I enjoyed my first protest. It’s one more thing crossed off life’s bucket list. It was a worthy cause. It was a great opportunity for a photo walk. It was a successful protest, to my mind. Different folks might have different opinions on what counts as a success. You could possibly argue that a protest commonly called Stop Trump failed when Trump arrived. However, in the key areas that I would consider critical when judging whether the protest was a successful or a failure, the protest hit the mark. Continue reading
The concept of free speech is something of an oxymoron if taken too literally. The only guarantee when anything is taken to an absolute is that freedom will not be the result. The boundaries of what is, should be and can’t be free are contentious, and not my point today. My point today is explaining what the most vocal proponents of free speech in the UK and elsewhere are really after. Their goals are in fact hidden behind the cloak of free speech.
Everytime that I am unfortunate to have to see Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ugly mug, I am left with the feeling that I’ve seen the Right Hononourable Member for the 19th Century somewhere before. Somewhere different. And this week, it came to me. I saw it first in Mexico City, the crushed head of the Angel of Independence. The original head, that fell to earth in a quake in the 50s. The resemblance is uncanny. That they are both icons of independence is almost a little eerie. Now, if someone could just give Rees-Mogg a gentle shove and knock him off his pedestal, we’d have a full set of similarities.
We are being blessed with Mexican weather in the UK at the moment. Let me define Mexican weather for you. Or at least, my definition of Mexican weather. It’s nowt to do with where the mercury settles in a thermometer. It’s nowt to do with the hours of sunshine we receive. Mexican weather is the scourge of the meteorological office and weather presenters across the nation. Because we have all stopped checking the apps and listening to forecasts. Mexican weather is predictable. You know just what we’re going to get, and it’s going to be the same as yesterday, the day before yesterday, the day before that etc.
I recant. I take it all back. I bow my head in shame. Well, sort of. I did at least provide a few caveats in my pessimistic prediction of how England might fare in the World Cup. It has transpired that all things are indeed possible. We have definitely had more than our fare share of luck. And we are still dreaming. Maybe, just maybe, football is coming home after all. Maybe. Or has my new found optimism cursed us? We football fans can be a supersticious lot…
Today, even as I type this, a group of toffs are holed up at Chequers trying to decide which of the latest combination of fudged trade and customs plan they would like the EU to reject. Some might suggest that Theresa May’s Brexit plans are beginning to look like the Rocky saga – implausible, badly scripted, going on far too long. Others might suggest it’s more of a Rocky Horror Picture Show – fantasy from the 1970s. I’m hoping today might yet turn out to be more Agatha Christie. You just can’t have that many aristocrats in a country house at one time without someone being murdered. It’s just a matter of who will take the knife in the back. Ooooh, so many good candidates to choose from…
Today marks the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. It’s a birthday worth celebrating, and it conveniently falls on Throwback Thursday. The NHS isn’t perfect, but what is? It’s something one easily takes for granted. Up until the point when it is needed, when it suddenly becomes a life saver that it worth every penny. Where it is found to be lacking, one will normally find a Tory ‘reform’ or cut-back at play.
I arrived in Mexico in mid 2005, just as Lopez Obrador’s tenure as Head of the DF government was coming to an end. But I’d spent a couple of weeks in the city a few years earlier, when his administration was just getting to grips with the job at hand. From my point of limited reference, there was a visible improvement in security and infrastructure. But as a presidential candidate in 2006 and 2012, he seemed to inspire fear and hope in equal measure. He inspired neither with me. Only my curiosity.
Shift work is not everyone’s cup of tea. I, however, quite like variety. Which is fortunate, given the nature of my role. If I were to brainstorm words associated with my job, variety would be the first I’d come out with. There are early shifts, late shifts, a few middle shifts and weekends too. But the variety doesn’t stop there. I’m a relief clerk, so I have no fixed place of work. When other clerks along the stretch of line are on holiday, sick or otherwise indisposed, I step in to fill their shoes. This week, I’ve been to several stations along a stretch in the New Forest.
What exactly is the Proper Brexit of which Nigel Farage speaks? Pre-referendum, Nige declared that even the worst case scenario would leave Britain better off economically. He now believes that the Brexit we are heading for will leave us worse off that we currently are within the EU. The truth of the matter is this: Farage’s entire premise was entirely dependent on the EU ‘banging on Britain’s door to do a free trade deal’. And this would happen because ‘the German car industry would force the politicians to do so’. There was no real Plan B (as detailed in one of my most prescient posts of the last decade) should it transpire that the German car industry would not be leading the Brexit negotiations.
We have just gone past the half way point of the World Cup. Two weeks left of the greatest show on earth. A fortnight more of socially acceptable xenophobia – please do, by all means, mention the war. Thus far, it is familiar fare that leaves one with a certain sense of de ja vu. The Hun have been sent packing short of Moscow. The Mexicans, in keeping with history, have been beaten but survive to fight another day. The English threaten to surprise, but their limitations are all too apparent. Disappointment, once again, beckons. But at least it won’t be at the hands of Jerry.
Carrying on a little bit from yesterday, and the fifteen year milestone this blog reached. When I first started blogging, I did so on an entirely self-built site I created using Adobe Dreamweaver pointing to the first domain name I ever purchased – garydenness.com. Everthing was .com back then, so it didn’t occur to me to do anything different. Dreamweaver is still going, although how strong a product is I don’t know – I have long wondered why they didn’t evolve it into a more WordPressy type product.
Fifteen years ago today, I published my first post on my blog. How time flies. Oh, if I could only go back to being that 30 year old, just about to head off on a backpacking trip to Mexico, and do it all over again. But time is a funny thing, a one off deal. We are stuck in the moment, moving forever forward and never backward. Perhaps this is just as well. Had time moved backwards from my birth, the year would be 1927. I’d have lived through World War 2, the Great Depression and I’d currently be looking forward to (or backward to) the General Strike. I guess I would have lived to see the Moon Landing, but I’d have been too young to appreciate it. So it’s probably just as well that time does indeed move forward – I got the better part of the 20th century.
Most companies of any size offer a few benefits and perks to their employees. The railway offers more than most. Who wouldn’t want a final salary based pension? They’re hard to come by these days. Some (most? all? I don’t know…) Train Operating Companies also provide a scheme, which I participate in, to buy shares in the business. I buy three shares, two more are thrown in for free. There are conditions, of course, and it really only works if you treat it as a long term deal. But my favourite perk, which works in the here and now, are the travel benefits. I’ve probably touched on this before. But I’m not sure I’ve ever explained the full deal.
I have been to watch a day of sports at the Olympics. I’ve seen Liverpool FC play at Wembley. I’ve cheered on Mexico at the Estadio Azteca. But there are still a few more sporting events that I want to see in the flesh. I must see Liverpool play at Anfield. Hopefully next season. I have long wanted to watch a session of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield – I have a ticket for the next tournament in April 2019. And my life won’t be complete unless I watch a World Cup game. And today, that may have just become possible. Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup, along with the US and Canada.