When I was a young man I was eager to save the world. On my blithe assumption that it was mission possible, I was accused of viewing the political environment through rose tinted spectacles. Now, I’m older and wiser. Over the years, as I’ve come to realise what is going on about me, a certain amount of a colourant, which my Francophone wife describes as ‘caca d’oie’ – goose shit – has become smeared across the lower part of the lens.
I entered adolescence in England when the Cold War was at its peak and there was no shortage of armchair warriors eager to test their MAD deterrent theory of mutually assured destruction. I swallowed the western narrative completely and in my politicised state, entered the RMA Sandhurst. Duly commissioned into the British Army, I was intent on doing my bit towards preserving the civilisation of the West from the barbaric Eastern hordes.
In the final two years of Her Majesty’s service, I was seconded to the Trucial Oman Scouts and served as a political officer in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. Isolated among an Islamic society that some wag described at the time, as rushing headlong into the Thirteenth Century, I entered a culture to which I had already been sensitised. My closest friend at school was the son of the former Foreign Minister of the last King of Iraq and my family had had a long association with the Middle East (my mother, with an American father, having been born in Cairo and her mother, being of Armenian Jewish descent.)
Having vowed I would never again say yes to superiors with whom I disagreed, my wife and I had no choice but to go into business on our own. We established a school of language in York that was intended primarily for international diplomats and aid workers. In 1985, after ten years, we sold up and, with our three young children, departed the land of Margaret Thatcher to settle in New Zealand. Arriving in Marlborough, we established a fruit distillery and continued to live lives of blissful unconcern about the outer world – until the Coalition of the Willing invaded Iraq.
Understanding better than most the motivations and machinations behind this act of international lawlessness, I had a clear vision of its probable consequences – sadly, not all of which have yet been realised.
Not wanting our children, and now our grandchildren, to live in a world in which economic and armed might is uninhibited by the rule of international law, I again became politicised. Due to the constraints imposed by operating a small family business in difficult times, my political activity is restricted. However, if this modest blog can help heighten my fellow New Zealanders’ awareness of events and of ideas being advanced for the improvement of the global community, of which they are a part, it may contribute something towards a better future.
– See more at: https://khakispecs.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/about-hugh.html#sthash.4dLGMfmp.dpuf