Axes and Exiles

Seventy two years ago today, a  young revolutionary-minded Spaniard strolled into an office in a Coyoacan home and plunged a ice axe into the head of an old revolutionary Russian. A day later, Leon Trotsky died as a result of the wounds inflicted by the pick axe. His home today remains largely as it looked on that summers day in 1940. The photo below is one I took in 2009 of his desk, where he sat when the the fatal blow was struck. Although these days, the people sneaking around the compound are tourists, rather than Soviet assassins. It’s one of my favourite museums in Mexico City, yet doesn’t get the footfall it deserves. they really need a decent multi-language website, perhaps.

Political fugitives still exist in the 21st century. The most famous, or infamous, of which would be Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I’m not sure I approve of what he’s done. Although I certainly don’t entirely disapprove, either. But regardless, I support his fight against extradition on two grounds. Firstly, I would not trust the Swedes to not extradite him to the US – and I most definitely do not trust the United States to afford Assange either a fair trial or even civilised treatment.

Iraqi jails, Guantanamo Bay and the incarceration of Bradley Mannings have somewhat tarnished the reputation of the US judicial system. Further tarnished, I should say – any country still operating the death penalty is a bit backward in my opinion. China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia….and the US. It’s not a good list to be in. Secondly, I do not like the way successive British governments have implemented and acted upon extradition treaties.

I am seriously disappointed in the way the British government has approached the impasse that has been created by the Ecuadoran government granting Assange political asylum. Threats to burst into the embassy and take Assange by force? That’s simply not on. It’s what you’d expect of a tinhat dictatorship. I really don’t believe it will happen. It won’t have much public support here. I hope it doesn’t happen – it’d be a national embarrassment and would reflect poorly on us as a member of the international community. I would hope it would be the death knell of our current government too. Perhaps the Liberals will grow a pair, pull out of the coalition and force a general election.

I’ve pretty much given up on the current government doing anything to help out the economy. As far as the average Joe is concerned, it’s just about watching the pennies and hoping the pounds will take care of themselves and not turn into Euros. I think most of us don’t fully appreciate exactly where all our money goes and just how much (or how little) expendable income we actually have.There are personal finance tools available, one of which I have been trying out. It is quite amazing how much money leaves my wallet on frivolous purchases. A proper money management tool really brings it home. It also makes it easier to see savings that can be made. There’s no need to wait until you are in the dire financial straits of the Greeks to start economising.

Here He Fell

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