Showing posts from February, 2022

Quote of the day 28th February 2022

 "Jesus, that guy is brave" (Comment reportedly made to an aide by British PM Boris Johnson after finishing a phone call to President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, according to the Sunday Times)

Sunday music spot: J.S. Bach's "Flocks in Pastures Green Abiding"


Reinforcing our NATO Allies

Yesterday,   UK forces arrived to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank , deterring Russian aggression threatening the territorial sovereignty of member states.  NATO allies are united in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and are collectively taking a range of measures to protect their security and deter further aggression.  That is why the UK has deployed Royal Navy ships to the eastern Mediterranean and British Army troops and armoured vehicles to Estonia with equipment and around 1000 troops arriving over the coming days. This will lead to a doubling of UK presence in Estonia, where the UK leads a NATO battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence.   Alongside our allies, Britain will make all deployments necessary to ensure strong and credible defence across the Alliance now, and in the future.

Action on the Swift Banking system

The UK and other nations have announced action to   expel selected Russian banks from the SWIFT financial system , imposing the most severe economic sanctions against Putin’s tyrannical regime for the appalling assault on Ukraine.   Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is an unprovoked attack on a sovereign, democratic nation. The UK is committed to defending Ukraine’s innocent people through this dark hour as well as the fundamental right to self-determination that has prevailed since the Second World War.    Yesterday, Britain agreed with international partners to go further in isolating Putin’s regime from the international financial system. Selected Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT financial system, harming their ability to operate globally. Action has also been taken to preventing the Russian Central Bank’s ability to deploy reserves and to limit the sale of citizenship that allowed wealthy Russians linked to the Kremlin become citizens of Western countries. The UK G

Quote of the day 27th February 2022

“The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil.   “Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces.  We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long term agreements for stability and lasting peace. “We invite Christians to make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace.  “We also give our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, March 2.” (Joint statement by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, which was read at the start of services in Anglican Churches today.)

Launch of the Conservative campaign for Cumberland Council

I spent part of today in campaigning in Maryport and then where the Conservative campaign was launched for the new Cumberland local authority which is to be elected in May and will take over council services in the area of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland councils in April 2023 from those three councils and Cumbria County Council. The campaign launch was attended by the three local MPs - Trudy Harrison, Mark Jenkinson, and John Stevenson and by most of the candidates who will be standing for the Conservatives from all over the Cumberland Area. The list of Conservative candidates should be announced within the next 48 hours. Here is an appropriate piece of music.

New measures to protect people from online trolls

The UK government has announced further plans to protect people from anonymous trolls online , adding new measures to the Online Safety Bill and strengthening the law against anonymous online abuse.  Too many people currently experience online abuse, which is often fuelled by anonymity. So the government has listened to calls to strengthen the Online Safety Bill to ensure social media platforms clamp down on anonymous abuse online – putting more power in the hands of people using social media, and providing tools to tailor their experience, including blocking anonymous trolls and giving people more control over what they see on social media. This will help tackle the issue at its root as we make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine is an appalling and premeditated attack against a sovereign, democratic state – The UK government is determined to make Vladimir Putin feel the full cost of his actions and aims to impose a package of sanctions that will leave no corner of his regime unscathed. Putin's invasion is an unprovoked, illegal and premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. Britain has been clear all along that there would be severe cost for any further Russian military incursion into Ukraine. On Thursday, after speaking to President Zelenskyy, the Prime Minister addressed the nation, attended a meeting of G7 leaders and addressed the House and Cabinet – delivering strong assurance of Britain's unwavering support for Ukraine. Yesterday the Prime Minister met Britain's NATO allies.  Alongside our allies, Britain is imposing the largest and most severe package of sanctions that Russia has ever seen, hitting more than a hundred companies and oligarchs

Quotes of the day 26th February 2022

  The original quote above is from the bible: the second quote which references it comes from Air Marshal Arthur Harris in 1942. Harris, later Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris,  was as good as his word: he is remembered in history as "Bomber" Harris. Today it is Mad Vlad who is sowing the wind: and he too will reap the whirlwind.

Music to relax after campaigning: Bach's Violin Concerto in A minor


Cumbria County Council finally abandons Judicial Review bid

Cumbria County Council's Labour administration has finally given up their futile legal challenge to the process local government reform in the area is finally over. The government revealed its plans to reorganise how Cumbria is governed in 2021, which involve abolishing the existing county council and six district authorities. Cumbria's existing councils will be replaced by two new unitary authorities by 2023. Cumberland Council will cover Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland. Westmorland and Furness Council will cover Eden, South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness. Despite a motion passed by the full council urging against pursing a Judicial Review against the decision, and backbench councillors on the Scrutiny Management Board urging the county cabinet to think again following a "call-in," a flaw in the County Council's constitution allowed the six Labour members of the council to launch a legal challenge. The Scrutiny Management Board, which warned of the possibility o

Dr Stephen Haraldsen - a correction

The print issue of the Whitehaven News this week carries an unfortunate misleading headline about my friend and colleague Dr Stephen Haraldsen who among other things is and remains the Conservative county councillor for Yewdale. The article itself is correct  but the headline was misleading. To  be completely clear, Stephen has not resigned from the Conservative party. Because of his work commitments as a Senior Lecturer, Stephen has stepped down as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on Cumbria County Council. He remains committed to representing the people of Yewdale on the county council. 

The National Anthem of Ukraine

In place of the "Music to start the weekend" slot which I would usually post about this time on a Friday, as a tribute to the courage being shown by the Ukranian armed forces in the face of a massive unprovoked attack from a superpower run by a crazed megalomaniac, here is the national anthem of Ukraine, with an English translation of the lyrics.

Quotes of the day 25th February 2022

1) "What this country needs is a short, victorious war to stem the tide of revolution." ( V.K. Pleve , Russian minister of the interior, in 1905, immediately before the Russo-Japanese war which proved to be less than short and anything but victorious.) 2) Acknowledgement to David Weber who used both of these quotes as a preface to his novel "The Short Victorious War" If Mad Vlad had any sense he would have learned this lesson from history - governments who start a conflict hoping that a short victorious war will bolster their position have usually found this the worst, and sometimes the last, mistake they ever made.

Thursday music spot: Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6

Today is a dark day for Ukraine, for Russia, for Europe and the world. The rest of today's posts have been about the reasons for this and the world's response.  But there is no way I'm going to let Mad Vlad stop me from listening to music or from posting it, so I am still posting this glorious recording of one of Bach's Brandenberg Concertos which I had always planned to put up as a music spot this week.

Britain's response to the Russian invasion of UKraine

I have received the following briefing on the action the UK is taking in response to Putin's aggression against Ukraine. Responding to an unprovoked and premeditated attack Russia’s appalling assault on Ukraine is an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. Britain have been clear all along that there would be a severe cost for any further Russian military incursion into Ukraine. The Russian Government have repeatedly denied their hostile intent towards Ukraine, while they have been amassing troops, launching cyber-attacks, and staging false pretexts and provocations We are now imposing the largest and most severe package of sanctions that Russia has ever seen alongside our international partners, and coordinating a response with our allies and partners to make sure that Russia cannot further undermine European stability. The Prime Minister has been clear that our support for Ukraine is unwavering. We will continue to support the Ukrainian Government an

Quotes of the day 24th February 2022

"President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering. Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable." (US President Joe Biden ) "President Putin of Russia has unleashed war in our European continent. He has attacked a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse. Innumerable missiles and bombs have been raining down on an entirely innocent population." "If the months ahead are grim, and the flame of freedom burns low. I know that it will blaze bright again in Ukraine. Because for all his bombs and tanks and missiles I don’t believe that the Russian dictator will ever subdue the national feeling of the Ukrainians and their passionate belief that their country should be free." "This act of wanton and rec

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement after Russian invades Ukraine

Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation on the situation in Ukraine: 24 February 2022 "Shortly after 4 o’clock this morning I spoke to president Zelenskyy of Ukraine to offer the continued support of the UK. Because our worst fears have now come true and all our warnings have proved tragically accurate. President Putin of Russia has unleashed war in our European continent. He has attacked a friendly country without any provocation and without any credible excuse. Innumerable missiles and bombs have been raining down on an entirely innocent population. A vast invasion is underway by land by sea and by air. And this is not in the infamous phrase some faraway country of which we know little. We have Ukrainian friends in this country; neighbours, co-workers. Ukraine is a country that for decades has enjoyed freedom and democracy and the right to choose its own destiny. We – and the world – cannot allow that freedom just to be snuffed out. We cannot and will not just look away. It is be

Putin declares war on Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir has announced what he described as a “special military operation” in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, saying that Russia was responding to pleas for help from the separatists there. Shortly after Mr Putin’s televised address at around 6am in Moscow, explosions were heard outside Kiev itself and heavy clashes were reported in several major Ukrainian cities. The Ukraine government said Mr Putin had “declared war” and Russian forces were entering the country from Belarus in the north and Crimea in the south, as well as Russia to the east. Clearly the intelligence that Putin was planning an unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine was correct. The West must, and I believe will, now hit Russia with a united and very strong package of sanctions. 

The PM's statement on the international situation

Prime Minister’s Statement on the situation in Ukraine: 22 February 2022 The PM made the following statement yesterday. "Last night, President Putin flagrantly violated the Minsk peace agreements by recognising the supposed independence of the so-called ‘People’s Republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. In a single inflammatory speech, he denied that Ukraine had any ‘tradition of genuine statehood’, claimed that it posed a ‘direct threat to the security of Russia’, and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions. Soon afterwards, the Kremlin announced that Russian troops would enter the breakaway regions under the guise of ‘peacekeepers’, and Russian tanks and armoured personnel carriers have since been spotted. The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country. And by denying Ukraine’s legitimacy as a state – and presenting its very existence as a mortal threat

Liz Truss on the latest Russian moves


Fair representation in boardrooms

The government has welcomed news that   nearly 40 per cent of FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women   – meaning the UK is second in the world for women’s representation at board level as we work to build back fairer. This Government is committed to levelling up every part of our country – tackling inequality and promoting equality of opportunity, including at senior level, so everyone can thrive.  Conservatives do not support crude measures such as quotas but we do believe that your chances of promotion in politics or business should not depend on how many X or Y chromosomes you have, and hence we welcome the FTSE Women Leaders Review, which shows that nearly 40 per cent of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women – compared with 12.5 per cent just 10 years ago – meaning the UK is second in international rankings for board representation. UK businesses have made enormous progress in recent years to ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can succeed on merit

Cutting insurance red tape

The government has this week announced   plans to slash red tape through reforms to insurance regulation   – unlocking billions of pounds of investment in UK infrastructure by taking advantage of our increased freedom of action outside the EU. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, the majority of those who cast a ballot voted Leave and we are no longer part of the EU, which brings advantages and disadvantages. It would be silly not to make full use of the former while dealing with the latter. When Britain was subject to EU law, our insurance sector was subject to the Solvency II rules which have been in place since 2016 – but we now have an opportunity to create a new regime which makes it easier for insurance firms to unleash long-term capital and investment.  So the UK government has announced reforms to the regulation of the UK insurance sector, including increasing the flexibility of insurers to invest in infrastructure, reducing the reporting and administrative burden placed on firms

Quote of the day 23 Feb 2022

"What is at stake is something much bigger than settling ethnic or nationalist claims. It is whether we are committed to the advance of democracy." ( Daniel Finkelstein , in an article in today's Times about the implications of what is happening between Russia and Ukraine for democracy here and around the world. I bought a paper copy today: if you subscribe you can find it online here .)

In an alternate universe

The Jewish Chronicle carries a piece from former editor Stephen Pollard, with a news report from an alternate universe in which Jeremy Corbyn won the last election and suggests how he might be responding to current tensions with Ukraine. You can read it here ...

Putin puts the last nail in the coffin of Nuclear non-proliferation

Whatever else he may or may not do to Ukraine, one thing can now be said with certainty about the malign legacy of Vladimir Putin's actions towards Ukraine - there will be those who make a convincing argument that it could be said even before the present crisis. And that is that he has dealt any hope of nuclear disarmament and the cause of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons a blow from which it may never recover. On the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine was left with about a third of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal - about 1,700 warheads, one of the three largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the world. There were also former Soviet nuclear weapons in Belarus, Kasakhstan and, of course, the Russian Federation, At an OSCE conference in Hungary in December 1994, Ukraine, Belarus and Kasakhstan agreed to surrender or destroy all their nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from all the great powers. In particular, under the terms of the Budapest Memor

Quote of the day 22nd February 2022

"I welcome this apology from Jolyon Maugham for the untruthful statement he put out yesterday. Having lost yet another case this week, and falsely claimed they won, the discredited Good Law Project should now accept their increasingly vexatious legal actions are a waste of the court’s time, when there is such a backlog to clear. "The Good Law Project should accept that officials and Ministers in Government were working hard to save lives, and end their increasingly desperate actions. I particularly want to thank the huge number of officials who did so much in the pandemic and now find their time needlessly wasted in defending these pointless actions, especially when there’s going to be a full inquiry. The public should note that the Good Law Project’s claims are frequently untrue, and should not be reported as fact, if at all. "I once again welcome this apology from this increasingly discredited organisation." ( Matt Hancock welcomes an apology from Jolyon Maugham

PM to set out plans for living with COVID today

The Prime Minister  will toda y  set out plans to live with Covid , using the strong protections we have built up against the virus to safely restore people’s freedoms. Covid will not suddenly disappear and we need to learn to live with this virus, and continue to protect ourselves without restricting our freedoms. That is why the Prime Minister will today set out the governments plan for living with Covid, which I understand will focus on removing regulations and requirements while emphasising public health advice and continuing to protect the vulnerable. Thanks to our world-leading vaccine rollout, we are now able to bring our response to Covid in line with other viruses and allow people to get back to normal while remaining protected.

Britain and France stand together on Ukraine

Yesterday, the   Prime Minister spoke with President Macron about increasing tensions on Ukraine’s borders , reaffirming Britain's unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and commitment to severe sanctions if Russia invades. As Russia continues to show threatening behaviour towards Ukraine, the international community must face down Putin’s aggression.   That is why the Prime Minister spoke with President Macron to discuss our respective diplomatic efforts, urging Putin to step back from his current threats and withdraw troops from Ukraine’s border. We have been clear that we stand ready with a severe set of sanctions on a level not seen before.  We are united with our NATO allies, standing behind Ukraine in defending her sovereignty and independence, urging Russia to choose a different path through diplomacy.  

After the storms ...

The government is advising everyone   to remain vigilant today and take extreme care following the impacts of Storm Eunice , taking steps to protect people from further storms on the way.  Many flood warnings are still in place following the impacts of Storm Eunice and with Storm Franklin on the way, heavy rain affecting already wet areas is likely to cause significant river flooding, particularly in parts of the north of England.  That is why we are urging people to remain vigilant and to continue to prepare for flooding - particularly in the north of England - and stay away from swollen rivers, and not drive through flood water.  Following the Prime Minister’s emergency COBRA meeting on Friday, the Environment Agency has taken preventative action, closing flood gates, deploying temporary barriers, and moving pumps and other response equipment to areas of highest risk, and stand by ready to operate flood defences as needed.  

Quote of the day 21st February 2022


Ruth Davidson on the abuse directed at BBC journalist Sarah Smith


Wishing Her Majesty a quick and full recovery from COVID-19

I am concerned to learn that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive for COVID-19 today. Relieved to hear that she only has mild and "cold-lie" symptoms. Like, I am sure, the vast majority of people in Britain I wish Her majesty a quick and full recovery.

Boris Johnson's speech at the Munich Security Conference on 19th February 2022

Here is the Prime Minister's speech to the Munich Security Conferences yesterday.   A couple of extracts: "At this moment of extreme danger for the world, it has seldom been more vital to preserve our unity and resolve, and that was the theme of my discussion last night with fellow leaders, including President Biden, President Macron, Chancellor Scholz and Prime Minister Draghi, as well as the leaders of NATO and the EU. And as I said to President Putin during our last conversation, we in the UK still hope that diplomacy and dialogue may yet succeed. But we also have to be unflinchingly honest about the situation today. When over 130,000 Russian troops are gathering on the borders of Ukraine, and when more than 100 battalion tactical groups threaten that European country. We must be united against that threat because we should be in no doubt what is at stake here. If Ukraine is invaded and if Ukraine is overwhelmed, we will witness the destruction of a democratic state, a c

Sunday music spot: Orlando Gibbons "O Lord, in thy Wrath"


Quote of the day 20th February 2022


Daniel Johnson on the imminent threat of war

There is an excellent piece by Daniel Johnson about the looming threat of a return to war on The Article site. Here are a few extracts. "We have lived with the expectation of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine for many weeks now. A miasma of fear has spread across Europe, wreaking more havoc than Storms Dudley and Eunice. The world is learning to live again with the nightmare of sudden annihilation, which hovered over us for more than 40 years during the Cold War. Older people can still recall Chamberlain’s chilling announcement of the outbreak of the Second World War.  We are returning to a world in which dictators prey on vulnerable neighbours, where landscapes are disfigured by killing fields. Europe is a haunted continent, whose phantoms are rising from the mass graves of all too recent atrocities. That unquiet past has never really passed away; now it threatens to return." "It is not only the Ukrainians who dread what is to come. Poles and Romanians, Latvians

Saturday music spot: Bach's Concerto for two violins in D minor


Russia and Ukraine

Yesterday evening President Biden said that he thinks Vladimir Putin may have decided to invade Ukraine. We must hope that this is wrong or that Putin sees sense and steps back from this. But if I ask myself: if the Russian President really was planning to invade, would he be likely to do anything very different from anything he has actually done? And my answer is no. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has   urged Russia to step back from the brink   and reaffirmed Britain's unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty. We must not be lulled into a false sense of security by Russia claiming some of their troops have been withdrawn from the Ukrainian border and will remain vigilant against false flag attacks which could be used as an excuse for war. On Thursday the UK again announced a £20 million increase in our financial support to Ukraine, bringing the total to £100 million alongside arms deliveries and military training to help our Ukrainian friends defend themselves. On her visit

Quote of the day 19th February 2022


4,000 more prison places

Today the government announced the   creation of more than 4,000 new prison places , which will help to keep criminals off our streets and protect the public while they undergo rehabilitation as we build back safer. Having enough prison places is essential to keep criminals off our streets and allow enough time for rehabilitation to turn them into law-abiding citizens that are no longer a threat to the public. That is why the government has today announced the creation of more than 4,000 new prison places across 16 different prisons through the building of new wings and refurbishing jails, as part of our unprecedented prison-building programme which will create 20,000 new places by the mid-2020s. The government is improving the existing prison estate, putting more offenders behind bars, training them for release and protecting the public as we build back safer.

Action against corruption

Yesterday, the UK government   closed the Tier 1 Investor visa route with immediate effect , as the first move in a new plan to take firm action to crackdown on corrupt elites and strengthen confidence in our immigration system. The New Plan for Immigration will mean zero tolerance for those wanting to abuse our immigration system and is aimed to stop will corrupt elites to enter the UK using dirty money. That is why we are closing the Tier 1 Investor visa route to all new applicants with immediate effect after reviews revealed that it had been used by people acquiring their wealth illegitimately and associated with wider corruption. This is just the start of a renewed crackdown on fraud & illicit finance. An upcoming Fraud Action Plan and the Economic Crime Bill will better protect the taxpayer.

Music to start the weekend: Horst Jankowski, "A Walk in the Black Forest"


Covid vaccination update

Britain has this week   accepted expert advice to extend the offer of a vaccination against Covid-19 to all children aged 5 – 11 , ensuring that parents are able to increase their children’s protection against potential future waves of Covid-19 if they wish to do so.    Following a thorough review by the independent medicines regulator, the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations has approved Pfizer’s paediatric dose of the vaccine as safe and effective for children aged 5 to 11. That is why the NHS will prepare to extend this non-urgent offer of Covid-19 vaccines to all children aged 5 to 11 in April, while continuing to prioritise at-risk children, those living with immunosuppressed people in this age group, and booster jabs for older adults. As we learn to live with Covid-19, it is vital that we continue to strengthen our immune defences, so if you haven’t already – please come forward for your first, second or booster jab. 

Quote of the day 18th February 2022


Britain and Australia

Yesterday,   the Prime Minister met virtually with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison , strengthening the historic partnership of Britain and Australia in security, democracy and trade.   Our unique relationship with Australia is built on the deep bonds between our peoples and sustained by our shared commitment to promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.  That is why the UK has committed £25 million to strengthen Indo-Pacific resilience in cyberspace and maritime security, as well as intensifying cooperation in trade and reaffirming our commitment to AUKUS alongside the United States.  The Prime Ministers also discussed the concerning situation on Ukraine’s border. As Russian military build-up shows no signs of slowing, both nations emphasised their unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and agreed on the need for urgent de-escalation to avoid tragic humanitarian cost.    Our nations are forging a new partnership fit for the next century and grounded in o

Russia and Ukraine - update 17th February

Today,  the Foreign Secretary urged Russia to step back from the brink  and reaffirmed our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.  The West must not be lulled into a false sense of security by Russia claiming some of their troops have been withdrawn from the Ukrainian border.  Britain remains united with NATO allies, providing vital support to help our Ukrainian friends defend themselves and stand ready with a severe set of sanctions on a level not seen before.  On her visit to Kyiv today, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Britain's commitment to a world free from aggression and coercion, and made clear that if Russia continues down this path of aggression, they will be faced with severe economic costs.     Alongside our allies, Britain will continue to take a hard-headed approach, stressing that there is still time for the Kremlin to step back and choose a different path through diplomacy. 

Learning the lessons of this pandemic to guard against future ones

The government is   investing £200 million in the UK’s fight against zoonotic diseases , so Britain can lead the way in protecting both human and animal health and boost our resistance  to future pandemics. The UK is a world leader when it comes to science and biosecurity, but the outbreak of COVID-19, a zoonotic disease, has reiterated the importance of boosting our  resilience to help prevent future pandemics.  That is why the UK government is investing £200 million, boosting the UK’s fight against zoonotic diseases, revamping the Animal and Plant Health Agency scientific laboratories at Weybridge and providing scientists with the resources and funding they need to continue their world-leading research into existing threats but also future risks to safeguard animal health and the wider public. This will help us to learn the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and arm UK scientists with the resources and skills they need to ensure that we are at the forefront of defence against future

Thursday music spot: Sibelius's "Finlandia"


Quote of the day 17th February 2022


Sir Robert Fry on the capacities of the Russian forces massing on the Ukrainian border

 There is a very good piece about the Russian Army, how it has developed and the threat it poses on "The Article" website by Sir Robert Fry. General Sir Robert Fry completed a full military career which included appointments as the Commandant General of the Royal Marines and Deputy Commanding General of coalition forces in Iraq. After military service, he became a vice president of Hewlett Packard and chair of Albany Associates. He is a visiting professor at King’s College, London. His article begins as follows: "We can be certain of few things about the crisis in Ukraine: that NATO seems to have some life in it yet, that the French President is irredeemably grandiose, that the German Chancellor seems just as irredeemably reticent and that Liz Truss can manage a passable Margaret Thatcher tribute act.  My money remains on a no-score draw (see  Putin needs to tread carefully in Ukraine,    20 January). It is militarily irrational in the long term to take on a Ukraine that

Support for the victims of domestic abuse

The government has   announced £125 million in extra support for councils to provide shelters , refuge, and support services to help victims of domestic abuse and their children. Home is not the safe place it should be for domestic abuse victims and their families - so it is essential to support councils in delivering the vital services that keep victims safe. That is why the government is providing councils across England with an extra £125 million to fund safe accommodation, including refuges and shelters, for victims of domestic abuse. It will provide support services including health and social care, benefits, interpreters, immigration advice, and drug or alcohol support. Rules on Joint Tenancies and Local Connections tests for housing will also be revised to make it easier for victims of domestic abuse to escape their abusers. This support will give victims of domestic abuse and their children across the country the practical and emotional support to recover and rebuild their live

Midweek music spot: "The Windmills of Your Mind" - Noel Harrison


Time to batten down again

The UK is expected to be hit by two storms in the space of three days starting today with forecasters warning of 90mph winds across the north of England and Scotland, while some regions could face "blizzard conditions". Storm Dudley will cross the northern half of the UK from tonight (Wednesday) into Thursday morning, while Storm Eunice will bring strong winds and potentially some snow for parts of the country on Friday. The Met Office has added an amber warning to a yellow alert already in place, when naming the first of the two storms expected to cause disruption. "Storm Dudley is expected to affect the UK on Wednesday night and Thursday, bringing a period of very strong and disruptive winds," the Met Office said. The amber alert warns of gusts of 70-90mph from 6pm on Wednesday to 9am on Thursday for southern Scotland, north England and the north of Northern Ireland.