Tuesday 19 January 2010


15st 6lb, 3.0 units. As a stimulus to losing weight, this daily blogging lark is clearly proving a failure to rank alongside Gordon Brown’s abolition of boom and bust. Still, I’m enjoying it and someone to whom I am unrelated by blood or marriage even left a comment the other day to say that they were enjoying it, too. Always an encouragement, that. And a noteworthy event on these pages, where comments are so rare (unlike on virtually every other blog I glance at). I cheer myself up with memories of reading out a paper about Jane Austen’s Emma to my A-level English set at school. Usually, at the end of these little talks, everyone took great delight in rubbishing the speaker, but on this occasion I was followed by the sort of silence that is normally associated with the tolling of a muffled bell, and perhaps a few bits of tumbleweed blowing across the stage. When Mr Unsworth our English teacher (a man chiefly famous for his use of the wonderfully unhelpful introduction “And this is my wife, Mrs Unsworth”) said that surely there must be some questions or comments, someone eventually piped up “But he’s said it all, sir.”

Yes, that will be it. I’ve still got it. Nothing to do with having no readers, then.

I circulated my weekly newspaper column to the usual suspects this morning, and one of them responded with yet another version of that hoary old Internet round robin “Australian Prime Minister tells Muslim immigrants to accept Australian values or leave the country.” Now they are really stretching credulity by attributing it to the right-on Kevin Rudd. First time around it purportedly came from that robust monarchist John Howard and was half believable, though of course he never actually said it and even his associates only said some milder things on vaguely the same lines.

But wouldn’t it be refreshing if someone (other than Nick Griffin) actually did?

I always thought that the acronym was FIFO, but apparently that’s been bagged by First In, First Out, so it’s got to be FIOFO for Fit In Or F*** Off. Always the motto of my firm when I was an employer (which I am not any more, sadly for those making a fat living out of working the tribunals system). But I am married to a (nominal) Muslim, whose parents were both born in Iran. The whole family celebrates Christmas with considerably more enthusiasm than I have ever mustered, and enjoys just about every traditional feature of English life from pork sausages to the pub. They would never dream of suggesting that local customs should be adapted for fear of “giving offence”. Indeed, it is noteworthy that every time yet another local authority announces that Christmas is being officially renamed “Holidays”, “Winterval” or whatever “to avoid giving offence”, the local media never have any difficulty finding representatives of the local Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/Jewish/Zoroastrian community to affirm that they actually love Christmas and that the pressure for change has nothing whatsoever to do with them.

Well-meaning middle class left-wingers find themselves in a bizarre alliance with a tiny minority of nutcases who wish to promote their own, extreme religious and social agenda, and others, perhaps even more sinister, who simply hate our society so much that they will gladly ally themselves with any cause calculated to subvert it. Having temporarily abandoned hope of the proletariat rising up and seizing control of the means of production, distribution and exchange, the best they can do is encourage disaffected mediaevalists to try and overturn our remaining traditions and values. Well, bollocks to them, I say.

It may not be the most intellectually dazzling observation I have made on these pages, but at least it come from the heart.

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