Wednesday, 26 August 2020


The second and third tests were both rain affected draws, there was very little cricket in the second but in the third England were well on top and if the match had run its course then England would surely have won.  Crawley’s double century, Buttler’s ton and Jimmy’s bowling culminating in his 600th test wicket were the highlights.  What can you say about Jimmy Anderson, the greatest living Englishman?

The series was played in a great spirit and Pakistan played some good cricket but after the first test didn’t look good enough to beat England.  They do have some talented batsmen but Babar Azam only showed glimpses of what he can do.  A lot was said about their bowling line up which does have great potential but it has to be noted that they weren’t able to take twenty wickets in any of the matches.

This strange summer of test cricket has come to the end with England winning both series and importantly we are showing signs of having a settled batting order for some time to come.  Burns, Sibley and Crawley look a solid top three.  Root and Pope a classy middle order and we have some decent players in reserve.  Ben Stokes is the best all rounder the game has seen for a long time and could get into any test team for his batting alone.  Joss Buttler had a good series against Pakistan and cemented his place but he isn’t our best keeper!  Like Stokes he’s worth his place in the side for his batting alone.  I won’t be surprised if Bairstow finds his form and gets back into the squad at some point too but as a batsman not a keeper.

We also have an excellent squad of bowlers, who we pick should be decided by pitch and conditions and even the legends Broad and Anderson can’t expect to play every game.  We have out and out fast bowlers like Wood and Archer who will be a handful in Australia, swing/seam bowlers Woakes and Curran in home conditions and places like South Africa.  Then for the sub continent where we are scheduled to play next we have the likes of Ali, Rashid, Leach and Bess to bowl spin.  The latter has been our first choice pick this summer but for me he hasn’t done enough to earn that accolade, however he does have a bright future.

This England test team is much changed from the one that drew last summer’s Ashes series.  I think the current squad would have beaten that Australian team and have a good chance of winning down under in eighteen months’ time.  I also see a team developing that will be a match for anyone and could rise to number one in the world once more.

But coming up is some more white ball pyjama stuff...

Saturday, 15 August 2020


Working in retail means I come into daily contact with my fellow Brit and the great unwashed are a motley collection of the good, the bad and the ugly.  At the moment people are being asked to wear masks in public places, this is not by our request, as far as I can tell it is law, The vast majority of people -the good- do so without complaint, but there are plenty who feel obliged to moan - the bad- and there are a few who really should wear the mask permanently, it's not that they are physically ugly but their personalities certainly are.  We deal with fucking idiots on a daily basis.

There are people that genuinely forget but still feel obliged to complain about the inconvenience when we remind them.  “FFS, Can’t I just come in?  I only need a few bits…”  No you can't, what makes you so special?

There are others that just moan about how unfair it all is, as if they’re wearing a suit of chain mail rather than a small mask.  "But it's so hot..." Fucking snowflakes, fuck off.

There are many more who put their masks on then pull them down when they think no one is looking, or even when they know we are.  “I can’t breathe…”  They tell us, well you’ll struggle to breathe even more if you get sick.

We hear “where’s your mask then?” several times a day, like we made the fucking rules?  Don't moan at me mate, blame the pricks in Downing street!

Then there are those who claim to be exempt but we can’t challenge them…

A regular customer who I will call Sean works for the NHS in palliative care.  He spent weeks working in the red zone, helping people with Covid19 to die with dignity.  There was a severe shortage of PPE including masks, people were coughing and spluttering all around him and inevitably he became infected.  Sean was very ill for three weeks but came through and is fit and working again.  Sean has no problem wearing a mask whilst out and about, I wish people who moan about masks could hear his story.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

First Test- WTF??

After two days Pakistan were well on top but a wagging tail and an excellent bowling performance despite questionable captaincy gave England an outside chance.  Our second innings started well but when we'd slumped to 117/5 the only question was how long would we be made to suffer...  Enter Buttler and Woakes whose brilliant partnership won England a match when we had no right to do so.  But it was another one of those afternoons, like the World cup final and the last day at Headingly when we were made to suffer!  Loving cricket is a peculiar form of masochism, even our greatest days we endure hours of suffering.

Pakistan must be sick, how did they lose?  How can they come back?

The second test starts next week, hopefully on a wicket that doesn't suit Pakistan as this one did.  Assuming Stokes is fit to bowl then England will make changes.  If an extra batsman plays then for God's sake make Buttler that man and bring Ben Foakes back in with the gloves!  The bowling line up will change too and we may well see Jimmy rested, which once would have been unthinkable.  Jack Leach must be due a game too, Bess hasn't done his job.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

First test vs Pakistan

Some thoughts after two days...

Pakistan have played excellent cricket and have taken advantage of England's inconsistencies.
I like Joss Buttler, he's a fantastic batsman to watch when he's flowing but our best wicket keeper is carrying drinks.  Had Ben Foakes been behind the stumps the match situation would have been very different.  As the commentary team said, Joss owes the team some runs and I hope he delivers but I'd much rather see Foakes behind the stumps.

Also Dom Bess should have a decent career in test cricket but right now I think Jack Leach is the better spinner.  Squad rotation is all very well but can only be seen as successful when the team is winning!  If Stokes was fit to bowl I expect Crawley would have played and our bowling line up would have looked quite different.

After two days England are in trouble, if you offered me a draw right now I'd take it...

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Wisden decider

Before the match started it was announced that the Wisden trophy will be retired and future test series between England and West Indies will be played for the Richards and Botham trophy.  I'm not normally one for breaking tradition and rebranding things but I think this is a great idea.  Viv Richards and Ian Botham were two cricketers that inspired me to pick up a bat, were fiercely competitive opponents on the international field but team mates in county cricket and great friends off the field.  I think it's a perfect fit to name the new trophy after these two players.

