Dub Stops

On the 27th of January, US President Trump (AKA Lord Dampnut) signed executive order 13769 the so-called “Muslim travel ban” this amongst other things suspended refugee relocation to the US from Syria, a process which was the most thorough and longest of national refugee applications.

The order generated huge global outrage with firm words from most foreign leader (apart from a mealy mouthed response from Theresa May (AKA Indecisiontron 2000) and numerous successful court cases including last night’s decision by the 9th circuit to uphold the suspension of the order.

With baited breath we waited…

Yes, the President will see those judges in court, although he already has, twice. And lost, twice to use Trump’s own words “he’s been losing so long he’s forgotten how to win [1]

Not to be outdone on the “heartless bastard” scale the UK government announced while the Brexit debate was ongoing that it was winding up the so called “Dubs” programme.

The programme named after Lord Dubs who introduced it as an amendment to the immigration act 2016 would see lone children in the various refugee camps relocated to the the UK. Lord Dubs was himself a child refugee who was one of those saved from the Nazi’s by Nicholas Winton (the British Oskar Schindler). The Amendment originally called for 3000 unaccompanied children to be resettled in the UK, after the Government kicked off the 3000 target was omitted and instead the Government in consultation with local authorities would determine the figure.

The government announced it would stop with 200 currently in the UK and 150 waiting to come over, 350. This government has stopped it with only 350 of the most vulnerable people coming here. The reason was the usual, the blanket excuse used by governments around the world when they simply don’t want immigrants and refugees [2]. That the programme was a “pull factor” and was in fact resulting in more children using people traffickers, and that the total of 350 was suitable as outlined in the “spirit” of the amendment.

In reality this Government has done the sum total of nothing, 350 is a pitiful small number the real reason would be the massive backlash in certain “news” papers about suspiciously old looking children arriving at immigration centres (because surviving a war, walking 3000 miles in desert heat, crossing a sea in a rubber boat then walking through plains, mountains and spending months in a camp without running water wouldn’t age anyone at all)

The decision to release this information shortly before a recess and while there was such a major vote is no accident, it’s a classic “bury the news” tactic. The decision that 350 is enough is disgraceful for a so called “civilised” society and the government who didn’t want this amendment in the first place has yanked it at the first opportunity. If anything it sums up the spiteful, mean and cowardly way this government is run. I can’t think of another government that has performed as poorly as this one. A Prime minister who cannot come to any sort of decision on anything, putting placating her own party’s right wing over the national interest, cozying up to the most vilified world leaders while burning bridges with our nearest and biggest trading partners. Earlier I called for Corbyn to resign, I would say the same to Theresa but she’s simply the less smelly of the assorted bags of shit that make up the Parliamentary tory party.

The devil you know is better than the one you don’t. She’s not the Iron Lady, or the Irony Lady [3] she’s a weak willed, indecisive, pandering harpie, who isn’t fit to fill the position that has been occupied by great leaders previously.

It’s only a matter of time before her party stabs her in the back the way they have with so many. The only question then is who comes next

1 Twitter attack on Senator John McCain, the Vietnam POW and war hero after McCain publicly criticised him for a botched SEAL mission in Yemen which left one SEAL dead and killed an unknown number of civilians including a child, the mission was  by all criteria an utter failure. It was also the first mission to be ordered by the President. Good Start.

2 Well until they invented terrorist attacks and blamed the Black guy who had the job before them.

3 Worst attempt at a joke since Corbyn attempted it, except mines on a blog read by no-one and his is in Hansard


A perfectly justifiable attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn continues his disastrous leadership of the Labour Party despite losing the support of his Parliamentary party last year, his dominating supporter base with the members, and the rather lacklustre challenge by Owen Smith has scotched any attempt to remove him via a challenge.

Criticisms against Jeremy rarely are unwarranted, this is a man who has been promoted well above his ability, surrounded himself with various people who wouldn’t get off the back benches if the leader had any sense, and has a media strategy that appears to be “get him on the TV and pray he doesn’t sh*t himself”.

