Mike Vickers' Blog

May 31, 2015

Maybe Hope for Cyprus at last

Filed under: Cyprus, Europe, History in the making, Politics, Travel — derryvickers @ 8:32 pm

An article in todays Observer brings back memories of my stay in Southern Cyprus. It was more than 10 years ago and I still communicate with a good friend I met as part of my job; I was the senior consultant with a consultancy on a project to completely rethink the IT systems of the Electricity Authority there.

The guys in the Electricity Authority were great – they joked that the Authority was drowning in red tape – tape left by the British.

But the key feature was the Green Line – the line that divided the Turkish North from the South. The island’s population is small and many friends bemoaned that they could no longer have an evening coffee in Kyrenia – the old city on the north coast – just 20 miles from Nicosia. The Green line is an International Dividing line set up in 1974 by the UN and in my time we could not cross it without piles of paper and no guarantee that you could get back.

Since 2003 the Cypriots do cross but there has been no break through in re-integration – till now; but hope may be on the way. There is a new Leader in the North, Mustafa Ankinci , and Nicos Anastasiades in the South is more amenable to talk. Here they are drinking coffee – you may know Turkish Coffee but you won’t find in the South – there it’s Cyprus Coffee but it tastes the same and you can take in withour sugar!

For the full article see


If you enjoy a good travel read then you could do a lot worse than read Lawrence Durrell’s Bitter Lemons – a bit old now but setting out the problems that lead to the island dividing – Turkish North and Greek South


And if you’ve not been to Cyprus , in February you can swim on the coast at Ayia Napa and drive 20 mile and ski on Mount Olympus at 6000ft.

And did you know the UK still has two sovereign bases in Cyprus – Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Turkish or Cyprus the coffee is the same

Cyprus Leaders drink coffee together

May 29, 2015

Nicola Sturgeon as Joan of Arc

Filed under: History in the making, Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 9:15 am

I watched an interesting programme on Joan of Arc given by the historian Helen Castor on BBC2


Joan, a peasant girl,  hears God’s call to save France from the dastardly English (actually the French Burgundians with English support)  and make the Dauphine King.

She persuades the Dauphine to give her an army and raises the siege of Orleans in 4 days (after it had been sieged by the English for 6 months) – gets the Dauphine crowned in Notre Dame under the very nose of the Burgundians / English who are occupying Paris.

Then she wishes to drive the English out of France altogether but the then King wants to parley with the other half of Burgundians / English and she becomes a liability.

Nevertheless driven by her conviction she drives forward with a small band of trusty followers and eventually is captured by the Burgundians / English and put on trial by the Burgundians for heresy – the heresy is that it’s not God she hears but the Devil.  She gives a great fight at her trail but is eventually is worn down Pierre Cauchon the main inquisitor and confesses at the thought of being burned at the sake – only to go back at the last moment to repeat that is God she has heard (remember Crammer) – and is handed over to the English who do burn her at the stake.

For Joan of Arc read Nicola Sturgeon.  I cannot think of a good analogy for Pierre Cauchon  – certainly not Cameron perhaps Osborne?

It took till 1920 for Joan to be canonized – may be Sturgeon may not have to wait that long.

But France became free of the bastardly English in 1453 – 25 years after Joan’s breaking the siege of Orleans

May 22, 2015

Dunkirk Anniversary

Filed under: Europe, Personal, War, World Class — derryvickers @ 9:36 am

As a kid at primary school in Congleton, Cheshire I well remember morning lessons being held up with a news broadcast on the radio giving live commentary from the D Day landing – June 1944.

However as I think over WW2 I have long held the belief that the two crucial events of WW2 are the Evacuation from Dunkirk and the battle for Stalingrad.  The first saved so many thousands troops to fight on and Stalingrad proved that Germany was far from being invincible, the real turning point of the war (Of course Napoleon suffered the same fate in 1812)

It is therefore with real pleasure that the 75th  anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation is now being celebrated.  I only hope that the Allies will join with Russia to celebrate the 75th anniversary of battle for Stalingrad in August 2017.


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