Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 23 April 2012

St George's Day - 23rd April

Happy St George's Day to all my English friends!


St George slaying the dragon - a carving from a single piece of wood, mounted on a wooden plinth, given to me years ago by an Indian moslem friend.
'Nationalism' may be a bad thing, but celebrating one's country in a joyful way is the very opposite. Within the UK, and around the world the Scots, Welsh and [Northern] Irish have always celebrated their Saints' Days, but the English don't do this so much - that's a pity in my view, so I'm doing my little bit to rectify this anomaly.

(NB/ I don't do an article like this every year, but this particular article first appeared in my blog on 23rd April 2004, so I think that after eight years I can be forgiven for 'recycling' it.)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

If you support same-sex marriage, show your support!

The UK Government is currently consulting on whether to allow same-sex [civil] marriage. It is the stated policy of the current (Coalition) Government that same-sex marriage be legislated for and the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has stated that he is personally in favour of same-sex marriage because he is a Conservative, not despite being a Conservative.

I have signed the petition organised by the Coalition for Equal Marriage calling for same-sex marriage to be legislated for - you can sign the C4EM petition here.

I have also completed the Home Office consultation survey - you can complete it too, by visiting the relevant part of the Home Office website here.

The legislative proposals put forward by the Government provide only for same-sex 'Civil' marriage, in other words it does not contemplate allowing same-sex marriage in a religious context, even where a particular religious organisation would be happy to do so. I think this is wrong and that religious organisations which wish to do so should be allowed to. I do not think that any religious organisation should be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if this would be in conflict with its theology - any more than certain religious organisations currently are forced to conduct heterosexual marriages under certain circumstances which they find objectionable (e.g. the Roman Catholic Church will not consecrate marriages where one partner is divorved or has a former marriage partner who remains alive). However, the legislative proposals by the Government are a huge step forward and should be strongly supported, even if they are perhaps not the ideal solution.

I urge you strongly to sign the petition and to complete the Home Office Consultation survey without delay!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Celebrating the big "10 years" of blogging




It was today, 10 years ago, that I began this blog. To be quite honest, I am pretty surprised I made it! The frequency of adding blog articles here has been much less than in earlier years - partly this has been a result of some difficult events in my personal life (for example I mentioned some of these in my article to mark the 9-year anniversary, a year ago), but has also been affected by the other blog I started 4 1/2 years ago to deal with matters "Spanish" as undoubtedly many of the articles I now write there would otherwise have appeared in this blog. In fact, this is the sixth year I have been in Spain over my blogging anniversary, as I now spend about three months here every Spring and a further month or two here in the Autumn as well. On other matters, I decided to put off any thought of moving home in the UK as I had indicated might happen a year ago - basically I like where I am already there (the north of Scotland) too much so I decided to put any idea of moving 'on hold' for the time being, but who knows what will happen next; I have a feeling this story has a little way more to run ..

It is probably true that this blog has become a little less strident and overtly 'political' over the past couple of years, because whilst I still feel strongly about many of the major issues I have always been interested in (politics, current affairs, 'gay' issues, etc) it is also true that there is now a government in power in the UK much more congenial to my general outlook on life; the current Coalition government certainly has its faults, but it is to my way of thinking a much more rationally run outfit that that run by our last two Labour Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown; both were political charlatans, but Brown in particular, both during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer and his disastrous and mercifully relatively brief period as Prime Minister, presided over an unprecedented 'trashing' of the British economy, the consequences of which we will as a country be living with for many years and very probably for the remainder of my life. Another factor in my lessened 'stridency' here is that what is still the world's most powerful country, the US, is no longer run by George W Bush; the current President, Barack Obama, has proved pretty disappointing of course, but is immeasurably better than his predecessor; one must hope that if the American people do decide to change horses later this year they opt for the least-bad likely alternative, Mitt Romney, rather than the frankly alarming Rick Santorum!

As well as my other 'Spanish' blog, I have of course for some years made use of Twitter as I find it a very convenient way of giving voice to my thoughts on various issues which before it existed would probably have been fodder for blog articles here; I do use Facebook, too, but this tends to be mainly a repository of feeds from my Twitter account. However, I expect I'll be continuing to blog here for a good while yet whenever there are controversial topics of interest to me to talk about. To those who have been kind enough to visit my little blog over the years I can only repeat how grateful and honoured I am to have you here and I hope you will continue to join me here in the future, too.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Article heading list for latest 6-month period (October 2011 to March 2012) now up

The archive of 'Article Headings' for the latest 6-month period is now available - click here for the period October 2011 to March 2012.

There are permanent links in the right bar to this and earlier 6-month 'Article Heading' indices, immediately below the standard 'Blogger' monthly archive links.