London is in the grip of a mild political fever at the present. The mayoral election is scheduled to take place in early May, the leading candidates being the incumbent Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party and Labour’s Ken Livingstone, a former mayor whom dear old Boris booted out of office four years ago.
I’ve been campaigning vigorously in my milieu for the latter because, well, I adore the blond beast! No, there is more to it than that. Livingstone, better known as Red Ken, was a disaster for London in the past; he would be a disaster for London in the future.
Red Ken... Read More
In 1290, following the death of Margaret the Maid of Norway, the Scottish throne fell vacant. With no generally acceptable candidate the Scots nobility turned to Edward I of England as an arbiter. Edward arbitrated alright, but at a cost. Scotland got its king, John Balliol, only to lose its freedom. As part of the deal Edward insisted that all appeals against the judgements of Scottish royal courts be reserved to his person, undermining the very thing that defines a sovereign state – the right to determine its own legal affairs.
England now finds itself in the same position; the country... Read More
Are you following events in Europe, the slow motion death of democracy? Yes, that’s what’s happening, all part of the continuing attempt to stabilise the troubled euro, all part of an attempt to restore the confidence of the financial markets in the benighted single currency.
The latest proposal, one that Britain opted out of, is to introduce more centralised control over the tax and spending decisions of the individual members of the euro-zone, some seventeen in all at present. European leaders, in their boundless wisdom, have suddenly discovered that one cannot have monetary union... Read More
Either the European Central Bank will gain financial sovereignty over the 17 nation union, or EU nations will suffer financial chaos. In order to 'win the trust of investors,' nations are being asked, threatened actually, to turn over their budget approvals to a central financial authority that can tel each country what and how they can spend their money. So basically, the banks, Wall Street, investors will dictate public policy for the 17 nations. The claim is that failure to do so will result in financial ruin with 'investors' unwilling to euro-nation bonds. Can this be any more... Read More
A Potemkin village, if you’ve never heard of the expression, is one of the enduring myths of Russian history. The reference is to fake settlements, hollow façades supposedly set up on the orders of Prince Grigory Potemkin, chief minister of Catherine the Great, to impress the Empress when she toured the Crimea in the late 1780s, territory recently conquered from the Ottoman Turks. It was simply a way of increasing his political prestige.
I say it’s a myth but in Russia myths have a habit of fleshing out into a reality, which really is nothing more than a myth! In the 1930s various western... Read More
It's the most famous negative in Greek history – Epeteios tou Ohi, literally the Anniversary of the 'No', Ohi Day, celebrated every year on 28 October. It marks the occasion in October, 1940 when General Metaxas, then prime minister, rejected an ultimatum from Mussolini to allow Italian troops on Greek soil or else. He replied, in laconic Spartan style, with that single word - No!
The Euro crisis, a Greek tragedy by any measure, is now in its final act, bodies strewn across the stage, the chorus wailing in the background. Of the prologue I said over a year ago on another news blog... Read More
The French presidential election is next spring, and the Socialist party had a great idea for their primary: open the voting to all French citizens, Socialist and otherwise.
It worked. Participation was far better than expected, and the party got great press coverage. There was, however, a surprise.
A young provincial lawyer, Arnaud Montebourg, came from total obscurity to third place in the primary, with 17% of votes cast. In the process he beat two well-known party stalwarts.
His platform (?) opposition to globalization, with a raft of measures to bring the French economy... Read More
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