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

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Thursday 29 August 2013

Chemical weapons in Syria 2

The British Prime Minister has spoken to the House of Commons about punishing the Syrian regime for the use of chemical weapons.
Six fighter bombers have already left the UK to fly to Cyprus and a fleet including a missile firing submarine is already in the mediterranean. There can be no doubting their intent. More fire, death and destruction for the people of that benighted country.
If they are only interested in destroying the logistics of deploying these weapons, would it not be cheaper to supply the citizens of Damascus (1.7m) with gas masks?
I believe that Israel has supplied gas masks to its population and their military version costs $69 each. Say $120m.
Compared with this, the cost of military action, not counting the loss of life, is huge. It costs nearly $1.5m a day (see detail below) to run just one aircraft carrier. Add in a nuclear submarine or two, surface ships and support jets and the costs rack up considerably.
I also maintain that the supply of gas masks (paid for by the Arab League) rather than send a task force will not lead to an escalation of the tensions in the region. A task force would.

Aircraft carrier costs.
160 million per year just for the personnel.
Add aircraft fuel and maintenance parts, and you're looking at closer to $400 million per year.
add the cost of the carrier ($4.5 billion) and divide it over its lifetime (about 40 years) and you're looking at about $530,000,000 per year which is close to $1,450,000 per day.

Use of chemical weapons

Putting aside for the moment the question of the legality of the use of chemical weapons in conflict, the war in Syria has reached a crucial stage after the attacks near Damascus last week. The US claim to have intercepted a communication from an Assad regime officer to the Commandant in charge of the chemical weapon stocks asking what was going on? The US take thy is as evidence that the regime is using these weapons.
However, from the evidence of this communique, you could say that Assad knew nothing about their deployment until after the event.
Whilst Assad had a brutal but fair reputation before the rebels tried to take over the country, his brother, Maher al-Assad's had not. Rebels, in a bomb attack, blew away one of his legs a year ago and now, so it is rumoured, Maher, the chief of one of the regime's armoured divisions still bears a grudge.
Could it be that Maher al-Assad ordered the use of chemical weapons and Bashar al-Assad, out of filial loyalty, is trying to cover it up whilst claiming ignorance of the whole thing?

Fox news report:

I'm not sure why the use of chemical weapons is outlawed. Surely, what is heinous is conflict itself. When a leader engages in war he is making the gravest decision known to mankind. However, once the decision is made it is incumbent on him or her to prosecute the war with EVERY means at his disposal, including weapons some people find distasteful. What does it matter if hundreds and thousands of mostly women and children are slaughtered by gas, napalm, blanket bombing or the use of cluster mines. What matters is winning as demonstrated by the US use of nuclear weapons against the Japanese.
I suppose what I'm saying is end all conflict now!

Friday 23 August 2013

Possession; nine-tenths of the law?

A man was burgled and later saw the items stolen being sold on an online site. He told the Metropolitan Police but was given scant attention by the forces of law and order and a written warning. He was told that if he attempted to buy the items on the website and tried to recover the money from the promoters he would be guilty of committing FRAUD.
This follows on from the case of a couple having a £30000 luxury caravan stolen. The caravan was found by the police but because the family of travellers told them they had paid £300 fo it, the forces of law and order told the unfortunate couple that nothing could be done to recover their property. Presumably the family in occupation conveniently didn't remember the person from whom they bought the caravan.
Sickening face of today's image of law and order in the UK. The guilty keep the proceeds of crime and the dispossessed are told to get on with it, whatever 'it' is. I've no doubt that the bloody human rights lawyers are behind this blatant miscarriage of justice and its about time the Government stamped on the whole damn lot of them.

Remember; there should be only ONE human right; that is to have the chance of life. No others. It's not a human right to have a family life, to be happy, to be healthy or anything else.

The future of public transport

Alistair Darling has come out in favour of scrapping the High Speed Rail project, citing the increased costs from £30bn to £70bn as the main reason.
The Lib-dems have put forward a plan to scrap all petrol and diesel engined cars by 2040.
Why not accept my plan, first made public in 2009. Read here:

and here:

and solve all the problems of public transport by scrapping both free wheeling cars AND the railways and introducing PODS.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Egypt: An uncertain future

Egypt is on the brink of Civil War today with the country polarised between supporters of the Military's pro-western view of Democracy and those wanting a staunchly Islamic governance.
With monetary reserves almost exhausted, commerce including tourism hit by the troubles, the Country doesn't need any more bad news. With the army already stretched, now would be a bad time for countries to the south to try their luck in abstracting water from the Nile. I wrote about the problem in 2011. See my article here.

