Showing posts from May, 2015

Patriotism v. Nationalism

I regard myself as a British patriot because I love my country, not because I hate anyone else's or regard mine as superior. I'm currently trying to memorise a piece of masonic ritual which includes an encouragement of allegiance to one's native land with the words "ever remembering that nature has implanted in your breast a sacred and indissoluble attachment towards that country whence you derived your birth and infant nurture." In other words the authors of that passage believed it right and natural that, say, a Frenchman should love France, that an American should love America or a Pole love Poland, and that - the key point - none of these feelings is inimical to the others. That, to me is the difference between Patriotism and Nationalism. I have never heard of or met any nationalist movement which did not at least to some extent define itself by what it was not, and by reference to those who were not "one of us" as well as by what it was. T

Occasional Music slot for Trinity Sunday: Stainer's "I saw the Lord"

This being Trinity Sunday, the lesson this morning in every Anglican church was from Isaiah, telling of his vision of heaven in the year King Uzziah died. So the choice of an occasional music slot for today makes itself. There have been several attempts to set this passage of scripture to music, but by far the most memorable is Sir John Stainer's "I Saw The Lord" for double SATB choir and SATB soloists. I heard this piece referred to by Simon Lindley, then assistant organist at St Albans Cathedral and later organist of Leeds Parish Church, as an amazing "musical battle" and this is not a bad description. It has everything - both rousing and peaceful passages, strong tunes and beautiful counterpoint, clear themes and glorious harmony. And don't forget, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day for Trinity Sunday, 31st May 2015

"All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that "God is love." But they seem not to notice that the words 'God is love' have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love." ( C. S. Lewis  on the idea of the Trinity)

West Cumberland Hospital march on 14th June

A march to support maintaining services at West Cumberland Hospital is being organised for Sunday 14th June by the We Need West Cumberland Hospital group. The march begins at the Market Place gazebo at 1.30pm then will proceed up King Street, turning off at Lowther Street and walking to Castle Park. More comments on my hospitals blog at:

A referendum wording to satisfy the hard-liners

There was an article on the News Thump website a couple of years ago which seems quite timely now: " Farage demands 'Yes we leave' or 'No we don't stay in' EU referendum. " You can never please everyone ...

Another way to select Labour's next leader

The Daily Mash is suggesting that the hustings session for the candidates to be leader of the Labour party should be the "Sandwich-off" - a test of their ability to eat a bacon sandwich while being filmed from various angles .

Quote of the day 30th May 2015

"It would help Labour if it had leaders who talked to the voters as if they came from the same human species — or if that is too much to ask, from close relatives among the higher primates." (Nick Cohen, in an article in Standpoint titled " Labour doesn't get why the Tories won. ")

Mob attack on Carswell was a disgrace

Obviously I very strongly disagree with Douglas Carswell's decision to move from the Conservatives to UKIP. I do not like the party he has joined. However, it is typical of the man that he should have been walking past Scotland Yard when there was an anti-Globalisation protest and should have stopped to chat to some of the demonstrators. It is the sort of politics we once had in this country that a prominent politician could, if they had the guts, as Carswell does and many politicians right up to the status of Prime Minister once did, stop and talk to demonstrators instead of being cocooned in TV studios or party meetings with carefully selected people. But then suddenly, because some of the demonstrators other than those he was talking to had recognised him, a large and threatening flash mob formed, shouting things like "UKIP, Racist" and "Scum." Douglas Carswell had to be taken away in a police van for his own protection. How on earth do the demonstr

Referendum Bill now published

The draft proposed bill for an EU referendum was published this week and can be read at

Whither the Lib/Dems?

I have been reading a number of assessments about what happens to various parties now, and the most interesting concern the Liberal Democrats. Mark Pack's blog had some powerful comments, and as I mentioned in a previous post, pointed me in the direction of a sober and realistic article by Ryan Coetzee, who was one of the Lib/Dems' top election strategists, on what went wrong for them: Causes and implications of the Liberal Democrats' 2015 election result. It seems to me that, having come through the crucible of taking part in government and then an incredible painful election defeat, the Lib/Dems could go one of two ways. They can either remain, as they have been for the past five years, a party which tries to live in the real world and tries to come up with workable answers to the difficult challenges and choices facing councils and governments which cannot be run on the basis of being nice to everyone. This would mean they have difficulty getting back the "N

Quote of the day 29th May 2015

"In the fantasy world that many on the left inhabit there are money trees at the end of the garden and a nationalised British Rail offered a better train service than we have today.  To even suggest that, maybe, we should encourage economic growth instead of thinking we can pay for everything by “taxing the rich” or that, actually, competition has driven up standards on the railways, as in many other areas, is nothing better than treachery. "The Green party represent the apotheosis of this approach, as seen at a close-to-comical way in their housing proposal to end excessive rents in the private sector by building social housing paid for by taxes on excessive rents in the private sector. "Such perpetual motion machines are a leftist commonplace, and even to point the flaws out is to reveal oneself as part of the enemy – lacking faith in the sense of a refusal to believe in an idea for which no supporting evidence exists." ( Adrian McMenamin , a Labour party me

On the latest FIFA controversy

Seen on Twitter, supposed betting odds on who might be the next chairman of FIFA ...

Some people on the left do get it ...

To prove that some Labour voters can and have learned lessons from what happened in the election:

Quote of the day 28th May 2015


Inquests and premature obituaries

Various political parties have been conducting inquests into how badly they did in the elections: some sensible, others showing a complete lift-off from reality. Meanwhile there have been two suggestions, both premature in my view, about how major political parties should wind themselves up. Hat tip to Mark Pack for pointing me in the direction of a very sober and sensible article by Ryan Coetzee, who was one of the Lib/Dems' top election strategists, on what went wrong for them: Causes and implications of the Liberal Democrats' 2015 election result. A similar approach from the viewpoint of a former Labour member who did in fact vote for them in the 2015 General Election but with very mixed feelings has been penned by Dan Hodges in the Telegraph, making the very sensible point that  Before Labour can move on the Left needs to admit that it was wrong . He makes the point by linking to one of the most deranged articles I have ever read, even from Polly Toynbee (and th

News Thump on Tony Blair's resignation

Warning - this article contains strong traces of three dangerous substances; Irony, Humour, and mention of Tony Blair. Those socialists for whom exposure to irony causes an allergic reaction should not read this. Those who wish they could pretend that Tony Blair never existed definitely should not follow this link: I particularly like the last line about Blair's next possible role - the suggestion being to send him to talk to Vladimir Putin about the Ukraine and explain that it's wrong to invade places based on some nonsense that you just made up ...

Summary of measures in the Queen's Speech

An EU referendum by the end of 2017 is among a packed programme of new laws in the first Conservative Queen's Speech in nearly two decades.   It also includes more free childcare, an income tax freeze and the right-to-buy for housing association tenants. As in the previous post, David Cameron described the 26-bill package was a "programme for working people" that would create full employment and "bring our country together". The proposed legislation includes: A ban on income tax, VAT and national insurance increases for five years A freeze on working age benefits, tax credits and child benefit for two years from 2016/17 30 hours free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds by 2017 Cutting the total amount one household can claim in benefits from £26,000 to £23,000 More devolution for Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland and "English votes for English laws" at Westminster 500 more free schools and more failing and "coasting

DC on the Queen's Speech

Prime Minister David Cameron writes:     "When we came to office in 2010, Britain was on the brink. Our task was urgent: to rescue our economy from the mire. With that economy now going in the right direction, we are once again on the brink - but this time, on the brink of something special. We have a golden opportunity to renew the idea that working people are backed in this country; to renew the promise to those least fortunate that they will have the opportunity for a brighter future; and to renew the ties that bind every part of our United Kingdom. We now have the mandate to deliver that renewal. And it starts with today's Queen's Speech: a clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing our country together - put simply, a One Nation Queen's Speech from a One Nation Government. The first task of a One Nation Government is to help all working people have security. And nothing is more crucial to that than a job. A new Bill will

