The Bank of England vs the banks of England – Negative Interest Rates

This article is from the Fortune and Freedom newsletter

On 28 September, economists at the US central bank published some important research. It concluded that imposing negative interest rates is a bad idea.

Sure enough, two weeks later, the Bank of England asked our banks whether they’re prepared for negative interest rates…


But what are negative interest rates? Are they really coming to the UK? And what do they mean for you?

That’s what we’ll tackle today. Start to, anyway.

Negative interest rates may seem bizarre or impossible. But, when central bankers are involved, the bizarre becomes a lot more possible.

Negative interest rates are simply when central banks like our Bank of England lower their interest rate below zero.

Let’s go with an example. Denmark’s central bank interest rate is at -0.6%. So, 0.6% below zero.

Yes, this means that some people in Denmark actually have negative interest rate mortgages. The Guardian reported that, “Jyske Bank will effectively pay borrowers 0.5% a year to take out a loan.”

(In reality, the mortgage balance owed just goes down faster than the amount of the repayments made. But you get the idea.)

All of this probably sounds rather good. Especially if you’re a borrower on a variable rate mortgage. Bring on the negative rate mortgage!

But it isn’t good at all. Negative interest rates are downright dangerous. For a long list of reasons. And you need to be prepared for the fallout.

Paying for your deposits

Do you remember when savings at the bank earned interest? More interest than the inflation rate, I mean.

Yes, the good old days when savers were rewarded for thrift. And you didn’t have to speculate in financial markets to get returns on your retirement savings.

Well, under negative rates, banks like to charge their customers for their deposits. Usually only large deposits. But it’s still a remarkable shift from earning decent interest on savings.

This isn’t the only adjustment. The Telegraph highlighted a different change which negative interest rates could bring to your bank: “Negative interest rates could put an end to free banking”.

In other words, your free bank accounts could soon be slapped with fees. We’re talking monthly fees, just for having a bank account at all.

If that sounds outrageous, consider it’s not that unusual internationally. My Aussie account charges me $5 per month, for example. The UK’s free bank accounts are the outlier. Although our banks make up for it with fees elsewhere, of course.

But what do negative interest rates at the Bank of England have to do with fees on your bank accounts?

Well, that’s where things get more complex. We’ll have to go one step back to go two steps forward.

Why go below zero?

Central banks cut interest rates to spur on the economy. This works in three main ways. It encourages borrowing, discourages saving and generates some inflation. (Economists falsely believe all three are good things, but that’s another story for another day.)

One problem with cutting interest rates to spur on the economy is that, at some point, you hit 0%. And then you can’t keep lowering interest rates to try and goose the economy with more debt.

Or can you?

Well, you can try it. That’s what some of the Europeans and the Japanese did. They cut rates below zero. The Danish example is the most extreme because of the negative rate mortgages it created.

But cutting rates below zero didn’t work very well at all. That’s what the American research paper from the Federal Reserve concluded. Not that this would stop us from trying it here, apparently.

The Bank of England is actively considering it. And it has asked the UK banks whether they could even process the change. It’s a bit like the whole Y2K bug story. What happens when rates go below zero? Do bank IT systems go haywire?

I’m not worried about whether negative interest rates can be processed by bankers’ software. The Danes did it in 2015. Japan managed to it in 2016 without a hitch. And many others have followed since.

But I am worried about what negative rates will do to you.

What’s wrong with negative interest rates?

The problem with low and negative rates is that banks don’t like them. Which may sound like good news. Especially in a newsletter about taking on the financial establishment.

And perhaps it really is good news for those of us trying to get or refinance a mortgage. At least it would be good news in the short run.

But here’s the thing. When bankers aren’t busy wreaking havoc with your money or ripping you off (or both), they do perform some useful functions. They lend money.

And if they can’t do so at a decent profit, well, they won’t do so.

Sure, borrowing at 0% sounds good to you and me. But would you lend someone money at that rate?

Negative interest rates mean bankers are agreeing to lose money on their lending. Does that sound like something they would do?

And if they did do it, what do you think would happen to the bank over time? It would start to struggle.

In other words, negative interest rates do so much damage to banks that they undermine the banks’ lending activities. And even their financial soundness.

Banks then pass this lack of revenue on to their depositors. In the form of fees on accounts, negative rates on large deposits, or other fees. Either way, we end up paying somehow.

The point is, when rates go negative, banks lend less and make money in other ways.

Either way, it’s not great news for an economy addicted to debt. And not good news for anyone who needs a bank account. Which is all of us. Especially lately.

Of course, savers barely get a mention in all this. That’s for a reason.

One of the aims of negative rates is to get savers to become borrowers, or to invest their money. In risky investments – the only ones out there even promising decent returns.

This is how and why stockmarkets benefit from low interest rates. It’s savers being forced out of safe investments, looking for decent returns from stocks. They bid up prices.

The worry is of course what happens when interest rates rise and the whole thing reverses. But back to that another day.

Central bankers blowing up the banking system

Before you go, consider the irony in all of this. The Bank of England’s original purpose was to save the banking system from short-term panics. The whole “manipulation of interest rates for the benefit of the wider economy” thing came much later.

The problem is, once interest rates go so low that they start to harm the banking sector, you end up with a catch-22. The economy supposedly needs lower interest rates to borrow and grow. But the banking system needs higher rates to lend and profit.

Who will the Bank of England choose to favour?

I think you should expect negative interest rates right here in the UK. The Bank of England is preparing the banks for a reason.

The real question is whether you should be tricked into doing what the Bank of England governor wants you to do. Should you borrow more money or invest in riskier investments? Or should you take the bank fees and negative rates on your deposits on the chin?

More on that tomorrow. Plus Nigel’s take on what negative rates mean for you. So, stay tuned.

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom

Bang & Olufsen Speaker Bases: Where to Get Screw in Feet for Laminate and Wooden Floors.

If you’ve bought yourself a previously enjoyed pair of Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 8000 or similar B&O speakers, you may well find that on the bottom of them are four screw-in spikes on each corner of the speaker base.

The spikes are designed for when the speakers are sitting on the carpet in order that they can penetrate through the carpet and make contact with the floorboards below so the speakers are firmly grounded.

But you don’t want to put those four spikes under such a heavy speaker base in contact with your laminate or wooden floor, do you?

For reasons to do with vibration and sound quality, it is important that the speaker bases have a good sound solid contact to the floor, for this reason, rubber feet are not recommended by Bang & Olufsen purists and enthusiasts.

