Sunday, 29 January 2017

Having our say!

In today's Onserver magazine, the writer Stephen Poliakoff is the subject of the "This much I know" feature. With a name like that of course he is from an immigrant family. That does not of itself guarantee tolerance and liberal thinking but it often helps. In his case I suspect it did. Anyway he appears to have been a Remain voter in the EU referendum. Here is what he wrote about Brexit in the magazine:

 "I watched Brexit through a fog of rubble mixed with tears. Just before the polls closed, my wife and I were by the telly and part of our ceiling fell down, like an extraordinary metaphor. We watched David Dimbleby, the air thick with dust, along with the disintegration of the Remain cause."

I wonder what he thinks about the continuing madness of our world.

There's our PM running round the world buttering up bullies. What exactly is she doing selling weapons to a country which has been refused entry to the EU for so many years because of its poor record on prisons and human rights? Does diplomacy demand that you express "delight" in the, OK elected but not necessarily very compassionate, president of Turkey overcoming his difficulties? Does diplomacy force her to congratulate President Trump on his sweeping victory? Was it really so great? And why did she not ask him about the women's rights issue, among other things?

Maybe she will soon start to agree with the Russian decision that domestic violence is not so much of a crime as previously thought! But then, she hasn't started buttering up Putin yet!

And then there's that immigration ban and the Prime Minister's refusal to say any more than that the USA's immigration policy is their business! Not ours at all! But I'm pretty sure we have the right to comment on it.

Here's Mo Farah's reaction to the ban on certain people entering the USA:

"On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.

I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years - working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home - to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.

I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood. My story is an example of what can happen when you follow polices of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation."

Perhaps Mr Trump can discuss all that with the queen when (or perhaps if) his state visit comes off. After all, he doesn't want to talk to Prince Charles about climate change. I have a sneaky feeling though that Her Majesty doesn't like being dictated to about how state visits should go.

And dictating is what Mr Trump seems to be about at the moment. I am having trouble getting my head around the executive orders business. I saw one explanation that said that all presidents have used them. It's a way for them to circumvent laws they don't agree with and to hurry legislation through. But somehow it seems to me that Trump is issuing an awful lot of them, as if ideas occur to him and in his head he is an absolute monarch who can just issue an order - Off with his head! - and it will be done.

Will we see a fight back from Congress?

Meanwhile, protests and demonstrations continue. Here's a link to an article where Carole King talks about her part in the women's protests on January 21st and her release of an old song of hers all about the power of one small voice. The song is worth listening to as well.

Mind you, there are some who would say that we don't need to listen to her. After all, she is just a singer/songwriter! Mo Farah is just an athlete! We are all just people!

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