Gently Back Into the Water

by craig on July 18, 2013 8:18 am in Uncategorized

I had excellent news from my cardiologist yesterday.  Ready to think about other things now.  I am horrified by the continuing stream of ” royal” baby hype on television.  Truly pathetic – is this 1313 or 2013?  Who buys into this nonsense?

I thought the Lib Dem take on Trident missiles was hilarious.  This small group of islands does apparently need to retain the ability to wipe out one third of the urban population of humankind, as a defence against something undefined – possibly people we invade getting too annoyed about it – and  in order to increase our “influence” in the World.  As we plainly have less influence than the Germans, who don’t feel this need for the power of obliteration, I do not quite see how this works.  Nor do I see Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, as very influential.  Nor do I quite understand how our influence can be increased by possessing something  under effective American control.  But there you are.

Anyway, the Lib Dems have come to the intellectually scintillating conclusion that we do need this world shattering power, but we don’t need it on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or on Saturday mornings, which will be cheaper.  Brilliant, and plainly does not dodge any big ethical or practical questions at all.

 

 

 

 

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823 Comments

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  1. barbara brown

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:29 am

    Welcome back, Craig. Take it easy.

  2. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:40 am

    I echo that and the water’s nice and warm Craig. I am so glad you are OK.

  3. Nice start to the morning. Good to have you back, Craig.

  4. Welcome back, Craig.

    Almost as annoying as the royal baby nonsense is the wall-to-wall guff in the media about the HEATWAVE. We’re on level 3 alert now, one below National Emergency. It’s just so humiliating, foreigners must think we are complete idiots. I lived for ten years in Thailand and it never dropped below national emergency level. God knows how I survived.

  5. Glad the auguries are good, Craig.

    The Trident programme is being spun as a response to new and emergent threat*. It is not being spun as a cheap forward unit for the Yanks. All media please copy.

    Intriguing, the speed with which we could reimagine a purely deterrent weapon as an active response to a threat, if you see what I mean. And if you don’t, sorry.

    *People who don’t like us.

  6. Glad to hear your good news from the cardiologist Craig. I had predicted that some months ago when you first highlighted the issue but its good to get a solid diagnosis with all the excellent modern technology around these days. Do bolster your confidence with some lifestyle modifications — sleep timings, brisk walking/swimming, natural foods tailored to your constitution, periods of silence etc.

    Also, recommend you explore this herbal product, Cardimap, from the goodness of the forest:
    http://www.maharishiayurvedaindia.com/shops/product_info.php?products_id=53

    Health is everything!

  7. Dick the Prick

    18 Jul, 2013 - 9:28 am

    Glad you’re well Craig. Heart problems are pretty bloody scary. Fuck knows what level 3 means. I used to work in a regional resilience office and when the York flooded, absolutely fuck all happened – useless gimps. All the best dude.

  8. Welcome back.

    You are right. The only reason we will buy Trident will be as our hundred billion pound subscription to the Pentagon World Domination and Destruction Dinner Club: NATO with its extra affiliated member Israel. What use is a nuclear deterrent in dealing with real rather than imaginary modern-day enemies? Our politicians are giving arms to Al Qaeda in Syria. Our politicians are powsywowsy with the Taliban in Afghanistan while they are picking off our troops only a few miles away.

    The biggest vulnerabilities of delivery of very serious lasting damage to the UK are not incoming Cold War style nuclear warheads from China, Russia or Iraq (remember Blair), they are (i) the risks of bankruptcy of our economy as in 2008 by rogue bankers/traders and (ii) major disruption to our data networks with a high-power Stuxnet from someone else which would bring us to our knees without any bomb.

    What use is one hundred billion pounds’ worth of end-of-the-world missiles in four submarines to sort either of those out? Ultimately we are our own worst enemy and learning that would cost one cold shower.

  9. Komodo: “*People who don’t like us.”

    Good point and its related directly imo to Craig’s : “Nor do I see Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, as very influential. ”

    While in general, on the world stage, that is true, Pakistan is one country that has been able to run little circles around the US in the post 911 period. Their ISI/Jihadist alliance has been able to assure the defeat of ISAF in Afghanistan and the survival/pending revival of the Taliban and the propagation of the AQ philosophy/phenomena. As such they serve as an inspiration to jihadists in the Middle East in particular and the World at large. I wonder if the Afghan war and US handling of Pakistan would’ve followed a different course had they no nuclear weapons. I am certainly not making a case for nuclear weapons but one cannot deny their power. Of course the Trident project is unrelated and thanks for baring its conspicuous ludicrousness.

  10. “*People who don’t like us.”

    The French you mean?

  11. I’ve been interested in this beastie for some time –

    http://en.rian.ru/video/20121022/176824675.html

    And I do accept that whatever the “reason” for squandering our borrowed cash on Trident, the proposed alternative based on cruise missiles might not be such a good idea. The S-1’s been upgraded considerably since this promotional video; the Algerians have a variant with a superb radar and optics for instance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_47J_hzuRr4

    Selling like hot cakes, they are. Those 30mm guns are vicious.

  12. Villager gets the point, Fred. You don’t.

  13. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Go. Go. You disgusting warmonger with your medals and your big fat Army pension. There is a niche in some board room or other awaiting you, and probably a peerage.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1117254/syria-britain-must-be-prepared-for-war

  14. Glad your ticker has been mended and you feel better for it.

    Komodo’s point is noted, there are bad people, and others who want revenge. Pakistans threat is over hyped here, indeed it is a very remote threat. The Taliban would never be able to control the nuclear capabilities, it is something they are not trained for.

    By best estimates it would take all of Pakistan’s trained scientists some 6 month to assemble the various parts of their nuclear weapons, they are NOT assembled and located in different parts of the country.

    Trident is a cold war defensive relic which has now been upgraded to am first strike weapon, a slight change in purpose and policy from what was there for a long time.

    Western military aggression is increasingly taking on globally strategic positions, fighting for economic means and resource and creating their own terror to justify their aggression, the only justification there is for such blatant move to world domination.

  15. Great to have you back Craig.

    Try to chill whenever you can,its important.

  16. Uzbek in the UK

    18 Jul, 2013 - 10:06 am

    Good to hear you are getting better Mr Murray.

  17. King of Welsh Noir I have not complained about the weather but the garden is burnt up and there will be few or no vegetables. 33C here yesterday. Our home interiors are not designed for these temperatures and humidity with carpets, upholstered furniture, heavy curtains, etc. They are more appropriate for the cold, wet and long winters we have been receiving from Gaia who we have angered.

    The contrasts are extreme. It was -20C here on one night in the Winter. Awaiting Thames Water to announce a water shortage and drought measures now.

    Thames Water is owned by the Australian bank, Macquarie, btw and don’t we get big bills for our metered water now.

  18. Uzbek in the UK

    18 Jul, 2013 - 10:15 am

    I think major reason for retaining nucs is that UK (or more accurately British establishment) is still living in the post WWII era. World have changed considerably since but Britain conservatively trying to retain the prestige and influence it had in 20th century. As you pointed out Germany does not need nucs to be major European power nor does Japan need them to be major power in its region. But for Britain membership in the exclusive club of potential humanity destroyers is major attribute of being important nation. Is it possible that this is all because we have nothing else to muscle with?

  19. There are casualties of course who have our sympathy.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1117248/a-and-e-admissions-rise-in-britains-30c-heatwave

  20. Nevermind in great mindless form: “Pakistans threat is over hyped here, indeed it is a very remote threat. ”

    Has it been overhyped here? Where? By whom?

    The threat of a dirty bomb is hardly remote, God forbid, if you understood the intricacies of the ISI/Jihadist alliance.

    Re: “By best estimates it would take all of Pakistan’s trained scientists some 6 month to assemble the various parts of their nuclear weapons, they are NOT assembled and located in different parts of the country.”

    Sources please.

    “Western military aggression is increasingly taking on globally strategic positions, fighting for economic means and resource and creating their own terror to justify their aggression, the only justification there is for such blatant move to world domination.”

    Man has been fighting man for five, ten, forty thousand years. How do you propose to break the cycle?

  21. Glad to see you back!!

    Take it easy sir

  22. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.536433

    This will make good reading.

    p.s. to Craig. I spent time with Liz W.’s brother last week. She is doing fine.

  23. I’m less concerned by the ‘disgusting warmonger’, who, when younger, probably earned at least some of those medals the hard way, but by the lousy logic he employs to justify his approach to the very real problem of how to stop the bad guys getting their hands on the chemicals. If we’d kept our noses out of Syria from the start, or if we propped Assad up, even now, the problem would be solved. The one entity in Syria which is definitely hostile to Sunni fundamentalists is the Assad regime. And if Assad’s a bastard, and he is, his track record’s no worse than many bastards we’ve left alone.

  24. Yes, Nevermind, but I wasn’t pointing to Pakistan or anyone else specific. My point was that ‘people who don’t like us’ are not a new or emergent threat. Even people with nukes who don’t like us (like France, Fred?).

    And I have to say that the reasons that Germany doesn’t have nukes are unconnected to whether it feels it needs them or not. Quite apart from anything else, it realises that the US arsenal covers it. Our similar realisation has been a long time a-coming; I’m still waiting.

  25. “Villager gets the point, Fred. You don’t.”

    Well throughout history our greatest threat has always come from our near neighbours. Pakistan never tried to invade Britain, N. Korea neither and I can’t envisage a time coming when they ever would.

    France has nuclear weapons, Europe has had two wars to end all wars in the last century.

    Israel has nuclear weapons and an expansionist policy. If they decided to annex Cyprus we could be on a sticky wicket.

  26. Uzbek in the UK

    18 Jul, 2013 - 10:45 am

    Komodo

    Middle East has been Proxy conflicts area for centuries and even millennias. I would say since collapse of Roman Empire. Syria itself (Assad’s late father) used Lebanon as proxy. The problem in Syria as similar to Iraq with the difference that this time Sunnis are majority that oppressed by Alawait minority. Meddling in conflicts prolong them or make more complicated but by no mean start them. Potential of conflict in Syria and in many other conflicts where West was involved lay within conflicting parties.

    I could give you one clear example of this. In Central Asia due to complexity of geographical location and proximity of Russia and China Western influence is minimal. But this does not help with the fact that regions have long list of potentially deadly issues starting from economic underdevelopment and corruption to inter and intraethnic tensions, interborder tensions and most of all water security. Whether or not West or any other party is meddling or not these issues will (unfortunately) one day turn into conflicts (there have already been some in Southern Kyrgyzstan).

  27. I trust my most recent post explains where I am coming from Fred. I am criticising the current rebranding of Trident in terms of the War on Tourism paranoia, in order to sell it to the plebs as a done deal. It’s a deterrent. It’s always been a deterrent. I grant you our historical fear of France getting jiggy, and I don’t trust Russia an inch, but we seriously need to examine the cost benefit of this one.

  28. *(I could see the point if we detached ourselves from the US, but that’s not going to happen)

  29. I recommend Power Aid, as I believe it’s isotonic. Keep plenty of bottles in the fridge!

    I am mildly interested in the forthcoming Royal baby – but first he or she needs to be safely born and healthy, which would be a gift in itself.

    A British navy captain after a missile test was asked by a reporter, ‘But if you actually fire it, its Armageddon -there would be no realm left to defend.’ He replied that it was the capacity to do something terrible that protected us, i.e. the deterrent effect. No-one will invade a nuclear power.

    Do the Libdems really believe that certain weekdays are perfectly safe? :)

  30. Villager, once again your wind chimes need adjusting.

    “God forbid, if you understood the intricacies of the ISI/Jihadist alliance.”

    you obviously do have much more of a military education and insight than me, I only served 8 years and wrote my dissertation on it, so I’m always up for learning from you, mother superior.
    So what is/was you clearance level? top secret?, cosmic top secret? you still serving now?

    You tell us why it takes 6 month to assemble Pakistan’s nuclear threat, you are so clever by half that you really do not need any links from me, bar one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSqHrZgiwRM&list=RD02p55uyEztZ7w

    “The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” JK

  31. “Flaming June
    18 Jul, 2013 – 10:16 am
    There are casualties of course who have our sympathy.”

    While one thinks over the best possible ways of conveying this sympathy, I would suggest that discussion of the heatwave best be moved to the more apt “We’re not dead yet” thread. Ditto for other off-topics.

  32. LOL Nevermind, i see the not-a-mind space you come from.

    Pure personal attack and not the slightest response to my valid questions, but never mind its what i expected. Don’t know why you would need a holiday — your mind is already on one.

  33. welcome back craig –
    hope your health continues to improve.

    the military industrial complex, and all its offshoots & ennablers, are sadly thriving while so much else continues to decay.

    i’m off to watch the Ashes….from the couch. not a bad way to relax.

    best wishes.

  34. As usual, Uzbek, you make a good point. But, discarding any pretensions to morals and ethics I may have for a minute, is it not the case that in these inherently conflicted states, that a hard man, or hard dynasty, usually arises, and maintains a significantly better level of order than we are currently seeing in Syria, for a long time?

    I mean, I don’t know how you are supposed to measure these things, but the numbers of killed, wounded and displaced in Syria are colossally greater than anything Assad showed any signs of inflicting on the country, and the spur to the originally peaceful revolution’s turning violent was surely the West’s tacit support for regime change, and the prospect of active assistance, a la Libya, to that end?

  35. “Their ISI/Jihadist alliance has been able to assure the defeat of ISAF in Afghanistan and the survival/pending revival of the Taliban and the propagation of the AQ philosophy/phenomena”

    Source please.

    Anyone interested in the intricacies of the CIA/ISI/Jihadist alliance could do worse than looking at the work of Maloy Krishna Dhar, former Indian intelligence officer.

  36. Thanks for that MJ.
    This is his blog now run by his son. RIP Maloy

    http://maloykrishnadhar.com/

  37. Nature notes.

    The fields of barley are now silvery gold and the heads of the stalks are bent over awaiting the blades of the combine harvester. There are odd flecks of scarlet from the poppies and there are some very tall wild oats which stand out above the crop.

    Overnight, an animal, probably a badger, has dug a 3ft deep hole in a terraced flower bed in my garden, probably to get at the contents of a bumblebee nest. What a shame for the bees. Now I have to make the damage good.

    ~~

    Did anyone else see that amazing Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes the Barley?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_That_Shakes_the_Barley_(film)

    ~~~

    I see that we have a replacement Resident Invigilator above.

  38. Re dispersal of Pakistani nuclear components –

    Pakistan, as far as it is possible to discern from open source material, also stores its nuclear weapons unassembled withthe fissilecore separated from thermonuclear explosive, delivery vehicles, and the arming, fusing, and firing (AF&F) systems. These components are stored in facilities scattered around the country. Although such separate storage provides a layer of security against unauthorized use and theft of an intact weapon, it could also potentially make it “easier for unauthorized people to remove a weapon’s fissile core if it is not assembled.” Additionally, dispersal “may also create more potential access points for acquisition and may increase the risk of diversion.”

    While the U.S. has targeted approximately $100 million worth of its overall aid to Pakistan toward increasing its capacity to secure its nuclear assets, U.S. officials still remain largely in the dark about the location and storage situation of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

    Nonetheless, even if terrorists were able to acquire a fissile core from a weapon they would not be able to detonate it without either acquiring the AF&F system or developing their own system to implode it. They could, however, mine the weapons-grade uranium from the fissile core. However, given that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are likely to have anywhere between 15 and 25 kg of uranium metal in their core, the prospective nuclear terrorists would need to mine multiple cores to obtain enough fissile material (between 40 and 60 kg) for a gun-type weapon.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01495933.2013.773700

    Refers to this in text:

    68. Kerr and Nikitin, “Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons,” 9 (no publisher etc supplied -K)

    Now can we stop swinging our handbags, please?

  39. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 11:42 am

    Great to see you back again Craig. Here’s best wishes for a strong recovery and active blog-life.

    @Komodo. 10 46am

    “…our historical fear of France getting jiggy.”

    I thought they already did, in 1066, and won.

    Seems to me your King Harold needed a visor more than a Trident.

    As for the usefulness of nuclear weapons, here’s what Admiral Lord Mountbatten had to say back in 1979. “The nuclear arms race has no military purpose.

    Wars cannot be fought with nuclear weapons. Their existence only adds to our perils because of the illusions they have generated.”

