Category Archives: History

This covers the history of many countries over centuries. My main interests are the British Isles, Russia and America.

The Indian Independence Movement



By the end of the 19th century the whole of India was either directly or indirectly under British control. Back then India consisted of what we now call Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as what is now the Republic of India.

About two-thirds of India was British India. This meant provinces under direct British control. Around a third of India was made up of princely states which were under indirect British control. There were over 600 princely states. The princely states were ruled by Indian rulers.  There were many different titles for the ‘princes’. They had titles such as rajah, maharajah, gaekwar, khan and nizam. Therefore they were known as ‘princes’ to simplify it. Some princely states were very small: just a couple of square miles. The largest of them was Hyderabad which was the size of France. Most princely states were in between in terms of size. A prince would rule his state. The state would pass from father to son. A prince could do as he wanted within his state so long as he did not cause problems for British India. The prince had to agree to only have foreign relations via the United Kingdom. That means that a princely state could not set up an embassy in China or invite an ambassador from Italy. No, the British would conduct foreign relations on behalf of all the princely states. Princely states were allowed to have their own armies.

At that time India was over 60% Hindu. The Muslims comprised 30% of the population. There were small numbers of Sikhs and Christians. The Muslims were concentrated in the very west of the country (today’s Pakistan) and the very east (today’s Bangladesh).

By the end of the 19th century the British Empire had reached its zenith. A third of all the land in the world was under British rule. It was said that Britannia ruled the waves because the Royal Navy was bigger than the second largest navy plus the third largest navy put together. The UK was a mighty manufacturing country but it had already been overtaken by the United States and Germany. They were manufacturing more than the UK.

India was very much an agricultural country at the time. There were only a few factories at the time. Most people were farmers.

In the 19th century most people around the world never went to school. Most people were illiterate. Only about 20% of people in India were literate at the time. The UK had only just brought in compulsory schooling in 1870 and the UK had still not achieved full literacy. This compulsory schooling law did not apply to India.

The British Government sent a viceroy to India. The viceroy ruled on behalf of Queen Victoria because she was so far away. The viceroy lived at Kolkata which was then the capital of India.

Many Indians were impressed by the British who were the world superpower at the time. This did not mean that all Indians liked British rule by any means. It is difficult for the mighty not to be haughty. Some Britishers were arrogant and looked down on Indians.

Indians looking into their own history saw that long before India had been far ahead of Europe in Mathematics and astronomy. Emperor Ashoka had introduced human rights and abolished slavery. But India had fallen behind and been overtaken.

There were famines in India. The British authorities in India said they were trying to improve farming. They set up an Agricultural Department. It was supposed to encourage more modern methods of farming with better use of fertiliser and smarter animal husbandry.  Irrigation canals were dug. Stores of grain were set up for distribution in times of failed crops. Famine relief was a responsibility of the British Government of India. But the government was failing in its duty when so many starved. The British authorities urged people to grow non-comestible crops such as cotton and opium. Opium is a dangerous drug. Under British rule it was legally sold in India, in the UK, China and other places.

In 1885 the viceroy made the fateful decision to establish Congress. Congress was an organisation for Indians to examine how the British authorities were governing India and to provide constructive criticism. At first Congress and the viceroy got along well. Congress was simply giving advice about where it felt the British authorities could do better. The principle of British rule was hardly ever questioned.

Since the 1830s education in India had shifted to the British model. Persian was abandoned as the major language of education and the courts. Instead English was adopted. Many Indians learnt to read and write their vernacular languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and so forth. But after learning their mother tongue they started to learn English.

Newspapers were published in India in various languages. A system of telegraph poles transmitted news and personal messages. The mail system established by the British authorities helped to forge a sense of national identity. India had been united millennia before. But sometimes a centralised Indian state had fallen apart. It had been reunited and disunited several times.

By the 1880s there was a small Indian elite that was fluent in English. Oxford University and Cambridge University admitted non-Christians from the 1870s. A tiny number of Indians attended these universities. Only the super wealthy could afford to sail to the UK and pay the huge fees for these tip top universities. The Indian elite was exposed to British notions of parliamentary government. The UK boasted that its institutions were the envy of the world. By the 1880s most men in Britain had the right to vote. Parliament discussed the problems facing the nation and voted on solutions. Some Indian elitists were attracted by this and wanted to introduce similar institutions in India. Indians looked back in their history and saw that at time India too had had representative institutions. By this time there was a miniscule Indian community in the United Kingdom.

In 1893 an Indian named Dadabhai Naoroji was elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as a Liberal. He was hailed in India for his achievement. A few years later another Indian named Mr Bhownagree was elected to the UK Parliament. He was a Conservative. Bhownagree was so enthusiastic for British rule in India that some Indians scornfully called him ‘bow and agree.’