Today stared with West Indies winning the toss and inserting England which seemed a poor decision but with England reduced to 122/4 it appeared to have paid off.  Listening to TMS while fishing on the broads with my son I started chuntering about arrogant selections again, England have left out Crawley so they can play another batsman.  Of the top four only Burns passed fifty.  But Pope and Buttler played well and their partnership may have changed the course of the series.  Pope took the plaudits but his innings highlights looked streaky to me.  At stumps, early due to daft umpiring, England were 258/4.

Morning day two, West Indies had the luck that had deserted them during the previous session and knocked over both Pope and Buttler, then threatened to go through the tail but Bess and Broad managed to score a few runs and pushed the score past 300.  This seemed to give Stuart the licence to throw the bat and he heaved the ball all over the place and passed fifty.  The partnership with Bess negated all the good work the West Indies bowlers done first up.  Broad was eventually out for 62 but the damage had been done and England eventually posted 369.

The afternoon was no better for West Indies, every time they threatened to put a partnership together a wicket fell and England remained in control throughout the day which ended with the visitors on 137/6, the wickets being shared amongst the pace bowlers.  With two days gone it looks like only the weather can stop England regaining the Wisden trophy.

I spent most of day three at work, happily sat by the radio listening to TMS.  It was a surprise when England started off with Archer and Woakes which was put into perspective when Broad destroyed the tail to finish with six wickets.  England's openers accumulated a century stand with both passing fifty, then there was an acceleration when Root reached the crease and the captain cruised passed fifty.  The declaration came when Burns was out for 90, setting West Indies 399 to win.  England had enough time for five overs which was all Broad needed to take two wickets and leave England well on top.

Day four was a washout but that didn't matter, England got the job done easily on the final day with brilliant Broad and Woakes sharing the wickets.  The big news of the day was Broad getting his 500th test wicket, fair play.  TMS kept me company at work.

West Indies always show a bit of fight against England which makes you think they are improving as a side but they don't show any consistency.  A lot of this may be down to inter island rivalry and political bollocks but they do have some good players and a good captain, even if he made some questionable decisions.  But nowadays England should always expect to beat West Indies in test cricket.

We are starting to look like a very good team now, Burns and Sibley have shown that their good starts in test cricket were not flukes and with Crawley looking good we have a decent top three.  In Root, Stokes, Anderson and Broad we have four genuinely world class cricketers.  Add to that batsmen like Pope and Bairstow if he can find form again, Foakes and Buttler behind the stumps and a squad of decent bowlers; Archer, Wood, Woakes, Leach and Bess.  Players like Curran and Ali still have roles to play too.  I feel optimistic that England could rise to number one in the world again in the future.  But the England cricket fan is nothing if not an optimist...

Monday, 20 July 2020

Second Test

England are back to winning ways, despite losing a full day to rain.  The four days play we were treated to showed everything that is great about test cricket.  Sibley and Stokes ground out big hundreds in testing conditions to set the game up.  Stuart Broad returned and changed the game with a spell of 3/1.  Stokes smashed the ball to all parts and England's bowling unit squeezed the life out of the West Indies to finish it off.  This was an excellent test match and it's such a shame there wasn't a crowd there to appreciate it.

The next match starts in a couple of days and it's hard to guess how the selectors will go.  All of England's bowlers contributed at some point but Dom Bess isn't playing his best cricket at the moment.  Woakes and Curran are good all round cricketers but we have better bowlers.  Joss Buttler has to produce something soon.

This selector would pick;

Burns, Sibley, Crawley, Root, Stokes, Pope, Foakes, Archer, Broad, Anderson, Leach.

It's good to see the West Indies team continuing to improve but they do seem to play their best cricket against England.  I'd love to see them challenging teams around the world again and Jason Holder seems like a leader who can inspire them to do so.  However I can't see anything other than an England win next week.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Cricket returns!

One of the most disturbing things about this most surreal spring has been the lack of cricket but with things apparently improving the test series against West Indies was rearranged and all of a sudden it was here, albeit played without fans.

It was a surprise that Stuart Broad was left out of the eleven, I find it bizarre that a man with 485 test wickets can be left out in home conditions.  Thinking back to the first test in Barbados last year when the same player was left out and England were hammered.  At the time I described this non selection as arrogant and after two days of this test match I was thinking the same.

To be fair England's 204 on first innings was not enough and the deficit of 114 could have been much worse.  This was down to poor batting from England and good bowling by Jason Holder in particular.  I still think had Broad played then West Indies would have found scoring much more difficult.

England's second innings was much better with good scores from all of the top order, newcomers Sibley and Crawley in particular.  Just when England were threatening to take the game away West Indies fought back and ripped through the middle order.

The last day, Archer scored some valuable runs and England set West Indies 200 to win.  I'd have backed the home team at this point, especially after Archer had helped reduced WI to 27/3 but the middle order got stuck in. There was a bit of a wobble towards the end but West Indies hung on to deservedly win by 4 wickets.

Post mortem.  Broad should have played ahead of Wood in this game, it's fucking obvious really, another arrogant selection.  Wood is great but pick horses for courses, this was Southampton not Sydney.

Joe Denly is a very likable character but has played fifteen tests and not improved, this must be his last test.  I love watching Joss Buttler bat but he too has not delivered in test cricket.  We keep being told he's a 'game changer' but I can't ever remember him changing a game?  It's about time Ben Foakes got another chance.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Lockdown insanity part Nine.

You can sum up the weekend news with three quotes from my current favourite author;

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"


"I love Big Brother".

But if were left to me I'd say something along the lines of; what a piss taking bunch of shameless, hypocritical bastards.  They must think the electorate is a bunch of dumb cunts.  Actually they might have a point.

