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Saturday, 21 January 2012

General Vo Nguyen Giap - Principal Commander of Socialist Vietnam forces - Vietnam Wars


In year of 2012 General Vo Nguyen Giap was 101 years of age.

Most people, around the world know of Ho Chi Minh, and his political leadership of Communist Vietnamese ambitions to cast off the cloak of old European colonialism. The struggle of Vietnam to achieve their socialist nation’s independence was monumental, to say the least. This is because the political regime that Ho Chi Minh’s, Lao Dong Party, wanted was allied to the political ways of Communist countries like USSR and China. This caused great concern to western democratic nations in Europe and the North Americas, especially the USA. What followed, for Vietnam, was a war of thirty years against colossal powers to achieve this aim. Even to this day the durability of Socialist Vietnam is mind boggling.


Vo Nguyen Giap
and Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh was helped in this great and horrendous endeavour by a principal commander. This man’s name was Vo Nguyen Giap. As I write this blog on 21st January 2012; Vo Nguyen Giap is 100 years old and will be 102 if he reaches 25th of August this year. I think the success of this man and his Vietnamese communist forces is largely due to incredible durability and being able to take colossal losses without giving in. Also the good use of whatever advantages his Communist forces could use and learning to adapt from mistakes. Vietnam’s wars were destined to become a roller coaster ride of gigantic and epic proportions that would span four decades from 1945 to 1975 and principal commander Vo Nguyen Giap would play instrumental parts in the titanic struggle of jungle and guerrilla warfare.


First would be a war with colonial France who was trying to reclaim her imperial conquered territories of French Indochina after her liberation from German occupation in World War Two. These countries were Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. During the World War II, Japan had conquered French Indochina, while Vo Nguyen Giap had been in China. He had fled here before Japan had overrun French Indochina because colonial France had outlawed Communism and the political party he belonged to. Giap had married in 1939 and his wife had borne him a daughter. He had to leave them behind with his family to evade capture by French authorities. However, his wife, baby daughter, sister, father and sister in law were all arrested and interned by French colonial authorities. In prison, Giap’s family were said to have been tortured before being executed, while his baby daughter perished in prison due to neglect. Understandably this would deeply embitter anyone and fuelled Giap’s determination to confront foreign powers occupying Vietnam. 

In China, Vo Nguyen Giap had become firm friends with Ho Chi Minh and both returned in 1944 when Japan was leaving Indochina. For a while British and Japanese soldiers tried to police the southern area of Vietnam while Nationalist China occupied the North. This was when the Second World War ended. In January 1946 the British agreed to pull out of the South while Nationalist China pulled out of the North. France wanted to re-establish colonial rule in French Indochina. What followed was the First Indochina war when France fought against Vietnamese Communist insurgents led by Ho Chi Minh and his principal military commander Vo Nguyen Giap. For the first three years, until 1949, France battled the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s insurgent force that was called the Viet Minh. It was a guerrilla war in tropical forest and cultivated paddy fields where most of the Vietnamese people eked out a living. It was these peasant people that would become the victims of the dreadful wars that would unfold. Most found the notion of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam attractive and also feared betraying their countrymen who were struggling against an occupying European power. Some of the Vietnamese did side with the old colonial power of France but their commitment could not always be counted on. During this time Vo Nguyen Giap fought a difficult campaign to keep alive the idea of a Socialist Vietnam free of foreign interference. The struggle was becoming challenging but was costing the French huge sums of money to finance. The longer the Viet Minh could hold the countryside, the greater the colossal cost to France. This was a time when all the old imperial European powers were forced to pull out of former colonial possessions. The United Kingdom was negotiating withdrawals from many of its old former Empire areas. India was independent and across the world Europe was waking up to a new dawn. There were two new kids on the block; the USA and USSR and colonialism was out. Perhaps France took a little longer to realise this and, to a degree, believed she could carry on pre-1939.



