Michael Gove

Our Minister for Education says ” To suggest that anti-semitism can ever be explained, rather than condemned, is insensitive and frankly bizarre” when he attacks an exam question which probes the existence of this scourge.

Well what can be more bizarre than that!?

So those war historians and investigators of concentration camps and the psychology of their guards and Third Reich politics were silly and misguided?

The man is a joke.

How can a moral evil or outrage be dealt with if unexamined?

Can he not see that explanation is not excusing, and is completely unalike justification?

And I understand he is not even of the Etonian cabinet club, so no excuse there then.



Rich Prospects

So rollalonga Leveson, next week looks fun.

Some big names, and always good to see the griller grilled a la Paxo, or the weasel’s weasel a la Mandy lobbing light grenades.

And small fry, but important right now are Smith and Michel due later.

The resignation of Adam Smith,  special adviser to embattled culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, has triggered sharp intakes of breath among public affairs directors, the in-house lobbyists of corporate Britain. Emails written by News Corp’s own public affairs director, Frédéric Michel, suggest Mr Hunt got too close to the company as he deliberated whether to wave through its £8.3bn bid to buy the rest of BSkyB.

By making Mr Smith’s hand in its own lobbying all too visible – he figured as a conduit between Mr Hunt and James Murdoch – News Corp has ensured that other companies will find it harder to talk privately to ministers.

So says a big city fat cat firm. So good says I.

Maybe bye bye Hunt, and move the curse of Murdoch closer to Cameron.

Schadenfreude – Rebekah

Schadenfreude – Rebekah


Sounds Jewish, ho hum,

What bugs is whether the pleasure you feel at her potential tribulations and eventual incarceration is proper. Can a decent English chap derive pleasure from seeing her like a fly in a pitcher plant on the slide of her downfall? Not yet even fully aware. Ho ho!

The cell awaits with some ghastly old dreg farting and illiterate saying “You get the bottom bunk dearie.” Oblivious to any achieved status, another world, I know, I’ve been there, and it’s a shock.

Dial M for Murdoch TV Series

Dial M for Murdoch. TV Series

Tom Watson will be played by a pumped up Hugh Grant in an out of character tough guy (but warm and endearing) in total 21st century irony.  Hairy Steve Coogan is booked to be his sidekick Martin Hickman in this Bernstein and Woodward makealike of the Pentagon Papers.

“Follow the buggers” the phone tip off sounds slimy from the side of a Wearside mouth, and “Meet me at the Fire Station, this one is gonna burn baby”.

 Who ever lives a safe and comfortable life today and gets their thrill and paranoia from TV dramas should welcome this depiction of the plot unfolding right now at the Royal Courts of Justice. That is from the real world around them.

In his remarkable true tale Tom Watson details from Leveson how fictions like this one, and far more damaging, are created in the gutter (now sewer) press to titillate and sell copies. With less than the tenuous link to reality I present here.

Cue Lord Justice Leveson with mild incredulity p301

“Are these all real headlines?” Peppiat, A Richard Desmond reporter and witness replies

“These are real headlines”

Worthy of Richard Wilson, you cannot believe it!

The slimy tentacles of what is rightly called a Mafia, which my dictionary calls

‘a close-knit or influential group of people who work together and protect one another’s interests or the interests of a particular person’ or ‘a mutually supportive clique.

It is an accurate characterization, and what Watson said to James Murdoch at the end of the Select Committee hearing, apt, as long as you leave Sicilyout of it.

The series and the film will be made eventually, good topic for BskyB or Fox studios but not quite yet.

The book is good, easy to adjust to Watson and Hickman referring to themselves in the third person, a page turner and thriller. If you have followed the saga in The Guardian as some have there is not much new but the actuality of it is arresting, very ‘now’ and still unwinding in spools before our eyes.

Rupert, James, Jeremy Hunt and it seems David Cameron all have to go, out of office for malfeasance if not much worse. Others hopefully “Go to Jail, Go directly to Jail, Do not pass Go!” as is right and proper in a failed bid for Monopoly over us.

