Solstice V Equinox

“The solstice doesn’t always occur on 21 December. Sometimes it nudges into the early hours of 22 December, which will happen again next year. The hour of day also varies. Last year’s arrived at 17:11. Next year’s will at 04:38.”  Will I remember?

The National Post with graphics on the Solstice V Equinox

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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 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.

Posted in Faith and Science, Injustice, Religious Liberty | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Faith Issues, Marriage, Political Issues, Religious Liberty, Social Issues | Leave a comment

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