August 8, 2009
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Saturday, 8 August 2009
I can't afford to holiday abroad, but if I was fortunate enough to go to a beautiful Greek island, I would want to enjoy the idyllic peace, the beautiful scenery, the warm sunshine and sample the delights of local cuisine and sample the way of life of the local people who are my hosts.
I can't understand why my countrymen and women want to go all that way, just to spend the whole time out of their mind through drink. They go there sporting their Union Jack colours in some cases, showing pride for the country they then proceed to bring shame and disrepute on by causing so much noise, trouble and distress to others.
I would be interested to hear whether it is just the British who behave like this abroad, though. It is reminiscent of the reputation that English football fans once had in Europe, when actually it was not just our nation's fans that were causing trouble, just ours that were tagged with a bad name. But that's not excusing it.
I think the answer to this is not easy. In the short-term pressure can be applied on the tour operators making big money in promoting this kind of 'holiday', and the host country governments and suppliers of accommodation can try to stand up to any 'blackmailing' from them. But in the end, there needs to be a culture change in society in countries like the UK, and that will take a long time and will not be easy.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
In a move to make it even tougher to become a British citizen, once you've somehow found a pathway into Fortress Europe and Fortress Britain, Labour Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has announced that citizenship could be refused for 'unpatriotic behaviour' legal or otherwise. What this means in practice, is that an immigrant could be turned down for citizenship because they have joined British citizens in demonstrating or criticising Government policy, such as the foreign policy of the Labour Government in 2003 which took the UK into an illegal war in Iraq.
As a British citizen myself, I thought British values were about democracy and freedom of expression, among other things. And those were certainly the ideas Bush and Blair were peddling when they were ranting so much about their enemies in the 'War on Terror'. But no, apparently British values are about being patriotic, which means strict loyalty to Government policy at all times.
I can only presume then, that the opposition parties here in the UK are unpatriotic when opposing or criticising Government plans and policies. Well the Conservative party will be OK then, because they always seem to agree with Labour on wars, immigration, foreign policy and the like.
All I can say is I agree with Chris Huhne of the Liberal Democrats that it is a good job I am already a British citizen because I think I would be turned down otherwise! But this gives me another reason not to vote Labour at the next election, I think it should be up to people like me, ordinary British people, to decide what British values are, not whichever political party happens to have won the most recent election.
Friday, 31 July 2009
It follows an 'independent' report, written by Elisabeth Buggins, former chairwoman of the Organ Donation Taskforce, and commissioned by former Health Secretary Alan Johnson, to look at the issue of non-UK nationals coming to the UK for transplants, including funding arrangements.
It is reported that the review is a response to "an investigation last year by the Mail On Sunday which found surgeons could make £20,000 by operating on private patients from abroad.Liver transplants were being carried out on private Greek and Cypriot patients despite 400 Britons being on the NHS waiting list. Experts called for the practice to end because it would affect public confidence in the transplant service".
Will this witchhunt against 'foreigners' and 'immigrants' and the EU never end? Now it's health issues that have become embroiled in this nationalist nonsense. I notice the report, having the supposed purpose "to optimise the availability of organs for transplant for NHS patients" failed to consider the numbers of foreign-donated organs available to UK patients! I remember the case of the little girl from Hull who had a heart transplant after topping the European Transplant waiting list, the source of her new heart was not disclosed. I wonder how many UK patients benefit from this? It might make more sense to co-operate with other countries, as it is reported that the UK has one of the lowest organ donation rates in Western Europe, so long as money doesn't come into the equation.
This report is just an increasingly weak Government running scared of what they think the majority of the public are saying, and responding to obsessive and narrow-minded media, who twist very important issues in order to mislead the public into becoming as xenophobic as they are.
I welcome a possible outcome that results in organs being given to those in greatest need, not to those with the ability to pay, and hopefully that will be the outcome. But this report, by ignoring the numbers of UK patients receiving foreign-donated organs, fails to address the question of maximising donated organs available to UK patients, and if this Protectionist measure sparks a tit-for-tat response from other countries, it could be the seriously ill here in the UK that lose out.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
There has never been a better time to unite (anti-war campaigners and forces' families) in our criticism of this unwinnable war.
Those in the Political elite that continue to argue for the war, are not the ones dying in that land of poverty and hardship.
The father of a recently killed soldier said, "I don't want to think he wasted his life for nothing",('My son died for worthy campaign', BBC news site 10/07/09).
But so long as this poorly resourced and ill-conceived war continues, more soldiers will die in vain. Wars never solved anything, it is time the art of diplomacy was given a try.
Why are we at war? To catch Osama Bin Laden? To eliminate the Taliban? (and do we know who the Taliban really are in 2009?) To impose democracy (note the irony!)? To stop the supply of heroin to the UK? ... well not much progress then ...
... but no, this is why we are there (apparently) ...
"The case for our continued involvement ... is to prevent terrorist attacks here and across the world" (Gordon Brown, No. 10 press release, 13/07/09). This is "our patriotic duty" (Gordon Brown, quoted on itv.com 12/07/09).
"The UK, alongside 40 other nations, are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected Afghan government to help rebuild and develop a country emerging from a quarter century of conflict." (UK Foreign and Commonwealth office website, accessed 19/07/09).
Recently I met a British national who had worked in Afghanistan (claiming the Afghans want 'us' there, well sorry I am sceptical), who was 'surprised' at the unpopularity of the British there! I don't know, we destroy their infrastructure, kill countless thousands of their people, create anarchy then support a government accused of corruption, and create such fear and violence that displaces over two million people as refugees, and then they don't seem to like us much. Mmm, puzzling ... (God give me strength!)
The point to my ramblings (yes there is a point!) is that I think it is time we all stood up and demanded that our government (living on another planet from us maybe? If only!) draw up a political strategy to pull the troops out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, and use some of the money saved to develop that country (given to Afghans not western contractors that leech off supposed international aid) and the rest of the money on UK schools, hospitals or state pensions.
That way we might be able to start building a more ethical relationship of mutual respect with Islamic nations as a way forward in preventing terror attacks.
And it would be the best way to prevent any more loss of life for Afghans and British troops, and if it took the heavy death toll in recent days to bring us to our senses then the deaths won't be in vain, if we continue to bury our heads in the sand and fail to admit the reality, then there will be soldiers dying for nothing.
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