Is Portugal’s ‘White Card Initiative’ Set to Become Another Psy-Ops?

By Daniel Margrain

Fans of women’s football in Portugal would have been aware that the attendance at the recent Benfica-Sporting Lisbon match was the highest in the history of the game in that country.

But the match was also significant in another way. Those who saw the game would likely to have witnessed medical personnel running to the aid of a fan who had collapsed in the stadium in Lisbon. After the medics attended to the fan, the referee proceeded to brandish them with a white card.

For all those directly involved, the incident was undertaken in the spirit of comradeship and good will for which it was intended. Fans and players alike applauded and cheered the actions of the referee and medical staff after the white card was brandished.

In conjunction with the more traditional red and yellow cards, white cards have been embraced by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) in their tournaments. If ‘successful’, the white card initiative could eventually be rolled-out globally.

The use of white cards denote acts of fair play during games. By contrast, yellow and red cards are used by referees to discipline players and coaching staff for varying degrees of misconduct.

On the surface it would appear that the addition of the white card in the armoury of the referees toolkit can only be a good thing.

But when you dig deeper, and understand the history of psychological operations utilized by nation states against their domestic populations, and the fact that football commands a phenomenal global audience, it is possible to envisage that the Portugese experiment could potentially lead to something much more sinister.

The public is being gaslighted into believing that the natural human reaction of coming to the assistance of somebody in distress now needs to be sanctified by a white card to denote virtue.

For anybody who has nefarious intent, there is arguably no better vehicle with which to sell an agenda than professional football. We can already see, through ostensibly anti-racism initiatives in football like the ‘Black Lives Matter‘ and ‘Taking the Knee‘ phenomena, the processes by which the state uses sophisticated psychological techniques to drive wedges between communities in order to control them.

Professional football players know that the consequences of refusing to participate in these kinds of ‘group-think’ actions would result in them being ostracized by their clubs and the media. We have already witnessed similar kinds of social pressures to comply to the dictates of the state during the Covid period.

Could the white card initiative be the latest in a long line of globalist-led psy-ops intended to manipulate the public into complying to their nefarious demands?

If that is indeed the case, then the psychology underpinning the initiative in Portugal would essentially be similar to what we now know was the UK strategy adopted during the Covid event.

This is how the psy-ops works:

The red card denotes ‘exceptionally bad’ behaviour resulting in a players dismissal from the field of play. The yellow card denotes ‘bad’, but less serious, behaviour. By contrast, the white card denotes ‘good’ behaviour worthy of a ‘reward’.

It is not difficult to see how the psychology that underlies the use of the three cards described above, currently plays out in relation to the authoritarian Chinese-style digital social credit system.

For example:

‘Exemplary behaviour’ agreeable to the state would be advantageous to ones credit score, the equivalent of receiving a white card. 

Undertaking an action that the state regards as disagreeable, serious enough to reduce ones credit score, would be the equivalent of a yellow card.

Activities that the state regards as ‘criminal’ and worthy of a loss of social credits limiting the ability to access money and public services, would deemed to be the equivalent of a red card. 

In the UK, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) influences the government in terms of its behavioural strategies. During the Covid ‘pandemic’ the group engaged in unethical behavioural ‘nudge’ techniques to persuade millions of people to wear ineffective masks, abide by damaging lockdowns and inject potentially lethal toxins into their bodies.

SAGE managed to achieve this feat under the guise that it was in societies ‘best interests’ for it to do so, and that the ‘reward’ for complying would be a re-establishment of the public’s freedoms and liberties, equivalent to being issued with a white card.

The notion that the state ‘rewards’ what it considers to be ‘good’ behaviour, whilst punishing what it regards as ‘bad’ behaviour, raises ethical questions about how far nation states, more broadly, are prepared to go in terms of their ability to psychologically ‘nudge’ people in certain nefarious directions that they nonetheless regard as desirable.

Given the context described, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the psychological weaponization of the white card initiative is the latest example of a ‘nudge’ technique designed to engender social conformity and obedience to authority.

More specifically, it’s also reasonable to assume that the UK state might want to psychologically exploit the use of white cards as a tool of compliance in preparation for their proposed implementation of the kind of authoritarian Chinese-style digital social credit system highlighted previously.

From the perspective of power, what better way to psychologically manipulate the public than through the ‘bread and circus’ prism of the world’s most popular spectator sport? 

No Time to Wait: The Climate Apocalypse Illusion

By Daniel Margrain

Climate activist, Mike Hudema, recently tweeted the following in response to a CNN report:

”An iceberg the size of London has broken off the Antarctic ice shelf. There is no time to wait. We must #ActOnClimate.”, he said. 

Another activist commenting on the CNN report, remarked:

”This is a grave reminder that climate change is happening now, and it’s happening faster than we anticipated. We must take meaningful action to reduce our emissions and limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

What both activists failed to acknowledge is that the article went on to state:

”This calving event has been expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf. It is not linked to climate change.’

The natural event described was confirmed by Glaciologist, Dominic Hodgson, who said that ”Ice separation naturally occurs in this part of Antartica.”

On the same day, Dr. Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, who is described in his biography as an ”award-winning scientist and the world’s leading authority on abrupt climate change,” claimed in a podcast that ”abrupt climate change will result in the extinction of humans within three years.”

Six years ago, McPherson wrote an article where he made a similar dramatic catastrophic prediction. The article included a timeline for virtual human extinction within 9-33 months from the date the article in question was published. Conveniently, the professor has since deleted the article.

According to McPherson, then, humanity should have been extinct three years ago at the latest. Apparently, it hadn’t occured to this ‘expert’ on human extinction, that researchers wouldn’t have had the temerity to recall his previous fearmongering claim.

Heads above the parapet

Thankfully, scientists in increasing numbers have been prepared to stand up against the prevailing climate narrative in a similar way that the Great Barrington Declaration declared a challenge to the scientific consensus about lockdowns, and the flawed modelling that was used by governments’ to justify them.

The alarmist narrative began to collapse in earnest from August last year when over 1,100 scientists and professionals put their names to the ‘World Climate Declaration (WCD). The authors, drawn from across the world, led by the Norwegian physics Nobel Prize laureate Professor Ivar Giaever, reject the claim that there is a ‘climate emergency’.

The WCD posit that the ‘scientific consensus’ on man-made climate change is part of a politically-driven media agenda and that grant-dependent academics have degenerated the discipline into a discussion based on beliefs, rather than sound self-critical science.

