A Recession
I am eg plain man. I also have an degree in economics, lectured at London University, edited an investment magazine, and generally gave it some large on the making my family and friends rich front, so I assure you that I know of what I speak.

Which is this: a bunch of rich idiots have ruined my country.

Call it 'banks third party collateralised debt obligations,' 'Unsecured loans to wastrel American home-buyers', 'G Brown selling my nation's gold reserves at the lowest price achievable,' or what you wish.

The plain truth is that Europe and the rest of the world is now bust. No country is now producing enough goods and services (apart from humour) to boost trade, which normally gives you your gents ordinary 2% annual economic growth.

So, what to do? I say, work harder, and cut all needless and self-indulgent expenditures. Less of your G20 summit meetings, at Belgium and France's finest restaurants, and more abolishing of finance ministries. Send Beyonce and Tony Blair down the mines, sez I!

Meanwhile, your Greek or Italian now intends to stop work ie strike, in protest at the suggestion that they should continue to work in return for fair wages, honestly pay their taxes and retire a bit later at age 70 when they are truly ill.

I modestly suggest that a combination of heavy drinking and hard work will get us all soon onto a path to the gorgeous sunlit uplands. So, cutting the tax on beer, and ditto on all income below £25,000 pa is the clear way forward x

I am a British officer, so have never been in favour of hard work. Sitting on a comfy chair, interrupted by occasional keeping Johnny Russ off the Rhine, or showing your Argentine lunatic the error of his ways, has always been more a pleasure than a duty x

However, I am a man of an opinion as strong as my drink, so I say that the reason that E vil C hina and its serf economy grows faster than ours is because they work on Saturdays, while we Europeans go to lunch and read our newspapers about what we and our paid politicians think about the state of the economy x

The Commodore
He is one of my best friends, of longstanding, and equally long falling over, after a good luncheon. Which is to say, he is an English gentleman from the North, and a naval man.

Running a print factory, as he does, is not dissimilar to the work that one of my other best friends does in a gravel pit. Top bird.

Anyway, come Thursday, Cmdre gets a funny look in his eye, and fancies putting a spanner in the machinery, to see what happens. Bored, as only the brilliant can be.

Result was that colourful front copy of leading insurance company's Annual Report went 40 ft up in the air, three men injured, not seriously, due to safety of secret consumption of gin, fire brigade called, factory flooded by their heroic and hosepipe efforts, all back to normal by Monday and huzza! for the steady and stable growth in the British Economy that our government has suddenly taken an interest in.

Plus more good news (huzza!). Commodore moved house this month. He has a top quality wife, but she's a hoarder of stuff. Her gents ordinary husband, the man aforementioned, climbs up into loft, phones your Phillips (chap who knows about money), and he says to me "I've found a box, full of coins" "Excellent," sez I, "They are probably worth something" "What's a Krugerand?" asks the Cmdre of me.

Moral of story, blokes are like cats. Throw them out of a house and they land on their feet x

Psychology is a Greek word, meaning the study of the mind. Which translates, in plain man's English, to 'Spot the loony'. The Ancients were happy to treat your gents ordinary village idiot with a pint of ale and kindness, but we moderns are told by our governors to ask him a lot of baffling questions, strap him down and fill him full of dangerous medicines.

Personally, I like the mad. They are more interesting than the average stockbroker with whom I lunch. Indeed, I have carefully selected my stockbrokers for their marginal insanity, in particular, honesty, when all sorts of profitable crookedness lies temptingly before them.

I say that all the best deeds are the fruit of the waving tree of madness. Patriotism, to the point of death for your fellows. Marriage, for all wordly goods to another endowed. Friendship, even unto impersonating a lawyer, in order to smuggle sparkly fairy lights into an innocent man's cell at Christmas, at no small personal risk x

Psychiatrists try to explain us each as products of our parents. But when I say that my mother is of the Spartan breed, and that I learnt my morals from her, eg "Come back with your shield or on it" I get blank stares from the average loony doctor.

I say that doctors should stick to pills and potions, and philosophers puzzle their giant brains about the mysteries of God and the universe. And not bother their heads about why I need a drink on a Monday night, when the answer is simply that I miss the woman I love.

Affordable Childcare
Or, Why The Middle Class Are Hypocrites

I am often forced to talk to respectable people. Which is to say, middle-class women of either gender, some of them with children.

Don't get me wrong: I am all in favour of making huge personal sacrifices for one's own, and indeed relatives children. That's why I live in a rented flat.

