Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Monday 24 January 2011


Only yesterday I mentioned my second article (from February 2008) on this blog; it was the first part of a piece about the NKVD, the Stalinist instrument of repression, that I called "Stalin's SS."

The second part of the piece included a section about the NKVD's involvement in the Spanish Civil War, 1935 - 1939, and its brutal suppression (under command of Alexander Orlov) of POUM the Trotskyite organisation that fought the fascists, but did not subscribe to Stalin's idea of communism.

And tonight I watched a Ken Loach film, "Land and Freedom" which told the story of an idealistic British volunteer who fought with a POUM unit. The film shows quite clearly how the official republican side suppressed popular movements like POUM - obviously under Soviet direction.

The old joke runs "A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist." Stalin was indeed a realist - terrifyingly so.

Until the next time.



One of the worst tyrants in history was of course Josef Vissiaronovitch Stalin: torturer, murderer with a kind of perverse paranoia probably never equalled; certainly the scale of mass murder achieved under his authority was probably only ever exceeded by that other appalling tyrant, Mao Tse Tung.

The second-ever article (and in fact the third) I wrote for this blog concerned what I called Stalin's SS: the NKVD. It will be abundantly clear to any who read the articles, the extent of my disgust at a) the NKVD itself and b) the double standards still prevalent today whereby the Nazi SS is condemned root and branch (and quite rightly) whilst mention of the NKVD is rare indeed - and as I mentioned at the end of the second part of the piece, there is even a record label in California called NKVD! Imagine the fuss if one called a label "SS Records"!

Anyway the reason for my mentioning all this is that a play, called "Into the Whirlwind" featuring Russian actors and actresses, has been put on in London. It is based on the memoirs of Yevgenia Ginzburg who was imprisoned in 1937 and sent to the Gulag, ending up at the living hell that was Kolyma. She was eventually released after Stalin's death.

I was pleased to see in the BBC report that the audience was profoundly moved by the play which I hope proves to be a slap in the face for those in Russia today who wish to rehabilitate the monstrous "Father of the People," Stalin.

Until the next time.

Sunday 23 January 2011

More Study Needed?


Or perhaps not: I wrote the other day about an inquiry taking place in Israel concerning the Israeli military's assault on the Gaza Flotilla, which took place in international waters.

Today, the New York Times reports that the inquiry has found that the raid was legal; once again "quelle surprise". The NYT's article includes the following quote from one Alan Baker, formerly legal advisor to Israel's Foreign Ministry:

"Whether this will persuade Turkey is doubtful. Whether this will persuade the Arab countries is very doubtful. I think the serious countries will take it very seriously because of the people who were involved and because of the international observers."

Well, Mr Baker, I am certainly not persuaded, and if you read this blog you will have noticed that I predicted the outcome of the inquiry; how could I possibly be so prescient? And yes I did take the inquiry very seriously!

News: Turkey rejects Israeli inquiry conclusions. (BBC report)

As for the legality of international "adventures" one only has to reflect on the case of Tony Blair currently facing the Chilcott inquiry.

Until the next time


So many prominent people have "Front" - sometimes referred to as "Neck" more positively perhaps described as the ability to "tough it out".

"He's got more front than Brighton Beach" a friend of mine would say when confronted by this aspect of human behaviour.

So of whom am I thinking when raising this topic?

Well there's Tony Blair for a start: as another friend would remark, here's a bloke who could fall down a lavatory and come up smelling of roses; the bastard will probably get away with it. And then there's his old pal Peter (now Lord) Mandelson; he's fallen into the khasi on a few occasions and each time popped up again, richer and even more influential.

And what about Eric Cantona? The ex-footballer given to making bizarre statements, who recently tried to organise a run on the banks in France, of course without success. Now he has popped up as "Director of Football" (whatever that means) at an American club called "Cosmos".

