Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: March, 2016

IS THIS REALLY THE ONLY WORLD I CAN SEE?


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/window/”>Window</a&gt;

The prompt word today being ‘window’ what better than a look out the window at our world?

IS THIS REALLY THE ONLY WORLD I CAN SEE?

Hello again. I am struggling at the moment to come to terms with the farce that has become US politics, Britain’s insanity in contemplating leaving Europe and the Islamic world’s resurgence wherever post cold war countries have let it. And I do not just mean former communist countries but all the powers that opposed them in the cold war. Well for all the people concerned I think I’ll update a blog of more than two years ago as it seems even more apposite now than it did before the so called Arab Spring. Too many have just sprung sideways as they flee war, terror and persecution. Just a few things to think about for my readers, as thinking is not my strong point at the moment.

We are now well into 2016 and marking the centenary year of the full horror of the first world war. It must have been very worrying a century ago today to be looking forward to another year in which most people in the Western world feared the conflict between Germany and Britain, if not more countries, would continue for much longer than expected. Here we had been living safe in the belief that the power of the British Empire would soon crush any military threat from Kaiser Bill. We were invincible in those days, or so we believed, and could see no further into the future in 1914 than a week or so ahead, because the world was not going to change and we ran it. What lessons have we learned since then?

To start with, we forgot that our power and wealth were based on the money we had accrued from our great days of industrial invention which spanned the century from 1770 to 1870. From then on, approximately, we were living off the wealth which our lead in the means and the source of everything we needed to maintain our place as top nation were dependent. This included owning our colonies and sitting back and enjoying the fruits of our forefathers’ labours there. The Germans, on the other hand, had spent the whole of the previous 100 years from Waterloo in 1815 to the start of 1914 in gaining supremacy in continental Europe, where only the French could keep up with them, and again only because of their colonial possessions . The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 to 1871 should have told us to stamp on the German threat then. But as most of our rulers had German relations we had neither the interest nor the inclination to do this. When the United states produced the first working aeroplane at the turn of the century the whole world should have seen that the New World was about to become the new Top Nation. But those who did just sat back, again, and lived comfortably off what they had. It was obvious to a blind man that the balance of power was shifting, but those who could have made sure this balance was carefully monitored, and controlled for the good of everyone, did nothing. And then there was another element that effectively changed the world in the last half of the nineteenth century.

Industrial wealth, and colonial exploitation of sources of wealth, were only made possible by the use of very poorly paid workers or slave labourers. Two works which changed the world’s approach to the poor appeared in the 1850’s and 1890’s. The first, Das Kapital, by Karl Marx, advocated a complete change in the world order and the levelling of all social orders under what came to be known as Communism. But this was a doctrine opposed to the personal possession of money, or almost any kind of property, and thus also was against any religious teachings which allowed people to hold what they had. The great encyclical of Pope Leo XIII in 1891, Rerurm Novarum, (concerning the new order of things) laid down for the whole world the first sensible rules governing the rights of workers and their duties to their employers. But most importantly it stressed the duties of those employers to treat their workers humanely and pay them a negotiated living wage. This idea that a trade union need not be anti-capitalist, but on the contrary a tool for making capitalism work better for the good of all, ultimately became the central idea of all political parties which used the word liberal in their names. But it took a war which killed millions of working men, but very few rich employers, to awaken the average citizens of all countries to the plight of workers globally.

Unfortunately it also stigmatised the people who owned and controlled the means of workers’ earning their living, and the ignoring of the significance of this fact by too many governments for too long led to the second world war. This was basically revenge against the Germans for their fascist attempt to regain self respect through blindly and cruelly following a mad man. The shambles that was Europe after this led, in turn, to forty five years of dreadful Communist oppression in Asia and Eastern Europe from 1945 to 1990. If a Tory government had been returned to power in Britain in 1945, instead of a Labour Party with a huge chip on its shoulder and no concept whatever of world affairs, it is most probable that Communism would never have been allowed to survive in Eastern Europe, and possibly even China. We have come to understand our mistakes then, but do we understand today’s world?