If you believe Cummings (and others to be fair) done nothing wrong, you are a dumb cunt.  Please remove yourself from the gene pool.  Fuck off.
I feel better for that.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Lockdown Insanity part eight.

In already surreal times what a weird few days we’ve had.  On Friday the country celebrated the 75th anniversary of the defeat of fascism.  There was an irony in this situation.  We are being led by far right governments, fascism has been rebranded as ‘Neo-Liberal’ and our ‘greatest generation’ is sitting wide eyed in care homes, waiting for an invisible enemy but this irony was lost.  The people who lived through the war should be applauded and celebrated but generally they are forgotten, just wheeled out and displayed at times like this.

Then came the much anticipated speech.  Apparently 26 million people watched BoJo the Clown on Sunday, waving his arms about, spitting and waffling and saying…  What exactly?   Yesterday we had smart arses on social media saying “Well I understand…” Implying you must be an idiot if you don’t.  Well wake up, most Brits are fucking idiots!  How many people have to die before these indoctrinated Tory lap dogs recognise the government has made a gigantic fuck up?  If the clown was lining people up and shooting them they’d say “well he’s relieving the burden on the NHS…”

Monday’s Telegraph quoted BoJo the Clown saying we need to “Use good solid British common sense…”  Jesus fucking bog flushing Christ!  If ever there was a recipe for disaster it’s relying on Brits to use their common sense.  The fucking British were holding fucking street parties on Friday!  Two months ago they were panic buying bog roll!  Not frozen meals or tinned food, fucking bog roll!!
Well I understand…”  They say.  Do you?  Here have a fucking medal.  Ignore the fact that there is no clarity, unlike the previous message; “Stay at home…” which was simple, obvious and virtually idiot proof.  What the fuck does “Stay alert…” mean?  Look out for a visible microscopic thing?  It might be lurking in the bushes somewhere ready to strike.  But I won’t know because I can’t fucking see it!  How the fuck am I supposed to stay alert?  Alert for what?  People coughing in the street?    The walking dead?  Piles of bodies?  Alert for people breaking the rules so I can pick up the phone and contact the thought police?  Actually Friday might have been the time for that…

Control the virus…”  What?  How the fuck can I do that?  Actually I thought that is what I was doing by staying at home?  Now I’m being told to go to work, surely I can’t do both?  Control the virus!  Most Brit’s can’t even control their fucking dogs!  I’m having a good day if I can control my fucking bladder!
At least the “Save Lives” part is unchanged, this part is pretty clear.  At least it is until you put it after “Stay alert, Control the virus”.  Somebody somewhere got paid to come up with this bollocks, presumably someone working from home who was halfway through a bottle of cheap gin.

It’s been almost forgotten amongst the ensuing confusion but early on in the clown’s performance he uttered something along the lines of thirty thousand deaths being “apparent success…”  What the fuck?  Is this the first time in history that ‘thirty thousand deaths’ and ‘success’ have been used in the same sentence?  The question almost asks itself, how many have to die…?

Anyway congratulations to the one eyed Tories on being able to understand a message which has already been contradicted.  On Sunday it was, “Go to work tomorrow…”  Then Monday, Adolf Raab says “No he meant Wednesday…”  Well if I’d have gone to work Monday it would have been too fucking late!  This was a pre-recorded speech for fuck sake!  How can a man with the most expensive education there is, fuck up a message in a pre-recorded speech?  You couldn’t make this shit up!

If you can’t work from home then you should go to work.  OK… So if you are desk bound with limited contact to other people in your work place you’ll be staying at home but if you do a job which involves contact with the public you should go to work…  Fucking genius!

Public transport will be running but don’t use it unless you really have to.  We don’t want loads of people crowded onto a bus or a train do we?  What about the fucking driver?  Yes its better all round if there are lots of empty buses trundling up and down the streets, that will make sense.

So as I understand it I can’t spend time with family members who I know and trust from one or two other households but I could be asked to go to work with people from four or five other households that I can’t necessarily trust to have been doing the right things over the last few weeks.  While I’m working I could be in interacting with people who could have come from literally anywhere and done anything.  Yes I understand alright, I’m part of the fucking herd.

Just as the government ignored the warnings from Italy and Spain and did fuck all to prevent all this carnage they are also ignoring the warnings from Germany and South Korea which have seen sudden rises in infection rates since relaxing their restrictions.

The rest of the world is looking at the UK and US, shaking their heads and wondering “what the hell are they up to?”  While we Anglo Saxons with our inherited arrogance strut around puffing out our patriotic chests and prepare to saddle up and ride into the valley of death.  We don’t care what those bloody Europeans think do we?  Our mates across the Atlantic know what they are doing!  With Trump and BoJo we’ll be alright!?   No, we couldn’t possibly have two more unsuitable “leaders” at a time like this, in any other era they would have been declared unfit for office.  We are all fucked.

Cheerful fucker ain’t I?

Tuesday, 5 May 2020


1984 by George Orwell. 

This is unquestionably one of the greatest books ever written.  It may not be the most pleasing to read, it won’t leave you with a warm glow of pleasure but it is a brilliant, important work.  It is as relevant now in 2020 as it has been at any time since it was written in 1948.  When I was at school in the 1980’s, George Orwell was part of the curriculum.  I actually left school in 1984 and you’d think the book we studied would be obvious?  But no, someone in Thatcher’s vile government had removed 1984 from the list, instead we studied ‘Animal Farm’ which was very good and taught us to fear communism.  I didn’t actually read 1984 until the early 2000’s when we had the bastards Blair and GW Bush in charge either side of the Atlantic.  I read it and it terrified me because I could see many of the things Orwell wrote about had already come to pass.  For example Blair’s government used ‘doublethink’ as daily policy, I could go on…  Lockdown, with too much time on my hands I’ve read 1984 again and it’s now even more relatable to this fucked up world.

Britain is now known as ‘Airstrip One’, the eastern outpost of the Oceania super power.  Big Brother is the figurehead that represents the leadership of ‘the party’ practicing INGSOC (English socialism) which has totalitarian power in Oceania.  The mottos of the party are;
War is Peace      Freedom is Slavery          Ignorance is Strength
All of these are examples of “doublethink”- “To know and not know.  Even to understand the word doublethink required the use of doublethink.”  Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them.  “To tell deliberate lies and believe in them.  To forget any fact that has become inconvenient”   Doublethink arrests the course of history.  Modern politicians wouldn’t do this… would they?  Yes, Johnson and Trump (to name just two of many) do this every day with little or no scrutiny.
Doublethink runs through Orwell’s fictional society, even the names of the controlling ministries; “the ministry of peace concerns itself with war, the ministry of truth with lies, the ministry of love with torture and the ministry of plenty with starvation”.  Which shouldn’t be a surprise to us in modern Britain as our own Ministry of Defence is used by government not to defend our country but to wage war for profit on foreign soil.

Society is split into three classes; the Inner Party “The brains of the state” which is the ruling elite and totals around 2% of the population, as has existed since societies were first formed.  Then there is the Outer party which represents the middle class, of which the protagonist, ‘Winston Smith’ is part.  These people do all the hard work that is deemed too important or complicated to be left to the underclass.  The Outer party are the most deluded members of society, they strive to become part of the inner circle and express themselves with zeal but whether they know it or not, Just like millions of middle class Britain’s in 2020 they will never be let into that club; “In general the greater the understanding the greater the delusion, the more intelligent the less sane.”   
The middle class are most susceptible to the mindless parroting of media soundbites and propaganda which is particularly prevalent on social media these days.  In Oceania it is known as ‘Duckspeak’; “Noise uttered in unconsciousness like the quacking of a duck”.  This has always been prevalent in Modern Britain, some recent examples; “Corbyn is a terrorist”  “Covid19 is an act of war by China”. 

Finally the majority underclass, the dumb masses called the Proles, in these people Winston sees a light in the darkness; “If there is hope it lies in the Proles…”  But Orwell is damning in his descriptions of the lives and interests of the Proles; “Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, football, beer and above all gambling filled up the horizon of their minds…”  Then a bit later; “It was not desirable that the Proles have strong political feeling…”  Orwell goes further in a scene describing a riot; “Why could they never shout like that about anything that mattered?”, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious…” This describes most British people today regardless of ‘class’, too distracted by unimportant shit to stop and take notice of what is happening around them.  The Establishment does not want too many people engaged by politics so uses broadcast media to distract, Murdoch didn’t buy the rights to English sport for profit alone.  British people are forever arguing amongst themselves these days whether it be political loyalties or just sporting tribalism. 

All party buildings have a telescreen in every room which broadcasts Party propaganda but also spies by recording what happens on the other side of the screen, party members are permanently under surveillance.  (Somebody could make a TV show out of that…)  Today our televisions broadcast propaganda and as has become apparent in recent years, our home computers spy on us.

The world of 1984 is split into three superpowers; “Three philosophies are virtually indistinguishable…”  Oceania which represents USA ; Eurasia is a thinly veiled Russia and Eastasia is basically China.  That’s not a bad prediction for something written in 1948.  Orwell is accurate when it comes to the areas in which these conflicts are fought; “there lies a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Barraville, Darwin and Hong Kong.”  Take a look at a map of the world, how many of the conflicts since the Second World War have fallen into this area? 

A feature of life in Oceania is the daily “Two minutes hate” where the party members assemble in front of a Telescreen to vent at images of Emmanuel Goldstein (AKA ‘the enemy of the people, Big Brother’s nemesis, if he even exists?) and other current enemies of the party.  The propaganda fuelled rants remind me of the British media’s vilification of Jeremy Corbyn in recent times.  “An attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should be able to see through it and yet just plausible enough to fill one with alarmed feeling that other people less level headed than oneself might be taken in by it…” 

There is so much in 1984 that has become everyday political tactics.  For example, the hiding of bad news beneath a bigger story, the Telescreen announces a crushing war victory but follows this by informing of a reduction in the chocolate ration.  This trick became obvious to most when Blair was in power.  “The world view of the party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it” : “By lack of understanding they remained sane, they simply swallowed everything and what they swallowed did them no harm because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird…”

Winston’s job at the ‘Ministry of Truth’ is basically rewriting history to suit the party’s current ideology.  He is literally rewording newspapers and other publications to make the Party’s latest pronouncements have some historical evidence; “And then the lie would pass into permanent records and become truth” In recent years both Trump and Johnson have made outrageous statements and told blatant lies which they have later denied and the modern media lets them get away with it and forgets.  The £350 million infamously daubed on the side of a bus would have been very useful in the current crisis.  They use sound bites and evil propaganda to set the agenda. 

 Orwell describes the objectives of war in 1984; “The primary aim of modern warfare is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living”; “An all round increase in wealth threatens the destruction of a hierarchical society…”  Add to that in our times war is an extreme form advertising for manufacturers to sell arms to people who are not ideologically fit to own them.  Once a few years have passed the ‘power’ can then intervene to forcibly remove the weapons it supplied and the process repeats itself, Iraq being a fairly recent example.
 “While war could be won or lost no ruling class could be completely irresponsible…”  Look at the world now!  In 2020 the Establishment is confident that it will not need to use its population to fight war and prevent invasion therefore feels safe in fully exploiting the people to the last penny.  In the UK the Establishment is slowly but painstakingly dismantling the rights of ordinary people that have been acquired since WW1. 

War in 1984 and war now is another device used to keep the world in order. “A hierarchical society was only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance”;The two aims of the party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish all the possibility of independent thought “.  Though in modern reality no one power will conquer the earth those that currently hold power have almost succeeded in stamping out independent thought.  Nobody questions the structure of modern life.  From birth to education to work.  Then the Establishment pays us but encourages us to acquire stuff.  The more stuff = more successful and so we give the money we have earned back to the Establishment.

A citizen of Oceania is encouraged to believe their enemies doctrines are evil; “Barbarous outrages upon morality and common sense” But just like today, the reality is different; “Actually the three philosophies are barely distinguishable and the social systems which they support are not distinguishable at all.”  Since World War 2 the western powers have asked us to believe there is an enemy.  When I was young it was USSR, when this union collapsed it was Middle Eastern terrorists and now China is being set up as the bogeyman.  All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers”
But what obligations does Big Brother have to the citizens of Oceania? “Obliged to prevent their followers from starving to death in numbers that would be inconvenient”    Or as is topical today, allow inconvenient numbers to die from a viral pandemic, once the business elite have been appeased of course.

What the book describes is the post industrial revolution world in which equality became possible but was undesirable to the elite, who then used the new technologies to influence the masses; “The invention of print however made it easier to manipulate public opinion and the film and radio carried the process further”;  “The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way”  Even in 2020 governments are using media of all forms to manipulate and influence public opinion, very few outlets can be trusted to give unbalanced news.  The Establishment owns the media, the Establishment controls what it wants us to know and dictates how we understand what we are told.

After capture Winston tries to fall into line but there is a part of his spirit that cannot quite be quenched; “To die hating them was freedom” There is only one form of torture left, Room 101.  The thing that is in room 101 is the worst thing in the world” Every single one of us has something lurking in Room 101, a weakness that could be exploited.  Room 101 destroys Winston; he utterly embraces Big Brother and is eventually released back into the society of Airstrip one.  He believes all the propaganda spewed by the Telescreen.  He can believe that 2+2=5.  He lives out his days an alcoholic and he knows that one day the bullet in the head will come but he will die loving Big Brother.

It is a grim ending to what is in all honesty a grim book.  It has been seen as a prophecy and a warning of the tricks a government can get up to.  It is likely that it is less of a prophecy and more a documentation of what was actually happening around the world during the Second World War. The light in the darkness of ‘1984’ is the message that freedom of thought is in itself freedom.  But if this is the definition of freedom, how many people in supposed free societies in 2020 are actually free?

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Lockdown Insanity part six

I know I’m repeating myself but I’m really struggling to get my head around this…

COVID19 was first reported in China in November 2019 and the first case in the UK on 31/01/20. 

Between January and March 2020 190 thousand people were allowed to into the UK from China.

02/03/20   WHO:-  There are three priorities for country readiness: 1) protecting health workers; 2) engaging communities to protect people who are most at risk; and 3) protecting countries that are the most vulnerable, by doing our utmost to contain outbreaks in countries with the capacity to do so.”

The British government continually ignored the advice of the WHO and ignored the advice of its own scientific experts.  It’s not as if there was any evidence to support ‘herd immunity’,  we had seen what had happened in China and Italy, we could see what was developing in Spain but still the British government did not act, they allowed the virus to spread.

12/03/20, Bo Jo the clown says banning major events will have “little effect on the spread”.  Despite this Professional sport did not go ahead in the UK that weekend, that’s right the Football Association acted before the government.

20/03/20 Emmanuel Macron phoned BoJo the clown and literally threatened to close the border unless the UK went into lockdown. 
23/03/20 BoJo the clown finally announces lockdown and compared to Churchill by Tory idiots that have gone quiet as the number of deaths has piled up.

Now the death toll in the UK, even with the manipulated figures, has been catastrophic.  Our leaders, privy to all the warnings and information, have led us to the highest death toll in Europe.  Whereas a few weeks ago we were looking at Italy and Spain in horror and sympathy, the rest of the world is now looking at us in that way.  But the other day the S*n newspaper told me to be happy because BoJo the clown and his whore had spawned a son.

Am I fucking missing something??

Monday, 27 April 2020


I’m sitting in the garden for a change; it’s another beautiful clear, blue sky day, a warm spring day with not a single cloud.  When I first sat down I could hear a dog barking but that has stopped now, there’s just the road noise which is rarely far way, even in a lockdown.  The Co-op over the road is honey pot for this drone.  And a bee is buzzing somewhere close; the wind is making the gate knock in the lock, rustling the dead leaves and whispering through the fresh ones.

Somewhere in a nearby garden someone hits something metallic with a hammer, once, twice, three times…  The insect buzzing comes and goes; I still haven’t located its source.  What a way to spend a spring day, I’ll be confined so for a few weeks yet.

From across the road comes the rattling of shop trollies.  At the moment there are no birds in the sky and there seems to be very little birdsong but when I manage to retune my ears it’s there in the background.  When the human racket recedes it comes to the fore.  Away in the distance an emergency vehicle uses its siren and what must be a motorcycle goes through the gears as it heads east and fades to a murmur. 

A Dove flies over and another sits on an aerial a few houses away, two Gulls drift across the blue as well.  I walk to the far end of the little garden and back but don’t see any more birds in flight; the sound of their songs is becoming easier to pick out now though.  From somewhere comes the call of a startled Blackbird but I can’t see the culprit, I hear a duck quack and there it is, flying quickly towards the river valley.  Then a Wagtail passes over with its dipping flight never making it close enough to really see.

