BDS: What say you UK?

Yesterday Ireland set out a second of its landmark making decisions by rule of the Dail, (Lower house of Parliament) which could potentially set political waves across the Irish sea and awashing our establishment to act ; a bill was passed that boycotts the sale of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.  Under international laws and Palestinian rights advocates the West Bank settlements are considered illegal and the BDS movement, (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) which has been hailed as a new form of activism is being taken up by parliamentary standards as before it was primarily supported by academia and various party and union institutions.

The vote was passed receiving a 78 – 45 majority in favour of taking action against the illegal acts of the Israeli government that chronically and violently oppress the people of Palestine.  It has several more motions before it can be ruled into Irish Law but it’s expected by opposition parties that support this moral precedent to be without hindrance due to their largely broadened backing.  The BDS activism of past has been not without its criticism though, the author Norman Finkelstein in 2012 took to alienating his left wing readership when he spoke publicly that he believed the movement was inconsistent with international law.  The kind of language he used though was literal inflammatory hatred of BDS.  “I loathe the disingenuousness” he wrote venomously, “they don’t want Israel to exist, It’s a cult”.  The irony Finkelstein failed to pin here is this is the same caustic expression some Israeli settlers have about their Palestinian neighbours and simply dis-acknowledge their right to exist.

But whether you support those who condemn the Israeli government and support BDS or the people who publicly condone a two state solution with both sides able to co-exist in begrudging harmony, (as cultural sectarianism isn’t simply washed away by political progress) the problem with BDS is that it is the Israeli people who suffer the most as it mostly dampens their economy without cracking the authoritarian nature of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu,  whose universal goal is the wiping out of Palestine and its people.  For now though BDS appears the only language in activism that criticises openly the government of Israel and the 2000+ Palestinians killed, (and that’s just from 2000 to 2018).

And in the role of international cooperation this move by Irish parliament has the potential to apply pressure on all the right muscles within other democracies.  Hopefully the UK can sit up putting a cup to the Irish sea and hear more than just the waves, also the need for political acknowledgment at the bloodshed carried out on the Gaza strip.

drugs, nhs

Billy Caldwell vs The month before June

Last week young Billy Caldwell had his medication taken away from him when he was entering the UK travelling back from Canada.  His condition is Epilepsy, and his medication, Cannabis Oil.  The oil which he effectively uses to reduce seizures is legal in Canada but as you would expect with our excessively stringent drug laws remains illegal In the United Kingdom.  After being admitted to the nearest treatment centre his mother made a telling statement.

“The home office have signed my sons death warrant”.

When 12-year-old Billy was discharged from hospital after last weekend his clearly anguished mother made a statement to BBC News about the culpability of confiscation that led her son to be admitted into medical care.  “The responsibility is that of the home office in the United Kingdom” she distressingly declared on the steps of the Chelsea and Westminster hospital.  But before she could utter another word the news broadcaster cut her off mid sentence cutting to the Prime Minister who was delivering another of her key note statement on the NHS funding argument.  It would be almost comical if it wasn’t so brazenly bias for a prime news service to sever a grief stricken mother off who blames the UK Government for the sickness of her son and shifting the necessity of focus to the leader of the country who states almost in almost (im) perfect timing, “The NHS is there when we need it”.  This was a foul move by the British Broadcasting Corporation in what was supposed to comfort the viewer into believing that the Conservative party are supporting the National Health Service, instead of doing right by the many children who’re affected by not having access to this treatment.  Since Billy was sanctioned his medication the government have attempted to politically whitewash the issue by putting the debate of legalising Cannabis oil for medicinal purposes through the houses of parliament, which is expected to be successful so that the countless other children who have had to obtain their treatment from Canada have no permissible recourse, seeing that one individual has been given the right to take the illegal pomade.

