I'm away, back on Friday afternoon, when I shall provide you all with the definitive review of Stoppard's new play. Poor chap, I expect he can hardly sleep with worry!
I'm away, back on Friday afternoon, when I shall provide you all with the definitive review of Stoppard's new play. Poor chap, I expect he can hardly sleep with worry!
I promise you I am not going to make a habit of this but the reason for my trip back down memory lane to a long distant military past originally began with 'Clairwil',who lives in Glasgow, telling us all about her neighbour having a drunken fight with a wall, yes, you read that right, with a wall! That produced an instant memory which I told her about in an effort to cheer her up, thus:
"Your man having the fight with a wall makes me wonder if this is not a Glaswegian trait. It takes me back several eons when I was in the army based in Bahrein (trouble in, guess where? - Iraq, natch!) One of my platoon was a Glaswegian, slightly older than most of us on account of having once served in the army, then, as a civilian, pulverising some unfortunate nigh unto death and being told by the magistrate that it was either jail or rejoining the army. Coming back one night I found him holding an aggressive, threatening conversation with the metal post that held up the veranda roof of our barrack!
Later, he was doing time in what passed for our 'nick', a tent surrounded by barbed wire. The Provost sergeant was organising a dog hunt to cull the huge population of dun coloured dogs that roamed loose. His merry men were throwing the dogs into the 'nick' pending collection and death. Jock, of course, was throwing them back out just as fast, and the sight and sound of the Provost sergeant staggering back with yet another dog under his arm complaining that, "All these fucking wog dogs look the same" reduced us all to mild hysterics.
Well, you had to of been there, I suppose!"
Today I started receiving visits from people who had obviously clicked on a link from a site run by a rather fat, weedy, spotty, little lesbian of uncertain personal hygeine, dressed, no doubt, in her pyjamas, who goes under the name of - wait for it, folks - 'Hungbunny'! ( 'Geddit'?) Some-one had made a reference to me and my site and 'Hungbunny' came out fighting (please don't laugh because she's very sensitive) with this burp of witless, crass, illiterate oafishness, "Come the revolution that Duff cunt's first against the wall". (Yes, you can tell she's a product of our very wonderful 'edukashun' service, can't you?) I responded, matters escalated, and then, utterly predictably, I was banned, my last comment being, " Ah! Another one who can dish it out but can't take it. There, there, Diddums!"
So far, so tedious, but I would like you, dear readers, to dwell on the possibility, no, probability, that today 'Hungbunny' represents the very 'Best of Britain' with her peculiar mix of ignorant, bullying, loud-mouthed yobbishness partly hiding a pathetic, paltry, quivering cowardice, the very stuff of which Commissars, Gauleiters and concentration camp guards are made.
'Clairwill', a spikey but vulnerable lady from Glasgow, whose blog I enjoy reading took a chance the other day by inviting me to tell some of my army stories. At this point 'old sweats' will groan and suddenly remember they have an urgent appointment with the Inland Revenue, because the fact is that army stories from old duffers like me can even empty saloon bars! Even so, I do think this blog is in danger of taking itself too seriously (well, apart from 'Larry Teabag' and 'NIB', that is) so having told this one over at 'Clairwil's' place, I thought you lot might enjoy it:
Back in the '60s some bright, ambitious, young officer decided that a new drill was required for the operation of riot squads in urban situations which was a good idea and might have helped his career but he then chose our lot to act as the demonstration unit for the Brass which almost certainly didn't.
The idea was that the riot squad was formed as an open square which would march down the street towards the mob. It would halt, and immediately the rear rank would face about to watch their backs, and the side ranks would turn, alternately, inwards and outwards so that some men would be watching the windows and doorways immediately in front of them and the others would be watching the higher level windows and balconies across the other side of the street. Inside the square were several men with different functions, the commander, of course, and a couple of medics, the wiremen whose job it was to run out in front of the squad and stretch a coil of barbed wire across the street. Then there was a bugler to attract the attention of the mob, in the unlikely event that they weren't already chucking petrol bombs and grenades at you, and two 'bannermen' whose job was to unfurl a banner on which was written in English and Arabic the words "DISPERSE OR WE FIRE".
Well, the rehearsal didn't go off too well because my mate Bill and I had got into where the kit was stored. So the next day, the fearful site of this military 'machine' marching across the square, crashing to a halt, wiremen running, bugle sounding and banner unfurling, was somewhat diminished when the banner read "JESUS SAVES". The Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) was not amused!
Two days later a pair of coaches from London debussed a large contingent of generals and senior civil servants from the Ministry of Defence to watch this new crowd control technique being demonstrated. Bill and I had been volunteered ("YOU! YOU, and YOU!) to be part of the 'rioting mob' with strict instructions not to "Tear the arse out of it or you'll all be on a charge!" I lived quite close to Aldershot, so the night before Bill and I went home. I had an Arab headress and mum had stitched some sheets together for a costume. Bill, always the drama queen, borrowed a pair of high-heeled sandles from my mum plus an old summer dress. He borrowed an old disposable mop-head for a wig and blacked his face up with boot polish so that he looked like an escapee from the 'Black & White Minstrel Show'. Needless to say, two very large grapefruits stuck down the front of his dress finished of his wardrobe. The 'mob' had been briefed to do their rioting act and when fired upon to run away leaving one person dead. Bill threw a drama queen fit and insisted on being the one who was shot.
So, the dignitaries gathered on our square, the mob came out shouting insults and epithets, many of which concerned the RSM and his antecedents, and then the riot squad appeared, grim-faced in steel helmets, carrying rifles. The wire men dashed out, the bugle sounded, the banner (properly scripted) was unfurled, the front rank prepared to fire - and then a volley crashed out. We all ran away but Bill, dressed in all his ludicrous finery and tottery on his high-heels, instead of just falling down 'dead', pirouetted several times to the right, then back again several times to the left, then fell to the floor, but before anyone had time to move, he bounced back up again and did several more turns and staggers including a great deal of skirt lifting, fell down, got up again, staggered some more - he took longer to die than the swan from Swan Lake - by which time, the mob were clutching their sides with laughter, the Brass were falling about helpless and the grim-faced riot squad were leaning on their rifles giggling!
All in all, a pefect example of how to make a total arse of the army. Monty Python would have been proud of us.
Here's a quotation for the politically aware: "We must have a European legal system, a European appeal court, a common currency, the same weights and measures, the same laws..." Now who said that? I suppose you could take your pick from any of the many Euro fanatics who thrive in or near the evirons of Brussells but you would be wrong. Actually those words were spoken by that son of the enlightenment, that impeccable liberal democrat, that peace-loving 'Trojan' who laboured so long to bring about a united Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte! He went on to say that, "I must make of all the peoples of Europe one people, and of Paris the capital of the world". Well, we all know what happened to him but, of course, that was back in the days when our leaders, by and large, and unfettered by too much public opinion, could recognise an enemy when he poked them in the eye with a sharp stick, so to speak, unlike the purblind prats who are currently in charge of the asylum.
Incidentally, the quotation occurs on page 9 of Adam Zamoyski's book, "1812", and if the rest of it matches those first few excellent pages, I'm in for a treat over the next fortnight or so.
Yesterday I was trying to find something in my file of theatrical memorabilia when I came across the programme for my production of Rattigan's play Flare Path. This is, incidentally, an excellent play showing Rattigan's craft at its best. Some critics, mostly post-war, sniffed at its sentimentality but it was written in the middle of WWII and audiences hardly needed theatrical tragedy on top of that which many of them had suffered personally already. As the director of the play I was required to write some programme notes and I was all set to dash off a few pontificating paragraphs on Rattigan's place in British theatre plus a word or three on the controversy over the use of Bomber Command in the war, when I chanced upon this extract in Max Hastings's excellent history Bomber Command, published by Michael Joseph. As I wrote in the notes, "Having read this, 'the rest is silence'!" Instead of my theatrical notes, I simply published this extract:
'Cairns over shot the runway at Leeming on the way back from Ostend and crashed in the middle of the Great North Road. He was pulled from the burning wreck by his wireless operator. A few nights later he climbed out of his aircraft after a trip to Hamburg and turned cheerfully to Sid Bufton: "Well, Sir, that was my thirteenth op and I'm nineteen tomorrow!"
They were very young and they took their fortunes very lightly. Few were drunken neurotics, most were rather conscientious boys striving to fulfil that eternal maxim of the English public school: achievement must be apparently effortless. It is a crime to be seen to try. That autumn, Sid Bufton's 23-year-old brother, John, wrote a letter to his girlfriend from Scampton, where he was flying Hamptons with 83 Squadron. It is worth quoting at length, because it reflects so perfectly the mood of so many young men of Bomber Command, that first year of the strategic offensive.
At last, a spot of time to sit back and answer your last two letters! I can hardly read one of them 'cos I was reading it in the bath after a hard day's work on Friday and I was so tired that it fell in the water and got badly smudged!
I wonder if you were very disappointed at getting my telegram and letter about the weekend? I was mad having to send them, but there was no way out. Maybe we'll have better luck next weekend. Trouble with us here is that weekends are precisely the same as any other time now.
Poor Jenny, I'm so sorry you were upset by my last letter. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so blunt in what I wrote, but I only wanted to put things to you as fairly as I could. You've got such wonderful faith, dear, in my chances and I mustn't upset you by being pessimistic - I've rarely felt happier and more set on a job in my life, and my chances are as good as anyone else's. But I'm not ass enough to assume I'm going to be OK and everyone else will be unlucky, as it's a sheer gamble in the game, but damn good fun whilst it lasts.
Way back, Jen, my idea of the future was pretty idealistic. We've talked about it so often in peace time, and were agreed on what we wanted out of life, and it was a grand outlook. But now it seems such a myth! Like one of those dreams that can't possibly come true. We'll get married and be awfully happy - I know you'll do everything to make it seem what we both want - but there'll be a cloud over it all for both of us, dear, a cloud we can't hope to brush aside. For you, it will be the realization that you've given everything in your life to give me fleeting happiness, and that in accepting I'm condemning you to great unhappiness ahead, when you could have been almost as happy elsewhere, otherwise, with a future both safe and bright.
If the chances were very good, I wouldn't dream of writing like this, but I'm no dreamer, Jen, and the facts are that immediately ahead is the winter, with all the danger that filthy weather invariably brings to flying (your pullover will help immensely there!). Despite this, our bombers are bound to become even more active than they have been in the summer months, and we'll hit harder and wider and more often than ever before. We're the only active force operating against Germany and as it's the only way of striking directly we'll be exploited more and more, especially as the force grows. The RAF, fighters and bombers combined, will undoubtedly win this war in time, but the end isn't nearly in sight yet, and before it's all over the losses will be enormous. I wonder how many people ever wonder what the average flyer's outlook on life is in these times? In most cases it's vastly different from what it was a few months ago. It's almost entirely fatalistic. There seems no point in making plans about the future. The present is all that matters, and in this day-to-day existence there are three things that occupy one's energies most of all:
(1) Intensive attention to one's machine and equipment, ready for the next trip, so that nothing is left to chance.
(2) Getting enough sleep and exercise.
(3) Getting a "social glow" in the Saracen's Head and keeping mentally fresh.
Doesn't sound very ambitious, but I'll bet anything that 95% of the RAF take these as their guiding principles, because only by doing so can they have the most chance of hitting the target and getting back OK ...
Why am I writing all this, Jen? Well, it's the answer to what you asked in your letter: you say 'Do I really want to marry you?' Yes, darling, 'course I do, and we'll go through with it in that spell of leave that may come through when I've done enough trips to qualify. But I don't feel much of a man taking you up on such a bad bargain, lovely tho' it'll be for me. In the meantime, darling, you'll make me easier in mind if you'll promise this - until we're married, if I should be unlucky enough to go up as 'missing', don't wait too long ... if I could only be sure, Jen, that your future would be assured I'd be content, whatever happens.
If anything happens to me, I'll want you to go and have a perm, do up the face, put the hat on and carry on - it'll take a lot of guts but I know you'll tackle it in the right way. And remember that I'd be wanting you to get happily married as soon as you could. And don't worry for me these nights more than you can help. It may buck you to know that I'm bung full of confidence in my own ability, but if I'm unlucky, well I'm prepared for anything. Over the last three months I've got used to the idea of sudden accidents - they've happened so often to friends and acquaintances that the idea doesn't startle one much now. Realizing fully what one is up against helps one along a lot. I'm not really windy about anything now. Anyway, there's too much to do to get windy. I'm longing to see you again, jenny, and we must make it soon! Keep writing, and when you come up, wear your hat, please, and the smile that cheers me up!"
John Bufton never married Jenny, he was killed a month after that letter.
