• Books,  Television

    The Boxing Day Murder

    This is the time of year when pundits make predictions. I have one. I am going to be furious on Boxing Day evening. The reason? Sarah Phelps’ adaptation of The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie is showing on BBC1 at 9pm, and I bet it’s going to be a travesty. She has form. Phelps’ version of Ordeal by Innocence was shown back in April. I have written about the damnable lurid mess that Phelps made of one of Christie’s best novels with its theme of corrosive suspicion and a fifties atmosphere of Sputniks and bubble cars and evacuees grown up. Phelps turned it into a Gothic melodrama, dragged in the…

  • Brexit,  Britain Today,  Russia,  Scotland

    It takes a Nationalist to love a Fascist

    Putin’s Lord Haw Haws – why does the UK continue to tolerate Russian propagandists and useful idiots? – this article begins. I can’t see how a liberal democracy can do anything but “tolerate” them. Still, it is marked how the arch nationalists, Farage and Salmond, are admirers of Putin and appear on Russia Today.  Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon hit out at the “highly likely” poisoning. She is a less grandiose nationalist than her predecessor. She was annoyed with him appearing on Russia Today. Incredibly however, since the poisoning of Skripal, his daughter and Nick Bailey on the 4th of March – some of the loudest self-professed patriots in the land have…

  • Uncategorized

    RIP Stephen Hawking

    Last night someone posted this on Facebook. Time lapse video showing 13.8 billion year history of the universe in 10 minutes. https://interestingengineering.com/video/this-time-lapse-shows-138-billion-year-history-of-universe-in-just-10-minutes

  • Weather

    Is it snowy down your way?

    No public transport except the Airlink and the tram. Pavements ankle deep in snow. A lovely hush over the city. Camerarderie among those of us who have ventured out. The North Edinburgh Path Network. One of four brave cyclists progressing very slowly along the National Cycle Network 1 View of the North Edinburgh Path Network from Ravelston Dykes viaduct Water of Leith frozen at the edges That’s the A8 from the old railway bridge.  It’s peak rush hour. Other side of the bridge.  About 6 inches of snow last night.

  • Europe,  Labour Party,  Peace,  The Left,  Westminster

    A Nest of Lies

    The story of When Corbyn Met Sarkocy, a Czech spy, during the Cold War has been seized on with glee by the usual press, plus the anti-Corbynites.  My own thoughts are:- 1) Corbyn was a back-bench MP and unlikely to know anything except the price of a cup of tea in the House of Commons café;  Corbyn, though classic useful idiot material, was useless in this case ; 2) this is reminiscent of a Le Carre novel where a clapped out branch of the security services bigs up a bungled operation with a dodgy agent. That’s off the top of my head. Paul Anderson, who knew the milieu, has this…

  • Britain Today,  UK Politics

    British Prime Ministers in Transition

    After transitioning, these British PMs had the following careers (in chronological order, from bottom right) Sister Winnie Churchill – Senior Midwife, popular with her patients Alexandra “Sandra” Eden – debutante, married a banker Harriet MacMillan – Madam of a brothel, suing her cosmetic surgeon Harriet Wilson – lecturer in economics at Somerville College Edwina Heath – middle-class housewife in Surbiton Jenny Callaghan – changed her name to Mollie Sugden and starred in Are You Being Served Marcus Thatcher – Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Joanne Major – senior in the Accounts team, always helpful to her colleagues Antonia “Toni” Blair – media career and on the panel of Loose Women…

  • Britain Today,  Celebrities,  Law

    Go to Jail (Not)

    Dilemma 6 years in Ecuador embassy to avoid arrest 6 months in Wandsworth Prison for skipping bail Which would you choose? Wandsworth Prison – institutional food, dodgy fellow prisoners, mail bags to sew, no view 6 years in Ecuador embassy – unlimited internet, balcony, chance to influence American elections, visits from that Bay Watch chick and George Galloway…. Wandsworth here we come. As it happens, no. Handing down her judgment at Westminster magistrates court, the senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail… Summers said that the…

  • Nationalism,  Scotland

    The King over the Vodka

    There’s been a big stramash about Alex Salmond hosting a regular chat show on Russia Today. Nicola Sturgeon is November frosty with him. You can read all about it here and here. I haven’t anything to add. I only wrote this post as context for this video: Salmond's new TV show looks awful. pic.twitter.com/uNXADESC6c — Brian Spatel (@BrianSpanner1) November 10, 2017

  • Islamism,  Uncategorized

    Five Go Off on Jihad

    Has anyone been watching The State on Channel 4?  It’s the story of four British jihadis, two girls, two boys plus Isaac the boy who go off to Syria to join the Daesh state.  Lashings of lashings, and full helpings of heads on spikes. Our two boys are Jalal, following his brother, who was killed when he made the trip earlier and Ziyad, who is after adventure. The two girls are Ushna, star-struck by jihad and Shakira, a doctor and single mother. Shakira’s 9 year old son Isaac make up the five. Christopher Stevens reviewed it and went full Daily Mail, saying it worked as a recruitment video for the…

  • Scotland,  UK Politics,  Vote 2017

    And what’s happening in your constituency?

    Look on the bright side in this general election.  At least there’s no Russell Brand – remember Ed Milliband paying court to him last time?  Not to mention the Ed Stone.  The process of democracy, of politicians out-sloganing each other, the photo stunts, the slagging and counter-slagging is fairly undignified. The dignity belongs to the activists door knocking and leafletting, the voters at the poll stations making their mark, and the fact that we have evolved a way of passing on power without bloodshed.  Long live King Demos. Here in Scotland the issues boil down to not Tory or not SNP and 15% of the electorate, including me, are voting…