Kirkcudbright is a winner . . .

A Kirkcudbright business called “Made on Cloud Nine” entered Kirkcudbright in a competition and the town won a prize. Full marks for enterprise. The details can be found on her Facebook page HERE.

And then the page detailing all the towns in the competition can be accessed HERE

Julie Hollis aka “Made on Cloud Nine” describes herself thus :

Made on Cloud 9, owned and run by artist Julie Hollis, is a new eco-friendly arts and crafts shop in the Artists’ Town of Kirkcudbright.

Run on ethical terms, the shop aims to supply goods made from sustainable sources, using environmentally sound processes to eco-conscious customers.The ethos of the business revolves totally around sustainability.

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We are donating fire engines to Ukraine . . .

We are, I read on Twitter, donating fire engines to Ukraine. I wonder if this is seen as a good method of disposing of these old faithfuls ? They had a good outing in the Firemen’s strike of 1977, but we haven’t heard or seen much of them lately. The famous “Green Goddess”.

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Tail Wagginess . . .

For sheer tail wagginess this takes a lot of beating . . .

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Matilda Thorpe explains it all . . .

Matilda Thorpe (@tillythorpe) and Rosie Holt (@RosieisaHolt) are the saviours of the nation at the present time.

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The architects of the post-Brexit rot . . .

Professor Chris Grey has a slightly uncharacteristic outburst of opinion at the end of his blog post for last week. I have not copied and pasted the whole blog, but this tail end is worth five minutes of anyone’s time. It coincides with my prejudices exactly ! . . .

The architects of the post-Brexit rot

Meanwhile, not additional to, but inseparable from, this malaise, our political institutions are in a parlous state. Scandals abound, whilst authoritarianism advances and democratic rights are being trimmed. Which brings us back to Johnson’s refusal to resign, aided and abetted by his party’s refusal to make him. This latest example of moral rot symbolizes a whole country going rotten, its entire national strategy now founded on the lies, delusions and fantasies of Brexit. Johnson is both the foremost and yet the least important manifestation of that rot.

For whilst it is a cliché that the ‘fish rots from the head’, Johnson’s departure would not in itself improve things. The rot has now gone too deeply into the body politic, because it doesn’t just come from Johnson’s opportunistic moral vacuum. It comes from Nigel Farage’s blokey racism, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s faux-patrician sanctimony, Gisela Stuart’s earnest spitefulness, Michael Gove’s oily sophistry. From the decades of screaming tabloid headlines about immigration, and the lachrymose self-pity of suburban curtain-twitchers who ‘aren’t allowed to say what we think’. From the belligerent nationalism of obese thugs and blue-blazered golf club bores who can’t forget the war they don’t actually remember. From contrarian would-be intellectuals who can’t forgive being ignored by real academics and from free-market think tankers who have none of the knowledge of real business people. From dead-eyed Hedge Fund managers gloating over profits to be made and cold-eyed neo-Marxists dreaming of utopias to come.

From the rot created by this diverse coalition – which diversity also means that those who confidently announce that ‘Brexit was always all about’ any one thing are always wrong – a foul miasma now emanates. Those who complain of the stench are denounced as deranged, or dismissed as obsessed. They are told they must ‘move on’ and ‘get behind Brexit’, and told it most loudly by those who equally loudly insist that Brexit has been betrayed. The rot will only have a chance of being stopped when enough people agree that Brexit has in fact failed, even if they continue to disagree about why. But, by then, there may not be much left untainted.

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“Further legal reforms . . . “

Note that last bit – “also prepared to explore any and all further legal reforms which may be necessary”.

A session of the People’s Court, trying the conspirators of the 20 July plot, 1944. From left: General of the Infantry Hermann ReineckeRoland Freisler, president of the court; Ernst Lautz, chief public prosecutor

Seems like we have been here before. What will the next step be ?

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A Thoughtful Letter . . .

Baron Wolfson of Tredegar.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar has resigned from his post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice at the Ministry of Justice. I append below his resignation letter which, I think, well sets out the opinion and feelings of a thoughtful and well educated person in the legal profession. I do not for one moment suppose that it will influence Boris Johnson in the slightest who will dismiss it and him as “wet”. But for more thoughtful people it illustrates the ever widening gap between this Government and common decency.

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The Suspect becomes the Convict, but the ‘Lion of Kyiv’ is sure to keep lying

John Crace

Boris Johnson seemed to blame the police for not having interpreted the law in his favour. Photograph: Marc Ward/PA

John Crace of “The Guardian” is usually good, but this one of his is worth preserving . . .

Tue 12 Apr 2022 20.35 BST

It had all been going so well. After his successful, surprise weekend trip to Ukraine, Boris Johnson had been enjoying his newfound status as “The Lion of Kyiv” during a few days off at Chequers. Then had come the news that the Metropolitan police had now issued more than 50 fixed penalty notices (FPN). And that’s before they had even got to work on the really serious parties. If only he had put the ruthless and forensic Christopher Geidt in charge of the investigation. Then no one would have been any the wiser about any of the parties.

Not that there had been any parties. The Suspect had always been very clear about this. In as much as he had ever been very clear about anything. First he had told parliament that he had been as furious as the rest of the country that staff at No 10 could have been having parties that he knew nothing about. Then, when it had emerged he had actually attended most of the parties he knew nothing about, he had said that he hadn’t been aware that the parties were parties. Because the presence of cakes, booze, trestle tables laden with food and empties littering the flowerbeds weren’t much of a clue.

Round about lunchtime, things got a whole lot worse when Johnson discovered that he was one of the crims to be given an FPN. The Suspect was no longer the Suspect. He was the Convict. It was outrageous. Just because he had passed the law forbidding everyone from meeting up during lockdown, there was no reason to imagine that he was expected to obey the rules. Those had only been for the Little People. The suckers. Narcissists like Johnson got to do as they chose. Theirs was a life governed by their own own exceptionalism.

It hadn’t helped that Carrie had also been given a FPN. Wilfred and Romy would just have to get used to the fact that both their parents were criminals. And he’d have to find out if Lulu Lytle had also been fined as she would be sure to add it to her bill. As it was she deserved a £10,000 fine for crimes against interior design. Not that he would be paying hers or anybody else’s, of course. Least of all his own. That’s what David Brownlow was for.

The only upside was that Rishi Sunak had also been issued with an FPN. The chancellor had been in tears when he had phoned. “What shall I do?” he sobbed. “Just pay it,” the Convict had replied. “It’s alright for you. You’ve got loads of dosh. You can afford it. And you’ll probably find a way to offset it against tax in whatever country – Mauritius, is it? – your family files their returns.”

Sunak had then gone on to have a meltdown about having lied to parliament about not having been to a party. What a baby. “I was categoric about it,” he had said. Whatevs. Personally, the Convict couldn’t see what was so bad about having deliberately misled parliament. It was the sort of thing that he did the whole time and none of the Tory MPs seemed that bothered about it. He’d always found that the best way of getting out of a lie was to double down with an even bigger lie. And if that didn’t work, just keep lying until people got bored.

But if Rishi wanted to make a martyr of himself – imagine the absurdity of a cabinet minister being expected to have some principles! – then he could be his guest. The chancellor could learn the hard way that Johnson had the knack of invariably dragging anyone close to him down to his level in the end. As for the Convict, he wasn’t going anywhere.

Instead he would let some of his useful idiots fill the void. Thank God for Michael Fabricant and Nadine Dorries. While other Tory MPs and cabinet ministers were totally silent – it was as if the Conservative party was totally paralysed with indecision: it’s not every day your leader makes history by being the first prime minister to be found guilty of breaking his own laws. And while MPs knew he ought to resign they didn’t dare to be the first to suggest it as there were no obvious alternatives – these two alone held the fort.

Micky F managed to insult every doctor and nurse by suggesting they had spent most of lockdown pissed while Nad had basically restated Boris’s divine right to do what the fuck he liked. Nadine was a trooper. Even if Boris killed someone she would find a way of making it the victim’s fault.

