Monthly Archives: April 2011

Thoughts upon the hand fasting of Charles and Diana.


I have been viewing some footage of the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. It took place in July in the year 1981.

I was then but a babe. I was neglected as my family were glued to the box. We were lodging at the house of my aunt Maire. Anyhow, Maire and her brood do not partake of butter, finding it loathsome. I wandered into the kitchen unsupervised and there I espied with my little eye a pound of butter. I was unfed and so helped myself to the butter. Two hours and one married couple later I tottered back into the drawing room and upchucked butter onto the carpet.

It was an omen. That is why Diana and Charles dissolved their marriage 15 years later. I was the first to know.

It was such a resplendent spectacle. I enjoyed the hell out of it. I could not get enough of it –  watching it over and again. It was full of colour, music, glory and joy – everything that is bright, positive and full of life. The merriment was accompanied by decorum.

When Lady Diana alighted from her coach she was like Cinderella in her heyday. As she set foot outside St Paul’s Cathedral an elated shout went up from the crowd. They were pent-up with anticipation.

Earl Spencer, that title must have flummoxed Americans. No, Earl is not a boy’s name. It is a noble title. We may call him Lord Spencer. Lord Spencer had suffered a stroke a couple of years before and could totter but with careful tread up the 200 m aisle.

Lady Diana’s wedding dress was beyond extravagant – a train 8m long. There were many page boys and flower girls. They had matching addresses. It was so stately. No one does pomp like the British Isles.

The melodies made it all. Dull would he be of soul who was not a royalist then when he say they fairytale princess mincing up the red carpet to wedding strains.

Prince Diana like the innocent she was. She was decent to look at but I am not sure if I could call her beautiful. She was never to my taste. She was never my wank fantasy.

Prince Charles did not look one bit happy. Her Majesty the Queen looked dignified but no more. Later in the day she managed to crack a smile. She grew up in a different era –  that of self-control.

Charles was thinking, of fuck –  oh fuck – what am I doing? I am marrying someone I totally do not love. I should have married Camilla. Oh well, it is too late to turn back now. I have got to go through with it. I will shag her tonight.

Lord Spencer had a youth near him in case he stumbled.

The Archbishop of Canterbury had a very fruity accent such as is much mocked now.

It was a marvellous occasion. I feel pride rising in me –  a surge of endorphins flood my brain. Yes –  of yes, This is it. This is monarchy at its finest. God save the queen!

That peck on the balcony was lacking any passion. They were in front of their families never mind 750 000 000 people. This is the world’s premier royal house. Her Majesty is the queen of 16 nations. A third of the planet was once under her father’s sway.


Prince Charles met Camilla Parker Bowles in the 1970s. She was no longer a virgin. She was not a noblewoman but was not far off it. She was the last of that generation of really super ladies who did nothing till they got married. Charles was very fond of Camilla but she was not quite suitable and he was young and unsure of himself. He went away with the Royal Navy to bust drug dealers in the Caribbean. A year later he returned and Camilla was engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles, an army officer. Camilla was not acceptable anyway. The Queen would have vetoed it.

Charles hit 30. 1978 his parents say, Charlie boy, you are a man now –  isn’t it time you settled down? Find a suitable bride.

Lady Diana had two elder sisters. People had said they might be right for Charles. Diana and Prince Andrew are the same age. They might be a match.

Charles remarked that he first met Diana and thought ”what an attractive 16 year old.” He was then 29. Nowadays a 29 year old who wanted to shaft a girl that age would be called a paedo. Now he was not one in legal or ethical terms. There is nothing amiss in shagging a 16 yEAR old but one sees a sad degeneration in attitudes.

He formed a liaison with her in the summer of 1980. She was then 18 or maybe 19. Her birthday is in July.

Lady Di was a dumbo. She failed all her O levels. Admittedly O levels were hard. Nothing wrong in being unscholarly but it is worth bearing in mind. Prince Chuck is smart –  a Cantabrigian. He earnt that I am convinced.

Then in Feb 1981 he got engaged to her. She was still 19. She had never had a boyfriend and was a virgin – that is the word on the street and I have no reason to doubt it.

She was the only virgin in the kingdom.

They wed when she was 20 and he was 32. That would be thought too much of an age gap now.

Prince Charles admitted in his interview with Martin Bashir in 1995 that he did commit adultery but only when it became clear that his marriage was effectively over.

