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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is there anybody there?

Dearest Ivor

I am not yet deterred by the lack of a substantive reply. I was going to adopt the Nigel Farage approach however realised that it would be lost on you, as you have a somewhat casual relationship with your appearance and the opinion of others at the best of times. Being unable to stir you into action by appealing to the, somewhat slumbering, political beast within you I will attempt a more philosophical approach.

As a nation what type of people have we become? We give more air time and column inches to the breakup of the Cole’s marriage than to humanitarian crises in the world. Why is this? Are we so shallow or just anaesthetised? Our interaction with the world exists for the most part behind a glass/plasma screen which bombards our senses with multiple visual and auditory stimuli without the effort of having to leave the comfort and security of our own homes. Instead of experience we settle for observation and detachment. Apparently the average UK viewer watched television for 3.75 hours each day last year. With an additional 30 hours each week also spent online,that accounts for another 4 hours a day. What is this doing to us? Is this simulated social interaction making us apathetic towards genuine relationships and stunting our ability to communicate in the real world? Whilst watching the pixel people we can experience joy, sadness and horror in the space of a matter of minutes, even the news feels it necessary to end on a feel good factor, as if the audience couldn’t cope with dwelling for too long on the negative aspects in the world beyond the screen. Our feelings are switched on and off without time to extract meaning, to develop understanding and to dwell on consequences. Our attention span is ever decreasing, as perhaps is our empathy?

It’s only a thought Ivor……..are you out there?

Poll xx


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Swingeing not Whingeing

Dear Ivor

Your anonymous comment to my blog is hardly worthy of a reply, you who previously courted fame on Sky News have now resorted to leaving an unidentified trail, how the mighty fall! It reminded me of the time when you conveniently forgot that we called up a certain rugby player late at night masquerading as England selectors and subsequently were reported as saying that the idea had been entirely mine. True we may have been under the influence and my memory of the event is not exactly crystal clear, however I do remember distinctly that you thought it was a jolly good idea at the time and it was actually your howls of laughter that finally gave us away!! How can you abandon me now when MPs are retiring on golden goodbyes and hardly a murmur from the British public.

I have however decided to allocate you a little more time to cogitate further on the implications of resuming our correspondence and perhaps I should take this opportunity to whet your appetite further for the task ahead. Over the past few months I know we have adopted the ostrich response to political shenanigans and I must admit for a while it may have made life simpler. Several times during our recess my digits did hover above the keyboard, particularly when banker’s resumed their bonus bonanza activities and when the public sector pension deficit still went largely unaddressed by the main political parties, and even with the revelations of the Chilcott enquiry I didn’t disturb your foray into the wilds of Northumberland, however your razor sharp mind and acerbic wit are required for more pressing matters than whittling, or rampart building for that matter, even if it is for Greenpeace.

Presently we need to concentrate on rebuilding the economy. I know that our previous attempts to encourage Evan Davis (Today Programme Radio 4 for the uninitiated) to grasp the nettle on the financial front were not exactly a success so it is now down to us to produce a coherent plan. Swingeing cuts are required and instead of starting from the bottom and working upwards I have decided to start at the top. The queen could retrospectively pay the £20m inheritance tax on the Queen Mother’s estate and we should definitely abolish that sovereign to sovereign loophole. Safeguarding One's wealth against erosion not really being a priority. We also may have to limit funding for a few years for the Royals so that’s just over £40m each year to start with. It may seem like a drop in the ocean but it is a start and if we are talking of tightening belts it is only fair that we should all be looking at a notch or two.

Now let’s be upfront our total debt is approximately £2 trillion that’s taking into account a net debt of £870.0bn at the end of December 2009 according to the Office of National Statistics and if Alastair Darling has projected borrowing for 2009/10 of £178bn that’s the first trillion taken care of and I must say it does make me feel not more than a little queasy. Added to this is the additional 1 trillion deficit in the public pension pot that is constantly being pushed to the back burner, and there’s the £2 trillion nicely totted up.

To start with we need to cap what the taxpayer will contribute towards public sector pension schemes and then look into the merits of abolishing these final salary arrangements. I know I have mentioned this before at some length but let’s face it is time to admit that roughly 80% of tax payers are struggling to fund their own pensions, and with the best will in the world cannot be expected to contribute further to the under funded final salary schemes of 5 million public sector workers. This is creating a pension elite funded by the many for the few. Arguments of public pensions compensating for lower pay no longer hold water as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the average public-sector worker earns 16 per cent more than the private-sector counterpart. Unfortunately desperate times call for desperate measures. Then to cap it all there’s an additional £100m hole in the MEP’s pension fund, where will it end we ask ourselves, in our pockets I fear. Have now taken to thumping my forehead against the desk which although painful does afford momentary relief! Talking of MEP’s they cost the taxpayer £1.8m each so if there are 74 of them that’s approximately £133m each year so after much deliberation (well at least 5 seconds) have decided to cap their pay and expenses to a quarter of this amount leaving them with a paltry £450,000 each and saving us about £100m to boot, they will just have to cope, oh that will be like the rest of us then!

Flushed with success and after a glass of red wine am on to cutting more bureaucracy, I propose getting rid of the 1162 quangos and there’s a mere £64bn saved each year (some reports say it is near £90bn but let’s not quibble with the odd billion here and there and when you take into account the whole NHS budget is £100bn, well need I say what a wonderful thing perspective is!

Am now mentally exhausted and haven’t even started on the next trillion but here comes the deal you decide how to raise the funds for this and we’ll call it quits and forgiveness for your recent lack of political stirrings will quickly follow, can you resist the challenge?

Signing off in anticipation.

Poll xxxx


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Back!!!

Dear Ivor

With not a little trepidation I have once more taken to the keyboard. Iain Dale was not wrong when he reported that a blog takes over your life. I have nothing but admiration for the timely and insightful (or should that be incite full?) posts liberally scattered across the blogosphere. Barely has the politician’s last word been uttered before binary opinion bursts forth.

Our own attempts have been a little sparse of late and perhaps have lent towards the frivolous side. Although I have attempted on occasion to be measured in my ramblings, in the main my contributions could be considered a little trite. Unlike Lobbydog my hacking days consisted of an irritating and persistent cough and my Dale-like canvassing attempts have amounted to verbal attacks aimed at the radio and as for Guidoisms, this I could only attempt after the consumption of a liberal amount of alcohol rendering me belligerent…..hmmm. What have we to offer you’re thinking, other than grammatical errors and Aunty Gladys’s knitting faux pas? Well that’s a start.

I must admit I have missed you, our brief encounters at the Bitter End have lacked some purpose and to be honest you have let yourself go. I think the time has come to forget the bivouacs, the venture scouts will have to do without you, and join me once more on the road to No. 10, you know you want to!

Poll x

PS There's a Posh Pooch with your name on it!


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tooled up to Vote?

Here's one to try at home Polly....remember the Cosmopolitan quizzes at the back of history?

Anything to help you out of your dilemma:


Give it a whirl...must be better than a knee-jerk vote on the back of disillusionment?

Ivor X

PS I'm shadier than I first thought....shades of chartreuse or harlequin in fact! Go Green! X

Thinking Green!

Hey Polly...

Been doing some soul searching under canvas.

Coming out of the woods on Thursday to vote...but who for?
I'm thinking green....what about you?

At least Caroline Lucas has a manifesto that covers all the bases...and she's ethical. How novel for a politician?

Big Kisses

Ivor X

PS Green symbolizes learning, growth and harmony. As I've discovered my love chakra , I'm off to celebrate my higher consciousness at The Greenman! You coming? Need to work on my balance...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where do we go from here?

To my long lost and dearly beloved friend Polly,

It's true...I have lost the faith. Can one actually resign from a virtual political arena?

Contrary to knitting circle tittle-tattle....I have not been drying out at 'The Priory', nor embellishing my leadership skills with a dabble into the dark mysteries of NLP! Instead, I have been conscientiously making up for lost time comparing the merits of Paradise Ale, Grouse Beater and Hogshead....ending up with a keg of Old Peculiar and no dignity. No change there then.

At the hiatus of the banking fiasco, I was compelled to take a sabbatical and withdrew from the showbiz glare of our newfound blogdom. It was corrupting me. I found myself egosurfing at odd times of the night with wild abandon...the shallow revelry as profile hits soared. Enough. My moral compass was out of control.

Having taken time to reflect and stoke the small embers of integrity that were so deeply buried, I felt truly invigorated and ready to return to real life...but to what?

No more tirades Polly.

Yes, it certainly is criminal. And I am ashamed of the filth, greed and corruption that rains down from above. Ironically, Gordon Brown once uttered these words:

I sense a new spirit in Britain: that the people of Britain want this massive demonstration of generosity to be given enduring purpose.

Do you think he foresaw that the wanton pilfering of taxpayers money by politicians might catapult the nation from wisteria to histeria?

What? Out of revolution comes great change? Piss the nation off totally then re-establish trust, democracy and a new political system of which we can be proud...just like that? ''Sorry, we've behaved badly, it won't happen again''.... we deserve better.
So where do we go from here?
How do we extricate ourselves from this quagmire of political inepititude and resurrect a political governance of which can be proud?

