Once again, and to no-one's great surprise, the United
Nations demonstrates for all to see its irrelevance and incompetence when it
comes to important global matters. For what is more important than
issues of human rights, health and education for all, security from murder
and genocide, protection from natural catastrophe? Actually, food is. Food
is the most important issue to face mankind everywhere and always has been, for the
very simple reason that without it you die.
Average food price are suddenly increasing at an
over 50% in only the first four months of this year; in Britain, food
costs are increasing the national grocery bill by
half a billion pounds a month. As a direct result of such trends people at the very bottom of the economic scale
(think North Korea or Zimbabwe or Ethiopia) have died and are dying of malnutrition and
850 million people are at
So it is entirely appropriate that a distinguished
world body such as the UN, through its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), should
have called an international three-day
World Food Summit where 183 countries could debate global trade policies,
agricultural subsidies and biofuels and agree methods and polices that
would solve the crisis and alleviate the inhumane human suffering and death.
And who better to invite as an expert witness in proven techniques to be eschewed
because they result in the certain starvation of an entire population than
Zimbabwe's very own Tyrant-4-Life Robert Mugabe. To add to his
existing accomplishments, just last week he
took a leaf out of the Burmese Junta's book by
banning international NGOs from distributing food aid to his destitute
citizens. Only North Korea's T4L Kim Jong Il does it better but he is
too scared of flying to go to Rome - his last trip beyond
Asia, to Moscow in 2001, took
days each way in a specially-built armoured train.
But lo, T4L Mugabe was not invited to share his shocking expertise with
Instead it seems he was expected to contribute to learned discussions on how to
bring down the price of food as an alternative to starving people to death.
After three days of debating in the FAO's Rome
headquarters (with T4L Mugabe and his 16-man entourage
Ambasciatori Palace Hotel,
one of Rome's most expensive hotelsat up to a
thousand €uros a night), the
best the summit could come up with was a generic document which as we will see
later is strong on platitudes but silent on concrete action. The
delegates might as well have declared world peace while they were at it.
High prices of any commodity are a two-edged sword:
you are buying you hate them,
but if you are a seller you are in nirvana.
As a result buyers try not to buy and sellers try to produce and sell even
more. The net result - lower demand and higher stocks - drives the
price back down again in search of a new point of equilibrium. The process
then repeats itself in reverse, and so price variations continue, up and down in small swings or
capitalist and free-trade system that is uniquely responsible for the
massive increase, in real terms, of the mean wealth of the world's people over the last two centuries since the
industrial revolution burst onto the scene.
In Jesus Christ's days the average world GDP per person -
expressed in constant 1990 US dollars -
was $470, according to economist
Professor Angus Maddison,
of the University of Gronigen in northern Holland.
By the time the revolution began in the late 18th
century, it had crept up to only $650, ie at a miserly 10¢
But a hundred years of industrialisation later, it
stood at $870, having suddenly screamed up at a rate of over two dollars
By the turn of the millennium it had risen to
$6,000 ($40 a year),
while today it stands at
$10,000 per person, and that plump average incorporates the abject poverty of
However the pricing system only works if it is allowed
to work. If someone attempts to prop up the price, say with subsidies,
or to control the price, or to force the price down by decree, or to ration
provisions, or to prevent or tax imports and/or exports, supply goes haywire leading to gluts and shortages. Yet
the small minorities who make money from such situations, whether through
receiving subsidies, hoarding scarce supplies, running smuggling networks
and so forth, will move heaven and earth
to protect their lucrative privileges. It is very easy and popular to
grant privileges; infinitely harder to remove them.
Food prices are high today for a variety of reasons:
The incredible economic growth in recent years of
China and India - due to their wholehearted embrace of capitalism - has made newly
enriched millions understandably want to eat better, in particular more
meat. This puts pressure on the cereals that livestock consume -
7-8 kilos are needed for each kilo of beef.
The unprecedented explosion of oil prices has
ratcheted up food costs in terms of inputs like fuel for agricultural
machinery, petroleum-based fertilisers, transport of product to market.
Whole swathes of agricultural land have been
switched from food production to maize in order to avail of
generous subsidies for the production of ethanol, the latest
“carbon-neutral” fad for your car. High oil prices have
this switch. But it has been estimated that were Ireland's cars to
be powered by entirely home-grown biofuels, every acre of the island
would be needed to grow the necessary crops. (Then where
would we get our spuds?)
Some blame Al Gore's climate change for instigating
floods and droughts which have played havoc with agriculture in some
countries, such as Myanmar and Australia.
