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I recently watched an American documentary about the 1944 D-Day Landings. One of the US infantrymen interviewed had an obvious German accent. He was described as being "of German descent". But was he brought up in Germany? Not necessarily. I remember talking to an old Ukrainian guy in Edmonton. He spoke English with a thick Eastern European accent. But it turned out he'd been born and raised in Canada. He had the accent because all the adults in the village he was brought up in spoke English with a thick European accent.

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I saw a documentary about the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook Crash, which pretty much wiped out the entire leadership of Britain's anti-terrorism effort in Northern Ireland. I came to Canada in 1997. So I was unaware of the vehemence with which successive government ministers insisted "nothing to see here, move along". The RAF inquiry ruled that two of its top Chinook pilots were guilty of gross negligence. Eventually, it was admitted that there was insufficient evidence to support the finding. So, the public still does not know what really happened. It has come out that there were a lot of concerns about the safety of the American-built Chinook 2 and government ministers were lied to and misled by the Ministry of Defence. The MoD does lie, sometimes stupid lies. Usually it does so due what it interprets as "National Security". Often this simply means not saying anything that might embarrass the Americans.

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What do Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Russian Federation supremo Vladimir Putin have in common? They have both appeared in recent weeks being "interviewed" by American right wing propagandist Tucker Carlson. Smith said she welcomed the chance to tell the world the good news from the Canadian province. Even accepting Carlson's claim to be a journalist, which he is not, Smith does not seem to have been asked by local reporters why she did it twice, once in Calgary and again in Edmonton. In fact it looks like she was pandering to a right wing pressure group, a lot like the old Left Wing Militant Tendency in the UK, which has been taking control of the local branches of her ruling United Conservative Party. These are the kind of people who would vote for Donald Trump if they could. And in fact, I suspect, a lot can as they are dual US-Canadian citizens. Putin just wanted a platform in the west which would not involve being asked any hard questions. Who'd have thunk a hard core right winger like Carlson would be a shill for The Evil Empire? Anyway, when are Smith and Putin going to share a stage? We should be told.

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Sometimes the cleverest funniest television adverts fail. The first viewing is often a delight. But once you know the punchline, the payoff, from the second time onwards the advert can be one long bore. And that boredom can easily translate into irritation with the advert and this is transferred onto the product being marketed. It's a shame.

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Many years ago, while on a visit to Vancouver, I spotted a "clan" gathering featuring the Chief of the Clan Macleod. Actually, it turned out to be pretty much a begging session to raise funds for renovations to Dunvegan Castle. I had a chat with the guest of honour, Chief John. He started by quizzing me about my own Scottish bloodline. Cheeky. I didn't see what it had to do with anything. And for the questions to be posed in such a posh English Public School accent! I refrained from pointing out that even if I was half-Polish or Swedish, I almost certainly had more Scottish DNA than him. The Anglo-Scots male tends to marry English money generation after generation. Nope, even with my Irish and English forefathers in the mix, I'm confident of who was more "Scottish". Born there, educated there and with enslaved coal miners in the family tree.

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