Britishness? What is it and if you know what it is, does it still exist today. Or is it one of those intangible,
indescribable qualities that you just can't quite put your finger on?
ANNE HUNT: Our Eurozone Political Editor's Links to 'brief extracts' from some of her serious and satirical newspaper articles syndicated throughout Eurozone newspaper outlets over the years - Anne works out of her Welsh office between developing scripts for TV and film for Independent groups.
An impassioned manhunt that had stretched close to a decade finally ended with the locating and killing of the World's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. It was assumed that he was hiding out in a desert cave, when all along, he was 'holed up' in a million dollar home 60 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Live by the Sword
Die by the Sword
Bin Laden's combative life catches up with him!
When Bin Laden was first killed by highly trained, superbly
equipped USA 'Seals,' not only did the free world rejoice that the man who was behind the 9/11 Bombing of the New York Trade Centre - and dozens of other attacks around the world on western targets - had finally met his demise, but thousands in Pakistan felt it was the end of an era.
To many a Pakistani, the Father of al Qaeda had gone. Was this their first chance at seeing peace in their troubled country? A country where only one out of every ten adults were employed. A country that relied very deeply on foreign aid from the USA - to the tune of over $3.5 Billion a year - to keep them afloat. They still need that aid, perhaps even more than the US needs their anti-terrorist co-operation. While there were murmerings among those in high places that their territorial rights had been infringed by the 'Seals' attack, they seemed more offended that they had not been told of the incursion in advance. They had not been trusted by their ally.
Seemingly, the Pakistani Government had forgotten the deal the Bush Administration had with them in November 2008 that allowed unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in North West Pakistan, precisely the area where Bin Laden was holed up. In fact, there had been a number of incidents where US Commandos had carried our helicopter raids in that area. It was an unwritten rule that had been in force and used ever since.
If the Taliban had not attacked the Pakistan Training Facility and killed 80 - something that could not have been anticipated, this matter would have been passed over. Now the Pakistani Parliament have taken the step of threatening the USA, that 'unless' they stop 'Predator' patrols over their territory, the USA will no longer be able to have convoys supply their troops in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a route. Brinkmanship or serious? Both Nations have much to lose.
He was obliterated during a fierce shootout with American Special Forces allowing the US to finally rejoice and lay to rest the lives of those innocents who were killed during bin Laden's masterminded 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre towers in New York. No amount of vengeful killing and destruction will bring those lives back, in fact, the killing of any despot is always a hollow victory, however, evil of that magnitude could not go unpunished. There undoubtedly will be repercussions over his death. We may never know the depth of Pakistan's Intelligence Services complicity in his 'secret hideaway.
He has a long list of supporters willing to take up arms and die for 'the cause.' Bin Laden himself said he would go down fighting, and so he has. The gun battle raid which lasted a mere 40 minutes was well executed and planned so that there would be little chance of bin Laden eluding his fate yet again. It does beg the question, however.
With the Billions of US dollars going into the Pakistani government's coffers every year in support of the Global assault on terrorism, why did Osama's where abouts stay a hidden secret from Pakistani authorities for so long??
Were they indeed hanging onto such knowledge for fear that once caught, the money pot would then dry up? By their latest condemnation of what they call an 'unlawful killing,' Pakistan may find itself a little short of a few billion come USA aid time.
For the most discerning shopper
While manipulating US politicians can be as boring as European counterparts, this Pulpit 'Ducking and Weaving' evangelist, 'Harold Camping' is a man one small step from either psychosis or fame. He forecasted the world would end recently. Although he mis-calculated the date and has since suffered a stroke, he's sticking to his guns with the new date, the 21st October 2011.
If you think Mr Rapture - his name for his cult - is not a politician, then think again. God only knows how Harold picked the 21st of May to be the end of the world, because it's not the first time this owner of 66 Radio stations and countless followers in the US has got Armageddon totally ass-up. Serial Predictors usually know how to count - well up to a few million bucks, at the very least. Harold now tells us, like many other politicians, he's quite lousy at maths and his calculations really meant the 21st of October.
Okay, so Harold and Gordon Brown have common ground. I suppose it's not the first time in history someone can be five months out. When F. Scott Fitzgerald was creating another work of genious - aided and abetted by Johnnie Walker - he often lost track of a few months. Then again Scott was not an advocate of the, 'There's one born every minute' philosophy.
Sad part is, that while Harold was camping about with jiggling numbers, his 'loyal' followers had already given away their wordly goods and headed for the sea armed with nothing but the raptuous gleam in their eyes and the hope of a L. Ron Hubbard style trip to their galaxy.
Soothsayer and charlatan might have something up his sleeve and perhaps was in cahoots with David Copperfield, many had their Camera shutters at the ready to 'Capture Rapture' for the very first time. Or at least, for Harold to use his ears to jumbo-them through outer space to Paradise.
Harold's profitable set up, Family Radio International spent millions broadcasting the prediction. So, where was Harold when the catalyst failed to materialize?
Apparently, he was so embarrassed he failed his maths test, he hid out in a motel with his wife and sent out an apology for not using his pocket calculator accurately. And, what about the people who had given away their life's savings. Did Harold have words of solace for them? Sure thing! 'We are not in the Financial Advice Business,' said Harold before he went out to buy a new calculator.
Dr Rowan Williams Archbishop
Known to most, as the leader of the 70 odd million followers of the Church of England and to others, as, 'Merlin the Meddler.' Someone who has always been a controversial figure and who appears to love being a 'white-bearded, fearless pulpit warrior.' While few see him as a true intellectual, he plays that role and comments - from time to time - on matters that are well beyond his constitutional charter. Unlike the Pope in Rome, a man who has never interferred with state affairs or political matters, Williams has put in his 'two Bob's' worth on many matters of which he has no expertise.
Recently, he criticised the Obama Government for going in and 'Seal-ing' Bin Laden's fate for good. Then, had the 'Audacity of Biblical Hope' to turn up at The State dinner held by the Queen for the Obamas. Many saw that as rank hypocrisy.
Dr. William's most recent article in the New Statesman
- a political magazine - where he was invited to be guest Editor... 'for God only knows what reason.' Only Rowan's celestial connections could enlighten us there; where he criticised the Reigning Coalition Party for taking the wrong tact on the economic front.
Clearly, this was an attack on the Prime Minister as he dismissed David Cameron's 'radical policies that provoked fear and abandoned the needy.' Whether his Sunday plate has been suffering due to these essentual cuts or not, only a Church Warden with a snitch-like character - without us confessing to cell phone tapping - could tell us that one. But, all that side, 'Merlin' made a statement which may come back to haunt Lambeth Palace and the very foundation of the Church. The State and the church were last at loggerheads during Henry V111 reign, where he ordered the then Archbishop
of Canterbury to break away from Rome and Catholicism, or, lose his bloody head... just so Henry could marry Anne Boleyn - So, technically, the Crown today, through the very Prime Minister 'Merlin' is criticising, could actually order him to be slammed into the Tower, lose his head - if a psychiatric centre would accept him - or even worse, be instructed to have his beard clipped so we can see if that is where he keeps his so called - intellectual cerebral cortex.
As one famous non-entity 'Anne Hunt' recently said, 'No matter how the conscience ache, Church and State should never mate!'
I look at two men, in their 'Twilight' years, both tilting towards the wrong side of the law, but in very different ways and BOTH, brought down by...................Women!
James 'Whitey' Bulger, an 81 year old former crime boss, who had hit the (FBI's) Ten Most Wanted List, was 'captured' recently and not from doing what he 'allegedly' knows best, that being; murder, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy and narcotics distribution. But, from having a grilfriend (Catherine Greig) who had an addictive penchant for beauty treatments and plastic surgery.
