Archive | April, 2014

Churchill,Dardanelles and my early wake up …

25 Apr

If any question why we died, Tell them,because our fathers lied

I got up at 5.20 this morning as the boys both wanted to attend the dawn parade for ANZAC day.

It looked like this …20140425_055231

The day is one of remembrance , particularly for the Dardanelles campaign. I find it difficult to really understand or articulate because try as I might , I don’t understand the point of the first world war. No matter how many times I hear something about its purpose or the sacrifice , it all seems so depressingly pointless. And the death toll, the slaughter, the waste of life…nothing can balance this out.

Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.Nor honour. It is easy to be dead. Say only this,”they are dead”. Then ask thereto.

Dardanelles was the plan driven by Churchill, it led to the fall of the Liberal Government.It was a unmittigated disaster. It was a strategy with no real plan , only men. The ANZAC element were citizen soldiers. 200 various ships went into the peninsula with a plan to put men ashore on various landing points. With little intelligence or accurate maps the ANZAC boats actually landed in the wrong spot.Sadly for them it was under steep slopes to each side. The conditions,the climate and the waiting Turks made their landing a disaster.

Sneak home and pray you’ll never know the hell where youth and laughter go

By the evening there were 2,000 dead at ANZAC cove alone. In less than 2 weeks that number was 10,000. The ANZACs were overlooked and the constant bombardment led to a production line of injured soldiers going down to be replaced by new landings who needlessly suffered the same. Positions became entrenched and withdrawal inevitable. Sadly it came after a freak storm had drowned further soldiers in the tranches. By January ANZAC cove was empty. Over half a million lives were lost in that brief and pointless campaign.

So down we lay again.I wonder will the world ever saner be

I stopped long ago trying to make sense out of war. We do remember. The gloss of this being about freedom(s) and democracy I am unconvinced of. We can remember the dead and the loss without finding a moral purpose to what happened. The very fact there was no purpose is the message I keep taking away.


April 92 …I still want my money back …

9 Apr

It is 22 years since the April 92 election. The election everyone knew was Labours. The election that every , every , opinion poll got wrong. Think about that for a moment. A two-horse race that they got wrong by over 8%..the polls all said a hung parliament and it wasnt. Yet the same pollsters are still working 22 years later , filling column inches with rubbish predictions.

It was the election that was defined by Jimmy Greaves writing on politics in the Independent , oh you don’t recall that. Well how about Ian Botham suing the Sun for calling him a Conservative supporter. No you don’t recall that either. They had to fall back on the support of Bill Wyman , William Roche and Andrew Lloyd Weber. Of course with friends like those ….

It was a trivial election , one defined by an argument over a broadcast about a child waiting for an ear operation. This soon became in tabloid parlance the “war” over Jennifer’s ear. Ironic that thousands of dead Iraqis didn’t make the election agenda but a “war”over an ear , that wasnt a war did. It was defined by a false argument that a man shouting “allright”lost a party votes when no evidence supports this whatsoever. It was defined by a heightened bitterness in the newspaper coverage and support. The fleet street tabloid editors went into full battle mode. One that seemed to go beyond reasonableness and sanity.

And of course the result was a foregone conclusion , so I didn’t vote. John Major played his soap box for all he could. he lied over taxation. It was his first election as Prime Minister. His rise to the top had been a somewhat confusing affair. I still get confused between the reality of that , an episode of Yes Minister where Jim HAcker becomes Prime Minister and the original House of Cards. Perhaps his supporters did too. The COnservatives were so keen to rid themselves of Margaret Thatcher they forgot to tidy up the process and no one noticed Chance Gardener becoming Prime Minister. One cabinet minister had predicted of her downfall ” when she goes she will go very fast. Our wives will have soaped the stairs for her”. That phrase tells you so much , not positive , about the 80s Tories.

Maybe that was our collective problem , people felt cheated at not having deposed of Thatcher themselves. Then we got cheated again . While I didn’t vote I paid a real price. In 1993 John Major took legal action against the New Statesman and scallywag for insinuating he was having an affair. He played a blinder, Closed one magazine and nearly finished the other. New Statesman added a levy to its cover price which I paid ( on the odd occasion i bought it ). So far he hasn’t returned this money to me , despite admitting his extra marital affair some years after he left office . Well only admitting after the other party went public.

A liar won through and we all got cheated in the end.

Changing Time

6 Apr

This morning , or was it last night ? we changed our time back to standard time or away from daylight savings or into post imperial timelight or something stupid. For a family like ours who are not wholly slaves to the clock it’s still annoying. This day and its sister day are the most confusing days of the year. Why do we have to do this ?
We spent the day doing the traditional re checking of the time , confused over the “real” time and the confusing “time to us “. Who invented this nonsense ? I always knew it was something to do with the war but didn’t realise the German’s began it, nor did I realise that George Hudson , a British New Zealander , is credited with inventing it…how do you invent it ? But he did. I also have always blamed farmers but they it appears want to flick into permanent summer time..adjust the clocks for ever.

Not every country does this , so some Calves did not spend the day unsure what was going on with feedtimes..
some countries have never done it and others have kept the saved system ( Britain experimented with this in the late 60s but with the disastrous result of flared trousers and Ted Heath they abandoned it in 1971). In Australia some states do it and others don’t how confusing that must be. Not only that but in Queensland they have a political party set up to advance daylight saving for south-east Queensland …how quaint and pointless at the same time.

Noting makes you feel more like a production widget than the changing of the time. A way to maximise your efficiency to the economy. To be fair to Hudson he just wanted to see more insects after work , but the system remains as a kind of time servitude.
So we reacted in the only way we can …built a fire , cooked on it and forgot all about the time ….