Monthly Archives: August 2016

Trump blows it – again.


Donald Trump has back pedaled on his flagship pledge to expel 11 000 000 illegal immigrants. This tough talk got him publicity during the Republican primaries. He stood out from the crowd because of his uncompromising stand. This policy was unreasonable, extreme, unfair, unkind and unworkable. Most Republican hopefuls did not go as far as him.

The Donald has welched on this earlier election pledge. Why should he be trusted now? He has told so many untruths.

Trump has ruined his brand as a plain speaking and very firm candidate. This will put off some of his supporters. Admittedly some of them are so bigotted that no matter how many fibs he tells or how many vows he breaks they will always back him.

Donald Trump plainly realises that his demagoguery has put off many African-Americans and Hispanics. They were never very attracted to him anyway. Not enough whites will vote for him. He has to win over more minorities. He polls very poorly with them. His change of course has signalled that even he recognises he is losing. This insincere last minute change of heart will not fool anyone. No one knows when there will be another volte-face.

Trump is sunk already I am glad to say. It would take a series of major blunders from Hillary to hand it to Trump. If Trump cleaned up his act now it would be too late. He cannot take back most of what he has said. He would have to spend the rest of the campaign recanting his earlier positions and apologising profusely and abjectly.

Contrast is malicious and foul mouthed style with that of Romney. Romney was restrained and courteous. Look at John McCain. He was more moderate and always gentlemanly. Trump is a coward and a brute.

Sarah Palin understands the ignoramus vote. She has courted it for years. She correctly identified Trump’s death bed conversion as a tactical error. He was going to lose anyway but this way he will lose by even more. Now Trump says he will only deport illegals who are criminals. That happens anyway! It is a massive climbdown. That means the great majority of illegal immigrants will be allowed to stay under him.

I look forward to his next humiliating and unreliable U turn by this vicious, avaricious, deceitful, vain, racist moron.



Lady Margaret Bryan


LADY Margaret Bryan – Governess to Queen Elizabeth I.

Lady Margaret Bryan was born in England. Her year of birth was approximately 1468. She came from an aristocratic family. Her brother was Lord Bourchier. She married Sir Thomas Bryan.
When Lord Bourchier died without sons his sister inherited his estates and moveables. This made her a woman of very considerable means.
Lady Bryan’s husband died when she was in her 40s. As a widow she was able to devoted more of her time to the king’s service.
Lady Margaret was the half-sister of Anne Boleyn’s mother.

Henry VIII had a son with his mistress Bessie Blount. This boy was name Henry FitzRoy. Fitz indicated his unwed birth. Roy is derived from ‘roi’ the French for king. Although no one contemplated Henry FitzRoy inheriting the Crown he was still a notable person. Lady Margaret was his governess when he was little.
From 1525 Lady Bryan was governess to Mary Tudor: the eldest daughter of Henry VIII. Lady Margaret was made a baroness as a reward. She did a superb job and the king was deeply satisfied with her. She was highly capable and managed to curry favour with the right people.
In 1533 Henry VIII declared that Mary Tudor was born outside of wedlock. His marriage to Catherine of Aragon was annulled. Mary Tudor was enraged. Her father told her to ”lay aside the name and dignity of princess.”
She refused to accept this and insisted that she was the king’s lawful daughter and heir. Lady Margaret had to manage the teenagers moods and fury. Mary Tudor felt rejected and humiliated. She bore herself with a dignity and defiance than inspired admiration even in her enemies.

At the age of 65 she became lady mistress to the baby Elizabeth. In those times the word ‘mistress’ denoted a woman with authority and not a paramour.
When Elizabeth was three months old she was taken away from her mother. Anne Boleyn had breastfed her baby for the first few weeks and was keen to continue. Henry VIII would not hear of this breach of protocol. The child was put into the care of a wet nurse. The woman really in charge was Lady Bryan. She was not the matronly battleaxe that some might fear. Elizabeth was taken to another royal residence in December 1533. Elizabeth spent most of her time at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
Anne Boleyn wrote to Lady Bryan very frequently with precise instructions for the child’s upbringing. Lady Bryan carried out her duties sedulously. Anne Boleyn sent her daughter the finest of clothes. The baby was dressed as a tiny adult. This was the way at the time. They made no allowances for children’s need to move more. About 40 pounds a month was spent on garments for Elizabeth. This approximates to 13 000 pounds today! Anne Boleyn seemed to be impelled to confirm her daughter’s legitimacy by making sure always appeared as regal as possible.

