Archive for August, 2014

Southampton General: So Very Wrong

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

The treatment of the parents of the little boy with the brain tumour because they lost confidence in the ability of the paediatric department of this hospital to improve his deteriorating condition, is preposterous. The alarmist declarations that the feeding system was about to run out of battery life turns out to be nonsense and the clamour that the parents were dangerous nutters who were hazarding the life of their child was both untrue and and without any evidence to support it.

Now the parents are in custody in Spain and the child has been separated from them and is in a strange hospital on his own. Anyone who has the faintest grasp of the importance of parents to their desperately sick children will know that this is a cruel outcome of a grossly mishandled case by a hospital which thinks itself to be a good deal better than it is. This is not the first time this hospital has been associated with this kind of behaviour. We know of one case where it was instrumental in parents being threatened with a police protection order if they did not agree to a change of treatment insisted on by the hospital’s paediatricians. The parent backed down. The treatment was applied. The child died.

There are a lot of questions this hospital needs to answer about its methodology and its relationships with parents. Soon some very senior people will start to ask them.

Free Kindle Download

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

For two days only, the last chance for a free Kindle download of the explosive Nazi era novel! Dedicated Kindle file with clickable chapters for easy navigation.


Product Details     Click on Image to download

Lise Bauer is born in Africa in 1906, brought to England by her parents from where she is expelled with them in 1914, because her father is an East Prussian. They settle in America and become Americans, but return to Europe in the 1920’s. Here Lise is involved in the rise of the Nazi party, marries one of Hitler’s closest associates and later has a relationship with Hitler himself, before divorcing her husband and marrying an English friend of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. She settles again in England with the consent of the security services and she and her husband establish a cell to act as a secret communication channel between Hitler and Churchill at the critical period of WWII.

The novel offers a new view of Hitler’s love life, a plot to overthrow Churchill and the flight to Scotland by Rudolf Hess.


Two Novels In One Book

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Two light romantic thrillers in one volume of over four hundred pages will keep you guessing from start to finish. Written in different styles to suit the mood of each story, you will meet the shy and retiring female artist in A Gift of Treason and an extrovert private eye in Stanislaw’s Crossing. Available now in Paperback or Kindle from Amazon worldwide.

Buy now by clicking on the links.          


Two Spooky Mysteries               

Ukraine: Russian Intentions?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

The lurid interpretation of Putin’s Plan is that he wants to restore the boundaries of the defunct Soviet Union and then roll on to Calais. This is nonsense. Russia is much more nervous of the expansion east of NATO and the EU. He has much more evidence of that actually happening than the reverse. What Putin wants is to halt that eastward expansion. Ukraine is his red line.

At the same time the Russians do not want to turn Ukraine into a battle ground like Syria. Russia warned the West what would happen if civil war broke out in Syria and has been proved right. China and Russia were anxious about the NATO intervention in Libya and were right again, as the mess in that country now underscores. The last thing the Russians want is a full scale civil war on their doorstep. They have not intervened decisively, which they could do easily, to back the separatists and carve out a new Russian Territory in Eastern Ukraine. What they are doing is to provide support sufficient to stop the separatists being beaten outright, so that they have the capacity to negotiate some kind of autonomous region, within the Ukrainian state. The big mistake Moscow is making is to pretend they are not involved, but the fact that they are changes very little.

The Ukraine crisis will not be solved long term, although it might be patched up short term, unless the West faces reality and starts a programme of dialogue with Moscow to reach a proper settlement, which will allay the anxieties of both West and East. It has been this long held view of this blog is that Russia should become a member of both NATO and the EU. Contrary to the rhetoric, the western sanctions are hurting the EU as much as they are hurting Russia. It is important for the Western economies to end this quarrel. There will be no return to growth in Euroland until they do.

Scotland: A Currency Crisis Already

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

The decision by the Scottish Nationalists to announce that if they do not get the currency deal they want they will default is almost lunatic. Not only would such a decision put Scotland out of touch with the money markets so that borrowing was impossible, it would destroy its financial services industry and hobble its prosperity for a generation. It creates an atmosphere of crisis and uncertainty about Scotland’s future which calls into question the whole integrity of the independence project. A vote for Yes is within a hair’s breadth of becoming a vote for chaos.

This is a very great pity because there are some very good reasons why an independent Scotland could be good for the Scottish people and also for the English. The time might well be approaching when, having done so much together that is good, they could in today’s world do even better going their separate ways. But the first requirement of such an adventure must be that it is lead by competent men and women who can back ambitions and aspirations with a responsible plan to achieve them. To approach independence without a comprehensive and workable plan for so basic a requirement as a currency is reckless. Many must now lose confidence in Salmond to deliver, because of this extraordinary display of incompetence.

As things stand, with polling by post under way, if Yes loses, it will be on this uncertainty about the money. If Yes wins, Scotland will be taking a leap in the dark to an uncertain future, resolvable only by an independent Edinburgh being shackled to London as Athens is shackled to Berlin. Without any members in the Westminster parliament to argue its case. What a mess.

Two Books for The Price of One

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Fun holiday reading, two light romantic thrillers in one volume of over four hundred pages will keep you guessing from start to finish. Written in different styles to suit the mood of each story, you will meet the shy and retiring female artist in A Gift of Treason and an extrovert private eye in Stanislaw’s Crossing. Available now in Paperback or Kindle from Amazon worldwide.

Buy now by clicking on the links.          


