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Saturday, 29 November 2008

Sick, sick, sick

I'm lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I'm good at that.

Someone in my family I thought I could rely on has let me down badly - more on that when I overcome my rage. But the real problem is November. After ten speeches and seminars in sundry places around Europe, plus the usual amount of copy to write, I've ended up with a filthy cold.

I think it was the snow and wet in Latvia, where I croaked away for five hours - but amazingly 99% enjoyed it say the reviews. They must like a good laugh over there.

But have you noticed how your mind makes strange connections when you're a little feverish? Mine did when over a 24 hour period I saw a piece about Hutch, the suave 1930's pianist from Grenada who had an affair with Edwina Mountbatten and then news of the dreadful slaughter in Bombay (which is, by the way, what many locals still call it).

I stayed in the Taj hotel every time I visited India. It really deserves the name Palace - magnificent. I used to do laps of the pool before I started work each day.

But why the carnage? You might blame Edwina's husband, Lord Mountbatten (sometimes called Mountbottom - can't think why), who presided over the handover that led to partition and the creation of Pakistan. Or maybe Nehru (with whom Edwina also had an affair, busy girl) or Jinnah, the Muslim leader. What is certain is that up to a million died in the massacres that took place - which puts the current drama in perspective.

You can certainly blame the fact that at partition the state of Kashmir with nearly 80% Muslim population remained under Indian control. This crazy arrangement caused predictable enmity between the two nations and has inspired most of the terrorism including the latest outrage.

And if there were British terrorists, you can blame the way our government encouraged so many to immigrate from Pakistan, just as with the West Indians, only for the locals to greet them with racism. Yes, they've been encouraged by religious fanatics, but this would never have worked if they weren't alienated to start with.

The older I get the more I hate religion, race and patriotism. They cause almost all the world's miseries, and always have.

That's enough gloom for today, but as a footnote, Hutch also had an affair with Cole Porter. Why do so many people imagine promiscuity began in the '60s? Because they're not educated, that's why.

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