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

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Friday, 30 April 2010

Lemming Party politics. Meritocracy part 2

Folowing the theme of my blog on the Lemming Party and after the third Leaders televise debate, it is becoming ever clearer that Democracy doesn't work.
The debate was so boring I went to bed at about the half way mark because they were saying nothing new, repeating mantras and concentrating on the other party's manifestos rather than their own agenda. Gordon Brown as the incumbent Prime Minister was not held to account for his part in the present debacle. They cannot trust the people to vote the way they want, so they prefer to say nothing. If this is the case, why bother? Democracy is an unworkable dream. It has served its purpose, taking countries out of the dark ages but now is the time to move on. Although it is flawed, I'm beginning to believe that the Chinese have stumbled on a better system with a ruling 'elite' who act in the Country's interests. This focus will make their country strong through administrative efficiency, prosecuted by targetted initiatives and policies. The people will not suffer because the rulers will know that their number one resource are the very people who rely on them for good governance in a two way understanding.
One more thought on the relevance of Democracy. Since these debates, I am amazed by how many people are saying that they won't vote. They either can't see a difference in the Parties or they are dissillusioned with politicians generally. Either way, Democracy isn't working for them. It'll catch on!!

Following the failure in Greece, the credit rating of Spain has been devalued and Portugal is on the brink. These countries, like the others in Europe are essentially socialist and their policies are now not to be population driven but imposed by the IMF, the International Monetary Fund. It is the clearest indication yet that Socialism DOESN'T WORK. You cannot keep voting to have something for nothing. You cannot continue to vote for  the Lemming Party and doom. Since it is human nature to want handouts, the populace cannot be relied on to vote for the national interest. It has been the same in Thailand, where the electorate have consistently voted for a party that bribed them with either false hopes or money. Thailand doesn't rely on the IMF for correctional therapy, it sends in the army and removes the Government in a coup. It has had to do this on numerous occasions in the last thirty years.

In the US people are marching against the bankers.Why don't we see the same in Euope? I'll tell you why. Top politicians in Europe see the banks as a safe seat when their days in front line politics is over. They have consistently played down the problem they cause whilst doing everything they could to protect banks. Why have no bank officials been arrested?
People should be mad with the people who have been speculating with their money in a deal that if it went well gave the bankers huge incomes but if it went wrong gave the bank customers huge headaches. It is fraud; clear and simple and that hardly any high ranking bankers in the UK have been arrested is scandalous.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The failure of the Lemming Party & the case for a Meritocracy

Readers of my blog will know my fear that Democracy has now run its race as the preferred means of government. In this year's UK election we have a good example of why.
With just a week to go, the electorate have not been given any detail of how each Party will tackle the huge budget deficit that faces the country in the world-wide recession. It is inevitable that no one party would wish to be associated with the bad news when they are trying to appeal to the electorate, but it is equally clear that huge savings will have to be made in the public sector. In consequence what we have is a sham that does not adequately serve the interest of the people of the country.
Nor do I believe that allowing voters to exercise choice on the basis of their needs is the best way. Voters for the Lemming party, would inevitably find themselves in deep water if they won the election. So would all the rest of the country. Now, in place of Lemmings, put the Labour Party. After thirteen disastrous years under the Labour administration led first by Blair and latterly by the unelected Brown, 30% of the populace would still vote for them. It's crazy!!
Another example of Democratic inefficiency would be the disproportionate sharing out of the votes in the 'first passed the post' system currently favoured. Last time Labour formed a government despite only receiving 27% of the popular vote. This year, with the same number of voters they would have about 260 seats in the House of Commons but the Liberals with the same share of the vote would get about 60 seats. How can this be right?

I believe that the way forward is a form of Meritocracy with a constitutional Monarchy. The Monarchy is necessary to give the nation the stability that comes from heritage, history and continuity. The present Queen Elizabeth is a shining example of how it should work.
The Country would be administered by a Cabinet, headed by a Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister would lead a Cabinet of maybe five Secretaries of State,each with their own department.
The Secretaies, people of the Country with more than two generations in residence, would have proven credentials of honesty in public service, experience in affairs of the world and an unshakeable belief in the well-being of the Country. They, like Mrs Thatcher, say, would put the Country first, before their own self interest. They would be appointed by a committee, established by the throne, assembled from the Learned and Good of the country, traditionally, leaders of the Armed Services, the Church, Seats of Learning and Commerce. The Committee would have exceptional powers to remove a Secretary of State for malpractice, insanity etc.

Beneath the leaders would be a directly elected chamber. The Chamber would discuss and debate all the issues of interest to the people. All measures voted for in the asembly would be put to the Leaders for consideration where decisions would be taken strictly in the Country's interest.

The armed forces would owe their allegiance to the Monarch but take their orders from the Prime Minister.

It is my belief that this is a more efficient way of Government allowing decisions of National Interest to be taken quickly, unlike say the debate over a third runway at Heathrow which has taken years.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Surrogate authorship

I see the success of James Patterson and his co-authorship of some of the titles in his portfolio and wonder if their are other established authors who might consider doing something similar, albeit for different reasons.

Patterson is an immensely successful thriller writer of a large number of books. Clearly writer's block has not been a problem with him. It may however be a problem for other published authors, perhaps struggling to follow up a successful debut or having published many novels, have simply run out of ideas. The problem may be compounded if the author has a problem fulfilling a publishing contract.

Is there a need to match needy published authors with those whose work will never be published because they are newcomers and do not qualify as a 'celebrity'? As a writer myself, I would welcome interest in my work from an established author to work on a collaboration. Besides Patterson's initiative, there have been other examples of collaboration. At the end of his life, Dick Francis was known to work with his son, Felix, on his last novels.

The collaboration could be totally anonymous, or recognised in part. What is important is that both authors gain from the association.

So, let me say here that any published author's who would like to investigate the possibility of collaboration, please contact me, in complete confidence, at:, stating the genre of books they write.
Similarly, if you are an unpublished author and are happy to share your ideas for reward, please also contact me at the above email address. (Please do not submit any work.)

There is a lot of good work being produced out there and too much emphasis by agencies and publishers on a select few. My aim is to try and spread the rewards around.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Televised debates

The televised debates in the UK have been a huge hit with television audiences and to the chagrin of the two main parties, a boost to the Liberal Democrats and their leader, Nick Clegg. To many, that the election could be a three horse race, will come as a bit of a shock. Certainly to Gordon Brown and David Cameron, who have, in the House of Commons, ridiculed for years the third party to the point of being contemptuous of their contribution. It mattered not that this disdain was by association a direct insult to the constituents of the seats where these members stood. Now their rudeness is looking a little silly and to my mind so do the leaders of the Socialist and Tory parties.
The point I wish to make is that in politics as in business and other walks of life, nothing is certain in the world. I remember attending a management course in Chorley, Lancashire, where the group was divided up into teams of four. Each team was given some equal and imaginary points. They were then allowed to meet with the other teams with a view to form syndicates and consolidate their points. After a time, it was clear that one syndicate was amassing more points than the others and because of their success attracted yet more points until they were dominant. In the final play of the game, it seemed a formality that this syndicate must win, yet when the poll was taken of the final points they had been beaten. How could it have happened?
One of the 'beaten' syndicates had waited until after all the points had been cast and then transferred the total to their own team. Despite being an obvious cheat, the result was allowed to stand as an example of people's behaviour when pushed into a corner. On another occasion, a team had set off the fire alarm to disrupt proceedings.
What has this to do with the election? This. Never underestimate the lengths Gordon Brown will go to to secure a victory. I believe Brown has hidden secrets that he and his predecessor, Tony Blair, would prefer to remain hidden and the best way of achieving this is to secure unending power by whatever means. To date they have an advantage due to the unbalanced boundary conditions; they introduced massive and unprecedentd immigration in the hope of boosting their support and they recommended changing the voting age to 16 for the same purpose. I believe that in marginal seats, at least, Brown will resort to any tactics to win. Having already being exposed as telling blatant lies in election leaflets in order to scare voters away from the Tories, what else will he try?
Recently in Birmingham council elections, Labour were exposed trying to rig postal voting in six seats. A judge described the system as being wide open to abuse.
To be fair, it's not only the Socialists. In Slough, six Tory supporters were found guilty of electoral fraud.

