Nigel’s response to my letter is just underneath my response to his response.
Dear Mr Huddlestone
Thank you for responding. I hope to change your mind eventually because we really have no real alternative.
However, once again you miss my point entirely.
The very existence of “faith” (i.e. irrational) schools is divisive and it has to be up to government to force the change.
Government seems set on actively, but blindly, promoting a path of societal division and is ignoring its duty to keep us all safe.
Current government action is largely pointless and your “active promotion” is worthless and ignored.
We already see the first results of this in Birmingham and so many other places.
However, I realise that you fear lost votes; I can see no other reason for your inaction.
Yours in despair, yet with a modicum of hope in Boris and Brexit by 31st October.
On 29/07/2019 10:43, HUDDLESTON, Nigel wrote:
Dear Mr Ruskin
Thank you for contacting me about secularism.
I appreciate the concerns of the UK’s secular community, particularly regarding extremism in schools and the importance of free speech for both religious and non-religious people. Please let me assure you that I remain committed to working towards a society in which all citizens, regardless of whatever their individual beliefs are, can live together fairly and cohesively.
During inspections, Ofsted inspectors ask questions that probe whether pupils are prepared for the next stage in their education and life in modern Britain, using age-appropriate questions to check children’s understanding and tolerance of different lifestyles.
All schools are now expected to “actively promote” British values, which were defined in 2011 as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Teaching respect for other people, even if you do not agree with them or their way of life, is a fundamental part of preparation for life in Britain, and a principle all schools should be able to support.
On the issue of Anglican schools, I can understand why some secular families might not wish to send their children to faith schools. However, many families of all denominations and none remain keen to send their children to faith schools. As such, I welcome the Government’s wide ranging education reforms which are raising school standards across the country, and allow parents, both secular and religious, greater choice of good schools in which to educate their children.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
I have written to you before about faith schools and their very existence which cause many obvious divisions in society.
Parliament still actively encourages this rapidly developing calamity by funding and encouraging ever more faith schools – butwhy?
Society has changed fundamentally in the last 60 years and I want my representative in parliament to come out in support of radical change. A secular education system is not only logical but now vital to ensure peace on our streets in the future.
If you don’t want to support the situation where children of ‘provos’ and ‘Catolics’ are told to avoid each other and where children of Muslim parents are told to shun the children of the kuffar (that’s you and me) then please take note of the following.
According to a major new study, 52% of people in Britain say they have ‘no religion’. The figure, which comes from the highly-respected British Social Attitudes survey, has risen from 48% since 2015 and 31% since 1983. The survey reveals that the British population is becoming increasingly irreligious and religiously diverse. These dramatic changes in Britain’s religion and belief landscape demand a policy response.
I am urging you to ensure that Britain’s constitutional settlement and public policies catch up with the opinions of its population. One of the most striking findings of the BSA survey is that just 1% of 18-24 year olds identify as Anglican.
This means church schools are unlikely to be an attractive, or even acceptable, option to tomorrow’s parents. This calls into question the appropriateness and sustainability of organised religion’s role in running our publicly funded schools.
Christianity is one major influence among many that has shaped our country. But the UK is now one of the most religiously diverse, and also non-religious, nations in the world.
Our political structures do not recognise this huge change. They need to evolve to make Britain a secular democracy where religion and the state are separate.
To set out its vision for a secular Britain, the National Secular Society has published a comprehensive report, ‘Rethinking religion and belief in public life: a manifesto for change’: https://tinyurl.com/natsecsoc
This outlines constructive and specific proposals to reform the role of religion in public life.
I hope you can consider adopting these sensible and forward-thinking proposals.
The National Secular Society works towards a society in which all citizens, regardless of religious belief or lack of it, can live together fairly and cohesively. In its manifesto it considers how the state should respond to these fundamental demographic changes, particularly in our institutions and policy responses.
It sets out proposals for reforms in education, public services, institutions and public ceremonies needed to ensure fairness for all regardless of their religion or belief. It also evaluates the state of the law on human rights and freedom of expression where it concerns religion.
Please take the time to look at this report, consider its arguments, and work towards implementing these proposals for a fairer and safer society for the 21st century.
Derek Ruskin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PS: What do you get if you cross an atheist with a Jehova’s witness?
A – Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.
Such an important issue this, as is evidenced on front pages everywhere last week and Questiontime on BBC 1 last Thursday.
Opinions ranged from Rory Stewart(*1) saying “Kill them, there is no alternative” to the leftist intellectuals saying “understand them, hug them but then imprison them” to the Questiontime audience saying “don’t let them back in, they have lost any rights, they might have had as British citizens”, by going out there to fight for ISIS etc.
What I think what Rory Stewart might have been trying to say, follows on from an insight by Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels)
“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into“.
This wisdom applies equally to all those ‘of faith’ but more particularly, these jihadis really do believe that Allah has told them to kill anyone who is not a true Muslim. You have to be the Sunni variety of Muslim to avoid death which explains why so many of Muslims of the Shia variety, are being killed by ISIS; the Sunnis think they are worse than Jews or Christians. As I said earlier, atheists don’t get a look in because they just cannot conceive that anyone should think for themselves!
If you want to know why we have this relatively recent emergence of Sunni Islamism (ISIS and Al Qaeda etc.), just read a brief biography of the Egyptian poet, writer & political theorist who started it all in the 1980s, Sayyid Qutb.
If a person accepts a primary falsehood as truth, then seemingly rational and possibly violent actions may well follow.
So then, having quietly accepted from childhood, that the Qur’an is the unalterable word of god, it is the Muslim’s duty to fight for a universal caliphate under sharia law, however long it takes. (*2)
Our home grown jihadis are therefore following, quite logically (to them at least), the endlessly repeated calls for jihad in the Qur’an. *7
Some of these returning jihadis may well have been disillusioned by the reality and cruelty of ISIS, but most will be still motivated to return and kill the Kuffar, that’s you if you didn’t already know.
Atheists, like me, are the worst ;-( of course. We don’t even get a mention in the Qur’an whereas the Christians and Jews get quite a pasting!
Most so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ don’t want to establish a caliphate, they just want to educate their kids and put food on the table and live in peace. Most of those Muslim families now living in the West came here originally to escape the misery of corrupt, socially primitive Islamic states such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many more.
Our own monarchy invented a new religion some 500 years ago, with the help of Martin Luther. This was because of a need to extend male succession to the throne and the need to divorce a few wives because they could not provide male heirs. The priests of which religion, appointed by Henry VIII still sit at the centre of our, gentle but imperfect ‘representative democracy’ and cannot be removed.
Our current queen is head of that religion and still retains the title of Defender of (the) Faith assumed by Henry.
Our next monarch, god forbid (ahem), wants to become Defender of All Faiths, completely ignoring the advances in human philosophical thought developed into maturity during the European Enlightenment because he thinks its all a bit old fashioned (my source is an article in the Spectator) and comes from a speech he made a few years ago in St. James palace.
Words fail one!
Here is what we need to do, but won’t, and why we will not
I do appreciate that short term measures are needed and must be taken, but I am content to pass that responsibility to our government and the rule of law.
But nowhere, last week, did I read or hear of any proposed long term solution to the misguided and corrupt ideology of ISIS.
Here then, is my much repeated long term solution and the only one that I think will or can ever work.
Sadly it cannot be implemented or accepted by those currently in power, particularly here.
Unbelievably, Great Britain is one of the last two remaining theocracies (*3) in the world; the other one being Iran!
The rest of the world are republics *4, monarchies, usually without an established religion *5, tyrannies *6 or failed states.
The real underlying problem to all of this, is that faith is an irrational state of mind, absorbed from childhood, and, like all forms of brain washing, is very difficult to remove.
My solution therefore cannot currently be accepted because we would have to challenge and defeat the idea that Anglican Christianity is a valid part of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
We would have to:-
remove the monarchy, in order to
disestablish the Anglican Church of England, so that we could then
remove the teaching of religion as if it were a truth, from all schools, so that we can then
challenge the idea that faith is a desirable human attribute, so that we can
merge existing faith schools into a mainstream secular education system (as in France) , so that we can then
remove the existing and future divisions in society caused by faith schools, so that we can then
allow our children’s minds to be formed by access to philosophy, by asking questions and not to be given dogmatic answers, so that they may
grow into adults who no longer are socially divided by having to believe in something barkingly irrational in order to belong.
I do not propose the abolition of religion, just yet, because so many people draw comfort from their faith.
BUT I do insist that ONLY by removing it from public life and the education of our children do we any chance of a harmonious society and a peaceful future.
*1 Rory Stewart is Minister of State at the Department for International Development (Now Prisons Minister) and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He has extensive knowledge of the middle and far east. Wrote a book on his notorious 32 day walk around Afghanistan in 2002. Eton and Oxford and ever so posh.
*2 I have read the Qur’an twice in different versions over the last few years and from my western eyes and ears it has a belligerent tone, a monotonous repetitive style and is even more scary than the Old Testament. If you want a real Halloween scare story just read Deuteronomy & Numbers, yikes!
*3 Theocracy:- A form a government where priests from a country’s established religion form part of the legislative process of government by right!
*4 Republics:- First formed by the ancient Romans two thousand years ago following on from the Greeks who developed the first forms of democracy although not quite as we know it today. The Greeks, even then, realised that monarchies were a bit old fashioned, inefficient, led to corruption and had seen their day!
*5 Monarchies:- The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Japan etc. In all about 43 remain.
*6 Tyrannies:- North Korea, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Scotland (OK, just joking, I have a thing about Nicola Sturgeon, and no, not in that way), Zimbabwe and quite a few more.
*7 Jihad originally refers to an inner struggle that all Muslims must endure in order to submit to the word of Allah in the Qur’an, but has latterly become associated with an external violent fight for the universal Caliphate that Allah requires.
A few words of light relief and escape from the nauseating, banal utterances from both sides of the public EU debate.
This piece was written sometime ago by an American contributor to this blog, and for some reason I have not published it before. It is well worth a read.
Thank you perspective.
Belief in some kind of “higher power,” or not, has a relationship to one’s preference in governance.
The Left has the most straightforward belief in a higher power: they ARE the higher power. The Right, who generally believe in some power higher than they, splinter as to what exactly it is.
The Left considers reality as evidence that there is no higher power – surely a Supreme Being would not have created an inequitable world. We, and the universe, are lucky accidents that occurred by chance. All outcomes would be random, not fair, if it were not for the intervention of Leftist intelligentsia. Lacking a higher power, Man needs the Left to right the wrongs visited upon the unlucky victims of chance.
The Left embraces totalitarian government, where their elites have God-like, absolute, power to enforce what is right on behalf of the benighted masses who look to a non-existent God for salvation. My will be done (for I am just, you ignorant fool).
The Right views reality as evidence that there is a higher power; surely Man who runs his own affairs so poorly could not have created a universe which Man dimly understands. Intelligence beyond their comprehension rules Man and universe, not chance. They pray for God’s guidance to use the limited abilities they have been gifted to conform the world more closely to their limited understanding of the Master’s plan. Man is a servant, an employee, who, although he does possess full knowledge of the corporate entity, can nevertheless receive sustenance in return for performing tasks within his capabilities. There are reasons for inequity among men, just as there reasons why a more productive employee is paid more than a less capable employee. This does not mean that the lesser paid employee is valueless. If his work was of no value, he would not be on the payroll at all.
The Right prefers freedom, because God might have made his will clearer to the other guy – they need to listen to him, just in case or for perspective. Whether he is right or wrong the other guy is still a child of God, and to disrespect one’s fellow is to disrespect one’s creator. Every life is of value, or God would not have enabled it. Thy will be done (God bless you, fellow seeker).
Of course, there are members of the Left who profess belief in God. Theirs is a supportive God, not a higher power. He is a kindly uncle, generous in hopes of receiving love, but not a father who must be obeyed. He is a resource, not a master. A cosmic concierge who finds the difficult-to-obtain on behalf of his clientèle. Whether or not He is supreme is irrelevant because His only desire is to serve believers. They believe in Him because He believes what they believe. It would not be believable that God would not want what the Left wants. He has lent His support to the Left to rule by proxy.
Their counterparts on the Right also profess belief in God, but what they actually believe in is a religion. Their adherence to the religion’s political posture (governance of relationships between people and nature) has bestowed God’s power on the Right to rule by proxy.
Neither group believes in an all-powerful God, because they both believe He needs their help to get rid of gays or the HIV virus or Jews or poverty or whatever. He just can’t get it right without their intervention. It is unacceptable to either pole of zealotry that gays, HIV, Jews and poverty are all part of God’s plan. God can’t do it alone.
Let’s get real. The difference between the Left and the Right is not at all determined by whether God exists. Rather, the belief (or lack thereof) in a higher power is a consequence of other predispositions which have the additional consequence of determining a person’s political predilection. The beliefs are correlated, not causal. The underlying traits for both opinion sets have to do with humility versus arrogance, and acceptance versus denial.
People who are essentially humble can both accept the existence of an intelligence greater than their own exercising control over their lives, and accept that others’ freedom to express contrary opinions can benefit their understanding. “It is what it is” (with or without my judgement).
People who are arrogant believe their failures are caused by bad luck, or being treated unfairly, but are never due to their own inadequacy, as judged by their peers or God. The arrogant, confronted with abundant evidence of their fallibility, are in denial, and feel threatened by both existence of a supreme arbiter and the expression of contrary opinions. Intelligent and rational, both are threats to the arrogant.
The humble are eager to be shown where they are mistaken, so as not to repeat the mistake. The arrogant are intolerant of being shown their mistake, because they are never mistaken.
The “old saws” on this point are abundant. Some of my favourites are:
There is always a mug at the table. If you don’t know who it is, you are the mug.
God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Just because you have silenced a man does not mean you have converted him.
Pride is a man who goes forth on horseback and comes back on foot.
It is laughable that the Left prides itself on its intelligence (but not because they’re wrong). Conservatives are portrayed as stupid. Intelligence is the capacity to learn. Knowledge is the sum total of what has been learned. I have not seen much of a correlation between the two.
High intelligence is conducive to arrogance. Arrogance is not conducive to learning.
The humble generally seem to know more than the arrogant. They work harder at learning because they have to. The intelligent can fake it. It took Einstein some time before he could wipe himself.
It takes extreme arrogance for any one individual to feel that he has come up
with a correct answer which has been missed throughout the course of human history. It does not take much humility to realize that the best answers are the ones that people keep coming back to after being challenged by generations.
What separates the philosophies is the humility to accept responsibility for one’s lack of success rather than faulting the successful person. It is the humility to accept that if the “right” thing to do has never worked it will not work this time around because that idea is probably wrong. It is the humility to accept that if helping another person makes one feel peaceful, and forcing someone else to help the person in need makes one feel resentful, that service is preferable to control. It is the humility to accept that if I can’t get a job for myself, even from the government, I am a poor choice to lead a government that will supply jobs for everyone.
The Left, at its core, is composed of arrogant disbelievers. Their arrogance permits them to seek control of their fellows by force, including violence to people and property, because their narcissism permits is no possibility they are wrong. Even though every Leftist government has failed to deliver the basic necessities of life to most of its populace they have the arrogance to believe that this time, under the new guy, who is very smart, they will get it to work.
The Right is humble enough to insist the Left must have a voice.
America is still the richest country in the world. And soon, Americans will be celebrating their holiday of Thanksgiving. The purpose of the holiday is to pay homage to the aboriginal “Indian” wogs who saved colonists from the then richest country in the world from starvation. The plight of the Brits was that they were on the beach sandwiched in between cornfields and the virgin Western Atlantic, not yet commercially fished. Couldn’t find a bite to eat to save their lives. Thank God for Chief Squanto.
This Thanksgiving, President Obama, arguably the most intelligent American President (not a high hill to climb), certainly the most Leftist, atheist and author of the biggest entitlement program in human history, will feast on the goose-that-laid-the-golden-egg.
In the light of the human misery being played out on Europe’s borders, I summarise some recent news coverage and offer a long term solution.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims are trying to migrate to northern Europe from Syria and Iraq, to name but two countries.
A few hundred British Muslims have left for Syria to help set up an Islamic Caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
I wonder if those travelling to Syria have wondered why so many of their Muslim brothers and sisters are trying to escape from Islam’s shiny new Caliphate?
I wonder why the following, rich and Muslim, countries have not taken in a single refugee or asylum seeker; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?
I heard a few Muslim school children being interviewed, on BBC Radio 4’s Today program last week, at Kirkleas college in Huddersfield. The government is so concerned about this college that it has been designated a priority area for Safeguarding & Prevent (weird poli-speak meaning anti-brainwashing plus a scheme to encourage locals to identify potential jihadi teenagers).
A special team has been installed, in the college, to help fight so-called radicalistion. Polly Harrow, the head of the Safeguarding and Prevent team, failed to criticise those students who had anti-gay views, and actually said ‘Its your right to hold those views in private, but to voice them in public might be breaking the law!’
So, so gentle and so, so missing the opportunity to correct or offer an alternative view.
She might have added that to oppose the smallest IS law means death! She further hinted that the children’s parents were keeping quiet and were of no help at all.
Equality & diversity is being promoted rather than a criticism of primitive views as part of government policy to fight radicalisation.
Respect for homo phobia was OK it seems as long as you don’t shout about it!
The ignorance and primitive views held by these children was truly horrifying, here are a few quotes:
‘I don’t blame dem, they are looking for a better laaf, a luxury laaf out dare (meaning Syria)’
‘Its da new new trend” (for boys to wanna go out dare)’
‘Yeah, I’d go, its my raght innit?’
I wonder where that last young man thought he got his rights from? Forget your raghts in IS fairyland. Try to leave IS and you are beheaded or worse.
Cocooned and isolated and often educated separately from British mainstream views, these kids had no idea of the reason their grandparents came here in the first place.
The Today interview Radio 4, 18th September 07:32 – 07:42, is available on iPlayer if you can stomach it!
The rest of this article is all about a long term and lasting solution. Shorter term actions that need to be taken by world politicians are probably best advised by organisations like the Quilliam Foundation who have an in depth understanding of the Middle East.
Even such eminent think tanks seem unable to challenge the fundamental elephant in the room, faith.
Long term, we can onlydefeat Islamic state (IS) with the philosophy of the European Enlightenment, wherein reason replaced faith.
The philosophy of those ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates and Plato (Confucius and the Buddha were on the right track too), modified and developed by many free thinking European minds in the 17th /18th centuries, is a message of reason, debate and intelligent questioning of everything. It was mankind’s coming of age, a recognition that each one of us is responsible for ourselves and each other.
Or rather, it should have been. Vested interests, the monarchy, politicians, and faith pedlars, all of whom have a lot of power to lose, used all the power they had to keep primitive belief systems in mainstream thought.
My plan, if ever implemented, would however take around 50 years, i.e. two to three generations to work. But, it would work.
This of course cannot happen with a political system built on policies that work on a three year party political cycle, so welcome to the almost inevitable Islamic state of Great Britain of 2045.
However, this plan will work, must be set in motion and is the only plan that could work.
Here is the why (the how is a bit more difficult to arrange).
Long term decisions need to be made, but, actions to be started now:-
1) Recognise that faith is an irrational state of mind, formed when young minds are most malleable and open to subversion. A young mind, infected with faith, accepts fairy tales as truths which are almost impossible to remove in later life. Faith induces a childish mental state of dependency wherein individuals no longer think for themselves and crave a higher authority to look after them. Faith is dangerous because it is irrational. Differing faiths cannot ever agree because each person, infected with their own faith virus strain, feels strongly that theirs is the only true one! Furthermore, that feeling of righteousness leads to violence where young minds are rendered unable to question their particular version of theocratic nonsense.
2) Therefore, we must cease teaching faith as a worthwhile state of mind to children. Children must be protected from faith.
3) Recognise that publicly funded faith schools are socially divisive and must be slowly converted to secular schools, over a few years. Philosophy would be taught from the age of 4 rather than RE.
4) Privately funded religious schools are declared socially divisive and are closed down, or reformed if possible, as part of the plan.
These are vital for the creation of a nation of young minds who have been trained to ask questions rather that accept dogma.
This faith virus explains why so many, apparently well western educated doctors and engineers have been turned into jihadi fighters.
It should logically follow, that the Church of England is disestablished from government. Once that has happened, there really is no further justification for a constitutional monarchy, other than for the requirements of the tourism industry. Yes, I know this is hard to accept, but the logical consequence of promoting reason over faith is a generation of children who have been taught to think for themselves. The removal of all religion to the private sphere is the best government can do to stem the crisis.
Short term actions:-
1) ISIS returnees, what to do? Either, send them back as they return, or, tear up their passports and put them into holding cells. If they really want to live here, then they are tagged and forced to attend philosophy classes.
However, there is no time to re-educate most of them, the damage has been done by our own education system!
3) The armed forces of the USA, France, Britain and Russia (the main culprits in creating the middle East crisis after WW1!) crush Syria’s Assad and replace him with a secular government. Yes we will have to bribe Russia and China behind the scenes but since they are both as bust as the West is, they will hopefully see sense.
Don’t want to do that?
Think its all impossible?
Well that’s not going to happen is it?
No, well, I suppose you are right.
Sadly, I agree with you, and since the European Enlightenment is dismissed as ‘old fashioned’ by Prince Charles our soon to be Defender of all faiths, we are stuffed.
Welcome to Londonistahn, new capital of the Islamic Caliphate of Ingerland 2045 innit.
Acknowledgement: The Dry bones blog for the cartoon
PS: I use the term IS as opposed to ISIS, ISIL etc. because that is what they call themselves.
This piece has been coming for a while now but recent talk of the new Fox hunting bill, and the Scottish National Party’s temporary successes recently, kicked it back into life.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain is the name of this country, which I love, and in which, I live. The name describes poetically, and politically, where the British people live and how we expect to be governed. It took over a fifteen hundred years to unite this island’s disparate warring tribes into this, perhaps imperfect, but more mature than most, united nation.
I am writing this because our career party politicians seem to have forgotten how much we have achieved in this United Kingdom of Great Britain.
Over many hundreds of years, much blood was spilled, many compromises were made and hard lessons were learned, some of which are now in danger of being forgotten.
Simply put, we are British first. We are English, Scottish. Welsh and Irish second. If we lost that identity and concept we deny the slow but sure evolution of the last 1500 years.
Our modern career politicians seem to have become confused over what it means to be British and seem not to be aware of the importance of what we have become and how it all happened.
Surely, we would want any Member of Parliament, of that United Kingdom of Great Britain, to vote for all matters British, whether or not they be Scottish, Northern Irish (for the time being at least), Welsh or English?
Of course there should be some issues devolved to local democratic institutions but that is where huge irrational decisions have been made, started by Blair but continued under the coalition and now the Tory administration. This process of questioning the validity of the Westminster parliament’s ability to administer Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland started with Blair’s often lauded but flawed Northern Ireland peace process. That process ended up with a botched devolution to the current dysfunctional Northern Ireland assembly. It continued with Blair trying to devolve power to the North of England but the people said no, quite loudly!
This principle (the United bit) is vital in order to retain that part of our hard won identity. The SNP, largest amongst other small minded nationalist parties, have forgotten how we are where we are in an egotistical rush to attack Westminster centric career politicians. Their attack on Westminster-centric polishituns is of course quite warranted, but if it threatens the united part, they are fighting the right cause, but in completely the wrong way.
Devolution, as implemented in the UK, is an unusual, illogical and messy way of dispersing power. Whilst devolution errors can be attributed to ministerial incompetence, there is another area where democratic accountability has been quite consciously removed. Since Thatcher’s disastrous era, successive governments have been madly creating quangos(*1) to remove responsibility from from the democratically appointed ministerial positions, which should rightly bear responsibility.
This self serving, slimy abrogation of responsibility is at the root of much of the we the people’s disaffection with today’s polishituns.
‘English votes for English laws is a logical absurdity’, I quote Vernon Bogdanor, who just happens to be the Oxford Don who taught Dave Cameron political philosophy at Oxford.
See here for the explanation of the absurdity. His explanation is tough going but please try to see what he is getting at!
Bright he may be, but Cameron is not as wise as his Oxford First degree might suggest. It came as a great surprise to me when I realised, years ago, that intelligence and wisdom are not necessarily connected. Sadly, so it is with most of the political class.
The Scottish people voted soundly and sensibly in their independence referendum. They rejected the apparent desire of the SNP to break up Britain. The Scottish National Party’s subsequent, and to many, surprising success, is founded upon the inability of Westminster centric party politicians to understand the importance of the real meaning of “The United Kingdom of Great Britain”.
The Scottish independence issue and the “West Lothian” problem are symptoms of this lack of educated understanding amongst our party political London centric leaders. Indeed, the whole devolution issue is blown out of all proportion precisely because our politicians have lost the plot.
Let us remember our history and continue the slow development of the oldest parliamentary democracy together as an Island nation.
Our misguided attempts at devolution have gone too far.
Further devolution risks destroying the very United Kingdom of Great Britain.
In time, we will hand back Northern Ireland to Eire; we will hand back the Falklands to the Argentinians and we will hand back Gibraltar to Spain and perhaps the Channel Islands to the Duke of Normandy ;-). That is simply the inevitable logic of economics, and geography. The party politics of the problem is the sticking point!
Furthermore, we need statesmen and women, the calibre of which we have not seen since Churchill and Atlee, yet but so desperately need now.
We will also, in time, become a republic (not, heaven forbid, a caliphate 😉 ), having disestablished the Church of England from government (by “right”) and removed our ever so slightly ridiculous monarchy.
That will probably take several decades, but I hope I live to see it!
*1 Quasi Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations, are completely undemocratic bodies (by design) which are supposed to control the regulation on banks, utility companies and many more. Offwat, Offgen, Offqual and the other two hundred or so.
You pay for them but they are not answerable to you!
The reason for their existence is to protect government ministers from having to take responsibility for their flawed decision making. The buck has been well and truly passed. Quangos are quietly not doing (because nobody really checks) what government should be doing, clever eh?
Our Dave wants to defeat the poison of radical Islam, jolly good eh? Well, no, he still defends state funded faith schools. His use of the word poison, copies Blair, his hero, who has used the word poison in the same context many times since 2010. Yet, despite agreeing on the word, neither Blair nor Cameraman have the slightest clue about the nature of so-called radical Islam.
Cameraman’s Birmingham speech on the 21st July was welcome, but several years too late. He announced some short-term measures, but he dared not face, what needs to be done to address the problem.
He missed the reason that so many British educated, intelligent, Muslim young men and women have become radicalised.
I argue that the word radicalised misses the point entirely, and has led Dave, and many others, down the wrong path in search of a solution. He has not yet understood why so many young Muslims are ready to fight in Syria for Islamic State. He has not yet understood how their mind-set was so warped away from that of their parents, most of whom are as clueless as is our Dave.
He said, in his speech, “They start with intolerant views towards democracy, freedom of expression and sexual equality. If this is not challenged they often gravitate to even more extreme views.”
But, he did not, or dare not, explain that the source of that very intolerance is the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an is aided and abetted by Hadith(s) (supplementary instructions issued long after the original manual). Democracy is an alien concept to Islam. Muslims must instead submit to the will of Allah, as directed by the Qur’an and follow Sharia, Islamic law. Sharia only applies to Muslims, so it should follow that it can only be implemented in an Islamic state.
Indeed, it is arguable that Sharia is not actually Islamic in the first place. The word is mentioned in the Qur’an, three times, but in a completely different context. Sharia, or Islamic law, is based on older Jewish law and was written some 200 years later than the Qur’an itself. Anyway, I could be paddling up an intellectual creek here because so many Islamic scholars disagree with each other on this point, and who am I to offer help? 😉
(Ed: Ooh stop, it hurts!)
Britain however, is subject to the Rule of Law. One legal system to which all citizens, of whatever religion (or none), are accountable. Aristotle said this more than two thousand years ago, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”
Our politicians have pandered to Muslim sensitivities. They have mistakenly allowed Sharia courts to rule on “family matters” for example. This thin end of the wedge stupidity, has all but destroyed the last 1,000 years of western philosophical and legal development. Cultural differences have been allowed to fester into the divisions we see today. For example, the political corruption exposed in Tower Hamlets last month and postal voting corruption in Birmingham, Bradford etc.
ISIS (AKA ISIL or Da’ish) are just implementing the bits of the Qur’an that moderate Muslims had started to ignore. Just read a little of the Qur’an and you will soon see what I mean.
So then, you may ask, just how do we stop young minds becoming so warped?
All religions rely on child minds being in awe of something that is apparently bigger and more powerful than them. Better still if this power is invisible, how can you challenge that eh? Once this awe is instilled in a child’s mind, it becomes very difficult to remove in later life. This innate awe is enthusiastically used by those who radicalise disaffected young minds and by all religions, eager for new followers.
Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland have found it almost impossible to accept that their Popes have silently covered up the sexual deviance of their priesthood for centuries. Only now when the evidence is overwhelming, have many Catholics found the strength to see the inherent evils in Roman Catholicism. Many still cannot accept the truth, and remain in awe of the Vatican’s clever use of art, music and pomp to hide its innate delusions. Charles Dickens clearly saw what Catholicism was, even if he was somewhat open to criticism in his own personal life.
Faith schools are therefore the source of the problem. The very idea of faith being taught as a valid and laudable path for young human minds to follow is warped. This thinking was exposed, by European Enlightenment philosophers, in the 17th & 18th centuries. They called for reason to replace faith. Notable amongst those thinkers was John Locke who advocated that religion must occupy the private sphere of life in order for the many different faiths to co-exist peacefully.
There are many contributing factors to radicalisation of course;
US / UK foreign policy in Iraq;
the Qur’an, seen by Muslims as the unalterable word of god;
Muslims must live under Sharia, Islamic law
Saudi funding for Madrassas in the UK;
misguided support for primitive cultural practices by politicians hungry for votes, in the name multiculturalism;
government’s fear of violent reprisals from minority communities;
Those are the starting points for the radicalisation process of those already affected by the awe of the faith virus. The rest follows on quite logically from that!
Yes, our democracy is flawed, but all other methods of political control are considerably worse (echoing the words of Winston Churchill). Humans will probably get there eventually, but not while religious groups all compete for separate privileges in the public sphere. One law, applicable to all please!
Free bus passes for Faith schools? Primitive halal and kosher practices being allowed to bypass the law because of religious exemption? Time off to pray? Bah, Poo & Piffle says I.
Come on Dave, get moving!
Meanwhile, more and more faith schools are created each year (200 more planned currently) to preach their message of otherness, difference and division thereby sowing the seeds of societal destruction that today’s young disaffected Muslims’ parents came here to escape. The irony is that the Birmingham schools at the centre of the Trojan horse scandal were not faith schools, but the exposure of their failings raised major questions marks about how faith schools operate. What is alarming is that if the Birmingham schools had been designated faith schools, then many of the practices condemned, such as limiting the curriculum to exclude lessons about sex education and reinforcing a cultural identity to the exclusion of others, would have been permitted!
I would have this next paragraph used in schools to promote discussion:
There is a reason that some 93% of the planet’s top scientist reject the notion of a personal god. The real mystery is why the other 7% don’t. After all, science is based on evidence and there is no evidence that god exists. None. What we may feel in our hearts is not evidence and neither is the bible since the argument is circular. (The bible is true because it says it is. The Qur’an is true because that is what Qur’an says.)
Simply asking faith schools nicely to be more inclusive will not work. A secular (free from religious dogma) education, for all children, is the only way to heal the divisions caused by faith schools.
Whilst even that will take several generations to work, I submit that there is no other way for human societies to develop in peace.
Vote hungry, party politicians are going to remove religion from schools? Let us hope so!
As the old joke goes “Is the Pope a Catholic?” in other words, the answer to the question just asked is Yes, obviously!
Catholic he may be, but Christian? No.
The new PR man at the Vatican, Pope Francis, has made the most ridiculous statement supporting a violent response to those who poke fun at religion.
He would “punch” anyone who mocks the irrational belief in the invisible, whatever variety of religious silliness is being mocked.
This is in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus, his supposed boss (for heaven’s sake ;-0 ) who would,of course, have turned the other cheek.
Pope Francis was talking about the Charlie Hebdo attacks and said that he quite understood the action taken. Unbelievable! (Later, the Vatican tried to soft pedal the idiotic statement, but to no avail.)
The latest Pope has shown us how far from Jesus’ teaching the Roman Catholic church has strayed.
What a silly billy, but thanks for showing yourself up and making the case for atheism and secularism for us!
Paris January 7th was a wake up call to all politicians in the west, and to the vast majority of people who do and say nothing about the slow rise of radical Islam in Europe and Great Britain. Appeasement to the religious vote is no longer acceptable. Radical Islam is being silently and ignorantly supported by moderate Muslims, and by our government’s inaction.
Dave, by all means step up security, but please finally recognise the long term issue that really need to be solved, viz.
ALL religion must be removed from ALL schools.Why? We have seen that many of the atrocities, committed in the name of Islam, have been perpetrated by engineers, doctors and mathematicians educated in the west. How did they become so warped? Religious faith was instilled into young, unformed minds used later by political Islam.
So, the removal of all region from all schools is the only long term solution. Otherwise Islam will triumph on its inevitable slow, but demographically fuelled growth. That is a small price to pay for removing religious funding for Anglicanism, Catholicism etc.
First generation British Muslims came to Britain for safety, jobs and stability. Many of their children have forgotten that, and their parents and grand parents need to stand up for the very British values that are being challenged by their children.
Supreme Court of Wisconsin(Weiss v. District Board, March 18, 1890. )
“There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter into our civil affairs, our government soon would be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed. Those who made our Constitution saw this, and used the most apt and comprehensive language in it to prevent such a catastrophe.”
My long awaited book, “The Normal Curve” has a new name “Bah, Poo & Piffle”. It sums up, in an entirely legal way, my feelings and views on politics, politicians, journalists and the whole 24/7 piffle factory which forms most of the news verbiage today. The book argues that party politics is outdated and explains exactly why politicians are rubbish at decision making. It also makes a few suggestions as to what we should do about the whole system of government from which we currently suffer.
I needed to get the title out in the world before Boris hijacks it, hence the advance notice, the world (and Boris) has been warned!
Sadly, I missed my targeted November 2014 publishing date and therefore the January 2015 Political Book Awards. The insatiable market for political reading fodder leading up to the May 2015 election will just have to make do with the first 3 chapters. I missed my target due to my grade 8 flute exam taking priority over a book that will change the world (ahem). Next May, I am hoping for a minority government as this will be best for the people. Why? Policies will be decided more slowly and one by one as different minorities hold the balance of votes.
Chapters 1, 2 & 3 will start appearing on my blog soon. Don’t worry about missing them, I will let you know when they start appearing. The other 14 chapters are almost there but will take another month or two.
The rest will be e published by some lucky publisher, as yet unnamed (because they all keep saying things like “Go away, who on earth are you?” or “Thank you but your excellent work does not fit our current profile.”) I now know how the Beatles felt when Decca turned them down 😉
Anyway, I wish you all a very Happy New Year of Moaning and groaning at the antics of the political classes.