‘It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’ I quote Sir Winston Churchill. Having placed my faith in democracy – in liberty, equality, and education to back it – it’s inevitable I find myself butting my head against yet another glass ceiling. We must face up to our limitations – we humans are the original dreamers, creators, thinkers, the maker of rules and constitutions. As Mahatma Gandhi pointed out, it makes no difference whether ‘destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?’ The same is true of religion, an idea or belief system that results in an inequitable distribution of resources. We not only have the ability to define, extend the limits of our ideas as much as our actions. We need to do so when they are found wanting. Isn’t that what civilisation is all about?
Just to put Brexit in context – Britain eschewed membership of the European Economic Community which was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, but changed its mind in the early 1960s, only to be rebuffed by Charles de Gaulle. The EEC then consisted of six member states – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, West Germany and the Netherlands. Britain signed an accession treaty in 1972. Securing Britain’s entry in 1973 was regarded by the former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, as his greatest achievement. Read More
A friend asked me the other day how I would vote in the EU referendum. I was considering my response – thinking I don’t have the facts, but it would be good to stay in. Is it too much to ask for a more democratic, efficient, reformed EU? Perhaps. But how come other EU members don’t want the same things? As David Cameron was unable to secure any real changes, how can we expect things will get better going forward? And, if there is a Brexit will the UK not face years of uncertainty, loss of investments, stock market volatility etc.? How will that help? Then remembering the words of Gandhi, I replied: ‘It would be a good idea – if we could stay in and bring about the change we want…’ I knew it was unrealistic, hopeless even, like marrying someone for the second time with a view to changing them! My friend, interrupting my thoughts, announced: ‘Shanta, you are the only person we know who is going to vote yes, to stay in!’ I was stunned. I’d always considered her more European than me.
Recently, a friend me asked why I’d stopped blogging, adding that she’d enjoyed reading my thoughts and musings. I’d not stopped blogging, not consciously anyway. So I said, why did you not tell me before? If it’s taken you all these years to let me know, can you blame me for taking a break? I added. Various optional activities had been temporarily postponed as Life had taken over. Nor did I know if anyone read my blog. Yet the moment I was faced with the question, I realised years had elapsed. Over three, to be precise, since my last entry. Conventional blog wisdom suggests one write frequently and regularly. Read More
Born on 21 April 1926, married on 20 November 1947, Princess Elizabeth was a beautiful, young mother of two when her life changed. She and her husband, Prince Philip, were on holiday inKenya; they spent the night in the Tree Tops Safari Lodge unaware that her father, King George VI, had died in his sleep. They were on vacation in a beautiful hunting lodge when the news finally reached them. Her father is the King portrayed in the Oscar-award winning film, The King’s Speech. The Queen, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, inherited the throne on 6 February 1952; her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. Read More
The times they are a changing… We certainly live in interesting, changing times – stagnant economic output in the developed world coupled with high levels of debt not seen since 1970s in the UK; high unemployment; rising inflation; fall in real incomes and living standards; largest gap between rich and poor in decades; negative real interest rates; banks failing to lend; Greece on the verge of default; Italy looking to China for a handout; the US already at its maximum indebtedness to China; China poised to overtake the US as the world’s largest manufacturer; the US government’s credit rating lowered; riots and the promise of strikes and social unrest in UK/Europe; high volatility in stock markets nervous of continuing uncertainty making matters significantly worse… Is this the legacy of western capitalism? Read More
Carol Rumens features ‘Beware’ as her ‘Poem of the Week’.