Sunday, 29 November 2015

Comradely bombs

The French want us to bomb IS in Syria to show our solidarity.

Were that as simple as it sounds I'd not object, but it isn't at all simple. Various countries are intervening in Syria, and while all want to bomb IS, they cannot agree whom else to bomb, and some want to secure a change of government.

Syria is a country divided between rival factions unwilling to compromise. In such a country the only stable state of affairs is for one group to hold power by force.

Attempts may be made to set up a democratic system, but that will only work where people are good losers. In a country like Syria those out of power will seize any chance to take power by force, so democracy, were it ever established, would not last for long.

Removal of the Assad regime would not produce a stable liberal democracy in Syria.There might be a fleeting attempt at democracy, but in the long run there would be another repressive totalitarian regime taking revenge on those who supported Assad. After a while there'd be calls for us to remove that regime too.

I propose that bombing in Syria should only be undertaken with the consent of the Syrian Government. If our government thinks it essential to bomb, let it reach an agreement with President Assad, instead of conspiring to replace him with someone else at least as bad and probably worse.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Enjoying an Open Fire

This afternoon, for the first time in my life, I sat before an open fire in my own house, and found it very reassuring.

My parents had open fires when I was a child, and since then I've occasionally enjoyed fires in other people's houses, but never before in my own house.

When we moved into this house we found that one fireplace had survived. We found a chimney sweep, who removed enormous quantities of soot and then tested it and judged it to be in working order, and today I'm burning a mixture of logs and smoke reduced coal.

I spent an enjoyably idle afternoon in front of the fire, my attention divided between various magazines, and watching the flickering flames which is extremely relaxing.

Monday, 16 November 2015

A Hopeless Case

Jeremy Corbyn has said he's unhappy about members of the security services shooting to kill terrorists. Whatever does he expect them to do, invite terrorists to come to Downing street for tea and a chat ?

Even when one disagrees with Prime Ministers about many things, one expects them to organise defence against threats to our lives. It appears that we couldn't rely on Corbyn even to fulfil that most basic of government functions.

I'm beginning to wonder if he is capable of thought. Where people usually have ideas of some sort, he seems to have only sentimental slogans. He behaves rather like a not particularly successful experiment in artificial intelligence, programmed by an unimaginative hippy.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Remembering Where Things Are

There are lots of things that are used only rarely and therefore tucked away in places that are easily forgotten.

I've decided to make regular tours of the house, looking in every cupboard, drawer and box to see what is in it so that when I need to know I shall.

That's easier to do in this house than in the previous one, because there quite a lot of stuff was in an ill lit loft accessible  only by a ladder, whereas here the lofts have been converted to attics with proper staircases.

I've already made several interesting discoveries. I now know where the chop sticks, napkin rings, and sugar mice are.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A seasonal thought

In eight weeks time Christmas and New Year will both be over, the days will have started to get longer, and we'll be waiting for the snowdrops to bloom.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Papal Thought in the mid Twentieth Century

Looking through old papers I found an intriguing press cutting. I'm not sure of the date, but other cuttings found with it suggest some time around 1958. I copy the text below.

The excommunication of the three Florence judges who on Saturday found the Bishop of Prato, Mgr Fiordeili, guilty of defamation was announced by the Vatican today. A communique issued quoted several Articles of Canon Law.

It said that "those who dare to call before a lay judge" a bishop and "those who hinder directly or indirectly ecclesiastical jurisdictions" automatically incur excommunication, specially reserved to the Holy See.

The Vatican also announced that the Pope had cancelled all celebrations for the anniversary of his ascent to the Papacy. The festivities where to have taken place on March 12.

The statement said "In the present condition of bitterness, grief, and outrage of the Church in Italy, of the Sacred College, the Bishops, the clergy, and the Catholic faithful, the Pope deems it necessary to suspend the customary celebrations for the anniversary of his coronation."

Excommunications of the Florence judges, who imposed a suspended fine on Mgr. Fiordeili for having described a couple married outside the Church as "public sinners" is viewed here as a serious development. It is interpreted as an affront to the entire Italian judiciary.

The couple who sued the Bishop for defamation, Signor and Signora Bellandi, have also been excommunicated. Their civil marriage was described in a pastoral letter as "the commencement of a scandalous concubinage".

The |Italian Government is a Christian Democratic one, and as such is closely linked with the Roman Catholic Church. Yesterday the party's secretary, Signor Fanfani, said the trial proved how false were allegations that the party was attempting to establish a clerical regime.