Here's a video showing "Front" in action:

I am always in awe at the incredible self-belief of these people, and even more in awe at their lack of shame. I suppose one of the most outrageous examples at the present time (though it is not always easy to choose) must be Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. The New York Times, in an entertaining piece describes recent events as a "soap opera" which I suppose it is, despite what could be unpleasant consequences for the Italian State, its population, political institutions and economy. Despite apparently incontrovertible evidence from wire-taps and witnesses, Berlusconi continues, loudly, to protest his innocence. It is important to bear in mind that he has a track record in a variety of scandals and so far has got away with everything. Indeed, some people think that he might even get away with the current scandal.

If he does, he will deserve an award for "Front of the Decade"!

Until the next time.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Dead and Alive

Zimbabwe once again is in the news, this time concerning a report from an independent electoral commission.

According to this report, more than a quarter of those on the Zimbabwean electoral roll are dead... The Telegraph article includes the following:

"It also revealed nine people born between 1890 and 1900 aged between 111 and 120 years old. There were 93 children below one year old,"

I suppose that only the dead (and of course the children less than one year old) could possibly be so ill-informed as to vote for "Dr" Mugabe and his bunch of murderers and thugs.

Until the next time.

Thursday 20 January 2011

I'm Fed up (Update)

I said the other day that I am fed up with the Israelis.

Today we have some more news from Israel: there has been an investigation into the events surrounding the Gaza Flotilla, which you may recall was intercepted by elements of the Israeli military, an interception that resulted in the deaths of nine Turks. Please note that the flotilla was attacked in International Waters, thus the attack was in a sense an act of piracy as I understand the meaning of the word.

The report states that the Israeli soldiers concerned are to be "absolved of blame."

Quelle surprise! (The Israelis are of course never to blame are they?)

So exactly WHO was responsible for the death of these nine innocent people?

The Telegraph report includes the following paragraph:

David Trimble, the former Northern Ireland first minister, one of the two non-voting foreign observers on the commision, said the panel members "were determined that the inquiry be rigorous."

Rigorous no doubt - to the extent that the "correct" conclusion will be reached.

Until the next time


The title of this piece refers to today's report of the statement from Baroness Warsi, co-chair of the British Conservative party and a member of the Cabinet.

The baroness tells us that anti-Muslim prejudice in the United Kingdom has "passed the dinner-table test", in other words it has become acceptable to display this prejudice. She says that she intends to fight an "ongoing battle against bigotry."

All well and good and she adds: "Those who commit criminal acts of terrorism in our country need to be dealt with not just by the full force of the law... "They also should face social rejection and alienation across society and their acts must not be used as an opportunity to tar all Muslims."

Yes, well, I should bloody-well think so; no surprise there, or at least there shouldn't be.

What concerns me is what was not mentioned, i.e. the other reason for growing anti-Muslim feeling: the fact, I suggest, that the vast majority of the population in the UK do not want their country to become a sort of west European version of Iran.

I left England six years ago and shortly before I left I had reason to visit the town of Luton. A west Londoner, I could scarcely believe my eyes; the place looked like Kabul.

Baroness Warsi would do well to address this aspect I think when pursuing her "on-going battle against bigotry."

I'm glad I got out.

Until the next time.

Sunday 16 January 2011

I'm Fed Up...

... with the Israelis.

Please read this extract from a Telegraph article concerning a peace settlement with the Palestinians:

"What is preventing the advent of peace, the advent of peace negotiations is that the Palestinians are doing everything in their power to avoid them," Mr Netanyahu told a meeting of foreign journalists in Jerusalem. "That is the simple truth."

Mr Netanyahu's comments came as the United States was attempting, so far unsuccessfully, to revive peace negotiations.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed after Washington admitted last month it was no longer pressing Israel for a new freeze on settlement building, the Palestinian condition for continuing to negotiate.

Direct talks began on September 2, but stalled three weeks later with the end of an Israeli moratorium on settlement building. The Palestinians refuse to talk while Israel continues building.

Of course the Palestinians are quite correct in refusing to discuss terms with the Israelis - especially with that warmonger Netanyahu.

The Palestinians have been losing their historic country ever since 1947; it now has a fraction of the area that it had even in 1967; the Israelis have consistently ignored numerous UN resolutions and have compounded the felony by continuing to build new settlements on Palestinian lands. I suspect that the Israelis would not have been able to get away with these outrages were it not for the importance of the Jewish vote in the US, plus of course the fact that the US sees Israel as a bulwark against the fanatical Islamists so prevalent in the Middle East; I admit that these matters are far from simple.

I should add that I utterly deplore the actions of the various Palestinian terrorists and hi-jackers. I am not an anti-Semite but equally, I deplore the terrorist actions of the Israeli government and military.

I have never forgotten a film I saw on English TV of an Israeli soldier bulldozing a Palestinian's orchard. That was many, many years ago and put the Israelis and their objectives entirely beyond the pale as far as I am concerned.

Until the next time.

Saturday 15 January 2011

"Train Station" - Ugh!!

[Resisting the Americanisation of the English Language]

Why has the horrible expression "Train Station" become normal parlance - and is indeed now found in written usage - in England (and for all I know as a resident of France, the UK)?

I refuse absolutely to use this abortion of an expression; what's the matter with the term I learned: "Railway Station"?

A station is a stage - or if you like "stop" and is therefore an entirely apposite term for a railway; it is of course the root of the adjective "stationary."

Those who protest "Ah ,but you say 'bus station' don't you?' are throwing a red herring into the argument. Since buses use the roads, together with cars, vans, lorries (not 'trucks' - these run on railways) coaches, motor-cycles, bicycles and a few horses, one simply must say "Bus Station" since "road station" would be ambiguous at least and in fact, inaccurate.

Since only trains run on railways, "Railway Station" is absolutely the correct term.

So there.

By the way, I have no problem at all with the term "railroad" or perhaps better "rail-road" This term is entirely sensible - as sensible in fact as "railway" - or even "rail-way"!

Until the next time.

Tragic but True

The flood catastrophe in Brisbane, Australia has claimed many lives and it seems sad that such an event should draw one's attention to the crackpot "global warming" fanatics, but the following article from the Daily Telegraph, which I copy here in full, demonstrates that these misguided, deluded, and frequently dishonest pressure groups must be stopped.

(Journalist: Christopher Booker)

Ever more alarming facts are emerging to show how Brisbane’s floods were made infinitely worse by cockeyed decisions inspired by the obsession of the Australian authorities with global warming. Inevitably, the country’s warmist lobby has been voluble in claiming that such a “freak weather event” (as the BBC called it) is a consequence of man-made climate change. But far from being an unprecedented “freak event”, the latest flood was nearly a foot below the level of one in 1974 and 10 feet below the record set in 1893.

For years, Australia’s warmists have been advising the authorities that the danger posed to the country by global warming is not floods but droughts: not too much rain but too little. One result, in Brisbane, was a relaxation of planning rules, to allow building on areas vulnerable to flooding in the past. As long ago as 1999, this was seen as potentially disastrous by an expert Brisbane River Flood Study (which was ignored and for years kept secret). Instead of investing in its flood defences, Australia spent $13 billion on desalination plants. (Queensland’s was recently mothballed because of the excess of rain.)

Last week’s most disturbing revelation, however, was the contribution to Brisbane’s flooding by the South East Queensland Water company’s massive release of water from its Wivenhoe dam upstream from the city (for details see “Brisbane’s Man-Made Flood Peak” on the Regionalstates blog). Instead of controlled releases through the previous week, the company allowed the level to rise to within a few inches of the top of the dam before releasing a vast volume of water, with devastating consequences for Brisbane 36 hours later.

Last spring, Queensland’s prime minister, the drought- and warming-obsessed Anna Bligh, ordered the water company not to allow any releases from the dam because water was such a “precious resource” that none must be wasted.

Unsurprisingly, on Friday, the city’s Lord Mayor asked for a full judicial review of what had happened. But it is time our Australian cousins carried out a very much more wide-ranging inquiry into all the other decisions made by their gullible politicians in recent years, under the spell of a pseudo-scientific ideology which now looks utterly discredited.

