2018: THINGS TO BE CHEERFUL ABOUT?

Happy New Year everyone.   As we approach a brand new, fresh year I am hoping that some things may happen to give me some optimism for the future. But I am struggling to foresee anything that might work that magic?

I won’t look to this UK government to suddenly wake up, look around them and see what an utter mess this country is in.  To pick one area where they could help, the NHS, they have cancelled all non-essential operations for January – apparently it is NOT in crisis!!??  Then there is the 3.4% fare rise on our railways whilst earnings have not risen sufficiently to make this hike affordable.  Let’s not forget poverty, how could we forget that the past Christmas saw more homeless children than ever before.  Which takes us nicely onto the lack of affordable housing whilst around 610,123 homes remain empty in England; 31,884 in Scotland and 23,131 in Wales.

Image # 3

I won’t look to the environment as we leave a year riddled with extreme weather.  The fingerprints of climate change experienced throughout 2017 have featured supercharged storms, hurricanes, floods and heatwaves through to bushfires. 2017 has seen it all.

So I’ll move onto world peace or the lack of it.  With the crisis in Gaza, the rise of Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria and the international stand-off ongoing in Ukraine, it can sometimes feel like the whole world is at war.  And experts believe this is actually almost universally the case, according to a think-tank which produces one of the world’s leading measures of “global peacefulness” – things are only going to get worse.  Out of 162 countries covered by the Institute for Economics and Peace’s latest study says that just 11 countries were not involved in conflict of one kind or another.

Never again War

Without even mentioning Donald Trump or North Koreait is looking like a rather bleak year that we are entering.  Yes, little babies are fantastic and wonderfully full of potential but what sort of world will they grown up in?  The planet upon which we live is beautiful and nature is wonderful but human beings are working hard to pollute it.  Technology is a whole other bag of worms offering some potential advantages and some threats with multi-national companies in charge of whole banks of knowledge about us.  We must not walk blindfold into this brave new world.  If I have depressed you, I am sorry, and beg you to reply to this Blog with some ideas about 2018 that may cheer us up?

Self Portrait

PS.  What a shame these images by my favourite printmaker, Kathe Kollwitz, still resonates nearly a hundred years after they were created.

Riot

 

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NOT EQUAL?

I don’t suppose anyone who reads my words will examine them with as much attention to detail as I write them.  I would be very happy if that were not the case, if a whole range of people did spend hours poring over my words, but reality tells me that is probably not happening.

So it may come as a surprise that I am worried about my so-called valorisation of women pioneers of the highly sophisticated calculating machines and their spin-offs.  I am concerned about the unexpected consequences of a handful of women, many years ago, who helped develop nuclear and atom bombs?  By this I mean that Jean Jennings et al, and Grace Hopper did help develop those weapons of mass destruction with their work at ENIAC. Why should I hold women up to closer scrutiny than the many men involved in computer technology.  I know there are many people out there now involved in designing new, remote ways to kill our enemies.  It is unfair surely?

Is it because there are so few women in that world and they just stand out more, or is it that women are, perhaps, too equal to men?  It has become clear to me today that women should be, better.  More humane, compassionate and considered. That is what I expect.  When I found they had feet of clay, my heart sank and I was forced to accept that we humans are, at heart, all fallible.  When the Nazi guards explained that they were only obeying orders, we dismissed this as merely an excuse, we can’t hold those American women up to a lesser scrutiny than the other small cogs in rotten machines who let bad things happen, can we? We are all capable of making the wrong decision and therefore we must always be careful of the consequences of our actions, espousing the next new things, following orders blindly, before actually thinking them through.