Starmer makes it up Mar 2023 : At a presentation about his 5 missions, Starmer stated that 300 women were raped every day. He didn’t believe the figures and got staff to check. Starmer should maybe check his staff instead. 300 per day is about 110,000 per year. Allegations of rape reported to the police to the year ending September 2022 were 70,633 – a long way from 110,000. He was right in commenting on the huge gap between allegations and charges – just 4049, according the Rape Crisis in a similar period.

Now it is thought that a great many rapes go unreported to the police, but the numbers are essentially conjecture by definition and open to varied interpretation. What may move the admittedly disgraceful situation forward is finding out why it is so many women pull the plug on investigations after reporting domestic violence or rape and provide more support in that area.

Truss update Dec 2022 :Grumpy commented here that Truss had succumbed to the current hysterical abandonment of due process as PM following an opaque allegation by a nameless third party about MP Connor Burns, who she suspended and withdrew the party whip. She even trumpeted he rush to sentence without investigation or trial as evidence of her capability for positive action. Well, after belated due process following here political demise, an investigation found there was no case to answer, and he has now been properly reinstated. If anything encapsulates what a lucky escape the country had from rule by this economically illiterate tyrant, this is it.

Laura Beers Oct 2022 : An American Professor, Laura Beers, penned an article published on CNN here arguing that there was a moral imperative for Rishi Sunak to call a general election. Setting aside the flaws and clear bias in the arguments she used, Grumpy is always irritated by US politicians (such as Pelosi on the Brexit Agreement) opining on UK domestic politics. Given the current febrile state of US politics it is simply breath taking in its hypocrisy; American politics is not only a poster child for Machiavellian self serving partisanship, it is a poor example of democracy. She states that “no one voted for” Sunak; However, in the US no one ever votes for the President. Hilary Clinton won the ‘popular’ vote in 2016, but the flawed Electoral College made Trump president. The Senate is even worse ; in the USA less than 600,000 Wyoming residents have the same representation as 39 million Californians – hardly democratic.

This as well from someone in a country that didn’t have racial equality in voting until after Grumpy graduated from University. The British need no lessons in political morality from a USA citizen.

Truss saga Oct 2022 : Liz Truss seems to have attracted almost universal vilification by the conservative party and its members. They seem to have collectively forgotten that she was put in place by a long accepted process of the party for democratic elections – they voted her in. The truth is that responsibility for all the events of this month largely rests with them, and their misjudgements. This is particularly true for the membership at large (whose votes took her to a majority), and where one might suspect there was a significant element of a ‘not Sunak’ motivation. Any whinges from the base about higher interest rates can go ignored.

London November 2020 : Duty free sales changes have been forecast to lose 100,000 jobs a year amongst airline and ferry staff alone. British Airways said that landing charges might have to rise by 15%, and it would lead to higher costs and job losses in the travel industry. No, this was not the reaction to Rishi Sunak’s changes to duty free shopping, but 30 years ago, when the UK joined the European Union.

As every traveller now knows from having to navigate the perfume and whisky counters at Heathrow or Gatwick, none of this came to pass. In fact, the industry continued to grow to the extent that at 07:00 in the morning in Terminal 5 Heathrow you can get caviar, but nowhere to sit to wait for a plane. So what of the howling wolves now crying about Sunak scrapping VAT free shopping now ? This time only 40,000 jobs are ‘threatened’, but it’s said that tourists will now head to France and Italy instead of the UK.

Really ? A Chinese or American tourist wanting to visit the UK would change their destination to Perpignan to get a few Euro off wine or cigarettes? Shed no tears for this industry, and hope Sunak’s claw back helps to reduce the shortly arriving tax hikes for UK residents.

