Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Smells Like Space To Me

As astronaut Tim Peake continues his tour around schools and colleges, he has answered a question that has never occurred to me but obviously did to the 8 year old that asked it, what does Space smell like?
The UK astronaut likened it to metallic burning type aroma like hot metal, welding fumes and barbecue but nailed it down as like 'burning sausages on a charcoal grill'.
There you go then, next time you get accused of burning the sausages at the summer barbecue, say you are recreating the smell of the Cosmos and call them Space Sausages.

Spending £1.5 Billion

Since 2008, the economic crash and resulting austerity measures has been a great cover for the Government to do what it wants and with an ideological right wing Conservative Government in power since 2010, they really have made hay while the austerity sun shined.
Every cut has been ushered in with the mantra that it is all about cutting the deficit and making sure that 'we live within our means' but that has all fallen apart as the Government shuffle £1.5 billion towards the DUP in order to guarantee their backing and the those crucial 10 seats in Parliament which gives them a wafer thin majority.
While the Labour Party plans before the election were ridiculed as unaffordable and would mean taxes having to go up to fund them, i wonder what Labour was proposing and the Conservatives dismissed which would have cost less than the £1.5 billion bribe to buy the DUP.

Nationalising the Royal Mail would have cost £0.8bn, but would mean tax rises to pay for it so said the Tories.
Nursery Access for all children came with a bill of £0.3 billion but was weaved away as unaffordable by Theresa May.
Those 10,000 extra police officers came with a price tag of £0.3 billion but the Conservatives said too expensive.
Restoring bursaries for nursing students would cost £0.6 billion but the coffers were bare so said the Treasury.
Increase State Pension for lowest earners, £0.3bn but waved away as not an option in thes times of austerity.

Any one of these policies, or a combination of some the smaller ones, could have been paid for rather than make a shabby deal with the DUP but i'm sure it won't stop the Conservatives repeating the same old line about reducing the deficit, living within our means or reducing the deficit, delete as applicable.
Seems there is always money available for wars and propping up a crumbling Government.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Who Is The Lunatic Nazi?

North Korea have followed up their assertion that Donald Trump is a lunatic by likening him to Adolf Hitler.
The comparison is of course absurd, people liked Adolf Hitler when he first came to power and nobody liked Donald Trump when he took over so that falls at the first hurdle but let's persevere with the North Korean Thread.
Both blames a specific group of immigrants for all their problems, Trumps has his Muslims and Mexicans to Hitlers Jews, they both replaced the top tier of Government to install friendly faces and appealed to the common lowest denominator in society.
Throw in that he used to keep a copy of Hitler's speeches by his bed and the North Korean link between one of history's most notorious monsters and Adolf Hitler is almost complete. 
No Brits wanted to see Adolf or Trump land here also but the last piece in the jigsaw is the genital deformation, Hitler only had one testicle and Trump has a tiny penis and there you have it, conclusive proof that Trump is the new Hitler and the North Korean leader has the lunatic American President's number.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Looking Again At Labours Privatisation Plans

If you think that the twists and turns of British politics has turned its last twist then you could be in for a surprise as Theresa May still has to get her ‘Queen’s Speech’ programme for government through the Commons and if she fails to do that then the leader of the next-largest party would get a chance to become Prime Minister, in this case Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party.
As we may yet have a Labour Party ruling over us it is worth looking at their manifesto just in case and the stand out pledge for me is to nationalise large swathes of what the Conservatives sold off.
For me, privatisation has been one of the great pups sold to the public because to be frank, it just doesn't work.
Nobody can argue that since they went private the rail, utility, mail or water industries have been more efficient, generated investment, lowered costs or saved jobs.
What actually happened is large scale redundancies, prices sky-rocketed and the previous British companies are largely in the hands of a small group of international investors who pay themselves billions in dividend payouts and as we found out recently, tax free.
The promised benefits of market competition have never materialised as the energy companies colluded to rise prices ensuring consumers are shafted whichever way they turn.
Under Labours plan, they would transfer ownership and responsibility for our utilities to publicly-owned bodies bringing utilities back into public hands and putting the massive profits directly into Government coffers and bringing down household bills.
Privatisation has been the exact opposite of what the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron promised us and the Conservatives are eyeing up the NHS, the jewel in the state run crown, and if anybody believes that having a company running our Health Service for a profit will improve standards or keep it free to use, then they should cast an eye across the Atlantic to
America and ask themselves why would would we want to replace the NHS with a system of Health care where the ability to pay for treatment is the first question asked.
The privatisation experiment has failed as it is blatantly obvious that it increase costs and lowers the quality of services because it is impossible for the private sector to deliver the same service for less and still make a profit and making a profit is the bottom line for businesses.

Why Bad News Sells

Why does the News only show negative things is a question i have been asked a few times and my usual response is to shrug and waffle something about bad news sells.
Until know i had no real basis but science has come to the rescue and The London School of Economics and Political Science has done the research and found that newspaper and magazine sales increase by approximately 30% when the cover is negative rather than positive.
Of course editors know this, the 'if it bleeds, it leads' mantra is commonplace but as the boffins at LSEPS explain, there is a reason why we are drawn to the negative. 
The conclusion they have reached is that it all comes down to what us humans decide to pay attention to and it is evolutionary advantageous to heed negative information as the potential costs of negative information far outweigh the potential benefits of positive information therefore the brain is predisposed towards focusing on negative information.
News content is predominantly negative because humans tend to be more attentive to negative information and as long as that continues the lead stories on newspaper front pages and the lead stories on broadcast media will always be a negative one to grab the readers or viewers attention.
Thanks science, you came good yet again.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Win-Win

Prince Harry says that nobody in the royal household wants to be the next king or queen, but will carry on out of public duty.
Lucy says feel free to bugger off then Harry and take the rest of your family with you. 
In an interview about the his life and the future of the monarchy, the Queens grandson of the Queen said there is no one in the Royal Family who would like to inherit the throne.
As well as public duty, the £36.1m per year the Government hands over to the Royals is a great sweetener but if the Royals want to step aside, i'm sure Britain would manage perfectly well without them, we could even take it in turns to live in one of the Palaces and drive around in a carriage waving at people every couple of days.
They don't want to do it, we don't much care about them doing it so send in a removal van, pack the lot of them off to somewhere out the way and we have an extra £36 million each year to put into our national piggy bank. Everyone's a winner!

Studying Uranus

NASA have announced a mission to study the atmosphere of Uranus and rather predictably the sniggering has begun and headlines about probing Uranus are abound.
As a serious and grown up blog, there won't be any of that here so let us put to one side the schoolkid humour and take a good, long look at Uranus and how important it is to study the gas that emanates from Uranus.
NASA have outlined four possible missions to see what is coming out from Uranus and the rings around Uranus including one which includes dropping a probe into the Planets atmosphere to measure gas and heavy elements.
Scientists wants to probe deeper into Uranus than ever before, previously only taking pictures of the giant as they passed by and revealing it to be both larger and more noxious than expected.
As anyone can see Uranus come into view on any given night, it is about time we reached out to it and fully experienced Uranus and expanded what we know about the unnatural size of Uranus,  the Earth, and all of its people, could fit inside Uranus 63 times over.
As Uranus is very gassy, scientists are not expecting to find life there, nothing could live in the toxic fumes that come from Uranus and it is not a place humans could go to, nobody wants to explore Uranus, so we won't be sending men to have look closer at it.
So let's have a long, hard look at, probe and take some close-up pictures of Uranus and explore one of the mysteries of our universe, and stick a large flag in Uranus.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Non-Islamic Terror

The right wing mouthpieces who usually spit their venom following a terror attack seemed to have gone quiet since the last terror attack was by one of their own.
They were very quick to rant and rave about Islamic terror, some spewing forth while bodies were still being removed, but Nigel Farage, Katie Hopkins and the orange racist in America usually so quick to log into his twitter account, have all decided to give this one a miss which is a shame as they are the ones who have done so much to drive the Islamophobia that resulted in a dozen of them being driven into outside a North London mosque.
It is reported that attacks on mosques or Muslim centres take place less than once every fortnight in the UK and there has been a five-fold rise in reporting of Islamophobic crimes following the Manchester attack and a two-fold rise after the London Bridge atrocity.
The obvious question to ask is are we Brits doing enough to root out extremism in our communities as we ask of the Muslim community after every terror attack and if we hear someone spouting extreme right wing views, should we be reporting them as potential terrorists or is that only done if they are brown skinned and wear a beard?

Phew, What A Scorcher

Climate change deniers will say that it's all fake news made up by China to gain industrial advantages but it has been, apparently, quite warm out in Britain this week.
Monday was Britain’s hottest day of the year, and temperatures reached the dizzy heights of 33C today and more of the same is expected for tomorrow by Wednesday with nighttime temperatures only dropping back to the average for the June daytime.
Brits are not known for their ability to cope in this kind of weather and i make no secret that i hate it but while some are telling us they are having a brilliant time, we know the real truth.
They are sweaty, grumpy through lack of sleep and those shoulders are a little too red to be comfortable but although they won't admit it, we all know they are struggling also.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Not A Good Time For Theresa May

It's hard to feel any sympathy for someone as cold hearted as Theresa May so let's not even try but enjoy the fact that she has had a torrid time of things recently. 
In the space of a few short months she has lost her Commons majority and is now battling for political survival and had to deal with two terrorist attacks and within days of a disappointing election result, the Prime Minister has been accused of a lack of humanity in her response to the Grenfell Tower inferno when she refused to meet residents.
To launch an election campaign while on course for a landslide win and end up with less seats then you began with is a poor show, then the two terror attacks which saw her record on reducing police numbers ruthlessly attacked.
This was quickly followed by her visit to the Grenfell Tower where she only met emergency services and not victims or those made homeless and even die hard Tory and May defender Michael Portillo turned on her citing a 'lack of humanity'.
She still has to tie up a deal with the DUP, start Brexit negotiations and get her much delayed Queen's Speech though Parliament.
As she has done so much to blight the lives of her citizens with her vicious austerity cuts, this is a good time to revel in Theresa May having the boot of Karma giving her backside a good kicking.

Blame For Grenfell Tower Fire

After the shock of the horrendous Grenfell Tower fire comes the anger and quite rightly, fingers are being primed to be pointed at someone but who exactly the buck stops with is still being debated.
The culprit appears to be the cladding on the outside of the building which was not fire resistant and actually eased the fire around the building.
The building firm who installed the cladding, the Kensington and Chelsea council who are in charge of the area and signed off on the job, the Government who cut local authority expenditure, the Fire Services who advised residents stay in their properties or the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) who managed the building.
The investigation will settle any claims of who to blame but someone somewhere messed up horrifically and should be held responsible for what's looking to be a devastating three figure death toll.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful

All in all things have been pretty grim recently and after watching the news for a few days you would be excused for thinking everything is going to hell in a handcart but you can either refuse to watch the news anymore and ignore all the war, death and stupid people doing stupid things or take a step back and spend a few moments pondering just the good things we have.
There isn't anything we can do about Donald Trump, Brexit, ISIS, Theresa May or Syria and the media only reports the bad things, the great things in life we have to search out for ourselves, things that make you smile or lift your heart even if only temporarily, things which in my list would be:

Picnics in the park, colourful flowers, baby animals, proper orange juice, football, swearing parrots, Guns N Roses music, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Christmas, slippers, the Moon, David Boreanz, Paris, Marx Brothers, Cheese, Devon, meteor showers, Hotel California song, Kevin Bacon, Stephen King novels, the ending of the 1812 Overture, thunder storms, smartphones, random acts of kindness, Latte, singing in the shower, Christmas Trees, Dr Who, Dave TV Channel, It's a Wonderful Life film, Birthdays, chocolate, summer rain, Arsenal, puppies and kittens, Sweden, fresh crisp bed sheets, snow, my husband, Pirates of the Caribbean films, Morgan Freeman voice overs, fluffy clouds, 1970s photographs, Monty Python, winning on a scratch card, A Christmas Carol, laughing babies, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Michael J Fox, 11/22/36 book, raspberry ripple ice cream, your song on the radio, holidays from work, cream soda and a real fire on cold winter evenings.

When you think about it there are many more things lift us up then bring us down but yes the World can be a harsh, cold and vile place and it does seem to be run by people who really couldn't give a monkeys about the rest of us but as someone almost sang once, when you're feeling sad, simply remember your favorite things and then you won't feel so bad.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Quoting The DUP

In case you been stuck in a cave since Thursday, the abridged version of the last four days is that Theresa May's gamble didn't pay off and she ended up with a hung parliament and has drafted the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) with their 10 seats into Government to make up the 326 seats needed to make a Government.
It is fair to say that the religious DUP have some controversial views including not believing in climate change, evolution, not supporting abortion, same-sex marriage or even gay adoption.
But don't let me tell you, let's get it straight from the horses mouth with some recent quotes from the party the Conservatives are cuddling up to: 

On Creationism: 'My view on the earth is that it's a young earth. My view is it was created in 4000 BC'. 2007
On Evolution: 'Certainly not, and there are plenty of other people in this society who don't believe it either'. 2007
On blood donations: 'Someone who has sex with somebody in Africa should be excluded from giving blood'. 2012
On their female leader, Arlene Foster: 'Her most important job is wife, mother and daughter'. 2016
On same-sex marriage: 'I think these sorts of relationships are immoral, offensive and obnoxious' 2005
On LGBT people: 'I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong'. 2005
On gays: 'It wasn’t my wife who determined that homosexuality was an abomination, it was the Almighty' 2008.
On gays (again): 'I cannot think of anything more sickening than a child being abused. It is comparable to the act of homosexuality'. 2008
On women: 'I stand by my faith and the word of God that man was created in the image of God and that woman was created from the rib of Adam to be his helpmate and companion'. 2008
On gay adoption: 'We are moving mountains to facilitate immorality and to bring the rights of lesbians above all others in this country'. 2008
On gay adoption: 'The facts show that certainly you don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship, that a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non-stable marriage'. 2015
On Abortion: 'I would not want abortion to be as freely available here in Northern Ireland as it is in England'. 2016
On Climate Change: 'I don’t care about Co2 emissions to be quite truthful. I still think climate change is a man made con'. 2005

Hmmm, I guess if you are being picky you could point a few things there which may make them unfit to rule over us as part of Government.

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

The plan was Donald Trump gets turfed out of office well before he is due to visit the UK and the invite stupidly handed down from Theresa May gets null and void and America gets a grown up in charge and the streets of the UK avoid being flooded by protesters against the orange face racist.
Now after the election and Theresa May desperately clinging onto power with the aid of the religious nutjobs of the DUP, the last thing she wants is a reminder of that hand holding session at the White House but it seems that Trump may pull out anyway in the wake of his tweet over recent terror attack and his withdrawal from tjhe Paris Climate Agreement.   
It is reported that the man who admitted he paid no income tax and admitted to sexually assaulting women called Prime Minister Theresa May to say he did not want to visit until he had support from the British public which is as good as saying he won't ever be popping over.
It is unknown what Theresa May replied but a Downing Street spokesman said: 'We aren't going to comment on speculation about the contents of private phone conversations' although there is a very good chance that she may be booted out of office before him as even her own party are manoeuvring to oust her after he awful election showing.
It could be that she is such a disaster that Trump doesn't want to be seen with her which would suit everyone all round as we don't want him here, he doesn't want to come here, she doesn't want to be seen with him and he doesn't want to be seen with her so let's call the whole thing off and we can keep our placards dry for the demonstrations against next round of Tory austerity cuts and Trump can go visit about the only country where he will he will be welcome, Russia.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Who Are The DUP?

With the Conservatives scrambling around looking to make deals to stay in power, the spotlight has fallen on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) but what do we know about this party set to rule over us and drawn from the protestant side of Northern Ireland’s political spectrum?
What we do know is that they are a deeply religious group far to the right of the Conservatives and the bright, hot light of attention is throwing up some undesirable quotes from the party which should give the Tories pause for thought for exactly who they are now cuddling up to.
The party is the creation of Reverend Ian Paisley who was heavily involved in a campaign against Catholicism and homosexuality and fiercely opposed gay rights, routinely preached against homosexuality and the party picketed gay rights events even after it was decriminalized in Northern Ireland in 1982.
Northern Ireland is the only remaining part of the UK where same-sex marriage is not legal after the DUP used a controversial veto mechanism to block any change to legislation. 
The party has been the largest in Northern Ireland since 2007 and one of the ten seats belongs to Paisley's son, Ian Jr, who shared his view that he was 'repulsed by gay and lesbianism.'
Another seat is Peter Robinson who said that he 'wouldn't trust Muslims' and backed a pastor who labelled Islam 'satanic' while the education minister said he believed that the earth is 4000 years old and wanted creationism tought with equal weighting as evolution in schools.
Other quotes include homosexuality being labelled as worse than the sexual abuse of children and they hold a policy against abortion and campaign strongly against any extension of abortion rights to the country in line with their deeply rooted religious beliefs.
Hard to believe that it could be that the Conservative may not be the nastiest party in the coalition except on Sundays when the DUP refuse to work, it being the Sabbath and all that.

June Not The End Of May

In wonderful understatement, Theresa May admits the election did not go to plan and boy, did it ever.
The thinking, i presume, was that she would call the election early while Labour was in disarray and her majority of 12 would grow to anything between 80-120 and she would spend the next five years doing as she pleased.
Turned out Labour got their act together and she was an inept as it was possible to be and she not only lost her majority but is now in such a weak position that she is only able to make the numbers work by doing a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party in a coalition, and the DUP will demand a high price for their seats, and even then she will have to run as a minority Government at the whim of any rebellious minister who disagrees with her when she tries to pass any new laws. 
All in all, the can't fail gamble blew up in her face but as much as Labour are celebrating, we still face the prospect of another five years of Conservative rule, although one which will be much easier to defeat in the Commons.
My theory that the reason she went for the election three years early was because she knows what is coming with the Brexit negotiations coming to a head in 2019 and the inevitable tanking of the economy and upheaval which would not play particularly well in the election in 2020.
Can't blame her for being opportunistic, she saw a chance and went for it, but that it failed so miserably means the next five years of her Government, if it doesn't implode before, is going to be a tough slog and even tougher when the Brexit deal is sorted.
The silver lining is the rise of Labour and the demise of UKIP, a stain that hopefully has been washed away, but the Government can't paint this as anything other that a massive exercise in Government self-harm and Theresa May is in a far, far weaker position for the next 5 years than she would have been for the next 3 years if she had settled for what she had.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Still Undecided? What About One Of These?

The British can't take anything seriously, even the matter of electing a Government so on the ballot paper alongside the serious parties are tucked away some lesser parties who will be battling for your X.
The Monster Raving Loony Party, motto 'vote for insanity, you know it makes sense' is standing in Maidenhead and has policies which include introducing a 99p coin and pledges to cut letters from the alphabet.
Next up is Lord Buckethead, who is tempting voters with a policy of free sweets for children and bulldozing Birmingham to make way for an intergalactic spaceport.
Mr Fish Finger main pledges include free fishing rods for students, free fish for NHS workers, unrestricted fish migration and with a nod towards Brexit, has pledged to remove all foreign fish from our fish fingers if he wins on June 8.
Aidan Powlesland says he will dedicate £100 million to the construction of an interstellar colony ship but the Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog main declaration is that they will join the UK to Africa.
The policy of the Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality, include increasing the statutory retirement age to beyond death, finding a cure for Zombie bites and granting the undead the same rights as the living while the Death, Dungeons and Taxes Party manifesto advocates reducing the school leaving age to nine and the annexation of France.
Under UK election law, any candidate running in a constituency election must pay a £500 deposit, which they receive back if they gather over 5% of the vote share so i think whoever gets the £500's from failed candidates will be quids in on Friday morning. 

Avoiding The Difficult Conversations Over Terrorism

It is widely reported that 6% of mosques in the UK are Saudi funded and preach the brutal ideology of Wahabbism which under pain of flogging, prohibits performing or listening to music, dancing, television programs (unless religious), smoking, gambling, chess, playing cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play, writing fiction, sending of flowers, the travelling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband's permission, forbids the driving of motor vehicles by
women, fraternisation with non-Muslims is discouraged.
Wahhabism was identified by the European Parliament as the main source of global terrorism and literature in the Saudi funded mosques have revealed alarming literature distributed by agencies linked to the Saudi Government which states that homosexuals should be burnt, stoned or thrown from mountains or tall buildings and those who changed their religion or committed adultery should
experience the same fate.
An investigation into the foreign funded mosques which support jihadi groups has now been shelved due to the contents being 'very sensitive'.
A decision around the future of the report will be taken 'after the election by the next government' a Home Office spokesman said.
Theresa May may have said enough is enough and there has been 'far too much tolerance of extremism' although that appears to be unless it proves politically sensitive to our largest arms buyer.
All her tough words crumble away if she puts economic benefit by burying a report that points to a main causes of terrorism in the UK above avoid upsetting extreme hardliners who are actively funding violent extremism in the UK.
She said she would be having some 'difficult conversations' after the third terror attack in as many months, but it seems the conversations won't be with the Saudis.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Younger Generation's Time To Shine

The claim that you never see a poor bookkeeper is mainly true because when they offer their odds, they study everything to come up with the final figures so they don't take a hiding and have to pay out too much.
The good or bad news, depending on your view, is that all the bookies are confident that the Conservatives will win the electoral day, despite almost all the latest betting coming in for Labour.
Theresa May is a steady odds on 1-4 to win but the odds on Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister have halved to 6-1 after the Labour manifesto was well received by the electorate, and lots of young voters registering with the express intention of backing him.
The reason why bookies haven’t cut Corbyn’s odds to reflect the number of bets they are getting on him is that they don’t think the younger generation will turn out to vote. 
So, as we come to the dog days of the 2017 UK Election, the future of the country could come down to the younger generation.
It’s down to you, for the past six weeks i have listened and heard how the students and under 25's have baulked at the right wing, ideological standing of the present Government, the vicious austerity cuts, the tax cuts for the rich and the growing inequality, the increased tution fees, the removal of EMA and Student Disability Allowances, the cold hearted stopping of benefits from the very people they were designed to help. The nauseous foreign policy and cutbacks in services that make us unsafer, the explosion of food banks and the heartbreaking sight of homeless on our streets all in the 5th largest economy in the World.
All the signs are that the polls have tightened so all now depends on turnout and this Thursday, it really is you who can shape the country that you will be living in and whether you want to live in one that sees nurses wages cut so they are forced into foodbanks and every shop front comes with a homeless person while anyone earning over £100k has a reduction in tax or one where we use our great wealth to improve things for everyone.
It really is down to you now to turn your words into actions and change the alarming direction that we are heading and ten minutes of your time on Thursday is all it will take to make your next 60 years much more comfortable.

Heart Or Head

When Theresa May announced the snap election six weeks ago she was 21 points ahead in the polls and my fear was that the whole thing would be a procession to another five years of vicious and ideological Conservative austerity cuts.
What nobody expected was for Jeremy Corbyn to play a blinder and May to have a stinker which sees the polls having the the Labour Party close to within touching distance of the sitting Prime Minister. 
All polls have seen the 21 point lead shrivel to anything to 0 and 9 but as my heart says Jeremy Corbyn, my brain says Theresa May will remain in situ and we will wake up on Friday morning with a slightly stronger Conservative Party lording over us. 
Google Trends, which has so often been right in its predictions, has no such concerns as it is predicting a big win for Labour.
This election has so many variables to make it almost impossible to call, including Brexit, the three terror attacks, the collapse of UKIP, tactical voting and the attacks on the pensions of the typical grey Tory vote and the turn out of the younger vote which seemed to disappear for the Brexit vote.
Another factor is the weather with the weather forecast for it to be rainy and windy on Thursday which is yet another consideration.  
As much as i hope i am wrong, i do feel Google has this one upside down and Labour is starting from too far back to overhaul the Conservatives but then i said Brexit and Trump would never happen so what do i know.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Playing Politics With Terrorism

Yet another minute silence for the victims of a terror attack is planned, this time the seven dead from last nights attack in London which saw three men ram pedestrians on London Bridge before launching stabbing rampage through bars and restaurants until short dead by armed police.
Theresa May’s 'enough is enough' speech this morning struck a more resolute tone than the one after the Manchester atrocity but what she said was as vauge as it was potentially frightening.
Indeed, the terror attacks do need to be stopped but the double of a knee-jerk reaction coupled with the final days of a general election campaign is not the atmosphere to be making such huge decisions on national security.
The blame was put squarely on 'far too much tolerance of Islamic extremism' and the Internet which would require 'difficult conversations' as she put it.
The worry part of her speech are the lines the Prime Minister said where she would 'increase prison terms for terrorism offences, even relatively minor ones' and 'action was needed in the UK as well as overseas'.
A form of Internet regulation seems to be the direction of travel which is a concern but it is the prison terms for terrorism that should get us worried. Terrorism, without a clear distinction of the term, covers a wide area and we all remember the elderly man heckling the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over the Iraq War being held under the Terrorism Act not that long ago.
That Theresa May seemed fit to include the rider, 'even minor offences', in her speech should get is pondering just what she classes as terrorism.
Would demonstrators fall under the distinction, or anyone protesting against another ill-fated and badly thought out war which beings me to the last point of exactly what she means by action in the UK and overseas.
That the Islamic Extremism can be traced back directly to the Bush and Blair era and their atrocious actions after 9/11 seems to be overlooked, the idea that British foreign policy is reverberating on British soil is not even considered so if by action overseas she means to get us even more entrenched in Syria or another country in the Middle East then someone should be making the point loud
and long to her that it is exactly that which has got us to where we are today. 
This is not the right time to be making rash decisions which could be seen as playing politics and an opportunity to prop up a Government which has seen it's support collapse over the last few weeks.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Celebrity Endorsements UK Election 2017

If you wanted advice on whether the 4-3-3 formation is better than 3-5-2 then Joey Barton is probably the man to ask but he wouldn't be the first choice to turn to if you needed assurance on what the tax rate should be for higher earners or if large-scale nationalisation of the rail system would benefit the economy but nevertheless he feels it is his duty to wade into the election campaign and tell us that Labour is the way to vote.
It is not just the batting midfielder wagging a finger at us, there is a host of celebrity endorsements for all sides joining the debate who are assuming that voters give a toss what they think about fiscal policy.
As the Conservative Party star has waned, so has their famous supporters with only a handful coming out this time around to demand that we follow their lead in the shape of Jim Davidson, Katie Hopkins and Alan Sugar.
The Labour Party though has a growing list of celebrities sprinkling stardust over events with names breaking cover to support the Socialist including Lily Allen, Danny Baker, Joey Barton, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Alan Davies, Brian May, Ade Edmondson, Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Elton, Charlotte Church, Eddie Izzard, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Vanessa Redgrave.
The Liberal Democrats have not been been blessed with well known names this time around with only John Cleese and Richard Dawkins cheering for them while the poor old Greens only have fashion designer Vivienne Westwood in their corner.
If you are still undecided on who to cast your vote to, we still have a week to go which is plenty of time to discover which way this years winner of Britain's Got Talent is going to vote before we make up our minds.

UK Press Nailing Their Colours To The Mast

All things considered, Theresa May has had a stinker of an election campaign, her personal ratings have fallen through the floor and her party have blown an unassailable lead in the polls in what they assumed would be a gentle jog through to another five years in the seat of power.
What they were not expecting was for Jeremy Corbyn to have become strong in his television appearances or for Theresa May to be quite so bad.
What hasn't changed is the endorsement of the Press and all newspapers with the exception of the Independent and the i, have pinned their colours to the mast so which rag is cheering for Corbyn are mad for May and lauding the Lib Dems.
Firmly in the red corner and imploring their readers to check the box for Corbyn are The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror, Morning Star, Socialist Worker, The New Worker and Weekly Worker.
On the blue side of the fence urging their readers to vote for the Conservatives to carry on carrying on we find The Financial Times, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express and The Spectator.
Tim Farron's Liberal Democrat Party have the solitary backing of The Economist showing just how far their star have fallen.
So there you have it, the newspapers have spoken and no surprises as each of them have fallen along their own ideological lines and each will accentuate the positives and play down the negatives in an attempt to sway opinion to get their chosen candidate elected which means for the next week, with the exception of the i and independent, the press will not be a reliable source for forming a well rounded decision on the best person to run the country through to 2022.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Trump Mulling Over Trashing The Earth

Donald Trump is expected to abandon the Paris accord, in line with his comments during the presidential campaign that  global warming is a conspiracy by the Chinese.
It is quite mind numbing that despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the world’s climate is changing, there are people who still refuse to accept it and even more bewildering that one of them happens to be the president of the United States, the second-leading emitter of greenhouse gases, after China.
Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell who would suffer most under an agreement to reduce carbon emissions say the United States should abide by the deal, pointing out that a withdrawal would leave the US in the company of Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the Paris accord.
With his reputation already tarnished around the World, and by associations America's, if Trump does announce a withdrawal then it would deepen a steadily growing rift with US allies in Europe and elsewhere.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker stressed a withdrawal would take years, saying: 'The Americans can't just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr Trump believes that because he doesn't know the details'.
With the Russia probe growing ever closer to his door, Donald Trump is not expected to be President for the full term but he could do so much damage before he is dragged out the White House.
He gave his daughter the credit for urging him to bomb Syria, and as she is a supposed environmentalist, let's see if she has as much sway with her father on the most important issue that we face.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Corbyn's Foreign Policy And UK Terror Attacks Question

The question the Labour Party is posing is did our recent foreign policy, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, lead to the terrorist attacks we have seen across Europe?
The Government, who voted for all the above wars, doesn't agree but then they have an election to win and in an attempt to deflect any sniff of controversy they could be in anyway complicit, have set out to vilify Jeremy Corbyn for even suggesting that our actions abroad have had such awful consequences at home such as we saw in Manchester.
Leading the charge is Foreign Secretary Boris
Johnson who said that it was monstrous that anybody should subtract from the fundamental responsibility of those individuals who committed this atrocity'.
Mr Johnson is now being reminded that he wrote in the Spectator one week after the London bombings in 2007 that the Iraq war sharpened the resentments felt by such people in this country and the Iraq war helped to potentiate that poison.
In 2015, as home secretary, Theresa May, was openly criticised at the Police Federation conference by a former Manchester police officer, Inspector Damian O’Reilly, who said that police cuts was risking national security, an accusation May dismissed as 'scaremongering'.
If the Government are desperately twisting to avoid any link between what they voted for and what has happened since, we have the  unclassified reports to look back on to see what was being said at the time by people who analyse these things.
The intelligence and security committee, in its 2003 report, International terrorism: War With Iraq, assessed that: 'The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq. The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly, reflecting intensified anti-US/anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world, including among Muslim communities in the West.
The Defence Academy for the Ministry of Defence concluded that: 'The war in Iraq has acted as a recruiting sergeant for extremists across the Muslim world. Iraq has served to radicalise an already disillusioned youth and al-Qaeda has given them the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act.
Ex-MI5 boss, Eliza Manningham-Buller told the Iraq Enquiry that MI5 had asked for a doubling of the MI5 budget in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion to counter the increase in UK terrorism: 'It increased the terrorist threat by convincing more people that Osama Bin Laden's claim that Islam was under attack was correct. Our involvement in Iraq spurred some young British Muslims to turn to terror.
Another former MI5 chief, Stella Rimmington said: 'If what we're looking at is groups of disaffected young men born in this country who turn to terrorism, then I think to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading'.
Australia's Office of National Assessments said: 'A key judgement is that Iraq has been clearly used as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups around the globe with the number of jihadis steadily increasing'.
Reporting on the 7/7 terror attacks in London, foreign-affairs think tank, Chatham House, reported: 'There is no doubt that the situation over Iraq gave a boost to the al-Qaeda network's propaganda, recruitment and fundraising'.
Peter Bergen, a US national security analyst, said: 'Our study shows that the Iraq conflict has greatly increased the spread of the al-Qaeda ideological virus, as shown by a rising number of terrorist attacks in the past three years from London to Kabul, and from Madrid to the Red Sea
Tony Blair, the junior member in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, admitted in 2015 of the terror attacks sweeping Europe that: 'Of course, you can’t say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015'.
It would appear that most of Britain's security, defence and diplomatic community readily accept that an increased terror threat inside the UK followed our military intervention in Muslim countries, a fact borne out by the terrorist themselves.
Isis propaganda channels frequently publish graphic images claiming to show dead and injured civilians, particularly children, after alleged air strikes by the US-led coalition and call on followers around the world to avenge their deaths with terror attacks.
One of the 7/7 killers taped himself stating that they were killing their fellow citizens because Western governments 'continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world'.
Two months ago, a British-born Muslim convert murdered four people with a car on Westminster Bridge, then got out and stabbed a policeman to death. Just minutes before his killing spree he declared via WhatsApp that he was acting in revenge against Western wars in the Mideast with Isis claiming responsibility for the attack in a statement claiming it aimed to terrorise: 'infidels in
response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims'.
So to answer the original question: Has our foreign policy heightened the threat of UK terrorism?
If you listen to the Government desperate to avoid an iota of blame in an election battle, then no but if you listen to the intelligence community of the major nations of the World, it's a resounding yes.
Jeremy Corbyn's question is therefore perfectly legitimate to be asked.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Conservatives Faltering

Google Trends has a pretty decent record at predicting who is going to win elections and the latest results are showing Theresa May could well be looking up the phone numbers of removal firms on June 9th.
The Conservatives have had a bad week with the announcement of the Dementia Tax, the removal of the triple lock on State Pensions, cutting the winter fuel allowance and a general rise in income tax, all which mostly hit their core voters, the elderly.
With a poll showing that their once commanding 19 point leave is down to 9 points, and Theresa May being roundly blamed for her Governments cuts to policing which allowed the Manchester Attacks to happen, what once looked like a march to an election win is now looking quite shaky.
Jeremy Corbyn for his part is playing a blinder, his arguments are starting to cut through and his handling of the questions posed by the excellent Andrew Neil midweek, the same interviewer that Theresa May stumbled over so badly, have raised expectations that Labour could cause a shock.
Still a long way to go and the media have redoubled their efforts to portray Corbyn as a Marxist so it could all change but things are certainly looking tighter than most of us, Theresa May especially, expected.

UKIP Fighting Rickets

All this time we thought UKIP was a nasty little party of racists but their manifesto has made it clear why they want to ban the burqa and it turns out it's all because of potential vitamin deficiency.
The party, which has long advocated a burqa ban, said that: 'Clothing that hides identity, puts up barriers to communication, limits employment opportunities, hides evidence of domestic abuse and prevents intake of essential Vitamin D from sunlight'.
The statement unsurprisingly prompted the question that don't all clothes prevent vitamin D intake?
Not one to be bogged down in logic, the UKIP leader, Paul Nuttal, said that the burqa ban is: 'more important than it has ever been', assumingly referring to the few days of sunshine we receive in this rainy country but disappointingly ignoring altogether if they were moving towards a  pro-nudist stance where all vitamin D blocking material, or clothes as they are also known, are banned.
So if you want a party that is fighting rickets and the causes of rickets, you know where to put your cross next month.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Trump's European Vacation

Donald Trump finally managed to drag his enlarged body and ego across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe where us snotty Europeans waited for him to do or say something stupid.
While it is fair to say he was in a situation where our expectations were not that high, he was relatively restrained but there was some highlights where we could point and laugh at the idiot abroad.
Before he set foot in Europe, he was in Israel where a press statement announced that Mr Trump's would be looking to: 'promote the possibility of a lasting peach', which could have been a typo, could be Trump really, really likes fruit.
If he was actually after lasting peace rather than peach, he didn't try that hard as he signed a contract to flog $110bn worth of arms to one of the worst regimes on the planets, Saudi Arabia.
Then it was on to the NATO summit where he said that anyone not spending 2% of their GDP on defence owed money to those who did which prompted a word in his orange ear that it isn't how things work.
Then there was the physical push on the prime minister of Montenegro as he jostled to get in the front row of the NATO leaders photo. The Montenegrin President, Mr Markovic, said the push was 'natural for Mr Trump' which was diplomatic speak for Trump is a jerk who acted like a jerk so what did you expect.
France's new President Emmanuel Macron did us all proud by appearing to walk up to Trump at the photo shoot, veering off course at the last moment to leave Trump's paw hanging and shaking everyone else's hand first before going to Trump and receiving on of those weird jerky handshake things he does.
My highlight was when he met Pope Francis, not enough that his wife and daughter decided to dress up like something from the Addams Family, but the Pope, who has made no secret that he dislikes Trump, made it even more obvious by keeping his sulky glum face on during his visit. 
There is no truth to the rumours that Trump had asked for a private sitting to confess his sins and the Pope replied that he was only there for 24 hours.
Melania Trump, when she wasn't looking like Morticia, had quite a good trip, first swatting away her husbands hand twice when he went to hold hers and then spending much of her time with sick children, making arts and crafts while her husband was pushing old Montenegrin men around.
All in all, for anyone else his trip would have been a disaster but as the bar is set so very low for the American President, and he was kept away from the media and was briefed to just read out what someone else had written for him (and they managed to keep him away from Twitter) so disasters were kept to a minimum. 
Him and his creepy daughter who seems to go everywhere with him are probably going back to America thinking everything went quite smooth and we are watching him go agreeing that he is a moron, but as he is flying back into a storm of new allegations about his links to Russia, things may not be smooth for long.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Space Aggressors?

Governments sometimes withhold information to avoid a panic in the general population so if for example they had information that aliens were planning to invade planet Earth they would quietly go about developing a strategy to combat the threat.
If, lets say, this hypothetical situation was imminent, they would probably already be training special forces in secret locations in space warfare and give them a silly, macho name like Space Aggressors or something.
Of course the Government, let's say the American Government to pick one, would be keen to keep something like that out of the media to stop people from looking at the sky and searching for a horde of rampant Alpha Centurions.        
Anyway, in a hush-hush document there is a secret location near the Colorado's Rocky Mountains where teams called the '26th Space Aggressors Squadron' and '527th Space Aggressor Squadron' are training for 'conflict in a space environment'.
This follows a new department being created, the National Space Defence Centre, as part of the Multinational Space Collaboration effort.
Just a coincidence i'm sure.

How To Scare Brits

The Government have raised the terror threat level but we're British and we can't be scared until the threat level is raised to something that really makes up feel really threatened, and the Brits have been quick to share what really scares us.
The top day-to-day fears that cause a deep down, very British, panic are: 

Someone makes you a tea but it's the wrong colour
The words 'Is this seat taken'?
You notice the person in front of you in the 12 Items or Less queue clearly has 13 items.
Hearing 'Let's go round the room and say one thing about yourselves'
A colleague asks if they can use your mug
When a waiter asks if everything is OK and the meal wasn't
Someone getting your name wrong too many times and for too long for you to correct them
When you see somebody dip a knife coated with toast crumbs back into the butter
Someone constantly texting with their keyboard clicks still on
When someone opens the door for you a few foot away so you have to do that awkward jog
When the person behind you in the supermarket doesn't put a 'next customer' sign between your shopping and theirs
'God Save The Queen' keeps playing after the first verse
A stranger trying to engage you in conversation which isn't about the weather
When the waitress says: 'We only have ginger biscuits left i'm afraid'
The TV announcer saying: 'And now a film starring Hugh Grant'

We better hope ISIS never discover the secret to scaring Brits is to leave toast crumbs in the butter, hide all the supermarket next customer signs or make us talk about ourselves in a group.

Explaining The Manchester Terror Attack To Children

Sadly, we have had far too many minute silences these last few years, the latest one being for the 22 deaths in Manchester following a suicide attack on a concert attended in the main by teenagers.
Although it is devastating to see the all victims of any terror attacks, it stings that little bit more if the photo staring out from the newspaper or TV screen is that of a child. 
As the Manchester Arena was packed with thousands of children and young people when a suicide bomber detonated his device, we will be seeing more of them over the coming days along with the picture of Salman Abedi who caused all the death and devastation in some sorely misguided religious fervour.
As the majority of victims were children, and as our media has been full of the tales of the terror that night, parents have been dealing with the obvious questions from their children of why it happened and the unenviable situation of having to explain terror attacks to children.
Advice from the NSPCC is to not turn off the news to try and shield them, things that happen in the news will be talked about in the playground and it is better that your child is armed with the real information rather than depending on the Chinese whispers of their school friends.
Explain simply what has happened but offer reassurance too, remind them that there are many more good people than bad people and most importantly that they are safe and the likelihood of being caught up in an event like this is so, so small, you can't even do the sums to calculate the risk.
The saddest thing about all this is that 22 dead bodies a day is about the average for countries like Iraq and Syria but they don't get a fraction of the news time or the silent 60 seconds of contemplation that they do in the UK, France or Belgium.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Wondering About Tabby's Star

In a galaxy, far, far away is a weird star called KIC 8462852 which has been confusing astronomers for decades and has decided to be weird again and has sent Astronomers scrambling to point their telescopes it's way.
The stars and planets act in a perfectly predictable fashion so there has been much head scratching as to why KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, changes brightness significantly and at irregular intervals.
Now there is another significant dimming dimming of the star 1,275 light years away in the Cygnus Constellation and the usual suspects such as a planet passing in front the star has been dismissed as this would not cause such a significant change in brightness, and it would be more predictable.
Other suggestions include a large, immensely dense cloud of dust and debris around the star or it is recovering having been hit by a planet and another theory suggests a swarm of comets may be responsible.
The whispered suggestion is that an alien mega structure has been built around the star to harvest its energy, something which is referred to as a Dyson Sphere, named after the man who put it forward as a theory in the 1960's as a way for future generations to power the Earth by partly enclosing the Sun with colossal solar panels.
It is a scary thought that if it does turn out to be an alien mega structure, and as were seeing how it was 1,275 years ago, while they had the intelligence and scientific know how to build a mega structure in Space, the 8th Century humans were inventing horseshoes and believed that a solar eclipse was the Sun being attacked by an evil demon.
Heaven help us if they ever discover us.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Poor Donald Trump

You have to feel for the poor old American President, Donald Trump, who has stated that: 'No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly'.
Nelson Mandela may differ and it is good to see the Roman Emperor, Valerian, who was disposed, used as a footstool before being made to drink molten gold and his skin removed and stuffed full of straw getting a mention.
To my knowledge Trump hasn't been used as furniture nor a gold receptacle or even a human scarecrow although i'm sure with his considerable girth he would make a decent beanbag.
He does seem to have a chip on his shoulder that the media are out to get him but why they have a problem with the racist tax dodger and self-confessed sex molester is anyone's guess.
So he has told a few lies, colluded and handed over top secret material to the Russians and is prone to a bit of exaggeration but it's time he got a break, after all, it can't be easy having all that power but having to look at that tiny penis every time he visits the gents and sleeping in beds drenched in Russian prostitutes urine.
I say keep your pecker up Donald, it's not as if you will have to put up with it for much longer, that impeachment will come before Christmas tops. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

FA Clamping Down On Diving

Being British, we tend to overlook the British footballers who dive around like a spawning salmon to gain a penalty and blame the foreigners for it but whoever does it, the Football Association has announced that footballers who dive will face a two-match retrospective ban from the start of next season.
About time because diving has become a plague in the game and what some call an art in winning a penalty' is, to the rest of the world, blatant cheating.
No team would like to top a poll of the Leagues biggest cheaters but someone has top the list and according to a Daily Mirror study of which team have spent the most time conning the referee by rolling around like they have been shot by a cannon when they step into the penalty area, it's Chelsea who can put the award for biggest conmen next to the Premier League Title in their trophy cabinet. 
Chelsea are the Premier League team who have been involved in the most diving incidents since 2012/13 with Sunderland runners up and then Southampton, Tottenham, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Liverpool, Swansea, Manchester City and then Stoke.
Diving does not seem to have helped Sunderland but as an Arsenal fan, whose team is nowhere near the top 10 of the biggest cheaters, maybe throwing themselves to the ground like a big girls blouse in the style of Dele Alli or Diego Costa would help them climb above the fifth place that beckons this year.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Labour Nationalisation Policy

If the leaking of the Labour Party manifesto was supposed to embarrass the Labour Party, it spectacularly backfired as the plans to renationalise the rail, water and utility companies went down surprisingly well with the public. 
During the 80s and 90s, the Conservative Party went on a privatisation spree with the mantra that market competition in the private sector was a more efficient way to provide services provided by the Government and allows for a better price and service for us.
In practise, however, it increased costs, lowered the quality of services and led to rising unemployment because the simple logic tells us that it is impossible for the private sector to deliver the same service for less and still make a profit.
Private companies exist to make a profit for their investors even if they are providing a service to the public, and the only way to increase profit is to reduce the money they pay out (wages) or increase the money they bring in (prices), both of which comes at a huge cost, financial and personal, to the public.
A recent example was the great sell off of the Royal Mail which made a profit of £403 million for the Government in 2013, while in 2014 the profit went directly into someones bank account instead.
A week after the privatisation went through, the new owners announced the price of stamps would rise as 'the price didn't go up last year' proving they couldn't do the same job with the same number of people at the same price.
The mantra remains that Privatisation will bring down price and increase service but in reality the service falls through the floor and the price goes up. Take a look at your next electric, water, gas, phone bill or train ticket and that will testify that it doesn't bring greater efficiency, benefits to the customer,  bring the best prices for the consumer nor improve the service.  
Essentially, it denies the Government much needed tens of billions in tough times so there you go, that's why Labour's nationalisation plans have struck a chord with the country.