Diana said that during their courtship he would call her every day and then neglect her for weeks. There was no meeting of minds. He likes field sports and she did not. He was a product of his upbringing more formal. She was touchy feely. She liked to play the victim.

Diana got savaged for being a shopaholic. But if she had been badly dressed she would have been attacked for letting the side down. She could not win.

I remember seeing the Kensington palace photo exhibition in her in 2006. A thoroughly modern woman it said she was. Yes, because she failed every exam and worked for 1 year in her life.

The biographies of her were all hagiographies, sympathising with her and wallowing in her sense of self-pity. She was not that unlucky,

ok I think Charles was never emotionally committed to the marriage. He had a sense of duty and felt that most people loved the monarchy and wanted him to marry someone seen as suitable in the traditional sense. He did what was expected of him. Maybe it was doomed, I think it was. He apparently said he would not be the first king to go without a mistress, he was going to have one. He did. I do not think that was his intention from the beginning. In past generations female royalty were expected to maintain a dignified silence. Dirty linen was washed in private.

He wed Camilla in 2005. Perhaps it was 30 years too late. If had wed her first time around everyone would have been spared untold grief. Only the paparazzi would have lost out.

The fake sheikh Munzer Mahmood interviewed Princess Sophie in 2000 or so. He was under cover. She said that Charles and Diana was not wed till the Queen Mother died. Si it proved. In her generTION standards were so different. One cannot sanctify sin. One never marries the mistress. A slut cannot be a princess. Still officially Camilla will not be queen. I think that she will be. Attitudes towards her have mollified. Time was she was a hate figure. The wicked witch of the west country was blamed for hurting poor princess Diana. It must have hurt for Diana to have her husband fall for a woman not younger than her but  13 years older than her. It must be love. It cannot be looks that attracted Charles to Camilla. Even in her youth she was good-looking but not stunning. He hair is a disaster zone and her skin is dreadful her clothes are a mess.

Prince William, he knew me – lucky chap.


Prince William of Wales was privileged enough to make my acquaintance at school. He was self-assured as one might expect for a prince. He was said to have more character than the other boys his age in his house. He was gregarious and upbeat.

His mother, Princess Diana, said ”that child is a deep thinker” in an interview. He is a deep thinker in comparison to his mother. He was  never at the theatre nor did he write for magazines. I but once saw him at a society meeting –  speaking in favour of hunting with hounds, about how a dog he knew would itch and itch and itch and could not be put down if the animal rights loonies had their way. Surely the League Against Cruel Sports recognised him. Why did they not tell the press? A field day – yes, pun intended.

Wills was a good chap – good at games. No one called him Wills. I remember the Divinity master wrote Wales on the seating plan for him.

At Ludgrove Prince Harry was a social reject –  no one came to his party. Tiggy Legge Bourke had to organise it. Prince William went to Ludders too. I knew the bloke from La La Ludgrove who whacked Prince Willy with a golf club too.

I think that Prince William is a good heir to the throne. He has a wise head on his shoulders. He has the common touch and is personable. Being only above average intelligence is not a problem.

There were two brothers Heathcote. Heathcote ma became captain of Boats. The next year the obvious candidate was Heathcote mi but the authorities said we can;t have him otherwise everyone will say that we are favouring one family.

William was given the sword of honour in the Combined Cadet Force. A couple of years later who got it? STEP FORward Harry. Now it could have been that both merited it but I have my suspicions. Consider the Heathcote brothers, how that was handled.

It was touch and go whether Harry would get in. The Sun complained that Eton would not give Harry a sporting chance. But they let him in. He ought not have been. His A levels were appalling. If anyone else had been due to get those he would have been booted out. They spared him as he was a prince but possibly out of pity for him losing his mother.

Prince William enjoyed racially loaded jokes but in fairness I never heard him crack one. It was 1996 and attitudes were different. He dismissed with a laugh the notion that Gloucestershire was toffshire.

He spoke of his brother being stuck down some hay bails years before and they had to get the police torch to find the boy.

I remember in that ANImal rights meeting talking about the animal being about to die and what would one most want. Someone said sex and William among echoed that with a puerile smile.

I remember his ogling my Loaded Magazine and quoting the thing about ”gravity defying Brazilian buttocks” with relish.

I swapped a bit of a packed lunch with him and said a pleasure doing business with you. I proffered my paw ands he shook it. I wanted to be able to say that I had shaken him by the hand., Not that it has helped me much since – well not at all.

I remember seeing him at the boat house after he had fallen in and I remarked that my cousin named his dog in his honour.

I wanted to meet him. Euan in my house said he wanted to meet him and would say when he had seen HRH.

The house that William was in was a dump but was then tarted up. That arsehole  Gailey got to he his housemaster – nirvana for him. Then he got a knighthood. Given his unionist views the IRA would liked to have taken him out – or so Gailey would like to think. He overestimated his own worth. It would have been two birds with one stone.

I imagine being a prince is oddly lonely. Everyone wants to be your mate but whom can you trust? Will they not sell their story? Who are these ‘friends’ who appear in the meeja and tell all. These Royal experts-  how do they know? Do royalty tell them these things? Surely not. How does one know the people like one rather than trying to suck up because one is royalty.

These are my remembrances of William.

My first grey hair.


I thought I had seen it a few months ago. No, my spouse dismissed it. I was imagining it. Was I in denial? But then I had a haircut on Tuesday. I caressed a lock of my shorn follicles. There I saw it. It heralded the end of my not sufficiently misspent youth.

”I have found my first incontrovertibly grey hair” I announced plaintively. The hairdressers, despite being in a non-English speaking country, laughed heartily. Did they speak that much English? Perhaps my mournful demeanour said it in internationalese. Alas for younger days.

I give little thought to my appearance – I shall not say I give none. But I am considering dyeing my hair. I thought about this a few years ago. Maybe to start now before it is noticeable.

My student Mario is 40. He was silver-haired for 2 years and came back from holidays with black hair.Who is he trying to fool. I did not remark to him on this sudden rejuvenation.

For some years now I have no longer considered grey-haired persons to be old.

I feared I would go the way of my uncle Davin. When my cousin Denis was born my uncle Davin went grey quickly. Davin once had dark brown hair like me – it changed so fast.

I pine for my younger days. Nights of drunkenness trying and occasionally succeeding in getting off with some nubile or not so nubile female. Not that I cruise the gay bars now.

It is a dispiriting experience. But I am determined not to let it get me down. There is fight in me yet. Age is not kind to boys but it is savage to girls. I can rejuvenate by losing weight and toning up. Age is a state of mind. I shall always be stuck in an adolescent time warp.

The increasing violence in Northern Ireland.


In Northern Ireland a policeman was murdered recently. PC Ronan Kerr was killed by dissident republicans. The active republican terrorists are the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA and Oglaich na hEireann. Oglaich na hEireann means ”volunteers of Ireland.” The IRA of old often used this name. There is little need to distinguish between these groups. They probably co-operate. They all have the same goals and modus operandi.

Martin McGuinness was a notorious terrorist. In most countries he would have been executed.It is a testament to the humanity of the United Kingdom that he was not killed. He has a lot of blood on his hands. He is responsible for hundreds of murders. Many of these were of the killings of civilians and sectarian murders.

However, McGuinness has changed. He condemned this slaying and said it was against the will of the people of Ireland. It has been the will of the Irish people – the majority – for decades for violence to cease unconditionally.

Mc Guinness has not changed utterly though. The condemnation was not as blistering and absolute as it should have been.

Northern Ireland will not return to the large scale violence that afflicted those counties as recently as the 1990s. The peace process has gone on too long. People have become used to it. Prosperity is there. The PSNI is supported even by Sinn Fein.

People will not support terrorism and will inform the police.

There will always be a few headcases who are eager to reignite the conflagration. They will not succeed within the forseeable future. What about in 20 years time? That is too far off to say.

E H Carr’s what is history.


I read this monograph a few days after. About 10 years back I was helping to prepare students of Oxford and Cambridge. They had often read this work. It is based on 6 lectures that Carr delivered in Cambridge in about 1962.

It is written in a reasonably entertaining manner. It is not abstruse. The vocabulary register is not as high register as one might expect. He still manages to discuss some very tricky concepts despite using a straightforward lexis.

I agree with him in his suspicion of grand theories. He is sceptical about the great man school of history. I am reasonably sceptical but not as sceptical as he is. I think that sometimes and individual can make a big difference. A leader chose to do this whereas a different man in the same situation would have done something else. Stalin did not believe all the evidence that the USSR was about to be invaded in 1941. A more perceptive and less paranoid leader would have believed the overwhelming evidence and been ready and thus shortened the war. The USSR would have emerged even stronger after the war.

Sometimes people with very similar experiences both within the leadership can have different personalities and make different decisions. This is why great men matter.

He was obviously lecturing to a well-informed audience. His references are a broad sweep of history.

I believe that history is chaotic and any attempt to impose a theorem on it is flawed. One is tempted to bend the facts to fit the theory.

”Puberty blues” – a review-ish


Here are a few random thoughts on the novella Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette. As usual this is written in my stream of consciousness style. It is not quite composed, more like thrown together.

The locale is Sydney and it is set in the 1970s. It is semi-autobiographical. It is pruned. The vocabulary is unpretentious and very realistic but somehow manages to be innovative with the occasional amusing turn of phrase though none were memorable enough to spring to mind by way of illustration.

The story is about the lives of two teenage girls. In fact they are 13. They are very sexually active. They are precocious about smoking to. These impetuous young hussies seek social acceptance and shun those more restrained than themselves. It is pretty shocking that people so young would be so promiscuous. They seem to think a respectable girl is one who can have an abortion without crying. This book is a slut’s charter.

I found it engaging and fast moving. It is a reintroduction to teenage thought processes.

When it was made into a film. They made the girls into 16 so as to avoid accusations of glamourising under age sex.

This is a tale of unbridled hedonism. It is right that it should be allowed to be printed. I certainly do not consider myself a prude but the story is sad in a way that girls felt pressured to be such tarts. I am all for people enjoying their sex life to the full and being promiscuous if they wish but not when they are too young to decided for themselves. One can tell that it was published pre-AIDS. If it had been after 1981 then the outcry would have been even greater.

Free Palestine.


The situation of Palestine is deplorable and has been for decades. This poor land has been ill-used by successive Israeli Governments. Tel Aviv has been abetted in this by her friends in Washington. I refer chiefly to the pernicious policy of building ”settlements” on Palestinian land. Dor Gold is the Israeli ambassador to the Court of St James. That is to say to the United Kingdom. The official residence of the British Royal Family is St James’ Palace and not Buckingham Palace as is commonly misunderstood. Enough of digression. Dor Gold says that it is nasty to decry the building of Jewish homes. The construction of a house for a Jewish family is of course perfectly unobjectionable unless of course it is built on land that belongs to others.

It is always instructive to examine disputes from both sides. How would one feel if one had been born an Israeli? How would one feel if one had been born a Palestinian? I have asked myself both.

One of the strongest arguments in favour of the Palestinians is that the weak tend not to pick a fight against the strong. Palestinians do not have sophisticated weapons. The Israeli Defence Force has state of the art weaponry supplied gratis courtesy of the US of A.  A small man would only fight against a strong man if he absolutely had to.

No I do not condone the many atrocities carried out by Palestinian militants. There have been many wilful murders of civilians. Children have been specifically targeted.

The IDF is not exactly totally innocent. There have been many war crimes carried out by members of the IDF. tE VERY WORD ”defence” in the name IDF is dubious.

Israelis demand security for their country within recognised borders. Are Palestinians not entitled to demand the same for themselves?

Israeli Government spokesmen often defend Israel’s possession of a very strong arsenal on the grounds that ”we live in a dangerous neighbourhood.” Indeed they do. However, it is an awful lot more dangerous for the Palestinians. In the January 2009 fighting 100 times more Palestinians were killed than Israelis. The great majority of Palestinians killed wer civilians. Let us for the sake of argument accept Tel Aviv’s claim that Hamas used human shields. Yet still this casuality figure is too high. The IDF was at least reckless in its targeting.

The US is so blindly supportive of Israel? Why? It is because the Zionist lobby is so influential. They go spare if one mentions that there is a Zionist lobby. They accuse one of being an anti-Semite of the sort that believes in a notorious hoax like the protocols of the Elders of Zion. What is the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee about? It is a Zionist lobbying group.

Unfortunately Zionism is a prerequisite for Democrats presidential candidates. The day after Obama got the nomination he went to address them and said he would use all possible means to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon – all possible means, he repeated. He got a standing ovation.

Republicans are in hoc to the Christian fundamentalists. They take a very Zionist line too. The situation is very depressing.

The US is not an honest broker in this. She is very one-sided. She openly sympathises with Israel and arms her. Clinton said that Israel was the best friend of America. The US was no more of a mediator in the Northern Ireland negotiations.

Israel has taken so much from Palestine that there is almost nothing left to give. The Palestinians have about 20% of their country left.

Israel uses moderate physical pressure on suspects. Most would call this torture. I commend the Israeli Government in at least telling the truth about this.

I admit that there is wrongdoing on the Palestinian side. There are Palestinians who are racist. Some of the Palestinian militant groups have bigoted attitudes against woman and gays.

Israel is in breach of so many UN resolutions. Admittedly they are passed under a different chapter of the UN Charter than those against Saddam’s Iraq. These are recommendations not demands. The reason that the resolutions were not binding ones is Uncle Sam would veto anything that Israel did not like.

US foreign policy is guided by self-interest in every area except with regard to Israel. US support of Israel increases anti-American sentiment so much. One could say it is most important for the US to do the right thing and not to be popular. Let’s face is the US like most countries does not purse her policies in a totally idealistic fashion. Pat Buchanan even called Capitol Hill ”Israeli occupied territory.”

The Anti defamation League started out as an honourable organisation. Jews in the US were slandered and this incited violence against them. The ADL was founded in response to the lynching of a Jew due to come calumny. However the ADL has turned into the pro- Defamation League. Even reasoned and temperate criticisms of certain Israeli actions are condemned as proof of anti-Semitism. Mary Robinson, once President of Ireland – when she was UN Human Rights Commissioner –  was called an anti-Semite by them. I do not like that woman, too left-wing for my taste,. But she is no racist.

There is anti-Semitism in the world but not as much as Zionists pretend. No Zionism did not create anti-Semitism but it does increase it. Ironically Israel, the safe haven for Jews, is now the most dangerous place to be a Jew.

The US increased pressure on the UK to let illegal immigrants into Palestine after the war. The US should have taken them.

Supposing the US gave not one more sent to Israel, sold her not one more bullet, condemned Israeli actions when they are reprehensible –  then anti-American sentiment would diminish markedly.

I am not totally anti-Israeli. I am more sympathetic to her than most. However, many of Israel’s problems are largely her own fault.

I am not sure that many Israeli politicians want to make peace. They are sitting pretty as it is. WHy should they make meaningful concessions. The only adjacent countries that would fight them are Lebanon and Syria. Lebanon is much smaller and weaker and wracked by internal strife. Syria has been beaten time and again and is in the throes of a revolution. If things got really serious for Israel then the US would come and save her. Because Israel has this blank cheque of military support it makes her dig her heels in and refuse to make serious compromises. There are some vested interests that are happy for the conflict to continue – the defence industry and securocrats.

Predictions about Libya, or, A fool’s errand.


It is indeed rash of me to hazard a guess as to what shall transpire in Libya. It is notable that that name for forgotten for two millennia till the Italian colonial authorities revived it for the sake of having a single name to call the former Ottoman provinces of Trioplitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan in the 1930s.

Gaddafi’s men have taken a pasting from the aerial bombardment by the coalition. The coalition is made up of 8 of the 28 NATO nations, some Arab League states and some EU countries that are not in NATO. Many civilians have been killed into the bargain. This should not be a mere throat clearing. Statistics can be brushed aside unfeelingly. I ask you to reflect on the children blasted apart of scorched to death. It is no small consideration. I am not absolutely and in all cases opposed to armed action that results in these frightful death. However, I do think one needs a dashed good reason to go haring off launching missiles willy nilly.

I think that the fighting shall continue. NATO is short of ground attack aircraft. This is the trouble with fighting when not committed. Obama has all this rhetoric about spreading democracy. It would seem churlish to fail to back up this uprising. We do not know quite what the rebels are for. We know what they are against. The war mongers have said these people want democracy. Ban Ki Moon said it. How do we know? Fighting when uncommitted means one may not use the resources one needs. NATO had plenty of ground attack aircraft – mostly in US hands. The US does not consider this war to be important.

I think that Gaddafi will not be able to snuff out Benghazi. NATO troops will be sent to protect the rebels in Benghazi. People will try to prevail on Gaddafi to stand down as they are trying and failing to do now. The anti Gaddafi states need to prove they are determined. I fear they have the will to kill lots of people but not to kill enough people to win.

I think that an alternative state under UN protection – like the no fly zone in Iraq in the 1990s – will be set up and continue there for several years. A sort of African Kurdistan.