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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘intelligent

Broken Society. Broken Britain. Brokenshire.

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A Gift To The Opposition

Given his increasingly authoritarian, “big government” stance, his misrepresentation of science and the deeply flawed, dishonest Home Office Drugs Strategy consultation,  James Brokenshire is proving himself to be a very dangerous young man.

If any coalition minister is pursuing policies that will lead to a broken society and a broken Britain, it is Brokenshire.   He is so far out of step with the progressive, liberal and intelligent direction of the government that one wonders has he been put out for sacrifice?   His attitude and ideas are those of a previous generation which had not yet made all the mistakes or suffered all the consequences that we already have.  He needs to study some history.

From Propostion 19 to the changing views of Latin America’s leaders, Brokenshire is way, way behind.  He is also in direct contradiction to the progressive policies which both Cameron and Clegg have supported in the past.

It is vital for the future of millions of British citizens, their health, liberty, freedom from crime and oppression that Brokenshire is stopped.  As a Tory I am also dismayed at the huge damage he is doing to the party.  He is making the coalition government look short sighted, regressive and stupid.   He has got to go.

See here for the story on Nominative Determinism.  What does a man’s name mean?

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The Times. Will Charging For Online News Work?

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Unpleasant

I don’t know whether it will work or not but I think I have to support the effort, much as it sticks in my throat to do anything in support of  Rupert Murdoch or his unpleasant offspring and cronies.

As a writer, I have to believe in the idea that online content can be “monetised” or what is my own future?

In passing, can I at least blame that revolting new word on Murdoch?  It would be some small consolation for paying him £2.00 per week for my online access.

I think The Times is still the finest newspaper in the land and I cannot let its ownership stand in the way of my appreciation of its content.  Even though I am now a subscriber, I shall still buy the Saturday edition in print.  I have avoided The Sunday Times for years since it size began to offend me and its content became almost indistinguishable from the Daily Mail.

Still Thundering

There is one aspect of The Times though, that is gone for ever.  Even my paid subscription cannot bring it back.  I used regularly to link to The Times’ stories from this blog but now that is useless unless all my readers are subscribers too.  So my only solution is cut and paste.  In celebration of this heinous, copyright infringing intent, I reproduce below the  stand out article from this Saturday’s edition, an intelligent and incisive article about Israel and Palestine from Margaret Atwood.   Please enjoy it with the compliments of this subscriber.

In one respect though, I still stand absolute against the Murdoch empire.  Though Sky is undoubtedly the finest digital TV system available, particularly with its PVR and HD capabilities, I will not support its outrageous charges or dreadful customer service.   Freesat, Freeview and BitTorrent for the programmes I miss is a much happier solution.

******

From The Times, 14th August 2010 by Margaret Atwood

Seven futures are possible. Which will it be?

Wiped out by nuclear bombs? Constant war? But the crystal ball also shows the path to peace for Israel and Palestine

Picture a minor prophet. Perhaps he’d be working as an astrologer. He’s looking towards Israel and Palestine, consulting his charts and stars, getting a handle on the future. But the future is never single — there are too many variables — so what he sees is a number of futures.

In the first one, there’s no Israel: it’s been destroyed in war and all the Israelis have been killed. (Unlikely, but not impossible.) In the second, there’s no Palestine: it’s been merged with Israel, and the Palestinians either slaughtered or driven beyond its borders. Israel has become completely isolated; international opinion has been outraged, boycotts have been successful, financial aid from the US — both public and private — has evaporated, and the US Government has cooled towards Israel, and swung towards entente with the Muslim world. Israel has become like North Korea — an embattled military state — and civilian rights have suffered. Moderate Israelis have emigrated and live as exiles in a state of bitterness over wasted opportunities and blighted dreams.

In the third future there’s one state, but a civil war has resulted, since the enlarged population couldn’t agree on a common flag, common laws or a common set of commemoration days — “victory” for some being “catastrophe” for others.

In the fourth, the one-state solution has had better results: it’s a true one-person, one-vote democracy with equal rights for all. (Again, unlikely in the immediate future, but not impossible in the long run.) In the fifth future, neither Israel nor Palestine exists: nuclear bombs have cleared the land of human beings. In the sixth, climate change has turned the area into a waterless desert.

But there’s another future: the seventh future. In this there are two states, “Israel” and “Palestine”. Both are flourishing, and both are members of a regional council that deals with matters affecting the whole area. Trade flows harmoniously between the two, joint development enterprises have been established, know-how is shared, and, as in Northern Ireland, peace is paying dividends.

That, surely, is a desirable outcome, thinks the stargazer, but how was it achieved? Since he has the gift of virtual time-travel, he leaps into the seventh future and looks back at the steps taken to get there.

The impetus came from within Israel. Its leaders saw that the wind had shifted; it was now blowing against the policy of crushing force and the appropriation of occupied lands. What had caused this change? Was it the international reaction to the destructive Operation Cast Lead invasion of Gaza? The killing of flotilla activists? The gathering boycott activities in the US and Europe? The lobbying of organisations such as J Street? The 2010 World Zionist Congress vote to support a settlement freeze and endorse a two-state solution?

For whatever reasons, Israel had lost control of its own story. It was no longer Jack confronting a big bad giant; the narrative of the small country struggling bravely against overwhelming odds had moved to the Palestinians. The mantra “plant a tree in Israel” was no longer respectable because it evoked images of bulldozers knocking down Palestinian olive groves. Israel could not continue along its current path without altering its own self-image beyond recognition. The leadership decided to act before a peaceful resolution slipped forever beyond reach. Leaders are supposed to guide their people towards a better future, they thought, not over the edge of a cliff.

First, the Golan Heights was returned to Syria under a pact that created a demilitarised zone with international supervision. The few Israeli inhabitants were allowed to remain if they wished, though they then paid taxes to Syria.

Then, with the help of a now-friendly Syria, Hamas was invited to the peace negotiations. The enlightened leaders realised that they couldn’t set as a precondition something that remained to be negotiated, so they didn’t demand the pre-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Hamas, to the surprise of many, accepted the invitation, as it had nothing to lose by doing so. Peace was made between Fatah and Hamas, and the Palestinians were thus able to present a single negotiating team.

The negotiations were complex, but people worked hard not to lose their tempers. Remembering South Africa, they knew that yelling and denouncing would not accomplish anything. The agreement took less time than expected, as happens when people are serious. Then the occupation — disastrous for those in both countries, physically and morally — was over, and Palestinian independence was declared. A mutual defence pact was signed, along with a trade and development pact. As Israel had realised that it could not rest its foundation on international law while violating that law, the borders reverted to those of 1967, with a few land swaps along the edges. Jerusalem was declared an international city, with both an Israeli parliament building and a Palestinian one, and access to the various holy sites for believers.

Gaza was joined to the West Bank by corridors, as in the East/West Germany of old; ports were opened and fishing boats could sail once more. Development money poured in, creating full employment. Fair-access- to-water agreements were signed, pollution cleaned up, and more fresh water created through a new cheap solar-driven desalination process.

What about the difficult matter of the settlements? Settlers could stay in Palestine if they wished, under lease agreements. The leases and taxes paid by the settlers were a source of income to the Palestinian state, and as their products were no longer boycotted, the settlements did better. On the whole, peace reigned. There was even a shared Memorial Day, in which all those fallen in past wars were honoured.

The seventh future is within reach — the stars favour it — but the stargazer knows that many prefer the status quo; there can be advantage as well as profit in conflict. However, change often comes abruptly, as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the storming of the Bastille, or the end of apartheid. The amount of blood shed in such transitions — from none to a great deal — depends on the wisdom of the leadership.

How to promote such wisdom? It’s a prophet’s traditional duty to lay out the alternatives: the good futures and also the bad ones. Prophets — unlike yes men — tell the powerful not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. “How can I put this?” thinks the stargazer. “Something beginning with the handwriting on the wall . . ?”

© O.W. Toad Ltd. 2010

Idiotic Israelis, Insane Islamists

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It astonishes me the bigotry, intolerance and crass stupidity demonstrated by so many who write for one side or the other on the terrible conflict in the Middle East.

Many of them are erudite and eloquent, passionate and caring – but only of their own cause.

I thought (maybe I’m wrong) that part of the idea of blogging was to comment on each other’s writing and participate in debate.

No chance!

