There's a fundamental flaw in politics, inevitable with any voting system with agendas, parties or manifestos. Compromise. Once a bunch of individuals, wolves, whales or people, whose opinions are roughly aligned on an important issue, like their own or their offsprings  safety, they will group to pool their resources. So far so good.
   They co-operate to achieve better leverage and in this they may be successful, but for that success they have to conform to a common plan or ideology, and so the prize and the price are inseperable.
  They get a collective name, the such and such party or gang, and probably think they want a figurehead, or leader to delegate to. In a Democracy the public are then asked to vote for and support them. In every social system individuals will have a vote or allegiance of some kind. Because of compromise nobody believes in all of any one doctrine, not even the founders. Even the 'leader' will have had to compromise, so we all end up voting for some bits we don't want. Anarchy is the alternative and, once two individuals co-operate for mutual safety it isn't really Anarchy, so that's rare. You'd better get used to compromise, unfortunately the greater the number in your gang, the closer you will be to the power, but the further you will be from your ideals. Even if you are the leader. So stop complaining and vote, fight, campaign (which means fight) or leave and start again. 
PS to be leader you have to climb, or start as a group of one and prevent climbers. You'll still have to compromise and there is always competition, even in a gang of two.
   The cause of all this is that people are lazy and don't want to spend all their spare time in committee meetings, so they delegate to the silver tongued beggers who say that they will protect their interests. Since the interests of the politicians are going to be different, eg my pocket rather than yours, they are disappointed. So the answer is reject political parties and vote on everything to make the rules (laws) and then obey them yourself, prosecute those who don't.
Or:-  Vote when you can, fight when you must. 
Reading recommended:- The Wallypug of Why. 
The meaning of (your) life. If we expect there to be a purpose to life then some kind of progression is expected, progress implies a destination, and life's final destination is inevitably death, it is built into the concept. This, unsurprisingly gets many philosophers unnecessarily depressed. 
 When we ask questions involving destinations like 'Where we are going?' the words include the concept of the journeys end, the built in metaphor then poisons a perfectly reasonable question by making any answer about life lead to death. So it's not the wrong answer, it's the wrong question. If you ask the wrong question you will not get the right answer. 
Life is not a journey, It is a process of entertainment and education. 

(That bit is important, use it to analyse what you are doing in life, because everything we do is a mixture of those two.) 

So our questions can become. 

What am I learning? And Am I having fun yet?


  From here we will be in a better position to decide what to do next. It also leads us to the next question. Why are we? Fortunately the answer to that is a part of the education element, and will become clear later. The meaning of life is not, however, important at this stage. The important bit is "Do you know what the question is?"
  Sadly most people do not even know that there is one. When they do think they tend toward the like of 'How can I going to get what I want?' 'What will it cost me? 'Will more people love me if I have it?'
  There are answers to this kind of question but the answers don't actually help. Before we get too hung up on that perhaps I should explain that, because they are external questions they only give external answers. We need internal questions that are connected to us, and will change with us. If you don't understand then stop and think until you do. 

 Question 1. Who am I? (To prevent unnecessary stress I should point out that it's a trick question, but it's worth consideration).

You can pause for a cup of tea and come back to that one if you like. While there, think about Question 2

Question 2 is. Do I want to know, examine, or change the answer to question 1?

Now we are all back from tea let us continue. It has been pointed out that question 2 is too big. 
Look at it this way, if you don't know who you are then you cannot usefully change. However, If you do know who you are but don't know if you want to change then you don't need to worry because any required changes will become obvious when they are needed. Working on the obvious bits will keep us busy for a while yet.

So, back to where we left off. Who am I? Once you know that, you will work out why it is irrelevant.
This is because it is you individually that asks the question, you are the only person to whom the question (never mind the answer) is relevant, so why ask anybody else? Why ask me? My answer would not be relevant to you. Sorry about that, but read on, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  As you change, so will your answer, and finding the answer changes you, so the answer changes etc, ad infinitum............. 
 So, if the answer to the first question keeps changing and is only relevant to you anyway, you're not asking the right question and you can't go asking god, because if god knows the answer you are just a figment of god's imagination, or god is one of yours.

