Hold on to your hats U.K!

blogging, daily living, government, Life, people, politics, society, United Kingdom

 

whiteI was shocked and stunned by the result our country delivered on the E.U. referendum. The build up to the vote was not our finest hour. Frankly , we look pretty hideous at the moment . The thing is – I don’t quite believe it.  I don’t believe that the voters wanted this result – is that arrogant?  I think the whole affair has been mismanaged – in fact I was anti a referendum for this reason – we have a government to govern. That is the point of them – to argue out in a reasonable manner the pros and cons of policy.  I think the public are astute, but the populace cannot , by definition , read and inwardly digest the intricacies and complexities of economics and social policies via the media. It cannot happen. There will be a small minority who can unpick all the necessary argument and come to a judgement secure in the knowledge that they have equipped themselves with the available information from all sides and critically examined the opposing argument. The vast majority are too busy surviving, or too lazy or disinterested.

Now we are in this position the various factions are running about like headless chickens because they didn’t believe this could happen either. Big mistake.

However, what is important now is that cool heads manage the coming months. Britain will survive because there is no choice.  We may have to build some bridges , and that work will be done. Most people I meet are honest, well meaning, and committed to making life better for themselves and for their companions. What is essential is our humanity to others is not compromised. None of us live in a vacuumn and if compassion is at the forefront of policy making as well as daily living , there will be nothing to fear. Fear is the only outcome when the politics of the far right starts to seep into our daily governance and our daily lives.

We need to recognise the danger that the far right brings , remembering the recent past atrocities that shaped our modern politics. It always appears unthreatening in the build up to taking power, and morphs into monstrous totalitarianism almost imperceptibly.

Compassion is the key. Retain it in the heart of politics and daily living and that monster has no oxygen .

Just say No!

politics, TTIP, uk

ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_1 ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_3_0 ttip-eu-komission-infografiken_englisch_722px_8

Don’t let the banks and corporations have it their way again on our watch! We need to stop this TTIP from being endorsed by all the major political parties. use this site to help consolidate support against this insidious agreement. This is what Richard Murphy has commented, Economic Justice Campaigner of the Year ad described as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”.
The second of my concerns with the Labour manifesto is its commitment to TTIP. I’m aware that it has said it will ensure that the NHS is excluded from this Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership but that is not enough. This deal with the USA appears to me, and many other campaigners, to provide legal backing to multinational companies to enforce their right to profit (whether or not they could actually make one) from the supply of services to the government or within what we now think to be the state sector. It is my belief that the entire TTIP agenda is wholly misplaced and represents a belief that wealth is only generated by private sector companies and never by the state. As I have argued, including in The Courageous State, this belief is wholly misplaced. Mariana Mazzucato has done more than anyone to prove this in her book The Entrepreneurial State. So in that case the endorsement by Labour of TTIP is worrying and appears wholly contrary to the philosophy I hope it would adopt.

All the major parties are keeping very quiet about their endorsement of this agreement and I think it deserves alot more attention before we vote in the next government.  This site is not party political – it consolidates views from people of all political persuasions and focuses attention on the concerns of them, please have a look at what they have to say – then make up your mind as to whether our elected representatives should be endorsing it,

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_more_information

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What was the question?

Art, blogging, Life, music, philosophy
St Augustine Quotation

St Augustine Quotation

‘If one makes music, as the Orient would say, disinterestedly, that is, without concern for money or fame but simply for the love of making it, it is an integrating activity and one will find moments in his life that an complete and fulfilled.’     – John Cage.

I suppose the same goes for any occupation we choose to partake in.  Engage in the activity, and the truth begins to emerge that when we are experiencing ‘flow’, then material benefits pale in comparison.  This is a political statement because it addresses the fundamental values on which we build our societies, whether we look to increasing productivity or whether we look to increasing the value of human life, the opportunity for human beings everywhere on the planet to look toward a fulfilling, active life . Increasing productivity increases the wealth factor for a very small minority of capital providers whenever the means of production are owned by very rich capitalists.

My aim is not to polarise the argument but to raise the question amongst the producers and consumers , what are you doing? Who are you doing it for?

