Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: December, 2017

CHRISTMAS EVE


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

CHRISTMAS EVE

It’s Christmas Eve evening, but no snow’s falling.

It’s Christmas Eve with weather so mild,

That once,  tomorow morning, I’m certain,

Was  born a babe, indeed the holiest child.

And to celebrate His birthday my prayers

Will be for everybody on earth that I love.

And my hopes, that every person who is suffering

Will be cured through his descent from above.

AWE

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A LIFE OF TRUE BLISS


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

 

A LIFE OF TRUE BLISS

How many of you can guess who this is? Very few I suspect, but his connection to BLISS and my life is quite a story. For a start I will put you out of your misery by telling you that BLISS is the main national neo-natal charity in the United Kingdom. It raises millions of pounds every year to help maternity units deal with very premature or seriously ill new born babies, while supporting the parents of such children in every way possible. And the connection?

 

L'immagine può contenere: 1 persona

Well this photograph was taken two years ago when my then 25 year old youngest child, Benedict, was given the national fund-raiser of the year award by the charity. Here he is seen addressing some 750 distinguished health professionals on the role of the charity at the annual AGM after receiving his award. But listen to this.

The young chap you see berating all and sundry about how much more they could do for this cause had a very good reason to feel so strongly about the subject. He was born on the 17th of October 1990 exactly 23 weeks and four days after his conception. Under British law he could just have been left to die, but thanks to truly caring and humane doctors and nurses he wasn’t. He now holds two records. He is the most premature baby born in Merseyside in the last century to have reached the level of academic and public achievement he has, and is happily married. He holds a lst class hons degree in physiology, a Masters degree with merit in the archaeology of death and memory and is currently in the middle of his PhD course in digital humanities. He is on three regional National Health Service committees, including being the youngest member of the panel which assesses proposed medical research programmes to decide whether they merit public funding. But how do we know the exact date of his conception so precisely? Well my wife and I had not long recovered from influenza and we made love for the first time in seven weeks shortly before she became pregnant. The only way we could be mistaken would be if he had been even more premature. The actual birth was an incredible drama in itself.

Three days before the birth my wife had an abscess on her appendix and she was rushed into hospital but they delayed the caesarean section for a day to give Ben one slim hope of life by filling his tiny unborn lungs with an experimental drug so he could breathe outside the womb. I was told that neither of them would survive. But the combination of medical determination and expertise, total nursing commitment to saving a virtually ‘certain to die’ baby, and the prayers said over both of them by the priest who baptised him as the umbilical cord was being cut, combined to perform a medical miracle. My wife and son spent many weeks in hospital but both returned home eventually with no lasting ill-effects of their experience save that we could not have any more children. And the chap you see at the start of my story enjoys his spare time helping look after the  needs of premature children like the baby boy he is playing with here. Indeed he has even written a short book on the development of neo-natal care  in the last 150 years.

L'immagine può contenere: 1 persona

It is thanks to BLISS and all it does that thousands of babies and their parents now have the chance of watching their children grow into the people they always hoped for. I, for one, can never thank all those people who helped us, and are helped by BLISS, for giving my wife and I a measure of ‘bliss’ that we never dreamed we would be blessed with.

AWE

 

 

WHY I CANNOT REMAIN SILENT


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

Hi all,

I had another cerebral stroke eight days ago and am only just able to type one handed again, so I’m re-posting an old blog for today’s one word challenge. Don’t worry, Christmas is coming and I will be ok again soon.

WHY I CANNOT REMAIN SILENT

(summer 2016)

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, North Korea’s nuclear mania 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 an essay 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 madman. 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 in the type of luxury 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.

*******************

Dear me, God has kept me going for more than another year and it is now December 2017. But all the worst scenarios have come about. Trump has brought the world opinion of the United States to its lowest ebb since Paul Revere managed to stay on his horse. We are just waiting to see whether he launches his first nuclear attack in the Middle East or North Korea. His strike will of course be pre-emptive in case the US gets hit by such a device itself. He might not be re-elected in 2020 if New York city has disappeared along with some ten million US lives.  What a delight if he had to take refuge in Mexico.

Then look at the people in the part of Asia Trump wants to nuke. I have as many blood relatives in South Korea and Vietnam as I have in the United States, some dozen in each. The thought of nuclear carnage killing any of them makes me feel physically sick. Trump really must be removed as soon as possible whether constitutionally or not. In North Korea Kim will be harder to dislodge unless foreign agents manage to assassinate him, but that is very unlikely and anyway I don’t hold with killing others just because they are mentally ill.

Then, in Europe and the UK, we have the Brexit farce. Over here we are watching our currency being devalued, our cost of living rising, our health service crumbling and our government not having the courage to admit that nobody understood the referendum last year, apologise to the EU and call the whole thing off before it bankrupts us as a nation.  If that happens, and Trump is still in power, he won’t raise a finger to bail us out and our national security will become a joke. I hope I will have cause to write something more cheerful about all this soon. 

AWE

A THEORY ABOUT A THEORY


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

 

A THEORY ABOUT A THEORY

 

I once developed a theory

In a doctorial dissertation.

The words, though esoteric,

Needing no extra explanation

 

For my academic examiners

Would never publicly admit

Their ignorance of all I wrote,

Not understanding a word of it.

 

The secret of gaining distinction

In rarified realms of academe,

Is never stating what you think

Merely making your theory seem

 

As though it is, in all probability,

Superior to all earlier thought,

Your professors had ever had

As they lectured and they taught.

 

My theory, such a simple one,

Confounded dons high and low

For I spoke it in a foreign tongue

None admitted they didn’t know.

 

All I argued was that the limit

Of all human scientific enquiry,

Could never be mastered totally

The future being part of entirety.

 

But I declaimed my dissertation

In Virgil’s rhyming, metric Latin

Which at Oxford is assumed to be

Easy for gowns, ermine and satin.

 

So, the moral of this, my verse?

Well, at least it is meant to be.

For a ‘first’, make pompous judges

Accept, in ignorance, your theory.

AWE