Saturday, 21 March 2009


THe world leadersw are gathering like some monstrous boil.Their aims are staggering and, if they were realistic, the G20 summit would be worth the £50 million it will cost. But are they really going to hammer out an economic rescue package, plus establish a new regulatory framework for the global banking system, wipe out financial crime, work out a free trade deal and lift the Third World out of poverty all in one day?


As Ross Clark writes in the Spectator: ”It sounds less like a conference than Monty Python’s Proust Summarization Competition, in which contestants were given 15 seconds to précis A la recherche du temps perdu.


Narrowly missing All Fools Day, they will sit on April 2, among their broken toys, the spoilt children of the G20, replete with food too rich for them, wine fumes gathering in ghostly grapes in their little heads. Their work already mishandled by minions at pre-summit Summits. Waiting testily for Nanny Obama to tell them what to do with the gaily painted clockwork economy rendered useless by being overwound.

A friend who moved among statesmen marvelled at what second rate people they were. Two things are a constant puzzlement to me. Why do we send our fittest and best young men to be wiped out first in petulant wars and why we are content to be ruled by a class of people who think with their mouths and for whom, in the 21st century, the Caveman Concept, warfare, is still the ultimate answer in an argument?

At Peace Conference after Peace Conference they eagerly grab at other people’s territories. Despite the evidence of Africa, India, Eire, and Iraq, they blithely create artificial countries that are seed beds of hatred. Italy and Belgium were hardly successful and there are many who have doubts about the United Kingdom. I have already agreed that on balance the US, Australia and New Zealand have been successful. But only, as I have argued, because they took the precaution of virtually wiping out the native populations.

Pakistan is the most obvious and its history instructive.

Christopher Beaumont was private secretary to the senior British judge, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, chairman of the Indo-Pakistan Boundary Commission who was responsible for dividing the vast territories of British India into India and Pakistan, separating 400 million people along religious lines. A man who had never been to the Indian sub-Continent; who burned all his papers when he retired.

Beaumont, who later in life was a circuit judge in the UK, had a stark assessment of the role played by Britain in the last days of the Raj, which was the subject some years ago of a BBC documentary. He was quite clear about who was the main architect of that dismal disaster.

"The viceroy, Mountbatten, must take the blame - though not the sole blame - for the massacres in the Punjab in which between 500,000 to a million men, women and children perished," he writes.

"The handover of power was done too quickly."

The central theme ever present in Beaumont's memoirs is that Mountbatten not only bent the rules when it came to Partition - he also bent the border in India's favour. Mountbatten was hardly impartial. His wife, the Vicereine, was having a torrid affair with Nehru, one of the main players on the other side. Nor did it help that Patel, Nehru and Ghandi, never the best of friends, developed a deep antipathy to each other, as Alex von Tunzlemann delicately phrases it in his excellent history of Partition, “Indian Summer”.

According to Beaumont, Mountbatten put pressure on Radcliffe to alter the boundary in India's favour.

On one occasion, he complains that he was "deftly excluded" from a lunch between the pair in which a substantial tract of Muslim-majority territory - which should have gone to Pakistan - was instead ceded to India.

Beaumont is most scathing about how Partition affected the Punjab, which was split between India and Pakistan.

"Geography, canals, railways and roads all argued against dismemberment.

"The trouble was that Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were an integrated population so that it was impossible to make a frontier without widespread dislocation.

"Thousands of people died or were uprooted from their homes in what was in effect a civil war.

"By the end of 1947 there were virtually no Hindus or Sikhs living in west Punjab - now part of Pakistan - and no Muslims in the Indian east.”

Beaumont argued that it was "irresponsible" of Lord Mountbatten to insist that the boundary was completed within a six-week deadline - despite his protests. It has been argued that Mountbatten was anxious to return to England for the wedding of his protégé Philip, labelled the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus, to Princess Elizabeth.

On Kashmir, Beaumont argues that it would have been "far more sensible" to have made the flash-point territory a separate country.

Post-Partition Ghandi admitted that mistakes were made. “We were too tired to carry on,” he said.

We can only be grateful that the silly plan of two silly men, Cudlipp and King, to put Mountbatten at the head of a revolution against Harold Wilson did not materialise.



People should be protected from “passive drinking” in the same way they are protected from second-hand smoke. So said Britain’s top doctor, Sir Liam Donaldson. The Chief Medical Officer for England called for society to recognise the consequences of one person’s drinking on another’s well-being.

It is a matter of record that after a six-year research programme the World Health Organisation was forced to admit that they could find no evidence that passive smoking was harmful.

Professor Ian Gilmore, a liver specialist and president of the Royal College of
Physicians, said "all the evidence shows that price is one of the most important drivers of alcohol consumption and the amount of harm done."

This is one of the few subjects on which I speak with authority. In the days when I was capped for drinking for England, I continued to buy about a hundred quids worth of booze every week whether I had any money or not.


I might add that among the biggest soaks I knew were doctors and psychiatrists. But I won’t because that would be rude and anyway……………………………………..



Just been costing my NHS treatment. Home nursing twice a day for a month £2,400. Electric drain pump for a month £1,500. hospital and operation would I am told have been  another  £12,000

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