The recent acts by Islam extremists have been truly shocking. I suppose that I am emotionally vulnerable at this time but, when I saw the faces of the young victims of the Manchester atrocity and their distraught relatives, I cried. I know that recently I wrote about Martin McGuiness and the terrorist acts of the IRA, I could never forgive those acts any more than I could forgive any terrorist act that took the lives of innocent people, but I do try to understand the situations that brought men to take that sort of action. In the instances of these attacks by religious extremists I am at a loss to understand how they can convince themselves that they are justified. If it was intended as retaliation for those civilians killed in Syria and elsewhere by air strikes it would be no more excusable but more understandable. To do it in the name of religion is truly evil. I agree with Theresa May (not something I do very often) that ‘enough is enough’ and we need to get tough.
But how? One can’t help thinking that if those policemen that were there on the scene had had guns they could have saved many lives. I understand the arguments against arming all PCs, but you do wonder. I thought that most PCs were armed with Tasers, but apparently that is not so, should they be?
I think there is an underlying problem in this country, we boast about our multi-culturalism but this has led us to be too tolerant of intolerance. Why do we allow preachers to openly preach against our society? Why do we allow them to preach in ways which encourage extreme beliefs? Why do we allow Sharia courts applying Sharia law? Why do we allow Muslim women to cover their faces when we do not allow people wearing motor cycle helmets to enter many buildings? How do we know that it is a woman behind the veil? Isn’t it shocking that, whilst authorities were aware that young girls were being abused by Muslim men, they chose not to act for fear of upsetting racial sensitivities? When people come to this country, presumably in the hope of a better life, shouldn’t we expect them to respect our way of life, not preach against it? Shouldn’t we expect them to integrate rather than isolate themselves. By encouraging multi-culturalism and the pursuance of different religions are we not creating separate societies within our society, a situation that emphasises the differences, a situation that is always likely to ferment friction and strife? Why do we fund religious schools? I have often argued that we should follow the USA (that is not something that I do very often either) and prohibit the teaching of religion in state funded schools. I will watch with keen interest what Mrs. May does now that she thinks enough is enough.

Our editor will not have been pleased to know that my feet are even colder than they were before. Despite having opposed Brexit not so many months ago Theresa May now seems to have convinced herself that, once we are free of the bonds of Europe we shall be better off than ever, that our economy will flourish and that we will become a greater force in the world with greater influence. The more I think about it I am convinced that it is an illusion. Why should it go that way? What strengths have we got that are currently constrained by membership of the EU? Our manufacturing sector is quite good, but it is not big enough and much of it is foreign owned, our utilities and much of our public services are also foreign owned, our main strength, the financial sector, is unlikely to get better and there is a very real risk that we may lose some to Europe, we are not a great military power and, when in the playground, we can no longer rely on our big friend Uncle Sam to intimidate the other kids. I agree we have a good record of inventiveness but British investors have often been too risk averse to support new ideas, leaving it to other nations to capitalise on the creative skills of British scientists and engineers. The view of the rest of the world on our future post Brexit is already demonstrated by the fall in the value of the pound. If they shared Theresa May’s views we should expect to see the pound soaring on the world markets. Try as I might I cannot see how we can expect to be better off.

Swaffham Museum
I recently spent an hour and more in that museum and I really did enjoy it. I had not been there for some time and there have been some changes, much I had seen before, however, but my memory had not retained a good deal of the information that is available, it was nice to be reminded and to see some afresh. It is not a big museum but there is so much there to take in and so much of interest. I was struck by the impression I was able to obtain of Swaffham in early Victorian times, the appalling situations that arose due to the absence of drains for sewage and puzzled to learn that there was some opposition to the installation of drains. They have a diary written by a man with the unusual surname of Philo, he wrote it in 1854 and in 1876 he looked back at that year’s diary and considered the changes that had taken place. So much social history, it was all quite fascinating and an hour is nowhere near long enough to spend there, but even an hour is well worth it and I thoroughly recommend it.

Ron Watts

Leave a Reply