Freedom Cheaper than Iraq War

by craig on May 26, 2014 5:03 pm in Uncategorized

A particularly mendacious lie by Danny Alexander puts the institutional start-up costs of Scottish Independence at £1.5 billion.  That is a cool half billion pounds cheaper than Scotland’s share of the costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars, even on the Westminster government’s blatant under-estimate of the war costs.

So Scotland can afford criminal invasions killing hundreds of thousands to ‘bring freedom’, but cannot afford the smaller cost of its own freedom!!!

The £1.5 billion estimate is mendacious in two ways.  Firstly, it is a simple recycling of a Canadian lie at the time of the Quebec independence referendum, apportioning with no argument 1% of GDP to startup costs.

Secondly, as nearly all the money will be spent in Scotland it is not a loss at all, but actually an increase to GDP, as any but the most nutty neo-con would be forced to acknowledge.  And it would be the precursor of government money spent annually in Scotland rather than England for ever thereafter.

Thankfully Alexander won’t have a job much longer – and if he thinks a penny of Scottish public spending is going in future to support his huge arse and deceitful mouth, he is very wrong.


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  1. That was supposed to be one of my favourite poems from schooldays. I always found the scenario intriguing and mysterious.

    The Listeners
    By Walter De La Mare

    ‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
    Knocking on the moonlit door;
    And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
    Of the forest’s ferny floor:

    And a bird flew up out of the turret,
    Above the Traveller’s head:
    And he smote upon the door again a second time;
    ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.

    But no one descended to the Traveller;
    No head from the leaf-fringed sill
    Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
    Where he stood perplexed and still.

    But only a host of phantom listeners
    That dwelt in the lone house then
    Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
    To that voice from the world of men:

    Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
    That goes down to the empty hall,
    Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
    By the lonely Traveller’s call.

    And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
    Their stillness answering his cry,
    While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
    ’Neath the starred and leafy sky;

    For he suddenly smote on the door, even
    Louder, and lifted his head:—
    ‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
    That I kept my word,’ he said.

    Never the least stir made the listeners,
    Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
    From the one man left awake:

    Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
    And the sound of iron on stone,
    And how the silence surged softly backward,
    When the plunging hoofs were gone.


    Who was the Horseman and why wasn’t he answered?

  2. Obama has fouled up on this prisoner release. A lot is coming out about Bergdahl’s ‘capture’ and the circumstances. One report says that he abandoned his post and fellow soldiers and that six military lost their lives in attempting to rescue him.

    Sgt Bergdahl: Army ‘May Pursue’ Desertion Probe
    Questions swirl over the details of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s capture as Barack Obama continues to defend the prisoner swap.

  3. Resident Dissident

    3 Jun, 2014 - 10:54 pm

    “It grieves me to think of the poor people being killed in the Donbass region. It is not important enough for the BBC or other UK corporate-owned mass media channels to report. But Obama’s threat to deploy NATO troops in Ukraine is. What a topsy-turvy, arse about tit, cocked up world we live in.”

    It grieves me too – but rather than worrying about Nato training exercises I am rather more worried about the Russian soldiers and mercenaries that Putin is allowing to infiltrate into the Ukraine in order to stir up the conflict even further. Of course if the great Satan were to indulge in equivalent behaviour then this is such a topsy turvy world that Mr Arse about tit would be the first to get his cock up.

  4. Resident Dissident

    3 Jun, 2014 - 11:04 pm

    “But the real truth is something entirely different, as posted by a commenter below the article.”

    For those who are interested in the truth as what happened in Odessa rather than rather dubious Putinista propaganda might I suggest the following is a rather more balanced account – which ascribes responsibility to both sides – Mr Goss noticeably fails to note that gun shots were fired and Molotov cocktails were thrown from the building in his highly typical one sided accounts.

  5. “It grieves me too – but rather than worrying about Nato training exercises I am rather more worried about the Russian soldiers and mercenaries that Putin is allowing to infiltrate into the Ukraine in order to stir up the conflict even further.”

    Evidence? It is not the pro-Russian secessionists that are bombing schools and hospitals and parks. Not reported on your favourite channels. So Russia Today must be making it up I suppose.

    As to what happened in Odessa I should be interested to know too. Because all the indications are that those on the roof were wearing red armbands. I agree that earlier in the day there were provocations from both sides.

  6. “…under Yanukovich there was peace,”

    Well right up until his undemocratic last minute rejection of the EU deal in favour of the one offered by Moscow which lit the blue touch paper. His attempted crack down on protestors only inflamed the situation.

  7. The Walter de la Mare poem Mary is very good apart from the scansion (which I guess does not matter any more). It is in some ways reminiscent of The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, one of my favourite poems, and one for which my mother won an elocution competition when she was a girl. It begins:

    The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
    The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
    The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
    And the highwayman came riding—
    The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

    Full poem here:

  8. “Who was the Horseman and why wasn’t he answered?”

    Perhaps he was The Highwayman!

  9. It is difficult to understand institutionalised Russophobia in the US and the UK establishment asylums, as the Bolshevik/Communist elements around which their hatred coalesced were not, did not self-identify as Russian, were responsible for overthrow and murder of the (admittedly awful) Tsarist regime, the extermination, a holocaust of some 20 million Russians and Ukranians in hate-fuelled purges, oft cited as the height of Communist depravity and awfulness, but which were were rather obviously not carried out by Russians or Ukranians, and the hated Communist regime is not represented by or related in any way to the remaining survivors of that systematised abuse and extermination , unequalled in human history who remain, though much reduced in their native lands, as powerless and unthreatening as their peasant ancestors.

    The successors of those despotic Communist fiends, their titular and biological descendants began leaving Russia and other former Soviet republics in their millions – the chosen elite elements and thuggish petit-bourgeois – beginning in 1991 under Gorbachev, with the exception of some few remaining oligarchs, all left Russia, mainly for Israel.

    So how come the US and UK continue in their fatal infatuation with Israel where their one time, all-time, greatest enemies now repose, whilst continuing in their persecution of the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia in another phoney old cold-war, and seek either to kill them still, in megadeaths or to enslave them as their departed Communist masters enslaved them in hard labour, ignorance, fear, penury, dispossession and servitude, except this time round they call it capitalism?


    3 Jun, 2014 - 11:38 pm

    What was sofia’s last post? It’s been a while….


    3 Jun, 2014 - 11:42 pm

    “So how come the US and UK continue in their fatal infatuation with Israel where their one time, all-time, greatest enemies now repose, whilst continuing in their persecution of the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia in another phoney old cold-war, and seek either to kill them still, in megadeaths or to enslave them as their departed Communist masters enslaved them in hard labour, ignorance, fear, penury, dispossession and servitude, except this time round they call it capitalism?”

    Simple. Self-interest and the bullying compote which attends power. Human nature is the most predictable behavior of all.

  12. “Well right up until his undemocratic last minute rejection of the EU deal in favour of the one offered by Moscow which lit the blue touch paper.”

    Al Jazeera might sound like it is eastern news outlet, and may once have been, but it is actually the western-backed mouthpiece of that sheikdom of human rights’ abuses, Qatar. I would give it no credibility whatsoever having been awarded the 2022 World Cup by nefarious means, and a country which accepted five exchanged and tortured Guantanamo internees originally from Afghanistan. God, their lives are going to be hell until Qatar becomes the US enemy. It is owned by the 7th richest man in the world (Wikipedia) and is full of shit.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 12:01 am

    “Al Jazeera might sound like it is eastern news outlet, and may once have been, but it is actually the western-backed mouthpiece of that sheikdom of human rights’ abuses, Qatar. I would give it no credibility whatsoever having been awarded the 2022 World Cup by nefarious means, and a country which accepted five exchanged and tortured Guantanamo internees originally from Afghanistan. God, their lives are going to be hell until Qatar becomes the US enemy. It is owned by the 7th richest man in the world (Wikipedia) and is full of shit.”

    CHEERIO, John. I was hoping someone would say that.

  14. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Jun, 2014 - 12:18 am

    “What was sofia’s last post?”


    Who ?


    4 Jun, 2014 - 12:34 am

    Sofia is the gently sublime avatar who dogs your ragged ass, havasack.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 12:58 am

    Semantics will have to take a back-seat.

    avatar (n.)
    1784, “descent of a Hindu deity,” from Sanskrit avatarana “descent” (of a deity to the earth in incarnate form), from ava- “off, down” (from PIE *au- (2) “off, away”) + base of tarati “(he) crosses over,” from PIE root *tere- (2) “to cross over” (see through). In computer use, it seems to trace to the novel “Snowcrash” (1992) by Neal Stephenson.

    The meaning has to do mostly with sofia’s playful MAYA style. Like God having a good laugh when we pratfall.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 1:47 am

    Oh, man. This is fucked up

    “Three years into the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings — the journalist whose reporting cost General Stanley McChrystal his job — wrote a Rolling Stone story on the missing soldier, a piece which the magazine called “the definitive first account of Bowe Bergdahl.”

    Hastings, who died in a car accident in Los Angeles in June 2013, had unparalleled access for that story.

    He spoke to Bergdahl’s parents, who had by that time stopped talking to the press, following “subtle pressure” from the army, and he quoted from emails the young soldier had sent to them, documenting his growing disillusion with the war and the US military.

    Hastings also spoke to several unnamed men in Bergdahl’s unit — soldiers who, we now know, had to sign a strict nondisclosure agreement forbidding them from discussing the soldier’s disappearance and search with anyone — let alone one of the top investigative journalists in the country.

    ‘Michael and Matt both worked really, really hard on that story, and I know for a fact that they did it in a way that completely angered the US military and the US government.’

  18. Great piece of journalism from Hastings, Ben. And a first. The exchange for the poor man who walked out of his military post into captivity was exchanged for the Guantanamo Afghanistan prisoners sent to meet further justice or slavery in Qatar. Pity the spooks got Hastings. He was a good reporter.

  19. “Al Jazeera might sound like it is eastern news outlet, and may once have been, but it is actually the western-backed mouthpiece of that sheikdom of human rights’ abuses, Qatar. I would give it no credibility whatsoever.. ”

    I suppose I had no right to expect any more. Whatever the source any truthfull timeline of events in Ukraine will tell you the same, not that anyone with a memory greater than that of a goldfish should need telling. Unless of course you find it upsets your worldview and you want to forget it.

  20. The gangsters/war mongers are freezing President Putin out of their meet of the G7. On their agenda is a discussion on how to reduce Europesn reliance on Russian gas. LOL

    The G7 was relocated from Sochi to Brussels.

    Notice that when Obomber meets another head of state, a handshake is not sufficient. He lopes towards the recipient wearing his silly mindless grin, shakes their hand and then places his other hand on their shoulder, thus possessing them. Such s nice man and so touchy feely. You would never think he was a killer.

    eg with Komorowski yesterday.

  21. Democracy and corporations work together with the share holding public to conduct the geopolitical situation worldwide.
    It’s a free for all folks wealth is taken and funneled and entertainment is yours to enjoy.

    Self determination that’s it.

    Let’s hope for an ease in tensions and good discussion for a better future.

  22. “Wiki any better for you?”

    Well yes, except it finishes in February. The first killings, as we have previously established came from, rogue elements in the Maidan crowds. But that was in January. The nonsense about Yanukovich not signing the European agreement was turned into an issue by Yatsenyuk and the fascist parties of Svoboda and Right Sector he spearheads. Poroshenko has not signed the agreement either and does not look likely to either. Mug up Kempe for God’s sake.

    As to the west’s reporting on the war by Poroshenko’s forces on Eastern Ukraine it is non-existent. Another hospital was bombed yesterday killing two patients and other patients were carried to a basement. Mug up Kempe. One day I hope you will realise, like NATO seems to have done with Syria, that overthrowing elected governments is wrong.

  23. Mary, did you read The Highwayman?

  24. People ‘more negative about Russia’
    People’s views of Russia have strongly deteriorated since last year, the latest 24-country poll conducted for the BBC World Service suggests.

    Fancy that BBC? Join in the kicking why don’t you. How were the questions framed?

    More of the black propaganda. Iran and North Korea get the treatment too.

  25. The Zombies meet for their last session before the UKIP rout takes place in 2015.

    Queen’s Speech set to outline pensions reform as Coalition bids to prove it is ‘no zombie government’
    Reform of pensions system at centre of Government’s final programme, but Ed Miliband accuses Coalition of delivering ‘more of the same’ insubstantial legislation

    Her Maj, their ruler, will arrive in a new coach cannibalized from other relics of the EmPyre. Made in Oz by a loyal subject, its cost not mentioned but paid for by the Australian government!! and the maker Mr Frecklington.

    Queen’s Speech 2014: New three-tonne coach unveiled

  26. Yes I did John. Thanks.

    Haunting much like his photo here.

  27. An interesting biography of him.

    Different times. How would his lecture tour be received in modern day America?

    I see a son-in- law became Lord Nolan, the judge, who became the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Some hyperbole in his Guardian obit.

    ‘.. “Lord Nolan .. made a profound mark on national life by substantially cleansing the Augean stable of corrupt politics as founding chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.”.’

    No visible signs of that cleansing.

  28. Mary I took a look at that story you linked to, on the Australian maker of this carriage.

    Luverly luverly luverly eh?

    I can’t quite believe people fall for this crap, when they are struggling to pay basic utilities bills!

    Sorry I can’t quite keep up with conversations here-like you in days gone I am caring for my mother with Alzheimers and 90 year old father who is not coping with Mum!

    Keep up the great work and do not waste energy on those who do not value You.

  29. I agree Mary, it is a haunting photo of Noyes. I am not surprised he was critical of Joyce since he is fond of Tennyson and Wordsworth. Wordsworth was all right, Tennyson a superb craftsman. His idyll “The Brook” is one of mys favourite narrative poems. Joyce, as with many experimental poets, has his followers, but “Ulysses” is alongside Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” and very much among books that most people put down before finishing. And very few pick up “Finnegan’s Wake”. :)

  30. doug scorgie

    4 Jun, 2014 - 10:29 am

    Public consultation?

    “Plans are underway to privatise one of the best-performing public services, the Land Registry”

    “The public consultation on government proposals to privatise the Land Registry closed on Thursday 20th March. There has been no publicity or attempt to inform the public of this radical change to an organisation that is vital to the UK property market.”

    “Another consultation on giving the Land Registry wider powers in the control of data essential to the sale and purchase of property closed earlier with the majority of the public not being aware if it’s existence.”

  31. doug scorgie

    4 Jun, 2014 - 11:08 am

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    3 Jun, 2014 – 5:50 pm

    “I suspect you have a greater hang-up about male circumcision than do those who have been circumcised. Why so, Doug?”

    My “hang-up” Habbabkuk is concern for human rights:

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Article 2
    “The Convention applies to every child whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, no matter what type of family they come from.”

    Article 12
    “Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously.”

    Circumcision, for non-medical reasons, takes away the rights of the child.

    Though I don’t expect you to look at it that way Habbabkuk.

    Interestingly the only two states not to ratify the convention are Somalia and the USA

  32. “The nonsense about Yanukovich not signing the European agreement ”

    How is it nonsense? Are you saying it never happened?

    ” overthrowing elected governments is wrong ”

    Unless it’s a western orientated one, eh John.

  33. Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    4 Jun, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    This just out: shining beacon of ME democracy continues land grab…

    Looks as if the Quartet’s representative’s attendance at the February 2014 Munich Security Conference, along with Kerry, Indyck, Livni and Erekat, was treated with the usual disdain by the usual suspects.

    Nice pic of G-CEYL, Tony’s flying limousine, at Munich, in February, here, though:

  34. Dear Babushka. You sound a very kind person. I sympathize with your predicament but you would not have it any other way I guess. I had similar times but they are long past now. There is always a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. x

    Are you able to tell us more about this ‘sick tax’ of Abbott’s. More privatisation?

    John Thanks for your interesting comments on poets and their works. I too love Tennyson. Two of his poems come to mind and I can almost still recite them from heart as we were taught to memorize them. I won’t say how long ago but way back.

    ‘Break, Break Break on thy cold grey stones O Sea…’ (in memory of his friend) and The Lady of Shalott. The latter I sometimes recite when walking with the dog. ‘Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver’…. Beautiful.

  35. He was shouting, not speaking. Listen to him on the video. A rabble rouser. A demagogue. No irony contained in this headline.

    Obama condemns Russian ‘aggression’ in Ukraine
    US President Barack Obama: “We stand together now and forever, for your freedom is ours”

    Ukraine crisis
    Boots on the ground?
    Poroshenko profile
    Crisis mapped
    Wild east

    US President Barack Obama has condemned Russian “aggression” in Ukraine.

    Speaking in Warsaw to mark 25 years since the fall of communism in Poland, he hailed Polish democracy as a beacon for neighbouring Ukraine.

    “How can we allow the dark tactics of the 20th Century to define the 21st?” he said.

    Earlier Mr Obama met Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko, and pledged support for plans to restore peace to the country.


  36. Excuse if this was already posted here
    video footage of Bowe bergdahls handover, made by Taliban

  37. Netanyahu has already blessed Narendra Modi as Israel’s best friend among Asian leaders. Bibi says that under Modi administration, India-Israel military and economic relations will surge further.

  38. Says it all,

    How things change. No disrespect to the Chinese who reap the fruits of there labour.
    But how through mechanisation there is a breakdown in ancient practises.
    That are fast disappearing in society.

  39. “Unless it’s a western orientated one, eh John.”

    Not true. I’ve always been for the ballot box over the gun, negotiation over confrontation.

  40. @Mary

    You’d probably enjoy Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’. Something about it vaguely similar to The Listeners. Who is in the Tower?

    Last two verses:

    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it toll’d
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,—
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knell’d the woe of years.:

    There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
    To view the last of me, a living frame
    For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
    I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
    Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
    And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”

  41. Mary (at 10.46 pm on 3 June and John Goss at 11.25 and 11.32 pm) have happily brought together two poems whose meaning – for all their vividness and metrical strength – is hard to pin down. What makes them stick in our collective memory like an archetypal dream? I’ll be foolhardy and try to answer Mary’s questions (“Who was the Horseman and why wasn’t he answered?”), using John’s suggestion that the Horseman was the Highwayman.

    The horse is Time and the horseman is not “the Pale Rider, Death” (Revelation 6:8) but the living who are trying to ride into the world of those once living who are now ghosts – the past that never goes entirely away, always casting shadows onto the present and the future.

    This interpretation comes from repeated readings in the past two days of the elegy “Hallaig” by the Scottish Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean. The poem is set in his birthplace, the island of Raasay, off Skye. Many of the islanders, including 40 from Hallaig, were “encouraged” to emigrate to Australia in June 1854. – a late episode of the Highland clearances The theme is set in the first line: “Time, the deer, is in Hallaig Wood”. That is where the poet finds “each departed generation has gathered”, but when he takes aim with “Love’s loaded gun” those who were alive become dead again.

    In the Noyes’ poem, death intervenes when the Highwayman tries to make the past become his future by keeping his promise to the girl whose memory has never left him. In Walter de la Mare’s poem the door remains shut because his Listeners cannot afford to let the Traveller be true to his word. The past is another country whose inhabitants can only stay alive if they are not overpowered by the seductive promises of the colonising living. That is why non-one answers the Traveller.

    Even though Sorley MacLean provided English versions of all his poems, I prefer the translation of “Hallaig” by his friend Seamus Heaney – see

  42. Mary, there must have been some kind of national curriculum in those days. I remember “Break, break, on thy cold grey stones O sea, and I would that my heart could utter the thoughts that arise in me . . .” Or something like that. “But ‘The Brook’ he loved, for which in branding summers of Bengal, or even the half-English Neilgherry Air I panted, seems as I relisten to it, prattling the primrose fancies of the boy, to me who loved him. . . For O brook, he says, O babbling brook, says Edmund in his rhyme, whence come you, and the brook, why not, replies:

    I come from haunts of coot and hern,
    I make a sudden sally,
    And sparkle out among the fern,
    To bicker down a valley.

    By thirty hills I hurry down
    Or slip between the ridges
    By twenty thorps, a little town,
    And half a hundred bridges.

    Till last by Phillip’s farm I flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come, and men may go,
    But I go on forever.

    Yes men may come and go, and these are all gone. My dear brother Edmund sleeps not by the well-known stream and rustic spire, but unfamiliar Arno and the dome of Brunelleschi . . .

    I could go on. It is a dear poem. We still have copies of my mother’s collections of Tennyson and Scott given to her on her wedding day by her friend, Rose, or so it says inside. I cannot say I ever met Rose and think she may have been a friend when mum was nursing at Sheffield Infirmary during the Second World War. Memories, hey!

  43. Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    4 Jun, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    I think Tony’s been out of the country, the last couple of days. Plausible scenario is that he left on the 2nd (pm) to and returned from a westerly destination today (middayish). US/Canada probably, with a side-bet on NI. He’s been remarkably silent since his CBI speech, anyway. He may have been filming an interview with National Geographic for transmission on the 6th, but that’s just a guess, obviously.

  44. Thanks to Iain Orr for his piece. Always interesting contributions.


    Saw this on Sky News. Not sure where the Al Hilli thread has got to or if it is still open.

    Alps Murders: Soldier Quizzed Commits Suicide
    The 50-year-old soldier, who apparently shot himself, left a note saying the questioning made him feel “disturbed” and “accused”.

    A suicide in this instance is not an admission of guilt I would say. There could be many other reasons.

    It is tragic to see the photo of the family and to see how close they were to each other.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    John @ 6:07

    Joe Cannon has some interesting thoughts on Bergdahl. Was he a spook? What was the big story Hastings was working on when he was mysteriously killed?

  46. Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    4 Jun, 2014 - 3:14 pm

    G-CEYL now heading east over N’lands, general direction of Berlin.

  47. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Jun, 2014 - 3:53 pm

    “Sofia is the gently sublime avatar who dogs your ragged ass, havasack.”

    Never heard of her, Ben. Are you sure she existed?

  48. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Jun, 2014 - 4:05 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    “Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    3 Jun, 2014 – 5:50 pm

    “I suspect you have a greater hang-up about male circumcision than do those who have been circumcised. Why so, Doug?”

    My “hang-up” Habbabkuk is concern for human rights:

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Rtc, etc, etc..”

    I don’t believe you for a moment, Doug. I believe you use the theme to get in a further swift kick at the Jews ( other circumstantial evidence pointing that way is your frequent statements on here that Israel has no right to exist).

    But anyway, let us assume for a brief moment and for the sake of argument that you’re telling the truth. In that case, you would be in the slightly curious position of being more concerned about the rights of a large number of now adult people than those people themselves are concerned, wouldn’t you. As I said, you appear to have a big hangup whereas the vast majority of those circumcised have no hangup at all.


    And now stop diverting or your Mother will get cross with you.

  49. Iain Orr, an appropriate thought process. I think Heaney was great and I met him at a Readers’ and Writers’ Festival in Cannon Hill in the early nineties I think. He was a doughty character ready to discuss poetry with the minions. I confess that Sorley MacLean is new to me. I’ve come across the Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown, Norman McCaig, and Hugh McDiarmid but Scottish poets are not my forte, though I quite liked the nature-poetry of Kathleen Raine who well captures the Scottish landscape:

    He has married me with a ring, a ring of bright water . . .

    which Gavin Maxwell used for the title of his most famous book.

    Of Gaelic writers in general I read a beautifully poetic translation of “Twenty Years a’Growing” some years back by Maurice O’Sullivan about life and hardship living on one of the Blasket Isles, clambering up rock faces to collect seagull eggs and collecting peat for the fires. Maurice O’Sullivan was one of the last inhabitants of the Blasket Isles. But what I remember most was the easy translation by George Thomson, a professor from Birmingham University. It was the way he captured the dialogue, so Irish in its mannerism with tautological expressions like “says I to myself, I says” which really made it an outstanding and unforgettable read. I cannot praise this book more highly other than if I had written it myself. It was recommended to me by a work colleague and I pass that recommendation on with my endorsement.

    But getting back to the horseman, ghost or human, I am also put in mind of Rudyard Kipling’s “The way through the woods” and “a swish of a skirt in the dew” but as we know there is no way through the woods. I wonder how many more draw upon this theme?

  50. Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    4 Jun, 2014 - 4:18 pm

  51. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO, 4 Jun, 2014 – 2:49 pm

    I wonder what he was working on too. Something that might make him the victim of an assassination perhaps?

    Ba’al, very witty. But not many lawyers come out of the profession with their morals intact.

  52. Cameron is hell bent on excluding nhimself from the table with his intransigence. His mistake was to under estimate the broad support Juncker has and his blackmail will not go down well with Merkel.
    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Cameron could be central to discussing reform of the EU, but he failed to see the chance in favour of ramming a fencepost up his jacksey.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    Here’s a rundown of the five former detainees:

    • Mullah Mohammad Fazl. Experts suggested to PolitiFact that, of the five, Fazl and Noori may be the most dangerous to United States interests.

    Fazl was an experienced commander against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance and served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff. He’s “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites” and had “operational associations with significant al Qaeda and other extremist personnel.” The leaked documents say Fazl “wielded considerable influence” and that he’s become a recruiting symbol for the Taliban.

    • Mullah Norullah Noori. Noori was a “senior Taliban military commander” and the onetime governor of Balkh province who, like Fazl, is on the United Nations’ radar screen for possible war crimes.

    Fazl and Noori “were responsible for ethno-sectarian massacres in northern Afghanistan, as were some of their enemies who are now in the Afghan government,” said Barnett R. Rubin, director and senior fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. “They cooperated with al-Qaida, which was providing assistance to their fight against the Northern Alliance.”

    Leaked documents cite ties to the Taliban’s top leader, Mullah Omar, and “senior al-Qaida members,” including the allegation that he passed a message from Omar to al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden.

    • Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa. The leaked documents say Khairkhwa was close to both Omar and bin Laden, representing the Taliban in “meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against U.S. and Coalition Forces” following the start of the United States war in Afghanistan. He was governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001 and was alleged to be one of the “major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan.”

    Complicating matters somewhat, Khairkhwa was in discussions with the family of post-war Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, a longtime friend, about possibly cooperating with the new government when he was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and brought to Guantanamo.

    • Abdul Haq Wasiq. Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban’s intelligence service and “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks,” according to the leaked documents, which added that he “utilized his office to support al-Qaida and to assist Taliban personnel elude capture” in late 2001. He is believed to have “arranged for al-Qaida personnel to train Taliban intelligence staff in intelligence methods.”

    Wasiq claimed to be offering cooperation to the United States, though the U.S. government has officially been skeptical of those claims.

    • Mohammad Nabi Omari. Leaked documents describe Omari as “a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles,” including membership in a joint al-Qaida-Taliban cell in Khowst that “was involved in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.” Omari also “maintained weapons caches and facilitated the smuggling of fighters and weapons,” the documents say.

    Omari, like Wasiq, was apprehended while claiming to be providing intelligence of interest to the United States.


    4 Jun, 2014 - 5:25 pm


    4 Jun, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    All you need is an order to Zuckerman requiring he install a ‘snark’ button next to ‘like’. Ez pz for our compliant overlords of the Oversoul.

  56. The link given earlier by Baal is excellent.

    It is from the State of Palestine
    Palestine Liberation Organization and is entitled

    Jerusalem’s Gate Keepers:

    and is graphically illustrated with photos, some shocking.

  57. Agent Cameron’s plans to allow fracking are slipped in to this cover all ‘Infrastructure Bill’. See what else is being planned

    Infrastructure Bill

    “My government will introduce a Bill to bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness. The Bill will enhance the United Kingdom’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites and maximising North Sea resources. Legislation will allow for the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard and will guarantee long-term investment in the road network.”

    The purpose of the Bill is to:

     Bolster investment in infrastructure by allowing stable long term funding, deliver better value for money and relieve unnecessary administrative pressures. The Bill would increase transparency of information provision and improve planning processes, allowing us to get Britain building for our future and compete in the global race.

    The main benefits of the Bill would be to:

     Direct funding to where it is most needed to deliver better economic outcomes, creating the right conditions for sustainable growth.

     Create jobs and improve economic competitiveness across areas of transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects.

     Speed up the pace of delivery in key areas of infrastructure developments whilst still safeguarding the need for communities to be involved.

    The main elements of the Bill are:


     The Bill would turn the Highways Agency into a Government owned company, with the stable, long term funding needed to plan ahead. It would create units within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation to represent the interests of road users and to monitor the company’s performance.

    Invasive non-native species

     The Bill would allow for Species Control Orders to control the invasive, non-native species that pose serious threats to biodiversity, the water environment and infrastructure.

    Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

     The Bill would simplify the process for making changes to Development Consent Orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to a DCO, and allowing simplified processes for material changes.

     The Bill would allow the Examining Authority to be appointed immediately after an application has been accepted and for the panel to comprise two inspectors, speeding up the process and saving money.

    Deemed discharge for certain planning conditions

     The Bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period, reducing unnecessary delay and costs.

    Public Sector Land Assets

     The Bill would permit land to be transferred directly from arms-length bodies to the Homes and Communities Agency, reducing bureaucracy and managing land more effectively.

     The Bill would ensure that future purchasers of land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority will be able to develop and use land without being affected by easements and other rights and restrictions suspended by the Agency.

    Land Registry

     The Bill would transfer statutory responsibility for the local land charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry supporting the delivery of digital services and extend Land Registry’s powers to enable it to provide information and register services relating to land and other property.


     The Bill would enable the Secretary of State to give communities the right to buy a stake in their local renewable electricity scheme so that they can gain a greater share in the associated financial benefits

     Subject to consultation, this Bill would support the development of gas and oil from shale and geothermal energy by clarifying and streamlining the underground access regime. The Government is currently running a full consultation on this policy and the legislation is entirely dependent on the outcome of that consultation.

     Sir Ian Wood’s independent report estimates that full and rapid implementation will deliver at least 3-4 billion barrels of oil equivalent more than would otherwise be recovered over the next 20 years, bringing over £200 billion additional value to the UK economy. The Government accepted Wood’s recommendations in full in February 2014, and is introducing measures in this Bill to put the principle of Maximising Economic Recovery of petroleum in the UK into statute.

     The Government will also introduce a levy, making power so that the costs of funding a larger, better resourced regulator can be paid for by industry rather than by the taxpayer as is currently the case.

    New homes built to a zero carbon standard

     The Government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016. But it is not always technically feasible or cost effective for house builders to mitigate all emissions on-site.

     The Government would set a minimum energy performance standard through the building regulations. The remainder of the zero carbon target can be met through cost effective off-site carbon abatement measures – known as ‘allowable solutions’. These provide an optional, cost-effective and flexible means for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes standard, as an alternative to increased on-site energy efficiency measures or renewable energy (such as solar panels). Small sites, which are most commonly developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt. The definition of a small site will be consulted on shortly, and set out in regulation.

     The Zero Carbon Home standard will be set at Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, but the legislation will allow developers to build to Level 4 as long as they offset through the allowable solutions scheme to achieve Code 5.

     Energy efficiency requirements for homes are set in the Building Regulations 2010 and are made under powers in the Building Act 1984. But there are insufficient powers in the Building Act to introduce off-site allowable solutions, so the Government will now bring forward enabling powers for this.

  58. doug scorgie

    4 Jun, 2014 - 7:58 pm

    4 Jun, 2014 – 12:30 pm

    “Says it all.”

    What do you think it says Jay?

    It’s pure western bullshit.

    Read the report closely:

    “There are many reasons behind China’s overseas land grab,[not “land grab” in the Israeli sense] not least their own problem with food standards.

    With rapid urbanisation swallowing up large areas of their own arable resources, the constant drive to meet demand meant only one thing: quantity at the expense of quality.”

    “As standards slipped, the number of food scares proliferated, from adulterated milk to rivers contaminated by dead pigs.”

    Message: don’t buy Chinese food products.

    “Intensive farming practices have not helped either. With no time to lie fallow, domestic farmland is now exhausted from constant over-use.”