Now this country is faced with the biggest political crisis since the Abdication, the decision by the Government to trigger Article 50 thus withdrawing the UK from the European Union is one that is incredibly high risk with the potential of no reward but making Nigel Farage and the Tory right happy. The problem is this, there is no credible opposition. The Lib Dems, SNP, and the Labour Party have split the opposition. Labour is in total chaos and the polls showing a comfortable lead, means her only real risk is from the right of her own party. This is prompting May to veer into the worst possible exit for the UK in which is Parliament decides it doesn’t like the deal and votes it down the UK still leaves but with economically crippling WTO rules.

It’s no secret Jeremy wasn’t keen on the EU, his pathetic campaigning and damaging comments on ‘the Last Leg’ coupled with him making the completely wrong arguments for remaining and his demand A50 be triggered immediately the day after the result. Of course supporters of Jeremy point out his gruelling campaign schedule and in particular a quote by Angela Eagle  and a report they claim showed Jeremy made 122 appearances, although that was debunked . Until now Jeremy has been relatively quiet, instead relying on Sir Keir Starmer to take the lead on Labour’s response to Brexit, a job he was until recently pretty good at.

However the Supreme court ruling that Parliament has to have a say on triggering the withdrawal has caught Labour on the hop which is a surprise since the verdict wasn’t exactly a surprise. They have found themselves confounded by the Conservatives matching their attack lines before they can be used properly. Talk of a white paper resulted in an announcement that there will be a white paper, trouble about Parliament having a final vote was matched by the Government announcing there will be a final vote, all taking place when Labour have clearly set that day out to attack them on the issue. This has resulted in Labour lamely claiming victory over the government despite the White paper being light on detail and more a dream-land wish list and as mentioned, a devil and the deep blue sea decision on the final vote.

However Jeremy decided to lead labour, first by suggesting a 3 line whip on the article 50 bill (itself devoid of anything meaningful). Now normally if a cabinet or shadow cabinet member defies a 3 line whip they have to resign or are dismissed, it’s the nuclear option for party unity on a vote. Now this is where it gets confusing.

Many said they would vote against the bill in its original form and would only vote to approve if a number of amendments are accepted, amongst those were the guarantee for EU nationals to remain and membership of the EURATOM nuclear research project. None of the amendments were accepted. The Government Brexit bill is in effect a blank cheque to the Government to attempt a meaningful Brexit negotiation or just leave the EU completely and trade within WTO rules (an agreement many economists have said will ruin the UK economy) and Jeremy whipped Labour into supporting it.
At the first vote last week, Corbyn suffered a rebellion of 47 MPs, or one-fifth of the parliamentary party. Three shadow cabinet members, Dawn Butler, Rachael Maskell and Jo Stevens, resigned to vote against the legislation, and a dozen more junior frontbenchers chose to defy the whip. Just before the 3rd reading Clive Lewis announced he was resigning from the shadow cabinet to vote against the bill.

Now an absolute mess is bad enough, losing another chunk of his shadow cabinet is pretty bad considering the mass walk out last June/July. But the wound was missing more salt until this:

No Jeremy, the real fight started when Cameron fired the starting gun on the referendum, except you wouldn’t have known that as you went on holiday, or bothered to turn up to any of the Labour IN meetings instead of complaining that 0830 in the morning was “too early”. You’d probably have known that if you worked more than 4 days a week as reported in Private Eye this week. Seriously the Leader of the opposition only works 4 days and if he’s booked to appear on anything during the weekend he gets time off in leiu. For God’s sake, man. You are the leader of the opposition, it’s your job to turn up and do the job 7 days a week, I mean what if you bloody become PM, will you only do 4 days then? Would world events have to happen on those 4 days? what if Russia invaded Ukraine on a Tuesday but you were off because you did Peston on Sunday?

Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead, simple as. His idea that the “real fight” starts after we’ve given them what they want is laughable and frankly an insult to the 48% who voted remain and the countless many who have since changed their minds. It is in Labour’s and the country’s best interest he resigns and someone who works more than 20 hours a week takes over. Then maybe we’ll be spared complete collapse because May is too weak to stand up to Iain Bloody Duncan Smith.

A republic of laws, not men

My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with great ingenuity and eloquence. He’s given you a grim prognostication of our national future, but where he foresees apocalypse I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world. Not an empire, but a republic. And a republic of laws, not men. […] My belief says that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready to stake upon it. While I’ll live, let me have a country. A free country.”


Words on Trump (Christ and this was only the first few hours)

Ok, we have to talk. 2016 was what we’re probably going to see described on some History documentary in 20 years time as ‘The gathering storm’. First there was Brexit, then celebrities started dropping like foreign legion soldiers in that scene from Carry on Follow that camel then came, what will be seen as the key moment…

Donald J Trump, was elected as President.

We’re in the alternate universe with the little goatees.

We knew we were in for something special, lets not forget Trump has pretty thin skin and any slight, by anyone remotely famous, usually results in a c2q9htlxgaaydyhfew choice words on a late night twitter binge by Trump. In fact in 2008 Clinton released the now infamous “3AM” attack advert showing her ready to lead from her bed if needed. The advantage Trump has is he’ll already be awake, in a dark room lit only by his phone’s screen, writing “John Oliver once again being overrated. HBO has contributed nothing of worth since Sopranos. Sad!”

I was hoping that maybe the realisation of the awesome responsibility and even as some occupants have described the loneliness of power would have taken the edge off President Trump, that maybe he would have listened to what Lincoln described as the better angels of his nature, that he may be more Presidential.

That was the first mistake.

Instead what we had in the awkward transition period from November to January was a President-elect who didn’t really seem to do much, he was only accessible via twitter when he took aim at the defence industry, Carrier, GM, China, and then there’s comparing the CIA/NSA/DIA to Nazis for “leaking” the dodgy research on Trump’s connections to the Russian Government.

Then came Friday.

Per the 20th Amendment at noon on January 20th Donald Trump took the oath of office, a man who looked like he wanted the world to end for the hours leading up to it became more energised as he went through the oath, leading to the address.

“Oratory should raise your heart rate. Oratory should blow the doors off the place.”

Sam Seaborn, ‘The West Wing’ S2 E7 (The Portland Trip) 

An Inaugural address is the first real taste of how the next 4 years will be; the words uttered during them have become part of the fabric of US History. From Lincoln and his “malice to none”, Roosevelt and “nothing to fear but fear itself”, and Bush’s “thousand points of light”, they set the tone of the Presidency. Trump has never given what we would think of as an address; yes there’s been campaign speeches but how much of what he’s said has actually been in the speeches is anyone’s guess. I even hoped that his team contained a capable writer (not that I can really judge but this post isn’t going to be seen by millions, or 3 people if you’re CNN)

This was my second mistake.

Trump’s speech was like a monkey sneezing on alphabet spaghetti, it was more like a caricature of what we all joked would be a Trump speech if it was written by a Tea Partier on an acid trip. There was guff about opening hearts to patriotism then a lot about God, a concept that Trump has rarely mentioned, he did well to try to keep that aspect of US elections out of his campaign; which is what made it more jarring. More concerning to anyone familiar with Modern US History or any interest in World War two was the overuse of the phrase “America First”.

For those who don’t know, America First was a non-intervention pressure group active in the USA until 1941 (and the attack on Pearl Harbor) they preached strict non-interference with the War in europe, no lend-lease, no escorting convoys part way, nothing at all. It also is heavily tainted with anti-Semitism and outright nazism. Trump for all his boasting isn’t necessarily a dumb guy, we’d be wrong to think of him as a punchline in a “made in China” suit but Interwar US political movements may, and probably aren’t his strong point.

However Trump like all modern leaders rarely write their own speeches and the architect of his inaugural was Steve Bannon a white supremacist who almost certainly knew what “America First” originally meant5760 and how it is still used in far right (screw this “Alt-right” nonsense and call them what they are) circles and it was the dog whistle, the call to them saying “we’re in”. I mean we’ve probably seen the videos from the Deploraball or the meetings with the Nazi salutes and “Hail Trump”. We know what we’re dealing with now.

Trumps speech could be played in black and white, it could be played in black and white and the only thing missing would be the red banners and the Koniggratzer march. Leni Riefenstahl‘s reanimated corpse behind a camera wouldn’t have looked out-of-place.

