October 2018 - 'Other'? 'Brother'?
Those of us who live in the UK will know that every year at this time TV presenters and many people in the street wear red poppies in the weeks before Remembrance Sunday in November. Inspired by the horrors of the poppy fields of the 1st World War it is ‘a symbol of ‘remembrance and hope’
I have never worn one. Although I find remembrance and hope to be worthy sentiments, the red poppy seems to me to be associated with militarism and an exhortation to eternal vigilance and fear of the ‘other’ whoever they may be. So this year for the first time I am wearing a white poppy, from the Peace Pledge Union to ‘remember all victims of war’ and to ‘build a culture of peace’. I am thinking about how the PR rhetoric around the red poppy subtly persuades us to see ‘us’ not ‘them’, when in truth there is no ‘other’. Just my ‘brother’.
This was my first post on social media for about 9 months. Having read comments which ensued, I see that a white one could be seen to be seen as an us / them confrontation. This is not the point I want to make. (Oh no that might start a war!) So I am considering wearing the white and red poppies together with their stems entwined. What will happen?
Shine a light into dark corners
In October it was my pleasure and privilege to facilitate a three day workshop for Transparency International. It was the end of a four year programme considering the outcomes and impacts of anti-corruption activities in the Western Balkans & Turkey.
Fighting corruption is tough work. You’re up against greed and power. I was greatly impressed by the people I met, who choose this often unrewarding and always dangerous work.
With many businesses, success breeds success. But those fighting corruption know that the more effective they are, the more savage will be the response.
I am now back in the relative safety of London. They are still finding the courage to shine a light into dark corners. I salute them.
I was one of 700,000
I was one of an estimated 700,000 who marched through London ‘For The Future’ to demand the truth about the UK’s proposed exit from the EU. This was part of growing demand for a ‘People’s Vote’ so we can all decide - Deal, No Deal for leaving or to Remain in the EU.
I cannot find the words to adequately describe my feelings of horror as I see my tolerant, generous, sensible country tear itself apart and in doing so diminish its place in the world and wilfully impoverish its people.
It’s 8am, 5 degrees, water is 13 and the early morning sun is shining.
It really was a bit mad, but I loved it. In Lyme Regis (UK south coast) with my wife to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary, we enjoyed three days of cold blue skies.
On our final morning I got up, scrapped ice off the windscreen, drove to the beach, donned my wet suit and splashed into the chill waters of the bay.
After a 25 minute swim and a short warming jog along the promenade I was back at our guest house. The breakfast tasted especially good. Mad? Sure. Love it!!
Posted on 31-10-2018 at 11:35