Strange but true

Poland revived its demand for war reparations from Germany yesterday as the two states observed the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising, in which at least 15,000 resistance fighters and 150,000 civilians were killed for daring to stand up against Hitler.

Polish MPs claim that the unpaid bill for the slaughter and destruction inflicted on their country could amount to as much as €1 trillion. The question cast a pall over the commemoration of the fiercest rebellion against Nazi rule anywhere in Europe, which culminated in the razing of Poland’s capital after two months of ferocious fighting.

A Jew in Germany in 1933 had a better chance of surviving to 1945 than a Pole in Warsaw.

Slightly a trick number of course, for the early year Nazis positively encouraged Jewish emigration. But still a surprising fact.

So they don’t like it then

Insurgent Empire by Priyamvada Gopal review – a superb study of anticolonial resistance
An important new history of opposition to the British empire, at home and overseas, from the Chartists and the Indian rebels to the Mau Mau uprising

That’s the subs, bigging up in the headline a book by a columnist. The actual review says this:

charted by Priyamvada Gopal’s arresting and insightful book.

Code for, well, she’s done the work, sure, but it’s not very interesting.

This isn’t antisemitic

….has claimed that four million Jews, not six million, died in the Holocaust.

Leave everything else aside, how have we ended up with people seriously claiming that that’s an antisemitic comment? Sure, it’s wrong and it’s about Jews but that’s not enough to qualify….

I do wonder you know

This is the same administration that imprisons immigrants on the basis of their sexual orientation and is introducing legislation that would make it legal for healthcare providers and emergency services to let LGBT+ people die.

Where do these beliefs come from?

The make it legal etc thing is a conscience clause. Just like the UK has about abortion. You don’t have to take part in one if it’s against your beliefs. Maybe that’s righteous and maybe its not, dunno. But to be against a conscience clause is to insist that you’re allowed to force someone into doing something they think is wrong. Rilly?

But the imprisoning people at immigration because of their sexuality? Immigration’s not even allowed to ask you about your sexuality. It’s a protected characteristic. People also do indeed gain asylum on the basis of their sexuality. Be, for example, gay from a place where gays are oppressed and they’ll let you in. Permanently. Which is a bit different from jailing you because of your sexuality.

Is it that I’m not privy to some special information source here? Or is it that some peeps are making stuff up?

Suppose so David

If you want someone to call you a traitor or accuse you of hating Britain, try suggesting that Britain is a normal nation or that our history is remarkable but not exceptional. If you’re feeling really thick-skinned, you could also mention slavery or the violence of empire.

Everyone else had slavery too…..

Well, no, not really

He is seen by many historians as the figure behind some of the greatest national projects of his time, and a loving husband who supported Queen Victoria throughout her reign. But Prince Albert gets too much positive press, historian Lucy Worsley has said.

He was dead by end 1861. She had another 40 years of reign to go.

Sigh.

And this is even more stupid:

Worsley told a packed audience of 1,700 people at Hay festival that Albert lacked emotional intelligence and manipulated Victoria for his own ends – namely becoming “king in all but name”.

If you’ve no emotional intelligence then you can’t manipulate people, can you?

No it bloody isn’t

The Clotilda was a slave ship similar to the one on the left”

 

Nonsense. Bugger all chance that something rigged like that did a fast passage of the Atlantic in 1860. To say nothing of running the trading blockade off the African coast.

The BBC has amended the image to this:

That looks rather more believable.

Man your buzzers for the quiz question

It is hard to imagine that the renowned environmental historian Jared Diamond’s new book Upheaval could have arrived in the UK at a more timely moment. The subtitle screams its urgent relevance: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change. If that advice isn’t needed by our political class right now, you wouldn’t want to see when it was.

The book is made up of a number of case studies looking at how different nations have dealt with crises. Diamond examines Finland after its war with the Soviet Union, Chile and the legacy of General Pinochet’s rule, Japan’s response to foreign superiority in the 19th century, Indonesia after the Suharto massacres, Germany’s postwar rebuilding and Australia’s search for a postcolonial identity.

Ooooh, Ooooh, Teach, I know, I know!

We deal with a crisis by throwing the socialists out of helicopters?

One of you lot will know this

British oaks from some of the UK’s most famous estates could contribute towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral, following an offer from members of Historic Houses, the association for independently owned historic houses and gardens.

So far more than one hundred donor estates, including Belvoir Castle, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Scone Palace, Castle Howard, Holkham Hall and Powderham Castle have volunteered valuable trees, planted for timber centuries ago, as a gift from the UK to France for the restoration of the iconic landmark’s roof, destroyed by fire last week.

Super and why not.

So, it’s possible to find the trees. But how long does it take to cure (age, mature, what?) cut timber before you start using it as roof joists etc? I know you don’t just stick the green wood up there, but how long?

Utter Twaddle

Prime minister’s plan to lift mood after Brexit is set to clash with anniversary of Irish civil war

It was meant to be a glimmer of positivity to unite a divided nation – a festival to celebrate the best of British, bring communities together and strengthen “our precious union”.

