Origin of Remembrance Day and 2014

How people power created Remembrance Day: As millions flock to see those Tower poppies, the remarkable story of how ordinary Britons won the right to honour the fallen

People Power Keeps Tower Poppies: Exhibition To Stay Until The End Of The Month” announces the Singapore News.

Millions of people have turned up to see the Tower of London Exhibition of ceramic made poppies – how did we come to where we are with Remembrance Day? Alwyn W. Turner gives us his insights to the history of Remembrance Day with an excerpt from “The Last Post” published in the Daily Mail, November 7, 2014. Said the Mail, “As millions flock to see those Tower poppies, the remarkable story of how ordinary Britons won the right to honour the fallen.”

 Excerpt from ‘The Last Post’

( The Last Post by Alwyn W. Turner (Aurum, £14.99). To buy a copy for £11.99 (free p&p for a limited time), visit mailbookshop.co.uk. Offer ends December 24).

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Wales: ‘The Nearly Nation’ Is My Homeland

Simon Jenkins’ essay on ‘the nearly nation’, Wales, gives this expat that feeling of nostalgia I experience every time I return to Wales to visit family and friends, and make new friends tracing family history.

Born and raised in Wales by Welsh speaking parents, they went to school to learn English; I went to school to learn Welsh, – that was the change in one generation. I worked in Wales for 17 years, the rest of my working life has been in England, so I found it interesting to read Simon Jenkins’ roundup of Wales. His essay has a very mixed reception reading through the comments.

Not part of the political scene I can’t really comment on the pros and cons of politics in Wales but I would personally be disappointed if Wales should choose the route for independence – just as disappointed if Scotland had chosen independence. Like Scot, Leslie Duncan, I wouldn’t want to have to have a passport or visa every time I entered Wales! And why give up being part of Great Briton where we still have voting rights to place ourselves under the control of EU where there are no voting rights. As the Scots have demonstrated, they have achieved more through ballot box than the UK will ever achieve under the EU!

For England, the English can’t deny that the mix of the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish bring a richness to England. And apart from Anne Robinson, the English I know who have visited Wales enjoy its geographical features and have an appreciation of its Welsh culture, although from my experience much of that has been lost with the closure of its many chapels with the consequent absence of many of the local Gymanfa’s; many chapel buildings have given way for other uses. But taking part in the South Wales 700 strong schools choir in the National Eisteddfod in Caerphilly was an experience never to be forgotten – well now, that is dating me!

If my family had not found work nearby, my wife and I would probably have made our way back to Wales after my retirement. Although so much has altered in Wales we love to return on our frequent visits to family and friends, with our only complaint being charged to cross the bridge! Although not everyone agrees with him, I found Simon Jenkins take on present day Wales, an interesting read.


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Scotland Remains Part Of The UK 2014

There is a hangover from Scotland’s Vote for Independence – disappointment for the Yes voters and relief for the ‘No’ voters. Will there be another move towards Scottish Independence by the next generation? My last post remains for posterity – if articles are accessible, will most newspapers have become paid subscriptions by then?

The Telegraph gives a comprehensive overview of the Referendum resulting in Scotland remaining in the UK. It is a relief to most that we still belong together.

The E. U. is also relieved over Scotland’s NO vote – although the article in the Irish Times does reveal EU intentions – the idea of nationhood is anathema to EU aims.

“Belgian EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, whose native Flanders region is in thrall to a growing nationalist movement, said a Scottish split would have been “cataclysmic” for Europe, triggering a domino effect across the continent. “If it had happened in Scotland, I think it would have been a political landslide on the scale of the break-up of the Soviet Union, ” said De Gucht, a liberal who does not support demands from some of his fellow Flemings for their own state. “A Europe driven by self-determination of peoples … is ungovernable because you’d have dozens of entities but areas of policy for which you need unanimity or a very large majority,” he said, adding that “parts of former countries” might behave in a very nationalistic ways.” I guess the EU must think the UK troublesome!

It does seem to me a contradiction for Scottish Nationalists to want to break away from the UK to eventually lose their identity in the mix of the EU to ultimately be governed from Brussels. At least the UK government, trying to keep ahead of UKIP, or feeling pushed along by UKIP, is offering an in-out referendum to the UK if the EU rules become non-negotiable, which most of us think will be the case. It is the UK which allowed for a Scottish say over its future, the Irish Times article makes quite clear that the EU sees nationalism as anathema to its overall aim, a Federal State.

There is now a lot of talking and negotiating, not just about Scotland but also about England, Wales and Northern Ireland. All must be treated fairly. Among other things there is the Lord Barnett Formula to discuss and decide on, which even Lord Barnett now sees as unfair. There is also the West Lothian Question; a busy autumn for Parliament.

But at least, Leslie Duncan can relax – she, along with so many others who might have been thinking the same, they don’t have to move over the border now!

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Scotland: A Nation Divided By The Referendum

This is a historic moment for Scotland and the UK. The decision Scotland will make today will have all sorts of repercussions, whether it ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – and my hope for the no vote. As a fellow Celt I don’t want to see Scotland seceding from the Union any more than I would like to see Wales going it alone.  Although below the border 7 out of 10 want Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom, there is an objection in Westminster to the bribes and unequal treatment that Scotland is being offered to stay within the Union. Whichever way today’s Referendum vote goes it may leave those of us south of the border divided over the Scottish Referendum too!

In his “Ten Things To Know About Scotland’s Independent Referendum,  London based NBC reporter, Alistair Jamieson,  gives us an appraisal on what the Referendum outcome will mean. But his last sentence indicates Jamieson’s fears about the Referendum, a concern that has been reported on quite widely, on an unhealthy belligerence that has no part in a democracy,  with fear and intimidation dividing voters of both camps. Says Jamieson,  “Fiona Scott, whose father taught Salmond at school, wrote in an open letter to The Herald newspaper on Saturday that the referendum “has succeeded in creating divisions across Scotland that were not there before and will still exist after the referendum, no matter which way the vote goes.” She added: “Relationships between neighbours are now threatened if you indicate which way you are voting.””

The Financial Times sees Scotland making a ‘Fateful Choice’  Others suggest the rest of the UK might be better off if Scotland secedesThe Mail says we are Better Together . The Mail reports Gordon’s Passionate Speech For The Union - and passionate it was. Impressed with Gordon’s speech, Robert Hardmen titled his article: ‘Gordon the Street Fighter Was Simply Stupendous’. The Mail answers 30 Questions on Scottish Independence .

The Telegraph says ‘Scotland will find few friends and allies in Europe’ seceding might give encouragement to other ethnic groups to want to follow suit, contrary to EU principles.

The Guardian reports on Westminister Ministers rebelling against party leader’s Scottish Funding Pledge

Pro the ‘no’ campaign the Guardian says ‘Don’t let Alex Salmond blind you to the Yes campaign’s dark side

And the Guardian also reports that Wales is against Scottish Independence – so no break away intention by Wales.

The Guardian view on the Referendum:  “And yet, as we have already argued, if this newspaper had a vote, we would vote no. The yes case has been, as Scottish law might put it, not proven. The implications have not been worked through, the risks not fully addressed. What’s more, a decision of such gravity – to break away from a 300-year-old union – should be the settled will of a nation. The very fact that Scottish opinion is so closely divided is itself a weakness in the case for independence. Moves of such import should command enduring and overwhelming support, as the creation of the Holyrood parliament did in 1997. Above all, the Guardian retains its belief in solidarity, in a world of fewer rather than more borders and in the union itself – as the best method of sharing the rewards and risks of our collective life together on what is still a small island.”

