Friday, 3 March 2017

Robert Fisk gets it right

"Balfour initiated a policy of British support for Israel which continues to this very day, to the detriment of the occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and the five million Palestinian refugees living largely in warrens of poverty around the Middle East, including Israeli-besieged Gaza."

FISK'S FULL TEXT:
Theresa May told us that Britain will celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration this summer with “pride”. This was predictable. A British prime minister who would fawn to the head-chopping Arab autocrats of the Gulf in the hope of selling them more missiles – and then hold the hand of the insane new anti-Muslim president of the United States – was bound, I suppose, to feel “pride” in the most mendacious, deceitful and hypocritical document in modern British history.
As a woman who has set her heart against immigrants, it was also inevitable that May would display her most venal characteristics to foreigners – to wealthy Arab potentates, and to an American president whose momentary love of Britain might produce a life-saving post-Brexit trade agreement. It was to an audience of British lobbyists for Israel a couple of months ago that she expressed her “pride” in a century-old declaration which created millions of refugees. But to burnish the 1917 document which promised Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine but which would ultimately create that very refugee population – refugees being the target of her own anti-immigration policies – is little short of iniquitous.
The Balfour Declaration’s intrinsic lie – that while Britain supported a Jewish homeland, nothing would be done “which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” – is matched today by the equally dishonest response of Balfour’s lamentable successor at the Foreign Office. Boris Johnson wrote quite accurately two years ago that the Balfour Declaration was “bizarre”, a “tragicomically incoherent” document, “an exquisite piece of Foreign Office fudgerama”. But in a subsequent visit to Israel, the profit-hunting Mayor of London suddenly discovered that the Balfour Declaration was “a great thing” that “reflected a great tide of history”. No doubt we shall hear more of this same nonsense from Boris Johnson later this year.
Although the Declaration itself has been parsed, de-semanticised, romanticised, decrypted, decried, cursed and adored for 100 years, its fraud is easy to detect: it made two promises which were fundamentally opposed to each other – and thus one of them, to the Arabs (aka “the existing non-Jewish communities”), would be broken. The descendants of these victims, the Palestinian Arabs, are now threatening to sue the British government over this pernicious piece of paper, a hopeless and childish response to history. The Czechs might equally sue the British for Chamberlain’s Munich agreement, which allowed Hitler to destroy their country. The Palestinians would also like an apology – since the British have always found apologies cheaper than law courts. The British have grown used to apologising – for the British empire, for the slave trade, for the Irish famine. So why not for Balfour? Yes, but.... Theresa May needs the Israelis far more than she needs the Palestinians.
Balfour’s 1917 declaration, of course, was an attempt to avoid disaster in the First World War by encouraging the Jews of Russia and America to support the Allies against Germany. Balfour wanted to avoid defeat just as Chamberlain later wanted to avoid war. But – and this is the point – Munich was resolved by the destruction of Hitler. Balfour initiated a policy of British support for Israel which continues to this very day, to the detriment of the occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and the five million Palestinian refugees living largely in warrens of poverty around the Middle East, including Israeli-besieged Gaza.
This is the theme of perhaps the most dramatic centenary account of the Balfour Declaration, to be published this summer by David Cronin (in his book Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel), an Irish journalist and author living in Brussels whose previous investigation of the European Union’s craven support for Israel’s military distinguished him from the work of more emotional (and thus more inaccurate) writers. Cronin has no time for Holocaust deniers or anti-Semites. While rightly dismissing the silly idea that the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini, inspired the Holocaust of the Jews of Europe, he does not duck Haj Amin’s poisonous alliance with Hitler. Israel’s post-war creation as a nation state, as one Israeli historian observed, may not have been just – but it was legal. And Israel does legally exist within the borders acknowledged by the rest of the world.
There lies the present crisis for us all: for the outrageous right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is speeding on with the mass colonisation of Arab land in territory which is not part of Israel, and on property which has been stolen from its Arab owners. These owners are the descendants of the “non-Jewish communities” whose rights, according to Balfour, should not be “prejudiced” by “the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. But Balfour’s own prejudice was perfectly clear. The Jewish people would have a “national home” – ie, a nation – in Palestine, while the Arabs, according to his declaration, were mere “communities”. And as Balfour wrote to his successor Curzon two years later, “Zionism … is … of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices [sic] of 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”.
