Why do we have Polls???

Most politicians will tell you they do not pay attention to the polls (yeah right) especially if haRPER NOSEhuffy duffytalking dog2their party is running behind! Of course if they are way out in front they will tell you they are not surprised. Frankly, I don’t want to believe the polls from this election, Harper leading, how can that be possible? Seriously, polls are merely guesses and not often very accurate.  If Harper is in front then the polls are either conservative managed or the pollsters are drinking too much Tim Horton’s coffee.  Maybe not Timmy’s  maybe Irish coffee because they sure are talking a lot blarney. I watch the news, read the FB-Twitter  and see almost nothing to indicate that the conservatives are leading. Harper comes under fire at every turn, the TTP, his homophobic candidates, the Ni-jab are just a few items. His latest defense of the Trade deal is to promise the auto sector over a billion dollars  to supplement the loss of local jobs in the industry. If this trade deal is so good why do we even need subsidies or fear job loses. I realize we will have to wait until the 19th October to learn the actual truth and real results. But I have faith, just tonight I watched the Rick Mercer show, he featured the student campaign to get out the vote at universities across the nation. It was exciting to watch and I think very real, we might see a huge increase in the vote count this time around.  I also think it is the absolute last thing Harper wants or needs. Now it would be interesting to do a poll of universities across Canada, I think we would see a very different projection. However, as I have already said the real and only poll happens on the 19th, I feel confident we will be saying good bye to the Harper Government the following morning. Canada will return to being a democratic nation once again. I’m not going to ask, to suggest or tell anyone how to vote.  For myself it will be ABC “Anyone But Conservative”

God Bless and keep reading.

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A Great Country.

canada_flagAs we progress into the final days of this lengthy election period I have to wonder at the speeches from our hopeful candidates and the promises they are making. I wonder why the Prime Minister is campaigning with a host of new promises that he will do if elected. Well Mr Harper you are elected and are presently running this great country, so why do you need to make promises, we just want you to do your job openly and honestly. Growing up in the back streets of Belfast N.Ireland in the 1940’s and 50’s I recall my life.  Six people lived in a tiny two bedroom house, we had no bath and a toilet in the back yard. We had no hot water except what we heated on the gas range. We had no electricity just a gas mantle in the main kitchen for light. We had no heat except for a coal fire place in the kitchen . No laundry facilities but for a wash board and a tin tub. We had no health care no employment insurance and if we didn’t have work we didn’t have food or money for rent. The lack of a good education I left school as soon as I reach the age of 14, working was more important the family needed the money. We lived a very precarious hand to mouth life. When I landed in Canada in the 1960’s I was amazed at the high standard of living. It seemed everyone had a car, every apartment and home had a telephone a fridge a bath and shower, central heating. There was work to be found and the wages were so much better than back in Belfast. In my more than 50 years living in this great country I have come to the conclusion I made a great decision in choosing to make Canada my home. Today I still see this as a great country and I beleive we still have wonderful opportunities for ourselves and our children. What I don’t see is the continuing need to complain, the moaning about prices, belittling our youth,  taxes, politicians, suitable work, mortgage rates, high rents etc, hell we even complain about the weather. Canada is indeed a land of milk and honey, people just need to realize that and get on with life. We make the nation, we make it tick, we shape our futures we make the decisions. Once we realize that perhaps, we can get on with building on that firm foundation that is Canada. We do not need politicians promising more if we vote for them. We need politicians to do the job they have been elected to do, and to do it in an open and honest way.  If we can stop complaining for a moment we might just see how fortunate we are. If we stop complaining for a minute we might just elect a few decent people to our government. Anyway those are my views, you may not agree. I judge my life by the  warm and comfortable home I live in, by the food on the table, the peaceful village I live in. The assurance our police are keeping the peace in our cities and towns and our troops stand on guard for us. I’m not sure what more we could ask for???

God Bless and keep reading.

