Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

Posts Tagged ‘NATO’

MODERN TIMES: the Dinosaur Column

In Dinosaur on November 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

Caught up in the NATO circus:

Well, the NATO summit jamboree in Newport has been and gone. The delegates have departed, the high security fences have been taken away, along with all those spooky black-uniformed cops.

I confess that I missed much of it. Whilst the delegates plus their entourages were flying in to Bristol airport, we were flying out – for a brief visit to Denmark to see family.

At the airport we failed to  see any of the delegates, so I wasn’t able to ask for any autographs. They were kept safely away in a separate part of the terminal.  But the place was still chock-a-block with police. No “low profile” for them it seems. Unlike me. I tried to mingle unobtrusively.

Whilst we were waiting for our Easyjet flight to Copenhagen, though, I did accidentally bump in to one large gun-toting cop. Briefly I felt cold metal jab into my ribs. I stuttered a quick apology and fled.

Meanwhile, our MP Mark Harper has described NATO as a force for “peace”. It’s no such thing of course. It was a product of the Cold War, an alliance of western powers to present a common armed response to the “Soviet threat”. In response, the other side formed the Warsaw Pact – and a dangerous nuclear arms race was initiated.

With the collapse of the USSR, any perceived need for NATO disappeared, one would’ve thought, into oblivion. It should have been quietly retired, but instead its backers have turned into a kind of roving police force ready to act on behalf of  its sponsors, wherever the fancy takes them

Having it in for the Co-op:

I was gob-smacked when I saw the front page of the Citizen back at the end of August.

Taking up the whole page was a piece headlined in red, “194,000”.  That, it said, was the “bill so far as council fends off Co-op’s Asda challenge.”

Beneath the headline was an artist’s picture of the giant Asda megastore planned for Cinderford. I don’t know how other folk reacted, but it scared me. Asda don’t build small. And it takes no prisoners.

It seems that the Citizen is telling us that it’s the Co-op’s fault that all this taxpayers’ cash has been spent.   In other words, the Co-op is not entitled to fight its corner against a giant that threatens the whole shopping centre of Cinderford.  After all, it’s not only the Co-op’s future that’s at stake, but also all the smaller convenience stores or speciality shops that exist in town.

In Cinderford, the Midcounties Co-op won its legal battle, at least for now. But as far as the District Council’s concerned, they could have saved all this money by not backing Asda’s application  in the first place.

Who’s paying for those deep-fried Mars Bars??

One of the more ludicrous attacks on the Scots’ independence campaign came from Nadine Dorries, Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire. In the Sun newspaper (where else?), she asked, “Why are we paying them (ie the Scots) to eat deep-fried Mars bars when we can’t even get decent healthcare in this country?

Personally I think this image of obese Scots all tucking into deep-fried Mars bars is a bit of an urban myth, But what I think Ms. Dorries is getting at is that “we” are having to pay for them all to be treated under the NHS.

But of course Scotland has its own Health Service – and how much deep-fried Mars bars addicts cost to be treated is, I feel, an unknown quantity. Rather low down on the list of priorities, I reckon. But Nadine Dorries told the Sun that as a story “it’s going to be explosive”. Rather like a damp squib, perhaps?

Incidentally, I noticed that Glasgow (alleged home of the deep fried Mars bar) voted by 55 per cent to 45 for independence in the referendum.  Edinburgh, though, voted the other way.

But I don’t think it had anything to do with Mars bars, deep-fried or otherwise.