Saturday, 30 December 2006
Friday, 29 December 2006
Wednesday, 27 December 2006
Accepting the ordinary
Eating at 805, 805 Old Kent Road, SE15 1NX
Having been called a snob a number of times when I have given objective reviews to things pertaining to Nigerian endeavours, it woud be remiss of me not to commend exceptions to what was looking like a rule.
I have always sought out restaurants that serve Nigerian cuisine, first in London and then on other cities around Europe. In fact, it is a bold initiative to set up a business that caters to particular tastes, however, there is still work to be done to burnish up these business to standards that would open them up to wider and sophisticated clientele.
In some cases, I have been tempted to invade the kitchen without the courtesy of asking for an apron to teach a few fundamentals about the food being served, however, the fear of walking into a place that might make a mockery of the Cholera Joints in Nigeria which consistute sheds of disease borne vermin nestling through the feet of the madam of the cauldron has restrained me.
Enduring the pain
I have in times past borne the pain of food poisoning with resolve and fortitude, the taste of home sometimes compels one to visit again, the need for competition cannot be overstated.
Years ago, Africana on Camberwell Road was the standard bearer, even recently, when offered a doggie-bag for what was left-over, I was indiscrete enough to suggest my dog would not sniff the food - it was that bad.
All Roads to 805
So, this day, I found that this restaurant was on Old Kent Road, number 805, it is no wonder that I never liked London buses and where I should have asked questions, I did not - so between London Bridge and my destination, I happened to ride on 4 buses that all turned off the road except the last.
I was not sure if the restaurant was open, but when I got in and asked, a friendly and courteous waitress ushered me to a seat and brought the menu.
The menu was beautifully designed, well laid out and properly assigned the entrees to the appropriate sections, I do prefer restaurants that defer to words better than Starter, but language does seek a common standard for general understanding.
The riot of tastes and imagination
Boiled Yam with tomato omelette and hints of pepper - well, that was once for breakfast at home when I was a kid, the pictures that formed in my imagination.
Ewa Aganyin - black eyed beans made to a special Aganyin (a Yoruba tribe stradling South-Western Nigerian and Eastern Benin Republic) - it was a pot pourri of delectable tastes, one was lost for choice.
I settled for the Goat Meat Pepper Soup - an entree, Pounded Yam with Edikan Ikan and assorted meats and Guiness Malt drink.
Hot! the pepper soup was, a sniffling nose after the first soup, sweat on my scalp by the second spoon, very palatable.
Meanwhile, the service just improved as the pounded yam arrived, a bowl of warm water to wash my hands, as I finished, a bowl of soapy water to wash my hands again, after a rather sumptious and wonderfully prepared meal.
Before, I could ask, toothpicks to bring my dentures back to good looks, the only fault I could find was my not learning of the place and visiting before.
I was both suitable amused and impressed, a Nigeria business that had moved beyond the contempt of familiarity and the offering of the mediocre because we condone it, to providing service as one should expect.
If you are seeking authentic Nigeria cuisine in London, you should be making tracks to 805 and 805 Old Kent Road, SE15 1NX - Bus 21 would get you there from London Bridge and you will be overcome with the nostalgia of mother´s home-cooking, once again.
More for the body count
As if enough blood has not been shed in Mesopotamia, the death sentence of Saddam Hussein has now been confirmed without option for appeal or commutation.
As usual, the appeal of humanity and barbarity welcomes this announce, Europe asking that this sentence rescinded and America heralding it as the quest for Iraq to "replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law". It all sounds hollow to me.
The death of Saddam would not suddenly staunch the flow of blood just as his capture did not change the ferocity of the insurgency.
The miscarriage of justice would be so evident in the finality of his death, as I once stated, Saddam is now guilty of one specific crime, the killings in the town of Dujail, however, he is accused of many others and probably would be guilty of those too.
If however, his sentence is carried out within the next 30 days, the other crimes and accussations would possibly be tried post-humously - so is the legacy of the rule of law that America has bequeath to Iraq.
Basically, I do not expect any lawyer to waste their time trying to defend a man who is dead and buried, except if there is a principle at stake. That principle of has already been compromised and made of non-effect by what constituted a circus of a kangaroo court, accepted by many but would hardly be legitimate by ordinary Western standards.
Beyond that, if the death sentence is to be carried out, there is a tradition to execute military men by firing squad, to kill Saddam Hussein as a common criminal by hanging, having ruled his country for about 30 years, albeit tyrannically would leave all involved lesser men that they purport themselves to be.