Bang & Olufsen do make little feet that replace the spikes and they look like this:

Bang & Olufsen screw in Feet

However, the only place I could find them available online was in the United States at a price of $69 per set of 4 plus $19 per set of four shipping plus import duty. That seems rather expensive for what are essentially eight little screw bolts.

So I fashioned another solution for my speaker bases to sit on my laminate floors. Nice little domed chrome hex bolts you can see here one of them fitted alongside three spikes on the opposite corners.

B&O Beolab 8000 wooden floor feet

This seems like quite a pleasing solution for not a lot of money – see what you think looking at these pictures.

B&O Beolab 8000 laminate floor feet

B&O Beolab 8000 laminate floor bolts

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab alternative to spikes

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab Speaker Base Feet

The speaker bases now have four solid contacts to the floor as they were designed to, but nothing sharp enough to damage the floors – unless you plan on dragging the speakers across them.

I did some trial and error with all different kinds of bolts, spacers and washers and this is the solution I have come up with that works for me.

Bang & Olufsen Speaker Base Feet

If you have some Bang & Olufsen speakers and you want to replace the carpet spikes with little feet more suitable for laminate or wooden floors, I’ve made the bolts available on eBay at a nominal price for the benefit of others. I did the leg work so you don’t have to.

Find them here: Bang & Olufsen Speaker Base Feet

Why the Western media keeps getting North Korea wrong

This article first appeared on Al-Jazeera.

Western media’s repeated blunders in reporting on North Korea show its continuing lack of understanding and expertise.

After 20 days of absence, proof of life for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un finally came on May 2. North Korean state media released images of the leader touring a fertiliser factory. Contrary to mounting speculation by much of the international media and many so-called North Korea watchers, Kim was clearly not on his deathbed.

Western journalists are not always adept at covering this reclusive country, but the latest fiasco surrounding Kim’s supposedly imminent demise proved just how eager they are to accept unconfirmed rumours as objective news and how poorly they judge information about North Korea.

It all started on April 20, when the North Korean-defector-run news site Daily NK published a story that Kim had undergone heart surgery. Initially citing multiple sources, the site claimed that the North Korean leader “suffered from inflammation of blood vessels involving the heart … but his condition worsened”.

Daily NK often relies on anonymous informers in the North to run critical articles about the regime, and its track record on accuracy is spotty at best. In this instance, the English version of the article was later edited to say “a cardiovascular procedure” instead of “a heart surgery”, and the editor ran a correction that there were no multiple sources, but only one.

Within hours, CNN put forward its own single-source piece, with the sensationalist headline, “US source: North Korean leader in grave danger after surgery.” MSNBC anchor Katy Tur tweeted to her more than 700,000 followers: “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is brain dead, according to two US officials.” She called it a “CNN scoop” confirmed by NBC News.

CNN later revised its headline to “US monitoring intelligence that North Korean leader is in grave danger after surgery” and Tur apparently deleted her tweet, both conveying that the intel was less than credible. But the cat was already out of the bag. For the next 11 days all manner of news outlets and sites worldwide would join the game of guessing “Is Kim Jong Un really dead?” and “Who will be the next ruler of North Korea?”

So great was the noise generated by Western media that even the normally more reserved South Koreans became rattled, wondering if they had missed out on something, even though the country’s National Security Council maintained that “there are at present no unusual developments within North Korea”. At times “Kim Jong Un death” trumped even coronavirus in search rankings on major portal websites.

To be fair, the North Korean state contributed to the drama when Kim did not publicly pay respect to his grandfather Kim Il Sung on his April 15 birth anniversary for an unspecified reason. But in hindsight, there was not even a shred of concrete proof that Kim Jong Un’s health and the succession question merited serious discussion.

This is hardly the first major Western media fail over North Korea. In November 2018, the august New York Times ran a front-page article titled, “In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception.” Written by two reporters including Pulitzer-winning correspondent David E Sanger, it cited satellite imagery and a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to argue that North Korea was continuing to secretly develop missiles in violation of the June 2018 Singapore agreement between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

But as longtime Korea analyst Tim Shorrock wrote in his great takedown of the piece, the prominently embedded satellite photo was dated March 2018 – three months before Kim and Trump met in Singapore – and the missile bases presented as damning evidence of Kim’s duplicity had been known to South Korea for at least two years. Laughably, the CSIS report at the heart of the article even featured a disclaimer that “some of the information used in the preparation of this study may eventually prove to be incomplete or incorrect”.

All of that, though, did not stop the story from being spread by overeager Western media, and the Times tweeted that it stood by the story, without elaboration.

I have come to find that Western media are quick to blame North Korea for their own bad reporting, on the grounds that the regime does not share much information. The CNN article even contains an acknowledgement to that effect: “gathering intelligence out of North Korea is notoriously difficult … North Korea tightly controls any information surrounding its leader.” It is what many Western journalists on North Korea beat tend to say in self-defence.

Over coffee in downtown Seoul a few years ago, the then-Asia director of a large European news organisation said just as much to me: “North Korea is important. Shouldn’t we at least try to report on it?”

That intention may be good, but does it justify publishing half-truths or articles written with outright ignorance? Again in June 2018, at the press conference following the Singapore summit, Trump commented that the US and South Korea “will stop the war games,” prompting a flurry of criticisms in Western media that he had slighted South Korea, which was “taken by surprise” and was allegedly concerned about the announcement.

That reading of Seoul’s position was entirely wrong since most of these Western reporters operate without deep knowledge of regional politics. The South Korean government, under President Moon Jae-in, has been of the position that reducing the chances of military confrontation – including limiting military exercises – is important for advancing inter-Korean peace. Anyone who knows this would never say that suspending war games would worry Seoul.

In my five years on the English-language media scene, I have met not one Western reporter covering the Korean Peninsula who could speak Korean fluently. Whether a foreign language skill is imperative to have when reporting abroad may be debatable, but in the context of North Korea coverage, not speaking Korean means sidelining from the global conversation qualified experts who do not speak English – of whom there are many in South Korea.

Instead, their places are taken by the convenient English-speaking pundits, whose CVs reveal that most of them have no expertise related to North Korea; or by defectors whose suitability as commentators on the politics in Pyongyang or Kim’s state of mind is compromised by inexperience or obvious political motives.