Nationalist China was losing its own civil war against Communist Chinese forces, and in 1949 Vietnam’s northern border became linked to Communist China. This opened opportunities for the Viet Minh to acquire better weapons from allies in Red China and the Soviet Union. The war between Colonial France and the Viet Minh suddenly become more intense and major French outposts in North Vietnam were captured. This put France on a back foot and increased the intensity of the war. Back in France there was growing public concern against the costly war and many French people questioned why their nation should be fighting in a far off place when they needed the financial resources of the Indochina war for themselves after German occupation. Then in 1950, Commander Vo Nguyen Giap took part in a battle to capture a French Northern border outpost called Lang Song. This was a good success for the Viet Minh and marked the first turning point that was truly in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s favour. It sent shock waves through the French regime and began to deflate their will to continue the war.

In France the recruitment of its civilian population to fight in Indochina was deemed illegal because the war was most unpopular at home, where it was being referred to as the ‘dirty war.’ Vo Nguyen Giap was to become adept on his enemies’ civilian population and lack of desire for such war. He began to learn how to capitalise on such things. The French forces consisted of some Vietnamese loyal to French colonial authorities, also Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian and the infamous French Foreign Legion. The latter is believed to have had its ranks filled with ex-German soldiers from SS and even fugitive Gestapo tortures.


In November of 1951 French General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny tried to lure the Viet Minh into an open conflict – hoping to deliver a crushing blow upon the Communist insurgents at Hoa Binh . Vo Nguyen Giap knew he had to meet the French in a more frontal and conventional battle because Hoa Binh was essential to oversee strategic valleys where the Viet Minh enjoyed the flow of troops weaponry and other things of logistical significance to maintain its war with France. The battle for Hoa Binh lasted from November 1951 to February 1952. The French occupied Hoa Binh but the Viet Minh continued to attack the supply route into the town. Every time French air forces cleared the areas, the Viet Minh would come back. In December of 1951, Vo Nguyen Giap launched a counter attack and heavy fighting ensued. The French held firm but the Viet Minh would not give up its renewed attacks on the supply route 6 leading to Hoa Binh. In January, French General de Lattre de Tassigny died from cancer and he was replaced by General Raoul Salan. France continued to fight with Viet Minh in the Hoa Binh region and along supply route 6, but by late February the French realised that keeping Hoa Binh was not cost effective. They pulled out of Hoa Binh and the region became Viet Minh controlled. Vo Nguyen Giap was wearing the French down with his continuous war of attrition. His forces had also acquired Soviet Union weaponry including anti-aircraft guns and other artillery pieces. The Battle of Hoa Binh became another strategic victory for Vo Nguyen Giap’s Viet Minh fighters, even though his forces lost considerably more soldiers during the conflict. He had 3,445 Viet Minh killed, 307 captured and 7,000 plus wounded against French casualties of 894 killed or missing and 2,060 wounded.


France realised she was fighting a long drawn out and costly war and began attempts to negotiate with the Viet Minh, promising help and a view to Vietnamese independence. The Viet Minh would not trust these promises and continued to take the war to a new and more concentrated stage while listening unenthusiastically. As this preparation and peace convention was going on the war continued. France sent troops to fortify an area called Dien Bien Phu in of 1954. It was a military post that blocked a supply route from Laos and again; the French forces hoped it would draw the Viet Minh into more open conflict. Vo Nguyen Giap would be forced to reckon with the French soldiers at Dien Bien Phu. The determined Vietnamese principal commander had Ho Chi Minh’s support to confront the new obstacle of French power in any way he could. Vo Nguyen Giap managed to get his Viet Minh forces to haul huge artillery pieces through tropical jungle and over hilly terrain and covertly hide these artillery pieces in the surrounding jungle overlooking Dien Bien Phu. It was March of 1954 when the Viet Minh forces opened up with their artillery and began the battle siege of Dien Bien Phu. It would become an epic siege in which the French defenders would fight valiantly. Their air force would attempt to supply these defenders from the air but as the defencive perimeter shrunk the situation became more desperate. The battle lasted 54 days and despite parachute drops and reinforcements the Viet Minh finally overran and captured the remaining forces of France. It left them with stronger negotiating powers at the peace conference and was the final nail in the coffin for French involvement in Indochina. Vietnam was lost to France after this battle.


At the Battle of Dien Bien Phu; French casualties were around 4,000 dead and missing with over 6,000 wounded among the 11,721 men captured by Viet Minh forces when the fortification fell. Of these prisoners, around 8,000 would die as prisoners of war. The French believe that around 23,000 Viet Minh soldiers perished during the siege while Vietnamese say their losses were around 5,000 dead and missing and 10,000 wounded. Also at least two US pilots were killed during the battle as US interests in Vietnam began to drag them into the conflict that would ensue in the future. France announced that she was to pull out of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnam independent at Hanoi in 1954.


