The Alligator

I’ve been on a long long journey, which has been both fascinating and arduous. I’ve spent sometime in a foreign land, which while interesting has left me severely injured and hurt.

My story begins many years ago when my family and I decided to go on a safari to a land many miles from here.

All of the planning and administration went relatively well. There were of course hiccups with some compliance and currency issues. A lot of countries when you visit them want to know a lot about you, but overall after some time we embarked on our journey. The trip was pleasant. We saw lots of new things. We traded and shared fascinating experiences with people from a new diverse culture. They were friendly and helpful and often helped us by coming to our camp and selling us food and clothing without hindrance and we in turn gave them some money and advice. Everything seemed to be going well. The weather was warm and sunny and we had enough to eat and we were healthy and most of all happy on our travels.

Then one day tragedy struck. I remember it vividly. We were camped by a large gently flowing river. The campsite was perfect with fishing, lots of natural fruits and vegetation and our supplies were plentiful. People from the local village were with us during the evening and we had a bountiful meal together, drank a little too much wine, as is our want. The evening was balmy, the moon bright and it seemed nothing could go wrong.

We retired peacefully to bed later than usual and as I snuggled down into my sleeping bag and zipped myself in, my last thought was what a wonderful life. I wanted it go on forever and hoped my children and their children would enjoy all the things that I had enjoyed in the future.

During the night I woke suddenly. Frightened, rigid with shock as I felt myself zipped into my bag being slowly but inexorably being dragged inch by inch to the cold uninviting river’s edge. I frantically tried to reason through the fog of sleep what was happening and realised that my legs were clamped in these enormous alligator jaws and this prehistoric, huge monster was dragging me to my death. The pain was enormous as this 16 foot, 1000 pound monster, whose bite force on my legs of 3,700 pounds, was forcing me into and out of consciousness.

I couldn’t scream or fight, I was traumatised by fear.

As we entered the water I knew from previous knowledge, that now came the death roll. Over and over and over, turning constantly in the water. One moment submerged and struggling for breath, the next relief as I broke the surface and gulped a lungful of air. I knew how this was going to end and resigned myself to the inevitable. As I blacked out, I thought only of my family, who I loved dearly and would not see again.

Miraculously, I woke to find myself in a stinking muddy hole, full of the rank detritus of bones and putrefying flesh.  I was alive, but barely breathing. I did not appear to have too many incapacitating injuries and if I could unzip the sleeping bag, which had probably saved me, there was just a small possibility I could escape before the animal returned. I discovered later, they drag their prey off to the lair built into the river’s bank and once decomposed and rotten they feed relentlessly over a period of time until all is devoured. I did not want that to happen to me. I was determined now to escape.

I could see the light at the end of the tunnel lair as the moon bounced off the black river water. I had so little time to take decisive action.


I struggled out of my sleeping bag and crawled to the entrance of the lair. I could see our camp across the river and slipped into the water terrified, expecting those jaws to clamp themselves around my body again. Slowly, oh so slowly and quietly, I swam to the camp side and roused my family.

They were shocked and relieved beyond belief. Happy to have me back but realised I needed immediate medical attention. The local villagers were roused and they helped with everything, giving of their time and effort to help me back into recovery.

I nearly perished but through my own fortitude and the help of others I am now recovered.


Several years later, I realised what a lucky escape I had had, as this alligator was famous throughout this part of the country and had caused the deaths of many unwary travellers. He was known throughout the land as Brexitasaurus.

What is it we fear?

For twenty months now since the referendum on European membership and the result by a small margin to leave, I have gone through a gamut of emotions.

It has been akin to bereavement for me and possibly like me, others who voted to remain. At first anger, which no matter how I try, still resonates and then utter sadness and disappointment at my fellow countrymen and women, who for my part have been myopic, jingoistic and nationalistic on a grand scale hiding behind a cloak of faux patriotism.

I am wrong and have attributed negative qualities to my fellow Britons because I wanted to lash out and try to impress upon them how wrong they are. I have not fully understood their concerns and fears until now. I have been reading a book called “The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches’, which my daughter gave me for Christmas . Please note, that is not famous speeches, but speeches from all political figures and even moving soliloquies by people addressing the court, who were sentenced to death, for crimes they did not commit.

 The speech which brought me great clarity about where we now find ourselves as a nation was spoken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on his inauguration as U.S. President on 4th March 1933 (how coincidental that 2nd March 2018 May made her definitive Brexit speech, which I listened to in its entirety). Roosevelt’s speech is entitled: –

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

This speech was at the time when the Great Depression was at its worst and America seemed beyond help and Roosevelt paraphrasing Henry David Thoreau’s writings where he says “ Nothing is so much to be feared as fear” galvanised the public mood and almost single handedly saved America, who then went on to play such a great part in helping the Allies to defeat the Nazi threat in World War 2.