    As the highest ranking naval officer he would have been well informed.

    On July 8, 1996, the World Court, the International Court of Justice at the Hague, made it clear that nuclear weapons are just plain illegal.

    As with so many of the matters discussed here it seems to boil down to the dominant power elites ignoring both common sense and international law for as long as they can get away with it.

    It’s up to us to keep the issue boiling.

  40. Articulation of the current bizarre interactions of the politicos is an art, and it is so refreshing to find that you have just achieved that. The notion of not having massive weapons of mass destruction on; Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or on Saturday mornings as a cost saving measure indeed is a brilliant analysis of the mindset of the intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt group of operatives; entangled in a dichotomy between their rhetoric and their deeds, trying to navigate the waters of deceit and fraudulent promissory aspirations.

    Sky “news” had found the need to pull out the old Liam Fox, who then pontificated; “to counter the threats of nuclear blackmail, UK needs to get even more subs and nukes and not less” (paraphrasing). The amiable Sky stenographer however failed to ask blackmail by whom, and what entity, thus leaving the blackmailer to the imagination of the punters “consuming” the “news”!

    Interesting that in the same package Liam Fox tore into the amount of interest on government debt that will be paid next year is to exceed the budget for education, adding that is what socialists did for this country. Fact that the socialists were busy helping the banksters out, to keep them in the champagne life style and bonus culture these delicate fraudsters are so accustomed to, somehow was not entertained by Liam Fox. Further highlighting his contempt for the plebs by stating such a blatant and obvious untruth.

  41. The last segment of Woman’s Hour was interesting.

    The Sleep Room is a ghost story written by former clinical psychologist Frank Tallis. It’s based on the true events of a psychiatrist who put patients to sleep for months and gave them electric shock treatment while they were sleeping in order to help them recover from depression, schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. The hospital was in London and the majority of the patients were young women. The last real life sleeping room closed down as recently as 1972. Frank Tallis discusses why he decided to write a supernatural thriller on this subject.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b036w398 (iPlayer coming up)

    It was said that the psychiatrist William Sargant had been recruited by the secret services and did not maintain confidentiality. The CIA at the time were interested in his research findings as they were looking for ways to erase parts of the memories of ex-agents. The research would be also be of use in their brainwashing techniques.

    Frank Tallis’s note.
    http://www.franktallis.com/sleeproom.htm

  42. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/us-military-and-german-police-respond-to-facebook-post-about-nsa-walk-a-911451.html

    Just an example on how tetchy the NSA is now getting.
    Daniel Bangert wanted to walk with friends and plant a few flowers improving the top secret NSA Dagger complex in Griesheim, as seen here.
    thanks to ed22 for the photo.

    http://www.alltravels.com/germany/hesse/griesheim/photos/current-photo-54415988

  43. “I thought they already did, in 1066, and won. ”

    No, that was the Normans.

  44. Hmmm, Sofia (Vous êtes francaise? Merde. And thank you for our Norman architecture – a distinct improvement on Saxon.)N

    Unfortunately, nukes do have a useful purpose, whether we like it or not. Blackmail. And I’m afraid the only response to that is “if you do it to us, we’ll do it to you”. On that basis and no other, until international law can somehow be made to apply internationally, I think we’re stuck with nukes in some shape or form. How many, and who should control them, in the absence of effective agreed oversight of all, is a moot point.

    It used to be the understanding that nukes – or our nukes, anyway – were purely for deterrent purposes, but the current language from PR-land, as well as recent noises made by the US and Israel re. Iran, seems to be shifting in the direction of ‘justifying’ first-use, pre-emptively, in response to the perceived threat rather than the action. I join you in saying no to this.

  45. And pace arms salesman extraordinaire Liam Fox, we do not need more of the bloody things in packages ranging from family-size to Buy 1000, Get 1000 Free. Our posts crossed, Passerby.

  46. http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/interview-hsbc-swiss-bank-whistleblower-herve-falciani-on-tax-evasion-a-911279.html

    Interesting interview with Herve Falciani, the Swiss bank whistle blower. He says that he would like to help Mr. Osborn with his tax havens and banking friends. Will Gideon get in touch with him?

    off course he will……

  47. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    @Komodo. 12 08pm

    Presque correct, mon ami. Une bonne partie du mélange est français.

    @Fred. 1158Am

    Quelle langue les Normands donnent aux Anglais sauvage?

    C’était, bien sûr, une mission civilisatrice.

    Eh bien personne ne peut pas réussir à chaque fois!

  48. re: Germany has no need for nuclear weapons.

    No they don’t, but it is still a prime target as it is forced to harbour vast amounts of these weapons on its territory, still.

    Germany has excused itself from the nuclear MAD club, not wanting to disturb/scare the minds of little Englanders who still live in/of WW2 times.

    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/dambusters_to_return_to_norfolk_s_raf_marham_to_fly_the_first_joint_strike_fighter_jets_1_2284435

    There is a lesson in this, i.e don’t get f…d over by NATO’s arms swingers and logistic nuts.

  49. Sofia –
    They were bloody Vikings ffs. Just because they spoke French…and wouldn’t learn our fair English speech*…. doesn’t mean your peasantry were superior to ours.

    * Not a single French word in that bit

  50. @Sofia

    What language do Scots speak?

    The Normans were Norse, the clue is in the name.

  51. You’re getting near a place I can see myself, Nevermind. With stockpiles of US nukes on our soil (God knows what’s in the bomb dumps at Lakenheath/Mildenhall, for instance, but they probably glow in the dark), we have absolutely no need for an independent deterrent – the US’s own interests ensure that its own deterrent will be invoked if its stockpiles are threatened. The question of what happens if we disengage from the US’s foreign policy, or if the US decides,as it may well do, that its European aircraft carrier is redundant, is less clear. Personally, I can’t wholly dismiss the validity of deterrence.

  52. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    @Komodo. 12 51am

    Sauf, naturellement, “supérieur”!

    “Ne suis-je pas assez puni de n’être point Anglais?”
    Voltaire

  53. PS. The F-35 is a pile of crap. As at March this year…

    http://nation.time.com/2013/03/06/more-f-35-turbulence/

    Much more, including the $159M (admitted, probably less than the truth) unit cost, on the same site.

    Meanwhile The Enemy is just taking delivery of these pretty little numbers:

    http://asian-defence-news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/russian-af-to-get-first-t-50-fighters.html

    Like.

  54. = better. Just the italicised bit. It’s hard to avoid our Latinate words, including Celtic and Spanish, which are shared with (pffft) French.

    lol, anyway.

  55. PS. The Queen is still Duke (sic) of Normandy. EN-GER-LAND!!

  56. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 1:39 pm

    @Fred.1 02pm

    “What language do Scots speak?”

    Last time I was there it sounded like some rather strange of off-shoot of English.

    But if you really are asking me what language they used to speak, well, of course, it was Irish.

    It was of course the Scoti who kindly invited themselves to the country that now bears their name, bringing with them the water of life, the Gaelic language, and of course the famous Scottish good looks.

  57. “But if you really are asking me what language they used to speak, well, of course, it was Irish.”

    No, half of Scotland never spoke Gaelic.

    Speaking French didn’t make the Normans French any more than speaking English makes the Scots English.

  58. well, of course, it was Irish., Not quite. Granted, they’re both Q-Celtic, but while Scots Gaelic is similar, it’s not the same. Breton is P-Celtic, before you mention it. Probably quite prevalent in France prior to its being civilised by the Romans, whose language was also Celtic in origin.

  59. @ Komodo – Until recent times there were two languages in use in Scotland. Scots in the Lowlands, and Gaelic in the Highlands. Neither language is in general use today.

    Scots was once perhaps the longest continuous form of English in use in the world. It was the language of government in Scotland in the middle ages, when Norman French was the government language in England. Most of the poems of Robert Burns are in Scots for those who want an idea of what it was.

    Neither language is much used today in everyday life. For example, my late mother-in-law’s first language was Gaelic, yet none of her descendants speak it today. Indeed there are more Gaelic speakers in Canada that there are in Scotland. My father, who was brought up in the 1920s in Stranraer, spoke Scots (the language of Burns) as a boy but not as an adult. Most Scots today speak a more standardized form of English with a Scots accent. I am no linguist, but it seems to me that Scots, or indeed Chaucerian English, are more Germanic sounding than today’s language.

  60. Tapa leibh, Roderick. You are of course right. But the above conversation is more of the nature of idle badinage (French word) between the Auld Enemy and the Evil French.

    English on both sides of the border has picked up a lot of foreign muck since Chaucer’s time. The basis is indeed Germanic, from the Saxon/Frisian component. James I and VI wrote in Scots – which is still recognisably more English than anything else, and can be understood, just, by an English speaker. Some of the words -“scriever” for “writer” may seem alien, but reflect a common Latin (or-“makkar” – Germanic) influence remaining in one while being lost by the other tongue.

  61. Caig: Can I join with the others here who are delighted to see you feeling better.

    I guess your cardiologist has given you all the warnings about lifestyle, diet etc… so I won’t…

    But damn you are so right about this damned baby nonsense. Fortunately I don’t count among my friends one single person who is remotely interested in what Kate Middleton is doing or having, so I’ve missed most of it.

    For me it’s simply another mouth to feed; another person to be protected 24/7 at our expense, and I can’t for the life of me understand why we are having all this nonsense about something thousands of people do every day. Unless Middleton has had blue blood transfused into her, it is a completely ordinary everyday baby….

    I hope the baby and the mother are safe and well… like I would for every other mother and baby in the world. Beyond that YUK.

    As for the nuclear weapons, I rather thought that the Labour proposal was even better. It goes like this:

    We need the full £100 billion update, but we also need to work hard to disarm…

    So, we are going to pay out £100 billion and then scrap the things?

    Jeez. I knew Labour was bad with figures. I just didn’t know how bad.

    They can do what the hell they want with them as long as they get them off Scottish soil.

  62. @Roderick

    In the part of Scotland I live they spoke Norse.

  63. Uzbek in the UK

    18 Jul, 2013 - 4:33 pm

    Komodo,

    I also do not know how to measure these things (and not sure if anyone knows for sure). This has been central problem in relations between nations since national states and intensified after collapse of colonial order. Syrians might have avoided scale of victims we are currently witnessing but for how long? In contrast (and here I am again going back to Central Asia) absence of Western meddling (or to be more precise Russian and Chinese backing) in Uzbekistan is one of the major reasons of why Karimov is still in power. It is believed that there are around 8000 political prisoners in Uzbekistan. Every year several hundred of them are being killed by torture or die of malnutrition or diseases. Scale of victims is NOTHING comparing to 80000 killed in Syria and half a million of displaced and many more thousands injured what is potentially could happen in Uzbekistan if Karimov’s regime to be challenged (at least according to Karimov’s propaganda). Does this make Karimov’s regime better alternative?

    The real problems in societies like Syria or Uzbekistan is not Western meddling (or its absence), it is corruption, economic underdevelopment, internal meddling between different centres of power (internally), absence of civil society, absence of freedom of any kind etc. All these problems cannot be silenced forever. They will eventually come out and will take its death toll, with or without western meddling involved.

  64. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 4:56 pm

    Just back from the Royal Courts of Justice where a group of us stood outside with our placards in a vigil for Dr David Kelly who died 10 years ago. We are calling for the Attorney General to hold an inquest,

    A few photographers took photos and Press TV sent a cameraman and reporters.

  65. Good to see you back!

    Why, in the first five years or so after the end of the Soviet Union, Britain couldn’t have announced a desire to get rid of these hideous weapons, I don’t know. I’m not even suggesting unilateral disarmament. They could have been put on the table as a kind of bargaining chip to try to catalyse global, multilateral disarmament or even just an international dialogue on the same. That, at least, would have been a start. Instead of that our useless “leaders” cling onto the bloody useless things for grim death. Not even the Lib-Dem chatter seems sincere. They are probably – with salaries, expense accounts and pensions looming large in their minds – just trying to curry favour with some of the poor saps who used to vote for them so they can save their seats.

    Now we’re skint and everybody knows it. In the highly unlikely event that they were offered up as a starting point for international negotiation, nobody would believe it was for the right reasons.

  66. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 5:06 pm

    Shades of Danny Casolaro

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/15929-journalist-probing-nsa-and-cia-abuses-dies-in-mysterious-crash

    “On San Diego 6 News, national security reporter Kimberly Dvorak, for example, recently took to the air and talked about her conversations with sources surrounding the crash after spending a day in Los Angeles investigating. Noting that the police report was not available, she said law enforcement and fire department officials refused to comment, with some saying they had been instructed not to say anything. “That kind of stands out; we look at the NSA, the government says if you have nothing to hide, don’t worry,” she said.

    Military officials, meanwhile, told Dvorak that the fire was “extremely hot” and “not something we normally see,” the reporter continued. The fact that the engine was between 150 and 250 feet behind the car was also strange, according to university physics professors she spoke with — it should have been in front, if anything. Another interesting fact highlighted in the report: There were no skid marks at the accident scene. “

  67. The LibDems… happily forcing the disabled out of their council homes.

    They’ve now made supporting the existence of the Israeli state a condition of being one of their MPs. They are allowed to question the existence of the Union of the United Kingdom… but not of Israel. They have to support a Jewish supremacist state there…

  68. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    Je You are referring to the weasel-like Clegg’s action on David Ward I assume. David Ward is being persecuted in the same way that Jenny Tonge was. Sir Bob Russell is also been given a hard time.

    MP David Ward has Lib Dem whip withdrawn over Israel comment
    David Ward apologised after comments he made in January

    Related Stories
    MP Ward denies ‘language classes’
    MP faces action over ‘Jews’ comments
    MP censured over Israel criticism

    Lib Dem MP David Ward has had the party whip withdrawn over comments he made about Israel.

    He posted a tweet at the weekend calling the country an “apartheid state” and saying that “Zionists” were “losing the battle”.

    It comes after a long-running dispute with the party’s leadership over his use of language and comments he made about “the Jews”.

    Mr Ward said he would not apologise for his tweet.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23361380

  69. Sopia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 5:32 pm

    @Fred,Rodderick, Komodo

    WoW!

    I am a well corrected, humbled and hugely more knowledgeable woman now. Thanks.

    And I guess I’ll have to be doing the decent thing and renouncing my earlier utterances.

    Vive la diversité!

  70. I thought the best bit was the suggestion that to save money we might send the boats off to sea with missiles but the missiles wouldnt have any warheads.
    Good to see you back Craig

  71. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 6:01 pm

    This dangerous woman, who will replace Susan Rice at the UN, is proposing that Israel be admitted to the UN Security Council. That would give the Israelis carte blanche to carry on committing whatever crimes they wish. They have not even ratified international treaties.

    Obama’s UN pick vows push for Israeli seat on Security Council
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/07/18/314425/us-to-sit-israel-on-un-security-council/

    of if you prefer it, the Guardian version

    Obama’s UN nominee Samantha Power highlights Syria and Israel
    Power tells confirmation hearing the failure of the UN to stem slaughter in Syria is ‘a disgrace that history will judge harshly’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/18/samantha-power-un-syria-israel-confirmation

    More about Ms Power
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/07/a-diplomat-from-hell-samantha-power-and-the-quest-for-eternal-war/

  72. Komodo, and Roderick, (and Sofia),

    From Wikipedia

    Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig; [ˈkaːlikʲ] is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Old Irish.

    (etc)

    Scottish Gaelic developed as an independent language after the 12th century. With the growth of Dál Riata and its use by the church, Scottish Gaelic became the language of most of Scotland, replacing Cumbric in the south and Pictish in the east.[14] The language was maintained by the trade empire of the Lordship of the Isles, which continued to control parts of Ulster until the 16th century.

    The Gaelic language eventually displaced Pictish north of the River Forth, and until the late 15th century was known in Scots (then known as Inglis) as Scottis, and in England as Scottish.

    Native speakers 58,552 in Scotland

    Lots more info here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic

  73. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Distressed family members were also outside the Royal Courts of Justice.

    Munir Farooqi, Israr Malik & Matthew Newton (Hamza) APPEAL against conviction is this week 17th-19th July 2013.

