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

The Microcosm reflects the Macrocosm

Attempting to integrate into a small coastal community in Australia I joined the Progress Association assuming that they would be working diligently to develop the as yet underdeveloped community.

I walked out of the first meeting, thoroughly bored, on the edge of resorting to primal scream therapy. I gritted my teeth and stayed on at the second meeting while they continued to discuss in some detail weeds that were sprouting on a street corner, the price of tomatoes in the local supermarket, and whether we could spend A$230.00 on paint.

On the other hand, they blithely announced they had authorized spending A$83,000.00 on a feasibilty study (repeat feasibility study) to widen the cycle track on the road bridge across the river.

To their credit the committee anounced that they too were bored by penny-ante discussions about weeds and paint and the price of tomatoes, and were planning to produce a strategic plan for the development of the community. Hurrah! all well and good.

BUT,

the committee are going to produce this plan in a closed session without consultation or input from members, or the general public. When I objected to this I was shouted down – and I mean shouted down – with the saying “We are not going to listen and take note of a bunch of people spouting their opinions.”

And they wonder why BREXIT, and Trump, and here in Australia Pauline Hanson. The general public is tired of entitled groups making plans in secret, without consuktation, and then pushing their agenda down people’s throats, regardless.

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” places the plight of expatriates washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf in its political context. Ordinary people caught in the extraordinary clashes between cultures, and the agendas of narcissistic rulers and vainglorious politicians, and uber-rich businessmen and media moguls, all seeking to shape the world to their own advantage.

(Note: Google the meeting in 2008 on Lord Rothchild’s yacht anchored off Corfu, just as the world teered on the edge of the GFC. It was attended by Lord Sainsbury, Lord (Peter) Mandelson, George Osbourne, David Cameron, Rupert Murdoch, and the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska etc.)

Most of the people who read my book get the political context and the clash of cultures – but only two readers, both women, have seen that my book works on other levels. It exposes the gulf between the “haves”, and the “have nots” – and the gulf between men and women. The latter exposes not only the way Arabs treat women, but also the way greedy and faithless Western wives treat their husbands. Spousal abuse is not the sole prerogative of men.

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

Nelson Mandela was a terrorist

The hapless Jeremy Corbyn cannot get it right. So much of what he says is correct – but the way he says it – and when he says it – just alienates people. And nowhere is it more apparent than in his support for the IRA, and the leader of the Munich massacre.

Much as I support the Palestinian cause, I believe that killing people in cold blood is inhuman and Godless. No matter how noble the cause, acts of terrorism cannot be justified – and are counter productive.

As the recent attacks in Manchester and London have shown, they have brought the communities closer together in their determination to oppose Islam – and forced the government to take even stronger action. Exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Nelson Mandela in his early days condoned the killing of innocent white women and children. For that he was sent to Robbins Island and spent 5 years in solitary confinement. But, contrary to the fake news myth created by the gutless media (that he spent 25 years on that island) he actually spent the next 7 years in a private sanitorium outside Durban being nursed through tuberculosis. At some time during that stint he saw the errors of his ways, and when he went back to Robbins Island he was treated as an open prisoner – allowed a garden, visitors and a study with books, and he passed The London Bar exams. And the last 4 years of his so-called imprisonment he lived on a private estate outside Capetown with very little restriction on his movements – or visitors.

Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. Perhaps all radicalised Muslims should be placed in solitary confinement for 5 years. One of the criticisms levelled at the West by Muslims is that we are preoccupied with non-stop entertainment. We are “ . . . never alone in an empty room to contemplate the face of Allah.” So maybe, like Nelson Mandela, they should spend 5 years alone in an empty cell – and another 5 years of self study.

Having said all of the above, I believe like Jeremy Corbyn, that the underlying cause of radical Islam is The West’s (American) foreign policy. Its unconditional support for Zionism and its greed for cheap oil, and the offence and outrage this has caused to the deeply religious and conservative societies in the Middle East. All of this is made clear in my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

My book is based on the hard facts of recent political history, heightened by the fictional consequences for the flawed characters featured in the stories. The flotsam and jetsam of expatriates who wash up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf for whatever reason. It is soundly based on my 40 years experience working in the international oil industry.

