Seumas Milne’s world view on show

From a longer-term perspective, the crisis in Ukraine is a product of the disastrous Versailles-style break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

The break up of the Soviet Union, disastrous.

Not much else we need to know about the Stalinist little fucker, is there?

53 thoughts on “Seumas Milne’s world view on show”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    “Neo-Nazis in office is a first in post-war Europe. ”

    So Fidesz aren’t, now? Thanks, Seumas, for setting the record straight.

  2. “From a longer-term perspective, the crisis in Ukraine is a product of Putin’s belief in the disastrous Versailles-style break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.”

    There Seumas, fixed it for you.

  3. These lefties are worse than the (neo) nazis. At least the (neo) nazis seem to understand and revel in the fact that they are nasty f&ckers.

  4. Dear Comrade Milne

    “…people who were content to be a national minority in an internal administrative unit of a multinational state…felt very differently when those units became states for which they felt little loyalty.

    In the case of Crimea, which was only transferred to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, that is clearly true for the Russian majority.”

    You’re so right!! People are clearly , CLEARLY, content living in adminstrative units in a way they never could be in a nation.

    Yours in faith
    101 Big Brother Avenue
    Airstrip One

  5. I’ve not read the whole article.

    Did he come to the logical conclusion that perhaps the very existence of the Soviet Union was a bad thing, and then renounce all of his prior views and beliefs?

    If he didn’t, then the article will remain unread.

  6. In what way was the break up of the Soviet empire comparable with the Treaty of Versailles?

  7. “In what way was the break up of the Soviet empire comparable with the Treaty of Versailles?” The malign influence of President Wilson.

  8. BiF
    “In what way was the break up of the Soviet empire comparable with the Treaty of Versailles?”
    I think he’s referring to the re-creation of those historic nations like Poland & the Baltic States had a brief resurgence before Soviet & Nazi boots stomped them back in ’39. Milne doesn’t even have the marginal decency to be a post-war Soviet fascist. He’s enamored of the Stalin of the purges

  9. The break-up of empires always causes trouble: with power vacuums and all that. We were pissing about in the Crimea in the nineteenth century because the Turkish Empire was retreating and the Russians were nosing around.Now the USSR has pulled back and the EU/Nato/USA are pushing up.
    The British Empire was doomed with the Atlantic Charter when the Americans abolished the system of Imperial Preference which gave us a transcontinental Common Market pre-war. Churchill responded by sending our South African Gold Reserves to the US and Canada and paid the Americans under Cash and Carry in gold and technical information (jet engine, radar ,nuclear fission) to fight the war for the common good.All of this Stripped Bare episode is at present being dug over by Peter Hitchens in the Mail,(So it must be true!!) . Churchill left Stalin to fight and defeat the Germans for four years, refusing to open the Second Front in France although the Americans promised Stalin this would happen in 1942.Stalin did a great deal to save the world from the Nazis so, if not respect, at least a realistic non-hysterical attitude is due him.
    And only hysterics ,who don’t know any history,would find anything to get worked up about in Milne’s article which is well-balanced – disappointingly so given the hysterical build-up on here.

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman quotes the biggest sh!t in Britain

    “…people who were content to be a national minority in an internal administrative unit of a multinational state…felt very differently when those units became states for which they felt little loyalty.”

    As I have often said about the British Empire. No doubt Seamus will join me in mourning the end of that excellent institution and perhaps he will suggest the better solution was a bullet to the back of Gandhi’s head?

    “In the case of Crimea, which was only transferred to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s, that is clearly true for the Russian majority.”

    Did the people of Crimea have any say in this thoroughly high handed piece of real estate re-arrangement? I think not. I expect that Seamus will not be complaining about the Congress of Berlin or any other Imperial arrangement that took or gave the Tinted People’s land away?

    “You’re so right!! People are clearly , CLEARLY, content living in adminstrative units in a way they never could be in a nation.”

    What he is not telling you is that Irish independence was the second biggest tragedy of his life.

  11. “Stalin did a great deal to save the world from the Nazis”: Stalin did a great deal to save Stalin from the Nazis, his former allies. Any benefit to the world was entirely incidental.

  12. Milne–is he the one who used to appear on the old BBC “Culture Show”” reviewing films, books with Kreepy Wark?. An ugly git with a NI accent?. Is that him?.

    Reed: Now we see your true colours.

    Hitler was a lesser murderer and nothing like so crafty as Uncle Joe. Hitler was also a socialist and he and his gang referred to themselves as socialists on many occasions. He merely didn’t care for that puke Marx’s class war–Adolf just wanted all classes under the heel of the national, courajus state.
    We left the socialist bastards to fight Adolf?–Unc Joe’s buddy up to ’41–the same guy who supplied said Adolf with war supplies before their deal went sour?. You and that well-balanced puke Milne are two of a kind.

  13. DBC Reed is rewriting history again
    “Americans abolished the system of Imperial Preference” Oh, yeah? Three years after the Labour Secretary for the Dominions messed up the conference that was supposed to on Imperial Preference so it never really got off the ground, the USA persuaded the leaders of one out of the Nine countries to withdraw.
    “Churchill left Stalin to fight and defeat the Germans for four years” – tell that to the Royal Navy, or the RAF, or the Eighth Army in Africa or the Canadian infantry who joined them in the invasion of Sicily in 1943 or the US Fifth Army who joined them in the invasion of mainland Italy in 1943, or the Indian Army fighting in Asia or the Merchant Navy or …. But do *not* tell it to your Maths teacher who might insist that June 1941 to June 1944 is *three* years, not four.
    “Stalin did a great deal to save the world from the Nazis”
    No, that was Zhukov after Stalin had done vast amounts to create the conditions that might have allowed Hitler to win – the genocide in Ukraine, the Malenkov-Ribbentrop Pact, the murder of most of the competent officers in the Red Army. the invasion of Finland ….

  14. Stalin did a great deal to save the world from the Nazis

    Yeah, and if you asked the Finns, the Cossacks and – hah! – the Ukrainians they’d tell you that Hitler, whilst he had regrettable views on certain racial minorities – did a great deal to save the world (at least their part of it) from Stalin.

    Stalin was a muderous fucker who killed ten times as many of his own people as his former best mate, Hitler. His murderous brand of communism has brought about more violent death than any right-wing despot ever did. Anyone, like Seumas, who gets hard at the thought of all that strong leadership has no business questioning anyone else’s morality and should be considered on a moral plane with Hitler’s apologists. Not necessarily worse (though I think they are, qv abacab above, at least neo-nazis acknowledge and revel in their evil) but certainly the same.

  15. @DBC Reed ‘Churchill left Stalin to fight and defeat the Germans for four years’

    He didn’t have a whole lot of choice. Your pal Stalin didn’t mind marching his men to their deaths (at gunpoint) but Churchill was a different sort of person.

  16. I can just about (with a squint) see a comparable between the end of the Soviet empire and the treaty of Brest – Litovsk.
    But that wouldn’t fit the narrative.

  17. DBC Reed

    re Stalin:

    ..”if not respect, at least a realistic non-hysterical attitude is due him.”

    No sorry, I don’t respect mass murderers as a rule of thumb. But then, I don’t really respect arsehole apologists for Stalin who quite deliberately tell lies about history to advance their head-fucked case either.

    I can see, with Mr Andrew Dickie and Richard Murphy on the Tax Research blog and you on this, the virus has mutated.

  18. @DBC
    Absolutely brilliant!
    Totally ignoring the Soviet aid given Germany in the 30s to train & equip the Wehrmacht & Luftwaffe, in direct subvention of the Versailles Armistice terms, gave Hitler the ability to prosecute a war.
    As only a socialist could.

  19. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I think it bears repeating: Ho Chi Milne is not an apologist for Stalin, as that presupposes some measure of regret for all the barbarity, coupled with some horseshit anout omelettes and broken eggs. No, Milne is a supporter of Stalin and the USSR. Whereas regular apologists are like Holocaust deniers, Milne is like those neo-Nazis (or Islamofascists) who don’t deny it happened but regret Hitler didn’t get to finish the job. He is scum.

  20. I think I’ve said this before, but when I’m retired I’m going to bury myself in the remaining archives of Western communist newspapers, such as “De Waarheid” in NL (yes, it means “pravda”), and whatever the other ones were in the UK, US, Ireland, France, Belgium, Switzerland and so on were. The title of my work will be “Western Communist portrayals of Nazi Germany from Molotov-Ribbentrop to Barbarossa”.

