The Government’s master plan to combat the recruitment of terrorists in these islands is to stress “British Values”, by which they mean tolerance, democracy and other desirable ways of thinking and behaving. Of course these are not British values. Britain has no monopoly of these qualities although they do exist to some extent in the majority of the inhabitants of modern Britain but did not so exist in the not so recent past of Britain. Continue reading
Summer’s lease is a short one but that is simply a reason to enjoy the premises it demises every day of summer. It is hard to imagine my London in winter today, difficult to think of winds blowing cold and rain in my face when the sun shines and the skies are blue with very few clouds. Continue reading
Politicians do not like democracy. It is an inconvenient interference in the running of the places they govern and reminds them, too clearly, that politicians are servants, not masters. Continue reading
I turned on the radio to listen to talk and heard a song that took be back to my youth. The song was “Four Strong Winds” which has been, in the modern idiom “covered” or performed by many, particularly in the folk scene. The version I heard on the radio was by Neil Young, with his plaintiff whining voice which perfectly fit the song. I felt, for a brief moment, fifty years younger, When it comes to time travel nothing works as well as music.
Three years ago Rothamsted Research conducted a trial of genetically modified wheat in Hertfordshire. The wheat was supposed to have been designed to emit an odour which repels aphids, thus improving yields without the need to use harmful pesticides. The trail cost three million pounds, most of which was spent on secure fencing to protect the trial against those who oppose GMO crops and might like to have harmed the crop.
I have been following the stories on the media about migrants. All are fleeing the places where they and their ancestors lived for generations to developed countries mostly in the hope of a better safer life and occasionally in order to avoid persecution, torture and death. They are people who cram into small unsafe boats and cross the seas, or people who swim rivers in attempts to enter other nations. Some make their way through Europe in the hope of joining the United Kingdom’s sixty four millions and end up in camps in Calais where they risk life and limb to hide in and under trucks in the hope of making it across the border. Continue reading
In Karachi and the surrounding areas of Pakistan many people are suffering from heat exhaustion and some are dead as a result of very high summer temperatures. Karachi is a city of some twenty million inhabitants. It has poor infrastructural services – electricity is in short supply and clean water is short in summer- and this makes life almost unlivable when temperatures reach 45 Centigrade, as they have recently. The record temperature recorded at Karachi is 47 degrees Centigrade, which it hit in 1979. This is not a pleasant start to Ramadan. Continue reading