View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 12 November 2012

Monday 12 November

Overcast, wet and initially windy. However, the wind has died down now. I finished reading a book that tried to depict Britain under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. That, of course, complete conjecture and the author, Norman Longmate, has made a creditable effort to describe the invasion and its aftermath. What I found fault with is the relative understatement of the atrocities committed by Nazi forces in occupied Europe, which the author tip-toed past. He laid heavy emphasis on the occupation of the Channel Islands, the only British territory to be occupied by Hitler's forces. However, that occupation appears to have been relatively benign, and not representative of the occupation of other countries, like France, Holland or Belgium.

I have started on the phenomenon of e-books, and purchased a novel, written by a fellow blogger, Stuart Rogerson. Another book I currently have on the go, Crime and Punishment, by Dostoevsky.

Did you ask about hurricanes? None about, and only one tropical disturbance, near Brunei, which is not likely to develop much further.


I recently finished, after a year, reading the Qu'ran, the holy text of Islam. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject in hand, I decided not to write a review on, but will do so nonetheless on this relatively obscure corner of my internet output. The Qu'ran is vastly different from the Bible, being a series of revelations to a Prophet, transmitted through the Angel Gabriel from God. The Bible is a collection of scripts, which were written by many different hands, in different languages at different times, over a period of four to five thousand years.

The translation I read served to make the book accessible to me, also highlighting the many areas that Christianity and Islam have in common. However, there are also one or two statements that render the two religions incompatible. Islam states that God does not have a son - although it does acknowledge Jesus as a prophet (note lowercase). The Holy Trinity is a cornerstone of Christianity, I need not remind you. However, the Qu'ran also says, through the Prophet, that "God gave man the Torah, and he did not listen. God gave man the Gospel, and he did not listen. God gave man the Qu'ran, and he did not listen". In other words, in my opinion, Islam is the younger brother of Christianity, and a very vocal one at that.

I am profoundly saddened that, like Christianity, Islam has been hijacked for political ends, and used as justification for mass murder. I do not read or understand Arabic, but appreciate and acknowledge the  vast cultural heritage that the Arabian peninsula has to offer - do not forget that it was Arab scholars that invented the concept of the zero, without which we would not have the computers we are all working on today.

I shall reread the Qu'ran in the future, because it is a huge work with a huge impact that you cannot appreciate from just one reading. I shall also reread the Bible, in order to reacquaint myself with the Scriptures from that Book.


After a monumental failure in editorial control at Newsnight, the Director General of the BBC, George Entwistle, finally did what he should have done some time ago: resign. I am outraged to hear he is given a year's pay upon departure, "because he is helping with the Jimmy Savile case". Entwistle was torn to shreds by, first, the Culture Media and Sports Committee of Parliament, and last week by John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4. The man is plainly incompetent out of his ivory tower, and Mr Entwistle should be out of the BBC altogether, not be permitted to finish what he started off bungling in the first place. I am disgusted with Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, who stands up for the former DG because he's such a nice guy. Yes, I'm sure I'd be happy to buy George a pint down the pub myself, but this old-boys network should not come into a management structure. If that persists, Chris Patten himself should resign. It is symptomatic of a culture where malpractice is covered with the mantle of fraternal love and "he is such a nice guy". That is precisely the sort of attitude that allowed Jimmy Savile to abuse women and children between 1958 and 2011. Nobody would say anything about Jimmy, because he was such a good guy, and, well, we all know Jimmy, and didn't you enjoy it??

I have previously stated on this blog that I am a supporter of the BBC, and have been for nearly 30 years. The organisation has a high standard of journalism, but nobody is perfect, and things go wrong, even in the best-run enterprises. The test is how malpractice is being dealt with - and there have been two serious instances at the BBC where malpractice was uncovered, and it was not dealt with properly. The BBC is not a private enterprise, the broadcaster is (partly) funded by license fee money, paid by viewers in the UK - £150 per annum.

Autumn day

Rivers running down the glass
Distorting the view outside
A rapid patter of drops
and an impatient buffeting by wind

Visibility quite poor
but there isn't much to see
today is an autumnal day
as chill makes way for mild

Darkness falls near four fifteen
and daylight's getting very short
Six weeks left till solstice day
and we'll hunker down some more

Bowed down into the wind
Minimising time outside
warmed by a cosy fire
ignoring mother nature's ill temper

Remembrance Sunday (II)

They gather round
under clearing skies
remembering those
gone on ahead

Through war and strife
the trumpet sounds
and all fall silent
to contemplate

The sun comes out
and the trumpet calls
A  new day dawns

The wreaths remain
We will remember
Their today
For our tomorrow