However, in Saigon to the south; an anti-communist government was formed. From the Geneva conference Vietnam was split in two - North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) and to the south; Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) which was allied to the USA. The turbulent times ahead would see even more dreadful consequences for the Vietnamese people. North Vietnam wanted their country whole and could not agree to the separation but had established a firm base of operation for a new insurgent war to capture the south of Vietnam. There was a line called the 17th parallel between the north and south and although communist soldiers and insurgents began to penetrate the south, it was difficult for non-communists to venture north. In the south US military advisers tried to train the Saigon led troops and for almost 10 years continued to help battle against this new communist led insurgent force from the north. Some of the puppet leaders of the south were not up to the job and gradually the war become ever more intense until the USA decided to become directly involved in the defence of South Vietnam in 1965.



This new ominous phase of Vietnam’s independence war was to be catastrophic for the people that lived through this terrible time in Vietnam’s recent history. Vo Nguyen Giap was now leading in a new principal commander’s role for Ho Chi Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam in which many of the peasants of South Vietnam would be caught up in a terrible hearts and mind’s conflict between two bitterly opposed foes. The USA had allies of the South Vietnamese army, Kingdom of Laos, Thailand, Republic of Korea, (South Korea) Australia and New Zealand. However the main heavy fighting was to be conducted by USA and South Vietnam. For the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Communist North Vietnam) there would be two principal fighting forces. The North Vietnam Army and South Vietnam insurgents loyal to Ho Chi Minh’s communist nation called Viet Cong.




Despite being the most powerful nation in the world; the USA was in a conflict where she had to abide by certain clear rules or find herself caught up in a bigger war with Red China and perhaps the USSR. In short the USA could not send troops across the 17th parallel into North Vietnam the results would be like the Korean War all over again. Instead she could fly bombing missions against the North but all ground war was fought in the south. There was also conflict in Laos and Cambodia that was not admitted to. This time, principal commander Vo Nguyen Giap’s communist forces were up against the most formidable enemy in the world, but with one distinct advantage. North Vietnam would not be attacked by land forces and this one advantage was used to the full. Every time the NVA or the Viet Cong were beaten by US led forces; North Vietnam remained a sanctuary where she could lick her wounds and remain ever resilient to renew fighting efforts against the south and her American protectors. This was a tremendous disadvantage to the USA as she had to fight with a hand tied behind her back. It is a common phrase expressed by Americans on the Vietnam War and is very true.



Because of television technology the US fought war in Vietnam was in our living rooms during evening times. I can remember as a kid watching some of the newsreel clips and it began to sway many people’s view of the war. In the USA anti-war movements started up and North Vietnam’s principal commander Vo Nguyen Giap was able to later capitalise on such things. He made a few military mistakes at first when he tried to use his NVA forces to attack US army units in open conflict in 1965 during the early stages. However, US helicopter units were better equipped to re-supply their soldiers than the previous French forces. Technologically the American army, navy and air force were too good for them. However they had the sanctuary of the north beyond the 17th parallel and here they could retreat, reorganise and try again and again. They struggled for years fighting jungle guerrilla warfare with the Viet Cong trying to ambush American patrols. The NVA would launch attacks and try to occupy strategic geographical locations, though the US would always dislodge them and drive them away. There were some very big sieges by both sides but the US led forces were always prevalent in these encounters. Once again, Vo Nguyen Giap was to show his forces remained ever durable with attempts to continuously infiltrate the state of Vietnam (South Vietnam) along a supply route called the Ho Chi Minh trail. It led from the North to the South roughly along its border with Laos and Cambodia. The US constantly bombed and attacked the supply route with all sorts of weaponry from air and land, but could not stop the flow of supplies from the North of Vietnam. The war of attrition began to way heavy on the USA despite the military victories she was inflicting against the Viet Cong and NVA with colossal dead communist enemy body counts. Vo Nguyen Giap always seemed to find more Vietnamese to fight the war in the South and it began to be realised that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) had the endless will to continue fighting while she had the North as a sanctuary no-go area against the USA. It seemed that an endless stalemate had been reached because the communist forces could not hope to win a military victory against the USA. However, a political one could do damage and one such act did the trick for Vo Nguyen Giap’s forces. It came in 1968 and was called the Tet Offencive.


