Archive for March 28, 2014

51eCX1AIs2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_510-na8C0iL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_My crime fiction reading has been put on hold for the moment as I am planning to read two outstanding prize winning history books. Bloodlands Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder, and Iron Curtain The Crushing of Eastern Europe by Anne Applebaum.

I am at present about a third of the way through Bloodlands, and in the words of Anthony Beevor [author of Stalingrad] it is “original, wonderful and horrifying”. The actions of political leaders are far more frightening than anything invented in a crime fiction novel.

I was inspired, if that is the appropriate word in the circumstances, to read these books by the apparent eagerness of  our current politicians to get involved in the Ukrainian-Russian dispute over Crimea. For much of my life politicians of the left in Great Britain viewed the Soviet Union as some kind of socialist utopia ignoring the horrendous crimes perpetrated by Stalin and his cohorts. While those on the right conveniently forgot that with a few outstanding exceptions their leaders were prepared to appease and support Hitler as a bulwark against Communism.

Now politicians from both left and right seem oblivious to the fact that financially challenged Great Britain is no longer a world power, or even a European one. Our main problem at present is not the referendum that allowed the secession of Crimea from Ukraine, but the referendum in September 2014 that may allow the secession of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

We would lose oil revenues, our nuclear submarine base, whisky, smoked salmon, Andy Murray, Sean Connery, and Alan Cumming; and as well as those disasters our entire political system will be thrown into chaos until the new elections in 2020.

Everything flows, everything changes.

You can’t board the same prison train twice…..Vasily Grossman