Blood thirsty plague
There is however a deficit of global leadership on dealing with tyranny, if Zimbabwe, Burma (Myanar), Sudan and North Korea, to name a few thrive on oppressing their people and quenching their aspirations to better government.
Then the appeals court in confirming Saddam Hussein´s sentence was of the opinion that the life sentence given to one defendant was too lenient - baying for more blood obviously.
It can be said that before America visited Iraq, the blood-thirstiness was the preserve of the cabal of Saddam´s kith and kin, now, everyone has a taste for blood, in my view, these sacrifices of human beings would not bring peace, love and joy to Iraq, not that it has brought any respite to all involved.
Monday, 25 December 2006
His soul has departed
Sadly, news reaches us that James Brown has died at 73. His repertoire of music, songs and lyrics would serve as a catalogue of influence and inspiration he gave to entertainment from which he first earned the accolade of Father of Soul and the Grandfather of Soul.
If anything, his music became part of the movement to help black people see that they do not have to change who they are, especially pertaining to their racial identity, to be people who can significantly change their circumstances and society at large.
Black and proud
When he sang, I am black and proud, it was an anthem of an era, around the time of societal ructions in America as blacks were trying to gain equal citizenship and opportunities to the American dream.
Many would say, "I am black" would suffice and there is no need to say it loud, we have always had our blackness as part of our being, if we cannot live with who were are, then we have been overcome with a poverty of spirit.
Still fighting the old fight
Unfortunately, there are still many who are caught in the yoke of the pre-civil rights days, who still view their race at a disadvantage, who cannot mouth the words of that emancipation for the fear of selling-out of a life steeped in the hatred of all other races and a deeper hatred of those of their race who have just decided to make the best of life without the baggage of the politics of race deprivation.
The passing of James Brown indeed marks the passing of an era, one of the many musicians who whilst entertaining sent a message to their people to stand up like men and women who have rights, can exercise privileges and succeed exceedingly well.
Being black and being successful
In the same vein, one remembers Fela Anikulapo Kuti who in his Open & Close album exhorted us to "Shake your yansh (back-side) like a black man. Basically, the message is, no matter your colour, it should not be an impediment to being whatever you have dreamt you have ever wanted to be, except when you decide to change your colour.
Adieu! James Brown - The Apostle and Grandfather of Soul.
Sunday, 24 December 2006
Thursday, 21 December 2006
Giving thanks and looking ahead
I finally got back home yesterday and settled into my bed after long days of working and just as too many of sleeping in strange hotel beds eating funny food.
A half past midnight, I woke up, mouthed a prayer of thanks and rolled off the bed. I am now officially over 40, I'm 41, filling forms would be different now, but I would be more amenable to those that have the 35 - 44 checkbox than ones with 41 - 50 checkbox.
There is no doubt that I am glad to be in my forties, I never considered people in their 40s too old and over the bridge when I was a lot younger. So, when I finally got to 40 last year, there was no need to be depressed because having not despised that landmark nor entertained the fear of growing old and decrepit - if that is the common parlance, my mind and outlook was set on adventure rather than depression.
It is important that people realise that growing older is a continuous process, you do not suddenly arrive at 30, 40, 50 or some big number, you were on that journey from the day you were born, if you do not prepare for it, it would catch you unawares.
Worse still, after the party and the drinks, when you get back home, for days, probably weeks or months a pall of depression descends upon what should be the joy of a new dawn and a personal new year.
There is much to give thanks for and there is much to do, but in all, I am grateful that I am here, I am strong, I am still relevant, I enjoy change, learning is pleasure, giving is fun, sharing is a life force and looking forward to new challenges in the New Year – Life is Good – You can join me for a glass of bubbly.
Friday, 15 December 2006
I can imagine that friends, cousins and relations would be cross with me visiting
The last time I was in the UK, I informed so many people and got so swamped that it was impossible for me to get anything done talk less of spending quality time with all these lovely people.
This time, the ones who know are so far out of town that the obligatory visit would not be exacted on the little time one has.
Ma’am and I this morning
So, I spent the morning reviewing the passing out parade of Prince William with the Queen by my side, sometimes one has to step out to grace royal meetings, even Ms. Kate Middleton’s hat was well-worn as it crossed my mind that if she tried to appear more glamorous than her prospective step-mother in-law she might accidentally prick her finger on a spinning-wheel as one does and a hundred years would pass in the bliss of being the 21st Century Sleeping Beauty.
Though, that is an apt reference considering the Prince could not exceed the 2 guest quota to the dinner celebrating his passing-out, my having rescinded a place did not mean Ms. Middleton could step up to that plate – such is life with the Firm.
One piece of news pervading the headlines in the UK concerns Ipswich, at one time in my life, I died in Ipswich for 2 years – it is my opinion you cannot live there – times when I tried to make friends the prospects ended up being hostile.
In fact, I slept over at one such “friend’s” place having worked most of the evening helping to recover data, just before 3:00AM the next morning, an armed response team broke down the door and entered the building with assault weapons, I could have been on the set of Lethal Weapon VI; the day before he had threatened his business partner with whom he has disagreements with a possible gun attack.
That put paid of trying to make friends in
Cardinal Wolsey, the catholic cardinal who could not arrange a divorce for Henry VIII bequeath some things to Ipswich, Ipswich is definitely an old town, Chaucer, martyrs and witch-burning in nearby Manningtree a charter that dates back to 1200.
So, 5 women who probably were prostitutes and had drug dependency problems have been found murdered and dumped in rivers and fields around
Somehow, if anyone is missing for more than 5 minutes, panic first and think after, that is the pall of fear that fill the townspeople with irrational anxiety.
Not to talk of just one new opportunity to play up xenophobia as some now suspect a Polish builder who drives a Be My Wife (the irony of seeing prostitutes) – BMW – might have been sowing his wild oats and turned Jack the Ripper – err – the Suffolk Strangler, a good distraction till the facts are better gathered.
In all, if I have nothing to contribute to improving the reputation of
Wednesday, 13 December 2006
They finally had the bottle to do it and rightly so. Lady Oddjob has had her hat thrown at her and she has been decapitated – well not literally.
Readers of my blog would think I have had it in for Mrs. Verdonk for all her populist policies on integration and immigration, which display an overarching toughness but belie a seething illiberal xenophobia that is gaining acceptance amongst the Dutch.
She has on 5 occasions been called to the Dutch Parliament to explain her actions but there was always a détente, a hesitation, and an almost there that there were never enough votes to sanction her.
But Mrs. Verdonk has been no end of trouble for her party and the cabinet in which her party help a minor coalition participation, part of which lead to the fall of the cabinet in the middle of the year.
Popular but unliked
Whilst she did garner more votes than her party leader, in general, she was not aligned to the Dutch way of doing things in government, the parliament now stung or refreshed by the elections of November 22 have now successfully passed a motion of no confidence on her.
The kind of brinkmanship where the Prime Minister just detached himself from responding to the displeasure of parliament had reached a point where there were just enough votes this time to get it over and done with.
She obviously has been unable to take the hint that she is the issue and even if she is not, other people in office with any iota of integrity and self-respect would have stepped-down.
Not Mrs. Verdonk, she would tough it out, like she has always done, till it becomes untenable for the team in which she is a junior member to maintain any credibility. She is a blind Samson who is ready to bring down the temple on herself but taking all the worshippers down too in her suicide mission.
The cabinet which is for now in caretaker mode should now just sacrifice the lady for the stability of governance rather than chuck it all in as they are wont to do in general.
Popular party of one?
Mrs. Verdonk is a junior minister, the indictment is against her intransigence and obstinate demeanour that gets its lifeblood from the Zombie-ist – Rules are the rules – mantra.
We might finally get a minister that would handle the portfolio of Integration and Immigration with a humane perspective because for all her strengths, she worked to disintegrate and make others emigrate.
She might just end up starting her own party, though it is unlikely that she would do anymore harm to the government that what has been done to this comatose cabinet in life-support.
I am beginning to have faith in the Dutch Parliament and it is high time.
Monday, 11 December 2006
Object to the subject
Never has an objective assessment of a situation garnered outrageous subjectivity than when I have had the fortune of expressing an opinion amongst fellow Nigerians.
It would appear the issues of basic netiquette are beyond the comprehension of seemingly knowledgeable people, I wanted out faster than a bullet leaves a gun.
I had written about the use of the Reply All button in a forum where I have had the unfortunate circumstance to find reluctant membership, in which I also offered possible alternatives to accommodate that type of content.
The forum coordinator had announced that a few new persons had joined the community, that was fine by me, but before the cock could crow the first time, 10 emails had arrived in my mailbox, people echoing the welcome greetings to everyone rather than the just the particular new entrants.
True African SPAM
I must have missed something in my upbringing, as I learnt later on; it is in the true African tradition to receive unsolicited email which in the West would be called SPAM.
