Posts Tagged ‘Values’

What Manner Of Man Is This?

March 8, 2012

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

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8th March 2012

WHAT MANNERS HAS THIS MAN?

Yes, Ed, we know you are your own man. But how unnecessary or naive or perhaps not(?) to remind us that you are “not Tony Blair”.

What do the Tony Blair boos at Conference tell us about Labour today? –  LOSERS?  ‘Perhaps some might want to recall a quote from a different conference speech then: “They say I hate the party, and its traditions. I don’t. I love this party. There’s only one tradition I hated: losing.”

And the speaker? Tony Blair in 2006

ED MILIBAND ON BLAIR & IRAQ

WRONG – SO WRONG

In September 2010 in first leader’s speech to conference  Ed Miliband defended his Iraq war condemnation

Ed Miliband giving his keynote conference speech
Mr Miliband of the “New generation” (forgetting the ‘oldies’ who actually VOTE)) said the Iraq war was wrong “for a whole range of reasons”  [a clue to the “range” would be helpful.] He defended his decision to condemn the Iraq war saying the war had “led to a fundamental loss of trust” in Labour and it was “right to level with people” about that.

He said he had not been able to speak out more strongly about Iraq while in government because he was “part of a collective responsibility … I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest of decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there, but I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war.” Oh, Brother! David Miliband was NOT impressed!

WHAT VALUES HAS THIS MAN?

New Labour is Dead – ‘One angry Blairite MP said: “We cannot just put Tony Blair in a box. We cannot totally disown New Labour as this lot seem to want to.”’

WHAT LESSONS MUST BE LEARNED?

Miliband used his family history – his late father Ralph escaped from the Nazis in German-occupied Belgium and his mother Marion was sheltered from the Nazis in German-occupied Poland – to make a serious point about his values and mission. “My parents fled the Nazis. And came to Britain. They embraced its values. Outsiders. Who built a life for us. So this is who I am. The heritage of the outsider. The vantage point of the insider. The guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain.”

WHO MUST BE PURGED?

Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol has failed to kill off rumours that top-level sackings at party HQ are a purge of Blairites by Red Ed Miliband.

A secret memo on how to deal with tricky questions on the shake-up gives the game away: ‘Is this a witch-hunt against all Tony Blair supporters?

Everyone who is willing to be loyal to Ed Miliband is welcome.’ We get the picture, Iain.

WHAT NOW FOR THE MAN WHO DERIDED NEW LABOUR?

The New Labour party which went where no Labour party had gone before,  or will go again.

Now Ed Miliband goes humbly to the feet of the man he treated publicly with such careless disdain. Why? For lessons in leadership and communicating with the people.

You couldn’t make it up.

And not just ONE passing get-together. It seems “the pair have chatted more often than Mr Miliband has met Gordon Brown — his predecessor as leader and his former boss at the Treasury.  A friend of Mr Blair said: “Tony is the greatest political strategist of his generation — why wouldn’t Ed want to meet him?”

Perhaps, since many diminish we Blair supporters for being followers of “The Messiah”, I should end with this. Apologies to those of a sensitive, fundamentalist religiosity  -

Jesus Tony calms the storm

And the same day, when the even opinion poll was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude journalists, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves desperate beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind twits ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?  Mark 4:35-41

Tony Blair at a meeting of his Faith Foundation in Sierra Leone, March 2012

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Brother and Blairite David Miliband too feels the need to acknowledge mistakes. Mistakes in government? We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

“There’s a debate in the Labour Party about how we should understand our record in government, what we should be proud of and what we should apologise for,” he said.

David Miliband added that it was “very important to be proud of your achievements and humble about your mistakes”, while always understanding that politics is about the future.

“So we have a responsibility to understand the fundamental ways in which the world is changing and Britain’s place in the world is changing.

Changing? And so The Master’s voice still echoes in the still and darkness of the Labourite night.

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Tony Blair in Ukraine – Expands Religious Education Projects

June 7, 2011

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Or –

7th June 2011

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych has met with former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Tony Blair. At the meeting they discussed religious tolerance in Ukraine and in the world.

“I believe the mission you have come on is very important for Ukraine,” he said addressing Tony Blair. “Religious tolerance is something that not only Ukraine, but the whole world needs now.”

President Yanukovych also said he was pleased that it is Tony Blair, “the person enjoying great respect in Europe and worldwide, is working in that area.”

In turn, Tony Blair stressed the importance of the subject too. “I can say that the issue of religion in the world is now seen as one of the most important,” he said.

In the picture below Tony Blair is surrounded by people attending an event in Ukraine yesterday where he announced the introduction of  two courses on religious understanding (source.)

