Showing posts from 2017

A Toast To Bharat!

Dear Reader,

Another year is on us! For me time seems to gather pace at an extraordinary rate, but maybe that's to do with the fact that we always seem to be active in something or other. And many a time I seem to find a 'Eureka moment' which attracts my deep attention and soaks up time.

One such 'moment' occurred just a few weeks ago when I discovered the extent of the work of children's author W. J. Corbett, who, unknowingly to me for many years, was born in and lived in the area of my upbringing. And this past year or two I've been drafting a history of that area of Birmingham. A few weeks ago I had come to the end of the main body of the book and was looking into finding something appropriate to begin the book, and, lo and behold, Corbett provided the very answer for which I was looking. For those who are unfamiliar with Corbett, his first book ("The Song Of Pentecost") won the Whitbred Award for children's books in 1982, and his work was co…

It Could Be That 2018 Will Be The Crunch Year

Dear Reader,

Hello again. The past 3 months or more have been taken up with so many important things that something had to give way. So this blog had to give way. In future, I will try to post at least once a month rather than weekly.

I have been doing a kind of bird's-eye review of what's been happening these past 3+ months, and what I see is more of the same, if not worse! Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the other day he felt that the Brexit matter would come to a climax by the middle of next year (2018), and he thought that it would not be the result that the leavers hoped for. 

But I see not just that but many other issues coming to a climax as well - notably the viability of the western system of economy. The Church of England's chief primate (Justin Welby) has said that the western economic model is "broken". And I well believe him, especially as the very rich get very much richer while the poorest are more squeezed than ever before. What has happened …

A Matter Of Very Deep ConCERN?

Dear Reader,

On July 19 (just gone) I began to think more deeply about the weather we have been experiencing in this area of the UK, and how the weather forecasters just do not seem to be too accurate about their forecasting. They say they have built bigger and better computers to process the data more accurately - but do they?

In particular, the bursts of wind under perpetually gray skies seemed to be odd; plus the fact that summers of old just did not seem to be of the order we've been experiencing this past year or two. And what about the freak weather conditions in Cornwall just a few day ago? 

Oh, yes - it's "climate change" isn't it? Well, yes, I'd go along with that, but I'm beginning to suspect a lot more. Perhaps I'm just a suspicious type, but I looked into the strange weather phenomena and saw this photo of the sky over Zurich when the CERN Large Hydron Collider was being powered up:

Other news in July 2016 proclaimed that the "Large Hadro…

We're Not Just Composed Of Flesh And Chemicals, Surely?

Dear Reader,

An artlcle in the Guardian this weekend was headed: "I took my first antidepressant this week. The effects were frightening." [Link]

This article elicited a great response. Within half-a-day this article received over 1,100 comments and over 2,800 Facebook shares before comments were closed.

I managed to make a comment:
Yes, I read below someone saying that Deborah is "very brave" talking so openly about her condition.But all the replies I've read (sorry I've only read the last 20 or 30 or so) seem to be supporting this drug therapy culture in some way or other. Though I'd agree there are times in your life when pretty well everyone (I imagine) goes through some kind of stress of a threatening kind, and some kind of 'action' is needed to circumnavigate the issue, why does the action have to be one that supports the idea that we are *simply* made up of chemicals and that a chemical has to be the appropriate treatment?In 73 years I've…

Towards Unity And Transparency?

Dear Reader,

The state of affairs in the UK at this time really points to the country being on a knife-edge. There is the potential of total disintegration, while at the same time Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the young at the Glastonbury Festival in order to give them hope - that it is possible to have a society that is joined up and for the benefit of the many, not the few. And that was partly the message of another 'JC': Jesus Christ.

Today we rather downplay religion, yet I yesterday saw a news clip where a far-right demonstrator demanded that we maintain our "Christian values". It does occur to me that we don't take religion seriously because we do not trust those "Christian values", and why don't we trust them? Simply - I suggest - because only fragments of Christianity get taught, and there are now so many sects of the broad church that are in existence, with each of them emphasising different elements of Christianity. Worse, religion usually becomes…

May-be The P.M. Will Now Heed The Wakening Call

Dear Reader,

In a way, I do feel sympathy towards Mrs. May. One week she's told in the clearest way by the electorate (other than the pensioners) that she and her Party are not wanted, and the next week she has the consequences of the most horrible of disasters to face: Grenfell Tower.

But the sympathy ebbs away when I think of how the Tory Party has treated the poor over this past seven years, the bedroom tax (when few other homes were available) being one of the most outstandingly divisive policies to mention. And now it is clear that someone was trying to cut corners in the recent refurbishment of Grenfell. A mere £6,250 extra would have made the property much safer (still probably not good enough though), but someone did not think it worth spending that figure. And the cost of sprinklers fitted throughout the block? Up to a £400,000 spend I believe, but again not thought to be worth doing by someone, somewhere.

The pressure is now on to ensure that other tower blocks in the count…

What A Youthquake!

Dear Reader,

It is clear (surely the Canterbury result demonstrated that) the young - for the first time in over 70 years - were fully engaged in Thursday's election. But why?

Well, here's what "The Conversation" has said:
Young people are at the heart of it all. If you’re young and living in Britain today, you’re less likely to hold a steady job than a series of insecure gigs, leaving you with a jumbled CV of zero-hours contracts and unreliable work. No savings, high rent, and huge tuition fees if you’re fortunate enough to make it into higher education. No-one should be surprised that young people offered this dismal social contract instead opted for the promise of investment in the welfare state, secure contracts, and an end to tuition fees.Now, I was brought up in the decades after the War when politics was an important issue in the lives of many people. There were political activists in my own family on my paternal side, while on my maternal side there was the reli…

Two-Thirds of England Seem Not To Want Theresa

Dear Reader,

Well, the day is almost on top of us!

My feeling is that Theresa May will win her majority, but 66% of more than 250,000 people are indicating on Vote-for-Policies that they prefer Labour/Liberal/Green options and left-of-centre views in England. There is an indicator that the first-past-the-post voting system will work against democracy. 

Perhaps. Or maybe it is just those that have a huge political zeal that make their opinions known.

We shall find out on Friday!

But with the threat of the right-wing tightening their control around the world (and policies like fracking becoming a likelihood), I hope people keep to their apparent instincts and vote for fairness and also sustainability in the environment.

Thank you for reading this.

What Kind Of UK Do We Really Want?

Dear Reader,

While I know there are some very decent persons in the Tory ranks, there is an underlying misapprehension by the Tory movement: ignorance of the fact that a true civilisation is measured by how well we look after our weakest and most vulnerable members. Gandhi pointed that out, and it's a feature of most spiritual philosophy.

The Tory approach is essentially to do with balancing the books according to business methodology, and in a way that overrides the values of a true civilisation stated in the opening para, above. Yes, of course, Economics and Accounting methods matter, but do the Tories in any way try to fulfil the meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan? 

My feeling is that the members of the Tory Party - with perhaps a handful of exceptions - do not have first-hand experience of what it is to live at the bottom of the economic scale, and - further - do not understand how it is to be treated without respect. In Friday night's QandA on the BBC, Theresa May …

Education, Education, Education...

I am sorry I have not written anything these last three months. Various matters have been involving my time, but today, in the wake of the Manchester disaster, the matter of education came to mind. 
Below is a message on the subject of education, given by a leading spiritual lady in India, and which I have just received. Yes, it is addressed to the Indian community, but in my view, the nature of the topic is relevant to us all in the world. It is about the two-part aspect of education: as a basis for (1) values and (2) of information. These days we seem to concentrate on the latter part, somehow believing that economic growth is the only part that matters. I somehow think that if we had learnt more about values we would not be putting Planet Earth through its pain.
I believe that the point in this essay is hugely important for the whole world.
N.B. This essay refers to a few Sanskrit terms which should be understandable in the context of what is being written.
Divine Mother Srimad Sai Raja…

A New Renaissance Must Come

Dear Reader,

I am lucky enough to be close to and have access to our magnificent Library of Birmingham - the largest public library in Europe - and undertake research for whatever takes my fancy on a local note ... Aston Villa FC or Birmingham local history.

For some weeks now I have been trawling through the daily evening newspapers of this place for the 1930s period, and what strikes me in particular is that the local daily of that time has so much in it to read that is interesting. Today's local popular papers usually contain bite-size chunks for the reader to consume, and no major articles for the intellect to engage in other than advice about dieting and money-making. They say there are other newspapers that are produced for that purpose, and I suppose it's just an indication of how times have changed. But today we say we are more educated. I wonder if that is really true?

In the 1930s, local papers even talked in depth about real politics and also philosophy and philosopher…

Truth Is Beyond Logic!

Dear Reader,

A debate ensued on another blog the other day, which started with the statement:
There is no truth other than your own life as I see it, living to a moral code that defines 'what you reap, you sow' seems to me the only way to live your life.I supported the writer on that (the view is supported also in science, as one of Newton's laws) but I also said that the method does mean you have to put some effort in, otherwise you still become the sheep!

Subsequently, the debate developed into something of a slinging match against Islam, highlighting websites that show the superiority of Christianity over Islam, quoting from various verses of the books of the two religions (the Bible and the Qur'an).

But Christians tend to overlook the shortcomings and evils in their own (man-made) religion that have blatantly surfaced over the last 1,500 years, and such articles stem from a fundamentalist standpoint. But one participant on the blog made the point: "Fundamentalism …