Friday, 28 January 2011

The Middle East's 1989

Read reports by agencies such as the Humans Right Watch, Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders and you quickly get a sense that Egypt is a very nice place to live. The country has been in a state of Emergency for 30 years, a fig leaf to cover President Mohamed Mubarak cracking down with brutal force on any dissent and to detain political rivals.
Egypt, it seems, is ripe for a revolution which is why almost every other Middle Eastern country where authoritarian regimes are the norm, will be nervously watching the events in Cairo this weekend.
The trigger was the four week of demonstrations in Tunisia helped by damaging disclosures from Wikileaks ending Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali's corrupt 23 year reign forcing him to flee with 1.5 tonnes of gold.
Now Egyptians are rioting and the Yemenis and Jordanians have taken to the streets albeit in smaller, less violent numbers.
What will make or break the potential revolutions is the role of the army. In Tunisia, the refusal of the military to fire on protesters proved to be the turning point. In Egypt, all eyes are on the military and waiting for which side they will decide to come down on.
This could very well turn out to be a false dawn much like Tiananamen Square in China when the Army brutally stomped out dissent or the Middle East's very own 1989 when surpressive regimes fell like dominoes one after another.
The ramifications for the West could be enormous as Mubarack has long been a friend of ours, Tony Blair even holidaying with the much maligned Mubarack and American Vice President Joe Biden recently calling Mubarack 'an ally of ours.'
However this ends, and i hope the Egyptians and the citizens of the Middle East get the freedom and Governments they want, this could well be an historic time for the region much the same way the 90s was for Eastern Europe

Thursday, 27 January 2011

To Cheer Or Jeer

We are coming to the end of the football transfer window and this is the time when the best, most exciting transfers take place which leads to a conundrum that i have never really solved in my mind. what to think of our teams players that leave.
Is it okay to boo a player that you lauded a few weeks ago just because he has upped sticks and joined another team?
Most fans seem to go with a player by player basis and how they left. Paul Ince left West Ham to go to Manchester United and got a roasting everytime he went back to Upton Park as did Theo Walcott when he returned with Arsenal to play against his former team Southampton.
Emmanuel Adebayor almost started a riot when Arsenal fans tried to get at him when he scored against the Gunners for his new team Manchester City and Wayne Rooney's ears ring after the abuse he receives when returning to Goodison Park with Manchester United.
On the flip side, Thierry Henry and Patricik Viera are hailed as returning heroes despite both taking their boots to pastures new and Liverpool fans cheered Robbie Fowler to the rafters when he turned up at Anfield wearing another teams colours.
There does not seem much logic behind who the fans cheer, boo or are indifferent to when they come back but i always get caught between wanting to thank them for all they did during their time at the club and wanting to join in the boos and screams of 'TRAITOR' and 'JUDAS' at them everytime they prance near the ball.
It's a dilemma but at least Ashley Cole had the decency of being a complete cock outside of football as well to make it easy for Arsenal fans.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

UK Government Safety Announcement

Britain it seems, is halfway towards falling back into recession with the announcement that the economy shrank by 0.5% at the end of 2010.
Nothing to do with the Government economic policy though according to Dave, it was because of the snow.
If the economy can go backwards during the busiest shopping period of the year, and before the VAT increase, job losses and public service cuts hit, you don't need a degree in economics to see we are paddle less up a very smelly creek.
Yes, we are being run by a group of rich boys who don't have the first idea of what they are doing so it's time to listen to the safety announcement the Conservatives are planning to broadcast in case of the countries complete collapse.