Tony Blair announces new education projects in Ukraine (Source  – Tony Blair Faith Foundation)

Tony Blair Faith Foundation announced today new programs to increase religious understanding for Ukraine’s next generation with the support of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation were happy to announce that they plan to introduce two programs in Ukraine to enrich religious literacy of high school students and the understanding of religion in a globalised world among students of higher educational institutions.

The initiatives were announced by Founder and Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair in Ukraine on June 6, 2011. He talked about faith and globalization in a speech given to 250 students from all over Ukraine. Mr. Blair is visiting Ukraine upon the invitation of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“Faith is vitally important to hundreds of millions of people,” said Tony Blair. “The values of respect, justice and compassion that our great religions share have never been more relevant or important to bring people together to build a better world. But religious faith can also be used to divide – it can be distorted to fan the flames of hatred and extremism.”

This is why understanding about and between different religions is essential in a globalized world, said Blair.

Tony Blair and Victor Pinchuk at the Pinchuk Arts Centre

Tony Blair and Victor Pinchuk at the Pinchuk Arts Centre (Click to visit original source)

“Through our work, with Ukrainian partner schools and Tony Blair and Victor Pinchuk at the Pinchuk Arts Centre universities, we will contribute to the emergence of a cohort of Ukrainian young people and students who are actively forging better relationships across religious and cultural divides, and critically analysing the role and influence of religion in today’s modern world. We are grateful to the Victor Pinchuk Foundation for their support, and look forward to a close cooperation with the Ukrainian government and educational system to further these aims.”

Victor Pinchuk said: “I am happy to support a program focused on the next generation, the core target group of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation’s work. We want to prepare them to develop the skills to bridge divides between faiths and cultures, develop a global outlook, and make diversity an asset.” He added: “I am confident that this project will contribute to further supporting the development of Ukraine as a country of true religious tolerance not only on the level of legal rules but based on true knowledge, understanding and respect for others’ faiths. Ukraine has known long periods of peaceful living together of different faiths, this is what we need to build on, foster, and share with others.”

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s international schools initiative, Face to Faith, aims to develop with Ukrainian school teachers a program to connect high school students with their peers in 17 countries via educational modules and the use of video-conferencing technology. Its Faith and Globalization initiative will work with Ukrainian higher education institutions to develop an academic discipline of studying faith in the modern world and which can be applied to business, politics and civil society.

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Picture source here - http://yfrog.com/ca18ebej

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Geert Wilders final remarks at his trial said,  “I am here because of what I have said.  I am here for having spoken.  I have spoken, I speak and I shall continue to speak. Many have kept silent, but not Pim Fortuyn, not Theo Van Gogh, and not I.”

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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

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The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
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Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Blair, Davos: Values Behind Market Capitalism (video)

February 2, 2009

On the current economic crisis Tony Blair, in his opening remarks (4 mins in)  makes two initial points:

1. Enlightened self-interest, long term … stakeholder economy… the financial system is at the service of the wider economy and the economy is at the service of the wider society… the free enterprise system has not failed, the financial system has failed … the globally integrated economy has moved far ahead of our ability to express that integration either institutionally or in terms of the alliances that we have … G8 today would be unthinkable unless it involved a broader number of countries … international coordination … right strategic relationship between America and China.

2. Shared purpose & shared values – and they have to have within them the component of justice, viz Africa. Values matter within globalisation.

Comment at end

2nd February, 2009

Davos Annual Meeting 2009 – The Values Behind Market Capitalism

http://www.weforum.org – 29.01.2009

The Values behind Market Capitalism

Regulatory and market failures have clearly damaged capitalism, but the ethical and moral lapses that led to those failures will prove to be more pernicious over time.

What ethical and moral concerns need to be addressed to avoid a greater backlash to market capitalism?

Tony Blair, UN Middle East Quartet Representative; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum
Stephen Green, Group Chairman, HSBC, United Kingdom
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA
Shimon Peres, President of Israel
James J. Schiro, Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Group Management Board, Zurich Financial Services, Switzerland
Jim Wallis, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer, Sojourners, USA

Chaired by
Maria Ramos, Group Chief Executive, Transnet, South Africa; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009.


Blair meets with Chinese Prime Minister in London, 1st February, 2009

chinesepmwenjiabao_blair_feb012009

Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao with Tony Blair in London, February 1st 2009

Gordon Brown also met with Prime Minister Jiabao on Sunday, and discussed trade: Guardian

Gordon Brown today pledged to double Britain’s exports to China over the next 18 months as he met the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, at Downing Street.




