Category Archives: News

Tony Blairs Memoirs and Can “Firm Friends” Play A Part In A Middle East Peace Process?


I’ve been wondering recently whether Tony Blair is just a simple narcissist, or as I have long thought, a psychopath. The problem is the lines between what constitutes a narcissist and a psychopath can become blurred to amateur researchers like myself.  After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that my latter thinking is correct; Blair is actually a psychopath.

Only the mind of a psychopath is capable of creating a thought process whereby the horrors, colossal life changing injuries and death experienced by hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and of British soldiers, due to his egotistical participation in an illegal war, could be erased in the minds of the public at large.  Blair did exactly this in regard to his memoirs.

This is demonstrated by Blairs decision to donate the profits of his memoirs to injured troops.  Large swathes of the public at large may perceive his action as a demonstration of guilt and deep regret and of ‘making amends’.  But the decision to donate was not just driven by his recognition of this and how it could be used to rejuvenate his negative public persona, but to also perpetuate his own vanity. It seems Blair doesn’t comprehend that there really is no need to polish a turd.

Blair’s memoirs not only demonstrate the sheer awfulness of the reasoning behind his participation; they also display his total lack of a conscience, whilst at the same time pander to his own perceived superiority.   Only the psychopath is capable of creating a tool that inadvertently compounds all these things, when the opposite is actually his goal.

Blair was fully aware that the publics reaction to his memoirs would consist of fury and disdain, he was also well aware that protests and public demonstrations would follow any personal promotion of said memoirs.   It was hoped that by donating  all profits he would create a moral dilemma within said public and any protest groups.

His decision was clearly not made because he wants to atone, or feels anything at all toward those who suffered due to his actions, his writing compounds this completely, by his unshakable belief that he was completely right regardless of the consequences.

A common trait within the psychopath is an overwhelming desire to be admired; fulfilling this is difficult when the psychopath, firstly, cannot function as a normal human being as he cannot feel empathy and sympathy, but is also incapable of the warmth and humility that builds admiration in others.

Today I’ve also been thinking about the latest naïve optimism coming out of the US regarding the brokering of a Middle East peace process; along with popular US opinion that Tony Blair taking part in the launch of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington is crucial.

As children we were all read fairytales with mostly happy endings where the psychopaths are punished appropriately and the subjugated live happily ever after.   I also remember that some of these fairytales were terribly dark with not so happy endings; I personally fear the ongoing quest for any long lasting peace between the Palestinians and Israel is just another one of those rather sinister fairytales.  How could it not be, given the circumstances?

Firstly, the majority of those involved are ‘firm friends’ of Israel.  This statement alone tells the world at large that any resolution is impossible given such a starting position.

Secondly, the preconditions for peace.  If unrealistic concessions (historically the case) have to be made by the Palestinians and if the Israeli administration still won’t allow Hamas to take part in any talks, the whole never ending process of peace conferences and pseudo negotiations are pointless at best.

Regardless of mass propaganda; the truth of the matter is; that Hamas have on many occasions assured numerous peace brokers that they would accept Israel as a state if Israel returned to their pre-1967 borders.   In numerous public statements in 2009 Tony Blair made clear he is well aware of this and yet now in 2010 Blair has seemingly and conveniently forgotten such acknowledgements.

Blair trumpets his ‘Pièce de résistance’ of brokering peace in Northern Ireland; and the US in particular see this as an acclamation as to why he should hold the position of a Middle East Envoy.   Unfortunately he and the present US peace brokers are also well aware that the Northern Ireland process was an abject failure up until all parties were included.

Perhaps the fact that it was actually John Major and not Blair who initiated the final peace process and the fact that it was Mo Mowlam, Senator Mitchell and other Northern Ireland politicians and not Blair, who carried out the crucial years of protracted negotiations, explains why Blair and the US think excluding Hamas is perfectly democratic and will not affect the peace process.

It seems the present Middle East peace brokers forget; that at some point, before the IRA renounced violence, laid down their arms and took up the pen instead of the sword, talks with the enemy were held and negotiations were agreed.  How else were decades of violence put aside, unless dialogue changed and at last the dice was rolled?

Blair knows all this and yet because he is ‘firm friends’ with Israel he will not acknowledge it.   The US knows this and because they are ‘firm friends’ with Israel they will also not acknowledge it.

Unfortunately, until the present peace brokers recognise that unless those with the most to lose (Israel) as well as Hamas, are also willing to renounce violence, lay down their arms and take up the pen instead of the sword and make some long overdue, honest concessions. there will be no resolution.

Until the present peace brokers employ real democracy within the proceedings instead of deliberately ensuring through their ‘special friendship’ that those who have most to gain are never to be included in the peace process there will be no resolution.

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Nigella Lawson? I Don’t Think So – Nightmare Easter Simnel Cake


Nigella Caricature – Kindly Provided By Ian Baker – http://www.ianbakercartoons.co.uk & http://www.221artstore.co.uk

I decided I was going to do some baking over the Easter holiday.

Working full-time means that from time to time I have feelings of guilt over the lack of home-baked treats provided for the family.   Whenever I have time off; I try to emulate, albeit a rather poor version of Nigella Lawson and bake things.

So; I decided to make an Easter Simnel Cake.  The first hurdle was trying to actually remember  the name of this Easter delicacy and after several hours spent trawling the net and being presented with a never-ending list of recipes for chocolate egg nests and hot cross bunnies; I finally found the recipe I was looking for.

This traditional recipe called for a lot of work and from the onset I had a feeling of trepidation.    The main one being the need to make ones own Almond paste (Marzipan).  Apparently shop bought, has too much sugar in it and will melt during cooking; I was reliably informed via the recipe, that by making my own, this would not happen.  I should just point out, just in case you are not aware; that Simnel cake has a layer of marzipan running through the middle.

Well, I did exactly as the recipe directed;  by placing about half of Asia and Africa’s supply of almonds and a specified amount of Tate & Lyle into a bowl and although the almond paste looked and smelt like marzipan, it did not taste like marzipan.

Never being one to give up and  no matter the lingering harbinger of doom,  I just deposited half a bottle of almond essence into the mixture and hoped for the best.  Unfortunately the paste was a bit too pliable after this, even though the other amounts used were to the letter,  so to counteract this, I left the lump of pseudo marzipan by the central heating boiler to dry out.  This seemed to work quite well actually.

The ingredient to cake mixture conversion proceeded without any complications and the result was a yummy looking concoction of fruit, eggs, flour and spices ready to go into the cake tin.  This of course raised my spirits somewhat.

I transferred half the cake mixture from food processor to cake tin; placed my previously rolled out layer of  dried out almond paste, courtesy of the central heating boiler, on the top and then the rest of the cake mixture on top of the almond paste.   By this time, although feeling a little frazzled, my mood had changed from apprehensive to very optimistic.

I put the cake in the oven, cooked it for what seemed like half a year on a very low heat as instructed; and whilst waiting, stuffed my face with easter eggs and happily envisioned the amazed expressions on the faces of my family when presented with the results of my culinary genius.

The recipe suggested that I insert a clean knife into the cake from time to time; to test whether the cake was cooked and ready to remove from the oven, so I did.  Unfortunately each time I did so, the knife, when removed still had uncooked residue adhering to it, almost three hours later.

So, I left it for another half an hour and finally took it out.   The cake looked and smelt stunning, unfortunately at this point I didn’t.  How exactly does Nigella still manage to look like a goddess, even after the stress of cooking one has  to ask?   When I, even though wearing a particularly eyecatchingly elegant pair of Jasper Conran Pyjamas, looked like a deranged and disheveled, flour splattered bag lady?

After letting my portrayal of culinary magnificence cool for a while, I placed yet another previously rolled out layer of  dried out almond paste, courtesy of the central heating boiler on top of the cake, followed by eleven balls of left over almond paste to represent the apostles, minus Judas.  Although isn’t leaving Judas out just a tad unfair, as if the new testament is to be believed, then Judas only did that, which was previously organised/predestined by God (Jesus) anyway?

A finished Simnel Cake should look something like this….

Talking about predestined, it was predestined that my Simnel cake was going to look more like ones depicted version of a hopelessly drunken Nigella’s unfinished Christmas cake, rather than the spectacular comestible I had envisioned.

The almond paste in the middle of the cake did melt; there was no sign of it upon cutting.

When slices were presented to the family for tasting, I was informed that it was ‘moist’.  That’s it, moist!

It’s no wonder the blasted thing was ‘moist’ with all that melted marzipan inside it.

I defy anyone to tell me that their Simnel Cake always has a distinctive layer of golden almond paste running through the middle of it, without them having surreptitiously sliced the cake in half, thrown a rolled out layer of previously bought shop marzipan on one half and then squeezed the two sections of cake back together again.

I also defy anyone to tell me that after baking a Simnel cake, they managed to look as dapper and well-groomed  as Nigella.

My next challenge will be Christmas Stollen.  I told you… I don’t give up easily.

Update:  04/04/2012 – I just realised that the Url for Nigella’s recipe has now changed; the new Url is displayed below.  Happy Easter and Happy Cooking.

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/simnel-cake

Note:  At the time of writing this blog post (2010) I did not use Nigella’s recipe.  In 2011 I did and it is a great recipe.

Tip: Nigella’s recipe calls for a blow torch to brown the marzipan cake top; the grill works just as well if you don’t have a blow torch , but be careful; watch it like a hawk, as brown can turn to burnt very quickly (sigh).  Nigella also uses shop bought Marzipan!