Sunday, 1 September 2019

Start of September stuff.

September 1st. Some people say this is the actual start of Autumn. Is that so? No real idea. This morning did not feel radically different from yesterday. As I returned from my run it started to rain, real rain, torrential stuff falling down and soaking everything in minutes. Some time later the sky cleared, the sun shone, the temperature rose and I hing washing out. By late lunchtime the clouds were on the way back in and the rain had another go. I brought the washing in and the sun promptly re-emerged! So it goes!

Today I have been listening to Ana Belén cds, something I have meant to do ever since I saw her in Pontevedra in August. It has to be said, she is pretty good.

Eighty years after the start of the Second World War, Sadiq Khan has been writing about the fact that we are losing sight of the lessons of that war.

Here’s something from today’s Observer:-

“London mayor, Sadiq Khan, on Saturday denounced President Trump as the “global poster boy for white nationalism” in an essay that warns against forgetting the lessons of World War II.

“An entire generation of brave men and women around the globe sacrificed everything to defeat the singular evil of Nazism and fascism,” Khan wrote in The Guardian to mark 80 years since Nazi Germany invaded Poland. His essay goes on to highlight the role Britain and other nations played in winning the war and establishing peace in the ensuing years. But he writes that he fears the lessons of World War II “are genuinely at risk of being forgotten or, worse still, being rewritten.”

He notes that international bodies like the European Union and NATO are facing "unprecedented attacks" and that "support for democracy is at a record low across the western world."

"This comes as a new wave of extremist far-right movements and political parties are winning power and influence at alarming speed – fueled by Donald Trump, the global poster-boy for white nationalism," Khan argues. "Politicians across Europe are following his example by seeking to exploit division to gain power."

He later admonishes Trump for his attacks against the press and the judiciary, saying that those institutions are under daily verbal attack from the president "and other far-right leaders around the world." "The impact can also be seen in the UK, where the outsize influence of Nigel Farage and his Brexit party has pushed the Conservatives, under Boris Johnson, to become ever more rightwing, illiberal and intolerant," he writes of the British prime minister.

Khan acknowledges that the current era isn't anything like the 1930s, but he stresses that "alarm bells should be sounding." "We have a special responsibility to honor the memory of all those who sacrificed so much to protect us all those years ago – by defending the ideals they died for and ensuring the more peaceful and stable world they built lasts for generations to come," he concludes.

Khan has repeatedly criticized of Trump, referring to him earlier this year as a "poster boy for the far-right movement around the world." In June, he said that the U.K. was on the “wrong side of history" ahead of the president's visit to the country. The statement prompted Trump to call the Muslim mayor a "stone cold loser."”

European leaders, including Angela Merkel, are gathering in Poland, where commemoration ceremonies will take place in Warsaw. They moved everything there from Gdansk to accommodate President Trump who was to give the keynote speech. But Trump isn’t going. He’s sent his VP in his stead. Okay, there is a hurricane, Dorian this time, causing some havoc. People thought Trump would be a Camp David to monitor this but it seems he can do so from his golf club.

Is this part of what Javid Khan was on about? 

Here’s another odd action by a country’s leader:-

“Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is vowing to stop using disposable pens made by the French company Bic amid an ongoing feud with French President Emmanuel Macron over how to confront the raging wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

 "A pen (of the Brazilian brand) Compactor and no more Bic, will work," Bolsonaro said on Friday, adding that he would stop using Bic "because it is French," according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

AFP noted that Brazil's presidential office declined to comment when asked whether the remark was a joke.

A Bic spokesperson told AFP that the majority of its pens sold in Brazil are manufactured in Manaus, a Brazilian city in the Amazon region. The spokesperson would not address Bolsonaro's decision to boycott the brand.

 The move from the Brazilian far-right leader comes as his administration faces international scrutiny over the surge in wildfires in the Amazon, which serves as a vital carbon store for the rest of the world.”

 We have our own oddnesses continuing to happen here. Dominic Cummings, the PM’s closest aide, sacked an adviser to the chancellor of the exchequer, without consulting him about it, because she was seen speaking to her old boss, former chancellor Philip Hammond, a known no-dealer. Accusations of bullying and of a reign of terror have been made.

 More encouragingly discussions about the Elgin marbles continue. I like the new Greek PM’s suggestion that we loan them back our bits of the marbles (France has some as well, by the way) and they will loan us other stuff, some of it newly discovered. Oh, to live in a olace where you can dig up bits of ancient history! But then we have the recent story of the metal detector people who discovered a vast amount of silver coins dating back to King Harold.

 And, finally, a Frenchman’s view of the UK.   That’s all!

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