Immigration/Emigration

This is a very controversial subject, and those on the Left or considered liberals are not supposed to even discuss it except to say there should be unlimited immigration/emigration in and out of all countries. This is, in my view, an idealist concept which would be fine if we had a level playing field as in worldwide Socialism, but the fact is we don’t.

Within the European Union which I’m very much in favor of, there is free movement across national boundaries. However the problems occur because there is no level playing field, and this is because there is no federal structure and therefore no central EU control over prices, wages, etc. So many Poles were going abroad to work at one point there were not enough men left to run the fire stations in Poland, and women had to take over. Unlimited emigration and immigration causes not just problems for countries with high immigration, but also for those with too high emigration. The GDR (East Germany) knew this when from 1945-1961 there was an open border in Berlin and the FRG (West Germany) and West Berlin poached many of the GDR’s best professional people. All GDR citizens who got to West Berlin or West Germany were guaranteed West German citizenship, so the Berlin Wall and inner German border installations were an economic necessity, though the minefields and shootings were illegal and not justified. Financial measures could have controlled emigration (hefty deposits for GDR citizens visiting the West, refundable when they returned), and measures could easily have been brought in to stop West Germans and West Berliners stripping East German shops of subsidized foodstuffs meant for GDR citizens. Similarly, in Berlin itself, before the Wall went up Berliners were obtaining cheap, subsidized flats in East Berlin and high paid jobs in West Berlin, depriving the GDR authorities of taxes as well as the expertise of people trained and educated in the GDR.

In the UK at the moment there are many inner city areas where the local indigenous population has been swamped by immigration. Alien culture has taken over in some areas. State schools are over 90% ethnic, butchers’ shops are all Hal-al as are take-aways, even meat counters in some big supermarkets are Hal-al. Meanwhile the burkha is still tolerated in public, and who knows who could be hiding behind it? Shops have been robbed by men wearing the burkha, and it is an excellent disguise for terrorists. Along with a ban on public wearing of the burkha, there should be a ban on any other clothing which covers the face such as masks and balaclavas. What is the point of CCTV if faces cannot be identified?

Then there is Enoch Powell’s supposedly infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech when he warned of the consequences of unlimited immigration. It has come true. Every month it seems drug-related gang violence claims the mainly black teenage victims of gun and knife crime. If this isn’t ‘rivers of blood’ caused by an alien gang/drug culture, what is it? Of course it doesn’t help that police on the beat have largely been removed from our streets, and to see such a police presence is a very rare sight nowadays.

The bottom line is all countries have the right to control both immigration and emigration. The USA is one country, so there is unlimited movement between the states. The EU is not one country; it has no federal structure, so until it does and there is a level playing field in wages and prices unlimited movement between countries is not practicable. It is not good for countries swamped with immigrants, and it is not good for countries starved of workers because so many have gone abroad, which the GDR regarded as treachery. To leave your country unable to function properly because so many workers have fled abroad instead of staying to fight for better conditions at home is, if not treachery, at least irresponsible.

Socialists and liberals should be fighting for higher wages and better working conditions in countries in the underdeveloped world or where wages are low. Cooperatives should be encouraged in these countries so workers there can escape from the clutches of multinationals who exploit them for cheap labor.

Meanwhile, immigrants must learn to assimilate into the local culture. While retaining their own culture, they should respect the culture of the country they are living in, learn the language, etc. Hal-al and kosher outlets and abattoirs should be strictly limited. Schools should introduce ‘bussing’ as happened in America to insure a healthy mix of pupils – neither all-white schools nor all-black ones.

I speak as the son of mixed-race parentage. My father was Greek-Cypriot, and neither he nor his relatives bothered to assimilate into the country properly. Even after 50 or 60 years few of them speak proper English. My dad never learnt it properly, and the marriage break-up with my mother was caused by trying to import Greek-Cypriot chauvinist ideas into his British marriage. He said things like: ‘women and dogs remain in the house’. They had arranged marriages in those days in Cyprus, and he even tried to arrange one for me with a Greek-Cypriot girl cousin, but I was having none of it. This was because Greek-Cypriot culture does not accept the gay lifestyle and insists everyone should be married to someone of the opposite sex. My father told me how someone from his village, who was gay, was forced to marry a woman. My father himself came to England to escape an arranged marriage. We don’t want such culture imported into British society.

All immigrants should be required to speak English fluently within a few years of living here. They should also be required so respect the national culture. This means the burkha in public is not acceptable, nor are arranged marriages, or gang warfare. All these are alien to our culture. Hal-al and kosher meat should be available to Muslims and Jewish people, but should not be forced upon the indigenous population.

Unless these issues are addressed by Socialists and liberals, far-right groups like UKIP and the BNP will continue to gain ground. But it is not enough to just deal with the current problems caused by too many immigrants in certain areas; it is essential to create a federal structure for the EU so we have a level playing field, and to work for fair wages and better working conditions worldwide.

