Tag Archive: economics


My Lord, What Love Is This?

I can’t remember how I started thinking about this a few minutes ago, but I’ve just been grossed out, outraged and horrified by a piece of Church teaching that has never really hit me as so horrific before. It’s been presented as something good and deeply loving and pastoral and sadly necessary, without question, totally uncritically, and I along with many others have swallowed it, accepted and validated it in exactly the same way.

It is about the way God (and, by extension, His leaders, both temporal and spiritual) supposedly disciplines us.  He has been likened to a Middle Eastern shepherd. They lead their sheep from the front, apparently.  They have names for all of them (if it still works that way).  Jesus said His sheep know His voice and won’t follow another.

We have been told, so I suppose it must be true, that if a shepherd had a sheep that was constantly wondering off, he would break its leg and carry it until it was healed.  During that time the bond between the shepherd and the sheep would become so strong that the sheep wouldn’t wonder off after its leg had healed.  Wow.  How deep.  How lovely and romantic and heart-breakingly beautiful, that a shepherd could love his sheep that much – we are supposed to think, and feel, and some of us have, for many, many years, and grieve that we make it necessary.

I know this is going to offend a lot of people, but I think this thinking is warped and comes from a sick mind and makes its recipients and adherents sick, blind and cruel, to and about themselves and others.

Even if that shepherd thinks he loves his sheep, he is deluding himself, maybe because of the demands of the job and his need for it, and not facing the fact that he is raising them for one sole purpose: to be butchered, slaughtered, killed, violently deprived of life and end up on someone’s dinner plate, feeding someone’s selfish, animal appetites – these days, maybe mine.  And in the meantime he is causing an errant sheep pain by breaking its leg just so he doesn’t have to keep going to find it when, with its awesome, cute and endearing little personality it doesn’t always go where he wants it to go on its innocent and oblivious, happy little journey to the slaughterhouse.  So it might get attacked by wild animals. He is raising it to be killed anyway, so rescuing it can only be an economic and employment contract concern.  Where are his love, joy, humour, delight, relationship, humility and respect, in, with and for the animal?  So as I say in my title, what love is this??? How is this really a model of love in any kind and healthy person’s mind?

The Middle Eastern shepherd would lay down his life for the sheep.  Among other things, he would get them all into the pen at night and lie down and sleep at its entrance, to protect them.  And yet he was taking them to certain death.  That was the purpose.  So maybe this was required of the shepherd by his employers rather than being anything like the act of love and devotion it is presented as.  This has been far too romanticised and idealised outside of its economic context.  I wonder why shepherds were a despised group?  I’m sure that, with their mindset (if, as spiritual principle makers would have it, there was love and concern for the sheep involved), they must have had many emotional and mental problems.  I’ve often thought this in recent years reading David’s Psalms.  But everyone loves King David, and so should I.  I mustn’t touch him.  I’ll get myself strung up, by all sorts of people.

Oh, wait – I already have done!  Would someone please be so sweet and so kind as to cut me down?

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We talk about Chinese and Communist Propaganda, and the Chinese talk about Western Propaganda.  In the middle of all that are people like me who hardly understand what good values are anymore.  People in the UK moan about their lot, and so do people in China.  Homogenised international standards and all that.

I don’t understand economics and economic theory.

But I was on the tube the other day and looked at the paper of someone sitting beside me and saw the headline and my computer (my brain/mind) started to work all on its own.  I thought that China only had wealth to loan in that way because it depends on slave labour of a class which is kept in shameful poverty and without opportunities and that the money should be going to their own people.  The wealth comes from people who have bought the products of slave labour, often people in the west who have bought them, and now the people in the west are going back to that same nation of China for further financial benefits/aid, at the expense of the Chinese slave class, so they can continue in their comfort which, while dependent on abject poverty and slavery, is illegitimate and immoral.  I thought, ‘we said we don’t believe in slavery’, but here we are again, looking to a country which uses economic slavery for its prosperity to help US.

Those are my thoughts.  If they are right, as much as I have come to enjoy the benefits of modern technology etc here in the west, I do not want the EU or my country getting aid from China.  Today I heard them on the news saying that China would be requiring a shift in attitudes towards their present culture and economic and governmental system, and towards human rights issues.  Are we in the west just so pampered that we think people who see themselves as OK in China are really victims of injustice and economic and human deprivation, or are these people really, as we have said in the past, slaves kept in appalling poverty and exploitation?  While it might, possibly, maybe only just, be laudable for some of them to be feeling that they are making sacrifices for China’s future (that’s what happens to people who are exploited by their fellows, they are later hailed as heros and loyal and sacrificial and selfless).

To my country’s leaders, to EU leaders, I for one ask you to please hear the cries and screams and outrage of your people, including me, the crying sense of betrayal and moral compromise into which you would take us, if you soften your attitudes towards China with regards to slave exploitation so that we and you can benefit from the gains of that exploitation.  I know it is easy for me to say this while there is still security and we still have our comforts, but please don’t take us there.  Please let our whole western system crash rather than take us back to such blatant reaping of benefits from slave labour.

I’ve said this before, I don’t understand economics, but I do know that a monetary deficit does not decrease the availability of the earth’s resources.  I don’t understand this.  It hurts not understanding, I feel stupid and as if I could be verbally demolished, but the resources are there, in the earth.  Food, building materials, materials contributing to creativity – But the man-made monetary and economic system is saying we are going to have to tighten our belts and live without them unless we can get a bailout, even from somewhere like modern day China?  With its pollution issues, its human rights issues, etc?

The Lord appeals to you, David Cameron, Christian, and to others (that is my way of saying my emotions are too painful to put into words with this medium) please don’t go there and please don’t take us there.

I’m thinking that, in the Bible, when Israel demanded a king to be like all the other nations that had rejected God – I’m thinking it is time to pull back and rethink and repent and think of a new way to do things.  Internationally we have all been keeping up with the Joneses.  China now is justifying its enormous pollution problem by saying it has a right to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to manufacture and production.  We need to have different kinds of international relationships based on co-operation and benefiting each other with what we have, and less on competitiveness.  Competing to produce and sell the same trinkets really is laying the earth waste and wasting the earth’s resources, and it doesn’t appear to me that it is doing us much good either.

I am all for luxury.  But I think we need to revise our understanding of what luxury actually is.  If it depends on pollution and wasting the earth’s resources and creating such desperate underclasses and so much stress and fear among those who do not consider themselves to be the underclass, I think we have obviously got it wrong.

If everything the UK has ever said about our shame over past slavery is more than political posturing, we cannot take this route.  If everything you have told us about China is true you must not make us their debtors, for our own sakes as a nation and for everything the EU is supposed to stand for, and also for the sakes of the people being exploited by their own system.  People who can see no choices for their lives.  Not by their own fault, but by what they have been born into.  If we have hearts that function properly, we cannot do this to them, if we have been right about China in the past and our understanding has been given no reason for change.  If, on the other hand, China’s willingness to loan to us is an expression of their own recognition that they need to change, that might be a bit different.  But we need that made clear and explained to us.

China’s economic success is not a factor to be taken into consideration if all that is meant by that is that the government has a lot of money to lend while the people whose labour they depend on are struggling for their lives.  Economic success is only good if it does not make those who do the work for it suffer in that way.  This has to be accepted and understood.  We have to accept and understand that. Otherwise we are accepting blood money.  And like God said to Cain when he killed his brother, ‘your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground’.

Although I am selfish, I care.  I don’t want my lifestyle to depend on the fruits of such suffering, and I don’t want that compromise to be available to me or, as feels more to the point at the moment, forced on me.  I need an alternative.  I plead with my leaders for an alternative to what looks to me like such an atrocious possibility, that our economy should be bolstered by the finance from China as it is today.

‘Land of Hope and Glory
Mother of the Free
How shall we extol thee
Who are born of thee?

Wider still and wider
May thy bounds be set
God who made thee mighty
Make thee mightier yet’

May our bounds be set wider and wider, not through prowess and economic convenience and exploitation and compromise, but by restoring the gift of freedom and justice and dignity to all, and degrading and demeaning no one, or knowingly benefiting or accepting aid from someone else doing so.

God who made thee mighty (in whatever ways that is true)
Make thee mightier yet’

Thank you, UK, for every way that God makes you mighty to and for me.

God is love.  We are made in His image.

I love you, England.