Quote of the day 27th May 2015

Malcolm Bruce:  “If you’re suggesting that every MP who has never quite told the truth, or indeed told a brazen lie [should go], including cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, we’d clear out the House of Commons very fast I would suggest.” BBC : “You’re saying that lying in public life is widespread?” Malcolm Bruce: “ No. Well, yes . I think the answer is lots of people have told lies and you know that to be perfectly true.” (Former Lib/Dem deputy leader Malcolm Bruce attempting to defend fellow Lib/Dem Alistair Carmichael on BBC radio. Hat tip to Guide Fawkes at )

Some "Daily Mash" spoofs

The Daily Mash has been amusing themselves since the election with various spoof articles about why the election went the way it did and how various people have supposedly reacted. Most of the links on this page, except the one to the Roberts article in the Telegraph, direct to sites with strong language not suitable for children or the easily offended. Perhaps my favourite of the Daily Mash articles over the last few days concerned a suggested replacement for the Labour party. The article is called " New party for socialist misanthropes a hit " and begins "MEMBERSHIP has surged for a new party for left-wingers who want to help the ordinary people they absolutely despise." Joking aside, it is high time we on the right made much more about how much many of those who describe themselves as progressive or socialists hate actual poor people (as opposed to some fantasy ideal of them.) There is a slightly more serious suggestion (it might be more accurate to

The Dunkirk spirit

I have already referred to the events being held this week to commemorate the Dunkirk evacuation, Operation Dynamo, which took place from 26th May to 4th June 1940 and hence began 75 years ago today. 338,000 allied soldiers were rescued from Nazi forces by the Royal navy and by hundreds of small craft, from fishing boats and pleasure yachts to lifeboats. About 50 of the little ships which took part and are still afloat sailed from Kent a few days ago and arrived in France where they are taking part in the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremonies. There are many stories of heroism from the war that saved the world from fascism. All of them deserve to be remembered but the heroes of both the Royal Navy and the "little ships" of Dunkirk are and should be high on the list.   Although Churchill was right to say that "Wars are not won by evacuations" the fact that so many men of the BEF were rescued helped ensure that the initial defeats in France did no

Quote of the day 26th May 2015

"Wars are not won by evacuations." (Winston Churchill tempering his praise for the success of Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation, which began 75 years ago today.)

On communities and voting

One positive aspect of the election was that cultural and ethnic tribalism in voting patterns is clearly disappearing, which as Britain is clearly now a multicultural society is a good thing. According to a recent thread on Political Betting, " New research finds that the tories took a third of the ethnic minority vote at GE2015. " You can read about this research at British Future at Conservative candidates apparently received 38% of the Asian vote - almost identical to (in fact about a point above) our share among the electorate as a whole. The party also passed the million barrier in the total number of ethnic votes received for the first time. Part of the reason for this is that more members of ethnic minorities than ever before are now both putting themselves forward as Conservative candidates and actually being selected on a colour-blind basis. (We no longer have the infamous "A

Tolerance and Pluralism

Since the election my attention has been rather forcibly directed to issues of tolerance and pluralism towards alternative views. I never minded when some of my favourite actors and comedians took a different view of politics, even to the extent when the election address from my opponent in an election came through the door with an endorsement from someone I particularly enjoy watching (David Tennant) because I believe in democracy and that absolutely requires you to accept other points of view. Sometimes, as when Eddie Izzard supported Jim Murphy during the recent election campaign at a time and place which exposed them both to virulent abuse from SNP supporters I have even admired people who were putting forward a different point of view when that took guts. But I do mind when people start objecting to my point of view or to that point of view winning an election. Hence David Tennant and Eddie Izzard campaigning for Labour during an election campaign is 100% legitimate and the

Quote of the day 25th May 2015


Occasional Sunday Music spot: Handel's "Dixit Dominus"

A superbly cheerful piece for choir and orchestra. And don't forget, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 24th May 2015

