How to win someone’s heart

November 27th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

It wasn’t my idea; it was the idea of someone who came across my web site and decided to use some of the material on my site in a most romantic manner.  You can check out his approach here.

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The moment John McDonnell pulled out Mao’s “Little Red Book”

November 26th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

Can the performance of John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor become any more embarrassing? View this clip and, like most of the Labour MPs in the Commons chamber,  just cringe.

Before anyone takes any advice from Chairman Mao, it would be a good idea to read this biography of the ‘Great Helmsman”.

Posted in British current affairs, History | Comments (0)

Is Jeremy Corbyn good or bad for the Labour Party?

November 25th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

Well, it depends on your perspective and there is evidence to support both views. The most recent evidence is from two polls: a YouGov poll for the “Times” and a ComRes poll for the “Daily Mail”.

On the one hand, the first poll finds that 66% of those who were eligible to vote in this summer’s leadership election believe Corbyn is doing “well” as leader.

On the other hand, the second poll reveals that Labour is trailing the Tories by 11 points, by 29% to 40%.

So whether you think Corbyn is good for Labour depends on what you think is most important: appealing to Labour supporters or to the overall electorate.

Two things to bear in mind:

1) Labour supporters are a relatively small number – a few hundreds of thousands – compared to the population as a whole and are a self-defining group who became supporters because they believe in Labour’s values and Corbyn’s expression of them.

2) The electorate is a much much larger constituency of tens of million of people who are simply defined by their eligibility to vote, that is they are citizens over 18. Of course, whether they are registered to vote and whether they will actually vote are other matters.

Now, as we know, polls only tell us so much and can be wrong – but soon we will have accumulating hard evidence of Corbyn’s appeal or lack of it where it matters – that is, voters who will determine whether Labour wins the next General Election.

The first bit of electoral evidence will be the result of the by-election on 3 December in Oldham West and Royton. Then, in six months, we will have elections to the Scotland Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, lots of councils in England, and the mayoralty in London which will enable millions of voters to tell us what they think of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.

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What should be done about the starlings in Rome?

November 24th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

During a recent visit to Rome, I did a blog posting in which I mentioned seeing lots and lots of starlings flying overhead in wonderful formations.

But apparently these birds cause problems and the authorities are considering a number of ways of tackling the issue as explained here.

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Why do jihadis seem so evil?

November 23rd, 2015 by Roger Darlington

“There appears … to be something especially potent about Islam in fomenting terror and persecution. Contemporary radical Islam is the religious form through which a particular kind of barbarous rage expresses itself. So, to understand why jihadis have been drawn into a different moral universe that allows them to celebrate, brutally inhuman acts, we have to understand why political rage against the West takes such nihilistic, barbaric forms today; and why radical Islam has become the primary means through which to express such rage.”

This is an extract from an interesting article published this weekend in the “Observer” newspaper and online here.

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A review of the latest (and last) “Hunger Games” film

November 22nd, 2015 by Roger Darlington

I’ve read all the three books by Suzanne Collins and now I’ve seen all the four movie adaptations. This weekend, the film franchise concluded with “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2″ which I have reviewed here.

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UTC or not UTC? – that was the question

November 22nd, 2015 by Roger Darlington

An international agreement has been reached to retain the “leap second” in coordinated universal time (UTC). The deal was reached at the International Telecommunications Union World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) which is currently taking place in Geneva.

Leap seconds are periodically added to adjust irregularities between the earth’s rotation and UTC in order to remain close to mean solar time. A proposal had been made to suppress the leap second in order to make continuous time references available for electronic navigation and computer systems but, following concerns expressed by several Member States including the UK, the WRC has decided that further studies are needed on the impact of modifying UTC.


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20th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia

November 21st, 2015 by Roger Darlington

Twenty years ago today, an agreement was reached to end the three and a half year bloody ethnic war in Bosnia. The Dayton Agreement froze the conflict but did not resolve fundamental political issues.

I saw the post-Dayton situation in Bosnia at first hand when, eight years ago, I visited Sarajevo. You can read the account of my trip here.

Posted in History, My life & thoughts | Comments (0)

What hope is there for Kenya?

November 20th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

I recently visited Nairobi for a week and wrote about my experience here. More recently, I have read a book on the post-colonial history of the country which I have reviewed here.

Somewhere between hope and despair, author Daniel Branch concludes: “Kenya may never be prosperous or be a nation; but armed with a government that it deserves, it can be a state whose citizens live side by side in peace and enjoy equal opportunities.”

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A 30-mile traffic jam in Kenya

November 20th, 2015 by Roger Darlington

Since my son and his family relocated to Kenya about three months ago, I have been more than usually interested in the history of, and news from, the country.

So I was amazed to learn that more than 1,500 trucks are locked into a traffic jam stretching for 50 km (30 miles) on the highway between Mombasa and Nairobi. You can learn more here.

Next time, you’re delayed by a few minutes in a traffic jam, try to remember this story – and relax.

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