Cannon to the Left of them (Jokers to the Right)

As a bloke once said to me:

Half a league, half a league,
  Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death,
  Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

01_1936 Charge of the Light Brigade LC

My regular reader, George in Cheltenham, will tell you that I’m no fan of war. Like Woody Allen in the event of war I’d be recruited as a hostage (that’s where the comparison between us ends). The army wouldn’t want me. I’m hopeless. I faint at the sight of blood, mine especially. Khaki is not my colour. I once soiled myself during a game of Paintball.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
  Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
  Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
  Rode the six hundred.

So let’s all hope it doesn’t come to this again. You can be sure of a few things: If and when The Crimea War II bursts into action, there will be a few more than 600 involved, and the Russians won’t be just to the right of them and to the left of them and in front of them , they’ll be over the top of them and not just lobbing shells at them. Me?  I’ll be digging a hole in my back garden, wearing my tin hat, inside a Chieftain Tank. I shall be singing selections from Running Songs and Surrendering Ballads by the Queen’s Own Cowards, and crying a lot.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
  All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

1936 : The Chargeof the Light Brigade.  Errol Flynn flashes not only his Sabre but also his avocado collection.

1936 : The Charge of the Light Brigade. Future (alleged) Nazi Spy Errol Flynn flashes not only his ‘sabre bare’ but also other, favoured weapon. Like the murderer, Ruth Ellis, Flynn was famously well hung.

You see, there are a couple of things that worry me. Ok,ok, President Obama has said that there will be ‘Costs’ if Russia invades Ukraine (bit late on that one, methinks, O). But he also warned Syria’s Assad that he risked crossing a “red line” if he engaged in chemical attacks on his own people. That seems to have gone well, doesn’t it ? Shouldn’t someone tell POTUS that when warning someone not to do something, it’s always best to do it BEFORE they’ve done something, or it may come across as a bit of an empty threat.

 Not that I am against empty threats, you understand. Some of my largest threats have been absolutely bereft of any substance whatsoever. Only last week I threatened The Incumbent that if I didn’t start selling enough T-shirts to sustain us soon, then I would go and find some work back in journalism. Absolute bollocks. Never meant a word of it.  And she knew it. It was seventeenth-such threat since 2011.

No, I’m happy with Obama pretending he’s gonna do something about the pesky Russians, when really he knows (and they know. And what’s more they know he knows. And they know he knows that they kno…) that he’s gonna do no such thing. And I’m all in favour of that. We’ve had enough of mad wars for the time being, haven’t we? Yes, yes, I know the Crimea is very strategically important and all that; and “you can’t just let the bullies get away with it” argument; and that Putin is illegally invading a sovereign state (full of Nazi sympathisers, I might point out— if I hadn’t pointed that out before). But do we really want to go back down the David Hemmings’ route again ?

1968. David Hemmings tries to make a better stab of it than Errol Flynn. He failed too.

1968. David Hemmings tries to make a better stab of it than Errol Flynn had back in 1936. He failed miserably too.

If Obama goes to war, Cameron won’t be able to resist sending what’s left of the British Army (if Gideon hasn’t sacked them all by then). There’ll be months of slaughter, then we’ll pull out and let the inevitable civil war kick off. Then we’ll get weeks of graphic photographs in the papers, and footage on the news, up until the editors/public get bored and they concentrate on the new series of  X-Factor or Strictly.

Then Hollywood spots an opportunity for a remake or three. I don’t think the world needs another epic, sprawling, bloody awful movie about the Battle of Balaclava, Sevastopol or Crimean War, do you ? Haven’t we already had enough wars to write and make movies about without starting a new one ? It won’t be David Hemmings this time, it’ll be Brad Pitt. Cate Blanchett will play Florence Nightingale, Oprah Winfrey as Queen Victoria, and Matthew McConaughey in the old Trevor Howard role as Lord Cardigan.

Could McConnaughey possibly drink enough on set to do the role justice ?

Could McConaughey possibly drink enough on set to do the role justice ?

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
  All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
 Noble six hundred!

It’ll just be a matter of time before EA Games gets involved and produces Medal of Hono(u)r CRIMEA edition— when a team of crack Hussars (hussar !!) will slaughter thousands of commies (humour them) to knock out the guns at Sevastopol/Navarone/Moscow (pronounced Moscouw)* (delete where applicable). There will be bigger body count than in an average Hospital in Stafford. Don’t believe me ? There’s already been an attempt at it. Good old Atari back in 1991.


“From the producers of Rorke’s Drift” ????? Do they mean that other crap Atari game or the actual battle? Perhaps Obama could bill the Presidency as : “POTUS : From The Producers of Operation Iraqi Freedom(ish); The Directors of Shock, Awe & We’ll Leave You to Clear Up all the Mess  After We’ve Left; and the writers of Somalian Disaster.”?

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

The Charge of the Light Brigade


So please, Mr President, enough with the threats. We don’t want no war, we don’t want no movies about war, we don’t want no games about movies about war. You blokes in charge of things sort it out between you without sending us lot over the top again. Please.

This post was bought to you by the makers of “I Told You So” and “I’ll Sign up for the Military Right After Politicians Send Their Sons to War.” and by the letters F and O.

The Freemantle Doctor Will See You Now.


“But Grandfather, you have read the London Times. How bad do they say it was?”
“So bad, my boy, that they are even considering recalling Ravi Bopara !”


The Barmy Army watch patiently at an England net session at The Paul Hogan Academy Ground, Perth


After a couple of overs knock-about at the WACA, and having let Mike Atherton study the ball for a while, hopes are high of reverse swing for the English.


Other former MCC captains are drafted in to help improve the morals of the team, but not all seem to be concentrating on cricket.


The Tourists seek clarification of the LBW, using local knowledge


Meanwhile back in the nets, Joe Root tries to unravel the mystery of the Australian non-spinning off break bowling which has winkled out so many. (“WINKLED !!! fnarrr fnarrrr,” squeals young Joe) …


…Stuart Broad strives to perfect his now legendary “Stick the ball down the throat of the only fielder on the boundary” shot. (Apologies for no live footage from Channel 9. So here’s a filer of Stuart developing the shot back at Hogwarts during the 1990s)…


…while Ian Bell treats himself to a haircut before the next battle. Spiffing.


Completely coincidentally, Dr Who (50th Birthday Box set Edition now available from BBC Online) sends a message of support to the traveling Englishmen (other bandwagons are available)…

David Cameron -1716210

…and possibly the last man to be transported from the mother country arrives in Oz, and is immediately asked if he fancies opening. He doesn’t. (NB: Fawad Ahmed fielding at 2nd slip, having had his application for English Citizenship accepted).

Root and Tim Bresnan accept a cigarette but, bravely, decline a blindfold, before the last rites are administered on the English batting line-up

Cabinet Summer Holiday—Saucy Snaps — Exclusive !

Lord Justice Leveson was this afternoon yet again made to look a bumbling buffoon as photographs emerged in certain sections of the press clearly showing the Coalition Cabinet clearly enjoying each other’s company during their group knees-up and beano in Reculver, a beautiful and exclusive resort on the Kentish Riviera.


These photographs are so disgraceful, we thought it our duty to bring at least one of them to our reader’s [correct] attention.

While something seems to have clearly upset Foreign Secretary Mr Haig (seated in front), young Beaker from the Treasury (2nd from left) seems to be enjoying things far too much. Either that or he’s been stealing candy canes from the seafront sweetshop. Mr David Breakdie-Laws (at front on one leg) seems to be growing some form of butch facial hair, perhaps for a loved-one, and Chancellor Jeffrey (centre in nappy with pipe) does seem to be finally letting his hairs down. Typical of the Prime Minister, Mr Cameron (seen at the back right, top hat at a jaunty, Ronald Coleman-esque angle) took a back seat, allowing his colleagues to take all the flak glory. The photographer informs us that Mr Pickles was away at the time visiting the Fish & Chip shop. Again.

Keith Vaz is 63.

It Goes Everywhere, Involves Everyone.

Welcome back. And if you’ve just joined us, a quick recap the main points of the news again:

2008- to date: Bankers and the city bring down world-economy, selling toxic mortgages, mis-selling insurance; fiddling PPI; awarded huge bonuses for failure while ordinary citizens went bust; laundering money for pariah states, fixing lending rates etc etc: As yet, not a single solitary Banker (bangster?), not one person has ben charged with anything, though the PM says they face “serious questions”. Oooh, nasty.

At the time of publication one man – a former UBS trader who stole from the banks (as opposed to them stealing from us) is appearing at Southwark Crown Court. They don’t like people stealing from them, do they ? Stealing from customers is nothing to faces charges over, on the other hand.

May 2009: MPs expenses: The Daily Telegraph exposes parliamentarians of claiming for Moats, Duck houses, Electrical goods, family members salaries, second homes, flats/jobs for the boys/lovers. MPs vigorously tried but ultimately failed to stop publication of information via the Freedom of Information Act. 3 MPs convicted (subsequently a judge lets them off paying legal costs, bless him).

