Ancient Wit 155

It is my birthday! I had a celebratory dinner last night in the home of very dear friends from student days. whom I had not seen for decades. We regaled each other with stories of those long ago times, and for a while were young again.

I heard again how I forgot about one of my finals and had to be helped, too drunk to walk, into the examination room but still got a first. Absolutely true but I had forgotten it until reminded. I did remember the tales of Clement Freud’s sleaziness while Rector in his advances on female students. There was one story in hearing which I took a shamelessly big-headed delight, of when we were at a Clement Freud speech in a formal university occasion. Rather pompously, he said: “You know when you are doing the job of Rector properly when the University Court thinks you are on the students’ side, and the students think you are on the Court’s side”. I interjected loudly “Two-faced bastard” and brought the house down.

If you live long enough you will make some jokes worth retelling.

But I haven’t changed in one respect. Just as I managed to miss the start of a final exam, I managed today to miss my speech to SNP conference by not being in the hall when called. I simply misread the programme, though to be fair to myself the programme is not plain whether the resolution would be in the 10am resolutions session or the 11.30am session. I am annoyed with myself nonetheless.

The motion was on the BBC Charter and I had wished to move a reference back on the grounds that it was not radical enough in its treatment of the BBC. SNP activists are continually accused in the media of being against journalistic freedom in their “attacks” on the BBC. I intended to say that, after a great deal of professional experience monitoring state propaganda organisations around the world, I know one when I see one. To oppose the propaganda output of a state propaganda organisation is not to oppose media freedom, it is to promote it. I missed out on the applause this would have got in the hall. You can applaud now.

I was fortunate in that for the whole of my twenty years in the FCO I had staff working for me who could organise me. Tell me where I was supposed to be, take me there, and make sure I didn’t forget my coat, briefcase or wallet. Without this structure around me, life is a constant struggle against my own impracticality.

Oh well, I have got through 57 years of this. If the next forty are even slightly as enjoyable, I have much to look forward to.

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155 thoughts on “Ancient Wit

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  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Clark; Everyone has bad days and there is no shame in it. A new day always brings a fresh perspective.

  • Giyane

    “The U.S. strategic goal in Syria is not, as your faithful mainstream media servants … might have you believe, to save the Syrian people from the ravages of the longstanding Assad dictatorship,” Harrington wrote in a comment . . .published Monday, “but rather to heighten the level of internecine conflict in that country to the point where it will not be able to serve as a bulwark against Israeli regional hegemony for at least a generation.”

    Israeli hegemony? Piss-ups in breweries comes to mind. The Zionist addiction to waging war by deceit has resulted in even its own citizens despising their own politicians while the rest of the hogmanayed free world need their BBCs and SKYs to keep them in political correctness.

    The Zionist project in Syria has united the entire Arab world against lying/or politics as it is rightly called. The Asian Muslim world will follow. The Perles and Cheneys of theis world could not have united the Muslim world to common-sense more succeddfully if they had broadast every news bulletin in red noses and clown hats.

    As to the Saudis and Qataris using Turkish and Israeli hospitals to tend to their joke-jihadis in Al Qaida and IS, the entire Muslim world is clutching its sides in belly laughter at their crass stupidity and ignorance of the teachings of the Qur’an.

    It’s a hard day for the up-themselves Saudi royals when they lose the plot to Michael Gove.

  • Giyane


    “And what is it you’re all trying to do here? I’ve often wondered.”

    I know it’s a small task and some might think it was a total waste of time, but if I could just get the troll’s hair to lie down straight like human hair, my simple heart would be contented.

    It seems to have some internal property that defies gravity. Is that why the Saudi royals always wear head-scarves?

  • nevermind

    “And what is it you’re all trying to do here? I’ve often wondered.”

    I’m glad you did not include yourself, Habnogoodtosay, as you are actually quiet superfluous here, a malign pet straying and defecating in the neighbours garden, more like, without having much to say at all, and never responsible for anything.

    You are a guilty apologist for Israel’s zionist crimes and Apartheid, so you are, by your own actions, not part of what we are all on about, imho. Just to keep it simple.

    As for your cyber stalking habits, there are people you can see about that.

    Alternatively, you could write a review of this on topic work called ‘wit and humour in ancient Egypt’ be the first, for once, a chuckle for a schoolmaster like you, with ancient Greek knowledge, although not much of a Democratus as such, it should be a doddle and keep you off the streets.
    Now go and see to it, why don’t you?

  • Extreme Narrator

    Having copied n pasted umpteen myriad posts into its Dead Sea troll locater free software (google),my home made supercomputer has finally come up with a strange answer after a full day of also hogging all the band-width on my 70mb connection – it says habba is actually Aaronovitch assisted by a Stephen Fry in his spare time !!?

    [ Mod: Use only one identity here, please. ]

  • Tony M

    London Property slump as Oligarchs jet offski.

    Fear of pea-soup fog, the sight and smell of jellied eels and incessant noise are amongst the factors driving significant numbers of London’s foreign oligarchs to seek pastures new. Though successful in putting an end to Big Ben’s bell being rung, aural attacks continue making their des-res lives unbearable. They allege that as they sip their late evening cocoa, flash mobs including feared and proscribed street-urchins strike coconut shells together to create a horseshoe-like clatter. An interpreter acting for locals defiantly said it was all “a right palaver”. One anonymous oligarch who battled through the courts in vain, and was at pains still to refute allegations of unnatural acts involving a duck, said talks to resolve differences broke down when indecipherable rhyming slang proved a barrier to communication.

    “That stupid great bell at parliament was bad enough till it was scrapped and melted down, but for me it was the ceaseless unmelodious noise of home-made barrel-organs, at all hours. I’m a victim of Cockney persecution.” said one penthouse dweller, as he packed hurriedly for the peace and wilds of Siberia, where he owns 19,000 square miles he purchased in exchange for a short piece of string just before his hero Yeltsin fell over.

    Others said they hadn’t slept well in years due to random barrel-organ terror outbreaks, day and night, and calls yet for more of them to be rolled out. The government have a responsibility to protect many say, but they don’t care for us put-upon multi-billionaires, the drone strikes achieved nothing, jihadists and mercenaries hired to ease tensions, were tricked out of their money and weapons by gangs of estate-agents, roaming unchecked, mainly loyal to the ‘one true George Osborne’.

    A Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, meeting with oligarchs, said he was unaware of the matter, but would meet with some more oligarchs urgently, “they know there’s nothing I wouldn’t do” he added, “on their account”.

  • Mark Golding

    Giyane – Least we fail to remember – the Zionist project requires Israel to use the US domination opportunity to carry out its final solution to the Palestinian question — transferring them to Jordan, to a liberated incarcerated Iraq, and anywhere else that expanded US hegemony in the Middle East will allow. Iraq’s abundant water will be diverted to relieve a parched Israel.

  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Earlier on today – inspired by a bit of nonsense from Nevermind – I asked the following question:

    “And what is it you’re all trying to do here? I’ve often wondered.”


    It’s obvious that Guano (15h23) and Nebelmind himself (15h54) haven’t go the slightest idea. 🙂

  • Mary

    As predicted. A complete and utter shit speaks for his masters.

    Fallon: UK Must Strike Syria Despite Russia Fears
    The Defence Secretary is “worried” about clashes between RAF and Russian planes, but says Britain must join air raids in Syria.

    18 October 2015

    ‘Britain should join airstrikes in Syria and not be “diverted” by the “worrying” risk of a clash with Russian forces, the Defence Secretary has said.

    Michael Fallon said there was an “inescapable logic” to extending UK military action across the border from Iraq in its fight against Islamic State (IS).’

  • lwtc247

    Happy Birthday. I’ve no alcohol to give you, but but there’s this
    which may produce the same giddy effect, from what you’ve written about previously…

    “Amazon is taking legal action against more than 1,000 people it says have posted fake reviews on its website.”

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    ‘Earlier on today – inspired by a bit of nonsense from Nevermind – I asked the following question:

    “And what is it you’re all trying to do here? I’ve often wondered.”’


    We are trying to make the world a better place. What are you doing here?

  • John Spencer-Davis

    18/10/2015 1:37pm

    I have now obtained a copy of this Sunday Times and read the two articles it contains on this subject. (False memories and VIP sex abuse.) I was interested, because my initial sympathies lay with the Sunday Times. Self-disclosure as a therapeutic technique is not at all common, and it is controversial.