Yes, indeed, once again ‘Power Corrupts’, it also induces Collective Selective Amnesia as we heard from Jay QC this week.

Collective Selective Amnesia

Collective selective amnesia.

As it afflicts the Murdochs, Coulson sBrooksand NewsCorps executives.

Collselnesia is perhaps a new diagnosis of intermittent group memory failure, as exemplified by witnesses to Lord Leveson and Commons Select Committees.

It is strangely revealing as the Dark Holes it leaves in the narrative, the lacunae if you will, are composed of Dark Matter. This is, on this earthly plane, stuffed with corrupt foetid matter, lies, rotten undigested material, pallid from the absence of sunlight, but vitally alive in the way piles of maggots are heaving and  busily writhing with a half-life and foul volition all of their own. To be guessed at but only glimpsed and smelled by ordinary honest mortals.

Somewhat like The Black Death, initially suppurating spots and lesions on the body politic, which eventually it will kill.



 is the charity I helped to found and managed for around five years.

What is EHS?

Sometimes in the past called Electrical Oversensitivity or Electrical Hypersensitivity and abbreviated to ES or EHS, it is a fairly new phenomenon, the first cases and discussions came to public knowledge in the early seventies. It became recognised as a source of concern in Sweden where FEB, their Association for the Electrosensitive, started in 1987.

At its simplest, electrical sensitivity or electrical hypersensitivity is a chronic illness triggered by exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). They in turn are fields/waves of energy emitted by all electrical sources, power lines, electric home and office appliances, motors, wall wiring, electrical substations, transformers and radio/radar/microwave transmitters such as mobile phones and masts. A minority of the population are believed to be affected, between 3% and 7% in one survey, 13.5% in another and yet other estimates range up to 35% of the population showing some indications of electro-stress.

Those who have developed ES have a physiological disorder, characterised by neurological and idiopathic or allergic-type symptoms that noticeably reacts or intensifies near sources of EMFs. Being ES means experiencing recurring feelings of stress or illness when near an EMF source which diminish when away from it. Any noticeable, recurring ill-health that is triggered by an electromagnetic field but diminishes or disappears away from the EMF source constitutes a case of electrical sensitivity. The first signs are often experienced as a minor irritation when working with VDUs (computer monitors, surveillance monitors, television sets) as that of warmth or a burning sensation in the face, perhaps a rash, tingling sensations in the skin and eye problems.

There are degrees of EHS, just as there are degrees of all allergic reactions and the reversible form seems to be representative of a mild one, but a one-time experience should be considered a warning sign of possible chronic susceptibility. Over time, if not dealt with, EHS may become more and more life-debilitating. Some individuals are forced into desperate measures involving moving completely away from high EMF environments to very rural locations because their reactions are unbearable to sources completely undetected by the non-sensitive, just as some of us are quite unconcerned by pollen and stroll blithely through hay-fields.

From a neurological standpoint similarities have been pointed out between symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS) and EHS. They result from a breakdown in the body’s systems for dealing with stress; research suggests that EMFs can affect biological functions by their influence on the production of neurohormones and which act as a biological stressor. A British biophysicist said “Once the individual is sensitised to an agent the initial aggressor is immaterial. The biological reaction will be the same to all agents.”

Warning signs

  • An unnatural warmth or burning sensation in the face.
  • A tingling, stinging or prickling sensation in the face or other areas of the body.
  • Dryness of the upper respiratory tract or eye irritation.
  • Problems with concentration, dizziness and loss of memory.
  • Swollen mucus membranes.

Feeling flu like symptoms of headache, muscle and joint pains.

Common Symptoms of EHS.

In general, environmental illnesses can produce nearly any symptom, depending upon the type of irritating exposure and the uniqueness of the individual exposed. One exposure, whether chemical or electrical can create symptoms of fatigue in one person and hyperactivity in another person. However symptoms are mainly skin related initially or neurological. Some individuals are ‘sensible’ to electrical sources affecting them, this means they are immediately aware of the effect of for instance someone nearby using a mobile phone. For some this is painfully so in the form of a sharp head pain similar to a migraine. Others are less sensible to a source directly but suffer from a more diffuse variety of symptoms that may also result from other predisposing triggers and the particular source can be difficult to identify.

