Unjustified and unsustainable!

We codgers are delighted by today’s new stamps from Royal Mail. Several of us are philatelists, but that is not the only reason for our applause. The set of ten beautifully crafted stamps feature six bee species from across the UK and serve to remind us of the importance of bees without which pollination would be endangered and a large proportion of our food crops and flowers eliminated. On the allotments we do our best to attract the life-giving buzzers but would tear our hair out – if we had any – at the stupidity of politicians prepared to relax bans on pesticides known to endanger them. If you want to join our fightback all you have to do is plant Echinops (Globe Thistle) to provide a boost.

This morning there were almost as many bees around our clumps as there are ermine-wearers in the House of Lords. Almost. Yesterday Dr Meg Russell of University College London criticised our dear leader whose rate of appointments has been so fast that “the size of the chamber is going up in a completely unsustainable way..it is unjustified and unsustainable”. The reason for her outburst was the news that up to 50 new peers are expected to be named in the next fortnight, boosting the membership of the Lords to 830, far in excess of the elected Commons.

The large majority of the new peers will be Conservative nominees and include party donors, Tory special advisers, party officials and such as Michelle Mone, the founder of Ultimo lingerie. Every Lord is entitled to claim £300 simply for signing in and the cost to the public purse is astronomic. And it is hard to imagine anything more undemocratic and potentially corrupt.

We should perhaps be aware of the dangers of being labelled Corbynites. The newly emerged contender for the Labour leadership has dared to question the value of the noble peers, and continues to shock true socialists such as Blair and (Lord) Mandelson by even complaining about the performance of the privatised essential services and their multi million pound salaried leaders. This morning the rail companies are the subject of a study by ‘Action for Rail’.

It tells us that fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages over the past five years, leaving commuters “seriously out of pocket”. Season tickets have increased by 25 per cent since 2010. The study concludes that if routes coming up for tender were given to public sector organisations fares would fall sharply.It has of course failed to explain how the French and German governments would cope with a fall in their dividends.

I wish I could end on a happy note on this sunny Tuesday morning. But a hen was found dead this morning and the ‘autopsy’ found Albert’s hearing aid wedged in its gullet. The nearby bees buzzed their disapproval at the careless folly of man.

QUOTE FOR TODAY: “Wisdom entereth not into a malicious mind, and science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul”…. Francois Rabelais.

Apologies for absence !

This website has been down for almost a week. Unfortunately it’s disappearance coincided with the disappearance on holiday of the only member with IT skills, and all we were able to ascertain was that the site had suffered ‘configuration’ problems. Since the only configuration we understood was Eric Pickle’s waistline we were, as they say in the Chelsea dressing-room, well and truly stuffed.

But you may be reassured to learn that all is well on the allotments. Apart from one of the hens swallowing one of Albert’s hearing aids little of note has happened. The bean, pea and potato crops are huge so all that moaning about monsoons was unnecessary. The pond reveals that the Carp were doing more than carp during the wet Spring; a host of minors now rise to the surface at feeding time. And the pigeon population is flourishing, a product perhaps of their joining the hens around the corn troughs.

Meantime we feel even poorer than when last we reported. Everyone we know talks of being skint, but the High Pay Centre has reported that the average pay for chief executives has climbed to £4.923m, a continued rise over the levels of the past few years. But perhaps they are also feeling poorer given the news that Sir Martin Sorrel of WPP pocketed £43m in 2014. Clearly making all those irritating TV ads is hard graft. But our dear leader is keeping his promise to reward hard working families – one of them at least.

Today those members who are Labour Party members will receive their leadership voting papers, and I am sorry to report that they intend to vote for Mr Corbyn despite the advice to the contrary from that great exponent of truth and justice Tony Blair. Those of us who are apolitical hate to take sides but it has to be said that at least the weapons-of-mass-destruction that the bearded one wishes to scrap do actually exist.

Just maybe he is right about renationalising water too. For two weeks now we have had to boil every drop before ingesting it or, in the case of those who still have any, cleaning our teeth. The suspicion is that United Utilities have downsized in headcount. But shareholders such as the French government expect their dividends, and executive salaries are somewhat higher than in the days of North West Water. We simpletons simply wonder how water can be regarded as a competitive market.

Either way we will soon be back to boring you, always provided that the several thousand readers of yesteryear return. If not adieu for keying up a Blog for the sole attention of Mad Mick of Bacup is somewhat pointless.
QUOTE FOR TODAY: “You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers”… John J Plomp.

Corbyn blames Scotland electoral defeat on weak austerity and Trident stances

Leftwinger said his life has been a ‘moral opposition to nuclear weapons’, as he seeks to retrain Faslane workers for more peaceful endeavours to protect jobs

Jeremy Corbyn has said that Scottish Labour was wiped out by the Scottish National party (SNP) at the general election because its leadership failed to fight hard enough against austerity and the renewal of Trident.

Scottish Labour under Jim Murphy “was not chiming” with voters and young people, Corbyn told the Guardian as he embarked on a series of heavily attended leadership campaign rallies in Scottish cities.

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Body found in search for Annie Lennox’s daughter’s boyfriend

Ian Jones and Tali Lennox had been kayaking on Hudson river in New York on Saturday when their vessel capsized

Police searching for the boyfriend of Annie Lennox’s daughter have recovered a man’s body after the couple capsized while kayaking in New York state.

Tali Lennox, 22, and photographer Ian Jones, 32, were kayaking on the Hudson river, near the upstate hamlet of Staatsburg, when their vessel capsized on Saturday.

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Guilty until proven innocent!

‘Albert drops the eggs’ is not likely to make the headlines of The Sun given the frequency with which it occurs. For the zillionth time he managed the feat this morning, and there were those on the allotments who dared to question whether it is time to reconsider the allocation of duties. What the hens think is not on record, but I can only imagine what I would feel if the result of my labours was reduced to a yellow gunge by an old geezer with an aversion for watching his step. We mere humans retreated in despair to the hut as the magpies relieved the sunflowers of their fancy dressing.

The air was blue as we settled for our Yorkshire tea and Eric Pickles breakfast. And the mood was not improved by what we see as injustice on a grand scale. We have always believed in the old maxim about every man remaining innocent until proven guilty, but the police and media have of late combined to reverse it. Ever since the Savile affair they have delighted in making a name for themselves by ‘witch-hunting’ every well known person accused of child abuse, and if they happen to be dead so much the better.

This week’s events relating to Edward Heath echo last year’s search of Cliff Richard’s Berkshire home, down to its timing during the August ‘silly season’ when news is hard to come by. On that occasion the BBC was tipped off by the police and duly sent a helicopter to film what looked like a raid on Bin Laden. Twelve months on, Sir Cliff has been charged with nothing.

This week Wiltshire police repeated the pantomime. This time the target was former prime minister Edward Heath, and the venue his former home in Salisbury. Once again there was an appeal for “victims” to come forward. It now seems to be standard procedure for police forces investigating allegations of historic abuse to stage a piece of theatre. It is inevitably accompanied by reminders from the legal profession that “victims” are entitled to compensation. In the case of Savile one lawyer reminded potential clients that they would need evidence to show “that they were in a situation where the accused had the opportunity to commit an assault”. No mention of the fact that they also require evidence that the accused took advantage of that opportunity.

In the case of Edward Heath the whole frenzy appears to have been triggered by a very tenuous 20-year-old case involving an alleged brothel keeper. But even if she did genuinely believe there to be substance behind her allegations, she was not claiming to have been a victim. The woman’s ‘evidence’ seems merely to be hearsay. So it is with the comments of former colleagues who say that they always suspected something. So it is with all those who venture the view that any unmarried man who spent his spare time playing music and sailing must have been a repressed homosexual, and by extension someone with a sexual interest in underage boys. This isn’t evidence, it is gossip.

It is of course essential that anyone who tells the police that they were sexually assaulted as a child should be taken seriously, whatever the social and professional status of the alleged abuser. But the danger of public invitation is that it encourages fantasists and compensation-hunters. Undoubtedly many claims against Savile were genuine but does anyone really believe that of all the 200 new claims that followed the announcement that the High Court had approved a £3 million compensation scheme in February last year?

The truth is that we have gone from one extreme to another. At one extreme victims were routinely dismissed as liars. Now any claim, however spurious, leads to the public shaming of the alleged offender. When historic claims are made, they need to be subjected to a serious test before they are publicised in any way – not least by asking did the alleged victim make any complaint at the time and if not, why not?

We codgers hold no brief for such as Cliff Richard or Edward Heath. But we are appalled at the ‘Kangeroo court’ treatment afforded them. We hope that the forthcoming independent inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard will address this new trend.

In some ways the new national obsession with paedophilia is positive, but we mustn’t allow it to morph into a willingness to forget that everyone has the right to be proclaimed innocent until found guilty by twelve of their fellow citizens. And you may have noticed that a number of cases have been dismissed in recent weeks.
QUOTE FOR TODAY; ” At present the police and those politicians who have made a name for themselves by ‘witch-hunting’ too often exude an air of accusation. Those who are being accused deserve the presumption of innocence until proven guilty”…. Spectator, 8/8/15.