Tag Archives: ukraine

THE CUTTING EDGE

2nd March 2014

UKRAINE

I find it curious how we in the West are treating events in Ukraine. On the one hand it is good to have Janukowitch removed. On the other hand, he was of course legally elected, but we can gloss over that little nicety. Yet this hysteria on the part of most Western leaders and media is quite repugnant. I can fully understand Russia’s position as far as the Crimea is concerned. It is in essence Russian and is highly important to them strategically. The port of Sevastopel is the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and naturally they would not wish the EU, if indeed Ukraine does foster closer relations with it, to be even nearer on their doorstep, so to speak; and who can blame them. Ukraine has the port of Odessa which is far more important to them.

There can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the people in the Crimea wish to be part of the Russian Federation. Why should we stand in their way?

Indeed, since I first wrote this piece and posted it on Facebook this morning, the de facto occupation of the Crimea is now official. Should Russia decide to invade the Ukraine proper, this would turn out problematical for them. There is no need, as the Russian minorities in the East and Souithern parts of Ukraine can well undermine the government in Kiev on their own.

I do find the moral high ground that some in the West are trying to adopt, President Obama for example, quite absurd. I hardly think the USA is in a position to give us such humbuggery, one could name many reasons for them not to do so, I mention only one – Guantanamo Bay. As for our Government issuing threats against Russia, this is farcical in the extreme. We are a toothless nation with nothing but rhetoric and empty threats to offer anyone. The German government is spineless as ever, and will not issue too many threats, their trade with Russia being far too important to them; nor will the French. I have a sneaky suspicion that Holland personally even endorses events.

Let us not destabilise the region more than it already is; we should learn from our naive support of the many so-called Arab springs. They have done little to benefit the recipients of these.

Of course, what this does do is detract from many other pressing problems our Government faces at home, after all, there is nothing like some meaty foreign affair to deflect from these, such a good old stand-by.

GERMAN HISTORY RE-WRITTEN?

I will not allow this small, yet not insignificant, piece of German history go unrecorded, indeed to be airbrushed I alluded to this some years ago. However, going through correspondence I found for the first time the letter which is illustrated. It was written by Werner Scholten to my mother in 1970. I also give the background to this below. I did contact Peter Millowitsch over two years ago, but he is in denial about what happened to Else, indeed, Wikipedia makes no reference to this or her son Werner. Perhaps one does not wish to blemish her memory, but it does not do that in my opinion.

I have childhood memories of Else Scholten (1902-1981). She was an actress and a member of the Millowitsch-Theatre, a keen participant in Karneval festivities in Cologne and elsewhere. Her son I met too, to play with, although he was some years older than me. Both were good friends of my German grandparents and their family, my grandmother also being an active Karnevalistin.

Else was Jewish and had married a German, who went on to join the Nazi party, and subsequently divorced her because of her faith. The effect of this must have been devastating for Werner, their only child. Yet they survived in Hitler’s Germany. Else managed to continue to live openly in Essen for much of the war; perhaps her husband, for his son’s sake, assisting her. Towards the end of the war, however, she was taken to Theresienstadt concentration camp; she survived. Perhaps her wealth played a part in this, or perhaps her many friends played a role in this too. I have been told stories about Jews in Essen remaining in hiding during the war years, one of whom spent much of that period living in a cellar not far from where my grandparents lived. After liberation from Theresienstadt, Else remained in Germany to work, and her career went well.


Werner’s life was not to be an uneventful one. He became a well known society photographer, much feted in Germany. His undoing was an affair he had with an Iranian photographic model, Parvaneh Koshnevis, some many years his junior. He discovered she had been unfaithful to him – and shot her. The trial hit the headlines in Germany and elsewhere, and was reported at length in Quick magazine.

After the trial, where his guilt was not disputed, my mother received a phone call in London from his mother Else. I recall it well, as I was there at the time. My mother was asked whether she would take Werner in to live with us in London, and look after him. Else was wealthy and would look after my mother and Werner. My mother, after some thought and discussion with me, decided to decline the offer; she feared, perhaps not unreasonably so, that Werner was by now a little too unstable.

The curious thing is, he was not incarcerated for long. Apparently he was suffering from an incurable disease and was receiving treatment in Hamburg. We last heard, however, that he had gone to live in Teneriffe. From then on we gradually lost contact with both of them.

Else died on 14th October 1981, but I would quite like to know how Werner’s last years played out.

CAMERON MERKEL TETE A TETE

What was the point of the meeting between Chancellor Merkel and David Cameron? I see none. As for her address to both houses of parliament, this was a complete waste of time. She was, as expected, totally non-committal, and io this government believes that anything will be achieved in behind the scenes discussions, they are very much mistaken; or are they? Is this not just one big cynical PR exercise. So where does this leave Cameron with his promise to ‘renegotiate’ the EU treaty? Nowhere, but up the Swanee without a paddle.

BISHOP’S AVENUE

Bishop’s Avenue in North West London is nick-named Billionaires Row; many of the houses there are in a sorry state of disrepair and neglect. That is a shame. I fond memories of being in a number of them years ago. Surely they present an excellent up-market squat?

