Sunday, October 24, 2004

Finding Neverland

At Brixton Ritzy’s showing of Finding Neverland on Sunday 24 October I don’t think anyone shifted from their seats until the credits were over. They were clearly moved by this most romantic of films.

J M Barrie a successful Scottish playwright at the turn of the last century played by Johnny Depp is going through a bit of a dry creative spell. Taking his morning walk in the park he strikes up a friendship with the four children of a beautiful and spirited widow, Kate Winslet. His friendship develops and he becomes deeply involved with the family to the despair of the widow’s mother, Julie Christie, and the envy of his beautiful but conventional wife, Radha Mitchell.

His close involvement with his delightful surrogate family is the inspiration for his triumphantly successful play put on by his indulgent American theatre producer Dustin Hoffman. Eventually his wife leaves him and Kate Winslet dies but not before domineering and protective grandmother Julie Christie warms to him.

The actors playing the children with a mixture of verbal sophistication and naivety are particularly good. Johnny Depp who is supposed to have difficulty with accents maintains a gentle unexaggerated Scottish accent for his superb portrayal of Barrie.
Kate Winslet only has to play Kate Winslet and does so with total conviction. She is perfect. Hoffman, Christie and Mitchell are excellent as are the supporting cast.

The film raises the sensitive issue of Barrie’s close friendship with the four boys in a scene at a cricket match where a friend warns him of the way people think. Barrie dismisses these fears as I'm sure did the audience at the Ritzy and as I hope they will do all over the world.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

John Kerry is an alien

It came to me as a revelation. How come Kerry was so familiar to me. And then I understood.

Kerry is actually Dick in Third Rock from the Sun. In order to blend in, he assumed the human form of actor John Lithgow utilising a bald wig. Since the show finished its run he thought with his enormous intelligence that he should run for President. The Big Giant Head, however, is considering calling him back now his cover is blown.

Can Tom, Dick, Harry and Sally persuade BGH otherwise ?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Robocops come to Lisbon for Euro 2004

The Sun on 24 May published two pictures that made my 59 year old blood run cold. What looked like a Hollywood publicity still showed Portuguese police in full body armour with grenade launchers and flash-ball guns that fire rubber bullets preparing for a football competition. An adjacent picture showed cavalry officers for all the world like medieval samurai warriors. The message delivered by an officer was: “Do not try to fight us, just run.”

Is this the brave new Europe utilizing the fictional Detroit model of social control?

EU ends UK summer railway timetables

I’m one of those people who have never really been able to understand railway timetables. By the time I have worked out where the route is in the booklet and laboriously worked out when to travel I realise that I’m looking at the weekend timetable or vice versa, whatever gives me the wrong times.

Now, thanks to a European Union directive my task becomes even more difficult. Britain’s rail network must drop its twice a year summer and winter timetables that come out in May and November in favour of a single timetable coming out in December to ensure closer alignment of rail services across Europe.

This may be quite useful for Europe but we of course are not in Europe. This is another example of subsidiarity. We do what we are told.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Look at this blogspot

More items of interest can be seen on
The latest report is on the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Atlas still shrugging

"We're after power and we mean it. there's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. one declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Now that's the system Mr Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it you'll be much easier to deal with." So said Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein to Hank Rearden the inventor and developer of the fabulous Reardon metal in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas shrugged.

Panned by the critics [and by many of those who love the book] it has remained in continuous print since its publication in 1957 and continues to have an enormous impact upon the political convictions of anti socialists.

When I first read its thousand pages or so I believed that Ms Rand had gone over the top in the description of her imagined America but with every year that passes her passionate message of individual freedom under threat becomes more relevant.

I'm moved to record this because of an article by Paul Craig Roberts entitled Bill Gates meets Hank Rearden

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Education for Democrats

"It is now almost universally accepted that British education is facing a crisis." This is the fortieth anniversary of the first sentence in chapter 1 of the Institute of Economics Hobart Paper by Alan Peacock and Jack Wiseman arguing for a system of vouchers, bursaries and loans that would give parents the freedom to choose between private and state schools and colleges.
The crisis remains but the authors ideas in Education for Democrats have had a gradually accelerating political impact.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

6 March 2004

Labour Party chairman reported to police

Following Labour Party chairman Ian McCartney’s speech to the Scottish Labour Party Conference at Inverness on 28 February referring to shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin as a 21st century Fagin and his failure so far to apologise for it, his action was reported on 1 March to Scotland’s Northern Constabulary by Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup to determine whether it was in breach of the Public Order Act.
Mr Hartup commented: “The use the term Fagin, Charles Dickens's archetypal evil Jew, in McCartney’s laboured but offensive description dragged political debate into the gutter. Mr Blair should take McCartney’s speech off the Party website immediately, demand a public apology from him and should it not be forthcoming sack him. Mr McCartney claims to be anti-racist and as chairman of the Labour Party he should be well aware that in a widely reported January ICM poll 11% of respondents disagreed strongly with the view that a Jewish Prime Minister would make an equally acceptable Prime Minister as a member of any other faith. McCartney’s scripted keynote speech, however, plays even if he doesn’t understand or intend this, to these very prejudices. He has made himself part of the problem. ”
Mr Hartup also reported Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer to Nottinghamshire Police on March 1 following a report in the Mail on Sunday on 29 February that a month after the World Trade Centre atrocity as part of a Taliban satire he posted on his website and e-mailed a substantial series of racially and religiously offensive ‘jokes’ to up to 1400 of his constituents.

Mr Hartup commented: “Were Mr Palmer, for example, a prospective police or prison officer he would surely be deemed unacceptable and if a serving officer no doubt sacked. Should even a schoolboy distribute such material it would have to be recorded as a racial incident. Does Parliament have lower standards? Should his unfortunate constituents be made morally complicit in his anti-Arab and anti-Islamic ‘jokes’? The Prime Minister must demand from him a public apology and remove the whip should he not give one.”


1. Mr McCartney’s speech can still be seen on the Labour Party’s website at
2. ICM poll can be seen on
3. Mr Palmer’s justification can be seen on Here he explains in Jokes row explodes where he believes the line should be drawn: that Ann Winterton’s shark joke was unacceptable but that his own contribution was not.
4. Gerald Hartup reported Ann Winterton MP to Cheshire police for her train ‘joke’ in May 2002. In 1992 he instigated the prosecution of Cheltenham racist Bill Galbraith for his behaviour during and after the selection of Conservative Party candidate John [now Lord] Taylor for the then Tory marginal seat of Cheltenham won and now held by the Liberal Democrats.

Further information: Gerald Hartup contact as above

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Make cooking instructions transparent

I don't know about you but I'm cooking a small shoulder pork joint for lunch today from Tesco. The instructions on the outside of the packet tells me that it takes about 90 minutes to cook and that the full cooking instructions are on the reverse. They are but I can't read them. How so? Well the instructions are written in about 2 point and can only be read by someone with perfect vision in natural light. Is Tesco short of space? Not at all. The instructions only take up about 40% of the available space. The rest is elegantly blank white space. Normally I don't need reading glasses but I've had to find them to perform this simple domestic chore. I'm now going to drop Tesco a line but I thought I would share my anguish.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

13 March 2004

This is the blog of Gerald Hartup. I am the director of a London [England] action orientated think tank Liberty and Law. I have an almost thirty year background in pressure group politics. I was the director of the Freedom Association until 1999 and a Conservative councillor on the London Borough of Southwark from 1986 to 1990.