Friday, 29 November 2013


Almost seven years on, is this case finally reaching a conclusion?

So many times we have been brought to the brink, only for the case to continue dragging along much the same as always.  This time however, I feel there is real change.  The original Crimewatch gave the impression that SY were working FOR the McCanns - ie. checking in for the approval of Gerry, Kate, Clarence and Carter Ruck.  I did not get a sense of that last night - there were no friendly references to Gerry and Kate, or indeed to Mr and Mrs McCann.  The tragic couple were not perched on stools telling us that they were not as happy as they could be, and there was no reference to their innocence.

Frankly if the best evidence Crimewatch could come up with after all that publicity, to support the McCanns' abduction story, was Kate doing her very animated impression of the curtains going whoosh (again), what were those very helpful 3,500 calls about? 

As for the unprecedented help the McCanns received, I think this was the result of a cascade effect.  On the night Madeleine disappeared the McCanns and their friends had address books full of influential people, and as we know they hit the phones with a vengeance. No time for actually searching.  The influential friends stepped in immediately, it was a tragic story and everyone wanted to look like the good guy, the hero running to the rescue of a beautiful child and her photogenic, erudite parents. Within a day they were in contact with No. 10 and soon had access to string pulling in every direction, including media moguls and A-List celebrities.  

Added to which Gerry and Kate could give lessons in assertiveness, they knew what they wanted, and they knew how to get it.  From not even knowing they needed a Fund, their fundraising reached heights never seen before or since in a missing child case.  £1m, £2m, 3m - they couldn't get enough. Each time the Fund dropped below 500k, they were back on our screens begging for more.  Their spending was as prolific as their Fundraising, one can imagine a gambler in Las Vegas, as long as he's got his gold watch he can carry on.  As long as we all believed Madeleine was alive, the McCanns had their gold watch, with the closure of the online shop and lack of age progression pictures in this latest update, the watch may well be pawned.   

It was the fundraising that won Kate the grand title of Ambassador for Missing People. The McCanns own Fund had raised millions.  Perhaps they even hope the philanthropic pair might gift anything remaining to their own coffers, once Madeleine (and her abductors) are found of course. As my oft quoted ex double glazing boss used to say, the answer to EVERY question is money. Although in my opinion Kate doesn't seem half so enthusiastic about raising funds for them as she was when raising funds for herself and hubby.  

I don't believe the McCanns have government assistance per se, they are merely astute at knowing who to contact and how to pressure them into giving assistance.  I would imagine once such 'assistance' has been given and received, the relationship would end in antagonism. For the McCanns backscratching is a one way street as demonstrated by McCanns speaking out against the press at the Leveson Enquiry.  That was one gigantic knife in many backs and pitiful to see grown men and women tying themselves in knots to sound humble and rebuked over their 'gross' mistreatment of the saintly pair.   

They don't have the power they claim to have, nor do they have public support, despite their practice of manipulating figures on their social network sites.  As for high level assistance. It should be noted that diplomatic assistance was quietly dropped very early on. Clarence gave up his government job to become the McCanns' full time spokesman.  A curious thing to do as the child could have turned up at any time, but regardless, he was no longer representing the government, but the McCanns in a £75k pa. private capacity. He gives the impression that he is speaking as an 'official' of sorts and I think this has led many to believe that the McCanns have the full support of the authorities, and indeed powerful friends. Perhaps, at one time they did, Team McCann was a popular bandwagon to jump on.  

The figures used by the McCanns to fool the powers that be into believing they have majority support are manipulated.  Are the public also being manipulated to believe that the 'authorities' support the McCanns? 

If they are, I don't think that is the case anymore.  As far back as 2008 (I believe), Clarence famously said 'The McCanns asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister but were only offered a medium level consul, which they declined.  Their access to David Cameron was via Rebekah Brooks - anything McCann related sees a massive rise in the sale of tabloids, and it suited him to grant the Review. The people the McCanns were dealing with, are among the most ruthless in our society, its how they got to the top. It looks to me as though people are distancing themselves from the couple, no one of note has spoken up for them at their Libel trial in Lisbon.  The McCanns were not able to produce a qualified psychologist to give evidence on their behalf.  Their witnesses came across as ill informed and ill prepared, as the learned Judge said to one lady 'go back to your life', it would appear the Judge is not buying it.  

