Monday, 23 February 2009

Watching that marvellous series 'Iran & the West' I was struck by the lack of reference to the impact of Israel on, especially recent, Iranian attitudes. The Federation of American Scientists produces copious evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons. As long ago as 1975 the US was convinced that Israel had them. In 1986 Israel jailed Mordechai Vanunu for whistleblowing. On 26th May 2008 ex-President Jimmy Carter said Israel has up to 150 nuclear weapons. Other estimates are around 80. Yet Israel refuses to confirm that it has any at all. During the Iraq/Iran war tens of thousands of Iranians died from Saddams US weapons yet Post 9/11 Iran gave considerable help to the US only for Bush to lump them in with the 'axis of evil'. Bush then invades Iraq with his British puppy dog wagging its' tail at his heels. That man was the biggest threat to world peace since Adolf. He may have gone, but in 4 or 8yrs another such could easily be elected. Meanwhile Israel bombs Syria 'on suspicion' & without any significant complaint from the west about it & we've seen the recent Israeli 'response' in Gaza. Can ANYONE reasonably expect the Iranians to drop what they are doing on the mere words & promises of Western Politicians? If I was an Iranian you bet I'd want my own nuclear bomb.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A True Hero

An uplifting piece for a change that brought a tear to my hard bitten old eyes. In the FT of 21st Feb there was a lengthy obituary to a Dutch Doctor, Willem 'Plim' Kolff, 1911-2009. In summary during the Nazi occupation of Holland he helped many people escape labour camps & worse. He also somehow managed to invent & build the world's first successful kidney dialysis machine. It didn't work first time & patients died. The first success was on a Nazi collaborator. Kolff said " We have to treat patients when they need help even if we don't like them". He went on to lead the development of an artificial heart; man made eye; artificial ear; and one of the first sophisticated prosthetic arms. He believed that his work should benefit everyone, not just one individual, so he never patented any of it.

In an era where the philosophy seems to be that if you are not a rotton bastard you are a stupid bastard we can only pray that there are still people like him out there.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Fair Play & Taxes

The Government cannot interfere with properly drawn legal contracts however disreputable these might be. We are not going to get rid of the bonus culture, and the damage done by greed and rampant self interest by pleading to peoples better nature.Those that caused the financial system to collapse do not have a better nature. Nor are we going to repair the Governments collapsing tax revenue by conventional means

What the Government CAN do is tax. For this Tax Year, & the next two, ALL income, however derived ( home or overseas) & however disguised, ( including pension contributions), in excess of half a million pounds should be taxed at 100%. This might be unfair on those who maybe deserve their money but no more unfair than the loss of livelihood, home, etc. suffered by ordinary people through no fault of their own. In fact those caught by this tax are already so wealthy that in reality they wouldn't miss it .

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Words you mustn't use

Setting aside Chris Huhnes gaff over defending the Governments daft decision to exclude Wilders from Britain, thereby giving the visiting nonentity publicity to die for, I am struck by the difference in treatment of Carol vis a vis Jonathan. In my book the latters offence was much worse. When I was small boy in WWII I had a rag doll whose name I must not say and a childrens book about a child I may not name & his little umbrella. Both were much loved & treasured & if they did anything for my views on racism, which is pretty unlikely, the influence would have been one that warmly embraced difference. Well meaning legislation to prevent real abuse is hijacked to promote a quite different agenda. Hypersensitivity is stirred up & freedom of speech goes down the gurgler. We should stop pandering to this nonsense, grow up, get a sense of humour & a life. In terms of improving race relations it is unnecessary intolerance of the trivial that masks the need to be truly intolerant of the important. When I lived in Australia in the 1990's I was often called a 'pommie baaastard' and nine times out of ten it was used to describe a 'mateship' and when it wasn't it was the user of the phrase that was diminished.

Right to die

Two recent controversies in the news. Firstly should alcohol abusers be denied liver transplants & a Law Lords opinion which doesn't really move us any further forward in protecting those who respect the wishes of those who have had enough of life. If we could only convert hypocrisy into GDP we wouldn't have a financial crisis.

Taking the Euthanasia ( or as we now call it Assisted Suicide) issue first,we should remember that actual suicide is desperately sad but it is not nowadays illegal. It therefore simply should be the right of anyone to decide for themselves the circumstances under which they wish to be 'put to sleep' when they can no longer do it unaided.

When you have one liver and six patients needing it, the 'playing God' argument of the anti euthanasia brigade is nonsense. Some person or group has to decide who gets the liver & the criteria ought to be based, & I believe usually is, not on punishment for past behaviour, but on prospects for clinical & post op lifetime benefit. Still a very difficult decision which is agonised over by those in the best position to take it, and not assisted by sanctimonious external busybodies laying down rules to suit their own agenda.

The next argument is that vulnerable people might be pressurised by relatives to end it all. The pro-lifers scorn for the basic decency of most of humanity is truly impressive. If our lawmakers cannot draft a workable law including adequate, but not self defeating, safeguards then they have no business to be in power. Whoops - perhaps I've just shot myself in the foot!!!!!!!!!!!!!