The following contains dodgy psychoanalysis from a person whose total knowledge of the area is that if you’re a therapist and an analyst you don’t want to shorten that down on a business card.

You would think after that he would get down to work and start ‘Making America great again’ but he wasn’t done.

See Donald has a problem, he’s the stereotypical rich guy, he’s been surrounded by yes men, he’s probably never once doubted his ability, or had anyone close to him doubt it. He’s Mr. Burns, but younger and with more “hair” [Citation needed]. He craves the attention and credit for everything he has a deep-rooted desire to be loved. When Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep publicly humiliate him and people laugh or agree that hurts, he’s known to be thin-skinned he can’t comprehend that he’s this object of ridicule it doesn’t bother him when it’s you, or I, over twitter, but these are celebs, they’re people he craves the love from more. When he’s mocked by them it hurts.
It hurts.

When CNN posted pictures showing the crowd at the inauguration he flipped, it wounded him that this liberal elite were sneering at him he had his press secretary go out in front of the Press Corps and humiliated him trying to justify and berate the media for the lies it shattered this worldview that he’s loved, that everyone is shouting “Boo-urns” at him even God turned up and held the rain up while he spoke (he didn’t and it didn’t)

We’re not dealing with an ordinary “bad” President. We’re dealing with an egotistical maniac who deep down is craving attention and I suspect just wants recognition, we’re dealing with a man who likes the trappings of the Presidency but not the responsibility, we’re dealing with a populist. A dangerous man who will do untold damage to the fragile republic. We’re dealing not with satan, but with the guy who runs to 7/11 to buy satan a pack of cigarettes.

The two Jeremys.

There’s an episode in season 3 of the ‘West Wing’ where President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) are talking in the Oval office. They’re discussing the upcoming election and how the Republican candidate (in a clear comparison with G W Bush) is the polar opposite of Bartlet.

Toby says to him “Well, there’s always been a concern… about the two Bartlets. The absent-minded professor with the “Aw, Dad” sense of humor. Disarming and unthreatening. Good for all time zones. And the Nobel Laureate. Still searching for salvation. Lonely, frustrated. Lethal.”

I mention this because this afternoon I got to see the current leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn address a crowd of around 200 people in Sunderland on a whistle-stop tour of the North East following the hustings last night. Now I’m going to put my cards on the table and start by saying that although I have supported Labour for most of my adult life (barring a month when I was struck with “Cleggmania”) I have only been a fully paid up member since November/December last year. I joined because I believed in Jeremy Corbyn, that he was the man to lead us into government and to reverse the damage caused by the conservative party. However, after revelations from former colleagues and some close to him, I believe he isn’t the man to lead us so in this leadership election I am backing Owen Smith.

I went to the rally (which had moved location due to concerns about safety) with the intention of seeing what the fuss was about although friends reactions varied from “Don’t get arrested” to “you’re going to chicken suit him, aren’t you?” I’ve  seen Jeremy at the Dispatch box, at the leadership hustings and in the rare interviews and appearances he does on TV and he isn’t what I would call, impressive. For the most part he seems to spend too much time with his nose buried in his notes mumbling or with the look of a very disappointed university lecturer, so I at least knew sort of what to expect.

First impressions were that a large proportion of the crowd were from Unite and Unison including a few who are/were SWP not that long ago, momentum members and people from the various Socialist parties selling their newspapers. As the event went on they were then joined by quite a lot of students while the locals mainly stuck to the fringes of the crowd.

The first up was a woman with a guitar, who sang a few songs reworded with more current issues such as refugees and then sang one that was essentially how great Jeremy is (#notacult). While this was going on a man in the crowd started shouting at the people there, resulting in a young man in a Momentum T-shirt to start shouting back at him and getting quite aggressive, which didn’t defuse the situation. It was surreal to walk between people clapping at a song that had the line “Kinder and Gentler” while walking towards this guy and a former SWP member as he yells “I’m a fucking Union man” and the kid in the Momentum Tshirt is getting more irate. As I walked back to my Wife I noticed the kid had been taken to the side of the crowd where the councillors were and was getting spoken to by a police officer.

