Emmanuel Macron’s Berlin Wall

Emanuel Macron, the naughty schoolboy with the Oedipus complex who the French elected as their President, said about Brexit:

“ (Britain will find out) . . . It is not easy to leave the EU . . . there are consequences.”

And then he went home to sit on Maman’s knee for his cupcake and a glass of Orangina.

What is he planning to do? How will he make good his threat? In order to curry favour with his German masters is he going to round-up as hostages the 155,000 British expatriates living, working and paying taxes in France? And then is he going to put them against the schoolyard wall and shoot them? Maman will surely buy him a Milice playsuit for his birthday?

Ah! Le silence de la Mère.

When the great Russian Revolution was failing in Eastern Europe, the East Germans built The Berlin Wall to keep their people in. It was not easy to leave – and there were consequences. You were machine gunned down if you tried.

The West responded with psychological warfare. West Germany in general, and West Berlin in particular, became outstanding symbols of capitalistic affluence, hedonism, and entitled Civil Libertarianism. The appeal, especially to the young, was irresistible – and The Wall came tumbling down. Macron is intelligent enough to know that after BREXIT, freed from the dead hand of bureaucratic Brussels and trading internationally the UK will become a beacon of affluence and entitlement, irresistible to the young.

When OPEC, dominated by the Arab Gulf States in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, took over their crude oil assets, they raised the price 5 fold, and used their petro-dollar power base to promote a swing toward radical Wahhab Sunni Islam. It was similar to the revolution against the Shah by Shia Ayatollahs in Iran. Sunni and Shia clerics built a wall against The West by imposing stringent and puritanical limitations on their citizens. But The West ensured that Bahrain and Dubai became affluent, hedonistic and relatively liberal: accessible fleshpots to weaken the resolve of the people. And it is working. The walls are coming down.

Dubai, in just a few short years has become one of the most enterprising trading capitals of the World, ranking alongside New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. Bahrain lives in Dubai’s shadow as an international financial and tourist centre. But thousands of Saudis and their families cross the Causeway to Bahrain every weekend and taste Western freedoms.

My current work in progress, THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows” that concerns itself with the 2008 GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is centred on Dubai, because of its relevance as an international financial centre. But my current book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is set on Bahrain as it transformed from a sleepy backwater of the British Empire into an independent nation state that acts as an interface between The West, and insular Saudi Arabia.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

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The Muppet Show – or Fiddling while Rome is Burning?

Right now the Australian government is in uproar and has yet again changed Prime Ministers. That’s 5 Prime Ministers (only two elected) in 8 years.

Is the reason for this?:

1) A Royal Commission has found evidence of widespread corruption and outright criminal activity in the banking and financial sector (what a surprise).
2) There is a huge and growing drug addiction crisis (The highest illegal drug usage per capita in the developed world). A 28% increase in consumption year on year 2016-17.
3) The state of NSW is in the throes of the worst drought in 100 years driving many farmers to the wall – and some to suicide.
The answer is none of the above.

The answer lies in the overriding concerns of politicians – their ego and their vanity. The ruling Liberal party was sinking rapidly in the polls because of their lack of action over the above problems – and a huge increases in the cost of living.

The patrician leader Malcolm Turnbull was replaced, and like Serena Williams, displayed a complete lack of class. He resigned from Parliament on the spot, handing a poisoned chalice to the incoming leader. He has to try and operate in Parliament without a majority.

And the man who first started the leadership challenge, Peter Dutton, is now being challenged and vindictively pursued because it is alleged that he, as Home Affairs Minister, let in a French and Italian Aupair in order to help his mates. All they did was babysit. Meanwhile there has been no satisfactory answer why the perpetrator of the Lindt Café Siege – an Iranian illegal immigrant with 36 counts of sexual assault, and one count of accessory to murder – was free to roam the streets on bail.

It is so bad, that one of the Opposition MPs has labelled parliament THE MUPPET SHOW, and wonders why he bothers to turn up such is the low level of debate.

Last year the main concerns of Parliament were Gay Marriage, with a very expensive and time consuming referendum, and the number of MPs who had dual nationality. They did absolutely no harm. There was no evidence that they were acting as agents for their Mother countries. But they were forced to resign on a technicality, causing a series of disruptive and expensive by-elections. It’s all part of the game. Huff and Puff and Ponce around to avoid the serious issues.

