Monthly Archives: February 2018

Oxfam’s Recovery


Oxfam’s Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, tried to justify himself today, never a good idea. After public outrage concerning his comment that aid workers had not ‘murdered babies in their cots, his apology compounded the mistake.

We always hear about fat cats and people earning vast amounts of money, but when something bad happens, it is precisely their job to talk their charity out of the situation. Making a comment like that cannot be excused by being under pressure. Everyone feels pressure sometimes,  but are not paid £128,000 a year to make the situation better (although below what he could earn in the private sector). Not making comments like that is what he is paid for!

Yes, it is very tough at the top and lonely. Unfortunately, his position today may be untenable. The statement from one MP that this did not happen under his tenure made the poor man look away. More people, namely the Executive in charge of Haiti should be brought to account. Using Haitian citizens as prostitutes after a devastating earthquake is appalling. (Please do not let any MP and certainly not the Prime Minister apologise.) We want action. Who is the UK Minister for Charities? That looks like a crisis waiting to happen; a fundamental ignorance and sweeping under the carpet of everybody in the voluntary sector.

Every Oxfam employee apologised in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee today. It must be a record, but very frustrating for the listening MP’s. Oxfam’s Trustees will be busy, doubtless, in setting a new Charity Charter with the help of the Charity Commission.  As a minor volunteer, I would be aghast if anything happened to the detriment of a charity and so must Oxfam’s volunteers be thinking. So, some donors have run for the hills.  Corporate donors, however, can see the bigger picture that Oxfam is a world giver, founded in Oxford, England in 1942. Now it is a confederation of 19 different charitable organisations, operating around the world, under the banner  of Oxfam.

Mostly, it will be the corporate donors, Trustees, workers and volunteers who will help Oxfam to recover. I think we can expect more claims as the media chases charities for comment.

But today, my heart sings as recognition that North Lanarkshire Council in Scotland has been offering free school meals for primary school years 1-3 since 2015. Now it hopes to offer free school meals to all children 365 days a year.  Holiday and weekend lunches will be served in sports halls and community centres.  They noticed that children from deprived areas were underfed and the Council decided to make a difference, not only to the children, yet to their exam results. Let us hope there is agreement  to implement the groundbreaking scheme at the Council meeting next Tuesday.






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British Earthquakes And What To Do With Everybody’s Nuclear Waste


The first thing that I thought when I heard about the earthquake in Wales, UK, was where is the nuclear waste buried? I think the optimum place has granite as bedrock, with a host of other requirements such as ecologically ordinary environment.

As for the earthquake around Swansea, that hit 4.4 on the Richter scale and lots of people fled into the streets. That much we have learnt from other countries’ misfortunes. It is also true that a fault line from trenches off China, north to Hawaii and south along California’s sea border has resulted in earthquakes all down it in the same week as ours. This one registered walls shaking and ornaments falling off shelves. This same thing happened to a relative attending the University of Sheffield in 2004. Four girls clung together in the house, then ran outside, thank goodness. They said that the house shook.

I had no idea of the turbulence around choosing British sites for Low Level Dumping (LLD) and Intermediate Level Dumping (ILD).  Uranium and plutonium is extracted and this can be reused to make new nuclear fuel, which is then returned to nuclear power plants around the world. The remainder is then waste in a liquid form. Most of it is stored above ground at Sellafield and that is the preferred option to dumping it underground and letting it disseminate into the environment for  ‘x’ years. At least above ground, our children will have access to it, so offloading a decision.

May I make a suggestion to send all high and low level nuclear waste to the Moon? It would be a refuelling station for onward exploration of other planets. Doubtless, they will create more efficient fuel.  Let us not fight about who does and does not have rights on the Moon.  Let us use it for the common good. Scientists, explorers and a few comedians should inhabit the Moon, if only to alleviate the mix of people essential to a society.

A decision was taken recently to cancel extraction of uranium and plutonium to make money for the extractor, namely Sellafield in the UK.  This is against the opinion of every scientific community that reads about it. My final suggestion is that all disciplines, including writers, artists, creative people and thinkers should look at the problem.

Have a good week.


PS Grateful thanks to



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