I have a dream

Two score years and ten ago a man died for his dreams . He stood before us, and laid out his dream ; that man was Martin Luther King .He talked of hope , but also shadow, of freedom, but also slavery, of justice but also injustice.

Fifty year later, the negro is still not free; indeed, even the working man is still enslaved. Nations still fight wars and wealth still isn’t shared, and people still starve. What progress have we made then, towards this noble dream where black and white rich and poor, man and woman can stand together under one sky, free of nationhood, free of all except perhaps that responsibility to our peers, the responsibility of justice, the responsibility of ethics and sharing resources so that the poor and broken don’t need to resort to humbling charity or forget the skills and self ability to produce their own wealth, and share this in turn.

Indeed, greed is such that the richest 400 now own more than the poorest 1 billion on this planet. Generations are taught the wrong lesson, that of reliance rather than that of the search for excellence and the development of skills.

 

Major corporations deem tax as an option, shirking their responsibility to society and starving our neighborhoods of the wealth needed for good schools, hospitals and trusting police. Public service and duty is seen by these companies as an ‘extra’ rather than as the essential life blood it is.

 

This very greed could indeed be seen as an anti-freedom, anti-civilization. Politics has forgotten the promise of solving problems for the dazzling gaze of personality.

 

One could argue that millions have moved out of poverty in developing countries, that globalization has helped created wealth, but at what cultural and environmental cost?

Developed countries have had to change labour markets to compete with low cost socially irresponsible greed, all for the benefit of a handful of very rich corporations, to the cost of liberty.

 

So it is I come with a new dream. Luther King said we all shared a similar destiny; indeed, we all share a similar origin the big bang, we are all humans. This is my dream.

We have to turn our backs on nations and patriotism, and towards belonging to humanity. We have to move away from judgment to acceptance and hope.

It’s not so different to the dream of Luther King. To sit down at the table of brotherhood.

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Git

Hold on, I hear you say, isn’t this just another swearword? Well ,no. because its a way of sharing ideas, of being connected and of instigating change. An underused way, if you ask me.

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Imagine what the world could be if we all drew on each other’s knowledge.

France in the future

The French Government are having a pow wow about what France will look like in the future and are looking at 2025 as a target.
Here are some facts and predictions for France .
Population and demography:
According to Insee: If recent demographic trends continue, France’s population will reach 70 million by 1 January 2050, 9.3 million more than in 2005. Total population will increase continuously during this period, but the rate of growth will decrease over time. One in three inhabitants will be aged at least 60 in 2050,(including me, as I was born in 1970) compared with one in five in 2005. The proportion of both young people and the economically active will decrease. For every 100 inhabitants aged between 20 and 59 in 2050, there will be 69 inhabitants aged at least 60, double the 2005 ratio. Such trends, which are based on accepted assumptions, may change over time, but there is no doubt that an ageing population is inevitable.
So the population of France will increase and age.(source http://www.insee.fr/en/themes/document.asp?ref_id=IP1089)
France desperately needs to tackle the retirement bubble.And the health care one too!

Motorways and infrastructures: France plans to build an astonishing 1000 plus KM of motorway between 2010 & 2050. Lille, Rouen, Tours, Arles, Thionville will all get a ring road.(source http://www.journaldunet.com/economie/magazine/france-2050/autoroutes.shtml). That adds up to a 10% increase in motorways. However, only 1 airport will be built, in Nantes. Rail projects have recently been shelved, but we will see if this is temporary or permanent.The French state wants to invest 100 million Euros into new high speed lines, we’ll see if that happens. France has identified key ports, Nantes/St Nazaire, Marseilles, Dunkerque and Le Harves as key points of growth. Rail freight will increase.If they can persuade the trade Union movement to embrace France!

Forests, Agriculture and Ecology.
Forests will shrink and become more exploited.Currently 10% of France is exploited as forests. France is self sufficient food wise, but in 2050, this will become a distant memory. A quick look at land prices, which have increased everywhere in France, even 14 times in the most rural areas to 100 times in Paris, for example in my Rural Village in Loire Atlantique, 2006 price per m2 30 euros, 2012 price per m2 100 euros.Wow.
Climate change will mean less maize and more wheat production, hitting meat production.Wine regions will be hit, and the agricultural map of France will evolve.The South of France will be drier, and so agriculture will evolve.
Rural areas will develop as people leave towns and commute. Farms will be different!

Energy
Bioenergy/biogas will come on line.I wonder if Fission will finally available

Administration
France has too many layers of administration, complex and impenetrable.
mayor, deputy(members of Parliament), region and department, canton , and Europe all have elections , all a network to support them based on taxation. France has too many mayors, more in France than the rest of Europe combined. France has to reduce the number of mayors while keeping local democracy alive and well, a real challenge for the future.
Towns with a major closer than 5 kilometers away should be merged to form one town, and the Mayors offices could be sold off or used for social housing. I live in St Herblon, and around my town there is a mayor in Anetz (5km) Ancenis (7km) Varades (9km)La Roxiere(8km) La Roche Blanche (8km) . One mayor’s office could be created for all these areas.
While local challenges are needed to be dealt with on a local scale, the scale needs upgrading from Napoleonic(and horse power models) to the post Internet age.

France is in a good place to be a world power in the future IF it plans now.

Thoughts on George Sand

Who he, I hear you ask, and its the wrong question as its really ‘who she’!

