Tag Archives: uk

Scottish Separatism: The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggies Sins

The vote for Scotland to leave the UK, which barely failed to pass, kind of snuck up on me and I haven’t had the chance to really dig into.  I do find it fascinating….

There is a great article on the Huffington Post by Robert Kuttner that I’m finding to be a great place to start.

Here is a brief excerpt and a link to the full article.


Now commentators all across the spectrum are pronouncing that the old United Kingdom is as good as dead. The independence referendum failed, but in order to placate the Scots, London will have to concede far more regional autonomy. The regional parliaments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will gain far more power, leaving the awkward question of whether little England should get its own parliament too.

The Brits can thank Maggie Thatcher for all that. It was Thatcher who set the U.K. onto a course where British extremes of inequality rival those of the United States, and where valued public institutions are being tossed on the rubbish heap. It was policies set in motion by Thatcher and her successors that finally promoted the Scottish revolt.

via The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggies Sins | Robert Kuttner.

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“Mitt the Twit”

At least that was the headline in the UK Newspaper “The Sun”  and other UK papers this morning….

Seems his diplomacy trip has made quite the impression…

Just not the one he intended…

He makes George W Bush look like a skilled diplomat….

Here is a great summary of his Greatest Diplomatic Blunders- so far:

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Mitt Romney’s Olympic Blunder Stuns UK Allies

Uh, does anyone really want this man in charge of U.S. Diplomacy?

If he can piss off our oldest and closest ally in a matter of hours, just think what he would do to our enemies…

There is reason the “Talking Ken Doll” was never a hit for Mattel…..

From The Guardian (UK):

Mitt Romney handed Barack Obama a priceless gift for the US presidential election campaign when the presumptive Republican nominee blundered on his first diplomatic outing by questioning whether London was capable of staging a successful Olympic Games.

In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10 he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games.

One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”

David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Romney rowed back later after a 45-minute meeting in Downing Street where the prime minister expressed his unease about his remarks. “I am very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic Games. What I have seen shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organisation and [I] expect the Games to be highly successful,” he said.

via Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama | World news | guardian.co.uk.

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A Great Mystery Solved: Contents of Queen Elizabeth’s Handbag Revealed

People have wondered for  years and years what Queen Elizabeth II carries in that handbag she always carries….

Now, we know!

From royal Biographer Sally Beddell Smith via the London Daily Telegraph:

But a royal biographer has disclosed that buried alongside everyday items such as a mirror and lipstick, is always a crisply folded £5 note to donate to the church collection on Sundays.

Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Woman Behind The Throne, claims that among the bag’s other secrets are a portable hook, which is used to hang it discreetly under tables.

The 85-year-old monarch’s church donation sometimes increases to £10 but apparently that is as generous a donation as she chooses to make.

Bedell Smith suggests that there is “no more familiar symbol” of the Queen than the classic Launer handbag that dangles from her left arm on public occasions from informal walkabouts to state dinners.

Her inside knowledge has been pieced together from anecdotes of those who claim to have snuck a peek inside the royal bag and ladies in waiting.

Bedell Smith, writing in The Lady magazine, disclosed that the handbag usually contains reading glasses, mint lozenges and a fountain pen, although rarely cash, except for the “precisely folded” £5 or £10 note on Sundays.

A dinner guest at the Berkshire home of Jean Wills, the Queen’s cousin, is said to have been surprised to see the Queen spitting into a plastic suction cup before attaching the hook under the table.

“I watched the Queen open her handbag and remove a white suction cup and discreetly spit into it,” the guest is quoted as saying.

“The Queen then attached the cup to the underside of the table. The cup had a hook on it, and she attached her handbag to it.”

Bedell Smith alleges that the most important items in the Queen’s bag are a small mirror and lipstick which she has been known to apply whilst still sitting at the table.

“At the end of a luncheon or a dinner, even a banquet set with silver gilt and antique porcelain, she has the somewhat outré habit of opening her bag, pulling out a compact and reapplying her lipstick,” she writes.

“When First Lady Laura Bush made a similar cosmetic fix during a Washington ladies’ luncheon, she cheerily commented, ‘The Queen told me it was all right to do it.’”

The biographer claims that ladies-in-waiting are responsible for carrying necessities such as extra pairs of gloves, needles, thread and safety pins for emergency repairs

via Contents of Queen’s handbag revealed: including £5 for church collection – Telegraph.

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Mommie, uh, Maggie Dearest?

I haven’t yet seen the film, but this clip from “The Iron Lady” with Meryl Streep couldn’t help but make me think of  Faye Dunaway in “Mommie Dearest”….

I’m going to have to force myself to see this movie.  I can’t imagine 2 more hours of Margaret Thatcher after we had to deal with her for 11 years in power….

I just hope  I’ll be pleasantly surprised and “The Iron Lady” is at least half as entertaining as “Mommie Dearest”- even if I’m sure it’s not as campy….

At least Faye delivers the message more succinctly, if less elegantly….

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A Foggy Day in Londontown….

