Monthly Archives: September 2020

MM on privacy and authenticity ================

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MM moved to LA to escape the media. treasure their privacy. guard it jealulsy

engaged ina court battle in London over privacy.

yes a recluse. a hermit. LA a town not known to have any famous people

how do they maintain provacy.? public appearances. broadcasts. twitter messages. publishing proivate correspondence. selling home videos to TV.

schizoid attitude to privacy. married a prince just so she could be annonymous

egomaniac. craves publicity. wants to be centre of attention.

will sell her image. huge fees for appearance. netflix. don’t tell me you want people to ignore you.

do not notice me I am just one of the crowd.

streisand effect.

if they want priavy shut up. stay home when possible, no media appearance.

no preachments

a suitcase girl on a game show. very feminist. girl. no objectificaiton. no trading on looks. and youth.

would she have got that job if ugyl?

told people tp be authetnic. how pretentious is she. editing her wikipedia page.

against bullying. racism. all that is laudbale.

said people should not advertise on FB because it allows hate speech.

wjat is hate speech. free speech?

concern for the poor. £ 65 000 dress.

equalty. she has a podium only because of her husband.

she is tone deaf. can she hear herself?

contentious views. telling people to vote. telling them not to vote.

we know who she favours. she was open about that 4 years ago

that was acceptbale since she was a provate citizen.

her antics might irk some people so much that they are a boon to trump.

harry a ventriloquists dumby. he was genuone when a drunkard, a druggue. assualting journalisys

rage in him against sections of the press corps over his

mother’s death

President Maeghan ==================

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will she run? 2024. boundless ambition. limitless self-belief.

butyraceous substances wouldn’t melt in her maw

as it is caducous season election hotting up

she is yare. lively

bristling with opiions. she scrubs up.

do not cachinnate overmuch

someone who has never sought office, never been in the military but has lost bilkions, serial adulterer would never win nomination

she would be equipose to trump.

v ivanka? I vote meghab

whillikers. it happned

ultimate accolade. a doubel first. female and asian.

starstruck

celebrity power.

she has name recognition. youngish. could fund raise. but polarising.

no illation.

much depends on Biden Harris.

if turmp wns democrat tutoal rethink.

The Partition of India: a catastrophe made in London?

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The vivisection of India was one of the most consequential cataclysms since 1945. Perhaps the supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. Yet in this case certain statesmen, including Britishers, wrought a contrived calamity. The repercussions of this debacle are felt to this day.

In 1947 India stood close to the termination of Britannic paramountcy. It has been conceded by almost all Britons – including Churchill – that the Subcontinent should be granted independency in short order. The only person of note in the United Kingdom to set his face like flint against conceding independence to India was an Urdu speaking ivory tower imbecile named John Enoch Powell. The policy wonk was aghast at learning that the India Act had been based. He was so shocked that he spent a sleepless night walking the streets of London in a fugue. But anyone who had read a newspaper for the past five years could have told you that Indian independence was on the cards. J Enoch Powell then drafted a plan. Like everything this classical scholar did it was notable for its punctiliousness, spang and correctitude. Mr Powell had drawn up a plan about how many battalions needed to be landed where and how the commissariat would equip the taskforce. It was a plan for the invasion of India. The plan landed on W L S Churchill’s desk. The quondam prime minister sent it back with a note, ‘Is this young man all right?’ Powell was howling at the moon mad if he thought that even the Conservative Party wanted to use military force to forfend the independence of India.

The Old Lion barely grumbled when the Labour Government asked him to instruct the Tory peers in the House of Lords not to delay the India Bill by two years as the peers had the legal power to do. Churchill was known not just for carnosity and cigar smoking. He was also renowned or notorious – take your pick – for full throated advocacy of imperialism. As he has said in the darkest day of 1942, ‘’I did not become the king’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.’’ Spencer-Churchill had been adamant that Britain must get into a totally avoidable war against Germany and this war was to so wreck Britain that the dissolution of the empire became almost ineluctable. The blatherskite had assured Britons on VJ Day, ‘’The British Empire today stands stronger and more effectually united than at any time in her long romantic history.’’ These words were splendid as they were hollow.

Winston Churchill said the Conservative and Unionist Party would abide by the Salisbury Convention. Since Labour had had the self-governance of Hindustan in its manifesto the Conservatives in the House of Peers would not thwart the settled will of the British electorate. All but the most reactionary backwoodsman accepted the inescapability of British self-abnegation towards India. Much as Churchill verbigerated about the longevity of imperialism the empire’s days were numbered. India was the keystone of the empire. Once India was granted independence the independence of the rest was only a matter of time.

But was self-government to be granted to one state in India or two? Sir Stafford Cripps had been sent to India in the midst of the Second World to convey two messages to India’s elected representatives. The first was that London would accede to India’s absolute independence as soon as practicable after the war. The second was that the United Kingdom would strongly prefer India to remain united after independence. Cripps suggested to Congress and the Muslim League that India be divided into three mega provinces at independence. One would be the north-west (i.e. modern day Pakistan), another would be the north-east (i.e. modern day Bangladesh) and the third would be the rest (i.e. modern day India). These mega provinces would be a wide degree of autonomy within the Indian Union and the government at the centre would have limited power. In this wise the aspirations for Muslim self-government and for Indian unity could both be satisfied. But it was not to be. Mohammed Ali Jinnah was adamant. He must have his Pakistan as a completely independent country; totally separate from India. Nothing would shake him. Further, Congress politicians were unwilling to make such sweeping concessions which they felt would be almost Partition anyway. If they allowed the Muslim League a large amount of devolution in the north-west and the north-east then the Muslim League could easily go that step further and completely break away from India.

Lord Wavell was the Viceroy of India as 1947 dawned. The former commander of the Indian Army was holding the fort almost literally. Lord Wavell he was not sanguine about the chances of an orderly transfer of sovereignty. The Wykehamist was jaded after decades in the country and commanded little affection in any Indian political party. He was tainted in Congress’ eyes with the attempt to prosecute former members of the Indian National Army (INA) for high treason in time of war. Wavell had had to issue a nolle prosequi (do not prosecute) order in relation to the INA trials because the trials were inflaming public opinion. These quislings were let off scot free. Some hailed them as would be liberators of their native loam. Others saw them for the hirelings of Hirohito that they really were.

The British Prime Minister Clement Attlee decided upon the appointment of Lord Louis Mountbatten. The 47 year old scion of the British Royal House knew Asia well. He had been Supreme Allied Commander in South Asia in the Second World War. He had toured India since his teens. His first visit to the Subcontinent had been in the company of his second cousin the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII). Lord Mountbatten and the traitor king had more in common than meets the eye. Egomaniacal, adulterous, effete, avaricious and politically unreliable – they proved that blood is thicker than water. On their 1920 tour of the Subcontinent Lord Mountbatten expressed conventional upper class British views in his diaries. He scorned nationalist protesters as ‘filthy non-co-operators.’ In time his opinions with regard to India were to mollify and modernise. Gradually he came to accept the inevitability and even desirability of granting India independence. In this regard he was ahead of the curve for a member of the British establishment.

Mountbatten was the younger son of a German-British admiral – the Marquess of Milford Haven. The surname was Battenberg. In the anti-German atmosphere of the First World War they had changed it to Mountbatten since ‘berg’ means ‘mount.’ Louis Mountbatten went to the Royal Naval Academy  at Dartmouth  and served in the Royal Navy near the close of the Great War and avoided combat. He then spent two terms at Cambridge. He married a Jewish woman who was rumoured to be the wealthiest heiress in the world. Edwina’s father was banker to Edward VII. Indeed, Edwina was name in honour of the king. This made him a very wealthy man indeed. The union was blessed with a brace of daughters. After that he and his wife Edwina both carried on numerous extramarital affairs. Biographer Andrew Lownie counted at least 16 of her paramours. Mountbatten was a willing cuckold. His wife was indifferent to her husband’s countless conquests.

Dickie was Mountbatten’s cognomen within the royal family. His name was actually Nicholas. He had initially been known as Nicky. It was decided that he could not go by Nicky since that would cause confusion with Tsar Nicholas II who was a relative.

In recent decades files have come to light concerning allegations of paedophilia against Lord Mountbatten. A dead man cannot stand trial. These allegations can never be tested in court. Some of his alleged victims have died too. What can be made of the several independent complainants? This was not an era when the powerless were wont to accuse the powerful and particularly not to false accuse them. The argument from authority held water back then. ‘You cannot accuse me – I am a pillar of the community.’ He was Admiral of the Fleet, Supreme Allied Commander in South Asia, a member of the royal family, Governor-General of Canada – they do not get more powerful than that. His accusers never sought publicity nor were they ever going to get a groat in compensation. If the allegations are true these men – and they were all male – did not receive a scintilla of justice. Indeed, they ran great risks by accusing someone so wealthy, so powerful and so well connected. He could be a very formidable enemy. Why on earth would they accuse him if it were not true? It stretches credulity to claim that these allegations were without foundation.

The Dieppe Raid was the brainchild of Mountbatten. It was also an unmitigated calamity for the Allies. In 1942 British and Canadian troops attacked the port in German-occupied France. The attack did not weaken the Wehrmacht. It did garner intelligence – for the Germans. The German Army simply learnt how the Allies would execute an amphibious attack. Lord Mountbatten was a moral coward in refusing to accept any responsibility for the fiasco.

Being a royal Mountbatten’s disastrous leadership was punished with promotion! Others would have been court martialled for what he did.

Despite his numerous and severe shortcomings there was something to be said in favour of selecting Lord Mountbatten. In an intensely status conscious society his pedigree accorded him kudos. This great grandson of Queen Victoria showed the seriousness which the UK attached to facilitating Indian independence. He knew the region well and had voiced sympathy for Indian nationalism long before that was en vogue in British establishment circles. His military experience would also come in handy when the need to use force was a daily occurrence. He had the self-assurance to take the job. The mission was intimidating in the extreme. It could all go horribly wrong and indeed it did. Someone plagued by self-doubts would not be equal to the gargantuan task ahead. It fell to Lord Louis Mountbatten to the last understudy of King George VI who happened to be his second cousin.

