This archive, organized into months, and indexed by
contains all issues since inception, including the current week.
You can write to me at
(Clumsy form of my address to thwart spamming
software that scans for e-mail addresses)
Comment by an anonymous reader
some reason, this site displays better in Internet Explorer than in Mozilla
ISSUE #152 - 27th
May 2007 
Nobel Peace Laureate Goes Native, Over Iran
Mohamed El-Baradei is the widely respected head of the
UN's International Atomic
Energy Agency, which started out as the
“Atoms for Peace”
organization in 1957.
I well remember
“Atoms for Peace”
and its benign intentions because it put on an exhibition in Dublin in
1967 when I was an engineering student, and hired me as a presenter.
With slides and movie clips, my carefully scripted and memorised
half-hour talk described peaceful innovative uses of nuclear technology, such as
to increase their shelf life by killing off bacteria,
so as to sterilised them, before then
releasing them into
the wild to compete for females
who would then not
tinted decorative timber
to fix the impregnated
dye which would
ensure the colour remained fast.
During the pre-Iraq-invasion period when the UN's chief
weapons inspector Hans Blix was giving himself a fit of the vapours and
saying anything that he thought might foil the imminent war, Mr El-Baradei
was the voice of reason, prepared to not just examine the evidence for WMD
but to weigh up realistic probabilities as well. Moreover, as an Arab,
he was trusted among the Middle East regimes much more than other UN
Recognising his contribution to nuclear safety, he and
his agency were jointly awarded the 2005 Nobel peace price for their efforts both to
prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure
that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible
Thus, what he says today carries a great deal of weight.
So when he says that Iran
to eight years”
to produce a nuclear bomb, he should be believed.
But he recently followed this up by
arguing that the West could and should deter the development of nuclear
weapons by rogue states such as Iran not by threatening sanctions and
military force, but by slashing their own arsenals, to set a benign example.
“I believe that demand [for enrichment
suspension] has been superseded by events. Instead, the
important thing now is to concentrate on Iran not taking it to
he is making the case that Iran should be
allowed to continue enriching uranium in breach of no fewer than three UN
Let me see if I understand this correctly.
The best way to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons is
to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, because threats will only
encourage Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
If you want to check how Iran behaves when it is given a
free pass on bad behaviour, it has provided plenty of examples over the
when it invaded sovereign US territory (the
Teheran embassy) and
kidnapped 52 Americans for 444 days, suffered no punishment and
for the next two decades sponsored a succession of unprovoked
attacks by its proxy Hezbollah against American targets killing over
300 Americans as well as hundreds of others, all with impunity, ...
Iran has made it abundantly clear it
has not the slightest intention of slowing down, much less abandoning, its
uranium enrichment programme, which will eventually put nuclear weapons into
its hands. And it has also given plenty of notice that the
vaporisation of Israel is its first objective. There can be little
doubt that terrifying its neighbours and the West is the next objective, nor
that nuclear proliferation among those neighbours will be an inevitable
As John Bolton said in a recent,
BBC interview (minute 3:45) in which he eviscerates his supercilious
left-wing interlocutor John Humphrys, Iran is
“not going to be
chatted out of” its nuclear programme. The so-called EU Three
(France, Germany and Britain) have proven this conclusively over nearly
four long years of fruitless “negotiations”.
So if sweet talk doesn't work, and
ignoring bad behaviour doesn't work, all you're left with is sanctions,
threats and - ultimately, if they don't work - military action.
Unless of course, you're relaxed
about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's maniacal plans for welcoming the
Imam back from the 13th Century. But
I for one don't want to be in a world where he (Mr Ahmadinejad, not the
preposterous 12th imam) can live
out his fantasies. And, of course, an infidel like me not living in
this world is just one of the many such fantasies he would like to bring
Mr El-Baradei's puerile remarks
about letting him away with his nuclear transgressions thus far, and never
threatening anything unpleasant, will provide only comfort to the Iranian
theocratic leadership. It will provide further proof - as if needed -
of the West's failure of will when it comes to protecting its interests.
Yet in my view, the
West is like a drunken sleeping monster. He does not notice, or else
ignores, a succession of slings and arrows from vindictive Lilliputians.
But eventually, one of them just goes too far, he wakes up and wreaks a
terrible vengeance. We saw that happen -
when Hitler invaded Poland,
when Hirohito attacked Pearl Harbour
when Osama perpetrated 9/11.
All three aggressors
and their regimes suffered terribly from the rage of the awakened monsters.
Similarly, I think
the present acquiescence of the West in the increasingly dangerous and
provocative nuclear behaviour of the Iranian regime will ultimately only
increase the likelihood of an eventual military showdown of terrible
proportions when the Western monster is eventually woken up again.
Only sufficiently severe sanctions and belligerent enough threats applied now, whilst they can still have some effect,
has a chance of averting a catastrophe.
Maybe the Nobel Peace Prize goes to
your head, and makes you think that no price is too high to pay for peace,
to a foul enemy that will show you no mercy. In the
previous issue, my
lead post, about how Noble Peace laureates John Hume (1998) and Mairead
Corrigan (1976), through their recent speeches grovelling to terrorism are
in fact exacerbating war, seems
to support such an hypothesis.
In other contexts, you'd call it
Mohammed El-Baradei, over Iran, seems to be the latest Nobel Peace laureate
to go down that perilous path.
Back to List of Contents
Ulster Says NO
If you are a criminal, the EU can be a bit of a nuisance.
