Archive: July, 2015

What a Pity, Having a Child Like This!

‘What a pity it is, a young couple like you having a child like this!  Do you want to put her in a home?’

Such, forty-three years ago, were the words of a paediatrician meeting for the first time the parents of a Down’s syndrome child.  It was only by accident, and only gradually, they had discovered that their new baby was different.  The day they left the hospital the nurse who accompanied them to the car had parted with the words, ‘’If you need help in any way, don’t hesitate to call us.’  The tone of voice, they had thought, was odd, even ominous.  Then a friend mentioned to another friend how sad it was about Annie Mary’s baby, and so the story spread, until one day yet another friend called to express her sympathy.

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Brian Wilson and the Free Press

Most of the pieces posted on this blog began life as pieces in my ‘Footnotes’ column in the West Highland Free Press.  The whole world now knows that that column is no more; and thanks to Brian Wilson, they also know the reason why.  Via a phone-call from the Editor, the paper’s owners (its staff) put me on a warning.  I had crossed a line, and there must be no repeat.  There was little point in writing if I couldn’t say what I thought, and so, with only as much hesitation as was decent, I gave it up.

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North African Migrants and the Future of Europe

The flow of migrants from North Africa into southern Europe is no new thing.  It has been going on for decades, but now it’s become the stuff of tragedy as thousands cram into tiny vessels scarcely fit for a mill-pond and head off across two hundred miles of treacherous sea.

Europe is suddenly caught in a dilemma.  Will it rage against illegal immigrants, or weep over the loss of thousands of lives?   But behind the dilemma there is also guilt.  For centuries we Europeans shamelessly took advantage of freedom of movement to turn up unbidden and unwelcome on other shores, killing native inhabitants, destroying their culture and plundering their treasures.

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