In praise of @MarcusJBall

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Marcus Ball has announced that he can no longer move forward with his legal fight to hold Boris Johnson responsible for his “£350 million a week” red bus statement.

This young man has put up an extraordinary fight over the last three and a half years.

Goodness knows, there are many roads to riches in the legal profession. Continue reading

Professor Longhair meets Lilly Allen

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I have blogged previously about the odd coincidence which led me to discover the exquisite musical mayhem created by the late Professor Longhair.

To listen to his version of “Rum and Cola” is to properly live life IMHO.

But I made a remarkable discovery yesterday.

I was listening to my “BIG” playlist on Spotify (where I dump virtually anything with vague musical merit) and, lo and behold, I came across one of the Fess’s tunes called: “Big Chief” (play below).

Yes, it’s a bit strange saying “I came across” it, as it’s my playlist and I put everything in there.

But I can’t honestly remember shoving it in there. It just goes to show what great taste I have. 😉

Anyway, I re-heard this tune and was rather puzzled:

Why did Professor Longhair, habitué of New Orleans, copy a Lilly Allen tune? – That’s Lilly Allen of “I believe that is called Al Fresco” and step-daughter of Harry Enfield-fame

– was my initial reaction.

Any road up, after readjusting my eyesight a few times, it turns out, logically of course, that Professor Longhair was sampled by Lilly Allen in her tune “Knock ’em out”.

I had no idea.

….Which just goes to show at what level of ignorance I blithely scuttle through life.

Johnson has deeply split the Tory party – on an historic level

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It is worth standing back and pausing to consider how remarkable the historic split in the Tory party has been under PM Johnson is just a few weeks.

“One Nation” Tories have been the backbone of the Conservative party for a couple of centuries. But now they have been cast out of the party.

This extraordinary split can be seen in the words of two “One Nation” Tories who now sit in Parliament as independents. Continue reading

The Rise of the Nazis – some parallels today?

Anyone who has flicked around cable TV channels will know that somewhere in the world you can always watch: (1) Friends and (2) Lots of Nazis goose-stepping backwards and forwards on history channels.

So, it was with some trepidation that I saw that the BBC were to air “The Rise of the Nazis”.

I expected yet another compilation of black and white clips of goose-stepping soldiers. Continue reading

Horrific Labour conference motion on private schools proposes nothing less than theft

Christ's Hospital Dining Hall
Christ’s Hospital school, Sussex, which has been admitting mainly pupils from less privileged backgrounds since 1552
There has been much debate following the Labour conference’s motion to “abolish private schools”.

When explaining the rules of cricket to the average American, one sees their eyes glazing over even before one reaches mention of “deep square leg”.

It’s the same when you try to explain to them that, in the UK, public schools are private schools. You may reach the point when you feel further explanation is pointless. Why not, instead, try explaining to them that Scotch whisky has no “e”, but Irish whiskey does. It may be easier.

Anyway, I went to a public school. Or, if you prefer, I went to a private school. Continue reading

Conference pays heartfelt and fulsome tribute to Paddy

There were 20 minutes set aside this morning in the main hall to pay tribute to Paddy Ashdown.

In the front row for the session were Jane, Kate and Simon Ashdown.

(Baroness) Liz Barker presented the salute to our founding leader with a quiet and heartfelt voice. She emphasised that this was a tribute to a partnership – Paddy and Jane.

The section started with a video on the big screen. Relaxed and sincere tributes came from Ed Davey, Nick Clegg, Tony Blair, Jane Ashdown and (Baroness) Cathy Bakewell (who worked with Paddy during his early days as an MP in Yeovil). Continue reading

Could we at least be told which particular disused Cornish tin mine our donations to the party are being thrown down, please?

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My wife and I once gave a small donation to a Nuns’ mission in Kenya that helps the desperately poor. A week or so later we received a hand drawn card which had been signed by all the nuns in that mission, thanking us most effusively for our donation. It was the nicest thank you we have ever received and we treasured that card for months.

Recently I made a donation to a re-wilding project in Scotland. I received not one, but two personally signed thank you letters, one from the treasurer and one from the chair of the project. They were both long letters, explaining how my money would be spent. One of them said: “Your donation arrived at a crucial time for us, so was particularly welcome.” Continue reading