Friday, 11 February 2011


From the first day of the troubles in Egypt, western media, spokespeople and the general mood were for the street and against the Mubarak regime.

You could not open the radio or TV without hearing someone talking of how exciting this was and how it reminded him or her of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reporters forgetting that they are meant to report the news and not salute them, couldn’t hide their glee. None more so than the Independent’s Robert Fisk who climbed onto a tank that had been taken over by an anti government crowd at Tahrir square in Cairo.

Is Mubarak more corrupt than Berlusconi or Putin? Is Putin’s Russia more democratic than Mubarak’s Egypt? Do Egyptians who want to leave get shot at the country’s borders as they used to in Soviet bloc countries?

Does Egypt fund hate preaching mullahs, as does Saudi Arabia? Do they fund terror, as do Iran and Syria? Do they allow extremist Islamic training camps and religious schools to flourish, as does Pakistan?

Why is the West so happy to support a revolution in the most stable and peaceful country in the Middle East? Why compare this uprising to the fall of the Berlin Wall?

PS: In 2009 the US courts had 52 people killed under US justice compared to 5 who were given the death penalty in Egypt.

Plumber: Parts II - V

Plumber – Part II

Michael the plumber came back from his skiing holiday and finally came to see my hot water boiler. He would email me a price quotation over the weekend, he said.

He didn’t.

I emailed him on Monday. No response. I rang him on Tuesday and he promised to have an email out tonight.

Plumber – Part III

I did not get an email and rang again on Wednesday. Spoke to the plumber’s mother who explained that she was very busy as their accountant was leaving for a holiday in Mauritius… She promised to email the quotation right away.

She did.

Plumber – Part IV

Chasing the plumber was a mistake. The family evidently expects me to personally fund the plumber’s skiing vacation; perhaps even chip in for the accountant's trip to Mauritius. The quotation I was sent allowed for some £900 for a day’s work (not including materials). The notes that came with the quotation added that I would also have to pay for the parking of his car and that he expected half the money upfront. No mention was made of what he expected on his sandwiches or whether I would have to pay for the dry cleaning of his soiled overalls.

I turned him down.

Plumber - Part V

Can anyone recommend a reliable and reasonable plumber (registered to do gas work) in London?