Meanwhile, the obscenity of long-standing agricultural subsidies in the
combined with the cheap exports that result and the protectionism which
obstructs imports have managed to penalise countless developing-world farmers, who could otherwise produce the same food without
subsidies and at less cost. It's like pouring gasoline on a fire.
Surely it is obvious that allowing high prices to spur
increased production, while removing market-distorting and trade-suppressing
subsidies, tariffs and fiats, will result in more food production which
would bring prices back down to sensible levels.
The best example of what even little-educated sons of
the soil in the developing world can do if left
alone to their own devices is the free-market poppy production of war-torn,
infrastructureless Afghanistan. With no help from anyone, these
hardened men fill
over 90%of global demand for (illegal) heroin
and other opiates, thanks also to the absence of subsidies or tariffs either
at home or in the export markets. Moreover some of these canny Afghan
capitalist-farmers are now
switching to wheat
whose price has trebled this year, making it more profitable than poppies
(whose own value coincidentally has been dropping of late). Thus do
they contribute to the food-shortage solution.
The International Food Policy Research Institute
that biofuel demand has contributed to 30% of the
recent increase in cereal prices. The US subsidises, to the tune of
$7 billion per year,
the production of some 300,000 barrels a day of maize ethanol in exchange
for a supposed greenhouse-gas reduction of a derisory one-nineteenth
percent. It doesn't take much nous to figure out that if the Americans
stopped frittering so much of their citizens money on such pointless
subsidies, the land freed up to restore food production would contribute to
the food-shortage problem - cutting prices by 20% say some. But the
Bush administration is disgracefully urging on the US to
even more subsidised biofuel production.
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy continues to
distribute largesse to its farmers:
€43 billion in 2005 representing 44% of
the budget. And for what? So that farmers can continue to
produce food at a cost no consumer will pay. This largesse is removed
from the pockets only of taxpayers who do produce stuff that people are
willing to buy. Thus failing enterprises (most farmers) are rewarded
while the successes (profit-makers) are punished. To keep the system
going, cheaper food from the developing world must be banned, taxed or
restricted, to protect the local produce from too much competition in the
supermarket. And excess food is then dumped, with further subsidy to
make it cheap, in the developing world to compete with local farmers and put
them out of business. That's why the CAP is an obscenity on every
level. Demolishing it and opening the EU's markets to the developing
world would certainly contribute to the food-shortage problem, while at the
same time delivering a better deal to long-suffering EU taxpayers.
These simple and obvious measures would far exceed any
good done by the splodges of aid furnished by well-meaning governments and
So has the UN FAO come up with any such measures in its
hunger jamoboree? Did it heck! This
World Food Sham didn't in fact come up with a single measure that would even meet
the classic SMARTI criteria for action items.
declarations of intent, its final
communiqué is full of do-nothing steps (not to mention opt-outs by
Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela):
resources should be assured ...
organisations should enhance
their cooperation ...
efforts should be made ...
countries should be prepared to assist ...
partners should undertake initiatives
to moderate fluctuations ...
we will strive to ensure food security ...
Now ask yourself how any of these items, littered as they are with fuzzy
verbs, can for example be measured, for if they can't be measured they
simply won't be done - that's human nature. And that's the precise
reason the declaration is full of
because such words commit no-one to actually do anything but talk.
No-one has promised to tear down trade barriers, open markets, cut subsidies
by certain defined dates, the only actions that will sustainably solve the
food-shortage/high-price problem, just as they have solved every other major
supply problem facing the world.
on a par with impeccably democratic leaders such as New Zealand's
Helen Clark, India's
France's Nicolas Sarkozy or America's George Bush,
has become an irrelevant talking shop. The inclusion of so many thugs
in its membership makes it structurally incapable of solving global
problems, and indeed it adds to them. Tyrants are succoured,
democracies such as Israel are denigrated, peace-keepers are
serial sex abuse (2003, 04, 05, 06, 07) under legal immunity, to name but a few
egregious UN characteristics, yet it is funded mainly by the democracies
(the US pay 22%).
As I've argued previously, the democracies should walk away from the UN,
allow it to implode, and form their own
United Democracies. At least if the UD were then to decide it
wanted to tackle a particular global problem, you could pretty sure it would
achieve something constructive, rather than sham conferences such as the UN-FAO's
Having seen my column, Ireland's state broadcaster RTE then invited me to
discuss and debate on live radio oil issues with
a Colin Campbell, on its morning chat-show,
Today with Pat Kenny. It was my first such experience and I
found it a bit nerve-wracking, but I seemed to survive.
My antagonist Mr Campbell is an experienced ex-BP oilfield geologist who runs an
international think-tank and has written a
book devoted to the cult of "“Peak
But I was surprised at how thin his arguments turned out to be. A few
months ago I wrote a post,
the Peak Oil Salesman”,
deriding the Peak Oil concept, which provided me with some ammunition.
Last week I was privileged to attend a talk and Q&A session, under the
auspices of the Iona Institute, given by a 35-year-old Englishwoman,
Joanna Rose, who is the result of an artificial conception by her mother
using an anonymous sperm donor. She is the first such person ever to
speak publically in Ireland about her situation, and her central message is
that the offspring of in-vitro-fertilisation are never consulted - or indeed
rarely even considered - in the debate over the use of IVF. From her
special perspective, she believes this - and IVF itself - are deeply
Delivered without self-pity, I found the session extremely moving in that it
raised jolting considerations that would rarely cross the mind of anyone who
is fortunate enough to have been naturally conceived and raised by his/her
biological parents. Here are a few of the points she made, some of
which are touched on by the
Offspring Alliance, a grouping of IVF offspring. Make your own
Ms Rose believes that her biological father was a serial donor, and
estimates that as a result she probably has between a hundred and three
hundred half-siblings, none of whom she knows. Besides being
naturally very curious about this extended family, she worries that she
may unbeknownst end up falling in love with a brother.
She is disgusted by the veil of secrecy and silence that surrounds IVF.
In her own case,
her father does not appear on her birth certificate;
her mother cannot bring herself to discuss the matter;
when she tries to
trace her father through the IVF agencies she is told lies -
successively, that the records have been destroyed in an office fire,
then in an office flooding, then accidentally dumped in a skip.
Hypocrisy too. Adults who seek out IVF are desperate for a baby
that is as genetically close to them as possible.
Ideally the couple will use their own sperm and eggs, implanted in a
surrogate if necessary. Failing that, one donor will be used,
and only failing that will two donors be sought.
Single people and gays wanting children will likewise seek out as
much genetic kinship as possible,
and in all cases consanguinity will be gladden the hearts of other
family members (grandparents, siblings etc).
Yet throughout, there is blithe insouciance about the the importance of
kinship for the actual baby, whose future needs to know its biological
family are rarely even considered.
Her experience, and that of other similar offspring, is that going
public about her origins and unhappiness is akin to a gay coming out of
the closet - a life-changing event which is difficult, embarrassing and
makes others uncomfortable.
She sees herself and her colleagues as being part of a social experiment
solely for the gratification of adult desires, effectively guinea pigs
who have not been consulted about their involvement.
IVF can lead to extraordinary family situations. Consider a mum
with three IVF children by different donors, and maybe a husband.
Perhaps she separates from him and takes up with another man.
Before long the family can have five different Dads which can lead to
all kinds of confusion among the children.
Donors themselves are often finding themselves with issues.
In some cases it is simply remorse that they have parented children whom
they know nothing about. But it can be more direct. A family
man may be contacted by an adult child resulting from a donation made
when he was a student. This often creates immediate tensions
with his wife who feels undermined by the intrusion,
with grandparents who welcome it,
with the existing children who may or may not feel threatened with
Inheritance can likewise create unwelcome pressures,
exacerbated by the fear that another 50 such offspring could
It is extraordinary and wrong that although women are counselled about
such issues before donating, men are not. For men it is regarded
as the same as blood donation. Indeed, in Britain a
pro-donation site says exactly this.
IVF research is centred almost entirely on IVF technology, IVF medicine,
and IVF parents, and is usually paid for by IVF companies. Almost
never are IVF offspring included. The inevitable result is
findings that are always skewed in favour of IVF, which just happens to
have become a very lucrative business.
A medical technology originally created to help childless married
couples is now being promoted, as a money-spinning venture, to
unmarrieds, singles, gays and lesbians. The businesses are aided
and abetted by governments, especially in the English-speaking world
(though not Ireland).
Whereas the paradigm underlying
(natural) conception has throughout history been
“creating a human being”,
the IVF paradigm
become that of
“treating the childless”.
This is seen as a purely medical issue, with success measured solely
in terms of healthy babies.
Extraordinarily, there is apparently more money today in fertility
treatment than in plastic surgery.
Even IVF children of married parents can experience emotional
difficulties, sometimes linking their problems with their conception.
The link may be false but it is real to the person concerned.
A drug addict connects his addition to the thought that he was
conceived using a syringe.
Bulimia is blamed on the fact that she began life as sperm in a
Excessive sensitivity to cold is imputed to having once been a
Ms Rose's bottom line is that there are no circumstance whatsoever that
justify the conception of a child via IVF. Its sole purpose is to
satisfy the wants of adults whilst disregarding the needs of the resultant
children. With the possible exception of married couples, I agree with
In the coming days, I am expecting Ms Rose to be appear on a
national radio interview
which I helped set up, in which case I will add the link.
At last (September 2008),
the link to the radio interview I recorded
of Mr Rose by RTE's Pat Kenny
Four charities, the Irish Red Cross,
Oxfam Ireland, Trócaire and Concern Worldwide, are using text-messaging for
the first time in Ireland in order to
appeal for funds to
help alleviate the disasters in Burma and China. Even though the
latter two are my most unfavourite charities, it is such a slick and easy
way to donate that I would recommend it to all. Moreover, I don't for
a moment think that any of the charities would misuse such money.
In both these stricken countries, entire villages and towns have been reduced to rubble, with thousands dead,
wounded and homeless. From the TV screens, it may appear that the
Chinese are suffering more, but that is only because the Burmese Junta is
keeping foreign news media away.
If you live in the Republic of Ireland,
you simply text the word AID to 57500 to send an automatic
donation of €2.50 to charities on the front line, which appears on
your phone bill or comes out of your credit.
Ireland has been exploding with excitement over its upcoming referendum on
the Lisbon treaty. (Readers will be familiar with the low opinion I
hold of this
execrable document and my advice to vote No.)
Newspapers have been devoting not column-inches but entire pages to it
and in some cases special supplements.
The chat shows on radio and TV seem to talk about little else.
Opinion pollsters are coining money as they frighten the establishment
by showing public sentiment shifting steadily from a Yes to a No.
Politicians, businessmen, trade unionists and independent citizens are
criss-crossing the country in painted battle-buses.
Each side accuses the other of lies, myth-making and nefarious
No-one has actually read the wretched document, not even the Taoiseach
Cities and towns are plastered with posters.
But some of the more canny politicians, aware that
there are local elections next year for which they are not yet permitted to
campaign, have come up with a cunning ruse. It
is abundantly clear that many of them remain unconvinced by the arguments
for a Yes, but are under whips' orders to campaign for one. Their
little scheme, therefore, is to produce posters like this one. Big
photo, big name and in tiny pale letters
“Vote YES to Europe”.
Subliminally, they're saying “Forget
about Lisbon, but please remember me at next year's local election!”.
And all paid for by piggbybacking on the limitless coffers of the Yes (or
No) campaign. Smart, eh?
- - - - - - - - - - A M E R I C A - - - - - - -
- - -
“I will do everything in my power
to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything.”
As part of an astonishing U-turn
following his defeat of Hillary Clinton in the nomination battle,
Barack Obama virtually guarantees
he will attack Iran if it doesn't abandon its nuclear ambitions.
He also guarantees the defence of Israel and a
and hedges his earlier irresponsible pledge
to enter talks with Iran
(from the subscription-only Irish Times):
“It is the right of the American nation to elect who
they want. But we hope they won't make a mistake, like the last
Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran's ambassador to Iraq,
makes it plain that Iran is backing Barack Obama,
whom it hopes the Americans will elect,
in 2004 when they failed to elect John Kerry.
Thus Mr Obama secures another embarrassing endorsement,
to add to
that of Hamas through its political adviser Ahmed Yousef.
- - - - - - - - - - Z I M B A B W E - - - - - -
- - - -
“This is the person who has presided over the
starvation of his people. This is the person who has used food
aid in a politically motivated way. So Robert Mugabe turning
up to a conference dealing with food security or food issues is, in
my view, frankly obscene.”
Australian foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith
on the arrival in Rome for a conference
of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation,
referring to Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe,
responsible for impoverishing his country and
driving out three million starving refugees in search of food
Mugabe is] a pariah - a mad dog on two legs. The only
contact a civilised nation should have with him is to put him in
handcuffs and lead him to trial.”
Lord Tebbit, a cabinet minister under Margaret
who thinks Mr Mugabe is exhibiting symptoms of tertiary syphilis.
If ever there were a candidate for kidnapping
while in Rome
followed by extraordinary rendition,
surely he (Mugabe, not Tebbit) is it.
