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The Playing Fields of Eton

Arthur Wellesley
The Duke of Wellington possibly uttered the words

‘The Battle of Waterloo was won
on the playing fields of Eton’

But was it Wellington or Bluecher?

Controversy Still Rages as to
Whether Wellington or Bluecher Was Responsible for the Victory

The New York Times - 22/12/2009

George Orwell extended
the quote

‘Probably the battle of Waterloo was won
on the playing-fields of Eton,
but the opening battles of subsequent
wars have been lost there.’

A crumped
Labour MP
had a go

"While it is said the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton,
it can be answered now that the Battle of Britain
was won on the playing fields of the [State] schools of England."

Education: Playing Fields of Eton

Aneuran Bevan

"There is a great body of opinion, which isn't sufficiently articulate,
that public schools
should be allowed to die a natural death.
Some would like them to die a little more violently."

And those hallowed fields have reared their heads
again in a recent condemnation
of David Cameron’s position on tax policies
by the Prime Minister.

PMQs: Brown mocks 'Eton smoothie' Cameron
Phil Webster - Political Editor - Times 02/12/2009

‘(Gordon Brown produced his most combative Commons performance for many months today as
he mocked David Cameron as a smooth-talking PR man who dreamt up his tax policies "on the playing fields of E

How different life
might be
‘The Playing Fields of Eton’

War Crimes - Just too incovenient!

Just wondered how many references could be found to
the Israeli invasion of Gaza
in the light of

Israel fury at UK attempt to arrest Tzipi Livni
Israel has reacted angrily to the issuing by a British court of an arrest warrant
for the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.

BBC News 15/12/2009

“The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under "universal jurisidiction". Israel rejects these efforts as politically motivated, saying it acted in self-defence against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.”
British court issued Gaza arrest warrant
for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni

Warrant issued over war crimes accusations was withdrawn when
it emerged former minister had cancelled plan to visit

Ian Black and Ian Cobain - 14/12/09 Guardian

Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals
targeted during 23-day conflict

24/03/2009 - Guardian

Richard Falk: Gaza attacks "would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law" - 20/03/2009

IDF Soldiers Claim to Have Killed Civilians During Gaza Offensive

Gaza massacres
(27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009)

More than 1,300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel's onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza -- the majority of them children and refugees.

from the electronic intifada


Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded in a new report published on Thursday. Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction, is the first comprehensive report to be published on the conflict, which took place earlier this year.

Amnesty International 02/07/2009

It's the markets s........!

Sorry, David, if you roll back the state, you invite disaster
David Cameron is wrong to declare we need a more hands-off approach.
That's what got us into this recession in the first place

Will Hutton - Observer 11/09/2009

David Cameron's speech - live
Minute-by-minute coverage of the Tory leader's keynote address to his party's annual conference

David Cameron is gaining ground even though Labour handled the crisis well
The government should admit it was complicit in the City's
excesses and seize the social democratic moment

Larry Elliot - Guardian 12/10/2009

James Murdoch

Edinburgh TV Festival: James Murdoch's MacTaggart Lecture in full
The full MacTaggart lecture delivered by James Murdoch at the 2009 MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival

James Murdoch’s
Mctaggart speech


Obama's healthcare plan
The brutal truth about America’s healthcare
An extraordinary report from Guy Adams in Los Angeles at the music arena that has been turned into a makeshift medical centre
‘In the first two days, more than 1,500 men, women and children received free treatments worth $503,000 (£304,000). Thirty dentists pulled 471 teeth; 320 people were given standard issue spectacles; 80 had mammograms; dozens more had acupuncture, or saw kidney specialists. By the time the makeshift medical centre leaves town on Tuesday, staff expect to have dispensed $2m worth of treatments to 10,000 patients.’

Guy Adams - Independent 15/08/2009

Healthcare compared
Health spending as a share of GDP
US 16%
UK 8.4%
Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)
US 45%
UK 82%
Health spending per head
US $7,290
UK $2,992
Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)
US 2.4
UK 2.5
Nurses (per 1,000 people)
US 10.6
UK 10.0
Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)
US 2.7
UK 2.6
Life expectancy:
US 78
UK 80
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)
US 6.7
UK 4.8
Source: WHO/OECD Health Data 2009

This is why love the NHS
Europe as a whole gets better health care for less money than in the USA.  The fact that every US doctor has a financial interest in ordering expensive treatments whether they are needed or not, is an obscenity.  The fact that over 40 million Americans have no insurance is an obscenity (see The brutal truth about America’s healthcare).
DC’s Improbable Science 15/08/2009

It’s that statistic that is so horrendous.
The wealthiest country in the world and 40 million of it’s population do not have the insurance to gain access to health care.
From Aneurin Bevan’s ‘
In place of fear

Modern communities have been made tolerable by the behaviour patterns imposed upon them by the activities of the sanitary inspector and the medical officer of health. It is true, these rarely work out what they do in terms of Socialist philosophy; but that does not alter the fact that the whole significance of their contribution is its insistence that the claims of the individual shall subordinate themselves to social codes that have the collective well-being for their aim, irrespective of the extent to which this frustrates individual greed.

It is only necessary to visit backward countries, or the backward parts of even the most advanced countries, to see what happens when this insistence is overborne. There, the small well-to-do classes furnish themselves with some of the machinery of good sanitation, such as a piped water supply from their own wells, and modem drainage and cesspools. Having satisfied their own needs, they fight strenuously against finding the money to pay for a good general system that would make the same conveniences available to everyone else.

And it’s that fear that many forget.
That moment in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ when eyes are burnt out.
watching the news reports from the hospitals in Afghanistan.

Andrew commented on
DC’s Improbable Science Blog
Surely the most important difference between the USA & the UK health care systems is coverage ? The figure I have seen quoted is 45 million or 15% of folk in the USA have no health cover in exachange for 16% GDP. I don’t know how many have adequate health cover. We are virtually 100% for 8% GDP.

Aneurin Bevan
A free Health Service is a triumphant example of the superiority of collective action and public
initiative applied to a segment of society where commercial principles are seen at their worst.

Our English MEP in America

But more disturbing is this kind of argument

Universal Healthcare is a terrorist recruitment tool.

And for a little light relief

Michael Moore - Sicko

one person responding to sicko

Ralph Nader suggests that Obama is actually surrendering to the Insurance and Drug companies

and of course we still live in a world where a bottle of coke is easier to get than any medicine.

In Katine, a Coke is easy to buy. Medicine isn't
In Uganda and across Africa people are dying of diseases such as malaria and TB because they can't get the drugs to treat them

Sarah Bosely - Guardian 20/08/2009

Dying for affordable healthcare — the uninsured speak
In a week of claim and counter-claim about the merits of healthcare provision in the US and UK, Ed Pilkington travelled to Quindaro, Kansas, to see how the poorest survive

Ed Pilkington - Guardian 21/08/2009

‘Eventually his lack of motor control interfered with his work to the degree that he was forced to give up his practice. He fell instantly into a catch 22 that he had earlier seen entrap many of his own patients: no work, no health insurance, no treatment.’

War is organised murder and nothing else.

In Memory of Harry Patch - the Last Tommy, who sadly passed away on 25/07/2009 aged 111

Harry Patch at 109

Harry Patch
Britain's last fighting Tommy, he broke his decades-long silence
on the first world war to describe it as

'legalised mass murder'

Christopher Hawtree - Guardian 25/07/2009

Only when he reached 100 could he look back.”

“Patch had always felt, he wrote in The Last Fighting Tommy, that
"politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves,
instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder"

“The five acts of Harry Patch”
Andrew Motion

Harry Patch, Britain's last surviving soldier of the Great War, dies at 111

Martin Rowson - Guardian 26/07/2009

The Great War is the key to remembrance
As the final veterans pass on, we must not forget what led to the carnage of the battlefields

Mary Warnock - Guardian 09/11/2008

‘The First World War was a turning point in our perception of war. Before that, war had been heroic, picturesque, possibly glorious. Even incompetent disasters, such as Glencoe or the Charge of the Light Brigade, were seen partly as romantic, the story of a few brave and obedient men.
But the scale of the incompetence and the horror of trench warfare, the appalling number of people who inevitably died, and were knowingly sent to die, even when victory was certain, all these things changed the concept of war.’
One of the few people to publicly echo Harry’s feelings I suspect.
There was another line in this piece......................
‘We should commemorate it with shame and fear as much as with admiration and gratitude. The point of historical awareness is to recognise that human beings are capable of so much inhumanity, not only in the past, but now and always.’

‘Harry Patch’

Avian MoonWalk

Old Dog

Old Dog



Can’t find food

Barks at the moon

Pees and poos

Silky haired

Old Dog

The Lady in Pink Revisited

The Lady in Pink Revisited
Labourtive or Conservatour

Gordon Brown
Mrs T

She came

Peter Mandelson

described himself
unashamedly Heseltinian


full flow

Financial Markets.

Hazel Blears


‘You tube if you want to”

But it’s no substitute
knocking on doors
setting up a stall
in the town centre


Tony Blair
suffice to say

sort of

$1 million
Dan David

Is there

PS Thanks to Wordle for the Word Cloud

Up, up and away

‘But if the predictions of a recent report prove correct, in just 20 years time our city skylines will no longer echo to the sound of swifts. According to an RSPB survey, since the 1990s, the UK swift population has declined by 40%. With just 36,000 remaining pairs, the prospect of the species disappearing from Britain within the next two or three decades is a very real one.’

‘The recent trend towards renovating our homes - repairing holes and cracks, or blocking up eaves altogether - means there simply aren't as many places for swifts to nest as there used to be.’

Up, up, and away
Swifts, the traditional harbingers of summer, may be in danger of vanishing from British skies. Stephen Moss reports on the campaign to save a species - and explains what you can to do help

Stephen Moss - Guardian 16/04/2009

Neither Socialism nor Capitalism!

‘Impotence therefore faces both those who believe in what amounts to a pure, stateless, market capitalism, a sort of international bourgeois anarchism, and those who believe in a planned socialism uncontaminated by private profit-seeking. Both are bankrupt. The future, like the present and the past, belongs to mixed economies in which public and private are braided together in one way or another. But how? That is the problem for everybody today, but especially for people on the left.’

Eric Hobsbawm

Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?
Whatever ideological logo we adopt, the shift from free market to public action needs to be bigger than politicians grasp

The Guardian 10/04/2009

‘But it was not refitted. Under the impact of what it saw as the Thatcherite economic revival, New Labour since 1997 swallowed the ideology, or rather the theology, of global free-market fundamentalism whole. Britain deregulated its markets, sold its industries to the highest bidder, stopped making things to export (unlike Germany, France and Switzerland) and put its money on becoming the global centre of financial services and therefore a paradise for zillionaire money-launderers. That is why the impact of the world crisis on the pound and the British economy today is likely to be more catastrophic than on any other major western economy - and full recovery may well be harder.’

This will no doubt become that elusive, but non too successful third way that’s kind of been mentioned before.


There’s a scent of heavenly marzipan too.


Fantastic Illusions



Boiled noodles
Break off in the straining
A perfect fit
The holes in the new
Purple Colander

a prong




Came across this somewhat overhyped article in the Guardian today.
Of course it’s just a live encyclopaedia.
An encyclopaedia for our times.

'It's like virtual tourism – I was in Ecuador yesterday!'
Websites catering for online birdwatchers are growing rapidly around the world, allowing enthusiasts to see stunning sights in exotic locations from the comfort of their own home

Gibby Zobel - Guardian 21/03/2009

Live show from UStream

Live Videos by Ustream

Luciano’s Website


A spectacular flash resource explaining evolution.

Produced by John Kyrk and his website contains many other A level flash resources.


Earth Rise

Christmas in Space, 1968

Apollo 8 Earthrise Pan

Inspiring for many.

Begins to lose its’ value.

Satellite Crash

The Invasion of a prison camp?

Einstein complained that the Zionists were not doing enough to reach agreement with the palestinian Arabs.
The History and Morals of Ethnic cleansing.
Victoria Bruch- Counterpoint

On the 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by an “utterly unscrupulous set of leaders.”
How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.
Avi Shlain - Guardian 09/01/2009


Gaza Tunnels

Well they didn’t invade Iran - Yet
But now they invade ‘The Gaza strip’

Gaza Crisis

Norman Finkelstein 04/01/2009

The US will not restrain it’s ally Israel

It must have been hard as an Israeli soldier
waiting - waiting.
Till now!
The most densely populated piece of land in the world.
4 500 people per square mile.
Cockpit videos
show the thoughtful accuracy.
Do they really think we’re that naive?

Outrage at Israel’s attack on UN school.

More children among Gaza dead.

40 years of ignored UN resolutions

Why Israel went to war in Gaza
Chris McGreal - Guardian 04/01/2009

What kind of security will this barbarism bring Israel?
Saree Makdisi - Counterpunch 07/01/2009

Live twitter updates on Gaza

An eye for an eyelash: The Gaza massacre from Media Lens

Steve Bell on Gaza

Terribly bloodied. Still breathing.
Caoimhe Butterly - Counterpoint

I felt it was my duty to protest.
Chris Arnot - Guardian 20/01/2009

Gaza’s destruction revealed.

Landscapes of Occupation

From Alternate Focus

Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals targeted during 23-day conflict

Clancy Chassy & Julian Borger Guardian 23/03/2009

But it’s the “uncovering” and “alleged” that gives it an unreal conditionality.

Take a look at the T-shirt

And yet we mustn’t judge them?

Don't judge Israel's 'war crimes'
Accusations of war crimes in Gaza need to be thoroughly investigated before any real conclusions can be reached

Uri Dromi - Guardian 24/03/2009

But if you need convincing take a look at the
photos of the use of white phosphorous. from Human Rights Watch and their report, ‘Rain of Fire’.

Israel accused of indiscriminate phosphorus use in Gaza
Human Rights Watch report claims Israel committed war crimes in its use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells

Rory McCarthy - Guardian 25/03/2009

Tales of War Crimes
Thank God, It Was Only Rumors
Counterpunch 01/04/2009