When Elizabeth was sent to live at Hatfield House this was also the residence of her half-sibling with Mary Tudor. The 17 year old Mary Tudor naturally resented her baby half-sister. Elizabeth had briefly replaced Mary Tudor in their father’s affections. Elizabeth’s mother Anne Boleyn had brought huge anguish to Mary Tudor and her mother Catherine of Aragon. Although Elizabeth spent most of the time at Hatfield House they sometimes moved to Greenwich Palace. Greenwich is now considered part of London. In those days it was a small port several miles from London.
Around this time Lady Bryan married for a second time. She wed David Soche. She was well past childbearing age so there was no chance that she was going to have a baby of her own to distract her from her job.
Anne Boleyn’s voluminous instructions also laid stess on the need to degrade Mary Tudor. Anne Boleyn emphasised that Mary Tudor was a bastard and had no right to inherit the Crown nor any right to style herself princess. Anne Boleyn’s volatile temperament was notorious. It would be foolish to provoke her. Lady Bryan had to walk a tightrope. She had to keep her mistress Anne Boleyn content because she was the queen. On the other hand it felt deeply wrong to insult Mary Tudor. It was plain that public sympathy was very much on Mary Tudor’s side. Too much aggravation in the family would make for a poisonous atmosphere.
Anne Boleyn’s spitefulness and pettiness did her no credit. She had enough enemies to begin with. She boasted how she would have Mary Tudor serving her as a maid. Her vindictiveness merely earned her more enmity. Anne Boleyn’s outbursts of furious shrieking made her deeply unpopular. Perhaps Lady Bryan was canny enough to see that Anne Boleyn’s haughtiness and mean spiritedness was setting her up for a dramatic fall. That was why it would have been unwise for Lady Bryan to carry out her order to humiliate Mary Tudor with too much zeal.
Lady Bryan’s son was Sir Francis Bryan. He spent much time at court. He knew a youngish woman from an aristocratic Wiltshire family named Jane Seymour. It was possibly due to Sir Francis that Jane Seymour came to the attention of Henry VIII. Henry VIII was infatuated with Jane Seymour. There is little doubt that Sir Francis Bryan kept his mother Lady Margaret Bryan informed of developments. The more the king fell for Jane Seymour’s feminine wiles the weaker Anne Boleyn’s situation became. That was why it would not do to be too closely associated with Anne Boleyn and her cruel treatment of Mary Tudor. Jane Seymour was canny enough to coquette with Henry VIII but she would not yield to her maidenhood. She parried his amorous advances with protestations of maidenly virtue.
Lady Bryan was also a regular correspondent of Lord Chancellor Thomas Cromwell. The lord chancellor was the king’s most important minister. Thomas Cromwell was no friend of the Boleyn family. Lady Bryan may well have been in the know about Anne Boleyn’s coming fall from grace.
Lady Bryan believed in expediency. She encouraged Mary Tudor to be kind to her half-sister. It was not the child’s fault. She tried to persuade Mary Tudor to accept her new diminished status. Mary Tudor was stubborn and held out for a long time. She eventually gave in and appeared to agree that she was downgraded. Her submissiveness caused her father to look more generously on her.
Lady Bryan had to supervise Elizabeth been weaned and put ont dry food. She of course received many very detailed orders from Anne Boleyn about how to do this. Lady Bryan had brought up her own children, grandchildren and royal children. She had vastly more experienced that Anne Boleyn.
When Elizabeth was two years and eight months old disaster struck. Her mother was accused of adultery and witchcraft. For a queen consort to commit adultery was high treason. It was also high treason for a man to have carnal knowledge of a woman of the royal family outside of marriage. The charges were very likely false. Nevertheless, three men were tortured into confessing to committing adultery with Anne Boleyn. The whole affair was probably cooked up by the scheming lord chancellor: Thomas Cromwell. He was a foe of the Boleyn family. Anne Boleyn and her supposed paramours were all put to death. At a stroke he removed Anne Boleyn, George Boleyn and Henry Norris who was Cromwell’s main political rival. There was also a musician called Mark Smeaton with whom Anne Boleyn had probably no more than flirted.
Elizabeth was suddenly downgraded to an illegitimate child. Her mother was declared to be an adultress and a sorceress. Her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled. Some of the Boleyn’s foes people suggested that Elizabeth bore a striking resemblance to her mother’s putative lover Mark Smeaton. In fact that is nonsense. Every unbiased observer noted that the similiarity between Elizabeth and Henry VIII was unmistakable.
This could all be a traumatising experience for a child. Fortunately, Elizabeth was so tiny that she can scarcely have been conscious of the gravity of the situation. She had seldom seen her mother anyway. It was very common for children to be orphaned then because life expectancy was so low. Many women died in childbirth. Therefore Elizabeth may not have been as severely psychologically damaged as we might imagine.
Anne Boleyn had gone to her death with fortitude and protesting her innocence with her very last breath. On the scaffold far from fulminate against her hypocritical, adulterous, vain and murderous husband she had praised him as the kindest king ever! No doubt Anne realised that she had better say something flattering about the man who had ordered her death. Otherwise her daughter Elizabeth would suffer.
As soon as her mother was killed Elizabeth was moved to smaller and less comfortable rooms. She was no longer a princess but a lady. Her clothing allowance was immediately stopped. Within a few weeks Lady Bryan was writing to Lord Chancellor Cromwell insisting that more clothes be sent for Lady Elizabeth. ”I beg you to be good to her and hers that she may have raiment.” The letter went on, ” for she has neither gown, nor kirtle nor petticoat. ”