That's why the nearest thing to a universal answer is 'Me', which is tidy, but not terribly helpful. (yet).

So what's left is a question, 

 It's Question 2.

Do you want to change?

The answer is what a question is for. Once you know what your question is, then you know you can be who ever you want to be, and what you were is irrelevant.
Well don't just sit there, you'll forget this in an hour, write it down. The answer is I am.  Not I want to become, because that is in the eternal future, we want this to be in the present, 
I am me.

 So go on, EVOLVE.

Incidentally, one chap asked me how to go about this "change thing". I told him it was just practice, but I could see he didn't believe me. I think he was looking for an angel, a web site, an upgrade, or a manual he could get out of the library.
Funny thing is, actually there is one, in the library, but because it's called "What to say when you talk to yourself." and is written by a human, nobody believes it. What are they expecting? Tablets of stone? Messages from Mars? Ancient, hidden and coded inscriptions on the underside of pyramids?  Wisdom does not have to come from long ago or far away. 

What you say in your head is what you hear most.
what you hear yourself, and others, say determines your beliefs and so your thinking.
so what you think controls your habits
your habits determine your life.

Answer. You can be whatever you choose to be, which you, therefore, have, so what are you complaining about? Choose again if you want.

​Recommended reading :-  'Illusions' by Richard Bach
                                                    'What to say when you talk to yourself' by Shad Helmsetter
I didn't write either of them, but agree with their general drift. You can decide for yourself.
Welcome to the Jim and Fiona Hewlett Owl powered Web Pages
email me

First of all I'm going to have to break this up a bit, it looks like one thing, but it's a lot of bits that aren't necessarily connected.
Holy Books
Holy Buildings
Social gatherings
Life after death, or afterlife

Terms will be generic, priest, holy book, church, missionary, god, etc. I'm not going to write out vicar/rabbi/shaman/etc each time.

​Religion. An organised belief system of one or more individuals.

God, or gods. I'm going to pass on them, I've no proof they do or do not exist, I've been told that one or more do exist, but since there is no evidence for any one god, let alone any agreed on by a reasonable number of people of different faiths, I'll just leave it out. I'm definitely not saying there is no god, just that I've no proof of one, and the fact that you believe there is doesn't mean I have to.

​Popes, bishops, cardinals etc, as I see it most of the world's religious problems are products of the upper priesthood trying to hold onto their historical positions of wealth, power and privilege. They come from the days when there were two kinds of power, brute force and magic. Baron and shaman became king and bishop. The king can become an elected president, but whoever heard of an elected theocracy? The two groups still tend to cooperate but sometimes compete. You can tell when, because they start breaking their own rules. Anyway, they are both just hankering after a high status with no heavy lifting. As the masses wake up, the weakening archbishops spend their time maintaining a power base, cost cutting, and running a business, while the village priest, asset stripped, reverts to village counsellor, no longer the only scribe, and as poor as his parishioners.

​​The church (organisation). I think it's a type of human organisation based on a con of gargantuan scale. So big there are people running it who believe in it, or at least who keep their doubts to themselves. In the end it's really just another way of keeping people under control, possibly for their own good.  They started out as a guide for co-operative living in larger groups. Often, but not necessarily, based on gods, faith or religious belief. Indistinguishable from the less sophisticated political systems.

Holy buildings. If you are going to have a power-base you'll need a big building to impress the locals, get them to pay for it and tell them they will be paid back after they are dead. 

