Think!

“You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me…..”

So we now have the option of another delay in leaving the EU. We could have a general election before then. We could have a people’s vote to confirm if we still want to do this. We could have both at the same time.

Election manifestos will be written, promises given, hands shaken, babies help and shirt sleeves will be rolled up. But will there be time to think?

There’s been no economic assessment shared with the country as to the effects of leaving the EU. We don’t know the strengths of that position, or its weaknesses. What opportunities will arise if we do it, and what will threaten us if we leave?

I am in no doubt an economic assessment HAS been done but it’s not been released because it will show the stupidity of the move economically, politically, environmentally, technically, legally and socially. So why don’t the opponents of Brexit formulate their own?

Now we have three months to THINK about these things isn’t it time we had these arguments presented, rather than just the rhetoric of “get Brexit done” or “take back control”. I do not think it’s a good idea to jump off a cliff because 50% of the public voted for it. No shout of “get on with it” will help.

Present me with an argument that there’s a lovely warm lake at the bottom the cliff, or that you’ve inflated a great big crash mat then I may consider the possibility. It might be a wild ride. It might even be nicer down in the valley than on the hilltop. But it could be suicide.

So Boris, Jeremy, Jo, Ian, Nigel, Liz and Caroline…. tell me what you think and why and give me time to decide. No headlines. A full essay please, with constructive and critical argument. And no, your dog cannot eat your homework.

Think!2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

Please don’t let me be misunderstood

I believe Israel is a rouge state.  They have a rogue government.  It does terrible things to people in Palestine. It moves Palestinians out of their homes to enable Israelis to move in. It builds on disputed areas of land and moves settlers in. It gets away with murder. Literally.

I believe this makes me an anti-Zionist. It does not mean I’m anti-Semitic.  I have Jewish friends. I love Jewish music. I know the holocaust happened and it was an abhorrent act that should never be repeated, against anyone. I cried when I saw the small plaques embedded into the cobbled streets of Berlin, naming the Jews who had been taken away to concentration camps. The Jewish people need to feel safe in their historic homeland and around the world. Faith-based hate is wrong.

But because I say this out loud I will be branded by some to be an anti-Semite, anti-Jewish, a Fascist.  It’s a knee-jerk reaction. “Well he must be anti-Semitic if he believes that”.  

I also believe North Korea is a rogue state.  As is Iraq.  As is Syria. When Aung San Suu Kyi became Myanmar’s leader I thought that would be a great thing, but then she allowed the massacre of a Muslim minority.  Another rogue action.

Yet, I will not be called out as an anti-Muslim, anti-Communist or anti-Buddhist to the same degree, as I will be called an anti-Semite.  Yet it happens every time, to whoever makes the comment that Israel is bad.  It serves to muddy the waters, make the argument less legitimate and more racist, and make it difficult for decent people and politicians to stand up for the anti-Zionist cause.

Does The Labour Party have an anti-Semitic problem?  Yes it does.  All organisations of people have divisions, based on fear of difference, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation and wealth, to name but a few.  The Jews have been stigmatised for centuries and the stench of that persecution still pervades today. 

The Labour party needs to root anti-Semitism out. I However, it does not need to stop saying its anti-Zionist.  It should be proud to face down rogue nations – all rogue nations – and those that support those rogue nations, such as the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Hate me for saying this if you want, but don’t let me be misunderstood.

 

 

Please don’t let me be misunderstood2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

No One’s Illegal

I was born in Newcastle.  In the UK.   In 1961.  On a Monday.  The number 1 on the UK charts was “I Love You” by Cliff Richard.  If I’d been born a few days earlier it would have been “It’s now or never” by Elvis Presley.  If I’d been born 80 miles north I’d have been Scottish.  If I’d been a girl I’d be called Wendy (or was it Sandra, I can’t remember).

Yesterday we found out that the 39 people found dead in a truck in Essex came from China.   They could have come from Syria or Mexico, or from the Moon for that matter.  They were “illegal” immigrants. They were not meant to be here.  Or so we’re told.

Some of the earliest humans lived in what is now Ethiopia.  The “cradle of civilisation” was located in what is now Iraq. People have been migrating for tens of thousands of years.   All of the countries of “The West” were populated through migration.

You can’t see the borders of countries from space. A visiting alien would not know which country was which when they observed from orbit.  The earth is just a beautiful blue globe floating in space. Unless you believe the flat earth theorists, but I’m not going there.

So why do we have to view people as “illegal”. Is it because we don’t want to pay for them?   Some studies suggest that migration is good for the economy.  Is it because we don’t understand their values?  Are our values so much better?  Who decides?

The point is simple.  No-one decides where they are born, when they are born, whether they are rich or poor, powerful or powerless.  It’s a human trait that we want our children to have a better life than we’d had.  So, some people decide to migrate to another location.  Some risk prison, deportation or death to make this happen.  They spend all that they have to some low-life wanting to make a fortune out of their “illegal” status.

So before we make a decision that someone is “illegal” or should “go back to where they came from”, remember it’s only a twist of fate that made you who you are. 

If the sea levels keep rising due to global warming some of the places that we live in may become uninhabitable. It could be you migrating next. It could be you that is considered “illegal”.

Show some compassion.

No One’s Illegal2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

What do you want from life?

When I was younger I identified with Marxism in it’s purest sense.  A explanation of society in terms of those that owned the means of production, and those that did not, fuelled by a pursuit of profit.  Was this a good way to run a society? I wondered.  What about the sick, the unemployed, the poor? Why should those that “own” something be the only people to reap the rewards?  Was capitalism the only way forward?

Obviously different models had been tried.  The centrally controlled economies in Chinese and the Soviet backed countries were still strong, and seemed more egalitarian. At least, as long as you agreed with the political doctrine.  Societies could be controlled within borders through news media and the police.  Stay true to the Marxist ideals and you can be as happy (or perhaps as miserable) as anyone else.

Thatcher (and Reagan) said “There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families“, and so we became a nation of shareholders in British Gas, British Telecom and other British Institutions.  We put up boundaries between us and our neighbours. They were not us, therefore we did not need to care for them.

It’s a far cry from when National Insurance was devised after WWII. From the founding days of the NHS and the “world fit for heros”.

I’ve spent my entire life thinking differently from those around me.  For those that espouse “Free Markets”, I see the destruction of towns and cities because coal is cheaper from Taiwan, and there is no consideration of the effects of unemployment and poor health.  For those that decide that we need a “War on Terror” I see the underlying “War for resources” that America is really waging to keep the country’s gas-tanks full of Iraqi oil.

And so we come to Brexit. It’s not about whether we should be “in” or “out” anymore. It’s not about “the will of the people” or “honouring the result of the referendum“.  I ask myself “what sort of society do I want now?”  Is it one where we collaborate, we seek solutions, we agree to disagree, or is it one where no MP is safe from being assaulted at their place of work, or no person is safe from being labelled a “snowflake” or a “remoaner” by a narcissistic pseudo-journalist on breakfast television.

British society cannot be controlled within borders anymore. Nor by news media. We’re free to believe what we want, but all we hear is soundbytes of anger, snippets of rhetoric and the carefully crafted marketing terms of shadowy political spin-doctors. Imported new-speak from people who want to “break” the existing structure, before imposing a terrifying new one.

When I was a 16 year old writing essays for my O-Level exams I was encouraged to “compare and contrast” viewpoints. I had to assess arguments for “coherence and consistency”. Later I learned to assess “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites and Threats”. A failure to recognise and understand an alternative point of view was marked down.

We don’t do that anymore in our society. We should.

What do you want from life?2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

Don’t Fear The Reaper

Shortly before his death my Father asked me to end his life.  It was a surprise.  This was a man with a Christian faith.  He’d never mentioned suicide or euthanasia before.  But he knew the end was going to be hard.  He was finding it difficult to eat without coughing and the doctors glibly talked about feeding tubes and thickened drinks that would suppress the worn out valve designed to stop food and drink entering his lungs.

As calmly as I could I told them that a feeding tube would be cruel and it was not to be fitted.  My Dad just wanted a cup of tea, but I was told that was impossible.  No more tea for him.  Ever.

He died a few days later.  He just slipped away in the arms of two nurses during a routine bed-bath.  We had agreed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order was in place.  No CPR.  No panic.  Just a calm end to a noble life.

Today I read the headline “Paralympic gold medallist Marieke Vervoort ends her life in Belgium” and it all comes flooding back.

I’d never heard of medallist Marieke Vervoort before but it seems she lived unbroken pain from an incurable, degenerative spinal disease and epileptic seizures.  She had signed papers allowing a Doctor to end her life when she said so. That happened last night.  She was 40.

As a person of some-time faith, I was (and still am) angry with a God that allows so much suffering in this world. His/her mysterious ways baffle me. Why is taking your own life such a sin?

I don’t want to endure what my parents endured.  My mother slowly “died” of dementia for 9 years before she finally breathed her last breath.  I want to say when enough is enough. I’m not frightened of dying.

It doesn’t mean I’m ready to go yet. I have plenty more gigs to see, beers to drink, dances to dance and meals to eat.  I’m not sick, apart from the odd bout of melancholia every now and again.  It’s still worth getting up in the morning and trying to help others.

But when I want to go, I want to go.  I don’t want it to be illegal that I take my own life, or have someone help me. I want the same rights in the UK as they have in Belgium.

Will I be judged by my some-time God when it’s over?  Maybe he will come back to me and advise me when the time is close.  Maybe we’ll meet on the other side when I can really see how vengeful or forgiving he is. Maybe I’ll just go to sleep and never wake up.

Time will tell.

Don’t Fear The Reaper2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

A Message to you….. Harry

I can see you’re having a tough time at the moment. I’m not surprised considering all you’ve been put through throughout your life. You didn’t want to grow up in the spotlight. No-one chooses who they’re born to, and you’re no different.

Watching your parents’ divorce was hard, as it is for many children. Then to lose your mother so early, and in such a horrific way didn’t help things. Then being forced to walk behind her coffin in full glare of the public, because your Father expected it, was cruel. Watching your Father then marry the woman who broke up your parent’s marriage must have hurt like hell.

Nevertheless things have turned out alright in some ways. You have a beautiful wife and baby a lot of people love you. But you and Meghan knew the British press would elevate and then eviscerate you. That’s what they do. It’s cruel and unfair for anyone who’s remotely a “celebrity”. I want it to stop, like you do.

You say your Brother is on “another path”. That was always the way. There is no way you’re going to be a King. He will also be under terrible stress as will his wife and children. But you don’t need to accept it.

So why are you putting yourself through this? You don’t need to. Meghan has enough money to keep you in a comfortable life. You don’t need the civil list. You don’t need to spend millions of pounds of the country’s money flying around the world hounded by the paparazzi.

Think of your own mental health, and that of your wife and child. Give up on this foolish “duty” that your Grandmother and Father have instilled into you. Do what needs to be done. Resign from the Royal family and move away to America, Africa or somewhere away from the British press. They will follow you at first, but then they will eventually forget you. You will be free to live your own life.

Do what normal people do. Get a normal job. Fly a helicopter again. Save lives in search and rescue. Become the head of a charity. Your CV is impressive. You’ll have no shortage of job offers.

For the sake of your own sanity, walk away.

A Message to you….. Harry2019-10-29T21:30:39+00:00

No Facebook, No Cry

Yesterday I stopped using Facebook for personal postings.  I’ve been thinking about this for a while, especially when I read the bilge written in certain facebook groups. I don’t need this in my life.

I’m still using Facebook for various projects I’m involved in, and for podcast promotions, but no-more pictures of me wittering on about politics. For that please see my Twitter Page or here, on my personal website, where I shall espouse my opinion on all things #Brexit, #Trump, or whatever f-ing stupid ideas I take umbrage with.

No Facebook, No Cry2019-10-29T21:30:40+00:00
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