Police told to open inquiry into corruption during the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. 19 years after which, just 2 men are convicted in 2012. As yet, no Police officers have been convicted of any misdoing.

2011:- Operations Elvedon and Weeting (investigation payments from Journalists to Police Officers and other public officials) 47 arrests at time of writing, including journalists secretaries and “legal advisors” from News International, hacks from the Sun, the Mirror and the Star.

2011:- Operation Tuleta instigated (investigation into phone hacking by journalists)  to run along side the other inquiries into the behaviour of journalists. 13 arrests as we speak.

Leveson Inquiry into the “culture, practices and ethics” of the British press. (good luck with that one then) opens. Scores of TV celebs, politicians, sportsmen, film stars and ‘ordinary’ people give evidence of being hounded, abused and wrongly accused by the press. Rupert Murdoch is hauled in front of the beak and the cameras. His son shows the world what a buffoon he is (before taking the getaway jet to The States): Report expected in November.

July 2012: A police officer was cleared of killing newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson who died after a G20 protest in the City. PC Simon Harwood was found not guilty of unlawfully causing death in the course of his duties after he was filmed during the G20 protests clearly striking Mr Tomlinson in the back of the leg and pushing him to the ground.

September 2012: The Hillsborough Disaster Independent Panel Inquiry Publishes findings. After numerous governments have ignored the subject, David Cameron reads the findings of the public inquiry, and immediately apologises in the House of Commons to the families of the victims, thus making him possibly the only one of 2 politicians (sitting or otherwise) to emerge from the saga with any credit  at all.

The then Prime Minister  in 1989 (I forget her name – as does she) was told how appallingly the Police had acted on the day of the slaughter and throughout the subsequent inquiry. She chose to ignore this, as did Tory and Labour governments after her). Only when Labour’s Andy Burnham, an Evertonian put in place an independent inquiry did the process start in earnest.

Questions are directed at the Football Association, the Football Club and Sheffield City Council for the fact that the ground did not have a valid safety certificate.

The media have to hunt down former Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie before he finally apologises for the newspaper’s coverage of the events – blaming drunk, thieving Liverpool fans for their own deaths. The current Editor of the Sun, Dominic Someone, also says sorry. (It’s not been a great year for The Current Bun).

The MP for Sheffield Hallam in 1989, Sir Irvine Patnick, was identified by the Hillsborough Independent Panel as one of the main sources for these inaccurate stories in the press that sought to blame Liverpool fans for the deaths of 96 people. He admits his error/lies but remains at liberty.

Senior lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) were handed detailed analysis of the police cover-up of the Hillsborough disaster 14 years ago but decided to take no action against any officers involved, reports The Independent newspaper.

Former (Labour) Home Sec, Jack Straw, on BBC expressed regret that a review of the Hillsborough disaster he ordered in 1997 failed to “get to the bottom” of what happened or expose the police cover-up. A small understatement, and half-hearted effort even by Straw’s standards.

Report shows 116 police statements were altered/”amended” so as to conceal the actions of the South Yorkshire Constabulary that day. Ambulances were held back from the scene. Medical reports find that 41 victims could have survived had the emergency services showed up. The coroner at the time ordered that all of the deceased – adults and children alike – should be tested for alcohol in their blood – in an attempt to perpetuate the “drunk fan” theory. That Coroner is still walking around a free man.

It is revealed that the police ran checks on all the dead, to see if any had criminal records – another attempt to tarnish the reputations of the deceased.  On the BBC on the day of the release of the inquiry’s findings, officers serving that day at Hillsborough were queuing up to vent their anger over the fact their statements had been changed by ‘person or persons unknown’, presumably higher management within the force.

It is self-evident that the cover-up was ordered, organized and carried out by senior serving members of the Yorkshire Police. Aided and abetted by who else is, as yet, unknown. There will always be questions, however that in 23 years, how is it that not one single rank and file member of either the Ambulance or Police Service came forward to “whistle blow” ?

When the shocking facts were released, (and not one revelation denied), Sir Norman Bettison, the most senior serving police officer who was involved with South Yorkshire Police‘s discredited Hillsborough operation, said of the revelations that he had “nothing to hide”. 2 days later, he was forced by sheer weight of numbers against him to apologise.

Bit by bit, one by one, the apologists for the Police, the Press, the Bankers the Government, the racists, the bigots go silent.

We really are All in it Together