When the two main parties are trying desperately to exclude the third, and pooh pooh others like the BNP and UKIP, a reaction can be expected and has indeed happened. It can only be for the good. Readers of my blog will know that I favour a meritocratic style of Government, fearing that the general populace are not fit to vote in the best interests of the country but sometimes, just now and then, something amazing happens and certainties become less so. I shall be following the election with great interest, looking for signs of desperation in the leaders as they see their hopes fade. Something extraordinary might happen.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Unknown emissions from Galaxy M82

Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK is co-discoverer of an unknown object in galaxy M82. He reports that this strange object has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before. "We don't know what it is," he says, honestly.

Whilst monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in 2008, he and his colleagues observed a 'bright spot' of radio emission over a couple of days and it has continued to baffle sientists ever since. Unlike the emissions from supernovae, say, which soar and die away over a few months, this emission has remained bright for over a year.

The source of the emission is moving and moving very quickly, appearing at times to be 'superluminal', like high-speed jets of material 'squirted out' by some black holes.

His best guess is still that the radio source is some kind of dense object accreting surrounding material, perhaps

a large black hole or a black hole in an unusual environment.

Readers of my blogs will know that what has been found is a cloud of so called dark energy/matter, normally invisible, that has been excited by the original explosion in M82. The material making up the cloud is composed of particles or matter defined by negative and complex dimensions that can 'exist' in our, 'real' half of the universe, because the volume is positive. (For example a body with dimensions of -1, i, i, will have a positive volume. ie. V= -1 x i x i)
It has been shown by mathematicians that manifolds with negative or complex dimensions can vibrate at calculable

The universe is composed of  'real' and 'imaginary' halves, which sum to zero. We inhabit the 'real' part which we experience. The 'Imaginary' half pervades all of the 'real' part, but we cannot sense it except that it may play a part in pan-universal forces such as gravity.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Antiquities Roadshow

"Hello. My name is Leona Sluice and welcome to the 'Antiquities Roadshow'. This week we are at Peniston Hall, home to the Illingworth family."
(Producers note: Avoid filming the unofficial traveller's site when shooting opening sequence in the grounds.)

"In all my years on the Antiquities Roadshow, I have rarely seen such a fine picture in the 'Bognor' style," said the expert. "Tell me, how did you come by it?"
"It was left to me by my uncle when he died, last year. Apparently he knew the artist."
"You can make out the artist's name, here in the bottom right corner, John Thomas," pointed out the expert. "John was known to be painting in Bognor in the fifties. A Royal Academician he rarely painted anything other than young children in various stages of undress. Do you like it?"
"Not a lot!" replied the visito. "My missus likes it but I think its a load of c**p ... Whoops! Can I say that?"
"That's a shame," said the expert, a gaudily dressed man with bright blazer and flamboyant shirt."I believe his beautifully crafted use of light and colour has produced a work of rare perception and barely suppressed innocence."
"Well it's 'bare' alright," said the visitor. "He should have been locked up, painting kids like that. Bloody paedo' if you ask me!"
"If this came up for sale in the right auction ...," hurried the expert.
"Full of perverts you mean," interrupted the owner.
"... I expect it to fetch in excess of a million pounds. Beautiful picture; one of his best I've seen."
"Blimey!" said the shocked man, suddenly taking a new interest in the painting."I wouldn't give you tuppence for it. My uncle always said he treated him nicely though!"

