Dutch Ted Talk

Ted Talk by General Peter Van Uhm Nov 2011

Speech given in English.
Translated into Dutch by Rik Delaet Reviewed by Axel Saffran
Translated back into English by dkpw.

And if you see an underlined word in Dutch, that’s one I had to look up in my Van Dale dictionary! It was a fun exercise, not quick by any means but still a far more enjoyable experience than translating Latin when at school. If anyone with Dutch would like to correct my translation, please feel free!

Als hoogste militaire commandant van Nederland, met troepen over de hele wereld, ben ik echt

As the highest military commander of The Netherlands with troops over the whole world, I am

vereerd om hier vandaag te zijn. Als ik rondkijk op deze TEDxAmsterdam locatie, zie ik een heel

really honoured to be here today. When I look around at this TedTalk in Amsterdam, I see a very

bijzonder publiek. Jullie zijn de reden waarom heb ik ja heb gezegd op de uitnodiging om vandaag

special audience. You are the reason why I said “Yes” to the invitation to come here today.

hierheen te komen.

Als ik rondkijk, zie ik mensen die een bijdrage willen leveren. Ik zie mensen die een betere wereld

When I look around, I see people who want to contribute. I see people who want to make a better

willen maken, door het doen van baanbrekend wetenschappelijk werk, door het creëren van

world, through the use of ground-breaking scientific work, through the creation of impressive

indrukwekkende kunstwerken, door het schrijven van kritische artikelen of inspirerende boeken,

artworks, by writing critical articles or inspiring books, by setting up sustainable businesses. You

door het opstarten van duurzame bedrijven. Jullie hebben je eigen instrumenten gekozen om deze

have chosen your own instruments to carry out this mission of creating a better world. Some chose

missie te vervullen van het creëren van een betere wereld. Sommigen kozen de microscoop als hun

the microscope as their tool. Others chose dancing or painting or making music like we have just

instrument. Anderen kozen dansen of schilderen of het maken van muziek zoals we net hebben

heard. Some chose the pen. Others work through the means of money.

gehoord. Sommigen kozen de pen. Anderen werken door middel van het instrument van het geld.

Dames en heren, ik maakte een andere keuze. Bedankt. Dames en heren – (Gelach) (Applaus) Ik

Ladies and gentlemen, I made another choice. Thank you. Ladies & gentlemen, I seek the same.

streef naar hetzelfde doel. Ik deel de doelen van de sprekers die aan het woord zijn geweest. Ik heb

goal. I share the goal of the speakers who have already spoken. I have not chosen the pen, the

niet gekozen voor de pen, het penseel of de camera. Ik koos voor dit instrument. Ik koos voor het

paintbrush or the camera. I choose this instrument. I choose the gun.



Continue reading Dutch Ted Talk


I’ve gone a bit mad on the coffee front.

My first foray into the world of coffee geeks was when I heard of the Aeropress coffee maker. This is basically a large syringe into which you put freshly ground coffee and water, you then inject the brew into your cup through a paper filter.

1026-AeroPressThe whole thing only costs about £18 but it really does make a fantastic cup of coffee, being a combination between an espresso and a French Press. The resultant cup of coffee is cleaner than my usual Mokka pot or French pressl, with far more flavour due of course to having freshly ground coffee. This has to be of the right grind size and so I bought a Porlex hand grinder to process my coffee beans. This takes about two minutes to grind the beans needed for one cup of coffee. It’s a Japanese design and uses ceramic burr grinders for a consistent grind. My research steered me away from blade grinders and mixers which are too inconsistent.

Before I bought the Aeropress, I performed my usual diligent on-line research and saw many recipes and ways of using the Aeropress, including the inverted method, which involves turning it upside down to brew the coffee. The image above shows the normal method, with all of the parts you get for your £18. When first looking at YouTube clips I was slightly put off by the high hipster content, although having a beard and a bad haircut are not requirements for brewing a damn fine cup of coffee. The universal point was that just everybody praised the coffee one can make in the thing.

I was also initially sceptical (purely age and hair related) when seeing the hipsters measuring and weighing not only the beans but also the water. Some of them were even advocating the way to stir the brew before fully making it. However arsy these seemingly arcane points at first appeared, when thinking about it, and actually making the coffee at home, they made sense. After all you’re following a recipe; you wouldn’t bake a cake without measuring the ingredients, timing the bake and setting the temperature of the cooker. So it is with coffee. Get it right and you can repeat. Get it wrong and you know your start point to try something else.