    That is, if the archives still exist and if their curators would permit such doubleplus inconvenient research.

  21. Bloke in Costa Rica

    By ‘apologist’ I was referring to Dickie, Murphy and our own resident genocide denier DCB Reed.

  22. Us Dept of State : Office of the Historian. Milestones 1937-1945:
    The Atlantic Conference and Charter 1941(on Net).
    “”Roosevelt also wished to arrange the terms by which Great Britain would repay the United States for its Lend Lease assistance. Roosevelt wanted the British to pay compensation by dismantling the system of Imperial Preference which had been established during the Great Depression and was designed to increase trade within the British Empire by lowering tariff rates between members while maintaining discriminatory tariff rates against outsiders” .
    New York Review of Books Geoffrey Wheatcroft reviews “The Last Lion” by William Manchester and Paul Reid .
    Roosevelt “…not only refrained from going to war until Hitrler solved the problem by declaring war on the United States; when he did extend aid, he did so with great ruthlessness ,stripping Great Britain of its overseas investments and export trade.In late 1940 Roosevelt went so far as to propose sending an American cruiser “(my guess USS Louisville)” to Cape Town to collect $20 million of British gold bullion as a down payment ,which Reid aptly likens to ‘a non-combatant lifting the boots and pocket watch from a dying trooper’ ” .
    Perhaps this explains the historical background which John 77 (as per usual) and others know nothing about.( Any Googleable History of the Second Front will detail Churchill’s delays in coming to Russia’s assistance.)
    Perhaps any contrary versions might include some quotes from recognised authorities instead of home-made theories?
    BTW as to my true colours. Hard to say : most of the Imperial Preference argument comes from right wingers critical of the USA ,notably Enoch Powell. Anybody who thinks that Stalin’s Russia did not play the major part in defeating the Nazis is mad.

  23. DBC Reed

    Oh indeed RUSSIA played a huge part, the seminal role, in defeating Hitler. But not for one moment does anyone with a shred of decency or common sense believe that the evil maniac Stalin or World Socialism palyed any role. no, it made a pact with Hitler. The British accordingly and obediently argued for staying out of the war. You, Dickie, Murphy, Ivan Horrocks are their heirs.

    As for “Churchill left Stalin to fight and defeat the Germans for four years”, simple: Not true, you lying scumbag.

  24. So according to the all-knowing DBC Reed the Arctic Convoys = Churchill failing to come to Stalin’s assistance.
    The Dam Busters raid transferred a hundred thousand Germans from the Eastern Front
    Stalin is virtuous and Roosevelt a swine because both waited until Hitler declared war on them
    Hence we are to conclude that Neville Chamberlain is the only leader with courage.
    And DBC Reed is justifying his claim that the US abolished the system of Imperial Preference in the 1930s with a note that Roosevelt *wanted* in the 1940s that it be demolished.
    That is not just dishonest – it is incompetently dishonest.

  25. Anybody who thinks that Stalin’s Russia did not play the major part in defeating the Nazis is mad.M/i>

    Oh, I think we can agree there. But those semantics are rather important.

    1) Let’s by all means be grateful to the Russians who did it. But to be grateful to the man who ordered it suggests that he did so out of altruism; he didn’t.

    2) It doesn’t change the fact that Stalin was more murderous than Hitler. A shit defeating another shit doesn’t make the first shit a saint, and we can be happy it happened without excusing a single one of his manifest crimes.

    So stop talking rot.

  26. For DBC’s benefit on US involvement in WW2.
    It may not have come to his attention, but the USA wass an independent sovereign state approx 3,500 from Europe. Doubtless inspired by their royal shafting at Versailles following their last involvement in European squabbles, when they were told to go away & let the adults sort it out, they had no enthusiasm for a rematch. The USA, unusually, was a democratic country & would need popular support for a war.
    As for an early involvement prior to Pearl Harbour. With what? The USA had neither a modern land army nor an airforce. Again, it might have escaped his notice, but the USA had precisely two land borders to defend. Canada & Mexico. Not directions from which an incursion of massive military might would have been likely. It had a small regular Army, capable of limited police actions & a land/air capability suitable for entertaining at airshows. It still had bi-plane front line fighters in ’38. It did, However have considerable sea power. Mostly tasked in the Pacific.
    Militarily, for a European theatre, it had all the punch of Belgium..

