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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–)
Neither praise nor shoot the messenger: the message is all.


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)

Last published: Sunday, November 2, 2014 10:29


WEDNESDAY15th OCTOBER 2014 [evening post]
Throwing Everything to the Wind

The purpose of this site is diverse. Snippets of explanation are scattered throughout (see Index) but basically, it sorts itself out as it develops. In the background I am bringing together what I hope will be possibly two more volumes of poetry and an autobiography that may only be for family reference, rather than public dissemination. Within that work load is potentially three novels. As I have sometimes previously stated, when in over optimistic mood, "I am the author of half a dozen books taken to various levels of incompletion because the day job got in the way." A busy retirement dawned but was hampered by various family problems and then, as now, preoccupation with ill health. External influences once more throw my plans. I side-track from 9th October's review of the Conference season and its forward influence, to matters that were intended to be addressed in a different way another time.
          My side-track is for two reasons: I have been knocked off my twig (a Lynda Bellingham phrase) by a periodic state of exhaustion; I have just read Lynda Bellingham's Something I Have Been Dying to Tell You. She tries to address directly the remaining social taboos on dealing with death and dying, having lost two potential media opportunities done by someone else but in her view not adequately handled and which (whether or not so related) generally received a low interest response, which disappointed her.
          This is an issue that I have been trying to tackle since a small child, when I first became aware of adult asininities, called "social protocols", around subjects with which most people had been brought up to avoid dealing, other than through other people (purportedly professionals, themselves stultified by their own traditional professional etiquette which rendered them practicably useless).
          My first encounter was the death of my father's mother. He was abroad at the time and I can't recall if he managed to come back for the funeral. "She's dying of "the big C" but we don't tell her." "What's the big C?" "Cancer but we don't ever mention that word." "Why not? It's her body, she's the one person who should know, surely?" "Its kinder to lie."
          We were supposed to be a Christian (CofE) orientated family and here we were promoting lying! "But she might want to ensure things were done before she goes." "Hold your noise. Don't speak on things you don't understand."
understood very well. A Christian family was positively promoting lying: a faith that also taught it was a sin to eat from the tree of knowledge while promoting learning and the acquisition of knowledge in its children.
          The situation was not helped by having experienced a Catholic convent's schooling, following a perceived inadequacy of teaching privately elsewhere the year before. Only in subsequent maturity did I fully appreciate the deviousness of the Catholic hypocrisy, of which I, at that age, had only a glimmer of understanding but at least had some understanding, thanks to a Protestant the nuns employed because she was too damned good locally to be ignored (a polite way of putting the fact the nuns did not have the staff and could not match her abilities). She insisted on thinking and reasoning as the first basics of any learning. Clearly, as later life made me realise, that was also a problem for the nuns and as she lived a few doors away she became my private tutor, to get me through the Common Entrance papers, despite my being disadvantaged by a Catholic Convent education.
          My next experience of duplicity was over the death of my mother's younger sister. Again, the one person who should have known everything that was going on around her was the very person from whom such information was deliberately hidden, although there is a perception from her younger brother that she did in fact know at the very end and that might have been my fault. I had been chatting with her in her bedroom and she commented that she did not think she could make my wedding, to which I had responded that we could delay it until she was well enough. The girl in fact changed her mind and I remained a bachelor. I think it was the nature of that conversation that caused her to twig what was actually going on.
         The extraordinary attitude of "not telling" has had a permanent traumatic effect on all her four children and me, denying them an open and adjusting adaptation to what was to follow. To me, she was a big sister, not an aunt. At a very early age she said to me, "For heaven's sake stop calling me 'aunt', it makes me feel old." From which point on I never called any relation 'uncle' or 'aunt' but always directly by their Christian names. None of them chose to object. It was her I let know that I had enjoyed my first meaningful encounter with a girl. Her response was the modern, mature response, now a matter of course, "Welcome to the club." It is a confession I could never have made to my mother and one that was modern for the time. She was that way inclined: old fashioned in sense of responsibility and personal accountability but open to new thinking.
It was her funeral that confirmed a steadfast objection to the whole principle of funerals. I believe it was Johann Strauss who could not attend his mother's funeral for similar feelings and although I have coped with my sister's and mother's funerals, for everyone else's benefit, I have had great difficulty to get through the process. This raises the issue Lynda raises herself, although it is my phrasing: who's funeral is it? As she writes in her book, you have so many people's feelings to take into account and arguably more so at this period, when society is re-assessing so much of itself. Perhaps this is why we do not ever properly address the issue, which is completely ridiculous. After all, this is a Christian country and the Christian view is that "there is no death", so what on earth are we doing?
