View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 10 May 2010

Monday 10 May

Today it is 70 years ago since the forces of Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. After four days of fighting, in which a third of the German Luftwaffe (airforce) was downed over Holland, the Nazis bombed the city of Rotterdam. As the military situation was becoming more and more dire, and the government had no desire to see more of the major conurbations destroyed, the Dutch surrendered to the Germans in the town of Wageningen. In the five years of occupation, 110,000 people who were marked as Jews were taken to concentration camps like Westerbork and Vught, then taken to deathcamps like Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen to be exterminated. They were remembered six days ago. The liberation of Holland followed on 5 May 1945, with the surrender of Nazi forces, again at Wageningen. Three days later, Germany surrendered. Yesterday, May 9th, Russia celebrated its victory day. They, as a nation, suffered the heaviest losses, about 25 million. This fact is little known but should never be forgotten.

As I type this, the snow shower gave us a dense fall of snow (which did not settle) half an hour ago has moved away south. It is only 4 degrees outside, and it's supposed to be the month of May. I've been following the continuing saga of politics in the UK, as in "who will form the next government". Although the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties continue their negotiations, the Labour party is dangling carrot after carrot in front of the Lib Dems, this time by announcing the resignation in September of its leader and current PM Gordon Brown. He and Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, do not get along at all, and in fact Mr Brown's resignation was one of the demands of the LD's before they would contemplate serious talks with Labour. One pertinent point: Labour lost 90 seats in the last elections, and are considered to have been voted down.

I am watching our local AIS feed, as the ferry and the small cruiseliner Hebridean Princess converge on our small port. The Princess is the old Calmac ferry Columba.