In the tortured lands of Syria and Iraq an American journalist has been beheaded apparently by a man who spoke with an accent which indicated that he originally came from London or the South East of England. Because it is a journalist who has been murdered other journalists place undue emphasis on the crime.TV and radio news programmes are filled with speculation on the crime. Experts have told us that returning Britons from the Islamic State pose a serious threat to us in the United Kingdom. Our Prime Minister has had to speak to Mr Obama about the crime and Mr Cameron has cut short his Cornwall holiday.

I do not wish to suggest that the beheading of a news reporter is not a serious crime. It is and the perpetrators should be brought to justice for the crime they have committed.  I do doubt that the news media, especially the BBC should waste so much time on this crime, for several reasons. The crime, although serious as a murder, is not in itself particularly heinous when considered with other crimes committed by those claiming to be part of the Islamic State. If the victim was not a journalist and the perpetrator was nor apparently a Briton there would have been no coverage of it, just as there have been almost no coverage other than cursory reporting, of other beheadings. The purpose of the crime was not to kill a man but to strike fear into the hearts of those who do not support the aims of the Islamic State; reporting the crime, almost endlessly, makes many people feel insecure because there are more than two hundred men who have fought for the Islamic State and who have now returned to the United Kingdom. The coverage of one beheading plays into the hands of the Islamic State by making people feel afraid, instead of brave, frightened instead of courageous.

The world is a wicked place. there have been many serious murders committed recently but some of these are not reported as murders or crimes. Today three leaders of HAMAS were murdered by the State of Israel but the event is not reported as a crime or as a murder. Many Palestinian children have been murdered by the State of Israel but these murders are depicted by the media as war events, not the war crimes they are.  Many people have been murdered by explosive drones operated by the USA on the instructions of Mr Obama but these events are not considered as murders, but as acts that are justified rather than as crimes.  Hundreds of school children are captured in Northern Nigeria and kidnapped in a modern version of pedomasima; the world lights a brief candle which is soon extinguished.

The Islamic State is killing journalists as part of its war, because it seeks to strike fear into the hearts of its opponents. Its opponents, by  reporting the killing of journalists so extensively are helping the Islamic State in its aims. In a war the beheading of a journalist only has significance if it is so widely reported.  There are more serious crimes that we should be told about and although every single crime committed in the course of a war should be punished we should bear in mind that the slaughter of a few is simply a tactic to enable the slaughter of many, and by concentrating on the slaughter of a few we lose sight of the slaughter of the many.


Wisdom is simplicity and  that is terribly hard to understand. It is like knowing death, which is when life leave s you and death becomes your companion. Simplicity itself, but so hard to understand.

Social Media: BO Solitude! where are the charms 5O Solitude! where are the charms 5eing Alone

The point of social media is that it is not social. Sending tweets, writing blogs and filling facebooks is a solitary occupation; you do it alone waiting for the applause and plaudits for your life and thoughts. Even when you are in the company of others “doing” social media is something you do alone, no matter how many surround you when you do it.

Recording a thought or a picture for posterity is a lonesome occupation; we do it just in case there is value in what we record. We are not born alone and we do not die alone, contrary to the old saying. But after we die are are alone, and may share what we were once with some we never knew by our recording of trivial thoughts and events.

It is pleasant to be alone with thoughts, but not for all and those that cry

“O solitude, where are the charms

That Sages have seen in your face?”

simply do not see they value in themselves and disdain their own company.

Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted

In olden days – forty years ago – people who owned land and wanted to keep the publi c out put up signs which bore the inscription “trespassers will be prosecuted”. It was a bluff; trespass was not a criminal offence, but a tort, and you could no more prosecute someone who trespassed on your land than you could prosecute a bird for flying over it or landing on it.

Eventually people came to understand that the signs were mere bluffs, so took liberties, as people do, with the land of others; they trespassed, and started parking their cars on the land of others.

From this led to the use of wheel clamps, often fitted by unsavoury types who demanded money for the release of the clamps with menaces. There is now a whole and complex body of law covering trespass on land. From wheel clamping to hiking, from holding an open air concert or dance to travelling folk setting up homes on land in breach of planning laws,  and a host of other regulations, laws, rights, duties and legislation, all of which has replaced the simple signs that displayed “trespassers will be prosecuted”.

At the same time people complain about the complexity of law; I too complain about the complexity of law, but so much law and is complexity is established because of the complexity of human behaviour. One person takes advantage of another person and we then need regulations to try to strike a fair balance between competing rights.

Ultimately the problem is that many want to assert rights without being willing to shoulder the obligations which all rights bring.

A Good Idea

Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western Civilisation, replied that he thought it would be a good idea. Continue reading

Scottish Quais Independence

The Scots are debating whether they should be independent or not. Good luck to them whatever they decide, but it strikes me that if they truly want to be independent then they should be; they should not be tethered to the pound sterling, but run their own currency, in exactly the same way that they wish to exploit their own assets and make their own laws.  Continue reading

Russian Sanctions: Don’t Start What You Cannot Finish

Sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its activities (whatever the truth may be about them) are not causing Russia any damage, as far as I can see, but the response by Russia is causing damage to the EU, particularly farmers in Poland, Greece and Italy. Even a cheese maker in England has been adversely affected.  Continue reading


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