It was impossible to keep the focus on that issue, by the time I knew it; I was mired in sycophantic acquiescence, dribbled over with the spittle of contrived disappointment and dispossessed of my Nigerian heritage because I dared to challenge an unacceptable convention.
Then, someone said I was bringing
Informed consent is a cardinal principle
The issue still is; I was co-opted into that forum because someone just assumed I would want to participate in the forum without seeking my consent; one comment read that as a goodwill gesture.
Where have these people been? Organisations cannot just co-opt you without an opt-in which includes informed consent even if their surveys indicate you might be interested in their products – that principle applies regardless of if it is a village forum or a sophisticated gentlemen’s club.
Read my script upside-down
In the end, I asked for my name to be expunged from their records and mailing lists – for which I received a few brick-bats, I did not say for once that my mother-tongue is in fact English – there is a possibility that what I was conveying in language – tone, context and syntax – was lost in translation - my foible - I say what I mean.
Anytime you are tempted to Reply All, just think about what is actionable about your email and if it is relevant to that audience.
I would talk of this no more, one is utterly miffed and certainly not amused.
A study in change
A whole week of silence and the dog ate my blog, well that sometimes happens to ones homework.
There were many things I wanted to write about, the face of George W. Bush when he received the Iraq Study Group Report – main point being, the only course is discourse with
Besides, the incoming Secretary of Defense had the Senators checking their hearing devices when he answered in a matter of fact way that the war in
If George W. Bush had thought he could scupper the intent, tone and delivery of the Iraq Study Group report by poaching someone for a sensitive position from amongst their ranks, he has just been introduced to a new ball game and all hitters are hitting straight for the head – Ouch! I feel your pain Georgie.
Sit on the Hard Rock
Meanwhile, in the midst of all that kafuffle, Chief Yellow-Feather was busy smoking peace pipes on a Hard Rock – Indian reservations which have licenses to run gambling business very much like the effect the Opium Wars had on China are making serious money and making big deals.
The gambling houses do not seem to have created the wealth for drug and alcohol-abuse which sometimes plagues indigenous tribes and aborigines, somehow, these guys wised up and have made good.
Next time you visit a Hard Rock Café, sit in the wigwam, smoke a peace pipe, have a communal chant as we see the Indians begin to make a killing of the cowboys – history and restitution might live centuries apart but methinks the Indian is arriving with loads-a-money. Don’t forget you feather head dress – so you how much we have learnt from amusing generalizations.
Slow cook Polonium
The radiation fallout is still appearing in more places that I wonder if my impending trip to
The past is kicking the bucket
That said; Pinochet finally kicked the bucket, the end of an era that leaves memories of how
There are still many of that era that live without retribution for the pain and suffering they have caused people in South and Central America – Pinochet would be mourned by just a few, I do wish Kissinger well, but he should try visiting Europe.
This brings me to the dinosaurs that remain in power for eons – Ayoke once wrote of a sermon she heard which is quite enlightening.
The future restrained
30 years ago, General Obasanjo who was then the Head of State of Nigeria visited a school and told the students that they were the future of
The leaders of old, old ways, old ideologies, old methods, old corrupt activities are still gathering to rule Nigeria – we forget that 36 years before, Colonel Obasanjo took the surrender for the Biafran War, what are they still doing running the country into the ground?
When shall the new consume the old like an unquenchable fire yielding the ashes of our past such that we are no more shackled but free?
By which time I realized that on December the 8th, I had been blogging for three years, why quit when you are having fun?
Tuesday, 5 December 2006
A sham-ppointment ended
Following his election victory of 2004, George W. Bush instigated some rather controversial appointments which did not endear him to many.
We guffawed when Condoleezza Rice was presented as the new Secretary of State succeeding Colin Powell, we wondered why Rumsfeld was still not given the boot and the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court drew more brick-bats than accolades, she eventually declined.
However, the most irreverent of all was that of John Bolton as the
Mr. Bolton, a smart, intelligent but abrasive man in want of tact and lacking the graces required of a diplomatic posting could not be countenanced by the US Senate for that position but he went anyway through a recess appointment which had to be confirmed by the Senate eventually.
At a time when the UN was in need for reform through sometimes driven by US animosity for the lack of support for their Iraqi intransigence, Mr. Bolton in the eyes of the President was the right party spoiler to shake the place up.
Diplomacy and demeanour still matters
Unfortunately, they forgot that the UN is still a place where your case has to be eased into the system to garner support – Mr. Bolton probably had great potential but his demeanour made that possibility unrealisable.
After 16 months in the position, the Senate now under the control of the Democrats is still implacable, concerning confirming his appointment and as if by great intuitiveness Mr. Bolton has read the tea leaves and fallen on his sword.
There would be many who like me would not shed a tear for his going and like the metaphor of shaving 10 storeys off the UN Secretariat Building, his presence there has made no bit of difference to improving the perception of Mr George W. Bush’s
“There is no such thing as the United Nations.
As for the title of this piece, it is not original, but quite apt, anyhow.
Thursday, 30 November 2006
Signed and sealed with a kiss – same-sex relationships are now legally recognized in South Africa, we can probably wait a century for that emancipation proclamation to travel north of those borders into other areas of
I wrote about the animosity same sex marriage was getting in
His comment - So Mr. West (My new name) are you gay? It is the usual thing isn't it, it is acceptable in the West so it must be acceptable everywhere else, the rest of the world is ignorant, crude etc etc. Do you ask why it is now acceptable in the West only because of the break down of morality you may not like it but that is the truth.
He might have a point there, we think what is acceptable in the West must be accepted everywhere else.
However, the breakdown of morality thing does get to me, are non-Westerners adherents of better morals or prisoners of religious strictures that subscribe to the doctrine of “Do as I say?” – Well, that is debatable, read as rhetorical.
However, if we look at this issue from a perspective of justice, fairness, freedom of choice and association without the fear of persecution, then the civil law must not be used to impose moral values on a people.
What is even more interesting is where people are so up on morals but having nothing on ethical conduct, the abuse of women, the abuse of power, the abuse of influence, the abuse of children and the prevalence of disease, poverty, war and deprivation goes on as the leaders of our moral race dine and wine with impunity.
Morally bankrupt would need some redefining in the light of these issues.
The terror of poisons
We have been advised that the risk of being affected by Polonium 210 radiation is minuscule that we do not have to bother. But, the man died.
This is despite the innocuous but benign endangerment being found in 12 places in
One ex-Prime Minister of Russia is allegedly poisoned and in hospital.
To paraphrase a cliché, the only thing to panic about is panic itself – we are sitting calmly listening to all this propaganda that lures us into a great sense of terror and fear – expect a raid on our civil liberties soon.
If that radioactive material did come through Heathrow airport, air travel as we know it is dead.
As for the half-life of Polonium 210 being 138 days, we have a few more days to run on this matter as the plot thickens.
Meanwhile, if you do need the glow of radioactivity to kill your cockroach infested boudoir, for $69 you can order it online from the
I’m not doing dinner
It probably was an expression of glee that came across my face when last night we learnt that the Prime Minister of Iraq had decided not to join George W. Bush and the King of Jordan for dinner.
I should know the feeling, I should have been having dinner with my agent when for some “personal” reason she pulled out of the arrangement and then invited me for one of those dastardly Christmas parties where, I end up being the only sober one at 1:00AM listening to the drivel of inebriated colleagues – No thanks!
Every which way it was spun; it was a clear snub to the leader of the Free World who had squandered every opportunity to make a positive difference to world as his non-Midas touch begins to turn golden opportunities into cack-handed diplomacy.
We can, without America
There seems to be an “in spite of
In the end, the country that used to be the mediator of grand Middle-Eastern handshakes was left trying to gather the crumbs of diplomacy falling from the table of self-determinant negotiations between neighbouring countries that recognize their need for each other.
So, Condoleezza Rice is on a scurry between
It all comes out – sooner or later
Beyond that, 35 years before, as the India-Pakistan war came to be, some rather unpalatable things (bitch) were said of one of the principals in conversation, that recorded conversation made the light of day in 2005, tensions rose, with anger expressed, profuse apologies after from Henry Kissinger to the heirs of Indira Gandhi and the Indian people.
It did not stop the President of that time – a Richard Nixon from referring to her as an old witch – historians would be at pains not to consider the views of the President and his Secretary of State as policy or the standard with which they had dealings with
Leaks and no plumbers about
As we humans are the poorest students of history as a means of learning to do things better, Mr Nouri al Maliki’s snub came just when a leaked document from the National Security Adviser questioned the ability for the Iraqi leader to handle the mess that
Obviously, there was the little issue of supporters at home in
Mr. Stephen Hadley must have thought his advice would be covered by some official secrets diktat such that the dramatis personae would only have learnt of this poor vote of confidence 30 years on.
At the risk of sounding cynical, one can only wonder what they also think of their man in Afghanistan and beneath of the public veneer of great freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the lesser known reality is the bluster is really an attempt to stage a suitable “cut and run”.
For now, it is too late to send any of these American diplomats for a course in Diplomacy 101 – What you never want discovered must never be thought, let alone spoken, if published, you are damned.
Now, taking applications for “How to be nice 001”.
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
After the Dutch elections last week, I am still gob smacked about how the results have turned out. The ruling party (Christian Democratic Appeal - CDA) with its burgher, lack-lustre, dour leader who at times appears in need of a radical charismatic lobotomy after his anti-Harry Potter makeover, lead the team to another electoral victory.
He would now have a fourth bite at the cherry in 4 years, even the Dutch should be getting election weary.
Victory, in the sense that they won more seats in the Second Chamber, but 76 are needed to have a majority government, they got 41 losing 3 seats from the last time and needing 35 to form a majority government.
The opposition Labour Party got 33 losing 9 seats; the Socialist Party increased their share from 9 to 25 and the Liberal Party (VVD), the party of the Minister of dis-Integration and Emigration – Mrs Rita Verdonk, lost 4 seats to end up being the fourth party with 22 seats.
A Dutch coalition of pain
The old coalition of CDA, VVD and D66 would only garner 66 seats; however, it is unlikely that D66 would play having lost half their seats nor would they be seen in cahoots with Verdonk the cause of the fall of the last government.
The salutary lesson of this election is, people want more of the same with a lean to the left, then a bit of tough talk on those immigration and religious issues espoused by Geert Wilders whose locks once looked like a permanent lawyer’s wig. His new party of tough-talking intolerance pulled in 9 seats but he is too much of a firebrand to be called into a coalition – he was once in the Liberal Party – methinks we are in the death throes of liberalism in the Netherlands since the standard bearers of that ideology have lost electoral ground.
There is no doubt that a good few people would like to see Mrs Rita Verdonk sacked and pensioned off into obscurity, but not that easily.
In 10 minutes, I heard the number 620,555 from her lips just as many times, the number of votes polled by Mrs Verdonk as number 2 in the VVD Party list which by circumstance happens to exceed the leader’s number by 50,000 votes. A precedent, they say.
Early on Tuesday, she said she would not challenge for the leadership of the party, having 4 months ago clearly lost the vote of the VVD party for the leadership, well, this evening she is back in a surreptitious and outrageous power grab for the leadership.
First by saying the people have spoken, she is probably more popular than the leader of her party, however, she would not challenge for the leadership of the party.
Rather, a commission should be set up to review this unique situation, and meanwhile, she is loyal to the party and to the leadership of Matt Rutte.
If I have ever heard a fork-tongued, double-speak, back-stabbing, political about-face of the most slithering snake of treasonable political Brutus-tricks, Mrs Verdonk personifies the side of politics that would make you puke your toes from the inside – the moniker of Lady Oddjob now really fits.
There are rules for the election of a party leader and that is not decided by a general election, but by party membership, the leader only had 3 months to prepare for the elections, Mrs Verdonk has hugged the headlines for years with her tough stance on immigration and she neither won it within her party nor did she win it for her party.
If the VVD has a liability, it would be her, but like we have with the Weakest Link, the party members may not see through this political travesty of honour and integrity.
For a person who being unelected caused the fall of a government to now want to reap the fruits of democratic ascendancy, shows that she has all ambition and has little to show in political maturity or leadership – it would be not surprise me if like the List Pim Fortuyn, her leadership of the VVD leads the party to political obscurity through in-fighting and rancour – some lessons do have to be learnt the hard way and the Liberal Party looks like a ready and willing student.
Update – 29/11/2006
Having not been able to persuade the party hierarchy to establish an unnecessary commission, to examine the unique situation of the party leader polling less than the next person in the party list; Mrs. Verdonk has now pledged allegiance to the party and thrown her weight behind the party leader respecting the decision of the party to retain Mark Rutte and the leader of the Liberal Party (VVD).
Sunday, 26 November 2006
Handbagging rotten design
“Terrible, terrible, absolutely terrible”, she said as she covered those so-called “world designs” with a handkerchief and walked off with her trademark Salvatore Ferragamo handbag.
Years, before, they paid hefty legal fees, generous compensation and ate humble pie as their institutionalised “dirty tricks” campaign against a business man who does not wear a suit blew up in their faces.
The was the watershed, the comeuppance of the domineering influence of the bastions of British establishment as the common man refused to be cowed by overbearing and reckless abuse of privilege to perpetrate what is patently wrong.
Secular uniforms for the working pagans
Generally, British Airways just seems to find a way of hugging the spotlight for the wrong reasons which border on the inexplicable earning brick-bats from all people of stature till they are forced to adopt what is supposed to be the common sense view.
There are people who would promote the secularist argument about religious symbols and apparel, and this excites social and political comment nowadays with the veil and the burqa.
The cross, a symbol of Christianity was the centre of a debate that had the principled stance of a BA employee elicit the support of civil liberties and put the BA in the crosshairs of religious disappointment and political opprobrium.
Eventually, the fence-sitting Archbishop of Canterbury finally cantered into the debate having flown to Rome in a BA flight – read as a tacit approval of the BA stance or a lack of conviction on a rather serious religious issue.
The employee had gotten suspended for wearing a cross having not been able to reach an agreement with her employers to compromise on a basic inoffensive principle – visibly wearing a cross no bigger than a small coin.
Disappearing Christianity in Europe
This is not the only problem with the way Christianity is being consigned to ignominious irrelevance, you only have to visit a card shop and notice how few cards talk of Christmas and many more talk of Winterval, Seasons Greetings and so on – God forbid, the mention the Christ or Jesus – people might find it offensive to hear about Christmas but be willing to take the holiday and the knock-down sales of the consequent days.
We now have to apologise for being Christian in Europe as people cannot profess their faith publicly because a foreign but non-indigenous faith is gaining prominence. We know the dominance of those faiths in their origin-lands is used to persecute other faiths, with impunity.
Sometimes, it appears political correctness is thumping commonsense values to the chagrin of many and this is becoming unacceptable leading to growing animosity between formerly accommodating societies and the seething intolerance to visiting cultures.
Now, that BA has backed down from this unsupportable stance having made us cringe from the bluster of official-speak and semantics, the impending boycott of their services can be suspended. Till the bishop customer cannot wear a visible large cross, the imam cannot wear a turban or show his prayer beads or some other inspired idea that a publicity faux-pas official can dream up to bring the BA back into the spotlight of every stupid thing that exemplifies British-ness (Brutishness). Just what we need – every time.
If British Airways can learn any lessons, it would be, you must not cross the cross.
Saturday, 25 November 2006
A few days ago, my DVD buff friends was over and we happened to see on of his Star Trek episodes (Death Wish), this one to do with the a Q who wanted to commit suicide – in the end, he obtained a rare poison that the computers on Voyager could not find an antidote for, this was because the poison was obtained outside of the realms of available knowledge, it was called Nogatch Hemlock – and the man died.
On 9/11 28 years ago, a man sought refuge in London and found a platform from which to criticise the government and policies of his home country, he had just walked over Waterloo Bridge when for some reason he got stabbed with an umbrella.
It so happened that the umbrella was a dart gun that injected a ricin capsule into his thigh, four days after that attack, having waited 9 years after his defection – the man died.
Slow death through unknown causes
Over the last week, we watched as a young man who sought exile in the UK and had become a British citizen, but attacked policies of his original home government where he had worked for the secret service – decay slowly as all speculated on what kind of poison might have been fed the man.
At first, it was thought Thallium, but further tests discounted that supposition, each day his systems failed till he had a heart attack and the eventually – the man died.
Then, they found out, he had somehow ingested Polonium 210, the last time I read about Polonium I was reading the history of Marie Curie and her work in radiation which eventually lead to her receiving the Nobel Prize - Polonium was named for the country of her birth, which at the time was not independent – it was auspiciously political, highlight the plight of her homeland.
The realities and the mirages
Whilst we have been distracted with the spectacular War on Terror, we watched the slow death of another man who being a victim of terror unmentionable left traces of radiation in a restaurant, a hotel, his home and no doubt the 2 hospitals in which he received treatment.
As it dawns on us that a “so-called” dirty bomb can be dispensed without the fanfare of a cack-handed Al Qaeda operative – it need not be a bomb, it only needs a host – but the material if administered in the sushi bar would most likely have contaminated the food batch on that day and subsequent days.
Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko had become a dissident having left Russia, which only recently had its Parliament approve a - James Bond “Licence to kill” – opportunity to take out dissidents even in foreign countries – but we should not get ahead of ourselves.
Putin on people of no significance
Mr. Litvinenko was investigating the brutal murder of Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya in Russia who only died just about 7 weeks ago, then Mr Putin was meeting with Angela Merkel – he dismissively noted that Anna was not an influential person and as such all this media circus around her death was unnecessary.
This time, as Alexander died in London yesterday, Mr Putin was in Finland meeting with the EU, in the midst of offering condolences he alluded to the medical report that his death was not so violent.
Now, Mr Putin might be the last person you want to challenge to a game of poker, but I would like to understand how these people’s lives could be so trivialised.
Then some ex-KGB person suggested Alexander might just have been a victim in the settling of scores in turf wars amongst Russians in London, now, that is not an original stance to take – Saudi Arabia, years ago dismissed terrorist attacks as alcohol turf wars amongst Westerners until it became too evident that the kingdom was under siege.
Given that is the case, if Russian gangs can obtain something so dangerous and administer it so professionally in the right dose to create the desired effect of the victim walking away before realising he had been done – we live in more perilous times than Al Qaeda can deliver through jet planes, suicide bombers or incitements to violence.
Shackled to energy of compromise
Unfortunately, we cannot be firm with Russia because they supply 25% of our European gas requirements, the softly-softly approach allows for us to appease the rolling back of the frontiers of democracy in Russia.
However, as our inertia, complacency, hesitation and détente gets the better of a principled lecture on the value of human life and the freedom of expression, it would not be long before entering any public place would include being checked out with a Geiger-Müller counter.
The unknown and unexplained might just be made obvious as the crackling and ticking detects alpha and beta radiation.
As for Mr Litvinenko, depending on the level of radiation in his body, I would suspect is appreciable, the Caesium radiation dispersal in Goiania, Brazil offers an unfortunate lesson – they are first put in lead coffins and buried in concrete.
It was a murder most horrid, the culprits might never be found as the possibility of radioactive material entering the UK as diplomatic baggage (my speculation) is going to make this story run into the less expected areas.
Friday, 24 November 2006
At times, I have the opportunity to avail myself of services of Nigerian businesses, though more because they offer a service; I can rarely find anywhere else.
I however worry about the possibility of those businesses turning a success with the lax attitudes and poor professionalism that exemplifies the owners of those outfits.
Finding myself in Antwerp this weekend, I left my executive suite and traipsed past the exquisite restaurant to a dinghy Nigerian restaurant (New Wazobia) or rather “buka” two streets away to have goat meat pepper soup and possibly some pounded yam and spinach.
For the lack other places to go for Nigerian fare, I have frequented this place with a prayer and great risk to my health; I have doggedly returned despite at least two attributable cases for food poisoning.
Many a time, I have had to ask for a glass rather than drink through a straw and the food is served so unnaturally hot because the stuff gets tossed in a microwave oven and one is at risk of scalding from the food rather than the plates, as one would have with Western type dishes.
Anyway, I was there this evening took a seat was acknowledged by the regular crowd and nigh on 15 minutes, there was no sign of a waiter and I was done with waiting.
So, I took my coat, hat, scarf and umbrella and left without event.
As I returned to my hotel, the bellboy who was all over like a rash came forward to retrieve the umbrella he offered me on my way out, and I took the opportunity to ask about the restaurant.
I got details of all that was on offer and he offered to get me a reservation whilst I returned to my room to get into something less stuffy. A table at the window, fine red wine, my steak – half-bleeding – utterly succulent, an inspired menu creation that was set on a bed of spinach and bedecked with a slab of foie gras, smiling and helpful staff, live music to boot.
Then I think to myself, why suffer for a taste of home if the service is so atrocious, I would consider it utterly unacceptable in any other place.
My experience of Nigerian businesses does not end there, during the Paris World Cup, my cousin arranged that we could watch Nigeria – Bulgaria in Paris, I paid just a few pounds short of a thousand to get the two of us out to Paris on a bus with other Nigerians, a place in the stadium to watch my team and a night in Paris.
As it transpired, we arrived just in time to hear the last chords of the Bulgarian National Anthem, the Nigerian one having gone first, then we finally got our seats.
For excitement, electricity and good times, this was one I really enjoyed, I probably never saw the ball as it passed round the field but in the end, I had no voice with which to speak for hours.
We then gathered back in the bus for our next rendezvous which was on the outskirts of Paris, it took two hours to find which happened to be a Formule 1 Hotel – I could not believe it – it had bunk beds, the shower was literally above the toilet, if you could squeeze into that bath-toi-room-let.
What could have been, amongst our company was a man who had traveled all the way from Nigeria along with quite a few well-to-do career people – the desire to make maximum profit spoilt an otherwise beautiful day.
We did not quibble, we just took a taxi back into the town centre and got ourselves rooms in suitable hotels – if I can get better arrangements elsewhere, Nigerian-owned businesses have a lot of work to do to gain my custom – they just cannot compete if they exude such greed or lack of attention to customer relationships.