Monday, 29 February 2016

Super Tuesday

I love America and I'm saddened to see it so divided. The Republican Party seems to be getting ever more extreme which is shown by the rise of Donald Trump. It's funny in a way how the word 'liberal' seems to have become a dirty word, when actually the American constitution is very liberal in terms of liberty and equality. Likewise the republicans seem to have tried to hijack the notion of patriotism and yet by becoming ever more right wing they are getting further from what the constitution aimed to achieve. Very patriotic.

And so we come to 'Super Tuesday'. The angry part of my soul would like to see Trump get the Republican nomination, just so long as he's utterly humiliated in the poll that really counts.Alternatively the republicans could move now to heal the division in the country. A divided USA helps no one.

Something else the constitution aimed for was justice - judges should not be republican or democrat they should be open minded and interested in serving the cause of justice, Obama should nominate a new Supreme Court Justice and the senate should behave responsibly, but I cannot see that happening.

By the way, do Americans know that in the UK 'Trump' is a euphemism for 'fart'?


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Bad Case Eloquently Made

Watched the Andrew Marr show today and saw Iain Duncan Smith making the case for out in the European Referendum. He was opposed by Angela Eagle for the IN Campaign and unfortunately as a seasoned politician (not a compliment) he performed well. Seldom have I heard a disastrous case presented so well. Hopefully he upset a few people by patronising Angela. He also complimented Cameron even as he slid the knife into his ribs. Personally I don't much care about Cameron's future, but I do care about the future of my country.

IDS used impressive but misleading statistics. Yes lots of UK companies don't trade with Europe directly and yes they have to obey the rules. However, lets take a cafe, for example, many of the 'rules' will be about employment and food hygiene and so on, they're not necessarily bad rules and it's a level playing field for all cafes. In some areas European tourists will be important to them too.

Now take a small company that has a product. If I had such a company, and I am thinking of making a product as it happens, I could fill the boot of my car with samples and cross the channel and show that product immediately to retailers and potential distributors all over Europe, no red tape, no problem.

IDS says they'll keep on trading with us, yes they probably will, but things will get more complicated, more obstacles will arise, it's a nonsense.

Apparently Scottish himself, IDS was also asked about Scotland. Now, we all know that if we leave the EU Scotland will want to leave the UK and try to get back into Europe, but, disingenuously IDS said we should only consider the one issue. How ridiculous, the whole thing is about future consequences.

After 2000 years of largely tribal conflict in Europe we've been friends and growing closer since the disaster that was World War Two. Cameron's so called 'new deal' is not the point and nor is the idiotic idea that if we vote for out we can negotiate an even better deal for ourselves. Since when did we become so bloody selfish. What's wrong with getting closer? What's wrong with a joined up world? What's wrong with equality across Britain, across Europe?

Show your support!  For women and men in different languages.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Selfish and childish.

The European Union has created peace in Europe for the first time in about two thousand years and has improved the lot of many European citizens. No, it's not perfect and all members should strive for a strong economy, high standards in education and health, and work towards equal opportunities for all.

So, at a time when Europe faces a migration crisis, when there is terrible conflict in the Middle East, even by Middle Eastern standards, when relations with Russia are at low ebb and North Korea is developing long range missiles, David Cameron just wants to talk about Britain.

Do things our way or just maybe we'll leave. I apologise wholeheartedly and unreservedly to our European neighbours. The fact is David Cameron wants to stay in Europe but cannot lead his own party, so he needs the country to make the decision. It's not really even a decision we should be considering. His party's angst and indecision has caused a constitutional crisis in effect, he did it over Scotland too. Now, just suppose people are persuaded to leave, then Scotland will raise its head again because they want in to Europe and it will never end.

Most people I know are appalled by Donald Trump and his politics of division, you can influence your friends; make enemies and understandably they don't want to listen. I'm not saying that a Britain outside the EC would become an enemy, but it would be an outsider by definition, no longer at the table and that's a step in the wrong direction. Many of the 'out of Europe' campaigners concede it would be a step into the unknown, that jobs and investment would be put at risk, ah, but we'd have more control, yes, more control of a weaker less influential country, great!

The European economy is not booming, there is terrible youth unemployment in many places, whilst unemployment here has been falling of late, despite immigration. Now, I don't want to see Britain's roads and hospitals at a standstill because of overcrowding, I don't want to see teachers faced with classes where there are half a dozen languages spoken and teaching becomes impossible. So the question we should be asking is not what can Europe do for us, but what can we do to help Europe? Especially in terms of youth unemployment. That's what membership means and it's what's best for us too. End this selfishly inspired childish nonsense now for goodness sake.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Interconnected Issues

On the news last night a big item on the increasing suicide rate in the UK, thousands every year and the age profile is going up, probably because more middle aged people are killing themselves, rather than because fewer young people are.

Maybe Great Britain isn't such a great place to live anymore. The government wants you to work until you're seventy to alleviate the pensions crisis they created. Now, if you're in a job at sixty it may be difficult for your employer to get rid of you, but try getting a new job and it won't be so easy.

Equally, young people are leaving university up to their eyeballs in debt, unless they're Scottish, which is another problem because the so called United Kingdom is neither united nor fair. What is all this passion for devolution anyway? The only thing worse than a national politician is a trumped up local one. And all these extra layers of bureaucracy add hugely to the cost too.

The Romans ran most of Europe and North Africa with a civil service of about three hundred people. Ah, but look what happened to them I hear you say. Well, it was the pressure of mass migration that happened to them, people from poor and strife ridden regions who wanted in to what the Romans had and ended in destroying it.

Sound familiar? Now Russia has caused a huge increase in the refugee problem in Aleppo. Personally I'm an advocate of greater engagement with Russia; the Russians are major players in the world and you can't influence anyone you're not talking to. It's childish, just like Cameron's referendum, which I'll come on to in a  minute.

Just think, if Napoleon hadn't fought Russia, if the Kaiser hadn't fought Russia, or if Hitler hadn't fought Russia, how would our world look today? I'm not saying that Russia has done everything right. I grew up in the cold war and heard the testing of air raid sirens and I watched films about nuclear attacks and nerve gas. All very scary.

I'm not a fan of communism either, it may sound ok in principle, but clearly in practice it leads to corruption and oligarchy. However, not engaging with Russia is a huge mistake, they aren't going to take all, probably not any of the new refugees they are creating.

On the other hand, the west hasn't been so clever either. There's a reason why the Arab world, or large swathes of it, began calling the USA 'The Great Satan'. I'm not supporting that position, but the USA and Uncle Sam's pet Bulldog think it's ok for them to interfere, sorry intervene abroad but not Russia, oh no not them.

Well Putin is demonstrating that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. He's interfering for his own good, but didn't we? We cannot sort out the schism between Sunni and Shia and it's pointless trying. And why do we support Saudi Arabia when we abhor their human rights policy? If it can be called that.

Once again jaw, jaw would be better than war, war. Which brings us back to the refugee crisis dividing European politicians. Britain, soon to be the suicide capital of the world if we carry on the way we're going is saying we want our way and if we can't have it maybe we'll leave. How childish is that? Is it any wonder if the rest of Europe think we're mad? And what happens if a collective madness brings about our exit?

I'm very glad I can travel all over Europe, I'm very glad I have the option to settle in a happier place. When I was seventeen I went on a British Schools Exploring Society expedition to Arctic Sweden. We made maps for the Swedish Government while we were there and afterwards I wrote to the Swedish government to enquire about emigrating there. Sorry son, no dice, but now I could, or I could go to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal etc as many Brits have.

The media fed us stories about straight bananas, milk lakes and butter mountains, but most of the real issues have been sorted and if you think that the Italian, Swedish, Danish, French, German, Dutch et al politicians are worse than our crazies think again. Frankly I'd sooner most of them than the British socialists, somewhere right of Attila the Hun and very clever at squeezing more money out of ordinary people for their own plans, or the Tories who've learned all they could from them.

In principle I ought to be in favour of referendi, because I think politicians should be there to serve us not push us around. Frankly however this Euorpe in or out referendum is purely because the bloody Tories can't make their own minds up and want us to do it for them. We need to be in Europe and engaged, not throwing our toys out of the pram, especially in a crisis. Lets all grow up, vote to stay in and leave this cursed island and go somewhere happy!