Are we reaching a crescendo?  I believe so, something's got to give. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

TOO LEFT FOR THE LEFT - but Dennis Skinner is right.

These words were posted on Facebook this morning by the amazing Dennis Skinner - ye olde beast of Bolsover - I urge everyone to 'friend' this hero of the Left and share his posts.  This is the reality of Tory Britain, and fluffy words cannot disguise it.  The awesome Dennis, at the grand old age of 81 is still in the House of Commons kicking tory arse and speaking up for the people who elect him!

When will society accept that punishing those trapped by poverty by taking away the little they have, will not turn them into pillars of the community?  The good Lord himself said, 'the poor will always be with us' - albeit he was using it in a selfish way at the time, the first bit is eternal. Society is a mixture of the brilliant, the stupid, the creative, the ordinary, the hard working and the feckless, and unless crazy scientists can isolate and eradicate the genes that like to drink, party and take drugs, we're pretty much stuck with it.

Punishing the feckless achieves nothing.  In fact it makes their lives, and the lives of their families worse.  Grinding poverty perpetuates the stress, the depression, life becomes merely a day to day existence.  This new wave of toryism will break up families who are already under stress, the NHS, Housing Benefits, and every charity involved with homelessness are stretched to breaking point.

What is the point of the Bedroom Tax?  It is a costly exercise in bureaucracy to satisfy the petty minded whose neighbour may or may not have a spare bedroom.  These are the politics of spite - no savings are being made.  Do the smug workers who support this petty, spiteful tax, get a flatscreen for the loo and congratulate themselves that elderly people who have lost their marbles are being turfed out of the homes they have had all their lives, or that the bedridden are deprived of essential overnight care? The Bedroom Tax will of course free up lots of property in areas earmarked for investment, whilst also getting rid of the undesirables.  Not that that could possibly influence anyone's vote.

Our high streets are shells, shops are boarded up, people are queuing at food banks.  Why anyone had faith in Gormless George Osborne I will never know. If young people think this is normal life in Britain - its not!  I was a child of the 60's, but even those before me never suffered the indignity of waiting in line for food.  The class dunces have brought about a triple dip recession.  The kind of manmade economic disaster that brought the world to its knees in the 1930's and a huge upsurge in the arms industry thereafter.

Bravo to Dennis Skinner, the politician of the people, and bravo to Russell Brand for breaking celebrity ranks to speak out against the atrocities being committed by this government.  Nothing has been saved, the borrowing has gone up - and lets hope there is a public enquiry into who made money out of Atos once the dust has settled.  These tories are carpeting their own destinies, and they see gated communities with the riff raff living on the outskirts.  

Lets get this 'workers and shirkers' diatribe into context.  Its really no different to the sickening 'deserving and undeserving' poor, the sick and disenfranchised judged by the Victorians on their capacity for obedience and sobriety. It can even be compared to the middle ages when the national pastime for church goers was throwing rotting cabbages at those unable to support themselves.  These days Tory Party spread the love with billboards on double decker buses.  If they have a slogan competition, I'm going with 'Kick A Pleb' - I suspect Cameron hasn't forgiven the hoody for dipping his wallet when he gave him a hug.  I jest - as if.

The contented workers of course, are up at dawn merrily singing and dancing like that 'who will buy this wonderful morning' scene in Oliver.  Except they are not.  On the whole they are doing repetitive, thankless tasks for as many hours as they can bear in order to save another embarrassing trip to the Food Bank.  Thats the reality for many as zero hours contracts become the norm, who was it who wanted rid of the Unions?  The employers now hold all the cards and the millions of unemployed can take or leave it.  If you won't work for a pittance, we will have you back next week working for nothing. There will be some fat turkeys and raised glasses at the Christmas tables of the bosses this year, I'll be bound.

The smug workers accept their lot and buy into the idea that depriving the lazy bastards who don't open their curtains til midday of cash will somehow make their own lives better.  It won't.  These ideas are coming from people who think workers' disputes can be resolved by a darn good thrashing, they have absolutely no idea of what life is like on a sink estate.  Unemployed parents will not give up the Diamond White and the fags, anymore than the Judge will forego his pre luncheon tipple of brandy. The kids will go without shoes, the rent won't get paid but the booze and fags will stay.  That is the reality, because when you are living in hell being blotto is sometimes the only way out.

