Living in Pre-Apocalyptic Times

In films, when things are going badly wrong, you see the characters consumed by events; they are intense, focussed, driven.

In reality, in between throwing your hands up in horror, you spend much of your time doing the usual things as though the world might not come to a premature end. You get up, eat breakfast, chat with friends, watch Gogglebox and Graham Norton.

The world right now is in a bigger mess than I have ever known. Maybe the Cold War days were just as apocryphal, only I was too young to understand the threat hanging over us. Krushchev banging his shoe on a table was something I learned about in history lessons. The holocaust has continued to have repercussions, but its power to appall and shock seemed to be nudging us into greater awareness that, as Jo Cox said, we have more in common that we have that divides us. Out of that terrible evil it seemed we might finally understand the importance of interfaith dialogue, human rights legislation and anti-racist education.

Then along came Brexit, and the realisation that there were an astounding number of people about who wanted to blame someone, something, anyone, anything for the things that weren’t working. Not unfortunately the actual people who were to blame, politicians who have dealt a toxic cocktail of short termism, and fake successes, financial deals which are supposed to help the country but where the cash ends up in the bank accounts of a privileged few. Meanwhile papers like the Mail and the Sun ramp up the fear factor about ‘benefits cheats’, ‘health tourists’, illegal immigrants’. Continue reading

Where I am Now

I am sitting with my feet up having a pre dinner lager. MasterB is having some zzzs. We are at das Boot. How often do I start a post saying where I am I wonder. Quite often I think, and that's quite in the British sense rather than the US sense, so if you are from across the pond, read it as fairly often.

It's a warm evening, I have the windows open. Birds are singing. Someone is speaking quite loudly and his voice carries across the still water. There is virtually no wind. When we arrived md-afternoon after a chat with Janet Eggs a mile or so short of the marina, the place was full of cars, and people were walking up and down. MasterB meowed and I left him in the car with the doors and windows open, but confined to his cat basket while I removed boat covers, turned on electrics and started the engine.

I let him out of his basket then. The people had dispersed. After sitting in the well in front of the car seat while I lifted bags out of the boot, he climbed out onto the grass. Then he had little sniff around, and made towards where I had my stuff piled into the the little trolley. I thought we were about to both move to das Boot, but suddenly someone appeared and MasterB retreated under the car, out of my reach. I kept ferrying stuff to the boat, returning to sit cross legged on the grass near the car and trying to encourage him out. It looked as though he was ready for a long stay.

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Politics of Fear

While listening to the radio last week I learned that I am a member of the paranoid liberal bourgeoisie. Well there you go. News to me. Maybe I should be wearing a PLB badge to alert others to my sensitivities.

Apparently I am so designated because I do not think the UK parliament should be ditching the Human Rights Act in favour of a British Bill of Rights. I prefer to live in a country that respects humna rights of all people, and makes it as easy as possible for anyone whose human rights are infringed to be heard here at home rather than having to head for Strasbourg, with all the expense that entails.

And repealing one act, and replacing it with an another will not be cheap either. I thought the government wanted to save money, not profligately spend it because David Cameron doesn’t agree that prisoners should have the right to vote. Apparently the thought makes him feel physically sick. There are any number of things Dave and his chums get up to that make me fell physically sick, but I don’t expect the Exchequer to fork out to stop them. If only it would.

So for those of you confused about the HRA, this might help. It does not, as misreported in a certain paper mean that a man who held police at bay could demand KFC and the police had to supply it or his rights would have been breached. When the day dawns, as I hope it will, when animals have to be raised in humane environments, KFC will probably cease to exist. While I am on the animal bit, how many of you have signed the petition to stop the puppy farm breeding Beagles for experimentation that Dave has approved? Come on now. It’s not that hard. Or opposed the relaxation on hunting with hounds (also Beagles) meaning foxes will now be legally chased to exhaustion and torn apart in the name of sport. For all we hear that hunting is about controlling foxes, if you grew up in the country as I did, you learn that foxes are often nurtured just so that the local hunt can have the pleasure of killing them.
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The Forgotten

When I read Pseu’s post this evening, just after listening to the News Quiz and laughing incontinently, I wanted to bury my head in my hands and cry, or go outside and rage at the moon.

Gradually, as I prepared supper, despair moved to anger.
We should be out on the streets. People living with dementia are still people. Continue reading

Mitford International: Nancy Amnesty

It was Nancy Mitford who led me to join Amnesty International. Not personally; she didn’t grasp my hand and suggest, in that cut glass Mitford accent, that I should check it out.

I read her novels and that led to reading about the Mitfords and Jessica Mitford’s autobiographical books, Hons and Rebels, and A Fine Old Conflict. After that, it wa a step to The American Prison Business. This was shelved in Guildford library with other books about penal systems, so I moved on to accounts of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, and Diary of A Chilean Concentration Camp. This last book described the horrors of the author’s incarceration in a matter-of-fact way that did more than any emotionally charged reports to appall and shock me. Continue reading