Tuesday, 31 December 2019

2020 Psychic Predictions

On her website, Judy Hevenly calls herself a teacher, intuitive, astrologer, and writer, whose forecasts have appeared in many publications and newspapers worldwide and with a clientele including royalty, former presidents, Hollywood movie stars, and heads of state, so she will do for me.
So what is Ms Hevenly predicting for the World in 2020?

- Michael Bloomberg or Elizabeth Warren to gain the Democrat nomination
- Donald Trump to be re-elected as President of United States.
- An independent vote from both Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2020 with regards to the EU
- Sadiq Khan Mayor of London to win a second term in May 2020.
- Julian Assage brought back to the United States to stand trial
- US and Iran sign peace treaty
- An attempt on President Vladimir Putin’s life
- Oscars Best Actress winner Renee Zellweger
- Oscars Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix
- Oscars Best Picture winner The Irishman
- Queen Elizabeth to retire when she turns 95
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce another pregnancy.
- Prince William and Kate announce they are expecting their fourth child
- ICC Cricket World Cup won by India
- Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson to tie the knot
- Kirk Douglas and Pope Benedict XVI to die
- Major Earthquakes of above 6.2 for San Francisco and Los Angeles

A good year for Donald Trump, Sadiq Khan and Renee Zellweger but not so good for Vladimir Putin, the Pope or the residents of Los Angeles but we shall see at the end of 2020.

Last Decade Showed Us Climate Change Is Here Today

The years between 2010 and 2020 were the decade when Climate Change came and slapped us firmly in the face and proved to be no longer a problem for future generations but one that’s already here.
Although the science is now beyond debate that humans have and are still, stinking up the planet, we don't seem to have done much over the last ten years to stop the looming disaster.
In 2010, the Carbon Dioxide parts per million in the atmosphere was 390 ppm, today it is 412 ppm, the highest levels since before Homo Sapiens walked the earth.
Extreme events are really starting to impact the Planet with hotter and longer heat waves, larger hurricanes, more floods, longer droughts and apocalyptic wildfires and a decade ago there was already more than enough evidence to justify an almighty effort to cut emissions and no rational person could deny it, problem was some with a vested interest, and the useful idiots primarily on the
right wing of politics, did try to deny it.
Thanks to the Greta Thunberg's of the world, we’re now pretty much all on board with the fact that climate change is real and urgent and the dissenting voices are treated with the ridicule they deserve. 
We know that we are running out of time to save the planet, and that huge changes are desperately needed and global policymakers need to find a solution quick.
2019 marks the close of the hottest decade on the records and was the decade that most people began joining the dots and saw a dawning of awareness that climate change is actually starting to harm people.
We are locked into a rise of 1.5C, that is going to happen as it is too late to do anything about it and that will be devastating, consider the pain now and that is before we even reach 1.5C, but if anything, the penny seemed to have dropped in the last decade that everything else pales in comparison to what we have done to the Planet we all live on and how we have to now stop a disaster becoming a full on catastrophe.
We can't afford another decade of thinking about what we must do, the science is settled and the next 10 years has to be the time for action. 

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Rewarding Cruelty

It says a lot about the Conservative Party that they have nominated for a knighthood the very man who oversaw the significant cuts to benefit and disability entitlements during the peak of the Conservative-led austerity period.
To the credit of the British public, tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition demanding that Iain Duncan Smith be stripped of his knighthood, less than 24 hours after the announcement was made he would receive it.
The petition, 'Iain Duncan-Smith should not receive a Knighthood', has received 65,000 signatures at the time of writing with the  MP labelled as: 'responsible for some of the cruelest most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen.'
Duncan-Smith was also responsible for introducing the Universal Credit system which has causing hardship to millions by restructuring the benefits system and leaving 2 million people losing out by more than £1,000 a year according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
That he also introduced a botched system of assessing people for disability payments, it is disgraceful that Boris Johnson is rewarding him for his cruelty but this is the Nasty Party and you know that significantly cutting payments to the disabled was very well received in the Conservatives, it is what they do, so no surprise really and with Boris Johnson having a free hand for the next five years, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Worst Space Polluters

India and Pakistan have been sniping at each other recently, sometimes literally, but the latest accusation is made by Pakistan blaming India's Space Program of becoming a major source of space debris and urging the International Community to tut loudly at it.
Space debris is the fragments left over from old rocket parts and satellites that litter space and according to NASA, they are tracking 23,000 pieces of debris larger than 10cm (4in) and although India is one of the largest polluters, Russia, the US and China are the largest producers of space junk.
Russia is responsible for 5,099 potentially hazardous bits pinging around above our heads, closely followed by the 4,815 the USA has left up there and then its China with 3,720, France 507, then India with 163 and Japan 115.
In March this year, India became the fourth country to conduct an anti-satellite missile test.
This year India did conduct an anti-satellite missile test which added another 50 pieces of junk to the pile with the potential to collide with, and damage, the 2,000 satellites and International Space Station spinning around in the same orbit.
As the problem is growing, there have been tests to find ways to clean up the debris and in 2025 the European Space Agency will launch the first space mission to remove as debris as it can but admit that cleaning up the space environment remains a challenge.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