Conrad 'Lord of Crossharbour' Black, former Media Baron, turned fraudster, was resentenced after being bailed out, pending a review of his original sentencing. He too, now find's himself - yet again - behind bars for a further 13 months. It is said, that while this multi-millionaire, who was often described as arrogant, righteous, pompous, with a 'Because I can' sense of Entitlement, who suffered fools NOT, TOOK, what he thought was 'rightfully his to take' and that his TRUE 'achilles heel' came in the form of a petite, good-looking, brunette, a fiercely ambitious former journalist and four years Black's senior - status hungry, Barbara Amiel.
Never shy of the Media spotlight, Ms Amiel once gave an interview to Vogue magazine from her sumptuous London mansion, and while displaying her over abundance of closets swelling at the seams with furs, evening gowns, jewellery - diamonds and pearls - along with every conceivable luxurious brand name item known to the ilk of Paris Hilton and her groupie list of heiress confidants, while exclaiming to the awestruck interviewer that her"extravagance knows no bounds." Co-incidentally, when this interview hit the airwaves, Hollinger International (Lord Black's beleagured holding company for his massive media interests) along with it's group of investors, decided to begin legal action in Illinois against Lord and Lady Black, seeking $1.25 billion in damages. Caught with their hand in the 'cookie jar' in other words!
His long reign of terror could have ended with his arrest when head of the Winter Hill Gang in 1973. He was arrested for the alleged murder of an Andover resident in the North End 40 years ago. Al Plummer, 49, was murdered by Bulger's gang in 1973 as part of a hit on the 'Indian Al gang.' Somehow he reached a deal with the FBI as an informant. His crimes went on - unpunished - and the murders accumulated, until finally, he had to flee. Tipped off by his own FBI handler. He dumped the girl he left with and took up with Dental Hygienist, Catherine Grieg. Before her arrest last week after 16 years on the run with Bulger, the 60-year-old had been by his side for more than three decades. Her love of beauty treatments was his downfall. Age was his disguise - her age, his final nemesis.
THE FRENCH ECONOMY NOW UNDER ATTACK
Thylane Loubry Blondeau, a 10-year-old, after posing as a sexy couture model for French Vogue has reignited the debate over the sexualization of young girls. The photos of the Parisian preteen, whose lanky body and 'sexy-model' pout looks very similar to an adult magazine cover. Will they not let them grow up first?
Just 10 years old and already Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau is filling some very adult shoes in her Vogue Paris fashion spread. How young is TOO young to rock high heels, red lipstick and suggestive poses?
Controversy rages about the line that should be drawn.
What a sad, 'sexploited' little girl. Not one of the pictures shows her smiling. Her parents are irresponsible opportunists who have stolen her childhood to feed their self-interest.This is no different than child porn. Jean T.
This represents what the world has become. Get used to it. Children call the shots today. They know what they want. This girl's parents are merely setting her up for the future and other children out there will want the same. Smart marketing. Claire S.
It is easy to see that this model is quite a bit younger than a teen, so I'm thinking Vogue is just looking to peek interest and controversy to sell more magazines. Keeping their name out front. However, 'Toddlers and Tiaras' is no better. They are just little girls, so there is a limit - what on earth do they need a swimsuit event for? That may be stretching the matter.
My Query: If these pictures, were found on a man’s lap top, would he then be arrested for having porn and contributing to child abuse?
Hang on: There's a collect call from Henry James from his Gaol cell. He says he's looking for his next celestial wife and might have just found her.
Archived Articles - Anne Hunt
As bank shares continued to slide on Thursday, the head of France’s central bank, Christian Noyer, dismissed in a statement “the unfounded rumours that are affecting French banks”, adding that strong results over the first term of 2011 had demonstrated the banks’ “solidity”.
But some analysts say last Wednesday’s market drop underscores growing concern among investors that Société Générale and other French lenders have purchased excessive amounts of government debt issued by Greece, which remains at risk of a default despite multiple bailouts.
