"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Interlude: The Dog Days or a bit about the Cat

It's one of those still times when the world around me seems to be holding it's breath. The wise old country folk nod and say it's the calm before the storm.  Yesterday's terrible heat seems to be feeling regretful of the damage it inflicted and I kid myself that there is hardly a sound to heard. A little privilege and pleasure that the semi-deaf can indulge themselves in by leaving out their hearing aids when no-one else is around.

Of course it is all a mirage. I am actually only two roads back from the one of the busiest roads in this part of Essex and a short distance from a very horrible, confusing and frighteningly busy junction consisting of one too large and several small roundabouts. This morning one driver took the wrong way around one of the smaller roundabouts. Fortunately - by what many would call a miracle and not too much traffic being about and that present having good drivers - disaster was averted. This time.

In Westminster there are machinations afoot in the corridors of power. Although the dog days are nearly upon us the Fourth Estate will not give up on it's hatchet jobs on whoever says what and why and wherefore. We have a new PM and cabinet so every sneeze must be examined for double meanings and the Official Opposition must be examined in every orifice.  Oldies like me who have held to the same political line for 50 years are getting used now to being called 'The Hard Left', 'Dangerous Agitators' and more.  Still last year before the General Election my peer group was accused of being a bit of a leech mob on society, sucking the benefit system dry. Yes I belong to that dangerous group - pensioners who paid tax and insurance for years, brought up children and now want our children and grandchildren to have what we worked and paid for. You know those dangerous lefty things like good education, health care, libraries, social services.

Further afield, beyond our jewelled* shores, there are all sorts of uncertainty. Speculations about the future of the European Union. Turkey in a very different position to under a week ago.

Yet one hundred years ago, sitting in this same spot it may have just been possible to hear those big guns pounding on the Somme. Unimaginable losses were building. Not far from that roundabout I describe above is a memorial in the fields to two WW1 airman who collided when out hunting a solitary German sniper in March 1916. Life goes on in at its own pace, at all different levels. What exercises one to vehement emotion passes another by unnoticed and it was probably ever thus.

My own life has seen upheaval in a way I could never have imagined two years ago. Yet I sit here by the French Windows for this moment placid, waiting for the cat who seems to have adopted me to make an appearance. S/he has apparently had a very troubled history and at the moment is visiting for a short time each day. I, who really did not like cats at all and have been known to stand outside a room until one has been removed, am feeding her and trying to gain her confidence [today I am convinced it is a she] Whether she stays for any length of time I don't know. But I hope she does. And I will try to make her welcome. Which when it comes down to it is all any of us can do really - hope and try to make others feel welcome.


*A quote from The Book of Lost Tales, Part OneJ.R.R. Tolkien  but to me, as a girl brought up so near 

so near toSouthend-on-Sea it always reminds me of Southend Esplanade on a night like this. Especially when I was 16. Oh the 1960s.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

So. Chilcot ......

Dedicated to all those who died, were injured or otherwise affected by the military actions in Iraq. Whether they were military personnel or civilians. Whatever there nationality. And thanking all those who have stood up for their beliefs all those years. They know who they are.

So. Chilcot .....

In 2002 and 2003, with millions of others worldwide, I marched to try and persuade Tony Blair and George W. Bush that they were wrong to wage war in Iraq against Saddam Hassein's government.

Over the weekend of the 15th and 16th of February 2003 various estimates have calculated that worldwide 8 - 30 million demonstrated in more than 70 countries. It is generally accepted that 2 million marched in London alone and I joined them. And as so many of us said, for each one of us there we were representing at least 5 others - many of us could only be there because of the help of baby sitters, sponsors, employers who allowed many of us to leave work to come and many more.

Generally we were good humoured although determined. We got a few jeers from the crowds, but not a lot really. The shopkeepers came out as we poured through Piccadilly and the Strand and we got lots clapping from the crowds on the streets including the tourists. We passed a choir singing the Internationale in Spanish; Camera Crews from many media stations all over the world and I spoke to David Bailey who - wearing a beany hat [it was a really cold day] - was snapping away like mad.

The speeches in Hyde Park were wonderful. They included the late Mo Mowlem [one of her last, if not her last public, appearances. Many listening were in tears] The late Charles Kennedy made a wonderful, impassioned speech. The late Tony Benn was his usual brilliant, eloquent self.

Well we tried. And as the death tolls went up and the truths began to emerge we collectively wondered if we could have done more. Tried harder to convince the statesmen and the politicians that we weren't all left wing politicos, pacifists who prefered a good march to a good punch up in a foreign land.

I remember writing at the time that surely this was about oil? I remember quoting Siegfried Sassoon in the First World War declaring his opposition to that war [and he was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in that war don't forget] on the grounds that one of the reasons for it was the possession of the oil-fields of Kuwait] [I can't quote it now because the recent house move hasn't thrown up that particular book just yet] Strangely motivation regarding the Oil fields of the Iraq war aren't figuring in the Chilcot report, it seems

And yesterday when the Chilcot report was finally published we had to watch the same Tony Blair blethering on about how Iraq is a better place than it would have been without the war etc etc And politicians commenting how they had been 'fooled' at the time into believing that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction out there ready to blow us to bits in 45 minutes. And all the other time old lies that have always been fed to us when the money is found quickly for a war, the money that is never available for those necessary wars: on poverty, lack of education, medical needs - oh how I could rant! Yet I wonder how all those millions of us who marched in 2003 weren't fooled?

I may add a bit more to this later. And some pictures. But now I want to go away and think some more. About all the deaths. All the suffering. All the destruction. All the lies. All the waste.

To quote Pete Seeger: 'When Will They Ever Learn?'