brewery "The Pheasantry" today, travelling in a coach dating from 1938, the only one of its type still in existence. I'm the one wearing a tie. Photograph courtesy of Mrs. Lisseman.
During a morning of glorious sunshine I rode in to Lincoln to purchase rump steak for Sunday's dinner, buying the meat from the family butcher we always use. There is all that nonsense about red meat being bad for you, yet when I see those pale and pasty vegetarians, lacking protean and consequently looking like death warmed up on eating dry pastas and lettuces all the time, I am not convinced about their logic. Meat is frequently mentioned in the Bible, and I would rather take more notice of God than those daft dieticians, most of whom should be banned.
At 2 p.m. Mrs. Copeland and I set off by a coach dating from 1938, built in 1940, the only one of its kind in existence - a wonderful specimen of those days gone by, so full of character, albeit not very efficient, whereas the modern vehicles are efficient and soulless - a bit like those hateful eco houses. This was a Club outing to a micro-brewery named "The Pheasantry," where we were shown the production process, sampling some of the splendid beer, and having lunch afterwards. I particularly like a very dark bitter, almost a mild, called D.A. A fascinating visit, and all thanks to the splendid talk by the owner, and to our chairman and stewardess for arranging it.
On our return, arriving back at the Club about 5.30 p.m. we had another drink, but Mrs. C and I did not stay on until 8 o'clock to watch the thugby match between England and Wales. I had had enough merriment for one day, not wanting to see players jumping on one another, so we went home.
After a light meal, I finished reading "Ardennes 1944" in the evening, a first-rate account that I greatly enjoyed, Mr. Beevor being a fine writer - scholarship combined with a pleasant writing style, complete with a touch of humour. I have made a start on "Churchill's First War - Young Winston and the fight against the Taliban" by Con Coughlin. It seems amazing that we are still fighting the Taliban, or rather were before we recently had to withdraw from Afghanistan, tails between our legs.
SUNDAY 27 SEPTEMBER
Mrs. Copeland went to the Harvest service at the local church this morning, but I stayed at home. I also avoided the Brunch at the Club after the service, not going to the Club until 3.30 p.m. by which time all the worshippers had departed. According to Mrs. C, there were 20 in the congregation, plus 9 in the choir, which is quite a good number for the church in these secular days.
On my own at home during the morning, I undertook some household cleaning, and then sorted out some of the photographs for this diary. As I have mentioned before, having mentioned most things before in this repetitive diary, I find it difficult to find the 8 photographs each week, not going very far these days, being too old to venture many miles away from home.
One of the appliances at "The Pheasantry" that we visited yesterday. The beer is splendid, especially the "Best Bitter" and thedark "D.A."
A friend sent me an entry on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=LPjzfGChGIE&feature=player_embedded, dealing with immigration, a lecturer saying that immigration solves no problems. Nearly always, the immigrants are the better educated and can afford to emigrate, leaving behind a country that becomes even worse on their departure. Help therefore needs to be devoted to improving conditions in those impoverished countries. I suppose, though, that there are somewhat different issues with refugees.
Mrs. C. and I went to the Club at lunch time, enjoying some more alcohol. Amazingly, we were able to sit outside in the glorious sunshine, the temperature just on 20 C. I was told recently that an "Indian Summer" does not occur in this country until October. Not many people know that.
Back home, we had excellent rump steak for dinner, and then in the evening I read some of "Churchill's First War." In the opening chapter, the author comments, explaining that the Taliban were known in those days as the "Talib-ul-ilmsusually referred to as the "Talibs": "In Churchill's view they were regarded 'as degraded a race as any on the fringe of humanity: fierce as a tiger, but less cleanly; as dangerous, not so graceful'"
Churchill was repelled by the Talibs' loose moral conduct, though he took no notice of the immorality back home in Edwardian times. "They lived free at the expense of other people and, more than this, they enjoy a sort of 'droit de seigneur ', and no man's wife or daughter is safe from them. Of some of their manners and morals it is impossible to write." Churchill regarded the Talibs as being responsible for the backward nature of Afghanistan, which is still the case today.
MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER
On the news I heard that the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell will say at the Labour Party Conference this week that a future Labour Government would impose a "Robin Hood" tax on stock market trading, which seems to be an excellent idea. If people can afford to gamble on the stock market, alternating between greed and fear, they are obviously well off, and could therefore afford to pay higher taxes to support our ailing public services.
I am basically a Conservative supporter, but I do not like the extreme right-wing mob that is now attacking the BBC and the National Health Service, while making life more difficult and unpleasant for the sick and the poor. The gap between rich and poor is becoming far too great with the immoral salaries and bonuses of the spivs in suits, and there needs to be an adjustment, the pendulum moving back towards a fairer society, as Mr. Corbyn has so rightly indicated.
What is so surprising with the Cameroons is that they are showing themselves to be even worse than the Socialists in the management of the country's financial affairs, getting more into debt, and the prospect of a balanced Budget becoming as likely as the England thugby team winning the World Cup. Whatever is said, the Shadow Chancellor is a definite improvement than the smug, self-satisfied one that we have now have to endure.
As might be expected, the very biased "Daily Telegraph", usually known as the "Daily Torygraph" , apparently believing that the sun shines out of the Prime Minister's posterior, has a front-page headline today: "Corbyn and comrades reveal plot to hammer middle-class with tax raid." A serious and well balanced newspaper is one that is defined as separating news from opinion, which the "Torygrah" in its hateful right-wing prejudice, blatantly fails to achieve.
What upsets me so much is that the middle class fraternity who read this biased newspaper will condemn "social security scroungers" at the same time as they fiddle their tax returns. And the pages suggest a readership that is obsessed with money; boasts about the rising price of their house; are ridiculously concerned about their health, going on diets when much of the world is starving, and bore people with their lavish foreign holidays.
In the past there have been notices in post offices asking for people known to be cheating on the welfare benefits to be reported on a given telephone number. Why weren't there also notices about reporting known tax evaders?
Matthew Arnold, when referring to the newspaper, wrote about "Telgraphese", saying that it represented the "philistinism of the middle classes", and this is even truer today of a paper that, in its relentless bias, masquerades as a serious journal Presumably it is thought to be very funny and clever to describe Mr. Corbyn's colleagues as "comrades". Perhaps the "Guardian" should refer to Mr. Cameron and "Fascists", which would be equally absurd.
I gather that the English thugby team lost to the Welsh last Saturday, and that if they lose one more game they will be out of the tournament, presumably no better than our football team. Yet I read a piece by a journalist last week, saying our victory in the tournament was assured. How you have to laugh at such hubris! Maybe it is patriotic to support the team, but then as Dr. Johnson said: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel".
It is going to be interesting to see how the FTSE shapes up this week, and I wonder how many scam telephone calls we will receive during the next seven days. One other nuisance that we have to face is these customer "feedback" requests from all manner of firms and organisations: "Tell us how well we did and win £100." Mrs. C. recently had a call from the NHS asking her if she was satisfied with the service provided. What is the utter point of such a survey, for nothing will ever be done to improve matters.
Although these feedbacks may give the impression of customer care, the real purpose is to gain personal details of the person completing the survey - information that can then be sold on to other firms and organisation. It is better to have nothing to do with them. Why the hard-pressed NHS undertakes these surveys is a mystery, especially as staff are obviously employed to undertake the work.
The engine on the 1938 coach shown earlier.
To town in the morning on yet another wonderfully sunny day, the rest of the day being spent at home, having a lower productivity than a British worker. From time to time I have spells of active work, usually followed by a more lengthy period in which I enjoy the concept of manana. Such is life in retirement.
On my Facebook there has mercifully been a discussion on a serious subject - namely, the problems in retirement, rather than me having to relate what I had for breakfast. One of the lady contributors wrote: "My husband is going to retire shortly and I couldn't imagine spending all of our time together." It is a difficult issue, deciding how a couple, both retired, are going to spend their time having been thrown together all day long, no doubt for the first time in their married lives.
Possibly not surprisingly, couples often quarrel on holiday, finding no escape from one another, and Christmas is a traditional time for divorcing. Essentially, as I have mentioned before (having mentioned most things before) it is a time for getting the balance right, between smothering togetherness, virtually joined at the hip, and leading lives that are too separate.
I suppose Mrs. C. and I veer towards separate lives, going our individual ways during the mornings and afternoons, coming together for lunch at 1 p.m., and having all the evenings together, usually going out about twice a week. That, for us, seems to work out well. If we had a smothering togetherness, as some couples in the village endure, I would have to build a shed to escape into.
A siesta in the afternoon. At 3.45 p.m. I had my first telephone scam of the week, the number coming up on the caller display as 019789575940. Thinking it was a real number I unwisely answered the telephone, not having kept the answerphone on as I had been advised, only to hear an Indian voice saying that a virus had been identified on my computer.
I have had this scam many times before, involving an attempt being made to put a virus on my computer, for which a charge is made to take it off, somewhere in the region of £56, I am told. Nasty stuff. I will not repeat in this diary the words I used in my anger to tell the little crook just what I thought of him, after which he immediately rang off. Other scam numbers that are used are: 02031577156 and 0125554810.
In the evening I read some more of the interesting book "Churchill's First War". The author makes the point, having commented on the failure of the British in the two wars in Afghanistan in the 19th century: "The British had learned a harsh lesson, one that is as valid today as it was in the 1840s: the Afghans do not take kindly to being bullied by foreign powers...The British were no match for the Afghans' guerrilla-style tactics. Only rarely did the Afghans engage the British in set-piece battles. For the rest of the time they played a clever waiting game, watching for any sign of weakness before launching a deadly attack."
As Churchill commented when he fought on the North-West frontier, the British were at a great disadvantage because they were fighting "an active enterprising enemy that can move faster and shoot better , who knows the country and who knows the ranges." President George Bush and our politicians should have read the history of Afghanistan, learning about the two failed wars of the British, and the terrible failure of the invading Russians. We might therefore not have come out of the country, tail between our legs, the Taliban victorious.
The FTSE plummeted -150 points today.
Before going to bed I had a shower, washing my hair with a shampoo I bought yesterday - "Herbal Essences" by Procter & Gamble. Inadvertently and unfortunately, some of the shampoo went into my eyes, resulting in an agonising pain. Over the years I have used all manner of shampoos, but have never had such pain and discomfort if any entered my eyes. I quickly bathed them, but it made no difference, the eyes becoming inflamed and incredibly painful, and further bathing later on brought no lessening of the pain. I suppose I should have not let the shampoo get into my eyes. Nevertheless, I threw the bottle away.
TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
My eyes as a result of getting that shampoo in my eyes were still inflamed and sore this morning; indeed, I cannot recall ever having been in such pain in my eyes. Obviously I must ask Mrs. Copeland to buy me a shampoo in future.
It seems that the "Daily Telegraph" is becoming increasingly hysterical about Mr Corbyn having become leader of the Labour Party. The fear is propounded by a realisation that the UK is now assuredly returning to recession, manufacturing, construction and the service industries having all fallen back in August, along with a sharp decline and an ever weakening productivity. It could therefore be argued that the recession began last month, admittedly much earlier than I had forecast, having believed the decline would come in the Spring of next year.
The worry for the Cameroons et al is that this weakening economy, seeing thousands being thrown out of employment, is going to ruin the electoral chances of the party in 2020, thereby bringing in Mr. Corbyn and his gang as a last hope. That seems unlikely now, but who would have thought a year ago that China would be in such serious difficulties today?
The problem for the Tories is that the Prime Minister, having panicked when Labour was leading in the opinion polls last year, promised not to raise taxes during his administration. Raising taxation, rather than fiddling around with interest rates in an international market, is the only effective way to deal with our present ailing economy in which rising consumer expenditure, encouraged by absurdly low interest rates, is bringing in a flood of imported goods now that we make hardly anything, while the housing market is getting out of control. Alas, the P.M. shot himself in both feet.