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 publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Fake news

If Donald Trump achieves nothing else he has exposed the rumourmonger uselessness of the media, including the Internet, with his rapid responses to the lies and propaganda the progressives try to spread against him. He has been so successful that The New York Times is now promising to switch to fact based journalism, as if this was a new initiative. Naively I always thought that journalists existed to report the facts.

In fact, of course, I haven’t believed in journalists for a very long time. As a young, politically engaged student, I attended a dock workers’ strike meeting. Amid all the rabble rousing, and Trotsky trouble makers trying to bring down the government, I identified 3 genuine issues that needed attention. No media that I could find reported these issues for at least 2 weeks: they concentrated instead on the rabble rousing or police brutality, depending on the political leanings of their editor.

And here in Australia journalism now seems to be an extension of the public relations industry. One so-called news program interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger recently, and never even mentioned his time as Governor of California, let alone his illegitimate child. All they did was promote his latest movie.

And at the moment we have the case of a 22 year old Australian woman caught leaving Bogotá with almost 6 kilos of cocaine in her luggage. Trying as I do to apply the Western principle of the presumption of innocence, I still find it hard to accept that the media are simply not asking the hard questions:

  1. Why would a 22 year old woman take a holiday in Columbia two months before her wedding? It’s not a prime holiday destination. What was her motive? And has she ever travelled there before?????

  2. Who paid the ticket? Apparently it was bought anonymously in Hong Kong.

  3. Knowing Columbia’s reputation for drugs why would anyone accept 18 misshaped packages tightly wrapped in plastic from a stranger who claimed they were sets of headphones?

  4. And who is this stranger? Why is he untraceable?

Instead of focussing on these fact based issues, the media are running interviews with her Mother and her fiancée. Predictably, they are saying she’s a lovely innocent girl who has been set up. This is the standard excuse trotted out by every drug mule that’s ever been caught. Such emotional interviews add nothing to the narrative, and in fact, serve only to deflect attention from the facts.

And now the Mother, the fiancée, and the girl herself are arguing over the rumoured one million dollars she has been offered for her exclusive story. Who says crime doesn’t pay, and the media don’t fund it? Remember the Australian TV documentary crew who funded a Mother trying to snatch her child off a Beirut street? The media no longer report the news they try to make it. Gonzo journalism at its worst.

That’s why I made the narrator of my book of short stories a journalist trying to write as honestly as possible “the first rough draft of history” – and being frustrated by editors interested only in headlines and deadlines – and pleasing their owners.

My book is based on hard fact, heightened by the fictional consequences for the flawed characters featured in the stories. The flotsam and jetsam of expatriates who wash up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf.

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 publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Writing is like living life twice

Writing is a hard discipline that gives you headaches, sleepless nights – and a bad back. But a wonderful thing about writing is the threads that weave into stories unbidden – and only reveal themselves later.

My first book – THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” was written on weekends as short stories while living in an oilfield camp in Saudi Arabia and based on my 40 years experiences in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. There were 10 stories – two from each decade. But when YouWriteOn (the UK Arts Council initiative designed to encourage new writing) offered to publish a book for me, I realized I didn’t have a book – just a collection of stories. I had to weave those stories into a narrative.

I chose to do this through the eyes of a young and idealistic journalist sent out from the UK to cover the region. I topped and tailed the stories with a fictitious beginning and end for the fictitious journalist’s career. And when I had finished I realized that, subconsciously, the thread running through the book is a classic hero’s journey.

I have made several false starts on the sequel GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, but recently, using a peripheral story from my first book set in aftermath of the war in Kosovo, I realize that this has set the tone for that book.

In the Kosovo excerpt a Serb policeman makes the point that UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) and the O.S.C.E. (Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe) are desperate to prove that they were not wrong to back the Albanians against the Serbs.

But in researching the story again I find that now, General Wesley Clarke, the Supreme Allied Commander NATO during the Kosovo War, believes that NATO intervened on the wrong side. And Carla del Ponte, the former special prosecutor of ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) produced a book, THE HUNT, in 2008 that contained “serious and credible allegations” that the Albanians had transported 3-400 Serb prisoners from Kosovo, harvested their organs – and then killed them. These allegations were backed by The Council for Europe.

This is by no means the first time The West has blundered in and created chaos. Politicians understand the issues (maybe) – but they don’t understand the people. They don’t understand the tribalism, the depth of ethnic hatreds and the desire for revenge going back centuries that is rife in the Middle East and The Balkans. And so they blunder around and make things worse.

In the Middle East think Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration, and Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11. And now Gulf II that destabilized the region and led to ISIS.

Read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

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 publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be . . . or is it?

The 1950s, when I was growing up in the UK, seems to me to be a lot better and more peaceful era than the present. Or is it that I was young, and naive, with the whole of my life ahead of me? I think not.

A quick look at the crime statistics tells the story. In 1982 there were just over 400,000 crimes reported in the UK, and the clear up rate was over 50%. Last year there were 2.4 Million (repeat Million) crimes reported in the UK – and the clear up rate was lower than 30%. And the statistics for mental health – and drug abuse – tell the same story.

In the aftermath of WWII everybody was sick of war – and worked for a better life. And young couples could buy a modern home on one of the many new housing estates being built for a 10% deposit and a 25 year mortgage at 2.5% per annum of the husband’s income.

So the “progressives” (neo-liberals, libertarians, strident feminists and anarchists etc.) who are screaming that Brexit and Trump are reactionaries are wrong. Much as I dislike Trump, and Nigel Farage, what they are exploiting is a desire by the majority (repeat majority) of the people to return to a better and more peaceful age. The progressive belief in the relentless upward march of history is fake. Karl Marx was right, “History repeats itself, first time tragedy – second time farce.”

The progressives were leading us into a narcissistic, dissolute and decadent era that would cause the collapse of Western civilization – as decadence has always lead to the collapse of civilizations.

In parallel with the decline of The West is the Middle East ‘s descent into chaos. In the past it was by no means as safe and secure as The West – but after WWI, for a while, there was a semblance of order under paternalistic international oil companies. Oil towns like Kirkuk, Abadan and Dhahran had good schools and hospitals open to the families of local employees.

And after WWII, for a while it started to make good progress towards a more universal affluence. But that disappeared under the greed and corruption of The Shah, and Saddam, and the Assads. And the creation of the State of Israel.

If you want insights into the present chaos and confusion in the Middle East, from Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration to Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11, read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

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 publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Eight years ago America elected its first Black President – or did they?

Certainly Barack Obama’s Father was a black African, but his Mother was a white American, and his Father left when Barack was 2 years old and had nothing to do with raising his son from then on. And Barack was raised and educated by his Mother and his white Grandmother. So he was not really even half-Black. So there is the (less-than) half truth.

His presidency hasn’t been bad, and it hasn’t been too good either. He failed to make any break through in the chaos that is the Middle East – and his lack of action in Syria left a vacuum that allowed Russia to re-establish itself as a major player. And then just a few weeks ago he signed a US$38 Billion aid package for Israel that will enable them to continue to terrorize the Palestinians (and the Lebanese, and probably the Jordanians?)

BUT,

Out of a clear blue sky (Obama was on holiday in Hawaii) he allowed the USA to abstain, for the very first time, in a UN Security Council vote censuring Israel (for building illegal settlements on the West Bank) – and he allowed John Kerry to make a sharply critical speech of Israel on the same subject. At last truth seeped into the half truth – even if in truth Obama had nothing to lose. He was not up for re-election, and the Democrats had lost the White House anyway.

The existence of Israel, and its cynical lip-service to the 2 State solution, is at the heart of instability and chaos in the Middle East. The Israelis have every intention of annexing the West Bank, and having achieved that they will launch attacks against Jordan on the grounds of “security” because of course the Palestinians will launch counter-attacks from Jordan (there are more exiled Palestinians in Jordan then there are Jordanians). The Israelis will never be satisfied until they own the whole of the Middle East and its Holy sites and valuable oilfields.

The solution is simple. America is the enabler of Israeli terrorism and it should withhold its US$38 Billion aid package until Israel conforms with the UN Resolutions that are in place. There is a precedent. The 25 years of “The Troubles” with the IRA in Northern Island were brought to an abrupt end when the America found the guts – and political will – to denounce the IRA as a terrorist organization, and make it illegal to send them funds.

If you want insights into the present chaos and confusion in the Middle East, from Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration to Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11, read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com

www.amazon.co.uk

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

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com