Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Flying Solo

So, for my birthday, my wife, out of the blue, bought me an introductory forty minutes flying lesson at a local airfield. It was different, I had to grant her that.
As I turn up at the airfield, there is some activity, with small, single engined planes taking off and landing from the one tarmac runway. Other aircraft are in various states of readiness, some being checked over by pilots, others with their engines idling. I notice some men are talking over a glider on the grass and wonder if the lifeless windsock is a good or bad sign for them. The weather is good with a blue sky and fluffy cumulus clouds slowly making their way in a leisurely procession. For me, the omens are good.
"Good morning," says the receptionist, cheerfully. "How can I help you?"
"Well, I've ... I mean my wife has bought me a free lesson," I manage to say. "I have a voucher."
I hand the voucher over and she studies a list before telling me that my instructor is to be George. "He'll be with you in a moment," she announces, brightly. "He's one of our most experienced pilots."
George it turns out is the most experienced because, as I discover later, he is by far the most elderly of the pilots; not far off retirement by the look of him. He has just returned from a smoke outside the clubhouse which doesn't bode well. I am not happy about the prospect of sitting in a small cockpit with a man stinking of fags.
"That's our aeroplane," he says pointing to a two seater plane sitting outside. "It's a Cessna 152. If you walk over, I'll be with you in a moment."

I walk over to the plane, knowing that I'm shortly going to entrust my life to that elderly man and the metal contraption before me, my mind mulling over the prospects. I'd never before flown in such a small aeroplane, but I reassured myself that many people had. With the wings fixed to the top of the aircraft, I realise that I'd be able to see the ground below and having never been particularly good with heights, I was not sure if that was good or bad.
"Okay," says George. "Jump in; I've completed the pre-flight check."
After a few calls to the air traffic controller in the tower we taxi to the runway and wait for clearance to take off. It's not long in coming. He noses the aircraft onto the runway and without pausing pulls out the power control to maximum. The noise increases dramatically and the propeller blades become a blur before us as the aircraft picks up speed as it hurtles down the runway. Soon he pulls back on the stick and we are airborn, quickly rising above the trees that mark the airfield limit.
"Where do you live?" george asks. I tell him and he sets his direction. Nothing technical, he just wants me to enjoy the ride. We climb to 1500 feet and I begin to recognise some of the local landmarks such as the cement works passing by to the right.
The question I ask myself is, 'Am I enjoying the flight so far?'
'Too bloody right I am,' I replied to myself. I couldn't believe how much I was enjoying the sensation; the freedom, the views the sheer exhilaration of flying. After overflying the 'Plough' we are soon back at Wycombe air Park and preparing for the descent. By now I had complete confidence in George, having been entertained by both his wit and his skill at the controls of the Cessna.

I booked on the course and started both flying and studying for a Pilot's License. The study involved classwork, on flying theory, navigation and meteorology. The early flying hours were spent on the basics by repeatedly getting airborn and landing in a series of manoeuvres called 'Touch and Go' or 'Bumps'.
One day, after eleven hours training George took me round the circuit once and told me to taxi back to the clubhouse.
"I want another instructor to check you out," he lied. "It's procedure to make sure that what I'm doing is correct." A second instructor joined me and asked me to do a circuit.
"Just relax," he said, an accomplice in the deceit. "Do exactly as you've been taught.I want to see how well George is training you."
We did a circuit and I asked him if he wanted me to execute a Touch & Go.
"No, pull over; off the runway please," he replied. When I stopped he exited the aeroplane and said, "Okay, off you go. Enjoy it! I'll walk back."
It took me a moment to realise what he was saying. Me; on my own. Flying solo.
I radioed the tower and requested clearance to taxi to the head of the runway. Once there, the butterflies and excitement multiplied. I radioed the tower again. "X-Ray Tango holding for runway 27," I said.
"Roger X-Ray Tango," replied the voice from the tower. "Cleared for immediate take-off runway 27. Wind south, south-west, ten knots."
It was done; I had to go; there was no going back. I nosed onto the runway and gunned the engines to full power. Fifteen seconds later, as I lifted the nose into the air, the feeling was fantastic. I was a pilot in all but qualification. I was flying by myself and realised that there was no safe return except by doing what I'd been taught. I levelled off at one thousand feet and banked to the right, doing what is called the downwind leg of the circuit. I did my checks; flaps up and brakes off, whilst trying to do as I'd been told and enjoy the thrill. You only ever do your first solo flight once.
After too short a time, I radioed the tower asking for clearance to begin the approach. The contollers have been told it's my first solo and they are watching closely.
'Take speed off and lower the flaps,' I tell myself. All the time you have to judge your height and speed as the runway races towards you. Hopefully you've got it right and no last minute adjustments need be made. You cross the threshold with the tarmac one hundred feet below you. Power off, nose down to maintain airspeed. The ground races up to meet you and at the last minute you pull the nose up and flare. You wait a second for the bump as the main wheeels touch down and you lower the nose to bring the front wheel down before applying the brakes.
You've done it. Theres a rush of achievement, pride and relief that you've landed safely. As you turn of the runway there's a new arrogance; you're a pilot now and taxi back to the club house as if you've been doing it for years.

