Handcart locked and loaded. Destination: Hell … mind the doors please.

This morning it is pissing down and rather cold. Bit of a bummer after it’s been so lovely, although the plants need the rain and I bet the blackbird is pleased not to have to be eternally dive bombing my cat. Politics has rather dominated this week despite my best efforts not to let it. There are a lot of things I could say but I’ll only go off on … OK all of them. Sorry.


The trouble with having a nation where everyone is armed to the teeth is that, in an altercation, things seem to move from shouting and pointy sticks to bullets very quickly. Since Trump has followed Hitler’s playbook from the get go, I’m not going to be hugely surprised if he suddenly stands up and actually, you know, says that he’s a full on white supremacist.

After all, he is a man who would prefer to appear in public looking like an orange panda with a Brillo pad on his head than admit to being pale and bald. That’s impressive. Someone like that is always going to be full of interesting surprises. Although, I think I may possibly be starting to understand why he chose orange foundation over a more natural shade like say … brown.

Then again, he may be President but he’s also an American businessman and foremost, he’s going to act as such. If Henry Ford can have his workers shot for going on strike, I guess Donald Trump can send anonymous armed guards to shoot demonstrators. I was amused by the way that the actual city administration of Washington DC appears to have trolled him by painting Black Lives Matter on the streets near the Whitehouse. I probably shouldn’t be. I’m sure it makes me a bad person. But I can’t help thinking that DT going down to the bunker and the wire fences being put up around the Whitehouse might say as much about his private view of some Americans as it does about their intentions towards him.

Or to spell it out a bit. Is he getting worried the people he derides feel the way about him that he does about them? Or maybe it’s just precedent. I mean Americans do have a bit of a thing about shooting their presidents. No but hang on, aren’t the nutters with guns are mostly in his fan base? You can never be too careful I guess.

What does strike me is all the posts where young black lads in the USA are talking about the things they have to remember. Don’t go out after dark, avoid wearing certain clothes … I can empathise with them hugely since, while theirs go further, these kinds of dos and don’ts are still integral to any woman’s life, no matter what her age or colour. Fist bump. Welcome to my world darling.

Except times about one trillion.

This is something that upsets me. I totally get why people over there are angry and rioting.

My great to the power of … many … grandfather was black. This is something we’ve learned accidentally from blood analysis rather than tracing the family tree, we think he must have been Roman. The thing is, I look at this and think, there but for the quirks of genetics, go I. I once encountered someone on facebook who was banging on about how the BBC was crap because there should be only white people on it and that coloured people weren’t representative of ‘Britain’ – that they shouldn’t live in this country and should all be ‘sent home’. I told him coloured people had been settling in Britain for at least a thousand years and that I was living proof, explaining about my Great (however many it is) grandfather. Would I have to leave your utopian only Britain? I asked him. He told me that I didn’t count, because, ‘your skin is white.’ I’m not making this shit up. Racism is that arbitrary and pathetic.

As my 87 year old mother said the other day, ‘ it’s disgusting.’

‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do to me.’

I wonder which bit of that the conservative ‘Christians’ in the USA fail to get.

Moving on.

Here in Britain, we’ve had the Dominic Cummings thing. Jeepers. So my first thought, on that one, was that if I was worried one of us had the Rona, and that McOther and I might end up in hospital with McMini here alone, I’d have been up the M6 to my brother’s with him like a rat up a drainpipe. But then Mr Cummings tried to explain his trip to Barnard Castle the following day.

What the actual fuck did he think he was doing? Seriously? Who advised him to come out with that utter tosh? There are so many explanations that are reasonable. ‘I was an idiot, I didn’t think, it’s a lovely place and I just took a run out there without thinking it through. I was foolish and I’m sorry.’ That would have done it.

But no. That would involve him admitting to a mistake. Can’t have that. For he is perfect. As I understand it, the explanation is that, worried the Rona might have left him a bit blind, despite having driven 200 miles up the A1 from London the day before without a second thought, he decided to test his eyesight. Rather than go outside and see if he could read a number plate from 30 yards away, like you do at the beginning of a driving test, he decided he’d do this by going for a thirty mile drive.

