And did those feet in ancient times . . .

So begins the William Morris’ poem JERUSALEM, an anthem and an elegy to an ideal city that should be aspired to by all mankind. Jerusalem has never been seen as the capital of an exclusively Jewish State – except by Zionists.

Jerusalem is central to all the monotheistic religions – Judaeism, Christianity and Islam. It is the location of the Stations of the Cross – and the Dome of the Rock – in addition to the Wailing Wall. It needs to be under international control.

Trump’s support for Israel’s grab, and American pandering to the Jewish lobby, shows that the USA is entirely unsuitable as lead negotiators in Middle East Peace Process: a process that is an empty shell.

The UN needs to take control – and the UN headquarters needs to be removed from New York and re-located to the League of Nations site in Geneva. And if America threatens, as the biggest donor, to remove its funding, I am sure China and Russia will pick up the slack. The tectonic plates of geo-political economic power are shifting.

My young friends in the Arabian Gulf (graduates I mentored) always told me that the Israelis were not to be trusted. According to them the Israelis want to own the whole of the Middle East. I was sceptical. But if you look at Palestine it’s a sobering lesson. Israel now occupies 75% of the former Palestine, and controls 30% of the West Bank that is supposed to be reserved as the future Palestine – and they continue to build illegal settlements there, and in supposedly Palestinian controlled East Jerusalem.

There will never be peace in the Middle East until Israel is reined in – and the USA is unwilling/incapable of doing that.

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, begins and ends with the plight of LAYLA, a young Palestinian woman converted to Christianity and trying to care for children who are always the innocent victims of conflicts caused by the greed and arrogance of zealots. And the protaganists in my short story collection, expats washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, are veterans of 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

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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

Is Fiction stranger then Fact

 It was an Australian journalist who said, “Journalists write fiction, and pretend it’s fact – and novelists write fact, and pretend it’s fiction.” And there is truth in this.

Certainly my book of short stories, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is based on fictionalised facts. I call it journalistic because every story springs from an event I witnessed myself during my 40 years living and working in the Arabian/Persian Gulf – or was reported to me by a reliable source.

I have just written my first Australian story, THE SENSE OF LOSS, which is a complete fiction, and yet in many ways is as factual and even more authentic than the stories in THE GULF. I say this because the end result was not the story I set out to write. My fictional protagonist, an elderly Australian widow from rural Australia – a person I have never met in a place I have never been – took over, and behaved as an elderly strong-willed Australian widow from rural Australia would behave.

Graham Greene will be spinning in his grave. He believed that fictional characters are merely constructs designed to carry the authors ideas. I have never found that to be true. Once I create a good strong character they behave as that character would behave. They cannot be directed and told what to do. I believe, mad though I may be,that Margaret McLaughlin, the character in my story, behaved exactly as Margaret McLaughlin would behave.

I am English by birth, education, and upbringing, and assumed before coming to Australia, that Australians would be pretty much the same as myself. After all, almost all of the early settlers and the majority of the population is from the British Isles – and English is the official language (although you wouldn’t think so if you spend a lot of time in Sydney). But I have found that Australians are foreign to me.

Maybe because of their beginnings as a penal colony, and the large percentage of Irish Catholic convicts? Maybe because their hard-scrabble pioneering and suffering is such recent history? Maybe because they became (almost) universally affluent so fast that they are more American than British. There is (almost) no class structure and snobbery here (except in Melbourne)? But whatever, we are related – maybe like distant cousins – but they are certainly not British in their thoughts or actions. As my daughter so succinctly put it “They are lovely people, but rough around the edges”.

To be precious about it, those differences and rough edges have subconsciously permeated my artistic sensibility. So when I came to write my first Australian story, from my English perspective it just did not go the way I thought it should go.

“Good on ya – Margaret McLaughlin”,

because I have written a story that is “pure fiction” – and yet it is as authentic and factual as if pulled from tomorrow’s headlines.

The same cannot be said for the stories in THE GULF. Yes, they are authentic. But all of them are told from the perspective of archetypal British expatriates who washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf for whatever reason. People like me. Ordinary people who found trauma in their lives through no fault of their own, trying to cope and make a living in extraordinary circumstances. People I can easily relate to.

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

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

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

Microcosm reflects 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 consultation, 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 teetered 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