All posts by Bill Sticker

Expatriate observer of life in the UK and British Columbia, Canada. Politically slightly right of centre with a pro libertarian bias. Writes, publishes and now a lot more relaxed about life in general. Is keeping his British accent for tax purposes.

How much?

Which was my reaction to my lawyers bill this morning. Fifteen hundred quid. Which I suppose is just the cost of doing business Internationally, plus another fifty dollars for notarised documents from my end. Lawyers are essential to the process and they sometimes get things wrong. Which is what happened to me recently. For a given value of ‘sometimes’ because the laws are so damn complicated that all my business partner’s legal eagle can do on some occasions is take an educated guess. I reluctantly took advice I was given as gospel and it turned out to be so wrong it was a mirror image of what should have been done. I was half way inclined not to pay up, but then relented, simply because the effort to change lawyers would be time consuming and expensive. Contracts being what they are.

However, remedial measures are in place and six months down the line I’ll more than have recouped my ‘loss’ and will be looking forward to a bumper payout. Which could have been avoided if everyone had done what I asked two flaming years ago. I’d sue, only the legal fees would swallow up my gains to no good purpose, and prolong a business relationship in which I truly don’t want to remain. The whole business has been a real eye opener for me, but also confirmed to me that my business instincts are pretty sound. Which is, in a way, good. For a given value of ‘good’. Live and learn, eh?

The business instincts of mainstream politicians, however, appear to range from bad to utterly appalling. Especially when they think they can ‘change the world’ to some sort of Utopian pipe dream. Funny thing. Every time the current crop of politically educated, never worked in commerce in their life politicians try to change stuff they always fuck up. Which would indicate to me a distinct disconnect somewhere in their thought processes. Also in the thought processes of the people they con into electing them. This has been a constant puzzlement, not only to me, but I suspect the rest of the world in general.

At least until this morning, when I was checking some of the fittings on our new IKEA made King size bed, which had somehow worked loose and threatened to dump us on the floor in the middle of some dark and stormy night. Not an edifying prospect.

The fault lay with me. I am not a carpenter, although I do know one end of a wood chisel from another, I’m no better than the average DIYer (Which is a damning indictment in itself). Nor am I one of IKEA’s rather cunning furniture designers. When reassembling the bed just over two weeks ago, I had not used the correct tool to tighten the fitting in question, so it had not properly engaged and needed to be undone and re-engaged. Which involved stripping the bed down to the base frame and re-engaging the offending bits. All is now solid and we can sleep and (ahem) whatever without risk of night time disaster. Half an hours work and an easy fix. And it set a train of thought chugging out of the sidings of my mind onto the main line.

That thought was that the politically educated rhetoricians who form the bulk of elected officials and representatives in many Western ‘Democracies’ are the wrong people to give the job of governing or setting policy in the first place. True, as we’ve seen with Obama and Trudeau, they can talk a pretty talk, but are well and truly into Chocolate Teapot territory when it comes to actually doing the job they’ve been hired for. Which is to make the lives of the majority they supposedly represent better. Not to pander to the five minute lifespan whims of minority interests from both left and right. Or to the 0.1% of the mega rich. Like with my experience reassembling the IKEA bed, this particular type of politicians are the wrong tool for the job.

Trump on the other hand, now there’s a thing. He can actually run large scale real estate projects, business empires, TV series, Pageants. Despite what some commentators have actually said about his lack of ‘experience’, the only experience he lacks is exactly the sort that has gotten the West into the mess it’s in. He is patently not an experienced rhetorician, which is his greatest strength. He has a clarity of vision and drive to achieve it, not some vague hopey changey schtick to fool the peons into voting for him. Or even the “Vote for me-I’m not as bad as the other guy.” partisanship that seems to drive so many to the polling booths.

As proof I would point to Trumps powers of persuasion, which even before Friday’s inauguration, have succeeded in repatriating jobs from overseas. He’s done more good for the USA in his days before taking office than Clinton, Bush Jnr and Obama in all of their terms as president. All those three ever did was preside over the biggest transfer of wealth from the middle and working classes to a close circle of globalist speculators and their hangers-on. Who, incidentally, are fond of telling the rest of us peasants via their paid proxies how to live then getting their minions all bent out of shape when the populace at large tells them to get stuffed.

Which is what BREXIT and Trumps election are. A big fuck-you-sunshine middle finger to these ‘elites’ pushing ‘Democratic Socialism’ which is as close as you can get to fascism without it actually being fascism. All the bollocks about those who voted against it doing so because of ‘racism’, ‘sexism’ and whatever ‘phobia’ is flavour of the month is just unadulterated wibble fit only for landfill. The only ‘Socialism’ these people want is to legalise wholesale theft of ordinary people’s income and assets and give them to the 0.1%, the mega rich who buy influence at the highest level with favours and things like ‘Free family holidays’ and perks for high level politicians. Or promises of a cushy sinecure at the end of their term. Or an estate paid for by the taxpayer, because well, the hired mouth of a politician in question is just so important, right? Even though the truth is that these rhetoricians are like buses. There’s none for ages then they all turn up at once with the begging bowl out. All after taxpayer dollar to fund their exalted lifestyles.

Conversely, Trump is only taking a dollar a year during his term as US President instead of the USD$400,000 salary (Plus Perks), only taking the expenses the US Presidency attracts like flying on Air Force One, having the White House and all its staff as a residence, and a pretty hefty piece of kit to be driven around in, not a fleet of nine like Obama, one of which notoriously got stuck on a ramp in Ireland (Video here). Which is a big ‘Only’ but Trump has attracted such hate from a bunch of sore losers, he needs all the protection he can get.

When it comes to the expensive failures of globalist ‘professional’ politicians like Obama and Trudeau presiding over (and I think prolonging) a near continuous economic stagnation. I look at Trump and his general philosophy, and you know what? I think he’s the right tool for the job.

No such thing as ‘Revenue Neutral’

I often spend the early hours of the morning answering transatlantic queries that I could have sworn I answered six months ago. Like this morning, and the one before that. To confirm my suspicions I went into my saved emails, ran a simple text string search and, yup. Already told ’em that. In the same words no less. Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with Goldfish level attention spans because I have the annoying (To my opponents) ability to recall what was said on a given topic for some time afterwards. And if I’m not sure of a critical detail I bloody well go and check. I make no claims to more than a slightly better than average intelligence, however, some so-called ‘qualified’ people make me despair.

Like with this stupid ‘Carbon tax’ we’re going to get foisted on us by the idiot fop Canadians made Prime Minister. Like with the carbon tax the NDP have just dumped on the Albertans. And these dumb fuck politicians say their new tax will be ‘revenue neutral’.

Well there isn’t such a thing as revenue neutrality. If tax is applied then it has to be collected. New taxes always have a collection cost. Administrative staff need to be recruited and paid, new (often very expensive) offices built or leased and furnished, electricity, sewerage and water for all those workers so they don’t have to work with their legs permanently crossed. Computer systems and support staff. Money to pay for the phone bills and software licences. Then there’s the kind of Ouroboros-like effect of taxing government employees to pay for their own wages, offices, phone and electricity etcetera, etcetera. With every new tax, the tax collection system has to be enlarged. Web sites have to be built with FAQ’s and phone lines to keep frustrated taxpayers on while they stare disbelievingly at the way taxation has just taken yet another bite out of their stagnated income.

In short, you can’t get more out than you put in. Which is a fundamental law of economics. ‘Revenue neutral’ is one of those ghastly hollow little soundbites used by virtue signalling left of centre politicians who don’t have to keep a vice like grip on the family budget. The politico’s and their hangers on (By contrast to ordinary people, for a given value of ‘ordinary’) have privileged little lives insulated from the effects of their actions. What they can’t see is the simple fact that any new tax, like, let me see, the insane ‘Carbon tax’ that Albertans have just been saddled with cannot ever be ‘revenue neutral’. No matter how many cheques are sent out to the people they’ve just sent careering down the slope to energy poverty. Someone has to pay for all the people to administer such a scheme. Ergo any tax take is not going to be anything like ‘revenue neutral’. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this anyway.

