Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Wedding Of The Year Trump Farage

Nigel Farage just stood on the platform at a Trump rally and criticised President Obama for commenting on the Brexit referendum as a foreigner. Mr Farage displayed not a hint of embarrassment. I guess he cannot see the obvious hypocrisy, merely the opportunity to make more of a name for himself. I just hope that one day, preferably soon, the British people do wake up to the obvious.

That is the damage being done by politicians, like him and Boris, who are taking advantage of people's disillusionment with other politicians and with the establishment to make things even worse still. But not for themselves oh no, they'll be fine.

Goodness knows I'm critical of the established order and our long established politicos myself, scroll down and read some more if you don't believe me, but if Britain is stupid enough to divorce itself from Europe it's likely to get closer to the USA.

A USA which we have already followed into war on the back of false intelligence, but a USA which at least had the wisdom to replace George W with a real president, even if they gave him virtually no power for real change in the house or senate.

Can you imagine following a USA led by Trump, with house and senate behind him too? Can you imagine what will happen to the world if he believes what he says sufficiently to put it into action.

If Nigel won't wake up, lets hope Britain can.

Yes I too have been commenting on another country's politics, but I don't criticise Obama or anyone else for doing likewise, what we need is a joined up peaceful world, where open minded people of good character do exchange thoughts and ideas. What's more, what happens in the USA has a profound effect on us all.

You can support this blog at my gift shops Redbubble, Artsadd or Society 6  Thank you.

Saint Jeremy And His Battle With The Truth

Corbynistas, where do these words come from, will tell you Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most trusted politicians because he's such a decent, honest bloke. Well, if that's the best we've got, which it isn't by the way, although good ones are scarce, then we need a total clear out.

Lying to, or misleading parliament, is considered to be very naughty by our betters, naughty, naughty, but lying to us is fair game. The leader of Labour's Brexit campaign was on TV last night pressing for Brexit to move ahead even though he admitted he had no idea how it might work out.

He pedalled the now old cliche that the Remain campaign lied just as much as his lot, as if that justified misleading and lying to people any more than the selling of arms to untrustworthy regimes can be justified by the 'if we don't someone else will' line.

He also, and I'm not putting this in quotes in case its not word perfect but it is a quote in effect, said that people always vote without knowing the full facts and that that's just the way it is, that's democracy. It may be in today's Britain, but it shouldn't be. Again he was effectively justifying lying. Probably thinks, like others of his ilk, that lying and a robust debate are the same thing.

In fact the Leave campaign lied on an industrial scale and most interested and engaged people now realise that. As to lies by Remain, well it was a pathetic campaign masterminded by Cameron and Osborne. It was, as opportunist Boris said, a scare campaign.

However, whilst I would have preferred a positive campaign based on what the European Community has done for us, for Europe and for the wider world, we cannot yet say if the problems predicted by Cameron and Osborne are fact or fantasy. They were a prediction and that's dangerous, pulling figures out of the air is dangerous too, they might yet prove to be conservative - sorry for that one.

So lets examine the business of honesty, lying and misleading as a subject in its own right. If I say something is black when it is white that is a lie, simple. If I state a fact which is true but leave out information to deliberately create a false impression and mislead, that too is a lie, some may disagree, but if you deliberately seek to misinform and use a little of the truth along the way in order to do so (or partial statistics come to that), then that in my opinion is a downright lie.

It's more subtle and people can bluster, it's more difficult for the victim of the untruth to detect it, but doesn't that make it all the worse? If you seek to convey a falsehood with a grain of truth thrown in then the deception is all the greater, you're more likely to be believed. Saint Jeremy knows how to lie like a Brexiteer. Politics eh.

You can support this blog by purchasing my gift items at Redbubble, Society 6 or Artflakes

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

When Will Politicians Learn?

Saudi forces are attacking their neighbours in Yemen. They've hit civilian targets, such as a cooking oil factory where twenty five workers died in the ensuing fire and they're blockading the port of a country that has to import almost all its food so that children are malnourished and famine is a real possibility.

OK the Saudis don't like having neighbours governed by rebels and if they used their wealth and arms to secure their own borders no one would have any problems with that. Of course western governments like ours have not set a good example when it comes to interfering in the affairs of other countries.

However, we have a law that says arms should not be sold if there's a 'likelihood' of them being used on civilians, a bit weak in itself, yet we sell arms to a regime which is highly dubious at best and respects the human rights of women especially in its own society not a lot. Very tolerant of other religions too I think! How can this regime be trusted? Why would you?

I've long held the view and expressed it before that politicians on the whole have an instinct to do what they think is expedient ahead of that which they know to be right. Selling arms makes money - and that's all. Now you can argue if we don't sell them someone else will, but frankly it's not good enough.

When politicians from all nations learn to do what is right ahead of what is expedient, only then will we have a better world. Only when we set an example can we hope to influence others.

Boris Johnson is a prime example of an opportunist politician and guess who's talking to the Saudi government about this, well that will be helpful then. No comment as yet from the Foreign Office.

