Sunday, 30 December 2007

Please let me know if I spout gibberish and nonsense!

Co-writer of the enormously funny and entertaining Yes, Minister TV series Anthony Jay, concluded an article he wote recently by saying:

Voters no longer believe anything they hear from our leaders and mass apathy is the result.

I think he certainly has a point. The whole article is well worth a read. Please comment often and with great vigour if I ever spout gibberish and nonsense on this site!! I've done my best to be clear and straightforward up to now and will endeavour to continue this in the future.

Poetry, poison and politics

I've been listening to some of William Blake's poetry on a CD over the holiday period. This one always brings politics at its worst into my mind (especially the 'soft deceitful wiles' part).

A Poison Tree by William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree
.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Jeremy Clarkson talks yet more tripe!! Not really news is it.

That lovely man (!) Jeremy Clarkson features in my local paper's 'Quotes of the day' today as saying:

Please have a wonderful Christmas. Drink too much. Eat too much. Dont feel guilty about the presents you give or those that you receive. Care not about your carbon footprint or the impact of your naked consumerism. Be happy. And remember, you are having a much better time than Gordon Brown because he has no friends and you've lots.

The man is, in short, talking tripe (though I would admit he can often be entertaining, and the quote gives a useful summary of issues we should give a lot of thought to!). No wonder the Wikipedia entry on him has a quote saying that he is 'Not a man given to considered opinion.' !! Many of the posts on this blog point out the contradiction inherent in the above quote - our consumer society, well illustrated by what happens at Christmas, is certainly not making people happier, it is in fact making us more prone to depression, anxiety and addictions. We should be pursuing our needs rather than our wants if we are to secure our own wellbeing and that of the world. Clarkson should read clinical psychologist Oliver James' book Affluenza.

Who designed the designer? People made God not God people...

I found this piece in the local paper quite interesting. It seems (shock, horror!) that much about Christmas is made up and of often disputed origin. For me religion itself is likewise. Yes, there is certainly a challenge to explain life. It looks like it was ‘designed’, thus implying the existence of a designer (God). But who or what designed the designer?

The occurrence of life on Earth is highly improbable but the existence of a designer (God) very much more so. Even so, people like US President George W Bush favour the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ as a scientific theory competing with evolutionary theories. As with climate science Bush and his administration again cant tell what is and what is not accepted science, despite what the scientific community tell him.

Evolution by natural selection (championed very vigorously by people like Richard Dawkins) is a pretty good explanation of how complex life with the appearance of design developed stepwise from basic building blocks. Human explanation of the rest of the universe continues to develop and we are further improving our understanding of evolution.

People created God not God people. So, why have religion (it does seem to be everywhere) ? Looking at the world it does not seem to be doing a very good job of consoling people! Or of getting them to live good lives!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

William Blake

I love the work of William Blake. It reminds me of the enormous value of imagination, inspiration and individuality. Many will know about Jerusalem and The Tyger. I thought I'd include a few Blake poems that I really like but that are a bit less well known:

Riches

The countless gold of a merry heart,
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye,
The indolent can never bring to the mart,
Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.



Auguries of Innocence (first four lines)

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour


Nov 28th this year was the 250th anniversary of his birth, yet his exact grave is still not marked out properly - go to here to sign the petition in favour of erecting an appropriate monument on the exact burial spot. You can also find a lot of interesting information about Blake on this site. There is also a BBC poll about having a monument/memorial you can vote in and a useful article to read if interested.

Blake's words set to music here on this MySpace are great (I found The School Boy especially moving). More about his life and art here too (there loads out there to find - take a look!).

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Singing the praises of both Tesco and Julie Burchill - WHYYYY????

Yet again that Bristol Blogger has gone a step too far. He's sung the praises of Tesco before (he's addicted to the pesticide residue on the 'value' carrots I think) and this time he's also saying nice things about Julie Burchill, who shares his admiration for them it seems.

They are both dead wrong. Tesco and other big supermarkets represent a very large amount of power in the hands of a very few. They should be subject to at least the following to avoid the worst injustices and to provide a much more genuine choice to shoppers (see http://www.tescopoly.org/ ).

*a legally binding code of practice

*an independent watchdog overseeing the grocery market

* a block on any new take-overs by Tesco or other major supermarkets.

*real support for local shops from local authorities and government

*internationally-recognized workers' rights throughout supermarket supply chains.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

To maximise or minimise, that is the question..

Its surely a sign that we have not moved too far in a genuinely green direction to see that a proposal for mass incineration of household waste in the Bristol area is even being seriously considered. It seems we have yet to take fully on board low waste or even zero waste thinking, which is in the end the only sustainable solution. Any giant incinerator would demand to be fed with many thousands of tonnes of waste for decades - what would be the point of building one otherwise? This is the very waste we are supposed to be trying to minimise to make waste management cheaper and more environmentally friendly!! No to waste MAXIMISATION and no to any mass burn incinerator I say. My fellow green campaigner Peter Goodwin is doing a lot of good work on this - lets hope he is successful!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Green Ideas film by Digital Fish Film Club

Great piece of film called 'Green Ideas' produced by the young people at Digital Fish Film Club in Knowle West - go on, take a look, the humour is great:

http://www.electricdecember.org/07/calendar/17/

Animation and artwork by the Digital Fish Film Club: Connor, Michael, Mike, Michael & Hayleigh. Music & Voices: Mike, Chip, Michael, Connor, Leighton, Emily. Some great work too by animator Joff Winterhart and Knowle West Media Centre's Environmental Officer Emily Nicholson.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

It wont win me votes but...I dont like Christmas!!

This may not win me many votes if/when I stand in an election again but I have to admit that I dont like Christmas !! Perhaps I have just a touch of Oliver Cromwell in me.

For a start it seems to begin earlier every year, with adverts galore and reminders of how many days we all have left to overspend in the shops! Any 'specialness' in the brief period that even I might find is immediately devalued.

It does not help of course that not only am I not a Christian but being a very firm sceptic I dont have any substantial belief that there is any kind of god(s) at all, including pagan ones, (the existence of he/she/it is extremely unlikely). Anyhow, its clear that a case can be made that much about the way we currently celebrate Christmas is nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity !!

Food and alcohol consumption go through the roof. Energy useage for lighting likewise. Excessive spending on goods of many sorts from all over the world too. Far from being happier people's behaviour often deteriorates. Christmas just does not seem to be about loving and giving but is all about more, more, more.

Peak Oil Subvert

Have a look at this film about our addiction to oil, likening it to drug addiction:

http://www.electricdecember.org/07/calendar/13/

Very creative work from 18 yr old director Luke Martin, working with producer Denzil Monk, reported in todays local paper. More on peak oil here.