In yet another sign of utter desperation and total venality - not to mention barrel scraping, lowest-common-denominator- arselicking, and a determination to stick it to anyone in the audience who knows how to spell audience (I wouldn't mind betting they have a whiteboard with "Awe-dience" scribbled on it) TV1 habe once again struck gold. As long as you think manure is gold, that is..
On the day that the PM, our very own Jonkey, gets up on his hind legs and generalises and teases about some projected tax cuts "that some will use to lay off debt*", TV1 had organised to have a hard-hitting (Al guffaws richly) interview with him on "Colgate Close Up". This would have been their chance to show the country they had some journalstic chutzpah, integrity, and balls. They could have peppered him like a cheap steak about this non-announcement. This could have been award-winning stuff.
Instead, they canned the interview, and did a story about a second-grade ex-All Black who did vile, drunken things to a 15 year old child... and then spontaneously apologised after being threatened with court action. And even then, they treated the apology as if it were a gracious thing: a king humbles himself. Breaking spews, folks, TV1 style.
* Tui moment, anyone?
So - finally. Someone's had the nous to address drug abuse as a health problem, instead of a Laura Norder concern. We have criminalised hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have a health problem. We started experimenting with this years ago when we turfed mentally ill people out on the streets, then applauded as they were quickly herded into prison. We rapidly followed it up with drug abusers.
Common sense tells us that we need to de-criminalise drugs. We'll take all that power (and money) out of the filthy gang members' hands... and start helping abusers and addicts back into being healthy individuals. Predictably, Jonkey's Laura Norder Justice spokesman foamed at the mouth as he rejected the report (before reading it? Probably), and suggested that there'd be no change to the law, no, not as long as while bile flowed through his veins...
READING: "The Long Night of Winchell Dear", by Robert James Waller. Yes, the man who brought us "The Bridges of Madison County". It is, it must be said, excellent.
LISTENING TO: Fiona Pears, "Fire & Light".
WORD OF THE DAY: Integrity. Journalistically, TV1 blew it.
Back in Trentham, they hadn't considered the thought of counter-sniping: their lack of imagination had been the cause of three deaths.
Now, four months in, Arthur was one of only two snipers on this stretch of the British line. The other was, in fact, in the British army, although he'd drop you with his outsize fist if you called him a Pom, or a Briton. Andy McShea was a Scot, and was terrified that his flaming red hair would be the end of him.
“They can see it a fookin' mile off, Arthur. I smear boot polish through my hair, but it just makes the orange stand out even further.'
Arthur had found Andy a long woman's wig in the French town down the track, in return for the ghillie's suit the bog Scot had made him. The ghillie's suit was the Scottish gamekeeper's first weapon against the determined poachers: It was an overall that had bits and pieces of sacking, feathers, fleece, scraps of uniform stitched over it – anything that would break up their outline, and make them appear to be just another part of the landscape. In return, Arthur had also scavenged a couple of pieces of steel plate, and had then cut and filed slots into them, and attached a stand. From any more than ten yards they looked like a couple of pieces of scrap metal, rusty and filthy. They weighed more than 30 pounds each, and each one had saved their lives more than once.
Arthur woke two hours before dawn every day. He brewed a cup of tea, and ate the bully beef sandwiches the mess-man had brought for him the night before. He dressed carefully, and checked the rifle that he'd carefully cleaned and checked five hours previously. He looked for wet spots, for swellings in the wooden frame, for any hint of rust. He worked the bolt's action, making sure it flew back and forth under his fingers. Then he filled his ammunition pouch: twenty rounds only. Each bullet would have been checked and polished. At night he used emery paper to rub away any imperfections in the shape of each bullet. Andy McShea mocked his fastidious work, but Arthur's single-mindedness of purpose would not allow him to take any chances with accuracy.
He dressed warmly, despite the heat of the early Autumn days. Where he was going, he'd be constantly in shadow, and lying on a supposedly water-proof tarpaulin. For most of the day he'd move extremely slowly: he make a shot, then slowly slither away, dragging his shield and tarp behind him. Speed was the killer. Speed told the Germans where he was. Arthur's skill at disappearing in four feet of bush back home in New Zealand's Waikato kept him alive, day after day.
And Arthur had to survive. His conscience, that damnable worm in his brain, wouldn't allow him to die.