On Remembrance Sunday, mindful that Leonard Cohen died a few days ago, and given that Gerry sent me this (thank you, Gerry), I thought it was appropriate to feature this poem today.

You’ll all know by now that I’m a kinda anti-war person, I think Niko called me a peacenik at one point, and that’s fine. I’m cool with that description. It doesn’t stop me being aware that sometimes wars happen; sometimes you have to defend yourselves. I just don’t think you should go looking for war. Particularly if you do it for self-aggrandisement, or to please your more powerful ally.




This pic was captioned by the Daily Mail: “Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn prepare to lay wreaths”.  Respect Scotland and the Scottish fallen.


I do think, though, that if you, as a country, send people into war, for whatever reason, you have a duty to look after them, provide them with the very best of equipment and facilities and care when they are on active duty. You also have a sacred duty of care to those who are wounded in your service, whether that is physically or mentally, and to their families and, to the families of those who died. It seems to me that that is something that this union falls down very badly on, and indeed has always fallen down on. Why did Earl Haig have to set up a fund to help the wounded, ask yourselves!


Men (mainly) come back from war, are discharged into “civvy street” and are left to deal with the trauma of what they have seen, and of their physical injuries, often at the tender mercies of the DWP determined to save a grubby penny here and there and meet the targets set by a malevolent government, penny-pinching over the sick and lavishing money on  the splendours of parliaments and palaces.

And this has its inevitable consequences.Some people come back from war zones having witnessed, on a daily basis, people, their own, or the enemy’s, civilians, sometimes children and babies,  being blown to pieces. Is it really reasonable to expect them to settle down to 9-5 with a stiff upper lip, and pretend they have never had to brush someone’s brains off their uniforms?

centoaphHowever, the top brass will all have put on a good show this morning. The Queen, and the party leaders, and princes* left, right and centre in Colonel in Chief uniforms; princesses wearing expensive black hats and oversized poppies, wiping tears from their eyes.

They do that once a year: and good for them. Perhaps, though, one of them would like to look into why, only last week, 12 homeless ex-servicemen were evicted from a squat in Manchester, and within hours, once of them “George” was dead from Bronchial Pneumonia, at 82 years old!

What in heaven’s name was an 82-year-old doing living in a squat in the 6th largest economy in the world, especially an 82-year-old who had served in the forces? Why were 11 other ex-servicemen living in squats?

Any answers, Fallon?

Showing grief and concern, tears and £1000 hats would be a lot more convincing if anything like the same concern was voiced for the “survivors”.

  • *I’m mindful that of all of them, Harry does a lot of good work with veterans.







2. Ginkgo Tree.



3. We’re twins. I hope you’re not Tories out to kill us?



4. Autumn.



5. Lightning strikes, erm twice.



6. OK, what you want here?



7.  They said you really liked donkeys.



8. If you look closely you can see Munguin’s summer palace.



9. I bet even John Brownlie says awwww to this!



1o. Got a couple of quid so I can go to the pictures? 



11. Anyone know?



12.3 Hmmm, nuff said and paws of pandas.



13. Tasty.



14. Edinburgh 1958.



15. Am I the smartest looking Snow Leopard you ever say? Hint, the answer’s “yes”.



16. Wait for it. This is called a NICOBAR pigeon.



17. Hermitage.



18. Look at my field and all my flowers.



19. Hiking in Greenland.



20. Long wait for the bus here, and only her to talk to….




Dear Louise,

I suspect you were a fan. His death is sad, and he was indeed a talented poet and writer.

I presume that you have an in-depth knowledge of  the Russian Arts world and therefore I wouldn’t presume to argue with you about the relative merits of Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Shalamov, etc, on the one hand, and  Steinbeck,  Williams, Miller and their likes, on the other.

It’s probably worth pointing out, though, that, erm,  Leonard Cohen was Canadian.

Kind regards




What kind of monumental stupidity is this?

This is the full story of the history of the deal (in as much as it was a deal) researched with Stuart’s customary zealous attention to detail and accuracy. And so, today Ruth makes yet another ass of herself.

proxyIn the meantime, The Guardian article here makes interesting reading. I wonder if it’s significant?



As far as I can tell, this is a genuine tweet.

Now I love Twitter, I really do. I remember Sophia Pangloss extolling its virtues years ago, and me thinking, nah, but giving it a bash anyway …and finding just how interesting it was (and what a challenge to get all your thoughts into so few words).

But the maximum character limitation does give people the opportunity to, in a very short time, possibly without much pause for thought, batter something out into the night that, depending on your audience, may reach millions of people. And that can be embarrassing in the cold light of day, and without the rosy glow of a couple of glasses of whatever your tipple is.

I bet most users, including me, could find a tweet that they would, on reflection, have preferred not to send.

But that’s OK for most of us. We’re not the regional manager of a  political party, and we don’t aspire to higher office. In fact, we’re not public figures of any sort (at least not most of us). And most of us don’t have a vast number of followers.

So maybe it would be a good time for people who are in that position to reflect for a while on their use of Twitter. It’s genuinely in their own best interests to do so, and to remember the “wise if somewhat naive” pronouncement of David I’m So Cool Cameron only a few years ago.  Erm, Lots of Love!


I read on the self-same Twitter this morning that the  results of the American election are as follows.

Eligible voters: 231,556,622

Trump %: 25.5

Clinton %: 25.6

Non-voters: 46.9%

(Presumably the other candidates got 2%.)