This report from the BBC shows that the Japanese do things differently.
A prominent Japanese politician has described as “necessary” the system by which women were forced to become prostitutes for World War II troops.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said the “comfort women” gave soldiers putting their lives at risk a chance “to rest”.
He also said last year, that Japan needed a dictatorship.
I would hope that any British, American or European politician, who made statements like this, would be promptly booted out of office.
When I got to Nuremberg, it started to rain and I quickly found that the city was booked solid because of a massive exhibition.
I had particularly wanted to go to Nuremberg, as one of my customers years ago, had been an observer at the War Crimes Trials in the city. He was an Austrian Jew, who escaped before the war and had then spent the war years in the Royal Engineers. He had some amazing tales.
But because of the lack of a decent hotel, I decided to move on to Munich. Next time, I’ll book the Victoria Hotel, which is right by the station.
As I fly into a snow-bound Britain, I realise that you might be asking where global warming has gone as you shiver in the coldest March for 50 years and wonder what you will do if gas has to be rationed. I have been involved in the climate debate for more than a decade, but I am still amazed at how wrong we get it. Let us try to restart our thinking on global warming.
Yes, global warming is real and mostly man-made, but our policies have failed predictably and spectacularly.
He then goes on to say that Kyoto has failed.
But he does produce a solution that could be a win-win situation for everyone.
He says that we should spend money on research!
He is right!
Just look what has happened to products like computers because money has been spent on research!
I have heard some wacky ideas to generate energy and cut carbon dioxide emissions over the last few years. Some of them might just be the things we do to save the planet.
But then engineers and scientists have a track record in digging us out of the holes that politicians and others have got us into.
Where for instance would Britain be today without the genius of Henry Royce, Lord Hives, RJ Mitchell, Alan Blumlein, Alan Turing and Sydney Camm. Under a Nazi jackboot perhaps?
But they and others answered Churchill’s plea and gave the country the tools to finish the job.
A similar massive effort today on a world-wide basis would I believe solve the problems of global warming and create a world fit for our descendents.
The same approach could be used on all of the major problems of the world like cancer, providing clean water, housing and food production.
I knew little of the history of Gibraltar in the Sec0nd World War, although I did know little bits about its role in naval activities and as a place, where evading servicemen aimed for, to get back home.
But I knew nothing about, what happened to the people of the colony during the war.
As I walked towards the centre of town after landing, I noticed this statue on a roundabout.
It is called the Evacuation Of The Gibraltarians and there is more about the true story here in Wikipedia.
I feel, the story goes a long way to explain, why Gibraltarians want to determine their own future.
I was at the new CrossRail station at Canary Wharf today and took these pictures.
They show the enormous concrete block of a station and the walkway, that will connect it to the area of Canada Square and its offices.
Note how the main building looks almost like one of the giant caissons used for Mulberry Harbours, that were used in the Second World War to invade Normandy.
These giant Phoenix caissons, were actually built in these docks, after they had been drained and filled with sand. They were then floated out for the invasion. I’ve actually been in several of these amazing concrete structures in The Netherlands, where they were used to fill the last gap in the dykes after the North Sea Flood of 1953. They are now a museum, dedicated to the floods and those who perished.
It’s rather strange how history is repeating itself in a similar manner. I suppose though, that the engineers know that the ground is strong enough to take the weight of the station.
It does look from this web page on the Crossrail web site, that Canary Wharf Crossrail station is going to be worth the wait until 2018, although it will be substantially complete by the end of this summer.
The highlight of spring and summer will be the tunnelling machines passing through on their way to Farringdon station.
There has been a lot of news today about the release under the thirty-year-rule of secret documents concerning Margaret Thatcher and various subjects like the Falklands War, Jimmy Savile and her son, Mark.
Nothing is particularly contentious, except perhaps the fact that someone misjudged what was happening in Argentina and gave Mrs. Thatcher bad information. But then the Secret Intelligence Service, didn’t give Tony Blair the best information either.
On the other hand, when dealing with Mark lost in the desert, she seems to have acted to make sure that the state didn’t pay for her son’s folly.
If we go through the history of the United Kingdom, you’ll find that at various dark hours, women have been to the fore. You could start a list with Boudicca, Elizabeth the First, Victoria and Margaret Thatcher. You could argue that our current Queen has been a safe pair of hands for most of her life. She was also part of that vast army of women, who stepped in to fill the gaps in the factories, in transport and as support staff during the Second World War. Hitler didn’t mobilise the German women and he of course lost. Some historians say the mobilisation of women in the UK, was a major factor.
I would argue that you don’t need to have a woman at the top,but once you have, it changes a lot of the culture, even if it’s just other talented women believe they can get there. And competition is always healthy, as it promotes the best!
Look at Margaret Thatcher’s effect on British politics. Before her stint as Prime Minister, there were few women at the top in British politics and there have been a lot more since she resigned.
Look at the basket cases of the Eurozone! How many of them have had a woman Prime Minister or President. Only Ireland and that is the one country in trouble, that is making progress towards sorting its finances.
The web site called Bomb Sight has just been launched.
Now you can check where German bombs landed near you in the Blitz.
I often wondered if my house sat on a bomb site, but I checked the physical form of the atlas a few weeks ago in the excellent Hackney Records Office. It wasn’t a bomb. If you’re anywhere near the CLR James Library by Dalston Junction station, it’s much quicker to look at the book, rather than try to find the area on the website.
The remarkable story of the wartime exploits of Ken Gatward was flagged up in The Times today. This is his obituary from the Independent.
His raid on Paris was the classic idea to wind up the Nazis.
I am reminded of the Mosquitos that after bombing Germany used to go through the streets of Dutch cities at tree-top heights, whilst the Dutch threw their hats in the air and cheered. Whilst visiting Ballast Needham in Amstelveen, I got talking about it with one of their engineers. He said his father had told him about the amazing sight and noise as they echoed through the houses.
So,etimes these days, we seem to have lost sight of the maxim told me by an old Colonel – In case of war, burn all rule books.
I was born in 1947, and at my primary school in North London, there were girls who hung around with Teddy Boys. Just look at John Borman’s film, Hope and Glory, which is a true reflection of children’s behaviour during the Second World War.
I wasn’t feeling too well this morning, as I probably got too hot in the sun at the Paralympics yesterday. It seemed to make my hand and arm go rather cold. So I picked up one of Marks & Spencer, roast pork loin with apple & cider sauce dinners from their Fuller Longer range, as I didn’t want the hassle of cooking properly.
It really is rather a nice meal for something that you just put in a microwave. I wonder whether when John Randall and Harry Boot, invented the cavity magnetron in 1940 at the University of Birmingham, ever visualised, nearly everybody having one in their homes.