Good afternoon, can i have your attention please.
The Conservative Government would like to take this opportunity to welcome you plebs aboard this country destined for hell in a handcart and we would just like to go through some safety procedures.
Please ensure that your belts are fastened at all times throughout the journey and should be tightened at regular intervals until they are extremely painful.
In the very likely event of an economic collapse and we are left floating adrift by George Osborne's incompetence, the emergency exits are here, here and here but they are just for us rich people.
To speed up the evacuation, make sure that all your possessions have already been sold and as the country slips slowly beneath the waves, feel free to weep pathetically .
It just remains for us to thank you for travelling with the conservative party and we hope you have a very enjoyable voyage.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Palestine Papers - Day 2

Day 2 of the Palestine leaked papers and we continue that the sacrifices seem to be coming from one side only and it is the side with the least to offer.
One of the demands that Israel have been making constantly in return for a partial freeze on settlement building is for the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish State.
In October 2010, Palestinian negotiators agreed stating: 'If you want to call your state the Jewish state of Israel you can call it what you want.' Settlement building continues today unabated.
The negotiators agreed to limit the return to Israel of Palestinians refugees expelled by Israel in 1948 to 10,000 out of the 5 million scattered across the Middle East despite the right to return being one of the Palestinian red lines.
America had it's own suggestion to make for the refugees in the most startling revelation to come out of today's papers. Relocate them to South America,
Condoleezza Rice, the Bush administration's secretary of state, wanted to settle displaced Palestinians in Argentina and Chile as an alternative to letting them return to former homes in Israel and the occupied territories.
Nobody is going to be coming out of this with any credit but the biggest losers will be the Palestinians who have bent over backwards and are rewarded with suggestions that they move to another continent and shifting goalposts.

Andy Gray Red Carded

Is anyone really surprised that a man who sneaked off to hotels with the model wife of his best friend and whose ex-wife gave birth to his son, four months after he marryied his second wife hold females with such low regard?
Rightly, Andy Gray has been sacked by Sky Sports as its head football presenter, a man who puts the W in anchor, for sexist remarks directed by him and his co-presenter Richard Keys, a man who puts the Ass in Association Football, at female match official, Sian Massey, when they thought the mic was turned off.

Richard Keys: Well, somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.
Andy Gray: Yeah, I know. Can you believe that? Female linesman. Forget what I said – they probably don't know the offside rule.
RK: Course they don't.
AG: Why is there a female linesman? Somebody's fucked up big.
RK: I can guarantee you there'll be a big one today. This is not the first time. Didn't we have one before?
AG: Yeah.
RK: Wendy Toms.
AG: Wendy Toms, something like that. She was fucking hopeless as well.
RK: The game's gone mad. See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love.

As much as it irks me to give any credit whatsoever to a Murdoch organ, Sky has to be given credit for sacking Gray, especially as other clips of his crude antics with the opposite sex came to light.
The broadcaster said that it had made clear to both that their comments were "totally unacceptable" and "inexcusable from anyone at Sky regardless of their role or seniority". Then it sacked Gray although Keys may have saved his own scrawny neck by phoning Sian Massey and apologising which is a shame because he is not only a sexist idiot, but a terrible presenter to boot.
I just hope it was a female holding open the door for Gray when he was shown it.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Palestine Papers

The Guardian newspaper and Al Jazeera have got their hands on almost 1700 leaked documents, secret accounts of ten years of talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.
The two media outlets plan to release all 1700 over the course of this week but already the first days findings show what most suspected all along, and now has been confirmed by the then foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, that Israel were creating facts on the ground to prevent the possibility of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
At a west Jerusalem meeting in November 2007, she said during negotiations that she believed Palestinians saw settlement building as meaning 'Israel takes more land so that the Palestinian state will be impossible, that the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we'll say that is impossible, we already have the land and we cannot create the state.'
Then the admission that 'It has been the policy of the government for a really long time.'
More revelations will come out, the other big news from today's leaks is that the Palestinians offered Israel all but one of the settlements in occupied East Jerusalem in return for land of equal size elsewhere but the Israelis, and Americans, turned it down as inadequate.
The result of the documents will be that more and more Palestinians will reach the conclusion that non-violence and negotiations have not worked, so more violence might. And who can blame them because Israel has no interest in peace, just stealing as much land as they can with the backing of the United States whose already diminishing global reputation is sure to take another beating. And rightly so.
Israel, its own reputation already in the gutter, does not make it easy for anyone to like it and hopefully a few more eyes will be opened to its atrocious tactics by the end of this week.

