Thursday, 30 November 2017

Becoming A Brit

Not just anyone can become a Brit and although Meghan Markle has decided in order to become a Royal she has to become British she will still have to undergo the barrage of tests before she can ditch the American passport and pop a nice shiny British one into her purse instead.  
Marrying a Brit, even a Prince, will not mean an automatic UK passport so she will have to apply for a fiancee or spouse visa which means she will have to meet a range of suitability criteria, as well as vouching that her and Harry are the real deal, showing they intend to live permanently together in the UK and have a genuine relationship during a visit from immigration.
The betrothed must also meet a minimum income rule, which stipulates that a Briton must earn at least £18,600 a year - or have savings equivalent to £62,500 - to bring their partner to the UK.
Harry will also need to show he can support Meghan without recourse to public funds, and show evidence they have suitable accommodation that is not overcrowded or dangerous.
Ms Markle can then apply for citizenship after she has had three years of lawful residence in the UK as long as she pays the £7,000 in fees and processing.
That's not the end of the process though.
To have the status approved there are a few more hoops to jump through - not least the notorious life in the UK citizenship test, requiring the applicant to swot up on about 3,000 facts and 278 historical dates.
Then she can call herself a Brit but not a Princess as you have to be born into the Royal family to be one of those although whether she carries on being Meghan or uses her real name Rachel is her choice.

No Surprises From The Fascist And Racist President

He wasn't welcome and he cried off because he knew the British were planning to protest against him being here but President Trump and his wandering little hands won't be turning up anytime soon as he burnished his fascist credentials once again by retweeting videos from the ultra right-wing 'Britain First'.
The controversies of the Trump presidency has already put paid to plans for the procession up the Mall and a state banquet amid warnings of mass protests on the streets and almost 2 million Brits signed a petition this year demanding that the President be prevented from making a state visit to the UK.
It has already been delayed, with the President telling the Prime Minister he didn't want to come until the British public supported his coming which as good as meant he would never be over and one government source saying today that it had been kicked into the long grass and the grass was as long as the grass can get.
Quizzed about the tweets by the man supported by white supremacist groups, Theresa May said: 'I'm very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do' which the man who kept a book of Hitler's speeches on his bedside table replied: 'Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place with the United Kingdom. We are doing fine!'
Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox who was murdered by a Britain First supporter, tweeted the perfect reply to the right-wing nutjob: 'You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you can’t pass anything through a congress that you control. I would focus on that.'
The three videos purported to shows attacks by Muslim migrants have since been revealed to be as fake as his tan with the first showing a Muslim migrant attacking a young Dutch man on crutches. However, a spokesperson from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service said that the person arrested for the attack was born and raised in the Netherlands and was not a migrant.
The second video retweeted by Mr Trump shows a man smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary and was from 2013 and took place in Syria.
The third video originates from the riots that took place in Egypt in 2013, and shows a man being pushed from the top of a building in Alexandria. In 2015, those involved in the incident were prosecuted, and one man was executed.
To be fair the bar is set very low for Donald Trump and giving his approval to a fascist, right wing group is not that unexpected as his racist views are already well known and well received by his simpleton supporters.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Harry's Engaged So Push Out The Bad News Quick!!

The engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, i will be more interested if we get a day off for it otherwise..pffft. 
What we should do is look at what news the Government has slipped out while we are all looking the other way as today is a great day to bury bad news and the Government has a whole sackful of bad news it would like to find far down the news agenda where the spotlight will struggle to get to.
News like how the Brexit Minister has handed over a heavily redacted analysis on how leaving the EU will affect 58 sectors of the economy a day early, with the redacted parts being anything which they perceive as politically embarrassing or not in the national interest and also news from the EU that Brexit is stuttering over the Irish border question.
Then there is also the news which came 21 minutes after the engagement was announced that benefits, frozen for the past four years, will be frozen again for another 12 months from April subjecting 10.5 million households to an average cut of £450 a year and pushing a further half a million more people into poverty but the Government doesn't care because no-one would have been watching anyway, all eyes were on Harry and Meghan.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Giving Thanks To Sarah Josepha Hale

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America, the day the Pilgrim Fathers turned up in the New World on the Mayflower after bolting from England believing that it wasn't holy enough so setting off to make their own country.
They called it the New World but it wasn't new to the natives who already lived there and in a huge showing of tolerance showed the new guys how to grow wheat because they had turned up empty handed except for William Mullins that is who had packed 126 pairs of shoes but no seeds or equipment.  
The natives held a great feast for the new arrivals and to this day the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day but only because an author named Sarah Josepha Hale pushed for it to become a National Event as it had only previously been celebrated in New England.
Sarah Josepha Hale is best known for her nursery Rhyme 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' so what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to rewrite her famous lyrics to commemorate both her and the events surrounding Thanksgiving.

Sarah had a little verse
She was Mary's little lamb's author
But she's also best remembered for
Celebrating a reign of death and slaughter

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth rock
Where the natives were already living        
They showed them how to stay alive
And that's why they celebrate thanksgiving

The Pilgrims thanked them for their feast
In a most ungrateful way
They stole their land and killed them all 
Then called it Thanksgiving Day   

Thank you Sarah.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Capitalism And Conservatives Not Working

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has called Britain's economic situation 'pretty grim' and suggests that it will stay this way for the next two decades and calculated that the national debt will not return to pre-financial crisis levels until the 2060s or even later.
IFS director Paul Johnson described the facts that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 as 'astonishing' and blamed the capitalist system 'not delivering its promise that it raises all the boats'.
Tucked away in yesterdays budge was the UK is expecting to borrow £29.1 billion more by the end of the 2021-22 tax year than it expected and that there are still nearly £12bn of welfare cuts to work through the system'.
It's official then, the hapless Tories have broken Britain with their right wing agenda for not only this decade but the next one too.
They have grown homelessness, inflation, austerity, poverty, suicides, food banks and crisis in all the public services and that's before we consider the craziness that is Brexit.
The two fundamental questions are then how can we remove the Tories who are economically inept that after a decade of austerity cuts, have left us worse off and why are we even still considering going ahead with Brexit?
Even the most fundamental Brexiter can see that is happening and how it makes absolutely no economic sense at all, the vote margin was only 2% and only a minority of the British people really want it, so we need to ask why on earth is the Government not saying it is just not economically viable and ending the biggest mistake in the history of the UK.
As the problems seem to be the failed system we use, Capitalism, a system which falls over with shocking regularity and ruins lives when it does, why do we believe the lies from the capitalists that capitalism was somehow recovering and is the solution to all our problems when it so blatantly isn't and was the cause of them.
Something needs to change because things are not getting any better but the solution seems to be to carry on doing what we are doing and the next three generations suffering for it.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

America Not Meddling Looks Same As Them Meddling

The Hungarian government have accused the U.S. State Department of interfering in the country’s election campaign and has summoned the top American diplomat in Budapest, David Kostelancik to ask him what his country thinks they are playing at.
'No meddling' replied the U.S. 'just providing projects that increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary'.
In that case if Russia just say they had not been meddling in the US election and had just been making sure American voters had access to objective information about domestic and global issues in America nobody would have a problem with it?
You can't bitch and moan that another country is trying to influence your election when you are actively trying to influence another countries election, that's just hypocritical and makes a mockery of the Democracy which everyone, particularly America, seems so keen to go to war to protect.

Choosing A Religion For The Orang Rimba's

The Sumatran rainforests of Indonesia are home to the Orang Rimba, a community of 3000 people who are having their homes and habitat destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations and as they are forcibly being bought into the general population, in order to integrate into Indonesian society, they are being forced to choose a religion.
'We wanted to send our children to school, but the teacher wanted to see their birth certificates, and for that you have to have a state religion that the government recognises' explained one Tribal Elder as the previously faithless community held a meeting to discuss what Religion they would choose.
Now i'm not religious in the slightest, but if i was forced to choose a religion, there are a few i would discount immediately.
Any of the ones where you have to donate money from your wage packet are out straight away as are the silly ones like Scientology and Mormonism.
Judaism is no good, all that removing foreskins and defending Israel while Islam is a no-no because i don't want to be told what and when i can eat something during Ramadan.
My choice of religion would be one where i don't have to do anything, it doesn't cost me anything and i can live the sort of life i choose and sin left, right and centre but as long as i repent before i take my last breath, i'm in heaven.
Actually, that's the Church of England which as luck would have it is exactly what i am.
As a Church of England member i'm stuffing my face all day long with whatever i find in the fridge, carving images of other Gods on a Sunday while blaspheming like a trooper and covering my neighbours donkey, but as long as i have the split second to repent before i die, i'm going to end up in the same place as all Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and all the rest of them.
Doesn't seem fair really when you see what the others have to do but i'm not complaining because the Church of England is the perfect religion because it's a complete blag so i say to the Orang Rimba come join us and you never have to set foot in a Church ever again.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Broadcast Journalists Most Trusted

Due to the more stringent rules of accuracy and due impartiality they have to work under, broadcast journalists have always considered themselves above press journalists who are self-regulating.
UK broadcasters face large fines if they stray from the The Ofcom Broadcasting Code which is why in most polls where the public are asked which news outlet they trust the most, TV news always tops the press.
The latest Ipsi Mori poll asked the public: 'Of all the news sources which ONE source are you most likely to turn to for news you trust the most?' and it was an overwhelming thumbs up once again for broadcast journalism and especially the BBC who were trusted by 57% of the public with ITV trusted by 11%, Sky News and Channel 5 News both 5% and Channel 4 News 3%.
The Press did not come out of it very well at all with the Guardian Newspaper the most trusted with 4% and the Sun the least with a miserly 0.3% of the public believing what they read in the Murdoch red top.
In the brave new World of online news, Google News is the choice for trusted news (5%), then Yahoo News (4.5%), MSN News (4.4%), Twitter (3.8%) and bringing up the rear Facebook who is trusted by 3.7% of the public for trustworthy news coverage.
So if you want to know what's going on, turn on the BBC News Channel.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

First Flat Earther's Get Together

The sound of rattling brain-cells must be deafening in North Carolina as Flat Earther's from across the globe assembled for the first Flat Earth International Conference.
The Flat Earth Website explains that they aim to: 'uncover and debunk pseudo-scientific facts while presenting the true evidence which shockingly points to our existence on a flat, stationary plane'.
Not sure how that worked out for them but it is all based on: 'extensive experimentation, analysis, and research' and a spokesman for the Flat Earther's said we are all being hoaxed by the space agencies who are putting out misleading material about us being on a tiny ball, flying through space.
'Science is gonna have to address this, they cannot dodge us forever' said one Flat Earther blissfully unaware that science can and will indeed not only dodge it forever but laugh at you as it does it.

2018 World Cup Line Up Missing Big Names

The line-up is complete and we can now sit back and wait until June when the World Cup kicks off and the English have the same quadrennial problem of who to support after England is sent packing after the group stage.
We may not be very good but at least we got there which is more than can be said for the other Home Nations and some of the big names who usually grace the Finals but will be kicking their heels at home.
Holland and Italy are the biggest names to miss out along with the reigning South American Champions Chile and Ghana and Ivory Coast are almost always in the pot representing Africa.
The failure of the two Ireland's and Scotland are no shock but Greece are normally making up the numbers as are the USA and after their showing in the Semi-Finals at the European Championship, better was expected from Wales.
Most disappointing is the non-appearance of Turkey because we will not be treated to the commentators telling us about the delights of Anil Koc, the promising Turkish midfielder.
Anyway, onwards and upwards and it's Come on England at least until the second round and then it's the usual game of looking at the family tree for a tenuous family link to another country.

Del Amitri, Hospital Wings And Da Vinci

There is a very poignant line in Del Amitri's 'Nothing Ever Happens' where he laments that 'American businessmen snap up Van Gogh's for the price of a hospital wing' but as the buyer who shelled out £342m for the Leonardo da Vinci painting, 'Salvator Mundi' has opted for privacy, we don't know if he is American or a businessman and it wasn't a Van Gogh but the sentiment remains the same.
As the new hospital wing at Bradford Infirmary cost £28m that's 12 hospital wings and i'm starting to regret the Del Amitri song comparison already but i'm in too far now so let's keep going.
Unless the £342m came from a bank heist or by cheating on their taxes the person with the big cheque book can spend their money how they like and if they think £342m for a 500 year old painting is worth it then it is up to them but the scene at Christie's when the piece sold encompasses everything that is wrong today.
'$450 million, the piece is sold' said the auctioneer and the saleroom erupted into cheers and applause and you have to think there are so many better things you could spend £350m, 12 hospital wings for starters, and why are people applauding that obscene amount of money being spent on a painting as if such extravagance it is something that should be celebrated.
The stupidity and selfishness of the super-rich and the sad state of the World today in a nutshell where over 3 billion people live in poverty and struggle under austerity but spending £350 million is cheered.
Del Amitri may have got the artist and the cost wrong but the sentiment that 'nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all, the needle returns to the start of the song, and we'll all go along like before' is so very true and so very sad.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

If a hairdresser says eating chocolate for breakfast is good for you then it would be wise to take it with caution but when a scientist says it, wahey, keep the Frosties, where's that chocolate orange!! 
A study from the brilliant minds at Syracuse University, New York have said that eating dark chocolate benefits reasoning, memory and focus and found that eating chocolate prepares you more for your work day and we should incorporate dark chocolate into our breakfast.
Before i had even finished grating a large bar of Aero into my bowl another scientific study landed in my inbox from Tel Aviv University suggesting that eating dessert for breakfast supports weight loss.
Conclusive, cast iron proof then that combining chocolate with dessert for breakfast is beneficial so if anyone asks why you are stuffing your face with chocolate cake and trifle at 7am, it's part of a scientifically backed diet and memory improving program.
That said if a scientist tries to give you advice on a layered crop with a softly arched fringe i'd check with the hairdresser.

Bloodless Correction, Not A Coup

Robert Mugabe once said that only God could remove him from office but it seems nobody told that to the Zimbabwe military as they have not only removed him but locked him in his house for good measure.
The army chiefs who seized the President, his Palace and the state broadcaster claims they had not carried out a coup, preferring to call it a 'bloodless correction' which suits Britain as they couldn't be seen to back a coup, but a correction is something they can get behind.
Foreign Secretary and general clown Boris Johnson called for 'proper, free and fair elections to prevent Zimbabwe transitioning from one unelected tyrant to another' so Mugabe won't be getting any support from his old colonial masters who are quite glad to see the back of him.
It does seem that Mr Mugabe's sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa last week and steps to replace him with his wife was a step too far, especially as Mr Mnangagwa had some powerful allies in the army who decided they preferred him to Mugabe and leapt into action.
As Mugabe didn't have many friends globally and the other African nations seem quite happy about him being removed from power and locked up in his living room while his wife has run off without a trace, the transition should be quite smooth although following the capture of the TV and Radio the army played hours of military music hopefully the programming may be the roughest thing the Zimbabweans have to endure.

Name Of The Father, Son and Sausage Roll

It's been called sick and insulting that Greggs the Baker's Christmas advert for their advent calendars has the three wise men visiting not a baby Jesus in a manger but a sausage roll.
Predictably it is the few remaining Churchy types who have their rosary beads in a knot and a sense of humour failure and are now calling for a
boycott to: 'protest against its sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar'.
As a vegetarian i should be siding with the Bible bashing community against the sausage roll eating community but i do like a Greggs Latte with a cheese and onion roll and anyway, i am smug enough knowing that what they are eating in the sausage only passes a close resemblance to what we know as 'meat'.     
A Greggs spokesperson said: 'We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention' and the UK Evangelical Alliance have taken a calmer approach by saying that there were not so much outraged at the advert but by the using of Bible stories to sell products as Jesus is what should be the focus of Christmas celebrations.
Don't know if the God Botherers would be quite so upset if McDonald's put a Jesus figure in their Happy Meals or you got a Virgin Mary doll in the KFC Bargain Bucket but it's about he only time Jesus will get a mention this Christmas so Greegs have done them a favour.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Black Knight Conspiracy Theory

In space no one can hear you scream but here on Earth they can and back in 1928 scientists heard signals coming from above the clouds and were screaming 'THERE'S A FREAKING SATELLITE UP THERE!!'
They screamed again in 1954 that they had detected something orbiting the Earth pole to pole and that was three years before the freaking thing was something we had put up there. 
How, everyone asked, can something be in orbit around the planet years before we had the technology to put things in orbit around the planet and the only explanation they could come up with was Aliens did it. 
So was born the conspiracy theory known as the Black Knight, a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth that is of extraterrestrial origin, and that NASA is engaged in a cover-up which NASA deny but then of course the conspiracy theorists use as evidence because NASA are engaged in covering it up after-all.
Towards the end of the 1990's a NASA photo is believed by some to show the Black Knight satellite, but NASA has stated that this is just space debris and put out a video of the crew of the Endeavor space shuttle dropping a satellite thermal blanket and it tumbling away into space as they worked on the International Space Station (ISS).
As with any good conspiracy theorists they have refused to believe the official line and the video has been dismissed as faked and an attempt to throw them off the scent because they know that something alien is up there and it's been watching us, patiently waiting and reporting back to some far flung planet just what us silly humans have been doing.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Fat, Old & A Dotard But Don't Mention The Hair

The children are at it again with Kim Jong Un calling Trump a lunatic, old and a dotard and Trump responded by calling Kim short and fat.
I'm sure Kim is readying his reply and he is spoilt for choice with insults to call the orange skinned, tax dodging sex pest with a tiny penis who mocks disabled people, insults the wives of dead soldiers and is in the pay of the Russians but it is hard to work out where Trump comes in the mental retardation scale.
For a man who often boasts about his IQ, he appears particular stupid but then he also boasts about his business acumen but has been declared bankrupt at least four times so not so much a pinch of salt as a shovelful.    
So if Kim goes with 'women groping idiot' he wouldn't be technically correct as an Idiot is someone with an IQ below 20.
The term 'Russian Patsy Imbecile' is warmer as an imbecile is someone with an IQ between 20 and 49 so it may be safer to go with 'Small Dicked Moron' as a Moron is someone with an IQ between 50 and 69.
Being charitable, Trumps IQ could rock up somewhere between 70-80 which would make him Deficient on the scale so 'Tax dodging, warmongering Deficient' would technically be correct but Dotard means senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and that just about covers it but as his mental poise continues to decay he will slip down through the mental retardation scale anyway.
As Trump is rather obese himself it is a bit rich him calling someone else fat but it was probably not wise to mention Kim's silly hairstyle, that would blow up every irony detector on the planet.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Facebook Answer To Revenge Porn

Social media has made a fundamental change to the way we live our lives, in some ways it has been beneficial but in others not so much with the major and most devastating impact being cyber-bullying and online harassment.
Not just young girls but also young boys are haunted by what they have posted on the Net sometimes it is what other people have posted, mostly pictures and videos of a sexual nature, revenge porn as it is called.
Facebook have come up with an idea to try and stem the flow of revenge porn by encouraging users to upload intimate material of themselves that they do not want to be shared and use these to stop any attempts to share the same material.
Sending private material to a stranger, albeit a Facebook staff member, in order to prevent that material being seen on Facebook seems a bit confusing and the security implications if a hacker gets into the server doesn't bear thinking about.
The easiest way to avoid the whole scenario is not to video or photograph yourself in any potentially compromising situations but it is good to see that Social Networks are trying something, i'm just not sure that pre-emptively forwarding the pictures or videos to a social media site is a particularly good answer.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Universal Basic Income Coming To The UK

I still have deep reservations about the Universal Basic Income (UBI) but the radical social experiment which has been running in Finland for the past year is now coming to the UK with Fife in Scotland planning to use the Finnish model and paying their citizens up to £7000 a year regardless of their age or employment status by 2019.
The idea behind UBI is to scrap the welfare state and instead, pay every man, woman and child a monthly stipend whether they have a job or not, regardless of their personal wealth.
In Finland, 2000 people randomly chosen across all demographics have been receiving £495 per month and the trend, albeit from a very small sample, has been that people have reduced their working hours and are doing things more beneficial for society such as volunteering or starting up a business in the knowledge that they are still guaranteed an income.
My query is how could a country afford it but the answer appears to be by folding in all the current elements of the welfare state and the tax relief system.
The UK's Welfare bill is £253 billion, the population is around 60 million which breaks down to approximately £4216.66 per person or £351 per month.
The UK's Tax relief bill is £117 billion, again divided by 60 million Brits breaks down to approximately £1950 per person, or £162 per month.
By abandoning all tax reliefs and state benefits, each person in the UK could receive £513 per month and the UK economy would not be adversely affected.
Using these back of an envelope calculations it is plausible on paper but society is more complex and some will still require additional sums on top of the £513 a month stipend and that is where things get sticky and the bill potentially spirals upwards.
I like and support the idea that it will free people from their jobs and will contribute to society because you don't have to worry about making ends meet but the cost worries me if someone gets their figures wrong because the current austerity measures show the results when that happens and this will be so much bigger.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Is It A Bird, Plane Or A Chinese Space Station?

It may be worth having a long, hard look at a photo of the Chinese Space Station just so if it comes crashing through your roof in a few months time you will recognise it.
The Chinese ‘Tiangong-1’ space station is due to come crashing down to earth early in 2018 and The European Space Agency (ESA) has narrowed down the possible crash sites to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria or Greece.
The ESA have said that the majority of the spacecraft is expected to burn up on re-entry to Earth's atmosphere but the remaining larger pieces will make it down to the surface although the exact time and location won't be known until shortly before re-entry.
The ESA along with NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA of Japan, ISRO of India, KARI of South Korea and the China National Space Administration are currently tracking Tiangong-1 which is currently orbiting at 190 miles above our heads and traveling at approximately 4.5 miles per second.
The ESA are keen to point out that nobody in history has even been harmed by a returning spacecraft breaking up in the atmosphere and the odds are it will splash down in the sea but if you wake up to a lump of Chinese Space Station smouldering away in your kitchen between January and March 2018, you will know where to send the bill for your roof repairs.

The Cost Of War

The United States has a debt of $20 trillion and almost $6 trillion of that is the cost of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks 2001, according to a new study.
Research from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University found that as of late September, the US wars have cost an approximate $23,386 per US taxpayer and the cost considerations include expenses such as providing long-term medical care for veterans.
The human cost to America is 6,855 dead and 52,251 wounded from US military operations over the past 14 years, according to a 2015 report by the Congressional Research Service.
The cost to the UK for the same wars was £29 billion and you have to ask looking at these countries where we spent so much money but only resulted in increasing international terrorism, the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS and the millions of innocent deaths, was it worth it because where i am sitting that $6 trillion in America and £29 billion in the UK could have been spent in a far more worthwhile way and we may not be facing the decade of austerity cuts that have devastated society.
Funny how despite the bill in financial and human costs, we always seem willing to start yet more wars.

The Annual Poppy Argument

Every year about this time the Poppy argument breaks out, namely between those who refuse to wear one and those who feel it is disrespectful to not.
According to a survey by researchers Consumer Intelligence, the top reasons given by those who object to pinning the red flower on their person said it was because they felt bullied into supporting the Poppy Appeal, it glorified war and seems to show support for the military.
One in five adults plan to snub the symbolic flower and i am amongst them because i never have worn one and have had more than few 'discussions' with people who try and bully me into it.
I can relate to the 20% of adults snubbing the Poppy because being continually told i should wear one is guaranteed to mean i won't and secondly because i believe that rather than send young men and women off to fight wars and then stand around looking solemn wearing a red flower once a year, just don't send them to fight wars in the first place.
Wearing a poppy used to be about WW1 & WW2 but now it seems to commemorate every war including the wrong-headed ones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and who can say that any war or conflict that Britain has fought since 1945 has been justifiable?
The idea of wearing a poppy seems to have become co-opted by politicians to justify their folly and it has become 'patriotic' but i will not wear something that is used to support wars, either conflicts past or the ones we are currently embroiled in.
The argument is that people gave their lives for our freedom and it is obscene that some of us refuse to honour that debt by not wearing a poppy but i say that the freedoms they fought for includes being free to not be ordered how to honour the war dead by a poppy fundamentalists and if more people thought like me and the 20% who refuse to approve of what our military does, then there wouldn't be the widespread death and destruction that is currently going on around the World.

Priti Patel's Israeli Plan More Than Inappropriate

She may have the name Priti but the MP for Witham is anything but, a renown ultra-right winger, Priti Patel is at the time of writing still holding onto her job but is widely expected to be sacked following her summons to Downing Street.
Priti's crime was to hold 12 secret meetings with Israeli officials and not tell the Government what she was up to, then to make matters worse she said she DID inform the Foreign Office what she was up to and then two days later admitted actually, she never informed anyone and it was 14 meetings.
So far so bad but it is what she was meeting the Israeli's about which really topped it all off, she wanted to give aid to the Israeli military to treat wounded Syrian refugees in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights region, a request that was turned down as 'inappropriate' by the Government.
To get it straight, she wanted to give tax-payers money to a country who are occupying a part of Syria to treat Syrians who are largely wounded by the Israeli military while protesting against their occupation.    
Inappropriate doesn't even begin to cover it, Israel should be sanctioned to the hilt for what they get up to, it's the funding that America gives them that allows them to keep acting like the unpleasant and repulsive occupiers that they are, that we would have any part in maintaining such an objectionable and poisonous regime in Israel is more than inappropriate, it's just plain wrong. 
Theresa May is having a hard time lately and her cabinet making her look weaker and undermining her at every turn can only usher in another election and new Government, one that will hopefully not keep up the devastating austerity measures while wanting to send our money to one of the most murderous regimes on the planet.
Update: Handed her P45 so gone and hopefully forgotten, next up Boris Johnson!! 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Uk Government Wobbling

It was always a case of not if the British Government collapses but when and even the strongest and stablest Government would be tottering under pressure of the past week. 
The sex scandal with the spreadsheet of 40 Tory MP's accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour is refusing to go away, the list of MP's either sacked, walking or desperately keeping their heads down untl it blows over grows everyday.
Accusations from victims that they reported the assaults to May herself when she was Home Secretary but were swept under the carpet continue.
Boris Johnson's thoughtless mutterings may have landed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe five extra years in jail in Iran after claiming she was carrying out journalism training when she was arrested, blowing a hole in her 'i was there on holiday' alibi while Theresa May and her number two, Derek Hammond, have fallen out in a big way and wasn't helped by May handing one of the
top jobs in Government, Defence Secretary, to her most bullish supporter but someone with no experience over more appropriate candidates leading to a concerted backlash from her Party.  
In a blow to her leadership, Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, has been found to have held meetings with influencers in the Middle East without telling the PM or the Foreign Office and the whole Brexit thing and the ineptitude of the Government in negotiations with the EU reverberate around continuously.
All in all a bad week for Theresa May and her wobbling Government and that isn't be a bad thing because as Governments go, this one has been awful.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Gun Massacre Template

I'm as surprised as anyone but it turns out that guns do kill people, and the best way to kill lots of people in the shortest space of time is to use a rapid fire assault rifle.
Shocking i know but luckily the country that sells guns in supermarkets won't be put off by a little thing like yet another massacre, it is their right to be able to buy weapons with their weekly shop because you never know when us British will  turn up with a box of matches and try to burn down the White House again.
The sticking point is that the right to bear arms is in the constitution and nobody has yet come up with a way to amend the constitution, an amendment or some such thing.
Anyway, there are so many gun massacres in the USA these days that it is hard to keep finding ways to express the shock and horror that in a country awash with guns and whack-a-doodle gun laws, the occasional loony tune goes on a rampage and shoots lots of people in churches, schools, shopping centres and cinemas.
To save time i have a designed a template to copy and paste each time.

America, we are shocked and stunned that there has been yet another mass shooting, this time in [insert US city] where a mad man/men [delete as applicable] with access to high powered weapons brutally gunned down [insert number] and wounded [insert number].
Your current President [insert President surname] has said that this isn't the time to talk about gun control so close to [insert number] being killed in [insert city] just as it wasn't after [insert number] where killed in [insert city].
As this is the latest mass shooting since [enter last mass shooting], we are pretty sure that this time your Government will finally pay attention and look into gun control and your utterly bat shit crazy gun laws.  
Failing this, i am sure that the gun-nuts will be out in force putting forward the argument that what is needed is more of the weapons that were used to massacre people as they went about their business in [insert place of massacre] but that is the argument of [insert name for butt] whom put their right to bear arms above the right to not be violently blown away in a [insert scene of latest mass shooting], the [insert name for male genitals].

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Paradise Papers

Kind of ironic that as i was gathering together the evidence to take to my agent for my Tax Return, news broke of a leak of 13.4m files that expose the world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport sheltering their wealth and avoiding paying tax in secretive tax havens.
Called The Paradise Papers, the leak is from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens and is currently in the hands of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
The first revelations focus on the Queen's private estate investing millions in an offshore tax haven, Donald Trump's commerce secretary continued business links with a company owned by Vladimir Putin's daughter and son in law, two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funding substantial investments in Twitter and Facebook through a business partner of Donald
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.
Also in the spotlight are the chief fundraiser and senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who is involved in the movement of millions of dollars to offshore tax havens, the business manager of INXS star Michael Hutchence’s setting up a company in the tax haven of Mauritius and the close financial relationship between Premier League Clubs Arsenal and Everton.
Expected to be dripped out over weeks and even months, the owners of the Paradise Papers promise to release further revelations of aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors and how some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an
array of offshore schemes.
The documents stretch back 70 years and it must be mentioned that in most cases there is no evidence of wrongdoing and it is perfectly legal to reduce your tax bills, that said the moral implications and potential embarrassment that multi-millionaires are jumping through a multitude of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they pay could be a problem for them.
The big problems could be for those who now have the spotlight shone on some of their links with less than favourable people.

Remember, Remember The 5th of November

Back in days of yore, one of the finest British traditions was tying people to poles and setting fire to them but in the early 17th Century, as well as women with warts and Frenchies, we added Catholics to the potential burnee's list after Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and along with it King James.
We have always remembered the anniversary to this day although due to Health and Safety rules we can no longer burn real Catholics and have to make do with burning effigies instead.   
The gunpowder plot was a comedy of errors as the original date of Parliament opening was delayed until November due to the plague so the first batch of 36 gunpowder barrels had decayed so they had to wheel in more and the plot was overheard by a soldier on the other side of the wall of the cellar they were using and then one of the conspirators wrote to his MP friend telling him to stay away from Parliament on the 5th as they were going to blow it up. 
The letter went to King James himself and Guy Fawkes was caught red handed entering the cellar below Parliament with a match and he was charged with high treason and the judge ordered that he be  drawn by horse to the gallows where he would be hung until he was halfway between living and dead, then his genitals would be cut off and burnt before his eyes and his bowels and heart removed. Then he would be decapitated and his quartered and the dismembered parts of the body displayed so that they might become prey for the fowls of the air.
The execution didn't go to plan as after the initial drawn part of the sentence, the hanging broke Fawkes neck killing him instantly but undeterred, the Government still had his genitals removed and burnt before quartering him between four horses and gutted anyway.
Ever since, 5 November has always been called Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night and it became the custom to burn an effigy of whichever public figures have become targets for the public's ire, Margaret Thatcher was always popular in the 80s but George W Bush and Tony Blair were regular recipients in recent years and Donald Trump was by far the most popular effigy last year and the countries largest bonfire in Lewes have gone with Trump again this year and partnered him with a giant Harvey Weinstein, two very deserving targets.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Christmas Coming Soon

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas especially as the posters are now up advertising the big turn on the City Christmas lights next week, something that used to be performed by the Lord Mayor but now has morphed into a contest between rival cities into who can get the biggest stars to count backwards from 10 and push a button.
If i had my way i would push the whole of the my Councils 2018 education budget towards Johnny Depp and get him to do ours which may explain why i was asked to leave the Council meeting, that and stealing the stationary.
So instead of having to explain to the kids why they had to share pencils and school dinners would consist of a small bowl of lentils next year, the Council decided in their wisdom to get a former page 3 model and the striker from the local football team.
Along with the lights every city seems to now have a German Market which is a few huts selling mulled wine and hot dogs with German sounding sausages which are about as German as a didgeridoo.
Santa will usually put in an appearance and the local radio station will turn up and play Christmas songs and a general Festive atmosphere will settle over the city.
Strangely, i have yet to hear a Christmas song yet, usually by the first week on November i am on my fifth or sixth hearing of  Slade's 'Mery Christmas Everyone' in shops but this year they have been a bit slow to throw out the Halloween stuff and bring out the Christmas fayre.
I'm sure once the former Page 3 Girl has done her bit the shoppers paradise which is Christmas will land with a thump and as our Council has this year decided to use the money they have saved hiring Johnny Depp to install a ice rink in the middle of the Town Centre, i'm sure Slade's Christmas favourite will put in an appearance, probably as the medic is lifting me off the rink into the back of the ambulance with my leg pointing the wrong way.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Move Or Buy A Boat

When UN climate negotiators meet for summit talks this month the over-riding message is going to be if you thought a rise in global temperature of 2C was going to be bad, how about that 3C we are currently barrelling towards. 
'We find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future' said the UN Environment Chief, Erik Solheim, ahead of the Bonn conference.
Many will be wondering as 3C seems to be were we are heading, where exactly will the miserable hundreds of millions come from and the UN has provided a handy guide to the cities we will be waving goodbye to by 2100.
The people of Japan have more than their fair share of disasters and it is Osaka and its 5.2 million population who will be watching their city disappear beneath the sea in a 3C world.
The Osakians may be looking for a new place to live but they shouldn't look towards Shangahai in China because they have their own problems with 18 million people displaced by rising sea levels.
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam already have homes on stilts due to flooding but even that won't be enough for the 17.5 million people who live there and Bangladesh will have to find a new Capital City as Dhaka is swallowed up by the Ganges, shifting the 14.5 million who live there to pastures new. 
Egypt as a new start is out because flooding along the Nile will make 8 million people homeless, displaced by flooding in Alexandria and the Nile Delta.  
On the other side of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue may be the only thing left visible in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro region as 1.8 million people have to make way for the Atlantic Ocean that has rolled over their homes and in Miami, Florida strengthening hurricanes will no longer be a problem for it's 7 million inhabitants, as there will no longer be a Miami, Florida unless you plan to live in a submarine. 
In Venice, Italy, they have a double problem because not only are water levels in the Adriatic Sea rising, but Venice is also sinking and although the Netherlands has been battling against the North Sea for hundreds of years, the rising sea will overwhelm even the hardiest of dikes with Rotterdam and its 1 million inhabitants the first to have the problem of a hill to run to in an entirely flat country.
The highest place above sea-level in the World and therefore where the rising oceans will reach last, is the region of Puno in Peru so buying a bed and breakfast in Puno and cramming as many cheeseburgers as you fit into your freezer in Puno may be an astute financial move as there could well have 7 million Floridians turning up there soon.