Church attendance. Over the last century or so, fewer people have been 'faithfully' going to church buildings, mainly because the recent industrial-grade wars. Not only has there been a lack of promised holy intervention, but the enemy also seemed to be ineffectually praying to similar gods. Recent developments in communication like TV have shown an increasingly obvious absence of the promised care and attention in peace-time. Parasitic Wasps may prove to be the final nail in the lid. Faith, renamed Hope has been transferred to the lottery, where there is at least some chance of a miracle. 

Holy Books. Who said wisdom has to be from far away and long ago? The people who wrote the one I know may well have believed it, but it has been edited and re-written so often since then that it has little to do with the original. How is it still holy? 
Ours at least could benefit from de-bulking and a proper proof reading. Deliberately obscure and deemed too holy to be challenged by logic, it makes less sense than most fairy stories. It is no longer enough to intone "it is written", or "legend foretells."  It might be worth noting that scientific papers are generally considered to be out of date after 50 years and only used as salutary lessons after a few hundred.

Monks, nuns etc. Medieval work force. Generally educated but avoiding the outside world. Monastic systems provide some useful teachers and nurses, often good at singing. Largely freeloaders who know a soft billet when they see it. If you can stand the mind numbing boredom monasteries get you out of the rain and look like an army if the church authority is challenged. You usually get a uniform, which is comforting.  Authority needs underlings to be superior to, the more the better if they can feed themselves and look happy. Can be a problem if they get too fat and comfortable. I'd advise not more than one freeloader per 50 workers in a given population.

Ceremonies, (outdoor).Walking or dancing communally. Like football, it keeps people busy and gives them a sense of community and purpose. The stress relief of a riot without the property damage.

​Ceremonies, (indoor)
Social gatherings. Celebrations of birth, death and marriage, so if it has to be blessed by a priest then you can't have much of a life without his approval. If he can get control of the food as well, then you are up the proverbial creek.

Complicated rituals, ideally with obscure language, can add to the fear of breaking the unknown rules. To keep them confused, make sure there are threats in the rituals that are not mentioned elsewhere. Sort of good cop, bad cop.

Life after death. Maybe, maybe not. I'm up for it, but I'm expecting a lot of really confused believers looking for harps, houris and angels, but just finding people. Should be a laugh, frankly if it isn't, then I'd rather not go.

Creationism vs evolution. Whether its made by a god or not, it seems to run automatically. I can't see any god worth his salt building a universe by hand, and then running it on manual. Surely some kind of automatic system with feedback loops and consistant rules would be better. We call the rules evolution, maths and physics. That's what I would do, but then I'm just a humble mortal. If you did manage to contact the creator she'd probably be busy on another project. Do you really want to tell her that the doors keep falling off?

Faith. That's just how your brain works when out of it's depth but optimistic. The alternative is fear, I prefer to try logic myself, with a dash of hope and a sprinkling of optimism.

Answer. Make your own mind up, at least you'll know who to blame.
Global warming. I think it would be fair to say there are a few opinions about this. One of which is correct. I would suggest it makes sense to find energy source alternatives that won't run out before the ones we are using do. I'm playing it safe, in case the 98% scientific majority are right. 
Truth.  I'm sure this must be a word from another language and really means 'My opinion today.'
  Curiously, many people expect there to be universal truths, things like the Sanctity of Life, Beauty, Truth and Right Thinking.
It comes down to your point of view. Definitions and their accuracy depend on where you are standing.
  A simple term like tree or hand is reasonably safe at arm's length, (sorry) but something like socialism is only agreed on if everybody stands well back where the details are safely blurred, if you get closer there will be different opinions. This is because we cannot all stand in the same place, so we see things from different angles. The angles get more divergent the closer we are to the subject. So the answer is that your truth, close up, is not going to be the same as mine.

'Truth' is further complicated by words. To make coherent communication of such ideas possible we have to fix our fuzzy thoughts into words, like water freezing into ice, they then become precise, unchanging and transferrable. They can be used as a medium of communication, but they also become rather inflexible, and unyielding. If you bend the inflexible it breaks, leaving sharp edges. This is why the individuals in political or theological coalitions get cut up, cut out, and talk about back-stabbing.

If there is a universal 'Truth' it must be is spherical, and looks the same from all angles, So if anybody tells you about one, you can be sure it's balls, but that's getting a bit metaphysical. 
Sex. Yes.
Women. I'm deeply gratified, if a little surprised, that you should think I have the answer to that one.
Time. I'm with Douglas Adams on that one. Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.
  Because I'm learning I keep changing, the answer keeps changing. These are my answers now, they will change.
  You may or may not like my answers. I can't help that, try to deal with it. 
  My answers will be different to yours. There wouldn't be much point in reading them otherwise.
Click to select
These answers may seem to you a bit complicated or even plain wrong, that's because they are mine. Yours may be simpler, better, shorter or more effective, but they won't be mine.
If Jim was in charge (Patrician/ Dictator/ Tyrant)
Provisional policy:- in no particular order

All churches lose their charity status and pay business tax.

Leave the EEC and restart the Commonwealth. Or offer to run the EEC. 

Flat rate of 60% income tax. No other taxes. Hard labour for avoiders and evaders.

Decommission all nuclear weapons and don't trade with anybody that doesn't do the same. Don't trade with countries with poor human rights.

Institute an additional pension for each half of any couple which doesn't have more than one child. Starts 2043 until the population is down by one third. Fines, (but no criminalisation) for more than three children.

All 'recreational' drugs legalised, but with punishments for anti-social behaviour.

A major investment programme involving free public transport and the phasing out of human driven internal combustion vehicles, development of a fleet of British built un-manned electric taxis, you can buy one of your own, but only one.

Houses to be valued against each other, not in monetary terms. Everybody is entitled to a standard one, but can build their own. Carbon neutrality compulsory, and upgrading or rebuilding subsidised.

A tax on imports where home production is possible. Funds gained to pay for production development. Ditto exports.

The introduction of an eight day week, (Octday added,) four on four off, and the right to choose which half to work on. (Just think who you could avoid!) The Patrician has to work five and a half on and three and a half off. Thereby rotating.

The massive confusion and disruption will need at least a decade to settle down, especially as I intend to de-centralise London and other cities, and promote towns of a maximum one mile radius.
The Answers Page
 Population Matters.
There are too many of us, given our tendency to follow out of date programming, i.e. 'nature'. If you hear that "They should to do something about it"  Well, 'they' are going to have to be you since politicians can only see as far as the next election. 
One live child per couple ( point 5  per person sounds silly and one per female sounds sexist ) and a pension for anybody who has less. 
I think we went the wrong way, I mean this decimal (base ten) thing is only popular because some people count on their fingers. Twelve is a much better system, being easily divided by 2, 3, 4, 6, and giving easy products from 9 and 10. 
    That brings back inches and pennies, rationalises months and gets rid of the daft metric system of spanners where they should be logarithmic rather than linear.

  Mind you it might annoy the people who have been calculating Pi ( π ) although they are known to be irrational, and still would be in base 12.
  I suppose it might help to point out that it works better with compass bearings, months, orbital mechanics, time zones, wills, gearing and even pig rearing (12 teats on a sow [usually])

  When the world leaders get this, could they get in touch? I'm sure there are some details to work out, but I'm free all next Tuesday. We could tie it in with my proposed 8 day (4 on 4 off) week.

Planetary Financial Melt-down', and what to do about it.

​   There is some indication that the bankers and their allied 'trades'  have built a 'ponzi' scheme of a magnitude beyond our, or their, understanding. I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is that it is true, the good is that we all (well almost all) are complicit in it, and so there is no real need to go looking for the bad guys. They are us. 
    It's all based on trust, and started when we traded with others we didn't really know. But before you jump to conclusions, I'll have to ask how many people really trust anybody else.
    It's trust that  agrees a value on something in terms of something it isn't.
Gold against chickens, oranges against an hour of work
There are two kinds of value used in each of the financial and material worlds, perceived and real. Perceived relates to any kind of token, note, or 'precious' object that may or may not have an integral value. Diamonds for instance have an industrial value as an abrasive, and gold is very pretty, and a good conductor with perhaps twice the value of copper. Promissory (bank) notes make good book marks. Real value is material possession such as potatoes, land, water. Wealth is really just the ability to carry what you need or want around with you, without straining your arms. Security is being able to make robbing you a bad idea.
  It could all go pear-shaped, true, but frankly it is not in the interest of the 'rich' and powerful to be kings of the stone age. They want you to keep working and buying and wasting to maintain their status and comfort. 
  In the event of collapse the farmers, fishermen and miners should be the rich ones, but it will be the 'barons' of course who will have the soldiers, and therefore the taxing ability.

  So, what to do.
For most people, don't worry, it is unlikely to collapse, and there is not much you can do in the short term to stop it. If it happens very suddenly, then most will starve. Sorry.
  Long term. Make sure you have lots of friends nearby, form a commune, or community as we used to call it. Develop a saleable stone-age skill such as midwife, gardener, soldier, tailor, cook. 
  Remember there will be bandits, you may have to be one, or at least have some house trained ones. Don't bother looking for the guilty parties who led us here, they are largely us, though some will have more than they need. (See, you are starting to think bandit already). 

Long term plan. Don't bother, it's cyclic, and a product of competition. If you remove that you have a hive, and even there there is competition between Queens. Drones work till they die and nobody knows or cares if they are 'happy'.
Democracy, best of the bad ideas
Communism only works for ants and bees. Might work for groups of up to three people.
Theocracy is just old style politics, a con run by the more educated cynics
Monarchy is middle stage politics, uncontrolled it is eventually indistinguishable from left or right wing dictatorship, usually backed up by theocracy. Force and cunning.

The mixed system you have is the best you'll get working with humans. Live with it.

The objective is to use up and replace munitions thereby making a profit. That's it.
Because modern munitions are much more complicated they need replacing sooner, Trident (nuclear) is absolutely brilliant, it needs replacing, you daren't use it, it doesn't even matter if it actually works. 
    Peacetime is pretty good too, but you can sell more if you throw your old stuff at people, it might even get them buying new stuff from you, which will need replacing too.
    Fear, rage, patriotism, pride and viciousness are irrelevant. If daddy Warbucks could make more with teddybear distribution he would do that instead.
    It is the shareholders that are to blame for not finding out what they are supporting. Obviously with the connivance of the owners and governments, but there's no real difference. Cash is cash, On the guilt scale ignorance slides into apathy slides into knowing disregard.
     Most people's money is supposed to be in banks and pension-funds. Actually it is invested in businesses. Do you know what they are doing with yours? How hard is it working and what is it supporting? 
Privatisation / Nationalisation   A small note. If they privatise a public service, the Government, who really don't deserve a capital letter, gets some money. The money may be spent to the benefit of the public, but since the public paid for the public service, there seems little advantage to them. The investors who buy the shares in the service expect a dividend, and this has to come out of the working capital of the service, so it is paid for by the users of the service. IE the public. They don't get a choice, most services; Water, Electricity, Roads, NHS, Teaching, Police, Prisons, Post office, etc don't have alternatives.
    If the investors can make the service more efficient then that might pay for the dividend, but there is a risk that the investors, who might only own the shares for a few minutes, might :- 
A. Reduce the wages of the workers.
B. Not invest in the infrastructure, so it gradually decays and being a public service has to be bailed out by the public in taxes. Governments don't bail out anything, they just decide where to put the tax money.
C. Skimp on maintenance, safety and development.
D. Laugh like drains and run away with what they can. This is called asset stripping. The Spanish are very good at this, I think they are getting revenge for the Armada.