    Just what we do in the west.

  59. Good reasons not to privatise the Land Registry.

    ‘Leaked minutes suggest that some want to steam ahead with ‘privatisation’ before official decisions are taken.

    Three months ago in this space, I proposed abolishing the Whitehall department responsible for the wholly inadequate public consultation into the future of Land Registry. I now realise my proposal was too modest: I should also have invited the leaders of the body itself, specifically HM Land Registrar and chief executive Ed Lester and Mark Boyle, chairman, to consider their positions.

    I reach this conclusion after reading the minutes of an off-site meeting of the Land Registry board on 25 March – five days after the consultation on converting the bulk of the registry into a ‘service delivery company’. The minutes, leaked to the Guardian newspaper, show executives steaming ahead with the assumption not just that the service delivery company option – in effect privatisation – will happen, but that one of the three options proposed by the consultation is to be picked.

    8 May 2014

    ‘The changes, which were the subject of two public consultations conducted earlier this year, are highly controversial.

    Among critics of the planned take-over of local land charge searches from local authorities is the Law Society, which said the change could lead to a worse service for conveyancers.

    According to the government, other measures in the bill will simplify the process for making changes to development consent orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to an order, and allowing simplified processes for material changes.

    If passed the bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period.’
    4 June 2014

  60. John Goss (at 4.12 pm) – Isn’t it strange how one poem signposts the way to another? Melodies and lyrics tumble over each other when someone strums a guitar and starts on a folk song/hymn. From your recalling Kipling’s “The Way Through the Woods” there are branches off in many directions, from Thomas the Rhymer / Pilgrim’s Progress to Robert Frost’s “road not taken”; or the trail through the trees to the ghastly clearings – pun intended – of Hardy’s “Throwing a Tree”
    and Charlotte Mew’s “The Trees are Down”

    This is not really – though it might appear so – a diversion from this website’s political themes. The devil claims to have the best tunes, but can the fallen angel really produce a neo-liberal songbook? or a Satanic anti-poetry anthology to match Neil Astley’s “Staying Alive”?

    On two earlier points, however, I beseech you – like Cromwell in his letter of 3 August 1650 to the Church of Scotland – that you may be mistaken. At 1.25 pm on 3 June you said that de la Mare’s “The Listeners” was good … “apart from the scansion”. I’d argue that the best English poets – Shakespeare, George Herbert, Christina Rossetti, Auden – keep rhyme and rhythm interesting by allowing natural speech patterns to take liberties with strict scansion and perfect rhymes. In this de la Mare poem, notice how the last lines bring each stanza back to order.

    How can I persuade you that – pace your 4 June 9.56 am post – Joyce is joyful? No-one expects to finish Finnegans Wake any more than to swim across the Pacific; but diving into these strange linguistic reefs is to have “a new planet” swim into ones ken. Why not try Joyce himself in 1929 on the Anna Livia Plurabelle passage: ?
    or listen to
    where Geoffrey Wilkins reads the same passage with the text on screen? That makes it easier to spot all the rivers and – much more important – to roll the words around your mouth like a baby learning to babble.

  61. May and Gove are at each other’s throat. Smoothface intervenes.

    Cameron steps into extremism row

    I am sick of the sight and sound of the whole lot of them.


    Mary me to, we don’t seemed to have learned anything from previous generations of government.
    It’s like we are going backwards. Although how far would you want to go to find someone to emulate.
    They are going over basics that are simple ideals that are not even debatable.

    Child care and exploitation are basic requirements that go without question
    Basically society here needs a good kick up the arse and snapping into gear,
    Me included.

  63. @Jay @Mary: I just wish some(shouldn’t need too many) Lib MPs would develop a backbone, and withdraw their support for the Condem coalition. That would bring us a general election before next years business even starts to be debated. It could happen… the majority is 54, I think, which would mean just 27 swapping sides.

  64. “There are basically no Russian troops abroad while US troops are everywhere. There are US military bases everywhere around the world and they are always involved in the fates of other countries, even though they are thousands of kilometers away from US borders.”

    So said Vladimir Putin today. Some might argue where Russia’s “abroad” begins, but that’s essentially what planet earth looks like today. The globe is crawling with mostly-forced insertions (past and present) of US capital. It’s an infection that may well kill the host if these nutters insist on pressing ahead with a military confrontation with Russia and/or China.

    Within the current paradigm, the US has to dominate Eurasia if it is to stay as top dog. And that means first containing and then neutralising what it sees as the China/Russia threat.

    That’s got quite a big fucken risk attached to it.

    You know what? If I had to pick which leader would fire the first nuke, it wouldn’t be Vladimir Putin. Not with an out-of-control war economy that lied to kill a million Iraqis on the other side.

  65. Iain Orr I have heard Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken mentioned three times in the last week. In e-mails received etc.

    So I have just read it again. So profound and enigmatic too.

  66. One of my own favourites is ‘Wolfwatching’ by Ted Hughes. Love ‘Church Going’ by Larkin too.

    ‘A serious house on serious earth it is.’ And the final few lines, heralding a return to a kind of ancestor worship. Beautifully controlled.

  67. No – modulated.

  68. Peacewisher
    I am glad your so optimistic,


  69. @Jay. I’m serious – that will be the only way they can save their seats… and with the coalition so unpopular, these MPs will be seen by the people as National Heroes! Perhaps they should throw in a bit of Euroscepticism into their personal general election campaigns, and they will surely be re-elected.

  70. Iain Orr, I grant you that Geoffrey Wilkins reads Joyce as well as anyone I could think of, and there is a certain lyrical flow to it. As to scansion, and the rights and wrongs of it, I have no prejudice. I once had a robust discussion with Roy Fisher on the merits of rhyme over blank verse. His belief is that searching for a rhyme dictates the poem and does not allow a poet to express true feelings. My belief is that those who know the craft can make their poems say exactly what they want and still maintain rhyme and metre. I agree pedantry is a cumbersome burden, but laziness, in a fast-moving world, is no excuse for slipshod work. As to Christina Rossetti I have to smile come Christmas and that beautiful first verse of “In the Bleak Mid Winter” fires up the imagination (where are the snows of yesteryear?) and the harmonies ring out.

    1.In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
    earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
    snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
    in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    All right so far, but then you get verses two and three.

    2. Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
    heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
    In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
    the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

    3. Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
    cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
    but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
    worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

    And then a return to normality almost.

    4. What can I give him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

    And yes I am in agreement that one poem or poetical idea can breed others as did the Villon thought “Where are the snows of yesteryear.” It was Georgy Ivanov who led me to Villon. And so the cross-fertilisation goes on.

    In brief I have enjoyed the poetry interlude.

    Unfortunately there are soulless things happening on part of the globe. I would much rather be concentrating on art


    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:20 am

    “The chief aim of Omidyar’s new media venture, it seems to me, is to domesticate dissent. There is virtually no chance that First Look Media will challenge the essence or legitimacy of the actual ruling system: oligarch-corporate dominance backed by a militarist state. No doubt it will tear the bark off a few wild outgrowths here and there — which can be a useful exercise for keeping various factions within the Security State in line, or allowing them to “let off steam” by taking down their internal rivals a peg or two. Fear is not just for foreigners and the home folks out there; every system of domination employs fear against its own agents as well. And certainly there will be genuinely spontaneous revelations too, not just strategic leaks by inside players jockeying for position.

    But again, all this will take place in an arena controlled by one of the chief beneficiaries and big-time players in the system itself. It will take place in a domesticated setting. The powers that be will know that the system itself is not under threat. They will know that the only goal of any revelations will be “reform”— or sometimes not even reform, just “debate.” And “reform” and “debate” can always be managed by those who control the levers of power — and the media where the “debate” takes place. ”

    Infiltrate the dissenters. Ez pz.

  72. Putin answers Resident Dissidents lies that Russia had troops in Ukraine. I asked him for evidence of that statement and did not hear from him again. He asks the same question of Obama whose country has been spreading the lies that sucked in RD.

  73. BrianFujisan

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:38 am

    Nice to see all the poetry weaving through a vibrant political Stage ( blog )


    i would tend to agree with Roy Fisher… i often feel the poem sometimes has to write allowed the freedom … i attended for a while at the Greenock writers Club..they were vitually all of them adherents to for Rhyme it had to Rhyme…

    i don’t mind Rhyme…but sometimes a beautiful poem cant… Take Robert Hardy Books..Tess for example Poetry most of the Book just beautiful writing…

    Anyhoo.. since it’s on topic – o.t

    here is one of my own aboot the Highlands

    Mountain Pulse

    Soft Blues, and Heather hues

    Fade away, in rugged miles

    Where Highlands and Munros

    Graze a chill Sky

    The Mountains so High

    Dazzling peaks in wintry shroud

    Glazed by days of arctic wind

    and star splashed, open nights

    Just bellow the brilliant whites

    of lofty, frozen peaks

    Whispering, trickling Streams

    Then fast Rivers rush

    The silvery veins

    in a thick heather hide

    Surge down the hill, and over cliff walls

    Cascading, waters fall

    And rainbows rise, amid the spray

    Living colours, shimmer and heave

    A gentle pulse, as the mountains Breathe.

  74. BrianFujisan

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:46 am

    Effin EDIT button Lol…

    A line got lost…has to be put right

    it should be –

    Then fast Rivers rush

    Crystal waters, tumble and gush

    The silvery veins

    in a thick heather hide

    Surge down the hill, and over cliff walls

  75. A Zen rhyme





    movie poster


  77. Rich pickings for the PFI vultures. The offer their thanks to Messrs Blair, Brown and Milburn.

    Exclusive: How private firms make quick killing from PFI

    Companies earn hundreds of millions by selling on 25-year contracts for hospitals and schools awarded to them by the last government
    04 June 2014

    Private contractors have pocketed hundreds of millions of pounds of profits in the past four years by exploiting deals that were controversially awarded to them by the last Labour government.

    Companies that were awarded contracts to build and maintain state schools for 25 years have been doubling their money by “flipping”, or selling on, the Private Finance Initiative (PFIs) projects just four years after finishing them.


  78. Brian thanks for your comment. I am not the law on how to write poetry but one of the things that dictates my own is making good use of figures of speech to make the thing sing or the harmony ring. Rhyme is one of the first items that comes into our lives with the bedtime nursery rhymes. It also acts as a mnemonic. So we learn the difference between thing, sing and ring and teach it to our offspring. I agree it can be overdone, and does not always achieve it’s intended purpose. Sometimes rhyme can simply be a bit of fun, an experiment in wordplay, and perhaps in that respect Roy Fisher is right. My criticism is, I suppose, as with art, that unless minimalism can be shown to have substance, which it can, it is no more than a skeleton on which to throw some flesh. So e. e. cummings is not for me, but I don’t doubt some get turned on by his work. Similarly I would have nothing by Damien Hirst because I think his work amounts to nothing.