How did that work?

If I don’t crash the car and kill anyone. I’m not blind.

Yeh good call.

Seriously though.


This is the kind of logic behind the ducking stool. I know our current batch of Conservatives is quite a lot further to the right than some of their predecessors have been but … really?

Surely you need to get your reasoning skills a bit further than that to advise the Prime Minister these days. Or maybe not. Hmm… strange that there’s a big Glaxo facility in Barney. Is that where he was going? Is Not Wanting To Talk About Glaxo why he was prepared to come out with the kind of excuse a three year old caught nicking biscuits would be ashamed of?

The point is, he went from having a reasonably valid excuse, or at least a reason for transgressing that any parent could understand, to looking like the biggest lying bastard ever.  The Barnard Castle (northern euphemism for cobblers) he was talking about his visit to Barney immediately makes any sensible person wonder what the actual reason for going north in the first place might have been.

Seriously, McMini, bearded in the larder with a half eaten biscuit in one hand and the opened packet in the other could argue more cogently that he had not been pilfering biscuits than Mr Cummings argued a valid reason for his trip to Barnard Castle.

From feeling a certain amount of empathy with Cummings I now wonder about the veracity of all of it. He only stayed up there two days. Why? Sounds like he was just visiting the parents. Or was it something more sinister than that? Were he or his wife even ill?

Mr Cummings, if you’re reading this, do get in touch with me. I can put you in contact with my young son. I’m sure he’ll help you to come up with something a bit more plausible next time you’re caught being a naughty boy. Or thinking about it, your own lad’s four so doubtless you can sort your next excuse in house. Yeh, cut out your advisors and talk to the four year old next time you want to think of an excuse because I assure you, he’ll come up with quality compared to this last effort.

Then there’s Boris’ knee jerk reaction. Nothing sensible like,

‘OK, I can’t make any constructive comment on this until I’ve spoken to my colleague and found out what’s going on, I will do so and make a statement as soon as I am able.’

Nope it’s  ‘He was here all the time, honest guv!’ So now he just looks like an almighty liar who will put his loyalty to his friends ahead of both his loyalty to the nation and his integrity. A kind of reverse Thomas a Becket. And as Prime Minister, his loyaltay to his nation is important. This is not what you do when you work for governments. If you work for MI6 and you are tasked with spying on your best friend, you do it. That’s why working for MI6 is not a pleasant job. Likewise politics. Not an easy job. Not really. That’s why it now comes with a good wage. Because if you do it properly and you make it about helping others, rather than stepping over them and helping yourself, it’s actually a very tough gig. And like Thomas a Becket, if you do it properly, you’re going to make a lot of enemies out of folks who might, once, have been your friends.

It’s as much a non-story as that thing about Gordon Brown was when he called that woman a racist. To be honest, while I got what she was saying, it did come over as a bit, ‘send the brown people home,’ so I could see his point.

But all these non-stories are about smearing others. Groups of people or political parties who don’t like someone looking for a reason to destroy them. They haven’t the wit to wait for something really good. They use the first piece of dubious shit they can find, with no substance to back it up. They undermine their own integrity, not to mention the credibility of any genuinely pertinent information they might discover at a later date. Which is one of the reasons why the far right’s supporters don’t believe anyone except their own mouth pieces anymore (sure the other is brainwashing but that’s one).

On that ‘outrage’, I sympathised with Gordon Brown. I felt that no journalist of integrity should have printed/released a throw away remark made in private. And however much of a get Mr Brown may or may not have been, the place where he should be tried and tested for his actions was not the newspapers. It was within government, parliament, the law – possibly – and his own party? Through whatever the official channels were, anyway, not on telly.

Likewise, I actually sympathised with Dominic Cummings – until his laughable attempts to explain himself. But I do still have some sympathy, in that the whole thing does come over as another nothing whipped up into something by his political enemies. There are a lot of very unpleasant people in politics but some are reasonably proficient at the things they are there to do. I guess it’s balancing that. If someone is unctuous, condescending and rude but a brilliant chancellor, maybe that’s OK.

Yes, politicians need to be held accountable and, yes, that’s what the press is there to do. But it needs to be done with integrity. If the press prints something to hold people in power accountable, they need to do it because making their actions public is the right thing to do. Not to make news. The nub is that the news making is a by product. The story has to serve some other purpose. There has to be some vague nod at a quest for truth or a point to it all. It’s very subtle but there’s a difference in there and I wonder if we are losing sight of it.

It’s like there’s nothing interesting happening so politicians and press alike have to whip some piece of mundane crap up into this gargantuan pseudo scandal. And then when, in the 1980s, there was some very compelling evidence that a cabinet minister was abusing children. Politicians and press, alike, hushed it up.

The notable thing that struck me was the lack of statesmanlike behaviour on all sides. Clearly a lot of people in Whitehall and Parliament have got where they are today by going round in big groups, overwhelming and shouting down the opposition rather than winning debates. Perhaps that’s why Mr Cummings was incapable of mustering any humility or making a genuine apology and a reasonable explanation. Perhaps he’s never had to acknowledge a mistake before and doesn’t understand how to. Perhaps he lacks the humility to acknowledge his failings. Perhaps that’s why Boris just blustered defensively instead of admitting that he didn’t know the facts and would look into them and report back. Or could it be that the truth of that trip really is something so deeply insidious that it must be buried. It probably isn’t, but after their behaviour, I suspect a lot of people are going to think it is, whether or not that’s true.



If current politics is doing your head in, world wide or at home, why not lose yourself in a good book, or alternatively, one of mine. There are several options.

1. Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Series: Part 1 on AUDIO wooooot

This should be reduced to £5.99 or $5.99 AU/CA/US/NZ and €5.99 on Kobo, from now until 28th June.

In addition, it’ll be available for the same price on Chirp and iBooks from 13th – 28th June.

Links to those sites can be found here:

In other audio news, hopefully the new shorts will be available over the coming year. After a bit of thought, I’ve decided it will also including the free mailing list exclusive, Night Swimming. One of the joys of this is that, with any luck, these will be a bit shorter so I will be able to sell them direct from my site.

2. Close Enough, K’Barthan Shorts, Hamgeean Misfit: No 3

Close Enough cover

This is out on 18th June.

It’s also available for preorder in most places, except possibly Apple because it’s the first time I’ve uploaded there direct and it’s taking me a fair while to understand how their store works.

If you’re interested, here’s the blurb.

As recently appointed delivery man for Big Merv, one of Ning Dang Po’s most powerful crime bosses, The Pan of Hamgee is ordered to deliver a gift to Big Merv’s current girlfriend. With a pair of bespoke-made, sapphire and diamond earrings on board, and a trip across the city in the offing, what could possibly go wrong? Everything.

If you like the sound of that, click here

If you’ve got all the way down here, congratulations and thanks for reading. A bientot!


Filed under General Wittering

15 responses to “Handcart locked and loaded. Destination: Hell … mind the doors please.

  1. Yep, just pass me that book… The world has gone to hell in a hand basket. Time to lose myself somewhere. 🙂

  2. Some of the bits – such as taking the kid to your parents and then quarantining in a separate place on their property for a PROPER TWO WEEKS might have made sense.

    Surrounding them with the unbelievable made the whole thing a crock.

    Is there something special at Glaxo? I’m lost at the allusion (google says its GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company in Britain). Do they have some special medicine they reserve for pols?

    • I think some kind of government deal with them for tests, a vaccine or some such was announced a few days later. Can’t help wondering if he couldn’t leave lad with sick wife so took them all for a weekend with his parents while he concluded the negotiating at the Barnard Castle office. Pure speculation on my part of course.

  3. I agree. I agree so much I can’t even watch/read this stuff any more.
    I also thought the same about the ‘all I have to think about when I’m outside’ and ‘welcome to the world of women’ but then I thought… but he’s american and it’s a lot different there, and what do I know. Reading the black police chief’s autobiography last year made me hesitant to call anyone out on this stuff, it’s just true to any ‘minority’ (which is strange, because I can’t see there being more white people or men in this world than any other shade or leaning.)
    I have instead, been polishing my last Princelings book, and increasingly thinking my revolution is looking pretty tame compared to what’s going on in real life. But my beta readers assure me it’s got behind the sofa moments, and that’s good enough for me.
    Keep sane and safe.

