Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Sad Ballad of Marine One and Rain #TrumpRain

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Marine One was able to fly through wind and rain.

It wasn't even a Democrat plot even Republican CinCs did it.

Age was also no barrier as the eldest President ever managed rain on Marine One.

But in this day and age, even with a visit to a World War One cemetery at stake, health and security makes this no longer possible...

...hang on isn't that Trump, Marine One and rain?

As five of my relatives' bodies were never recovered from the mud that was France and Flanders in World War I, I consider this excuse for not attending a war cemetery disrespectful to all the war dead, of all nations who fought in World War I. Their names alone are on walls around the battlefields. WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

We Will Remember Them: Edward Launders d. 7 Nov 1918

United Kingdom Signaller Royal Field Artillery "D" Bty. 162nd Bde. Age: 20 Date of Death: 07/11/1918 Service No: 262577 A.3.

In four days time well be remember all those who fell in both World Wars as we mark the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when the Armistice was signed and First World War came to an end. It is possible that in one house in Yorkshire that celebration was the same as the rest of the nation, looking forward to the time that they would see their elder surviving son once again. But is it likely they within days their celebrations we cut shot when the fearful letter came through the door. Like many families while others were celebrating the end of war, they were coming to terms with the fact that their son was so close to seeing the end of the war, only to be cut down. He is the last of those from my family tree that I shall be looking at in this series.

Edward Launders is related though the following connections. His father's sister had married a Jones in Yorkshire. One of the nephews of that aunt was a Prisoner of War in the conflict who was later to marry my great aunt (a lady I was never to meet she dying six years before I was born. That relationship (as with the others I have written about in this series) is graphically shown (right).

Edward was born in Grimesthorpe, Sheffield, Yorkshire in early 1898, to John Thomas Launders and Bessie Cripps. On the 1911 census when he was just 13 he was an apprentice moulder at one of the Iron works in the city. His father on the 1901 census was recorded as a furnace man at steel works, but by 1911 appears to be either a lincekeeper (or maybe timekeeper).  Along with his four sisters (two elder and two younger) and infant brother who at one two would be too young to be involved in the war.

He joined the Royal Field Artillery and was a signalman with the. He would have been involved in the last offensive of his unit the Battle of the Selle, which he returned from, they were relieved by the 38th Welsh Division on the night of the 26th October 1918 after capturing Englefontaine. They spent a period of rest at Troisvilles before re-entering the line on 5 November advancing through Forêt de Mormal. On the 7th November they were on a line east of the Avesnes-Maubeuge road. But one of the victims in achieving this goal was Edward who fell on that day. That evening his Division was relieved again by the Welsh and retired to Sambre valley near Leval. His division never saw active duty again before the Armistice therefore making him one of their last fatalities.

His name is amongst those residents of Grimesthorpe that was listed on the memorial that used to hang in St Thomas' Church, Holywell Street in the town (see above).

Signaller Edward Launders
Born Jan 1898 Grimesthorpe, Sheffield, Yorkshire
Died 7 November 1918 between Maubeuge and Avesnes-sur-Helpe, France

We will remember him.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The real toll of the battle for LGBT+ recognition in Northern Ireland

It has been a tough few days for me at the end of the week. When the UK Supreme Court ruling was made, on International Day for Mental Health Awareness of all days, it was tough mentally to go along with the tough time I've been having physically returning to work after a long time off with sciatica.

It wasn't so much the fact that this time the opinion went in the favour of the McArthur family who run Ashers it was the comments, "celebrations", attack on the Equality Commission and everything else. What was worse is that many of the arguments were being retrod from the 5th or even 6th time since the event.

Now with a court decision in their favour those opposed to LGBT+ equality or even recognition and dignity for LGBT+ people were speaking as if nothing was ever wrong.

The same arguments that Ashers shop on the main shopping street of Belfast had been targeted, when it was merely convenient. That the appellant was only out for money, he wasn't indeed he was shocked to be awarded £500 in the original case, he only wanted the law to be clarified. That somehow promoting LGBT+ Equality is equated with messages of outright hate and should all be lumped up together is one of the hardest hitting.