" It takes some agility to shoot yourself in the foot and saw off the branch you're sitting on, while hoisting yourself with your own petard, all at the same time ." ( Matthew Parris in the Spectator on how useless the comments of commentators like himself were in the run up to the General Election)

Quentin Langley on how the right understands the left better than vice versa

Quentin Langley, an old friend from my University days who was studying at what was then called Plymouth Poly while I was at Bristol, has written an excellent article on Conservative Home called " A secret of our recent success: We understand the Left better than it understands us ." He assesses what he calls "the Left’s biggest failing and its biggest success. The failing is that people on the left generally misunderstand conservatives. The success is that a great many people – and not just left-wing voters – have swallowed a key element of left-wing propaganda." (e.g. that people vote for right wing purposes for selfish reasons.) He goes on that the left's weakness is that "On the whole, conservatives believe that their opponents are well-meaning, but naive or just mistaken. To far too many on the left, conservatives are simply evil.  The Left does not concede that conservatives have a different idea of what is fair or just. It maintains inste

My current Political Compass score

I thought I would revisit the Political Compass site to see where I currently stand and how it compares with the current view of the main political parties. This was the result. I do think that their analysis which uses two dimensions - left or right accordiny to your view of economic liberalism, up or down according to your degree of social authoritarianism (top) or liberalism (down) is far more helpful than a simple left versus right analysis. I was not surprised to find myself still in the in the bottom right corner of the chart, but was very surprised to find myself alone there: Political Compass thinks the Lib/Dems have become more socially authoritarian and moved into the top right corner of the chart along with almost all the main political parties. My previous scores have been a little further to the right and only just below the zero line between social authoritarianism a

Quote of the day: 23rd May 2015: Last word on the "Edstone"

"History is written by the winners and the Labour Party will rue the day they ordered the EdStone to be made.   "If you read what is written there closely they are all so vague. They are not worth what they are written on." (This quote was attributed by the newspapers Steve Vanhinsbergh, who with his brother Jeff are the directors of Stone Circle, the company which actually made the "Edstone." ) Asked how he had voted he added that he had voted Tory because "Conservatives generally are more pro-business and I was a little bit worried about Labour's policies with regard to business."

Balls does a Portillo

The defining moment of the 1983 election (in which I was running a Conservative polling district in Bristol on polling day) was Tony Benn's defeat in Bristol East. The defining moment of the 1997 election was that of Michael Portillo, and after the election one famous question was "Were you still up for Portillo?" A key defining moment of the 2015 election was the defeat of Ed Balls. Whatever you think of any of the three men, all three took their defeats with great dignity, showed respect for the decision of the voters and in turn earned respect from anyone watching who was not a completely incorrigible partisan (e.g. someone far more partisan than me.) Michael Portillo reinvented himself after his 1997 defeat, with a change in approach about which many were cynical at the time but with hindsight appears to have been completely genuine, and it looks like Ed Balls may be doing the same. See this fascinating Telegraph article, " Ed Balls: I was one of the


The fall of Palmyra to DAESH is a tragedy. The fact that they will be in a position to destroy priceless and irreplaceable relics is bad enough. The fact that they have been destroying priceless and irreplaceable human lives is worse. Apparently they have killed at least nine children and beheaded local men. There are not easy answers but we need to help those local states and groups who appear to be decent human beings and have a chance of standing up to the killers of DAESH (I refuse to call them "Islamic State") to do so.

Quote of the day 22nd May 2015

        And don't forget, #SupportOption1

Nigel Farage says UKIP is "100% united."

Yes, he really said that. What next, I wonder? Equivalent headlines might be "David Cameron says immigration is down" "Ed Miliband says Labour won the election." "Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP have a rational economic policy" "Jean-Claude Juncker says he welcomes the forthcoming British EU membership referendum" "Jamie Reed says he actually does have a chance of becoming leader or deputy leader of the Labour party ..."

