When I was a pupil in Dingwall Academy, one of my class asked the maths teacher what was the point of doing geometry when we were very unlikely to need it after school. Miss Pirie answered something like: 'geometry teaches you to think logically, to consider consequences and the relationship of one thing to another'.
I had totally forgotten that, until it dawned on me that this month we are coming up to the anniversary of COP26 in Glasgow, where on the basis of findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), everyone was encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint. Then much of the media highlighted that we are in a global village and positively encouraged the need to reduce the temperature in buildings, and limit the amount of flying.
A year on from COP26 and society is affected by the consequences of Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, including the increase in the cost of heating and flying. This time the same media has a negative tone, highlighting the problems and the moans! Perhaps people have not had the advantage of studying geometry under a good teacher, but it seems that society is failing to be logical and to relate the two issues.
We don't want climate change, yet we don't want a trigger to achieve it. The logical inconsistency of two incompatible attitudes is worrying. Maybe it is symptomatic of a mindset which depends on feelings rather than on facts, of comfort rather than of challenge, and the narrow worldview of 'how does it affect me?' rather than having a caring global perspective.
As the oceans are rising, there is a rising need for politicians and the media to take a stand on higher moral ground, not in a smug supercilious way, but with operational vision and active caring. There is a big difference between elite sentimental religiosity (Dr Stuart Hannabuss, 28 September 2022
) and the life-transforming challenge of the biblical invitation to logical thinking from a global God: 'Come let us reason together'. There is a need for politicians and 'the movers and shakers' of the media to heed that invitation.
Feeling somewhat battered and bruised in the brain area from the latest onslaught of tripe that passes for politics/current affairs, yours truly has become aware that even the ancient sturdy walls have been shuddering and in want of an inspection. All is well though. Nevertheless, beyond the parapet there is, after all, scant reassurance that the very foundations of many lives are not being routinely undermined, shaken, devalued. Not a laughing matter. Sneering and a tone of impatient dismissal are what we hear.
As the comedians have it, timing is all. And lo! It's the conference season! The Gadarene Swine have assembled, well and truly prepped by the weekend avalanche of broadcast/podcast/outcast drivel, braying that all is well and nothing changes, announced with all the solemn conviction that only the HMG machine can muster. Terrible distractions notwithstanding. Until something changes. 'U- turn' doesn't do it justice. Birling on the head of a pin, more like.
And talking of heads... Head of government, heads of government departments – or head bangers? Let's all stop imagining that what we endured this summer had anything to do with leadership, selecting an individual who displayed any of the qualities usually associated with being a leader: ability, authority, reliability, trustworthiness, etc. Did I hear credibility?
It's been a great story, this last week or so. Endless media fodder and appearance fees for anyone prepared to be wheeled into a studio or in front of a furry microphone on a long handle.
The pension pundits in particular must be in the running for an award of some sort, or perhaps a wooden spoon, depending on how worried you still are about your current or forthcoming pension.
Coolly disregarding these and other concerns, the head banger in chief seems to be in a world of her own – almost certainly of her own making – and with no irony intended, for the moment at least, is the leader of a Unionist party!
Well good luck with all that. Here in the wee swamp yours truly still has a few working brain cells capable of independent thought, perhaps tempered in moments of uncertainty when the feline lodger will remind me of my place in the overall scheme of things. I'm happy with that. It could be worse. A lot worse...
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