There then followed Katherine Mason who set up the Penshaw Clothes Bank. In her speech she described the work she does and the impact it has on the most needy in the area, she was incredible and rightly received a large applause at the end. Following her were people from the Unions and a Councillor from Northumberland.

This all leads me to Jeremy.

He wasn’t what I was expecting, instead of the mumbling under-performer, there was a man who was full of passion, who didn’t read from a notepad, was lively, and animated. He didn’t really say anything new and the speech wasn’t that special. Apart from a few lines about local council cuts he didn’t really address the issues people in Sunderland face or believe are important. There was nothing about the EU which struck me as odd considering Sunderlands prominent part in that result. I can’t imagine someone with absolutely nothing in Pallion, Pennywell or Penshaw really caring about building a movement similar to the Bernie Sanders one in the US (Reminder, Sanders stepped aside for party unity.) Although he did once again tell us that the Party abstained on the welfare bill, but what he didn’t say was that during the 3rd and final reading before it becomes law MP’s voted against it.

His message was aimed at the Unions and the younger students in the crowd and this has been one of my main issues with him.

He and his supporters measure their success on the size of their rallies and the support they get there. He isn’t trying to speak to the wider electorate or the wider membership of the party. His message is full of broad ideas without specifics and no specifics ever emerge bar the ones that are unworkable. The idea that his investment banks will be covered by taxation and closing loopholes and avoidance schemes sound all nice, but the practicalities and the likely return to the treasury wouldn’t be enough. He announces policy through the Morning star, his chancellor announces policy seemingly on the fly in areas that aren’t in his area of responsibility (just ask Sharon Hodgson about that) and his supporters lap it up. They can’t understand that in the wider public he isn’t as well liked, they can’t see that Labour have consistently been behind in the polls bar a few day in April and when you do challenge them on it they blame the right wing media, the PLP or some vast conspiracy.

One of the most telling things about to day was the concentrations of different groups of people. Momentum members and the unions/SWP/TUSC were the closest to him, then people like myself were next, and the locals many of whom won’t be labour members were out in the fringes. These were the ones who left immediately after he stopped speaking and from the bits of their conversation I heard were the least impressed by his message. And for me this summed up the situation perfectly.

I thought I would be leaving the event feeling angry, however the overriding feeling was one of disappointment. Disappointment that for almost a year we’ve had a different Jeremy than the one we had in the campaign in 2015, while he was full of energy and was a breath of fresh air, the Jeremy of Labour leader has been the opposite, an almost paranoid, ineffective politician who hasn’t been able to meet the demands and duties of leader of the opposition. For a brief moment I remembered what made me like him and join in the first place but then as I walked down the street past the charity shops, the pawn shops and the now empty shell of BHS I remembered why he needs to go.  Labour is a union of left-wing movements but they realised long ago that those movements needed proper representation, and needed to be in Government to bring their aims to fruition. Labour is about coming together, to change the country for the better, to make sure that your children have it better than you. That they have the best schools, the best teachers, the best hospitals and the best doctors all free, that they can realise their potential and reach for it. And even if they fall, that there’s something there to catch them. And right now that is simply not going to happen.

As I got home I heard that the appeal by Labour had been successful and that the voting block would stand, this cause a lot of fellow Smith supporters to be happy at this as those supporters were believed to be more for Jeremy than Owen, however like Toby says during that tense conversation with Bartlet:

” There’s an old expression: “Quando dio vuole castigarci ci manda quello che desideriamo.” When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” 

In which Mo Ansar has a dream

For those who don’t know, or can’t be bothered to look 3 posts down, I’m not a fan of Mo Ansar. I should point out at first I was but then after a while there was a realisation he’s just a publicity seeking shill. His views are anything but the progressive ones he’d like the BBC, Sky news and others to know about (which they soon cottoned onto and dropped him)

However this hasn’t stopped the visiting lecturer outreach coordinator LGBT activist Diversity manager¹ from spouting some rather shady views that Channel 4 quickly picked up on and included in their article here ² this didn’t go down well with a few people, notably Jeremy Duns and Dave Allen Green who immediately challenged what the former TV darling had written.

