Monday, 15 December 2014

'Craigellachie' If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results. George S. Patton

If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you'll be amazed at the results.
George S. Patton

Thirty two years ago, David and I embarked on an overseas holiday; our maiden voyage. Many people who were born in our generation were lucky enough to travel overseas regularly but this was our first time and we were very excited. Just before exiting through the boarding gate, my father asked me to look for a town in Scotland where his ancestor, George Morison, was born.

He couldn't remember the name but knew it started with C and scribbled Crieth on a lolly wrapper. David said 'Oh God! We're not changing our plans to go off on a wild goose chase for a town with no name!' My father often did this to me. He would never, ever allow me to relax and enjoy the moment without asking me to do something complex and frustrating at the very last minute.

Dad is a clever man despite being slightly dyslexic, which always complicated matters. An opportunist with remarkable timing, he confidently manipulated his daughter's guilt by making what seemed at the time, crazy and unreasonable demands and... I always jumped through hoops to oblige. My desire to gain his approval, along with an insatiable curiosity meant he usually got his way!

Remember, thirty two years ago there were no mobile phones, no lap tops and no way of contacting home other than an expensive long distance phone call. Anyway, we did look for the mysterious town in Scotland that started with C because given a challenge like this I couldn't resist the urge to follow through. The search took us on the highland railway and across the center of Scotland, from Inverness to the River Spey. How I knew where to go, I'm not sure, but it felt I was being guided by intuition.

David kept saying 'You'll never find it! It's impossible. You don't have enough information!' But I was determined and felt sure I was on the right path. The quest created a wall of tension between David and I and on the banks of Loch Ness we had a blazing row. I got out of the car and started hitchhiking in the other direction. I waited for half an hour but the road was deserted, so eventually we reached a truce and agreed that if in two days we hadn't found the Morison town, I'd abandon the search.

At Abelour I made some inquiries and then our B&B proprietor mentioned the name 'Craigellachie'. Why did that name sound familiar? I know it sounds impossible but somehow I knew that Craigellachie was the place beginning with C and at the little Church of Scotland (or was it the Presbyterian Church?), near the bridge across the Spey, I found records of our famous ancestor who it would appear was my great, great, great grandfather.

Painting of the Telford Bridge, Craigellachie by Rob Wigham.

There was a reference to an illegitimate son but my research was limited by a lack of time and finances and I thought the rest could wait for my father to find at a later date. Needless to say this was not what my puritanical father wanted to hear but the truth did eventually win out. David thought it served him right and so did I.

David managed to make up for lost time at the local Glenfiddick distillery and we both enjoyed the beautiful journey along the Spey and into the hills, eventually arriving in Edinburgh on a hot August night!
My first overseas holiday was a Scottish magical mystery tour spurred on by my grumpy old Dad leading us up the garden path to a beautiful place called Craigellachie.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Hmmmmm. Sounds like Greens policy....

In Bolivia, the Law of the Rights of Mother Nature gives the environment equal rights to human beings.

How is that the President of Bolivia can be so aware on this issue and our PM so extraordinarily ignorant? Why are so many Australians so ignorant?

I think it's partly because Australian scientists and many environment and social justice groups are frightened to support the only political party that has the right policies and the right people to make them a reality. Like President Evo Morales, the Greens are willing and ready to fight for mother earth in parliament but to do it we need more Greens MPs. It won't be until all the groups we already represent in parliament come forward and openly support us that we'll be able to help save the earth from human pollution.

Recently the Catholic Diocese of Melbourne advised Catholics not to vote Green and if the Catholic Church can tell it's people not to vote Green, then the environment and human rights groups should be able to encourage their people to do the opposite. When these groups openly support the Greens, I believe we'll be able to form Government.

When you realize what's at stake for Australia and the earth, surely this is the next logical step! Why aren't groups such as The Conservation Foundation supporting the Greens and fighting for Green governance?

Come on people. Together, let's do this thing!

 ‪#‎Greens‬ ‪#‎CatholicDioceseVictoria‬ ‪#‎WindAlliance‬ ‪#‎GasfieldFree‬ ‪#‎AYCC‬ ‪#‎StopCoal‬ ‪#‎GreatNationalForest‬ ‪#‎AustralianConservationFoundation‬ ‪#‎AsylumSeekerResourceCentre‬ ‪#‎AnimalsAustralia‬ ‪#‎ViolenceAgainstWomen‬ ‪#‎DomesticViolence‬ ‪#‎SaveOurOceans‬

Here is a FB comment and my response.

