Sunday, October 28, 2018

C21: World Politics and Domestic Life

Reading newspapers and listening to the BBC of late there is what appears to be a dearth of good news though there are exceptions of course, such as a  Royal couple visiting Australia or even simply brilliant sunsets or sights of  beautiful wild life.

That bad news sells newspapers including in Australia with the PM there having recently lost his post   whereas good news does  not, is presumably the explanation for the preponderance of bad news in the media.

Indeed over many years of travelling to Lourdes with the HCPT, the absence of much national newspaper or BBC comment about some 2500 mainly young volunteers, taking some 2000 disabled children for a week's pilgrimage, was usually very obvious. On the other hand  if some of the pilgrims caused difficulties, for example through attending French bars late in the evening, such would usually be widely reported in the media.

Bad news of late, both actual and potential, seems far more prevalent and international in C21 than was the case in C20 even allowing for the shocking events of the Cuban missile crisis, the Bader Meinhoff gang and the assassination of President JF Kennedy.  Somehow those tragedies dreadful though they were, seemed more containable and isolated. Even  the  the Cuban Missile crisis, the outcome of which could have been the end of the world  as we know it, was ultimately satisfactorily defused. Mankind's wish to survive, thankfully then proved paramount.

The tragic slaying of people in a Jewish synagogue in the USA on Friday, partially exemplifies the increase in tensions in C21 although killings of innocents of by mad people sadly has always taken place throughout the world from Norway to Columbia.  Maybe the real difference in C21 is simply that news is far more speedily and widely disseminated than during earlier times.

The reports that China is seeking to "re-educate" a million plus if not millions, of people in Western China who practice the Muslim religion goes further than anything else that has been reported in C21 so far - how far will that be taken I wonder?

The Russian attitude to life and death, for example in Salisbury, is also deteriorating. 

The killings and enslavements in the Middle East  appear to be continuing ad infinitum. Apparently  several hundred young women some of whom came from the UK, are now being held by Kurds in the region. In one Sunday newspaper there is a report by the father of one such girl pleading for her to be allowed to return to the UK and given a second chance. I sympathise with his plea but what should the position be if she participated in a dreadful ISIS beheading of say an innocent journalist?

On a far less important note there is of course Brexit  but with the terms of office of leading EU bureaucrats, such as President Juncker, due to end soon not to mention a German regional election, which may  further  undermine the position of the country's leader Chancellor Angela Merkel, that international institution too looks set for choppy waters ahead.

Looking at the UK concerns about people suffering because of the unifying  of six different kinds of state benefit into one universal credit, one cannot help but compare and see that those trying to make the arduous journey on foot from, is it Honduras, to the USA, apparently receive no state benefits at all. 

I do not know how much the average  UK universal credit payment amounts to though do sympathise with those who will receive less under  the new system than the old. Even so UK universal credit benefits recipients seem reasonably  placed compared with many elsewhere and perhaps worryingly, appear to be funded by state borrowing. 

Poor people in the UK,  South America,  and or course in other countries, would surely be far better off and more independent, if decent employment was available.  How far their problems may be resolved  in the longer term, by the government of a particular country borrowing money to make the payments to them, is unclear to me at least. 

The Italians too are proposing to borrow more to pay comparatively large sums to the   poorer  members of their population  and others, although they appear to be angering the EU civil servants with that proposal. I wonder whether the Italians will be found to have had a point in the years ahead or whether they will be slapped down successfully by the civil servants from Brussels - we can but wait and see?

Overall though there is of course  much in life that pleases but does not usually make public headlines and long may that continue.

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Nicola York

Nicola was the older  of two daughters of close friends of ours. She was a journalist who tragically died  quite recently, when only in her ...