But as a farcically flavoured side note many are contesting the approach they are taking to pay for the service which the tax payers already fund, by paying more tax.  It was confirmed yesterday that some of the £250 million that we currently pay to the European Union, (not the £350 million that ministers claimed) will go toward it and the rest will be taking out of working peoples pockets.  Not what the people were promised by the remain campaign back in 2016.  But the sun rises on one irrefutable fact that many will be stunted to ignore, that the members of parliament, (from whichever party they hold allegiance to) are foolish to consider that simply throwing money at the social legacy of Aneurin Bevan, (Nye Bevan to the rest of you) is part of the reason the National Health Service will continue to fall into the mire created by bureaucratic organisation.  It needs a reformation, not refunding.  An over-hall of the wages paid at the top rung and urgent restructure at the bottom so that Junior Dr’s and Nurses will be given the credence they deserve, a responsibility that both Labour and the Conservatives have on their hands.  Because otherwise people like young Billy Caldwell will forever be ignored by the service that was originally designed to protect and not impair.







An announcement within a canvas



The Austrian neurologist Victor E Frankl was one of the many witnesses who spoke of the existential horrors they frightfully observed and engaged with in the Holocaust, as well as the lessons that could be applied in the real world if they survived. The magnificent book he wrote of his account, ‘Man’s search for meaning’ also applied a philosophy to a life that is potently aware of it’s mortality. One individual he spoke to in the camp spoke about the futility of life and how empty it is. Frankl in calm delivery asked the man what he did before he came to the camp. After finding out the frail person was a scientist in the real world the doctor looked at him and simply uttered, ‘but if you give up now who will that write that book for you?’. Frankl never knew whether he ever wrote the book he was destined to write or had even survived the systematic execution of his people, but the sentiment the good doctor wanted to convey to the man in that moment was clear.

Our meaning cannot be handed to us, we have to dig for it ourselves. If something doesn’t work then we try a different method of gouging the soil from the earth. But, “The most thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging” Warren Buffet said that for those who simply buy themselves into debt and lack the tools to reach a level ground in their finances, but it can be applied to almost any situation that requires the individual to learn what’s fruitful and what feeds more decay toward what will eventually bring the fruit tree down. So in order to keep Lemons in I’ve decided to change something drastically and have this week begun writing my first book on the subject of ‘revolution’. This is my fruit tree, the book that no-one else shall write for me. I shall keep all of you who view my blog updated when I can about my progress but it’s in its infancy stages yet so no details yet, no heart beat, just the conception. But in regard to my own artistic development, what a beautiful birth it shall be.

“Only in art will the Lion lie down with the Lamb and the Rose grow without thorn” – Martin Amis


My father the mortal

‘All of a sudden it began to happen without the admonition I needed to breathe, I found myself inexhaustibly crying in front of colleagues old and new with the burning knowledge that my father was actually dead’.

Last nights events in the REM sleep brought what felt like a real time motion of grief and panic when I was pertly confronted with the knowledge that my father is no longer with me and coming to terms with this scale of the dilemma.  It physically terrified me for a moment or seven when I slowly came back into consciousness and as I came coherent again I recalled the cerebral sensation that has been slowly creeping up on me since my late teens as dry rot would on a dream home.  This is what Simone De Beauvoir called ‘the scandal of finiteness’, an undeviating addressment to the inescapable mortality of man, the death of us, our loved ones, and the beast that lives as one of the most universal of horrors in a society of any geographical description.  Paraphrasing Robert Jordan, ‘Death comes to us all, we can only choose how to face away when it comes’.

Throughout the years we hear different lessons of ethos that are designed to make us believe we are destined to be more categorical creatures of thought, whether they pay off though is down to the acuity of others.   But one such lesson I’ve heard rear it’s head through the plain of though throughout the years is the effulgence of warmth or the darkness of defeat created by a birth or a death.  Two events that have capacity to truly maketh the man.

One thing that must be coupled with this attitude of a death knell on a personal level is my surprising, (to some) lack of experience with the passing of someone close. For I come from a materially small family from the South of the United Kingdom as do both of my parents.  Also I am an only child, so are both my parents.  This is a scene that comes across rather queer to most of my peers as I hold little in relation to what I deem and they hold dear, the traditional nuclear family.  But does the need for us to have relations with the ones we respect actually matter when it comes to the one experience we all have in common but won’t be able to change, when, in Rush Limbaugh’s words, ‘we assume room temperature’.  As though we’d be able to assume anything beyond this eventually daunting event when it comes, one which our fathers will already have embarked upon many milestones ago.


All things can tempt me, but not the Church


In 1983 Ireland was given a referendum to vote on an amendment to already existing abortion laws imposed by the state which after a 67% majority led to a overwhelming victory for the pro-life movement and a further restriction of choice for women who fall pregnant, regardless of situation or reason.  Abortion was already illegal and had been since 1861 under the Catholic mandate which fundamentally read that a unborn fetus was recognized as a person but the motion meant that a prenatal organism was to be given the same rights as the yet to be mother.  The assembly of Ireland, (The Dáil Éireann ) voted 110 to 32 in favour of holding a referendum which can potentially abolish the archaic abortion law in Ireland, (called the 8th amendment) and give women the right to say NO. 

If the amendment is abolished then it would mean women can go through the procedure on their home soil rather than travel to other nations which they can currently do without fear of prosecution, but the latter is only due to the clauses that have been implemented over the years, not because of the kdness of the motion made thirty five years ago.

The piously outdated abortion laws in Ireland stands sharp to the wind when they are understood as human rights violations mandated by the state, motioned by the church and make any opportunity for life more important than the rights of any woman in the country.  The division between defence and repeal is fundamentally a grave appendage of the battle between what has been the open nerve of disunion in the country for centuries, Catholic vs Protestant.  The war of faith isn’t something I wish to go too deep into here, but do not disband the truth that it all ties back to which church you belong to.

There are some that believe the small clauses that have been indented on the amendment since 1983 are a laxing in opinion, slowly swaying public thought toward a successful ballot tomorrow.  But the lengths that activists are going to in championing the NO campaign are divulging another truth.  On the street outside Irish Parliament yesterday a man was pacing up and down with a sign around his neck which read ‘yes voters, you should have been aborted’.  In Donegal a No campaigner planted 17’000 small white crosses on a road in commemoration for every child that shall never be born in Ireland if the YES movement hails a victory.  It’s a number of extremes but it symbolises exactly what this means to those who thinks the country will lose it’s way if religious authority is undermined in any way.

The vote on repealing article 40.3.3 of the constitution tomorrow has the potential to be an historical monument for human rights but I don’t think this will be the cultural epoch of our time.  If we look at the last row of milestones in history they’ve been allowed to be codified into law not because of a tempering in the consensus but because landmark cases in small sections of the country.  In 2015 the supreme court of the United States ruled that same sex marriage must be hailed under the recognition question which was a result of the case Obergefell vs Hodges.  Even though pastors in various states have refused to marry couples of the same gender on religious grounds by law their human rights must be recognised, and now so must the freedoms of the Gaelic women.

And of course I do like the gleam supplied by surprises in all their forms.  A poll in 2016 by the market research agency Ipsos had a turnout of 67% wanting to repeal the amendment and one held in April of this year had the result at 63% in favour.  There are many that wish for the laws to be changed but only in specialist circumstances and others that would prefer the UK model where it is the right of the woman to abort if she so wishes at a time before it would become harmful to the child in utero.

I am hoping within the next 48 hours that the religion of sectarianism has a distinct milestone left at the door of St Patrick’s Cathedral and in the hands of Pope Francis when he visits Ireland in August and draw a line in the sand of today.  It won’t end the hoary feud between the Catholic church and human rights but for now the people of Ireland have an opportunity to give women in Ireland what they rightfully deserve, human rights and the right to be recognised as an individual in control of their own destiny.