In the good ol' days, you robbed a bank and then raced over the border
for safety in the neighbouring country, with the pursuing police halting in
frustration at the frontier. If Mexico were not a safe haven for
fleeing crooks, escaped convicts and assorted gangsters, Hollywood would be
out of business for want of movie storylines. The Americans even go a
step further, and forbid hot pursuit over State lines, never mind
But the EU has been trying to do something about this as far as member
countries are concerned. That's why it set up
Europol in 1999, to
share criminal intelligence in order to improve effectiveness and
co-operation of the members' police forces in combating terrorism, drug
dealing and other serious forms of international organised crime, such as
counterfeiting, piracy and human trafficking.
Combined with improved extradition arrangements, this has, to the
criminals' chagrin, made it it much more difficult for fugitives from one EU
state to live it up in another on the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains.
For example, you no longer see British ganglords flaunting their wealth (and
their women) in the once aptly-nicknamed Costa del Crime in southern Spain, for
with Europol and other EU legislation, they can't rely on those pesky mañana
police to leave them alone any more.
And yet, hot pursuit, regardless of circumstances, is still a taboo
throughout the EU. National sovereignty is sacred.
In one way, you can understand this, since even the Americans forebear to
hot-pursue terrorist suspects in Iraq once they race across the border into
the safe embrace of Iran or Syria. Yet this is probably the single biggest
mistake of the war, that Iran and Syria remain unscathed and unpunished
regardless of the mayhem they promote and facilitate in Iraq. So why
would they stop?
Nevertheless, to its credit, the EU has been trying to
further toughen up the existing legislation. It has drafted a new law which, to foster
even more police co-operation, would enable EU police forces to share
fingerprints, DNA and vehicle-registration data more easily. But the
key innovation is to allow hot pursuit across country borders where life or
limb is endangered. Apart from spoiling the plots of future EU movies,
such hot-pursuit is a thoroughly admirable development. Gunmen and
terrorists should not be able to escape the gendarmerie simply by strolling
across from France into Germany. Under the
Schengen agreement, there are no restrictions or barriers whatsoever between these
two nations, which means anyone cross whenever he/she wants, in either
direction, without challenge or even being counted.
Except the police
of one state whilst chasing criminals who flee into another. This is a
truly odd state of affairs, which the EU is trying to reverse.
The EU is now a club of twenty-seven members and
490 million people.
Yet somehow, just 1.7m of them have managed to torpedo this new
legislation. And no, it's not one of the triumvirate of EUrodots -
Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta.
population of Ulster, of Northern Ireland. They can't bear the
idea of the Republic's police force, the Garda Síochána, charging into their
jurisdiction in hot pursuit, regardless of how dangerous the prey might be
to life or limb. So, in the interests of the recently delivered peace
process and avoiding upsetting any of the prima donnas who are at its
centre, both the UK and Ireland have
sought an opt-out from the hot-pursuit clause. Better,
that someone loses his life to a border-crossing criminal than that Northern
The other 25 members, however, are so disgusted at the attempted opt-out
that they are planning to drop the entire package of legislation altogether.
Criminals across Europe must be toasting their Ulster compadres in
smuggled champagne for their success in protecting their cross-border
boltholes from pursuing cops. And the EU movie industry can breathe a
little more easily.
For years unionists opposed to the peace process have thrilled to the
rallying call: “Ulster
And it's not gone away, y'know.
Back to List of Contents
The catfish is a curious creature from prehistoric times.
It is characterised
by its barbels - slender, whiskerlike, tactile organs near the mouth - which
resemble cat's whiskers, which give it its name. Some mistake the barbels to be
arms, weapons for attacking their prey. But they are not; they are
simply the means by which the fish tastes its food before pouncing on it.
In its many sub-species, the catfish varies in length from 15 cm (the
to nearly 3 metres and 300 kg (the endangered
Mekong Giant). And on an individual basis it has remarkable
survival skills. It'll eat anything, and the bigger ones grow at an
astonishing 2 kg per month. Though they are either freshwater (mainly)
or saltwater specialists, many can survive in either. And indeed on
dry land as well, for long periods, which makes them hard to kill when
caught. They are also known to come ashore and wriggle across land for
tens of metres to find a more propitious body of water.
The catfish's scavenging, eat-anything voracious diet is the reason many
people refrain from eating it. It is a
the southern US, but eschewed as dirty in the Caribbean. Much loved in
West Africa, but viewed with suspicion in the Philippines.
But if you don't want to eat him, he will be more than willing to eat
A couple of weeks ago, 38-year-old Phil Tanner, fishing off a pier in
southern England, got a shock as he reeled one in – and the fish decided to
fight back. His catch
bit him on the nose and wouldn’t let go. “It was agony,” he
wailed, “I could feel it chomping as if it wanted me for its last meal”,
which I am sure it did.
It reminded me of a true story some years ago when I lived in Nigeria.
I was invited to a cocktail party in Port Harcourt and got talking to the
prominent hostess, whose anonymity and blushes I will, er, spare since she
is married to the president of OPEC.
When I remarked on a bandage on her upper arm, she told me that the
previous day she had gone to the fish market to buy a suitable specimen for
the party. She selected a large catfish and brought him home to the
kitchen. However, as she wielded her knife to gut him, he suddenly
demonstrated his ability to survive for long periods out of water by leaping
out of the kitchen sink and plunging his teeth deep into her arm. No amount of
manipulation, stabbing or screams would persuade him to let go, so she drove
straight to the nearby hospital with the fish still relentlessly attached.
There, only by decapitation (an operation not routinely performed in
A&E), could the fish be removed, and then only after the complete
dismemberment of his dead jaws using scalpels and pliers.
