Every once in a while, a town that is local to me will hit the national news. One of the most exciting events was back in the late 90s when a bunch of animal activists burst into a fur farm in Ringwood, releasing thousands of mink. Yay for the freed mink! Not such great news for the native wildlife that then came into contact with the mink. In 2011, Mrs P and I returned from the land of the narco, where grisly beheadings were the norm. Only for someone to behead a man across the road from our workplace. And just recently, a well off gentleman is an exclusive neighbourhood round the corner from mother was shot dead in a bungled Continue reading
I knew the story of Jennie Jerome, the American lady who came to these isles and produced the dominant figure of 20th century British politics, Winston Churchill. It transpires that we returned the favour – what goes around, comes around. Although I was, until recently, ignorant of the story. I shouldn’t have been. Twice we have spent the day at Minterne House and Gardens, in a small village in West Dorset. Not so far from our home in Bournemouth. It’s here that the story began, as a young Pamela Digby, the daughter of Baron Digby, grew up in the family home.
You may have seen the tragic news from a small town in southern England last week. A mentally disturbed man did not go into a primary school and 25 young school children were not bludgeoned to death with a cricket bat. Tragic. Absolutely tragic. Nonetheless, teachers around the country are being issued with a huge assortment of cricket bats, tennis racquets, snooker cues and hockey sticks. Just in case. It’s best to be prepared for every eventuality. Thoughts and prayers must go out to Prince Philip and what passes as the UK gun lobby Continue reading
Times change, so they do. Is war upon us? Who knows. Maybe yes, maybe no. But probably not. Yet. Not this week. Hopefully not before the iPhone 8 has been launched and mine shipped to me. Many months ago, I suggested one possible end to Trump’s reign could be a military coup d’etat. On the basis that Trump flips out and orders something particularly irrational and outrageous that only instant military intervention could prevent. It was at the ‘least likely’ end of the list. Maybe it should move up a place or two. Continue reading
For the last year or two, I have been known to make use of these virtual pages to protest political developments, deviants and disaster. There’s much to protest about at the moment. Although, perhaps, if you are a Trump loving Brexiteer, you might think I doth protest too much. But regardless, I do protest. I’m not, however, a protester. I have never actually attended a protest march, gathering, sit in, commune or other type of mass event that actually requires my physical presence. In part it’s because I’m lazy. It’s also often Continue reading
The election last week. Well, that was unexpected, huh? Against all odds, the Conservative landslide transpired to be a hung parliament. Recriminations in Tory and media circles will last long into the night. And beyond. But the truth is, we are all guided by polls. Which in the UK are notoriously off the mark. But still, the Continue reading
Back in 2006, Mexicans went to the polls in what was a contentious, controversial and ultimately very close presidential election. The result wasn’t what roughly half the population wanted. And that half of the population were angry. Very angry. The protests went on for what seemed like years – possibly because it was years. There was even a protest outside my home, which Obrador once visitied to do a little anger-stirring Continue reading
Last week, Donald Trump heroically prevented the squashing of one of the most endangered insects on the planet by the careless actions of the prime minister of Montenegro, who came within an inch of stepping on it. In fluent Croatian, Trump alerted his international colleague, “Budi oprezan, prijatelju. Gotovo stao na Continue reading
Last year, we had a somewhat controversial trial in the UK. You may have heard of it – the news services covered it fairly comprehensively. It was controversial for a number of reasons, not least that it even occurred. Instigated by a fairly small number of individuals, most of whom had a fairly questionable set of morals, on the basis of hearsay and dodgy data. Continue reading
As a committed Remainer, you might think I’d be pleased that there will be another General Election in June. An opportunity to stop the madness that is Brexit, perhaps. And yet, as optimistic a person as I try to be, I’m not terribly excited. Truth be told, it’s rather filled me with Continue reading
It strikes me that the Republican Party has something of a problem. For eight years, the most vocal part of the party has spent it’s time questioning Obama’s birthplace, the exact shade of black of his skin, his religion and whether or not he is a gay communist who funded his youthful drug habit through male prostitution. And attempting to block everything he does regardless of its merits. The rational part of the party appears to have spent it’s time trying to appease the former. And no one has questioned what direction the party should take. Exactly what does the GOP stand for? What are their core values and ethics? How do these translate into policies in today’s USA? Continue reading
The date has been set and the campaigning has begun. I have a few thoughts on the debate as to whether or not we should leave the EU. I have a few observations on the situation too.
