9th December 2018

Order! Order! Pantomime season has arrived.  First the French. Even though the President has totally scrapped the planned fuel tax rise, still the riots continue. Proof positive that once a momentum has started to roll, rationality flies out the window. And the British? Here’s what the Brexiteers have to say: ‘...feels like we no longer own our country;  now just tenants, forced to take into our tiny island way too many unsuitable lodgers. Still reeling from Blair’s earlier policy. Feels like I’m living in a suburb of Bangladesh...’ And from the Remainers: ‘it’s the economy, stupid. Need to be part of the ever-burgeoning federal project of the United States of Europe...don’t care if we’re governed by former enemy Germany. For peace it’s worth it.’ So, what’s gonna happen Tuesday? For the Labour party it’s clear: their vote has nothing to do with Brexit: all to do with forcing out the government and ensuring a General Election. Oh what a circus, oh what a show!

2nd December 2018

200 years ago a little Frenchman with a beaky nose rose to fame but then tried to quell the flames of a French revolution....
Today a similarly-short, sharp-nosed, Frenchman has the same problem.  The people may no longer be sans-culottes (trouser-less) but the whole world now know what gilets jaunes (yellow vests) mean.  What on earth is happening in Paris, a city of culture, high ideals and philosophy?  As with many ‘peaceful’  protest marches, it’s been infiltrated by the extremist hard-left, always trying to smash capitalism. And yet the original rationale for the march was understandable:  workers earning the French average pay of c.€24k p.a. finding it impossible to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities.  Properties there are totally unaffordable, even the appartements costing millions. And yet, the irony is that Macron’s party is neither right-wing nor left-wing, so which bit is it that the French are protesting about?
.....such irony that the present day revolution is fuelled by a party called En Marche!  Don’t think somehow that was meant to be an instruction to the people!

25th November 2018

A recent episode of the Apprentice showed the hapless, egotistical candidates trying to ‘found’ a new budget airline. Significantly, they focussed entirely on their own ideals, rather than what their ‘future customers’ would need. So, their hostesses wore low-cut tops, totally impractical for leaning over seated passengers, Highway to Hell background music and an explosive logo.  Today too many world leaders also live too much in their own little bubble. Macron this week was  surprised that the people are objecting to the new level of state taxes. He’d been so involved in his own grandiose schemes, he’d taken his eye off the ball. Globally, personal salaries fluctuate alarmingly. Whilst the French and UK leaders earn a similar amount of c. £160k p.a., the head of a charity like UNICEF earns c. £390k! Instead of glorying in his own riches, the latter should cut his salary by £300k and give it to the poor people he supposedly works for. Charities should not be run like big business. The moral here is clear: forget about yourself and focus on helping others. That’s what charity is really about.

18th November 2018

Who’s the loneliest - PM May or President Macron?  Here’s what Europe has to say:
Ouest-France, France’s best-selling paper, sympathises with May, calling her ‘courageous and remarkable’ because (unlike Cameron) she’s put country before Party. Italy is bewildered over Brexit. They say Europe should be united, not building walls like Trump. In Germany, Spiegal Online calls May ‘the lonely heroine of British theatre’. And Macron?  Despite troubles at home this week, he’s desperately ploughing a one-man furrow to pursue his global ambitions to be the first President of an idealised United States of Europe.  And me?  It’s a global clash between mass nationalism, each nation desperate to retain its individual identity but then prone to war against rivals, and leftist dreams of a communist-like single Earth - but with one totalitarian world leader fixated on his own power.  Even I’m feeling lonely at the prospect.

11th November 2018

Watching the war veterens on the Royal British Legion programme last night, I realised the complexities of war and the varying personalities of whichever leader was in power at the time...
11/11.  100 years since the end of WWI. This week, President Macron and PM May visited the same railway carriage in Compiegne that Hitler and Petain, the Vichy leader, used to sign that infamous WWII armistice. On Wednesday Macron had to backpedal on his idea to award a posthumous medal to Petain on his WWI exploits, due to global outrage. Each war, though, was fought for different reasons. The first could have been avoided, based as it was on the usual clash of nation v nation, but not the second - where (unlike Stalin) an evil madman was committing racial genocide on his own people and pursuing world domination. He had to be stopped.
.....but, having researched Petain’s life, I see it as complicated. That’s why I wrote my controversial book VICHYSSOISE - showing how a nation’s choice of leader at any one time can go catastrophically wrong. Remember and memorialise all those who tragically lost their lives in war, but be very very careful whom you elect into office...

4th November 2018

Enjoyed a lovely day yesterday with son Jon, discussing everything from Brexit to his forthcoming move to the US and things digital. I’d recently bought an expensive GPS system for the car. Wrong! All you need now, apparently, is to download onto your smart phone an app called Waze, which even allows you to speak your destination. Cost of the app? Free. On his phone he enjoys a game called Aircoin, where you walk around and zap ‘coins’ - a fun free way to increase physical exercise. With the festive season on the horizon and the world literally awash with plastic, we should think sensibly. While we wait for governments to ban all plastic manufacture, we need to ignore all those glitzy advertised gifts which will be ditched a few days later. We don’t need monogrammed cheese boards and the like to show people we love them. The important things in life are talking to family and friends. Whether you live in France/US/UK, use the wonders of tech if you’ve lost your way or to improve physical health but never forget to connect with those you love.

28th October 2018

The clocks went back today, an anachronism. Native Americans say if you cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it on the bottom, the cloth’s still the same length. It’s made me look back at my long life. I remember coats on the bed for blankets, no phone, no TV, no car. And then my teenage years clashed with the twist and shout of the 60s when everything changed, supposedly for the better. No more wars. Respect for everyone. Working hard would ensure good living standards and homes for all. What happened? People got greedy. Riches without working for it. Fast forward to today. Incredibly, holocaust deniers like Robert Faurisson, who died in Vichy of all places this week, spend their time denying the obvious truths of the past. And events, as in Philadelphia yesterday, still result in horrific bloodshed. The clock’s ticking. Don’t blind yourself to past horrors or get embroiled in extreme hatred; learn from the past so when the Spring comes we can all look forward with hope again.