In fact Lady Elizabeth had received a huge consignment of clothes just before her mother was accused of adultery. It is probable that Lady Bryan was overstating her ward’s lack of raiment to ensure that her complaint was taken seriously.

Shortly after Anne Boleyn’s execution. Lady Bryan approached the king with Elizabeth in her arms and asked if he wished to see his daughter. They king scoffed angrily and doubted that the child was his.
Lady Bryan took Elizabeth to Hatfield. She did her level best to shield the child from the horror that had unfolded. Some of those who had previously harboured a quiet loyalty for Mary Tudor were now only too glad to show their scorn for Elizabeth. As Anne Boleyn had been executed Mary Tudor was back in the king’s good graces. Mary Tudor’s mother had died of natural causes a few months earlier which only gained her even more sympathy.
Lady Bryan described Elizabeth as a ”succourless and redeless creature”. (Succour is help). Lady Bryan had been used to receiving very detailed instructions from Anne Boleyn. With Anne Boleyn dead Lady Bryan had a great deal more autonomy. She did not find this entirely to her liking.
Lady Bryan did not know Elizabeth’s exact status. She wrote indignantly to Thomas Cromwell asking for clarification, ” Now Lady Elizabeth is put from that degree she was in to what degree she is in now I know not but by hearsay ”
Sir John Shelton was in charge of Hatfield House. He insisted that Lady Elizabeth dine at the high table as though her status had not been lowered. Lady Bryan had received instructions that Elizabeth had to dine on a less exalted table. She complained that Shelton was disobeying these orders. ”Mr Shelton would have my Lady Elizabeth dine every evening at board of estate. It is not meet [appropriate] for a child of this age.” The real objection was not her age but her illegitimate status. Lady Bryan paid close attention to rank. The order of precedence was everything at court. It was only by being pedantic about such things that she gained favour at court.
Mr was such a high title that it was acceptable to call a knight ‘mister’. Ordinary men did not have the dignity of being called ‘mister.’ Lady Bryan found it very difficult to get along with Shelton. This appears to have been his fault and not hers.

Lady Bryan saw fit to bother the most important man in government with news of Elizabeth’s teeth. ”My lady has great pain in her teeth which come very slowly.” She showed her motherly concern with this sentence.
Lady Margaret Bryan commented on Elizabeth’s development saying she was ”as toward a child of gentle conditions as ever I knew in my life.” ‘Toward’ in those days meant advanced. She expressed a hope that Elizabeth be allowed to be seen on public occasions. The king was at that stage minded to hide Elizabeth as a reminder of the shameful Anne Boleyn.
Thomas Cromwell had much bigger fish to fry. However, Lady Bryan was so formidable that he felt compelled to answer her and take her complaints seriously.
One historian, Agnes Strickland, summarised it as:
”Much of the future greatness of Elizabeth may reasonably be attributed to the judicious training of her sensible and conscientious her governess.”
Eleven days after Anne Boleyn’s decapitation Henry VIII was feeling in the romantic mood! He wed Jane Seymour.
In 1537 Jane Seymour was delivered of a bonny baby boy: Edward VI. Almighty God chose to call the queen to his mercy. She died 12 days after giving birth.
Lady Bryan was made governess of the infant Edward VI. This was a step up because boys were considered much more valuable than girls. Furthermore, Edward VI was undoubtly legitimate whereas in 1536 Elizabeth was declared to have been born to an unwed mother.The infant Edward VI came to live with his sisters. Lady Bryan was in charge of all three of the king’s offspring. Although she clearly had a soft spot for the girls it was made very clear to her that her main responsibility was Edward. He was far more important to the king than both his daughters put together.

Lady Bryan took satisfaction in Edward VI’s luxurious lifestyle, ”His grace was full of pretty toys as ever I saw a child in my life”, wrote Lady Bryan to Thomas Cromwell. By ‘full’ she means he had plenty of them.
When Edward VI was two years old Lady Margaret wrote to Cromwell reporting on the prince’s every little achievement. There is no mistaking the grandmotherly delight in this missive,”The minstrels played and his grace danced and played so wantonly as he could not sit still.”
Lady Margaret still gave Elizabeth presents many of them made by her own hand.

In 1537 the Sheltons were removed from Hatfield. It was relief for Lady Margaret Bryan who has always found Sir John Shelton hard to get on with. It was also a vindication of her. She was superb at her job and he was not. It was a rare victory for a woman over a man.
Lady Bryan taught Mary Tudor and Elizabeth to be good to their brother. They could so easily have resented him for replacing them in their fathers affections. However, they doted on the child.
After a few years Edward VI was moved away to a grander household. Lady Bryan moved with him. He was her sole charge. Elizabeth and Mary Tudor then lived apart. Mary Tudor was well into her 20s and did not need a governess any longer.
Lady Bryan began education with these children. They learnt the rudiments from her. Later on their education was provided by erudite men. It was their general development that was her field.

It appears that she retired in 1452. Her pension was 20 pounds per annum which was handsome indeed.
Lady Bryan served Edward VI so long as her health allowed. She died in about 1552.
Lady Bryan brought up three monarchs. By all accounts she was brilliant at her job. She was a disciplinarian who was also warm and reasonable. Her responsibilities were very serious indeed. She also had to navigate Tudor politics. Her wards were highly educated, worldly and courtly.
The three monarchs all turned out to be fairly successful in their way. Mary Tudor succeeded in restoring Catholicism though at the cost of her popularity. For Mary Tudor is was Catholicism that mattered so this was a price worth paying.

A dream of Trump


I sat at a table with some students. I made many disibliging remarks about H Clinton. Then I started giving them the benefit of my pensees on Donald Trump. I noted that he wanted the relatives of terrorists to be killed. I observed that this was explicitly prohibited by international humanitarian law.

Then I noitced Trump was in the group! I quickly changed to find something positive to say about him. I also castigated Mrs Clinton more.

Later I spoke to him and he was not irate. He was surprisingly reasonable.


Sean Hannity’s ill-informed rant on Egypt.


