Fare Well on Welfare by Trevor Plumbly

Welfare State Systems – The Original Concept We don’t send young kids up chimneys anymore; the poorhouses are all gone along with the lunatic asylums and, to a large extent, hunger and extreme poverty have been eliminated. For all that progress, we owe an awful lot to the architects of the welfare state system, first put into practice in the UK and Germany, then copied in many other countries. Like Christianity and Communism, state welfare in its pure form made perfect sense, in both political and humanitarian terms. Improve the lot of… Read More

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.’ By Angela Caldin

There is much in the media in recent days about paedophiles; some well-known, some not so well-known. Perhaps we should remind ourselves that for every paedophile there are likely to be multiple victims.  But there doesn’t seem to be a great deal written about these victims, who in very many cases have to live the rest of their lives knowing that nothing has been done about the perpetrator and that little has been offered to them by way of help and support. Most of us have probably had a childhood experience where… Read More

A Real Disaster by Trevor Plumbly

Sometimes I think human nature can be quite unpleasant. Normally the unpleasantness manifests itself in fairly predictable ways, but recently it seems that the obnoxious tendency to point the finger of blame extends to just about any situation, regardless of how tragic. The Christchurch earthquake here in New Zealand demonstrates this point pretty well. At the time, there were glowing reports of heroism and dedication to duty by the public and the services involved. But, sadly, once the dust settles, the good things get pushed aside to make way for the blame… Read More

My Original Sin by Trevor Plumbly

As one enters the autumnal years, I reckon it’s not a bad idea to unburden oneself and own up to past transgressions. My reasoning for this is quite simple: if the ‘Man Upstairs’ decides he wants to see me ASAP, it’s best to announce one’s flaws in advance, so no-one gets surprised in the interview process. The problem is what sort of sins should one cough up to? We’ve all given the odd commandment a bit of a nudge now and then, so I thought the old ‘seven deadly’ jobs would make… Read More

The Jury Should Retire. By Trevor Plumbly

In a recent murder trial down here, the fact that the accused had extremely violent tendencies and had carried out acts of vandalism was withheld from the jury on the grounds that it might influence their decision on the case before them. After he was acquitted and the broader facts were made public, there was an angry, and to my mind, justified outcry from the public, followed by the usual somewhat paternalistic response from the Minister of Justice and the legal profession. What struck me as odd was that the public ire… Read More