Exploiting labour

Expecting to rely on the international labour market cannot be the long-term solution to our health and care staffing crisis. That merely exacerbates the problem in the health and care health systems of countries we drain of qualified staff and talent, and no amount of foreign aid can make up for that.

The long-term solution must be structured investment in the sector, preferably starting two decades ago. Early careers advice in schools, identifying pathways for youngsters not sure what to do with their lives; an attractive salary, capable of keeping employees engaged; a reorientation of what society considers value in the twenty-first century.

I celebrate equality and diversity of opportunity. I wish our international carers, nurses, doctors and social workers all the best in their careers in the UK.

But policymakers must be mindful, as watch news reports of collapsing healthcare systems “over there”, struggling to cope with medical emergencies, that the decisions we make to poach professionals from elsewhere may be the direct or indirect cause of disaster.

Give Britain’s youth something better to aspire to than the cult of celebrity. If Britain’s got talent, let us see it.

Broken chains

Muslims that belittle the Quran are the perfect interlocutors for those that attack the Quran. If you make a body of narrations take precedence over your Holy Book, abrogating its verses, relating its corruption, alleging it deficient, it is no wonder that missionaries embrace you.

Do you not see that it is your dawah — your assertive scholarship — that is killing the message? You have preached before all the world that your rendition of faith is the most authentic, truer than all others, in which all people must believe absolutely or be damned. But your opponents have opened wide your books and pored over your texts, jumping on every contradiction and anomaly. Likewise, they listen intently to your celebrated scholars, combing through their unending output, seeking to pounce on every word that undermines you.

The missionaries do not see — nor do they care about — the persecuted sages you lambast as heretics and turncoats, for holding different opinions, born of their own engagement with ancient texts and the world around them. They only care about you and your rendition of faith, which they too present as the only authentic form of Muslim belief. You are perfect bedfellows. Your dawah is their vector of attack.

If only you had set out on the road of inward contemplation, before arrogating to yourself responsibility to preach before even learning to walk. If only you had contemplated on your own state, before busying yourself with the concerns of others. If only you had reflected on the verses of the Book you belittle.

Do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?

Quran 2:44

Polemicists for life

My first encounter with the polemicists of Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner occurred in the basement cafeteria at All Souls, Langham Place, just across the road from Broadcasting House on London’s Regent Street. I think it was Sunday 3 August, 1997. In the company of my maternal grandmother and brother, we had just listened to John Stott preach the second of his series of sermons on the four faces of Christ, as purportedly expounded in each of the four gospels. This one was entitled, The Suffering Servant.

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Are the callers really calling people to faith? It doesn’t look like it to me. Rather, they are chasing them away, with their bullying cries and denunciation. Who would want to jump aboard this ship, knowing that they would soon be made to walk the plank and be thrown into the sea? Who is there who will call the callers? Who will call back to a noble way?

Shock and awe

The corrupt politician does not need shock and awe to take out the rocketeers. They have musta’ribin embedded everywhere, who, if they willed, could pick off their opponents one by one. Shock and awe is for a domestic audience, to blast to pieces any hope of the Yesh Atid party forming a national unity government to replace him.

Shock and awe is an appeal to the far-right across the nation to believe in Likud, to give it a mandate to return to power, undiluted by coalitions and compromise. Shock and awe is for victory in the battle within, for the hearts and minds of a bitterly divided electorate, disillusioned by the direction of their nation.

Shock and awe is an act of desperation, of man and his ego, raining destruction down on innocents to no other end than that he be returned to power by the cruel and merciless who believe only in the narcissistic megalomania of the self.

Shock and awe cares nothing for women and children, for livelihoods and dignity, for international law or divine right. Shock and awe is for men who have lost their souls and humanity, who do not believe they will be raised alive on an overwhelming day to account for their deeds: that day of eternal shock and awe.

Inner murmurs

What is the strategy of the rocket men?

To reveal before all the world the merciless barbarity of their opponents, as they render tens of thousands homeless, hundreds dead and thousands more injured, as they brutally rain down fire on residential homes and businesses in one of the most densely populated areas on earth?

Well, they have certainly achieved that, but at what cost? The obliteration of little children all dressed up for Eid? The cruel murder of bakers and barbers in cars blown to pieces? An impoverished people further vanquished?

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Hermes the delivery company

Dear Hermes UK,

You probably don’t know this, because everyone is posting their thoughts about your company on the wrong TrustPilot page, but your company is receiving battering reviews.

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Houses of Worship

According to legend, it was King David who chose Mount Moriah as the site for a future temple in ancient times. It was here that Abraham was supposed to have been to sacrifice his beloved son.

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