And so the killing does not stop

Juergen Todenhoefer was allowed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to spend some time with them. He talked about his experiences and talked a great deal of sense. Continue reading

Does It Yet Wave?

I picked up my guitar. It is something that I do less frequently these days. I set up my book of music with simple chords and many songs, some of which I can play. Turning the pages I came across “the Star Spangled Banner” and strummed it singing along with my poor singing voice until I reached the end of the first verse. Then I realised the true meaning of the song. The last two lines ask a question and do not make a statement.

“Oh say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Today, the question is answered in the negative. The banner waves over a land where freedom is oppressed, and people locked up in Guantanamo without trial, and wars are fought like cowards, and the nation shivers with fear at the damage that a handful of criminals with bombs and planes can foist upon a scared nation.

Where the star spangled banner waves it does not signify freedom and bravery, but where oppression and cowardice reign.


Blood Lust and Land Occupied for Eternity

The  Gaza Strip is a very small place that is crowded with more than one and three quarters of a million people. It has a small boundary with Egypt and a much longer boundary with Israel. Its people are imprisoned inside. They cannot cross borders to work and to buy goods. Israel polices the goods that enter and leave Gaza, effectively blockading it, although some goods may enter through Egypt. The people who live in Gaza are dispossessed of their land and their goods by Israel. As a result of what the people of Gaza believe to be an gross injustice, they attack their enemy by sending in crude rockets that occasionally kill Israelis and certainly disrupt their lives and well being. In retaliation Israel bombs houses in Gaza they suspect of launching the rockets, first warning those who live in the houses to leave. Israel claims this an act of self defence. It is much more powerful and prosperous than Gaza. It seems to think that the people of Gaza whose houses are used to launch rockets can prevent the use of their houses to launch rockets. I suspect that the householders of Gaza do not have much say in the matter. Continue reading

Should Scotland Be Independent?

I have always held that if the Scots want to be independent, they should be independent. The demand for independence is part of nationalism and in small doses nationalism is a useful antidote to oppression which is not always guaranteed to work. However, the debate about Scottish independence does not seem to centre around freedom, liberty and protection from oppression, which were the driving forces that made The United States of American Mexico, India, Pakistan, Cyprus and many other nations become self governing states. The debate centres around economic interests.

The Scottish Nationalists seek to persuade people to their view not just by an appeal to their nationalism, their heritage and their unique culture, freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but by an appeal to their pockets. The Nationalists  argue that Scotland would be wealthier, more prosperous and better of if it was independent of the rest of the United Kingdom so that it could appropriate the oil and gas reserves that would belong to it, if it were an independent nation. Those oppose deny this argument.

Of course, during the period when the United Kingdom has been a Union there have been times when the Scots benefited economically from the Union and now they see a prospect of benefiting from separation, that argument seems to prevail.

There are good times and bad times. there are times when the oil and gas flow freely and times when it dries up. There are swings and roundabouts in all economies. Making a decision to be independent because a politician tells you that you will be £500 a year better off with independence seems to me to be madness. Scots should vote on whether they wish to be independent according to whether they will be happier pursuing their own destiny free from the United Kingdom, not on whether a bunch of sleazy politicians tell them that they will be better off or worse off.