Two Spooky Mysteries               

Scotland Debate: Alex Salmond Wins. For Now.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Just as he clearly lost the first debate, Alex Salmond clearly won the second. If this were a presidential election, the win might prove decisive. But in this referendum for independence it may not prove anything.

Neither Darling nor Salmond were fighting for a leadership endorsement. Neither were they fighting for a party endorsement to lead a government. Their fight was not about person nor about party. It was about country. Not about how their country should be governed or what policies would be best; it was about whether Scotland should be part of a Union or whether it should be free. That freedom means not just free to go its own way, but free in the sense of on its own without a  helping hand.

In this great decision for Scots the leader they choose is neither here nor there. What matters is how they see their identity and place in the world and how they can do best in the future. Only the people can make this choice and in so doing it is clear with every voter interview which appears on the media, that they are looking beyond the campaigns of Yes or No and behind the reality of every claim and statement.

Historically the Union has been Scotland’s golden age. It has been for England also. Together they built (and lost) the British Empire and were for quite a time the world’s only mega power. Yet times and the world have changed. Now small can be beautiful.

Technically the most important issue for Scotland is the currency, because this choice of which currency defines the nature of the independence foreseen by Alex Salmond. It is not the deal he is offering to the voters. He favours a currency union, the very nature of which must and will demand the surrender of economic sovereignty from the smallest country, Scotland, to the largest, England. A trip to any of the smaller countries of Euroland will reveal just what such an arrangement means in terms of economic independence. There is none. He also wants to keep the Monarchy, which has Scottish roots and German blood, but is nevertheless English in most of its ways. It holidays in Scotland but works in England.

So Alex Salmond is not offering real independence at all. What he offers is a kind of independent dependency. Unfortunately this is an aspiration rather than a firm offer. Because even if some government coalition at Westminster were to consider a currency union, the fiercely nationalist mood now sweeping England and manifesting itself in an anti-EU and Euro wave of public opinion, would be unlikely to stomach a diminution in the sovereignty of their pound sterling. Therefore there would be no currency union, whatever Salmond claimed his mandate entitled him to ask for.

In that event Scotland would face a raft of uncertainty about its finances and a period of Irish and Greek style austerity. Somehow Scotland would pull through, but it may take a generation. This is why Salmond is so keen to avoid true independence for Scotland. Scots will weigh these things when they come to cast their votes; those who vote by post any day soon.

In the end it will come down to this. If Scots vote with their hearts they will vote Yes. But if they vote with their heads they will vote No. We have not long to wait to find out. Whether the vote is Yes or No, Darling will quit the stage, but Salmond will still be there either way. If he loses he will have achieved devo-max, which will please everyone. But if he wins, the Scottish people will wake up to the fact he has promised something which he cannot deliver. Then his life will get really interesting.

Two Spooky Mysteries: Kindle or Paperback

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Fun holiday reading, two light romantic thrillers in one volume of over four hundred pages will keep you guessing from start to finish. Written in different styles to suit the mood of each story, you will meet the shy and retiring female artist in A Gift of Treason and an extrovert private eye in Stanislaw’s Crossing. Available now in Paperback or Kindle from Amazon worldwide.

Buy now by clicking on the links.          


Two Spooky Mysteries               

UK Strategic Interests

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

As if to emphasise the points made in the preceding Post, today on the BBC lunchtime news, the former British Ambassador to Syria, a very distinguished diplomat, added his voice to the the chorus of criticism building up about the government’s refusal to see the need to open a dialogue with Assad to combat ISIL. He put it bluntly. He said the toppling of the Assad regime was not in the strategic interests of Great Britain.

This Tory led coalition  has become the most dangerously confused government on matters of foreign policy to lead Britain since that of Anthony Eden and before him, that of Neville Chamberlain.

Philip Hammond: Disappointing

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Practically all Europeans, and certainly the US, are coming round to the grim understanding that a significant reconfiguration of alliances will be required in the Middle East if ISIL is to be checked. In the UK two public figures known for sticking doggedly to a favoured cause whatever the cost, Sir Richard Dannatt and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, have said that the time has come to talk to Assad, a large part of whose country is now controlled by or has actually become, the Islamic State.

Interviewed on the media our new Foreign Secretary would have none of it, citing upsetting moderate Sunnis as the reason. This shows a disappointing and continuing lack of grasp of the strategic realities emerging in a changing world in which Britain, partly for historic reasons, seeks continually to meddle. What all Sunnis want, especially the moderates, is an autonomous self governing state and they will go along with anyone ( at the moment they are with ISIL) in order to get it. There are two ways that it can happen. One is a part of some kind of Iraq federation including the Kurds and Shia with similar self governing territories; this was once possible but it now little more than a pipe dream. The other is within a new set of boundaries overlapping both Iraq and Syria, approximating roughly to the territory under the control of IS. This would require an ascendancy of the moderates, who are in the majority, over the jihadists, whose actual numbers are far fewer than the media sensationalizes.

The military destruction of either IS or Assad is impossible without a scale of conflict in which no country in the West, including the US, is willing to engage. It is also the fact that the surrender of either would simply lead to new insurgencies. What is required is a settlement in which everybody gains something, above all peace at a price worth paying. To achieve that somebody will have to talk to Assad. Britain has ruled herself out: she will live to regret it.

But then has she? Or is this, once again, the grand deception, in which Britain is historically the champion where, in pursuit of its interests, it says one thing and does the other?