Dear Constant Readers may know that I've been moving house from London back to my home town of Folkestone for the last couple of weeks (all for good reasons, I can assure you!) and thus I've had little time to blog on any of the stories that have broken recently. Here are my, ill thought out and knee jerk, opinions.
The Resignation Of David Laws
What is it about the Liberal Democrats (and the Liberal party before it) that attracts closeted gay men to seek high positions within the party? That's not a judgement on the men nor the party, but a question one should ask given our parties clearly liberal stance on LGBT rights.
David Laws sought to have his privacy, but decided to fund it with taxpayer money. Whilst I clearly detected homophobia in a lot of the coverage of his downfall (Should gay people be allowed to ministers? asks the Sun. Should Sun writers be allowed to vote? asks everyone else), I must say it was an ill-advised move to mix our money with his personal life when he clearly wished that his personal life was not known to us. And for that singularly stupid mistake, I think it was the right decision for him to resign and make a clean break so that he can return in the future with his "skeltons in the closet" debt clearly repaid and beyond reproach. The press can't really hound you once you've made the move Laws has, and thus I think he did the correct thing. And next time he wishes to have a non-spouse non-partner, or whatever silly phrase he wants to use (when did boyfriend become a dirty word??), he can make sure he doesn't get them mixed up in a scandal involving public money. Simples.
The Israeli Attack On An Aid Flotilla
I'm one of those few people who doesn't care strongly for either case in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and as far as I'm concerned they need to remember they are all simply finite human beings, who need to learn to get along.
The Israeli attack on the flotilla was horrendous, but no more horrendous than the hundreds of other such actions the Israeli Government has been allowed to get away with. The international community seems to regard the Israeli's as a "special case" (and there's clearly something in that after the horrors of the Holocaust) but it's time to stop giving them the latitude to kill and harm citizens of their country and others without punishment.
However the blind support of many westerners for some "pro-Palestinian" groups can be quite disturbing. By all means set up aid groups, fight the good fight to get the people of Gaza what they clearly need. But perhaps it's time for those who simply care to put themselves in a different boat to those with a political and religious agenda. Aid without crazy, loopy woomeisters would be a start. More food, less rhetoric.
Derrick Bird - The Cumbria Killing Spree
Okay, time for a confession. One of my less well known interests is the psychology of serial killers and spree killers. I find their actions truly fascinating, as I feel they teach us more about our species than we'd like to admit and have a grizzly book collection on just that. But I take no gruesome pleasure in their actions, and feel truly sickened by yet another pointless series of deaths committed by a deluded fool.
Of course, even before his dead body had been found, the media was starting to talk about the need for more gun control. My liberal beliefs obviously make me opposed to unnecessary controls but there is certainly a case for a review. However, I find those calling for harsher gun controls miss the point. Do they believe that simply not being allowed to own a gun would stop this sort of person? It wouldn't. They might get guns illegally (a trade unlike to be stopped completely however strident we are), or more likely take out their rage using other weapons, or their hands. Sure, less people die but that doesn't really solve the problem. We need to understand the causes of this sort of behaviour more clearly and understand how our actions and communities can help prevent such behaviour being formed. That's a far harder task than gun control but it's not impossible.
So... I've settled into my new home and have internet access. Normal service shall now resume.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist