Monday, June 14, 2010

Touring with Nicki Gillis

Almost the last thing I accomplished before going down with CLL last year was to play bass for Nicki Gillis on her 2009 UK tour.
Well, she's back again in a day or two for another tour and I'm pulling out all the stops to be fit as possible and to play as many dates as I can this time. I still have one round of chemo to go through and if the last round is anything to go by, I should be OK. However, nothing is certain.

While I'm touring I'll be posting on this site

I'll give a day by day account and post photos and videos.
Please check it out. Nicki's a talented lady.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

When giving is wrong

I very rarely give to beggars. I do buy the Big Issue when I'm in town. And I don't approve of our government giving aid to African countries.
Call me callous. I don't care.
If I give money to a drunk he will spend it on drink. If I buy a copy of the Big Issue I'm helping someone help themselves.

When the Iron Curtain came down and western agencies visited Romania they were appalled at the numbers of children abandoned in squalor in state run asylums and homes. Their understandable reaction was to try and rescue these poor unfortunate children and make their lives more comfortable. We all contributed to aid convoys in our local churches and off they went. On a personal note I began my recording career by making an album to be sold to help a missionary couple in the far east of Poland. We gathered goods and money and sent our friends off, full of hope that our efforts would make a difference. One year later and our friends were back,hurt and dissillusioned. None of the goods that we'd donated made it through to the people they were intended to help. None.The local church leader claimed them for himself and sold them and kept the money. That's the way it is.
When the Romanians saw the aid effort to help the orphans, were they shamed into doing more? Did they see that this was something they should have been doing?
They left the British and Irish charity workers to it. The orphans were now our problem.
Giving aid never achieves the intended aim.
I read this article in the Wall Street Journal recently

The author, Dambisa Moyo makes a strong case that giving aid to Africa actually ends up hurting rather than helping them.
He writes-
"Giving alms to Africa remains one of the biggest ideas of our time -- millions march for it, governments are judged by it, celebrities proselytize the need for it. Calls for more aid to Africa are growing louder, with advocates pushing for doubling the roughly $50 billion of international assistance that already goes to Africa each year.

Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It's increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster."

There is such a thing as the Law of Unintended Consequences. The fact that our new government has "ring fenced" our overseas aid budget is worrying. One could be forgiven for thinking that they want the desperate plight of ordinary Africans to continue.

The Vicar of Bray

Now that the new government is getting its feet under the table, and the Labour leadership is starting to shape up, it's surprising how many of the ex-labour Government ministers have come out to say that their policy on Iraq, Afghanistan, and now immigration were wrong. Next will be 24 hour drinking, a cornerstone of Bliar's cafe society big idea.
The whole nonsense put me in mind of the Vicar of Bray. I learned about him at grammar school, back when they used to teach history. Apparently they're offering a GCSE in Britain's Got Talent these days. That reminds me of the old joke about the Irish equivalent of GCE exams, where the questions went-
Q. Either- Explain Boyle's law
Or- name the members of Boyzone.

For those who don't know any history can I point you to this site

And here's the words to the 18th century song-

In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Zealous High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily Preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's Anointed.

And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

When Royal James possest the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I shouted down,
And read the Declaration:
The Church of Rome I found would fit
Full well my Constitution,
And I had been a Jesuit,
But for the Revolution.

And this is Law, &c.

When William our Deliverer came,
To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd the Cat in Pan again,
And swore to him Allegiance:
Old Principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance,
Passive Obedience is a Joke,
A Jest is non-resistance.

And this is Law, &c.

When Royal Ann became our Queen,
Then Church of England's Glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory:
Occasional Conformists base
I Damn'd, and Moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was,
From such Prevarication.

And this is Law, &c.

When George in Pudding time came o'er,
And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I chang'd once more,
And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procur'd,
From our Faith's great Defender
And almost every day abjur'd
The Pope, and the Pretender.

And this is Law, &c.

The Illustrious House of Hannover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear,
Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my Faith, and Loyalty,
I never once will faulter,
But George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the Times shou'd alter.

And this is Law, &c.

Ah, the benefits of a grammar school education!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Busy gardening

It's a week since my last post and to be honest, it's been warm and I've been in the garden getting green fingers and black fingernails.
Posting may be light for a few days