Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Vote Remain for so much more

When I was young I lived in a dangerous world in which two superpowers threatened to destroy civilization. I thought that there must be something better than this. What must happen is for countries with economic and political power to come together in a union which could turn to the other superpowers and say no - enough - the world deserves better. Such a union could be more than just a partnership of commerce - it could combine resources to support great projects - to promote and spread human rights, to deal with poverty, to research and develop new technologies for the production of energy, to support initiatives to help its members live in a cleaner and safer world. I was happy to see us join the Common Market, and extremely pleased when it became the European Union, and I was proud to become a European citizen. So much could be achieved, and we could become a new form of political community, a European super-state within which each country maintained its identity and uniqueness, with government at the appropriate level, and with citizens being able to live and work without barriers from the Northernmost tip of Sweden to the warm shores of Sicily. That was my hope, and my vision.

Things are far from perfect in the EU. The situation regarding Greece has been a huge crisis, both financial and humanitarian. The EU has also expanded far too fast for my liking, with countries like Poland having a deeply unpleasant record on human rights. I would have hoped for a smaller and more stable EU, giving things time to evolve socially and politically.

But, so much of my vision has come to pass. The right to travel and work and live within the EU is wonderful and powerful. The income from membership of the EU has been hugely beneficial for the British economy. The work the EU does towards the environment is vitally important, as is its substantial organisational and financial support for science.

I want more. Much more. I don't fear a European super-state, I want it passionately. I want a European army. I want an alternative to NATO that isn't treading on the toes of Russia and always looking towards America. I want a Europe that has the financial power to compete with China, and to not 'catch a cold when Wall Street sneezes". I want the large economy of the UK to help build the engine of such a European state, not splutter in isolation.

So much of the discussion of the EU has been about finance, about counting the pennies of contributions and refunds. So much discussion has been about the fear of other Europeans, as if migrants are wolf packs coming to ravage our country, not people with families who work here, pay taxes, and contribute to our culture. (It's ironic that in towns where a night out is usually to an Indian restaurant, voters state their fear of immigration).

We are better than this. We should not be fearful penny-pinching accountants, hostile to change. We should be working together to change the world through our combined strength and wisdom, and goodness knows the world desperately needs us to do this.

Don't vote just for 'remain' - vote for a positive, progressive vision of a better, safer, saner world, a world where we don't talk any more about 'The West', but about 'Europe', a new power yet with deep roots, a place of exciting ideas based on thousands of years of history, the birthplace of the Enlightenment where science and reason have never been stronger, a place where freedoms and rights and secure. Vote 'remain' for a world that can be so much better, because we can make it better together.

Monday, 30 May 2016

If you don't vote

If you won't vote to stop Trump getting in you are an enemy of reason, of freedom, of equality, of science. If you don't vote to stop Trump getting in you will be knowingly standing by while others vote for a violence-promoting bigoted thug. You will have had the chance to help stop him by doing nothing more than casting a vote. By standing by you reject decades of work by brave fighters for racial equality, for equal rights for women, for reproductive rights, for marriage equality. 

You have probably read Sagan on science being a candle in the dark, but you don't care if that candle is snuffed out. You have probably read Hitchens on separation of Church and state, but you don't care if Jefferson's wall is trampled.  You may have read the critical work of Gore Vidal, but you don't care if freedom to criticise politicians is lost. If you don't vote to stop Trump getting in you don't deserve the right to vote, because every vote is a chance to change the world, and you will have abandoned the world, and sacrificed millions to the narcissistic delusions of a bully.

So vote.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Doctor Who is at its finest, really!

Moffat has returned things to Doctor Who that has not been around for decades - horror, pace, creepiness, and serious drama.  Russell T Davies' style of Doctor Who can be summed up the 9th Doctor's shout of 'Run!'  It was fast-paced, almost cartoonish, and exciting. It was also filled with absurdity and self-indulgence, which reached it's peak at the end of series 4 with Stolen Earth/Journey's End. 

Moffat has been far stronger on plot, and allowing characters to develop, and with Capaldi in the lead we have seen the finest acting and drama that there has ever been on 'Who', as in the magnificent and innovative 'Heaven Sent', and the Zygon two-parter in series 9. There has also been real horror as in Flatline, with the strangest and creepiest monsters the Doctor has ever faced. 

The Master/Mistress has had a far better treatment under Moffat than Davies.  At the start of series 9 we saw the return of the Master we knew and loved in the 70s  as the Mistress showed that she could be charming and even friendly, while being utterly mischievous and untrustworthy.  

Doctor who always changes. That's the point. Moffat has allowed change to continued to make the character the most interesting one in sci-fi, and with Capaldi in the lead we have seen a new Doctor who brinds together old and new series, with touches of Hartnell and Bakers (Tom and Colin) showing us that the Doctor doesn't have to be a young action hero to save the world- as Rassilon said: "words are his weapons", and Moffat is a damn fine writer.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Palin endorses Trump - what I heard

I managed to hear a small section of Sarah Palin's speech endorsing Donald Trump.

"We are all true Americans and we are all here to tell Donald that it isn't all about him or me but the great people of which we all love and respect for those we cannot and will not forget and the immigrants from Mexico and Obama in Kenya who came over here with their singing and their children who won't respect our walls and Hillary's medicare costs for those of us who just cannot and will not forget the Benghazi which keeps Donald and me from sleeping when we dream of our great nation which is feared by those who fear us everywhere even Putin won't stand for our weakness and Nato and next time he crosses borders of Uganda we'll show him that we aren't Obama and we will never be Obama and the price of peace is more than Hollywood liberals and New Yorkers like Tom Cruz and as Ronald Reagan said "Let us never forget Princess David the Iron Lady" and that's why ISIS can't get to the heart of the respect we have for our children and our families and our Lord Jesus who blesses us all."

I think that makes her position clear.