Sunday, 29 September 2019

A Bumpy Road Ahead

Imran Khan as better known to the English as a great Pakistani cricketer but after he gave up knocking English bowlers all over the place, he turned to politics and is now the countries Prime Minister and just like everyone else, has no love for Donald Trump, calling him 'ignorant and ungrateful'.
The spat was over Washington confirming it will withhold US military aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad's support for the Taliban although it may yet come out that it was in lieu of Pakistan launching an enquiry into another of his Democrat rivals.  
Imran Khan was appearing on MSNBC when he was asked what advice he had given US President Donald Trump on the Afghan war raging on Pakistan's doorstep since 2001, said: 'While USA was pouring at least $1.5 Trillion into the futile Afghanistan war, China was developing 1st world infrastructure and today New York has bumpy roads'.
Great stuff, America paid trillions to Afghanistan who then gave it to China to rebuild the things the Americans blew up while American roads deteriorated.
Trump once said that if he wanted to win that war, it would be over in literally 10 days which is about as long as his Presidency has got left as the impending impeachment gathers pace, a few more bumps in the road figuratively and literally.

Becoming British

For some mad reason there are people wishing to become British which means either they have not had access to a TV or newspaper over the past 15 years or they are coming from the increasingly fewer countries even more disorganised than here.
Rather than the obvious reaction of saying 'You Sure?' and checking for any signs of recent bangs to the head, they are welcomed with open arms, an exam and a huge bill. 
The Immigration Department report that tens of thousands of people are accepted as UK citizens each year which is very nice, (welcome to our little windy, rain swept country by the way) but even better for our Treasury which makes a tidy little sum from the new Britishers.
First step to becoming British is to take a British Citizenship Test to demonstrate your knowledge of UK laws and history and score at least 75% (18 out of 24) because knowing who directed Chariots of Fire and that St. Andrews is the home of Golf is very important.
Once the exam is passed it's dig deep into the savings because the price of becoming a Brit is not cheap, £1330 per adult and £1012 per child.
With your bank account emptied, don't sigh with relief and buy a teapot just yet because there is still the official ceremony fee to pay (£80 per person) and one final £5 per person to take The Oath in which applicants swear that they will: 'give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen'.
Finally, almost £1500 lighter and now armed with the knowledge that Sake Dean Mahomet opened the Hindoostane Coffee House in 1810 (no, me neither) you are now deemed British enough to moan about the weather, drink tea until you burst and complain about all the foreigners coming here along with the rest of us.
Welcome to Britain, make sure you bring an umbrella.

Shocking Truth Of Gender Confirmation Surgery

Something which i was previously very ignorant of is 'gender confirmation surgery', or as we called it back in my day 'a sex change', a growing quest for transgender people to fix the gender they were mistakenly born into.
Coming with a bill of between £100,000 and £200,000 depending on which gender you are fixing to become, it is not cheap but there are some very worrying and shocking aspects to the increasingly popular trend.
The full process starts with cross sex hormones which are puberty blockers surgery for both sexes and then for males wishing to go female, they first have their testicles removed, their penis inverted and a surgically created vagina and breast implants fitted.
For biological females, breasts are amputated, the ovaries and uterus removed and a penis and testicles constructed and for both sexes, after the surgery, patients face a lifetime of taking estrogen or testosterone hormones.
With America leading the way, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors performed 8,304 sex change operations in 2017 and in 2018, that number had risen to 9,576.
The American Heart Association have said that hormone blockers increase the risk of strokes, cancer, blood clots and heart attacks but worryingly the age that hormone blockers can be, and have been prescribed, is eight years old.
That doctors are issuing puberty blockers to children in preparation of non-reversible gender confirmation surgery is beyond appalling, a girl as young as 15 can request a mastectomy without parental permission and at no stage is a medical psychiatric test required.   
The organisation that’s writing the treatment guidelines for transgender patients, The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) who advise doctors on procedures to follow, is run by the company Veritas, a company who sit on the advisory boards for Lipocrine Pharma, a company that produces hormones, most notably the pre-surgery cross sex hormones and post surgery estrogen or testosterone hormones.
That nobody has seriously queried the ethics of the WPATH holding an advisory role in determining what treatments are given (and advising against psychiatric testing) in turn being advised by a company that makes large profits from the procedures they advise is stupefying.
That such a life changing procedure can be offered to an eight year old, an age when Santa is still faintly real and they can barely tie their own laces, is abhorrent and that someone is making millions off the back of it is shameful. 
I say if you are even thinking about it, think about it seriously and if you are old enough to be mature enough to decide to go ahead with it and can afford it then that is your decision but be aware that if your unhappiness does not stem from the genitals that you pull your underwear over each morning, then you have changed your life immeasurably for nothing.i

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Seven Decades Of Chinese Growth Now Bearing Fruit

The modern history of China is often a sad one, brutalised and exploited by the British Empire,
a fierce occupation by the Japanese during WW2 and a country that never fulfilled its potential until the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took over in 1949 although things never really improved under the new rulers for so long.
Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward saw tens of millions starve to death with The Cultural Revolution adding another two million to that grim toll in a bloodbath of ideological frenzy.
It was only when Mao died in 1976 that China under Deng Xiaoping began to flourish, loosening the grip of Communism and integrating into the global economy even if it never embraced Western capitalism.
In 1949, average life expectancy was 36 years and China's GDP was $30.55 billion where today, its GDP is $13.6 trillion and life expectancy is 77 years.
With each building on the successes of the previous leader towards making China the World leader, the current leader, Xi Jinping, has said that China is not changing to fit the World but the World is changing to fit China.
Military spending has increased 83% over the last decade to £170bn, the second largest in the World after the US and China has upgraded in every department of its military including it's nuclear arsenal which worries it's neighbours especially Taiwan although it has resisted becoming embroiled in any of the Western wars in places like Libya, Afghanistan and Syria and has not fought a war for over 40 years.
China's economy is second only to the US and is expected to overtake that imminently, a reason America under Donald Trump has attempted to curtail it with a trade war although Africa is where Chinese trading eyes are looking, China being one of Africa's greatest trading partners and growing at 20% per year according to consulting firm McKinsey.
As well as trade it exports expertise globally in infrastructure - especially in building roads, bridges, airports, railways, 5G internet and power stations. 
As for the World changing to fit China, Hollywood have rewritten films to show China if not in a good light then not in a bad one with one eye on the massive Chinese market and there has been a 20% rise in the UK alone of people learning Mandarin, pushed by the Government announcing plans to teach the language to school pupils.
The latest stage is an attempt to develop its image abroad with Xi Jinping developing China Global Television Network (CGTN), and expanded massively across the world, including a new hub in the UK and recruiting Western Broadcast journalists to make it appear slicker.
As 70 years of building are now bearing fruit, it will be a battle whether the West changes to fit China as Xi Jinping states or whether China will have to change, and reform, to fit in with the West and continue it's rise to the top seat.
As the UK was usurped by the US, an increasingly unpopular America run by an even more unpopular leader is being hunted down by China and could very soon find itself relegated behind an increasingly globally dominant China.


When female MP, Paula Sheriff, said that she had received death threats from people who quote Johnson’s words, he replied he had: 'never heard so much humbug in my life'.
For it to be the most humbug he had ever heard in his 55 years is quite a call from the Prime Minister because it was him who said he had allowed a grant of £100,000 of taxpayers money to a close friend’s American technology company that never met the criteria for a UK grant.
He also probably never heard himself say, when accused of staging a press opportunity at a hospital by an angry parent whose child was recovering in a ward following an operation that: 'There’s no press here' in front of a crowd of press.
It could be down to a heavy cold that has bunged up his ears that he has such a problem with hearing his own words this week because as he was saying the reason for suspending parliament was nothing to do with Brexit, the top eleven judges dismissed his reason as obvious nonsense and recalled Parliament.
Paula Sheriff's should feel proud that her one speech bringing up the repeated and very real threats of violence against MP's beats the Prime Ministers repeated level of Humbug so well done to her.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Brexit And Your Football Team

With the self-inflicted madness that is Brexit still ongoing something which got a very brief mention during the referendum but seems to have been overlooked ever since is the effect on the National game of football.
The Football Association put the number of foreign players in the Premier League at 65% and 50% in the Championship and when (or if) Brexit takes effect, every one of those players would be treated as outside EU players are treated at the moment which is based on a far stricter criteria which includes gaining a work permit based on transfer fees, salary, international caps and the FIFA ranking of a player’s national team.
Last year, the FA estimated that almost two thirds of European players from outside England would not have qualified for the work permit which would have a massive impact on English teams.
The FA have been lobbying the Government for special arrangements without much success and most worried will be my team Arsenal who football magazine 90 Minutes, put the number of foreign players at 22 of the 26 first team squad.
Manchester City have 22 foreign players from their 29 man squad, Chelsea 21 from 28, Manchester United 26 from 35, Tottenham 20 from 29, Liverpool 19 from 29, Everton 22 from 35 although Bournemouth would be best placed with only 9 foreign players in their 25 man squad.
I guess if a plummeting pound, shortages of fuel, food and medicine, job losses, customs delays and
civil unrest is not enough to see Brexiters see sense, the top teams being usurped by Bournemouth may do it.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Case Against Capital Punishment

Despite being sacked by her predecessor, Priti Patel has returned to Boris Johnson’s cabinet as home secretary which led to a chorus of concerns regarding her past in human rights and a 2011 clip of her calling for capital punishment has resurfaced.
In 2011, while during a discussion around Capital Punishment on BBC's Question Time, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop said that the inaccuracy of sentencing in the UK would mean innocent people would be killed by the state and referenced several cases where people were incorrectly charged with murder only to be cleared years later.
In response, Patel argued capital punishment can act as a 'deterrent' to serious crime and you would need strong proof to convict, and then execute people which Hislop responded that the people he mentioned would be dead as they were thought guilty originally.
'The point is' Patel continued 'it’s about having deterrents' to which Hislop interrupted with 'It’s not a deterrent killing the wrong people'. 
According to Amnesty International, 'scientists agree, by an overwhelming majority, that the death penalty has no deterrent effect' although the greatest argument against that has to be that in the 53 countries that still have the death penalty, murders still happen.
I can't see how another death, in the case of Capital Punishment legalised murder by the state, make anything better because the tragic thing is that cutting short another life doesn´t bring back anybody killed or heal any of the pain, what it does do is fulfil the lust for revenge.
The logic that we must take their life because they took a life never made much sense to me, two wrongs don't make a right, i would much rather leave them sitting in their cell, slowly rotting and regretting everyday of their miserable incarcerated life as their naturally allotted time on this planet slowly ebbs away.

Reining In Boris

Someone, deep inside the belly of the Conservative Party, came up with the wheeze of using WW2 military terms to define Brexit so we have the 'Surrender Bill' to describe the act to stop a no deal Brexit, MP's supporting the Bill called 'traitors' and labelling the EU as 'dictators'.
That the Prime Minister said the best way to honour the MP stabbed to death by a right wing Brexit supporter while she campaigned for the opposite is a particular low and to then say to a female MP that her concerns that his language could fuel further violence against MP's was 'humbug' is reprehensible.  
Given his week included being accused of lying to the Queen and Parliament, Mr Johnson seems to have taken a leaf from the Donald Trump school of charm and struck a confrontational posture, drawing links to the under fire American President.
Thankfully due to OFCOM rules, British broadcasters bear little resemblance to the highly partisan US networks although the self-regulated Press have a freer hand to play into the role Boris is trying to portray, with the right wing newspapers being particularly keen on the latest Boris persona.
Less than 24 hours after Johnson ignored the warning about the effect of his language on the toxic atmosphere in the UK, a man attacked the office of one of those MP's who told him that lives were in danger.
The Conservatives need to rein in their leader as we know exactly what kind of a man he is and they need to ask themselves is he really fit to run the country and lead their party, because we know that if this goes on another MP will die.

Trump Dodged Russia But Ukraine Got Him

The Trump Government was never going to end quietly and we are in the very real danger of the World being a less Orange place shortly as the American President and his ridiculous family face being unceremoniously bundled out of the White House.
A CIA whistleblower has submitted a complaint that Trump abused his office to solicit assistance from a foreign country in the 2020 election and that White House officials participated in a cover-up to keep it from being made public.
It all centres around a telephone call Trump had with the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in July where he allegedly pressured the Ukrainians to investigate the Biden's family's business dealings and then removed the conversation from the computer system that is typically used for such records of calls with foreign leaders.
The President allegedly suspended $400m (£323m) military aid to Ukraine in order to incentivize the country’s officials to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, asking 'for a favour' and saying 'we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing', adding the US 'has been very, very good to Ukraine'.
According to the whistleblower, this was not the first time the Trump administration removed a presidential telephone transcript and stashed it in a secure codeworded system which doesn't look good for the man who somehow managed to dodge being brought down by his links to Russia but seems likely to be hacked down by his dealings with Ukraine.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

When I Grow Up...

Most people believe that on the 18th Birthday a person is no longer a boy or a girl but a man or a woman but it is one of life's most difficult decisions when to put away childish things and become a fully fledged adult and research has found that 31 is the age when we reach financial maturity but lender Zopa has a handy guide to when we can actually join the grown up club.

You receive a brown envelope in the post without automatically assuming someone is planning to throw you in prison.
You make your own lunch every day
You don’t buy anything until you have searched the internet for the best deal
You read literature from a bank or insurance company
You have a pension plan
You shun all the latest fashions
You have an emergency fund
You know your credit rating
You know how much money is in your account
You have home and life insurance.

Oh Dear, my pension plan relies heavily on winning the lottery and my emergency fund is a Snickers Bar hidden between the vegetables in the freezer while the only insurance i have is for my car and that's because it automatically renews every year and behind the toaster is a wedge of unopened Bank letters, so i still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Court Brands Boris Johnson A Liar

It was always pretty obvious that the real reason that Boris Johnson suspended Parliament was to stop Parliament from scrutinising his awful Brexit plans and the Supreme Court has agreed and ruled that it was unlawful and they didn't agree that  he had done it in order to prepare for a Queen's Speech, branding him a liar in legalese.
It's not a good couple of days for the Prime Minister who as well as being branded a liar, is also facing an awkward enquiry into payments made to his personal friend while he was London Mayor.
Already the calls for his resignation have started with the SNP and Labour saying Mr Johnson could be ousted via a no-confidence vote, if he refuses to go of his own will and even some on his own side saying he can't carry on in his role.   
Where this all leaves the Conservative Party and more importantly Brexit now is anybodies guess but another brilliantly bizarre day in British politics and with Parliament reconvening tomorrow, Boris can expect a very bumpy ride, if he has not quit by then of course.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

John Wyndham: The Day Of The Triffids

I am currently re-reading the books that i read as a teenager and one book that i was made to read at school for English Literature was Day of the Triffids.
As it was the early 80's i don't remember if i was too busy listening to WHAM or peeling the stickers off my Rubik's Cube but i don't remember much about it apart from it was about everyone going blind and walking plants taking over the Earth.
Reading it now, 35 years later and without the George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley obsession, it is indeed about everyone going blind and walking plants taking over the Earth but not as much as i thought.
It is a post-apocalyptic tale but after the initial meteor storm and Triffid takeover, the walking plants with the poison stingers take a back-seat and it becomes almost a story of humans battling adversity to survive, someone deeper than me could explain the authors vision of the break down of society and man's inhumane treatment of each other when it is a battle of survival.
The Triffids are there of course, a constant throughout but to me, John Wyndham used them as a way to get to the true nature of the story which of course completely wasted on the 14 year old me who was basically more interested in the monsters and reading enough to complete a book report on a side of A4 paper.
That is the problem with making schoolkids read books, as it is something they are made to do so it becomes a chore like learning the times table or how to use supposition in a sentence instead of reading the book for the pleasure of it.
I am glad i revisited this one, it is a very good story with killer vegetation thrown in and a stark reminder that i was always barking up the wrong tree with George Michael.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Thomas Cook

Funny how the Capitalists view of Socialism changes once they run out of money and come with a begging bowl to the Government for taxpayers money, the banks did it to the tune of £200 billion which left the nation in Austerity for over a decade and now Travel Agent Thomas Cook are in the hole to the tune of £200 million and are eyeing the Governments tax receipts as Administration becomes more and more likely.
The Government, so far anyway, have been reluctant to bail out the company but they know that if the Travel Agent does go into administration, the repatriation fee alone to bring home the 160,000 stranded Thomas Cook customers could come to £600 million and then there are the 9,000 UK jobs which will be lost but they set a precedent with Carillion who they refused to offer financial assistance to and let it collapse with the cost of 20,000 jobs.
The company, one of the largest Travel Agents in the World and with a turnover of £9 billion, has said that the reason it has found itself in this situation is down to political unrest in holiday destinations such as Turkey, last summer's prolonged heatwave and customers delaying booking holidays because of Brexit.
The mood music coming form the Government is that most Thomas Cook customers will be covered by travel insurance or Atol protection which suggests that the UK taxpayer is unlikely to become Thomas Cook's saviour.
Obviously the heart goes out to Thomas Cook's customers and the soon to be redundant staff but that is the World we live in where mega-money companies pursue the Capitalist dream until they run out of money and then greedily eye yours and they don't care how many Hospitals are closed or Police Officers are made redundant to pay for it. 
While austerity is still in full force and disabled benefits are being slashed to pay for the last handouts, we just can't afford to pay for Thomas Cook's mismanagement.

