Refugees and racism

This is an absolute denial to prevent any stain on my character.

I protested, foolishly, as it turned out, to my local football club, Dulwich Hamlet FC, who were collecting supplies for refugees in the Jungle camp, near Calais, in France.  The basis of my protest was that most of the Jungle inhabitants are economic migrants, not asylum seekers or refugees.  France is a safe country, one that will help those fleeing persecution, as are all European countries signed up to the UN, but these individuals see Britain as the the best country to claim asylum in, and some attempt to enter British shores illegally by lorry, train or ship.

I am absolutely appalled by what is happening in the Middle East, with the denial of basic human rights to food, water, shelter and education.  Alongside this, religion has been used to persecute innocents, and in some cases send them to their deaths.  Of course law abiding citizens should be allowed to leave their countries and wait until things get better, so they can help reconstruct their countries into fairer societies.

International law decrees that the refugee should claim asylum in the nearest safe country.  The nearest safe country to Syria is Turkey.  Yes, Turkey is overrun with asylum claims, and living conditions for asylum seekers are poor.  But that’s when we lobby governments to help Turkey cope with the influx.  We don’t encourage mass migration, as Sweden and Germany have done, illegally encouraging people to cross continents.

Some well meaning people in my area plan to take bedding to the Jungle and have asked DHFC for help.  This is such the wrong thing to do, because it encourages people to the area, and reinforces their reasons for being there. My criticism of the charitable efforts are on a political, economic and moral level, not one based in hatred.

I am a Humanist.  I cannot hate fellow humans, of any race, religion or culture. I take the mickey sometimes, but that’s because there absurdities in life. Besides, I cannot be bothered to put the effort into hating anyone. To be racist is to hate.  I don’t hate refugees and asylum seekers.  I don’t hate anyone.  People get up my nose sometimes but that’s all.

So, detractors, stop confusing my criticism of the TYPE of charity handed out to refugees for racism.  The two are not linked. The do-gooders need to rethink what type of help, proactive, no reactive, is needed for the European refugee migration. Handing out blankets in France is not the answer.  Mobilise, Organise, Lobby! And please, love requires less effort than hate.

Advertisements

If you can’t write about sex sensibly, please don’t bother at all.

Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2015

OK, here is my effort.  I am a mere amateur writer, but I’ve read a lot of Mummy porn and romance novels, coupled with my admittedly, limited personal experience.

Flora eyed James across the white linen table.  His dark eyes flashed jet, his brown hair somewhat ruffled but endearingly sexy. His jacket hung about his body just so, and she was dying to find out what was underneath it.  Her tight dress felt constricting, and she wanted out.

“James?” she asked.

“Yes?”

“Would you like to take some fresh air?”

James raised an eyebrow. He took a careful sip of red wine.  He had waited so long to get Flora alone, away from her controlling husband.  Now they were heading for the divorce court, and James wanted to show her what is meant to be loved.  Flora deserved it.

James stood, and crooked his arm for Flora to take. They left the vast ballroom, inviting whispers as they went.  Isn’t that Flora, Matthew Collier’s wife? Matthew Collier, MD at Swan Oil? Who is her companion?  Flora didn’t care.  Let them gossip.

They stopped at the lobby. Flora turned to face James. They looked into each others eyes for a millennia, as if time had stopped still, or was going too fast. Flora felt breathless. “Come to my room,” she said.

He understood.  Holding Flora’s hand, he called the lift.  As soon as the doors slid behind them, James held Flora’s face and kissed her firmly, with love, with passion.  Flora responded, tasting James implicitly, feeling his hands move down to her back, her waist, her bottom.  Such desire she had never experienced before. She started pulling his shirt from his trousers, pushing her hands into his waistband, feeling his warm inviting skin.  He moaned.

The doors opened and Flora dragged James down the hall to her room. Struggling with the keycard, she finally managed to gain access.  James immediately threw off his jacket and shoes, kissing her face, her neck, her chest. Flora pushed James away, and in one smooth motion her dress was on the floor.

He stood, rumpled and transfixed, at Flora’s form.  Her neck was elegant, transposing her broad shoulders and magnificent tits.  Her waist nipped in and lead to a beautiful sloping bottom.  “You are beautiful,” he said.

Unused to such praise Flora suddenly became bashful. Slowly, she pulled off her La Perla bra and knickers, standing only in the high heels she wore in the ballroom. She approached James tentatively, undoing his shirt and peeling it off.  James kissed her again, this time taking in her tits. He sucked and sucked, causing her to moan.  She wanted him out of his trousers, but he stopped her.  “You need warming up first.” Flora didn’t know what he meant.  He smiled.

James lay Flora gently on the Egyptian cotton sheets of the bed.  He took off her heels, kissing her ankles, then continued up one leg to heaven.  He gently put a finger in her cunt, rubbing the inside slowly and carefully.  Flora felt a rise in her belly, calling her louder and louder. James opened up her labia slightly, then started to lick her vulva. On and on, this went, and the rising went on until Flora could stand it no more.  “I’m going to come!” she yelled.

“Please do,” murmured James.

From nowhere, a rush came to Flora’s head, her body responding violently to James’ touch, the intimacy of his tongue, rising up and overtook her body completely.  Flora yelled, and moaned and released.  Afterwards, her body subsided, and a feeling of peace came over her.

“Good?” asked James, who had his face next to hers.

Fucking amazing.” replied Flora, still panting. She turned to James and kissed him full on the mouth, tasting herself, tasting him. Her hands wandered down his belly, over the fine hairs that pointed to his cock.  She kissed him above the waistband, seeing a bulge where his cock was bursting to come free. James pulled her back up, taking her tits in his mouth, sucking, kissing, caressing. Then he forced her head down towards his trousers.

“You have to do something, Flora, or I will go crazy,” he whispered.

Flora undid the button and zip of James’ trousers and slid them off, then carefully took off his boxers.  His cock stood proud, red, but pleasing. Flora took it in her mouth, sucking, and licking, loving every moment. James moaned, his body started to buckle.  Flora stopped, and straddled him, rising and falling.  James pushed up with every thrust into Flora’s delicious body, wanting her to have him. 

But Flora had decided to make him wait a bit longer. She came off his cock, and fumbled in the drawer for a condom.  Putting it on, she then kissed him passionately.  “I want you to take me from behind,” she asked, “I’ve never done it like that before.”

James leapt off the bed.  He positioned Flora on the floor, her hips wide, her hands on the bed.  Pulling aside her bottom, he licked her cunt, her bottom, her labia, everything. Flora felt the rise in her belly again. James’s cock, still at full throttle, plunged into Flora’s vagina roughly from behind. Flora gasped, it hurt, but it was so erotic. James pulled out, paused, then plunged in again. Over and over, this went on for, until James could stand it no more.

He pulled sharply on Flora’s hair and whispered in her ear, “I will take you roughly, and passionately, and with all my love.” Flora was shocked. She knew he liked her, but had no idea of his true feelings. James pushed his cock inside her, in and out, pulling her hair.  Over and over, harder and harder, more urgent and passionate.  Flora felt pain, felt love, felt wanted.  James continued to thrust, and Flora began to come.  It overcame her once again, she yelled, she screamed, she could take no more.  James thrust a final time, moaning loadly, his crescendo of love filling her.  He grabbed Flora’s tits, rubbing her areola. Flora moaned, and they both collapsed ton the bed.

A moment passed.  Flora shifted to face her lover, and kissed him gently.  “That was wonderful, thank you.” she said.  James kissed her back. Their sweaty bodies moved over each other in symmetry. “I need a shower,” she added.

A look of mischief came over James’ face.  “Can I come?” he asked.

 

 

A mutual truth

Anyone who has visited my social media pages will be aware of my commitment to the Humanist cause in the UK.  My stance may have soften somewhat in the past year or two, but I am no persuaded that God exists, and belief in the supernatural leads humans to do some stupid things.

In light of the resurgence of “All Muslims are potential terrorists” ire that has emerged since the atrocities conducted in Paris recently, I was reminded of something.  My Muslim correspondent on Facebook, on seeing my family and I get together for Hallowe’en, immediately presumed us ALL to be humanist and labelled us as such (Hallowe’en being All Hallows Night, has roots in paganism and early Christianity).

I immediately got on my high horse and replied in no uncertain terms that although I count myself as Humanist and secular, I cannot account for my family’s personal beliefs, which are individual and private.  None of us are churchgoers, but I know not what level of faith or not they have, and I dare not presume.  I always leave it up to them to keep their thoughts on the matter to themselves, as is their right.

So we are no longer Christian, but we are not pagan either.  We use holidays and festivals to catch up, rather than take notice of the festival’s origins.  Indeed, my husband marked last Christmas Day wearing an atheist t-shirt (Atheism: a Non-Prophet Organization).

But a presumption remains that because one human being follows an ideal, his or her peers/friends/family follow the same.  It is absolutely not true. The same could be said of political ideals.  Often politics and reliion mix, although in my utopian world, the two never should.

It is an undeniable fact that of the terrorist atrocities performed around the world since the 9/11 attacks in New York, most were committed by Islamists.  Of course, I remember Anders Breivik, a white supremacist, in Norway. He had a political and religious ideal, no different from the Islamist attacks.  He didn’t like Islam (I suspect the feeling was mutual).

It is also an undeniable fact that British Muslims bombed London in 2005.  But get this, they were four men.  The percentage population in the UK affiliated with the Muslim faith is around 4% of the total, and although growing, is still tiny.  Living in a city, perhaps I feel I come into contact with Muslims very regularly, but they are not spread equally across the nation, mainly settling in larger towns and cities. So four men from 4% of the UK population. Tiny.

I also get that whilst some Muslims sympathise with the jihadi cause, the vast majority of those are not engaged in terrorist activity. I mutter about the obligatory call to worship in primary schools, I complain about it, but I don’t take direct action over it. The Muslims I know through my work do not support Jihad or terrorism. They like the quiet life.

Belief is very personal.  There are differing levels of belief.  There are differing levels of feeling injustice.  There are differing feelings of needing to protest.  The abused, bullied, weak minded and easily manipulated fall more easily into the trap.  The stronger minded see reason, and resist. No two human beings are the same.

Although I can presume my Muslim correspondent is related to other Muslims I must not fall into the trap that they all are, or that any of them want jihad. In the same way other faiths must not presume to comment on my family’s beliefs, but we are all different. If we stripped back the religion, and listed our values, we would see they are much the same, on a philosophical level.  That should be our uniting force, against powers who wish to highlight our differences.

Peace. Love. Cake.

 

#parisattacks #vivelafrance #labataclan

 

 

Assisted Dying Bill

This: Religious leaders write to MPs to oppose Assisted Dying Bill

And This: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/sep/05/religious-leaders-urge-mps-throw-out-assisted-dying-bill

The posturing letter from religious leaders in the UK led by the Archbishop of Canterbury is deliberately designed to make MPs resolve wobble when voting for or against the Assisted Dying Bill.  Currently, the law is a mess.  It needs tidying up, and made clear, so that there is a true definition of what constitutes merciful suicide, and it’s opposite number, murder.

Whilst religious leaders are perfectly entitled to lobby MPs and insist they are heard, I think that their view is absolutely wrong.  My grandmother had cancer, and suffered terribly with pain.  Her decline was long and tortuous to see.  Even though doctors prescribed high volumes of painkillers, they couldn’t ensure a dignified death. The morphine based anagesics she was taking was slowly poisoning her anyway, causing memory absences and sickness.  It would have been kinder to, having assessed that she wasn’t getting better, hold a conference with us, her family, and my grandmother to discuss the options.  Currently, all the doctors can do is agree not to resuscitate. If I had a dog with incurable cancer, I could ask the vet to put it down.  My grandmother had no such rights.

Other elderly family members suffered undignified ends. My husband, having lost his mother at a young age to a lengthy illness, agrees that assisted dying would have been kinder to her, and her family. It makes such sense to allow the medical profession to allow the death of a person using assisted suicide after lengthy consultation and all avenues exhausted on a clinical level.

There is a worry from religious leaders that the Bill will lead to state advocated murder which is utter nonsense.  The Bill goes some way in ensuring people don’t get prosecuted to displaying compassion.  It enables the patient to have a choice on their destiny.  If the patient is religious it might be they will not consent to assisted suicide anyway, and that is their decision.

What strikes me is that this rabble of religious leaders still think that religion should still have a bearing on lawmaking.  It absolutely should not.  The morals and ethics common in religion and atheist philosophy should be considered, but with nearly half of British citizens describing themselves as not following any religion, these anachronistic deluded individuals do not represent the majority.

I hope that our Members of Parliament with consider the Bill seriously before making a decision on how to vote. The law is in dire need of tidying up so that the State, medical profession and individuals can work together to ensure “a good death” for everyone. Its for everyone’s dignity and peace of mind the vote is in favour.  I hope sense prevails.

Why do we need trade unions?

Source: TUC  (www.unionhistory.info/timeline/timeline.php)

1867: Employers could be sued by workers for breach of contract
1874: Limit working day to 10 hours
1884: Vote given to the majority or adult men
1899: Ruskin College opened to extend benefits of an Oxford education to the working class
1900: Labour Party formed
1903: Formation of the Workers’ Education Association
1906: Formation of the National Federation of Women Workers by Mary MacArthur
1921: Poplar Labour councillors decide to withold funds from the London County Council to help it’s citizens out of poverty. councillors including Herbert Morrison were imprisoned for the policy but after many protests were released.
1928: Vote given to all women.
1946: National Insurance Act (Labour Party) which provided sickness and welfare benefits to all who paid contributions.
1946: National Insurance  (industrial injuries) Act which insured against workplace accidents.
1946: Introduction of the National Health Service.
1963: Conservative Government pass the Contracts of Employment Act requiring employers to give notice of a termination of contract,  and also to write down terms of a verbal one.
1965: Redundancy Payments Act (Labour) passed. Requires employers to consult with unions in advance of redundancy, and gives their employees not only notice of redundancy but financial compensation too.
1968: Race Relations Act passed by Labour Government.
1970: Equal Pay Act passed by Labour Government.
1974: Trade Unions and Labour Relations Act (Labour).
1974: Health and Safety at Work Act (Labour). Workplace safety inspectors should be trade union reps too.
1975: Sex Discrimination Act passed by Labour Government.
1988: The National Minimum wage Act (New Labour).

Many improvements and benefits even the most Conservative of workers can enjoy were brought in, or campaigned for,  by trades unionists or it’s political arm, the Labour Party.  They were introduced by disobedience, by striking,  by lobbying and by political channels. Next time a service is affected by industrial action remember that many freedoms at work were won by Trade Unionism.
But it hasn’t stopped there…hopefully it never will!

My typical day as an Underground worker.

Hi, Mr Moaner. Yes, you, in the Hugo Boss suit with a copy of the FT under your arm. Yes! Oh, I’m sorry? What is your name? Mr Amersham Gold Card? Ok, sir, you wanted to know what we do all day, so that you can complain about the industrial action.  Let me begin.

I will describe a typical “dead early” shift at my station Green Park. Mr Amersham Gold Card, maybe in your younger days you would go on a bender and get home ready for bed at 3am on a Sunday morning. Well sir, I have to get up at 3am to put on my polyester uniform and catch the first of two buses. I get a bus to Trafalgar Square, then wait ten minutes and get a second bus to Green Park. The journey takes about an hour. This happens for six mornings, and on Sundays I get up at 4 am. We typically work seven days in a row on stations. I get to Green Park around 4.45 am.

After signing for keys and radio, and ensuring the radio works, I let myself into the “Pom Room” (passenger operated machine) which used to be a ticket office. I put the kettle on to make a cup of tea (the first of several to keep me awake) then proceed to empty all the ticket machines. I have a coin counter but the notes are counted by hand. This takes around two hours, including consolidating the money for despatch for the bank, leaving the spare money in the bank and floating the machines with enough change for the day.  I also leave out some £5 notes in case customers buy a Day Bus & Team pass instead of a day travel card,  which is common. We have a terminal to issue refunds, but not do sales.

As you are leaving for the station, Mr Amersham Gold Card, I am then told to go outside and help customers use the machines.  The cuts have caused many very experienced,  mature, valuable staff to take redundancy and in their place are customer service assistants on 12 month contracts with worse prospects.  The new staff are lovely,  no doubt, but by the time they are confident in rescuing an injured customer from an escalator,  or taking a train out of service, or informing someone confidently where the Royal Society is, their contract has expired and they must reapply for their jobs. Have you had to do the same, sir?

My break time is at 10 o’clock,  so I rush to the messroom and eat a prepared sandwich,  fruit and another cup of tea. We have 30 minutes break, and I personally can’t afford to buy sandwiches every day.  After that I return to helping customers use the machines.

The machines do not suit everyone.  You can’t order an annual ticket, a Gold Card, on the machine. You can’t replace lost or stolen cards. Some customers,  especially the elderly and the more disabled customers,  don’t like using them. They find the writing small, the processes complicated,  and some of the best value tickets are quite hidden. I have been on the receiving end of some very explosive complaints because they feel their independence is at stake if they can’t buy a ticket without my assistance. I feel for them.

Mr Amersham Gold Card, I am sure you don’t like to be overcharged. If you are, you are told by me, a mere low grade CSA, to call an 0845 number to get your cash back. The call centre is understaffed, so by the time you get through, whatever refund you were expecting will have been charged to your phone bill. Many customers do not bother.

But you can get a refund online! I am sure you have Internet access Mr Amersham Gold Card, in your capacity as hedge fund manager at a top bank.  But I know from parents of children in my child’s circle this sun’s the case with some Londoners,  who rely on libraries for all their online requirements.  Not ideal. This is the basis of many complaints,  and it can be wearing on the spirit.

At 1.30 PM,  I can go home.  I manage an hour of sleep before my child gets home from school, and then I am expected to be SUPER MUM for the rest of the day.

I understand Mr Amersham Gold Card, that you have stress, all be it in a different setting. You work long hours and are expected to bring home the bacon to your four bed home with room for a pony.  In a much smaller way,  so do I. I maintain a small flat, all its bills, and my dependents. My husband has an ordinary job,  average working wage and he supports us with the shopping bill, insurance, and puts money aside to maintain the shoebox. All other money he puts aside for a week’s holiday in Europe somewhere. We love living in London,  but we must pay for it. Despite the perk of free buses and Tubes through my work, we still cannot afford to learn to drive and run a car. It’s a silly notion to say, “if you don’t like it, find something else that suits you better”. Have you seen the state of the labour market right now? It’s hopeless.

So there you have it, my day. Sometimes it starts at 4.45am. Sometimes it starts at 4.30 PM,  and anywhere in between,  seven days a week.

Enjoy your weekend, and your sleep, Mr Amersham Gold Card.