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Blair, The “Values” Man & The Zero-Sum Game

December 15, 2008

Blair, 2006 (What Is A Nation?): “But when it comes to our essential values – belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage – then that is where we come together, it is what we hold in common; it is what gives us the right to call ourselves British. At that point no distinctive culture or religion supercedes our duty to be part of an integrated United Kingdom.”

Comment at end

15th December, 2008

[The Previous = Tony Blair]

TONY BLAIR and THE ZERO-SUM GAME

ALLIANCES + VALUES (RELIGIOUS + ECONOMIC + SOCIAL) = (SUCCESSFUL) GLOBALISATION

The above linkages more or less describe the Blair philosophy, as I see it. Since globalisation is a given, he suggests we need to shape it to serve us to the betterment of all, or at least most of us.

Bur if you think his message is aimed only at isolating religious fundamentalists by extricating a kind of “Human Rights Religious Charter” from all religions, you underestimate Mr Blair.

In a world being “pushed closer together” where religious differences are often used to pull people apart, he said, “if religious faith can, at least, not be a hindrance of coming together, that would be a great thing.”

This is about POLITICS, as well as religion’s role in politics. His is a zero-sum game designed to leave the balance of power where it presently is, or at the very least stable.

He has analysed the issues well, though he has not yet used the word “successful” in the context of globalisation. But the underlying, unmentionable message is that without inclusion of the three elements of religious, economic & social values globalisation may not be successful.

Missing from this mix is any specific mention of another of the world’s pressing issues – climate change. Arguably that is contained within “economic” or “social” but it is a noteworthy omission, nonetheless, touching the entire world as it does.

UNSUCCESSFUL GLOBALISATION = DROUGHT, FAMINE, WAR & CONFLICT

What kind of world would result from “unsuccessful globalisation”. If this sounds oxymoronic, it probably is. Unsuccessful globalisation means conflict. And this call, with a plea to get back to basics on “values” may be Blair’s counter to this possibility.

Language is important, as Tony Blair knows well from his time mastering it. For instance, “globalisation” is a good buzzword. It implies a coming together, an understanding and a new inter-dependency. It inspires confidence in our generation’s way of doing things. It suggests progress, understanding, empathy, tolerance and respect through shared … er … values. But in that it may hide a multitude of sins.

WHO INVENTED “GLOBALISATION”?

Globalisation wasn’t invented as a concept from our wish to get it together economically and socially. Rather, it was discovered and recognised, like animals and plants in distant rainforests or penicillin. Inventions like the electric lightbulb or the telephone fall into a whole different category of wants rather than needs.

But there is a third category.

That is – the discovery which leads to development/invention.

Many discoveries have led to great advancements for humanity, as well as, arguably, great set-backs. The discovery of the neutron and the nuclear chain reaction which led to the invention of the atom bomb falls into this category, regardless of the arguments for and against countries’ wishes to continue to possess such a weapon. (That’s a whole different issue, which scientists handed to politicians.)

So globalisation may be described as a discovery or at least a development of a discovery awaiting its time. It is the discovery of  how we communicate and work together in our times. Now we need to develop its use.

Whether we like it or not it’s here to stay, and its development may only be tempered for good effect by looking at the areas of our daily lives it will touch and the wellspring from which we aid or hinder its progress. From the values we espouse, share and follow.

Globalisation developed organically as communications became easier and mobile phones became as ‘essential’ as a fast broadband internet connection. It’s hard to imagine NOT having a mobile phone or an internet connection today, and yet even 15 years ago few people had either. Globalisation is not a word we’d have heard in common use in the 19th century.

THE ‘OPPORTUNITY/THREAT’ FROM GLOBALISATION

So what do we do about the globalisation opportunity OR threat? To help to ensure it is a force for good, the World’s First modern-day International-stage Politician has decided to make at least one element of this his own:  the ‘Faith’ element. It is a huge task, and one for which he may receive few thanks, especially from some in secular Britain who blame religion for many of the world’s political problems.

Why has he taken this on? Because at a personal level faith is important to him, as it is to millions worldwide, and thus also to the secular and atheists amongst us. Also, because he genuinely feels empathy for those of ALL  genuine faiths. The fly in the ointment is that religious faith is NOT the same shared faith in our globalised planet and the values not always the same shared values.

There is a danger that taking on such an onerous task might even lead to the complete opposite of that which he seeks –  consensus on political and religious values. He is attempting to counter this possibility, which is happening already with or without his articulation of the issues. But without agreed values, with or without the religious dimension, we could be heading to hell in a handcart.

In most modern societies we have legislated to keep religion out of politics. But in many parts of the world it is impossible to keep politics out of religion.

As a force for good globalisation needs to be harnessed and given a bedrock foundation from which to work, else its inherent strength is its weakness, and its weakness is its disparate competing parts and self-interests. In his linkage of this to values, Mr Blair is perhaps the first politician to publicly declare this as globalisation’s essence.

And our values have taken an economic knock recently with all the repercussions for society. The kickback has even affected countries where there is not full-blown western capitalism, such as Russia and China; globalisation in action.

Is the time ripe for considering  shared values-based foreign policies, especially as regards trade? The economic downturn and the resultant scuttling for a safe haven and new values (rather than old) on which to base our future economic prosperity knows no bars.

For instance, many now cry out for a whole new values-based system of finance based on Sharia Finance. This is a frightening notion for many who study the under-pinning values of this economic/financial/religious state of affairs. Sharia Finance is linked intrinsically to a  law which subordinates more than half the world’s people (females). This is a non-starter for western developed lands and MUST remain so.

A NEW ECONOMIC MODEL OR DROUGHT & FAMINE?

Trade and economic might will prevail, have no doubt, whichever economic model emerges. The world has not (yet) divided up into a clearly marked China/India/Russia/Mid-East(?) blok versus the West (USA/EU, with others as yet unaligned or undecided), but there is a worrying possibility before us.

The risk that half the world may become dependent on the other half for such basics as food and water, as it already is on oil and gas.

Far-fetched? Perhaps, but I’m not so sure.

Pravda today says: “Globalisation is now Regionalisation.” Regionalisation? Really? If so, this is the embodiment of the aforementioned threat: the extent, political alliances and power of such “regions”

CLIMATE ON THE BACK-BURNER?

Now to look at the omission in Blair’s speech. Almost five years ago Mr Blair’s adviser on global warming, David King helped raise the climate change issue worldwide, despite America’s then ejection of the science. David King insisted again this week that proportionately the threat from global warming is far more serious than that from terrorism. He believes that the main reason politicians do not deal with global warming in a joined-up way is that it is a long-term problem. Politicians, with eyes on the 4/5 year electoral cycle, are more focussed on dealing with short term problems. Mr Blair now has no domestic political timetable and that is to the advantage of all of us.

Guardian: 17 August 2006: Cost of water shortage: civil unrest, mass migration and economic collapse. Excerpt:

Analysts see widespread conflicts by 2015 but pin hopes on technology and better management

Cholera may return to London, the mass migration of Africans could cause civil unrest in Europe and China’s economy could crash by 2015 as the supply of fresh water becomes critical to the global economy. That was the bleak assessment yesterday by forecasters from some of the world’s leading corporate users of fresh water, 200 of the largest food, oil, water and chemical companies.

Analysts working for Shell, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Cargill and other companies which depend heavily on secure water supplies, yesterday suggested the next 20 years would be critical as countries became richer, making heavier demands on scarce water supplies.

In three future scenarios, the businesses foresee growing civil unrest, boom and bust economic cycles in Asia and mass migrations to Europe. But they also say scarcity will encourage the development of new water-saving technologies and better management of water by business.

The study of future water availability, which the corporations have taken three years to compile, suggests water conflicts are likely to become common in many countries, according to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, which brought the industrial groups together.

Lloyd Timberlake, spokesman for the council, said: “The growing demand for water in China can potentially lead to over-exploitation and a decline in availability for domestic, agricultural, industry and energy production use. This inevitably leads to loss of production, both industrial and agricultural, and can also affect public health – all of which in turn will ultimately lead to an economic downturn. The question is how can business address these challenges and still make a profit.”


SO ARE CLIMATE ISSUES ABOUT TO BE DUMPED BY ‘BROKE’ COUNTRIES?

Mr Blair has spent much time and effort in recent months and years on such issues as climate change.  Ahead of all other international leaders he started the ball rolling in 2005 at Gleneagles, leaving President Bush in his wake.

Despite some reminders that this is still a ‘priority’, I anticipate an easing back on the issue due to the worsening economic climate. No point saving the planet, some argue,  if half of us have died of starvation in the meantime, or more likely, thirst.

Lord Digby Jones, former CBI chief and former Trade Minister under Gordon Brown seemed to confirm business’s intent in this direction in a recent Straight Talk interview with Andrew Neil (13th December 2008.)

But is this an inevitable conclusion?

Do we have time for further delay considering that we are already late starters in the climate change control business?

In these times of flux, Mr Blair is warning developed countries that they must ‘re-order the world around us, before  the kaleidoscope settles.’ More or less.