          I remember a church conference I attended when, on closing, we were updated that the next publication would be dealing with death. I chirped up and asked, "That's interesting, it does happen then?" My cousin, a retired minister and Dr. of Philosophy grinned back and said, "I haven't encountered it yet!" It is amazing what priests will tell you privately (and a couple of bishops on that occasion) when they are retired and no longer depend on their stipends!
          In principle there is no reason why the body should not be packaged in a yellow bin liner (as used for other biological collections from the long term home or terminally ill) and left by the door: in principle I did write.
         Having my brother-in-law round the other day I finally got round to affirming my body was to go to an appropriate research facility. It immediately eliminates funeral arrangements and related costs but remains subject to the description on the death certificate as to whether they actually accept. So one still has to cover the contingency of preparing a funeral. I am reluctant to take up my GP's time at the moment but the implication is that I have to cancel my organ donorship (I have had my body's key items nationally donated for years). As it is most likely to be used for dissection practice does it really matter if (assuming they are usable and at my age that becomes increasingly less likely) those organs are removed before the body is passed on?
          There seems to be a complete mismatch in organisation, which I suspect is due to the fact that we will not talk about this frankly and openly. We need to and must. In Lynda's case she has a husband and they will lie side by side in a double plot. Very understandable and I do not mean to be crass but I am prepared to look anyone, straight eye to eye, who is prepared to say to my face: "I am a very selfish person and I am determined that my body will be buried or burned with all the organs intact that might keep as many as six other people alive and give sight to two blind people". Because that is what everyone of you is doing when you do not assign your organs before you go. This is one of Lynda's concerns. It has been mine for years. [In her case, with such extensive cancer, this probably does not apply].
It has also amazed me how vast a number never leave a will, let alone a direction on their funeral service. How can people be so insensitive? I am fortunate in some of my family background. My late father had two careers, both of which he followed through from foot soldier to senior ranking. As a clarinettist in the army he thought it would be nice if the band played for him and his wife instead of him playing for the officers: he retired as a major, Royal Military Police and started over again in the Civil Service, ending up as a Head Executive Officer.
           Needless to say, handling his funeral was a doddle. Marching orders were prefiled for me. All I had to do was obey orders. Like Lynda, my family's relationship with the church (of England) was as loose as hers but he was bending, once almost crying to me, "I can't change, my boy, its the army life (which he loved); its the way I've been trained," but he was changing. Bending my way in his own time. His coffin was brought into the crematorium to the theme from Chariots of Fire and we left the crematorium to Blaze Away, a typical army number. After a funeral, march the troops off to a chirpy tune. It was my father's way of waving two fingers at the congregation. He was showing his independent thinking: perhaps convention wasn't all right after all.
          It isn't, as he later proved when a friend of mine (who happens to be a psychic) and I were standing outside the new headquarters of the Spiritual Association of Great Britain. We looked at one another, "As we are here, shall we see if anyone's available?" We nodded without a word having passed between us and walked in.
           A slight re-arrangement of tea breaks ensured we were each seen within an hour. Interestingly, we both gave false names. Ridiculous, as the mediums know immediately the spirits speak to them. I had sat many times with my friend but never with a professional medium before. I had hardly sat down and gone through the preliminaries (do you want a recording and other basic procedures etc) and there all three of them were: my father, my mother and my little sister. Something I would not have expected of him when, as a child I had once been saddled with my younger sister. "You can't do that (can't remember what it was) with your sister." "Why not?" "Because she's a girl!" "What's that got to do with it?" "Oh don't be so bloody stupid my boy!" He never approved of women in trousers, let alone any sort of uniform and fully disapproved of my aunt having been in the Wrens. I think that is why he never got on with another aunt—who was his sister and also in the forces.
           This is not the time to go into that detail. The relevance is that Lynda has recently visited a psychic. She has a very good relationship with a one-time vicar, as I sometimes use my cousin and I will come back to this later, when I originally intended raising these issues, following on my report on the Conference season and turning to world affairs in the light of religious/spiritual matters that are now at the forefront of world talk.
          My reason for responding so immediately to Lynda's book is because of past association. I cannot claim to have shared a stage with Lynda as by that time I had moved across to production co-ordinating but in 1968 she was Puck in that year's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream on the open air stage at Pendley. Due to my own ill health I was not able to attend the sixty year celebration, nor see her at the stage door when she was on tour with Calendar Girls in her home town theatre for a week but I have followed her progress ever since her teenage years and can say that a lot of the essence that is Lynda emerges in much of her work, such as in All Creatures Great and Small, Faith in the Future and Second Thoughts now conveniently playing on ITV3.
           Enough for now. It is excellent that Lynda has shown her interest in promoting rational thinking around the dying process and determining, as far as she can, when she will die but beyond that I will not go, as I suspect my more bull at the gate frustrated progression might be anathema to her. There is no death.

THURSDAY 9th OCTOBER 2014 [early morning post]
BALANCING THE BOOKS: worldwide, eternally and pragmatically[early morning post]

The Conference Season has ended; the attention seeking headlines have been sought and either acquired, abused, missed, or negated: election ahead and for whom should one sensibly vote? The unavailable: the same again—or, the even more impossible but arguably less pragmatically workable, a national government? My concluding opinion is that Nick Clegg delivered the most realistic plea and the LibDems the most pragmatic conference. They now have realistic experience of government in difficult circumstances, which they have handled well. For me, philosophically they are torn asunder: devolved local government gives them credibility on the national stage but their preoccupation for idealism, over-riding any understanding of sound management, means their EU favouring seriously displaces them from the international stage.
          There is no doubt Labour really is totally unfit for purpose. That it is purported the unions had the influence on the wrong brother being elected as leader, we have a permanent (for now) reminder of the disaster that is trades union influence on anything and especially on the Labour party.
           A coalition of LibDem and Tory worked this time, because of the personalities involved, who were determined to be professionally competent and seek the wider good, while trying to hang on to as much of their parties’ individual ideals as possible. The LibDems have the humanity: the Tories understand sound management
           In an ideal world, they are “naturally” balanced to counter one another’s extreme nonsense on essential issues. Let’s look at these main issues.

The EU
Somewhat late in the day (due to Labour’s absurd involvement for far too long in government) all politicians have forgotten Mrs Thatcher’s handbag. Unquestionably, that was the right approach for the UK, ad infinitum regarding anything to do with the EU. Unfortunately, she was one of those women more manly than the men around her, so even a cabal of men would have been too disjointed to have the same effect (as proved).
           Following Thatcher, every male option was too weak to stand up to the EU, or preferred to give the EU headway, as that tended to be more daft than they were themselves, which meant they, themselves, didn’t look quite as daft as they actually were: all forgetting Churchill’s maxim, “Trust the British people”.
           Thus, crucial decisions were never put to the British people who, had they said “No”, and being British would not have been pole-axed into a second opportunity to give the “Yes” that the EU wanted as other weaker, less assured (read: bloody minded) nations were bullied into eventually saying “Yes”, as the EU required. The British people would have simply ensured “No” meant “No” until the proposition was changed.
           There are two reasons why the present EU mess has arisen. One, socialism. Labour was in charge and proved socialism fails: cf. China (can’t cope with free-thinking Hong Kong); Russia over Ukraine; trades union movements worldwide (the tube workers again); the Labour party itself—look at the deficit with which Labour left government. Socialism has never understood economics and that money can only be spent when money has been earned (“robbing” the rich only diminishes capital, which becomes no longer available to create money-earning projects enabling employment).
           The second reason is the over-rated influence of sophisticated intellectuals, convinced the EU is the right philosophical course for the future but not taking the time to justify the mechanics to the hoi polloi... and not always themselves.
           As a consequence of not trusting the British people at the right time, the British people will now be asked an opinion on nothing of value but a proven right old mess that need never have happened and which it is going to be impossible to sort out rationally. This will be for all irrelevant reasons, such as EU individuals’ egos, that created the mess in which only they are so proud. We will end up leaving, when we should in fact be in, because the sense of the EU was lost in the mire of earlier socialist stupidities and wilful gerrymandering.
           However, while the course for being out will be a harder road than being in, a nation as small as ours, that has the wit to create an empire as great as ours, should be able to lead the world, contrary to other opinions, without too many problems and such challenge may do us the world of good.
           The problem is the Scottish question, as the Scots seem to prefer the EU, despite wanting independence: a clear contradiction in logic, especially when so many in the EU are so over-anxious to come to Britain, as the Calais situation clearly demonstrates. It is not the EU, to which they wish to gain access but the UK! That is an unequivocal practical statement and it is we, who have to help police other EU countries, because of the EU’s inability to understand the sanctity of borders. The Calais vote alone demonstrates how right is our independent thinking: why else are so many so keen to join us?

The Conservatives
Sound, proven understanding of economics; cost-effective utilisation of time and resource; basically sound management; build reserves once one earns sufficient resources to pay one’s way; then dispense largess according to need and required progress ahead. Personnel-wise, some very capable women coming through, at least one a possible successor to Thatcher but they need a steadying hand on their tiller (read LibDem). The horse brigade is not so much a camaraderie of animal lovers as “animals in their place”, like servants and lack all understanding of a bedside manner. Social welfare needs to be implanted from some independent source—a coalition with the LibDems will do.

The LibDems
Essential, to give the Conservatives some moral fibre and rein in their dynastic idiots but an absolute disaster regarding personnel. Their women are of the wishy-washy variety of womankind, which enabled men to thrust their bigoted arrogance for far too long, yet feisty enough to degrade those men who are capable; even those principally responsible for getting them into government (like Lord Rennard) and for the first time giving them a serious chance in the real world!
          Their preoccupation with their own egos and sense of self-importance and their inability to understand the need to contribute to the collective whole, in place of self-interest, shows them clearly incapable of meaning. A political version of ‘The Mothers’ Union’. No good what ever in politics or management.
          The collective whole is incapable of practical leadership. Too wrapped up in “how nice things could be if they weren’t as things actually are”! Many of even their male MPs seem unclear as to what they believe in, until a committee determines what they do believe in: probably why they love the EU so much, the EU’s management structure is equally indecipherable. Best kept for local government where they can be quite good, in small doses.

Its title and established history says all there is to say based on proven history: their points are laboured to the infinity of irrelevance. Regrettably, this leads to the loss of some very capable female politicians and potentially excellent leaders.

UKIP’s relevance will be determined not by their conference but by the forthcoming bye-elections but, it must be remembered, bye-elections serve only one purpose—a fairground for voters’ capers. Who wins, may be significant but it is more the numbers that may be meaningful, if anything meaningful is to be gained from the results and each bye-election is unique to its own circumstances.

Where from Here for May?
Vote as last time, save for these lessons: go back home, those who are, or have, wandered from Tory or LibDem; Labour wanderers, stay wandering; marginals, if Tory or LibDem, confirm the bias already there; if Labour—any alternative! Good luck. We live in exciting times!

World-wide and Eternal [to be continued tomorrow]. It wasn't. For explanation see next date 15th October. When continued the quick reference will be noted here.

FRIDAY 3rd OCTOBER 2014 [morning post]
Will Hong Kong's "Cry Freedom" movement counter the pure evil of the Middle East's IS lot of nutcakes?
          Since they first acquired newspaper preoccupation I have puzzled over the conflicts of modern life's seeming reappraisal of biblical concepts of good and evil. Of course, I am not the first and many of more substantial intellect than my own have already looked at a modern way of re-defining the term "evil".
           In looking for modern philosophical thought I encountered Susan Neiman. She is Director of the Einstein Forum. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin and taught philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University. She is the author of Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant,  Evil in Modern ThoughtMoral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists and Why Grow Up?
           I then discovered an article in The New Yorker and thought that would provide me with a journalist's opinion of current writing. That opinion turned out to be an appraisal of... Susan Neiman on the very subject of defining "good and evil". Rollo Romig, the article writer, concludes that "evil" remains the best word available today but fails to define it. For definition I turned to Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy which highlights the complexity of definition. Bryan Wood in The Huffington Post highlights there is no dividing line between good and evil: it is a state of variable transition according to circumstance, affecting anyone. Philip Zimbardo's video on The Psychology of Evil [video at bottom of Wood's column] illustrates this "slide into the abyss".
           How can anyone reasonably understand exactly what is happening? It seems there is no choice but to come back to the arguments for or against God or atheism. In place of either theological or secular terms, does psychology aid us? Published on August 26, 2013 by Steve Taylor, Ph.D. in Out of the Darkness the science of post-traumatic growth in Psychology Today Steve Taylor seems to provide what I was looking for. He is described as follows in the journal. "Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of the Human Mind. Eckhart Tolle has called his work 'an important contribution to the shift in consciousness happening on our planet at this time.' He was recently included in Mind, Body, Spirit magazine's list of 'The 100 most spiritually influential living people.'" It would seem that we are beginning to make religion relevant in a scientific age: or perhaps that should be "spirituality". Is that how things have gone so wrong?
          Lifted from the Wikipedia definition of "spirituality": "Traditionally spirituality has been defined as a process of personal transformation in accordance with religious ideals. Since the 19th century, spirituality is often separated from religion, and has become more oriented on subjective experience and psychological growth. It may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience, but without a single, widely-agreed definition."
           In that, is there a secular parallel to the disaster that is religion? Essentially, religion is "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods." In short, artificially organising an inherent, natural state of existence—spirituality. The secular, or "a" secular parallel is the European Union, creating an artificial construct for what otherwise would develop as a natural progression of common humanity.
           Returning to the observations I made on Wednesday 1st October which led on to the foregoing, is it reasonable to consider the IS tendency as another example of what happens when aspects of society feel disconnected: they 'develop' a lack of empathy, as Steve Taylor illustrates in his article. His article deals with the sense of cohesive 'wholeness', without which society becomes dysfunctional. The 'ego' rises out of proportion to the true value of 'self' within society.
           I find myself back at the point where I started writing on Wednesday but was unsure of any authority for my view: that IS and like-styled predecessors (authoritarian presumptives without rationality) are no more than expressions of those on the outer fringes of psychopathic disorders. In short, they exist not for any rationality of argument that they present but that society itself has somehow cast upon them a sense of disillusionment and worthlessness.
          Is what is happening in the Middle East what to a smaller (so far) degree is happening here (in the UK) and has been for some time? Unrestricted immigration, worsened by appalling ignorance, or stupidity, on the part of the immigrant, delivers into an alien society people of different cultures and languages who presume the society into which they arrive should adapt to them, rather than that they should understand that culture before arriving and ensure they are individually fluent in the language, ways and customs of that country?
           Acceptance of diversity is one thing but when diversity overflows the cauldron towers of babel boil over, causing mayhem and confusion.

WEDNESDAY 1st OCTOBER 2014 [early morning post]
CRY FREEDOM! [early morning post]
Exceedingly disturbing, this extraordinary proclivity to prevent people expressing themselves. In London, the arrogance of a few, determined that a possible many, may not see an art exhibition called "Exhibit B", due to fears of social indiscipline; the consideration of the Tories to clamp down, for reasonably feared security reasons, in a manner that could amount to a dangerous contempt for free speech in a supposedly free society; both indicate arguable reasonableness in a mature, educated society.
However, the arrival of a concept currently named "IS", after trying out various other names, in Iraq and Syria, determining all will believe what their diverse appendages determine should be believed, in direct defiance of what historically accepted authoritative opinion declares should be believed in a particular religion (Islam) on pain of beheading, highlights the dangers of driving weird opinions underground. We are better off knowing what is going on than having people prevented from expressing themselves and most people, if not all of us, not having a clue as to what is actually going on. The Tories are giving the impression of panicking with wholly confused determination to add mayhem to an unsettled situation. Not helpful.