Author: John Bittleston

Not drowning but waving

With gratitude to Stevie Smith I knew how she felt when she published her immortal poem “Not waving but drowning” in 1957. Although beyond my teens, I was still very emotionally immature, struggling to seek help and confirmation of what was yet to come. I have altered Stevie Smith’s title to express a different level…
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ABE’s murder

Shinzo Abe’s tragic and shocking death has been widely reported and many excellent obituaries have given us a chance to appreciate the man and his achievements. I shall not attempt to write another obituary here. There are two aspects of his assassination that have received, in one case much and in the other case rather…
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Make experience work

The first thoughtful definition of experience I learnt came from my father. He was big on definitions and compiled a book of them. Not functional, unimaginitive, definitions, more challenging, teaser definitions to make you work it out for yourself. “Experience”, he said, “lends precision to the craftsman’s tool, and confidence – but leaves a fool…
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NATO’s G7

Commitments made at the G7 Summit are the biggest steps towards international war since the invasion of Ukraine. That does not mean that I don’t think they are right. They might have been taken earlier but political life is the Art of the Possible, not the Practice of the Perfect. It will be extremely difficult…
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Foisted Faith

“foist: impose an unwelcome or unnecessary thing” When I was a child I was taught the Christian faith. I’m glad I was. It gave me a basis for my own thinking, a point of reference from which to develop when I grew up. Over the years I weighed what I had been taught against what…
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Four Critical Things

Life is full of “if only”, of what you should and should not have done, of choices you never made and of burdens others didn’t seem to have to bear. The process of growing up is meant to make you fit to handle the best and the worst of these. It seldom does. Parenting is…
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Poop Scoop

By and large, I try to keep my bodily functions out of the Daily Paradox. But I cannot allow the following incident to go unremarked. There are many older people like me with somewhat compromised mobility. A visit out of the home is demanding on the time and patience of others as well as on…
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Hate talk

Commenting recently on what seemed to me to be a lucid and thoughtful article by a British Member of Parliament about the UK Government, I made two brief points. One was that I thought most political parties in the democratic world were in search of better leaders. I added that I thought leadership today required…
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A dark day for us all

Nineteen children aged between seven and ten, and two adults, shot to death by an eighteen year old who was deemed too young to order an alcoholic drink but old enough to buy and use lethal weapons of life-destroying capability. The lunacy of such a legal system passes understanding. Well, it does until you realise…
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The growth of NATO

It wasn’t inevitable. Everyone was content to keep NATO one country away from the Russian border. Or two, if you include Sweden. NATO has been seen as aggressive, assertive, calm, dormant and essential in turns. By its nature it responds; its inclination is to be proactive. Like all military operations it wants the best forward…
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