One of Mountbatten’s goals was to persuade India’s 585 princes to opt for India or (if were to be created) an entirely novel nation called Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten claimed the credit that all bar a handful of princely states elected to join one country or other. However, the credit is the due of Vallabhai Patel of Congress for India and some Muslim League leaders for Pakistan.

Promiscuous bisexuality was not fashionable in India. Fortunately for Lord Mountbatten the public did not find out that he batted for both sides.

Lord Mountbatten did not put up much of a fight when offered the chance to be Britain’s last proconsul in India. He made his characteristically impetuous demands. He must have such and such a plane to fly him thither. If he did not get the kite he would not accept the post. The tantrum worked. Therefore, the royal set out to be midwife to the independent India.

Some hardcore Hindus had not time for Britishers for the Britishers dined on kine. Lord Mountbatten did not appreciate the depth of religious animus. Presumably their bosom companion Nehru assured them that it would work out beautifully. Nehru was dedicated to the fallacy that Hindus could live in peace with Muslims.

The Mountbattens hit India like no viceregal couple before. Though the insisted on a full instalment with all the bells and whistles they were also down to earth. Their idea was that they needed all the glamour and glitter because this would give them authority. As they were about to spell finis to the British Raj they felt it vital that they Raj go out in style. They were approachable. It is said that power means not having to listen. As British power was on the wane the British in India had to listen like never before.

Lady Mountbatten was known for her voracious sexual appetite from which no man was safe! Her pantherine predatory sexuality was the terror of India. They were both yare for their years.

Lord Mountbatten tried to get to know India’s doyens. His lengthy and friendly chats with different politicos met with varying degrees of success. Saradar Vallabhai Patel was having none of it. He was far too canny to be buttered up by the Mountbattens.

The Mountbattens met Jinnah. The Siddiqui swilling skeletal Sindhi was not in sympathy with Lord Mountbatten or his goodwife. M A Jinnah’s calculating, cold and stiff style was a world away from the touchy feely yet regal style of the philandering couple.

What of Jawaharlal Nehru? At the stroke of the midnight hour, as the world slept, he made a tryst with…. Lady Mountbatten. Lady Pamela Hicks (the Mountbattens’ daughter) denied for years that her mother was in a sexual relationship with Nehru. After decades she finally confirmed that her mother had had an affair with Nehru and was a man eater – in her own words. Lady Mountbatten remained devoted to Nehru for the rest of her life. When she died in 1960 her bed was surrounded with letters from J L Nehru.

The Mountbattens were played by Nehru. People think they charmed him. It was the other way around. Nehru asked Mountbatten to be Governor-General of India after independence. This appealed greatly to Mountbatten’s incomparable vanity.

Pakistanis complain that the British were prejudiced in favour of India. This accusation is true. Lord Louis fancied himself as Governor-General of Pakistan as well as of India. He was self-sacrificing enough to offer his services to Jinnah in this capacity. Mountbatten was given short shrift!  M A Jinnah was having the top job for himself thank you very much!

Lord Mountbatten tried to talk Jinnah out of partition.  Mohammed Ali Jinnah was never one to tergiversate. His bloody mindedness wins him some unwilling respect. Try as Mountbatten might, Jinnah was immovable. Jinnah wanted to go down in history as the founder of a nation state. Jinnah was a totally nonpractising Muslim. Nevertheless, he got his way. Mountbatten’s sleuths did not do their work well. M A Jinnah was terminally ill with tuberculosis. That was why he was so cadaverous. Louis Mountbatten said that had he know that the supremo of the Muslim League was on death’s door then he would have stalled. The Muslim League was very much based around the personality of Jinnah. If he died the Muslim League would devolve in squabbling and whichever leader emerged it would not have been a man of the singlemindedness of cool charisma of Jinnah. But far from delaying independence Louis Mountbatten did the opposite.

The Viceroy decided that the planned independence date was 30 June 1948. Within weeks of arriving Lord Mountbatten had decided that this simply would not do. In that Indian word he ‘preponed’ independence by 10 months. He announced that independence would take place on 15 August 1947. Festinating only heightened a sense of panic.

It was decided that independence for Pakistan would come a day before India’s. This was partly to do with the alignment of the stars and planets. Many Hindus were frightfully superstitious at the time. It would have been inauspicious for India’s independence to be declared on 14 August.

There came the question of a national flag for India. It was evident that it would be an Indian Tricolour of some kind which had been the flag of Congress for almost 30 years. Mountbatten proposed that it also bear the Union Flag on it. Congress said a very clear and unanimous ‘No’ to this suggestion.

After independence for the two nations was declared the borders between them were announced. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was a British judge who was brought out to India for the first time in his life for the purpose of drawing the borders between the two nascent states. Mercifully, the Radcliffe Award by both sides despite it being deeply resented by both.

Tens of millions of people found themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the border. There were Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. There were Muslims in India. Many people hastened to cross to the ‘right’ side of the border.

Communal asperities were enormously exacerbated by Partition. Therefore at least hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered for their faith.

Besides those who were butchered many refugees died for want of alimentation. The government’s failure to provide for the indigent was criminous.

Mountbatten failed to provide adequate security for refugees. The Indian Army and even better the British Army could have kept people safe. The British Army had no Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs in it. Your average Tommy would not know a Hindu from a Mohammedan. Tommy Atkins had no axe to grind. By gross negligence and indolence the viceroy did precious little to save people from murder.

In fairness, his noble lordship is by no means the only person who is blameworthy for the Indian Genocide of 1947. Congress politicians must bear some of the culpability for not striving might and main to save more lives. The same must be said of the Muslim League.

Lord Mountbatten’s partisans – and there still are some – seek to throw all the blame onto Indian statesmen. However, it must be borne in the forefront of one’s mind that he was Governor-General of India until the middle of 1948. Therefore he, not Nehru, was commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Ultimately, Mountbatten gave the orders. Indeed in his 15 August  1947speech Lord Mountbatten emphasised that the Government of India was ‘my’ government. In the last analysis most of the responsibility lies with Mountbatten.

Within two months of India’s independence the Pakistanis invaded Jammu and Kashmir. Lord Mountbatten did not foresee this nor act swiftly enough when the invasion occurred. It is true the situation was somewhat salvaged. Had he tarried more then Pakistan might have overrun the whole of Kashmir.

In later years Lord Mountbatten did what he could to bring about the failure of the Suez Operation in 1956. In a TV interview he said he was ‘violently against’ the military attack.

He later became Governor-General of Canada. He was a strange choice given that he threw away the lives of hundreds of Canadian soldiers for nothing at Dieppe.

Towards the end of his life Louis Mountbatten frequented his holiday house in the Republic of Ireland. Classiebawn House is at Mullaghmore, County Sligo. Up to 20 Garda officers were assigned to protect the former viceroy.

The IRA had plotted his murder since 1962. Mountbatten was warned in the early 1970s not to go to Ireland – north or south. The Irish Republican Army wanted his head on a plate. Both MI5 and the Garda Siochana (Southern Irish Police) informed the lord that they could not guarantee his safety. He was contemptuous of expert advice. Violence was very high in Northern Ireland at that time. Mountbatten’s house was only 12 miles from the border.

In the summer of 1979 the warnings became flashing red. His lordship was warned by Graham Ewell that the yacht was easy to place a bomb on. Ewell said that several cars of Belfast IRA men had been seen in Mullaghmore.

Lord Mountbatten said of the IRA, ‘what would they want with an old man like me?’ This terrorist organisation deliberately targeted civilians as a matter of course just like their loyalist analogues. Irish Republicans had conspired to slay members of the royal house since the 19th century.

In August 1979 Lord Mountbatten’s yacht Shadow V was blown up in Mullaghmore Harbour. Mountbatten and a few other people accompanying him were killed. As usual he was grossly irresponsible. His arrogant, cavalier and stupid misconduct had led to the death of civilians including members of his family.

The Indians sent some troops to march in his funeral cortege. The Pakistanis did not. It is not hard to see why the Pakistanis declined to honour this man.

ANALYSIS

By no means everything that gang awry in India in 1947 is attributable to Lord Mountbatten or other Britons. Even with an ideal viceroy there was going to be some violence. However, Mountbatten’s injudicious decision making, conspicuous partiality, self-conceit, heedlessness of expertise and overconfidence hugely exacerbated the already febrile situation.

There were numerous injudicious decisions wrought in the 347 years of Britannic involvement in India. Some of these were made by Britishers. But with regard to Partition it is patent that Lord Mountbatten is more culpable than anyone else.

The Partition of India was calamitous. It was worse for Pakistan than India. Pakistan ought not have been created. By 1947 the Pakistan Movement had taken on a momentum of its own and was probably unstoppable. Until 1947 it was far from obvious that Pakistan would be created at all. Congress was polling well even in the North-West Frontier Province until months before the Partition of India. More strenuous efforts ought to have been made to avert the inestimable calamity of partition.

I am not in the least bit anti-Pakistani. I have visited the Islamic Republic. There are Pakistanis whom I count as dear friends. However, everything good about Pakistan can be found in India and is usually better there. A nation based on a faith leads almost unavoidably to a theocracy. That is what transpired in Pakistan. This was a most regrettable retrogradation. Pakistan has all the woes that India has only far worse.

Pakistan and India are in an on again off again conflict down to this very day. Much of this can be traced back to Mountbatten.

A United India would be the most populous nation on earth. There might be no nuclear arms there. Even if it had nukes there would be one set not two. India with its united strength would be far more puissant. A United India would be greater than the sum of its parts.  A Greater India would be a democracy and a peerless force for humanitarianism.

By what mischance was India divided? It was partly down to the iron will and vaulting personal ambition of Jinnah who created a country for a religion he did not practise. There were also missteps by Congress. By resigning from provincial governments in 1939 they created a power vacuum. This was often filled by the Muslim League. However, much of the blame must be laid at the door of Lord Mountbatten.

Lord Mountbatten openly favoured Nehru and India. It is hard to castigate Lord Louis for this. Nehru was a decidedly admirable chap. But by conspicuous bias, Mountbatten damaged the UK’s reputation with Pakistan forever. Britain’s image there is forever tarnished.

Upon retirement from India the king decided to upgrade Mountbatten’s title from baron to earl. What had he done to earn this gong?

As a million stiff corpses putrified in the tropical sun Mountbatten was pleased to be honoured for meritorious service. It takes real chutzpah for him to consider his viceroyalty a job well done.

The former viceroy was so stuck up that he was outraged that he did not have a prominent enough role to play at the coronation of Elizabeth II. His prima donna antics really were nauseating.

For the rest of his life Lord Mountbatten expressed the uttermost admiration and affection for the people of India and his empathy for the penurious there. Despite his vast unearned fortune; the lord never deigned to donate a brass farthing to the starving.

In 1960 Lady Mountbatten died in her sleep on a trip to Borneo. Her Y shaped coffin was flown to Britain. As she was married to a sailor, she was given a burial at sea. She had requested this sort of funeral because she wanted to be touched by seamen one last time. In token of his affection Nehru send ships of the India Navy to participate in the maritime funeral of the vicereine.

Decades later Lord Mountbatten was asked in a TV interview if upon mature reflection he could think of any misstep he had made in handling the independence of India. The Partition of India had resulted in the deaths of well over a million people. Most of them were civilians, unarmed people butchered for their faith. This was insufficient to appall the viceregal conscience. With Olympian arrogance his noble lordship said he did not consider himself to have made even a single tiny mistake.

Should this man have had a statute erected in his honour in London only a few years ago?

Rishi Sunak: Britain’s next Prime Minister? =========================

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Rishi Sunak: Britain’s next prime minister?

Within a year Rishi Sunak will be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Sunak is currently the Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister). He is the only cabinet minister to emerge from the coronavirus debacle with his reputation enhanced. Dishy Rishi is hailed as the saviour of restaurants and the licensed trade.

Boris Johnson is on the ropes. For decades he had hankered after the prime ministership. In 2019 he finally ascended the greasy poll. After a thumping election victory it all went wrong in record time. Bo Jo’s honeymoon disappeared within three months. Along came coronavirus. Johnson mishandled it spectacularly. The bumbling act disguises really bumbling and bungling. Boris’s lassitude, incompetence, inattention to detail and disdain for expertise has hugely exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom. The economic fallout has been greatly aggravated by Boris’ malapertness. Boris’ so called ‘oven ready’ trade deal with the EU is anything but. Both the EU and the UK are guilty of obduracy. Boris has proposed the Internal Market Bill. This would be a flagrant violation of international law. Already Bo Jo is facing a major rebellion on his own backbenches. Boris’ authority is leeching away. He faces a formidable Leader of the Opposition. Sir Keir Starmer has a razor-sharp QC mind. Boris cannot lay a glove on the Labour leader. All of a sudden Bo Jo’s Oxford Union antics will not cut it anymore. Boris is a clown. At a time like this there is a little to laugh about. The joke has well and truly worn off.

The Prime Minister is engaged. His 30 something fiancée has brought forth Boris’ sixth child. Boris caught coronavirus through his own refusal to follow basic health guidelines. He survived but the health impact is likely to be lifelong. Boris faces an awful situation on all fronts. The economy, Brexit, the Union, coronavirus, education – it is an omnishambles. It is nightmare on Downing Street.

Bo Jo is not so cocksure anymore. As Labour pulls ahead in the polls so Bo Jo must cast his mind forward to November 2024. That will be the next dissolution of Parliament. As Britain underwent three elections in four years no one wants another early election. The horizon is full of gathering storm clouds. These were mostly authored by Boris himself. Does A B de P Johnson really want to go down in history as the one who led the Tory Party to its worst drubbing since John Major?

There is an alternative open to BoJo. As a classical scholar who could decide that falling on his sword is the most honourable course. Like Cameron in 2016 he may reason ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers.’ He had conquered his Mount Everest. Why not jack it in? He can do something far less stressful and more remunerative. The showman can jet around the world orating for telephone number fees.

If Boris were to resign or be booted out by his own increasingly mutinous party then it create a job vacancy at Number Ten. Who would be apt to fill this office?

The 40 year old Rishi was born in Hampshire, UK. The son of a couple of middle class Indian immigrants he grew up in a family without much wealth and without any elite connections. Rishi’s academic promise shone early. He won a scholarship to Winchester College: one of the most estimable schools in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1382 this all male academic hothouse has a motor ‘Manners Makyth the Man’. The founder was a bishop named William of Wykeham. Due to the founder’s name the schoolboys are called Wykehamists.

Winchester has a reputation for producing serious minded, unshowy sorts. They are civil servants, City solicitors and scientists. The school has all the virtues of Eton but without its stratospheric conceit. No front-rank politician has attended it since the days of Geoffrey Howe. Though 58 years older than Eton the school had produced one PM to Eton’s 20. Henry Addington is the only Wykehamist to have been First Lord of the Treasury.  Addington was distinguished by being undistinguished. As some Regency doggerel put it ‘Pitt is to Addington as London is to Paddington.’

Rishi showed the quiet determination so characteristic of his school. He rose to be headboy. He then won a place to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford. PPE is de rigeur for politicians of his generation. Rishi went up to Lincoln College, Oxford in 1998. This small and unpretentious though ancient college suited him to a tee. Rishi avoided the Conservative Association like the plague. He never showed his face in student politics. He put his head down and studied like a demon. His efforts were crowned with a double first. That is the equivalent of summa cum laude in the American system.

After varsity Rishi joined a bank. His ferocious work ethic had him earning millions by the time he was 30. He took a two-year career break to collect an MBA in the United States. He also bagged an Indian billionaire’s daughter there. The newlyweds were soon blessed with a brace of children.

Shortly after he turned 30 this frighteningly successful young man turned his hand to politics. He had netted a fortune. He was able to retire and devote himself entirely to his ambition of entering Parliament.

Debonair, good looking, suave, affable, genuine, circumspect and diligent: Sunak seems to have all the attributes of a consummate politician. Mr Sunak has placidity and poise. Try as they might the reptiles of Fleet Street cannot find any dirt on Rishi. There are no skeletons in his cupboard. At Oxford he was known to abstain from drug use. He seldom drinks and he keeps fit.

Ere long he was selected for a safe Conservative constituency: Richmond in Yorkshire. William Hague – the former Tory leader – was standing down from the House of Commons. Hague had held Richmond even in 1997: annus horribilis for the Conservative and Unionist Party. Even a donkey could win there so long as he wore the blue rosette. Sunak is no donkey.

The Sunaks purchased a stately home in North Yorkshire. People dubbed him the Maharajah of Yorkshire for the princely style in which this British Indian lived. One of the few criticisms made of him is that he is perhaps a trifle to flash with his cash.

Frankly, Mr Sunak’s ethnicity helps him. The UK is 20% non-white and only due to become more so. 40% of babies born in the United Kingdom are non-white. With the browning of Britain; it is only right that an ethnic minority person become PM at some point.

The Conservative Party is not doing well among ethnic minorities. Labour polls much more strongly among ethnic minority communities. As the ethnic minority % of the populace will grow and grow it means that Labour will have an ever-increasing advantage. The Conservatives need to arrest this trend and fast. Therefore, it behoves the Tory Party to prove its anti-racialist credentials. Two of the three great offices of state are already filled by ethnic minority people.

Rishi Sunak is a safe pair of hands if ever there was one. He is an effectual but not a dazzling orator. BoJo’s mirth can make Parliament rock with laughter. But the country needs a PM not a standup comedian. 

With the coronavirus economic catastrophe Sunak has had to take some bold measures. The UK economy had contracted by an eye watering 20%. Sunak has thrown money at the problem. Keynsianism has mitigated the calamity not prevented it. But even Sunak said he could not save every job or every business. There is already carping on the Tory backbenches. Has Sunak been profligate? How is this debt ever going to be repaid? Raising tax on the affluent goes against the grain for a Conservative. Slashing public services would be an electoral disaster. There are simply no good options. It is a matter of picking these least calamitous.

Sunak pursues a hard-headed, pragmatic and problem-solving approach to politics. Not for him the operatics of Bo Jo or quixotic ideas like CANZUK. Other Tory MPs might chase rainbows. The banker in Sunak looks for the sweet spot: maximum gain at minimum risk. That is not an easy balance to strike. Considering the hospital pass of a situation he inherited Sunak has performed admirably. He has won acclaim from the financial press corps. It has been a bravura year as chancellor.

Supposing Bo Jo tenders his resignation to Her Britannic Majesty who else would throw his or her hat into the ring? The other contenders would be Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and no doubt Jeremy Hunt.

Gove is a silthy tove. He may well have had his day. The oleaginous Aberdonian has no following in the party.

Dominic Raab has kudos for the way he has handled his incredibly difficult brief. He is about the right age and is scandal-free. He is on the bland side but then so is Sunak.

Priti Patel has ballsed up her portfolios. She has resigned once in disgrace. The sky is full of chickens coming home to roost for her. As the only female contender her vote share will not be derisory. That would be bad optics.

Hunt is a rider not a runner. He has maintained a canny silence on contentious issues for a while. That is precisely because he is biding his time. The admiral’s son wants another bite of the cherry. Hunt seems competent but cannot even remember his wife’s nationality. Some Tories say that he is a security risk because his wife is a Chinawoman.

Sunak remains the most likely winner. As Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics. Hunt or Raab could yet some out on top. Sunak is young enough to have easily another two decades in front line politics. If he does not win the leadership this time then there is always next time.

Would Sunak even want the leadership now? It may seem like a poisoned chalice. Better to let Hunt or Raab win it in 2021 and they can lead the Tory Party to defeat in 2024. Then Sunak can pick up the leadership and lead the party back to government.

But opportunity knocks. It might not knock again. The Tories have won four elections on the trot. A fifth consecutive electoral victory is unprecedented. But there is always a first time. If Sunak does not seek the leadership in 2021 he leaves it to Hunt or Raab. There is a chance that the alternative Tory PM could pull a rabbit out of the hat and win in 2024. Sunak’s moment might have passed without him ever making a grab for the big prize.

In 2024 it is hard to see how Labour could win outright. They have a mere 130 and some odd seats. They need 326 to form a majority. Winning almost 190 seats in a single election is a tall order indeed. However, it might yet happen. The Conservatives have a grim task ahead of the. In all areas of policy the government is struggling. People are not afraid of Sir Keir Starmer. He had a distinguished record in public service even before he entered the political arena. It is hard for the Tory propaganda machine to depict a knight as a revolutionary. Labour is no longer mutinous. It cannot be portrayed as loony left. After 14 years of government many people will be sick of Conservatism.

If Labour does not win outright it will need to seek an arrangement with another party. Forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats is the most blatant solution. The Lib Dems have a measly 11 seats. This minnow of a party could easily have 20 seats next time. But what is their pitch? They stood as absolute Remainers in 2019. It failed miserably. They cannot pose as equidistant between the Conservatives and Labour now. Labour is quite moderate. The Lib Dems have run out of ideas. Sir Ed Davey is amiable forgettable. He has age and experience but not gravitas. The Lib Dems garner precious little media coverage.

Would the Lib Dems even want to go into coalition. Remember last time they tried that? Many Lib Dems opposed it. The Lib Dems lost two-thirds of their vote share. They achieved little in terms of policy. They have still not recovered from 2010. If having propped up the Tories they prop up Labour they will seem like complete tarts. However, Lib Dems then to loathe Labour less than they do the Tories. The Lib Dems might demand and receive a second referendum on alternative vote.

The SNP is the only other possible party to assist Labour. They could offer confidence and supply. They would not want to be in a coalition since they dislike the very idea of the UK Government. But the Scottish National Party’s price would be another referendum on separation. Labour does not wish to sunder the Union any more than the Conservatives do. This is not entirely altruistic. Labour used to gain dozens of seats in North Britain. Labour is feeble north of Hadrian’s Wall now. But what goes up must come down. One day the SNP’s popularity will fall. It could be in 20 years. But if Labour regains its former standing in Scotland then that is a game changer. The Tories were extinct as a parliamentary party in Caledonia for several years. Now the Tory Party is a force to be reckoned with there.

The DUP will have 10 seats to offer at most. Many in Labour consider them toxic. Labour held some behind the scenes talks with the DUP in 2010 with a view to confidence and supply. It came to nothing.

It is time to think the unthinkable. If in 2024 there is a serious chance that the SNP could be kingmaker then it would be time for Labour and the Conservatives to sink their differences. Could the two not work together? It would be a Labour Government with Conservatives as a junior partner or perhaps outside the government offering confidence and supply. The Tories and Lib Dems had a coalition and were still able to stand against each other at the next election. For the good of the nation and to keep the UK intact such a solution must not be ruled out. It might be the only way to maintain the Union.

In the Republic of Ireland our two major parties formed a coalition. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael had been opponents for almost a century. They both grew out of Sinn Fein. After almost 100 years of separation the two parties chose to work together ironically enough to oppose: Sinn Fein! If they can do it so can the UK’s two parties of state. The Irish parties have even contemplated a merger. In Northern Ireland the DUP and Sinn Fein have worked together. They were not just polls apart in the 1990s. They were at each other’s throats: almost literally.

A Labour-Tory coalition would be the peace of the brave. Could they find the maturity and wisdom to make it work? If so it would need a man as decent as Sunak to lead his party.

Some in Labour find the Tories vile. As Nye Bevan said, ‘they are lower than vermin. I have a deep burning hatred of the Tory Party.’ The Labour rank and file might not wear such an agreement. If there were a deal with the Tories then some Labour people would resign in disgust and join the Lib Dems or even a far left party.

Rishi Sunak: Britain’s next prime minister?

Within a year Rishi Sunak will be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Sunak is currently the Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister). He is the only cabinet minister to emerge from the coronavirus debacle with his reputation enhanced. Dishy Rishi is hailed as the saviour of restaurants and the licensed trade.

Boris Johnson is on the ropes. For decades he had hankered after the prime ministership. In 2019 he finally ascended the greasy poll. After a thumping election victory it all went wrong in record time. Bo Jo’s honeymoon disappeared within three months. Along came coronavirus. Johnson mishandled it spectacularly. The bumbling act disguises really bumbling and bungling. Boris’s lassitude, incompetence, inattention to detail and disdain for expertise has hugely exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom. The economic fallout has been greatly aggravated by Boris’ malapertness. Boris’ so called ‘oven ready’ trade deal with the EU is anything but. Both the EU and the UK are guilty of obduracy. Boris has proposed the Internal Market Bill. This would be a flagrant violation of international law. Already Bo Jo is facing a major rebellion on his own backbenches. Boris’ authority is leeching away. He faces a formidable Leader of the Opposition. Sir Keir Starmer has a razor-sharp QC mind. Boris cannot lay a glove on the Labour leader. All of a sudden Bo Jo’s Oxford Union antics will not cut it anymore. Boris is a clown. At a time like this there is a little to laugh about. The joke has well and truly worn off.

The Prime Minister is engaged. His 30 something fiancée has brought forth Boris’ sixth child. Boris caught coronavirus through his own refusal to follow basic health guidelines. He survived but the health impact is likely to be lifelong. Boris faces an awful situation on all fronts. The economy, Brexit, the Union, coronavirus, education – it is an omnishambles. It is nightmare on Downing Street.

Bo Jo is not so cocksure anymore. As Labour pulls ahead in the polls so Bo Jo must cast his mind forward to November 2024. That will be the next dissolution of Parliament. As Britain underwent three elections in four years no one wants another early election. The horizon is full of gathering storm clouds. These were mostly authored by Boris himself. Does A B de P Johnson really want to go down in history as the one who led the Tory Party to its worst drubbing since John Major?

There is an alternative open to BoJo. As a classical scholar who could decide that falling on his sword is the most honourable course. Like Cameron in 2016 he may reason ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers.’ He had conquered his Mount Everest. Why not jack it in? He can do something far less stressful and more remunerative. The showman can jet around the world orating for telephone number fees.

If Boris were to resign or be booted out by his own increasingly mutinous party then it create a job vacancy at Number Ten. Who would be apt to fill this office?

The 40 year old Rishi was born in Hampshire, UK. The son of a couple of middle class Indian immigrants he grew up in a family without much wealth and without any elite connections. Rishi’s academic promise shone early. He won a scholarship to Winchester College: one of the most estimable schools in the Commonwealth. Founded in 1382 this all male academic hothouse has a motor ‘Manners Makyth the Man’. The founder was a bishop named William of Wykeham. Due to the founder’s name the schoolboys are called Wykehamists.

Winchester has a reputation for producing serious minded, unshowy sorts. They are civil servants, City solicitors and scientists. The school has all the virtues of Eton but without its stratospheric conceit. No front-rank politician has attended it since the days of Geoffrey Howe. Though 58 years older than Eton the school had produced one PM to Eton’s 20. Henry Addington is the only Wykehamist to have been First Lord of the Treasury.  Addington was distinguished by being undistinguished. As some Regency doggerel put it ‘Pitt is to Addington as London is to Paddington.’

Rishi showed the quiet determination so characteristic of his school. He rose to be headboy. He then won a place to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford. PPE is de rigeur for politicians of his generation. Rishi went up to Lincoln College, Oxford in 1998. This small and unpretentious though ancient college suited him to a tee. Rishi avoided the Conservative Association like the plague. He never showed his face in student politics. He put his head down and studied like a demon. His efforts were crowned with a double first. That is the equivalent of summa cum laude in the American system.

After varsity Rishi joined a bank. His ferocious work ethic had him earning millions by the time he was 30. He took a two-year career break to collect an MBA in the United States. He also bagged an Indian billionaire’s daughter there. The newlyweds were soon blessed with a brace of children.

Shortly after he turned 30 this frighteningly successful young man turned his hand to politics. He had netted a fortune. He was able to retire and devote himself entirely to his ambition of entering Parliament.

Debonair, good looking, suave, affable, genuine, circumspect and diligent: Sunak seems to have all the attributes of a consummate politician. Mr Sunak has placidity and poise. Try as they might the reptiles of Fleet Street cannot find any dirt on Rishi. There are no skeletons in his cupboard. At Oxford he was known to abstain from drug use. He seldom drinks and he keeps fit.

Ere long he was selected for a safe Conservative constituency: Richmond in Yorkshire. William Hague – the former Tory leader – was standing down from the House of Commons. Hague had held Richmond even in 1997: annus horribilis for the Conservative and Unionist Party. Even a donkey could win there so long as he wore the blue rosette. Sunak is no donkey.

The Sunaks purchased a stately home in North Yorkshire. People dubbed him the Maharajah of Yorkshire for the princely style in which this British Indian lived. One of the few criticisms made of him is that he is perhaps a trifle to flash with his cash.

Frankly, Mr Sunak’s ethnicity helps him. The UK is 20% non-white and only due to become more so. 40% of babies born in the United Kingdom are non-white. With the browning of Britain; it is only right that an ethnic minority person become PM at some point.

The Conservative Party is not doing well among ethnic minorities. Labour polls much more strongly among ethnic minority communities. As the ethnic minority % of the populace will grow and grow it means that Labour will have an ever-increasing advantage. The Conservatives need to arrest this trend and fast. Therefore, it behoves the Tory Party to prove its anti-racialist credentials. Two of the three great offices of state are already filled by ethnic minority people.

Rishi Sunak is a safe pair of hands if ever there was one. He is an effectual but not a dazzling orator. BoJo’s mirth can make Parliament rock with laughter. But the country needs a PM not a standup comedian. 

With the coronavirus economic catastrophe Sunak has had to take some bold measures. The UK economy had contracted by an eye watering 20%. Sunak has thrown money at the problem. Keynsianism has mitigated the calamity not prevented it. But even Sunak said he could not save every job or every business. There is already carping on the Tory backbenches. Has Sunak been profligate? How is this debt ever going to be repaid? Raising tax on the affluent goes against the grain for a Conservative. Slashing public services would be an electoral disaster. There are simply no good options. It is a matter of picking these least calamitous.

Sunak pursues a hard-headed, pragmatic and problem-solving approach to politics. Not for him the operatics of Bo Jo or quixotic ideas like CANZUK. Other Tory MPs might chase rainbows. The banker in Sunak looks for the sweet spot: maximum gain at minimum risk. That is not an easy balance to strike. Considering the hospital pass of a situation he inherited Sunak has performed admirably. He has won acclaim from the financial press corps. It has been a bravura year as chancellor.

Supposing Bo Jo tenders his resignation to Her Britannic Majesty who else would throw his or her hat into the ring? The other contenders would be Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and no doubt Jeremy Hunt.

Gove is a silthy tove. He may well have had his day. The oleaginous Aberdonian has no following in the party.

Dominic Raab has kudos for the way he has handled his incredibly difficult brief. He is about the right age and is scandal-free. He is on the bland side but then so is Sunak.

Priti Patel has ballsed up her portfolios. She has resigned once in disgrace. The sky is full of chickens coming home to roost for her. As the only female contender her vote share will not be derisory. That would be bad optics.

Hunt is a rider not a runner. He has maintained a canny silence on contentious issues for a while. That is precisely because he is biding his time. The admiral’s son wants another bite of the cherry. Hunt seems competent but cannot even remember his wife’s nationality. Some Tories say that he is a security risk because his wife is a Chinawoman.

Sunak remains the most likely winner. As Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics. Hunt or Raab could yet some out on top. Sunak is young enough to have easily another two decades in front line politics. If he does not win the leadership this time then there is always next time.

Would Sunak even want the leadership now? It may seem like a poisoned chalice. Better to let Hunt or Raab win it in 2021 and they can lead the Tory Party to defeat in 2024. Then Sunak can pick up the leadership and lead the party back to government.

But opportunity knocks. It might not knock again. The Tories have won four elections on the trot. A fifth consecutive electoral victory is unprecedented. But there is always a first time. If Sunak does not seek the leadership in 2021 he leaves it to Hunt or Raab. There is a chance that the alternative Tory PM could pull a rabbit out of the hat and win in 2024. Sunak’s moment might have passed without him ever making a grab for the big prize.

In 2024 it is hard to see how Labour could win outright. They have a mere 130 and some odd seats. They need 326 to form a majority. Winning almost 190 seats in a single election is a tall order indeed. However, it might yet happen. The Conservatives have a grim task ahead of the. In all areas of policy the government is struggling. People are not afraid of Sir Keir Starmer. He had a distinguished record in public service even before he entered the political arena. It is hard for the Tory propaganda machine to depict a knight as a revolutionary. Labour is no longer mutinous. It cannot be portrayed as loony left. After 14 years of government many people will be sick of Conservatism.

If Labour does not win outright it will need to seek an arrangement with another party. Forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats is the most blatant solution. The Lib Dems have a measly 11 seats. This minnow of a party could easily have 20 seats next time. But what is their pitch? They stood as absolute Remainers in 2019. It failed miserably. They cannot pose as equidistant between the Conservatives and Labour now. Labour is quite moderate. The Lib Dems have run out of ideas. Sir Ed Davey is amiable forgettable. He has age and experience but not gravitas. The Lib Dems garner precious little media coverage.

Would the Lib Dems even want to go into coalition. Remember last time they tried that? Many Lib Dems opposed it. The Lib Dems lost two-thirds of their vote share. They achieved little in terms of policy. They have still not recovered from 2010. If having propped up the Tories they prop up Labour they will seem like complete tarts. However, Lib Dems then to loathe Labour less than they do the Tories. The Lib Dems might demand and receive a second referendum on alternative vote.

The SNP is the only other possible party to assist Labour. They could offer confidence and supply. They would not want to be in a coalition since they dislike the very idea of the UK Government. But the Scottish National Party’s price would be another referendum on separation. Labour does not wish to sunder the Union any more than the Conservatives do. This is not entirely altruistic. Labour used to gain dozens of seats in North Britain. Labour is feeble north of Hadrian’s Wall now. But what goes up must come down. One day the SNP’s popularity will fall. It could be in 20 years. But if Labour regains its former standing in Scotland then that is a game changer. The Tories were extinct as a parliamentary party in Caledonia for several years. Now the Tory Party is a force to be reckoned with there.

The DUP will have 10 seats to offer at most. Many in Labour consider them toxic. Labour held some behind the scenes talks with the DUP in 2010 with a view to confidence and supply. It came to nothing.

It is time to think the unthinkable. If in 2024 there is a serious chance that the SNP could be kingmaker then it would be time for Labour and the Conservatives to sink their differences. Could the two not work together? It would be a Labour Government with Conservatives as a junior partner or perhaps outside the government offering confidence and supply. The Tories and Lib Dems had a coalition and were still able to stand against each other at the next election. For the good of the nation and to keep the UK intact such a solution must not be ruled out. It might be the only way to maintain the Union.

In the Republic of Ireland our two major parties formed a coalition. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael had been opponents for almost a century. They both grew out of Sinn Fein. After almost 100 years of separation the two parties chose to work together ironically enough to oppose: Sinn Fein! If they can do it so can the UK’s two parties of state. The Irish parties have even contemplated a merger. In Northern Ireland the DUP and Sinn Fein have worked together. They were not just polls apart in the 1990s. They were at each other’s throats: almost literally.

A Labour-Tory coalition would be the peace of the brave. Could they find the maturity and wisdom to make it work? If so it would need a man as decent as Sunak to lead his party.

Some in Labour find the Tories vile. As Nye Bevan said, ‘they are lower than vermin. I have a deep burning hatred of the Tory Party.’ The Labour rank and file might not wear such an agreement. If there were a deal with the Tories then some Labour people would resign in disgust and join the Lib Dems or even a far left party.

Meghan and H on election

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register to vote

oppose hate speech

disinformation

did not endorse candodate. she was previusly pro holary ant triump

no reason to think she ahs changed. feminisst democrats like that.

indubitable that she is voting democrat. nothing wrong with that.

askning people to vote is still wrong. taking a side on a contentious issue os wrong

they are in uk royal family just not senior.

issues roaysl take up are vetted and approve by UK government. conservation.

others have erred. prince chalres staryes form the path on the environment. glonbal environmental citizne.

queen on scots referendum. 1998 G F A.

stay schtum

partisan.

prince harry not a citizen.

he does not habe the right to speak out

privilege comes at a cost

nobless oblige.

WHat is wrong with Joe Biden?

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What is wrong with Joe Biden?

Joe Biden is running against the bottomless wickedness, excruciating inarticulacy, eye watering hypocrisy, nauseating conceit, incessant mendacity, rampant criminality, jaw dropping ignorance and endless imbecility of a blatantly and malignantly senile orange ogre. Faced with such a morally bankrupt opponent Biden should be well ahead. In fact, the former vice-president is only several percentage points ahead in most polls. A half-decent candidate should thrash the fake tan Fuhrer. But is Biden even half-decent?

 The mainstream media has focussed heavily on the manifold deficiencies and grossly unethical behaviours of Donald J Trump. He is a soft target. This concentration on Trump’s numberless misdeeds have left the media with little time for reportage on many shortcomings and mistakes of Joseph Biden.

To state the obvious Biden is old. He will be 78 by inauguration if elected and that is a big if. This will make him easily the oldest president to assume office. Though Biden can walk a decent distance – which is more than can be said for his obese opponent Donald ‘golfcart’ Trump – his mental faculties have demonstrably decline. Biden was never renowned for his intellectual acuity. But in recent years he has been more gaffe prone than ever. Some mistake his Colgate beam for sprightliness. He has brain surgery decades ago. That should trouble anyone. If Biden becomes commander-in-chief there is a considerable chance that he will die en poste. He is at life expectancy for an American. Are you happy with the idea of President Harris? If not then do not vote for Biden. Elect Biden, get Harris: that is what you have to accept. Biden has had the temerity to say that if elected he shall seek a second term.

For some reason I cannot explicate Biden gets off scot free with lying. His plagiarism from Neil Kinnock’s speech is perhaps the best known example. ‘Why am I the first Biden in 1 000 generations to go the college?’ Joseph should reckon on a generation being considered about 30 years. That would mean he is asking why people did not go to college 30 000 years ago. This rhetorical question revealed his staggering stupidity. We have only had writing for 5 000 years and that started in what is now Iraq! If he has said even 100 generations that would not have made much sense. The Western World has had centres of learning for adults for only 3 000 years at most and those were in Greece and Rome.

The college speech was not the only one he copied from another politician. He cut and paste a speech by Bobby Kennedy.

As far back as law school Biden was caught cheating. Why on earth was he not kicked out? How has he not been expelled from the bar? The man is morally suboptimal to say the least.

Biden plainly thinks that lying under oath is entirely acceptable – so long as it is Democrat who is the liar. When Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury Biden voted to acquit.

It is easy to see why Biden is regarded as a lightweight. It is shocking that he qualified as a lawyer. In the US it is easier to pass the bar than in any other country. The superabundance of lawyers has led to over governance. That is why suing people is the national sport.

Joe Biden is as inconsistent and as ethically compromised as you would expect for a politician who has been in Washington for almost half a century. He has been involved in some of the United States’ most contentious policy decisions.

As Kamala Harris noted Biden opposed bussing. This was a policy in the 1970s and 1980s with the objective of effectually racially integrating schools. It was opposed by many parents and not for racist reasons in most cases. Why can my daughter not go to the school within walking distance? Why does she have to go on a bus for a four hour round trip? It is costly, environmentally unfriendly and leads to sleep deprivation. Joe Biden was very cosy with white supremacist politicians. Biden has been excoriated for his anti-black and anti-Indian remarks.

The Crime Bill of the 1990s had Biden voting for it. This exacerbated mass incarceration. This grossly unjust legislation has made the United States the prison of the world. The US has a higher per capita incarceration rate in the world. This has had a particularly deleterious effect on African-Americans.

Senator Biden was an outspoken proponent of the illegal occupation and oppression of Palestine. He orated for the glories of racist policies towards the downtrodden Palestinians. As a zealous Zionist he won plaudits from his paymasters in Tel Aviv. This kept donations rolling into his war chest.

Joseph Biden also beat the war drums for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. At least it can be said in defence of Barak Obama that he opposed what most now regard as the most unpardonable madcap venture.

First of all let’s look at Biden’s stance on some touchstone issues. Joe Biden seldom tires of telling people that he is a Catholic. Biden supports abortion, gay marriage, the death penalty (until last year), the war in Iraq, nuclear weapons and divorce. So he believes in Catholicism all except for Catholicism. This is as illogical and moronic as Tony Blair crossing the Tiber despite disagreeing with the Catholic Church’s doctrines on every ethical issue you can think of. You might concur with Joseph Biden on these ethical issues. I can respect that. I cannot respect someone who advocates for these positions and then calls himself a Catholic too. The cognitive dissonance that is apparent in Biden should trouble anyone who values reason and constancy.

Joseph Biden has long been a warmonger. In the mid 1990s he was straining at the lead to get America into a war against Yugoslavia. George H W Bush and Bill Clinton were loathe to involve the United States in the Balkan imbroglio. There was no American interest in that. Slobodan Milosevic was a wicked man and many Bosniak civilians were killed by his forces. But Yugoslavia took no offensive action against the United States.

Anyone who cares for civil liberty should oppose Biden. He shepherded the Violence Against Women Act (VAW) through the Senate. No right thinking person wants there to be violence against females or for that matter males. The VAW was given a morally blackmailing name to intimidate people into abandoning the presumption of innocence and other centuries old safeguards.

In the Senate Biden was behind the war on drugs. This cataclysmic policy lead to the jailing of millions of people for the possession of plants. And I mean millions. This illiberal policy was mind-blowingly profligate of public funds. It also handed untold billions to criminal syndicates. It was a public health disaster. Civil liberties were thrown out in the monomaniacal endeavour to end everyone’s bodily autonomy. Hundreds of unarmed people were shot dead by police in furtherance of this policy. And in the war on drugs it was drugs that won.

It is odd that many feminists are on the Biden train. When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment Biden voted against Hill having witnesses corroborate her story. In these days of me too he ought to be hung out to dry. But many feminists will forgive him anything so long as he is an extreme pro abortionist.

 Several women have accused Biden of molesting them. These allegations are credible precisely because they said they regarded his conduct as unethical rather than criminal. His unwanted touching stopped short of sexual assault. If they were out to besmirch his name they would surely have accused him of something more career terminating.

Biden is so old that he makes Mount Rushmore seem young. He has a limited appeal to a party that prides itself on courting the youth vote. The cortazone cohorts do not seem to be rallying to Biden’s banner either.

It is hard not to feel sympathy for Biden bearing in mind he has suffered the very premature deaths of his wife, daughter and son. But the impact such grief could have might impair his judgement and mental health.

Some hail Joe as their saviour. But he has gone from rising hope to elder statesman with little intervening success. Yes, he was vice-president. But what did he achieve as vice-president? The Obama Administration avoided financial meltdown. It lifted the United States and the world out of the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s. But few of Obama’s successes were down to Biden.

The Obama Administration failed to win in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. Obama withdrew most of the troops from these lands. Why not withdraw them all? That at least would have the virtue of getting America’s sons and daughters out of harm’s way. Conversely, if he was going to leave American troops in these combat zones they should be there to win and not just as targets for America’s deadly nemeses. Biden was intimately involved in running these wars. The drone war against the Taleban was something that he was kept briefed on and directed from time to time. Drone strikes against the Taleban in Afghanistan and Pakistan decimated the Talibs. One the other than these attacks also killed at least hundreds of civilians.

Biden agreed to the US pullout from Afghanistan. This is staggering in view of his earlier passion for America fighting to the finish there.

Let us not forget Libya’s sorrowful degeneration from a highly developed land of stability to a morass of anarchy and penury. Libya is witnessing the proverbial war of all against all. Biden was one of the war hawks on Libya. Having used the US Air Force as the insurgent’s air force the Obama Administration did not obey pottery barn rules: you broke it you fix it. If the US had occupied the country and rebuilt it then this might have resolve the situation. Instead 9 years on the country is in bloody chaos. The one leading the revolt against the legitimate government of Libya is Khalifa Haftar who is American! Why has the US Government not warned him off? Why has it not sequestered his property?

The Obama Administration deported hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrations. Not very progressive but progressives give Biden an easy ride anyway. Those booted out were overwhelmingly Hispanic. Small wonder then that the Spanish-speaking community is decidedly lukewarm on Biden.

Many people say that Russia hacked the US election in 2016. If that is true why was there no pushback? The Obama Administration should have retaliated? Why did the Obama White House not launch a cyberattack on the Russian Federation. Freezing Russia’s transport system, taking over Russian TV to broadcast anti-Putin messages, taking down government websites or halting hydrocarbon production for a few hours were all options. These would have been profoundly humiliating from the Kremlin. V V Putin likes to project an image of omnipotence. Showing this up as a bogus boast would have gone a long way towards discouraging cyberaggression in future. But as the Obama-Biden administration did nothing it begs some questions. Did they not believe that Russians meddled in the US election? Or were they simply negligent in not robustly defending American interests?

Why do some people dig Joe Biden? He is bonhomous and his vacuous smile masks his sinister mind effectively. Rhetorical vacuity tricks many.

There is Ronald Reagan quality to Biden. He seems plausible. Biden can put on a suit and read from a teleprompter. A white male d’une certaine age is assumed to have gravitas. He comes across as unthreatening and grandfatherly.  Many are willing to be forgiving to a seemingly well-meaning septuagenarian. He never raises his voice and has affability on his side. His forgetfulness and injudiciousness should also be taken into account.

Biden’s loquacity and ineptitude make him a hostage to fortune. Even his ardent supporters live in terror about the next phoneme out of his mouth.

The fact ought to be faced: Biden is not all there. If he is elected president then Kamala Harris will be a back seat driver from day one. 

Biden’s chance in 2020

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Biden’s chance in 2020

What chance does Joe Biden have of winning the presidency in 2020? At first glance one would assume that an incumbent would be re-elected. 75% of the time a sitting president who seeks a second term gets it. As George W Bush said peace, prosperity and incumbency confer major advantages. Trump has two of the three barring the minor scuffles in the Middle East.

Look at the opinion polls. The poll of polls shows Biden 10% ahead. If he maintains this lead he shall win by a country mile.

At this stage in the last electoral system Hillary Clinton was riding high. On average polls showed her 8% ahead. Polls tightened towards November as they usually do Polls showed her 3% or 4% ahead on election day. As we know she won the popular vote by 2% but lost the electoral college. Even if there is an error in the polls which understates Trump’s support by a similar amount to last time he is still 8% behind at the moment. Making up that shortfall is a tall order.

The demographics are moving the way of the Democrats. Hispanics break heavily towards the Democrats and they are a growing percentage of the populace. The same goes for Asians but they are a small community at the moment. African-Americans are not growing as a percentage of the population by they are hugely inclined towards the Democrats. The junior generation of whites leans towards the Democrats. Women lean towards the Democrats. The Republicans have the advantage among the elderly and uneducated white males. The Grand Old Party is also stronger among churchgoers, gunowners and rural people. These groups often overlap.

Trump has mishandled coronavirus. His maladroit response should sink him. However, he inspires blind faith among many. His polling at 41% is astonishing in the circumstances. He has never gone below 35%. Then again he has never touched 50% either.

The Democrats won the midterms by 8%. They tend to do better in the presidential years. If last time is anything to go by then they should win the presidency handily.

The Democrats cannot afford complacency. Gloating would redound to their disadvantage.

Biden is tight lipped. Why? After Trumps twitter storms, rants and unceasing barefaced lying people might welcome placidity and laconicism. Left to his own devices Donald J Trump will foul his nest.

Joe Biden is playing his cards close to his chest. He may calculate that this election is his for the taking. He will say as little as possible. Play it safe. So long as he does nothing idiotic he shall win by default.

 With Donald J there is always a wild card factor. What will he do next? He might try a desperate gambit. He could bomb Iran or try some audacious demarche.

 Poll ratings for a president always rise when he bombs another land. Rally to the flag. The commander in chief will have to choose his moment carefully. The day before the election will be too late. If he does it four months before the election it will be too early. By then a war will drag on without much success and his poll ratings will dip.

Right on cue no doubt another caravan of illegal immigrants will be spotted crossing Mexico. Trumpsters will say they have to vote for Trump to stop the illegals. Remember how previous caravans disappeared as soon as they no longer served Trump’s purpose?

How is that border wall going? Has he won a trade war? Has he beaten ISIS? He he withdrawn from Afghanistan? Or Iraq? Or Syria? Have Americans tired of winning? Has he drained the swamp? Has he locked her up? Has he got a great relationship with Russia? Has he funded Medicare? Or Medicaid? Has he made drugs better? Has he made them cheaper? Has he ended the opoid crisis? Has he stopped all Muslim immigration? Has he brought back worse than water boarding? Trump has failed to deliver on almost every promise.

Biden need only point out that Trump has reneged on his electoral pledges. Biden needs to offer a platform of his own.

 Much depends on whom Biden selects as his running mate. He is inclined to select an ethnic minority person or a woman but ideally both. Kamala Harris would be ideal. The two have crossed horns in the past. But neither bears grudges. They could easily publicly forgive each other. Biden could express remorse about his relative indifference to the plight of African-Americans.

Miss Harris has the brains, the experience, the media savvy and let’s face it the looks. Rightly or wrongly women are often judged by appearance. Psychologists have often shown people vote for men on the basis of a  leadership look. A leader man or woman is unlikely to win if he or she is totally ugly. Trump apart from obesity is not bad looking.

Kamala Harris is telegenic, sincere, composed and self-assured. In many respects she would be a superb choice. She has disappointed some radicali within her party. She comes across as haughty but that is the norm in politics. Is haughtiness merely self-belief? Trump’s stratospheric arrogance is deemed to be appealing by many.

Biden has his weaknesses. He is even older than Trump. If he falls in public that could hurt his chances. But Trump is swaying in public and his mental declension and pre-Alzheimer’s is plain for all to see. Neither is in the first flush of youth. But Biden seems to be in ruder health than his rival.

Trump had some genuine successes. The stock market and unemployment were both going well. However, these advantages have evaporated. Much of its can be put down to COVID-19. But the president badly mishandled the situation. He greatly aggravated the situation. By contrast Biden was highlighting the gravity of coronavirus in January. In February the president said that coronavirus was a ‘hoax.’ Later that month Trump was still saying that coronavirus would be close to zero by March 12. His wilful ignorance and stupid suggestion that people should take hydroxychloroquine or disinfectant was extremely harmful.

I give Biden a 60% chance of winning. His margin of victory will be 5% of the popular vote.

American support for the Indonesian Genocide

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American support for genocide in Indonesia

It was on the largest scale mass slayings since the Second World War. The enormous slaughter was committed with the imprimatur of the US Government.  As even the CIA termed it ‘’one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.’’ But precious few in the United States or the Occident more broadly care to recall what happened to a poverty-stricken non-white people in 1965. To paraphrase Hitler: who now remembers the Indonesians?

1965. Indonesia was ruled by President Achmed Soekarno or Sukarno as it is now spelt. Sukarno had led the country to independence from the Netherlands. By the 60s he was ailing and some said was not in command of his faculties. The burgeoning populace groaned under an unrelenting great weight of poverty and embezzlement. Officials and military officers creamed off the budget. Many malnourished children walked barefoot and famished not to school but to full time work.

Indonesia was flexing its muscles. The country was aware it was the most puissant in the region. It had set covetous eyes on the former British possessions of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. There was the konfrontasi with these countries. British troops were still stationed in these erstwhile colonies to dissuade the Indonesians from doing anything rash. It worked. Jakarta began to wonder whether East Timor could be annexed from Portugal. But the Indonesians did not fancy their chances against the Portuguese Army despite outnumbering them 100 to 1. Only a few years later Henry Kissinger was to give the go ahead to a plan to conquer East Timor.

 Land grabbing would do nothing to alleviate the suffering of the deprived masses in Indonesia’s slums and villages. The impecuniosity of the majority of the people was all the harder to explicate in view of the country’s enormous economic resources. The maldistribution of the wealth was unjustifiable.

The United States had taken note of Indonesia’s growing importance. The archipelago of 18 000 islands was situated in a location of strategic importance. Islands were very defensible in a Third World War scenario since the US Navy was convinced it could thrash the Soviets. The Soviets were not thought to be so well versed in matters neptunean. Control of Indonesia would allow the US to control all the sea lanes from Singapore to Australia. That Indonesia has huge reserves of oil, coal, metals and even timber had not escaped Washington’s notice. The potential wealth of this land was staggering. No wonder the US was feeling very hawky with regard to this nation.

The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) felt that Marxist-Leninism had the formula was the way to abolish pauperism. They started to attract a large following among those suffering privation. It was hard to convince people living in abject poverty that capitalism brough prosperity. The PKI promised decent wages, affordable housing, clean drinking water, guaranteed food, publicly funded healthcare, public education and social justice. It was hard not to be attracted to such promises.

As the PKI saw it the unworker was profiting from the sweat of the worker’s brow.

90% of Indonesians are Muslims. My rule of thumb is that the further you go from Mecca the milder Muslims are. Indonesia being at the very edge of Dar al Islam was among the least Islamic. Among the Indonesian Muslim community there was a spectrum. Many were nominal Mohammedans. In the middle were some fairly observant people. At the opposite end were reactionaries.

There was a strong correlation between religious mania and anti-communism. The wealthy were against communism. The PKI vowed that they would confiscate all the realty and chattels of the bourgeoisie without compensation. The bourgeoisie’s unacceptance of this policy meant that they had to oppose communism with any means they could. Capitalism plainly had little appeal to the downtrodden masses. Therefore, affluent people tried to persuade the peasantry and the proletariat that the PKI would take away their religion. This had some effect in winning people around to the anti-communist cause. A few mullahs wanted to establish a hagiocracy.

The Christian minority in Indonesia was also won over to the cause of anti-communism. Observant Christians outside the communist world were often led to believe that communism was inimical to their faith.

The army officers were overwhelmingly anti-communist. They were drawn from well-off families. If a child went to school at all then he was better off than most. An army officer has to be able to write.

The CIA had been building a relationship with high ranking Indonesian Army officers. By 1965 they had a few on their payroll. If religion could not convince them to be anti-communist then greenbacks could.

Sukarno was revered for having led the insurrection against the Dutch. He was on a pedestal. The president appeared to be above the fray. There was the PKI on one side and the anti-communists on the other. The officer corps respected the president. Many of them had been his comrades in arms 1945-49 in the fight against imperialism. Sukarno was not anti-communist. But nor was he in the PKI. He appeared to be performing a delicate balancing act between the PKI and its deadly foes.

The army top brass was becoming increasingly political involved and influential. They were veterans of the anti-Dutch revolt. The country was supposed to be a heroarchy.

On 30 September 1965 six senior Indonesian army officers were invited to a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Jakarta. All half a dozen were shot dead. But who killed them? It was the Presidential Guard. But who ultimately ordered the Presidential Guard to shoot the generals? Was it the PKI? Was it right wingers seeking to pin it on the PKI. To this day no one is certain who killed them or why. Was it a rival general wanted them eliminated?

On October 1 it was announced on the radio that the six generals had been slain because they were conspiring to overthrow the president. The six generals were said to be part of ‘’30 September Movement.’’ It was claimed that the six generals were secret PKI members. This seems improbable as they were all known to be conservative Muslims. It is also counterclaimed that they were anti PKI and were killed by the PKI.

There was a few days of unrest and confusion. Soldiers were on the streets of Jakarta holding key installations. The one who seized the initiative was a general named Suharto.

Whenever a crime has to be solved the detectives ask; cui bono? Suharto certainly benefited from what transpired. That does not prove that he instigated. Within a fortnight of the six generals being killed he was appointed army commander.

Suharto unleashed his hounds on leftists. Communists, socialists and anyone even merely suspected of leftist leanings was fair game. At least 500 000 people were killed. They were not killed in combat. The PKI had no weapons with which to fight back. Reputed left wingers were rounded up and they were summarily slain. These were not judicial executions. Three times that number were imprisoned often without trial nor charge.

Some communists had been elected to public office. They were especially likely to be assassinated. Even if a communist was the mayorlet of a hamlet he was marked for instant death.

We are told that the PKI provoked this by assassinating that handful of generals. It is dubious that they did so. It provided a pretext for the PKI to be annihilated. The so called provokee did far worse than the alleged provocateur.

The United States Government knew precisely what was going on. The CIA had longstanding relations with numerous Indonesian Army officer. The wretched regime at Langley Farm had even supplied death lists of PKI members to be killed by the Indonesian Army.

There was a racist and religionist element to the killings. Ethnic and religious minorities were targeted whether they were communists or not. The Abangan people, ethnic Chinese people and those of the Javanese and Balinese ethnicities were butchered.

At least a million people were incarcerated for allegedly belonging to the PKI. Bear in mind that the PKI was a legal party! The PKI was only prohibited after the slaughtered had commenced. Some of those thrown into prison for suspected PKI membership were not released for ten years.

The survivors of the genocide suffering injuries both mental and physical for decades. Those known to be kinsfolk or associates of murder victims were discriminated against the Suharto years.

The CIA was very satisfied with its handiwork. The United States was engaged in its war to prevent Vietnamese unity in the region. The US was having a difficult time of it in Indochina. If there was a large communist country to America’s rear then that would have made matters even more trying for Uncle Sam.

All this came under the Presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ strove for the betterment of his people. He dreamt of building ‘a Great Society.’ President Johnson is hailed as a man committed to racial equality. Yet he is the one who was more than complicit with the industrial scale killing of civilians in Indonesia.

The US documented its provision of weapons, communications equipment and cash for the express purpose of expediting the large scall killing of leftists. You cannot fault the Americans for honesty! The US Government tends to lie at the time but release the documents proving the truth decades later. Washington DC is a meticulous recordkeeper. Supplying the weapons with assassinative intent is at least being an accessory before the fact. Someone who does this might even be charged as a principal in a murder case. It is no use for Uncle Sam to plead duncedom. The US knew precisely what was about to transpire. You cannot fuggle your way out of it. The US Government is condemned by its own documentation.

The United Kingdom and Australia also followed events closely. In those days the two countries worked concert. Both had major commercial interests in Indonesia. Both Australia and the UK viewed the rising popularity of the PKI with horror. The British Ambassador wrote at the time that crushing the PKI would necessarily involve some killing.

There is a superb and scintillating film about 1965 in Indonesia called The Year of Living Dangerously starring a youthful Mel Gibson.

There was scarcely a squeaklet out of any American politician against the huge scale slaying of reds and pinks. To give him his due Robert Kennedy was the lone dissenting voice who valiantly denounced the monstrousness.