Considered by some to be the commonest symptom of all is a powerful form of tinnitus. Not the common ringing in the ears but a sensation of buzzing/sizzling/MW hearing through the aural tract, the higher the levels of EMR are the stronger the tinnitus becomes.

Reactions may involve eye trouble, smarting irritating sensations like grit in the eye and increased sensitivity to light especially fluorescent lights, computer screens and even sunshine.

Skin problems are frequently experienced symptoms of hypersensitivity. The skin feels dry with a tendency to redness and rashes; there may be tingling sensations facially or elsewhere on the body.

Other symptoms reported affecting the face or head include swelling and stinging even with accompanying blisters, a warm or burning sensation like strong sunburn, itching of the nose and pain in the teeth and jaws. Mucous membranes are reported affected by dryness and swelling resulting in nonviral/bacterial swelling of nose, throat, ears and sinuses. Also a metallic taste in the mouth, headaches accompanied by a buzzing sound and feelings of depression.

Among the joint, muscle and limb sensations EHS sufferers endure are aches pains and numbness, weakness or prickling sensations in joints, bones and muscles in shoulders, arms and legs, feet, wrists, ankles, elbows and pelvis and cramp in arms and legs.

Feelings of abnormal tiredness, weakness, tremor, faintness and dizziness are experienced. There are ingestion and digestion disturbances including dry mouth, loss of appetite, nausea, excessive thirst, loss of taste, gagging, sickly feeling in stomach, stomach upset and bowel disturbances.

Breathing can become a problem with shallow laboured breath, breathlessness or a feeling of pressure on the chest and cardiac palpitations.

Cognitive effects are being unable to think, finding it difficult to concentrate and suffering from memory loss, the latter two are noted particularly with high mobile phone use.

Psychological symptoms include bouts of extreme rage, violence, destructiveness and irritability. Also depression, withdrawal, anxiety, hysteria and feeling insane, out of control as if the mind is being interfered with. Possible suicidal tendencies.

Other symptoms are a generalised feeling of impending influenza which never quite breaks out, back and spinal or neck problems, buzzing and ringing in the ears and exceptional sensitivity to sunlight which means staying in the dark during the day. Intermittent electric shocks from mild to strong are felt in various parts of the body.

Most EHS people suffer from resonance migraines believed to result from pulsed fields on the brain stem. Pulsed microwaves are said to have a direct effect on vulnerable persons causing brain seizures and epilepsy

Environmental effects include the interaction of the ES person with e-equipment resulting in malfunctions eg. computers to freeze, especially when in a very sensitive state.

In my time working with the charity ElectroSensitivity-UK I counselled personally between 2-300 individuals from rock guitarists like Ricky Gardiner, composer of The Passenger, performed by Iggy Pop see http://freespace.virgin.net/ricky.gardiner/ to anonymous political figures loathing the kind of ‘nutty’ label and even abuse it might attract.

For that is I am afraid, despite our best efforts, the way many commentators and of course parts of the massive industry keep it at arms length. At times it is a form of denial.  The way ‘science’, or at least its public edge, is now bought and sold is breathtaking and takes you to the edge of conspiracy theorizing.

As the truth about phone hacking and political double-dealing becomes clearer with the Lord Leveson Inquiry, and Tom Watson’s ‘mafia’ accusations look a lot less wild, then maybe contemplation of  ‘crony’ mutual backscratching seems logical, and maybe actual conspiring.

Look what happened with lead in the environment, thank god for a hero


or put ‘Clair Patterson-Scourge of the Lead Industry’ into google and listen to an Itunes version. I am not him but I became confrontational and very vociferous, I was pushed out of the charity most involuntarily when a millionaire trustee joined.

Who is OldFenBoy?

The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe thathe was thinking of keeping a diary, “I don’t intend to publish. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God”.

“Don’t you think God knows the facts?” Bethe asked.

“Yes” said Szilard “He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts

Cue rustic “Aarrrh!”

