Saturday, 10 October 2015

Only by possessing true compassion can you gain integrity!

Everywhere, there seems to be the state of reactive opposition. With the forthcoming of the right-wing protestations in Germany this week, following the left-wing developments in the English Labour Party setting themselves completely apart from the Tories, and our Prime Minister resorting to castigating the Labour leader in an extreme (and erroneous) manner, my thoughts went to the Bible and the words of Jesus about division:
In Luke 12:51 Jesus says (via one translation) “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Now there are people who think that religion and politics are two different 'things' and should be treated differently. Well, that may be true as far as religious services go, but how can we divorce everyday life from spiritual life? It's patently impossible, isn't it (without politics being reduced purely and simply to issues about the economy), and as all spiritual teachings convey a message about doing and promoting good in society, then in my view everyday politics should be infused with values that stem from lasting values. Faith can only be demonstrated in action.

I therefore see the current divisions as a challenge for us all to seek out and promote the real values that we wish to abide by! And - as Jesus so clearly enunciated in the passage above - finding the values that appeal to one's conscience can be in direct opposition to those people you hold dear. There is the challenge.

In my book The Greatest Goal (link) - published in 2012 - it is stated:
The state of affairs in the Middle Eastern countries is horrible and threatens to spill over into The West. Never has the need for a different outlook been greater. We need to live as one, so what is the common ingredient we can all understand and which can bring us all together?
The book also states (p.128) "... a new politics is needed ...".

Well, in my opinion, Jeremy Corbyn has become (in my view) the first politician in the UK in modern times to address that "new politics" issue. It behoves his political opponents to join in intelligently with that debate, and not (as they seem to be doing) in branding Corbyn as a person of all kinds of unacceptable characteristics. One of his actual characteristics - integrity - seems to be missing amongst his opponents as they not only ridicule him but do so with malice without foundation. Even the Tory journalist Peter Oborne has  noted that anomaly in his article in Saturday's Daily Mail.

But what hope do we have of finding integrity in the Tory front ranks when the Prime Minister (with his enormous wealth and wealthy contacts) has claimed Disability Living Allowance (in the sad case of his son) yet invokes extreme hardship on poor persons who are disabled. And a health minister who, it is alleged, told his staff to keep working to meet targets as the 9/11 disaster was unfolding on their computer screens.

To have integrity you must possess compassion. The Tories, not understanding true difficulty, do not possess true compassion of the heart. It only comes from the head when they have something to say. To them compassion is a word from the dictionary that they believe, if used in speeches, conveys the idea to everyone that they must possess that characteristic. How the wool is spun!

With the financial state of the NHS being what it is, it will be interesting to see whether this government will find the compassion to prevent the potentially enormous suffering this winter.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

To Arm or Not To Arm; That Is The Smoking Gun

The West still tries to portray itself as being the Good Guys, while the Baddies are countries like Russia and Iran. But the countries that continue to provide arms to many (not one) dubious regimes are the USA, Britain and France. And it's the USA and Britain that have been the hawks over the last dozen years in their insistence on use of arms in preference to diplomacy. Russia, therefore, can legitimately scoff - but not that I support their support of Assad.

So it comes as no surprise to learn this week that the British Foreign Office has decided that Human Rights issues are no longer high on their list of consideration, in favour of trade. Er, the arms trade.

This in the midst of plentiful advice being offered to the British government that a perpetuation of militant solutions instead of diplomacy is counter-productive. That a display of arms does little more than stir up more resentment - and more "terrorists".

The Lord Jesus and other great spiritual beings advised that the solution to evil is to turn the other cheek. It is difficult to apply that advice ... very difficult. But when it comes to the arms trade, we need to be more circumspect as there is (in practice) little hope of a peaceful solution going down that route.

I hear much use of the word  "deterrent" when applied to arms - particularly nuclear arms. But weapons such as Trident would be of no value in the wars we have come to know in the last few years. Even if democracy rules that Trident should remain, surely it must be scaled back?

On this topic, I must mention that David Cameron has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being a danger to our national security in his stance on Trident, but it should be noted that it is Cameron that has presided in the greatest threat to our security to date by taking away any usable aircraft carriers! We currently have no ocean-based airforce facility to be used in more conventional warfare. Who, therefore, is calling the kettle black?