The nasty wound on her arm was cleaned, stitched and bandaged up, she was
given a tetanus shot, and sent on her way. But not before she
demanded the immediate return of her fish.
was an altercation with the medical staff as patients do not usually demand
the return of body parts. But Mr Catfish was expensive, she explained,
and she had a big party the next evening. So they reluctantly fished
him out of the hospital waste, rinsed him off and handed him back to her.
I'm glad she hung on to him, just as he had hung on to her. Cut
into chunky pieces and deep fried in batter, he was delicious, arm or no
Back to List of Contents
Tony Blair as a judge of Bertie's character
Tony Blair also considers George W. Bush
to be a good man and a world statesman. Doesn't this suggest he is
a very good judge of character?
Palestinians have no historical claim to Israel
“Palestinians had lived in the
land of Palestine and cultivated it for thousands of years before the
first Jewish tribes invaded that land,”
writes Dr Hikmat Ajjuri, Delegate General of the General
Delegation of Palestine in Ireland. He is mistaken ... The Jews
got it (via UN Mandate) from the British in 1948, who took it in
1917 from the Ottomans, who took it in 1517 from the Egypt-based Mamluks,
who in 1250 took it ... in the 12th and 13th centuries BC from the
Canaanites, who ...
Back to List of Contents
Quotes of Week 152
“We all wish that foreign troops would leave the region
[ie Iraq and Afghanistan] and give a chance to countries in the region to establish security
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a meeting with
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the UAE president.
You can bet that Mr Ahmadinejad would just love
to have the free run of the region,
unfettered by those pesky Yanks and Brits.
“The vaunted international community would prefer the
World Bank to allow rampant corruption to flourish in developing
nations than see a reviled neocon [ie Paul Wolfowitz] succeed as its president – just as
there are plenty of opponents of the Iraq war who would rather let a
murderous civil war rip than give Bush the satisfaction of seeing
democracy take root in place of a dreaded tyranny. In their own way
they are both uncomfortable versions of the truth.”
Columnist Sarah Baxter commenting on
the travails of neocon Paul Wolfowitz,
who was forced to resign as the World Bank's reformist president,
after nepotism in favour of his girlfriend
“We cannot just be overtaken by globalisation.”
New French president and pocket-dynamo, Nicolas Sarkozy
“Globalisation: we mustn't fear it.”
EU Commission president Manuel
Expect fireworks ahead.
Quote (Minute 8+ in this
“You have no views at all. Your brain is empty, you have
no views at all.
Is that right?”
In a hilarious interview on the BBC's flagship
early-morning radio programme,
the US's pugnacious former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton,
gives it with both barrels to his snotty left-wing interviewer
John Humphrys, who had just declaimed,
in defense of his non left-wing bias,
“I would tell you that I'm neither conservative,
nor left wing, nor right wing, nor middle wing.”
Get a divorce”
Pithy ad on a giant billboard, by a
Chicago law firm touting for business,
on the basis that once you are
there are plenty of better options out there just waiting for you.
“It trivializes divorce”
commented Rick Tivers,
a clinical social worker at the Center for Divorce Recovery in Chicago,
which is a bit rich since divorce exists
for the precise and sole purpose of trivialising marriage.
Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience
Back to Top of Page
ISSUE #151 - 13th
May 2007 [451+273=724]
Professional Peacemongers Exacerbate War
We all (well, most of us) believe in peace, prosperity
and happiness for everyone. That's what citizens of western Europe
have enjoyed since the end of the second world war in 1945. Though
many are loath to admit we have America to thank for that.
the help of the Soviet Union, first destroyed Nazi Germany.
boots on the ground, together with American nuclear missiles pointed at
Moscow, then kept its erstwhile ally, the ever-Evil Empire, out of the
Western half of Europe (the Eastern part was less fortunate).
treasure helped to build/rebuild European democracies.
much the same with Japan and South Korea, which kept the Far East safe
The economy, arms race and determination of America destroyed the Soviet Empire,
which liberated millions of East Europeans.
No wonder we all
to believe that their peace and prosperity began with the founding in Paris
1952 of the
European Coal and Steel Community, direct progenitor of the EEC (1957),
the EC (1967) and European Union (1992), and that these institutions are
what have fostered the good and peaceful times.
It's easy to forget that the EU's ability to spend vast
sums on its own development, not to mention super-generous welfare systems,
would not have been possible without neglecting its own security, earmarking
1-2½% of GDP for military spending.
With the menace from the Kremlin, this was possible thanks only to the
paternal umbrella of America, spending
over 4% of its GDP
on defence. Even today,
protective American troops in their tens of thousands are stationed on EU
soil. Of the Europeans, only Greece spends a chunky amount on soldiery
4.3% - but that's only because America is not prepared to guarantee its
security against its main threat (and NATO ally!), Turkey, which spends
The sainted EU, as part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations (50
years since since the birth of the EEC), anointed 9th May as something
invited to Brussels thirteen assorted
Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including two pairs from Northern Ireland.
Here's part of what two of them said in their formal speeches.
Mairead Corrigan, co-winner in 1976 for campaigning against violence in
Northern Ireland (under the banner “Women for Peace”),
had a go at North European and American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The London, Dublin and Washington governments did not drop a
bomb on us [in Northern Ireland] when we were struggling, so why
should they drop a bomb on Afghanistan and Iraq when they are struggling
with the same problems? There are double standards going on.”
Indeed there are; how very perceptive she is.
one standard for dealing with unparalleled state-sponsored savagery and
terrorism, of the sort embraced by despotic heads of state Mullah Omar
(with his pal Osama bin Laden) in Afghanistan and by Saddam Hussein in
Iraq. To save the citizens from the hell they live in, and the
murders they propagate outside their borders, this cancer requires
democratic nation-building, but this will only be possible following
forcible regime-change, which means, unfortunately, bombs, though
not that many.
certainly a quite different standard for dealing with terrorism
perpetrated by gangs and thugs who seek to overthrow the democratic
regimes in which they live. For the sake of the democratic
majority, whom they would systematically murder, this malignancy
requires a combination of
military engagement (bullets not bombs) against those specific
individuals perpetrating the terrorism,
persuasion to change their minds towards a democratic avenue.
But that, of course, is not what Ms Corrigan means.
She means that Mullah and Saddam should have been invited to a round-table
discussion, perhaps in Belfast under the joint chairmanship of Ian Paisley
and Gerry Adams, after which, with much hugging and kissing, they would have
willingly and gaily converted their countries into jubilant democracies.
She also, I suspect, considers the lethal
marketplace bombs exploding in Afghanistan and Iraq are the fault of the
Americans, who are trying to prevent them, not the deranged Islamicists who
are actually setting them off.
This woman has taken leave of her senses, and of her
Then there was the contribution of
a true hero who over many long and lonely years, who midwifed the Northern
Ireland peace-process, only to see, once the peace really began to gain
traction, his political party, the (nationalist)
SDLP, destroyed in the polls in favour of
He was deservedly co-awarded, with David Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize in
But his fatuous observation in Brussels was that
“we are now in a new millennium and the US and the EU should
come together to create a world without war”.
Does he think the US and EU are fighting a war against each other?
Doesn't he know other parties are involved in the struggle?
Now I know that he, like the rest of us, does not particularly relish the
notion of his head being sawn off without anaesthetic on prime time Al
Jazeera TV. But can he really not know that the Islamicists of - inter
alia - Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria,
Indonesia, Hezbollah, Hamas and others have been engaged, since at least the
Iranian revolution of 1979, in an openly declared global jihad aimed at the
murder, enslavement or conversion of all infidels? Or does he think that that is
a perfectly legitimate cultural aspiration, just like Irishmen who would
prefer to see Ireland reunited?
priority be to demand
the jihadists be the ones who “should
come together to create a world without war”.
If he can't figure this out, or is to too afraid to enunciate it, he should
at least stay silent and enjoy his well-earned retirement, not add petrol to
It is treasonous to give comfort to the enemy by pretending that the
Americans and Europeans have precipitated the war against Islamism, when the
very opposite is plainly the case. What they are doing is defending
western values of democracy, freedom and rule-of-law against the Islamists
who would destroy them. In Afghanistan and Iraq, overwhelming
majorities have freely voted for a democratic future.
Why do both these laureates, Ms Corrigan and
think such defence is somehow wrong?
They, along with many of today's self-styled
anti-war campaigners in the West (in practice pro-war pro the other side
campaigners), suffer from the same sanctimonious blind-spot as other
well-meaning and successful activists such as
Ghandi and Martin Luther King. The non-violent resistance of the
latter two champions was successful solely because, notwithstanding their
bravery, their adversaries - respectively the British and American nations -
were democratic and behaved in a civilised fashion. Had they tried the same
against, say, the Nazis, or the Soviets, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or Castro, or
Saddam, or Mullah Omar, they would have been machine-gunned without
compunction, and died as forgotten failures.
Northern Ireland's Nobel winners, who clearly see
themselves as professional peacemongers, have evidently never encountered
and cannot imagine state machinery that is less gentlemanly than that of a
typical Western democracy. And therefore they irrationally conclude
that those Western democracies which behave more robustly, such as America
and Britain, are inherently thuggish and bad. It is an extreme case of
moral equivalence married to geopolitical ignorance, and serves only to
exacerbate war not lessen it.
I am shocked. From such revered people, so
much more maturity and morality are expected. They should
realise that Northern Ireland's peace process, and thus their own expertise,
hold very few lessons for the war against Islamism.
and Corsican separatists yes;
the Falklands/Malvinas dispute yes;
Back to List of Contents
Body of Lies A-Smoldering
A few years ago, I wrote a piece entitled
the Lies that Get Them - Every Time”
which recounted how, when prominent people commit a faux pas, it is rarely
the original sin that gets them into trouble. It is the lies they
weave when they try and hide their peccadillo. Recall ...
Cherie Booth, barrister wife of the UK's
soon-to-be-ex Prime Minister, who (she not he) raided a Blind Trust
and consulted a convicted fraudster for financial advice;
Nixon, Republican president of the US, who organised a break-in to steal
campaign plans from the Democratic HQ in the Watergate Hotel in
Britain's war minister, who shared a call-girl, Christine Keeler, with the
chief Soviet spy in London;
Bill Clinton who cavorted with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office;
Archer who had a dalliance with a prostitute.
In each case, they got into trouble (respectively tears,
resignation, resignation, impeachment, prison) because when their sordid
little stories came to light they lied about them, denying the truth.
You would think that the mighty and the good would learn
from the misery of their peers, but it appears not.
Here in Ireland, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, currently on
the campaign trail for a historic third term, is dodging and weaving from
questions about his personal finances when he was Finance Minister in the
First it was payments he received from businessmen at
various functions which, when exposed last year, turned suddenly -
retrospectively - into
“loans”, unsecured and undocumented, which he then promptly
repaid (with interest).
Now, in the
middle of an election campaign,
it's cash given to his then girlfriend by his own landlord to refurbish
the landlord's house (“keep the change”), which the Taoiseach
wants us to believe
bought only to immediately rent it to Mr Ahern, and
which he left in his (the landlord's) will to Mr Ahern and Mr
then sold to Mr Ahern at a knock-down price a couple of years later,
all this was really nothing to do with Mr
or his position as
He has just about got away with the first cock-and-bull
story, but the second is still live. The longer his preposterous
explanation floats in the wind the more likely investigative journalists
will seek out the flaws. The obvious answer is that Mr Ahern asked the
to buy the house for him in trust because, for whatever
reason he didn't want his name appearing on the deeds.
The Taoiseach's career is going to crash around his ears
economy with the truth
with regard to his financial affairs. It's just
a matter of time. Meanwhile, one wag had himself photographed shaking
his hand as he wears a T-shirt emblazoned with
there, bought the Taoiseach”
(pronounced T-Shock, geddit?).
Mr Ahern should seriously contemplate the case of
Lord John Browne, whose glittering career has just disintegrated in a
For 12 years he was chief executive of BP, but by the
end of his tenure he had also become
Whew! You would wonder how he ever had time for his
day job. Perhaps he didn't, for his
achievements were not unmarred.
He spent over £50 billion acquiring rivals Amoco, Arco, Burmah Castrol and a stake in Veba, swelling BP's value to £111 billion,
making it Europe's largest company. And steadfast shareholders,
reinvesting dividends, would have
seen their investment swell by a factor of 3.7 during his watch.
Yet the share price today, at around £5, is pretty much
what it was back in 1999. Moreover, a catastrophic 2005 refinery fire in Texas which
killed fifteen people is
blamed on BP's over-zealous cost-cutting, as is a dreadful 200,000
barrel oil spill from a ruptured pipeline in Alaska in 2006.
Nevertheless Lord Browne has always been held in
extremely high esteem, both within and outside the company.
years, it has been an open secret that he's gay.
Yet no-one cared.
However he recently fell out with his boyfriend, who then went to the press
with his kiss-and-tell story. In the course of legal proceedings to prevent
Browne lied, under oath, about how he first met Jeff Chevalier: he said it
was in Battersea Park whereas they found each other via an internet escort
agency. I mean, who cares? He also told a string of lies about Mr Chevalier's
drink and drug habits.
For a fortnight, John Browne's body of lies a-smoldered
in a grave of silence. But when the truth at last came out, the Judge
was incensed at his perjury and castigated him as if he were an errant
schoolboy. The Lord was forced to resign from BP in ignominy, and with
immediate forfeiture of £15m in retirement benefits.
Being born a homosexual? That's not his fault.
Hiring rent-boys? Frankly no-one gives a damn. But telling
porkies. Now that's unforgivable.
When will they ever learn?
Back to List of Contents
Low Carbon Through Demographic Suicide P!
BABY BOOM: John Guillebaud, emeritus professor of family planning at University
College London, thinks “The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do
to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child”.
Britain's self-propagation rate, at just 1.7 babies per woman, is
already strongly negative. It would be demographic suicide.
Back to List of Contents
of Week 151
- - - - - - - - - -
J I H A D - - - - - - - - - -
“As we have surged our forces, al Qaeda is responding with their
own surge. Al Qaeda is ratcheting up its campaign of high-profile attacks,
including deadly suicide bombings carried out by foreign terrorists. America
responded, along with coalition forces, to help this young democracy, and a
brutal enemy has responded, as well. These attacks are part of a calculated
campaign to reignite sectarian violence in Baghdad, and to convince the
people here in America that the effort can't succeed.”
President George Bush explains the nature of his
“Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one.”
Sheik Ahmad Bahr, Hamas member and
acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council no less,
calls openly for genocide.
it is important that we believe such people.
They are not mad; they're deadly [sic] serious.
I wish they were mad.
- - - - - - - - - - I M M I G R A T I O N - - - - - - - - - -
[immigrants] do not come to be subsumed into our way
of life. They come to make their own distinctive contribution to our
Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh Dr Gerard Clifford,
at a commemoration of Ireland's 1916 Rising (against British rule),
encourages the politically correct yet ultimately destructive
ideology of multiculturism.
Immigrants, unless they are temporary, are under an
to become as much like the native population as they can.
If they want to preserve their native cultures,
they should return to their native lands.
The host country has no obligation, as the bishop infers,
to assimilate to the incomers,
only to give them the same legal protections as the host citizens.
- - - - - - - - - - F R A N C E - - - - - - - - - -
Quote: “People accuse me of encouraging public anger.
But who’s angry – the yobs? The drug traffickers? I can assure you:
I do not seek to be the friend of yobs. My aim is not to make myself
popular among the traffickers and the fraudsters.”
“With a name like yours, you'll never get anywhere in France.”
Advice from Hungary's
Pál Sárközy de
to his son Nicolas
See how happy
the French election results make Sarkozy Junior's predecessor,
- - - - - - - - - - C U R I O U S A
P P O I N T M E N T S - - - - - - - - - -
Quote: “When I think about the victims of genocide
committed by Mladic and Karadzic, I find it rather embarrassing
... Both fugitives are in Serbia.”
Carle Del Ponte, chief prosecutor at the Yugoslav war crimes
protests at the extraordinary appointment of Serbia
to chair Europe's human rights watchdog, the
Council of Europe,
whilst Serbia continues - in violation of the
UN Genocide Convention
to harbour indicted war criminals
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.
Quote: “We don't think that Zimbabwe would be a
particularly effective leader of this body ... It has been going in
only one direction - and it's backwards.”
