Sunday, 30 November 2014

My first ever train trips to Wales for walking and cycling - in 2014!

I got the train to Porthmadog in North Wales on Monday for only the second time and then cycled to a former colleague's home in Llanrug, near Caernarfon.  In the summer, I took the train to Morfa Mawddach and walked over the mountains to Machynlleth to get the train home.  Two wonderful trips but, the summer was so dry and warm I was able to sleep out without a tent in a graveyard in the church that Mary Jones went to.  Mary was the 15 year old who walked over the hills to Bala to get a Welsh Bible in 1800.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

We don't just hate foreigners ...

who come to England, we kill them even when they don't!

The indigenous population can have as many children as they like but we only want the rich and the professional people to come from outside the UK to boost our population.  The riffraff can stay away, thank you very much!

We are too small an island to have the poor, the environmental refugee or those fleeing war torn areas of the world.  We can carry on getting good economic growth from our climate changing life styles and all our military activities, as well as welcoming the wealthy and well-to-do professional immigrants.

On the other hand, farmers and fruit growers need immigrants to harvest their crops on low wages.  If we pay more to get indigenous people to do the jobs, then prices will rise.  This could lead to more imports of cheaper produce that leads to unemployment, here.

We have every right to execute evil terrorists, whenever we like. So there!

Very many thanks, Tom for all these thoughts of yours, particularly for the following that I do think is true:

"It seems to me that we as humans are a warring breed. The human race has warred with each other since we were created and throughout our evolution. I'm going back to biblical times and Well before. Wars generally speaking are largely about territory, retaining our way of life and reclaiming territory we believe to have been taken from us. Another factor is the need for world domination. Muscelling in on others people's territory and way of life. As a result, people have had to defend themselves against aggressors in order to defend their territory and ways of life which they have worked hard to build."

At its height, the British Empire had world domination of about one third of the known world.  We went to war on 4 August 1914 to make clear to upstart Germany who was the world's ruler - US.  And, now, we remain the world's ruler with the full support of the USA with whom we are in tandem!

Just because we have an innate​ instinct for revenge and violence does not mean we should give in to those instincts.  Should we not have more self-control and resist all our aggressive urges?

I do think that we all have to be far less gullible; far more sceptical about whether it really is necessary, let alone ethical and legal for us to attack other countries.  Don't trust the politicians when they tell us we must go to war.  We should think things out for ourselves.  No blind obedience, please!

It now seems that our declaration of war on the 4 August 1914 was premature, when Germany never had any intention of invading the UK nor, at any time during the four years.  The German leaders wanted to control more European territory, certainly.  (One hundred years on, Germany is now the respected and acknowledged leader of the European Union under Angela Merkel, a right wing politician who is liked by both Europe and Russia.)  We should have lived up to our nickname of 'perfidious Albion' and, yet again, broken our outdated 1839 treaty with Belgium and, secondly, refused to go to the aid of France when she was attacked.  Unthinkingly tying ourselves to an alliance with France and going to war 100 years ago when we had a small professional army (100,000 in the UK), and no conscription was sheer stupidity.  We were very lucky to get away with it - and nearly did not!  Unfortunately, one-sided disarmament and reparations and folly was seen with the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.  Even our former Tory leader, Ian Duncan Smith believes that it led to the rise of the Nazis and the 1939 war.

Hence, one 20th century, European, Christian war that led to world war because all these Christian nations had their own colonies all over the world.  And we, clean living Brits were the worst offenders, with the biggest empire ever seen in the history of humanity.  All this, in direct contravention with what our Founder said and did in His temptations before his public ministry!  Every British monarch, for centuries, had been commanded in their Coronation to submit themselves to the "living oracles of God" (the Bible).  Our forbears betrayed Christ and, His life and teaching.  Our Christian nation has engaged in warfare in every single year, ever since (1914).  Shameful!

Now, it seems, our Judeo/Christian based nations are wanting to exterminate every single member of Islamic State.  As if they could!  Israel is engaged in exterminating every member of Hamas by drones that we build, here in the West Midlands (Stafford)  As if Israel could ever bring about such complete slaughter.  We fully support Israel in killing cold blooded murderers without the delay and cost and inconvenience of judicial process.  Never any sanctions against our good friend, Israel.  Then, we bulldoze their homes as further punishment.  We then get all indignant when they try and kill us Brits and Israelis, whether it is in Muslim lands or in our own lands!

For every single year for at least the last one hundred years (Guardian 12.2.2014) we have persistently shown violence to expand our territories or to hold them.  Now, we are reaping what we have sown over our military interventions in the Middle East - more violence from those we have attacked.  In addition, with yet more nuclear weapons as we replace Trident at the cost of £100 billion of irreplaceable resources and gruesome greenhouse gases.  As if a fleet of submarines can stop the rise of Islamic State in Muslim majority Syria and Iraq!  One nuclear warhead from one sub, could wipe out most of humanity.  But that is what most of the electorate think is a very good idea indeed - if it comes to it!

Just because Christian believers, Muslims and the rest are so aggressive and violent, does that give the rest of us an excuse for being equally violent and aggressive, Tom?

Conscience is my god.  But for the children of Abraham (Jews, Christians, Muslims who all have the same God with three names), this is heretical.  At Zion Christian Centre last week, I heard Jeff Lucas, a Christian leader, speaker and author, downplay the importance of conscience as not being adequate when God's Laws and His Will are pre-eminent!

In short, international law and the UN Charter allows nations to defend themselves but not to be aggressors and to attack other nations, as we do.  Therefore, I am not a pacifist although, like Christ, I do believe in non-violent direct action and passive resistance.  Therefore, for me, the COs were the real heroes between 1914 and 1918.  All the others were badly hoodwinked by the politicians who preached patriotism, nationalism and militarism - and the people gladly swallowed the lies.  The politicians told us to: 'Be silent.  Consume.  Die.'  Exactly what happened to so many of them.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"Lest we forget" ... to keep killing foreigners, so they know who's boss and who is right!

We always remember our own people who have been killed in our hundred years of warfare around the globe.  Now, even more so, perhaps, than we have ever done in the past.  They are our heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  So we laud and honour them on Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day.  Those they killed don't get quite the same attention.  Is that because they had the temerity to kill our armed forces personnel?  In fact, we justify their murder by calling them terrorists to make it easier for us to execute them by fire and flame.  We have every right to do so when they have the barbarity to behead our clean living, honest, democratic, capitalist journalists and aid workers.

We always forget the reasons for our British armed forces going to kill and to be killed.  Isn't it funny that it is always "to protect Britain's vital security interests" or, "to respond to a security threat to the UK".  Yet, how do we end up killing so many?  Perhaps, ten to fifty times the number of our people killed defending our shores!  17,000 UK armed forces personnel killed since 1945.  How many foreigners - whoops, I mean godless Communists and, latterly, terrorists, did they and their comrades kill first?

For every single year, over the last 100 years, we clean living Brits have engaged in warfare, in far off lands (Guardian 12.2.2014).  This has always been with the full approval of NATO and, often with NATO's full engagement, too - and Israel's wars must be included, too over the last 66 years.  And, obviously, they are so essential, so righteous, so legal and moral.  Where has Russia and China been in all this?

From what I gather, since 1945, the track record of Russia and China has been morally superior to that of the Western, capitalist and 'Christian' countries.  From the Suez Crisis, to the Cuban Missile Crisis to all our years of warring in the Middle East to the present, China has been missing and Russian involvement has been much less than the Oh, The Ever So Righteous West!  Cuba was in response to our Jupiter missiles in Turkey on the border with Russia and, Russia's war in Afghanistan was much shorter than all our 13 years (and rising) of wars in that country and Iraq.  China is nowhere to be seen, in comparison with our strutting around on foreign battlefields for every year for at least the last 100 years (and rising)!

This year, I met an Icelandic man who was astonished by the number of war memorials and statues to our war heroes in London.  So many Generals, Admirals and Bomber death dealing Harris.  It never ends but, it has.  Gandhi gets one in Parliament Square, soon!

Yet, we always forget those that they have killed - always killed on foreign shores and never in Britain. 

In answer to this point. All those who died in the two world wars are remembered. No one is forgotten.

Ode of Rememberance:-

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

A reference to all who died.

We always forget the reasons for our British armed forces going to kill and to be killed.
Tim. This is not true. Of course we remember why we go to war.

Isn't it funny that it is always "to protect Britain's vital security interests" or, "to respond to a security threat to the UK".
To answer this point.

We went to war to protect not only our own interests but the interests of probably the rest of the world. We fought against Hitler and the Kieser. Both of whom had the same inclination. World domination. They had to be stopped. And if we didn't stop them, someone else would.

always killed on foreign shores and never in Britain.
We are an island. More difficult to reach. We stop
poeple before they reach us. Except the Romans and the Duke of Normandy. Remember the Spanish. The Germans tried twice and failed.

For every single year, over the last 100 years, we clean living Brits have engaged in warfare, in far off lands.  This has always been with the full approval of NATO and often with NATO's full engagement, too
To answer this point. We have engaged in war fare over the past 100 years, not only to protect our own interests but others too. We fought alongside other countries, all attempting to protect their own interests, land and freedom. Of course NATO was involved. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It's the North Atlantic areas initially that were threatened. The world would come later.

In 2015, STOP voting for the three main war parties whose foreign policies kill, indiscriminately
in the Muslim majority world
Most Muslims are peaceful Poeple. Around 90%. The remaining 10% are Islamic Terrorists hell bent on creating a Muslamist world. And look at the appalling, atrocious, methods they use. They are threatening the entire western world. They have to be stopped. However, this battle will go on for a very long time. Dialogue is futile. They war and kill amongst themselves.

So there you are Tim. The reasons why I wear the blood red badge. You are living in a democracy were you are free to do as you wish. That's what those poeple died for in two world wars. Tom

Friday, 14 November 2014

One illegal and warmongering behaviour leads to yet more of the same

Jews and Arabs have lived together for thousands of years with, it seems, very many more years of peace than war.  For much of that time, Jews have lived outside the Holy Land, after their initial conquest of Canaan, when Yahweh gave them the Promised Land and, then exile to Babylon.

Perhaps, the greatest explosion of mutual killing between Jews and Muslims has taken place since 1948 with the founding of the State of Israel.  That might never have taken place if it had not been for the 1939-45 war that brought the holocaust caused by the West.  Germany was directly responsible but the other Christian Western nations knew what was going on, almost from the outset, in Germany from 1933.

It seems that the State of Israel came about for three reasons:
  1. The 'Christian' Western nations responsible for the 39-45 war and the persecution of the Jews, wanted to salve their conscience and to do something in restitution.
  2. Jews were fleeing persecution in war torn Europe to the land that they had first conquered and occupied 2,500 years, or more, ago.
  3. Because of the terrorism by the Jewish terrorist gangs, the West with the UN, designated a homeland for the Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine.  Now known as the State of Israel.
That 39-45 war might never have taken place if only the British Empire had kept aloof from the 1914 war on the mainland of Europe.  British entry on 4 August 1914 when we were ill equipped, was grossly premature and unnecessary when Britain was never in danger of being invaded between 1914 and 1918.

"Revealed: £4bn plan to get city moving" Post 13 Nov

In nearly fifty years of living and working in Wider Birmingham I have seen umpteen of these magnificent transport plans that promise so much and deliver so little, if anything.

I came to Brum in the 1960s when the Victorian New Street Station had just been demolished and rebuilt to be a virtual underground station filled with poisonous diesel fumes.  In the 1970s, the Victorian Snow Hill Station went the same way - bulldozed.  Realising their error, it was quickly rebuilt but, to only half its former grand size.

In the 1980s and 90s, Midland Metro trams were all the rage but, by 2000, instead of nearly half a dozen new tram lines to replace trains and buses, we had a measly ONE and that was almost entirely built on a rail line that should never have had its trains removed!  Even then, it was never extended to New St Station.  Extraordinary!

In this year of our Lord and Master, Cllr Albert Bore - 2014, we STILL have the six miles double track rail line through Kings Norton, Kings Heath and Moseley without stations or trains.  Nose to tail rush hour congestion alongside an empty double track rail line.  Scandalous!

In addition, we have the 13 miles of the Stourbridge, Dudley, Walsall double track rail line also devoid of trains and stations.  It goes within half a mile of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, almost next to Dudley Zoo and Castle, very near to the Black Country Living Museum, links with the West Coast Main Line and our precious, one and only tram line at Wednesbury.  Empty of trains; not even any ghost trains.  Fifty years of unparalleled negligence and, after the stupidity of the line being closed in the first place!

The one triumph was the re-opening of the cross rail line from Longbridge to Four Oaks.  Amazing!  How was it done?  Nothing like it has ever been seen since by our pie in the sky transport experts.  But, today things have changed for ever by these same visionary transport officials.  We can now rest happy in our beds knowing that things are looking up - at long last!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Richard Alonzo on Israel/Palestine tragedy

As an atheist I have no religious axe to grind and am I sure would be equally hated by the extremists on both side of the divide be they Zionists or Muslims., But I speak as someone who's father served in the British forces extensively in the Middle East and fought the Nazis for six long bloody years in the 2nd World War.

Your hate filled invective allegedly by an Israeli woman tells us why their will never be justice or peace in the Middle East...

It oozes contempt for the principles my father fought for in the 2WW as enshrined in the UN universal declaration of Human Rights and seeks to poor scorn and contempt on those who would defend those rights...

You are telling us that you are ignorant?

No I am fully aware of the origins of the state of Israel, of the terrorist acts of the Irgun and Stern Gangs, the bombing of the King David Hotel, the kidnapping and hanging of British soldiers with piano wire, the fact that in the two and a half years from 1945 to June 1947, British law enforcement forces lost 103 dead, and sustained 391 wounded from Jewish militants. Eventually forcing the British to withdraw for administering the mandate and UN Resolution 181 recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition.

I see no evidence of British forces at the time killing large numbers of innocent women and children in the communities allegedly sheltering the Irgun and Stern Gangs.

I am also aware that this lead to the 1947-48 civil war where both sides (Arabs  & Jews) had considerable blood on their hands averaging between them over 100 deaths and 200 injuries per week. We can of course reel off the tit-for-tat massacres until we are blue in the face, (Deir YassinHadassah medical convoy, etc.) but that will bring the region no closer to peace.

You are telling us you don’t really care about Palestinians or their children?

If you have compelling evidence of Hamas using Human shields bring it the international community, simply saying it does not make it true any more that the accusation that the IDF have taken over people homes and use them as a base of operations while locking them in another room (effectively making them human shields) with out evidence to prove it. Perhasp you can also produce evidence to show how many Hamas fighters were sheltering in the UN buildings the IDF hit? 

You are telling us that you are in favor of genocide?

'If your not for us you're against us' The age old battle cry of the tyrant. 
A classic piece of propaganda, portraying you simultaneously as the victim yet morally superior to everyone else who by showing the slightest concern for the value of a human life other than your own is branded a Nazi.  

You are telling us that you are a racist and a hater.

No, actually I'm telling you that human rights, such as the right to life, are inalienable, universal and applicable to all in all circumstances irrespective of if they are a Jew, Palestinian, Pagan or Atheist. I expect anyone who violates the rights of another individual or who commits war crimes irrespective of their background or cause to face the full force of the law.

You are telling us you are ill-informed, uneducated and/or too stupid or too lazy to read history books?

 See my reply to you are ignorant.

But most of all, you are showing God who you are and the evil that is in your heart?

I'm afraid as an atheist your threats of divine retribution do not move me, however your final line of hate filled invective really says it all.

'Every people who hated Jews eventually became extinct. The Jews survived.'

Which perhaps tells us all we need to know about the latest incursion into Gaza?

Rest assured however nothing will change in your lifetime, the western powers will continue to support Israel until it is no longer in their strategic interests to do so...

Richard Alonzo on the Israel/Palestine misery

It's hard to know where to start with some one who won't even acknowledge the humanity of the other side and their right to exist. Who uses the crimes of others to justify their own. Who takes the word of the Israeli military as gospel. Who  he cites in quoting the militant:civilian 1:1 ratio, when in fact most independent sources put it at 1:3. 

You could also cite international law on the settlements in the occupied territories in violation of the fourth Geneva convention that inflame the situation and Israels refusal to recognize the Palestinian right of return in violation of UN general assembly resolutions 194 & 3236.

I've had similar conversations with people at work along the lines of what if it was your home so lets turn the example of Halesowen on its head. How would you feel if the original inhabitants Halesowen (the Celts) suddenly appeared on your doorstep one day brandishing guns and gave you 24 hours to leave your home and dumped you all in Cradley Heath. Then built a wall around it so you had to endure the daily humiliation of queuing up for hours each day at military checkpoints, to travel to Halesowen to do minimum wage jobs for the people who had occupied your homes, before travelling back home through the same checkpoints again. 

Finally you could tell him that the Bush doctrine, a war on terror, asymmetric warfare using over-whelming conventional force against terrorists has been a total failure. The Taliban still controls larges parts of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya following western military intervention have become failed states and breeding grounds for ever more extreme forms of terrorism. That history tells us it almost impossible to defeat terrorism militarily and despite public protestations to the contrary Government know this and talk to terrorists because all the time because the only viable solution is a political one. 

Here in the UK back channels to the IRA were opened in 1972 almost as soon as the troubles started and remained in place throughout the darkest days of the conflict. That a far more constructive humane and christian response to terrorism is the one shown by the parents of Tim Parry  in the aftermath of the Warrington bombing. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Superb letter from Tim Willson, dated 13.11.2010

Hi Tim,

Very sorry to hear about your accident. And I hope you get better quickly. Becky has told me about your rib too.

I had a very mixed week of weather in Scotland. I walked from Glenfinnan to Roshven (West coast) via a brilliant ridge line just under the Munro height (highest being Rois-Bheinn if you have done it?). It is the area West of Loch Shiel and is called Moidart. This took three days and was very wet and windy. Actually blowing me off my feet and sending me flying at one point. And I had puddles inside the tent by the second night. But when I could see, the views were pretty spectacular. And I didn't see anyone for the entire time.

I then helped the survival expert Leon with the two day mountain navigation course. We were teaching two people (BA Execs no less) and took them up the slopes of Rois-Bheinn and then across and around this area covered with little lochans (South of Roshven village). We camped on a little peninsula sticking out into a lochan and at night all the stars were reflected into the water. Very beautiful and Quiet.

After the course I got a lift back to Fort William and spent the night in the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. And because of the weather, heavy snow and 90mph winds, I spent the next day and night there too.

Then Tuesday morning I got off early and walked the Mamores ridge all the way down to camp at a little lochan (750m) at the far end of the ridge which is by a Munro which is by itself (I haven't a map with me so cannot give you a name.  SELF: The Munro was Binnein Mor) I did miss out An Gearach and the other Peak which is to the North of the main ridge and requires a detour. But the snow level was about 600m and it was excellent visibility so the views were spectacular. On Wednesday I climbed the Munro (SELF: Binnein Beag) by my campsite lochan, after defrosting my boots which had frozen solid in the night. Then I climbed up Sgurr Eilde Mor (apologies for spelling from memory) to the South, and dropping down the NE ridge to the Bothy in the valley bottom. After a very chilly river crossing there I followed the river eastward to Loch Treig and then walked up to Corrour Station in tim for the 1830 train to Glasgow and my overnight bus journey back.

The last two days were spectacular, especially wednesday, with 360 degree views of snowy peaks and even the Ben itself was cloud free. Probably the best winter days I have spent up there.

I am now recovering with Becky who made a brilliant apple pie (but not quite as good as my Grandma's). Becky also made the best Chilli con carne with sweet potato mash, and ice cream (written under duress!).

Apologies if I have frustrated you, particularly with news of Becky's cooking! Hope your very well (bar injuries) and I'm sure your keeping busy.

Halesowen Wedding by Duncan Cox

I started the day at Becky’s parents house in my parent’s hometown of Halesowen in Worcestershire. The day started cloudy with a promise of bright sunshine for the rest of the day. The weather man lied! There was one moment, all day, where the sun peeped through. I suppose we can be grateful it did not actually rain. Becky’s family were a lovely group of people who kind and loving towards their daughter and attentive to her needs. The house was buzzing with activity as it usually is on a wedding day. Dad busied himself with the catering while the ladies of the house rallied around Becky ensuring her dress was immaculate and the hair & make-up were completed to precision. I was particularly fond of the moment the dress was fastened by the bridesmaids, everything was a little tense as it always is, when all of a sudden, a large mirror appeared for Becky to cast her gaze of approval. The moment the young bridesmaid popped her head around the side is one of the quirky, comedy moments I love to capture. It illustrates the mood perfectly and gives a terrific flavour to the photographs of the bride preparations.
The ceremony was a beautiful service in a modern church a short drive away still in Halesowen, Worcestershire. It was a happy, emotional service with some excellent readings and glorious singing. As a wedding photographer, capturing the moment is paramount in my skill. If you shoot early it does not look quite right and too late, you have missed it. I personally think the moment that defined their wedding for me, was while walking down the aisle with her father. I had taken a few shots of Becky walking towards Tim, but I believe the perfect moment was once the happy couple were along side each other. Becky leaned forward to look deep into the eyes of her husband to be, while completely unaware of her father on her left arm just about keeping his composure. In one photo or one moment, it shows the depth of emotion being experienced in different ways around the room. Wonderful!

My comment on Harry Leslie Smith's piece in the 'Guardian'

from: 'IAdmireAngelinaJolie':
"He has been dead a long time now, but I doubt very much that he would want to lay a wreath at the
Cenotaph. He was opposed to all forms of aggression... and the memorializing of such aggression. The
folly of man is best forgotten." (the comment that 'IAdmireAngelinaJolie' comments on, now:)
Yes. Well. Amos Oz said:The only alternative to continuing the Israeli military operation is simply to follow 
Jesus Christ and turn the other cheek. I never agreed with Jesus Christ about the need to turn the other 
cheek to an enemy. Unlike European pacifists I never believed the ultimate evil in the world is war. In my view 
the ultimate evil in the world is aggression, and the only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force.
That is where the difference lies between a European pacifist and an Israeli peacenik like myself. And if I may
add a little anecdote: A relative of mine who survived the Nazi Holocaust in Theresienstadt always reminded 
her children and her grandchildren that her life was saved in 1945 not by peace demonstrators with placards 
and flowers but by Soviet soldiers and submachine guns.
This is similar to the non-violent, English Baptist member of a Christian Peacemaker team who was 
kidnapped by al Qaeda in Iraq and then was rescued by the SAS.
I do find it strange that an Israeli peacenik, Amos Oz should write, "In my view the ultimate evil in the world is  
aggression, and the only way to repel aggression is unfortunately by force."
Is not using force or violence, aggression also?  Both Israelis and Palestinians accuse the other of just that -
aggression.  It gets them nowhere but to yet more revenge violence.  Revenge is so sweet for the victim of
aggression.  However, when the victim of aggression hits back, we call that terrorism.  Hence, al Qaeda, the
Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, some Palestinians are all terrorists.  Our side - NATO and Israel - 
are the peaceniks, the peacemakers because we use our violence and aggression - whoops, I mean force - 
to bring peace out of aggression by our military might is right!
This is all absolutely absurd.  Better to talk to terrorists, who are people like us and get a negotiated,
permanent settlement - as in N Ireland.  Netanyahu and Abbas may then become the Israel/Palestinian 
Chuckle Brothers like Paisley and McGuinness were in N Ireland.  That is even more absurd!

Monday, 10 November 2014

UK Collusion in Gazan killings


*On trial: Anti-Nato protesters who demanded Barclays divest from the arms trade*

Barclays Bank will be back in the spotlight today at Newport Magistrates Court, when 4 activists stand trial on charges of aggravated trespass. The activists were arrested when they occupied the Newport branch of Barclays as part of the anti-NATO week of action organised by Stop NATO Cymru at the beginning of September. The trial is set to last for a day and a half. All defendants have plead not guilty to all charges

On Friday 5th September this year, scores of people occupied the bank on Newport high street. They held banners calling on Barclays to divest from the arms trade and to stop investing in Israel's war crimes.

The protest was part of a campaign, called for by Palestinians in Gaza,[1] aimed at persuading Barclays to pull its money out of Elbit Systems, Israel's largest military company which manufactures the unpiloted drones used to bomb Palestinians in Gaza.

During July and August 2014, 2,150 Palestinians were killed as Israel carried out another massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip. Entire neighbourhoods were destroyed and mosques, market places, UN relief compounds and schools were deliberately targeted. There was no safe place for the 1.7 million people in Gaza to take shelter from the Israeli bombardment. Israeli drones, carried out over 800 major strikes.

Barclays has been condemned in recent years for its excessive use of tax havens, for creating a special 'tax avoidance division', for paying well below the nominal UK rate of corporation tax and manipulating the Libor rate. But this protest was more reminiscent of those which plagued Barclays through the 1970s and 1980s when the bank was heavily invested in apartheid South Africa.

The activists claim that Israel's drone programme is dependent on the investments of companies like Barclays. They called on customers and staff to boycott Barclays, just as anti apartheid campaigners did over
30 years ago.

The occupation of Barclays had been timed to coincide with the NATO summit. Elbit's drones are also used by NATO members. The company is part of a partnership manufacturing the Watchkeeper drone for use by the UK military.

*Campaigners will hold a demonstration outside Newport Magistrates Court on Monday morning in support of the defendant. The four defendants are due in court at 10am. *

For more details or to interview the defendants please email or call07907385974.

Instead of going to war to get peace and quiet in your towns ...

... O Israel, try being nice and generous to your enemies.  Try talking instead of killing.  Try using the Police to arrest, not kill and, then, bring to court for the judicial process to be used, instead!  Loving enemies and turning them into friends is not our way, naturally, for any of us but then, "My ways are not your ways; neither are my thoughts your thoughts", says the Lord.

Embarrass and astonish your neighbours with your concessions (but not the way you gave away Gaza without a long-term and permanent peace agreement).  Neighbours whom you have always distrusted, hated and killed can be lived with, even if it is only peaceful co-existence although, perhaps, even friendship may be possible eventually, as we have seen in N Ireland.

You,  O Israel have all the trump cards and must take the initiative to try a new approach to get peace and justice for you and your neighbours.  You cannot wait for them, the powerless with so little but hatred in their hearts to change unless you come up with new strategies to get peace and quiet - to get Shalom.  Show them love and you maybe surprised with what you get returned to you - after the unbelief, the cynicism, the scepticism and suspicions!

In other words, O Israel, try being like a fundamentalist Christian and literally obey the life and teaching of the Jesus Christ of the Gospels, particularly his revolutionary advice in the Sermon on the Mount.  Instead of warfare to bring peace that never comes, try the exact opposite approach.  Generosity, concessions and sheer magnanimity but, above all else, listen and meet their wishes and dreams, if at all possible.  You might then find that they are exactly like you (fellow terrorists - v naughty!!).  Heaven forbid!

I have read, Steve Mitzer's 'An Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict'.  For me, the idiots are the people who continue with the conflict.  The idiots are the tough, show no mercy, but hammer-them-all-hard folk who are convinced that peace can only come from warfare and violence, rather than the established rule of law.  Just as we have seen since the foolish, right wing religious man prayed at the Temple Mount in an act of stupid provocation.  The flare ups since, this month, demonstrate for me that Israel behaves like those who flush spiders down the plug hole, rather than helping them out of the vertical sides of the slippery bath.

For the State of Israel, Hamas is exactly the same as Islamic State and both, it seems, must be exterminated by genocide.  Not very ethical, to put it mildly!

These children of Abraham, rather than being a blessing on the rest of us as Yahweh promised, have been a curse, I'm afraid to say.  And they still are.  Yet, all the children of Abraham originate from the same earthly father (two mothers) but with the three different names for their same heavenly Father that the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims have for Him.

Learn, O Israel from the Sermon on the Mount, from the way the Nazis treated your ancestors and, from the tortuous peace process in N Ireland (channels of communication with the IRA were opened in 1972 to eventually bring the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement).

Friday, 7 November 2014

Let Scotland rule themselves from Holyrood to make for Conservative rule at Westminster - for ever!!

On September 18, David Cameron lost a golden opportunity to lose for ever his opposition Labour MPs from Scotland.  He would have lost only one Conservative MP but all of Scotland's Labour MPs - all 41 of them would have gone for ever to make Conservative governments ruling the rest of the Union much more likely at future General Elections.

How foolish, then for Cameron not to send a signal to Scottish voters that the English establishment would not be obstructive if they voted 'Yes'.  It only needed 5% who voted 'No' to change to 'Yes'.  That might have happened if Cameron had agreed with Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies that Scotland was wealthy enough to be independent, if they so wished.  They would still have been British; still have had the pound in their pocket that was their pound as well as England's; would have kept their banks in Scotland and the other financial institutions would not have fled to London; they would still be part of Britain but not part of the UK's unethical foreign and aggressive 'defence' policy.  That is all.  It would have meant however, that their oil, gas and shale gas would have been sold to the other three countries of the union.  And, that is fair enough.  They would even have had a sovereign wealth fund for those precious natural resources, to help conserve them.

Now life is much more complicated for Cameron working out a way of giving devolution to the English regions when, in recent years, there was no great demand for regional government with, certainly, city mayors.  Perhaps, the government will dole out the cash to the major cities for them to spend as they wished.  That is going some way to giving them independence.  An independence that simply means raising the taxes for what you want to spend that money on.

Empty rail lines; trams replacing buses and trains; but, growing congestion on road and rail!

Dear Peter and Toby - and copied to Geoff Inskip, for his information.

I am looking forward to meeting with you this afternoon at 3 at Centro House.

I would like these matters to be discussed, please:
  1. The UK's rail (and even road, at peak times) congestion bottleneck - New Street Station.
  2. Birmingham's second rail station - Moor Street.
  3. What can be done with the above problems?
In addition, I would like to hear your views on my assertion that we should concentrate on the two main public transport modes - road for buses, rail for trains, only.  Complete electrification and consider giving buses a bigger role in reducing rush hour car congestion.  Avoid further complication and expense with trams.  Learn from Edinburgh.

Double trouble is worsening with -
  • resource depletion and human climate change from:
  • living infinitely on a finite planet
  • living unnaturally on a natural planet
  • UK's indigenous population is growing and worsening the above.
There is always an unanswerable business case for every expensive and flash project that the London government wants.  Never a flawless business case for super expensive (many tens of billions) military schemes, projects and ventures in far flung corners of the planet for every single year over the last 100 years, however.  Never a mighty tome of files on why the economic argument is made for a re-organisation of the NHS and social care.  And how funny; indeed, how very strange that the economic and business case is so incontrovertibly made for spending £50 billion of our taxes on high speed, green field rail lines but never for bringing back into use our unused or underused 38 miles of double track rail lines. Every metre of which is continuously welded and with concrete sleepers, too.  That business case never, ever stacks up, even though some of the miles run alongside, or very near, to commuter congested roads!  And, could even ease the gridlock on the approach roads to New Street Station 'Drop and Go' tunnel (actually, 'Stop and Crawl' tunnel) of nicely perfumed exhaust gases.  There is simply no economic argument for doing anything about all that!

The decades of unfair funding for the Wider (or Larger) Birmingham region continues.  The North of England economic powerhouse and a 'Transport for the North' is promised for them but nothing for us.

Best wishes


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Land grab or land gift? From whom?

How many times do God's promises have to be fulfilled before we accept that they have been?  The one I am thinking of was first fulfilled using fear, terror and the death of men, women and children on a grand scale during the fulfillment - and in its maintenance to this day.  Therefore, was /is this really God's doing or the Devil's doing?

About 2,500 years ago it was the land of Canaan that became the Promised Land for the people of Israel.  In 1948, it was the British Mandate of Palestine that became the Promised Land - a homeland for the Jews who had been dispersed to all corners of the earth.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Are we Brits really as bright as we think?

Millions of British and empire casualties in 4 years to stop Germany rivaling the British Empire with their own collection of countries ruled by Kaiser Bill.  Were we out of our minds?

It was not as though we were attacked first, either.  We were safe and sound, well away from all the action across the North Sea.

It was not as though we were in danger of being invaded.  And, we were never at risk of invasion throughout this four year idiocy.

Our army was far too small a band of five divisions to ever stop Belgian neutrality from being violated by the plucky Brits coming to their rescue to drive the German troops back to their own border.  The 1839 treaty was simply an excuse for doing what Churchill was desperate to do - go to war.  Throughout the mad month of July 1914, we failed to take the normal precautionary measures: to put our troops on the Belgian border with Germany; we failed to bring in conscription, failed to rearm.  In the 19th century, we had staid our hand and chose our own time to go to war on the mainland.  Even then, it was not unknown for us to break our international obligations, treaties and promises when it suited us.  The 1839 treaty was a less than honest excuse that the politicians put about to justify their idiocy.  It was not the reason for war.  And, we were not in danger of being attacked.

Yet, Asquith and Churchill somehow thought that our security was being threatened.  The Cabinet was wrong to take us to war.  Less than honest and competent - and war mongering, in my book.

In addition, according to historian Niall Ferguson (Feb 2014 'BBC History Magazine'), the Liberal government thought they had better go to war to prevent resignations that would then have brought in the Tory government.  What a disgraceful reason to send young men to war!  Even after more than four years, there was still so much unfinished business, resentment and even hatred after the one-sided Treaty of Versailles, that many historians believe it led to part two of the Great War in 1939.

Just as we all believed our security was being threatened after the attack on the twin towers in New York in 2001.  Millions then lost their homes, or became refugees or were injured and killed in the War of Terrorism against Arabs in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Was this fair and proportionate?  Or, are we the war criminals?

WAS MY RUCSAC GUARANTEED FOR LIFE - I'm 66, the rucsac is 40?!

Useful feedback on superb Berghaus quality when climbing over 1,000 major summits in the UK and ROI.

Forty years ago, this month, November 1974, I bought a Berghaus 272 rucsac.  I only ever bought three in all those years of climbing and walking in the UK and Ireland but my old rock climbing sac, the 272, is still my favourite.  Still my favourite because it is so very, very light but strong.  I don't use it for backpacking, though and no longer rock climb.

However, the left strap now slips on the metal fastener after tens of thousands of times that it has slid up and down in use.  I now have to use a reef knot to tie the ends of the straps across my chest.

Two safety pins hold together the corner of the pocket on the flap but the holes - friction burns caused by my ice axe rubbing against the nylon when, in the early days, my new Primus stove was being carried - are too small ever to stop me using the sac with a plastic liner.

Could you please replace the two shoulder straps and stitch the corner pocket?