‘An Essex Epiphany’

By Friday, October 10, 2014 0 Permalink

With the by-elections in the UK being dominated by UKIP publicity I had decided to avoid the results for as long as I could. Not being a compulsive phone fidget or living my life online it was relatively easy, until friends starting texting me because they know what I'm like. Mea culpa. For someone who swore off politics I do seem to spend a lot of my waking moments (and some sleeping ones) concerned with it. Who'd have thought Clacton would ever generate headline news! You can read all the 'what lessons can be learned ' dross in the press or listen to the pundits and academics dissecting the results ad nauseum with stats and comments we've heard a million times if you really want to wallow in negative energy, and make yourself miserable about the state of the nation. How ashamed we should feel to have in parliament someone who represents disenchantment. I felt dissapointed at ...

‘Sex, Lies and Economics’

By Sunday, January 12, 2014 0 Permalink

François Hollande - liar, cheat, betrayer. He could be called many things by his compatriots or critics, but I would hope these derogatory terms would be based on his political, rather than his sexual prowess. Taking a vaguely bemused glance at the 'story' of M. Hollande and his mistress (can one have a mistress when not married)? I feel a bit sad that France has become as puritanical and dull as the ironically sexless USA or UK. And once again, the really important matters of the day are put aside in favour of pointless tittle tattle which to be honest seems almost quaint to me. Now, the first issue I take with this matter other than the fact it is totally irrelevant and a disgraceful invasion of privacy, is one which is weirdly never discussed when writing about the sex lives of politicians or publicly known people. How it affects their partners and families. Mme. Trierweiler, Hollande's partner, ...

‘ Solace in a Samovar’

This time a fortnight ago I was on my little Russian adventure sat in a Germanic style bar in central St. Petersburg getting warm and setting the world to rights over a decanter of vodka and a German beer chaser with a fascinating new Russian friend. He was regaling me with anecdotes of his time in Afghanistan before the Soviet coup and I was waxing lyrical over the relative merits and pitfalls of Socialism. By midnight we had pretty much solved most of the world's issues and by 1am, neither of us particularly cared anymore! Last Saturday a week ago I was adjusting to setting the clocks back, catching up over coffees with a very dear old school girlfriend far away up North in Newcastle. Her home cosy and very real, filled with family and visitors. Something I've not experienced for some time. In both those places I felt truly relaxed and like myself, ...

‘The Mutti Returns’

By Saturday, May 25, 2013 0 Permalink

Or will she? Mutti is the affectionate term some Germans refer to Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Sorry to borrow from that awful Thatcher line but it was too obvious to resist! Though her other moniker of 'Iron Chancellor' sets up a harsh and unfair comparison with Bismarck. I prefer Mutti. Seeking her third term, with the election only four months away it seems that Frau Merkel is on quite the charm offensive in Germany. But as usual, the British media who will whoop with delight and salivate over the US elections barely utter anything on the topic. Considering Germany's role in the world now I would say their election was pretty important. At a recent Pro European event I got chatting to a highly articulate woman from the German Council on Foreign Relations and was fascinated to hear how Merkel is treated in her home country. Amidst the blatant hostility and frankly racist abuse she receives ...