Sunday, 29 November 2015

Well, here's the thing. The western world seems to be evolving into a society which is more fragmented than at any previous time. I'm not talking rich and poor, as the those graph curves seem to be edging ever nearer. I don't mean education either. Our state school system may be well short of ideal, but it offers a fairly substantial plate of sustenance, even if many diners at the table only pick at their food, and reject most of it.

No, I am talking plain, old-fashioned common sense. If ever there were a misnomer, it is that one. "Common" ? Not likely, as it is becoming as rare as ….well, you can provide your own simile. Choose from rocking horses, hens, billiard balls - the choice is yours.

Now, you may have associated the tortuous pursuit of yoga with those who macrame their own underpants, buy only ethically sourced muesli and regularly demonstrate on our streets against such evils as fox hunting and heterosexuality. Well, my friends, you have been wrong before, and you are doubly wrong now. According to that powerhouse of intellect and cutting edge research, The University of Ottowa, yoga is a shameful practice because it has been appropriated from a culture which has, to use their own words, "experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy" So, be told. Try jogging. Or, better still, stay in bed.

Following on from that, I am sure you would join me in the wholehearted condemnation of those racist, imperialistic, capitalist running dogs in Norwich - in particular the management at Pedro’s Tex Mex Cantina - who almost caused an international incident by handing out sombreros (made in China) to students who came along to a Mexican themed party night at the University of East Anglia. Well, if you really wanted to insult Mexico and its rich heritage, what's the first thing you would do? Why, don a sombrero, of course! Thank goodness for the UEA Student Union. As its spokesperson said, "At the student union we want all members to feel safe and accepted, so at all events we try to ensure that there is no behaviour, language or imagery, which could be considered racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ablest."

 I'll end with a few thoughts on nationality. What makes someone British? Birth? Residence? Maybe a heartfelt belief in and support for the country's values? Many of us have blinked in disbelief at some of the so-called 'British' men who have featured in recent news bulletins. Which one of us could have failed to shed a tear at the tragic demise of Muhammad Jassim Abdulkarim Olayan al-Dhafiri (Jihadi John to you)? A loyal citizen of the UK, and as British as, as…..well, as British as a Bedouin camel-driver's loincloth. 
 I wept throughout the long and brutal imprisonment of that other plucky British cheeky chappie, Shaker Aamer. Held in detention in the hell-hole of Guantano Bay, he was clearly one-of-us from the top of his tweed flat cap to the tip of his hand-crafted brown brogue shoes. Any allegation that he was active in Afghanistan, leading a unit of fanatical jihadists against British and American troops is clearly a big, fat lie.

I realise that sarcasm can become wearing after a while, so let's be more literal. There are two very British young men - Wisbech men, too -  who, unaccountably, are having great problems in getting citizenship. Is it that they have just returned from Syria or Afghanistan? Maybe it's their record of speaking out against our way of life, and seeking to overthrow our values? Ah, I know - they have demonstrated on our streets, advised our soldiers and police to burn in hell…? No? Well maybe we should hear from them in their own words, and I will publish those, and add my disgust at the way in which they have been treated, in the next blog. Until then, here's a photo of the first of these chaps.

To be continued .....