What was the use of Magna Carta?

And what was the use of The Peasants’ Revolt, or the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, or indeed the iconic French Revolution with its motto ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’? All of these were brutal reactions to oppression by entitled elites who refused to relax their grasp on their privileged lives.

What we are seeing now, with a wave of populism so sneered at by the privileged elite, is a (so far) less bloody reaction to the oppression of laissez-faire globalized capitalism that has served only to enrich the rich and beggar the poor.

Here in Australia the government propped up the banks during the GFC with A$700 Billion (of tax payers money) in loan guarantees. 9 years on the banking sector is still behaving in the same reckless manner, pumping up the property market with shaky loans, and issuing worthless paper.

House prices are now 10 times the average wage, and household debt is at 189% of disposable income – twice what it was 10 years ago. There are in circulation complex derivatives to a paper value of 12 times the actual value of the total GDP. And the experts, the pundits, wonder why the rise of populism. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

And what are our leaders doing about it? Nothing – because almost without exception they have their hands in the till, or their noses in the trough. They are prospering on the back of this bubble. Mike Baird, the former NSW Prime Minister, resigned and within 5 weeks walked into a banking job at a salary in excess of A$2 million, and negotiated a mortgage in excess of A$1 million to buy a house in a swanky suburb. The feeling is that he negotiated this golden parachute before he quit.

The property boom is being driven by speculators using negative gearing to lower their tax burden – and by black money coming in from China and the obscene profits from the ‘Ice’ epidemic that is sweeping Australia.

Donald Trump was right in saying “It’s time to drain the swamp.” No wonder he was elected instead of the criminal Clintons.

And Britain is right to exit the European Union – another club designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. With the most recent terrorist attack in Paris it is looking likely that Marine Le Pen will become French President and take France out of the EU.

I am no supporter of right wing governments, or fascism – but I understand from history all to well how it comes about. It is the fault of the decadent and narcissistic fools who think they are entitled to rule without reference to the wishes of the common man. Google NARCISSIM and see what I mean.

My 12 odd years of economic imposed exile in the lonely oil camps of the Middle East gave me time think, read many good books, and observe Western so-called civilization from afar with detachment. And the company of the expatriate flotsam and jetsam that washed up in THE GULF for whatever reasons (financial ruin at the hands of banks, unfaithful wives, out of control drugged out teenage children, a weariness of fighting in politicians wars – Vietnam, Buraimi, Dhofar, The Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq – or just a general sick-to-the-stomach reaction to the consumerist ‘greed-is-good’ and ‘obesity-is-the-norm’ lifestyle in The West) – and exposure to austere Islam – gave me a wealth of material to write 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 and out of The Gulf. It is written from the points of view of those expatriates washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf.

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

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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

Penis Envy is a terrible affliction

In a recent article an Australian female journalist decried the white Anglo male desire to have a society that “makes things”. She said we should get used to a society that exists on service industries.

My Father worked all his life as a welder in a shipyard – a job that was 3D – Difficult, Dirty and Dangerous. And he loved it. He was forced to retire at 68 because he was becoming too old to crawl through double bottoms, or climb 100 foot ladders.

It took him 2 years to start enjoying a well-earned retirement because he missed the camaraderie of his mates – and the immense sense of pride and self-worth when the result of their labours was a ship gliding gracefully down the slipway into the river to enter useful service as a cargo vessel, or ferry boat – or warship.

And I was forceably retired recently at 74, after 45 years in the international oil industry mostly in jobs that were 3D. 2 years on a remote Persian Gulf desert island commissioning an offshore oil field that came in on-time and below budget. Working with highly skilled, dedicated and fearless people. Divers who dived in shark infested waters to fix pipeline leaks. Helicopter pilots who flew in all weathers to keep us supplied. And marine pilots who berthed enormous super-tankers whose momentum would destroy the jetty if they nudged it – and not once, even in the dead of night, did those pilots nudge the jetty.

Another 2 years in Venezuela in the petrochemical and petroleum marine transport sector ensuring that dangerous products were transported safely, without loss of quality – and training local staff to take over responsibility.

And then 10 years in Saudi Arabia commissioning 400 km pipelines to ensure that jet fuel free of rust was delivered safely to the international airports – and to the helicopter landing pads on the Yemeni border so that gunships could patrol and discourage infiltration by insurgents.

Like my Father, a man’s life worth living – and far more satisfying than flipping hamburgers at MacDonalds for a minimum wage – or trading worthless bits of paper (a.k.a. toxic mortgages) and being paid obscene amounts of money for doing so.

If you want to know more about life in the international oil industry read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. It is not autobiographical, or a memoir. It is journalistic – based on events I witnessed, or were reported to me by reliable sources. They were expatriated like myself, washed up in THE GULF, mostly trying to escape the boring soul destroying feminine Utopia called suburbia where mowing lawns and going shopping are the heights of human achievement.

You can preview my book at:

amazon.com

and download it if you have a Kindle

or, if you prefer a real book you can purchase it from my publisher:

feedaread.com

ISBN 978-1-786975-25-6

Brave New World

With BREXIT, and the election of Donald Trump, I hope we have finally shaken off the 20th Century, and it’s 1960’s Civil Rights Industry philosophy of entitlement – and (16 years too late|)  we are finally ready to embrace the 21st century, and an era of democracy of the people, for the people, by the people.

     It is a shame that this movement has had to be led by people like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, and I sincerely hope that it does not lead to ultra-nationalism, – but the neo-liberals and neo-Cons have brought this on themselves. The excesses of libertarianism and globalization have led to an autocracy with a narcissistic obsession with wealth and celebrity, and has led to the destruction of millions of lives – and is the root cause of the present refugee crisis.

I have decided to issue a revised edition of my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” because its message, issued in 2011, is starkly relevant today. In the climax of the book the protaganist says:

“New Labor, and the neo-liberals, had lost the plot. He hated these upper-class toffs with their Nanny’s milk still in their mouths. They were not Socialists or Liberals – they were high Tories with a social conscience addicted to their entitlement to rule. And the aphrodisiac of serious wealth had become their ultimate addiction.”

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, until 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 avaricious Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites for the USA and UK, Germany and Spain, 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

The lesser of two Evils

It is unbelievable that the most dynamic and enterprising nation on this planet can only produce two such mediocre candidates for the presidency.

Trump is an egomaniac cunningly riding the wave of peoples’ disgust for the venal and corrupt, lying and cheating and stealing political classes that have allowed the financial community to ride roughshod over our so-called civilization. And Hillary Clinton belongs exactly to that breed who are in cahoots with the banks and Wall Street.

She is a throwback to the hubris of the 1990s when the collapse of Communism led them to believe that globalised, laissez faire, free-market capitalism had solved all of life’s problems. Then came the financial collapse of Iceland, Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, Bernie Madof Et.Al. – and the GFC – initiated by Bill Clinton’s de-regulation of the banks in the 1990s. And the aftershocks of financial scandals continue to reverberate around the world.

We are now in the 16th year of the new Millennium, and if Hillary Clinton becomes President we will have 4-8 years of more of the same. It’s Deja Vu all over again.

Then again Barack Obama has been a mediocre do nothing President. He, and Hillary, are symptoms of rampant political correctness. Obama was elected on a triumphal wave of “the first black President” (although in fact his Mother is a white woman and he was raised by his white grandmother), and Hillary will be elected on a triumphal wave of “the first female President”, without regard for whether either of them are up to the job. Perception is more valued than reality.

Into this vacuous vacuum China and now Russia have been able to ramp up their powers without any effective countermeasures – and after 8 years of Obama, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are still in turmoil – and Guantanamo is still open for business. And I don’t even want to think about the chaos that is Europe – brought about by the failed utopian dreams of drunken, tin-pot geriatric politicians and bureaucrats from tin-pot no-account nations.

Can America, or Europe, not find in the new tech-savvy digital generation a real leader? Or are they too lost in the hubris and unreal and narcissistic world of Social Media? Where is the Washington, the Lincoln, the Churchill, the Eisenhower, the Cromwell?

Or have I really been brainwashed by the Western version of History that I was taught?

In researching my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” I read deeply the writings of TE Lawrence, Freya Starke, Gertrude Bell, and learned about the imperial connivings of France and Britain in the Middle East– the Sykes-Picot agreement, the Balfour Declaration – and later the proxy conflicts between Britain and the USA in oil-rich Iran and Arabia – that sowed the seeds of the present conflicts. And further back Peter Hopkirk’s books about THE GREAT GAME between Imperial Russia and Britain over India – the Jewel in the Crown. History repeats itself – endlessly.

If you want my insights into the chaos and confusion in the Middle East from Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of Islam, until 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.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback, or hardback if you are a real bibliophile, direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Don’t wait for my sequel, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”