“Greed and envy are the real dirt in the world”

But realistically whenever the difference between the rich and the poor remains so great, there will always be aspiration to achieve the status and the luxuries in which the richest indulge. The matter then appears to reduce the divide, and how is that achieved? Only by politics. Only be sharing the ownership of both the challenges we encounter and the resources with which we manipulate the world. And that has to begin with ourselves, and knowing our motivations. Do I want to earn enough to have a swimming pool? Do I want to earn enough to feed my family?

If we can free ourselves of our ego driven aspirational desires, and address the matter of working in order to provide the necessities, then it will emerge that work itself is not what people despise. It is the kind of work they are driven to perform in order to maintain a lifestyle.

…”..My composition arises out of asking questions. I am reminded of a story early on about a class with Schoenberg. He had us go to the blackboard to solve a particular problem in counterpoint (though it was a class in harmony).

He said, ‘When you have a solution, turn around and let me see it.’ I did that. He then said: ‘Now another solution, please.’ I gave another and another until finally, having made seven or eight, I reflected a moment and then said with some certainty: ‘There aren’t any more solutions.’ He said: ‘OK. What is the principle underlying all of these solutions?’ I couldn’t answer his question; but I had always worshipped the man, and at that point I did even more. He ascended, so to speak. I spent the rest of my life, until recently, hearing him ask that question over and over. And then it occurred to me through the direction that my work has taken, which is renunciation of choices and th  substitution of asking questions, that the principle underlying all of the solutions that I had given him was the question that he had asked, because they certainly didn’t come from any other point. He would have accepted the answer, I think. The answers have the questions in common. Therefore the question underlies the answers.”  John Cage

The questions we ask ourselves is what life is all about.

” Cage linked his life and his music. Life is filled with uncertainty. Chance events happen to us all.  Each of us must take responsibility  and make decisions.  None of us should be imposing our ego image on others.  Most music tries to control its circumstances, just as most of us do. But there’s another way to live.  Accept indeterminacy as a principle, and you see your life in a new light, as a series of seemingly unrelated jewel-like stories with a dazzling setting of change and transformation. Recognize that you don’t know where you stand, and you will begin to watch where you put your  feet”

– Where  the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism by Kay Larson

Contemplating the underrated nature of an idle life; or ‘Eat, drink and be merry- tomorrow we die’

books, culture, illustration, Life, Thoughts, United Kingdom

 “I must say, my children have taught me all the worthwhile things that I’ve learned. Everything that’s of value ultimately I’ve learned by watching them, being told things by them, learning how to behave towards children – or trying to. It’s a fantastical, mystical, amazingly rewarding experience. And if you behave well, kindly, patiently, intelligently unpatronisingly towards your children they give you so much back; they give you forty times more than you give them in terms of attention, of love.”
These aren’t my words, they were in conversation with John LLoyd and it was at this point the interviewer replied with these
 “They haven’t yet reached that horrid age where if you mention a poem they go, ‘Poetry’s sad. Get a life.’ ”  My son responds to me in a very similar vein, on a daily basis.
 I had been listening to Radio 4 this morning, and John LLoyd was sharing some of his life experience with the listener on Desert Island Discs. I love that programme and it is my ambition to interview  Kirsty who presents it currently. Anyway, John Lloyd was unknown to me, but I have unwittingly been aware
of some of his work as his career has been in producing radio and television.  Listening to him was a joy, as he affirmed much of my own position philosophically:
“Nobody has any working philosophy for life. It obsesses me, this. If your lawnmower doesn’t work you either take it to someone who can fix
it, you fix it yourself or buy a new one. The same with an aeroplane.You wouldn’t get in an aeroplane that only had one wing. But when i tcomes to human nature, people just accept their faults: “Well, I fucked up my marriage, I can’t talk to my kids, my dad hates me. But I am the way that I am. I’m greedy, selfish, fearful, lazy, spiteful – and you can’t change human nature.” Why don’t they decide, “Well, what’s wrong here? That road rage stuff I do every single fucking morning just makes me feel unhappy and tense” – why don’t they get rid of it? With marriage, after the honeymoon period, everyone starts yakking on about how they’ve married a lunatic, a slattern, a drunk or whatever, and they just moan on and on and making excuses for themselves. They’re always looking outwards and see how wrong everything else is, but if they fix themselves first, the problems start to go away. I can’t control the world. “
After experiencing clinical depression, John chose to read his way out of the deep well of meaningless he had fallen in to.  He read psychology, religion, history, every field of human interest, and a consequence of that reading led him to his subsequent success inproducing  a television series Q.I.  It also led him to the epiphany of ‘ Eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow we die.’
I found further insight from him by reading an article from 2005 (The Idler) in which he reported that ;
“Jonathan Swift said, ‘May you live everyday of your life,’ and that’s important. Anyway, this article about what he thought the meaning of life was inspired more letters to the Telegraph than any other subject and a few days later a double page was given over to readers’ response. Amongst these insightful, truthful and touching stories was a letter from one guy who wrote that he too had looked for the meaning of life. He had studied religions, science, philosophy, name it, and his conclusion about life was the one question – “Why?” and only one answer:
“To love.”
I know that I bang on and on about this stuff, but it is because IT IS IMPORTANT!!!
Here’s some more of John Lloyds wisdom, I have found a new hero!
“What education should be about is endless curiosity about the nature of the world. I’d make Philosophy and Human Behaviour acompulsory subject. I wouldn’t bother to teach History; I think it’s pointless. History is just the record of human crime. It’s battles anmurders and pogroms, but there’s a secret history and that’s the record of human goodness. The little acts of kindness aren’t recorded anywhere. Little deeds of altruism: The lady in the baker’s shop who runs after you saying, ‘Here you left a fiver on the counter.’ That sort of thing is never recorded, but that’s what actually keeps the world going.”
I am that lady in the baker’s shop, and so are you.  Little acts of kindness. Rock on John Lloyd.
Thanks to BBC Radio 4 for creating Desert Island Discs, and for interviewing John Lloyd.
Thanks to The Idler magazine which has a very interesting conversation here;

Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar man,Thief….

culture, government, Life

 

 It turns out the Rich man is the biggest Thief of all, and it appears that none of us cares!!! Been to the Cayman Islands recently? It is a melting pot for trillions, yes, trillions of tax that has been filtered away from the economies of countries throughout the world, and hoarded by very, very rich savers.

 “Civil society groups, economists, journalists, and ordinary people need to rouse themselves and make this one of the great political struggles of this young century.” from Taxjustice.net

 

At some point . . . such conduct passes from clever accounting and lawyering, to theft from the people.

US Internal Revenue Service,

Somebody robs your house, takes your life-savings , you would be mad wouldn’t you? It’s happening to whole countries by individuals now, and it’s happening to us all by clever people hiding behind a nasty myth called ‘tax avoidance’ on a scale undreamt of. Go back a couple of centuries to the French aristocracy, on a personal level they were (probably) lovely people, but when the starvation could be borne no more, the injustice of their wealth drove a country to up end its cultural and legal precedents. What makes anyone think it won’t happen again?

James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens shows that at least £13trillion – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy“. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.( taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/21/global-elite-tax-offshore-economy)

“The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy,”  Henry.

Governments need to act on making that secrecy illegal. If you are in the UK. get your M.P. to object in Parliament. For a start you could do worse than go over to http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2012/07/03/banking/ and add your name to the petition , M.P’s are voting Thursday on supporting an independant inquiry on banking practices.

 For clarity on money matters, I suggest further reading here; http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/about/

 For excellent research on tax matters and why it matters, I suggest further reading here

http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/front_content.php?idcat=2

For UK readers, a politically unbiased group of campaigners are making our voices heard, check out their campaigns including the banking industries one, http://www.38degrees.org.uk/

Not for the faint-hearted.