A Children's Book of Demons

When i was a kid i was always being asked to wash up or put the bins out or even do my homework and what i really could have down with was a handy book of Demons to summon up and although it may be too late for me, children today can do just that with The Children's Book of Demons.
The spoilsports at The International Association of Exorcists (AIE) have issued a warning that a book teaching kids how to summon demons could be dangerous but then they are not the ones being told to eat their greens or play nice with their little brother who has just wiped snot in your hair.
The book is aimed at readers between five to 10 and shows how to summon various multi-limbed, razor-toothed evil spirits to solve their problems using a series of simply drawn symbols so if it's sprouts for dinner, easily summon a demon to turn them into cake or if you don’t want to go to school, call for a Demon to make you sick.
The stuffed shirts at the IAE have said that it is wrong to be: 'inviting children to ally themselves with demons' and warning that 'You don’t mess around with demons'. 
The IAE are also concerned that there is a trend towards making mainstreaming devil-worship as a normal alternative to other religions and muddles children's discernment between what is religiously good and what is bad.
One reviewer writes that the book is 'pure evil' and 'puts children at risk of bringing demons into their home and leading them down the path to eternal damnation', so play it safe kids and just stick with the 'good' religions, like those that states that unbelievers, homosexuals, heretics, and blasphemers should be killed and it is fine to keep slaves and gave us the Inquisition, the Witch Trials and the Crusades and has been responsible for the most deaths of any cause since humans learnt to walk upright.

Inverted Christmas Trees

Not that i have seen any, but apparently hanging your Christmas Tree upside down is becoming a thing especially amongst the religious crowd.
According to the local vicar, an inverted Christmas tree began during the Middle Ages to symbolise the Trinity and the crucifixion of Christ although it has fallen out of favour in modern times, mainly i imagine due to the problems of fixing a 6ft Conifer to the ceiling without it coming tumbling down on your head as you suck down a mince pie. 
There are some pictures on the internet of upside down trees in shopping centres and it does look quite fetching suspended from the ceiling, with its tip pointing down but i think for now i will stick with the more traditional sticking it in the corner and wedging presents around the base to stop it falling over.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Life Isn't Fair, So Make It Fairer

As my time as a blogger is probably coming to an end in January, there was a blog post i wrote back in 2013 which set out what i was all about and the hope that the one thing that i hope comes across from my blog writings is i want things to be fair.
Whenever i mention the unfairness surrounding us, the regular cry i hear back is that is that life isn't fair and i should just deal with it but my reply is why should we have to deal with it? Why can't we strive to make things fairer for every single one of us?
Our cry should be 'Life isn't fair, so let's make it fairer' and that is the driving force behind the vast majority of the posts on this blog.
So we have people dying through lack of food while others are dying through obesity and that's not fair.
We have people with numbers like telephone numbers in the balance column of their bank account and people who can't afford to turn on a single bar of their electric fire in winter and that's not fair.
We have large corporations being let off billions in tax and then other people having their possessions taken and and that's not fair.
In the time of austerity, pensioners and the disabled had their grants slashed while the bankers who caused the problems received millions in bonuses and that isn't fair.
We see Wars and terrorist attacks where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians die and that's not fair.
The changing climate brings floods and droughts and extreme weather that wrecks lives but those responsible just continue to churn out their poison and that isn't fair.      
Big business buy influence with Worlds Governments for their own advantage and that isn't fair.
Oppressive regimes are armed and funded as long as they sell powerful nations what they want and removed from power if they don't, and that's not fair.
Some people kill animals for sport and i think that's not fair.
People are persecuted for their religion, race, skin colour, sex or because they love someone of their own sex and that isn't fair.
There are people who own multiple homes sitting empty while others sleep in a doorway and own only a sleeping bag and that's not fair.
Art works are bought for millions of pounds but hospitals have to beg for donations to buy life saving equipment and that isn't fair.
While it may be true that life isn't fair, rather than just accept it, we should be trying our hardest to make it fairer.

Israeli Criminal Court Probe Finally

One of the greatest crimes against humanity in my lifetime has been the Israeli military occupation of Palestine so it is about time that the International Criminal Court have decided to investigate Israels actions against its neighbour.
The ICC have announced they are opening a probe into accusations of war crimes against Israel which follows the United Nations commission concluding that 'Israeli troops committed war crimes or crimes against humanity' during the protests at the Gaza/Israel border last year.
The War crimes include the killing of protesters and the demolition of Palestinian homes and predictably the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the probe, calling 'a political war against Israel' and the pathetically weak excuse that as Palestine is not a sovereign state, it cannot be accused of war crimes against it.
With the USA giving Israel a fig leaf of cover and defending it at the UN, Israel has been continually torpedoing any chance of peace talks while it continues to occupy Palestine, illegally seizes and builds settlements on Palestinian land, defies countless UN resolutions, kills innocent Palestinians, holding over 9,000 Palestinians in its prisons, destroys farms, bulldozes homes and businesses, builds a monstrous wall deemed illegal by the international court of justice amongst numerous other violations.
That it has taken over 60 years for the ICC to probe Israel is abhorrent and that America distastefully continues to back and bankroll it despite the continual calls of Israel being war criminals and human right abusers is loathsome, especially as America is quick to call out and condemn anyone else doing half of what Israel continually gets away with.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