Cronin’s short book, however, shows just how we have connived in this racism ever since. He outlines the mass British repression of Arabs in the 1930s – including extrajudicial executions and torture by the British army – when the Arabs feared, with good reason, that they would ultimately be dispossessed of their lands by Jewish immigrants. As Arthur Wauchope, the Palestine High Commissioner, would write, “the subject that fills the minds of all Arabs today is … the dread that in time to come they will be a subject race living on sufferance in Palestine, with the Jews dominant in every sphere, land, trade and political life”. How right they were.
Even before Britain’s retreat from Palestine, Attlee and his Cabinet colleagues were discussing a plan which would mean the “ethnic cleansing” of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their land. In 1944, a Labour Party statement had talked thus of Jewish immigration: “Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out as the Jews move in.” By 1948, Labour, now in government, was announcing it had no power to prevent money being channelled from London to Jewish groups who would, within a year, accomplish their own “ethnic cleansing”, a phrase in common usage for this period since Israeli historian Illan Pappe (now, predictably, an exile from his own land) included it in the title of his best-known work.
The massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians at Deir Yassin was committed while thousands of British troops were still in the country. Cronin’s investigation of Colonial Office files show that the British military lied about the “cleansing” of Haifa, offering no protection to the Arabs, a policy largely followed across Palestine save for the courage of Major Derek Cooper and his soldiers, whose defence of Arab civilians in Jaffa won him the Military Cross (although David Cronin does not mention this). Cooper, whom I got to know when he was caring for wounded Palestinians in Beirut in 1982, never forgave his own government for its dishonesty at the end of the Palestine Mandate.
Cronin’s value, however, lies in his further research into British support for Israel, its constant arms re-supplies to Israel, its 1956 connivance with the Israelis over Suez – during which Israeli troops massacred in the Gaza camp of Khan Younis, according to a UN report, 275 Palestinian civilians, of whom 140 were refugees from the 1948 catastrophe. Many UN-employed Palestinians, an American military officer noted at the time, “are believed to have been executed by the Israelis”. Britain’s subsequent export of submarines and hundreds of Centurion tanks to Israel was shrugged off with the same weasel-like excuses that British governments have ever since used to sell trillions of dollars of weapons to Israelis and Arabs alike: that if Britain didn’t arm them, others would.
In opposition in 1972, Harold Wilson claimed it was “utterly unreal” to call for an Israeli withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967 war, adding that “Israel’s reaction is natural and proper in refusing to accept the Palestinians as a nation”. When the Palestinians first demanded a secular one-state solution to Palestine, they were denounced by a British diplomat (Anthony Parsons) who said that “a multinational, secular state” would be “wholly incompatible with our attitude toward Israel”. Indeed it would. When the PLO opposed Britain’s Falklands conflict, the Foreign Office haughtily admonished the Palestinians – it was “far removed” from their “legitimate concerns”, it noted – although it chose not to reveal that Argentine air force Skyhawk jets supplied by Israel were used to attack UK forces, and that Israel’s military supplies to Argentina continued during the war.
A year later, Margaret Thatcher, according to a note by Douglas Hurd, included “armed action against military targets of the occupying power” as a definition of “terrorism”. So the Palestinians could not even resist their direct occupiers without being criminals.
On an official visit to Israel in 1986, Thatcher said that she regarded discussion of Jerusalem as “internal politics”. In 2001, Tony Blair’s government granted 90 arms exports licences to Israel for “defensive” weapons – including torpedoes, armoured vehicles, bombs and missiles. There is much, much more of this in Cronin’s book, including Blair’s useless and disgraceful period as “peace” envoy to the Middle East and the growing business contracts between British companies and Israeli arms providers – to the extent that the British army ended up deploying Israeli-made drones in the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Outside the EU, Theresa May’s Britain will maintain its close relations with Israel as a priority; hence May’s stated desire less than a month ago to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with Israel. This coincided with an Israeli attack on Gaza and a Knesset vote to confiscate – ie, steal – yet more lands from Palestinians in the West Bank.
From the day that Herbert Samuel, deputy leader of the Liberal Party and former (Jewish) High Commissioner for Palestine, said in the House of Commons in 1930 that Arabs “do migrate easily”, it seems that Britain has faithfully followed Balfour’s policies. More than 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted in their catastrophe, Cronin writes. Generations of dispossessed would grow up in the camps. Today, there are around five million registered Palestinian refugees. Britain was the midwife of that expulsion.
And this summer, we shall again be exhorted by Theresa May to remember the Balfour Declaration with “pride”.