  4. Aaah bless you. Congratulations on getting the book sorted. I felt more solidarity with men over this than it have over some time.

  5. Carol Powney

    Ooh your on a rant and half for sure.
    In reverse order, you mean to tell me you don’t believe Dominic Cummings? Oh, you cynical sceptic you. 😂

    I think Bojo and Dic Cummings are convinced they’ve conned the pubic.
    Yes, I Know…
    L missing.
    If he had the guts to say for our mental health and sanity we went there for fresh air but didn’t endanger anyone, here I’m paying the fine for manipulating the law…without having to resign or be sacked, which is how it should have been. But no, our press should be there to present the facts, not act as self imposed prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner to any and all they see fit to attack. It’s the press that disgusts me more.
    However, Bojo can’t seem to function without the power behind the throne, hence the charade.
    Then should people be sacked, if so, for breaking lockdown rules then the majority of people, teachers, lawyers, and those termed professional workers, to tradespeople and those termed unskilled, but I think are essential workers that clean, or look after the rest of us would have to give up their jobs too as so many have for one reason or other broken lockdown rules at some time over the past few months. But the press didn’t quite vilify them all.

    As for the Trump. So well named. I don’t understand how so many people not quite the total white supremacist fraternity, ever fell for, believed and voted for this dangerous megalomaniac to be their president.
    Until he goes, and the national police force undergoes retraining as to how to treat people and if needing to question or arrest people, whatever their colour, equally, fairly and with respect for living beings, then I find the once great USA to be now a pitiful semi police state with dictator. So hope they vote thoughtfully for the greater good this year.

  6. You buried the lede so let me shine a light on that first: Big congrats on your audio books! Woot woot and hooray, girl!

    Second, I can’t really fathom how some people get to be leaders but I know the bad ones can ruin lives. You’re right: anyone who hears what Black parents have to do to keep their children safe from police and vigilante and doesn’t realize something is wrong is evil. I understand that the US is really bad, but I in Canada, and my relatives in the UK, all have the same talk with our children.

    Congrats again and thanks for tackling tough topics, M T.

    • In so sad that this stupid colour stuff happens at all and yeh, I can imagine it happens here as well. I hope my rather shonky analysis wasn’t simplistic. I just find the hypocrisy of my racist brothers and sisters in Christ rather hard to take.

      As for the audio books … Yeh I’m still ludicrously excited about those. 🙂

      Take care you.

  7. Diana

    I am so happy to see someone other than a Canadian or an American post on things happening in the USA. This has been a pretty sobering week for many of us — who don’t consider ourselves racist but haven’t yet understood what needs to be done (or even all that has been done in the negative) to the black populations in the States, and even in Canada — based on the experiences that have been shared recently. We have a long way to go yet.

    And I am really concerned that the current president might get in again — and then the real power moves could happen. I read an article today closely connecting the president’s behaviour with Hitler’s — and it just reinforced my own sense of what’s happening. Yet some of my American friends are taking more offense at a monument of the Texas Rangers being removed because it in turn offends some other people. I read a museum’s history of the group, and can understand why it might be coming down.

    l used to love living next door to the USA — but not so much now.

    Thank you for reminding me:

    ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do to me.’
    I will try to remember to use this more often.
    And there are others, too.

    The greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God will all your heart, wiht all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is this: love your neighbour as yourself. (And Jesus clearly showed who are neighbour is in the story of the good samaritan.)

    God is not dead — so there is hope yet. I would just like to see this manifested in positive change during my lifetime.

    i am now going to see what i can find re Mr Cummings.

    • I’m sure trump will get in again. The USA seems to be very change averse. They always vote their presidents in for two terms.

      Cummings is an advisor to the pm here in the UK. He broke lock down and is a bit on a nincompoop.

      Like you, I also hope something good will come of this and we all learn to build a kinder, better world.

  8. Yep, it’s all pretty terrible, but this ‘…Welcome to my world darling…’ says it all … and we’ve been trying for. literally, thousands of years to change things. 😦

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