27th August 2011
The last episode was a couple of evenings ago. I thoroughly enjoyed this mini-series. Oh, I know it has come in for a lot of criticism. It was accused of being too slow, ponderous, the script a little lack-lustre, and so it was, characteristics I don’t normally associate with a good program. And yet I enjoyed it. It took me back to the early days of television. I was but a youngster, but well recall the almost amateurish efforts of both the BBC and ITV in their programming. It was an innocent age, at least for a youngster such as me.
Set in 1956, during the Suez Crisis, I found the plot quite riveting. The writer, Abi Morgan, created an ingenious mixture of fact and fiction. The director general of the BBC at that time was a relative of mine, Sir Ian Jacob. I wonder why Anton Lesser was cast as Clarence Fendley, as he is almost a dead ringer for Ian, whereas the DG, who I believed appeared but briefly in one episode, looked nothing like him. It was in fact Sir Ian Jacob who insisted that the BBC show impartiality in their news coverage of the Suez Crisis, notwithstanding that immense pressure was put on the BBC by the Eden government to suppress and limit the same. This did not endear Ian to his old comrade Winston Churchill, who stated that in this respect he was disappointed in him.
An uncle of mine, the late Alaric Jacob, worked for the BBC after he had retired from journalism. Alaric can only be described as an armchair socialist, whereas his wife Iris Morley, an author, war correspondent and journalist, had been a member of the Communist Party. Notwithstanding this, she has graduated to a deserved place in the Dictionary of National Biography. Both appeared on Orwell’s list of suspected communist sympathisers, which is rather curious, as the list had been drawn up by George Orwell, a friend of Alaric’s and whose literary executor he had been. Alaric was denied all BBC pension rights because of his inclusion on the list and his wife’s stated sympathies. When Alaric confronted his cousin Ian about this, he was told that there was nothing that could be done for the time being. Alaric wrote an article in the New Statesman about this some years later. It was titled ‘Padlocked into MI5′s bosom’. However, after Iris died, prematurely, Alaric was again given BBC pension rights.
So you see, this is perhaps where my empathy for this program springs from. That apart, I find both Romola Garai and Anna Chancellor absolutely gorgeous!
DOMINIQUE STRAUSS KAHN
I have no feelings for this chap, either way. I would almost, but not quite, argue that he got what he deserved. And yet the manner in which his arrest and subsequent imprisonment and then release on bail has been handled is totally disgraceful. No doubt the US authorities will argue that no one in the USA is above the law, it applies to all and sundry, no matter who it is. We know of course that this is not so. There are few countries in the world where people are less equal than in the USA.
To release him now because there appears to be no credible evidence, or rather the sole witness to the affair is also the plaintiff and victim and her evidence is deemed untrustworthy, is ridiculous. That should have been established before the man was imprisoned, and initially refused bail. No, I feel it may well have been a set put up job . The conspiracy brigade will have their hands full.
We had a brief bit of news about Gordon Brown having obtained finance for the Labour Party from this fellow – and then it was stifled. Curious. But wasn’t Andrew Rosenfeldt the same chappie who was investigated in the cash for Honours scandal some years ago? It makes you wonder.
CAMERON: I have won the war
A ridiculous pronouncement of course, but I would not put it past our man. When the riots broke out in England a couple of weeks ago David Cameron was slow to return to this country from his holiday. After all, this was bad news and he is loathe to face up to bad news. But hark, the ‘rebels’ in Libya appeared to have won the day, so on this occasion he breaks off his holiday post haste and returns to London. No doubt he was hoping to cash in on some positive PR. Thankfully – for him – his advisers cautioned against declaring his colours until it was quite clear that a victory by forces opposing Gaddafi had been gained. Quite frankly, thankfully Gaddafi is finished, there is no hope for him. And yet our man is still waiting for the right moment to declare his success in defeating him. Regime change, which is what it has been all about almost from day one, has been effected. And yet I feel that across the water Napoleon will claim the victory. How perverse is this I ask.
It seems to me that all our leaders need a war in which to be victorious, no doubt to take the electorates mind away from what has gone and is going wrong domestically.
And as for Big Ears suggesting we might contribute funds to the rebuilding of the Libyan state, this is outrageous. Libya is a rich country. Not only that but funds withheld from the ancient regime can now be released. There is more than enough money in Libyan coffers. So, no money from the UK or the EU should be gifted to Libya.
KIDNAPPED IN SOHO ( a sequel)
Not a great deal to say on the earlier post relating to this, other than that matters are progressing smoothly.
It is astonishing how reports of corruption within the Metropolitan Police surface, and yet the news is quickly suppressed. There are obviously those in Government and elsewhere who do not wish to have such further unpleasant revelations brought to the public’s attention, but I have little doubt more will be forthcoming in due course.
PLANET MADE OF DIAMONDS
Given that a second attempt is being made to establish a futures market in diamonds, will some bright spark sell forward diamonds from this source? After all, the planet is but 4000 lights years away from us.
WHO DOESN’T ENJOY A GOOD CURRY?
I do from time to time. I am no aficionado of curries, but once a month I cook one for myself. I say cook although I have to admit that due to lack of time I have tended for some years to buy ready-made curry sauces. And here’s the rub. I think I have tried most of them, but none, as far as I am concerned, taste particularly good. No matter which supermarket I get them from, no matter what brand I buy – they taste bland.
Many years ago, in the 70s, when I worked in the city of London, I had an Indian male secretary. In those days, in India, men tended to be secretaries, and Sam had arrived in London some years previously. Of course, that has all now changed, female secretaries have taken on a much more important role in India. Sam was in his 50s, widowed, and he cooked for himself. Quite apart from being an excellent secretary, he was a damn good cook. I got a couple of curry recipes from him, and excellent they are two. The problem is, they do take some time to prepare, notwithstanding the fact that, but in my opinion a curry tastes much better a day or two after it has been first made. It gives the ingredients time to be infused with the spices.
So there we are. I am at a loss what to do. Is there a decent curry sauce, ready prepared, that I have not come across? Any suggestions?
Something I meant to post some weeks ago. David Cameron stated he did not have any inappropriate conservations with any of the Murdoch media gang, with whom he has had meetings on any number of occasions this year. Of course he bloody well did. What was the point of having a conversation with any of them if they were not going to discuss the proposed take over of B Sky B. No point whatsoever.
Taking out the contents of a letter written by one of my cousins to a sibling in 1878, I found several small pieces of snakeskin contained in the envelope. On examination it looked very much like the skin of an Adder, although the markings were very faded and the skin dried out and delicate. After some investigation on the net, I discovered that the skin of an Adder was regarded as cure for rheumatism and headache, and indeed the letter itself referred to the former. I think we would look rather daft were we to attempt that now, I mean hordes of people walking around with adder skin on their foreheads – the mind boggles. But then, when told ‘not tonight Darling, I have a headache’ it might prove useful to have a piece of skin by one’s bedside. The shock effect would dissipate any headache!
18th August 2011
In the Daily Mail of 17th August 2011 there is an article by Simon Heffer titled the Rise of the Fourth Reich, billed as ‘in a provocative yet penetrating analysis a formidable Mail voice agrees that, where Hitler failed by force of arms, modern Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe’.
This is utter nonsense. I made the suggestion myself some years ago, but changed my views shortly thereafter. It was posted in an earlier blog, but in a couple of paragraphs, unlike Heffer I am not paid a fortune to pad out such an article.
Germany is the most powerful economy in Europe and one of the strongest in the world. This is well deserved, Germans have worked hard to achieve their Wohlstand, which is not what it used to be I might add. They are looking after their own interests in the actions they take now, interests garnered to maintaining their viability in export markets and protecting their banks, which have a great exposure to those countries in the EU who are currently in trouble.
This is not with a view to seeking world domination. In essence, they can never achieve that aim. They have a number of weaknesses, the most fundamental of which being that they have still have not got over their guilt complex in relation to the Second World War. It has long been time to put what happened behind them, not to forget, or for the world to let them forget, but for them to discard this complex, and become involved in world affairs. Their approach, rather than being one that seeks world domination, is one of an insular nature. The present generation for the most part do not share the views of their leaders and many of the older generation. They say, quite rightly, they were not around in the 30s, 40s and 50s – what has this to do with them. You cannot tarnish a whole nation with the misdeeds of their forebears.
So, I fear this is the Mail at its worst, gaudy headlines and leaders, but first and foremost it is, as ever, too little too late.
UNIVERSITY FEE NONSENSE
I don’t see what the fuss is about as far as university fees are concerned. Many universities will triple them in a year’s time. In the same breath we have government ministers saying, ah yes but there will be nothing to pay until a student earns a salary of….. whatever it is. Much more importantly I have heard ministers suggest that a good number of students will ignore paying the fees in later life, so there is nothing for them to worry about. I mean, what arrant nonsense is this. Then of course we may well have another government which changes its views entirely on this matter and fees will be revoked, perhaps even in retrospect. This government really has got itself in one hell of a mess, and there are no signs of it extricating itself from it, and this in so very many respects.
It transpires that Andy Coulson may be guilty of…. well, you name it – lying, perjury, dishonesty… You heard it here first of course. But hacking and bugging was the thing to do. It was the thing to do because you got away with it. This issue will not go away and will prove to be a heavy burden for David Cameron. Nor will the matter of police corruption go away. I have my little part to play in that.
Having your own blog which invites comments has its perils. I get any number of comments sent to me daily, which are suspended in a file pending my decision whether to publish them or not. I don’t publish them. I could put in a plug-in which would automatically deny them access, but I have so far found it quite amusing reading the nonsense people bother to send. I say people, the majority are sent by bots, although occasionally it is apparent that someone has read the particular post as they refer to it. Some are flattering, others contentious, the majority totally nonsensical. The vast majority of course are doing nothing but looking for back-links.
To give some examples:
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Do you think that your struggles with manic depression have made you a better person? Do you think that if you had a more traditional. upbringing, you would be a different person? show more show less
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To which I did reply in the affirmative.
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The writer obviously is unaware of the fact that I am not pregnant.
Enough of this nonsense!
TO BE CONTINUED SHORTLY