You can support this blog by purchasing from my gift stores for example Redbubble or Society 6

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The World Needs a UN Fit For Purpose

I've long thought that the United Nations is fatally flawed owing to the Security Council in particular being comprised of governments which like to think they know best and which have very different ideologies. I had reached the conclusion that although the United Nations could never, in its present form, bring about a largely, let alone completely peaceful world, at least it could do some good in humanitarian ways.

Its beginning to look like the UN isn't fit for purpose in this arena either. The Cholera epidemic in Haiti has long been blamed on a Nepalese UN peacekeeping force bringing the disease to the island and failing to prevent human waste, its human waste, entering the water supply. For years the UN denied it, but a proper scientific study found otherwise, stating, and I quote 'Cholera would not have broken out but for the actions of the UN'.

Two thousand years ago the Roman legions understood the need for proper latrines and sewage control, the dangers that human waste can bring, UN officers it seems have still to learn.

So, ten thousand people are dead, eight hundred thousand people have been affected and there are still fatalities every month. The UN, however, will not, even now, pay damages, claiming diplomatic immunity. Can you believe that? When an organisation like the UN loses its moral compass what hope is there?

This isn't the only other failing the UN has been guilty of recently either. I say 'other' because I've only just blogged about the failure of the security council in Aleppo and Syria generally. However, in South Sudan it seems certain that government troops were responsible for the rape and torture of aid workers and the execution of a journalist whilst a UN force, just minutes away ignored pleas for help.

The world NEEDS a properly constituted, effectively run, equal and moral United Nations and it needs it soon.

You can support this blog by purchasing products from my gift shops, such as Redbubble or Society 6

Friday, 19 August 2016

Spare A Thought For Lebanon

The war in Syria is at least in part due to the Arab Spring and that, at least in part, was a consequence of the war in Iraq, in other words you can trace many of the roots of the current turmoil in the Middle East back to George W. Bush and his dear chum Tony Blair.

A lot of the Brexit people were motivated to vote leave because of the free movement of people  in Europe and because of refugees from a conflict we helped set the scene for coming into Europe. Indeed to our further shame we've added to the munitions being thrown around in Syria.

The population in the beautiful and historic country of Lebanon is four million, that includes refugee families from World War Two and the conflict which saw the founding of Israel, something the fatally flawed UN, which I blogged about yesterday, should be thoroughly ashamed of, generations living as refugees over seventy years.

Anyhow, that population of four million has now had to absorb one million Syrian refugees. That's to say that every fifth person in Lebanon is now a refugee from the current conflict in Syria. No wonder if the Lebanese people have compassion fatigue and don't forget that in my lifetime they've suffered their own civil war and invasions by both Syria and Israel.

What excuse for those who only think about Great Britain and what they perceive is best for us?

Malcolm Snook is a writer, blogger and photographer some of his work is on gift items at Redbubble

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Why The United Nations Is Fatally Flawed

I came to the conclusion that the UN was fatally flawed years ago when I was a long distance solo sailor thinking about the war in Iraq, listening to the BBC World Service and considering new ways to campaign for peace. My thoughts from back then are in my book 'Of land, Sea And Sky' available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Yesterday it was reported that there were two hundred airstrikes on Aleppo in just twenty four  hours. Think about that for a moment two hundred in twenty four hours, with modern munitions. These were by the Russians and President Assad's forces. Cluster bombs were used on civilians, a designated war crime, hospitals and food markets were hit (again). There are so many burned out cars in the streets that getting casualties to what hospital facilities are left is becoming well nigh impossible.

Aleppo was a beautiful and historic city at the end of the famous silk road, it is supposed to be a World Heritage Site and yet the world stands by whilst its people and its heritage are destroyed. Why?

Well, the UN is first and foremost a club of governments and governments have vested self interest, but it's worse than that because five governments are more equal than all the rest - the five powers considered to have won World War Two. Why France is in that group I cannot imagine but however you look at it it's history and bears no relation to our world today, but Governments won't give up what they have.

Russia was the real victor of World War Two, Britain proudly stood alone in 1940 and it was truly our finest hour. America did great things on D-Day and in the effort to free Western Europe in particular and Hollywood will never let us forget it. The Atlantic Convoys were utterly heroic and much more, but, and it's a big but, some nine tenths of Hitler's war effort was directed at Russia and the twenty million Russian dead I was taught about at school now seems likely to be forty million souls. Compare that with our casualties.

Russia earned its place on the Security Council, but the world has changed. Russia feels the loss of the Soviet Union, her people think Putin is a great man, restoring their pride, but mass killing in Syria is not justified. The motive is to keep Syria as an ally and that means Assad must be in power. Peace, which is what the Security Council should be working for be damned.

The Russian people are not the problem, governments present themselves to people in certain ways and one of the lessons to be learned is don't believe what you are told by any government, western governments included, think for yourself and dig below the surface. The strategy in Aleppo is to drive civilians out by making life unbearable - it's a war crime.

A few months ago the conflict looked like it might end, but Russia's involvement gave Assad hope, when people have hope they can win outright they carry on, that prolonged the conflict and that means thousands more dead, including children and babies and many thousands more disfigured, made homeless and on and on. Russia can do this because she is militarily powerful and the Security Council stands by because Russia has an historic veto.

