Tag Archives: Britain

Real Estate Negotiator required. Immediate start.

18 May

Pancreas & Jones – London’s fastest-growing estate agents – require an Agent Negotiator with immediate effect. Generous basic plus fantastic bonus. Nearly all our negotiators earned more than £80,000 last year!

Working out of our first floor office suite in the vibrant East End of London, excellent basic plus sick pay and staff pension are all included for the right person. Minimum £1,000 per passed-on hot lead that gets 3rd Party closure.

Brand New Porsche Sportster (6352 miles only) and allocated parking space and permit. All parking citations/tickets paid by management. Restaurant slate at Marco’s.

Your company Porsche is fully financed by us for all your mileage regardless of type of use.

It used to be Marcus’s. Marcus got shot leaving Black Magic’s at Dagenham last night and is plugged into a machine that goes beep. Things are developing by the minute here as we try and work out why.

Marcus was possibly the most dangerous and inconsiderate driver in this area up to Bow Church. His unrelentingly vicious attitude towards cyclists and pedestrians is legendary. He also owed quite a few shopkeepers for produce.

All shit will break loose if we don’t have someone out there, covering Marcus’s collection route. You didn’t think this was all just about selling apartments to retired Belgians, did you?

And in the mean time, you will be driving around at twenty miles an hour through a crowded city in his very distinctive Porsche.

You will never realise how hated that Porsche is until you’ve done the first two hours. But you’ve just signed a one month contract with us. We even let you close it yourself. Top Closer – you asked for more and we gave you more: 20% bigger basic.

Just visit and introduce yourself to the people on the list you have been given. They will all already know about Marcus because we have already phoned them.

Once they have invited you to sit down with them, they may issue a few simple comments regarding their position. For instance: “I am looking for three apartments like the one Gavin showed me”. Or:   “Tell Gavin I am unavailable until next Thursday”.

Write these simple instructions down exactly as they are relayed to you, thank the client and leave to your next appointment.

You will receive some surprised looks from certain people you meet during your day. Do not be concerned.

It will be because, unknown to yourself, you happen to look exactly like Marcus.

British Economic Development Explained:

23 Apr

To my many faithful readers who live in all parts of this wonderful planet and who occasionally lie awake thinking:

“I’ve had such a great day…but I simply cannot get to sleep because I am not sure how the British economy actually manages to operate in the 21st century”.

Here is a picture of a British pub. it acts as the perfect metaphor to explain:

007englishpub

Key to picture:

Let us imagine that this pub is the ‘British Economy’

The chimney at the top centre and the building below and to the left of it is the basic British Economy.

It was designed and built by many clever people. One day, while on his way in to work, one of the builders found an old wooden ship and thought some of the wood might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants gave the builder his job back and promoted him to Chief  Builder In Residence.

It was decided that the economy must expand because the population had increased. The architect designed a large extension with six floors and a spire on top to fit on to the right hand end of the existing pub/British Economy. Work started immediately.One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old fireplace complete with chimney stack and thought it might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants fired the architect instead and got a new one. They kept hold of the Chief Builder In Residence.

The new architect cancelled the idea of the seven floors and went for just two, with a nice sloping roof made of the finest slate. The accountants were delighted with him but said they had heard rumours that the second floor was a bit dark inside and could a window be put into the nice sloping roof?

The new architect had a word with the Chief Builder In Residence. They both got on very well. They both shared the suspicion that you only survived if you kept the accountants happy and read the contract closely. One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old window and thought it might come in useful.

The accountants were delighted. However, they asked the architect if perhaps a second window could be put in as well because the first one, though excellent in many respects, was attracting ridicule?

The architect asked the builder and the builder refused. He pointed out that he had met his contractual obligation since there had never been any mention of multiple windows to him before. The architect explained this to the accountants.

The accountants fired the new architect for negligence and had a meeting with the Chief Builder In Residence. They explained that many more windows and a bigger building were needed because the economy was still expanding. They reminded him that he had been doing very nicely out of this project and they expected him to come up with a solution, especially since all the architects seemed so useless.

The Chief Builder In Residence suggested building a second wing, coming out from the new extension at a right-angle, on two floors.

The accountants laughed and explained that this would be far too expensive. How about just one floor? The Chief Builder In Residence explained that if they only built a single story extension, then the first floor window on the existing building would have its view blocked by the pitched roof of the new extension and also the guttering would be a nightmare to maintain after the first year.

The accountants smiled and reminded him that, as a builder, it was none of his business how the maintenance costs worked out after the building was completed. The Chief Builder In Residence told them he had just about had enough of their smug attitude and they could stick their extension up their inkwells. He had decided to become an electrician, instead. There was more money in being an electrician.

