Monday 31 October 2022

Halloween


Beethoven's Ghost

Piano Trio Nº5 in D Major: 'Ghost', Op. 70. II. Largo Assai 
Soloists: Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopachinsjaka & Henri Sigfridsson 
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827) 
Recorded Live at Mozartsaal, Schloss Schwetzingen. 2009

 




 

Sunday 30 October 2022

The Sunday Ishmael 30/10/2022

 
 "There is no reason to believe that there was any direct cause for concern." Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2001 and Elder in the Church of Scotland
 "People in the isles are understandably uneasy about the presence of a Russian vessel around the isles, particularly when there is heightened concern about attacks on infrastructure." Carmichael added.
"Even so, we should not be alarmist. I hope that the Royal Navy will have been fully aware and ready to respond if it were necessary."
 
Yes, I hope so, too. 
'Twas the Danish Navy that we owe our thanks to, however.
You remember Big Al  Carmichael?
Carmichael - spluttering bulbous lies and wormy pledges
On 4 April 2015, during the general election campaign Carmichael was involved in the leaking of a memo from the Scotland Office about comments allegedly made by the French ambassador Sylvie Bermann about Nicola Sturgeon, claiming that Sturgeon had privately stated she would "rather see David Cameron remain as PM", in contrast to her publicly stated opposition to a Conservative government. Both the French Ambassador and Gnasher denied the memo. Big Al said he had nothing to do with the leak in a Channel 4 interview. A Cabinet Office enquiry found phone records proving Big Al's SPAD, Euan Roddin, had contacted The Telegraph on the 1st April. Thus revealed as a liar, Big Al accepted that the memo was incorrect, he had authorised the leaking of the memo to the media and apologised. Why did this matter? Because it was an attempt to discredit Gnasher in order to bolster his popularity in the Isles and defeat his SNP opponent. Four electors from Orkney and Shetland lodged an election petition on 29 May 2015, attempting to unseat Carmichael and force a by-election. On 2 June 2015, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner began an investigation into his conduct. On 9 December 2015, it was decided it had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that he had committed an "illegal practice" and he was allowed to retain his seat. His application for his £150,000 costs was rejected in February 2016. 
mr ishmael had an encounter with the bloated Carmichael once - 
 
ME FIRST. HOW THE LIBDEMS WORK FOR THEIR CONSTITUENTS
 
I caught a delayed flight from Orkney to Aberdeen, last Monday morning.  In front of me sat  Big Al Carmichael, 
 
currently the local MP, now facing a legal challenge to his election  in May last.  Carmichael, by his own admission, lied when he insisted that he had not leaked  misleading information about Nicola Sturgeon, MSP,  but maintains, lamely, that this was a political lie, not a real one and so he should not be unseated.

A couple of rows behind me sat Lord Jim Wallace, 
formerly LibDem holder of the seat which Carmichael now considers his own property.  As an MSP and deputy leader of the Labour-LibDem Holyrood Coalition, Wallace was a disastrous justice minister, memorably, for her hurt feelings, paying a Scottish police sergeant three-quarters of a million pounds of my money. Wallace had presided over a bungled forensic criminal investigation which attempted to rewrite the laws of science, implicating the officer in wrongdoing of which she was entirely innocent, as well as subjecting Scottish criminal justice to worldwide derision.  (see Shirley McKie, wikipedia) 
When his  Holyrood coalition fell to the Tribesmen, Wallace's brain-numbing, grinning incompetence saw him rewarded with a seat in the Lords 
 
and yet another paid ministerial position, this time  in  the Clegg-Cameron axis. By local standards, indeed by any standards, Wallace is fabulously wealthy, grandly enriched by the taxpayer.  Now that he has helped put LibDemmery  in the political swillbin, along with the NF and the BNP,  Wallace only manages to claim from us three hundred pounds a day, for showing-up at the Lords, and then doing as he pleases.  With his fees in mind, Wallace was obviously anxious not to be delayed on his Monday flight-to-work.
And so, too, was Carmichael, for no sooner was  he aboard than he was reminding the  stewardess of his importance, 
 
