Good Advice

Good Advice

Remember  I taught you and never forget

The rules of the game and the rules to upset

Sleep late in winter rise early in spring

Promise me thrice and smile at the wind

Think while you sleep and dream wide awake

Hold hatred fast while your loves you forsake

Lose your possessions find your lost way

Sleep late in winter at the dawn of the day


Think in iambics and speak just in rhyme

Die when you need to die all the time

The Magic Number of Mr Assange

Julian Assange has now spent 777 days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. For every one of those 77 days the British Police have maintained a guard over Mr Assange’ s tiny piece of sanctuary on theoretically Ecuadorian soil in London, just in case he skips out of the country and thus avoids his required appointment with the Swedish police who want to question him about allegations of sexual misconduct. I do not know whether the Swedish Police are frightened of flying, or whether they are simply too proud to fly to see Mr Assange, but they have refused to interview him in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and so the British Police have maintained a guard which has cost the taxpayers of these islands £8 million so far.

777 is a magic number. It is a long time to spend in virtual house arrest, but Mr Assange fears that should he go to Sweden and answer the questions, not that he would face trial in Sweden but that he would be rendered to the United States where the authorities would gladly put him in prison and throw away the key (after due process of course) for having embarrassed the great government of the United States with publications of secret and disgraceful documents and videos on Wiki-leaks.

Virtually everyone agrees that the British taxpayer should not have to pay to guard Mr Assange. The Swedes could pay, but won’t, just as they could travel to interview Mr Assange but they won’t.

Having maintained a guard to prevent Mr Assange’s escape for 777 days, the British authorities would lose a considerable amount of face if they stopped the guard today. Authority hates to lose face and will not do it, as long as there are taxes in the kitty which can prevent a loss of face.

The best solution that I can see is that Mr Assange should leave for Ecuador and the British Police should let him. They can stage some mishap or cock up which would prevent the drain on our taxes, which could no doubt be used for better things. Whether, should this drain be stopped, the taxes would be used for better things is an entirely different quest.

Getting Annoyed

The world is full of petty annoyances. As I write the sound of an enthusiastic worker using a machine to dig up the road in order to repair is is a petty annoyance, but if I let it, it would easily become an overwhelming one. When I listen to politicians and sports people not answer the question but let out a pre-prepared statement I am annoyed, but when I hear a politician argue against a statement that has not been made, viciously attributing to his or her opponent a view that the opponent does not hold I get very annoyed at the intellectual dishonesty.   Continue reading

Chilcot: the Forest Beyond the Long Grass

In July 2009 John Chilcot opened an Inquiry into the lessons of the Iraq War. Mr Chilcot was a senior civil servant and over the past six years seems to have been singularly unfitted for the task. It was a case of the great and the good inquiring into the lies and mistakes and  scandals of the Iraq War not caused by the military but by the elected politicians and the civil servants of the time – in other words the great and the good. I would expect a civil servant to be well practiced in the art of kicking difficult problems far into the forest beyond the long grass, and Mr Chilcot has not changed my expectation by his conduct of the Inquiry.  Continue reading

Democracy Day

Today is democracy day, apparently. We are supposed to celebrate democracy, which is not an easy thing to do, but humans enjoy celebrating things that they do not understand as the great religious festivals show. Continue reading

Wealth and Human Nature

According to Oxfam the richest 1% of the people in the world own about as much as the remaining 99%. This is the kind of figure of which we have to be suspicious – as King Hal asked his men when he was told how far the French were at Agincourt “Who has measured the ground?”. The research may be inaccurate mainly because measuring the value of all the assets in the world is an impossible task. Continue reading

The head that holds the eye

The politicians and journalists are making a fuss about terrorism. So much space and time has been devoted to terrorist incidents in Paris and so little time to murders and killings in the Middle east. A Muslim would be excused for thinking that the blood of a European is much more valuable than the blood of an Arab, or that the life of one white person is worth more than the life on one latte coloured person. It is claimed that an eye for an eye will make us all blind, but the odds on eye taking varies according to the hue and religion of the head that holds the eye.