"You know who this piece of glass is by of course?" says the expert.
"Yes it's by René Lalique. It's signed at the bottom," says the excited visitor, with high expectations of a good valuation.
"Yes; the most famous glassmaker of all time. Marked 'R Lalique' so it was made before 1945. Tell me, do you like it?"
"Well yes," replies the man. "My brother says it's worth a bit. He's seen one like it on 'Flog it'."
"Let's look at it in more detail, shall we," says the expert. "It's a well known piece of moulded clear glass. You did know that it was moulded, didn't you?"
Visitor shakes his head. "No, I can't say that I did. There are no cracks or chips."
"Yes you can see here the slightly raised line where the blown glass tries to expand into the join of the two halves of the mould."
The visitor's demeanour is changing as he feels his treasure is not as valuable as he hoped.
"There were quite a few of these made and a large number are still in existence. In a way it was mass produced and misses some of the detail of earlier vases. Quite honestly if it wasn't for the mark, this would be worthless, but because it is by Lalique, I suppose we have to value it as being worth £200 but Who in their right mind would pay anything for this rubbish?"
"I did," replied the man, indignantly.
"Do you mind me asking how much you paid for it?" said the expert, regretting that he's been so honest.
"£300, two years ago," replied the man, hurt to be seen as a twit on prime time TV."Call yourself an expert! You know nothing. You're a fraud. Bloody b******d."
CUT! CUT! shouted the producer as the visitor made a grab at the expert, sending them both crashing to the floor.

"What a beautiful bronze! I noticed it as soon as I came in the room," said the expert. "How did it come into your possession?"
"I found it -in a skip."
The expert is visibly shaken by the announcement. "You found it in a skip?" he asked.
"I just said that," replied the rather scruffy man.
The expert, wearing a brown corderoy jacket with leather elbow patches, picks up the object and sensitively turns it in his practiced hands.
"It's a good, popular subject, boy with dog, which helps increase its value. Can I draw your attention to the fine detail around the dog's ears and in particular under the tail, around the ... well er. I know a lot of people who'd like to get their hands on it!"
"What! Its bottom?"
"No! Ha, ha" he said, chuckling. "The dog. It's signed by a first rate nineteenth century sculptor, Antonio Gorgonzola, and is in excellent condition. The piece has been widely copied recently but the patina tells me this is just right. Most new pieces have been artificially aged which gives them away rather."
"And?" urged the scruff, impatiently.
"I was just coming round to that," said the expert, getting a whiff of the man's body odour and stepping back a pace.
"I have no hesitation in saying that you should insure this for half a million. Not bad for something you found in a skip."
"Thanks. Can't stop," said the scruff, picking up his treasure. "Got to go. Do you know where I can find a good pawnbroker?"

"Do you recognise the symbol on the inside cover of the box?" asked the jewellery expert, looking doubtfully at the woman. "The double headed eagle is the give-away mark of an internationally recognised Russian maker."
"Is it Smirnoff?" asked the visitor nervously, not particularly wanting to be quizzed on television. She wasn't very good at quizzes.
The expert smiled. He'd seen people like this in every corner of the country; wherever the Antiquities Roadshow went. Philistines; the bloody lot of them, he thought.
"Smirnoff is a brand of vodka," he answered with a good measure of sarcasm."I'm talking, of course, of the greatest Russian jeweller, the official jeweller to the court of the Imperial Royal Family. The maker of the famous Easter eggs. I'm talking, of course, of Fabergé."
"Oh!" smiled the visitor gormlessly."Her."
"It's a nice thing," sighed the expert, a wealthy owner of a very smart shop in Bond Street. "Can you tell me a little about it?"
"Dunno," said the waif-like woman before him. "Me muvver left it me. She said it came from 'er aunt. She was a dancer - sort of."
"How interesting," mused the expert whilst making up his mind about the aunt's particular talents.He puts his eyepiece to his eye and examined the jewel.
"Its a rare combination jewel or parure," he said, knowledgeably. "It is a tiara, but in fact you can take it apart to make a brooche, a pair of earrings, even a necklace. The stones are flawless diamonds, Ceylon rubies and Colombian emeralds, set in eighteen carat gold and platinum." He took out his eyepiece and smiled falsely.
"Have you insured the jewel, may I ask?"
"I don't think so. It's just been lying in a drawer since me mum died.I thought it was paste."
"The Russians are keen to buy these pieces; its part of their history. So despite the recession the market for the work of this maker is buoyant. Its worth two billion pounds. Thank you so much for bringing it in. You've made my day!"
"Oh! Is that it! I knew I should have brought the other six pieces!"

