Postscript on Michael Pallin’s ‘New Europe’ series


Now the whole series has finished, ending up in the former GDR (East Germany), I can’t help feeling what a wasted opportunity this project turned out to be.

It seemed to mainly consist of Pallin visiting wacky people, or those who were taking the opportunity of the ‘free market’ to rip off those daft enough, such as BBC license payers, to fall for their scams.

Think of just some of the people and places Pallin visited just in the last few episodes: a Russian woman in the Baltic states who ran a clinic in which she used leeches to cleanse the blood, an avant garde theater company in former Czechoslovakia where Pallin was invited to put on a grotesque mask and make an utter fool of himself, another clinic where he was rubbed with what looked like stones, then we see him lying in a plastic bag next to the Czech ‘Miss World’. Not to mention the flat in east Berlin where he joins Germans doing weird exercises and laughing like imbeciles. Most of the clinics he visited, and ‘treatments’ he sampled, must have been very expensive, and probably totally useless.

Oh, and he attended an aristocrats’ ball, with the said Miss World, in Prague. What a very sad postscript to Socialism in Eastern and Central Europe – the aristocratic filth cleared out by the Communists flaunting their outdated snobbery and moral decay in the heart of Europe. I found the spectacle absolutely disgusting, and Pallin was part of it all.

Think what he could have done with such a series: researched the effects of the overthrow of the imperfect, distorted Socialism (which ruled most of the Soviet Union for over 70 years, and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe for over 40 years) on the ordinary people of those countries.

Compared their hopes and dreams of 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, to the reality 18 years on. Interviewed people in depth about these hopes and dreams, and whether they had come true.  Instead we just got the odd comment thrown in, and not censored from the final cut – such as the Albanian who said Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist regime was preferable to the modern Albania if only because Hoxha kept the capital Tirana free of cars and traffic. In the former Soviet Union there was the guide who said many people hankered for the security and hopes of the old USSR. In the final program, in East Germany, a young man only 3 when the Wall fell so he could not remember the German Democratic Republic, told Pallin that his parents said ‘not everything about the GDR was bad’. Yet Pallin made no attempt to draw all this disquiet together and analyze it. Was Socialism really a total failure? Was it as tyrannical as some made out? Had there been no progress since the days of Joseph Stalin? And above all, had the return to capitalism and the free market fulfilled the dreams of those who so rashly tore down the Berlin Wall in 1989?

Pallin allowed people to make broad, sweeping statements which were simply not true, and implied even more. For instance, in Poland someone he interviewed said they were now free to go to church and practise their religion. Religion was never persecuted in the People’s Republic of Poland. I crossed the country in 1966 in a train en route to the Soviet Union, and it was one of the most religious countries I’d ever visited. Nuns and priests filled the train, churches and religious symbols were everywhere I looked outside the train windows. Even many United Workers’ Party (Communist Party) members regularly went to church. Poland was always a deeply religious, Roman Catholic country right thru the Socialist era. In fact, it was the installation of the Polish Pope John Paul II, from Krakow, which inspired Solidarity and eventually led to the crumbling of the Soviet Union and its Socialist ‘satellite’ states in Eastern and Central Europe. If religion was suppressed in the Polish People’s Republic, as it undoubtedly was in Hoxha’s Albania, then how was a Polish Pope ever installed in the Vatican?

Pallin also gave the impression that the Iron Curtain remained intact thruout the Socialist era, with no way to the West apart from risky escape across walls, fences and minefields. In fact visits to the West were relatively easy from a number of Socialist states, including of course Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Even East Germans could visit the West once they reached pensionable age. Soviet citizens also went on organized visits to the West, and in London were taken to see the sights of the city like the Tower of London and, of course, Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery.

But what would have also been interesting would have been some in-depth investigation into what happened after the collapse of Socialism in these countries. Little mention was made of the pyramid share schemes in Albania and some other former Socialist countries. People were promised that under capitalism they could get rich quick, and lost their life savings in these criminal scams. Even when there weren’t such scams, people’s life savings quickly dwindled as the cost of living, no longer subsidized by Socialism, soared.

Rents and prices went sky-high, but wages remained compatible with the old subsidized Socialist economy. The whole of Eastern and Central Europe joined the under-developed world as a pool of cheap labor to be exploited by Western multi-nationals. At the same time unemployment, completely unknown under Socialism, became widespread in many Eastern and Central European countries.

Pallin could have investigated how people coped with all this job insecurity, on the rise of fascist skinhead gangs in eastern Germany as a result of all this poverty and instability, on the collapse of the generous Socialist pension and holiday schemes. But Pallin investigated none of this. Nor did he inquire why so many of the former ruling elite (former Communist politicians and Socialist era bureaucrats, diplomats, etc.) were still in power in so many of these countries.  

Those East Berliners who helped to tear down the Wall in 1989 dreamed of going to the West, of owning the flashy cars and consumer luxuries they saw daily advertised on West Berlin and West German TV. It would have been most illuminating to interview them, and the people of the Soviet Union and the rest of Eastern/Central Europe, and see how these dreams matched up to reality. Yes, they had more freedom – in theory. But without jobs or money, could they afford all these Western luxury goods? Could they afford to visit the West? And those that could afford to do so – was there not something seriously wrong when they had to find high paid jobs in Britain and Western Europe because the wages back in their supposedly ‘liberated’ homelands were so low?

It seems to me Pallin went on a self-indulgent jaunt thru the former Socialist countries, sampling the dubious delights of wacky quacks and eccentrics in their expensive clinics and avant garde studios, without bothering to find out if Socialism really was a total failure, and if the capitalist free market had really delivered all that the people of these countries hoped for.

I can give him the answer to the question he rarely bothered to ask: no, Socialism was NOT  a total failure. It was distorted by a corrupt ruling clique, many of which are still in power in those countries. In some, such as in Russia, criminal elements have taken over large sectors of the economy.

Which leads us to the final part of the question, and the answer is again no: the capitalist free enterprise system has not delivered all that was promised. Far from it. The people of these former Socialist countries have lost all the security the pre-1989 system offered them for life, such as full employment, guaranteed pensions, good health, education, public transport, etc. In exchange they can now travel to the West, if they can afford it. Many are forced to do so, in order to earn a living wage, and to send some of it back to people back home. Unless they do this, few can afford to buy the luxury Western goods they longed for.

They can now say and vote for who they like in many of these countries, but still the corrupt ruling elite of the old Socialist era clings on to power in many of these countries. They have wormed their way into most, if not all, of the so-called ‘democratic’ political parties which took over from the Communists.

Pallin never, of course, asked the very obvious question: he interviewed an environmentalist activist from the days of the GDR. Even this environmentalist had to admit that the old GDR had excellent laws on protecting the environment, but did not always enforce them. So this environmentalist got himself into trouble with the Stasi, the former East German secret police, in his campaigns to stop GDR rivers, lakes, etc. being polluted by illegal outflows from GDR factories. Pallin never even bothered to ask this activist, and others like him, why they didn’t join the Socialist Unity Party (Communist Party) of the GDR and work from the inside to try to insure the GDR’s environmental laws were enforced.

It seems to me that Pallin sought out the negative, anti-Socialist forces who were always out to destroy the whole Socialist system, and never sought out the progressive forces who were trying, from the inside, to improve it.


Perhaps someone from the younger generation, by which I mean anyone under about 50, can explain to me why mobile phones and all their gadgets are so popular with these age groups?

Why on Earth would I want to be talking on the phone when walking down the street, on public transport, etc.? What would I talk about and who would I be talking to anyway? I ring my friends, or they ring me, in the comfort and privacy of my own home. I have an answering machine, and there is also the 1471 service to tell you which calls you’ve missed, so what is the problem of listening to any messages and ringing them back once you get home? I don’t want to hold a conversation in public places with other people listening to what I’m saying.

Then there are the never-ending stream of gadgets or ‘software’ you can get with the latest mobile phones. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to watch TV programs or, Heaven forbid, a full-length movie on the tiny screen of a mobile phone. And why would I want to take a low-quality picture or video clip with a mobile phone when there are high-resolution cameras and cam-recorders especially made for this purpose?

I’m not sure what other things the latest mobile phones do, apart from play silly jingles and various ring tones. I know you can play games on them – I probably can on my very basic model (no in-built camera features – it’s basically just a phone) but I’ve never bothered. The screen is too small anyway.

Oh yes, then there’s texting which seems to occupy 75% of teenagers’ lives. What a complete waste of time and effort!!! Why the Hell would ANYONE in their right mind want to send or receive text messages? What is the bloody point when you can speak and say what you want in a fraction of the time? Do the younger generation think it’s cool to write things like: ‘PartE 2nite. B gr8 2 C U.’ This kind of language isn’t even new. Before (sri, b4) texting, email, instant messaging and fax we had something called telex. As a Telex Operator in the 70s and 80s, we were doing Instant Messaging, i.e. holding instant written conversations in real time, and using many of the above type of abbreviations. There was a telex machine in nearly every office, so people were communicating in this way all over the world, not just to friends a few miles away. Telex Operators were definitely the first Instant Messagers back in the 1970s, and we invented abbreviations like those in the above example.

The great advantage with telex over mobile phones was, of course, the Qwerty keyboard, which means an accomplished typist can reach very high speeds indeed, almost as fast as speech. Even those adept at using their thumbs can’t possibly reach such high speeds on the extremely cumbersome mobile phone keys. Incidentally these aren’t ‘new’ either – exactly the same principle was incorporated into fax machines decades ago. I know, because I had to program them using keys almost identical to the modern mobile phone ones.

Yes I have a mobile phone, but strictly for emergencies only, or when it is the only way to get in touch, such as when I’m meeting someone and one of us is delayed. That is all. I have received text messages and replied to them, but I have never initiated them because there is simply no point whatsoever. It’s just a silly gimmick.

There is a gulf between the younger generation and those of us over 60 when it comes to technology like mobile phones. I find it extremely annoying to see people walking around, or on buses, trains, etc. talking into these infernal devices. I most certainly do not want to hear their conversations (or to be more accurate, half of their conversations). I have no desire to know that the guy next to me on the bus thinks it’s ‘great’ that they are going for a pizza and then a piss-up later that day.

The weirdest one-sided conversation I had to sit thru on a bus was by a woman, old enough to know better, who sat next to me and dialed all her many friends inviting them to a party. I had to listen to the same invitation over and over again: ‘Hi, it’s me. Super party tomorrow night darling. Hope you can come, it’ll be a hoot!’ All that sort of yuppie crap. Then she dialed someone else and her posh accent was dropped suddenly. In a cockney voice she informed the person the other end, and everyone else on the bus in her immediate vicinity (people always seem to shout when talking on a mobile phone): ‘I met this bloke the uvver day and ‘e fucked me up the arse!’ Of course it is quite likely this was all said to impress or shock the people on the bus. For all we knew there was nobody on the other end of the phone at all.

So is this the point? To impress passers by and fellow-passengers as to how many friends you have, how you can’t live a second without chatting to them in order to arrange your busy social life, which seems to consist, for mobile phone users, of being late home for dinner, going out for pizzas and piss-ups and apparently being ‘fucked up the arse’. I’m sure many of us have done all these things in our time, but we don’t scream it to the world on public transport when our fellow-passengers just want a bit of peace and quiet to look out of the window or read their book or newspaper.

United States of Europe


I makes no bones about it, I’m a staunch European Federalist. Not least because all the good laws that have kicked Britain into the 21st Century have come about due to pressure from Brussels. I only hope now Brussels orders UK to run public transport 365 days a year, and subsidize it to the hilt. It is scandalous we have some of the highest fares in Europe, or indeed the world, and that all transport stops on Christmas Day when everyone wants to visit their friends and families, and have a drink. Hardly a way to stop ‘drink and driving’ is it, to withdraw all public transport on Christmas Day when everyone wants to travel and have a few drinks? In Paris the Metro runs all thru Christmas Day, and also in little towns in Germany. I only know of UK where everything stops.

Also progress in the area of human rights, such as equalizing the laws for gays and heterosexuals, only came about in the 21st Century after our EU membership made this necessary. Before that, even after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, Britain was the laughing stock of the Western world when it came to gay rights. We were still living in the 19th Century with archaic laws which not only discriminated against same sex couples, but it criminalized all gay men who weren’t either celibate or in a stable relationship, both over 21, neither in the armed forces and with nobody else present anywhere in their home when they slept together. All ways gay men could meet were technically still illegal under the 1967 Act, and police entrapment was frequently used to prosecute gay men. Gay clubs which were perfectly legal in USA, all over Europe (even in post-Franco Spain, in Communist East Germany and then in post-Communist Eastern Europe), Australia, etc. were illegal in UK until the 21st Century. It is thanks largely to EU legislation that gays now have equal rights to heterosexuals.

There are many other areas where EU legislation has pressured UK into reforming its archaic laws, and there should be many more.

No country in the modern world can afford to be isolated. The trend has always been to bigger units. Once England was a patchwork of warring kingdoms, then after England was united the rest of Britain followed. We’ve had two terrible World Wars which started in Europe in the 20th Century, so I’m glad we have the European Union, and membership should be open to all European states, including Turkey and Russia because part of these countries are in Europe.

Eventually Europe will become a federation rather like the United States of America. This is essential for our survival. Other continents must also develop similar supra-national federations. A federal Europe with one currency. To paraphrase a former German Chancellor (OK it was Hitler): One People, One Land, One Europe!

In the Cold War period we had Socialist federations like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Now, sadly, these are no more. But just because the EU is currently a loose union of capitalist nation states does not mean it always has to be that way. At some point in the future a group of European Socialist states could break away and form a Socialist EU of their own. Meanwhile, the current EU is the best we’ve got.

The Euro has had a bad press in Britain and abroad, not least because speculators have used the changeover from the local currency to the Euro to make vast profits and push up inflation to record levels. A similar thing happened in Britain when we went decimal in 1971. But government legislation to control prices in the immediate period after the changeover could prevent this. We would, in any case, not drop the Pound for the Euro until the conversion rate was favorable.

Those against EU membership, or certainly those against a federal Europe, probably have little understanding of what ‘federal’ means. Take the United States. Each of the individual 50 states in the Union has its own laws, and a lot of independence from Washington, D.C.. The same in other democratic federations. In the UK we now have devolved parliaments or assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Only poor old England (and the Cornish nation) are left out. In a federal Europe we will not lose our language, our culture, or national parliament, our flag – but we will gain by being part of a much bigger country.

Take the tiny Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. After the Second World War and liberation from Nazi occupation by the Red Army, they became part of the largest country in the world – the mighty Soviet Union. OK, it wasn’t exactly democratic, and it wasn’t popular in these Baltic States. But what have they gained from independence? They are now tiny countries with very small populations, and cannot survive on their own. So now they are clamoring to join the EU. The same with the former Yugoslav states.

Far from becoming a monolithic European Empire ruled from Brussels or Strasbourg, a federal EU could actually give more autonomy to small nations like Wales, Cornwall, the Basque country, Catalonia, etc. All these could join the new federal EU as nation states, breaking away from Britain, Spain, etc. Even tiny Gibraltar could join as an independent statelet with its own parliament. Scotland would of course join under its own right, as would England, the Isle of Man, the individual Channel Islands, maybe even the Isle of Wight. Ireland would, I hope, be reunited and join the federal EU as one nation.

I see a united Europe as the first tentative step towards a World Government under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly, or its successor. This World Government would also be federal, allowing a great degree of autonomy to nation states. But one essential feature to maintain peace and democracy would be a world security force under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (not the Security Council, which should be abolished as an anomaly which allows the five big nuclear powers to veto the democratic decisions of the UN General Assembly.)

We in Britain have to make a decision – are we with Continental Europe or the United States? The British Commonwealth, a relic of the old Empire, is no longer an influential economic or political entity. If we decide our (almost) common language binds us closer to the United States, then England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall, etc. should apply to become new states of the USA. But if we decide our geography, politics and culture are closer to that of Europe, we should remain in the EU and not be afraid to adopt a European Constitution and move forwards toward the inevitable federal Europe.

Remember, ever since the Channel Tunnel was opened, Britain is no longer an island. We are part of Continental Europe. I regard the Germans, the French and all other European nationalities as my friends and fellow countrymen. I am proud to be a European. I look forward to the day, if I live long enough, when I can have ‘EU citizen’ printed in my passport and on all official documents.

The Victor Meldrew Complex

‘I don’t believe it!’ as Victor would say, about almost everything. But we have to believe it because it’s true. As anyone over 50 certainly knows, the whole world has gone to pot. Nearly everything was done much better in the old days. They just haven’t got a clue nowadays, not a bloody clue!

I find myself thinking like this about so many things. Of course there are great innovations like the Internet which we never had 30 years ago, but in those days if you saw someone walking around talking to themselves you’d cross the road to avoid them and hope they would be locked up for their own safety and that of the rest of us. Now it will be some idiot talking on their mobile phone.

We managed perfectly well without phones at all for centuries, than Graham Alexander Bell invented the instrument, which many saw as an invasion into their private lives. Still for about 100 years we managed to confine the infernal instrument to the home and the office, but now we are told everybody not only has to have a mobile (which can also play music, take photos and video clips, pick up TV and God knows what else), but it is required that you talk on it at least 90% of the time you’re not actually sleeping. On buses, trains, walking along the street. Everyone’s gone absolutely bonkers!

But I’m not here to talk about new technology today, I want to focus on jobs and services, which were organized far far better in ‘them days’, to use an ungrammatical phrase an old friend used to use constantly.

If you applied for a job, for instance, you were almost guaranteed an interview, if the job had not already been taken. It was a case of ‘first applied, first seen’. Once there, you’d be asked to fill in a form, and then you’d be interviewed. If you said you could type 60 words a minute standing on your head whilst doing the filing with your feet, it wouldn’t be taken for granted – you’d be given a test then and there. If you couldn’t do what you said you could, you’d be out the door. But if you could do it, chances are the job would be yours – for life. Or until you felt it was time to move on.

What happens now? Well I was asked to sit on a mock interview/selection panel at my former place of employment, and I was absolutely horrified at how shortlists are made of ‘suitable’ candidates from CVs, which have taken over from those forms you used to fill in at job interviews. This shortlisting from CVs explains 90% of what is wrong with the world of employment today. For those employers who haven’t grasped the fact yet, and who give a damn, let me explain: people LIE on CVs. Yes LIE. Not only do they lie, there are professional CV writers who lie for them. If you make shortlists of suitable interviewees from CVs you are automatically excluding most of the honest people in one sweep, and running a very high risk of ending up by employing lying bastards who are absolutely useless at their jobs.

The old way of doing things was to interview, say, the first 10 applicants, and based on the interviews and practical tests to see if they were able to do what they said they could do, the best candidate would be offered the job. If none were really suitable, the next 10 applicants would be interviewed, and so on. Nowadays anyone over, say, 45 who is of the wrong ethnic group stands no chance whatsoever of even getting an interview for a job, even if they CAN do it standing on their heads. I know, my partner was 47/48 when he wrote for endless jobs over an 18 month period, and got one interview, yes ONE interview, which was unsuccessful.

If he applied for local government or Civil Service positions, an ‘ethnic origin’ form would be included for him to fill in. Because of so-called ‘positive discrimination’ policies in force at the time, if you filled in ‘White’ you stood no chance of getting an interview – they had to fill their quota of ethnic candidates first, whether they were any good or not.  In any case his application had already been discarded because of his age – 47 is too old to be considered for almost anything but managerial jobs, or perhaps stacking shelves at the local supermarket.

Many of these ethnic applicants may well have been good at their jobs, but my partner’s experience was that a lot weren’t, and he could have done their job much better given half a chance. Some simply didn’t understand the English language well enough to do the job efficiently. For example, he told his ethnic interviewer at an unemployment center ‘back to work’ session that he couldn’t find a job because he was a Telex Operator, fax and email had made this technology obsolete, and that he needed re-training in a new career. This was the response: ‘Ah telex, yes we have lots of telex jobs’. The interviewer then went away and came back with a pile of papers listing positions available as a ‘tele-sales’ person.

Tele-sales consists of invading people’s privacy by trying to sell them goods and services they don’t want from a call center (now all moved abroad to places like India where labor is dirt cheap). These call centers with the hard sell technique are another blight of our daily life, and my partner certainly wasn’t suited to this type of work. He wasn’t good at speaking on the phone, and was so rude to tele-sales people who rang that at least one ended up in tears. Her supervisor rang back to tell my partner off for making one of her staff cry, but the supervisor got similar short shrift. He told the supervisor if her staff couldn’t take the flak, they shouldn’t be doing such a useless job. Quite right too. Tele-sales should be made illegal! How dare complete strangers ring me up trying to persuade me to get my gas from the electric company, my water from the gas company and, for all I know, my electric from the local ice cream factory. Re-nationalize the whole lot of them, that’s what I say! When we had no choice, the utility companies, and the railways, worked much much better, and I wasn’t constantly pestered by people trying to persuade me it would be cheaper (for a few months possibly) to switch suppliers.

No re-training was offered to my partner, made effectively redundant and useless at 47. The chance to go to university as a mature student would have been very useful, so he could get a degree and pursue his desired career as a librarian.

No chance. I was once told by someone who knew the system, that working-class long-term unemployed people are not wanted by universities, only middle-class people in employment who are ‘bored’ and feel like taking a couple of years out at the tax-payers’ expense to study some useless subject like ‘sociology’ or ‘English Literature’ (or, of course, rich foreign students). Thank goodness the grants system has been stopped and replaced by student loans as this has prevented some of the gross abuse of the university system. One woman I knew took useless university courses, at tax-payers’ expense, continuously from her teens to her mid 40s and possibly beyond, never having any intention of ever getting a job with all her degrees. If indeed she got degrees – many university students just go to ‘uni’ for the social life, and hardly ever bother to turn up for lectures. At least replacing student grants with loans is one good thing the government has done!

Once you get a job because you’ve got a professional CV writing service to produce a work of complete fiction for you, are you given adequate training? Of course not. Take bus and train drivers. They used to have to go thru rigorous training before they were let loose on the general public. Now training is minimal. London bus drivers no longer have to undergo the famous Golders Green ‘skid test’ to see if they can control the vehicle, they are not even trained to pull up at the curb. Over 90% of London bus drivers are not even told the difference between a white compulsory bus-stop and a red ‘request’ bus-stop. And as for braking and driving skills, these are practically non-existent. Nobody has told them, let alone trained them, how to drive a bus-load of people, many infirm on their feet, or that the skills involved in driving a cattle truck are rather lower. Poor cattle – even they should not have to suffer London bus drivers, I’ll re-phrase that – a pig iron truck requires lower skills.

As for train drivers, well all I’ll say is that a signalman told me that since privatization of the railways training is so bad and so minimal,  he advised me always to go to the engine end of the platform and take a good look at the driver. If he was an old chap, I was safe to board the train. If he was under 30 he advised me to wait for the next train, or at least do a sprint down the platform and board the middle of the train which would be less likely to be badly damaged in any crash. The level of accidents since privatization, in which lack of training for drivers, guards, signalmen and track maintenance crews have been a factor, testify that that training has been sacrificed in the name of cutting costs.

Of course much of this sloppy attitude to training and maintaining high standards in services, health and safety in all areas is down to ‘privatization’ and the need to maximize profits and reduce costs. But I want to give one more example of poor practices in selecting job applicants, and total lack of training.

It is very noticeable that some people are able to wangle State benefits when they don’t really qualify for them, whilst many who do qualify are denied them. A nephew of my partner used to work in a State benefit office in Glasgow, and told me why this was. Most of the staff in his office couldn’t read and could barely write their own name. Of course they’d lied on their CVs, drawn up by someone else of course, and nobody had thought to test them. Since they couldn’t read the application forms, they put most of them in the ‘reject’ pile and just chose a few at random to go in the other pile for processing. He told me that to stand any chance whatsoever of getting benefits at this particular Glasgow office at that time, you really HAD to appeal. The application form would then be dug out of the ‘reject’ pile and actually read, for the very first time, by a relatively literate supervisor. Whether this is true or not I can’t say, but it certainly would explain a lot.

Whilst those over 60 or too or sick to work should qualify for State pensions/benefits, everyone else should be required to either work and earn a wage, or do so many hours community service in return for their ‘unemployment’ benefit. There is plenty of this type of work needs doing, in charities, in hospitals, cleaning up litter and graffiti, looking after elderly and disabled people. Money should never be handed out to able-bodied people for sitting down and doing nothing. It is bad for them, bad for society,  and encourages fraud. Many ‘moonlight’ on the side, others just find it easier and more financially rewarding not to work. Some excuses used by people I know of who lived on State benefits for years: ‘work gives me a headache’, ‘I’m scared of coming home after dark’, ‘people might laugh at me because of the way I look and the way I talk’ and of course the more usual ‘I’m better off on State benefits’ .

The Soviet Union had the right idea – the first human right and duty in their Consitution was the ‘right and duty to work’. There was full employment, and jobs were created to make sure every able-bodied person of working age DID work.

Limits should be set on all unearned income from inheritance, TV quiz shows, gambling, lotteries, rents, dividends, interest on capital, etc. so no able-bodied person of working age can have so much money they don’t have to work. It is the social duty of able bodied persons to work from leaving school/college/university till the age of about 60. (When my partner was unemployed and unable to find paid work, he worked in a charity shop. In his younger days he was a sex worker. In those early days he never claimed ‘National Assistance’ as it was then called.)

Sex work by consenting adults is a perfectly legitimate form of work, and should be licensed and regulated to prevent exploitation and trafficking by pimps.

We are living in a slap-dash ‘couldn’t care less’ society where cutting costs and maximizing profits are all that matters. Thank God I’m over 60 and on my way out. Unless there is a drastic change of policies and attitudes, things can only get worse, much much worse!

Strange Things Happening Every Day

That’s a song title, a religious song actually. But I wrote and posted a blog here some days ago praising the British Cooperative movement, and saying that the Cooperative Party would be ideal as the nucleus of a new leftwing political party, were it not so entrenched inside New Labour. The blog, which also displayed a Cooperative Party logo, has since disappeared. As I sent a link to the Cooperative Party, I can only assume they somehow had it removed by the blog site hosts because they didn’t like what it said and display of one of their logos.

If this is the case, it is very disappointing. It would have been far more constructive to post a comment, and email me direct if they wanted the logo removed. It is ironic that this form of censorship, if that is what it was and not just some strange technical anomaly, was exactly the reason I suggested New Labour was a lost cause and it was time the Cooperative Party broke away and became the nucleus of a new Socialist party in which other leftwing political parties and the Trade Unions could come together to form a new, united labor movement.

The reason I think the Cooperative Party would be ideal for this, if it could only break its strong links with New Labour, is because of the Cooperative movement, based on the ideas of Robert Owen. It is re-establishing stores thruout the country in places like London where old local Cooperative Societies have long disappeared. I remember fondly the days when you could shop for food at the local Coop supermarket, buy branded goods of the Cooperative Wholesale Society, watch Coop ‘Defiant’ TV sets whilst sipping Coop ’99’ tea, completely by-passing the capitalist economy. The Cooperative movement also provides services such as banking, insurance and an excellent funeral service. The Cooperative movement also had its own Sunday newspaper, ‘The Sunday Citizen’ (formerly ‘Reynolds News’) which along with the Monday-Friday ‘Morning Star’ (formerly ‘The Daily Worker’) gave the working class and the labor movement a truly Socialist paper to read every day. Sadly, the ‘Sunday Citizen’ is long defunct, but it should be revived.

The Cooperative movement is putting Socialism into practice here and now. Moreover, it is a uniquely successful and dynamic form of common ownership which captures the very best of Socialist fairness and capitalist enterprise and competition. It was worker and consumer cooperatives, together with publicly owned companies, competing in the Socialist market place which made Tito’s Yugoslavia so successful and dynamic, before it tragically broke up into warring independent statelets.

Whether it was censorship or some technical anomaly which removed my article, I will continue to suggest that Yugoslav-style ‘Market Socialism’ based on competing cooperatives and publicly owned companies is the ideal blueprint for Socialism in the 21st century, rather than the Soviet/British ‘State monopoly’ Socialism which proved so deficient. Privatization is not the answer – it is Tito, Yugoslavia and the worldwide cooperative movement which had and still have all the right ideas.

Please feel free to comment on this blog, which I hope does not ‘disappear’ like the previous one on this subject.

Weekend TV continued: Dylan night


I sat thru the marathon BBC 4 Bob Dylan night – nearly 5 hours. It was really mainly about the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, except for a documentary about a BBC play in which Bob sung 4 songs. This was recorded in late 1962/early 1963, but was wiped by the Beeb in 1968. Mention was made of the King and Queen folk club near the Middlesex Hospital where Bob had his first public appearance in London during this trip to UK. This is where the Tales From The Woods jam sessions are held today.

The Newport programs, featuring not only Dylan but also artists like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and the folk trio Peter Paul and Mary, brought back nostalgic memories for me of the 1960s when I was very active in the peace movement, which was then very closely tied in with the folk music scene. I have been on CND marches alongside Joan Baez (Dylan was the more commercial side of folk – he never came on CND marches.) Pete and Peggy Seeger (brother and sister, also featured in one of the Dylan programs on TV) were also very close to the movement.

The Aldermaston Marches and similar demonstrations in the 1960s were full of musicians and singers, and all of it was basically folk music. Much of it came from people like Pete and Peggy Seeger, Woody Guthrie, etc. in America, also from the Civil Rights movement. We adapted the words. The singing brought a sense of community and a spirit of hope not present in demonstrations today. Shouting of slogans is ugly, and marching in silence quite uninspiring. We’d sing all the way from Aldermaston to London – ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘Ban The Bloody H-Bomb’, ‘The H-Bomb’s Thunder’, ‘The Hammer Song’ (aka ‘If I Had A Hammer’), ‘Down By The Riverside’ and many more, some very irreverent. I’ll include two of the more humorous ones, maybe considered un-pc nowadays, below. They are historical gems of the times and culture of the 1960s peace movement in the UK.

Dylan was booed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he went ‘electric’, and had to do an acoustic encore to calm the crowd down. (Rather like Jerry Lee singing rock’n’roll at the Country Music Festivals, or Country at rock’n’roll shows.) This brought memories of similar scenes around that year at London’s Royal Albert Hall where I saw Dylan do an acoustic set, followed by an electrically amplified rock set after the interval. He was booed there by folk purists, but by 1964 I had moved from my brief exclusive folk music phase and had belatedly discovered 1950s rock’n’roll, so I loved both sets by Dylan.

A marathon evening, which didn’t actually include that much Dylan footage, and what there was was repeated by the end of the evening. Now how about a Jerry Lee night, BBC 4? Finishing up with Last Man Standing ‘Live’!

Here are the two humorous peace movement songs from the 1960s. The first is historical, about the great Committee of 100 sit-down demonstration in Trafalgar Square in September 1961. The Committee of 100, led by philosopher Betrand Russell, was the break-away direct action arm of the anti-nuclear weapons movement. CND only believed in lawful protests at the time.

They couldn’t possibly arrest all the people in the Square, there were too many of us. But poor old Canon L. John Collins, CND chair, who only came along to ‘observe’ was arrested, and he wasn’t even sitting down! The song records that, and other famous people of the time who were there:

The Racing Pigeon

Have you ever been to London?

Well I’ll tell you of me tale,

I landed in Trafalgar Square

And ended up in jail,

They thought I was a squatter

That was there to Ban the Bomb,

But I’m only a racing-pigeon

And my name is Molly Vaughn.


There were plenty of people in the Square,

Canon Collins was there as well,

Trying to stop the nonsense

That may blast as all to Hell,

John Osborne, Sheila Delaney

And an officer looking trim,

He arrested Canon Collins

So I’m glad I spotted him.


We cuddled up to Nelson

On his great masonic pile,

To view the whole commotion,

We were doing it in style,

And then a rousing cheer went up

And so I fluttered down

And  had me wings forced up me back

By an officer of the Crown.


At the court on Monday morning

I faced a magistrate;

Who said to me, ‘My feathered friend,

You’re in a dreadful state.

You’re charged with messing on the force,

And truly that’s no lie,

And for causing active fallout

To come dropping from the sky.’


Well, although I’m only a pigeon

I wish I was all white;

With an olive branch stuck in me gob

And putting wrongs to right;

I’d tell the human beings

That instead of dropping bombs,

They should be standing in Trafalgar Square

And only dropping crumbs.

(The Bomb hasn’t been banned yet, but feeding pigeons in the Square has. I think someone’s got their priorities wrong, Ken!)

There was much talk about sexual immorality on the Aldermaston Marches, where men and women slept en route in schools or tents. Can’t say I ever experienced it personally, but I know it happened. Of course I was a good boy (too bloody good for my own good!) and came home on the coach after each stage of the Aldermaston March, so retained my virginity till well into my 20s. Others were not so reticent. This tells the dangers parents warned their daughters about if they went on these marches. (They also rang Head Office of CND where I worked and said we were leading their daughters astray.) And it wasn’t only girls who were led astray, I know young men were leading other young men astray as well – yes gay sex existed then, though I didn’t know about it at the time.

Song of the YCND (Youth CND)

Now daughter, dear daughter take warning from me

And don’t you go marching with the Young CND,

For they’ll rock you and roll you

And shove you into bed,

And if they pinch your cherry

You’ll wish you were dead.



With a too-ra-li-oo-ra



Oh mother, dear mother

Oh be not afraid,

For I’ll go on that march

And I’ll come back a maid

With a brick in my handbag

And a scowl on my face

And barbed wire in my underwear

To keep off disgrace. 


Now as they were marching

A young man came by

With a beard on his chin

And a glint in his eye

And before she had time to remember her brick

(Now don’t make up your own rimes!)

They were holding a sit-down on a neighboring rick

(Yes rick – hayrick. They have them in the countryside you know!)


Now once at a briefing

She’d heard a man say

‘Go perfectly limp

And be carried away’

So when he suggested

It was time she was kissed

She remembered her briefing

And did not resist.


Oh meeting is pleasure

And parting is pain,

I don’t have to sing all that

Folk stuff again

Oh mother, dear mother,

I’m stiff and I’m sore

From sleeping three nights

On a hard classroom floor


Now mother don’t flap,

There’s no need for distress,

For that marcher has left me

His name and address,

And if we can win,

Though a baby there be,

He won’t have to march

Like his dadda and me



Weekend TV: New Europe, Emmylou and Dylan

There was a repeat of last Sunday’s episode of ‘Michael Pallin’s New Europe’ on BBC 2 tonight (Saturday) in which he visits Hungary and the Ukraine, including Yalta.

I find it hard to believe Pallin is a naive as he likes to make out. Talking about one of the conferences between the three principal Allies of World War II (the other was at Potsdam a few months later) in which the victors divided the spoils between them, Pallin gives the impression that Churchill and Roosevelt were duped by Uncle Joe (Stalin) into believing he would allow Western-style free elections in Eastern Europe. What utter nonsense!

These are the facts: the Soviet Union lost some 17 million people in the war against Hitler fascism, and after turning the tide at Stalingrad the Red Army not only liberated the Soviet Union, but the whole of Eastern and much of Central Europe from the Nazi regime. Hungary, Germany and some of the other countries which the Red Army then occupied were part of the Axis powers which invaded the Soviet Union. Of course Stalin was not going to allow them to re-elect unfriendly regimes which might well be a new threat to the U.S.S.R.. Stalin insisted on a ‘buffer zone’ of Socialist states in the areas occupied by the Red Army firstly to protect the Soviet Union from possible future invasions from the West, and secondly to spread Socialism to more countries.

When Stalin promised Churchill and Roosevelt ‘free elections’ he of course did not mean Western style elections. According to the Soviets, they had established Socialist democracy in the USSR, and their elections were free and democratic. Of course in reality this was far from the truth, but that was how the Soviets saw it. Candidates were chosen by the Party, and then endorsed by the electorate. If you chose not to be a Party member, you could not participate fully in people’s democracy. The fact that their was no more ‘democracy’ in the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) than there is in ‘New Labour’ today, and that policies in both the CPSU and the modern British Labour Party are dictated from the top down was/is just a fact of life. In theory both Parties were/are ‘democratic’, in practise neither were/are.

However Stalin did allow other political parties to survive in several Eastern and Central European countries, including Czechoslovakia and East Germany. They then were forced into coalition governments under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party. Actually, some genuine Western-style ‘free elections’ were held, and in Czechoslovakia the Communists won. In countries where they lost, the result was conveniently ‘forgotten’. Churchill and Roosevelt could not have been so naive as to believe that Stalin would allow these Eastern/Central European ‘buffer states’ to slip once more into the anti-Soviet Western camp.

Churchill, Roosevelt and later Attlee knew exactly what they were doing when they handed Eastern and Central Europe over to Stalin on a plate. They were doing what all victors do after a war, dividing the spoils between them. This is why there was only a Cold War, not a hot one, during the next 44 years, and why the West never raised a finger to assist the uprisings in East Germany (1953), Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and during the Solidarity period in Poland (late 1970s/1980s). They had a cozy agreement that the Soviets would stay out of Western Europe and the West would stay out of the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern and Central Europe. Polish independence, which Britain ostensibly went to war with Germany over, was sacrificed for another 44 years when the Western Allies agreed that Stalin’s Soviet Union could take over from Hitler’s Third Reich as the de-facto occupying power. Nuclear weapons had nothing to do with the uneasy peace which held thruout the Cold War years. These weapons are incapable of deterring aggression or winning wars, as has been proved time and time again in Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Nuclear weapons are just dangerous status symbols, that’s all.

In actual fact the Soviets did make one concession – they eventually marched out of Vienna and eastern Austria, on the condition that the country stayed out of NATO and remained neutral. A similar agreement on  neutrality was made with Finland, which could easily have been occupied by the Red Army and then turned into a nominally independent ‘people’s democracy’.

Pallin also visited Budapest, and there were some harrowing descriptions and footage of the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and the subsequent executions of Hungarian Communist leader Nagre and others which followed. However, there was no mention made of the suprisingly liberal regime of the Soviet-installed Janos Kadar which followed. Kadar trod a fine line, and managed not to alarm the Soviets, unlike Alexander Dubcek in Czechslovakia in the Prague Spring of 1968.

