Tendring Topics……..on line
‘Now is the hour…..
…….for me to say goodbye’
Those were the opening words of a popular song of the wartime years when there were so many goodbyes, many of them for ever. I am afraid, dear Blog readers, that time has come for what was my weekly blog. Google informs me that I have been writing and publishing it for seven and a half years and that I have written and published 390 blogs in that time. For the first three or four years I wrote an average of about 2,000 words per blog. More recently I have reduced that to about 1,000. I reckon that I averaged about 1,200 words a week for seven and a half years. That’s 7.5 x 1,200 x 52. No, I’m not going to work it out but it certainly comes to quite a lot of words.
Also thanks to Google, I learn that my blog has a world-wide readership. There are twice as many regular readers in the
USA as there are in the UK. I have regular readers in Germany, France
and Russia, and occasional
readers in virtually every European country and in such countries as China, India,
Sri Lanka, and Japan. Thank you all, dear readers, for your
interest and encouragement.
I used always to enjoy writing my blog and was proud of it. Lately though I feel that I have become stale and repetitive. I find myself forgetting how to spell simple, straight-forward words. I often have to refer to Google for facts that should be – and once were! – engraved in my memory. It is, I think, just old age. Now that I am 94, it seems better to depart from the internet stage before I publish something that is obviously total rubbish.
The causes that I have supported throughout those seven and a half years remain the same. I can only hope that others will keep them alive.
I believe in unilateral nuclear disarmament. Our own nuclear arms are concentrated in the Trident Submarine Fleet wrongly described as ‘our independent nuclear deterrent’. It is anything but independent (can you imagine our government even threatening to use a nuclear weapon without the OK of the
?). It hasn’t deterred any one of the many acts
of violence and aggression that have taken place since the end o0f World War
II. Did those nuclear submarines deter
the Argentines from invading the USA Falklands?
It might persuade other governments relying on nuclear defence to refrain from using their weapons because of the certainty of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD!) It would not deter the jihadists of the Islamic State from using such a weapon if they ever got hold of one. They are quite certain that they’ll be assured a ‘front seat’ in Heaven if they kill themselves while precipitating a satisfactory number of infidels and apostates (every-one who doesn’t share their noxious beliefs) to the ‘other place’!
A country relying on a nuclear weapon ‘as a deterrent’ has a government as stupid and as irresponsible as a fifteen year old adolescent who carries a sheath-knife into the classroom with precisely the same motive!
Working for World Peace
I do not believe that the best way to secure world peace is to ring
around with members of Nato
– inevitably seen by the Russians as a hostile alliance. We complain of the ‘provocative action’ of
the Russians in flying a couple of bombers round Russia keeping just outside
British air space. What are the Russians
to think of NATO military manoeuvres in Britain Poland,
just beyond ’s
frontiers? We know the Russians have an
enormous army and air-force. They know
that NATO has too! For goodness sake,
let’s stop trying to prove that ‘mine is bigger than yours!’ They’re both big enough to reduce our
wonderful world to ruins if their top politicians are daft enough to let them.
And I fear that some of them may be. For goodness sake let us talk peace and
join together to think of how best to counter the acts of the jihadists – the
real enemies of both Russia and ‘the West’. Russia
Working for a more equal economy
The top ‘at home’ priority of any responsible British government should be to narrow that yawning, and ever widening, gap between the incomes of the very poorest and very wealthiest of our citizens. Shamefully this gap actually widened during the decade of New Labour rule. A way in which any government could narrow that gap would be the radical reform of the income tax system and making a reformed income tax the principal source of government revenue. Every adult, rich or poor, should be required to pay the same percentage of his or her gross income as their annual subscription for the very-considerable privilege of living and working in the
. Benefits to the very poorest of us would
need to be raised to prevent this tax reducing anyone to homelessness or
malnutrition. I think that 20 percent of
every adult’s gross income (before there’s a chance to salt it away overseas or
in a charitable trust!) would probably be sufficient. We would then all have an interest in UK ’s economic future and
really would ‘all be in this together’ Britain
The European Union
Forty years ago I voted no to the European Common Market in that famous referendum. I had the rather romantic idea that we could seek closer economic and political union with the countries of the Commonwealth and what was left of the British Empire, to create a political and economic bloc capable of co-operating or competing with the USA and the world’s emerging powers.
If I’m still around when we have the opportunity to vote either to stay in or depart from what is now the European Union, I shall vote to stay in, and I will hope that we achieve an even closer economic and political union with our European partners. I believe that the
UK can make its voice heard and its opinions
respected better as an active member of a federal Europe than as a non-voting
protectorate of the . USA
We are part of
by geography, history and culture.
Nowadays it isn’t politically correct to say so but over the centuries the
Christian faith has been the background in front of which the ancestors of all
we Europeans have lived, worked and died.
As was repeated over and over again in the Scottish referendum campaign; ‘We’re
I’d have a little more respect for Ukip if they really stood for an independent
as they claim. They
don’t. Their venom is reserved for our neighbours and friends in United Kingdom Europe. You’d
think that the EU was another hostile country determined to weaken and destroy
instead of a union of Nations in which we have exactly the same influence as
anyone else. Remember the Ukip members of the European Parliament rising and
turning their backs at the playing of the European Anthem. I don’t believe that even the most fervent
Republicans would be so ill-mannered as to turn their backs when others were
standing and singing ‘God save the Queen’. UK
Ukippers seem to be quite happy with our membership of NATO (on which we Britons have never had the opportunity of expressing an opinion) and our one-sided ‘special relationship’ with the
. NATO and the ‘special relationship’ have
cost us far more that the EU in both blood and money. They involved us in two ‘colonial wars’, one
illegal and the other unwinnable. In
every country where we have interfered the result has been disastrous. In USA Islamic
State forces are slowly but surely taking over. I’d be very surprised if there are not Iraqis
today who look back on the rule of Saddam Hussein as a golden age! In Iraq the
Taliban attacks ever more boldly, and the even-more-bloodthirsty jihadists of
Islamic State have also put in an appearance.
is now ungoverned and ungovernable – thanks to our helping in the overthrow of
Colonel Gaddafi! Gaddafi’s rule was
awful but the current anarchy (of which Islamic State is already taking
advantage) is surely worse. Libya
I have left climate change till the last despite the fact that this is the threat that is capable of making the other causes that I have supported seem to be trivial irrelevances. The reason it comes last is that effective countering of climate change demands the support and action of the government of every country in the world, and there are powerful forces trying to prevent this.
I took this photo of the Rhone Glacier on the pass between Italy and Switzerland in 1980. I was told that last year 2014 there was no ice visible from that vantage point
We don’t need a university degree to note that in recent years there have been more extreme weather conditions than even folk of my age can remember. There have been extreme heat waves destroying rain-starved food crops. There have been typhoons and hurricanes, devastating floods, prolonged droughts, occasional unseasonable spells of arctic weather. All of these have brought loss of life and destruction of property world-wide. The polar ice-caps are melting at an accelerating rate as are the mountain glaciers.
The overwhelming conclusion of the world’s most eminent scientists has been that global warming is taking place and that this has caused those extreme weather conditions world-wide. Furthermore, they are equally certain that most of that warming is due to human activity – to humankind’s relentless exploitation of the world’s natural resources, in particular to the profligate burning of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) for space and water heating in the home, in industry, for travel, and for any other activity needing an energy supply. The remedy seems simple and straightforward enough; reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels and replace them with sources of clean, renewable energy such as can be supplied by wind turbines, solar panels, the sea’s waves, the flow of the rivers, the ebb and flow of the tide. There may be others. The
, with its
enormous coastline, is well suited for the use of tidal energy. UK
Voices demanding urgent international action to combat man-made climate change include virtually the whole of the scientific community and, surprisingly but very, very gratifyingly, the Pope. The present Pope has won the admiration of many non-Roman Catholics and will, I hope, have persuaded thousands over to the ‘Green cause’. Lined against them are the many thousands of people who work in, or profit from, the fossil fuel industries. These include some very wealthy and influential men.
Our new government which once, just before an election, urged the electorate ‘if you want Green. Vote Blue’, seems to have joined the forces of Mammon. They are abolishing grants toward the production of wind turbines, giving local councils the final word over whether they should permit wind turbines in their areas (of course there will always be lots of local Nimbys who will oppose them) and are encouraging fracking – exploiting yet another source of fossil fuel as well as despoiling our countryside. In an earlier blog I said that if either the Conservative or the Labour Party won the election outright the results wouldn’t be as good as supporters had hoped but, on the other hand, they wouldn’t be as bad as their opponents had feared, I was wrong. On the climate change front at least, the Conservative government’s action is even worse than their opponents had feared. Shortly there’s to be an international conference on climate change My guess is that there will be lots of good intentions expressed but precious little urgent action promised.
Perhaps I’ll conclude with a couple of verses from a poem by Arthur Clough, a 19th century poet. It has cheered me on occasion:
Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been, they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars.
Perhaps by yonder smoke concealed
Your comrades chase e’en now the flyers
And, but for you, possess the field.
Although the tired waves, vainly breaking.
Seem here no painful inch to gain;
Far back, through creek and inlet making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And that, dear blog readers, is the end of my final blog. I’m sorry I couldn’t contrive a happy ending – but it is, at least, a hopeful one.