So taking delivery of all the bits in the Aeropress kit and the hand grinder, I made several cups of coffee, following the on-line recipes. The hand grinder grinds the 16gms of beans which I have decided on using in a couple of minutes. The brew from an Aeropress, following the recommended method, is strong and somewhat concentrated, too strong for me neat but perfect when diluted with hot water. One of the advantages of the Aeropress is that there are so many variables, you can tweak how you use it to change your method and the quality of the coffee you make.

After using it for a couple of weeks and being very pleased with the results, I was finding the manual grinding to be a little bit of a chore. The Aeropress is excellent at making one cup of coffee but on some evenings and on lazy weekends, one cup is not enough.

Back on line I went. I wanted to see what electric grinders were recommended  and what else would give me a tasteful, clean cup of coffee similar to the Aeropress. The latter objective was first and easily met.chemex

A Chemex filter coffee maker, also know as a pour over, is a simple and beautifully designed filter system made from chemically inert glass and especially designed and composed Chemex filters. These are thicker than many other paper filters. Once again there are countless recipes on-line about how to get the best from a Chemex. I’ve tried a couple and the coffee has been delicious, although again sometimes too strong. I’ve not slept for several days given the caffeine-buzz following all my experimenting!

So the final thing to sort out was a decent electric grinder, to save my poor arthritic wrist from the daily torture session of manual grinding. There are many wonderful coffee forums and having skulked in a few, the general advice was to spend more on a grinder than any other component within your coffee making setup. Another piece of advice was to stay away from grinders that offer too many fancy functions with sliders, buttons and lights. The final piece of advice was to buy from a specialist coffee retailer and avoid some of the familiar brands available on Amazon.

After doing even more extensive research I put my Xmas cheque to good use and bought a Eureka Mignon Mk2 Grinder.eurkea This little beauty does only one thing, it grinds coffee. It uses flat metal burrs and can either be used on demand or to run for a set time. It is built like a tank and is easy to clean. It takes about 10 to 20 seconds to grind what I need to charge either my Aeropress or Chemex with freshly ground, beautifully smelling coffee.

While I don’t have an espresso machine, this grinder can grind coffee beans to the fineness required for espresso, not everything can. I change the grind dial to make the medium fine grinds for my Chemex to a slightly finer grind for my Aeropress. I also use a mokka pot and have a French Press but these have been relegated at the moment, yet the grinder can produce the appropriate grind for those methods too. It’s so easy and so quick.

As for the coffee I’ve been drinking, I started out buying some Sainsburys Fair Trade Colombian beans, which is medium roasted and has a tasty, nutty quality with a nice buzz. With the Aeropress and the Chemex, you can taste so much more of the flavour of the beans than an oily, over roasted bean. Since then I’ve tried some more up-market beans, from the very handy and knowledgeable ArtisanRoast in Broughton Street. I’m currently trying their Finca Eleta from Panama. It’s as they say a coffee you could drink all day. Personally that may not be wise, but it is delicious, light and sweet. The good news is that their shop contains many more varieties to try and taste, merely a quick bus ride from home. So if you see my jittering, wide-eyed down the road, you’ll now know I’ve been sampling again.


Laughing at Daesh

These medieval fuckheads have no sense of humour. So the best thing to do after killing them, is laughing at them.

Here’s Shakir Wahiyb, one of their most brutal commanders, getting in touch with his feminine side. Yes he looks better with lipstick, although perhaps he’s slightly worried his guards may mistake him for one of those famous 72 virgins awarded by the Koran to believers – male believers only – women get a single man in the afterlife.


Gone Dutch


Well after 222 days, I’ve managed to finish the DuoLingo Dutch course. “Conquered” as the certificate says, is definitely overstating my proficiency, especially in the spoken language but it’s been fun. DuoLingo has provided me with a hopefully solidly wide foundation which will aid in future studies. I’ve bought a detailed grammar and dictionary as well as some dual language books, and a couple books wholly in Dutch; De Achterhuis literally The Annex in English known as Anne Franks’ Diary and Meisje met parel, The Girl With the Pearl (Earring) by Tracy Chevalier. Having had a brief skim through the first few pages it is easy to determine which has been translated from English and which is written in native, although colloquial Dutch. The Chevalier was easier to translate.

Reading is all very well but the trickiest thing will be thinking and speaking in Dutch. On-line resources will help, as will another trip!


I was at the Fogeys’ on Sunday for lunch.

Everything was brown.

The beef stew was brown.
The gravy was brown.
The potatoes were brown.
Bizarrely even the carrots were brown.
The sticky toffee pudding was brown.
The chocolate ice cream was brown.
It was 1974.

