Archive for November, 2012

Virtue of a Democracy

Another little quote from Richard Ingram’s little book…

“It would be a very bad day for us when we admire our politicians. The Germans enormously admired Hitler. And look where it got them. The Italians thought Mussolini was wonderful. The Russians thought Stalin was wonderful. The great virtue of a democracy is that it always thinks its leaders are frightful. And it’s an even greater virtue of a democracy that they always are”.

AJP Taylor

We do give our politicians a hard time in the press and other media, but we can do better and we should.

Press regulation by statute would be a bad move and must leave a weakened democracy.


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While spending his time teaching Cranes to fly Vladimir Putin seems to have taken his eye off the ball and allowed a Shakespeare play to illustrate current politics in Russia impeccably. His normal grip on things like this has been a bit slack and no doubt heads will roll for not informing the supreme leader that Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” was political dynamite for him and his henchmen. It’s been around for a bit (400 years or so) which tells you a lot about the education of his coterie.

The play was staged by in Moscow by The Royal Shakespeare Company and was conceived in an African setting by the RSC artistic Director Gregory Doran after he discovered that the play had been an inspiration to Nelson Mandela while in prison on Robben Island. It is staged with an all black cast

The play tells the storing of power corrupting and the holder of that power seeking more and more political control. It also portrays how in overthrowing a Dictator the assailants act without any real planning or consideration what can develop post overthrow. Very topical with the Arab Spring still on-going and shows that politics never change unless a real democracy can be painstakingly built bit by bit with tolerance.

This African version has been praised in Russia especially from Irina Antonova (Director of the Pushkin Museum) She was quoted as saying she was “stunned” and the play was “spine tingling”

And this quote from the Voice of Russia radio (an official state “organ”). “Doran injected the text with modern music and an African vitality, completely staying true to the words written 400 years ago. The theme of the tragedy — power, betrayal, struggle for freedom, are relevant in any era.”

The play was performed in Moscow at the Art Theatre of Konstantin Stanislavsky between 14th – 17th November, 2012.

Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, who has been the President of Russia since 7 May 2012. Putin previously served as President from 2000 to 2008 and as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2012. Putin was also previously the Chairman of United Russia. He had his maximum 8 years as President of the Russian Federation and that should have it. But oh no, he allowed Medvedev to be President (with Vlad as PM) and got the constitution changed so he could run again for the Presidency (which he did) Medvedev stepped aside as agreed and Vlad won a hotly disputed election victory. It is now rumoured he will stay in power until 2024.

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The artist, however aloof he holds himself, is always the creature of the Zeitgeist: however formally antique his tastes, he is in spite of himself in the advance guard – men of affairs stumble far behind — Evelyn Waugh

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Saw this on AsktheHistorans and it made me giggle


1) “Sorry for the lack of tact Historians, but were people just walking around with dirty butt holes throughout the majority of history”? 


I always wonder about hygiene when I watch movies pertaining to any period with no soap or onset of modern methods of keeping clean. I know this doesn’t pertain to every civilization, some had access to more water and other cleaning methods, but the whole “people only took baths once a year back then” anecdote that people love to tell me when I bring this subject up, always had me curious. I feel you guys would probably me more suited to answer this question. Maybe you guys could give me a better perspective on this. Sex? Diaper Rash? Infection? How did these come into play back then?


2) “Roman latrines featured a water trough running along the floor in front of the seat which was used with a rag to clean up after doing one’s business. Away from such conveniences, it would have been just a rag with some water”.


3) Tangentle side note: “Interestingly, the bible records that when Jesus was on the cross he was offered wine to help with the pain, it was delivered by a sponge on a stick. (Matthew 27:34) (Mark 15:23)


The thinking is that in an execution you wouldn’t use a nice fresh sponge, but use a “used” one. Hence, why in Matthew, it’s one of the reasons he refuses the sponge/wine combo”.


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The UK has a woman who is the Head of the Church in England, “Supreme Governor of the Church of England‘ to be precise”. Surely it’s about time the current monarch should consider withdrawing from that role and tells the Church to get its act in order or become totally irrelevant to her Nation.

Why does the Church of England get away with preventing women from becoming Bishops? In any other profession this would be outlawed, yet here we have a high-profile organisation hanging on with its finger nails to sustain a male only job.

Personally I couldn’t care less how idiotic the Church makes itself look and how protracted the arguments are becoming over old manuscripts that do or do not mention women.

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I understand that one of the maxims of John Junor editor of the Daily Express from 1954 to 1986 was “It is not libellous to ask a question”.

I think maybe Sally Bercow may find this doesn’t hold up today.


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For four years after the 1939 – 1945 was Josef Mengele worked as a stablehand on a farm in Rosenheim, Bavaria. The farmer was puzzled only by the number of times his employee washed his hands  —  Daily Telegraph

Auschwitz prisoner Alex Dekel has said:
I have never accepted the fact that Mengele himself believed he was doing serious work – not from the slipshod way he went about it. He was only exercising his power. Mengele ran a butcher shop – major surgeries were performed without anaesthesia. Once, I witnessed a stomach operation – Mengele was removing pieces from the stomach, but without any anaesthetic. Another time, it was a heart that was removed, again without anaesthesia. It was horrifying. Mengele was a doctor who became mad because of the power he was given. Nobody ever questioned him – why did this one die? Why did that one perish? The patients did not count. He professed to do what he did in the name of science, but it was a madness on his part.

Mengele survived the war and, after a period of living incognito in Germany, he fled to South America, where he evaded capture for the rest of his life, despite being hunted as a Nazi war criminal.

(March 16, 1911 – February 7, 1979)

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