Totalling over €40 billion, the exposure of French banks to Greek debt, dwarfs that of any other European country.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London came into office, and for a while his flamboyant, outspoken manner - coupled with his private school accent, dischevelled, eccentric and boyish qualities, as well as his acerbic wit and rather dry sense of humour, lured many into thinking he was a refreshing change for the city. It's taken a few years of listening to his off the cuff, long winded waffle to realize Boris is full of as much hot air as a Thames Estuary storm. His political ambitions have put him into conflict with his Tory masters - he won't like that last word - in Westminster, who see him more of a Conservative rebel than an asset.Boris is very quick to take the credit for anything good that happens - like the Olympic Games in 2012 - and just as quick to apportion blame - as in the riots - to anyone else he can, including Scotland Yard. But, when the much loved 'British Treasure' and exceedingly talented funny man, John Cleese told an Australian audience recently that London had totally lost it's Britishness, Johnson was as quick as Speedy Gonzales to criticize Cleese and declare he was "way off base." Britishness, as Cleese described it, has nothing to do with ethnic cosmopolitanism, race or colour. He was referring to a way of life that was once very British. Not Fish 'n' Chips, stuffy upper lips or overtly gentlemanly behaviour - although the latter is a minor part of it. Many have tried to define what it means to be British, it is something you can't quite put your finger on - but you know it, when you see it - and there's not a lot of it out there today. Why debators bring race into it, I don't know. There are Black and Asian residents of England who are as British as any Anglo.
The matter is really a question about foreigners and how foreigners are persuaded to adopt British customs and styles. Including the ability to speak the English language. Something that countless immigrants have failed to even address - or have even bothered to learn.
England cricket captain Nasser Hussain - who was born in India - is a perfect example of racial integration. And, integration and learning what it means to be British, is where the breakdown is.
John Majors once said, that in 50 years time, it would still be the country of "long shadows on county grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pool fillers or, - as George Orwell also said, 'old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist'." This is total poppycock and such things will be the reserve of places like the Cotswolds and Cumbria, but certainly not London. London belongs to eveyone... but the British.
David Blunkett may be blind, but when he mentioned that forced marriages and genital mutilation were certainly not part of Britishness, he was so damn right.
Anyone who knows their history is aware that most other 'non-British' nationalities - from the history of civilisation in what we now call, Britain was always composed of different peoples. The Celts, Saxons and Vikings all of whom came to Britain as the result of various invasions, making the British the most ethnically composite of all European peoples. But, even that far back, there was integration. Isolated ghettos didn't last long and eventually the common tongue evolved to the common language we now all use, English.
Through each era it contributed to a state of mind that was synonymous with fair play, best personified in the game of cricket. Hence the expression; if it isn't fair, "it just isn't cricket."Helping out neighbours, being courteous and polite, tucking in to fight a common enemy, yes, and being a gentleman and playing by the rules of that 'code' of behaviour, all finally culminating into a strength of character we call Britishness which undoubtedly reached it's peak during World War Two.The essence of camaraderie of being British was never more evident than during 1939 and 1945.
London suffered more than any other part of Britain during the blitz, and never at any other time in history was there more nationalistic pride in being British. What has gone wrong? Is it because modern multi-culturalism doesn't allow us to give a damn whether our neighbour speaks English, Urdu or Arabic? Or that we haven't been strong or proud enough in our patriotic convictions to enforce it?
(C 2018) Affiliated Press International Foundationl/Admin/infoUS/Canada/Paris-Europe/Geneva/Australasia/Dubai/Singapore/Hong Kong/Japan
'The crime,' they say, 'is in getting caught.''
THE QUESTION SEEMS TO BE - WHO IS GUARDING THE GUARDS IN THE NSA AFFAIR
There are people who claim that todays cultural and ideology war where the Middle East is in total conflict would never have been so drastically violent had George W. Bush decided, by hook or crook, someone had to pay for the al Queda attack on the Twin Towers.
