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Month: August, 2019

Take away my right to choose

In honour of the death and bells tolling the end of British and American democracy, today’s post has music from the Fun Boy Three. Apologies if this doesn’t play where you are but the video is courtesy of YouTube and they have different rules for different countries.

With BoJo the clown forcing his hand and closing down Parliament for an extra 3 weeks in order to force through his disastrous No Deal Brexit and continue Selling England By The Pound I thought the music was appropriate, again.

I am not going to get into a discussion on the disaster facing England and Wales from this action because that would be going through the same old same old again. If you want to know how I feel about this read some of my older posts. Instead I want to tell you about my excursion to the Scottish Highlands last weekend. Arriving in Fort William was really strange because one minute you’re in the middle of nowhere and then you turn a corner and you find yourself in Fort William.

This was the most amazing trip I have ever undertaken, a nostalgic trip on a steam train (the one used in the Harry Potter films no less) across the viaduct made famous in those same movies what a head f**k that was. Especially when the end of the line was not Hogwarts but Mallaig. Wonderful town to be sure but not enough to keep someone occupied for 2 hours before the train heads back to Fort William. The smell of the sea water loch, the sounds of boats heading into Mallaig with their catch or tourists and the noise of those from the train looking for souvenirs or watching the boats, amazing.

Unfortunately I did not manage to get any shots of the viaduct because it was on the other side of the train and the same people jumped up to take pictures out of the open window in both directions. The highlight though was the afternoon tea provided at an additional cost when booking. The food was amazing and the staff were very helpful and every question was answered, no matter how stupid others may have thought them.

Fort William is a town with a history steeped in Jacobite lore (for those unfamiliar with British History and the Union between England and Scotland under James Stewart I won’t go into that just now but will below). Bonnie Prince Charlie and the clans loyal to the Scottish claim to rule their own country without interference from the English started their campaign in the Highlands at Fort William. There is still a lot of references around the area to Scottish Gaelic, Jacobites and the Rebellion and most road signs are in both Gaelic and English. The area also sees a lot of foreign tourists who come for the scenery, and there is a lot of beauty in the Scottish mountains around Ben Nevis. Without dwelling too much on the disadvantages of this scenery and the trees suffice to say that there are forests and then there are Scottish forests. The vegetation is so dense in places that you can only see the road ahead and nothing to either side apart from bushes and trees. Hence not knowing how close you are to Fort William until the sign comes up ahead of the houses and B&B’s which are almost everywhere. When you come into the centre there are hotels (with names like The Garrison and Alexandria Hotel) offering visitors opulence and cells (I won’t tell you which is which).

The scenery in Scotland’s Highlands, of mountains, forests, rivers, lochs and coast line has to be seen to be believed. I met a couple on honeymoon from Norway and they said it is similar to Norway but with much more green! If they were impressed then it has to be among the best places around on this planet. After all, Norway has beautiful fjords and stunning mountains.

Once again I fell in love with the country which adopted me at the ripe old age of 4, leaving me in awe at the splendour all around from the mountains in the Highlands to the meadows of the Border country and everything in between. I wish I had taken more pictures while I was there so I could share them with you here but, alas, I didn’t stop on the way up due to the amount of cars parked everywhere in every layby and wide space. I am still in love with my home town of Newcastle upon Tyne but there will always be room in my heart for the country of my clan, Scotland.

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What a wonderful world this could be!

Today, I am beginning to look forward to travelling on the Harry Potter train next Monday (an English bank holiday). Like the majority of people on the planet I loved the stories of the boy wizard from his humble beginnings in the cupboard under the stairs. Expectantly waiting for the books to arrive after pre-ordering each and every one of them. Waiting expectantly for the films at the cinema and then waiting again to get them on dvd.

That’s why I’m looking forward with joy to the journey to Fort William, going up on Sunday and staying for 2 nights before heading home again. Tickets are booked for Monday afternoon from Fort William to Mallaig and return, with afternoon tea included. I am really wondering if the trip will be done in sunlight, or if there will be rain, however, no matter the weather the train is the main event of our trip.

I have been looking at videos posted by the Brexiteers who still haven’t learned that had Remain won using the illegal practices Leave used the referendum would have been overturned. These people are threatening violence if a no deal is not implemented when the only people who will benefit from this are the very wealthy and foreign landowners who have been taking advantage of the weak pound to buy up properties all over the UK.

We have to end the violence in this country and the USA by the Ultra-Right Wings, these fascists and Nazis don’t care about the rule of law, in the US their POTUS backs them with promises of a pardon if they are convicted. In the UK there are insufficient police left to keep order and the ones that there are often come under attack themselves. Listening to the rhetoric from the White House and 10 Downing Street it is obvious that the domestic terrorists in both countries are being egged on by those in power.

If you read the news there are attacks almost daily with guns in the US, white supremacist organisations (such as the Good Boys) are avoiding being declared as domestic terrorist organisations but that is exactly what they are. The same is true here, except our domestic terrorists are the Brexiteers, they are inciting violence against everyone who wants a deal or else to remain within the EU because their lies have now been proven without a shadow of doubt to be lies.

People are being stabbed using a variety of knives, screwdrivers and anything else with a sharp blade. The police are being quite successful in arresting people when videos of the crimes are being posted on social media showing the faces very clearly of the perpetrators. People, as long as they are as stupid as they clearly are, will not get away with crimes against people including attempted murder and murder. As I said there are too few police on the streets of Britain today due to the austerity measures started by the coalition Government of 2010-2015 (Tory Lib-Dem) and Tory Governments since then.

Here we all are sitting in a rainbow

Cor blimey, hello Mrs. Jones, how’s your Bert’s lumbago? No music again with this post, however, there is a song attached to the title. Prizes as usual for the first 4 correct entries opened on Monday 9 January 1966. Answers on a postcard or stamped undressed elephant to the usual address.

If there is no further concessions to be made before 31 October 2019, we should follow the same example followed by Greece following their General Election when the Grexit Party won a resounding victory, did Greece activate Article 50? No! Why didn’t they? They realised they needed the rest of Europe more than Europe needed them.

Brexit was fought on the grounds that the EU would give us a fantastic deal before we left (Remain told them that we needed the EU more than they needed us). We said and have been saying ever since that a no deal Brexit is not in the best interests of our economy, the United Kingdom or any of the individual countries which form the union. Those pushing for Leave stated this was fake and a deal could be struck with the EU. The truth is now known and the burning question now is: why don’t the Brexiteers want a second referendum since they are so certain they will win in bigger numbers than in 2016?

They are worried that without Cambridge Analytica (and Aggregate IQ are tied up in an appeal against the ruling they breached EU rules on data protection) they will either lose heavily or be forced to admit the referendum was won illegally and Article 50 will be revoked ahead of 31 October. Those wanting a second referendum, one that adheres to Parliamentary Rules of Engagement, is gaining momentum every single day. That has to worry those politicians now eager to suspend Parliament, do away with the voice of democracy and proceed to bankrupt this country with no regard to those poor who will die without the safety net afforded by the Benefits system.

Those who voted for Brexit in 2016 were fooled into thinking the world is still the same as it was in 1973 when we joined what was then known as the Common Market. The truth is the world has changed since then and what little was left of the British Empire in 1973 has now gone completely. The Commonwealth no longer need us or will support us while we are trying to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world. It’s now clear that Europe will not offer us anything short of bankruptcy after we leave.

Of course within 2 years of Brexit, a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland that country will be lost to the Union. Scotland will hold another Independence referendum within 18 months and this time they will win, leave the GBP and join the Euro once they are welcomed back into the fold. That will not surprise anyone since both those countries voted resoundingly to Remain in 2016. The United Kingdom then will consist of only England and Wales, but Wales may decide that since the rest of the UK have withdrawn they should too. Their only option then would be to ask the EU to allow an independent Wales to rejoin in their own right.

Now, if there is any doubt about the sense of this take a look at the mood in Scotland, Northern Ireland and compare that with England and Wales. Scots are totally fed up that their currency, despite guarantees made by David Cameron during their referendum campaign, is still not welcomed everywhere in the UK. I live 90 minutes away from Scotland and some places here refuse to take Scottish notes, those which do are in the minority.

If politicians were to tell the truth I don’t think anyone would believe them anyway. Of course if the public don’t trust politicians then turnout is depressed for elections. If you don’t vote for anyone then you have no grounds for complaint since the result is your fault for not getting out there and voting in person or asking for a postal vote. There are other ways to vote than just turning up at the polling station and marking a cross on the ballot paper.

If we changed the practice of voting from paper to electronic, as they have done in the USA then we would be liable to hacking as the USA found out in 2016. Since there are so many people complaining that they are worse off today than they were in 2010 you would expect the next General Election having more than a 60% turnout. The more people who actually vote in a General Election the more likelihood there is that we will get a Government for the many not the few.

BoJo is proud of the fact that he was the only MP sticking up for the bankers who crippled the economy in 2008, caused so many people to be laid off following this and having to wait years before finding other jobs. Those bankers who crippled the economy and were bailed out by you and me by getting hand outs from our taxes, still receive millions in bonuses every year, more if they cripple the poor with outlandish bank charges and refusing to lend money to those who need it, since they will default somewhere down the line when the money they earn is worth less and less. The Tory Government introduced 0 hour contracts to get people off the dole and “into work” regardless of whether they are actually working or not.

We have to change the way this country operates, those who can afford it should be paying more tax, those who are struggling should be receiving more from the state to help them to make ends meet. People on benefits don’t have enough to live comfortably, they barely survive. Minimum wage is not enough to survive on unless you can work around 90 hours per week. We need a living wage paid to everyone, adult, child, pensioner. The pension is not enough to survive on and pension credit is no longer an automatic right if you have more going out than is coming in.

Brexit: The Uncivil War by Channel 4

I missed this when it was shown on British Television but managed to watch it on Netflix yesterday and it asked more questions than it answered. As a film it stands alongside A Few Good Men and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, for entertainment. As a documentary it fell short, it did not explain that the link between Aggregate IQ in Canada and Cambridge Analytica in the UK was much bigger than either company wanted to make public. On the Cambridge Analytica web site Aggregate IQ was listed as SCL Canada (SCL being the parent company of CA). Aggregate IQ has never accepted this as accurate although their hacking program was exactly the same code as CA’s. The two companies consisted of exactly the same board of directors but with different CEO’s (AIQ’s CEO was the CEO of SCL).

With every new revelation concerning, not only the Brexit referendum but also the Presidential Elections in 2016, is it any wonder that the tactics used by CA and AIQ have been questioned recently? AIQ is currently appealing against a decision of malpractice of user data usage in Europe against EU regulations. When this appeal fails, as it most certainly will, what then for the referendum results? Will the referendum of 2016 be, once again, declared illegal and overturned? What if we have already left the EU by then, will they welcome us back with open arms?

I think we should (at least our Government should) withdraw Article 50 until all the facts are known about the referendum and a final decision has been made as to whether or not we should have the referendum again or, as I suspect the Crown Prosecution Service will decide, that because of all the improprieties of 2016 we should never have another referendum in this country to decide anything as divisive ever again.

Since the referendum ended, we have become a divided and separated nation, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to Remain with only England and Wales voting to Leave. During the campaign ahead of the Referendum we were told by every Leave group that we would receive favourable terms from the EU so a no deal would never be an option. Now that lie has been proven a no deal is becoming more and more obvious, with everyone telling us now that having to go to WTO trade agreements and tariffs will not affect the prices in the shops. Any economist worth their title will tell you this is bollocks.

When tariffs are added at the port of entry to everything coming into the country (and we import 95% of everything we consume) becomes more expensive in the shops. The average increase will be somewhere between £220 and £300 per week for every household. Who can afford that much of an increase every week for the next 20 or 30 years until we can negotiate trade deals with every other country on the planet? Not the ordinary man on the street, not the Leave voters who are up in arms complaining about immigration and not the few who are on benefits. Jobs will be lost with much greater impact on communities when companies move their production plants to continental Europe to avoid hefty tariffs on them being produced here. With less money to spend consumers of luxury goods will decline, more shops will close and high streets will become ghosts of their former glory before the credit crunch of 2008.

People are beginning to wake up to the fact that a no deal Brexit will cripple the economy, cause jobs to be lost when investors move to bigger markets (especially those which came to Britain in order to get a foothold in Europe). We have seen a mass migration of banks out of London, I still think that within 2 years of a No Deal Brexit the United Kingdom will be no more. Scotland has already been making progress with talks between some European Countries that they will be welcomed back into the fold should Scotland become a separate Nation within 2 years of Brexit. Northern Ireland won’t accept a hard border which a no deal Brexit will force. They will therefore separate from the UK, join with the Republic, and like Germany before them, re-enter the EU that way.

With the UK reduced to England and Wales I would be surprised if Wales didn’t leave as well so that only England will be left. If they then tried to rejoin Europe the gains that were made (staying out of the Euro, staying out of Schengen and limiting the numbers of EU migrants) would be lost. No English Government would ever be given the right of Veto after Leaving and a renegotiation to rejoin. As I said all the way through the referendum campaign the UK needed the EU more than they needed us, therefore any deal would not be acceptable to the Parliament parties or the masses of the electorate.

I was born a British person (mum was English, dad was half Scottish and half English), in 1973 I became European and want to remain European. I never voted for Brexit, I recognised the lies for what they were. I have seen the racism and violence that has erupted over the result. I did not predict that because I thought the referendum would have been fought legally by both sides. Because of the illegality of the Vote Leave and Leave.EU campaigns and hacking into Facebook members to target them with personalised advertising to push them into a Leave vote, I don’t accept the referendum result should stand.

As an economist I fear that this country will find out to its cost and detriment after a disastrous no deal Brexit, that they actually were much better off before leaving than they will be after leaving. The majority of Leavers voted that way because they believed the hype that Europe needed us more than we needed them. They now know that is a lie. They may have voted to leave to take back control but we will lose control when we are begging countries for trade deals since we consume more than we produce here. The current POTUS has said that any trade deal will take over our NHS, proving the lie that the money we send to the EU would be ploughed into the NHS following Brexit.

Farage has said we should dismantle the NHS in favour of the American Health Service model. This means that no one would be able to get Health Insurance to cover pre-existing conditions, the cost of medical treatments will sky rocket leaving the poor no access to any medical treatment at all. Boris Johnson has consistently voted to privatise the NHS as far as possible, leaving the most costly functions within the public domain. The NHS was designed by a Labour Government after the end of World War 2, this was only part of the whole socialist vision for a fairer Britain. The rest has been slowly eroded since 1979 and the first Conservative Government under Maggie Thatcher bought and paid for by the (at the time) top 5%.

Nowadays the Conservative party receives their funding from the top 1% and they want to keep control over the countries poor, forcing them to do as they are told. Anyone who doesn’t see this is not only blind but stupid (apart from the 1%).

Summer days are anything but lazy, hazy days

For a change to my normal posts, there is no music to accompany this one. I was going to write a post about the current state of affairs in the UK and the USA but decided against doing that since everyone knows what is happening in both countries today. I then decided to write a post about my state of mind today, but I don’t think that is very pleasant to share. This post will therefore probably be a short one.

My wife spotted some wind spinners which she decided to buy for our garden, it was therefore down to me to charge my drill, get them put up by putting up the holders on the fence. Placing the spinners in place and then closing the hooks so they wouldn’t blow off easily. She forgets how unfit I am and thinks the work should be done much quicker than I can manage it and also, because of me being unfit, results in me being short of breath and sounding as though I have run a 3 minute mile.

My nasal passages being blocked (they are within 5 minutes of using Olbas nasal spray) the sound is worse than it should be. My nasal passages have not been clear for several years and I still don’t know why. I feel that I have an eternal cold in my nose, not possible I know, but that lets you know how it feels to be me.

I am in a dark place but determined to keep going and I refuse to let it drag me down today. I need something more than I am getting but not sure what that is. I am keeping my vitamin C intake above the recommended levels. With no visible results in my breathing easing off. I would love to be able to breathe easily and then I might exercise more, the nurses at my GP practice have told me that exercising more may relieve the symptoms of my blocked nose. So far it is difficult to exercise a lot.

For those who know how this feels it is not very conducive to exercise, since breathing is difficult enough from resting, doing any exercise means that breathing becomes even more difficult. If anyone knows a work around for this please let me know. If anyone has any other suggestions for improving my breathing so I can go for longer walks, or leave more often to walk around here please let me know.