Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Tuesday 30 November 2010

Leptis Magna, Libya

When I was ten years old, I had the privelege of visiting Leptis Magna, the Roman City in modern day Libya.
It was immediately after the Suez affair and the British Army had a tank regiment stationed in the country. I remember some of the day well and indeed, my time in Libya generally. I learned to swim there, taking an unofficial day off school to work out on my own what I needed to do. The reason was that the regiment had arranged a day out for the families at a place called Tolmeta Beach on the nearby Mediterranean and I was determined I was going to enjoy it to the full. Miles of glorious white sand stretched out on either side and not one local in sight. To this day I believe that Libya is a country with a great tourist future if they would open the country up to the west.

I visted the site of Leptis Magna with the Homs British Children's School. There was nobody else there, the site having virtually no visitors in those days. As we walked through the ruins, the children were disturbing Roman coins, lying in the dust.
Our visit was recorded in a little book, published by the Headmaster, a Mr F. Hugo and I've put some of the relavent pages, including a map of the site, on the web. To view, click on:-

Monday 29 November 2010

Happiness Index

The Prime Minister wants to know what makes people happy.
I have often thought that any political party that said in its manifesto that it was going to tackle climate change in a positive way would win a landslide election. I don't mean by this that they would alleviate the effects of climate change. No. I mean that research would be undertaken in ways to give the UK much more sunshine. Nothing enhances a person's happiness more than to wake up to a sunny and bright day. All problems seem to diminish with the prospect of a shirtsleeve walk in the warmth of the sun.
Ostensibly it shouldn't be too difficult. Divert all money spent hitherto on climate change and carbon footprinting nonsense to discovering the technology needed to disperse clouds. Let's face it the sun, without fail, rises above the UK EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is only the damned clouds that stop the country benefitting from this fount of energy and happiness. Get rid of the clouds and we'd all be that much happier, living  the relaxed life of the Costas, planning barbecues weeks in advance knowing that weather wouldn't spoil it.
Now I know it's not that simple. Diverting the clouds might make matters worse for countries to the south or north of us, but who worries about the French anymore. Persuading the clouds to drop their load before reaching the British Isles would result in an even wetter Ireland. OK I joke but there must be away. Training a giant lens stationed in a stationary orbit on the cloud might burn it off. Microwaves aimed up at the clouds from the west country might evaporate the water content but may have consequences for the aviation industry. Nevertheless, I believe it's worth having a go if only to persuade those, like me, who have moved to warmer and sunnier climes to return to what is, despite everything, the greatest country in the world.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Referee abuse

It seems that the Scottish referee's association are striking to protest at the abuse of officials during and after matches in the Scottish premeier League. About time too. I'm surprised that a similar action has not been taken in England, where officials ought to insist that until they are treated with respect they will not  officiate in matches. This is not only for players but also Club management. Of course referees and linesmen make mistakes and the stakes are now incredibly high, but nevertheless they should be allowed to officiate a game without being physically or verbally abused.

See an abridged version of my story, 'The Referee' by clicking on the link:

John Major speaks

“Can the Coalition achieve its purpose in five years? It will be hard pounding but its programme is essential to national wellbeing and so, if uncompleted, I hope some way can be found to prolong co-operation beyond this parliament,” he said in a lecture at Churchill College, Cambridge.

So the former Prime Minister finds merit in the country being governed by representatives of two of the three main political parties of the UK. Why not go the whole hog, John, and accept that there is a case for a government of national unity, drawing on all the parties; one that works in the best interest of the country as a whole?

If this is the best solution, Government by a meritocracy of those whose SOLE interest is the well-being of the Nation, why bother with a general election? Why ask the general public to choose when we know that they have a record of picking the Lemming Party and self destruction?

The UK might become a single party state like China, perhaps with a publicly elected assembly to canvas public opinion and make recommendations to the Government.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Antimatter captured by CERN scientists in dramatic physics breakthrough.

Antimatter captured by CERN scientists in dramatic physics breakthrough.

See report in the Telegraph:

Professor Mike Charlton, a British member of the CERN team from the University of Swansea, said: ''Hydrogen is the simplest of all atoms and anti-hydrogen is the easiest type of antimatter to produce in the laboratory.

''Understanding it will hopefully enable us to shed light on why almost everything in the known universe consists of matter rather than antimatter.''

Could it be that this antimatter has been here all the time but because its dimensions are described in terms of 'i' the square root of minus one, it cannot be perceived?

