Verse and worse

I’m trying to put together a separate website hIGH wATER
called ‘High Water’, which is the title of a little booklet I’m planning to produce consisting of 22 poems the picture here is the basis for the cover and the title).

Some of them are OK, some are doggerel; that is to say, bits of rhyme which make some sense but are hardly great art. Still, this is an innovation for me and some of these poems are on topical issues (the Great Pandemic, for instance) which means they won’t be in the booklet because they will be out of date before anything ever gets printed.

Still, if you have read this far, have a look at the High Water website (which, please bear in mind) is still a work in progress. It’s not as if we have all the time in the world to get the thing right. Oh? Actually we do have all the time in the world. Ah well, it requires expertise which some of us may not possess in abundance. Anyway, here it is…

Peace? Not much chance

In Afghanistan, nothing much changes, only the weapons become more lethal.

The United States is optimistic for a peace deal with the Taliban so they can finally escape from their fatal involvement in the country.

But the country’s scarcely a stable entity given that it now has two rival governments, one led by Ashraf Ghani, the other by his supposedly-defeated presidential rival Abdullah Abdullah.

According to the Asian-Pacific magazine ‘The Diplomat’, the country’s elections are increasingly fraudulent and most people don’t even bother to vote any more.

It seems the country is more or less ungovernable. As it has been for centuries.


Lessons from history

We should feel sorry for the Iranians. Their one-time cradle of civilisation has been usurped by mad fundamentalists who are reducing a great nation to impoverishment.

The country has often sought dubious allies. The First Aghan War, which saw the destruction of the British army, came about because Persia allied itself with the Russians in threatening to invade India.

Eldred Pottinger held them off at Herat – chronicled in my novel – but the British invasion of Afghanistan took place anyway as a means of protecting India’s North-West frontier from Russian and Persian (Iranian) invasion.

Thus are military disasters made. Tragically, the Persian ayatollahs don’t seem to have learned from the past any more than George W Bush and Tony Blair did.


Christmas in Kabul, 1841

Well the good news is that I have bought into some new promotional thing which is supposed to make sure my book, ‘The Trials of Eldred Pottinger’, christmas in kabul 2is widely promoted on tinernet.

The bad news is I’m not sure it’s any good. Have a look and see for yourself. You’re supposed to be able to read some of the pages, listen to a bit of audio (me, reading about Christmas in Kabul) and watch the promotional video.

Oh and feel free to pass it on to friends, relatives and anyone else who might be interested:


Who is to blame for military disasters?

According to the ‘Sunday Times’, the Ministry of Defence is investigating allegations that one or two British soldiers are guilty of ‘war crimes’ in Afghanistan. Two of the alleged offences took place 17 years ago.

Of course, the lapse in time between the offence and any trial is no excuse for what may have happened. But you surely have to question whether it is fair and reasonable to threaten ex-soldiers with prosecution when – we must assume – they were in life-threatening situations and acting in the heat of the moment.

Afghanistan has been a terrible graveyard for British soldiers since our first invasion at the time of Eldred Pottinger in the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign. There was no justification for our involvement then any more than there was in the recent past.

But if terrible things happened, surely the blame rests with the people who made the decision to invade. The politicians and armchair generals who blithely send soldiers into combat must surely accept responsibility when things get bloody.

Alas, they singularly failed to take the blame 180 years ago, when Eldred Pottinger  was made to stand trial accused of bringing about a military disaster, and nothing has changed since then.