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London, England
An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about threats to liberty in Britain
Interests: liberty, travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
Rather than give up on my exercise regime during Lockdown #2 (a mistake I made during Lockdown #1), I resolved to walk the Thames Path in sections from Hampton Court to Canary Wharf. Walking is less efficient as exercise than swimming. According to my tracker, today's walk burned only the... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at THE LAST DITCH
This is one of the shortest sections of my planned walk, but richest in photo-opportunities. From the MI6 Building to the Houses of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, the more famous bridges, City Hall and (more poignant to me) the various buildings I worked on when I was a young property lawyer.... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
You’re not wrong. There were some places I could imagine living but it’s mostly pretty anodyne.
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I took a couple of days to let my damaged feet heal. Then I took another couple because Mrs P the II and I embarked upon a project at home that provided plenty of exercise! Today we took to the path again, this time on the North Bank. Returning to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
They're healed thanks. I took my exercise in other forms moving furniture, books, computers and other chattels up and down stairs to convert a bedroom into a study but I plan to resume the walk tomorrow, weather permitting. I am glad you like the photos.
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I think you’re right. Thank you. I knew it was filmed somewhere there. When Mrs P2 and I were dating I took her to see the Pythons live show at the O2. It was amazing to watch her as (probably alone in the audience in this respect) she saw the Parrot sketch for the very first time even as thousands around her filled in the gaps Cleese deliberately left, like the congregation’s responses in a church service.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2020 on Thames Path Day #1 at THE LAST DITCH
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Thanks. No you haven’t missed the point. My toes were blistered and bloody and I’m delaying the next stage until Monday to let them heal.
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It’s going to vary. In my case it wasn’t a practical evaluation. It was moral revulsion. Until I saw actual violence offered to people I knew and liked the theoretical violence of revolution had seemed acceptable. In that moment I knew it wasn’t.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2020 on My political journey at THE LAST DITCH
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Kew Bridge is close to home. I crossed the bridge to the steps I ascended, exhausted, at the end of Monday’s walk and set off. I’ve spent a lot of time on this section of the Thames near my home in Chiswick, but never on the opposite bank. The guide... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
Thank you! I stand corrected.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2020 on Day 2 on the Thames Path at THE LAST DITCH
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I was quite proud of yesterday’s effort but before I could blog about it received an email of encouragement from a long-time reader who told me he’d had a similar idea for lockdown and had walked the South Downs Way from Eastbourne to Winchester. That’s eighty-four miles and he did... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
The link in the post tells the story. A UCATT organiser came to the site and called a strike meeting. Only I voted to strike and I wasn’t a member so it didn’t count. Next day bus loads of armed “flying pickets” led by Ricky Tomlinson arrived on site, surrounded us and drove us into the middle. Tomlinson said “we’re taking that vote again” and — in fear of violence everyone but me voted to strike. When I spoke to my Marxist mentor at school and said I thought violent intimidation was wrong, he said I was mistaken. “Your friends on site are the disorganised working-class, the lumpen proletariat. The men on the buses were the organised working-class; the proletariat. You witnessed the dictatorship of the proletariat in action. It was good and you should have sided with them.” I went to my local library and asked the lady who’d been checking out my Marxist books for me to suggest some reading from the other side of the argument. Somewhere along the line I read Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” and it all made sense. I went to University and chaired the Conservatives there. Post-Thatcher I realised they were not Hayekians like her but statists of a paternalistic type and became a libertarian.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2020 on My political journey at THE LAST DITCH
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During the last lockdown, I gained four kilos. After my heroic efforts losing forty kilos in 2018, I wasn't happy about that. As soon as my health club reopened I stepped up my exercise programme to three hours swimming per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and got my weight... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I grew up around clandestine Conservatives behind Labour lines in the North. The North-East of Wales to be precise, but the border was in sight and our TV came from Manchester. My family were old-fashioned Tories; God, Queen, Country and leave business alone (except when it’s foreign and shouldn’t be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
So do I. I registered my support with him already.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2020 on An hour well spent at THE LAST DITCH
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Thanks for that. Interesting stuff.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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I don't normally go for podcasts, as I can take in information faster by reading and don't spend much time in traffic these days. This however, is worth your time. My last post was, I confess, a bit defeatist. I certainly felt defeated. Douglas Murray does not. On the contrary... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
Until we purge the educational establishment, which has long been infiltrated by enemies of liberty, there will no instilling of anything but division and mutual hatreds intended to weaken and undermine a free society. If you or I decided to become teachers or university lecturers (qualified though we may be) do you suppose there is any chance of our getting past the gatekeepers? A purge of educationalists would be a beginning but who would replace them, given generations of indoctrination in the field?
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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For much of my life lawyers were exempted from jury duty. When that rule changed, I was abroad and unavailable. Now I am retired, respectable and soigné, I suspect my former professional colleagues would object to me on sight so I may never serve. The late Mrs P1 however, was a stern critic of everything (and everyone except her children). She served on a jury in a drugs case. Her fellows included a Premier League WAG, a local tradesman, an unemployed person and some respectable salarymen and women. They were people who had never met but they took their responsibility seriously and the more educated helped the less so, and the more commonsensical helped the more educated. She said (and such praise – if you were not her offspring – was as rare as unicorn excrement) that it was the most impressive thing she had ever seen. Particularly when the family of the accused attempted some intimidation in the car park as the first day of the case ended. The jurors to a man and woman (having reported the matter to the clerk) decided that this was a practical indication of guilt! That's not something a trained lawyer could ever do, let alone a judge. It's the kind of thing that makes the jury system one of mankind's greatest inventions. The CPS barrister however was among the least impressive people Mrs P1 had ever encountered. I have blogged before as to why forming the CPS was one of the worst political errors of my lifetime. In fairness to her, all the lawyers she knew were my City of London colleagues so her critical bar was set high, but even so she said the lady in question was "pathetic, disorganised and demotivated." Incidentally, if you don't *want* to serve, turn up with military-style polished shoes and a Daily Telegraph. As part of my training as a young defence lawyer (before life in the City beckoned) I was trained to use precious unexplained juror objections on such people. My late father in law (a leftist, who would have acquitted the Krays to spite a posh judge) took my advice on this and was discharged by the judge after four defence lawyers had objected to him. Little did he know I had offered the advice to ensure he didn't acquit any Krays!
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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Yes Brendan is sound. There are many sound voices, but none of them are heard in the Deep State. Why? The most basic problem is that decent people simply don't aspire to live as parasites on their fellow-men while bossing them about. Those who want such roles should never be allowed to fill them. I could not sleep at night knowing that every penny I received as income had been taken from my fellows by force so there is literally no chance of finding anyone like me in Whitehall. An evil system cannot be made to work morally, no matter whom we elect. The State needs to be so small that, if it annoys us, it can be kicked under the sofa. I am not sure there's much hope of that when our fellow-citizens seem to crave more not less authoritarianism. Our only hope is that it doesn't work. It never has and it never will. Opposition grows as it progresses but timing is all. If it's not resisted before it controls all (as 20th Century history shows quite graphically) several generations can be lost to it.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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You’re too kind. Thank you. Margaret liked to quote “Norman and Saxon” to Mitterrand back in the day apparently.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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If guilty I would plead so. So the issue would never arise.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2020 on A disappointed idealist speaks at THE LAST DITCH
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The Misses Paine once said "Dad is not a cynic. He's a disappointed idealist." This may be so. Equally, it could be said that a man who reaches his 60s without becoming somewhat cynical has simply not been paying attention. There are some things in Britain I can still trust.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at THE LAST DITCH
I can’t disagree with that. Thank you for stiffening my spine. Yes we *can* blame the politicians as usual!
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One of the Misses P long ago said "People think Dad is cynical, but he's not a cynic – he's a disappointed idealist." That makes me sound less grumpy (and on a personal level I am generally a happy chap) so I take it as a compliment. I guess that's why I still (wisdom of age notwithstanding) keep raising my hopes that one of these rascals will actually do what he or she says. Had Margaret Thatcher never existed, I guess by now I would be lost to despair. She and President Reagan seem to have been alone in my lifetime in having gone into politics with honest, non-depredatory intent. Maybe they were disappointed idealists too?
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