Great? Britain

Winston Churchill was voted as the greatest Briton who ever lived; he must be turning in his grave at some of the decisions this government and its departments have made recently.

We have wonderful forces in this sceptred isle of ours, brave girls and boys who are fighting in appalling conditions for the freedom of this country and the right of other countries to enjoy the same.  And how are they supported?  The wonderful Royal British Legion has been supporting them since 1921, for 90 marvellous years.  Recently there is also the charity called Help4Heroes, which does the same work only with glitz, glamour and lots of publicity. There are many other wonderful charities too, too many to mention.  The support all comes from charities, and from the Government & the Civil Servants, what do they get?  Not a lot at all.

How does this our Ministry of Defence support them?  On Friday, in the Guardian, there was an article about the fact that objectivity could go as the British Forces Broadcasting Services could be contracted out.  Horrendous news, only softened by the fact that those many, many men in grey suits in the big offices of the MOD, always take an incredibly long time to decide anything, so hopefully it may not even happen; as recent stories of the millions of pounds they have wasted on incompleted projects have stated.  They need to look inwards to find costs savings ~ a definite case of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians ~ they sit there in comfortable offices, on very good wages, with a pension that most people don’t even achieve in their annual pay and make all these decisions for the boys and girls on the front line, who face danger and death every day.

I remember as a young girl, we used to go and see my Grandma & Grandad in London, and the Forces Favourites would be on the car radio.  My Dad said that it was founded in North Africa, at the time he was out there in World War II, so there could be some feeling of connection with home.  I hope the MOD makes a correct decision here for a change, although I do not hold out much hope for that happening!

It is taking the same route as the ‘Forest Sell Off’ too. Our trees, our heritage and our future, that this government thought it could just sell and no one would say a word!  Well, lo and behold, they did say a word, in fact many words and thousands signed an on-line petition against the sale. The government changed its stance and called off the sale. Although, from what I can glean, some forests are still being silently sold – bad news.

Currently, there are plans to close a number of the Coastguard Stations. What is the matter with the people who make these decisions?  These brave people go out in all weathers and situations, risking their own lives to save others.  I really would like to see some of the civil servants sitting in their plush offices, out on a lifeboat or on the front line – gaining practical experience of how their cost cutting decisions would impinge on the everyday lives of our heroes!

And then there is Gary McKinnon.  A British subject who has been forced to wait for years to find out what his fate will be.  His ‘crime’ was hacking into American websites to look for information on UFOs.  With all due respect to America, shouldn’t those websites have been far better fire-walled and protected?  It makes sense!  So the US is embarrassed and therefore goes on a witch hunt to get Gary extradited to stand trial over there. What does the government do?  Says virtually nothing and just keeps passing the buck around from one person to another.  Their treatment of a British subject has been nothing short of torture.  I just wish that we could find some of the greatness that this  country used to have and, of which, we all used to be so proud.

Richard Curtis summed the US/GB relationship up perfectly in Love Actually –

Press Conference Reporter: Mr. President, has it been a good visit?
The President: Very satisfactory indeed. We got what we came for, and our special relationship is still very special.
Press Conference Reporter: Prime Minister?
Prime Minister: I love that word “relationship.” Covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship; a relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to, erm… Britain. We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.

I sometimes wish Richard Curtis could write the speeches and make the decisions – I am sure they would be more founded on what is right and decent, rather than on these pathetic cost cutting exercises that we are being subjected to and a pandering to the US.

Naive views they may be, but they are my views and I am exercising my right to state them.

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If you go down to the woods today

This is the song, as has been sung for many, many years.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears;
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch us catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any cares.
At six o’clock their mummies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they’re tired little teddy bears.

But with the horrendous news that this government, which announced itself as going to be the greenest government ever, is going to sell off all our forests, even the ancient ones, the words will change!

Have a look at this map to see the full horror and scale of where the sales of forests will be.  http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/msie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=108710524048595933746.0004966ac0873c8a36ed6&ll=52.873434,-1.608467&spn=4.787501,6.102218&source=embed

Yes, it is a huge link but then so is the sell off !