The Kids Are Alright

You have to give credit to the younger generation, they not only recognise the ensuing climate crisis but are trying to do something about it which is more than the pathetic generations before them ever did.
Despite being on the end of so much extreme weather, the second top polluter is run by a Climate Change denialist who isn't even turning up to the UN Climate Summit on Monday says everything you need to know about just how wilfully ignorant my generation and the previous generations has been about the climate emergency.
With an ever dwindling window for action the kids get it that something has to be done, now for the adults to show that they do also and even more importantly, do something about it.
Hopefully the thirteen year old Greta Thunberg has lit a fire under the backsides of a few Governments, even if one of the main polluters is just too dumb, misguided and ignorant to join them in the greatest emergency of our time.

Evidence Against Prince Compelling

If the Royals, and Prince Andrew particularly, was hoping that the Brian Epstein allegations would go away then they must be sorely disappointed because he is back on the front pages again after Virginia Roberts-Giuffre is back on TV giving interviews about his interaction with her when she was a teenager.
Labelling the Prince as 'an abuser and a participant' in the exploitation of her as a teenager, she has gone into details of how the Queens second eldest son took her to a club, gave her vodka and then had sex with her, a claim that the Palace and the Prince himself have vehemently denied.
The problem the Prince has though is that notorious photograph of him with his arm around the 17-year old Ms Roberts-Giuffre which had the 'fixer' Ghislaine Maxwell in the background and his continued association with a man after his release from prison for sex offences against minors and who committed suicide whilst being held for child sex trafficking charges.
Roberts- Giuffre said that: 'He denies that it ever happened. And he’s going to keep denying that it ever happened. But he knows the truth. And I know the truth' which is the only saving grace for eighth in line to the British throne.
That she has no proof that he did what she accuses him of is the only thing he has in his favour but by the same token, he has no proof that he never did what she accuses him of so it's a stalemate with his word against hers for now although the incriminating evidence against him is pretty convincing.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Patron Saints Students Should Know This Year

It’s that time of year again, when teachers blow the dust off the books that have been sat in a drawer since June and students groan while they trek to the shops to buy pens and books of A4 paper but there could be some help at hand from the Patron Saints so when June 2020 rolls around, here are some you could try praying to for a good, productive, smooth academic year.
St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron of scholars, so he’s obviously a good one to have a word with but St. Albert the Great is better if you are taking a scientific discipline as he is the patron of science students specifically.
You could do worse then seeking out St. Francis de Sales if you are an English scholar as his speciality is writing students but computer students should have a go with St. Isidore of Seville, the patron Saint of technology, computers, and the Internet.
St Nicholas will come in handy when the Student Loan runs out, him being the patron Saint of money problems and as students are notoriously bad at timekeeping and missing lessons, Saint Vitus as the Saint for oversleeping should be on your list.
When it comes to exams you can either listen to us throughout the year or pray to the patron Saint of exams, Joseph of Cupertino, either way is good.

Fearing To Tread Where There Are Angels

There are some people who claim to have seen an Angel, the white winged vision of purity making sure nothing bad befalls us and when asked to describe them you get the usual wings, white flowy dress and occasionally carrying a harp like in the thousands of paintings and films which have an Angel in them but the problem is whatever it was they saw, if it had wings and such then it wasn't an Angel.
The Angels in the Bible, and there are several kinds but hardly any have wings and those who do, like the Seraphim's, who actually have six wings with which to cover their glowing bodies so they don't blind whoever is unlucky enough to bump into one.
There are ones called the Thrones, which are described in the Bible as 'wheels within wheels', the rims of which are covered in eyes and then there are the Cherubs, described in Ezekiel 10:14 as having 'four faces: the first the face of an ox, the second a human face, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle'.
The Angel we all picture in our heads is the portrayal of them by painters who gave them wings as a way to identify them from the regular people in the painting.
Another Biblical character is the Devil, him of the cloven-hoofed, pitchfork, red-skin, goatee and horns only that's not how the Bible describes him mainly due to the Bible not describing him at all but rather depicting him as disembodied voice.
Once again artists are to blame, making him visually striking by giving him all of the above and the image just stuck as did that of Hell where far from the land of fire and brimstone with demons handing out punishments for eternity as expected, Peter 2:4 describes it as being 'put into chains of darkness to be held for judgment' and nowhere does it mentions the Devil ruling over it.
So the next time some religious crackpot is on TV talking about Angels, the Devil or Hell then you can roll your eyes because if you see a Biblical Angel you would never sleep again, even Jesus never saw the Devil and Hell is a place where you are chained up and there are some people who pay good money for that already.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The Only Way Is Pacifism

There seems to be more and more of my fellow pacifists around which the dictionary terms as a person totally opposed to War. I can never begin to understand the mentality of anyone who actually wants War such as the moronic armchair generals shouting for the killing to begin.
The World seems to have more than it's fair share of idiot rulers at the moment and there has never been a period of my life when there wasn't a war going on somewhere but since the turn of the century, and the debacles which were Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, we seem have really upped the idiot ruler quota.
You can throw many things at Donald Trump but you would need to go back to Jimmy Carter in the 1970's to find another American President who didn't start a war somewhere although that could change at any time with Iran being manoeuvred neatly into his administrations gun sights.
You only have to look at the problems in the Middle East to see that what they are crying out for is for the warring sides to just sit down and discuss things. Decades of wars there has just left destruction and death and the only way it is going to end is to calmly sit down and talk things through to a solution. It is going to happen at some point, it will have to, so why prolong the slaughter?
The Iraq War left over 1 million Iraqis dead and filled the country with terrorists, same as Libya and the countries that piled into Afghanistan are still desperately trying to get back out again 16 years later.
To quote John Lennon, maybe we should all Give Peace A Chance because it sure beats slaughtering each other and maybe we will all enjoy our short time here a bit more.

Everyone Has A Price

I read a great story today about how Spy Magazine ran a social experiment in 1990, sending cheques for small amounts to the worlds richest people to see who cashed them, putting to test the theory that every person has a price Creating a company called National Refund Clearinghouse, they drafted a letter explaining that the cheque was a refund for a small overcharge that had occurred in 1988 and initially sent cheques out for $1.11 to 58 well-known people and found that of the 58, 26 cashed the cheques.
The magazine then sent a follow-up letter and cheques for $0.64 to those 26 people and 13 deposited the cheques and to those 13 they sent one more cheque for $0.13 and of those 13 only two people cashed them.
One was a Saudi arms dealer named Adnan Khashoggi, and the other was Donald Trump.
As Trump is desperately trying to keep his Tax Returns secret we may be able to see why but at least we know what his price is, a measly 13 cents.

Increasing The Pension Age

The UK had 6,584,661 pensioners between the ages of 65 and 74 but 3,812,058 above 75 which is a depressingly large drop but exactly why the Government are mulling over moving the retirement age to 75, less people to pay out the state pension to. 
When i started out working, women qualified for their state pension at 60 and then it got pushed up to 65 the same as men, then 68 and now they are considering adding another seven years of working life onto us all saving the Government billions.
An economic policy of paying in for a state pension all your working life and then working until you drop and no retirement for a good proportion of us has not gone down well and even other Conservatives have spoken out against it and the Government have been quick to row back that it was only an idea.
The UK already has the highest retirement age along with The Netherlands and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that the average life expectancy in England for a male is 79.5 years while women on average live for 83.2 years.
My father was a bricklayer and by the time he retired at 65 his knees were shot and years of being outside in the cold, rain and snow did his body no favours and would dose himself on painkillers to get through the day so to expect someone in a nice office job deciding that people who work in far tougher environments with massive wear and tear on their bodies, to keep at it until they are 75 is a much tougher ask.
Maybe the retirement age should go down as this frees up jobs for the upcoming generation who will be locked out of these jobs for a further half a decade if the retirement age is raised.
Each year later is a year more of us paying in and a year less of them paying out but more importantly it's a year off your twilight pensioner years when you should be going on cruises around Scandinavia or shopping for cardigans.
Seems the Government austerity drive has cut all it can cut and they are now looking for other ways to plug the gap that strangely seems to be still growing despite all the slashing and cutting everything in sight like madmen for the past nine years.
Seeing as my retirement pension pot means that i will be living on tins of beans and whatever i can find behind the fridge when i stop work, if i ever stop work, i had better start saving.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Come See The Nice Uniform

There are some vacancies that must be notoriously hard to recruit for.
I cannot see an orderly queue forming for a career as a suppository tester for example and the applications for a bacon salesman in Tel Aviv must be pretty thin on the ground.
Another job that they seem to be having problems with is recruiting for the UK Armed Forces, hence the Government upping it's advertising budget by 25%.
'Recruitment is down and we are desperately failing to replace the numbers that leave' stated the Army Recruitment Officer on the BBC news this afternoon not specifying exactly what he meant by 'leaving' because obviously not all of the military personnel get the chance to hand in their notice and go off to be a nice, safe Insurance Salesman.
So what could possibly be the problem encouraging young people to join the Armed Forces?
Personally, i believe that anyone who actually wants a career in the Army is the last person we should be handing a loaded weapon which is probably why i failed the interview at MOD recruitment, but what can the Army, Navy and RAF do to boost their numbers?
I would play down the obvious and not mention the fact that we send the Forces off to the Middle East whenever whichever of the Chuckle Brother in charge wants to and i wouldn't focus on the very real possibility of getting killed while being sent on missions to replace leaders of other countries on dreamt up charges.
The angle i would concentrate on is that you get a really smart free uniform. Yep, that's what i would go with.

Mistakes Happen

The Government confessed to a bit of an oops moment today when the UK International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, claimed they had accidentally granted two military export licenses for Saudi Arabia despite the suspension of arms to the country after a court ruling that it was unlawful as the weapons were being used against civilians in Yemen.
We shouldn't be too hard on Liz Truss, we have all accidentally put something on Ebay only to find out that what we have actually sold is an aircraft carrier, i had a hell of a job finding a box for the one i sold in error.
My daughter is forever selling her things online to all four corners of the globe, old phones, clothes, CD's so the odd assignment of Kalashnikov AK-101 Assault Rifles to North Korea are bound to slip through, these things happen, we’re all only human.
Before the court ruling, the UK had licensed the sale of £6.2bn worth of arms to the Saudi led coalition currently bombing Yemen which has killed more than 8,000 civilians while driving a deadly cholera outbreak and famine that the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Maybe if we ask for them back and return the billions we got for them they will return them to us or failing that we should make them promise not to use the deadly weapons that we 'accidentally' sold them to massacre civilians.
Better make them cross their heart and hope to die and have someone check they haven't got their fingers crossed just to be sure

Monday, 16 September 2019

Planes, Trains And Automobiles

I have a few long-ish distance work related trips coming up around Christmas and in the New Year and the question is should i be flying, driving or taking the train?
Unfortunately i am unable to copy 16 year old Greta Thunberg who chose who sailed to a UN climate conference in New York in a zero-emissions yacht so it's planes, trains and automobiles but which?
The BEIS/Defra Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors has a guide to CO2 emissions from different modes of transport for each kilometre travelled and my three round trips to Wales, Ireland and Birmingham rack up to approximately 2415 km which if i fly is a whopping 321,195 grammes (0.32 tons) of CO2 emissions.
Driving is even worse with a massive 412,965 grammes (0.41 tons) of emissions but a train for all three trips is 99,015 grammes (0.09 tons) so it seems a no brainer to let the train take the strain to Wales and Birmingham and fly to Ireland, a total of 189,180 grammes (0.18 tons) for the trips.
The average annual carbon dioxide emissions per head for Europe is about 10 tons so i still have 9.82 tonnes of CO2 to play with although a tree can absorb 21,772 grammes of carbon dioxide per year so to cancel out my 189,180 grammes i would need to plant 8.6 trees which the local park warden may not be happy about but unless i can borrow a zero emissions yacht i may be hopping over the park fence in the dead of night in the new year.

Fat Shaming Doesn't Work If You Are Even Fatter

Former White House Communications Director, called Donald Trump the fattest President and said that Donald Trump will decide not to run for president again in March 2020 because his ego couldn't take losing.
As i have made clear here many times, Trump is the third fattest President after 24 stone (340 pounds) William Taft followed by Grover Cleveland who broke the scales at 20 stones or 280 pounds and then comes Trump at 239 pounds which is 17 stone although looking at his pictures, i think he may be trying to pinch a few stone on us there.
'This guy’s gonna look at those poll numbers and say — he’s not gonna be able to handle that humiliation' said Scaramucci whose fattest President quote came in response to Trump fat-shaming of a supporter at a rally, saying: 'This guy has a serious weight problem. Go home and exercise' which is rich coming from a man whose idea of exercise is lifting a Big Mac to his mouth.
Trying to fat shame someone when you are even fatter than them is not a good idea but then good ideas is not Donald Trump's strong point.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Save Your Breath Hong Kong Protesters

Hong Kong protesters have been out in force once again this weekend as they have been every weekend since March and after they called on America for help last month, and America did the equivalent of nervously tapping their watch and muttering loudly 'wow, is that the time', the protesters have decided to move on to their former colonial masters for help.
Union Flags are now being waved and 'God Save the Queen' and 'Land of Hope & Glory' is being sung to try and convince London to step in and protect them from Beijing.
Keen to pledge allegiance to Britain, they were even chanting: 'We are British and we will never surrender' although many of the protesters were born after 1997, the year that Britain handed Hong Kong over to the Chinese, so are as British as any other Chinese person would be.
Sorry to disappoint the protesters but modern Britain is not the Britain of the 19th century when we strode the World invading nations and China is too big and powerful for us to even think of upsetting and besides we need a trade deal with the second largest global economy.
So sorry Hong Kong but Britain is not here at the moment but leave a message after the beep and we will get back to you...or not as the case will certainly be.

The Backstop Explained

Not really sure why it is called a backstop but it is what is making the Brexit negotiations so difficult although if you ask most people, they don't really know what it is so let me explain.
Currently Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, and the Republic are both in the EU and trade moves between the two countries effortlessly with no customs checks but after Brexit, if there is no deal, both sides will be in different Custom Unions which could mean Customs checks at the border of the two, a border which is currently just a sign which says 'Welcome to Northern Ireland'. 
A no deal Brexit would mean a hard border be erected between the two as all goods from a Non-EU country entering the EU zone needs to be checked, so a place for goods to be stopped and lorries and cars will need to be installed and anyone who knows the recent history of Ireland and the troubles, can see why that is to be avoided.
The EU has proposed what is known as a 'backstop' which includes Northern Ireland alone remaining in the EU's single market and customs union but the ruling Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland objected to this as it would be seen as treating Northern Ireland treated differently and would threaten the union with the rest of Britain.
The Conservative Government, under Theresa May, agreed to whole of the UK staying in the EU Customs Union for as long as it took until another arrangement could be put in place but many Conservative MPs at Westminster voted it down, three times actually, as they were concerned it would leave Britain permanently trapped in the EU Customs Union and if Britain is part of the EU Customs areas, it cannot make deals with other nations.
Theresa May resigned over it and new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, says he is committed to getting rid of the backstop, and apart from building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, he has not yet come up with a viable solution.
The Backstop then is how to deal with the trading of goods between Ireland, an EU Member, and Northern Ireland which will be outside of the EU and the thing which could scupper Brexit altogether.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Vaping And Flavoured Nicotine Liquid

I began vaping in 2012 and i have long advocated them to smokers already addicted to nicotine but i have mentioned here many times how uneasy i am about how attractive they are to non-smokers and the under-aged.
Donald Trump, a massive idiot 99.99% of the time, may not know it but banning all flavoured nicotine liquid could turn out to be the best idea he has come up with yet, even if he has done it for all the wrong reasons.
The use of e-cigarettes has become more and more popular and there are two valid arguments that i find hard to argue against.
The first is that the e-cigarette companies are aiming their wares at the under 18 market with flavours such as ice cream, bubble gum and candy floss.
The second is that the 'safe' aspect of vaping will tempt people to try smoking who would not have necessarily have and i have already met people who have tried vaping, liked it and then tried a cigarette.
The quandary is that the UK's medicines regulatory body, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, have said that e-cigarettes could help save 57,000 British lives over the next decade and they are undoubtedly a great way to give up the much more dangerous tobacco cigarettes but the reverse is also true that e-cigarettes, and the enticing flavours, attract non-smokers, and worryingly youngsters, to try vaping and thereby introducing them to the same dangerous addiction.
The best course of action is to not smoke at all and e-cigarettes are great for smokers who are addicted to nicotine already but there should be concern that by making vaping attractive with more and more enchanting flavours available, it undoes the main point of e-cigarettes which is to avoid addiction.
A YouGov study put the number of e-cigarette users in the UK at 3 million and most, like me, use flavoured nicotine (Juicy Peach, Spearmint, Cola and Coconut are my choice) but we have to find a midway between keeping any of those 3 million returning to cigarettes by removing the flavours that enticed them to vaping while not making it attractive to youngsters, mainly by not selling flavours that sound like they come from a sweet shop.

The Deplorable Geoffrey Boycott

The bizarre thing about Geoffrey Boycott being nominated for a Knighthood is that Theresa May, on putting his name forward, she must have known about his conviction for assaulting his then girlfriend in 1996.
Nobody can forget the horrific pictures of the damage the 22 punches to her face and body that he delivered left on her, damage that he denied causing, blaming it on 'her slipping on a carpet', dismissed by the testimony of a doctor who explained that the injuries could not have been caused in the way described by Boycott.
Sacked by the BBC, Sky and The Sun, he went to work in India as he was toxic in the UK and has remained so which makes it even more unbelievable that Theresa May would even contemplate knighting him.
The shadow minister for women and equalities, quite rightly said: 'Celebrating a man convicted of assaulting his partner by giving him a knighthood is an insult to victims and survivors of domestic violence'.
If he has anything about him he would have refused to accept it but instead he said that he: 'didn't give a toss what people thought' which shows everything about the deplorable, coward of a man.

Leaving Labour For The Lib Dems

Another Conservative has defected and crossed the floor of the Commons to join the Liberal Democrats making the total of MP's who have left other parties to join them to eight, two Labour and six Conservative.
Everything about Brexit has been a debacle and as bad as the Conservatives have been, Labour have not been much better but the Liberal Democrats have been the only Party with a consistent No Brexit policy.
The Conservatives are trying to recklessly drag out of Europe regardless of the consequences while Labour's policy has been confusing and disjointed but ultimately we will still be leaving the EU albeit with a better deal than the Conservatives are willing to bargain for which leaves us Remain supporters with only one natural home, the Lib Dems. 
I am not one of those who swallow the 'we must obey what was voted for' line, that never works when the Conservative win an election and it isn't going to work now so with an election coming up sooner rather than later, there is a choice to make.
I am a natural Labour voter but put my cross beside the Liberal Democrats in the 2006 and 2010 elections due to the stink from the Afghanistan and Iraq War's stinking up the Labour Party who was still full of the Members who had voted and defended Tony Blair's lies in the conflicts and i will probably add the 2019 election to my list as times i voted Lib Dem.  
As much as i agree with much of what Jeremy Corbyn says, the most pressing subject is Brexit and the Conservatives and Labour policy is two sides of the same coin where the end result is the same but they just have different ways of achieving it.
In Jo Swinson, they have a good leader who is much more towards the left-centre than Labour but more importantly they have a Brexit policy that i 100% agree with.
Whether i just merely lend the Lib Dems my vote or stick with them for a while afterwards will depend on what happens next but i can't vote for Labour this time around because, as i am hearing more and more, i didn't leave the Labour Party , the Labour Party left me.

Hurricanes And Climate Change

There is talk of Hurricane Dorian possibly turning up at the very Northerly tip of the UK as it passes between the UK and Iceland but by then it will be, as the weatherman called it, 'little more than a bit of a gust' and nothing like the 185mph monster which devastated The Bahamas last week.
The thing with Climate Change is that it doesn't mean there will be more hurricanes, it just takes the weather that is already there and ramps it up to 10 or in the case of Hurricanes, takes it to 5.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from August until November on on average there will be six hurricanes in this period with three major storms, classified as category three or above
As Climate Change tightens it's grips on our weather, The National Hurricane Centre says the average number of major hurricanes per year is on the up with an average of two per year between 1930 and 1999 but since the turn of the century, the rate has increased to just over three per year.
The intensity of Hurricanes, measured by their lowest central pressure, five of the top 10 have come in the last two decades and hurricanes have been developing faster due to the warming Ocean's, rising from a Tropical Storm through the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale quicker, Wilma doing just that over a 24 hour period and ending up as a top Category 5.
As is quite wrongly sometimes said, Climate Change is not making the hurricanes but it is creating the perfect conditions for them to thrive when they do arrive due to higher water temperatures, warmer air holding more moisture and rising sea levels which increase storm surge and flooding.
Another consequence is due to the increasing warmth of the ocean and air, hurricanes are slower moving so, the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that hurricanes are 10% slower today and linger longer so they dump more rain over a certain area instead of moving on quickly.
As the climate continues to change, Ocean temperatures will continue to rise and the warmer the water the stronger the hurricanes become resulting in more rain, flooding and wind damage so Climate Change won't create more hurricanes but it will make the ones that we do have more powerful and we are seeing that today and scarily, we are only at the start of the big, dramatic climate changes.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Brexit Ugly Truth Exposed

Driving to work this morning, one of the overhead digital notice boards was displaying a note that warned motorists that there could be disruption caused by Brexit from November 1.
If the Yellowhammer document which the Government dropped just as they were suspending Parliament for 5 weeks then disruption to out motorways is just one thing that we can look forward to if the foolishness which is Brexit goes ahead on 31 October.
Yellowhammer is the Governments on review on what to expect following Brexit and points to queues for as long as two and a half days at ports, a decrease in fresh food available resulting in a reduction of availability and choice and the food that is available increasing in price.
Supply chains for medicines and medical products are vulnerable to disruption and face severe extended delays which could be as long as six months while there will be significant price rises for energy and petrol which will quickly run out at the pumps. 
The Irish border problem will severely disrupt trade trade between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic with job losses protests and direct action with road blockages but protests are not just limited to Ireland, they also predict protests and counter-protests across the UK and a rise in public disorder.
The Government have insisted that the Yellowhammer document is a a worst-case scenario but you can understand why they fought so hard to dismiss it and tried to hide it until forced to release it.
Since parliament has all but ruled out no deal, Yellowhammers predictions are not as frightening as they might be, but it remains disturbing that the Prime Minister is actively continuing with a course of action which will result in riots and food and medical shortages in the very near future.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Protecting The Public Apparently

Six deaths from illicit vaping products and the American Government are banning flavoured e-liquids as they are 'deeply concerned' and they need to 'do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death'.
40,000 deaths from legally held guns per year in America and no deep concern or wanting to protect the public from death, just thoughts, prayers and a few mad suggestions that what is needed is even more guns.
Priorities not so much in evidence then but the $30 million the NRA contributed to the Trump election campaign sure helped with that and keeping the absolutely ludicrous second amenders on side, there is an election coming up after all.

Still Not Me On LinkedIn

I am still getting invites and requests from people at LinkedIn and from people who seem to be Googling LucyP, finding my email address here and sending quite snippy emails for not replying or answering LinkedIn requests. 
As far as i am aware i have never joined, signed up or registered with LinkedIn so the LucyP on LinkedIn is not me and apart from on this blog, anything else published elsewhere is under my real name so you won't find me under LucyP unless it is something related to the posts on this blog.
Anyone who wants to contact me regarding this blog can email me at the address in the contact page on the Blogspot profile section but i certainly won't be able to reply through LinkedIn because IT IS NOT ME.

Oh Grow Up (And Change Your Surname)

Recent research carried out by King's College, London has found that many old British surnames have been disappearing in recent years.
Probably due to the embarrassment of owning a 'funny' name, the last census revealed that names like: Cock, Daft, Death, Smellie, Gotobed, Shufflebottom, Willy, Nutters, Piggs and Jelly have declined in the past century with Cock's shrinking by 75%, Balls dropping by 50% and the same amount of Willy's no longer seen and you will be struggling to see any Bottoms anymore.
The nation's most embarrassing surnames, including Handcock, Glasscock, Hickinbottom, Shufflebottom and Winterbottom are also among the names people have been most desperate to shake-off.
Today there are the most Smellies in Glasgow, Nottingham is home to the greatest number of Dafts, Blackburn is named as the hometown of Nutters, Cocks are mostly in Truro, Willy's mostly hang out in Taunton and Bottoms call Huddersfield home.
All very amusing unless you happen to be the child of Mrs & Mrs Glasscock and given the name first name of Ivor.

Answering The Call

The Fermi Paradox is the contradiction between the high probability of there being life elsewhere in the Universe and the lack of evidence for there being life elsewhere in the Universe, mostly due to us never receiving any signals from out intergalactic cousins.
My argument is that the chances of us having the same technology is remote, we could be doing the equivalent of sending emails to a world where they are communicating with smoke signals still but maybe Fermi can be kicked aside because scientists at the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiments have announced repeated signals coming to Earth from another Galaxy.
Researchers have received repeating blasts of energy, or fast radio bursts (FRB), that have been picked up on Earth by telescopes and are busy attempting to discover the source of the mysterious signals which could be as close as a Galaxy neighbouring our own Milky Way.
Being a cautious bunch, the Scientists warn that the bursts could be anything from a star falling into a black hole to pulsar as well as a message being sent through the Cosmos by aliens.
My money is on the latter but as they will speak a different language to us they could just as well be saying 'Hi, we come in peace' as 'Anyone home? Our spacecraft will come and smash your puny Planet to smithereens' so might not want to answer and let them know we are here too quick.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Lying Politicians

It is an undeniable fact that Politicians lie, some have catastrophic consequences like Tony Blair and George W Bush with ended up with a million deaths and some are broken manifesto pledges which they never had any intention of keeping and some are a way to try and gain your vote.
American President Donald Trump is the king of liars, The Washington Post counts over 12,000 false and misleading statements from Trump since becoming president in January 2017 but we have our very own liar in Boris Johnson who has been sacked twice for flat out lying.
Channel 4's head of news, Dorothy Byrne, has defended the right of journalists to call out politicians when they tell lies and pointed her finger squarely at Boris Johnson, calling him 'a known liar'.
Byrne said: 'We need to start calling politicians out as liars when they lie. If we continue to be so polite, how will our viewers know that politicians are lying"?
The claim by Boris Johnson during the Brexit campaign that leaving the EU would free up £350 million per week which would go to the NHS was a brazen lie but it was effective in that by the time it was exposed, the lie had been repeated often enough to have gained traction, if wrongly.
As we have no mechanism to remove the Right Honourable Members of Parliament if it is later discovered that they lied or if they have their hands in the expenses till, they just get away with it and it falls to Journalists to shout the loudest, point the finger and bring the liars to account.
The Press doesn't have a great reputation, many being just as capable of lying as the politicians but broadcast journalism, in the UK anyway, is regulated tighter and held to a higher standard and stand between the politicians lies and the viewer.
Donald Trump makes much of branding media outlets who don't pander to his lies as fake news but that is because they expose his falsehoods and don't just accept them at face value.
That we just accept that Politicians spin, show selected information and flat out lie should never become the norm, it can never be right for the people in power to lie to their own citizens for their own political advantage.
In a recent interview, an MP said Parliament would be empty if politicians were punished for telling lies and maybe if a few more were punished we can start believing them, even the well known liars.

Emboldened Racists

When i was growing up in the 70's racism was rife but as we progressed through the 80s and 90s it became rightly a thing to be abhorred but things seem to have taken a turn back towards the bad old days recently.
The British racists were emboldened by the Brexit vote which despite denials, was mostly about Europeans coming here and taking our jobs, receiving free NHS treatment, receiving social security handouts and a plethora of other daft, non-existent reasons.
Seeming to take the 52% vote win as a starting pistol to revive all the old prejudices, the racists feel they have enough support to break cover and bring forward their previously hidden vile racism.
Many right wing blogs (remember not all racists are right wing but all the racists are on the right wing) argue that multiculturalism is a failure as Blacks or Muslims or Asians come over here but don't integrate fully into our society.
Why anyone would want to integrate with people calling them names or telling them to go back home is not a consideration because we have to share the responsibility to make immigrants feel welcomed and accepted.
A Home Office Government report discovered that white youths are more likely to believe they are superior to those from other races, and their attitudes are more of a barrier to integration than those of Blacks, Muslims and Asians.
The findings should turn on its head the debate about integration but racists don't want to debate it, they have a misguided vision in their heads of an idyllic Britain of yesteryear before the floodgates opened and let in people who were not as white as them.
Multiculturalism works, just seems that the fault isn't actually with the immigrants but the numbskull's screaming abuse at people with darker skin than them and then blaming them for refusing to integrate with the same people making their life a misery.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Pervert MP Andrew Griffith

There are some things you can get away with if you are a Member of Parliament such as fiddling your expenses and bullying staff but now we can add sending 2000 lewd texts over the space of 21 days to members of the public.
A Conservative MP who bombarded two young women with lewd text messages and requests for nude photo's has been cleared of wrongdoing by the parliamentary standards watchdog.
Married Andrew Griffiths, Conservative MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, has been cleared of the offence by the Parliamentary Watchdog because there was: 'no evidence Andrew Griffiths sent messages while engaged in parliamentary activity'.
Griffiths then had the brass neck to say that he was: 'grateful to the commissioner for dismissing this complaint' which makes it sound as if he did nothing wrong as if sending 100 texts a day to women asking for explicit pictures of them was nothing out of the usual.
Someone should remind Mr Griffith that far from being dismissed, he was just found not guilty of sending the texts when he was at work and not cleared of being a massive sleazebag and pervert who should be thanking his lucky stars that his wife has not kicked him out and is parading around town wearing his testicles as a pair of earrings.

There's Something In My Beer

With it being a Sunday and my neighbour being a vicar, he is kept busy on this Sabbath Day as the morning is spent reading extracts from his Bible and the afternoon is spent dunking babies into fonts.
Being Church of England, he has lamented to me for years now how his congregation has been shrinking while the Catholic Churches have been boosted by the influx of Catholic Europeans into the UK, replacing the Brits who have given up on the whole Religion thing.   
A few times while we stand out on the veranda vaping and drinking coffee he has asked me for any suggestions to 'make going to Church sexy again' and i usually reply with something like pull down the Church and open a strip club which he hasn't done yet, opting for jumble sales and cake sales instead, the fool.
There was a short lived campaign a few years ago to attract younger people to think about Jesus by picturing him in the froth of an almost empty pint of beer with the tagline something like, Jesus is everywhere.
They also had a facebook page with a profile which explained that he is a Capricorn ex-carpenter from Nazareth and identifies his interests as beard trimming, extreme sports and his favourite film is Life of Brian.
As the congregation continued to dwindle faster than a cream cake in Roseanne Barr's house, it is assumed featuring Jesus's melon in a pint glass didn't work.
I expect that for most young drinkers, as the last of the beer left their system the following morning they were more concerned with their hangover and clearing away the sick on the bathroom floor before the landlord comes around than an implausible story about a man who nailed to a couple of planks of wood more than 2000 years ago.
As i said at the time, i don't know, or care, how you make religion sexy to the youngsters but this wasn't it because most of the youngsters i know would settle for just seeing straight ahead of them when they leave the pub.

Why America Should Vote For Sanders

According to Oddschecker, the US Presidential Election 2020 Winner is going to be either Republican Donald Trump again or Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris.
Personally i am easy either way, Trump has been brain shakingly awful but he hasn't started any wars unlike every other President in living memory and i don't know anything about the four Democrats but i am rooting for Bernie on the sole reason that he has promised to release any UFO evidence if he becomes President.
Hillary Clinton said much the same thing in 2016 but then inexplicably lost to someone who admitted not paying any tax, had committed sex crimes and was a renown racist which doesn't reflect well on her but most importantly, the UFO files were left unmolested, unlike the interns in her husbands office. 
If America wakes up to a President Sanders on November 4th 2020 then we may finally find out what actually happened at Roswell and if any of those redneck Americans who have claim to have been taken into interstellar spaceships and probed have actually been lying to us all this time.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Safe To Carry On Vaping

After five deaths in the US from a severe respiratory illness which has been linked to vaping, British vapers are obviously concerned that the habit is not as safe as they thought.
As well as the fatalities, over 450 possible cases of vapers being hospitalised are being investigated US officials have said but Health Experts have come out to assure British vapers that they are are safe and blame the outbreak of respiratory disease in the US on lax controls and illegal fluid.
Public Health England have said that reports suggested that most cases in the US had been linked to people using illicit vaping fluid, bought on the streets or homemade, some containing cannabis products, like THC, or synthetic cannabinoids, like spice and that: 'Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency'.
The health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said that to date no serious side-effects had been reported in the UK and Prof Linda Bauld, a public health expert at Edinburgh University said that due to regulations: 'It seems highly unlikely that widely available nicotine-containing vaping products are causing these cases' and that 'All the evidence to date suggests that illicit marijuana vaping products (THC oils) are the cause'.
The advice from the experts would be then that as long as you stick to the proper e-liquids and don't start mixing in extra foolish ingredients, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein

Technology has bought about many changes in my lifetime, once where i had a cassette Walkman which would play an album of the standard eight songs one side and the same on the other, i now have an MP3 player, a quarter of the size which can hold thousands of songs and no having to stop and turn the tape over or wind it tight with a pencil because the tape has stretched.
The MP3 player is used daily, i'm wearing it now as i type this (Buzzcocks as you asked), but the other technology change which has become part of my day to day life has been my Kindle Book reader which the bumf which comes with it explains, can hold 6,000 books.
I have always been a constant reader and i can't begin to count how many books i have read but 6,000 books would mean if i had started reading aged 5, i would have to have gone through 133 books a year or almost one every 2 and a half days and as i'm a big Stephen King fan and his books have become doorsteps, it's not do-able.
Whereas taking a book everywhere with me was a thing since my teenage years, for the past decade i have carried hundreds of books on a 7" thing which is as slim as the thinnest paperback and fits neatly in my bag.
Thanks to the website Project Gutenberg i have been able to download many of the classics for free by the likes of Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and HG Wells and the one that i have just finished: Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.
It has been a long time since i had read the story of the scientist who makes a man out of body parts and brings him to life only for the monster to then destroy his life when he refuses to make him a companion and as much as it pains me to say it, i had forgotten just how much of a slog it was to read.  
It was a initially a short story that her companions urged her to write up into a novel and as great as the story is, the book's 280 pages is easily 100 pages too long with the monster not even coming into the story until 40% through it according to my Kindle.
Without reading the book and through films and adaptations, you may think you know the story but as usually happens with these things, the Director's vision is very different to the text and this is one of the very rare occasions where not sticking to the book it actually improves it.
Not that i didn't like the book, as i said it is an amazing story and quite rightly a classic, but i was slightly disappointed in it not being as great as i remember, but that could be more down to me.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Hail The Humble Cockroach

I once read that the only creature that would survive a nuclear war is the cockroach and the hardy little critters will be around long after we have gone because they are on the shockingly short list of creatures who could survive Global Warming compiled by the IUCN Species Survival Commission who are responsible for documenting the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
Humans are sadly not on the list so an insane suicide by our hand and taking most of the life on Earth with us as creatures that reproduce slowly, like us and pandas, will be among the first to go.
Next through the exit door will be the cold blooded animals such as reptiles and amphibians less able to adjust their body temperatures and then the depleted food sources will hit animals with a restricted diet such as Koala's and tropical birds.
Acidification of the seas will see almost most of the present sea life die out and desertification of the land will account for most of the plant eaters and creatures whose survival is coupled with plants and flowers such as Bee's who will be next which pretty much just leaves insects and especially the unkillable Cockroaches.
As they have been around for 320 million years, it is safe to say that the pest has seen more than a few Global catastrophes and survived them all so they will still be scurrying around when we our bleached bones are dust although, of course, there is always the chance that us humans could get our acts together and stop being so bloody stupid with the climate but to be fair, that’s probably not going to happen.

British Empire's Long Shadow

It is no coincidence that recently, the flash points on the Evening News have been Kashmir, Palestine and Hong Kong as all three have the hands of the British Empire all over them.
Unbelievably there are still some who defend the British Empire as a good thing which shows a woeful lack of knowledge of just what our ancestors got up to because it could justifiably hold the title of the most evil empire in History.
Britain built it's empire on murder, vast ethnic cleansing, slavery, land theft and merciless exploitation which cost countless millions their life.
Britain exported Opium to China and when Beijing tried to ban it on the basis that it was ravaging its people with addiction, London launched the first of two Opium Wars to force China to continue buying the highly addictive drug as well as taking Hong Kong as part of a surrender deal.
In India, rebels against British rule were tied to the ends of cannons and blasted to smithereens, protesters were shot or thrown into concentration camps and over 3 million died due to the brutal actions of Winston Churchill's plan of enforced starvation. On granting independence from Britain, the British carved up the nation into Hindu India, Muslim Pakistan and left Kashmir as a buffer zone between the two which has been fought over by the two sides ever since. 
Palestine is the result of the Balfour Declaration in which the British government handed half of the nation to the Jewish people for their state of Israel, calling it 'A land without a people for a people without a land' when in fact it was a land of almost 750,000 Palestinian people and Israel has been stealing the land ever since leading to a conflict that has raged for 75 years.
These are just a few of the atrocities and crimes performed in the name of the Empire and in the 1950's Britain launched Operation Legacy which was a program to destroy sensitive files which would 'show racial or religious bias' and detailed torture methods and methods to put down any protests.
The British government wanted them erased from the planet and orders demanded that 'they be reduced to ash and the ashes broken up' or 'hurled into the sea so long as they were packed in weighted crates and dumped in very deep and current-free water at maximum practicable distance from the coast'.
We can't ever know exactly what was in these documents but to go to such extreme lengths for them to be kept out of sight, they must have been atrocious but we do know the very long and monstrous shadow that the British Empire still casts today as we can see on any news programme lately.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Men V Women

Men may not be from Mars and Women aren't from Venus but there are many differences between men and women and not all of them are obvious.
Science has shown that the man's brain is very differently wired from us women's with the male brain’s connections run between the front and the back of the same side of the brain, whereas in women, the connections run from side to side between the left and right hemispheres although that doesn't necessarily mean much except well done to the scientist who managed to find the man's brain to see which way it was wired.
The male brain is larger and contains more gray matter whereas the female brain contains more information carrying white matter and with women having a larger frontal lobe, the part responsible for problem solving, that means that women process thoughts more rapidly and have better control of their emotions.
Men have a larger parietal cortex and amygdala meaning they are better at reading maps, spatially related tasks, and mathematics but with 50% more olfactory cells in their brains, women have a better sense of smell.
Women tend to react to stressful events with emotions while men tend to react with logic and reasoning which could explain why females are three times more likely to attempt suicide.
Perpetrators of a crime are usually males and females have lower arrest rates than males for virtually all crimes except prostitution.
With a slower metabolism, women can withstand higher temperatures than men and male lung capacity is 30% larger and men are 50% stronger than females and with the average human male 5'10", while the average female is 5'4", men are taller.
Women are more likely to suffer from liver problems than males but men suffer more gall bladder issues and finally, women are better at remembering anniversary dates and birthdays.
All goes to prove what we women knew all along, men may have bigger brains but they still can't read instructions or accurately calculate the short distance between their midriff and a toilet bowl.

Boris Johnson Could Go Down In History

Hate to say i told you so but when Theresa May was wobbling and about to fall i warned people to be careful what they wished for as Boris Johnson was primed to take over and that is exactly what we got and boy has he made a pigs ear of things in the short time that he has had the keys to number 10.
He has not only lost the first three votes of his Premiership, the first time that has ever happened, and been refused a early election but he today lost his own brother who quit the Conservative Party over his brothers Brexit stance. 
With his Brexit plans in limbo and no way out after his parliamentary majority was destroyed by his own party's rebellion over his stance and with a law about to be passed forbidding him from taking Britain of out the EU without a deal, he has said that he would 'rather be dead in a ditch' than delay Brexit beyond the 31st of next month and hinted that he would rather quit than go to Europe to ask for an extension.
All very dramatic but as the pressure on him continues to build, him throwing his hands up and walking away is a strong possibility which and he he does that before 20 November then he will go into the history books as the shortest time as Prime Minister. 
The current holder is George Canning, another Conservative leader, who served for 119 days in 1827 before dying in service and as of today Boris has served just 44 days so if he quits, is removed or climbs into a ditch for one final time inside the next 75 days, he will enter the history books.    
A General Election is another distinct possibility but Boris's long history of lies, racism and awful decision making could prove to be a liability for his party who are fatally split and losing members almost daily.
It may be too soon for the left to start celebrating the sounding of the death knell for Conservatism, but seeing how Boris is lurching from one disaster to another, they may want to put the Champagne in the fridge ready.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Tightening The Belt Again

The great thing about Capitalism is if you missed the last recession then you don't have to wait very long for the next one and as we are still desperately trying to clamber out of the gigantic hole left behind by the last one, the next one is waiting in the wings according to a the Bank of England, Office for National Statistics and IHS Markit who measure these things.  
Growth in the services, manufacturing and construction sectors shrunk in the last quarter and if there is another downward turn in the next quarter, the UK would officially be in a recession and as a 0.2 drop is being forecast, time to worry.
A decade of austerity measures has failed to lift the UK back to where it was in 2010 which not only begs the question what have the Tories been doing with all those savings from closing libraries, National Insurance increases and cutting all those public sector employees?
Unfortunately, it is not just the UK who is looking towards a bleak downturn but the global economy is heading into recession with the finger being pointed at the US/China trade war, a sluggish German economy, Brexit, enormous debts in Argentina, Iran, South Africa, Turkey and Venezuela.
The Bank of England point to the main marker being the international money markets getting jittery and the bond market selling their short-term loans to get ready for an imminent recession so it seems that the belt that has been tight ever since the crash of 2008 won't be getting any looser soon and the system that facilitates it will still be protected by the same people who profit most from it.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Amendments To We The People

As we get told after every mass shooting in America, the right to bear arms is in the constitution and nobody has yet come up with a way to change the constitution, let's call it an amendment for arguments sake.
Luckily America has these already and have a history of amending existing laws enshrined in the constitution to improve the lives of its citizens with the most famous being the 2nd Amendment which allows for the owning of weapons but there have been a number including the one before that mad law which sees tens of thousands of Americans shot to death each year.
Amendment 1 made the freedom of speech a thing and the 3rd stopped soldiers from being posted in your home without your consent while the 4th Amendment meant that Americans could no longer be searched at any time for any reason without a warrant.
The 5th Amendment protects individuals from being forced to incriminate themselves in a criminal prosecution and without the 6th Americans would not be entitled to a fair trial-by-jury.
Without the 8th Amendment punishments for crimes would still be excessive, cruel and unusual and slavery would still be legal if the constitution had not been amended by the 13th which abolished it.
The 15th Amendment gave black and Hispanic people the vote, the 19th meant women could join them in the polling booth and after the 26th Amendment, US citizens over the age of 18 could also vote.
Far from not being able to do anything to end the awful and lethal gun laws in America, the mechanism is there to change it and they are called Amendments for a reason but it seems to leave things as they are and just look solemn and mumble something about 'thoughts and prayers' is the preferred way to deal with the additional 40,000 bodies with big holes in them clogging up the cemeteries each year.

Nobody Can Say Brexit Has Been Boring

There has been so many crucial days in the last three years of Brexit that it could become tiresome but tomorrow really is a crucial day as the MP's return to Parliament and set about stopping Boris Johnson and his demented Brexit policy of leaving without a deal with the EU on October 31st.
After saying that any rebels Conservative MP's who refuse to toe his line would be deselected and kicked out of the Conservative Party, he today said that he would ignore any rulings made by the Commons that stopped the UK leaving on that date and made an announcement that he doesn't want an election although he seems to be doing everything he can to bring on about.
With the date 14th October for a snap election being whispered by MP's i do wonder what is in it for Jeremy Corbyn who has been calling for an election for the past year but it’s more than likely he would lose and if he were to win he’d inherit an unholy mess left behind by the Tories.
This hard right wing Government that has occupied number 10 needs to be stamped on tomorrow and stamped on hard and with a majority of one it shouldn't be too hard with as many as between 20 and 40 Conservative MP's said to be willing to put their political careers on the line to face down Boris Johnson but then there are pro Brexit supporters in the Labour ranks who will not vote with the anti-Brexit lobby so things could be finely balanced.
Of course the bill could fall flat and Johnson will then have a free hand to wreak as much havoc as he wants but by tomorrow evening we will know just how the farce that is Brexit and the most right wing Government in memory will play out.
Nothing is not exciting times in British politics.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The Future Of Religion

Religion has always been a movable feast with one which was absolutely the truth being replaced by another which is the new absolute truth and that in turn replaced proving that religions are born, grow and die before turning into myth such as happened to the Roman, Greek and Norse Gods of old.
Believers of today many faith may believe that they have arrived at the ultimate truth but history shows that no matter how deeply held their beliefs may be today, they are likely to be transferred onto another in future generations or even religion could die out altogether as it becomes less and less relevant to our lives.
Undoubtedly it has been the greatest cause of wars and conflicts down the ages and used by oppressive Governments to control the masses regardless of what flavour of religion is dominant but it has also bought comfort to many, especially in times of bereavement and stress, but as it is an ever changing thing, we must wonder what it will morph into next as the way Christianity was absorbed, and then usurped, Roman religious beliefs.
As Voltaire put it, society invents the particular gods that they need and whereas previous religions had many Gods, the modern religions have one big God, one who is all powerful and is watching to make sure we behave ourselves.
Atheism and agnosticism is on the rise, especially with the upcoming generations, with science providing the answers where Religion once provided them and the moral convictions at odds with their own beliefs so the future of religion could be that religion has no future at all but interestingly, there is a sharp increase in 'spiritual phenomena' such as astrology and medium ship amongst the young.
Organised religions, Christianity for example, is a hotch potch of previous beliefs so Jesus borrows heavily from the Roman's Mithra and festivals such as Christmas and Easter are directly lifted from Pagan traditions so the future of religion could be a 'pick and mix' affair, streamlined to take just the best bits from the many without the strict moral doctrine such as gender, sexual orientation and contraceptive dogma. 
I don't think religion will ever die out entirely, there will always be people looking for easy answers, but i can see Voltaire's line that man will invent the God they need being at the forefront and the next religion to gain superiority will follow the lines of previous religions and take the bits they want from all the others although less restrictive, less controlling and certainly more inclusive and that will become the absolute truth and Jesus, Muhammad and all the rest of today's deities will end up with the likes of Jupiter, Odin and Zeus in mythology.

Jews and Muslims Coming Together Over Meat

There isn't much to bring the Jewish and Islamic faith together but they have found one thing that they can agree on, an inhumane way of slaughtering animals.
Kosher and Halal meat requires that the animal to be turned into food for their plates must be killed with a single slash to the throat and then left to bleed out until it dies which is contrary to the EU laws which requires livestock be electronically stunned prior to slaughter.
While stunning before shooting a bolt through its brain is barbaric enough, slitting the animals throat and leaving it to die in agony is ruthlessly heinous and cruel so the practise is rightly banned under animal welfare reasons.
Islamic and Jewish religious groups have been up in arms as the EU brings more of it's nations under its ruling and have labelled it Antisemitic and Islamophobic.
Hate to disappoint you but it has nothing to do with hating Jews or Muslims and everything to do with the massively vile and nefarious way that you treat animals destined for your dinner plates.
If you don't like it, there are plenty of other things you can eat which doesn't involve killing living things.