So many of these obviously intelligent people censor comments that they disagree with and deem anyone who disagrees with them as a fascist, racist or xenophobe.   The vitriol I’ve attracted from some is almost unbelievable. They can’t understand that in one article I can condemn the evil behaviour of the Israelis and in the next I condemn the great evil that Islam has become. I can call some Israeli behaviour fascist.  I can call some Islamists perverters and defilers of Islam.

Some of these bloggers write (rant) at the most incredible length. They probably don’t have the benefit of my experience from which the most important thing I’ve learned is that even those people who agree with you will get bored if you go on and on and on and on and on…

It’s just a tip which you can ignore if you want but if you can’t get your point across in a couple of hundred words then maybe you should think again!

One individual (who I won’t embarrass by linking to), told me today that offering a link to my post on the subject was “an advert”, referred me to his “comments policy”, suggesting that I am a “xenophobic bigot”.

I explained to him that my comments policy is “please do”!

Israel Must Stop

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Be The Great Nation That You Can!

I have had an overwhelming response to many things that I have written about Israel.  It has reached a crescendo with the views I have expressed about the attack on the Gaza flotilla.  It polarises opinion.  You either agree with me or you want me put to death by the slowest and most painful means.

I’m just an ordinary Brit of proud Welsh descent from a family that was at the bottom of the heap (the slag heaps of South Wales) but has dragged itself upwards, entirely through its own efforts.  I’m not an anti-semite. I’m not a natural ally or an enemy of Arab, Jew, Muslim or anyone.  What I care about is truth, justice, freedom, beauty, love and my dogs!

I cannot stand by though and see the way that Israel behaves without shouting my protest and disgust.

Israel and its supporters must understand that many intelligent, considered men of principle throughout the world believe that the way you are now behaving is just as bad as the Nazis did against you!!

I condemn the great evil that Islam has become in the world but you give them so many excuses!   Gaza is now the biggest concentration camp ever and Israel oppresses, bullies, brutalises, starves and denies the rights of the Palestinian people.  It is shameful!

My country fought to create the state of Israel so that the Jews could have a homeland after the holocaust, the greatest tragedy in human history.  Israel has betrayed those who fought for it.  You are now as bad as those that offended against you.

I know that there are millions of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, people just like me, who abhor violence and prejudice and oppression.  We must stand up against the zealots and the fanatics.  Justice must prevail!

There is much that is wrong on both sides but first, most urgently, Israel must draw back from Gaza, from the settlements, from oppression.  These are grave wrongs that must stop now!  You must not be surprised that retaliation is made against you but these are fireworks against your tanks and F16s.  You must stop first.

I am just an ordinary man with no particular interest but I know what justice is.

Israel must stop.

Overpaid, Overperked And Overcome With Vanity

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You Used To Be Sexy!

The BA cabin crew staff need to wake up to reality and get back to work.

The conduct of Unite, of Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson is just completely unbelievable.  I cannot believe that two evidently intelligent men can seriously espouse the policies they are presenting.

Mad Or Bad?

I think the truth must be that this is an old fashioned, ultra left wing plot to “overthrow the capitalist system”, to in some way promote the left’s agenda as Gordon Brown leads Labour to inevitable, humiliating defeat.

I can understand the BA cabin crew staff being taken in by Unite’s idiotic stance because self-interest can blind us all to common sense.

The very idea that such ludicrous policies could prosper is ridiculous.  The truth is in the BA share price.  The cabin crew staff are overpaid, overperked and overcome with vanity if they see any future in their strike.

Get back to work now.

Khamenei Defiles Islam

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An Evil Old Man

Evil Hypocrite

When you see an old man like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talking such absolute drivel it is tempting to think that he is either senile or mad.  Clearly though, the truth is he is simply bad.  His conduct will do more to set back the cause of Islam than almost anything else.  This is why the name of Islam is shamed throughout the world.  If followers of the Prophet can not find some honest, intelligent and sincere spokesmen then their religion and the culture that surrounds it will be forever condemned as a medieval anachronism.

His speech today is a catastrophic mistake and misjudgment but it will lead to a better future.  I believe it will enrage the educated and intelligent people of Iran.  He obviously believes that the people are stupid and that they can be bullied or terrorised into accepting that the elections were fair and that there is no corruption.  It would be easier to claim that he is deluded but no, I think this man is simply evil and it would be in the best interest of all mankind, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, non-believer if he were gone.

Who will rid us of this turbulent priest?