The RNLI, is a charity, funded by donations rather than by government though progressive taxation. Lifeboats, one would assume are the kind of thing, that if there were none, parliament would legislate to fund it, as it eventually did in the 19th century regarding the police force.
So what’s going on here? Why doesn’t the government fund it? Because it doesn’t have too. If people just stopped donating to the RNLI then the government would probably fund it as an offshoot of the coast guard, therefore the cost would be fairly shared through progressive taxation.
This is surely the ideal state for all charities, to not have to exist. Otherwise we are in a situation that the wealthy get to choose their pet causes and determine priorities through their monetary donations rather than at the ballot box.
30% of government spending is on, what is now called welfare, 1% is on overseas aid. Perhaps if we have money to spare and wish to ‘do good’, the fairest thing is to pay more tax and add to these budgets.
Most conflicts end because one side wins, the mantra of ‘give peace a chance’ is usually considered naive, but the conflict in Northern Ireland at the end of the 20th century essentially ended because people had just had enough of it. The politicians and the populous decided that on balance they cared more about peace than the all out victory and vindication they felt they were rightly due.
The conceit that had to be maintained by both sides was this – “our side were the victims of this conflict, even though there is wrong on both sides, there is a lot more wrong on their side. Furthermore we are aware that the other side feel the same, but they are wrong, but we realize that to keep the peace we need to just accept this, and let history judge them”.
Both communities subscribe to this narrative, in equal measure. Its a recipe for peace, but it’s not a recipe for reconciliation.
It’s worth pointing out the issue of class. On both sides, the middle classes have managed to project the wrongs of both sides on the working class loyalists and republicans, and therefore raised themselves above fray. There is reconciliation between the middle classes as they have, perhaps willfully, decided to absolve their social equivalents in the other community, and indeed, absolve themselves.
This starts to unravel when one side feels that their own crimes of the past are being investigated and atoned for but the other side are being allowed to develop and mold their myths. Essentially losing the ‘let history judge them’ game. We have expensive investigations into ‘Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Pat Finucane’ creating an atmosphere in the loyalist camp that the wrong on their side is being highlighted out of context. There is no talk of inquires into the role Sein Fein leaders played in the conflict, the likes of Adams/McGuiness aren’t being questioned under oath about how much they knew about the murder of soldiers, police and civilians. Adams isn’t being asked to tell the truth about the policy of shooting teenage boys in the knees as punishment for what Sein Fein considered anti-social behavior.
I’m not for a moment suggesting we open all these wounds again, but it has to be an even handed policy of leaving well enough alone. To force one side to confess and face up to its crimes without context will simply lead to more frustration and undirected street violence like we have seen this year.
I can usually muster up an opinion on most of the issues of the day, however flimsily held. However the issue du jour before the UK parlement of gay mariage has left me cold. I just don’t understand what everyone is worried about. Why are the state trying to impose a definition of mariage on churches and why are churches worried about how the state defines marriage?
I was of course missing the central point, that the state recognises mariages held in SOME churches. So it has to have a say in how they are regulated, eg the C of E can’t suddendly decide to marry a man and a goat have then have it legally recognised.
I guess everyone else already knew this, which explains a lot. Surely the solution is to just stop recognising marriage in church. In many small churches and sects when a mariage happens, there needs to be a civil signatory present. I was married in a zoo for crying out loud! (no, seriously).
Why would any church want the state involved in who they can and cannot marry? a church should be free to refuse to accept mixed race couples, divorcees and catholics or insist that brides are over 30 or marry a goat, two pumas, a pineapple and a pensioner ! knock yourselves out ! its a free country. Like wise the state, and the government of the day should be free to define the civil part of mariage how they please. Two humans over the age of consent , sign here, here and here.
It’s topical to write something about the Mayans at the moment, and how they did or didn’t predict the end of the world. I find this completely uninteresting, but do like a good old band wagon.
Andrew Marr has just finished a series on BBC called History of the world, it was described by a friend as the ‘Westlife’ of history programming by which he meant, quite middle of the road and simplistic. Probably correct, but then I’m quite simplistic and middle of the road and liked it.
There was an episode dedicated to the Mayans, a people who I think interest us so much because of the advanced nature of their civilisation and the fact that it died out so dramatically.
The Mayans thrived and survived for a millennia, they explained most natural happenings theologically. When they wanted to gain favour they made human sacrifices. Seemed to work sometimes, and sometimes didn’t. When the great drought came that would eventually wipe them out, the human sacrifice really didn’t seem to work. They thought about it, and decided the most rational course of action was to, UP the rate of human sacrifice.
Last week on my Facebook feed, the more faithful members of my friends list decided they had to do something about the recent sectarian problems in Belfast, so the people of one of the most churched and prayerful regions in Europe responded to a bit of social unrest with an INCREASED schedule of prayer.
It just made me think of the Mayans.
Families are great, most of the time, in small doses. Imagine the cruel horror of an afterlife in which everyone (good) who had ever lived was there, with no sense of the passage of time or purposeful journey. Where everyone’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were there, along with their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
All at once people have to relate to generations and generations of family members, nurturing and conducting those relationships in unique ways. Not to mention siblings and friends.
An impossible, stressful and unfulfilling existence. Eternal life without death, is no life at all.