Tom Casey, the US State Department deputy spokesman,
on the laughable election of
Zimbabwe's environment and tourism minister, Francis Nheme,
as chairman of the
Commission on Sustainable Development,
the main UN inter-governmental body on the environment.
“What has sustainable development to do with human rights?”
retorts Zimbabwe's UN ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku.
With Iran and Israel as co-vice-chairs,
much bonhomie and progress can be expected at meetings of this
Back to List of Contents
Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience
Back to Top of Page
ISSUE #150 - 6th
May 2007 
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's issue
So here's some kind of a
The last of these recounts Peter's wartime service,
as a ships engineer,
in a November 1944 convoy (designation JW61A) of ships bringing, at great peril from German
U-boats, arms and freed Soviet prisoners-of-war to Murmansk. This
was an icy place in
the Kola Inlet in the northwest of the USSR, 200 km kilometres
inside the Arctic Circle. The British and Americans,
who organized these Arctic convoys, 41 in all, were of course at that time
allies of Stalin's Soviet Union against the common enemy, which was
why they were providing succour, beleaguered as the Soviets had been by
Hitler's advance on Moscow and the aftermath.
In June 2005, I happened to notice in an Irish
article and photo where the Russian Ambassador was awarding
Arctic Convoy medals to six Irishmen, naval and airforce veterans, as a token of Russia's appreciation
of their help and bravery in a very fretful time. So I encouraged
Peter to apply for one, which he duly did. He sent a number
of letters to the embassy enclosing all kinds of documentary
evidence gleaned from the UK's
National Archives in Kew Gardens as well as the internet, and
providing a link to his memoirs.
These searches also revealed that a
Russian Convoy Association in Britain had for almost six decades
been pressurising the British authorities to award special
recognition to survivors of the Arctic
than the more general Atlantic Star that had been issued after the
war to cover all service in the Atlantic. And, sixty years
later, the Ministry of
Defence had finally relented.
Within two weeks of Peter
applying, he received this rather handsome Arctic Star emblem, together with a nice
citation from the MoD.
This was added to the evidence supporting Peter's
application to the Russians, but still their medal eluded him.
Finally, an informal phone call revealed what the
problem was. Peter will never get his medal.
During the early 1950s, as an engineering student
in Dublin, he earned a bit of pin money by writing an article about his Arctic convoy
experience in a now
defunct newspaper called the Irish Standard. He described
how, walking around the city of Murmansk while his ship was
docked there offloading matériel, he came across a large field
on the outskirts. It was full of American and British
tanks, aircraft, vehicles and other appurtenances of war,
sitting there idle and ignored.
It was plain that the Soviets were simply not
using much of the equipment which their allies were providing to
enormous personal and economic cost: at the height of the effort 50% of convoy ships were
sunk, usually with the loss of all hands in those Arctic
This non-use was a little known scandal.
His memoirs state that many of the freed
Soviet POWs on his ship, despite having been liberated from Nazi
slave-labour camps in France, were not at all happy about being
returned to the Motherland.
As the book recalls, we now
know they had good reason, for Stalin executed huge numbers of
his own soldiers as traitors simply for the “crime” of
having been captured by the Germans. As some kind of
vengeful portent, the already gaunt ex-prisoners were kept on restricted rations
throughout the voyage.
Then, in a later chapter, he tells of a routine post-war voyage
on a cargo trader from
Hamburg to Archangel in Russia's north. He was a student, and
used to take holiday jobs as a ships engineer.
The dockers who offloaded the cargo in Archangel were female –
emaciated, half-starved political prisoners who had opposed the
Soviet regime in one way or another.
Late one night, inebriated crewmen had
returned to the ship, collected a large tray of meat and fish
from the galley and brought it up on deck for the woebegone
women. But the Russian sentry knocked the tray into the
water with his rifle, whereupon an incensed crewman knocked the
sentry into the water. Mayhem ensued, with police and KGB
rushing aboard intent, no doubt, on shooting the crewman.
Peter, who is something of a linguist, was on hand to interpret, and eventually when things
calmed down the offenders, including Peter, were all marched
off to jail, while their ship was impounded. It took over
a week to negotiate their release and then only after the ship's
owners had handed over large sums of money to the local nomenklatura.
The Russian Embassy in Dublin has in its files all
three stories. They have apparently got a copy of the 1950s newspaper
article, dutifully clipped from a minor publication at the height of the Cold
War, as well as having downloaded Peter's memoirs from my website.
When you consider that theirs has never been more than an
insignificant diplomatic outpost of almost no strategic value, you
have to admire their diligence and the quality of their archiving
stretching back over five-plus decades.
But, armed with this damning evidence, the Ruskie
officials are not happy, and when they're not happy they're
vindictive. Though Peter also writes much that is
complimentary about Russia, particularly its artistic prowess, this
counts as naught compared to the offence they have taken. As
does his long and supportive involvement with the Ireland-USSR
Society. Also of no value, in their eyes, is the fact that he risked life and limb helping
their countrymen in their hour of need, and as a volunteer not a conscript.
So no medal, ever. But frankly, I would regard
the reason for withholding the medal as a greater source of pride
than to have actually been awarded it.
Hell hath no fury like a Russian confronted with an
Late Note (3 June 2007):
Subsequent events showed I was completely wrong
when I made these these disparaging remarks, which I now deeply regret.
See my post
“Apology to the Russians”.
Back to List of Contents
Large Football Pitch Carrier
Ever heard of the
It's a ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier) that the Japanese
built in 1979-81 at the height of the second - Iranian-inspired - oil
Prior to 1967, most oil from the Middle East was shipped
westward through the Suez Canal. But in 1967 the canal had to be closed due to the
sinking of shipping during the Six Day War (between Israel and pretty
much everyone else). It remained closed until and beyond the return engagement, the Yom Kippur War,
in 1973, which added more sunk shipping.