Tet was a cease fire time to celebrate Vietnamese New Year and it was broken the length and breadth of South Vietnam when regular NVA and Insurgent Viet Cong came out of the woodwork and attacked strategic locations throughout the country of South Vietnam. It took the USA and South Vietnam by surprise. In Saigon, communist insurgents attacked the US embassy and though all attackers were killed during a gun battle; newsmen brought the action into living rooms all over the world via television news. Militarily the Vietnamese forces were quickly killed – many brutally. One famous newsreel showed a bound Viet Cong man paraded in the streets of a South Vietnamese street. As the Viet Cong prisoner stands before the news camera he is shot in the side of his head by a South Vietnamese soldier. The wretched Viet Cong prisoner crumples to the ground with a dreadful fountain of blood escaping from his head – a live execution that came into people’s living rooms. The political implications of the Tet offencive were devastating to the US military and it started the beginning of the end for their continued involvement and support. The US would fight on doggedly winning more battles for another 5 years but would withdraw from the conflict in 1973, leaving the South Vietnam Armed forces to continue fighting the communist North. The USA direct intervention lasted from 1965 to 1973 and would result in over 53,000 US personnel killed with over 303,000 wounded. To be fair, the USA did not get defeated militarily, but was unable to defeat North Vietnam militarily either, because she could not access fortress North Vietnam – it was a no-go area for the USA ground forces.



I think it is also fair to mention that the US stand in Vietnam did achieve one long term result for anti-communists. It stopped Thailand and other neighbouring countries falling to communist rule. What North Vietnam achieved through resilience, perhaps the USA did through endurance on a much grander scale. I say this because bigger communist threats lost to a similar tactic trying to confront the USA during the cold war period.


However, back to the principal military leader of Vietnam’s communist forces; Vo Nguyen Giap played another key role when the North Vietnam army launched new offensives against the South after the US forces left in 1973. For a time the South held the communists back but a new offencive signalled the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Saigon fell to North Vietnam forces and the country became united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.


Vo Nguyen Giap remained minister of National Defence after the war and was made deputy Prime Minister from 1976 to 1980. He remained a prominent figure in Vietnamese politics and retired in 1990. Today he is 100 years of age and greatly respected by most Vietnamese and, I would imagine, by some of his former foes. He has met some prominent US officers from the bygone days of the war on more amicable occasions. In 1995 Vo Nguyen Giap met former US defence secretary Robert McNamara. The US politician asked what happened during the second Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 which led to President Johnson sending US troops into Vietnam. Giap replied that nothing happened and believed the incident was prefabricated, which surprised Robert McNamara.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Lindisfarne - Lady Eleanor



I've always loved this song by Lindisfarne. It takes me back and all sorts of retro Brit memories flood my mind. It brings reminiscences of prior 'coming of age' years.'









UK inflation falls for December 2011 from 4.8% to 4.2% - lets keep plugging away.

Dashed well done!
The United Kingdom's inflation rate fell from 4.8% to 4.2% in December. This is very good news and much is attributed to fuel costs and supermarket price wars. There are optimistic beliefs that the UK could get to inflation rates of 2% by the years end. It seems like a long hard slog but we Brits can and will do it. Faint heart will never win a fair lady, so clamp down on the rewards for failing executives. However, for the winning ones? ...well they must be looked after, but only while and when winning.


Spider Web Silk farmed from Goats - strongest substance mass produced.



Just outside of the city of Montreal in Canada, there has been an amazing breakthrough to produce spider web silk in large quantities. Spider web silk is an extremely strong fibre and could be used if large quantities could be produced. One would need millions of tiny spiders to produce the needed silk in large quantities and if millions of tiny spiders were kept in close proximity on a farm, they would fight and kill each other fighting for territory. In short, it could not be done.

