Thursday, 2 November 2017

POLITICIANS, THE BAIN OF OUR LIVES

Politicians, a bit like policemen, are indispensable to society. Every society has them because we need leaders and organisers for the smooth running of complex or even simple societies. However, getting the best people for the job is the truly difficult part. We need sympathetic, incorruptible, intelligent people who are willing to listen to their public and act for the general good and be totally truthful to their electorate. What do we get? Self seeking, power hungry, corrupt people with very little interest in the public they serve. The only thing the two groups have in common is a modicum of intelligence. The problem with that is that today most politician's intelligence is directed towards themselves, their power, their pocket and their survival in power. Here, I am not talking of just British politicians. Look at any country around the world and you will find the same type of people in positions of power. The less transparent the country the more corrupt, at least Britain still has a free press that does not fear to expose corrupt politicians, so they do have to be more devious than most. However, even in Britain, many of the people we entrust with power are corrupt.

Britain's Private Eye is probably one of the best newspaper at sniffing out corruption and every fortnight it manages to expose members of parliament, local councilors and business men. I'm sure that if the men and women in power in the UK could get rid of that newspaper they would. This type of pecuniary corruption can be exposed and regularly is, but it is the corruption of thought and deed that is so pernicious to society. Since 1928 'war' has been illegal. It was declared so by the Kellogg-Briand Pact in Paris and the signatories all agreed that that is how it should be in a modern civilised world. The Pact is still valid and in force today and is signed by most countries in the world, but who would believe it? Since then, of course, we have had the Second World War, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war to mention but a few. So, in fact, this great ideal, aimed particularly at saving civilians from harm, has actually meant nothing to the leaders of countries. They regularly sign up to these ideals, take the plaudits when they get home and then ignore them. Given a chance the general public would always vote against any kind of conflict. It is always Jo and Jane public who suffer most. The politicians and fat cats come out on top, usually having made fortunes and always remaining safe and well fed whilst their voters, followers, and workers get ruined and starve.

Look at all the conflicts going on today. The Syrian war is a damn good example. Here, there are many 'leaders' all with their own factions and followers and together they have decimated the country. Ask the average family what it's all about and they may well have a vague idea but all they want is peace to get on with their lives. Out of a population of 23 million there are not a million fighters including the Syrian army. The rest of these poor people have been put through hell because of politicians and leaders and their often ridiculous ideas of how society should be run. The new caliphate state, ISIS, is a classic example. It grew out of discontent with the government in Damascus and Baghdad but it's leaders were far crueller and more despotic than Assad or Hussein ever were. To rule over the land they took, they needed to recruit psychopaths from all over the world to fill their ranks because the local populations didn't want to know. Look at towns and villages in Syria now, they have been reduced to heaps of rubble. Do the leaders care? I don't think so.

Yemen is another country that could probably manage without a government at all. It is still quite tribal and although there are minor dust ups between tribes and families, in general they got on with life, living off the land quite happily. The population is now subject to this proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies on one side and what they call the big evil Iran on the other. Who is suffering? The general population, and if you were to ask them what they want more than anything else, the one word they'd give is PEACE. This poor, faction ruled, country is probably the greatest humanitarian disaster of the past 50 years and no one is prepared to step in and help the poverty stricken, disease ridden, starving populace. Who is to blame for their situation – politicians.

A long while ago I drove through the deserts of Saudi Arabia right down to the Yemeni boarder. I drove from Jeddah north through Jordan, Syria, Turkey and what was then Yugoslavia. I was with my wife and two young children and we camped all the way for six weeks whilst we visited the sites in each country. Everywhere we were greeted with kindness from the local population often receiving gifts of fruit and vegetables. Not once did we have the slightest inkling of distrust or dislike. In every country we were received with kindness by the locals. It is never the people who cause wars, it is always the politicians. The people seldom want to follow their leaders into conflict situations. If they did there wouldn't be as many refugees in the world as there are today, they'd stay at home to show support.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

ANOTHER ATROCITY ANOTHER DAY OF DISBELIEF

Another atrocity and just when we thought they couldn't get any lower after the Bataclan, they attack and kill a bunch of children. What can we think? How do western civilized people come to terms with this sort of horror? How do we get our minds round an act that specifically aims at killing and maiming children? There is no doubt that this man knew damn well the sort of people that were going to this Arian Grande concert in Manchester. Not since the days of the Third Reich has a group of people such as ISIS, for I'm sure they will claim responsibility for it, been so blaze about other people's lives. Not only that, but in the social media that they have access to they have been rejoicing at this 'great act' of revenge for their version of Islam. They call it revenge against the Crusaders because, of course, they still call Christians, Crusaders. The problem is that a bomb is indiscriminate so that kills Muslims too and for some reason that doesn't seem to matter to them.

I might have mentioned this before but I feel it's worth saying again. Until all the Imams in Britain and round the world stand up and with a unified voice condemn these acts of barbarism and make the point that the perpetrator will burn in hell, it's going to be very difficult to stop suicide bombing. Everyone is shouting how this is an act of extreme cowardice, but they have got it all wrong, this is an act of extreme bravery in the eyes of the perpetrator. Killing yourself whilst 'doing God's work' is very brave and can be compared to early Christian martyrs in the eyes of radical Islam.

In fact, the bad guys here are the Imams or sheikhs who have persuaded these people that they will be martyrs for Islam and that they are doing God's work for him. They are the psychopaths in this business. Look at the 7/7 bombers. They were not down and outs or people with learning difficulties who didn't understand what they had let themselves into. They were teachers and social workers who were doing well and had families, yet they were persuaded they would be martyrs. What greater reward can a man or woman have? Think of the many Christian martyrs, who gave their lives for their religion, these bombers feel the same. They have been persuaded by charismatic psychopaths that their reward will be in heaven. Although, these abhorrent people have been know to use children when they can't persuade adults. There is a well documented case of a twelve year old with learning difficulties and her three year old sister having bombs strapped to them and being carefully instructed and directed what to do.

Until a good sized seed of doubt can be planted in their minds there will be a constant stream of applicants for martyrdom. Suicide bombing can only be stopped by Islam and in general we haven't got that message yet and neither has Islam. Moslems need to take their religion into the twenty first century and see that punishments and diktats that were acceptable in the seventh century are no longer acceptable. But they don't, and the more fanatical, and there are plenty of those, are easy meat for their psychopathic preachers. The big problem with Islam is that it accepts no criticism. The minute anyone criticises anything in the Koran they are labelled Islamophobes and blasphemers and then you can be killed. Until they lighten up about their religion it is difficult to see where the West can go. Bombing and shooting and declaring war on them as terrorists just doesn't work and never will.

A dispassionate look at Islam will show your average civilized man or woman that there is plenty in the Koran to like and dislike. Yet air your views in public especially about the bits you dislike and you may be prosecuted. But how can you like a religion that promotes beheading, amputation of hand and foot, stoning to death and even recently, in Saudi Arabia, a blogger sentenced to be crucified in public because they didn't like his blog. There may be plenty in the Koran that is worthy, naturally, because it was modelled on the Torah and the Bible. However, these punishments, which are still carried out in a few Islamic countries, are nothing but cruel, horrific, even disgusting. It is, I propose, very difficult for people in the West to imagine being stoned to death, yet it happens regularly and always in public so everyone can enjoy the sight and throw the stones. There is plenty in Islam that is not pleasant and I have difficulty understanding Westerners who convert to it. The only modicum of comfort in all this horror for people of other religions or no religion is the sure belief that the perpetrator is definitely not going to heaven.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

THE RICH AND TAX


What is it with the rich and paying tax? It never ceases to amaze me that Mr and Mrs Average are reasonably happy to pay their taxes. Most of the people I know will stand back and look at exactly what you get from the state and be happy to pay up. We do any way because if we don't the tax man is quickly on our case. I suppose Jo Average is much easier to chase than Mr Rich. We are quickly intimidated into paying what we owe. Yet the rich and the stinking rich find all sorts of ways to avoid paying taxes. Of course, they can employ the top accountants to help and they in their turn, manage to conjure up all manner of wheezes to get round the tax laws. Not only that, but many of these top accountancy firms who organize tax avoidance schemes still get government contracts and are asked to give the government advice. Seems loony to me.

How much do people need to live? How much can you spend in a lifetime? If you are making five million a year why would you want to avoid paying tax? Yet many who earn that sort of money and a lot more in some cases go out of their way to pay as little tax as possible. You would think that the sums paid to these greedy accountants would almost cover tax liabilities yet people still stash away huge sums in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands. Governments of all persuasions condemn these transactions and swear to do something about it but never do. How many chancellors of the exchequer have sworn to eradicate the practice and close any loop holes and actually do nothing. Are they complicit in the practice? Many of these very rich people make donations to the political parties and politicians fighting funds and this may have some baring on their supposed inability to plug the holes in the laws that allow this to happen.

Of course, politicians are known for their corruption, many are corrupt, although all would vociferously deny it, but being taken out to a top restaurant in London and schmoozed for an evening even if it is declared, is a form of corruption. Is it any wonder that populations are getting fed up with politicians. They don't do themselves any favors. The expenses scandal a few years ago is a classic example of politicians behaving badly and getting away with it. One or two of the very worst cases were publicly dealt with but the vast majority got away with their frauds, and sad to say, it is still going on to a slightly lesser extent may be, but still happening. Members of the public who do similar and are found out are prosecuted and land up with criminal records if found guilty. Well, plenty of MPs admitted their guilt and paid back money they had fraudulently obtained and that was alright! So when they state that they will pursue those who hide their fortunes abroad do we believe them? I don't think so.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

ISIS AND ITS FORM OF ISLAM – HOW CAN THE WEST COPE?

Suicide bombers are a problem the West can't hope to stop, it is the veritable elephant in the room. We call these people terrorists and to most civilized people they do terrorize and therefore are worthy of the name. But these people genuinely believe they are doing God's work. Their leaders, usually religious zealots, can persuade them that by killing themselves along with loads of other people, no matter what their religion, they are working for God and will go directly to heaven. What is it in Islam that these poor souls can be persuaded into such acts of stupidity to say the least. I don't hear a united Islamic voice stating that this is wrong and that in the Koran suicide is classed a deadly sin. Why not? I have tried to contact Islamic scholars, specifically Mona Siddiqui, a professor of Islamic studies at Edinburgh University but replies came there none.

It's not that there are just one or two of these people. Muslim zealots seem capable of persuading any number of usually young men and women to give up their lives to kill others. Furthermore, it does not seem to matter who gets killed in the action. In a random attack you may well be killing any number of your coreligionists. You might believe this would give pause for thought or even question. Here is one of the great difference between say skeptical believers and even devout Christians and Islam. In Islam children are taught from a very young age to accept the teachings of the Koran without question. To question them is blasphemous and, of course, blasphemy in Sharia law brings an instant sentence of death. Hence, to wonder whether you might have committed a sin and go directly to hell would never enter your mind if you have been told by a mullah you are doing the right thing. Often these are well educated people. There must be something in the Koran that allows this sort of thinking otherwise, one might wonder, how are they so easily persuaded. Nobody ever seems to question this particular aspect of Islam, hence, the elephant in the room.

Sunnis and Shias also seem to feel free to kill each other with gay abandon. These are both branches of Islam who differ only in the belief that someone different succeeded the Prophet. They commit mass murder shouting God is great. They bomb each others mosques, kill men, women and children all in the name of Islam and seem to think this is totally acceptable behavior. Is it any wonder that non Muslims sit back, roll their eyes in amazement, and wonder at the sanity of the people and/or the religion. After every atrocity (that's what we call it) political hands are wrung and they, the politicians, state it must be stopped but it can't be. How can you stop people doing what they believe is the true work of God and they really believe 100% that that is what they are doing. What is needed is all Muslim clerical leaders to come together and state outright that blowing yourself up along with others is a mortal sin and that they will burn in hell ever after. They need to state it constantly and loudly so that the youngsters that are being mislead will have some doubt about their religious superiors, and perhaps they might stop and think, but I can't see that happening.

In actual fact, while young Muslims can be persuaded by their superiors, and these are sheikhs, men of knowledge (supposedly), that not only are they following the Prophet but it is a holy thing to do and God will love them for it, there can be no end. Speak to any, what we may call, moderate Muslim, and he or she will tell you that this has nothing to do with Islam. But it has, it has everything to do with Islam. It is only done in Islam's name. When the IRA were bombing Britain, did they kill themselves blowing up others? The answer is a big no. So it was argument and logic and compromise round a table which resulted in an end to the outrages. This can't be done with Islamic zealots because there is nothing to talk about. According to them the Koran states that to kill infidels is not a sin and, for that matter, other Muslims who don't agree with them. It seems senseless to Westerners but we don't have the depth of belief that most Muslims do. Education in the West has taught people to think for themselves and that means question everything. Muslims are taught to question nothing in the Koran.

Islamic State would like everyone to believe they are going to establish a new Caliphate and that Sharia law will be the law of the land. The fact that it is austere in the extreme, brutal, medieval and treats its followers with complete contempt doesn't seem to bother Muslims of all nationalities who flock to their areas in Iraq and Syria to join them. However, the other great elephant in the room, and this is the biggest tusker of them all, and never spoken about, is the fact that whilst Christian leaders talk to top Muslims about how close their religions are and how they can live together in peace, if you believe that Christ is the son of God then there can be no further prophet. Therefore Islam is a heresy.