Saturday, 11 June 2011


Happy Birthday Elizabeth, Queen of Scots.

I note you spent your official birthday in your English capital, as you always do, Trooping the Colour in London, even when the colour in question is of a Scottish regiment. I don’t suppose you ever thought that, if the regiment was Scottish, it might be nice for you to do it in your Scottish capital in front of your Scottish subjects. Just a little courtesy to families who might not be able to afford to travel to and stay in London. Not all people have loads of money and free transport.

Congratulations too, to Phil, or as we should now call him Lord High Admiral Phil, for being 90. What a nice present to get from the state to celebrate, and for the Queen to say thank you ...for ...erm, being married to her, getting to live in palaces, being able to have servants and shooting estates and cars and trains and, for a lot of the time, a yacht...

If I make it to 90 I’d like to be the Lord High Executioner, or some other Gilbert and Sullivan character...

Nice too, to see that the honours list hit its usual highs, with titles for such deserving cases as Bruce Forsyth for presenting a tea time tv show with a whole raft of bitchy men and hard looking women and getting paid cartloads of our money. Isn’t he good for 83, though, so I suppose he deserves it? And Jenni Murray who has held down a job with the BBC for 20 years, I’m told...well worth that damehood then.

Then there’s Michael Howard, whose main claims to fame are that his deputy, when at the Home Office, one Anne Widdecombe, said that there was ‘’something of the night’’ about him (I mean, how weird do you have to be before Anne Widdecombe thinks you are weird?), and the fact that he led the Tory party to a defeat against a very unpopular Labour Party, and had to resign. He becomes a Companion of Honour... HUH?

What a disgrace that honours are handed out to these people for doing their jobs, in some people’s opinions not particularly well, and a guy just home from Afghanistan with a leg or two blown off has to fight for some sort of compensatory money so that he can rebuild his life before some bastard from the DWP comes along to tell him that as he’s been claiming for a year he will get him benefits cut.

What a country.


  1. LOL @ Anne Widdecombe comment. How true.

  2. Mr TMG...Indeed it is...Of course Anne is a friend of Brucie...having been a dancing queen herself. Small world!

  3. If it were not for the scintillating wit, I would find the old Caledonian chip on the old shoulder a touch wearing.

    There was a character called the Public Exploder in "Utopia Ltd" - a less well-known G & S opera. I think that office would suit you very well. The plot concerns a South Sea island being turned into a veritable paradise by converting it into a British-style limited company. I was surprised that the opera was not more revived during the frenetic years of New Labour Private Finance Initiatives and Public Private Partnerships etc. (Clue: It was the EU what done it, not the evil Tories)

    Whilst I can't stand the public persona of Bruce Forsyth, I was rather shamed to discover a few years back that he had done a great deal of worthy, charitable work charitable work and was probably well overdue for some recognition.

    Still, it all adds to gaiety of the nation!
    I think it's all rather nice and jolly if you don't get too serious.

  4. Bruce Forsyth...still not dead yet? I can wait.

  5. I mentioned the PRIVATE FINANCE INITIATIVE (previous post). In all modesty (ahem!) I have never heard it and the EU link better explained than when I did it myself. There is even a video of little moi, kicking around the internet. It's the one where my fellow speaker is Horst Teubert of
    I am not a natural public speaker, so I use notes and the delivery is rather poor. After my main points, the speech runs into the sand as they asked me to keep going whilst the tea urn boiled. I should have sat down and asked for questions. The audience was the Marlborough Discussion Group
    If anyone's interested, it's probably easiest just to Google Edward Spalton and look for it but the tediously long link is

  6. I suppose it ought to be pointed out that Brucie was already a CBE, that is the highest trinket you can get with the word “empire” in it but that the cabinet committee that decides who to put forward normally thinks you have to do something else and wait five or six years before getting something better. So he got an OBE in 1998 and then a CBE in 2006 and now a knighthood in 2011, not bad for a whole pile of meaningless catch-phrases and a bit of tap dancing. Seeing as Strictly Come Dancing started with Brucie as host in 2004 I’m assuming he got his CBE for that so what extra has he done for the knighthood other than a campaign that got 25,000 signatures? Of course we hear of the endless charity work that he does and that is great, but charity is a great thing if you can afford it (like the Duke of Edinburgh) but does the new regime in Downing Street not want charity to become the norm for all of us under the Big Society umbrella? So is it going to be MBEs all round? And what of the lollipop lady who gets an MBE for her charity work? If she goes back and does another five years of lollipoping can she expect to get a CBE? Fat chance! I suspect that Brucie like all working class people that “done good” is a Tory and despite his protestations of not wanting it (well you would wouldn’t you) he has had people campaign vociferously in the back ground for it.

