First things first. I was greatly distressed to learn of the untimely passing due to Covid of my valued VT colleague Jane Rosenstein, our Bureau Chief in Paris. Jane and I got to know each other during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the great Allied landings on June 6th 1944.
She was the most delightful company, a patriot who loved and served her country and a lovely person. She also happened to be very knowledgeable about wine! She will be sadly missed.
I hope that the ‘friends’ who advised her against being vaccinated will soon follow her to the grave, no offense intended. One more death, sadly, to hold against Peking!
In a dramatic intervention in the House of Commons on Wednesday, that nice man David Davis MP told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he had “sat there too long for the good he had done”. He then followed up with the immortal words: “In the name of God, go!” He was of course paraphrasing Tory MP Leo Amery, who uttered similar words to the evil, pro-German scumbag, no offense intended, Neville ‘von’ Chamberlain, on May 7th 1940.
Chamberlain was so evil that he supported the German plan to incorporate Britain after a negotiated peace into the proposed European Economic Community, the plans for which were developed whilst he was in office. Just three days after Leo Amery’s dramatic intervention Chamberlain fell and was replaced as Prime Minister by the pro-British titan Winston Churchill. Chamberlain, thankfully, had bowel cancer and snuffed it later that year, on November 9th, although sadly he was prescribed morphine and did not die horribly enough, again no offense intended.
Ironically Amery’s son, John, broadcast for the Nazis and was very properly hanged for treason in 1945. I once debated with Leo’s other son, Julian, a minister in my old friend Sir Alec Douglas-Home’s government. Julian was the only man I’ve ever met whose brother was hanged for treason.
In attacking Chamberlain Leo Amery was of course paraphrasing Oliver Cromwell, who I am sorry to say was something of a republican and had arranged to chop King Charles 1’s head off. After the second English Civil War and Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland, in the course of which he was rather harsh on the poor old Irish, Parliament, known as the Long Parliament, dithered over a new constitution for England. In fact they were even worse ditherers than the current Parliament, no offense intended. There had of course been no election during the civil wars, which tend to inhibit electioneering. (It can be a trifle disconcerting to have your canvassers shot.)
By April 20th 1653 Cromwell had had enough and he used the famous phrase to disperse Parliament, first making sure that he had the place surrounded by troops. The New Model Army had of course acquired a bit of a reputation for itself after the Drogheda Massacre. Generally speaking, by 1653 you didn’t stand up to the New Model Army if you didn’t want to be massacred. They were even worse than Rangers’ supporters.
Blackmail of MPs
You read it here first! The Tory whips are being passed the names of all MPs who have put in a ‘confidential’ letter of no confidence. These MPs in turn are being blackmailed. My column has been circulating amongst Tory backbenchers and the police have now been called in. There won’t be any prosecutions of course, since the Met report to the Cabinet Office, which in turn is supplying blackmail material to the whips.
However the intelligence revelation about the Cabinet Office/GO2 operation has put the pressure back on the whips. It’s unlikely that they’ll continue to blackmail MPs, not least in these days with cellphones with recording facilities.
In my humble opinion – and all y’all know how humble I am – Boris is finished. It’s just a question of time now. Sue Gray’s report is unlikely to do him many favors and he may be out by the end of the week.
The next Cabinet Secretary
On Friday the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Justice, Antonio Romeo, was invited in to Downing St for a meeting, apparently with the PM. This is highly significant. A high-flier in the Civil Service, she was on the short-list in 2020 when Simon Case was appointed. She is being tipped as his replacement.
Good things are being said about her, although she is not my preferred choice, with respect. (A nice, retired admiral has already been sounded out about taking the job.) It’s far from clear that any senior civil servant could be found to act in the national interest and sort out Whitehall.
Regular readers will be familiar with the problem. Since it was created 106 years ago in order to achieve victory for the Central Powers in World War 1, the Cabinet Office has been a nest of traitors, no offense intended. The Cabinet Secretary in World War II, Sir Edward Bridges, did his best to deliver victory to Germany. Having failed he went on to punish Britain for our role in defeating Germany.