A view I share. A paradox perhaps since, as my blog has shown, I am opposed to being part of the EU. The difference is that I can vote for change in the UK government every four years, I can’t vote for change in the EU. To quote, or misquote Winston Churchill, ‘Democracy may be a bad form of government, but it is the best we have got,’ something to be valued and not given away. Everyone has had their say, we must now wait to see what our Scottish neighbours decide on today.  Whether Yes or Non, its a historic moment to record for posterity.

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Scientist Fired Over Dinosaur Find

Whatever the truth of the ‘dino’ discovery and of the sacking of a scientist, both sides of the origins debate taking up their cudgels with which to beat each other into becoming the next round of fossil finds!

Science Direct, gives brief news on the case, and here is an actual press release from the scientist’s legal counsel. This is said to be one the more balanced articles reporting on the case (which might not include the comments that follow the article)!

While the issue has been addressed by CMI recently – December 2012, it was also addressed by CMI back in May 2009. It has been considered again by CMI in January this year, 2014.

Someone has said that the subject of origins is much too important to be left to the boffins, especially as boffins are in fact no less prejudiced and no more honest than the rest of us. Point taken. Take the history of hoaxes in the issue of origins to promote evolution. One is Haeckel’s Embryos. Other hoaxes are added to it here.

Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution’ has its critics from the opposite camp but a reader can assess the many reviews of the book on Amazon. Enough to say the subject of origins should not be left to the boffins! We wait the outcome about any injustice done.

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Sudanese Christian Has Death Penalty Quashed

“Sudan court throws out death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim, convicted of marrying Christian man” says the National Post.

ABC News reported that Meriam Ibrahim was released today. Is the news reliable? The BBC appears to think so. I have been following her story and I am as pleased as must be everyone else at her release.

She was reported to have been incarcerated since last September, and recently gave birth to her second child in prison while her legs were shackled. Many prayers have been said on this woman’s behalf. But does she not represent so many others who suffer persecution and are deprived of their freedom?

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Sudanese Christian Jailed Mother Unshackled

Following previous posts, this is my recent reading on the Sudanese mother of two who waits the death penalty for being a Christian.


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Warning: Graphic Content Of Woman Being Flogged

I have joined in highlighting the plight of Meriam Ibrahim in a previous post, but it is not just Meraim Ibrahim who is to be given a hundred lashes, as well as execution by hanging, it is the plight of women generally who step out of line with Sharia Law that should concern us all – this video of publicly flogging a women should bother the whole of humanity! Meriam’s husband is a US citizen it seems but doesn’t seemed to have had much help from the US administration. US citizens protest outside the White house.

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Media Onslaught On UKIP Backfires

So says today’s Guardian. I’ve been wondering what has been going on with the media and the issue over Romanian Immigrants. The Daily Mail is just one newspaper that has been feeding us negative stories of ‘Aggressive Begging by Roma

It wasn’t Nigel Farage who published this headline! And now that Nigel Farage is repeating what the media has been saying over many months, UKIP is accused of being racist! It wasn’t UKIP that published this headline!

I don’t know any immigrants, including Romanians who have come to the UK for unemployment benefits. I do know immigrants, including Romanians who have come to work. But the Daily Mail and other newspapers are now in full swing denigrating UKIP because it has picked up some misfits so unsuited for the organisation, which it should have dumped.

But UKIP has served a valuable purpose. It has pushed David Cameron to demand reform of the EU and for less control over our nation than he might have done but for the popularity of UKIP STEPHEN GLOVER of the Mail is right when he says, “calling those thinking of voting Ukip racist is dangerous folly.”

He is also right when he says, “Ukip is on the same wavelength as many decent voters who might normally back the Tories or Labour or even the Lib Dems. My strong advice to the main parties, and their cheerleaders in the media, is not to act and talk as though they think the British people are racist.”

Raheem Kassam in his post, ‘The Daily Mail’s About Face On Nigel Farage,’ reflected my thinking when he reports:

“The Daily Mail performed a curious about-face on Romanian immigrants and criminality, as Nigel Farage came under fire for defending his comments that Britons would be concerned about a family of Romanian immigrants moving in next door to them.”

As I recall it was Tory MPs, reported by the Mail, who began this racist incitement about Romanian criminal elements.

Now they want to bash Farage for what it reported on Romanians! Even David Blunket had the Roma migrants down for possibly bringing about city riots.

Raheem Kassam goes on to recount some of the newspaper articles the Mail has published, which is a bit baffling unless one sees some kind of hypocrisy and unfairness in its treatment of Farage. But the Mail at least allowed Peter Hitchins to give a contrary view, as above, which still got misrepresented by the BBC to give a deliberately counter view – which Raheem Kassam picks up here. Anyone who read Peter Hitchens’ article would have to wonder how the BBC could get away with such misrepresentation of another journalist’s reporting. So with a combined media assault on UKIP, (and which other party is squeaky clean?), “Can Nigel still win in the EU election”? James Forsyth in the Daily Mail suggests we ask the postman!

“It is expected that 40 per cent of votes will be by mail and many have already cast their ballots. Westminster is certainly bracing itself. Senior figures in all three main parties admit they expect UKIP to win.”

Says Forsyth, “Miliband’s new guru, David Axelrod, who got Obama elected President, told him last week that UKIP’s success was part of the ‘age of alienation’.

Labour is now attacking UKIP in the way Obama did the Tea Party. The argument is that Miliband’s policies – not UKIP’s anger – will ensure ‘everyone gets a decent shot at life’.

But UKIP have made inroads into the Labour vote for the first time. So with the three parties and the media ganging up on Farage, what chance does UKIP have?

It doesn’t leave much choice for the Eurosceptic voter. Cameron winning is still iffy, and if he does win there is no confidence that he will get his reform of the EU, and Miliband and Clegg have no intention of putting any threat or pressure on the EU to reform. For those wanting reform of the EU have only UKIP. And we do read so regularly about the cost of belonging to the E.U. and the sheer wastage in the E.U, as MEP Daniel Hannan has shared in the press.

I don’t think anyone believes that Cameron would have pressed as hard as he has done if he hadn’t have been pressured by UKIP, and UKIP is only popular because much of the country is fed up with the un-elected E.U. exercising its powers over what was a sovereign state! Cameron may not have liked being pressured over the E.U. but nevertheless, Cameron needed Farage, otherwise it is unlikely that Cameron would be making the demands he is making on the E.U, even if he knows that they will come to nothing!

What will happen at the Ballot Box? We just wait and see. But it is interesting to see how the press comes out with all guns blazing at election time, each paper showing its colours. But the headline in today’s Guardian says: ‘Labour And Tory Attacks On UKIP Leader Backfire.’

Can the E.U. work with such hostility towards it on the Continent as well as in Britain? John Litchfield of the Independent sees the anti-EU dissidents on the Continent as quite disparate groups; not exactly bedfellows but some with which UKIP may make some alliance. But Litchfield leaves you with the impression this vote will for many be “A Chance to put the boot in.”


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Pregnant Sudanese Woman To Be Executed for Becoming A Christian

The Irish Times reports on a “Pregnant Sudanese woman sentenced to death for becoming Christian.” She is also to be given 100 lashes after she has given birth to her child before being executed. It is unbelievable except that “Amnesty International has described the death sentence as “abhorrent”, and calls for the woman’s release.

It appears the woman is guilty on two accounts by Sharia Law. First, she is guilty of marrying a non-Muslim. Second, although she claims to have been raised a Christian she is accused of converting to Christianity, which is considered to be adultery. Twenty months pregnant she is imprisoned with her 20 month-year-old son waiting for her sentence. The fuller story of this 8-month pregnant mother can be read here.

“International faith-based aid agencies have been helping Christians flee persecution at the hands of the Islamic government in Sudan, after South Sudan gained independence in 2011” reports the Christian Post.

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