Spirit of England - 2012 - in Retrospect


2012 (MMXII) is a leap year that started on a Sunday and is the current year.
In the Gregorian calendar, it is the 2012th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 12th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century, and the 3rd of the 2010s.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

For people living in the United Kingdom the year 2012 was dominated by the Olympic Games.

Tom Daley - only Bronze
London Olympics

This was the year when Tom Daley didn't win a gold medal - and everybody pretended not to notice.


'SUMMER 2012'
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

And while the Games dominated the Summer - in fact there was no Summer - or rather, if you blinked, then you missed it.


But to go to the beginning - 
                                           the Arab Spring trundled on, and to those who understood  it was clear that it was shaping up into a conflict between fundamentalists (Islamists) and progressives, and Shia (including Alawi) and Sunnis.
As far as the ordinary people in the Middle East were concerned, however, despite the claims for the establishment of democracy and freedom, their everyday standards of living either stood still, or declined, as investments haemorrhaged from the area.
The Arab Spring turned into an 'Arab Winter' as the whole are lurched uncontrollably into an era of instability and uncertainty.

 جمال عبد الناصر
جماعة الاخوان المسلمين
The most worrying aspect of the 'so-called' Arab Spring was the take-over of Egypt by the جماعة الاخوان المسلمين (el-ikhwan al-muslimūn - Muslim Brotherhood).
Ask any Egyptian who they think was the greatest leader of Egypt, and nine out of ten will tell you جمال عبد الناصر (Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein).
But he persecuted the Muslim Brotherhood, rightly imprisoned and executed  سيد قطب‎ (Sayyid Qutb), and led a secularist socialist government.

Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb (Arabic: سيد قطب‎; October 9, 1906 – August 29, 1966) was an Egyptian,writer, teacher, vicious misogynist, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s. Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts’ critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books 'Social Justice' and the infamous 'Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq' (Milestones). His supposed magnum opus, 'Fi Zilal al-Qur'an' (In the shade of the Qur'an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Qur'an.
We have Qutb to thank for Oama bin Ladin and all the other crazy Islamist fanatics who have been responsible for the endless number of deaths all over the world.

So, we are left with the question, did the Egyptians really vote for 'el-ikhwan', an ignorant, reactionary, Islamist party, intent on viciously curtailing what little freedoms the Egyptian people already have, and propelling them back to an era before the great  محمد علي باشا (Mehmet Ali Pasha) ?

Mehmet Ali Pasha
Mehmet Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha (Ottoman Turkish: محمد علی پاشا المسعود بن آغا; Arabic: محمد علي باشا‎  4 March 1769 – 2 August 1849) was an Albanian commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive (Turkish Viceroy) of Egypt and Sudan. He is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt because of the dramatic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres that he instituted. He also ruled Levantine territories outside Egypt. The dynasty that he established would rule Egypt and Sudan until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Port Said Stadium Riot
And just to emphasise the breakdown of law and order in the area, in February at least 79 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured after a football match in Port Said, Egypt.

The Port Said Stadium Riot was a mass attack that occurred on 1 February 2012 in Port Said Stadium in Port Said, Egypt, following an Egyptian premier league football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly clubs.
At least 79 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured after thousands of Al-Masry spectators stormed the stadium stands and the pitch, following a 3–1 victory by Al-Masry. Al-Masry fans violently attacked Al-Ahly fans, and also the club's fleeing players, using knives, swords, clubs, stones, bottles, and fireworks as weapons.


The True Greatness of Britain in the Early 50s
Diamond Jubilee
On February 6 the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the 60th anniversary of her becoming Head of the Commonwealth.
Particularly for those who could remember the death of the Queen's father, King-Emperor George VI, and the accession of the beautiful young Queen, it was a truly moving anniversary.

However, for many 'baby-boomers' it raised questions with regard to the success of the 'post-war dream' and the 'New Elizabethan Age'.
What had become of the ideals that had made England truly great in the early fifties - and where had it all gone wrong ?
Thinking back to the Festival of Britain, opened 3 May 1951 by the King -Emperor George VI, many in 2012 who were old enough, or well informed enough to know about the festival wondered why such great promise, idealism, and even good humour had been lost in the intervening years.



Winston Churchill
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. It was with those words, delivered almost 70 years ago to the day, that Winston Churchill greeted news of Montgomery's victory at El Alamein, a turning point in the second world war.
The Conservative party can never get too much of Churchill, so there will be many in the blue half of the coalition who will be hoping that the words are as appropriate for describing the state of the economy today as they were for outlining the global balance of power in late 1942.
Make no mistake, news that Britain's economy grew by 1% in the third quarter of 2012 does not mark the end of the downturn that began more than five years ago, even though it is tremendous morale booster for a government that has had its back to the wall in recent months.

It will take another year of robust growth simply to return the economy to where it was during the period of phoney war between the run on Northern Rock in September 2007 and the collapse of Lehman Brothers a year later, and a decade to make up even half the output lost over the past four and a half years.

The level of gross domestic product is 13-14% below where it would have been had growth continued at its pre-recession trend of 2.5% a year. Some of that has been lost for good: it will never be recovered.
Yes - this is the year when many people realised that the bank adverts were downright lies.
The Banks are not around to help you - but rather to help themselves !
But it's an odd recession.
Get on any bus or train, or walk round a supermarket, and you will see not only adults, but little kids texting away on their 'smart-phones' (and many of them have two mobiles - at anything from £200 to £400 a time for a i-phone or Galaxy).
And where are the barefoot, ragged children, and the thin, haggard adults on the verge of starvation ?
It's not really a 1930s depression - no way !


This blog is dedicated to 'all that is good of England' - but even England can't be all good.
To maintain our standards of decency courage, fairness and good humour, to mention just a few qualities that are associated with the English, it is good on occasions to consider what happens when we let our standards slip.

Savile - Paedophile and Thug
Now it might sound like 'I told you so' but the author of this blog, from the 1960s onwards, always considered Saville to be a 'creepy', vulgar, unpleasant character, and always considered his involvement in charitable, hospital and penal work to be suspicious, to say the least.
The author of this blog was always suspicious that Savile was a pederast.

(Pederasty is an erotic homosexual relationship between a man and a pubescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek (paiderastia) "love of boys", a compound derived from παῖς (pais) "child, boy" and ἐραστής (erastēs) "lover".)

It turns out, however that Saville, (as far as we know at present) was a paedophile and a necrophile - and was little concerned by the sex of the object of his lust.
A couple of news reports on Savile allege that he made unaccompanied visits to mortuaries (such as the one at Stoke Mandeville) and that he spoke publicly to the media about his “fascination” with dead bodies.
A former BBC colleague of Jimmy Savile has claimed the predatory paedophile was a necrophiliac.
It is one of the most extraordinary allegations to have come out in the wake of the scandal.
The claim was made on Radio 5 Live today by Paul Gambaccini, who started working as a DJ on Radio 1 in 1973.

Saville - Paedophile
Sir James Wilson Vincent "Jimmy" Savile (31 October 1926 – 29 October 2011), OBE, KCSG, was an English DJ, television presenter and media personality.
He hosted the BBC television show 'Jim'll Fix It', and was the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show 'Top of the Pops'.
After his death, hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse and rape became public, leading the police to believe that Savile was almost certainly one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders.
Savile, born in Leeds, was the youngest of seven children (his elder siblings were Mary, Marjory, Vincent, John, Joan, and Christina) in a Roman Catholic family.
Savile was conscripted to work in the coal mines as a 'Bevin Boy' during the Second World War.
He began a career playing records in, and later managing, dance halls.

In the year 200 Savile talked about how he dealt with troublemakers when he was working in clubs: "I never threw anybody out. Tied them up and put them down in the bloody boiler house until I was ready for them. Two o'clock in the f--king morning... We'd tie em up and then we'd come back and I was the judge, jury and executioner."

His media career started as a disc jockey at Radio Luxembourg in 1958 and on Tyne Tees Television in 1960, and he developed a reputation for eccentricity and his flamboyant character.

Jimmy Savile and Ray Teret
(father and son ?)
Savile lived in Salford from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, the later period with Ray Teret, who became his support DJ, assistant and chauffeur.
During this period, Savile referred to Teret as his son, while Teret referred to Savile as Dad (?)
He was famous for his "bizarre yodel", and catchphrases which included "how's about that, then ?", "now then, now then, now then", "goodness gracious", "as it 'appens" and "guys and gals".
Savile smoked very expensive, and obviously 'phallic' Cuban cigars.
He was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and drove a Rolls-Royce.
Somehow, Saville managed to fool almost everyone.
Perhaps this vulgar, obscene little man was able to manipulate them because he was holding back some information about many of the people who fawned over him.

Margaret Thatcher entertains a Paedophile
Cardinal Basil Hume
Savile became a friend of Margaret Thatcher, who in 1981, described his work as "marvellous" (?).
He spent eleven consecutive New Year's Eves at Chequers with Thatcher and her family.
In 1984, he was accepted as a member of the Athenaeum, a gentlemen's club in London's Pall Mall, after being proposed by Cardinal Basil Hume (?)

Prince Charles entertains a Paedophile
Prince Charles sent him gifts on his 80th birthday and a note reading:
"Nobody will ever know what you have done for this country, Jimmy. This is to go some way in thanking you for that."
A lifelong bachelor, Savile lived with his mother (whom he referred to as "The Duchess") and kept her bedroom and wardrobe exactly as it was when she died (creepy).
In 2007, Savile was interviewed under caution by police investigating an allegation of indecent assault in the 1970s at the now-closed Duncroft Approved School for Girls near Staines, Surrey, where he was a regular visitor. 
In 2012, Sir Roger Jones, former BBC governor for Wales and chairman of BBC charity Children in Need, disclosed that more than a decade before Savile's death he had banned Savile from involvement in the charity, because he felt Savile's behaviour was "strange" and "suspicious".

Edwina Currie
At the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Savile volunteered for many years as a porter. Savile also volunteered at Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor Hospital.
In August 1988, he was appointed, by junior Health Minister Edwina Currie, to be chair of an interim task force overseeing the management of Broadmoor Hospital, after its board members had been suspended.
One wonders how a government minister, even as stupid and self-serving as Curry, could possibly consider such a creepy, and equally self-serving individual for such sensitive position - particularly as he had no experience or qualifications for such a responsible position.
Savile had his own room at both Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor - and free access to all the rooms and wards of the said hospitals.

Jimmy Savile - Broadmoor Keys
Jimmy’s Café
At Broadmoor - (Savile called himself the ‘Governor’ of the hospital !) - which was home to the 'Yorkshire Ripper' Peter Sutcliffe - staff presented Savile with his own gold-plated set of keys, giving him access to mentally-ill young patients.
Astonishingly, he was even allowed to take young female patients out of the supposedly top-security hospital for rides in his Rolls Royce.
At Stoke Mandeville Hospital the hospital café was named ‘Jimmy’s Café' in honour of Savile.
We are told that the sign has been removed.

Was all of this sheer madness, or was there some reason why Savile could get such power, privileges and such adulation from apparently responsible people - who included members of the Royal Family (remember the knighthood), a Prime Minister, Members of the Government, Senior Managers of the NHS (although is there anyone responsible in the NHS - considering they are so often indirectly responsible for the abuse and starvation the elderly), and senior managers of Broadcasting Companies ?
Perhaps they were all worried that he might "tie them up and put them down in the bloody boiler house until he was ready for them. Two o'clock in the f--king morning... where he would then be the judge, jury and executioner."
Or did he threaten to 'spill the beans' about what they had been up to ?
Behind the Savile scandal there is almost certainly a 'can of worms' involving not only the entertainment and media industry, but also some of those in the highest echelons of English society.