Ergo the UN is fatally flawed and needs to start again, from scratch with a new constitution.

You can support this blog by looking at, or even buying my products! Each post has a link of some sort at the bottom. For today I have a new Facebook page here which might interest readers, writers, photographers and musicians in particular.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


The new chancellor has said that all EU subsidies are guaranteed after Brexit - all of them, funding to universities, to farmers, to poorer regions like Wales, infrastructure and so on every single one. Then we hear inflation is increasing, but not the good inflation the Bank of England hoped to stimulate by printing money and cutting what was left for savers, ie the kind that comes from growth and rising wages, no, we have the kind that comes from rising costs in a shrinking economy.

So, about this promise, I predict one of the two following scenarios, number one the promise is broken with a caveat such as, well things are different now, OR even more borrowing. The so called deficit may have been falling pre the Brexit vote but debt was still rising. Now both will rise and quickly. I'm not a fan of borrowing one's way out of debt, so, anyone care to predict what the debt will get to? No, me neither.

Malcolm Snook's Redbubble.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Boris and The Russians

Our new and esteemed (by some) Foreign Minister, he of 'we'll still be leaders in Europe' fame has said he wants to rebuild relations with Russia. Now I am actually all in favour of talking, but can anyone really see Boris standing up to Putin on the bombing of hospitals, the militarisation of Crimea or state sponsored cheating?

Malcolm Snook's Redbubble can be found here.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Labour Leadership Woes

The Labour Party National Executive has won the right, on appeal only, to ban 130,000 new members, perhaps that should read paid up new members, from voting in the Leadership contest. The anti Corbynites will still lose that election I predict, having done the party even more damage.

Of course Owen and many in that party are worried Corbyn cannot win an election, I think they're right in that, although I don't think many people would trust another kind of  'New Labour' either given the damage the Blair Brown years wrought.

I wouldn't vote for any of them because they'd all borrow more and continue to let most people be confused by the difference between deficit and debt, and surplus and money in the bank! I think Corbyn would be a disaster as PM, but at least he stands for what he believes in and that is something one can have a degree of respect for. Although given the chance I believe he'd put the final nail in the nation's financial coffin.

I wonder if Labour's National Executive will now refund a hundred and thirty thousand fraudulently (in my view) accepted membership fees! That would at least be ethical.

If you like reading my blogs, please consider supporting my gift shop here.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

It May Be A Record Low - But It's The Same Old Problem

So, Mark Carney and his cronies were unanimous in cutting the base interest rate from half a percent to a quarter of one percent AND they say there's scope to cut it further!

Mark Carney said the Bank of England will do what is required for "monetary and financial stability".

Interesting; stability would have been keeping it the same. And with good reason, because the problem is low confidence, low consumer confidence and low business confidence brought about by Brexit. Does anyone really think another quarter of one percent off interest rates and printing even more money is going to change anything at all?

Is seeing a bank with nothing left in its armoury clutching at straws really going to boost confidence?

Admittedly going the other way and raising interest rates now might have caused a few of the indebted to panic, but if the aim is to steady the ship then doing nothing sends a message to people that things aren't so bad after all and that's about all that could have been done to inspire the missing confidence.

Eventually rates actually need to rise, to shore up the pound and make imported goods affordable, since as those prices go up, so too does inflation, it's not as simple as it seems, some balance is required.

House prices and buy to let are often brought into the argument, but its not just oldies like me who paid astronomical interest rates on their mortgages, truly astronomical, and who now cannot get a return on their money and see their savings devalue and dwindle - it's also those saving for a deposit on their first home who see the value of their savings going down even as they add to them. Balance is what we all need.

Unemployment is predicted to rise, growth to stagnate and everyone's holding their breath hoping to avoid the recession word. Balance Mark not another sign of panic in the face of the Brexit disaster.

Well done the broken Tories for creating a referendum to try and heal the division in their own ranks, well done the liars and well done those who voted with emotion not sense.

A friend of a friend of mine recently accused 'Remainers' on Facebook of wanting the country to go down the toilet. Presumably she thinks we want this to prove a point, but actually anyone who has a pension tied to the British economy, a job here in the UK, or kids wanting a future here absolutely doesn't want the country to go down the toilet. Not least because the option to emigrate may disappear too.

What is interesting is that this 'proud Brexiteer', her description not mine, actually acknowledges that the country could go down the toilet as a result of the chaos she voted for and inflicted on the 48 per centers. I wonder how many others are belatedly waking up to that possibility, or even have the sense to see it.

There is actually something big business could do to help this situation and themselves at the same time. Turn a problem into an opportunity. Funnily I wrote a chapter about it in a book I penned years ago. The book is called 'Of Land Sea And Sky' and the chapter is entitled 'Savers'.

If anyone out there is a board member of a company that sells high price items from cars to yachts, conservatories to new kitchens it might be worth reading the thing, actually in these circumstances it's a more powerful idea than ever.

Of Land, Sea And Sky