Wednesday 27 October 2010

Get your white poppy now!


No sane person could ever support or condone war, yet as a nation we seem to have been hoodwinked into accepting the sanitised glorification of killing that it Remembrance Day. Despite the white poppy being around since 1933, first distributed by the Co-operative Women’s Guild, we still have a long way to go to change the mass attitude to war. There is no ‘glory’ in war even though that is what the British Legion would have us believe. War is murder; indiscriminate slaughter at the behest of the rich and powerful. War is a money making opportunity that culls millions of lives; human sacrifices to the profit motive. When will the madness end?


You can make a difference! Buy a white poppy. Support the Peace Pledge Union. Spread the message that peace matters. PLEASE do your bit to help. Together we can eradicate war.

Monday 25 October 2010



“We’re all in this together” goes the cry from the ConDems when talking about their politically motivated cuts. ‘Fair’ and ‘fairness’ are words bandied about like they are going out of fashion. They profess to spread the pain of the highly accelerated deficit reduction equally. The trouble is that some are more in this together than others.

The comprehensive spending review is an exercise in extreme right wing ideology. The Tories want to butcher the state in such a drastic way that would no doubt win the admiration of the American Tea Party movement, and they are using the LibDems to do it. It has absolutely nothing to do with sane economics. The Tories have always been very clever when it comes to justifying economic policies. It seems to be a reflex action for them to reach for the analogy of the household budget when describing the country’s finances. I have no doubt this approach is done on purpose and for very cynical reasons. It’s done to muddy the waters. But it is also done because they assume that the average person in the street is incapable of realising that running the exchequer is actually a bit more sophisticated than household accounts. Unless of course George hasn’t twigged that it’s a little more complicated. In that case heaven help us.

Thank goodness the IFS tells it like it is!

Tuesday 19 October 2010


I haven’t really commented much on political stuff of late. The Labour Party conference was on whilst we were on holiday, with the leadership election announcement being made on the night before we flew out. Ed Miliband was my third choice but I was very pleased that he won over David. Blair might have delivered us into the land of electability, but many of the associated ideas and ideals of New Labour are now well past their sell by date, so it was good to get a leader than was not part of the Blair camp. I thought his acceptance speech was excellent and particularly his ‘I get it’ bits. I sincerely hope that he does ‘get it’ and keeps his ear to the ground enough to continue getting it. His divvying up of the Shadow Cabinet jobs was most certainly inspired which proves that he is a pretty shrewd operator Let’s hope that he can lead us back to the political promised land and that the next Labour government doesn’t ignore the people who elected it.

The video everyone is talking about

Wednesday 6 October 2010


I'm sure that there must be some good parts to Cyprus, but halfway through our September week there and we hadn’t found it. Cyprus is hot, arid and underwhelming. In its favour they drive on the proper side of the road, the electricity is British three pin plug style, and at British strength. The pillar boxes and phone boxes are also from a British mould but yellow and green respectively. Unfortunately much of the plumbing is Greek. You can understand why a certain sort of brit loves to holiday and retire here as it is a sort of little England in the sun. You've got household names here like Marks & Spencer and Debenhams plus US fast food establishments like KFC, Starbucks and the ubiquitous MacDonald’s. If you are a lager drinking Sun reader or a wine drinking Daily Mail reader you could live a 'normal' lifestyle here without ever having to subject yourself to "foreign muck" or be in danger of exposing yourself to any meaningful culture. Large proportions of the leather-skinned ‘ex pats’ seem to live in ghettos; reasonably specified ghettos admittedly, but ghettos all the same. Many of them will be the bigoted twats that will have criticised and felt threatened by immigrant communities when they lived in the UK. Personally I care not for isolationist ethnic communities wherever they exist. I understand why it happens and depending in which country you are in it can often be born out of necessity but segregation can never be right whether it be forced or voluntary. To get the most out of where you live you need to be part of a wider society.

Later on in the week we went up to Nicosia and crossed over to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Turkish part is stuck in time (early 1970s really) and quite charming as well as being somewhat dilapidated in parts. A certain rough around the edges charm. We had a wonderful lunch sitting under the trees between a mosque and a church.

I am assured that during the winter Cyprus greens up nicely, and I can quite believe it. No doubt during the winter it must be a reasonably pleasant place to be, but not so the rest of the year. If your idea of heaven is a hot dusty rock of an island, four and a half hours away by plane, where most of the buildings are boring concrete blocks and the beer is classically bland lager, then Cyprus could well be the place for you. As far as I’m concerned I have no plans to ever go there again.