books, United Kingdom

It is not often that a book brings me education, dismay, relief and hope for the future. Camus does. Hope because his reflections direct mankind to observe itself and the world, and to progress a self awareness of frailty and fallibility, so that humanity can discard ancient proscriptive beliefs in an afterlife, living with the understanding that man is part of a world complete in itself, sufficient to itself, providing meaning enough in experiencing the senses in their fullness. He argues with sensibility against the religious belief in deities without resorting to making man himself into a god. For years, even decades I have struggled to discard the baggage that attached itself to a Christian upbringing. I could discard the system of belief, but the values attached to it are knit into my psyche , and some of them I want to retain for their intrinsic value. I prefer a value system based on the tenets of tolerance and respect which I learnt by looking at the life of Christ as opposed to the teachings of the established Church in the tradition of The Church of England. It is easy to criticise the many injustices and hypocrisies of any church, but simultaneously it can be argued that civilized behaviour has referred to its tenets over hundreds of years. I recognised in my youth that the role model I was influenced by could equally have been Buddha or any one of many prophets. Then I turned to politics for answers to difficult questions revolving around justice and distribution of wealth. I turned away almost as quickly as I had arrived, being repelled by the dogma and the abuse of power however it appeared to be arrived at. No system attracted me. I allowed no alliances. As a result I had no satisfaction in believing that the direction I was going in was progressive. I bumble. I am a human bee. Now I am beginning to allow myself some sense of satisfaction that bumbling can be impressively adequate, if that can ever be the case. I sense a shift in modern perspective, and the current state of our global interconnectedness and inter reliance demands that old ideologies are abandoned, and new, vibrant perspectives sought to progress into the future. Different ways of distributing the means of production, different ways of valuing our human lives, not simply by adding it up in numbers on a production line. How we spend time, and how we spend the earth’s resources will be as valuable to us as the production of ever increasing share values for the minority shareholders. Camus shares with us his perspectives in order that we can learn from his insights and move forward.

Albert Camus wrote ‘The Rebel’ over half a century ago, first published 1951. There has been some activity in our histories since that time, but reading his analysis of revolution , and the context of history to man’s activities is as prescient now as ever. It is a read that requires concentration and possibly further reading to follow his argument satisfactorily, it is not a skim read. Nevertheless, it is a well considered treatise that has interesting points to make, and provokes a real curiosity in this reader, recognising whole trenches of ignorance in myself that need to be explored. I have simply marked out a few of the phrases that interest me, in the hope they may interest you too. The consideration at the end of the reading for me is that it is a mature reflection on the sum of activity that is currently threatening European stability that is required, and the danger is that a revolution of the working and non-working masses too oppressed by austerity will overthrow a corrupt regime and replace it with nothing other than another corrupt regime. For me, the notion that the ordinary man should occupy himself with the harvest, is a good one. We should dream of a future unshackled from ever increasing productivity, and return to the observances of everyday living to improve our quality of all our lives. That utopian dream has to include providing the opportunity for all mankind to have water and food and shelter. Above those requirements, life will contain the opportunity for creativity by giving back the philosophy of dignity in work, by returning production to means which provide satisfaction for the worker, and not simply pecuniary reward to the owners of the means of production.

To put economic determination at the root of all human action is to sum up man in terms of his social relations. There is no such thing as a solitary man, that is the indisputable discovery of the nineteenth century.

Man is born into a world of production and social relations. The unequal opportunities of different lands, the more or less rapid improvements in the means of production and the struggle for life have rapidly created social inequalities which have crystallized into antagonisms between production and distribution; and, consequently, into class struggles. These struggles are the motive power of history. ….thus bourgeois capitalism is defined by the separation of the producer from the means of production…..Capital is now concentrated in the hands of only a very few masters whose growing power is based on robbery. Moreover these masters are shaken to their foundations by successive crises, overwhelmed by the contradictions of the system, and can no longer even assure mere subsistence to their slaves who then come to depend on private or public charity. A day comes, inevitably, when a huge army of oppressed slaves find themselves face to face with a handful of despicable masters. That is the day of revolution.’The ruin of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.’ (Marx)

‘obsession with the harvest and indifference to history are the two extremities of my bow’ writes Rene char. If the duration of history is not synonymous with the duration of the harvest, then history, in effect, is no more than a fleeting and cruel shadow in which man has no more part. He who dedicates himself to this history dedicates himself to nothing, and ,in his turn is nothing. But he who dedicates himself to the duration of his life, to the house he builds, to the dignity of mankind, dedicates himself to the earth and reaps from it the harvest which sows its seed and sustains the world again and again. To rebel against it supposes an interminable tension and the agonized serenity of which Rene Char speaks. But the true life is present in the heart of this dichotomy. Life is this dichotomy itself, the mind soaring over volcanoes of light, the madness of justice, the extenuating intransigence of moderation. The words which reverberate for us.. are of courage and intelligence which , on the shores of the eternal seas have the qualities of virtue.