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A wee bit poorly this weekend

black bush and flagarsenal pennentI didn’t have a great weekend, felt a bit under the weather. I spent much of Saturday sleeping in my chair while trying to watch the Premiership games on TV. Sunday I didn’t feel too much better, was still in my chair, watching Everton and Liverpool tie their game 1-1. However, the second match was Arsenal vs Manchester United, I was worried if Arsenal were to lose,  in my delicate condition, I might have to be rushed to the Emergency at the local hospital. In the meantime two amazing things happened. The first was a wonderful Gift from Glenn and Joy in Ireland. They send me a magical and famous Irish potion and cure, actually they sent me two bottles just in case one didn’t work. They also sent me the flag of Ulster to wrap myself in, just in case I was cold.  As if this miraculous cure from Ireland wasn’t enough, the amazing Gunners beat Man U 3-0. I’m cured I’m cured, thanks to doctors Glenn and Joy and to the great Arsenal team.  I suppose, if I’m honest I’m still not feeling a 100% just a wee bit weak, might have to get Linda to take the cork out of my medicine bottle for me!!! But not to worry too much I think I might just have enough strength to raise the glass by myself.birthday 2011 003

God Bless and keep reading

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The Voice of an Angel

I cannot think of a nicer way to start a Sunday Morning than watching and listening to the attached link

There is no need to say more.

God Bless and keep reading

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The Submarine is Born.

holland birthday

Its a little ironic that I chose 2nd October 2015, as the day to write about the Canadian submarine HMCS Windsor. If I’d been more alert I would have realized this particular date had a much more important significance for the Royal Navy Submarine Service. One hundred and fourteen years ago today the first successful submarine was launched into the fleet of the Royal Navy. It was not welcomed by all those in the Admiralty, some saw it as an ineffective, unreliable and an unnecessary cost. This was at the time of the great battleships, they were considered the worlds greatest deterrent against war. How the Navies of worlds  have changed since, not to mention two world wars. We have moved from battleships to aircraft carriers and finally to the ultimate weapon the Nuclear Submarine.  Sadly I can’t say our Admirals have changed as much in the last 114 years, at least, not the Admiral who sail in HMCS Windsor and wrote a glowing report claiming it was, and I quote ”  one of the most sophisticated and reliable combat systems in the world”. How he reached this conclusion about a boat that is over twenty year old and powered by diesel electric.  Fortunately he did somewhat qualified his statement when he referred to Jules Verne and the fantasy of the fictional submarine Nautilus 20 thousand league beneath the sea.


From the Royal Navy Submarine Museum

Join us in celebrating the 114th anniversary of the launch of HM Submarine Torpedo Boat No 1. Also known as Holland 1 after John Phillip Holland the Irish American designer the submarine was launched on this day 2nd October 1901 and marks the birth of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service.

Sorry for missing such a historic date in Naval History, as a Royal Navy submariner myself, I have no excuse to offer for this blatant error. Unless, perhaps you might forgive this old sailor because 2nd October was also my beloved daughter Susannah’s birthday.

God Bless and keep reading

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Canada’s Submarines??? An Admirals View

The history and purchase of the four Upholder class British submarines acquired in the HM/SM Otter1990’s is a story of mostly disaster and waste.  The first major disaster was fire aboard Chicoutime  en-route from the UK.  One submariner (Lt Chris Saunders) lost his life and two others were seriously injured. The next disaster occurred when the  submarine Cornerbrook hit the sea floor doing 11 knots and caused serious and costly damage. The navy reported this accident as merely a fender bender. Of these four boats after more than two decades three are only now near to being seaworthy. The last report I heard, only one (Victoria ) is so far capable of firing a torpedo. As an old submariner myself I have no desire to besmirch the the men and women presently serving in Canada’s submarines. However, some of the statements coming from Naval Command are less than believable. These four boats are already near the end of their safe and useful service, ten or less years remaining at best. This was  costly and a great waste of tax payers money that should have been spent building our own nuclear boats. I have copied an article below, clearly the Admiral holds a very different view from mine. One could say its a grand piece of propaganda. He has managed to make the Windsor sound like a roaring success!!!

MARLANT – Admiral’s View / September 30, 2015-hmcscornerbrook2submarine windsor

In 1870, Jules Verne conjured up an epic experience aboard Nautilus.  His characters voyaged for 20,000 leagues under the sea, enthralling readers for decades with the beauty, mystery and intrigue of the deep.  Having been one such reader, recently I was thrilled to sail in HMCS Windsor in order to congratulate the crew for attaining the highest level of operational readiness.  The drilled submariners of Windsor, their oneness with their iron beast, and a stealthy probe of Nova Scotia’s rocky coast are the inspiration for this Admiral’s View.

Everything about their boat’s interior is cramped: accommodations take second place to machinery.  There was vacancy for me on an empty torpedo tray that was surprisingly cozy, albeit my neighbour gave me the chills. I comforted myself in the knowledge that it is one of the most sophisticated and reliable combat systems in the world, one that induces a respectful standoffishness from prying surface forces.

In the Control Room, sonar operators sit shoulder-to-shoulder with weapon directors tucked under the curving ceiling thick with plumbing and wires. At a control panel illuminated like a Christmas tree, the helmsman flies the boat much like an aviator pilots an airplane.  Behind him sits the first operator, trimming the boat level by gently adjusting water or air into ballast tanks, ready at an instant to help the stubby wings drive the boat to the surface or deep to safety.

The Navigator guides the submarine’s progress, the Attack Coordinator the tactics.  They have brought the boat up from safe depths offshore into shoal waters of the coast. We glide gently beneath the swells, with just enough depth below the keel to evade passing ships. Two periscopes dominate the room, but are used most sparingly in order to avoid detection.

Seventeen sailors pass eight-hour watches in this small space.  They operate the most modern sonar and weapon systems in the world, and practice the art of stealth every minute of the day.  Windsor’s powerful effect is achieved by hiding in the obscurity of the sea, where light, radar and magnetics have little effect.  Sound is the illuminator of the deep as whales and shrimp confirm.  But it takes decades to master the art and science of using it to advantage.  Despite the march of time and technology, Windsor remains at the forefront of advancement in undersea operations.  She is the master of covert surveillance, choosing when and where to enter the operational theatre, her stealth assured by the consideration of silence in all elements of her design.  Ashore, operational staffs secretly guard information on the boat’s movements so that prying eyes must work very hard to attempt to put a pin on their chart.

Aboard the submarine, the captain is the focus of the cumulative skill and experience of the crew.  Festooned with stopwatches, he follows a disciplined drill using crisp increments of time to drive instantaneous calculations for pressing home his mission or evading should a patrolling force detect them.

He orders the periscope up, grasping its controls as they rise from the bowels of the boat.  Crawling on his knees he sweeps the periscope around, keeping the lens just barely above the sea’s surface and covering the full horizon in mere seconds.  The crew knows his routine, listens to his narrative while contributing depth, speed, sonar and bearing information into the dialogue.

A sailboat is detected making for a bay. The rattle of an anchor chain confirms a buoy nearby. A lighthouse tower betrays a rocky islet still unseen to the boat’s watery eye.  Straining ears listen for approaching warships and aircraft, while computers process the sound, tease out the location of the source, and classify new targets by telltale frequencies.  For hours the crew remains acutely focused on their surveillance objective, relaxing only when they have safely reached the sanctuary of deep water where complex ocean layers conceal their next move.

Below the control room, a rested watch briskly dines.  Meals at 0300, 1100 and 1900 punctuate the day, the cooks and steward working their magic in a broom closet kitchen.  A friendly, fun and nourishing galley is central to good morale and mission success.  In the after part of the submarine, two engineers tend to the generators, batteries, ventilation and pumps.  The work is hot and busy for everybody and training drills are a constant in their daily lives.

A very proud Windsor is somewhere out there in the North Atlantic, eating up thousands of leagues under the sea, contributing surveillance information to the benefit of Canadian security, and providing her crew all the challenge and intrigue befitting a classic novel.


We sailors are certainly adept at spinning tall and salty sea stories, but I have to say the Admiral wins with this as he  describes  Windsor as  “one of the most sophisticated and reliable combat systems in the world”   My goodness Admiral,  you will cause other navies of the world to tremble at this news of Canada’s most formidable seagoing weapon!!!!

God Bless and keep reading

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Strategic Voting

nilsSeems  there is quite a few arguments about voting ones true preferred party or voting strategically. I voiced my opinion a few days ago regarding the Egmont riding.  Of course I support the Green Party and I would like to vote for them. The problem is, in doing so it may lead to another conservative win for Gail Shea, or Robert Morrisey winning for the Liberals. As I’m not keen on either of these two candidates I have to consider how my vote will be most effective.  Surely it has to be Herb Dickieson of the NDP,  I like Nils Ling and have great respect for him, but he started late in the campaign and I do not see him winning. However, the danger is he can bleed votes from the NDP allowing either of the fore mentioned to win the riding. There is a debate going on presently on Face Book and it appears several people have the same worries and position as I do.

I have copied some of the talk going on both pro and con

Darcie Lanthier
I find this so infuriating because if the NDP was serious about vote splitting they would pull some of their candidates in strong Liberal Ridings.
I got a call from an NDP canvasser last night, asking me if they could count on my vote. “I’m voting Green,” I said. The canvasser immediately burst into a harangue about how I would be splitting t…
  • Chris Alders So called strategic voting demeans democracy. Don’t vote out of fear. Vote what you believe. In my case that’s www.greenparty.ca

    The Green Party of Canada is working to build a more prosperous and sustainable future for all Canadians.…


  • Anna C KeenanAnna C Keenan I’m a Green, but (somewhat controversially in Green circles) also pro-strategic voting while the broken FPTP voting system is still in place. No progress can be made on anything if Conservatives get a majority again.

    But I also believe that being reSee More

    Like · Reply · 2 · 4 hrs
    • Darcie Lanthier
    • Darcie Lanthier There is no such thing as an accurate poll and no chance of a Conservative being elected in Cardigan, Charlottetown or Malpeque and in Egmont the NDP and the Liberals have no one to blame but themselves.

  • Anna C Keenan
  • Anna C Keenan But yeah, this sort of impolite treatment by an NDP volunteer is pretty shitty. We should respect people’s views and not abuse them for it, whether they’re a committed supporter of any particular party, or a committed strategic voter.

  • Dennis Mackay


Dennis Mackay In Manitoba many NDP supporters will be voting!stragetically as will many Liberals!
Its hard to agree with Darcie as she make one statement “there is no such a thing as an accurate poll” but then goes on to say there is no chance of a conservative being elected in any Island riding The latter sounds a bit like a poll to me???
So folks there you have some agree some disagree, I don’t see any real answer to this dilemma until we change the ‘First Past The Post” to a more democratic system of PR.
God Bless and keep reading
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HMS Cockade The Last Reunion.

hms_cockadeAn old shipmate sent me an email relating the Last Cockade reunion that took place in England on the weekend of Sept 25th-27th. How sad the emotional feelings that swept over me, such wonderful memories and such nostalgia. I could almost feel the tears welling up thinking about that long ago time. What an amazing adventure for a young seventeen year old sailor joining his first ship in the Royal Navy. I had served sixteen months at HMS Ganges, Boys Training Establishment before being posted to the Cockade. She was a CO class destroyer  stationed in the Far East part of the China Fleet. Our main base was in Singapore but we also spent a great deal of time in Hong Kong. I still to this day consider Hong Kong the most fascinating place I ever had the good fortune to visit. I served aboard Cockade from August 1956 until April 1958 when we brought the old girl home to Plymouth for the final time.  Soon after her arrival she was moored in the creek and spent a couple of years gathering dirt and rust before being tow off to be scrapped. In my years aboard I saw most of the World. From China to Australia, New Zealand to the Pacific Islands, Korea, Japan, French Indo China and Malaya. Sailing for home we stopped in Ceylon, passed thru the Suez Canal, visited Malta and Gibraltar. I recall alongside in Valletta Harbour we tied up outboard an American destroyer, emblazoned on her bridge the words ”Second to None” our signalman hoisted the flags ‘None” I  have often wondered but never knew if the yanks caught on? That was 58 years ago, a lifetime ago and yet I’m still filled with such a vivid memories. I could fill pages with the extraordinary adventures/misadventures whilst aboard that marvelous old ship. Hmm, come to think about it I did in my book “The Royal Navy & Me”. At this the last reunion a few days ago, the ranks were thin, just fourteen sailors in total from all commissions on Cockade. From my commission only eight,  some I remembered well others so well. There were a few widows, wives and family members to make up the numbers. Nevertheless, the  small turn out caused me to wonder where the lads had gone. Many would have crossed the bar by now. The old salty three badgers, career Able Seamen like, Red Devil, Epy and Jock! how many others shipmates have we lost? Maybe its better not knowing. We were so young so carefree and sometimes so very foolish and that is perhaps how we should remember them.  We must also remember they were always proud sailors sailing a proud ship. You are all missed but never forgotten.

IMG_0001book cover_0001danny 2dannymonkeycockade 003cockade12God Bless and keep reading

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Federal Election Cardigan PEI

zflagpeiOn the local new tonight they featured the election hopefuls in Cardigan.  The general usual boring election promises and goodies are being laid in this long drawn out ordeal, it has become humdrum and sleep causing. That was until tonight’s news feature which really made me sit up and smile. Firstly we have Lawrence MacAuley the veteran Cardigan Liberal incumbent. When I think about his accomplishments I tend to strike out, in all his years as an MP what has he achieved??hmm, let me think,  Oh yeah, I guess we could say he has managed to keep the Wood Island Ferry operating. Not just operating but he claims he created two deck loading, what an amazing  accomplishment.  Next we have the PC candidate Julius Patkai, he believes he will garner votes by exposing the idle Georgetown Shipyard. I find that a very strange approach , is it not the Conservative government that should be providing contracts in the yard.  Except Harper decided to delay the new ship building program and instead planned to buy a handful of used US ships to fill in for the Naval shortages.  How could we forget Billy Cann!! he just wants to be a politician and any party will do. He was a leading member of the Island party, which went nowhere. Then he ran as a Liberal and failed.  Now low and behold he is the NDP candidate, if he loses again! one might wonder which party is nex, maybe the Bloc??. Last and by no means least we have Tersea Doyle representing the Green Party. She probably has a much better chance of gathering votes than Billy Cann.  She is also, in my opinion the most creditable of the four candidates,  were she in my riding would have my vote.   Nevertheless, we have to admit its entertaining and sometimes quite hilarious to listen to  and watch the antics of the local candidates.

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Refugees or Invasion. Part Two

As I expected I have received several responses to the above blog heading I posted on 25th Sept. A few as expected opposed the content but most were in general agreement. It wasn’t posted to start an argument or to single out the Muslim race as the Worlds only evil. It was posted in the hope that people might start to think about the consequences of opening the flood gates to an uncontrolled and mostly illegal mass immigration. An immigration that would be difficult to halt once begun and impossible to control from a security point of view.  It was also to make people aware that the rich Muslim Nations are not interested in taking in these fleeing immigrants. One Muslim nation was quite happy to provide funds to build Mosques in Europe for the refugees. Surely I’m not the only one to find that a strange offer. Why not offer to build housing, help with resettlement,medical, education etc. Building mosques would surely not be a priority for those genuinely seeking refuge and shelter. I think the European Governments should come to an agreement to provide adequate border camps with schools and health care. Once they are established proper applications and security checks can be carried out.  Western nations cannot merely stand back while these refugees flood across the continent. There are many Christians among the refugees they could be quickly security checked and are a lesser risk than the Muslim refugees. This would immediately help to  ease the congestion. What is happening now is just not acceptable regardless of a persons views or their urgent need to offer help
An argument from a friend who supports the refugees plight gave me a rather strange comparison with Ireland. I copied and pasted his quote below.
He stated (I’m an Irish immigrant) that had I fled from Ireland during the troubles, would it have been fair to stop me at the border merely because I was Irish. (and legal) Would that be any less fair than stopping a Muslim at the European borders.  The point he misses here is that the IRA had a single enemy the British, they only wished to remove the Brits from Ireland and their goal a United Ireland. The Muslims on the other hand also have one single enemy- everyone who is not Muslim and their goal, World Domination.
Of course, one can argue not all Muslims would be fanatical some would settle peacefully and become good neighbours.  However,  in the event of a Muslim Jihad in our cities and towns how could we be sure who the enemy was?  Shades of the Vietnam war!!!
 Quote regarding the IRA
 But that’s what I mean. It would be no more fair to hold the actions of a few Irish people against the broader whole than it is to hold the actions of a few Muslims against the whole. You can’t assume that they would cause us harm or fail to integrate any more than others would assume that of the Irish. It isn’t fair in either case.
It is certainly a heartbreaking situation and understandably people with great compassion cry out to help these poor unfortunates. Yet we must act with caution keeping our own security as a priority.
Of course it is not a crisis here in Canada, thousands of refugees are not landing on our shores. Perhaps for that reason it is easier for Canadians to feel safe and secure and anxious to help.
Once more I leave it the readers to judge.  Either way Europe has a serious situation and I do not believe it is being handled with the very necessary security controls.
God Bless and keep reading
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