A Few Stray Dogs

‘How much do you think you are worth, boy?/Will anyone stand up and say?/Do you think that your life is worth nothing/Til someone is willing to pay?’ Graham Kendrick.

I just had a real stray dog of a thought, bit of a sick animal.  I was thinking about Nero, playing the fiddle while Rome burned.  I thought maybe he didn’t do the wrong thing.  Maybe it was the right thing to do.  Was there anything else he could have done?

Then I thought wait a minute, he was a ruler.  There must have been something else he could have done?

But we aren’t all Nero, and rulers.  Man, I must be sick.  I’m thinking for some of us it might be exactly the right thing to do.

I think all I really mean is that I wish people wouldn’t pull worst case examples out of the hat and use them to put pressure on people where the comparison is completely inappropriate.

We can pray.  Of course we can pray, if we are religious.  I was going to say Christians then realised Christianity isn’t the only religion that encourages and advocates prayer.

There was a bit of a dialogue going on a few years ago, between ‘prayer changes things’ and ‘prayer changes people’.  The latter position says that, even if your circumstances and situation don’t change when you pray, you will change, and maybe consequently your situation will as well.

I had a conversation on the phone yesterday with a lady from my credit card company.  We got talking about coincidences because the number of my new card was similar to the number of the other new card which I didn’t receive.  I asked her if she had unsettling coincidences in her life as I had in mine, and we mentioned phone numbers. She said that her phone number was almost the same as her friend’s number, but with the numbers reversed.  I told her about my Skype number, and that one of the options offered was the first three numbers of my landline followed by the last four of my critical method lecturer’s phone number.  I rejected it, just stopped trying to get a number, then decided I’d quite like it, but when I looked again a few seconds later, it was no longer available.  Strange.  Instead I ended up with another one, which had the first two numbers of the last part of his number reversed, and the last two numbers of the last part of his number reversed, all in the last part of my number.

That number has lapsed now, I might have to start with a new one.

So I’m assuming a lot of people are subject to these ‘coincidences’.  Coincidences?  And what are they doing to our minds?  And what aberations are they causing in our behaviour and reasoning?

I’m thinking about the marches and demonstrations.  Maybe I shouldn’t be.  But is that really the best and most effective and responsible way to express discontent and dissatisfaction?  Especially in the internet age, when networking and communication about these things can be obvious and open, as a march is.  Surely internet action could be given the same kind of news coverage as a march? I think it should be.  For a start, there were thousands of police at the march yesterday, and have been and will be in attendance at other marches and demonstrations.  That is thousands of man hours and probably tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds.  Does that help us economically?  Or does it add an extra drain?

I wouldn’t like to condone violence and damage to property in demonstrations, but I do realise there is discontent among us, the little people, at the bottom of the pile, while the big business and banking employers march off with tons of wealth. Sometimes anger comes out violently, with everyone, to some degree or other.

I think the news agencies need to make a big shift away from the sensationalism of demonstrations and that internet action needs to be highlighted instead and positively encouraged as an alternative.  And if people want a family fun day out, maybe a march isn’t the best thing?  Perhaps something which would add immediately to the quality of their lives and maybe to the economy would be better?

That isn’t a stray dog, and I didn’t have this in mind when I started, but I think it is a brilliant and responsible and progressive idea and am sure other people must have had it as well.

Presence

As soon as you write, as soon as you speak, as soon as you watch or listen to something, you are already removed from your core reality.

I think that is our problem.  We are too noisy, too busy, too dazzled, too driven, too personally dispersed and fragmented, too opinionated, etc, etc, to make real connections.

I believe that’s the truth.

I’m thinking about economic and employment philosophy and why we are urged to live such a market place life, instead of nuclear and private.  I don’t know.  I’m an ignoramus.  I couldn’t tell you.  Even my question might be stupid.  Harking back to a localist paradise that never existed.  There has always been intermational trade and relationships.  We should want to open up to the world, shouldn’t we?

OK, the thing is, right, I agree wiv Tony Smiff. 

If the workers aren’t going to get a fair cut of the profits reflected in their wages so they can take full responsibility for their needs themselves, then companies should be made to pay by the government.  That is just normal human common sense.  A common sense of what is right.

