Walking in the middle of the road

I do enjoy twitter. You end up discussing and arguing points with complete strangers. Sometimes you or they are enlightened. Sometimes you realise people do not want their thoughts to be challenged, however much the evidence says otherwise.

This weekend I had an interesting conversation with someone who said that you need an ideological standpoint to be able to drive through policy in government. I disagreed. He also stated that ‘no ideology is to sit between whatever parameters the mainstream considers permissible and this is neither free, diverse or soulful’. Now this was impossible to unpick, on twitter on a Sunday afternoon, when I was out for lunch with my wife. She did not appreciate me trying either. But it is an interesting thought process that is worth exploring.

The basis being that unless you are ideologically driven, then you cannot affect change. That if you have an ideological aim, this will drive you forward when times get difficult. This was in the context of both left and right, although I felt that the respondent was on the right. This thought I find interesting because it is the antithesis of what personally drives me. I reject fundamental ideology because in the end it I feel it blinds you to the errors and inadequacies of that ideology. Religion is the obvious candidate of this, but in British politics, Margaret Thatcher is a case in point. She revolutionised the economy in the eighties and after winning in 1987, seemed unbeatable. Yet the arrogance in her belief of her ideology stopped her and her party from seeing potential problems, leading to recession and the decision to implement the poll tax. She was eventually removed and a moderate, more liberal PM put in her place.

The socialism (and communism abroad) of the 70’s showed how purity of one system leads to poverty and economic ruin of the UK and the eventual fall of the communist economy. Now with both examples you will find exponents of these ideas blaming people, external influences or any other excuse for why their system did not work. But for me it is that fundamental belief that they are right, that always leads to their downfall. The thought process goes that if they just do one more policy, if they go that one step further, then everything will be proved right. This road to Damascus really just leads them nearer the edge of the oblivion. It is also interesting that the sudden surge in popularity in Corbyn’s socialism seems to forget the hardships of the 70’s and the rejection of these ideas thereafter.

So, what is a centrist? First of all, I don’t think I like that term; one term that I was given was political triangulation. A new one for me, but the labour triangulation of Tony Blair, John Smith and Gordon Brown essentially took the view of supporting the public services, while trying to encourage business. Could we argue that the decade 97-07 was one of the most prosperous for the country? I am not intentionally ignoring the crash that happened afterwards, but that happened to all systems globally and so could not be pinned on one political movement.

In the two-party system the liberals are seen as centrists who don’t seem to stand for anything. Further harmed by apparently leaving their core aims once they helped formed a coalition. Maybe this is what the correspondent meant. They don’t own a piece of the political pie and are neither one thing or the other. Their former leader got stuck on the gay sex commentary meaning their message was lost. They have struggled to find a clear identity and liberals are seen to be woolly and nice, but not really effective to lead the country. This means, with the current first past the post system, they are not seen as credible and lose votes. Again, not helped when their leader said they did not want to win, just to be the effective opposition. A bit pathetic for me.

Personally, I think the centrist view is the ideal location. We should be a pro-business country as the entrepreneurial system drives change and is a true meritocracy. The successful can thrive on that success. We should also be there when people fail. This is the social side where government should be there so that when times turn difficult, people are able to live, get back on their feet and start again. This egalitarian approach does not mean we are jealous of people who work hard and earn money. More often than not they deserve it. We should neither look down on people who are poorer and who may only survive on benefits. The divisive politics that we are currently in is driving a wedge between many groups in this country and it is only getting worse. Pro EU v Brexiteers. Rich v poor. Right v left. Farage v decency and humanity. The last thing we need is the right-wing of the country taking us down the hard Brexit route, any more than the left-wing socialism of Corbyn, creating more debt. Both sides create walls which mean you are either with them or against them, which is utterly ridiculous and not what we need from our politicians.

There has to be a different choice. On the right, we have a Tory party, dying of the cancer of Brexit, and unable to see past austerity for any solution to the debt problem, because they refuse to increase tax. On the left, we have our socialist party, who would spend their way out of austerity, but our debt is £1.56 trillion. The interest alone is £43 billion, which is approximately 40% of our NHS spending. The dogmas of each party need re-assessing so that the country can move forward and prosper. Neither though is willing to blink first and so moves further away each day from the very position that the country needs.