Although essentially a Conservative supporter, I was most impressed with Mr. Corbyn's fine speech, certainly the best speech I have ever heard at a Party Conference - dignified, cultured and highly intelligent. Belatedly, I begin to realise why the Cameroons, faced with a declining economy, are so worried about his election as party leader.
The chimney sweep came this morning to clear the chimney in the parlour, also one of the neigbhours who also has a living fire, plus another with a log-burning stove. He was advising me that there would be no benefit for me to have a log-burner. It might be more efficient, but it would not save much labour. In future, with the closure of the Yorkshire coalmine that supplied my coal, future supplies will be coming from Columbia, and as this is "dirty coal", he advised me to have the chimney swept twice a year, which seems a sensible precaution. The cost today was £35.
It seems incredible that, despite all the coal we still have in this country, we have to import this inferior coal, but then that was the littleshopkeeper economics of Thatcher the Terrible, who believed that service industries were more important than manufacturing. It was a disastrous policy, from which we are still suffering, especially in terms of her vendetta against the miners.
"County News", the publication of the Lincolnshire County Council was delivered in the post today. Amidst all the trumpet blowing, there was at least the good news that the authority has cut back by £129m since 2011, and fortunately it has to reduce its annual spending by £130m this year. The services offered are appalling, especially the potholed roads that are making it increasingly dangerous to use my scooter; we never see the police; and I gather that Social Services are a joke.
Rather than cut back on services, it might be an idea if all remuneration, other than travelling expenses, were taken away from the councillors, thereby ensuring that they gave their services free, as was the case before the Re-organisation of Local Government on April Fool's Day, 1974. I receive no payment for my services on the Parish Council, so why do the county and district councillors need payment?
After a fairly relaxing morning, I listened to the speech of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour Party Conference. As I frequently mention, in all my years I have been a Conservative supporter, and over those years I have listened to many of the speeches of the party leaders at their conferences, but never have I heard such a superb speech as this one - dignified, intelligent, and cultured, and apparently without any notes.
By any measure, whatever one's politics, it was a magnificent speech, belatedly making me realise why Mr. Corbyn was elected: a fine, caring man, who understandably wants to pull the pendulum away from the Cameroon's uncaring, profit-motivated society in which there is the survival of the slickest. The press has tried to present a bitterly divided party, but there was no evidence of any disunity during the speech. There was even a standing ovation in the middle of the speech - something I have never seen before.
Of course, the hateful right-wing media will argue that this unification was all a pretend farce, but we all know the mischief and the mayhem the press cause, as we saw recently with the prosecution of the Murdoch press for telephone tapping. Fortunately, the "i", although obviously left of centre in its political persuasion, never allows any prejudice to appear in the reporting, such bias being restricted to the letters page. This must be unique in British journalism today, especially of the irresponsible gutter press.
Mr. Corbyn can no doubt he criticised for giving no indication in his speech on how he is going to solve Britain's acute financial problems, though I suppose it can be argued that the economic decline of this country has reached such an extent that it has overshot any political solution.
It is, of course, dangerous and unwise to base political affinity and loyalty on hearing a single speech. Words come easily; the achievement is difficult. But if tomorrow's hatefully biased "Daily Telegraph" condemns the speech, we will know that the Tory Party is most assuredly worried that, at long last, after so many failures, the Labour Party has found an inspiring leader. If he carries on in this superb style, he will certainly have my vote at the next election.
At 5 p.m. I had my toenails cut by an itinerant "Foot Health Practitioner" (£20), and then at 7.30 p.m. I went to the meeting of the Parish Council at our local Club that lasted until 9 o'clock. Although I have attended only two meetings, I begin to realise that it was a dreadful mistake to return as a councillor, for everything has changed, and certainly not for the better, since the 10 years I was chairman back in the 1990s. Those were the days when meetings only lasted an hour.
Today the meetings are dominated by bureaucracy, and are about as enjoyable as a Methodist Convention. Admittedly, in my years as chairman we did not have the massive housing estate on the western edge of the village, now having well over 410 houses and growing every year with ever more properties being crowded in. The estate should have been set up as a separate entity, having its own parish council, but requests to make the changes were refused.