Friday, 21 January 2011


Fully aware for the stick he took for sneaking in the side door last time, Blair turned up to his second appearance at the Chillcott Enquiry into the Iraq War and breezed in the front door.
After pausing at the entrance for a photographer, he strolled confidently inside ready to put his side of events and to tell the public that he was able to ignore the advice of the top lawyer in the land that the Iraq invasion was illegal because he hadn't asked for it.
'I had not yet got to the stage of a formal request for advice' he explained before going on to says he "regrets the loss of life in Iraq but the West should stop apologising for the invasion'.
Fair enough, we have all used the sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting I'M NOT LISTENING defence before. True when i do it the result is we end up lost and not in a million dead people and a wrecked country but the principle is the same.
Just how keen Blair would have been to sashay in the front door if he had not turned up in the dark, two hours early and when the protesters were still making there way to the venue we won't know. Whether he would have hung about having his photo taken while being bawled at is also cause for speculation.
We didn't actually find out anything that we didn't already know. Blair is still an odious little man and the Chillcott enquiry isn't going to hang him out to dry like most of the country is baying for.
Disappointingly, we have to face it that he isn't going to end up at the Hague alongside George W Bush and he will never be held to account for his actions in 2003.
We did manage to get his book tour cancelled though and he is forced to turn up at places under the cover of darkness hours before he is due to avoid protesters and that's something.
What's that Mr Blair? You think we should invade Iran? LA LA LA NOT LISTENING LA LA LA.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Pots And Kettles

The Chinese are in America and President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao agree to a dialogue on human rights although they haven't said which countries human rights are up for discussion.
In 2007, China issued 'the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2007' in response to the 'Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007' issued by the US Department of State which highlighted China's abhorrent human rights record including unlawful deprivation of life, disappearances and use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Information Office of China's State Council listed a multitude of cases to show the human rights situation in the United States and its violation of human rights in other countries including:

the increase of violent crime in the United States
lax gun laws resulting in tens of thousands of gun deaths every year
abusive law enforcement officers
the highest inmates per population ratio in the world
the financial restraints on anybody other than millionaires seeking the US presidency
how one out of eight US citizens lives in poverty
the disproportionate wealth distribution
how racial discrimination is a deep-rooted social illness
the notorious record of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries.

The report ends: 'It is high time for the US government to face its own human rights problems with courage and give up the unwise practices of applying double standards on human rights issues'.
The dialogue will go along the lines of 'If we don't mention Tibet, torture or citizen surveillance do you promise not to mention Iraq, Guantanamo Bay or spying on UN members?'

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Stay There Piers

It is part of the British character that we like our celebrities to be humble, self deprecating and one of us and to stay that way forever. The second a celebrity moves out of that circle then WHAM, we gleefully rip them down and pour scorn on the arrogant little upstart getting ideas above their station.
Catherine Zeta Jones went from lovely Welsh lass to stuck up tart before her feet even touched down in America with her new hubby Michael Douglas.
Strangely, this doesn't seem to have happened with Piers Morgan because everyone considered him to be a smarmy, arrogant troll to start with.
Good for him that he somehow managed to land the job as Larry King's replacement and he starts in America with none of the baggage that followed him around over here.
Things like the £67,000 worth of shares he bought in Viglen just before his newspaper tipped Viglen as a good buy sending the share price soaring, or the faked Iraqi prisoner abuse photographs that cost him his job at the Daily Mirror or even how Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson punched Morgan three times at an award show over Morgan's newspapers invasion of his privacy.
Apparently the reaction to Morgans first interview with Oprah Winfrey was mixed with the main criticism being that he was too soft and fawning. As Brits we can only hope that he ups his game for the forthcoming interviews, otherwise he might come back and heaven knows we don't want his smug face back on our screens.
As we are palming off our unwanted celebrities to American television, we've got loads more talentless presenters our American friends are very welcome to. Have you met Davina McCall?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Privatisation Doesn't Work

Few things can be more obvious than that Margaret Thatcher was wrong. Wrong about closing the coal mines and wrong about introducing the poll tax but the greatest thing that she got wrong was her policy of privatisation because it just doesn't work.
The spread of the privatisation movement is grounded in the belief that market competition in the private sector is a more efficient way to provide services provided by the Government and allows for a better deal for us.
In practice, however, it increase costs, lowers the quality of services and leads to rising unemployment because simple logic tells us it's impossible for the private sector to deliver the same service for less and make a profit as well and making a profit is the only reason they are there.
Private companies exist to make a profit for their investors even if they are providing a service to the public, and the only way to increase profit is to reduce the money they pay out (wages) or increase the money they bring in (prices), both of which comes at a huge cost, financial and personal, to the public.
Cutting jobs does not mean cutting out the work those people once did, those who remain see their workloads increase resulting in the public receiving a standard of service less than they received formerly.
We are unlucky enough to see first hand today the results of Margaret Thatcher and her Governments round of privatisations in the 1980's and 1990's when she sold off the electric, gas, water, railways, council homes and telephones services.
The sale of these industries raised £48 billion for the Government and left us with a legacy of poor service and spiralling costs. Take a look at your utilities bills and wonder why your gas and electric has gone up by 10% this winter while Centrica, which operates British Gas, published figures stating a £922 million profit and shareholders enjoying an 18% gain in the value of their holdings .
An amazing 4.5 million households are living in fuel poverty, spending over 10% of its income on heating their homes and that was before the latest round of 7%-10% price increases across the board yet gas and electric companies are making billions in profits.
Now David Cameron is picking up the Thatcher baton and is looking to privatise schools, Royal Mail, forests, motorways and the National Health Service.
We know how this will turn out and we know that there will be a Government charm offensive to convince us that this is the best thing to do for us all with the excuse being the reduction of the deficit.
We know because we have been here before and it doesn't all turn out okay, it ends up with swelling unemployment, poor service and private companies bleeding us dry to make a profit.
Balance sheets are by nature unconcerned with suffering or providing anything to anyone at a loss and that is where the Conservative Party is leading us unless we can find a way to bring this folly of a Government policy to a screeching halt.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Worsening Weather

We are only 14 days into the new year and already it is looking to be another depressing one. Hundreds killed by floods in Australia, Sri Lanka and Brazil and another crazy with a gun running amok in America.
The shooting can be explained by Americas gun culture/political rhetoric/anti-semitism (delete as applicable) and the Queensland floods are being pinned on La Nina, which is lower than normal temperatures on the South America side of the Pacific and higher than normal on the Australasia side which results in some wild weather.
As anybody who has bothered to listen to the climate scientists knows, warmer waters fuel bigger storms which leads to more rainfall so if the ocean temperature is raised, and then pushed up even further by something like La Nina, then we get to see scenes like we have in Australia.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration undertook a 10 year study from 1998 to 2008 and found that the temperature data gathered pointed to a 'robust warming' of the ocean and the results of a 40 year study of ocean temperatures discovered a raising of the sea temperature by 0.5C over the past four decades.
Based on figures from the The Water Encyclopedia, La Nina raises the sea temperature in the western Pacific Ocean by 1C which means in 40 years the ocean has almost warmed enough to be halfway towards La Nina conditions being the norm.
Worryingly, La Nina is not the biggest problem because every 5 years or so, the even more powerful El Nino reverses the process and the violent rains and floods hit South America instead and throws out the weather systems across the globe, the El Nino of 1997 caused floods as far away as Europe and killed an estimated 2,100 people and caused at least £33 billion in property damage.
We can argue about why the earth is warming, whether it is man made or natural, but devastating weather phenomenons are becoming more common and even more catastrophic and it is only going to get worse.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I Name This Child...

I have always hoped that one day we would get a Pope who went by the name Sicle but it's highly unlikely because the present Pope has got his funny hat in a twist over parents choosing fashionable names over good old fashioned biblical ones.
The Pope whinged: 'Parents should stick with Christian names for their babies, rejecting the trend of distinctive or colorful names.
I'm not sure what Moon Unit Zappa or his sister Diva Thin Muffin Zappa would say about it but i quite like the colourful and distinctive names some parents stick there kids with. It shows that they gave the matter a bit of thought and gave no regard whatsoever to their off springs lifetime of hearing snickering whenever they are introduced.
Besides, we already have far too many people named Mary, John, Paul, Elizabeth, Matthew, Joseph and James clogging up the place so what else has the Bible got to offer the confused Catholic parent to saddle their small child with?
For the girls there is Zippo (Exodus 2:21), Gomer (Hosea 1:3), Hagar (Genesis 16:21) and my personal favourite Dorcas (Acts 9:36).
Names to consider for boys are Ham (Genesis 9:20), Mash (Genesis 10:23), Uzzi (Chronicles 6:5), Festus (Acts 25:1) and what parent would not be proud to call their son Nimrod (Genesis 10:8).
The Pope was right, there is a rich vein of biblical names for the discerning rosary carrying parent to choose from and i look forward to a future where i can hear the phrase 'Nimrod, Dorcas, your tea is ready' echoing around the parks up and down the land.

Monday, 10 January 2011


"Too many bills this month? Do what I did, visit and get the money you need today" so says the smiling actress on the television advert for QuickQuid.
According to the website, QuickQuid is 'helping hard-working Britons across the UK find a fast and convenient solution to immediate money needs from the privacy and convenience of home.'
Hard working Brits would need to work considerably harder if they take a loan from this company without first checking out the APR, an eye watering 2278%. That's TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY EIGHT PER CENT. And let's not forgot the £10-£14 admin fee per every £50 borrowed.
While loan companies like QuickQuid make no secret that they are targeting the desperate and downtrodden, and make it amazingly easy to get the money, it does seem that they are exploiting the poorest of society, a conclusion that the Advertising Standards Authority deduced also when they banned the advert in 2009 for misleading advertising.
The ASA ruling stated: 'the ad should have displayed the typical APR in order to comply with the Code. In addition, because of the rate of the interest charged and the potential vulnerability of consumers likely to be attracted by the ad, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead consumers by omission of information concerning the rate of interest.'
So now the television advert is back with the appalling APR displayed among the waffle at the bottom of the screen and directing you to the QuickQuid website where they boast the 'fastest and most hassle-free lending available.'
If you can locate the Privacy Policy link on the website (small writing beneath the login section if you are looking), you see QuickQuid is owned by CashEuroNetUK, LLC which is registered in Delaware, the corporate haven of America.
If you still need money to last you to payday and you feel yourself drawn by the smiling actress on the television urging you to do what she did, remember TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY EIGHT PER CENT and there is always room for one more in the gutter.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

2nd Amendment: Still Not Getting It

There are many things that i have blogged about that tend to get less than favourable comments thrown at me but three opinions seem to hit the buttons more than others.
The first is any criticism of Israels treatment of the Palestinians and the second is criticism of religion, both of which while i can respect and even understand the opposite view, i haven't heard an argument yet that has convinced me enough to change my opinion.
The third, and probably the one where my opinion tends to get most mauled is America's gun laws and this subject i just can't understand the opposite view whatsoever.
I listen and have had many gun owning Americans explain it to me in terms ranging from self defence to it being in the constitution but neither overcome my natural position of wide eyed horror at the thought of so many deadly weapons in society.
I accept that i may be a whiny, left wing limey with no knowledge of guns but i just can't get my head around why the majority of Americans are so keen to defend everyone having the right to own guns and the argument, it seems, is most vociferous after yet another mass shooting such as the one which left 6 dead and 13 injured in Arizona this weekend.
Being British, and most of us never so much as having held a gun, i admit that there is a cultural difference between us and Americans when it comes to guns. If you grow up with them all around then obviously you are going to be more at ease with them, a recent show on television had a British reporter in an American gun shop where you could buy guns designed for children. He was shocked and so was those of us discussing it the next day but that's because over here the thought of handing anyone a gun. let alone a child, fills us with horror while in America it seems almost natural.
As i have said many times before, America's gun laws is America's business and if they want to keep a small arsenal of weapons in their homes then their country is thousands of miles away from me so i'm not concerned, it's your country and if you are at ease with so many guns, then i'm willing to accept it.
Doesn't mean i can even begin to understand why you would be easy with it, but if you think the mass killings that seem to come around with alarming regularity are a price worth paying for your right to bear arms, then i have yet to hear the argument made to justify it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Give The Bankers Their Bonuses

From the outset, i have been against paying the bankers their bonuses, which is expected to run into billions.
It took a Taxman of all people to change my mind to do the unthinkable and hope that they do get paid the billions with two words, '50% tax'.
Mr Banker and his tosspot buddies get their £6 billion, the country receives £3 billion of that in tax.
If, as i previously thought, Mr Banker and the tosspots don't get paid the bonuses, they don't receive anything but then, as my tax friend pointed out, neither do we.
It would be a classic case of cutting off our noses to spite our face to give up an extra £3 billion just so the bankers don't get anything, that extra money could mean the difference between a hospital staying open or closing.
So i say give them the bonuses and hope they buy big yachts and sail them around the coast of Somalia which i hear is particularly outstanding this time of year. Don't forget to send us a postcard.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Wanna See Our Ashes Aussies?

It's easy to mock Australia what with the silly names such as Boing Boing, Burrumbuttock and Tittybong. Then there are the light fingered relatives that made them Australians in the first place and the fact that there are more than enough sheep in the country for the 20 million population to have 8 each to do what they want with. And now their cricket team have gone and lost the Ashes to England.
Usually, after England has just beaten another country at a sporting event, we take a lead from the Norwegian commentator when Norway beat England in a World Cup qualifying game who listed all the famous Englanders he could think of and ended with, you're guys took one hell of a beating.
To keep that fine tradition going, by this position of the post we should be well into a list of famous Australians and dredging Google for some obscure ones but i'm struggling because the best known ones, are all here and pretty much honorary Brits.
Kylie Minogue and her sister Danni, Jason Donovan, Rolf Harris and Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) are all in the UK and refusing to budge while the other famous 'Australians' are Brit Olivia Newton-John, Hawaiian Nicole Kidman and Rupert Murdoch who is now American.
That only leaves one well known Aussie so Alan Dale who played Jim Robinson in Neighbours, you're guys took one hell of a beating!!
See, told you it was easy.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Spying Vultures & Undercover Squirrels

Not that Israel's neighbours don't trust it but the Saudi Arabians have arrested a vulture on suspicion of being a Mossad spy.
The raptor was wearing a leg bracelet with 'Tel Aviv University' stamped on it and was handed over to the Saudi authorities. It is not know if the Vulture was in possession of a stolen British passport at the time of its arrest.
Recently numerous shark attacks on the banks of the Red Sea were suggested to be the work of Israel to destroy Egyptian tourism and in 2008, Palestinian authorities accused Israeli of training poison resistant rats to drive Arab residents out of Jerusalem.
But it is not just paranoid Arabs who have fallen victim to the Zionist tactic of training nature against its enemies as Iran has also been a target.
In 2007, Iranian intelligence services arrested fourteen squirrels who were suspected of conducting espionage within Iran’s borders and Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency reported capturing two pigeons carrying spy gear near its nuclear facilities.
The use of animals in war is nothing new, in WW2 the Soviet Army trained dogs to destroy enemy tanks.
The dogs were trained to run under German tanks and then an explosive tied to the poor pooch was detonated.
Problem was the dogs were trained using Soviet Tanks and kept running underneath their own ones.
This just goes to prove that we can trust nothing and we should be on our guard while discussing anything of a sensitive nature in front of the family cat and no secret documents should be placed within view of the goldfish bowl.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Oh, We're Going To Khorramshahr

Hey America...have a guess who got an invite to Iran's party. What, you never got one?
Nobody likes you, everyone left you, there all out without you, having fun.
Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany all found invites in shiny envelopes on our doormats this morning inviting us to a nuclear party at Iran's nuclear facilities.
The US State Department dismissed the offer as a "clever ploy" and then mumbled something about they didn't want to go anyway.
To be fair, you can't blame Iran for blanking America who got diplomats to spy on United Nation members and is the financier of the country itching to drop massive bombs on it. It's hardly the country you would invite into your home, it would be the diplomatic equivalent of asking David Hasselhoff to hold your dubonnet and lemonade while you popped to the toilet. They wouldn't be able to help themselves and Iranian scientists would spend the next 4 years asking each other where that camera shutter noise is coming from.
Anyway, i'm sure Canada will invite you over if you are feeling lonely. Game of Charades and a few bottles of Labatt Blue.
Nope, best you stay over there out the way and we promise not to talk about you. Much.
Hey Russia, that vodka is meant for all of us and who asked Germany to provide the music...

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Rapture

Floods of biblical proportions in Australia, birds falling from the sky in America and earthquakes in the North of England. Oh bugger, it's the rapture.
Right, don't panic because i live opposite a priest and i just saw him coming back from the local Tesco so we have a bit of time right because all the goody two shoes are still here.
In order to find out what is going to happen and what we can do about it, i turned to the one and only source that can give us the answers. Blondie.
Right then, her Rapture video shows a black man in a white suit and white top hat prowling the streets so he should be quite easy to spot. Oh why did she start that rapping thing halfway through, if we weren't at the start of the End Times i'd click that link to Denis Denis on the right hand side.
So according to Blondie: 'And you get in your car and you drive real far, And you drive all night and then you see a light, And it comes right down and lands on the ground, And out comes a man from Mars.' Mars??
'And he shoots you dead and he eats your head, And then you're in the man from Mars, You go out at night, eatin' cars'.
So according to Blondie, the sinners will be shot and eaten by a man from Mars before going out to eat cars.
I'm beginning to think that we can't leave this to 80s American new wave bands but if we go back a few years to the Sex Pistols and their Anarchy in the UK song, Johnny Rotten proclaims himself an Anti-Christ.
That leaves the choices of going to heaven or staying here and being ruled over by Johnny Rotten.
Tell you what, if the options are punk music or eternity with Cliff Richards in my ear, you go on ahead.
I will take my chances here with the alien, how bad can a Nissan Micra taste?

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Why Should I Pay?

I have always thought that Socialism got a bad press in the United States because it got confused with Communism and the images of Stalin and the Soviet Union it conjured up. So ingrained during the cold war was the notion that Communism was a bad thing that Americans now balk at the idea of anything that smells of Communism, therefore Socialism is a swearword.
Not to say that there are not some similarities between the two but i had my bubble burst by a visiting Texan today who dismissed my claim and stated that the reason Americans are so against Socialism is because they are too selfish.
He explained that the reason that Obama will never be able to introduce NHS style Health care in America is because of the 'Why should i pay for it?' attitude of his fellow Americans, a position that he agreed with.
Americans, he stated, will not agree to pay for anything that other people and not they will benefit from, if you can't afford it then tough, you go without.
No concern from him for my argument that medical care should be a basic human right available to all and not just those that can afford it, he just fell back to the 'Why should i pay for their treatment?' argument.
Equally short thrift was given to my ponderings that the USA is the only industrialised nation that does not provide universal health care for its citizens and almost 60 million of his fellow Americans had no health insurance. 'Not my problem so why should i have to pay for them?'
I don't know if this friend of a friend was purposely being a jerk to try and provoke me or is just a jerk anyway but if what he said is true, and Americans are too selfish to care enough about there countrymen to put in a few cents of their wages each month to help those less fortunate, then good luck to anyone old, unemployed, poor or underprivileged because it seems that you will be hard pressed to find many there who care.

2011 Predictions

I do admit to gaining some satisfaction from psychics predicting events and then being made to look foolish when they don't happen. The fact that most of these psychics and mediums charge people for their services when they are so woeful at predicting world events or keep them so vague that anything could be shoehorned in makes it even worse so this year i have decided to dismiss the crystal ball gazers for the 2011 predictions because, to be frank, i have yet to find one that hasn't been a pile of pants.
Instead to find out what is going to happen in 2011, i have asked Bet365 because you never see a skint bookkeeper and these guys get more right than they do wrong.
So in 2001, the winners and losers will be as follows:

New Zealand to win the rugby World Cup (97/100), Barcelona to win the Champions league (21/20) and Manchester City to bring home the Europa League Cup (41/10). Manchester Utd will top the Premier League (101/100) while Wolverhampton Wanderers will finish at the bottom (11/21).

Ralph Nadal will win both the US Tennis Open (2/1) and Wimbledon (15/8) and Sebastian Vettel will take the Formula 1 Championship (5/2) while Americans should pile their life savings on The New England Patriots to win the Superbowl (23/10).

The winner of the Irish election will be Michael Higgins (7/2), the Bulgarian election Boyko Borisov (1/100) and the Danes will elect Villy Sovndahl into power (15/1). At 3/1, they also expect the UK Government to fold and us Brits to be trudging around to the election booths next year.

The Queen will wear a blue hat to Williams wedding (7/2), the Icelandic volcano Grimsvotn will erupt (5/6), Beyonce will announce she is pregnant (9/2) and 2011 sexist woman will be Russell Brand's better half, Katy Perry (2/1).

The best picture Oscar will go to The Kings Speech (7/4) while Colin Firth (1/3) and
Annette Bening (11/4) will walk away with the best actor and actress awards.

It is very short odds that Pete Doherty will once again end up in front of a judge on drug charges (3/1) and Girls Aloud will announce the end of the band (3/1).

Take the £1.50 that it would cost you to phone a psychic who will pretend to tune in to great Aunt Gladys and take it to the bookies instead. If my maths is correct and all of the above come in, you stand enough to buy Belgium.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Kagame Another Blair Friend

Say what you want about Tony Blair but he won't let criticism stand in the way of him forging close relationships with some of the more worlds unsavoury characters.
His relationship with the most hated American President in memory cost him the Prime Ministership and he counted Ariel Sharon of the Sabra and Shatila massacres as a friend.
Now he is defending his support for Rwandan leader Paul Kagame stating: 'He's someone I've got to know well and I'm a believer in him, and I believe I won't be disappointed'.
Paul Kagame is the current President of Rwanda and was one of the founders of the Rwandanese Patriotic Front (RPF).
The same RPF that twice invaded Rwanda to otherthrow the Government from its base in Uganda and shot down a plane carrying both the then Rwandan and Burundian Presidents which set off a civil War which resulted in 1,000,000 Rwandans deaths before the RPF took the Rwandan Presidency in 1994.
A French investigation concluded that Kagame ordered the downing of the plane and the assassination of the two African leaders but immunity from prosecution as a head of state stopped Kagame's indictment under French law.
The Spanish Courts issued an arrest warrant against Kagame and 40 other RPF members for several counts of genocide and human rights abuses during the Rwandan Genocide.
After invading Congo in 1998, a United Nations reported stated the 'mass scale looting" of Congolese mineral resources and the Rwandan government of making hundreds of millions of dollars from illegal mineral trading.
A 2001 Amnesty International report implicated Rwandan and Rwandan-backed forces in the deliberate killing of thousands of Congolese civilians while a 2002 United Nations report dismissed Rwandan claims that there were in the Congo for 'defensive reasons' and were using it as cover to illegally mine gold and coltan.
Human Rights Watch has accused Rwandan police of extrajudicial killings and deaths in custody and the International Federation of Human Rights and Human Rights Watch described what they called 'serious violations of international humanitarian law'. That's your pal Tony and the man who you brokered a £175m bio-fuel deal with for the UK firm Eco Positive.
As you said, i very much expect you and the Eco Positive board won't be disappointed.