This is where a new way needs to be found. I agree that something needs to drive you in terms of ideas in politics, where ever you find yourself on the political spectrum. Your driving principles. Yet when this inhibits your decision-making process because it is your way or the wrong way then that is where ideology has indoctrinated your thought process. This is where politics needs to learn from science. A politician’s ideas can be put forward, but they should then be tested. Parameters of success should be stated before the policy is enacted and a time period given for that success. It should be periodically reviewed, by the select committees, and improvements made to the policy. The problem we have had is the swings from one position to another mean we neither know whether it works as a policy and it wastes billions in the process. The prime example of this is the NHS and is the very reason why it struggles to do its job. The enlightened have already suggested that the politics should be taken out of the NHS and a cross party group should be there to run it and make the incremental changes over time to ensure it does its job, efficiently and cost effectively. The boom and bust regime changes over the last 20 years have not worked, left the NHS bankrupt and on its knees.

Have we evidence that this different approach works? Look at the conservative policy after the 1992 election(once we left the ERM), of aiming for low inflation and trying to provide stability for the economy to thrive. Labour, gained power in 1997 promising to keep this policy and extending it by giving the bank of England independence. This time period to the 2008 recession was the longest period of growth this country had seen. Stable centrist politics, giving continuity to business and so to the people in the country.

No dogma, no ideology, no extremism, no Brexit and no great divides opening up in the country. I challenge you to look at the division of the socialist era of the 70’s, the right-wing 80’s and compare that to the unifying time when Blair first came to power and the hope this brought(whether you agree with him or not). That is what will drive this country forward and putting in the safeguards so that parliament can stop the corrupt deviating from this (Iraq war). I also challenge you, whether you are with him or against him(!!), whether Donald Trump is a unifying force for the US or the world? Is this the politics that will breed success and bring unity?

The liberals have an opportunity to drive this change by reinventing themselves, as Labour did into New Labour. By giving the people what they want. Stability, a government for the people, a tax system that is seen to be fair and an end to the divisive politics which has dogged our system for the last few years. If they cannot do it then I fear for the future of our country, because both sides are currently more interested in fighting for themselves, rather than for the people of this country.

Looking for a mirror for the Brexiteers

I am troubled at the moment. I am deeply saddened by the state of our politics and the possible consequences to this. We are blindly walking into a possible self-induced recession and even if this doesn’t happen, we will be poorer as a country for the foreseeable future. And to make matters worse it is all our own doing. So what next?

As brexit reaches its final conclusion how will this play out in the coming years. As Britain falters internationally and becomes poorer what are the likely outcomes for our current decisions.

Immigration will go down. This is already happening and as higher skilled jobs are reduced in the UK, EU immigrants will stop coming to this country. It has been shown in numerous studies that EU workers take jobs that we don’t do. They do not lower wages and do not take jobs from locals. This means when they leave and locals don’t want the low skilled jobs, the jobs will more than likely move with the workforce. A global jobs market. Fewer jobs means less money in the country affecting the supply jobs and services. This happened to devastating effect in the mining & mill towns and they have never recovered. Extend this across the country.

Deregulation: To make this work we will be told to lose our regulations in the workplace to become more competitive. This means losing your workers rights and increasing zero hour contracts. We have the lowest unemployment ever, but this includes anyone working one hour a week. Those contracts do not support families or society but will be pushed as the answer. The attachment shows the devasting effect this can have.


NHS sold off? We are currently hemorrhaging nurses and doctors to the EU, who feel unwanted and abused by our current administration and society. This means the NHS is struggling to function and the only way they can effectively work through these problems is to privatise parts of the system. Once this starts it will be very difficult to stop. The US are desperate to buy into our healthcare and when we are at our most vulnerable the Tories are likely to sell out to these companies and the drug companies increasing costs, to ensure they get a trade deal.

£350 million brexit dividend: The lies that are still peddled about the money we will receive by leaving the EU is incredible. It has been shown that just getting our civil service to replace the EU civil service will cost us more than we pay at the moment. We are losing money as our economy grows at a slower pace and we become less efficient as we don’t have the people who we need to work in the economy. No dividend, just higher costs for the country. Who will pay for this in the end? Less benefits, lower wages, higher food costs. The poor will pay proportionally more and lets not forget, they were the ones who really went for brexit.


