Thursday 29 January 2015

Mud In Your Eye

Time is scarce because it has been necessary both to start catching up on a few things and at the same time deal with some other matters that take time.

This item caught the eye though.  History is full of "What If's" and "Changed the course of.." but the idea of a Spanish Armada hoping to invade and conquer Australia is a new one.


Wednesday 28 January 2015

Just Asking

At the moment surveying the international scene, what is or is not going on in Europe and the hundred day Whitehall Farce I have this empty feeling in the lower regions.

It is the feeling that men of earlier generations would have had who stood in the old infantry square of so many battles in the past.  They knew that over there were cannon, cavalry and other infantry who might advance and charge.

They did not know which they would experience first or which would follow up.  At worst it would be all three.  At best they would be ordered to form line and advance.

All this may seem very far from the economics and finances of the present.  But all around all we can hear and see is thud and blunder, threats and assaults and men going down.  It is not going to be any better.

Also, this battle may be never ending.  In fact, it might just have started and be a business of human attrition that we no longer have the power to stop.

In the media, there are reports of scientists suggesting that we are bringing the age of the Holocene to an end and this is the start of a new one, the Anthropocene they call it.

The Holocene is said to have been a very brief benign phase in Earth history, a few thousand years of respite on a planet on which there have been savage swings of climate, air quality, seismic activity, magnetic twitches, solar effects, battering from space debris and the rest.

All this may or may not be to come.  What we have now is human governance and living going out of any control.  We have made it far too complex and with that our arrogance believe that we are in charge.  Quite what will and where is a best guess.

For today, it is just a very simple question.  Hands up all those who fully understand present UK pensions policy.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Burns, Britten And The Music Of Time

Having a group of ancestors in Ayr and district at the time of Burns, it is interesting to try to understand what lives they led and the nature of it.

Essentially, they were members of the Incorporation of Fleshers, with their place in The Kirk.  In short butchers with all that was entailed. I suspect the poet may not have had much liking for the Fleshers.

It is only in the last few months that I have found that another branch of the family were butchers to  the Britten's, ancestors of Benjamin Britten, as well as being family.

Inevitably, the idea that it is a pity that Ben never tried his hand at setting Robbie's verses to his own type of music comes to mind.  It could have made an interesting piece.  But not at all like the sounds of the late 18th Century.

Trying to capture the real sounds of the past is thought to be a hopeless chase.  But it is worth trying and at least you may get near it.  If you do it might then be possible to sense the poetry in terms of the cadences and subtleties of the music.

Here are Scots Airs played by the Palladian Ensemble.  I heard these at the Wigmore Hall near twenty years ago and have not forgotten them.

It is but a very small window into the past but at fifteen minutes only a little time to spend.

Friday 23 January 2015

Wolf Hall, Cracking The Lice

We decided to give "Wolf Hall" a try, boxing it just in case I hit the ten minute "that's enough" barrier that often happens these days.  We lasted the hour; the fact that it was yet another Tudor item was a concern.

It is a world so far away from our own that it passeth all understanding, which is why much criticism can amount to nit picking.  Sadly, this is not  an awareness of the ubiquity of lice and fleas etc. at that time, but looking for minor errors and such.

There are some interesting touches.  When Richard late in the episode, son of Thomas Cromwell's elder sister Katharine of her marriage to Morgan Williams, asks if he might take the name Cromwell we know that the later Oliver Cromwell, Regicide and Protector, would be his great grandson.  This might emerge later.

Although much is made of the humble origins of some of the people, notably Wolsey. Cromwell and other, they may indeed have been "trade" but are rather more businessmen, aka merchants, who did very well, survived and married into families of higher degree.

I doubt if Cromwell's father did much shoeing of horses, if any, it looks more like one of those biting jokes they went in for those days when the sense of humour was more robust.  To take the Boleyn (Bullen) family, said to be lowly.  There was a triple whammy of marriages into the greatest in the land.

Look at the picture above and you will see some of the great magnates of the earlier century in the marriages.  The Hoo and the Welles failed in the male lines and serious money went down to the daughters as well as fine lineages.

Not only did all six of Henry's wives descend from King Edward I but so did his known mistresses as well.  He is portrayed as a serial womaniser, it may be that there were a number but he was fastidious in his choices.

If the series does command and hold a large audience one intriguing feature is the large numbers of them who have a connection to these major families of the Tudor era and are not aware of this part, if only a very small part, of their family history.  If you run the numbers then you can see how this might be possible.

There are two routes, one back through the generations and the other down from the relevant and related families of the period.  The period is around 15 to 20 generations back allowing for slippage between older and younger people in one or another.

Even allowing for the usual inter marriage among particular networks of families among classes or localities at four and a half centuries back at the time of King Henry VIII you will have thousands of ancestors alive at that time.

The numbers are such that they cannot be confined within limited groups either in terms of place, class, religion and others.  If you were able to trace them all you would be in for some surprises and not all ones that may suit you.

In the period in question there the Royals and near Royals, much given to mutual attrition.  But enmeshed were many minor aristocracy, higher gentry, lower gentry and a raft of rich persons in various fields.  The result is a number of family networks and these in turn connect.

Think younger sons of younger sons and younger daughters of younger daughters etc and the high rate of downward social mobility among them.  You need only one person, the "gateway", to take you into them.

Typically or statistically, by the time you get back to the early 18th or late 17th Centuries the chances of having one are increasing sharply.

This means inevitably that among the viewers seeing this strange and inexplicable Tudor world they are not looking at something apart from them, there is someone or more swinging through the branches of the family tree.  They may be in the field or kitchens or servants, but they might be at the high table.

It works the other way as well.  The late Queen Mother had some decidedly rough looking Derbyshire lead miners and other northern industrial families in her ancestry as well as Staffordshire and Lancashire gentry.

And follow the money.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Chilcot - The Liars Charter

Back in 2003, having published my opposition to the Iraq War and serious doubts about aspects of the relevant operation orders and logistics of the UK forces, I did a spoof piece that set out the reasons we were being given, only with a punch line at the end as a comment.



We are faced with a dictatorial regime, armed with nuclear weapons, with a large army determined to advance its own interests irrespective of the cause of humanity.

Its leader is an arrogant autocrat, unwilling to heed the warnings of others, bent on a policy of enforcing his personal will on a terrorised population.

His country has a long record of aggression, expansion, and using force to impose its will on others regardless of individual culture.

He hates the United States of America and any of its allies.

He is the representative of an elite that hates the USA and what it defines as Anglo-Saxon culture.

His government distorts and manipulates the media to prevent the truth emerging.

His efforts are designed to put his country at the centre of a client group of states governed by a central bureaucracy that is neither democratic nor just.

The rising rate of unemployment is forcing many of the country’s educated and ordinary people to flee to low paid jobs in service industries in the UK and elsewhere.

He will bring long cherished ideals of Western Civilisation to an end unless action is taken by freedom loving powers, now.

Chirac must be stopped and we have to declare war both on France and his lackeys, the Germans, whether or not the UN approves.


As Sir John Chilcot now tells us that his report on the Iraq War will not be published before the General Election and with the prospect of months even years before it might appear we are left to make up our own minds.

Given that when it does appear, what is "redacted", glossed over, heavily amended and quietly left out may be all the key matters we are most interested in, we must not expect too much.

So I am left with my assumptions, based on what I have seen in the past and the many examples from history when Parliament and the people were told one thing when it was quite another.

In my purely personal opinion, we were lied to, short changed and major efforts were made to cover the deceits, avoid criticism and deal with any opposition.  Since then those involved have evaded both truth and justice.

Our troops were sent in without the levels of support and equipment necessary.  They were asked to put their lives on the line for an exercise in arrogance and support for the corporate and financial advantage of a few.

We do not need any report because we can safely assume from the lack of it and the nature of it the worst.

How many have died?  Who now controls Iraq?

Wednesday 21 January 2015

The Joy Of Policy

In today's "Telegraph" online, in the News section the following two headlines were next to each other:

"Nicola Sturgeon: SNP MPs will vote on English-only matters"

"Woman on top most dangerous sex position"

No comment.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Sun Has Got His Hat On

When asked if I buy  "The Sun" newspaper my usual response is that it is the sort of paper picked up on trains to see what the plebian orders are reading these days.  As my dress code is close to that of many of the vagrant classes the remark is intended to cause confusion.

 But this blog is often about connections and in this case it is that the undressed ladies of "The Sun" have been such a feature of their time, now abandoned,  whereas in the past the author GK Chesterton  was a staff writer for the old "Daily Herald".

Perhaps this is more of a disconnection  but "The Sun" for me will always be the "Daily Herald", 1912-1964, that went wrong in the 1950's.  It failed to follow the rapidly changing economy and social structure and tried to stick with a traditional readership that was disappearing one way or another.

Chesterton was a High Anglican who converted to the Roman Catholic Church, although many clergy were uneasy with him.  As an intellectual he was prone to asking questions to which they did not have a ready answer.

But he would have been very familiar with the works of Cardinal John Henry Newman and followers at the Oratory.  One was another convert from High Anglicanism, Fr. Edward Caswall who had a huge output of liturgical works and poems, widely published.

A cousin of his, Kate Sneyd, was a poster girl of her time, pictured above.  In 1852 she featured in a hot selling book of engravings by J. Hayter, "The Court Album of the Female Aristocracy".  Celebrity culture is nothing new, but perhaps lacking class these days.

The Full Work is here if you have a few hours to spare wading through the turgid and fawning prose.  However, what is does not say that on the return of her family from India, Kate was living on the same patch in Hampshire as her Caswall cousins, adjacent and on terms with the Duke of Wellington nearby.

She married George Glynn Petre in the British Embassy in Paris and one of her younger children, Walter Reginald Petre became a Rear Admiral who had a lot to do with the Australian navy and forces, notably during the First World War at Gallipoli.

At this time it is highly likely he came across an Australian journalist called Keith Murdoch, who had a son called Rupert.

It's a small world.

Monday 19 January 2015

A Reminder From The Past

There is great deal of debate about the present nature of terrorism relating to Islam and what it means.  But we have been here before.

The item below was in the files, but the source unknown.


What Che Guevara Stood For

1.   Hatred.

Che wanted to see ‘Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine’.

He considered Americans to be ‘hyenas … fit only for extermination’.

2. Mass Murder.

Che wanted to launch a nuclear attack on New York City. He desired ‘atomic extermination’ of the ‘hyenas’ (read civilians) who lived there and in November 1962 he boasted to The London Daily Worker of the nuclear weapons, ‘We would have used them against the very heart of the US, including New York City’.

Even Che’s sympathetic interviewer from the Daily Worker considered him to be ‘crackers from the way he went on about the missiles’. It’s only thanks to the intervention of Nikita Khrushchev that Che’s plans came to nothing.

3. Terrorism.

With the nuclear attack plans shelved, Che instead attempted to launch a terrorist campaign in New York City. Had it have worked, Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal would have been hit with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT.

To give some perspective, the 2004 Madrid train bombings used 100 kilos of TNT and killed and maimed almost 2,000 people.

4. Sacrificing the people of Cuba.

At the First Latin American Youth Congress in July 1959, Che proudly claimed: ‘These people [of Cuba] you see today tell you that even if they should disappear from the face of the earth because an atomic war is unleashed in their names … they would feel completely happy and fulfilled’.

5. Executions without trial.

Che delighted in ordering and carrying out executions and considered the need to present a legal case and to give the accused the right to defend him or herself to be ‘archaic bourgeois details’.

‘I don’t need proof to execute a man, I only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him!’, Che declared in 1959.

6. Persecution of gay men.

In Che’s Cuba, ‘effeminate behaviour’ became a crime and gay men were consigned to forced labour camps with the words ‘Work Will Make Men Out of You’ posted over the entry gates.

7. Totalitarianism.

Che demanded that ‘individualism must disappear!’ Perhaps his greatest support for this principle is found in his relationship with the USSR. Indeed, according to KGB official Alexander Alexiev, ‘Che was practically the architect of the Soviet-Cuban relationship’.


There is something uncannily familiar about this.

Sunday 18 January 2015

With A Huff And A Puff

With our politicians believing and telling us that the way to deal with the effects of the bust of the last housing bubble is to have a new one all bets are on as to where this one may lead us.

The experience of the USA is the subject of an article in the Mises Institute website by Ryan McMaken who asks the question of what was it all for?

More to the point what might have been achieved if all the wealth and activity devoted to the inflationary financing of existing property had gone into other fields of economic or social activity.

This sorry tale comes from The Mail and suggests that in 2007 figures at the top of the Labour Government  were aware of the dire situation developing and wanted a snap election before it really hit hard.

In that year some of us, believing that the government were a lot of clodhoppers who could not understand what was happening were making our own arrangements.

But if it is true that they did understand  then what exactly was going on?

More worrying is what is going on now?

Saturday 17 January 2015

Who Am I?

There are many theories of history due to the complexity of the past and the nature of the evidence about it, especially that of long ago.

We now, more or less, accept that there were other groups of hominids, forms of human beings, way back so how is it that our lot, fancifully called Homo Sapiens, came out not just on top but the only survivors.

The Sapiens, although the course of history might suggest many more saps than sapiens, are supposed to have won out because of their brain function, other physical advantages and flexibility.

The Neanderthals recently have been the subject of questions and revised thinking about who and what they were.  It calls into question whether our cheerful belief that we won because we were best is entirely true.

Could it be that down the ages, on the whole, we have proved to be the more violent, nastier, predatory and selfish in many ways?

What is the term freely applied to the way we conduct diplomacy and wars, business, procreation and the rest?  "Nice guys finish last."

 Is this the ultimate theory of human evolution and will it culminate in a series of self made catastrophe's where we all finish last and remove ourselves from Earth?

Friday 16 January 2015

Who Is Alex Salmond?

We are all marked, or made by or in some cases prisoners of our earlier years.  There may be changes, larger or smaller, depending on experience, events or the impact of medical issues.

Alex Salmond, now sixty, has stepped down from leadership of the Scottish National Party, but may be back in the House of Commons, perhaps heading a rather larger number of MP's than in the past.

As the polls and informed (?) commentators debate the implications of another hung and complicated parliament there has been speculation as to what role he might play.

At present these include the possibility of him being Deputy Prime Minister in a Labour and SNP coalition.  On the other hand the SNP under his guidance might operate on an entirely separate basis from day to day intent on disruption and confusion.

In both these and in other cases it is worth asking the question of just what are the essential political philosophies to which he is really attached and what motivation these may direct him to.

Thinking of a cartoon character did not really work.  Apart from trying to match his winsome charm with the underlying aggression; wondering whether he was more Bugs Bunny or more Wile. E. Coyote led to other things.

He fits in with an ancient creature of myth rather than cartoon.  He seems to be a Shape Shifter, you see him here you see him there.  Here he is this and there he is that.  But what of the Left thinking from his past that might guide him?

A well written taste of this is the 13th September post in Hatful of History on "Anti-Revisionism".   The Wikipedia article on that subject is international in scope and just a snapshot.  These are deep and turbulent waters into which those who do not share these beliefs should avoid swimming, especially cynics.

What it amounts to is that whatever he says today or proclaims tomorrow will not the same in the future.  What he supports now he will be undermining or seeking to destroy if a shift has advantage.

Does he believe that the present has to be destroyed to reveal new futures that will in turn be displaced in a continuing process?  Does this mean turning the UK as a whole into an economic wreck?

The politics we can guess at suggests that what he is selling as Scottish identity and purpose will not be at all what the present Scots may get if he is able to make the calls.

To quote, "The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end."

Thursday 15 January 2015

Who Is Nigel Farage?

One of the problems I have with UKIP is Nigel Farage.  Quite what the real policies are and would be if they had power or major influence are not clear to me.

Also I have this interest in forage, which is close in spelling.  Before you assume wild things what it is about is military logistics before motorised transport became common and then basic.

What was required was horses plus other pack carrying animals.  They needed forage.  So no forage meant no horses etc.  No horses etc. meant no effective logistics with direct effects on how armies moved, fed themselves and many other things, not least cavalry.

Think Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812.  Once they had eaten the horses and indeed all the leather tack etc. and had a long way to go they were in real trouble.

So what has all this to do with Nigel Farage now leading UKIP into a situation where if the gods really do have a sense of humour he might have a critical influence on who governs and how?

As they gain more support they have to be more active and have many more candidates.  This takes resources and also needs a raft of policies to sustain their impetus.  In short, political forage.

At the moment they are struggling to do this and like an army needing food are scouring the land for what they can find to sustain their efforts.  While this is going on Nigel has to say something. 

So at present he is complaining about everything that comes to mind.  This has the risk of being accused of all the "ists" that attract protest and dislike.  On the other hand he has become the voice of the fed up and all those disgusted about this and that.

Now he is our Grumpy, and the one from "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs" and distinct from the Mr. Grumpy of the Mr. Men.  The snag is that like the dwarfs at the end of it all UKIP will still be digging.

Snow White will be left with the cooking and cleaning, the Prince will have moved to Brussels and the Evil Queen of corporate finance will still be in charge.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Who Is Ed Miliband?

At first sight he looks harmless, indeed almost likable.  You could imagine him behind the counter of an old fashioned department store trying to oblige.  But wanting to get rid of unwanted stock.

In the old days this might have been the sort of superior store that required newly recruited young male assistants to have passed the old Schools Certificate examination.

Then this put them in the elite levels for education in that promotion to junior or even higher  management might be attainable.

For some, it never happened and they spent their working lives behind the counters, superior only to the female assistants and with nowhere else to go.

They are a breed long gone.  Often the failure to progress was that although academically able in practical terms they were not very good.

Often the urge to please let them to promise more than they should have done.  Also, the need to impress led to extremes that made them look foolish.

If you encountered a shop man of this kind, or his parallel working in a local authority, who did not really know what he was doing and on the occasions he did know something, somehow or another made mistakes, you would know he was a Goofy.

This was a Disney character who over the years moved from one context to another.  Always a nice guy, apparently sparky, but whose thinking mechanisms could not really cope with the challenges of life.

Ed Miliband comes across in this way.  Hapless, disorganised, clever but accident prone and never knows where he put the other shoe.

Yet now he leads the Labour Party and might even make it to 10 Downing Street to become Prime Minister.

So Goofy might well run the store after all.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Who Are Cameron And Osborne?

Pairings may be planned, accidental or arise from special circumstances.  In the case of Cameron and Osborne which is open to question.  But like it or not, when the histories are written they will be linked together for better or for worse.

The writers will have their own say on who became richer and who became poorer as a result of their efforts.  But their time in office has been a quest for success in the hope that it would lead to not just winning the next election but gaining real power.

Yet this level of success had eluded them.  For all the spouting of figures and great claims and striking of poses there isn't much to show for it and what there is all seems to create losses and major liabilities for the future.

Which brings to mind the ineffable efforts of the team of Dick Dastardly and his associate hound, Muttley and their super rocket car The Mean Machine and The Double Zero.  In the series Wacky Races this was by far the fastest car.

Unluckily, because of their own duplicity, hastiness and errors of judgement, they always lost, often staggering in last and falling apart.  In short they defeated themselves.

Later, they turn up as major figures in the "Dastardly and Muttley And Their Flying Machines", also known as "Stop The Pigeon" where their unceasing and strenuous efforts lead to one disaster after another.  To quote Wikipedia:


Often it appears that if Dastardly had not bothered to cheat, then he might have won fairly. Upon tasting defeat, Dastardly would utter his catchphrases, "Drat!!! Drat!!! And Double Drat!!!", "Triple Drat!" and even "Curses, foiled again!"

This is often followed by Muttley's snickering. His other main catchphrase was "Muttley, do something!"


The hot money says Penelope Pitstop or the pigeon in May.

Monday 12 January 2015

Who Is Nick Clegg?

Nick is man who does not seem to get things quite right.  He is prone to being argumentative and intractable and to do things that make little sense even in terms of his own interest.

As Leader of the Liberal Democrats he has obstructed Democracy and been very illiberal at times.

He reminds me of the character of Count Duckula, the juvenile delinquent vampire duck doomed to be the Count Dracula of our times by some freak of circumstance, much as to his surprise Nick became Deputy Prime Minister in 2010.

He is attended by Igor, the bad tempered and surly put upon butler who is more logical but often equally misguided but unlucky enough to be on the wrong end of the Count's scrapes.  Think Vince Cable.

The person who cares for the young Count is his Nannie a large, formidable, very clumsy lady who leaves a trail of destruction in her wake in her ambition to be useful, concerned and the maker of decisions.  Think Danny Alexander.

If you know this cartoon character and the shambles he invariably leaves around him then you have Nick Clegg.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Music Of The Microchip

No sooner have you more or less adapted to one change then another comes along which may be more disruptive or a cause of upheaval.  This is more or less the story of very many during the 20th Century.

Going in the 21st Century, the pace of change seems to be increasing  Just as you need to know the difference between simple interest and compound interest you have to accept that change on change can be even more disruptive than in the past.

There are a few who have little interest in any kind of music.  Some have a wide interest and enjoy many different kinds without worrying too much.  Typically, however, the larger groups may well be those who identify with a limited range and within them some with very closely defined likes.

In the mid 20th Century in the popular fields there came the big providers.  Some were large companies selling the sound.  There were in many places state TV and radio all too often telling people what would be popular.  These came to control provision and taste to a high degree.

This could be very odd in some cases, notably at BBCTV in the 1950's and beginning of the 1960's, sometime called by them laughably a TV golden age. They went strong on Minstrel shows inherited from pre-war Radio committees who decided on popular tastes.

Also there were strange programmes set in alleged night club settings to persuade the workers they were part of it.  There was the White Heather Club, supposed to be the cutting edge of Scottish culture, at least the tunes were decent.  Dear Zeus there were even Boy Scout Gang Shows.

It was baffling.  Certainly for my generation in their teens there were several fields of preference but it wasn't these, Minstrel shows were very boring and very old fashioned.  Even for my parents generation they were of the past, big band dance music and American and then film musicals were the thing.

It was no wonder when commercial ITV began the viewing figures for the BBC tanked so badly the licence fee was in serious jeopardy and with it the BBC as a whole.  They then rushed into pop' and other programming chasing the market.

The reign of the big companies and associated radio and TV has lasted a long time if you consider the changes in the technology.  But now the of the microchip and the huge power of the net and new devices it could be about to change and do so quickly and extensively in the last decade.

The sounds we hear in ordinary life have changed radically in that time.  These are many and various and most arising from life as it is.  There are other sounds, some of choice and intent and while we think they are the same it is becoming very different.

The music world of the recent past may be about to disintegrate and this in turn will bring about major structural changes.  How far any of these might amount to social change is another matter.  It may mean less togetherness and more apartness.

It could mean that we can all be a lot more flexible and even open to new sounds as a matter of routine.  Because when you can spend your own time hopping about and trying things it is a lot easier than when you are urged or forced in a particular direction.

But some things do last and ride out the storms.  The tune here is the Canarios and the modern video set a long time ago.

But if you listen for it you can still hear the tune in many places and many ways.

Friday 9 January 2015

We Are All The Losers

The shocking events in France and the tragic loss of lives is a main story in the media but the blanket media coverage once again is simplistic in its treatment and analysis.

I can only hope that our leaders are not thinking along some of these lines, because if they do they will not understand the implications and that it is a matter of great complexity straddling borders.

One of the themes is that because the terrorists are French Algerians, born of the unhappy history of France and Algeria that it only relates to that and is essentially a French problem.

But there are Algerians in other places.  One of them is the Charnwood district of Leicester in the Leicester East Constituency.  In former times the local cinema was The Melbourne, in the flea pit class, but the cheapest in town.

At the end of the 1940's on a few occasions I was among the patrons there.  A film I saw was the John Wayne one "Fort Apache" often found on the moviesformen channel.  Times have changed, I suspect very different films would now be on offer.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Bust Britain?

In this blog on Thursday 25 September 2014 in the post "Calling The Doctor" I posted the text of an article "Bodies, Beds and Bottlenecks" at 1300 words that was written in the year 2000, referring what had happened in 1998 during a winter heath crisis.

I was not alone in my thoughts, because then and more recently there have been others who have suggested that what we were being told by those on high was wrong in a number of respects.

In short, the kind of crisis occurring in the NHS at present was predictable.  Why all those very expensive people in charge either failed to see it or would not accept it is a question that has to be asked, although I doubt any sensible answers will be forthcoming.

Today, the media tells us that the Bank of England, that very expensive outfit in the City of London, did not foresee the coming financial crisis of 2007 and so did not take the actions to either prepare for or to forestall it.

But I knew things were on the skids by then because I had already made the relevant arrangements even at my low and limited level.

It was not the sayings of Nostrodamus or a passing astrologer that informed me.  It was the opinions of a range of experts that were in line with my views about the gathering problems.

In short, these have been two gross failures of government.  The NHS may not be government, but its structure, financing and critical policies are and have been for near seventy years.

Similarly, the Bank of England might argue that it was not  strictly government but it is central to the governance of much of the financial system and whatever organisation is at the time has always been close to The Treasury.

It is possible to look around and suggest other failures of government, some major and some minor that have occurred in recent decades.  In fact, failure, error and total misunderstanding of the realities seem almost inbuilt into the system.

Also in May we will elect a House of Commons on the basis of a badly distorted electoral system that may be no more able to address or deal with major matters because the government that arises will be solely concerned with short term politics.

This will be over the fixed five year period with an unworkable constitution now subject to extensive foreign direction.

Can our system of government now get anything right at all?