    A peaceful demonstration will be held outside the courts in London on the duration of appeal. If you cannot make it every day, please make every effort to attend the last day of hearing when verdict will be given Friday 19th July 10am-4pm inshaAllah.

    Following their conviction the family face the threat of being left homeless. Remember the fate of the family home also depends on THIS appeal.

    The family may lose their home if the judges do not see how much support there exists out there for the innocence of these three brothers.

    http://www.savethefamilyhome.com/

    Some of the facts. http://www.savethefamilyhome.com/10facts.html

  74. You were close enough, Sofia. You must remember though that such matters are rather delicate round these parts, especially this time of year.

  75. ‘Grand Hack Auto
    The $25 gadget proves hackers can remotely crash your car’

    I get an email telling me what’s in the latest edition of New Scientist. But I can’t read it unless I subscribe.
    Dithering over it now …

    EDITOR’S SELECTION

    Honey, I shrunk the proton
    The nucleus will never be the same again

    Inside the brain of a Neanderthal
    Gene breakthrough shows us Neanderthals’ mental life

    Why do we hate exercise?
    If it’s so good for us, why is it so hard?

  76. “You must remember though that such matters are rather delicate round these parts, especially this time of year.”

    Yes, Herbie. And I don’t think it can be allowed to “muddle on through” every year, with the constant potential for violence.

    I saw tourists interviewed on tv, who were “looking forward to the bonfires”. Clearly they had no idea the Pope was on top. (Not that I care one way or another about him or his religion.)

  77. @ Fred re your comment “In the part of Scotland I live they spoke Norse”. Yes, we are a bit Viking too. Ironically, I gather that the original language of Scotland was not Scots Gaelic, or Scots/English or even Norse – but a forerunner of Welsh (as it was in England too).

    @ Sophia – There is diversity amongst the English regions too, but most people don’t understand just quite how diverse a country Scotland is and always has been.

    @ Dreoilin – Here is what Wikipedia says about Scots – “Northumbrian Old English had been established in what is now southeastern Scotland as far as the River Forth [i.e. where Edinburgh the capital is] by the seventh century, as the region was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.” I should just add that I had read somewhere that Pictish is thought to have been a dialect similar to a forerunner of Welsh but that nobody is really certain.

  78. @Sopia

    When I’m reading old books I often see people who spoke Gaelic referred to as “Irish speakers”, it was the common name for them in Scotland certainly well into the 19th century.

  79. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 7:31 pm

    “This dangerous woman, who will replace Susan Rice at the UN, is proposing that Israel be admitted to the UN Security Council. That would give the Israelis carte blanche to carry on committing whatever crimes they wish. They have not even ratified international treaties.

    Obama’s UN pick vows push for Israeli seat on Security Council”
    _______________

    Another post from Flaming June which, by careful drafting and the selective omission of facts, must be termed tendentious and potentially misleading.

    1/. The UN Security Council has 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members, which serve for 2 years. The US might be pushing for Israel to get a 2 year term as a non-permanent member (it is fully entitled to do so) but it is the General Assembly which appoints those non-permanent members;

    2/. The present 10 non-permanent members include such paragons of humzn rights and democracy as Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Rwanda and Pakistan (about whom I have heard no complaints on this blog from F.J.). So Israel, if elected by the General Asssembly, would be in good company;

    3/. The election of Israel as a non-permanent member would not give that state any more “carte blanche” to carry on committing crimes than is given to to the UK, USA, Russian Federation and China by virtue of their permanent membership or to the 5 states mentioned in point 2/. by virtue of their ,o,-permanent membership;

    4/. Israel has not ratified SOME international treaties. Perhaps in some ways that is more honest than certain other states which have ratified certain treaties but do not observe their provisions.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Recalling that Flaming June recently claimed that Israel was “not a state”, I fear that this post of hers once again shows her in her usual anti-Israel mode. Reminds one of what the Arabs used to say about “sweeping Israel into the sea”, doesn’t it?

  80. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    Dreoilin;

    Check again. I was able to access the article without paying. Maybe the TV license in bunging you up.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929266.500-25-gadget-lets-hackers-seize-control-of-a-car.html#.Ueg1W-DTKFI

  81. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    I believe she said ‘knotty state’ or ‘naughty state’. Either would apply.

  82. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 7:46 pm

    Black hat USA is going to give a demo of the $25 device @ Caesars Palace LV July 27 to August 1.

    I think I’ll register. Need to find the day.

    https://www.blackhat.com/us-13/arsenal.html#Illera

  83. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:13 pm

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/18-1

    “The military judge presiding over the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning ruled Thursday to maintain Manning’s most severe charge of “aiding the enemy”—a charge critics are calling a major blow to the freedom of the press.

    Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola reports:

    The judge has denied the defense motions for a finding of “not guilty” on the “aiding the enemy” charge and the charges alleging Manning exceeded authorized access on his computer. What is important to note about this ruling is that she was to consider all evidence presented to her in a “light most favorable to the prosecution.”

    “Only in the absence of some evidence” that by reasonable inference could “reasonably tend to establish an offense charged” was she to rule that Manning was not guilty.”

    It’s essential to this case. The USCMJ needs to implement the 12 juror rule. Judges can be gotten to.

  84. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:15 pm

    A state has borders. Israel doesn’t have borders.

    Palestinians have never said anything about sweeping Israel into the sea. Ahmadinejad did not say it either.

  85. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:21 pm

  86. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:22 pm

    Is this bleating from Murdoch designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming trials of his protégée Ms Brooks and her cohort?

    Rupert Murdoch criticises police inquiry
    Mr Murdoch appeared before the Commons culture committee in 2011

    Murdoch prepared to face MPs again
    News Corp defends Murdoch over tapes
    News Corp officially splits in two

    Rupert Murdoch has rowed back from claims that the inquiry into corruption is “totally incompetent” but says the police response is “disproportionate”.

    In letters to two MPs, the News Corp boss backed away from “overly-emotional comments” made in a secretly-recorded meeting broadcast on Channel 4 News.

    But while he now says he does not “doubt the police’s professionalism”, he says the inquiry has taken too long.

    He wrote after MPs demanded he explain comments made at a Sun staff meeting.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23368569

  87. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    @Soccer Doc. 5 54pm

    “…to save money we might send the boats off to sea with missiles but the missiles wouldn’t have any warheads.”

    It just keeps getting more and more like a Tom Sharpe story. I was sad to hear of his death last month. Now he’s gone I regret never writing to thank him for all those wonderful tales and characters.

    Can anyone suggest a writer who might step into his shoes.

  88. Credit to Flaming June to attempt a reply, but sorry, not good enough. I’d recommend her to try harder except she hasn’t a basis. I almost fell for her implication that Power would be pushing Israel for a permanent seat! A fundamental breach of objectivity or just mere propaganda?

    S Korean World Bank Presidents competence being questioned based on S Korean pilots in a mishap; God being petitioned to Damn America, and now this.

    How do we solve a problem like Maria?

  89. Sofia Kibo Noh,

    Tom Sharpe has had a good last twenty years in his home in Spain –

    http://www.spanishpropertyinsight.com/2013/06/25/farewell-to-tom-sharpe-a-big-fan-of-spain/

  90. Sofia “I regret never writing to thank him”

    Well don’t lose the chance to write to Habbabkuk and thank him. I presume you’ve read his rather well-argued comment above and appreciate not only the robustness of the riposte but also an indication of his own thoughts which you have previously complained are not declared.

    Btw what do you make of Pakistan, its nukes and the ISI/Jihadist complex?

  91. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 9:33 pm

    A double act is now on stage.

  92. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 9:35 pm

    @Rouge. 9 01pm

    Thanks.

    Good to know Tom Sharpe enjoyed his last years.

    Surprising to find a little detail of the man in, of all places, a property supplement.

    Surounded by “…row upon row of books – and beautiful black and white photos taken by Sharpe during his days as a photographer and anti-apartheid activist in South Africa turn his office into an intimate gallery. His activism landed him in jail on more than one occasion.

    “I enjoyed being interrogated,” he laughs. The police who arrested him gave him material for the characters he ridiculed so entertainingly in his books.”

    I always thought Constable Els, Leutenant Verkramp and Inspector Flint were too good not to have been inspired by experience.

  93. “I think I’ll register. Need to find the day.”

    It looks a bit limited to me.

    Something like this would give you a far greater range of cars you could play with.

  94. @Sofia Kibo Noh

    Yes, not to mention the large Havana cigars he enjoyed.

  95. Flaming June

    18 Jul, 2013 - 9:43 pm

    I had to laugh at this.

    “Hasbara” courses at Israeli universities exposed in new report
    http://electronicintifada.net/content/hasbara-courses-israeli-universities-exposed-new-report/12612

    Desperation is very evident.

    Felt sick when reading this however. The 73 year old Harry Webb is scraping the barrel now.

    MEMBERS OF the audience at the Cliff Richard concert at Nokia Arena on Saturday night were so focused on the Peter Pan of Pop that they did not notice the couple canoodling in the VIP box – though some people might have wondered about the beefed-up security detail. The couple in question has been known to sneak into the movies once the lights are dimmed, and to sneak out again just before the movie ends.

    Their names are Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu, and like so many Israelis of their peer generation, they’re fans of Richard, and decided to enjoy his show after meeting him earlier in the week and receiving a personal invitation.

    They were having fun just like regular people – well, not quite. After the performance they went backstage to congratulate him, as did British Ambassador Matthew Gould and his wife, Celia.

    http://www.jpost.com/Features/In-Thespotlight/Grapevine-Jared-says-Like-320047

  96. New Yorker Krishnamurphy to fellow 911 cleaner, “NEVER AGAIN will I imbibe cancer for Larry Silverstein, after banning cancer treatment for first responders on cost grounds, he is still claiming an extra $4 billion in further damages?!!” Its true only the Almighty can arrange for these highly cunning devils.

  97. Craig on RTE Radio 1 right now.
    A programme about Whistleblowers

    http://www.rte.ie/radio1/

  98. Sofia Kibo Noh

    18 Jul, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    @Villager. 9 20pm

    “Btw what do you make of Pakistan, its nukes and the ISI/Jihadist complex?”

    I’m no expert on Pakistan but I trust you have read the details provided by other posters on these threads.

    What I see of Pakistan fits the larger picture of what happens when a rogue super-state and it’s acolytes interfere with strategically important or resource rich parts of our world.

    Since the Second World War, the United States has:

    1) Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected.
    2) Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.
    3) Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
    4) Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
    5) Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

    More detail from Pilger, who paints the big picture well here:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2012/01/pilger-obama-war-britain

  99. What happens next when a huge city like Detroit goes bankrupt?

    Detroit becomes largest US city to file for bankruptcy
    Detroit has lost a quarter of a million residents in the past decade
    The US city of Detroit in Michigan has become the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy, with debts of at least $15bn (£10bn).

    State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked a federal judge to place the city into bankruptcy protection.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23369573

    The population is 713,000.

  100. Ah … first broadcast 2006. I thought it was new.

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