Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kesennuma and its terrifying tsunami ordeal

The recent tsunami basically 'trashed' the town of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture (Japan). What is so awesome and terrifying is the inexorable power of the water - it seems so slow at first, but gradually builds up into a maelstrom of water and debris with whole buildings being swept away:

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor (1932-2011) - R.I.P.

I was saddened to hear that the actress Elizabeth Taylor has died today aged 79. For all of my life she has been regarded as one of the world's great female 'beauties' and her trademark violet-coloured eyes were remarkable. Even in later years, although her beauty had faded and she was latterly not in good health at all, she still retained the glamour and star quality of her earlier years. I must admit that until today, when I started to research her life, I had always assumed she was British, or more specifically English, but although born in London her parents were both Americans who resided here so she had dual British and US nationality by virtue of her place of birth and her parentage. Her personal life was somewhat colourful and she even managed to marry one of her seven husbands (the actor Richard Burton) twice, consecutively, the two having presumably decided after their first divorce to 'give it another go' after a brief period apart, but their second marriage lasted less than a year.

She, as one of the most beautiful actresses around, played opposite many of the most handsome male actors of the time - Richard Burton, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman and Rock Hudson to name just four.

For many years, later in her life, she was a staunch supporter of AIDS charities and was named DBE ('Dame of the British Empire') by Her Majesty the Queen in the Millennium New Year's Honours List on 31st December 1999. The BBC obituary for Elizabeth Taylor is here. The world is a sadder and greyer place with her passing.

Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
27 February 1932 - 23 March 2011

~ Rest in Peace ~

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Potentially landmark ruling on EU residency rules

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the body which ensures compliance by member states with EU Treaty law, has issued a ruling which could have very far-reaching implications for the residency rights of non-EU citizens.

In a case brought to it by the Brussels Labour Court for clarification it has ruled that a child of non-EU parents born in an EU state automatically acquires the citizenship, and must take the citizenship, of the EU member state in which [s]he is born and that by virtue of this the parents acquire automatically the right to live and work in that member state (and perhaps any other EU state[?], although the ruling does not seem to address this specific issue).

I do not have the negative attitude that many seem to with regard to non-EU immigration into member states, but it seems to me the implications of this ruling are potentially huge, whatever view one takes of the matter.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

David Cameron's speech to the Spring conference

It is very refreshing, after more than a decade of Labour 'apparatchiks' pretending to be competent managers (whilst wrecking the economy), to see a proper Prime Minister once more in place, promoting sensible business-friendly policies:

It is like a breath of fresh air!

PS/ A young LibDem-leaning Scot, Doctorvee (for it is he), explains why he is perfectly tranquil with the current Conservative-LibDem coalition government.