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Month: March, 2018

The farther one travels The less one knows The less one really knows

Well, here we are again. I have just finished binge watching a documentary I missed seeing when it was shown last year on BBC1, the Ganges with Sue Perkins. It is an amazing river and it is dying due to the mistreatment of people for thousands of years. It is also at the heart of Hindu beliefs so this is a double tragedy. It was also an eye opener for other reasons, not least that women in villages have to hold in their bodily functions all day and then go in the fields to relieve themselves at night. Leaving themselves open to being bitten by snakes, stung by scorpions and being raped while relieving themselves. In the 21st century we should be doing more to help the newest developing country to take care of it’s citizens, especially women.

The women are amazing and the river that runs through most of India and Bangladesh is filthy and getting worse all the time. There are 18 women only colleges in India on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, a city where life and death co-exist. The Ganges is heavily polluted here and there are people trying to educate the locals and visitors to try and reduce the level of pollution.

It was amazing to watch the way women (and in one case girls) talk to Sue (someone I have admired for a long time). They had no inhibitions about speaking through an interpreter and were open and frank in their conversations with her. She spoke to transsexuals, women waiting to die and girls at colleges and some at school, as well as boys telling her why they worked instead of going to school.

There is a lot of wealth in India, generated by an acceptance of new methods of earning money and gaining an education. The girls at the engineering colleges wanted to make a difference to their lives and inspire other women to dream they could do anything. They trusted their parents to find an ideal match for them to marry as, according to one, marrying for love was fleeting and a lot of the time ended in divorce. None of these “modern” women were superwomen but they were pushing the boundaries for those who would follow them. The journey started in the Himalayas taking in Rishikesh (with a visit to the Ashram, now overgrown, where the Beatles, Donovan and others were taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Sexy Sadie) himself).

For all the miles the river traverses there are people with amazing stories and Sue Perkins did her best to uncover them all. From the Hijra of Kolkata to the naked yogis offering blessings to pilgrims in the Bay of Bengal by beating with feathers she uncovered a lot of interesting people and talking to them teaching us so much of the history of the cities and villages along the Indian side of the Ganga.

Music today is courtesy of YouTube again and it is the copy of the Beatles song by George Harrison as performed in the Concert for George after his death in 2001.

Should five per cent appear too small

Ah how those words were true at the time, the highest earners in the country paying tax on earnings of 95% so that the biggest contributions to the NHS, Defence and Benefits came from those who were most able to afford it. Of course this wasn’t fair as George pointed out, no-one should be taxed so highly that they feel penalised for earning and contributing to the economy.

Was it right for the first woman PM though to decide that the country couldn’t afford the NHS and to deny it the funding from those best placed to contribute? No it wasn’t, did she care though? No she didn’t. She wanted to remove the NHS and force our greatest flagship of the Welfare State into the old days where if you couldn’t afford to see a GP, or afford hospital treatment you couldn’t have any. The premise of the Welfare State was built on contributions according to ability to pay so that everyone could have access according to need.

In the last 12 months I have paid (personally from my tax and NI contributions) £931 towards benefits for those worse off than me, £778 towards the NHS (yes I have probably taken more out than I paid in) £471 towards education, even though I have no children attending full time education, the biggest discrepancies however have been in National Debt Interest £211 and Defence £199. I feel defence should have been more than the National Debt Interest, after all I have worked for almost a decade through austerity. I have seen those who pay tax at 45% (the highest rate) go from strength to strength while those at the bottom of the ladder paying 25% tax are penalised by having to bear the brunt of the austerity measures imposed by the Coalition Government between 2010-2015 upheld by the Tory Government since 2015.

Theresa May seems hell bent on promising one thing (like Cameron before her and every Tory leader since Thatcher) and delivering something different. Are we really all in this together? I have seen people reduced to tears because they were awarded one benefit to allow them help with their daily lives due to illness and disability have this taken away from them because the benefit they were receiving has been changed. I have no objections to paying people enough to live on when they are unable to work or find themselves in the position of not being able to find a job. What I do object to is people thinking that those on benefits are second or third class citizens who want to take money from the mouths of others. Benefits are not enough to live off, you can only survive on benefits and if they are stopped (which is happening more and more) you see an upturn in people living on the streets because they can’t pay rent, begging for handouts because they have no food and no means to keep warm.

What can we do to change this? We need a change of leadership style and someone to tell the truth over the effects of austerity, why we are not all in the same boat. Will the politicians tell us this? Of course not, if they told the masses that their policies are designed to keep the working class in their place and elevate the upper classes to the position they used to hold how long would they remain in power?

In 2010 it was said that 95% of the wealth was in the hands of 5% of the population, since the austerity measures came into force in 2010 that has changed and now 98% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. How do you suppose that happened? Especially if you believe the politicians that we are all in this together, what happened that 4% of the population disappeared?

In times of austerity poor people are doing what they do best, multiplying, while those better off are dying off so the one reduces the top while the other increases the bottom. We need to start telling the truth and damn the consequences, but Theresa May, like Maggie Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron before her, want to maintain power at any cost. We were told Brexit means Brexit but now we are being told that Northern Ireland will not be party to Brexit as the border with the Republic would have to be closed if they were. Anyone who wishes to can opt to remain European (paying a fee for the privilege) after Brexit and this will allow them free movement within Europe and the right to work wherever they chose within the bounds of the European State.

If the fee charged is low enough then I will not revert back to a UK passport following Brexit but will continue to use a European Passport because I believe that we are stronger as part of Europe than we will ever be alone. Our defence spending will be increasing while the size of our Army, Navy and Air Force decrease which will leave us vulnerable to the invisible enemy who is too scared to wear any uniform. Our intelligence services are second to none but surely that requires a strong fist to smash our enemies before they have the chance to cause damage on our shores? We need to be part of a global force against terrorism wherever it originates and whatever it plans to try and disrupt our way of life.

Closing our borders will not keep us safe, it merely adds more disenfranchised to be corrupted by those fighting to bring down our way of life. We can’t afford to have people coming here and taking money without contributing so would it not be better to open the borders? Let people come here who want to contribute and treat all immigrants the same, no right to housing, benefits or free health care until they have worked for ten years, paying tax and National Insurance for the benefit of all then they can enjoy the same freedoms and rights as everyone here.

If we open our border that way, only those willing to adapt will come in, willing to earn their keep and pay their way. This will result in a stronger economy and give us the chance to cope with Brexit and not have to worry about the short term damages to our way of life caused by terror and the unknown. Fear of the unknown makes us wary of change, wary of trusting those who come here and want to take houses away from those who were born here (sometimes those born here have less than they need because the Government do not care for them the way they should).

On a similar note, our Queen has tried to serve her people with dignity and respect for the last 60+ years, she has seen heads of state come and go, has welcomed Presidents from the Commonwealth and other countries to promote British Interests abroad. She has been stronger than some would think, however, that may not count for anything if the politicians continue to undermine the fabric of our society.

If Northern Ireland, who voted to remain European, can remain European through the transition and beyond, why not Scotland who also voted to remain? The ones who swayed the vote away from Remain were the English and Welsh, are these the only ones with a voice just because they have most of the population? London also voted to Remain and if they are allowed to maintain their European status that will ensure London’s financial districts maintain their position within Europe rather than losing out to Paris, Berlin or Brussels because foreign companies will move elsewhere to maintain a foothold in Europe.

Can we survive alone as we did throughout the early 20th Century? I don’t think so, but only time will tell. In the meantime I will leave you with George Harrison coming into his own as a force alongside John Lennon and Paul McCartney who had written most of the Beatles material before 1966. The track from Revolver which heads this post. I could not find a video of this so her is the full album from YouTube. I may have bought this album on vinyl, cassette, cd and download but it is not owned by me.


I don’t need to be forgiven

Okay, I don’t know what the weather is like where you are today, but her in the UK we have the return of Winter Part 2. Spring should have sprung by now yet we are once again facing a whiteout. There had better be an end to this soon though as it becoming very boring.

After the beginning of March when buildings and schools were closed, public transport almost stopped completely and there was a lot of people trapped indoors to keep warm, I was hoping that would be the end of Winter weather and we could get back to normal with the weather warming up and Spring finally arriving. Alas no, after a spell where it did warm up slightly we have gone back to the Winter with snow and freezing temperatures (below freezing in some areas).

People think that just because the weather turns they can take their dogs out and not bothering to clean up after them. As a friend said, if you see these inconsiderate twats and confront them you get verbal abuse which could turn into violence because they think they have the right to do as they please.

This is the one thing that my recent blogs have been full of but if people have dogs they should be prepared to pick up after them, if people have cats they should also remember to teach them to bury their waste so that if they do go out they can rest assured that they are not going to spoil the neighbourhood. Animal waste and litter is the biggest problem around here that we have to face on a daily basis. This used to be such a lovely area to live in but with undesirables coming into the area and treating it as a huge garbage bin it is quickly deteriorating.

There are a lot of immigrants living here, as well as the biggest Jewish population outside of Israel there are a lot of Muslims who have moved here and, guess what, NO racially motivated violence. This proves that if people want to live in peace and follow whichever religion they choose, they can live with neighbours who don’t follow the same religion. Unfortunately gender violence seems to be on the rise but I don’t think this can be laid at the hands of the immigrants as it isn’t just immigrants who are guilty of this. There are lots of people who will take what they want regardless of the harm it may cause to those they take from. Unfortunately that includes sex.

If a woman doesn’t say yes then it is rape, if a woman is drunk or drugged and doesn’t know what she is agreeing to then that is rape. I don’t care if they woman has a reputation for sleeping with anyone or is a sex worker unless they have given consent when they are able to consent it is rape. Yes men can be raped as well, just ask anyone who has been to prison, but it isn’t as common as that committed by men against women.

To finish off on a brighter note here is the original of the CSI New York theme tune and hope fully it won’t be long before we see Gary Sinise back on our screens again.