Increased Nationalism: I have often said that when this started, I was no fan of the EU. I did not truly understand how interconnected we were and how much they do for us all. For me, it was about being part of a global nation where we all worked together, with diversity as a strength. We have already seen the abuse foreigners have received and quite frankly it sickens me to see the country become so inward looking. On BBC question time recently, people/immigrants were talked about purely in what they brought financially to the country. Is this the same for all the Indians, West Indians, Australians? Are we just interested in what they brought to us financially or can we recognise that they brought cultural differences which have helped the country to develop into one of the most open, tolerant societies in the world. This is all changing with the brexit movement. Once the blame is pushed onto parts of society for all the problems and they are removed, these poeple will just move onto the next group and the next group. History shows that the bigoted will always blame everyone but themselve. Everyone else will always be the enemy. Where will this stop?

As ever, the rich people in power will ensure that tax loopholes remain and they can stay protected against any of these disturbances. Our society will be become less tolerant and the blame will continue to anyone except the liars who brought us brexit. They will never accept responsibility and the poorest will be hardest hit. I hope I am wrong on this. I don’t see how I can be if we leave with no deal. I still speak to some brexiteers who talk of a nirvani after leaving the EU, yet offer no evidence. Just the statement we are British. I hope this is enough. This once great nation has shot itself not just in the foot but perhaps terminally as Northern Ireland and Scotland look to leave as we did the EU and who can blame them. Then all that will be left is a bunch of English nationalist blaming the world for our demise. Yet all they need is a mirror.


The Trial of Tommy Robinson

What an excellent piece. As a teacher I am currently trying to show that Tommy Robinson is not the victim of the establishment and he had never done wrong. But in fact your piece puts it far better and will be shared so we can have that dialogue about how liberal ppl lile myself lose his correct message because of the bigoted stuff that has been said in the past.

Concrete Milkshake

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – better known by his pseudonym Tommy Robinson – has been making headlines again. He is currently on bail due to his proclivity for repeatedly filming himself on court premises during active rape cases, and broadcasting the footage to his sizable Facebook audience. In his capacity as a guerrilla journalist for Rebel Media, Robinson turned up outside Canterbury crown court in May 2017 and attempted to film four defendants in a Muslim Grooming Gang trial. He was charged with contempt of court as a result and given a three month suspended sentence, along with an absolutely explicit warning that any repeat offence within an 18 month period would see his three month term of imprisonment activated immediately.

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Brexit the Success

Just for a moment lets imagine Brexit as a success. The day after the referendum David Cameron resigns and within weeks Theresa May is in place. She looks at the situation and see’s the contradictions that the leave campaign played but also shrewdly the main reasons for Brexit to sell this to all sides. She was adamant that the 48% should not be ignored.
Conciliation is sought for the 48% of the country, with a clear directive that we must leave the EU. The Northern Ireland border is highlighted immediately as to why we must stay in the customs union and Single market and the Norway model is pushed as the right way forward. Under this model the EU are happy to progress with trade talks and Article 50 is initiated.
The government gains widespread support for the model and although some in the tory party and UKIP feel this is still too close to the EU, reporting shows all sides saying this model as the preferred option before the referendum, allows the critics to be ignored as extremists. The Northern Ireland border issue is never contentious, the remainers who see that we keep some of the benefits of the EU but still keep the referendum result are predominantly satisfied and although some still feel that we should stay in the EU, the consensus has swung towards this deal. Once this has been agreed the UK government are then free to focus on the main issues that dominate the public’s life. The NHS, education and our public service gain a boost from the economic certainties and tax revenues rise. Theresa Mays popularity is strong as Labour fall into a crisis of confidence over anti-Semitism. Her strong position is maintained until the 2020 election, where she wins a landslide victory.
They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what has happened after the referendum result is nothing short of criminal, as politicians played with this countries future for their own political glory. The rich have influenced this government to the extent that its future is being gambled away, while the likes of Rees-Mugg move their business dealings to capitalise on Brexit. Nigel Lawson and Nigel Farage ensure they and their family have EU citizenship and have the advantages they desperately want taken away from the people of this country.
The statements made by these politicians stating they have no concerns about the border show a total disregard for the people of this country and show the narrow view they take on the future and for themselves. They care nothing for the people of this country and the problems they are having. The lies they won the referendum on are regurgitated with no real plan as to how they will achieve this. This is why Brexit is such an utter failure. There own vain interests and agendas are pushed as a national agenda and to hell with the people. This has to stop. Without this absence of leadership and rational, Brexit could have been successful, in some ways it still could, but the two years of utter failure have led to entrenched beliefs and poor rhetoric which many now cannot take back. Boris Johnson the case in point, where he feels the only way he can keep himself in the news, is to make more outlandish comments. His advisor Bannon, Trumps right hand orifice, always knowing how to stoke the fires of hate and nationalism.
Our only chance now to heal the nation is a second vote. This should have several options, including no deal and the Norway model. This will show what people are now voting for, rather than some mystical land of opportunity that does not exist.
This week the ‘chequers plan’ is dead in the water and the rhetoric against the EU is only worsening our relationship and the situation. If we are to have a Brexit success and a united nation, our politicians need to think of the country and not of their careers.

Is the ugly head of Fascism rising?

If we make the same mistakes, does this guarantee the same results? World recession leading to protectionism and trade wars. Growing nationalism and fascism, creating ‘strong’ leaders. Strong being self-obsessed, who use fear and immigration to consolidate their Homebase creating hatred towards a group in their country, even though they are that nationality.

Am I talking about 1925-35 or our current political system? Well, you can see the similarities and how our current political class are either making the same mistakes as the past or purposely using that knowledge to get what they want. The latter is a scary thought because what is there end game?

Although it is a worry that the same mistakes are being made, there are institutions that have been embedded that can hopefully stop a major conflict from happening. The UN is far superior to the league of nations, but its fundamental weakness is that it hasn’t evolved to be more inclusive and remove the power base from the 5 main nations, all of whom have betrayed the trust in the UN. Will it hold up against the current attacks by the US and Russia? I think it did in the cold war because it was essentially two main powers and they ignored smaller conflicts and both had nuclear weapons, but so many smaller, unstable nations are now acquiring these weapons, it means although a low risk, there is more possible chance of a nuclear war than before.

The other major institution is the EU. All the major wars of the past were started in Europe, with atrocities killing millions in both world wars. Churchill saw that economic union was the way to create stability and peace, which has been shown to be correct. Although not eradicating fascism in Europe, it has never risen to the heights of the 1930’s. The economic union, soon turned into a political union, as Churchill foresaw and wanted, and this peace seemed unbreakable.

This is why it has been attacked so much by the far right and the constant abuse of the EU, was allowed in Britain because of our natural suspicion and prejudice to foreigners. This is especially present in the older generations who hold these views far more than the younger population of the country. Fortunately, the chaos of the UK has shown the rest of Europe just how much it does for each individual nation and where many predicted France, Netherlands, Greece and Italy would join the UK in leaving, not one is close to this. Even Italy is discussing many aspects of the EU, but in no conversations is there talk of leaving the EU.


So, the mistakes of the past do not necessarily lead to the same end results. But the fascist leaders, Trump, Farage, Le pen have had an impact funded and supported by Putin. All these have continually argued against these world bodies because they bring that stability, peace and prosperity. They have undermined the UN to cause the migration problem. They have undermined the EU with Brexit and they are now undermining democracy in the US.

These institutions are not perfect, but do you trust the UN and EU to work it out, or selfish, lying sycophants who currently drive Brexit and the trump administration.  I know where my loyalty would lie. With democracy every time and Russian supported election results with Brexit and Trump are not something I would trust. So, I would call for greater integration, unity and collaboration, while keeping the individual nation state as the EU has. It worked. Not perfectly, but it has brought peace and prosperity. The Fascists try to fuel nationalism to divide us, but the institutions we have developed are there to unite us, we should continue to work on these institutions, to improve and support our weakest individuals and avoid the wars that blighted us in our past so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes.