What is ridiculous?

Ricky Gervais quote

I have to agree with actor/comedian Ricky Gervais. He is an atheist who doesn’t believe in the afterlife. I am a rationalist who doesn’t believe in it either; I deduce it is a fact by studying the evidence for it. This is evidence which many scientists and rationalists will not even investigate as it would undermine their theories and drastically alter their paradigms. Many other scientists and rationalists, however, have investigated the evidence, and many who were skeptics at first became convinced. This is not belief, this is judgment based on empirical evidence, the true scientific method.

However I also find many beliefs utterly ridiculous, though respect the right of people to hold them. The idea that Islamic extremist suicide bombers will be greeted in Heaven with various numbers of virgins to have sex with for instance; the idea that we will rot in our graves (or our ashes will be spread all over the place) and yet we will be physically reconstituted when Gabriel blows the ‘Last Trump’. The idea that there is a God who is male and who created himself and everything out of nothing. The whole idea of the Holy Trinity, invented at the Council of Nicea. The idea that you can do whatever you like and receive absolution from your misdemeanors by the Last Rites performed by a priest, by confession, by taking Holy Communion due to JC’s apparent death on the Cross (or tree, if you follow the Jehovah’s Witnesses version). I also find it utterly ridiculous that rationalist scientists can believe that everything appeared out of nothing in a Big Bang, that complicated organs such as the eye in humans and animals came about by pure accident without any intelligent design, that millions of monkeys typing on millions of keyboards for millions of years would eventually produce the compete works of William Shakespeare.

The bottom line is not to believe anything until their is solid evidence to support it, and until then to keep an open mind about everything. I have revised my beliefs many times and continue to do so based on new research, new evidence and experimentation. The trouble is organized religion and orthodox mainstream science are both based on certain beliefs and theories, and it is regarded as heresy to challenge them even when the evidence strongly suggests these beliefs and theories are wrong.

Things, however, are rapidly changing. Many alternative theories to those put forward by mainstream orthodox science are emerging. The new buzzword for these theories, backed up by mathematics and hard evidence, is ‘post-materialism’. Quantum Physics could be included in this since it proves that the basic building blocks of matter, sub-atomic particles, are affected by being observed or measured. In fact more and more scientists are coming to the conclusion that Mind and Brain are separate, and that Consciousness is the ultimate reality; everything else (including all matter systems) being elaborate illusions or virtual realities.

I also know, by studying the evidence and hearing what people like ex-NASA scientist/astronaut Dr Ed Mitchell say, what Admiral Hillenkoeter (the CIA’s first ever Director), what Dr Allen J. Hynek (USAF’s UFO ‘Project Bluebook’ expert), USAF Major Donald E. Keyhoe, what a Lockheed engineer and a CIA operative said on their deathbeds recently, that UFOs are real and that there is on-going contact with aliens.

I also give credence to some conspiracy theories while rejecting others, again I base my views on the available evidence, motives, etc.

Some may well find these ideas ‘f***ing ridiculous’, that is their right. I will give them credence based on the available evidence, until it is proved otherwise.

MY MOTHER’S CENTENARY CELEBRATION – SEPTEMBER 6TH, 2014

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My mother celebrated her 100th birthday party on September 6th this year.  The family and friends came from all over the country, and two from Canada. It was a memorable day, which ended up in a local restaurant with most of the family round one table and others and friends on other tables, 34 in all. There were at least 70 guests at her birthday party.

 

Here is the video footage, done by Sandra Munoz of Keepsake Videos. If you want a video done, incorporating photos, of a special occasion contact Sandra at: Sandra@keepsakevideos.co.uk or browse their website at: www.keepsakevideos.co.uk.

 

Link to YouTube video of party and Dorothy’s 100 years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UupKTyrqWLk

 

Next March I celebrate my 70th birthday (in the local rock’n’roll pub, The Pavilion, Battersea).

 

 

Marriage and Partnerships

How do we define these? It is getting more complicated now that a marriage is no longer regarded as necessarily a life-long relationship between a man and a woman. In the UK we now also have gay marriages and civil partnerships. Some last for life, some don’t, some continue after death, mine does. It is a different sort of relationship of course, not a physical one, but it is said that true soul mates are bound together for eternity.

So what is a marriage or partnership all about? Young people often make the mistake of thinking it is all about sex. What a laugh, if you think that you’ve fallen at the first hurdle, and it is no wonder so many marriages and partnerships end in divorce. Sexual attraction is fleeting and we all lose our looks relatively quickly. Even if we don’t, is it natural to be monogamous all one’s life? Well many people are, but many aren’t, again look at the divorce rate, and the business drummed up by what are now called ‘escorts’ of both sexes, or more straightforwardly ‘sex workers’.