Even the Labour party responded to the public's demand for more Law and Order.  'We'll march the dirty rotten sods to the nearest cash point and fine them £100 on the spot', said Workhouse Master Blair - which did make me chuckle, and think yeh, good luck with that.  He's obviously never met a Chav on a sink estate - they mostly bank with Cash Converters.

Generation after generation are caught in a poverty trap simply do not have the resources to escape. Everything costs money and life on basic essentials leaves no room for self improvement.  From the very start they are disadvantaged.  The schools on the sink estates are deprived of money because they do not perform as well as those in the leafy suburbs, who are rewarded.  Having already been pre-labelled 'chavs' they become regular targets for the police, they acquire cautions, minor convictions - a record that ensure they will never, ever, get a legitimate, well paid job.  Those who screamed for the blood of the daft kids who got caught up in the riots of 2011, must now face the reality that those kids will most likely face a life on benefits, because they will never pass a CRB check.

The cuts the tories are inflicting now will have long term effects that will be catastrophic.  Imagine the NHS 20 years hence,(should any part of it survive) coping with the results of today's poor diets, worsened as cheap is replaced by cheaper?  Will there be enough prisons to cope with the feckless? Will alcohol be priced out of their reach? Will the world be a better place if that lonesome old tramp dies in a freezing doorway without the cider that used to get him through the night?

The words of Nye Bevan should ring in all our ears.  The pampered elite running today's show are no different to their forbears.  They want the same things.  Cheap, or hey ho, free, labour for their factories (shops, call centres, etc), and they should be encouraged with generous tax breaks to get richer by 'employing' (lol) more workers thus removing them from the jobless figures and teaching the lazy bastards a lesson. To demonstrate tory thinking, you must think of the population, not as people, but as a resource. Employees become units, eg. over a £250k lunch with the PM,  Dave might say 'well how many units do you need' to his mate with the fat wallet who wants to open up a few more sweat shops. Its like they have brought slavery in through the back door by discovering a loophole.

There is a cruelty to Tory ideology that should send shutters down all our spines.  Nothing is being gained by these benefit cuts.  Official statistics show that benefit fraud is less than 0.1%.  The shambles that is ATOS, is costing more than it is saving.  The death, trauma and stress that is being inflicted on the most vulnerable in our society is incalculable.  May God forgive these people for what they are doing, I know I can't.

I want to add my voice to the protest and when history looks back on these times it will see that 53 years after Nye Bevan's death, the Tories haven't changed one bit - and they never will.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


I sometimes wonder whether I should use my acquired wisdom to give other women relationship advice, then I laugh at the very idea of it, the advice should come from the victor and I'm the example the smug relatives cite, to illustrate how it can all go wrong. 

My sin?  I choose to be alone.  In the old days I would have been stoned for it, but now society goes for the softer option of social exclusion, finger pointing and talking behind your back.  Other women clutch their husbands arms as you waft by, and nervous men stand rather than risk your pouncing on them should they occupy the seat next to you. I sometimes feel like whispering 'I wouldn't have wanted you 30 years ago, and I don't now, relax'.  There are anthropological and psychological reasons for women over 50 no longer needing a mate, but for me the reasons are quite selfish.  I have raised the kids, I have looked after my parents, I want time now to focus on my own interests.    

Loveable as some of the old rogues are, men are a different species altogether - they need lots of attention and looking after.  I don't have the patience anymore.  My sanity returned when I reached the menopause, it was as though a light went on, all the fog disappeared, and I finally realised men were more trouble than they were worth*.  For me anyway. I don't hate them per se, but there's usually something about them that irritates me intensely.  Why, for example do TV Guide disputes with sons turn into showdowns?  Eg, films: 27 Dresses .v. Die Hard with a Vengeance? There are no winners in these situations.