The accountants made a quick drawing of what they wanted and then found a new builder. The new builder built the new single story extension exactly as they wished. The accountants were very pleased. They promoted him to Associate Builder Designate.

As a token of thanks, the new builder told them he’d include a pretty little security camera disguised as a lamp and install it for free on the side of the old, original building. He’d also create a landscaped garden at the front and build a monument in honour of the accountants.

The accountants were delighted.

The Associate Builder Designate installed the cute little security camera disguised as a lamp and went home to bed. When he came back in the morning, somebody had stolen the security camera. He bought another and put it up so that the accountants would not be disappointed. That also disappeared the following night. In desperation he contacted a local electrician to help him sort out the problem.

The electrician visited and suggested mounting a second security lamp just above the little cutesy security camera and said he happened to have one in the back of the van that he had found on his way to work and thought it might come in useful. The Associate Builder Designate was delighted and begged the electrician to start immediately and then send him the bill when he was finished.

The electrician smiled and began to work. Within four minutes he had finished installing a security lamp above the security camera on the side of the original building and so he presented his bill to the Associate Builder Designate.

The Associate Builder Designate was horrified. He explained that the electrician had charged him almost as much for four minutes work as he – the Associate Builder Designate –  earned in a month. The electrician smiled. He asked the Associate Builder Designate what other work he had to do to fulfill his contract to the accountants. The Associate Builder Designate wiped his eyes and explained that he had promised to create a landscaped garden.

All of which brings us to that hanging basket of flowers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK In Floods Of Tears

17 Feb

DSC00027 (2)

Frustration

Sadness

Loss

Despair

Release

Relief

That is the Official List of British Tears and the order in which they must be presented to the TV News crews.

Already, the national news here in WaterWorld is skewing slightly to highlight a traditional and typically British attitude: cynicism towards our own government and armed forces. Damp locals huddle in chilly pubs and draw diagrams of Kevin Costner’s boating equipment from memory. If you approach too close to them, they close ranks while one of them swallows the plans.

And in this next clip, Prince Charles is seen talking with a selection of pre-selected and security vetted locals. Prince Charles sticks it to Prime Minister David Cameron by openly voicing his doubts on the very matters where David has been pretending all is good.

So, Cameron responds by saying everything that can be done will be done…and that includes what he describes in pure political euphemism as “an end to the pause in dredging on the Somerset Levels”

An end to the pause in dredging? Do you now see why we Brits get cynical?

So, if I decide one day that I shall not to pay my taxes, when I am dragged in front of the judge months later, I can simply explain to him that I was pausing. I shall now ‘end the pause in my paying taxes’. I am sure the judge will understand.

Today, Cameron has announced that he is bringing the Army in to check the flood defences. They (the British Army) will achieve within five weeks what normally takes two years when left to the Environment Agency. They will work at 20.8 times the speed of an expert agency.

Why are we Brits so cynical?

Have you ever seen the British Army in action? They are remarkably effective at what they excel in which is essentially beating the crap out of non-UK passport holders. You don’t even have to come to them – they are quite happy to visit you in your own country. But the last time a Prime Minister was stupid enough to let them loose among British taxpayers was during the General Strike of 1926.

Briefly, in the 1980’s they were ordered to drive ambulances. It went badly. The Army only stopped when patients finally demanded to be driven to hospital instead by a local fourteen year old in a stolen Vauxhall Astra. Survival was more likely than being driven through busy London streets at high speed in a dark green and camouflaged ambulance by an enthusiastic eighteen year old from Manchester.

It was a PR disaster in 1926 and it was a hugely covered-up tragedy during the ambulance strike in the 1980’s. From then on, every British Prime Minister wrote in pen on the inside of their hand: “Don’t let Army near UK’s hard-working taxpayers. V. Important! Doesn’t work!”

Now Cameron is about to break this rule.

And we will now have thousands of well paid soldiers grabbing away the work from the specialist civilian workers in the Environment Agency who are paid much less and are facing redundancy anyway?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister!

And the Army, who are not in the least bit knowledgeable at a local level of Britains flood water defences will be working at 20.8 times the speed of these Environment Agency specialists who are being swept aside and made redundant?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister! What could possibly go wrong…?

The photo at the beginning of this article shows the author after having been coated from head to toe in raw faeces during a storm on a waste treatment site. I am shown smiling through my tears. (advanced students only).

Do you see that brown line around the tank on the right?

That is not caused by rust…

 

Margaret Thatcher. No flowers, please.

