With a memorial service for Sir Nicholas Winton today, I make no apologies for publishing one of his quotes.
I believe in ethics, and if everybody believed in ethics we’d have no problems at all. That’s the only way out; forget the religious side.
I doubt I can live long enough to see religion, become something you read about in history books.
But the world would be a better place, if everyone followed Sir Nicholas’s advice.
I don’t! It’s none of my business!
This story on the BBC is untitled Arrest after Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah dies in attack.
In my view, this marks a new low for Islam in the UK, in that a thoroughly decent Muslim shopkeeper was murdered by another Muslim man, because he was being thoroughly decent and friendly to his Christian friends and customers.
That in my book is terrorism and the evil bastard who did this should be treated with the full force of the law.
My paternal great-great-great grandfather; Robert, was a tailor from Bexley, who I wrote about in The Tailor Of Bexley. I said this in that post.
My father once told me, that his grandfather, who must have been William, once told him, of a first hand account of Robert the tailor of Bexley, who was his grandfather.
He said that he was German and that he didn’t speak any English. Because of my coeliac disease, which is quite common in East European Jews and his profession, we can probably assume that Robert; the tailor of Bexley was Jewish. My father also told me that the family name was Müller, which had been Anglicised.
I know little more of him and his place of birth is not known to me. All I know is that he had a son; Edward in 1816, so that would put his birth in the late eighteenth century.
My trip to North-East Poland got me thinking, as I saw the branches of the Prussian Eastern Railway and discussed the history of the area with Piotr; our excellent Polish guide from Gdansk.
I also searched the Internet for Koningsberg and learned more details of its history in the late eighteenth century, with the Napoleonic Wars and the various partitions of Poland. I also read how Koningsberg was a large and cultured city. Wikipedia says this.
A university city, home of the Albertina University (founded in 1544), Königsberg developed into an important German intellectual and cultural centre, being the residence of Simon Dach, Immanuel Kant, Käthe Kollwitz, E. T. A. Hoffmann, David Hilbert, Agnes Miegel, Hannah Arendt, Michael Wieck and others.
But with the Second World War, the elimination of Jews from the city by the Nazis and the eventual takeover of the area by the Russians, the recent history has been less than a happy one.
Knowing myself, it sounds like the sort of city that I like, as my three favourite cities are Hong Kong, Liverpool and of course London.
Hence the question that is the title of this post!
My family is very ambitious and opportunistic and as Koningsberg was a major port, exporting goods from the area all over Northern Europe, I can imagine Robert deciding in his twenties to get out of the city to avoid yet another war or partition and taking a ship to London to find fame and fortune. He might even just have finished his apprenticeship as a tailor.
From arriving in the London Docks, he didn’t need to go far to end up in Bexley. A few years later he moved to Shoreditch, just a mile or so from where I live now!
I think Robert could have given me two characteristics, other than the ambition and the coeliac disease.
- His Jewish religion, but not its philosophy and values, seems to have been abandoned. I am very much a confirmed atheist with what I think, are fairly sound moral values, shared with most mainstream religions.
- He also endowed me with genes that enable me to endure the cold.
It may not be a correct tale, but even so, isn’t it a reflection down the centuries of today’s streams of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and other places.
Except the religion!
I know she was elected, but this report on the BBC, surely says that she shouldn’t have stood for the post if things she would have to do were against her religious beliefs.
There must be other jobs, where religious or other beliefs mean you should not be appointed.
Suppose a doctor believed that homoeopathy had the cure for everything, they would not make the World’s best GP, unless all the patients, they saw were fellow believers.
Not my words, but those of David Cameron in this report on the BBC. These are the full words he used.
We all have a role to play in stopping people from having their minds poisoned by this appalling death cult.
I agree entirely.
If Islamic State was something like the movement started by Jim Jones, that ended so tragically in Guyana, we might have taken action earlier.
They say there’s one born every minute and religion certainly takes advantage.
What I find strange about religion, is that it often fleeces the poor of their money and sanity, but although the rich may leave their money to their church, temple or mosque, they generally don’t get fleeced in their lifetime.
I watched a lot of the debate the so-called three parent babies and am very pleased that the House of Commons voted in favour. The debate is covered fully in this article on the BBC web site.
I saw several men and no women put up ridiculous arguments as to why they were voting against. Several of these dinosaurs are listed as Roman Catholic on Wikipedia.
No MP has any business to use principles of his or her religion to legislate for others in the UK, who do not share their faith.
So if a Jewish or Muslim member, wants to bring in a bill banning the eating of pork in the UK, they should have no right.
I am old enough to remember the birth of Louise Brown; the world’s first IVF baby. We look at IVF as commonplace and Robert Edwards won a Nobel Prize for his work in the field, but at the time it was controversial.
I believe that in a few years time, this technique, which is being developed at Newcastle University, will also enter the mainstream too.
Simon Fanshawe is a respected commentator and today, he reviewed the papers on BBC Breakfast. He picked up this article in the Daily Mail entitled Flags at half mast and fawning praise for a King ‘loved by his people’ sparks furious backlash over rule which saw ‘death by stoning’ for adultery and regular beheadings.
It is not often I agree with the Daily Mail, but I agree with the areticle’s tone and would go further. David Cameron and Prince Charles should not be going to Saudi Arabia. How about sending two of Princess Anne/Prince Andrew and Nick Clegg/Theresa May?
I have never been to Saudi Arabia and never will until they bring their justice into the civilised world and treat women, homosexuals and other religions with respect. The same principle applies to other countries like the United States, Israel, Zimbabwe, North Korea and quite a few other countries. There are just so many interesting places with better systems, that I’m not cutting off my nose to spite my face.
Professor Michael Baum is an amazing doctor and surgeon, who I have had the pleasure of meeting.
In The Times today, he has a letter published about accreditation of homoeopaths to the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA).
He writes this memorable sentence.
From now on they will be able to check if their homoeopathic doctor is a fully trained quack or simply someone masquerading as a quack.
I do not believe in anything that can’t be scientifically proven by rigorous methods. The three at the top of my list are religion, homoeopathy and many of the zanier and animal-unfriendly aspects of Chinese medicine.
I was reading an article in the Sunday Times about how Germans are leaving churches in droves as they don’t want to pay the church tax. Here’s the jist.
When it comes to a choice between God and mammon, German churchgoers are overwhelmingly choosing mammon.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been leaving the German churches every year, appalled by child sex abuse scandals and outrageous spending by clerical fat cats.
It would appear that for the average wage earner, it could be several thousand euros, which all church members pay to their chosen church.
There’s more about the so-called church tax in Wikipedia and I was surprised at how many countries have one. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the tax in Austria.
Church tax is compulsory for Catholics in Austria, with a rate of 1.1%. This tax was introduced by Hitler in 1939. After World War II, the tax was retained in order to keep the Church independent of political powers.
The Sunday Times said that some Catholics in Germany, who don’t pay the tax might be refused a religious burial. How charitable is that, when apparently the Catholic Church in Germany is said in the article to be worth £341bn.
Many of us moan about tax rates, but at least here’s one tax, that we don’t have to pay.