This is my answer to Jeremy Paxman’s question about how do you determine what is morally right when they are already obeying the law, and Tony kept saying it, that the law needs to be changed.

The law is not written in stone.  It evolves.  It evolves either by force or by common consent.  Common consent is better (we all know what is morally acceptable in this kind of situation), but if interested parties and rulers won’t give easily, pressure has to be put on them to make them give.  That is my understanding of how every change in the law has come about.  When the law is seen as not reflecting a widely accepted sense of morality, and when people suffer as a result, eventually that law must be changed.  Come on, Jerry, me old mate, you know that, what are you trying to do?  I think he was just being mischievously provocative, and great respect to Tony Smith for holding his ground in the terms he was able to do so.

I felt a real sense of exhileration when I saw the protests.  I thought they had good energy and also a very powerful cross section of society represented.  I thought I would love to be there and be involved, then I excused myself on the grounds that it might be used to put me back in hospital, then I thought excusing myself was cowardly and I should be there.  Good for these people, more power to them.  Power to their cause, at the very least.  Hopefully they won’t need to protest in this way for too long before our leaders see sense.  But I thought that what was shown on film was absolutely great.

Hey, what happened to our new freedom to protest peacefully?  That woman they dragged out, the one who said it was disgraceful, did she actually do anything wrong?  I don’t mind our leaders holding on to power, but they need to remember they are exercising that power for us, all of us, not just the people who head up the producing and finance machine.  Bugger this, I’m going to argue like a woman because I am a woman, and you can call it emotional blackmail if you like, but how are things fair when the law allows such inequality that at one end people live the jetset lifestyle from the profits they make out of people who work for them and buy from them, one of whom, a few weeks ago, lost her daughter to swine flu because her age and health category were not catered for by the government to be vaccinated against it?

I fear this Baran guy represents a group which will ignore any conscience it has as long as it is allowed to.

Here is something I didn’t act on at the time, and perhaps that is now to my shame and makes my argument and stance a little less persuasive, but I can still remember how it felt emotionally at the time.

I have never been so well off financially as I have been over the last 14 years, since I started getting Income Support plus an additional allowance built in for severe disability, Disability Living Allowance and Housing Benefit for a flat which cost me about £350 per month, plus a Freedom Pass for travel on London Transport and many local bus networks nationally.  I sat down a few years ago, when I wanted to work out my tithe, when I tithed to the Church, and worked out that the whole package was worth about £13,000.  As I said, I have never been financially so well off.  It is probably worth a little less now as my Freedom Pass has lapsed and I pay for my own travel expenses.  I always felt guilty about having it anyway, as I did about all my benefits.  Funny how they can slap a label on you and refuse to take it off which means you qualify for benefits, then make you feel like a shirker with some fancy footwork.  This label and the power everyone is society can and does wield with it is one of the most distressing things in my life.

But one year early on, on and around budget day when they were talking about the plight of pensioners and insulting increases to their pensions, I wanted to approach the government (to which I remain thankful for this financial provision) and tell them that I didn’t need everything I was getting myself to live on and that, in view of the plight of pensioners at the time, I wanted to be able to give something back to the government for it to be given to the pensioners.  I wanted to find out if there was a mechanism for those kinds of voluntary donations to be used for those not so well-provided for.  I still don’t know if such a mechanism exists, and if it does I missed the opportunity to use it.

But my point is, that was me, on £13,000 a year, believing I was stuck for the rest of my life in rented accommodation in a basement flat that I wanted to make work because I and everyone around me had a right that it whould work, and I looked at someone less well off than me and wanted to give back a portion of my own benefits to help them.  But these people who cream off millions and billions don’t even acknowledge they have that in their hearts and argue for the ‘right’ to maintain the legality of the present financial status quo.

I am sure that people make charitiable donations, but that can’t be the security of the people who need that charity.  It has to be formal and legalised, something they are entitled to, not just something they should be grateful for.  I don’t understand economics or, at least, I have never been taught.  Would doing something like that lead to eventual fiancial ruin and insecurity for everyone? Or just redress the balance in a way which is obviously needed and, to the uninitiated into the mysteries of economics, like myself, looks like such an easy and obvious thing to do?

My uncle says Christmas is the same as any other day.  When things aren’t as you would like them to be, this is a perspective you need to keep hold of. Because of my church and family background, I believe Christmas is special.  I feel as if I am betraying myself and Christmas by writing this.  That if I made the right approaches to the right people, my Christmas could be redeemed.  But even if that were to happen once, this year, there are other Christmasses to come where I might not be so fortunate.  So the point is, you always need to make your own decisions and not run round looking for rescue remedies, even at Christmas.  The celebration of Christmas is an exterior thing.  But I still wish I was doing it and had done it in the past, and I still want my friends and family, and still feel ashamed that I haven’t invested in them and that, consequently, I will never know and experience, and neither will they, the kind of relationships we might have had.  Blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever.  They threw my mother at me yesterday.  These media rapists.

This is a crisis time for many people, including people ‘with mental health problems’.  A lot of suicides occur at this time of year.

That isn’t because of the time of year.  It’s because of the way it is sold to us and the expectations and ideals we are taught to have of it.  It’s the way it is marketed by people who want to make money out of it and those who help them to advertise. Some people’s minds have already been so raped that it’s more than they can cope with, so they go into crisis, or commit suicide.  I think staying away from the television and radio might be the best thing for most of us at this time of year.  Truth and reality are within us, not on the tv and radio.  They are selling an illusion and a lie, and most of them know it.  It’s all about materialism and trade.  Hear me, please – that is ALL it is.

I just watched some Bulgarian television.

Within a few minutes they said something about Stara Zagora and pissed.  Just right for anglichanka ears.

I experience speech like music these days.  Especially if I don’t understand the language.  It’s quite nice and relaxing.  And if they pull a trick like that, it backfires on them, because I am not distracted by what comes afterwards, out of their mouths, because I can’t understand it anyway and it can’t dazzle or influence me.  So I can continue to watch and think my own thoughts and make my own observations, mistaken or otherwise.

Here are some thoughts and observations from this morning, mistaken or otherwise:

It was a live breakfast programme, a bit like the ones we have in the UK.  The setting is like an expensive city house.  There was a cookery slot.  The fare was economical.

My thought was that they are trying to tell Bulgarians that they are poor, when actually they are rich, in everything that matters, as long as they don’t develop a serious case of built up city-itis.  In this programme it looked a lot like the city-house surroundings were the important thing (and the unrealisable  aspiration of many, as it has been in Western Europe), and meagre fare was a price you had to pay to reach that ideal.  Or maybe villagers aren’t the target audience anyway, in which case I’m a poisonous cow.  No sorry, forget that, there is an ideal and a philosophy being pushed here, whatever the target audience is.  It is designed to be influential.  Otherwise why bother?

There is no security in this, only a continual grasping.

While people have land, they are rich beyond compare.  The people they call poor here, they are the ones who really are rich, and that is not a statement I am making for sentimental appeal.

The people they call poor, the village people, most of them have their own land around their houses.  That is wealth.   We hear about the landed gentry (or used to, have we moved on?)  But what about the landed poor?  The landed poor are richer, in real terms, than the housed rich.  They can grow what they like.  For meat eaters (which I am not) they can rear what they like.  They need never be hungry.  If those with more give to those with less, it evens out.  And also people can exchange things with each other, both goods and services, without money, and without price.  That endures when economies crash.

Without the language I’m a bit ignorant.  I don’t really know what ideology people are trying to sell and push for.

I know I’ve been in many hotels here which appear to have more staff than guests.  The Bible talks about ‘to-ing and fro-ing across the earth’.  Someone has sold us the lie that peace and contentment and security and being settled and established are boring.

I’m going to buy a house here, unless someone decides to stop me.  It’s going to be in a village.  It’s going to have land.  The wherewithal to create my own wealth.  I hope that, in the future, this country does not start bulldozing villages to make way for cities.  The villages are the foundation.  Good, real, organic life is in the villages.  Life, farming, community, shared skills and the opportunities to learn.  Kill the villages, get the youth of the villages wanting something else and despising what they have there so they want to move out, get the older people with life experience undervaluing themselves and their history and what they have to pass on, dismantle these communities, self-perpetuating, self-sustaining, with real wherewithal, make the economy dependent on something else, a selling idea, more manufacturing-based, more handing over money based, and it will eventually be disastrous for the economy.  Just as it has been for the west.