To see the original article click on link below:-

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.

NOW available. Signed copies for sale at ROHHA Lifestyle, Mojácar Playa.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Countdown Champion

I IMAGINE that many of the readers of The watch or have at some time watched
Countdown, the Channel 4 numbers and letters game. Have you ever thought what it would be like to attend a filming or actually take part in a contest? Watching Countdown was a part
of my day when we had Steventon House Hotel. The end of the programme signalled the start of the evening’s work as new guests began to check in for the night. Like many people, in the comfort and stress free atmosphere of one’s own sitting room, I thought I was quite good and decided to apply. Whether it was because of the large numbers applying, I don’t know, but it was some time before I had a reply and an invitation to attend a preliminary meeting at a north Oxford hotel with Damian Eadie, a one time contestant and producer of the show. With about a
dozen other applicants, I undertook several of the thirty second tests with numbers and letters and did sufficiently well to be invited on the show to be broadcast on 8th and 9th July 1999.
The filming of the five shows that make up one week’s viewing is done in the afternoon and
evening of one day; three shows in the afternoon and two in the evening.The shows are filmed in
front of a live audience which is changed before the evening filming. About midday, after driving up to Leeds from Abingdon in the morning,
I made myself known to the reception desk at the entrance to the Yorkshire TV studios. After a
while a production assistant came to take me to the studios, explaining what was happening as we
went. I was to be in either the second or third game of the afternoon, depending on how well, the reigning champion Scott Mearns performed.
As I sat amongst the audience, watching what went on and becoming acclimatized to proceedings, it was clear that Mearns was in top form, easily despatching his first two opponents. This meant that he had become an eight times winner; an octochamp and had to retire. Scott Mearns was later to win the champion of
champions competetion; a formidable player, indeed. This turned out to be a stroke of luck for me as I had to face another newcomer rather than Scott and almost certain defeat. My opponent
was to be Andy Conner, a man who admitted to me later, who didn’t enjoy the experience as
much as he should because he was too tense. There was little time to meet the Countdown team
before the filming, but the show was compered by Richard (Twice nightly) Whitely with Carol
Vorderman on the numbers board. In dictionary corner was Damian Eadie and the guest for the week was comedian and script writer, Barry Cryer. I started well and was soon a few points in the lead, a position I held until the advert break. In those days the show only lasted thirty minutes and comprised of three letter games and one numbers game each half. In the second
half, Andy pegged me back and the result of the game depended on the final ‘Countdown
Conundrum’. After about twenty seconds I blurted out the answer and pushed my button simultaneously. Fortunately it was correct and I’d won. There was now a break whilst the afternoon audience left and the evening audience arrived in their coaches. It was a well rehearsed operation as you might expect from a programme that had been going strong since 1982. I had hoped that I would have a chance to talk to Carol and Richard but it wasn’t to be. They were preoccupied by a visit of another television presenter, Gaby Roslin, who was
making a programme about ‘Countdown’. If I was disappointed not to talk to the main presenters, I was thrilled with the friendliness of the guest, Barry Cryer, a man who is as funny in life as he is on screen. He couldn’t have been nicer and more charming, giving his time to the contestants and generally making us feel a valued part of the show.
As the new champion and tea pot winner, I met my next opponent, Kay Powick in the make up room. To my eternal shame I thought, as we spoke, that I would easily beat her and looked forward to the contest. In the end, it was I
who was easily beaten. I don’t know whether it was because,
having won my tea pot, nothing else mattered or whether I was anxious to return home, but I think, in truth, Kay was simply better than I. If I had a six letter word, she had a seven and so on and by the end of the game I was thoroughly
deflated and put in my place. Kay went on to win another five times; a first class champion.
I should just say a thing or two about the filming. Before the show started I remember that Carol came in front of the audience and did a stint as ‘warm up man’, talking
about her new borne child. The crowd loved her and it balanced the surprise I had by how little she actually did to earn her money during the show. Of course, she has
to often solve a difficult mathematical puzzle but apart from putting the letters and numbers on the board, there is little else to do as she has an assistant to clear the board afterwards. To make a thirty minute show,
the film taken was later edited, but there were very few retakes and those we did were mostly due to the faux pas of Richard Whiteley, a charming man who one could sense was much loved by the production team. Since the finish at the studio was late, I stayed in Leeds overnight and travelled home very early next morning, returning with my precious teapot, in time to serve breakfast at the hotel.