  27. Bloke in Central Illinois

    “Any Googleable History of the Second Front will detail Churchill’s delays in coming to Russia’s assistance.”

    Well, that was bloody awful of Churchill to delay so much in coming to Russia’s assistance when the Soviets had gone all out to help England in her hour of need in 1940. Wait, what’s that…the Sovs were actually allied with Germany then? Ah well, nevermind.

  28. It has long been suspected that Milne had links with the former Warsaw Pact and he comes perilously close to actually offering confirmation. Neil Clark, who is an outright apologist for communism and supports the spiritual successors of the USSR, contemporary Russia and the PR China, has decamped from the Guardian to Putin’s very own Russia Today, so we are left with this preening coward. As Ironman says, between him and other fellow travellers on Tax Research UK (I feel comfortable in describing Richard Murphy as the Laventi Beria of the contemporary political scene) the true colours are showing through – how they yearn for the time when the truest Courageous State of them all, the USSR saw the Hammer and Sickle flying across a third of the globe. No nonsense about freedom of choice – enlightened technocrats keeping order for the people’s own good – Oh, the glory!

    In the meantime, in a foray behind enemy lines, we get DBC Reed, who appears to be Arnald on a polite day, undertaking a superb piece of revisionism,with these gems:

    ‘Churchill left Stalin to fight and defeat the Germans for four years, refusing to open the Second Front in France although the Americans promised Stalin this would happen in 1942.’

    Really, so the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, the bomber crews making raids over Germany and the Arctic convoys – all ‘allied propaganda’? I guess looking at any documentary on the D Day landings is beyond his wit – ‘they could have invaded Europe at any time from 1941 onwards and won’ is not an argument I have heard anyone make so at least he has the virtue of novelty. Whilst it’s correct to suggest that the Soviet Union’s troops played a crucial role in defeating the Nazis, this was in spite of Stalin, whose brutality, incompetence and spite nearly lost them the war in the East (over 1 million Soviet citizens fought on the Axis side – had the policies of Field Marshal Ewald Von Kleist been followed across the entire occupied zone they could have had about 5 times that number) Your attempt at rewriting history is beneath contempt. I would advise you to take your theories and try them out on people in Krakow, Warsaw or anyone of dozens of cities now free from Soviet oppression. Might be an expensive dental bill to have your teeth reconstructed a million times over, mind…..

  29. While Lindberg and his “America First’ movement are usually seen as the primary opposition to USA involvement in the war in Europe, the most effective opposition came from American Communists, acting on orders from Moscow. Communist propaganda was part of it, but there was a more direct side; Communist-led unions conducted strikes at factories making war materials for the UK, and actual sabotage was frequent. Of course, all this changed overnight in June 1941.

  30. Dbc, you are a filth left wing cockend.

    So is seamus.

    Now fuck off and go and calm your piggy eyed self, with a wank over your Chairman Mao duvet.

  31. I’m searching for a word that describes what I have heard from DBC Reed and from Andrew Dickie, Ivan Horrocks and the like on the Tax Resaerch blog. Traitors is all I can come up with.

  32. It would help if Seumas Milne actually had any knowledge at all of the roots of Ukrainian nationalism. But he doesn’t. So this piece is mostly fiction. He’s started from “Russia good, US bad” and constructed a nice story of Western imperial aggression that has nothing whatsoever to do with what is actually happening in Ukraine.

  33. It would help if Seumas Milne actually had any knowledge at all of the roots of Ukrainian nationalism. But he doesn’t.

    I think it is called something like “framing the strategic narrative.”

    Now, it may look like mere fiction, but there is generally nothing wrong with mere fiction. This, however, is being used as a cloak by the fifth-columnists in the fourth estate to justify the forthcoming (or, as yet un-recognised) neo-Tsarist repression of the non-Russian Ukrainians (at least the little that remain of the Crimean Tatars know exactly what is coming to them courtesy of the Russian Army.)

    It will allow the media to pretend that the (understandable and probably even sensible in local terms) German economic veto on sanctions is a robust and principled act against American neo-liberal support for facism, etc, etc.

  34. SE put it more poetically, but Frances hits the nail on the head. Everything is the fault of the Americans, for whom neoliberal seems to have become a shorthand term. So they (no, we) first of all supported the fascist in charge in the Ukraine to put down legitimate protests of the people who wanted to belong to the EU. Then it turned out the people weren’t the people at all but were actually neo-fascists stirred up by Western neoliberals. Then Russia had a legitimate problem with these fascists, who were being stirred up by Western neoliberals who like war bcause they hate people. Then it turned out those Western neoliberals have been supine in the face of Putin because they like making money and don’t want to do anything to upset their business dealings and because they don’t like people enough to go to war with Putin and Russia.

    All-in-all the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, their representatives and governments have no role in any of this, no indpendence from their Western neoliberal puppet-masters.

    it’s complete Ivan Horrocks.

  35. I say be reasonable you fellows! The foot dragging of Churchill over opening the Second Front is a historical fact, knowable to those who can’t read the books,, by Googling Churchill and Second Front. Max Hastings shows up as explaining in the Mail “How Churchiill was bullied into D-Day ” !!.There is also a sickening paper by Dr Jacques Pauwell entitled “The Allies Second Front: why were Canadian Troops sacrificed at Dieppe?” The conclusion he comes to is that Churchill designed the raid to fail.”The Dieppe disaster silenced the popular demand for a second front and allowed Churchill and Roosevelt to continue to sit on the fence as the Nazis and Soviets slaughtered each other in the East.” These facts are hard to come to terms with but facts they remain.
    Stalin was a blood thirsty maniac but as Mailer shows in The Naked and the Dead (this will go down well, citing a novel!) soldiers have to be more scared of their officers than they are of gunfire.

  36. I think the people of Ukraine are left with Hobson’s choice: either go with KGB-led crony capitalism from Russia or go with equally corrupt pro-European *democrats*… the majority have opted for the latter because, at least for the moment, it means they can argue, protest and campaign without being kidnapped, shot dead or tortured…

    I thought this article was a very perceptive and balanced analysis of the economic and political situation in Ukraine..

  37. The Allies Second Front: why were Canadian Troops sacrificed at Dieppe?”

    Because Mountbatten wasn’t nearly as good a littoral and amphibious operations planner as he was a ship captain (and he had severe issues there too.) Yet he had the political influence to be free of constraint by the more relevantly experienced. It was cockup not conspiracy (despite what a Canadian travel agent says.)

  38. DBC Reed

    That’s a reasonable point on Dieppe – in conjunction with the Western allies performance in ‘Operation Torch’ I think the US and UK thought they needed to go back to the drawing board before trying a much larger scale engagement in the Western European theatre. Where I differ is in thinking this was a result of deliberate political calculation rather than a frank assessment of military capability at the time….

  39. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The idea that Dieppe was ‘designed to fail’ in order to put off the invasion of France is utter revisionist horseshit. It was launched only 8 weeks after the start of Operation Barbarossa so claiming it was some way of fending off Stalin’s demands is just fucking stupid. It was an exploratory raid, intended to learn some lessons about how to go about invading German-held France. The main lesson that was learnt was: “don’t try taking ports from the sea.” It’s the main reason the D-Day landings took the form they did and why we went to such extraordinary lengths to bring pre-fab port facilities with us. That it took until 1944 to muster the required manpower and materiel was not due to any foot-dragging on Churchill’s part. From a strategic standpoint, Africa simply had to be polished off and the invasion of Italy started before Overlord was feasible. Operation Avalanche was September 1943, which pushed the earliest date for D-Day into late spring 1944. Dieppe was before Torch, for God’s sake. It might have been ill-advised, ill-planned and overly ambitious but the idea that it was a deliberate sacrifice requires heroic levels of stupidity.

  40. @ DBC Reed
    Those of us who can read books do not need to rely on Google. It is a pity that you have to.
    Next you will be telling us that Gallipoli was a deliberate failure because Churchill hated Stalin!
    The simple reality is that Churchill’s sole priority was defeating Hitler and he supplied massive support to the loathsome Soviet Union and its psychopathic megalomaniac ruler in order to achieve this (including the planes that helped prevent Goering supplying General Paulus in Stalingrad. Russia fought only on one front* and only after Hitler attacked while Britain was fighting in three continents and four oceans continuously from 1939 to 1945.
    Your Googling leads you to the erroneous conclusion that the Normandy invasion created a “Second Front” – it was the *sixth* front after North Africa (two fronts to the west and east of Axis controlled territory until the Italians and Germans were captured/driven out), Burma/Indo-China, Sicily and Italy (counted as one); this is ignoring the US forces in China because Russia was not fighting Japan.
    Meanwhile Stalin’s ally Mao was treacherously attacking the forces of the legitimate Chinese government, hampering its struggle against Hitler’s ally Japan despite having promised not to do so.
    * It did not even declare war on Japan until Hitler had been defeated

  41. @J77
    It was simply not the case that Churchill’s sole priority was defeating Hitler. Give him some credit for dealing with a lot of conflicting pressures. He was not best pleased with the Americans who announced that British imperial trade links would be finished after the war- they then declined to actually enter the conflict at that time and place ( offshore at Halifax).He loathed Communism (“was robustly and ineradicably anti-Russian “-Enoch Powell Aug 1981) and fomented a Cold War as soon as WW2 finished.
    (You do not appear to have any sense of this period, a time reflected in “1984” when erstwhile allies abruptly became enemies and all favourable references were expunged form the records by the likes of re-writing history operative Winston Smith.)
    As an instance of the very strange world that then existed:
    Enoch Powell “revealed to scholars that he thought Britain should have sought a negotiated settlement with Nazi Germany in 1942 .He even wrote to his own commanding officer on the General Staff at the time advocating such a course of action, so its lucky he did n’t end up in Spandau… The young… Major Powell reasoned that a peace settlement would have enabled Britain to send all its troops to the East to defeat Japan and thereby prevent a dreaded American takeover of the Far East. He also told the historians that he blamed the Yanks for forcing us to maintain a fixed exchange rate in the 1950’s” from Observer May 25 th 1980.Notice how strange statements made in the war appear afterwards when a settled version of events has been constructed.
    (N.B It is one thing claiming to have read all the books ,though the above [from Powell ]are from articles I have kept for 30+ years. You are however expected when writing about history to adduce evidence in the form of quotes, instances and examples. A level history students are told: three bits of evidence for each point you argue. You are simply repeating, without any backing, Ministry of Truth re-workings of history in the style of Three Minutes Hates.

  42. @ DBC Reed
    Do you know what “priority” means? – you can do other things as well.
    Your history books may have told you that Churchill fomented a Cold War as soon as WWII was finished. On the other hand, my memory tells me that Attlee was Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951. Churchill was, as he was in the 1930s, a lonely voice in opposition warning of a world peril.
    FYI I couldn’t care less about your advice to ‘A’ level history students because (i) post-WWII isn’t history to me; (ii) I took Mathematics so I am interested in *facts* not quotes; (iii) it is more than 50 years since I took ‘A’ levels – in addition to a Bachelor’s degree I have half-a-dozen post-graduate/professional qualifications, at least two of which are each equivalent to a Master’s degree and I spent a few years as an Associate Examiner for one of those: I have no intention of taking any more ‘A’ levels; (iv) you do not seem to know what “evidence” means. A quotation from the likes of Milne is not evidence. What I have seen with my own eyes or heard is evidence – a quotation from someone else is *hearsay*. As a science-side student I had to take “Use of English” even though I had two decent ‘O’ level passes in English Language and Literature – it seems that History students at your school did not need to learn correct English.
    It is a simple fact that the Cold War started before Churchill’s speech in 1946. Soviet Russia occupied most of eastern Europe *before* WWII finished and created the “Third Czechoslovak Republic” (dominated by its puppets) in April 1945 and progressively took control of the country although the KSC only got 38% of the votes in the post-war election. Tito took control of Yugoslavia after inviting Soviet forces into the country in 1994 and a fake election in 1945.

  43. @ J77
    You referred to “Churchill’s sole priority” I’m afraid,so your sarcasm redounds on you..
    If you are arguing historically , you have to abide by the conventions of that subject and the evidence of personal experience generally requires textual support, especially when you claim to be privy to the real reasons for the Communist take over of Jugoslavia etc when you were ,from your dates ,one year old.
    Your generous sharing of your subsequent successes in the field of mathematics , a subject which Conrad Wolfram now wants to cut drastically in schools, may do much to bolster your ego, but your past success in English language O level which required a summary or précis in those days , should indicate that you have wandered off the subject we were dealing with.
    You need to become au fait with The Two Cultures Debate which seems to have passed you by at the time. All of this mutual misunderstanding was predicted then, long before the first scientist to become Prime Minster demonstrated the shortcomings of the scientific attitude in politics definitively.

  44. @ DBC Reed
    It appears that the answer is “No”, you do not know what a priority is. It is something that comes before others in a list: so for Churchill his sole priority was defeating Hitler and everything else was secondary so he would co-operate with Roosevelt who wanted to supplant the old world order and downgrade Britain to a second-rank power, with the megalomaniac psychopath Josev Djugashvili, with the courageous but massively irritating General De Gaulle, with the Labour Party whose pacifism he could blame for leaving Chamberlain unable to say “No” at Munich, with Tito …
    NO, I do *not* have to abide by the conventions of your school history course since the topic of this thread id *not* your school history course but Seumas Milne’s ridiculous claim that the break-up of the Soviet Union was disastrous. I do not claim to be privy to the communist takeover of Yugoslavia since that has been public for more than sixty years. Also I am not like Murphy in habitually quoting myself as a reference since some of the doorways in my home are less than 2′ 6″ wide and I need to get my head through them.
    “your subsequent successes in the field of mathematics” – I took Maths ‘A’ level – where did I say I took maths later? As I had the equivalent of *two* Master’s degrees it follows that at least one of them was not in mathematics.
    “you have wandered off the subject we were dealing with” – actually the subject of this thread was Seumas Milne’s claim that the break-up of the Soviet Union was disastrous. *You* wandered off on March 6th.
    I should argue that the consequential reduction in third-party wars and in world-wide starvation is evidence that the break-up of the Soviet Union was not disastrous, except for arms manufacturers.
    The first scientist to become prime minister did far more for the poor than the previous or subsequent Labour governments – the only one to do more dropped out of Oxford in 1914. Only the fans of IngSoc would regard that as a shortcoming.

  45. The starting point of this discussion was my objection to TW’s description of Seumas Milne as a Stalinist little fucker because a) Milne’s argument was well-balanced and b) there was a time when Stalinists saved Europe.
    I also developed an argument that Roosevelt wanted to abolish Britain’s system of Imperial Preference ;this you now seem to accept.
    In likewise conciliatory mood I would accept that Macmillan was a major figure, the embodiment of the Post-war consensus and hence well to the left of the current Labour Party.Unlike Margaret Thatcher who did no war work while at Cambridge and studied Chemistry, Macmillan was studying the Classics before fighting in France in 1914. (Enoch Powell was subsequently the foremost classicist of his generation .)

  46. @ DBC Reed
    I am willing to believe that the starting point of *your* discussion was your objection to TW calling Seumas Milne “a Stalinist little fucker”. However I am not willing to accept that Milne’s argument was well-balanced: ” greatest act of unprovoked aggression in modern history” so greater than Stalin’s invasion of Poland and Finland or Hilter’s Barbarossa or Pearl Harbour or the invasion of Ethiopia or Tibet or South Korea, or Hungary or South Vietnam or Laos or Cambodia or Afghanistan or Lebanon or Saddam’s invasion of Iran or Kuwait or … (leaving aside Israel whose mere existence is deemed to a provocation). Also Saddam’s actions *were* provocation although I did not consider them adequate to justify the invasion. You may observe that I include some examples that I categorise as history in addition to those that he does, but only ones that he cannot deny are modern. “The US and European powers openly sponsored the protests”: a blatant lie – the US virtually never does such stuff openly – implying a worse one, that this was not a popular movement.
    Milne tries to blame Georgia for the Russian invasion of its sovereign territory
    Photo caption “Troops under Russian command fire weapons into the air in Lubimovka, Ukraine.” So Milne publicises the terrorism of Russian troops in the sovereign territory of a nominally independent state and pretends that they are soft-pedalling to prevent conflict. What would you say if two divisions of the US Marines were firing in the air around Moscow or Novosibirsk?
    Certainly Supermac was well to the left of Gordon Brown on a wide range of policies – well so was I! It was horrifying to see that Blunkett was far more illiberal than Michael Howard about whom Ann Widecombe said “there is something of the night about him” – with Blunkett all was darkness..
    Roosevelt’s wishes have always been irrelevant to this debate so I have not bothered to argue with you about them.
    One minor point: Somerville is an *Oxford* college. Margaret Roberts was only 13 when WWII started and 19 when it ended (and half-way through her degree course, which she started at the age of 17). I did not do any “War work” either – do you want to make something of that?

