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Tag Archive: government


52nd Post

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in...

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka – Jamaican 200 metres runner Usain Bolt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have done the golden jubilee, half-century or just plain 50.Now racing to the hundred. Actually sprinting, so Usain Bolt better watch out!

I thought to celebrate the grand occasion,I would review one of the best books I have read, and share my views.

KAFKA:  The Trial

The trial is about a man called Joseph K who, on his 30th birthday gets accosted by two ‘police officers’ and gets arrested for a ‘crime’ he never committed. A ‘crime’ he was not to know either. Josef K is a junior manager for a bank and lives by himself. He is of course very enraged and starts to wonder what is really happening around his world. Thus the nightmare begins.

The book is a detailed account of the trials and tribulations Josef K goes through until the day he is ‘judicially murdered’ a year from the day he was first arrested. It is like someone somewhere has been watching Josef K and is reminiscent of Big Brother (1984) in a way. Kafka is subjected to ‘Chinese water torture‘  for the whole year. The saying ‘those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad’ aptly describes the ordeal he had to suffer throughout that period. His life is turned upside down and he becomes a ‘prisoner’ and is told to ‘accept his situation’. The warders and the courts never tell him what his ‘crime’ is.

The bureaucracy and Invisible Law is staggering. He attends court, there are constant court appearances yet he does not know what the charge(s) is/are. The legal system is so crushing and it is hopeless. Maybe he should never have acknowledged that he had committed a ‘crime’. He is made to interminably wait and they simply mess up with his head. The court systems is at best very strange and yet at the same time there is such a bureaucratic mire he has to navigate. The court officials do not seem to have an acute understanding of cases and ‘consequently they could hardly ever quite follow in their further progress… ‘It looks like there is a psychological determination to destroy him.Perhaps its he way the bureaucratic system was perceived in early 1900s when the book was written. Joseph K is offered advise from ‘mentors’ and they all seemed to at times. He also tries to put his trust in females,but no one can help him with his case. He is marooned.  The psychological quagmire he is entrapped is so suffocating. ‘Guilt’ seems to be the overriding theme. Everyone assumes he is ‘guilty’ or else he would not be in that ‘situation’. When he tells court claim that he is ‘innocent’, he is asked in turn ‘innocent of what’? He has no human rights whatsoever and his life is at the mercy of the state apparatus.

It is not difficult to find oneself sympathising with this character. The state has pressed a self-destruct button and although he tries to keep level-headed, going to work and keeping to routines, he can not escape the knowledge that in the eyes of the law he is deemed  guilty. Its said Kafka did not finish the book and the end comes rather unexpectedly. Maybe that is why there seems to be a gap between the Cathedral  scene and his final demise. At the Cathedral he seemed to suggest to the priest he was going to fight to prove that he is not guilty. Yet when the two warders come to collect him and lead him to his death he does not protest. Joseph K ultimately dies at the hands of the state’s executioners. He accepts the inevitability of his death. Is this a final act to escape the nightmare or is it mere submission to authority yet again? At least the nightmare comes to an end.

The book seems to want to highlight the problems with bureaucracy. Even senior officials do not know the rules, they claim to work under. People who work in these bureaucracies might as well be robots. It also portrays the state as an organ that it can willy-nilly disregard the rights of  citizens. It is omnipresent and also destroys people’s lives. Kafka  also cleverly illustrates the human tendency to submit to authority. Even when the authority’s actions are questionable. However, one finds themselves wanting to support him, and or expose the state for what it is, a cold-hearted bully.

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Oh Cameron! You are the supposed to be the leader of one of the biggest democracies, not some bumbling dyed-in the wool Little Englander Buffon.

Colonialists.

The other day, he called Argentina ‘colonialists’ for their temerity to challenge the United Kingdom’s continued occupation of the Falklands (or Malvinas). Now now Mr Cameron, who was the biggest colonialist of them all? Who still occupies vast swathes of foreign land? The Americans only celebrated their Independence Day yesterday. Did they fight the Argentinians all those years ago  for their independence? Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria to name but three. Pakistan and India are still bickering after they got their indepencence from the United Kingdom in 1948. They are still bickering because their counrty was so ruthlesslessy subdivided on ethnic and religious lines such that the Brits left it a mess and couldn’t work out what to do with Kashmir. the Palestinians are till in such a mess because of the United Kingdom’s machinations. He needs a lesson in History.

The Euro

Britain has been teaching the Euro-countries how to deal with the current economic crisis. Who has been championing this teaching? Well, Mr Cameron of course! An expert economist and politician I dare add! Britain repeatedly says that saving the eurozone remains in Britain’s vital national interest. France and Germany say that if Britain has such strong views on how it should be saved then it should cough up directly than through relatively modest and indirect IMF contributions (Guardian). Moreover, Germany & France have bigger economies than Britain. Another factor he forgets is that he was not really elected as Prime Minister, he leads a coalition. Whereas the French President and Germany Chancellor were directly elected into office.

Greece

He has of late been saying we are going to shut the borders to the Greeks as their economy implodes and they are forced to leave the Eurozone. Going back to the Drachmas! Well, if there are any Greeks intend on leaving their sun-drenched island, surely they maybe doing that all ready by getting travel tickets using their last cash reserves instead of waiting until the country grinds to a halt. How crass and insensitive for the Prime Minister of a leading nation to be so disdainful and callous.

The Poor

The less off have not been left out of Mr Cameron’s drive to change the world. They have been advised not to procreate like rabbits! He threatens to slash benefits. Instead of championing social inclusion he blames most of the economic ills on the impoverished of this beautiful island. The Tories are prescribing that the poor Stop drinking and Stop smoking. This will be achieved by increasing the prices,and other subtle methods. Admittedly the health benefits are immense. However, its sheer hypocrisy. Moreover, it smacks of nit-picking symptoms, and attempting to treat them yet ignoring the major illnesses afflicting society-social exclusion and the economic problems. He could do well  introducing the one-child family (imitate China-after all the economy seems to be booming!) or better still open gulags and throw all the miscreant parents into them for some re-education in ‘family values’ , work and teach them conservative ideals. ‘Family values’ seems to be the bedrock of Tory policy. As if all our problems will be cured if we got married (and stop living as single parents or co-habitating). The biggest joke of all was the attack on Jimmy Carr for tax evasion.The mind boggles. Why pick on him when the majority of Tory benefactors are known to be doing the same thing? It is the silly season indeed.

The champion of ‘caring conservatism’ is finally showing his true colours. Wolf and sheep’s clothing comes to mind.For some reason,  true colours tend to come out this season. For the uninitiated, the  silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news (behaviours to boot) stories in the media.

 

Our wise Government ministers have decided to change the educational system. Again. For the umpteen time.

I assume the system is broke, otherwise if it ain’t broke why try to fix it. Is the system that bad? Or has education become another political plaything like the NHS?

I often wonder the system is really wrong or is it the political classes and leadership that screws it up all the time. Resources are stretched right now, and yet we want to overhaul the educational system. Wouldnt it be wiser to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the educational system, compare results with other countries with equivalent or even better educational systems then embark on a modification exercise. Regular  overhauling of the educational system will cause more harm than good. Members of parliament, the ministers and all the major parties should all be sitting together and coming up with one solution. Cheap political point-scoring may win you a vote; but it will harm our children. Plus cause problems for the country in years to come.

Our children need a good basis and environment that nurtures learning and it should be unrestrictive, meritocratic and encouraging.

Too many changes are unnecessary and will make it even harder for the teachers to impart the knowledge our children need.

Just a thought: ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.’ espousing the virtues of Utilitarianism, (Dickens).

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