For all the words that are spoken and all those written, what benefit are there for the village?
It is almost as if the council's proceedings are a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland, nothing ever really being achieved, a mere talking shop and a sop to democracy. For example, the council is asked to make comments on the "Lincolnshire Draft Local Plan" that proposes to build thousands of houses in a county that lacks good communications; has precious few employment opportunities, and has public services that are already overcrowded, taking a week to see a doctor - if you are lucky.
We all know, even those of a Panglossian bent, that not the slightest notice will be taken of any views the council puts forward on the Plan. Come what may, especially as there has been a Government directive on the required number of houses, the proposals will go ahead, in all probability as accommodation for the swarms of immigrants pouring into the country and county, creating slums for the future.
Similarly, the "Neighbourhood Plan" for all its hopes and aspirations will amount to nothing, a total waste of time, especially as we are all likely to be NIMBYS, not wanting any further development in the bailiwick. What is going to be said: that we do not want any more houses, or possibly saying we want all manner of services. It is a futile exercise, and should be seen as such.
I therefore begin to think that I will not be able to endure many more meetings, regarding them as a complete waste of time, except for having advance warning of what other local authorities are going to do TO us, rather than FOR us. It makes me wonder how the district and county councillors can endure all the multitude of meetings they attend, spending hour after hour in discussions that probably lead nowhere. I greatly admire them, for we need such people, not people like myself with a low threshold of boredom.
During the evening's discussions, a member of the public said that three defibrillators were being installed in the Leisure Centre in the village, and it was suggested that it would be helpful and a good idea to have one actually within the village. I can understand that it makes sense to have these appliances in a centre where trained staff are readily on hand to deal with immediately with a casualty, but in the village the sick person would presumably have to be in the right place at the right time with a trained volunteer readily on hand. The chances of that coming together might seem remote. Even so, I suppose it seems a worthy idea, especially as we are an ageing population in the bailiwick, some of us not looking too well, not firing on all four cylinders.
I had another scam telephone call today, the second so far this week. This was from a false number I often receive: 009789575940, which I did pick up as the answerphone was on, as recommended. . Dialling the number afterwards, a recorded message came up: "The number you have dialled has not been recognised," clearly indicating a scam. We usually have about 6 of these calls a week, all of which are instantly rejected when a false number comes up on the caller display
WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER
I could not access my Facebook today, finding that for some reason it had been blocked, and apparently there is no way of getting in touch with a helpline, there being no telephone number. The "Help" page is not very helpful, going on all the time about resetting the password. I can access the Facebook on Mrs. Copeland's computer, but not on mine, suggesting that there is a fault on mine, but I know not what. Computers: don't you just love them!
I was not surprised to see that the "Daily Telegraph" had a headline saying "New policies, old speech", showing an unpleasant photograph of Mr. Corbyn making his excellent speech to the Labour Conference, illustrating just how biased and silly the media can be. The newspaper, if that is what the philistine journal can be called, should have reported the speech on the front page, and then made comments on it in any editorial or article. A paper that is so prejudiced with its extreme right-wing political views, devoid of reason and judgement, is not worth reading, making me so glad I read the more balanced "i" - and well over £1 cheaper.
At least it was good to learn today that a firm has been handed a record fine for nuisance calls after making more than six million automated calls in a solar panel marketing campaign.
This was a firm based in this country, but I suppose it is almost impossible to stop the nuisance calls from India. These calls, as I was saying earlier, are a real nuisance, having already had two so far this week.
Togetherness. I enjoyed the discussion on retirement in my Facebook.
There was yet another report in today's "i" saying that calcium supplements were a waste of money, research having shown that the tablets had very little benefit. This presumably applies to all supplements, yet 1 in 3 adults take them. I take vitamin D tablets, which I am belatedly beginning to realise are a waste of time at my stage of life.
