Life seldom runs like a Rolls Royce on the highway, giving us enough reasons to brood over rather than smile. Since my last post, we have moved on to the next year. So my best wishes to everybody on a new year, I know it’s not that new. This interim of six months has been both good and not so good. Results of my chartered accountancy examinations have been out. Well they have been as per my expectations, though a disappointing one indeed. The sunny side of it has been reading International Relations as a programme of study. Read the rest of this entry »
Last month, an episode of the British current affairs debate show ‘Question Time’ was one for the history books. Refreshingly, the panel was dominated by women; journalist Camilla Cavendish, Labour MP Mary Creagh, and Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt. Between them, the three were the bastions of civility, and reasoned political debate. They were joined, however, by ‘comedian and campaigner’ Russell Brand, and leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage. I shall refrain from describing too much of the episode in this blog – you should watch it – except to say that there were several occasions of volatility amongst the panelists, and even amongst audience members. The main point I want to focus on here is a point which was raised during the programme, namely that of representative government. Read the rest of this entry »
The moment it became real for me was as I took stock of the brown parcel in front of me. As I unwrapped it, I found my new study guides – the start of my BSc in International Relations. Applying and enrolling online had all seemed quite abstract. I was more used to a physical campus university, the type that is made out of bricks. In the days that followed there were more parcels, some little, some large. The pile of books on my desk became taller and taller.
I’m not new to studying. In fact, I graduated with a BA earlier this year. But I had become severely disillusioned with the path it was leading me down, so I called in my midlife crisis career change a little early. After the first few weeks of my student experience with UoL, I have realised how significantly different this degree is going to be.
‘Are you happy in the Navy?’, this was the signal passed to a neighbouring vessel by Lt Leo Joseph Gradwell during a German air raid. An Oxbridge barrister, adept in six languages, he was not quite the man one would imagine fighting the best German warships with only a yacht sailing certificate. Captain of one of the British merchant ships of the ‘scattered’ PQ17 convoy, he had a Times Handy Atlas to stay alive after being ordered to disperse at the lurking threat of the the Nazi warship Tirpitz. PQ17: well, it’s obviously an intriguing code name though quite a historic one. PQ17 was the code named convoy containing British and American ammunition, weapons and aid that were sent to the Russians to prevent the unstoppable Germans from capturing Moscow; crossing the hell rough Arctic ocean. Dating back to the venerable Second War, PQ17 Arctic Convoy Disaster has been tagged one of the most infamous naval disasters in the history of warfare. This may seem to have no connection to that of an 18-year old prat’s life. Self-confessedly, even I would have been in the dark about PQ17, like most other people, had I not stumbled upon the documentary broadcast on the BBC, presented by the legendary, albeit controversial, Jeremy Clarkson.
Time to draw the connection.