The good news for men everywhere is, I've lost me MoJo.  Firemen and service engineers can breathe a sigh of relief and enter my home safely - the negligees are packed away in mothballs.  I much prefer winceyette and a cup of cocoa these days, which is probably a good thing.  My track history with men is terrible - my younger son says I turn them gay. Sadly, he has much ammunition, one poor fella I innocently invited home for a drink, was thereafter seen walking round the town wearing black leather and a dog collar.   I hasten to add, I merely gave him an inspirational speech on releasing his inner child.  I often felt said son secretly wanted to sabotage my potential romances.  When I showed him a pair of pink sparkly stilettos I bought to wear on a date he shook his head smugly and said 'my job is done'.  He had a point. Someone who moans about their bleeding feet all night is never going to get another call. 

I've taken to blaming hormones for what I like to refer to as 'my rock and roll years' - doing so absolves my conscience and allows me to chuckle at the crazy things I did in the name of love.  I have a theory that our brains are overtaken by our reproductive hormones during our fertile years, its as if when we walk up to a bar our oestrogen says hello sailor to the testosterone of the good looking guy standing next to us and the urge to mate becomes overpowering.  Its primal, the wire in the brain that says 'no, very bad idea' is overruled by a rush of blood to the naughty bits.  Its based on science, and would be a great excuse if you were ever caught in flagrante delicto.  Of course it could swing either way, and might result in a very non scientific punch in the eye.  

Society has adapted to our need for love, sex, companionship and a macho protector to watch over us as we raise our young.  If we are sane enough, we choose a like minded partner with similar goals and the love will evolve into deep lifelong friendship.

However, since time began, most women have made a scramble for the knuckle draggers, the fire starters and the chest pounders, the ones who put all their energy into procreating and making fire water out of rotting grapes.  Their wiser sisters meanwhile had the sense to shackle themselves to the more prosperous hunters and gatherers and were moving into bigger caves with all the mod cons.   

The more deranged among us want the additional entertainment of someone to fight with.  Its as though we have been seduced by the Bronte sisters and Dolly Parton in our quest to find a bad man to stand by.  We walk past the sensible fellow in the cardie with the highly polished Cortina to get to the rebel without a clue because he's got the seductive, haunted eyes of James Dean and life in a trailer might be fun.  

We kid ourselves that it wasn't our fault and put all the blame on the other half we selected. Yet we return to them time and time again, believing the power of our love can change the ending when all the evidence in front of us, shows that it wont.  The reality is, we just can't stay away from the object of our desire, a crazy little voice in our heads keeps singing Maybe This Time.  Within 5 minutes of that knock on the door we find ourselves giggling with the enemy over a glass of wine and smooching to Tamla Motown classics.  By that stage, the hormones have firm hold of the control panel and they keep pressing the nooky buttons. 

I'm not really sure anyone in love is susceptible to advice from those who bear the battle scars. They have to actually burn their fingers before they accept that the fire is hot and repeatedly sticking their hand in there will never change the outcome.  The only advice the crazed up lovelorn will accept, is from someone who has reached similar heights of insanity over a another human being.  Someone who knows the pain of waiting for a telephone to ring and and who is willing to tag along on night stakeouts.  Preferably your best mate, who will pour you gin and sing along with you to 'Never Gonna Dance Again' at 4.00 in the morning, then phone your boss at 9.00 to tell him you ate a dodgy lettuce leaf the night before and if you ever stop throwing up, you might come in for a couple of hours.  

Digressing slightly, said boss once sent me a very long letter listing all my faults and threatening me with the sack . It was quite passionate and extremely verbose, but not in a good way.   Its amazing how much emotion an angry person can pack into a text without using actual swearwords. Whilst he very much appreciated my showing up now and again, he wondered if I might consider turning up at the same time as everyone else?  At that point I sensed a bit of sarcasm and the next 3 pages didn't get any better.  It was amazing he found so much to moan about, I was hardly ever there.  It was love of course that had taken my eye off the ball, but that's another story for another day.  

On the basis of the aforementioned, its probably best I avoid employment advice too. 

Did I ever learn anything and more to the point, do I have any sensible advice?  Hell yeh, don't let the hand you hold, hold you down**.

*In case he is looking in, this excludes Jack Nicholson, who is an old reprobate I could put up with for a week or two

**author unknown, sadly.