The Nasty Party Start The Lies

And so it begins, despite all the promises that they could be trusted, at the first opportunity, Boris Johnson has reverted to type and slipped through an 'amended' EU Withdrawal Bill which is not quite the 'oven ready' deal which he was presenting before the election.
While nobody was looking, he has removed promises on protecting workers’ rights, on parliament’s role in scrutinising and approving future trade negotiations, and on protecting child refugees.
Although all alarming, the removal of scrutinising and approving future trade negotiations leaves the way open for the US a trade deal which would allow American firms access to the NHS and the agreement to reduce Food Standards to allow American Chlorinated Chicken and Hormone fed beef as well as GM Crops.
Despite a show of flat out lies before the election, the 40 New Hospitals which turned to to be 6, the 50,000 more nurses which was actually half that and the emphasis on crime by employing 20,000 Police which isn't enough to replace the 21,000 they got rid of, voters still elected them with a thumping majority.
What that thumping majority means is that the Conservatives can pretty much get anything they want through Parliament because altogether the rest of the house do not have the numbers to stop them.
We are about to find out just what a right wing Conservative Party unleashed can do, and just like Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives in the 80's, it will be diabolical.
They are called the Nasty Party for a reason as we will be finding out soon enough and if you were suckered in by the pre-election spin, more fool you.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Impeach The Orange

Finally the Orange has been impeached although from what i can see, it doesn't actually mean anything apart from the ignominy of being only the third President to suffer it in American history.
As it now moves to the Republican dominated Senate, the big lump will not be removed from office although he will forever carry the stain on his record of pressuring a foreign government to interfere in a US election for his own personal political gain.
It also seems strange that they have got him on obstruction of the impeachment process and abuse of power when he has been guilty of far worse, namely the string of sexual assaults he boasted of and his awful decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord despite the catastrophic climate change happening as his own country floods and burns.
Then there is the not so hidden racism and his tacit support for extreme right wing groups and withdrawing from the Iran deal which seem much stronger reasons for taking him out of the seat of power but they seem to have gone with something altogether less serious.
Of course it is political, the way that almost every Democrat voted yes to impeaching him while almost every Republican voted no is as expected and nobody is expecting him to be removed from office, thanks to the protection of Republicans in the Senate.
It should be a no-brainer, Donald Trump personifies unfit for office but as the end result is a foregone conclusion, seems a nice bit of theatre and he will go in the history books with a large asterisk beside his blackened name but it seems little else will change.
They should have gone for removing him for being a sex pest, hard for him to deny it when it was him who admitted it and you would hope no Republican with any morals would have been keen to defend him.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Men v Women In Mixed Sports

Due to the physical difference between the male and the female of the species, it is hard to think of a sport where men and women can compete against each other but i have always wondered why they can't play darts and snooker against each other.
Not sure what physical differences come in to play in these sports but when they have played, men have always won which is why it is a big deal that Fallon Sherrock has made history by becoming the first woman to beat a man at the PDC World Darts Championship.
Sherrock is ranked number 4 in ladies darts and beat the 94th ranked man Ted Evetts 3-2 and credit to Evetts who hugged and applauded her and refused to make excuses for his defeat saying 'she was just better than me tonight'.
There would seem to be no physiological reason for men and women to play games such as darts separately but it is put down to men having better hand to eye co-ordination but the former six time World Snooker Champion has a better theory.
He put it down to the requirement of thousands of hours of endlessly dull, boring, repetitive practice to be a great darts or snooker player and men are more likely to have the nerdy, obsessive personality to do this than women.
I think we will go with that.

Shame About Tony Blair

It is such a shame about Tony Blair, i was a massive fan of the former Labour from 1997 to 2001 and then hated the sight of him from 2001 to 2007.
A socialist Labour Party leader, he gave us the Tax Credits system and Minimum wage which began to address inequality in the UK but then he threw his lot in with George W Bush and the disastrous War on Terror and became one of the most hated Prime Ministers ever.
The last time he stuck his head above the parapet he was on a book signing tour, trying to flog his autobiography 'A Journey', he was pelted with shoes and eggs and had to be smuggled out the shop back door to avoid the crowds screaming war criminal at him.
Before he lied and twisted the facts to take us to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Conservatives were in disarray and Labour had a seemingly unassailable lead in whatever poll you cared to look then it all went horribly wrong.
Now as we are facing another Conservative term of Government, what Labour need to find is another Tony Blair, someone centre left who can unite the Party and the Labour voters and they can't afford to get this one wrong because the Conservative majority is such that it is probably not going to be dislodged at the next election unless it does something disastrously wrong, which is always an option with Boris Johnson in charge.
Tony Blair is now speaking out that last week's general election result was 'shameful' and the current Labour Party is 'unelectable' and we should be taking notes from him, he won three elections, the first two with huge majorities, but so far has his star fallen that whatever he says is drowned out by the disastrous decisions he made in 2001.
The Labour Party seems to be firming up behind Rebecca Long-Bailey and either Lisa Nandy or Angela Rayner as deputy and hopefully it will be one of those three because it is a long way back and with such a large majority, we need a strong opposition because a Conservative Party with such a large majority and therefore able to steamroll anything it wants through Parliament, we are going to need one.
What it doesn't need is Tony Blair's advice and that's a real shame because the one who ran the country up until 2001 was one of the best. 

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Labour Members Have To Get It Right This Time

Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will call it a day as leader after failing so spectacularly in this weeks election and the noise coming out from the Labour Party is that the time has come for a woman to take the helm and Labour has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to good, female Politicians which is bad news for Kier Starmer who seems to be the natural successor.
From the old school, is Diane Abbott but she is far to divisive and linked with the Jeremy Corbyn cause so she, along with Emily Thornberry who is another woman it is hard to like, should not be throwing their hats into the ring. 
The only standout from the 'older' brigade is Yvette Cooper, consigned to the back benches by Jeremy Corbyn, she is not tainted by his failures and is likable and engaging and more central-Left Blair Labour than Corbyn hard left Labour. 
Taking the Finland route, some younger Labour women who are mulling over a run to lead the party are Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy who both come across very well, are both very photogenic and have both performed well in the media but both seem a bit lightweight and tend to be talked over by the more forceful MP's.
That is not a problem for Jess Phillips who has spoken out long and loud when she disagrees with something and was not slow to criticise her own side when she disagreed although her manner sometimes comes across as a bit too aggressive.
My personal pick would be Angela Rayner, she has always shown well in media interviews, is as outspoken as Jess Phillips but with a less in your face air and most importantly is Central Left Labour which is where the party needs to get to challenge the Conservatives.
If not Angela Raynor, Yvette Cooper but as the leader is chosen by the Party members, and the last two picks have been Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Milliband, they really need to go less with the heart and more with the head this time or we will be watching repeat of Tory celebrations after the next election also.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Election Eve - Conservative Party HQ

Pritti Patel: Cheer Up Boris, we got the election in the bag
Boris Johnson: I'm sorry I still can't believe the vote is a stupid enough to give us another five years
Pritti: Look I'll show you, hey you over there, how is your small business going?
Voter: Well, it's gone bankrupt actually
Pritti: And what are you going to vote in the election?
Voter: Oh well, Conservative I suppose
Pritti: See Boris, stupid stupid stupid
Boris: Yes, all right, he's stupid but there's millions of them
Pritti: Look, however much we cock up the economy, or slash benefits or close down Hospitals, they still vote for us
Boris: Let me try, excuse me, I've come to tell you that due to our Brexit policy you've been made redundant and we will have to repossess your house
Voter: That's awful, i'm going to be homeless and jobless?
Boris: Sorry, can i rely on your vote tomorrow?
Voter: I suppose so
Boris: Amazing, he's still going to vote for us. I can't believe how stupid these people are
Pritti: Another example? Excuse me, we're closing the hospital you were going to and the nearest one is 200 miles away and there is currently a 14 hour wait to be seen.
Voter: But i'm in incredible pain, but can't be helped i guess.
Boris: Can we rely on your vote tomorrow?
Voter: I guess, don't want those Commies in power ruining the country.
Boris: Brilliant, so the more schools we close and sack more police, they go on supporting us even more?
Pritti: Exactly, the more bankruptcies in business and industry and the more all those stupid voters like those morons trust us with the economy and their futures.
Voters: Hey, you can't expect us to support the Conservatives if you're just going to insult us?
Pritti: Hey stupid, the Labour Party wants to give you a referendum on leaving the EU.
Voters: Well, if you put it like that, have a donation to party funds.
Conservatives: Stupid, stupid, stupid,

Friday, 13 December 2019

Voters Go For Five More Years Of Boris

It amazes me that voters have looked at the state of the country, the crumbling NHS, the explosion of food banks and the homeless filling our town centres and have thought, 'you know what, i think the Conservatives have done a good job over the last nine years, i think i will give them another five' but that is exactly what they have done as Boris Johnson gets the green light to do what he wants until
This morning, Boris Johnson, Prime Minister and the nations foremost lying piece of crap, announced: 'I am humbled that you have put your trust in me' and bumbled something about Brexit getting done for Christmas but the rest was drowned out by the sound of my bowl of cornflakes bouncing off the TV set.
Now that they have secured a victory, the Tories can stop pretending to listening to people and go back to cutting benefits and ruining lives although the pound rose sharply on the news as did the shares in the US chlorine and medicine markets.
Another Tory, Michael Gove, announced that Britain’s Jews should never have to live in fear again although Britain’s Muslims, not so much.
As the Conservative manifesto wasn't enough to fill one side of A4 paper, we shouldn't expect too much from them but the Labour Party will be far too busy picking a new leader after a dishevelled looking Jeremy Corbyn said he would step down but would be helping to pick the new leader which feels a bit like asking Donald Trump to lend a hand picking the husband of the year winner.
The Leavers have got what they wanted, and it is an admirable trick to persuade voters that the holy mess the Tories caused over the last decade was not caused by them, either that or the voters who decided to give Boris the job were monumentally stupid.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Misled On The Afghan War, Obviously