That got me rethinking my perception of why we as a country find ourselves in the position of exiting an institution, which has done us, overall much good.

My conclusion is I have attributed these rather nasty and insular characteristics to my fellow Britons when in fact the movement to leave was whipped up by a few political and other influential figures that saw their elite power being eroded by the level of workers and human rights raised and substantiated by the European institutions. Power to the many not the few and erosion of deference is a powerful driver for those who have traditionally held power in this country. So, how have they achieved this?

By creating unprecedented levels of fear.

Fear of other people, fear of the dissolution of our heritage, our culture, our traditions and most of all our sovereignity.

But what do we as nation have to fear from belonging to a powerful political and trading bloc, which now and in the future will hold great sway in the world economy and affairs? Why do we, a nation that has defeated the most dangerous enemies the world has seen, created and lost the biggest Empire the world has seen, have the most innovative, creative and dynamic people in the world, who have given and continue to give the world, education, science, art and media, what is it we fear, if it isn’t fear itself?

Instead why not recognise the strengths of our culture, heritage and traditions, which no other nation has ever, and can ever take from us and play our part in shaping and influencing the great institutions of Europe, so we can be part of something that will also shape the world. Because I believe it is only fear that holds us back and will condemn us to isolation and end in us becoming a second rate nation, without influence in the world, without a voice that is listened to, as it always has been.

Don’t let the small group of influential dogmatists bent only on their own self-interest make us all afraid and take a back seat from the world.

As Roosevelt said all those years ago and which is even more poignant in today’s world.

“We have nothing to fear, except fear itself”.

Harvey Weinstein and Others

The Weinstein scandal is currently erupting all over the media and is due, given the increasing number of complainants coming forward, to become one of the biggest sex scandals ever. The real issue for society is the link between power, behaviour and the responses by institutions and others in leadership positions.

Nothing in this scandal is new and in fact for many decades we have seen people like Weinstein and their behaviour towards vulnerable and powerless people, not just women, replicated across many societies throughout the world. If a person or child is raped, sexually abused or treated violently and there is no recourse to law and justice, then that is a recipe for chaos, which will inevitably undermine the whole fabric of society.

It will create an impervious minority elite of powerful people, treating others as mere chattels and objects.

As with previous reported scandals, Saville, Heath, Janner and Weinstein to name a few, there seemed to be a level of knowledge about the activities of those people, of varying degrees, which was known and nothing done.

So during their lifetimes when evidence is fresh, abundant and current and more easily gathered, opportunities to gather this evidence are wasted.

People are not believed when they complain because how could this pillar of society, often senior religious leaders, in the case of the Catholic Church, knighted or Lords of the Realm possibly have done these things. Alternatively, the perpetrators in the cases of Rochdale, Oxford and many other places, are themselves protected by the racial sensitivities, which may be exposed if this investigation moves forward and anyway aren’t these young children and their families putting themselves in this danger and almost asking for it?

A culture is then created which protects the rich, powerful and famous or racially sensitive to the extent that the vulnerability and powerlessness is inversely increased and renders the victims to a state of abjectivity. No-one believes or wishes to protect us, because we are not worthy of society’s protection.

Weinstein is only different in that he is still alive. The evidence is available to be gathered and justice can take its course. Will he stand trial or even be convicted? We shall just have to wait and see, because the difficulties in gathering the evidence and placing it before a court is very, very difficult. Weinstein has already started his defiance and it is a classic riposte in these cases.

“Everything that happened was consensual”

But let’s look at the historical abuse cases and how they might be investigated effectively. A person comes forward to the police. Do they deserve to be heard and their allegations taken seriously?

Yes of course they do!

It is the job of the investigators to gather evidence, balance the evidence and then submit it to the relevant decision body to decide whether to prosecute or not.

There are only three types of evidence.

Forensic, Witness and Admissions.

All evidence falls into these three categories.

In these cases there will almost certainly be a lack of forensic evidence. Very rarely do the perpetrators admit to their crimes.

All that is left is witness evidence. The memory dims with time and the trauma involved in the case of victims. So, the question is what avenues are left open to the investigators to gather evidence of what may or may not have occurred?

Therefore, asking people who have suffered similarly, to come forward, is the only way to seek a weight of victim evidence. This is often a very traumatic process for people who have suffered. The investigator/team then correlates all the witness evidence and using a chronological timeline, looks for consistency of evidence across, similarities of places, people, behaviours etc, to create a credible bank of evidence. It is not a ‘Fishing Expedition” but a methodical, time consuming and detailed, evidence gathering exercise.

