He's Hoppin' Mad (Political Rant Part II)

Wednesday 9/3/2005

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Diary and Notes

I'm still hopping mad and my rant continues (hurrah!) so I decided to eat something in keeping with my mood. Today's dinner is an old creole classic, Hoppin' John, or as I am calling it Hoppin' mad Jon - a mix of rice, black eye beans, pork and flavourings - delicious.

Now where was I?

Pathetic. That's what it is. The only people standing in the way of an authoritarian and overbearing government are the old duffers in the House of Lords, that's where I had gotten to yesterday (oh, and the persecution of religious minorities).

Today I shall continue the first theme and examine what happened to the opposition to the 'detention without trial or the chance to defend yourself or even hear the evidence' bill.

The main opposition party, the Conservatives, were against it from the start. They claimed it was the greatest attack on our civil liberties since they were in power (and they know all about abuse of power). They were fundamentally opposed to it in every way and it was a matter of principle.

Until they read the opinion polls which said that a majority of people were in favour of the new law.

And then the pedals started in reverse and it was 'Everyone backpedal together'.

I am not sure why opinion polls seem to have come to this conclusion and there is some evidence that they may have been wrong. It is belived that most people at the time had no idea what the legislation was about and just opted to tick the 'lock up the muslims' box on their form. No opinion polls have been released since the debate really got going and people may have changed their views somewhat. Also, our country is not and should not be run by opinion polls. The masses will always vote for draconian legislation on the premise that 'it will never happen to me.' There were periods in the seventies when the majority would have happily voted for the expulsion of all blacks back to the West Indies, but that didn't make it a good idea.

So the Conservatives, having claimed it was a matter of principle, didn't stop the bill and let it pass through the House of Commons for fear of being seen as soft (Michael Howard, soft?) and threw their principles in the bin, along with my vote.

And what of the Liberal Democrats, now they really are opposed to this legislation, it goes to the very heart of everything they stand for.

They didn't vote.

"What?" I hear you ask, surely they voted against the bill.

No, seventeen of them (including Charles Kennedy, the party leader) were not even there at the debate. The piece of legislation that they claim is the most fundamental attack on our freedom since they were last in power (and that was about 100 years ago) and they don't even bother to turn up to vote.

"But the government would still have won." You say.

No it wouldn't. So many of the government's own people voted against it that theiy only won by fourteen votes. Seventeen Liberal MP's failed to turn up (including their leader Charles Kennedy, I repeat this so that you remember his name) which would have been enough to defeat the government by three votes.

So there we have it.

A government so authoritarian that a large number of its own people vote against them (and many only fell into line because a general election is on the way and they don't want to damage their chances), the Conservative opposition that will sell out it's principles if the polls seem to be in the other direction and the Liberals too incompetant and lazy to bother to even turn up. And who is trying to save us? The House of Lords, an unelected body of peers, many of whom inherited their positions and have no mandate from the people whatsoever.

In union elections there is always a candidate called RON; re-open nominations. If he stood at this coming election I think he just might be worth my cross. Failing that bring back Robert Catesby, Percy and their old hatchet man Guy-Fawkes. I will happily supply the matches.


A word on the ingredients: Hoppin John is one of those old creole dishes which were originally made by slaves. As such, the meat used would not have been of the best quality and most recipes call for ham hocks. I didn't have any ham hock and getting pork on the bone isn't easy in Exeter so I used the fatty bits cut off the end of some loin steaks (I bought a big tub of pork loins and froze the meaty bits for another day). Also I didn't have any American creole sausage (who does) so used some thick cut salami.

Cake Blog

Ginger and nut sponge: There was a thing going on in the staff room and I managed to grab a free slice of cake. This was the only thing that I hadn't had so far.


  • Hoppin' John


  • Brown rice, black eye beans, vegetable oil, onions, garlic, celery, chilli, pork, salami, green pepper, canned tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, cumin, oregano, celery salt, black pepper.


  • Put the rice on to boil. In another pan sweat the onion, garlic, celery and chilli. Add the pork and turn the heat up a little to brown the meat. Add the salami, chopped pepper, the chopped tomatoes and the spices/herbs. When the rice is nearly cooked, drain and add to the pot, pour in the rinsed black eye beans, put the lid on, turn the heat down real low and go and smoke a cigar or have a beer for an hour.