The year got off to a terrible start for UKIP, the country’s official party for racists and bigots, when their leader’s (inappropriately young) girlfriend got him the sack with some slightly KKKesque comments about the quality and colour that Meghan Markle would be bringing to the Royal Family. Then they elected a new leader who has himself gone full-on white supremicist batshit crazy. Could things get worse?
I recently popped back home. Define home? We can have several places we think of as home, can’t we? But I think that the place you grew up will always register as ‘home proper’. For me, that’s a small town in the far north western suburbs of London. It’s right on the border, with a small part of the town actually seeping into Hertfordshire. The rest of the town, that part sitting within the borders of Greater London, still has a county address though. Middlesex, which was abolished in 1965, lives on today only in Continue reading
A couple of years ago, when we were burgled, the police ran down the culprit. They found his fingerprints on an inside window pane. They obtained CCTV footage of him buying bottles of booze from a convenience store with my debit card. They found him with stolen goods in his possession. He was, to put it mildly, a notorious habituable offender. And he was caught red-handed. Bang to rights. An open and closed case. Beyond any reasonable doubt.
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.