Posted on 11th February 2023

Before focussing on the darkness in the world my mood this week was lifted by the increasing intensity of the birdsong, the bright refreshing days and the dramatic evening skies.  Then a good belly laugh.  Bertie is back.  The Minister of Finance who didn’t have a bank account and who won money betting on horses has returned to Fianna Fail, conveniently in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.  This suits the party who wants to own the process and without question suits Bertie as it is central to his rehabilitation.  Credit where credit is due, I have always respected Bertie’s perspective on the North, his political antennae are superb, and he was and still is capable of taking the pulse of the nation.  Should he decide to run for the Aras he would be a formidable candidate but would his “mature” recollection of events stand up to scrutiny ?  Personally, I welcome him back to the arena.  He has both wit and wisdom.

So Vlad the Bad is cranking up bis military machine for the next stage of his meat grinder war for that is what it has become with its senseless brutality and no regard for human life.  He will hope in his forthcoming Spring Offensive to overwhelm the Ukrainians by the sheer weight of numbers, throwing convicted murderers, rapists and conscripts together to swell his ranks.  It reeks of the same tactics used by Stalin in the second world war.  The hope is that the Ukrainians will shortly receive the 150 western battle tanks that they have been promised.  Timing as ever is essential and one gets the feeling that the Russians will start sooner than later.

In contrast to Vlad the Bad is the heroic figure of Volodymyr Zelensky.  Vlod the Good versus Vlad the Bad.  The avaricious head of a gangster state whose primary objection is the amassing of vast personal wealth and the pursuit of grandiose goals which are ultimately detached from reality and  the man attired in modest military fatigues who walked into Westminster Hall to address both Houses of Parliament.  Yes, it was truly Churchillian even with a tousled headed Boris Johnston witnessing history in the making.  Vlod the good made his pitch for fighter jets as he did in the European Parliament on Thursday.  A standing ovation and “Glory to Ukraine”.

At a press conference in Brussels he indicated that several European countries are ready to give fighter jets.  Let it be so.

The view of Slane Castle from the hill