The Anonymous Widower

Imran Khan on Pakistan

The Times today has a big interview with Imran Khan. This is a typical paragraph.

In Britain there is growing concern about the amount of aid money going to Pakistan. In Mr Khan’s view it is not helping his country. “I think it would be the greatest thing that could happen to Pakistan if we did not get any more aid. We have been living beyond our means. The aid has fostered corruption. If we do not have aid we will be forced to make reforms to taxation and governance and we might actually become a nation that can stand up on its own feet. Pakistan is heading into a storm right now.”

 So should we cut all aid to Pakistan?

As it would appear that most seems to end up in places it wasn’t intended to go, I think that now is the time to use the aid in places where it can make a real difference.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Hackney’s Junk Mail Sticker

I had to contact waste disposal at Hackney Council and mentioned how much junk mail I got. I did this by e-mail on

They have sent me a sensible sticker which now adorns my letter box. 

Hackney's Junk Mail Sticker

It will be interesting to see if it cuts the amount of unaddressed rubbish I get through the door. 

They also sent me a form to stop the Royal Mail sending me any. 

On the back of the form it states that Hackney households receive approximately 35 million pieces of unwanted mail each year.  This weighs 900 tonnes and takes 6,000 trees to make. 

Incidentally, according to the 2001 Census there are 86,042 households in Hackney.  So on average each receive 407 pieces of unwanted junk mail each year or over one piece a day. 

I was also pleased to see  that Hackney Council used tonnes and not tons on the form.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

I Don’t Like Polenta

If offered polenta cake, I’d usually say thanks but no thanks.

However, in Carluccio’s in Upper Street last week, because I had time to kill, I popped in for a coffee and asked if they had any gluten free snacks to go with it. The waiter, who knows I am a coeliac and am very particular, then showed me an enormous polenta cake, which he assured was safe for me. Although the slice was quite large, I decided to have one.

I didn’t regret it, as it was very good. It was about three pounds though, but it would have been big enough to share.

So that’s another thing off the list of things I won’t touch!

I did try to buy another slice in their caffe at St. Pancras but they didn’t have one.  So if you want to try one, check before going.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Has Justice Been Served by Bin Laden’s Death?

This is the header over the letter’s page of The Times today.

Of the seven letters they publish only one supports the execution of Osama Bin Laden.  Some are critical of a Times Editorial entitled Justice Served.

Even a Rear Admral is not happy about “rough justice” and states his military background does not stop him feeling uncomfortable about it. The last letter they publish, quotes that truly great American, Martin Luther King  as saying, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

If you get a chance the letters are very much worth a read.  I think credit should also go the paper in publishing letters that take a different view to its leading article.  Surely, this underlines one of the planks of a good democracy and that is a free and constructive media.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , | 3 Comments

Problems with Genius Bread

I like the Genius gluten-free bread, as the texture seems to be just right for me. It also makes very good toast, which I like to have with proper jam or marmelade. I suppose, I’ve been eating it for perhaps a year, since it started to be stocked in Waitrose in Newmarket.

But I’ve been having problems with it lately, in that it tends to grow a spotty mould after only a couple of days, so I have to throw it away.  This probably started a couple of months ago.

I thought that it might be me, but then I use the same bread bin as I did in Suffolk, I keep the bread properly wrapped, when I’ve cut it for the first time. I also thought it could be the air in London, which hasn’t been of too high a quality since about CHristmas.

But then in Waitrose in Upper Street, Islington, when I was reaching for a new loaf, a lady was doing the same.  So I asked her, if she’d had a problem with the bread and she said yes.

I did report it in store at Customer Services to an assistant, who seemed to know the product well as she said she had a wheat intolerance.

So is this a temporary problem or something more serious?

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Food | , , | 6 Comments

Danny Baker Is Coming Back

Christian O”Connell said on his radio show this morning, that Danny Baker will be returning next week for his Radio 5 show. He has done one show on radio since he started his battle against cancer and there is a report here.

I shall be listening.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Health, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yesterday’s Person of the Day was a Woman

With all the elections and the referendum going on in the UK and Obama’s trimphalist vengeance in the United States it fell to a woman to add some sanity to the world.

Lady Justice Hallett’s handling of the inquests into the London bombings of the 7th July 2005 has been exemplary and shows how justice can be seen to be done and closure can be brought to a tragic part of British history. 

There will always be some who call for more enquiries to apportion blame, but in my view it is time for everybody to move on. I have lost two members of my close family to vicious cancers and can sympathise with those who have lost someone dear to them. Who do I have to blame?

Life is a perilous and risky business and it is only by means of luck that we live as long as we do!

May 7, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , , | 2 Comments

The AV Referendum was Good for the Tory Vote

A political commentator has just said on Radio 5, that the referendum on AV was good for the Tories as it got their supporters out to vote in the council elections.  They did win more seats and councils despite cutting spending, which was not to be expected. Ross Hawkins also said the following on his blog.

The prime minister and Conservative leader has managed to win seats while cutting public spending, something few pundits expected.

 David Cameron said the coalition was “as good today as it was a year ago”

The Conservatives emerged from these elections with more English councillors and councils, and two extra Welsh Assembly members.

There were downsides – losing the party leader in Wales, and a relatively poor performance in Scotland.

But these elections was a resounding success for the Conservatives, especially in England.

If the Conservatives can do this well in the face of the biggest spending cuts it either shows that people will vote Tory whatever, or voters understand the mess the country is in better than most politicians think. In my view, judging by the way AV literature was being read on the Dalston Omnibus and the positive vote for AV in this area of London, I would not discount the latter.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , | 6 Comments

Obama’s Narrow Vision

Barack Obama visited the troops, who carried out the execution of Osama Bin Laden yesterday.  Read about it here and note this extract.

Speaking before cheering troops at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Mr Obama said: “These Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest military operations in our nation’s history.”

It is not and  am reminded of President Kennedy’s words at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of a worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth.

Obama has risked more worldwide terrorism by his sanctioning of the execution.

On this of all days, I fear for the future, if the many headed hydra of Al Qaeda finds a more dangerous leader than Bin Laden.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | 2 Comments

The Biggest Womens Prison In The World

I inadvertently left the television on last night and I was woken at about 4:30 by a program about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia called Behind the Saudi Veil, by Sue Lloyd Roberts, shown in the Our World series. There’s a written article here.

The title of this post, was how a woman described Saudi Arabia.

Particularly badly treated appeared to be divorced women and widows, as they have no man or guardian to find the way through the byzantine Saudi bureaucracy.  They were also unable to work, as driving by women is illegal and that meant they couldn’t get to work or even to the bureaucrats to get help.

The news in the Middle East has been all been about an Arab Spring.  I doubt that will ever happen for women in Saudi Arabia.

Quite frankly it’s an atrocity, that must be ended.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments