Tag Archive | War

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

On Remembrance Day I write a poem which is based on the concerns of a 94 year old veteran who served in the Second World War. This former soldier believes that we are now standing at the brink of a third world war and potential global catastrophe due to what he calls the greed and self interest of a group of sociopathetic leaders who have no compassion or empathy for those they lead or for the greater human race as they seek only power no matter the cost to the rest of us. I hope I have done justice to the words of Harry Leslie Smith in this poem which I’ve titled As Lands Lie Bleeding. I hope you enjoy the read. 

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

I can’t stand by and watch the world explode

these are not my words 

but those of a former soldier

in the winter of his years

who genuinely fears for our human race 

this is a man who has faced unspeakable horrors

the likes of which we hoped we would never see again 

like hearing whilst stationed in Germany 

that atomatic bombs had been dropped on japanese cities

and turned the souls of inhabitants 

in to what he describes as chalk marked stenciled drawings on pavements 

in the fragile peace of a cold war world

we had believed those days were behind us 

yet now we stand at a crossroads

not seen since the 1930’s and rise of Nazi Germany

as once more the conservative right 

squares  up for a fight without realising the consequences 

these people have a glorified sense of self 

but no sense of other nor compassion for their plight 

without a moral compass they play games with our lives 

in contrast to those who rebuilt a shattered continent 

at the end of the last global conflict 

who in this country brought us

The NHS and welfare state 

but now the politics of fear and hate are on the rise again 

as the disadvantaged look for scapegoats

to blame for their decline 

shortage of housing and rising crime statistics

blame it on the forigners not the British 

say those who preach exclusion 

as if by doing so we magically solve all problems 

I support an independent Scotland 

but I recognise that independence alone would not solve our problems overnight 

however in the dreamworld of the British Conservative right

they are prepared to make no such admissions about their United Kingdom

and by perpuating their delusions 

they are sacrificing the ambitions of their children 

to live in a better world than this 

an old soldier is warning us 

with autocratic governments in positions of power 

the world stands at the darkest hour 

since the days of Hitler and the reich 

life he says cannot go on like this 

something has to give.

we are standing on the brink of war 

he urges us to take a step back 

not for the Saltaire, stars and stripes, or union flag 

but for humanity 

he worries about the sanity of sociopathetic leaders 

with no respect  for others 

as they lust for power at all costs

and watch lands lie bleeding 

as they play war games by remote control 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

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A Triumph For Humanity In Spite Of The Greatest Of Obstacles As A Poet Asks The Questions On The Topics That Won’t Go Away (A Review Of The Other Side Of The Flood By David Lee Morgan) 

As regular readers will no doubt be aware due to my lack of posts on the topic, my Edinburgh fringe was a wee bit late in kicking off this year. This was due to the after effects of a leg injury taking longer than expected to sod off and so it wasn’t until the Tuesday of week three that  I finally got off and running but when I did I hit it with a vengeance As I got to the Banshee which is and ever shall be my Edinburgh local I settled in , having my first of many Diet Coke’s before going to see my  first show of Edinburgh 2017. 

The show of choice was The Other Side Of The Flood by David Lee Morgan (pictured below) This play in six voices set in the year 2035 was a beautifully constructed piece of theatre in which Morgan an accomplished poet , and musician narrates the story of a world on the brink of a global socialist revolution. Fighting has broken all out all over the world and all communication has stopped. To add to this the American government has used nuclear weapons on it’s own people most noticeably the Los Angeles Socialist Revolutionary Commune which has been decimated by this attack. 

Picture David Lee Morgan rocks the Banshee Banqueting Hall 

During an action packed 50 minutes Morgan explores the themes of socialism, internationalism, love,  cross cultural boundaries, death, hopes, fears, and mental health through Jesse a young Mexican-American , and his lover Sultana who comes from a traditional Pakistani Muslim background.

 As our story begins the world is on the eve of the revolution but this development is not welcomed by everyone and is being  fiercely opposed by those forces who have most to lose. The Los Angeles commune has been attacked and many of the revolutionaries killed whilst Jesse lies on a life support machine. There is only one way to save humanity from an impending Armageddon and that is to place the brain of a fighter for peace in to the computer drone which could change everything and Jesse is the perfect candidate for the task. Through still alive, he has no chance of making what we would call a full recovery and is living out his last days determined to do what he can for the cause he believes in with every fibre of his being

During this time a void is needing to be filled as people lose faith in organised religions and the old order is on the verge of collapse. This depending on your viewpoint can be seen as crisis or opportunity and the global socialist movement view it as an opportunity to create a new belief system to benefit humanity. The old order however will not go quietly in the night and resistance to change will be sharply defended.

On the eve of what would surely be the war to end them all, a young couple think of the coming days as the great battle for a better world. Though from very different backgrounds Mexican-American and Pakistani Asian there is no doubting the strength of their beliefs or indeed their love 

With her passion running as deep as her principles Sultana calls her mother to tell her of her plans to stay in America with Jesse as something wonderful was going to happen but the fight will begin soon. Her mother reminds her that is there is  also fighting in her homeland and pleads with her to return home. Sultana however is headstrong and in love and has no intention of leaving Jesse behind for her mother or anyone else. This causes tension between Sultana and her mother though the familial bonds of love and loyalty remain strong across both cultures and generations. 

At this point Sultana reminds her mother that though she lives in the west she still attends mosque and prays five tines a day and that Jesse understands the importance of her faith. Her mother however reminds her that she cannot  marry outside the faith. Frustrated by rules and regulations Sultana reminds her mother that it was fine for her brother to marry a non Muslim and asks why her it’s different for girls Meanwhile Jesse’s condition is deteriorating as we hear flashbacks from his past conflicts and computerised voices telling young men to man up whilst other voices relate the tragic tale  of a soldier having a break down and this forces upon on us the grim realisation that for some former combatants the war never ends and the permanent potential threat of post traumatic stress disorder stalks them like shadows in the middle of the darkest time of night. 

 Tackling these issues with the sensitivity they deserve David Lee Morgan asks much needed questions about both conflict and the role of masculinity within it. These are questions which need asking and cannot be ducked. These are questions which it a brave writer and performer to ask. Luckily David Lee Morgan is exactly that type of  artist. He is an outstanding poet and musician who relishes challenging convention and saying the kind of topics I talk about are real and will not go away. He enjoys holding authority to account not by shouting  or stamping his feet but opening your eyes to new possibilities such as the potential for a real global socialism to take root and as he showed with the ending of this play where he presents us with two roads and leaves the decision to us as to which will be the destination of our choice.

In this show as in all of Morgan’s work he shows the  human spirit is capable of overcoming even the greatest of the obstacles as it triumphs in spite of itself and the barriers it so often puts in place to hinder the path to progress . That to me is the true mark of an artist of genuine substance and David Lee Morgan  is such an artist.

Till next time. 

Gayle X

Smelling The Roses

​On day 24 of NaPoWriMo I decided that political satire would be my poetic weapon of choice after seeing a UKIP candidate’s response as to why they are standing for election on social media. After laughing so much it nearly split my sides I remembered what I’ve always known namely politics is a serious business and though UKIP might like to portray themselves as lovable eccentric guardians of tradition they are in reality anything but. In fact truth be told these people are of the hard right conservative school of political thought and have some very  extreme and dangerous views. It is with in mind I decided to write this poem in the form of a UKIP candidate’s speech to highlight the type of country I don’t want to live in. The title for the poem was chosen for me by my Norwich based friend and fellow poet Andy Bennett  who selected the title Smelling The Roses. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Smelling The Roses (The Thoughts Of A UKIP Supporter) 
You ask me why I want to be elected 

well I’ll tell you 

it’s because I believe

  the British way of life is under threat 

and I want to put forward  solutions 

I couldn’t give a damn for devolution

the revolution has to be stopped.

