Sunday, June 26, 2016


In the wake of the Brexit Referendum in the UK, I just want to assure anyone who reads this blog that I am not a proud man. I've seen that a lot of people are suddenly "Proud to be British", and I'm hoping that these are non Christians or they'd burn in hell for indulging in a deadly sin. I am not proud about anything in my life. I am happy to live with the person that I love and who loves me, in a wonderful part of the world, free from tyranny and poverty. I'm not proud of this, my story is much more humble.

I am the son of a Catholic immigrant and his Jewish wife. I am second generation British and according to a certain minority, that would make me an unwelcome guest in the country of my birth.

I was brought up to respect others and to decide for myself what beliefs I should choose. I chose the humanist way, and while I can be accused of a degree of political apathy due to inactivity, my beliefs are quite strong.

I have never been rich in western terms, have sometimes been poor and on the verge of destitution, but am presently comfortable, so any notion of low standard of living that I might indulge in is purely a first world problem.

I am tolerant of others regardless of religion, political outlook, ethnic background, nationality, gender, age or any other label that people can think to attach to people. I see myself as being innately no better or worse than anyone else.

I'm a republican and believe that elite status should be earned and not be born into.

I am an immigrant myself, and don't forget that. I bring things from my birth country to my new country, but respect the laws and traditions of the country I've adopted. I have no desire to live anywhere other than where I am now and I want to contribute to making here a better place.

I am happy to defer to others who have greater expertise than myself. I am not an expert in anything really, and a pundit in most things. I have learned over the course of the many mistakes in my life to say words that seem to come to many with difficulty: thanks; please; I don't know. I say these words with sincerity when they're needed.

In much of the above I am the same as all people, though some might not admit it.

The thing which scares me most about the Brexit Referendum is probably the intolerance that has divided the UK. The wave of anti immigration rhetoric, the misinformation from the leadership of both sides and the emotive, rather than rational, way in which the referendum was presented and voted upon.

There are already calls for referendum in Scotland and Northern Ireland while the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is resigning. It looks as if the immediate future for the UK will be tough. Assuming the UK Government carries through with the will of the majority of the people in the referendum, and leaves the EU it would appear to be the beginning of the end for that United Kingdom.

While so many leave voters are claiming to be proud to be British, I would warn against pride, not because I'm religious but because I'm humble. Apparently, in 1995 there was a vote to find Britain's favourite poem. The winner was "If" by Rudyard Kipling, the great British poet, born in India! It's a poem wrote in times of war, when Britain worked with allies, helped refugees, and fought against dictatorial fascism in the name of freedom. This would be something well read by many who voted in the EU referendum and dwelt upon by leave and remain supporters both. It has been an ugly time in the UK recently but hopefully, whatever way the future takes it, the hate, the lies, the bigotry that have come to the fore, will be replaced by the good that is inherent in most people.

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
    And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
    If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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