What then seems to happen is that particular areas of the media and particularly the right wing press start to undermine the process and create doubt in the minds of the public. Why, one may well ask?

The establishment figures, their progeny and networks also populate the powerful areas of government, media, news outlets and institutions to such an extent, that they can influence the public mood and even the impartiality of the police service. Columnists are openly lauded for undermining police investigations about powerful figures and often letters to papers are printed to that effect. Dominic Lawson has consistently complained in his Sunday Times column about police historical investigations. The reason seems “as plain as the pikestaff on your face” as is commonly said.

To protect the power they have.


Leadership is about being authentic, consistent but most of all about being trusted.

There is a dearth of trust nowadays for people in the establishment and some of the recent historical sex abuse cases in this country have heightened the lack of trust felt by the public. No longer is it enough to be in a position of power to automatically be held in high esteem by the public. Leaders must demonstrate leadership in all they do on a daily basis. If that means exposing their peers as sex abusers, paedophiles or criminals. So be it.


I have just finished reading a book called “ How I became a Yorkshireman”. It was given to me by a very good Yorkshire friend of many years, to help me to understand this race of people, who live in the back of beyond of our wonderful country.

It is hilariously amusing in that it tells the story, of a young man who came to Yorkshire in the 1960s, much like me, and was introduced to the ways of Yorkshire folk. His introduction was both daunting and strange for a “soft, effete” southern lad, who because of economics had inadvertently strayed over the border from south of Bawtry, into the misgiving territory of God’s own County.

To be fair the book title is a misnomer, in that one cannot become a Yorkshireman. You are either born one or not, and if not, one is destined to a life of inferiority in one’s own country forever. Putting that aside, there are some interesting truisms which are as relevant now as then in the book and from my own experience remain and always will remain of living in Yorkshire.

Let me explain.

I first ventured foot into God’s own County in 1967 when I joined the Army and upon receiving my rail warrant was overjoyed to see I only had to travel to Richmond. As a Londoner I was pleased I did not have to go too far from the bright lights and big city known to us cockneys as “the Smoke”. Upon arriving, bleary eyed at Richmond railway station Catterick,  I soon realised my mistake.

There was nothing except dark and gloom and everything seemed to be a black and white photograph that my parents showed me of their childhood days before the War. I then went on to spend sometime in Yorkshire off and on over the years with the Army, but never for too long and I always looked forward to leaving it and going somewhere warm, sunny and lively.

That was until the dreaded day I was posted permanently to Yorkshire and the city of York.

Everyone told me I would love it. I have come to realise in that time, several lessons, enthusiastically taught to me by ever willing throngs of Yorkshire folk, how astute Yorkshire people are. I have now been here over 30 years, in the same house, in the same village, where I know most of the people and whenever I open my mouth I still get the same retort from everyone I speak with.

Tha’s not froom rownd ere, are ye?

I now realise how perceptive Yorkshire folk are and this lesson is constantly reinforced on a daily basis.

I also learnt very quickly how “Brass” or money plays a big part in Yorkshire life. A good friend of mine, who lived in our village until his passing, was a Yorkshireman through and through. We would often go to the pub on a Friday evening at the end of a long hard weeks work. One Friday as we got to the pub door in our village, he propelled me in through the door quite forcibly to the bar in front of him. I was non-plussed to say the least. I duly bought the round and we sat down. He did not seem upset and chatted away amicably as usual about the wonderful Yorkshire cricket side, the beautiful Yorkshire dales, good Yorkshire eating pubs and how much food one got for the lowest price, the best Yorkshire beer to be had and how much it cost, and lastly Yorkshire!

I then tentatively posed the question. “ Why did you push me in the door like that when we arrived, have I upset you or something”?

He duly replied, “Nay lad, but Ah bort last rownd last week”!

A salutary lesson never to be forgotten.

I love living here and Yorkshire folk are no better or less friendly than people anywhere else in the country. There’s some real good uns and some others, who will remain nameless, exactly the same as anywhere else in my experience. It is a beautiful county and the dales are breathtaking all year round, the seaside towns like Whitby and Scarborough are very bracing, the food is traditionally cooked, and I never tell my southern friends how good it is, in case they come “oop north” and the house prices go up. I will not be leaving God’s own County ever.

But, the most important lesson ever taught to me by a gruff Yorkshire lad was the Yorkshire motto, which holds true for all Yorkshiremen to the day eternal, and it is this.

“Ear all, eat all, seh nowt and if tha does owt fer nowt, do it for thissen”

Hear ends the Yorkshire lesson from a lad “who’s not from round here”.


The Real Brexit

We have been given lots and lots of reasons by the powers that be for Brexit and in order for that to be achieved, lots and lots of people in positions of power, across the political divide, lied to the general public. A few examples are; The £350 million to the NHS bus slogan, the impending immediate economic crash, right through to the picture of thousands of migrants queuing to get into UK and most perniciously the statement by the now Foreign Secretary that millions of Turkish people would be eligible and want to enter UK when Turkey became a member of the EU and we would be helpless to stop it.

Lies, lies and more lies creating and exacerbating the fear of “johnny foreigner”! This was the predication of the means to get us to vote “Leave”.

But what were the real reasons? From Farage to Johnson to Gove the mantra was incessantly, “take back control” and “Get our country back”.

So what exactly do these phrases mean to those who were espousing them?

Clearly, they were appealing to the voters to become independent again, to regain our sovereignty, to remain Great Britain, the superpower in the world and a force to be reckoned with, in our own right internationally. I am suggesting that the back-story to this, as reiterated constantly by the people making those claims, was subtly different.

The establishment, throughout history, has had carte blanche to run the country in their own way and to meet their own self interested needs and expectations. The law was accessed via their wealth, lobbyists ensured government listened to their wishes, legislation was created in their favour, taxes were adjusted so they could accrue more wealth. They did this by, sending their children to public schools, taking all the best university places, creating incestuous networks that ensured the few retained power at the expense of the progress of the majority. Holding onto land and lobbying government through their wealth to ensure their continued dominance.

The establishment through the “Nine Principles” achieves this by;

  1. Wealth wields power via elections. (Battles buses, call centres, breaking election rules)
  2. Legislation increases wealth.
  3. This reduces democracy handing more power to the wealthy establishment.
  4. The welfare state is reduced.
  5. Shaping ideology.(business good, state bad)
  6. Redesign the economy. (Reduce regulation, increase worker insecurity, protect financial institutions from market forces)
  7. Shift the burden. (Increase tax burden proportionately for precariat, reduce tax burden proportionately for plutocracy)
  8. Attack solidarity. (Reduce social security, privatise public services)
  9. Run the regulators. (Lobbyists influence legislation to favour business, e.g. bail out banks not manufacturing)

This is the pernicious cycle of establishment as outlined by Chomsky.

That’s what “Brexit “ is really about. A return to the old order, which the EU threatened by usurping the institutions which were historically, set up by the establishment, populated by the establishment, run by the establishment and perpetuated by the establishment for successive generations.

That’s what you voted for, when you were duped into voting Leave!

One clear example recently of this at work was on Newsnight on Friday 23rd June 2017. When Andrea Leadsom, the failed Tory leader candidate and now promoted to the Cabinet in May’s weak and lacklustre government, when being questioned closely by the interviewer about the current Brexit negotiations said.

“The media needs to be more patriotic”

What she really meant was, know your place, just as you did in the old days when we ran things and you did as you were told.

Well I have some news for Leadsom and it ain’t good.

We are never going back to knowing our place; our mothers and fathers did not fight two world wars, and our sons and daughters did not fight your wars around the world, which has now created this mess, for you to reassert the old dominion. Britain is now an egalitarian country and we will fight you tooth and nail for our new freedoms and the extension of them. Whether that is with EU assistance or not!

The General Election -2017

Teresa May, the Prime Minister has called a general election hoping to make it a one issue election around Brexit, in order to obtain an overwhelmingly large enough majority for the next five years in the House, to be able to continue the Conservative political philosophy of “Small State and Low Tax” government and put any reversal of that philosophy beyond reach of any incoming political party.

The situation that she feels favours this approach in the current political environment is, a weak opposition led by a an uninspiring leader, impending criminal actions against current Conservative politicians, who may lose their seats as a result of election expenses from 2010 and endanger her majority. Also very good opinion polls in her favour and a feeling that she has now defeated finally the outcry of the 48% who voted to remain in Europe. Who at every turn in the media are decried as “Remoaners” and whingers and who will not fall into line with the democratic process, which is alleged to be final as a result of a referendum, which incidentally had no legal basis for action by the government? (Read the Law!)


That aside, what are the issues in this election?

Well, May would have us all believe it is only about “strong and stable leadership” her constant party mantra for the election, as that is the only thing that can get us the right deal from Europe and she is the only person to do it. The fact is strong and stable leadership is always required from government, in order to ensure the prosperity and security of the nation. The conservatives do not have a prerogative on leadership, it all depends what kind of strong and stable leadership we want in terms of the type of country and society we want.