I’m a proud Scot but I know my place 

so here’s what I think we need to do 

to put some pride back in the red white and blue 

I’ll start with sports

 I am convinced every child  should learn to ride a horse 

but as for golf , those courses are environmental disaster 

and a threat to the safety of our people 

and that is something I cannot abide 

still on environmental matters 

I want plastic bags abolished 

they are a threat to animals especially whales and dolphins 

as for an independent Scotland forget it 

I’m a proud Scot but 

Westminster is our colonial master 

and we should be content to keep it that way 

Mrs Thatcher was wonderful back in the day 

I’m a plain speaker and say what’s on my mind 

which I think you’ll find enlightening 

some people find my views on capital punishment frightening 

I think the death penalty should be restored 

but I wouldn’t bring back hanging 

the guillotine would be better 

and I’ll tell you something else

we’re heading in to world war three 

due to China, India , and the SNP 

that lot are a public danger 

and it’s all to do with 

money, and greed  

we in Britain do a lot for charity 

comic relief is wonderful 

so is children in need 

talking of children 

I think poor people shouldn’t have them.

now this is only my view 

but in my united kingdom 

mother’s should stay at home

to look after their little darlings

there should be no support for nurseries 

but all schools need classes 

and education needs reforming 

 this is a warning we are heading for  world war three 

I blame it on the SNP 

it will have nothing to do with Tony Blair or Theresa May 

personally I think we should go to war with Spain over Gibraltar

after all we’ve beat them before

when we sunk their Armada

remember the Falklands it was great wasn’t it 

yes I know there were millions unemployed

and living in poverty 

but we had pride in the flag

we were respected then 

now it’s all this political correctness lunacy

there is no such thing as an LGBT community

that kind of thing should be kept private

behind closed doors

you get good and bad people of all types 

talking of rights

I believe Margo MacDonald’s right to die bill

should be put to referendum 

well old people are living too long 

though working them till there 70 

should tire some out 

well if there dead  we don’t need to  worry about their living expenses 

we really need to come to our senses

the free bus pass scheme has to stop 

these people should be encouraged to walk 

I know you’ll be shocked at some of my views 

but here’s the bit you didn’t hear on the news

I would reopen public loo’s 

and create community gardens

yes I know I maybe hard on some issues

but believe me we don’t have time for tissues 

 it’s time to wake up and smell the roses. 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

A Little Town Laments (The Story Of Christmas In Bethlehem) 

In my  23rd  Blogmas post  I honour a promise to the Scottish Palestinian Society which I made on a trip to Edinburgh last month when supporters held an information session in the chill of a November afternoon as on en  route to the Scottish Poetry Library for an all day  Women’s poetry symposium.  

As I chatted to one of the volunteers who was staffing the stall he gave me a Christmas card and asked me to put it up alongside the others I would get.  Needless to say I promised I would and not only that I promised I would I write a poem on the information it gave me and this is that poem I’ve given it the title A Little Town Laments I hope you find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read. 

A Little Town Laments 

It was in Bethlehem a child was born in stable 

laid in a manger to rest on hay

fast forward to the present 

ask what would Jesus say 

about the fact there are 22 illegal settlements 

where people stay in fear of their lives 

there, are barriers to movement 

no room for inclusion or improvement 

for those branded terrorists

ordinary Palestinian citizens

 are hemmed in by fortresses and walls 

bombs could drop on them 

at any time of day or night 

Isreali air strikes a permanent reninder

of the occupation of their lands 

Christian and Muslim both understand

 they cannot worship openly 

practising their faith is almost impossible 

restricted as they are 

by a rule which is in many ways similar to Herod’s 

at the time of Christ’s arrival 

when survival was the name of the game 

It’s sad to think the story’s still the same 

as a little town laments the causalities of hate 

In another bleak mid winter 

@ Gayle Smith 2016 

Happiness Grief And Sunshine On Leith (The Story Of A Fairytale As Hibs End A 114 Year Wait To Win The Scottish Cup)

Hey Readers At around 4.50 PM on Saturday in the sunny south side of Glasgow Hibernian ended a 114 wait and finally claimed the Scottish Cup that generations of fans had only dared to dream of when they finally took the old trophy back to Leith for the first time since 1902 as they beat Rangers 3-2 in what was one of the most entertaining finals in recent years.

To put this final in context the last time Hibs won Scottish Football’s showcase event, Britain had an empire which reached all four corners of the globe, and the nation was still in shock at the death Queen Victoria the previous year and our armed forces were involved in a conflict overseas in this case the Boar War in which they had no chance whatsoever of success. Now the empire may be dead and gone but the Saxe Coburg Gothe aka Windsor family dynasty still reign over us and if you substitute South Africa for Afghanistan and Iraq we are still as clueless as we’ve always been in the field of international relations. So the more things change the more they stay the same

It was Celtic who were defeated 1-0 as the world adjusted to the early 20th century but 114 years Hibs had the chance to complete their personal old firm double as
it was Rangers who provided the opposition to give Scotland it’s first ever Scottish Cup Final which would be contested by two teams from outside our country’s top division. This in itself was a tremendous achievement for both clubs whom I would describe as top tier teams on loan to the lower leagues.

As for the game itself it was a cracking spectacle filled with fast paced football from kick off to final whistle and it was Hibs who seized the early initiative as Anthony Stokes on loan from Celtic giving them the lead after only 3 minutes as he scored from a tight angle to put the underdogs in front. The perfect start it may have been but the question in hearts and minds of every Leither was can I dare to dream this might be our day ? When Kenny Miller a born and bred Hibs fan equalised for Rangers the answer appeared to be no but determined to win
and end a run of 10 consecutive losing finals Hibs continued to gave as good as they got and could consider themselves unlucky not to be in the lead but at half time 1-1 scoreline set us up for a cracking second half. 

As the second half started the game ebbed and flowed with both sides enjoying periods of dominance and but when Andy Halliday put Rangers 2-1 up with a 25 yard screamer in the 63rd minute Hibs fans must have thought oh my God here we go again it’s going to be another glorious or not so glorious failure
and for the next 15 minutes it certainly looked like it was going to be Rangers day.

Never ones to be anything less than triumphalist the Rangers  fans started gave voice to there usual obnoxious sectarian chants and in doing so gave the perfect demonstration of the ugly side of nationalism. I refer of course the racist and colonial British nationalism so beloved by our sycophantic unionist press, media, and political establishment. Suddenly however realising they had to go for broke Hibs started to lay siege to the Rangers goal and within Anthony Stokes , Dylan McGeoch , and Liam Henderson and Jason Cummings all influential it was only a matter of time before they silenced the Ibrox choir by scoring a deserved equaliser Stokes heading home from a corner kick with Foderingham in the Rangers goal powerless to stop his effort.

As the commentary team talked of extra time and even the possibility of penalties to decide the outcome of this game both teams went in search of a winner and though the momentum was clearly with Hibs, Rangers were still a serious threat on the counter attack.

As the game entered injury time and extra time looking a distinct possibility the game took one final turn and with Hibs top scorer and talisman Jason Cummings still to score despite having a brilliant track record in this particular fixture Hibs gained a corner and it was from that an unlikely hero emerged as David Gray scored what would prove to be a dramatic winner and bring Hibernian’s 114 year wait for Scottish cup glory to an end.

In the anxious wait for the final whistle Hibs fans and indeed every neutral in the country were praying that time would pass quickly and the long wait would be over  Indeed my fellow blogger BurdzEyeView reminded the players not to fall over in the last few seconds whilst I and every other Celtic or neutral fan in Scotland and beyond  said a silent prayer  for Hibs to hold their nerve. Eventually it came and Hibs had won the Scottish Cup for the first time in more than a century.

Amongst the scenes of joy however there was unfortunately trouble as some Hibs fans made their way on to the pitch and conducted themselves in a way unbecoming of football fans  by attacking a Rangers player who formerly wore the colours of their arch rivals Hearts. This I believe was not the only incident as there were other Rangers players who were also attacked and according to my sources a man in a Rangers blazer aimed a kick in the direction of a Hibs fan and a number of Rangers fans ran in the direction of the Hibernian supporters launching completely unprovoked attacks on the celebrating fans. This bitter aftertaste carried on after the game with sections of the Hibs fans running riot on reaching Edinburgh and hordes of Rangers fans rampaging through Glasgow city centre with intent on causing mayhem to anyone who crossed their path.

To me these  unsavoury incidents shames those involved but let’s be clear about this it  shames a mindless minority of supporters of both clubs but only those those involved as the vast majority of both Hibs and  Rangers supporters behaved impeccably. I do however have to say that the vile, vicious, and vindictive attempt by the Rangers board to get Hibs banned from Europe and their hysterical attacks on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is the kind of behaviour I would expect from such a petty small minded club whose support have a rather unpleasant history when it comes to accepting defeat with dignity. Now some in the chattering classes may think I am being unkind with regards to this matter but it has to be said that given Rangers fans previous form for undesirable behaviour I found their club’s statement that their supporters had shown commendable restraint  to be both insulting and laughable.

It is in my opinion, this kind of inflammatory language which fan the flames of division and our so-called national broadcasting corporation did nothing to dampen these flames as they seemed only too happy to make merry with the Billy Boys and other sectarian tunes but ended their air time by cutting short Sunshine On Leith  a beautiful song with no sectarian lyrics whatsoever. Even in football the BBC just can’t disguise its unionist leanings. Believe me when I say this will do precisely nothing to win back the hearts and viewing figures of those those lost during the referendum who believed the BBC to be guilty of pro union bias. 

So it passes in to History a Scottish Cup Final which unfortunately be remembered more at least by the press and establishment for the post match rammy than for the best and most entertaining showcase the Scottish game has seen in years
So let us not forget that the amidst the shenanigans there was a football match and my friend Audrey Marshall a Hibs fan for 30 years was delighted at the outcome on a day saw which showed fairytales can come true and was a potent mixture of Happiness, Grief , and Sunshine On Leith.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Final Mission

Hey everyone  As some of you will know I have a strong faith and attend church on a regular basis. Though I don’t often write faith based poetry  there are some times it can’t be avoided especially when you find the Bible such an inspirational book. Having recently read through Revelation I was captivated by the idea of trying to tell what I see as the world’s scariest story in poetic form but I thought I would give it a try. I have titled the poem The  Final Mission I hope you find. It a thought provoking read.

The Final Mission

Four well trained assassins

gather together for one final mission

before scattering to all corners of the earth

each carefully selects the places

where they will hide among the natives

death will travel north

live in the better off lands

in the hearts of those frustrated by the must have generation

a traveller he will not settle in any particular nation

preferring to wander through them all

he has heard the call  and will strike whilst  leaders sleep

using fear as the deadliest weapon

War will settle in the west

in the lands of plains and prairies

where lone gunmen once roamed free

and pursuit of dreams left inhabitants

with a winner takes all view of humanity

conflict breeds barbarity in political agendas

the greedy know that killing if put out to tender

can make them rich in a land which claims to be the home of the brave.

making no mention of the economic slavery

it imposes on others both at home and overseas

the judge knows no land is completely free

no matter what leaders may say to the  contrary

to protect their illusion of democracy

which works for those who can afford  to pay

Meanwhile famine has journeyed south

to the drought plagued lands of Sub Saharan Africa

where the sun always shines

and the locals pray for rain every once in a while

just to make the land a fit place for growing crops

to feed their families

in countries  with the lowest life expectancy on earth

where only the powerful live to a ripe old age

these nations will never claim centre stage

trapped as they are in a vicious circle of debt and early death

from which escape is not a choice they get the chance to enjoy

Poverty is the last voice to be heard

his home is in the eastern lands

where sweatshops are a common reality

for those who wish to survive

and staying alive is more than a bee gees song

which some  of us danced to in our youth

there is one inescapable truth

from which we can run but never hide

revealed in the bible’s final book

it tells us that these four horsemen

will meet  at the home of the deceiver

believers will have to fight with all we have and more

make no mistake our enemies will be ready

but so the will the judge

and the earth will be crowned in glory

in the final battle when all will be revealed.

@ Gayle Smith 2015

If We Listen To The People With Stories To Tell And Let Those Stories Be Told We Can End Forever The Pantomime Of Good Old British Values

Hey everyone This post is another from my backlog of articles from the National. This time the article, written by one of freshest most radical voices in Scotland Cat Boyd, claims we are witnessing the end of what she refers to as bigoted British values and we’re replacing them with a more compassionate and principled set of beliefs more fitting to the world we live in rather than our imperial past. Though the ever bold  Boyd, states that neither the UK government nor the mainstream media have anything to do with this change in people’s thinking.

Boyd starts her article with an attack on that most principled and humanitarian of Labour MP’s Frank Field who on hearing that the Conservative government were preparing to spend £ 100 million on refugees and economic migrants  said ‘Imagine the wall we could build round our country with that money. I do hope that people realise i was heavily ironic when i described this red Tory as being a humanitarian. For some reason known to me, Cat Boyd, a others on the yes side of Scotland’s independence  debate, and indeed many principled no voters that charge just wouldn’t stack up.  You see no matter our differences we shared one important belief which was so eloquently expressed by Boyd in her recent article. This was that Field was as she put it ‘a Westminster echo of Donald Trump’.

Boyd then slates his employers namely the party i refer to much to their great annoyance as the British Loyal Labour And Unionist Party by stating that no-one from the Labour Party was in the mood reprimand Field and reminds us that it was only a few months ago that Labour produced their ‘control on immigration mugs. This was in my opinion an absolute disgrace for an organisation which was and have no doubt about this pandering the rise in support for UKIP and by doing so gave up any pretence of being even a remotely social democratic party  let alone a socialist one and believe me when i say that not even Jeremy Corbyn can pretend the Labour Party are socialist anymore.

It seemed at least at the time of the election that to critique what Boyd describes as ‘the national consensus’ was to appear out of touch with the mood of the people, and this was certainly the case if you gained you information from reading the ‘traditional  UK press or listened to the whitterings of the chattering classes on the mainstream TV channels. Everywhere you looked there were reports of what Boyd describes as the main media story which of bogus asylum seekers or economic migrants coming over to good old blighty to milk our wonderful welfare system. Tabloid truths were as Boyd says presented as ‘Good Old British Common Sense and we witnessed what Boyd called ‘The Pantomime Of British Values

Whilst this may tickle the funny bone of a certain kind of pro British right wing journalist who secretly longs for the return of empire, the colonies, and servants where everyone knew their and did what their masters told them with unquestioning obeisance, it is no laughing matter for those labelled, and scapegoated, because they are at the other side of the story. Boyd however gets to the root of the problem by stating that one of the key reasons for the success of this narrative is that ‘working class  communities have seen no benefits from gflobalisation’ This means that they feel disenfranchised and disillusioned with a system which they perceive to be working for everyone else but them as are therefore opened to this kind of emotionally seductive rhetoric As our author points out however, the real problem is not the free movement of people that has always happened and indeed will to continue to do so. The real issue we need to face is ‘free movement of money.

Now before anyone says that this has only occurred since the election of 2010 when David Cameron’s Conservatives returned to power after a 13 year absence albeit with the support of the Liberal Democrats in what they called a unity coalition, i should point  out that Boyd correctly states that it was New Labour under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who were the champions of the free markets There is though no denying the mind thyself first politics of the Conservatives has exacerbated the situation dramatically and The Prime Minister of what is supposed to be one of the most developed democratic societies in the word referring to people as a swarm was very best cruel and at worst totally malevolent. Though even that comment vindictive, and nasty as it was pales in to insignificance when compared to Sun columnist Katie Hopkins who described them cockroaches.