By the 1890s Congress was pressing the viceroy for further reforms. Many Indians were living in poverty and the British authorities were not doing enough about it. Britishers who served as civil servants and soldiers in India invariably retired to the UK. Their pensions were paid by India. This money left India and was spent in the UK. Congress called it ‘the drain’. India’s wealth was being drained away.

By 1900 Congress was becoming an irritant for the viceroy. It was no longer a genteel organisation of a few thousand highly educated rich men. It had several thousand members and was growing rapidly. In 1900 a new viceroy arrived from Great Britain. He was Lord Curzon. Lord Curzon disliked Congress and wanted it to dissolve. He dared not ban it because he knew it was popular. It was an important way of allowing Indians to let of steam about their grievances.

The early 20th century saw the rise of militancy. Some Indians rejected British rule totally. They had no time for the polite discussions that Congress had with British officials. Some Indians did not want reform. They wanted revolution. A handful of radicals decided that the British Raj could not be redeemed. It could only be destroyed! In Bengal some Indians killed British officials and police officers. Only a very small number of Britishers were killed. But the news was extensively reported. British rule was not seriously threatened by this. Congress said it deplored this use of force. The British authorities denounced those who killed their men as ‘terrorists.’

Congress welcomed Indians of all religions and all languages. Some Muslims in Congress said that Muslims were a special community that had particular concerns not shared by other Indians whether Hindu, Sikh or Christian. The Muslims asked whether they could set up a special section of Congress called ‘the Muslim League.’ Congress agreed. The Muslim League was established as an organisation inside Congress.

Bengal was a province which had about equal numbers of Hindus and Muslims. Some of the Muslims wanted the province to be divided into East Bengal  with a Muslim majority and West Bengal with a Hindu majority. The British authorities considered the request.




the fake tan fuhrer


natural de selection. darwin awards. winnow out the feeble minded.

affecting NYC . california. densely populated

spreading to red states. diffused. peoples by illogical people.

Temper tantrums
of adult life are rather pathognomonic of psychopathy,

eugenically spekaing this might be welcome. providential.



enriched idiocy

weapons grade whackoes

presidential authrity limited. separation of powers

liberatarianism never solves . no good in crisis. look at 9.11. habeas corpus.

bo jo has got it.

red states. jesus saves.

singapore eased off. got worse.

gallows humour

black comedy.

90s trump. display mode. a deux.

fake fuhrer’s approval up. rally to president. 9.11

popularity dip

perfect storm. expensive tests. ventilaors. insurance. doctors and nurses. overpaid.

no more a bone of contention – corona.

trump a hindrance not a help. burden.

no more tangible problem than coronavirus.

unverifiable that many more have it. #


isolation helps. uncontested.

adjudication on limit of federal and state authority

demented. not constitutional. acquired.


feebleminded substandard. lacks adaptability.

psychopathic. offends the law. superiority complex. inferiority complex.


no impulse resistance. self control.

delusions. hallucinations. not raining at inauguration

memory defects?

ablation might be needed. lobotomy

impressive verbalist. given chance after chance. forgiven.

betrayals. broken homes. tragedies

untouched by this. smiles abd boasts

constant distortion

mental deformity.

inadequate. could have impressed. cauterise the problem. grasp the nettle. be presidential

poses fundamental questions about assumptions underpinning democracy when such a popinjay can be elected.

done nothing constructive

noisy, shallow. severe eccentricities

such rich seam of material for commentary.

deviate from norm.

hysterical. had no many advantage yet claims to be hard done by. victim mentality.

has to be humoured. handled with kid gloves. fiend. never candid.

folly . bigot.  republicans worshippers of him not dogma

dogmatist – against publicly funded healthcare.

nuisance. silly impulsive. impetuous. uniquely vain disposition.

unpardonable slow response to coronavirus. indecisive. perservere with social distancing. non -persistent.

flip floppers. situation unsettled to say the very least. shortcoming. hostile to the idea of isolation

doubly unfortunate to have trump and republicans.

cannot appreciate achievements of others. egocentric.


notoriety mistaken for fame.

senile become paranoid.

impending doom. what antidote|?




Richard III





One of the most reviled kings of England is Richard III. He has come to symbolise treachery and cruelty. But is he unfairly maligned? Some say that this king has had a very unfair press.

Richard III was born in Fotheringhay Castle in the year 1452. This castle lies in Northamptonshire. The castle is also the place where Mary Queen of Scots was executed in 1587. It subsequently fell into disrepair. If you visit it now you will see that scarcely stone stands upon stone.

The Duke of York was the father of Richard III. The duke’s name was also Richard like his son. Richard III had an elder brother Edward IV and a younger brother George. He also had a younger  sister named Elizabeth.

The Plantagenet dynasty ruled England at the time. Richard III was one of that family. When he was born a mentally ill monarch was on the throne. He was Henry VI.