So, lets look at the options.

The Conservatives will have us believe their leadership is the best. What do they base that on?


The Economy.

We are currently running Net Debt at 86.6% of GDP, up from 66.9% in 2010 when the government took office.

The poorest households paid more of their disposable income in indirect taxes (such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and duties on alcohol and fuel) than the richest (27.0% and 14.4% respectively) and therefore indirect taxes cause an increase in income inequality.

Inflation stands at 2.3% and the trend is up. This will almost certainly continue whilst we negotiate our way out of Europe and the pound remains weak costing imports more and more.

More than 1 million people are on zero hours contracts.

Benefit Fraud costs the country £1.6bn

Tax Fraud/Evasion costs the country £43bn.

HMRC employ 3800 people investigating benefit fraud.

HMRC employ 700 people investigating tax fraud/evasion.


The coalition government promised to build 200K homes per year. They built 70% and that figure is falling. People who cannot get a mortgage are consigned to short term lets, (6 months to one year).

The number of first time buyers has declined from 600,000 in 1985 to 200,000 in 2012.

Private Landlords number 27m and their income is £14.2bn from 5 million homes.


The budget for the NHS in England for 2016/17 is £120 billion.

In the 2015 spending review the government announced that funding for the Department of Health would increase to £133 billion by 2020/21, a real increase of approximately £4.5bn once inflation is taken into account. *

Though NHS funding is growing, it is slowing considerably compared to historical trends. The Department of Health budget will grow by only 1.2% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2020/21. This was far below the long-term average annual increases in health spending since 1949/50 of 3.7% (in real terms).

Looking forward, between 2017/18 and 2019/20 the Department of Health budget will increase by less than 0.5% each year in real terms. This will place increasing pressure on the NHS, as demands for services are still projected to increase.

*This is significantly less than the funding the government claims it has given to the NHS over this period, mainly because ministers have chosen to highlight the funding provided to NHS England only, rather than the Department of Health’s total budget.

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has said that under the government’s current spending plans, per capita health funding will fall in real terms in 2018-19, the year the NHS will turn 70.


Schools are now so disparate and diverse that many parents who just wish to send their child(ren) to a good school are at a complete loss. Spending per pupil is set to fall significantly and the introduction of Free schools and the new Grammar selective schools are not a real choice for all parents but the select few who can afford tutoring and on school costs for extra-curricular activities. If that really is meritorious then perhaps we have all misunderstood the word.

A parent is quoted as saying to Burbalsinghe a renowned head of a new Free school. “ I could not afford to send my child to a private school and thank god you have opened this one”


Some 4.8 million offences of all types were recorded in 2016, up 9% on 2015.

Key statistics for 2016 include:

32,448 knife crimes recorded – an increase of 14% on the previous year

39,355 rapes recorded, up 13%

5,864 firearms offences, up by 13% largely due to a rise in crimes involving handguns

55,824 robberies, a rise of 10%

92,868 car thefts – 16% more than in 2015

Since 2010 there are nearly 20,000 fewer police officers, a reduction of nearly – 14%.

Overall funding for policing has been cut by 15% between 2010 and 2016.


Leadership is about honesty and integrity and whilst it is understood that politicians may need to adapt to the changing circumstances of the economy and world politics and trade, the electorate deserve an honest answer to why that is needed and not a continuous denial of the obvious.

This government has cut child benefit, promised tax-free childcare, a budget surplus by 2019, and no changes to NI and no tax increases.

All these promises have been broken without a comprehensive explanation.


So, we all have a choice on the 8th June, this fact is undeniably right.

If you believe in small, uncaring, individually, privatised state and pull the ladder up low taxes and let the poor and vulnerable fend for themselves. Vote Tory.

If you believe in a country, which is willing to spend more to look after others, is facing peacefully outwards to the rest of the world, recognises the need to borrow whilst we invest in our economy and skills base, vote Labour or vote tactically for the alternative parties to form a caring alliance against May and her cronies.

Corbyn is not a poster boy politician or Labour leader or Prime Minister in waiting, but if like me you want people to be honest and principled, he is that man.

Not once during the times I have followed his communication in the media or at live PMQs or meetings have I ever heard him be abusive or personal towards other politicians of any party. He addresses the issues and stays firmly on the issues and what his alternative vision for those issues are and what he and his party will do to fulfill them.

He wishes to debate and when debating is never flustered, always calm, affable but committed and generous to others.

May on the other hand is a poor communicator, flustered when off message and unable to think innovatively and on her feet. She prefers to remain scripted and that is why she does not want her government’s record questioned by the other parties in open debate during this election campaign.