London November 2020 : The government carried out another pointless public survey on importation of ‘Hormone Beef’ and ‘Chlorinated Chicken’ from the USA. Pointless because it is likely that only a vanishingly small minority of the respondents would be able to define what ‘chlorinated chicken’ actually was. They gave a similar thumbs down to hormone treated beef. Asd a result Trade Secretary Liz Truss bowed to this survey of the the ignorant by undertaking not to import such products from the USA. Both items were targeted at keeping contaminated and unsanitary American food from British lips. The respondents may well do well to recall that British beef was banned from the EU for 10 years because of the catastrophic decision to feed cattle – herbivores – with chopped up cadavers of other animals, killing UK citizens with the disease vCJD, something which was banned in America. [Factoid : Chlorine is an element which is a pale green gas at room temperature, and is poisonous, but the UK press has always been confused between elements and compounds. It’s hard to see how you would ‘wash’ something in a gas.]

London October 2020 : ‘Streetspace’ is Sadiq Khan’s latest venture to push an ideological but irrational bike lane scheme to make travelling by private vehicle an option which wastes huge amounts of productive time and raises blood pressure for commuters. Only Sadiq and a few fanatical nuts with lycra shorts can’t see that the ensuing massive congestion caused by this scheme is not sustainable; already, a short time after spending vast sums of council tax TfL have had to backtrack on the obviously unworkable Euston Road layout. Defying the statistics of his own department on the demographics of London commuters (average journey distance 13 miles), Sadiq continues to suggest the wholly delusional notion that they should cycle or walk for a few hours each day to reach their workplace. Of course, many (or most) of the people whose quality of life he damages don’t have a vote as they commute from outside his domain, and so sanity is not likely to be restored for some time.

Trump / Barr hypocrisy 18.09.20 : Trump, in his current China bashing mode, has (along with the UK to be fair) railed against the introduction of sedition laws in Hong Kong. It was a not unsurprising example of the unmitigated hypocrisy of the Presidency that Bill Barr, the Attorney General, considered the use of the self same sedition charges against demonstrators in the BLM movement. It’s a sign of the times that such cant doesn’t now even raise an eyebrow in the USA.

Repression and Hong Kong 20.07.20: A bystander to some protests is video’d being beaten with a baton by a man in military fatigues but with no identification, then sprayed by tear gas. Others are snatched from the street by unidentified men and bundled into unmarked vans rented from a hire company. Is this the repressive regime in Hong Kong that the UK and US say is an affront to democracy ? No, it’s Portland, Oregon, USA, and they are Federal agents sent there by the President, by-passing the procedures required in the US on arrests (identification, Miranda rights etc).

Fox News as a Trump TV channel 12.04.2020 : Anyone who didn’t think that Fox News was Trump’s propaganda arm should look at the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAh4uS4f78o . What is most disturbing is Hannity’s blatant lie in the closing sequence; politics and the news media have now adopted an undisguised approach of biasing and distorting facts,without the slightest shred of shame or an apology when found out.

Enter the word ‘Furlough” 05.04.2020 : The word ‘furlough’ had been in use in the late 19th century in the UK, but it’s not one that Grumpy can recall in common use in his lifetime. Widely used in the US, it has various interpretations. The government introduced it again here in their ‘guidance for workers’ on 3rd April. as far as he can tell Grumpy believes it’s merely YAE (‘yet another euphemism’) so that more familiar and harsher words can be avoided (how about ‘layoff’ ?). Euphemisms were in the main relatively benign in their attempt to deceive (and many patently stupid), but they became darkly malevolent with US terms like ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture’) and ‘rendition’ (‘abduction’). Wait for an ‘optimal medical asset utilisation rationale’ when they come to switch off your ventilator.

Grumpy’s Bunker 27.03.2020 : Not really news of any import, but Grumpy has entered “Hermit Mode” and eschewed all contact with his fellow men, until the pandemic abates. Right now he’s thinking it will be 9 month’s before he can emerge into the sunlight and carry on as before. This means of course, that he will have far more time to write in this blog …

Daily Mail news weirdness 20.10.2019 : The Daily Mail reported that the NHS was to scrap paper prescriptions from November, according to Primary Care Minister Jo Churchill. It went on to say that under the electronic system, patients could get their medication either from a pharmacy they nominated to receive details directly from their GP , or get a paper prescription. Huh? How is that ‘scrapping’ paper prescriptions if you can choose to have them ?

