Sunday, 25 May 2014

So, what next, Dave Nick and Ed?

Is this the week the reality principle sets in for the EU? And for the political leaders who support the massive fiction that they can actually govern their countries without being told what to do by the Brussels Commissioners and the Committees that dream up newer and better ways of diminishing personal liberty?
Yes. This is the week that will go down in history as the undoing of the European master plan for a toxic super state to end all others.
In an earlier post on my Paris blog site ( headlined " A Walk in the Woods" I described how I got lost in the Forest of Rambouillet and found the house, now a museum, of Jean Monet, founding father of the European Union. As I reported then, I was moved by the sentiments expressed by Monet, De Gaulle and Winston Churchill in the letters they wrote to each other in those days before World War 2. The idealism, the belief in a European Union that transcended nationalism, the hope that this union would end war in Europe.
My belief in the European dream, which also inspired me to stand in the first European Parliamentary elections, had however dwindled to a mere 'If only." Now, I've hardened my determination that the uk should leave the EU, as its own interests are seriously threatened.
If the only means of doing this is to vote for a politician who is listening to the pulse of opinion, then we do it regardless of the rest of the package.
I fear that the Cleggs, Camerons and Millibands of this world think they know better what the demos wants. But now, a voice has been heard --which however dodgily connected to far right sentiments-- does actually show that its owner has been listening to what all us ordinary folks are saying.
Let's not try to educate the voters at this point. Let's just listen to their heartbeats.
As I came out of Tesco last night carrying my bottle of Cava, I paused to chat to a guy who works there.
He was preparing to risk the rain on his bike, as was I. After our comments about cycling in tropical downpours we turned to the EU elections. I had missed the close of poll on my return from Paris but he had passed his polling station on his return from Ibitha and cast his vote. We discussed UKIP. I said I dont mind foreigners, I just dont like Brussels telling us what to do. He said he had been to eight countries already this year so foreigners were not a problem. What he disliked, he said was not being listened to.
So it's the arrogance of the Dave, Nick, Ed types that, frankly, get's us onto Nigel's ticket.
Will these ear-plug wearing party leaders respond? They must now know the options. The number one item on the Agenda is getting the uk out of an expensive catastrophe which, alas, is will get worse.
Too swift enlargement of the EU is one mistake, but the common currency is the major reason for the EU's failure. I warned John Major about the disaster of being part of the ERM in 1992. He stepped back after Black Wednesday. But I suspect his belief in the common currency had not faltered. Cameron, then Special Advisor to Chancellor Norman Lamont, quickly found another job when Major fired Lamont in May 1993 for saying he sang in his bath after the UK left the ERM.
So, to get back to my question, what next, Dave, Nick and Ed?
Clearly, if you read the rhetoric from the other side of the channel, whatever they say as palliatives about border control and immigration, the juggernaut of political and fiscal union is still rolling. Regardless of the impossibility of harmonizing disparate economies, the conventional party leaders still want one United States of Europe. And it's this obsession with competition with the US that is driving Europe to disaster. Thanks to the failure to understand the nature of the Federal Union as opposed to nations with thousands of years of cultural individuality, this is doomed. Thanks to the Euro, the failure of EU economies is keeping the world in recession.
So, will Dave, Nick and Ed get the message? Or will they persist in their support for central, undemocratic control of all European nations. More Governance, better Governance, said my French EU loving lover. In other words more and more central control of banking, finance and law.
Grab the lifebelts say I. The Titanic is going down.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

When "the Toffs" went "Rotten"

My new blog does not replace my Paris blog Rather it adds the dimension of my life in the uk after 13 years in Paris. I will be commenting on lifestyles, politics, personalities, arts, love and new trends as well as giving my views of how London and the uk have changed during my absence.
Here, I am posting a review of a book by a British author who is well worth reading.

The Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson
published by Arcadia Books Ltd on May 15th 2014

Those were the days when ladies wore gloves. Arcadia Books’ cover for Edward Wilson’s, “The Whitehall Mandarin” shows an elegant, gloved woman walking into a Whitehall Office. The days were also those when public and private standards were collapsing and when, as Wilson’s protagonist Catesby remarks to his devious boss Henry Bone, “The toffs have gone rotten".
Much of Wilson’s gripping story centres on Vietnam where he served with US Forces prior to renouncing his citizenship. It also focuses on the UK Ministry of Defence where leading players are pawns in a complex game of lies and betrayals woven around the Mandarin’s enigmatic figure.
The early 1960’s were also the focus of Wilson’s 2013 novel, “The Midnight Swimmer” which plays on secret events behind the Cuba Crisis of 1962. As the plot of The Whitehall Mandarin unfolds we revisit Cliveden, scene of erotic parties, where a nubile young stripper from Murray’s Cabaret Club, Christine Keeler, played a key role in the demise of Defense Minister John Profumo and the fall of Macmillan’s government.
Cliveden in the early 1960’s is an alluring point of attachment for the English dimension of this singularly shocking tale, shocking because of the revelations its author makes about the inner corruption of crumbling political institutions. The elite running that world were, it seems weakened by amorality. The story opens us to an understanding of how the ruling class of Britain of the time became corrupted. There are mentions of Kim Philby and Guy Burgess by the fictional characters. In life as in fiction, privileged people who should have been more grateful to their country were working to undermine its fabric. Sexuality and secrecy about sexuality except between members of a special coterie, was one of the subtle raisons d’etre for this undermining of the Establishment. Homosexuality, in those days a criminal offence, had to be a secret and its practice led to other secrets and to vengefulness against the established moral order. A sexually deviant motif lies at the heart of Edward Wilson’s story where it plays its subtle undercurrent of sinister sounds under the melody of the main plot to its denouement.
The suspicious sudden death of Hugh Gaitskell and his replacement as Labour leader by Harold Wilson, plus the latter’s role as a suspected Soviet front man comes under scrutiny. While the suspicion about Harold Wilson, the suspected fellow traveler, is dismissed perhaps for legal reasons, that dismissal fails to convince the reader that Soviet collaboration among those high in politics and in espionage, was not a part of the rot affecting the British Establishment. The left and the right wings of the British ruling class seem to have been equally corrupted, to have suffered a failure of belief in the system that gave them their privileged lives. During the evolution of this story, we find ourselves doubting the trustworthiness of senior MI6 operators, civil servants and politicians. We become aware of the venal international manipulations that laid the foundations for the Vietnam War. A scene with an unnamed President (clearly Johnson) at the White House cues the reader about the close involvement between British and American leaders and secret services over the reasons for and pursuit of the Vietnam War.
This story is a natural sequel to “The Midnight Swimmer” which leads us along the mad precipice when the Kennedy Brothers in their embroilment with Castro and the Cuban Mafia almost brought civilization to its end.
This is a work of fiction with well-drawn characters and a deftly constructed plot but it reads at times like a documentary. Wilson, an academic, has researched his subject deeply but imparts much private experience and knowledge throughout his story telling. He is clearly writing about what he knows and there are only rare moments when a flight of imagination intrudes into this narrative that otherwise convinces one of the authenticity of the author’s material, his characters and his storytelling. When one reads Edward Wilson one feels sure one is only one step away from the truth of what really happened in that place and time. The result is a chilling conviction that history as it happened is not what we have been told.