Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lock Up Your Daughters...or social services will have them!

They used to say 'lock up your daughters' when there was a silver tongued, handsome youth around but now it is the social services that want your children and they won't want to give them back.
Dear Minister,
Thank you very much for your letter in regard to animal sentience.
The concern I am raising today is the removal of children from their parents. It would gladden many hearts this Christmas if these cases were to be reviewed and the children returned. Unfortunately it has become big business for social services to place children with fosterers. There is even an advert up in Abingdon and probably elsewhere saying ‘Have you got what it takes to foster a child?’ and promoting the whole process along with some sort of tough love.
Of the three friends I have reconnected with in Oxfordshire this autumn, an unbelievable two of them have lost their children in to care. That is an extremely high percentage. Neither mother has any addiction problem, excessive financial or housing problems, nor have they abused or neglected their children. In fact they are the most dedicated, warm and pro-active people you could meet. Any attempt to keep in touch with their children is met with threats to reduce their access time or to move the child again. They are not allowed to write letters or cards and support their child or maintain their relationship that way either.
In the Oxford Times this week, I see that Oxfordshire County Council have voted unanimously to ask the government to give them greater powers and funding to access children who are home-schooled, even if there is no reason to suspect neglect or abuse. The fifteen or so children I know who were home schooled are confident, well adjusted, able to participate conscientiously and effectively in 3rd level education and work environments, with very little mental illness or low self esteem issues that many children are dealing with.
Next it will be people who raise their children on a different diet or who do not want to enter a blanket vaccination programme. It has been suggested by some who understand politics that the government plan to have all children in the care of the State eventually. At very least, you will see the risk of abuse of power and random discrimination by social services. A decision to take a child into care is followed swiftly by justification of their actions. It is clearly this that keeps situations entrenched (as in children still in foster care 3 and 5 years later) as inspectors won’t back down and or take the responsibility of saying that the situation is now safe and children can be returned.
The reason you do not hear directly from the parents affected is that if they question anyone in authority, they will literally never see their children again. Can you imagine that happening to someone in your family? What the parents are doing instead is attempting to take their cases to court outside Oxfordshire. No doubt, during that process, they will face the whole defensive legal weight of the state that will tell their lawyers that they must not, at any cost, be found to be wrong. They will not want a parent to win their child back and have to pay court fees, possibly damages and have to review all the cases that will then arise.
Therefore the costs will be carried by the parents. If they were just about financially secure enough to care for a child before such a case, they certainly won’t be afterwards.
The only thing that will help is a directive from government, saying that all cases of children in care can be reviewed independently, on request or annually. Also certain criteria should be decided, upon the fulfilling of which, children can go home. At the moment, the fosterers have a say – one mother’s access to her child was instantly cut in half, on the request of the foster family. Also opinions of relations and social workers are all being taken into consideration but the parents and the children are not being heard.
Please make sure the extra powers and funding are not given to county councils and that the good parents that want their children back and have sorted out their difficulties, can get them back.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"They said there'd be snow at Christmas and Peace On Earth"

"They said there'd be snow at Christmas, they said there'd be peace on earth" Spare a thought for the 60 million war- and environmental refugees there are in the world at the moment.
What are environmental refugees? Whole populations displaced and on the move as there is no longer water available for hundreds of miles and coastal countries that are now under water during their growing season and have nothing to eat.
The unfair fact is that it is western excessive consumption and fuel-heavy habits and habitats that have caused a lot of it, so I'm thinking I want to support them in some way? Does anyone know of a charity theu know to be doing great work?
Overall, I am hacked off to focus on the fact that all society's necessities and problems are addressed by non-governmental organizations and public money just circulates in an economy of trade deals, massive building and meat and other unethical contractors and of courses weapons testing and building (in Ireland and England, respectively). I thought government was for governance. But maybe it is like that amusing consideration, 'if kings rule kingdoms, just speculate on who rules countries' ?! Makes me laugh whenever I think of that! I went to a talk a couple of weeks ago from a historian Symon Hill on World War 2. He showed that because that war was considered justified against Hitler, somehow every other war since has been considered justified and necessary, by most people. Why complacently accept that when we know that agendas have always been greedy more than protective of democracy? I will attach my transcript of the talk.

Simon Hill, Talk about how we took the wrong lesson from WW2


Pope Francis, opposes all nuclear weapons
False sense of security, mental support of fear.
The real priorities, poverty, peace, health and rights are relegated. Nuclear bombs would have a catastrophic effect for humanitarian and environmental solidarity – 122 nations signed on 7/7/2017 an agreement that in addition to nuclear weapons being immoral, they should be made illegal. 

Historian Symon Hill Explores How Britain’s Collective Memory of World War Two has become a justification for all wars since

Symon Hill is a pacifist from the Peace Pledge Union and Fellowship of Reconciliation He also teaches WEA – Workers Educational Association - courses. With a focus on the resistance in the 1st world war, he has only recently started his exploration of WW2. History is always an interpretation of the past. A particular motivation to study WW2 were the arguments he had met (and he found that we had all met) as people working for peace.
These included:
Pro-nuclear: “It was the bomb that ended the war” (WW2).
“If there had been no guns, Hitler would have won”
“People like you were responsible for the appeasement of Hitler in the ‘30s”
“You only have the freedom to say that because of brave men who fought for you.” (in WW2).

The overall difficulty is that people, in one way or another, hold WW2 in their memory as a ‘just’ war, a ‘necessary’ war and that there had been ‘no other choice’ but to go to war.

Symon realized therefore the importance of being able to say something convincing about WW2. Without tackling this collective memory, there is a grave risk and indeed evidence that people have come to see all wars in the same light.

We were reminded of all the references, like Allo Allo and Dad’s Army. He noticed that different ages said different things to him about WW2 and that they revealed subtle differences in reasoning.  Older people, who were actually here during the war remember that England was on the brink of invasion and that is why they had to fight. It was described how membership of the PPE (…) went down during the war, not at the beginning of the war. This showed that it was only when England was in imminent danger of being invaded, did people decide it might be necessary to fight.

Younger people describe how we fought fascism and the holocaust.

We are dealing with living memory and collective memory but they all reinforce a narrative that associates war with the defeat of an oppressive and racist regime. Rather than WW2 being understood as an exception, it is seen as representative of war, in general, making it somehow okay.

Interestingly, both anti war and pro war people have used WW2 as justification of war.

Fascists and fundamentalists are different. The British Armed Forces are also different from the British Armed Forces who fought in WW2.

Whatever view of WW2, it doesn’t make the assumption right that all wars are justified.  There is a conflation of all, even though there is no resemblance and no surviving members.

Another area where this happens is in the production of arms. A good example is the BAE who have built tanks during WW2. Employees still see their work as a proud role, even though their tanks are now used to drive into peaceful protests in Bahrain.

These are the inconvenient truths and they create problems for militants and problems for pacifists.

Some people accuse pacifists of being the ones to appease Hitler in the 1930s. Appeasement was an international policy that involved cooperation between countries as a way to avoid another war.  Appeasement was actually driven, though, by the far right.. They had thought that fascism was a good antedote to communism.

There were many atrocities commited by our side too. The bombing of Horishima and Dresden, where many civilians were killed. The UK were still arming Musillini until 1939 and the US were still selling planes to Japan until 1940.

George Paxton wrote a book ‘Non Violent Resistance to The Nazis. One example was Norwegian Teachers who refused to teach Nazi science. They said it was teaching racism as science.

It is hard to say that the UK atrocities were on a similar level to the fascists. Some peace activists were naïve but were also infiltrated by fascists.

1937 there was the white poppies demonstration, to say no war , outside the House of Commons. Chamberlain had sympathy with Hitler. The British Ambassador to Germany stated that the UK would support Germany as long as she promised not to attack the British Empire.

All through the decade of the 1930s, military spending had been increasing.
 Responses we can use: WW2 had nothing to do with war and the armed forces now.
WW2 would not have happened without fascism being actively wanted in place of communism – The UK was not fighting for democracy.
Accept that pacifists make (and made in the past) some mistakes.
 Show respect for those who felt that they had to fight
Non-violent resistance to fascism.

We have our rights due to centuries of activism, NOT because of wars.

Point out the nationalistic narrative, the way we say ‘we’ did this and ‘they’ did that to us. This is an artificial construct of a country. It builds a historical collective memory to justify war.

When shall we ever learn?