Scientist have come up with an idea to genetically use goats to mass produce the fibre in large quantities while producing milk. The spider silk is cultivated out of goats milk. This has become possible by adding a spider gene that produces spider silk with the goats milk. One goat can produce silk in large quantities and herds of such goats can produce even greater amounts. This amazing breakthrough is mind blowing and the possibilities of this strong fibre are endless.









Monday, 16 January 2012

Strawbs - Part of the union - 1973 working class Britain - Plebs fattened for the kill.




This has a real early 1970s feel about it, when strikes were happening and wages were going up in car plants and coal mines. It seemed the working class man had cracked it and the toffs would always have to play ball because socialism was king and manifesting in a new type of 'working class rules' Britain. This was before the rude awakening. Ha, ha, ha - like Hell socialism was king.

Maggie Thatcher was waiting in the wings and Britain was about to get a huge kick up the arse. The Toffs and Yuppies were waiting on the eighties horizon. Still the ordinary man was enjoying a little calm before the storm as this wonderful song suggests, in certain ways - all secure with working class and ill deserved confidence. Crikey - the wonderful misplaced arrogance of this song does bring it home how things have changed. We were plebs being fattened for the kill.

"And the Socialists are no more and the Yuppies are Dead."...

AKA

"And the Knights are no more and the Dragons are Dead."

...from (When a Knight once was spurred in the stories of old)

It is all confined to a charming Retro Brit past now and gone forever... :)

Judie Tzuke - Stay With Me 'till Dawn




This was a wonderful dreamy song by Judie Tsuke. It was very haunting in a kind way and I think much of that is to do with Judie Tsuke's compelling voice. This song takes me back to the years when I had just left school and started work and the world was a big playground.




 .






Saturday, 14 January 2012

John Stonehouse MP - Czechoslovakia Secret Service - Communist Agent

British MP John Stonehouse
John Stonehouse was a British politician who caused great controversy during the early 1970s. He was born in Southampton in 1925 and died of a fourth heart attack in 1988 at the age of sixty two. His life was one of great intrigue because people believed that this Member of Parliament committed suicide in Miami USA when his clothes were found on a beach. This was in the year of 1974. What the public did not know, at the time, was what really surrounded John Stonehouse’s life.

There is a novel called ‘The Perfect Spy.’ in which there is a British character that I think is a little like John Stonehouse – very loosely of course, and I wonder if some of Mister Stonehouse’s antics might have been viewed by writer John Le Carre in shaping this very fine spy story.

It later transpired that John Stonehouse had been under increasing financial pressure because of failed business ventures and his cooking of business accounts. He was under investigation by UK fraud organisations so he transferred large sums of money and faked his suicide and assumed a new identity. With this new identity, he fled to Australia to start a new life with his secretary, Sheila Buckley.

It is believed that during the late sixties British and American Secret Services became suspicious that John Stonehouse was recruited by the StB (Czechoslovakia Secret Service)

In other words, John Stonehouse was suspected of being a Communist field agent for the Iron Curtain. He was brought before a commission but was able to successfully defend himself. In this time there was great concern that the Labour government had been infiltrated by KGB and some people of MI5 suspected Prime Minister Harold Wilson of being KGB. I’m sure this is laughable now, but there seems to have been some inroads made by Communist secret services into the British establishment and John Stonehouse with the Czech StB seems to have been believed later – long after his death and the dust had settled among the British public.

In 1980, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was believed to have agreed to a cover up concerning John Stonehouse’s espionage activity for the Czech secret Service who had recruited him by 1960.

If John Stonehouse had been questioned in 1969 and he had been able to evade conviction; he must have realised the wolves were closing in and it was time to flee. On Christmas Eve 1974, Australian police arrest Clive Mildoon (AKA - John Stonehouse,) believing he might have been Lord Lucan, another famous British fugitive that was never found. Instead they discovered that it was, the presumed dead British MP, John Stonehouse.

He was extradited back to the UK – still a Member of Parliament to face trial. His shocked wife and three children must have been very traumatised by all of this. He was not put on trial for being a Czech agent, but for fraud, theft and forgery and conspiracy to defraud. He was convicted and given seven years in prison. His health deteriorated during this time and he suffered three heart attacks and had to undergo open heart surgery. He was released in 1979 and worked for an East London charity. In 1981, he married his Mistress Sheila Buckley. His wife had divorced him while in prison.


