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Tom
London, England
An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about threats to liberty in Britain
Interests: liberty, travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
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I put the automotive issues to the back of my mind today. It's the weekend in a country that still celebrates it and there was no chance of any update on Speranza anyway. I had some online duties to perform first thing and then headed down to breakfast - slightly... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at THE LAST DITCH
I did write a couple of chapters of a travel book of my 2013 Great American 48 State road trip. At that stage in my life, recently widowed and newly-retired from a busy career, I found authorial isolation a bit too much. Writing is anti-social. It's a shame as I think it could have been a fun book. I was writing it in three voices; my own as the the narrator, Tom Paine's (for political comment on the state of the USA he helped found) and Speranza's (for aristocratic observations on the state of America's roads and driving culture). I think it might have been quite funny. I'd have enjoyed reading it if I didn't face the boring task of having to write it!
Toggle Commented yesterday on Verdun to Labry and then Metz at THE LAST DITCH
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I awoke this morning in the most dilapidated surroundings I have seen since I foolishly booked my family into a Communist-era holiday cabin in Mazuria in 1993. I shall spare you the details, gentle reader, and simply remember how grateful I was to have somewhere to be last night after... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at THE LAST DITCH
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It was a mistake to leave my bags with the car. The AA did not call as promised to report on next actions. When I called for an update they reported the car had been moved to a garage 32 miles away that had agreed to evaluate the issue and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
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Ok I didn’t even make it to the autobahn this time! Pulling away from the Aire de Verdun St Nicolas Sud on the A4 in France I got an alternator failure warning light and a dramatic burst of smoke from the engine compartment. Not good. Not good at all. The... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
Thank you, isp001. If you are indeed one of the production team, please pass on my thanks for the many years of enjoyment Speranza has given me.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Day One - to Épernay at THE LAST DITCH
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Thank you Rev. Spooner. I remember your first comment very well. It was a comfort at a terrible time. Good to hear from you on a less sad occasion.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Day One - to Épernay at THE LAST DITCH
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I woke an hour before my 5am alarm and decided I’d had enough sleep. The weather was bad so I thought I’d make an early start. The drive to Folkestone was uneventful and the heavy rain promised didn’t show up. I had never visited the main Eurotunnel terminal before as... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
Hmm, thanks Chromatistes. I sincerely hope not. Especially as from Prague to the South of France, I am taking a friend along.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Travel mode ON at THE LAST DITCH
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Yes, I was. I have had various attempts to break out of my post-COVID, post WEXIT funk and that was one that didn't come off. The enormous cost of repairs after last year's expedition didn't bring such a trip any closer! The last two items on my bucket list are road trips around Japan and New Zealand. My grandfather turned down an opportunity to visit Japan and told me just before he died that he regretted nothing he'd done but several things he *hadn't* done and that was one of them. I'd like to avoid dying with the same regret, but Japan is a challenging destination for a solo traveller without the language. I *hate* organised tours. I would not want to be the British equivalent of the Japanese tourists we see being escorted around London behind their guide carrying a flag to follow. I am fascinated by Japanese culture and aesthetics though, so I must find a way to do it. My interest has been stoked recently by watching the new Shogun show and last year I enjoyed watching the Makanai on Netflix.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on Travel mode ON at THE LAST DITCH
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Not that there’s been much of non-travel mode recently. If you follow me on X (formerly Twitter) then you’ll know why. It’s an election year and there is no one to vote for who represents my views. The nearest politician who appeals to me is presently President of Argentina —... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at THE LAST DITCH
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An Enemy of the People starring Matt Smith extends at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre | West End Theatre. Things are better in my world. The Misses P are back in my life and that was the only real reason (my divorce having gone through with goodwill on... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2024 at THE LAST DITCH
It is a euphemism for collective punishment, which is unjust by definition.
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In the wonderful 2006 TV series Life on Mars, Sam — a modern detective inspector — is mysteriously transported back to the 1970s. He finds himself working for tough-guy Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt. Writers intended Hunt as a bad guy example of the horrors of the un-woke past, but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2024 at THE LAST DITCH
I will order the second generation. The concept is good and would suit me as a retired man living alone but it’s such a great leap that I’d rather someone else adopts it early.
As I said our friends in Eastern Europe are both "inoculated against Soviet thinking and horrified that the West is falling back into it in a slightly different guise." Even there though, the ideological equivalent of "the hog cycle" in economics applies. Some of the children of the last generation to grow up under Socialism are beginning to be attracted to it again. Those of us who oppose its economic charlatanism have to understand just how attractive it is. It promises an end to the uncertainties and hardships of the free market and offers a warm comfort blanket of social security. It's too good to be true and wise people should be suspicious but we're all tempted at times by things we *want* to be true. That's why so many clever young people work for the state. The pay is above the average for the private sector, the pensions are funded by a taxation Ponzi scheme and you can't get fired however crap you are. Even if you were the Permanent Secretary in charge of a Defence Ministry with a £6bn gap in its accounts or the boss of a nurse who killed babies for fun, you're more likely to be promoted (in the first case, he was actually knighted!) than dismissed. It needs a strong moral base and a sense of duty to resist the temptations of state power. Our irreligious society, irrevocably damaged by the brainless hedonism of the 1960s shows little sign of developing either.