Putin’s Mirage

What a world cup. The football was amazing and yet again the old stalwarts are slowly being removed and the invincibility being removed. Putin should take note.

While watching the BBC final summary of the world cup, it was said how we had Russian wrong. How open and friendly the country was and how Putin has in fact delivered a world cup to remember. It was definitely one of the best, but does this change the face of Russia?

As with the winter Olympics, Russia gave a fantastic show. But like any serial abuser, the show only gets better to distract from the bruises. Russia is still waging war with Ukraine, through Russian trained militia fighters. It has still illegally annexed Crimea. It has still emboldened President Assad to use chemical weapons on numerous occasions on innocent civilians. He is still waging an online war to divide the US and push the UK towards Brexit.

When the BBC and others wax lyrical about Putin and Russia they need to remember that when you are killed for speaking out again Putin then why would you openly disagree with him. As the Simon Reeves show on Russia showed, the secret police are everywhere and this is not a free country to openly voice concerns. You struggle to be openly gay in the country and corruption is rife.

So, lets try and be clear with this. The Russian people live in a totalitarian state. They are not the enemy. The Russian people are just people trying to survive and so they are friendly, welcoming and enjoy their sport. We should not be surprised by this but see it as further evidence that there is more than we have in common than differences.

This should not detract from the fact that Putin has put every effort to divide the EU and the United states. His paid servants in the white house and UKIP have done a marvellous job in promoting and pushing for a fascist in the UK and US. He does not mind if it fails because the turmoil and distractions mean he can continue to strip his countries assets and abuse his people with impunity.


Yes, it was a fantastic world cup, but let’s not kid ourselves of anything other than the illusion that Putin is our enemy. He will remain our enemy until he stops interfering in other countries by force or online and delivers a democracy to the Russian people.

The self destructing Baby Boomers: Mark 2

This is my second attempt, as my wife thought the first was a little harsh. So lets try again!

It was interesting to see a recent study showing people believe life in the ‘past’ was better than it is now. Those baby boomers who are forever looking back to their childhood are just disappointed with what they have today. This bitterness hit its ultimate peak when a large majority voted for Brexit.

So, has the generation that ‘never had it so good’, lost it and live in a worse time? I have to say times were simpler in the past. You knew where you were, who you were and what your life would be like, just by knowing where you were born.

The industrial north, from where I originate, allowed a good 20% to attend grammar schools and the rest would work in the factories, mines or mills. You were working class and women stayed at home and the empire ruled. Those certainties in life and the patriotism of the generations of two world wars was a constant reminder of what Britain stood for. For a lot of people these certainties were not barriers but comforts for their lives.

The baby boomers grew up with these certainties. They also grew up with what Britain had achieved in the two wars and an arrogance about the British empire, what it achieved and what it meant to be British in the world. The evil of fascism had been defeated and liberalism was giving freedom and choice to people in this country and abroad. As we became more prosperous, immigrants came in to do the jobs we did not want to do and Women were emancipated.

This is scary for people who do not understand or can influence their surroundings. They feel lost in a country they don’t recognise. This insecurity has been nurtured, manipulated and helped create an atmosphere where we now call Europe our enemy. Where public bodies are the decried and identity politics has meant all reason for some has gone.

This is a political failure of our liberal establishments, who have ignored the poor in this country for too long. They scoffed at the thought we would ever leave the EU and so did not engage and inform on Europe. The Baby boomers who always saw Britain as independent still think we can pick up where we left off. What they fail to remember is that we joined the EEC because we were the sick man of Europe. We were struggling, going to the IMF for loans and although other issues were at play in those times, the EEC was the security we wanted and needed. The conservative manifestos for thirty years all wanted more integrated business relationships (Single Market and CU). Yet all we have focussed on is the negatives and an undemocratic push for greater integration. Our reticence has been right, staying out of the Euro and Schengen, so we can control our borders and finances, but a lack of opportunity to vote on the Lisbon treaty in the UK and a fiddle of the votes on the continent, has meant a suspicion about who controls Europe. Again, this has been exaggerated and democracy is being strengthened within the EU institutions. Like any new democracy, it is not perfect, but arriving at the right place.

