Saturday, 26 October 2013

Handel and Mozart in London at St Martin in the Fields and George Osborne tells us to stop thinking about China as a sweatshop...

The Meteorological Office are predicting a terrible storm on Monday, and this makes us think that the gusting wind and scurrying litter are harbingers of worse to come. Dark and lumpy islands on an inky sea scud across the great canopy above London. We expect the weird sisters to jump out in front of us, gibbering and screeching about the ingredients of chaos to come.

We thank the sun, sea and skies for St Martin in the Fields, whose glorious baroque stone shines bright against all this gloom as we approach it for the concert to be given by the London Concertante: Handel, Mozart and Vivaldi, plus some contemporary composers.

As we enter the elegant, spacious and gracious commode of the church, I find the speech that George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and number two to the Prime Minister made about China niggling away at me. He said we must stop thinking of China as a sweatshop and think of it as a high tech trading partner.

The trouble is China is much worse than a sweatshop - it's a forced labour camp. In fact, China runs the biggest concentration camp system the world has ever seen, even bigger than Stalin's Gulag. Chinese companies have front companies that they show to foreign activists and investors, but behind these are political and criminal prisoners working for nothing in brutal and murderous conditions. A leopard doesn't change its spots that quickly, and China's tradition of running the country as a vast prison camp has not changed much. If you don't believe me, check out the work of Harry Wu, who after 19 years in the camps has dedicated his life to exposing the truth. It's hard work for him because it's easier for all of us to dismiss him as bitter, twisted and wrong. But the evidence is irrefutable.
Should we care?
I think so, but now the sinuous and seductive violins are stroking my troubled soul, and I hold Elena's hand and think how lucky I am..........around us is a packed church of listeners all entranced by the music. Some of them look Chinese. Would they welcome my thoughts.......would they share them?

Sometimes we just get the blues, because there are no easy answers but we know something must be done. When that happens, listening to the blues works pretty well. Try this, from Gary Clark Jr....

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