Thursday, 26 April 2018

Friday 13th

I see Donald Trump is due to visit the UK on July 13thFrom the BBC -

US President Donald Trump is to visit the UK on Friday 13 July, after previously cancelling a planned trip amid claims he would face protests.

It will not be the full-blown state visit Mr Trump was promised when Prime Minister Theresa May visited the White House in January last year.

But an invitation to a state visit still stands, the BBC understands.

He will hold bilateral talks with Mrs May, Downing Street said, with further details to be "set out in due course".

The July date follows the Nato summit in Brussels which the president is expected to attend.

Bound to be embarrassing as shouty folk will see it as an opportunity for a spot of politically correct virtue-signalling. They will see that as far more important than the success of the visit. The BBC will probably fail to give the visit worthwhile coverage too. Fortunately I'll miss that.

Not an event to relish. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Bells and gongs

‘Was not that the breakfast bell? Why does not your papa get a gong? — it is so hard to know one bell from another.’

Sheridan Le Fanu - Uncle Silas (1864)

The things we don’t notice. Until I came across this quote it had never occurred to me that bells generally summoned those below stairs while gongs summoned those above. They must be easily distinguished - can't have guests bumping into servants. 

We never had either - a raised voice was generally adequate. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Competent followers

One of the most fascinating and revealing aspects of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership qualities is that he doesn’t have any. He could neither organise nor inspire the proverbial piss up in a brewery.

However, his followers are competent enough to keep the circus going. They put him there and maintain the leadership facade which keeps him in place. Yet there is no leadership – the old coot isn’t up to it.

There are wider lessons to be learned here, but that's the trivia out of the way. Now what about possible names for the latest royal baby?

Sunday, 22 April 2018

It’s a grotesque country

For those able to stomach more stories about the seemingly unending conflict in Syria, CapX has an interesting article.

Both Western and Russian security analysts have long documented the utter decrepitude and disintegration of Assad’s forces. Tobias Schneider, an analyst who follows internal regime dynamics very closely, wrote in August 2016 that “the government’s fighting force today consists of a dizzying array of hyper-local militias aligned with various factions, domestic and foreign sponsors, and local warlords. Among these groups, only a handful are still capable of anything close to offensive action”.

Thanks to recent interviews with Russian regular and special forces as well as commanders and fighters from the more opaque Wagner mercenary group, we know that these assessments broadly reflect the reality on the ground. A recent Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty interview with three Wagner commanders gives an insight into just what the Russians think of their comrades-in-arms.

“The Syrians can’t fight,” said one commander. “I’ve seen it many times. At the drop of a hat they’ll abandon their positions and flee. ‘Go, go, Russia, go!’ they’ll yell. Where are you going, god damn it, let’s defend the position! But no. When there’s an assault, for instance, we’ll take the high ground, hand it over to the Syrians in the evening, come morning, no Syrians.”

The Russians regard the poor fighting capacity of the regime forces as connected to what they see as moral failings. “It’s a grotesque country,” said the commander to RFE/RL. “Faggotry flourishes there. They’ve all got it to a man.”

It is worth reading the whole piece. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Motoring under a blue sky

Wall tile from Coleton Fishacre

What a fine day - too sunny for gardening or even walking so we went for a drive around Derbyshire. Off to Buxton followed by a meandering return journey via Bakewell taking in three coffee stops along the way. 

With the top down under a blue sky and copious quantities of sunshine it was easy enough to imagine why motoring caught the imagination. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Roll on winter

It was log day today, one of my favourite jobs, stacking a new load of logs for next winter. Once those fleeting moments of sunshine we refer to as "summer" are out of the way we'll be back in front of the log burner.