Hilary Benn

The debate and vote on extending the bombing of DEASH into Syria was excellent. Not only in the outcome but also for the quality of it’s concluding and moving speech, particularly the final paragraph. Yes there are concerns over extending a war in an unstable region, and a civil war to boot. Yes, Tony Blair lied about the situation pre-invasion of Iraq.  Yes, there’s going to be a hell of a job to establish any form of stable peace once DAESH have been defeated. But Hilary Benn’s speech brilliantly and movingly sums up what most decent people stand for in this country and explains why we need to fight DAESH.

Corbyn and his rabble do not understand it, because of the Blair’s legacy. I saw those SNP fuckers astonishedly crowing that Conservatives were applauding a Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary. They don’t get it because they like DAESH are narrow minded biggots, who like the sheep in Animal Farm, can only think in monochrome; “Tory bad, SNP good.” Even if that is not the case. They have little decency.

Hilary has the thing which George Orwell knew was the defining sign of an honest man, common decency. I think the country would applaud this Benn as a PM.

Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Before I respond to the debate, I would like to say this directly to the Prime Minister: although my right honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition and I will walk into different division lobbies tonight, I am proud to speak from the same Despatch Box as him. My right honourable friend is not a terrorist sympathiser. He is an honest, a principled, a decent and a good man, and I think the Prime Minister must now regret what he said yesterday and his failure to do what he should have done today which is simply to say, ‘I am sorry.’

Now Mr Speaker, we have had an intense and impassioned debate – and rightly so, given the clear and present threat from Daesh, the gravity of the decision that rests upon the shoulders and the conscience of every single one of us, and the lives that we hold in our hands tonight. And whatever decision we reach, I hope we will treat one another with respect.

Now we have heard a number of outstanding speeches, and sadly time will prevent me from acknowledging them all but I would just like to single out the contributions both for and against the motion from my honourable and right honourable friends the members for Derby South [Margaret Beckett], Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle [Alan Johnson], Normanton Pontefract and Castleford [Yvette Cooper], Barnsley Central [Dan Jarvis], Wakefield [Mary Creagh], Wolverhampton South East [Pat McFadden], Brent North [Barry Gardiner], Liverpool West Derby [Stephen Twigg], Wirral West [Margaret Greenwood], Stoke on Trent North [Ruth Smeeth], Birmingham Ladywood [Shabana Mahmood] and the honourable members for Reigate [Crispin Blunt], South West Wiltshire [Andrew Murrison], Tonbridge and Malling [John Stanley], Chichester [Andrew Tyrie] and Wells [James Heappey].

The question which confronts us in a very very complex conflict is at its heart very simple. What should we do with others to confront this threat to our citizens, our nation, other nations and the people who suffer under the yoke, the cruel yoke, of Daesh?

Carnage in Paris brought home to us the clear and present danger we face from them. It could just as easily have been London or Glasgow or Leeds or Birmingham – and it could still be. And I believe we have a moral and a practical duty to extend the action we are already taking in Iraq to Syria. And I am also clear, and I say this to my colleagues, that the conditions set out in the emergency resolution passed at the Labour party conference in September have been met. We now have a clear and unambiguous UN Security Council resolution 2249, paragraph five of which specifically calls on member states to take all necessary measures; to redouble and co-ordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria.

So the United Nations is asking us to do something. It is asking us to do something now. It is asking us to act in Syria as well as in Iraq. And it was a Labour government, if the honourable gentleman will bear with me, it was a Labour government that helped to found the United Nations at the end of the Second World War. And why did we do so? Because we wanted the nations of the world working together to deal with threats to international peace and security – and Daesh is unquestionably that.
So given that the United Nations has passed this resolution, given that such action would be lawful under Article 51 of the UN charter, because every state has the right to defend itself, why would we not uphold the settled will of the United Nations? Particularly when there is such support from within the region, including from Iraq.

We are part of a coalition of over 60 countries standing together shoulder to shoulder to oppose their ideology and their brutality. Now Mr Speaker, all of us understand the importance of bringing an end to the Syrian civil war, and there is now some progress on a peace plan because of the Vienna talks. They are the best hope we have of achieving a ceasefire. Now that would bring an end to Assad’s bombing, leading to a transitional government and elections. And why is that vital? Both because it will help in the defeat of Daesh, and because it would enable millions of Syrians who have been forced to flee to do what every refugee dreams of: they just want to be able to go home.

Now Mr Speaker, no one in this debate doubts the deadly serious threat we face from Daesh and what they do – although sometimes we find it hard to live with the reality. We know that in June four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor. We know that in August the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Assad, was beheaded and his headless body was hung from a traffic light. And we know that in recent weeks there has been the discovery of mass graves in Sinjar, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex. We know they have killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia, 224 Russian holidaymakers on a plane, 178 people in suicide bombings in Beirut , Ankara and Suruc, 130 people in Paris – including those young people in the Bataclan, whom Daesh, in trying to justify their bloody slaughter, called them apostates engaged in prostitution and vice. If it had happened here they could have been our children, and we know they are plotting more attacks.

So the question for each of us and for our national security is this: given that we know what they are doing, can we really stand aside and refuse to act fully in our self defence against those who are planning these attacks? Can we really leave to others the responsibility for defending our national security when it is our responsibility? And if we do not act, what message would that send about our solidarity with those countries that have suffered so much, including Iraq and our ally France. Now France wants us to stand with them , and President Hollande, the leader of our sister socialist party, has asked for our assistance and help. And as we are undertaking air strikes in Iraq, where Daesh’s hold has been reduced, and we are already doing everything but engage in air strikes in Syria, should we not play our full part?

Now Mr Speaker, it has been argued in the debate that air strikes achieve nothing. Not so. Look at how Daesh’s forward march has been halted in Iraq. The house will remember that 14 months ago people were saying, ‘They are almost at the gates of Baghdad.’ And that is why we voted to respond to the Iraqi government’s request for help to defeat them. Look at how their military capacity and their freedom of movement has been put under pressure. Ask the Kurds about Sinjar and Kobane. Now of course air strikes alone will not defeat Daesh, but they make a difference because they are giving them a hard time and it is making it more difficult for them to expand their territory.

Now I share the concerns that have been expressed this evening about potential civilian casualties. However unlike Daesh, none of us today act with the intent to harm civilians. Rather we act to protect civilians from Daesh, who target innocent people.

Now on the subject of ground troops to defeat Daesh, there has been much debate about the figure of 70,000 and the government must, I think, better explain that. But we know that most of them are currently engaged in fighting President Assad. But I tell you what else we know: it’s whatever the number – 70,000, 40,000, 80,000 – the current size of the opposition forces mean the longer we leave taking action, the longer Daesh will have to decrease that number. And so to suggest, Mr Speaker, that air strikes should not take place until the Syrian civil war has come to an end is, I think, to miss the urgency of the terrorist threat that Daesh poses to us and others and I think misunderstands the nature and objectives of the extension to air strikes that is being proposed.

And of course we should take action – it is not a contradiction between the two – to cut off Daesh’s support in the form of money and fighters and weapons, and of course we should give humanitarian aid and of course we should offer shelter to more refugees, including in this country, and of course we should commit to play our full part in helping to rebuild Syria when the war is over.
Now I accept that there are legitimate arguments, and we’ve heard them in the debate, for not taking this form of action now, and it is also clear that many members have wrestled and who knows, in the time that is left may still be wrestling, with what the right thing to do is. But I say the threat is now and there are rarely if ever perfect circumstances in which to deploy military forces. Now we heard very powerful testimony from the honourable member for Edisbury earlier when she quoted that passage, and I just want to read what Karwan Jamal Tahir, Kurdistan regional government high representative in London, said last week, and I quote: ‘Last June Daesh captured one third of Iraq overnight, and a few months later attacked the Kurdistan region. Swift air strikes by Britain, America and France, and the actions of our own Peshmerga saved us. We now have a border of 650 miles with Daesh. We have pushed them back and recently captured Sinjar. Again Western air strikes were vital. But the old border between Iraq and Syria does not exist. Daesh fighters come and go across this fictional boundary.’ And that is the argument, Mr Speaker, for treating the two countries as one if we are serious about defeating Daesh.

Now Mr Speaker, I hope the House will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the House. As a party, we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. And we are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us here tonight, and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt. And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. And it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. And my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for this motion tonight.



This twat exemplifies just one aspect of what’s wrong with the Nats as a party and the parochial, mentality of their supporters. They treat politics as a tribal, sports event like some goddamn football match, including t-shirts of their favourite “star.” Hopefully, like that other false prophet who promised Scottish glory to a tartan army, Ally MacLeod, Sturgeon will eventually fade into obscurity. She has no real power and will ultimately fail.

Just be thankful I have spared you the rear view of the twat in the kilt, his calf tattoos were just embarrassing, like the rest of his get-up. Even the fat ginger in the beige suit with the pubic hair beard and pony tail, does not look entirely convinced.

Enjoy it while it lasts, this is your high-water mark, then you can fuck off back to concerning yourselves with gaelic poetry and where the “real” stone of Scone lies.


My pumpkin is carved and ready!