Sean Hannity’s ill-informed rant on Egypt
It was unedifying to see Sean Hannity mouth off about Egypt. He sparred with Juan Williams.
Hannity was desperate to find something to slate Obama for. He claimed that Obama was culpable for the downfall of President Mubarak of Egypt. Was it not the tens of millions of Egyptians who reviled Hosni Mubarak who caused him to resign? Was it not Mubarak’s own peccullation, nepotism and suppression of his people that led to his being driven out?  Could it be gross corruption, mass unemployment and most people living on $2 a day? That is what caused the revolution.  Hundreds of unarmed protestors were shot dead by Egyptian security forces in an attempt to maintain Mubarak in office yet it did not work. When push came to shove the army was not willing to massacre tens of thousands of people to keep Mubarak in power. This must come as a bitter blow to Hannity.
If Mubarak had not stood down Egypt might well be in a Syria like situation with an ongoing civil war. Hannity would have Mubarak behaving like Assad. Incidentally Hannity has rightly castigated Assad as a blood soaked tyrant of the worst kind.
Mr Hannity missed another vital point. Egypt does not belong to the United States. Egypt belongs to Egypt. Does the United States belong to Egypt? Hannity speaks as though it is America’s right to pick the president of Egypt. His attitude reveals a staggering conceit and insensitivity.
President Obama often spoke about the need to disseminate democracy. Hannity’s hero George W Bush did the same.
Hillary Clinton and Obama were guarded in their comments when huge scale protests erupted in Egypt. They urged Mubarak down the path of reform. They eventually said he could go. His position was totally untenable.
Egypt held its first ever fair election. Mohammad Morsi was elected. He led a religiously inspired political party. That is like the Republicans then.
Hannity slammed Morsi for being an Islamic radical without supplying evidence. What did Morsi do? He did not ban alcohol – although a lot of right wing Americans would approve of that. He did not insist on headscarves – again many Christian fundamentalists in the USA would want women to cover up. He did not ban any faith. He did not change the day off to Friday. He did not outlaw pork. He did nothing to advance a fundamentalist agenda. His organisation was mainly involved in the distribution of charity. The very fact he met Hillary Clinton suggests he is reasonable. He observed non -aggression with Israel and maintained diplomatic relations with Israel.

Hannity has a blind loyalty to Israel. He claimed that Morsi called Israelis ”monkeys”. I am unsure if Morsi made this racist remark. If so it is reprehensible. Many Israeli politicians have also said vindictive things about Palestinians such as Rehavam Ze’evi calling them ”lice” and another saying they should be nuked. Hannity never lambasts Israeli politicians for their virulently racist diatribes. Racism is wrong in any direction.
Sean Hannity savaged Obama for selling weapons to Morsi. He conflated one man with a nation of 85 000 000. Egypt needs defence like any other country. There is a civil war in Libya and Sudan. They live in a dangerous region. The USA sold weapons to Egypt for decades under the semi dictator Mubarak. There is anti-Israeli prejudice in Egypt. WHy is that? It is largely due to the illegal occupation of Palestine and the countless crimes the IDF has committed against Palestinian civilians. As the Palestinians are mostly Sunni Muslims and Arabs they have a lot in common with most Egyptians. Naturally there is a  feeling of fellowship.
Hannity wanted the officer corps in Egypt in charge. He correctly noted that they tend to be more secular. Dare I say more ‘liberal’. That is a swear word in Hannity’s dictionary. He seemed to want Obama to engineer a pustch.
There was a military coup which Hannity appears to laud. So much for democracy then. If democracy means anything then people are allowed to choose their leader. They chose Morsi. He was only in office for a year. The putsch led to Morsi being gaoled for life. Civil liberties have been largely held in abeyance. Hundreds of people have been sentenced to death for very tenuous links to killings and on flimsy evidence. The economy is still in a parlous state. Things are not exactly rosy under the rule of General Sisi.
Hannity’s invective is inconsistent except for the fact that he will do anything to find Obama wanting.

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt Ferenc.


This is a mesmerising piece of music.

It opens ominously. The strings start ponderously, deepen and go yet impossibly deeper. The strings speak of mysterious mourning and wonderment. The profound struggle and sorrow is majestic in its pathos. There is something serene in this sadness No other melody is so affecting. The tune would subjugate even the dullest soul.

A minute and a half in the piece turns into a cheerful querying tone. It questions wryly and treads lighter.