You see many of us in Northern Ireland have been facing arguments that we are attacking religious freedom, despite many of us coming from a position of faith ourselves. Indeed Marriage Equality legislation and policy formation has consistently recognised that not all faith groups have the same opinion. Indeed we have always ensured that faith groups need freedom under Equal Marriage legislation to take their own positions, nothing should be imposed on them. However, certain faith groups don't envision this and even want to overstep into the civil marriage sphere over which they should have no control.

So when you see LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland showing despair with the interventions of Peter Tatchell it is because his comments gave powder to the Theocrats in Northern Ireland. Sadly although Northern Ireland poses as a democracy, despite the largest party being called the Democratic Unionist Party what we face and they are, are actually Theocrats. God's law by their narrow interpretation has to have authority over everyone else.

Not all Christian politicians take this view Alliance leader Naomi Long and her predecessor David Ford are two prime examples who face attacks from Christians and criticism from LGBT+ people in equal measure. They are an example along with other that having a faith doesn't mean attacking LGBT+ people and that faith and being LGBT+ are not exclusive sets, there is a subset of both.

So faith groups, publications and individuals rejoicing this week has a hard impact on those of us from the LGBT+ community, whether of faith or not, who try to accommodate them.

A bit late in the week but I wasn't in a good place to wish everyone good mental health earlier in the week, But stay strong people others are always there for you to turn to and you know who they are even in your darkest times.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

How LGBT+ Servers Should React to the Supreme Court Ruling

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

So today I read that the photography company that the Christian Institute hired to record their appearance outside the Supreme Court hearing, returned their money £267 and said it was against their morals to complete the job.

Now this may be a good thing to do on the day that the Christian Institute think they have started the fight back against LGBT+ equality but I think it should be the last time we do this to the homophobes and anti-LGBT+ individuals who come to us for service. Here is why.

Most normal people are well aware of how many LGBT+ people are employed the in service sectors. They wait your tables, serve you in a variety of stores, look after you in hospitals and hotels etc. The same applies in Belfast as it does in Manchester. Those of us who work in the service sector are not deaf, we hear conversations our customers have while they wait for our service, or even while we are serving them. Some of those comments are homophobic, transphobic or otherwise anti-LGBT+.

What I am suggesting is this, we say:

"I am L,G,B, T or whatever, so I disagree with your point of view. However, I am here to give you the best and most fabulous service you have ever experienced. If you are not comfortable with me an L,G,B,T or whatever person serving you, you can find another place that doesn't have LGBT+ people employed because all my colleagues here have my back as will those in other establishments who employ people on their ability to provide customer service and not on their sexuality or gender identity.

"Now, how can I be of service?"

It was just like with drafting equal marriage policy and legislation itself. Those of us who had any part in that have always respected all faith groups rights to come to their own view, some are in favour, some vehemently opposed and others are discussing where they should stand and opinions will invariably change with time. It is sad that in some faith groups the same respect for the views of others has not been reciprocated. This is another case of that.

However, to quote Michelle Obama "When they go low, we go high." That is the guiding principle on why I as someone in the service industry think this will have more impact.

Go on then folks, and continue to be fabulous.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Personal Statement is response to Theresa May's Statement

The Prime Minister has just spoken in Downing Street about the status of Brexit after the Salzburg meeting of the EU leaders last night.

This is my personal response and not in connection with my party positions or memberships.

The Prime Minister has continues to ignore the will of the people of Northern Ireland and just now also seems unaware of how the best interests of Northern Ireland people and business can be resolved. She has once again spouted the DUP rhetoric which is the minority opinion both at the time of the referendum and since.

As a result in my opinion Her Majesty's Government does have the concerns of the people of NI to the forefront of their thinking and are listening to a section of little England and not the reality of what her hard Brexit will bring about.

In my opinion now is the time for a poll on the status of Northern Ireland. I call on the Secretary of State to call a poll on the constitution position as set out in the Belfast Agreement before March 2019.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

The Ballad of Alexander and Ruslan (Let's Do It)

With apologies to the late, great Victoria Wood.

        Alex and Ruslan sat one night.
        The sky was clear. The stars were bright.
             The wind was soft. The moon was up.
             Alex drained his vodka cup
        He licked his lips. He felt sublime.
        He switched off Dacha Gardening Time.
             Ruslan cringed in fear and dread
             As Freda grabbed his tie, and said:

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it,
                  Do it while the mood is right!
                            I'm feeling
                  I've really got an appetite.
                  I'm on fire
                  With desire.
                 To see Salisbury's Cathedral's great big spire.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

             But he said:
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  I believe the weather's just not right.
                            This winter
                            It's sinister
                  Turns out it might snow tonight.
                  No timetable!
                  I'm unstable
                  I'd rather watch US Apprentice on the television.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

             So he said:
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it,
                  Get the train out there an boom!
                            Old Sarum,
                            Take care, um,
                  Don't on any ice go zoom.
                  This folly
                  Is jolly.
                  We not crash the plane like Buddy Holly.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

             But he said:
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  We haven't got the time of trains.
                            I'm older,
                            Feel colder.
                  If not snow what happens if it rains.
                 Your exploring:
                  Get's boring.
                  Russians in Salisbury will be left snoring.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

             So he said:
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it,
                  Go and take some Novichuk!
                            On some door.
                            We'll ignore
                  That's Russians live there bad luck.
                  Don't spray it
                  Why delay
                  Vlad will always find a way to deny it.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

             But he said:
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  I know I'd only get it wrong.
                            Drop bottle
                            Full throttle.
                  Someone innocent will come along.
                  Stop pressing.
                 No messing.
                  They might die as well and it'll turn depressing.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it,
                  Book to nights in London town,
                  See the sights and lose your frown
                  To quote Lenin,
                  On bed linen,
                  To roll in gay abandon thinking its the London Hilton.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  A two day trip would just look strange.
                            Train travel
                            Will unravel.
                  Why didn't we just prearrange?
                  We journeyed.
                  Too hurried.
                  You know as well as I do snow is only flurried.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it
                  While I'm really GRU!
                            Our Putin
                  Writen tourist tale will ring so true.
                  Live dreams
                  New scenes
                  Wear your baseball cap with your skinny jeans.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  I must refuse under duress
                            I feel silly.
                            It's too chilly
                  To go without me thermal vest.
                  Don't choose me.
                  Don't use me.
                  Donald Trump sent a note to say you must excuse me.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it!
                  I feel I absolutely must.
                            I won't exempt you,
                            Want to tempt you,
                  Want to drive you to Stonehenge.
                  No cautions,
                  Just standing stones!
                  Then buy some soup with those little croutons.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it.
                  It's really not my cup of tea.
                            I'm harassed,
                  I wish you hadn't picked on me.
                  No worries!
                  Why hurry.
                  The only girl I'm mad about's Edwina Currie.
                       I can't do it.
                       I can't do it tonight.

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it!
                  I already have the Novichuk.
                            Let's flyover.
                            Wear pullover.
                  We might even get some Blackpool rock.
                  Be mighty.
                  Not flighty.
                  Do it for the good of the people's party.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!

                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it!
                  I really want to feel so brave.
                            Let's go,
                            'Cause I know
                  To lose the beard you can just have:
                  Not delay,
                  What ya say?
                  Then we'll slap the "truth" on Russia Today.
                       Let's do it!
                       Let's do it tonight!.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Brexit Secretary Fails Northern Ireland #PeoplesVote

Brexit Secretary Dominic Rabb has told Northern Ireland businesses that trade across the border that in the event of "no deal" they should "speak to Dublin".

So it appears that individual businesses many of them small and medium sized businesses are going to have to make deals with our nearest EU neighbour. This is a dereliction of duty on behave of Her Majesties Government, it is throwing Northern Ireland and the many hard working entrepreneurs who have flourished since the Good Friday Agreement under the bus. The agri-food industry in particular will be lacking their EU supplements, some in this industry operate on both sides of the border already. But Westminster says talk to Dublin yourself.

This latest announcement about Northern Ireland shows a lack of concern from Westminster for Northern Ireland, for the successes that have come out of the Good Friday Agreement and the state of the Union itself. If we are being advised by London to speak to Dublin is this just code for go and join them?

I wonder what the DUP think of their partners telling Northern Ireland business to be prepared to speak to Dublin about the state of their business, jobs and production from next March?

Theresa May's government continues to show it is failing to understand the nature of Brexit, the damage it is heading towards and this is especially true of Northern. Everyone who is seeing this should now know that is it time to demand a Peoples Vote before this gets out of hand.