Richard III’s relationship to Elizabeth II

I live in Leicester, and so the recent events concerning Richard III’s discovery have been particularly interesting to me. Alongside a variety of posters across the city, the University of Leicester have put together an excellent website with details of the discovery. (I’d also like to take a brief moment to express my gratitude and support for York Minster in their correct assessment of Richard III and his reburial in Leicester.)

Part of the reason that it’s exciting to have found Richard III is the historical impact that it will have and the contribution to England’s history that it represents. However, the impact it will have on Leicester is also significant. It puts the University of Leicester, a fine institution, in the limelight; it also means a potentially huge increase in tourism for the city. Finally, I’m hopeful that it will lead to a royal visit of some magnitude when it comes time for Richard III’s reinterment.

Queen Elizabeth II visiting NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

I expressed this hope to a friend of mine, who was confused — why would the royal family come to attend the reburial of Richard III, when they’re from different houses? Elizabeth II is not related to Richard III, so why would she make an appearance? Whilst it’s true that Elizabeth II is not from the House of Plantagenet — she is a Windsor, which is a house that came from the ashes of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — it is not true that she is not related to Richard III. Let me explain.

Elizabeth II is the great-granddaughter of Edward VII, who was the first British monarch from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was the great-great-great-great-grandson of George I, the first British monarch from the house of Hanover. He, in turn, was the great-grandson of James VI, who was the first British monarch from the house of Stuart. James VI was the great-great-grandson of Henry VII, who was the first English monarch from the house of Tudor. Henry VII was married to Elizabeth of York, and Elizabeth of York was Richard III’s niece.

As such, Richard III is Elizabeth II’s uncle, albeit many generations (and branches of the royal family!) apart.

Homoeopathic national identity from @sweden

I’m sure I’m not the only person following @sweden on Twitter — in fact, I know I’m not, since that account has 67,580 followers at the time of writing. For those who don’t follow, the premise is simple; every Monday, a different Swede is given the chance to broadcast on behalf of their country for a week. I have followed a broad range of interesting people by following @sweden, but this week I have the pleasure of following a Swede who usually tweets as @naseeral. His name is Naseer Alkhouri, a thirty-one-year-old games developer living in Stockholm, and he was born in Iraq before going to Sweden when he was young.

A photograph of the Swedish flag flying against a blue sky.

Initially, I was somewhat sceptical about following Naseer, because his Twitter biography mentions that he is a ‘homeopathic Swede’ [sic] which started alarm-bells jangling in my head.1 When someone I don’t want to follow begins to use this type of account, I usually use TweetBot to mute them for a week2. Having said that, I always give a new user the benefit of the doubt and so I hadn’t yet muted @sweden despite those alarm bells.

I’m glad I didn’t, due to the exchange that occurred between me and @sweden earlier today:

Homeopathic Patriotism?

This week, @sweden has been operated by a user called @naseeral who describes himself as a ‘homeopathic Iraqi’ and ‘homeopathic Swede’. He uses the word outside its ‘medical’ meaning, to convey a different concept.

Storified by John Coxon · Mon, Aug 20 2012 04:16:21

Gonna adress that homeopathic swede part now. I was born in Iraq, been a Swede for a majority of my life, but for some that is not enough.@sweden / Naseer
In #myownview there is an extremist wind blowing over Europe, and Sweden is sadly not spared. A minority of people would like to divide us@sweden / Naseer
into ”us” and ”them”. And I am kind of a hippy and feel that we all should get along. So my silent protest is being a homeopathic Swede.@sweden / Naseer
It does’t matter how much these forces try to alienate me, I’ll always be a Swede, as much as I’ll always be a homeopathic Iraqi.@sweden / Naseer
@sweden So do you use ‘homeopathic’ to say that although being Iraqi & Swedish seems to dilute your national ID, it actually strengthens it?John Coxon
@johncoxon better phrased than I could’ve put it. Yes, as an ”outsider” I appreciate Sweden on a little different level.@sweden / Naseer
@sweden That’s a really great sentiment, I like that a lot.John Coxon

This is such a beautiful concept that I really wanted to post this on my blog and bring it to the attention of the few readers I have. I’ve always been patriotic; I love the United Kingdom and I love being British. One of the best things about the Olympics which have just rushed past was the huge feeling of national pride across Britain — but it was the way that that national pride was married to a feeling of mutual respect for other countries that really, really made me happy.

I live in Leicester, a city in the Midlands of England that has a population which is around 30% Asian according to Wikipedia. I have always felt uncomfortable with the idea that you can’t be properly British if you’re an immigrant, or from a different culture, or whatever else people will try to use to exclude you. The idea of a homoeopathic national identity — a phenomenon which makes you stronger both at your root and in your new setting — really takes my breath away. I am very glad to @sweden and to @naseeral for introducing me to it.

  1. I suspect there are a large number of my readers for whom a similar effect occurs whenever they see someone using homoeopathy as anything other than a curse word. 
  2. I have done that, this week, with @PeopleOfUK — the author is using an irritating thought bubble ASCII graphic on every tweet which is doing my head in. 

Ipswich Councillor needs no expertise

Browsing Twitter this morning, I saw the following tweet:

Clicking the link took me to a page that let me know the blog post had been removed. Now, I like transparency, and so I went hunting for the article and managed to find Google’s cache of the page in question, which was originally posted over at a blog called Ipswich Politics but has since mysteriously disappeared. I don’t want to say anything about the content, since I think it speaks for itself rather hilariously. The author is one Nadia Cenci, who is a self-professed “NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner”, according to her website offering life coaching. She says she is licenced; she may well be, I didn’t check. She’s also a Conservative councillor for Ipswich.

A debate on twitter has prompted me to spend a little longer to explain why I am so dismissive of facts, figures, surveys and experts.

I learnt many years ago that things are never what they seem, assumptions are a plenty and people delete information to prove what they think they already know.

Before I even became a politician, I saw statistics being used in business that could tell any story you wanted it to, could be slanted, angled, focused on the bias that was desired.

I also have seen questions on surveys that are so loaded, you may as well not bother and just do what you want to do in the first place.

I have seen experts use such complicated language that it’s obvious they think by blinding us with science, we may not ask too many questions.

So where am I going with this?

I have long been a believer that we need only use our gut instinct to make any decision and to form a pretty intelligent opinion. I didn’t need anyone to show me how to look after a baby (surely one of the most difficult jobs in the world and full of danger) and in fact was quite indignant with anyone who tried to show me. Parent classes now are very sophisticated and help the mother to trust their own instinct, not listen to ‘experts’.

I have not needed anyone to tell me that global warming is a sham. I knew that years ago. The same as my gut instinct told me that the so called Ice Age, in the 70’s was a load of old rubbish.The same as I knew that this country was in great financial danger, probably just before Vince Cable and I was warning lots of people to cut down their credit card bills. I just sensed it. I also knew Clegg was a salesman (Radio 2 quoted me the day after the so called TV interviews) and I knew that David Davis would be better accepted than Cameron. I also dreamt that my roof would blow off in a hurricane the night before it actually did in October 1987, In fact my dream was so accurate, my then boyfriend called me a witch. The same as I picked out 2 apprentice plumbers, out of 12 for my hubby, just by saying hello and taking them to the interview room, which were the same 2 that my hubby picked, after interviewing them all for 30 minutes.

For every expert that tells you Yin, there will be someone that tells you Yang. For every fact and figure that tells you this is happening, there will be charts that says it isn’t. For every story that tells you of a a terrible country, there will be one that tells you of a wonderful place. For every Daily Mail, there is a Guardian.

For if you think the world and it’s people is an awful place filled with terrible ‘types’ of communities, then you will find it so, wherever you go.

But if like me you believe that everyone is basically good and doing their best in a life that still has a lot of answers to give up, then you will find it so, wherever you go.

There is a book called Blink written by Malcolm Gladwell that talks about ‘The power of thinking without thinking’ and how we all have this instinct of just ‘knowing’. A recommended read to fully understand where I am going with this.

So not only have I had instincts about so called ‘experts’ advice, I also had good intuition about how effective our gut instincts are!

Unfortunately the last government and the Left, tried to tell us that our gut instincts and where we might stereotype people was totally wrong. I couldn’t disagree more.

In the last few years we have come a long way with neurological science, and quantum physics. One which suggests we are far more in tune with, and are part of, the whole universe than we ever imagined. (Bit like an egg and sperm has everything it needs to become a human being) Our whole body is full of our memories, instinct and communication channels. It’s been said that when one group of people learn something new, there will be another group many miles away learning the same thing without having had the information from the same source. Without going into too much detail, it has been suggested that we can communicate with each other, from afar, in a way that is far superior than even telepathy or twitter!

Our subconscious literally has millions of pieces of information going into it and so apparently 95% goes into our subconscious leaving the 5% for our conscious to reasonably manage. The information in our subconscious can be tapped into easily if we listen without our ears and look without our eyes. Its all there, everything we need for survival, success and knowledge, and I trust mine 99.99%,

If I feel uncomfortable around a ‘hoodie’, it won’t be the hood that I find intimidating, but the look in their eyes, or their body language. There will be a sense of something. The same as i have had good vibes from a group of young people wearing hoodies. I will question why I might feel uncomfortable, even purposefully trying to find something I like about a person when I have taken an instant dislike. It is both healthy and morally right to step back and question any stereo typing. Not only that, I pride myself in knowing that the subconscious can make people scared of rejection, be rude or very aloof and I will fight my way through all of that to try and find the lovely warm person underneath. But there are times when a place or a group of people will leave me cold and on edge. I have rarely been wrong on my analysis of people I meet or danger spots, even once dragging my friend out of bar that erupted into a huge fight and a murder. Strange thing was she didn’t even question me, she does did as I asked.

To conclude. There are certain people who think they can just throw me so called facts, figures in a 140 character tweet and then dare me to disagree. I can’t be bothered with someone else’s route to the truth. I use my own. As a politician, I listen to residents, I look around me at what’s going on in my town. I run a business which listens to clients problem and their lack of motivation or confidence. I understand people and I can read between the lines at what is NOT being said. I know when people are lying. I also hate detail and just want the big picture. It is how my brain is wired.

I don’t need experts and if I want one, I will go and get one.

Nor am I ‘accountable’ to anybody who doesn’t even show a name or a face on social media, and in fact even if they did, I am still not accountable to them. I am only accountable to my electorate and the people of Ipswich.

So please, all of you obsessed with what you think a local councillor should do, should know, will say, won’t say. You may need to learn a bit more about the role in order to get the best out of me or any other councillor. We certainly don’t do it for the money (it costs me more in my business than any allowance I get) – nor power, my influence over national policy is about the same as yours. I do it because I didn’t want to just be someone who had lots of opinions but sat on my backside tweeting all day. I put my money where my mouth is and took action. And I see people all the time from all walks of life and this has informed my instincts even more.

The only thing I care about is doing my bit for the community, my family, my friends and my work, oh and Ipswich Football Town!

And so please dont mistake me for someone that cares about what you think about me. Because I don’t! I have a far too rewarding life to worry about trivia. My intuition makes sure of that.