Sunday, 30 August 2009

Midland Metro for never!

* Nearly thirty years of little action have gone by. Only one line out of the three was achieved since 1980 - and that was on a rail line!

* There is even more traffic choked roads alongside empty rail lines.

* Electrification of the rail network is nowhere near complete even after 50 years of trying. It doesn't help when nearly everyone wants electric trams instead of electric trains on these 38 miles of Brum rail lines.

* The train/tram idea of 2008 was, years ago called track sharing or double running. This is something that is impossibly complicated for our rail industry that has trouble in running an efficient and well run rail network as it is. This resurrected idea is way beyond their abilities.

* Keep it simple, keep it plain; keep it obvious.

* Get the two main public transport modes at least as good as the average on the mainland of Europe. Then, extend the tram network further. We now have, not two, but three failing public transport modes - bus, train and tram.

* The green movement's traditional stance of accepting anything as long as it is public transport, is nowhere near good enough when issues of priority, value for money, least impact on climate change and resource depletion and, discrimination and discernment should be uppermost in our minds, I think.

* Even the very long established wish to put freight trains back on the full length Stourbridge, Dudley, Walsall rail line is impossible for our rail industry to achieve. Astonishing!

* Still, a rail line goes past the Waterfront complex of offices that are next to Merry Hill Shopping Centre but, office workers and shoppers still have to use their cars, a minority go by bus and I go by bike! This is a scandalous state of affairs because of the supposed popularity of trams everywhere.

* Trams on the middle section of this rail line has been developed for nearly thirty years but nothing has happened in even three decades of desperate transport bigwigs trying so hard. It also prevents, for ever, passenger trains returning to the 13 miles through three Black Country boroughs. This is transport negligence and incompetence, in my opinion.


It is all too easy to get indignant and sound self-righteous about MPs expenses. We wouldn't dare to do such a thing, of course, would we? The problem is that many of us do have the opportunity to claim expenses. Are we always beyond reproach?

Even if we don't claim expenses, we are all living so unsustainably that we are making the most of the system - as much as the MPs - to live it up today and to hell with tomorrow. Ripping through our one-off geological inheritance of oil, coal and gas to leave a most uncomfortable future for our descendants later this century.

I think it is only a question of degree. The richer you are, the more you are on the make, the more you are responsible for leaving less for your children and grandchildren. The more money you make, in a finite world, the more poverty you are creating for future generations. That is the uncomfortable reality for those who have to inherit the planet we are all busily trashing today with no thought for tomorrow and others!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Prisoner compassion is a notion strange to us!

Prisoner abuse in US/UK controlled prisons in Iraq - little or no protest.
Prisoner torture in US/UK controlled police stations in Iraq - little or no protest.
Prisoners held without trial for years in Guantanamo Bay "anomaly" (Blair) - little protest ...
... when compared with massive protest at prisoner compassion and prisoner mercy. All hell broke loose. Is it because we are so inured by prisoner abuse, vile interrogation methods that amount to torture, mock execution and even deaths in custody? Or, was it because of our side's strong sense of revenge?

If by some totally impossible turn around of events, the Lockerbie bomber had been a UK citizen, we would have welcomed him home with a celebratory open top bus tour around London! At least, the Libyans didn't do that in their capital. Just as well our side is so upright that we never shot down a passenger airliner! We could never do such a thing.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Always violence, aggression and slaughter for ...

... one millennium and still going strong!

Giving Afghans and Iraqis the vote every few years is just not worth all the slaughter. It is called bringing democracy down the barrel of a gun; just like we condemned the Communists for spreading revolution down the barrel of a gun - we are no better! In fact, down the years, the white nations have killed many more black people than they of us.
We whites are so hypocritical and racist!

It was the Christian, white nations and not the Muslim, black nations who developed and first used chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. We were responsible for the 1st WW and its sequel, the 2nd WW. In fact, we had the Arabs, united to the last man under our army hero, T E Lawrence fighting with us in the 1st WW - only for the Arabs to be let down later!

In a recent thirty year period, in one corner of our country, we had a civil war between two branches of the UK and two branches of the Christian Church that resulted in many more Irish republicans killed than they managed to kill of our own Irish monarchists who were loyal to the Queen. Figures from the BBC website. Bloody Sunday is only one most disgraceful and shameful episode in the history of the heroic British Army.

I have just seen in the 'Church Times' that one leading Christian vicar is arguing in print and, this morning, on BBC Radio 4 that the US/UK/NATO must continue the warfare in and on Afghanistan. The churchman is the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney in London.

Giles Fraser agrees with the War of Terrorism on the good people of Afghanistan. I know it is directed at the Taliban and al Qaeda but, as usual in modern warfare, the people of non-violence get injured and killed in much greater numbers than the wicked Taliban and al Qaeda that our men of violence are trying to eliminate for ever. Does this really satisfy Giles' Church of England's just war teaching?

David Dimbleby on 'Question Time' last month, said that al Qaeda is to be found in fourteen countries. Does Giles seriously think that even if we were to defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan, that they would no longer exist in the other thirteen?

Does Giles not know that our current war in Afghanistan is the fourth? We lost the first three, just like the Russians did more recently in their fewer wars in that country. We are certainly not winning this current war, even after
eight years of desperately trying and we are told it is going to last for decades!

Does Giles not suppose that if
we were invaded and occupied by foreign armies, that our men and women of violence would not similarly fight back? People of non-violence, like me, would be classed amongst the non-collaborators rather than the resistance fighters.

Does Giles not recall that our country has not been seriously invaded since 1066? Instead, we have had one millennium of invading, occupying and exploiting many nations around the world. Iraq and Afghanistan are simply the latest in a very long list of countries that are the victims of our many crimes of aggression down the centuries.

As a man of the cloth and a Christian believer, should Giles not be leading his flock in the way of non-violence as taught and practised by Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr and Donald, Lord Soper? In my book, Giles is now a man of violence, along with too many in the church and society.