THURSDAY 25th JULY 2013
A MAJOR MUSE ON THE RELEVANCE OF RELIGION AND THE RE-AWAKENING OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
WEDNESDAY 17th JULY 2013
AN "ORDINARY" DAY OF CONTRASTS AND CONTRADICTIONS
“In the midst of life we are in death.” During my childhood, I acquired awareness of hospital experiences, at the turn of the eighteenth century, such is the influence of grandparents and great grandparents. An incredible thought, for when we refer to “the last” century, my instinct is to think two centuries back, whereas most people would think of 1900s as “last” century!
Even within the experiences of my own life, I have been astounded at the way medicine has moved forward so remarkably. It is extraordinary the way society has progressed and yet not progressed. We have overcome our problems with talking openly about cancer but still have hang ups in handling death and more particularly euthanasia. We hear news of tragedies affecting others of some distance away but rarely closer, save for those occasional moments in a life-time, when one’s own family is shattered with the everyday tragedy of a death by accident or by prolonged terminal illness, especially if too soon in a life.
Today was such a day. Shattered by the heat, I observed on my health blog my irritation, knowing my background problem would have allowed me to exercise energy, had it not been for the heat. My downstairs neighbour was away and he had allowed his rubbish to make our shared refuse space barely useable for me. Somewhat grudgingly, thinking he was away on holiday, I cleared his refuse sacks and then attended to my own rubbish.
This was done in the cool of early morning. Last thing, I noticed I had a sack indoors needing disposal and in so doing discovered his windows open, indicating he was back. I had a parcel for him, which I had taken in a few days previously. The obvious pleasantries assumed he had been on holiday. In fact, he had been in hospital having been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer.
Mine is slow-developing lung cancer and I have completed my three score years and ten. I suspect he is in his early thirties. His package was MacMillan cancer literature with which I was well familiar for my own needs. As a BBC journalist posted, when she was diagnosed with cancer (she now in remission), also in her thirties, “I saw the news as a new adventure to be followed up”.
I too had found myself fascinated with the complexities of the body’s biochemistry and immersed myself in the diversities of the situation. He is but thirty or so, making the news for him a completely different scenario to contemplate.
Suddenly, my own world crashed in on me. Whatever the trials and tribulations that may lie ahead for me I have run my life’s full gamut: a serious question mark now hangs over his. A completely different ball game to face up to and I could see the enormity of his situation was only beginning to weigh in on him.
In contrast, I watched a police documentary while I ate a salad supper. A foolish youth in his twenties, already a father of two was driving a car with windows so obviously unfit for driving he had been stopped. They let in 10% of light instead of the 70% the law requires. The police (two attractive young women not much older than he) then discovered he was a learner driver not displaying “L” plates; not having an experienced driver with him; who already had nine points on his licence!
He had the temerity to complain about more fines as these would cause him to starve his children because his income was restricted by the benefit system!
Next, other police were handling a major accident causing serious injury to a young twenty years old girl. She had been driven into by a mature woman too preoccupied with her telephone call to pay any attention what ever to the traffic around her!
The day started as a “run of the mill day”, frustrated by the burden of heat that was causing me to languish when I might have been doing something productive, yet a day of contrasts and contradictions.
MONDAY 8th JULY 2013
THE CLWYD MESS WITH JOHN JILLINGS REPORT ON CHILD ABUSE
Very simply, at any one time, half of all qualified practitioners of law are proven to be wrong: they are the ones who just lost their last case. It is therefore elementary common sense that when you don't get the answer you want you take a second opinion. To therefore shelve a report on one legal opinion of its liability libel action is foolish in the extreme, especially when it deals with wilful child abuse.
For any qualified person (legal in this case) to say people in the report might sue for libel, they are making a statement that they believe the report to be invalid. Where has such charge been made and on what grounds? If there is nothing wrong with the report in principle, then clearly there are no grounds for anyone to sue for libel: they are simply trying to hush up their own failings.
Regarding insurance companies claiming there is liability for children to claim compensation which they will not pay up, several matters can be implied. The council has failed in its duty of care: to the children and to its responsibilities to the insurers in the way they conduct their affairs under the insurance policies; failed the electorate. What the insurers are saying is: "We want a cover up." How do they rate this attitude with their legal attitudes against policy holders who try and fiddle their insurance claims? If they are taking them to court, as they usually do, then clearly the insurers must stand up and declare their liability? However, the get out clause for the insurers would seem to be that the council did not conduct its affairs properly, were therefore in breach of the terms of the insurance and is liable anyway? With so much time having passed presumably any compensation will now be highly inflated, if not by inflation alone. Funny way to run a council!
Now there is a police investigatiion into the matter, about twenty years too late, I hope the police will bear in mind the seemingly deliberate and wilful conspiracy to pervert the course of justice that the insurers' action appears to have implied.
EGYPT AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SYNOD
There is a parallel between the CofE and the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood: they are both stuck in a time warp four centuries old. In England then, we had the bloodshed to a similar degree that Egypt is suffering now. It is the same bloodshed for the same reasons: the irrelevance of religion to the practicalities of everyday living; a failure to truly understand the nature of God's Creation of Life, that Life is a continual state of change, as Darwin brilliantly showed us. Four centuries apart, both religions still argue against the reality of the Creation they purportedly support yet refuse to travel with, along its path of growth: growth that entails the sociological development in relation to its time.
In four centuries England has developed, dragging a reluctant church with it, until finally the church's irrelevance became too great a burden. We expect Islam to cover four centuries in forty years. We must be patient. At the same time, we must make it abundantly clear that refusal to accept the absolute equality of women in all aspects of society is complete anathema to any acceptable way of living in the present world.
Egypt must sort out its own affairs in its own way. England threw off the yoke of Catholicism and moved on to lead the world with the biggest empire civilisation had then seen. Perhaps it is time for Egypt to throw off the Moslem Brotherhood and all associated divisions of increasingly irrelevant religion.
THE REASON THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY APPEARS TO BE GOING TO PIECES
Seeing Woollard, purportedly representing the views of Conservative Party Grass Roots, bumbling along on TV this morning, it is quite clear that Conservative Grass Roots are what is tangling Conservatives' feet from moving forward. No wonder Cameron is ignoring them. They have some (in my view) good points, where they might have exercised some influence, had those good points not been entrapped in a morass of irrelevance. It seems that Conservative Grass Roots are not relevant today. Cameron, generally is and they are fools not to follow the leader.
HEADLONG DASH TO EXTINCTION
An organisation within the Conservative Party, "Conservative Grassroots" describes itself 'as a new, informal network of local Conservatives from across the UK who are eager to see core Conservative values flourish in the Party and in the nation.
As long-standing members of the Party we have worked hard over many elections to see the Conservative Party win at the ballot box and we want to see the Party win again in the future. However, in recent months, along with many faithful, local Conservatives, we have become increasingly concerned at the policy direction of the Party and the apparent rejection of cherished Conservative principles.
We are particularly disappointed at the manner in which the leadership is seeking to push through the redefinition of marriage, squeezing out the debate, scrutiny and accountability that Conservatives so value. Yet we fear that this experience is symptomatic of a wider problem - of a leadership that is out of touch with its grassroots. Through this network, we hope to build relationships and to provide resources to encourage a return to the clear, confident Conservative principles that will build a better Britain.'
On the marriage debate they have a rationale but it is a rationale that is tied up with pedanticism of semantics and not relevant to mainstream politics. All else is, in effect a statement of dinosaurs pleading for extinction. The Referendum Party was created because the Conservatives failed to address the European question. UKIP exists as its successor. Purely because the Party will not address the fundamental issues that matter. For its present time and circumstance, Cameron is handling matters reasonably well. It would have been much better had the party addressed the issue twenty years ago, which would probably have ensured the matter was dead and buried by now.
EDUCATION: IN THE CLASSROOM AND ON THE SPORTS FIELD
While I take on trust government reform on education, as I do not have the time to investigate in sufficient detail as to make any valid comments, certain contradictions fly high on their respective flag poles.
There was a period when some teachers had perverse ideas that the competitive spirit was not to be encouraged. As a consequence it now appears that we have an insufficient number of young people growing up with an interest in sport. A classic example why teachers need to be managed. However, it is equally asinine that schools should be managed by organisations whose management structure is blatantly sexist, as is the case in too many schools managed by religious entities. The CofE is trying to wake up at its present Synod but still has a glass ceiling for women. The church of Rome simply isn't remotely with it and as for Islamic schools...! The Education department needs to investigate such managed schools, to ensure their blatant sexist management structure does not influence the schools they are managing.
SUNDAY 7th JULY 2013
THE QATADA FARCE
Delight/relief of Qatada's departure diverts attention from the fundamental problem: that some damned fool(s) let him in in the first place! What is appalling is the lack of Islamic objections to his continued stay. This is a man Islamists claim is an educated specialist in Islam, yet everything he has preached declares the reality that he is an ill-educated, abusive individual without any basic understanding of any faith that could lay claim to being a religion.
relief at his departure also diverts memories that it was Labour that created the situation by letting him in in the first place and then signing up to the European Court of Human Rights, instead of maintaining Britain's stance for total independence. Of course we cannot be totally authoritarian. We need the freely given trust of other nations, so subjectivity to an International court is fair comment but something involved solely with Europe is NOT international and totally unfit to presume to interfere in British matters, which it did by changing the goal posts during the process, such is European unfitness for purpose.
SATURDAY 6th JULY 2013
ON RELIGION GETTING IT WRONG AGAIN: ABORTION AND EGYPT
Every moral battle is a story of the continual war to bring sense and sensibility into reality. With possible medical exceptions, there is a responsibility on partners not to start life where it is not wanted. This responsible attitude is deliberately thwarted by such entities as the Catholic church, which specifically determines that it is their concept of God's will that people should behave irresponsibly.
An Irish court recently sanctioned the death of a mother of other children as "unfortunate", because doctors chose to save a baby that was going to die anyway (and did) rather than save the mother because they would not abort. The death was a deliberate act of incompetent and unfit doctors acting according to the Catholic church and not according to medical sense and responsibility. When religion and its believers presume to get in the way of saving life and determine it is proper family life that children should be without a mother, then religion is simply not fit for decent people. It is claimed many Catholic believers do act responsibly and defy their church. Good for them. Were they truly honest they would renounce their church and become Protestant.
Those in America, deliberately thwarting senator Wendy Davis, are trying to maintain the irresponsibility of religion (for that is in effect what they are doing) have forgotten that concepts of religious freedom are personal and individual, not part of the State, other than a general belief that there is a God.
Religion is supposed to be kept out of American politics, as I understood things. What is being stated here is that America and the Republican party in particular, have defamed the concept of manhood and placed all men in the cattle truck of shame. Anti-abortionists are simply an embarrassment to decent men. It was, after all men (although perhaps less decent men) who created the situation in the first place!
What would be more productive would be if the anti-abortionists railed against the men whose behaviour towards women is totally and wholly unacceptable. Then we might get somewhere. That means, it would seem, railroading the Republican Party!
Religion again has interfered in Egypt. It is gradually emerging that there has been a more than "under the counter" relationship between Morsi and theMoslem Brotherhood. Clearly, that is why there is disaster. Religion is simply not capable of dealing with the practical realities of living. It has had centuries to prove this to us.
It would appear that perhaps the army has moved in too soon. That it would have been better had they allowed Morsi to prove his complete unfitness for the job and show more obvious signs of the influence of the Moslem Brotherhood. On the other hand, was the army conniving at such relationships, so that it could act as it just has in order, in the long term, to retain control?
For all those abroad, this is one of those classic English summer after-noons. Superb sunshine, superb green grass and two young women playing tennis on the greatest tennis court in the world at the greatest tennis match in the world. What a day!
It wasn't my preferred winner but two brave emotional and wonderful girls delivered a magnificent performance in play and wonderful conduct afterwards.
DOES PORN ENCOURAGE OR DIVERT PERPETRATORS FROM COMMITTING WORSE CRIMES
Altough retired, so she is not making a great challenge to her career, I believe Butler-Sloss is correct with her views, especially since Venables murdered first and was a child at the time. His latest imprisonment was not to do with what he had done (accessing child porn) but with the "simple fact" that he had committed a crime while on parole, sohe was automatically recalled. Butler-Sloss is not out of line with a wide academic view on cause and effect.
FRIDAY 5th JULY 2013
ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND EXTENDING ITS INFLUENCE IN SCHOOLS
This arises from a recent suggestion that the CofE should extend its management of schools into a wider sector of the state system. No way, until it accepts women bishops. It would be totally improper for the government to inculcate into main education a management system that supports such sexist attitudes. Further, since the issue has been raised, the government should consider bringing CofE schools into the fuller state system, in order to prevent such miseducation. We cannot possible tolerate entities having responsibility for education that are blatantly sexist in their own management structure.
TUESDAY 2nd JULY 2013
It appears that Snowden was employed by a firm called Booz Allen Hamilton to whom work had been contracted by the US government. This does not excuse Snowden from being a traitor to his own people. The government remains the managers through BAH since the government is the ultimate manager.
Regardless of employee relations within BAH, which I understand are not highly reputed, the expectation of a citizen's loyalty to their country remains and Snowden was still effectively employed by the US government, it was their work he was doing.
Without getting too detailed, what Snowden is raising are the issues Burgess and McClean raised when they passed over atomic secrets to Russia. Did they worsen the Cold War as a result and would relationships have been better sooner had they not betrayed us, or did they stop the US getting even more out of hand and bullying the rest of the world?
If it is the case Snowden believes he needs to fulfil a personal mission to express his moral integrity, in opposition to the representatives of the rest of the country, then why is he fleeing and not standing forth as the martyr he tries to make himself out to be. What he is actually saying is, "I believe I need to step out of line, my arrogance will over-ride the majority conventions and I will ensure I do not pay the price".
Many people pay the price with their lives through tsunamis, which destruction they did not seek. Snowden has chosen deliberately to encounter his challenges but wants to do so without paying the resultant price. This is not morality. Look to the Christian martyrs and the Protestant conflict with Rome for morality, in the conduct of Sir Thomas More. That is how to take a moral stance. For modern times, look to Mandela! He did not run away, he stood to be counted.
ON ORGAN DONATION
The Welsh government is considering making organ donation an assumption by default of people not making a clear declaration NOT to donate.
As usual, the key point of the argument is being missed. Wales wants organ donation to be by default, rather than relying on people who have positively stated their wish to donate their organs.
There are two arguments. One is simple statistics. It is claimed organ donation will go down, as has happened elsewhere, not be increased as a result of compulsion by default. That is a practical problem to be discussed upon the balance of the evidence.
The second argument is, "who owns the body?" It is customary to enact the last wishes of the deceased but where, when, how, do the bereaved exercise any rights, since they are the ones having to deal with the reality?
To what extent should we collectively deal objectively with death, rather than indulge ourselves in emotion? Officially, the NHS does not support euthanasia, yet does support it by default, as in the Staffordshire Hospital where people were allowed to die, through positive disgraceful lack of care.
How can the NHS say it is short of money and so tell a middle-aged patient his/her hip replacement will have to wait three years, while spending money on expensive drugs to keep someone gasping longer than they want, on an issue of principle? It is not rational.
There are claimed religious scruples but Christ’s manifestation as Man, according to God's Creation, does not make him less an encapsulation of biochemistry than are the rest of us.
I am comfortable with the perception that I was before I decided to be born and I am confident I shall continue to exist after my biochemical presentation has disintegrated. Not being a gifted psychic myself, I have mixed with a sufficient diversity of psychics and engaged in direct experience as to be comfortable with that scenario.
Those with no acceptance of spiritual values, regarding them as superstitions are luckier still. To them there is simple acceptance of bio-chemical reality, no sense of excitement that death is the last great adventure of life, just a shrug of the shoulders, “Oh, was that it?”
I feel sad for them, save for a mischievous twinkle in my eye that says, “I’d love to see their expressions when they realise there is no death!” I am hopeful Oxford University will take me for teaching purposes but as I have cancer I have to prepare a funeral service just in case, which I regard as a damned nuisance. I‘m rather inclined to have a jazz band turn out, rather like the one in one of the Bond movies but then one has to think on the sensitivities of those likely to participate, which brings me back to my question, “Whose funeral actually is it?”
ON MANAGING TECHNOLOGY
Starting on 19th June and mentioning again on 24th June, I was happy with BT yesterday. They make extraordinary fanfares through email and snail mail about what they are doing, going to do and how marvellous things are and will be when you actually get into direct touch with employees (based on the three or four by telephone and physical arrival with whom I have recently interacted) BT sounds and feels great.
Supposedly upgrading my line from 10M mbs to 70mbs I find the system is slower than it was and the telephone does not work! One can find out through the internet that they are aware and they are looking at it. Surprisingly, they record the fault at 27th June when I did not know I had a fault. Clearly they did so why did the engineer not tell me and reassure me? In fact the only intimation I have of a fault is this morning, twelve hours after the engineer had left me. They do say the new system can take three or four days to settle down but made no mention that it might not actually work!
MONDAY 1st JULY 2013
Having put the matter into the hands of an independent committee, that committee then hands back the recommendation to MPs to make the decision! Ridiculous. Keith Vaz highlights the point precisely when he says MPs should not talk about their remuneration. They should not vote on it either. Either the independent committee should stand up and be accountable by making the decision (in which case I suspect they would state it should not now be implemented because they daren't face public opinion), or the matter should be a question on the ballot paper at the next election, applicable for that parliament.
Are MPs worth that salary? Yes, I believe they are if they are doing their job properly and that is based on some personal interactive experience. Should it be implemented now? No but phasing in half might be acceptable. We must remember that many MPs are always uncertain of their jobs. Only now is it a guaranteed period of time and that only for five years. MPs in a borderline constituency may never be employed again. I know that is the experience of at least one MP. That is what must be remembered.