Army recruitment – is anyone talking to the families?

A programme on the radio got me thinking. It was the gap in it that caught my mind.

Ten days ago a panel of experts in The Briefing Room on Radio Four put forward important reasons for the shortage of recruits for the British Army.

Not one of the experts represented, or mentioned, Army families.

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UPDATE – Live export: thousands of miles by sea to slaughter

A ewe and her lamb in the north of Spain

A ewe and her lamb in the north of Spain

My thanks to Lyn Douglas in Australia for telling me about the new regulations announced today around the live export of sheep.

The key points are listed below.

  • There will be no ban on the live sheep trade from Australia in the Middle Eastern summer.
  • The number of sheep transported per vessel in the summer months will be reduced by 28 per cent.
  • Independent observers will travel on all ships carrying cattle or sheep.
  • Any company that breaks the rules could face a fine of A$2.1 million.
  • The directors of any such company could face a jail term of up to ten years.

RSPCA Australia remains concerned.

Here is the link to the UK Reuters report.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

Live export: thousands of miles by sea to slaughter

A ewe and her lamb in the north of Spain

A ewe and her lamb in the north of Spain

Recent footage in the media shows the cruel conditions faced by sheep sent over the sea to slaughter. Hot, trapped, dying of thirst and panic, they struggle for life as the ships take them to their death.

This trade across oceans, particularly to and from Australia, has gone on for decades unnoticed by most of us, but the recent publication of footage of the conditions on board the live export ships puts disturbing evidence in front of our noses. We can’t look away any longer.

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Privacy and the meaning of ‘me’

Privacy ... and the Garden of Eden

Privacy … and the Garden of Eden

The question of privacy is a disturbing one, one that takes us right back to the Garden of Eden.

The need for privacy is an adult concept.  It comes with the awareness of sin and evil – our own, which we know about and wish to hide – and that of others which we thrill to see laid bare, and yet expect to be protected from.  It is the same for all of us.

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Mental health: stressed by want, violence and frantic, digital lives

Street art seen in Naples, Italy in October 2016

Street art seen in Naples, Italy in October 2016

It is December 14, 2012 – eleven days before Christmas. I am on my knees sorting through Christmas presents in England when I hear about the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

A jagged thud crashes through my heart. One young man has entered a school in America and killed twelve boys and eight girls, all ages six and seven, and six women, in just eleven minutes.

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Baristi and stress on the caffeine front

Coffee - a pleasure in life

Coffee – a pleasure in life

Coffee and I are well-acquainted. We meet often, frequently in a motorway services. The setting is big, like a strange spaceship, but the point is the caffeine – especially in winter.

Winter in the UK is sock damp and everywhere, smudged beyond the windowpane into a world that hides in its own armpit – head down, surviving.

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The identity question – Zimbabwean?

Zimbabwe's children - what next?


A young man, a stranger, asked me about identity, about my identity as a Zimbabwean. His question made me think…am I Zimbabwean?

The further I travel the more elusive the idea of ‘belonging’ becomes, and the more urgent the need for ‘identity’.

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