Monthly Archives: January 2020

No way Huawei

HuaThe technicalities of 5G are something of a closed book to me. But I listened carefully to Malcolm Turnbull’s explanation as to the dangers of allowing a Chinese company to gain a foothold into Australia’s 5G ambitions, and that explanation sounded cogent to me. He provided a rational basis for Australia saying “No” to Huawei as a 5G supplier in Australia. However innocent Huawei may now be in terms of espionage, the inescapable fact is that as a Chinese company, it is wholly within the power of the Chinese intelligence forces, whose track record is very far from ideal.

The newspaper reports suggest that Huawei has obtained a lead in 5G technology by investing a few billion in 5G research. The Scandinavians seem to be second in the field. The reports also suggest that Trump has offered a technical collaboration between the USA and the UK to catch up.

If it is possible for the USA and the UK to catch up, with the investment of a few billion contributed to by both countries, that sounds like a good idea to me. Even if it means Continue reading

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Mercutio George Snowdrift

JAN 20

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Saturday, 25 January 2020 · 8:18 pm

A Slow Waltz

FEETStick – bad – good

stick – bad – good

Usually, we think of walking in two-time. Or, if you fancy marching in a more military style, four-time. Hup 2 3 4. But it turns out that, after a hip operation, and after progressing from a walking frame to a walking stick, getting around is more a question of a waltz. A very slow waltz. The physiotherapist in the hospital was very specific about the order in which the stick and the two legs have to go. It is not an entirely intuitive three-time:

Stick – bad leg – good leg

Stick – bad – good



Going up a step is different. That is good leg – stick –  bad leg. But going down its back to stick – bad – good.

Somewhat bizarrely, I was able to stand up and even take a step or two on the same day as the operation. They saw off the top of one’s femur, ream out one’s hip joint with a substantial electric drill and bolt on some new bits. As my excellent surgeon warned me, the pain Continue reading

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The_Two_Popes_posterNot being a fan at all of religion, either neo-religion as in climate change alarmism or traditional religion as in the Catholic Church, I was not remotely expecting to enjoy the movie The Two Popes. I only started watching it at the suggestion of my darling Louise.

But much to my surprise, it was brilliant. The two somewhat ageing Welsh actors – Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – were superb as the German Pope Benedict and the Argentinian Pope Francis.

It all just goes to show that with a really good screenplay, compelling acting, skilful music, costumes etc pretty much any old guff by way of plot is enough Continue reading

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cat in microwave 2It will have escaped no one’s notice that the recent fires in Australia have been particularly widespread this year. Unhappily, a couple of dozen people have been killed, and although this number is much smaller than the many who have been killed by the anomalously cold weather in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan during the same period, it is a couple of dozen too many.

The fires are of course useful fuel for climate alarmists, who want to push the narrative that there is some sort of emergency whereby carbon dioxide emissions will cause us all to fry sometime soon. Thus, Greta Thunberg wrote in a tweet on 22nd December:

Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible? Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires That’s what has to change. Now.

Likewise, Tim Flanney, a man with a formidable reputation for getting things wrong, says that it is “immoral not to connect the dots” in this way.

The evidence, however, is unremittingly against this analysis. New South Wales, where the fires first took a grip, has had a hot spell, for sure, but not exceptionally so Continue reading

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armsI will be sworn in as an Australian citizen on 26th January.

The local council, who do the swearing thing, have asked for “a brief couple of paragraphs with your history as where you have come from and why you have chosen to settle in the Yankalilla District. This information will be used to introduce you to the community.”

My paragraphs are as follows:

My grandfather James Elliott was a Queenslander and my grandmother Gwendolyn Manton was a South Australian. They moved to England for my grandfather’s work, my father Dennis was born in England, and that is where I was brought up. Around my grandfather’s Sunday lunch table in London, I regularly met family and friends from Australia, and indeed other parts of the Commonwealth.

I moved to Australia some years ago after a career in the law, based in London but often requiring travel around the world.

I chose my present home, on the hill above Myponga Beach, because it was then permissible to take my dog Perdita for a run on the beach at the end of the day’s work, and until the present dog ban was introduced, that daily ritual was the greatest pleasure of living here.

I am retaining my UK citizenship, so will have dual nationality. Unhappily, dogs are now banned from running on the beach (it seems they frighten the foxes which eat the local hooded plovers), so neither I nor Continue reading


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Predictions for 2030


NostradamusIt is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.

Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.

Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.

Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.


Global warming

My guess is that there will be Continue reading

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