This us and them mentality reflects badly on Britain and on the values we as a nation hold. The idea that there is not enough to go round is utterly ridiculous and in my opinion nauseating. The truth of the matter is that Britain is a resource rich nation and there is more than enough money to help not only those who live here but also those who want to seek shelter or have an opportunity to better themselves. Though as Cat Boyd there is a lack of political will to make it happen. It seems that a significant section of British society would sooner continue to perpetuate what Boyd refers to as ‘the disgraceful lie of scapegoating than help those in genuine humanitarian need’. or at least it did until fairly recently, though in the last few month something has happened and the mood in the country is definitely changing though as Boyd correctly states ‘the traditional media has nothing to do with the change in the public mood as the usual suspect continue to serve up the usual tripe’. Though in recent days David Cameron has , as Boyd states ‘been forced to curb his tough talk This is an improvement but how long it will last in a country shaped by war and a culture of imperialism remains to be seen.

Talking of war, the fact that Britain spend £37 billion pounds per year  on defence which is as Boyd says war by any other name shows to me that i live in a nation which has the wrong priorities for its people. This notion is further enhanced as Boyd mocks the government claim that their actions are justified by the fact that according the ultra right wing Migration Watch boldly pronounce that the British government spend £ 2 billion per year on  asylum seekers , whilst the far more respected British Red Cross claim that the figure is only £155 million, Now whatever way you look at it, those figures represent one common fact and that is that the even at the higher end of the scale the British Government would still be spending 18.5 times more of our money on defence than it would be on helping and assisting others. This to me is a shocking statistic and one which should deeply shame our nation The claim that this outrageous action can be justified because ‘it bring human rights to other countries is my opinion laughable and worthy only derision. If Human rights were the main motivation for war can i ask the British government why they have not intervened in Zimbabwe which is after all a commonwealth country. I think i and indeed the rest of the population already know the answer to that. You see Zimbabwe unlike Iraq does not have any oil or resources which could in useful to UK PLC.

Meanwhile people continue to seek refuge in what Cat Boyd calls Fortress Europe  and those who seek that refuge in the United Kingdom face what our author calls a most degrading asylum system in which they are barred from working and face the threat of indefinite detention at Dungavel or Yarl’s Wood which have been likened to prisons by those who have been through the indignity of being placed there.

There is though some light shining in this previously small minded post imperial nation As Boyd points the social media campaigns to raise those refugees who are stranded at Calais  has as she correctly states been tremendous and shown our asylum system to be a creature shaped by decades of scapegoating. This is something both Cat Boyd and I believe needs changing to reflect the world we live in and not one set in the mythology and nostalgia of TV programmes  such as Downtown Abbey. Boyd is i think right to optimistic that we can change the future for the better on this issue. There is as she identifies ‘a greater freedom to be rational than at any time in our past in this internet age of global communications, That alone however, will not change much if indeed anything without the political will to make things happen. Though Boyd like myself believes this could be our moment as there is a window of opportunity in which the will to create a more just and caring society may actually be there.

To capitalise on this change in the public mood we must act and act quickly. We must listen to the people with stories to tell and let those stories be told . As it says in a folk song so beloved by me and the rest of the Celtic supporters ‘let the people sing of their stories and their songs’ because by doing that we take action we listen and learn  and create a culture of respect. In effect we actually humanise people and by doing so we can have what Boyd calls ‘a humanitarian revolt against good old British Common Sense’  and finally confine to the history books where it belongs. You see it is and always has been in my opinion that common sense is not a British value it’s a global one and the sooner we realise that the quicker we can have the fairer, more inclusive, more diverse society we’ve spent far too long talking about and not enough time building.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X