of how he had to make his connection, it was vitally important that he get off first, as befitted his stature as a disgraced politician.  Catching himself in full arrogant flow Al added that it wasn't just him,  there were other passengers, too, with connections to make;  he meant his mate, Lord Wallace.  Carmichael continued  throughout the flight to remind the stewardess of his personal eminence.
   I couldn't quite hear all of it, so I don't know if he asked her to kick the pilot's arse but I wouldn't be in the least surprised to learn that he had.   
Now, it is well known locally that many of the morning flights from Orkney to Aberdeen carry NHS patients, bound for the city's Royal Infirmary and given the size of the tiny aircraft they are clearly visible;  some appointments are routine, some, like mine, are for specialist treatment and some are for those in serious distress and discomfort; all, given the stresses on NHS Grampian and Scottish NHS generally, are time-dependent, at least as important, anyone would think, as the diary appointments of a non-ministerial, disgraced MP and a superannuated parasite. 
 
Some of the passengers looked as if  their lives could depend upon their appointments;  they were the sort of people to whom anyone, absolutely anyone,  would say, No, please, you go first. 
 Not our democratic representatives, not Carmichael and Wallace.
We must ask you to remain seated, squeaked the stewardess over the speaker, while we help other passengers make their connections.  Thank you for your patience. 

Wallace came barging down the aisle, eyes fixed on his feet, brushing past the inconvenient sick and the impudent lame - his neighbours and former constituents -  as though they didn't exist;  Carmichael, at the front, lumbered off the plane without a sideways glance at his seriously ill constituents.   I felt lucky that neither had felt the need to horsewhip us.
A few minutes elapsed while calls were made from the cockpit and the cabin to check on the progress of our statesmen and then the paying passengers and the sick patients  were allowed to alight.
I missed my appointment by just five minutes and I don't know what happened to everyone else, maybe their clinicians juggled things a bit, just as long as it didn't impede Wallace's progress towards his money or Carmichael's  urgent attendance at whatever it is which his party of eight MPs  finds urgent.
We few, we precious few, we band of brothers
During round one of the Neverendum, Carmichael's inept handling of his role as Scottish Secretary resulted in the demise of his party in the following General Election. Campaigning for the Union, Carmichael proved to be a Scottish Tory lawyer revealing his true colours.  North of the border, his shaky and deeply unsettled constituency - his majority was almost eliminated -  is now  the only Scottish seat in LibDem hands, so he is probably as welcome among LibDem Westminster survivors as is Ed Miliband at Labour HQ. 
I did ask the stewardess or whatever they are called, cabin crew members, if I could get off before Mr Carmichael, as I had a medical appointment and I was as delayed as he was; she just laughed, as though I was joking; I believe that the New Serviles are trained to react thus to any citizen-suspect who opens his gob. I felt that if I remonstrated further I would be met at Aberdeen by minimum-wage security-serviles who might easily and joyfully kill me. Flight delays are a fact of life, here, and many disciplines can juggle things, although others cannot, surgeons, for instance, may have disappeared into theatre by the time some patients arrive and may not be available for consultation for weeks or months. But all of that is beside the point, the crux of my complaint is that even if everybody else on the plane had been in need of immediate, life-saving surgery, Carmichael and Wallace would still have asserted their imagined primacy and everybody would've gone along with it.
 I shall not easily forget the naked, brutal self-interest of this pair of political cocksuckers and I cordially invite Brother Corbyn to add them to his growing list of candidates for the Big Shiny Guillotine of State. 

The people of Orkney, of course,  should pelt them with rotting turnips.
 ..............................................................
 

In June 2009, Carmichael was involved in a successful campaign against the book by Max Scratchmann, Chucking it All: How Downsizing to a Windswept Scottish Island Did Absolutely Nothing to Improve My LifeCarmichael's complaints to the publisher led them to cancel publication. mr ishmael bought the book before it disappeared into the book pulping machine - and we read it with glee. An account of Scratchmann's experience downshifting from Manchester to Orkney, it debunked the Quality of Life Orkney myth - and was bloody funny, not least when the author mistakes a big hare for a little kangaroo, and describes the surreal experience of shopping in the Big Tesco in Inverness in the early hours of the morning. His air of amazed wonder instantly identified him as Fromm Orkney - back then, Orkney had no Tesco, no late night shopping, no aisle after aisle of utterly desirable food, (vegetables that grow above the ground!) clothes and perfumed ironing water.  
The Good Reads review says: With its remorseless true-life account of downshifting to a remote Scottish island, Chucking it All uncovers the frightening realities of relocating to “a magical island lost in the mists of time” as you follow the warts-and-all adventures of urban misanthrope, Max Scratchmann, as he valiantly tries to forge a new life in windswept Orkney, and grumbles his way through unending winters with eighteen-hour nights, nocturnal visits from drunken farmers and booty calls from desperate divorcees. From struggling to fit in as a temporary postman in a wilderness where houses don’t display numbers or names, to attending drunken country ceilidhs with the island singles’ club, or finding himself up to the neck in local politics while performing in the village pantomime, Chucking It All is an urbanite’s nightmare and one of the most hilarious books that you will read this year. Irreverent, sarcastic and bitingly caustic, Chucking It All still manages to be a grudgingly affectionate portrait of rural life through the eyes of a cynical outsider, and is one of the truest accounts of “living the dream” ever published.
I liked it, too, but Big Al Carmichael said it was "hurtful and vindictive", and attacked a number of "clearly identifiable" residents of the islands. 
Anyway, not the most reliable judge of a book nor of appropriate electioneering tactics, I'm not placing too much credence  on Big Al, proven and admitted liar, when he tells us not to worry about they pesky Rooskies and their cable cutters and spy ships.
What was very odd, on the Laura Whatsername show this morning, was the complete  absence of any reporting or analysis of the October attacks on infrastructure and the presence in British waters of an enemy surveillance vessel. Whoops, silly me. Of course, we're not at war. So, instead, Laura devoted the majority of her show to Spit Gove and his apologia for Su-Ellen and her Hilary-Clintonesque way with an e-mail. Nothing to see here, move along, she's said sorry hasn't she? 

Caption Contest

Now Available
Now that we have clearly reached the End of Days, should you need something  to cheer you up, look no further than  Ishmael’s Blues - which is now published, in both paperback and hardback editions; both editions are immediately available from lulu.com.  The paperback is also listed on amazon. Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack, the first two books in the sequence, are also available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
 Unless you’ve done this already, please register an account first, at lulu.com. This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
The book’s full title is "Ishmael’s Blues – further Chronicles of Ruin", and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of blogdog Buster retiring from the fray, cat gloating from a safe distance. The cover is the same for both editions.
Link for Hardcover :  https://tinyurl.com/je7nddfr
Link for Paperback : https://tinyurl.com/3jurrzux
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for "Lulu.com voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.
All that remained were the footprints, slowly filling with water.


