Failure to preserve World War 2 heritage in NW England.

Unpublished letter to the Times, August 2015, reflecting concerns about failure to protect localised World War two sites. I had raised this and concern about the failure of Councils and official public heritage bodies to protect other local small scale industrial heritage relics (as monuments) in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 with one effective response from a coastal district archaeological preservation project officer.


As much of the country wallows in the World War I nostalgia fest, the visible remains of the fight to save civilisation in World War 2 seem sadly neglected – certainly in the North West. In the Liverpool City region – whether at Crosby / Hightown / Altcar (Sefton district), Wirral, Liverpool, Warrington, West Lancs, the pill boxes and gun emplacements are not so much deliberately run down or neglected but simply unknown and ignored. They are not preserved or enhanced by anyone. I’ve seem similar situations with the reminders in Wales north and south. Notable exceptions being local history signage for key parts played in WW2 at Beaumaris, and along the Wallasey promenade marking ships lost, and popular remembrance of the May 1941 Blitz in Liverpool & Bootle. The pill boxes remain the most visible reminder if you know where to look. Maybe the Government branding change for English Heritage will enable them to assist conserving smaller everyday historic sites from our more recent war time and indeed industrial heritage.

Kiron Reid

Lessons from John Buchan for today.

Thanks to David Weekes PhD student at St Andrews University for letting me know that this document had also disappeared from my migrated website. Originally written in 2010 and posted on the website in about 2013.
In a later comment I made clear the similarity between inspirational young trade union leader Joe Utlaw and Nick Clegg in 2010 (doing what they think is right in the public interest and being rejected by the public).
I use many of the same John Buchan references and some of the commentary in this post from 2011 /2011/09/04/two-caveats-on-the-financial-crisis-peoples-irresponsible-borrowing-and-the-finance-sector-cashing-in-out-of-the-economic-crisis-fair-blame-and-fairer-shares/

Lessons from John Buchan for today

The myth of Sovereignty. & The nationalist myth. TNE quotes.

Two great quotes from The New European newspaper.

Stephan Richter 24 March p. 12.
Sovereignty gains them nothing in the real world. Nobody can eat sovereignty.

Dr M M Gilchrist p 2 letters
I hoped we had moved on – that on an internet-connected world, we can build our own affinities based on our interests, regardless of location – but the Nationalists still cling to the myth that geographical proximity matters more than familial, social, cultural or intellectual ties.

12 things you may not know about Ukraine – 5 minute talk to Ignite Liverpool.

Thanks to Ignite Liverpool for uploading my five minute talk from 17 May on Twelve things that you may not know about Ukraine. And thanks for inviting me to be one of the contributors that day. Here is a link to the video on YouTube. It is also available on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The introductory blurb says “I’ve spent much time in Ukraine over the last nearly three years and have become quite a fan. Not many people in Britain know much about Ukraine and I try to tell them what it is really like – the good and the bad, the unusual stuff and the normal stuff.”

With many thanks to Adrian, Neil, Lydia, Dan, Will and all the Ignite Liverpool team, to everyone who came along, who watched or listened in and to the other inspiring speakers. This talk was based on a talk to Liverpool UNA in April last year.

I attach a copy of the short script. Ignite talk Twelve things about Ukraine K Reid 2

Ignite Liverpool website:

Quotes – various.

A page of quotes also did not transfer to my new website. This is the version saved in 2014, minus me quoting myself writing against nationalist and religious hatred in an October 2009 essay. I despise pedlars of fanaticism and creed or ideology based on hatred but it was rather pretentious to list my own quote on the subject.

Quotes website various

Quotes – various.

“Liberals are Anarchists by nature and constitutionalists by necessity”. Michael Meadowcroft

“405 miles of new motorway and trunk road has been constructed compared to a pitiful 27 miles of new railway since the Labour government took over”
Norman Baker MP 28/03/07 (Liberal Democrat News)

theirs is a land with a wall around it And mine is a faith in my fellow man

“Sweet moderation
Heart of this nation
Desert us not”

Billy Bragg, ‘Between the Wars’ 1985.

“New opportunities… knock-knock-knocking in a boom time New opportunities… Let’s forget about the gloom time…” Tom Robinson ‘Living in a Boom Time’ from Living in a Boom Time, album 1992.

“let us look forward, with the French philosopher Victor Hugo, to the day when the only battlefields will be those of markets open for business and the human spirit open for ideas.” The words of Graham Watson MEP, speech to 55th Liberal International Congress, Belfast 17 May 2008.

“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now” Bob Dylan 1964.

“how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” Bob Dylan ‘Blowin’ in the wind’ 1962.

“There are few subjects which are so obscure to the man in the street as the workings of the City of London and of the enormous financial power .. concentrated there.”
The Bankers of London, Percy Arnold (The Hogarth Press, London, 1938) review copy 31 October 1938. From the Nicholas Willmott bookdealer collection, Cardiff. Arnold gives a run down of the men who control each of the banks and financial institutions and big companies and how the companies are linked with each other, with the aristocracy, politicians, and men of wealth. The public could probably do with such knowledge today December 2008).

“True friends of Israel must acknowledge that there can never be a military solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.” Jonathan Fryer, ‘Liberator’ magazine Issue 311, February 2009.

“Many adults seem to hide behind the climate skeptics the ones that say there is no climate crisis. We children also often discussed about that topic. But for all these people we have an answer: If we follow the scientists that tell us there is a crisis and if we act and in 20 years we find out that they were wrong, then we didn´t do any mistake. But if we follow the skeptics and don´t do anything and in 20 years we will find out that they were wrong it is too late for us to save our future.” Plant-for-the-Planet ‘Help Us Children to Save the World’ Financial Statement 2010 p. 3. A brilliant organisation founded by Felix Finkbeiner and other children – an inspirational speaker who I heard at the Rights and Humanity Congress in Liverpool, September 2011.

A popular Madrid mural in support of multiculturalism

A popular Madrid mural in support of multiculturalism and asylum seekers –

Si tu dios es judio
Tu coche japones
Tu gas es argelino
Tu pizza es italiana
Tu cafe es brasileño
Tu vaccaciones marroquies
Tus cifras son arabes
Tus letras son latinas
¿ cómo te atrenes a decir que tu vecino es extranjevo?

If your God is Jewish
Your car Japanese
Your gas is from Algeria
Your pizza is Italian
Your coffee is Brazilian
You holiday in Morocco
Your numbers are Arabic
Your letters are Latin
Why do you say that your neighbour is a foreigner?

Banner/mural at Restaurante Achuri (a local bar), Lavapies district, Madrid


Translated by Marta Rello.

Kyiv tips for Eurovision & other visitors.

As Eurovision 2017 gets underway in Kyiv (usually known as Kiev still in the UK) here are some tips from early last year, which may be of use to fans attending. The original post seems to have dropped off my website in conversion to the new WordPress one which I only spotted when looking for these tips. They are originally aimed at UK football fans, as you can see. I’m assuming visitors are heading to the Dynamo Kyiv stadium. I would just add three things. I’ve read the UK FCO travel advice for visitors for Eurovision and think it is good practical advice, I agree with nearly every word. People in Kyiv and in Ukraine in general are usually very friendly and helpful, there are the usual exceptions. So if stuck on something do try and ask. Finally, while I wanted Eurovision to be in the wonderful city of Odessa, there is no doubt that the Ukrainian authorities and people of Kyiv will be passionate to ensure that visitors have a good time and enjoy the culture and hospitality of Ukraine’s capital city. Do enjoy, and good luck to all competitors.

Kyiv tips for football fans

For any friends who can join Wales on the trip to Kyiv next week. Some tips in case you know anyone going or thinking of going. I really recommend it to all your Wales friends. Worth making a mini-break of it.
It’s a lovely stadium.
Accommodation is cheap.
Food and drink is cheap even in the centre.
There is quite a lot of English spoken in Kyiv, usually someone around will speak some English; Quite a lot of signs are in English as well as Cyrillic.

Top tips, get a map in Ukrainian and English;
practice reading the Cyrillic alphabet;
look up a few phrases for food and drink. Pivo is an obvious one and coffee (sounds same) / cava (Russian / Ukrainian) chai.

People are friendly, I find the Metro horrendously confusing – look out for little tiny green M signs to indicate the stations – they are very hard to spot. (If you do take the metro you buy a green plastic token that you put in a slot – they cost next to nothing).

There are regular airport shuttle buses (small mini buses, that you may be crammed in on with luggage), labelled Sky buses, for just a few pounds that run between the airport and the modern side of the main Kyiv Voxhal (railway station): central railway station (центральний вокзал), Southern Station. You pay the driver the fare as he is about to leave. The journey can take about an hour (if very quick only 40 minutes). Traffic in Kyiv is very heavy at peak times so allow plenty of time for bus or taxi.

While the modern both late communist and capitalist parts of Kyiv, and modern capitalist outskirts are pretty ugly, the old historic central areas are very nice. As it happens the British Embassy is in one of the nicest locations.

The Kyiv in your pocket guide is good:
You can download a .pdf of it, and will see copies and tourist maps in places around the city.

This site also seems useful:

Definitely take a walk to the Maydan Square (about 40 minutes from the stadium) and up the main Khreshchatyk Street (Bul.) [ вул. Хрещатик ] (the nearer end is about 20 minutes from the stadium). There is a giant shopping centre under the Maydan. The domed Bessarabian market at the end of Khreshchatyk nearer the stadium is also worth popping into. And the big gold domed Cathedrals are really quite spectacular. St. Sophia’s. St. Michael’s.

Good tea and coffee and cake everywhere. You can get the currency from cash machines easily.
As it’s currently about 38 Hryvnias (sounds like Grivnia) to the pound, an expensive beer or coffee may cost about £1.50 but it can be a lot less. Maybe 30p for a large bottle of water from a kiosk (expensive in restaurants, cheap elsewhere). A pizza or burger is likely to cost a few pounds in a restaurant. Kiosks / supermarkets are really cheap. Of course there are also very expensive restaurants / bars if you want them. Oh, and they really do eat Chicken Kiev – it’s called cutlet Kyivski style and isn’t at all 1970s 🙂 .

The tourism site the FCO travel advice recommends looks good. On the food section if you scroll down a few lines you actually get to stuff I’d recommend eating!! [That site does not seem to have been updated for 2017]

Oddly it doesn’t have a map. Nor does the next guide.

The Eurovision 2017 Kyiv tips by Vladyslav Tieriekhov is good. It includes phrases in Ukrainian:

For a guide book the Lonely Planet guide to Ukraine is a good book.

You usually sit at a table, and order food as well as drink, in a bar. Even the few that look like pubs are more like cafe bar / restaurants. Most people will always eat and drink at the same time.

Ukrainian and Russian are used interchangeably. Younger / professional people may speak French / German / Italian as well.

A couple of bars I recommend:
Slavutych Shato Brewery
вул. Хрещатик, 24
Half way along Kreshchatyk on the left as you walk towards Maydan. You can’t miss the giant illuminated pint plass outside.

Porter Pub. Портер паб.
These look quite like Irish bars at home, they look quite like pubs. There are quite a few of them around Kyiv including just off either end of Kreshchatyk.

Milk Bar. This is a very nice Cafe / coffee / cake shop quite near the football stadium. It is expensive (UK type prices) but very good. As trendy as Manchester.
Shota Rustaveli St, 16

There is a food hall several floors up the Gulliver shopping mall – inside the huge Gulliver business centre complex near the stadium, and there is a good supermarket in the basement of the Gulliver complex. Gulliver has a huge illuminated yellow sign on top – it looks like an office block at the front and the entrance to a mall near the Palats Sportu metro at the back.

Other food tips.
I was going to start listing and recommending places but actually they are far too numerous to recommend good, good value (from very cheap to very expensive) coffee, tea and cafés and café bars and restaurants and other eating and drinking places. (I know a few cheap fast food joints as well of varying quality but always friendly). Everything will have a Ukrainian twist. We can certainly recommend cheap Ukrainian, or good pizza (Пицца – пиццерия Pizzeria – Pizza Celentano is a popular chain serving decent quality pizza found in both Poland and Ukraine), or nice restaurants where locals also eat. Passata Kharta (ask your hotel staff for proper Ukrainian and transliteration) is a good inexpensive self-service Ukrainian food chain, that also serves drinks. There is one very near the Bessarabian market. They look like terrible theme restaurants but serve authentic Ukrainian food.

PS The alphabet. Like in English, the upper case and lower case letters can look quite different, and the handwritten characters (including various old fashioned and stylised typed ‘handwritten’ scripts) look completely different to the printed upper case standard letters. They pronounce the name of their alphabet Kirillick (rather than as we say Cyrillic).


British sports teams seem to be regularly making the trip to Kyiv for international football matches. Having visited Kyiv (known in Britain mostly as Kiev) many times here are a few very simple tips for fans travelling to the city. Originally written in case any Man City, and then Wales fan friends were travelling to Ukraine or had friends who were. I’ve made 9 short visits to the city over the last 20 months, and am still very much finding my own way around. I also attach a few pictures of phrases in Ukrainian and Russian in case useful. These are from the Lonely Planet guides and Berlitz phrasebook. [On original website post not yet uploaded here]

2 April 2016.

Original post 19/02/2016 for Dynamo Kyiv v Man City, revised 21/03/2016 for Ukraine v Wales.

8/9 May 2017 Eurovision edit.

Spineless MPs betray the country and all Europe on Article 50.

Theresa May’s Article 50 trigger letter starts with a lie & contains lies throughout – that’s pro-Brexit all along. The Tories & vast majority of Labour MPs have shamefully been captured by the lying, dishonest fraudulent agenda of the Anti-EU extremists.
Read the third to last paragraph of May’s letter and see how damaging Brexit is. Typical Tory though that financial services merit pride of place and no mention of the environment (or actual production of things magically appearing again in the new UK). No mention of Gibraltar either. The Conservative Prime Minister seems determined to take Britain back to the 1980s at least. Investing in nuclear weapons & trading with brutal Middle Eastern dictators & wannabes is a perverse way to make Britain great out from peace loving EU. In a comment on 15 March I called the MPs who backed an earlier vote to trigger Article 50 traitors. “335 MPs voting Art. 50 power to unelected Prime Minister of minority party with no restraint. Traitors damaging peace of post War Europe”. It is treacherous to put personal position and ambition above the duty of an MP to stand for the best interests of the country. And the principle that countries have worked for fifty years to guard peace in Europe is one British Members of Parliament should have taken a stand for against the lies, populism and ignorance.
It is especially disappointing that on Merseyside only three Labour MPs (and the one Lib Dem) had the courage to vote against Article 50, despite how much our Liverpool city region has benefited from European Union investment and from European Union tourists, students and immigrants.
The Harry Potter shop at Heathrow Airport is more realistic than the Government’s Brexit plan. And Harry Potter has done far more for the British economy and World reputation than Brexit. Potter believes in truth and justice – anathema to the lying fraudulent anti-EU Brextremists. But it is fiction just like the Tory UKIP and fellow traveller lies