October 2006

28 October 2006
Stalin only killed 7 million - well that's all right then …link
If you post nonsense onto a Wiki page how long will it last? Not very it would appear.

25 October 2006
NHS kills diabetics

Jackie links to Squander Two’s Kafkaesque tale of diabetics being put in danger by the NHS’s blind adherence to procedures which I think I can add to my list of NHS horror stories, further evidence that the NHS isn’t very good which, in turn, confirms my belief that the NHS should be abolished.

It’s not conclusive, of course.  It is quite possible that other countries have similar problems, indeed, I should think it is a certainty - any system is going to have its cock ups especially when it comes to something as complicated as healthcare.  Just not as many.

23 October 2006
If you want to get ahead in football, get a suit

Look at this lineup of the Premiership’s most successful managers:


And now look at the lineup of the least successful:


Spot the difference?  There’s no doubt about it - a quick trip to Burtons can make all the difference.  Just ask Gareth Southgate whose sartorial conversion took place only a couple of weeks ago.

From zero…


...to hero


21 October 2006
The other night Tonight with Trevor McDonald was all about the lengths young people will go to to get on and stay on the property ladder. I could hardly bear to watch and so didn't. I don't know if the programme tried to analyse the problem or not though I suspect they made a hash of it if they did. It's all very simple. High house prices are caused by planning. The answer is to abolish planning.

11 October 2006
"I seem to be the only person left in the world who hates Jamie Oliver." bemoans Noreen, "I really, really, really fucking hate him...", before more than redressing the balance.

Book review: Alanbrooke’s Diaries
Alanbrooke by Karsh

I read this recently.  General Alan Brooke, later Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke was Britain’s Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Second World War and Winston Churchill’s most senior military advisor.  He kept a diary (in defiance of King’s Regulations) from almost the beginning of the war.  When the diaries were published in the 1950s he added some extra notes.

A few observations:

  • Diaries aren’t all that informative.  They chronicle what was uppermost in the writer’s mind, not necessarily what was most important.
  • Brooke’s main achievement seems to have been in preventing Churchill from losing the war.  On almost every page (certainly after Brooke became CIGS) Churchill is backing some madcap scheme or other.  Although Brooke stops most of them it was an exhausting business.
  • He spends a lot of time dining out.  At one point in the diary he adds a note explaining that although it sounds as if he was having a whale of time in fact all this time meeting and greeting was extremely useful.  Sadly, he doesn’t explain whether the Chief of the Imperial General Staff was subject to the same wartime restrictions as everyone else.
  • He certainly knows his mind when it comes to strategy: win in North Africa, pin down as many Germans as possible in Italy and then, and only then, invade France.  Much of his thinking on strategy comes down to mundane matters such as shipping, landing craft, railways and spare parts.
  • While he might have been clear in his own mind about strategy he had a devil of a task persuading anyone else.  At least formally, he did, for although no one ever actually agrees with him it’s his plan they (and this includes the Americans) follow.
  • A lot of people (including Churchill) are exhausted and get ill.  It isn’t just the soldiers who don’t get any sleep. A lot of people die.  One of them was his hero, Dill, who is the only foreigner ever to have been given a state funeral by the Americans.

Update This has now been picked up by Samizdata so, hopefully, there’ll be some interesting comments.

06 October 2006
The Dissident Frogman celebrates Ramadan as only the Dissident Frogman can. Warning: not for the squeamish.

Was the Nazi economy inherently unstable? Yes, according to a new book which argues that the Nazi regime lived off the plunder from the countries it had conquered.

This is not an entirely new theory. I've heard it before and it made me wonder if (at least) one of the Nazi motivations for going to war in 1939 was that they had run out of things to steal from the Jews.

05 October 2006
It ain’t over

Tony Blair thinks that Northern Ireland’s troubles are over.  He is wrong.

What makes you think that?
Because the core issue at the heart of the conflict has never been resolved.

And that issue is…? 
Not so much where the border between Ireland and the UK should be but how it should be determined.  The Irish nationalist viewpoint is that the island of Ireland should form one political unit.  The unionist viewpoint is that the border should be determined on the basis of self-determination.  Or to put it another way, with the nationalist approach you determine the border and then ask the people what state they want to be part of whereas with the unionist approach you ask the people what state they want to be part of and then determine the border.

But I thought it was all about religion? 
Oh goodness, no (warning: short).

So, if the conflict is still on-going how come the shooting’s stopped?
That is something of a mystery to me.  My guess is that it’s a combination of 9/11, the concessions that the IRA secured from the British government and the belief that an Irish nationalist majority is not far off.

So, everything is fine and dandy then?
Until there’s an Irish majority in Ulster.

And then what happens?
Well, according to the British-Irish treaty Ulster becomes part of the Republic.  The fly in the ointment is that there will still be a sizeable British majority in Eastern Ulster.  They would be quite entitled to demand self-determination.  It could easily start to look like a re-run of the Home Rule Crisis.

If, that is, the Ulster British are prepared to fight.
Which is, of course, the big question.  If demographics are against them, if they get no support from the mainland, if the Republic no longer seems that threatening and if, after defeats like Drumcree, they no longer believe they can hold out then, maybe, they won’t.  And Blair will have been right all along.