…and you will kindly keep your distance!

Photo by Dominic Spohr on Unsplash

I’m already missing lockdown. The quiet roads, the uncrowded shops, the absence of noisy drunks in the street late at night, or screeching crotch-goblins during the day.

Most of all, I will miss the enforced return to what were once considered basic standards of courteous behaviour. People actually looking out for other people in the aisles of supermarkets; pausing to let one pass, or politely acknowledging being waved on. Not barging along with their nose in their phone, using the trolley as a battering ram or ‘people plough’. …

The problem is worship.

Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash

I tend to identify as an atheist, if only because it makes things easier. Quite generally, it’s true that I don’t believe in whatever god is being presented to me by people, but there’s more to it than that.

The (very) First Commandment

This was almost certainly some variation on “Thou shalt look after the old folk.” Uttered by some aging Palaeolithic hunter when his son had learned everything useful the old man could teach. Because life back then was brutish, nasty and short, by our standards.

The old hunter, who might well have been all of thirty-eight years old, was getting slower and…

Governments and IT companies aren’t responsible for protecting your children — you are!

Photo by Diego Passadori on Unsplash

Yet again, we hear of parents and social workers and other groups screaming at governments and IT companies: “Our children are being exposed to pornography on the internet! Do something about it!”

Now I am not about to debate the issues around pornography -that’s already been done too often to mention. It is clear that ‘hard core’ pornography has deleterious effects on its consumers and is exploitative and abusive of those who appear in it. It is also equally clear that, like prostitution, pornography is as old as civilisation. Both of these have, at different times and in different places…

I'm speaking from the perspective of atheism, and have no preconceptions of what God is, might be or should be.

But consider that a god whose ultimate and only aim is the creation of Man had to take the 'long way round' via evolution and mass extinctions. Given that what we now know contradicts Genesis, and that Genesis differs from all the other Creation myths of older religions. Given that the Universe itself is both finite and imperfect in so many ways, we may at least advance the niotion that this god is also finite and imperfect.

Then, when a…

Or why Megxit might really have happened

Royal Standard of the United Kingdom (Wikimedia Commons)

What follows is largely speculation on my part, but I have, like Mr J G Reeder, an unfortunate turn of mind.

As I write, it is the day after the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. During a 73-year marriage, he has been an unfailing source of support for the Queen, and has been her mainstay throughout her reign.

One of the reasons for this has been that the Queen is a very private, shy person, while the Duke was robust and outgoing. He was her ‘icebreaker’, the one who made it possible for her to…

How one mans’ exile let another escape

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in the Mediterranean, 1936 (National Media Museum)

Please note: this article is a statement of my personal ‘take’ on the matters touched upon. It is drawn from my personal research in publicly available material, and my own analysis. I put it out for your consideration without any pretense toward its being authoritative in any way.

On 10th December 1936, Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, Emperor of India, signed the documents finalising his abdication from the throne and the accession of his younger brother, George Duke of York, to that position. …

Numerous tribal societies of which we have records, and some of which are still extant, have very different marriage and child-rearing customs. Some are polygamous, some polyandrous, others polyamorous. In some men and women live separately, and only meet to socialise or have sex. In others , everybody lives communally. In almost all of these cases, however, children are raised by the community, without regard to biological parentage, and the children invariably grow up to be well-adjusted and productive members of that community. Contrast with our experience, where the growth of 'juvenile delinquency', as it used to be called, is…

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

America requires treatment before it can heal

So, the Trump Era is now over, they say. Time to unite the nation. Time to heal. But from this side of the Atlantic, it looks like you have a long way to go before healing can even begin. Because America is, make no mistake, a very sick patient indeed! Healing is something that can only begin when the sickness is cured, and some people are still denying the diagnosis.

The carbuncle that was the Trump presidency could have been lanced and drained two years ago, had the impeachment been carried out successfully. Sadly, the determination of Senate Republicans to…

The promises you make to yourself

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

This is a new day.
I will remember the past, both good and bad,
I will let it instruct me.
I will not fear or anticipate the future,
It is unknown.
I will make the best I can of today,
There may be no tomorrow for me.

I will not care what people think of me.
I will state the truth I see plainly and in few words.
I will base that truth on what I see and hear, not what I feel.
I will accept, state and stand by truths even if I dislike them.

I will treat people…

You get more with a kind word and a two-by-four than you do with just a kind word

Photo by Philipp Pilz on Unsplash

The aphorism above was a favourite of my late and much-missed father-in-law. Like me, he was a Trade Union activist and negotiator, and like me he refused to follow ‘the rules’. He did not go into negotiations speaking the same language as management, looking for a form of words to apparently address the issue while doing nothing. He went in there saying, “This needs dealing with, and unless you want a stoppage on your hands, you’ll get it sorted.”

Now Jim worked in a factory in the 1970s-80s, and his way of doing things, while disliked, was almost expected. I…

Tony Atkinson

Snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, walker of paths less travelled by. Advocate-in-Ordinary to His Satanic Majesty.

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