Back to the land.  It’s good.  It’s progressive, not regressive.  It’s not compensatory, it’s the healthy reality we should never have abandoned.  Test all things.  Hold fast to that which is good. 

The failure of a bad and illusory idea is not the failure of humanity.  It is not a shame for people to abandon a lie and embrace the truth.  That’s what the Bible calls repentance. The lie is ‘you can’t stop progress, you can’t turn back the clock’.  

Whether the lie is working for them materially or not, if it’s a lie, and it is working for them, materially is the only way it DOES work for them.  For the ones at the top, they are envied and despised and a cause of false shame to many who are struggling.  Maybe we can’t blame them, if they are working as honestly as they know how.  It’s what they have been sold too.

I heard a programme on Radio 4 this week, ‘In Our Time’, by Melvyn Bragg.  They were discussing the Industrial Revolution.  I hardly went to school in my teens, so if ideas were discussed (I don’t remember hearing them being discussed out of class time) it’s not something I would have felt able to be part of.  But I can remember standing in a dinner queue one day feeling really upset and isolated, because I was standing there believing with absolute conviction that the Industrial Revolution had been a bad thing, and I really wanted other people to see that and to be able to do something about it, but I thought I might be a bit of an oddity, and I didn’t know how to talk about it anyway, even if I thought there might be people who might agree with me.  I think I felt overwhelmed with differentness.

The fact is, I’m 50 now.  Most of my life is past, unless I live to be over 100.  That is a real grief to me.  What could have been and what could have been achieved?  My past feels like a blank, and my future unrealisable.  I already feel as if it is all over.  What could have been achieved should have been achieved by now.  Maybe I’m just being ageist against myself.

Edit note 10.36 am Bulgarian time.

I was apalled when I re-read this post at my own self-centredness and self-consciousness.  I was thinking about this last night, how people tell you you are self-centred or too self-consciousness, as if it is an accusation and they are pointing out a failing.  I was also thinking maybe they don’t mean it to come across that way, maybe they mean to teach.  I thought that if you want to teach with something like that, you need to dislocate the thinking.  I thought that usualy people put the emphasis in the wrong place, they talk about self-centredness instead of self-centredness, and self-consciousness instead of self-consciousness. The part that is stressed should be the part you are questioning.  It’s not the consciousness and the centredness that should be in question, but the focus of the consciousness and centredness.  If the person trying to address this in another emphsised the word ‘self’ in the communication, the other person might start asking, ‘why, what other kind of consciousness and centredness is there?’, and that is a question which enables teaching to take place.

I’m talking about redeeming my Christmas.  What about everyone else’s?

Anyway, I started this edit note because I used a tag today that was new to me, Rape of a Nation.  I looked to see if there was anything else tagged that way, and I found this film.  I feel and believe it is dealing with and showing some of the consequences of thigs I have meanderingly thought about and painfully tried to express out of my own ignorance and stupidity in my post.  So here’s the link.  If it doesn’t show as a link, in my browser you can right click on it and it says ‘go to link’.  My link buttons remain disabled.

It’s a short journalism film about how the diamond trade operates in the Congo.

http://www.mediastorm.com/publication/rape-of-a-nation

 

The Moon

So, what is the moon to me? 

When I went to school we had a song about the moon, or a man who lived there.  His name was (not sure how to spell this) Achin’ Drum.  And he played upon a ladle.  And something to do with cream cheese.

It has always been an object of beauty to me, and valuable for that alone.  I am assured that it is probably going to be around for at least as long as I am.  So I can look up, and there it is, awesome, beautiful, especially in the mountains on a cloudless night.

Why can’t we just look at it from a distance and love it, and love its maker?  Why can’t we let it be separate and appreciate it for its light and beauty?  Why do we have to get close up and analyse it?  To find that it has enough water per tonne for a shallow bath, but it isn’t drinkable, as said in Fiona Bruce’s News at Ten last night, ‘there are problems’.

Someone said, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.  Someone else said, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’.  Since we can analyse anything we want to, why should we be grateful for or awed by anything?