Don’t even get me started on the David Suzuki bullshit about ‘saving the planet’ as justification for the new Carbon tax. What does he know? He’s an Entomologist for Christs sake, not an atmospheric physicist. His field, before he found there was more money to be made in advocacy and media whoring, was the study of insects. Ergo, anything he has to say on a climate science can reasonably be assumed to be no more well informed than some random bloke down the pub. Atmospheric Physics requires some serious Mathematical skill, which very few people have, even then climate modelling has failed dismally to reflect reality. Although I do admire Suzuki’s ability for making millions out of scare story advocacy. He’s made a mint from speaking fees and public appearances. The fact that all his prognostications of climate doom have repeatedly been shown to be complete and utter bollocks make me that much more in awe of his talent for turning dross into cold hard cash. That and his much-cited demand to be escorted by a ‘bodyguard’ of the hottest girls on campus. You have to take your hat off to the sheer, bare faced chutzpah of the old con merchant.

Mind you, I don’t think Suzuki had much sway over Harper, but his resurgence as influence over a half wit drama teacher who looks like Mick Jagger was his real father has to be admired. As for when Trump takes office at the end of this week and the pseudo-environmentalists like Suzuki lose their influence within the US, I will be listening to the outraged wails with a grim smile on my face.

Socially contructed

Mrs S loses her leg splint today. I may borrow it when my rugby injured knee starts it’s periodic grumbling. Outside it’s cold and bright, and there’s a massive cloud band over the Juan De Fuca Straits to the sparkling lights of Port Angeles in the USA and the peaks of the Olympic mountains peering over the top. Our new apartment has more much space and my office a cracking view.

Meandering through the morning news, trying manfully to sort the faction from fact, I kept on bumping into the weird idea that gender is a ‘social construct’ To which my response was “WTF!” Especially over a so-called ‘pregnant man’ getting death threats. Because she’s not a man, she’s a surgically altered female on hormone treatments. In order to carry a foetus to term she still must have her Uterus still in place. If she truly was a ‘man’ she would be having an Ectopic or ‘non uterine’ pregnancy, which are usually fatal if untreated.

Open any worthwhile reference book on human biology and read the sections on the male and female Endocrine and reproductive systems, along with certain structures in the brain like the corpus callosum, which tends to be thicker in women than men. This will inform the reader who has an above room temperature IQ, that men and women are quite distinct but complementary members of the species Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans, if like me you are a Pratchett fan).

You are biologically male or female, and no amount of surgery and hormone treatment can turn a man into a woman or vice versa because the glands will always be wrong. Or until some clever dick perfects a genetic technology that can change XX chromosomes to XY and vice versa, which isn’t likely. Then there’s all the new bits that need to be added, like testes and their biological support mechanisms, or a uterus and ovaries. Which is just the obvious stuff. Never mind all those more subtle differences in the brain, circulatory and endocrine systems. The differences between male and female are more than just sex organs, the skeletons are quite distinct, the biggest giveaway being the angle of the pelvis, even if you miss the obvious brow ridge structure of the adult male skull. Or the laryngeal prominence of the male ‘Adams apple’ which is a thickening of the throat cartilage that happens around puberty. Or… well I could go on and on (and on), but you get the picture, yes?

Where the ‘gender is a social construct’ nonsense falls in the biological stakes is at the first hurdle. From even the most cursory analysis the whole concept throws its jockey and then stands looking over the fence neighing with laughter, if you’ll forgive my horse racing metaphor. Even the most casual glance shows that the whole idea is arrant nonsense. Because anatomy and physiology trumps ‘social’ every time. And while surgeons can give the appearance of gender fluidity, it will always be an echoing shell of misery to the patient. Personal anecdote here; having looked after a couple of Transexuals back in the day, both of whom I found out had committed suicide (Nothing to do with me Guv, honest), I’m convinced that these are deeply unhappy individuals for whom life has no respite. I have sympathy for that unhappiness of course, but that sympathy is tempered with a soupcon of “You made your own bed, chum.”

As for the people in liberal arts academia who push these strange ideas, they too should be objects of pity rather than scorn. They cannot fully come to terms with the realities of their own sexuality and as a compensatory mechanism try to project their deeply flawed philosophy on the rest of us. It’s an academic fad, a fashion, an aberration. Yet the real harm these rather unhinged ideas do to individuals, rather like the pregnant ‘man’, will last lifetimes.

You know, the Communist Chinese and Soviet Russians used to complain that the west was “Decadent” meaning that our culture and morals were in decline. Consulting a gently grazing Thesaurus from my bookshelf, I find that one of the synonyms for decadent is ‘lost’. Poor bastards.

As usual, Python got there first.

Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.

IKEA Bookcase Building

To-day we have IKEA bookcase building. Yesterday,
We emptied more boxes. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after cleaning. But to-day,
To-day we have IKEA Bookcase building.
Snow glistens like coral in neighbouring gardens,
And to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

This is the lower shelf fixing. And this
Is the upper shelf fixing, whose use you will see,
When you find the damn screws. And this is the middle screw fixing,
Which in your case can’t be found in the box.
Bare branches rattle in gardens with silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the upper left retaining widget, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb.
For heaven’s sake don’t use your finger.
Else you’ll trap it between the next side.
Icicles are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the mid shelf.
The purpose of this is to fix the mid shelf, as you see.
We can slide it easily sidewards and downward: we call this adjusting the gap.
And easily sidewards and downward.
Ice fern patterns melt slowly from windows:
They call it adjusting the gap.

They call it adjusting the gap: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the mid shelf,
The widget, retainer, and the middle screw fixing,
Which can’t be found in the box; and the bare buds
Silent in all of the gardens and the icicles drip, ticking like regular clocks
For to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

Apologies to the shade of Henry Reed for butchering his poem ‘The naming of parts

It took a little less than an hour.

HR 5181

hr5181-posterRemember that number, because despite the stated intent, this is another attempt by mainstream politicians to control news. Otherwise known as the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” this bill passed a vote in the US Senate by 92-7 on December 9th, and now has the current US incumbents hurried scrawl on it.

Now on the first pages this bill states that it is designed to counter ‘disinformation and propaganda’ from the ‘Russians’. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Especially after the patent falsehood much touted about in the news that the Wikileaks file releases were Russian in origin. The incriminating DNC and Podesta releases were not Russian in origin. Their origin was, as Wikileaks have repeatedly stated, from unnamed insiders.

Banning foreign propaganda is all very well if you’re fighting a war, and a war is what the Obama administration wants and needs (At least until 20th January 2017). It’s part of a desperate last gasp ploy to keep the current Neocon controlled incumbent in power under the US Emergency powers legislation. Anything to keep the West’s permanent war with Eastasia going.

Anyone who doesn’t believe this isn’t seeing the whole picture. NATO has troops in the Ukraine, with a whole new batch of US troops just landed. They’re supposed to be there to ‘protect’ the Ukraine from Russian incursion. Which hasn’t happened. Parts of the Ukraine, mostly those who identify as ethnic Russian, have seceded democratically, however the new Government didn’t like Donetsk and the Crimea deciding they didn’t want to be ‘Ukrainian’, so they are throwing bombs and bullets around at the pro-Russian local militias, who with nowhere else to turn, did deals with, surprise, surprise, the Russians. Who have had very little to do because their military is still a pale shadow of its Soviet heyday. To the point where the best capital ship they could field to the Black sea was a barely upgraded rustbucket of an aircraft carrier. Hells bells the Russians still fly old Soviet era Turbofan driven ‘Bear’ Bombers, the entire fleet of which could be knocked out the sky by a single Typhoon Eurofighter or a brace of F-22’s. All of the aforementioned is public domain if you can be bothered to go and hunt down the primary sources. Until of course the sources are shut down for being ‘Counterfactual’. Like Janes guide to all things military. Good luck with that.

The thing I find truly sinister about HR5181 is that it is designed to be applied against anyone, both within the United States and elsewhere. Not just the Russians, or the Chinese, but let’s say Alex Jones the rather histrionic host of ‘Info-Wars’, who, it has been publicly stated by Hilary Clinton, is one of the voices the present US administration would like to shut the hell up. This bill gives the ‘Intelligence’ and other agencies that power. Same for all those other irritating little voices on the jolly old Interweb who don’t believe much of the arrant nonsense peddled by the mainstream press. The voices who bother to fact check. The voices who don’t have huge overheads to service. This bill could be used to silence anyone who doesn’t buy the “It was those pesky Russians! Goldarnit!” warmongering narrative. The Russians might not be totally innocent, but they sure enough aren’t the lead player. That title belongs to US Intelligence agencies. Particularly the CIA. They’ve been meddling all over the world for over sixty plus years. Regime changes, assassination attempts, proxy wars. So did Soviet Russia, but when their empire collapsed in 1989, their actions more or less ground to a halt. The CIA’s never did.

Food for thought

Not been a stunning success of a festive season, Mrs S has been in hospital with a serious injury and I narrowly avoided getting my right foot broken. Only my braw-boned heredity stood in the way of a more serious injury and my current crop of bruises are truly spectacular. Before that there was the snappishness of Youngest and sneering jibes from Sister in Law over Christmas dinner. Even Mrs S was ‘off’ with me. I’m thinking it may be time to make an excuse in future and give the whole ‘Family Christmas’ thing a miss. This part of the year should be full of good cheer, and mine has been so singularly lacking in that department that another plan is called for. One that involves blue skies, warmth to chase the chill from my bones, wine and stuff I actually like doing. Turkey does not figure large in my plans. Neither as food nor destination.

Frankly I’m glad to see the back of 2016. What with illness, injury and others mishandling of my UK affairs I haven’t made the money I’d have liked, which means I have to spend time I’d rather not have done fixing the mistakes of others. It also means that our planned 2017 European Motorcycle trip is off. I’m rather gutted about this, but no, I haven’t actually lost anything, it’s just that my assets are tied up in bureaucratic limbo and unavailable until maybe September. However, I’ve had an idea which should actually recoup, maybe even boost the value of my investment, and have just submitted it to my co-investors. With luck they’ll see sense this time round. Not that I’m holding out much hope. Collectively they’ve all the foresightedness of an amnesiac blind Anteater under heavy sedation. Bill, why the hell did you get involved with such a bunch of dead-heads? Pass. Next question.

However, despite personal setbacks I’m sanguine about 2017. Only two weeks until the first real dominoes begin tumbling, but when they do it’s going to be fun. And they’re going to keep on tumbling for the top down, arrogant fucks that want to tell everyone else how to live their lives in microcosm. Especially when 31st March and Brexit is triggered. Which I’m sure will ‘trigger’ a whole bunch of people who richly deserve it. The meltdowns when the Trump and Brexit votes didn’t go their way will be nothing when reality bites.

So I draw deep satisfaction that although our planned 2017 road trip has gone the way of all flesh, I haven’t really lost anything. My deals will go through eventually, and I may make even more money because of the delays. In 2016 I made promises which I can’t keep right this minute, but I give my absolute word to make it up to those affected within the next twelvemonth. And you can take that to the bank and cash it.

Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas

Going offline for the next week or so to visit outlaws, see Youngest back to the septic Isle, then pack up and move house. We’ve been promised snow, which will make the travel a little interesting, but that’s what All Wheel Drive vehicles are for.

This year it’s someone else’s turn to cook, so I will be taking time out to read, eat, sleep and imbibe the odd glass of two of a decent red wine. Feet up, book open, see you in the New Year. First time comments may remain in moderation until then as I don’t know when I’ll next have Interweb access. But fret not gentle reader, I may pop in from time to time, but don’t worry if your sage sayings aren’t approved immediately.
festive-tree
TTFN. And have an entertaining festering season.

Regards

Bill

Update: This post was timed to have gone up at 6pm PST Christmas Eve, but for some reason known only to WordPress, didn’t. So I’ve had to post manually. Nonetheless, a very merry and belated Christmas to all and it’s back to packing. Again.

A thought about the Savile saga

I was listening to Sargon of Akkad’s video the other day about the saga of debunked conspiracy theory ‘Pizzagate’, where wealthy people associated with Bill and Hilary Clinton are claimed to have satanically sexually abused hundreds, perhaps even thousands of children.

Now child abuse rings exist: that much is certain. Those who do get caught are usually those whose political connections fail when their activities are exposed or the evidence is so overwhelming that their activities cannot help but be prosecuted, or solitary ‘outliers’ like Marc Dutroux. The small fry. However, I’m also fairly certain that there are those who commit these atrocities, for there is no other word that fits, who have enough political clout do get away with it. Top figures in show business and politics are often accused, but only the retired or out of favour who have no more political influence seem to be punished for relatively minor offences.

Like with the UK prosecutions of Dave Lee Travis, Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall, the offences some were accused of were relatively minor, or in the case of the late Jimmy Savile, whose only verifiable accusation was of one star struck fifteen year old girl who offered him oral sex, only to be turned away when he found out she was underage. Which, forgive me if I’m sounding too forgiving here, doesn’t quite fit the profile of the ‘serial abuser’ we have been presented with in the mainstream. Despite the ‘thousands’ of accusations from Ambulance chasing law practices.

Now having been a long time reader of the one time Anna Raccoon site (All my best to you and Mr G. Suzanne, if you’re still breathing) I’ve read her first hand accounts of events at the Duncroft Girls Home which was at the centre of key accusations against Savile, and I tend to believe Anna’s version because she went back and checked her sources one by one. Anna talked to old contacts from those days when she was resident at Duncroft and pointed out many key disparities in the related accusations against. Anna cited times, dates, places and key details. She researched. She used primary sources. Which raised the following thought; if Anna is correct, and after careful consideration I think she is, then the whole Savile saga, associated accusations and prosecutions of retired show business figures from the notorious ‘operation Yewtree’, has been on the one level a cynical asset stripping exercise against their savings and charitable trusts, on the other a smokescreen. It’s interesting to note that the Metropolitan Police web page for Operation Yewtree now comes up with an ‘Error’ message.

Like with the old Russian folk tale of Troika riding passengers being thrown to the wolves one by one, I strongly suspect these retired showbiz types have been thrown to the ravening wolfpack of paedo-hysteria, allowing the really guilty to carry on their repugnant activities relatively unmolested. Mainly because certain abusers are wealthy or have political influence. And I can cite one confirmed real life example in the case of Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, whose notorious private Caribbean island (St James) is known to be a haven for under age sexual exploitation. He is only at liberty because he was able to buy off his accusers and make a plea deal with the Federal authorities (See previous link), serving jail time for only one offence. A purely anecdotal item of evidence being his private jet being referred to by locals as ‘the Lolita express’ for bringing in ‘fresh meat’. The Clintons, amongst a whole raft of other rich and powerful people, are known to have been regular visitors. Were they involved? No-one’s saying, and any evidence is purely circumstantial.

Similarly, Hollywood child actors have spoken out about their real life sexual abuse by Production people and hangers on, or ‘mentors’ (Los Angeles Times 2012 report here). If the article is to be fully believed, the casting couch is not only for screwing nineteen year old starlets desperate to get into the movie business, but also used as an opportunity to sexually violate child actors of all genders. Apparently this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Yet a huge media storm was whipped up against Savile and other contemporary celebrities, some of whom were totally innocent, some not quite so. Some of whom were judged by today’s standards for what was common at the time. For my examples I cite a little folklore; In the 50’s 60’s and 70’s giving an attractive woman a pat on the bottom was considered cheeky or presumptuous, but not abusive. Unwanted attention usually received a well-deserved roundhouse slap. These were the social norms at that time. That being said, I’ve formed the opinion that showbiz careers and charitable work, reputation and legacies were and are being ‘thrown to the wolves’ to divert public attention away from real scandals. Likewise the suspiciously highly publicised 2013 raid on one time pop icon Cliff Richard. Interesting that Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, then Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was later disgraced by a allegations concerning male prostitutes and drug abuse, was involved. Did I mention anything about smokescreens? Hmm. No wonder there are parliamentary party officers known as ‘Whips’.