The baby boomers, who have seen no war in western Europe, believe they have witnessed a decline in the UK status. No longer a strong independent country, but now just part of a club. Not a single strong voice, but one lost in the voices of the EU. Yet, we were losing this voice anyway and this is the best way to bring peace and prosperity to a wider region and the world.

What we have failed to do is look after the communities that have changed so much and sat back expecting thanks for the changes. Although they are wealthier and living in better housing, the poorest do not see the benefits of the global world. Health and education has improved immeasurable, but they are less likely to take advantage of this as the poorest tend to be the least educated and have the poorest health. They perceive a sneering ruling class looking down on the way they live and reject its advice. This is a failure of the government and the fascists in the UK and US have seized this opportunity. It is easier to blame immigrants and the EU, than tell people if they don’t work hard at school they won’t get the same opportunities. This though is not the EU or immigrants fault, but personal responsibility, to better their life and their children’s. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” JFK (and yourself). Wise words which need saying now, too many in this country expect it all to be done for them.

The Baby boomers are in the twilight of their lives. They have free health. They are richer than any demographic group in the country and they live in a country that has been safe, secure and prosperous within the EU. The uncertainties and freedoms they fought for, could soon be lost as fascism rises and Brexit reduces our ability to have the freedoms the EU has given us. The peoples vote for a second referendum would be an opportunity for this generation to step up and allow future generations to have a better future, with choices. At the moment, they will be passing on a poorer, less tolerant and insular country. Everything past generations fought against.

The bizarre relationship between safe standing and brexit

Now I know I am getting obsessed when everything seems to link to Brexit! How can safe standing in football possibly show us this mentality?
I am an ardent Bradford City Fan, so I’m not in it for the glory, although we have had our moments. Any football fan knows that the highs and the lows are part of supporting your team, although for us lower league supporters, the moaning by Arsenal fans because they finish 4th or 5th is a little grating. My first match watching Bradford was in the late 70’s and I write this knowing I have been supporting them and watching/playing football for 40 years, it makes me feel a little old.
So, West Brom and Celtic have been asking for safe standing areas. This is because some fans don’t like sitting down and also people naturally stand when anything exciting happens. So, it seems logical to get people to stand and satisfy this urge and then enforce the seating more vigorously. This seems sensible but has many pitfalls.
Firstly, it is dependent on the stewarding in a club. I have been to Bradford and many away sections and have rarely seen anyone picked up for foul and abusive language and only recently are racist comments being chased. This only seems to happen when a player complains and not when a steward sanctions a fan for it. I am now sitting in the family section as my 10-year-old is keen to follow the mighty Bantams. It is amazing when you sit with a child how more you notice the language, homophobic comments and undertones of violence aimed at players and officials. This does put people off, whether you think people are too sensitive or not, in the family section and elsewhere. I would expect something to be said to the fans, who feel paying their money is sufficient excuse to behave like this, it rarely is. The point is, stewards do not pick up the basics, never mind making individuals sit continuously throughout the game. If they don’t do it now, they are not going to do it in the future and so we will have a slow trickle of greater standing areas. Some would welcome this.
The second issue is the demographics now going to the football. What was a very male dominated environment, has changed to a more family friendly audience and female participation. If anyone has not seen ‘Fever Pitch’* as a film, I would recommend it. But the key moment is the game which coincided with Hillsborough. When the Arsenal scored and the crowd went mad, that fear and lack of control of the crowd, that they show the female character suffer, was a weekly occurrence at every busy ground.

