Get it right


On 4 March 2018, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, allegedly with a Novichok agent nerve gas.” – Wikipedia.

We all hope for the recovery of father & daughter; and for the police officer who was also poisoned.

Trying to take stock, finding time and again have been disappointed with the political and service responses.  But they are not responsible.  So …

First things first …

1. The use of chemical weapons is wrong.

2. Those who used the nerve agents should be found, prosecuted and punished. 

Beyond that, it’s been a bit bewildering.

3. The investigation.
Two weeks on and there’s no news of catching the culprits.
In an era of CCTV everywhere, no descriptions of possible culprits.
No doubt, there’s stuff that can’t be shared and there’s a risk to involving the public more fully, but surely, you’d do more.
The nature of the warnings and actions concerning the wider contamination is also something of a concern.

4. Russia has been blamed.
Despite the lack of progress in the investigation, there is however, a clear assertion that the state of Russia is responsible for the act.
A bit surprising cos –

– Russia destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons, in a witnessed manner;
– a former British diplomat shouting out that it doesn’t make sense for Russia to have done it.
However, more recently, fewer have been taking the cautious line and no doubt there is stuff that can be shared with too many.

5. Diplomacy seems to be a bit under-rehearsed.
Start surely, by getting every nation to express concern;  then testing Russia on what risk is posed to them.  Some of this is now starting.

6. MPs have been bellicose, and at times, ridiculous.
How we all nod sagely about the tragedy and stupidity of the rapid start of World War I.
Yet listen to the language of “we must stand up to bullies” and “there’s little room for doubt”.
Examples of the ridiculous –

– withdraw England from the football world cup;
– stop Russia’s membership of the UN Security Council.
I’m not trained in diplomacy, but I have watched “Thirteen Days“.

7. It’s the Conservatives who are closest to modern Russia.
Stop the real russian stooges DYmyOZUW4AE_9Vt Russians donating to Tories 28826974_290330431500444_6924240551632691017_o
Now, this is starting to get off the real issues at stake.
I saw a Times columnist on BBC Politics Today on Friday say that Labour had always been soft on Russia – as if the downfall of the Communist Party had never happened.

I was pleased to see a tweet pointing out 4 occasions when Jezza had criticised the current Russian regime.
Jeremy Corbyn
 2008: Accused Russia of rigging elections
 2010: Accused Russia of human rights abuses
 2013: Condemned Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation
 2016: Accused Russia of War Crimes in Syria
Meanwhile, turns out Boris Johnson played a tennis match with a Russian for a £160k donation to the Conservative party.

8. The medjah aren’t great.
Corbyn russian hat graphic Screen-Shot-2018-03-19-at-07.45.07-440x241
That the BBC have made Jezza look like a pro-Russian communist is wrong and should have been changed, even if it wasn’t intended.
And in Alistair Campbell’s day, it would have been sorted.
I once complained about a drawing the BBC used when covering Jeremy Corbyn on the news, in isolation it seemed, until one appeared of the Tory leader 2 weeks later.
That said, the outcries over the photos and condemnation of the BBC on a relatively slight matter have made the critics seem other worldly.

9. Jezza should have kept it simpler.

It’s difficult to be a Leader of Opposition in these situations. Neil Kinnock said too much during the Westland debate and Jezza tried to cover too many bases.
Jezza could have left the side points to supporters, side points like the impact of Conservative cuts to services that could have prevented or deterred such attacks, or helped us in our current situation.
Such support should allow Jezza to feel that he only needs to focus on the key points.
Trying to re-live the Iraq war debate was not clever either.
As for arguing for judgment when more is known, I thought it was a fair argument (that needed all to unite – something Jezza in the past had not valued) given the Foreign Secretary was still qualifying the certainty of Russia’s guilt 16 days later.

. Conclusion.

Let’s find out what’s actually happened.
Not saying conspiracy.
Am saying let’s get this right. 

Dark River

A Rose Tremain story; about the daughter and son of a tenant sheep farmer and who wrestle to run the farm, now that the farmer’s dead.
It’s about more than that of course, but the sadness for me (whose Dad’s Dad was a shepherd and whose Mum’s Dad was a part-time farm manager) was that the story veers away from the optimism of turning a farm around to the despondency of a manslaughter.
Studying long distance shots of (North Yorkshire), learning some basics about livestock markets & shepherding, of the wildlife sustained by meadows, and cute scenes with sheep & dogs (& barn owls) is entertaining.
Critics have been less than generous. Perhaps the audience for this is too narrow.  And it’s way better than ITV’s Emmerdale.


Screenshot (848) ab0772h Nottm Playhouse Wonderland
“Best show I have ever see ” – a mate.
And some people really felt it.
Go see.
And if the Nottingham Playhouse was set up to tell Notts stories, this certainly does that.

The Government setting up the miners to force a strike.  Then fouling up the closures to be announced.  An uncontrolled union response leaving no space to call a ballot and starting the strike after the winter.   Notts miners feeling by-passed and a split results.  And so much more.

The play convincingly conveys the sense of heat down the pit.  Visuals are often excellent.  One or two brilliant jokes.  Certainly not just one perspective.

Perhaps some of the political analysis needed a bit longer conversation and less vernacular.
Can’t all be covered but when NACODS almost struck is omitted and the wives and the women against pit closures is only referred to.
Don’t get the title.

Bus services still need support

BBC graphic on DfT transport data DWK8p6sWsAAvy0j aa1001hMore information about the statistics found in a BBC report which analysed DfT figures about bus usage across the country.
Nottingham has seen an 8.1% increase in the number of bus miles since 2013/14 as is one of only 28/88 authorities that have seen an rise. There was a slight decrease in the number of overall passengers over the same time period (-0.2%) but this does not take into account the tram extension, so although bus passenger numbers fell slightly public transport usage is still on the rise.

Nottingham Post coverage


White supremacists in the United States killing more people

Screenshot (847) ac0798h cnn report child murderer composite

17 killed in an attack on a Floridan school.
CNN report Cruz with deep psychological problems.
Young Turks tv in USA reported how a leader of the far right in the USA claimed credit for what Cruz achieved, before withdrawing the claims cos he’d been deprived of sleep.
A report in January said the number of killings by white supremacists in the U.S. had doubled in 2017.

Spirit of the Olympics

Opening ceremony of Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea
The ancient Olympics Games saw wars suspended so that all could take part.
In the modern games, boycotts began when African countries saw athletes from South Africa stopped by their own country for taking part for political / racist reasons.
The United States were wrong to boycott the 1980 Moscow games.
Ditto, the USSR boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles games.  Sadly, the UK let a South African athlete run  in our colours as the international community put pressure on the Apartheid regime.
I see North and South Korea competing as one, as a free hit.
Some are calling it a sign of weakness.
Too cynical.  It’s the Olympics.  Let some of the ancient spirit live.  It was great to see.