The latter conflict triggered the first oil crisis of 1973-75, which
pushed the oilprice up
five-fold. So, since tankers delivering high-price oil from the
Middle East to Europe/USA were forced to go round southern Africa, they were
built ever bigger to reap economies of scale. So much so that, by the law
of unintended consequences, when Suez eventually reopened in 1975, these huge ships
had rendered use of the canal both
impossible for big tankers and
for small ones.
A little later, the second oil crisis was sparked by
Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution in Iran in 1979/80, which tripled prices.
Thus oil which cost $3 a barrel (bbl) in 1973 was selling for $38 in 1980.
No surprise that the developed world slumped into recession. And no
surprise that tankers just got bigger.
as she was first known in 1979, was - and remains - the Big Daddy of them
all, not just the largest ULCC, but the mightiest ship ever built, to this
She is a
whopping 484m long by 69m wide, with a draft of
25m and a deadweight of 565,000 tonnes.
Fully laden, she can carry 4.1 million barrels of oil, which in many countries
constitutes a small oilfield that would justify drilling several wells.
No wonder she takes 3½ miles to stop.
For a while, she made money for her owners,
notwithstanding damage from a bad attack during the Iran/Iraq war by Iraqi
Exocet missiles whilst carrying Iranian oil through the Straits of Hormuz in
But then in 1989, a drunken captain crashed the
(also big, but only half the size of the
into the rocks in Prince William Sound,
spilling into the pristine Alaskan sea 260,000 barrels of filthy crude
oil, out of its cargo of 1.3m bbl.
This unprecedented environmental (and economic) disaster
provoked public opinion into demanding that all oil tanker hulls
be double-skinned. Thus single-skinned vessels such as
were gradually phased out, whilst the mechanics of double-skinning made it impractical
to ever build such a huge tanker again. She last transported crude in
Over the years, the ship several times changed hands -
and names, ranging from from
to its current
Nowadays, no longer allowed to ply the seas moving crude, she is
just an immobile, anchored,
offshore storage platform servicing one of Qatar's oil fields.
But things are stirring. She may yet find a new,
It seems that plans were recently released for an
an ambitious project, hatched over
dinner during last year’s Football World Cup in Germany.
International footballing legends Sir Bobby Charlton, Johann Cruyff and
Franz Bekenbaur have announced their intention to acquire the
Their plan is to have the deck of the tanker
completely cleared and laid with two full size Astro-Turf football pitches,
in order to host matches for a proposed European Football “Summer Super
League”. Further schemes include a world class football training academy,
with all the necessary medical, fitness, and sports psychology facilities,
as well as luxury accommodation for players and guests. Several computer
simulated “virtual golf courses” projected on to mega screens will
also be installed inside
some of the huge cargo spaces.
Some heavyweight backing has apparently been
secured already, with Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur and former chairman of Millwall
football club Theo Paphitis (of TV's “Dragons
Den” fame) and Virgin Airline’s
boss Richard Branson joining the consortium, with more billionaires expected
to participate, once the global satellite TV rights are secured.
A spokesman for the so-called
said that several locations are under consideration, with the Balearic
Islands in the Mediterranean
being one of the front-runners due to their climate, and ease of access. He
also said that a team of specialists is looking at the latest technology for
dynamically positioning and stabilising the ship (without anchors).
Another idea is to open up the hull plating
to one of the cavernous oil tanks, in order to provide floating docks within
the shelter of the superstructure, for mooring a number of yachts of up to
this story up from the print edition in April of an English-language
publication in Spain,
but have been unable to substantiate it further through web searches.
interesting story nevertheless. An Ultra Large Football Pitch Carrier,
eh? Let's see will it happen ...
if nothing does, it is fascinating just to learn something about the most
ginormous vehicle ever built by mankind.
should add that there is a remark at the bottom of the
web version of
the story in
that mystifies me.
Late Note (January 2008):
I note that the link to the web version of the story in “The
unfortunately corrupted itself, so I better tell you what it
It confessed that the whole thing is a hoax. What a shame!
Apply marmite, and/or eat it
mosquito-predators such as bats, dragonflies, damselflies
Don't get hot
(doesn't apply to young women, obviously)
Stay cool by
wearing white clothes ...
your drinks very cold, such as
Plenty of beer
Plenty of gin &
tonic (it's for the quinine in the tonic)
Plenty of white
(not red) wine
shots of whisky
Invite a friend
who is more mosquito-prone than you
Burn a mosquito
coil under the table.
I can confirm from my own research that none of the above
Here is my infallible and little-known solution, proven
through decades of BBQs on hot sweaty evenings in the swamps of Nigeria, the
rainforests of the Philippines, the humid coasts of the Middle East.
The key is indeed the humble mosquito coil.
But first you need to understand the lifestyle of the
It is during the early afternoon that he flies around
looking for a suitable spot to drop anchor for the night. Somewhere
shady, warm, not too much breeze, with a chance for some nice fresh meat.
Having made his mind up, he then flies off for the rest of the day doing
whatever mosquitoes do and swapping notes about where to spend the evening.
Then, as the shades of night are falling, he returns to
settle down, with his buddies. And naturally, it having been a hard
day, they all tuck into the nearest and tastiest leg.
And once he's made his decision about where to spend the night, no
mosquito coil is going to change his mind.
