Finnish finish. The rise and fall of Sanna Marin

April 5, 2023

Finnish conservative leader Petteri Orpo has won a close three-way election race, defeating the centre left coalition led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin

Marin had became a rockstar politician, with a rise and fall in her popularity similar to that of New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.

Sanna Marin remains popular and has an impressive political record moving Finland towards entry into Nato. Like Ardern, she has been praised for her leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So why the departure from power?

Her profile was, to say the least, controversial. A young, in-your-face politician, elected aged 34 in 2019 was the youngest female political leader of a country. Her supporters saw in her a liberated woman unfettered by conventions of her status demonstrated through highly visible party-going, and attention by the global press.

Her style contributed to her celebrity status. Such non-political publicity created devoted followers as well loathing among her detractors.

Now Finland has opted for the conventional ‘safe pair of hands’, as the Political website puts it.

Finns have played it safe with a post-pandemic recession looming and their giant eastern neighbor Russia waging a brutal war in Ukraine.
In center-right leader Petteri Orpo, the Finnish electorate has backed someone with a trusted track record in party politics that stretches back decades.
Orpo convinced voters that the Finnish economy was in trouble and that he — rather than his free-spirited and freer-spending rival Sanna Marin — was the steady hand Finland needs.

Interestingly, the international news of the week is Finland’s president accepting his country’s entry into NATO. However, this significant policy is widely accepted by people and politicians alike, and seems unlikely to present an internal political problem for the new Prime Minister.


Trump Indicted. Fate knocks on the door

March 31, 2023

Donald Trump has become the first American president facing criminal charges. My first thought was the ancient idea of fate and retribution. There’s no point trying to escape. You can attempt to cheat your fate, but one day fate knocks on the door.
Da da da dah!

The most famous telling is the myth of Oedipus, the moralist’s ultimate moral tale of fate and the cruelty of judgement day. Or as another gloomy Roman poet put it, those whom the Gods will destroy, they first drive mad. Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

Another ancient version of the fable was related by Somerset Maugham in his account of The Appointment in Samarra.

The speaker is Death, presented as a woman.

“There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions. In a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said,
Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.
The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went on his way to Samarra,

Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?

That was not a threatening gesture [Fate told him], it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad … for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra”.

So, on to the story of Donald Trump. He is not one calmly to accept his downfall. There’s tragic heroism in his madness.

He tried to stay ahead of his fate by announcing it. The conspiracy against me continues, he cried. It’s all fake news. He is promising to make as public a spectacle of his arraignment as possible. This could be arranged away from the public gaze. Or, as fantasised by Donald Trump, there would be TV shots of him in handcuffs doing his perp walk, maybe in a prison suit from central casting.
Or maybe not …

It’s still a long ride to his appointment in Samarra.
Meanwhile, in the U.K. a similar story is developing over charges against Boris Johnson. But that deserves a blog of its own.

Happy Birthday, CAIM

March 28, 2023

Tudor Rickards, Co-founder, Creativity and innovation management journal

Creativity and innovation management journal has been an important part of my life for over 30 years. This year, the journal celebrates its 30th birthday and I almost forgot to send a birthday card. Instead, here is my podcast to all my friends at the journal. If I go back in time, I remember that the journal came about after many years before when I practised my editing skills with an informal newsletter from Manchester business school.

By then my cofounder was Susan Moger who was to become my life helpmate, and undoubtedly the leading partner through her dedication to the journal subsequently.

Looking at an early copy brought back memories of the founders internationally of creativity as a subject of professional and academic interest. In on sense, it was the little brother to innovation which was already for more established. The editorial and advisory panels began to include a Galaxy of talent, many of them distinguished professors and thought leaders.

Early names included Chris Argyris of Harvard University who was later succeeded by Teresa Amabile. In the innovation field, my old friend John Bessant was also an early supporter. When I spoke to him recently, he told me of his interests which includes online courses for Guitar musicians.

In Europe, The University of Twente was already active in technology, innovation and design, and Jan Buij was also a key figure and became a wonderful friend from the University of Delft.