But come 6pm the Convict was ready to record a short television clip. He was deeply apologetic, he said. Though he didn’t sound like it. Rather, as he toyed with the Toddler haircut, he seemed to blame the police for not having interpreted the law in his favour. In BorisWorld, ignorance of the law is a valid excuse, it seems. Johnson just wanted to move on. It would be wrong to resign now because of Ukraine. Though arguably the UK needed a leader with a strong moral compass more than ever these days. And it wasn’t as if the UK didn’t have a track record of replacing leaders during wartime. Not that we are at war.

Johnson was markedly less comfortable when facing questions. Could everyone just forget about the fact that he had lied so many times he had forgotten what he had lied about and broken his own rules on multiple occasions, he begged. After all, he had lied in good faith because he had really, really believed his own lies. Honest. And if we could just ignore the fact he is totally untrustworthy, he would get on with not dealing with the cost of living and energy crisis.

I mean, he’d only been to a party for nine minutes: it’s going down all the time. Before too long he won’t have been to it – so surely that didn’t count. Well, fine. Then what excuses would the Convict come up with when he was fined in the future for attending those parties that went on for hours and where everyone got thoroughly shitfaced. The other parties that Johnson insisted never took place. Boris shook his head. He would lie about that as and when the need arose.

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EFRA Report . . .Don’t mention the “B” word

I post the above for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. My own observations are that it is interesting that a House of Commons Committee has used the word “Brexit” throughout when Boris has explicitly said he doesn’t want it mentioned – and that this has been published while the House is in its Easter recess, so no doubt the Cabinet are hoping that it will get very little publicity, and will be forgotten by the time the House reassembles.

The full report is here.

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Uncomfortable Reading . . .

I am currently reading “The Good Germans, Resisting the Nazis, 1933 – 1945” by Catrine Clay. I am ¾ of the way through and am having a short rest break. She describes very well the way in which the NSDAP achieved a firstly, place in Government and then speedily, absolute power, and the increasingly onerous and hostile measures they put in place against their perceived opponents among their own people, and of course, the Jewish people simply for being Jewish. At first the members of other political parties and those with no particular interest in politics thought that life would go on as usual, political debate and activity would carry on and the normal way of life would be as before. But as soon as the NSDAP achieved power in January 1933 they set about organising concentration camps, the first of which was up and running in March of the same year. Political parties other than the NSDAP were soon proscribed and their members began to be arrested and “disappeared”.

People who had been against Hitler and the NSDAP from the start soon realised that they must keep their opinions to themselves, and as time went on, many joined the party and outwardly became Nazis (an abbreviation of the full title of the NSDAP) in order to keep their jobs and their businesses going. As the Nazi rule tightened its grip, so people who would never have thought of actively resisting their Government found themselves convinced that there was no other way of getting rid of them except by some sort of action. The author discusses and describes the dilemmas of such people as they found themselves driven to contemplate violence of one sort or another including for some, the assassination of Hitler himself. She does so by following the individual lives of some very different Germans through the period in question.

I have had to pause my reading several times as the parallels between the Germany of the 1930s and 40s under Hitler and the America of recent history under Trump, the lies and disinformation of the Conservative Party in this country since 2016, and now, of course, the extraordinary statements and actions coming out of Russia in its attack on Ukraine become all too plain and horribly relevant, and very painful to someone of my age who lived through the Nazi era. The dilemma remains, and anyone reading the pages of Twitter can see it being acted out. Hatred of the Conservative Government in this country is repeatedly expressed, and people ask over and over again, “What can we do ?” and are made to realise that the answer is “nothing” until there is a General Election (under a non representative electoral system), unless civil disobedience and its accompanying violence and destruction of property is invoked. We have seen a failed attempt to take over the White House by illegal means in the USA, driven by Trump, and Russia is currently pursuing a policy of “lebensraum” against Ukraine, but without the easy walk overs of Hitler in Austria and the Sudetenland.

It is a book (there are others too) which needs to be read more widely in today’s UK if only to open people’s eyes to the situation in which they are living. But that sort of reading is, I think, a minority activity today, and the media which could warn people is either too timid, or unaware, or controlled by the hostile interests themselves.

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