Georges Sand was a romantic socialist writer, a proto feminist certainly in favour of female emancipation, but less so of activism. Indeed, she wrote using a man’s name, as a female writer in those days (she lived from 1804-1876) was a rarity. In the UK, we can boast Jane Austen, or even the Bronte sisters, or George Eliot, who seems to be the closest English speaking contemporary who also used a male name. Austen died in 1817, Eliot lived around the same time frame as Sand , from 1819 to 1880 and the Bronte sisters all died very young, each one before the age of 40, all before 1860
So who were the friends and contempories of George Sand?
She spent 7 years as the lover of the classical pianist Chopin,as well as some time as a lesbian with a French actress, Marie Dorval.
Flaubart, a great French writer and Balzac another literary giant were friends, and knew her well, as was Lizst, a great composer and Delacroix ,an artist of note..
What a romantic mix. The table in her house is set with these name cards.
So was George Sand really a lady writer who was fixed in her kitchen with her jars of jam, as unkind (and misogynistic )critics would have it? Or is she a romantic writer who dipped her pen into the sea of ink, leaving a broad sweeping seeping stroke of work behind her, touching geology,(she had a great collection of rocks and fossils) natural sciences( her herbariums are famous and she even acted as the village doctor), theatre ( her house has two, one for marionettes, which her son Maurice made, and one for plays) sewing and design (she designed and helped make the sets and costumes for the plays she wrote) as well as gardening, cooking, (her garden is enormous and her kitchen was very modern for its time)not to mention her real fame, that of writing.
Well, this is where it comes to the rub. I visited her house recently, to take in the vastness of her being , to touch the sublime, and the overwhelming presence I felt at the house is that of Chopin. His dancing music and lightness echoes and winds through the the house, but whether this is because the guide emphasizes Chopin so much, or if its my imagination, is another question.
Sand writes with a very descriptive and rich style. She definitely deserves a (new)look, just as Eliot is probably one of the best novelists in the English language, Sand is a giant of French literature. Perhaps her pen isn’t as politically astute as Eliot’s, she is nevertheless a fellow proto Fabien/proto Socialist.

Lloyd’s bank

This bank should be kept in the public domain and not privatized.
Why?
1) as a warning to all those other banks that when you make mistakes, there are consequences. Its dragged the UK into a depression for 5 years. Or at least played a part. Now it can play a part in getting us out, if we hang on to the investment.

2 ) Buying this bank cost the taxpayer loads of money, an investment that the taxpayer didn’t have a choice in. So now they should get a choice as to when its sold, and I think it should be via a general election manifesto promise rather than dodgy deals by the Chancellor to  his even dodgier mates.

3) The average price paid for Lloyds shares was 73.6p, the government now propose 6Ip. Do the maths. 

4) Profits of billions belong in the public coffers to pay for the taxes that others refuse to pay. Who else is going to pay for the schools, hospitals etc….? Certainly not Google, Facebook, Amazon ……..

5) Socialism isn’t dead. The crash showed the limits of capitalism.(waves his red flag and doesn’t care if others think that ‘left= wrong’)

 

If the Tories flog it off cheap, the voter will remember, just as they did when Labour bought it .

 

Twitter trolling and forthright females.

These last few days I’ve seen some shocking things on the Internet about twitter abuse.

A woman worked hard to get a bank note changed with a woman on it, and she gets targeted by twitter users who threaten to rape/and or kill her.

Bomb threats (I kid you not!) are made to other journalists who write humorous articles on ‘how to use the internet’ (see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/30/how-use-internet-loser-twitter)

 

 

The Guardian notes….

Caroline Criado-Perez, a freelance journalist who co-founded thewomensroom.org.uk  and the Week Woman  blog, and fellow campaigners were delighted last week when the Bank of England confirmed that the Pride and Prejudice author would replace Charles Darwin on the notes, probably in 2017. You can read the rest of the story here http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/jul/27/twitter-trolls-threats-bank-notes-austen.

But basically, If I understand this, a woman campaigned for Jane Austen to be on a bank note (and why not, she is a figure worthy of such note) and this so offended some people that they resorted to sending anonymous (or what they thought were anonymous) threats of violence and rape ! Do these men (I assume its men, but hey, I may be mistaken) really feel so threatened by women? 

Then I heard on BBC Radio 4 this morning more news of bomb threats against female journalists. And I started thinking   ‘What the ?’ …..;

I can (and will) read blogs and article and stuff by feisty forthright women. Because I NEED that! It helps me keep in touch with my inner girl ( and let’s face it, those who abuse the women need to do that too.) Otherwise, I’ll turn into a ‘Neanderthal man’ and no one wants that.

Not that I’m saying anything nasty about the abusers either.That would make me no better than them.

The story is on the BBC website, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-23523539

These women had threats of a bomb at a specific time, and they were scared! Hell,I’d be scared

Why is it that women with a profile get targeted by these weirdos?

Twitter need to sort this out, and quickly, as this isn’t acceptable behavior by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t want to see my friends abused by if I am generous what’s best described as “playground bullies” when they should be encouraged and rewarded for their forthrightness. We need more women in top positions for the sake of diversity . I’d like to see that, for sure, as it sends a message to the girls in my classroom that they should have other choices to make than “get a boy, settle down, have kids” which seems to be the rather depressing mantra I see in the institution I work in.

And lets face it, as my wife jokingly reminds me, women are better at stuff too! Or “differently able” as I jokingly reply.

So Twitter, I wag my finger in your general direction. You need to sort out the Twitter names,(which can be a jumble of randomness) and remind users that of what is and isn’t ‘sound behaviour’. And to targets of abuse , please don’t become victims, but take action.