The 1965 putsch paved the way for General Suharto to become president in 1970. He was already effectually ruling the country from 1967. His oppressive and kleptocratic regime immiserated the Indonesian people for three decades.

It is flabbergasting that the United States should say that it ‘the last, best hope of earth.’ So often the US has not been ‘a shining city on a hill’ for the rest of the world. Such mythmaking is amplified by American politicians, journalists and teachers. I am in no sense anti-American. There are plenty of Americans who are sickened by what their government has done. Some of architects of such policies are still alive and at liberty. For example, Henry Kissinger is still alive at 97. Admittedly he was only involved in Indonesian affairs from the 1970s and not the 1965 coup d’etat. It is galling that the US should preach ‘liberty and justice for all’ while so often implementing policies which are the polar opposite of these fine sentiments abroad. The sanctimonious tone in which US presidents scold the rest of the world smacks of a staggering arrogance in view of the retrograde and barbaric regimes that they have so often propped up in other lands. There is no way that it can be successfully argued that the US action in Indonesia was uncriminal.

The United States has been righteous on some occasions.  That has been when this coincided with the advantage of the corpocracy. There were times when the US fought against wickedness. However, it must be recognised that the US has by no means always been against turpitude. It is true that some communist regimes in the 1960s were execrable.

The Belarus situation

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Belarus situation

Belarus declared independence from the USSR in 1991. Russia and Belarus enjoyed cordial relations thereafter. Some said that the people of Belarus were more Russian than the Russians.

The Belarussian identity is a fairly new and shallow thing. Until the early 20th century those who spoke Belarussian were scarcely aware that they were Belarussian. They might have said they were Christians, the Orthodox, peasants or Russians. It was a language spoken in the countryside of what is now Belarus. The land that we call Belarus has at times been part of the Russian Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Through the 20th century is had large minorities of Poles, Ukrainians, Jews and Russians as well as others. Disentangling Russian and Belarussian identity was no easy task. The Soviet Government decided that the Belarussians were a nation and granted them union republic status.

Alexander Lukashenka became president in 1994. The 40 year old collective farm manager was a communist of the old school. He bitterly lamented the dissolution of the USSR and the downfall of Marxist-Leninism. Although he won office through democratic means he immediately set about dismantling democracy. He regarded liberal democracy as a capitalist abomination. He would have not truck with this bourgeois work of American imperialism.

In short order the media was muzzled and the judiciary were taking their orders from President Lukashenka. Elections proceeded with generous ballot stuffing in favour of the supremo and liberal beatings for peaceful protesters. Pesky journalists were treated to a led injection. Some of Lukashenka’s rivals were known to vanish into thin air. Strange, eh?

The sclerotic state was no conducive to economic growth. The country is bereft of minerals. It is a largely agricultural country. Yes, it produces tractors.

In 1999 Lukashenka and Yeltsin signed a treaty agreeing to reunite their countries eventually. The Russian Federation has shown largesse to Belarus for over two decades. Russia provides cut price oil and gas to Belarus. Russian hydrocarbons cross Belarus by pipeline en route to markets.

The union state gives Belarussians the right to live and work in Russia. This is reciprocated for Russians.

President Putin patently finds Lukashenka exasperating. They are kindred spirits in many respects. It is a matter of ideology as well as temperament. They are authoritarian, militarist nationalists with a pronounced distaste for liberal values. They are homophobes and macho men. The two share an enthusiasm for ice hockey. It is said that your enemy is often similar to yourself. One might have thought that the two children of the 1950s would have a meeting of minds. But they had a personality clash.

Lukashenka’s oppressive policies led to the US withdrawing its ambassador. There were trade sanctions on the country.

Belarus played both sides off against each other in the Ukraine conflict. Lukashenka posed as an honest broker. Minsk was often a venue for a parley between the warring sides. Russia could not expect solidarity from Belarus. Tis was galling considering there was a union state!

Zelensky and Lukashenka are polls apart politically. However, they achieved a rapport. Lukashenka saw that Ukraine was an issue that gave him leverage over Moscow. If the Russians played nice with him then he could co-operate with them over the Ukrainian Question. But if the Russkies were nasty then Lukashenka could lean towards Kyiv.

By 2018 Putin was running out of patience with Lukashenka. The two governments often brief against each other. Progress on reintegration moved at a glacial pace. Putin was fed up to the back teeth of providing Belarus with cheap energy in return for nothing. Belarussian ingratitude rankled.

Lukashenka was so fed up with Moscow that he started to loudly affirm his country’s absolute independence. He strove to underscore Belarus’ separate identity and promote its language. Until a few years ago even speaking Belarussian in Minks was controversial. Those in Belarus who called for unity with Russian were thrown into dark and fetid dungeons.

Tellingly, Belarus is the only former USSR country where the secret police retains the name the KGB. The KGB is notorious for its violent intolerance of the mildest dissent. It is little more than the personal security apparatus of Lukashenka.

President Lukashenka thinks he is fighting fit. For a man of 66 he is in good shape. He has an extraordinary attachment to his youngest child the 16 year old Nikolai or Kolya as he is called. Lukashenka insisted on the boy accompanying him even to summits with foreign heads of state. Is the child being groomed for succession? Kolya is a lovechild whom the president sired through an affair with his personal physician.

The president is said to be scathing about his two older sons. They are both the progeny of his marriage. They are thus the half-brothers of Kolya.

In 2019 relations between Belarus and Russia were so sour that the Belarussians made overtures to the west. The US sent an ambassador. The EU sent high level delegations. But if Belarus were to receive loans, aid or preferential trade deals it would need to reform politically. This was inadmissible. Retaining absolute power was the priority for the strongman.

Belarus was the only country on earth not to take any prophylactic measures against coronavirus. The president airily dismissed it as a psychosis. Due to this negligence thousands have died of the illness. They lack of mitigatory measures has alarmed many. Preventive policies would not have been difficult to implement.

The president has promised a rise in living standards for years. It has never come to pass. By the summer of 2020 many were thoroughly sick of his misrule. An opinion poll showed only 3% of people intended to cast their ballots in his favour. This poll was so damning for the president that he banned opinion polls.

The president thought the election would be a charade like the others. He took the precaution of banning candidates who had a public profile. Only two women stood against him. The president relied on traditional sexism to work to his advantage. He said the country was unready for a female president. Certainly, some people agree that rule by the monstrous regiment of women is unacceptable in Belarus.

The unpopularity of the president was evident even to him. In desperation he accused Russia of seeking his ouster. 32 Wagner mercenaries in Belarus were arrested. The president claimed that the men were plotting a coup d’etat against him. Until then he had only ever accused NATO countries of conspiring against him.

The polling went ahead on August 9. The electoral commission announced 80% of the votes for the incumbent. Most people were not having it. The downtrodden masses were unwilling to stand for flagrant fraud yet again. Hundreds of thousands of people came onto the streets to demonstrate. They called the president a cockroach and asked him to go.

Svitlana Tikahnouskaya was the main challenger. According to exit polls the 37 year old housewife garnered 60% of the vote. She only stood because her husband is a political prisoner and could not seek election himself. The woman was taken to a police station and pressurised into making a video telling people not to protest. She was then permitted to travel to Lithuania.

The protests have continued for weeks. The police have used excessive force. Several people have been slain by the police.

Almost all the police still obey the president. The loyalty of the armed forces is unwavering. The KGB spies on itself. It does not appear like there are any defections in the security apparatus.

The beleaguered president had himself filmed in a flack jacket and carrying an assault rifle. He was clearly taken aback by the scale of the protests against him. He ordered the release of 32 Russian mercenaries arrested before the election. He previously accused them of trying to oust him.

Lukashenka was then a supplicant to Putin. After years of being rude to Russia it was time for Lukashenka to eat a large portion of humble pie. He pleaded with his Russian analogue to save him. He also accused the opposition of things sure to worry Moscow. Lukashenka said his opponents wanted to outlaw the Russian language and join NATO. These accusations were flagrantly false. The opposition communiques are mostly in Russian. They affirmed their friendship for Russia.

Putin vacillated. Was Lukashenka unsavable? Was it worth the price of saving him? The cost both political and financial would be considerable? In the end Putin decided to throw a lifeline to this ingrate. Putin reasoned better the devil you know.

The protests never reached the point of no return. It is likely that they came close to tipping point. Lukashenka hinted at concessions – constitutional reform, fresh elections and higher salaries. In practice his response was characteristic obduracy. His solicitation of Russian support worked. Putin’s buzzword is stability. Seeing a president overthrown in a former USSR country would be instability. It might also give Russians ideas.

 As a KGB officer in East Germany Putin assumed that regime was rock solid. To his horror it was brought down by peaceful protests in only a fortnight. His nightmare is that such a thing will occur in his homeland.

In September Lukashenka went cap in hand to Sochi. There he met his Russian counterpart. Moscow announced a loan of $ 1.5 billion. Belarus is suffering a run on the banks. EU sanctions are anticipated. What has been proffered in return for this liberality? Perhaps behind closed doors an agreement was made on reunion.

Russian police officers and the Rus Guard prepared to move into Belarus to assist their comrades there. In the end they were not needed. The Belarus security forces have a handle on the situation.

The protests are dying down. Fewer and fewer people are on the streets. The most vociferous are already cooling their heels in prison. Some doyens of the opposition are abroad. The opposition is being worn down. It has become demoralised. Nothing will shake the president. The regime is immovable.

Lukashenka’s intransigence has won for now. If the opposition was going to bring him down it had to do so within two weeks of the election. The numbers of protesters are dwindling. They will drop dramatically when the cold weather sets in.

The president can hold on. Perhaps he shall be able to hold power indefinitely. He might be able to shoehorn his son Kolya into office.

There are long term headaches for Lukashenka. He has survived for the moment but he has not made himself more popular. The economy is getting worse. Sanctions will bite. The brain drain will accelerate. How long can he last? Lukashenka shall be ever more reliant on Russia. The opposition might therefore achieve what Putin could not: the reunification of Belarus and Russia.