Now for every decent fan who wants to stand up and enjoy that experience, I wonder the type of fan who would also be attracted to this area? Are these the types who follow stewards guidance?
The change to seating was because people were dying in football grounds. Supporters were injured regularly and fighting happened inside and outside the ground. Do we want a situation that these types feel they will enjoy coming to the football again? I know some who have never been a hooligan in their lives, will feel aggrieved that they are being labelled like this. But hand on heart, people know that any supporter who leans towards being overly aggressive, will be attracted to this section? It is naïve to think that they will not be attracted to this section and all the issues this will cause.
It is a backward step on what has been a massive improvement in the sport. Football violence is down from the the 80’s. How many fans have died because of having seating in stadiums? How safe do we all feel now because of the safety in stadiums? But we have a group of sentimental supporters, who want for a bygone atmosphere, but seem to forget all the issues that occurred weekly because of the stands and attitude within the ground.
Hence the link to Brexit. The changes made throughout the 90’s and 2000’s happened for a reason. People dying is a reason for change. Would we change to having no seatbelts or having smoking back in pubs. It is not a restriction on rights, but lifesaving changes made for a reason. In the same way, all the small changes of shifting decisions we make to a centralised European system happened because it saved money, enabled opportunity for everyone in Europe and supported peace within a widening area, importantly for us in Northern Ireland. The fascists who want to change this think they can bring back a bygone age of the empire and British rule. They sold a past that we changed for a reason. So, we could feel safer and be better off. This is why we have all seater stadiums. This is why we are members of the EU. This is why we must stop both changes and be better off in our lives and in a football stadium. I have been at a ground when supporters have died. I don’t want to take a massive step back in life and football.


*Fever Pitch by Nick Holby – Excellent book and film

A Syrian and UN Catastrophe

So, yet another chemical attack on civilians has occurred and the world condemns but does little to change the situation. This failure of weak regimes in the US and expansionists in Russia and China mean the nation state should no longer have the power over the rest of the world that five countries currently hold. The UN and its security council needs to be run as a democracy, not left to the whim of selfish governments who are seen as major powers but use it like childish bullies.
The first step is to remove the veto from the security council. Each region should have an equal representation and a commanding majority should be needed for action to be in place (2/3rd majority). The permanent members should lose this position and the 15-20 states should rotate on a yearly basis.
All aid should go through the UN and be directed through its committees, rather than used as bribes by ‘major states’.
All disputes should go to the SC and the solutions brought about through it. Any country or group that goes against this agreement would see the full might of world action against it and all solutions for its benefit to be removed. Once seen as the aggressor, they lose all communications and must surrender before coming back to the negotiating table.
This means several power shifts will happen. First, the major nations will not be allowed to bully smaller nations with aid or money, as one nation will make little difference overall, which should remove the bribery.
The second is by removing the veto no nation can hold undue influence. Yes, this means that the UK, France and the US, who once were the beacons of democracy will lose that influence. But by arguing against this it treats other nations as childish and unable to make a decision.
It would mean all conflicts/disputes could and eventually should go through UN diplomacy. An example of this would be if the Catalans went to the UN to ask for independence. Independent monitors could assess the situation on the ground to see if this is what the people want. If it was felt a vote was required, then this would be put in place with the UN observing and ensuring a fair vote is in place. The Catalan example is a good example because although there are some strong opinions about this, I have read that most Catalans, although proud of their region, are happy to be in Spain and the EU. The indepenece vote is being driven by a few and is only gathering momentum because of the Spanish reaction.
You can though see why this will not be allowed to happen with the current regimes. The expansionists to the East, with Russia and China, will never allow a mechanism where they are thwarted, because they will suddenly be against the whole international community rather than a single nation. This makes the gamble to great. They would not be building islands in the south china sea or invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea.
The US would never allow this either, not with the current regime, but also with the general influence in the US. This is because the major conflict that is still on going is the Israel/Palestinian conflict. The current regime in Israel is again taking full advantage of the malaise in the international community and is expanding its borders into Palestinian territories. Yet a solution that each would agree to, must favour no state and so only by an independent treaty will any solution be found. Both sides have fought too long to be seen as the side that gives too much.

Finally, it would allow the forgotten wars, such as the war in Yemen, to be dealt with, rather than millions of lives wasted fighting in a civil war that will never stop in the short term, unless one side is brutally removed.
These people are not savages or foreigners who we should ignore, but Humans with the same ambitions and needs as ourselves. This is why as nations we need to lose a bit of sovereignty and give this power to the UN. There will be states, individuals who will test its resolve. But it won’t happen more than twice before any aggressor sees the futility of fighting the whole community.
This though shows how out of step I am with current thinking. The fascist nationalism that is sweeping the western democracies has meant we are in the grip of the biggest self-harm in recent history. As Russian bots send out misinformation to undermine our democracies, we fight the wrong enemy. All with a grubby power sweep away from peace and towards the wars in the future. Power shared is power that is less likely to be abused. This is shown in the EU and the UN. When it is done correctly we see prosperity and peace in regions and the solidarity we have been shown with the chemical attack in Salisbury, shows the power of the group. We are about to lose this. Is the world about to see the same problems as war comes to more regions with no power to stop it?

