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The one exception

I am not one to speak out against Islam, I am not islamic and I do not know the Quran, as such I tend to avoid Islamic issues. I also never read Salman Rushdie’s Satanic verses for the same reason. If it was an attack on the Bible, I might have picked it up, but it was an attack on Islam and without knowledge of the Quran and Islam it is a waste of my time. So I never read the book, even though many (with the same lack of knowledge) picked up the book and use it as gospel. Well the devil can recite the bible too, so I will not play that game. Today I am not attacking Islam, I am not speaking out against Islam. The Guardian and a few other papers made me aware of an issue. The Guardian gave me ‘Saudi Arabia: man arrested after Mecca pilgrimage for Queen’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/13/saudia-arabia-yemeni-man-arrested-mecca-pilgrimage-the-queen). There we see “Saudi authorities have arrested a man who claimed to have travelled to the Muslim holy city of Mecca to perform an umrah pilgrimage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II” here I was initially wondering what this was about, but then we learn “Saudi Arabia forbids pilgrims to Mecca from carrying banners or chanting slogans. While it is acceptable to perform umrah on behalf on deceased Muslims, this does not apply to non-Muslims like the Queen, who was supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion.

OK, I get that, and I will not oppose that rule of law, which is islamic in nature (all Saudi law is Islamic in nature as far as I can tell). But then I thought it through. You see, we all abide by law, whatever law it is and Islamic law is no less than any other law, but in this (towards any law) I believe that there will alway be an exception. In my lifetime I have known two exceptions. The first was Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), the man was one truly amazing exception and probably the primary reason why the Germans never got to England. He was given a 19-gun salute, by The Honourable Artillery Company, a unique event to say the lease, he was voted the greatest Briton of all time in 2002. The man was that unique.

Now there is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) who was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, the second exception and in my lifetime I was aware of both. In every generation a truly exceptional person is born. OK, there was also the Mahatma Gandhi, so now we have three. But I challenge anyone who proclaims that these three were not unique and exceptional in almost every way.

Now we get back to the article. There we see that a Yemeni national transgressed those laws. I cannot vouch for the actions of this Yemeni national who is stated to have held a banner saying: “Umrah for the soul of Queen Elizabeth II, we ask God to accept her in heaven and among the righteous.” And now we have the issue, or perhaps the situation. What little I know I would state that God should accept her in heaven. I merely hope that the prosecution and the Islamic scholars see the event as a truly exceptional one. Queen Elisabeth II reigned for 70 years and 214 days. the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded of any female head of state in history. And her reign was even as head of the church of England to be a reign of inclusion of any religion. Whomever this Yemeni national is, I hope that Islamic law recognises the exceptional person for whom the transgression was done and that leniency will be found. 

I also recognise that there is a need to avoid this situation and that in any generation an exception can be found, In my generation this is the one exception. Perhaps in the dusk of my life I see it differently and I might have reacted differently when I was young, but I lived through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the twenty two years after those and Queen Elisabeth II was a true exception and revered by a lot more than the British. So I personally hope that this Yemeni citizen, hopefully knowing Islamic law would have seen this as this one exception as well. There is a point when any law can be intentionally broken, not for ones self, but to remind us all that there is a greater good, a greater need to recognise that there is an exception to a law, any law and for many that will be the recognition of Queen Elisabeth II and the exceptional life driven to follow the duties that were bestowed on her, she kept that oath and followed her path of duties for over 70 years, a task that well over 99.999% of all people would be unable to keep, that is true exceptional and that makes her the one exception and I reckon that millions will hope that she will be welcomed into heaven, any heaven. Whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Judaism or any other religion. Less then 5 in anyones lifetime ever make it to such a list, I truly believe that Queen Elisabeth II is one of those people. I truly believe that if she enters Islamic heaven, she will be enjoying tea with Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi – Ras Al Khaimah, Hussein bin Talal, Fahd bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, and Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud discussing whatever rulers talk about. I have no way of knowing that. I feel certain that they will welcome her in their midst as an equal in many ways. 

The one exception is not merely recognising that person, it will be the feeling of loss when that person is gone and it will be a rare moment when that feeling hits us when it is another nations ruler. It is a different person for most people, In case of Sir Winston Churchill, in 2002 456,498 voted him as the greatest Briton who ever lived, he won by getting 28.1% of the votes. If that same vote happens in 2030, there is no doubt that it will be Queen Elisabeth II who graces the number one spot and I predict that the vote count for her to win will be a lot higher, she might just get nearly all the votes there are and as the UK now has 67,508,936 people, I reckon she might end will well over 50 million votes. 

That is merely my point of view, and again I state that this is an Islamic stage on Islamic law and I accept that, but I also see that there will be that one exception and that is my point of view. So I can only hope that there will be leniency for this Yemeni man who intentional or not broke the law. 

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About that drink?

It has been a week now and I have to wonder how paranoid the week had made me. You see, the revelations of Natixis and how large its financial power is, still boggles the mind for now. This also has a lesser effect on my sanity. Whenever I see any political ‘advice’ from a bank, I wonder whether there is a Natixis link and for the top banks they are all linked. So, when I saw the article of the RABO show up, I just had to wonder (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/sep/16/scotch-whisky-scottish-independence).

So, how does yesterday’s news affect Scotland? Well, the issue now is how trade affects a new nation when it becomes independent. The first issue is “Whisky is Scotland’s second-largest export behind oil and gas and is worth £4.3bn a year to the local economy, but sales could be hit if the country loses access to the EU’s free trade area and to markets in the rest of the world where Brussels has forged trade deals“. First of all is that information true and/or correct? You see, we the people (most of us) want to drink Whiskey and real Whiskey comes from Scotland. If it does not come from Scotland, it is called bourbon (at http://www.woodfordreserve.com/)! The rest tends to make it to the menu as an ‘alternative’, as some might say.

So, should we have a go at the Rabo?

It is never a bad idea to have a go at a bank, but they do have a point here. What is a major issue is the fact that we see these 11th hour messages, of feigned pressure. Why is Scotland (if they select independence), not immediately allowed a temporary membership into the trade agreements the UK is already a member of? The quote “A new Scottish government would face ‘a mountainous task’ in striking trade deals beyond Europe. Scotch is exported to about 200 countries, with major markets in the US, Singapore and South Africa, while Chinese consumers are also getting a taste for it“. You see, this article sounds nice, but the term ‘Chinese consumers are also getting a taste for it‘ means that if they get the bulk of the shipment, European customers will not be happy at all. Instead of embracing a new European adult as it left the arms of mother Britannia is just good business. Legally seen, the Rabo is absolutely right; Scotland will be its own master now and as such will have to apply for trade agreements. Yet, if we look at several sources, we see that the US is the number one destination and Singapore (with all over Asia) is on number three, if these two markets could be ‘enticed’, we would see a shifting balance. With France in second place, Spain in fourth (but due to economic issues decreasing vastly and Germany in fifth position, we see a market in motion. The spirited market is not an easy one and the Chinese changes on ‘gifts’ would also hit the drinkable gifts department and as such Whisky will get a painful dip. So, is there an option for the golden juice of the highlands? I believe that if an economy is truly about improving then this unique situation should receive its own merit. The BBC view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-26987262), which they made last April shows that this ‘stalling’ need is partially on economy and partially on events and none of them are linked to the independence of the Saltire.

But I am also a person who needs to take a step back. The issues for Scotland are not small and several are out in the open, but these issues should have been resolved or at least addressed to some extent long before the vote was days away. When I looked at the initial facts and wrote the blog ‘The cradle of Whiskey‘ the issues discussed and read from both Professor Sir Donald MacKay and Ronald McDonald show no issues on trade agreements whatsoever. With their golden ambrosia so high on the export list, I feel uncertain why there was no more visibility on this. I do not remember seeing it on any decently regarded news site. Now in the 11th hour a Dutch bank comes with this? Is this intentional demoralisation or is this a case of clear cut evidence that Scotland is not ready to be independent? I remain on the fence. I have been in the ‘stronger together‘ camp for several reasons, but that has always been for pressure from outside economic issues. This is a first clear internal reason for not going independent.

So, as we see the articles piling up in the papers in the UK, the Guardian foremost, how come that several serious issues did not get the forefront until now?

It is nice to see quotes like “Alex Salmond urged tens of thousands of yes activists to ‘get to it’ by seizing the extraordinary chance for a “new dawn for Scotland”, as the final batch of polls before the vote confirmed the referendum hung on a knife-edge” (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/17/scottish-independence-alex-salmond-david-cameron-resign), yet the issues of trade as well as the 11% deficit Scotland could face in year zero are no laughing matters. There are other issues that come to mind too. What happens to Scottish students in tertiary education? What of their international placements? If we look at the legal ramifications of trade, then we should also look at any long term plans that were there for the Scottish students, if they fall away, then Scotland will soon face economic bashing on more than one level. It is possible that these issues were looked at, yet the guardian piece as the Rabo bank is quoted implies that these matters seem to have been ‘stalled’ until after the elections, yet this impact has not clearly be shown on several fronts, which beckons the question, ‘why not?’.

Forbes have been active too (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswright/2014/09/15/if-scotland-goes-a-mistake-as-big-as-the-great-depression/), they are showing other sides that did not make the news in several ways. One massive point is one that has definitely been kept from the Scottish voters: “Deutsche says the symbiotic relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK is older and deeper than the Yes camp dares to admit. Five, it says that the idea of replicating something like Norway and Denmark – similar population sizes, links to oil (particularly in Norway) – is disingenuous. Norwegian oil and gas fields are deeper and expected to last much longer than Scotland’s which are already in decline, and Norway has its own currency; Denmark’s economy is totally different, and has a better fiscal position”, so not only is Scotland depending on oil, which still keeps them 11% in deficit, but the decline of their fields will soon become a more visible issue, then what happens? So, I remain in favour of Scotland becoming one nation (just not now), but in light of these mounting issues, we must ask the question, why is Alex Salmond not openly dealing with the issues we see here and as such, why are these facts kept from the voters?

This gets me to the final point and perhaps the only truly unacceptable view that the Guardian is giving us (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/17/scots-final-call-rallying-political-engagement-votes). The headline “Scots’ final call: can rallying beneath the radar save the day?”, first of all, as this massive change hits 5.3 million wavers of the Saltire, this should be out in the open. Below the radar implies dealings for the benefit of a few, which is the one thing the Scots should not allow for. There is genuine anguish in the article as we see a few emotional turns, yet it is the end of it that should grip us all. “As Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green party co-convenor, told Wednesday morning’s rally: ‘Nothing is going to be the same again, whichever way it goes.’”, I disagree,

I think that it is out in the open in new ways that Scotland is getting ready to be the new adult at the Commonwealth table, we the other members Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand should aid in setting in motion that transition, by allowing Scotland to sign trade agreements with all the perks of growing their economy to become solid. In addition, I still believe that India could be a large key player here, as I stated in my blog ‘the Cradle of Whiskey’ on the 16th of August. “As a solution, I still believe that India has options here. As the Indian generic pharmaceutical industry grows for Europe, it will need alternatives for both manufacturing, shipping (read distribution) and perhaps to a smaller extent research. Whilst everyone seems to stare blindly to London area’s where prices are through the roof, Edinburgh offers a much cheaper and no less sturdy solution”. This could still be a long term option for Scotland and if there is any truth in the statement that Scotland’s oil production was in decline, it is no longer a maybe, it is a given and an essential step to get several industrial changes going as well as opt for a few new ones. We just need to make sure that those ‘new’ players are not coming in under the flag of ‘friendship’ whilst collecting under the banner of greed, because that will never be a solution.

We have looked at shortages and surpluses for so long; it is time to see how those two can be connected to find the balance leading to progress. There has however been too many drum beating under the ‘honest’ statements on how bad it all is for others and how bad it is for Scotland, even the IMF weighed in on that. I think these people were slightly off the boil and I feel that the wording in Forbes was better, more sincere and a lot more correct “But if it happens, economies and investment patterns will adjust as they always have done. Deutsche is right that there are greater challenges facing the Scottish economy under independence than most people there have probably understood. But the idea of national pride is a powerful one, and some people are prepared to compromise a great deal to achieve it”. This is definitely true and it feels more sincere. It also seems to indicate how ‘flawed’ David Folkerts-Landau was when he stated “A ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence on Thursday would go down in history as a political and economic mistake as large as Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failure of the Federal Reserve to provide sufficient liquidity to the US banking system, which we now know brought on the Great Depression in the US”, is that true Mr DFL? (the fact that he was stated in the Urban Dictionary was just a coincidence). We could see him, not as ‘flawed’, but as ‘shoddy’, ‘scant’ or ‘lacking’, but I leave that up to the readers. There were several issues involving the Great Depression of the US, and gold was there too, yet it was the inaction of President Herbert Hoover that were at the centre of this, he did set up the groundwork that led to the acts by President Roosevelt that would create the new deal and fix a lot of the issues that were around then. Now, as economies are a lot more intertwined the issue of trade pacts and the delay in signing up nations seem to be at the centre of this, so as Scotland ends up in the ‘stronger together’ field, we must acknowledge the need for change, the need for an independent Scotland, it is a side of freedom we all deserve. Is it so bad to help our sibling into becoming the stronger partner? That is what I find missing at the core of all the newscasts, the option to enable Scotland to become independent, preferably when economies are moving in a better direction, as to ensure the long term health of the land below the waving Saltire.


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