I say from this perspective. And leave God out of it whoever she is.

OldFenBoy gone good or bad according to perspective, yup.
It were the Acid Smoke Rocknroll long hair travel and education wot done it. originally a boisterous ‘normal’ little village boy, ie a bourgeois squire’s second son acculturated with the prejudices of his time and class. How else?

Born on riverbank goes from fen village school via scholarship to boarding Grammar where not happy and eventually

“this boy cannot hope to pass more than three ‘O’ levels ” says headmaster and “if he comes back next term I shall have to ask him to leave”.

So seven winters of freezing family farmingup and down tractoring flat fields until… Young Farmers is enough, suddenly its the sixties!

Multicoloured and happening and our hero drops out for months in the London wilderness…and tripping around Cambridge sloughing off with psychopharmacological assistance certain social conditioning, so in tune with the tenor of the times, oh blame those technicolour sixties.

Then decides on Cambridge Tech.  Nine months makes three ‘A’ levels and enough for Cardiff Uni. Yup. Economics bohemian anti-apartheid demos, debates president & more study, reading arguing and fun in Welsh rain.

Two years and exchange scholarship to Washington State Uni., USA. Whoohee and whoopee and even a Yeeha!. Anti-war protests, up Nixon, sociology ecology criminology etc and back to finish Cardiff BSc Econ and into Cambridge Uni as Criminology Research graduate on drug use so to speak. The little innocent village boy is no longer.

Exciting run to Morocco…twice

This and that, back to Camb Uni for Cert Ed, up and down, some rum stuff, ducking and diving, market trader, marry, divorce, meditate, train as psychodynamic therapist and rear family in Fens, charity manager and now….retired…thinking…idling…writing…still caring…in this mad, mad world…

Sheebang…enuff of this puffery.

‘Out Of It’ by Stuart Walton

Out of It a cultural history of intoxication


By Stuart Walton (pub Hamish Hamilton 2001) ISBN 0-241-14038-2

I wrote this review when I thought the Lib Dems were worth working for, ie before the last election.

This is a superb work of scholarship for all those Lib dems interested in waving our own human and cultural history on this topic in the face of “legislators, in an attempt to crack their granite-faced refusal to consider relaxing the current prohibitions”. 

Nearly forty years ago, as a fresh faced (and frequently off my face), graduate at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology, my tripping and stoning did not handicap me in getting my M.Phil with work on this subject. Since those days most changes in policy have been for the worse. We have advanced further up the US led cul de sac of an accretion of legal and moral censure.

As a major point of principle for liberals is liberty without harming others I would like to strongly recommend all liberal democrats with an interest not just in major reform of the policy on drugs, but a normal interest in different states of consciousness should read Walton’s book. Written he says “to begin to rescue the universal human experience of intoxication from the clutches of politicians, health professionals and religious leaders, and to restore it to their beleaguered clients”. 

Seeking to deny the centrality in human cultures of the multitude of forms of intoxication and alterations of consciousness means denying a fundamental human right, as many of us loudly proclaimed wayback in the sixties as I somehow seem to remember. I was there after all at the dawning of the fresh breeze of ‘The Age of Aquarius’.

Walton’s book argues that the sacred role of wine in Greek religious ritual, the respected psychotropia of the Yanomani Indians, through the opium ideology of Coleridge, the nitrous oxide craze of the nineteenth century and the helter-skelter careers of Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday all form counterpoints in his rich and accessible analysis of the reasons we take drugs. And they are many, varied, and usually wholesomely normal.

Intoxication is a fundamental human right indeed, central to our status as social beings and an integral component of a life fully lived. Terrible distortion and dislocation results from ham-fisted and sledgehammer legal prohibitions with enormous individual damage and now entire societies and trading patterns as inMexico andBolivia are deformed.

Come the autumn we shall have Keith Richards autobiography, hooray, I daresay he will throw an idiosyncratic and personal light on musical and creative links.


Who said change is needed?


Diatribe courtesy of rantalongwithrog

aka Rod Read M.Phil (Cantab), Dip Psych.Couns, Cert.Ed


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