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UBUNTU I am because of who we all are.
Supporting the 2012 Olympic Legacy—I WILL be positive and endeavour to maintain the Olympians' love of life and its challenges
MALALA—a statement of the failure of religion:
religion that fails to pro-actively promote the absolute equality of male and female is fundamentally immoral and unfit for decent society.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)
Diversity within unity and change over time is the reality of Creation. -Peter Such, poet and writer (1943–)


Peter Such

Peter Such

A view of Great Berkhamsted from Cooper's fields. 

Peter Such lives in Great Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England
Formerly working in printing and publishing Peter Such is currently an occasional writer on diverse issues, as the mood takes him.
He has regularly put his views to the test of public opinion, which is how he twice ended up as mayor of his home town.
 He also stood for The Referendum Party in the UK General Election of 1997.
Also on Twitter as Peewit2 (he doesn't take it seriously) and on Facebook as himself (Peter.Such.5)


JULY 2014
Part 2 [from Tuesday 22nd July 2014 (Part 1)]

MONDAY 28th JULY 2014 [late evening post]
A new face is placed upon a local familiar history. Now that the Berkhamsted and Tring Gazette has announced the publication of Bob Little's A Perspective on Pendley: A history of Pendley Manor I feel able to publish the critique I wrote for Amazon.
          "First reviewer!? Makes a change from being a runner up! As the personf responsible with John Holifield for getting Dorian’s “Pendley Residential Centre of Adult Education, the first 25 years, 1945–1970” into print, I am delighted that simple anniversary publication has been superseded by Bob Little’s “A History of Pendley Manor”.
           Bob Little describes his book as “A Perspective” which, on reading the depth of his starting historical narrative, is a generous understatement. As a Berkhamstedian born and bred, many of the ancient family names he mentions were known to me but not in their relationship to Pendley. For the nonhistorian, these pages may be a little dense but for many local people they will be of immense interest. That detailed, arguably perverse history, also underlies the unique nature of the later to modern style of Pendley in Dorian’s time: diverse, creative, artistic, familiar, cosy, formal with informality (one might use ‘haphazard’). In Dorian’s days it was without doubt an extended family of casual, exciting, comfortable characters (read ‘eccentrics’).
           It is a pity that Bob and I have never met and despite being only ‘down the road’ my detachment has been more than I have wished these latter years, although I do periodically drop in for after-noon tea—highly recommended.
           I am horrified to realise that it is nearly half-a-century since that first publication and too many years since I stayed on to help ensure the Festival’s continuation, through the change of ownership following Dorian’s death but Bob has not only filled in the history since, he has brought to the fore the essence of what Pendley is all about: a living history relevant to the modern day. At least, certainly when Pendley Open-Air Shakespeare is running!

FRIDAY 25th JULY 2014 [late evening post]
From the moment of birth we start the journey to master our destiny. What ever that life is having reached maturity and gained experience (for those of us that get that far) we are reluctant to let go of our independence. Yet, purportedly, two thirds of us do not write a Will. How could they be so absurd? There do not seem to be any statistics as to how many who do make Wills provide details on how to handle their death, let alone the process of dying, should it be drawn out. Why not? It is simply irrational not to do so.
          In one way or another all my immediate family have left clear instructions on funeral details and disposal of their estate. Perhaps I am fortunate. I wrote my first Will at 27, not because there was an estate to leave but because I had a golden opportunity to cross America. Fifty years ago, traffic on the wrong side of the road (Churchill was knocked down by a taxi) and crossing the Atlantic by air were 'abnormal' risks and I wanted matters to be as simple as possible for my parents. My second Will was written a few years later when I acquired my first (and present) property. My Will has been reviewed regularly (but erratically) ever since. However, it is only now that I determine the order of my funeral service (my father had one already planned out for himself) and that is not for lack of thinking about it. Not relevant here is that personal reasons make any present conclusion inconclusive!
           I am therefore very much involved in the principle of the 'right to die' debate. To me, it is caught up with that reluctance to let go of what I have controlled for over half a century: that which is 'me' in this aeon of time. To me, the 'right to die' issue has a wider, more encompassing meaning: it is the right to predetermine when one is no longer compos mentis to decide for oneself. Wilfully maintaining life, especially when being maintained of its own volition( but out of the control of its owner) is something we would not allow an animal to suffer (and human kind IS an animal!). These are issues that Faulkener's present bill does not address. For that reason I ma not happy with the bill but we will see what the Committee stage produces, obviously more and deeper debate.
          The reason I raise the issue here and now is that Dr Ros Taylor, Director of Berkhamsted's The Hospice of St Francis has spoken out against the proposed Bill. Having had direct experience of the Hospice's work, through my father's treatment and currently diverse first and secondhand experiences of other people, I can only say that Dr Taylor's reputation is justly formidable and i have great respect for her abilities. I would also like to take the opportunity of congratulating her on her award of an MBE for services to hospice care. Her views are here.

In the same issue the Reverend Tom Plant "blasts bishop's debate" because of the BBC's 'wretchedly simplistic' religious reporting. This is a nonsense. it is religion's responsibility to be simple, straight forward and open and thereby to be meaningful. How more simplistic can one get than with a carpenter at his lathe? It is the church that ever since has complicated the simplicity for no other reason than priestly arrogance. Reverend Plant then, himself over-simplifies his interpretation of the parable of the wheat and tares. "The wheat is the secular modernists who want to move the Church with the times... " Nonsense. The fact of Creation is a state of continual change over time. The Church has persisted in remaining stuck in an interpretation or understanding of that reality as it was known to His followers some two thousand years ago.
           In the canto 'Burnt Norton' in Four Quartets T S Eliot states: "Time present and time past/ Are both perhaps present in time future/ And time future contained in time past./ If all time is eternally present/ All time is unredeemable.' Here, I disagree with Eliot. If all time is eternally present then the Cross, which existed in a particular era of time must also exist in all time and therefore all time is redeemable.
          The Reverend Plant, who does support women bishops then said "... an action which fractures the Church and, for the time being at least, jeopardises any reunion with the wider Catholic Church." It is the Roman version of Catholicism that reneged and the Anglican Protestant that led. Rome is gradually following Protestant example but at far too slow a pace, just as the Church of England itself spent four centuries not progressing from the monumental start it gave the world in rethinking humankind's knowledge and understanding of Creation, called The Reformation.

This week's Berkhamsted and Tring Gazette brings the world right to our doors. The opening page "it's not because we are too posh, it's wrong" and "if you want a Lidl or an Aldi, go to Hemel'. That is supposed to sum up a long, deep debate in Berkhamsted Town council's recent Planning Meeting about whether the town should have a Lidl store. These headlines are supposed to present the nub of the issue: that nearly twice as many people (in their hundreds) had signed a petition saying they wanted the store than those who had signed another petition saying they did not want the store. Perhaps the sub editor responsible for the headline had not read his own text!
          Many people, beyond the boundaries of Great Berkhamsted, will be aware of the debate: both the BBC and ITV sent film crews to publicise opinion, not that I met any of them or was even aware we had been on the news. Interesting. I was aware of the debate and Deetv (our own online community tv station) had immediately come to the fore with a well presented programme of properly debated argument.
          From a social background it is quite obvious there is a place for it in the community but... therein lies the problem. The serious discussion about this proposal will be around the ten page report the council will use to formulate its objections. While waiting, let us look at the contradictions the newspaper fails to highlight.
          Apparently there is a plan and if that plan is over-turned it will reduce "the continued vitality and vibrancy of shopping in the town". The EU has a plan which the Tory party is debating about how and to what extent it should be changed. As it was a Conservative councillor who made the quoted remark it would appear to be further contradiction within the Conservative party about the viability/inviolability of plans.
         More over, it is current Conservative policy that planning regulations should be seriously reduced so as to make building easier. Apparently the fact the plan had been signed off only last year was very important. Why? What was important was that if one thing overturns a plan then the danger of an over-sized housing estate in corn fields just outside the town's current perimeter, so far resisted, might happen, especially under relaxed planning regulations. That would be at the wrong end of town in conjunction with another new housing estate currently being built within the town's parameters.
Let us return to the idea we should all get in our cars to drive to another town. How does this tie in with objections to out of town shopping and an emphasis on getting people to walk more and do they intend to arrange for public transport to these out of town shops? Apparently Berkhamsted's hills are too steep to walk up and down. They certainly are in the centre of town, where the shopping is concentrated but where Lidl is intended to be located, the hills are less steep and there are extensive housing estates, which would obviously encourage walking. How do these arguments jell?
          There is a change of classification required but isn't that what we are arguing over with the EU, the need to change things? Why is the EU in a mess? Because it is following a plan which does not take into account that the reality of living is a continual state of change. Precisely why religion is in a mess: it never took into account that the reality of Creation is that it is a state of continual change. Now secularism seems intent upon falling into the same pit of errors: 'we believed one thing at one time but now that new facts have emerged we will continue with our plan in defiance of the reality of change since'! Hardly reassuring.

THURSDAY 24th JULY 2014 [noon post]
This morning opens discussion that we should be doing something about the Gaza situation. My response on Facebook: "The problem in doing something is doing the right thing and if there is a right thing to do, agreeing what it is and how to do it; with/by whom is another problem! Arguably, that is in fact the problem.
This morning, my parish church posts a reminder of Simon Schama's programme "A History of Britain" on BBC2. It is a replay of a former broadcast but prompted me to reply: "It is a good series eruditely presented. The sooner we actually have women bishops the better, finally confirming just how broad a church is English Protestantism. Berkhamsted illustrates this brilliantly: its central church has interests in visiting Walsingham for its historical associations while one of the town's former mayors knows Walsingham for Lord Walsingham, regarded by many as the founder of the British Secret Service, being the security mainstay behind Elizabeth I. An opportunity now for a woman rector?"
          My parish church is in an interregnum and is currently biased towards high Anglican rather than low church, my own proclivity. In fact I have much empathy with the United Reformed. Recently attending a seminar, in answer to the introductory rote of declaring who we were and from what source I replied: "The church of Diversity; I'm still travelling!"
          For all the reasons Schama quotes I am an Englishman first, which means automatically and inevitably being CofE. Being a low churchman I attend the town's principal church, despite it being inclined high, for a diverse set of reasons few of which have much to do with God!
          Meanwhile, a parallel universe opens up proving the value of my continual juxtaposition of arguments. The New York Times gives a graphic representation of the meaning of an Islamic State today. The parallel of the anguish of England through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward, Mary, Elizabeth I are striking. In my view, the essential difference is that singularity inherent within this Our Island Race. We are, like no other people: not perfect but generally more right than wrong. It is the nature of Protestantism, not necessarily in the Christian sense, in fact it is an inherent protestantism that brought about Christian Protestantism.
          Let us look at these juxtapositions. Israel, Hamas, Gaza. Could just as easily be Christ condemned. Over two thousand years, none of them have moved on. In Syria with ISIS: read the report above. Not much different from England nearly half a millennium back. Today, the Church of England is making some serious contribution to the regularising of multi- sexual relationships but even today does not actually have a woman bishop.
It is only in the last half century that England as a whole has woken up to the abuse that is corporal punishment. Compare with ISIS and beyond that to more 'regular' Islam: then look to Glasgow (the Commonwealth Games) 53 diverse, individual nations voluntarily banding together for the sheer joy of life while the EU, "We must have conformity throughout and deny individualism". EU law demands equality between the sexes...  hang on a mo' that's excepting for religion... There you have secularism, as daft and fatally flawed as religion itself. They wonder why people have lost interest in politics. I've just cited a lot of those reasons: in more of a nutshell, it's all a load of utter cobblers!

WEDNESDAY 23rd JULY 2014 [late night post]
A beautiful, supremely talented young Scottish girl, Nicola Benedetti opened the Commonwealth Games 2014. Fifty-three diverse nations, formerly of the largest empire world civilisation has yet created, now bound by a common bond of humanity and mutual interest despite a wide diversity of culture and history, joined together for ten days of sporting events between men and women, regardless of faith and physique. For a moment, a breath of fresh Scottish air; a few moments away from the sadness and misery elsewhere on this planet; giving us a glimpse of how the whole world could be, if only we would contrive to make it so.

TUESDAY 22nd JULY 2014 [midafter-noon post]
An aspect of religion, too easily missed both by some religionists and particularly by those of no persuasion, or just involved in the fuller aspects of life generally [see heading].

Since the PM is concerned about British values and British values are obviously tied closely to Protestant Christianity, where is our concern for forgiveness?
This morning, the headline on The Daily Telegraph was along the lines of "Time to punish Putin". Surely, worldwide, we are in a time for compassion? Whether at the hands of Putin, trying to play the role of a previous Tsar to bolster his emotional inadequacy; wilfully or not aiding and abetting insurrectionists, promoting solely their personal egos; whether condemning Israel (from which Jewish background Christ arose and was denied and crucified) and which is currently hammering Hamas, still determined to destroy the very concept of Israel; whether claiming guilt against Hamas for bulldozing Palestine into supporting expressions of their pig-headed egos; Palestine, for its weakness in allowing Hamas; and, missing out a few bus stops, coming back to the present bus park where Putin, compromised by previous governments/tyrants' indiscretions; or thrown by simple, damned fool stupidities, tried to "simply" as he saw it, give a little, while vigorously protecting his country's long-term interests, both historically and for the future: all the while, all being handicapped by wilful, endemic, historical corruption.
           Within the whole are some people at least, perhaps quite a number, who through their various perspectives are doing the best they can with what they have got. They try, with a serious intent of being fair-handed, yet necessarily protective of their own entrenched interests.
          Ego and sense of self-importance probably has a lot to do with inertia to say, "Sorry, I think we've got this bit wrong." That has got to be a consideration in immediate dialogue, 'loving thy neighbour', however determined they are to destroy you is an essential part of Christianity.
          Turning the other cheek is not a requirement when it is obvious the cheek has been turned and all options have been tried. At the present moment "punishment" seems too close to vengeance and that "sayeth the Lord, is mine!" In the mean time, hundreds of ordinary, everyday family members in the news; many more from whom the news people have, for the moment, turned away; thousands of others, totally unknown outside their immediate circle of friends, are tearing their hearts out in the anguish of a "simple" child death by motor accident; or just death through ill health, cancer, AIDS.
          In this, today, we are a very miserable world and while we must be stern of resolution, compassion and love must be a part of all our intents.


In The Guardian, Saturday July 19th, Ed Husain (a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, specialising in Islamist movements, the Middle East and counter-terrorism policy, author of The Islamist (2007) and a former founding director of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank) charged Britain with cowardice. Being a child of Margaret Thatcher's government he had an inherent sense of Britain's greatness; perceived the extent of the high esteem in which British people, their monarchy and the English language were valued, having personal experience of living in Syria, Saudi Arabia and India. Despite its imperial past, India viewed Britains as civilised, thoughtful and well mannered. He was proud of Britain's multiculturalism and its historical influence deep within American culture: John Locke had influenced America's pluralism; Congress had amplified Britain's parliamentary traditions and Britain was still respected and valued as a think-tank among nations.
          Having moved to America he felt its greatness lay in its impulse "to do something", to try and find solutions, which embarrassed him regarding Britain's and Europe's predisposition to cowardice and laziness. In essence, he was saying much of what I have mentioned in recent days, that world events currently reported were perceived by the British and Europe as  being "in another country".
          In short, his thesis was: Britain created the Empire and influenced the whole world situation; Britain ended its Empire precipitously and cackhandedly; present world issues devolve from that cackhandedness; ipso facto Britain had a duty of care to be involved in the present crises and to help with the sorting out.
         Interestingly, he charges Miliband as responsible for the failure of Obama to go to Congress for a vote for strikes against Syria in the way he defeated Cameron in debate on the issue in parliament, causing Ashdown to say "In 50 years of trying to serve my country, I have never felt so depressed or ashamed." Personally, at that time, I felt the decision was right not to go in but what Husain's debate ushers in is the need for us not to be ashamed but proud, while admitting our errors, of our history and standing up to be accounted for it. That entails being at the table, being involved and helping to sort out the consequences once and for all.