Is this really the style of leadership we want?

Finally, if we make this a personality contest and not an election about policy, we will end up with an authoritative, completely mandated government, which will be able to do whatever they want for 5 years. There will be no effective opposition to the policies and subsequent legislation and the threat to this country from that scenario is far greater than anything seen in the past and since the end of the Second World War.

Be careful what you wish for because you just may get it.

  1. Out of Europe with No Deal.
  2. Reduced public services resulting in a crippled NHS, more crime, less housing, two tier education, failing infrastructure and transport, a bigger deficit, tariffed trade with the rest of the world, a failing economy.
  3. A Prime Minister to ride roughshod over any dissent both internally and externally who will say “You voted for strong and stable leadership and this is my vision of it irrespective what anybody else thinks!


I think we have seen this before in other countries. It is not called democracy!

Royal Prerogative – A Threat to our Democracy

Let us first of all understand exactly what we are talking about here.

Constitutional theorist A.V. Dicey gives the standard definition of what prerogative powers are:

 The remaining portion of the Crown’s original authority, and it is therefore, the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any moment in the hands of the Crown, whether such power is in fact, exercised by the Monarch him/herself or by his/her Ministers.


The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognised in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy, as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and vested in a monarch with regard to the process of governance of the state, are carried out.

That is to say in layperson’s terms, as I understand it:

Ministers may act in the name of the Sovereign in a discretionary way as they see fit and without the agreement of Parliament.

This was most clearly demonstrated recently, when May the Prime Minister, who incidentally has never been elected by the people of this country, wished to use Royal Prerogative to exercise her personal view of the referendum result. She wished to be allowed under Royal Prerogative to exercise an exit from our long established treaties with Europe without recourse to seeking The House of Commons view on what that exit should look like, even though over 16 million people had voted against the motion. She wished to use Royal Prerogative to override the views of 16 million people in this country without any debate at a representative level (their elected representatives) and instead be able to say that the “will of the people” (the 17 million who voted for the motion) was to exit Europe under her personal guidance.

Clearly, this is not an acceptable way to conduct any representative democratic process.

As a result of May’s impertinence, Gina Miller took the government to court to question this process and the court after a government appeal, again found in Miller’s favour, that the government could not use such a prerogative to action a referendum result arbitrarily. As a result a government white paper was produced in Parliament and our elected representatives voted in favour to trigger Article 50 and put in process the two-year negotiations to leave the European Union, as decided by the majority of the public in the June 2016 referendum. I have no argument with that process; my argument is with Royal Prerogative.

David Pannick QC, who represented Gina Miller, (who should be honoured by the public for upholding the rules of representative democracy and not vilified) felt very pleased that the government could be held to account in this way and that through the law, no misuse of process would be allowed under a prerogative, which should have been rescinded (in my opinion) the day that Charles the First was executed. The whole purpose of the English Civil War and the subsequent reinstatement of an alleged benign Sovereign, answerable to Parliament, under the reign of Charles the Second, was to dispense with exactly this manipulation of process under an egotistical Prime Minister and her Cabinet flunkeys.

But, Pannick’s naivety is breathtaking. How accessible to the many people who may have felt aggrieved by the way the process was being conducted by May and her cabinet, is the law, particularly at the highest civil level? It is laughingly not accessible at all, unless one is extremely rich and able to engage a highly paid barrister initially and pay the costs in the event of failure! The government will not disclose how much of the public money was used to defend the use of Royal Prerogative and so it’s pretty certain it was a huge amount of money and Pannick also chooses not to say how much they charged to bring the case. However some recent reports show QC’s charging as much as £5000 a day for their services. It is also a long and drawn out process where there is no written constitution by which to judge the issue, involving a large amount of court time and public expense.

Therein lies the nub of the problem, Ministers can exercise Royal Prerogative and there is no written Constitution to provide a check and balance against this excess of power, unless one has access through extreme wealth to challenge the process under the law.

Let us now take the example of a country with a written constitution and a newly elected President who wishes to exercise a power through an Executive Order, which is contrary to the constitution. Elected representatives are able, within a very short time of less than a few days, to test that Executive Power in a court and the court is able to overrule that excess of individual power resoundingly, within the confines of the Constitution. This means that the President who has been elected, is always subject to the power of the Constitution through the legal process.

As was recently stated by an eminent judge in the USA, “We elected a President not a King”

He said that, because clearly a Sovereign is not elected and is therefore unaccountable to anyone or any representative body in the country. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the Sovereign or his/her family. No ordinary citizen is able to hold to account any financial or personal action of the Sovereign or his/her family for anything, which we, the people believe, may infringe on our democracy. There are numerous examples of this at the moment including, Charles lobbying government, the cost of the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace from the public purse to name just a few.

Therefore the question raised by this article is “Who holds power in our country if politicians can glibly quote Royal Prerogative when wishing to exercise unrepresentative power”? And the answer must be that power ultimately still resides with the Sovereign as long as there is no written constitution.

So, if that is the case, why are we still persisting with such an outdated institution as the Monarchy? When it is clear that the resumption of Monarchy as prescribed by the aristocratic nobles who brought Charles the Second back to power, was only to support their position as the authority in the land.

We have now had nearly four hundred years of supposed benign power exercised by the Monarchy, surely if we are a country that can stand on it’s own two feet as advocated by the vote to exit the European Union, why do we need the Monarchy, Royal Prerogative and what is fed to us as benign power anymore. Let us stride forward into the sunlit uplands as a country and an independent people, provided by a written Constitution and a Presidential Republic!

La La Land

I went to see this film today, much against my better judgment (I am generally not crazy about musicals, finding them excruciatingly embarrassing) and lo and behold, how pleasantly surprised and uplifted I was by the whole experience. From the moment the film opened I was smiling from ear to ear, not realising the import and how subliminal the messages about life today, I would understand from this seemingly simple film.

The opening on a packed and stationary motorway (In USA, but it could be anywhere) so resembled our crowded, packed and meaningless lives today and was then transformed through song and verse into a wonderful cabaret of joy and happiness. It appeared to be so easy, and maybe that’s exactly what it is.The story follows two very young and very ambitious, struggling pair of male and female artists who are reaching for the stars. Trying to find that one moment when they are not only accepted but also “found” which will ensure their individual fame and success.As you may expect, they encounter all sorts of rejection and obstacles. They constantly question themselves. Why am I doing this? Am I good enough?

They never ask themselves, however, why they are not happy just to be themselves.

There is one moment in the film where they have found each other and not realising it, have a conversation about not staying together because of their own individual dreams of stardom.

Such a poignant moment, as I reached across to hold my wife’s hand, of 46 years, just to say thank goodness we never lost each other.

They did.

The film then charts their individual “success” and “fame” and closes when the woman who has by now married another and is a successful playwright, walks into the jazz club where the love of her life is being feted by all around him. Their eyes meet. He then plays their favourite song. There is then a montage of the “what might have been” if they’d stayed together and worked and triumphed together, because of the bonded love they would have created together. And so, it is of course wonderful to dream, to struggle, to work, very very hard to achieve all we want in this life, but if at the end one does not share the end of your life with people who love and care for you, with whom, you have built care, understanding and love over many years, why bother?

My greatest happiness is found in sitting down to a meal with my children, grand children and wife on special and those not so special occasions, comfortably in our own special cocoon, to laugh, discuss politics, religion, the media and any other rubbish we want to talk about, with lots and lots of laughter and loud voices and seriousness and most of all fun in the complete understanding, that no matter what happens, the love we have for each will always transcend any difficulties we may have.

Where am I going to buy that?

Is my name in lights, lots of money and the platitudes of admirers ever going to replace that?

I think not!


I woke this morning to another devastating blow to democracy and freedom. Another shift to the right, that emphasises the differences between us all and highlights not what brings us together but which polarises us all apart.

The “Land of the Free”, the country to which the rest of the world look to for examples of democracy and true representative freedom have elected a man who has openly stated throughout his campaign, racist, misogynist and homophobic views about his own countrymen and women. Those he wishes to lead.

I am at a loss as to say what this will mean for the rest of the world because Trump has not articulated any political policies merely hatred of others. The worry of course is that so many people who then went on to defend or condone those views and voted for him to attain the highest office in the world, have ignored this.

I believe we can relate all of the seismic political shifts over the last few years, to the bankers who devastated the economies of the world through their greed and whilst they continued to collect their mega bonuses after a short period of contrition, more and more people lost out and became poorer and poorer. In the biggest capitalist project in the world this is unforgiveable and it only needed a Trump to emphasise those differences and create the necessary unrest to give us the result we have today.

Career politicians just don’t get it! We do not trust them. We don’t trust them to tell the truth, we don’t trust them to answer the question, we don’t trust them to act on our behalf, we don’t trust them to collect the taxes due from the rich, we don’t trust them to regulate the behaviour of bankers and other greedy capitalists and we don’t trust them to behave appropriately with their expenses.


