Archive | June, 2016

THE FALL AND FALL OF LIEGEL FARRIDGE

21 Jun

Liegel Farridge began swearing.
He was of the opinion that even if he told lies (which he frequently and smilingly did,) some magic in the air around him turned those lies into the truth.
So he began swearing when he got the letter.
He had posted (on the Internet using Facebook and Twitter and several other more minor outlets) an intriguing and very convincing piece in which he proved quite conclusively that one and one added to seven point four and he’d used it in a swipe at his political foes, who rarely varied from the normal and, to him, foolish assumption that one and one always made two.
His argument (and he smiled that lop-sided and rather smarmy grin of his when he thought it) was that somewhere in one of the Universes that Brian Cox suggested my exist in the enormity of everywhere there must be a planet on which one and one equalled seven point four. And if that sum can exist somewhere, he pointed out with the kind of authority usually attributed to a rodent in a mincer, it must also exist everywhere. Ergo one and one equalled seven point four and as he’d received seven point four of the votes in the election he must have won. Because seven point four, he unreasoned, was all of them.
And now that he’d won there were going to be some changes. There had to be. He’d read Mein Kampf, hadn’t he? Or most of it: some of the big words he’d left until later. After all, it was his favourite book because of all its resonances, not that he was ever quite sure what a resonance was. But reading it he knew stuff that most people didn’t know and he was going to put that stuff into being. Like exterminate everyone who could lay claim to Jewish ancestry.
Liegel Farridge was firm about that, and there were quite a lot of people willing to go along with him in just the same way as lots of people had been willing to follow the ideals of the author of that favourite book. There are always lost souls who enjoy bullying, and exterminating a whole race of people is an extreme form of bullying if ever there was one.
And his greatest upset was when a great detective worked out that just about everyone who lived had a tenuous link of sorts to a member of the Jewish race. They had to. Mathematics proved it.
“What? That one and one equals seven point four?” he sneered.
“No,” came Sherlock’s reply, “Though on Alpha Centaura it’s looked on as a positivity useful quantity when trying to reduce pi to a ten volume list of decimal points! No my point is rather simpler. You had two parents, each of those had two and they, in their turn each had two. How many’s that, then?”
“Seven point four,” suggested Liegel, who had never had a brain for numbers if he hadn’t made them up himself.
“You’re not far out,” conceded Jack Frost, who was also talking to him. “It’s eight. And that eight each had two. Sixteen? And that sixteen each had two. Thirty-two? Do you get my drift? You see, go back through the Farridge generations for a couple of thousand years and you know what you have?”
“Two many Farridges,” sneered Tom Barnaby, who was picking his nose.
“There can’t be!” snapped Liegel Farridge. “There’s no such thing! We’re all beautiful! And the answer, Mr clever dick detective, is probably the square of seven point four. It’s got to be. I’ve got it on my brain.”
“Nope,” grinned Endeavour Morse, who had sidled into the group. “I could always work these things out. What you’ve got, my son, is a number that’s bigger than the number of people who ever lived!”
“Quite right!” grinned Liegel, who was as intellectually lost as a cod fish in a frying pan. “That’s a hell of a lot of good guys!”
“If they were all good,” snarled Andy Dalziel, scratching his testicles because he thought they might itch at any moment.
“The point is,” whispered Jack Frost, “the point my son is, a great number of those people were of the Jewish persuasion and they were in your ancestry because of the numbers. So, my son, you’re nicked!”
“It’s not a crime to be a moron,” pointed out Peter Pascoe, coming up behind.
“Then it should be!” snarled Endeavour Morse, finishing seven point four across in the Oxford Times crossword.
Meanwhile Liegel Farridge exploded into a green and rather sticky pool of logic, and dripped onto the floor, which made something left of his consciousness start swearing.
“Yuk!” groaned Hercule Poirot, twiddling his moustache.

A GLORIOUS, GOLDEN AGE

20 Jun

I’ve been reading quite a lot about the glories of our past as a nation and the way it’s being ruined by our membership of Europe and I’m hard pressed to find anything particularly glorious about it.
The British Empire might have seen to be a cash-cow to the British, but it impoverished half the globe and ruined perfectly good societies by imposing a phony religion and distant royalty on them. I know there are those who look back at its passing with regret but in all honesty I can’t see much to be regretful about. Our own ancestors were once part of a huge empire, the Roman one, and they didn’t like it one bit. And when the Romans departed as their own centre broke up they left a country that was confused and ready for the taking by successive waves of invaders, culminating with the Normans in the eleventh century.
But the British Empire isn’t very much any more. The ownership of a people and their ways of life, their traditions, their faiths, is a spiteful and corrupt objective borne by an insatiable greed for wealth.
Anyway, back to my point. When was this golden age? It was certainly never in my life-time, and although my parents are both long dead it wasn’t in theirs either. And it wasn’t in the nineteenth century when Victoria sat on her throne, though a handful of men made fortunes from the toil of the masses. I would most probably have been one of those masses with a life expectancy in the thirties. I’m seventy-two now.
Or what about the eighteenth century? Ordinary men and women being driven towards the ever-expanding cities as an agricultural revolution drove them from the land. Or before then, when you just had to keep up to date with which brand of Christianity you subscribed to or risk having your head chopped off.
Or the medieval period when just about everything you were allowed to do was prescribed by the church and punishment for failing to attend at church was a fact of life. And don’t forget, the civil wars that seemed interminable. The wars of the roses that saw the Tudor kings emerge and thousands get killed (they had no choice, the men fighting for this or that cause, they did what they were told by their owners, the Lords of a nation of Manors.) Then there was Cromwell’s civil war and thousands more dying on battlefields.
And don’t forget the killing fields of the twentieth century, with two world wars that nobody could look back on with joy. Some call it the century of the fascist dictators and we would be wise to avoid its repetition. The leader of UKIP reminds me very much of the history of 1930s Germany and the rise of their monster.
So tell me… when was the glorious past? When are we supposed to look back on with envy and longing for its return?
And will leaving the only sensible arrangement, a united Europe complete with its imperfections and need for reform, take us there

WAR….

1 Jun

It makes me wonder…
bearing in mind that the EU and its predecessor the Common Market were born as an attempt to reduce the chance of European wars, I can’t help thinking that it might have been a good thing if it had been formed half a century earlier, at the beginning of the 20th century.
Then maybe the 17+ million deaths caused by the first world war (1914-1918) and the 60+ million deaths caused by the second world war (1939-1945) might have been avoided, and almost 80 million people who lost their lives so tragically might have lived full and wholesome lives.
Who can tell? Certainly not history, because those wars were fought.
And if we leave the EU, what then?
Maybe back to the war zone.
And Armageddon.