Then the piece breaks into an up tempo patter. The flutes feel like fairy footsteps. The music gambols as though dancing on the dew of a summer dawn.

At three minutes the strings announce something gravely. The grief and grandeur of Hungarian history is contemplated. Heavy tribulations are remembered.

Then the tune morphs into a gleeful memory of a riverbank in bloom. The sunlit tune sentimentally soothes the spirit.

Yet again the tune slows and almost slumbers. It quietly menaces. Something dolorous is never far away.

Then we are back to an optimistic jig or is it alarum after six minutes. The strings fret and race us. Near seven minutes the tune erupts in a splendid jubilee. The flutes celebrate a blessed emancipation.

With the triangle and cymbals the tune gallops into life. The brass section blasts out a gleeful tune. We scurry with joy.

The orchestra thunders out volleys of ecstasy.

This extraordinary movement seems to run the full gamut of human emotion. Towards the end the music turns exuberant.

A blissful tranquility descends. But still the tempo races us and the happiness comes rushing back. It ends with a defiant fanfare.



Kurt Hahn


Kurt Hahn was a German educationalist.
Hahn was born in Berlin in 1886. He was from a liberal Jewish family. His education was conducted in Germany. He suffered sunstroke as a child and this affected him permanently. He had to avoid hot climates which is why he gravitated to the frigid north.

Kurt Hahn attended a number of universities as was common for German undergraduates at the time. These were Heidelberg, Frieberg and Gottingen. An undergraduate would go to one university for a year, to another for two years and perhaps another for a further year. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford University. Hahn perfected his English. He was very broadminded and happily attended chapel. At that stage he did not convert to the Christian faith. Like many Germans he raved about Shakespeare. He was convinced that Shakespeare’s works were better in  German than the original. In the summers of 1910-14 he took holidays in northern Scotland.
Hahn was in the United Kingdom when the First World War broke out. All voyages to and from Germany were forbidden. He attempted to reach the coast and take ship for the Netherlands. From there he planned to travel to his homeland.
Kurt Hahn was arrested an interned as an enemy alien. After two years an exchange of civilians was agreed between the UK and Germany. German civilians were repatriated to Germany by way of the Netherlands which was neutral.
Hahn then spent the war in a government office in Berlin. His task was to translate British newspapers into German so that his government would have an idea of what the Allies were thinking.
Kurt Hahn came to work for the Margrave of Baden as his private secretary. Max von Baden was a man of liberal nostra. This was unusual for a German nobleman. Von Baden had briefly been chancellor in 1918. He had been one of those who saw that the military outlook was utterly hopeless for Germany and the only sane thing to do was to seek an armistice immediately. The Margrave of Baden is credited as one of those people who ended the First World War.
Hahn had come to develop his own educational philosophy. This was predicated on the teachings of Plato. He wanted a school that provided an education that was both classical and modern. Pupils were to be taught integrity, teamwork and a respect for nature. He wanted to do away with the petty rules of most schools and the overemphasis on academic learning. He aimed to provide a holistic education encompassing sports, camping, music and theatre. Drama played almost no role in formal education at the time. He considered the example of Eton. He saw much that he admired in terms of scholastic achievement and sports. However, he looked askance at Eton’s snobbery, artificiality and frippery.
The Margrave of Baden invited Hahn to open at school at his palace in southern Germany: Schloss Salem. Salem is short for Jerusalem and means ‘peace’ in Classical Hebrew. The name is pronounced ”ZA – lem”.
Kurt Hahn opened his school at Schloss Salem. This has an idyllic setting by Lake Constance. The school was mixed. The uniform was unpretentious and allowed for ease of movement. He also promoted pupils to have power over the others. If a group of boys were found to be misbehaving and one of them was a prefect then only the prefect was punished. This was because he should have been responsible enough to stop it.Hahn was a very generous spirited person who despised national prejudices. He had remained friends with many Britishers despite the First World War.

Hahn used the hymn ”We kneel and appeal to the God of all justice” as the Salem school song. It was in German of course.

Hahn wanted to challenge pupils. He insisted that they must be made physically fit. They must all be imbued with manual skills. They must also provide a public service by learning first aid or helping the fire brigade. His ideas were too reformist for some. In 1923 a reactionary tried to assassinate him.
In the late 1920s the Nazi Party became prominent. Hahn admitted to having some respect for the Nazis discipline and energy but he was a centrist. He was horrified by the Nazism glorification of brutality. He was an outspoken critic of their mindlessness, their thuggery and their philistinism. Hahn recognised that after 2 000 000 deaths in the First World War the last thing Germany needed was another war. The Nazism virulent anti-Semitism worried him since he was Jewish by parentage. The increasing viciousness of the National Socialists alarmed Hahn. Hahn read about a left winger who was kicked to death by Nazis in the immediate presence of his mother. Kurt Hahn then wrote a letter to all past pupils of Salem and said they must either support Salem or the Nazis but they could not support both. The two philosophies were totally incompatible. It was a gallant thing to do but Hahn was a marked man.
Adolf Hitler became chancellor in January 1933. Hahn was immediately arrested and his school was closed down. He had notable friends iin the United Kingdom including the Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald. Ramsay MacDonald was contacted and he interceded for Hahn. After three days the Nazi Government released Hahn at the UK Government’s request.
Dr Hahn travelled to the United Kingdom. He cast around for suitable locations to set up a new edition of Salem. He visited Moray in Scotland. It was an area where he had holidayed before the Great War. He found out about an old stately home in Scotland called Gordonstoun. Gordonstoun House that had beloned to the Gordon Cumming family. Hahn had a look and decided it would be ideal. It was deep in the countryside and therefore far from the distractions and temptations of city life. The huge grounds provided plenty of scope for sports and camping. It was within walking distance of the coast.
Hahn opened his school in 1934. Gordonstoun School began with two pupils. Hats off to this parents who were courageous enough to take a gamble on Gordonstoun. The school grew rapidly.
The boys wore knee length shorts, grey shirts, blue jumpers. They did not wear ties expect on formal occasions. This was a marked contrast to the overly formal and restrictive uniforms of the time. Boys in almost every other school wore hats or caps. Gordonstoun was very go ahead right from the start.

Hahn tried to keep punishment to a minimum. Nevertheless he allowed caning and administered the punishment in person.
Sports were a major part of the time table. Everyone had to learn to sail. It was called seamanship. Everyone had to go on regular camping expeditions. There was also military training. This was perhaps the first outward bound school. Outdoor education was a crucial part of the curriculum. Hahn practised what he preached and was a fiercely competitive tennis player well into his 50s.

Dr Hahn also made sure that design and technology was in the timetable. Many independent schools sneered at this as being something for the working class. Pupils who could afford Gordonstoun were middle class or upper class. Hahn disliked snobbery but financial reality meant that his school could take very few proletarian pupils.

All pupils were required to join a service. This could be the fire brigade or coast guard service for example.
The school was founded as a Christian school but did not align itself with any denomination. The great majority of pupils were Church of Scotland or Church of England.
Hahn brought some of his colleagues with him from Germany. The school had very little money so some of them had to work for bed and board for the first couple of years. They received no salary! Some of his Jewish pedagogical friends were especially eager to get out of Germany for reasons that do not need stating. The boys of Gordonstoun gained an excellent grounding in German because most of their masters were German!
Gordonstoun founded a preparatory school called Wester Elchies in 1936. This was 20 miles away. Boys would attend Wester Elchies from the age of 7 to 13. Thereafter they would go on to Gordonstoun.

Hahn invented a flag for the school with a white and a purple bar. The white denoted purity and the purple honour. The motto is ‘Plus est en vous’ – there is more in you (than you think). Plus est en vous had been seen written on a wall in Belgium and it inspired Kurt Hahn.

The buildings of the school were very widely dispersed over the estate. This compelled boys to walk fast to all activities. Hahn thought this was tremendous for their athleticism.
In 1936 the school welcomed a most distinguished pupil. He was Prince Philip of Greece. Prince Philip had left Greece as a baby and grown up in London and Paris. He was a second cousin of King George VI. Prince Philip was partly of German extraction.
The school was soon attracting pupils from all over the United Kingdom.
Dr Hahn became a British citizen. This was vital since it meant he was not interned in 1939.Dr Kurt Hahn converted to Christianity. He sometimes preached in the Church of Scotland.