Until the next time.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

A Very Stupid Man


This man is a fur-lined, ocean-going prat.

Why? Well read this quote from a BBC news item about anti-alcohol legislation in Turkey (surprise, surprise as the Islamisation of this once-proud secular state advances):

"Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has publicly voiced his disapproval of alcohol consumption. Last year he said he could not understand why people drank wine when they could just eat the grapes."

Last weekend I was treated to a good share of a 2004 château-bottled Pauillac - Château Lynch-Moussas, Premier Grand Crû Classé no less.

The ignorant fathead illustrated above has no business pontificating on subjects of which he knows, quite obviously, bugger-all!

Until the next time

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Global Warming, Passive Smoking - or perhaps both?

Dead birds falling from the skies in the USA and now Sweden are indeed strange events - and quite disturbing.

However, stranger still if no-one comes forward to blame "global warming" or "passive smoking" for these sad events!

And on the latter subject, three cheers for the Spanish rebels.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 4 January 2011


Belgium has been run by a "caretaker" government for seven months. Politicians have been told that they have until tomorrow to consider a new plan to break the deadlock following last June's general election.

This BBC article includes the following intriguing quote:

"Seeing the country running without a government for so long without experiencing any major problem might play on the side of those who want the end of the country," says Jean Faniel, researcher in political sciences at Crisp, a Brussels-based politics studies centre.

"They could say: 'You see, we don't really need a federal government, we're doing well without one.'"

There you are: it's official. A modern European country can run without a government. I ask you: why do we put up with it?

Until the next time

The Backlash that shouldn't be...

The Daily Telegraph reports today that there is a "growing backlash" concerning the perks enjoyed by senior staff in the EU administration.

Apparently, these senior officials, earning between €104,000 and €185,000 per annum are entitled to three months off work on full pay each year. "Nice work if you can get it" was the sentiment that first sprang to my mind. However the article goes on:

Stephen Booth, of the Open Europe pressure group, said: "If the top ranks of the EU's civil service can take this much time off it raises interesting questions about how much work they're actually doing."

This is the bit that rattled me. If the "backlash" results in these overpaid parasites actually doing more "work" then on top of the ludicrous expense of this near-farcical organisation (which is bad enough in itself) we shall have to face up to an additional 25% damage caused by these bureaucrats. The more "work" they do, the worse it gets.

I say give them nine months' holiday each year!

Until the next time.

Sunday 2 January 2011

Boring 2010

The title above, is not intended to be a reference to last year, although in my case there is an element of truth. No, the title refers to a conference held for boredom enthusiasts on 11th December and reported in the Wall Street Journal.

I strongly recommend that you follow the link; a fine piece of American Journalism (no irony) - I find American journalism especially in regard to the quality and style of writing, at least in the better newspapers, greatly superior to that found in English ones.

A few quotes for you:

"Boring 2010 is the handiwork of James Ward, 29 years old, who works for a DVD distribution and production company. In his other life, as the envoy of ennui, Mr. Ward edits a blog called "I Like Boring Things." He is also co-founder of the Stationery Club, whose 45 members meet occasionally to discuss pens, paper clips and Post-it Notes."

"Proceedings at the sell-out event were kicked off by Mr. Ward himself, who discussed his tie collection at great length, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

He noted that as of June 2010, he owned 55 ties, and 45.5% of them were of a single color. By December, his tie collection had jumped by 36%, although the share of single-color ties fell by 1.5%.

"Ties are getting slightly more colorful," he noted. Also, apparently, his taste was improving. By December, only 64% of his ties were polyester, down from 73% in June."

"One eagerly awaited talk was about writer Peter Fletcher's meticulous three-year—and still running—sneeze count. With the help of graphs and charts, Mr. Fletcher disclosed that he had sneezed 2,267 times in the past 1,249 days, thus gaining "a profound understanding of the passing of time.""

"I've even sneezed when recording a sneeze," he said."

Thanks to Dick Puddlecote for pointing me to this gem.

Until the next time.