RE and Humanism

As I qualified secondary RE teacher I find it appalling that the government have taken out the teaching of those with no belief in Religious Education. It’s almost like people without any faith shouldn’t have an opinion about moral values and life choices. I see it as a backwards step in highlighting the importance of the vital role that Religious Education has in our schools in a modern world.

The terrible atrocities that happen each day in our world cause us to pause and ask the question why? It is no longer the case that our children and adults should be left with the answer that some people do bad things. This is a poor excuse for educating people about religious belief.

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I was watching a programme the other night where they were discussing the issue of child exploitation that happens on a regular basis in the UK and thought myself that certain established religions have a lot to blame when it comes to talking about and educating young people about the dangers of online grooming and sexual relationships for someone who us under the legal limit of consent.

The programme highlighted the numerous times that girls were coerced into performed sex acts on their boyfriends and the blatant manipulation coupled with emotional blackmail that they felt under these circumstances. It is no longer a choice to bury your head in the sand and say that my child wouldn’t do these things and they know better.

Education is fundamental. Talking about violence does not make someone violent. In the same way, educating people about the dangers of sex doesn’t allow young people to think they are entitled to go out and experiment on the basis of the facts they have been told.

Think back to the days of your RE and would you really want the next generation to look at the world without the rich knowledge that RE does bring? Or do you want it to be begrudgingly tagged on the lesson at the end of the week on Friday afternoon?

Freedom

In this country we can say what we like about the government. According to some the government monitors emails and certain political parties. This is is true to a certain extent but they are not stifled as they are in other countries. I can complain about the way in which the country is run and those who are in power and this is a basis for democracy.

There are certain loonies and idiots who will say that Britain is a police state. It isn’t. Look on youtube at those cases where people say they have evidence of a police state. Normally it’s a case where someone has done something wrong they have a problem with authority and the police. They then somehow become criminal experts quoting verbatim laws that have been looked up on the internet or passed on through dodgy sites that complain of police brutality.

I have seen cases where the public have constantly harangued police officers usually on there own quoting the law and trying to get a physical response from the officers involved. If you click on the last sentence it is an example of this where the police are asking someone who is sleeping outside the houses of parliament to move. He edits out the bit where he refuses to give the police officer his name..

That isn’t an example of a police state it’s showing you to be an argumentative prick.

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I know there are genuine cases where officers have acted inappropriately and in a criminal manner but the vast majority of people work for the good of the country and want to see law and order across the land. This doesn’t equate to a police state. I would invite the complainers to move to somewhere like Burma, North Korea or Libya. Let’s see how far they get when they complain about how their country is run.

Terrorists want to impose their ridiculous view of life. It is a warped version of Islam. It isn’t what the majority of over one billion Muslims adhere to. The views of right wing parties does no good to harmonise people. It divides and that’s what the terrorist want. I believe in democracy and freedom of speech as I see that this is a priviledge and also our right as human being to condemn violence.

I stand with the people of Brussels and the people of Paris in solidarity. The terrorists will never win. Using their violence to promote their cause this way won’t bring a country or countries to it’s knees. My thoughts are those families to have been caught in these bombings. Not with the people who brought untold misery to thousands.

PR

Sunderland football club has messed up. It is was disgraceful that they lifted Adam Johnson’s suspension and allowed him to play for the first team in the months leading up to the trial. He should have been removed while the legal proceedings were taking place and if found not guilty (like some have been found) been reinstated to his position within the club.

According to reports at the time, he was brought to answer questions to the management and admitted to them he acted in a manner which was totally inappropriate. At this point the should have taken action. They didn’t and now they are dealing with consequences.

I don’t know much about how the game of football works but I know about how public relations work. I am not an avid follower of any team and have no so-called loyalties. I know that Newcastle United as well isn’t too good. They are dragging their heels in keeping someone in a post who is clearly not getting the job right. I am sure that there are others out there might use stronger words in their description of how the club is run.

I know that some celebrities do rely on stories in the press to keep their persona in the media spotlight. I know that they will make up stories and work together to get their names into print. It’s a common practice and articles will appear every day in tabloids where somehow a celeb will be out shopping. If the photo hasn’t been taken surreptitiously and the makeup is perfect etc you know it is a fake story.

If you are promoting a business or a cause you need to have people on your side and quickly responding to questions or information relating to your chosen field. Sitting on your hands and not using social media in the way it was designed will only have a negative impact on your work. I have spent 13 years building up a decent eBay profile. Getting the answers dealt with and responding quickly and clearly to potential buyers is crucial. If you have a smartphone you have no excuse for not replying to questions within 24/48 hours of them being posted.

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This is how I have built up followers on my twitter account. If someone makes a joke or a comment that is longer than three words I will always reply to someone. It reinforces that you have read their comment and taken what they have said on board. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they said just acknowledged the comment in the first place. The worst thing you can do is fail to answer a question.

I think PR should be sharper than a pin in the way in which it is run. You aren’t going to please everyone all the time but you should at least aim to please some of those who you come into contact with. You risk alienating supporters and those who financially contribute to you.

Amy

Never ‘got’ Amy Winehouse until her second album. Never really did with Adele until she released her last album 25 as well. Watching the film made about Amy Winehouse simply titled ‘Amy’ reveals a complex personality. Someone who had immense talent but just couldn’t handle the fame.

The film mentions that there is no text book or manual that prepares you for fame. But there are thousands of people out there who have gone through the mill of press intrusion and having their lives scrutinised and placed under microscope of rolling 24 hours news and social media where one word taken out of context can travel the globe within seconds.

I always look at the management and advisors that are around the people who are in the magazines and TV etc. Too many ‘yes men’ and not enough of those who are there to protect the artist from the people who can either choose to make or break them.

Making major decisions in life I have always asked a friends opinion. You run it by them to get their ideas. Keep you on the right track. The sad story of Whitney Houston’s demise along with Michael Jackson and other similar stars that died too young reminds us that these people are human but leave in an unreal world. Distorting that unreal world with mind changing substances that numb the person pain makes things much worse.

There are those who have become famous and remained relatively unscathed by their lives in the spotlight. They might have had a moment of indiscretion but they have come out the other side seemly a better person.

Find the right balance of people who will keep you grounded and safe. Whether you are famous or not we all need some sort of stability in life. Not deciding to do what we choose without thinking first of the consequences of the process. I think it’s important that we surround ourselves with people who are good for us. Those who mean a lot to us. Not those who would demean and belittle us. It all sounds easy in words but actions are different.

Youtube

Ninety-nine percent of the content that is uploaded on to YouTube is utter garbage. People trying to make videos or be funny. Some have got “youtube famous” and sold out to companies who use them as advertisers. Two people who I think are amazing are below. First is sixteen year old Bertie Gilbert who is more mature that most thirty year olds. He is a talented film maker. The second is Sheridon Hackland. A youtuber who finds time to make videos which actually have content rather than banal time-wasting challenges or dares.

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Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!