- Jeremy Corbyn is right. This referendum wasn’t created to debate our membership of the EU, although the consequence of the outcome could obviously alter our relationship with the continent. This referendum is really about Cameron appeasing a wildly divided Conservative party, which has on several occasions in the last 30 years pretty much self imploded over the debate regarding our place in (or out of) Europe. He wanted to limit the defections to UKIP prior to the 2015 election. A better tact would have been to let those who wanted out of Europe to get out of the party and bring in fresh blood.
I view politics very much through a British looking glass. You wouldn’t expect anything else. This means I’m inevitably going to be viewed as a commie by our American cousins and a capitalist pig by our Russian ex-friends. Both are simplistic labels proferred by simplistic minds. My political line of thought is easily summed up. If it’s too big to fail, essential infrastructure, a matter of national security, a social service or where human decency overrides the need for profit, it should be government run. Otherwise, we the people should be left to get on with it. There’s the ‘left’ and the ‘libertarian’ in me in in two shortish sentences. Of course, those two sentences are wide open to interpretation. You can have a crack at this quiz, if you care to. It’s pretty low brow, but still…
With this in mind, you can probably imagine how I view US politics. Obama is not a socialist. Sanders is not a communist. Neither are even close. You guys really need to meet Jeremy Corbyn, our new-ish Labour leader. Some people would suggest Sanders is an American style Corbyn in many regards. I like Corbyn. He’s principled, decent and in the politics game to try to make a difference, rather than for his own furtherment. His analysis of real world politics and issues is spot on. Probably because he lives in the real world. Yet, I probably won’t vote for him. As things stand, I’ll vote Liberal. Because Corbyn is a weak leader whose specialty is protest not policy.
He’s a good guy in the wrong job. But he is not Britain’s Sanders. He is our Trump. You might not see how such a comparison works if you look at their respective policies and opinions. They couldn’t be more different. But policies don’t matter one jot if you don’t get a shot at the top job. What Trump and Corbyn do share is the ability to tear their own parties apart, to alienate the key floating voters and to gift their opponents the next election. This is the main reason behind my opposition to Corbyn.
My assumption, though, is that Trump will fall down in the primaries. He’ll get to the blue states, who’ll pick a moderate Republican and send Trump back to the tower. His tower, sadly. Not ours. We no longer behead crooks anyway. Trump is nuts. Despicable is not too strong a word. He most definitely doesn’t live in the real world. It’s worrying that anyone who does would offer him their support. Frankly, Ted Cruz is no better.
You couldn’t make a parody of Trump. He is a walking talking parody already. Where does one even begin to list his misdemeanors? He’s figuratively raped the bank accounts of Americans and other citizens and governments around the world for decades. But perhaps more of a concern is the literal rape of his ex-wife. Is this just being ignored in the US? Have I missed something? Seriously, what’s the deal? There’s been no conviction, as is oft the case with this particular crime. But dear old Ivana was pretty clear in a statement under oath. He raped her. Then he gagged her through the courts. One of the joys of ‘freedom’. Can I get a hallelujah?
Nowadays, she says that he didn’t literally or criminally rape her. What does that even mean? He had her permission to rape her? Isn’t that sort of activity more commonly known as consensual intercourse? Is this just a British / American linguistic anomaly? Help me out guys. But I guess, more importantly, help yourselves out. You are the ones with a vote to cast in this election, not I. Don’t swallow the audio-visual Rophenol soundbites he’s throwing your way. Don’t give this guy your consent. He will shaft you all if he gets the opportunity.
We’re at war. Again. Sort of. I’m not really sure why our latest campaign in Syria is being called a war. Obviously there is a war happening on the ground. We’re not participating in that. We’re just dropping bombs on distance targets from a safe distance. But anyhow. I have a few thoughts.
- Why are we bombing Syria? Well, there’s a very simple answer to this. Its what we do. It’s what we’ve done for hundreds of years. It’s what we’ll continue to do until someone gives us a sound thrashing and puts a stop to it. Even then, it’ll probably only be a temporary stop. It’s in the national psyche. It’s tradition, pride, vanity. If there is a bit of a kerfuffle going on someone in the world, we feel obliged to throw our hat in the ring. Especially if the French are involved. You think this is a ridiculous explanation? The world is, more often than not, ridiculous. Besides, I have evidence. A map of the world. Everything in red is a nation invaded or occupied by the UK at some stage. I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did Luxembourg get away with it??
- I voted Labour at the last election. I’ll be voting for someone else at the next election, unless Corbyn is replaced. I like him. His analysis of a problem is often spot on. He is principled. He is eloquent. He says what needs to be said. But his solutions, when he actually has one, are usually ideological, impractical and devoid of consideration for all other connected factors. The chap is an activist. He is not a leader. He demonstrated that last week. He is 100% against bombing in Syria. Yet, rather than force Labour MPs to vote against military action, he gave his colleagues a free vote. Why? Because his colleagues were going to ignore him anyway and he didn’t want to look weak. He’s not in control of the party and even if he were, his continued leadership is almost certain to see another Tory win in 2020. Who might replace him? Some would now say that Hilary Benn is a candidate. Picture yourself in the year 2020 at a UK/US convention. PM Hilary and Pres Hillary. Cartoonists are going to have a field day.
- The argument in the UK as to whether we should bomb Syria seems to be devoid of substance on both sides. The Right believe they can bomb ISIS into oblivion. The Left want a political solution. A political solution? Who are they kidding? A political solution with who? Russia? Assad? Turkey? The Kurds? That’s like sitting at at table with a bowl of dog shit and declaring that you are going to make a cake. Ain’t nobody gonna be swallowing that, I’m afraid. As far as I see it, there are two types of war. Total war, which is the one we most want to avoid. The other type involves running around trying to put out fires, but doing little to actually stop the firestarter. Which is also unpleasant, but probably better than sitting back and watching the fires spread and burn some more. But when all is said and done, there is no answer to this (or many other) of the world’s problems. Such is life.
- No one seems to be asking the most important question. It’s a simple one. Can our bombs kill radicalized terrorists more quickly than the bombs radicalize new terrorists? There’s got to be someone doing the maths…
- I’ve also noticed that those people I speak to who are most in favour of bombing Syria are also the least likely to approve of us taking in refugees. There has to be a formula out there to calculate the bombs to refugee ratio. Factor in tonnage of bombs dropped, the period of time over which they are dropped and the density of the receiving population per square mile. Plus a few other contributory factors. We can then present the maths to fans of the bomb and explain the concept of cause and effect in numerical form. Getting them to understand the concept of ‘responsibility’ is another matter altogether…
- Putin is nuts. He may sometimes make a valid point. But I suspect that’s by chance rather than design. The Turks are also nuts. They are doing more to prolong and aggravate the Syrian conflict than other nation. They have definitely occupied the moral low ground. I read somewhere recently that Turkey and Russia have waged war against each other more times throughout history than any other pair of countries. Although producing such a stat is a very dubious art. But anyway. They’re not buddies at the best of times. That should be everyone’s biggest concern, perhaps.
- I’ve long needed a post relevant for my warplane photos.
PS. We’re still bombing Iraq, dontcha know?
Let’s see if we can put this in a nutshell. In the late 90s, Greece, with a little help from their German friends, fudged their books to get the drachma operating within the rules and regulations of the ERM and threw their lot in to join the Euro. They continued fudging their books right up to a few years back. The Great Recession struck and someone asked for a little something from the reserves, only to be told…oops….ain’t none. A big stack of debts, yes. Cash reserves? Not so much. Not to worry. They kept on spending the welfare, dodging their taxes and dreaming the European dream.
And Greece and the EU fudged the books again, breaking all sorts of rules and regulations, splashing the cash to try and keep Greece’s head above water. Alas, the floatation aid stopped Greece from ever reaching dry land. And here we are today. The Greeks have debts they can never pay off. The Germans have credit notes they can’t forgive. Forgiveness is for wars. The truth is, the Greeks should never have been in the Eurozone. Trying to keep them in it was simply throwing good money after bad. It turned out that a half-baked single currency shared by a multitude of independent and competing economies wasn’t such a good idea. Who knew? I guess all the other countries who have ever tried to share a currency and seen it fail.
So here we are. Pick an option. It’s lose, lose all round. There can be no winners. The only question is, does Europe seek an idealogical solution based on faux European unity and give the Greek’s their financial haircut? Or do they seek a common sense solution and let Greece go? Time will tell. Either option is expensive. Either way, pro-Euro supporters like myself are watching, weeping, and losing faith. It’s become an uncontrollable monster. The Eurozone area needs to federalise. The European Union needs complete reform, or risk losing supporters like myself to the sceptic side.
Are there any possible winners at all? Well, possibly. If Greece becomes Europe’s turkey and is sent to the slaughter house, could Turkey become Europe’s next hot entry? Whether this would be a good thing for the Turks or a bad thing is debatable. But they have previously expressed a desire to join in the fun. The only thing stopping them? The Greeks, with their Cypriotic grudge*. Who might not be around to say ‘oxi’ for that much longer…
- Of course, the Greek part of Cyprus will remain to be convinced…