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Congratulations to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Many of the news reports today mention the fact that Mr. Cameron becomes the youngest PM in about 200 years or so.

Well, you know who the youngest was, the one serving 200 years ago, right?  Yes, William Pitt the Younger, who first became PM at the age of 24 in 1783 and died in office in 1806.

One of my particular favorites, as regular port-swillers probably have gathered by now.  (Others include the Iron Lady, the Iron Duke and Winston, of course.)

Just thought I’d mention that.

Here’s an item to cause Sir Basil to hurl the martini shaker at the cat:

It’s scissors at dawn on Savile Row.

The heart of the UK’s tailoring industry is up in arms about plans by Moss Bros, the clothing chain, to sell “bespoke” suits. Moss Bros – which is firmly positioned in the middle to lower end of the tailoring market (though it would claim otherwise) – will take suit-buyers’ measurements in-store, allow them to chose from a “menu” of cloth, cut and lining options, send the details to a factory in China, and have the suits delivered in four weeks. The suits will cost between £250 and £350.

What a load of old gabardine, say the traditional tailors of Savile Row. According to Savile Row Bespoke, which represents the street’s traditional tailors, the definition of “bespoke” is as follows: material has to be individually (rather than machine) cut, a customer needs three fittings, the garment must be hand-crafted under the supervision of a Master-Cutter, and the suit must be made within 100 yards of Savile Row. Oh, and the average bespoke suit costs £3,000. Moss Bros – for fairly obvious reasons – falls sadly short of these criteria.

“It is a sad prostitution of the word ‘bespoke’. It is the same as B&Q offering ‘bespoke’ kitchens when all they have done is put red knobs on,” said Savile Row Bespoke’s chairman Martin Henderson (although he admits that it is not a bad business idea from Moss Bros’s point of view).

Ol’ Robbo, of course, has never owned bespoke suiting, not often having £3000 lying about the house.  It doesn’t seem to me that the actual product Moss Bros is putting out is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but I tend to agree with the trads (there’s a surprise!) that flogging it in this manner isn’t cricket.

See if you can spot the bias in this AFP nooz article:

JERUSALEM — Israel will on Tuesday start celebrating the anniversary of what it calls Jerusalem’s unification , its 1967 conquest of the city’s Arab sector which has since become a major hurdle in peace efforts.

The sunset-to-sunset Jerusalem Day celebrations kick off with an open-air concert by US funk band Kool and the Gang and feature a ceremony at Ammunition Hill, the site of one of Israel’s fiercest battles with Jordanian forces.

Thousands of people, mostly nationalist-religious Jews, are expected to take part on Wednesday in an annual march through Jerusalem that concludes at the Old City’s Wailing Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

Israel marks the event in accordance with the Hebrew calendar.

It captured Arab east Jerusalem on June 7, 1967, the third day of the Six Day War and unilaterally annexed the sector in a move not recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians are determined to make east Jerusalem, which includes the walled Old City and its holy sites, the capital of their promised state.

But in 1980 Israel passed a law declaring Jerusalem its “eternal and indivisible” capital. Israeli human rights groups claim though that the Holy City is sharply divided and that Palestinian residents suffer from discrimination.

The status of Jerusalem, together with the continuation of Israeli settlement activity in occupied Palestinian territory, are among the thorniest issues in Middle East peace efforts.

Damn those bloody-minded, goose-stepping Israelis and their ruthless expansionism!  If they’d only go away or at least learn to be reasonable, why, the entire Middle East could finally give peace a chance!

Druidical bobbies?  It’s a fair cop!

Police officers have been given the right to take days off to dance naked on the solstices, celebrate fertility rituals and burn Yule logs if they profess pagan beliefs.

The Pagan Police Association claimed yesterday that it had been recognised by the Home Office as a “diversity staff support association” — a status also enjoyed by groups representing female, black, gay, Muslim and disabled officers.

Endorsement would mean that chief constables could not refuse a pagan officer’s request to take feast days as part of his or her annual leave. The eight pagan festivals include Imbolc (the feast of lactating sheep), Lammas (the harvest festival) and the Summer Solstice (when mead drinking and naked dancing are the order of the day).

Problematically, the pagan festivals also include Samhain (known to non-pagans as Hallowe’en), a day when police leave is often cancelled because of the high incidence of vandalism, violence and antisocial behaviour.

The new association, which already has three official police chaplains and committee members in the Metropolitan, Hertfordshire and Humberside forces, welcomed its breakthrough. PC Andrew Pardy, its vice-chairman and a beat officer in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, said: “The Police Service needs to embrace paganism in order to represent communities effectively.”

Mr Pardy, who worships Norse gods, added: “All activities undertaken by the association support and reinforce the vision and values of the Police Service, while upholding the Home Office standards for equality and diversity.”

I would say, “Oh, for Heaven’s sake,” but I suppose that wouldn’t be inclusive enough.


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May 2010