There’s been a buzzing since I sat down and I haven’t been unable to locate the culprit, then the penny dropped.  It was coming from the box that houses the gas meter.  I opened the door and let a confused Bumblebee have some fresh air; I wonder how long it had been locked down?

The Hammer sound has started up again, rhythmical and persistent, and from another direction comes the grind of some kind of garden or DIY power tool.  I suppose I am concentrating on the sounds because the vista is so small and familiar.  All I’m really doing is sitting on a garden bench which threatens to give me arse ache and writing the things that come to mind although my pen is a long way behind my brain.

So let me concentrate on what I can see for a minute or two.  To my left is a mini greenhouse that has surprisingly stood up to the winter storms but it doesn’t look like there’s anything growing inside that came with an invitation.  Beside it is a brick shed with a large wasp like creature paying close inspection.  It doesn’t want to be looking for a home as it will find itself most unwelcome.  I can’t prevent myself from unlocking the shed to investigate; a wasp nest is the last thing any home needs.  I open the door warily, the creature has found its way inside but is not part of a gang, it buzzes through the open door and past me, it sounded pissed off.  What lies inside the open door reminds me I want to go fishing.

Back on the bench, opposite me across the square of paving slabs sits a big black plastic chest and a small, green upright shed type thing, both of these house garden tools and stuff.  Beside the shed is an old plastic table which is covered in flowerpots which contain mostly dead things and weeds but they are splashed with wild sown flowers, mostly small Pansies I think? There’s a smudge of grey on one of the slabs because yesterday I made a fire…  Interrupted by a Goldfinch on the wire but it didn’t stay long enough for a photo…  Anyway I have a pile of Beech branches from this year’s scalping to dispose of.  In the space I have, building a bonfire and getting rid of it all in one go isn’t really an option, as tempting as that might be.  Instead I kept things small; the base was made from two foil dishes that brought quiche into the house.  These were surrounded by three pieces of broken concrete slab which provided shelter and containment.  I know how to build a fire because I was a Scout as a youngster and I know how to keep things safe because I’m not a fucking idiot.  Once it was burning I fed it with small amounts, little and often.  To be honest it will probably take about four more fires of a similar scale before the pile is disposed of, but hell I’ve got the time at the moment.

Now to my right there is Ivy growing up the fence.  It is looking a bit bedraggled as I’ve had a couple of bouts of hacking at it over the last few months.  It was starting to get too big for its boots and was taking the piss, threatening harm to the fence.  I expect we’ll be going toe to toe again before very much longer.  Then Shelley’s bike leans against the fence, shrouded in a dark waterproof cover.

Further round, the Beech hedge is starting to form the barrier it was planted for.  Most of the ten trees have leaves now to some extent, the foliage gets thicker every day.  A couple of the trees are well set now and all the leaves are the light, bright, fresh green shades of spring.  They will get darker as the weeks go by.  I have a good understanding with the hedge, as I mentioned, I scalp it every year in late march and bar the occasional trim I pretty much let it do its thing.  It has turned out an odd shape for a beech hedge but it does the trick and for most of the year it provides the privacy we are entitled to.

The lawn is not fit to be called such.  It is a small patch of green grass, beds of clover and dotted with dandelions.  It’s all pretty green so passes as a lawn in a way but it’s pretty patchy towards the fence and hedge.  Here most plants died because I could never be arsed with sweeping up the leaves but this year I made an effort.  I also supplemented the grass with the unwanted tufts that grew easily between the slabs, cleverly transplanting them to the bare patches where they would be welcome.  I’m keeping half the grass mown as normal but allowing the sparser areas to grow higher and carefully strimming when necessary.

Just as I’m about to go looking for more bird life two Pigeons fly over, will I see anything else at the other end of the yard?  No, just another Pigeon but there are still the teasing songs of birds unseen.  I pay close attention to the hedge and see that seven of the ten Beech trees have leaves now, just the fifth from the left, the eighth and the ninth are still to open buds.  The sixth from the left opened up first, followed by the fourth, seventh, first, second, tenth and third.  The ninth one (aka the lazy tree) is always last but I can’t guess which out of five and eight will be next.

Another pigeon flies over, its shadow crosses my page and a small white butterfly flits in and then up and away.  Now more persistent buzzing and up to my left a bumblebee appears to be courting with the flat roof, maybe the one I released earlier?  I like to think so.

How long have I been out here?  It could be five minutes, it could be half an hour and when I next look at a clock I’ll be none the wiser.  And still the sky as brilliant blue, still the east wind rattles the leaves and gate and the somewhere birds still sing.

Then something small and shrill lands on next door’s aerial, I’m pretty sure it’s a Goldfinch, yes it’s mate flies down into the garden while the first still sings and stands sentry.  A few seconds later the second Finch is back, it perches on the feeder for a second or two but I make it nervous so it hops atop the fence.  We both sit and eye each other; I am still and silent, he/she is fidgety and noisy.  Then it leaves and joins its mate, they fly away in unison but come back across the garden a minute or two later.  The Goldfinches have started to visit the garden regularly since the first leaves appeared which was eleven days ago now, for the first couple of lockdown weeks I never saw them.

The longer I sit here quiet and still the more things happen.  A Blackbird lands on the grass and skips around a bit, never getting within a couple of metres but my presence doesn’t spook him.  When he leaves I sneak to the corner and peer round; the Goldfinches are back, using the hedge as cover while they mount raids on the other feeder.  There are Sparrows here two but they are more interested in the splitting buds on the branches and are much braver than the Finches.  I suppose they should be as we pretty much cohabit, the last few years have seen then nesting both in the hedge and under the eaves of the house.  As neighbours go they are pretty good but they are noisy buggers first thing in the morning.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Lockdown insanity part 4

BoJo the clown isn't fucking funny.  Time for a rant.

It's all OK, BoJo is out of hospital and getting better every day and he'll make everything great again!  We'll it's the least he should do after allowing this momentous fuck up to happen in the first place.  That's right, our Prime minister BoJo the Clown, allowed this virus to get a foothold in the country, quoted on 1st March;  “A recession, that’s what I fear most” he deliberately put the interests of business before the lives of people.

At the beginning of the pandemic the UK government ignored the advice of WHO and scientists.  On 26th february Scientists urged for "an urgent lockdown to save lives..."
In January the UK government (Hancock) lied about the country’s readiness for a potential pandemic.
In late February the Sunday times reported Dominic Cummings saying the government policy was "... Herd Immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad"

The UK government saw what was happening in Italy and Spain yet chose to follow exactly the same course of action.  
An earlier lockdown would have nipped the pandemic in the bud.

Professor Helen Ward – “It’s very sad that so many people have died, and so many more are desperately ill because politicians refused to listen to advice.  We said lockdown earlier, we said test, trace, isolate.  But they decided they knew better…”

Why were Athletico Madrid fans allowed to come to Liverpool when they weren’t allowed to watch matches in their own country?

05/03/20   A statement from WHO   "We are concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face. 
This is not a drill. 
This is not the time to give up. 
This is not a time for excuses. 
This is a time for pulling out all the stops.
Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans."

Both Germany and South Korea dealt with the pandemic in a different and more effective way. Until 12/03 UK government followed the same course of action as Germany but on that date had a deliberate policy change that differed from Germany in moving away from testing and isolation.  As time has gone on Germany's death rate is 3% while in the UK its 13%

When the clown finally put the country into lockdown Facebook proles were rapturous, describing it as his Churchill moment.  (I'm not making this up.)  If anyone dared suggest it was too little too late they were obviously unpatriotic Marxists, me?  Really?

The NHS are heroes but they went into this fight under funded and without adequate equipment. On 18/04/20 the RCN said ‘thousands of nursing professionals from across the UK are being asked to work without the right PPE…’

Staff and residents in UK care homes have been thrown to the wolves.  These people have been forgotten and ignored and we will probably never know the true death toll.

Testing in the UK has been pathetic.  The government promised 100000 tests per day by the end of April but three weeks in we haven't reached a fifth of that.

On the days where UK deaths hovered just below(?) 1000 the media told us to be happy because the clown is feeling better.

11/04/20  The BMA has warned that doctors’ lives are at risk due to inadequate PPE.  Hancock says NHS staff are using too much.  Another 917 deaths announced in the UK, the 10000 mark will be passed tomorrow.  The loathsome Priti Patel took the government briefing today and came across with her natural lack of empathy and no apology for the lack of PPE.  I doubt they’ll let her do it again.

In the interwebworld there are  FaceBook fuckwitts that believe this virus is an act of war by China, really?  To what advantage?  This is after years of the subliminal rhetoric we’re exposed to which means people make the automatic assumption; China = Bad, USA = Good, of course!  In reality it should be China = Bad, USA = Worse.  This same subtle mind control means these same people wouldn’t possibly believe the UK government could make a mistake, let alone knowingly trade lives for cash.

And the yanks are up in arms because ‘lockdown’ is getting in the way of their freedom’s FFS And that Trump creature is still inciting them.  Of course the Trump supporters should be allowed their freedom to spread the disease, just like they demand the right to sell guns to lunatics and both should be considered natural selection.

The other evening there was some kind of online concert where loads of ‘stars’ beamed themselves into our homes, playing a few tunes.  I didn’t watch it.  The Strolling Bones and that cunt MaCartney pratting about isn’t my idea of entertainment.  I’m not sure if there was any fundraising aspect to this or if we were just supposed to feel happy and grateful that these attention seeking bastards have given us some of their precious time.  If so, fuck off.

It’s quite a clever little ‘trick’ the Establishment is trying to pull off here.  Recreate the WW2 spirit, get everybody behind our army, in this case the NHS obviously, yup get behind the troops, cheering and clapping.  Everyone big up the NHS, pull together solidarity!  Then hopeful while everyone is busy flapping their limbs, perhaps most won’t notice what a total fucking cock up the government had made of things.

20/04/20  The British press is finally starting to get stuck into the government.  The Sunday Times highlights BoJo missing five COBRA meetings (really dramatic name for what is basically a bunch of Etonian wankers having breakfast but...)
   The Irish Times puts it nicely;
“Only a dysfunctional political culture could conclude that a showman, a proven liar, a fraudster with such limited ability, with such disqualifying flaws and such meagre track record is the one to lead any government at such a dangerous time”  449 more hospital deaths today.  Toll appears to be dropping.  BBC reports “Infection rates ‘flattening out’…”

Germany has started to ease restrictions, but they have handled the outbreak a lot better than us.

21/04/20  Social media shows than Piers Morgan (of all people) is continuing to get stuck into the government, more effectively than the new Labour leader thus far.  Reports that fake twitter accounts being set up in names of NHS staff, government propaganda.  And apparently the government is knowingly using flawed test kits.

Tory MPS Philip Davies, Caroline Nokes  Accepted free tickets to the Cheltenham festival in early march from a gambling firm (Ladbrokes/Coral) desperate to keep the festival (attended by 200000) open.  Cheltenham hospital is the worst affected in the whole west country.

I realised today that I'm becoming immune to the death toll, a month ago when it topped 100 in a day I was horrified, now it nudges a thousand (all added up...) and I'm barely moved.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

A walk in the park

I’m out of the house around 0800, straight away the birdsong strikes me, a Blackbird on the crest of a roof proclaims its presence to the world.  I cross the road and walk down to meet the high street, here the buildings are tall, old and in some cases oak beamed, Needham Market is a lovely little town.  Just round the corner is a zebra crossing, here I cross and carry on past the bus stop with sparrows bringing the bushes to life then I turn right at the Rampant Horse (the Swan is behind me, we’re spoilt for pubs here, not that I use them) and through Station yard towards the railway.  At the far end the original red brick Victorian station building dominates the yard but it hasn’t been used for this purpose for many years.  To the left is a tunnel beneath the tracks, (a throwback to a bygone age when it was used for moving cattle) this takes me out of the town and into the countryside, of sorts.  ‘Needham Lake’ is basically a park with the aforementioned lake (really an old landscaped gravel pit) as the centrepiece.  We’re lucky to have this in the town, not just the lake but acres of meadow and woodland, an oasis in this semi urban setting.  The air feels fresh on my face and I can almost taste the morning chill.

I turn right alongside the railway line and walk through a gap in the hedge towards the tree lined lake.  It’s a sunny morning and the air is filled with birdsong; The Collard Doves and Wood Pigeons are unmistakable, I recognise the songs of Blackbirds and Robins but there is an orchestra of squeaks and whistles from species unseen and therefore unknown.  I walk on across a little meadow and up a slight slope then I can see the lake; the trees, reeds and foliage is turning green, leaves breaking from their buds, regenerating after the bleakness of winter.   There’s another walker going the other way and he nods a greeting but the regular old boy doing laps always looks straight ahead.  The sun is low in the eastern sky so I have to shade my eyes, the lake is mostly calm and the ripples of small fish can be seen breaking the surface every now and then.  More obvious is the aquatic birdlife cruising through the water surface; Mallards, Moorhens, Canada and Grey lag Geese.  I carry on along the tarmacked path, my attention now more drawn to the water than the flora, it’s the angler in me, I can’t help it.

At the far end is a paved carpark and brick toilet block, all nicely tree shaded.  There are platforms here for fishing, duck feeding and one used by a model boat club.  At this end I usually find feeding Carp and yes they are here again, mopping up the leftovers from the duck feeders.  There are at least two fish here, muddying the water and sending clouds of bubbles to the surface.  They would be easy to catch but I’m not allowed in these surreal times.

After watching the Carp for a few minutes I carry on, curving back on myself and turning back towards home.  There are more geese here, paired up as its breeding time now, they sit warily on the bank but they’re not afraid, humans here are usually a source of food but I will leave them disappointed.  To my right the river Gipping trickles slowly seaward, it’s just a weed choked stream come summer, a poor shadow of the waterway I knew as a child but if I could be bothered I’d be sure to see Chub in the pool above the mill, grouping together ahead of spawning in a few weeks time.  I’m approaching the end of the lake again now, here there are many tree lined islands set aside as a nature reserve.  This end of the lake is all trees, a little wood if seen from above and once again I’m surrounded by twittering birds.  I notice tits, both blue and great varieties.  To my right now is open meadow and across the other side another wood butts onto the river.  Here I often see rabbits but today just Magpies, Rooks and Jackdaw.  I cross the meadow, through another gap in another hedge and onto what is known as the ‘Camping ground’.  In a normal summer  we sometimes use this as a cricket pitch and the site of picnics for friends and our families.

I enter the tunnel again and leave the green hues and woodland settings behind.  I re-emerge into the urban setting again, houses, restaurants and small businesses, all concrete and brick.  Back through station yard again, back onto the high street for a short stretch then turn right into Barking road and a couple of hundred yards later I’m back home.

At the moment this is more than just a walk in the park, it’s more than just my daily exercise.  It’s an hour out of my comfortable cell; it’s my fix of fresh air and countryside, it stops my body from seizing up and maybe my mind too?  At times it’s almost an injection of sanity, or is it?  As I am not able to fish at the moment I’ve had to indulge myself in another form of collecting animals.  So far since the lockdown (God that sounds melodramatic) I’ve identified thirty four different species of bird either in/from my garden or on my daily walks.  The best specimen is probably the Little Egret I saw fishing in the river last week but today I saw a Buzzard from my garden soaring high over the Town, heading west towards miles and miles of open farmland.

But these walks are almost a source of contention or controversy, I actually feel kind of guilty when I leave my home and garden.  If I pass other people I give them a wide berth, as they do me.  Most people smile and acknowledge each other; this virus has actually made our town an even friendlier place.  Should I be confined within the Beech edged perimeter?  I know I’m entitled to that ‘hour’ out every day but you know what?  Some days I go out twice, there I said it, I confessed, I’m breaking the rules, I will be vilified by the moralistic Thursday hand slappers. 

It’s not like I’m mingling with people, I’m not risking spreading or picking anything up, I simply would not do that.  But I have been sneaking an extra hour walking through woods and fields where I rarely if ever see another soul.  Except my son who comes with me, but this is something we have done for the last year or so.  I’m assured that’s allowed, even though he is temporarily living at his mother’s house.  We don’t get too close; I’m not allowed to hug my son at the moment.

There are rules and there are rules.  If we are talking a game or sport then I will uphold the rules strictly and rigorously even when it’s to my own detriment (maybe why I’ve fallen out of love with football?) and I’ll be pissed right off if someone cheats.  But when it’s rules that a government has handed down then that’s a whole different issue, life has taught me that their rules just aren’t fair.  Government rules are like those of a casino, the house always wins.  And our government isn’t too keen on rules either, especially if they’ve been advised by the World Health Organisation.  I better stop now.

On the subject of walking it is not possible to be unmoved by the WW2 veteran captain Tom Moore who is walking laps of his garden to mark his one hundredth birthday and raise money for the NHS.  Last I heard he’d raised over £20 million which is fantastic.  But what nobody seems to question is why he or anyone else has to raise money for the NHS in the first place.