The tradition of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest pre-dates the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth Rock, all organised religions and probably even the invention of recognisable clothing. After successfully hunter-gathering the roots, berries and mammoth steaks, what better way to celebrate than pulling on the Sunday best and eating until physical activity is rendered impossible.
Fleeing from intolerance, religious oppression, imprisonment and summary execution, England Dissenters migrated first to Holland and then undertook a perilous voyage across treacherous seas to reach a new world offering a land of the free and a home for the brave. Many died in that first harsh winter but, according to legend, the colony managed to survive due to its endurance, toil and by the grace of God. Another version suggests that the local Native Americans took pity and shared their food only to be rewarded with the European gift of smallpox. (more…)
In these uncertain and dangerous times, it seems churlish to point out that even before the term was coined and the condition categorised, governments have operated from a position of paranoid schizophrenia. Monsters are out to kill us, they bellow. We will be murdered unless you do exactly what we tell you to do. Vote for us and we will keep you safe in exchange for your civil liberties. You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. In the aftermath of yet another dreadful atrocity, “leaders” feel it necessary, usually in the same statement, to tell us that we are in great danger and yet also quite safe. (more…)
Doctors treat Jeremy Hunt
At the end of the day, in the final analysis, when all is said and done and when the dust has settled, it all boils down to a question of trust.
For example, you would not wish a drug-crazed loon with a weakness for the unsubtle expertise of a dominatrix anywhere near your broken roof even if the sun was shining. Nor would you employ a benefit cheat to “reform” the benefits system or put known criminals in charge of banks or allow someone with a hatred of children to fail at education and then be awarded law and order. At election time, the British are clearly a very trusting nation. (more…)
Image credit Philippe Wojazer via Reuters
François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, was born in Paris in 1694 and died in Paris at the ripe old age of 83. Frequently exiled or banged up in the Bastille for having a pop at the Church, the Monarchy; the State and just about anything else that smacked of hypocrisy, Voltaire was at the centre of the Enlightenment and gave voice to the beginnings of the French Republic. Now considered to be a national hero, he has a splendid Haussmann designed avenue named in his honour.
Exactly 250 years ago and about 25 years before the start of the French Revolution, Voltaire published an essay critical of organised religion called “Questions sur les Miracles”. In it, he said:
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” (more…)
As some day it may happen that a victim must be found, I`ve got a little list – I`ve got a little list of society offenders who might well be underground, and who never would be missed – who never would be missed.
After what seems an age of interminable waffle and prevarication, Cameron has at last produced his little list of “reforms” to the European Union that are required if the United Kingdom if to remain a member of the largest trading market on the planet. Oh I wish he would desist – I wish he would desist. (more…)