Thousands of US Government documents have been released which shows that we may have been misled about the war in Afghanistan. Stop laughing at the back!
As if we needed any proof was needed that politicians and diplomats haven't a clue about what's happening in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched mainly to try and look as if America was doing something after the 9/11 attacks with the United States Permanent Representative to NATO, Army General Douglas Lute, saying: 'We didn't know what we was doing' and another was quoted as saying they used brightly coloured pie charts to disguise any bad news.
Beats me how that one slipped by us but as it is now America's longest running war  and it has been good for business, mainly the arms and funeral business admittedly but we need to take the silver linings where we can find them.
The banks have profited out of it also, it is reported that interest payments on loans to pay for the whole sorry debacle are going to be around $600 billion dollars and the Taliban have done great well from it, after being kicked out of power by 2001, it's pretty much back in control of the whole country.
See, we may not have known what we were doing and it may have resulted in over 125,000 needless deaths but in there is always a bright side to everything if you look hard enough, and use pie charts with primary colours.

It's All In The Jeans

There are many ways to tell in a crowd if someone is a right winger, they are usually the ones dribbling down their fronts and looking confused but apparently there is another way and it is all in the clothing.
The Wall Street Journal have found that in America, right wingers prefer Wrangler Jeans while lefties go for Levi's so i raided the local Shopping Mall to do some investigation.
First i tried on a pair of Wranglers and almost immediately i had the urge to exercise my second amendment rights and shoot someone so maybe there is something in this.
I tried reading the sign in the changing room but found that i couldn't comprehend any words with more than six letters and it took me a good two minutes to work out how the door worked to go outside the changing room and show my husband but the changing room attendant was a black lady so resisting the urge to racially abuse her, i played it safe and went back inside and changed into the Levi's.
Before i had finished buttoning up the fly i had the overriding urge to give free healthcare to everyone and create a fairer society for all so i took that as all the proof i needed.
I changed back into my skirt and decided that i will stick to my tried and trusted way of working out who is a right and left winger, if they show as much sense as two short planks of wood than they are a right winger and i should remember to talk slow to them in words of two syllables or less.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Laughing At Trump

Donald Trump held his latest campaign rally, where he spoke to his supporters in Pennsylvania a week ago he was mocked and laughed out of Europe by World Leaders at a NATO Summit. 
With the laughter ringing in his ears, he stamped his little feet, stuck out his bottom lip and petulantly ran off home early but in a magnificent bit of selective memory, he told his supporters that because of him, the United States is no longer being laughed at.
Erm...yes we are, see above.

Greta Thunberg Right Choice For Person Of The Year

The Time Magazine Person of The Year only really had one person to choose from and they did, naming Greta Thunberg as the 2019 Person of the Year for her climate activism that has inspired millions of young people to protest and push for change.
Time bases its choices on the person that has had the 'the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill and includes Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Richard Nixon, Ayatollah Khomeini and Donald Trump as previous recipients which admittedly isn't a great crowd to be lumped in with but Greta definitely falls under the 'good impact' role.
Greta certainly has had a magnificent impact this year and has shamed many World Leaders who have promised to do something about the greatest catastrophe facing humans, and done sweet FA about it.
As the perfect reminder, The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released a report which showed that the hottest day on record in the UK, 25 July this year, caused the deaths of more than 200 additional people than usual which underlines what we are walking into.
In a huge reflecetion of her character, Greta has repeatedly said she does not want awards over her climate activism and recently declined an environmental prize from the Nordic Council, because 'the climate movement does not need any more awards'.
The Time award highlights a simple line that set her off on her course, when the eight-year-old Thunberg first heard about global warming, she thought, 'That can’t be happening, because if that were happening, then the politicians would be taking care of it'.
We would do well to heed her words and not just for the Environment, the politicians are not taking care of things and disgracefully it has taken a 16 year old girl to address heads of state at the UN, meet with the pope, spar with the awful climate change denier President of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history.
A worthy choice and truly the person of the year in anybodies book.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

15 Years In A Box

The last time i changed employments, it took me a whole day and several cardboard boxes to empty my desk and after 15 years, i will soon being performing the task once again although in all honestly, it will be a much more simpler exercise this time.
All i will have in my box this time around is some stationary, an armful of books, a couple of coffee mugs and photographs and several thumb drives all of which will perch on my passenger side seat as i drive out of the gates for the last time on the 10 January.
It is always the people that are missed the most and i have had the honour of working with some great people and teaching some brilliant young, sharp minds at the start of their working lives.  
Something i won't miss is being Self-Employed and having to complete a Tax Return each year although that is playing up my part really, i merely sit in my Agent's office one mid-December morning each year and throw receipts and invoices at him while slurping coffee and eating his biscuits while he does it, but it's a team effort and as i will now be PAYE, my new employer will be sorting out the Tax and National Insurance for me now.
As i said previously, i have quite a few pre-written and half written blog posts and more than a few Guest Blogger Posts to schedule to keep this blog going for a while in my absence before deciding what to do with the four and a half thousand posts that i have sent through the intertubes since January 2007.

