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Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Pessimists like to be wrong. Optimists hope to be right. Tonight is a night for optimists.
Of course, it all depends upon the outcome you want. I want the UK to leave the EU. I want the Republicans to win the US election.

In the latter case, things are moving my way. In brief, both Democrat contenders would be worse than catastrophic. Hillary Clinton is a liar and a cynical opportunist. She may be much worse, perhaps even a murderer. Sanders is an ideologue, with a bad ideology, a stupid ideology. Either would be a catastrophe. The example and history of Detroit ought to be enough to make either Democrat unelectable. Sadly, the Democrats, the party of the KKK, of slavery and Jim Crow do have supporters. They also have the New Deal and Johnson’s disastrous War on Poverty with which to contend. But enough Americans know so little History or Economics that even these episodes do not make Democrats unelectable. Obama should have done so but hasn’t.

My excitement (justified or not) is based upon Jeb Bush’s departure from the race. JB seems to me to be a decent human being, as are his brother and his father. None of the Bushes is politically laudable or interesting but Jeb’s exit does narrow the Republican field. Still remaining are Cruz and Rubio. Both are interesting and politically laudable conservatives. Both are decent human beings.

Regrettably, they are still attacking each other, but in a shrinking field they have an incentive to join forces. Together they could defeat Trump. Both should rejoice to exclude Trump, a man with no apparent ideology (principles) at all.

What I would like to see is a redefinition of the vice presidency. I would like the vice president to be in charge of foreign policy. Were this to be the case, the vice presidency would be a very much more attractive option for an ambitious politician. In the current situation, at least, Cruz and Rubio would divide power between them and this would render defeat of both Trump and Clinton easier.

Boris Johnson has wisely declared himself to be in favour of Brexit. It is the patriotic choice and could lead to a Boris premiership. The arguments in favour of our continued membership of the EU are pathetic. It costs us 55 million pounds per day to share decision making with a European political class which doesn’t like us and which wants our influence on world affairs to be attenuated.

A UK prime minister unshackled from the EU would be orders of magnitude more influential on the world stage than is Cameron at the present. We are the world’s fifth largest economy and we are a nuclear power. We are members of the Security Council. The idea that by pooling our influence we have increased it is as absurd as suggesting that Norway would gain parity with us by joining the EU.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Fried Chicken

It was great. The next batch will be better.

In principle, I favour skin on and bone in for any chicken dish. However, on this occasion I chose thigh fillets, cut in half, because I hoped (and I was right) the chicken would cook quickly and remain moist.

I marinated the chicken pieces in milk with a little salt and pepper. Buttermilk, perhaps with an egg or two, may be a superior option.

To two cups of ordinary flour I added a teaspoon of salt, a generous quantity of pepper, a tablespoon of garlic powder, two teaspoons of dried tarragon, two teaspoons of crushed chillies, two teaspoons of paprika. I suspect that more generous quantities of the flavourings will also work, maybe better.

I then coated each chicken piece with the flour mixture. A plastic bag may have been the way to go.

I heated sunflower oil in a pan. As it began to smoke, I dropped in chicken pieces and watched them cook. Three or four pieces per batch cooked in about five minutes and were transferred to a plate covered with kitchen roll. Delicious! I may treat myself to a deep-frier.

A Mistake:
I mixed the milk and the remains of the flour and used it to coat frozen broccoli, thinking to deep fry the broccoli. It didn’t work. It might have with unfrozen vegetables.