World Becoming More Vegetarian

Adolf Hitler, it is often said, was a vegetarian. He wasn't of course but the link between refusing to eat a cheeseburger and killing millions under the banner of Fascism is well known, albeit mostly in the minds of the sort of person who tuck into sausages with bits of minced eye and cow anus included for that extra protein.   
I like to point out that while Hitler, Stalin, Attila the Hun, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Vlad the Impaler, Caligula, George W Bush, Ivan the Terrible, Bin Laden, Donald Trump and Genghis Khan where all meat eaters, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Aristotle, Diogenes, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates and Voltaire were all vegetarians.
Make of that what you will but apart from the moral and health implications of eating meat while the methane produced by the cattle is destroying the planet, things could be on the change because sales of meat free options have bloomed by 1,500% in the past year, according to a survey by online supermarket Ocado.
A third of the population identify themselves as 'flexitarian', meaning they are cutting down on their meat consumption and the demand for meat-free meals is soaring with an increase in sales of vegetarian meals up £17.2 million over the past year.
All great news for the planet, people's colons and the unslaughtered animals but most importantly we are moving away from a World of less beef and pork eating Hitler's, Genghis Khan's and Idi Amin's and heading towards one with more vegetable munching Da Vinci's, Gandhi's and Plato's.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Trump Impeachment: Coming Soon

It seems that Donald Trump, bored of not being an idiot for a few days, crammed as much idiocy into a few days to make up for it so what has the small handed tax dodger been up to recently to get even his own side groaning at him and demanding that he be forcibly removed. 
A quick recap shows in the space of a few days, he sacked the FBI guy leading an investigation into his dubious Russian links after he declined an invitation to drop an investigation into his friend and now former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, who resigned over undisclosed contact with a Russian diplomat.
Then the next day the President hosted Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and handed over information so highly classified that the US hadn’t shared it with its closest allies.
Countries that provide the highly sensitive information are said to be unhappy that intelligence they provided for only the eyes of a select few has been handed over to a country widely labelled as hostile with one European foreign minister stating they will re-evaluate the process of forwarding on sensitive information to the President.
With the sounds of him being in 'impeachment territory' ringing in his ears, the actions of Trump should be examined. 
The first explanation is that he is hiding himself in plain sight with the idea that people will think even he would not be that blatantly stupid if he was concerned about his Russian links coming to the surface, therefore he has nothing to hide.
The other view is that he is even more barn shakingly stupid and arrogant than previously thought.
I know which side of the argument my money would be on and as the evidence for impeachment grows stronger, America might start looking a bit more sane again, just change the nuclear codes before you drag him out first please.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Duh, Obviously

Fresh from the pages of 'Tell us something we didn't know', scientists have announced that Atheists are more intelligent than religious people according to dozens of studies.
Duh you may say but let's allow the scientists from the University of Rochester and the Northeastern University to explain why they think people who believe in a cloud man who made us from dirt are dullards. 
The thinking is that as people get exposed to new ideas and influences, they tend to lose their beliefs or get more religious during this time and the more intelligent are more likely to resist pressure to conform to religious pressure and eschew religion altogether.
Later in life, more intelligent people are more likely to get and stay married which makes them less reliant on the attachment that the function of religion provides. More intelligent people are also more likely to have higher level jobs and spend more time in school, which leads to higher self-esteem and encourages control of personal beliefs according to the study.
In the study, which was a combination of the results of 63 other scientific studies, the more intelligent members of the sample retained lower religiosity scores, relative to the general population.
There you have it, if you want to have as a meeting of minds about anything more intelligent than which end of a banana you should peel from, ask them first if they are a regular Church goer.

Cyberattack: Tough Times Ahead

Europol says it was fortunate that Friday's cyberattack which hit 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries happened when it did and people were logging off for the weekend but are warning that the attacks could pick up pace again on Monday as employees log back on again Monday.
The NHS has been widely hit in the UK by the ransomware cyberattack with files encrypted or locked with a threat to delete or expose the files publicly if the ransom of £230 is not paid by a certain time.
Up to 100 counties have been affected by the latest ransomware attack with tens of thousands of computers thought to be affected worldwide, the largest attack of its kind ever recorded.
Cybersecurity experts agree the threat from Ransomware is growing at an alarming rate with McAfee Labs saying ransomware cases grew 80% in 2016.
San Francisco's light rail system was one recent high-profile victim when it was held to ransom in November 2016, with ticket machines taken down and the city forced to open the gates and let passengers travel for free.
As we become more and more connected, and reliant on computers, this could be a taste of things to come and experts are already calling it a cyber-apocalypse, especially if the virus reaches the banking sector or even worse the military on hot the heels after discovering that the US nuclear arsenal is controlled by 1970s computers with floppy disks and the UK’s Trident nuclear program
operates on Windows XP, which has been at the centre of the global ransomware outbreak and which Microsoft stopped supporting and issuing security patches for in 2014.
'We could be in for a tough week' so say the experts, but even more frightening, this could be the start of a very tough era in a increasingly connected world.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

What Now Mr President?

Donald Trump, never being the sharpest knife in the drawer, has found himself painted into a corner with his actions against North Korea who have taken his threats against them making further missile tests and promptly ignored them.
Now that they have test fired a new and improved missile despite America's threats of military action, we are looking at Trump and asking 'Now What?'
If he thought that his bluster about possible military action was going to kowtow Pyongyang into ceasing their quest for more powerful weapons then he was way off the mark, if anything it has acted as a spur to their activities.
In a statement, the White House said Pyongyang has been: 'a flagrant menace for far too long' and is calling for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea.
That's the problem with going in too hard too quick, you have nowhere left to go but to carry through your threats and the certainty of hundreds of thousands of deaths or back down and look weak.
Buoyed by his action of lobbing a bunch of cruise missiles at Syria, Trump went in hard and high on North Korea, expecting them to back down and didn't expect them to stick two fingers up at him.
Now they have tweaked the American Presidents nose and asked him what he is going to do about it.
Even Trump, with his childlike grasp of reality, must realise that his actions have managed to turn a concern into a potential catastrophe.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Who Likes UK At Eurovision

It's Eurovision time again, and the UK Entry is called 'Never Give Up On You' which is ironic as that is exactly what the UK has done to Europe so if we are going to avoid the dreaded nul points scenario at the end of the night, we will be looking at the few friends we have left in Euroland to throw us a few points. 
As the Eurovision began in 1957, we have a long run of data available to work out which of our European brothers and sisters we can depend on to avoid the embarrassment of ending the evening on the right hand side of the board when the gongs are handed out.
Over the last 60 years the country that has given the UK the most points and our new best friends are Luxembourg, which has averaged a touch under five points per contest which is even more impressive when you consider they stopped taking part since 1993 so that's five points we are down already.
Luxembourg is closely followed by Malta and then Ireland, which is widely seen as our best Eurovision friend then Austria, Israel, Switzerland, Turkey and Portugal.
At the bottom end, the country that has snubbed the UK the most consistently is Montenegro, which has failed to give the UK a single point in the competition.
The other countries who have annually poo-pooed us Brits are Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia and clearly, those are the countries that we should be withholding our Euro love from when it comes to sprinkle around the points.
We know who our friends are and if we don't win it will be because of Brexit/Jealousy/They Hate Us/Politics/Bloc Voting (delete as applicable) and not because we have entered yet another duff song.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Answering The 'Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?' Question

The Bible says that the 'Keys to Heaven Also Open the Gates of Hell' which is an awful security system but then the big guy didn't do a bang up job on the rest of things either.
While being interviewed in Ireland during 2015, Stephen Fry was asked what he would say to the man with such a slipshod attitude towards security, or God as he is also known, if he had a chance.
'I’d say Bone cancer in children, what’s that about?’ How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault' Fry replied. 'It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain'?  
Quite right Mr Fry you may say but hang about because the Church have fired back that God isn't to blame, we are.
'It is obvious that there is suffering in the world, but God is not to blame. Whose fault is it then? Quite simply, it is our fault. The world is broken because of our sin. Most people fail to factor this into the equation. We are all sinners. It is our rebellion [Adam and Eve eating the Apple] that broke God’s creation and brought suffering into the world'.
So there you have it, all the bad things happen because the first couple annoyed a man in the clouds by being enticed into eating an apple by a talking snake, what's so hard to understand about that Stephen Fry. Sheesh.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Revision Tips From Ancient Greece

Exam season is upon us and manic revision is under way and any edge that can be gained is worth considering and researchers may have found a way to eek out those few extra exam points which could make all the difference. 
A study found that pupils working in a room with the aroma of rosemary, achieved 5% to 7% better results in memory tests.
According to history books, Ancient Greek students knew this and wore rosemary garlands in exams and in the tests carried out by Northumbria University in a room with and without the aroma of rosemary, students exposed to rosemary had on average an improvement of 5% to 7% in results.
Another often used memory aid is to read difficult or important bits in a funny accent, this makes it stick out in your mind from all the other bits that you are trying to cram into your memory and use mnemonic's for those tricky to remember lists such as 'My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles' for the planets or 'No Plan Like Yours To Study History Wisely' for the Royal
Houses of Norman, Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, Tudor, Stuart, Hanover, Windsor.
Whatever works for you but throw in a few rosemary Josticks when you are learning can't hurt.

Neanderthals Revenge

As we all know, Climate Change brings many, many dangers and as we go hurtling past the tipping point, things are already changing for the worse very quickly but apart from all the usual, most discussed ways Mother Nature will reap her revenge of ravishing her planet, there is another that is starting to show its ugly head, literally. 
As the Earth warms, it is accepted that northern countries will become more susceptible to outbreaks of diseases more associated with equatorial nations such as like malaria, cholera and dengue fever, as these diseases thrive at warmer temperatures but a frightening, little discussed news story throws another, more ancient angle on the spread of disease.
A 12-year-old boy died and at least twenty people were hospitalised after being infected by a reindeer carrying anthrax, the twist is that the reindeer had dropped dead over 75 years ago and its frozen carcass had emerged from under a layer of permafrost during the thaw last summer which exposed the reindeer corpse and released infectious anthrax into the environment.
Scientists have also discovered intact Spanish flu, smallpox and even the bubonic plague virus's in corpses buried in Alaska and in Siberia.
NASA scientists discovered bacteria that had been encased in a frozen pond in Alaska for 32,000 years which, when the ice melted, began swimming around unaffected.
The twist is that as 30-40,000 years old virus's and bacteria puts there lifetime in the age of Neanderthals, we could soon be facing ancient diseases we have never faced before that once riddled long-extinct species like Neanderthals as their bodies re-emerge from icy graves which have been buried for tens of thousands of years under a frozen ground which is thawing and now offering up its deadly harvest to carry on the work with homo sapiens.
A very scary thought.

