Friday, 25 December 2009


Here we are again, the unavoidable 25th! I wouldn't mind Christians celebrating the supposed birth of Christ (though if his birthday was noted at all it would have been in the Hebrew calendar), but why did they allow the festival of the mother and babe to be replaced by the festival of the red-cloaked Father, symbol of the economic power of the male? The most amazing thing is that most of the work of this festival of patriarchy is done by women; not only do they do much of the present-buying but they also have to do most of the cooking.

My mother was not an ardent feminist, but she always signed her presents 'Mother Christmas'. That was after I had discovered the awful truth; at the age of six I found my infant scrawl to Father Christmas in the bottom drawer of my parents' desk. I did not cease to cross-examine my poor mother until she had admitted that she was the bringer of presents. I felt deeply aggrieved at this deception, and my faith in my parents was badly dented.

The other thing that gave me a lifelong dislike of Father Christmas was his supposed method of entry, down the chimney. I had been told and re-told the story of the wolf and the three little pigs, in which the wolf gets into the house by the same route, and I knew there were foxes in the garden. Father X became intimately tangled in my mind with these terrible carnivores. It was one thing to hear about a wolf in a faraway country eating little pigs; it was quite another to know that our own chimney had been used by Father X, and it meant that a fox might come the same way to get me. It was only when I actually saw a fox, not much bigger than a cat, that I finally shook off this phobia. Moral: do not lie to children!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Solstice

Greetings on this, the one singular day in December, the end of shortening days! Help to reclaim our good old pagan festival from the Christians who have moved it to the wrong day, who celebrate it for the wrong reason and who have sold it to commerce. Today is the day to enjoy good food that has cost no animal its life and to drink good wine without drunkenness.

When they moved the beginning of the year to midwinter, they got the wrong day. The year should really start with the solstice. That would have avoided the eight days of suspended life that now runfrom 24th December to 1st January.

And while on my annual grumble, could those who spend public money please stop pouring it into reminders of the Christian festivals? Either that or be equally lavish in marking the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other feast days. Weeks of Christmas, Christmas , Christmas make it hard for non-Christians to feel at home.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


My dying computer has just swallowed a whole page of blog. Very discouraging! It was to say that I'm reading a brilliant book The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion by Finkel and Leibovitz. It shows, with massive documentation, that Chamberlain was not a peace-lover hoodwinked by evil Hitler but a scheming warmonger who thought, like most of the Conservative Party, that they could use Hitler to destroy Soviet communism. Chamberlain told Hitler he could have a free hand in Eastern Europe as long as he didn't attack the West and the British Empire. It was only when Hitler made his pact with Stalin in August 1939 that Chamberlain realized he might make war on France and Britain, but even then he still hoped for an accommodation. Only the invasion of France put an end to his machinations.

Britain had already shown complete contempt for the League of Nations and all it stood for. We had allowed Mussolini to invade Ethiopia, Japan to take over Manchuria, Hitler to remilitarize the Rhineland, rebuild his armed forces and annex Austria, and we had said nothing when Germany and Italy helped Franco to overthrow the elected government of Spain. And yet here we are seventy years later showing exactly the same contempt for the United Nations and international law, conducting foreign policy as if all that matters is the protection of our misconceived interests, propping up corrupt governmments and arming crazy dictators. There can be no peace without justice, but do our governments even want peace?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Bushy Rabbit is still occupying the garage. No serious gnawing yet, but he knocked over a broomstick. He seems to have thought it was a minaret, so he takes himself for a Swiss vigilante. I hope the Swiss will now go all the way and ban the building of churches with belfreys - bell-free churches only please! No seriously, how Nazi can you get without being Nazi? Don't they remember what Hitler did to Jews?

The big joke is that people claim Muslims are against pluralism. Goodness! Don't they know that Muslims restored pluralism to the Eastern Mediterranean after the Byzantine emperors had spent three centuries trying to eliminate every religion except orthodox Christianity? It was the British who enabled most of Palestine to be turned into a state for one religion, endangering the peace of the whole region.

I've just watched a mind-numbing set of interviews with Sarah Palin fans. It seems that the best qualification for being U.S. President is that no one knows your policies, as long as they are thought to be far-right. One bloke thought that Obama's books were about Marxism-Leninism. There was a nice spelling mistake: Sarah Plain!