In particular, the WCD are critical of climate models, noting that they ”are not remotely plausible as global policy tools.”

The WCD contend that these models exaggerate the negative effects of carbon dioxide. They instead emphasize that the gas is beneficial for nature and agriculture; that it increases global crop yields, promotes growth in plant biomass and is essential to all life on Earth.

It is also the contention of the WCD that, historically, climate models have overstated the projected negative impacts of climate change compared to real world events and note that insufficient emphasis is placed on the empirical scientific method.

In addition, the WCD declare that there is no statistical evidence that climate change is intensifying hurricanes, floods and droughts, or making them more frequent.

Gore and Greta

Arguably, the world’s leading climate doomsayer and establishment critic of the WCD thesis, is Al Gore. The former US vice president has reportedly made $330m as a result of advocating on behalf of the alarmist cause. Gore made his fortune when he set up a green investment firm that’s now said to be worth $36bn, paying him $2m a month.

In a recent speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Gore’s hyperbole was off the scale. In the speech, he warned about ”rain bombs” and ”boiling oceans.”

Much of what Gore had to say is indicative of the kind of moral posturing synonymous with ‘climate justice’ often expressed by delegates at COP climate summits.

Gore’s psuedo-scientific hyperbole and the appeals to moral authority championed by his acolytes, have rarely been critiqued by journalists. Meanwhile, catastrophic warnings about the alleged impacts of ‘runaway climate change’ and the moral imperative to act against it, have become normalized across the entire panoply of social media.

Climate activist, Greta Thunberg has become the leading moral crusader and public face of a fear-based climate cult whose disciples have become besotted by her every utterance and stage managed media appearance.

In September, 2019, Greta announced to the world, that ”We are at the beginning of a mass extinction.”

This was probably the moment when the idea of catastrophic climate change became cemented into the public consciousness and when fear and emotion overrode rationality and reason.

Almost certainly, her speech marked an emotional call to action of a kind that had never been heard up until this point.

Greta won’t be the last celebrity to utilize a narrative of fear in this way. But it’s unlikely that others following in Greta’s footsteps will be able to successfully galvanize young people in the furtherance of a nefarious global political agenda the way Greta has.

The key question, is what lies behind the alarmist agenda?

Ehrlicht and Malthus

Essentially, climate change ‘science’ has morphed into a political project, underpinned ideologically by Malthusian eugenics and the science of control. The aim of those who support this agenda is to reduce the global population under the guise of saving the planet.

While much of the public are now familiar with the manipulation of predictive modelling during the Covid event, Malthusian ideology has been the catalyst driving the agenda of elite power for the better part of a century.

Biologist, Paul Ehrlich, has been a historically key figure in helping to spearhead and popularize the man-made global warming hypothesis. Even though his dire anti-humanist prophecies that underpin it have been repeatedly proven wrong, Ehrlich, regularly gets invited on to mainstream TV programmes to promulgate his nonsense as if he was an expert.

Last month, Ehrlicht appeared on the US show, ‘Sixty Minutes’ where he made the bold claim that ”Humanity is not sustainable.”

Fifty eight years ago, the same Ehrlicht exclaimed, ”We are very close to a famine disaster in the United States”…and…”in the next fifteen years the end will come.”

Ehrlicht added, ”And by that I mean an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

If this wasn’t embarrassing enough, the biologist also claimed that by the end of the last century, ”England will not exist because of climate change.”

The editor of Human​Progress​.org, Marian Tupy, has posited the reason why Ehrlicht has been able to pursuade a huge swath of the public that his dire prophecies have legitimacy:

”If you sell the apocalypse”, says Tupy, ”people feel you are deep and that you care. But if you are selling rational optimism, you sound uncaring.”

According to Tupy, Ehrlicht underplays the capacity for human beings to innovate, viewing them as a hinderence to nature rather than being part of a potentially holistic solution to an environmentally-degredated planet. The truth is, the positive notion that humans are helping nature isn’t consistent with a message predicated on panic that has culminated in the fact that four in ten young adults fear having children.

Super Abundance

Tupy’s book, ‘Super Abundance‘, shows that, counter-intuitively, population growth is beneficial for both humanity and the environment. Humans grow stuff. They don’t only consume it.

”What matters is new knowledge. Think about something as simple as sand. When we started melting down sand to create glass, we used it for glass beads or jars. But now we are using glass in fibre optic cables and microchips. Similar innovations occur in farming, transportation and genetic engineering”, says Tupy. This has resulted in an abundant natural world.

Take forests as an example. Tupy points out that, contrary to alarmist propaganda, ”forests have grown by thirty-five per cent in North America and Western Europe over the last twenty years.” Consequently, populations have found new and innovative ways to produce more food on less land.

Autonomous humans who are encouraged to make genuinely democratic and rational decisions will enhance the environment because they are an integral part of, not separate from, other species in nature who inhabit the same planet.

Climate fatalists, like Ehrlich, Gore and Thunberg, on the other hand, take the opposite view, positing that the planet is in danger and needs to be saved from humanities inherently destructive and ‘intruding’ overpopulating footprint.

Japan

These harbingers of doom and gloom must of been deliriously happy at news eminating from Japan last week. Time Magazine reported Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s claim that his country is on the brink of catastrophe due its contracting workforce, ageing population and low birth rates.

“Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions,” Kishida said as he announced last-ditch policy measures to increase the birth rate. He added, “It is now or never.”

The fatalists are hoping for the latter. They view any form of societal collapse as a price worth paying to ‘save the planet.’

The author of the Time Magazine piece, Ciara Nugent, is ‘on message’ with the alarmist perspective. ”Never, might be best,” she said.

Nugent’s sentiment is expressed more widely within the legacy liberal-left media and political establishment. These bulwarks of anti-humanism were also complicit in ensuring that governments’ implemented Covid lock down policies and, by extension, the inevitable societal destruction that developed in their wake.

It is surely no coincidence that liberal-left website, Medialens, who claim to ”correct for the distorted vision of the corporate media,” but who are nonetheless sympathetic to the prevailing alarmist orthodoxy, have remained silent with regards to the societal damage that the political response to Covid is causing.

The role played by climate activists and their media and political adjuncts in perpetuating fear is a crucial part of the armoury of the global powers to ‘sell’ their Malthusian and population control agenda to the public in a more palatable form. A key way that this is achieved is by couching climate in the language of ‘sustainable development’.

This strategy, however, has all the hallmarks of a new form of colonialism. Positive responses to climate action create relationships of dependency, that undermine the true interests of the colonized.

The Club of Rome

Commentator Hugo Kruger, points out that the Malthusian depopulation concept, promoted by The World Economic Forum, under the leadership of Klaus Schwab, is deep rooted in the colonialist project, manifested most recently as the ‘climate crisis.’

The Club of Rome, founded by the Italian Peccei Family in 1968 in David Rockefeller’s Italian Estate. Peccei was invited by Schwab to make the keynote speech at the 1973 World Economic Forum. After their “Limits to Growth Scenario” prediction that the world will be overpopulated and run out of resources failed, the focus shifted to emissions.’

Kruger continues:

In 1992, the Club of Rome released its book ‘The First Global Revolution’, which says:

“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

To this extent, groups like Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, as well as prominent activists like Greta Thunberg, Naomi Klein and George Monbiot, have failed to grasp the dark side of the movement and what drives it.

Hugo Kruger, writes:

”Western intellectuals, with a few exceptions, have been blind spotted into giving the IPCC their unconditional support for the ‘Global Warming Alarm’. As the physicist Denis Rancourt argued in 2010, they look for comfortable lies so that they can settle into and feel good about themselves while ignoring actual environmental problems. Climate Change is the elite’s ‘Opium of the Masses’ and, as occurs all too often with religion, hucksters, fraudsters, tyrants and the ring leaders are quick to exploit the naivety of those with sincere convictions.”

Predicated on ludicrous armageddon forecasts and the unwitting actions of climate activists, the media and political establishment are exploiting the legitimate concerns the public have over environmental issues to weaponize and help push through a nefarious global societal command and control agenda.

Propaganda In the Age of Eternal War and ‘Pandemics’

By Daniel Margrain

The rolling media coverage of major events, including wars, are often accompanied by predictable rhetorical flourishes across what passes for the ‘mainstream’ political and media spectrum. Politician’s, newspaper editors and media pundits invariably invoke war in a jingoistic way in an attempt to garner popularity and to sell copy, especially if the justification given to go to war is to ‘defeat terrorism’.

The relationship between war and terrorism is actually symbiotic only made distinguisable by the uneven relations of power that these different terms imply. Actor Peter Ustinov’s famous remark: ‘Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich’, highlights this uneven power relationship.

Following every terrorist atrocity or war crime committed by ‘official enemies’ the same words of condemnation are wheeled out time and time again by media pundits and politician’s. ‘Terrorism must be defeated’. they say. Warfare, they almost always assert will defeat it as if it’s possible for ideologies to be defeated at the point of a gun.

If the intention of the security services is to prevent terrorism, and the aim of politician’s and journalists is to end wars that are often their catalyst, then all three have utterly failed.

Even though these failures are undeniable and obvious to everybody with a functioning brain, the global slump of the security services have set a net so wide that millions of names have been added to their digital database.

The purpose of creating a wide net in this way is essentially two-fold: to create the illusion that something substantially significant is being done to combat it and to exaggerate, and give credence to, perceived threats.

Indeed, from the perspective of politicians and legacy media, terrorists, particularly Islamists, are deemed to constitute an ubiquitous presence in a society where ‘civilizing’ and democratic values are characterized as being at the heart of the fight against the forces of reaction and irrationality.

But given that this notion ignores an important historical context, it reflects only a partial truth. The concept that underpins perpetual warfare invoked, for example, by the Project for the New American Century is the catalyst for both the US-led slaughter in Iraq from which emerged al-Qaeda and ISIS, and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York that preceded it.

The PNAC eternal warfare rhetoric took a new turn more recently during a speech given at Davos by NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg. During the WEF panel discussion Stoltenberg incredulously intimated that the creation of a wilderness in Russia resulting from NATO bombs was the potential precursor to ‘peace’.

Stoltenberg’s reference to the subjugation of a version of Russia that the public have been propagandized to fear, primarily at the behest of US geopolitical strategic interests, is a key factor behind NATO’s war drive against that country.

The Western media’s demonization of independently-funded commentators who question war narratives, particularly in relation to the geopolitical imperatives that drive them, and the extent to which the concentration/centralisation and integration of corporate and state power transform into military rivalries among nation-states, represents another component in the psy-ops used against the public.

A third dimension in this psychological operation, relates to the efforts of the state to engender a climate of fear around the alleged ‘threat’ to public health caused by the Covid ‘pandemic’. In reality no such threat existed.

It was confirmed in the UK as early as March ’20, for example, that Covid-19 was no longer considered a high consequence infectious disease. The most reliable, robust meta analyses on Covid IFR, conducted by Stanford medicine professor Dr. John Ioannidis, reports a median IFR of 0.035 per cent for those aged 0-59, which represent 86 per cent of the global population.

The events thus described, when taken together, are indicative of attempts by governments’ and their institutions to engender fear and curtail fundamental civil liberties and freedoms of expression. These attacks by the state are indicative of a transnational technocratic system of authoritarianism and neo fuedal control. Transhumanism, eugenics, social credit scoring and Central Bank Digital Currencies are the embodiment of this authoritarianism and control.

Whether it’s questioning the ‘scientific’ premise on which Covid policy is formulated, challenging assumptions as to why terrorists commit their heinous acts or questioning the actions of Zelensky in Ukraine, expressing ‘uncomfortable’ ideas is becoming increasingly ‘out of bounds’.

The focus of the state appears to be more about targetting people on the assumption that a crime will be committed based on certain thought processes, rather than getting to the truth or uncovering evidence of events as they unfold.

Indeed, under the specious pretext of preventing harm to children and others, the intention of the UK government’s proposed on-line safety legislation and Police Bill is to arrest people, not only for forms of public protest that fail to meet the limited strictures set down by the state, but also for perceived ‘thought crimes’. The underlying purpose of this oppressive legislation is to ultimately criminalize free thought and to de-platform, ban and censor prominent dissenting voices.

The truth is that one of the key wars currently being fought is not against some bogeyman and a useful distraction in the form of Vladimir Putin, but against non-complying domestic populations, whether that be through the rubrick of questioning the narrative around the Russia-Ukraine conflict, challenging the ‘science’ that underpins the Covid narrative or expressing support for Dutch farmers and Canadian truckers actively resisting the tyranny of their respective nation states’.

In his book, ‘Tell Me No Lies’, veteran investigative journalist, John Pilger quotes the writer Simon Louvish’s recounting of a story about a group of Soviets touring the United States before the age of glasnost. After reading the newspapers and watching TV, they were amazed to find that, on the big issues, all the opinions were the same. “In our country,” they said, “to get that result we have a dictatorship, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. So what’s your secret? How do you do it?” 

It’s a good question. If modern, professional journalism in the West is genuinely free and diverse as its apologists claim, the similarities between Soviet-era media and Western media should be few and far between. Questioning Soviet-era media such as Pravda (meaning, ironically, “The Truth”), invariably meant that dissidents were subject to the demands of a formal dictatorship that imprisoned and tortured them.

Within most of the formal democracies of the modern West, however, the preferred authoritarian weapon of war of the tyrants is primarily not violent oppression or imprisonment and torture, but psychological nudging operations, censorship by omission, demonetization and control by a structurally-embedded sociopathic state-media propaganda machine.

My tribute to David Crosby

By Daniel Margrain

In ‘Revolution Blues’ from his 1974 album, ‘On The Beach’, Neil Young famously spews vitriol on the fake tinsel town celebrity life-styles of the wealthy residents of Laurel Canyon many of whom lionized the killer, Charles Manson:

 “Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars, but I hate them worse than lepers and I’ll kill them in their cars,” sang Young.

Forming part of his ‘Ditch trilogy’ this was Young at his most angriest and bitter. It’s probably the Canadian artists greatest song from one of his best albums that reflected his disillusionment with the idealism of the hippies as the realism of the 1970s began to take hold.

Three years earlier, one of Young’s contemporaries, former Byrds member and long-time collaborator, David Crosby, released the album, If Only I Could Remember My Name, a far more cerebral, and to my mind, devastating critique on the pessimism of the age.

Indeed, with this record, Crosby created a tonal, harmonic and semi-baroque masterpiece. The recording remains, more than half a century since its release, one of the most absorbing and moving experiences in the history of rock music.

Among the seminal musician’s of the period who worked alongside Crosby on the album included Kaukonen, Slick, Casady and Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, Garcia, Leisha, Kreutzmann and Hart of Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash.

The creative influence of these brilliant musician’s is tangible, but the sound created is nevertheless incomparable to anything recorded before or since. Deeply philosophical and existential, the music and vocals exude a sad poignancy, a yearning for some kind of spiritual redemption and lamentation of a world lost in the mists of time.

Mainstream obituaries of Crosby are likely to focus on his vocal ability and the contributions he made with the Byrds and Stills, Nash and Young. This, of course, is warranted. But his best ever work, arguably one of the greatest albums of all-time, will of passed many of the obituary writers by.

Crosby was a provacteur who went against the grain. His uncompromising counter-cultural outlook meant he had many enemies. But ultimately he was true to himself and the spirit of love and peace that his music embodied. Rock music has lost one of its greatest figures. A huge flame has been extinguished.


The Ghost of Fursac and other Bizarre Happenings

By Daniel Margrain

Towards the end of last summer, I finally achieved my dream of living in the French countryside. To this end, I followed in the foot-steps of my sister Lydia, her partner, Pete, and their young daughter, Milly. Although things haven’t gone quite as smoothly as expected, I haven’t regretted for one second my decision to leave London, the city where I had spent the last thirty-six years of my life.

Over the past five months, I’ve become pretty adept at wall paper stripping, sanding and painting. My sister, Lydia and her partner, Pete, have two acres of land so I’ve been busy with the strimmer. The grass here grows like crazy and everything’s bigger, from the blades of grass to spiders, ants, bats, snakes, lizards and wildlife/flora/fauna in general.

We have chestnut, walnut, apple, pear trees and a plum tree. More about the latter in due course. Much of this produce is staple here. Meat and vegetables are, of course, locally sourced. Lydia and Pete intend to grow their own vegetables when everything is settled.

We’re in the commune of Fursac, Creuse in central France roughly between Toulouse and Paris about four hours train journey from each. The countryside is beautifully idyllic. There are horses and cows in adjoining fields and a border collie that follows us around everywhere.

Huge bats nestle in the crevices of a nearby barn and eagles and herons glide majestically overhead. Claude Chabrol’s, Le Boucher and Claude Berri’s, Manon des sources, are accurate cinematic representations of what rural life is like here. It’s pretty remote but not too much so.

I don’t drive and there are no buses so my bike has been a God-send. The nearest town of any note is La Souterraine about fifteen kilometres away. Our commune consists of five properties all of which, encouragingly, are lived in. We’ve made friends with our French neighbours. The only person we’ve had a problem with is our electrician who happens to be English.

The village of Fursac proper has a two Tabac’s and a Michelin star restaurant/hotel. It’s a great region to cycle, not too hilly with plenty of picturesque communes, lakes and forests dotted throughout the undulating countryside. Every summer the town plays host to a music and arts festival that attracts visitors from all over France.

But it’s not all rosy. The region also has an extremely dark history. On August, seventy years ago in the nearby commune of Chabannes, six Jewish children were rounded up by the Nazi collaborators, the Vichy, where they were deported to Auschwitz as part of a wider sweep of the Jewish community. 

These historical events provide the backdrop to some extremely bizarre recent happenings that I will endeavour to explain. My sister, brother-in-law and young niece have all experienced some very strange and unexplained events here. Since my sister moved to the commune she has experienced doors randomly opening and closing, the sudden movement of household objects which have fallen from surfaces and the clear sounds of footsteps.

One might argue that these events could be rationally explained by the fact that the house is old and draughty. But my sister assures me that when these things happened, the air was still and there were no breezes or gusts of wind present.

Events get far stranger. On a clear August afternoon two years ago, after my sister first arrived, my brother-in-law, Pete, was sitting in the garden when suddenly, about twenty metres away, a middle-aged man appeared next to a solitary plum tree. The man, who was standing upright, stared directly at Pete. The figure was solid in form and Pete could clearly identify this persons features and attire.

Pete described the man in question as ‘white of medium height and build’. He was dressed in ‘old fashioned working clothes and wore a cap’. After a few moments, Pete claims the figure ‘dissolved into thin air’. He said it reminded him of the old Star Trek episodes when the characters get teleported from one place to another. Pete hadn’t been drinking alcohol or taken drugs of any kind. He wasn’t feeling tired and was fully conscious when this happened.

None of the scientific explanations outlining the possible reasons why people think they see ghostly apparitions applied in this instance. Pete is the type of person who would ordinarily scoff at any suggestion of the existence of ghosts or paranormal phenomena.

If you were to meet Pete, you would conclude that he would be the last person on earth who would believe in supernatural happenings and in the past has expressed outright cynicism towards anybody who purports to having experienced such happenings.

This makes subsequent events appear all the more strange. Over the months that followed, things went from strange to the outright weird. The first of these events began last February. While sitting in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea, the same male figure – again in solid form – appeared, this time only three metres away from where Pete was sitting.

The male figure, who was dressed in the same working clothes and wore the same cap, raised both arms, bending them at the elbow, pointing both thumbs upwards towards Pete. Visibly shaken, my brother-in-law ran into the living room a few metres away where my sister, Lydia, and my niece, Milly, were watching TV.

Milly started to cry due to upset this weird event caused. After a few minutes, Pete, rather gingerly, returned to the kitchen. The man had disappeared. Again, none of the scientific explanations outlined above applied.

What is particularly strange are the events that occured in the following days. Unbeknown to Lydia and Pete, the former owners of the house, an elderly couple, called round unexpectedly, ostensibly as a courtesy call. Lydia answered the front door and invited the couple in for a chat. Pete was out at the time, food shopping. 

The couple asked Lydia if they could look around the house to see what work had been done. Lydia obliged. The couple then inquired what the renovation plans were for the property. The previous owners had taken great pride in the house and at one time the woman’s family had apparently owned a large amount of land in the vicinity. The couple seemed pleased that the property was being looked after and that it’s essential character was being maintained.

Then almost out of the blue, the woman asked Lydia whether she had, ‘experienced the presence of my grandfather who built the house?’ Taken aback, my sister replied that she hadn’t ‘but there is a possibility that my partner has’. With this, the woman became very emotional and tears began to form in her eyes. 

The woman explained to my sister that she had seen her grandfather in the house on numerous occasions after his death. She then relayed the following story about her grandfather to my sister:

Her grandfather, she said, had been active in the community and had fought in the trenches during World War One. The former owner reminisced how, many years later, her grandfather would regularly poke fun at the Vichy Nazi’s whenever they passed through the commune.

The woman said that on returning to the house her grandfather had built in Fursac – what is now Lydia’s, family home – he had packed some plum seeds in his bag which he subsequently planted in the garden of the house.

The woman pointed to the spot in the garden where those seeds had developed into the existing plum tree, beside which Pete had seen the male figure dressed in the old fashioned clothing and cap.

Why did the male figure appear in front of Pete at the exact spot in the garden where the previous owners grandfather had planted the plum seeds? 

Moreover, why did this male figure put his thumbs up towards Pete in the kitchen as if it was a friendly gesture? 

Could it have been that the figure in question was the grandfather of the previous owner and that the gesture was intended as a sign of his gratitude in relation to the restoration work Pete was undertaking on the house?

In relaying this account of events, both my sister, Lydia, and my brother-in-law, Pete, wanted to make clear to me that they knew nothing of the families history prior to Lydia’s meeting with the previous owners.

One of our French neighbours in the village, who we are particularly friendly with, has in his possession an old black and white family photograph that includes the grandfather pictured as a boy. Pete has seen the photograph but is unable to confirm whether the boy in question is the same person he saw in the garden and kitchen. 

Although these series of unexplained events are strange, the third major happening is arguably the most bizarre of all, not least because my sisters daughter, Milly, had also witnessed it. Four months had passed since the previous ‘ghostly’ siting. It was now a warm Tuesday evening in mid-June. Dusk had just began to emerge.

During this time of the evening, Lydia usually puts the bins out for the next morning collection as part of the weekly routine of chores. But on this one occasion – much to my sister’s subsequent regret – Pete took it upon himself to put them out. The idea was to show Milly what was involved in wheeling the bins from the barn to the collection point by the roadside outside the house.

As they approached the barn, their attention was immediately drawn to the sky directly above them. What Pete described as a ‘huge, silent and liquid-looking undulating black mass’ appeared at low altitude above them in what was previously a clear sky just as dusk was beginning to set in. The nearby houses in the commune had turned their lights on moments earlier. However, upon the appearance of this strange object in the sky, all the lights in the village momentarily went out simultaneously, including the one solitary street light.

I have since suggested to Pete the possibility that this peculiar experience could of been the result of some kind of weather or atmospheric event. But both he and Milly were ‘one hundred per cent positive’ that what they saw was an actual physical object. 

Pete said the object was ‘undulating but solid, rather like a huge Perspex sheet, the mass of which ‘covered the entire commune and the immediate visible sky.’  Milly, who was nine years of age at the time, described the object as ‘like a giant wobbly black sheet that flapped about’.

Moments later, the strange craft disappeared into the distance, beyond the horizon, after which time all the lights of the houses in the commune came back on. Both Pete and Milly then ran nervously, but excitedly, back into the house. They recounted to Lydia what they had witnessed. All this happened, Pete said, ‘within a matter of around twenty seconds.’

I asked Pete if any of the neighbours in the commune had seen anything. He replied that he hadn’t mentioned it to anybody else and that nobody, to his knowledge, had reported the event.

The Ruination of the Beautiful Game

By Daniel Margrain

There is something extremely rotten at the heart of professional football in the English game. High-profile managers are chiefly among those complicit in this sorry state of affairs. I believe most, if not all, are charlatans and spivs. It is perplexing to me why so many commentators, fans and even owners, glorify and fetishize them.

It is perhaps understandable why players who depend on them for their career development, have been reluctant to challenge the God-like status of managers. It would take a very brave player to speak out.

The bigger conundrum is the relationship between managers and owners of football clubs. Manager, Claudio Ranieri has managed more clubs than anyone else. His most recent managerial job in England for Watford which ended in January last year, was the 12th time he’s been revealed at a UK press conference.

Nigel Pearson is not far behind, having managed 10 clubs throughout his career. He has lasted an average of under a year at each one.

In the Premier League as a whole, the average tenure for a manager is around one year, nine months.

So, clearly there is a tacit understanding between owners and managers that the formers sacking of the latter is an inevitability.

Managers have as much of a long-term investment in a football club as professional politicians have in the welfare of the vast majority of the population, that is to say, zilch.

Given that managers are not incentivized to help ensure the long-term success of football clubs, why do owners employ managers multiple times on huge salaries in the first place?

Con trick

I have long suspected that the institution of managers is nothing but a con-trick. This suspicion is supported by the evidence. Stefan Szymanski, economics professor at Cass Business School, for example, has studied the spending of 40 English clubs and found that their spending on salaries explained 92 per cent of their variation in league position. The team that pays most, wins. Szymanski’s conclusion is that players’ salaries alone almost entirely determine football results.

In addition, research by Sue Brigewater shows that after the initial period following a managers appointment, any improvement in performance disappears and that on average, managerial changes at football clubs do not improve long-term results. There is no evidence, in other words, of a causal link between the appointment of a manager and success on the field.

Who could reasonably disagree with the FT who stated that ‘managers could probably be replaced by stuffed teddy bears without their club’s league position changing?’

Football journalists and fans appear to be oblivious to these truths. To my knowledge none have ever addressed these issues or why Premier League managers frequently move from club to club as part of an endless ‘merry-go round’ of sackings and re-appointments. Nor do they question the systemic culture of inverse financial incentives which result in managers being rewarded for failure with new, extremely lucrative contracts at other clubs – often in conjunction with substantial pay-offs – in a way that rarely happens in other professions outside of banking.

So why do owners of Premier League clubs repeatedly sack and re-employ football managers on salaries that are, in many cases, higher than CEOs of huge corporations?

My explanation is that owners are unwilling to devote the time to undertaking a job they are capable of doing themselves because any failings on the pitch would inevitably rebound on them. Better to employ a high-profile manager as a ‘deflector shield’. TV executives adopt a similar rationale by employing high-profile presenters as a strategy to divert the media spotlight away from them in the event of ratings failures.

Buffer

The manager serves chiefly as a buffer between investors and fans. He is a marketing tool and is the club spokesman for the media and sponsors. Although totemic faith is invested in his alleged powers, the reality is that there isn’t much he can do to influence events on the field of play. Nevertheless, it’s a price owners’ are seemingly willing to pay as a way of shirking their own responsibilities for the failings of their clubs. Far better to be part of a huge financial gravy train.

Premier League manager, David Moyes, is very much a part of this gravy train. Moyes is an example of a high-profile figure who has been employed, and yet failed, at numerous clubs. At the time of writing, Moyes’ current team, West Ham United, sit in the bottom three of the Premier League table.

Most recently, the team lost an important league game to fellow strugglers, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Inexplicably, Moyes failed to play two of his most in-form and highest-scoring players in the starting line-up. This strange decision was picked up on by both fans and football journalists.

Why would a manager refuse to play his leading two goalscorers in a crucial relegation battle?

Could it conceivably be the case that Moyes wanted to lose the match in order to increase his chances of getting the sack, thereby guaranteeing a huge financial pay-off and almost certain re-employment at another club?

At the very least, the incident in question emphasizes the fact that high-profile managers like Moyes know they hold many of the financial cards.

It’s not just managers who call the shots. Players do too. Many of them who lack confidence or otherwise find it hard to maintain form, often want to leave struggling clubs as opposed to acknowledging their collective responsibility to the people who pay their wages – the fans.

Fans are the lifeblood of football. They are their for the long-haul, through good times and bad. Managers, players and even owners on the other hand, are here today, gone tomorrow fly-by-nights.

It’s the fans who are the people that invest a great deal of their time and hard-earned income on their favourite football clubs. They are also the ones, however, who end up picking up the pieces of a broken system deeply embedded in the body politic.

This is a situation that cannot continue forever. Increasingly, I believe, fans are seeing through the facade.

Ultimately, we need far more democracy and transparency in the game otherwise we’ll all end up paying the price for this profigacy.

References:

https://www.olbg.com/blogs/football-manager-merry-go-round

https://www.onlinebetting.org.uk/betting-guides/football/football-manager-lifespan.html

https://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-management/management/business-studies/stefan-szymanski-on-the-business-football https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2014/03/szymanski.htm.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269929357_What_is_the_Impact_of_Changing_Football_Manager Bridgewater (2009).

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/do-football-managers-make-a-difference/.

NATO’s Ongoing Proxy War

In a recent speech to the UK parliament in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made a series of false and misleading statements against President Vladimir Putin inflaming the tensions of an already volatile situation in Ukraine. The overriding theme of the speech was the accusation that Putin’s defence of the Donbas was tantamount to imperialist aggression in Ukraine. Russia’s targeted intervention has been used as justification for both NATO’s and the Western media’s bellicose anti-Putin rhetoric.

Johnson’s speech was ironical given the fact that the war currently being fought by NATO’s proxies to allegedly defend Ukrainian territorial integrity is being used as a geopolitical staging-post by NATO as part of their geopolitical expansionist ambitions.

The corporate ‘mainstream’ media are unquestioningly repeating, as if with one voice, the Wests anti-Russia narrative and their demonizing of Vladimir Putin as a new Adolf Hitler. The narrative is that a fascist Putin is hell bent on conquering vast swaths of territory within the landmass that comprised the former Soviet Union in order to de facto re-establish its empire. An additional component is that NATO is acting defensively to protect Ukrainian ‘democratic values’ against the ‘tyrannical’ Russian invader.

Absent from the media’s analysis is any context and the particular set of political circumstances, that led ‘Vlad the Insaner’ as he has been dubbed by LBC radio presenter, Nick Abbot, to intervene in Ukraine. With such a narrow, one-sided and distorted analysis of the conflict, the public is being denied any counter narrative with which to make an informed critique about the unfolding situation in Ukraine.

The Minsk Agreement

The Western media have either omitted or dismissed the Minsk Agreement, as part of their analysis. The Minsk accords were prompted by the Ukrainian governments ‘anti-terror’ blitzkrieg attack against the eastern Donbas region that followed in the wake of the violent US-backed coup d’etat in Kiev in 2014. From 2015 to the present, the stated policy of the Ukraine government has been their unwillingness to both ratify and implement the accords.

Moreover, the Biden administration has not applied any pressure on the Kiev regime in this regard, even though it is obliged in law to support it. For the past 7 years, Kiev, Washington and London have engaged in obfuscation and sat on their hands. Had Minsk been implemented, the quid pro quo would have meant the lifting of sanctions by the EU. But this potential outcome was simply a non-starter as far as Western governments’ and their complicit mainstream media were concerned. Collusion between them, explains why both US/UK officials and the media commentariat have not mentioned the agreement in public.

The ousting of the democratically-elected government in Kiev in 2014 was devastating for the 4 million ethnic Russians in the Donbas region. Since 2014 they have been legally discriminated against, their language outlawed, opposition political parties banned and critical media voices of the then newly-installed regime, censured.

In addition, neo-Nazi paramilitary Ukrainian forces, the very people the US and the UK are arming, have been shelling them for the past 7 years. These forces have done so in the knowledge that the deliberate quashing of the Minsk Agreement by the Kiev and Western governments provided the green light necessary to allow the shelling to continue.

Denying culpability

The Kiev regime are using these paramilitary forces to deny culpability and to prevent any progress towards a negotiated peace. The inability of Kiev and the West to act in good faith to prevent what is tantamount to Genocide in Donbas, meant that Putin felt his only option was to step in and provide military protection to the beleaguered people of the region and restore their food, water and electricity supplies.

The stated objective of Russia’s military operation in the country is based on the following four issues:

1. The guaranteed security of the people of the Donbas region.

This is precisely what the Minsk Accords were designed to achieve but were undermined at every turn by the US and the government it installed in Kiev.

2. The De-militarization of Ukraine.

What Putin is referring to here, is the vast array of weapons that have poured into the country from NATO-member states. Russia views Ukraine as a de facto unofficial member of NATO and therefore a threat to its territorial integrity, not least because NATO have goaded Kiev in that direction.

This is obviously a red line for Putin who expressed to the US State Department and other member NATO states his concerns in relation to security guarantees. These were rebutted by the West.

3. The de-Nazi-fication of Ukraine.

This refers to paramilitary neo-Nazi’s and ultra nationalists such as the Azov Battalion and Right Sector-affiliated groups, followers of Stepan Bandera who collaborated with Hitler during WW2. The US and UK supply weapons to these groups and their shells rain down on ethnic Russian communities.

In effect, both countries are arming and training neo-Nazis in Ukraine and have been doing so for many years.

4. Ensuring that the neo-Nazi’s are brought to justice.

Putin says he vows to hold a tribunal to help ensure that human rights violators are held accountable for their actions.

Given that, at the time of writing, Russia appears to have established operational control of Ukrainian airspace in the Donbas region, from a strategic perspective, the first and second objectives have effectively already been accomplished.

Currently, Russia is working with the respective military’s within the declared self-proclaimed enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk, in the Donbas region to ensure their status as independent autonomous regions, in accordance with the principles of internal law on the right to self-determination, are respected. To this end, Russian forces are helping to push the Azov Battalions and Ukrainian military out of these regions.

It is within this rapidly shifting context that there has been a recent change of tone in the rhetoric of President Zelensky who now seems to be more willing to discuss neutrality and not being a part of NATO.

Why rising Covid case rates are misleading

To get 20K positives tests today, we are testing nearly 3x more people *every day* than the last time we had 20K positives a day, in Dec 2020.

This is because the PREVALENCE of Covid in our community now is much lower How much lower? Today, 1 out of every 440 people test positive. Whereas in December 2020 (the last time we had 20K positive tests a day) 1 in every 85 people in the community tested positive for Covid.

This is why focusing on daily cases is deceptive. We are NOT finding more Covid positives. All we are doing is testing far more people (3x more people) to get the equivalent result

Currently the UK are testing 1.2 million people a day for Covid (more the rest of Europe combined). Check the statistics below:

Rising Covid case rates bear no relationship to deaths/hospitalisations. The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trusts reported deaths from Covid is typical of rates up and down the country. NTHNF hasn’t reported a single Covid-19 death for 76 consecutive days, going right back to 28 April 2021.

IN A SCENARIO IN WHICH TESTING HAS A FALSE POSTIVE RATE OF 1%, IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE NUMBER OF DAILY NEW CASES IN THE UK TO GET BELOW 12,000.


SPOT THE PROBLEM?

THIS EXPLAINS WHY THE UK IS A TEST BED FOR THE REST OF EUROPE. THERE WILL SOON BE MOVES AFOOT TO RAMP UP TESTING UP-TAKE IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY MORE LOCK DOWNS AT HOME AND ABROAD.

Domestically, this all of this makes sense in light of the Coronavirus Act and the governments likely ushering in of vaccine passports for domestic use.

While we celebrate getting back freedoms on July 19th, we should keep this in mind and never forget that this draconian Act is still in place and vaccine passports for domestic use is likely.

WHEN WE UNDERSTAND THAT VACCINE PASSPORTS REPRESENT AN AUTHORITARIAN AND COERCIVE RULE BY DECREE AND A STEPPING STONE TO FULL BLOWN CHINESE-STYLE TYRANNY, THE EMPHASIS THE MOST RIGHT WING UK GOVERNMENT IS PLACING ON RAMPING UP TESTING BEGINS TO MAKE PERFECT SENSE.

Hamburg, Masked & Confused

By Daniel Margrain

The tourism and hospitality industries appear determined to want to die. On 11 August, I booked a summer holiday break to Amsterdam. Two days later after having booked the flight and accommodation, the UK government announced that as from 4am on August 15, people arriving in the UK from the Netherlands and elsewhere would be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

I hastily cancelled and, instead, booked a trip to Hamburg, a port city that I had long wanted to visit. Germany is one among a diminishing number of European countries that remain on the UK governments list of travel corridors.

I opted for a morning flight with the German-based carrier Eurowings departing from Heathrow on September 3. The airport was relaxed. Not a single official challenged me or others for not wearing a mask. Many people wandered around mask free which was very reassuring. This was also the case during the security and check-in procedure.

Mask fascism begins at boarding

The first sign of any potential problem was during boarding. I noticed that everybody queueing in line apart from me was wearing a mask. The chief flight attendant, an immaculately attired man in his mid-forties greeted me with, “Sir you need to wear a mask.” I explained that I was exempt due to a medical condition. He replied abruptly: “You will need to wear a mask. If you do not produce a medical certificate you will not be able to fly with us today.”

I ruffled through my bag for my Ventolin inhaler. “This is not sufficient”, he remarked. He then said he would check with the pilot. After a few moments in the cockpit he returned to confirm that I had to wear a mask. I reached into my pocket, reluctantly put on my unused mask and proceeded to take my seat.

After ten minutes into the air, I ordered a coffee and biscuits. In the knowledge that the virus doesn’t appear to be interested in those who are eating or drinking, I nibbled on my custard creams and sipped on my Nescafe for the remainder of the flight without any further hassle from the flight crew. The same could not be said for another passenger sitting opposite me. While asleep, after having inadvertently letting his mask slip from his face, he was regularly prodded by an over zealous female crew member.

Canny virus

The virus appears to be security conscious because border control officials at Hamburg airport insisted everybody take off their masks while having their passports checked. As I walked the five minute journey to the train terminal I was asked by officials in uniforms on three separate occasions to put on a mask.

Both on the train platform and the train itself, a completely muzzled public stared at me disapprovingly. Matters were to get worse as I entered the foyer of the Barcelo Hotel in the centre of the city. Panic ensued among hotel staff after I committed the cardinal sin of entering the space without the requisite ‘protection’.

A bright orange arrow directed visitors to the check-in counter 10 metres away. As I approached, I was greeted by the less than dulcet tones of a young female staff member with the order: “You need to put on a mask.” I explained that there was no convincing evidence that masks were effective in preventing the spread of the virus and that her curt response was an over-reaction.

Before she had an opportunity to respond, a gaggle of smartly dressed people had gathered. One of them, a male in his mid-thirties stepped forward: “Sir, I am the manager and I insist you wear a mask. It is the law here in Germany”, he said. I tried to explain the absurdity of it all but attempts to engage in a rational discussion were impossible.

Bio-hazards

I reached inside my bag for the mask, held it to my mouth with my hand, checked in and went to my room. After a short nap, I went to the hotel bar, a sterile and unwelcoming space the size of a small concert hall. Guests were clearly viewed as a hindrance, the presumption being that they are bio-hazards to be avoided at all costs.

I hastily returned to my room and flicked through the information booklet. There was no standard buffet breakfast available only an over-priced al a carte which had to be ordered in advance. There was no hotel room service and bar opening times were limited.

I checked out the following morning and found another hotel where these absurd Covid rules were not as rigidly applied. Consequently, guests and staff alike looked happier and more relaxed and the place was far busier.

Anomalies

Elsewhere in the city, Corona anomalies were abound. At every cafe or restaurant table, for example, customers are required to fill out name, personal address and date of birth details. In small bars frequented by hordes of largely chain smoking clientele, makeshift screens had been erected between tables and customers required to put on their masks when heading for lavatories. It is mandatory to wear a mask upon entering a restaurant, cafe or bar but it is not so the moment you sit down at a table.

Similarly, it is compulsory for passengers to wear masks on the open top deck of public ferries. However, for tourists who are willing to pay 20 euros for a “cruise”, mask-wearing is not a requirement. Apparently, the virus discriminates against ferry-users who are on a budget.

As I stood, mask-free on the open top deck of a public ferry docked at a station on the Elbe river one warm sunny afternoon, I looked around me at the mass of obedient mask-wearers. In the distance I noticed one of these private “cruise” vessels moving towards us. Nobody on the open top deck was wearing a mask.

Call the police

At that moment, I felt a tap on my shoulder from the captain of the vessel who announced to me in no uncertain terms that unless I put on a mask, the public ferry he commandeered would not be moving and he would call the police. I pointed to the “cruise” ferry of non-maskers in the distance and asked the captain if he could explain the contradiction. “It is the law”, he retorted. One passenger lurched towards me in a threatening manner and others were shouting abuse in my direction.

I hastily disembarked from the ferry and as I did so two police cars pulled up alongside the ferry port. I walked away towards a bar in the distance and one of the police cars drove slowly beside me until I reached my destination.

My Hamburg experience was hell and I will never return to the city. I was treated as though I was criminal almost everywhere I went.

The tourist industry, as with all other forms of social and cultural life, will die if, we, the public, allow this intolerable mandatory mask-wearing situation to persist. We must always keep in mind that the power the establishment have to insist we conform to unreasonable diktats is determined by the extent to which we consent to them. If the public resist in large enough numbers the political establishment will eventually relent.

My Review of Neil Young’s latest album, ‘Colorado’.

Neil Young’s latest studio album, Colorado, was recorded mostly live over 11 days in the Rocky Mountains of the same name. It’s Young’s first release with Crazy Horse in seven years. The addition of Nils Lofgren who replaced Frank Sampedro on guitar, was an inspired inclusion by Young. Lofgren adds texture and depth to the bands sound which is exemplary throughout.

The problem with the album is not the music, but the quality of the songs which are largely unmemorable. Neil Young is not at his best when, thematically, he focuses on political and environmental issues. More often than not, the lyrics and sentiments expressed (for instance, ‘Shut It Down’) come across as clumsy, heavy-handed and, for the most, part insincere (think Living With War). Here, Young is merely repeating himself.

The album’s opener, ‘Think Of Me’ is reminiscent of ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’ from Silver And Gold and is arguably the best song on the album. ‘She Showed Me Love’ is an eclectic rambling jam echoing the longer workouts on Psychedelic Pill. The seemingly telepathic interplay between the musicians is something that fans have come to expect from Crazy Horse that was lacking with Promise Of The Real in previous releases. Here, Nils Lofgren shines. And while the harmonies are impressive, there is, however, an overriding weariness in the message.

‘Olden Days’ is pretty much a straightforward ballad – a pleasant enough song with a nice counterpoint and Velvet Underground -style ‘shuffle’ rhythm. But, unfortunately, Young’s vocals can no longer cut it on this kind of piece.

Young and the band rock out in ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ which hints at 1996s Broken Arrow. With ‘Green Is Blue’, Young’s anger gives way to a fragility and melancholia befitting of Prairie Wind. In fact, redemption and rage are never far from Young’s psychological universe. The way he shift gears emotionally reflects a neurosis he often displays not merely *between* albums but also *within* them. Colorado is an illustration of the latter.

Stylistically, ‘Milky Way’ is basically an amalgam of elements of Greendale, Zuma and Sleeps With Angels. It’s gentle and tender underbelly, however, cannot disguise the fact that the song is not very good. ‘Eternity’ has echoes of ‘Cripple Creek Ferry’, while ‘Rainbow Of Colors’, draws strongly from George Harrison’s ‘Behind That Locked Door’.

Young closes the record with the delicate and highly personal ‘I Do’. Here his vocal limitations actually add to the songs emotional impact. The track wouldn’t of sounded out of place on one of his early 1970s albums.

Colorado, despite its flaws, is Young’s best album since Psychedelic Pill.