In the eyes of religion marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman for the procreation of children. So why are so many heterosexual couples starting families without bothering to get married? Probably partly because traditional weddings are so expensive, young couples have other priorities like finding a home, and once they have a family they can’t afford anything but a cheap registry office affair. Also the commitment for life is scary. I’ve know of couples who were together for years, then got married and separated within months.

Sexual attraction may be how young people get together initially, but if that is all the marriage or partnership is based on it is doomed to failure. The sexual aspect is usually the first to fade. However attractive your partner is, years of having sex with the same person surely gets boring, and once you’ve been together for many years and maybe have a family, well it’s almost incestual! That might seem an odd remark to make, but I’m speaking largely as an outsider as I’ve never had a life-long monogamous relationship; none of the gay couples I knew had such relationships, they all ‘played around’. The idea of some of the couples I knew having sex together was laughable!

I had a life-partner, we were together 21 years till he passed to Spirit in 1991. This was long before civil partnerships or gay marriages in UK so it was never formalized apart from an exchange of rings. Poles apart politically and culturally at first, somehow we clicked and grew closer together. We shared so many interests over the two decades or so we were together on Earth, traveling much of it, going to the theater, the cinema, holding parties. The sexual thing faded very quickly, and never really got off the ground. You could say we were sexually incompatible, but that did not really matter as we were soul mates. We went on demonstrations and got arrested together as our politics soon melded into a liberal Socialist pacifism. Had the partnership depended on sex to keep it going it wouldn’t have lasted probably even one year.

Now this is where gay men (I can’t speak for lesbians) in the past at least, differ from heterosexuals. We ‘played around’. That is to say, we were never monogamous. The question never arose. Nobody, in those days, expected us to be monogamous, why should they? They didn’t recognize our relationship – the council even gave us two bedrooms to emphasize the point! Two adults of the same sex had to have a two-bedroom apartment. There was no social obligation to be monogamous, rather the very opposite. Because homosexuality was totally illegal in my teens and very early 20s, the gay scene was so underground and secret I never even knew it existed, therefore I was a virgin until well into my 20s.

Because gay men were illegal, they had to meet furtively, anonymously in secret places. Except for the very rich and powerful, it was almost impossible for two gay men to live together. If you rented accommodation and the landlord found out you slept with men you would be evicted. Didn’t matter if it was one man for life or a different man every night, it was all totally illegal (lesbians, however, were never illegal, reportedly because Queen Victoria thought women would never get up to such nonsense!)

What is true, of course, is children need a stable family relationship. They also ideally need role models of both sexes. So this modern idea of gay couples adopting children, or one of the partners begetting them and then both partners raising them, immediately faces this problem – how to provide a role model of the opposite gender to the adoptive parents? The obvious thing is the biological father in the case of a lesbian couple, and the birth-mother in the case of a gay male couple. This does not mean a menage a trois, but it does mean, ideally, regular access to the biological father or birth-mother. That is my view anyway, and I speak as an offspring of a one-parent family and know how damaging the absence of a male role model can be.

So whether partners are monogamous or not, arrangements can be made to provide a stable background in which to raise families. These can be as varied as the imagination allows. I think of hippie free love communes, for instance, where children are bought up collectively. More likely it would involve the children living with the couple, and if the parents have sex with other poeple it is kept outside the family home.

However marriage and partnerships are not all about procreation. If it were the world would be even more over-populated than it is already. It is not even all about sex, and if every time a guy climaxed a baby resulted, we really would have population problems. So that one goes right out the window (not literally of course – into a condom!)

Marriage and partnerships are about soul mates and real love, and they need not even be confined to two people. I’ve not had personal experience of this, but it is possible to have three or more people in partnership, we’re back to the hippie free love commune image again! Usually, however, it is difficult enough to cope with one live-in partner, even if you play around with others casually. Partnership or marriage is hard work and involves give and take, compromises, adjustments of all sorts.  Two poeple can often work it out, with three or more it becomes very difficult if not impossible.

I think if people really are soul mates and love each other, then ideally it should be for life and even beyond. However we often make the wrong choice or something goes wrong, and couples break up. This has happened to me and to many others, including of course my own parents.

The crucial thing is to either have common interests or to work at developing them, and not to worry too much about sex. The sex thing is usually what destroys marriages and partnerships. Does it really matter if there are sexual relations outside the partnership if both partners are free to do this and take sensible precautions?

My partner used to be what is now called an escort and swore blind that prostitutes, of both sexes, saved many a marriage. Sex workers, if they are any good at their job, fulfil fantasies, and do things partners would often never do. This was certainly true of my relatonship. I could never, ever have fulfilled the fantasies my partner had, and he agreed it would be impossible for these fantasties to be fulfilled within a steady relationship. I was quite happy for him to pay someone to handcuff him, whip him or whatever else he was into; a dominant S&M master was something I could never be. At best it would have changed the whole nature of our relationship, but he agreed this scene worked best when taken outside the loving relationship.