  7. Mr S:

    I’m flattered that you appreciate the wit, but sorry you find my “Caledonian Chip on the shoulder” wearing. I’m surprised that you do not see the same connection between our feelings and the feelings of your fellow Englishmen about the EU. It seems to me to be paralleled in every way.

    You resent your parliament being overridden by EU laws which you think are not serving England best, and we resent the way that people like Cameron trample over our feelings. Let me try to explain what I mean.

    There is no queen of the UK. There is a Queen of England , a Queen of Canada, a Queen of Papua New Guinea, and a Queen of Scots (not Scotland, Scots). Trooping the Colour may be an English tradition which has taken in Scottish regiments, but surely, if she is inspecting the colour of a Scottish regiment, she should do it in Scotland. Why not?

    How would you like it if the president of Europe took over Trooping the Colour in Brussels, even when it was an English regiment?

    I looked at your video and (speaking as a person who has talked a lot in public and who, although always nervous beforehand, absolutely LOVES it) I thought you were good. That was a lot of stuff to remember off the top of your head, so it wasn’t at all unreasonable to have notes. I can’t use them at all (I tried for my lecturing qualifications and failed dismally) so I always do it “organically” for better or worse.

    I felt that there was a real similarity in what you guys were saying, in theory, to what we are saying.

    Your prime ministers bend at the knee to America and (in my opinion to a lesser extent) to Europe. Perhaps I only get the impression that it is to a lesser extent because all prime ministers seem to talk tough about Europe, but actually fold their tents when it comes to the point. Even that arch foreigner hater Mrs Thatcher was putty in the hands of François Mitterrand. Of course, no such enmity or even scepticism is ever expressed when referring to the “senior partner” and deferring to their wishes.


  8. ...cont

    How we all laughed when Cameron was going to slash defence spending, and Fox the bigot got his pants in a twist, even going as far as leaking to the press his letter of complaint about Osborne. The prime minister was forced to publicly support Osborne. Then the next day he received a phone call from Mrs Clinton and suddenly the cuts (along the lines that she instructed no doubt).

    Our government in Scotland under Labour/Liberal coalition bent its knee to England in so many cases as Blair instructed his Scottish First Minister what his line should be, which is why our people voted in 2007 for an SNP government, and re-elected them in 2011 with an unprecedented, and hitherto thought impossible, single party government with a majority.

    Maybe you guys should take the same sort of attitude with America and Brussels. You could. But Cameron won’t. Why? He said he would and Nick Clegg said he would too? All mouth these people.

    As far as Forsyth is concerned, there is no mention on his Wikipedia page of charity work, but I am certainly aware of charity golf tournaments over the years with fellow “stars”. And I’m sure I’ve seen him introduce and dance and “sing” in charity performances. Well done him. But it’s expected of these people. They are inordinately fortunate that they can earn in an hour what the rest of us would take 10, 20, 30 years to accumulate. And of course it is always good self publicity to be seen on the golf course, covered by tv, and in the papers, doing good stuff for kids, or old folk.

    Call that another “chip” if you will, but life’s like that. Mr Forsyth has a business company, Bruce Forsyth Entertainments Limited, they will advise him that it is necessary to do charity work, especially if he wants baubles. It’s maybe called “le monde du spectacle” in France, but it’s show BUSINESS here.

    One little point about the privatisation of the NHS. You say that it is by direction of Brussels but it’s not happening in Scotland. In fact the private aspects that were introduced by Labour in our country have, as far as I know, largely disappeared.

    My understanding is that, if you make a business out of something and open it to competition, under European laws you must open that competition across the trading area of EU and EFTA and Switzerland. Mr Cameron is making it a business, where profits come first, and therefore it must comply with business laws. In Scotland it is a public service, where people come first, and profit not at all. We do not have to open our public services to competition.

  9. LOL Dean... That was cruel.

    You have to take your hat off to him. There he is at 84 or whatever and he's still working.

    It's what Osborne wants us all to do. Forsyth probably got his gong for being as example to us all.

    "There you are you ordinary people; if Sir Brucie can do it you all can... so pensions will now be payable from 83." :¬)

  10. I suspect that you’re right about Brucie being involved in the campaign Munguin. I bet he wanted this like no one ever wanted anything before.

    He won’t half swank with it.

    I bet there will be a campaign to get him into the House of Peers too.

    I think the thing that I loathe most about the honours system is the class element. Mrs McTumshie works herself stupid helping out at the youth club, doing voluntary work with old people, church visiting, prison visiting and at the end of all that, when she is 85, she gets an MBE (as Michael Winner said... an award for cleaners), but Prince William only needs to get married to be made a Duke and an Earl and a Baron all in one go and all at the age of 28. Big Society my butt.

  11. tris

    Your unadulterated jealousy consumes you completely all because you weren't made a Dame
    with the title Widow Twanky

  12. Ah Niko, you have me bang to rights there.

    And I'd been expecting a letter for Buck House... What did I get? Notification that I underpaid tax last year.

    Oh well, someone has to pay for all this junketing; it might as well be me....

  13. One shall plank one's bahookie, well wiped by barely tolerable others to contemplate a life well run and dodged of the firing squads that planted my cousins, imperialistic, in "discovered" under-reams of dirt.

    One is fulsome lucky to have retained the plucky Viking-Greek - truly Athenian with just a touch of Spartan Odin to totem - as, upon Spanish (or, perchance, Austro-Hungarian side-saddle, feminine invention; or, maybe, Portuguese or Arab or Mongolian) to place One's completely (French) laced bottom - thongs of Brazilian extraction for the young 'uns - alongside my Wavy Navy and Mercantile Marine Other.

    God, as an Anglican, is, indeed, Good as is evidenced by my beloved Jocks in chi-chi kit cat-walking by Me in their ignorance

  14. Blair Jenkins, former head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, becomes a member of the Order of the British Empire.

    Must of done a good job of keeping the serfs well uninformed.

  15. Edward Spalton, don't worry your going is in the post or is it DHL.

    Blair Jenkins is the head of the group trying to get an Scottish Broadcasting Commission set up or minimally a Scottish digital channel.

    He is old BBC, before Labour turned it into their Fiefdom

  16. Scots are citizens not subjects. See Declaration of Arbroath.

  17. Aye David, a fair old mix there....but I have to admit I got lost somewhere and got to the end a tad confused!

  18. Ahhh, the British Empire by god, fine damned place Gibraltar isn't it. Great for holidays coz it's only 15 minutes in a plane to Morocco and two minutes on foot to Spain.

    And Las Malvinas. Heavens, we only hang on to it because there's maybe oil and the English want their hands on it so that when we go they won't grind to a halt.

    And there's somewhere in teh Pacific that we hand onto becuase the Americans need it for renditions.

    Rule Britannia,eh? What a bloody laugh. I can see Cameron in one of these feathery hats.

    Botox brow and feathers.... lovely.

    Anyway, if anyone wants one of these medals, they seem to hand them out pretty much to anyone who's got a few bob. Good luck to the EBC news blokey. If that makes him happy, bless him, let him be happy.

    I remember I worked with a bloke who had one. (An MBE obviously. He was a peon, something like myself) But he actually put it on his business card. What a nob. How we all laughed in the staff room.

  19. Oh that's good, your lordship. I mean that he's trying to get an SBC set up, not that Mr Spalton's K is in the post.

    We so desperately need to have some Scottish news instead of having to sit through half an hour of English domestic news evey night.

    Have you ever noticed how a murder in Bristol gets 10 minutes at the top of the news, but a murder in Glasgow doesn't get a mention at all?

  20. Anon: I expect you're thinking that I should have known that... and you're right, but I didn't.

  21. Any Americans make the honours list? I know it's unlikely, but I always check. All I want is a Garter Knighthood. ;-)

  22. Goodness me Danny. You got an Earldom last year. What are you? A royal? Or Sebastian Coe?

  23. LOL@Tris.....Well, I would also accept the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. I don't want to be unreasonable here.

    After all, Phil is now Lord High Admiral. Just what he needed....another title.

    As for Americans not showing up on the honours list, I suppose there was a price to be paid for the old revolutionaries calling George III a tyrant. ;-)

  24. Danny:

    Actually, if you went over to England and sorted out the mess of the Olympics ticketing system, they might make you King! Then your fellow americans might call you a tyrant.