    The clear thrust and suggestion of the articles is that vulnerable and suggestible people are being love-bombed with information which is influencing them to confabulate memories of untrue events. The headline: “VIP sex cases link to false memory” makes this association explicit. The alleged offending institution is the Lantern Project in Merseyside, a registered charity run by abuse survivors Graham Wilmer MBE and David Williams. The Lantern Project uses a technique it terms “unstructured therapeutic disclosure”, as a part of which the therapist shares the fact and details of his or her own past abuse in order to establish a peer relationship with the client. I have viewed what videos I can access from their website. I must say that Graham Wilmer strikes me as a very good person, doing very important work.

    False memory syndrome is allegedly an effect of a group of techniques that sometimes, and controversially, have been used to “recover” memories of childhood sexual abuse that have been buried so determinedly by the client that they are no longer accessible to conscious reflection. Those techniques have variously been alleged to include: hypnosis, age regression, guided visualization, administration of drugs such as sodium amytal, interpretation of dreams, and interpretation of physical symptoms.

    No evidence is cited by the Sunday Times to substantiate any intimation that the Lantern Project uses recovered memory therapeutic techniques and Graham Wilmer denies that any such are used.

    The Sunday Times alleges that concerns have been raised about false memory syndrome due to the use of unstructured therapeutic disclosure. It cites the views of three persons it calls experts, none of whom are reported as discussing any link between false memory syndrome and unstructured therapeutic disclosure. Since presumably the Sunday Times would have quoted the words of these persons if they had, the “concerns” must come from elsewhere. (Where?) None of these experts is a professional psychotherapist as far as I can discover. One is a QC, one is a psychiatrist and one is described as a researcher with the Police Foundation. That doesn’t mean they are not entitled to an opinion – they all have experience of child abuse cases – but I would have liked to see people with a greater experience of psychotherapy cited. Perhaps the Sunday Times couldn’t find any.

    The Sunday Times reports that two persons making allegations about VIP sex abuse have been associated with this charity. One – “Darren” – the Sunday Times itself reports as never having received unstructured therapeutic disclosure. The other – Esther Baker – is reported as currently receiving UTD therapy.

    Self-disclosure is not a common therapeutic technique for the following major reasons, among others: all human experience is unique to the individual, and recounting one’s own experience may not be beneficial to the client; it risks shifting the focus of sessions from the client to the therapist; it risks creating a burden for the client of protectiveness towards and sympathy for the therapist; it can be confused with advice about how to proceed. Nonetheless, it is in no way prohibited and – for example – feminist therapies have been using self-disclosure as an explicit technique for years without many apparent problems. The intention within the Lantern Project appears to be to make the client feel safe in the knowledge that client and therapist share a common experience. There seems to be no suggestion that the therapist continues to self-disclose after the initial establishment of the peer relationship. Sessions appear therefore to be midway between therapy and peer support or co-counselling. The Sunday Times might have explored all that, of course, but that would have spoiled the apparent intention of the piece, which seems to be to discredit witnesses making allegations of sexual abuse against prominent persons.

    An absolutely dreadful article, of which the reporters should be thoroughly ashamed.

    Kind regards,


  • Habbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)


    “We are trying to make the world a better place.”


    By posting away incessantly on the same handful of themes(and very often just cutting-and-pasting from other websites)?

    I doubt if even Craig, the founder of this blog, would give that as his primary reason.

    You can’t be serious.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Really should have expamded on that:

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair apparently committed to join the United States in the Iraq war a year before the 2003 invasion, documents obtained by a Sunday newspaper suggested.

    The former Prime Minister’s willingness to support the US in military action against Saddam Hussein was found in a note from former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    The document was found deep within a trove of secret emails on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the former Secretary of State under President Obama.

    The revelations focus on a memo allegedly written by former US secretary of state Colin Powell on March 28, 2002 to then president George Bush a week before the US leader’s meeting with Blair at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

    “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary,” wrote Powell, in a document the Mail on Sunday published on its website.

    “He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success,” Powell said, referring to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was eventually ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion.

    A separate quote from Powell assured Bush “the UK will follow our lead in the Middle East”, while other statements suggest Blair’s willingness to present “strategic, tactical and public affairs lines” to strengthen public support for the Iraq war.

    Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has repeatedly denied rushing to war. Under his leadership, Britain made the second biggest troop contribution to the Iraq invasion, and British forces were stationed in the country until 2011.