John Stonehouse and Sheila Buckley after prison sentance

After his release, he had television appearances and gave interviews concerning his faked suicide, but revelations about his espionage past did not become public until 2010, twenty two years after he had died of a fourth heart attack in 1988.




Monday, 9 January 2012

Talking dog from YouTube gets Millions of Viewers.


This YouTube sensation of the Talking dog called "Ultimate Dog Tease" has got everyone laughing. Something so wonderfully simplistic is bringing joy to millions - Bravo.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

UK 1960s decade - Marianne Faithfull - As Tears Go By (1965)


Marianne Faithfull had a few good hits from the 1960s and this is one she sang which was written by Rolling Stones -Jagger/Richards.

Folk Band - Pilgrims' Way - The Handweaver and the Factory Maid



I first heard this song sung by Steelye Span, but there are many different renditions. I particularly like this version by Pilgrims' Way.

Folk band - Steeleye Span - Awake Awake



I always liked this song from the Steeleye Span album called Storm Force Ten. It is the first track on the record and I find it very dreamy and nostalgic.

Brigitte Bardot in Retro France late 1950s decade - Je danse donc je suis




Brigitte Bardot is among the most sexiest ladies to ever walk this planet. In this retro French clip, she is in her prime and just being gorgeous upon any living soul's eyes.

Retro France 1960s decade - Peggy - Ne Me Laisse Pas L'aimer




This song was made famous internationally by Brigitte Bardot. However, the original 1963 version was presented in a much more poppy way and has a unique charm of its own. The 'Ne Me Laisse Pas L'aimer' is sung by a male, while a girl called Peggy sings the lyrics a little faster and with a more juvenile charm. I like both versions (Peggy and Brigitte Bardot) This version, by Peggy, is bathed in that wonderful early retro sixties pop sound of France.  

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sandie Shaw - Always Something There To Remind Me





Sandie Shaw was another favourite from the 1960s and I can remember my mother often tried to sing her songs. She also had both these featured numbers on 45s as well. These bring back all sorts of kind memories from my own Peter Pan world that was always the 1960s decade set in my kiddie view of Retro Britain. I would love to be between 25 and 30 and travel back to the year I was born in 1961. I would be able to live in that decade and see it from another adult perspective. Of course I'd be loaded with lots of pounds in money too.


Britain 1960s Decade - The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want (Live 1969)


This 1969 clip is obviously just after Brian Jones died. It is one of my favourite slow Rollers songs from the Rolling Stones. It has some good words, but my only memories of the Stones in the 1960s was when my elders were ridiculing them as anti-Christ wayward young men, who needed hair cuts and so forth. As a kid I thought adults were always right and though I always liked the Stone's songs, I tried not to like them too much. When I got older, I thought they were terrific because I was going through my adolescent time and enjoyed the notion of being a tad rebellious. I was tweaking the nose of danger and staying out till late.

UK 1960s Deacade - Dusty Springfield - i only want to be with you (V.RARE) 60s

 
 
 
 

Dusty Springfield had a TV show in the 1960s and I can remember that my mother had several of her LPs. This was one of her favourites and I could remember my mother singing it often when she was pottering about the house. Again - kind memories from a time when I thought all grown ups were extremely clever. I think I realised they were not when I became one. It suddenly dawned on me one day. However, that was in about the year 1981 when I turned 20, so I cling to the more infantile view I had of the 1960s. Every thing was great and being British was champion. I used to feel sorry for people that were not British as a kid. Such was the conviction of my little kiddie vanity... :) 

Britain in 1960s decade - Cilla Black


When I was a kid, I can remember that Cilla Black had a weekend TV show, that was very popular. Of course she has hosted other TV shows since then and she is an iconic household name in the UK with her Liver bird (Liverpool girl) accent. She came to fame during the time of the Beatles and played at the same venues in Liverpool. I am told she featured in the famous Cavern where the Beatles played too.

One of my favourite things about being British; was growing up in the 1960s. Every memory is still through naive childhood eyes. I thought all our adults where great and our entertainment was fun too. It is still good now, but I think we are overdosed with too many fine artists and most don't get the nationwide appeal on the scale that many of the Retro Brit sixties celebrities got. I have chosen two Cilla Black songs that conjure up all sorts of kind memories from my childhood.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Moyra Melons Spiffing New Year Ear Rings

Moyra Melons' wonderfully 'in love' husband was talking to his fellow work colleagues about his wife's fixation with ear rings. It was some time into the New Year function and he was a little worse for wear, concerning alcohol in take.