THE CUTTING EDGE

28th January 2014

SOUTH KESTEVEN DISTRICT COUNCIL (SKDC) – THE COUNCIL FROM HELL

I posted some weeks ago about this evil and utterly incompetent council. Arguably they have now surpassed themselves, but at what human tragedy. The development they undertook here in Wherry’s Lane, Bourne,  is running very much over its sheduled completion date. The site foreman, Carl, was facing tremendous problems in trying to get the development finished on time, or even anywhere near time. In the event its completion is well over a year overdue. I have it on good authority that he would email his bosses at 2 or 3 in the morning informing them of these.  Last year, but a few months ago now, his wife and a son found him; he had hanged himself. They cut him down, but it was too late. He was dead! Whether this was the reason for his suicide, or whether there were other contributory reasons, remains to be determined. I find it odd, however, that this has not been reporterd in the local media. Are the council putting pressure on them not to report this matter? I would not be surprised.

There had been so many problems he faced. I have already mentioned the fact that the seven shop units built cannot accommodate eateries. This is due to a design flaws in the shops, and these cannot apparently be corrected. Given that it is shops selling take-away foods which are the only likely ones to take up a lease, this demonstrates South Kesteven District Council’s (SKDC’s) total incompetence. Gregg’s had shown interest in a shop, but pulled out, due to the company’s current financial difficulties. Subway also showed interest, but could not proceed forthe reason stated above.

I found out recently that the council in their wisdom had installed energy saving electrical fittings. The electrician refused to supply the light bulbs for these as they cost £75 a shot, a grand total of over £2000, which had not been costed in. May the Council leader Linda Neal and her acolytes be brought to justice over this utter mismanagement of a matter in which they should not have involved themselves in the first place, ie property development.

CENTENARY OF THE BEGINNING OF WWI

Why celebrate the beginning of WWI? If anything we should surely be celebrating its end in a few years time. I find this quite perverse. Those poor bastards who died in their millions were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have no doubt whatsoever that they would now be turning in their graves when they see how the current leaders of this country are selling it to the highest bidder.

ED BALLS

Ed Balls is a moron masquerading as an imbecile. While I have a certain sympathy for taxing those exceedingly wealthy more than the rest of us, I do come out against this. I don’t subscribe to the argument that increasing the top tax rate to 50% will lead to an exodus of wealthy people from this country. They are here for many reasons, largely in London and the Home Counties, reasons other than the level of taxation in the UK.

And yet I feel a tax rate of 50% is not equitable. I myself have been a recipient of tax rates very much higher than 50% in the days of the Labour governments in the 70s, so cannot forget this easily. How much better, and how more revenue can be obtained, by closing down loopholes for tax avoidance, coming down on tax evasion, and making double taxation agreements more difficult to enter into. This would bring in a substantially higher amount of money; various figures have been given and I won’t go down the road of citing these, but significantly higher they will be.

UKIP

UKIP are not doing themselves any favours at the moment. I have the greatest respect for Nigel Farage, a man who calls a spade a spade, and recognizes the fundamental issues relating to our economy, society and much else, and most importantly shares the concerns of ordinary people. And yet UKIP are badly organised, a point I have made for some time. Too many of their election candidates in the past have been what I can only describe as flaky. David Campbell Bannerman is no doubt an idiot, but too many such idiots have been admitted to UKIP over the years. As for the ranting of David Sylvester, a councillor of Henley-on-Thames – I am lost for words.

Farage’s weather forecast of a few days ago was a damage limitation exercise, and quite funny and clever I thought; but it should not have been necessary. Let us hope no further disasters await them.

DAVID CAMERON

I read in the Mail on Sunday  ‘PM: I drive Sam so crazy with the TV remote control that she walks out of the room.’ What would a psychologist make of this? I am no psychologist, but it occurs to me that he is scatter brained, does not have staying power, and demonstrates a lack of concentration. Quite apart from that, he shows an uncaring attitude towards his wife. I’m not sure that these are good traits to have in a man who is meant to be running this country. As for his views on British history, the less said the better. The man is an idiot, Jeremy Paxman is right.

UKRAINE

What is happening in the Ukraine is disturbing, and yet the Brussels Facista have a lot to answer for. That useless woman Kathy Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, and the then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle did nothing to help the matter by visiting the Ukraine at the end of last year. If anything it fuelled the already smouldering situation.

DRONES

Listening to Cameron speak is even worse than listening to that consumate drone Gordon Brown. Gordon who? You may well ask. And who on earth invited him to Davos? I’m astonished it has not dawned on them yet that he has no financial acumen whatsoever.

JUSTIN BIEBER

The poor guy has had to endure such a wholesome lifestyle for most of his life, it is not surprising that he is rebelling against it. It is very refreshing to see, given his recent arrest, that he is after all a normal young man. Will it harm his career? Well, it’s not going to go down too well with his Christian following, but then God is forgiving, let us see what wonders he can work.