Now we come to the part of the show where I ask one of our experts about their own collections," says Leona Sluice to the camera. "I shall be asking them what piece gives them the most pleasure and what was their biggest folly. Today it's the turn of Jim Kana. What have got for us, Jim?"
"I'll start, if I may, with my greatest treasure. It's these," he said pointing out some amorphous black objects on the table in front of them.
"They don't look much," said Leona.
"They're certainly antique," said Jim, proudly. "They're over seventy thousand years old, ha ha ha. They're dinasaur poo."
"What do you see in them; I mean why do you like them?" asked Leona, bending down to have a sniff.
"The sense of history; a link to a long lost time," replied Jim. "I can just imagine this huge Diplodocus standing there, all those years ago with the pterodactyles buzzing about his head, having this enormous dump. Brings tears to my eyes to think about it."
"I can imagine," said Leona. "Now what about your biggest folly. It looks like a broken owl."
I bought a mixed lot of pottery in a local village auction," he said excitedly. "Imagine my surprise when I got the box home and saw 'Ollie' at the bottom. In perfect condition it was a fantastic example of English seventeenth century slipware. Unbelievably rare! I took it out, held it up to the light for a better look and dropped it. It shattered into a thousand pieces. As it was, in good condition, it was worth hundreds of thousands and now its worth vitually nothing," said the expert, fighting to hold back the tears.
"There, there, Jim," said Leona, passing him a tissue before continuing: "That's not the end of the story though. Is it Jim? Since then we've had to take you off fine porcelain because no one trusts you to handle their china or glass."
"It's all so sad," said the expert, fondling his droppings as the tears started to flow."Its teddy bears and tin b****y trains for me these days."

"My Grandmother was in service and I understand that she was given this when she left."
"Why did she leave? Do you know?"
"As far as I can tell, some items of the Lady's apparently went missing. That's all I know."
"Well this is a particularly fine painting. It's certainly a Constable; one can make out the signature. Dated 1822, it is a scene from the river Stour. One needs to do some research but this could be very exciting. It may be a painting, long thought to be lost."
"Well it would be; wouldn't it? It was in my granny's attic for years!"
"Quite so," replied the expert, looking at the back of the picture for clues.
"Have the police ever asked your grandmother about it?" asked the increasingly worried expert."Has anyone asked your grandmother about it?"
"The lady died shortly after my granny left," said the young girl. "Why should anyone ask about it?"
"Oh! No reason," he backtracked. "Subject to research and if it is the missing Constable, I have no hesitation in saying that at auction this will easily fetch one billion pounds."
"Granny will be pleased. The gardner told her it would be worth something one day."

(Producer's note: Camera to Leona)
"Well we've had a wonderful day, here at Peniston hall. Our thanks, once again, to the Illingworth family. Until next time that's all from this week's Antiquities Roadshow."

Signed copies NOW available for purchase at ROHHA Lifestyle, Mojácar Playa
Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Los Pasos de Mojácar

Los Pasos part 1

On Good Friday, my wife and I followed the cross in Mojácar pueblo. It was not something I wanted to do for religious reasons; I am an atheist, but because I am a Mojáquero. I wanted to take part in a ritual that means so much to my fellow townsmen and women and to witness at first hand a mass phenomenen taking place throughout Spain. We waited outside the church of Santa Maria, watching the band and excited young choristers congregate. Then there were the men in black suits; some of them wore sunglasses, against the bright sun, giving them an air of the mafiosi. They were the Costaleros, the 'andas' bearers, men I surmised who were members of old Mojácar families and Cofradias, the brotherhoods, who had performed this duty as an honour for many years. They greeted one another like long lost brothers, happy at the prospect but nervous too, knowing that it was no mean feat to carry the heavy 'andas' for an hour and a half along the narrow and hilly Mojácar streets. The overriding impression I had of the occasion was one of pride. Whatever part they had to play, they wouldn't have been wanting to do anything else in the world at that time. For all the participants they were doing it for their families, for their community and for Mojácar.