Which is one of the reasons why I think the whole Savile affair had that stench of political and media prestidigitation about it. We the audience might catch a whiff of smoke, see subliminal flashes from concealed mirrors out of the corner of our eyes. However, like with a large scale stage illusion, the truth eludes us because our attention is deliberately directed elsewhere. On the other hand perhaps it’s possibly what the larger public really wants. A show. At a subconscious level perhaps the real unpleasantness of child molestation, the mundane, ugly little truth that most sexual abuse is too often committed by members of the child’s own family and close social circle is too hard to contemplate, so the candidate for the two minutes hate is served up instead of the real culprits, simply because they do not fit the currently accepted ‘normal’. Both Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard are lifelong bachelors, and therefore an easy target. Because staying single all their lives can’t be normal, innit?

Now I would like to offer something of a personal anecdote here; I’m married to a truly great woman. Well I think so and anyone badmouthing Mrs S in my presence can go to hell, my rapidly approaching knuckles that may also instantly accompany my disapproval may be thought of as a free of charge customer disincentive. Now I came relatively late to the joys of marriage, partly because I grew up fairly socially isolated and in my late teens and early twenties drifted into gang culture and went off the rails a bit. During that time I’d latched onto the idea that we were all going to be blown to hell anyway, so why bother with long term relationships? Hey, it was the time of the Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction. Apathy was acceptable, okay? I also got rebuffed a few times in my teens and that also put me off relationships for a long while. If my wife hadn’t been so determined to bag me (Still don’t understand why), I would probably have remained, like Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard, a lifelong bachelor. An object of suspicion and vile, small minded gossip despite being a rather averagely dull old frustrated heterosexual. Ibunt per gratiam Dei (There by the grace of God go I).

Another anecdote pops up from the deep storage of boy / young adulthood memory. Where I grew up there were a number of middle aged and elderly men and women who never married. All of them nominally heterosexual, just unable to form and maintain long term relationships for whatever reason. Nothing unusual. Quite average for a rural English village and environs. If memory serves correctly, I recall one fifty year old guy still bearing a torch for a childhood sweetheart who died in a car crash when he was twenty. Another sixtyish man who never got over his girlfriend going off with another guy. Another fiftysomething who was an estate worker who lived for and with his dogs and little else. Two brothers who lived out in the boonies with their parents and single older sister who never socialised. Several other fellow bar flies who liked their booze a little too much. A couple of ex-soldiers (One a full Colonel, the other a Sergeant) who never tied the knot but had long term girlfriends (The Colonel was actively shagging his ‘Housekeeper’ until six months before he died). A number of elderly women whose boyfriends had gone to war and never returned. Even one old lady who claimed to have been part of the SOE back in the 1940’s and lost her boyfriend during operations. Sad? Yes. Tragic even, but there are so many lives like this in the real world, and my own experience is that the majority of long-term unmarried people aren’t perverts, no matter what the perennially small minded might (and often do) think. I’d also like to point out that being in a long term formal relationship does not preclude all else. If it did there would be no divorces, no adultery. As for couples not being prone to perversion and murder; Fred and Rosemary West, anyone? Ian Brady and Myra Hindley? Bonnie and Clyde? The Starkweather homicides? Bernardo and Homulka? Fernandez and Beck? The Carsons? Coleman and Brown? Never mind all the accomplices who never killed or abused but were what might be called ‘enablers’. There’s a few others too. Just saying. There is no hard and fast rule that can be applied.

As an afterthought, the official UK statistics for child sex abuse can be found for up until 2010 on pages 43, 66 and 67 of this UK Home Office report. However, this report has been castigated for missing the many hidden victims of child sex abuse. The UK Children’s Commissioner has a number of reports indicating that the number of abused is much higher.

My one closing thought about the Savile saga is that there might indeed have been ‘no smoke without fire’ but were we ever sure where all the smoke was coming from?