The religion of Brexit

What do they say? Never talk about politics or religion. What about when both merge into one? Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and recently openly white, most people are not distinctive in their political beliefs, even if they stick to one party all their life. Although I had always voted Conservative, when Blair won the 1997 election, I did not feel an impending doom, more a wonder at the first Labour government that I would know. I don’t know what colour I would be at the moment, but as I have aged (badly at times) I am more rainbow than I can remember. The policy tends to skew the political line I agree with. This makes me out of synch with modern political thinking.


You are now with us or against us. The enemy, traitors or unpatriotic, the reaper of our doom. It used to be the bloke on the corner with a sign saying ‘the end is nigh’, now it is anyone who disagrees with you. I fell into this trap after the Brexit vote. As I abused all leave voters of being racist in a slightly drunken annoyance, a good friend of mine told me he voted to leave and explained why. I was a little taken aback by his reasoning (project fear), but I realised I should not treat all leave voters with disdain, but to engage with them to see why they voted this way.

I am obviously not talking about the small number of racists, xenophobes who did vote because they hate anyone who is different, I am talking about people like my friends, sister, work colleagues who voted to leave because of two crucial anxieties.

Those were trust and control. This is what most discussions come down to. There is deep unease in the majority of the country that politics is being run for the few and not the many. That corruption is diluting what was a great country and politics and the people in it are running it for themselves and friends. The gap between London centric Westminster and the rest of the country has never felt wider. Brexit has capitalised on this.

If you look back at the last 25 years, since the UK left the ERM, we have had a constant stream of abuse towards the EU. Chapter and verse has been laid out by Pastor Farage and his Mail & Telegraph cronies, how all our ills have been created by the EU. How they take all our money and get the rewards.


How it is run by beaurocrats, undemocratic and that ‘they’ waste our money for their pleasure. All this went, wrongly, unchallenged by an arrogant ruling class, and so, many assumed it must be true. Even when the accusations became more extreme and bizarre. The straight banana’s and the endless stream of refugees.

farage immigration

As this continued over time, our politicians were able to pass the buck to the Europeans, especially the Tories, who predominantly are seen as the ruling class. Anything that could not be done was their fault. Anything that went wrong or cost money was an EU directive. Then amazingly, when we went abroad those foreigners did not seem to follow the same rules. So ‘They’ must just ignore them and we are the fools for following them!

The belief increased to the extent it can no longer be questioned. Facts are used to argue a point, something I have done many times and yet I am told that I’m deluded. That I don’t understand. When I ask for the facts or evidence, I receive non. It is a belief like religion, that can never be wrong. Some have invested too much into this belief to accept that they may be wrong.

It did not help when Cameron and Osborne made wild statements of impending doom if we left the EU. All credibility was lost when they took the extreme view rather than simply pointing out that all analysis shows the UK worse off by leaving the EU.

This week, reality seemed to bite. Theresa May made a good speech where it was seen that to be able to trade with Europe we would still have to follow its rules. She made some good suggestions about how we can have ‘frictionless’ customs and how this should allow the continued progress in NI to be maintained.


But if you read the speech, the question begs, why are we leaving? There is no magic market in the world, which will bring us wealth. The only benefit is that we will not participate in the EU politic progress. This means we will follow their rules, but not shape them. Who has control now?

The ruling class, the conservatives, will feel like they run the country, but who will benefit from this? Will we have more equality when this happens? We could vote for the other extreme of failed socialism through the Corbyn party? Will this bring us closer together as a nation or be just another form of a divisive politics. Us v them!

Ideological belief, a religion that allows you never to accept your way is the wrong way, has never worked out well for a country. It is now more than ever than we look at the history of successful nations who have come together, worked together and created integrated laws to be successful (UK, USA, EU) rather than the authoritarian regimes that are inward looking, nationalistic (Russia, