The sky is overcast with rain threatening clouds. The news is about Afghanistan and Iraq, and the impending ‘defeat / withdrawal’ of British forces in Basra. American sources say it could be ‘ugly’. It is ugly. All war is ugly and this war is uglier than most. Military top brass want us out of Iraq and say that the armed forces are over-stretched. Some journalists and ex-forces commentators write about our Nato allies having barbecues in the safer parts of Afghanistan, while our troops face the heaviest fighting and casualties since World War II. I read one report which stated that German forces are not even allowed by their government to operate in the safe areas at night.
I can’t comment on these matters. Like most of us, I can only read reports and wonder what the next twenty years will bring in terms of terrorism and conflict. Some say that it could be even longer than twenty years.
The law blogs are fairly quiet. The hills of Tuscany are alive with the sound of lawyers. British holiday resorts are preparing for a bit of sun. Apparently, we are going to have some for the bank holiday weekend.
I caught up with the newspapers.
Nick Cohen, writing in The Observer, writes of a young NHS psychiatrist (who blogs under the name Shiny Happy Person) who took a walk in the grounds of her new hospital. The flowerbed spoke to her. She reassured her readers that she was not ‘neuroleptic-deficient’ (I shall be looking into this condition to see if I should get it) and described the disembodied voice; “This is a no-smoking area. Please put your cigarette out. A member of staff has been informed.”
As Nick Cohen pointed out, it is not against the law to smoke outside but, apparently, an increasing number of organisations are buying voice capable smoke detectors to locate outside their premises and threaten smokers that a member of staff has been called should they light up in the doorway or immediate surroundings.
And now, of course, we have Chief Plod seeking powers to raise the drinking age to 21 and to ban drinking in public places unless the public place has a specific licence permitting it. The problem is not drinking. The problem is under age drinking and out of control young people, who no longer fear rebuke or police or court action. The press say that people are too frightened to go out or confront these yobs. It is ten years since ASBOs came in. We still have mindless violence on our streets. Not many Police on our streets as far as I can see. 1800 Police officers are currently deployed to contain a group of ‘Climate change’ protesters, some remarkably inarticulate, at Heathrow.
Right… I have had enough of this depressing post. I’m going to start another one and, as I cannot see if the sun has gone over the yardarm, I am going to order a glass of Rioja.