Sunday, August 28, 2005

More PC nonsense

A story in the Telegraph revealed that a £48000 lottery grant is being used to make a film about the "traditions" of gypsy travellers. The film will be shown to schoolchildren in Hampshire.

I have written the following letter to the chief executive of the Lottery. If my application is unsuccesful (as I suspect it will be) it might at least prompt them to think about the double standards they apply when handing out barrel loads of cash to groups who want preferential treatment.

Copy of Letter to Carole Souter Director Heritage Lottery Fund 7 Holbein Place London:

I am writing to you in the hope that you might see fit to consider my interesting, vital and culturally-relevant application for a grant from the “Your Heritage” scheme.

Following on from the £48,000 you gave for the production of a video aimed at giving schoolchildren a greater understanding of the culture and traditions of “Gypsy Travellers,” I am very keen to commission an equally “useful” and “informative” piece of film that will serve to educate said “gypsy travellers” on some of the ancient traditions and communal practices of another group of people, who we might called “settled folk”.

I use the term to describe that large group of people in Britain who opt to live their lives in houses or flats. Although large in number “settled folk” often face prejudice and misunderstanding from gypsy travellers when they come into contact with them.

I should like my film to focus on such issues as the importance which the “settled community” place on property rights, their rigid adherence to an ancient code which they refer to as “planning regulations,” and the time honoured custom of clearing up one’s rubbish.

Should time allow we could also include a section about the cardboard circle which settled folk purchase annually from post offices and use to adorn their vehicles - known as a tax disc.

The film could then be distributed to traveller sites across the country to give travellers an insight into the customs of the settled community. I am sure you will agree that this film will be as worthwhile and relevant as the one currently being made in Hampshire.

I look forward to receiving confirmation that you find this project acceptable and will ask a film maker to get in touch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

MPs holidays

Apologies for my absence but even MPs have to go on holiday - though not for the "3 months " which the press accuse us of. Mine was a more modest fortnight on in Hungary. A hangover from the Communist times is that many Hungarian factories own a holiday home which groups of employees can book up.

Thus I found myself with my wife's extended family and two other families crowding in to a bungalow on Lake Balaton. In traditional Hungarian style the kitchen was in a separate outhouse and meals were eaten together outdoors with large quantities of home made wine.

On the subject of politics, which I couldn't resist broaching, there seemed to be a divide between the older and younger generation. The younger ones have embraced the "changes" while the older ones are unenthusiastic about either Communism or capitalism. I should say that this is based a straw pole of about 12 out of a country of 10 million people.

Back in Budapest I found to time to visit the "House of Terror"

This was the former HQ of both the Nazi and then Communist Party in Hungary. Now a museum it is a moving memorial to all who suffered and died under these two oppressive systems which have so much in common.

It should not have come as a surprise that many Nazis joined the Communist Party as soon as they realised that the war was lost.