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Still Standing

July 24, 2017 1 comment

So, we flew back from St Petersburg last Sunday, via Amsterdam (always a mistake), at the end of an utterly memorable visit to the Russian Federation. Still not convinced that Putin is, on the whole,  a good idea but a wee bit less anti than I was before I went. People wonderful, language interesting, sites and sights epic. We will go back. Read more…

Categories: General

American Pariah

The Obama years were terrible. Obama was a weak, vacillating president who grew increasingly discredited over his eight years in power. The USA’s image and the perception of its might declined dramatically. It was, like Britain in 1926, a leading world power but it lost its air of invincibility. Rather than being able to dictate terms with a minimal amount of negotiation as it could have a mere 20-30 years earlier, it could merely lead negotiations and use its leverage to persuade smaller countries to come around to its view. Read more…

Categories: General

Ideas required

July 13, 2017 7 comments

Having seen this headline, I started frothing at the mouth.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/828257/virgin-teen-bridge-virginity-test-suicide-husband-second-wife-rajabbi-khurshed

What I would like from fellow Charioteers are suggestions for adjectives to describe this bunch of scumbags – you know the ones I mean. Adjectives such as medieval are an insult to the Middle Ages, dinosaur-like, neanderthal and such are also insulting to the original objects described. “muslim” of course sums it all up, but we need some more.

Categories: General

Silly Amphibians

For obvious reasons I am very concerned about any post-Brexit legal settlement for EEA nationals in the United Kingdom. Whatever my loyalties, my silly little burgundy booklet still carries the legend “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” just under “Europäische Union”. For Britons living on the Continent and Europeans living in Britain, a just settlement is a necessity. Read more…

Categories: General

The strange case of the disappearing ink

July 12, 2017 8 comments

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING INK

Maybe my wife is right and I have indeed finally lost my grip. Maybe I’m just having a funny half hour. Whatever the reason, I can’t escape the feeling that a recent thread, an entire thread, has disappeared from the Chariot.

I could, of course, be wrong – I frequently am – but the alternative is not pleasant to contemplate. Either some sort of technogremlin has crept into the system (electronic vampires from Dimension X?) or some sentient being has deliberately, with mallets aforethought, deleted the original posting along with all comments thereto appended.

Any such person should be aware that some of us may expend considerable time and effort in writing for public consumption. I myself take the greatest pains to make my points clearly (if not necessarily concisely) while, most importantly, avoiding anything that might be deemed offensive, sometimes going through several drafts in the process. To have all that work wasted is… well, troubling.

Categories: General

I Declare!

As they say South of the Mason Dixon line.

I Declare!  And that says it all.  I really don’t know how many more newspapers I can read without taking to the hills.

One appreciates that there is a decline in every facet of society, education, manners, violence, morals and of course suitable clothing.  First Parliament abandons ties and NOW the Cof E is abandoning vestments and it is suggested Bishops should fold their mitres for good!

Read more…

Categories: General

Question for CO

Some months ago the female-type parent announced her intention to relocate to Texas. She had been considering moving house for some time. She, like many others, has become disillusioned with life in California. Her decision is not a surprise. She has, however, done me no favours by moving up the date from late 2019 to late 2018.

Within the next year I will have to find a way to transport a number of items to the United Kingdom. There really is no practical way for me to go next year as I have commitments elsewhere. How should I manage this?

Categories: General

Radicalisation

July 1, 2017 43 comments

Long before social media, long before Islamic terrorism, King Solomon noted that it’s not difficult to recruit people for violence:
“A violent person entices their neighbour
and leads them down a path that is not good.” (Proverbs 16:29)
There are many possible reasons for this. Violence is fun (if you’re not on the receiving end); violence gets quick results (e.g. mugging); violence wins you admiration. The temptation to jump onto the bandwagon is therefore strong – and without at least an equally strong cultural pull in the other direction, few can resist it.

Throughout human history, certain forms of violence have been legitimised, and all cultures have had their particular preferences. The inhabitants of the Roman Empire enjoyed gladiatorial battles (to the death) as a good afternoon’s entertainment; and for a bit of variety, one or two Christians might be eaten by wild beasts in front of an audience of thousands. We consider ourselves more ‘civilised’ now – but boxing and other martial arts continue to flourish, despite the constant stream of injuries that they produce. Violence in films seems if anything to be on the increase: at my local cinema this week, five out of the eight films being shown contain scenes of violence. Does the fact that it’s not ‘real’ somehow make it OK? We can enjoy watching murder, war and other forms of mayhem, knowing that nobody is actually getting seriously hurt. And most of us are not induced to copy what we see… but a few are.

But it is when violence is justified by an ideology that it becomes truly epidemic. Nations have often gone to war with terrifying cheerfulness, convinced that God was on their side. Mediaeval popes whipped up enthusiasm for their crusades by issuing free indulgences to participants. The guerrilla and the terrorist not only experience the ‘normal’ gratifications of violent behaviour, but also have the satisfaction of believing that they have contributed to a noble cause. Add in a sense of ‘belonging’ and comradeship, and you have a proven recipe for recruitment. The path is well-trodden here; the problem of radicalisation is not specific to Islam, but has its roots in our basic human nature.

Violence often looks like the ideal solution to a perceived problem. But what are the long-term results? The trouble is that neither life nor history come in self-contained episodes; we are always travelling “down a path”, and what we do now will inevitably have consequences later on (sometimes much later on). In our own culture, we have some shining examples of the good that can be achieved by non-violent protest (one thinks of the successful political campaigns led by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King in the last century). Is there anything comparable in Islamic culture? “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) has proved difficult enough for Christians to put into practice; yet there is nothing that even comes close to it in the Qur’an. This makes the actions of Imam Mohammed Mahmoud (in defending a man who had just run a van into a group of Muslims leaving a prayer meeting) all the more noteworthy. Let us hope and pray that his example will lead many others down a good path.

Categories: General

Roll call

June 22, 2017 20 comments

Now and then it’s nice to see who’s in touch, innit? Especially during these trying times.

I haven’t seen CausT recently. Did he mention a trip to the Orient?

Would you all mind raising your hands with a cheery ‘here’?

 

 

 

Categories: General

KCTMO – Playing with fire!

June 14, 2017 36 comments

I know we don’t just post other people’s articles here normally, but there is little one can add to this –

KCTMO – Playing with fire!

Categories: General