Separate and Equal Station

When the United States declared its independence from Britain in 1776 those colonies (as they were then) sought to “assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them”. In other words they sought to be an nation (or perhaps as States a number of nations) which would be equal to other nations.   Continue reading

Things

It is said that there are many ways of looking at a thing, but in truth, there are many things which we look at in the same way and thus believe that they are one thing when they are really many things and different things. Every day is countless different things. Each person is countless different things.

Death In Nebraska

It is good news that in the USA the State of Nebraska has decided to end the death penalty. The ending of the death penalty in this rather conservative state is probably partly due to financial reasons as well as to humanitarian reasons. The opponents of the death penalty there pointed out that it costs far more to execute someone than it does to simply incarcerate them for the rest of their life.  Continue reading

Mr Blair Resigns

I see that Mr Blair has decided to stand down as Middle East Envoy, a role he has been playing for eight years without any visible signs that he has done anything to achieve peace and prosperity in the region. I get the impression, it may be a wrong impression, that he has not worked ceaselessly and tirelessly for the Middle East. In fact his appointment seems to have been a mistake, but at least it enabled Mr Blair to develop his already formidable contact list.

How Long is “Long Term”?

The news that a banker is being prosecuted in London for manipulating the LIBOR rate will be welcome by those who think that the banks have got off their criminal and fraudulent behaviour rather lightly. However we have to look at the root causes of why bankers manipulate FOREX and LIBOR rates. Greed is always a factor but there is, I believe, a structural problem with the way that we organise our capitalism.  Continue reading

The Cost of Public Healthcare

Greece is not a wealthy country. Having been ambitiously lured into joining the Euro which its economy could never support, it is now being pressed to repay money it borrowed to support its ambition by its creditors. Continue reading

A Lesson in Dagenham

Yesterday was Pentecost, the fiftieth day and when I went in the morning out the light and the temperature, and perhaps the smells of Spring brought a memory of long ago to my mind, so clearly and so sweetly. It was Whitsun 1965 and I stayed with a friend in Dagenham. On Whit Sunday we sold ice cream each with our own cart, knocking the suburb doors. Continue reading

Who should be on the new £20 note?

The Bank of England is asking my opinion (and the opinion of some 65 million other people) as to whose face should be on the new £20 note. I vote for the artist George Morland, not because he was a great artist (he was) or relatively unrecognised (he was) but because at the end of his dissolute life he signed his name to forgeries of his own work in order to raise money for his needs and desires, thus being the only artist I can think of who forged his own paintings, thus making him and his work (whether forged or not) ideal subjects for the new Bank of England Note where its substance is much less important than its form.

The Importance of Punctuation

When Ancient Greeks consulted the oracle at Delphi they received, like a modern electorate, ambiguous answers to simple questions.  A soldier’s question “Shall I die in battle” was once answered “You go, you return, not die in battle.” or so the questioner thought. In fact his mind misplaced a comma in the phrase (so the Oracle claimed) and he died in battle, not only proving the importance of punctuation but also showing the folk believe what they want to believe and will, like a politician, misplace punctuation to prove that what they want to believe is true.

Let Us Hope They Are Wrong

The Antarctic has seemed to be an anomaly in terms of climate change. Scientists always believed that the effects of rapid climate change would be most noticeable at the extremes of the planet. The Arctic and the equatorial regions of the planet showed these changes quite dramatically but the Antarctic seemed to stubbornly show no significant evidence of climate change. All however was not as it appeared, or so it appears. Continue reading