FROM:

Theresa May wants British people to feel 'pride' in the Balfour Declaration. What exactly is there to be proud of?

Robert Fisk
The Independent

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Best of Trump's inauguration speech - extracts

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over.
Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America

Friday, 23 December 2016

Same Difference - just change the name of the country!

The international community - US/UK/France - perfidious, duplicitous foreign policy in a nutshell

The West supports and arms 'moderate' rebels overthrowing the Syrian government but, supports Saudi Arabia stopping rebels overthrowing the Yemen government.

Russia supports the Syrian government stopping the rebels overthrowing it.

Russia, unlike US/UK/France, is not officially involved in the Yemen war on either side, apart from, no doubt, also continuing their normal arms sales - like us reprobates.

If we Westerners tried to overthrow our legitimate, UN recognised government, we would also get in the neck, like the Syrians have found - to their cost.

Russia did not agitate, promote or, in anyway encourage the Arab Spring.
Guess who did?

It appears that it is the 'Christian' democratic Western European nations, with their monarchs and empires, that have done the most subjugating down the centuries.  Certainly not the East or Middle East. 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

No treat in the tail; just a sting and a triangular walk!

I tried out my hill walk last week that I had recommended to Weller/Willson/Verduyns who like a proper walk up, over and down a hill or two.  I had never done the full length, so thought I should check it.

All went well to begin with.  Problems came when I got up over the snow line and found that it was soft and cloying.  There was so much and it was too deep and sugary that I thought of turning back.  My left knee was also playing up.  I certainly wished that I had snow shoes.  This was last Wednesday 23 Nov, two days after the very wet and windy day.  The NE wind had deposited more on the western dip slope that I was toiling up so thankfully, once I got onto the 800 m ridge the snow was less.  I found the trig point in front of me and turned right to begin what turned out to be a much longer and harder run for home than I thought it would be.  The wide gentle ridge from Moel Sych looked so different in snow and cloud and it was the snow covering the feint path that turned it into a sting, a slog and slow going stumbling along .  At one point, I fell into a bog with the snow up to the top of my right leg and my foot in cold, wet, peaty water.  I got back to the car, after 7 hours, just before I definitely did need to dig out my Petzl but just avoided doing so.  Dry day but cloudy.  Cloud base 750 m.  No-one else seen.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Remember to keep the world safe Day, TODAY by ...

... maintaining our, so far, 102 years of consecutive warfare on countries, in recent years, like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We must remain strong and militaristic on the world stage to ensure that the international community keeps safe and peaceful.

'Bigging' ourselves up with our military interventions around the world helps to ensure that terrorism is minimised and Western democracy is promoted down the barrel of a gun.

Only the UK can play second fiddle to our good partner and friend, the USA, to guarantee world peace and prosperity in these dangerous and violent times.

Monday, 17 October 2016

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP!

A word of encouragement to our transport, planners, strategists, managers and politicians

Only for the last fifty years our dear transport, planners, strategists, managers and darling politicians (from councillors to MEPs) have been resolute and persistent in thinking that urban railway lines were for cars and lorries to use and, for homes and hotels to be run down them.  An intriguing departure from normal transport practice.  About 80 Km in the Black Country and Birmingham have gone this way.

More by accident than design, one main line railway was not destroyed for homes, trading estates and roads.  Indeed, such is progress that our terrific transport personnel are now turning the UK’s most important, unused but easily reinstated, double track intercity line into use by two different kinds of slow trams.  We are now to have Very Light Rail and Light Rail, very slow and slow - a shuttle tram and a Midland Metro tram - going on 9 Km out of 65 Km that are unused - unused for passenger trains, would you believe - on this nationally vital but overlooked 120 Km main line railway between Worcester and Derby.

Yet, the lot of them do, ultimately, want the trains.  They genuinely think that Metro trams “are the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time” (letter dated July 2000 from Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro and repeated last year).  This is complete idiocy!

However, things are definitely looking up.  From being drunk and incapable with their success in putting cars, lorries and buildings instead of trains down rail lines, they have now improved to an E grade.  From F grade to E grade in now being only less than competent by running slow trams that stop almost as frequently as buses on double tracks that are desperately needed for commuter and intercity trains between London and the North via the Black Country.