A somewhat quiet and interesting morning and afternoon. In the evening Mrs. C and I went to the splendid "Venue" cinema to se the film "Gemma Bovary" We both greatly enjoyed the French film, even though it had subtitles that I dislike so much! The film showed how the French protected their environment from the ravages of farmers and developers, whereas in this country we do not care a hoot for the countryside or our heritage, as shown by the ghastly eco house being built in our historic community.
The French also protect their industries, including their public services, not selling them off to foreigners as we do. I cannot say I like the French all that much, disliking that old womanly language, yet I have to admire their lifestyle, especially an economy with a greater productivity than our appalling level, the French even having manufacturing industries instead of our fickle service industries.
France has an area of 551,500 sq. miles and a population of 63m, whereas we have less than half of that area at 243,122 sq. miles and also a population of 63m, explaining why we are so grossly overcrowded. Even so, the French have the good sense to send immigrants over to this country for the welfare benefits.
I greatly enjoyed the representation of a vulgar English couple who had bought a cottage in France, wanting to change it into the philistinism style of their property back home, never being prepared to accept the French customs and way of life. No wonder the French hate these Englishmen who move into their country, distorting property prices.
The FTSE, having been down -150 earlier in the week, was up +152 points today. Market manipulation at its worst.
THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER
In an earlier entry I mentioned that I believed that the latest recession in this country - one that will be far more severe and longer lasting than the one we have just had - started last August. Today there was further evidence of this happening, the Confederation of What's Left of British Industry saying that "growth in Britain's private sector slowed in the three months to September as the manufacturing sector stagnated for the first time in more than two years. The findings support the view that Britain's economy will grow by less in the third quarter than in the second as sluggishness in the construction and retail sector, as well as manufacturing, take their toll."
In other words, once again you read it here first, the latest statistics having endorsed all the comments I have made over the past few weeks about a declining economy. Although I realise that many readers are not interested in economics, I nevertheless enjoy studying the dismal science, especially recessions, the subject having become one of my absorbing interests, obviously dating back to the days in the 1950s when I studied for a degree in economics at the London School of Economics. I fear, therefore, that there will be a lot of entries relating to this new recession in the months ahead. Perhaps I can put marker against economics issues.
Significantly, the female head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that there is a "marked slowdown... that will cut global growth to its lowest level since the deep depression of 2005." It makes me so thankful that I am no longer in employment, not knowing from one month to the next whether I would keep my job. In retirement I am relatively well protected from yet another recession, though there is a very real possibility that the Cameroons will bring in another Geddes Act, cutting state pensions. They have already raised the retirement age, and it will be but a short step to cut old age pensions, especially as the Tories have never liked unproductive geriatrics such as myself.
The glory of books. Our house will soon look like this as we are running out of shelving, no more space available.
The Clerk of the Parish Council today sent dates of the public consultation meetings on the Central Lincolnshire Plan, 2017-2031. I will not be attending the local meeting, taking the view that not the slightest notice will be taken of anything that is suggested at the gatherings. As mentioned earlier, the Plan, essentially a Government directive on more housing, proposes to build thousands of new homes in an area that lacks employment opportunities, has poor communications, and already finds its public services grossly overloaded. Presumably a lot of the houses will be for immigrants, or for English people escaping from the unpleasantly overcrowded south-east.
I gather that there has been a great deal of dispute, at least according to the "Daily Torygraph", in the debate in the Labour Party about our defence commitments, Mr, Corbyn arguing that we do not need the massive expense of Trident. I think I tend to agree with him, for I cannot believe that any insurgents would ever want to attack this broken down country - a nation that will become even more insignificant and worthless if we leave the European Union, becoming another Switzerland. The real danger as I see it, is the Muslim contingent within the country, expanding every year.
It seems that I am going through a period when elderly equipment is breaking down, a bit like myself. A printer calculator - a Casio- that I have had for about 20 years, has given up the ghost, printing gobbledegook, rather like the "Daily Torygraph", so today I had to replace it at Staples £27.99.
The rest of the day was spent quietly at home. This evening I will be watching a DVD of a film with an elderly neighbour, after which we will have discussions with a little something - sessions that I always enjoy, most of them going on until midnight.
Lincolnshire 1st October, 2015
Diary of an Octogenarian
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