Fiddling while Rome is burning.
In the broader political context of the background to my new book GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” the starting point is a meeting of the “Great and The Good” that took place in Corfu. The occasion was the 40th birthday of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, and her party attended by Lord Rothschild, David Cameron and George Osbourne, former UK Prime Minister and UK Chancellor, and Peter Mandelson, the right hand man of Tony Blair, the existing UK Prime Minister at that time.
One of the outcomes of that get together was Mandelson and Rothchild squabbling over a GBP 50K donation solicited from Oleg Deripasky the wealthiest Russian oligarch. He was also present on the island at that time.
And while squabbling over the petty cash none of these Masters of the Universe foresaw the GFC – the multi-billion dollar financial meltdown that would ruin the lives of millions of people – and expose the greed, the cynicism, the criminality and sheer incompetence of unbridled global laissez faire free market capitalists.
The overriding theme of my current book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is that Western politicians have persisted in trying to make the Middle East conform to their view of how they think it should be – democratic, free market, capitalistic – a system that isn’t even working in The West. The calibre of our leaders has never been lower. It is time for another Oliver Cromwell. Or maybe we have found one in Donald Trump?

To quote Rudyard Kipling: “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

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The Glass Slipper – or Cake and Eat it effect

In a recent TV series that accurately depicted life in the UK in the recent past, one of the female characters said she was “Still waiting for the glass slipper.” She clung to the fairy tale romantic dream of a Prince Charming coming along to sweep her off her feet. In the meantime she cheated on her husband, and destroyed her marriage.

This adolescent, entitled, narcissistic dream typifies the state of denial that exists in Western Society. The belief that we are entitled to everything life can offer – and then more.

Here in Australia we have a female MP who is being investigated for abusing her staff, and her expense entitlements. Her defence is that she is a single Mother with 3 children, and needs her political staffers to babysit, and shop, and to use private limousine services to save time, so that she can do her job.

Sorry lady, you brought 3 children into the world, and that is your priority – not your political career. You cannot climb Everest, dive the Pacific depths, and sail single handed around the World – and still be home for tea. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

And on a global scale that is what is happening. An adolescent, Quixotic view prevails. Dreaming the impossible dream. Seeing the World as it ought to be (in your own egocentric opinion)- and reacting badly when having to deal with the world as it is. Donald Trump, for all his failings, sees the World as it is – and deals with it. And so do the Brexiteers, sick and tired of the Franco-German Axis trying to rule Europe.

Germany, having failed to dominate Europe by military might is consciously, or unconsciously, trying to dominate by financial might. And France, consciously or unconsciously, is collaborating (please read the book “Le Silence de La Mer” by Vercors).

The parallels with the 1930s are alarming. A global financial meltdown, followed by civic unrest, and the rise of right wing nationalism. All because of Germany’s overriding need to dominate (after losing two World Wars), and the French to demonstrate intellectual and cultural superiority because Britain brought down that other European tyrant, Napoleon (the degree of Anglophobia in Europe is frightening). And once again it is down to uncouth Britain to save Europe from itself. The Brexit Remainers are of course Petainists. Old, tired, and afraid of standing on their own two feet.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”

The overriding theme of my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is that Western Governments persist in trying to make the Middle East conform to their view of how it should be – democratic, free market, capitalistic – and not see it as it is. They understand the problems. They do not understand the people.
As one of the characters in one of my stories says, “The Arabs read backwards, they write backwards, and they think backwards.”

Simply stated, their mindset is different. “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

Some of my best friends are Jews

It is a cliché, but in my case it is true. What has reminded me is the passing of my friend Rusty Coppleman a few days before Christmas.

Rusty’s story is typical of the 20th Century. His parents fled from persecution in Central Europe and settled in impoverished circumstances in the East End of London. But Rusty, by hard work, intelligence and talent, carved out a career in the UK film industry as a leading sound editor.

He worked on films such as ZULU, FAME, and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and worked with Stanley Kubrick for a while. In the process he moved to a nice suburb West of London close to PINEWOOD and SHEPPERTON studios. Yet in spite of his struggle to better himself, and his success, Rusty never became hard, or bitter, or flashy and loud.

In a moving tribute by his son Daniel on Face book, he was remembered as a loving father, devoted to his wife Sylvia and his two sons, whose morals and decency were never in doubt.

It is that word decency that resonates with me. My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” was dedicated to my Father “A thoroughly decent working man.” Just like Rusty he was dedicated to my Mother – and to myself and my sister. And his morals and his high ethical standards were never in doubt. And he never ever raised his hand to my Mother or my sister and me. He lived a quiet and modest life.

Doesn’t that seem quaint and old fashioned in this narcissitic age of dysfunctional, blended and single parent families – and domestic violence?

It is heartening to read Donna Leon’s series of books, set in Venice and featuring Commissario Brunetti, a decent loving family man. Such a break from the American detective ideal of an omniscient, violent, cynical, hard bitten, alcoholic divorcee that started with Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, and continues through Harry Bosch etc.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back to an age of decency? I really hope so. It seems that an impoverished background as a child either produces a saint, or a sinner. My Jewish friend Rusty, or a Harvey Weinstein or Bernie Madoff – or that “man of peace” Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahoo.

And so to the Israelis, or the 50% of them that keep the right wing parties in power. Undoubtedly the Jews of Central Europe suffered unbelievable hardship and repression during the 1930s – but you would think that those lucky enough to escape and find safe haven first in Europe and the USA – and then migrate to their Promised Land – would understand the need for compassion in dealing with the downtrodden – the untermensch that they were themselves.

Israel now occupies more than 70% of the former Palestine, and in so doing has driven almost 1 million Palestinians into exile and destroyed about 400 villages. And they have killed untold numbers of Palestinian men, women and children in this process, and with incursions into South Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Of the remaining 20 odd percent of the former Palestine, the West Bank, supposed to be the site of any future Palestinian State, the Israelis control 30%, and are building settlements at an accelerating pace.

It seems that the Israelis, with the complicity of the USA, are intent on obliterating Palestine from the maps – and maybe obliterating the Palestinians themselves.

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, begins and ends with the plight of LAYLA, a young Palestinian woman trying to care for children orphaned, innocent victims of conflicts caused by the greed and arrogance of zealots. And the protagonists in my short story collection, expats washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, are veterans of arrogant and greedy politicians’ wars like Viet Nam, the battle for the BURAIMI Oasis, and the DHOFAR Campaign.

You can preview my book on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Harvey Weinstein, and sneak-peek vagina dresses

The despicable Harvey is just an extreme example of the lecherous showbiz producer who has been in existence since Hollywood began. Read your Raymond Chandler.

Anybody who has ever had contact with Showbusiness can immediately identify how sleazy it is.

My aunt was a senior receptionist at a 5-star hotel in the UK that had many Showbusiness personalities as guests – and the staff hated having them. Almost without exception they were drunken and foul-mouthed – abused the staff, and lived like pigs. They trashed their rooms with wild after-hours boozy parties that frequently involved under age girls, and boys.

But for all those sleazy sexual predators there is also an endless supply of slutty prey in Showbusiness. Nubile young women, and young men, who are willing to do anything for their fifteen minutes of fame – and even more of fortune. And you don’t have to be in the business to see that.

Look at any first night or awards ceremony on TV, and see the grizzled old-toads, filthy rich and powerful men, with girls young enough to be their daughters, or granddaughters, on their arms. And then the wannabe starlets yet to hook a sugar daddy, strutting the red carpet with plunging necklines, or transparent dresses worn without underwear – or the latest red-carpet fashion for sneak-peek vagina dresses slit to the hip bone. It’s a meat market.

Almost as nauseous as Harvey and the like, are the crocodile tears of the Sisterhood. Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour, like that of Jimmie Saville, Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby Et Al, were “open-secrets” well known in the industry, and condoned because of their success – and the desire to be part of that success. To portray themselves as victims of brutal alpha males is hypocritical. The industry is full of narcissists and exhibitionists who can see no fault in themselves – always ready to blame their failings on others.

Hanoi Jane Fonda, who betrayed American POWs to the Vietcong, also procured young women for threesomes with herself and Roger Vadim. And Dame Helen Mirren, for whom I have great respect, complains that producers wanted to see her body. Why not? In her very first movie role she did three full frontal topless scenes, almost unheard of in UK films at that time. Why did she think that they would fly a first time film actress, straight out of drama school, first class to Hawaii – and accommodate her in a 5-star hotel? She and/or her agent, must have read the script.

Yes, some of Harvey’s harassments were genuine victims: production assistants, interns and gophers overawed by his wealth and dominant personality. But a large number were willing “victims”. And now Pandora’s box has been opened, every aspiring Hollywood starlet will claim to have been harassed by Harvey. It will be an essential part of their CV.

Many of the expatriates who feature in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf because of the perfidy of women. Typically they were veterans of politicians’ wars like the BURAIMI Oasis, the DHOFAR Campaign and the Vietnam War, whose wives or girlfriends cheated on them, seduced by cheap promises and false glamour.

THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, deals with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972 as seen through the eyes of those expatriates. You can preview my book on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

It’s not all about oil anymore

The tagline to my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, set in the context of the recent past of the Persian/Arabian Gulf, states:

It’s all about oil . . . “

and I still believe that holds true for most of the 20th Century  Iran – and it was certainly true from 1936 when the Americans discovered vast reserves of cheap crude oil in Saudi Arabia.

