Should I Stay or Should I Go ??

Rarely do I dabble in politics in this irksome little column, my irregular tirades against all and sundry and the Fuckwits of the World.

The great EU debate trundles on. Lies & counter-lies, fiction & conjecture night after night. Blatantly exaggerated statistics, twisted and turned more than Keith Richards’ fingers, to suit either camp’s hidden agenda.

A brief lull while the world protests and mourns a child molesting gorilla shot stone dead while 100’s perish in the Mediterranean every night, last gasps and cries unheard in the dark except by their terrified helpless comrades.

In or Out ? I can remember it all first time around, only just. That and decimalisation. We were just kids. No wonder we struggled with math’s. Brought up in a system of 12’s, duodecimal. Bloody Romans, Lsd for short – that’s Europe for you. I forget, 12 pennies to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound. Me grandma had florins & farthings with a wren on the back. Silver three-penny bits, worth more for their silver content than face value.

Fuck knows what a “Guinea” was. We never saw one. Most we ever got to see was 2 & 6 on birthdays. Half-a-crown. I still remember finding one now, sliding down a dusty mud bank on Roseberry Topping and there it was glinting under the heel of me plimmy. Amazing ! A big round silver half-dollar. Thick as a Ritz biscuit.

Ten bob notes, red I recall. Mean Mister Mustard kept one up his nose. I asked me dad to save one for posterity when the note was usurped by the fifty pence piece. Another dumb idea it turned out, me not the Treasury. Got a thick ear and something to think about.

In or Out ? Meant nothing to the masses in the 70’s I bet. Most voted because it was maybe something to do with the newly discovered Costa Brava, Tossa del Mar and Benidorm. Cheap package holidays had only just started. Nobody went further than the Med’ and most probably never got past Butlins.

Filthy foreigners, Disque Bleu and horrible food. Pasta ? Fuck off. Nearest we got to being cosmopolitan was tinned spaghetti hoops in gloop. I can’t even recall the humble pizza in those days.

Vesta Curry. Now that was the real deal, very tropical. Couldn’t you just hear the cicadas chirp as you tore open the packet ? No need to go to India. No doubt impossible then unless you were seriously minted.

As we climbed the social ladder we went camping in France. Five of us in a grey Morris Minor with all the gear and two weeks worth of Marks & Spark’s tinned food. We were storming up that ladder, shopping at M & S. Weighed a bloody ton, Car on its axle but you couldn’t trust that dirty French food and they may not have proper shops. I can still remember the excitement of driving on the M1, a MOTORWAY ! Must have looked like the Clampits. Picnic with hard boiled eggs, thermos and cold chicken in a service station car park.

To think we were the adventurous ones. I know people even now who’ve never left the safety of the North East. Hugging the windy shoreline. It was scary in the State of Georgia, the Devil went down there, Piggly-Wiggly’s and all that, but you want to take a visit to Skinningrove. Google that one. The town that time forgot and Darwin.

So once again we are called to the ballot box. Do your duty. I just might re-enter the system for this one. Off grid me usually.

Try getting credit – “But your not on the electoral roll Sir, where exactly do you live ?” Do you want to sell me the washing machine or not ? Never had a problem, always got the goods.

Proper subversive me, albeit with clean clothes. Wonder if they’ll ask where I’ve been for the last forty years ? Obviously not somewhere practicing guitar, that’s blatantly clear.

I doubt my mark will tip the balance one way or another but I know which box I’d favour.

Remember this – nothing ever changes whoever is in Office as the people in Power never change. He who has the gold is blind in one eye, or something like that. He would have been blind in both by now – and skint, if he lived where I did.

Recession, inflation, double dip bollocks, low interest my arse – what’s different ? Nobody EVER has enough, could do better. Everyone with a flat screen TV, a wall to hang it on, mobile phone, take-aways. Always complaining.

What is real is the absurd – obscene – cost of bureaucracy over the water that we subscribe to daily. Life will go on whatever. We used to import tons of butter from New Zealand and trade all over the world – what’s the difference ?

A tick in the box will not suppress the migrant hoards. They will still come to our shores. Their problem isn’t just elected away. There’s no democracy where they flee from. There is no solution, the tide has turned.

What happened hundred’s of years ago when we British went on a jolly and turned up on some far flung foreign shore ? It wasn’t called “Immigration” then. We just landed and nicked everything. Told the locals they’d been “found”.

The Carib’s lived happily forever on their beautiful islands until we emigrated there and gave them syphilis, sugar cane and shackles. I bet they never even got a vote on the matter.

It might have been us, but more likely those swarthy Portugese expert mariners who sidled up to Brazil and started chopping down trees.

Brazilian Rosewood, Dalbergia Nigra, that’ll be it’s Latin name just to complicate matters and make you feel really inferior if you had a Comprehensive education. Great stuff for musical instruments, guitar finger boards. Hard, resonant and endangered since 1992 according to CITES.

So just be wary all you lucky vintage guitar players out there with a prized Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard or ivory saddle, not forgetting the endangered mammals of course.

I’ve just dealt with my first electronic CITES Article 10 certificate application. A snippet for your delecatation :

Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein ……. were acquired in or introduced into the issuing Member State before the provisions of Regulations (EC) No 338/97 or (EEC) No 3626/82 or of CITES became applicable in this territory.

Still with me ? Drafted by the EU no doubt. The cost of administration must be staggering. This is managed in the UK by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). To their credit highly efficient it seems, once past the form filling.

Losing the will to live I ploughed on to the bitter end. The H.M. Gov website actually apologises in their supporting notes, stating their “hands are tied by legislation”.

End in sight I try and pay the £31 fee, only to be advised by some Government face in Bristol that they’d rather have a cheque in the post and while I’m at it a paper application too, as the system cannot cope.

There’s me trying to crawl out of the primeval swamp of pen and paper, only to be thwarted by H.M. Gov.

So CITES. I bet that’s here to stay whether In or Out. Import your dream guitar from the USA and it has a fair chance, maple excepting, of being impounded and never seeing the light of day. So THEY say. In reality the outcome will be the same, you lose your vintage guitar and some official will be plucking it in the staff canteen. There’s no system for a retrospective application.

Cameron says “We’re all in this together” too true Dave – just some more than others, unless you are a multi-millionaire. Supercilious twat. I bet his dinghy doesn’t get a puncture.

Whatever the outcome it will be a mess and have cost an astronomical amount of tax payers money. We’ve probably learnt more about our politicians in the last few weeks than the past decade. When the band your in starts playing different tunes it’s time to get out.

The writing’s on the wall. The Office for National Statistics – unbelievable that we have such a body, they’d be first against that wall …… any way they tell us there are about 1.9 million unemployed, 31.5 million working and a population, increasing rapidly at both ends, of 67+ million.

Something’s got to give, Dave. (substitute whatever name you want – they are all the same)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss……… Won’t get Fooled Again ?