Just how much Semana Santa means to the townspeople became apparent to me soon after the two 'parihuelas'or 'andas' reunited at the Plaza 'El Caño'. They had followed seperate routes after leaving the church and now together, climbed away from the plaza along La Guardia. We passed a narrow set of stairs leading to a small terrace below. Through the open doors at the street level we could see an elderly lady, seated on a chair, still in her dressing down, sobbing inconsolably and being comforted by another, possibly her daughter. Why was she sobbing? God knows, but if I had to hazard a guess it would be that after watching the passing of Christ and the Virgin, having heard the choir sing she had again witnessed the reaffirmation of her God's love. In the tradition of 'los Pasos' she relived, as she'd done all her life, the story of Christ's sacrifice to save mankind; an enduring belief that no matter what life had thrown at her and her family, and at times for everyone it can be desperately tough, she was safe in the embrace of God's Grace. She was not sobbing out of pain or unhappiness; she was sobbing, emotion gripping her body, in undiluted joy.
I further surmised that her relationship with her Church was uncomplicated, her almost slavish devotion precluding any questions. That Catholic priests around the world were regularly abusing children or that thousands of innocents were being slaughtered in natural disasters like Haiti, were matters for earthly men; not for her heavenly Father.
Now as she approached the end of her life's journey, she would soon meet her God and be at eternal peace. In some ways I envied her faith; after all, it's an attractive proposition that billions of people have subscribed to over two thousand years, inspiring man to create masterpieces from huge and spectacular cathedrals to works of amazing art and truly breathtaking choral pieces.
I will confess that after seeing this lady, I too was moved by her emotion and indeed, the whole occasion, unable to speak for several moments as I tried to control my own feelings. Even atheists can have a spiritual side.

Los Pasos part 2

An exerpt taken from a work by P Pérez Fernández, called 'El Alma de Sevilla'. The spirit of Seville.

Finally the day had arrived; the day he'd been waiting for for as long as could remember. Don Francisco had his heart's desire to walk, with his cross, at the head of his Sevillian Cofradia, the brotherhood, 'penitentiale' that accompanied Christ on his final, cross bearing walk, known as,'los Pasos'. It was the culmination of his life's work in the Cofradia; the final acolade his brothers could bestow on him. As the parade formed his face was flushed with pride as he took his place, with don Curro, another man chosen to bear their crosses of gold painted wood.
Ahead of him lay the route which took the procession past the assembled dignatories of the City, the President and various Counts and Marqueses sat in their especially constructed boxes. In his mind he rehearsed the steps he would take when he reached the Plaza San Francisco. Turning elegantly on his heels he would turn to the President's party on the dais, incline his body and ever so slightly dip the cross on his shoulder, before standing erect and continuing through the Plaza, acknowledging the adoring, almost amorous adulation of the beautiful Ladies.

Don Cullo had spent the morning toasting the forthcoming event and co-incidentally fortifying his spirit in several bars, so that by the time of the procession he was already far worse for drink than don Francisco would have liked. They had hardly moved when don Cullo complained that his cross felt like lead and his face was covered with sweat. At last they reached the entrance to the Plaza and don Francisco could see ahead how beautifully it had been decorated and how clean everything was.
"Careful, Cullo," he murmered to his flagging companion, "Careful! You'll make a fool of yourself if you're not careful."
"You be careful, too," he replied, indignant at don Francisco's insinuation.
"It seems to me that when you turn, you'll fall down," argued don Francisco, quietly, now certain that don Cullo was drunk.
"Walk slowly and they may not notice that you do not turn to face them on the platform," whispered don Francisco fearing that his big day was about to be ruined.
Don Cullo, shortened his step and slowed his pace, sweating profusely. He could already hear the laughter and chuckling of the contessas and marchionesses and the President was on his feet, ready to return the salute.
"I will not turn. I will not turn," he told himself.
As he arrived opposite the President of the Most Excellent Government of the town, he stopped, paused and did a half turn before the cross slipped from his shoulder to the ground. Without pausing, he carried on walking and shouted: "God be with you, Gentlemen!" his broad Andalucian dialect resounding through the Plaza.

This extract was taken from a compilation of Spanish works by MB Shaw; translated and adapted by myself.

To view the article in click on the link below:-

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

NOW available. Signed copies of 'Apsaras' for purchase at ROHHA Lifestyle, Mojácar Playa.

Read more on his Indaloblog at