However, I oppose this modern idea that the State should provide or subsidise 'affordable childcare'. Basically, it means that the childless (young or old) must be taxed to pay for other peoples nannies. So that mothers and fathers go out to jobs of work, instead of bringing up their own children. This would matter less, if Britain's poorest singles were not already taxed in their income and spending, but actually they are, as soon as they earn much above the National Minimum Wage. So, we have created a system that forces poor aspiring mothers to take jobs as nannies to strangers.

What is really going on, here? I say that it is middle class couples wanting cheap servants, as they had in 19th C. But now they have a socialist conscience, so they dress it up as 'affordable childcare for all'. And a State incentivising economic labour, at the expense of unquantifiable love.

I also notice that such folk, so in favour of such absent parenting, politically object to boarding schools, which do much the same job, but better.

Of course, no service can be free for an entire population. Those who don't use it must pay for those who do. Like the healthy pay for hospitals for the sick.

Today's middle class hypocrites say that everyone should have free everything, when they really want something for nothing themselves, at the expense of the rest. And then they abuse men like me as a heartless Tory, when I point out the maths.

Nine Eleven
The tenth anniversary of the ninth of the eleventh, and possibly vice versa, baffles we British.

We are of course on your right shoulder, against any bunch of lunatics, who think that killing a few ordinary people will somehow alter the considered resolve of a free nation. Indeed, after our own British domestic atrocity on 7/7, I at once texted my top American friend, Forest Birdsnest "We are honoured that Evil considers us as worthy an opponent and target as yourselves!"

But may I ask you to get the dates right? I mean,It's 11th 9th in British diaries.

The surrender of Germany at the end of WW1 was carefully arranged for 11th November partly because some American troops had arrived, to join in the fun, and we didn't want them getting confused. They might have kept giving the Hun the bayonet until December 11th, if we'd arranged the Armistice for the next day; to embarrassment all round.

Our native madmen obliged us on 7th July.

I say this: we might be two nations divided by a common language. But may we soon be united in our calenders?

May I repeat my old joke of 7/11 Stores opening two hours later, as a mark of respect? x

(PS I know that the above will sound insensitive, if something ghastly actually happens tommorow, but I'd rather express my patrician and ironic contempt for any perpetrators now, in advance x

Sept 3rd 1939
On this day, Britain declared war on Germany.

Later historians pointed out, using a map, that there was no way that we could have landed an army in Poland, to attack Germany from the East. Probably just as well, because Stalin was allied to Hitler, at the time, and he too invaded Poland a few days later. Landing the Royal Marines at Danzig would have been embarrassing.

So, why did we do it?

I say that the explanation for all apparently irrational actions is found in individual morality. No English gentleman can walk by, on the other side of the street. No Briton can say that he doesn't care if Europe is enslaved.

A guarantee to Poland is like putting on a wedding ring. A cynic would call it the gesture of a lunatic, sure to spoil his fun. But it is a public symbol not simply of love for one other person, but of the very idea of faith and duty. And without these, where are we? and what would become of western Christian civilisation?

Nowadays, countries attack each other, without a formal declaration of war. Or, they freeze the bank accounts, stop the imports, prevent aircraft flights of countries they dislike. Which is to say, starve an innocent population of a foreign tyrant, in the hope that he will eventually get bored and move to the S of France, or S Africa.

I say, instead, that a frank and manly declaration of a war or a marriage is the British way. Every alien has the right to ask us "Whose side are you on?" He doesn't want us to return him an Irish answer.

So, huzza for 1939!

'Skippy, Skippy, Skippy the bush kangaroo,
Skippy, Flippy, he is a fish who is true!.

Flippy, Skippy, Kippy, hang on a minute, Phillips, pull yourself together, Fishy the emu that's new, who wants a kipper for breakfast? Are you drunk? Get on with it, you idiot!

Skippy, Flippy, my mate Geoff who's a kangaroo.
Also, funnily enough, he has a loverly bunch of cocoanuts x

(Geoff isn't really a kangaroo. He's actually a stockbroker, instead. Easy mistake to make. He just has a couple of funny ideas about bananas, and what gentleman can blame him, in this baffling modern world?)

Anyway... Skippy, Skippy, or possibly Flippy,
You are almost certainly a kangaroo.
And not a fish, regardless of the generalities of the foregoing.

So, Skippy, Skippy, bouncy and lovely you x'

One of my best friends is an aficionado of celery. And the shopping for it, in 1950s. Indeed, he might send some of his photos to you, later.