Remembering the "Little Ships" and heroes of Dunkirk

This year sees the 75th anniversary of some of the most significant events of World War II including the Battle of Britain and the Dunkirk evacuation, Operation Dynamo, which took place from 26th May to 4th June 1940. 338,000 allied soldiers were rescued from Nazi forces by the Royal navy and by hundreds of small craft, from fishing boats and pleasure yachts to lifeboats. About 50 of the little ships which took part and are still afloat sailed from Kent earlier today and arrived in France where they will be taking part in the 75th anniversary commemoration ceremonies. There are many stories of heroism from the war that saved the world from fascism. All of them deserve to be remembered but the heroes of Dunkirk are and should be high on the list.

CPI inflation goes negative, RPI inflation stable at 0.9%

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of annual inflation dropped from zero to 0.1% last month, going negative for the first time since records began. The price indices produced by the Office for National Statistics represent the change in overall average prices over the previous 12 months - in other words this is saying that average prices in April this year were very marginally lower than prices in April 2014. The drop into negative territory is almost certainly a temporary consequence of the large once-off drop in oil prices last year and is not expected to last more than a couple of months. Nor does it suggest that the actual trend in prices was necessarily downwards in April, just that a very slight overall upward trend in everything else over the last 12 months was not enough to offset last year's drop in oil prices. Inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) in April remained unchanged from the month before at 0.9%. 'Mild and benign' Ian Stewart

Listening to the electorate ...

Most people have correctly concluded from the election results that all parties need to listen more to the electorate. But not apparently former shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP ...

Quote of the day 21st May 2015

" Watching Ukip over the last few days has been like watching the final scene from Blazing Saddles. All it needed was Raheem Kassam to burst into the Sky newsroom and scream 'they’ve hit Bunny!' and the spectacle would have been complete. A shock and awful strategy? You wanted one, you got it" ( Dan Hodges in the Telegraph in an article arguing that Nigel Farage is the Europhiles' greatest weapon. ) Incidentally, although Dan's predictions about what would happen in the election proved vastly more accurate than those of most observers - he is one of the very few people who was correctly predicting a Tory victory - he did underestimate the number of votes UKIP would get and promised to run naked down Whitehall wearing a Nigel Farage mask and singing "Land of Hope and Glory" if they got more than 6%. (link - ) UKIP did in fact get about double that and apparently Dan intends to keep his

Self-defeating prophecies

Mythology is full of stories of self-fulfilling prophesies, but real history has more examples of self-defeating ones - for example, when potential disasters which before the event were serious risks have been averted because people took a warning seriously and did something about it. The 2015 General election showed a particularly impressive crop of self-defeating prophesies. In no particular order: 1) Vote UKIP, get Labour No, it didn't happen, but if potential Tory voters had voted UKIP, it might have, and in my opinion if the Conservatives had not been busily warning "Go to bed with Nigel and wake up with Miliband" it probably would have. The extreme irony is that the Conservatives saw the danger, shouted loudly enough about it to convince a lot of Tory/UKIP waverers to vote Conservative, while the Labour leadership were convinced until the 2014 European election that it was erstwhile Conservatives rather than their own supporters who were turning UKIP. Labou

Music to relax to: Libera sing "Voca Me"

Libera sing "Voca Me" The words appear to be from Psalm 23 and the Requiem mass, the music is mostly by Robert Prizeman but he also used a musical theme from Pergolesi's beautiful duet "Stabat Mater" which was written in 1736 (in the last few weeks of Pergolesi's life). And don't forget, #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 20th May 2015


Lost and Confused of St Bees

I have to sympathise with the "Save St Bees School" Rescue team  who described themselves as being at a complete loss to understand the governors' announcement yesterday ...   They say that,   "On the one hand we are delighted that the Governors’ believe that they have found a way to re-open the school in 2016 in a different model. As you know, we always believed that a sustainable model could be found given time and proposed that the school remain open during 2015/16 to provide continuity while such a model was developed and implemented. "And then on the other hand, we do not understand why the Governors believe that it is possible to operate the school in a different model from 2016 but not to run a school in the meantime and we hope that the Governors will explain their position in due course."