I’m thinking of London, one of my favorite cities, tonight…

I’ve been there about a half-dozen times and I felt at home there from the first moment I arrived.  Maybe its genetic memory…

As Samuel Johnson said:  “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

London is having a rough time right now with riots and violence in the streets….

And all I can do is wish her well, remember her fondly,  play a few songs and look forward to our next visit, whenever that may be….

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What Princess Diana’s Life Might Look Like Now

Princess Diana’s death was kind of like the Kennedy Assassination for me and my generation.  We were young adults when it happened and most of us remember exactly where we were when we heard.

Steve and I were sitting on the patio of a long-closed restaurant on Tate Street having dinner and cocktails with friends when the waiter interrupted our merriment to tell us the  news.  We all rushed into the bar to see the TV…

Today, I saw this interesting article from Tina Brown in Newsweek on what Diana, Princess of Wales, might have evolved to being had she lived….

It’s fun to speculate.  It would have been much better if she had lived to fascinate us a lot longer…

Diana would have been 50 this month. What would she have been like? Still great-looking: that’s a given. Her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, with her cornflower-blue eyes and striding sexuality, was a handsome woman to the very end. Fashionwise, Diana would have gone the J.Crew and Galliano route à la Michelle Obama, always knowing how to mix the casual with the glam. There is no doubt she would have kept her chin taut with strategic Botox shots and her bare arms buff from the gym. Remarriage? At least two, I suspect, on both sides of the Atlantic. Always so professional herself, she would have soon grown exasperated with Dodi Al-Fayed’s hopeless unreliability. After the breakup I see her moving to her favorite city, New York, spending a few cocooned years safely married to a super-rich hedge-fund guy who could provide her with what she called “all the toys”: the plane, the private island, the security detail. Gliding sleekly into her 40s, her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play. She’d have tired of the hedge-fund guy and drifted into undercover trysts with someone more exciting—a high-mindedly horny late-night talk-show host, or a globe-trotting French finance wizard destined for the Élysée Palace. I suspect she would have retained a weakness for men in uniform, and a yen for dashing Muslim men. (A two-year fling with a Pakistani general, rumored to have links to the ISI, would have been a particular headache to the Foreign Office and the State Department.) Davos and the Clinton Global Initiative would have become her new post-palace power circles. She would perhaps have caused a press sensation with an unplanned pledge from the CGI stage to raise $50 million to help educate women in South Sudan.

via What Princess Diana’s Life Might Look Like Now – Newsweek.

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Happy Summer Solstice!

The Summer Solstice is coming up on Tuesday, June 21.  I received a link to this amazing video from Celestial Elf in the UK a few weeks ago and promised to share it closer to the Solstice.

It features the words and narration of King Arthur Pendragon, the reigning Druid King of Great Britain, about the Solstice Celebration at Stonehenge.

We were lucky enough to be at Stonehenge on New Years Day a few years ago and it was amazing…

I can only imagine it at the Solstice…

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“Dorian Gray” to Appear as Wilde Actually Wrote It

Fascinating article from Salon.com about Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and the restored edition about to come out…

Altogether, the revised 1891 manuscript that eventually appeared in book form encompassed a whole series of changes and omissions designed to alter and conventionalize the “moral,” such as it is, by heightening the beautiful Dorian’s monstrosity and thus rendering him a far less sympathetic character than he had appeared to be in the original typescript. Looking at the typescript, then, we find more comprehensible Wilde’s oft-quoted statement on the book’s autobiographical elements: “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be — in other ages, perhaps.”

Frankel has done much to place Wilde and his novel within the context of their time — “a heated atmosphere of hysteria and paranoia” about sexual “deviation.” The 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act was extended by Henry Labouchère, a radical member of Parliament, to include the criminalization of acts of “gross indecency” between men. (The Labouchère amendment was not repealed until 1956.) The vagueness of the amendment’s language — just what acts did “gross indecency” encompass, anyway? — caused fear amounting to paranoia among the homosexual community; as Frankel writes, “The conditions had been created for a series of homosexual scandals that would rock London and increase the level of homophobia in British society.”

The so-called Cleveland Street Affair, which broke only months before “Dorian Gray’s” first appearance, was the most spectacular of these, involving the infiltration and arrest of a ring of “rent boys” who worked by day as telegraph messengers and by night as prostitutes out of a brothel in Cleveland Street. A number of aristocrats and prominent military men were implicated; Lord Arthur Somerset, the Prince of Wales’ equerry, fled the country; a shadow was even cast on the name of the prince’s elder son, though that suspicion was subsequently proved groundless. “In the wake of the Cleveland Street Scandal,” Frankel explains, “Wilde’s emphasis on Dorian Gray’s youthfulness, or susceptibility to the ‘corruption’ of an older aristocratic man (Lord Henry), is one of the features of the novel that most outraged reviewers.”

via “Dorian Gray” as Wilde actually wrote it – Fiction – Salon.com.

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Royal Wedding Proves Worldwide Gay Population Vastly Under-Reported

From Bill Maher via Twitter:

“Its being reported that a third of the world watched the royal wedding – and yet they claim gays are only 3 pct of population?”

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