A Word from the British Red Cross . . .

British Red Cross

We need a compassionate system

Hi Ian,

It’s not something everyone knows us for, but the British Red Cross is this country’s largest provider of support to refugees and people seeking asylum. 

We’ve got a proud history of helping people fleeing war and persecution – and that’s why we’re deeply concerned about the Illegal Migration Bill that’s going through parliament right now. 

It’s a complicated topic, so I’ll be honest, this email will be a bit longer than usual.

A catch-22 situation
The only way to claim asylum here is to be on UK soil. The heart of the problem with this bill is that it’s going to leave tens of thousands of people in a terrible catch-22 situation: if they arrive here without a visa or can’t access one of the few safe routes available, they’ll be detained, deported and automatically prevented from claiming asylum. But they won’t be able to get a visa before they arrive, as there are none offered for people fleeing war and persecution.

So this bill will effectively leave people with no way to claim asylum in the UK.

Stuck in limbo

Many people won’t be able to be deported to the county they came from because they aren’t safe. So tens of thousands of people from places like Afghanistan and Syria could be stuck in detention centres or left in limbo indefinitely. They won’t be able to work, but will also get little to no support from the Home Office.

This means people who’ve already fled terrible situations will be plunged into a life of total uncertainty. 

You can imagine how important it is for survivors of modern slavery to have time, support and a safe space to recover and rebuild their lives. But even people who were trafficked here by criminals won’t be able to access support.

What we’re doing

It’s clear that the way we process asylum claims and support refugees in this country needs to change – but building more barriers isn’t the answer. If you’d like to hear why, from someone who’s experienced the asylum system themselves, I’d recommend having a read of this when you’ve got a moment.

We’re currently trying to work with MPs and government so they understand the true impact this bill will have. We want to work with them to create a fairer, more compassionate and more effective asylum system that works for everyone.

Your support will really help us as we try and achieve this, so thank you for standing with us. 

Your opinion

I wasn’t sure how much you already know about this situation, so I didn’t want to ask you straight off the bat – but I’d be really keen to know what you think:

Are you worried about the impact this bill will have on refugees and people seeking asylum?

My answer to the question in the last sentence was “Yes”.

The original message may be seen HERE

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A Local Opinion . . .

We have a son who lives and works in academia in the USA. Today he posted as follows on Facebook . . .

“The problem with all the headlines pointing out that no former President has been indicted before this, is the implication at some level that they could have been indicted but for some collective disinclination to do so. And that fuels claims that this instance is political in nature. What the headlines are missing is that no former President has been a career criminal/hustler/grifter, and that no former Presidency has been wielded like an immunity idol. Those are the things that are unprecedented.”


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Cotswold Days . . .

Cotswold Field Barn, Howard Phipps.

I thought I might use some of Howard Phipps engravings to illustrate some of the places where we lived or visited.

We lived in the Cotswold twice. The first time we were in a caravan near Bourton on the Water on Whiteshoots Hill in about 1958 -59 whilst I was a student at the Central Flying School at RAF Little Rissington. Looking on Google Maps there is no sign of any such caravan site there at the present day, and, alas, RAF Little Rissington is no more. The domestic site is entitled “Upper Rissington” and appears to be partly private houses. The Officer’s Mess seems to be abandoned, all boarded up, a terrible waste of a building which one would think could be a hotel, or the embryo of a College, or something like that.The image capture is labelled 2023 so seems fairly up to date. To say that we cannot accommodate refugees when buildings like this up and down the country are standing empty just shows how xenophobic the Government really is.

Our second stay was a bit later, from about 1961 to 64. I was on the staff at CFS, and we lived very happily in a sectioned off part of Great Rissington Rectory and that was where our second son was born. It also got me interested in the Church, the New English Bible came out and I did readings from it in the village church. The Rector was a Mr. Bates, an ex greengrocer. He was a nice elderly man who was alas, later, killed whilst driving his little Austin A 35. Also whilst there we lived through the great snow of 1963, which was an interesting experience, although we never really got cut off, or into any real danger.

