It is so difficult staying calm on doctor orders

This has been a week of anxieties and frustrations – woops, sorry Doctor, I am not supposed to get stressed, I know.

Well, all this waiting around for the next stage in my treatment is now over – phew!

I am off today to the hospital for a full skeletal survey which should be interesting and on Monday I am going for the day to our local, and apparently excellent, neurological hospital where they will do a load more testing and, I hope, come up with some solutions. One of course could be brain surgery.

I will keep you all informed – if I can of course.

So I am not going to get stressed up until after Monday – if I do I could exacerbate things in my brain and cause another round of dramas.

So I tried not to notice that picture of our last Prime Minister sharing smug, sorry, I mean happy grins with President Obama. Apparently, as with Presidents Clinton and Bush, Tony is his “good friend.”

I must be a misanthrope ‘cos I just don’t see it. He must be one of the most irritating and infuriating men in recent public life but I will not go there today. Let them get on with their friendship and good luck to them. I would just say though, Barack, old thing, Tony does get very very annoying when you get to know him. So be warned.

I have felt those veins in my brain expand quite a few times this week about the bankers too. Apparently they are going to get gigantic bonuses even though they have nearly brought the world to its knees.

I always thought bonuses were given to people who have done something that deserved a reward. Apparently not. In our times, bonuses are gigantic sums of money owing to big job financiers because they managed to screw ridiculous contracts out of their companies.

That means that Barclays, for instance, is about to pay £1.7 billion out in bonuses to traders and dealmakers on Wall Street. Wow! Imagine the size of these bonuses if those dealers had actually done a good job.

As I say, I am moving on.

I am trying not to say anything about gollywogs.

Unfortunately, the British press just can’t stop talking about. It may not have filtered over seas so I will briefly fill you in.

Margaret Thatcher, like Tony Blair, a former British prime minister, had two children, twins, both of which have spent more time in the public eye than their mother or the rest of the British public really wanted.

Mark Thatcher is of course, a nauseating little prig who has his fingers in all sorts of unsavoury pies and, like those bankers, got ridiculously over-rewarded for his troubles. He even inherited his father’s Viscountcy – a minor title which makes him one of that discredited class of people, the British aristocracy. The father was awarded the title for his long-suffering time as patient Prime Minsterial husband.

His twin sister, Carol, always seemed the better egg.

She is fun, doesn’t stand on her dignity, and doesn’t mind how low she sinks for a living – she even does work for television.

Of course the flip side of this is that she doesn’t always watch was she says, unlike her brother who never says anything if he can help it, particularly in front of judges and policemen.

Carol was having a few drinks, well let’s face it, probably more than just a few, in the hospitality room at the BBC after a show.

All the guests and BBC types were watching the Australian Open on the television when Carol made these unwise remarks.

The French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he is the son of a white French mother and a black Congolese father.

Carol referred to him, jokingly, she says, as “the gollywog frog.”

People were offended, she made a slightly less than thorough apology and the BBC announced that it had no further plans for her.

Since then, the British public has gone mad with the story making it the biggest event in British history since two TV personalities said rude things on air some time at the end of last year.

Great, you may think, Britain is finally waking up to the damage that can be done by careless language.

Well, no, actually.

There has been an enormous wave of suppport for Carol – well she was the star of a celebrity reality series and she is, as I say, jolly good fun.

The black minority in Britain sees it differently of course.

Gollywogs were much cherished children’s toys in the first half of the 20th. Century – if you had a teddy bear then you probably had a golly too.

Carol is of that last gollywog generation and, lets be generous, she probably has fond memories of her’s and the little metal gollywog badges given out by a well-known jam manufacturer.

In that spirit, let’s say it because I am being nice and I don’t want to have a brain seizure, she said those mockingly humourous remarks in the spirit of affection whilst drawing attention to the tennis player’s physical characteristics.

She was doing nothing more than Prince Harry did when he referred to a Pakistani fellow cadet as “our little Paki friend.” He too, apparently, was affectionately joking.

Sadly, these words are no longer innocent, if they ever were, and they do and have caused offence.

OK, we should all be more thick skinned I often think. No one should be above contempt when humour is unleashed.

It would be a fairer and kinder society if we were all equally open to mockery but we are not all equal. Generalised, humourous or not, remarks aimed at racial characteristics may not be meant as insults, I am sure that is true in Carol’s case, but they are de-personalising an entire section of society, one of the least privileged in our country too.

So what seems to some as a lot of fuss about nothing really is more serious. Long before those loveable little gollies made it to English nurseries, they were caricatures of African-American slaves, direct descendants of the “nigger minstrels” – those happy, lazy slaves with their fuzzy hair, big lips and rolling eyes.

In other words the mockery as demonstrated in those minstel shows was not a friendly ribbing between equals but a cultural put-down and trivialisation of the iniquitous slave trade, the worst example of man’s inhumanity to man before the Nazi holocaust.

Carol Thatcher was not a willing participator in this form of racism, for sure, but she almost certainly could have been more careful in her remarks, maybe she should look again at her attitude to African features, and she most certainly needs to learn how to say sorry – or book a better PR agent.

Well, I nearly got stressed about that but I tried my best to stay calm.

Let’s finish with a tribute to Joe Calzaghe, probably the greatest of all British boxers, who retired yesterday at the age of 36 after the unprecidented record of being undefeated in all his 46 professional fights.

I know some of you disapprove of boxing, or any form of fighting for that matter. But, as I am not supposed to be getting stressed this week, just shut up about it, and celebrate the man’s achievement., OK. Or else!

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