UKIP Manifesto shows anti-Farage split in party

May 29, 2017

UKIP's Welsh manifesto cover

The UKIP manifesto shows evidence of a movement among the membership to reduce what they describe as a Lad Culture in the party. This is clearly an attempt to remove ideas associated with its former leader, Nigel Farage. The split is also illustrated by the contents of the Manifesto issued by the Welsh UKIP party

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A hundred yards and a lifetime away

May 23, 2017


No. I don’t want to believe it. I was watching the end of Newsnight.  BBC anchor Evan Davis had been enjoying himself with the late-night review of the election news, teasing a Daily Mail journalist.

As the show ended, his unconcealed pleasure vanished suddenly. “News is coming in of an explosion at the Manchester Arena.”

In the next few hours, I listened to follow-up broadcasts. Casualties. Young people attending a pop concert. Eye witnesses relating their panic running away from the blast. An image of a prone teenager, her white T shirt splattered with blood.

Twitter explodes, spewing hateful shrapnel directed at the other.

I want to tweet saying I was there, a hundred yards and a lifetime away, when a van exploded gutting the city’s centre. Miraculously, no-one was killed that day.

Eventually I tweeted.

Manchester Arena. Dreadful. Best to stay with supporting the injured and families of those who died. Other news still speculation.


Whatsoever is false news, whatsoever is alternative truth, however much I strive for a creative expression of truth in my writing, everything else has been wiped away momentarily.

In fifty years, it will retain its ultimate core of horror together with acts of bravery and kindness from emergency services, taxi-drivers, and volunteers of #roomsforManchester.

Tweeted air-quotes, and our linguistic debt to Donald Trump

May 15, 2017

Donald Trump says he invented the phrase pump-priming. Maybe he didn’t, but that pales into insignificance when compared with his magnificent contribution to our understanding of the “tweeted air-quote “

This week, in an interview with the Economist, President Trump said he recently came up with the term priming the pump as an economic concept. The interviewer politely suggested it had been in use before (by Maynard Keynes). No matter, when we reflect on the brilliant use of air quotes when tweeting.

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Jose Mourinho as chess strategist

May 10, 2017



Jose Mourinho has frequently confounded football pundits with his statements and decisions. He may be still be a chess grandmaster of football strategy

Jose Mourinho’s track record as a football manager is beyond dispute. Since his first appointment,  he has won leagues and international trophies with remarkable frequency. He attracted attention of the leading clubs in Europe and continued on his winning ways throughout his career.

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One strike, and you are out

May 3, 2017


Unfolding news stories.  President Trump celebrates his first hundred days in office. He says there is a chance we have a major major conflict with North Korea. His words. The Doomsday clock clicks  closer to zero

A republican Governor tells the BBC that Trump would be advised to stop mere saber-rattling and take more direct actions to remove Kim Jong-un. He admitted he didn’t know what the steps might be, but there would be very bright guys in the Military who would.

A plausible theory is that President Trump is following the rule book about getting a good deal, say on a used car. Talk tough, kick a tyre disparagingly, and ask for more than you expect to get.

The threat of global annihilation puts in the shade the General Election campaign in the UK. It has been called by the Government to obtain a renewed mandate for its upcoming negotiations with the EU. The Government has an overwhelming lead in the opinion polls, and the PM has settled for a a rope-a-dope strategy against the unpopular opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, designed to allow him to defeat himself. The strategy involves minimum risk of making Mrs May look anything but a strong leader. She is well-programmed to avoid policy commitments and stick two small number of sound bites about needing a huge majority to avoid the chaos if Corbin becomes Prime Minister. The likelihood of that is low, odds on it are roughly thirty to one against.

Mr Corbyn helpfully provides policies that often have appeal for their social progressiveness but too easily trashed as unworkable and financially implausible. He avoids traps clumsily on nuclear defense, a major Labour backer is reported as willing to stand against him if the local elections beginning this week are as bad as predicted.

The architect of the government’s success was the voter switch to UKIP, which is now being deserted according to those polls, giving the Government even greater prospects of electoral success.

Nevertheless, UKIP candidates are proving themselves independent souls. One Scottish Ukipper announces she is standing on a platform of re-opening public toilets, abolishing golf courses, and reintroducing the death penalty in a humane way, possibly using a guillotine.

It is not clear if a pre-emotive strike strategy helps the cause of world peace, when you are trying to stop a nuclear war, rather than trying to get a best price for a second-hand car.