Monthly Archives: August 2021

More tales by 7 year olds

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The happiest day in my life

My auntie Suchitra was getting married. We went to the temple for the wedding. Everyone was wearing their best clothes. Rahul was there because he was going to marry Suchitra. There was fabulous music when Suchitra came in wearing a beautiful long red dress. Then there was a ceremony with prayers. All that talking was a bit boring for me.

Then we went to the hotel for a party. We had a really nice drink and I was playing and running around with the other kids. I was so excited by the music that I could not stop moving.

We had a delicious lunch and there were some funny speeches. Then the adults started dancing. It was amazingly happy. Then I got tired and I had to go home but it was a really fantastic day that I will never forget.

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A visit to another country

Last year we flew to Spain. There were so many people at the airport it was crazy. On the plane I had a window seat and it was cool to see it take off. It was a strange but fun feeling. Then I slept.

We landed in Spain at night and it as warm. I heard people speaking Spanish for the first time in my life. Luckily some Spanish people speak English.

The hotel was nice and it had a pool. I was so excited that I swam that night.

That week we went to the beach every day. I got good at swimming and building sandcastles. There was a kids’ club at the hotel and we did lots of great games.

I learnt some words for Spanish. Spain is marvellous and I want to go back.

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The Big Game

My school was playing football against Crawford School. I was in mid field. I had a butterfly stomach as the the whistle blew for kickoff.

Crawford was good – passing accurately. I managed a tackle but then my team mate lost the ball. I got a few passes and passed it on to the striker. But he just could not score.

At half time we were three nil down. At half time the coach gave us a talk about what to do . He said we could win if we believed in ourselves.

After half time something clicked. This time every pass got through. Crawford hardly ever got the ball. It rained and became muddy. We were sliding all over. We scored and again and again. Just before the final whistle I got the ball and slammed it into the back of the net.

4-3 to us! It was splendid.

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Dialogue

”Good evening”, said the woman.

”Good evening”, replied the waiter.

”Please may we have a table for five people?”, asked the woman.

”Let me see if we have one madam”, said the waiter.

After a minute the waiter came back. ”Yes, we do madam. Would you like to sit inside or outside?”, inquired the waiter.

”Outside please”, said the woman.

”Certainly madam”, responded the waiter. ”Would you like to sit here?” , the waiter asked ushering them towards a table.

”Yes, that is ideal”, said the woman. Then she and her four children sat down.

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Write about someone you know. Say what this person looks like, sounds like and how she

Trump’s chance in 2024 ===============================================

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Trump’s chance in 2024

What chance does Donald J Trump stand in the next presidential election? On the face of it his chances are not good. Few presidents have lost office and gone on to seek to regain it. Only one has ever succeeded in such an endeavour. He was Grover Cleveland. That was almost 130 years ago and in highly unusual circumstances. Three other ex-presidents have sought to regain the White House but failed. They are ‘Old Kinderhook’ Martin van Buren, Ulysses Simpson Grant and Teddy Roosevelt.

However, all too often Trump has broken precedent. He won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote. This had happened only twice in the last 150 years. He refused to admit he lost in 2020 despite every other losing candidate admitting it. He failed to appoint dozens of ambassadors in his terms. He adulated Kim Jong On. He was effusively positive about Putin. He made highly disobliging remarks about his British hosts days before his arrival on a state visit. He refused to release his tax return. Trump has broken precedents oftener than any other president.

What can be said in favour of Trump’s administration? He avoided war. He brought troops home. He tried a sunshine strategy with North Korea. It did not lead to anything but as confrontation did not work perhaps it was worth a shot. Trump showed China that he would stand up to them on trade. Ending the Trans -Pacific Partnership benefitted a few companies. Donald J was hard on Iran. He also pleased the Zionists so much so that they named a town in his honour which they have not done for any foreign president. Donald J made energy cheaper in the US. He cut taxes for the super rich. The Trump Administration led to the stock market being at an all-time high. The stock market rises every year so that, in itself, is normal. But the rises under Trump were exceptional.

On leaving office Trump’s approval rating was just 34%. That is one of the lowest on record. His approval rating never cracked 46% although bizarrely he won 48% of the vote in 2020. He won more of the vote that time than he had the first time. That was partially consequent upon a poor showing by minor parties in 2020 as opposed to a bumper year for minor parties in 2016.

Donald J Trump dominates the Republican Party like no other past president has dominated it. They hang on his lips. He has the ability to galvanise tens of millions. However, this is not as electric as it was before he lost office.

Fox News is no longer so complaisant. Donald J has even said he is no longer so enamoured of the channel that was once his spiritual home.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media networks have banned Donald J for the foreseeable future. Denied the oxygen of publicity it is hard for him to generate as much publicity as before. These social media networks enabled Trump to bypass the mainstream media.

By contrast, Biden is laconic in comparison to Trump. His ratings are to be coveted by any president. They are not sky high but they are well positive. That is despite the very testing times in which he rules with coronavirus to contend with and a difficult economic outlook.

It is important to examine the issue objectively. Just because something is unattractive does not make it untrue. You must seek the truth however unpalatable. Self-delusion has no place in political analysis.

Fame is like a muscle. It needs to be exercises or it atrophies. Trump will not be forgotten. But on the other hand, he will never be as famous as he was. Contrariwise, the public could have a surfeit of Trump. Perhaps giving them a break for a while might do Trump some good. He does not want people to get bored of him before 2024. Being relatively quiescent might make a media blitz in 2024 all the more effectual.

Trump lost the popular vote by 4.5%. That was as opposed to losing it by 2% in 2016. Trump could in principle overturn that 4.5% deficit but it will be hard. The way the demographics are going and the incumbency factor the Democrats will win the popular vote by 6.5% next time. That is because of the shift in the ethnic balance and new voters (people turning 18 and people being naturalised as US citizens) break heavily in their favour. This does not guarantee that the Democrats will win by this much. They could win by even more or they could lose totally. Much depends on how well or badly the campaigns are run by both parties, which candidates they select and as Macmillan said the most important things in politics: ‘’events, dear boy, events!’’ The Democrats will have that notional headstart of 6.5% so it will take a lot to overturn that. If the economy continues growing rapidly the Democrats will have even more of an advantage. But none of this is insuperable. A blinder of a campaign by the Republicans with the right candidate against a leaden footed campaign by the Democrats would mean the GOP wins the popular vote and the Electoral College.

 The Democrats have won the popular vote 7 times out of the past 8. Or they have won it 4 consecutive times. This by no means assures them of winning it again. However, all things being equal they probably will win it next time even if by a thin margin.

The popular vote is not the Electoral College as 2000 and 2016 proved yet again. However, the chance of losing the former whilst winning the latter is slender to say the least. It was by sheer fluke that Donald J won. It took 80 000 votes in the three key swing states. Had those 80 000 votes come in a state that was safe red or blue then 80 000 votes would have made no difference. It is not just getting the votes that matters but getting them in the right places.

WILL BIDEN RUN?

Much is riding on whether Joseph Robinette Biden seeks a second term. The 78 year old might reckon he is too old by next time. He is sprightly for a man of his years. However, a man of such advanced years could easily have a cardiac event or a diagnosis of an inoperable cancer. He might not even be alive in November 2024. Assuming he is physically fit to stand is an unsafe assumption. But if he is able to seek re-election then his chances are strong. I would wager that he will win.

Thus far there have been no disasters on Biden’s watch. His stewardship of the ship of state has been steady. Vaccination has proceeded apace. Over 50% of Americans are now double vaccinated. The economy is recovering. It might well come roaring back. If the economy is booming in 2024 then, it will look very good for Biden. At the moment the economy is recovering apace. His plane to upgrade infrastructure is stimulating the economy. He will also have incumbency on his side.

Joseph Robinette Biden Junior is a seasoned politician. Everyone knows he is a formidable opponent. He has 50 years of experience and speaks with poise and sincerity. He is gaff prone and has espoused some policies which are now perceived as unjust or disastrous. Despite his debilities he is a strong candidate. Age and health might be his Achilles heel. But Trump is even worse on the health issue and almost equal on age.

President Joe Biden is competent. He is experiencing mental declension as is inevitable for a septuagenarian. His life has been touched by tragedy. His first wife and two of his children died young. Despite suffering such bitter blows, he has a sunny personality.

American political scientists found the most important characteristic for a presidential candidate to win is affability. The man from Scranton, Pennsylvania has that in spades. He has an apolitical appeal. The former Delaware Congressman comes across as normal, decent and perhaps uninspiring and unremarkable. He is the grandfather next door. Joseph Biden is reassuring, genial and almost bland. His oration, whilst delivered with aplomb, is filled with blandishments, banalities and woolliest generalities. Yet he comes across as the voice of reason. It is hard for even the most irascible and foaming at the mouth Republican to work up a hatred against someone as genial and unthreatening as Amtrak Joe.

Trump is irascible and high octane. That is why lazy and sleepy are his favourite insults. His fans see hyper-aggression, hyperbole and vulgarity as toughness. His admirers might praise him to the moon, but none call him affable.

KAMALA

What if Biden retires in 2024? In that case it is a racing certainty that Kamal Harris would win the Democratic nomination. The first Asian-American VP, the first African-American VP and the first woman VP could easily be the first woman to be President of the United States. I do not warm to her though I respect her for her accomplishments and recognise her competence and poise. She would have name recognition.

 When a serving vice-president seeks the presidency, he does not always win. Al Gore was denied by a few hundred hanging chads in Dade County. But there are other examples. Nixon failed to win in 1960. Hubert Humphrey lost in 1968.  Only George H W Bush in 1988 managed it. Therefore, the record of sitting vice-presidents winning the presidency is poor.

15 former vice-presidents have become president. This has sometimes been when the sitting president dies. Once it was when Nixon resigned and Ford took over.

A smarter strategy for the Democrats might be for Joe Biden to resign in 2024. Kamala would then become the president. If she ran for president as president that would boost her chances. But would that seem like a stitch up? On the other hand, Congress would have to elect a vice-president until the people could elect one. The Democrats would need to be sure they controlled Congress so that the Republicans could not foist a Republican on Kamala.

Kamala Harris is fairly likeable. She comes over as a little stuck up and stilted. She is serious minded, well dressed, feminine and authoritative. Miss Harris will be old enough but not too old. She seems to be in excellent physical and mental condition. She shall be sure not to seem too professorial. Professor Bill Clinton and Professor Obama made sure that they did not appeal to be overintellectual. That would go down very badly with those who are insecure about their academics.

Ms Harris will have had the best possible preparation for the presidency. Perhaps Biden will ease her into the role. She might carry out more and more duties on his behalf particularly if the commander in chief is in failing health. Biden might even resign before his term is up. In that case Kamala would succeed to the presidency. As a sitting president she would have a good chance. 75% of incumbents are re-elected. The three who lost in the last 100 years are Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford and Trump. The trio are regarded as having been cataclysmic.

Being the first woman from a major party to stand for president could confer a major advantage on Kamala. Some women who do not usually vote Democrat would vote for her just because they want to see a woman as president. The same happened in Ireland in 1990. More African-Americans than usual would vote. This is what propelled Obama to the White House twice. Poor African-American turnout was fatal to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Asian-Americans would likely vote in increased numbers too.

There are some people who dislike Kamala. However, the Democrats studied the negatives associated with her closely in 2020. They correctly concluded that Kamala repels far fewer than she attracts.

DEMOGRAPHICS

The Democrats have got demographic shifts on their side. Non-Hispanic whites are the core of the Republican vote. The results of the 2020 census will make grim reading for the purveyors of white nationalism. Look at non-Hispanic whites. They are down to 58% of the population but 85% of Republican voters. These whites are falling in terms of their % of the population. They will be a minority in 30 years or less. The Trump Campaign relied heavily on whites without a degree. They comprise 41% of the adult populace compared with 48% of the people who voted for Trump. Those without a degree as well as those who are white are declining as a % of the population. Trump says he loves the uneducated. You can see why! 62% of white males cast their votes for Mr Trump. Amongst white males without a degree this rises to a staggering 78%. It is easy to perceive why Trump harks back to a century ago when only white males could vote and almost no one went on to tertiary education.

The non-Latino white population of the US is now only 59% according to the last census. The US will have a white minority in 20 years. Trump is probably the white nationalists’ last stand.

Trump was successful in motivating white blue collar people to vote. Some of them who voted for him had not voted for several elections. Much depends on whether he can motivate them to vote again. Turnout was 66% in 2020. That is well above average.

In the long run the GOP has to broaden its appeal. It has had limited success with that.

Asians are 7% of the populace. Hispanic people are 19% of the population. African-Americans are 13% of the population. Hispanic people are the majority in four states.

Democrats do better among unmarried people, childless people, non-religious and gays. All these groups are growing. The Hispanic community is growing fastest. It breaks 65%-35% to the Democrats over the Republicans. The metropolises having growing populations. That will mean more electoral votes. However, the reassignment of congressional seats and therefore electoral votes will not take place in time to impact the 2024 election.

Worryingly for the Republicans, Joe Biden Junior is polling excellently among independents. The Republicans need to win a significant number of independents if they are to win the next election. At the moment the Republican Party is turning off independents with his white nationalism, refusal to acknowledge Trump lost the election and its rejection of the fact of climate change.

The GOP can take crumbs for comfort from the 2020 election. There were a few silver linings through the dark cloud shining. The Republican vote increased among Latinos and blacks. There is another rosy datum for Republicans. The Republican Party fares better among religious people. Frequency of church attendance is the single biggest indicator of the likelihood that someone will cast his ballot for the Republicans. The more religious people are the more children they have. Therefore, the number of people who are regular churchgoers is increasing even though their % of the overall population is slightly decreasing. You have to take into account the fact that some people become less religious or drop religion altogether.

The Democrats retook several states in 2020. The Republicans could easily regain these especially in the rust belt, the sunshine belt and Georgia. However, there are some Republican held states that are vulnerable to the Democrats. The likelihood is that the Democrats will take Florida narrowly. Florida is always on a knife edge. The Republicans won Texas by only 5% in 2020. It used to be a safe red state. It is now in the toss up column. The Democrats will come close in Texas but the Republican shall probably retain it by a reduced margin. Hispanic people now outnumber whites in the Lone Star State. Hispanics are much more likely to vote Democrat than Republican. The Republicans retain a significant advantage among whites.  The Republicans are likely to lose Texas the time after that in 2028. That will be a psychological blow but not a deathblow to the GOP. The Democrats have not win Texas since 1992. To lose all four of the largest states will make the path to 270 extremely difficult thereafter. The Republicans are likely to lose Pennsylvania again too in 2024  – that is the fifth largest state.

It is possible to win the presidency by winning only the 12 largest states. The Democrats are ahead in most of those.

There are four large states in population: California, New York Texas, and Florida. A party needs to win two of the four. If a party wins only one of the big four then it is extremely difficult to win overall. A party would then need to win almost all the small states if it has won only one of the big four.

 The Democrats if they were smart would grant statehood to Puerto Rico, Washington DC and US Territories such as American Samoa. The trouble is that the Republican would block this because these places lean heavily towards the Democrats.

WILL TRUMP RUN?

Will Trump be able to stand in 2024? A man of 75 who is very obese, never exercises and eats junk food is a life insurance liability. He boasts that he never drinks. But with a heart like his red wine is just what the doctor would order. It is an antioxidant. His risk of heart disease is very high. Alzheimer’s might claim him as it did his father. There are ample signs that he is afflicted with pre Alzheimer’s. Both his brother’s died well before 75.

If Trump is alive in 2024 he might well be diminished. He is owed a myocardial infarction or a stroke. If he avoids that and a rapidly advancing cancer then he will be lucky.

Trump could still seek election in a wheelchair. However, some would see him as unfit for the presidency if he were disabled. Roosevelt’s disability was never reported. As Trump has mocked the disabled if he is disabled this could work against him.

If Trump stands in 2024 – that is a big if – then it is hard to see why people would vote for him then when they rejected him last time. The American people rejected him twice. Why would they choose him on his third attempt? How has he improved? He has not. If anything, he will be less fit and more cantankerous.

I give it an 80% chance that Trump shall seek the Republican nomination. He is by far the biggest beast in the Grand Old Party. If he seeks the nomination, there is a 75% chance that he will win the nomination. Republican politicians are not as keen on him as ordinary registered Republicans. Elected politicians tend to be cannier than rank and file party members. There are plenty of Republican Congressmen, Senators, state legislators and governors who regard Donald John as yesterday’s man. Moreover, quite a few of them would like a turn to run for the presidency themselves. They do not want Trump to hog the nomination. If Trump runs his chance of winning the presidency is about 25%. The people’s message to him in 2020 was ‘’you’re fired!’’ as Trump used to say in The Apprentice. Why will people change their minds?

His voters are disproportionately old. By 2024 8% of Trump voters will have died. They will not be replaced by people who have turned 18 since 2020. Trump attracts very few of the youngest voters. If anything youngsters who reaching voting age will make things even worse for Trump. Yes, Biden has elderly voters who are dying but far fewer. He has far more Democrat leaning people turning 18 every year. More people turn 18 each year than die each year.

Trump could have Ivanka as his running mate. She would negate some of the female advantage for the Democrats if Kamala is on their ticket for either president or VP. Ivanka would also balance her father’s age by offering youth.

ANOTHER REPUBLICAN

The GOP will have been dominated by the Trump family for 8 years by the time 2024 rolls around. They may have had enough. Another dynast might not be what they are looking for.

Forming a dynasty did not work for the Clintons. Yes, the Bush family reigned for a while. But Dubya only won by fluke in 2000 and due to a still popular war in 2004. Jeb Bush, the sometime Governor of Florida, failed in his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination.

Why else might enter the fray on the Republican side?

Ted Cruz is a big beast who came second to Trump in 2016. The Texas senator has impeccable conservative credentials. He would also deliver the second most populous state.

Marco Rubio is a good- looking and soft-spoken Hispanic who could reach out to people who do not usually vote Republican.

Jeb Bush cannot be ruled out. He was governor of the most important state in electoral terms. He is serious-minded and was successful in his previous office. He is perhaps too old.

Mitt Romney failed once. You get one shot at it. He voted against Trump in the impeachment trial. This has tarnished him irreparably in the eyes of the Republican base.

Mitch McConnell is too much of a turtle. He is old and unappealing. He is a wily strategist but no post boy.

Nikki Haley might do well. As a woman and an Asian-American she would attract independents. She is the acceptable face of her party.

The former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie might be a credible candidate. He has reached across the aisle to work with Democrats. But is he so obese that he cannot be considered?

People are talking about Tom Cotton. He is the right age, healthy and has hawkish views. But the last thing the public wants is another war.

If Paul Ryan came back he might have a chance. He failed to become VP but that does not attract the opprobrium that failing to become president does. Ryan is not too old by any measure. He looks good on TV and seems reasonable.

All these people do not want Trump to run. Nor do they wish to see his daughter do so. They might be convinced that the only feasible long term strategy is to move on from Trump. He is a loser.

POLICIES

Psephology aside – what about policies? Trump seldom has policies. He has messages. With him it is negative cohesion. Are you hating who I am hating?

Trump likes to identify enemies. He will radiate odium at the out-groups. It was liberals, Muslims, the media, Social Justice Warriors, feminists, illegal immigrants, criminals, terrorists and environmentalists. These messages are likely to resonate less next time. SJWs, liberals and feminists are ever more prevalent. They are becoming more widely tolerated. The public wants and amnesty for long term illegal residents. DACA was popular. Sanctuary cities have embedded those who arrived illegally as children in the US as members of communities.

With the US out of Afghanistan, harping on about how much you abominate Muslims will not prove very electorally advantageous. If there are no major terrorist attacks over the next 3 years then counter terrorism will not be a message that has much traction.

Militarism is not going to work. Trump beefed up the military but he used it less than any president since the 1970s. He was in favour of pull-out from Afghanistan. When Afghanistan falls to the Taliban if the Republicans says we should go back in that is not going to win votes. Trump was loudly in favour of withdrawing from foreign conflicts. There is no public appetite for more oriental adventures.

 Trump can speak up for gun rights. But what is he going to do about it? The president has no control over gun laws. Trump rallies are gun free zones. His hypocrisy is blatant. Nonetheless, it is compulsory for Republicans to harp on about how gun rights must be upheld.

Illegal immigration is not particularly high. It got higher under Trump. Banging on about it will simply remind people of his failure to build an inch of wall and his failure to get Mexico to pay a Peso towards it. That is despite Trump diverting billions of dollars from the military to the non -existent wall and shutting down the government for the longest ever time to build that wall. On the wall it is failed, failed, failed. He can blame Congress for that. But he is the one who promised it. Do not promise it unless you can deliver. Congress is not required to do what the president wants.

Donald J will return to the usual talking point of abortion. But the president has no ability to prevent a single abortion unless he changes healthcare in the US Military which provides abortions. He did not do that. If he really opposed abortion then he would have done that. Not all Republicans are pro-Life. The US is increasingly pro-Choice. Despite only about 35% of American being pro-Life this issue is vital for Republicans. It motivates evangelicals who are crucial to Republican turnout. If Trump said he was pro-Choice or even failed to mention the issue this would hurt him badly. No Republican has dared equivocate on the issue for decades.

Anti-environmentalism is unlikely to work well. Yes, Big Oil hates environmentalism. Many deny climate change. There are economic sacrifices to be made to tackle it. These are unpopular. However, there are not enough anti-scientific people out there to make this a winning strategy.

Calling Biden a communist and Kamala Harris a socialist is not going to work. It is so flagrantly false. It simply undermines trust in Republicans on other issues when they tell blatant lies. 

In short, the anti-Enlightenment constituency is a core element of the Republican base. These people need some red meat to be thrown to them. ‘Climate change is a hoax’, ‘affordable healthcare is communism’, ‘Trump won in 2020’ are all provable nonsense but without spouting such flagrant falsehoods it will be hard to actuate the Republican base to vote.

Trump can talk tough on trade. But he did not improve trade. His sanctions were soon scrapped. He did not win a trade war and never even cited an example of a trade war that America won.

The standard talking points did not win the popular vote in 2016 and 2020 so why will they work in 2024? Yes, Trump won the Electoral College through happenstance. He was incredibly fortunate with the efficient distribution of his votes. This was a black swan event. Yes, George W Bush won the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote. But Bush Junior at least came close. He won only 500 000 fewer votes than Al Gore as opposed to Trump winning 3 000 000 fewer than Hillary Clinton. Therefore, the chance of Trump winning the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote is very slender indeed.

The Republican Party needs to find some new and attractive messages. It needs to retain its base but also win over some independents. Thus far there is no sign of this transpiring.

Kowtowing to Putin, Xi and Kim Jong On did not play well with military veterans and traditional Republicans. The US won no concessions from these men.

Some people voted for Trump in 2020 because they loathed the Biden-Harris ticket. But as Biden and Harris are incumbents, they are no longer disliked by so many people. In office these two have not proved to be as bad as their detractors predicted. Therefore, Trump will not benefit from negative voting so much: voting against Biden rather than voting for Trump.

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SORE LOSER

Being a sore loser and saying that he won is not a winning strategy. The American dislike sore losers more than they dislike losers. Being a whinge bag and constantly whinging that Trump won is not going to do the GOP any favours. Republicans prize toughness. Therefore, they must not be crybabies.  They must stop whining and start formulating policies that offer something tangible to the average voter.

Trump claiming that he won the election is not going to work for him. About half of Republican voters believe him. But to win he needs ALL the people who voted Republican last time plus a few more.

If the election is rigged, then there is no point in voting. Some Republicans recognise this. They are against false claims that the election was fixed. They know it depresses Republican turnout. 

In 2016 Trump said the GOP nomination was rigged. He won. He said the 2016 election was rigged. He won. Remember he said that over 3 million illegal immigrants voted for Hillary. So far as I know not one illegal immigrant was proven to have done so. Even if illegal immigrants did vote there is no way o prove who they voted for. Therefore, he has told these stupid lies before. Why should anyone believe him?

The 2020 election is the longest election of all time. It has gone on for 9 months. Republicans have lost over 60 court cases on the issue. Mostly these are before Republican appointed judges. Republican mandated investigations into the elections have yielded virtually no evidence of fraud.

Making spurious allegations about scandals is not going to work. QAnon theories have a very rarefied appeal. The Republican Party must avoid the temptation to speak only to itself. It should not devolve to a whack conspiracy theory party. It needs to appeal to floating voters.

The Republican Party needs to move on from the 2020 election. This has last over 9 months now. It is tedious and uninspiring. Gore recognised after 2000 that it was disadvantageous for his party to incessantly bang on about the unjust election result. At least what he was saying about hanging chads was true. The Republican Party will not win over independents by ceaselessly obsessing over spurious claims of bogus votes.

Trump is a maverick. He is the only president who had never been elected to any public office and had not served in the military either before winning the White House. He is the only president who went from Republican to Democrat and back to Republican before becoming president. He is the only president to have been bankrupt four times. He is the only president to be on his third wife.

NOT DONALD?

What if Trump does not stand? He might seek to hand his baton on to his children. His daughter Ivanka is the most telegenic of them. She is emotionally continent unlike his dimwit brothers. Donald Junior has most of America’s oil reserves in his hair.

Ivanka was a Democrat until 2016 as was her husband Jared. As she converted to Judaism this will hurt her with Christian fundamentalists. Many would only vote for a Christian. As she rejected Jesus Christ, many fundamentalists would be appalled. Her previous pro-abortion views would harm her. She could swiftly recant. Many Christian fundamentalists would not doubt fall for this transparent electorally calculated shapeshifting. They will believe anything except the truth!

Ivanka as the first Republican woman to seek the presidency would be a wildcard. It would neutralise the gender advantage of Kamal Harris.

HOW TRUMP COULD WIN

 If things go badly wrong for Biden then Trump has a chance. If the economy implodes, there is a massive terrorist attack or Biden mishandles a crisis then this would present Trump with an opportunity.

 A huge scandal will not sink Biden. As Trump proved time and again, scandals do not dent the popularity of a president very much. JRB has been in the public eye for half a century. We would know if there were skeletons in his cupboard.

The Democrats won three states for the Electoral College by under 1%. They won a further three states by under 3%. The Republicans could take all these back even if the Republican share of the vote nationally declined. It is not winning votes as such that matters. It is winning them in electorally significant states that counts. Piling up millions of more votes in a red state does not help the Republicans. There GOP must not waste its effort becoming even safer where it was already as safe as the Bank of England.

Republicans are trying to make it more difficult to vote. Their voter ID laws could hand the Republican Party victory. Redistricting in a flagrantly partisan manner has helped the Republicans for decades. They are not going to end gerrymandering now. This does not have a direct effect on the presidential election. It can decide races for state legislatures and the House of Representatives. This means that a Republican run state legislature could certify a Republican victory even if the Democrat won. The same holds true in Congress. This was attempted in 2020.

A low Democratic turnout could seal the doom of the Democrats. The Democrats always struggle to motivate their voters. Opinion polls persistently overrate the Democrats. That is partly consequent upon some Republicans not admitting to pollsters that they are Republican. If Biden or Harris run a lacklustre campaign, then that might cause their defeat. Some racists will dislike Harris for her race. The Democrats really need to energise their base. They are often poor at doing this.

The Democratic Party has often been its own worst enemy. It could be riven by internecine warfare. It could fall prey to a loony lefty faction. The party has torn itself apart several times before. The Democrats have so often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Will Republicans be able to actuate their supporters? Trump was even better at this the second time than he was the first time. That does not guarantee that it will work so well the third time if he gets the chance. If Biden or Kamala Harris is the Democrats’ candidate then this will not motivate many Republican to vote out of odium. When there is a strong economy turnout falls. But this will hurt the Democrats more than the Republicans. Being uncontroversial works better for the Democrats than it does for the GOP. That is why Trump or whoever the GOP candidate is would be best advised to crank up tensions. Trump understands this implicitly. Incendiary rhetoric has been successful for him.

 A Lynton Crosby dead cat strategy could work for the Republicans. If they can broach a topic that the Democrats do not wish to discuss then this could deliver the election for the Republicans. It needs to be something divisive for the Democrats. What is it that the Democrats do not wish to talk about and favours the Republicans? It is hard to think such an issue at the moment.

 A disastrous vice-presidential pick by Harris could bring her down. That is what happened to McCain in 2018. However, the Democrats are cognizant of this. In 2020 Biden chose someone with the fewest negatives.

If there is a strong third party challenge that could divert votes from the Democrats. That is what happened in 2000 and 2016. If all Greens had voted Democrat, then the Democrats would have won handily.

The Republicans can tap into fury and frustration as Trump did in 2016. He appealed to left behind voters. People from rust belt states rallied to him. Working class people threatened by globalisation and green energy found his messaging very alluring. As AI takes over more jobs this message might have an even greater impact. But what is the solution? To ban AI? That would make America uncompetitive. The GOP always does what corporations want. Trump runs a corporation. An anti AI message would win votes but is an unworkable policy. That would not stop Trump trying it and it could work in the election.

Income compression and the cost of living would be good issues for Trump to talk about. He did nothing about this as president. He does not care about the poor. But many blue collar voters will buy it nonetheless.

Anti-elitism is a good pitch for Trump. It is totally illogical as he is a WASP New York billionaire. But many working class people lap up such nonsense. He is anti-elitists as in he is anti-educational. A man utterly bereft of refinement and subliterate will be attractive to the mentally subnormal. His narrow lexis is also appealing to the anti-pedagogical constituency.

There is not much that the Republicans can do to widen their appeal. They must ensure they do not shrink their base. This election is more for the Democrats to lose than the GOP to win. The Dems are capable of fouling their own nest as we have seen before. There might be a lot of infighting. There might be some left wingers who consider the Democrat candidate too centrist and refuse to vote for him or her.

The chance that Trump will win the 2024 election is 15%.

Afghanistan. what happens now======================================

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Taliabn take over.

shock and awe. stunned and alarmed. provincial capitals fell like 9 pins.

president ashraf ghni. rat off a sinking ship.

debacle for US. interpreters left behind . some gone to turkey.

Taliban not attacking US at rhe airport. anarhuch. US miitary orderly.

US equieoment left behind.

why withdraw? end conflict at least for the US

alternative – stay indefinitely,

Republcans will try to make mileage.

Virute in withdrawing or in winning. unwinnab;e intractable.

insoluble. no magic bullet or miracle solution

war is the norm. a way of life. some know no other job

no peace dividend. no more money from NGOs, journalists and soldiers.

permanent presence. small. help government. but what if Taliabn attacked more

2020 trump deal with tlaiban. but taliban had to go nothing. hand over nothing. US desperate tp withdraw.

DOha talks. trump said he woudl withdraw.

shades of saigon. in Afghan far fewer US killed. NATO. UN. some success.

taliban moderate women. TV. sports. shia.

saudi arabi moderated

arab spring.

when USSR withdrew communists held on for 3 years.

RUSSIAN schadenfreude. gloating.

some trepidtation. in russia. CSTO. tatars . chechens.

iran worried

oakistan has more sway. bad for InDIA. china paying for reconstruction. Pak a chinese vassal state. satellite. economic corridor.

belt and road.

depths of cynicism. uyghurs. xinjiang.

taliban and its like bannked in china and russia.

TAPI

TURkmenisan

uzbekistan and tajikistan. russian troops.

defeat?

”NATO know tyour limits”

irresolute. unwilling to pay blood price. sacrifice. tax. tax cuts.

want a growing economy. not salient. discretionary not war of survival.

what else to do after 9/11? lack of determinaiton. political will. cut and run.

no northern allianc now. Taliban sealed border.

not much pushback from US electorate. 70% in faviur

Republicans may inveigh. they will not go back in. no votes in it. tucker carlson

benefot for US. Iran is worried

taliban learnt a lesson. do not provoke the west.

US had to go away eventually

2 trillion spent

fewer oriental adventures=========================

Stories for seven year olds

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STORIES FOR SEVEN YEAR OLDS

Write a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end.

You need to write about at least two characters.

The characters need to talk to each other in speech marks, ”Like this.” That means one character says, for example, ”Hello” and the other character says, ”Good afternoon”.

Describe the character.

Write for the five senses. What did it look like? What did is sound like? What did it feel like? What did it smell like? What did it taste like?

Write about things happening. This can be running, jumping, swimming, playing a game or cycling.

Have feelings in the story. People should be happy, sad, excited, angry or they could be laughing.

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STORY TITLES

The happiest day in my life.

My birthday.

My holiday.

My family.

A day at the beach.

The big game.

A visit to the zoo.

A scary day.

An adventure.

A visit to another country.

My favourite animal

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A DAY AT THE BEACH

In the morning mom said, ”We are going to the beach today.” My sister Charlotte and I packed out bags for the beach. We went to the bus stop. The bus came and we got on.

We got out at the sandy beach. It was a little bit windy and we sat down on towels. I was in my blue swimming trunks. I went swimming with mom and I put my head under water. The water was cold at first but I got used to it after a while. I saw lots of amazing and colourful fish.

Then we built a sandcastle. We decorated it with shells. It was big and fabulous.

Charlotte collected some crabs in a plastic box full of water. She took them back home with us.

It was fun but tiring being out in the sun all day. I slept really well that night.

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MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL

My favourite animal is my dog. My dog is called Bella. Bella is a girl dog. She lives in granny’s garden. Bella is small and brown. She likes to run and bark. When we go to the playground sometimes Bella comes too. I like to give her a milk in her bowl. Bella means beautiful in Italian.

Bella is not allowed in the house. Granny says Bella might do wee wee on the floor.

I love Bella.

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Essay writing rules

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ESSAY WRITING RULES

Use an academic vocbulary. Avoid slang and show off the most intellectual words that you know Do not use casual words like ‘get’ but your more formal alternatives such as ‘obtain’. You must impress the examiner.

Consider both viewpoints. Look at the viewpoint that you disagree with first of all. Then in another paragraph explain why that first argument is unconvincing.

You must always write in full sentences. Spelling definitely counts!

Write sentences of 10-20 words most of the time. Each paragraph should be between two and eight sentences long.

You ought to write as much as you can so long as you give yourself time to double check your work.

It is wise to write on alternate lines to give yourself space. This also allows you to write in anything you forgot later or to cross out and rewrite anything that you got wrong.

Make sure you answer the question. Do not simply write on the topic set. Repeat some of the key words from the question in your essay or story. For instance, if it asks you ‘What makes a good school?’ then say ‘excellent sports facilities make a good school and outstanding teachers also contribute to a school being good.’ This keeps you on target. It also proves to the examiner that you are writing a relevant answer.

Try to be specific. If you know any relevant facts or examples then include them.

Your last paragraph is your conclusion. It needs to have the word ‘conclusion’ in it or else write ‘to conclude.’

Your conclusion does not have to be absolutely one way or the other. It can say ‘this essay agrees with the title statement but with some reservations’ or ‘this essay disagrees with the title statement to a limited extent.’

You should avoid the first person singular ‘I, me, my and myself’. Avoid such phrase as, ‘I think… it seems to me… in my opinion… it is clear to myself.’

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EIGHT MINUTE ESSAY

SHOULD BOYS AND GIRLS GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER?

Most schools are mixed which means that boys and girls go to school together. A minority of schools are single sex. Both mixed schools and single sex schools have advantages and disadvantages.

Why do some schools take either only boys or only girls? That was the tradition long ago and some schools have not changed it. Some people prefer it that way and see no reason to change something that works well. In a single sex school the pupils can concentrate on their studies. They are not distracted by the opposite sex and they do not waste time in trying to show off to the opposite sex. Girls in mixed schools sometimes pretend to be dumb because they think boys find it attractive. Some girls are insecure about their appearance in their teenage years so they prefer to be away from boys. Some of the best schools in the UK are single sex such as Eton, Harrow and Winchester.

A mixed school is a microcosm of the world. We all come from mothers and fathers and therefore it is apposite that we go to a school with both boys and girls. A school is preparatory for life and therefore we need to be equipped to deal with the opposite sex as well as our own. Mixed schools include some excellent ones and boys and girls are generally happiest together. We have to mix with each other in adult life so it is sensible to get ready for this in school. Mixed schools can still allow girls to be confident and some mixed schools are outstanding.

In conclusion, there are benefits and disbenefits to both types of school. However, on reflection is it patent that mixed schools offer a better balance for pupils and are superior in enabling people to live fulfilled adults lives.

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TWENTY MINUTE ESSAY

What is the most fascinating topic you have ever learnt about in any subject? This could be a book, a person, a scientific experiment or country for example. Describe this topic in detail and explain why it is so fascinating.

Julius Caesar is the most fascinating topic I ever learnt about. He was born in 100 BC in Rome, Italy. He is fascinating because he was such an epoch making political and military leader. His legacy is still hotly debated to this very day. He has given us so much. The word ‘casearean’ comes from the way his ancestors were born through an operation. The word for king or emperor in many languages comes from his name. It gave us the words shah, kaiser and tsar. The Julian Calendar which we used to use was named in his honour as is the month July.

Caesar was born into a patrician upper class family. The Social War had just ended. His family had been on the side of Marius and the Populares. They had lost this civil war. When Julius was a baby his father died. Despite these major disadvantages Julius overcame them. He is an inspiring figure because he proved that no difficulty is insuperable. He was clever and went to the University of Rhodes where he became fantastic at oratory.

The Romans had cursus honorum (the way of honours) which was a way that patrician men could be promoted to various jobs. Julius Caesar worked his way up through this system. He succeeded in all these public offices. He was priest of Jupiter. Julius also commanded the navy against pirates. He was defeated once and captured. However, he was soon freed. This shows us that even great men lose sometimes but they do not give up. Of one campaign he wrote ”Vendi. Vidi. Vici.” meaning ”In came. I saw. I conquered.”

Julius Caesar married. It was suggested that he should divorce his wife and marry someone from a better politically connected family. He said no because he loved his wife and he was a man of honour.

The Romans fought in Gaul (France). He defeated the Gaulish Army and killed many of their soldiers. During a siege he would not let the Gaulish civilians out. He starved them. He also cut the hands off prisoners. This demonstrates that he was a harsh and even an evil man. He is a problematic figure and we should not admire Julius Caesar because he abused people’s rights. He also enslaved people which the Romans said was entirely acceptable.

Writing an account of his campaigns Caesar made himself seem excellent. His book is called The Gallic Wars. He wrote it in the third person to make it seem more credible. He was also a gifted prose author and propagandist.

Under Caesar the Romans twice invaded Britain. Britain owes so much to the Romans such as the Latin alphabet that this essay is written in. But under Julius the Romans did not stay.

Some people were jealous of Caesar’s military glory. He wanted to rule Rome. He was told not to lead his army out of Gaul. But he broke the rule and led his soldiers over the River Rubicon into Italy. That gives us the phrase ”crossing a Rubicon” which means after that there is no going back. When he did so he said ”alea iacta est” meaning ”the die is cast.”

Julius Caesar seized power in Rome. He made himself the sole consul (there were supposed to be two consuls) and dictator for life. He defeated his enemies and then fled. He chased them to Egypt. There he fell in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. They had a child.

On the Ides of March 44 BC Caesar was stabbed to death by senators in Rome. They disliked his dictatorship. His killers were eventually hunted down and punished. Thereafter Julius Caesar’s family ruled for centuries.

In conclusion, Julius Caesar is a very intriguing and important historical figure. He really changed the world but it is not clear that he made it better. Learning about him taught me about human nature and political ideas.

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Titles

What is good and what is bad about your school?

Why do you want to come to the school you are applying to?

What would you do if you had absolute power over the world for one day?

Is homeschooling a good idea?

What is an ideal holiday?

If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?

Would we be better off without a government?

Is it right that sports are compulsory?

Which is the most important subject and why?

Is it good to be a boarder at school?

There is no point in learning foreign languages because we have translation technology. To what extent do you agree?

Who was the greatest person of all time?

Is it unfair that rich people are able to go to independent schools?

Describe the best holiday you have ever been on.

Is it right for schools to compel to attend prayers?

Should people be allowed to leave education at 16 if they want to?

Describe the most wonderful foreign country you have ever visited.

Music is pointless. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

We should not do exams. Pupils should be given grades based on their homework. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Should homework be abolished?

Should we get rid of school uniform?

Who is the best teacher you ever had and why?

Is it bad to have a monarchy?

Is television a waste of time?

Should chocolate be banned?

Why is smoking bad?

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What is racism? Why is it bad and what can we do about it?

Racism is the belief that some races are superior and others are inferior. Race is in someone’s DNA. Phenotype is the visible physical expression of these racial differences. This manifests as skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, hair texture, the shape of facial features, facial hair on men and to some extent height.

Although we can see racial characteristics, there is little to no difference between people of different races. However, some people wrongly imagine that races are very dissimilar. Racists usually think their own race is inherently better than the others. Racists tend to dislike and distrust other races.

Racism is the belief that other races are bad and should be mistreated. This can be official discrimination in employment, housing and education. Sometimes it was official discrimination: racist laws such as existed in South Africa and the USA.

Racism is unjust and illogical. It is a cruel and barbaric system. It means racial hatred and causes war. Genocide is the ultimate expression of racism. This is when one group so hates another that they try to kill all members of that group.

We need to educate people out of racism. Telling people the scientific facts will help. We can also ensure that there is good race mixing. People often dislike other races because they have hardly met other members of those races. Positive discrimination can also help. If disadavantaged groups are favoured in education and employment this can overcome subconscious bias.

A dream of Jono

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a couole of night ago I dreamt of Jono. He was alive. I bumped into him. he was somehwere tlike the downstairs concourse of a tube station. in black clericals. he was cheerful and chatty but not loud. he was the same as ever.

I cannot remember the explanation for his not being dead. I was not even that startled to make his acquianatnce again

we spoke bt a few mintues and then I walked on. I have been reminsicing about him and thinking ord liming some of his facial expressions

want to go tmemorial service

I awoke reallt thinking he was alive. then I remmebred how he had declined and died of thirst. friends attende dhis funeral he is dead

want to buy hus book.

Robert Clive silver course lesson 15

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ROBERT CLIVE – CLIVE OF INDIA. Silver course lesson 15.

ORIGINS

Clive was born in Moreton Say which lives in Shropshire, United Kingdom in 1725. Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England. His father was a solicitor. The family was Anglican. They had been minor landowners for centuries. Some had risen to prominence in Ireland. Robert’s father was also named Robert. Robert Clive the Elder was given a government post in Montgomeryshire. This Welsh county was adjacent to Shropshire.

Robert was the eldest of a brood of 13. Some of his siblings died as children. Robert was tough and irascible. He was the despair of his parents. For a time he lodged with his aunt in Manchester. He was also a daredevil. There is a tower in his home town of Market Drayton that he climbed.

By his teens Robert allegedly ran a protection racket. Local shopkeepers paid him off.

Merchant Taylors’ was the school in London whereat Robert boarded. He was not a scholarly sort. His parents did not know what was to be done with him. Luckily for them, Robert’s uncle Richard had made good in the Honourable East India Company. They bought Robert a post in the Company.

India was a risky prospect for a European. Tropical diseases killed many within a few years of landing in India. However, it was possible to make a great deal of money.

GO EAST YOUNG MAN

At the age of 17 Robert took ship. The ship weighed anchored bound for the East Indies. The ship had to sail with the currents. However, it was stuck off the coast of Brazil for months. Robert took the time to learn Portuguese. This stood him in good stead in India. The Portuguese held several towns in south India. Therefore, the language was spoken by some Indians.

The voyage should have taken four months. Due to mischances it took over a year for Robert. He finally landed in India. Robert was stationed at Fort St George (Chennai). He was a factor. That was a clerk. He found his work tedious and uninspiring. It was reasonably well paid.

The EIC was mostly based in Bengal. It also had factories (fortified trading posts) at Mumbai (Bombay), Surat and other places on the west coast of India. But it was only in eastern India that the EIC penetrated much beyond the coast.

India held no allure for Robert. His uninquisitiveness was unusual. He did not bother his barney to make an effort at indigenous languages. He passed his time gambling and drinking more than was salubrious. Robert was mentally unstable. He was tempted to commit suicide. Clive might have had bipolar disorder. His objectives in India were twofold: to get rich and get out. He wanted to make his fortune and then return to the United Kingdom.

EIC officials learnt the language of the region of India in which they were stationed. This could be Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Bihari, Urdu or Hindi. A few learnt Persian which was the official language of India. In practice, Persian was only spoke by high government officials.

The East India Company (EIC) was sometimes known simply as ”the Company”. People sometimes said they were working for ”John Company” or in ”John Company Land.’

The EIC had its own army and navy. India was a fairly lawless place. The Mughal Empire was fragmenting. In 1739 the Persians (Iranians) launched a massive raid through Afghanistan and into India. They had defeated the Mughal Army and took the Mughal capital city: Delhi. The Persians carried off the Peacock Throne of the Mughal Emperor. They slaughtered and pillaged for days. The Mughal Emperor managed to have the Persians agree to desist from slaying in return for a huge indemnity being paid. The emperor had to empty his treasury and force his subjects to hand over most of their wealth. The Persians were eventually satiated with gold. They consented to return whence they had come. They took many Indian horses with them.

After 1739 the Mughal Empire was permanently enfeebled. The emperor could not afford to pay his soldiers on time or buy them new weapons. The cavalry has lost almost all their horses. Functionaries were underpaid or not paid at all. To make ends meet they had to solicit bribes.

Provincial governors scented blood. They knew that the Mughal Emperor was weaker than before. The provinces said they could not afford to pay full taxes. They sent to Delhi less tax than was due. They reckoned that Delhi did not have the military strength to enforce its will. They were right. In time provinces sent less and less. The Mughal Emperor became poorer. The Mughal Empire therefore had fewer and fewer soldiers. Their equipment was worse and worse.

Some provincial governors obeyed Delhi less and less. They knew that the emperor could not afford a war. The government was going to take decades to recover from the Persian Raid of 1739.

The French East India Company was also active. The French held posts at Arcot, Chadernagar, Pondicherry and other places.

WAR

In 1745 there was fighting between the British and French in India. Clive distinguished himself in fighting. He defended the fort valiantly. He was not scared of death. The fort was then surrendered. The British were asked to swear an oath not to fight the French again. Most swore the oath and were released. Clive was one of those who refused were held prisoner. He managed to escape.

Robert Clive’s characteristic approach to making war was to be audacious. He liked to use speed and stealth. He would often insist on forced marches. Indian armies usually moved ponderously – slowed by huge baggage trains. They kept to roads and avoided rough country. Clive led his men through seemingly impassable jungle and muddy swaps. They travelled light. He attacked when the enemy least expected it. He would attack at night. This meant that he foe could not see if he had only a tiny force. Sometimes his men attacked in rainstorms. No one expected an attack then because gunpower could get wet.

The EIC had separate units for Indians and for whites. This was for linguistic reasons. The Indian units were officered by whites. The white officers had to be able to speak the language of their men.

The war ended in British victory. Robert Clive was made an ensign (the lowest officer rank) in the EIC Army.

The Nawab of Bengal was Siraj ud Daula. The French had been canny enough to treat him obsequiously. The EIC had been foolish enough to alienate him. The Nawab of Bengal also ruled Orissa and Bihar. Bengal back then included modern day Bangladesh.

Siraj ud Daula was notorious for his sadism. He was unpopular and not even an effectual ruler. He was a Shia Muslim. In Bengal 60% of the people were Hindus. The rest were Muslims but they were mostly Sunni Muslims. Very few were Shia.

At the age of 28 Clive wed a Briton. He is not known to have had any relationships with Indian women. He then returned to the British Isles for a few years. He intended to never return to India again. Robert Clive and his goodwife has several children.

In the 1756 war broke out between France and the United Kingdom. It was the Seven Years’ War as in it lasted until 1763.

It was in war that Clive came into his own. He had been a lacklustre ‘writer’ for the company. He volunteered to lead soldiers on an audacious raid. It was crowned with success. Clive was fearless.

The British received intelligence that the French planned to attack Calcutta. In fact this intelligence was faulty. But believing in its genuineness the EIC started building new defences around Calcutta. This was in material breach of an express term of a treaty with the Nawab of Bengal. Siraj ud Daula was affronted that the EIC had dared to break this treaty. Their new fortifications also suggested that they intended to defy him. He gathered an army to levy war on them. He wished to take Calcutta before its defences became too strong.

Siraj ud Daula besieged Calcutta in 1756. This was the HQ of the EIC in India. The British Governor of Fort William (i.e. Calcutta) was a deeply inept man. He was loathed by people both British and Indian. He foolishly said that the Bengal Army would never attack Calcutta. The siege went badly for the EIC. Some EIC soldiers and their families fled on boats on the River Hughli. Those left in Fort William – the centre of Calcutta – eventually threw in the towel. Much of the city was looted and burnt by the Bengali Army.

The British prisoners at Calcutta were then held in a small room. They were too densely packed in and there was little airflow. Overnight some died of asphyxiation. The British later overplayed this incident and said it was indicative or oriental barbarism.

The EIC organised an effective fightback against the Bengali Army. They were highly cognizant of the unpopularity of the detested Siraj ud Daula.

Siraj ud Daula began to realised that in wrecking Calcutta he had killed the goose that laid the golden egg. The EIC had been a profitable source or revenue for his coffers. He put out peace feelers to the EIC. They could have Calcutta back subject to various provisos. However, the EIC refused to treat with him.

In January 1757 the EIC under Clive’s command retook Calcutta six months after it had fallen to Siraj ud Daula. Robert Clive achieved this by a night attack in Siraj ud Daula’s camp. Within only a few thousand men Clive assailed a foe of tens of thousands. He liked to attack in the dark because it concealed his numerical inferiority. It also rendered enemy firepower ineffectual. He created such a pandaemonium among the Bengali Army that the Bengalis mistook friend for foe. Many Bengali soldiers killed their comrades believing them to be EIC soldiers.

Siarj ud Daula fled. He hen agreed that the EIC could have Calcutta back.

PLASSEY

Mir Jafar was Siraj ud Daula’s uncle. Mir Jafar entered into a secret correspondence with Robert Clive. Clive advanced north from Calcutta with 3 000 men. A third were British and two-thirds Indians.

Clive sent letters to Mir Jafar via various couriers. Mir Jafar had offered the EIC a huge sum of money to help him overthrow Siraj ud Daula. Mir Jafar would then rule Bengal as Nawab. Clive stopped receiving replies from Mir Jafar. He became perturbed. Was he being led into an elaborate trap? Or was Mir Jafar even alive? It was possible that Clive’s secret missives to Mir Jafar had been intercepted. If Siraj ud Daula came to learnt that his uncle was conspiring against him then Mir Jafar would be executed immediately.

Finally Clive received a letter from Mir Jafar. But it was non-committal. Perhaps that was reassuring. If Mir Jafar wanted to induce Clive to walk into an ambuscade then he would have expressed his enthusiasm for their pact in the strongest possible terms.

The Battle of Plassey then took place in June 1757. It was fought in a mango tope. The EIC’s 3 000 men faced over 50 000 men from the Bengal Army. Astonishingly, the EIC held their foe off on the first day. The Bengali Army showed little inclination to fight. On the second day Mir Jafar’s faction changed sides and retreated. Upon seeing Mir Jafar’s men leaving the battlefield the rest of the Bengali Army was gripped by panic. They fled in terror. It was then easy for the EIC to make a clean sweep of the battlefield. Siraj ud Daula and his adherents fled.

Siraj ud Daula was later captured by Mir Jafar’s forces and put to death. Clive was present in the Bengali capital of Murshidabad when Mir Jafar was enthroned as nawab.

Mir Jafar had some difficulty paying out the enormous reward that he had promised to the EIC. But after a few days he did so. Clive received a large cut of it. He received £ 170 000. In today’s money that is about £17 000 000

Mir Jafar was then financially embarrassed. He was unable to pay his army and civil servants. That did not stop him spending on lavish jewellery and dancing girls. Mir Jafar’s army officers and functionaries were irate. He had promised the EIC a huge reward without giving any thought to how Bengal could afford it.

The EIC hoped that Mir Jafar would prove a competent and compliant ruler. However, he was the latter but not the former. He was as cruel and as inept as his feckless and torpid nephew.

Taxes went unpaid in Bengal. There were revolts. The country was prey to the depredations of other states.

In 1760 the EIC hatched a new plot to oust Mir Jafar and replace him with Mir Qasim. It was effected. Mir Jafar was considered so ineffectual that he was allowed to slink away. There was very little chance that he would ever attempt a comeback. He lived out his live in obscurity.

Mir Qasim proved to be a canny and capable administrator. He improved governance in Bengal. The EIC fell out with him. He was later ousted and replaced with someone more pliable.

The Nawab of Bengal existed as a title until the 1970s. However, after the 1770s the position was fairly unimportant. The EIC made the decisions in Bengal.

RICHES

Eventually Robert Clive had amassed a fortune. He was a multimillionaire in modern terms. He sailed back to the British Isles. He was eager to get into politics. Clive managed to buy himself a constituency. He was elected as an MP for a Cornwall constituency. Clive was Whig. The Tories vehemently opposed him. They managed to have his election overturned.

Clive was deeply disappointed to get nowhere in politics. He decided that he needed more money to make his mark. Therefore, he sailed back to India. When he returned he found that the British situation had deteriorated anew.

Governor of Fort William was Clive’s new appointment. The Mughal Emperor gave some expensive jewels to Lord Clive to deliver to King George III as a present. Clive promised to pass them on. When Clive returned to Britain he presented the jewels to the king. However, he did not mention anything about the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. The king was ingratiated to Clive for the jewels. Naturally the king assumed that Clive had bought the jewels for him.

Shah Alam II sent an ambassador to London. The EIC had a good relationship with many courtiers. It ensured that the ambassador never had the chance to meet the king. The EIC did not want to be bypassed. It wanted to handle relations with India. It did not want the king or Parliament knowing what was going on in India.

There was a terrible famine in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in the late 1760s and into the early 1770s. This was caused by three years of drought. Despite that, Clive demanded that taxes be paid in full. He even raised the tax rate. There had always been famines in India. The highest estimate is that 5 000 000 people died in the famine. That is up to a third of Bengal’s population. Some conscience stricken EIC officials remitted taxes and purchased food from wealthier parts of India. But that was not overall EIC policy.

EIC was a business. Its goal was to make a profit. It certainly succeeded. It had some bad years and was sometimes in debt. Very little was spent on education by the EIC.

Robert Clive wanted to be a peer of Great Britain. However, this eluded him. He was made a peer of Ireland being ennobled as Lord Clive of Plassey. An area near in County Clare was renamed Plassey in honour of the field of Clive’s victory. That is despite him never setting foot in Ireland. One of his ancestors had been the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer. Plassey in Ireland has since been allotted to County Limerick.

In the UK, Clive bought himself a country seat from the Duchess of Newcastle. His country house was Charlemont in Surrey. Charlemont still stands and is now a school.

There were some in the United Kingdom who loathed Clive. They were covetous of his wealth and fame. Tales circulated of his mercilessness in India. It is true that his raised taxes during a famine. Some aristocrats saw him as new money. They despised him because he was a counter jumper.

A play went on the stage in London. It was entitled the Nabob. The play lampooned parvenus who had made a quick buck in India. The title role is about an unsavoury character who buys a constituency called Bribeham. The character was patently modelled on Clive.

Lord Clive was questioned in Parliament about his actions in India. He said that India had been prostrate at his feet. Rulers competed for his smiles. He could have taken far more gold than he did. He remarked, ”I stand in astonishment at my own moderation.” He has become famous or perhaps infamous. People called him Clive of India despite his dislike of India.

THE END

In 1774 Clive was back in his house at Berkeley Square, London. He was dining with his family. He asked to be excused for a moment. Minutes later he was found dead. There is much dispute whether he died of apoplexy or suicide. Nirad C Chaudhuri – one of his biographers – said it is clear and should be uncontentious that Clive took his own life.

Surprisingly for such a well known man he had a private and rushed funeral. His body was buried in the middle of the night at a church in Moreton Saye which was his birthplace. This is possibly because he may have committed suicide. Suicides were not permitted to be interred in consecrated ground. Some like Dr Johnson gloated at Clive’s apparent self-destruction.

Clive of India was survived by his wife and four children. His son Edward was a notable figure in India. Edward Clive did not rise as high as his father. He was considered short on the grey matter.

Until the 1960s children in the United Kingdom were taught that Clive was a hero. In the centuries after his death Clive became a popular Christian name for boys. He was certainly valiant. Nowadays he has been reassessed. Many see him as rapacious, unscrupulous and aggressive.

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  1. In which year was Clive born?

2. What was his Christian name?

3. What was his father’s occupation?

4. What was Clive’s behaviour like as a child?

5. Which school did he attend?

6. When did he sail to India?

7. Which was the EIC’s man base in India?

8. What does EIC stand for?

9. What was good about Clive? Five marks.

10. What was bad about Clive? Five marks.