Jotted a few ideas down on the back of my London Pride beer mat:
  1. Gordon Brown to stand down as Prime Minister.
  2. All politicians proven to have behaved criminally in the expenses debacle to be sacked.
  3. All politicians considered to have behaved immorally 'in the eyes of the public' to resign.
  4. The rare breed of honest MPs to retain their posts and be proud.
  5. The aforementioned minority to pause for a contemplative huddle and manful pats on backs...(look steely and determined.)
  6. Write a proper constitution at long last.
  7. Radically reform the electoral system.
  8. Introduce proportional representation.
  9. Savagely cut the ridiculous number of posts.....six hundred and how many...I feel a lightbulb joke coming on.
  10. Bring on a general election...NOW.

Hey Ho...sorted!

Well, perhaps. Not quite. What happens then? Who the hell do we vote for? Ah Hah! Gottcha....

Ivor X

PS I highly recommend woodland life. Let me know when the dust settles and there's a general election. Give Aunty Gladys a big kiss and tell her not to be seduced by Gurkha supporting, celebrity politicians....unless it's us of course! Back to my coppicing....


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Knitters!

Thanks Polly,

What a relief!
The girls at the knitting circle are planning something special to celebrate your safe return...God Bless!

Aunty Gladys


Dear Aunty Gladys

Can’t say much at the moment as Ivor and I are involved in an under cover operation, codename “Blinkers”. Suffice to say all is well and some form of normal service will be resumed soon, providing we survive this experience!

Poll x

PS Ivor would like the Max Boyce tickets, could you leave them under the back door mat and he’ll pick them up under cover of darkness this evening. He wants to know if you’ve managed to finish his new scarf. Oh yes, and give his love to the knitting circle.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where's Ivor?


Ivor's not been in touch for sometime now....has he spoken to you recently? I fear he may have gone to ground as I received this postcard, but no forwarding address. I'm a little worried as I've still got his Max Boyce ticket. Please put my mind at rest as the ladies in the knitting circle are getting quite agitated.

Love Aunty Gladys X

PS How is your meniscus?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ha! Ha! Ha!

April Fooled You, Polly!

Found my sandals again. Now where were we....?
Ivor X
PS Better give this back to Gordon...I've found mine again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Summit's Going On....

Dearest Polly,

The international arena of political leadership and decision making appears to be an expensive game ('expenses game', even). At a time when your spreadsheet is teetering on the brink of collapse, under the strain of zero-fatigue....I know, why not helicopter in lots of VIP(oliticians) to compare and contrast global economic ruin....and squeeze in tea with Queenie at Buck House. Why don't they borrow our's free?

The G8 Summit in Gleneagles in Scotland cost £80 million.

Do you think our leader has any chance of delivering on that elusive moral compass. Not just bankers Gordon....!

Hope this glitz and blitz gets some results. Nothing like a little Obamarama....but at what cost to the taxpayer and the planet? Let's hope Gordon prayed for some divine intervention and a new 'values-free' script writer. No I'm not bitter, but I have been flirting with a little decision making myself.

Whilst it has been an emotionally charged, side-splitting journey, I think it's time to reveal my secret identity....and give up the blog.

Big Kisses

Ivor X

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ditch the Candles!

Ditch the candles...quick!
Ivor X
PS Are we there yet?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flick the Switch


Just stumbled upon this little reminder of the lack of integrity so often demonstrated by our politicians. Is it any wonder that Labour does not have the voting public in support? Could someone please remind me why the third runway is going ahead?

Since active demonstration is the only option when consultation is a sham and democratic voice is ignored....tomorrow offers a second opportunity to deliver the climate change message. At 8.30pm it's lights out for Earth Hour 2009. Don't be embarrassed if you hadn't noticed too much publicity. I have googled local news reports on participation in Edinburgh and Scarborough (along with the rest of the world) but in the main, the UK press campaign appears to be as feeble as our goverment's effort to tackle climate change.

So whilst Vancouver, San Francisco, Sydney, India, Norway and many other countries get behind the great Switch Off...even The Guardian has attempted to dampen British enthusiasm. Well this is one vote I intend to get behind as it will actually have some tangible effect....if only a symbolic declaration of the strength of individual feeling towards tackling global warming. Take some candles to Hyde Park Polly and we can Vote Earth together. I have a feeling we won't be alone....

Didn't notice 10 Downing Street in the list? Well I'm 'flicking the switch' with pride....anyone able to pull the plug on political ineptitude whilst we are at it?

Be ready early Polly, I've been tinkering with the tandem and it may take us awhile to get there....

