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As the centenary version of Remembrance Day approaches another military-related story seems to have passed by pretty much unremarked. The European Court of Human Rights ruled early last month that it lacked the powers to force the British Government look into a 1948 massacre carried out in Malaya by the Scots Guards. The court said it lacked the jurisdiction to order an inquiry because the cold-blooded execution of 24 ethnic Chinese men on a rubber plantation occurred a decade before British private citizens were allowed to appeal to it and, secondly, that the 1969 admissions of massacre from squaddies involved were made too long ago. So, that's the Law. But what about the moral obligation to give the families of all involved the truth? The "shot while attempting to escape" official version of events at Batang Kali was shredded in 2015 at the High Court hearing in London. The court accepted that the massacre had taken place. But the Government's long-disseminated deep background version that the killings were done by a rogue patrol has still to be independently and thoroughly examined. The whole incident stinks of cover-up. And the British Government and British Army's silence and stone-walling continues to hurt the United Kingdom's reputation worldwide. Just do an internet search with the key words "Scots guards, massacre, 1948, Malaya" and you'll quickly see what a gift this cover-up is to Britain's enemies. Also see Batang Kali Revisited 

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I sometimes think that DNA is regarded as the new magic or religion. But like all science, the results are not always clear cut as they first seem. Example: - most post-mortems reveal food in the stomach, therefore eating causes death. OK, that's a bit extreme but every week we hear of some amazing scientific "discovery" which requires just a bit more money to double check through more research. And then the claimed breakthrough is never heard of again. Anyway, DNA. I am just waiting for some bright spark to announce that the Anglo Saxons settled the West Highlands of Scotland in the distant past. This is based on the DNA of the entire population of the remote Knoydart Peninsula now being heavily Anglo Saxon. That may be what the DNA science says. But history says that the original population was forcibly removed in the mid-1800s. Attempts in 1948 to use legislation first introduced after the First World War to allow returning servicemen to claim crofts on under-used agricultural land were defeated. The courts sided with Nazi-loving landowner Lord Brocket. And I wonder how scientists would fare when it comes to untangling the DNA of the historic population of the rural Highlands anyway. Many of the long standing families were kicked off the land, or emigrated, years ago to be replaced first of all by Border shepherds and these days by English estate workers. I say "English estate workers" because it seems that every stalker and ghillie I hear interviewed on the radio is from south of the border. And then there's a problem that DNA testing is revealing very few family trees are good guides to genetic make-up. A lot of dad's in them are not biological fathers. Personally, I don't care. I think nurture is far more important than nature. It makes no difference to me if one of my great great great grandfathers is no blood relation of mine (not that I’m saying that anyone has said such a thing). I find fascination with DNA misguided and even a little fascist.  

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So, according to the BBC, the Anglo Saxons once ruled Britain. That’s news – news to folks in Wales and Scotland.  This is getting like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s too easy to find a BBC journalist who cannot differentiate between England and Britain. This week I’m back with a regular offender – Dan Damon of the BBC World Service’s World Update. English “journalists” are the worst for this. Irish, Scottish and Welsh know better. The increasing number of foreigners to be heard on the BBC airwaves also tend not to make this kind of blunder; possibly because they have taken an interest in their adopted homeland and done some background study.  Sadly, many English assume they know it all. Damon perhaps needs some re-education, or should that be “education”, before he should be allowed on any programme which purports to be “British”. Until that is done he may be better suited to Radio Leicester or Radio Cumbria. The Anglo-Saxons never ruled Britain. It was only shortly before the Norman Invasion of 1066 that large swathes of northern England were wrested from Scandinavian control. English dominance of the British Isles had to wait until 1707. By which time our rulers were more Anglo-Norman than Anglo-Saxon. 

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A lot of the criminals live in a fantasy world in which in their own minds they are some kind of Robin Hood character. When I worked as a reporter on Tyneside, ram raiding was a popular crime. A vehicle would be driven through the front of a shop and then a faster getaway car would be loaded up with items and vanish into the night. The haul was usually highly portable but expensive property, such as electronics. One day local police were pursuing a stolen car when the thieves miscalculated a turn and were killed in the ensuing wreck. They were described in the paper as 'joyriders'. Almost unbelievably an outraged family member of one of the dead, I think it was his mother, phoned up to complain. The dead kid was no mere joyrider, he was a ram raider. I can only imagine that in her twisted and romanticized world ram raiding involved a classier sort of criminal. 

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I hate to tell you this; but there ain't no crock o'gold at the end of the rainbow. I know, because years ago I managed to get within a few feet of a rainbow touchdown. It was on at the beach at Campbeltown. I didn't think it was possible to get so close. So, apparently did the people who put out the story that there was a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some folks just love sending others on fools' errands; anyone got a tin of elbow grease? Now the science is that because a rainbow is caused by light refraction, they are usually only visible at a distance. But, obviously based on my experience, with the right combination of factors, it is possible to be within a few feet of a rainbow touchdown. There are people out there on the interweb who claim to actually have stood at the bottom of one. In my case I couldn't get closer than about 20 feet or so from the multi-coloured spotlight touchdown. So, either there's a treasure trove of over one hundred square feet under the beach at Campbeltown or there is no crock o'gold at all.

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