17 Apr

In a few hours time, Margaret Thatcher will exist only in the history books. To help ensure that she is indexed correctly, I am proud to hand over Roadwax to acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and feature writer  C J Stone

The Empire of Things:

In Memory of Margaret Thatcher

Seventeenth Century English protest rhyme

It was Margaret Thatcher who said there was no such thing as society. “There are individual men and women, and there are families… It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then… to look after our neighbour,” she said. “People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

She said this in an interview with Women’s Own magazine published in October 1987. Six years before that, in 1981, riots had ripped through Britain’s inner cities. There were riots in Brixton in London, in Toxteth in Liverpool, in Handsworth in Birmingham and Chapeltown in Leeds. There were further riots throughout the 80s, including Broadwater Farm in 1985, and Peckham that same year.

On coming to power in 1979, on the steps of Downing Street, Margaret Thatcher had quoted from St Francis of Assisi: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

Never have a set of words proved to be less appropriate, or more vain, or less honest, or more ignorant of the truth.

The central idea behind Thatcherite policy was an economic theory known as  Monetarism. The aim of Monetarism was to break the post war consensus which had given working people unprecedented wealth – a welfare state, a national health service, free education, participatory democracy – and to redistribute that wealth to where its proponents believed it should go: back to the very rich. It did this by deregulating the banks, by breaking the trade unions, by selling off public assets, and by a form of social engineering in which traditional Labour voters were lured into property ownership by selling their council houses to them at drastically reduced rates, and in this way, getting them into debt. Debt became the driving force of the new economy.

Within one year of this we had the first riot: in St Pauls in Bristol.

The Enemy Within

In 1984 Thatcher took on and defeated the Miners. She called the Miners “The Enemy Within”. They were the bastion of working class solidarity in the United Kingdom, fiercely socialist in their outlook. This came directly from their work. Mining is a dangerous job. People who work underground have to watch each other’s backs. This creates a form of solidarity which they then bring back to the surface with them, into the over ground world.*

It is out of adversity that socialism arises. It is out of love. Solidarity is another word for love.

The National Union of Mineworkerswas an organisation of love. You listen to any old Miner talking about their union, and you will hear it. You will hear it in the tone of their voice and in the words they use. It was their organisation, forged out of their solidarity, out of the bonds created in the terrible conditions they encountered in their work, out of their history of struggle, out of loyalty to their class and their fierce independence. The NUM actively stood against the kind of world that Thatcher was promoting. It had to be destroyed.

We had love, and they had greed, and greed won. The defeat of the Miners lead directly to the kind of world we live in now.

There was an irony here. Thatcher appealed to a form of cod patriotism. She promoted patriotic values, waving her rhetorical flag for the assembled audience. And yet she helped destroy this most British of institutions, the National Union of Mineworkers, and to undermine trade unionism as a whole – a British invention – while encouraging an invasion of international corporations in the service industry, such as McDonalds, in which trade unionism was actively banned.

Waving the patriotic flag while inviting a foreign invasion. There’s a word we normally use for this. Under other circumstances we would call it “treason”.

McWages

If the young are not initiated into the village,
they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.

African proverb.

Roll on 30 years, to a new Tory government, to a new Monetarism, to a new austerity, a new Thatcherism.

And don’t be in any doubt that this is exactly what it is. When George Osborne told MPs that his deficit-cutting plan had made Britain a “safe haven in the global debt storm”, what he meant was that the financial institutions, to which he is obligated, have approved of his policies. They don’t have to loot the British economy, because Osborne is already handing the loot to them.

It’s a form of protection racket. The world has already seen what a financial mugging looks like. They’ve already broken the backs of governments in Ireland and Portugal and Greece. Give us your wealth, they say, or this is the fate that lies in store for you too. Give us your public property. Privatise, privatise, privatise, and no institution – not even the Health Service – is sacred.

That is what deficit reduction means. It means privatisation: not by the back door, but by the front door. Financial looting. It means taking British capital, currently held by the British state, and handing it over to financial institutions at a reduced rate. “Waving the patriotic flag while inviting a foreign invasion” again.

We are in the midst of an age of unprecedented structural change in our world, a return to feudalism. Feudalism arose out of the collapse of the Roman Empire. It involved a robber class living off the back of a servant class, using rent as its means. The new Feudal Lords use financial rent – indebtedness – in the same way. What we are watching is the collapse of the New Roman Empire into a new Dark Age of institutionalised plunder, a takeover by the banks.

The austerity measures are already being implemented, and it is the young who are being targeted. So tuition fees are going up to £9,000 a year, while theEducation Maintenance Allowance for 16-19 year old has been scrapped. Inflation is rampant, while real wages are declining. There is no future for the young. No jobs, no education, no skills, no apprenticeships. These were mostly scrapped by Thatcher 30 years ago. A nation built on skill has been reduced to a service economy, to McJobs and McWages in a McSociety.

You can call it “muck” if you like.