To see original page. Click on link below.

Kevill Davies is author of ‘Apsaras’. Available at most on line book shops.

Read more on his Indaloblog at:

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Legend of San Martín Bridge, Toledo

Two centuries after the original San Martín bridge was destroyed in the devastating floods of 1023, the Archbishop Tenorio of Toledo ordered that it be rebuilt, thereby, re-establishing the route to the west.
The architect chosen to rebuild the bridge across the river Tagus (Rio Tajo) was a citizen of the town, Juan de Arévalo, a man of vision whose design incorporated a forty metre central span, one of the largest in the known world at the time.
The new bridge, built on the site of the old was eventually completed, despite the difficulties of working in the constantly raging waters of the river and Juan was satisfied that only the clearing away of the scaffolding and wooden building supports remained to be done. The bridge was magnificent and he was happy that the commanding structure would be a lasting testament to his skill and a fitting symbol of the power and majesty of his beloved city.
Juan wasted no time informing the Archbishop who decided to perform the opening ceremony the very next day, the fiesta to mark the Patron Saint of Toledo, San Ildefonso. He ordered that the opening be proclaimed throughout the town, and that all the church bells should be rung in triumphant expectation.
It was evening and the last of the builders had returned to their homes and Juan decided to take one last look at the works to ensure that all was ready for the grand opening the next day. He admired the bridge from a distance before climbing up the supports to take a look from the inside of one of the three arches. His eyes first took in the foaming waters far below and as he next scanned the arches, the colour suddenly drained form his face. In a mind shattering moment he realised that he had made an error in his calculations. He had underestimated the forces of the water and accordingly wrongly built the bridge. He knew that at the time of the next flood, the bridge would fail and inevitably collapse into the river. As he trudged back towards his home he couldn't shake off the despair; his dreams were destroyed, his reputation would be ruined and his name synonymous with failure. The shame for his poor wife and family would be unbearable.
As he reached his home and entered his kitchen, his happy wife Catalina, seeing his pale face,immediately knew something was wrong.
"Oh my God! What's happened? Are you ill?" she asked, as her usual smile disappeared from her lips.
Juan sat down and wept as he told his wife what he'd done and despite her soothing and encouraging words he couldn't be consoled. Nor would he take anything to eat or drink.
"I'm not even sure if I have an appetite to live any longer," he told her.
By now it was getting late and Catalina told him that nothing more could be done and they should go to bed.
"Trust in the Lord," she told him. "He will find a way."
Appreciating the sense of what his wife said, he retired to bed and tired by stress and work he fell into a fitful and troubled sleep. Meanwhile, Catalina, who had pretended to be asleep, carefully slipped out of bed. She first went to the kitchen and put a still burning ember from the fire into a box before putting on her big coat and going outside. A fog had descended and visibility was already restricted as she crossed the yard to the stables for some straw. It was a kilometer's walk to the bridge, across some exposed waste land and she set off, frightened by the clinging fog and the thought of what she had to do. Eventually she reached the bridge and stood on the edge of the ravine. By now a wind had blown up and although the fog had disappeared it had been replaced by light rainfall and Catalina could hear thunder as a storm approached from the west. She was terrified; the sound of the river raging below added to her fear of heights, but she knew she had to ignore her own demons and somehow make her way to the water's side. Sometimes stumbling, she scrambled down the slope tightly clutching her box and the bag of straw until the reached the foot of the pine joists that filled the arches.
The lightning was beginning to flash, illuminating the arches in a harsh bluish light and allowing her to see where to place her straw kindling. She applied the still glowing ember and the rising wind allowed it to take hold, so that within a short time the flames were licking up the structures. Catalina backed away and watched as the fire became an inferno and satisfied that her job was done reclimbed the slope, now well lit by the flames, and returned home. She was pleased to find her husband still asleep and unaware as she slipped into bed next to him.
Next morning Juan was woken by the sound of banging on his door as neighbours came to tell him the news. The storm had destroyed his bridge and the opening was to be delayed.
Catalina smiled to herself. Never before in her life had she committed a naughty deed, but filled with love and concern for her husband she would have consorted with the devil rather than see him suffer.
Juan set to work to repair the damaged bridge, believing he had been saved by the Lord, making sure that his re-calculations were incorporated in the new structure. Twelve months later, the bridge was finally opened to great acclaim by the Archbishop on the day of the fiesta of San Ildefonso. The architect, Juan de Arévalo, was fêted as a great architect throughout Toledo, never knowing that without the love and determination of his wife it would have been so very different.

The story was originally written by Antonio de Trueba and this adaption was taken from a book of Spanish short stories compiled by MB Shaw. Adapted and translated by the author.

To view the original newspaper layout, please click on the link below.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Monday, 15 March 2010

Formula One & Rugby Union. The Boring sports

I don't know about you but I was disappointed with the first race of the formula one series from Bahrain. It was more a procession than a race. They have tinkered with the rules and regulations over successive seasons and now they have come up with a formula that will satisfy no one. In truth the most exciting part of the weekend was the qualifying on the Saturday. With the top teams so close in performance it is difficult to devise a series that encourages newcomers to enter into this very expensive sport but unless they do, I fear that fans will turn away, preferring to spend their money on more exciting pursuits such as snail fighting. They will no doubt try to introduce artificial devices to create dramas but in reality the fans want a straight race between drivers and their cars; overtaking and high speed duelling between combatants. For a few minutes during the race last Sunday I wished it was raining so as to take the cocky drivers out of their comfort zone, for that is surely the problem.

The races are so anodyne; so free of risk that they've lost all of the excitement. Why do people apparently flock to see cage fighting; because they want to see sport in the raw, unhindered by artificial and safety conscious rules that remove the spirit of the contest.
I quite like the idea of racing over a figure of eight circuit with a cross roads and conflicting traffic at one point. The drama would be intense; driver skill tested to the limit and teamwork crucial if the car is to successfully negotiate the bottleneck. The design restrictions of the cars could be relaxed, allowing manufacturers to decide their best strategies, leading to different looking racing cars that don't look as if they've all been cloned.

Rugby Union is another sport that has also lost its way. I can remember the excitement of the Home Internationals when I was younger; the eager anticipation of a passion filled contests between the four countries that comprised the United Kingdom and Ireland and France. I remember with joy the match day traditions, shared at home with close friends, with the bangers and mash lunch, the beers and the guess the match scores competition.
Now the teams include an Italian side that have only won a couple of ties in the last few years. They make up the numbers but it has been embarrassing at times. Again tinkering with the rules has left fans at a loss to understand what is going on and to even ask what they are doing there, witnessing a kicking contest of limited interest. Professionalism has brought an increase in skills but seemingly insurmountable problems of policing the physical contact areas of the ruck and mauls. At each occasion the referee can blow his whistle for any number of infringements and it's a lottery as to which one he chooses. At scrums, free kicks seem to be awarded on a alternate favour basis as the set pieces take longer and longer to complete. How long will it be before Twickenham matches involving Italy will be half full? The last match at Murrayfield produced no tries, in a
match dominated by inconsequential play. How many spectators went home wishing they'd stayed at home and saved their money?
How would I change it? Well this kicking match has to be stemmed. The game is a kicking and passing game but essentially what we want to see is a running with ball in hand game.
Kicking directly into touch from inside the 22 should be stopped.
Allowing players to call for a mark can now scrapped with more stringent policing of the tackling a player in the air law.
To stop the kicking game I propose that a player cannot kick beyond the half way line. If the ball goes into touch beyond the half way line, the throw in is taken on the half way line. If the ball is kicked beyond the half way line and stays in play, then the opposing team can put in to a scrum on the half way mark. At each offence the referee can allow play to continue if advantage could be gained by the team not offending.
Scrums should be better regulated to stop the nonsense of the set piece taking two minutes to accomplish.

If these two sports have lost some of their appeal through law changes and increased professionalism, then soccer's Premier League has gone from strength to strength. No new laws and a passion that often makes games seem like a gladiatoral contest have taken the interest in the game to global levels. Liverpool and the Manchester clubs are followed all over the world. I can see in the future problems for funding through advertising for both Formula One and Rugby Union unless they come up with a definitive set of rules and stick to them.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

David Cameron

I watched the television programme screened recently on David Cameron. I don't know about you but I thought he came over as someone not yet ready for the country's highest office. Even worse, the shadow chancellor looked like a schoolboy, well out of his depth and barely able to get a grasp of his onerous brief.
I am beginning to fear the worse for my beloved country, Britain. I fear that Gordon Brown will win at the next election and under another Labour administration, the United Kingdom will become an even bigger international laughing stock than it already is. It's underlying socialist programme of stripping the country of all the traditions and institutions that made it great will gradually make the country a haven for the idle, criminal and unimaginative and forcing those with talent and skill to emigrate to happier countries.

Horizon- New Cosmology

BBC2 screened a Horizon programme yesterday on the doubts scientists have on the creation scenario mapped out by the 'Big Bang' theory.
These doubts have been spawned by new discoveries of dark matter and energy and the realisation that the universe is expanding more quickly than the theory allows. For the first time in decades, the siren voices of dissent are being heard. Followers of my blogs will know that I have published on this blog and on my web site a new theory of creation that not only predicts dark matter and energy but insists that it exists, whilst explaining why to date the elusive 'Higgs Boson' particle has not been found.
The big surprise on the programme is that there was not one mention of Time. To my mind, a fuller understanding of time is essential to a complete understanding of the universe.
For more information see, 'New Cosmology' on this Blog or click on:

All I ask is for the readers to consider what I'm saying and comment as appropriate. This proposition might sound fantastic but I believe we've now got to think the unthinkable to find the answers.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Plough, Pyrton -early days

In 1975, after ten years working for the Ministry of Defence in munitions factories, I decided that it wasn't the life for me. It wasn't that my working day was spent making items of mass destruction that bothered me; I could cope with that, as it was my contribution to the defence of the realm. No; it was the idea that every day, often before daybreak, I would get up, get ready and drive fifteen miles, often in appalling weather, to work for somebody else, returning, often in the dark, the same way. I know that others do it; I've two brothers who worked at the Southampton Ford Transit plant for over forty years, but it was not how I wanted to spend my working life.

My wife and I decided to take a pub. For sure the hours were longer, and we would no longer have the weekends off, but at least we would be working for ourselves. We signed up with an agent, picked from the 'Morning Advertiser', the publican's trade newspaper. They sent us details of several tenancies, one of which was 'The Plough' at Pyrton, an Ind Coope pub near Watlington in Oxfordshire. Pyrton was a small village with a population of about a hundred and falling, with an average age of what seemed like a hundred. Besides the pub, the village had a small church, which shared its vicar with several other parishes. The pub itself, situated opposite a farm, was thatched and consisted of one bar with a large inglenook at one end and a bar billiard table at the other.
We were sent on a five day pub management course at Boreham Wood, which was memorable for consisting mostly of eating, before the final takeover, one day in June 1975.
We had visited the pub a few times beforehand, so that we could prepare a business plan and find out more about the trade. It was, from the outset, going to be a challenge; the pub was a throwback to a bygone era. The outgoing tenants having been landlords for a large number of years, they were past retiring age by this time and not able to adjust to the new pub food revolution about to sweep the nation.Back in those early days pub food was restricted to crisps, pork scratchings and pickled eggs in jars on the counter.
Our first incognito visit wasn't good. Our drinks were served in glasses that showed the green ring of algae left after being used as a flower vase. It was clear that the customer base was very small, consisting of a few of the older villagers and friends of the landlord and his brother. Outside, in what was going to be the car park, were the remains of the old pig styes. Although it looked daunting and we were advised by friends not to take it on, the pub itself was lovely, the village and the setting was idyllic. We were not put off by stories that in the past the 'Plough' had a history of 'biker' problems and drugs. One story told of a visit by the police, who on returning to their car parked outside, found it propped up on bricks with all four wheels missing.
After the transfer of license, the pub was closed for a week for a thorough clean, before we opened for business.I remember that after we closed for the night, I slept on a camp bed in the bar, because our private rooms were being renovated. During the night I heard footsteps on the floorboards above. I was petrified, unable to sleep in case the footsteps should descend the stairs. I had already determined that if they did I was going to make a dash for the entrance. I reported this to the decorators next day and they recommended I get in touch with the pest control people. Sure enough after the laying of poison, the footsteps ceased and I found dead mice in the ingle.
The first day was marred by the previous landlord and landlady flouting the custom of not returning to their old bar. Sadly the old man became so drunk and such a nuisance that I had to bar him, then and there. Once outside, he lay in the middle of the road where his wife started to kick him in the side, all the time exhorting him to get up with colourful language. Having locked themselves out, our decorators had to climb into an upstairs window of their house to let them in.

It took sometime to build up the trade, having started from almost zero customers. We were one of the first to copy Berni Inns and serve steak and chips as a pub meal in the evenings, an idea that we were gratified to see emulated widely in the area. However, I remember one day, shortly after we'd opened when we saw no customers at lunchtime and none until ten o'clock in the evening when a local mushroom farmer came in. I was sat before a blazing log fire in the fireplace and it was with some reluctance I got up to serve our first customer of the day. He ordered a beer and because he was the one and only of the day I hadn't the heart to charge him. We bought his beer for him and invited him to join us in front of the fire. It was a very pleasant hour, making his acquaintance and he became a regular customer thereafter, that free beer being repaid many times over.

I mention this because, when I see Mojácar so quiet, the bars empty, I know exactly what it feels like to open up in the morning, hoping to do some business but without any expectation. How dispiriting it is to sit there hour after hour, your enthusiasm sapped by the feeling of despair and bemoaning your luck to be trading in a recession. So to the bar owners I say, it will come back if you have a good business plan; stick with it and remember sometimes, like my free beer to the only customer of the day you sometimes have to give something to get in return.

To view the page click on the link below:-

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Case for Torture

I am always surprised by how quickly politicians state their total disapproval of the use of torture. It's almost a reflex action as if to be seen to condone torture is to be branded a violator of human rights or even worse, a war criminal.
We have recently witnessed the almost embarrassing spectacle of politicians falling over themselves to distance themselves from the alleged torture suffered by a Yemeni Guantanamo Bay prisoner. They are apparently telling us that they are against torture in principal. It presumably wouldn't be good to be seen as unsympathetic to any group with vote potential. Do you know; I'm sick to the back teeth of their hypocrisy?

Let us be clear what we are talking about here. We are talking about an individual or state persuading another individual to divulge information of personal or national interest when they don't wish to do so. It scarcely matters for what reason they wish to keep their counsel, if the purpose is illegal, contrary to the national interest or simply unjust.

To those who claim they are pathologically against torture, let me propose a test.
You have a daughter of eight years who is the apple of your eye; the love of your life. She is taken and her life is soon to be threatened. You have in your custody a person who knows the whereabouts of your daughter and possibly how she might be saved. Do you:-

a. Respect his human rights not to divulge information and conscious of the Geneva Convention take no steps to extort the information from him knowing that your daughter is certain to be killed. Or:-

b. Take all steps to save your daughter, including torture, so that even should you fail, you know you have done all you can to save your loved one.

If you choose option a you ought to be ashamed of yourself for allowing a member of your family to be sacrificed on the altar of your pathetic consciousness. Remember, most evildoers prey on the timidity and weakness off their victims. Score: Evildoers 1- 0 You.

If you choose option b, you cannot in all honesty claim to support any anti-torture group. Score: You 1 - 0 Evildoers.

If I'm honest, to save my daughter or any member of my family, I would torture my captive if necessary and more; if he refused to give information (and some groups are trained to withstand pain) I would torture members of his family in front of him or her until he or she relented.

Let us take the test again but this time imagine that you are the Home Secretary, responsible for the safety of the country and its people. You are aware of a hydrogen bomb, primed to explode in London, within the hour, say. It is big enough to destroy the capital and kill ten million people. You have in your custody a person who can tell you the whereabouts of the bomb, but refuses to divulge the information. Do you:-

a. Respect his human rights not to divulge information and conscious of the Geneva Convention take no steps to extort the information from him knowing that ten million citizens are certain to be killed. Or:-

b. Take all steps to save your City and its people, including torture, so that even should you fail, you know you have done all you can to save your country.

If you choose option a. to sacrifice ten million to spare one, you are guilty not only of crass negligence and bad judgement but have betrayed the faith the electors put in you to protect them. When you later survey the scene of destruction, hear the wailing of the survivors, do you reflect that however bad it was- you were right.Or:-

If you choose option b. You save your country; reflect that life's a bitch and are remembered as a Home Secretary that did his job and saved the country.

Life is a bitch! Sometimes we are faced with hard choices. Remember what Obama said at his victory address and the Tory, Cameron, has put at the front of his party priorities. Family, Community and Country. We should remember these priorities when considering the ethics of torture.