Tendring Topics……on line
‘Jaw, jaw is always better than War, war!’
Sir Winston Churchill, the fiftieth anniversary of whose death was remembered last week, was best known as a great war leader. Perhaps it was his own personal experience of two world wars, and the South African war before them, that inspired him to declare that ‘Jaw, jaw’ (negotiating with the perceived enemy), was always better than ‘War, war’ (confronting that perceived enemy with the weapons of death and destruction).
It is advice that the world’s leaders really need to heed today. The news that the Russian Ambassador had been summoned to explain why Russian bombing aircraft had flown round the United Kingdom some 25 miles from our shores, had been shadowed by our fighters and had disrupted air traffic over the English Channel wasn’t one of the first items in the BBC’s news bulletin today (29th January). It could well have been the most significant news story though, because it is just such provocative acts that could, unless those concerned are prepared to ‘jaw, jaw’, trigger the outbreak of World War III.
One doesn’t have to be either a psychic or a James Bond to guess the answer of the Russian Ambassador. The flight of the Russian bombers was a direct response to NATOs provocative military manoeuvres in
and the Baltic States during the course of
which I have little doubt that NATO military aircraft had on many occasions
flown up to – and perhaps beyond – the Russian and/or the Belorussian
The NATO manoeuvres were a response to Russia’s recovery of the Crimean peninsula (which had been welcomed by the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants), and Russian support for the Russian-speaking rebels of Eastern Crimea demanding freedom from the rule of the Ukrainian Government in Kiev. Tit for tat – just as in a primary school playground, but possibly with rather more dire results!
The NATO response had not been to discuss the possibility of a joint demand for a cease-fire from both
and the NATO countries, and a discussion of possible remedies of the grievances
of the people of Eastern Ukraine. Nor have
they suggested a referendum, under United Nations auspices, of the people of
Crimea to enable them have the same right of self-determination as – for instance
– the people of the Falklands, Gibraltar and
Kosovo. Instead ‘the west’ immediately
gave wholehearted backing to the Government in Kiev, decided that Russia was
entirely responsible for the rebellion in the east, and imposed economic
sanctions on Russia. They gave no
credit to the Russians when they managed to achieve a cease-fire and peace
talks between the two sides, but now that the ceasefire seems to have been
broken (by which side I wonder?) they are proposing further sanctions.
As a lifetime supporter of the BBC I have been bitterly disappointed that they have reported nothing of the Kiev government’s relentless shelling and bombing of towns and villages under rebel control nor, as I discovered from quite another neutral source, of the thousands of civilian refugees from the shelling who have fled into Russia to seek asylum.
I remember our foreign secretary (it was William Hague at the time) declaring darkly that
There’s no doubt that EU and American sanctions have damaged the Russian economy – but
Russia has, as
might have been foreseen, imposed counter-sanctions against us. A few days ago we heard how British dairy
farmers, struggling to keep their heads above water, had been hit a devastating
blow by the Russian ban on the import of British dairy products. A regular blog reader has suggested that the
whole country, not just the dairy farmers, should bear the financial burden of
this ban, perhaps by an increase in income tax, not likely to be a very
attractive idea a few months before a General Election!
Now the EU and NATO are meeting to discuss further sanctions on
Russia. How the terrorists of IS (Islamic State)
Islamic State – in Syria and Iraq, Africa and Afghanistan – must be laughing to see their
enemies, in Russia and ‘the West’, impoverishing themselves, and treading the
very dangerous path that could end in war.
How delighted they’d be if World War III did break out! And all because the leaders of ‘the west’
were not prepared to ‘jaw, jaw’ with Russia
the possibility that a substantial minority of Ukrainians should be granted the
right to determine their own future; a right that ‘the west’ has supported in
other parts of the world.
I wasn’t particularly surprised when I read in the local Daily Gazette that exam results had revealed
School and Colchester’s High School for Girls to be the best
schools in England. They have both had an unrivalled reputation
I was totally astonished though to learn from the same Gazette that Yanis Varoufakis, a Ph.D graduate at Essex University (just on the Colchester side of the Colchester/Tendring District boundary) is the Finance Minister of the new Greek Government; that Rena Dourou, another Essex University Graduate who had been the elected governor of Attica (the part of Greece surrounding Athens) is also a member of that government, while a third Essex Uni. Graduate, Fotini Vaki, has been elected to represent the island of Corfu in the new Greek parliament!
Nor, records the Gazette, is it only in
Greece that graduates of
have achieved distinction. John Bercow,
Speaker of our House of Commons, graduated there in 1985. Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect and
master-plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre site in
New York after the destruction of 9/11, graduated in 1972, Lord Triesman who graduated in 1969 is
Labour’s shadow minister for foreign affairs. David Yates, BAFTA winning tv and
film director, who directed the final four episodes of the Harry Potter film
series, graduated in 1987, Oscar Arias
Sanchez who graduated in 1975, was twice President of Costa Rica and received
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987; Baroness Virginia Bottomley, who graduated in
1970 was a Conservative MP for twenty-four years and held two Secretary of State
roles in the ‘90s, and Sir Christopher Oissarides who graduated in 1971, was
awarded the Nobel prize for his contribution to the theory of search frictions
and macroeconomics! (No – I’ve no idea
what that means!) Essex University
It is clear that
Eton and Oxbridge isn’t the only
route to the top.
may have arrived rather late on the scene but it has certainly made its mark. I
have no doubt that, less than twenty miles from my front door, there are more future cabinet ministers and Nobel prize winners in the pipeline! Essex University