The other day, I was given an old £5 note showing Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker.
Her extraordinary life is not well remembered.
The Quaker movement began in the 17th century with the visionary George Fox.
Unlike the hierarchical ‘church’, they sit in silence as equals, to focus on God within. Anyone inspired by that focus can speak.
The name Quaker was coined in ridicule, when Fox had the courage to tell the taunting King Charles that he should “quake” before Almighty God.
Charles had many Quakers tortured, imprisoned and martyred, but before Elizabeth was born in 1780, they’d found ways to pacify the state, and Elizabeth shared her empathy among prisoners in the horrendous London jails. Her nursing school later inspired the work of Florence Nightingale and, after her death in 1845, the Lord Mayor of London helped establish an asylum for the destitute.
Her likeness on the £5 note was an insufficient but fitting tribute to one of the greatest heroines this country has ever known.
Now, that note shows only the plastic likeness of one of the greatest warmongers this country has ever known.
I take that as a warning.
But, meanwhile, we must never forget Elizabeth Fry.
Disgrace of ivory trade
Last week the BBC presented a programme on the trade in elephant ivory, which is still operating in spite of a world-wide ban imposed some years ago.
Continued poaching of the African elephant has seen their numbers drop by 50 per cent over the same period.
What an indictment this is upon those whose sole aim is to make capital out of such wonderful animals, which ultimately could result in their extinction.
We should make immediate representation to the powers that be, before it is too late.
Autumn, but I won’t watch
The pleasure of watching Autumnwatch is spoiled by far too much time being taken by the presenters yapping on about this and that and not showing footage about actual wildlife, Chris Packham being the one most guilty of the three. There must be an awful lot of footage available, but is not shown due to the inordinate amount of technical explanation about the mouse maze.
The repetitive coverage of the fitting of a recorder to the eagle was another boring section. Eventually I just switched off being bored to tears.
Trampling over liberty
The Appeal Court in Belfast has ruled that a local Christian-run business was wrong to refuse to decorate a cake with a pro-gay marriage message. The Appeal Court ruling shows the extent of anti-Christian sentiment in our society and just how far the bedrock of Western civilisation has been marginalised over the decades by a relentless campaign of institutionalised political vilification and slander.
The sound we can all hear is that of the metropolitan elitist jackboots trampling down our historic liberty.
Louis Kasatkin via email