Did they beat the drums slowly…. ?

Well, how do you do, young Wille McBride?   Today, on Armistice Day I would like to share this video with you.  The music is a song by The Furey’s, The Green Fields of France.. it is long but please take the time to watch and listen, the lyrics are below.  It never fails to send a shiver down my spine, particularly when I think of all the soldiers who really did believe that WW1 was “The War To End Wars”.. and willingly gave their lives to save us all.  

How tragic that, as it says in the song “it all happened again and again and again…”  and especially that, almost 100 years later, our soldiers are still fighting.

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I’ve been walking all day, and I’m nearly done.
And I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did the play the pipes lowly?
Did the rifles fir o’er you as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sound The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some loyal heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that loyal heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

The sun’s shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that’s still No Man’s Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

And I can’t help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you “The Cause?”
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.


These pictures are from a beautiful service held today in my little village.  When I look at the names, I am reminded that the men from this village were almost entirely lost, whole families lost their boys, one after another..







Que?? Yes, you heard it right.. this picture by @Crispian_Jago  :

Lead to this idea.. we print “I Am Spartacus” T-Shirt’s up and sell them to raise money for the #TwitterJokeTrial fighting fund.. While the “powers that be” discuss the legalities and finer details of the finances etc, lets chuck a few ideas around shall we?

Please add your comments and I will update this page with the best suggestions etc as we go…

“Power to the People!”

Twittersphere Fear…

This has been both a fascinating and frightening week in the world of Social Media. For those of you not blessed with the friend that is Twitter, let me fill you in a bit..

In January a tweeter made a joke.. a poor joke some would say but a joke nonetheless.  This led to a criminal conviction, I kid you not.. 140 characters bashed out on a laptop in mere seconds, has cost a man his job, thousands of pounds in legal fees and fines and he now has a criminal record.  What was the joke I hear you cry?  This one..

“Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport skyhigh!!”

See, not really funny is it, taken out of context.. To the regular followers of Paul Chambers’ tweets, it showed his frustration, nerves and excitement about flying to meet a lady the following week that he was very smitten by.  To an outsider, it seems to have been viewed as a serious security threat.   Although, I am pretty sure terrorists do not generally give a week’s notice and their real names when making bomb threats. 

Judge Jacqueline Davies deemed fit to uphold the original conviction when it came to appeal before her this week.  It worries me that Judges such as Ms Davies do not specialise in a chosen field, almost like GPs they rely on advice given to them on the day, rather than having prior experience and knowledge of the topic.  (Here is the full Judgment)

Following the upholding of the original judgement, a Twitterstorm was evoked, with over 20,000 people tweeting Paul Chamber’s words with the hashtag #IAmSpartacus. Paul is, I believe planning to take the case to the High Court and we will back him all the way, not just as Spartacus but financially and if need be, physically at the court-house.

( Picture via @Crispian_Jago  #TwitterJokeTrial #IamSpartacus)

Another Twitter story is the case of the Tory councillor Gareth Compton who, as above, made a joke. This one was, in my opinion far more offensive and crass but again, when isolated, the single tweet is menacing.  The important difference here is that, unlike Paul, this author is an elected representative and should really know better!  If you are in a position of power, demanding respect then you should be above reproach.

Mr Compton was responding to a radio interview he was listening to, as so many of us tweeters do.. we commentate on TV, Radio, something that our parents have said, what our lunch is.. Gareth Compton has been arrested but was released on bail, presumably as the police do not see him as a real, physical threat to the person the tweet made reference to.  He has also been suspended from the Conservative Party.  (I won’t link to nor repeat his tweet as I find it particularly offensive and racist)

Then came this article today by Quentin Letts, published in the Daily Mail which has thrown another angle into the mix..   A tweeter known as @Baskers has been publicly “named and shamed” at the will of a journalist. Although Sarah openly used her photograph and real name on her twitter biography, she also said the following: “I’m a Civil Servant, but this is my personal account & it’s my own personal views, not the Depts.” 

Sarah not only tweets about her day-to-day life but also writes a good blog on topics that affect her, as many of us do.  She recently wrote about the effect of government cuts to her department and her frustration about the Civil Service being attacked in the press.

So why are Sarah’s tweets and blogs so important to a Daily Mail journalist? Is he seriously trying to protect the Civil Service’s reputation by reporting her words to her bosses or is there something deeper going on here?  I thought it was odd that Sally Bercow was brought into the article as being a friend of Sarah’s.. she doesn’t really seem relevant to the piece? However, having looked at negative previous posts by Mr Letts about Mrs Bercow, she is perhaps the key and Twitter can relax and tweet away as usual…

So, what are we to do Twitter?  David Allen Green aka @jackofkent has advised us to “tweet and delete” as we go along.  I can see his point.  Future employers for example are already using Google to check out potential employee’s.  Are we risking our own future’s by tweeting and even chosing to “like” something on Facebook? 

I think of Twitter and this blog as my diary, as do many other users and I don’t want to delete my tweets! However, even anonymity can’t protect you if someone is determined enough to find out who you really are and where you work.  (As I know to my cost, anything written on the internet stays there forever to be interpreted as the reader sees fit, particularly if they have a hidden agenda). 

This wont make me popular but I would advise you all to remove your first or surname’s from your Twitter account, dont tweet from work unless you are on a scheduled break nor use your company name, Big Brother really is watching you..

Or.. you can say “Freedom of expression is my right, guaranteed to me by Article 10. If you want it you can take it from my cold dead hands. But if you try, remember #IAmSpartacus. Because my name is Legion, and I am many.” < Awesome blog post from @gaijinsan21

( Good post by @dnotice about #TweetDelete )

Benny Hill’s Britain..

There is a serious message as usual with my posts. This week Yvette Cooper revealed the findings of a report into the projeced affect the Coalition budget will have on women. 

Yvette says:

“Cutting back measures like childcare and working tax credit, when women still earn much less than men, will mean women have more limited career prospects.

“Women live on lower incomes yet they have chosen to take the majority from women,” she said.

“You have to go back in history to find anything comparative. Not since the end of the first world war have we seen such a complete reversal of women’s opportunities and economic independence. We haven’t seen an attempt to turn the clock back like this for very many generations.”

The most sexist government for generations.. Benny Hill would be so proud..

It’s all David Jason’s fault…

Strange title I admit..  Had a “delightful” conversation on Twitter this morning with @Obotheclown who certainly lives up to his name : )  We were “discussing” tax-evasion and the “undeserving poor”..  That phrase, “the undeserving poor” rang a bell with me but I couldn’t place it at the time, I ll come back to it in a bit.

Wayne & Waynetta Slob

My argument was that tax-evasion costs our country £15 BILLION  per year, whilst “benefit thieves” cost  just over £1 BILLION per year (source) .  George Osborne has announced measures to clamp down on these “thieves” , including a £50 fine if they are found to be claiming illegally.  I very much doubt that will have much impact, although if caught three times they will  cut the “thieves” benefits for 3 years as well.  Fantastic! *applause*, that’ll teach the blighter’s.. erm, to burgle, mug, rob.. ? And what will become of their children?  Send them into foster care as their parents can’t afford to feed and clothe them?  Not especially well thought out Mr Osborne.. no change there then.

In order to wheedle out these “no-good, thieving, low-lives”, they are firstly putting incapacity claimants through new tests in a project being piloted in Burnley and Aberdeen, due to be rolled out to the rest of the UK next April.  The aim is to get people who can work off the benefits and onto another benefit.. Job Seekers Allowance, which pays less.  The Work Capability Test which they will face is costly and has a history of mis-diagnosing the ability to work,  70% of appeals against negative decisions are upheld.

Which brings me to the point of this post (yes, there is one) .. who are worse? The “undeserving poor” or the “tax-evaders”?   According to my chum Obo, the “undeserving poor” are.. but I wonder, how did this myth originate?  I have a theory and I lay the blame squarely at the door of one Mr David Jason.. tax evasion is “cool”, to be admired, clap that man on the back…  “Del Boy” is a national hero!

Whilst Vicky Pollard and Wayne and Waynetta Slob are despised, ridiculed and much maligned on our TV’s, David Jason’s Pop Larkin is a cheeky, charming tax dodger with four TV’s and a Roll’s Royce.  Little Britain even showed their wheelchair user Andy as a benefit thief!   The only “undeserving poor” person portrayed on television that I could think of to refute this myth is the fantastic Stanley Holloway… what do you think?

Nadine Dorries “says Sorry”..

Taken from YouTube, with grateful thanks to “TheAslanOfNarnia”…

It was a big day for Thomas….


David Cameron as Thomas the Tank Engine

Tony, Edward and Gordon as themselves

Rt Hon Eric Pickles as the Fat Controller

Narrator played mischievously by Ms Cushion


Thomas’ Train/A Big Day for Thomas

Thomas: I spend my time pulling coaches about, ready for you to take out on journeys!

Narrator: The other engines laughed.

Thomas: Why can’t I pull passenger trains, too?!

Tony, Edward, and Gordon: You’re too impatient. You’d be sure to leave something behind.

Thomas: Rubbish! I’ll show you!

  *   *   *  *   *   *   * 

Thomas – It is an honour and a privilege to stand here, before the party I lead, before the country I love, as the Conservative prime minister of the United Kingdom.

I want to tell you today, in the clearest terms I can, what we must do together, and what we can achieve together.

Narrator –  Yes, Thomas but you are scaring all the passengers

Thomas –  Look what we’ve done in five months. Just imagine what we can do in five years…

The Fat Controller: Hello! Remember, don’t be impatient, Thomas. You can never be as strong and fast as Gordon, but you can be a really useful engine. Don’t let the silly fucks trucks tease you.

Thomas: From top-down to bottom-up. From state power to people power. The big society spirit blasting through. Peep! Peep! Peep!

Narrator – Well, it made me laugh anyway…

Real excerpts taken from the Thomas the Tank Engine series written by the Rev WV Awdry, quotes taken from David Cameron’s 2010 Conservative Conference speech and some other bits totally made up : )

(P.S.. some people (2678 ) seem to think Dave looks more like a “Hooray Henry… “)

If you like this post, you can vote for it on News Biscuit.


D.M forced from front bench by Twitter…

David Miliband is expected to announce later today that he will not stand for Shadow Cabinet under his brother Ed’s Leadership.  What he will not tell you is the real story behind his decision. Luckily, Ms Cushion (investigative journalist extraordinaire) is on the case..

In a leaked (well hacked) email to his brother, David blames Twitter for his retirement.  He says that as much as he loved being on the front bench, he can no longer live with himself for causing so much confusion on Twitter.   He says that he even considered using his middle name Ivan but MSN voiced concerns.  Twitter refused to rename their Direct Messages to Private as that would then force David Cameron to resign.   Darn it..

The Delightful Ms Dorries..

And what would the charming Ms Dorries make of her Chairman replying to Mr Ireland in such a manner and John Balls ridiculing both Ireland and Linda Jack you might ask?  This is her extremely dignified response…

Posted Sunday, 26 September 2010 at 15:10
My association is an election winning machine run by my Chairman, Andy Rayment and Deputy Chair Political, Steve Male.
Both are busy men and run the association in a regimented and disciplined manner.
As focused driven individuals, neither Andy or Steve suffer fools lighlty.
So when a ‘nutter’ began bombarding my association with telephone calls and emails, this made me laugh out loud
I have heard that when a copy of this was leaked to my local newspapers, in indignation, it caused much mirth in the newspaper offices too.
So, my former Lib Dem opponent carries handcuffs around in her handbag. I’m not even going to ask….


Taken from the  gob sorry blog of Ms Dorries.. link here : http://blog.dorries.org/arc-2010_September.aspx

Load of Balls Diary…

No, this is not a post about Ed Balls who managed a very credible third place yesterday’s Labour Leader election.  Well done Sir *proud*, but this is not about you, its about another…. the name’s Balls, John Balls…

John Balls writes a “Diary” for my local rag, The Beds on Sunday..  this is what he wrote this week, published today:

Monday, September 20
BLOGGER Tim Ireland, best known for his spat with Mid-Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries at a pre-election gathering in Flitwick, has been complaining about her to Mid-Beds Conservative chairman Andy Rayment.
The Tory chief has a clear opinion on Mr Ireland’s email replying: “I do not waste my time communicating with nutters so do not expect me to respond to any of your communications, electronic or otherwise.” That’s telling him.
That’s telling him?!  Pardon?!  I am disgusted, firstly at Mr Rayment’s response to a request for help. Secondly that John Balls and the BOS see fit to support the continuing slurs on Mr Ireland.  For the full background on this you can read Tim Ireland’s blog post here: http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2010/09/raymen/
Then John Balls goes on to say:
WOULD-be Mid-Beds MP Linda Jack was caught red-handed and left red-faced at the Lib-Dem Conference in Liverpool by security, with a pair of pink fluffy handcuffs in her handbag.
She claims she was using them as a prop and after they were confiscated, she then had to suffer the embarrassment of having to go and pick them up later.
The Beds on Sunday have yet again showed their true colours in allowing these “stories” to be published.  Ridicule Linda Jack who is a formidable threat to Ms Dorries and yet again come out to support Nadine Dorries’ misguided opinion of Mr Ireand.  Following the General Election hustings in Flitwick several letters were written in Mr Ireland’s support to the editor of the BOS, not one made it to print or the online edition.  They have also spectacularly failed to publish anything relating to the expenses allegations made in the Telegraph on the 25th June 2010, or indeed anything at all that may put Ms Dorries in anything but a favourable light..


More befitting the Murdock press, is this the type of behaviour usual from a local paper?  


I have compained to the Conservative Party about the behaviour of Andy Rayment, you can send your comments to them here:



If you would like to write to the editor of the Beds on Sunday, you can do so here: editor@lsnmedia.co.uk  don’t hold your breath about being published though!
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