Dr Hahn helped to bring more Jewish Germans to the UK. He saved their lives.
Although Dr Hahn’s English was impeccable he had an unmissable German accent. It caused him to receive many frosty stares when travelling by train during the Second World War.

At the outbreak of the Second World War many called for Adolf Hitler to be assassinated. Hahn showed his extreme perhaps inane degree of humanity in saying that Hitler should not be assassinated. Dr Hahn said that shooting people solves nothing. He cited the example of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Gordonstoun recruited a PE teacher who was a refugee from Russia. When he was exasperated with the boys he would recite gobbets of the Bible to calm himself down. This was the only thing they had been taught to do at school in Russia.
In the Second World War the army commandeered the school under the Defence of the Realm Act. The school was moved to Wales for a few years. It returned after the war.
Dr Hahn was prominent in seeking to restore amicable relations between Germany and the UK after the war. He reopened Salem as soon as was practicable. He visited his devastated native land. He arranged many exchanges between Gordonstoun and Salem. Except Salem was said to be haunted by a ghost named ‘Spookie’.

In 1947 Prince Philip wed Princess Elizabeth. This brought publicity to the school. This princess became queen in 1952.

In the 1950s it became the norm for Gordonstounians to spend one of their five years in Salem.

The Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family attended Gordonstoun.

With his former pupil Dr Hahn helped to found the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. This awards people a bronze, silver or gold for achievement. Someone on the D of E scheme must participate in sport, serve their community and go on an expedition.

Dr Hahn also helped to set up the United World Colleges. These exist around the world and provide two years of pre university schooling. One of them is Atlantic College in Wales.
Altyre School was founded about 10 miles away from Gordonstoun. Altyre was very small. For some lessons they had to cycle to Gordonstoun. This arrangement did not last. Eventually Altyre School was closed and a house called Altyre was built at Gordonstoun.
Wester Elchies outgrew its size. So another house was purchased across the river Spey in 1947. It was called Aberlour House. Wester Elchies and Aberlour House were one school on two sites. They were 3 miles apart. Juniors would be at Wester Elchies for three years. They would proceed to Aberlour House for a further three years. Therefater they would go on to Gordonstoun for five years. The prep school began to take girls in the 1950s but Gordonstoun did not.
A levels started to be considered important after the Second World War. Prior to that pupils had sat the schools certificates exams. Gordonstoun took the fateful decision to take A levels which are not a Scottish qualification. Almost every other school in Scotland does Highers which are a uniquely Scottish exam.
The school’s fame spread rapidly. It took pupils from the United States, India, Australia and many other lands.
One of the houses in Gordonstoun is called Round Square. This is because there are no corners in it. Gordonstoun established fraternal links with many schools around the world. They meet at Round Square conferences.

Hahn was loaded with honours. He was made a Commander of the British Empire. He was given the cross of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In the early 1970s Gordonstoun admitted girls.
Dr Hahn retired in 1953. Except he did not. He returned to Salem and ran a house but taught no lessons.He jogged into his 80s! He died in 1974. He had never married.
Dr Hahn was fondly remembered by his pupils and colleagues alike.
Gordonsount is known as ”Stoun” to its pupils. He is the subject of a number of biographies.

The inanity of Ben Shapiro.


Ben is sound on some issues. On other questions of public policy he is ludicrous.

Mr Shapiro is very plain speaking in declaring that he regards abortion as murder. Elective abortion is indeed immoral and a large minority of Americans agree with his opinion. He regards any participation in murder as being murder. This is under the Law of Parties. In England and Wales that used to be the common purpose rule.

Shapiro is also clear when he calls for the death penalty for murder. About 40% of American women have had abortions. He would like to see them all killed.  How about the doctors and nurses who procure these terminations? A huge number of medical staff would also have to be slain. How about the boyfriends and husbands of these women? If they encourage or assent to a termination they too are guilty of capital murder. Is there no end to Ben’s bloodlust?