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Coming Together

Our diverse democracy is now leaving the European Union, after 47 years. Our governments have never been really happy in this club yet for nearly fifty years we have avoided war in Europe. That must mean something after centuries of conflict. Our present Prime Minister was elected, with an increased majority, largely on the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’.

His stated aim now is to bring the two broad factions of the country together. One for, one against remaining in the EU. As usual with Boris there’s no clear plan to achieve his stated intention.

Ever eager to please I have a plan. One small caveat before it is revealed and that is that Dominic Cummings be sacked. He has dubious links with Russia, is far too arrogant, and, in my opinion, looks Machiavellian.

Cummings has designs to change, notably the BBC. This institution may be in need of change, but not by Cummings. It is top-heavy and cumbersome and carries too many staff, some of whom get paid far too much. It lacks a clear vision but with a few tweaks could be a perfect vehicle for Boris to use.

We all know the BBC. Most of the world knows the BBC. It’s a great marketing device which is precisely why it should not stoop to the archaic advertising-revenue system of support. That immediately hampers its freedom.

To support the BBC we must insist that all major sporting events are covered by the BBC. That need not prevent other stations from broadcasting the same material – indeed the BBC could also sell their own content. A careful look at some TV channels will reveal that is already common practice, although usually old content. We have a national broadcaster – let’s use it effectively, and openly state how much cash is made.

That it must retain its independence is obvious, and perhaps a panel of populace could be chosen to oversee that function. The present system is not powerful enough.

The next year will be interesting. I’m no lover of bureaucrats but the EU also could be improved. Maybe, one day, we will be allowed to return.

For now we face the threat from the USA that seems intent on making us a lackey-state, if not the 51st State of the Union.

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personal

Where now?

Let’s be positive.

Some would suggest, and as yet we have no proof, that Harry has, at last returned the Royal Family to the British. The Hanoverian link has been broken.

Whether that is true depends upon a DNA test, and despite all the rumours no proof that Harry is the legitimate offspring of the heir to the throne has ever been given. Plenty of bluster. No proof.

Someone could surely pick up a glass, or some object containing a DNA sample and have that examined. In a very British way eyes have been closed, and its all been tucked away, and not spoken about.

We live in changing times. Our sovereign is coming to the end of her superb reign. We like having a monarch. Imagine President Blair or some other tainted politician being the supreme authority, even if powerless.

Prince Charles is to be admired. He’s worked tirelessly for decades. He was forced, in many ways, to reject the love of his life. This he did, and that didn’t work out too well. At least we got an heir and a spare.

That potential King has now produced his own heirs. His brother, Harry, has slipped down the pecking order. He faces a life of representing our monarch for the rest of his life. He will be the best man,never the groom.

Couple to that his choice of partner. Meghan is a forthright young woman. She lacks the quiet sophistication of her sister-in-law, who will go on to become a consort we will all admire. The Duchess of Sussex has a past that will reverberate. She’s done little that any other exuberant young woman would not have done, but our press and media have decided she is persona non grata, and besides Harry is a nice bloke, but lacks the gravitas needed of a senior royal. That just means he will not put up with any nonsense. He will speak his mind.

This is all very modern. The United Kingdom is now in danger of fragmenting. Our glamour is tarnished. A frightening error has meant we will be thrown out of a cosy club where we have been happy enough for a long time. Our Queen Victoria produced children who sat on the thrones, usually as consort, of all the major sovereignties of Europe. That gave us power, so did our domination of about a third of the world. The European Union has been a suitable substitute, and it has kept the peace in Europe for nearly 80 years.

That may change. Europe is starting to shift. Dangerously it is moving to the right. At the same time a new social revolution is now starting. Work will no longer be the glue that held down the majority of the population. Automation, in all its forms, will takeover from the peasantry. We are already noticing that we have too many people in this world. That needs to be solved.

The USA believes it is the dominant force in the world. That is increasingly being questioned. China is acquiring control through acquisition not conquest. India is raising its head. Russia has increasing influence in the Middle East, and could well dominate Turkey to create a new power band across the heartland of the world. The USA has plundered and been increasingly arrogant. How much longer the world will tolerate this teenage upstart will be interesting to watch.

The United Kingdom faces a difficult time. Our new Prime Minister was born in the USA of Turkish parentage. He has no real allegiance to our country, except through attendance at a posh school. He appears at this stage to be relishing power. Whether that will prove satisfactory only time will tell.

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personal

Elizabeth Tower restored

Elizabeth Tower, Palace of Westminster
Elizabeth Tower

The Elizabeth Tower is the face of the British Houses of Parliament. It houses the clock, which faces out to the world on four faces, and contains the bells which chime, the largest is known as Big Ben. The Tower was known as Big Ben until 2012 when it was renamed Elizabeth to honour the 60-year reign of our monarch.

Built in 1859, then called the King’s Tower, it was renamed the Victoria Tower to mark the 60th year of her reign. Much more information is available at https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/big-ben/

Clock mechanism
Clock mechanism

As a child on an exciting trip to London my parents took me to climb the 334 steps to the top of the tower. It will still be possible to join a group, once restoration is completed. Look at https://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/tours-of-parliament/bigben/. You must ask your MP (I know mine will not join me. the stairs would kill her).

I signed my name of the white wall behind the west-facing clock face and was fascinated to be told that the clock’s accuracy was determined by placing a Victorian penny on the regulator. There’s plenty of detail about the clock at https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/big-ben/facts-figures/great-clock-facts/

That’s all about to change as the tower is being completely restored. The original cost was £29 million, that has now crept p to £61 million, no doubt thanks to the vigilance of the quantity surveyors (QS) on the project. As I was once a QS I can only applaud their determination, as a tax-payer I remain doubtful.

Restoration

Started in 2017 it is nearing completion in 2020. The scaffolding is slowly being removed. Once complete we shall see several changes. Plenty of gold leaf, black paint removed by a tasteful blue. The new colour scheme brings the Tower back to its original state, with over 14 layers of black paint removed.

cleaning clock face

Restoring has meant undertaking key internal and external conservation and refurbishment works, including waterproofing and addressing severe condensation problems as well as modernising the building to improve standards in safety, access and visitor and workspace facilities. The project includes:

  • Work to prevent the clock mechanism from failing, as it is currently in a chronic state.
  • Addressing urgent problems caused by decay to the fabric of the building, both internally and externally.
  • Health & safety and fire safety improvements, including installation of a lift.
  • Enhanced energy efficiency through modern lighting of the tower face and other measures.
broken steps
Broken steps

Brief History

1289-90
The first clock tower was erected in New Palace Yard. It had one dial and a bell

1367
The early clock tower was replaced with a new tower and clock. This was the first public chiming clock in England.

1699
The clock tower had fallen into disrepair. Its bell was sent to St Paul’s Cathedral but broke en route

1707
The medieval clock tower was pulled down and a sun dial put up in its place

1716
The bell from the clock tower was recast and later hung in the South West Tower of St Paul’s Cathedral. If Big Ben is ever unable to strike, the bell in St Paul’s is heard instead

1834
The Palace of Westminster was almost completely destroyed by fire.

1840
Construction of the new Palace of Westminster began. Architect, Charles Barry won the commission to design the new palace and included a clock tower in his final designs.

1843
Construction began on the Clock Tower. Foundation stone was laid.

1846
A competition was held to decide who should build the clock. The Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airy was the referee. Stipulations for the clocks accuracy meant it took seven years before the designs were finalised.

1852
John Dent was appointed to build the clock to the designs of Edmund Beckett Denison. This was the same year that the new Palace of Westminster, designed by architect Sir Charles Barry with the assistance of Augustus Welby Pugin, was opened by Queen Victoria at the State Opening.

1854
The clock mechanism was completed.

1856
The first ‘Big Ben’ bell was cast at Warners of Norton near Stockton-on-Tees, the bell was originally to be called ‘Royal Victoria’.

1857
The first ‘Big Ben’ developed a four foot (1.2m) crack during testing and was condemned. Warners, the bell’s manufacturer, and Edmund Beckett Denison, designer of the Great Clock, clashed over who was responsible for the damage.

1858
In April, the second ‘Big Ben’ was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London. It was transported to New Palace Yard on a carriage drawn by 16 white horses and raised to the belfry.

1859
The Great Clock started ticking on 31 May and the Great Bell’s strikes were heard for the first time on 11 July. Later that year, Big Ben was found to be fractured in two places. While a solution was sought, Big Ben remained silent with the largest quarter bell striking the hourly chime.

1863
At the suggestion of Sir George Airy, the Astronomer Royal, Big Ben was turned by an eighth and the hammer size was reduced thus allowing Big Ben to strike the hours once more. A telegraphic link to the Greenwich Observatory was installed to check the accuracy of the time keeping.

1923
BBC Radio first broadcast Big Ben’s chimes to the United Kingdom on New Year’s Eve.

1932
Big Ben’s strikes broadcast internationally for the first time by the Empire Service (later the World Service) as part of King George V’s Christmas broadcast.

1939
From this date until April 1945, the clock dials remained in darkness to comply with blackout regulations during the Second World War.

1945
The clock dials were re-illuminated when the wartime blackout regulations were lifted.

1976
In the middle of the night on the 5 August, a mechanical failure caused serious damage to the Great Clock. The pendulum weights spiralled out of control down the weight shaft and the clock mechanism exploded. Big Ben was silenced for nearly nine months. The repairs were completed in time for the bells to ring out to mark the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee visit to Westminster Hall in May 1977.

2007
Big Ben and the quarter bells were silenced from 11 August to 1 October while the Great Clock underwent essential maintenance work.

2009
Big Ben celebrated its 150th anniversary with a year of events and activities.

2012
The Clock Tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower to honour Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Ideas

The House of Parliament are about to face a restoration project of its own. That cost will be considerable. Ideally (in my opinion) we would gain much by building a new Parliament somewhere around Lindley Hall Farm, Leicestershire (near Fenny Drayton and Higham on the Hill) (52°33′42.942″N 1°27′53.474″W; SP 36373.66 96143.05) [7] A plaque denoting this point, and disputing the “traditional” centre of England as being at Meriden in the West Midlands, was erected by Ordnance Survey on 14 June 2013.

Lindley Hall Farm, designated centre of England
Lindley Hall Farm

This location assumes that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom. Whatever place is chosen it will help us all to move the centre of power out of London. After all Canberra became Australia’s capital once all the indigenous folk had been removed. Think of the housing possibilities, and the reduced risk of running into Al Jemal.

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Lockwood Podcasts Suffolk

Phoebe Lockwood

Recording by George Ewart Evans of Phoebe Lockwood

http://sounds.bl.uk/embed/Oral-history/George-Ewart-Evans-collection/021M-T1418WXXXXXX-0700V0

Phoebe Lockwood talks about her life

http://sounds.bl.uk/embed/Oral-history/George-Ewart-Evans-collection/021M-T1453WXXXXXX-0300V0

Phoebe tells about cooking hares.

http://sounds.bl.uk/embed/Oral-history/George-Ewart-Evans-collection/021M-T1447RXXXXXX-0700V0

http://sounds.bl.uk/embed/Oral-history/George-Ewart-Evans-collection/021M-T1447RXXXXXX-0900V0

Suffolk riddles

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Podcasts

Ideas for the Future

Trevor aged 45

Fortunately I’ve been given free rein to say whatever I like. At least that’s the way it is at present, it’s likely to change. I remember George Orwell, a visionary, whose works should now be taken very seriously. His book, 1984, may have been premature but it is finding its time now.

Rather than moaning on about what is wrong it’s time to broaden horizons; to think outside the box!

Let’s make a start; Nation State

Why are we geographically restricted? It makes little sense, particularly now that we have people moving all around the globe. There are 166 different languages spoken in parts of London. Why does geography play such an important place in our lives?

The Nation State has become an irrelevance. It is little more than a system of control.

In England, which is where I live, we have first past the post elections. In my county, in East Anglia, everyone is biased, so we always get the same political party in charge. That party is so arrogant that we now have an MP who had never been to my county before she was selected. Her CV (resume) was very similar to Margaret Thatcher, so she was liked. It must have been a paper sift because she has achieved very little for us, although she now holds a Cabinet post.

The Nation State is a means of control.

Our democratic system is no better. Of recent years boundaries have been changed. The excuse was to bring them all to the same population size. Untrue. It was to give the ruling party a better chance of winning.

A Solution

To make a start why can’t we choose which government to follow.? Even in Europe it is not too difficult to acquire citizenship. Belgium is probably the easiest but other countries do very well.

Elsewhere Russia is the easiest with Peru coming second. As a precaution why not apply for an e-residency in Estonia. For just 199 Euros you can start an Estonian company. No need to live there, although it is very pleasant, especially in summer.

Scotland are looking like a good choice (it is a bit cold for an East Anglian). The Northern Irish problem could be solved if the Protestants moved back to Scotland, as that’s where most came from.

Wales could also become independent. That would save money, as Wales is encouraged by government, probably to prevent revolts. Since the coal industry was taken apart by Thatcher Wales has been given state-run jobs; such as vehicle licensing. It keeps their heads down at desks.

These suggestions are just a start. Our aim should be World Citizenship. That needs to be taken very slowly. Too many cushy sinecures will be at risk.

Remember this is just looking outside the box.

Categories
Podcasts

Brief Future

Trevor Lockwood

I’ve made a decision. I shall abandon politics. Instead I will take a philosophical approach to life. Look forward to a perfect society. There’s much to discuss. Why do we have nation states? Alternatives to capitalism. Is monotheism preferable? Population reduction. War or peace. Equality in economics. Saving homo sapiens (the planet will survive – it is us that needs to worry).

There will be much more if I last that long.

It is now clear, after a lifetime of trying to influence events, that I have failed. That’s OK, as I have tried.

Instead it will be fruitful to look outside the box. To stay constrained means that I will always be reacting to the ideas and actions of others. That’s not helped my soul.

Let’s look at life another way.

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Podcasts

Friday 13th

Now we have FIVE years of Boris!

Will Holland take me as a refugee?

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Podcasts

Conflict

https://soundcloud.com/trevor-lockwood/sets/polemia

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Podcasts

Nearly There

The Future

It’s getting tiring. We’ve seen and heard politicians lying, and there’s an approach that when being interviewed just keep talking, and ignore interruptions. It’s annoying and frightening.

Now we will settle down and wait for the result. If Boris the Turk gets in we will face the same future as the USA.

What more needs to be said.

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Podcasts

Nervous

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda is reported to have suffered a nervous breakdown after completing a film.

I sympathise.

As we slide through this life we have ups and downs. Mine has been more down than up, but never mind, we survive.

I have one worry: that’s the survival of mankind on this planet.

That’s a serious concern. We have an increasing shift to the right in politics. In Europe we have experience of what that means. In the USA there is a simple-minded, yet arrogant President.

United Kingdom

In the UK we have an equally spoilt-brat as Prime Minister. He masquerades as British, that’s not strictly true. He’s a second-generation immigrant from Turkey.

That’s OK. The UK is now full of immigrants, and most are doing a good job. We need and welcome their enthusiasm. Perhaps the problems arise when their offspring, born in this country, are well-established and have money and influence. They become arrogant.

England (specifically) is a nation of peasants. Folk who have been under the yoke for many years. We’ve not had a voice that’s been effective. We tried in 1381 with the Peasants Revolt, but that failed.

Richard 11 faces the peasants

Richard 11, then just 14, met the peasants but the Mayor of London stepped in and killed the peasant’s leader Wat Tyler. Richard promised to meet the peasants demands: that all men should be free and equal.

So much for promises. Government troops went to the villages and hanged any man who took part.

We have promises from politicians today. With a coming election there will many of the people who choose to believe those who wield power. They may be wrong to believe promises.

The Chartists in 19th Century (1838) wanted constitutional reform, presenting six demands. They failed.

Chartists meet at Kennington 1848

Despite objections (10,000 extra police standing by) the Chartists presented a petition to Parliament, signed by 6 million people, it was largely ignored.

In a quiet way the same situation is occurring again. This time a Tory Prime Minister held a referendum. Read carefully it did no more than promise to look at the result. Unfortunately a small majority voted to leave the European Union (EU).

That cause consternation amongst the ruling classes. They were aware that the EU were changing the tax laws meaning that overseas investments would be taxed. For some that became a good reason to leave the EU.

Unfortunately, for them, this ruse was soon spotted. A new Prime Minister, Boris the Turk Johnson, is now holding another election. Which he hopes to win.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was born in New York City on June 19, 1964. His great-grandfather was Ali Kemal, an Ottoman Turk. Kemal fled to exile in England in late 1909, They already had a daughter named Selma. Kemal stayed with his mother-in-law Margaret Brun (née Johnson). Is that where Johnson’s name came from? His nationality hangs on a thin thread.

Who knows what will happen on 12 December?

I have an evil plan: if Boris wins and we leave the EU I shall go to Holland and plead asylum as a refugee I have some links in my ancestry to Holland, and even more in France where my family founded a Christian order, which still exists today: https://www.lasalle.org

La Salle

I hope he loses. We need Europe, and Europe needs us.