He continues to extol the virtues of countries backing climate change arrangements already made and agreed. But will the new Obama administration in the USA be so keen to do so as its auto industry is on the verge of wipe-out? Will jobs or the environment come first? A hard choice for a Democrat government.

IS BLAIR, THE VALUES MAN, THE FIRST 21ST CENTURY WORLD POLITICIAN?

I propose that he is. Other former leaders and high profile politicians have taken on certain issues, true, but I cannot think of any who have grasped so firmly what may be the root-cause of a threat to the world from national/cultural differences – a debate on values. Not a debate on science, such as Al Gore’s climate concerns, nor one on ‘peace’ as with former US president Jimmy Carter. But a debate on a facet of our humanity - values.

This is surely one of the bravest and most far-reaching political debates ever launched, attempting as it is, to get us all to start from a basic common understanding. From achieving that basic understanding, the world’s powers start from the same place on human rights. All other policy decisions will then be better informed and supported or not, as the case may be. And opposition to these values can be easier spotted and isolated. Some will see a New World Order behind this. That does not worry me … TOO much.  Certainly the world needs some SOME sort of order.

IRAQ, THE UN & ULTERIOR MOTIVES?

Some argue that Blair is only working on values in order to scrub up his own personal legacy post-Iraq. The anti-Iraq, anti-Bush/Blair press will always argue this, while ignoring other facts which don’t suit their cause.

But we need to look at the UN’s place in all of this.  Mr Blair may be on a mission to flush out those in the world who do not share this common cause in order, for instance, to force more effective UN agreement in future decisions. Russia, historically, and in recent years China have sought to stymie international UN action on erring leaders or nations.

Since 1945, when the United Nations was founded, the Soviet Union and Russia have used their veto at the Security Council 120 times, the United States 76 times, Britain 32, France 18 and China only five. (BBC September 2003) Recently China has vetoed more regularly.

There is little doubt that from the Russia viewpoint the Cold War is still warm as it seeks to counter the west’s strength. Meanwhile China looks both ways, in attempts to secure its own political agenda. So, nothing new there then. See pro/con arguments on the legality/illegality of the Iraq invasion (updated 17th June 2008)

The United Nations itself may even be in the process of  being faced down by the gentle Blair-steps on self-examination. It has been clear recently that the lack of shared values in such as the aforementioned countries has effectively emasculated the powers of the majority over the minority; has effectively emasculated the UN. That cannot continue indefinitely. A statement of agreed values will add weight to the arguments of those who insist that the veto should not be such a strong card in the hands of a few.

As for the UN’s own responsiblities – the UN is just as complicit in its overseeing and execution of sanctions and workable follow-up plans as was Bush in his Iraq invasion lack of planning. Without an after-plan, it was inevitable that one day a country like the US would go it alone (more or less). The United Nations permitted Saddam 13 years of sanction-busting whilst he thumbed his nose at the rest of the world. Their only post-sanctions plan was more sanctions.

Following the 9/11 invasion President Bush was badly let down by the weakness of the Security Council. He and Blair and other coalition partners in Iraq were actually standing up for the inevitable repercussions of the initial UN sanctions and their intended aim.  America stood on the UN’s ground and for that got little support from this august body, from some long-time allies or from the international press.

Bush (and Blair’s) Iraq invasion and its repercussions on the international political stage may have brought this to a head. After more than a decade of being ignored by Saddam, the UN seemed content to continue to be ignored rather than to ’cause trouble’ in the region.

POUND SINKS TO (almost) EURO PARITY

So will climate issues simmer on the back-burner, so to speak? While we watch the British pound slip to the value of the euro for the first time ever, will we worry about rising water levels? ( The pound has lost 13% of its value in the last two months.)

Mr Brown goes on believing, wishing and hoping that  he can save the world.  (All right – to be fair – he didn’t TRY to do the pregnant pause like his predecessor.  He paused and Tory laughter echoed before he could finish the sentence – “save the world’s banking system“.)

BRITISH ELECTION ON THE BACK-BURNER?

Perhaps Brown can actually do it. But Tories today believe that Brown has taken Blairless Labour back to Old Socialism and that he knows he is on the way out and will delay an election until summer 2010. Sans their election winner, (the Previous) they are more or less resigned to defeat (resulting in a hung parliament) and are struggling with the timetable for proving it. This “train-wreck of an economy”, as described by Blair’s predecessor as PM John Major, will hang around Brown’s neck as does Iraq around Blair’s. On the other hand some are suggesting he may call a snap election, unannounced until the last moment of course, before things get even worse for the economy and Brown’s Labour government.

