Friday, February 23, 2018

Ocean World

Today, the wind's offshore,
the sea is flat.
A child has made a pile of sand
and smoothed its wall,
adorned it with a flag.

Transparent wavelets lap at our feet
tentatively roll a bright green strand of weed
to be left here, a mark of this high tide.
Others will push the tide line further up
and further still when onshore winds bring waves
that fly with greater energy
on long white wings until they meet
the sharp sword edge of sand
white feathers whispering to the shining grain
and when the air decides to show her power
on those grey days when dark clouds scud and roll
and waves, deep green
gape with wide open mouths before the savage bite
that shifts sand, breaks rocks
rattles and crashes on the round brown stones
until it passes, and the Sun casts light on coruscating scales
the wind makes playful patterns once again
and now you show your colours
green turquoise purple silver blue and gold
and your rich textures riffled by gentle touch
or dark blue cats paws smearing as they turn.
or there a complex swirl where the waves worry at a rock
love-child of water and stone
a tracery that flashes and is gone and then returns.

Infinite appearances, changing, unchanging
in all the evolution seen by Earth in four thousand
thousand thousand years since you arrived
oozed out of solids, smashed in from endless sky
enough to puddle oceans on the wrinkled rock
since when you hold a mirror
to the sky and clouds
Changing One,
Giver of Life, along with Light, Earth, Air and Time
showing that self-same face in ancient time as now,
the changing unaltered feature of a changing world
infinite faces of the one great Deep.
Surface of an inner space
the place of whales and clouds of minute life
and all that can be in between.

Slow, dark and endless, where we can fly
with that silver disc above
signalling that interface where we can breathe
the tiny surface of one Depth.

Dark, swelling slowly, breathing in our heat
rising to sink this beach
collapse that man-size, earthen cliff
licking its softness easily away
tasting the plastic, bright as a child's toy
break every boundary with power enough
to turn our seaside dream to matchwood,
to a rubbish tip.

Not vengeful, just a being that observes the Laws.

As we must all, even though
at times we may show mastery
dancing the dance of mayflies in our little day
our self-made castle washed away
leaves nothing but a dent upon the sand
maybe a memory...

(c) Richard Lawson
February 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Should Jacob Rees-Mogg be allowed to address the Commons on Hard Brexit?

Another stiff letter to my MP

Dear John

When I was on the District Council, there were very clear rules requiring Members to declare if they had a financial interest in any matter under debate. I assume that the same rules apply in Parliament, and I would be very grateful if you would show me the relevant passage in MPs' governance documents.

The reason that I ask is that that Jacob Rees-Mogg MP is a major shareholder in Somerset Capital Management which has $9.6 billion under management and specialises in emerging markets. He stands to gain significantly in the event of a hard Brexit as British traders will be forced into emerging markets.

Is it not the case therefore that Jacob Rees-Mogg should not be allowed to advocate in Parliamentary debate any measures that would tend to benefit Somerset Capital Management?

I would be grateful if you would raise this matter with the Commons disciplinary authorities.

Thank you

Kind regards

Richard Lawson

Friday, February 02, 2018

How can we prevent vehicle-ramming attacks such as that committed by Darren Osborne?

Terrorists like Darren Osborne, the dull alcoholic who has just been convicted of a vehicle-ramming murder in Finsbury Park last year, are now using vehicles, especially hired vans, as weapons. Technology (under patents patents held by Fiji and Toyota) exists to mitigate these attacks by switching off the engine on the first impact. This would prevent the driver from careering on under power through a crowd causing the scale of deaths that we saw in Barcelona, Nice, Berlin, London Westminster, Stockholm, London Bridge, London Finsbury Park and Charlottesville, to name but a few. They would also prevent the run part of hit-and-run accidents.

The National Security Council was informed in confidence about this simple technology, which might add about £50 to the cost of a van, some five months ago. They have not responded in any way. My letter to them is below.

We need to a public discussion about if, how and when this protective technology should be fitted.

The Secretary
National Security Council
10 Downing St
London SW1


Dear Sir or Madam

re Protecting the public against terrorist attacks using vehicles

I am writing to the NSC as you have the role of developing effective protective security policies and capabilities for government.

The recent horrific terrorist vehicle attack in Barcelona, following other such atrocities in Nice, Berlin, London Westminster, Stockholm, London Bridge, London Finsbury Park and Charlottesville are a cause of great concern, as they turn every vehicle into a potential weapon. Physical defence against such weaponry, building barriers to separate pedestrians from traffic countrywide, would be enormously expensive and disruptive.

There is a far more cost-effective way to protect the public against these attacks.

A quick patent search shows several Vehicle Collision Detectors (for example JP2015081070(A)) registered by serious actors such as Toyota, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd and Denso Corporation. These are designed to warn drivers when they have hit someone. It would be a very simple matter to link one of these warning systems to the on-board computer so that the ignition was switched off immediately on impact.

The effect of this would be to prevent the vehicle from continuing to power on through a crowd of pedestrians, and so would mitigate the damage done by this modality of terrorism.

This device could be described as a Vehicle Impact Detector and Immobiliser (VIDI). It could be developed and tested in a matter of weeks.

Every innovation has a potential downside. One is that a vehicle fitted with a VIDI might hit a pedestrian and pin him or her against an immobile structure. On level or upward sloping ground the vehicle could be rolled away. On downward sloping land the situation might persist until the engine could be restarted or the vehicle pulled away. This would in any case be a rare event, so we would have to balance this rare event against the prospect of continued, multiple murders by terrorists, which could conceivably continue for a few more years, with all that means for community cohesion and confidence in Government.

I hope therefore that you will give this proposal serious consideration. Please feel free to pose any questions that you may have.

Sincerely, Richard Lawson

Friday, January 19, 2018

Reflections on a small body of water


In an inch of water
sky is caught
and trees stretch naked arms

where air and liquid meet
light splits up
and three worlds interweave.

Leaves that once shed green light
and made sweet_
sugar, the food of life,

move in this shallow pool
back to earth
back to the precious skin

that works with fire, with air
and water
to make life tangible

and within our living selves
has grown to be our world

able to see, touch, feel,
not tangible,
but stronger than a tree

as bubbles formed in glass
reflect all that's around

or on wet trees, one drop
holds the world
stretched round its gleaming edge

taking in all of it
leaf, light and earth
to recreate a world

within a world. Creates
our knowledge
so that we reflect

the living world. Our power
is god-like.
Nothing is beyond us

unless we sometimes lose
the vision,
the play of light on pools.

(c) Richard Lawson
Churchill 2018