Oh, by the way, have put some new words to the song!

If you go down to the woods today,
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Won’t gather there for certain because
There’s nowhere for teddy bears to have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears;
Can’t happen anymore, there’s no wood today.
Watch our woods just disappear,
Sold off  for cash to the highest bidder.
There will be nowhere to go,
Nowhere to play and shout,
Nowhere to lose their cares.
So straight away their mummies and daddies,
Will take them home crying,
Because they’re sad little teddy bears.

Passions

Since being on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve met many wonderful people.  Every single one is special and unique; each with his or her own thoughts, interests and passions.

I share a lot of those passions, some are for ideals and principles held dear ~ some are for injustices and some are to try and stop the establishment from taking actions that would harm our country and/or our incredible planet.

The ones I want to focus on are small in number, but then if you’re going to eat an elephant, you must start with small bites!  I think I will just name them today and then expand on each one in separate posts.

  • Water Aid
  • The White Ribbon Alliance For Safe Motherhood
  • Save Our Forests (U.K.)
  • St Dunstan’s
  • Gary McKinnon
  • British Citizenship (for children of a British Mother)
  • The Stroke Association

Obviously there are much larger goals ~ Save The Rainforests and Climate Change Goals – ones that, unless addressed, will be our demise.   And to see independence in occupied countries, especially Burma and Tibet, in my lifetime would be stupendous.  And why not? Dreams do come true, if you believe they do ~ and if you work hard enough to help them along.

Our forests ~ our heritage

Today, the following article by John Vidal, appeared in The Guardian.  It’s title is :

For sale, all of our forests. Not some of them, nor most of them – the whole lot

“Tories have never been tree huggers, but their plans to sell off all state-owned forests are unwarranted, unwanted and unworkable. All England’s forests could be sold off to private corporations under coalition plans to offer them an easy – and legal – land-grab. (Photograph: Alamy)

We now know, thanks to the junior environment minister Jim Paice’s frank evidence to a recent House of Lords select committee, that the government is considering the sale of not just “some”, or even “substantial”, amounts of woodland as the public was originally led to believe, but of all state-owned English trees across the commission’s 635,000-acre Forestry Commission estate. This includes many royal forests, state-owned ancient woodlands, sites of special scientific interest, heathland, campsites, farms and sporting estates.”

In total irony, the United Nations has declared 2011 to be the International Year of Forests ~ Celebrating Trees for the People.  The Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, shows the General Assembly is convinced that concerted efforts should focus on raising awareness at all levels to strengthen the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations. There is a long lists of events that will take place around the world; significantly, not one is being held in England.

Also, in another ironic co-incidence, the wonderful people at The Woodland Trust are offering the MOREwoods project.  “If you have over a hectare of land to plant, The Woodland Trust’s MOREwoods scheme may be able to help you with funding and acquiring trees. Trees don’t need to be planted in a block, planting across a landscape may also be eligible.”

The strange thing about this is that it carries on to say;  “Woodland creation grants are available throughout the UK through the Forestry Commission (Forestry Service in N.Ireland) grant schemes.”  Should be interesting.

When I was little, we used to go out for Sunday drives; it was most enjoyable then, there being far fewer cars!  One of the joys was to go walking through woods and then have a picnic.  Still love having picnics now!  We used to go to see my Grandma in Woodford Green and from there to Epping Forest ~ such beauty, especially at High Beeches.  When I had my children, Mum and I used to go there with them, passing on the wonder of the trees to another generation. And now, Kezia, my daughter, takes her son to Wendover Woods – there be faeries there!

The forests are part of our heritage, ancient woodlands that go back into the very mists of the beginning of time.  The Government cannot be allowed to sell them off ~ they are our birthright!  This is a Conservative initiative, the party that has a green tree as it’s logo, the biggest oxymoron of all time.

38 degrees is an organisation that promotes petitions for causes that are important to people.  The Save Our Forests Campaign has more than 101,000 signatures, wouldn’t it be wonderful to get that up to 1 million!  Please do sign the petition – we have to stop this happening.  I feel so strongly about this, I hope you do too.