ISSUES,INSIGHTS AND COLOURFUL MOMENTS-FROM THE DESK OF AN ENGLISH AUTHOR.
A VERY DANGEROUS POTPOURRI.
We are on the cusp of spring, and Tuscany is abloom with colour, mostly in pots stuffed full of annuals – the refuge of those who have no garden, or have no desire to cultivate one, with all the heavy maintenance and constant watering. Sadly, all is not well in this botanical paradise. The olive groves you pass by along the road are facing a mixed history. Once they were faithfully tended, lopped perfectly with not quite a lawn beneath your feet. I recall many years ago, as a frequent tourist in this happy land, stopping for al fresco lunches beneath their boughs, shaded from the merciless mid-day sun. Any distant journey now will take you past olive groves abandoned and overgrown, trees towering into the heavens, home now to miscellaneous rodents, snuffling cinghiale (wild boars) and lithe capriole (deer). In April the air round any small village in Tuscany would be alive with Swallows, and by May ‘Formula One’ Swifts might ruffle your hair as they flashed by overhead. The latter are here in some number, but the former only manifest by their growing scarcity. There is a local maxim in Tuscany that Swallows are the harbinger of inclement weather, while perversely, in England it is the Swift. Perhaps I am being pessimistic, and nature waxes and wanes like the weather. Hopefully, war does too!
The tragedy of Ukraine has hardly filtered down into a country that has also known the tramp of foreign boots, and in this long-lived nation there will still be folk who can remember the trauma and pain of the Second World War. Draghi will not be one of them, but he has a proposal, if not exactly a plan, on how to close the circle on this disaster. His ‘Four Stage’ Peace Plan, like all the other suggestions, takes no account of Russia’s reasons for invading the country in the first place, though, at least, recognises the importance of the Crimea and eastern Ukraine. No doubt it will be tempered, as I have intimated before, by Italy’s reliance on Russian gas, that has seemingly been secured despite the provocative intention of Italy to diversify by 2024. Someone must have pointed out to Russia that everyone else is trying to do the same! Meanwhile, Mr Salvini has sensibly demanded that Italy should not send any more weapons to Ukraine – only diplomats, which is no rum thing as Russia considers Draghi, and Italian mediation, as a far from serious prospect!
That some form of peace will eventually be brokered goes without saying, but for certain, as Henry Kissinger notes, will include Russia’s access to the Crimea which it already de facto holds and provides the necessary access of its Eastern fleet through the Bosporus Straits to the Mediterranean Sea. Ukraine, encouraged by the European Union and the United States, sought to abrogate the Russian lease that provided them with naval bases on the Black Sea. That was a great mistake, and the whole tragedy that has befallen the nation can be laid at the feet of these two meddlesome advocates and incompetent, and somewhat historically criminal, Ukrainian government. The former pair for local and economic benefits, the latter for military advantage. (See February Blog)
How the United Kingdom got into this tragedy is still a mystery? That it should be the cheer leadersmells of political opportunity to say the very least. Not for a nation groaning under the economic cost of Covid, and unwelcome migrants using the back door, but seemingly to feed the ideological fantasies of a Prime Minister who has questionably not only to have handled the economy badly, but socially endangered the less well off in society by doing so. He seems in no mood to back track on his disastrous green policy or bully boy tactics in the Ukraine, where he flings money and armaments about as though there is no tomorrow, which I suspect, an impoverished United Kingdom will finally have a hand in his undoing. He surely cannot be unaware that such a policy in the Ukraine has led to the deaths of innocent civilians compounded by Biden’s “throw the US budget at them”, along with the bombs, which will see his citizens as broke as their UK counterparts. The only greater tragedy for the United Kingdom would be a leadership crisis in a Conservative Party awash with quislings waiting to recant on Brexit.
Why the UK Prime Minister cannot see the danger in these policies, is quite beyond me. The Green Policy he applauds is shot through with obstinate, irrational and reckless ideas and opinions. One has to look no further than Sri Lanka who have clearly demonstrated to him the danger of going down the Green organic route, when they rejected modern chemical fertilizers for organic equivalents. The catastrophic farming failure that followed led to an economic and humanitarian disaster as food prices rocketed, and in the face of public rioting led to a complete reversal of these policies. In the UK, his “Re Wilding” project will lead to the same problem, as food production has been estimated to fall by 30% in the event of agricultural land being abandoned. Not least, the impractical rush to electric cars is also beginning to suffer a loss of owner confidence as they tackle the recharging chaos. At the moment everything he turns his hand to is a miscalculation.
No! These are, in fact, really dangerous times with a medley of disasters in the making. The government is also one of ‘booming’ silence over the suggested proposal that lockdowns in the future are to be at the behest of the World Health Organisation despite its being proven a social and economic disaster that would suit no one except China who specialises in the cause and containment of such outbreaks. In such a tragedy they will be aided and abetted by the WHO Director General, a Marxist, and ex-Public Health official from Ethiopia, patently in the pocket of China. Plenty of experience there – none of it of the trained medical sort! Unhappily, it seems that the UK government has a habit of leaving the nation exposed to parties that do not have our interests at heart, viz, The European Union, The European Court of Justice and now the World Health Organization, all who should be denied any direct input in the political, economic and social interests of the UK. That Mr Johnson is dragging his feet on so many fronts cannot fill one with any hope over the future general election results, which may well be one of disaster – a coalition of Socialist and Green parties – who will fallout for sure over mowing the daisies!