Tomorrow night, Sunday (BBC 1), Pallin moves on to the Baltic States, incorporated into Stalin’s Soviet Union after the Second World War.  It was their insistence on breaking away from the USSR at the beginning of the 1990s which led to the tragic break-up of the Soviet Union. Then, realizing such tiny countries cannot possibly survive on their own, they clamored to join the European Union instead! Independence is a dangerous myth – we are all interdependent, and the sooner we learn that the better. No country can survive on its own – we must all be internationalists rather than narrow-minded nationalists.

The other programs I watched tonight (on BBC 4) included two about Country singer Emmylou Harris. I found her ‘Ten Commandments’ concert very contrived (supposedly about ten themes or ‘commandments’ in Country Music) and somewhat of a dirge I’m afraid. Also, Harris has absolutely terrible enunciation. Unless I know the words of the song she is singing, they are almost unintelligible. She might as well be singing in Albanian or Serbo-Croat – perhaps she is!

The documentary which followed was much more interesting, describing how she was the daughter of a middle-class military family, yet became intrigued by the leftie anti-war folk music of people like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez. Emmylou obviously modeled herself on Baez, who unlike Harris has a crystal clear diction – you can understand every word Joan Baez sings.

But what was really fascinating was how Emmylou managed to marry leftie, pacifist, liberal folk music with rightwing, Christian redneck Country music. She couldn’t quite bear to turn against her Korean-war veteran father by joining the protests against the Vietnam war. However after hobnobbing with Nashville’s many rednecks, even singing songs by Good Ole Boy Merle Haggard (of Okie From Muskogee/Fightin’ Side of Me notoriety), Harris reveals her true liberal credentials. She has taken up the cudgel from the late Princess Diana in the fight against the obscenity of landmines, and was shown on the program singing along with Billy Bragg and her heroine Joan Baez ‘Bush’s War Blues’, an anti-Iraq war tirade. Good for you, Miss Emmylou, you’ve finally come off the fence. And why should rednecks have a monopoly of Country Music. It is basically about poor folks – the same sort of people many folk songs are written about. The only difference is Country Music doesn’t usually mention trade unions, strikes and red flags to liberate the people, it usually just promises ‘milk and honey’ in the next world if you love Jesus.

But there are neverthless some wonderful lyrics, and tunes, in Country Music, and the more liberals sing it and write it, the better as far as I am concerned.

Tomorrow night, Sunday, there is a Dylan night on BBC 4. I wish they wouldn’t do these special nights – unless it is about Jerry Lee Lewis of course! We have three hours of Dylan programs, including a documentary about his controversial appearance at the Newport Folk Festival when he went ‘electric’ and horrified his folk audience by singing rock’n’roll. And then, if you can sit up for nearly another two hours, a documentary about the Newport Folk Festival itself. I’d like to see these programs, but can’t sit thru them all in one night, why can’t they spread them over two or three different nights? Like buses, nothing on Dylan for years, then three or four come along all at once!

Totalitarian Architecture

(Click on the thumbnail pictures to see them full size.)

Watching Michael Pallin’s ‘New Europe’ series when he reached the Romanian capital, Bucharest, I was taken aback by the sumptuous beauty of Ceaucescu’s extravagent Palace of the People. Unfortunately the building of this huge palace and its surrounding streets, etc. involved the demolition of many houses and historic buildings, and destroyed the old center of Bucharest.


Palace of the People, Bucharest, Romania

It got me thinking of how some of the world’s greatest and most beautiful buildings and constructions were devised and completed under some kind of authoritarian regime, be it Communist, Fascist,  Absolute Monarchy, a dictatorial Church, etc.

The Pyramids of Egypt and I believe the Taj Mahal in India were extravagent examples, built by slave labor, who were sometimes killed after the work was completed I believe.

The old stations on the wonderful Moscow Metro system, and the great ornate neo-Gothic Moscow skycrapers (and the one in Warsaw, Poland) were built under Stalin’s regime.


 Moscow University

In Rome, we have Mussolini’s EUR complex, which contains some beautiful buildings, and of course Hitler’s architect Albert Speer had plans for the new Berlin which never got built due to Germany losing the war.


Some of Mussolini’s EUR buildings, Rome

There are the beautiful royalist palaces all over the world, built by absolute monarchs, and wonderful cathedrals and churches, built by autocratic organized religions when many of the people were starving, or homeless.


Interior of St Isaac’s Cathedral, St Petersburg, Russia

Of course there are also beautiful buildings NOT constructed under these circumstances, such as the wonderful art-nouveau architecture of Antoni Gaudi in the Barcelona area of Spain, for example. But even with Gaudi his still uncompleted greatest work, the Sagrada Familia, was a cathedral for the autocratic Roman Catholic Church.


Projection of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral, Barcelona when finished

Well I confess I love these buildings. I think Ceaucescu’s Palace of the People, though terribly extravagent, is a wonderful building, and I am glad it wasn’t demolished after his execution. I also think the contributions Stalin and Mussolini made to Moscow and Rome should be preserved for posterity, and because of their esthetic beauty. Chandeliers from some of the Tsarist palaces were used in some of the Moscow Metro stations, which are underground ‘palaces of the people’.


A Moscow Metro station

The Kremlin also has some beautiful interiors, built under the autocratic Tsarist regimes. In UK we have plenty of examples of royal palaces and Stately Homes built for the aristocracy. They would never have been built in a democracy.


Kremlin, Moscow (interior)

I don’t know what lessons we should learn from all this. Perhaps that more great, extravagent buildings SHOULD be built by democracies for the enjoyment of the people? I certainly think the world would be a poorer place without the beautiful buildings and constructions we already have, even if they were created by slave labor under totalitarian regimes.

Voyage of Discovery

 (Link to Victor Zammit’s website main page

We are living in exciting times in the worlds of science and the so-called ‘paranormal’. More and more scientists, and people of a non-religious background, are studying the evidence and coming to some startling conclusions.

I have been reading and hearing a lot about this lately via the Internet. I here will summarize some of what I have learnt just recently, though I had long come to similar conclusions myself.

First, the nature of the universe, or multi-universe. Before Einstein came along with his Theory of Relativity, it was thought that the Universe and everything in it was permeated by a substance which was termed ‘Ether’. Einstein’s Relativity Theory effectively killed off this idea, but now it seems it may have been correct after all. Orthodox scientists are mystified as to why the vast majority of the matter in the Universe/multi-universe is still undiscovered, and know that there must be some explanation for all this so-called ‘dark matter’ which we know exists due to its gravitational pull and mathematics.

Quantum physics postulates the very real possibility of alternative dimensions or parallel universes existing alongside and penetrating our own, an idea spread by Spiritualists well over a century ago (only they called them ‘various Spiritual planes of existence’.) Different terminology to describe exactly the same thing.