- - - - - - - - - - C A N A D A - - - - - - - -
Quote (Minute 61):
“There can't be enough laws to deal with the issue [of
Ian Fine, Director of the General Dispute
of the Canadian Human Rights Commission,
defends outrageous practices aimed at
constraining free speech which it chooses to find offensive.
The remark was made at a televised debate discussing
human rights and an ongoing controversy
over the limits of free speech
at a conference of the Canadian Association of
in Edmonton on 29 May 2008.
I wonder would he like to invoke anti-hate laws
if I were to say I hate Nazis?
- - - - - - - - - - I R E L A N D - - - - - - -
- - -
Quote (from the subscription-only Irish Times): “In the case of the
Lisbon Treaty, voters can be reassured by the fact that politicians
and civil servants have pored over every word to ensure that
their interests [whose interests?] were protected.”
John Bruton, former Irish Taoiseach,
and now illustrious EU Ambassador to the USA and avid EU
based in a huge, luxurious taxpayer-funded mansion in Washington,
lives in terror that his fellow-Irish will vote down the Lisbon
and thereby invoke incredulity and derision from his fellow
In fact his sentence tells you exactly why voters should
For this native English-speaker should really have paid more attention
during his English syntax classes in secondary school.
Then he wouldn't have laid himself open to ridicule
by correspondent Damien Flinter who cheekily
“Could the devil be in that possessive pronoun?”
“I think if you ask them [Toulouse] they'll
feel like a team beat them playing boring and ugly stuff, but we
don't care. I have a medal in my arse pocket.”
second-row forward Donnacha O'Callaghan
reflects on his team's seizure from
of the Heineken European Cup in a pulsating final on 24th May.
Munster are now deserved champions of Europe
for a second time in three years.
If only they could now play the
Blue Bulls from Pretoria, South Africa
who are current champions of the
Southern Hemisphere's comparable Super 14 competition,
in order to establish a World Champion club team
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told
through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a
household lemon tree as their unifying theme.
But it's not
entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs
to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
This examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in
the Gulf of Mexico.
BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous
acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless
cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in
refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in
The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that
had become poisonous and incompetent.
However the book is gravely compromised by a
litany of over 40 technical and stupid
errors that display the author's ignorance and
It would be better
to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying.
As for BP, only a
wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will
prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once
mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’sincredible story of survival in the Far
East during World War II.
After recounting a
childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen,
Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on
Germany in 1939.
From then until the
Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr
Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall
of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror.
After a wretched
journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless
Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in
1941, he is, successively,
part of a death march to Thailand,
a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma
railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),
regularly beaten and tortured,
racked by starvation, gaping ulcers
and disease including cholera,
a slave labourer stevedoring at
shipped to Japan in a stinking,
closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,
torpedoed by the Americans and left
drifting alone for five days before being picked up,
a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until
blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic
distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the
British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life. Only in his late 80s
is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this
There are very few
first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese
brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical
“Culture of Corruption:
Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies”
This is a rattling good tale of the web
of corruption within which the American president and his cronies
operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both
a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and
sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.
With 75 page of notes to back up - in
best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing
allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with
the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife.
Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett,
Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris
Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book.
ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community
organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine
This much trumpeted sequel to
Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment.
It is really just
a collation of amusing
little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour
and situations. For example:
Drunk walking kills more people per
kilometer than drunk driving.
People aren't really altruistic -
they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.
Child seats are a waste of money as
they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.
Though doctors have known for
centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection,
they still often fail to do so.
Monkeys can be taught to use washers
as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.
The book has no real
message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and
try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.
And with a final
anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in
its tracks. Weird.
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie
to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics.
It's chapters are
organised around provocative questions such as
Why does asparagus come from Peru?
Why are pandas so useless?
Why are oil and diamonds more trouble
than they are worth?
Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?
It's central thesis
is that economic development continues to be impeded in different
countries for different historical reasons, even when the original
rationale for those impediments no longer obtains. For instance:
Argentina protects its now largely
foreign landowners (eg George Soros)
Russia its military-owned
businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs
The US its cotton industry
comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce
The author writes
in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to
However it would
benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative
points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide
natural break-points for the reader.
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles
of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.
The author was
a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to
harass Japanese lines of
command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide
intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of
is admirably yet brutally frank, in his
descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a
prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing
in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness.
He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of
Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved
authority of the British.
The book amounts to
a very human and exhilarating tale.
Oh, and Irwin
describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF