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?