Marriage – what’s in a name?

Quite a lot, it seems. Traditional marriage is between one adult man and one adult woman, ostensibly for life, and in most cases with the desire to beget and raise a family. In addition to traditional marriage there are many other types of relationships, including polygamy, communes, two women or two men in an exclusive relationship, menages de trois (or more), open relationships, or just co-habiting (sometimes called ‘common-law marriage’).

Gay marriage is now legal in many countries, but has caused a lot of controversy particularly from religious groups who regard marriage as being between a man and a woman. It seems to me that the terminology is what is upsetting people more than the fact that two people of the same gender are living together as sexual partners and soul-mates.

Personally I could see nothing wrong in civil partnerships when UK brought them in for LGBT people. My life-partner and I would have been overjoyed to have a civil partnership and put everything on a legal footing, and have our relationship (which lasted 21 years on Earth till he passed to Spirit in 1991) recognized. I never looked on him as my ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, and he never referred to me in that way either as far as I am aware. Again, terminology is important. He was my life-partner or spouse. I now feel I am his widower, and this term seems suitable for any man whose life-partner has passed on whether they were legally married or not, while a woman would be a widow.

I don’t think civil partnerships made LGBT people ‘second class citizens’. Two men or two women in a relationship are of equal status to a man and a woman who are together, but the relationship is different. For a start, provided both man and woman are fertile, there is the possibility to have children between them. This is not possible with two people of the same gender, though they can adopt, each can begat children with a partner of the opposite sex, or they can use surrogacy/IVF.  Many in same-sex relationships have no interest in raising a family.

I really see no problem in having different terminology for different types of relationships, so long as all have equal status. If people want open relationships or polygamous ones, that’s fine by me, but don’t call them ‘marriage’. As for LGBT partnerships, calling them ‘marriages’ seems inappropriate to me. The alternative, of course, is to qualify the type of marriage, thus you could have a ‘traditional marriage’, a ‘gay marriage’, a ‘polygamous marriage’, an ‘open marriage’ (open relationships with two main partners).

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but it seems just using the word ‘marriage’ unqualified when it is not a traditional one between a man and a woman is bound to cause resentment.

Jeremy Corbyn – new Labour Leader?

The capitalist press, many on the Right in the Labour Party and many other people are saying the Party will  become unelectable if Corbyn becomes leader. I think they are making a big mistake. The SNP just swept the board north of the border on a leftwing agenda, Greece has just elected a leftwing government. Other countries in Europe are on the verge of a big leftwing swing. People in the former Soviet bloc are realizing they threw out the baby with the bathwater now they have lost the full employment and security which Socialism brought them for decades.

At the last General Election people in England had to choose between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Both main parties were for austerity, replacing Trident, maintaining the capitalist system more or less as it is. Who’s to say if they had a real alternative people would not have voted for it? Yes, they could have voted Green, and over a million people did. What did they get – one MP elected. Our unfair electoral system means voting for any of the minor parties in most constituencies is a wasted vote, so in practical terms most voters had to choose between Labour and Tory, and only those in marginal seats had any chance of influencing what the next government would be. In fact the majority of the electorate were effectively disenfranchised, since whoever they voted for would make no difference whatsoever as to which Party would form the next government.

There  are two ways of changing this situation. One is to reform the electoral system so it truly reflects how people voted, but the other first step is to break the cozy set-up where nothing ever changes. Corbyn could do this if he becomes Labour leader. Don’t make the mistake of comparing him to Labour’s last leftwing leader, Michael Foot. Though a brilliant speaker in his heyday, by the time he became leader Michael was past his sell-by date and appeared doddery and confused, like his Spitting Image puppet. Also the SDP stabbed Labour in the back by splitting the left-of-center vote when the Gang of Four left Labour to form the short-lived Party, which soon disappeared almost without trace in the Liberals (now officially the Liberal Democrats).

Many more people would have voted Green if they thought they had any chance of forming a government, and many more will vote Labour if they think it provides a real alternative to the Tory policies of the past few years. Or indeed the past few decades, as the Blairite Labour Party has continued with the legacy left to them by Thatcherism.

Now it is ripe for a change, and that is why people are flocking to the Labour Party and registering as supporters to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the leadership candidates. Just as Tony Blair changed the Party in his image, so Corbyn could do the same according to his leftwing agenda.

I’m not saying this will happen, that Corbyn will win, that Labour will swing Left and be voted in at the next General Election, but don’t be too sure if Corbyn does win it will mean certain defeat for Labour. At the very least it will mean a leader of the Opposition who can really attack Tory policies on public spending cuts, Trident replacement, etc. and this in turn will win Labour more support in the ballot boxes at future elections.

The image of a doddery old man shuffling to the Cenotaph in a duffel coat has stuck in people’s minds as the image of Foot’s Labour Party. Corbyn is much more dynamic and could give Cameron a run for his money. He carries the torch for Tony Benn in keeping the true soul of Labour alive, and in this day and age of Tory attacks on the poor it would indeed be foolish to write a Corbyn-led Labour Party off as ‘unelectable’.

I have registered as a Labour supporter in order to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election. I’m sure many Tory supporters have done the same as they think this will insure them a further five years of Tory government, but their plan may well backfire. At least I did vote Labour in the last General Election as my constituency was a Tory marginal, though I swopped votes with a safe Labour seat where someone voted Green for me. If Corbyn wins, I’ll rejoin the Labour Party I left long ago, but if he loses, I’ll think about joining the Green Party. Whatever happens we need an alternative to the Tory/New Labour policies of the past few decades.

Left Unity being hijacked by militant feminists

I have today resigned from the Left Unity Party, launched by film director Ken Loach in late 2013. It is clearly going nowhere fast, and has not united the Left. At the last General Election the Green Party was the most successful party of the Left in England, and the SNP in Scotland. Left Unity has failed to attract any substantial number of supporters from the Labor Party, the British Communist Party, or any of the major leftist parties in the country.

My local group of LU, Wandsworth and Merton, has been taken over by militant feminists who are determined to set the agenda and stifle all debate. If anyone tries to debate, they are told to desist and offered workshops to re-educate them. All points the militant feminists find don’t suit their agenda, they ignore. For instance, when they proposed a motion to ban prostitution (an impossible task anyway), they ignored completely the question of mature Male Escorts serving the gay male community of their own free will (and charging high prices for their services). They insist all escorting/prostitution/sex work amounts to degradation and rape of women. Of course they also deny the right of adult women to enter the sex industry of their own free will. This strikes me as not so much Socialism as Fascism; dictating what people should do and should not do, and stifling all democratic debate.

A very sad end to Ken Loach’s initiative. I remain outside all political parties at the moment, though the Green Party is looking quite attractive. If only we had a democratic (i.e. fully PR) voting system, their million plus votes could result in many seats in Parliament, and attract even more voters.

Mum’s last days

Whichever way you look at it, my mother, who reached her 100th birthday last September, is now living her last days (possibly years) on Earth. Until March this year she was in sheltered housing, a misnomer if ever there was one as there is virtually no support whatsoever. There is a warden or Scheme Manager, but she’s now only supposed to be there 9-5 Monday to Friday, not weekends or Bank Holidays. In actual fact she rarely does a full week due to covering other schemes or because of annual leave. Even when she is on duty, if the alarms are activated by my mother because she can’t get up from her armchair, for instance, the warden is not allowed to lift her, similarly if she has a fall. So an ambulance is called to take her to hospital.

If the alarm is activated when the Scheme Manager is not on site it is monitored in Chester, many miles away from Battersea in London. So they would ring me, sometimes after midnight. I got to unplugging my landlines and turning my mobile on to silent so I could guarantee a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, of course, I would not be home when they rung but maybe miles away. So if I couldn’t go and check up on my mother, they’d just call an ambulance. How is that sheltered housing? How is that any different to someone in their own home ringing an ambulance, or pressing a neck alarm to call an ambulance? Yet when she moved in there in 2001 there was a warden and an assistant both living on site. In council sheltered housing (my mother’s was a housing association) there are people in the area who respond when alarms are activated, so they’ll be with the resident within half an hour or so.

My mother has had increasing mobility issues, and had difficulty getting up from armchairs and her wheelchair without assistance. Arthritis in her left shoulder due to an earlier stumble and refusal to wear a sling after the injury made matters worse, as she couldn’t put any pressure on that arm to help herself up. So the warden and her carer rang for an ambulance and sent her to hospital. She hadn’t had a fall, she just couldn’t get up without assistance, and had difficulty walking.

The hospital did tests and found nothing, except a urinary infection which cleared up within days with antibiotics. She was transferred to a Rehabilitation Unit, and was making slow but good progress with regular physiotherapy, but kept wanting to discharge herself. The Occupational Therapist gave her a ‘risky discharge’ but put in extra equipment in her flat, including a commode to be put by her bed at night, and a rail to help her get into and out of bed. Also a table was moved from the center of the living room to give her more space to move. My mother came home and demanded the table be put back in the middle of the room, refused to use the commode (and the carer piled clothes on top of it so it couldn’t be used anyway), and swore at the rail at the head of the bed saying: ‘Take this bloody thing away!’

A week after returning home she got up to get a cup of tea and a sandwich, or bread and fish paste, from the kitchen, tripped over something and fell. She activated the alarm, and paramedics were called. They checked her over, but she refused to go to hospital. Later that day she walked with her trolley from the bedroom to the living-room where a photographer was taking some photos for a magazine article. However her foot had swelled up and I couldn’t get her shoe on. Later that day she couldn’t get up from her armchair, and so when the carer came and couldn’t help her up either, we called an ambulance. She ended up in another hospital for 5 weeks. This time she had a hairline fracture in her little toe, but this healed without treatment in days and the swelling went down. She was getting regular physiotherapy in hospital, but couldn’t return home because someone had made allegations and an investigation was ongoing. I wasn’t told the details, but suspect a former carer with whom I’d had an argument because she was telling lies to me and my mother.

The hospital needed the bed, so she was finally discharged to a nursing home on an interim basis. Before her last hospitalization there was talk of her going to an extra care facility, where she’d have her own flat, but there would be carers on site 24/7. This sounded ideal, but she couldn’t go there straight from hospital because it would mean moving all her furniture, so a permanent move, and this wasn’t allowed due to the investigation. She moved into the nursing home, but wasn’t happy with it at all, although she has a big room, the staff are very friendly and helpful, and there’s a nice garden. It is also very near me and near her Luncheon Club and our favorite little park and place by the River Thames.

Eventually we were told the investigation had been dropped, evidently they were satisfied it was based on unfounded allegations, and yesterday my mother was given the opportunity to view a flat in the extra care facility. She took an instant dislike to it because the entrance to the facility was very narrow, the lift was very small (just took her wheelchair), and the show flat didn’t impress her either. The bedroom was tiny, though the living-room was a fair size. There was a small kitchen, a wet room with a sit-down shower and toilet, and two storage cupboards. I thought it was ideal, but mum didn’t like it at all.

So she now has to spend the rest of her days in the nursing home. There’s no question of her going back to her old flat as whenever she can’t get up they’ll just send her back to hospital. In the nursing home they put residents in wheelchairs all day and there is no physiotherapy (she would have got this in the extra care facility to get her mobile again).  The nursing home put incontinence pads on residents, and they get all their meals there. My mother won’t eat them when I’m present, but I’m told she eats when I’m not there, so I make myself scarce at mealtimes.

I visit most days and take her out when it’s not raining. We go to the Lunch Club once or twice a week and sometimes have lunch in a café or pub. However due to her refusing the extra care facility and medical problems (the hospital detected a heart murmur, and after 80 or more years heavy smoking her lungs are not in good condition) it is likely she will deteriorate as she no longer walks about and needs assistance getting up from her chair, getting to bed, washing/dressing, etc.

I have, of course, had to cancel holidays to a hotel in the Isle of Wight where we went in recent years. I couldn’t give her the care she needs, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a son anyway, and she is incontinent either because of her immobility or because of the pills they give her in the nursing home to make her regular. No hotel would tolerate that, and no way could she manage to get to the toilet in the night by herself.

I now realize her options are strictly limited. I can really only take her around the local parks, etc. Then back to the nursing home where they will change her pads. I tried to get her to use a disabled toilet the other day while out (very few around in London) but she couldn’t manage it, or was afraid to try without two people to assist her.

It is not all gloom and doom. There is a lovely garden in the nursing home, and although she can’t smoke inside they will, if she asks them, take her out in the garden and give her a cigaret (the nurses hold a packet or two for her). My brother bought her an e-cigaret, though she hasn’t tried it yet. Other ones I bought her disappeared from her room, as did some money and other little things. If she’d accepted the extra care facility she’d have had her own front door, but she’s now made her decision and her home will be dispersed. A few things can go to her room in the nursing home, the rest will have to come to my place or be cleared away.

it is sad she’s lost her home, but I’ve done everything I can, and in the final instance it was her choice not to take the flat in the extra care facility. It might be best after all, as she has people around her in the nursing home, and she might get lonely in a strange flat especially if she felt it was claustrophobic, despite my visiting almost every day, cooking her main meal, taking her out, and carers popping in and out.

We must make the best of it, and when she does transit to Spirit she’ll be with her siblings and her parents, and she’ll be free from all her disabilities. Most people choose to go back to their prime. I guess she’ll even be allowed her fags over there until she realizes she really doesn’t need them. Meanwhile I will visit most days, not every day as I need a break and she needs to get used to the environment. Days when she’s very grumpy I just have to leave and not visit the next day. I plan at the moment to visit and take her out (weather permitting) most days. Perhaps have two or three days a week when I don’t visit.

Thinking of myself and my own future needs, I live in a large council flat which I shared with my partner till he transited to Spirit 24 years ago next September. There are 14 stairs up to my flat, one reason mum couldn’t come to live here as she couldn’t manage the stairs nor could I get her wheelchair up and down with its motor on, and I couldn’t risk her smoking in my flat and causing a fire (the sheltered accommodation did have alarms linked to the fire station, so if they were set off firemen were there within minutes. Apparently there’s no truth in the rumor she set the smoke alarms off because she liked to see men in uniform arrive!)

Maybe, if I start to get more decepit (I’m 70 now but still fairly fit apart from a few aches and pains) I’ll book myself into the extra care facility. I won’t be able to take all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years, but I find I don’t use most of it anyway. Just what I need.

Mum may have weeks, months or years ahead of her, who knows? However although she still pines for a home of her own she has made her choice – she was offered one and rejected it. There really is nothing else available which would be suitable in the area, so it means she’ll have to get used to the nursing home which, as I say, has friendly staff, a lovely garden, she is well looked after by nurses and carers, and she has a very large room with some of her things around her. I think she’s been moved around so much in the past few months she doesn’t want to move to another strange environment. She would like to return to her old home, but this just isn’t practical as she’d be back in hospital within hours due to her immobility and the lack of any care facility there. In fact I think they have changed the name to ‘independent living’.  It was sheltered housing when she moved in 14 years ago.

 

Prostitution and Left Unity

I am probably going to resign from the Left Unity Party, launched in 2013 by Ken Loach and others as a leftwing alternative to Labor. The Party is clearly not going anywhere, and the Green Party has surged ahead with over 1 million votes in the last General Election (but only one MP due to our unfair electoral system). I may well join the Greens, or remain outside all political parties.

I have had two run-ins with LU members over the question of prostitution.  One on Facebook, and the other this week by email. My local Party, Wandsworth, has decided to discuss prostitution at a meeting on Thursday, and it seems militant feminists are completely in control and will present a paper calling for the oldest profession to be banned. Apart from being totally impractical and likely to just push it further underground, increasing trafficking of women and minors, it impinges on the rights of consenting adults to earn a living by providing a useful service, and on the rights of their clients to purchase these services.

Accusations were thrown about saying contributions to the debate by email were ‘inappropriate’ and ‘intimidating’. The only intimidation is by the militant feminists who insist all prostitution constitutes rape and degradation of women, even apparently when talking about male escorts catering mainly for gay and bisexual men. In fact they don’t want to talk about male sex workers at all, insisting it is just a matter of men degrading women.

I happen to believe sex workers of both genders provide a valuable social service, preventing many rapes and child molestations. They are often willing to act out fantasy role play, and indeed many of these don’t even involve sex. Full penetrative sex is not necessarily part of all encounters with sex workers. Of course my idea that sex workers should be available on the NHS to give hand jobs to elderly men to prevent prostate cancer, and save the NHS money in the long run, was no doubt deemed one of the ‘inappropriate’ and ‘intimidating’ remarks, but I make no apologies for being decades ahead of current thinking.

My life-partner and most of his friends were sex workers in the past, and he held the same views as I do about the valuable social service they provide. Similarly for the pornographic industry, and Peter Tatchell has said that it can help stimulate masturbation in older men and so help to prevent prostate cancer. Militant feminists no doubt are not preoccupied with male health issues such as this.

State run brothels with proper controls and regular health checks are, in my view, the answer, to provide safe spaces for sex workers and their clients, and to insure no minors or trafficked women/men/children are involved. If State run brothels were set up, all other forms of prostitution could be if not eliminated at least more regulated, and unauthorized brothels closed down. Whether independent consenting adults could operate on their own is a moot point, I see no objection but they might need to agree to regular inspections to insure they were within the law and to conduct health checks.

It is plain stupid to try to outlaw the oldest profession. Surely the experience of Prohibition in the USA taught us that if you ban something people want it goes underground and in control of criminal organizations like the Mafia.

I await a reply from Left Unity head office before deciding whether to cancel my membership, but if I don’t hear from them I will resign anyway. Only if they ask me to stay a member will I possible reconsider.

UKIP LGBT Group banned from Pride

This decision is ludicrous. First of all it is totally impractical. Anyone can join any march/parade. What they mean is, presumably, marching under a UKIP LGBT banner. They could easily circumvent that by marching under an anti-EU banner, or a variation of the party’s initials such as UKPI LGBT group.

Where will this decision lead if it is allowed to set a precedent? What about LGBT people who don’t approve of gay marriage or gay adoption? LGBT people who don’t fit in with the current LGBT trends in fashion/music, etc.? Surely Pride should encompass all LGBT people whatever their political views and personal tastes? Diversity should be respected and treasured.

Has it not also occurred to those seeking to ban this group from Pride that they might well serve to provide a useful educating role within UKIP? I belong to the 1950s rock’n’roll/rockabilly/Teddy boy  fraternity where there was and is much homophobia. However by coming out as gay within the fraternity I have found acceptance by all and sundry. When they realize some LGBT people like their kind of music, we are accepted. In UKIP, in football, in other spots, in the Muslim or fundamental Christian communities LGBT people coming out could gradually change attitudes. More difficult in the latter two I admit, but they are not based on rationality but are heavily influenced by outdated politically incorrect religious texts including incitement to murder, rape and genocide which would not be allowed to be written and published today.

The bottom line is any LGBT person or gay-friendly people should be welcome on Pride. I probably won’t be on it because I’ve got better things to do, such as attending a rock’n’roll Weekender.

 

Colin Fry

Colin Fry 2

 

One of the world’s greatest mediums, Colin Fry, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This came as a huge shock to me, and very rarely for someone I don’t know personally, I broke down crying when I read the news. Just because one is a Spiritualist who knows there is an afterlife doesn’t mean we don’t grieve or that we don’t miss people who’ve moved on to another dimension. Having lost a life-partner myself, I feel for Mikey Moo, Colin’s life-partner, and of course for Colin himself. He is undergoing radiotherapy and pain control, but sadly at 52 going on 53 it seems Colin is not going to be around on Earth giving his wonderfully specific messages for another 20 or 30 years or so.

Already some of the spiteful remarks have started. On the ‘BadPsychics’ site, run by debunkers who say all mediums and psychics are frauds, there are remarks like ‘he didn’t see that coming’. This confuses mediums with end-of-the-pier ‘fortune tellers’. Mediums don’t usually tell the future, if indeed it is possible to forecast events which haven’t yet happened. In any case there is a code of practice whereby Spirits and mediums do not forecast or pass on messages about someone’s impending death or future terminal illness. There are indeed cases of premonition, and I have had two such incidents in dreams, but in both cases the events forecast were already in the process of happening. Forecasting events far in the future would suggest everything is set in stone and we have no free will to make decisions or influence the future.

Another remark on the ‘BadPsychics’ site was that this was a chance for Colin to admit he has been a fraud all these years, rather than saying, as Colin as done, that ‘the show must go on’ when Colin feels well enough to perform (he’s had to cancel some performances recently). All this venom is very cruel, and I know Colin is a genuine medium from a very specific message I received from him which could not have been researched beforehand and which could not possibly have been guesswork or ‘Cold Reading’. As I have said before, if you look at Colin’s ‘6ixth Sense’ TV programs (still being re-broadcast on some Freeview channels) you will know for certain he is a genuine medium. He is so specific about details, and people whose relations have died would not be party to fraud such as agreeing to be ‘plants’ in the audience. These ‘plants’ would have to be paid, and they could then sell their story to the tabloids exposing the medium as a fraud for far more money than they could get from agreeing to be a ‘plant’. The whole idea is, frankly, quite ridiculous.

While not claiming to be a medium myself, I do channel my life-partner, and soon after he transited I got direct messages which answered questions I’d asked him in posthumous letters to him and which helped me find things he’d hidden away in our flat – items I never even knew he had.

There is one incident early in Colin Fry’s career, when he was demonstrating physical mediumship under the stage name ‘Lincoln’, which is always brought up by debunkers and involved the lights being turned on and Colin being seen holding a Spiritualist trumpet which was supposed to have been levitated by ectoplasm. Colin in his autobiographies has addressed this incident, when he was less experienced, and blamed it on a mischievous entity called Daniel. A physical medium usually goes into a trance so is unaware of what transpires. Also even when bound to their chair Spirit regularly dematerializes and rematerializes physical objects, so believe it or not it is perfectly possible for a physical medium bound to a chair and in a trance to be manipulated by Spirit, and there are mischievous entities who can cause havoc with an inexperienced medium who does not take necessary precautions.

Apart from this one incident, I have not read of any convincing report of Colin allegedly faking anything. It is true that mediumship powers can sometimes wane at times, and in the past some genuine mediums have been tempted to ‘fake it’ in order not to disappoint their audience. I don’t think Colin has ever done this, and if he did it would be very obvious as he channels such specific messages that ‘cold reading’ would stand out like a sore thumb.

I am deeply saddened by the news about Colin, and feel for his partner Mikey, Colin’s family and all his fans. Other mediums will continue his work when he’s transited, such as his friend Tony Stockwell and many others. There are good, bad and mediocre mediums. Colin is one of the best.

There are things he and other mediums have done which I am not particularly happy about. New Age stuff like selling crystals and other merchandise, and this current mania for Spiritualists to ape Christianity by ordaining ministers who are given the title of ‘Reverend’. Colin Fry was recently ‘ordained’ and became known as the Rev. Colin Fry.  This to me serves no useful purpose since Spiritualism is not a Christian denomination, and I would regard it as a science rather than a religion since it is based not on faith or scripture but on repeatable experimentation and evidence. To adopt the trappings of Christianity will only serve to turn off atheists, agnostics and people of non-Christian religions and prevent them discovering the truth about afterlife communications.

Nevertheless, whatever he chooses to call himself and whatever he chooses to sell to boost his income, Colin is one of the greatest mediums of our time, and thankfully we have the TV shows on record to show future generations how mediumship should be done.

I wish Colin and Mikey, and their families and friends, all the best. And thank you, Colin for your wonderful work and the messages which have comforted so many.

 

 

Untraditional families

This has caused a lot of controversy recently because of the remarks by two gay fashion designers saying they are not personally in favor of gay adoption, but also making offensive remarks about IVF.

My own view, to clarify it, is that all families which for any reason do not include a parent of both genders would benefit if the children had regular access to a role model of the gender which was missing from their parenting. I know my childhood would have greatly benefitted in having a good role model of a father figure.

My father was absent, for the first 6 years because he was gambling, drinking and womanizing (not a good role model!), then because, not surprisingly, my parents separated and were later divorced. This meant I had little contact with adult men and was scared of them, so much so I cried all night when I had to go into a male teacher’s class for the first time at the age of 8. I didn’t know what a urinal was and so kept trying to go into the girls’ toilets at primary school, thinking the boys were urinating against the wall.

More seriously I underwent two very traumatic operations to bring on puberty when I was 13, and I wonder if these would have been necessary if I’d had a father figure to talk to. These operations were planned in secret as if something shameful, and the first one sprung on me the night before. As a result I had a reaction similar to any other sexual assault. I became gay immediately after these operations, despite having heterosexual fantasies beforehand.

The trouble was I couldn’t discuss these or the fact that I got stimulated with my mother or grandmother, and when my brother first experienced arousal I denied it had ever happened to me. This led to these operations being forced on me. I still do not know to this day how puberty in males is supposed to happen. Nobody has ever discussed it with me, and I’m 70 this week. Do the testes descend shortly after birth or between the ages of say 11 and 15? If the latter, the operations were probably unnecessary since they were planned when I was only 12!

These operations, and the way they were planned in secret, not only led me to subconsciously reject all heterosexual inclinations which was not a bad thing in itself as I much later found a wonderful same-sex life-partner. But they absolutely ruined my teenage years. I retreated into a shell and made no friends my own age. It was so bad other boys at my college sarcastically nicknamed me me ‘Sociable’.

I needed a father figure to discuss the feelings encountered during puberty and how it develops. If the operations were indeed necessary he could have explained it to me, instead of it being some nasty secret women didn’t wish to discuss.

So I feel all one-parent families (due to break-up of partnerships or bereavement of one parent) should be offered the option of a suitable role model of the missing gender in the parentage, and the same for same-sex couples with children.

As to IVF, this is a valuable medical/scientific development for those who for any reason cannot have children in the usual way. I guess this includes both gay and straight couples. Where, however, do you draw the line? Singles are barred from this treatment I understand, and presumably from adoption?

The world suffers from over-population. If couples, gay or straight, genuinely want children then adoption is perhaps a way which would not increase this over-population. This is not satisfactory for many who want their own children but are unable to have them without IVF. Just so long as people realize children are not a fashion accessory – if that is what they want maybe a pet would be better, but they too need to be in loving homes.

There also, obviously, has to be a limit on how many children one couple can have by this method. At the same time couples having children by the usual method should, in my view, be penalized financially if they have more than two. China has been much criticized for the ‘one-child’ policy, but what is the alternative? Children dying of malnutrition because there are too many to be fed properly?

As for me personally, like the gay fashion designers, I would never have even considered adopting children, nor would any of the gay couples I know or knew in the past. Obviously times are changing, but children were never part of the gay lifestyle I knew. When we visited my partner’s sisters with their large families, or they visited us, it seemed like heterosexual hell to us! But that is just a personal view. We have no right to deny adoption or IVF for other couples, though I would suggest the points above in this blog be considered seriously.

A Minority Within A Minority

This is the story of my life; always part of a minority within a minority. Sometimes because I’m something of a rebel, though it could be said I’m just an independent thinker who refuses to let others think for me. Sometimes because I’m just different; an individual who won’t follow the current herd.

In my early teenage as a churchgoer I stopped putting money in the collection because I knew about the vast properties the Church of England owned. Not only churches, cathedrals, archbishops’ palaces, etc. but many other properties which they let out. When my mother encouraged me to join the boy scout movement I objected to swearing allegiance to The Queen and the general militaristic paraphernalia, so soon left. As a jury member I chose to affirm, but felt refusing to swear an oath to the Queen would have disbarred me from jury service. On both cases I went with the minority opinion of the jury, naturally. One trial at the Middlesex Guildhall (now the Supreme Court) was stopped when a friend of the accused approached me outside the court and, finding this intimidating, I reported this to the judge.

As an early supporter and full-time worker for CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in the early 1960s I didn’t follow the official line of only legal demonstrations, but also supported the Committee of 100 and its Direct Action protests and other actions which broke the law.  This came to a head on my first Aldermaston March in 1963 when I was confronted by my boss at CND Head Office, Peggy Duff, shouting thru a loud-hailer telling marchers to keep straight ahead to the lunch stop. I defied her by turning left with the anarchists and direct actionists to view and protest a top-secret nuclear bunker, known as an RSG or Regional Seat of Government in times of crisis/nuclear war. This was at Warren Row, and as I followed those protesting at this bunker I wondered if I still had a job the Tuesday after Easter, but nothing was said about my disobedience. Peggy Duff years later wrote in her autobiography ‘Left, Left, Left’ that it was a mistake to try to stop marchers visiting the Warren Row RSG just off the route of the Aldermaston March.

As a member of the Labour Party at various times I have always opposed the official line. As a member of the Young Communist League and later the Communist Party, I again joined other minority comrades in opposing the official line. This was brought to a head when I and some comrades attended a YCL Congress in Scarboro’.  Leading comrades in the YCL booed the fraternal Soviet delegate because of the recent invasion of Czechoslovakia; I and my hardline comrades gave him a standing ovation, as we did for the DPRK (North Korean) delegate who presented a statue of Kim Il-Sung to the embarrassed British YCL leadership. As a current member of Left Unity Party I find myself again opposing official policies in various areas, notably uncontrolled immigration and, for that matter, uncontrolled emigration. I still, for instance, believe the Berlin Wall was an absolute necessity to stop the flow of professionals from the GDR, the commuting between cheap subsidized flats in the East and high paid jobs in the West, and the emptying of subsidized goods from GDR shops by Westerners, though I am now against the minefields and shootings. I think financial measures could have controlled movement between both parts of Berlin along with the Wall.  Westerners should have been barred from buying subsidized goods in the GDR capital, and GDR citizens should have had to forfeit a huge deposit if they didn’t return to the GDR after visits to the West. These deposits could have been collected by public subscription, and used over and over again to fund visits to the West to visit family, etc. Commuting to work from East Berlin to West Berlin would have been made impossible by the formalities necessary to get a visa for each visit to the West.

As a rationalist who rejects all organized religion I belong to the minority, albeit growing one, of agnostics, atheists and freethinkers who accept the overwhelming evidence of the afterlife. As a gay man I detest all the current gay fashions in dress, hairstyles, music, etc. As a Teddy-boy/1950s rock”roll fan I am one of the very few ‘out’ gay men, so again in a minority within a minority.

My views have changed over the decades. I am no longer a Communist, but still call myself a Marxist Socialist.  I naturally now condemn Stalinism and the invasions of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc.  I now am agnostic rather than an atheist, but a firm believer (if that is the right term) in the afterlife because of the scientific evidence for it, which most mainstream scientists refuse to even study because it is taboo to do so. However my views change I always seem to end up in a minority. Take reincarnation – most who believe in it think the individual keeps coming back in different lives. I take a more complex view of it, again based on evidence, that the individual does not come back, though other aspects of his or her greater soul (for want of a better word) may incarnate and all life experiences are then shared.

As a Socialist I reject widescale nationalization apart from the transport network, utility companies and telecommunications service, postal service, etc. which all have national grids/networks best maintained by a central unified authority. I instead support other forms of public ownership for most industries and services; cooperatives and mutuals, and also individual publicly owned companies, all competing in a Socialist market place.

As a pacifist I reject all war and indiscriminate weapons and killing, but support the idea of a United Nations Security Force armed with weapons which target only those committing atrocities.

I was always good at English Language, a born writer, but I reject the restrictions on spelling which British opinion tries to inforce. I pick and choose from all recognized English spellings in USA and UK, and would be all in favor of more spelling reform without making present books unreadable.

It is difficult perhaps being someone who thinks things out for themselves. You are derided by many or ostracized in some of the minority groups you belong to. As a believer in many conspiracy theories, again based on the evidence, I am ridiculed by many.  But there are UFOS, they are visiting the Earth regularly, there is on-going contact with the U.S. and other governments, Diana Spencer was murdered, JFK was not shot by a single assassin, and 9/11 was not just a group of terrorists flying airliners into buildings.  The evidence for all of this can be disputed, but only if it has been thoroughly researched and alternative explanations proposed.

While I don’t claim to be right in all my views, and have been proved wrong in some in the past, I do believe thinking for oneself is the only way to learn and progress. It is positively dangerous to let others do your thinking for you. On the other hand, in dictatorial societies, it is perhaps best to keep you views to yourself, or at least offer constructive ideas through the official channels rather than come across as a dissident. For example, the woman heroine in the German film about the demise of the GDR ‘Goodbye Lenin’. She supported the ruling GDR coalition, loved the GDR, but through the official organizations proposed improvements to the system.

Christmas Truce, 1914

 

The unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914 when British and German soldiers disobeyed orders and came out of the trenches to exchange gifts and play football with each other, has now been commemorated officially with a memorial inaugurated by Prince William.

Sainsbury’s official Christmas TV advert for the 100th anniversary of this event was a re-enactment of this truce. It can be viewed on the YouTube link above. Whenever I watch this I sob uncontrollably. Not just tears of happiness because of the truce, but because I knew after it was over they were killing each other again. That should never have happened.

Once they disobeyed their officers and became friends, they should have remained friends and refused to kill each other. They had the guns, they far outnumbered their officers. It was Lenin who told soldiers in the First World War to turn their guns on their own officers. I’m a pacifist, but if necessary that is what should have happened to make the truce permanent. They would not necessarily even had to fire their guns. It is high time old men, officers and politicians learnt that to put guns in the hands of young men, barely out of childhood, and order them to kill each other is very, very foolhardy. Those young men greatly outnumber them, are stronger, and once armed are positively dangerous!

Wars will cease when men refuse to fight, and if that means a few dead officers then I won’t cry too many tears. I’d rather the politicians, generals, etc. fought it out among themselves, They might all kill each other off and leave the rest of us to live in peace.

If young men refused to fight, or once armed, turned their guns on their own officers, a new world order of peace could be imposed.

You’d still have fanatics and extremists like the various terrorist groups, but they are usually a reaction to some war or injustice and in the case of Al-Quaida and ISIS actually armed and trained by the military to fight a common enemy in the past (when the Jihadists went under a different name such as the Mohajeen). Such groups must be dealt with by a truly international armed security force under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly. Policing actions targeting those committing crimes and atrocities; never wars killing young men and civilians indiscriminately.