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Some optimism must have been revived in my cynical old heart yesterday, as I actually joined the Academy of Ideas — the organisation that stages these festivals. I rose early and headed off to Church House for yet another day of debate. The first session I chose to attend today... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2023 at THE LAST DITCH
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Back in 2012 I attended an earlier version of this event at the Barbican. It was depressing and things have not improved on the liberty front since then. In fact our “Conservative” government has made things considerably worse. This year's festival is at Church House in Westminster. Ben Delo opened... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2023 at THE LAST DITCH
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Mark Littlewood opened the afternoon session. He spoke against the idea of untrammelled free speech. In private places, it’s more a question of property rights than morals. In the public square, much changed by social media, he doesn’t think it’s a legal issue either. It’s a cultural one and there’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2023 at THE LAST DITCH
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Lembit Opik, former LibDem MP spoke first. He’s joining The Freedom Association's council in a return to the issue — free speech — that brought him into politics. His family’s background in Soviet Estonia is why he cares about the issue. He spoke of training he had at the BBC... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2023 at THE LAST DITCH
I am attending the Freedom Association's conference on this subject at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster today. I am here in the hope of recovering some optimism on this subject. As I wait for proceedings to begin I frankly despair. It’s not a good sign that TFA had to conceal... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2023 at THE LAST DITCH
Yes I meant Floyd. My choice of words was based on the murder conviction of the police officer who killed him and the city’s payment of damages of $27m to his family.
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It seems we are not really so far apart on the main issue on the ground. I am glad you fully support Israel's right to exist in a defensible form. What are your thoughts on the aspect I actually wrote about - i.e. the craven response of British institutions like the FA and the Met to the dangerous presence amongst us of tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of violent racists?
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I don't think that wider conflict can be avoided. The Biden idiots are trying to distance Iran from this, but Hamas is Iran's proxy and it's naive to assume it didn't sign off on this, if not (more likely) actually order it to disrupt the imminent Israel/Saudi treaty. So naive in fact that I don't think even Biden's people can really believe it. They're just trying to avoid giving Israel a casus belli with Iran. To Iran that must seem like the weakness it is. A psychopathic plan to cause death and injury to as many Palestinians as possible in order to win sympathy would not be surprising. That has been the Arab world's strategy since the beginning. Their propagandists say locals were driven out of Palestine on the foundation of the Jewish State but in fact most of what was then called Palestine is what's now called Jordan. The first Israeli government asked the Arab locals in their territory to stay and become Israeli citizens (as 20% of Israelis are - with full and equal civil rights) but the Arab countries told them to leave and go into refugee camps until they could drive the Jews out. When they failed to do so, they refused to take any of the refugees they had created themselves. The propaganda schtick of displaced Palestinians is a fraud that has been systematically maintained by their Arab "brothers" who could easily have accepted any that (stupidly, because they'd be much better off) didn't want to be Israeli citizens.
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Why are these questions asked only of Israel? Hamas is the elected government of Gaza. The civilian population chose them. If British babies had been beheaded by men under the orders of the democratic government of France, the response would not be surgical. Not that any military action is ever surgical. War is brutal and nasty and there’s collateral damage. Dresden. Hiroshima. Not to mention the US and their allies’ response to 9/11 which wasn’t even to attack the right target. Are those holding Jews to higher standards subconsciously thinking they are God’s chosen people and should reflect His ethics? Or can Jews simply do no right? You may be correct in thinking Hamas set out to provoke the IDF to hurt its own people. If you are right they are psychopaths. We normies are tired of second-guessing the world’s psychopaths and their sociopathic apologists who “get” their motivations even if they wouldn’t personally have been crazy enough to act on them. Asking us to think like psychopaths is not a good look, frankly. Israel’s stated objective in Gaza is to leave Hamas with zero offensive capability. The IDF is disciplined, trained and usually restrained. But I’ll be damned if I will ask them to put more soldiers than necessary in harm’s way if they can achieve those objectives from the air. Even if that means a few more collaterals among a virulently anti-Semitic population led by racist psychopaths. The Palestinians have put themselves beyond the pale. It would be bad enough if they’d accidentally revealed their genocidal intent. If, as you surmise, they've done so in a calculated way to provoke a response that sociopaths can use to portray them as victims, that’s worse not better.
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