£55.7 billion for HS2.  Not a dickey bird for the 115 Km double track railway lines in the West Midlands without a single passenger train or station.  Homebase was built on one station in Brum - Kings Heath!

£6 million per Km for Scotland’s new, rural, rail line last year, according to RailNews.
£106 million per Km for Birmingham - Brum getting all the money, yet again - for road running Metro trams to replace buses to grandiose Grand Central Shopping Centre and diesel perfumed, basement station.  A similar sum of £106 million per Km for the status symbol trams to the even more prestigious HS2 stations for Brum.  The £128 m for 1.2 Km did include 21 new trams to replace the 16 year old trams, according to RailNews. So, say £80 m per Km for trams to the HS2 station and beyond.

Enough said.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Thank God for a different kind of leader

A consensual, collegiate leader who is decent, honest and principled (as everyone says Corbyn is but, "we certainly don’t want him"!)

For goodness sake, not a leader who forces his Cabinet to toe his/her line but who is the first among equals.  A leader prepared to listen and change in the light of advice from people who know what they are talking about.
A leader who does not rule or reign but who serves humbly with no strutting around, self importantly, on the world stage. (I have heard 'good' things of Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs who is also mid 60s)
A leader who sensitively and, from time to time, questions, challenges, checks on what his fellow departmental leaders in the Cabinet are up to but does not compel obedience to his/her wishes.  Who lets them get on with the job without constant prying.  An encourager and supporter of his/her Cabinet members.
A leader who no longer jumps into military interventions/interference in foreign lands without the clear say so of the United Nations General Assembly.
A leader who is the prime, meaning foremost, the first minister meaning servant of the people rather than an all powerful dictator who coerces and compels others to do as he/she says.
A leader of integrity and honour who sticks to his bottom, middle and top line of no aggression, ever -no first, second or third use of WMD - ever.  A WMD pacifist, only as Corbyn is.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Steve Chalke gets it right - transcript

STEVE:
It was the first Christmas after the outrage of the September 11th attack on New York and Washington DC. America and her allies had recently invaded Afghanistan and the tension was building with Saddam Hussain's Iraq. I was doing some work as a presenter of a breakfast television show and was asked to interview a well-known American church leader. As part of the interview I asked him to talk about his understanding of what the Christmas story was all about.
“Peace and goodwill to all,” he replied, “Jesus is the Prince of Peace. That's the core of His life changing story.”
“So if Jesus is the Prince of Peace and one of his key messages was love your enemies, what does that mean on a world scale?” I asked. “I think it’s much easier to understand Jesus’ message on a person-to-person level – it doesn’t necessarily apply to nation/state relationships”.
After the show I asked one of the studio crew what he thought of what our guest had said. His reply was simple, “Love your enemy, but kill them first! 
I have often thought that, at any level, Jesus’ famous sound bite ‘Love your enemies’ probably amounts to, at one and the same time, the most admired and least practised piece of teaching in history. The myth that violence is the only solution to many of the world’s problems still thrives, seemingly everywhere. And, Jesus’ advice about non-violence is dismissed as impractical idealism, extraordinarily, no such charge is ever made against violence, in spite of the fact that history has proved, time and again, that war hostility and terrorism solve nothing in the long run.
Put differently, you can't kill your way to peace.
The ‘might is right’ principle seems to pervade cultures everywhere.. You only have to look at our films to see what dominates our own worldview. From Popeye to Tom and Jerry and Rambo to Batman, we are repeatedly sold the lie that violence is the only way to win and eradicate the enemy. And to add irony to insult, James Bond, the British Spy, in the service of Queen and country kills, murders, threatens, bullies, seduces, commits adultery, lies, steals, cheats, breaks the law and beats his enemies to a pulp.
But, have we actually been deluded into believing a myth that is destroying us? It was Gandhi who wrote: ‘I object to violence because even when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.’ As Carl Jung poignantly observed, “You always become the thing you fight.”  Perhaps the ultimate weakness of any kind of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. May be violence can never stop violence, simply because every ‘successful’ violent act deepens our faith in it and this very success leads others to imitate it.
Although, at this moment, Islamic extremism presents our contemporary world with a unique threat – to which very understandably it has been necessary to respond - radicalisation is much more than an Islamic problem. It is a human problem. For instance, here in South London, more young people are enticed by the lure of gangs and guns than ever seduced by the sinister world of extremism and terror.
At the age of 14, a South London kid, became a Christian - a follower of Christ. In that moment, he felt as if his small pointless story had been caught up in a much bigger, radical vision to bring positive change to the world; that he’d joined a huge gang – a gang that was worth belonging to – with a narrative that was strong enough, compelling enough, infectious enough, deep enough, rooted enough, and radical enough to dedicate his life to.
That kid was me.
Everyone needs a narrative worth living by; one that explains to us who we are, supplies us with a sense of worth and purpose – and which offers us hope for the future. Any counter terrorism strategy that falls short of this fails to get to the heart of things.
Do governments, guns and traditional armies have a role to play in our war against terrorism? Theologians and philosophers from Thomas Aquinas to Dietrich Bonhoeffer have spent centuries wrangling over Just War Theory; attempting to find a moral response to the evil perpetrated by those who wreak violence and war on the innocent. Of course a response may be necessary. But, can guns alone finally ever win the peace? Never! In this they are impotent. Instead, in the end we must find and promote a new narrative to live by, together, that brings real change, because lasting change, arises from local communities, one relationship at a time. Every act of love is a victory over hatred. Every act of kindness, a victory over violence. There is finally no other way.
Christians see Jesus Christ as the supreme example of the power of peace – He was oppressed and afflicted, but he did not fight back. His teaching, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ has inspired countless men and women through the centuries to live as non-violent radicals.  For those who have lived out this ‘upside down’, non-violent approach to life in past days, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Desmond Tutu, or the older Nelson Mandela, there is almost universal admiration and respect. 
Now the challenge before us is to articulate for a new generation a narrative that is powerful enough to bring real and lasting peace to our vulnerable multi-cultural, multi-faith communities as well as to the diversity of our wider world.
It is never enough to talk about peace. It is never enough to believe in peace. The real task, the only task, is to work at peace – As Jesus said; ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.’
And now I invite you to reflect in a moment of prayer as we hear the Oasis Waterloo Community Choir sing an arrangement of the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.