Yet Theresa May is being warned that her plan for a Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland risks doing the opposite. The planned 2022 event, announced at last year’s Conservative conference, was criticised as a headline-grabbing distraction. But May now faces concerns that the timing clashes with the centenary of Irish partition and the civil war. Arts industry figures in Northern Ireland and some of those involved in the peace process are also understood to have concerns. These worries are revealed in a report by the thinktank British Future, which examined the potential for arts and heritage to bring the nation together. The study calls on the festival to be delayed by at least three years.

What is now the Irish republic became the Irish Free State in 1922, while Northern Ireland remained part of the UK. A civil war erupted among Irish nationalists over the remaining links with Britain and raged for a year. Sunder Katwala, the report’s author, said: “Holding a festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2022, on the centenary of Ireland’s partition and civil war, would be the worst possible timing. It is only likely to heighten tensions between communities – and that’s before we know Brexit’s implications for the border. Right across the UK, a festival so closely associated with Brexit may only reinforce divides when it could be bridging them.”

Bollocks matey.

The anniversary of the Irish Civil War is an absolutely great and wondrous time to celebrate the unity of the UK and NI.

Because, quite obviously the Irish C W was at about the time that we got rid of those who didn’t want that unity.

Slightly odd thought

The first surprise is the role of Spain in the revolutionary war. In Paris in December 1776, Benjamin Franklin met in secret with the Count of Aranda, quickly convincing him Spain needed to side with the Americans. Ships leaving New England already called at Spanish ports such as Bilbao and Cádiz to purchase cod and flour.

Why would people just off the Grand Banks come to Spain to purchase cod?

I don’t know if they did or not but it does seem to be an odd thing to be doing.

Well, not quite so much

France’s most illustrious Italian import was Napoleon Bonaparte, who came from a family of Tuscan nobles and was born in Corsica as it changed hands from Genoa to France.

The nobility came because Papa made good wasn’t it? Rather than it being a long familial line, it was an appointment to – umm, tax collecting? – which ennobled Papa and thus gained free fees at the military school for Nappy?

Cruel but true

The favourite banana republic leftie hero when I was a kid was Chile’s Salvador Allende, perhaps the first Marxist to be democratically elected to office. Sal set a great example — he was killed before he could wreak any more havoc on his lovely country and so is still revered today by the left.

After three years of redistributing wealth like Robin Hood on steroids, the country was hit by a wage freeze, food shortages, a vicious black market, inflation of 140% — while Chile’s debt soared and the government defaulted on its loans. In other words, it was going exactly — exactly — the same way as Venezuela has gone in the past 17 years. That’s all it takes, three years of revolutionary socialist largesse accompanied by the mimsy poetry of Pablo Neruda and the country’s well on the way to being a basket case.

A coup replaced Allende with the very rightish General Augusto Pinochet and Chile’s economy was back to doing just fine, very quickly. Admittedly, Gus also killed a lot of people.

It did indeed happen

Vile:

Anyone new to Auschwitz history may be unaware, as I was, that one of its objectives was to set up a local camp at Monowitz that would harbour a workforce to speed up the building (for the flagging war effort) of a nearby chemical factory. Monowitz, when Fritz and Gustav arrived, was a fenced and mud-sodden field of sheds – no kitchen, no sanitation, no heat – to which they were marched for three hours each day before working on the uncompleted factory. Here, swiftly identifying their skills in bricklaying and stitching, the Kleinmanns stayed alive while up to 150 of their less useful comrades went off each day to be gassed at Birkenau (Primo Levi was another survivor).

You’ve only got to change a few words to have a description of the Gulag. Starvation instead of gassing, bourgeois instead of Jew. Oh, and that we didn’t chase one set of guards and perpetrators to the ends of the Earth because reasons.

Telegraph news

The horrors of the Holocaust were once thought to have inflicted a deadly legacy on the health of survivors.

Torture, prolonged malnutrition and the daily grind of living in unhygienic, cold and damp concentration camps left victims suffering a range of chronic illnesses decades after they were liberated.

But a new study suggests that those who survived the Holocaust actually lived longer than others from the same era who were spared the atrocities.

Err, yes, 6 years ago:

Surviving Holocaust contributed to longevity, study finds
Analysis of 55,220 Polish immigrants to Israel finds men who experienced the Shoah lived on average 14 months longer than those who arrived before 1939

Note what the study’s about. It’s not surviving the death camps – the ones where off the rain, into the showers, die and be burnt down within hours. Very, very, few did survive those.

No, the work camps. So, why? Well, if you can survive those work camps you are, already and by definition, “fitter” than those who didn’t. One definition of fit at least.

How stupid can you be?

It started in New York City under Mayor [Ed] Koch, and Reagan took it and ran with it. It became Reaganomics, [which then spread to] Margaret Thatcher in the UK and then across the Western world and beyond.

Ed led to Reaganism? And Maggie, in office in 1979, was directed by Ronnie, in office starting 1981?

Eh?