Buffalo provided Sid Parnes, NYU Mo Stein, and several younger figures such as Mark Runco, founder of the Creativity Research Journal and now a distinguished figure in his own right. Professor Murakami in Japan helped the growing global reach of CAIM. The founding figures of the European Association for Creativity and Innovation were also lending their support.

The more formal journal came about in a way that was described by Petra who had such an important role together with Olaf Fisscher in the early 2000s. Those of you who know the work at Manchester will understand when I mean they represented a dream team, not only being creative but in their very different ways releasing the creativity of others …

The team was further strengthened by the arrival of Klaasjan Visscher. One of their beautiful ideas was to award a prize annually for a paper selected by the editorial board. And thanks to the associated award, Susan and I were able to continue and enrich our links with all of our CAIM friends after we had passed on our editorial duties.

I’m pausing, because there were so many others in the remarkable international network into which CAIM grew. Forgive me all of you who are in my heart if not jumping out of my memory at the moment. But I have to mention students of mine whose career success gives me so much pleasure. Two are now still on the editorial board, Ming-Huie Chen, and Christian De Cock.

Meanwhile behind the scenes were dedicated workers. Jeannette Visser-Groenveld is still a power behind the editorial thrones. A special hi, Jeannette.

There are two further related points I want to share.
First, the importance of creativity and innovation for dealing with the challenges facing us. Climate change, political, and social upheavals, scientific and medical transformations all need creativity in its various forms. There are still upward of a dozen different promising theories deserving attention in future issues of CAIM These range through humanistic, cognitive, systems, evolutionary, philosophic and sociological perspectives.

My advice to those wishing to make a contribution, is study the earlier as well as more recent editions of the journal for recurring themes that you can connect with interesting research questions. And being interesting to you personally is important.
Creativity is widely accepted to be driven through interest, curiosity, or to use Theresa Amabile’s term intrinsic motivation.

The second is a personal story. It also starts with intrinsic motivation.
When my eightieth birthday was approaching I began thinking seriously how I wanted Tom spend whatever time left was granted to me. I had already switched from any pursuit of creativity as part of a University research group. Instead, I had found creative satisfaction in writing monographs about sporting matters, and detective thrillers about Wendy Lockinge, a fictional University vice-chancellor and former detective.
But even that occupation was becoming less enjoyable, and particularly the efforts to find publishers or become a publisher myself.
Fortunately, a friend encouraged me to try podcasting. He even suggested a brilliant title, TudoRama.
I began experimenting. I followed the creative adage of resisting premature evaluation of what I was doing, but using a podcasting platform and a modest recording system I got started describing what I was experiencing in my everyday life.
The creativity of the everyday became a theme of my new interest. I am now approaching my 200th podcast.
And something else happened which has given me added pleasure, I found in the work of an earlier creativity researcher an integrating framework for my emerging thinking.
The figure is Henri Bergson. I have found more and more in one of his most important works, Creative Evolution. I increasingly can see meaning in his concept of creativity evolving when an individual engages with other people and with the material world. His concept of time led him to debate vigorously with Einstein over his emerging theory of relativity.

Now I’m not even trying to ‘sell’ Bergson to the CAIM community, many of you personal friends. It’s up to you to find your own sources of creative inspiration.
But I hope maybe these remarks and my best wishes with encourage you. And perhaps you won’t have to wait until you are eighty years old for enlightenment.

TR March 28, 2023


The dangers of using and of avoiding the term fascism

March 23, 2023

Tudor Rickards

There are several difficulties in using words that trigger strong emotions. The recent story over Gary Lineker’s dispute with the BBC illustrates how powerful such language is. I look at the arguments for using and for avoiding comparisons with historical events and regimes.

I have already noted the specific details in a recent blogpost. Today, I came across a contribution to the wider issues, which I found helpful. It was written by the philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco in a profound essay in The New York Review of Books.

Eco, typically refuses refuses patronise his readers, which can make him difficult to follow. In one of his own books he advised readers not to bother unless they were prepared to work hard at it.
In this review, he approaches the notion of Fascism with several references obscure to the reader unversed in the language of sociologists. As well as his focus on fascism he uses the term Ur-fascism.

Ur- Fascism is the original form, and his selection is a semantic subtly allows him a way of acknowledging the original itself have difficulties in its attribution. He raises a similar point in the title and content of his best-known work The Name of the Rose.

‘…There was only one fascism … the fascist game can be played in many forms and the name of the game does not change.’

Eco’s 14 Features of Ur-Fascism

He lists 14 features of Ur-Fascism. These features, he continues, ‘…cannot be organised into a system, many of them contradict each other and also are typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism, but it is enough that one of them is present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.’

These are his 14 features with my abbreviations of his comments on them.

The cult of tradition.
One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditional thinkers.

The rejection of modernism. The enlightenment, the age of reason is seen as the beginning of modern depravity in this sense Ur-fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

The cult of action for actions sake. Action being beautiful in its self must be taken before or without any previous reflection syncing is a form of emasculation.

Disagreement is treason … the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.

Fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus, Ur fascism, is racist by definition.

Appeal to social frustration. One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated, middle-class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups

The obsession with a plot. Thus, at the root of the Ur fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged.

The enemy is both strong and weak. By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time, too strong and too weak.

Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life, but rather life is lived for struggle.

Contempt for the weak. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.

Everyone is educated to become a hero. In Ur-Fascism ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.

Machismo and weaponry. Machismo implies both distain for women and intolerance and condemnation of non-standard sexual habits from chastity to homosexuality.

Selective populism. There is in our future, a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the voice of the people. Ur-fascism speaks newspeak. All the Nazi of fascist schoolbooks made use of an improvised vocabulary, and an elementary syntax in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.

Michael Rosen’s support of Gary Lineker’s argument

In the recent spat between gary Lineker and the BBC, Michael Rosen, a national literary icon, took to Twitter using Nazi and pre-Nazi language ideas to support Lineker’s claim directly. The similarities with Eco’s assertions are clear. He draws on relevant laws derived from earlier German cultural ideas, but put into terrifying practice in the Third Reich. His list of five factors are:

Rhetoric around citizenship and its removal (Ausburgerung)

Declaring people illegal before an illegal act (that is guilt through intent)

Shipping ‘unwanted’ people elsewhere (Madagaskarplan)

Weaponising cultural beliefs (culture wars, cultural Marxism and wokeness, Kulturkreig)

Dealing with and dehumanising ‘the other’ (the hereditarily sick, the aliens) as morally decadent, and a burden on the people

The dangers of comparing modern political systems with the German system in the 1930s

The casual use of the Third Reich and Nazism

Some commentators have concluded than any political dispute that ends with a reference
to Hitler’s regime has reached a dead end.

As was typified in the Lineker/BBC example, in everyday discourse, the vocabulary is unhealthily widespread often as use terms are terms of abuse without clarification.

On speaking truth to power

While there are dangers of using the language, there are different dangers of avoiding what has been called speaking truth to power.

An argument, yes maybe the Ur-contention, is a poem by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. It has been repeated and modified many times. This is the version found in The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

A practical reason for avoiding comparisons with Nazism and Fascism in discussions

There is another reason for choosing such words carefully. Even when carefully chosen, as in the hugely consequential Lineker tweet, they tend to trigger emotions rather than rational discussion, often with confusion of what the terms mean.

George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 is in essence a warning about the dangers of ‘doublespeak’. Else where he noted that the term fascism is “a political and economic system” that was inconvenient to define, “as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. … almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’.”

In this context, it is hardly surprising that both sides in the Ukrainian Russian conflict have used the term against the other.


I hope to develop this post with comments from readers.

Gary Lineker versus the BBC. A case study in creative leadership

March 17, 2023

March 13 2023

The news headlines for the past week have been dominated by a dispute between the BBC superstar football broadcaster Gary Lineker and his employers. To be more precise, Gary is a contracted freelance broadcaster not a permanent member of staff. This is a detail which may have added a complication to what is already a complex case.

Other figures who became involved were the Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, the chairman of the BBC board, Richard Sharp, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, and the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

A critical event which makes a convenient starting point is a tweet by Gary Lineker strongly condemning the language and content of the immigration bill being introduced into Parliament by the Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
He described the bill as immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people, and in language ‘that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s’ As was inevitable, his tweet produced a storm of discussion both for and against his tweet. His supporters broadly took the free speech argument . Opponents claimed he had himself deployed hate speech, by describing the government as operating with the methods of the Nazis.

Tim Davie announced he was speaking to Lineker formally. When he refused to apologise, the BBC suspended Gary from presenting Match Of The Day, the flagship football program of the BBC. Davie stated that this was a measured response while the issue was being further investigated.

By then the story was attracting interest in the MSM, Social Media, and particularly in the BBC itself with stories about the suspension.

Before the next episode of MOTD was broadcast, the other presenters of MOTD announced they were withdrawing from the programme. Other journalists also withheld their contributions to football broadcasts.

Eventually, a very truncated program was broadcast without commentators. The political implications sharpened when the Prime Minister gave only the coolest support to the actions of the BBC. This was interpreted as distancing himself from Tim Davie leading to speculation that Davie’s job was far from secure.

Over the weekend, the BBC filled its radio and television news programs with discussion about the developing drama, but with a few suggestions of how it might resolve itself.
The Chairman of the BBC was unavailable for comment.

During this period, the Daily Telegraph, generally a flagship Conservative newspaper was running a series of revelations leaked by Conservative journalist of highly confidential exchanges which revealed Ministers struggling to cope with the COVID crisis.

The BBC position was not helped with the reemergence of an unresolved story of the Chairman Richard Sharp involved in securing a loan for Boris Johnson at the time his application as Chairman was being considered, a process over which Johnson was the ultimate arbiter.

Recommended for the post by Boris Johnson, Richard Sharp was appointed one month after being a Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, which during his time published several reports critical of the BBC recommending root & branch change.

The appointment of Tim Davie as Director General had also been and remained controversial. He has made no secret of his concern that the impartiality of the BBC was endangered by what he say as a left wing bias in much of the programming. Critics have been quick to point to his own background as a conservative one.

Commentators of the complex situation had little to offer. Either the BBC (increasingly personified as Tim Davie) would have to concede and return Lineker to his position, or Lineker would have accept he has no right to tweet about the Govt’s immigration policy.

We have a classic dilemma of leadership. The view of overwhelming number of commentators in the news and social media is that it is a clear case of right versus wrong. An either or dilemma.

Braverman continued to insist that her Illegal Immigrants Bill was a necessity to ‘stop the boats’.
Lineker supporters continued assert he was in the right, and that her actions were morally wrong, illegal and unworkable.

What happened? The BBC went back on its position to suspend Lineker while a formal investigation took place. Normal service was resumed (Sorry, couldn’t resist that old joke).

But the most revealing comment was made again on Twitter by Gary Lineker. He tweeted his pleasure at returning to work, particularly thanking Tim Davie for dealing with a hideously complicated situation.

In that, he revealed for me an essential aspect of creative leadership. A skill at escaping either or dilemmas, and encouraging others around him to do the same.

Dick Fosbury. How creativity changed a sport

March 15, 2023

The death was announced this week of Dick Fosbury an American athlete who changed the ways an entire sport is conducted and as a result wrote his name for ever into sporting history.

Fosbury used his new technique, which became known as The Fosbury Flop to win the gold medal from the High Jump at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, setting a new Games record of 2.24 metres in the process, and paving the way for the style to be universally adopted by future generations in the event.

The sport had remained much the since since the early Greek Olympiads over two millennia ago.
The honour in those days was a garland made from the sacred olive tree, and was awarded to the athlete making the highest jump. Little has changed except for the awarding of a gold medal and consolation silver and bronze ones for runners up.
For two thousand years high jumpers gradually improved the performances. But no one had attempted to go beyond the obvious technique for leaping over a barrier.
Until Fosbury tried something different.
He had been experimenting with the unthinkable. A complete reversal of the obvious, an approach resulting in a backward leap.
It might have been no more than a trick, an exhibition to show the impossible was possible. But the demonstration went further than that.
Fosbury demonstrated his innovation on the greatest of stages, the Olympic Games. And won.
The news was received with astonishment and acclaim.
Athletes around the world began experimenting. They discovered the technique had not worked because Fosbury was some genetic freak, but because any high jumper could improve their performance by adapting the back to front, the reversal approach.

The impossible had become the normal.

The change also illustrated the impact of personal demonstration as a way of breaking out of an assumption, an unconscious belief.

Creativity scholars have described the process in various ways. Reversing perspective is found in the creative problem systems associated with the Buffalo school pioneered by Parnes and Osborn.
It was one of the simple but effective approaches suggested by Edward de Bono, and one incorporated into the creativity courses at Manchester Business School for student teams working on business projects.

An interesting footnote. A Canadian athlete, Debbie Ardell Brill had been experimenting successfully with a version of the new approach before Fosbury but is hardly mentioned for the Brill Bend. Like so many discoveries, the garland goes to the acclaimed winner. And nothing for the runners up.

Red side of Manchester in mourning after Liverpool mauling

March 6, 2023

Sunday 5 March, 2023

The darkest of night is descending on Manchester United supporters. A few years ago a great humiliation to its team took place at Anfield, home of its greatest rivals, Liverpool.

The run up had been spectacularly successful. In the space of two weeks the team had won a tight European knockout match against Barcelona, another of the sport’s glamour teams. A week ago United triumphed winning the Caraboa Cup, the old league cup now renamed after its new sponsors, a high-energy sports drink.
A year ago, Liverpool was competing with Manchester City for the rankings most successful and strongest team in Europe.
Manchester United was continuing a slump in form that had persisted like some terminal malady since the glorious era under super-manager Alex Ferguson.
But this season was to see a remarkable shift in success for the leading premiership teams. Liverpool plummeted until even charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp appeared a shadow of his previous self at inquests after the most recent loss.
Manchester City had acquired a phenomenal goal scorer smashing all records for the club.
After a shaky start, Manchester United under new manager Van Hag rediscovered the lost art of defence. An out-of-form striker Marcus Rashford rediscovered his mojo. New signings were justifying their eye-watering contracts. New heroes were emerging as precocious youths, or as the returning successes of the recent World Cup.
And to add to the surprises, Arsenal had taken the lead in the Premiership and retained it since the early weeks of the season.
During the week, the clash against Liverpool began to build up headlines. Former stars of Liverpool and United were back in the spotlight allowed to reminisce over past glories and to predict a result. The rediscovered pundits were mostly anticipating a United victory, disregarding the famous intimidating nature of Anfield stadium, fans, and team.

The drama is captured on Twitter

A few hours ago, Jamie mufc Gretton tweeted

Our record stinks at Anfield. I’d easily take a point. Liverpool back on form. But we’re also playing well and hard to beat. So it’ll be a good game!

Andy, another supporter, replied

Be more optimistic mate easy 4-0 for us today

I join in

Don’t send your hopes flying too close to the sun. I am fearing the worse, hoping for the best


I am trying a new approach, being optimistic.

I’m trying an old approach. Start the mourning early and the worse pain has gone before the match ends.

Tweets during the match become more and more desperate, singling out players who generally receive plaudits.

Jamie, tears dripping from every tweet.

I can accept losing at Anfield but not losing 7-0. It doesn’t make sense.

A Liverpool supporter tweets an image of MU’s favourite drink, 7 up.

A new day breaks. There has been an explosion of interest on the result. BBC Sport is playing time and again the seven goals.

A discussion is held about the mystical properties of the number seven.

Liverpool supporters are in their seventh heaven.

The red side of Manchester is in mourning after the Liverpool mauling of their team.

The Grubby World of Whistle Blowing and Media Scoops

March 1, 2023

Wednesday March 1st 2023

Two different stories this week seem to have overlapping messages. I have been reading the thriller Whistle Blower by TV journalist Robert Peston. Then today, a media scoop arrives from journalist Isobel Oakeshott, and published in the Daily Telegraph.

Peston describes the grubby world of the political journalist in a fictionalised way which clearly draws on his extensive experience as a lobby correspondent based in Westminster. He describes the skulduggery involved as journalists compete for scoops from leaks and rumours within a charmed inner circle.

A comparison between the two stories helps us understand the complex issues of ethics in whistleblowing and the revealing a scoop claiming public interest offered at the expense of dubious or downright dishonest practices.

The Oakeshott story takes us back to the time when Matt Hancock was health minister during the Covid pandemic. In the early days, there were regular press conferences in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the health minister reported and gave advice flanked by medical experts which gave legitimacy to their statements.

Later, Hancock was to become the centre of another drama which ended in his dismissal over secret assignations which broke his own Covid rules and his marriage. He resigned as MP and began a new life as a celebrity in I’m a celebrity get me out of here.

He was also writing his memoirs entitled The Pandemic Diaries. He recruited a ghost writer Isobel Oakeshott who acquired a vast amount of primary materials of a sensitive nature.

These were to become the materials turned into the story in the Daily Telegraph this morning and which quickly became hot news across the print and television media.

The story reveals that Matt Hancock during the Covid pandemic was told in April 2020 there should be “testing of all going into care homes”. Government guidance later made it mandatory for tests for only for those people leaving hospital.

The deaths of untested residents in care homes were to become a tragic consequence of Covid. Oakeshott’s story appears to find the Health Secretary at fault. A spokesperson for Mr Hancock said the messages had been “doctored and spun to fit an anti-lockdown agenda”.

Ms Oakeshott justifies her use of materials she obtained in confidence while working for Matt Hancock as resolving her moral dilemma by coming down on the side of the public interest. Others may chose to disagree.

I remember one expert of the ethics of leadership saying ethical dilemmas often involve balancing two ethical rights.

This is a story with legs, likely to keep moving for more than a one-morning stand in the newsagents.

I’ve let the team down. Now I must make amends

February 22, 2023

This is a dark day. Outside, grey Manchester skies loom over damp pavements.
Inside, my own mood is equally dark.

Yesterday evening I was preparing to eat a meal whipped up from an ancient can of beans and a residual piece of gammon that I discovered lurking at the back of the freezer.
A phone call from acting captain John, Reed, of East Cheshire Chess Club.
Are you playing tonight? he asked.

I avoided a sarcastic answer such as ‘no I’m cooking my dinner’. My surprise was genuine.
I don’t think so I said.

You should be, we are playing at Stockport. John sounded weary, rather than head-banging angry. I left out excuses or protestations of innocence. The ghastly truth had struck home. I had missed a league match against the toughest of opponents in the Stockport league. I had let my friends and colleagues down.
I could get over straight away, I said rather pathetically, turning off the oven.

Silence from my phone.

I was calculating that I would already be running out of time, even if I could break the speed limit and reach Stockport before my clock left me with a little time to play the game.
John broke the silence. I’ll cancel the game then he said. I would be recorded as a no-show.
I turn the oven back on.
Later, the meal was to taste disgusting.
Soon I will learn the consequences of my no-show.
I must find a way of making amends.

Listen to my podcast on this post at

Tudorama Newsletter February 13-20

February 20, 2023

Welcome as ever to Tudorama readers.

Podcast of the Week
Dr Glycol’s advice for storing raspberries
The intrepid doctor turns his scientific mind to solving the problem of the rapid rate at which raspberries go mushy after purchase.

