Tag Archive: national identity


The Pathetic Fallacy

Why do weather reporters etc tell us how to feel about the weather?

Why do they say, as I just saw on one today, that the weather is freezing and miserable?

The weather isn’t freezing, the temperature is.  The weather isn’t miserable.  Misery is a feeling and emotion.  We as people blame our misery on the weather if we want to, but if we are not miserable already, cold weather will not make us so.

They are constantly talking up these negative emotions.

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Prisoners and the Vote

DC said he ‘had to say’ it made him feel physically sick.  I’m not sure what he meant by that or, if it’s true that it makes him feel sick, why it does.

I DON’T have to say that.  I’m an obscure person that no one knows who only risks her own life if she says the wrong thing in front of the wrong people.

We all know that some people are in prison through a miscarriage of justice, even those accused of the most shocking crimes.  Depriving prisoners of the vote just because they are in prison removes the acknowledgment that there is that margin of error.  If you remove the vote from prisoners, it is the ones who would benefit from the ability to vote who would suffer.  Those wrongly deprived of their freedom do not also need to be deprived of their basic human rights, whatever we believe those are.  In prison you lose privileges, not rights.

I believe, and maybe the prison system already works this way, that what you lose you should have the chance to regain, in terms of privileges.

The right to vote, or to decide not to, could be a valuable part of someone’s rehabilitation.  To remove it is punitive, and I think there is a difference between that and a legal imposition of punishment.  It also increases the sense of not being a part of society and breaks the possibility of establishing or maintaining what could be called good and helpful allegiances.

And let’s face it, there are plenty of undeserving people outside of the prison system who still assume they have the right to vote just because it is still legally in their power.

I’m worried about a government that takes this kind of attitude to a change in the law with regard to the human rights of someone without freedom of movement.  If the law changes and has to be implemented, the Prime Minister should not be saying that it makes him sick, he should be standing behind it, or at least be disinterested enough to acknowledge that it needs to happen.  His present stance endorses, at least tacitly, any ill-treatment or bullying by prison staff of prisoners who choose to vote.

David Cameron, please think again about your position.  Anyone informed and interested enough to have the information at hand would be able to reel off case after case of people who have been acknowledged to have been wrongly imprisoned.

But you know what?  In a sense, I don’t care.  I don’t want to be a human rights activist.  I want time to enjoy my new found freedom.  I don’t really care.  I just felt I had to say something.  Even though it HAS all been said before.

As for prison, if you want me in one, put me in one, don’t make the world my prison or effectively stand by letting other people.  If I’m free, show me.  If I’m not, arrest me.  One or the other, please.  Don’t just play with words etc.  That’s not fair.

Thank you.

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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