As Above So Below

“When your most elite, most powerful members of society adopt a strategy of plundering…. they will develop a morality that doesn’t simply permit plundering, but valorises it. When that happens the moral structures of a society will inevitably deteriorate. In the upper classes that leads to polite looting. In the underclass it leads to street looting.”

Bill Black on the Keiser Report, 16/08/2008

The illusion that’s been created is that we are separate beings. We are not. We are social beings. Margaret Thatcher was entirely wrong when she said there was no such thing as society. Society is the very essence of who we are. We are tied together by bonds of language, by bonds of morality, by bonds of loyalty, by bonds of family, by bonds of society, by bonds of love. You break those bonds and the social world begins to fall apart.

Society is the individual writ large. The individual is society in microcosm. As above, so below. The unconscious is not underneath us, it is around us. It is not inside of us, it is outside of us. The unconscious is that part of ourselves that lies in other people. It is in the obligations we owe to the people around us, in our human interactions, only barely recognised, as we negotiate our way around our social world.

In the individual personality, rampant, out-of-control egotism is a form of mental illness. Commonly called psychopathy, it is a mental state in which the individual only concerns himself with his own gratification. So if a psychopath gets pleasure from murder, then he will murder, free from conscience, because personal gratification is his only concern. Not every psychopath is a murderer, though. There are psychopaths all around us, and everyone is capable of psychopathic behaviour. Everyone who seeks personal gratification at the expense of his fellow creatures is a psychopath to some degree.

In the social sphere, the financial sector is a kind of collective psychopath, destroying the health of the economy for its private gratification. We honour the psychopath in our current world. It is the world of private gratification through private power. We give power to the psychopath, while denuding and deriding thecommon good that arises from our common world.

All private wealth is won at the expense of the commons. What we are witnessing right now are the new enclosure acts, the new clearances. We are beings born of the commons and not only our economic, but also our mental and emotional health, is measured by how much we bring to the common good.

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a sixgun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.”

Pretty Boy Floyd by Woody Guthrie.

Democracy

“If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.” Gandhi.

I saw a BBC reporter interviewing a community activist in one of the riot areas. The activist compared what was happening to the Arab Spring. “But this is a democracy,” the reporter said, in a slightly defensive tone.

Is it though?

There are four pillars to a functioning democracy. We need an effective police force, a free press, rational political institutions and an efficient financial system. All of them must be regulated and free from corruption. What we have instead is a corrupt police force in hock to a corrupt press, with corrupt politicians serving the interests of a corrupt financial elite. Corruption from top to bottom. Corruption in every avenue of our public life. Top policemen taking bribes, politicians on the make, an intrusive and bullying press, distracting us with trivia and gossip, while covering up its own illegal practices, and a City of London which is entirely out of regulatory control, and which is plundering the nation’s resources for its own private gain.

And you wonder why the young riot? The kids are looting the shops. The banks are looting the nation.

Then we have the Labour Party – the Party created by the working class in the early part of the last century to institute socialist policies through democratic means – being seduced by high finance, and taking part in the financial rape of this country. Tony Blair amassing a personal fortune by taking us to war. Gordon Brown bailing out the banks and indebting the nation, borrowing money from the banks to give to the banks, imposing dangerous levels of debt on future generations. Peter Mandelson declaring: “We are all Thatcherites now.” What hope for us when even our own party stands against us?

The Empire of Things

“These people are living in a financial prison, and this is a prison riot.”

Max Keiser on the Keiser Report, 16/08/2008

We’ve had over 30 years of rampant individualism, of consumerism, of me-ism and the devil take the hindmost; 30 years of mortgaging our future to pay for our present consumption; 30 years of selling off our birthright for a mess of consumerist pottage; 30 years of corruption and greed, of the worship of Things. It is an Empire of Things. So we have our technology and our consumer durables, our computers and our mobile phones, our technical baubles. Well some of us have. Many of us don’t have these Things. The young in particular, don’t have these Things. The young from the sink estates, the second and third generation underclass.

So we’ve set these Things up in place of our values. We’ve substituted them for the social ties that used to bind us together, and we’ve told the young who can’t afford these Things, that they are the only measure of value, that you don’t count unless you can flaunt these Things in the faces of your peers. That only Things count. And then society starts to break down under the pressure of the new Feudal arrangements, in which we are becoming economic vassals paying homage to debt, and the kids take to the streets in a blind fury of acquisitive excitement. And what do they do? They steal. They loot. They plunder. They obey the rules laid down on them by the Empire of Things. They collect the very Things we told them to, declaring fealty to the Things that are our Lords in the new fiefdom of debt.

They do what we tell them to do and then we punish them for it.

The bankers have plundered the economy, and they have been rewarded. The politicians have plundered their expenses, and they still sit in Parliament. The Murdoch Press has corrupted our values, and yet they are still allowed to own newspapers. The police have taken bribes, and yet they talk brazenly of the criminality of the streets.