Blogpost of the Week

News Headlines of the Week
Monday 13 February
Balloon hunting season continues. Pentagon releases statement saying no evidence found of UFO activity.
Chiefs win Super Bowl. Radio 5 Live transmits game live overnight to listeners in The U.K.
National Trust finds fewer clothes moths feeding on treasures. [Guardian news item]

Tuesday 14 February
Earthquake one week on. Humanitarian efforts turn to the millions of survivors in need of shelter food and water.
Intense fighting continues in Ukraine. News reports given less coverage.
New Zealand’s climate extremes continue. A state of emergency has been declared due to impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Wednesday 15 February
Russia believed to have intensified its military efforts in Ukraine, readying aircraft to join the conflict. Rishi
Sunak says Britain is ‘ready and able’ to engage Russia if needed. Presumably with NATO and EU cooperation.
Least surprising news. The three mysterious flying objects shot down in Project Balloon have been assessed as ‘benign’.
Breaking news. Nicola Sturgeon to resign as Scotland’s First Minister

Thursday 16 February
Nicola Bulley went missing 20 days ago during a routine riverside walk. Lancashire Police criticised for revealing in a press conference personal details of her vulnerabilities.
Centrica (British Gas owner) reveals record profits of £3.3 billion with little evidence of them feeding into consumer bills.
More dates of railway operators strikes announced in the buildup to the Easter holidays.

Friday 17 February
Hope is developing of a resolution to the consequences of the Northern Ireland Protocol, one of the clunkiest efforts to make Brexit work.
In Turkey, over a hundred arrests have been made in connection with illegal construction on buildings, contributing the death toll after the recent earthquake.
In Ukraine, President Zelenskiy rules out any concessions over territory in any eventual resolution to the conflict.

Saturday 18 February
Rishi Sunak has to deal with the EU, America’s commitment the the power sharing in Northern Ireland and the DUP unionist party over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Of these, the DUP has gold standard intransigence in ‘no surrender’ negotiations.
Sporting headline. A Qatari consortium of unrivalled wealth states its interest in buying Manchester United Football Club. Likely to result in human rights issue being introduced by activists and football supporters.
Sunday 19 February
Sunak continues his efforts to resolve the difficulties of the Northern Ireland border repositioned in the Irish Sea by the Brexit settlement negotiated by Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson helpfully suggests how to succeed by pursuing his own uncompleted plans interrupted by his removal as Prime Minister.
China is to outline a plan for peace in Ukraine on the anniversary of the start of the conflict next week.

Tudorama Teaser of the Week

Where did the sentence ‘now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party’ originate?
Was it
Karl Marx, Revolutionary
Groucho Marx, Wit and comedian
Charles E Weller, Author of a history of the typewriter?
[Answer below]

Twitter Wit and Wisdom
I once invented a new microphone , but I received some really bad feedback

I do not believe I hold any extreme views, much of what I’ll say on here & on TV is what the majority will be thinking, many might not say it, because of jobs or fear of silly labels from accounts on here, but they’re thinking it & probably saying it around friends/family.
It’s funny how extremists always think they are talking for a ‘silent’ majority.
It’s hard for them to believe that most DON’T think like them.

Old jokes revisited.
Policeman to driver
” Excuse me sir, this is a one way street”
“I’m only going one way”
Other scenarios are available…
Policeman to driver
” Excuse me sir, didn’t you see the arrows?”
“I didn’t even see the Indians!”

Also see more from @TollyTB on our podcast
How to create great groan-worthy puns

Answer to Tudorama Teaser of the Week

The answer is Charles E Weller, author of a successful book about the early history of the typewriter.
He came up with a training exercise for young typewriters. Yes, in the early 1900s, the users of typewriters were known as typewriters. Weller came up with the sentence as a practice drill.
Later, the sentence was modified to read
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
This works out as the required seventy characters (counting the fifteen spaces between words and the full stop to give a classical full line of type.
Incidentally, another even more famous typing exercise is
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
This is an example of a pangram, a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet, and thought to be useful for typing practice.


This week the books are selected from Stockport Library readers’ choice

A Three Dog Problem. Her Majesty the Queen Investigates, by S.B.Bennett
A Gambling Man, by David Baldacci
The Innocent, by Harlan Coben

For Younger Readers and Listeners
The Cat on the Mat is Flat, Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton.
Here they come: frogs, logs, bogs, dogs, cogs and flag-waving hogs.

Next Week’s Newsletter
Don’t miss the report on peaceful resolution of a conflict involving Tudorama staff and an irate motorist.
Other world news, China’s peace plan for Ukraine, Sunak’s (and Johnson’s) plans for the Northern Ireland border.