Ever since the discovery of radio, television and other invisible wavelengths, we have known that  there are things all around and interpenetrating us which can only been seen and heard with special equipment. Even then, you have to tune in to the correct frequency to see the images and hear the sound. When your TV set is tuned to BBC 1, for instance, no other stations exist for you. BBC 1 is reality until you re-tune your set to another channel.

It is exactly the same with the world we see around us. There may be thousands of other worlds, other universes occupying the same space, but we are only ‘tuned in’ to the physical universe we at present occupy in our physical bodies so we are normally unaware of all the others occupying the same space.

Some gifted people, whom we call ‘mediums’, can tune in to some of these other universes, those closest to our own. Evidence provided by them, and by other psychic and paranormal phenomena such as ‘out-of-the-body’ and ‘near death’ experiences, have led many to accept the reality of ‘life-after-death’ and of other unseen dimensions all around us.

It is no coincidence that three of the scientists and inventors who pioneered television, etc. - John Logie Baird, Sir William Crookes and Sir Oliver Lodge – were all convinced that, just as a television set could pluck unseen waves out of the environment and convert them into pictures and sounds, so spiritualist mediums could pick up the wavelengths of some of these unseen dimensions and the entities who now live there, i.e. those who once lived on Earth.

Moreover, there was scientific evidence to back this up. Logie Baird describes a materialization in which the ectoplasmic thumbprint of a suicide was captured in wax and it was then proven to be an identical match to the dead person’s thumbprint on the razor with which he had cut his own throat (See pages 66 and 67 of the autobiography ‘Sermons Soap and Television’, by John Logie Baird, published by the Royal Television Society.) Physical mediumship, using ectoplasm, was once very popular, and though there were undoubtedly fraudulent physical mediums, many were genunine.

Physical mediumship and materializations, although rare, continue today. I am assured that people who have died have been materialized, and appear as real and solid as any living person. They have talked with, shook hands with and even hugged their relatives and others. It takes years and years of group sittings to develop a physical medium and produce materializations, and not many have the ability or the patience. But it appears to be a real phenomenom, which is convincing scientists who are studying it.

Unfortunately these materializations not only take a lot of energy out of the physical medium and can be dangerous for their health, but the materializations appear to be affected by electronic equipment, light and other things. So it would be almost impossible, for instance, to demonstrate a materialization in a brightly lit TV studio with all the electronic equipment around.

Another reason physical mediumship is not as common as it once was, is because it was soon realized that less developed entities, mischievous spirits if you like, could easily control the genunine physical medium and make them appear like frauds. This is not all that surprising – it is a well known fact that messing about with such things as Ouija boards is very dangerous, because low entities can easily come thru and cause much distress and worse. The great TV medium, Colin Fry, who is very genuine and very gifted, once had an unfortunate experience when demonstrating physical mediumship in which a low entity took over his body when he was in a trance, and made him appear to be a fraud. Colin freely admits what happened at a time early in his career when he operated under the pseudonym of ‘Lincoln’, but maintains he was never fraudulent; it was an experiment which went wrong due to a low entity taking control of Colin in his trance state. So physical mediumship has gone underground, and most experiments are conducted in small groups of serious-minded people who are only concerned with studying the evidence, not in providing spectacular shows for the general public.

The thing is, when a person dies he or she does not instantly become a saint. They retain their personalities, often their belief systems. An old-fashioned type of atheist who believes death is the end (an increasing number of atheists now accept the evidence of ‘life-after-death’), but a ‘death is the end’ atheist finding him or herself in what appears to be a perfectly solid physical body, will often refuse to accept that they are ‘dead’ since they continue to disbelieve in ‘life-after-death’. Hence one reason for ‘ghosts’ or Earth-trapped entities. And just imagine what evil and mischief an entity like Adolf Hitler or Pol Pot could create if they got thru on a Ouija board, or gained control of a physical medium in a trance. So we must be very careful, not only of these things, but of all spirit messages received from the Other Side. Some may well be malicious or false in content, if they emanate from some of these lowly developed entities.

Fortunately there is plenty of other physical evidence of survival besides physical mediumship. EVP – electronic voice phenomena for instance, in which recordings of deceased persons are made. There are various other physical experiments being conducted by open minded scientists around the world, using specialized equipment under laboratory conditions. They are fulfilling the scientific requirement of proof – repeatable experiments with the same results!

It now appears that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, if not totally wrong, was seriously flawed. It has led orthodox scientists up a blind alley, and this is why there is such resistance to acceptance of the increasing evidence of such things as life-after-death, and that we are all, in fact, eternal beings. To admit this would be to admit that 20th Century science has been based on false suppositions, and that orthodox science has been wrong. It is not the first time this has happened, of course. At one time we all believed that the Sun and planets orbited the Earth – it was heresy to suggest Earth and the planets orbited the Sun. There is always great resistance to new scientific theories which turn the old ones on their heads, and prove them wrong.

The etheric matter or energy which permeates the multi-universe, it is suggested, is conscious. We are all drops of that universal consciousness, which is constantly evolving by creating endless life experiences and learning from them. In religious terms, you could say that this etheric material or energy is ‘God’ and that we are all part of this ‘God’ which is constantly evolving. I came to just such a conclusion myself – and that once we have progressed sufficiently we will merge our individuality in what I prefer to call this Unified Conscious Energy Field, but which you can call ‘God’ if you wish, or ‘the Great Spirit’, or indeed the conscious ether.

More and more TV programs, and the Internet, are bringing conclusive evidence of survival to millions, mainly thru gifted clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsensitive mediums such as Colin Fry and Tony Stockwell, who are amazingly accurate. Their evidence cannot be dismissed as ‘cold reading’ or fraud by any but the most blinkered and stubborn skeptic.

The truth can no longer be hidden. There is no such thing as ‘death’. We merely move from one state to another – everything, including ourselves, is eternal, but not static.

Everything is constantly changing, and progressing towards the ultimate goal.  Charles Darwin was right – evolution is the key to everything, and not just in the physical world we see and sense around us. The unseen worlds, our eternal ‘spirits’, ‘souls’ or ‘conscious energy entities’ and ‘God’ itself, are also evolving.

That is why we are all here, and  why many of us will need to come back to Earth or some other planet over and over again until we have gained enough learning and experiences to progress beyond the need for further incarnations and can then exist eternally as beings of pure conscious energy, ultimately to merge with the Unified Conscious Energy Field (‘God’ or ‘the Great Spirit’ or whatever you like to call it.)