Replacing the Human Rights Act

Toby Young in the Speccie on the Human Rights Act: " You'll regret not having a Human Rights Act when a left-wing government returns. " Matthew Dancona in the Guardian on the concerns of "Runnymede Tories" on the issue. " The Human Rights Act spells peril for Cameron. " There is an important balancing act here. Labour have shown that they do not respect the unwritten rules of our original unwritten constitution. The Conservative manifesto promise was not to leave Britain with no Bill of Rights but to have a distinctive British one. Michael Gove will need to make sure that it is tough enough to prevent any future authoritarian government of whatever colour - like Tony Blair's for instance, which wanted to lock people up for three months without charge, and did manage to get an opposition spokesman arrested - from finding it easy to trample on the ancient liberties and freedoms of the British people.

Quote of the day 19th May 2015

"We in UKIP didn't exactly cover ourselves in glory last week." ( Paul Nuttall, UKIP deputy leader, first words of a statement issued on Sunday about the arguments over the UKIP leadership )

Rod Liddle on the supporters who put the rest of the country off Labour

A post by Rod Liddle on the sort of supporter Labour does not need ... Rod Liddle is of course a former Labour voter although he was expressing doubts before the 2015 election whether to vote for them this time. His comments about the cultural mindset Labour have to break away from in order to win are couched in amusing language but there is a lot of truth in them. many a true word is spoken in jest. A health warning for Conservatives, however, don't just laugh at Labour's woes. Remember - after their 1992 debacle Labour did manage to come back, change their appeal, and win power by inflicting on the Conservatives the worst defeat we have ever had. Never assume that Labour cannot come back. We need to listen more to voters too, and we also need to work harder at making sure people realise we don't despise them.

St Bees School to re-open next year?

In a statement released through the Whitehaven News today, the governors of St Bees School, who had earlier said that the 400 year old institution would close its' doors this summer, confirmed their intention to reopen the school, possibly by September next year. The statement read: "Over the past month the governors have identified a number of opportunities for a sustainable future for St Bees School. "This work has necessarily been undertaken discreetly and without publicity so as not to cause further distraction to the school community. "The identified opportunities include both independent and maintained school models. However, regardless of the model adopted, the governors are determined that the outcome will retain the ethos, values and good name of St Bees School." It will obviously be great news for the community if the school is saved, but if I understand the statement correctly, the present students are still looking for alternative school

Much Ado about Nothing

Sometimes there is a huge row about the publication of a document or report, and when it finally sees the light of day you wonder what on earth all the fuss was about. Perhaps the classic example comes from a naval conflict which took place a hundred years ago next year, the battle of Jutland. Captain Harper was asked to write the official record of the battle: by the time it was published he had retired as a Rear Admiral. "The Harper Record" was the subject of many questions in parliament about why it had not appeared, and various bureaucratic delays: when the official version was finally published it was disavowed by the Admiralty in a note on the fly-leaf. Admiral Harper was to write that "The vicissitudes which the original Record underwent must, however, be patent to anyone who followed the series of tortuous manoeuvres and official prevarications in Parliament whenever it was asked for." Harper went on to write a book on the subject which was called

From a filthy morning to a beautiful afternoon

One aspect of weather in Cumbria is how unpredictable it can be. At 8am this morning and for a while after that it looked like an absolutely filthy day. Yet by mid-morning it had stopped raining, by noon the sun had come out and by now it is a beautiful afternoon.

This is what the French call "Dog's weather"

The British say "Lovely weather for ducks," the French refer to the "Temps du chien." It does seem to be the sort of day that gives filthy days a bad name ...

Quotes of the day 18th May 2015

".. there is a sort of political genius in being able to lose the Scots and terrify the English at the same time .. " It was a great campaign except for in Scotland, England and Wales …” ( Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East , on Labour's campaign, as quoted in the Guardian here .) "For the past week it looked like the wheels were coming off the Labour Party. Right now it looks as if the whole car is about to be dragged to the junk yard and pounded into scrap ..." “Skipping a generation is all very nice,” one MP told me, “but that means finding someone who does actually know how to skip. All we’ve had so far is people tripping over the rope and falling flat on their face”. (and on Europe)  “There are some deep divisions on the issue that have been brushed under the carpet,” one MP explained, “but now someone’s nicked our broom.” ( Dan Hodges writing in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph here .)