THE CUTTING EDGE

5th July 2010

RUSSIAN SPIES

I am not at all surprised that there are Russian sleepers in the USA, here in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. As so much else, it is a blindingly obvious and expedient thing for the Russians to do, last but not least because it is so easy to do. As much as I welcome better relations with Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, we must remain on our guard. I am reminded of a number of events that took place some years ago. The earliest was when I took a Scottish rock band to Leningrad, as it then was, just as Perestroika and Glasnost were beginning to make themselves felt.  Two of the lads became very infatuated with two Russian girls, who had patently set them up. They were ostensibly teachers. However, they had luxurious flats with all Western mod cons. You don’t get that on a teacher’s salary. These guys even wanted to bring them back here. I persuaded them it was unwise.

Then some years ago, an acquaintance had a massive fall-out with his Ukrainian born wife, some years his junior, whom he had brought over from the Ukraine (I believe Anne Chapman was Ukrainian). She even tried to fix me up with a young Ukrainian teacher. I have my own views on that incident.

When travelling from West Berlin to East Berlin, before the wall came down, I was amazed how well received by the East German border guards the guy with whom I made the journey was. There was no matter of waiting, awkward questions being asked etc, it was ‘how are you Mr — ‘, and we were waved through. It transpired much later after the wall came down he had been working for the Stasi; but then again so many did in the former East Germany. I have heard figures of 30% bandied about, most at a very junior snitch level. In fact, the brother of a friend’s partner it turned out had reported his own parents to the Stasi. In many respects the former East Germany had not moved on from Hitler’s Germany, other than by name.

GERMAN FOOTBALL TEAM

Great game against Argentina! I am sure English players watched the play the game with a degree of envy.

Some of the names of the German players are amusing. Schweinsteiger literally translated means pig climber, or mounter, but no, lets not go down that route, climber it is. Lahm is lame, he is anything but lame. Mueller is obviously Miller, I believe Germany’s most common name. The Brazilian footballer Kaka has an unfortunate name. In many languages Kaka and its variants mean shit, quite literally. In German it is Kacke. But this guys no shit! So, will it be Holland vs Germany in the final?

GOOGLE SEARCHES

As useful as Google is, and it of course dominates the search engine market, nevertheless I am becoming increasingly irritated with it, and I believe it is doing itself a disservice.

When Googling an individual, typically, I get hits for sites that serve absolutely no useful purpose, such as the Yasnis and the 123peoples of this world.  I am offered in the brief description given email addresses and telephone numbers of people who died 300 years ago! It is not discriminatory enough. The bots for these sites trawl the net and pick up irrelevant drivel, including any amount of data from two sites of mine, which is then, in its application, totally misplaced.

POPE BENEDICT

I hear that two people are threatening to have an arrest warrant ready for the pope when he visits Britain . I hope he brings his Venetion Guard with him. I am somewhat surprised that we have had had no further scandals relating to the latter in recent years. They are all nice healthy boys under the age of 30!

TORIES CANADA FIXATION

The Tories are looking at Canada to see how they managed their last recession and what Britain can learn from them. I see John Major’s hand in this. In the early 90s, when he was having a spot of bother with the economy, I remember him well, appearing on television and blaming our recession to a large extent on the difficulties Canada was having. Come on, John! On which street is Canada incidentally?

BERYL BAINBRIDGE

What a shame she too died before her time. I have never read a book of hers, but I heard an extended interview she gave on the radio some time ago. She was a wonderful no-nonsense woman, who gained my immediate admiration; and I am sure she will be sorely missed by many. I must go and read a book or two of hers. Terrible, isn’t. You wait till an author has died before you read their works.

DAILY MIRROR

In an article a few days ago the Mirror attacked Ian Duncan Smith for suggesting less well off folk should use hand-me-down clothes. They should be able to afford new clothes. There’s nothing wrong with second-hand clothes, buying them or using hand-me-downs is very much a middle class value. I got any number of hand me downs, even as a young man. My uncles who died all had expensive tastes, and where the clothes fitted I was most fortunate indeed. Many such clothes were then, even if less so now, of much better quality that the naff stuff one buys at most of our high street stores. The charity shops are also an excellent source of high quality merchandize. I am proud to say I bought a £600 suit there, new, unworn, for £30. A pair of hand-made shoes for £15 instead of £530. Get real the Mirror!

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

If we get the single transferable vote, one must assume that Labour supporters are unlikely to put the Tories as their second choice, but rather the Liberals, I shall call them the Liberals from now on. Some Liberals will put both as their second choice. I can’t see many Tories putting labour as s second choice. All in all, I would have thought this is a win win for the Liberals, or have I got this wrong? The quid pro quo is the intended boundary changes to constituencies, which are long overdue. But the Tories had better rush this through in time for the next election in a year or two, if not sooner.

WILLIAM HAGUE – What a twitter!

What a twit the man is. He admits to twittering with some Middle East Sheikh, and I cannot remember his name, but hackers will be on full alert I’m sure.