When researching the topic of religious fundamentalism for a talk, I came across this from the Anglican Reverend Michael Marshall in the Church of England newspaper in September 1999: “When religion and politics converge and combine their forces in a single-minded zeal to do what no lesser power than God himself has instructed them to do, then dive for cover.
“The unchecked crusading spirit in the name of religion has shed rivers of blood throughout history. Any review of contemporary newspapers would suggest that the danger from religious zealots, far from abating, is perilously and increasingly in evidence as we come to the close of the millennium.”
Now, 15 years on, we can see all too clearly just what a prescient observation that was, and all the more damning of fundamentalist religious belief for coming from a cleric.
National Secular Society
There can be no better example of why people have such little faith in the current political system than George Osborne’s claim that he has halved the UK’s £1.7bn EU budget surcharge (8th November).
This statement is a highly disingenuous attempt to mask what is in fact a diplomatic disaster for the UK Government.
The UK will pay two interest-free sums next year totalling £850m, instead of the larger lump sum by 1 December. However the UK rebate of £785m from Brussels due in 2016 has simply been brought forward to cover the other half due.
To therefore argue that this was some sort of “victory” by the UK is patent nonsense and an insult to human intelligence.
ROYAL NAVY ELECTRICIANS
I am very confident, that once again, the readers of this newspaper will respond to this letter. The Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association was formed a few years back to ‘root out’ those who served in the Royal Navy dealing with any Electrical, Radio, Radar or Computer Installations either on the Royal Navy ships or Shore Establishments, and reunite them with their old shipmates. The Association has just had a fantastic reunion and the next one is organised.
If you are reading this and are either ex Electrical Branch or you know somebody who is, help me to turn the clock back. Re-live the good times, the runs ashore in a foreign port, the camaraderie, and the good bits. Then laugh again at the rough bits, the ‘green rubs’, the ‘men under punishment’. Then just think, a mess mate off your old ship might be looking for you!! Who are you looking for? Who would like to have a laugh with again? They might be one of the hundreds already in the association.
Go to the Association web site www.rneba.org.uk and see some of the photos of past reunions, download an application form and be in the next set of reunion photos with your old mess mate.
Or write to Mike Crowe, Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association, 7 Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight. PO36 8PG and be prepared to turn the clock back ‘just a few years’, anything from 20 years to just over 60 years.
Local newspapers and ‘Letters to the Editor’ just like this one, was used to ‘launch’ the Royal Naval Electrical Branch Association and I feel sure that the diverse and wide readership will score again and I would like to end with a little story about a previous ‘letter to the Editor’.
I received a letter which went something on the lines of “Dear Mike. I didn’t see your ‘Letter’ a few weeks back because we were busy with moving house.
However we have just got round to unwrapping some glasses and we saw you letter in the newspaper ‘wrapping paper’ ……”the written word can be read again”
Isle of Wight
RUN FOR US
I would like to make a special appeal to runners who have been successful in securing a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon on 26th April 2015 and would like to run for a children’s charity.
The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. For any runners who have yet to choose a worthy cause to support, please consider joining our team.
Being part of a team is a great way to keep motivated in the lead-up to race day with regular communication and training days.
On the marathon day there will be lots of enthusiastic supporters cheering you along the route at four ‘cheering’ sites. There will be a warm welcome at the finish, with an after-party to celebrate with family and fellow runners – plus physiotherapists on hand to massage weary legs!
If you haven’t been lucky enough to secure a place in next year’s marathon, The Children’s Trust has some guaranteed places and we would be delighted to offer these to runners, especially anyone planning to run in fancy dress or aiming to break a world record!
To apply, please visit: www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/londonmarathon or for further information, please give me a call on 01737 365018.
Major Sports Events
Manager, Children’s Trust
HUMANITY AND HOPE
Ebola is scary when I went to west Africa recently with medical aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), I was expecting to be both scared and horrified. But what I wasn’t expecting was to be touched by warmth, humanity and even hope.
At our Ebola centre in Bo, Sierra Leone, I met doctors and nurses giving everything they had to provide their patients with dignity and comfort as they struggled to fight off the virus.
I also met many of those who had succeeded in their struggle, like 24-year-old Lamphia, cured of Ebola and longing for the day he could finish his medical degree and qualify as a doctor.
More than 1,000 Ebola survivors have now left our treatment centres in West Africa, full of optimism for the lives given back to them.
Our medical teams couldn’t do this work without the generous support of the public – from the handful of coins from a cake sale to the extra £100,000 award received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery to specifically tackle the problem of Ebola.
Players of the charity lottery have already awarded £150,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières so it is wonderful that this extra funding can be focussed on areas dealing with Ebola.
I was back in England in time for Halloween, but our teams in west Africa will carry on, living proof that, even in a horrifying situation, there is room for humanity and hope.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
EDITORIAL - CHARITY MATTERS IN THE ISLANDS
The fundraising extravaganza of Children in Need has once again swept through the islands on a tidal wave of support.
Schools and organisations across the region are happy to give their full backing to this charity campaign each year and as we have detailed in our feature spread on pages 14 and 15 the Islands have more than done their part to add wealth to this worthy cause.
But the efforts of Islanders for charity goes far beyond a once-a-year commitment. Fundraisers are ongoing for local care homes, children’s charities and overseas causes week in and week out and the Islands must surely be one of the most charitable places (per head of population) in the entire country.
And apart from money there is also the generosity of time that local people give to good causes through volunteering efforts.
This week Isles FM the local community station, which is manned by volunteers have made an appeal for help and I’m sure fans will get behind this cause to secure the station’s future.
If you would like to comment on a topic or write a letter please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org