Flymo, Vans and a Spy
“Day of the Flymo” at Live Theatre (last night) which has just concluded a new run was excellent thought provoking material delivered with humour, passion and serious bite from a cast of 5 and set on Tyneside although could be anywhere in the UK.
· A 12 year old boy “Liam” who had in younger years protected his mother from a brutal attack by his father and was much troubled personally heading down the path of complete dysfunctionality badly managed by medications.
· An older sister who spoke sense and was unsupported to breaking point.
· Their mother whose 2nd husband was about to be released from Prison and who was increasingly unable to cope with her son. Worn down woman. Know any?
· A social worker trying to engage with great heart.
· A young female new-friend of the boy who was potentially a good influence.
Despite my lack of knowledge and experience (98% total at least) of responding and assisting such families I am deeply worried how the resources of people and money can be made available for the Social workers, the mothers and fathers and the children in such cases. Early intervention is in my opinion preferable to waiting for the powder keg to explode but that takes money and people which are in scarce supply. But it is more important than many areas of financial waste in our society. I would like to see a more vigorous debate on how we spend our resources. Dysfunctional families should be a priority.
Earlier in day I did enjoy “Lady in the van” which had a fabulous script crafted to word perfection and delivered by a great cast including Maggie Smith. A tale of a dysfunctional senior citizen and the inability of society to cope with her. Her driveway provider Alan Bennett did take many years to come to terms with her, himself and his relationship with his own mother. Whilst Flymo challenges our responses to problem families, this tale (15 years of mainly fact) leaps to the other end of the age spectrum.
Both tales are not isolated but symptoms of society and the questionable extent of intervention by the State. Great opportunity for debate on the trade off between personal choice, acceptable life style and when where and how the state should intervene. Great mind stirring material for the weekend but taking Sunday off.
Did get to a lecture at the Lit & Phil about the ambivalent attitude of Britain and the North east in particular towards Russia from about 1800 to early 1920. Our involvement has been most varied from the Carr’s and their businesses in St Petersburg through to Rudolf Abel who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and went on to become the Russian spy exchanged for Gary Powers.
On the local music scene at the Maggie I enjoyed the performance of Voodoo Traveller (name is longer) last Sunday and the 2nd set of an excellent Diamond Geezers last night. Also on the menu last night was the Jazz Café a delightful haven of good music surrounded by the most boisterous cheer laden.
Thoughts on ISIS
And so it came to past that at the time of year that there are less than 3 wise men / women to be found in the EU. Cameron will press ahead with plans to get Parliamentary approval to bomb ISIS in Syria although we have a meagre force bombing them ineffectively in Iraq for some time. I am appalled at the political grandstanding and shenanigans going on, as he seeks to enlist opposition parties who seek to make hay at his weakness internally. Since 2014 there has been an Allied force of which we in Britain have been a part of mainly airplanes and some ground forces fighting Isis in Iraq and supporting rebels in Syria to defeat Assad. It’s all really silly to consider that Turkey as part of Nato will bomb Kurds who are fighting Assad and aligned with Iraqi state. Then Isis is using former Iraqi military commanders to train their forces. Throw in Russia supporting Assad and bombing all rebels and then wading in we have the internationally naïve Cameron seeking opportunities to galvanise his troupe of semi performing MPs.
ISIS is a nasty virulent organisation whose political economic and social policy I find repulsive on all levels. Therefore we have been at war with ISIS and consequently should have no surprise as to when they attempt to bomb us in our home cities. Our media portrays is as something new, as ina new threat. Its not new just not an exercised threat. We are and have been at war for 2 years and quite eagerly bombing them from time to time with our paltry forces. Our MoD has just published a list of actions in January of this year at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-forces-air-strikes-in-iraq-monthly-list/raf-air-strikes-in-iraq-january-2015
To destroy ISIS we need to snuff out their finances and with more vigour. Bloomberg has this week investigated http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-19/why-u-s-efforts-to-cut-off-islamic-state-s-funds-have-failed and found that the Allies are not bombing fleets of ISIS oil tankers because that would kill the drivers who are apparently not ISIS employees. Such mad morality. ISIS is a very successful commercial organisation and yet we do not cut off its finances.
Iraq and Syria are now failed states the former because of our actions, the latter because of Assads failure to control and a very disunited fractious rebel force.
In conclusion I believe the war against ISIS should be
· Destroy its sources of revenue both militarily against its oil and financially against its banks and suppliers of weapons and vans too!
· Use technology against its communication and propaganda. What has been done so far is paltry.
· Bomb its training camps, supply routes, storage depots as the Russians have whilst we dithered.
· Support rebels who are fighting ISIS such as the Kurds but not just anyone as the USA have.
· Most importantly prepare for a future afterwards ensuring that support for a free press, independent judiciary, equality of access to health and education, small business support and reconstruction are prepared now so can be rolled out after a ceasefire. This is by far our greatest failing in the past and yet we love the jets and bombs over the tools of peace.
· Continue talking (just started mind you after 2 years) with the Russians as to how we can get Assad talking and provide him an exit strategy. He does not want to die like Gaddafi and Saddam inn the gutters of their countries. We may despise him but we need to encourage an exit before even more thousands of civilians die.