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Showing posts from November 29, 2015

Respect For (All) Life

Dear Reader,

In 1965, fifty years ago this year, two of the world's most renowned individuals of that era died, both of them at the age of 90. One was Sir Winston Churchill: the other was Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

There are those reading this who will wonder why I bracket Schweitzer with Churchill as a great name, and I suspect the cause for that is down to the media attention that Churchill received over many years, particularly in both World War One and World War Two, which seem to place him high in the western mindset. In the latter period in particular he was constantly in the limelight, and then he was returned as prime minister of the UK between 1951 and 1955. He was greatly feted in both the UK and the USA.

The two men were, in some ways, an antithesis of one another. Churchill had the reputation (somewhat unfairly, I believe) of being a 'warmonger', while Schweitzer (for all of his life) tried to find life-affirming positives in creation and to bring them to the forefron…

Labouring Towards a Split?

Dear Reader,

Yesterday's debate on Cameron's proposal for air strikes on Daesh made for compelling viewing - in parts. I didn't watch the whole thing - just the first hour and the last hour (of 10 hours) but what I did see and hear largely impressed me as committed parliamentary debate. A lot of people were definitely speaking from the heart - but therein perhaps lay the problem: too much emotion and lack of reason.

A good deal of the Labour support for the motion was in support for the French. "If the atrocities had been committed in London [and not Paris] wouldn't we be upset if France didn't support our retaliation?" - was a main theme. Also, "strikes have done their part in Iraq, so why not Syria?" - another theme. The fact that Syria is such a complex and rich cocktail was largely ignored by the emotionalists.

Perhaps the most telling speech was the penultimate one - by Hilary Benn (Labour shadow foreign sec). His speech has been lauded as one…