If his lack of decision on such matters delays the election it is highly likely Mr Brown and his government will be with us for, at least another 18 months.

That will certainly give us time to see if his … our funding of the banks et al will work.

FOOD & WATER ON THE BACK-BURNER?

But what has this to do with the food on your table and the water to wash it down?

Well, everything.

And here it gets complicated. The shortage of water mentioned here and timetabled to says it is due to climate change.

Excerpt: The United Nations is currently campaigning to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol _ which regulates the emissions of 37 industrial countries _ with another accord at a meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The Kyoto Protocol was signed by 183 nations in 1997. But the United States _ long the world’s biggest emitter, though it is now rivaled by China _ rejected the plan over concerns it would harm the American economy.

Developing countries such as China and India also refused to accept a binding arrangement that they said would limit their development.


BLAIR’S SPEECH AT YALE

In a speech at Yale on Thursday, 11th December Tony Blair re-iterated his oft-repeated call for international “values”.

Blair Yale

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair holds a conversation with Yale University President Richard C. Levin at the end of a speech by Blair on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Conn., Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

Here in Britain this is not a new Blair word. He often mentioned “values” in speeches in his time at the helm of British politics. A little like motherhood and apple-pie it’s the kind of word that has most people nodding in agreement, as we consider the values that others don’t seem to have these days … from holding a door open for others or saying “please” and “thank-you” to blowing up oneself and others over a “religious” cause. Tch…tch … what IS the world coming to?

Without a full transcript we are at the mercy of the editor of any report. So, I am not sure if the emphasis here in The Christian Post would chime with everyone’s highlights from the Blair talk.

But he has repeated it sufficiently for me to get the gist. And the gist is not how rude people are these days.

Tony Blair is on a quest to make people, primarily people of faith through his foundation, but others too, to work out common values and how (such) values can be fitted into the global jigsaw of trust, dependability, empathy and non-threatening trade and economic agreements.

At the same time he realises that not ALL people have a religious faith. That does not preclude their having “values”. China, for a start, the oft-mentioned upcoming superpower has few religious people to its name. And yet, their values too are uppermost in his mind.

No-one should feel that by lack of religious faith their values preclude them from taking a leading role in the new values-based system.


ANOTHER REPORT ON HIS YALE SPEECH:

Globalization needs a “solid basis of values” to succeed, contended former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a major address this past week.

Faith is one way to provide a values system for globalization, but not the only way, he told hundreds of students and professors at Yale University after completing his first semester as a visiting professor.

Blair’s hour-long speech on Thursday was focused on whether or not a value system could be introduced to globalization and how, according to the Yale Daily News.

“The problems we face today cannot be solved without alliances,” he said. “And alliances won’t work without common values.”

Blair says his experience at Yale has strengthen his belief that religious, economic, and social globalization are linked.

Multicultural and multi-religious societies are the result of “pushing people together,” and now “spiritual capital” and “human capital” need to be linked, he argued.

“Unless we find a way of reconciling faith and globalization, the world will be a more dangerous place,” Blair said, according to The Associated Press.

The former British leader called on the United States, Britain and its allies to emphasize the importance of social values in the fight against terrorism.

“It’s the force of argument, and not of arms, that will cause us to succeed,” Blair said, according to Ecumenical News International.

During his time as a visiting professor at Yale, Blair co-taught a seminar on faith and globalization with Professor Miroslav Volf, a theologian and the director of Yale’s Center for Faith and Culture.

Blair, who was an Anglican Christian, converted to Catholicism in 2007 after stepping down as prime minister of Britain. In an interview with BBC, Blair said that his belief in God played a “hugely important” role during his 10 years as prime minister.

The former British prime minister will continue to teach at Yale for the next two years as part of a three year partnership between the university and his London-based Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Blair said Yale will be the headquarters for the U.S. operations of his foundation, according to the Yale Daily News.

AND THE ECUMENICAL NEWS INTERNATIONAL says:

tblair_yaleofficeofpublicaffairs_dec08

Chris Herlinger

New Haven, Connecticut (ENI). Former British prime minister Tony Blair has completed his first semester as a visiting lecturer at Yale University, an experience he says has strengthened his belief that religious faith and economic and social globalisation are partners.

In his final appearance on 11 December with students at a seminar he co-taught, and addressing the Yale community, Blair said his time as a part-time academic has convinced him that “globalisation requires values to succeed”.

Arguing that the process of “pushing people together” has made multicultural and multi-religious societies, Blair argued that “spiritual capital” and “human capital” now need to link.

That, combined with an increased need for multi-faith dialogue, he told reporters after he spoke, “will in time be seen as a defining question, and perhaps the leading question of the 21st century”.