And so we get BREXIT and Trump. Well Trump’s theme tune throughout was The Stones classic track “You don’t always get what you want” and that maybe true but perhaps we’re getting what we deserve?


“Black Lives Matter”?

Well actually all lives matter, you might say and of course you would be quite right. It isn’t just black lives that matter in any caring, democratic society but all it’s citizens irrespective of their difference. Surely that isn’t what the “Black Lives Matter” movement is trying to say, is it, that only black lives matter?

It’s trying to say that all lives do matter and in our society and throughout the world we live in, that if you are black or from a minority ethnic background, (BAME) your life does not matter as much as the others who inhabit the uplands of power and wealth, hold sway over your life as a black person, and are mostly white.

Over 1000 black people killed by police and only a minor number of prosecutions.

5 police officers killed by a lone gunman.

Virtual unfettered access to high-powered military assault weapons.

The civilian deployment of military technology, against citizens, in order to kill, rather than arrest.

Over 3000 people killed every year where guns and assault weapons are available to anyone who walks in off the street, with minimum checks on their suitability, to own such a weapon.

All this in the land of the free where all men originally and now women, are born equal!

It couldn’t happen here could it and why should it? We are not the USA and all people irrespective of their background are treated equally and we have legislation to ensure that fairness happens.


You may believe that, but for BME people in this country that is not how it feels. If one is black or Asian or from an Ethnic Minority (BAME), then what can you expect in this country?

You can expect: –

A higher risk of being stopped and searched by the police.

To be more harshly dealt with in a criminal court sentence than one’s white contemporaries.

To be more likely to receive a custodial sentence.

To be less favourably treated in job interviews, if you get to the interview stage.

To be less likely to rise to high political, legal, military or establishment office.

To be less likely to be well educated than one’s white peers.

To be less likely to own one’s own home.

To be more likely to be involved in crime and drugs.

If you believe that this is untrue then here are some statistics.


The UK population is some 63million. 13% are from a BAME background.

Custodial Sentences at Court. 27% White, 30% Black, 32% Asian.

Prison population is 25% BAME.

Judges, 6% BAME.

Police Chief officers, 5% BAME.

FTSE 100 Directors, 1.9% BAME.

Members of Parliament, 3% BAME.

Teachers, 6% BAME.

Military, 7% and Military Officers 2.4% BAME, with none above Brigadier rank.

University Professors, 92% are white.

There are over 500,000 stop searches by police per annum and 86% result in no arrest.

One is 7 times more likely to be stop searched by police if one is Black.

One is 5 times more likely to be stop searched by police if one is Asian.


All these statistics are available from current government sources and have not improved dramatically whatever political hue has been in government in the last 50 years since the Race Relations Act outlawed race discrimination in the 1960’s.

Yes that’s right!! The 1960’s!

I would argue that discrimination or systemic processed racism in society is so subtle and so nuanced that even some BAME people do not see it.

Let’s take the 2012 and 2016 Olympics as an example of this subtlety. There is a great feel good factor and adoption of many black icons in Olympic sport, which fulfills our need for nationalism and pride in our country. Mo Farah is proclaimed ‘one of us”, British and proud to bear the flag and most of the population will be pleased to see him knighted. None or little mention of his Somalian, Muslim heritage.

The great British public has assimilated Farah into the epitome of Britishness and there can be no room for anything else. One of the worst things a white person can say to a person of colour is “I don’t mean you, you’re one of us,” when referring to BAME people in general.

Returning to the Olympics, Rowing, Cycling, Equestrianism, Sailing, Tennis, Rugby, Hockey and Golf all have one thing in common. They are generally the preserve of the white middle classes, why? Because they cost a lot of money and so why be surprised when the people who dominate the medals in those sports for our country are white and middle class.

Which are the sports that cost very little to participate in and are almost always community based and not dominated by elite clubs and money and so indirectly lack of opportunity? Boxing, Track and Field.

Where does all the money go? To the elite sports where people who are privileged have the best opportunities, not to finding great BAME Hockey players, or Rowers or Cyclists, or Sailors etc from those communities, that because of systemic disadvantage cannot even show what they could do.

In the Sunday Times today 21/08/2016, quite rightly the contribution by LGBT competitors was highlighted. What a pity that all the pictorial representation was, you guessed it. White! Whenever gender imbalances in society are mentioned, again all the pictorial and anecdotal references are of white professional women

Cameron proudly proclaimed “One Nation” and we are all in it together, May declares to govern for all not just the privileged few.

Words are cheap and sound bites sound very nice to welcoming ears.

It is change we want and so when Black people stop holidaymakers heading to the ports blocking the roads by laying down in them under the banner of “Black Lives Matter” –they do!