The ever wittering-and-twittering Rullsenberg is at it again, talking nonsense as usual, this time in a post entitled On sentencing and castration, although it comes as a slight relief after what seems like 216 tedious posts on Dr Who-cares! In this post she has turned her attention to sentencing policy in respect of rape and sexual assault and comes out with this piece of standard feminist rubbish: "And it is all too easy to make rape/sexual assault an issue of sex rather than power." As I pointed out it is indeed "all too easy" because rape and sexual assault is about sex, well, it is to everyone else in the world except, of course, to dipstick psychiatrists looking, as always, for another area to earn some bucks, and 'Feministas' who wish to politicise everything.
If you doubt that last inference then read her next question: "Didn't the Canadians do something on changing the sex laws to be about power rather than about sex?" Then she goes on to claim "that such a change should see a shift away from focusing on the sexual history/status of the victim which could certainly be helpful." Yes, quite so! Well, it would certainly help slatternly, lying women to make false accusations against men and would cripple the defence case. But would it help justice? I don't think so, but there again, I've just remembered that the person holding the scales up above the Old Bailey is a woman!
As we all know, the 'sainted Norm', whose signature was amongst the originals on that exercise in wishful thinking, the Euston Manifesto, is a professor of Marxist studies and, I believe, a former Marxist, himself. Given the Marxist tendency to analyse history in order to see into the future, an activity which in itself tells you all you need to know about Marxism, it is passing strange that 'Norm' has not taken to heart the lessons from recent history. However, it is not surprising that he has also ignored that other tremendously important factor in political affairs, human nature, it is, after all, another characteristic of Marxists (and Christians!) to insist that if the ruling ideology can be made right, either human nature will change or perhaps the 'true' human nature will appear.
I am going to quote from Andrew Alexander in today's Daily Mail. I don't like to quote large chunks of other people's prose, not least because it tends to encourage my inherent laziness, but the fact is that Alexander puts it ten times better than I would ever manage.
As I pointed out in my earlier criticism of this very silly Manifesto, either you go in and stay in using considerable ruthlessness as the British did in India, or, you find a local bastard and put him in charge because at least he will be your bastard, or, my preferred strategy in these difficult times when pusillanimous public opinion needs must be taken into account, which is to go in and kill or depose the government and then leave.
For those, like me, with little or no medical or biochemical knowledge let me tell you that a blastocyst is the tiny bundle of cells that results in the immediate aftermath of conception, and yes, and also sorry, this is going to be a post on the tired and battered subject of abortion. I am indebted to Prof. John Haldane from the Dept. of Moral Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews whose letter to 'Her Majesty's Daily Torygraph' was published yesterday. (He was responding to an earlier article by a Dr. Ian Wilmut which I have not read.)
My gratitude to Prof. Haldane is because he puts forward an argument that I have used many a time and oft but does so in a very much more succinct and erudite manner than I could ever aspire to. The argument is simple, I believe that once started, human life is precious at any stage of its progress. The good professor paraphrases and then quotes Dr. Wilmut thus, 'he [Wilmut] suggests that because the blastocyst [...] is an individual human embryo with "the potential to become a person, that does not mean it is a person, just as a young girl who wants to study medicine is not a qualified doctor".' The professor refutes that easily in the following manner. 'Distinguish two uses of a term such as "cat" or "human" (being or person): one is specific, saying what kind of being something is, the other is phasic, describing a phase or stage in its life. Now consider the claim: "Because a kitten has the potential to become a cat, it does not follow that it is one already". That is true if by "cat" is meant the adult phase; but of course in the more relevant specific sense, a kitten is certainly a cat. Embryo, foetus, baby, infant, child, youth and adult are phases in the life career of a human being.' Prof. Haldane goes on, 'An embryo is not a potential human being, but a human being with potential'. Those words should be hung above the entrance portal of every abortion clinic in the land!
The apparently half-mad, or at least, deeply confused Dr. Wilmut went on to say that he did not think a blastocyst was human because it has no mental life. Here, he touches me personally. As I get older I get dafter, according to the little 'Memsahib', 'Son of Duff' and several of my readers, so any suggestion that mental faculties are to become a matter of life and death are of considerable importance to me! We've been killing very, very young human beings at a rate that Mao and Hitler would have delighted in, are we now to start on the ga-ga elderly? It is an indication of what moral weasels abortionists are when Dr. Wilmut points to the 14-day "primitive streak" marker (whatever that is!) as the point beyond which the killing should be restricted but adds, "That is not to say, however, that an embryo younger than two weeks is not deserving of some respect". Yes, quite, but how much respect is Dr. Wilmut entitled to? I would suggest something less than zero!
Yesterday I went to the Globe to see an 'angry young man'! Amongst the seven deadly sins, I suspect that wrath fails to get a sufficient mention but Shakespeare thought it important enough to use it as a major theme in two of his very greatest plays, King Lear and Coriolanus. In the first we see the tragedy that flows when a foolish old man allows his rage to overcome him; and in the second, an otherwise admirable and brave young man is brought down by an ungovernable fury. I don't pretend to have an all-encompassing knowledge of drama so I can only surmise in claiming that Coriolanus is the greatest political play ever written, with Ibsen's An Enemy of the People running a close second. A huge part of the success of Coriolanus is the skill with which the always oblique, enigmatic Shakespeare remains hidden in the shadows of obscurity, allowing his characters full reign to air their views whilst keeping his close to his chest. So many modern writers, enthused with their own particular commitments, simply produce propaganda instead of plays.
If Lear is the most difficult of all Shakespearean roles to play, then Coriolanus runs it a close second. Both roles begin by showing the 'hero' in less than a flattering light. Coriolanus is arrogant, headstrong and intemperate. However he does have utter contempt for the 'plebs', so not all bad, then! His disputes with the Tribunes of the People are an exciting example of the oldest dispute in the world featuring one of the two oldest professions in the world - politics, and the well-known other with which it shares several characteristics. The dispute is simple - who rules?
It would be easy to dismiss Coriolanus as yet another arrogant aristo but for two virtues he possesses - courage and honesty. Single-handedly he fights on even when his soldiers desert him, and wins a great victory on behalf of his city, Rome; and, when forced to gull and guile like a politician, he refuses, and instead tells the truth even though it leads to rejection by an ungrateful city and then, eventually, to his death.
Great political theatre at its very best. Don't miss it!
Additional: I wrote the above in something of a hurry and I wanted to say something specific concerning one of the difficulties facing any actor who plays Coriolanus. This is the problem of showing him as both warrior and aristrocrat. At the Globe, Jonathan Cake certainly shows the 'killing machine' part of his character, as did Kenneth Branagh a few years ago at Chichester, but neither, it seemed to me, quite captured that effortless ease (one might almost call it, the 'old Etonian' effect) that marks out the man who never doubts for a second that he leads and others follow. (Branagh spent some of his time on stage stripped to the waist and having seen his musculature let me tell you that I would not wish to stop a punch from him!) Ian McKellen, on the other hand, played the aristo to his finger tips but didn't quite convince as the implacable 'widow maker'. There is one other characteristic of Coriolanus that needs to be pointed up, his essential childishness. As 'Andy M' points out in the comments below, the final fight in which he is killed is brought about when his opponent calles him, "Boy!" It is the stuff of playground fights the world over. Of course, to bring this out it is essential to have a very strong Volumnia playing his mother. To watch this trained killer brought to heel (and thus his death) by this monstrous and manipulative old woman is one of the greatest scenes in Shakespeare which reaches its climax with one of the longest pauses in theatre until our hero, knowing the likely result, cries out "O mother, mother!/ What have you done?" This is followed by our hero attempting to justify himself in a passionate speech to his arch enemy Aufidius who replies with perhaps the best example of Shakespearean ambiguity, "I was moved withal." The wealth of meaning that is contained in that tiny phrase!
Go to the Globe, people, and enjoy!
As I have told you before, I only skim-read the little 'Memsahib's' copy of the Daily Mail, not least because if I keep it too long she cuts up rough! Today, however, I did linger on one story that encapsulates all that is characteristic of 'Nu-Britain'. It concerns a former 'Noo York' cop, Terrence Houlahan, who for unknown reasons left his city and job behind and relocated here in England where he got a job as a probation officer. He was sacked soon afterwards. The official report found that "he appears to see the public protection as the key task in his role and could not identify with the idea of rehabilitation of offenders." (Public protection! Good God, is the man mad?) Apparently, the breaking point was reached when "he refused to join collective cheering for a fictional character called 'Billy the offender' at a motivational conference." In addition, and perhaps the most serious of his many obvious flaws was a breach of 'Elf and Safety Regulations' when he failed to to take a full hour off for his lunch break. Earlier, he had been "suspended for three weeks for 'violating the confidentiality' of a criminal he had removed from a group workshop because he was racially insulting the participants." His managers told him that the offender only insulted others "when he was angry". So that's all right then!
Mr. Houlahan is suing for unfair dismissal. I hope he wins and in an ideal world, of course, the top management of the Parole Service (part of the "not fit for public use Home Office) would be sacked and Mr. Houlahan put in charge. But I'm not holding my breath!
(PS: Whatever you do, don't tell Laban Tall about this one, he'll go into orbit!)
I would urge all 'Eustonites' brave enough, or bored enough, to bother with my ramblings to read this immediately: http://www.thebusinessonline.com/Stories.aspx?EU%20ignores%20growing%20fissures%20in%20Turkish%20society%20at%20its%20peril&StoryID=3304B232-FE0F-443C-8AB5-D888CB1673E8&SectionID=F3B76EF0-7991-4389-B72E-D07EB5AA1CEE
It is an essay by Dee Smith, chief executive of Strategic Insight Group, published in The Business (Britain's best ... etc, etc) on the subject of Turkey and its intractably difficult problems in balancing the deeply-held religious beliefs of its eastern population in Anatolia against the westernised secular society of its big cities and Mediterranean coast. Throw in a 20% Kurdish element and you have the making s of a fine witch's brew! The EU, needless to say, with its 'we're more secular than thou' meddlings is likely to achieve the exact opposite of that which it seeks. Dee Smith provides what I failed miserably to do in my essays on "The manifesto now standing ...", that is, a clear and precise summary of exactly how hugely complicated foreign societies are and how important it is for foreigners to be very sure of their aims and methods before they blunder in to effect changes.
The 'muscular secularists' now leaving Euston for the middle east, should read and inwardly digest!
As always, 'Shuggy' provides interesting food for thought. In a post entitled "Blairites for Dave" he moots the possibility of hitherto 'Blairite' voters switching to Blair's alter ego, 'Dave' Cameron. I have a sinking feeling he's right not least because you'll never go broke underestimating the great British public! However, what produced a wry smile on my usually granite features was 'Shuggy's' notion that Blair and Cameron were Thatcherite neo-liberals. I had to suggest to him that Blair-Cameron couldn't even spell the word 'Thatcherite'. Whatever you say or think about the lady, she came to her conclusions on the basis of an extremely well-prepared philosophical foundation which she had studied in detail. Blair-Cameron, by contrast, are entirely 'philo-lite', in other words, neither has the slightest interest in ideology as such, it is just good, old-fashioned power that makes their juices ooze.
But as we have seen, power with no sense of direction, is akin to being at sea with no engine or rudder. The advantage ideologues like Mrs. Thatcher have is that when "events, dear boy, events" spring up to confound you, it is possible to place them against a well-tried template, or if you like, to remind yourself of previously well-thought out principles and test them against this new situation. Blair-Cameron cannot do this so they make it up as they go along, just doing whatever it takes to stay in the job. It hardly needs saying that the vast majority of their ministers, in being or in waiting, are made of the same sort of intellectual plastic which is why so many of them snap!
However, there is yet another malaise in this country of ours which is now becoming positively dangerous. Dim, useless ministers whose only concern is to either throw their weight around or fill their boots at our expense are not new to the political scene, but hitherto, we had a "Rolls Royce" civil service to nudge them, or just plain trick them, into doing what was roughly right. Alas, today, at the top of the civil service, we no longer enjoy 'Sir Humphreys' with first class degrees from Oxbridge who, whilst they often made mistakes at least made well-thought out mistakes; instead we suffer the rule of semi-educated thickoes with a Second in Media Studies from Hull (please don't laugh) University! I vaguely remember reading part of the transcript of a telephone conversation emanating from the principal civil servant at some Ministry or other when that liar Byers was found out. Frankly, he sounded like several of the gross idiots who people my local saloon bar. After all these years of bullying from Blair and his disgusting henchman, Campbell, the top ranks of the civil service are filled with toadies, cowards and dimwits.
The effects of this are gradually coming to public notice. Ask yourself why so many government projects and plans end in total failure, from the 'Dome of Despair' to the 'Not fit for its purpose Home Office'? The reasons are simple. Stupid, arrogant ministers with Potemkin delusions of grandeur issuing orders and targets to servile civil servants whose useless, second-rate education would not fit them to run a whelk stall.
Me, I think I'll move to Denmark!