This isn’t new but this reply from the “diversity manager” surely stood out

I imagine once Ansar realises this wasn’t a smart thing to write he’ll take it down  however as a diversity manager he should know that, well it isn’t very diverse. Ansar has of course reacted how he usually does, as a victim of white guys stopping minority (particularly muslims) from being in the Mainstream Media. However this takes a more bizarre twist.

Because Mo Ansar is just like Martin Luther King because the FBI and his detractors on twitter used the same language, such as “Fraud” which I suppose as a Lawyer, theologian, chaplain arch bishop diversity manager4 he is guilty of (see here) this is obviously completely Pathetic but not as pathetic as arguing with a respected lawyer with a media Profile Ansar craves that he’s abusing his white privilege.

1 No idea

2 Removed quite quickly

3 Unlikely

4 Still none the wiser

Journeys end

After 13 years, 3 weeks, 19 billion pounds, 458 lives lost, and 1000’s changed forever, the UK’s combat operations in Afghanistan have ended.
Yesterday October 27th 2014 Wing Cdr Matt Radnall of the RAF climbed aboard a chinook helicopter, in his arms the folded union flag that flew over Camp Bastion, he was the last British soldier to leave. Almost all the British personnel killed in Afghanistan happened after Bastion was set up in the troubled Helmand province, it is here the bulk of our fighting occurred. It is here that the Taliban still control the areas outside the green zone, it is here that Opium production has skyrocketed and the roads are littered with IED’s ready to indiscriminately kill.
But it is also here that schools are open, the security in the larger towns and villages has improved, girls can read and learn and the local economy is rising.

There’s no clear cut answer to whether Afghanistan was worth it, certainly things are improving but many of the old problems remain, warlords are asserting control and the central government is weak. The Taliban roam the countryside and the tribal areas along the Pakistan Border. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Afghanistan certainly won’t be build in a generation. We have seen the first peaceful transition of power to a leader who certainly has the ability to turn the country around and finish the job. It’s too soon to say whether it was worth it in the end. Some will say “no” whatever the outcome, others will say “yes”, and others, “wait and see.”

But it should never be forgotten that there’s 458 empty chairs at tables today. And with some luck, there won’t be any more.

By: Gregg Smith
Twitter: @GreggSmith1
WordPress: https://myhistoryplace.wordpress.com/

Michael Gove:- Looking for an old England.

I will admit right off the bat I’m not a fan of Michael Gove, before we even get to how wrong his latest hissy fit was we need to really look at him. Since the Toryeducation twitter profile went offline, no doubt because of the truth rumours that it was run by one of his closest advisors to smear critics, it’s not completely safe.

Go ahead, gaze on Ozymandias’ works, and despair. For he has sapped morale in teachers to a level Alan Pardew would be envious of while maintaining an aura of “self serving smug prick”

And on the pedestal these words were written. “Teachers know nothing”

He’s provoked the ire of historians and academics for his narrative history of how great britain is. Soon kids will be able to tell you what year the glorious revolution was, but nothing much about why it happened or its effects. For Gove it seems, being able to recite a date and a few facts is enough to get by in life. Who needs the ability to look at all the sources and come to their own conclusion.

In many ways he is straight out of an Edwardian book for boys. His idea of education comes from those long summer days before the war when the Empire and King and Country were important. His latest speech however is just nauseating. From the complete lies about History pupils being told to sort the leaders of the Nazi party into Mr Men and how children shouldn’t read Twilight or play Angry birds but should be reading Middlemarch and coding.

He bemoans the fact that “an inspector calls” is still the most used play for drama pupils. Not because it’s dry, boring and tedious (it really is, my English Lit books prove it) but because it’s too ‘modern.’ He’d rather children tackle the romantic poets, learn the great history of the United Kingdom, from brave Boudicca to a prosperous Roman colony, a shining light of learning in a dark age to the “greatest Empire in the world, civilizing the noble savages of the dark continent and bringing democracy and industrialisation, commerce and christianity to the far flung parts of the world.

When you consider that Gove’s advisor for the history curriculum is none other than gaffe prone Niall Ferguson (another man transplanted from the 1900’s) it’s no surprise the Mau Mau and other dark sides of the Empire are simply washed away.

What makes Gove more dangerous is his part about how Children are taught History.

