Armistice Day today. Remembrance Sunday this weekend.
"In May, David Beckham, the
former England football captain visited Helmand Province in Afghanistan where around 9,500 British troops are based. He joined the troops for breakfast, took part in a question and answer session and then visited the camp’s hospital. His visit raised morale and meant a lot to everyone out there. One of the soldiers he met was Private Ryan Hewitt, 18. A few weeks later, Ryan Hewitt lost both his legs, a finger and suffered other horrific injuries when he stepped on a bomb whilst on patrol. His legs had to be amputated on the battlefield and he was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The latest news is that Ryan has impressed doctors with his rapid progress. David Beckham sent a get-well message to Ryan who described it as ‘an incredible boost’."
Picture isn't mine but I like it and it feels appropriate to honour the Iraqi christians being ethnically cleansed - please have a read of this. Ed West is a brilliant political writer. I don't feel I can agree about chalking this up to Tony Blair. People have to be responsible at some point and I feel that Iraq itself needs to take this lead. This is a fine piece. This too is one of the best posts I've read in a while
What kind of a society asks this question? What business is it of the State? And who assigned my gender??
I sometimes feel like we are beyond hope. The West in general.
A certain faction in western society fails to recognise its part in lecturing us all. I eavesdrop unwillingly on liberal conversations that beggar belief at times. Jon Stewart poster boy champion, high priest, of "sensible politics" against an American right wing which "explodes with hyperbole over any liberal move" - the thread of conversation today in the office. Give me a break? This would be the same Jon Stewart who gave a stage to a hate mongering fundamentalist who backed a fatwa against one Salman Rushdie because he wrote a book about Islam. That whole unsavoury debacle in the history of relations with Islamic fundamentalism was a precursor to 9/11 and shapes our pathetic response today. Mr Stewart shrugs when politely challenged by Mr Rushdie. Yet that same Mr Stewart would never contemplate giving the stage over to a Christian fundamentalist who called for the murder of abortionists or say who has appallingly ugly views on gay people which he felt the need to share with us all.
In the West we live in a fractured, broken, weird ugly hypocritical finger waggingly lecturing societies and there are days when I wonder what it is we are trying to achieve. It feels oppressive. Conservative values and Christianity is sneered at, basic family values are old fashioned and unnecessary and if you happen to think otherwise, even mildly so like myself, you find yourself a persona non grata quick enough.. or labeled extreme or a phobe. A word I have come to welcome in that it means I won't indulge the status quo of identity politics. These days social engineering is forced through in legislation in the way that clerical factions could only dream about. I often read atheist and secularist views - they go bat shit crazy at christians and chalk them up along side Islamic fundies deploring the Christian way of life as in some way connected. Really? And so what in the hell have they all got to be so smug about? What's so splendid and balanced and wonderful about secular society?
Society needs and craves a level of decency and community to function brilliantly. It has been at the heart of the western success story. A good number of people enjoy christian faith, they find community in it, they enjoy the shared values that stems from family - which is at the heart of the whole message. They do not broadcast their religious values but they take strength from them (Unless of course they are pushed into a corner). This good natured sense of unity ripples outwards into society. That we have stripped this out of main stream society – and by that I refer to our culture, education and media – means we have lost that sense of community rooted in a shared identity and value based understanding which stretched not just around this country but throughout the West. None of that means you have to have faith to value the result of it. I grew up with an atheists mother and a devout father. It doesn't mean you should have religious beliefs foisted onto you. Equally I grew up with people of different faiths who respected mine and at least valued the conservativism found at the heart of it all. These days as christianity is pilloried out of society, they are to be found adopting burqas and niqabs. A rejection of failing secular society. And frankly when questions like the ones above become the norm in the simple business of applying to be a "London Ambassador" to the Olympics, a volunteer position, I question which intrudes ever more creepily into our lives and carves society up into sections it can judge from some quango pulpit?
Identity politics is about the exercise of overt and legitimate hate. The holier than thou can preach at the plebs and call them ugly names. To generalise about their views. They get to ask them unnecessary questions about their private lives. And treat everyone differently. Then, after decades of agitating and demonstrating and forcing radical agendas where they carpet bombed politics with words like fascist and racist, they stand up there and have the nerve to pretend to be the arbiters of good balanced non extreme political discourse.
We found a place, put in an offer, forgot that the government takes a whopping % in taxes so retracted the offer, offered a lower offer, months of waiting for the bank to get into second or third gear and process our paperwork, a nervous vendor who almost pulled out it took the bank so long, a solicitor (lawyer) who had his head up his arse at times andso got on my ****, a heated exchange with the bank in which I risked all by calling them "lazy bastards" followed by a vendor who moved the goalposts from exchange and completion mid October to exchange and complete end November. Plus of course the $$$$$ that drained out of the bank account. Then to top off the council in East London which runs the borough we are moving into - as you may have heard - recently elected an Islamist as Mayor. Yay! Oh well. Do I seem the kind to sport a burqa? Nah.
In between I've been up and down to the hospital like a fiddlers elbow after discovering a complication from earlier in the year which thankfully has been managed very well (thank you private healthcare!). I also flicked open my blog one day recently to read some ugly troll comments which given their personal nature made me close up shop for a long old while to give me time to think about the intertubes (as Buck calls them). Thank you so much for the emails. I appreciated them a lot.
And here we now are. A man has been round to price up the move. I've been buying new prints, artwork and happily perusing furniture websites. All our current furniture bar a few favourite family items is charity bound - a charity souced through the Council collect it all up the week of our move. How efficient!
It's already November, people. November! This year has flown by. Hope everyone is keeping well? I'm back good and proper to bore you all senseless with my witterings. If anyone is still passing by.