Their finest

A celebration of cinema and when Britain and its empire stood alone against the Nazis.
A reminder of the sexist nature of the world of work.
An entertainment.

And how the screenwriters must have enjoyed writing a screenplay where the screenwriter is the hero in a war film.
(No doubt learning from journalists who make themselves the hero in a political story.)
One bigger quibble – the female lead makes strides for women and without any real reason, falls for the boss at work (having fallen previously for an artist who didn’t champion her) without any kind of narratve to suggest there had been real warmth.  Surely the screenwriters should have spotted that.

Negotiate internationally and survive

I don’t object to the re-publication of the “Protect and Survive” pamphlet as a reminder of what was once published but the curator behind it is wrong to say it shows how close we came to a nuclear war.
The pamphlet was about building up the idea that we could fight and survive a nuclear war.
The particular notion was of a tactical nuclear war – i.e. within Europe only (strategic was USA and USSR exchanging ICBM with multiple nuclear weapons).
Protest and Suvive 015567The pamphlet did backfire (a pamphlet called “Protest and Survive” was published; CND was renewed, a campaign against “tactical nuclear war – European Nuclear Disarmament – was started and based in Nottingham).
But there were still plenty of people in places like Top Valley saying they’d survive a bomb detonated over Nottingham city centre.
Lots of nonsense about this –
– so a BBC documentary that showed the impact of a single weapon was salutory;
– that a nuclear war could be constrained to Europe was inexplicable – just how were enemies supposed to know where bombs had been sent from? (The Russians would understand we were only taking out a bridge across the River Rhine? Disappointing to hear a Labour MP giving the notion of deficits in tactical nuclear weapons some credence in the last major Parliamentary debate.)
– we know that it wouldn’t take many explaosions to throw so much material in the atmosphere as to cause a nuclear winter – not seeing the sun again for many months; (Yeah, Top Valley might survive, but then starve.)
As a country, we got stranded choosing between unilateral and multilateral disarmament (hopeless) – so nice to see the UN giving multilateral nuclear disarmament another push today.

Square_legA reminder that an exercise, called “Square Leg“, run in the eigthies presumed 131 nuclear explosions in and over Britain, meaning – “Mortality was estimated at 29 million (53 percent of the population); serious injuries at 7 million (12 percent); short-term survivors at 19 million (35 percent).”
Map scanned from ‘Doomsday, Britain after Nuclear Attack’ by Stan Openshaw, Philip Steadman and Owen Greene Basil Blackwell, 1983 ISBN 0-631-13394-1

Trains and planes and satellite pictures

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Loads of scenes with trains and railway lines – much better then “T2:Trainspotting“.
So this film couldn’t miss.
Lion” is at its best when showing action and landscapes; dialogue – not so good – a soap opera style of misunderstanding, whilst some of the lines are swallowed.
Despite it being based on a true story, I was sceptical.  A child being lost in the ’80s and not found?  The film explains it all, including just how many children are lost in India.

Touched

Touched” is an acclaimed play, first shown in Nottingham forty years ago, and being shown at the Playhouse again.
But because it was first shown 40 years ago, parts of the play that might have been novel then – home abortions, nuclear bomb explosions – have been shown again since by other productions – including in the Playhouse.  So the play has become thinner with time, and I wonder if the script wasn’t worth a re-visit to give a bit more width to the other characters in the play.
Still go see Vicky McClure and definitely go see Aisling Loftus (compelling) – Nottingham born actors.
Meanwhile, gotta say, got distracted by the projection of a map of 1940’s Nottingham onto the set.  Towards the end, the graphics showed parts of the city disappearing under the boiling cloud of atomic bombs – save the scale of the explosions were far too small; a bit odd.

Denial: the verdict

“Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately denial-irving-loses-ruling-ab0745hmisrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism…[4][65] therefore the defence of justification succeeds…[5] It follows that there must be judgment for the Defendants.[66]
The court case verdict is so important.
The solicitor says it plain: the defendants’ book has stood the test.
And the Fascist’s credibility as historian is destroyed.  He is a racist and anti-Semite, he is a holocaust-denier – the judge found so.

Coverage of the case on TV that night kinda gave Irving a chance to repeat the stuff he’d been found wrong on, and emphasised why Lipstatd and Penguin Ltd.’s took the stance they did – put Irving on trial, not the author, and not the survivors of Auschwitz.

Denial” the movie is great.
Congratulations to all involved.
Says what holocaust denial is.
Shows Auschwitz as is now, in a compelling  and moving way.
Shows the defendants being knowledgeable, determined and effective.
Says you must be accountable for what you say and not all opinion carries the same weight.

There were risks – reducing 32 days of a trial to 32(ish) minutes of screen time (e.g. didn’t understand why the judge was exploring new questions during a defence’s summing up).
But the film is a triumph.

I’d been waiting for this film to be shown – because in 1980, I joined a number of people who shouted David Irving down when he came to Birmingham University’s Guild of Students, invited by the Debating Society.  He spoke, but he wasn’t heard.  A kinda colleague, Labour, with great English skills, put out a leaflet equating those of us who’d shouted as Animal Farm’s pigs who’d learned to walk with two legs.  (My previous attempts to use Guild Council to cast doubts on the reasons for his invite from the Debating Society had been ruled out of order – I was only an associate member(!))  Yet a big message from the film was to point out the problems of debating with such re-writers of history.  They didn’t deserve such a platform.  I feel the film vindicated those of us who said – these are not the kind of people to debate with.

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And the hallmarks of holocaust denial –
1. the killings were not systematic;
2. the numbers were exaggerated;
3. Auschwitz wasn’t built for extermination;
4. the holocaust is a myth.

And in a subsequent development, Deborah Lipstadt has developed ideas of soft-core holocaust denial – worth reading.

Holocaust Memorial Day civic service of commemoration – 2017

You need social courage”   …. from HMD’s video   … worth 3 minutes of your time –

A ceremony held a The Council House – this year much more about the genocide of the Jews during WWII.  A shame Donald Trump couldn’t join in.
Instead – chaos at US airports over actions geared more to prejudice than effective action against terrorism; Mo Farah likely to be excluded from training in the USA; legal officers having to suspend aspects of a Presidential order cos of lack of process; a fire attack on a mosque in Texas.

Paddy Tipping – a descendant of the Huguenots who came to Britain centuries ago to avoid persecution by the then Catholic church – spoke on current concerns :
about heightened prejudice against Muslims; contrast that with how well all our kids get on at schools; hate crime remains an issue, even if it’s calmed down since after the Referendum.

County and Forest inducted into the Hall of Fame

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Inducting Notts County Football Club into the Hall of Fame, for being the oldest professional football league club.
Inducting the Nottingham Forest football teams of 1979 and 1980 for winning the European Cup twice.
And celebrating again John Robertson’s induction for his individual achievements.
At the Ice Arena, where local kids put on a fitness display and there was a local singer.
Pictures and fuller detail available in Facebook album.