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Lessons on Democracy for the Chinese

When the Government gives the vote to people that have no stake, other than their fickle future, in the country, they will get what they deserve.
The PM is in China telling the Government there to embrace Democracy. The Chinese must be laughing at him and the West as they watch scenes of student rioting in London, taking advantage of their so called rights. What greater message can be conveyed to those looking on, that Governing a country should not be left to those with no stake in the Country. Students, by definition have  no stake; they have CONTRIBUTED NOTHING to the country. They have done nothing, been nowhere. What have they got to give to the debate?  In my opinion the vote should only be given to those contributing to society- in other words to those in work.
The Labour party who have no values other than to treasonably reduce the country to ruins at every opportunity must be loving the situation. The students with time on their hands and an experience-free brain, susceptible to radicalism are happy to listen to their ideological rantings instead of the Governments reasoned arguments that poorer students will have NOTHING to pay until they can afford their priveleged education. Do they imagine that University lecturers should be paid nothing? Why do they imagine that taxpayers, many of whom didn't have the benefit of higher education should pay for theirs? If the taxpayer cannot afford universal higher education for all when once they did it is because the cost of  keeping a populace with greater needs is now so prohibitively high. The Government have to make choices and they have decided that those students who will later achieve a high salary should contribute. What the hell is wrong with that? Nothing but it won't stop the Socialist rentamob from taking to the streets and people such as Mrs Speaker, herself supposedly well educated, exhibiting her crass stupidity and flawed ideology.
The Government have failed to get the message across, allowing Harriet Harmon to score points against the Lib Dem part of the coalition who promised in the election that they wouldn't raise tuition fees. If the UK electorate had voted for a Lib-Dem Government there would be no tuition fees but they didn't. They formed a coalition with the Tories to get the country out of the near bankruptcy mess left by the Lemmings.
China does not need Western style Democracy. A free press and freedom of speech will come as the new, prosperous nation realises the power it wields. Decisions on the Chinese policies will be made by those with a proven record of devotion to the Country, not ignorant students.
Lectures by the British PM on giving more freedom to the people will be therefore seen as risible by the Chinese leadership and quite rightly so.

God gives no answers

The Anglican Bishops of Ebbsfleet, Richborough, Fulham Winchester (Assistant) and Exeter (Assistant) have resigned their posts in the Church of England and have been accepted into the Roman Catholic Church. I am sure that they didn't take this step lightly and must have struggled with their conscience for many days and nights.

Am I missing something here? I gather that the problem of the ordination of women as priests and Bishops has sorely tested their faith but despite the full weight of their collective prayer they don't seem to have an answer that satisfies all. God has not, either in earlier lessons, the Gospels and various letters or in direct response to contemporary events seen fit to provide enlightenment or update the creed. The Christaians are not alone in this lack of direction. Why is it that Muslims do not know whether it is more correct to be Sunni or Sh'ite?

Could it just be that there is no God to provide illumination? Wouldn't that be the simplest solution?

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Bush-Woolas. Who would you want on your side?

That Gordon Brown and Cherie Blair are supporting the disgraced politician Woolas should tell us all we need to know. Here is a man who was found to have told lies about one of his opponents in a closely fought contest for the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat in the last election and the result has been declared null and void. He is a former Immigration minister who was ridiculed by the excellent Joanne Lumley over the Gurkha issue. Rather than go quietly this sub-standard candidate has sought a judicial review of the incident. Harriet Harman, leader of the Labour Party has suspended him, causing furore of the Parliamentary Labour Party who can see no harm in people who tell porkies. Even the disgusting speaker, Bercow, has followed his Socialist wife's advice to allow time for his appeal.
This lot of corrupt self-servers demonstrate once again why they are unfit to represent the people they purport to serve.

Contrast this with the much maligned ex President of the US, George Bush who is honest enough to say that if 'Waterboarding' saves US lives he's going to sanction it, whatever his opponents think. Waterboarding is  a type of hardship that borders on being described as torture. In the UK, everyone including the head of MI6, goes to great lengths to distance themselves from this sort of information gathering whether or not is saves UK lives. PATHETIC. It is MP's duty to protect the citizens of the UK, nobody else, by any means at their disposal, rather than kowyow to that miserable creature Chakrabarti of the group 'Liberty', who, it seems to me would rather see millions of us killed rather than harm one hair of a terrorist's body.  The terrorists are not going to be defeated by spineless posturing and weakness; they only understand strength.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Moorland Jail rioting

Following three nights of rioting at Moorland Jail, during which extensive damage was done, 250 offenders have been relocated to other prisons. Riot police were called in when prisoners refused to return to their cells in the evening. A blossoming street corner gang culture was blamed for the trouble.
Why should the prison staff be subjected to this trauma when they go to work? Shouldn't the authorities be more concerned with the welfare of their staff than the Human Rights of prisoners? Lock  up those convicted of serious offences and don't let them out for the duration of their detention. Keep them all in solitary in sound proof rooms, with no intermingling, no visitors, no conjugal rights and no liberty, whatsoever, to do what they want. Prisoners should remember; if they can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Human Rights

So a hundred plus Iraquis want a full scale public enquiry into alleged harsh treatment during the Iraqui war, an infringement of their human rights. The harsh treatments described, such as sleep deprivation, although uncomfortable, are hardly the same as bamboo slivers under the finger nails, knee-capping or thrusting hands into boiling oil.
The point is that 'stuff' happens in wars. In the last great wars, spies and collaborators were shot, so the fact that these people, presumably held because they harboured information, prejudicial to the safety of troops and civilians, are alive is testimony to some softening of the rules of engagement.
They want a public enquiry, at huge expense, to uncover criminal behaviour by UK troops in a war environment. A war, moreover, where UK troops were shedding blood on Iraqui soil to liberate the people from a mad dictator. You would have thought that rather than castigate the troops they would have feted them for their sacrifice. Such is gratitude!
They are not the only ones that want an enquiry. Those blood sucking parasites, the Human Rights lawyers want to feed again at the soft underbelly of the cash cow that is the UK taxpayer. Having gorged themselves at the 'Bloody Sunday' enquiry, they want more and more until they have wrung every last drop from the body. An enquiry would last years, making even more of them millionaires.
Cameron must tell these Iraquis to go to Hell and then cut this cancer out at the source by telling the European Court of Human Rights that it is not recognised in the UK. What are the EU going to do about it? Send in the tanks?

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Prisoner votes

So some categories of prisoners are to get the vote. Since the general public has no idea how to vote in the country's interest, what hope can we have that prisoners will do so. This decision is a direct result of the European Human Rights legislation and is stark raving loony. In the first place this legislation should be repealed and in the second, should, in any case, be denied to convicted felons. I'm not talking about people who haven't paid their Council Tax, but the thugs and hoodlums who have denied innocent citizens of their human right to live a safe and peaceful life.
Today, a poll gives the Labour Party a lead with 37% of the votes. Who are these Lemmings that would vote for a Party that brought the Country so close to disaster. I don't want to give more people the vote; I want to restrict the numbers to those who use their vote in the National interest and that precludes the Socialists.

We didn't have to wait long!

On the 28th of October, I blogged that Cameron wasn't worried that our two new aircraft carriers would be without aircraft; he knew they would ultimately form part of a European fleet.
We didn't have to wait long before this prediction was proved correct. Today, 2nd Nov 2010, the PM will sign a historic Defence Treaty with our old enemy, the French. Extraordinary! Brushing aside objections about the language difference or a French veto if they disagree about the role of a UK led expeditionary force, he said it made perfect sense to share resources. Or is it really the case that he has to make deep cuts in the Defence budget. It seems that every aspect of UK life is run by accountants and the defence of the realm is no different.
Can you see the British parliamentarians of the future, apologising that British sovereignty had been lost to the Chinese, say, but claiming absolution on the grounds that they acted in accordance with good fiscal procedure. Some things are too important to measure in money terms and the British Prime Minister's first duty is to protect the citizens of the UK. Subordinating UK troops to French command is, I suggest, unlikely to be a success.

Monday 1 November 2010

Lauren Booth. Muslim

Lauren Booth the half-sister of Tony Blair's wife has recently converted to Islam after what she described as a 'holy experience' in Qum, Iran.
It may or may not have something to do with the fact that she is a reporter for the English news channel of the Iranian state broadcaster.

I am curious to know whether her experience was truly 'holy' or merely spiritual. There is a big difference. All men and women have a spiritual side and I dare say that many of us will admit to having some sort of experience in our lives. To become a holy experience I maintain that she must 'find' God.
Although I'm an atheist, I have had several spiritual experiences, most of which occur in cathedrals or other places of worship. I remember once, at a time of great personal crisis, visiting Winchester Cathedral in search of answers. When I arrived I noticed that the Lady Chapel was empty and went in and sat down. Almost immediately I was overwhelmed with distress. Deep sobbing lasted for several minutes. I suppose, I hoped someone would come and ask what was the matter so that I could unburden my soul on a complete stranger, but no one did. I suppose I stayed there for twenty or thirty minutes. Was this a holy or religious experience? No. Was it a spiritual experience? Certainly. An experience brought on by my being in an atmosphere and location, steeped in man's spirituality. Everyday I feel a similar, but lesser, sense when I hear the aria, 'One fine day ...' from Madame Butterfly. I cannot help but cry; not because it's tragic, which it is, but because it's so beautiful. This is not God's work but man's.
Having a spiritual experience comes without strings; there isn't necessarily a commitment. With a 'holy' experience, I suggest there is, which is why they are better left to the likes of Jesus and Mohamed. Lauren Booth must be absolutely clear which it was, because the consequences are important.

She must given much thought to the impact this will have on her family? The change of routine that will demand time for worship, a transformation not only of diet but the obligatory fasting for the month of Ramadan. She has held pro-palestinian feelings for some time, even taking part in a sanction-busting convoy to Gaza. She will know that as a woman she will have to worship without the company of men and observe other, culturally alien practices.

Having been enlightened by her embrace with Islam,  she must realise that there is now no turning back? To renounce Islam would now be seen as turning her back on Allah. Not only will this apostasy be seen as an affront to Allah it is considered an offence punishable by death.