Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Party of One": how Harper is destroying Canada

An essential book has just been published: "Party of One" by Michael Harris, about the hideous abuses of power by Stephen Harper - in the words of reviewer Jim Coyle in today's Star, the book outlines "the Harper government's bullying, abuse, duplicity, betrayal, affinity for crooks, public shaming of intellectuals, diminishment of democratic institutions." Imagine - not Sierra Leone but Canada.

As Farley Mowat says in the book, "Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada." I would take out the 'probably' - can you think of another who has done such damage, nationally and internationally, to this country?

Bravo, Michael Harris. And while we're at it, brava to Naomi Klein for her new "This changes everything: capitalism versus the climate" which has just won the Hilary Weston Non-fiction Prize. Writers to be proud of, changing the world.

On a happier note, friend Bruce was just staying with a friend in Stony Stratford, England, a stony stone's throw from my mother's natal village of Potterspury. He went to visit Bletchley Park, where she worked during the war - where she was working when she met my dad, an American army volunteer, in Oxford in 1944. I wonder what she told him she did; even to allies, Bletchley staff were not allowed to talk about their work.

Bruce sent me a link, and I tried her name to see if she was there. And there she is: Sylvia Mary Leadbeater, FO Civilian, TA. Hut 8, which Bruce said was near Alan Turing's hut 6. She knew him by sight but not personally, she told me. And she did receive the Bletchley medal of service, just a few months before she died.

Proud of you too, Mum.

Miss S M Leadbeater 

FO Civilian, TA
Summary of service
Bletchley Park. Hut 8 and Block D.


  1. According to the Bletchley plan huts 3,6 and 8 in section D were 'Enigma'; does this mean your Mother was involved in the Enigma code breaking operation?

  2. No unfortunately, according to her, just the general operations - though those were exciting enough. But when I write the story, with my dramatizing instincts, maybe I'll bump her up a bit ...

  3. My mother, played by Kiera Knightley in the film. Perfect!

  4. Turing......Mark Rylance, your father ?
    Just need the book and film rights; better start writing ( when you're better of course!)

  5. Carole, I like how you think! I was actually referring to the Alan Turing movie that's coming out soon, in which Keira Knightley plays the woman at Bletchley that he was closest to. But Mark Rylance as Dad - I'm down with that, as they say.

  6. I like my idea better! Don't think I know about the
    Turing film, but then something is telling me I have read about it. Did he commit suicide because he was gay and was never accepted by the establishment?

  7. The Imitation Game, have just googled it, the internet is a wonderful thing! Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly. Must be an age thing, chunks of my memory seem to dis appear .......with little tantalising glimpses surfacing now and again. I do have wonderful memories of visiting Ottawa and the Parliament building last year and was shocked to hear that the hand of terrorism has reached out to Canada. The shootings have been headline news over here, our thoughts are with you

  8. Thank you, Carole. How sad that little old Canada has to be dragged into all that ugliness. But then there are just as many lunatics here as anywhere else, only perhaps they've all been more polite in the past. Yes, Alan Turing was gay and treated abominably by the government of the country he'd saved from the Nazis. I can't wait to see the film, even though I adore Cumberpatch but can't stand Knightly.

  9. Feel the same about Keira K, a young Vanessa Redgrave for your mother :)
    Good luck with the exhibition