What is a hard border and what is a soft border? Of all the issues thrown up by the UK exit from the EU the easiest to resolve was and is the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Both territories comprise the Island of Ireland, with its own distinct economy, that is dominated by the agricultural sector on which Great Britain is reliant. There is a shared history and family links cross the border, extending across the Irish and Celtic Seas to the other Island. The troubled relations between the two Islands has never been better. The Good Friday Agreement [aka the 1998 Agreement] that brought peace, also brought the time and space to foster a greater understanding of the other side, to a degree of reconciliation that many could never have imagined.
And the Word was made flesh; And dwelt among us. Hail Mary.
A Holy and Peaceful Christmas is our wish for all people throughout the world.
As we celebrate the birth of our Prince of Peace and Saviour we can reflect that Peace on Earth can be achieved by a simple change of attitude in the minds of those who have control of the levers of power. This would result in a change in behaviour with more dialogue and the urge to establish the Truth of matters. There would be far-reaching consequences, not least that the war on preborn babies would be ended. Once we have peace in the womb, it is inevitable that peace in the world will follow.
If those who purport to be Christian start to live the message and teachings of Jesus Christ the example they set would permeate through their own societies. This would in turn send a powerful message to non-Christians. Leaders would be under pressure from their own people to emulate the Christian Democracies.
Peace is the key to unlocking the solutions to the problems that beset the world. It is only when we have Peace that we can obtain the Truth. When we know the Truth we can obtain Justice. When we have Justice we will obtain Freedom.
Our society is dominated by a culture of commercialisation and monetisation, the cult of celebrity of non-entities, and the pursuit of reward that is excessive and undeserved.
Our response is to promote a Culture of Life, Moderation and Modesty.
To survive the coming turmoil we must place our trust in Faith and Family.
The Peace of the Lord be with you always.
Keep the Faith.
Words are important, they are what people live by. “I keep my word” or “My word is my bond” are hallmarks of someone who can be trusted, usually a person who is honest and has integrity. They say what they think and mean what they say. They are becoming a rare breed, but they still exist. In everyday situations promises are kept. When promises are broken so are reputations that can never be repaired. Politicians are not noted examples of the breed. In Parliament their speech is protected by privilege, but they can be held to account because they are recorded in Hansard.
Welcome to the Hotel California. Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face.
Plenty of room at the Hotel California. Any time of the year, You can find it here.
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California. What a nice surprise, Bring your alibis.
And she said, “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”.
“Relax”, said the night man, “We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave”.
In 1977 the Eagles composed and recorded their most famous hit. The above abridged lyrics were written in a drug fuelled community with their original meaning a bit hazy. It is now generally accepted they related to growing up and living in the LA hedonistic culture; and about trying to escape that life-style.
There is nothing wrong with the armed forces that an injection of sustained funding cannot cure. While some sectors of the public services have been protected over the last seven years – if in monetary terms rather than real terms – the Defence budget has not been deemed important enough to warrant the same treatment. This is fundamentally unfair because that budget has been the subject of sustained cuts for more than twenty-one years. Politicians like to term this as the peace dividend. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism, together with the breakup of the USSR, we were told that ‘peace had broken out’ and the money could be better spent. Come 2010, and the start of public spending cuts, no account was taken of the previous cuts to the Defence budget. The Treasury would counter that the MoD capital spending plans were too ambitious and had not been properly costed and budgeted for, resulting in the fabled black-hole that was swallowing taxes intended for the forces basic current spending. Someday, someone with inside knowledge will write a book revealing the real facts.
Gibraltar’s 50th Anniversary National Day was an outstanding success, with the video message from Prime Minister Theresa May being warmly received. Viewed objectively it fell well short of what was required. This was a one and only event, at a crucial time when the future direction of the British Overseas Territory is uncertain. In the previous post we set out the first five points of action that we asked the PM to initiate. The two points relating to the Royal Family visiting Gibraltar still need to be demonstrated. On three of those points she has failed to deliver and so we can judge with some accuracy what the real level of committment there is from the Office of the PM and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It does not look good. She failed to attend in person and as far as it is possible to ascertain she has never visited the Rock. No matter how detailed the briefings she receives, they cannot match seeing at first hand what the problems are and hearing directly from Gibraltarians what their experiences are; be it delays when crossing the border of up to five hours or being harassed by Spanish State vessels when they are fishing in their own British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
The strategic importance of Gibraltar does not require any explanation. In July the Ministry of Defence announced it is to spend £2 million upgrading its maritime monitoring facility overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. Sitting high above Europa Point the facility keeps an eye on 60,000 ships entering or leaving the Mediterranean or crossing between Africa and Europe. It plays a crucial role detecting any suspicious activity in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and logs all unlawful incursions by Spanish state vessels, as well as detecting the shipping of narcotics into Europe and combating the nefarious illegal transport of drugs and tobacco. Windmill Hill Signal Station, with its panoramic view, keeps an eye on traffic visually, over the radio and electronically. It feeds information back to the UK and its allies about all these activities and military movements.