Assumptions, or Ask A Silly Question.

I’m always amazed at the way in which people will poss a
question to one, and add a set of unsaid assumptions to the
asking.

Here is an example of just what I mean:-
Did you see ( such & such television program ) last night?

The assumption being that one would have a television
machine.

– I don’t own one.
– I don’t want to own one.

Just throw in the line that you don’t have a television,
or a television licence,
and just listen to the kind of nonsense I have had to endure
for many years back.

Ditto the assumption that one should have an extensive
knowledge about so called celebs.

What needs to be kept in mind by those who make such
assumptions,
is that being famous is no indication as to whether they have
might have anything interesting to say,
or have done anything that might be of real social worth.

Another assumption I keep hearing is that I should buy rather
than rent a flat.
Yet the very same people will tell me just difficult it is to pay
their mortgage, even though they may be earning a lot more
than anyone in libraries will ever be able to earn. Continue reading Assumptions, or Ask A Silly Question.

Let’s Celebrate!

There are many reason why we should all celebrate,
and many of these should become bank holidays.

Here are some of the days I would like to see become the Bank
Holidays of the Future.

– Good Atheist Values Day.

– Peace Veterans Day.

– Peace Movement Activists Day.

– Animal Rights Day
( Also known as Vegie Day ).

&

– Pedestrian Liberation Day

In the meanwhile it would be good if Europe Day,
May 9th,
became a bank holiday throughout Europe.

What would you like to add to this list of mine?

Things Can Change, But Not By Me Living In the Past.

Things can change,
but it might take some time for radical social changes to
become really noticeable.

I was thinking about this the other day as I reflected upon just
how few people smoke these days.

One of the things that I have always noted about politics is
that a lot of what goes on is very much based in terms of
debating the struggles the past.

Now it might all be very fascinating to a debate what we ( I ) did
in the past, but you just can’t keep doing this and expect to
maintain a clear view upon just what the current issues or
political problems might be.

Having been involved within the peace movement for over 40
years I recognise this danger within myself, but the question is
just how do I get rid of the kind of historical baggage which
comes with a long history of activism?

One of the reasons that I gave my own archive to IISH in
Amsterdam, was so that it might free me from this kind of
looking back on the past,
and thus free myself up in order to get on with some new
projects.

By and large this seems to of worked for me,
but it would still be worth while if I could do a couple of oral
history recordings within the next year or so.

That way I wouldn’t be tempted to start playing the grand old
veteran in about 20 years time,
but still get to record what I’ve done in the past.

What I don’t want to do is write up my own autobiography.

Now I might like us to note various dates in my own history,
but I would not like to write them all up.

Writing up ones own history is very much like trying to proof
read ones own work:
It’s best left for someone else to do it for one.

So now I’m looking for someone to sit down for a few hours
with me in front of a microphone.

After that it will be time for me to really concentrate upon
something new.

I’ve seen too many activists surrounded by their old paper
documents, which can hold them to thinking about the past.

I’ve also noted just how nice it is to live in a place which is not
ones own political archive.

I know just which of these two lifestyles I want to enjoy in my
old age.

Just FYI :-
What sparked me to write this has been some of the recent
work I have been doing in terms of changes with some of the
projects in which I am currently involved,
but more on them at some other stage.

Renaming and Rethinking the world.

I have a small undated J Bartholomew atlas of the world,
which must of been published around the start of World War
one.

Looking at the maps in this work is a lesson in history,
for within this atlas you will find the following places: –

Galicia,
Bohemia,
East and West Prussia,
Schleswig-holstein,
Christiania,
Siam,
Nubia,
Ceylon,
Manchuria,
Austria-Hungary,
Servia,
Peking,
St Petersburg,
Annam,
Persia,
Rhodesia,
Silesia,
Moravia,
German South West Africa,
German East Africa,
&
The Belgium Congo.

Though the more knowledgable of you may be able to place
these counties, regions, or towns upon the map,
it might prove be very difficult for those individuals who are a
product of our modern education system to be able to do so.

The point being that many of those places have changed their
names since the publication of this atlas,
much in the same way as national boarders have oscillated
over the centuries.

This is turn might be a very good starting point for a lesson in
linguistics.

Even a fleeting glance at this atlas will confirm just how
much the political map of the world has changed over the last
100 years.

It all goes to show that there is nothing static about politics,
or just how we see and name the world about us.

Yet while the Russian, Japanese, Dutch, Austro-Hungarian,
French, Spanish, British, and German Empires
of the last century have long gone,
we are still exploiting the world in the very same way.

We need to start thinking about the world in global terms,
and not via the names of states which will continue to come
and go.

Only then will we be able to start dealing with global issues
at a local level,
and not be bound to thinking about the short term shifting
needs of the nation state.

There Was Once A Saying.

During the 1960s there used to be a saying:
‘We are the people our parents warned us against’.

Now we might just of turned this saying in to:-

We Are the People We Warned Our Parents Against.

Both of these sayings are warnings about both change for the
sake of change, and not having a fluidity of mind to change
things as they need to be changed.

The problem being that as a lot of people become older they
become more conservative.

Yet this is not so much a conservatism,
as a reaction to all of those new dangers that abound,
or it could just be a very human inability to adapt to the
changes in the world around one. Continue reading There Was Once A Saying.

Words.

I’ve been thinking about the use of various words of late.

One of the reasons for doing so is because I spent a couple of days during this month at a language school to the South of Madrid:

I was talking to some of the students about Cockney Rhyming slang,
and aspects of the everyday use of the various languages which one hears within London.

Now I discover that the British Local Government Association
has produced a list of:
200 words and phrases
that all public sector bodies should avoid when talking to people about the work they do and the services they provide.

Here is an example of just what is to be found within this list:

– Baseline – starting point

– Customer – people/person

– Outsourced – privatised

– Rationalisation – cut

– Revenue Streams – money.

– Slippage – delay.

– Thinking outside of the box – Why use at all?

It’s refreshing to read that at long last there is an attempt to curtail the use of so many of these detested corporate terms.

W Heath Robinson Illustrates the Stock Market.

One of my favourite books is entitled:
‘Success with Stocks and Stares.’

The subtitle to this work being:
‘A practical guide to profitable investment.’

Written by John B Gledhill and Frank Preston, it was
published in 1938.

The book is illustrated by W Heath Robinson.

Two of his drawings clearly illustrates just how a bull and
market work.

Although many of the technical details within this book are
very dated:
much of the advice in this work still holds true.

Here are a few examples: –

– Beware of boom flotations.

– Don’t borrow money to gamble on the stock exchange.

– Beware of market under-currents.

– Beware of bucket shop literature.

– Axioms do not always work.

&

– Remember a mine is a diminishing asset.

This is also something of a good piece of ecological advice.

If only some of the people who now run the financial industry
had read this work,
then we might not be in the kind of global fiscal mess that
faces us all right now.

Human Rights

December 10th is Human Rights Day.

Here is a list of Human Rights which still need some working
upon,
or which we should all focus more upon.

The right to fresh air,
by not having to breath in the muck which is produced by the
internal combustion engine.

The right to practice our good atheist values:
Without being persecuted by religionists for doing so.

The right to built a peaceful world, and not to be jailed as a
conscientious objector.

The right to good basis housing,
which is not subject to the economic pressures which come
from an attitude that it is just another consumer product.

&

By extension to that of Human Rights:
We should think upon the rights of our fellow creatures.

Headlines and Reality.

2 days ago I glanced at a newspaper headline about the
banks being bailed because they are in a state of crisis.

This is a crisis which has only developed because of a
willingness and ability of people to live on debt.

As I glanced up I noticed a rough sleeper in front of me,
and pondered upon just how much of this banking crisis is
of the result of over selling mortgages.

Governments, Newspaper editors, & Bankers continue to
worry about people who may loose their homes by not
being able to continue to pay their mortgages.

Yet how many of these ‘powers that be’ have devoted any
time to ponder upon the continuing plight of rough
sleepers?

Trouble Ahead.

Here is a short list of those everyday sayings & signs
which should always make you think that there is trouble
ahead.

– ‘There is a good service’ on the ( whatever it is )
underground or train line.

– Cloths which are just marked s m or L, & with no other
indication of what kind of real world size they may in fact
be.

– ‘This product is child friendly.’

&

– Any kind of promise made by a politician that ‘things can
only get better’.