A very different world map confronts us to that of 1914. Oil rich Islam controls the majority of the world’s wealth, and for the same reason as we and the United States did 100 years ago. The ethos behind its method of ruling the countries it controls does not allow for the inhabitants to have a say in what is or is not right concerning how the ordinary citizens conduct their own lives. We did this in Asia, Africa and the West Indies especially, but today we do it nowhere. Islam has another 623 years to go to catch up with our concept of democratic government; we can only hope that it will not take this long for it to change its ways. If it does not I greatly fear that the third world war will be between Muslims and the rest of the Industrial countries. Let’s hope Trump is never in a position of power to confront that situation because he would nuke the world out of existence.

But personally I suffer from terminal optimism and do not believe that the average Muslim would let this happen. What I can see in the short term, however, is that the economic wealth which the world creates collectively is insufficient to allow all its inhabitants to live the type of luxury led lives currently enjoyed by many in the West. We all have to be patient, be content to settle for a lot less than we would ideally like, and above all be kind and helpful to each other with the ‘haves’ unselfishly giving all they can manage to support the ‘have nots’. Even if I will not be around to see whether I am right or not, I still fervently hope I can eternally pray for it.

AWE

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ONCE YOU READ ME, NOW YOU WON’T


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fleeting/”>Fleeting</a&gt;

ONCE YOU READ ME, NOW YOU WON’T

I was tempted to title this ‘the last post’, but only for a fleeting moment. I’m never that pessimistic! A very apposite title for this blog prompt though. My visits to WordPress have recently been very ‘fleeting’ and so I feel I owe all my readers and friends an explanation. Here it is. As you may know, a couple of months ago I had my fifth stroke, my cancer has once again become aggressive, my spinal fusion has partially paralysed one leg and this, added to three other critical illnesses from which I suffer, has made my doctors rather gloomy. Ergo I have been unable to produce much original work lately and, worse, it now seems that this will continue to be the case for quite a while.

I can make the odd comment on your posts, but have been told it could be another six months, if at all, before I can contribute anything of substance myself. Nevertheless I am able to continue editing two books which are lying round, almost finished, and finishing a spiritual autobiography which I have been putting off for some time. I may yet post that (Posthumously??). Meanwhile, perhaps the odd short verse to amuse, but not much else. If Trump goes any further, however, it may well rouse me to make it a last trump for both of us.

But for those of you with humour and imagination,  you’ll be glad to know I can play some music with six fingers, but it is so frustrating I’ve been told it’s bad for me! Anyway, what would be very welcome would be something like this.,

a kindly thought to me from you

and maybe even a prayer or two,

only, of course, from those who do.

but if you find it very hard to pray,

please say twice as many, anyway,

for, after all, one may work one day!

Love you all

Anton.

CLUBS ARE TRUMPS DIAMONDS ARE HILARY’S


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/divide/”>Divide</a&gt;

Well I had to get better by super Tuesday even though typing with only four fingers!

CLUBS ARE TRUMPS’ DIAMONDS ARE HILARY’S

So now we know the new President. The first women to call the oval office her own. Okay, Bernie may run alongside for a while but she’s made it. And won’t it be a wonderful pair of of firsts! She’ll be the first female President of the US and Bill will be the first First Gentleman. Yeah he’s been president, but never top man. But hang on, why am I assuming everything is done and dusted eight months before the nation votes? It’s obvious.

I have no idea why the US has such an insane method of nominating candidates, but when Donald gets past the number of delegates he needs  they have to follow him through the nomination process. Surely the GOP realises that he hasn’t a hope in hell of winning a popular vote against anyone because he is ignorant, brain dead, big mouthed and unpleasant. On top of that his own party don’t like him and don’t want him. The tragedy is he hasn’t got the charisma of a Kennedy so nobody can be bothered to assassinate him.

I have been covering US elections since Stevenson and Eisenhower first had a go at each other in 1952 and this is by far the easiest campaign to wrap up so early. The unelectable  will retire to his golf clubs while the only politician with any domestic and foreign policy experience will walk into the White House with diamonds round her neck. I was looking forward to a fun election year, too. Oh well at least my beloved Broncos won the super bowl. If the Pirates win the World Series it could yet be my greatest American year.

But going back to 1950 – I may only have been ten years old but was writing European reaction pieces on the merits of the candidates as UPI was rather pushed for informed comment over here in those days – I know one thing. I never thought that in my lifetime I would see first a catholic President, then a coloured one and finally a lady. The Saturday Evening post had only prepared me for Norman Rockwell’s images of life over the water!

AWE