Sunday, 5 September 2010

4th September: Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary - Concert at Chartwell

This was a stirring patriotic event: music from the Central Band of the RAF; flypast from a Hurricane & a Spitfire; subsequent chase of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 by the Spitfire.

We also had a vivid pyrotechnic depiction of the London blitz.

The setting was Winston Churchill's family home: he would have approved.

However, I hope Liam Fox and George Osborne were present; failing that some of their senior civil servants. One of the film clips featured suggested that the Red Arrows might be reduced to a team of 11 motor-scooter-cyclists mounted on (Italian!) Vespas.

The impending Strategic Defence Review will be formative - if not traumantic.

1st September: Frontline Club - Pakistan under the spotlight

A lively debate chaired by Jon Snow

Subsequently a google search on 'Pakistan failed state' produces about 629,000 results including:-

Pakistan has been ranked the 10th most failed state in the 20 10 Failed State Index released by the prestigious US Foreign Policy magazine. The list is topped by Somalia, followed by Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Chad.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Trident Programme

It seems that the system is vulnerable.

If the Russians want to get the acoustic signature of the Vanguard subs I guess they could just sit on the shores of Holy Loch with a cassette recorder and a submerged microphone and watch the traffic.

31st August: Afghanistan in the UK

The Frontline Club: A screening of 'Afghanistan in the UK' followed by Q&A with Director Andy Capper, Associate Producer Stuart Griffiths and Richard Dare, former private in the Royal Anglian Regiment.

The army has set up a training facility in Suffolk which attempts to replicate conditions the troops will face in Afghanistan. The chaos and confusion depicted must be an order of magnitude less than that in the field.

Richard Dare's views - following head wound and discharge from the army: it is almost impossible to distinguish Taliban from 'peaceable' inhabitants; we are there to protect the locals from the excesses of the Taliban; however long it takes.

We will see what the lessons of history have taught us in 5-10 years time.

25th August: Gideon Levy in conversation with Jon Snow

This was held at the Frontline Club in Paddington; subject Levy's book 'The Punishment of Gaza'.

It is viewable at:-

It was a re-run of the event held the previous evening at Amnesty which is reported and commented on Jon Snow's blog:-

There is critical review from Richard Millett (unfortunately with lots of mutually abusive comments from third parties} on:-