"My wife loves her collection of ear rings," said his large whisky and splash.

"Really," replied a gin and tonic. "Do go on. I'm all ears."

"Well she is constantly worrying that her exotic taste in ear rings will always steal the show. Therefore she is in a constant dilemma not to make them stand out to much. She tries to play them down so that people might not notice them," added his whisky and splash. "Oh, I say - here comes my darling Moyra now."

As one might well imagine, all heads turned as Moyra Melons entered the room amid many admiring glances. One could hear the envious exclamation from a delighted Bacardi and coke; "I say what a splendid pair of ear rings - phinnar, phinnar what..." 

Moyra Melons walked up to her well oiled husband and received a kiss on the cheek. She was a little embarrassed by the smiles of approval from the rest of the admiring male company because she was now sure her ear rings were screaming out for attention, though she could not see them this way when putting them on.

"Oh dear," she whispered to her proud husband. "I've done it again, haven't I? This pair are screaming out to be noticed and I honestly could not see it at the time when I put them on. Only now when I enter this room do I realise my ear rings are, perhaps, a little too showy."

"Oh please don't worry my little petal," replied his large whisky and splash. "When you feel you've got it wrong in some ways; you always get it right in others."

The gin and tonic lent its voice to the praise. "I think your fine pair of ear rings are spiffing Mrs Melons, and I'm sure they always will be." 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Only a Matter of Time - UK Referendum on EU



I honestly think it is only a matter of time now, before the British government is forced to have a referendum on EU. We are going to; join properly and wade in to help or leave and join the rest of the world. 

I can see the arguments for both sides, but if such a referendum happened now; I believe the UK might leave. This would be sad, because this anger has come about over the veto that David Cameron rightly used. What he could not for see was how popular it has made him among anti-Euro Brits that are not really on his side. He has started a slide towards Euro referendum, no matter how much he tries to play it down.

The 'Merkozy' deal on stronger fiscal union was also too far sighted, no matter how much they try to play it down. There was total intransigence in this new treaty and their politics failed with the UK. They (Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy) should have granted David Cameron his assurances and then tried to claim them back bit by bit in the future. (Slowly, slowly, catch a monkey) The present UK government would one day change and then more fiscal union might have been easier to approach concerning the UK. After all; would this not have been sensible politics? Remember, the UK does not want the Euro to fail - it is not in her interests at all.

It was badly played by Germany and France and now they face something different. It is foolish to say that the EU can go on with the UK out in the cold. It will not work. This applies if you are in mainland Europe or on the UK island of. The Eurozone put UK where it is for being right and have now created a passionate anti-Euro voice in the UK. These anti-Euro Brits are coming out of the woodwork everywhere.

For the UK, referendum in the near future, could be fuelled by what Germany and France have done, for the UK blames them and not the rest of Europe. With this resentment still festering; I think the UK might vote to leave. This is because the UK seems to believe it does not need the EU that much concerning continuous regulation on financial institutions. We are told by ant-Euro Brits that the UK also pays a lot of money into the EU - far more then she gets back. She also imports more then she exports to the EU. I am not sure if all this is true, but as pro European and British; I'm concerned that Europe will loose the second biggest contributor (France claims more back then the UK).

In turn, if the UK turns to the rest of the world outside of Europe; she could find that her isand nation is punching above weight in this day and age. The be all and end all remains; the UK is shut out with no say while the EU appears to want continuous UK payments for 'more nothing' and closed doors. Something needs to be done on the EU side of the fence - no matter how angry Germany and France are concerning this. Your partner, ally and neighbour does not agree to some of the treaty proposals and it is written into its own laws that such change would bring about a referendum. One that the EU can ill afford and the UK - maybe.

The EU new fiscal union treaty led by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy needs to be more attractive to the second biggest contributor (UK). This is not to be sneered at, so be proper politicians and play politics; get the UK back on board to ovoid this slide towards referendum. You can't get angry with a nation that see this coming and still wants to help.