Saturday, 14 July 2018

Hey you guys!

A 'guy' is a man in American, right? So 'guys' means men, adult males, right? Wrong! It means men or women or boys or girls. 'You guys' has become the plural of 'you', just as 'vosotros' became the plural of 'tu' in Spanish. You now hear it everywhere; even BBC presenters, who are supposed to be models of good English, say it frequently. I think this is just a small indicator of the cultural crushing that awaits us if leaving the EU makes us dependent on the USA. I was at the demonstration at Blenheim Palace on Thursday, when about 4000 people lined the road on both sides of the entrance, and I was in Portland Place in London for the big march. I gave up after a very hot hour, when the large space was still filling up faster than it could empty into Regent Street. French TV said 200,000 people, the BBC said 100,000, and the Daily Mail said 'Corbyn's disgraceful Rent-a-crowd'. The gutter press are faithful imitators of their orange-haired master, who called his interview with the Sun 'fake news'. 'Disgraceful' is the word I would use for the pomp at Blenheim Palace; who authorised the presence of the Horse Guard to honour Mrs May's unlovely guest? And why was the Queen dragooned into giving tea to this monster, who actually pushed himself in front of her. The only redeeming feature of the visit was Melania Trump, who behaved graciously and insisted on her own humanitarian programme; but then, she is an immigrant!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A cool coalition

The Liberal Democrats made a big mistake in 2010, when they chose to ally themselves with the Tories instead of creating a 'rainbow coalition' with Labour, nationalists and greens. We could have had electoral reform and a fair version of austerity, while the Tories sorted out their problems in opposition. So what will the next coalition be? With both Tories and Labour tainted by 'Brexit', surely neither will be able to win a majority in Parliament. Corbyn will probably refuse to collaborate with the Lib Dems. More chaos ahead - perfect conditions for some sort of authoritarian coup?!

Spanish America

Why are there many people of Hispanic origin in the USA? Because America took several states from the Spanish Empire - California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas... But why was there a Spanish Empire? Because Spain took the country away from the Aztecs, the Maya, the Inca... All part of the continuing triumphal march of the speakers of Indo-European languages!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Silent Dawn

There has been hardly any dawn chorus lately and I'm afraid a lot of the birds are dying for want of insects to eat as the drought deepens. Birds of prey and scavengers, on the other hand, are flourishing. Yet the weather forecasters continue to say 'there is a risk of rain' somewhere. I would have thought everybody would be longing for rain by now. The last time it was like this was 1976.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Refugees from what?

Nobody flees from home, country, family and friends without good reason, so why are there so many refugees? Part of the reason lies in things that the West did or failed to do in the past. There would not be so many refugees from the Middle East if the US and UK had not invaded Iraq in 2003, setting in train Sunni-Shia wars, ISIS, the revolt in Syria... And there would not be so many from Africa if the West had continued its 1960s policies of support for family planning, rural clinics and the health of mothers and infants. Yet it still goes on; the sale of offensive Western and Russian arms fuels several wars, and Trump has reduced funding for various humanitarian programmes. The refugees of the future are already being prepared.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Mapuche

The Mapuche people occupied most of Patagonia until they were subdued by Argentina and Chile in the 1860s and 70s in a savage ethnic cleansing, which left thousands of Mapuche skulls and skeletons in museums. Their land was taken from them and given or sold to European settlers. A huge area belongs, for example to Benetton (of United Colours). Their agriculture was destroyed to make room for ranching, and their forests have been intensively logged and partly destroyed. Remember this when you buy Argentinian beef! Their resistance continues, and small groups have attempted to farm limited areas. The Argentinian and Chilean governments, continue to suppress them, claiming that they are 'terrorists'. More innocent victims of the West's 'War on Terror'! Information from an excellent programme by Al-Jazeera.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Live not on evil!

My son Christopher told me a very clever palindrome: 'Live dirt up a side-track carted is a putrid evil'. This beats the longest I knew: 'Able was I ere I saw Elba' (put into the mouth of Napoleon in exile). However 'live' and 'evil' gave me the idea for a short and punchy one: 'Live not on evil!' I think this would have made a better motto for Google than 'Don't be evil'.