Fast walking and great progress through unbeaten paths, smothered with nettles and brambles, a symbol of shame of the local authority. No other walkers. The afternoon’s walk was the length of the Wey river, peaceful and lovely with Moses swimming for sticks.
Then we skirted Aldershot and walked close to RMA Sandhurst where recently I attended an anniversary of my passing out parade; there were 200 wrinkled old men like me watching the Sovereign’s parade for around two hours, all hoping with some desperation that we would last out to the end without having a pee.
Kate Hoey MP
A loyal ZANE supporter and Labour MP who has bravely voted in the national interest and nor just to please Momentum.
She has chaired ZANE meetings and is a tough, delightful lady. I wish there were more like her.
Former CEO of the Ellerman Foundation. Tim gives ZANE first class advice just because he is an excellent friend of our charity.
He has driven Jane and me for four walks; he is an excellent driver and a very nice man.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind
Former Foreign Secretary who always does all he can to help ZANE.
A good friend of ZANE who always tell me exactly what he thinks.
Wife of ZANE’s chairman. Hugely encouraging and always supportive.
Christopher Warren, Nigel Dransfied, Lance Gill Tim Burt and Marie Gordon Roe
– the RCEL team – for all their tireless work for ZANE.
Tom Benyon’s Men’s Group (they know who they are)
who keep me on the straight and narrow.
I don’t like kissing virtual strangers. I know it’s the thing to do nowadays, but I have long since worked out the difference between fake intimacy and the real thing. Vicars, politicians and salesmen are adept at manufacturing the essential fake warmth and affection for people they have never really met properly as it’s a part of the business routine. I did it myself as a political hack and I wasn’t proud of my behaviour: in short, I have a distaste for professional affection.
I have to admit I quite liked Jean Claude Juncker kissing the air above Theresa May’s wrist, which I found strangely gallant. But I’m English, not continental, and I prefer a smile and a simple, “How nice to see/meet you.” The point is, if I am going to kiss people I don’t care about, what, in decency, am I to do to those I do care for? Grab, and then roundly fondle them?
Consider Yourself Kissed
So, I only kiss people who are intimates – family or close friends, not strangers. I envy the royals for the self-protection system they have long perfected. Princess Anne shoves out an imperious white-gloved hand; the queen is bowed or curtsied to, as are other members of the royal family. That’s it, unless you know them, in which case you can kiss, curtsey, bow, hug in that order – but that routine is reserved for pals only. If you aren’t a pal, try it on at your peril.
I understand all this faux social snogging started when Cilla Black began to kiss total strangers on the TV programme Blind Date; then it became mandatory for all hosts on all chat shows to kiss the entire contents of the studio sofa. After that, it ramped up even further when the Duke of Kent kissed the ladies’ Wimbledon tennis champion. The kissing game started to inflate from there and so here we are.
I’ve heard that now there is a posh new custom of saying to people, “CYK”: “Consider yourself kissed”. I rather like that. Friendly, without exposing yourself to flu germs.
Mwah Mwah anyone?
Binary referendum results imposed on a parliamentary democracy have the same result as pouring diesel into a petrol engine: the system seizes solid. This is partly why Brexit has created such a fractious atmosphere and why referenda are a truly rotten idea. But this is where we are and it would seem that whatever happens next, the country will remain divided.
Parliament is deeply unrepresentative of the views of the people. The referendum result reflected 52 per cent Brexiteers and 48 per cent Remainers, yet our “first past the post” democracy has produced a mix of six Remainers to one Brexiteer in Parliament. Hence the log jam.
There’s a vast tranche of voters in the UK whose views remain unrepresented in Parliament and the media. The old soldiers, for example, whose views I summarised in my last blog, A Land Fit for Heroes, are often considered bigoted fascists. As are those who, even if they aren’t so old, want a nation state and to live in their own communities, and who believe we are still a Christian country. And there are voters who worry their faith is being eroded by secularism and are concerned about the illiberal aspects of Islam, and who complain that no one asked if they wanted to live in a multi-racial society. They are, of course, ignored and labelled racist.
But Parliament ignores these voters at its peril, for 70–80 per cent of voters are demanding that immigration be constrained, and a good 40 per cent want to see it stopped altogether. More than 50 per cent don’t think immigration has been beneficial to this country.
MPs ignore voters who doubt the wisdom of gay adoption (even if such voters are not in any way “homophobic”). They disregard voters who are shocked when their children are taught the normality of transgenderism at junior school, and voters who believe marriage is for the long term. They ignore voters who yearn to do the “right thing” and those who worry about the passing of free speech.
How do I know this? Social research surveys and opinion polls tell us so.
By last February (2019), of the nine parties that are represented in the House of Commons, eight signed up to the full “liberal” agenda (the exception being the 10 MPs of the DUP). So out of 10 parties in the Commons, nine are liberal, even if one of them is labelled “Conservative”. It’s the Conservatives who cannot be bothered to control immigration and it’s the Conservatives who insist that six-year-old school children are taught about same-sex relationships and transgenderism. And Conservative MPs, by a majority, are disdainful of the nation state and voted Remain.
It seems, too, that the people in our universities, almost all government quangos, the arts quangos, the teaching profession and the media all have the same mindset. And, of course, that goes for Church of England bishops too.
And because these people all think the same way, they don’t think we suffer from political bias in the ruling elite: these views are deemed to be right!
The two main parties should have seen the warning signs. In the Euro elections, they only secured a quarter of the vote between them.
It won’t end happily.