If the waters of the Nile dry up, Egypt's current problems will seem insignificant in comparison.


It seems that a lady vicar, the Reverand Alice Goodman, has been driving around in a car bearing the legend, 'WTFWJD'. As far as I can gather it stands for: 'What the f... would Jesus do?'
It is said she did it through despair of the world we live in today and if nothing else, has provoked much debate amongst the theological chattering classes.
I wonder if the good vicar, Alice, is one of millions of people, including clergy, who want to believe in a Loving, Merciful God but despair because they can see no sign of Him, or Her, here on earth.

So, to answer her question, what would Jesus say if he was alive today? It might go something like this:

'Of course things were much different then but nevertheless challenging. We had no Islam in my time, that would come much later, but we still had people with polytheist beliefs. War and famine abounded with great social inequality in a world frought with corruption and evil. To tackle the problems my fiends and I were the first to employ spin in getting our message across but as you can see with dwindling attendences in first world churches, we are losing the battle. Of course, in third world countries, where education is poor, people still cling on to the hope of something better but they will learn in time.
Nowadays we are better informed but the same problems persist. In my time we only had the scriptures to guide us but in the twenty first century, there is so much more. There was only so much one could do interpreting what had been said and prophesied by the ancients. People today are still asking the same questions and one must ask why have they not been addressed? If the God of Abraham truly existed why are we still suffering the same problems of war and famine? If the God of Abraham truly existed why did the holocaust happen? If the God of Abraham truly existed why were priests allowed to sodamise young boys and the Bishops cover up the evil? Why, if the God of Abraham truly exists, are Gaza, Syria and Egypt the way they are?
What does it take to make you people of all faiths admit: prayers go unanswered, problems persist, evil abounds? What does it take to convince you that the Abrahamic religions are just not working?
If you want my advice it is this. To seek not the answers from some imaginary divination but to trust in the humanity of man. There are those amongst you who are pure in heart and do good works. Listen to them and follow their message of brotherhood. Believe in the message of the prophets and do unto others what you hope they would do for you. Oh! And one more thing. Open up your churches, mosques and synagogues to everyone for the glory, not of a God, but of mankind; after all, man built them. It is within you all to make the world a better place for all its inhabitants.
That's it. We must go. Mary (magdalena) and I have to pick up the children from school. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. Bye'

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Preparing for the new season

It was a pertinent time, just ahead of the Premier League's new season,  for the BBC to screen Clarke Carlisle's documentary on suicide amongst football professionals. It was a reminder that a footballer's life is not all glamour and riches.
We wish him and the PFA (Professional Footballer's Association) best wishes in their quest to support players that fall into depression as a result of the pressures on mainly young men who want to make their uncertain way in the 'beautiful game'.

It is also an apposite time to mention my most recent novel, 'The George at Bustington' in which the private lives of football players and others, connected to the sport, are exposed.
Against the ever present background stain of corruption and criminality in the game, the stories of love, lust and piracy, expose other taboo themes such as homosexuality and incest.

As we prepare for the new season, download 'The George at Bustington' from Amazon at:

Sunday 11 August 2013

Spitting in football: an open letter to FIFA

Dear Mr. Blatter

As a new season of Premier League football approaches, I would like to appeal to you to make the sickening and offensive practice of spitting and discharging of nasal mucus on the pitch a yellow card offence.

Spitting is not necessary; indeed the retention of fluids in the body is beneficial in sport. Furthermore, since football is a contact sport, players will fall to the ground where they must come face to face with the body fluids of others. It is therefore, at the very least, a health and safety issue.

This unedifying and unhealthy practice b rought directly, through the medium of television, into the sitting rooms of houses is seen and copied by youngsters replicating the actions of their heroes. Now, ahead of the next World Cup where the game will be watched by billions of people, is the time to call a halt to the practice before it brings the sport into disrepute. Enough is enough.

Saturday 10 August 2013

'Evil Dead'

I've just seen a trailer on TV for a new film called 'Evil Dead', advertised as the next best horror film. It looked awful.
Hollywood is reported as splitting up novels to make more than one 'movie' because they don't know what the future holds as audiences are dwindling. Perhaps the two events are not unconnected. Are the cinema going public not sick to the back teeth of violence and want to watch films that leave them feeling good not drained with unrelenting immorality and criminality?
They might also want to watch films that DO NOT star the usual American suspects, Clooney, Pitt and Penn, I think his name is. They might also want to watch films that DON'T portray the US as the sole winners of WW2 and inventors of all science. Surely its only a matter of time before a seventeen century American discovers gravity and calculates the orbits of the planets before Newton.
I can remember, years ago, watching a Hollywood blockbuster about ancient Rome. Nothing could hide the disappointment I felt on hearing the strong American accent of the lead actor. It completely ruined the film. Since then I refuse to watch US made films.
Back to the future! Bring back nice films free from images of killing and overt sexuality. Make films that entertain without shocking. If you can't make such films get out of the industry and leave it to somebody who can.

Friday 9 August 2013

Spineless English batting

Michael Atherton posed the question of England's batting on day one of the fourth test at Chester-le-Street. 'Was it arrogance or complacency?' he asked, as, not for the first time, England put on a poor batting display. It was neither; the word Athers was looking for was spineless. The tone was set by the skipper Cook who opened with the blameless Root; he should never be opening. 35 runs in the first 20 overs tells you something of Cook's reluctance to take the bowlers on. Total subjugation to a mediocre attack was a disgrace. can you see the Aussies batting at two runs an over having first go on the wicket? Never! The last test showed that the English haven't moved on from Steele and Boycott. Cook shouldn't wait for the umpire; he should walk.

Islam and Nobel Prizes

Professor Richard Dawkins, in stating that since the Dark Ages, Trinity College, Cambridge has won more Nobel Prizes than all the Muslims in the world, has upset some people. Why? Is he wrong? Has he miscalculated in some way?

What people are probably upset about is that he is right and by making the suggestion is implying that the advent of Islam has stunted the Arab mind, previously recognised as being at the forefront of scientific and mathematical invention. They wish to defend the indefensible. Mainly that the followers of Islam's slavish devotion to Allah precludes their following the natural inclination of man or woman to experiment, delve, explore and otherwise question the natural world we live in for fear of upsetting the Imams and Ayotullahs.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Two things to cheer

Two things to cheer about this week. The first concerns the UKIP MEP, Godfrey Bloom, and his reference to Bongo Bongo land. The media including the usual suspects were on to him straight away, exposing him as the type of racist the Prime Minister once accused the party of harbouring. Having offered to apologise to the country of Bongo Bongo Land, Mr. Bloom might now perceive that he has won the backing of millions of Brits who sympathise wholeheartedly with his view and shaming those sections that have sought to scandalise the situation. Although the UKIP bosses have told him to soften his words they will be inwardly thrilled with how its turned out.

The other concerns the curbing of prosecuting barristers who take the adversorial pracice to such extremes that justice can never be served. The legal service needs to remember that. They have lost sight that Justice for the victims is the most important consideration, not winning a debate by threatening innocent witnesses and subjecting them to reruns of their own personal hells. Something stinks in the legal profession and it needs to be sorted.

Monday 5 August 2013

Emergency housing

At the end of the Second World War, Churchill made plans for the building of half a million prefabricated buildings to house the mainly Londoners, who had lost their homes due to bombing. The buildings had an expected service life of ten years, after which it was hoped that more substantial housing would be available. Just over a fifth of this total were eventually built due to several reasons such as reduced workforce killed on the battlefields and cost of raw materials.
The UK again has a housing shortage problem, I suspect due to the inflated immigration policy of the last, Socialist Government. However, could not the same policy be implemented now? Could we not construct inexpensive one and two bedroom prefabricated buildings on Government owned land for temporary use, say ten years, at affordable rentals? They should be British built and assembled, adhere to SENSIBLE standards and not be built on a flood plain. Each should have a small garden. I suggest this is a plan more acceptable to the general public than the provision of space for travellers and the conversion of small garden sheds in Slough to house entire families for profit.
At the end of ten years, if a problem still exists, the prefabs could be renovated or the site simply closed down. In place of the UK's international aid programme, re-usable homes could then be shipped to needy regions of the world to house, for instance, refugees.

One further thought on this. If a new London airport is built on reclaimed land in the Thames estuary, the plan might include the provision for such housing as I've suggested above.