Dear friends

I was delighted to hear on ITV News that Steve is against selection of the brightest children to go to more grammar schools.  Theresa May's plan is for yet more preferential treatment for the wealthiest and most privileged to go to the 'best' schools in the land by building more of the supposed 'best'.

I want inclusion that means that those at the bottom should get the best of everything.  Bias to the poor and not the rich.  The rich and brightest are well able to look after themselves.

I was also delighted to hear your excellent 'Sunday Worship' broadcast on Sunday.  Steve's sermon was the very first sermon I have heard - and I am 68 years old - that specifically mentioned non-violence as the way of the Cross - as Christ's way.

Well done, Steve!

Dear Tim

Steve just wanted to thank you for being in touch; your support, kind words and encouragement are much appreciated.

With kind regards

Judith

Judith Doel, PA to Rev Steve Chalke MBE, Founder and Leader, Oasis GlobalThe Oasis Centre 1 Kennington Road, London. SE1 7QP| T. 020 7921 4241 | F. 020 7921 4201 | www.oasisuk.orgwww.oasisglobal.orgwww.oasiscommunitylearning.orgwww.oasischurchwaterloo.orgwww.stopthetraffik.org

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ammerdown Centre on security

I particularly liked the 'Security for the future' piece.  But it did not mention the militarisation of diplomacy that is a 'new' phrase I heard on Radio 4 earlier this year or, the wisdom of not inciting and not supporting the Arab Spring, rebellion/revolution or democracy or 'freedom', that quickly turns to violence as we have seen with Syria since 2011.  The Jesus/Gandhi way is always best and is effective, eventually.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

"Labour could face years of oblivion" Halesowen News 11 August 2016

Is not years of oblivion a far far better thing they do than have another right wing, conventional kind of leader that takes the nation into more wars on foreign soil without UN blessing?

Which side does the most aggression and violence?

We are expected and encouraged to loath Islamic State and to support the killing of every member in Syria, Iraq, Libya,Tunisia and elsewhere but, we imprison anyone who, in the UK, openly and eloquently supports IS and refuses to condemn their violence - like Anjem Choudary.

Is this a correct analysis or a correct reading of the situation?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Positive, constructive, helpful suggestions for Arriva Trains

Trains cancelled on the Cambrian Coast Line on Saturday 30 July 2016

  1. I would like a written explanation for the reasons, please.  Was it down to an oversight over maintenance of Network Rail infrastructure?
  2. When the electronic sign at Morfa Mawddach station gives you a phone number to ring, can your employee please have the bus times to hand to give to the stranded passenger.  The man I spoke to, soon after 2 pm last Saturday was clueless and spent so much time going to his supervisor whom I did, eventually, get to speak to but was not much better, that I almost ran out of battery on my mobile phone.  I did exhaust the battery when the number on the bus stop was not available and the recorded message could only give me another number to ring which I was then unable to write down.
  3. Your male employee I rang from Morfa Mawddach station told me that the 1608 train was running from Machynlleth but failed to tell me that there was also the 1805 train, too.  I wrongly assumed that the 1608 was the only train and pedalled furiously the 27 miles via Tywyn and Aberdyfi to Machynlleth.
  4. Can you please ask passengers for mobile phone numbers on the online facility when booking and paying for tickets.  If Arriva Trains had texted me to tell me of the trains cancelled and to tell me that I had to get to Machynlleth, with times of trains from there, I would have cycled a shorter route to get the 1805 train from there.  I would only have had to cycle an additional 17 miles instead of the 34 miles that I actually did, according to Google Maps.  My phone had been switched on throughout my cycle ride from Llanrug, near Caernarfon, that started soon after 0700 hrs.  But no text came through about the train cancellations.
  5. It was only at Machynlleth station that I found that there was an 1805 train to Wolverhampton.  At Machynlleth, your Anthony Hill, the drivers' team manager, was sympathetic, understanding and helpful.  He gave me two complimentary bottles of water that was just what I needed after a fast and long cycle ride in the heat to catch a train.  He said he would mention at his Monday's meeting my suggestion of texting passengers with information over train cancellations and the alternative arrangements made.  Did he do so?

The War Industry is far too dominant and important to our nation

Much higher standard of ethical teaching is required in our churches, schools and colleges/universities.  Teaching against arms exports and our armed forces landing and being based in so many other countries.  Sometimes fighting wars of aggression or, at least, having military bases in countries far from our shores.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Is Christian discipleship meant to embrace non-violence, justice and actually doing what Christ taught?

Doing our duty to Queen and Country; doing total discipleship to our God, JC1

Thinking about our nation's recent military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, is there one verse in one of Paul's letters that has a bearing on those trouble spots?  And another as, perhaps, a slight corrective to that one?  What could I be thinking of?!

What would be the mind of Christ in those situations?

How then does that apply to our own Christian discipleship?  Should it affect how we vote, how we write to or, even visit, our MEPs, MPs and councillors?

Hi Tim,

Thanks for all these thoughts on walks etc - we will look forward to seeing you by 9am Friday - we will bring our own lunch and so be ready for the off.

re: your thought for the day, your question about the 'mind of Christ' is a really good one; unfortunately He doesnt offer any soundbites on Afghanistan, Iraq, the Labour leadership etc!!!! (No soundbites but much teaching in the Gospels, Acts and in Paul's letters, don't you think, Peter?)  So we have to rely on the big picture of scripture as a whole I think.  Both the Old Testament and the gospels were written during tumultuous times politically and socially  from slavery in Egypt, warring nations, constant attempts to stamp out the people of God, the failure of the Jewish kings to meet expectations etc;. In the NT there is the total occupation and dominance of the Roman empire with all the injustice and inhumanity that accompanied it.  The apostle Paul made good use of his Roman citizenship and was not, of course, rebellious or revolutionary.  Unlike our Western governments and the public opinion that allows them to be so.  But only when it comes to weaker countries who can't hit back (apart from with terrorism).

When it comes to Romans 13 v 1-7, my commentary has: "The Christian and the state.  Though the Christian has no right to punish (12 v 19-21), the state does have that right and the Christian must respect it.  Paul's confidence that the Roman state is, on the whole, just and beneficent is matched in 1 Peter 2.13-17; 3.v13."

How is the mind of God and of his Messiah expressed? Constantly reconciliation with God through his Messiah is the theme, BEFORE reconciliation with our neighbour is possible. So the sermon on the mount (which most people take as great advice for life) is all about mourning our sin, hungering for God and His righteousness, seeking peace with God first, and only then can we live in our messy world loving our neighbour in need.

So I cannot expect a world that doesn't live under the lordship of Christ to follow his way any more than the OT Israelites, or NT believers could expect those around them to do. Should those who do live in the lordship of Christ follow His (non-aggression) way, however difficult or costly?  That doesn't mean I shouldn't do 'all the good I can to all the people I can just so long as I can', but I think it suggests that the main witness of Christian believers is to enjoy living under the lordship of Christ.- enjoying his world, his peace, his forgiveness, and do all I can to be reconciled with my 'neighbour'.

This may not be what you wanted to hear, as you are still in'campaigning' mode, but I think our world will remain messy until Christ comes again !!  But our own little, individual world should have the minimum mess (or hypocrisy) in it.

Every blessing Tim, and thanks again for all the prep for our time away.

Peter.

This has been sent only to you, Les but is one reply to what Peter wrote on the back of the sheet I gave you yesterday.

You are right.  It is campaigning but, as I see it, it is also, for me, doing my duty to Queen and Country and discipleship to my God (JC1).  "Give to Caesar those things that are Caesar's and to God those things that are God's."

I think, this kind of patriotism puts Jesus Christ first and is also in line with His Spirit that cannot possibly be about overthrowing foreign governments.  In this century alone, these have been Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.  Last decade, our friends and allies (and our fellow believers) in the States had seven countries as part of their Project for the New American Century.  All to be overthrown to become democratic and American compliant.  All contrary to Titus 3 v 1 and Romans 13 - being submissive and obedient to rulers and authorities.  Especially, the Spirit of Jesus cannot be about bringing democracy down the barrel of a gun, as all three main political parties we vote for believe and do.  My pastor, Les Hardwick, told me that the corrective to complying with the wishes of the authorities is the verse in Acts, "Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men' " Acts 5 v 29.

Therefore, should Christian believers be voting for the main political parties who do war around the world, to try and keep Western compliant governments in power or, use military might to protect their vital strategic interests?  "Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts" Zechariah 4 v 6.

​Tim

Hi Tim 
Thank you for your e-mail in which you raise some very difficult questions.  In Matthew 24v6 Jesus said "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.".He also spoke in chapter 25 of the need to look after the poor and hungry v 31 to 46.

The question of voting  has to be answered according to our own conscience accepting that someone else will act differently while following their own conscience. Not voting can open the door to  even worse forms of government     (there was a time when I would not vote.)

In September 2002 (15 February 2003) over one million people marched in London protesting against the war against Iraq, the war still went ahead!  The 1950s,saw many protests against  weapons of mass destruction, nothing has changed.  There seems little we can do! but we can feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, try to overcome poverty and vote for the party which seems most willing to tackle these issues!

Les

Thanks v much for these thoughts.

We need a much higher profile given to non violence, constraint not coercion, a new determination to eschew aggression, power, domination, colonialism, empire building, forcing our ways (and wars) on others.

A new determination to allow religious and political toleration, equality, justice tempered with mercy instead of constant punishment and revenge.  A rejection of hypocrisy in too much unethical foreign policy and the closure of Guantanamo Bay.  A rejection of the all out war on Gaza that our side perpetrated in July and August of 2014.  A rejection of lying that allows some of our political leaders to say, "Of course, I will press the nuclear button" to send much of humanity to kingdom come.  Obscene riches to allow, with Trident, such disgusting behaviour by our leaders and, when poverty and inequality is so rife too!

"What we sow today we will reap tomorrow".  Mayhem, instability, civil war in the Middle East is now spreading, with revenge attacks, to our own Western nations that are bombing, missiling Syria and Iraq - and, for many more years to come.  Nearly all the politicians we vote for have unleashed the dogs of war, opened the Pandora's Box, well and truly stirred up a hornet's nest of anger and hatred against Israel and the West.

I must come round today to get the meter reading that Places for People want today.

Every blessing

Tim

Friday, 4 March 2016

Condemning and understanding

CONDEMN A LOT MORE AND UNDERSTAND A LOT LESS


We had decades of child sex abuse and immorality by Jimmy Savile.  No-one persisted with their complaints to ever ensure that the man was stopped.  I think, the pendulum then swung in the opposite direction and, in recent years, we have seen celebrities, establishment figures even in their 90s and the dead, too accused of sex abuse from decades ago.  Even the demented, the dying and the dead are all eligible for investigation into their sex crimes in their youth and, then prosecution of some kind.


How can you get to the truth of the accusations when not just years but decades has elapsed since the alleged incidents?  Do you not get a mixture of mischief makers, misremembering, exaggeration, fantasists and, of course, genuine complaints.  But is it not one person’s word against another person’s?  How do you get justice done for the complainant/victim/survivor and the accused when you have to decide who to believe from not an ounce of evidence to weigh in the scales of justice?


It had to be a difficult judgement over the balance of probability when it came to long dead Bishop George Bell.  The Church of England believed the complainant/victim/survivor and paid her £15,000.  Peter Hitchens was not exactly thrilled!  I suppose the Anglicans felt that they had to give the benefit of the doubt to the complainant, in the present atmosphere.  An atmosphere of being seen to be strong in finding people guilty and punishing hard.  If you give the benefit of the doubt to the accused, you are seen as being a namby pandy, wishy washy, a weak, pathetic liberal.  Only might and strength are respected between peoples and, on the world stage between nations.


It seems to me, as though decision makers and the Police are over-compensating for their careless and unbelieving attitude for decades by going overboard now - since the Savile abuses came to light.  From under-reaction to over-reaction.  We never seem to be able to get things right and to act proportionately and sensibly.  But, then, how can you possibly tell who is telling the truth when decades have passed and there is no evidence?  Is justice pot luck?


Does time temper justice if justice tempered with mercy no longer does?


Should there be a statute of limitation, as some countries have?


Is there ever a danger of a witch hunt?  Have the Savile abuses and inaction awoken memories and anger in those who have been sexually abused by him and many others?  Understandably, they now want something done to assuage their feelings and to give them closure.


Sex abuse victims are now given full attention.  Men are under suspicion more than ever before of predatory behaviour or luring girls and women.  Yet, from what I see, the foreign victims of UK wars of (often) aggression in our 102 consecutive years of war in foreign lands, get little attention.  We do all we can to keep these refugees out, in fact and to forget the whole ghastly business of migrants fleeing war, poverty and environmental degradation.  We convince ourselves that all that is nothing to do with us because we are in no way responsible!  We have been groomed to accept that and, that our aggression is sadly essential in a fallen and failed world but, anyway, we are the good guys getting rid of Communists, evil dictators, jihadists and extremists.  We are the knights in shining armour and the millions of victims of our aggression have to put up with it for the greater good.  We, certainly, have no responsibility for them.


Over the Adam Johnson case, I heard on the ‘Jeremy Vine Show’, one caller talking of national hysteria over sexual activity between young people.  Another caller mentioned decision makers wanting to be seen doing much better on sex abuse cases than they did over Savile (my over-compensating pendulum swing) .


Is not uncovering a cover up or, exposing abuse or, misuse of public money or, malpractice or maladministration or any wrong-doing by others an honourable endeavour?


Hence, since the 1980s, I have been doing what I regard as exposing misdeeds and uncovering dereliction of duty.  From the KBH motorway bypass alongside a fast rural trunk road and main line railway to today.  Today, thirty years on, I am trying to get the trains back on that same line further north that is not used.  It would bypass Brum and take some road and rail congestion out of their Grand Central Shopping Centre and basement station, as well as our Black Country.


Hence, my writing exposes:

  • Idiocy in dismantling first the tram network and then the rail network, failure to mothball the rail lines and, failure to correct their stupidity in 50 years.
  • Failed to build the W approach tunnels when Westside was being built in the 1990s.
  • Failed to build the E approach tunnels when the Bull Ring was being rebuilt in the next decade.
  • After 50 years, 78 Km of unused or goods only, double track rail lines alongside or near congested roads in the Black Country and Birmingham.
  • Further 58 Km from Walsall to Derby via Lichfield is still not available for passenger trains.
  • 2 important rail curves still not built - after 50 years.
  • Failed to link the Merry Hill monorail to the main line railway and to open it at the same time.
  • £750 m (all rail money?) for Grand Central Shopping Centre with the main line station tagged along as an afterthought and stuck in the basement.
  • Now, a plan for, possibly, transport money going for subsidising the M6 Toll to further reduce the amount of money for urban Beeching rail reversals in the Black Country and Brum.
  • The W Midlands Combined Authority remains corruptly biased towards road schemes; secondly, towards super expensive tram extensions in Birmingham city centre; thirdly, £12 m for a second rapid transit mode to duplicate the first, trams.  What little money is left over may then go to Brum rail schemes.
  • Beeching rail reversals continue to be the forgotten, the sad Cinderella of the Midlands, as traffic choked roads and rail lines get ever worse as the populations rises.