A time for steady nerves and ruthless clear-sightedness

On an earlier occasion when a Conservative government faced an opposition which was in complete disarray and the suggestion was being made in some quarters that with no effective alternative the Tories might be in power for a long time, I remember the response of the then Father of the House, Sir Bernard Braine MP. "That's dangerous talk!" he barked, like an angry colonel warning his men not to get cocky and to keep their heads down where there might be enemy snipers about. And by God, he was so right. Just five years after the shock Conservative victory in 1992 left Labour morale in tatters came Blair's 1997 New Labour landslide. Of course there is a massive element of schadenfreude for Conservatives in reading accounts of first UKIP and then Labour tearing themselves to pieces, and the temptation to gloat is almost irresistible, especially as in both cases, as the ironic saying goes, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people. But don't lets ki

Sunday Music spot: "Adoramus" by Libera

Judging by the traffic figures and one or two comments received, the "Music to relax after campaigning" slot during the elections went down well with a number of those who visit the blog, so I am going to include a regular music spot on the blog each weekend. "Libera" perform an eclectic mix of ancient and modern music fused together. Here is one of their most popular pieces, "Adoramus" performed in Holland in about 2007. And yes, I am still doing my Cato the Elder act on the hospitals: we need consultant-led maternity at WCH and FGH so #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 17th May 2015

"Labour governments are always voted in by empty minds and voted out by empty pockets" ("JohnLooney," poster on Vote UK discussion board)

Go back to your constituencies and prepare for gardening ...

After trying to catch up on work for much of the past week, today I tackled my garden for the first time in four months. Having spent almost every spare moment from February to the day after the General Election on electioneering (not that I wasn't spending a fair amount of time before that!) my garden was beginning to show signs of developing into something remarkably like an Amazonian rain forest! Amazing how quickly the power of nature can turn a tidy lawn into a jungle. Fortunately the lawnmover was still operational and I just about caught the situation before we would have had to send for Indiana Jones. (Understand the Daily Mail has tracked down the " Ed Stone" so Indy will no longer need to go on a  search for the missing Labour pledge stone. ")

Music to relax: "Come Away, Fellow Sailors" from Dido and Aeneas

This is the first aria and chorus from Purcell's opera, "Dido and Aeneas. I had been scheduled to sing this solo at a University Chamber Choir performance at Bristol in 1982 but sadly after doing all the work I was knocked off a motor scooter and was in hospital with a fractured pelvis at the time of the concert. Another tenor had to stand in for me. Despite that unfortunate event I love this amusing if rather mischievous piece ... And of course #SupportOption1

Quote of the day 16th May 2015


Some on the left start to "get it"

The reaction to the General Election result on the British political left has ranged between very funny and rather annoying, with their shock and horror at Labour not winning proving a good illustration of why they didn't. A few voices of sanity, however, are emerging, who recognise that no party has a monopoly of wisdom. I hope that  whoever becomes Labour leader does listen to those who recognise that there is more than one point of view and voting Tory does not equate to having two heads or hating the poor. A good article on this subject by Suzanne Moore, titled " Working-class Tories are not just turkeys voting for Christmas. "

Quote of the day 15th May 2015


Music to relax to: Purcell's Frost song

The posts here during the election campaign of music to relax after campaigning seem to have been popular to judge by the number of hits, so I shall continue to post a great piece of music here once or twice a week. Today's is by Henry Purcell from "King Arthur" and although I know it as "The Frost Song" I have also heard it called "The Cold Song" and "The Cold Genius." The pictures show, appropriately, the "Frost Fairs" held on the Thames in Purcell's time when the river sometimes completely froze over. And don't forget, #SupportOption1