Meanwhile, I ask you to be upstanding with me and salute honest celery, as a manly and patriotic vegetable. It is not pretending to be a fruit, as does the dishonest tomato (unpronounceable trans-Atlanticly, and thus tomatoes are a threat to Britain's longstanding NATO alliance with the USA of America).

Your strawberries, equally, are not ranked amongst the gentlemen of the shopping basket. They are basically prostitutes. Enticingly dressed in red, to ensnare the rich and naive, they are actually a tasteless ornament for a lunatic's breakfast cerial. I discard them.

Celery, by contrast, allows plenty of honest fun. You can roll frozen peas down it, slap the buttocks of any keen guest at a dinner party with it, scoop up hummus or other fine Grecian starter, fight Scandewegian smoked eels with it, or retire to a lonely and virtuous bed with a stick of celery, to be used as an emergency ear-trumpet to hear your alarm clock chime, the next morning. And so to a full day of sober work in the City, on Tuesday.

Celery is actually the Martian word for Speed, according to Wikipedia. It gets on with its job, uncomplaining and unrewarded by medals. Without it, according to Admiral 'Celery' Woodward, GOC Falklands Task Force South, the excitable Argentine would have enslaved all penguins and sheep, not to mention human inhabitants, east of New Zealand, if I hadn't fake-crashed a helicopter at Punta Arenas in Chile.

I rest my crate of celery x

Why Sci-Fi is Rubbish
Science Fiction, and Fantasy books are almost universally rubbish.

We earthlings suffer a daily bombardment of those meteorites of mediocrity, from the publishers on the planet of Puke. And the Hollywood SF films are as bad, if not worse. The only good ones I've seen are Brazil, Dune and Galaxy Quest.

Any literate gentleman and increasingly, women, will agree with me, at once. And wonder the reason why?

1) Scientists are unfit to be novelists. They write, but precisely, for technical magazines. They have imagination, but of the physical, not the social and emotional sort. (This, incidentally, is why so many of them incline to socialism in their politics, favoring rational planning over a messy free market.) Asimov had brilliant ideas, but his characters are empty.

2) Such books, and their readers have a teenagers outlook. Their hero is usually someone like the young king Arthur, never a mature and established Pro-Consul, like myself. It is notorious that the adult is either a wizard, or the vilian.

3) Writing to entertain is admirable. But Sci-Fi provides the spectacular. Worlds collide, but no-one on them has a proper job of work. A proper novel, instead, develops its characters, to reveal universal truths about human passions, while the setting is merely their trap.

4) Special effects are now cheaper. It is easier to paint robots and explosions on film, than to pay proper writers to provide interesting dialogue for good actors.

5) Thanks to a needless growth of universities, in recent decades, the paying public is now a horde of half-educated graduates in need of escapism. No longer a thoughtful middle class.

6) No book should be longer than 160 pages. PG Wodehouse knew what he was doing, whereas eg Tolkein was a driveller.

Riots and Looting
Far be it from me to condemn a riot. I observe that my politicians ask for my vote once evey four years or so, then they ignore me for the rest. They almost invite me to make my voice heard, in a different way, using bricks.

Hooded fools, numbskulls, and idiots of every description are men not as different to me as I would wish. We both get drunk and fancy a fight on a Monday night. Smashing-up a shop, however, is a differently stupid choice. It is simply theft. I notice that those looters who complain about being unable, in this current recession, to make ends meet and to put food on their families tables (unwed or otherwise), or to get a job of work, chose to steal designer shoes and DVD players. In my area of London, not a single food shop, restaurant, or clothes shop with interview suits available was robbed.

Amusingly, a friend of mine from S London (Peckham) reports that the one store targetted was Pound Shop. Thus may crime always prosper!

Knowing me, as you do, by now, I am pleased to report that I gave some young folk a bloody good punching, outside an Off-License. They attempted a strange and Japanese kicking technique, which they probably learned from MTV. It failed, versus my gents ordinary straight left.

Unfortunately, that forced me to cancel a piano-forte lesson, the next day. I was taught a lot of Latin, but no music at my school. I wonder if today's 6th Form Academies export youth, onto London's robbable streete, as bored as I was?

My own suggestion, to prevent similar local amusements, is to license respectable gentlemen to sport swords in public. And to discourage the Metropolitan Police from shooting us, when a simple handcuffing would serve. After all, no man has ever robbed a bank while carrying an umbrella x


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