Archive for September, 2014

Hitler’s First Lady

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Paperback or Kindle available now. Just click the links.

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. The novel offers a new view of Hitler’s sexual relationships, a plot to overthrow Churchill and the flight to Scotland by Rudolf Hess. Using historical characters often portrayed in a new light, this fictional account challenges the accepted view of recorded history.   

Four Good Books

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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Each of these books is different and not part of a sequence, but all of them have the common ability to draw you into the story and keep you turning the pages from start to finish. Click on any of the images for my page on Amazon UK and here for

Tory Conference: Steadied and Stalwart

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Even the political enemies of the Tory party, and this blog is no friend (but nor is it to any of the political parties), the way the conference hit by scandal and defection has brushed it  off and turned the media focus back to what matters for it is remarkable. It is also good for Cameron, whose victory by a margin in Scotland and caution over the political minefield of involvement in IS air strikes has made him look like a prime minister in situ. This is in sharp contrast to Ed Milliband, the forgetful prime minister in waiting who looks as if he may have to wait until he is past his sell by date. But this is politics and nothing is predictable until it has happened.

What is perhaps predicable is this. UKIP will make the weather for 2015 when it comes to the actual vote. This will embolden Nigel Farage to suppose that the road out of the EU is open. Well it won’t be. Countless people fed up with the oily class of PR trained political professionals now dominating Westminster will vote UKIP without the slightest intention of voting to come out of Europe. Just as they swarmed in Scotland to Salmond to govern them, without intending to follow him out of the UK. There was a sizeable minority in Scotland who wanted out, but there was a significant majority who preferred the status quo, with all its faults.

When it comes to the EU referendum the same will happen in England. Wales and Scotland will definitely vote to say in as will Northern ireland because all gain far to much to walk away. They also have a big brother watching over them in Brussels in the benevolent sense; if they left they would be dominated by an increasingly right wing England, which none of them wants. So it will be down to the voters in England to decide the issue. While it is certain that English nationalism is on the rise, there is and will remain a silent majority who prefer the status quo of being part of the EU. History, especially one so steeped in blood to get to the point of European unity, cannot be turned back like a clock. It is like life, which teaches lessons, but only goes forward.

Of course there is Boris. But Boris is only good when he is winning. Losing, he begins to look like what many believe he is, a clown. That is  the comforting thought that helps Cameron to get a good night’s sleep. He tries to forget that Boris does not do losing.

Enjoy Good Reads

Monday, September 29th, 2014

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Each of these books is different and not part of a sequence, but all of them have the common ability to draw you into the story and keep you turning the pages from start to finish. Click on any of the images for my page on Amazon UK and here for

Tory Meltdown

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

To describe the cascade of misfortune engulfing the Tory conference as unfortunate is to somewhat understate the case. Nevertheless all is not lost. Yet.

First of all defections alone will not sink a party unless they begin to turn from a trickle to a flood. So far there have only been two to UKIP. The resignation of a minister because of vulgar tweets or whatever is of absolutely no interest to the millions wondering how to pay their mortgage this month, so it is news to news gatherers and rubbish to everybody else. Nevertheless this could be the start of something worse and that thought kept many Tory strategists up late last night. The worst it could be, and this would be very bad indeed, is that it is the start of a sequence which the party cannot control.

Party conferences do not have the impact they once did, as this blog has already suggested. Once the activists were fired up, knowing that an election was imminent but not knowing when. A Prime Minister could leave the conference and call it there and then, so everyone everywhere had to be ready. Now we have (for the moment but perhaps not for long) fixed term parliaments so we already know the date and it is months away. Now nobody outside the party membership takes the slightest notice of these conferences anyway as most opinion is formed on the streets and through social media.

And that is the problem, because that is where control can slip away. This takes us to Clacton. If  UKIP put Carswell back to Westminster by the skin of his teeth, then the advance of UKIP will be slowed. If they send someone else UKIP is toast. But if, and many think they will, the voters push Carswell back with a landslide, then control of every lever of the General Election campaign passes to Farage and the nightmare for the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem high commands begins.

UK Air Strikes: Will They Help?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

As Parliament debates this latest resort to the favoured tactic of air power intervening in yet another Middle East conflict, this Blog can do little more than exhort readers to go back over previous posts because most of what can be said has already been set down.

The key points are these. It is not possible to destroy ISIL as it will only morph into something even more bloodthirsty.It is possible to halt its advance and degrade its capability. At best this means it will be a contained threat either within its own territory, or in the territory it loses and which returns to whoever controlled it before. None of this is likely to increase or reduce the terrorist threat to the UK.

To achieve even that objective, the ludicrous diplomatic position, which prevents vain politicians on both sides of the Atlantic from admitting that they have tied themselves in knots with a failed policy in the middle east which has succeeded in imploding Iraq, Syria and Libya and put several others at risk, will have to be abandoned. The critical line up of allies of the West in the drive against ISIL is Iran, Shia Iraq, Assad’s Syria, the Kurds and Russia. The meddlers who conceived, funded and still support this frightening rampage of religious nihilism are Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Turkey buys ISIL oil. The moderate Sunni powers who can bring not only positive influence but also competent military assets to bear in support are Jordan and Egypt. The military power in reserve to stop things getting out of hand in the Lebanon and Western Syria theatres is Israel.