Big Kisses,
Ivor X


Will be back on the blog on Monday. Busy putting the finishing touches to my banner. See you tomorrow....bright and breezy. Wear something warm.
Ivor X
PS I'll bring my banjo...pack some refreshments!

Super Clanger

Dear Ivor
We must remain positive. We are not passive observers of our lives. I am not advocating storming the citadel as promoted by Prof Chris Knight, more of harnessing our own resourcefulness. Although a cliché, necessity is the mother of all invention, and we certainly need some of that now. Come off the allotment and start brain storming.

I am not being pessimistic when I say that the government is incapable of restoring the financial and environmental equilibrium to this country and I think that only through personal endeavour will we get through this crisis.

We can blame the bankers, Gordon Brown, light touch regulation and general greed, however finding a scapegoat does not resolve the issues. Throwing missiles at Fred Goodwin’s property diverts action into anger. We are all accountable for our future and before we look back with nostalgia at the past, even before this crisis happiness was not something we could boast a lot of.

We have created an ethos of entitlement that has paralysed our society, we have embraced legislation in favour of personal accountability and experienced fear instead of trust.

Initially I listened with some interest to the Michael Meacher and Fraser Nelson exchange on the Today programme, the first demanding that the bankers be held accountable for their avarice and the other recommending more leniency in order to attract the best banking brains. I couldn’t help but wonder if the best banking minds had got us into this dilemma perhaps we could do without them and Michael Meacher’s call for responsibility should start a little closer to home, the super clanger debacle for a start, but perhaps the odd £100 million of taxpayers money is of no consequence. The interview had no insight and was as beneficial as the bloggers puerile bickering on the daily politics show yesterday. A full debate on tomorrow’s “Put People First” march would have perhaps been too contentious?

Whilst concentrating on the bbc do you think they could do a find and replace on this article exchanging the word banks for government and save Alistair the trouble? Bound to need to use this text again in the future.

Poll x

Ps I’m not scared of Guido any more!


Thursday, March 26, 2009


Alex Dolan is guilty of misconduct? Speechless.

Making Waves

Dear Ivor

Alex Dolan, the supply teacher who secretly filmed unruly behaviour in classrooms, has been found guilty of misconduct.

I have watched her Despatches footage again with a deep sense of despair, even more so now that money in all areas of public expenditure is severely under pressure, or has even been cut completely. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling totally helpless, however there is something that we can all do. We don’t have to stand by and let the system fail our children, a lack of education has a knock on effect on the whole of society from crime, employment, general aspirations and health and well being. We can all do something to assist our schools, whether it be with small financial covenants or with volunteering our time, and yes I know a CRB check would be required, or by continuing to register our complete dissatisfaction with an establishment that allows a GCSE science class to be subjected to at least 26 supply teachers, as Alex Dolan revealed.

The government promised us better education, better health services and a fairer society; however with the burden of debt that we are saddled it is extremely unlikely that this can be delivered, even in the long term. Watch out flying pigs!

Although it is attractive to relinquish responsibility and by implication accountability for our children’s education to a legislative body it does need to be a partnership. We cannot stand at the school gates and grumble if we are not prepared to sometimes assist if the school is struggling or officially complain where there is indifference or negligence.

Making waves may be a bit scary, but when your child’s well being is at stake what the hell!

This is certainly a time for thinking outside of the box; education does not begin and end at the school gates and our attitudes as parents and carers of young people to education matters a hell of a lot.

We do have the power to make things better and in these times of cash shortage a bit of innovative thinking would not go amiss. Where is our blitz spirit? We can’t let the buggers get us down!

There will undoubtedly be gems within our communities that can really make a difference.

Poll (thinking positively!) x


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In loco parentis?

Dear Ivor

My keyboard silence of late, although probably welcome was not as you might have thought due to a fit of pique, but more of the power surge variety rendering my computer bust!

I have now borrowed a laptop from James and am back, not a little reluctantly, online.

My absence from all things Google did undoubtedly have its benefits. After all googling does attract a foreshortened day, as the hours spent online disappear far more quickly than those spent on other activities, like the more lucrative paid employment! A sense of exasperation with the human race and especially politicians dissipates slightly when the world of blogdom is not at your finger tips and I was sorely tempted to leave the laptop unopened. Would I be missed by our hoards of followers or just by you?

However a bit like your reference to the temptation of hoppy beverages, I have been drawn back into this dark browsing world (perhaps I should open the curtains), further pyjama clad mornings beckon with a hazy memory of life before blogging, endless coffee, when I should be totting up my 5 a day, and the temptation of chocolate never far from my mind. That, your continuing good nature and the odd bit of catharsis thrown in for good measure, drives me onwards but possibly not upwards.

This morning’s dawdle through news articles and my re-acquaintance with Lobbydog and his mates has reaffirmed my belief that the government is well and truly on the back foot. When stories head the news like, Government to track facebook friends, you just know they are desperate to be diverted to the more mundane. That and the proposal to pay grandparents to look after their grandchildren are far more manageable than the odd trillion of debt. Whilst on this subject do you think I might be able to claim something for the dog, after all, technically speaking, Edwina is yours and I am only acting in loco parentis?

The hideous task of book balancing must start with the balancers themselves. They have warned us that things will be difficult, however at the moment this statement appears to be applied exclusively to the private sector. We need to see some gestures that they too are on board the titanic task of getting this country back into the black, or even the grey would do. I have a sinking feeling that they have been rendered inert by the enormity of the task and the precariousness of their own positions in government. Tough decisions need to be taken from the top down, starting with the emotive MP expenses saga, recognition of the additional debt of the hugely under funded public sector final salary pension scheme and the shelving of innumerable initiatives, however well intentioned.

The concentration of all parties’ efforts is required for economic and environmental survival. Most people don’t expect the government to have all the answers but they do demand honesty and action. Unpopular decisions will have to be made and presented clearly not shrouded in indecipherably constructed rhetoric and diversionary accounting methods.

We will do our part if you do yours?

Poll x


Monday, March 23, 2009


Awaiting conclusion, awaiting confirmation.
Synonyms include undecided, incomplete, unresolved, approaching, forthcoming, around the corner....

A little memo:
Britain has commited £1.5 bn to green stimulus...less than one third of France, less than one sixth of Germany and China is spending more than 110 times as much as the UK. Apparently, Britain's stimulus package is one of only three out of sixteen green financial initiatives to be classed as PENDING.
Capable of being done again, and again and again......that's about sums it all up!

Polly...I'm at the allotment indefinately...doing justice to Lady Evelyn and some good Men of Norfolk.

Ivor X

PS I now have a full understanding of the real reason why Britain is a nation of binge drinkers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hole in the Soul


Just a quick blog as I'm not doing politics at the moment...too disillusioned.

As for drinking, which I am doing at the moment....though not excessively (damn those Irish kicks) ....I feel once again the critical point has been overlooked. Instead of imposing increases on the price of alcohol I can't help thinking that we should be asking WHY we all enjoy getting so tanked up....especially the middle classes. Never really given it much rational thought before today!!

Was at the local Angling Club 'Cheese and Wine' yesterday and noticed Vanessa knocking back the Fitou with gusto. I have a sneaky feeling the price was not influential in her choice and certainly did not inhibit the speed of attack. This binge-drinking phenomenon is about our state of mind and not the price of Alco-Pops. More than one third of British boozers sign up to excess....and we ought to be questioning what drives us to drink. We are a nation of bingers and we consider alcohol to be a socially acceptable drug...that 2 in 5 people need to consume to make love. (How do you hold your pint at the same time?) From experimentation to enjoyment, to drinking to cope then drinking to survive. It all comes back to the 'Hole in our Soul' as Dr McPhillips at the Priory purports. And he ought to know. I have an uncanny notion that he also knows Vanessa who, after her third glass of wine, officially earned the status of binge-drinker.

If we act fast we too can find out too if we 'belong' to the club...hic!

Back to my Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted...before they put the price up!

Ivor X

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tom Jones

On that basis...there must be room in our cabinet for Tom Jones....Aunty Gladys says she'll even forego the space taken up by her sherry bottles. Think she's carried a flame since dancing with him at the Con Club in Ponty. Head of Culture perhaps...or Foreign Affairs???
Bit reticent...sick of drudging through political treacle. Might set fire to a cactus.
Ivor X

Democracy rules ok?

Dear Ivor

No doubt you are limbering up your vocal chords in preparation for the match on Saturday. In this instance I am afraid the green, green grass of home is more of the emerald variety for me. Come on O’Driscoll!

Just when I thought the ineptitude of our politicians had reached a peak along comes David Lammy. I am aghast but immune to surprise.

However I blame myself for believing in part the rhetoric of politicians and not peeking behind the façade of slick smoozing for substance, skills and experience. For being influenced by promises and not facts, for relinquishing my ideals for their ambitions, forgoing realism in favour of hype, the list goes on. I stand admonished and not a little pi**ed off.

My eyes have been prised open to what I suspected, but I must admit avoided, that our political masters keep us preoccupied with petty and unnecessary bureaucracy so that we have little time for scrutiny of their activities. We have taken the continuation of our democracy for granted and assumed that government by “The People” involved an exclusive group only.

The “Yes Minister” culture, wryly recounted through Chris Mullin’s diary, pervades the corridors of Portcullis house with in the main public acceptance, along with it seems petty criminals. Avoidance of collective responsibility for the continuing evolvement of our democratic process appears to outweigh our desire for change.

Unfortunately the very adversarial nature of our political system facilitates those who would rule and not those who would govern.

What are you doing on the 28th March? Fancy putting the people back onto the democratic agenda.

Poll x


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

University or Bust!

Dear Ivor

Sounds perfect, was hoping you were going to come up with something, otherwise I was preparing to go “off radar” with Libby!

Had James on the phone last night grumbling about his mounting debt at uni and by pure coincidence woke up this morning to the ongoing debate for the increase in tuition fees from between £4,000 to £20,000.

The latter figure seems astronomical and would need some justification. The general consensus amongst the majority appears to be a figure of approximately £5,000. From my limited experience in this field, there does appear to be scope for some courses to be condensed into a far shorter time scale and for a more business like approach to be adopted.

This may be at odds with the uni ethos of time spent honing social and drinking skills, but when faced with escalating debt perhaps the focus ought to be shifting to a more efficient degree process, with emphasis on quality not quantity . When uni attendance was free it was of no consequence if time was spent (dare I say wasted!) in the student union bars, with the little grey cells straining under the onslaught of both knowledge and alcoholic stupor, perhaps this is where our binge drinking culture is firmly entrenched into our young people?

A university year based on a school model may be necessary, however shouldn’t government in collaboration with university staff be investigating the alternatives, before shoving up prices for more of the same?

Wonder what the students think?

Poll (with ever increasing debt) x


Monday, March 16, 2009

A Little Hoppier?

Ahhh Polly!
How about a walk with Edwina to the Foresters Arms...I'll wear my heels!
Big Kisses
Ivor X
PS Better treat you to a Skrimshander before they put the prices up. You've always been ripe for a fruity finish. I'll be sparkling and refreshing, if a little hoppy!

Blogger's Diary

Dear Ivor

You may have stumbled across something for our Economic Heads to get their teeth into. The JAK Bank principle of a mandatory saving element incorporated into a monthly payment against borrowings does seem extremely sensible. A solution to debt dependency?

Speaking of dependency I am pleased to see that Gordon has rejected the minimum charge on a unit of alcohol in England. Whilst I acknowledge the misery that excessive consumption can have on individuals, their families and friends, and the health and social implications, I was a little concerned about the motivation behind this suggestion.

The NHS bill for alcohol abuse is an estimated £2.7bn a year. The bill for tackling weight related problems is £4.2bn. Should this scheme have been passed it could have led the way for a minimum charge per gram of fat or salt content in food items? Perhaps a set levy could then be introduced for stiletto heel heights per cm, higher heels command higher prices to fund the £29m surgical costs for damaged feet? Where would it have ended?

Still Scotland seems to be forging ahead, it will be very interesting to see the effects of the charging structure, could lead to cross border booze cruises or a boom in internet shopping?

I must admit I am trying to veer away from politics today. After listening to an extract on Radio 4 of Chris Mullins diary am completely convinced that the country is run by incompetent egotists with little conscience and absolutely no accountability! It is no wonder that the political scene is strewn with carcases of failed initiatives and budget deficits. Am feeling too cross and despondent to comment!

Instead of my usual limited political observations, thought I would let you know how the dinner party at Andrea’s went on Saturday night. As promised I gave her your excuses, I don’t think she suspected anything, and as requested did not divulge our blogging foray to anyone. Robin was also under strict orders to keep stum or else.

Whilst sitting at the table mopping up odd bits of conversation to my right and left I had a moment of clarity, absolutely no one present was interested in politics, the environment or the state of our education system. From the usual source there was the ongoing progeny one-upmanship, allotment tips and tricks, which you could have contributed to, sexual innuendo, which you also could have contributed to, and the most mind numbing exchange of views on the cost of car servicing. There was a minor comment on the economic crisis however this was soon extinguished by far more stirring and animated remarks concerning joint problems.

Even my valiant attempts at an early exit were thwarted by Robin’s antics with a stick-on moustache and his insistence on a nightcap at 2:30 in the morning!

What has happened to me, not only do I spend far too much time on the computer I have also lost the tenuous connection between myself and a group of people with whom I thought I shared common interests. How wrong can you be!

Poll x

Ps Think I need a meeting of like minds!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Point of Interest.

Polly, you're back....I've missed your sparkling wit and that no-messing ability to put me firmly in my place!

Many points been taken on board. And I promise to be less grumpy and show more humility. Sorry if I offended the leading lights of blogdom and yes I recognise a certain greenness to my pallor. Damn them! Oops...there I go again.