The Cabinet Office’s major aim after the war of course was to ensure that Britain was subjected to German domination inside the new EEC. Now that we have left their aim is to force us back in. That’s why it’s so important that a patriotic new Cabinet Secretary is appointed. What we don’t want is the Civil Service ensuring business as usual, Yes Minister style. (That’s a reference to a hilarious series of training videos produced by the BBC in the 1980s.)
It looks as though dear old Pooters is planning a pop at the Ukrainians, and rightly so. These are the people who shot down MH17 in 2014, in conjunction with the Chinese. One of the ground stations of what is sometimes referred to as the HAARP system is also based in the Ukraine. Put shortly the Ukrainians need their bottoms smacked.
Russian troops and armored fighting vehicles are massing near the Ukrainian frontier. I don’t anticipate an immediate attack, since I’m not sure than the ground conditions are favorable yet for armored warfare. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, having first to overcome my natural tendency to hide my lights under a bushel (!), I did warn at the end of 2020 that Russia might invade the Ukraine. Apart from anything else Joe and Hunter Biden’s dealings in Kiev mean that there is a treasure trove of intelligence awaiting any Russian leader bold enough to invade.
As predicted in my last column Judge Nathan has deferred sentence for six months, during which Ghislaine Maxwell will be sharing her cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center with a couple of rats, who have not been named (Roland and Rowena?).
So far as I can tell, no offense intended, Judge Nathan is aiming for this year’s American Bar Association Judge Jeffreys Award for Judicial Cruelty, assuming there to be such a thing.
It has now emerged that another juror was abused as a child, or claims to have been. Not even Judge Nathan is going to find it easy to turn down a new trial. It has also emerged that there were payoffs to the four alleged victims who gave evidence. I’m not sure that those payments were disclosed to the defense. Even worse, it turns out that the witnesses had a financial inducement to secure a conviction.
Should there be a retrial I am sure that Ghislaine’s legal team will want to cross examine these bought and paid for witnesses. The prosecution looks sleazier by the day, no offense intended.
Meat Loaf (1947 – 2022)
This week has seen the sad passing of one the greatest rock and roll singers of all time, Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday). Bat Out of Hell is a wonderful album and has sold in the millions. Yours truly has several copies. When you co-produce a masterpiece like that it’s a bit silly saying that you never did anything better. It’s a bit like saying that Beethoven never did anything better than his Ninth Symphony.
Meat Loaf was a great character, another way of saying he wasn’t always the easiest personality to get along with. Not all of the substances he consumed were legal and some of his parties were a bit loud, like the England cricket team’s in fact. So what? He had an utterly magnificent voice. He was also an energetic stage performer, despite suffering from serious asthma.
Bat Out of Hell was something new, a striking combination of rock and opera. The album will still be played a hundred years from now. It was a work of pure genius and Meat Loaf himself was a superstar. The world will be a poorer place without him. Come back, Meat Loaf, all sins are forgiven!
Sir Sidney Poitier KBE (1927 – 2022)
We have also lost Sir Sidney Poitier, the brilliant actor and director. Although a US Citizen he was also a British Subject by reason of his Bahamian parents, and therefore entitled to call himself ‘sir’. He was one of the greatest actors of all time. He didn’t win his Oscar in 1963 because he was black, but because he out-acted every other contender. At his death he was the oldest living recipient of the Oscar for Best Actor.
My favorite movie of his remains In the Heat of the Night (1967), a powerful drama which still resonates over five decades later. He also was quite superb in The Bedford Incident, a taut Cold War thriller. A man of immense presence and dignity, he was Bahamian Ambassador to both Japan and UNESCO.
Sir Sidney’s already massive reputation will only grow over time. He fully deserved his knighthood, indeed could have been made a peer and it’s a pity that he wasn’t. He would have graced the House of Lords.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.