Friday 28 October 2022

Phantasm Flying Fucking Fishing Boat of Doom revisited

 
This is the quaintly old-fashioned local newspaper, carrying news of the Russian shenanigans in Orkney waters. In case you missed the story, here's a summary. 
During the week commencing the 10th October 2022, the phone and internet subsea cable between Faroe and Shetland was sliced. It was claimed that this was the work of a dodgy anchor on a fishing vessel. Faroe has been granting Russian fishing vessels licenses to fish for blue whiting in Faroe's waters in exchange for Faroese fishing vessels being given the right to fish for haddock and cod in Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone. So the Phantasm Flying Fucking Fishing Boat of Doom is likely a Russian PFFF Boat engaged in sabotaging undersea cables with its dodgy anchorings.
On the 17th October 2022, the Akademik B. Petrov left her home port of Kalingrad, following the Norwegian coastline towards the North Sea oilfields. On the 20th October the subsea cable carrying internet and phone communications between Orkney and Shetland was severed. The Petrov headed west towards Shetland on Friday 21st October, passing close to the subsea cable. She then charted and re-charted several intended courses, as reported by Marine Traffic. Approaching waters west of the isle of Westray on Friday evening, she then changed course again, to take a route cutting through the heart of Orkney's Northern archipelago. At that point a Danish registered NATO warship turned up in waters south-west of Hoy and the Petrov changed course again, crossing waters close to the convergence of three Atlantic subsea internet cables, the new route taking her away from Orkney and down the west side of the UK.
Akademic B.Petrov, underwater surveillance and intelligence gathering ship.
She briefly rattled Northern Ireland, as reported on the Belfastlive newslink, but is now in the North East Atlantic, heading to the port of Belem, Brazil, at a speed of 8.4 knots and expected to arrive on November 17th. 
Orkney is feeling a tad exposed at present. Orkney Islands Council had a splendid nuclear bunker, equipped with bunks, showers, emergency food supplies, tech, first aid supplies, Geiger counters and a four foot thick door. All Local Authorities had them, intended for the preservation of the lives of those designated essential to the rebuilding of society after a nuclear strike. Over the years, as the cold war grew dim in folk's memories, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapsed, the bunks and showers were removed, a window was cut into the wall and the food was disposed of to the Food Bank. It was never going to work, anyway. The four foot thick door opened outwards. Imagine forcing that open with the rubble of the building piled up against it. 
 

Sunday 23 October 2022

The Sunday Ishmael 23/10/2022


Comrade Truss -  chapeau, mr mike 

 
 
She's looking remarkably well in her uniform - considerably better than when she dresses herself. Those ghastly skimpy little jersey dresses, so thin you can see the lines of her underwear through them. With an estimated net worth of £8.4 million, she could do a bit better than a Tesco dress and Claire's Accessories earrings. The King evidently thought so, as he muttered "dear, oh dear".
 

Not being sexist, honest. We made quite the fuss about Rishi's tight little rent boy suits - sleeves and trouserings way too short.
 
then there's Boris' failure to wear a waistcoat when it would hugely improve his look:

Now then, mrs ishmael, you pay far too much attention to clothes rather than policies. No, no, it's called Impression Management Theory, devised by Erving Goffman back in 1959 in his book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. It's important if you want people to believe in you as their Alpha - you have to look the part. Maybe this is why the Tories keep trying on new Alphas - none of them know how to dress themselves.
Apart from this one:
I swear, I'm half in love with her myself, and, as all ishmaelites know, I'm just a poor deluded cis socialiste ancienne. 
Beautiful, poised, groomed, appropriately clad, with a good voice, calm hauteur and a spot-on killer punch - remember when she floored Ian Blackford - Penny looks like a Prime Minister. 
Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to have any policies. On the Laura Kuenssberg show today, she announced that she was half way between one thing and the other, so she was a Unity candidate and she'd been into the Treasury - actually into it, and had a lengthy discussion with Jeremy Cunt. Further than that, she would not stray. She fielded every one of Laura the Nose Kuenssberg's questions with variations on "nice try, but I will not be drawn on the details" . She's only got 23 MPs who have declared for her, so we'd best not waste any more time on Penny I-will-not-be-drawn-on-the-detail-Mordaunt.
Lord Mervyn Peake,  Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England
told the nation today that there 
“isn’t enough money there amongst the rich to get it back” when it comes to meeting the “strong case” for extra spending in certain areas to help recover from the lockdown. He said that politicians should explain the consequences of soaring inflation, the reduction of living standards caused by supporting Ukraine, and helping future generations cope with the increased national debt. When Laura The Nose suggested that the Markets ran Britain, not the Government, Lord Mervyn indignantly responded that it was not the Markets, but The Bank of England (pictured above) and the government running Britain.
For those ishmaelites who haven't got their heads round how the Tories have fucked the Eckonomy Stupid, it goes like this:
you know how if you want to buy a house, you get a bank (or building society) to lend you some money and tell them that if you don't pay back the money they can have the house instead. It's called a mortgage, derived from  Old French, literally ‘dead pledge’, from mort (Latin mortuus ‘dead’ and  gage ‘pledge’). Because you've got their money, you have to pay them something called interest. Which is a sum of money calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed. Back in the eighties, that percentage was around 10%. On the 16th September, 1992, under John Major's Government, the percentage rose to 15% on a day known forever as Black Wednesday, because we were very racially insensitive. This is why persons of a certain age have little sympathy for younger adults who borrowed huge sums of money at 2.96% in 2021, thus forcing up house prices when too much money chased too few houses as every kid expected to buy a house and was not prepared to move to Darlington, (where you can still buy a 3 bed semi for £83,000). So, having survived paying high interest rates by not taking foreign holidays, not having Deliveroo bring cooked food round to the house at midnight, nor walking around carrying take-out coffee to go, when the aforesaid persons of a certain age finally paid off their mortgages and had a little money left over, they received in interest less than 0.05% on their savings. 
So, when the UK Government want to borrow some money to spend on manufacturing drones to fight a war in Ukraine or pay disabled people to loll about at home,  they pay interest to the person kind enough to lend it to them, that interest being set at a rate that reflects the solvency of the Government. When the Government begins to look dodgy, the people holding the Government's promise to pay back the money borrowed, understandably get cold feets and sell the debt. The new owner, recognising this is now dodgy, will expect a higher interest rate to compensate them for the risk  of everything going phooey. When Truss and Kwasi said they would stop raising as much money in tax, but continue to spend as much or more than ever, the people to whom the Government owed money collectively said, oh no, you don't. Then Lord Mervyn's lot at the Bank of Gormenghast bought all the debt, to stop another Black Wednesday. However, because we are now racially sensitive, it would prob'ly be called Grey Wednesday.
Is all that clear, class? Jeremy Cunt has got it all sorted now. Just a question of who he wants to be his Prime Minister.
 
At least the Belligerent Mrs Truss was not escorted from the Chamber, unlike Hu Jintao, 79 year old former president of China.


He put up some slight resistance, and asked his old buds to help him, but it seems the security guards knew he needed a bit of a lie down.

Anyway, moving rapidly on, and taking advantage of Orkney's subsea internet cable not having been attacked by the Phantasm Flying Fucking Fishing Boat of Doom (see comments on the previous thread), here are the autumn photos I promised mr bungalow bill. 
Harris, the blogdog, in the ornamental grasses
Reminds me of Rupert Bear's Nutwood - the trees just on the turn before the gales tear off the crisped leaves. We never have the full reds, oranges and yellows in Orkney - not quite cold enough in autumn to turn them.
The long, fruiting stems of New Zealand flax
Pink hydrangea, the papery seed discs of honesty and a cow parsley skeleton. Also known as Queen Anne's lace and hedge parsley, this pretty umbellifer is poisonous - I was told if you pick it and present it to your mother, she will die - hence its other names of mother die and stepmother's glory.
I don't know the name of this plant - anyone?
Blue hydrangea. Hydrangeas can
be blue, red, pink, light purple, or dark purple. Color change occurs due to the presence of aluminum ions which are available or tied up depending upon the soil pH. They say you can change the colour of your hydrangea by burying some tin cans near its roots. I tried it once, but nothing happened.
Candy pink nerine - to be found in gardens across Orkney in September and October. It has huge bulbs that must be planted proud of the soil, as it likes to bake in the sun. Masses of strap-shaped leaves through summer die back in September, giving way to tall erect stems bearing umbels of lily-like  pink flowers 6 to 8 cms. in width. It is from South Africa, and the story goes that a ship with a cargo of nerine bulbs was ship wrecked in Orkney and the bulbs were distributed across the island. It does well here and also in Cornwall and Guernsey, hence its other names of the Cornish lily or the Guernsey lily.
Another plant that does really well here is rosa rugosa - proper sweet rose scent, vigorous habit, makes a great burglar-deterrent hedge as it is woody and thorny and impenetrable - but it is very invasive, needs cutting back with a big fuck-off hedge-trimmer and you need to run your lawn mower over the suckers, or before you know it there'll be nothing but rosa rugosa in your garden. These are the hips - big, red and shiny, full of vitamin C. During the second world war, kids were paid to collect bucketsfull of hips to be turned into Delrosa rosehip syrup, because there was no orange juice to be had. I've got a big bag of them in my freezer, as I'm going to have a go at natural dyeing. Or make rose hip syrup, should the current war necessitate it.

Now Available
 
Now that we have clearly reached the End of Days, should you need something  to cheer you up, look no further than  Ishmael’s Blues - which is now published, in both paperback and hardback editions; both editions are immediately available from lulu.com.  The paperback is also listed on amazon. Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack, the first two books in the sequence, are also available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
 Unless you’ve done this already, please register an account first, at lulu.com. This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
The book’s full title is "Ishmael’s Blues – further Chronicles of Ruin", and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of blogdog Buster retiring from the fray, cat gloating from a safe distance. The cover is the same for both editions.
Link for Hardcover :  https://tinyurl.com/je7nddfr
Link for Paperback : https://tinyurl.com/3jurrzux
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for "Lulu.com voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.

So, what are you waiting for, Fat Boy?

Friday 21 October 2022

Phantasm Fishing Fleet commits Acts Of War

 Yesterday, the sub-sea internet cable from Orkney to Shetland was cut, causing internet outage to the Shetland Isles. This was a few days after the sub-sea internet cable from Shetland to the Faroe Isles was similarly cut. What a coincidence, we cry! A very rare juxtaposition of events, declared officialdom. Caused by fishing vessels dragging their anchor cables across the heavily-armoured sub-sea cables. That's alright, then, we reply. We understand. Accidents do happen. Lightning does strike twice in the same place.
 
Until Rear Admiral Chris Parry (ret'd), C.B.E.,  former Director Operational Capability in the Ministry of Defence  and former Commander Amphibious Task Group, spilled the beans on Radio Orkney this morning. Radio Orkney is great - everything from a swan flew into the windscreen of the school bus in Burray to Mrs. Flett, a wifey from Birsay, won the best in show marmalade and dahlia award to yes, didn't you know, we're at war with Russia.
 
Rear Admiral Chris scoffed at the suggestion of the phantasm fishing fleet with dodgy anchors. Ho ho, he said, these sub-sea internet cables are like, armoured, man, armature built to withstand the stresses of the North Sea. Some random anchor isn't going to slice them in half. And beside, satellite images don't show any boats in the vicinity of either event. Nah, he went on, its the Russians. They've got specialised undersea cable attack vessels. They were doing it to the Scandies a while back, but they dropped depth charges on 'em, so they've fucked off to Britain.

But why, manfully asked the Radio Orkney interviewer, aware he'd either got the scoop of the year or a loony by the tail, would the Russians want to cut the internet cables of Shetland and the Faroe Isles?

Because they don't like us, confided Rear Admiral Chris. They don't like our support for Ukraine. Britain is supplying drone weaponry to Ukraine manufactured in Northern Ireland. Why wouldn't Russia chip away at Britain, exploiting weaknesses, picking off easy targets, creating pockets of isolation, costing resources and man hours to fix the damage? We need to adopt a Scandie defence strategy, drop some depth charges and coat them cables with concrete.
 
So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it will be because they pesky Rooskies have sliced the Orkney sub-sea cable.
We need a North Sea Fleet, parked up in Scapa Flow, just as in the First and Second World Wars. Handy for defending Britain's Island Counties and positioned to keep an eye on the North and Baltic Seas. Bit of a threat, like.
See where Orkney is? The first archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Track your eyes eastward, past Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and there you go - Russia. No point in parking the boats in Portsmouth.  Track your eyes northwards - see those little things, look like dog droppings to the north of the mainland - so far and so small they are usually popped into a little box on the telly weather maps - first they came for Faroe. Then they came for Shetland. Then they'll come for Orkney. 
Then there's the electricity sub-sea cables. You know all that green-speak about Orkney being self-sufficient in electricity? That we generate more than we could ever use if we left the lights and heating on 24/7, ran washing machines and dryers continuously? Fucking rubbish. The electricity is generated on the Island Counties, sent down the cables to the National Grid, then sent back up again to be sold in expensive little units, just like for the rest of you. If the Russian cable cutters get busy on those sub-sea cables it really will be a long dark winter.
This is where all that gung-ho gets you.

Sunday 16 October 2022

The Sunday Ishmael 16/10/2022: "There may or may not have been trees."


 
The Tory Wild Hunt

Another fun week in politics. You really couldn't make it up - there was Kwasi, a thin sheen of sweat on his not-inconsiderable dome-piece, assuring the American TV viewers that he wasn't going anywhere - when bish, bash, bosh, he suddenly was going anywhere, summoned back to Downing Street to be encouraged to fall on his sword. 
and now we have a new Chancellor - Jeremy Cunt,
who assured Laura Whatsername this morning that he'd been enjoying himself on the back benches, doing the odd stint as Santa's love interest, but he was prepared to step up to save the country from the shitstorm that Kwasi summoned up. Jeremy Cunt - fuck me sideways - him again.

 

