Friday, December 24, 2010

The iceman cometh

Well, it's official - we have become the laughing stock of Europe. Put it this way - you know that you are on the bottom when the Swedes start taking the mick and laughing at you. It seems that they (the Swedes) get a foot of snow overnight and it barely registers. Kids go to school - as usual; old folk sit on park benches grumbling - as usual; people go to work - as usual; and even the red light district has business - as usual.

In this country, someone mentions snow and the place comes to a complete halt and the experts start warning about the coldest and most severe winter since 1947 and/or 1963. The bleeding hearts and artists whisper into their gin and tonics and pints of real ale about global warming and the next ice age being here.
We have po-faced gits coming on the telly assuring us all that we've got enough grit and salt to keep the major roads clear for at least twenty minutes - nothing to worry about. 

Then thousands abandon their cars and everything closes down, including the airports - and Santa's sodding Grotto! And we become comatose in our cocoons of warmth and swear never to leave the house again until the 'Big Thaw', whatever that means.

Okay, there has been a bit of snow. It's winter! That's what happens in winter - it snows! Why are we so surprised? Why does the country grind to a halt? This is not a freak occurrence - it happens every bleedin' year!

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world laughs at us? Our leaders assure us that we are a leading world power, we are heavyweights. Bollocks! If a bit of snow brings us to our knees then it is a poor outlook for us being a heavyweight.

The simple fact is that the wrong people are in charge of the wrong things. If we want to make sure that this sort of fiasco doesn't happen in future then give the job to a couple of young school-leavers from Sweden or Norway, THEY know what is needed.

Come to think about it, much the same thing could be said about most government departments - for the love of any Gods that may be, give the jobs to people who know what they are doing! Just because some fool is given a job doesn't mean that they have the ability to do it.

Moving on, it's getting toward Christmas, that time of the year when everyone pretends to be jolly and secretly wishes it was all over so that they can ignore the family for the rest of the year. Having said that, kids love Christmas AND snow.

Ah, the innocence of childhood, where did it go? It seems like only yesterday that I waited eagerly for Christmas morning when I would get a few sweets, an apple and an orange and maybe a few nuts with maybe one present later in the day. Things have changed these days of course. Try giving a kid of our modern society an apple, an orange and a game of Ludo for Christmas and we will find ourselves in Juvenile Court applying for an ASBO against the little hooligans. They would look us in the eye and say, "What's this?"

I can think of no better way than to finish with the words of a Chubby Brown song. Now, this is going to annoy, irritate and quite simply offend a lot of people, but it's no good yelling at me - I didn't write it. It's called "HEY, SANTA! WHERE'S MY FUCKING BIKE?"

Hey Santa! Where's my fucking bike?
I've had a good look round down here
There's fuck all here I like.
My sister got her nurse's gear,
My brother got a mike,
You grey-haired geriatric twat,
Where's my fucking bike?

That'll be me off Santa's list again.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Glad tidings!

There is news! I've had a letter from my solicitor to tell me that the Parole Board will set a date for my oral hearing soon and that it is likely to happen at some point in March, or thereabouts. The bit I particularly like is that the board has decided that it will be an oral hearing and seems to have dispensed entirely with the paper exercise which would normally precede an oral hearing. Do they know something I don't know?

Not only that but they specifically want to talk to Blodwyn about both her own findings and those of the independent psychologist... AND they want to talk to the Mighty Wallace as well! They've got the Smiling Assassin on the list too but I am ready to bet right here and now that she is away on leave or sick or something when the date arrives. We will see.

I have informed my solicitor that I would request a few witnesses of my own to attend. I want the independent psychologist for a start because, if his report is to be discussed, who better to discuss it with than the man himself? He has expressed his willingness to attend so I see no difficulty there. Another witness who wishes to attend is, of course, Andrew and, let's be fair, he has given me more sensible advice and guidance in the last couple of years than anyone ever gave me in the previous two decades. Andrew has written to almost everyone he could think of on my behalf - and their dogs. (A little dig at Blunkett there.) Anyway, I have informed him as to who I want to attend and I am going to write to Dr Mike Naughton and invite him too - he may find it interesting and may even want to have an input.

So, March (or thereabouts) it is then! We will see.

I bet Boudica will be pleased - she expects me to knock on the door at any time! She doesn't live in the same world as me. Her world is populated by pigeons, trolls, pretty little girls who like fairy stories and idiots who fall off their bikes in the snow. Did I not tell you? Christopher decided to do a wheelie, or something, on his bike in the snow and fell off. (Pause for belly laughter.) Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that the lad is slightly deranged... Ah bollix! Who am I kidding? He is as mad as a March hare.

There's that March thing again.

So Christmas is here again and no doubt the usual crop of old films will be on the box, everyone will get pissed or overeat and the supermarkets will rub their collective hands in pleasure as they count their ill-gotten gains. Typical Christmas really. Families will forgive each other - two of my brothers have already sent me cards - but by the end of Christmas they will be back at each other's throats again.

I'll do my usual Scrooge impressions of course - the one I do every year, sitting in my kennel pretending to ignore things. However, and I say this with the greatest thanks and humility, I really appreciate all of the support and comments I have received from well-wishers. I can't thank everyone individually, of course - I have no idea who most people are - so all I can do is wish everyone a very merry Christmas and an extremely happy New Year. May we all have all the luck and good fortune that we want for ourselves. Thank you all.

Right, all I've got to do now is find a way to exonerate myself from the cracks I've been making recently about Boudica and her pigeons, and the cartwheel and the toffee-apple crack. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? I just KNOW that she is writing it all down somewhere and that one day, in the not too distant future, she will say to me, "Right! I want a word with you, you grumpy old goat. What did you mean when you said..."

Women have fantastically long memories. They forget nothing and can prove everything, and bless each and every one of them.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A journey of a thousand miles

Mao Tse Tung said that. He said:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Well, whether we agree with his politics or ideals or not, the simple fact of the matter is that he was spot on.

Everyone is groaning now - "Aaargh! He's going to waffle on about politics! As if we don't get enough of it out of the lying, back­-stabbing rats we elected into parliament! Now HE'S going to start!"

No I'm not. I just mentioned it because I wanted to bring up the subject of the wrongly accused who languish in our prisons - and, make no mistake about it, there are several thousand of them.

There are quite a lot of people trying to do something about it, of course, both groups and individuals. One such individual is Billy Middleton. Billy, wrongly accused himself for many years, lives up there in the wilds of Scotland, and who can blame him for that? Given the opportunity, I'd be living as far away from the British Justice system as I could get. In fact, give me a few seconds and I bet I can think of somewhere else I would rather be - like lying in a hospital bed with all of my teeth kicked out (and some people would think THAT was a good idea). The point is, I would get better - and I'd be out of this place.

I digress, as usual. Let's get back to Billy.

Billy has decided, and is actively planning, to make a trek from one end of the country to the other in the, hopefully, better weather of next summer. He intends (as far as I know) to start from the very top of the land of Scotland (Rabbie Burrrrns, William Wallace, Bonny Prince Charlie and Incey-Wincey Spider notwithstanding) and walk all the way to Land's End on his Walk Free Campaign to bring awareness to the plight of the wrongly accused, and he must be commended for that.

Now - pay attention, there may be a test afterwards - I don't know all the details, but I am sure that Billy will be happy to fill in any gaps for anyone who is interested. Billy intends to make several stops along the way at strategic points to focus attention on particular cases. I don't know where most of these points are, or when he will get there, but I do know that he intends to stop at Hartlepool - I know that much.

Billy may be open to suggestions about stop-offs and might even welcome invitations, I have no idea - nobody ever tells me nuffink. All I know is what I have already itemised here. Support Billy's efforts. Give the lost, lonely and abandoned men and women who are rotting in durance vile a little lift. Offer a helping hand or a kind word to Billy as he wears out his walking boots and chafes the skin on his feet.

Billy, my son, I salute you and, as Mao said, it all starts with one step. Once you take that one step then the adventure begins. I wish I could walk it with you, I really do. It will be like a one man Jarrow march I suppose. Wouldn't it be something if others simply joined in?

Well, I wrote about Billy at the instigation of Boudica. She wanted me to mention Billy's good work and, let's face it, it's a brave man who ignores Boudica's requests - she's got a bit of a temper you know. Ha! That's like saying a Tasmanian Devil is a bit annoyed.

No news with me at all - not a word, nothing, zilch, zero, nada, nowt, as they say in Yorkshire. They say a lot of things up there in Yorkshire that nobody else understands. They are still fighting the Wars of the Roses and burning witches, I think. I've told Boudica, "Don't go to Yorkshire, they'll get you and your familiar, the pigeon." Oh yes, and her pigeon, Scruffy, never did turn up, so it looks like he has gone off to that great pigeon loft in the sky - may his corn be ever tasty.

Finally, a story in the very worst of taste. On second thoughts, forget that - I've got enough enemies without adding to them. Let's try something a little less offensive:

They say that a camel can go eight days without a drink - but who would want to be a camel?
The Voice In The Wilderness

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Et tu, Tolstoy

I've worked it out. I know the answer.

For a long time now I have been bleating on about Lady Luck and her less than charitable treatment of myself, and no doubt many others - quite right too. However, the identity of the aforementioned old bat had remained a closed book to me. I knew she was lurking and I knew she gave me a periodic boot in the family secrets from time to time, but her actual identity was a mystery. Well, I've worked it out. I know the answer.

However, knowing the answer and telling every bugger and his dog is not in my master plan, not at the minute. Besides, my answer may not be the same as the answer to the identity of the Lady Luck of other folk, if you see what I mean. There isn't just one, you see, there are hosts of the nasty sods.

At the minute (she changes as circumstances demand) my own Lady Luck is, of course, the Smiling Assassin! I saw her yesterday - not to speak to, I'd rather remove my left eye with a burning stick - but I saw her, lurking and looking definitely shifty as she sharpened the blade ready to plunge it into some poor, unsuspecting fellow's spinal chord.

Anyway, she now seems to have got the idea that she is qualified to make recommendations about the future of the poor saps she can get her nasty little digits into. At this point I will mention her qualifications, just for a bit of a laugh. She did an OASys Training Course and a MISAR Training Course (whatever THAT may be.) Now she thinks she knows enough to make recommendations about the future of both prisoners and their families - destroying lives basically. The fact that she doesn't understand the reports of those better qualified than she is simply overlooked, and there would appear to be no checks or balances on what she herself writes about anyone.

The Smiling Assassin has her own agenda - she dislikes prisoners. She will smile at a person with the greatest of sincerity and promise the earth, but then go away and plunge her vitriolic dagger as deeply into the heart as she can.

Now, I knew all of this about her before I ever met her and had been told by everyone who had dealt with her that she would take anything and everything that was said to her and pervert it, so I wasn't going to give her anything to pervert. Ha! What a simple, naive child I was. It's my own fault - I had heen warned several times so nobody to blame but myself really.

  • I told her I had studied some of the work of Robert Hare (the psychologist who created the PCL-R assessment): she wrote that I had learned how to beat assessments.
  • I told her that I was uncomfortable discussing family: she wrote that I had denied having a family.
I won't go on - the idea is plain for all to see.

The thing about her, and the reason she has earned the name "The Smiling Assassin" of course, is that she can seem so sincere to the face and assure the prisoner that she will go and do everything she can to help and assist him. She leaves the prisoner feeling better, as though he has a sort of lifeline. That's why her stabs in the back are so much more hurtful.

This brings me neatly to our old friend and comrade in arms, Leo Tolstoy - born in 1829 and died in 1910, just in time to miss the revolution he had advocated for so long. Tolstoy wrote:

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.
Maybe we should consider changing The Smiling Assassin's name to Leo - it's easier to spell.

The Voice In The Wilderness