Charlotte Edwardes allegations – 30 Sep 2019 : Grumpy’s reaction to the “knee squeeze” revelations by Charlotte Edwardes is to imagine what an odious, scheming, vindictive bitch (a deliberately chosen word) she must be. Twenty years after (if it’s true) BoJo copped a feel, she raises it two days before the Conservative Party conference. She, along with similar #MeeToo harridans, knows only too well that an allegation is normally all that’s needed to inflict maximum damage on a target, whether it’s true of false. No need to bother with Police or other such impediments of due process, so zero risk with maximum pay back. It was clearly done at this time to wreak maximum damage to BoJo and the party, and not because she suffered an assault worthy of reporting to the authorities at the time. What a sad person she must be to have waited this long to wield the knife; no doubt she has a inventory of other people she wants to strike, using her one way bully pulpit as a journalist waiting the the opportunity to drip venom onto those who have somehow slighted her in the past. A pathetic and disturbed individual indeed.

Jo Swinson faux sensitivity – Sep 2019 : On 25th September in the House Of Commons, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox used the term ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ in relation to a question that had been asked of him. Jo Swinson objected strenuously to the use of this expression as she said that the AG should not be making jokes about Domestic Violence, and demanded an apology. Cox did make an apology, but it was wholly irrelevant. As Cox pointed out, the phase had been in common use for a significant time in the legal profession, management training and anywhere where people (including politicians) were being schooled to respond to questioning. Suddenly, Swinson turns this into something which requires the Attorney General of the land to apologise to Parliament. Well, he wasn’t making a joke, he was pointing out that his questioner had used a rhetorical trick to trap him by using the traditional term for that technique, such term being used daily in the legal world, academia and elsewhere. Parliament is re-writing the semantics of discourse, driven by, at one end of a spectrum, snowflakes (for want of a better word), and at the other Machiavellian hypocrites.

John Major’s brass neck – Sep 2019 : The Guardian reported on 25.09.19 that “The former prime minister Sir John Major gave evidence that preparation for a Queen’s speech at the start of a new session typically required only four to six days.”, clearly taking a swipe at Bojo for having prorogued parliament for other then ‘valid’ reasons. But wait: on the 15th March 1997 the same paper noted fury in the Commons that then PM Major prorogued parliament for the longest time since 1918 in order to avoid a debate on the so called ‘cash for questions’ affair. So hypocrite Major did exactly the same thing (and presumably lied to the Queen that the purpose was the then forthcoming election) to avoid a politically embarrassing debate over the sleaze drowning his government. Politicians normally leave office by way of physical or political incapacity, and once retired should stay retired.

Lady Hale in denial – Sep 2019 : Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, believes in diversity, and has stated, concerning the citizens of the UK ” it is important that their rights and responsibilities should be decided by a judiciary which is more reflective of the society as a whole, and not just a very small section of it”. A sanity check is required; of the 12 current (un-elected) High Court judges, 6 went to Cambridge, 4 to Oxford and 2 to other top universities. Her words on diversity and representation ring hollow, and that aspiration can be counted as having dismally failed.

Bad reporting : The accuracy of news reporting continues to decline. On 11.09.19, The Daily Mail reported that Kwasi Kwateng, a senior minister, faced a backlash after accusing judges of “interfering in politics” for ruling Boris Johnson had broken the law by suspending Parliament. Any rational reading of this would infer that Kwateng had made the accusation; not at all, he merely reported that some members of the public had this opinion, which is something entirely different. This is deliberate, shameful, distortion of news to get one line headings and sound bites. Appalling journalism by the Daily Mail.