In the 1972 New Year Honours, Savile was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), which he appended to his signature.

In the 1970s he was awarded an honorary green beret by the Royal Marines for completing the Royal Marine Commando speed march, 30 miles (48 km) across Dartmoor carrying 30 pounds (14 kg) of kit. - Following the allegations of child abuse, the Royal Marines have "erased" the award.

Madame Tussauds London unveiled a waxwork likeness of him in 1986. It was retired in the 1990s (?).

In the 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor "for charitable services". Following the allegations of sexual abuse, British Prime Minister David Cameron indicated in October 2012 that it would be possible for Savile's honours to be rescinded by the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

Savile was honoured with a Papal knighthood by being made a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great (KCSG) by Pope John Paul II in 1990. After the scandal broke, the Catholic Church in England and Wales asked the Holy See to consider stripping Savile of the honour. In October 2012, Father Federico Lombardi told BBC News,
'The Holy See firmly condemns the horrible crimes of sexual abuse of minors, and the honour, in the light of recent information should certainly not have been bestowed. ...As there does not exist any permanent official list of persons who have received papal honours in the past, it is not possible to strike anyone off a list that does not exist. The names of recipients of papal honours do not appear in the Pontifical Year Book and the honour expires with the death of the individual.

He held an honorary doctorate of law (LLD) from the University of Leeds.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire in 2009, which was posthumously rescinded in October 2012.

He was an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR).

He was also awarded the Cross of Merit of the Order pro merito Melitensi.
The Order of Merit pro Merito Melitensi of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a knightly order of merit established in 1920.
It is awarded to men and women who have brought honour and prestige to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or actively promoted Christian values (you must be joking !) or works of charity in the Christian tradition as defined by the Roman Catholic Church. 

He was a Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough. This honour was removed in November 2012.



'Do all meerkats come from Russia ?'

'Bad Education' is a British sitcom produced by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Three. It stars Jack Whitehall as young teacher Alfie Wickers – "the worst teacher ever to grace the British education system" – at the fictional Abbey Grove School in Hertfordshire.
Unfortunately, Abbey Grove is far from fictional !

'Professing to being liberal and caring - in this era - is more important than being so.'

— Victor Davis Hanson

'Two posh boys who don't know the price of milk'

– Nadine Dorries on Cameron and Osborne 23/04

Nick Clegg - has he put on weight ?
'I'm sorry ?'

– Nick Clegg for most of the year, but partcularly 19/09



Stewie Griffin
Undoubtedly the TV personality of the year was "Stewie" Griffin, who is a character from the television series 'Family Guy'.
Stewie is the youngest child of Peter and Lois Griffin, and the brother of Chris and Meg.
He also has a close friendship with the family's anthropomorphic dog, Brian.
He has a strong hatred for his mother Lois Griffin, as it is his lifelong goal to kill her - which seems quite reasonable in the circumstances.
A master of technology, Stewie has not only mastered time travel, and the invention of numerous hi-tech weapons, but has also managed to create the 'elixir' of youth, and appears to permanently one year of age.

Alexander Orlov
Александр Орлов (Alexander Orlov) is an anthropomorphic Russian meerkat.
Orlov is of aristocratic stock, and the founder of www.comparethemeerkat.com.
Aleksandr's family have lived in Moscow for many generations. His "greatest grandfather", Vitaly, fought in the 'Meerkat–Mongoose War' of the 1850s, and his grandparents survived the 'Furry Terror' of 1921.
Aleksandr became a billionaire in the 1970s. He lives in Moscow, although he apparently also owns a large mansion in South London. He now spends his time on vanity projects such as his website, numerous self-portraits, various petitions (whether it be banning 'comparethemuskrat.com' or beating Sergei at Scrabble by adding a word to the dictionary), and epic film-making (mostly starring himself and Sergei).
Aleksandr stated in an interview on his official Facebook that he is not married and has no children, despite having many marriage proposals.

Roger Smith
Roger Smith is a character from the television series 'American Dad'.
Roger was born in AD 410.
He is a space alien, reminiscent of the Roswell greys with his hydro-cephalic head, but with a body that resembles E.T.. Roger is sinister, free-spirited, and selfish.
He has a near-obsessive childlike affinity for role-playing various personae in his day to day life, motivated in part by the need to hide the fact that he is an alien.
He came to live with the Smith family after saving Stan Smith's life in Area 51.
Roger describes himself as a "fey, pan-sexual, alcoholic non-human".
Roger's body creates a mucus like fluid which is regularly expelled from several otherwise invisible orifices



There seems to be only two

Family Guy - 'It's a Trap !'

'It's a Trap !' is the double-episode season finale of the ninth season of the series 'Family Guy' and the final part of the series' trilogy 'Laugh It Up, Fuzzball'.
The episode aired on Fox in the United States on May 22, 2011, and was produced for the seventh production season (Season 8)
The episode was written by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and David A. Goodman and directed by Peter Shin.
It retells the story of 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' as "Blue Harvest" did with 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope' and 'Something, Something, Something, Dark Side' did with 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back' by recasting characters from 'Family Guy' into roles from the film.
Due to the declining number of Family Guy characters, the episode also features characters from American Dad! and The Cleveland Show: Roger (see above) appears as Moff Jerjerrod, Klaus appears as Admiral Ackbar, Tim appears as Wicket the Ewok and Rallo appears as Nien Nunb.
Stan was originally going to appear as Wedge Antilles, but his part got cut (he is still mentioned when Lando orders him to destroy the Power Station in the main reactor of the Death Star).
The role of Meg Griffin continues to be minor, this time taking the role of the Sarlacc.
Stewie Griffin again plays a diminutive Darth Vader, with Chris as Luke Skywalker and Brian Griffin as Chewbacca.

Road to the North Pole
'Road to the North Pole' is the eighth episode of the ninth season of the comedy series 'Family Guy'.
Directed by Greg Colton and co-written by Chris Sheridan and Danny Smith, the episode originally aired on Fox in the United States on December 12, 2010.
In "Road to the North Pole", two of the show's main characters, baby Stewie and anthropomorphic dog Brian, who are voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane, go on an adventure to the North Pole in an attempt to kill Santa Claus.
They eventually discover a dreary, polluting factory full of disease-ridden elves and carnivorous, feral reindeer, along with a sickly, exhausted Santa who begs to be killed. Stewie and Brian take pity on him, however, and decide to fulfill Christmas by delivering gifts to the entire globe, albeit unsuccessfully.
"Christmastime Is Killing Us" was nominated for Best Song Written for a Visual Media at the 54th Grammy Awards.



Gerry Anderson, MBE (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) was a British publisher, producer, director and writer, famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly those involving 'Supermarionation', working with modified marionettes.
Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series 'The Adventures of Twizzle'; almost a decade later he produced his most famous and successful production, 'Thunderbirds'.
His production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed 'Century 21 Productions', was originally formed with partners Arthur Provis (hence AP Films – Anderson Provis Films), Reg Hill and John Read.
Other productions associated with Gerry Anderson include 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' 'Stingray' 'Fireball XL5' 'Joe 90' 'UFO' 'Space: 1999'.
Much as he is held in awe by some aficionados, these productions now seem hopelessly outdated, and very much caught up in the 'style-free', tasteless era of the late 1960s and 1970s.
In terms of plot, characterisation and cultural relevance they cannot be compared to Hampson's 'Dan Dare'.


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