No possible form of wisdom today can claim to give more. Rebellion indefatigably confronts evil, form which it can only derive a new impetus. Man can master, in himself, everything that should be mastered. He should rectify in creation everything that can be rectified. And after he has done so, children will die unjustly even in a perfect society. Even by his greatest effort, man can only propose to diminish, arithmetically, the sufferings of the world. But the injustice ad the suffering of the world will remain, and no matter how limited they are, they will not cease to be an outrage….

For twenty centuries the sum total of evil has not diminished in the world. No paradise, whether divine or revolutionary, has been realised. ..then we understand that rebellion cannot exist without a strange form of love…. All of us, among the ruins, are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits nihilism. But few of us know it.

An excellent resource for those interested in reading more about Camus is here, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/

Brain waves and ways of brains.

books, Life, Science, Thoughts

I hate it when a book cover claims ‘ this book will change your life’. Big claim,until you think about it, since every action pursued will ultimately change you life to some degree, since if you hadn’t performed it then that moment would have been occupied by something else. So in that sense EVERY book will change your life. Nevertheless there ARE books that illuminate, motivate, realign perspective or broaden understanding and lead to significant alterations to the way I look at things forever. Forever. That is a big word. That is the power of language and communication when it is being used expertly.

Over the past decade ( I am currently beginning my sixth) I have intermittently turned to the greats for solace, and for inspiration when I have felt overwhelmed by life, by the challenges and disappointments every life inevitably experiences. I have delighted in wonderful finds, discovering the wisdom of Montaigne, the humanity of Seneca , the beauty of thought from Keats, Shakespeare, Socrates. All of these have helped me to endure and to transcend the present of various difficulties, or simply assuaged the boredom of periods of stasis.  Recently it has occurred to me to look towards contemporary thinkers for their take on the human condition. We have had such massive changes in technology during the past 150 years that the context of the human is a changed landscape to navigate. Some of our experiences are timeless, and the ancient wisdom continues to enthrall and to enlighten. I will never tire of being introduced to novelists and poets from any era that manage to capture the wonder in me.

Simultaneously I have been thinking about how my history has been governed by left brained thinking, by the rationalists.  How our capitalist Western society has used logic and scientific thinking to produce models for living, working, making money. And I have been thinking how it has failed to produce a society of well rounded, content , productive, creative individuals. Where have our models gone wrong? LIstening to a variety of psychologists on TED (where else) , I have been led to read a fascinating book by David Brooks, ‘The Social Animal’.  I am in the middle of it currently, but so delighted by it taht I can’t help sharing it with you all before I have completed it. That could be a mistake, but even if it turns out that I hate the second half, the first half has captivated me. I so want my eldest son to read it, he and his friends could change the world if they read and assimilate the wisdom in there!  Brooks brings together information and knowledge from a variety of disciplines,marrying science and pyschology with sociology, politics,cultural commentary and literary.  He does it in a style that echoes Rousseau, taking two imagined characters and weaving into their lives the preoccupations of the author, so that it reads more like a novel than a research paper. He is no Tolstoy, but the book is evidently readable since I am finding it hard to put it down and write this blog .

The art of living well is to know how to steer our natures, and slowly remodel our characters.

What interests me is how Brooks relates the way in which we are human, we are not likely to be overtaken by Artificial Intelligence, sophisticated as that is becoming.  This knowledge has been intuitively understood for centuries by poets and artists, and it is via their expressions that we less gifted individuals can be matched with that insight, that our humanity itself is something to be celebrated and encouraged , nurtured and supported. The left brained thinking of rationality has to be countered with right brain thinking , bringing back intuition and imagination. Einstein knew it.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Here is Brooks transcribed form the TED talk, introducing the concept behind his book.

… in the study of the mind, across all these spheres of research, from neuroscience to the cognitive scientists, behavioral economists, psychologists, sociology, we’re developing a revolution in consciousness. And when you synthesize it all, it’s giving us a new view of human nature.. …
Through the policy failures of the last 30 years, we have come to acknowledge, I think, how shallow our view of human nature has been. And now as we confront that shallowness and the failures that derive from our inability to get the depths of who we are, comes this revolution in consciousness — these people in so many fields exploring the depth of our nature and coming away with this enchanted, this new humanism…..discovering a more accurate vision of the unconscious, of who we are deep inside, and it’s going to have a wonderful and profound and humanizing effect on our culture

I so hope he’s right.  If you read one non-fiction book this year, make it this one.  Especially if you are setting out on your life journey.  I would love to have read this at the beginning of my career, at the point I chose a life partner, before I gave birth. So good. http://www.ted.com/talks/david_brooks_the_social_animal.html

NHS lobby letter to your MP

government, health, Life, United Kingdom

Hi there,

The Lords failed to defer the Health and Social Care Bill. I don’t think this has anything to do with party politics, but I do think the government is proceeding carelessly and is making a critical mistake with everybody’s NHS. Not theirs, everybody’s NHS.  I have posted my letter to my M.P. here, in the hope that you will copy it , and send it to your M.P if they voted for the Health and Social Care Bill. If you go the this link, you can easily find a format for sending your letter to your own MP. You can find out if your M P  did vote for the bill to go through.  Please use my wording if it saves you time/ effort.

 

 

 

 

I am dismayed that the Lords allowed the Health and Social care bill to get through.The professional body itself raises its head above the parapet and says ‘However, we still believe that the government’s reform plans pose an unacceptably high risk to the NHS, threatening its ability to operate effectively and equitably, now and in the future. This is why the BMA continues to call for the Bill to be withdrawn or, at the very least, to be subject to further, significant amendment.’ – Dr Hamish Meldrum of the BMA. I quote Ben Goldacre here : ‘In case you don’t understand NHS bill: GPs know they’re being set up to fail by being given commissioning powers. Those are specialist skills. ■After GPs fail, private commissioning expertise will be needed: large private corps, which will come to operate like health insurers. ■These large bodies, like public/private insurance co’s, will be able to pick & choose patients. Note no geographical responsibility in bill ■Small differences will emerge in what services they offer. Top up plans will become available. And that will be that. ■It is so very obvious that GPs are being set up to fail at the specialist task of health service planning that it’s clearly not an accident” You are not taking into consideratin the opinions of valued menbers of the professional bodies. How can you expect us, the voters, to place our trust in a government so blind and deaf to those experts? Why do the government continue to refuse the release of the Transitional Risk Register for the Bill, despite being ordered by the Information Officer and an appeal tribunal? MPs voting now are passing judgement without knowing the risks the government expects this legislation to have for the NHS. This will have the same result as the poll tax had for the Thatcher government. Your party will be unelectable after proceeding with this bill. I urge you to reconsider and hope the Commons defer the bill pending further analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Clear as a Bell, 1776

government, history, Life

Thomas Paine said these words over two hundred years ago, but they could be from todays’ papers. I can’t help thinking the man was a bit of a guru.  Perhaps we need to reconsider how we think about ourselves, how we want to live in a progressive society.  This man died friendless, but committed to his values that today seem unremarkable in a liberal democracy. Then they were frighteningly anarchic to the establishment. He was  expelled from England because of the demands on government that his politics suggested. These were ideas far too explosive at the time.  Everywhere was in ferment, France was on the edge of revolution, England threatening similar unrest. Sound familiar?  The whole western world tipping on its axis.  Where will it go? The messages Thomas Paine believed in were clear, simple and had their foundations in a moral position that attempted to become the best that we can be. He believed in removing the differences between men, and exposing their similarities, in the hope that they resorted to reason and a moral endeavour to aspire to making life as comfortable, as eased for one another as possible. There is a profound understanding that we are equals, and deserve equal treatment in government .

“My country is the world and my religion is to do good.”

He was a freethinker, and a political activist moving from Europe, (Britain and France) and America during a period in history of upheaval and unrest, that resulted in the foundations of a more democratic form of government allowing the people to have some leverage. Born into a family where the father was a Quaker, Thomas matured into someone who valued individual liberty, regardless of circumstance. Anti-slavery and opposed to Christianity , he attracted criticism from many, and was considered wrongly to be an Atheiest. He was a Deist, believing in one God and one God only, seeing in Nature that there existed a set of natural laws in which Paine felt it was the moral duty of man to imitate what he recognised as the beneficience of God manifested in Man and Nature’s laws.

Paine never established a political society or organization and was not responsible for a single reforming measure. His achievements were his writings so it is difficult to accurately assess his influence. Paine’s political influence was greatest in England. In intellectual terms, his Rights of Man was his greatest political work and was certainly the best-selling radical political tract in late 18th century England, in which he maintained that each age had the right to establish a political system which satisfied its needs.

His most influential work was the Rights of Man (Part I in 1791, Part II in 1792). In Part I, Paine urged political rights for all men because of their natural equality in the sight of God. All forms of hereditary government, including the British constitution, were condemned because they were based on farce or force. Only a democratic republic could be trusted to protect the equal political rights of all men. Part II was even more radical for Paine argued for a whole program of social legislation to deal with the shocking condition of the poor.The work was an analysis of the roots of the discontent in Europe, which he laid in arbitrary government, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and war. His popularity sounded the alarm and he was forced to leave Britain in September 1792 and his book was banned.He was condemned in his absence and declared an outlaw.

On January 10, 1776 Paine formulated his ideas on american independence in his pamphlet Common Sense.

In his Common Sense, Paine states that sooner or later independence from England must inevitably arrive, because America had lost touch with the mother country. In his words, all the arguments for separation of England are based on nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense. Government was a necessary evil that could only become safe when it was representative and altered by frequent elections. The function of government in society ought to be only regulating and therefore as simple as possible. Not suprisingly, but nevertheless remarkable was his call for a declaration of independence. Paine’s influence on the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776 is apparent by the number of sales of his pamphlet, a weighty 500.000.

The sadness of his death attracting only six mourners to his funeral is a poor reflection of his worth as  a human being, never mind as a thinker who continues to impress with wisdom and persipacity.

 

Just Say No! But say it now. Say it loud.

government, health, Life, United Kingdom

My thanks go to Ben Goldacre, highly respected science journalist, if you want to know more about his credentials, he writes for the Guardian, and has a blog here http://www.badscience.net/about-dr-ben-goldacre/

He has identified quackery for what it is, and continues to risk dismemberment by raising his head above the parapet.  Anyway, I trust him much more than I trust alot of journalism.  He does the work in researching his subjects, and then makes pithy conclusions.  In this case, I had concluded the same, but he says it better than me.Follow this:

‘In case u  don’t understand NHS bill: GPs know they’re being set up  to fail by  being given commissioning powers. Those are specialist  skills.

  • After   GPs fail, private commissioning expertise will be needed:  large private   corps, which will come to operate like health insurers.
  • These  large bodies, like public/private insurance co’s, will be  able to pick  & choose patients. Note no geographical responsibility  in bill
  • Small differences will emerge in what services they offer. Top up plans will become available. And that, kids, will be that.
  • It is so  very obvious that GPs are being set up to fail at the  specialist task  of health service planning that it’s clearly not an  accident
  • Those  last 5 tweets are what will obviously, predictably, happen to  the NHS  after this bill. If you missed them, they were a bit  important.’

 

And that is why he is suggesting anyone interested in trying to save the National Health Service from these catastrophic predictions should sign one of the many petitions out there, or get involved in the sterling work to counter the plans. You could go here;

http://www.nhscampaign.org/NHS-reforms/e-petition.html

or here:  http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670

FOR ALL OUR SAKES.