Talking of points.....I have been putting my finances in order. After raiding under the mattress I have carefully wrapped up my global economy in one very small, organic handkerchief (Dick Whittington style) and am off in search of an ethical bank....but not to London. No cynicism remember, I'm serious and I think I may have found one. I was hoping for your balanced opinion and financial expertise. It's called JAK Bank and has been operating in Sweden for donkeys years. A bank that lends money at an interest rate of 0%. Sounds too good to be true. Thought the top financiers that are trying to sort out our British economic stability might fancy a little gander too. That is assuming they are not all teacher training....

Now I have a dilemma....cycling to Sweden (good beer), or staying at home and watching the Italian game (more beer). You may find me off line or at least incoherent for a while! What's new?

Let me know your thoughts, although after this weekend I may have nothing left to invest!

Happy thoughts,

Ivor X

PS Points mean prizes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

No qualifications required

Dear Ivor

Suffering from blogger’s block after Tuesday’s tirade and needed some quiet time for reflective thought, plus as a precaution to add my solicitor’s name to ICE (in case of emergency) numbers in my mobile phone.

Now remind me just when you thought it would be a good idea to name and shame some of the A list bloggers on the block. Perhaps a little envy over Lobbydog’s increasing followers and the failure to get a mention in the “Daley Dozen” has got to you, and being, now how did you say it, ah yes, “top of the political pops” is not so far from your own aspiration as you might like to think?

However to even consider messing with Mr Guido himself was nothing if not downright stupid, you have only got to look at Derek Draper’s fate to know that a fraction of that scrutiny would send you scurrying back to your shed in search of spiritual enlightenment.

Anyway your criticisms are a little misdirected as the accused only ever promised title tattle, gossip and in the case of LD compulsive nasal clearing, not political ambition or altruism.

Your impassioned plea for political action and your entreaty for a leader to guide you to the Promised Land are unfortunately both destined to go unheeded, unless you act yourself. To sit back into a quiet life, pottering on the allotment, composting at will, expecting a saviour to emerge, possibly of Irish extraction, who has the answers to climate change and social breakdown is a pipe dream and you gave up smoking some time ago.

Perhaps we have become too accustomed to being over governed and feel daunted at the prospect of being immersed in the democratic process; however the alternative is a dictatorship and the total erosion of civil liberties. It is quite tempting to continue to sit on the sidelines and observe, criticising the main players when they miss their goals and harbouring thoughts of how we could do it so much better, but secretly suspecting that we probably would rather not.

And despite your scathing comments I do actually admire people that stand up to be counted, like Leila Deen, however how many of us have the courage of our convictions or feel too overwhelmed by the pace of every day life to take on the additional responsibility for other people and bear the brunt of media interest?

We are very lucky to live in a country where we still have freedom of speech, albeit becoming somewhat eroded, however despite this freedom we do suffer from political apathy. Is this born out of complacency, cynicism or a lack of engagement? Is politics what other people do, a mysterious career in which qualifications and job responsibilities are subliminally hard coded into Oxbridge graduates?

Is it because we don’t really understand the machinations of government that most steer clear? Where are the post descriptions that outline the skills and understanding you need to govern a department or even the country? Rhetoric alone has proved to be inadequate and yet we rely heavily on this ability to select our candidates. Perhaps we should not be surprised then when they fail. Did Alistair Darling’s law degree bestow on him an understanding of economics? Has Alan Johnson’s union background provided him with an insight into education and health? In what other walk of life are qualifications and experience totally ignored?

Perhaps that is why politicians always have difficulty in answering direct questions because they don’t actually know the answer and perhaps don’t really understand the issue in the first place.

Our political system is based on an adversarial system where quick wits are admired more than slow deliberation. What kind of people do we really want to have responsibility for our national security, economic stability and social cohesion? I think I would prefer if it wasn’t a novice.

Poll (self-confessed tree squeezer) x

Ps Do we need an NVQ qualification for becoming an MP?


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Flatearther or Treehugger?

Polly, which side are you on? And where the bl***y hell are you?

It seems lunacy is catching.....will Mandy listen to Sir Nicholas Stern if he promises to eat up all his custard? Why don't they enter into more debate? Consult a little? Not constructive action surely? Wake me up when there's a plan.

About time we all did something. What brand of lunatic are you? Flatearther or treehugger?

Ivor X

PS You know which side of the fence I'm on!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Political Blagging!

Right That's It!

Does Leila want some rhubarb to facilitate the forthcoming debate with Baron Mandy? Rhubarb, rhubarb that it? Our politicians would prefer open, civilised debate with our adolescent pranksters? The revolting greenies may get in your face...but here's a few facts. We are not all adolescents, we are not all eccentric activists, we are not all incapable of lucid, persuasive debate, we don't 'get off' on risking legal action just for the hell of it and we are not all anarchical threats to government.

Some of us would like a quiet life, safe in the knowledge that our leaders have climate change in hand. But when you carry through a motion to build a third runway with a clear appreciation of the wave of plunge us all into despair and frustration. We can wring our hands in regret or we can throw cabbages. Most of us are too bl**dy British to do more than tutt....myself included. Damn rugby injury. God! I could scream at the whole patronising 'educated' lot of you who have the power and authority to change the world. Instead you argue, procrastinate, lecture, criticise.....and DO NOTHING!

Leila Deen's three minutes of fame played out the pathos of our political stagnation. The furor of commentary was about her methods not her reasoning. Are none of you clever enough to see the wood for the trees.....? Peter Mandelson, I respect your decorum and request for debate. When was environmental banter on your agenda? How many climate change gurus have you sought out? Whilst there is clearly economic reasoning in your Heathrow rationale, I'd prefer it if you saved the world economics is not the forte of our unelected government. You only offered debate after Leila Deen threw custard at you. Why don't you follow through with an open mind and real consultation with the people who are serious about saving the planet? We are not all activists...most of us are too cowardly. You might find yourself being persuaded by some educated scientists, entrepeneur, even the odd you dare?

As for political bloggers...we're a pretty yellow-bellied lot too aren't we? Guido with his outright vulgarity which keeps us all blogging on for more shock value. Iain Dale for his nicely packaged cynicism. Lobbydog for sniffing out the much loved gossip. Are we kidding ourselves? We are doing absolutely nothing to affect political decision making. We slate, moan, cuss, criticise...pat each other on the back, throw in some cynicism and comedy. But we are all as lily-livered and ineffective as those we lampoon. What is our own motivation? To be top of the political pops? Now you are there....what next? Iain and Guido...I'm talking to you? Ranting actually...because that's what bloggers do isn't it? How many people blog on to you daily? The politicians fear and envy the power you harness. But what chance is there of you translating it into some form of action to move this country forward. We are all churning out rhubarb....and letting the daffodils grow under our feet.

No, I don't know the answer. If I did, would you listen? Who are we prepared to take seriously if it's not our politicians or the Leila Deen's of the world? Who do you actually admire? Who engenders the qualities that inspire you to take note? What are the credentials that persuade you listen?

Our political leaders are university that the vital ingredient? Dr GB himself, Phd in History at Edinburgh, son of a Minister. Mr Cameron, Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, son of a long line of stockbrokers. Nick Clegg, Degree in Archeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, son of a banker. Is that how they got to these positions of power? Oh! And Peter Mandelson, Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, son of an advertising manager. Is this what earns them the right to be listened to but not to listen? This means they are right and others are wrong? Joss Harman, Degree in Politics and journalist for the Ecologist. Ummm, who else..Leila Deen, Degree in International Studies and Politics and writer for The New Statesman. Ahhh! But they belong to Plane Stupid don't they.....nevermind. Take off your blinkers. How many people who signed the petition against the third runway where university educated but too conformist to chuck custard? It's because we all cow-tow that our politicians can rail road democracy. So we are all as spineless as the governing power. High time we all actually did something....instead of slag something.

We can all carry on blogging out our self righteous character assassinations...but I yearn for someone to show me the way. I'm sick to the back teeth of our impassive acceptance of the crap that is our electoral system. Show me a leader that can drag us out of the quagmire? Be they entrepeneur, politician, environmentalist, German, scientist, minister, even financier (god forbid)....but for all our sakes...let them be an ACTIVIST.

Back to my composting....


PS Bring it on Jeremy Paxman. Leila and Mandy?



I'm spending the day at the allotment. I'll get more sense out of a pile of compost.

Could someone out there in the blogoshere do a simple compare and contrast of the manifestos for each party. I'd like to know if any of them have a plan. Labour could certainly do some 'lessons learnt'. Conservatives...well, it's all 'tit for tat'.

I've blogged off in exasperation from Labourlist....because they are NOT LISTENING! I refuse to resort to shaking my bells in defiance and singing LA LA LA LA LA LA LA at them. So I've dumped them for good. Let me know when they've reinstated democracy.

As for Nick Clegg....I'm in contemplative mode. Do the Lib Dems do Saving the Planet, Electoral Reform and a Democracy that Works? If so I may take a closer look at their manifesto.

Meanwhile I'll spend some peaceful hours festering amongst the vegetables!

Ivor X

PS No I didn't mean the politicians...I like my vegetables...they have more moral responsibility!