The British superhero -underpants inside the trousers!

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“If Superman is so clever,” my schoolfriends and I used to ask, “why does he wear his underpants outside his trousers?” It’s a question that nobody could answer satisfactorily. Superman and his ilk, brightly-coloured costumed superheroes, were always associated with America and the American comics one could sometimes obtain from the newsagent.

Our home-grown comics were different. Weekly, each containing several stories and, for the most part, in black and white. The most popular, and long-lived, were the humour-based comics such as The Beano (1938-present) and the The Dandy (1937–2013). Both of these featured characters who had ‘super-powers’ which were…

Is either of them still fit for purpose?

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Everything we are arises from our evolution, DNA and learned behaviours. We are purely material, as is the universe. There is nothing else.” So say the materialists. But they don’t know that!

The material universe is only the smallest part of reality. Our bodies and brains are merely vessels for an immortal essence which is the Truth.” Thus the view of the metaphysical people. But, again, they don’t know that!

OK, so I’m paraphrasing and generalising, but you get the drift. On the whole, we are caught between these two opposing schools of thought. Both claim to have it right…

And that includes my culture

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

I’m a white Englishman, which means that I must accept multiculturalism. Which means, it seems, that I must accept — but never join in with — celebrations such as Diwali and Eid, but be apologetic and low-key about Guy Fawkes Night and Christmas for fear of offending people. It means that, while I must remember to honour the memory of the Black and Brown soldiers who fell in two World Wars, I should not honour the memory of the White soldiers who did so by buying my colonialist, imperialist poppy every November.

Apparently, living in a multicultural society means that…

In praise of the men and women of the RNLI

RNLI ‘Spirit of Guernsey’ ‘Severn’-class lifeboat (Acad Ronin Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Britain is, of course, an island nation. Taken all together, including the mainland, all of Ireland (including the RoI), the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, there is close to 30 000km of coastline. This includes deepwater harbours, sheltered coves, gently-sloping sandy beaches, windswept peninsulas, jagged ship-killing rocks, stark cliffs, shifting sandbanks, tidal estuaries and treacherous tidal mud-flats. There are tides, currents and the ever-unpredictable British weather to deal with.

But the Sea draws us. Whether for work or for leisure, thousands of us venture out there every day. The typical concept of the Englishman as stoic, unflappable and cheerful…

…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. …

Tony Atkinson

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

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