  47. By your figures you were not born when WW2 started.So I will make something of that: don’t be an idiot.
    Margaret Thatcher was loafing about at university while all the men who might have given her some academic competition were away fighting for their country and some of them, no doubt, getting killed.Soon after ,she was attending interviews at leading firms one of which found her so opinionated as to be impossible to employ. Many years later, having wrecked the mixed economy that Macmillan had done so much to fine -tune by building an enormous number of houses in both public and private sectors ,Thatcher was thrown out of her own party ( and house) by Tories who could not stand her for being so opinionated to the point where they ,rightly, as it turned out , questioned her sanity.She ,as you know, went about selling off the public sector housing which Macmillan and like-minded consensus politicians had been building, a policy of if it moves privatise it which Macmillan called selling the national “family silver”.
    There is very good piece in the Guardian g2 today about the background in Ukraine which I have no doubt you will not read. If you cannot understand the history of your own country, you will not be able to appreciate sensible commentary on a place a long way away.

  48. @ DBC Reed
    I am not an idiot but you are talking as if you are.
    Anyone taking an Oxford Chemistry course is not “loafing about” no matter what you did wherever you did it – they have a massive workload (I knew some and they had to work significantly harder than I did and I was *not* loafing). Margaret Roberts went up at 17 – many girls, especially from state schools went up at 19 – so she was clearly both talented and hard-working. “All the men who might have given her academic competition” would be those who went to Oxford aged 17 and could not be fighting for their country because they, like herself, were too young to enlist. So you are just plain blatantly wrong.
    Your wonderful history course seems to have omitted “reserved occupations” where certain people were exempted from conscription and, in some cases, banned from volunteering because they were deemed to valuable in the job that they were doing. One side-effect was that most of the brightest students did go to Oxford (and Cambridge and some other universities) in the war years. The number of students went down but the average IQ went up.
    Isaac Newton was very opinionated. So are you. The trouble is that your opinions are divorced from physical reality.
    All your anti-Thatcher tirade has done is to display your bigoted ignorance while having no relevance to the topic of the thread.
    There is an article in The Guardian today that claims that public sector workers are the main victims of austerity and one in The Independent that claims private sector workers are paid more that those in the public sector, both claiming to be based on an ONS survey from which I quote:
    “Looking at median gross earnings excluding overtime, private sector employees earned £10.48 per hour in 2013. This compares to £14.15 in the public sector, a difference of £3.67 (35.0%). Median pay tends to be used to compare earnings between different groups. …
    Comparing mean gross hourly earnings excluding overtime, public sector workers earned on average £16.28 per hour in 2013, which was £2.12 (14.5%) more than private sector employees who earned £14.16 per hour. …
    Employees in both the public sector and the private sector receive other forms of remuneration or benefits. For example, employees may receive pension contributions from their employer and in the private sector some workers may receive a company car or health insurance. These are not collected on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings used for this analysis. If these other forms of payment were considered a different pay gap may be derived.”
    So, including the value of gold-plated public sector pensions, public sector workers are paid something like 50% more than those in the private sector. Are *you* going to read the ONS report?
    I am interested in *honest* reports, so in the 1960s I read the “Daily Worker” reports from Vietnam; that did have the side-effect of showing me that The Guardian reports were propaganda – “sanitised” plagiarism of the DW which sold its early editions at Tube stations before midnight. If I get time I shall read the Guardian report, but I shall try to verify its claims from most trustworthy sources.

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