 'Twas Radio 4's Today programme that gave Jeremy his nickname - Justin Webb and James Naughtie both referred to him as Cunt, as did Andrew Marr on his Start the Week programme. They all subsequently claimed it was a slip of the old lingua, but the fact is that Cunty is a bit of a dodgy bastard. "Don't confront me with my failures", he might say, "I have not forgotten them." Indeed, not - how could he?
Jeremy's recipe for saving Britain for the Tories is the tried and trusted one of squeezing the poor and reducing public sector expenditure: drink up your bitter medicine.
Head of School at Charterhouse, Cunty went on to read PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford. He became Conservative MP for South West Surrey in 2005. He got into a bit of a muddle about his expenses, being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner in 2009, who found that he was in breach of the rules and that "
his office arrangements were at best disorganised."   Hunt paid back £9,558.50, and a further £1,996 wrongly claimed for household expenses. Expenses and other scandals are so much a part of Parliamentary life that none of this got in the way of Hunt's career and  following the 2010 general election, Hunt was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport in Cameron's coalition government. Given the quasi-judicial power to adjudicate over the News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB, Hunt chose not to refer the deal to the Competition Commission, announcing on 3 March 2011 that he intended to accept a series of undertakings given by News Corporation, paving the way for the deal to be approved. Following a series of scandals concerning phone hacking, a House of Commons motion was planned that called on News Corporation to abandon the bid. The bid was eventually dropped. Hunt was alleged to have had improper contact with News Corp. Emails released to the Leveson Inquiry detailed contacts between Hunt's special advisor Adam Smith and Frédéric Michel, News Corp's director of public affairs and therefore a lobbyist for James Murdoch. The revelations led to calls for Hunt's resignation, but Smith, Hunt's special adviser, took the bullet for the boss, resigning on 25 April just before Hunt made an emergency parliamentary statement in which he said that Smith's contact with Michel was "clearly not appropriate".
Hunt appeared before the Leveson inquiry on 31 May 2012, when it emerged that Hunt had himself been in text and private email contact with James Murdoch. Journalist Iain Martin claimed that at a 2010 event held at UCL he saw Hunt hide behind a tree to avoid being seen by journalists. Hunt later told the Leveson Inquiry that "I thought, this is not the time to have an impromptu interview, so I moved to a different part of the quadrangle... there may or may not have been trees!"
Onwards and upwards for Cunty and in 2012 he was appointed Secretary of State for Health. He has long held certain views about the NHS, having co-authored a policy pamphlet in 2005: Direct Democracy: An Agenda For A New Model Party which advocated denationalising the NHS to replace it with "a new system of health provision in which people would pay money into personal health accounts, which they could then use to shop around for care from public and private providers. Those who could not afford to save enough would be funded by the state". Hunt later denied that the policy pamphlet expresses his views  - but, by their actions shall ye know them, and under his stewardship, an estimated 10% of the NHS entire budget was diverted to a private healthcare bureaucracy and more than £3bn of contracts were awarded to private firms. Amusingly, Virgin Care sued the NHS in Surrey after it awarded an NHS contract to NHS providers, and ended 2017 with a £1bn haul of NHS contracts.
As Health Secretary, Hunt was criticised for controversial reforms, manipulating figures and increased privatisation. He declared patient choice was not key to improving NHS performance.
A few career high spots:
  • The reduction of NHS beds by 15,000, reducing capacity in hospitals across England by five million patients a year, thus nicely positioning Britain to deal with the global pandemic which had been regularly predicted by analysts and eventually hit Britain in 2020.
  •  Cuts of £22 billion in the guise of savings.
  • Dropping funding levels to 1950s levels. 
  •  In February 2016 he was polled as the most disliked frontline British politician.
  • The closure, amongst others, of 31 hospital units, nine GP surgeries, seven mental health units, six A&E departments, six walk-in centres, and four maternity units.
  • Staff reductions: in consequence of real-term pay cuts and the scrapping of nursing bursaries, the NHS is currently short of 40,000 nurses, and there has been a 10% increase in unfilled vacancies across the whole of the service, whilst under his stewardship, there were 1,200 fewer GPs than when he took office. Under the crazy remuneration system, it pays G.P.s to reduce their working hours and to retire early. In consequence of understaffing, at the height of the Covid crisis, it was impossible to staff the Nightingale hospitals thrown up in a hurry and at great expense in 2020, some two years after he left office, yielding the post to the unfortunate crying Matt Hancock.
To top it all, in 2022 he had the cheek to publish  a book with the catchy title: Zero: Eliminating Unnecessary Deaths in a Post-Pandemic NHS. (See Sunday Ishmael passim 15/05/2022) Interviewed by Sophie Raworth, he said:  “It was not about rogue staff or a rogue hospital. It was about a rogue system. A rogue system that I, as health secretary, sat at the top of.” His  book sought to explain how and why he was not able to turn the NHS into an efficient, transparent, affordable health care system. It was everyone else's fault, of course. I particularly liked this quotation: “Too often managers who had failed were recycled to jobs in a different part of the country, where they continued to make the same mistakes. ” That probably explains the phenomenon of Ministers of State fucking up one job after another, as they flit about, hither and yon, in each Cabinet re-shuffle. 
 
And now he's back. A proper Tory. A safe pair of hands. Yeah, right.

I really don't approve of this. Nor do I approve of the lax security at the National Gallery that allowed these two muddle-headed girls and a phalanx of reporters/photographers (clearly seen in the picture) anywhere near the painting.  Why target Van Gogh's Sunflowers? The national flower of Ukraine, a country enjoying much popular support in its struggles to resist attempts to fold it back into the embrace of Mother Russia. Was it a pun? Being an oil painting? Just Stop Oil, indeed! What will we do instead, girls?
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Now Available
 
Now that we have clearly reached the End of Days, should you need something  to cheer you up, look no further than  Ishmael’s Blues - which is now published, in both paperback and hardback editions; both editions are immediately available from lulu.com.  The paperback is also listed on amazon. Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack, the first two books in the sequence, are also available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
 Unless you’ve done this already, please register an account first, at lulu.com. This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
The book’s full title is "Ishmael’s Blues – further Chronicles of Ruin", and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of blogdog Buster retiring from the fray, cat gloating from a safe distance. The cover is the same for both editions.
Link for Hardcover :  https://tinyurl.com/je7nddfr
Link for Paperback : https://tinyurl.com/3jurrzux
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for "Lulu.com voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.

I simply don't believe I'm having to do this again.