Archive for the ‘Odds and Sods’ Category


Dear Spammers

October 26, 2010

Dear Spammers, so far I have been sent 2205 spam comments relating all manner of unconnected rubbish to various posts.

If you intend to try and spam my blog, please at the very least try and place your spam comments under a heading that may actually trick me into letting it through.

Whilst I accept that in some opinions there is a connection between penis enlargement and the politics of Ukraine or on-line gambling and beaches in Odessa quite frankly it is not a connection that will get passed me easily and thus be published.

I would be quite happy to highlight anything you have to say if I consider it connected to Ukraine and worthy of further examination or could be of benefit to any readers in or visiting Ukraine……but it is my blog, I have lived here for a lot of years and as I vet all comments vefore they are published…… not hold your breath.


What stories could you tell if you lived to 100?

September 30, 2010

Well dear readers, I did have a blog post for today relating to the usual political occurances in Ukraine…….as I promised, back on the Ukrainian track today……..but I am not posting it today.

Yesterday I met an Ukrainian centurian (plus a few years) who told me tails of seeing Tsar Nicholas when a child (prior to his being shot by the Communists of course), tales about the war, life under communism and life since independence.

I wonder just how many people alive today can claim to have lived under Tsarist autocratic rule, Stalinism, communist rule and democratic rule, seen a civil war/revolution, a world war, cold war, 3 different domestic currencies etc, all whilst living in the same city?

I have to say, the guy looked fit as a flea as well – I wish he had kept diaries throughout this time, what an amazing read that could have been.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?


President or Monarchy?

September 29, 2010

Well dear readers, almost back with it, unpacked, washing machine on overdrive and suits with unwanted creases hanging in the hope they will drop out…….hmmmm.

Before I dive back into Ukraine and the wonderful tapestry of the said life, of all the conversations I had back in Blighty, one has stuck with me that, paraphrased, I will share with you.

It was a conversation on the subject of whether the UK should consider the removal of the monarch as head of state and replace the monarch with a president.

There is no requirement to delve into all aspects of the discussion held (relating to privilage, birth right, costs, income via tourism and “figureheading”) as so often discussed in such conversations.

This conversation has led to my slightly in favour or retaining the monarchy stance to me firmly nailing my colours to the monarchy mast.  (Yes I know I have historically worked for The Crown and am therefore possibly biased but that alone does not make you in favour of the monarchy).

What made me nail my colours so firmly to the mast?  Something I said aloud during the discussion which seemed to strike a serious chord with those of the opposite view.

“So instead of the monarchy”, I said, “You would prefer President Margaret Thatcher?  Presdient Tony Blair or President Gordon Brown?”


Suffice to say, my colours are firmly nailed to the monarchy mast when it comes to head of state.

Tomorrow I shall return to things Ukrainian………I promise!


Taking a break for a few weeks…..from the blog I mean

September 13, 2010

Well dear readers, due to an exceptionally busy 2 or 3 weeks, it is unlikely there will be many, if any, posts during that time.

Do feel free to check back again towards the end of the month.

In my virtual absense do feel free to click through the blog-roll on the right and have a read.


Human Rights

June 1, 2010

Over at Charles Crawfords blog……a link to which is to the right……there is something of note (there always is to be fair) to republish here.  I am not quoting Mr Crawford, but requoting something he has taken from a government report.

The Commission has also recommended the appointment of an Ambassador-at-Large for International Human Rights, who would work with the Minister of State to co-ordinate the efforts of diplomats and embassies in addressing international human rights, and oversee the work of a range of Special Envoys on thematic human rights issues – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; religious freedom; human trafficking; women’s rights, for example.

These could either be diplomats with a proven track record in these areas, or respected human rights campaigners from the NGO sector. The United States, the Netherlands and France have similar positions, and it is time the United Kingdom did too.

Such appointments would be an important demonstration of human rights being a centre-piece of foreign policy, not simply an after-thought. They would represent a serious expansion of the currently woefully under-staffed human rights and governance unit at the FCO.

It is hoped that someone slightly better equipped than…….Cathy Ashton in her role…….would be selected for this role.

Where to start with a divided nation like Ukraine? 

Holodmor?  Genocide according to Canada…..not according to the EU.

Bandera?  No hero according to the EU but hero to a small but very vocal percentage of Ukrainians.

Language?  Ukrainian, Russian, Tartar, Bularian…… many languages and minorities to defend and which to support?

Womens rights?

People Traffiking?

Press Freedom?

Parliamentary Immunity? 

Politicised Judiciary?

All in need of some form of attention here to varying degrees.

All in need of an uncompromised, direct and yet tactful public positions from the UK together with a strategy to impliment corrections with……or without……. governmental blessing here, where it can be achieved be it overtly or covertly…..carrot or stick.

I am not sure there is a need for an Ambassador of Ambassadors when it comes to human rights.  Any Ambassador worth the title in a particular nation will be the best informed diplomat relating to that nation.  What is the point of reporting back to another “Super Ambassador” instead of the Foregn Secretary?

Who is better to make the point to the foreign nation in question?  An Ambassador the nation sees all the time or a “passing ship” with imperious title?

Does it not undermine the position of the UK Ambassador in a particular nation to have a “Super Ambassador” drop by and then disappear having relayed the same message that would have been passed anyway?






The Politics of Eurovision

May 31, 2010

Well dear readers, I am no fan of the Eurovision Song Contest and never have been…..however, she that must be obeyed is far less difficult to please.

Congratulations to Ukraine’s entry by Alyosha for finishing 10th…..even though for me she sounds like a poor mans Pink.

Anyway, I think I have now ruined Eurovision for my good woman.


As each and every country came to vote, I predicted their votes with 90% accuracy based on current and historical political issues before they stated them…… well as stating only Germany could win this year (without hearing any of the songs) as they are the only nation who could afford to put on next years show.

She now realises that the voting is political and nothing to do with the songs being sung.

Next year we are not watching I am told……..which is a fantastic result!


Ukraine, Catholicism…….and no sex scandals

May 29, 2010

It seems not a week goes by without some devastating revelation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church being reported in the international media.

But there’s one nation where the Catholic Church has so far avoided scandal.

It’s in Ukraine, where millions follow the Greek Catholic Church, a unique branch of Catholicism, which is loyal to Rome and the Pope but with one major difference.

Its priests are allowed to marry and have families and its followers say that makes all the difference.

Well, there you go dear readers, it just goes to show, depriving yourself of the things you enjoy can have a damaging phsychological effect……however endulging yourself makes you an all round good egg!


Getting busy on the foreign policy front!

May 21, 2010

Well dear readers, I can’t remember the last time Ukraine has been so busy when it comes to foreign policy regardless of whether it is with swift decision makers like Russia, China and the USA or the slothes of the EU.

Aside from the RBSF deal, gas deal, possible cooperation in aviation, space, energy and technology with Russia……all happening at a pace, there is also China wanting to carry out joint ventures with Ukraine in similar fields, as well as other high tech areas, giving up highly enriched nuclear material to please the US, active and consistant negotiation with the EU on the free trade agreement and visa free travel…….not to mention ongoing and seemingly fruitful talks with the IMF, WB, EBRD and European bank.

Add to this visa free negotiations with Israel and Turkey to name but two, active reengagement with the CIS, the allowing of several NATO exercises on Ukrainian soil very shortly plus official invitations to Vietnam and other eastern nations and it seems things are moving in many directions at a serious pace……or at least the pace that others involved in the bilateral negotiations can move at.

Now many will not be happy with certain policy decisions but it seems very difficult to question the energy that is being put into carving bilateral relations globally.

Let’s just hope that the majority will be good decisions with Ukrainian interests at heart.

Time will tell!

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