Today's photograph was of Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd with the whole of the quote which he made in the wake of the Fox Hunting banning legislation of 2004:
I've become disenchanted with the political and philosophical atmosphere in England. The anti-hunting bill was enough for me to leave England. I did what I could, I did a concert and one or two articles, but it made me feel ashamed to be English.
To be fair - ouch - Waters later in 2005 also said
I come back to the UK quite often. I didn't leave as a protest against the hunting ban; I was following a child in the wake of a divorce.
Anyway, this got me thinking. What would make you so ashamed to be British? [I am obviously not England-centric like Waters!] And before we get going on this I would just like to say to those 'patriots' [deep sarcasm] like Waters who would leave a country over one parliamentary bill that unless the lives of my family were threatened, I would stay and peacefully fight against those things that I think were spoiling the society in which I am living. As I have done for the past 50 years! So:
I am ashamed to be British when we cut benefits to the sick and disabled. When we deny drugs on a cost basis to the terminally ill. When we condemn children in poorer areas to inferior education. When we sell off our assets like the Royal Mail. When we allow zero hours contracts. When we attempt to ban industrial action by interfering with the voting system but allow parliamentary and all political elections to be run under the rules banned for trade union elections. When we suggest that MPs should get a 10% pay rise whilst condemning others to none or 0.5%. When we recklessly destroy public services like our libraries. When food banks multiply in our 'affluent' society. When 'rough sleeping' is criminalised. When we ignore the needs of asylum seekers. When we curtail the rights to demonstrate on the streets of our 'free country'. When we operate systems like 'the bedroom tax'. When our benefit systems are so complicated that some very legitimate claimants are actually starving and/or have committed suicide. And so much more, but I think my readers may have got the point. Please feel free to add to the list.
But, Roger Waters, I reiterate I am staying here to try to right these wrongs. Please don't come back if the only reason you left is because you weren't able to enjoy hunting.
[If banning fox hunting is enough to get people like him to leave the country are there a few other things we could ask to be banned? I am only half joking]
PS This is not the place to discuss the pros and cons of fox hunting with dogs. But for an interesting overview this article in the Guardian is very good.