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Ward was brought to trial on what today looks like a trumped-up charge of living off immoral earnings.  

But that's not what it was really about. During his trial Stephen Ward was described as ‘the spider at the centre of a web of evil’ in the Profumo Affair. 

If anything, the evidence suggests the girls lived off him.  He had a substantial income from legitimate business and let them stay in his properties at no charge.  

Yet, he had to be locked up for something. Couldn’t have him wandering around London after bringing down the government and implicating a couple of Royals in addition to destroying his mentor Viscount Astor in the scandal; not to mention that the chap was either a spy or the unwitting pawn of a spy. Poor show!

High profile Australian lawyer Geoffrey Robertson was, for a period, campaigning to have the case to be reopened on a number of technical grounds, in particular because Christine Keeler, the prosecution's chief witness against Ward, was jailed for committing perjury at the trial of one of her lovers.

Ward committed suicide by an overdose on 3rd August 1963 (aged 50) on the eve of being convicted. 

Apparently Ward was driven to suicide by the establishment when all he had done was give some poor girls a home and to swan about; drawing and ingratiating himself to all and sundry, a couple of Royals: Margaret and Phillip, included; to what end we can only speculate.  Living the highlife, imagining himself significant, as most of us do, I suppose.

Since that time, history has repeated itself. The same establishment has been saved by another convenient suicide: that of Jeffrey Epstein. 

Ward's life could be represented as a classic Greek tragedy. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber gave this a go in 2014. But after just four months on London's West End, Stephen Ward, the Musical, crashed and burned, despite The Daily Telegraph's critic (Charles Spencer) recommending the production as "sharp, funny – and, at times, genuinely touching".

The seeds of Ward's downfall lay in his talent for drawing. He did so want to meet and draw Nikita Khrushchev.  

Maybe he had a natural affinity for men destined to fall from grace.

When we were in Moscow I asked a guide at Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square to show me which grave was Khrushchev’s.   I was told he was the only deceased communist leader not there because he was mad. 

It appears that he fell from grace when deposed by Brezhnev and then proceeded to write his memoirs, which were denounced as fraudulent by the new leaders, resulting in no State Funeral. It was Khrushchev who ceded the Crimea to the Ukraine, a gift that was rescinded early in 2014 by the Russians, who wanted to keep their naval base at Sevastopol on the Black Sea, after the Ukraine government was overthrown by pro-Western activists.



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Hong Kong and Shenzhen China






Following our Japan trip in May 2017 we all returned to Hong Kong, after which Craig and Sonia headed home and Wendy and I headed to Shenzhen in China. 

I have mentioned both these locations as a result of previous travels.  They form what is effectively a single conurbation divided by the Hong Kong/Mainland border and this line also divides the population economically and in terms of population density.

These days there is a great deal of two way traffic between the two.  It's very easy if one has the appropriate passes; and just a little less so for foreign tourists like us.  Australians don't need a visa to Hong Kong but do need one to go into China unless flying through and stopping at certain locations for less than 72 hours.  Getting a visa requires a visit to the Chinese consulate at home or sitting around in a reception room on the Hong Kong side of the border, for about an hour in a ticket-queue, waiting for a (less expensive) temporary visa to be issued.

With documents in hand it's no more difficult than walking from one metro platform to the next, a five minute walk, interrupted in this case by queues at the immigration desks.  Both metros are world class and very similar, with the metro on the Chinese side a little more modern. It's also considerably less expensive. From here you can also take a very fast train to Guangzhou (see our recent visit there on this website) and from there to other major cities in China. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News


Nepal Earthquake


The World is shocked by the growing death toll, that has now passed 5,000 as a result of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The epicentre was close to Pokhara the country's second largest city with a population just over a quarter of a million.  Just how many of the deaths occurred there is not yet clear.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Electricity price increases



14 April 2011

New South Wales electricity users are to suffer another round of hefty price increases; with more to come.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced that electricity prices for the average New South Wales resident will increase by 17.6 per cent from July.  Sydney customers will pay on average about $230 more each year, while rural customers will face an extra $316 in charges.  IPART says it is recommending the increases because of costs associated with energy firms complying with the federal government's Renewable Energy Target (RET).  The RET requires energy firms to source power from renewable sources such as solar or wind.

What is this about and how does it relate to the planned carbon tax?

If you want to know more read here and here.

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