To accuse the ex President of picking on the softest target, Iraq
where his Father George Senior had already intervened to help Kuwait years before and conspire to have USA intelligence drum up WMD evidence in order to get allies aboard, is a conspiracy theory which could never be proved - and as I give little credulence to such theories - as it's a bridge too far for me. One can only assume the Bush Administration believed they were acting in good faith as Bin Laden was too elusive and they somehow linked Iraq with al Queda.
Having said that, if Iraq had been left to go on it's merry way under
the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein there's no doubt in my mind that
Iraq would not have become so fragmented with secular conflicts finally resulting in the formation of ISIS or as many like to call it The Islamic State.
Throughout the ages the Middle East has always had despots by the score and while us in the west swear by democracy, the cultural values of Arabic countries have accepted autocracies as a normal way of life.
The need and greed for the Middle East's oil, which is their major export and our love affair with vehicle transportation and fuel to run our cars was a contributing factor in the west's violent interference. Humanity was way down the list, no matter what anyone says.
The old adage 'if it's working well, why try and fix' it was our major error and is as much as responsible for the EU's mammoth migration problems today
as our 'insincere' desire to force democracy down the throat
of another region of the world and leave their ancient cultures alone and now
Bush has gone Bush, us in Europe have disenfranchised migrants clammering at our doors. Swarming towards Europe's softest touch, the UK. - Anne Hunt -
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have demanded talks with the US over claims of internet and high tech spying on heads of state. Apprently platitudes from President Obama have not been enough in light of certain evidence and claims by rogue USA analyst, Snowden, America's most hated exile.
It is said that the NSA 'went after high ranking military officers. members of congress. Even the Senate and the House - especially on the intelligence committees, and on the armed services committees and judicial. But did they go after others? They went after lawyers and law firms. Heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the supreme court. Two supposedly are former FISA court judges. They went after state department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House - their own people! They went after anti-war groups. They went after US companies that do international business around the world. They went after US banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs like the red cross and people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few anti-war civil rights groups..." I'm not so sure myself.
A country that has suffered at the hands of Terrorists as the USA has, a country that has developed such high tech, international survelance methods can be excused for going so far in preventing further attacks, but it does raise thequestion of just how far they should go, and do heads of State of allies and willy nilly listening/eavesdropping on those who could never be a danger to them, well if, true - and that we do not know - could be a Bridge Too Far. Then again it was only today that the head of MI5 in London said the UK was facing it's biggest terrorists threats in his 32 years of experience. So, one cannot help but wonder. Besides....
...Proving such intrusions will never be easy faced with such technology.
so it's probably already being done without the Home Secretaries Blessing.
At the moment we have so little to go on, apart from accusations - and of course, Snowden's constant accusations from Russia.
America has many enemies, the fact it supports Israel a country surrounded by nations and radical Islamic determination to destroy it.To many that alone allows the USA a lot of latitude.
Israel are not complaining. nor at this point is Prime Minister Cameron. We can only wait to see how this all plays out. Perhaps GCHQ
I STILL WONDER IF WE'D ONLY HAVE LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN FLEAS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Iraq could not handle the Mosul offensive alone, and pointed out that the presence of Turkish forces in a nearby military camp is an insurance against attacks on Turkey.
Erdogan said in a speech at a ceremony in the Black Sea town of Rize, “We won’t leave Mosul for the Islamic State or any other terrorist organization, and Iraqi government won’t be able alone to handle Mosul offensive,” adding that, “The presence of Turkish forces in a nearby military camp of Bashiqa is an insurance against attacks on Turkey.”
Earlier this month, US-led coalition said any foreign forces in Iraq should have the approval of the government of Baghdad. However, Erdogan said that Turkey will rely on an alternative plan if the US-led coalition refused the Turkish participation in Mosul.
Erdogan assessement seems to be more guesswork than fact.
The Iraq forces with undisclosed assistance from western allies is far more superior than many know and with air superiority the chief concern will be the street fighting from alley to alley and with concern for civilians. Invariably, many innocents will be victims and I can see this as a drawn out affair lasting many months. Both sides have a face to rescue.