Young people are put in gaol for the theft of a bottle of water, while bankers are given bonuses for the plunder of nations. People are losing their homes because their children are suspected of rioting, while politicians, who claimed for multiple homes on their expenses, are allowed to bleat on about rioters and looters from their privileged position in the House of Commons.

It’s at this point that I would like to agree with Margaret Thatcher. As she said: “People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

To whom do we owe the obligation? To society, of course.

*Anyone who doubts this should consider the Chilean Miners. During their first 17 days underground – before they were contacted, when they were nearly starving, and fearful that the probes might not find them – they had instituted a form of democracy, a form of socialism, which many of them say saved them from a descent into barbarity.

This article originally appeared on C J Stone’s website and is reproduced here with his permission.

If all our news were truthful, questions would be illegal…wouldn’t they?

9 Apr

I have started an argument with an online news editor.

I could have done a thousand other things but the voice inside my head said: “Go for it! Speak up NOW!”

This is the same voice that once advised me to accuse a policeman of lying on oath while I was standing in the dock and had already managed to annoy the judge.

This voice also advised me to confront two street robbers who held very long knives and were in the process of throwing a mini cab driver onto a railway line.

This voice gets me into trouble but it also saves my soul. It allows me to confront and to question when the easy way out is to ignore or withdraw.

The online news editor – we shall call him by his acronym ‘ONE’ , is a reasonable, educated and good – natured soul. I know this for a fact because of ONE’s replies so far.

ONE has enough to do already without needing to waste time engaged in spurious debates with strangers. ONE’s replies to my criticism have been in the form of questions. ONE moves the debate between us onward with intelligence and good humour and I try to respond in the same way.

I hope I succeed because if I do not, I know that ONE will spot the crack in my armour and a spear will dispatch me in an instant. I am certain that I would do the same if I get the chance.

Now, I am going to reveal what I am arguing with ONE about. Perhaps, you will suddenly see me in a different way.

We are arguing over the use of the question mark.

*?*

For a  journalist, the question mark is sacred. It drives their world, their identity and their reason for turning up for work each day. They ask questions.

For a reader, the question mark is an outrage. A reader seeks answers. We only read because we already have a question mark in our head. We are trying to remove the damned thing.

ONE writes headlines with a question mark at the end.

I don’t like this. I tell ONE that it is not the job of a journalist. Journalists should not write headlines that end in a question mark.

ONE replies to me:

“Why??????”

I instantly adore ONE’s answer and I want to frame it. Behind a sheet of slate.

“Because I believe that the essence of reportage is to provide answers, not debate uncertainty”

ONE replies to me:

“Agreed, reports should probably explain rather than pose questions, but surely Twitter is not reportage?????????”

I chew over my relationship with Twitter before suggesting to him:

“It evolves as we use it, changing from look-at-me platform to echo-platform to breaking-newsroom. Hot news at its best, period.”

ONE has better things to do and goes off and does them.

I use the time to write this post on my WordPress blog and clarify my battle plans. Have I won my point? I doubt it.

ONE has asked the Big Question.

Is Twitter reportage?

The word reportage is defined as the means of reporting news.

ONE is making an important point here.

ONE is suggesting that Twitter does not itself report news but is instead, something other. Twitter is a ‘platform’, a soap-box on which we can all stand and shout.

ONE is suggesting that Twitter is the means by which we link to news. It is not the news report itself.

ONE is pointing out that by capturing our attention with a question mark, we will follow the link to the report and read the story. ONE is selling the story on Twitter and not reporting it.

Now, this is a wonderful day for me and ONE to be slugging this argument out. Why? Because yesterday morning, Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke. Thatcher was once a famous and powerful British Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher’s death is just a simple and natural occurrence. We get old and we die. It happens to us all.

But Thatcher’s death has unleashed a huge news battle across the internet and the lives of those in Britain. Some welcome her death and others mourn it.

Those that welcome her death do so because the secrets that she hid from the world when she was a powerful leader are now one step closer to being released for the press to report. Many of these secret documents can only be released after her death.

Those that mourn her death are the ones who broadly benefit from those secrets staying locked away.

The most powerful interests are held by the press who wish to maintain her image as a force for good.

The weakest footing is held by those who cannot argue their case until all the documents she hid away are revealed to the world and become common knowledge for the first time.

You see, Thatcher used her power to suppress facts from being reported that might harm her power to rule or cause unrest among the already angry sections of  Britain’s population.

Those among us who personally witnessed the gross censorship and distortion of news under her rule are powerless to speak out because our evidence is locked away in dusty vaults.

We purse our lips as her powerful friends weep Hollywood tears at her passing so that they gain a better seat at her funeral wake.

We wait until we can question what actually went on in secret and get an answer. We cannot do this yet because the facts are still withheld from the journalists who will reveal them. Some files are locked away for seventy years.

One day they will come out. One day, the news will be more truthful than it is today.

ONE is right.

Twitter is just a railway station where trains carrying truth arrive and depart. We get on them if we choose and we are transported to where we want to be. ONE is just a guard with a flag, shouting the destinations and helping people get on board. You want to go here? Get on this carriage. You want to go there? Next train.

But Twitter has one unique element.

It is not owned by the wealthy and influential news groups who have an interest in pitching a certain version of the truth.

Twitter is the place where truth, lies and fantasy are all available and we are allowed to choose. Where the process of news starts and where it is advertised once it is ready for us to read it.

In between us and our news is a man or a woman who has to ask questions on our behalf.

And ONE has to occasionally ask us questions to make sure that we are listening.

And a truth unspoken is a lie that sleeps.

UK: A part of Europe yet apart.

25 Nov

This is the view of Britain that you can see if you look west from the edge of Europe. It has not changed since the birth of religion. This view remains constant. It is the view one gets from any ship or ferry that is heading to the Port of Dover, England.

To the home-coming Brit, first time visitor or the migrant, this view emerges usually from a cloak of  mist and cloud. The grey finger of land looms ever closer until great cliffs reveal the entrance to the small but restless port.

These last few minutes of the journey let you see yourself and your fellow ferry travelers as you really are. On deck or looking through the huge windows from the passenger lounges, we all stare at this view in silence.

There is nothing to point at, no comment worth making, no detail to arrest one’s thoughts until one is almost there.

I watch as a group of young Eastern European men and women put arms around each other’s shoulders as they gaze. One of them turns and hugs his friend and I see his cheeks are streamed wet with tears, his reddened eyes blinking furiously. His friends crowd round and he breaks his embrace and laughs and hugs them. They all laugh and hug.

By contrast, the well-dressed elderly couple turn away from the railing. He fishes a handkerchief from his sharply ironed trousers and blows his nose. She opens her handbag and suddenly rummages inside it as if attempting to kill a particularly defensive small rodent.

‘Have you got the keys…?’

Her shocked voice barks out to him, echoing across the deck above the hum and whine of the ship’s engines.

‘Yes.’ He replies, returning his handkerchief to its appointed pocket and inspecting with great enthusiasm the grey plastic decking beneath his brown and immaculately polished brogues.

A mother and father spill out through the cabin door onto the deck and repeatedly call for Imogen. Imogen leaves her position by the hand rail near me and becomes tried, found guilty, sentenced and punished in the few seconds it needs for her tired parents to dispense rough justice.

I watch as my brother takes a last photograph from the stern of the closely packed long-distance trucks that litter the open hold below. Sailors are cracking undone the chains that bind their dusty trailers to the deck and the ship’s tannoy is welcoming us to the Port of Dover in English, French and finally, Polish.

‘It sounds better in Polish’ says my brother, slipping his camera back into his jacket. ‘The French version somehow lacks a certain enthusiasm.’

Our great ferry is now shuddering violently as if something large and expensive to replace has broken loose in the engine room. The stern foams as black harbour water is angrily hurled elsewhere to let us turn and line up the bow doors with ramp number fourteen. The ferry over at ramp number nine  begins to depart and we all start to file below, down the stairs to the car deck.

As the 40 tonne trucks are let out of the holds beneath us, people go through the complex nesting procedures that are required to drive an unbroken journey from the dock to home, hundreds of miles inland.

The baby’s bottle needs to be got from underneath the suitcase in the back. The raincoats need to be folded away on the left so that father can see out of the right. The lady in the Audi TT needs her driving shoes on and her stilettos off and stored behind her. Imogen needs to be reminded once more of areas in her behaviour where her mother seeks lasting improvement.

I need to peel the black tape from my headlights so that they can once again shine more brightly to the left. I need to check the oil and water. Doing so fills the drivers behind me in the queue with horror. I am lifting the bonnet. I must have broken down. They are now trapped behind me. They will never be able to leave the ferry. I have ruined their entire holiday. I should not be allowed to drive. I drop the bonnet from shoulder height and stare back at them. Suckers. It works every time.

Our passports were checked earlier by the French Customs officer at the port in France. Then again at the next cabin fifty metres further along in the concrete wasteland by the British Customs officer in France. Then, once parked up in lines and waiting for our ferry, our load space was again checked by a British Customs officer in France.

Now, we leave the ship and join the queue that leads to the British Customs in Britain. Their concrete cave nestles at the foot of the towering cliffs of Dover. We are invited in.

The British Customs in Britain dance and swerve between the two slowly moving queues of heavily laden cars. They wave and point and beckon, let three cars straight through then stop the fourth and lean in to ask a quick question of the driver. The driver must not do two things. He must not sound nervous when asked out of the blue if he has visited Holland and his breath must not smell of alcohol.

Four policemen with loaded machine guns and hands on triggers ensure that we all focus on where we all are and why we are all here. You may look the policemen in the eye but you may not out-stare them. Not unless you wish to be beckoned to steer to the left and to a bay marked out on the wet concrete floor for those who may not understand. Look away. Appear bored and impatient.

The Eastern Europeans in their minibus are waved straight through. Customs are already fully aware who they are. The old couple are stopped. Duty Free alcohol. Where is it? How many bottles? Are there more bottles they have bought in France? Where? In the back? Show me. Fine. Thank you. Move on. The old man’s face is flushed. He was not expecting that. The customs officer knows that and that is precisely why he stopped him. You’d be surprised who tries to break the law.

My brother and I are waved straight through. Our car is sunken on its springs with over a hundred wine bottles that fill the cabin and boot under our coats and jackets. The Customs officers already know that. We are on a day trip. We are bound to be maxed out on wine that costs a quarter of the British price and tastes twice as good. We won’t be smuggling. You don’t get rich smuggling wine using a VW Golf. You use a Mercedes estate with self-levelling suspension, like the old couple did.

I am bringing into Britain what I am entitled to by British Customs. EU law says that the British are allowed to bring as much of whatever they want into Britain as members of a free-trade union of countries called the European Union. That is what free trade is all about.

But that cuts no ice with British Customs officials. They say that I am only allowed to bring in 100 litres of wine and a kilo of tobacco. Every now and then. Not too often.

Britain is different. We are an island. See photo at top of page for further clarification.

New U.K. Immigrant Citizen Test: If you pass it, you’ll end up like us.

1 Jul

The UK Home Office is re-writing the test given to immigrants wishing to become British citizens. If you are an immigrant to the UK and are currently thinking of applying for British citizenship, then Roadwax is pleased to welcome you to this sceptered isle and provide you with the following information.

A Brief Definition of the United Kingdom:

The UK is made up of a group of different countries who are not actually united. These countries are: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  To get round the obvious problem of historical and cultural disunity, the government describes the citizens of these four countries as collectively being “British”.

Wales, Scotland and Ireland all have their own languages and cultural beliefs. The British government has fought hard to stamp these out and officially obliterate them over the last two centuries. Only a few weeks ago, the young lad carrying the Olympic torch through Cornwall had his Cornish flag ripped from his grasp by a security official, obviously anxious to promote social harmony and cultural respect. This bullying and suppression has served only to enhance the differences within Britain and reinforce mass contempt for Whitehall.

Immigrant communities also bring with them their own cultural values and belief systems. Likewise, these are tolerated so long as they do not significantly threaten to change the existing system of law or social hierarchy. If they do appear to threaten the existing system then they will be suppressed by either destabilising the particular community or by making the cultural practise illegal, or both.

Britain is ruled by a Monarch called Queen Elizabeth. She has no actual power and does not actually rule. Although she is seen as the figurehead of British society, Queen Elizabeth is herself half German and is married to a Greek. To stop people continuing to notice that they are both foreigners, they use the false surname: Windsor. Like many British people, the Royal Family claim Benefits (financial support) from the government so that they can survive.

A Brief History of Britain:

Britain is an island, just off the coast of the continent of Europe. Every tribe and culture of significance has taken turns in trying to invade it, set fire to it, rape and pillage it and rule it. Ruling it (staying in power) is the difficult bit.

The Romans built a wall to keep out the tribes from Scotland but then realised that the Scots were using it to keep them out instead. The Romans left.

The Norwegians and French invaded and then realised that ‘invading a country’ is quite different from ‘ruling a country’.

The Spanish tried to invade but forgot to bring enough seaworthy boats.

The French tried to invade again, remembered to bring enough seaworthy boats but forgot to steer them properly.

The German 3rd Reich tried to invade, cut out all the complicated stuff involving boats, used bombers instead but forgot to bring enough of them.

From time to time, other cultures have attempted to invade Britain and overthrow its ruling elite. Both USA and Russia have tried controlling Britain through a mixture of cultural dominance and diplomatic blackmail. Both have failed.

If you are considering invading Britain or overthrowing its ruling elite yourself, you might consider first trying a practise run on a smaller, much easier island. For example, Sark…

A Brief Explanation of the Political and Legal System

Britain has always been ruled by a small elite, taken from a group of wealthy, educated and powerful British families. To hide the fact that this is effectively an ‘Oligarchy’, a democratic system of government is now installed and elections are regularly held. However, whoever wins these elections and becomes the Prime Minister nearly always becomes deeply socially connected to this elite. Go figure.

The present Prime Minister and Chancellor are so deeply embedded in this traditional ruling elite that their grasp or understanding of everyday life for millions of normal citizens is seriously questioned. Their own awareness of their lack of credibility among non-millionaire British voters is doubted.

After more than a century of mass voting, the 95% of Britain’s wealth and land ownership has curiously ended up staying with the 3% of those most wealthy families who have ‘owned’  it for centuries, having originally stolen it as local warlords many centuries ago. So much for democracy.

Britain does not have a written Constitution nor statement of citizens’ rights. British people have no actual rights of their own. All citizens’ rights are over-ruled by laws introduced recently “in the interests of National Security”. Nobody is quite sure what those interests are since Britain’s state interests are a secret.

Citizens no longer have the absolute right to defend themselves in a court. They are instead appointed a lawyer through the Judicial System. If a citizen can afford a lawyer to represent themselves (instead of the one appointed to them by the legal system) then that lawyer will normally also come from a family associated with the ruling elite.

The British Judiciary itself accepts openly that it is made up of a small elite, almost entirely connected by genetic and social ties. It acknowledges that this is not democratic and that it is trying to rectify this situation. Despite this admission, there appears no evidence of a genuine effort to change the system.

A Brief Explanation of the Cultural Beliefs of Britain

Historically, Britain is liberal-minded and only extremist cultures and groups find they struggle to survive. Every religious or political group that has attempted to enforce an extreme belief upon the British has failed. Facism, Catholicism, Protestantism have all failed through their use of violence, physical abuse and financial extortion.

Every Prime Minister who has taken Britain into war or used excessive force against British citizens has fallen from power almost immediately, never to return. Recent examples are: Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

The British belief in ‘fair play’ is generally supported across all social classes. Unfairness is seen as a greater sin than dishonesty.

This is because ‘honesty’ is not seen as the same thing as ‘fair play’. The British reserve their right to privacy and defend it as much as they still can. But in the current and recent public scandals involving politicians and business leaders, it has been a revelation to many British citizens to watch their leaders being openly dishonest, defending themselves by lying in such a way that they cannot actually be proven to be guilty of a crime.

This blatant manipulation of the law has caused the majority of British citizens to turn their backs in contempt against  the Establishment – the political leaders and judiciary – and this is shown by the ever-declining numbers who now bother to vote. The Establishment has no problem with this trend because it serves to secure their grip, not weaken it.

There is a growing belief in British society that fair play does not apply to the wealthy, that one’s honesty is never seriously questioned if one is powerful. Therefore, prison and punishment exist only to keep the disadvantaged citizen in line.  Wrong-doers who are both wealthy and influential never get sent to prison.

As has often been said about the British Legal System: “…Just like The Ritz Hotel, it is open to everyone who can afford it…”

Why Britain Needs More Immigrants to Become Citizens:

Britain needs tens of thousands of migrants to settle in this country and become British citizens. The government is doing all it can to attract particularly wealthy and educated citizens. They spend more.

Britain needs these immigrants to work hard, earn hard, spend hard, consume goods and services that have huge taxes applied to them (like fuel, education and housing) so that extra revenue is created to pay for the massive cost of keeping the system going without changing it.

The BBC website notices that The Sunday Times says that immigrants will be told:

“…historically the UK is a Christian country…”  Interestingly, the BBC forgot to insert the original comma after the word ‘historically’. So, not a very good grasp of written English from the BBC, there…

The Sunday Times reports:

“…In an explicit attack on Islamic fundamentalism, it [the Home Office] states that there is “no place in British society for extremism and intolerance”…”

…er, no – zero points to David Leppard and Jack Grimston from the Sunday Times, who wrote the article. That is an implicit attack, not an explicit one. Actually, it probably isn’t an attack on Islamic fundamentalism at all.

It is merely stating the bleedin’ obvious.

So, the BBC and The Sunday Times, both quintessential pillars of “Britishness”, are only semi-literate. And Theresa May, the Home Secretary (or: “home secretary” as The Times describes her – a secretary who works from home) is making an ass of herself by trying to re-write the questions in the handbook for immigrants applying for citizenship of Britain.

Theresa wants you to learn the first verse of the national anthem. She has removed the bits about claiming benefits and the Human Rights Act. You will have to learn a little bit about our famous battles, artists, poets, inventors. The test will last about 45 minutes.

You will not need to know about how the legal system works, nor explain why we do not have a declaration of citizens rights. You will not be asked how much you can buy a knighthood for, even though the price is quite clearly between £2m and £5m.

You will pass the test.

You will become one of us.

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