Friday, 5 May 2017

There's An App For That

As we rub up against different people in our daily lives we come across some folk who make you wonder just how they manage to make it through the day without setting themselves on fire or walking off a cliff, the sort of people who i assume the makers of an app i saw advertised today aim their product at.
Take Five is an app that for £1 will automatically restart paused music after a set time if you pause music but forget to press play again on your device.
The advert shows what it calls a common occurrence where a person is listening to music on headphones, gets distracted and pause their music and then two hours later realise that they have been listening to silence for over 2 hours.
How much of a common occurrence it is that people find themselves not listening to music when they'd really should be i'm not sure but if you have to pay a bit of software to tell you when to turn your music back on, then maybe you should also be searching the app store for apps when you have forgotten to tie your laces or put your trousers on.
Unfortunately the Take Five site doesn't tell me how many times it has been downloaded but you worry for mankind if there are large numbers of people out there who need help with unpausing music.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Europeans Snubbing Democracy

Winston Churchill said of Democracy that was the worst form of Government except for all those others and a cross Europe YouGov reveals that many young Europeans agree with him with almost half (48%) saying it was the worst possible way to run a Government although the poll doesn't specify exactly what they would replace it with.
My problem with Democracy is that the whole process is only 1 day every 5 years and the elected leader can do what he or she wants without censor until the wheel slowly grinds back around again and we get the chance to vote him or her out.
What would improve Democracy is a way to remove the Prime Minister if they turn out to be a dud or found with their hands in the expenses till without having to wait half a decade before the opportunity by which time they could have done irreparable damage.
So if we did dispense with Democracy, what would we replace it with?
Anarchist's believe the best form of Government is no Government at all while Communist's see a means of abolishing Societies inequalities. Maybe Monarchy tickles their ideological fancy or oligarchy where all the power is in the hands of a ruling elite and there is always totalitarianism where an iron fist rules.
Theocracy with religious leaders running the show, Plutocracy with the rules set by the wealthy, Geniocracy where the most intelligent make the laws,
Meritocracy where people with experience run things, Autocracy where one person has the power or the opposite Demarchy where laws are made by public consensus or how about the newest member of forms of Government, Uniocracy, where a computer makes the decisions. 
There are many forms of Government, some are better than others, but we can look around now and honestly say something has to be better than what we have but there must be something said for removing humans from the decision making process because we have made a bit of a pigs ear of it so far.

Watching France

After Brexit and Trump, it is dangerous to expect the voting public to do the right thing and so we look over to France this weekend to see if the French voters elect another alarming right wing politician to a major country.
The smart money is on Marine Le Pen to be handed a spanking great loss by Emmanuel Macron and the polls have far right candidate Le Pen trailing by a large margin to her opponent but the same polls have been wrong before.
The independent centrist received the endorsement of Barack Obama today with the former US President ploughing into the election, backing Macron to triumph on Sunday, praising his liberal values and saying he appeals to people's hopes and not their fears.
So it is France we wait for this weekend to see if the age of voters making ridiculous mistakes with far reaching consequences continues.

Trump Get's Something Right Finally

Donald Trump, said of the Israel/Palestine conflict that is: 'not as difficult as people have thought over the years' and he is right.
To put it simply, stop funding Israel and it will be forced to make peace as it won't be able to afford to carry on the occupation of Palestine.
There you go, not that difficult at all really.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

At What Age Should I...

I don't know what age you get to before you start saying 'Age ain't nothing but a number' but science has worked out at what age you should give up the idea of taking up learning Mandarin or when to expect to take delivery of that mid-life crisis sports car.
According to science, the age of 8 is the peak time to learn a new language while we are still able to adapt to a new language structure. 
If you are a female between 20 and 23, you are at the peak of attractiveness to the opposite sex, if you are female and 24 or older than those trips to the make-up counter may become a bit more necessary.
Creativity peaks at 25 so if you haven't written that book or painted that picture by your 26th birthday, well you still have four years to make it as a sports star as you are at your peak aged 30 with a mix of experience, tactical nuance and your body can still take the rigours of professional sport before you hit 31 and your muscles wave a little white flag in submission.
That said, you are at your peak for playing chess at 31 and nobody has ever pulled a muscle or strained a ligament moving a knight to F3.
As chess is a game for solitary types, it is the perfect practise for when men wake up on your 35th birthday as that is the age when males are at their loneliest but that passes within 3 years as aged 38 is when we reach peak contentment.
Strangely, six year later at 44 is when we reach peak depression and the classic midlife crisis looms as our declining powers become more noticeable and women buy tight, leather trousers and peroxide our hair and men buy a medallion and undo the top three buttons on their shirts.
Despite our declining chess ability, sagging muscles and rash from cheap gold chained jewellery, the age at which the average Nobel Laureate gets their award is 59 so this is the time to bring peace to the Middle East or revisit that great piece of literature that has been at the back of the drawer since you hit 44 and spent your time flirting embarrassingly with people 20 years your junior.

Eurovision 2017

It's been two decades since the UK won the Eurovision song contest and we haven't bothered the top of the leaderboard since  but yet another Eurovision is almost upon us and hpe springs eternal that this time we have a chance of winning.
Only problem is our song is not great and in the wake of annoying our fellow Europeans with the Brexit vote we are as popular as a bacon sandwich in a Mosque with the people we are relying on voting for us.
This year our entry is a super slow ballad sung by one time X-Factor hopeful Lucie Jones so we should get ready the 'It's not about winning but the taking part' mantra but in all honesty, winning it would be nice.
The favourites for the title of best song in the continent are Italy, Bulgaria and Sweden but in a World of Brexit, Trump, North Korea, Syria and Terrorism filling our TV screens, Eurovision is a joyfully pointless distraction and i will be on my sofa next week with my homemade scorecard and a blind optimism that this year, the UK can win the bloody thing which will last about 10 minutes into the voting section when it will become obvious that we won't.

A Boring Election So Far

Although we are only at the start of the General Election campaign, the one theme that rings out is just how boring the whole thing is.
Not sure if the result is expected to be a foregone conclusion but usually by now the posters are in windows and battle buses are pulling up in high streets but with six weeks to go, it isn't until someone messes up that we are reminded that an election is on at all.
Tim Farron with his gay sex is a sin quote, Theresa May with her alternative facts on just how that dinner with the EU leader went and Diane Abbot with her awful maths are the depressing highlights so far but the lack of engagement is deafening.
All to suit the ruling Conservative Party you would think as they try to keep the focus on Brexit and nowhere near their shameful record hacking at the poor and disabled while cutting the tax bill of the rich. 
Meanwhile, boredom has set in with most people i have spoken to just wanting this election to be done and are not enthused about voting again after a couple of years of political upheaval.
At least previous elections had a modicum of hope involved that, at the end, there might be some sort of progressive government in charge but this one has an air of simply being a march of despair, following which the Tories get a huge majority and will continue to stuff the country as hard as politically possible.
Boredom is the way to maintain the status quo which is why Theresa May is piling up the list of soundbites and staying strangely quiet on any detail or post Brexit plans.
So it's all a boring forgone conclusion while we wait for Labour to change and the Liberal Democrats to rebuild their party, hopefully well before the next election in 2022.

The Smell Of Sour Grapes Rising Up In The Air

The Eagles have filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Mexico hotel, accusing them of using the name of their hit song without permission.
Bit rich considering that the Eagles pilfered the tune of their hit song from a Jethro Tull song.
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull once said, with his tongue firmly embedded in his cheek, that he liked the tune to Hotel California and he wished that he had written it in the knowledge that anyone who has heard 'We Used To Know', knew that he actually did.
The lawsuit states that the hotel in Mexico's Baja California Sur region: 'leads US consumers to believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles and, among other things, served as the inspiration for the lyrics in Hotel California, which is false'.
In defence the hotel states that visitors are mesmerised by the coincidences between the lyrics of the hit song and the physicality of the hotel and its surroundings including the long desert highway that leads there and the stories relating to spirits and ghosts in the courtyard.
I would say the Eagles have found much fame and fortune on the back of someon else's efforts so they should extend the same courtesy to someone doing the same to them.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Blair Not Getting It

Exactly 20 years ago, the sun shone and under a clear blue sky Tony Blair strolled into Downing Street with the ringing endorsement of the country but within a decade he was scuttling away under darkened skies and branded a war criminal.
He has tried to put his head above the parapet a few times and each time someone has tried to take it off as his toxic Iraq legacy continues to poison the British view of him but for whatever reason he now believes it is time to throw himself back into the limelight to save us all from Brexit.  
With a record of an illegal war and a million dead Iraqi's, the Blair rehabilitation was never going to be easy but he has been touring the TV studios to put forward his case for his comeback even though he doesn't seem to have a very firm grip of just why he remains so hated.
According to Blair, it is due to the perception that since he was forced out the door of Downing Street he has been trotting around the globe hoovering up bundles of cash which he denies, stating that he has been doing a lot of charity work.
I can't speak for everyone but the fact that Blair has been stuffing his pockets hardly enters the equation and it is the Iraq War that first springs to mind when the former Prime Ministers name is mentioned.
That he lied and span to take us into a war that left a million people dead, set the Middle East tinderbox alight and led directly to Islamic State ravaging the whole area are more of the reasons that are leapt to to explain why the Blair name is so reviled.  
That he considers he can walk back into public life and be hailed a some sort of saviour shows just how delusional the man is or how little he considers his abhorrent actions alongside G W Bush actually where.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Can A Progressive Alliance Work?

When the idea of a progressive alliance was first mooted a few weeks ago to stop the Tory Hard Brexit i thought it was a good idea, albeit unworkable.
The idea is that the 'left' parties, the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Labour Party, would not contest each others seats where one of them would have a chance of defeating the Conservative Party as not to split the left vote and Green, Lib Dem and Labour voters in that constituency would only have that one party or the Tories to vote for.
To my pleasant surprise, the idea has gained traction and several areas are debating withdrawing their candidate with Brighton and the Isle of Wight the latest to consider the pact along with several London constituencies who have already agreed to the pact.
I am all for strategic placing of candidates and tactical voting all over the UK in order to reduce the damage of the the Toxic Tories but i still think self-interest will stop it happening but it wil be very interesting to see if the momentum keeps building up to the day of the vote.
I will be more than happy to 'lend' my vote to whoever to stop the madness and self-inflicted economic suicide of a Tory Brexit.

Gay Vicar Got Off Lightly

The first Church of England vicar in a same-sex marriage is leaving his parish and claims 'institutional homophobia' in the church means he is blacklisted from getting another job.
Andrew Foreshew-Cain,  resigned from his London parish on Sunday, telling parishioners it was a relief because his ministry, and that of other gay and lesbian clergy, was 'barely tolerated rather than fully accepted'.
I would say he got off lightly considering how the Bible says homosexuals should be treated.

Leviticus 20:13
13: 'If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense'.

Strong And Stable: Repeat Ad Nauseam

Considering that we have a snap election in six weeks time, the Prime Minister is keeping the public at arms length as it has been revealed that at the weekend venue of the election campaign trail contained only hand-picked Conservative Party loyalists were invited to guarantee her a standing ovation.
She has also toured a factory after all thew workers had gone home for the day and refused to take part in televised debates and after her roasting on the BBC this morning, it is understandable.
The Conservatives have hit upon the strategy of shoehorning in the words 'strong and stable' into every media question which led to the bizarre answer to the question that voters deserve better than to be spoken to in soundbites with the answer that: 'It is in the national interest to have a strong and stable leadership because only a strong and stable leadership can deliver a strong and stable economy'.
To the question that she wants to remove the handcuffs of the previous promise to not raise tax, she replied that 'she did want to reduce taxes', apparently it seems that the best way of ensuring she could do that would be to give herself the chance to increase it.
Later in the morning the Prime Minister appeared on ITV and kept with the robotic strong and stable leadership answers although she was asked why she would not be doing the live TV debates?
'Because I want to get out into the community to meet ordinary people,” she replied before leaving the studio to rejoin the election trail where she appears to be doing everything she can to avoid ordinary people.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Israel's Pot To North Korea's Kettle

I have always wondered why when America goes stomping around the World starting wars, accusing people of being evil and stating who can and can't have what types of weapons, nobody points out the hypocrisy of how the USA funds and arms Israel, one of the worst regimes on the planet.
I can finally stop wondering because North Korea have pointed it out, accusing America of backing the only country in illegal possession of nuclear weapons and being the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East.
You would have thought that as Israel did so much to hide it's own clandestine nuclear weapons programme it would have the good sense to keeps its head down when the question of developing nuclear weapons were bandied about but Israel and sense is not two words you often hear together and so it was when the Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said North Korea was 'undermining global stability' and Pyongyang 'crossed the red line with its recent nuclear tests'.
Kim Jung Un's Government shot back that: 'Israel is the only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the US' and then went on to call Israel a 'culprit of crimes against humanity' and an 'occupier which seeks to dominate the region and oppress Palestinians'.
It would appear the North Koreans have got Israel's number which prompted one of Liebermans's own colleagues to tweet 'We have enough enemies. Let’s focus on them' as i am sure that the last thing Israel wants is to have the spotlight shone brightly in their direction when it comes to war crimes, UN resolutions, destabalising the local area, illegal occupations and developing Nuclear Weapons.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Erasing The Memory Of Slave Traders

While a few British Members of Parliament are famously mentioned for ending the Slave Trade, Britain is never rightly given the credit for not only starting it but also profiting immensely from it but now a number of cities are starting to face up to their dark histories and reviewing buildings, streets and statues who commemorate men who whose hands were firmly involved in trading slaves.
Bristol is a city that was built on the wealth of the slave trade and the concert venue Colston Hall, named after Edward Colston a 17th-century philanthropist who gave great sums of money made from his trading of slaves to the city, is to be renamed after the council decided that it felt uncomfortable with the name of the building 'because of the perception that it had in some way profited from the slave trade'.
In Glasgow, Buchanan and Dunlop Street, named in honour of slave owners have been renamed and Liverpool have renamed Tarleton Street, Manesty’s Lane and Clarence Street, but dropped renaming Penny Lane, which was named to commemorate slave ship-owner James Penny, but is now more famous as the title of a Beatles song.
The Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at Hull University though thinks that a better strategy would be not to airbrush the past but to keep the names but draw attention to the dark life and times of the people the buildings and streets were named.
I can understand his view but i see having a building or street named after a person as an honour and would far rather see them renamed and the reasons why discussed than keep the name of such abhorrent people alive.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Coalition Of The Killing

The UN has urged US forces to do more to protect civilians in the war against Islamic State in the wake of 150 civilians who died in March following a series of coalition air strikes on the buildings they were hiding in.
As the UN were reminding the American air-force of its obligations under international humanitarian law, the Americans announced that since 2014, an estimated 3,164 civilians have been killed by US air strikes in Syria and Iraq.
'We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes' the Pentagon said in a statement before explaining that: 'All feasible precautions were taken'.
Tough luck to the innocents then, clearly they consider 3,164 a price worth paying and they are ok with that. I wonder if suspected terrorists were gathering at a house in the US, the Pentagon would be fine with dropping a bomb on them and everybody else inside it too?
While the whole point is that the military kills less than the enemy, the families of the civilian casualties are always extended sympathy but never enough to stop dropping the bombs though.
Anyway, quick, look over there at Russia, North Korea, Iran and all those Muslim countries...

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tough Crowd

While some parents have a child only a parent could love, some children have a parent only a child could love and that includes Ivanka Trump who was roundly booed and hissed as she attempted to defend her father Donald's attitude towards women.
President Trump's daughter was speaking at a W20 summit, part of the G20 women's summit, in Berlin alongside the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and said that she very proud of her father although Merkel explained to Trump junior that the disapproval from the female audience was due to: 'Some attitudes toward women your father has displayed'.
She was then mocked and jeered when she blamed the media for perpetuating the criticism of her pussy grabbing father.
Tough crowd for a charm offensive for a self-confessed sex molester and Ivanka Trump said that she would take advice and knowledge back to her father from the summit.
I am sure that she will find a subtle way to tell him that those Europeans think of a pervert who boasts about his sexual assaulting of women.    

Saturday, 22 April 2017

I Read It, Honestly

My friend has a weird way of reading books whereas she reads the first chapter, then the last chapter and if it seems exciting, she will go back and read it from the start. If not she puts it down and starts again with the next novel.
In some ways her method makes sense as i have spent far too long plowing through books thinking it must get better soon only to get most of the way through to realise it won't.   
Of course there is no right or wrong way to read a book but some people don't even do that, they watch the film of the book instead and then say they have read it.
Always a dangerous exercise especially as most films stray from the book they are based on but a whopping 64% of us admit to saying we have read the book but really only watched the DVD.
A survey by The Reading Agency found that the top most 'watched' books we lie about are:

James Bond books, Ian Fleming
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
The Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Worst Type Of Role Models

The 20th Century could be described as the Century of War but only 17 years in and the 21st Century is shaping up to be even more deadly as conflicts seem to be either rumbling on or being sparked off all around the globe.   
Of course with so missiles being launched, bullets being fired and bombs being dropped somebody has to be profiting from selling all this death and destruction and that's where Britain steps in.
The British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has called missiles producer MBDA, a role model while unveiling multi-million deals between the firm and the UK military.
That would be the role model who is actively selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and once supplied Libya’s Gaddafi government and then during his overthrow, sold weapons to the Libyan rebels, effectively arming both sides of the conflict.
The weapons being sold to Saudi Arabia are currently being used in war-ravaged Yemen in airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition, which has been named by the United Nations as responsible for the majority of civilian casualties in the country.
As the Government continues to defend the sale of weapons to a regime which is responsible for over 10,000 deaths in Yemen according to UN figures, Michael Fallon offered the weak justification that: 'Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself' which is even more bizarre as they are attacking 'rebels' in another country altogether. 
If the idea of a role model is to help being about humanitarian catastrophe and death in the pursuit of a profit then yep, Fallon certainly got that right.