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15 thoughts on “The 4.45pm Link

  • Clark

    Excellent article. For anyone following the link, I do suggest that you click through to the comments, most of which are very good. I particularly liked “If you don’t get grumpy as you grow older, you aren’t paying attention”.

  • Abe Rene

    Clark:”If you don’t get grumpy as you grow older, you aren’t paying attention”.

    I have firmly made up my mind that, if heaven grant it, I wish to be good humoured when I’m old (if I live long enough), and not be a Grumpy Old Man!

  • writerman

    It’s odd in way, that we have evolved into a culture that shows such open disdain for its elder members, and their views, attitudes, and experience, why?

    Is it because we live in a ‘market culture’ where having a memory makes one sceptical of the latest ‘new’ thing in the marketplace?

    The reason older people appear ‘grumpy’ is because they’ve managed to learn something and have seen and heard it all before.

    Also it appears that as many other forms of prejudice have become socially unacceptable, contempt for the ‘old’ has actually increased.

  • Abe Rene

    ‘Open disdain’ for which elder members? Which views? Are they all the same? I think not.

    ‘Grumpy old men’ is not characteristic, for example, of the Carthusian monks. Robin Bruce Lockhart describes them as the most joyful, good-humoured people he has met anywhere. It is they whom I regard, not old cynics, as being authentic standard-bearers for humans, as they are halfway to heaven, so to speak. May heaven grant me to have their attitudes, and not become a Grumpy Old Man, under any circumstances.

  • Clark


    you are right, and it is tragic, all the experience that goes unheard, and the lack of care with which our elders are consigned to ‘homes’ that are not homes, out of sight, out of mind, but economically efficient. Just another aspect of the disintegration of community.

    Abe Rene,

    here’s hoping for a sublime tension, resorting neither to blissful ignorance nor defeated bitterness.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Senator McCain is grumbling about the progress in Afghanistan which seems to have been triggered by the announcement from President Karzai that he has removed his minister of interior and his head of intelligence.

    The sacked intelligence chief said that Karzai no longer believes Britain and the United States will succeed, and that he is shifting as a result to a policy of accommodation with the Taliban and the Pakistani military.

    McCain moans that Americas allies, Afghanistan’s neighbours and even enemies share a loss of confidence in the ability to succeed in producing a moderated Muslim ‘democracy’ in Afghanistan.

    McCain also blames this failure on what he calls the premature announcement to begin withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan arbitrarily in July 2011. He said it has convinced the key actors inside and outside of Afghanistan that the United States is more interested in leaving than succeeding in this conflict, and as a result, they are all making the necessary accommodations for a post-American Afghanistan.

    The senator noted that the Dutch and Canadian governments are soon to withdraw their forces, while just yesterday, the government of Poland ?” which has been a major troop contributor ?” called on NATO to draw up a timetable to end the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan and withdraw Polish forces. The loss of 19 Polish soldiers has put pressure on the Polish government to ‘get out of a lost war’ according to General Skrzypczak who had already resigned over lack of equipment for Polish soldiers after an ambush that killed captain Daniel Ambrozinski. Skrzypczak maintained that the death of the captain could have been avoided.

  • Ishmael

    The west have lost Afghanistan. They will withdraw eventually. The acquisition of advanced surface to air missiles by Taliban has made defeat a certainty. Lets count the cost once the full withdrawal is complete.

  • Arsalan

    Even without surface to air missiles the west would have gotten out. It isn’t possible to subdue Afghanistan.

    Even killing every man woman and child in the country would only mean the refugees who escaped to naugbering countries will come back for revenge.

  • Arsalan

    The only reason why the British and Americans are fighting now is to try and make a face saving exit.

    The only reason why Karzi and his forces still fight is to transport as much of their drug money to the UK before they ask for political asylum here.

  • Abe Rene

    Clark: I don’t see my position as a balancing act between escapism and bitterness. I see it as sympathy towards living faith directed towards a better and invisible reality that will not pass away. Involuntary reactions to distress are certainly worthy of compassion, and not what I’m talking about.

  • ingo

    I have my reservations about Richard North, a male Esther Rantzen A no.1 self publicist.

    To the issue. Afghanistan is in a mess because npbody is making moves for change.

    If Afghanistans mineral riches are so multifacetted and plenty, then who is training Afghans in modern mining techniques? reconstruction will need educated engineers of various qualifications, geophysists, surveyors, mechanics in heavy engineering and much more.

    Which of those NATO countries concerned with reconstructing and putting Afghanistan back on their feet, have made any move towards fostering a self sufficiency of sorts,enabling Afghans helping themselves to their own resources?

    It all very well for us to foster drug dealing family clans and to further destabilise the country with mission creep and change of aims, it is now spreading to a wider central Asia, our initial reasoning and justification for being there in the first place, again Leviathan at work.

    Which ever country/private individual fosters a modernisation of Afghnan mining expertise and techinical abilities, and/or establishes a mining coop somewhere, sets it up, gets it running and then hands it over, will do far more good to the Afghan people than those who are constantly trying to root out’some’ opium crops, as an excuse for doing something, and introduce other agricultural food crops, in a constant ebb and flow, never succeeding fully.

    Afghanistan needs education and physical help, not bombs and an international carve up.

  • Arsalan

    What do I believe will happen.

    American and the UK will leave, trying to save as much face as possible and by placing as much blaim as possible on their puppets.

    Karza will leave soon after, carry with him as much money as possible after nogotiating a truce which would mean that the Taliban would delay their attack for as long as possible.

    The Taliban will walk in to the cities, which will be disguised as a negotiated settlement with the “moderate taliban”.

    The puppets and drug lords will leave with plane loads of money, and be granted political assylum wherever they want to stay.

    America will renegotiate its pipeline deal with the Taliban, will no longer be regarded as terrorists. The Taliban will agree to it, because now they know what happens when they disagree. America will agree to it because now they recognise only the Taliban can stabalise the country enough for the Pipeline.

    America will declare China as the new enemy.

  • Iain Orr

    The proposal for a memorial to the soldiers who have died in Afghanistan (and those yet to die there) can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery. Steve McQueen’s “Queen and Country” makes photographs of each soldier who has been killed into a sheet of postage stamps.

    This is one of the most public ways we have of marking significant events. The convention that stamps should not bear the likeness of anyone living (except the monarch) adds a touch of philatelic irony: only deaths make this memorial to the 21st century Afghan War possible.

    Two conditions must, however, be met. The Royal Mail needs to approve the project: add your voice at And the war must end. Please send that message to the newly elected Chairs of the following Commons Select Committees:

    Defence ?” James Arbuthnot MP Con N E Hampshire [email protected] Tel 020-7219-4649

    Foreign Affairs ?” Richard Ottaway MP Con Croydon South [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6392

    International Development ?” Malcolm Bruce MP LibDem Gordon [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6233

    Treasury ?” Andrew Tyrie MP Con Chichester [email protected] Tel 020-7219-6371

    Policy and budgeting for the rest of the war in Afghanistan should be the subject of reports by all these committees. Ideally their reports will be coordinated, with evidence taken from ministers and officials in all the key departments.

    Those who have phoned or emailed any of these four committee chairs can let me know they have done so by emailing me at [email protected] . That would help me and others trying to apply pressure on these committees.

    When we know the membership of each committee (still to be voted on by MPs) that will provide further MPs to target with reasoned and non-abusive letters, emails or telephone calls.

  • somebody

    Are you going to have stamps showing ALL the faces of the victims of the Coalition – men, women and children? Oh of course most of them don’t have faces any more, or names.

    End the war now. Troops OUT.

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