Friday, 11 November 2011

Armastice Day

Heres a thought, to mark this armistice day how about we as a nation forgive enemies who havent been enemies for nearly seventy years, learn the lessons written in the blood of our grandfathers and those of Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Russia and let go of all these old cultural grudges?

For as long as I can remember there have been a great number of people in England who still consider Germany not only "the enemy" but regard them with a smug superiority as we "Won" two wars against them. Nearly a million British dead in each world war. The other world powers on either side were equally devastated. I can see why people hold on to these old grudges most if not all families in Britain suffered deaths as a direct result of these wars, That builds a kind of hatred that is hard to shift. But this is the hatred of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers....even our great-great-grandfathers. As a nation we have held this hatred so long is it now a core part of our culture.

I dont know about you, dear reader. But I find that incredibly upsetting.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


As we have heard over the last week George Papandreou has been told to stand aside as leader of Greece. He offered his people a voice, a vote in weather or not to stay in the European Union. If they had voted no and Greece had pulled out of the EU there would have been a means for them to postpone their debt repayments indefinitely, The debt would still be there but they could put if off. This worried France and Germany....more specifically Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarcozy, who are to receive the majority of the repayments, It was they who lent an incredible amount of money to a country who was living beyond its means and had no realistic way of repaying a debt of that size. So these two massive european powers have applied the pressure and the reforendum has been called off. In all probability the people of Greece would have voted to remain in the EU as no country would ever lend them money again and that would result in a far worse state of affairs. Polls have consistently shown that the Greek people are pro-EU.

My problem is this - Papandreou was giving his people a pure democratic path. It turns out democracy is to be discouraged in the EU(Gods know we cant have that sort of thing spreading!). He had shown more political integrity and courage than any of our prime ministers since Churchills last war-term and he has been pushed aside. Even in this he is working in the best interests of his people, at this point he could just walk away but he is staying in office, effectively without power until a new government has been decided so he can safely hand over the rains with a minimum of choas.

Give the people power and you have governments running scared, Its fortunate for our parlaiment that we have an effective system for denying the people any chance of unity. We have three parties and most people agree they all have significent imperfections, however as long as no party appears that finds a unifying political interest for the British people we will all be divided in voting for what we individually perceive as the "lesser of three evils", I know there are other parties however many of the less laughable ones will only ever attain a couple of seats and thus never be loud enough to effect big change in the House of Commons.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Guy Fawkes

I know the internet is currently swimming with posts about the historical(and potentially largely fictional) heroic image of a freedom fighter who, four hundred years ago tried to strike a blow for freedom by blowing up an evil king. Its a nice story, I appreciate the importance of tales of heroes, they inspire us and add value to our national identity.

What I dont understand is this: When did Guy Fawkes become a national hero?. He was a frontman for an organisation who wanted to replace the protestant king James with his daughter, the Catholic princess Elizabeth. To me that smacks of religious poltics not freedom fighting. King James may have been a tyrant, history is a bit fuzzy  when it comes to labeling our former monarchs. However he comissioned an official translation of the bible into english so it was more accessable for the general public. I am not a religious man(as such) but that doesnt sound like the work of a monotheistic tyrant. I am given to understand Guy Fawkes was brutally tortured for some weeks before breaking and given the names of his co-conspirators, I am willing to give testiment to a strong man, he was a soldier, and clearly very strong in his beliefs. King James however enjoyed a long(as far as rulers at the time went) reign in which england prospered. He started the tradition of bonfires and effigies of Guy Fawkes to celebrate the failed attempt on his life. At some point these celebrations have become linked with a pseudo-fawksian freedom idea and I have not a clue why. Also we set off fireworks to imitate the explosion that didnt happen.

Throughout British(and probably world) history the victors are painted as the heroes and the losers are painted as evil, So how has the reverse happened with the Fawksian legend?

The Beginning

I have started this blog in an attempt to isolate my political and religious posts and keep them off of my personal site. Frankly I think my reoccurant rants were getting on the nerves of my regular readers, However it turns out there are those who feel my opinions on these subjects are worth a quick read if not just for the entertainment value.

I am a nurse, I have no formal education in philosophy, politics or theology. I have a functional working knowledge of each however I am prone to expressing an opinion that demonstrates my occasional lack of understanding. I have found that posting about these subjects is an education in itself, I try to research every post and when I get it wrong I learn from the comments of my readers.

Lets see where this blog takes us....