In that context the inclusion of British air assets in the battle, though potentially spectacular, is much more of a political event than it is a military one. It is said the RAF will deploy six fighter bombers for this mission. A single US aircraft carrier of the Nimitz class deploys about sixty.

Cameron and Milliband: Political Gaffes

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Yesterday we had the Leader of the Opposition admitting he forgot the deficit and immigration, the two biggest political hot potatoes, in his speech. Today we have the Prime Minister apologising to the Queen for making small talk of her private phone conversation with him, while in range of a sound system. This conveys a rather amateurish impression at variance with the British tradition of wise statesmanship and steady hands at the top. But then we have also had Prince Charles comparing Putin to Hitler and the famous case of  ‘the bigoted woman’ who ensnared Gordon Brown in 2010.

We could say this tells us something about carelessness. Or we could say it tells us something about cynicism at the top. Or it could tell us nothing, but instead pose a question. It is this. Are the protocols by which we conduct our public life still appropriate in an open democracy in the twenty-first century in the midst of a communications revolution, which means all the people are in touch with everything all the time and relaying the realities of news to each other, bypassing every formal and official channel?

The answer is clearly NO, and has been so for quite some time.

Page Turners To Enjoy

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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Each of these books is different and not part of a sequence, but all of them have the common ability to draw you into the story and keep you turning the pages from start to finish. Click on any of the images for my page on Amazon UK and here for

Ed Milliband: So He Forgot?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Whatever it is when a party leader forgets to mention the deficit in a keynote speech, it is not the stuff of a Prime Minister in Waiting. But before getting het up about it, this is not how politics works now. Party conferences fire up the faithful but they no longer have any impact on election outcomes, because people and technology have moved on. The gaffe will provide lots of laughs at the Tory conference and elsewhere and will push Ed’s poll ratings down a point or two, but it will be the debates between the party leaders during the actual campaign which will have the impact. And those debates could well have a fourth contributor, Nigel Farage. So anything may happen.

Meanwhile freezing child benefit will not play well on Labour’s doorsteps. Few will believe that just £2.4 billion pounds alone ‘will save the NHS’ and while the 50p top rate and the mansion tax will be popular with voters, they will yield little cash in the great scheme of things, ie the deficit. Which is why perhaps Ed forgot to mention it.

Air Strikes On IS in Syria

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

This development was not unexpected but it is significant on three levels. The first is that it is not just the US alone, but includes participation in one form or another from Sunni Arab states who represent the moderate interpretation of Islam supported by the vast majority of their faith. That is the overt coalition. But the covert coalition is much more interesting and in a global sense hugely more important. Russia and Iran are not objecting and neither is Syria, having been informed in advance; a courtesy which brought it on board. It is critical that  Ban Ki Moon has nodded it through the UN on the grounds that Syria is no longer in control of the territory attacked. This all represents a complex web of diplomacy and statecraft of a quality not seen for a long time. It is important that the small time politicians who have not a clue what is going on and demand a meeting of the Security Council be ignored. That would require everybody to take up entrenched positions including a Russian veto.

The next question is ground troops, because however much pounding from the air you do (remember Viet Nam and the B  52 raids on Hanoi), unless you follow up the gaps opened up from the air on the ground, no long term advantage is gained. There are only three ground forces in the region capable of doing this and then only just. The Assad Syrian Army, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shia led Iraqi Army and its associated Shia militias. The Iraqi contingent is the weakest.

What has to be done is to fully equip  all these forces with the latest weapons and in addition train up the Iraqis. Russia and Iran will keep Assad’s army fighting fit, the West generally can equip the very well organised and led Peshmerga and Iraq will be, as it is already, a combined effort of Iran, Russia and the US. This is an altogether new grouping of powers which flies in the face of what people have come to know as the line up of goodies and baddies.That is why it stands a much better chance of working. It will not defeat IS but it will neuter it to the point where moderate Sunnis will have a chance to shrivel its perverted ideas and regain lost territory. That will require the abandonment of the Sykes Picot map and the re-drawing of boundaries.

The UK is about to join the air assault, having gone through a delicate dance of diplomatic veils to make sure its Parliament says yes. Commentators, especially the much more aggressive British contingent, so unlike the deferential style in the US, are trying to tease out an admission that western ground troops will in the end be needed. Apart from the fact that public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic is dead against that, any such move would be a disaster and play right into the hands of IS who daily prays with all its might for exactly that to happen.

If ever such thoughts cross the minds of politicians they must add this to the mix. A fighting force that regained some ground would merely trigger another insurgency. To do the job you would need an army of occupation for the entire area of Syria, Iraq, Libya and maybe Lebanon. You are looking at up to three million men and women together with a Marshal style plan for civic and economic regeneration. It would last at least twenty years and would require the re-introduction of some form of conscription in the participating powers. Any western politician who proposes it would be toast and any general who argues it could be done with less, is of the kind who wins battles and loses wars.