Time!.. Ladies and Gentlemen, Please!!

How many warnings do people need?

For weeks now we have watched carnage. And no one seems to be that bothered! At the end of January, a disease sprang out of China. The reasons for that might get a mention later on, but the fact of the matter is that right from the get go, it seemed pretty virulent to me. Enough for me to be put on alert.

By the beginning of February I was looking for protections that we might need. I thought that we’d need masks, protective gear and food. I already had about ten tins of mackerel and sardines, and we usually have some food stocked in. After weighing things up for a few days, orders were made and a few masks arrived on the 9th February 2020. I’d figured that one of us might have to go out once a week to replenish supplies. Another thing that I’d thought was that everybody knew what was coming.

Wrong. I’ve started a blog three times, but abandoned them, because I’d thought that they sounded a bit too authoritarian in their own mild way, but there is now no point in holding back.

I saw two young men on tv on Friday 20/3/20, who were obviously having great fun with the interviewer indicating to her how clever they were, grabbing this last night of the pubs being open to actually get out there and have one last bender. And breathing heavily into the microphone! In fact, they were six feet tall ten year olds. Actually, I do ten year olds a disservice, they were being stupid, and they were going to stay that way.

So what were they doing? As they galloped off into the pub in the blurred background. Basically, they were helping to destroy their own health service. They were mixing closely with at least fifty other people and exchanging various winter bugs and a few other social bits and pieces. As one of the most virulent viruses humanity has ever known was busy spreading in their midst. It would be an absolute miracle if that virus was not passed on to anyone in that pub that night. A miracle. And I have as much belief in miracles as I have as winning all of the lotteries on earth next Saturday.

With thousands of pubs open that night in London, all doing the same thing, there would have been a delayed spike being caused in the admissions to hospital beds… later on in the month, into the next month and beyond.

As all those people dispersed that night, how many of them spoke to an adult in a confined space in the following week? How many of them saw their Mothers on Mother’s Day? So there are already thousands of carriers. Now there are thousands more. How many of those new carriers saw older people during the next week? NO.. OF COURSE NOT! we’re not there yet! But we will be. THIS WEEK!

So how much more will the NHS be tested next week? And how many will die? ‘I’m not really that concerned.. well.. I am, but’…., I hear you think!? Because you’re young, and immortal, and it’s not really going to touch you. Nooooo, you don’t really think like that; do you? Of course not.. You couldn’t be a killer, could you? You could never really do anything like that.

WAKE UP! you’re killing people. You’re forcing deaths to occur in your own HSE///NHS. Some of the older medics, doctors and nurses won’t survive this, because you wanted to go to the pub. Your civilisation will be more fragile, because you wanted to go to the pub.

Some of you have wanted this to happen for years, because the system is seemingly so corrupt in a lot of places. I’ve been one of you. Like me, some of you want to change the world completely, but I don’t want to be complicit in killing people; actively or passively.

You are at present weakening your society by not doing your best to curtail the spread of this disease. Yes, we might build up immunity to it in time, but what about NOW? The Government has been far too liberal about this. Boris is a decent, liberal kind of man, but he needs to stamp more authority onto this immediately. His instinct is for laissez faire government, which is all very well in ‘peacetime’, but if he wants to relate this to being at war, as he does, then he can’t carry on not quite getting to absolute lockdown when he knows that it’s going to end up there in any case.

Perhaps the government think that it’ll be kinder to go for lockdown incrementally, but that’s just wasting time, and lives. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS NOW! The whole of Europe must now be focused on complete lockdown for everything except essential services. Everything has to be better organised. The tenets of socialism must be temporarily embraced, immediately. We know how it works. we have it in places.  Draconian ‘socialism’ at its most extreme must be utilised for the next few months. Everyone MUST betaken care of, regardless of cost. Price can never be put on life. 

Social distancing must be enforced. The longer this is delayed, the longer it will go on for. If you want to continue to live in virtual prison, then continue to mix ‘freely’. Continue to drink together in secret places. It is absolutely useless trying to deal with a merciless giant killer in dribs and drabs. 

As an easy analogy: we can imagine that if the whole of Britain had had enough foresight, the tribes would have come together 2000 years ago to defend Britain against the Roman invasion, but they didn’t think big enough, because they couldn’t. They had no prior knowledge. No actual experience. They never realised how big the threat was. They couldn’t. It was impossible for them to have had such foresight. The same with the North American tribes.

It’s now 2,000 years later. We now have the experience. This current threat is huge, and it’s ongoing. Today, Tracy is making us masks. She’s sewing some of it by hand, because she can’t use her ancient sewing machine to do some of it. 

Remember, hindsight is a fine thing. We must get there NOW. Or start to beckon drastic societal change. Some of us might want this, but we are NOTHING LIKE PREPARED FOR IT. And I’d like to help to preserve as many of my friends and associates as I can.

So by continuing to gather in crowds, you might be getting one step closer to beckoning a chaos you don’t survive. BURN THE WORLD!! (1982)

It’ll be better off.. in the long run..

What world?

Last Orders! Ladies and Gentlemen Please!

Euphemisms abound…

Post Tour Thoughts…

I’ve just completed the most enjoyable tour I’ve ever had. It was done with a remarkable group of friends and musicians. As usual, sometimes I wasn’t quite up to the mark, but they were always there for me. I’m perhaps being hard on myself in saying this, but I’m always hard on myself. It’s a necessity.

It was a great pleasure to be on this tour. We were four men and three women, and the mix was really conducive to working for each other. It’s always been difficult for me to be in a band. What I do, or rather what I’ve done in the past, has always been difficult for others to be involved in. Some of the statements are so singular, or so singularly political, that it has always been very difficult for me to invite other people onto a stage to effectively share in the delivery of thought that is often so deeply personal.

Working for each other is really inspiring. There was no crossed wiring. When I look at us, we are all leaders of sorts, and we are all willing to learn from each other. Fiona Brice is a brilliant composer, arranger, accompanist and friend who excels in any number of ways. Vicky Mathews adds such depth with her cello that she would always be a necessity in any future plans.

It would have been impossible to think of playing songs like ‘When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease’ and ‘Highway Blues’ without the help of Ryan Jacob’s trumpet/flugelhorn. Beth Symmons is a great bass player, and so versatile that I wonder why she’s not already in an award winning set up.

I watched Anthony ‘Anto’ Noonan in Clonakilty for the last ten or fifteen years, and thought that he was the best drummer around. On the tour he came up to the plate. It was a winning experience for both of us. Finally, Bill Shanley is a great guitar player and a good companion of the stage. Without fail, he does his best to dig me out of some of the spots I would otherwise have ended up in. All together, we are a free-hearted and fun loving group of people whose intentions for each other are exemplary.

Perhaps it helps that the three women have known each other for years, but in any case they are the life and soul of the group. They’re so positive and helpful that my confidence in what we’re doing has grown exponentially. What a tonic for an old stager! Every day was a delight.

Anyone who shares a stage with anyone else is effectively in agreement with what is being said or enacted. Humility naturally has to place itself in the forefront of any shared experience.. and I found it very useful to be completely aware of the responsibility of my position at all times.

Perhaps my biggest problem has always been with myself, in terms of what doesn’t quite come off on any given tour, but the patience of this group of friends with my verbalising and engagement with the audience was, in equal measure, both inspiring and humbling for me.

I accept that people don’t come to a purported musical evening to hear someone speak, but I’ve always felt that unless I say something about the inspiration for the songs, then I’m leaving people with only half the story. Very often a song is a précis of a chain of thought which would be too pedantic to expound in full; when a line or two of the nature of the original thought in sung poetry can be much more succinct: and a speech in ad-libbed prose can expose the depth of feeling I originally had for the idea.

By the by, I also have to admit, at long last perhaps, that in order to minimise the brain fades and loss of concentration that I’ve always had.. if I play in public again, and particularly with others, it will be better for everyone if I have some kind of autocue to get me over the hump of the road blocks my mind often creates for me. I can have no problem remembering the 19 verses, 11 choruses, and 1 release passage of ‘McGoohan’s Blues’, but when it comes down to the simplicity of ’Time Is Temporary’, often my mind isn’t even in the same postcode as the building. 

The worst of it was before ‘Cricketer’ one night when I started to think about the instrumental in it, and where I had to end on the right chord… and where that was… and then .. blimey, I’d forgotten the first line. The real problem was that I hadn’t rehearsed the song properly before the tour! I’d played through it a couple of times just to make sure that it was still there, without playing the instrumental through. I HADN’T LISTENED TO THE RECORD! Not once.. And not for ages.

So that when it came to rehearsal with the band, a big problem started to become obvious. I was ending in the wrong place! Then, as usually happens, I learned the mistake! As I started to play the song that night, I remembered the mistake. I was trying to think about how NOT to make it again….. I thought through the musical sequence.. Then..  I tried to start.. I wanted to go back to the beginning, but I couldn’t. I was obsessed with not making the mistake…. and I couldn’t get to the first line of the song.. Until I’d consciously emptied my mind..

My life has been like this from the very beginning. Ever since I’ve known me, I’ve been unable to stop tripping myself up, all the time. Often I castigate myself for it, and royally, but the flip side is that this urgent meander has given me all my songs, which are all interruptions to the broadcast of daydream and self realisation that swamp me from dawn till dusk and beyond. I’m sure that if I was investigated mentally, it would now be a ‘known’ ‘condition’, but I don’t know that I’m that interested to find out what someone else’s opinion of what I ‘have’ could possibly mean, except that it’ll probably result in more songs being written…

Before I forget.. I have to mention the brilliant help that we’ve all had from our support team. Tracy is a stickler for organisation with an infectious laugh. She often has to crack the whip, but it’s easy to get a smile out of her. Darren is an old and trusted friend who’s been there and back with me for a few decades now, and John Fitzgerald has grown from being a young lad I once knew who could help me to record, to becoming one of the most respected sound engineers in Ireland and beyond.

Finally, I think that it’s quite possible that this group of people have enabled me to find myself, at last. Strange, but in what I thought were to be among my last moments on a stage, I’ve been inspired by the players to perhaps get it together to come out with them again. I’ll have to work hard for a new record, and when it’s completed, we’ll have to see. Leastways, at this moment, I’m smiling again.


The Last Tour

The tour that I’m about to embark upon will be my last tour.

Planning life at this stage isn’t that easy, because while I feel quite fit and healthy right now, I might not be in a year’s time. This isn’t morbid. Not in the least. By choosing to tour at this time, I’m ensuring that I can present myself to you on good form. In this way, it’s an insurance policy.

I could stick my head in the sand and pretend to be Peter Pan, but I have to own up; I’m perhaps slightly beyond middle age…

I don’t actually want to retire. I would hope that there are many years ahead in which I’ll be able to contribute. Actually, I would hope that I’m fit enough to be able to do a farewell gig on my eightieth birthday, but I might not be, so this Last Tour is by way of that insurance policy, in that, if for some reason I’m not able to do that, then now’s the time to put your bum on a seat near you!

The age of 80 perhaps isn’t that old any more, but there are not many 80 year olds who would be able to perform as athletically in the voice as I may still be able to in another couple of years. I will hope to have a new album by then in any case. Farewell gig or not.

If I was to live another ten years, which is extremely doubtful, I’d still be writing poetry, but I don’t think that I’d be able to maintain any sort of viable gig-fitness. Again, this isn’t morbid, it’s just fact. I have to laugh… the medical profession gave me maximum 7 years to live when I was 31. That was 47 years ago!

Meanwhile, I have included three new songs in the set for THE LAST TOUR. They’re one of the reasons I want to tour. I’d like to make sure that they are played in public at least once. It’ll be great to play them for you. They’re all strong songs, and the next album looks to be heading into a particularly good place. I intend to finish writing this album in the year ahead. I’ll record it as soon as I can…. 

The set list will contain some old favourites, but will also contain a couple of surprises.

I’m going to be traveling a string and brass section with lead guitar, bass and drums this time. The music will be totally supported by acoustic instruments, from solo acoustic guitar with violin to total ensemble all in. 

As usual, the lyric and its sentiment will take prominence, while its musical bouquet has been written to enhance the mood. I really enjoy the musical place that the songs have now inherited. I wish that I’d been able to do this sooner, but better late than never.

The ensemble will be led by Fiona Brice, who has very ably taken stewardship of my orchestral vision since the sad departure of David Bedford. 

Finally, I’ll hope to see many friends on the tour, and doubtless I’ll be offering many of you some advice from the stage.

Thanks for being there,


More information on the tour dates here: http://www.royharper.co.uk/live.html

Roy wrangles with his latest re-issue…

We decided, a long time after the commercial world did so, I have to say, that we would re-release arguably the best ten or twelve of the catalogue as LPs once again. I’d looked at it for years, and while I was out in California putting ‘Man and Myth’ together I became aware for the first time, first hand, that the turnover in high end 50s, 60s and 70s amplifiers for turntables, was huge. Then I had discussions with Simon Raymonde at Bella Union about a vinyl release for Man And Myth, and the rest of that chapter is history. It was a good experience, and it became obvious that at least the main figments of the Roy Harper catalogue were going to become available on vinyl again.

In theory, it seemed to be easy to transfer what we already had on cd and tape back onto vinyl and, hey presto, it would just happen. Wrong. All vestiges of old artwork had disappeared. A lot of it had, quote, “Gone into the skip”, as first EMI fell off a high ladder, (during which years of turmoil, for instance, the old EMI Studios in Abbey Road had become independent and were only affordable if you were making a blockbuster movie, Etc). We’re all used to the world changing very quickly. The shock of the previous generation to the ploughing up of its old means is always brutal. De facto, the new world arrives a second later and empties the skip. Then just as easily subsumes the old generation in the blaring glare of the newbies strutting their stuff. As Kurt would have said, ‘so it goes’.

So, not having any artwork was going to present problems. Some were big problems, but not entirely insurmountable because, well, mainly because, by some hook or crook, the artist is still alive, and still has sufficient in the memory bank to be able to curate a resuscitation of all that the old artwork meant. He even has enough in the scrapheap of his archive be able to add to it with one or two salient items. Time and care were necessary, but with the help of his old mucker Harry Pearce, and a bit of techno wobble, the past can be re-visited.

We decided that it was best to release the new vinyl in batches of three in order to facilitate most of the releases within a few years. It was hard work. Nothing like as easy as we’d first thought. There were all kinds of stumbling blocks, but, to cut a long story short, the first batch was released in 2016.

I’d wanted the second batch to include HQ, Bullinamingvase and Folkjokeopus. I rate Folkjokeopus, and particularly McGoohan’s Blues, but I quickly realised how unfinished it was. that I’d always regretted not being able to edit it in the way it should have been edited in 1968. Back in that year, there wasn’t the time/money to do another take of McGoohans Blues. We’d had to use the first take. Don’t get me wrong, the first take wasn’t that bad at all, but there’s a huge gaping error in it. I’m not going to say here where that error occurs, because most of you will have enjoyed it for years the way it is. But now I have the chance, the chance I’ve always wanted, to fix it, to finally scratch that itch, and I was going to, but it became difficult… I need to get a band together, I needed time.. I needed to learn the song again.. I needed to… wouldn’t it be nice to take it on tour again.. Fifty years later, if only to flag up ‘the bankers and tycoons and hoarders of money and art’ again, fifty years on.. but then there was a tour already happening.. and.. finally I had to shelve the idea of tackling that immediately.

So; what was I going to put in it’s place? Would I go forward, and look at re-instating ‘Unknown Soldier’, ‘Descendants Of Smith/Garden Of Uranium’, or ‘The Dream Society’; ‘Jugula’ or even ‘Death Or Glory’.. Mm, too close to the bone.. Or should I go back? Now there’s a thing! Lying there, full of bad edits and underrated by me. “Underrated by me”? What d’you mean roy, you know you’ve always hated ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’”? Yeah, but why? “Isn’t it that hair in your mouth that you’ve always tried to get rid of, and thought you had, but it’s still there, isn’t it? How come”?

So I listened to it again, for the first time in decades. It made me smile. Instead of hearing a couple of great clanking hand-fisted edits again, and the piece of 1950’s dialogue that I’d written off centuries ago as juvenile tosh, I heard the young roy, the very young man, trying to pull out all the stops, with some success, although the second side of the record is trashed by the lack of cash and hasty production.

Then something strange happened. The original producer, Shel Talmy, or people on his behalf, had obviously been unearthing his past to put together a compilation of his work, which includes early Who and Kinks records, and we received a request. Could he use a track from ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’? Of course I agreed that they could use it. The track is called ‘Aging Raver’. Then, by some turn in the conversation, we discovered that the original tapes had been found: in a tape vault at SONY! Immediately, I wanted to use them to bring the record back to life. To take away the generations of cd dust attached to them, address the edits, and re-instate the record. For me, it didn’t have a former glory. It was what it still is. A sound bite from 1967 that hadn’t had the attention that it perhaps might have deserved because no time could be spent on it, and it’s author couldn’t be present to make the edits at the time. And no one else knew, or cared, that there were edits that needed to be tidied up.

Shel was not to blame for any of this. He had a job to do, and a record company to accommodate, and in 1967 direction by the artist was absolutely discouraged. EMI might have had enough cash return from The Beatles to indulge them, and George Martin was a brilliant foil for them, but old roy was an alien from the folk cellar with very little clout, and Shel wasn’t that far above him.

When we got the old tapes into the Studio at Lettercollum, it became immediately obvious that we had something which was very much more alive than it’s cd counterpart. The decision to include it in the second issue of LPs from Science Friction was probably already made. That decision could easily have been reversed, but the moment I heard the real tapes there was no way of backing out. Here was a real chance to bring an uncared for and diminished collection back from the dead. It had to be done.

There were still production issues though. Would I take it back to the bare essentials? Could I? Even. I toyed with leaving the soap box imaginary conversation with my illusive dad off it. I was really tempted to cut out all the earnest but semi-embarrassing drivel. It was like listening to mock Mike Leigh or juvenile Pinter. And what would I do with the poem at the end? Was there anything I should do about that mock Dylan last line. Could I pare the record down to just the songs? I badly wanted to.. but in the end I couldn’t. I’d become a recidivist by so doing. I’d be modernising 1967 out of it. I badly wanted to, but the truth is that I couldn’t have done it without falling.. in my own estimation.

I did wrestle with the poem though. The words themselves were good. The sentiment was right. What the poem actually says is.. ‘please explain to me why you think that we’re not en route to annihilation’… (Fifty years ago). Which is a recurring theme in my work. Viz. – ‘And so the game is played out on the sinking *Wigan pier, With brass bands round the gravestones so that no one can quite hear, The prophets and the gentle people’s feelings that are lost, inside the ringing cauldron of the crashing holocaust.. Farewell to you Dear Genghis Smith, I’d help you if I could, But there’s nothing I could have told you, that you’d have understood; And there’s nothing I could have told you that would have done you any good, and Hey there!.. is there much more room down there? All I can see is mud.’

It was the right poem in the right place, but the delivery was perhaps too flippant. I faced a dilemma at the time. How was I going to not make it sound like T S Eliot or Ezra Pound reading his own poetry? Staid and confounding, but in some way dead. I needed people to be entertained in a more Betjeman on acid style, or so I thought… but what if the mock Dylan of that last line had been spoken in mock David Attenborough, which it could have been..? “What if roy, what if..”.. “Leave it alone Sunshine”.


The result of all this wrangling with myself is that there’s a new vinyl version of Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith on its way out again for the first time in decades.

In September 1967, CBS, (the company I’d signed to earlier in the year), wanted to finalise the cover. They’d heard demos, produced the contract in July, and the record was about to be made. They were hinting at a photo to hang alongside ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’ and ‘Sounds Of Silence’ in the CBS offices, but not enough of them were…

They were silent when I voiced my sleeve idea, based on the title track, Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith, of having a birth picture of a new born human, umbilical cord still attached. Not a word from any of them. It was potentially an image for me that conveyed my own vision of survival against the odds. It was also intended to be an image of the birth of the carefree destructor itself. The pushy ploughman on the planet. I was voted down, although I was never in attendance. I was obviously not going to be included in any vote that in any way impinged upon CBS corporate policy. Silly boy, how could he have imagined that a corporation would ever have gone out on such a limb? After all, they weren’t in the business of making hit records by virtue of controversial images on record sleeves. Heaven forbid!

So what they came up with, and confronted me with, was the finished product. A front cover with a ‘sweet’ pic of the art director’s new born baby on it. What bollocks! So, a decent record, in which production the artist had no say at all, was finally relegated to the status of detritus by the usual corporate nonsense view. The view from the middle of the front row of The Circle. The whole character of the intended record had been diminished. Actually, the cover now didn’t have any character at all. However, FINALLY, the artist lived long enough to put the record into the context he’d always wanted it to have. A pyrrhic victory, you might think, in terms of the millions it would never have sold in any case, but not for the artist himself. For him, it’s a sweet moment. A moment when the original idea teamed up with the ability to finally do it justice.

I spent days, on and off, searching for the right photo across the world, on the internet. What I found was amazing. Hosts of pics of how homo sapiens likes to picture its babies, from complete fantasy to full-on photographic real. Through rose tinted speculation to comic pop art, from bad photo to gruesome image, from ridiculous Disney to WTF! I mailed people to ask for the use of pics, to no avail. Then suddenly, as deadlines approached, I found the right picture, taken somewhere in London. I found it at a photo agency, and it wasn’t going to be too expensive to obtain the right to use it. We had to ask the photographers permission for it to be used publicly, of course, but that came with a return of email. Bingo! An ambition had been achieved. I was so pleased.

I’d already sent it to life-long friend Harry Pearce, at Pentagram, so that we could discuss dimensions and etc., and I was thrilled by Harry’s first demos returned to me by PDF. The effect of having this in the bag, fifty years later, was so uplifting. There were one or two more back and forths between Harry and I, in which we questioned crops and fonts, but what had happened was serendipitous.

There is still a question that begs to be addressed however. Should a picture like this be used in a public arena? Does it derogate the intimate? Does a picture like this add to the seemingly mindless dilution of human integrity that is now profoundly global? Does it add to the possible diminution of human character that the internet multiplies every minute of every day? Is the act of being born diminished by such an image being so common? Were CBS right in 1967?  There are questions. Questions of honour. Questions of character.

There are questions of taste. There are questions of morality. Questions that a young man wanted to dig out in 1967. To ask questions of the world with. Can those old questions still be asked in the same way fifty years on? How many people, and particularly those of a fragile disposition, will this image offend? Was this that young man’s intension, in 1967, to offend those kind of people? All he remembers now is a will to go against the accepted grain. To expose the grain for what it was and still is. How unkind would that have been, to do it just to be offensive? He knows that he didn’t do that. His heart has never been like that. Not the heart he sees in the mirror anyway. Away away! Flee from the thought and have done with it.

Conversely, is birth not a reality? Isn’t it to be pictured in the way it is? Et al. I didn’t see it as a controversial image in 1967, and I still don’t; but that’s me. ‘Be careful what you wish for’. The old man whispers a cliché under his breath. It’s just a cliché, isn’t it?

1967 was a funny old year. It was the year before the revolutions. In some ways, it could be said that it was the calm before the storm. My writing in ’67 was seemingly far more parochial than was the fare of ’68. At the end of ‘67 I was writing McGoohan’s Blues.. but that’s another story.

‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ was the B-side of the Beatles single of the same year, ‘All You Need Is Love’, which I thought at the time was fatuous. Opinion – The B-side is a much better song than the sugary A-side. On ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’ I criticised the A-side and used half a line from the B-side.. no one noticed.. … …. :—)

‘Oo mum, he said, does God go to bed
Or is he a rich man too
She said in a minute my son
I’ll box your bloody ears for you’

And instead of the flatulent ‘All You Need Is Love’, I reposted with..

All You Need Is
All you need
Is all

All You need Is Love is a great sentiment, and the song is clever, but on a personal level, I didn’t need to be knee deep in treacle at that moment.. Although, I have to say that I was a Beatles fan. Still am when I hear some of the songs from that era on the radio.

Meanwhile, was it tantamount to self harm to marry myself to such stark realities? Would the original sleeve idea have won through? Should I have absolutely fought for it at the time? Should I have fought harder for the future of those ideas? Speak up boy!

Available now at the Roy Harper Shop…








Apologies.. and Thanks.

I have to apologise to all of you who I might have confused or offended in my last posts. I let too much emotion loose when I said, ‘If the majority of the people want to be in long term debt with very high borrowing and all its attendant fiscal implications, then so be it’. It was a mistake to say that without qualifying it. It was a mistake anyway.

Here’s why I said that. For over 60 years I’ve witnessed this identity which is now called the EU in progress. It was initiated by the necessity for West Germany and France to bind themselves together after the Second World War in order to end the long history of European ‘civil’ wars that had raged and ravaged the continent for over a thousand years. It also became implicit to include the countries around France and West Germany in that union, so the original pact was made between six nations that bordered each other in north west Europe + Italy. Britain was not included. There were many reasons for this. Too many to include here.

Shortly after the inception of the original EEC, as it was then known, at the Treaty of Rome in 1957, Charles De Gaulle became the President of France and over the next years exercised inordinate control over the new European alliance. Britain was twice refused entry into the club during De Gaulle’s period in office. At one point in 1967, every British newspaper had a big headline declaring ‘NON’, accompanied by a head shot of De Gaulle. This was the start of GB being visibly excluded from the European club.

So, the European nation that had contributed more than any other to the defeat of Hitler was excluded from the ‘new’ Europe. There seemed to be a purposeful move to keep us out. At the time, a lot of us young people felt confused and insulted. There was a perceptible move by the French to veto us at every turn. I was personally disappointed and disillusioned. Weren’t we allies? De Gaulle became a very unpopular figure in Britain, the country that had sheltered him for the duration of the war. There are interpretations and opinions as to why this was the case. Many of them involve Anglo-USA versus the new France-West Germany and are not particularly relevant to this essay. Suffice to say that the time between De Gaulle and Juncker has often been visited with antagonism bordering on hostility between.. well, what appears to be two perceived different ways of life! Mmm. (c.160 years before this, Napoleon had disparagingly called the Brits “A nation of shopkeepers”).

The short story is that after many attempts we were allowed in, but the terms were always confused. ..Long story. There always seemed to be a disparity between what we owed them and what we received. And it’s never really been settled. So much so that for decades, you have to wonder about the legality of what’s happening in Brussels.

As far as I can see, GB is something of a cash cow for the EU. We’re the second biggest contributor, and have always seemed to give more than we receive, as if we’ve been awarded the role of net contributor ad infinitum. I have learned over the years not to trust the EU. I don’t need Farage to tell me this. I’m older than him. And although I might appreciate elements of what he’s done, I couldn’t give house room to either him or Aarron Banks.

