Category Archives: Politics

A Medal for Freedom Fighters

The Amritsa massacre, carried out by troops of the British Empire under the command of English officers, is a shameful episode in British history. But it was a long time ago. What is also shameful, and still continuing is the attitude of the British Government towards the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

For those unfamiliar with the issue, in 1916 representatives of the British and French governments Mark Sykes and Francois Piquet, entered into a secret agreement to carve up the Ottoman Empire (the area controlled by Turkey, a 1stWorld War enemy) so that Britain would get the Southern bit and France the Lebanon and Syria. If you ever wondered why the borders are mostly straight lines the reason is that straight lines are easier to draw. For more information go here

Within this area is the land of Kurdistan, homeland of the Kurds and after World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.Such hopes were dashed three years later, however, when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. Over the past 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state have been brutally quashed.

So the Kurds got less than nothing. So whereas in the UK, Scotland can campaign for independence, Kurds who do this in Turkey are considered terrorists.

Come IS (or ISIS), the Kurds became the loyalist and most motivated of the anti IS forces with a military composed of both men and women fighting in the front line, aided by volunteers from Europe and the USA, just like the International Brigade fighting against fascism in Spain the 1930’s.

The difference is that now, the UK government have decided that those from Britain fighting against IS will be designated as terrorists. Sure, Sajid Javid, the British Home Secretary (interior minister) likes to play the tough guy, no compassion in this particular Muslim, but this is a stretch too far. Rather than penalising those brave fighters resisting the brutality of this most bloody of Muslim sects, the British government should be awarding them medals (though in many cases it will be too late as they died in the fight). So, contact your Government now and join the campaign. “A medal for freedom fighters”. It really is time!

For more information about the Kurds go here:

So, contact your Government now and join the campaign. “A medal for freedom fighters”. It really is time!

For more information about the Kurds go here:


The Far Right of German politics

Far Right and Far Left are political terms which are hard to clearly define. For the vociferous left of centre, Far Right is one step away from Fascism, the movement which killed around 30 million people, whilst for the right of centre Far Left is next to communism, the movement which also killed around 30 million, though in both cases the numbers vary depending on who is counting

So, as a centrist liberal I cannot but be shocked that I agree, in part, with the German so called “Far right AfD chairperson Dr Alice Weidel, when she said that the whole Brexit mess was due to the EU since David Cameron failed to get any meaningful concessions from the EU prior to the calling of the Brexit referendum. Though I am a committed European and understand the economic benefits of immigration I can understand that the reason for the vote for Brexit was first and foremost immigration. Too many people too quickly. It doesn’t matter that there was a persistent hint of racism and nationalism in the vote. Too many, too quickly settled that matter. Unfortunately Dr Weidel then continued to make unsubstantiated claims which, as far as I am concerned, destroyed her credibility but probably pleased her supporters. As the Nation Union of Journalists say “never let the truth spoil a good story”.

The other Brexit reasons are riding on the coat tails of immigration. Does anybody know what loss of sovereignty actually means? Who in Britain has suffered from a lack of sovereignty apart from the little fish who want to be bigger fish in a UK free from the constraints of the EU? Who will actually benefit? Workers? Clearly not, financial speculators, probably.

It is abundantly clear that the EU is not perfect and that urgent reform is necessary. Let’s be frank, any parliament which has to move itself completely for four days once a month to a different city is nothing short of ridiculous. Quite how that continues is beyond me. Yet for Britain to leave is equally crazy. Unfortunately, we are manged by politicians when what we need are statesmen, people with the clear sightedness and personality to achieve results which will inspire rather than embarrass. Britain should take the lead in EU reform and not slink away to become a kind of 51stState of the American Union the land of opportunity, as long as you are rich.


Theresa May plays Poker with £2 Billion tax payer’s stake.

In probably the worlds highest stakes poker game Theresa May put £2 billion down in a game of poker played against the Tories who oppose here Brexit deal. The money, to be spent on logistics plans for a no deal Brexit is designed to frighten the Remainers in her party into accepting the deal she has managed to agree with the EU. Will she win the game and walk away with the prize? She has a good chance. Few will realise that this money is not the government’s but the taxpayer’s who have, on previous occasions, indicated a preference for the NHS to get any spare cash available. Of course there is still a chance that wiser heads will prevail though with the Labour party leadership playing their own game of Trotsky’s “the worse the better” strategy and the Liberal Democrats weakened by their insistence on honesty, it might be hard to find where they are going to come from.

Of course successful poker playing means you actually have to convince your opponent that you are serious. This will be easy for M/s May who actually believes she is right.

Watch tomorrow for the further exciting instalment of “ Save the Tories from Extinction”, showing everywhere. All the time.

Brexit, the propaganda war part 2

In a previous post “25 year of poison finally kills the UK” I described the propaganda war waged by the UK right wing press against the EU. The headline says it all. There is a totally inadequate response by the EU here Euro myths . It is clear that whereas the UK press is sensationalist and attention grabbing, the EU are coolly rational. But as we all know, cool heads and rationality are not the way to win a propaganda war. Propaganda requires sensationalism of which one of the best examples was the babies in the incubator stories from the first Iraq war:
The Nayirah testimony was false testimony given before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990 by a 15-year-old girl who provided only her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicised, and was cited numerous times by United States senators and President George H. W. Bush in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War. In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah’s last name was al-Ṣabaḥand that she was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by an American public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah’s testimony has come to be regarded as a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda.
In her emotional testimony, Nayirah stated that after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital, take the incubators, and leave the babies to die.
We probably all know that in war, the first victim is truth yet time and again we fall for the story. Retraction and clarification comes far later and cannot compete with the initial lie which by then, has been forgotten.
And so the EU. Emotion based on false testimony won the day. Britain is due to leave the EU on the 31st March 2019. And now the next round of the propaganda war begins. Who to blame?
For the right wing press in the UK it is clear. It is the fault of Brussels. They are out to punish Britain. You will know this to be true if you study reader’s comments on newspaper websites. So if the UK crashes out of the EU, if you can’t get fresh fruit or vegetables, if you can’t fly to Spain for your holidays (or Sardinia if you are richer) or if your factory closes. You will know who to blame. It will be Brussels. The truth may be different but the image of little Britain fighting against the mighty Brussels, (a 2019 version of David v Goliath), plays strait to the heart of Britain’s finest hour, circa 1940. Britain against the Eu is a wining card just waiting to be played. We can all stand together.

By the way. Nigel Farage’s children have German passports. Smart move Nigel. Savour vour victory as you take your EU pension.

Out with Britain, in with English.

Anybody who thinks that Britain out of the EU will diminish the role of English in Europe could be in for a rude awakening. Though at the moment the EU is working in German, French and English and some have suggested that now is the time for Spanish to replace English at the top table, the opposite is more likely. English can finally take the role of THE official  EU language. The reason is quite clear, Europe needs one voice. It can’t be German, the French wouldn’t have it. It can’t be French, nobody really speaks it outside France and Spanish, with 45 million in Europe, just doesn’t have the numbers.  But English without Britain would be neutral, with none of the major EU players gaining a language advantage. Plus of course it is the child of a coupling between the German Anglo Saxon and the French of ancient Normandy with just enough words from other languages, from Italy to Scandinavia, to give everybody a stake. Who could ask for a better compromise? And there is a good precedent for an external language to be adopted as the official one. The world’s newest country, South Sudan, an area the size of France but with 100 local languages, has chosen English as its official one. Why? As the news director of the South Sudan Radio, Rehan Abdelnebi, said, “we can become one nation. We can iron out our tribal differences and communicate with the rest of the world”.

Countries which could benefit from the adoption of English include divided Cyprus and divided Ireland where only 10% of the population speak the Irish, as well as the whole of Scandinavia where the standard of English is often better than that of England.

In any case, those trying to maintain their current language with rules and laws are probably doomed to fail. There is no escaping the fact that English is so popular because it is easy. As a young Slovak told me recently, “we learn English, German and Slovak in school, but Slovak is over, it’s too difficult”. How long before young Germans come to the same conclusion? Have the French decided yet if WiFi is masculine or feminine? As though it really matters.

All this begs the question of exactly why nations have official languages which so few speak, for example Ireland where 10% speak Irish but as a second language. Clearly it comes from a political need to create a nation, to be different. Whereas of course the truth is that, other than being told they are Irish, they are just Europeans, like everybody else.






Bluff, double bluff and counter bluff. The real truth behind the Brexit story.

A very bad exit from Europe, with a hard Irish border and many job losses, would probably cost the Tories the next election. However,  if they could cast the EU as a villains and if they were believed, their chances of re-gaining power would be much improved. The danger for the remainers, would be the accusation that they were thwarting “The will of the people”.

And what a magnificent slogan that is. Right up there with “torches of freedom“, “Go to work on an egg“, “Arbeit Macht frei”, “A Reich to last 1000 years,” and “superfast broadband”; phrases to warm the heart of Dr Goebbels and strike fear into the hearts of competent psychologists.  The fact that many thousands of people did actually have an egg for breakfast (until the British food and agriculture minister publicly announce that all eggs contain salmonella) and that many more really did believe that the Hitler’s Reich would last 1000 years, just illustrates the power that slogans have. Let’s face it, we are all pretty dumb when it comes to a catchy slogan. But just how dumb the British people really are remains to be seen.

One of the strangest facts about the Brexit vote was that the people most benefiting from the EU, that is to say the not so well-paid workers and consumers in general, who need state protection against unbridled capitalism, voted for  it. It now seems that in general they treated the vote as a typical protest against the government, a traditional action for a midterm election. “What-ever it is, I’m against it.” What has subsequently become clear is that they did not actually believe that the vote would go against the EU and were told so by most political pundits in the media. Whatever the reasons, here we are with barely a year before Britain exits EU membership and still no real idea what it means. So if the European Union can protect the rights of workers and consumers in general against the machinations of big business who, you might ask, could be against it?

Clearly like most things in life, there are degrees of “against” and it’s worth considering just what those degrees are since the EU is many things. One might suppose that a significant proportion of the “against” would be against the idea of a super-state and fear that that is the direction the EU is headed. They would prefer the EU to be a glorified customer union. Of course, history tells us that what starts as a customer union soon becomes a state. The 26 independent “nations” of Germany in 1834 had, following the establishment of the “zollverein”,  by 1871 become an Empire. Nevertheless, apart from the very very right wing, most, and certainly the business community which is a major source of finance for the Tories, want a customs union of some sort.

Given this, just who are those advocating a hard exit from the European Union. By “hard” of course we mean an exit without a beneficial trading relationship with European Union. Who could possibly want such an outcome? I think I may know the answer. Generally, they are called the hard right of the Tory party. A common thread among this group seems to be education in the private sector, the stronghold of privilege and class distinction within the UK. As has been quoted elsewhere, “Private education in the UK is so good that even the stupid and lazy can succeed”.  And what could be more stupid than Boris Johnson, the poster boy of Brexit, who actually asked rhetorically “can you see the United States joining such a union as the EU?” without realising that in fact the United States is a union of states just like the EU, The United States of Europe (EU), the United States of America. One has to ask if the many thousands of pounds spent on Boris’ education was not wasted but clearly it was not since it seems to have fitted him perfectly for life as a Tory member of Parliament. Similarly with Donald Trump, whose expensive private education in America enabled him to become the President yet seemed unable to overcome the deeply disturbing traumas of his parenting, traumas which he carries with him into his ethical philosophy. A perfect example of the opening lines of Philip Larkin’s poem, “This be the Verse”

But let’s return to the main point. Who are the people who want the UK to leave the European Union. Names seem to be scarce in the popular press and numbers seem to vary between 40 and 60. As far as I can see there are clear economic benefits gained from membership of the EU the alternative entails serious financial risk. To take such a risk there must be a considerable upside. But the upside is hard to find. The notion of “taking back control of one’s destiny” (another key phrase of the Breixteers) is spurious since most pf the population have no control at all apart from the ability to vote in elections which they are able to do within the EU. Destiny is mostly in the hands of the banks and major companies. On an individual level the rules and regulations forced upon Britain are beneficial and not only through the stimulation of trade, itself a path to prosperity. In particular the rules concerning compensation for passengers of airlines, the fact that medical treatment is available throughout the Union, the fact that my mobile phone works seamlessly everywhere and that hormone laden beef from the USA is banned, are just a few of the benefits. Does anybody really believe that a Tory lead, independent British government is on the side of the workers?

For me I think it’s clear that when companies are bigger than states then a bigger state is necessary to ensure, if not justice, then at least a slightly more even playing field. So what are the upsides which Brexit will bring? Here, again, we have to turn to history. I fear the hard right have developed a pseudo fascist mentality in which the nation will be motivated only through suffering. “The worse the better” may have been a key phrase from the Russian revolution in which the pain of poverty finally brings about radical change, but it was a significant factor in the rise of Hitler and German fascism, the direct result of the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the depredation of the resulting economic chaos.

Letter to a German politician

Dear Jens Spahn,
First let me apologies for writing to you in English. I fully understand your concerns regarding the use of English. In my defence I can only say that, as a 71 year old resident of Vienna I find that every time I attempt to speak German I am responded to in English. Even when I asked “Haben Sie Kohlsprossen” the response from the Gemüsehändler was, in English ” I think it is too early in the season”.

The problem, which, as a well educated German mother tongue speaker you have, is that you just don’t recognise the complexity of your native language. You also fail to realise that English is fundamentally a German dialect, as is Dutch and other derivatives including local forms where, in spoken form, all nouns take the masculine.

Languages are not prisons, they are a method of communication and the easier that is, the better for everybody. People adopt words which they find useful, hence the appearance of “Zeitgeist” and “Schadenfreude” in English. These German words are better than the English equivalent, shorter and more precise and so the language adapts and incorporates them.

I could write more and in fact have done so within my blog but may I close with this. It is not the strong which survive, but the most adaptable. That goes for languages just as with species.
ps. Why is so much of the worlds economy in the hands of the USA? One market, 350million people, one language. That is a great place to start a business.