I wake this morning, twenty minutes before the alarm. A lovely night's sleep and a beautiful morning outside, spoilt only by the fact that I must get up shortly and got up to London. The duvet is so comfortable, however, that I give in - I'll be taking the later train today.
I pass the time just lying there, then the alarm finally kicks in and I have Radio 4 for company. I find the first past of the Today programme a little pointless - we hear the news but at that time of day it is simply journalists interviewing journalists. But of course they will speak to the "real" people a little later, when the world has woken up.
I hear all the financial news. The markets are very wobbly at the moment, the world has the jitters because the USA is bankrupt. Nothing at all to do with local economic factors, but the amorphous "market" is all-consuming. And of course I am affected - as is everyone else with a pension or an endowment. Tony Benn used to talk scornfully about the new religion of worshipping the markets, and he was right, but the reality is that we are all affected.
Despite being bankrupt, despite the absolute disaster in Iraq, the hawks of Washington talk next about Iran. The world's latest empire, but if we look at our history books, we see what ultimately happens to empires - in fact there is a lot on TV currently about the sixtieth anniversary of the independence of India and Pakistan, the death-knell of the great and glorious British empire. Britannia waives
So far we hear nothing from Brown on Iran, in fact very little from him on any subject at all, has he gone on holiday? But rumours abound that there will be an announcement in September and that rather than pledging undying allegiance to our Atlantic cousins, he's actually going to start pulling our troops out of Iraq. At last, common sense takes hold! But this man has been at the centre of government for the last ten years. Has he really just become a convert to the fact that our invasion of a soverign country was totally unjustified and doomed to failure? Or is the truth perhaps that he has (at least publicly) concealed his true views all along, so as to hold on to the power? What would that say about the man's honour?
To more mundane matters, we have been enjoying a week or so of beautiful weather, which we are promised will end by tomorrow. Saturday just gone was spent very lazily, summoning the energy only to drive out for supper (The Lamb at Nomansland, and very good it was too). Yesterday was more active, especially on the tidying front, and was interspersed with a trip to Castle Point for shopping and Pizza Hut
for lunch. Ah.......the life!
I am currently reading a trilogy of books by John Nott. The name of John Nott is indelible in my memory since my interest in politics, in my early teens, was cemented by such events as the Falklands War (Nott was Defence Secretary at the time). Having seen his latest offering on the shelf at Ottaker's, I made a note to check Amazon, and subsequently found that he had written three books. What's more,
all three were highly recommended by Amazon users. So, in for a penny...
Deciding to read the books in chronilogical order, I started off with the chap's memoirs. Refreshingly candid, and interesting not just because of his time on the greasy pole at Westminster, but because he had a life both before and afterwards. Indeed, his recollections from the City are consistent with some of my own experiences there. On, then, to his second book, "Mr Wonderful takes a cruise", a
funny, politically-incorrect, tongue-in-cheek take on a seventy-year-old's view of the modern world. For the most part, his comments make absolute sense, although his phraseology in terms of different races ("them" having "integrated" into "our" society) is discomforting. But then this is typical presumably of a seventy-year-old's experience, and certainly not racist. My own experience (as a
just-about-thirty-something), having lived in a multicultural society all my life, Nott's observations are not even remarkable.
As regards the last book, which was the book I saw in the shop, it promises to be good. It takes the history of British wars fought over the last hundred-and-fifty years, and asks the simple question, "why can't we learn from this?". Good? I'll let you know.