From there we went to Nairobi, but that is another story.

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Strandlife is feeling a bit cross . . .

I have been a subscriber to Computeractive magazine for many years, but of late as a Linux user driven to be so by the action of Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 11, I have found it to be less and less of us to someone like me. I have emailed the magazine once or twice about this, to no avail, and it now appears that other readers are joining in. Today I have penned (typed) yet another email to them which, for your delectation, I append below . . .

Dear Sir,

Re : Computeractive, Issue 654, 29 mar – 11 Apr 2023

Mr.David Ball and Mr. Frank Clarkson in their published letters raise the problem, which I have emailed you about before now, of those of us who have perfectly serviceable computers rendered unsuitable for Windows by the action of Microsoft in going over to Windows 11. Is your magazine now a magazine for Windows users only, or is it a computer user’s magazine ? If it is the former, carry on as you are, tell us what you are doing and we will cancel our subscriptions. If is it the latter then do something to help the Balls, Clarksons, and others like me who subscribe, and have quite probably subscribed for many years, to your once helpful magazine.

Tell them about the available linux distros. Review those which are best for novices, intermediates and advanced users. Explain how to download a distro as an *.iso image, how to install it on a bootable flash drive, how to get into their BIOS and adjust the Boot Menu, and how to get going in an initially unfamiliar operating system. In actual fact the likenesses are more apparent than the differences and a newbie can be up and running in no time at all.

All this will likely cost nothing, or very little to buy a flash drive, and obviates any necessity to spend several hundred pounds on a new computer.

Perhaps the time has come for “Computeractive” to become “Windowsactive” and to set up a new title for those of us who have successfully, and gratefully, eschewed Microsoft and all its works.


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Think Broadband . . .

BT Smart Hub 2
Think Broadband Speed Test, 20th March 2023

Think Broadband asked for a full review of our broadband provider – here is what I said . . .

“BT Broadband by FTTC and copper wires to the house continue to give steady and reliable service. So far, and as far as I know, we have not had to fall back on to the EE back up device. The landline phone, used by us dinosaurs because it is the only one we nearly understand, now runs on the Broadband system but still goes in and out of the house on the General Post Office’s little copper wires as above. I do not check the upload and download speeds very often because that way madness lies, but when I do the result is good. The BT Call Blocker phone has proved its worth over and over, and “My BT” keeps us up to speed on offers and developments. No word round here (Kirkcudbright) of FTTP at all.”

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Michael Rosen explains . . .

Michael Rosen

The author of this article – pinched from Facebook – is the author, Michael Rosen, members of whose family were imprisoned by the Nazis, a fact that Wikipedia does not mention – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Rosen

“Peter Hitchens challenged people (Gary Lineker in particular) to justify why Gary had said that he thought the language being used around asylum seekers/boat people (etc) was ‘not dissimilar’ (Gary’s words) to that of Germany in the 1930s.

Note: Gary said ‘not dissimilar’ ie he wasn’t claiming that it was identical. And he said 1930s, which to be clear is not the 1940s.

I’ve assembled a short checklist:

Rhetoric around citizenship and taking citizenship away from people eg Shamima Begum and Windrush generation. ‘Fremdenrecht’ is a pre-Nazi idea but adopted by the Nazis to remove German citizenship from German Jews. Removal of citizenship was called ‘Ausbürgerung’.

By repeatedly declaring people ‘illegal’ before they’ve been tried, is ‘not dissimilar’ to ‘Willensstrafrecht’ . This was a punishment for criminal intent, not the crime itself. The law was called ‘Täterstrafrecht’.

‘Madagaskarplan’ – the plan to ship Jews to Madagascar. The idea of shipping ‘unwanted’ people to other another country ‘not dissimilar’ to the Rwanda scheme.

As an aside, the press have called shipping people to Rwanda as the ‘Rwanda Plan’ or the ‘Rwanda Asylum Plan’, unknowingly imitating ‘Madagaskarplan’, perhaps? Don’t know if Ms SB has expressed it as that. Perhaps not.

Ms Braverman has used the phrase ‘cultural Marxism’ . This owes its origins to the Nazis’ word ‘Kulturbolschewismus’ though Ms Braverman may only personally know its roots to US politics.

Ms Braverman and her colleagues are engaged in some kind of culture war(s). This is ‘not dissimilar’ to the ‘Kulturkrieg’ which started before the Nazis but was very much engaged in by the Nazis.

‘60,000RM kostet dieser Erbkranke die Volksgemeinschaft auf Lebenzeit. Volksgenosse das ist auch dein Geld’ = “This hereditarily ill person will cost our national community 60,000 Reichmarks over the course of his lifetime. Citizen, this is your money.” This is an example of people seen as ‘costing us’.

Ms Braverman’s persistent labelling of migrants as criminal (and/or the ‘traffickers’) even though many migrants are granted asylum is ‘not dissimilar’ to the Nazis’ adoption of ‘Asoziale’ (noun) (‘Asocials’) which created a category of perpetual criminality in people.

The Nazi word ‘Fremdmoral’. ‘Fremd’ translates roughly as ‘alien’ . The Nazis believed that lesser, foreign people had worse morals. Suella Braverman says police chiefs have told her “that drug supply… is now connected to people who came here on small boats illegally”. “

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Is this you . . . ?

Kate Chesterman

There is a piece in this week’s “Church Times” – not exactly seen as a hotbed of revolution by a lady, Kate Chesterman, who describes herself as “solidly white middle class”. She says her husband is retired so I guess she is an older lady.

“I’ve exhausted the usual democratic channels for effecting change : voting,consultation, petition, writing to elected representatives, and acts of protest within the law. so, now, given what’s at stake, I’m compelled to express my opposition through acts of civil disobedience.”

Reading through the comments this morning, mainly disgust, at the treatment dished out Gary Lineker, I wondered how many of us have had the same experiences as this lady. I have certainly written to MPs on various occasions and it has been a waste of time and paper.


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A Wee Bit of Snow . . .

6.30 am, 10 March 2023
9.00 am, 10 March 2023

All rapidly thawing a few hours later. No tobogganing today then !

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Coronation Chrism Oil . . .

From Facebook entry of 3 March 2023 by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writes on Facebook . . .

“I’m so honoured and grateful that His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III and the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem have consecrated the Chrism oil that will be used to anoint The King at his Coronation in May.
I want to thank His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III for providing the Coronation Oil from the Mount of Olives – which reflects The King’s personal family connection with the Holy Land and his great care for its peoples.
I’m also delighted that the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Hosam Naoum, shared in the consecration at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Since beginning the planning for the Coronation, my desire has been for a new Coronation Oil to be produced using olive oil from the Mount of Olives. This demonstrates the deep historic link between the Coronation, the Bible and the Holy Land.
It has been created using olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, at the Monastery of Mary Magdalene and the Monastery of the Ascension – near the burial place of the King’s grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece.
The Chrism oil, which uses olives pressed just outside of Bethlehem, is perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin, amber and orange blossom – the same recipe used at the late Queen’s Coronation.
From ancient kings and now to the present day, monarchs have been anointed with oil from this sacred place. As we prepare to anoint The King and The Queen Consort, I pray that they would be guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.”

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Local Pics . . .

The Marina, Kirkcudbright, late pm, 22 Feb 23
Nicola Forsyth on Facebook.
Another pic by Nicola Forsyth on Facebook.
Looks like the River Dee by Tongland Bridge.

We have some good local snappers or perhaps I should say, photographers, who post their stuff on Facebook for everyone’s benefit.

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