I'm sorry there has been nothing from me for a week or so. I hope to catch up with comments on things I have seen. In the meantime, here are one or two articles I've noted.
The Guardian's "Comment is Free" blog is a strange and wonderful place - both for its contributors and for the zoological gardens that make up its comments thread. But there has never been a more deranged article in that forum than one by David Cox entitled "ET stay home". Previously on CiF I have debated with Mr Cox on the rule of Saddam Hussein. I strongly criticised him for his regret at the passing of Saddam's regime, but I hadn't realised he regarded that tyranny as representing a less pressing threat to human welfare than the designs of extraterrestrial beings.
Back on Earth, my friend Agnès Poirier contributes a CiF piece on the notion that Tony Blair might become President of the EU. Agnès, who is an eloquent critic of Le modèle anglais, is not keen. I don't argue against her criticisms of the record of UK diplomacy in Europe. I favour European integration and regret that we are not part of the euro zone. But there is, contrary to Agnès's scepticism, a good reason that Britain has never signed up to the Schengen agreement concerning internal borders. Unlike some of the signatories, we don’t have identity cards. There is a case that British-born terrorists returning from, e.g., jihadist activities in Pakistan, will find it easier to evade detection in the UK if there are not frontier checks. There is the safeguard clause in the agreement that allows spot checks on travellers, but this was designed for rather less pressing matters of state policy, such as the passage of soft drugs by Dutch tourists into France.
Also on CiF, Andrew Murray, chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, writes on - what else? - the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in Berlin in the Spartacist uprising of 1919. It is of course possible to have human sympathy for these leaders without supposing, as Murray does, that: "Had the revolution succeeded, then the Bolsheviks in Russia would have been sprung from the isolation that led to such immense difficulties, the whole of continental Europe might have turned to socialism, the rise of Hitler would have been entirely averted, even the British bourgeoisie might have realised the game was up...." The man is a fantasist. The Spartacists were entirely preoccupied with internal fights within their own party (the German Communists, the KPD, had been set up only a fortnight previously). The murder of Liebknecht and Luxemburg created a myth that was far more potent than their political demands during their lifetimes. But more significant for attentive readers of Murray's article is his reference to the "immense difficulties" that afflicted Soviet Communism. That's quite some euphemism.
Bear in mind that Murray is the author of a short book entitled The Communist Party of Great Britain: A Historical Analysis to 1941, published in the mid-90s. In it, he says (p. 74): "That things happened in the USSR which were inexcusable and which ultimately prejudiced Socialism's whole prospect is today undeniable. Whether Communists in the capitalist world could or should have done more than they did is much more contentious."
In short, Communists in Britain and other Western democracies did everything they reasonably could in opposing the Great Terror and the Moscow Trials. I've corresponded with Murray cordially in the past, but this is not a judgement that belongs in civilised debate.