So; the comeuppance of all of this is that I don’t want anything to do with the EU. I view the EU as being corrupt. More corrupt than the UK. Like all monolithic organisations, it cannot help being very highly impersonal. It seems as if the individual counts only as a virtual cypher in law, while the institution itself is necessarily insensitive. Meanwhile, at the top, there are a very wealthy elite who are creaming it off. They need to look into the mirror. They never will. In my opinion, the Brussels parliament is a club of high earners on multiple perks. Exactly the kind of body that should not be in charge of the cash. Perhaps the worst bit is that I don’t think that there’s any way that I could ever be persuaded to change that opinion.

My views on race have been well publicized for fifty years. I’m totally inclusive. For instance, if you have a regional British accent, you’re 100% British. If you have a regional French accent, you’re 100% French. Both are 100% European. If you’re in the process of acquiring any accent, at whatever age, you’re 100% human, regardless of colour or creed. 28 years ago, I was right to flag up a controversial religious movement that was going to impact Britain. I don’t regret doing that. I’ve done that since I first picked up a pen. My writing is inclusive. With a blank page in front of me I become everybody. Literally.

I’m not remotely attached to right wing politics, and I think that T May has now made it much more difficult to get the kind of deal from Europe that GB needs. She’s single-handedly devastated the power to negotiate that we had on June 7th. Much bargaining control has been lost. The Brussels mafia will be quietly overjoyed with the result of the June 8th General Election. We are now forced into doing more of the kind of deal they want to do because May has a wafer thin minority government whose constituents will not always agree to holding the line. (Against inadvertently being ripped off). Any weakness might even result in another election that could conceivably reverse the initial Brexit result and put GB at the complete mercy of the EU. I.e., in a worse position than we were before the Brexit referendum took place.

I don’t have a voice any longer, and I won’t even try to have one. Again, I apologise for the seemingly flippant manner that I’ve been responding to you with in recent days. I should not have said anything about GB possibly entering long term debt because of Corbyn’s populist manifesto. It’s just not my place any longer to say things like that, however much truth there may or may not be in them.

It’s right that austerity should be put to bed. It’s right that people should be at least made to feel better about their lot. It’s right that the minimum wage should be a wage that people can actually live on. Regardless of how much more tax the middle class might have to pay, or how the deficit will eventually affect living standards. If a Labour government becomes a fact of the near future, then I’m sure that all those things should be attempted. Really, who am I to even attempt to gainsay millions of voters? Democracy has to take place.

In saying this, I realise that I’m coming from a different place than most people. I’ve never depended on anyone other than myself. I’m not collegiate in the structures of my lifestyle. I’ve been a loner for 76 years. I mainly take decisions unilaterally. So I should not be consulted about anything. For the last 35 years I’ve never lived beyond my means. I’ve been lucky enough to hold onto being able to make a living without having to need credit. I’ve gone without rather than accept credit. I’d love credit, but it’s unacceptable to the way I live. It’s come close at times, but I’ve never gone into any debt. I’ve sold things when necessary, but times have gradually improved. I don’t have a pension. I rely on myself completely. In fact, I might as well be off-grid.. and soon will be, :)

In some way, I expect everyone else to be like me, but if I stand back for just a moment I realise how unrealistic that is. In many ways I’m frugal, and I’ve been in control of myself and what I consume for decades. Feast and famine, without much interference from the state at all. I pay taxes and live in the garden I’ve built from a rough piece of hillside, and I’m not politically correct; and never will be.

One final thought, GB might have made a big contribution to winning the last war but it’s consistently lost the peace, for what are now very obvious reasons, and it’s in dire danger of doing that again, without even knowing it. I know that I’m a fair person, but I have to forego staring into the abyss of social media for the foreseeable future. It just isn’t my place to alienate compatriots and friends unintentionally.

There’s much to say, but in my own case it’ll now be to the trees. My aim has always been to tell it as it is, although we know ‘it’s’ all opinion in any case. I am and will always count myself as a person of what has broadly become the left, and it’s to those ideals and social justice that I’ll always be beholden. Good luck everyone. From the heart, rh.