    As to Thomas Hardy, I love his prose, not keen on his poetry, but he made another contribution as well as his great novels. Together with his father he was a collector of folk songs. Like you say “Tess” is a brilliant piece of writing but best of all “Jude the Obscure” which really shows the difference between the privileged classes and poor self-educated Jude who treks to Christminster (Oxford) only to be made fun of by the so-called academics. Disillusioned he treks back, lives in sin with his cousin Sue Farley. This was the book which the church banned. What a powerful piece of writing! But because it was banned Hardy turned to poetry. I don’t know why everyone waxes lyrical about The Darkling Thrush. To my mind his concentration on poetry was an opportunity cost against the world getting more great novels from his pen.

  79. Sorry Brian I got carried away and meant to mention that your own poem is a beautiful example of words conjuring images. Thanks.

  80. Abbott is handing over the search for the MH370 plane to a private company. You can’t beat a nice bit of privatisation it would appear.
    ‘Curiouser and curiouser’!

    Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: Now Australia outsources the daunting search for missing aircraft

  81. More poetry please. It is doing something. There have, thank God, been no reports of death in Eastern Ukraine today, though numers of women and children have evacuated to a refugee camp in Russia because there is no water in the town.

  82. numers= numbers

  83. “A Zen rhyme


    Velly funny!

  84. Yes Brian. Me also. Full of admiration for you, that poem, your photos, your outlook and your take on life.

  85. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 8:46 am

    Ba’al, very witty. But not many lawyers come out of the profession with their morals intact.

    Which was almost certainly the point. ‘Iolanthe’ mocked contemporary mores and hierarchies. In context, the Chancellor is being conspicuously scrupulous in order to further his own unworthy ends. Still a familiar political strategy.

  86. NHS

    In addition to the letters in yesterday’s Guardian,

    there is this one.

    NHS risks ‘chaotic failure’ if parties do not come up with plan to save it
    Politicians must acknowledge crisis, health chiefs say

    The NHS Confederation is meeting. Messrs Hunt, Lamb et al will speak today. There will be wringing of hands, more empty words and more empty promises but nothing will stop the planned dismantling of the NHS by the current cadre in power who meet with no political opposition. In fact, with a year in office remaining, the process will be speeded up.

    Jeremy Hunt speaks at the NHS Confederation conference: today in healthcare – live from Liverpool

    5 Jun 2014: Full coverage of the event, including keynote speeches from Jeremy Hunt, Norman Lamb and Andy Burnham

  87. I recommend Theodore Roethke’s wonderful poem In a Dark Time. It articulates the personal struggle with ego and fear which afflict us all. And isn’t it the effect of these twin ogres on society that is the substance of Craig’s posts and all the debate that goes on here?

  88. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:04 am

    Not played up in the UK media…at all… here’s Prince Andrew celebrating his, and Mum’s family connections. Does the word ‘Hanover’ ring a tiny bell? The 300th anniversary of the Personal Union between Britain and Hanover, in fact. And you so nearly missed it.

    He also spent three days schmoozing Hanover’s business types, it’s only fair to add.

  89. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Dear Christ, Rose, that absolutely sucks. JB Morton did that kind of tosh so much better:

    Alone on the lawn
    The cabman dances
    In the dew of dawn
    he kicks and prances

    His bowler is set
    on his bullet head
    for his boots are wet
    and his aunt is dead

    There on the lawn
    As the light advances,
    On the tide of the dawn,
    The cabman dances.

    Swift and strong
    as a garden roller
    he dances along
    in his little bowler

    skimming the lawn
    with royal grace
    the dew of dawn
    on his great red face

    To fairy flutes
    as the light advances
    in square black boots
    the cabman dances

  90. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:13 am

    O, sorry. Link for Cumberland’s descendant here –

    I’m sure Nevermind will help you with the translation…

  91. This might interest you Brian.

    Why is Glasgow the UK’s sickest city?

    ‘Harry Burns, who until recently was the country’s chief medical officer, has his own theory. He raised a few eyebrows when he compared Glaswegians to Australia’s Aboriginal people. Yet he believes deindustrialisation in a city where tens of thousands once worked in the factories and the shipyards has deeply wounded local pride. As a result, people here have much in common with demoralised indigenous communities.

    “Being a welder in a shipyard was a cold and difficult and dangerous job,” he says. “But it gave you cultural identity in the same way as native peoples in Australia once had a very intense history and tradition.”

    He scoffs at the cliches about people suffering coronary attacks after eating those infamous deep fried Mars Bars. “No one is saying that Glaswegians are models of healthy behaviour but the evidence that we are where we are because we eat vast amounts of fat or smoke vast amounts of cigarettes just isn’t there. That’s not the explanation.”

    Instead he is convinced that the social and economic problems that Glasgow has experienced over the past few decades have come together in what he calls “a perfect storm of adversity”. Burns points to a succession of graphs which show Scots do not smoke more than other Europeans nor do they suffer more heart disease. In fact, under his stewardship, Scotland was the first part of Britain to ban smoking in public places.’

    Why Glasgow should be under the BBC microscope is another question. Perhaps part of the Vote No Borders campaign? ‘Leave things as they are and we will improve matters’? I don’t know.

  92. John Goss @ 8:12 Idiot! Fool! “it’s intended purpose” should be of course “its intended purpose”. Stand in the corner!

  93. There is no need to be so dismissive of Rose’s personal choice, Ba’al. Each to his/her own.

  94. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:35 am

    I see Gove’s plans for the curriculum are not without justification, John.

    Meanwhile, Tony Blair, with his Africa Governance Initiative ™ scam charity, may be seen in London on the 8th. July. As fatcat Nigerians plead for more globalisation

  95. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:41 am

  96. thanks for the excellent poems, I felt as if Im sitting right there in the heather Brian.

    ‘Prince Andrew visited a ‘traditional’ birthday party in honour of the queen in Hannover. The occaision, attended by the great and good in Niedersachsen, was somewhat halted by a ‘strong rain storm’.

    So something positive happened there, ploants got watered to grow. Sorry, I’m not very royal at all.

  97. Look away Resident Dissident. Pretend it isn’t happening.

  98. Ba’al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer) 5 Jun, 2014 – 9:41 am

    But if that was the outcome of Bilderbergers’ item “The challenge of Africa” why did those who pull the strings not invite the puppet along?

  99. doug scorgie

    5 Jun, 2014 - 10:11 am

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    4 Jun, 2014 – 4:05 pm

    “…other circumstantial evidence pointing that way is your frequent statements on here that Israel has no right to exist…”

    You keep repeating the lie Habbabkuk but I will keep correcting you: Israel does not have the right to exist as a JEWISH state but as a state of ALL its people.

    “…you would be in the slightly curious position of being more concerned about the rights of a large number of now adult people than those people themselves…”

    It’s too late to help the adults Habbabkuk its todays and future children that need help.

  100. The stark reality of what has not been reported on any mainstream media channel is captured in this blog by Professor de Noli, a human rights’ activist living in Sweden, who was himself imprisoned under Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. WARNING: There are images in this blog which are not for the squeamish. No wonder Resident Dissident, who supports these murderers, has left the blog. All those labelled in the past as trolls have obviously been told to keep a low profile. The BBC, as ever, is disgusting.

  101. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 10:18 am

    I wondered, too, John. He’s been to several, with or without Blair International ™ as a justification. And once, apparently, without being visible, except to one reporter:

    “Mr. Christopher Gill MP: To ask the Prime Minister which members of his Government have attended meetings of the Bilderberg Group. [34298]

    The Prime Minister [holding answer 16 March 1998]: None. ”
    Might the PM have forgotten the trip? This reply is a lie. Blair attended the 1993 Bilderberg Conference.

    At the time of the visit he was Shadow Home Secretary – getting those contacts already. Bilderberg reporting restrictions are tight, and it didn’t come out until Rees-Mogg broke cover some time afterward.

    And he may have been there this year. He was certainly buzzing round Scandinavia near the date.

    Currently his usual transport is somewhere on a four-hour flying time arc from Heathrow. Landed 6.33 BST yesterday. But I don’t know where. Could put him in Ukraine, but I doubt it as he is gunfire-averse.

  102. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 10:24 am

    Whoops –

    Earlier I wondered why Blair was visiting Malmo. Should have looked at the map. It’s just an energetic spit away from Copenhagen. He was there.

  103. The fascisti are in action. A secret trial is set to take place.

    Secret trials: judges should be trusted to make right decisions, says Grayling
    Justice secretary’s comments come after it emerges that case involving two terror suspects is set to be heard in secret

    Lord Carlile was apparently defending it on Radio 4 Today earlier today.

    BBC Radio 4 Today @BBCr4today 3h

    A secret trial is “not justice”, and undermines fairness and public confidence – Shami Chakrabarti #r4today

  104. Mary this new law, the Justice and Security Act is the thin edge of the wedge. Private hearings and secret trials. Welcome to the world of Kafkaesque world of George Orwell. Sorry about that.

    Anybody have dealings with UK Mail? You phone them there is a recorded message and after a long wait it automatically hangs up on you. You send them an email you get an automatic response and that’s it. I put it down to private industry. It’s shit.

  105. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    For what it’s worth, if anyone has anything left to say about Blair, and as if everyone didn’t know already:

    ‘S been a while since I heard anything on The Killing of Tony Blair: any news?

  106. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    Where Blair probably isn’t – although physically could be –

    The Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners will feature as the top key-issue on the conference’s agenda among other issues, including the legal dimension of Palestinian prisoners issue, Israeli legislation that violate human rights conventions, as well as exploring mechanisms necessary to provide legal and humanitarian protection to prisoners.

    The conference comes as part of Palestinian attempts to internationalize the prisoners issue and appeal to the public opinion in Europe and all over the world to intervene to bring the Israeli actions, in violation of Geneva Accords, to an end.

  107. My local hospital is using UK Mail for their outgoing mail John. When I worked there was a lovely Geordie called Geoff in the Post Room. He sorted all the incoming mail in the mornings and delivered it round the hospital to each department with the internal mail. He knew all the faces and greeted us all with a smile and a friendly greeting.

    In the afternoons, he and another chap franked all the outgoing mail as it was delivered to the Post Room. If something was urgent or otherwise important, he would put it through with First Class postage. He was a lovely man and his hard and probably unsung and unrecognised work for the general good contributed to the feeling of working in a cohesive team. I expect that has disappeared.

    Sadly he has left. I met him and his wife in the town and he looked very ill.


    You have to dig deep on this website to find the directors of UK Mail. pp 27-35
    A Peter Kane is the chairman and there in the list is a Bill Cockburn who retired in Dec 2012. That name was familiar. He was the MD Royal Mail of course. A trougher.

    Buswell, Kane and Glew are the three current directors.

    These are Kane’s seven other companies and 8 dissolved companies.

    ‘Peter Kane holds 7 appointments at 7 active companies, has resigned from 1 company and held 8 appointments at 8 dissolved companies. Peter began his first appointment at the age of 44 and his longest current appointment spans 23 years and 8 months at UK MAIL EXPRESS PARCELS AND MAIL LIMITED.

    The combined cash at bank value for all businesses where Peter holds a current appointment equals £28,200,000, with a combined assets value of £95,200,000 and liabilities of £77,700,000.’

  108. The thing that gets me about the secret trials is Lib Dem complicity in the legislation. For all their bleating about liberty over the decades, they get a whiff of power so they trample on what is supposed to be at the core of liberalism.

    They deserve to be obliterated at next year’s election and I suspect they will be. From 2015 onwards it will be the wilderness years for them, for a long time, as no-one now believes a single word they say. The party may as well begin their next manifesto with “Once upon a time…”. It’ll be an incredible fairy story.

  109. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:39 pm

    Meanwhile, back at Tony’s domestic hearth, or one of them, it may be remebered that a couple of years ago, Cherie Blair joined entrepreneuse and loony rightwinger Gail Lese in setting up Mee Healthcare, a UK private health provider. This operates on a low-overhead basis renting space in Sainsburys’ stores. Originally planned to provide access to a private GP and other professional care, for a fee, it appears currently to be selling spectacles. Lese and Cherie set up the Allele Fund (registered, Cayman Is) to raise the necessary capital, which it has so far failed to do. Anyway, long story short –

    Tut bloody tut, Cherie.

  110. Mary, re UK mail, might just be my experience, or Birmingham. But when I checked with UK Mail and shit search it brought a few sites up with a lot of dissatisfaction.

  111. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    They deserve to be obliterated at next year’s election and I suspect they will be. From 2015 onwards it will be the wilderness years for them, for a long time, as no-one now believes a single word they say. The party may as well begin their next manifesto with “Once upon a time…”. It’ll be an incredible fairy story.

    In one sense, a shame, as they tended to have above-average constituency MP’s. That was what they were good at. The parliamentary party should have stood tactfully to one side, voted with principle, and watched the other two destroying each other. But…it’s that lust for power again. If anyone knows where Clegg is scheduled to be when he is burnt in a wicker cage by Southwestern voters, I’d love to come along, and will bring a bottle.

  112. Yes, BZ, Clegg is a dead man walking, although the other big hitters have to take some of the blame too. Guys like Charles Kennedy should spoken out more. Call him the party’s conscience. But his silence on this as on so much else is pretty damning.

    I’ll bring the sandwiches.

  113. Letters from a) Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ahmed Kathrada South African politician and former political prisoner, Alexei Sayle Comedian, Alice Walker Author, Angela Davis Author and activist, Breyten Breytenbach Poet and painter, John Berger Author, Ken Loach Director, Michael Mansfield QC Barrister, Mike Leigh Director, Miriam Margolyes Actor, Noam Chomsky Philosopher and author, Paul Laverty Screenwriter, Professor Richard Falk Professor of international law, Roger Waters Musician, Saleh Bakri Actor

    and b)Jeremy Corbyn MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Grahame Morris MP, Richard Burden MP, Katy Clark MP, Chris Williamson MP, Alex Cunningham MP, John Denham MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Paul Blomfield MP, Crispin Blunt MP, Joan Ruddock MP, Mark Durkan MP, Roger Godsiff MP, Hugh Lanning Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Geoffrey Bindman QC, Bruce Kent CND, Caryl Churchill Playwright, Victoria Brittain Journalist and author, Rev Canon Garth Hewitt Amos Trust, Professor Steven Rose, John Austin, Betty Hunter

    G4S must end its complicity in Israel’s abuse of child prisoners
    The Guardian, Wednesday 4 June 2014

    I would say that the actual imprisonment and abuse of the children must cease forthwith never mind bloody G4S.

  114. doug scorgie

    5 Jun, 2014 - 1:21 pm

  115. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 1:26 pm

    Chop his hands off and stone him to death, I say.

  116. doug scorgie

    5 Jun, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    A bit of history for our Zionist supporters:

    Zionist founder, Theodor Herzl, “the father of Israel” devoted so much time to his project that he neglected his wife and children. When he died at the age of 44 (probably from venereal disease) his family were left penniless.

    His daughter, Pauline, had emotional problems from an early age and died through drug addiction.

    Herzl’s son Hans had not been circumcised but the Zionist leaders, following Herzl’s death, saw to it that he was, at the age of 15.

    Hans converted to Christianity in 1924 and as a result he was abandoned by the Jewish community and publically denounced.

    He committed suicide following his sister’s death.

    The World Zionist Organization decided to bury Pauline and Hans in Bordeaux despite knowing of their wish to be buried beside their father in Austria.

  117. Now the British Ambassador to Sweden, of all people, is calling on his blog for Scotland to remain part of the UK.

  118. Perhaps BLiar will meet a camel with MERS up close on one of his ME jaunts. The camel will spit at him and that’s the end of Anthony Charles Lynton BLiar.

  119. So who’s in the grave where Pope Francis visited Doug?

    I see Obomber has been there too.


    Published on 1 Jun 2014

    Jon Faine, of Radio 774 ABC Melbourne, interviews and insults former Australia Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser, in the process of attempting to defend the indefensible, Israel.

    In his book, Dangerous Allies, Mr Fraser’s suggests that it is time for Australia to formulate its own foreign policy and not, in future — as Captain Kirk might have put it— To blindly go where its current allies seek to lead it (my phrase, not Mr Fraser’s).

    Faine is almost as rude and overbearing to this guest as he was towards Kevin Bracken, who was (at the time I made a video about his encounter with Faine), Victorian Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union and the President of the Victorian Trades Hall Council and was attempting to point out some of the many anomalies in the official 9/11 report, but was prevented from doing so by Faine’s obnoxious monologues.

    In this video, I show excerpts from the Kevin Bracken video, which was uploaded in October, 2010, as well as from Friends of Israel — Enemies Inside the Gates, from which Jon Faine appears to have learned nothing. He is a gatekeeper for Israel, and has no business being in front of a microphone in the studios of the publicly-funded Australian Broadcast Corporation.

    A recoding of the radio broadcast of May 9th, 2014 featuring Jon Faine, Damien Kingsbury and Malcolm Fraser can be found here:

    Aussie Trades Unionist Exposes 9/11 Cover up

    Friends of Israel — Enemies Inside the Gates

    Jon Snow UK Television cuts the mike on an Israeli spokesman as they debate Gaza


    Advance Australia Fair.

    Regev is an Aussie too. He made aliyah to Israel and got the top job.

  121. So much for respect for the life of a child by the Catholics.

    Tuam children’s bodies: Catholic Church ‘has no records’

    ‘A Catholic archbishop in the Republic of Ireland has said the church has no records about the burial of nearly 800 children at a mother and baby home.

    The remains were in a concrete septic tank at the County Galway home. The children, aged between two days and nine years, died between 1925 and 1961.’


    5 Jun, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    For context see Tim Geithner’s new book explaining and justifying the grifter syndrome.

    “Omidyar’s top India man also concurrently served as a director in a powerful BJP think tank, the India Foundation, chaired by Modi’s hardline National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval — “a giant among spies” according to the Hindustan Times. After stepping down from Omidyar Network in February of this year, Sinha worked full-time for Modi, the India Foundation, and for his own successful run as a BJP candidate for parliament.

    Another NGO that Omidyar invested in, the Institute for Policy Research Studies (IPRS), was accused of illegally trying to lobby India’s parliamentarians to vote for opening up India’s e-commerce market in late 2012. The IPRS nonprofit ran a program in which their staffers provided India MP staffers with “nonpartisan” research. In 2012, India’s intelligence bureau accused the IPRS of “compromising national security” and described it as “shrouded in mystery.”

    Omidyar Network had pledged $1 million to the IPRS, and the Ford Foundation pledged half a million more — but the Indian government rejected the IPRS’s application to register as a foreign-funded NGO, deeming it a threat to India’s parliamentary integrity, and its national security. Google’s corporate philanthropic arm,, had previously given $880,000 to the same NGO program, under Sheryl Sandberg’s watch.”


    5 Jun, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    “The organization has already faced law enforcement agencies which behave like the CIA and refuse to acknowledge whether or not they even have public records related to Stingray surveillance used to track cell phones. But this is a clear escalation and shows the extent to which the federal government is willing to go to protect this new form of dragnet warrantless surveillance from public scrutiny.

    Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney for the ACLU, told Firedoglake the US Marshals Service sent someone to the Sarasota Police Department from an office in Tampa to seize physical copies of the records which had been requested. Marshals “spirited” them out “from under the noses of Florida residents who had a right to them under state public records law.”

    In his history of doing “public records work” Wessler had never witnessed the federal government do anything like this.”

    On April 5 Greenwald promised that in two months he would produce the files showing which private citizens the NSA spied on.

    This is June 5th. Waiting…………………………

  124. Rose’s recommendation (at 9.00am) of Roethke’s “In A Dark Time” has far more to commend it than Ba’al Zevul’s rapid (at 9.12 am) dismissal : “that absolutely sucks”. It’s not just Rose’s personal choice that – as Mary noted – deserves respect; but also her judgement. This poem has been widely admired for over 50 years by readers with the ability to suck the marrowfat of a poet grappling with the images and language to evoke and overcome depression and despair. Roethke was an important influence on both Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes: they met him at a party in London on 1 February 1961 –see

    The poem also provided the title for a notable anthology by two psychologists who wanted to select writings showing humans as “savage warriors, as helpless victims, and as individuals who have the courage to say `No` to war” – Nicholas Humphrey and Robert Jay Lifton’s “In A Dark Time” (Faber, 1984). Two extracts from it that bear directly on issues central to Craig’s blog:

    “We are mad, not only individuals but nations also. We restrain manslaughter and individual murders; but what of war and the so-called glory of killing whole peoples? . . . Deeds of cruelty are done every day by command of the Senate and popular assembly, and servants of the state are ordered to do what is forbidden to the private citizen. The same deeds which would be punished by death if committed in secret are applauded when done openly by soldiers in uniform.” – Seneca, “Letters 95,” c. 63 AD.

    “Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.

    I’m cold,’ Snowden said. ‘I’m cold.” – Joseph Heller “Catch-22”, 1961

    Those wanting a fuller appreciation of Roethke than Ba’al Zevul’s can listen to him in the first link below and read an assessment of his place in American literature in the second

  125. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    Blair International LP:-

    G-CEYL has just flown from Baku to….er…somewhere 3/4 of an hour away. Well, that solves the problem of where it was a little while ago. It may have something to do with this:

    The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, member of House of Commons at the parliament Charles Hendricks will visit Azerbaijan to attend the Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition 2014.

    Within the visit, C. Hendricks is expected to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, as well as Minister of Youths and Sport Azad Rahimov, IT Minister Ali Abbasov, SOCAr President Rovnag Abdullayev and BP President Gordon Birrell.

    Hendricks will read letter of the Uk Prime Minister David Cameroon* at the opening of ceremony tomorrow.

    Hendricks also will also visit Gabala.


    Looks as if a Bombardier Global Express would manage Baku-Gabala in 3/4 hour to me.

    Now, what’s Hendricks doing in Tony’s plane? The implication is that the taxpayer is now adding to Tony’s various subsidies, if it’s on a rehire agreement. It also begs the question of why Hendricks isn’t flying crap class on a pensionable Russian transport, as it’s on my money and yours…or is Tony there too?

  126. Ba'al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer)

    5 Jun, 2014 - 4:05 pm

    “This poem has been widely admired for over 50 years by readers with the ability to suck the marrowfat of a poet grappling with the images and language to evoke and overcome depression and despair.”

    Oh, that’s what you’re meant to do with it, is it? Sorry, but I’m with Paxman on this one.

    Either cognitive therapy or lithium would perhaps enable him to write something to counter, rather than enhance, the horror of existence. This is the first and last time I read Roethke, now I know he was intentionally writing like a shut-in teenager. No apologies from me.

  127. Muslim Mary, do you even check what you cut and paste? Three of those four links you posted are dead. You also have to learn how to quote your sources clearly instead of passing off other’s work as your own work – it’s very misleading, as I’m sure you already know.

    And while Mark Regev might be an Australian in the most liberal interpretation, he is most definitely not an Aussie, thank-you-very-much.

  128. Iain That reply was appreciated by me and I trust by Rose if she returns.


    Loving it.

    David Cameron’s house ‘fracked’ by protesters
    Greenpeace activists turn the Prime Minister’s country home in Oxfordshire into a ‘fracking site’ in protest at new pro-drilling laws


  129. ‘Not a Muslim Mary’ will have to tell her friend Anthony Lawson to fix his links. The links were printed under the You Tube, the content of which has not been commented by our correspondent from Down Under.

    Incidentally he does not seem to be able to sleep much as it is now 2.30am there?? Or perhaps he pretends to be in Oz?

  130. The links under Anthony Lawson’s video work perfectly fine if the correspondent in Australia had gone to the You Tube linked to and clicked on the links below. Here they are in full.

    Faine sounds deeply unpleasant.

    Israel’s Apologists: Jon Faine is at it Again

    A recording of the radio broadcast of May 9th, 2014 featuring Jon Faine, Damien Kingsbury and Malcolm Fraser can be found here:

    Aussie Trades Unionist Exposes 9/11 Cover up

    Friends of Israel — Enemies Inside the Gates

    Jon Snow UK Television cuts the mike on an Israeli spokesman as they debate Gaza

    AIPAC: The Voice of America — Part 2 The Treasonous Dollar Drain

  131. Iain and Mary – thanks.

    Ba’al – no apology needed nor expected. I admit it was a bit early to be dishing that out – hope you didn’t choke on your cornflakes – I felt the splutter from here.

  132. doug scorgie

    5 Jun, 2014 - 6:05 pm

    5 Jun, 2014 – 2:07 pm

    “So who’s in the grave where Pope Francis visited Doug?”

    In 1949, his remains were moved from Vienna to be reburied on the top of Mount Herzl in Jerusalem that carried his name.

  133. Resident Dissident

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:10 pm

    @John Goss

    “Look away Resident Dissident. Pretend it isn’t happening.”

    You really are cretinous and proof of the adage that there is no fool like an old fool. When I have ever claimed that when there are violent conflicts that either side has a monopoly on bad behaviour – I’m afraid that is what happens in such situations. I could just as easily point to atrocities carried out the armed mercenaries and thugs of the puppet regime in Donetsk – but I’ll leave such one sided games to yourself and your other allies. The real issue is in understanding the forces behind the conflict – and the despite all your blaming everything on fascists perhaps we could have your analysis of what violence was occurring in eastern Ukraine before Putin allowed his little green men to move in.

  134. Ba’al Zevul (In The Bleak Midsummer) 5 Jun, 2014 – 12:14 pm

    ” ‘S been a while since I heard anything on The Killing of Tony Blair: any news?”

    ask and ye shall receive:

    “Project Update #10: It’s your chance to have YOUR say about Tony Blair on camera – this Saturday in London!
    Posted by George Galloway MP ♥ Like

    This Saturday the 7th of June, the documentary team will be filming a video to call for the war criminal Tony Blair to be sacked as the Middle East “Peace Envoy” in central London.

    This is an opportunity for YOU to have YOUR say about Mr Blair in a ‘piece to camera': what you see as his worst crimes; why you think he was an inappropriate appointment as the Envoy; and why you think he should be removed.

    If you would like to join us please book a place on the slot that suits you on the event links below. Please make sure you sign up for the right one, and don’t forget to bring your ticket down on the day. You are more than welcome to stay and watch other people do their piece to camera. Light refreshments will be provided.

    Location: Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, Leake Street, Lambeth, London SE1 7NN, England.

    Closest tube station: Waterloo

    Slot 1: 10am-12pm

    Slot 2: 12-2pm

    Slot 3: 2-4pm


    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:18 pm

    rd; I think the over-arching question is, do you see the flip-side of that same coin? I’m betting it’s willful ignorance.

  136. Resident Dissident and John Goss, rather than perpetually arguing, it would be far more productive and informative to collaborate on a Wiki-style Ukraine war map and timeline, with annotations about which groups were responsible for what, and links to evidence and analysis.

    What you’re both currently doing reads like some Monty Python sketch about two rival propagandists. it’s time for a big foot to come down out of the sky.

  137. Resident Dissident

    5 Jun, 2014 - 9:45 pm

    Ben & Clark

    I clearly see the overall responsibility for the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as lying with Putin and his wish for Ukraine to be his client state – that doesn’t mean that I immediately leap to view that those opposing Putin and Russia’s interference in Ukraine are not capable of committing unjustified acts of violence or not demonstrating respect for the rights of ethnic Russians within the Ukraine. John Goss is incapable of seeing that any Ukrainian viewpoint opposing his own, or any Russian viewpoint opposing that of Putin may be of validity.

    If you are interested in a balanced viewpoint as to what is going on in the Ukraine I would suggest the following:

  138. Muslim Mary, the content of the video pointed to by your first link @June 5 2.24p is a criticism of Jon Faine, an ABC radio ‘journalist’ and overt supporter/apologist for Israel but then goes on to become a 9/11 conspiracy theory of the ‘Israel did it with US acquiescence or tacit approval’ variety. Altogether unconvincing as most of these theories are, and a distraction from genuine inquiries into actual US misfeasance, incompetence, corruption and coverups etc.

    You didn’t elaborate on your support for your “friend’s” 9/11 conspiracy theory, Muslim Mary. Could you give us all some further insight into this clever version of events?

    Incidentally, where I post from and at what time is not relevant to anyone but the most paranoid of troublemakers who wish to imply sinister connections but have no evidence of such. In fact, that’s probably the defining personality of your average conspiracy theory nutter.


  139. I repeat to the cloth eared Aussie. I am not a Muslim.

  140. Ba'al Zevul (Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I do)

    6 Jun, 2014 - 8:44 am

    …I felt the splutter from here.

    Rose, that was probably the most graceful response (well, ok, not that bit) I have had on this blog. Thank you.

  141. Ba'al Zevul (Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I do)

    6 Jun, 2014 - 10:04 am

    Further to 05/06, 3.58 pm

    The report got the name wrong (of the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ), and I unthinkingly reproduced it. He is Charles Hendry, not Hendricks, Tory MP for Wealden. After his spell as energy minister his fingers remain firmly jammed in the energy pie:

    Charles Hendry, who worked in David Cameron’s administration until 2012, is being paid £60,000 a year as a “consultant” to Vitol, a massive oil trader which has a long-term supply contract with Rosneft, the Russian state-owned energy giant.

    The job will earn the MP for Wealdon almost as much as his parliamentary salary despite taking him just one-and-a-half days a month.

    Slightly more acceptably, but probably mopping up government subsidies –

    His views on fracking are equivocal – which is probably wise given that Wealden covers a potential shale gas field

  142. doug scorgie

    6 Jun, 2014 - 10:40 am

    Resident Dissident
    5 Jun, 2014 – 9:45 pm

    “I clearly see the overall responsibility for the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as lying with Putin and his wish for Ukraine to be his client state…”

    What evidence do you have for that ResDis?

    “…that doesn’t mean that I immediately leap to view that those opposing Putin and Russia’s interference in Ukraine are not capable of committing unjustified acts of violence…”

    Russia’s interference in Ukraine ResDis?

    So you didn’t see the EU and US interference in Ukraine before the crisis unfolded?

    The Ukraine military have been bombing unarmed civilians, is that not a war crime?

    You are wilfully blind ResDis.

  143. President Putin plays a blinder. Agent Cameron and Obomber will not like it one bit.

    Russia never annexed Crimea, no plans to intervene in Ukraine, it’s a Western delusion – Putin


    6 Jun, 2014 - 4:21 pm

    RD; The UN recommends an immediate and transparent investigation into the calamity in Odessa. (pg 4 item iv)

    Can you think why Kyev has not already done so? Perhaps such findings would be untoward.

  145. Resident Dissident

    6 Jun, 2014 - 8:45 pm

    “What evidence do you have for that ResDis?”

    The lack of evidence with regard to violence in Eastern Ukraine before the little green men started to arrive. I did ask if there was any – and none has been forthcoming and you employ your usual diversionary tactics.

    “Russia’s interference in Ukraine ResDis?”

    And I’m the one being accused of being wilfully blind!

  146. Resident Dissident

    6 Jun, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Can you think why Kyev has not already done so? Perhaps such findings would be untoward.


    Remember Mr Goss going on about how the Ukrainian Govt wasn’t having an enquiry into the EuroMaidan shootings before the enquiry reported.

    Of course in la-la land enquiries are only legitimate once they have reported and supported your prejudice.


    6 Jun, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    RD; HRW suggested Kyev should investigate, and followed up with this letter today.

    “I am writing to raise issues relating to the conduct of military operations in southeastern Ukraine in light of the growing number of credible reports regarding Ukrainian forces’ use of mortars and other weapons in and around populated areas, and the recent intensifying of hostilities between Ukrainian forces and armed insurgent groups‎. While we have not been in a position to investigate the most recent hostilities or many of the incidents reported in the press in the past week, our researchers did investigate two apparent mortar attacks in residential areas while on a field mission in Donetsk region between May 19 and May 26″

    ‘Both sides do it” but could not confirm outgoing mortars, only direct hits on structures fired by Ukrainian forces; (yeah a couple of witnesses stated insurgents had mortars, but use of same was not evidenced). HRW had a tether on objectivity for the sake of objectivity, I think.

    I think you should agree that Kyev has the advantage of overwhelming force and weaponry. There has been no investigation by Kyev, to my knowledge and that was my question to you.

    If they thought they had proof of their innocence they would be heralding from the rooftops, no?

  148. Resident Dissident

    6 Jun, 2014 - 10:43 pm


    Your statement was about Odessa you have twisted it in to something else.

    Re Eastern Ukraine – doesn’t the number of helicopters shot down by the armed insurgents suggest that someone is supplying them with pretty sophisticated weapons – and of course lets not mention all the human rights abuses that they are carrying out (see the UN report). I don’t support anyone firing at civilians on either side – but I’m afraid that is what happens in armed conflicts – the better questions to ask is who is responsible for starting the armed conflict where there was none before and how can it be stopped.


    6 Jun, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    RD; I referenced your source. Have I done something wrong? Please answer the salient question, repeated above.


    6 Jun, 2014 - 11:13 pm

    The even-handed Barack Hussein Obama.

    “Putin “has a chance to get back into a lane of international law,” Obama said.
    But for this to happen, he said, Putin must take steps over the coming weeks that include recognizing Ukraine’s new President-elect Petro Poroshenko, stopping the flow of weapons over the border into Ukraine and ceasing Russian support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine”

    Libya, Iran and Syria notwithstanding.

  151. Resident Dissident

    6 Jun, 2014 - 11:21 pm


    You said there was no investigation of Odessa – there is and you should wait for the conclusion. As to the other events in Eastern Ukraine I don’t think HRW has asked for an investigation and it is pretty clear that the Ukrainian army is using mortars – whether it was firing at purely civilian targets or insurgents near to such targets is something that will probably never be known. Given that the restraint shown by the Ukrainian government for many weeks against the insurgents – while said insurgents were hardly showing similar restraint (I must have missed you condemnation of their torture and intimidation and shooting down of helicopters with SAM missiles), I do tend to believe that the Ukranian government is not hell bent on blood lust against local civilians in Eastern Ukraine – though as is always the case their ability to control everyone under their command may have limits. Just as we are justifiably proud today of our troops who helped liberate Europe it doesn’t mean that all of those involved were angels at all times.

  152. Resident Dissident

    6 Jun, 2014 - 11:24 pm

    “But for this to happen, he said, Putin must take steps over the coming weeks that include recognizing Ukraine’s new President-elect Petro Poroshenko, stopping the flow of weapons over the border into Ukraine and ceasing Russian support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine”

    But why is this not right, regardless of what happened elsewhere?


    6 Jun, 2014 - 11:25 pm

    ” there is and you should wait for the conclusion.” I think the story related that the prosecutor’s investigation began in early May. When did HRW begin and conclude? I think you should be skeptical about the scope and arrival time of the report.


    6 Jun, 2014 - 11:28 pm

    ““But for this to happen, he said, Putin must take steps over the coming weeks that include recognizing Ukraine’s new President-elect Petro Poroshenko, stopping the flow of weapons over the border into Ukraine and ceasing Russian support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine”

    Why do I find this objectionable? Maybe because it is tipped against Russia and lacking the the commensurate warning to the offical government and cronies.

    How is it you don’t see that?

  155. BrianFujisan

    7 Jun, 2014 - 1:45 am

    Thanks to the Folks commenting on my Poem…Very Uplifting words… Thank you… Mary what a chuckle the wee Clapping face gave me… :)

    yes John…i have always been of the same thoughts as yourself – that Thomas Hardy Prose is better Poetry than his poems… thanks for that info…On T.H…some of that i didn’t know – the repercussions from “Jude the Obscure” being banned ect.


    Sorry bit late getting back to you Re Glasgow.

    To be Honest i’m not sure whats been going on…Interesting for sure though…. especially a possible link to epigenetics –

    BUT i fear it’s not just Glasgow in Scotland… right here in my area Inverclyde these matters are close…

    about 10 months ago three of our Jui jitsu boys lost two friends from their circle, Days apart to suicide.

    Unemployment, may very well be a big factor…. And cut throat Policies by the likes of Amazon ( factory in Gourock ) … they take on young and old for very short periods when orders are high ect.. and for as little as only two weeks at xmas… then people are shoved out on their ear again… Recently 500 youngsters applied for only a handful of apprenticeships in one of only two yards left on the Clyde – At Ferguson’s of Port Glasgow.

    And yet the Gyms, swimming pools, football pitches, Dojo’s are all vibrant places… As are Also, the Greenock, and Gourock night life…all a bit perplexing… My Daughter has a degree in Social Science.. maybe she can shed some light on some of this for us.

    You got me thinking a little more on this Mary and i looked some things up

    there is a possible counter Argument for the Glasgow situation…that being – the end of the Shipyards and Factories was not the problem for Glasgow…but the start of these industries was the Problem

    Glasgow Author Carol Craig says to understand Glasgow’s early deaths you should look not to the end of the shipyards and factories but instead to their beginning

    In the early 18th Century, Glasgow was described by the author Daniel Defoe as “the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain”. But when the Industrial Revolution drew thousands of people from Ireland, the Lowlands and Highlands, the population exploded and for many it became a living hell.

    In the early 18th Century, Glasgow was described by the author Daniel Defoe as “the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain”. But when the Industrial Revolution drew thousands of people from Ireland, the Lowlands and Highlands, the population exploded and for many it became a living hell.

    “I was so struck by the very nasty and aggressive relationship between men and women historically in Glasgow,” Craig says. “And that was partly as a result of the terrible overcrowding – it was worse than England. Having a front room or parlour was practically unheard of.”

    She explains that in 1891 the London County Council defined overcrowding in terms of two or more person in a room. In the metropolis one third fell below this standard but in Glasgow two thirds – or twice London’s number – of residents lived in overcrowded accommodation.

    Enforced proximity, she argues, forced men out of their homes and into the pub. “It was a kind of survival mechanism,” she says. “In the old Glasgow on a Friday when men got paid, you would see women queuing outside workplaces and pubs to retrieve any of the money. This was very much a city where men suited themselves.”

    In her 2010 book, The Tears That Made the Clyde, Craig suggests that rapid industrialisation in Glasgow produced a toxic masculinity which destroyed family life.

    According to the Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, in just two years almost half of all homes in the city will be single-adult households.

    “There is a failure of personal relationships in Glasgow that no one is facing up to,” says Craig. “This is significant because what is the single most important thing for men’s health? It’s being married – it can account for as much as seven years of life expectancy. So if we want to find out why health in Glasgow is so poor I think one of the things that we should ask about is relationships.”

    Burns agrees that relationships are key. He talks about the need to build “social capital” so individuals can offer each other friendship and mutual support. He is also heavily influenced by the Israeli-American sociologist Aaron Antonovsky, who coined the term “salutogenesis” to describe an approach which focuses on a positive view of wellbeing rather than a negative view of disease…

    And Re epigenetics –

    What’s certain is that there are no easy answers. Even in the better off neighbourhoods, mortality rates are 15% higher than in similar districts of other big cities. Burns is perplexed by this but suggests hidden influences upon the genes could be responsible.

    “A lot of those middle-class people will have been very poor somewhere in their family tree,” he says. “And this takes us into the field of epigenetics – the business of genes being switched on or off depending on the environment you were brought up in. There is an epigenetic impact of the diet that your parents or grandparents were exposed to. Now we can easily find scientific explanations for this – we just haven’t proved it yet.”

    During his lectures, Burns has a favourite slide which shows the molecular biology of a hug. “When you hug a baby you make them happy,” he says. “Happiness is associated with the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. One of these neurotransmitters has an effect on a particular gene which activates the production of a protein that allows the brain to suppress the stress response. Failure to nurture a baby – failure to do something as simple as hug a child – interferes with that process.”

    Burns believes in early intervention and there are many organisations now devoted to this. Lickety Spit, a pioneering theatre company, creates plays for three and four-year-olds in the most deprived parts of Scotland. It fires children’s imaginations but even more crucially perhaps it encourages parents to get down on their hands and knees and bond with their offspring.

    A BIG complex one Mary

    Anyhoo… a good weekend to you…Oh and not forgetting a wee Hug

  156. BrianFujisan

    7 Jun, 2014 - 1:57 am


    Sorry for double paste job

    HWR have been up to the usual nasty tricks all week Ben… Disgraceful Propaganda and Biased utterings on Fbook all week… and i’ve been fighting with them all week too.

  157. Thank you very much for that Brian. You put a lot of effort in there and it was illuminating. I totally agree about the genetic inheritance part and also about the nurturing of children. Who knows what the upbringing was like of a psychopath such as Blair. Something went wrong along the way.

    PS My father was brought up in Limerick and he told us of the women standing outside the pubs at night trying to get the men home before they spent all their wages and the barefooted children in the streets. That was in the 20s. Same here in the East End of London and other cities I assume. My mother was one of three born in Highgate. The father deserted her mother and the three children were farmed out to relatives when her mother died at a very young age. Although a young orphan brought up by grandparents and a hard childhood by her account, my mother could not have been more loving and caring for the four of us, so that must have been in her genes.

    Your family has been lucky to have you as their father. You can feel the love.

    Did you mean Human Rights Watch btw? Mr Roth has much accounting to do for his lies and distortions.

  158. Resident Dissident

    7 Jun, 2014 - 9:14 am

    “I think you should be skeptical about the scope and arrival time of the report.”

    By all means – but that is not the same as prejudging (which is of course the source of the word prejudice) it as you have done.

    “Maybe because it is tipped against Russia” If anything it is tipped against Putin – you are making the very big mistake of assuming the two are the same. Most ordinary Russians would not dream of being a mercenary in the Ukraine.


    7 Jun, 2014 - 3:28 pm

    “y all means – but that is not the same as prejudging” What makes you think an investigation is under way? I gladly stipulated that their PR people have announced, but I’m also skeptical they, or any government is eager to discover first, by evidence, that they behave with no regard for human rights, then announce that fact publicly. It’s a bridge far, too far.

  160. Resident Dissident

    7 Jun, 2014 - 10:40 pm

    What makes you think an investigation is under way?

    Because people said the same about the Maidan shootings and the Ukraine Govt produced a detailed and documented investigation. The investigation is also a judicial investigation and if you had studied matters a little closer you would have noticed that the Ukrainian Govt have taken a number of important steps to separate the judiciary from government – something that the previous regime did not do, and is also of course something of a problem in Russia which inherited Soviet system. Strangely enough fascists are not usually known for undertaking such a separation.

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