Saturday, May 29, 2010

We Are All In This Together?

      Please bear with me for a little background on my main subject.
      As with most nations, the U.K. is experiencing serious problems with its financial system. For the calendar year 2009 the UK budget deficit was 11.4% of GDP, and its general government debt was 68.1% of GDP. Although the UK is not a member of the European Common Market, these ratios compare to the market’s targets of 3% and 60% respectively. As a result Queen Elizabeth II gave an austerity speech on the opening day of Parliament this past Tuesday.
      Some of the queen’s comments outlined changes to the traditional political system, e.g., a new voting system for members of the House of Commons, fewer and more "equal-sized constituencies," and the right of voters to recall elected lawmakers who are found guilty of serious wrongdoing. In the near future there will be proposals to make the House of Lords “wholly or mainly elected.”
      She also called for a ₤6 billion cut in public spending, and canceled a ₤5.1 billion plan to issue a national identity card. Caps in certain immigrant quotas, changes in the postal service and pensions, and other proposals to "restore trust in democratic institutions and rebalance the relationship between the citizen and the state," were also included in her speech.
      But the major thrust of her message was that, “The first priority is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth.”
      The opening of parliament includes traditional ceremonies. In 1605 the Catholics attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. To make sure it doesn’t happen again, the Yeoman of the Guard first searches the cellars of the Palace of Westminster.
      Although it has been several hundred years since a monarch faced a hostile parliament, a member of the House of Commons is taken hostage in Buckingham Palace, and wined and dined until the monarch returns safely. (In actuality he is released even before the monarch leaves for parliament.)
      After having been assured of her safety, the queen, accompanied by cannon fire and red-jacketed Yeoman on horseback, is driven in her glittering carriage to Westminster, where she dons the royal robes in preparation for the main event.
      The members of the House of Commons are summoned to attend the queen’s speech by her messenger, Black Rod. When he arrives at the House chamber, the door is slammed in his face, symbolic of the right of Commons to admit no one except the queen’s messenger. It is then reopened so that Black Rod can deliver the summons. (No monarch has entered the House of Commons since 1642.)
      The queen delivered her message seated on her throne. She wore the regal robes and the royal platinum crown, studded with some 2,000 diamonds, including the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor.
      At the conclusion of her speech, the queen confirmed that she and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit Canada in June and travel to New York to visit the United Nations in July.
      Really drives home the idea of austerity, don’t you think?
******
      In many cultures the soul left the body temporarily in sleep; if it left permanently, the body would die. Thus it was important that the soul be induced to return from any absence. In some cases dreams are considered to be actual adventures of the soul while the body is asleep, as illustrated by the following:
      The Santals, a large tribe in India, told of a man who fell asleep, and his soul, in the form of a lizard, entered a pitcher for a drink of water. While the soul was inside, the owner of the pitcher covered it; consequently, the soul could not return, and the man died. While his friends were preparing to burn the body, someone uncovered the pitcher and the soul returned to the body, which immediately revived. He said he had been down in a well to get water, but had found it hard to get out.
      Man Takes Control – The Spirit Runs Through It.

The book and/or a free look inside is available in paperback or on Kindle at Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment