The Duke of Omnium has denied top level NHS management changes are imminent on the day a shocking report has been published about National HaulAir Services flight provision for the elderly.
Omnium is the National HaulAir Service's Second Chief Executive, Executive for Servicing Passsengers, Director of Passenger Announcements, Chief of Grooming Facilities, Director of Public Airport Customer Relations, Master of In-Flight Entertainment, Head of Chief Executive Management, Manager of Aircraft Trading and Director of After-Dark Arts Programmes.
He was interviewed this morning, responding to previous speculation about his repeated flights to Flying Boats based in Corfu owned by Derria Spivchap, the Chief Executive of the Russian Executive Flying Boat Service.
He has angrily denied that he is seeking to obtain Flying Boat privileges from Mr Spivchap for the Executive Board of the National Haulair Service and related secret negotiations about joint Flying Boat privileges for the executives of the Eton Touring Company and the exclusive Bullingdon Flying Company subsidiary, the Bullingdon Very Private Flying Club.
"Mr Spivchap and I share a long-standing common interest in collecting old brass, he said, which we discovered during the time when he was seeking entry for his Russian Private Executive Flight Service to the United European Air Service Brokerage market during the time when I was Commissioning Executive for Trans-European Air Flights.
"While, in line with current flight standards for our passengers, we no longer install brass in our latest National Haulair Service passenger aircraft, the very best old brass in the International Air Haul market is that to be seen in Flying Boats, of which Mr Spivchap has a remarkable collection. We even have a friendly rivalry in presenting brassneck displays.
"Mr Matt Richkid, who has one of the largest collections of family old brass in the world, and has added several outstanding examples of Flying Boats through his shrewd Private Haul Air deals always meets up with us on Spivchap's Corfu Flying Boat to compare and swap our old brass collections.
"He happens to be an old school chum of George Newborn, Finance Executive of the Bullingdon Flying Company, who has a growing interest in collecting and managing old brass and joins us when Mr Richkid visits. But frankly, he's not in our league. And he ruffled a lot of feathers last year by misquoting my praise of Gordon Macavity as "an incomparable flightmaster" to the press as "an incomparable disaster".
The Duke has also brushed aside the speculation that has resulted from his recent move from the Senior Executive Suite in the VIP Arrival Lounge of Heathrow Airport, where he has been sited during the relatively short time since he was granted his Dukedom, to the Senior Executive Suite in the VIP Departure Lounge.
He dismissed speculation that provisions in the new Executive guidelines for members of the VIP lounge to be allowed to renounce their membership of the Lounge and move into the Senior Executive Suites in the Security Lounges are of any significance.
"I have no intention whatsoever of becoming Chief Executive of the National Haulair Service, he said. I am devoting myself in my current roles to improving the flying experiences of hard working passengers, supporting our outstanding Chief Executive Gordon Macavity and making sure the planes fly on time.
Our National Haulair Service is the envy of the world.
We have met our target, a record for the National Haulair Service, of holding fatal air crashes down to just five percent of the total. Our thoughts of course are with the families, and we are constantly setting up new enquiries to identify ways to improve our service. The number of passenger infections arising from inadequately serviced plane seats and undercooked in-flight meals is now below that of any Third World Haul Air Service. The recent survey of disappointing results from our special free flights programme for the elderly has spurred us to improve further. We are today setting up an urgent enquiry which is expected to report in three years' time. We do not rest on our laurels. Our record is the envy of the world.
"Flights are always free from the point of the Passengers' Departure Lounge, and no-one will ever be asked to pay for a ticket at the point of boarding the plane.
"Gordon Macavity is doing a superb job, constantly investing in our National Haulair Service by printing money to buy more planes, employ more pilots and flight attendants and cut down waiting times for free flights.
"Donald Poltroon and his Eton Touring Club Company and their pathetic and privileged premium class passenger cartel at the Bullingdon Flying Company have no alternatives to offer whatsoever, and are trying to keep their plan to make 20% cuts in free flights carefully hidden from passengers. But our passengers aren't taken in by their ruses. And they know that the number of fatal crashes would soar if they were to succeed in securing the new contract for the National Haulair Service.
"We are not surprised that the Eton Touring Club Company's Strasbourg Executive Mr Hardman, who constantly carps about our low 5% fatal crash record, has turned out to be a admirer of discredited West Midlands Conservative Air Race Executive, the late Mr Egot Badsmell, on the very day that another scurrilous report has come out which seeks to smear the proud record of our much-loved National Haul Air Service.
"The continuing huge enthusiasm for our Twitter Microflights #welovethenhs free mini-flights service proves that our passengers know that we at HardLabour are the natural Executive of the National Haulair Service."
Gordon Macavity, leader of the UK National Haulair Service has at last broken his surprising silence on the Libyan transfer issue.
"The decision to upgrade Mr Al-Legman onto an exclusive private jet flight commissioned by the Libyan Al Jamahirya Air Service run by its owner Captain Muamar Al-CrimeLord was the responsibility of the Scottish Haulair Service", he said.
"The decision will have been made by the Scottish Haulair Service in line with their local Primary Charter Tariff guidelines. You will know that the Primary Charter Tariff Director Mr MacPoorskill has identified compassionate grounds on which Libyan passengers found guilty of sabotaging flights, leading to unfortunate fatal plane crashes may be upgraded onto exclusive private jet flights commissioned by Captain Al-CrimeLord.
"This is a matter for the Scottish Haulair Service. I have no further comments to make."
Questioned by hordes of reporters on the significance for Mr Al-Legman's upgrade of the exclusive Flight Passenger Exchange Provision Contract between the UK National Haul Air Service-Libyan Al Jamahirya Air Service for private jet flight upgrades for passengers found guilty of sabotaging flights, Mr Macavity stated, "The decision to upgrade Mr Al-Legman onto an exclusive private jet flight commissioned by the Libyan Al Jamahirya Air Service run by its owner Captain Muamar Al-CrimeLord was the responsibility of the Scottish Haulair Service. It was a decision made by the Scottish Haulair Service. I have no further comments to make."
Pressed further by reporters on the fact that the exclusive UK-Libyan Flight Passenger Exchange Provision Contract is one which covers the Scottish Haulair Service, which is in fact a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK National Haulair Service, so must have involved Mr Macavity in agreeing the upgrade under its terms, Macavity said, "It was a decision made by the Scottish Haulair Service. It falls within their area of responsibility. I have no further comments to make."
Questioned on whether the decision to upgrade Mr Al-Legman had been influenced by the recently signed Aircraft Fuel Contract signed by the UK National Haulair Service with the Libyan Aircraft Fuelwell service owned by Captain Muamar Al-CrimeLord, Mr Macavity said, "That is a most deplorable suggestion. The decision to upgrade Mr Al-Legman was a matter for the Scottish Haulair Service.
"The Aircraft Fuel Contract will enable us to continue to offer all our UK passengers flights which are free at the point of boarding the plane. Our National Haulair Service is the envy of the world. Our passengers will never be asked to pay for a flight at the door of a plane. We have improved our service enormously through huge investment. Flight waiting times are now down to a maximum of eighteen weeks. The emergency air flight service has improved even more. Passengers now have a maximum waiting time of five hours before they board an emergency flight. We have reduced the number of flights which result in fatal crashes to just five per cent, a reduction of seventeen percent since 1997. Our hearts go out to the families. We are working very hard to reduce that further.
"The recent US controversies about the Obama Flight Plan service have resulted in a huge outpouring of spontaneous support from thousands of our passengers, organised by Mrs Macavity, who have taken up the #welovethenhs campaign. So huge has been this spontaneously organized campaign that it even led to an unfortunate fatal crash in the Twitter Microflight Service a week ago. Our hearts go out to the families. However, our passengers continue to flood the Twitter Microflight Service, now back to normal service levels, with their #welovethenhs mini-flights. I have spent many hours with Mrs Macavity reading through the ecstatic comments of the #welovethenhs passengers. Here's an example from a Mrs Trellis of South Wales. It says, "I had a free flight to Paris. My elderly dad is just back from a free flight to Oslo. #welovethenhs." And I can tell you that's absolutely typical of our passengers. We in the UK love our National Haulair Service, financed by careful but ever-increasing spending from our equitably priced progressive direct and indirect tax budget. Even the very poorest in the land will never have to wait more than eighteen weeks for a long-haul flight. Every single flight is free at the point of boarding the plane.
"By contrast, passengers in the US have to pay out in full for tickets before they can board a plane. They will not even be allowed onto an emergency flight unless they can show they have paid in full for a ticket. Families can find themselves faced with bills of thousands of pounds for routine overseas flights. Can you imagine that? What's more they have to choose between dozens of different Haulair Services without knowing that they have a National Haulair Service to fall back on which will never charge for a flight at the plane door. No wonder millions of Americans have never made an overseas flight."
Mr Macavity announced that he would today be meeting Captain Notknowyou, head of the Israel Haulair Service, in a bid to help negotiations over the long standing flight slot disputes between the IHS and the newly formed Palestinian Radical HostAir Service. Despite the continuing internal splits between the RadicalMarxistArmedStruggle and the RadicalIslamistHostageandBomb executive wings of the emerging Palestinian Radical HostAir Service, we are confident that a future flight management plan can be agreed. However, the IHS must first agree to stop taking flight slots which we consider have been internationally allocated to the Palestinian Radical HostAir Service. We are also aware of Captain Notknowyou's concerns about the regrettable threats of the Iranian Islamic PeacefulNuclear Haul Air Service to close down the Israel Haulair Service. However, we insist that this is not a reason for considering a pre-emptive closedown by the Israel Haulair Service of the Iranian Islamic PeacefulNuclear Haul Air Service.
By working together in the International Haulair Quartet, we are working on solving these problems under the inspirational leadership of Obama Flight Plan President Barak Obama and myself. I shall be getting on with the job. I know that hard-working families going through difficult times expect nothing less than that"
Mr Donald Poltroon, the fresh-faced and eager candidate to replace Mr Macavity when the five year contract renewal comes up next year said, "The decision to upgrade Mr Al-Legman was a disgrace. It should not have been done.
"The National Haulair Service is absolutely safe with us. We shall spend just as much money as Mr Macavity and his executives. We will find ways to ensure that we reduce the number of fatal crashes below five percent. And passengers will never have to pay for a ticket at the door of the plane. Our National Haulair Service is a great national treasure which we all love.
"I am confident but not complacent that our Eton Touring Company and its subsidiary Bullingdon Private Touring Flights will be selected by the passengers of the UK when the National Haulair Service contract comes up for renewal. Passengers everywhere have realised that the HardLabour Air Plan has failed miserably and that Mr Macavity has lost the confidence of the nation.
"That is why he has been skulking in the Security Class Lounge of the Kirkaldy Airport for the last four weeks."
My mother may have severe dementia, but she still knows who Diana was. And this bit of 1981 royal wedding kitsch sits by her bed
It's wonderful to be able to blog from my iphone while sitting in first a cab then a car repair centre in Willesden.
The downside is that the very pretty Typepad iPhone app doesn't seem to have a "save post" option.
It's publish or nothing.
So I'll have to publish as is when they bring my car round and demystify you as to what I'm on about later.
Clue: It's about an unexpected side of the normally ultra-rationalist male bloggers who include founders and leading signatories of the Euston Manifesto.
(warning: includes hair-raising obscenities-- in Hebrew)
How wrong could I have been?
I'll get to that in a minute.
But while I was searching YouTube in vain to find a clip of President Katzav's extraordinary outburst vigorous speech of self-defence last Tuesday, I came across this brilliantly executed semi-fantasy take on one of the most ....er.... unbuttoned... moments of his hour long diatribe speech. He responded in mid-flow to an interruption from Gadi Sukenik, an Israeli equivalent of Jeremy Paxman, who fronts a major national news show on Israel's popular Channel 2, by launching into this attack on him :
You have talked for six months, and now it's my turn! No, you won't talk here! If you don't like it, you can get out! I was silent for six months, and now you don't want to hear the truth! Channel Two - yes, Channel Two, the same station that has been spilling my blood for six months!
The YouTube flash movie clip brilliantly takes some of the actual opening words from Katzav's speech then morphs the shouting exchange into something altogether more explicit, mainly centering on the relative sizes of their strategic equipment and the professions and equipment of their mothers, before they both turn on the hapless female anchor in the studio and slap a sexual insult on her.
I'm stunned and appalled by the mountain of accusations of sexual crimes that have accumulated against President Katzav, but I'm also aware that behind the as yet unproven accusations stands a still deeply embedded culture which tolerates and even celebrates the sexual objectification and harassment of women, particularly when it comes to the self-abrograted prerogatives of men in power positions. Whether the clip intended to or not, it encapsulates that point neatly and tellingly.
Imshin wryly looks at the eagerness of one Israeli male she's close to to use the Katzav scandal as an excuse to slaver over some Israeli starlet who's spotted a great opportunity to get publicity for herself.
Not, of course, that this is uniquely a feature of Israel. The paradigm case of the sexually predatory male-in-power was of course John F Kennedy, who was covered up for by everyone from journalists to staffers and the FBI.
And of course, there's the extraordinary indulgence granted in English political culture to Alan Clark and John Prescott.
So, back to how wrong could I be?
When Moshe Katzav was originally elected President of Israel, I was actually really pleased. It was mainly because I thought it was great that an immigrant from Iran who grew up in a development town became head of state in preference to Shimon Peres, who seemed at the time to think he was entitled to the post, as a sort of consolation prize for no longer being Prime Minister.
I also saw it as positive that for the first time, someone who appeared to be either religiously observant, or at least very sympathetic to Jewish and Muslim religious culture, had got to be head of the Israeli state. Yes, I'm aware that his appointment was a result of the shennanigans of the notorious Likud Central Committee , but then the whole success of the post-1979 Likud project was based on politically empowering the Mizrachi Sephardi majority traditionally sidelined by the left-wing Ashkenazi elite.
My own awareness of that particular elite grew long years after being startled at the age of eighteen by my experience of living with my beloved Tel-Aviv cousins. They seemed like more or less an ordinary family-- they ran a custom lighting business. But it was still a home where government ministers, generals and the business and professional elite of the day might drop by any day, and the then president's sister was a regular visitor. Bit of a contrast to my own experience of growing up in the back streets of Stepney, where the nearest I got to our own British power elite was seeing the then Princess Elizabeth sweep past in a limousine in the year of her wedding when I was just three.
There you are. And I have to say at one time, quite a few years ago, I thought Chaim Ramon might offer hope for a new, less bureaucratic and self-satisfied direction to the Israeli Labour Party. Where is he now? Disgraced former Minister of Justice in the Kadima government, after accusations of sexual harrassment of a young woman, that he's fighting as hard as Katzav. At least he had the grace to resign.
And here's irony for you. Just at the moment when the Katzav speech is making headlines comes this little news story:
A 50-year-old female civilian employee of the IDF has been accused of sexually harassing four male officers and enlisted soldiers in an armory base in central Israel.
And as I'm going about my business yesterday, I find myself hearing an interesting BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour report about the eighth century Chinese Empress Wu, who in her seventies was still making young men of her entourage her lovers, seeing this role for them as not justpart of her prerogative but a way of retaining her strength and power .
Tonight, pay attention: This Wednesday, the 5th of April, 2006, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be
01:02:03 0 4/05/06. This will never happen again.
Actually, Karen, it will. If you follow the English, as opposed to the US, convention on writing dates numerically, that is. At two minutes and three seconds past one in the morning on the 4th May 2006, you'll have this:
It won't happen again till....2106. There might just be some babies and toddlers around today who'll be there to notice.
The heir to the throne of Great Britain, HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, during their visit to Egypt and sundry other places in north Africa.
I know HM Queen is hardly a snappy dresser. But she's managed to cope for over fifty years with visiting a great many sacred places of religions other than her own, and show respect for their faiths without ever feeling the need to .....And that includes her readiness to go barefoot when visiting a Hindu temple.
Years back, at the height of the fashion for an approach to "multicultural education" which got characterized as "saris and samosas", there was a colleague at my university, a lively and otherwise down-to-earth working class ethnic Englishwoman, who insisted on dressing herself in a sari whenever she presented lectures on the subject to our teacher trainees. I just used to wish the floor would open up and swallow me when I had to sit there and watch it. And then, even worse, when I found trainees attempting to follow her example in classrooms crowded with children from Pakistani and Punjabi families.
I would have thought the brilliant reverse portrayals of "Goodness Gracious Me", written by Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar and other British Asian writers, had put paid to that sort of nonsense for ever.
But no. Perhaps HRH thinks he might pass muster as some sort of Imam in waiting?
Time was when eccentric toffs like him fancied themselves dressed up in Arab tribal dress, like Lawrence of Arabia. And of course he grew up being dressed up in highland kilts, an absurdity initiated by his great great great great grandfather Prince Albert von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha when he and Victoria first played at being traditional highland lairds. He still wanders around looking almost as silly in a kilt during his summers at Balmoral.
Long may she live.
image from here, via here, which llinks to some more images of HRH in similar garb here.