    The decision to back the invasion is now deeply unpopular in Britain and has haunted Blair’s Labour Party ever since.

    His office was not immediately available for comment.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Doom. No home country is left in the World Cup.”

    I don’t think that there is much support for Scotland being a home country here.

    There is now talk of Sturgeon having set a target of 60% support for Scottish independence for one year before calling a referendum, as the link shows there is still some way to go, little having changed since the first referendum

  • Mary

    Thank you John Spencer-Davis for pursuing the matter and for your observations. Very telling that it is a smear in a Murdoch paper. ‘Why’ is the question.

    Esther Baker’s Twitter.
    I am not on Twitter but came across one of her entries on the Exaro website.

  • Je

    “Oh well, I have got through 57 years of this.”

    Don’t forget the first 9 months… you’re really almost 58.

  • RobG

    Habba is one of those saddos who gets paid by the hour.

    No truth, no reality, no compassion.

    These are the vermin who now control our world.

    But don’t worry, we’re coming for the likes of Habba…

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Well, I didn’t know – only seen Genesis Once (at Milton Keynes Bowl)

    This for Squonk

    Like father like son
    Not flesh nor fish nor bone
    A red rag hangs from an open mouth.
    Alive at both ends but a little dead in the middle,
    A-tumbling and a-bumbling he will go.
    All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
    Could never put a smile on that face.

    He’s a sly one, he’s a shy one
    Wouldn’t you be too.
    Scared to be left all on his own.
    Hasn’t a, hasn’t a friend to play with, the Ugly Duckling
    The pressure on, the bubble will burst before our eyes.
    All the while in perfect time
    His tears are falling on the ground

    Go a little faster now, you might get there in time.

    Mirror mirror on the wall,
    His heart was broken long before he ever came to you.
    Stop your tears from falling,
    The trail they leave is very clear for all to see at night
    all to see at night.

    In season, out of season
    What’s the difference when you don’t know the reason.
    In one hand bread, the other a stone.
    The Hunter enters the forest.
    All are not huntsmen who can blow the huntsman’s horn
    By the look of this one you’ve not got much to fear.

    Here I am, I’m very fierce and frightening
    Come to match my skill to yours.
    Now listen here, listen to me, don’t you run away now
    I am a friend, I’d really like to play with you.
    Making noises my little furry friend would make
    I’ll trick him, then I’ll kick him into my sack.
    You better watch out… You better watch out.

    I’ve got you, I’ve got you, you’ll never get away.

    Walking home that night
    The sack across my back, the sound of sobbing on my shoulder.
    When suddenly it stopped,
    I opened up the sack, all that I had
    A pool of bubbles and tears – JUST A POOL OF TEARS.

    All in all you are a very dying race
    Placing trust upon a cruel world.
    You never had the things you thought you should have had
    And you’ll not get them now,
    And all the while in perfect time
    Your tears are falling on the ground.

    The Squonk is of a very retiring disposition and due to its ugliness,
    weeps constantly. It is easy prey for hunters who simply
    follow a tear-stained trail. When cornered it will dissolve itself into tears.

  • giyane

    Two sad US figures appeared recently on ridiculing Russia’s disposal of USUKIS assets IS et al. Both of them have sex appeal, Condolesa Rice in her famous trouser suits mimics the Renault Megane’s curvy bum ,
    and Zbigniew Brzezinski looks so worn out that he must at some stage enjoyed some fun.

    US politicians must get elected on sex appeal, because they sure don’t get elected for having licks of sense. Rice wants us to know that USUKIS own the moral high ground as world saviours and Russia and China own the low ground of imperial ambition. I think we can safely reverse that declaration coming from the neo-con. Brzezinski complains that there are too many zs in his name, and Russia must kowtow to US demands, from which we learn, by the same reversal process that Russia is doing USUKIS ‘ demands.

    Russia is destroying the herded nutters of Islam, lured by sex and money to Syria by Zionist-trained psychologists. It’s like a 2 minute crazy ad that appears on your screen before the serious analysis report you want to watch on YouTube. The Christian world, the Hindu world, the Buddhist world and the atheist world will eventually submit to the truth of Islam. 25 years of the crap ad of the neo-cons is the prelude to a millenium of Islam. Inshallah.

  • lysias

    Habba is one of those saddos who gets paid by the hour.

    That would explain why he seems unwilling to spend the time to read a book.

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