So the trick is to put out the mosquito coils - plenty of
them - in the early afternoon and keep them burning until the end of your
BBQ. Mr M will then, during his reconnaissance, decide that your house is horrible and
inhospitable and set his sights on your neighbour's instead.
Inviting your mosquito-prone friend is also good insurance,
just in case.
With the relentless march of global warming, those of us
living in what is now temperate Europe are going to have to learn such
anti-mosquito skills, for the balmy, beer-sodden, BBQ evenings ahead.
Back to List of Contents
I hope you didn't miss it. Early today (that is,
Sunday) a special instant occurred, of which there will only be two more
this year and then none.
At three minutes and four seconds after 2 o'clock this
morning, May the 6th, the time and date were
Europeans may have missed it by now, but thanks to the miracle
of time-difference, American readers still have a chance, depending how far
west they are.
European readers, however, can await a further month,
until 5th June, when we can experience the same event again, since unlike
the Americans we write the day before the month, so 05/06 means 5th June not
Then in July, we all have yet a third reason to break out the
champagne, because at seven minutes and seven seconds after 7 am on 7th
July, the magical time/date will be - for Americans, Europeans and everyone
else alike -
This is especially lucky for Chinese readers as they revere the number
These things will never happen again in our lifetimes. So enjoy.
Back to List of Contents
Week 150's Letters
to the Press
Three letters this week, all unpublished (as usual).
I've started to write to the
Independent instead of the
but I guess it's too soon to expect success.
Enda Kenny's Mystery Makeover
I was amazed when no-one seemed to comment or
even notice that Enda Kenny [leader of Ireland's main
opposition party] underwent a radical
makeover last January. In a flash, his face changed from
baby-pink to tough-guy tan, his locks from blond to dark (with
just a touch of patrician grey), his eyebrows likewise and
reshaped, his hair backswept, almost bouffant, instead of parted
on the left, his eyes narrowed to make him look less, well,
gullible. Even his voice seemed to have dropped a tone or
two. In short, his boyishness was replaced by a measure of
urbane gravitas ...
Drugs are Much Cheaper Elsewhere in the EU
Your reporter Jamie Smyth tells us that
prices are 19 per cent higher than the EU average in the
What a scandalous figure. Who is doing the research? It's far
too low. Here is the result of my own recent survey ...
Raymond Deane on Palestine and Israel
The amount of air time, the count now up to
112 times since 1997, that you give to Raymond Deane of the
Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Aosdána for his
vitriolic views against democratic Israel, beleaguered on all
sides by hostile tyrannies, is astonishing. Why don't you just
give him a permanent column? And here's an idea ...
to List of Contents
Quotes of Week 150
‘’ ‘’ “”“”“”“”“”“”
“I ask you to forgive me for not fulfilling the hopes of those
people who believed that we would be able to jump from the grey, stagnating,
totalitarian past into a bright, rich and civilised future in one go. I
myself believed in this. But it could not be done in one fell swoop ... I am
leaving. I have done everything I could ... In saying farewell, I wish to
say to each of you the following. Be happy. You deserve happiness. You
deserve happiness and peace.”
The wistful yet
hopeful valedictory address of Boris Yelstsin,
who died a couple of weeks ago,
on handing over the presidency to Vladimir Putin,
the first Russian leader in history ever to do such a thing voluntarily.
“I am not sure which woman he was afraid of: the woman in the
red dress or the Secretary of State.”
Sean McCormack, the US state department
commenting on the abrupt departure, in a huff,
of Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki
prior to the arrival of Condoleeza Rice at a dinner
in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Mr Mottaki blamed his flight on the
a Russian violinist, because she wore a low-cut red dress.
blasé after a night of setbacks
in local and regional elections across the UK, when Labour lost ...
a majority in the
Welsh Assembly, and,
albeit by a
knife-edge, to the Scottish National Party.
“Franco-German friendship, the unity between Germany and France,
have made peace take hold, have affirmed democracy in Europe.”
Jacques Chirac, in his last,
with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel,
have forgotten that GI boots on the ground
together with the American nuclear
are what kept France and western Germany out of the Soviet empire,
peace and democracy to prosper
The sooner this
is replaced the better,
whether by a tigress or a tomcat ...
“A scratching tigress and a tomcat”
Sud Ouest newspaper compares
Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy
after their marathon 2½ hour TV debate.
Le Parisien newspaper called Ségo a
Back to List of Contents
Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience
Back to Top of Page
to Tallrite Blog
Ill-informed and objectionable as always
Now, for a little [Light Relief]
Cuddly Teddy Bears
looking for a home
Click for details
Neda Agha Soltan;
shot dead in Teheran
by Basij militia
Good to report that as at
14th September 2009
he is at least
FREED AT LAST,
ON 18th OCTOBER 2011,
GAUNT BUT OTHERWISE REASONABLY HEALTHY
Atlantic Blog (defunct)
Broom of Anger
Cox and Forkum
Carey / GUBU
Thinking Man's Guide
Victor Davis Hanson
Tales from Warri
Graham's Sporting Wk
My Columns in the
What I've recently
“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.
Note: I wrote
my own reports on Macondo
A horrific account
how the death
penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,
the corruption of
Singapore's legal system, and
enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship
More details on my
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s
incredible 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
Click for an account of this momentous,
of March 2009
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the Rugby World Cup
scores, points and rankings.
crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are,
England get the Silver,
Argentina the Bronze. Fourth is host nation France.
No-one can argue with
the justice of the outcomes
Over the competition,
points per game = 52,
tries per game = 6.2,
minutes per try =
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the final World Cup
scores, points, rankings and goal-statistics