We had a house rule – never to flaunt sexual partners in front of each other, to restrict such playtimes and, if we started to get emotionally involved with someone, to end it immediately. Sticking to these rules, it worked. Other couples must make their own rules. The Christian church does not have a monopoly on this.

Marriage and partnerships, in short, are what people want them to be. But it is important to formally register them so the other partner or partners have full rights to hospital visits and if one of the partners dies, as is bound to happen sooner or later. This is the very thing we were denied, and though it didn’t cause big problems because we had made Wills out and had a joint tenancy, it does mean I now have no official status as a widower. Nevertheless I am a widower and will say so on all official forms whether they like it or not! We loved and cared for eachother in sickness and in health for over 20 years, so what else could I be but widowed when he passed to Spirit, even though we do keep in touch and he lets me know he’s still looking out for me.

 

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

All the conjecture over this tragic aircrash before the black box has been found and analyzed is just that, conjecture. While it is probable a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down, it is by no means clear who fired the missile, although the Western politicians and media have been very quick to accuse the pro-Russian opponents of the fascist Kiev government, and indirectly, Russia itself for not controlling them and supplying them with military equipment.

The whole tragic incident raises more questions: why were commercial airliners flying over a major conflict zone where military aircraft were being brought down regularly by surface-to-air missiles? If the plane was brought down by such a missile, what evidence is there it was fired by the pro-Russian opponents of the Kiev government? President Obama has said the missile was fired from rebel held areas; this is again pure conjecture. The plane came down in such an area, but the situation on the ground is fluid, with rebel forces in control one day and Kiev government forces in control the next. Nobody knows, if it was a missile, where exactly it was fired from.

Assuming it does turn out to have been a Russian-made missile, that in no way proves the pro-Russian rebels fired it. The Kiev government forces could easily have captured these missile launchers as they overrun rebel-held areas. Also, as a former Soviet Republic, Ukraine would no doubt have stocks of Russian-made military equipment itself.

We have to look for a motive of this heinous crime, if it wasn’t an accident. Who would want to fire a surface-to-air missile at a Malaysian Airlines flight? Certainly the pro-Russian rebels and Russia itself had no motive at all for such an act. On the other hand, the Kiev government, NATO and the USA had a very strong motive: that is, to make it look as if Russia and the pro-Russian rebels are to blame, and gain more EU support for stronger sanctions against Russia.

The whole stinking business of the fascist coup in Kiev, the civil war which followed, and now this tragic incident stinks of a CIA conspiracy to re-create the myth of the Russian ogre. This, no doubt, in order to boost defense spending and increase the profits of the arms industry.

Russia is NOT the enemy. After the fascist coup in Kiev Russian speakers in the Eastern provinces felt threatened with banning of their language and, ultimately, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide. Russia itself has been extremely reticent to get involved, apart from probably supplying military equipment to the rebels, and the incorporation of Crimea back into the Russian Federation after the local populace voted overwhelmingly for this, as did the Crimea legislature.

Crimea was always a member of the Russian Federation until Krushchov gave it to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as a gesture in 1954. It was largely a cosmetic exercise as, of course, it remained in the Soviet Union. Also a large Soviet naval base was situated there, and remained there as a Russian naval base after the tragic break-up of the USSR just as there was the prospect of genuine democratic reforms under Gorbachov with his ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost’ policies. The hard-line Stalinist coup, though short-lived, in August 1991 put paid to that and Boris Yeltsin presided over the break-up of the Soviet Union. All the wars and troubles since, including the current Ukraine crisis, with many Russian-speakers the wrong side of the border, is a legacy of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

As to the fate of MH17 with such a tragic loss of life, we have to look at who stood to gain from such a horrible crime, if indeed it was deliberately shot down. Russia and the pro-Russian opponents of the Kiev government had absolutely no motive to do so. Kiev, NATO and the USA dirty operations department had every motive to do so, and blame it on Russia and the pro-Russian rebels. Who had the motive, are probably the ones responsible!

Rock’n’Roll Heaven?

What Roots Music fans like us want to know is, assuming there is an afterlife (you either believe, don’t believe, or like me you study the evidence and find it has been proven many times) do we get to hear our favorite singers and musicians playing our kind of music? I have read and heard many reports of the afterlife, but have to confess I have never heard of anyone reporting going to an Elvis Presley, Bill Haley or Gene Vincent concert, nor to a performance by any of the great Country stars like Hank Williams Sr. What I do read and hear about over and over again are the great Halls of Music where the works of the great classical composers can be heard and seen, in wonderful colors we can’t imagine on Earth. For instance, John Brown, the companion and medium to Queen Victoria (he connected her with Albert after he transited), speaking via the Direct Voice medium Leslie Flint told how a classical musical work about the evolution of humans might show this in full color as well as the audio experience. Brown and many others, famous and not famous, can be heard in the Leslie Flint archives easily Googled on the Internet.
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Of course there could be concerts by the artists we love, but there are so many levels of Spirit and so many different environments, because basically we create them with our own thoughts. We are attracted to those people who are on the same level, the same vibration as ourselves. So maybe there is indeed a Rock’n’Roll heaven, though I haven’t personally heard about it. I did hear about someone crossing over expecting Elvis Presley to greet her, and she had to report back that he didn’t, nor had she seen him. The thing is both here on Earth and once we cross over our main purpose is to evolve. So while some people are content on crossing over to live in houses much like the ones they lived in on Earth, or wished they could live in, such as a cottage in the country with a little garden, eventually they tire of such things and want to aspire to greater things. This does not mean big mansions – John Brown says he was surprised on crossing over to be allocated a ‘wee cottage’ when he had been used to living in huge palaces. He had to be brought down to size and learn to appreciate the simple things. But pottering around in a cottage garden for Eternity would soon become boring, the whole purpose is to learn, to experience new things, and to evolve.
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However the very good news for all of us rock’n’roll fans is that Spirits are able to visit any event and any time in human history. So we could make trips back to the 1950s and see all the shows by all the great performers – the Alan Freed spectaculars for instance, with Jerry Lee in his red drape suit. We could find out once and for all whether Jerry Lee did set fire to his piano to stop Chuck Berry following him on stage.
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The more adventurous might go back into ancient human history to see the pyramids being built and how it was achieved, or to find out exactly what Jesus did say and what happened to him – did he die on the Cross (or on a tree as the Jehovah’s Witnesses say)? Did he marry Mary Magdalene and go to France as other stories suggest? Did he go to India and teach? We could find the solution to all these mysteries. In fact I have read a channeled book by Jesus in which he says a lot of myths have grown up about him. I won’t offend Christians by exposing them here, except to say at the wedding feast he claims he never turned the water into wine, but simply sent one of his disciples to the local wine store to buy some more when it was running out!
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The descriptions I’ve read and heard about of the place where most of us end up on transition are of an environment where it is permanently light, but with no sun. There are magnificent Halls of Learning, of Music, etc. but also little cottages, and towns of some description. Also countryside, and animals (who also survive death). These descriptions come from those who have died communicating thru mediums, and many who have had Near Death Experiences have come to the borders of this place which, incidentally, is not ‘up there’ but co-existing in our own space. It is another dimension operating on a different vibrational frequency. Ask a Quantum Physicist to explain – it is perfectly possible for many alternative dimensions to exist in the same space operating on different wavelengths or vibrations.
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All complete nonsense or fact? Do the research and decide for yourselves. I’ve no objection to anyone dismissing the afterlife and mediumship as false if they’ve really investigated it thoroughly. This means studying more than one source and several reputed mediums, for there are of course bad ones and frauds, as in any profession.
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But as my recent article in Tales From The Woods stated many scientists, some very skeptical at first, have studied mediumship and the afterlife, and continue to do so, and have come to the conclusion it is a scientific fact. They are then ostracized by the conservative orthodox scientific community, because to admit this evidence is valid would consign all the scientific textbooks of the past 100 years or so to the scrapheap. However Quantum Physics is pretty much doing just that anyway when sub-atomic particles can be in more than one place simultaneously, and communicate with each other instantly, and revert to wave function when not being consciously observed.
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I rather hope there is a Rock’n’Roll Heaven, but perhaps it is just a place to visit occasionally like a Weekender. Imagine having to perform the same sort of songs over and over for Eternity! Even the performers would want to move on sometimes, but I like to think there would at least be opportunities to see our favorite artists perform new material we never heard or saw them do on Earth.
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However George, my life-partner, now partner-in-Spirit, says if there is a rock’n’roll heaven it’s hidden from him. He loved classical music, and it greeted him as he crossed over he told me. But he also loved much popular music, but he said he hasn’t heard or seen any of this performed as it is drowned out by the louder sound of the wonderful heavenly classical music. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, or wait and not see (or hear!)

Ukraine civil war

The situation in the Ukraine has changed since the election last Sunday, May 25th. Before that the regime in Kiev was illegitimate; a fascist coup supported by NATO.

Putin of Russia has said he will respect the results of last Sunday’s election, but the Ukrainian army is moving ever eastwards to crush the rebellion of Russian speakers in those regions and the self-proclaimed independent republics. In the process many civilians are being killed as well as pro-Russian militia groups.

Putin seems to have little influence over these pro-Russian groups, and NATO/the USA has not tried to influence the new Ukrainian government to reverse some of the fascist measures which led to the rebellion in the east of the country.

Putin, Obama and the EU need to call for an immediate ceasefire from both sides, then call an international conference including all sides in the Ukrainian dispute.

The Russian language needs to be protected in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine, and the culture of those regions. Some sort of federal solution is probably required so Russian speakers in the East and the pro-Westerners in the West of the country can each have a great degree of autonomy over their affairs. Then the self-declared ‘peoples’ republics’ can be wound up. The rights, language and culture of all Ukrainian citizens must be preserved.

As to the Crimea, this is more complex as it was part of Russia till 1954, and contains a Russian naval base. Whether it ends up in Russia or Ukraine depends on the political solution to the East/West division in Ukraine, and the degree of autonomy granted to the various provinces.

This civil war, like those in other parts of the former Soviet Union and also in Yugoslavia, is a direct result of the collapse of those two Socialist federations. The de-stablization has continued for the past 23 years, with many ethnic groups dispersed across what are now international borders but which before were internal ones.

The main problem in Ukraine is going to be the new government’s desire for closer ties, and possible future membership, of the European Union and NATO’s objective of expanding into that country, with their rightwing government’s support. The latter will not be acceptable to peacelovers anywhere, and not to the Russian-speakers in the East. It will also alarm Russia itself, which has already seen many former Soviet republics and Socialist states taken over by NATO, and, in their eyes at least, theatening Russia itself.

NATO should have been disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact at the end of the Cold War. It certainly should not be expanding to the East, and an agreement was given to Gorbachev that this would not happen. As to the EU, it is unlikely Ukraine will be accepted any time soon as a member, and although Russia is partly a European country, it is even more unlikely that Russia would be accepted, it being so huge and mainly an Asian country.

Nevertheless Russia should not have been left out in the cold and an association with the EU should have been made possible. As its capital, Moscow, is in Europe it should perhaps be granted membership. Turkey has been considered, and its capital, Ankara, is not even in Europe. Greek Cyprus has been granted membership although the whole of the island is in Asia.

Alternatively special arrangements should be made for Ukraine so it can have ties with both the EU and the Russian Federation. The present anarchy of bloody civil war should not be allowed to continue.

North/South Division

There is, and always has been, a great division between London north of the River Thames and London south of the River, or certainly between the Londoners who live in these two areas of the metropolis.

South London, according to the postal districts, extends north of the river, but areas like Fulham, Chelsea, Westminster and Victoria are not part of true South London despite having postcodes beginning SW.

There is also a division between East and West London, but it is not so psychologically significant. Crossing the River Thames, particularly for those living north of it, entails crossing a physical barrier, and many never get much further than the South Bank complex.

I have now lived well over half my life south of the River Thames, having moved to Battersea in 1973, so 41 years ago. However I am still lost if I go much further south than a mile or two from the River Thames, Battersea being on the south bank. I know fairly well a strip along the River to the West as far as Putney, and a strip along the River as far as Tower Bridge, then there is  a big gap until we get to Greenwich, an area many Londoners know because of the river trips there.

My mother grew up in East London (Bow) but futher east than that is a bit hazy to me, and she was born at an aunt’s place in Acton in West London. I don’t know that area at all well, and in fact I’m only really familiar with West London as far as Shepherds Bush, or Northwest London (erroneously called ‘Middlesex’ by many who live there) as far as Wembley, where my uncle and his family used to live.

However the areas with N postal districts I know fairly well, at least as far north as the outer North London boroughs. I was born just off Oxford Street in the now demolished Middlesex Hospital, where I spent a lot of my childhood due to many operations, hospital stays and outpatients visits.

My first six years were spent living in West Hampstead/Kilburn area, where I went to primary school. After my parents split up in 1951 we moved to my maternal grandparents’ house in Wood Green. This is where I spent most of my childhood, and where I went to school, then college in nearby Tottenham (now both part of the London Borough of Haringey). I lived in two places in Wood Green, then when I was 16 we moved out of London to Welwyn Garden City, a place I hated from the outset. After a year working locally, I got a job at CND headquarters in first the Aldersgate area of London, then Grays Inn Road, and commuted for six years, till moving back to first Camden briefly (with my father), then Stoke Newington, and finally Camden where I also lived in two places.

So the areas of London most familiar to me are Hampstead, Wood Green, Camden and to some extent Stoke Newington (where I only lived a few months). Also places in between these areas and Central London.

South London is largely residential. There are few Underground lines which cross the River and extend far into South London. It relies mainly on buses, trams (in the Croydon area), the Overground and other surface trains for public transport.

There is very little reason to travel anywhere in South London unless you live there or are visiting relatives/friends. Even when musical events have been held in South London (by which I mean south of the River) I hesitate to go there unless they are near a rail or Underground station. It is a problem knowing where to alight from a bus or a tram when most of London south of the River is a strange city. Streetview helps enormously though, as you can now do a virtual walk from your destination back to the nearest bus or tram stops.

Physical barriers like the River Thames do psychologically divide towns and cities almost as efficiently as the Berlin or Nicosia walls once divided those cities. In Welwyn Garden City it was the railway tracks, all the social housing and factories being on the unfashionable East side of the railway when I lived there (on the East side naturally), and the shops and posh houses being on the fashionable West side of town. As a member of the local CND group in the 1960s I attended meetings at the Friends Meeting House on the West side of town. A elderly middle-class woman with the equally middle-class nickname of ‘Squib’ was giving several of us a lift home in her car. I was the last one to be taken home, and gave the street name. ‘I’ve never heard of that street, how do I get there?’ asked Squib. ‘You go over the railway bridge….’ I started to explain, as a look of sheer horror crept over her face. I might just as well have asked her to drive through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. ‘Oh, over THAT side of town!’ she exclaimed in disgust. ‘You’ll have to direct me, I’ve NEVER been over there!’

It is much the same with many North Londoners when required or invited to cross the River into South London. They might visit the National Theater, the NFT, the London Eye, even Battersea Park (especially when the fun fair was there), but venture any further into the residential areas of London south of the River and they, like me are lost. Croydon, being on the main line is better known to me, but not most of the places in between it and Battersea/Clapham Junction. As for Southeast London, forget it! This is the part of London I am about as familiar with as the far side of the Moon. I venture there with extreme reluctance, and am not even familiar with many of the names of places there. A friend once told me she lived in Mottingham, and I thought she meant Nottingham! I went to Hither Green to visit another friend,  had never heard of the place, and was completely lost when I arrived. Fortunately my friend eventually arrived to guide me through the jungle of residential streets to where he lived.

So, except in the area immediately around Battersea where I live, I am unable to give directions to strangers for almost anywhere in London south of the River Thames, but am able to give quite detailed directions for places north of the River unless in the extremities of East or West London.

Once a North Londoner, always a North Londoner, even if you end up by sheer accident, like I did, just south of the River!

Memorials to Bombers

Bomber command memorial, Green Park 1

RAF Bomber Command memorial, Green Park

There is nothing so shameful as erecting memorials and statues to bombers. Bombs kill innocent civilians, little children, babies, animals. Burn them alive or blow them to pieces. Nuclear bombs also kill by radiation, even generations not yet born.

Why do people think it’s fine to erect memorials and statues to some bombers and not to others? OK to erect an obscene, expensive monument to RAF Bomber Command in Green Park, responsible for countless thousands of innocent lives, but not to the IRA bombers who also killed innocent civilians? To erect a statue to Bomber Harris who ordered the bombing of German civilians in World War II, along with Winston Churchill, but not OK to erect statues to any of the Al Quaida-sponsored bombers? I myself took part in a demonstration when the obscene Bomber Harris statue was erected in London. A pity there wasn’t a similar demonstration when the Winston Churchill statue was erected, or statues to any other British Prime Minister since the War come to that, as they’ve all endorsed nuclear weapons targeting civilians. Is it any wonder terrorists take a leaf out of their book and also target civilians for political purposes?

Bomber Harris statue, Strand

Bomber Harris statue, The Strand (vandalized)

All such monuments and statues are obscene. Bombing is always done for a political purpose, and those doing it justify it, even though innocent civilians are nearly always the target.

Every British government, Labour, Conservative and Coalition, since the start of the Second World War are guilty, not just because of the bombing of civilians in World War II in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe, but because of Britain’s nuclear weapons developed under the Labour Attlee government and continued to this day, with the Conservative government planning to spent £100 billion to replace Trident. Our nuclear weapons threaten millions of totally innocent civilians and generations yet unborn.

Let me state it as clearly as I can. ALL BOMBING IS A WAR CRIME if civilians are killed or injured, even if it is dismissed as ‘collateral damage’. This makes all bombers war criminals. This includes the Dam Busters who succeeded in drowning innocent civilians in their homes, even though the main target was military, and also the terror bombing of cities like Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. Also Wurzburg, which was bombed in the last months of the War, killiing thousands of totally innocent people.

A friend of mine on Facebook put up a picture of the Memphis Belle Bombers’ memorial which has been protected by a fence to save offending Libyans, but all these bomber memorials and statues offend me.Memphis Belle memorial

Memphis Belle memorial (protected by a fence)

I see no distinction whatsoever between the RAF, the Luftwaffe, the IRA and Al Quaida. Nor between any of these and those who piloted the Enola Gray and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and those who a few days later dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. All are guilty of war crimes, as are those who ordered the bombings carried out. And the two atomic bombs didn’t end the war with Japan; that’s another lie. The Americans had to let Emperor Hirohito stay on the Throne and avoid a War Crimes Tribunal before the Japanese would surrender. The atomic bombs were just dropped on live, innocent human beings to demonstrate to our ‘ally’ Joseph Stalin what a powerful weapon the Americans had. It was the start of the Cold War!

The very possession of nuclear weapons threatening innocent civilians is a war crime because there is always a readiness to use these terrible weapons.

I make no apology whatsoever for offending many people who lost friends and relatives carrying out bombing raids. They should not have done so, whether under orders or not. Nothing is more cowardly than dropping bombs on innocent civilians from planes high in the sky, unless it is doing so remotely by pushing a button and setting off a V2 rocket to hit London or an ICBM to hit Moscow, or a British Trident missile to hit somewhere else probably in Russia. However much ‘fun’ it may be to watch cities being destroyed! If you don’t believe many thought it was fun, read the inscriptions on some of the bombs, including the atomic ones dropped on Japan. Just reading them makes me realize how very sick humans can be when they relish killing other totally innocent human beings, including little children! Bastards! Yes it makes my blood boil. I’m angry. Bloody angry at all those who drop bombs or let them off, or who target them remotely. You’re all bastards and you’ll  regret your actions some day, if not in this life, in the afterlife.

Bombs are weapons of mass destruction, they are indiscriminate, and those who drop them or fire them are guilty, in my book anyway, of heinous war crimes.

No wonder monuments and statues to bombers have to be protected, and no wonder they are frequently vandalized. If members of your family were burned alive or blasted to pieces by an RAF bomb, you would find that monument in Green Park offensive surely? No good saying ‘it was war’, that does not excuse this sort of mass murder.

There are other crimes committed in war, in fact all war is a crime as it is mass murder. The machine gunning from airplanes of children, innocent civilians and yes even soldiers. The killing of conscript soldiers just because they were born in another country is also a war crime in my book. Yes I’m a pacifist and proud to be one. I will never ever condone war under any circumstances whatsoever. Target Hitler and the top Nazis by all means, but don’t involve civilians. And don’t let old men safe in their bunkers order young men still in their teens to go and kill other young men. Bastards yet again! How DARE they order those barely out of childhood with their whole lives in front of them to kill each other. Let the politicans and generals go to some remote island or desert and fight it out among themselves if they want to; they might do us all a favor and wipe each other out!

I can see circumstances where certain actions have to be taken against individuals to prevent atrocities, but these should be policing operations caefully targeted, not the indiscriminate slaughter of conscript soldiers and certainly not the bombing of cties and towns where totally innocent civilians live.

‘Germany did it to us, so we gave them a taste of their own medicine’ is not an excuse, it is the pathetic cry of a child who gets involved in fights in the school playground. All bombs and weapons of mass destruction, including landmines and machine-guns, should be banned, and an international security force should replace all armies, navies and air forces. An international security force under the UN which would patrol every country and use policing methods, and not be armed with weapons of mass destruction which are indiscriminate.

I am deeply ashamed of what the RAF did to German cities in WWII and to cities under Nazi occupation. Even more ashamed that Churchill, Harris and others who ordered these bombing raids were not put before a War Crimes Tribunal.

However everyone, according to the evidence I have heard and read about, has to feel the pain they cause in others, Karmic law cannot be evaded. The effects of our actions, good or bad, will eventually be felt by us. This is perhaps the only lesson which will teach us right from wrong as we slowly develop spiritually.

Calm down dear. It’s only another crisis!

There’s a lot of hype about Russia invading Ukraine and even scare stories from David Icke and others about the start of World War III. Let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

For a start Russia hasn’t invaded anywhere. There was a referendum in Crimea, which contains a Russian naval  base and which was part of Russia till 1954. The referendum voted to rejoin the Russian federation following a fascist coup in Kiev.

Other regions in the Eastern Ukraine with large Russian speaking populations also wish for closer ties with Russia following the fascist coup in Kiev.

However Russian troops have not so far crossed the border, and even if they did to protect the local Russian population, would it really be the start of World War III?

Let’s look at recent history. When the Soviet Union existed the coloquial name used in the West was ‘Russia’ meaning all 15 Soviet republics, including Ukraine and the Baltic States.

Even when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1980, it was not the start of World War III.

USA, on the other hand, has invaded many countries in the past few decades, and World War III hasn’t started.

There is a crisis in Ukraine, it needs to be resolved. There is a grave danger of civil war. This happened in the former Yugoslavia, but again it didn’t lead to World War III.

Let’s not exaggerate a serious situation. A federal solution within the Ukraine which would guarantee the rights of all ethnic groups would be the best solution, but at the moment there is no democratic government in Ukraine, and a strong suspicion that the crisis has been manufactured to divert attention from things going on elsewhere, such as Syria.

On past experience I expect the Ukraine crisis to be solved one way or another with out involving a clash between USA and Russia. However the expansion of NATO ever Eastwards into what was formerly the Soviet sphere of influence and even what was the Soviet Union itself has raised tensions. It is a great pity that NATO was not disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact in the 1989-1991 period.

We do not need military blocs like this. They threaten countries like Russia, which should have been offered a Western hand of friendship when the USSR collapsed. Why has it been left out in the cold and threatened with NATO expansion?

As for Ukraine, partition is not inevitable. A democratic election followed by a Constitution which protects the rights of all ethnic groups would solve the present crisis.