Had Western media made genuine attempts to engage with reputable North Korea experts in the South, many exaggerated rumours about the regime would not receive the attention that they do.

Already more than two weeks ago, a number of respected South Korean researchers, including Cheong Seong-Chang at the Sejong Institute, cautioned against overreading Kim’s public absence.

On April 17, Cheong wrote in his widely read newsletter: “Although there may be a temporary issue with Chairman Kim Jong Un’s health or personal circumstance … the possibility of an emergency in the North is extremely unlikely.”

And that was indeed the case.


Discussion running 18+ pages on North Korea that you can join in can be found >>here<<.

A trip report with photos on a westerner’s visit to North Korea can be read >>here<<.

Coronavirus Covid 19: Don’t speak in code on race. Truth saves lives

Some will remember the Muslim apologists were falling over themselves telling us that Muslim lifestyles had no bearing on spread of the virus, and it was waaaaaysist to even think so. The fact that it has been rampant in Muslim communities was just coincidence of course.  (:)

Much of Manchester and the surrounding regions – along with other places – is supposedly “locked down” again. The announcement came one day before Muslim Xmas (Eid) a few days ago (where they all mingle in hordes). This time the government touched on the issue but telling it like it is, is still beyond them (coz waaaaaysist etc).

However, in the North West of England, and in and around Manchester there are many Muslim areas and these are the ones where the virus is rampant (Blackburn, Oldham, Rochdale, Ashton, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire, etc).

Accordingly, this new so-called lockdown is being completely ignored by most non-Muslims as they feel it doesn’t really apply to them unless they are unfortunate enough to live in on of the Muslim dominated areas.

However, one half Pakistani journalist at the Times, Matthew Syed, has broken ranks to discuss it and it’s a good article, reproduced below.


Don’t speak in code on race. Truth saves lives

Ethnic differences are a big factor in the virus risk. Let’s be open about it

We may disagree about the government’s Covid strategy and the quality of the communication. We may even disagree about the timing of the decision late on Thursday to restrict much of the north of England, although I found it rather hypocritical that many who were blaming the government for acting too slowly at the start of the crisis are now angered they acted too fast.

But we can surely all agree that the announcement itself was a farce, a pantomime of Orwellian proportions. Here was a government imposing restrictions on a region where transmission is rising faster within some Asian communities, and on the eve of the most important festival in Islam, yet Matt Hancock said nothing of this, talking instead of transmission “between families” and “multigenerational households”. This was ministerial statement by code.

Over the next 48 hours, information came out in dribs and drabs — but not from ministers. The director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen said that 79% of recent cases in the predominantly white city had been among people from a south Asian background. Statistics from Public Health England for the week ending July 26 showed that 1,369 of those testing positive in England (37%) were Asian or Asian-British — a group that made up 7.5% of the population in the last census. Shouldn’t ministers have helped us interpret these statistics, rather than pretend they didn’t exist?

Some will doubtless applaud the government’s approach. After all, ministers are worried about igniting a backlash against Asians. They may also be fearful about being perceived as racist themselves. But shouldn’t we have learnt that racism is inflamed not by information, but by disinformation? Whatever the short-term risks from explaining the facts, they are far outweighed by the insidious decoupling of meaning from reality, creating the space for conspiracy theories to grow and mutate. Racism thrives in the gaps left open by right-minded people who fear inconvenient truths.

Among the litany of recent disasters, one can’t overlook various grooming scandals, including in Rotherham and Rochdale, where the unwillingness to discuss the ethnic dimension led to a virulent backlash against the Pakistani community that would have been inconceivable had a grown-up debate taken place earlier. It also led to more vulnerable youngsters being abused.

Across the Atlantic, one might also place police violence in this category: few pundits have had the courage to share peer-reviewed data — albeit contested — that lethal violence against black people is roughly the same as that against whites if the prevalence of crime in the two populations is taken into account. Why does this matter? Because the fearless analysis of data is the starting point for solutions — a point that should be embraced by the right and left.

Going back to Covid-19, nobody objects to ministers chronicling regional variation in the transmission of the virus. Indeed, this is what offers the best hope for a targeted approach. Yet the fact that they feel unable to talk about ethnic variation in transmission — information of lifesaving significance for the communities most at risk — shows how entangled we have become in the fine mesh of political correctness.

One of the most beautiful things about my father’s side of the family (he hails from Pakistan) is the deep love and respect for older people. It is rare to put parents into nursing homes because of the duty to care for them at home. But this is precisely why nothing would have had a deeper impact on Asian communities than a frank statement about how this cultural strength can, in the context of an epidemic, prove perilous. By tiptoeing around racial sensibilities, Hancock will, I fear, cost lives.

Allow me to restate: plain talking isn’t merely of great utility, it is also the surest antidote to bigotry. Why? Because by plainly stating the facts, we are likely to reach a more objective analysis. Craig Whittaker, one of the more hapless Tory MPs, explained the higher transmission among some ethnic groups as a disregard for rules on social distancing. “[Black and minority ethnic] communities are not taking this seriously enough,” he told LBC radio.

Yet while this may be a factor (some community leaders also made this point), I doubt he would have collapsed so complex a problem onto so simplistic a cause had the government set out a more comprehensive analysis from the outset. Asians — a diverse group — are, on average, more likely to work in frontline professions where social distancing is difficult, and to live in overcrowded housing. Whittaker was scarcely challenged by his interviewer.

The point is that data is not the enemy of rationality; it is the friend. This is particularly true during a pandemic — we need to know about risks of transmission in family settings, at meatpacking facilities and when people (mostly young and white) congregate on beaches or at raves and pubs. By understanding these patterns, we can take wiser precautions.

Of course, advocating for open discussion may seem quaint in a post-truth age. But look at the evidence. If you want to understand the growth of anti-immigrant sentiment in the UK, you are looking in the wrong place if you focus on Nigel Farage or even Tommy Robinson. No, this was seeded by Tony Blair and his mendacious silence about European Union enlargement in 2004, a topic that ministers were in effect barred from speaking about.

This fanned a sense of grievance, partly because nobody was addressing people’s concerns, but also because nobody was sharing hard data on the economic benefits of immigration, the net effect on the public purse and the heroic work performed by immigrants in the NHS and other services. In this context, it is worth recalling that the first four doctors who died from the coronavirus in the UK — Alfa Saadu, Amged el-Hawrani, Adil El Tayar and Habib Zaidi — were all from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Or take the rise of Donald Trump. He has got away with serial bigotry precisely because he could position it as an antidote to a climate of political correctness that has stifled free speech.

This is where the suppression of open dialogue ultimately leads. Polarisation. Post-truth. A clown in the White House clinging on to power. And, yes, a British minister unable to state a key reason for restrictions during a pandemic, leading to the viral dissemination of tropes and conspiracies.

Political correctness started out as a wonderful thing. Most people were delighted that the n-word and other hateful phrases had been removed from public discourse. But by taking it too far, we have exacerbated the problems it was designed to solve. This is the elephant in the room, the truth around which all right-minded people should coalesce.

As Orwell put it: “Political chaos is connected with the decay of language . . . one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.”



100+ pages of forum discussion you can join in can be found >>here<<.

Coronavirus: facemasks ‘as crucial as handwashing and distancing’

This article first appeared in the Times

Not wearing one should be seen as antisocial, says top scientist

No one should leave home without a facemask and wearing one should be considered as crucial as handwashing and social distancing, according to the president of Britain’s leading scientific body.

Venki Ramakrishnan, who heads the Royal Society and holds a Nobel prize in chemistry, made the comments as he released a report showing that despite the growing evidence masks slow virus transmission, the UK is among the worst for wearing them.

“The UK is way behind many countries in terms of wearing masks and clear policies and guidelines about mask wearing for the public,” he said.

Figures show that by the end of April only a quarter of Britons had worn masks, compared with about two thirds in the US.

Face Masks UK














“The public have taken to handwashing and distancing but remain sceptical about face coverings. You only need to go on public transport, where they are supposed to be mandatory, to see how many people are ignoring this new rule based on the growing body of evidence that wearing a mask will help protect others – and might even protect you.”

The Royal Society has formed its own scientific advisory group to assess the evidence on pandemics. It includes Nobel laureates, a Fields medallist and researchers from across virology, public health and behavioural science. Its assessment on facemasks is its first big report, and comes as Scotland mandates their use in shops as well as public transport.

While the wider scientific community in Britain was sceptical about their effectiveness early in the pandemic, the committee, known as Delve, believed that the weight of evidence was in their favour. Given that many people may be infected without knowing, the report concluded that even simple cloth masks probably have value in preventing them passing on the disease inadvertently through droplets, and may also provide protection for wearers too.

Professor Ramakrishnan said that, as in other countries, this meant it was now time to normalise the use of masks. “It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts,” he said. “Today both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way.”

While we may not need one if outside, he said we should get used to carrying one to put on when we go into shops or other buildings.

Buy Face Masks UK















“If all of us wear one, we protect each other and thereby ourselves, reducing transmission. We lower the chances of future surges and lockdowns which are economically and psychologically disruptive, and we increase the chance of eliminating the virus. Not doing so increases the risk for everyone, from NHS workers to your grandmother.”

The utility of facemasks has split the scientific community, with many arguing they may even be harmful — by giving people a false sense of security. One of the concerns of mask-sceptics has been that there are few high-quality trials, known as randomised control trials, investigating their use. In the report, the Royal Society’s team acknowledged that but said: “We note that there have also been no clinical trials of coughing into your elbow, social distancing and quarantine, yet these measures have been widely adopted and are considered as effective.”

KK Cheng, from the University of Birmingham, has been one of those advocating masks since the beginning of the pandemic. He said the report should be a wake-up call for Britain to take them more seriously, in the same way they have been in Asia.

“Of course, 100 plus countries, numerous Nobel laureates and the Royal Society may all be wrong. But if they were, the penalty will be small. But if those who keep questioning the role of masks are wrong, the damage they do is much bigger, including damaged economy, overwhelmed health services and lives.”

Kobideh Kebab Recipe.



  • 500g minced beef (80-85% lean)
  • 500g minced lamb (80-85% lean)
  • 1 ½ medium yellow onions, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing over the kebabs after grilling)


  1. You will need the right kind of metal skewers. >>These Russian ones on UK Amazon are fine<<.
  2. For best results the meat should be fresh (not previously frozen) and at room temperature.
  3. Finely chop the onion pieces in a food processor until very juicy. Place a fine metal mesh over a bowl and strain the processed onion by pressing it with a spatula. Discard the juice.
  4. Add the remaining onion pulp to a medium bowl.
  5. Add the ground beef and lamb, minced garlic, salt, spices and egg to the bowl. Knead all of the ingredients for several minutes until the mixture is paste like and sticks together without falling apart.
  6. Fill up a small bowl with tap water; this is for wetting your fingers so the meat does not stick to them when you are making the kebabs.
  7. Divide the meat into 10 equal balls.
  8. Get one of the balls of meat in the palm of your hand, place the skewer on top of it and squeeze the meat around the skewer. Once you make sure that meat is not going to fall off, start squeezing it from top to bottom and cover the middle section of the skewer. Leave the top and bottom of the skewer clear. Wet your fingers with the tap water and keep squeezing and spreading the meat evenly around the skewer. The meat should be about ½ inch thick all around the skewer.
  9. Set the skewer gently on a shallow baking sheet with sides, so the meat does not touch the floor of the baking sheet. Continue making the rest of the kebabs. At this point the uncooked kebabs can sit over the counter while you get the grill ready.
  10. To Grill Kebab Kobideh: You will need two square metal pipes that you will place parallel to each other on top and bottom of the cooking grate of your grill lengthwise. The top pipe is for placing the tip of the skewers and the bottom one is for the handles. This is so the skewers are raised and the meat does not touch the hot grate, otherwise it will stick and fall right off.
  11. The coals are ready when they are grey and covered with ash.
  12. If you’re grilling vegetables it is always better to skewer them separate from the kebabs. I use thinner skewers for the vegetables because if the skewers are too wide the turgid vegetables such as green peppers will tear and fall apart.
  13. The vegetables take longer to grill than the meat, so if the space is limited, grill the vegetables first and keep them warm under an aluminium foil. If there is enough grilling surface start grilling the veggies first and halfway through grilling, start the kebabs.
  14. Place as many kebab skewers as you can fit on the grill, leave some space between them. As soon as you are done arranging all the skewers, start turning the first skewer and keep turning the rest in the order that you have placed them on the grill. The reason for this quick turning is to cook both sides of the kebabs for a short time so the meat cooks and firms up all around and does not fall off the skewer. Do not overcook the kebabs because they are thin and tend to dry out. Turn the kebabs again until you get the doneness you desire. The kebabs should have a nice grilled color on the outside and no longer pink inside, but still very juicy.
  15. When the kebabs are ready, remove them from the heat and into a container lined with a large aluminium foil. Keep the kebabs covered with the foil until ready to serve.
  16. To serve, use a piece of flatbread (chapati, naan, soft lavash, or pita bread) larger than the palm of your hand. Start at the end with handle, grab the kebab and slide it off the skewer onto the serving platter. This is the easiest and safest way to pull the kebabs off the skewer. The flavourful kebab juices make the bread so delicious that everyone will want a piece.
  17. Brush melted butter over the kebabs.

Corbyn’s scorn for working-class patriots gets its deserts

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times

George Orwell told us why anti-English leftists are out-of-touch losers.

There was a certain pleasure to be had in flicking from channel to channel as Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit done” election campaign destroyed, in the twinkling of an exit poll, the hopes of those who had spent three-and-a-half years attempting to subvert the result of the 2016 referendum. Well, that was how I spent the early hours of Friday. It was hard to know who looked more gratifyingly furious: the proponents of the suddenly annihilated second vote on Brexit, or the broadcasters (I am thinking especially of Channel 4, whose news operation is just The Guardian with shorter words).

In The Guardian proper, one of its finest writers, Gary Younge, declared that “the electorate did not abandon Labour for the centre. They went . . . to the far right in England and Wales.” What is meant here by the stigmatising term “far right”? Jackboots on the march? No, just the quiet determination of English and Welsh people to have their vote for Brexit finally honoured. And so the Conservatives last week gained their highest share of the vote in the principality since 1900. A month ago this column forecast “there will be some extraordinary constituency results on December 12”: Welsh former coalmining areas turning Conservative blue is certainly that.

This was less commented on than the collapse of the “red wall” in the Midlands and the north of England — where some seats held uninterruptedly by Labour since 1922 fell to the Tories. But it tells the same story: the historic breakthrough under the command of the Old Etonian Boris Johnson was concentrated entirely in leave-voting Labour constituencies. This is why last week I argued that the so-called “centrists” who pushed a reluctant Corbyn to abandon the party’s commitment to honour the referendum result (which had served Labour well in the 2017 general election) should not be able to evade their responsibility for the imminent electoral debacle.

Given the low regard (to put it mildly) in which Tony Blair is now held in the party, it is bizarre that Labour’s fatal switch to a “second EU vote” was inextricably linked to the former leader’s manoeuvring in Brussels. He declared his “mission” was to persuade the UK to vote again and to get EU leaders to facilitate this. Blair had no time for Labour MPs such as Aberavon’s Stephen Kinnock, who sought a compromise deal with Theresa May that would have led to a so-called soft Brexit (and, in fact, might have saved Labour’s electoral bacon). By September this year, The Times was reporting from Brussels how “European governments now believe that it has been a mistake to back remainers such as Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson . . . in their efforts to use delays to the Brexit deadline to keep Britain inside the EU”. I wonder if Blair felt any responsibility as his former seat of Sedgefield fell to the Tories for the first time in 84 years.

Doubtless he would argue that the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn was the principal cause of Labour’s worst election result since the 1930s. There is no denying the party leader’s absence of appeal beyond the “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” backing group and other members of the cult. But this is not either/or. There is an essential connection between the reason for Corbyn’s general unpopularity and the issue of Labour leave voters furious at the party’s deliberate obstruction of the 2016 referendum result.

This would be clear to anyone who read the account by The Times journalist Robert Crampton of his travels around the north of England during the campaign. He reported that many of those he encountered, who had supported Brexit and who told him how “hacked off” they were that it hadn’t been delivered, lived in shockingly straitened circumstances, “and yet, in spite of everything, they still love their country. Really love it.”

“Patriotism is in vogue as a fashion statement but out there in the provinces people really feel it and people really mean it. In London, not so much.”

And here’s why Corbyn was disliked by so many traditional Labour voters. It was not at all because of his (actually rather popular) manifesto, replete with renationalisation and loads of free stuff to be paid for by more taxes on billionaires. It was because he was seen as unpatriotic. The not singing the national anthem. The creepy friendships with Hamas and Hezbollah, with Irish republican terrorists, with the Argentine invader over the Falklands: in 1983 he had said “the whole thing [Falklands War] is a Tory plot to keep their money-making friends in business”.

Respectable working-class Labour voters had finally fingered Corbyn as someone who regards the very idea of the United Kingdom with, at best, cold indifference. And for millions of them, it is because of their deep love of their country that they don’t want it to be part of a European political construction, with a common passport and free movement (which has had a depressing effect on the wages of the lowest paid in the UK, according to the government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee).

If that seems irrational to those most bitterly opposed to Brexit, they should ask themselves why they, too, feel so emotional about it. It surely can’t be the fact that the UK economy might be a few per cent smaller in 20 years’ time than it would have been while remaining in the EU, as they constantly assert, as if it were the decisive argument. No, they too are motivated by passion and identity, not economics. Only in their case, the passion is for Britain to become less distinctively British and more “European” (though it’s remarkable how little most of them know about the institutions of the EU, which is not a cultural phenomenon but a bureaucratic and imperial one).

It was George Orwell who best captured this cast of mind, in his 1941 essay England Your England. Though a socialist himself, Orwell expressed his contempt for much of the well-to-do British left: “In the general patriotism of the country, they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution from horse-racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true, that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God Save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box.”

Orwell would absolutely have recognised why, more than three-quarters of a century later, so many English and Welsh workers rejected the party that claimed to be the sole legitimate guardian of their interests but insulted what they hold most dear.

By Dominic Lawson. 

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Forum Newsletter – Autumn/Winter 2019

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Forum Newsletter – Autumn/Winter 2019.

This is our first newsletter in quite some time, and first we want to take a moment to welcome again our many new members to the conversation forums who perhaps never had a newsletter from us before.

So What’s Happening?

Our forum is now twelve years old, and we have just passed our half millionth post milestone. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of talking the last decade or so!

The forum was started back in the tail end of the Russian and Ukrainian so-called ‘mail order bride’ phenomenon, and our subject matter was a one-trick pony in that regard back then. Times have changed in a decade. Russian and Ukrainian women are not relocating like they once were. Indeed, since Crimea reunified with Russia and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk broke away to become independent, the Ukrainian bride industry [as it mostly was] has withered on the vine.

The ‘mail order bride’ industry has adapted, and much of it has relocated to South America, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and China. The reputable among those that still operate in Russia and Ukraine encourage men to have realistic expectations. Brides & Lovers is such a site. Their MD, Steveboy is a regular contributor to our site and is well-known to tell it like it is.

New Directions

If you have not visited us for a while, when you do drop by, you will notice the conversation isn’t strictly limited to overseas dating as it once was. You will find lively banter on all manner of subjects……

Current Popular Topics

My Visit to North Korea. A Look Inside the DPRK.

USS Pueblo










Anyone Want to Go to Ukraine over Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Visiting Kiev and Making (Almost) Every Possible Mistake: Round 2!

Things That I Do Not Understand: Have They Changed Much?

Would You Buy Real Estate in Ukraine Right Now?

TLC’s 2019 Before the 90 Days – USA and Ukrainian Lady

High Heels, Fillers, Eyebrows, Stockings and Other Enhancements

Doubts About My Relationship………..

Doing Business in China

President Trump

What Else Is Going On?

The chat room is now working again thanks to Herrie. Check it out this weekend here: RUA Chat Room and following some member donations, the site is now in the black again, the server has been updated and uploading of photos has been restored.

Social Media

You can still find us on Twitter at RUAdventures

Anything Else?

If you are a low, zero post or inactive member who just drops by to read the site occasionally (and we know there are a lot of you out there), we encourage you to join in the conversation and banter. Like many forums, over time we have suffered the the usual trolls who want to make the site all about them, and we understand that this often puts people off contributing. In recent weeks we have listened to our members, and we have taken steps to curtail the constant disruption caused by one or two particularly troublesome posters. That should make a better forum experience for all of us. Welcome back to RUA.

The Team.

Betcha we don’t leave the EU — on October 31 or ever

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times.

Since the 2016 referendum, the Establishment has connived to thwart the will of the majority who backed Brexit — and, argues Rod Liddle, its chicanery is about to succeed

At about five o’clock in the morning of June 24, 2016, I was woken by a woman shrieking excitedly in my ear: “We’ve done it, we’ve done it!” Done what? I wondered dimly, dragging myself from a disquieting dream in which giant mechanical Michael Goves were terrorising the country, stamping people to death and firing bolts of electricity out of their rusted metal arms. Done what? Had sex? Surely not.

“We’ve won!” The voice came again. “We’re leaving the European Union!” I immediately sat upright. Christ! I joined my wife downstairs, where she’d been all night watching the referendum special on the BBC. As soon as I saw David Dimbleby’s face I knew she wasn’t lying: he looked aghast. A pall of appalled outrage hung over the entire TV studio.

I made some coffee for us both and sat down in a state of mild euphoria for a while, until my wife said, shrugging her shoulders: “They won’t let it happen.”

I looked back at the TV screen, at the ranks of terribly transgressed BBC employees, at the utterly forlorn main party politicians giving their verdicts and already saying “we must respect the result of the referendum, but . . .” And I nodded. “No, they won’t let it happen.”

Later that day I put up a one-line post on my Facebook page. “Betcha we don’t leave.” Oh, yes. The sad sweet pleasure of being proved right.

Part of me still clung to a faint hope that a clear majority verdict on the part of the British people would be honoured and acted upon, because that would be the right, democratic, thing to do. The politicians were mandated to extricate ourselves from the EU — not bits of it, all of it. How, then, would they be able to renege on that mandate?

I could envisage very clearly that they would renege upon it, but the question was how.

What I didn’t foresee at the time, that glad bright morning when everything seemed rather good with the world: the process, the narrative, the chicanery, the bare-faced lies, the subversion of direct democracy by every possible unaccountable institution, the welter of propaganda from our neutral broadcasters, the staggering political ineptitude, the lack of will, the duplicity, the betrayal.

Because that is what it is, regardless of whether you are a leaver or remainer. A grotesque and unprecedented betrayal of the country by our parliament, a betrayal of that majority which voted in good faith, which trusted in democracy and perhaps never will do so again. The people voted to leave the European Union. We will not be leaving the European Union.

At the very best we will be staying in it to all intents and purposes, except without voting rights. Headed towards this anomaly, some kind of “deal” that makes us worse off than if we’d merely remained EU members. The maths should have made it evident on that day, three years ago. Yes, the House of Commons was mandated to deliver Brexit. But it was more than six to one in favour of remain. Not only that, but of the parties represented in the House of Commons, only one — the tiny Democratic Unionist Party — and a lone ’kipper, Douglas Carswell, were in favour of Brexit.

The others were all, by a majority — a large majority in most cases — against. The Conservatives, Labour, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, Plaid Cymru. The same was true of the House of Lords and, still more crucially so, the rest of our liberal Establishment — the people with the power, the influence, the money.

But it was still a question of: how? The result was straightforward enough. Every region of England and Wales, except for London, voted to leave. How could the Establishment work its way into a position where it could offer the pretence of delivering that mandate while actually not doing so? Through what tortuous manoeuvrings would it need to turn?

It began with a very swift change to the narrative. Within a day of the victory politicians and commentators were talking about a “hard Brexit” and a “soft Brexit”, whereas hitherto we had simply been talking about “Brexit”. At first, a “hard Brexit” was leaving with no deal at all — although that changed as time progressed. A “soft Brexit”, it became quickly apparent, would not be much of a Brexit at all and was utterly dependent upon the good will — ha — of the EU.

Another narrative, however, stayed basically the same, but increased in intensity, in fury. This had been seemingly the main plank of the remainer argument — that those who were in favour of leaving were racists and xenophobes. The remainers conflated a distaste for the EU among leavers with a distaste for Europe, and a worry about unrestricted immigration with a dislike of foreigners — a woeful misrepresentation of the majority of the country.

They were also stupid, these leavers — uneducated thickos. They were not wealth creators, they did not have degrees. They lived in awful places — Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Mansfield, Boston, Clacton and so on. They were underachievers.

This trope played its part in allowing the MPs to renege upon the decision of the electorate. The allegations that leave voters were all racists enabled MPs, and Labour MPs in particular, to feel better about themselves for gainsaying the democratic will of the people — because the “people” were bad. And if they were not bad, just dense.

This latter trope was of huge importance to the Establishment as, within days of the referendum, the BBC and other news organisations scrabbled around trying to find people who had voted leave but now regretted the decision because they hadn’t “understood properly what it meant”. (They never tried to find people who had changed their minds in the other direction, although there were plenty.)

Because these thick *snip*s hadn’t understood what was really meant by Brexit, perhaps the kindest thing to do would be to let them have the vote again, so that they can get it right? A confirmatory vote, if you will. Or, hilariously, a “People’s Vote” — because the first one was won by troglodytes, not people.

And as the prime minister struggled through her witless negotiations with the EU, so this fervour for a people’s vote grew — because the thickos hadn’t understood how complex it all was, had they? And look — see how complex it is now, how labyrinthine? You hadn’t bargained for this, had you? And yet all the way along it was not Brexit that was the problem but the government’s handling of Brexit. But this stereotype, of the decrepit moron leave voter, was crucial to the cause of not delivering Brexit. They knew not what they had done, these poor deluded *snip*s. So another vote was needed, or maybe no vote — just stop the process in its tracks.

Labour MPs could convince themselves that in opposing Brexit they were doing the best for their constituencies, despite what their constituencies actually had to say about the business. Tory MPs did the same. And so parliament began to follow the narrative of the soft Brexit, the nice Brexit, the Brexit that wasn’t Brexit at all, something that might be offered as a sop to the idiots but that actually kept us in the EU in all but name.

Oh, and the elderly. It was elderly people who voted leave. Destroying the future of the younger generation. And their votes shouldn’t really count because they’ll all be dead soon — a familiar theme among that extremist tranche of absolutist remainers.

Never have so many blameless people in this country been held in such contempt, or been subject to such vilification, by an elite. A transgressed elite. Another narrative. The vote was invalid. It was not “binding” — despite the promise of the then prime minister, David Cameron, that it would indeed be binding and the absence on the polling cards anywhere of the word “advisory”. Sheer chicanery. Only 52% voted leave — a proper vote would have insisted upon a 60–40 majority. Would it? Why would it?

Those were the rules — a simple majority sufficed. Everybody knew that when they went to the polls, remainers and leavers alike. A football match won one-nil has still been won — the opposition does not declare that it’s not a win at all because the score wasn’t five-nil. The majority of people in the UK didn’t vote leave — another wholly asinine objection from that rump of infuriated remainers. No, indeed, they didn’t. But we have a habit, in this country, and in most democracies, of counting up the votes of people who have voted — not the ones who didn’t. An odd arrangement, but there we are.

Or the vote was invalid because the leave campaign — always the leave campaign, never the remainers — told fibs. Well, heaven forfend. If we nullified elections every time a politician told a porkie, we wouldn’t have a democracy at all. But all this epic, disingenuous, non-sequitur shit, this flailing around in pursuit of a bunch of Aunt Sally arguments, helped to grease the wheels of the remain lobby and assuaged the MPs in their confected anguish over not, actually, respecting the vote at all.

Brexit was defeated — in part by people who always wanted it defeated and did not really care a jot about the aspirations of those who voted leave. But partly also by sheer staggering ineptitude. Not only the ineptitude of the prime minister but also of those who genuinely believed in Brexit and wished — or seemed to wish — to make it happen.

We are left in a kind of limbo. Theresa May tried three times to get her deal through parliament and failed on each occasion. Her deal did not actually involve leaving the EU in a meaningful sense. She is now about to go. But the same problem faces the incoming prime minister, that the mathematics of the House of Commons will not allow a no-deal exit from the EU (a point that has already been made very clear by MPs) and, given the make-up of the House of Commons, it is more likely to insist upon a deal that is even less effective at extricating ourselves from the clutches of the EU: permanent membership of the customs union, for example.

And always looming is the prospect of a second vote — but this time gerrymandered so we get it right. A choice between a disastrous deal and remaining, for example. The Establishment will not make the same mistake again.

So if Boris moves to No 10 the result will be exactly the same. Here’s how Martin Howe QC, chairman of Lawyers for Britain, saw it:

“If the deal goes through, the next day we will not have left the EU in anything but name. For at least 21 months of ‘transition’ — extendable up to four years — we will have to obey the EU’s laws and rules, and be subject to the Commission and the European Court of Justice as now. The big difference is that we will no longer have a vote or voice in the EU institutions. So no vote or veto against EU law changes which damage the City, or against the Commission’s use of state aid controls to suppress our competitiveness.”

So it’s that, or something worse, or nothing. Betcha we don’t leave. It was said with sadness back then in June 2016. It’s said today with real anger.


Copyright Rod Liddle 2019. Extracted from The Great Betrayal by Rod Liddle to be published by Constable on July 16 at £14.99

The Edwina Currie Interview: Edwina Discusses Brexit, Russia, Putin, the EU with Cheshire Olga

My guest today on the Cheshire Olga channel is Edwina Currie.

An Oxford University alumna, she was an MP from 1983 until 1997, and was a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government in the Department for Health.

She is the author of eleven books, a well-known radio presenter and TV personality. Here we discuss Russia, Brexit and Margaret Thatcher.

You can click the button below to watch the full interview on Youtube.

Watch Olga interview Edwina Currie







It is in two languages (Russian and English) throughout and subtitled for the other so anyone can watch it. A transcript in all English appears below.

Edwina Currie Interview
















Olga Introduction:

I’ve lived in the UK for over a decade, and when I return to Russia, people often ask me what British people think of Russia and Russian people. So let’s ask one…….

My guest today is Edwina Currie. An Oxford University alumna, she was an MP from 1983 until 1997, and was a minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government in the Department for Health. She is the author of eleven books, a well-known radio presenter and TV personality. She even runs a business club and is the president of a male voice choir! Edwina, good afternoon……

Olga: Unlike most British people, I know that you have visited Russia. Can you tell me a little about that visit? 

Edwina: I’ve been to Russia several times. The first time in 1994 as part of a parliamentary delegation, we were invited to the first meeting of the new Duma when Yeltsin was president. It was fascinating. I could see it was a hard time for Russia, but we were made very welcome.

We went to the first session of the Duma and I was surprised by how well behaved everyone was! They weren’t shouting at each other like they do in the UK House of Commons.

We were taken around Moscow, to the Kremlin and to various special events. It was very interesting.

I visited Russia again in 2002 and 2009, but this time on a bicycle! I helped to organise a group of 70-80 amateur cyclists for charity events. The first event was Saint Petersburg to Moscow in July 2002. The second one was Tallinn, Estonia to Saint Petersburg in 2009. I think I know every pothole in the roads around St Petersburg now! It was a wonderful experience.

Usually when a visitor goes to Russia they see the great cities like Saint Petersburg and Moscow. I did, and I also saw the Hermitage too. But the visitor seldom gets to see the countryside. Riding a bicycle I did. Beautiful old carved wooden houses, babushkas sat outside wearing headscarves were waving at us as we rode past. We felt very welcome. It was lovely.

Olga: As you have visited Russia in the past, what is your impression of Russia, the Russian people and the current leadership? Feel free to be candid.

Edwina: Russian people are similar in many respects to people anywhere. They’ve had a very hard time in many ways. The impact of WW2, Stalingrad, etc., is still there. You still feel it, especially among older people. There was a lot of hardship and the changes that happened after Perestroika and Glasnost put a burden on people who had never experienced a different kind of life.

For a while [at that time] there were some people making a lot of money and many other people suffered hardship – that was the impression I got. There was also a yearning for stability, we understand that.

I saw Russia before President Putin came to power around 1999-2000 and also afterwards. Now it’s a lot brighter, cleaner and richer. One of the things I admired Putin for was he fixed low tax rates but everyone had to pay tax. This means steady government income and thus funding exists for necessary things. The element of chaos we once saw has now largely vanished. People are working hard and seeing the benefits.

Putin is a very interesting man. It’s easy to say he is strong and in control, and I’m sure that is true. From a western perspective, we would like to see more democracy, and the growth of a political opposition so different arguments can be heard. But Russia doesn’t have that as a history, so people have to find their own way to live a good, prosperous and safe life.

Olga: It is no secret that the British media frequently carries negative commentary about Russia. Do you believe all the negative media is justified, and do you see an improvement in relations between the UK and Russia in the future?

Edwina: The British media habitually report bad things. If you turn on BBC News, its all disaster, death, murder or plane crashes. As an audience, we have developed a taste for negative news. That is a pity as there are a many good things to talk about as well.

The successes of Russia which particularly attracted attention, admiration and envy in the 1950s and 1960s, for example Sputnik, the first dog in space, Yuri Gagarin, etc., hasn’t happened recently. There is always going to be great rivalry between the non-Communist west, particularly the USA, and Communist (FSU) countries. The USA is “macho” and doesn’t like competition.

That said, we would feel more secure with Russia if there were a freer media and if people felt secure making comment about what the government is doing without fear. Whether that will come or not is up to the president.

Putin has a remarkable personality; very tough and capable. We envy that. There is no doubt. We would like strong leadership as well. But we would like strong leadership alongside awareness that things might be different; that the other side of the argument may have validity.

Does that make sense?

These are the questions that seldom get asked in Britain. We don’t think about how relationships might improve with Russia. We tend to blame Russia and assume anything that goes wrong is Russia’s fault. We don’t think about what we can do. Where it would be helpful is if the UK and Russia could work together to help resolve some world issues.

At the moment, things are a little soured by speculation about Russia interfering in elections. These are our very precious things. Elections are dear to us – we don’t want anyone to interfere with them. Not least because we say: interfere at your peril. Be careful what you wish for.

Olga: Russian people ask me about Brexit. The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, and it isn’t finalised yet. Do you think the UK will actually leave the EU or will it be postponed indefinitely or diluted?

Edwina: Brexit is Britain’s nightmare right now. It’s an extremely difficult time. The last 6 months where we have had vote after vote in the House of Commons where nobody can agree has put 10 years on my face!

It’s a hard time for us in several ways. For business, we don’t know if we are in the EU and obeying their laws, or out of the EU and not obeying their laws, or if we have an agreement – we simply don’t know! We don’t know what the future will be.

As I speak, we have no agreement. Everyone wants an agreement and to know what certainties they have. Business is relaxed about if we are in the EU or not. Once they know the new rules, they can adapt.

I have confidence our country will prosper whether we are in the EU or out.

I campaigned to remain in the EU. I was always a fan of the EU. But I admit it has changed. When we joined, it was a trading area. Now it has become more political. It feels a bit like we are in the Russian Federation without any choice, and the British are rather difficult about that.

When we voted in June 2016, everybody promised to abide by the result. As we speak today, that hasn’t yet happened. I hope we see a resolution soon.

Olga: As a well-known, and at times, controversial person, you have had to deal with much negativity over the years in the media and online. I have met you a few times before, and for me you are a positive, energetic and very warm lady with a big personality. May I ask how you deal with negativity and negative people in your life?

Edwina: Well, I think you have to have a vision. You have to have a set of values; you have to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve. The political world is one of possibilities. It’s one in which things can be encouraged and enabled to happen.

If you hold on to what you believe to be the best way of doing things, you can be positive and hopeful. In my lifetime certainly, things have got better in many ways. There are many ways in which life gets better.

The modern media is wonderful; I love Facebook and the other social media sites, but they can be difficult. If I’m on Twitter and someone is rude to me, I either mock them or block them. If you show you’re not a victim, and they are not part of your life, you have won. That’s the best way forward.

The answer to anything, on a day when things are not going well, is to get some work done. Do something. If you’re at home, tidy a cupboard. If you’re at work, do that pile of work you have been delaying. When it’s done, it’s finished and you’ll feel better.

Olga: What inspires you?

Edwina: I’ve been inspired by looking at the work of great people. Particularly Margaret Thatcher, who I knew and worked for. I had noticed her when she was a young, married woman MP, a scientist and a mother of small children. Her children were only 6 years old when she went into parliament. I went into parliament when my children were 6 and 8 years old. I knew it could be done because Margaret had done it.

You cannot aspire to be that person, but you can aspire to their way of life, ideas and attitudes. And try to continue the pathway they showed.

I was in elected office for 22 years. Each time I had the opportunity to administer some power I tried to do good things that would be durable. We introduced free breast cancer screening for everybody. We brought in cervical cancer screening for women. We were the first country in the world to have both.

Sooner or later we are judged. And I hope the judgement is kind.

Olga: Do you believe in God?

Edwina: I don’t visit church. I was raised in a religious household. I recognise the great value and strength that belief and church-going gives people. I respect that. Who knows, maybe when I’m 95 or 96 and I think I may meet god soon, maybe…..

Olga: I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.

Edwina: Thank you. Is “thank you” spoken as “spaciba”? [exchange of pleasantries and thanks]

Olga: Thank you for watching, please like and subscribe to my channel, and feel free to comment below.

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