Head versus heart by Susan Grimsdell

I came across a sentence today that really stuck in my mind:  “We are not rational beings”.  This worried me, because surely what we need above all else is to use our brains, not our emotions, to solve our many and varied problems. We all know that emotions are the things that get us into trouble, whether it’s falling in love with the wrong person or getting angry at the wrong time with, again, the wrong person, not to speak of making decisions based on what makes us feel good instead of… Read More

Confusion – the mess we’re in by Angela Caldin

There is confusion worse than death, Trouble on trouble, pain on pain. This quotation from The Lotos-Eaters by Alfred Lord Tennyson sprang to mind as we started here in the UK on the new prime minister’s first week in power. He’d already promised that we would leave the EU on 31 October come what may, do or die, but he’d also assured us that the chances of leaving without a deal were a million to one. Impasse Then on Monday, Michael Gove, the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who has… Read More

Huff and puff by Trevor Plumbly

Grumpy old git part 2 It’s cold and wet in Auckland and I’ve got all reflective about a couple of law changes in the offing. Odd things in life seem to matter at my age; even so, at the risk of contradiction from my fellow bloggers, I regard myself as a pretty normal sort of bloke. It wasn’t always thus, but age tends to water things down a bit. In my formative years you were either the sort of boy your girlfriend invited home to meet mother, or useful as a cudgel… Read More

School donations in New Zealand by Susan Grimsdell

Schools in New Zealand are rated from 1 to 10, depending on the socio-economic  zone in which they’re located.  Decile 10 applies to wealthy areas and Decile 1 to deprived areas.  The system was introduced in 1995 by the right-wing National Party. Donations required Primary and high school education are free here, but almost all schools ask for a donation from parents to fund facilities and amenities not normally supplied. In Decile 10 areas, parents donate heaps, as you can imagine.  In poor areas, donations are a problem for parents who simply… Read More

The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Yesterday, I had two interesting conversations which I’ve been pondering on overnight. The food bank phenomenon I was on the tube when I met a colleague from my days in the magistrates’ courts. He’s a defence solicitor and therefore sees on a daily basis and at first hand the poverty and deprivation experienced by many of those who commit petty offences. He commented wearily that food banks are just about the only growth industry in this country nowadays. It’s true that food banks are springing up even in areas which are traditionally… Read More