The Hundred Years War was drawing to a close. The King of England Henry VI was supposed to be King of France as well. His maternal grandfather was Charles VI of France. However, most French people did not accept Henry VI as the rightful King of France. His uncle Charles VII fought against him. The deranged Henry VI was incapable of ruling one kingdom let alone two. The English were being defeated. Heavy taxes had been levied to pay for the war. As Henry VI was so raving made that he could not rule the country his unpopular wife Margaret of Anjou sometimes had to take control. In 1453 the English finally admitted defeat. They gave back all of France save for the town of Calais. The king’s stock was very low.


Looking back to the mid 14th century there was a king named Edward III. He had five sons. One of these sons died without having children. But the remaining four all had children. The descendants of these four sons divided themselves into two hostile camps: the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. This is because the Duke of Lancaster was the leader of the Lancastrians. The Duke of York was the leader of the Yorkists. If there were four sons how come there were only two sides and not four? This is because sometimes cousins got married. The Duke of York had that title because he own lots of farmland around York. Likewise the Duke of Lancaster owned lots of farms near Lancaster. Most people were farmers back then because there was very little technology.

Richard III was the great-great-grandson of Edward III. That was why he had a claim to the crown.

The Duke of York wanted to control the government. His idea was that he would let Henry VI retain the title king but that the Duke of York would be effectively in charge. When Henry VI died his son Edward of Westminster would not become king. Instead the kingship would pass to the Duke of York. The Duke of York was distantly related to Henry VI. Both were direct descendants of Edward III who died in 1377.

The Lancastrians were those who did not want Henry VI’s to be effectively the plaything of the Duke of York. They also insisted that when the king died the crown pass to his son.  The Yorkists wanted Henry VI to be controlled by the Duke of York.

One of the key figures at the time was Richard Neville. He had the title the Earl of Warwick. He was known as ‘kingmaker Warwick’. Whichever side he joined won.

In 1455 fighting broke out between Yorkists and Lancastrians. The fighting continued on and off until 1485. In 1455 Richard III and his family fled to the Netherlands.

Richard, the Duke of York died. His eldest son Edward V became Duke of York and leader of the Yorkists. In 1460 Edward IV returned to England with his younger brother Richard III and the rest of the family. They, the Yorkists, defeated Henry VI who fled to Scotland. Edward IV was then proclaimed King of England. He was crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey.

Edward IV gave his brother Richard III the title Duke of Gloucester. Duke is a high noble title not far below king. There were only a dozen dukes in the whole of England. Richard III suffered from scoliosis. This caused a slight curvature of the spine. Some people said this was a sign of his wickedness. People were very prejudiced against the disabled back then.

Richard III married kingmaker Warwick’s daughter Anne Neville and they had children. Anne Neville was also his second cousin.

Edward IV’s other brother George was granted the title Duke of Clarence. Edward IV later found out that his brother George had begun a secret correspondence with the Yorkists. George was planning to join their side. When Edward V discovered this treachery he was executed on the order of Edward V.

In 1470 Henry VI’s supporters gathered a mighty army. They beat the Yorkists. Henry VI came back from abroad and was made king once more.

The Yorkists then regrouped and defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. The 17 year old Edward of Westminster was slain in the battle. Henry VI was taken prisoner. He was held at the Tower of London. Henry VI was killed there.

Edward IV was king again. He was married and had two sons Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury.



On 9 April 1483 Edward IV died of an illness. His son Edward V was declared to be king. The king was only 12 at the time and his younger brother was 10. Richard III was made Lord Protector of the Realm. It was his duty to rule on behalf of his nephew. Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury lived in the Tower of London. The coronation of Edward V was planned for 22 June.

Two months after Edward V became king he and his brother vanished. How on earth could this king disappear? Hundreds of servants and soldiers lived in the Tower of London. It was the most closely guarded building in the realm.

Richard III then announced that Edward IV had not been properly married to Elizabeth Woodville. She was the mother of Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury. Therefore these boys had no right to inherit any title from their father. Richard III further announced that the coronation would be going ahead only four days behind schedule and he would be the one who was crowned.

On 26 June 1483 Richard III was duly crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He seemed strangely unperturbed about the whereabouts of his nephews. If your uncle was looking after you would you expect him to be concerned about your welfare? The king made no attempt to find his nephews. The two boys were known as The Princes in the Tower.

Richard III traveled around the country. He donated to Cambridge University. He also founded the College of Arms.

Richard III’s son then died of an illness. A rumour went around that the Princes in the Tower had escaped to Ireland. Some say there were murdered and buried in the Tower of London. Years later an investigation concluded that the two boys were smothered on the order of their uncle Richard III. In the 17th century two skeletons of boys aged about 11 were found buried under a staircase in the Tower of London.

The Lancastrians were stirring. There was a Lancastrian claimant named Henry VII. He was living in Brittany at the time. This is a French peninsula. Henry VII gathered an army. The King of France lent Henry VII some troops. He was in touch with some people in England and Wales who were discontent with Richard III.

In July 1485 Henry VII set sail. He landed in Wales. He was partly Welsh and received a cordial welcome. Many Welshmen rallied to his banner. He marched into England. More men joined en route.

Richard III was informed of the invasion. He mustered his army. He marched towards the threat.

The Stanleys were a powerful noble family in the English midlands. They had many soldiers. Richard III ordered them to bring their men to join his royal army. The Stanleys mustered their men but they did not unite with the royal army.

Henry VII drew up his men a few miles west of Market Bosworth. This is in Leicestershire. Richard III approached from the east. The Stanleys had men to the north and to the south.

The Yorkists took George Lord Strange as a hostage. He was the 9 year old son of Lord William Stanley. Richard III warned that Stanleys that if they did not come over to his side then Lord Strange would be killed. The Stanleys did not come over to Richard III. The king ordered the boy to be put to death. However, his order was disobeyed.

On 22 August the Battle of Bosworth commenced.  The Stanleys came in on Henry VII’s side. If they had not done so the outcome would have been different. Richard III was killed and his army routed. He was the last Plantagenet king. His body was stripped and carried on a horse into Leicester. It was displayed for three days. People saw his corpse. Henry VII wanted people to see the carcass. They would recognise Richard III. Then people would be sure that he was dead. Henry VII did not want a rumour getting around that his mortal enemy had survived. Richard III was then buried in a monastery called Greyfriars. There he lay for over 500 years.


Richard III’s reputation has been fought over for centuries. A hundred years after his death the playwright William Shakespeare wrote a play entitled Richard III. In this play Richard III is the villain of the piece. He is depicted as two-faced, wicked, vain and cruel. Richard III has gone down in history as the archetypal bad guy. In the play he is called ‘Gloucester’ for much of the story. That is before he became king he had the title the Duke of Gloucester. The Shakespeare play is highly fictionalised. When Shakespeare wrote the play Elizabeth I was on the throne. She was descended from Henry VII who was a Lancastrian. Therefore Shakespeare curried favour with the queen by demonising Richard III.

In the play Richard III the title character says ‘A bard of Ireland told me once I should not live long when I saw Richmond.’ In this case ‘Richmond’ does not mean the place. Henry VII was known as the Earl of Richmond before he became king. In the Battle of Bosworth Henry VII (i.e. Richmond) came close to Richard III and then Richard III was killed a minute later. There are other factual inaccuracies in the play. It says that George Duke of Clarence was drowned in a barrel of malmsy wine on the order of Richard III. This is totally false. Richard III’s physical disability was much exaggerated by the play.

At the opening of the play Richard III the title character says this soliloquy


Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

Some people have tried to rehabilitate Richard III’s reputation. The Society of the White Boar was founded in the early 20th century. It was aimed at improving the image of the king. The name of the society is because the symbol of Richard III was a white boar. The society renamed itself the Society of Richard III.

In 2013 his remains were unearthed in Leicester. DNA proved it was him. He was reburied with pomp in Leicester Cathedral. The current Duke of Gloucester was present. Serendipitously, the current Duke of Gloucester is also named Richard!


  1. In which castle was Richard III born?
  2. What was his year of birth?
  3. Which dynasty was he part of?
  4. What was his relationship did he have to Edward III?
  5. What was Richard III’s title before he became king?
  6. What was the title of his father?
  7. Who was Richard III’s elder brother?
  8. Which country did Richard III flee to?
  9. Who was he married to?
  10.  Did he have a child?
  11. In which year did Edward IV die?
  12. What were Edward IV’s sons called?
  13. What was the collective name for Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury?
  14. Where was the last place that the Princes in the Tower were seen?
  15. Which powerful family joined Henry VII at Bosworth?
  16.  What was the exact date of the battle?
  17. What happened to Richard III at Bosworth?
  18. Where was he buried at first?
  19. What is the evidence that Richard III had the princes in the Tower murdered? Five marks
  20. How good a king was Richard III? Five marks.





Henry II


Henry II

King Henry II was born in England. This does not go without saying. His family had come from France not long before. His father was Count Geoffrey of Anjou and his mother was Queen Matilda. The surname of Geoffrey of Anjou was Plantagenet. Anjou is a county in France that Geoffrey ruled.

Henry II grew up in a time of great upheaval. There was a civil war called the Nineteen Long Winters. His mother Matilda battled her cousin Stephen. The conflict was concluded at the Treaty of Wallingford. It was agreed that Stephen could rule for the remainder of his life. Upon his death the crown would pass not to Stephen’s son Eustace but to Henry II. Some believed that Stephen would renege on the treaty. Even if he did not break it people said that when Stephen died his son Eustace would try to be king.

Within months of the treaty being signed Eustace died of natural causes. Shortly thereafter Stephen died. Henry II became king without opposition. It was 1154.

Henry II wed Eleanor of Aquitaine. This French noblewoman was 12 years older than her husband. She ruled Aquitaine which is southwest France. Henry II then controlled Aquitaine because a man had power over his husband. He therefore ruled England, Normandy, Aquitaine, Anjou and Wales.

The king had another stroke of luck. Nicholas Brakespeare was elected pope. He was and is the only Englishman to be pope. He took the name Adrian IV. Pope Adrian IV issued a papal bull entitled Laudabiliter. This stated that Henry II had the right to take control of Ireland and introduced Roman Catholicism. Ireland had been Christian since the 5th century AD. However, we practised our own form of Christianity and not the Catholic kind.

In 1169 there was a civil war on Ireland.  Ireland was not a united country back then. There were several kingdoms often at war against each other. MacMurrough King of Leinster fled to Wales. He enlisted the help of Strongbow to reclaim his throne. Strongbow was a Norman lord. He had the title the Earl of Pembroke. Strongbow went to Ireland and helped MacMurrough regain his throne. Strongbow wed MacMurrough’s daughter Aoife. A year later MacMurrough died. Strongbow then proclaimed himself to be the King of Leinster.



hubris and trump ========================


high office and hubris

hubris syndrome and acquired personality disorder – in brain magazine

prof jonathan Davidson and dr d owen

the psychiatrist magazine . 2011.

#power goes to his head


rhetoric by aristotle

hubris is a compulsion to demonstrate superiority

masks inner doubt . why impelled to reinforce one’s paramountcy?

to belittle others . it is a weakness

hubristai means insults

watch corionalus and its rings true


an occupational hazard for a leader

smooth talking flatterers

aggressive arrogance

no pm leaves downing street sane

intoxication of power

addicted to the limelight

a media ho

a loafer but a tireless self publicist

cheats at games like napoleon

causal link between conduct and office?

susceptible to temptations of power

lord acton4

indifference to truth

lack of humility

no need to acknowledge truth which is often beyond human agency to  control

fixation with reputation and retribution

potency is a heady substance

no sense of humour or irony. decency and detachment – insult dying mccain

not tethered to reality

slipped his moorings

overweening pride

snarling and insolent towards those who thwart him

trets reasonable questions as impudence

lost his marbles

aberrant behaviour

magical thinking

disdain for expoert opinion that he does not like

pride comes before a fall

whom the gods wish to destory

david e cooper on excessive self – belief. it really is about SELF.

split thinking

double think. he paid stormy and did not pay her.

the big lie. loss is profit. truth is a lie. fake news.

surrounded with smooth talking flatterers

massage his ego

democracy trammels power. restrain. vacillate, consider

medidatte and pause. no mistake can be too big

checks and balances

slow, indecisive and half measures

liberty requires hypervigi lance against the power hungry

usurp liberty in times of crisis.

fronto striatal and limbic stratial dopamingeric pathways in brain regulate impulsitivty and rigidity


lassitude by trump

seldom exultant.



diagnostic and statistical manual IV

antisocial personality disorder

histrionic personality disorder

narcissistic personality disorder – hubris syndrome probably the same . have many components in common


sign trump si hubristic

breaching godwin’s law


tendency to see world as a forum for his aggrandizement#a

all the world is s stage. glory boy

not expendiect or problem solving

judges actions by whether they make him look good

preoccupation with image and reputation

messianic. speak in extravagant praise about certain others as well as themselves


consider the nation and themselves to be inseparable.

l ‘etat c est moi

talking in the third person

unwarranted trust in their own decision making

pooh pooh unwelcome advice or bad news

shoot the messenger

want to believability. wishful thinking. mindless optimism

belief that they have special almost preternatural powers

given to undue self confidence beying what one would expect in an extrovert and exhibitionist

a sense that they cannot be scrutinised by lesser mortals even judges or legislatures – that the almighty or posterity will judge them

unwavering sureness that such a court would acquit them and even adulate them

history shall absolve me

the goddess who presides over the eternal court of history

notion that they are slected for some august destiny

things are written in the stars – preordained

beliefs in portents

today it seems to me providential.

no grip in reality.

becoming ever more detached from ordinary people or even unbiased advisors

insistence on access only to toadies, place hunters and groupies


inordinate exaltation is no more than his due

demand craven obeisance from others

impatience, volatility, imprudence

attention span of a may fly

indifference to particulars.

never asking to see files.


belief that their mission is correct. a frightening conviction in their own moral uprightness

moral imperative to achieve goals. machiavellian

no law or ethics will hold them back. mercilessness.