The None Of The Above Option

What has become a common theme as i speak to people regarding the upcoming election is that although the next Prime Minister is going to be either Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson, neither are particularly popular leaders.
The last popular leader who had a certain amount of appeal to all sides was Tony Blair who swept into No. 10 with a 179-seat majority but the words i have heard the most over the last five weeks is voting for 'the least worst option' which means that this is all a strange unpopularity contest in which the two main leaders are attempting to the least repellent rather than the most appealing.
The main reason both men are not very popular seems to be the characters and personal shortcomings of both men, many potential Labour supporters rather liking his policies but not really liking him while the opposite is true for the Conservatives and Boris Johnson, three in four voters saying they are dissatisfied with how the government has been running the country but rather liking Johnson himself despite his 'philandering and lying' and him not appearing very competent.
In the dog days of the election the big question remains whether Jeremy Corbyn's Labour can persuade people to vote for their policies in spite of their leader and can Boris Johnson persuade voters to swing to him despite he being seen as not very good and his parties decade long past record not being very good.
With the winner only going to come from one of these two camps, it is not a very healthy position to be in and the best result could be for the public to decide they'd rather have neither and return another hung parliament in hope that in rejecting both leaders they might get another election with different leaders to choose from instead.
The amount of spoilt papers may be worth listening out for this time around as a sign of how many people said none of the above.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

How To Vote For Newbies

For some, this Thursday will be the first time that they have had the opportunity to partake in an election and though putting a cross next to a name and dropping it in a box sounds quite straightforward, there are some rules set out by the Electoral Commission that need to be followed.
Go back home if you have not registered to vote, are under 18 on the day of the election, are not a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, not resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years) or are a prisoner, have been found guilty of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election, are a member of the House of Lords or a member of the Royal family.
So after checking you are not the Queen or Prince Charles, you give your name and address to the staff inside the polling station and you will be given a ballot paper containing a list of the people  and parties you can vote for and you take that to a privacy booth.
A big no-no is taking photographs as they could lead to a 'potential breach of privacy' so no selfies or you risk a fine of £5,000 or six months in prison but more likely you will be asked to delete the picture.
While you can take your mobile phone into the polling station, you will be tutted at loudly and asked to take it outside if you try to use it to send a text, or make or take a call and Tweeting while in the booth is also frowned upon as it is illegal for the same reasons as you can't take a photograph and it is recommended that if you must tell the world how you voted in 140 characters, wait until you are outside the polling station.
Dress sense is key and you can't just stroll up wearing political party clothing such a t-shirt with a political slogan on it as it is considered intimidating and you will be refused entry. While a man can be topless, women's upper halfs must be covered to avoid distraction. You are not allowed to wear a rosette either, only the candidates can pull off that particular fashion statement.
Polling station staff can refuse entry to anyone who has been drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs if they are being disruptive and will be asked to return when they have sobered up.
If you make the error of accidentally ticking the box for the wrong candidate, you can ask for another ballot paper as it isn't official until you drop it into the ballot box.
If you write anything anything on the ballot paper except your 'X' it will probably be counted as 'spoilt' and rejected and finally my own special thing is DON'T SUCK OR CHEW THE PENCIL, i might have to use it after you!

Why Is There Still Homophobia in 2019?

It is amazing that in 2019 there are still people who are homophobic but the issue seems to be with men who have a problem with male homosexuals.
Women seem a lot more accepting of gay couples of either sex but it appears to some men, the thought of another two men loving each other is abhorrent and wrong.
Thankfully they are becoming outnumbered as society becomes more tolerant with each generation but listening to homophobes, one of the main issue seems to be how gay men have sex.
What two people do in the bedroom shouldn't be anybody else's business but theirs and if you obsessed over a straight couple's sex life you would quite rightly be deemed a pervert but for some reason that is where the main focus goes for homophobic men.
Another reason i have heard is that the homophobic men who protest most loudly are concerned that others may think they are gay so they speak out as a way to show they are not.
Then there is the fallacy that all men who are gay fancy all other men so homophobes are afraid to be in the vicinity of a gay man as they may and try it on with them which apart from being a massive bit of vanity, is wrong because as men sometimes say they wouldn't touch a certain woman with a ten foot pole, the gay community say the same things so for some a couple of ten foot poles may be required before they touched you.  
HIV, especially in the 80's and 90's, became incorrectly known as a gay disease and that ignorance continues in some minds today but the most homophobic demographic is the religious community who stick to their dogma that relationships should only be between a man and a woman.
It is the religious who opposed same sex marriage and it is the more religious countries who continue with the strictest anti-homosexual laws, condemning them to death in some nations.
I say if you are homophobic, and you know if you are or not, go talk to one and you will find that they are completely the same as you it is just that the person they love has a penis and not a vagina and that is the only difference.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Google Trends Saying It's Five Years Of Boris

Google Trends has an excellent record of getting the big elections right, it predicted a narrow win for the Conservatives at the last election and said the US election between Clinton and Trump would be close but went for a narrow Clinton win which muddied the waters because she did get the most votes but due to the American system, it was Trump who planted his rotund backside in the Oval Office chair.  
As we face an election on the 12th December, Google Trends is where we should be looking but it gives two very different stories depending on the search terms used.
If we go with the names of the parties then Labour are set to storm Downing Street and its Socialism for Christmas and the next five years and Boris Johnson can go back to racially abusing everyone in the Spectator but if we go with the leaders names...oh dear.
The Conservatives Boris Johnson is 55 points, 14 in front of Labours Jeremy Corbyn on 41 who lead Jo Swinsons Liberal Democrat Party on 36 which all means a majority win for the Conservative Party and a Boris Johnson arse groove in the Downing Street sofa.  
Thankfully Nigel Farages Brexit Party is going down as well as a Nancy Pelosi Christmas Card at Donald Trumps house but as Britain has got it's own idiosyncrasies with its voting system, we need to take into account next weeks mid-December weather, Brexit, tactical voting and the chance that the British Public, once in the voting booth, regains its sanity. 

Merry Christmas Evil Dictators

Noddy Holder said that his 1973 Christmas hit, Merry Christmas Everbody, is his pension money and as it makes approximately £512,000 annually, the best way for musicians to fund their twilight years is to follow the Slade singers route and write a successful Christmas song or hop on a plane and perform for the world's most corrupt regimes which plenty of our best loved singers have done.
Sting's bank account swelled £1 million in 2009 by playing a show organised for the daughter of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan's dictatorial leader and justified it by saying that: 'cultural boycotts are pointless gestures and counter-productive', also not very lucrative he could have added but never.
Jennifer Lopez serenaded Turkmenistan's dictator and leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, in 2013 but said afterwards that if she had known that Berdimuhamedow's regime was among the most repressive in the world, she would not have performed there so it was lucky she only found out afterwards and not before she got paid.
Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, last seen being dragged from a sewer pipe and shot, has hosted concerts by Lionel Richie, Beyonce, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Usher and Nelly Furtado but admittedly they were all before we remembered that he was an evil dictator and removed him from power.
In 2013, Kanye West accepted £3 million to play at the wedding of the grandson of Kazakhstan's leader and resident dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev and in 2015 Nicki Minaj celebrated Christmas by playing a concert in human right avoiding Angola for the countries president, José Eduardo dos Santos, and called it 'No Big Deal' although Mariah Carey had the shame to never mention it when she received a cool $1 million in 2013 for performing at a similar event.
Racism may have been rife in apartheid South Africa but Dolly Parton, Queen, Elton John and Liza Minnelli never let a trifling thing like that stop them as they all played gigs at the Sun City resort in Bophuthatswana, as did Frank Sinatra who walked away trying not to trip over the bodies of dead black men, women and children as he took his £2 million for a weekend of shows to the bank.
When soul singer Erykah Badu sang for the bad boy King of Swaziland, Mswati III, she came up with the zinger that she did it: 'to shine a spotlight on this situation using me as a tool' which all goes to show that if only Noddy had gone and done a show in the home of some unspeakable evil dictator in the 1970's, we may have been spared hearing him bellowing 'Its Christmas' from every department stall speaker at this time of year.

Joshua Taking The Money

Anthony Joshua's heavyweight fight against Andy Ruiz Jr is pretty much a foregone conclusion, the Mexican-American has hardly trained, is heavier than he was previously and has been more keen on talking about his recently earned riches and the millions he will be earning for this fight so i fully expect Joshua to take back his belts.
The controversy is where the fight is being staged, Saudi Arabia, which is hardly a hotbed for boxing but with a purse of £100 million, and a payday for Joshua of £60m, you can understand why the fight is taking place there.
Joshua, usually a very cerebral man, has been accused of selling his soul to the Saudi's and even made a very strange quote about how the  country was 'trying to do a good job politically' and how he wouldn't have any part of fighting in Saudi Arabia if he thought that he was part of a 'sportswash' Saudi propaganda machine using sport to gloss over its abysmal human rights record.
Joshua has not been paying much attention then recently as they have spent billions paying to host the Formula E motor racing, European Tour golf and the Spanish Super Cup football and hope to bid for Olympic and World Cup hosting rights.
Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, a hard faced businessman has little doubt about what is happening and shrugs it off but at least he is honest enough to say: 'Everyone’s coming and they’re all coming for one reason – they want the money'.
While it is doubtful that Joshua has been duped and is more likely holding his nose and pocketing the tainted Saudi Riyal, don't insult our intelligence that it is anything other than all about the money going into your bank account.
I hope he wins and goes on to have a long, and successful career but this is going to follow him around like a bad smell and has damaged his otherwise nice-guy image.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Elon Musk Didn't Mean Pedo Guy When He Said Pedo Guy

Elon Musk may have said that his faith in humanity is restored after he won a defamation case brought against him for calling a British caving expert a 'pedo guy', but the rest of us are wondering what was in the water given to the jurors in the Los Angeles area.
Mr Musk's lawyers argued that calling Vernon Unsworth a pedophile was no more than a playground insult for a creepy old man and did not represent a genuine allegation of pedophilia, despite in a follow-up tweet, Mr Musk said: 'Bet ya a signed dollar it's true'.
Also cited was an email exchange that Mr Musk had with a Buzzfeed reporter who contacted him for comment on the threat of legal action, where the entrepreneur said: 'Stop defending child rapists'.
A row broke out between the two men over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave in June 2018 when Mr Unsworth said Musk's offer to use Tesla engineers and a small submarine to help with the rescue effort was a PR stunt and wouldn't work.
The central point of the Musk case was that Mr Unsworth's claim that he had been shamed and humiliated was untrue as Unsworth had gone on to be been honoured by the Queen and the king of Thailand, had his photo taken with former British prime minister Theresa May, and had been asked to speak at schools and contribute to a children's book which showed that no one took Mr Musk's
insult seriously.
The jury was tasked with determining whether a reasonable person would understand the tweets to mean that Musk was calling Unsworth a pedophile, they came back and said that they wouldn't which must mean if you called someone a pedo guy, then a child rapist then you are not actually calling them a pedo guy and a child rapist but then i can't be a reasonable person obviously.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Tories And The NHS

Donald Trump, when asked whether the NHS would be discussed between US and UK officials for a future trade deal after Brexit, said: "No, not at all. I have nothing to do with it. Never even thought about it, honestly. I don't even know where that rumour started'.
I think i can help out there, the rumours began when he was asked in June if a NHS trade deal should be on the table in any trade negotiations, replied: 'I think everything with a trade deal should be on the table. The NHS or anything else, absolutley'.
The row has exploded following 451 pages of notes on secret trade deal talks with the US which states the NHS is up for grabs and today UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, trying to put out the flames argued that it was a ludicrous assertion and he had: 'never advocated for the privatisation of the NHS' which sounded good until unfortunately the BBC Presenter he was being interviews by
produced a copy of Raab's book, 'After the Coalition' co-authored with fellow Tories Kwasi Kwarteng, Chris Skidmore, Priti Patel, and Liz Truss where he advocated for the privatisation of the NHS in the context of post-Brexit trade negotiations with the US.
A rattled Raab then blustered that he and his Conservative colleagues were actually referring to services such as coffee shops and florists that operate within the UK health care system despite Nick Robinson actually reading back to him parts where it clearly said hospitals being run by private companies with no mention of coffee shops.
Former Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, along with fellow Conservatives Douglas Carswell, Michael Gove, Daniel Hannan, Greg Clark, David Gauke, and Kwasi Kwarteng also wrote a book called 'Direct Democracy: An Agenda For A New Model Party' where they advocated for the privatisation of the NHS so it is not hard to see why the suspicion is there that the Tories are looking to sell it off.
That they have the sex fiend Donald Trump on their side is bad enough but to be this bad at lying is scandalous.

What Am I Missing?

When it comes to voting, my father has always said that his golden rule is to think, 'Are we better off now then when this Government took over' and by any stretch of the imagination, we are not.
Look in any high street and you will see the homeless sheltering in doorways, look at any Food Bank and you will see queues including people who are in work but are unable to buy the food they need and look at a hospital and see the queues waiting to get seen and it is hard to say yes, we are better off than we were 10 years ago.  
To my mind, the Conservatives have been awful, as bad as i can remember any Government being and that was with them hamstrung with a coalition for the first five years and the lack of a meaningful majority in the second five with Brexit sucking the life out of their time in power so seeing what they have done while shackled, to unshackle them and let them really go to town with their right wing
agenda is a scary thought.
For ten years they told us at every opportunity that it was essential they cut benefits while at the same time cutting taxes for the richest and every politician spins, that has unfortunately become the norm, but now we have outright lies.  
The 40 New Hospitals they promised to build only a fortnight ago turns out to be now be 6, the 50,000 more nurses is a sleight of hand and somehow counts nurses already currently working in the NHS and the 20,000 new police officers is still less than the amount they cut under their austerity measures.
The Conservatives have announced a new house-building scheme and a tax hike on foreign home owners which is exactly what they promised in their 2015 manifesto and so far they’ve managed to build zero and Theresa May proposed exactly the same levy on overseas home buyers, before it was watered down and then disappeared altogether.
As Boris Johnson is a proven liar, and was even found to be lying to the Queen only just before the election was called, it is amazing that people are looking at the state of the country, the austerity, the lying and the broken promises and are thinking they deserve five more years and that includes letting them deal with Brexit which economists have said will make us poorer whichever flavour we
end up with.
The polls are showing a Conservative lead and i find myself asking what can all these potential Tory voters see which i can't?

Monday, 2 December 2019

Benjamin Franklin...Just Saying

The house at 36 Craven Street, Charing Cross in London has one of those little blue plaques which shows that a famous person once lived there, in this case Benjamin Franklin who lived at the address from 1757 to 1762 and then once again between 1764 and 1775.
As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the House has been opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House but in 1998, workmen restoring the building dug up the remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home. The Times reported on February 11, 1998:
'Initial estimates are that the bones are about 200 years old and were buried at the time Franklin was living in the house. Most of the bones show signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut. One skull has been drilled with several holes.'
The organisation responsible for the restoration, Friends of Benjamin Franklin House, explained that the bones were likely placed there by William Hewson, who lived in the house for two years between Franklins stays.
Alarmingly they then note that while Franklin likely knew what Hewson was doing, he probably did not participate in any dissections because he was much more of a physicist than a medical man. Probably didn't participate!!
Not saying he murdered people and stuck them under the patio but he did have a history of killing animals to show the effects of electricity and was a pioneer of electroconvulsive shock therapy, so just saying, after all he probably didn't even participate.