Blair also touted the need for the United States, Britain and its allies to emphasise the efficacy of social values in the fight against terrorism.

“It’s the force of argument, and not of arms, that will cause us to succeed,” the former British prime minister said in an address at Yale’s Battell Chapel.

Blair was an Anglican but in 2007, after stepping down as prime minister, he converted to Roman Catholicism. In a BBC television document after he left office, Blair acknowledged that his belief in God played a “hugely important” role during his 10 years as prime minister.

As a Howland Distinguished Fellow at Yale, Blair has co-taught a seminar on the theme of faith and globalisation with Professor Miroslav Volf, a Croatian-born theologian and the director of Yale’s Center for Faith and Culture.

The final session of the seminar, seen by video hook-up, indicated that while Blair did not mind students asking probing questions about the war in Iraq, he held his ground, saying he accepts responsibility for the decision that British forces go to war.

And while acknowledging many things have wrong in Iraq since the 2003 invasion by U.S., British and allied forces, Blair told students he believes the Middle East is still better off without Saddam Hussein at the helm in the country, particularly in a region where, Blair said, some positive effects of globalisation are being felt.

“Do I think today, that looking at the region, it would be better off with Saddam? No I don’t,” Blair said.

The seminar has been a joint offering of Yale Divinity School and the Yale School of Management. Blair has said he expects to return to Yale for an additional two years of teaching.

Blair has formed his own London-based foundation (www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org), to promote interfaith dialogue. He and Yale officials are working on a joint initiative to address issues of religious faith and globalisation. Blair said the current faith and globalisation course might be “spun off” and taught elsewhere in the world.

Though Blair said the emphasis he has made on global respect for religions and that President George W. Bush has made about respecting human dignity are linked, when asked by reporters to comment further on Bush’s views of religion and politics, he said, “That’s not for me to say.”

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INTERNATIONAL VALUES IN AN “IRRELIGIOUS” SUPERPOWER

These numbers show how political/non-religious Blair’s drive for values needs to be. Religion, though, seems as good a place as any to start. Even in China, Muslims, allegedly, outnumber Christians. Religion in China – over 67% “Irreligious/Atheist”

According to the old Chinese government estimate, there were “over 100 million followers of various faiths” in China[17]. Other estimates put about 100 million or about 8% Chinese who follow Buddhism, with the second largest religion as Taoism (no data), Islam (19 million or 1.5%) and Christianity (14 million or 1%; 4 million Roman Catholics and 10 million Protestants)[18]. According to the 1993 edition of The Atlas of Religion, the number of atheists in China is between 10 and 14 percent[19].

The minority religions are Christianity (between 40 million, 3%,[32] and 54 million, 4%[33]), Islam (20 million, 1.5%), Hinduism, Dongbaism, Bon and a number of new religions and sects (particularly Xiantianism and Falun Gong).

According to the surveys of Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com in 1993; there was 59% (over 700 million)[34] of the Chinese population was irreligious and 8% – 14% was atheist (from over 100 to 180 million) as of 2005[10].





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British Identity – Who The He** Are We?

October 14, 2008

Comment at end

14th October, 2008

Today I received the e-mail below (here) on one of these round-robin things that flood our e-mail. I agree with its tenor, of course, except for ONE little inexactitude.

And this little error, which is actually quite a BIG one, if you think about it, got me thinking.

The British people’s biggest problem in knowing how to deal with today’s issues on such issues as immigration/integration/Muslims/Islamists/terrorism is quite simple:

WE DON’T KNOW WHO THE HELL WE ARE!

That leaves us highly susceptible and in many ways at the mercy of those who DO know who and what they are.

It isn’t helped by such oddball votes as have been made in the House of Lords last night by those whose main concern seems to be that by making today’s decisions for today’s world we are somehow upsetting some ancient apple-cart of, in this instance the Magna Carta – The MAGNA CARTA(?!) Read the comments at The Times to understand that we have issues with the meaning of our own identity and with trust in the strength and adaptability of our own democracy.

[The 42 Days’ detention vote was a dreadful decision, in my humble opinion. But I believe it will come back to haunt the Conservatives. It will also be left on the back-burner for the Home Secretary to look at again, when the time is right. And the time will be right, one day, I am convinced.]

I don’t know about you, but to me the Magna Carta reference is a straw man. Personally I feel that our democracy is strong enough to bend with the wind, and to bend right back again as and when required. (I don’t need protecting from my better judgement by the unelected Lords.)

Like an ancient oak tree our unwritten constitution will withstand the buffeting as long as we have enough self-confidence to trust its roots. At the same time we should understand that there is more to any living organism than just its roots. The trunk, the branches and the leaves are just as important.

And the one little inexactitude?

“In God we trust” is NOT the British motto.

It is America’s – yes, the great, and oft-derided, and sometimes hated USA. The land which some of us in recent years have been persuaded is no longer on our side. In that judgement, of course, those ‘some of us’ are VERY wrong. But that’s another matter.

If we Brits trust anyone, or any entity, it is the Monarch – as “Defender of the Faith” (the Christian faith.) Interesting that we haven’t heard much recently from Prince Charles about being “Defender of ALL faiths”.

But perhaps more than anything else, this confusion as to our motto, should focus our minds.

We should recognise our friends, our culture, our values and our history. And we should know ourselves, and determine our own future before some other entity, group or body shapes it for us.

Amazing and depressing that I should have to write this, since it seems self-evident. Perhaps this signifies that our identity is already too diluted, even polluted, for us to see our way through the haze.


The e-mail:

THE BRITISH ISLES.

I think this really sums it all up.

After hearing that many cities did not want to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights, so DIDN’T!

After hearing that the Birmingham council changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver’s licence with her face covered.

After hearing of a Primary School in Birmingham where a boy was told that for PE they could wear Football League shirts (Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom etc) but NOT an England shirt as it could offend others !

This prompted the editorial below written by a UK citizen. Published in a British tabloid newspaper.

IMMIGRANTS, NOT BRITONS, MUST ADAPT.

Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on London, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits.

However, the dust from the attacks has barely settled and the ‘politically correct’ crowd begin complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

This idea of London being a multicultural centre for community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of wars, struggles, trials and victories fought by the untold masses of men and women who laid down their lives and one of the millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

‘In God We Trust’ is our National Motto.

This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If St. George’s cross offends you, or you don’t like ‘ A Fair Go’, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.

But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great British freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.

We didn’t force you to come here.  If you don’t like it GO HOME!!

You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy really, when you think about it. I figure if we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later get back to the complainers. Let’s all try, please.

No matter how many times you receive it … please forward it to all you know.


EUROPE (THE NETHERLANDS TO BE PRECISE) – DEALING WITH IMMIGRATION?

  • Following the murders of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, Holland changed its immigration rules. But the results have been mixed, with ghetto-isation of Muslims, and younger females choosing to wear head scarves shunned by their mothers.

Van Gogh’s brutal killing prodded a fundamental change in the Netherlands’ immigration laws. It came just two years after another convulsive event—the murder of populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who had advocated halting all immigration into the Netherlands. It was the first political assassination in Holland in more than 300 years, and it deeply shook Dutch society. Conservative parties were swept into power in the national election immediately after the killing of Fortuyn. The vicious attack on van Gogh bolstered the government’s mandate to crack down—and former Minister for Immigration and Integration Rita Verdonk (popularly known as “Iron Rita”) made the most of the opportunity.

Submission Part 1 – What Theo van Gogh was murdered for -

WHY did Van Gogh have to die? Because he made this 10 minute film. He was murdered before he got around to making Part 2.

MIDDLE EAST

IS AL QAEDA WEAKER OR STRONGER THAN BEFORE?

AND THE ECONOMY, SWEETHEART?

AND THIS IS FUN

Point of correction – AGAIN – IT WAS NOT “YO, BLAIR”! It was “YEAH, BLAIR”

Got it?  Watch it here and LISTEN!

Ask yourself how many more LIES the Daily Mail is going to tell us in their search for “THE TRUTH”! It’s a dishonest newspaper, imho, and we should understand that before we swallow ANYTHING they tell us, especially anything about Tony Blair.

Oh, by the way, this Mail rag is SO biased and such an instrument for brainwashing the gullible, that it refuses to publish ANY comment in favour of Mr Blair as a human being, much less a politician. I sent this comment to them earlier on their article on Blair & Ecclestone. Since I know they won’t publish it, I have pasted it here for you:

‘LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES – AND ALL FROM YOUR LYING PAPER.

You know nothing about anything and are determined to spread the sticky mud on Blair for the ‘benefif’ of a gullible and biased readership. That has been your aim for years. I know you won’t print this. Your paper never prints my comments and seldom prints anything in support of Tony Blair. But compared to such as you, with your CONSTANT and determined twisting of the facts, Blair has nothing on you.

This paper is the University of Lying.’

I really DO wish that Mr Blair would sue these people.

15th October, 3:35pm: I’ve checked the Daily Mail article by the way, and as I suspected, they STILL haven’t published my comment above. So much for “freedom of speech”!

What a mendacious crowd!




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