Tag Archives: politics

The Realpolitik of Islamism


Realpolitik: the Battle of Vienna

It is now over twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall; for many young people, the Cold War, of which it was the most compelling symbol, is no more than a history lesson. In my desk here I have a small piece of concrete, with paint on, which was recovered from that wall and sold as a tourist trinket. It is perhaps the most telling one I have.

Our children do not, as those of my generation did, live in daily fear of being blown to pieces by atomic bombs or dying an agonising death from radiation sickness. They do not walk into their schools to find posters saying “Better Dead Than Red” on the walls, nor do they crowd around flickering television sets alongside their anguished parents, watching as Kennedy drew his line in the ocean, and curled his finger around the trigger of nuclear Armageddon. And for this we should all be very, very thankful indeed. No child should have to live with nightmares like those. Continue reading The Realpolitik of Islamism

Freezing Spring Brings a Breath of Fresh Air


Well, after a month of May

when it seemed to rain without cease and which was colder than some Decembers I’ve known here, at last we seem to have a hope of Spring’s arrival.

Probably because of the dreadful weather (one does not move to France to live in a downpour) I have been thinking a lot about the famous spring and summer of 1944, which was also cold, wet and miserable.

It makes a pleasant change from being reminded that climate change is really beginning to bite.

It’s hard to believe that D-Day, which took place on the 6th of June 1944, was really 69 years ago, and fewer and fewer of those who were there are still with us. I can remember when I first came to this village, 20 years ago, and we still had First War ancien combattants; but the grim reaper has cruelly thinned the ranks. Now even the survivors of Hitler’s war are all gone, and the grand old men who turn out on the two occasions when their efforts are remembered, Armistice Day and VE Day, are those who fought in Vietnam and Algeria. This past VE Day, May the 8th—one of the few days in this month when it did not rain—was a pleasant reunion, but a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

(As I write, a sudden spring hailstorm is finishing off the devastation of my baby lettuces begun by the resident slugs…of which more later.) Continue reading Freezing Spring Brings a Breath of Fresh Air