Megan Nicolson I think that's really unfair and kind of ridiculous to put blame of an ignorant govt on scientists and enviro groups. Most are doing the work with little or no support from any political parties. Why should they align themselves with one and ostracise themselves from the necessity of govt funding to do the work, not just campaign for it's future. Most would vote green as individuals, why should their business need
Megan Nicolson, valid points which are the reasons groups give for not openly supporting the Greens. So here are my responses to the points you make.

1/ I'm not blaming scientists or groups for our ignorant Govt but for being politically neutral when we all know the environment and human rights are determined by legislation and therefore politics. Therefore those groups have a vested interest in helping the right party gain governance

2/ The problem with Govt funding is that, the perception that science must be seen to benefit the goals of the sitting government, potentially compromises the objectivity of scientific processes and may also effect scientific outcomes!!

3/ Govt funding to climate scientists will go up or down depending on who is in Govt whether that groups supports Greens policies or not and the same applies to all other scientific endeavours. Funding swings back and forth according to the predilection of whomever is in power. Look what happened to the Climate Council and the Environment defenders Office when Abbott was elected.

4/ If groups are genuinely dedicated to their cause, ie fighting climate change, then why not openly support the party that is also genuinely committed to the same cause? Surely that would be the best way to achieve goals.

5/ Such groups have broad levels of support from voters. Someone told me that there were Coalition and Labor supporters in their groups who would never vote Green. That to me is simply prejudicial ignorance. Why remain in a party that is fighting against what you're fighting for? Does that make any sense? Why not raise political awareness within your group of supporters?

It would be understandable if the Greens had questionable environmental policies like Labor and the Coalition: ie logging native forests, fracking, uranium mining, coal and coal fired power stations etc.... But our policies on the environment and human rights are spot on. (And I, of course, believe that all our policies are spot on!)

With the help and influence of of these groups and scientific bodies, the Greens would already be working their Green magic in Government. Get Up, AYCC, Sea Shepherd, 350.0rg & many more have huge followings...and many of the followers are voting their futures away and defeating the purpose of belonging to those very groups!

Again good points and I thank you for sharing them with me but sadly the environment is a political issue.

I worked for a social justice group and also an environment group...over about an 8 year period. We were practically burnt out...well we were burnt out. But we were encouraged because it looked as though we were making headway. We disbanded one of the groups with a change of govt because they promised to do the right thing. Then they didn't...and we had wasted 8 years of our lives...with our cause actually going backwards.

It was then I realized we had to get the right people into Govt because Govt makes the laws that regulate the people and the environment. I approached the people who ran the environment group and asked them about supporting the Greens. They gave all sorts of reasons for not supporting the Greens and so I left them and joined the Greens instead. In the end Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and the Wilderness Society and the Climate Council do not make the laws of the land. You cannot vote for them. The Greens you can vote for and depend on.

Showing support for the Greens doesn't require a group to demand anything of their members but rather a declaration of support from the core group for another group that shares it's values and aims. It is that simple. That simple act, helps people recognize the value of the Greens and encourages people to vote for us! The unions support Labor! The corporations support Coalition. No-one supports the Greens yet we are the most worthy political party to run the country.

I met a young Green volunteer during the election here. He had travelled from Canberra to hand out early voting HTV cards at Hamilton. He is an excellent young man who had been a public servant in Canberra during the Gillard Govt and worked on the the Clean Energy Act which the Greens negotiated with the ALP. The Greens spent years working on this proposal and he said he felt like he was walking on air as he went to work each day. Then Abbott won and he found himself in the position where he had to dismantle that same legislation. He couldn't do it. So he left and joined the Greens because he realized that you can't vote for the Climate Council, or Wilderness Society and in the end it's who is in Canberra who makes the difference.

Sure the Climate Council is worthy. I gave them hundreds of dollars to re-form their organisation and I'm glad they did. But they have NO POWER TO CHANGE LEGISLATION! Only if you have the balance of power or a majority in parliament can you do that! And from now on that's where my energy will go...but our numbers will never grow until our sibling organisations openly support us! It's up to people like you and all the good organisations really. You want to keep bashing your head against a brick wall and put up with ridiculous Govts and the devastation they reek on the environment and on human rights....then don't openly support the Greens.