but they still apply such standards to others and demand they be bound by law and ethics

their belief in the moral supremacy of their cause precludes any need to consider feasibility, cost in blood or treasure, time scale or anything prosaic

refusal to face up to the possibility that even parts of it will go awry or that unforeseen circumstances may arise

incompetence. not doing homework

refusal to do anything tedious. cannot be fagged with anything petty or time consuming or painstaking


trump has no inquiring mind

no languages



nonchalance in the face of grave difficulties. it will all work itself out.

these traits were apparent by 18

total dearth of objectivity or probity

self pity. woe is me. surrounded by foes

many enemies – much glory

self love

relying on adrenalin


charismatic. cult of personality

me, I , mine, us, name,





red can me military in afghanistan

triumph – remember you are only a man


locked in dispute with press corps

Felicity lesson 5. Oxford and Cambridge



Oxford and Cambridge


Oxford and Cambridge are usually mentioned in the same breath. These two splendid universities are the most outstanding universities in the United Kingdom. They are among the top ten universities in the world. Oxford and Cambridge are perhaps eclipsed by some American universities but only because the American ones have far more money.

Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. Oxford University’s origins are obscure but it certainly existed in some form in the 12th century. In 1355 there was the St Scholastica’s Day Riot. There was much friction between undergraduates and those people in the town who were not connected to the university. On 10 February 1355 an argument over beer started in a pub called Swindlestock Tavern. This devolved into a general brawl. The haughty students were widely hated by the much put upon townsfolk. In the end 66 students were stabbed to death and several townsfolk were also slain. Students and lecturers fled for their lives into the countryside. The King totally took the side of the university. He dispatched soldiers to restore order and protect the students when they returned to Oxford. The Mayor of Oxford was compelled to apologise for the behaviour of the people of the city and pay reparations. The City of Oxford was obliged plead for forgiveness from the University of Oxford for the St Scholastica’s Day Riot and pay compensation every year for the next 470 years.

Some Oxford undergraduates and lecturers never felt safe in Oxford again. They moved off to a swamp called Cambridge. Cambridge University was founded in a town 150 kilometres east of Oxford.

In Oxford and Cambridge they talk of ”town and gown.” The town means those people who live in that place but are not part of the university in any way. The gown refers to students and lecturers because they wear gowns on ceremonial occasions.

Oxford may refer to the University of Oxford or the City of Oxford. In an academic context is plainly means the university. Likewise Cambridge may be used to indicate the University of Cambridge or indeed the City of Cambridge. In a scholastic context it signifies the university.

In Oxford and Cambridge you will hear much talk of ‘dons’. A don is someone who teaches at the university. Don is a slang word but it is respectful. Only a few academicians in the United Kingdom attain the lofty title ‘professor’. No one had this title until the 18th century in the United Kingdom. It is possible for an academic to lecture in a university for their entire career and never gain this high and unusual title ‘professor.’ The other dons have lower titles such as ‘lecturer’.



Oxford is about 70 km from London. The city is slightly bigger than Cambridge. It is perhaps a little more political and more cosmopolitan than Cambridge.

Cambridge is a smaller town. Its colleges are more resplendent than those of Oxford. Cambridge is sometimes said to be a bit better at Science and Oxford is thought to have the edge in the Humanities. Oxford has the largest History Faculty in the world with over 100 academics. You are more likely to find a scholar with an enthusiasm in your favourite topic in History here than at any other university on the planet.

The two universities are really on a par. There is a friendly rivalry between them. They compete in sports against each other. There is much exchange between them. An academic at Oxford might have been an undergraduate at Cambridge. Someone who does Bachelor’s degree at Oxford often goes on to do a Master’s degree at Cambridge.

Visit both universities and form an opinion. Seek guidance from a superb educational consultant.

Take notice of the fact that for undergraduate application you are only allowed to apply  to either Cambridge or Oxford in any single year. However, supposing you apply to Cambridge and you are rejected this year then you are permitted to apply to Oxford next year (or Cambridge again if you wish). This article shall focus on undergraduate admissions.



Oxford is divided into about 39 colleges. Cambridge is also divided into about 40 colleges. A college is like a fraternity or a hall of residence. Each college has its own history, coat of arms, sports teams, chapel, dining hall and so forth. Most colleges do most subjects. It is not the case that each college does a different subject. It is a federal system. A college is like a region and the university is like the federal government.

Colleges do not matter enormously. An undergraduate can make the college matter if he or she wants to. It can be the centre of one’s social life.

Undergraduates are required to live in college accommodation for their first year. Thereafter they can continue to live in college accommodation or rent privately. Not all college accommodation is on the main site. Colleges own buildings around the city.

Some colleges are huge with 600 students. They can have ancient and beautiful buildings. Others are quite small with as few as 50 students and modern with unimpressive buildings. The most magnificent colleges are harder to get into since more people apply. The most opulent colleges in Cambridge are King’s and Trinity. At Oxford the most fantastic colleges are Magdalen ( pronounced ‘Maudlin’) and Christ Church.

Lectures and exams are organized centrally. Supposing someone is read Geography at St Peter’s College, Oxford. He attends the same lectures as someone reading Geography at Hertford College, Oxford. They sit the same examinations. They are awarded a degree by Oxford University rather than the college. The same is true for the colleges of Cambridge University.

College and subject selection greatly influences one’s chances of getting in. St John’s College, Oxford typically has ten applicants per place. Jesus College, Cambridge usually has around nine applicants per place. Bear in mind that most of these applicants are brilliant. There are certain colleges with have rather fewer applicants such as St Benet’s Hall, Oxford or Murray Edward’s College, Cambridge.

Classics only has about three applicants per place likewise Theology does not have many applicants whereas Business normally has twelve applicants per place. Thus a candidate can greatly increase his or her chances of securing a place at one of these illustrious university by applying to an unpopular college for an unpopular subject. Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic is offered at Cambridge. It is known as ‘Asnac’ for short. It has poor job prospects so not many applicants. It is a lot easier to get in for therefore. Law, Economics and Medicine all have superb job prospects so there are many applicants for these subjects. That makes them fiendishly difficult to get in for.

Each college has a number of fellows. A fellow is usually a lecturer at that college. The fellows are part of the governing body of the college. They have a few meetings a year to discuss important matters. Some of the fellows will be the accountant of the college and perhaps some very distinguished alumni. Typically a college will have 500 students and about 50 fellows.

Although every college has a chapel most students are not religious. These colleges were originally religious foundations. The colleges all have a Christian affiliation – mostly Church of England but a few are Roman Catholics. There is no obligation or even pressure to even attend chapel. But the chapel is there with worship at least twice a week for those who wish to attend. There is a chaplain in each college. There is an Orthodox Church in Oxford but it is not connected to the university. Non-Christians have been welcome at both universities since the 1870s. There are Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Atheists in these universities.

There is a friendly rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge. They play sports against each other. The colour of Oxford is dark blue – it is like the blue on the French Flag. The colour of Cambridge is a very light blue – almost turquoise. A match between Oxford and Cambridge is called a ‘blues match’. Someone who represented Oxford or Cambridge at a sport is called a ‘blue’. The top team in any sport for Oxford is called ‘the blues’ likewise at Cambridge their best team in any sport is called ‘the blues’. That is because Oxford will have several teams at rugby, several in tennis, several teams in football etc…

The Varsity Match is a rugby match in December. It is just after the Christmas holidays start. It is played at Twickenham Stadium in London. This is the English national rugby stadium. It is called ‘varsity’ because that is an old slang word for ‘university’. This match is Oxford versus Cambridge.

The University Boat Race takes place on Palm Sunday. That is the Sunday before Easter. This boat race has been going since 1829. It was started by Charles Wordsworth – nephew of the renowned poet William Wordsworth. The race is rowed on the River Thames. They start at Putney Bridge. They row to the west – they are rowing inland. The River Thames is tidal. That means that seawater is coming in. They time the race to start near high tide – the boats are rowing with the flow of the water. This race has been rowed every year except during the First World War and Second World War. Cambridge has won more than Oxford. There was one dead heat in the 19th century – it was a draw because both boats were judged to have crossed the finish line at the same time.

There are eight rowers in a rowing boat. The crew is called and VIII (pronounced ‘eight’). There is also a coxswain. He or she steers the boat and does not row. The coxswain is very small and light. The rowers are very tall, slim and strong. The Oxford 1st VIII is Oxford’s best crew. People call it ‘the blue boat.’ Likewise Cambridge’s 1st VIII is also called ‘the blue boat.’

There is a men’s race and there is a women’s race.


  1. Which country are Oxford and Cambridge in?
  2.  Which university is older?
  3.  What happened in the St Scholastica’s Day Riot?
  4. What do ‘town and gown’ mean?
  5. What is a don?
  6. What is so special about the History Faculty at Oxford?
  7. Which subjects have the best job prospects?
  8. What is the religious affiliation of most of these colleges?
  9. What is a ‘fellow’ in relation to these colleges?
  10.  Do you have to be a Christian to go to one of these colleges?
  11. What is the colour of Oxford?
  12.  What is the colour of Cambridge?
  13. What is a blues match?
  14. What is the blue boat?
  15. How many rowers are there in a rowing boat?
  16. What is a coxswain?
  17. When did the University Boat Race begin?
  18. Who was Charles Wordsworth?
  19. What is the Varsity Match?
  20. Where does the University Boat Race start?
  21. Why are these universities so well known? Five marks.

Jonathan Pollard



In 1954 Jonathan Pollard was born in the United States. Mr Pollard is Jewish and his family identified very strongly with the worldwide Jewish community. Despite that his family was not fervently religious.

Pollard did well at school. He went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s. Thereafter he found gainful employment as a civilian intelligence analyst in the US Navy. Soon afterwards he wed. He was privy to all sorts of secret information. The United States and Israel had a very cordial relationship and shared intelligence. However, this did not extend to sharing everything. Mr. Pollard came across information that was potentially useful to the Israelis that was not passed on to them by the US Government.

At a party in New York in the early 1980s Pollard met an Israeli diplomat. He spoke to the diplomat about his job and his enthusiasm for helping Israel. The diplomat was suspicious of Pollard’s exuberance. Could he be a crackpot? Was he coat trailing? Was he trying to get the Israeli intelligence services to recruit him so the USA could then expose Israeli espionage in the country? Mossad looked into Pollard’s case. They soon arrived at the conclusion that he was genuine.

Handlers met Pollard frequently. He handed over information to his handlers. They were specific in requesting certain file numbers. Pollard was doing this because of his ardent Zionism. He found out about anti-Israeli plots in much of the Muslim world. The Israeli Government paid Pollard handsomely for what he was doing.

Jonathan Pollard approached the Pakistanis, Chinese and others offering to sell them secret information. They declined perhaps not trusting him. Why would an avowed Zionist assist Pakistan? Pakistan does not recognize Israel and is a sworn enemy of the country. Pakistan does not allow Israelis into the country.

Mr Pollard slipped up when he was seen accessing files that were beyond his remit. This aroused suspicion. He was  asked if he was willing to be questioned. Pollard agreed. During the interview He asked to make a phone call to his wife. As it was a voluntary interview the FBI agreed. He had the right to leave at any time. He made a phone call to his spouse. In it he slipped in the anodyne word ‘cactus’. This was a prearranged code word to indicate that he had been caught. His wife knew this innocuous word meant to remove evidence. She removed sacks of sensitive documents from the house. Later Mr Pollard was arrested. He and his wife were charged with espionage. The charges against Mrs Pollard were reduced to being an accessory after the fact.

Some Israeli diplomats fled the country within hours of Pollard’s arrest. Pollard agreed a plea bargain with prosecutors. He had to give them chapter and verse on all he had done. The intelligence services wished to assess the damage. They also believed there was another Zionist mole in US Naval Intelligence. How else had Mossad known which files to ask for? This person was known as Mr X. He has never been unmasked. Pollard was also required to refrain from speaking to the media.

At his trial Pollard was found guilty. The bench awarded him life imprisonment. He felt hard done by. However, he had given a media interview whilst awaiting trial and this was a material breach of his plea bargain. He contended that he pleaded guilty because his wife had medical treatment withheld from her until he pleaded guilty. His wife had the temerity to claim that medical treatment in prison was worse than in concentration camps. This was an outright lie and hideously offensive. It hugely trivializes the Holocaust. She was treated humanely and she exploited the Holocaust to gain sympathy. People are not worked to death in US prisons.

Mr Pollard renounced his US citizenship and became an Israeli which in a federal penitentiary. His wife was soon released.

It was put to Pollard that there was nothing anti-Jewish about his conviction. Some of the lawyers on the prosecution side were Jewish. He likened them to kapos in extermination camp. This extremely insulting and self-serving statement made light of the Holocaust. He was not going to be killed. These lawyers were upholding the judicial system and democracy.

If Pollard was so Zionist why did he accept payment for his work? Why did he offer to spy for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pollard said what he did was justified because his primary loyalty was to Israel. A Palestinian-American could advance the same argument. How about a Chinese-American or an Iranian-American. He was paid by the USA. The USA spent money and time amassing this secret information. Sources were lost to the USA as a result of his actions.

President CLinton almost released Pollard in the 1990s. Several intelligence chiefs lobbied very strongly against it and threatened to resign if Pollard were set at liberty.

Pollard became a cause celebre for Zionists. Netanyahu visited him in prison. In 2014 Pollard was set free. He moved to Israel.


  1. In which year was Pollard born?
  2. Which country was he born in?
  3. What is his faith?
  4. Which degrees did he obtain?
  5. Which branch of the armed services did he work for?
  6. Was he a sailor?
  7. Which country did he spy for?
  8. Which other countries did he offer to help?
  9. Was he paid?
  10. Was he married?
  11. Was he imprisoned?
  12. What was his sentence?
  13. What is his current status?
  14. Which president almost released him?
  15. Why did Clinton not let him out?
  16. Where does Pollard live?
  17. What did Pollard say about Jewish lawyers who prosecuted him?
  18. Was his wife sent to prison?
  19. What is your opinion of him?