My first intellectual reaction to the report was, in this era of austerity, isn’t it a waste of money to be ‘conquering’ space in this way?  Isn’t it only scientific man’s way of flexing his muscles, and isn’t it an intellectual luxury we can’t afford?  I think so.  I don’t think anyone is ever going to live on the moon.  I might be wrong, but we don’t need that space, it will only be novelty and ‘because we can’ if we do.  But it’s showing off and we can’t afford it.  In all kinds of ways we can’t afford it.  I believe the fabric of who we are can’t afford it, and I think it is immoral.  Just because we CAN do something, it doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

I went to a political talk in Deptford on climate change last year, hosted by Joan Ruddock, my MP.  I didn’t feel informed enough to contribute, so I sat and listened and thought, and eventually she waved a hand in my direction saying, ‘some people, of course, don’t even care’.  I defended myself, saying it wasn’t that I didn’t care, just that I didn’t feel qualified to have an opinion, and that the experts were divided, at which point someone suggested quite forcefully that I could leave if I wanted to, but I held my ground and stayed.  Later I asked about the impact of space exploration on the climate and the environment, but she said it was minimal, and all the lights left on and CFCs etc were more harmful and these little changes made all the difference.  I’m not convinced of that, and I thought her answer was very defensive and evasive.  Having watched parliament for a while as well, it appears to me the issue of climate change is often used strategically and metaphorically anyway.  It’s a handy issue to have going.  I was invited to the talk at a very strategic point in my own life last year, having never been invited to anything before or since.  I think I had emailed her or we had had a brief correspondence or something.  But I had had contact with her ages before that as well.

I think space programmes are an intellectual luxury we can’t afford, which adds only to our material knowledge and satisfies some of our curiosity but does nothing really for the quality of our lives, unlike other areas of science, and unlike the arts, and religion.  I suppose a few drugs might have their origin on the moon, but at this point I don’t know.

In this age of climate consciousness I wonder if people still find it so ridiculous to say, ‘if God had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings’.  Hasn’t the number and intensity and geographical reach of wars increased with our mobility?  Could we have had world wars without aircraft?  Most of us can’t afford the ‘benefits’ of air travel (going on holiday is up there in the list of the most stressful things to do as well – we need a holiday.  We need the stress of going on holiday to get away from the stress of everyday life and recharge our batteries, they tell us.  Maybe that is why many of us don’t bother with our neighbours ‘too much’, we can walk away, put space between us if it becomes too intense, and come back and maintain the comfortable distance), but apparently we can’t afford it environmentally either.

We look out there for everything, if we can’t easily find the solution nearby, everything comes at us from out there, and we end up out there ourselves.  There is no centring anymore, no respect for the individuality and separateness of another, whether it be person, family, community or country.  We cross the boundaries whenever we think we will.  Modern day mass media gives us the impression of immediacy and responsibility, but the reality is, we do not have it in us to take on that kind and amount of responsibility (or to be busybodies), and we are suffering for it.  We need more independence.  Our economies need more independence.  There should be no such thing as a global economic crisis, and no possibility of there being.  That’s what I think, but I might be wrong, I’m not that educated or well informed.

But back to science and stuff.  I’m not sure if we have the moral and ethical compass to keep pushing the boundaries.  Every new discovery seems to add more reasons to our lives to be afraid than it does benefits, and we always seem to be being told that we can’t afford the benefits anyway, as in drug treatments.  Please sir, why can’t we afford the benefits if we can afford to keep funding the war and fear machines?  Please sir, why not?

Who are all these despots that keep terrorising their people, who have been put in place by the western world leaders?  Is the selection process itself responsible for the havoc they can create and maintain?  All these famines and things where we can’t or won’t deliver because of the countries’ leaders.  I don’t want to just bandy words about that I don’t understand, but this really IS still colonial Britain, isn’t it?  Imposing our ways and values on every people we get involved with.

IF multiculturalism doesn’t work, why don’t we adopt the same ‘no pain, no gain’ policy towards dealing with that in the face of all the PC protests and accusations of racism, the same as we do with economic issues, where the accusation is that of classism?  Or on that is everyone saying, ‘you turn if you want to, the lady’s not for turning’?  Why is it taboo in England even to consider that?  Protests don’t stop our politicians in any other area of national and public life.  I’m not saying we should, I’m just asking why we can’t even give respect to the people who think we need to regain the separateness of our national identity.

Here endeth this little foray.

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