But the Americans, having discovered vast reserves of shale oil and gas at home, are no longer dependent on Middle East crude oil. They have shifted their geo-political focus onto the Far East. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the Syrian civil war are disappearing from the headlines. And what about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that drove most of the 20th Century chaos in the Middle East?

Flying under the rader, the Israelis have taken possession of more than 70 % of the former Palestine. Of the remaining 30% (the West Bank, supposedly set aside for the Palestinian State) the Israelis continue to build settlements in strategic locations, linked by settler only roads. Effectively they are now in control of the West Bank, and the two state solution is dead. How long will it be before they annex the West Bank – and then what next?

If you believe my Arab friends, the Israelis will never be satisfied until they control the whole of the Middle East. They will, under the pretext of national security, attempt to annex Jordan – the home of so many displaced Palestinians.

In the meantime I grieve for the characters I created to tell the turbulent story of the oil rich Middle East. The flotsam and jetsam that washed up in The Gulf for a variety of reasons. Archetypal expatriates. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, driven to the fringes of Western society trying to survive.

Poor old Uncle Tom, diabetic and obese and impotent. Unable to give his wife Hettie the child she wanted so desperately. His foster son Ray, the brave SAS trooper whose fiancee cheated on him while he was away fighting in the Dhofar campaign – a hidden politicians war.

And the equally brave Dudley, a young cavalry lieutenant leading desert patrols in the Trucial States, fighting tribesmen in the Battle for Buraimi Oasis – a proxy war between Britain and the USA.

And Captain Bob who, when he lost his command of a supertanker, lost his command – and submitted to the ferocious attacks of the shrew of his social climbing Glaswegian wife.

And my narrator Mick, a journalist of the old school, grubbing around in all the darkest corners exposing corruption and hypocrisy regardless of the personal cost. It cost him the love of his life – Leila – the lovely young Palestinian woman from the refugee camps trying to pass as a Lebanese flight attendant because she just wanted a husband, and a normal life.

And it almost cost him the friendship of his life-long friend Pete Moore, a talented geologist and succesful businessman who was too high-minded and naïve to withstand the blandishments of Natalya, a 19 year old Kosovan whore, and the threats of her brutal Albanian pimps.

All of this is fading into history as international attention shifts to the Far East, and the maniac who is running North Korea. Here in Australia, even that story takes second and third place to the debate about gay marriage – and the citizenship requirements of senators. Both subjects rank somewhere between 0 and 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. How low can we go?

THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, deals with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. You can preview my book on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Marie Antoinette’s cake

Maybe, finally, what I have been writing about for the last 30 years is beginning to enter the mainstream.

At a recent conference of the political elite in Sydney, Peter Varghese, the former Head of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department said:

“ . . . I wonder whether this is a gathering of the Ancien Regime and we are all eating cake at Marie Antoinette’s party. One day we might wake up to find the peasants are revolting.”

The only thing he got wrong is that the peasants have already revolted, hence Trump, Brexit and here in Australia Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

The political elite/progressives agendas are based on the ideas of the 1960s Permissive Society, outmoded ideas that have failed catastrophically to meet the needs of Western societies. Every indicator of civilized life is going backwards: divorce rates, drug abuse, violent crime, home ownership etc.

For the first time in many generations the present young adult generation will not have as good a life as their parents. This is all the consequence of laissez faire capitalism, and laissez faire neo-liberalism.

Maybe a sea-change is on the horizon? On TV the American series MADAME SECRETARY, and in books the successful Inspector Brunetti series of Donna Leon, are based on successful marriages and happy families – and not the usual divorced, recovering alcoholic, omniscient and frequently violent protagonist that is the noir norm these days.

The only disturbing factor for me is that MADAME SECRETARY still clings to the 19th Century attitudes of American exceptionalism and its divine right to re-create the world in its image, ignoring the realities of its own violent, drug crazed, money obsessed and fractured society.

Donna Leon, who is herself an American, but expatriated to Venice for many years, has a much more realistic view of the world as it is, and not as we wish it to be:

“ . . . how to persuade the Romanians to stop picking pockets, the Gypsies to stop sending their children to break into homes . . . in Venice. And on the mainland . . . asking the Moldovians to stop selling 13 year-olds and the Albanians to stop selling drugs . . and the possibility of persuading Italian men to stop wanting young prostitutes and cheap drugs.”

And, in the same vein as Donna Leon, I try to present the Middle East (or more precisely the oil-rich Arabian/Persian Gulf region) as it really is, and not as The West wish it to be.

In my first book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I dealt with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. In the book I am writing now, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, I am dealing with the ongoing effects of that wealth which lead to the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com