““The following steps are a useful framework: Brainstorm the key people involved (Hitler, Hindenburg, Goering, Van der Lubbe, Rohm…). Discuss their personalities / actions in relation to the topic. Bring up a picture of the Mr Men characters on the board. Discuss which characters are the best match.””

Gove is using this to attack modern teaching methods and then remarks
“I am familiar with the superb historical account Richard J Evans gives of the rise, rule and ruin of the Third Reich and I cannot believe he could possibly be happy with reducing the history of Germany’s darkest years to a falling out between Mr Tickle and Mr Topsy-Turvy.”

Except whoever discovered that omitted a few key parts. While it is a lesson plan it’s not used in state schools, it’s for the iGCSE which is based on the O-Level, an exam Gove is desperate to bring back. Not only that but it’s for 15-16 year olds to teach Nazism to children in years 3 and 4, in other words 8-9 year olds, who I suspect may struggle with Weimar Germany, reparations, re-armament and enabling acts.

When I was at school we’d sit in the room, listen for half an hour as the teacher gave us the bare bones of a particular topic then we’d read a rather poorly written text book (and in later years I discovered, completely wrong) and answer the tasks. And that was it, no fancy “Imagine you’re hitler” or reading all of Gibbon’s ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ and yet I’m still madly in love with the subject. I read books like a hungry man eats pie and not only that, I play Angry Birds, read Tom Clancy and not only that…..

I don’t need to lie, distort or set up a twitter account to defend myself.

A Proportional response?

A milestone was reached today and it was not a good one. Today marks the day the death toll in the latest trouble to hit Palestine reached 100. It’s no surprise the death toll is so high, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet 1.7 million people call the desolate 25 x 6 mile strip home and Israel’s tactic of dropping high explosives in it is stupid at best, a war crime at worst.

Israel defend the civilian casualties by saying it’s Hamas’ fault for placing their installations in populated areas. Just to clarify that’s a strip of land not much bigger than Birmingham but with nearly double the population. Israel say they’re doing this in response to mounting rocket attacks into Israel. It’s worth noting that only 3 civilians in Israel have died.

Of those 100 to die over half are civilians, it appears Israel is performing keyhole surgery using an axe, of course this is the same military who in 2009 remarked that although 1000 people were Killed in Gaza 500 were militants. No civilized nation should think that Killing so many civilians to get at few militants is acceptable . It’s the same line we saw in Europe during the 1940’s although this time Israel is playing – rather ironically- the part of the Nazi’s and Warsaw 1944 is Gaza 2012. Israel has reacted with disproportional response, same as in 2009 under the misguided belief that overwhelming responses would discourage any more attempts well it’s 3 years later and we’re back to square one. Israel won’t negotiate because Hamas is a terrorist organisation backed by Iran, a country that isn’t exactly friendly.

Israel needs to accept that for now, Hamas is the ruling power in the strip, we may not like it, and we certainly shouldn’t accept it. Hamas are just another variation of other fanatical rulers we saw in Afghanistan and the more remote areas of Pakistan. They are in power because the west, and Israel let them. We tried to play Hamas and Fatah off against each other. Supplying Fatah with aid and attempting to remove Hamas. It backfired, the Palestine lands split between the Hamas Gaza and Fatah West Bank. And now because of the political chess game between Israel and the West and Iran and Hamas it’s innocent civilians who are paying the price. Israel bomb Gaza Killing civilians, for every one they Kill 2 more join Hamas. And Hamas retaliate with rockets further causing strikes by Iran and more civilian deaths and recruits.

For Israel the way to win against Hamas is simple. Stop the bombing, end the blockade. Provide aid to what is a giant refugee camp and let the young in Gaza know where that aid has come from. Gaza has a young population they are the future leaders of the land and you’ll go further by helping them and creating a positive image than you will with Killing them. The onus is also on the ordinary Israeli’s, the country is bitterly divided it is not united in the slightest. By allowing the modernists and those who don’t see the complete eradication of Palestine as the only option a voice in the government then real moves could be made. There’s an election coming up which in part explains why Israel have gone on the offensive when they do that and Israel inevitably comes under attack it strengthens the nationalists giving them a mandate to continue their abhorent strikes on Gaza.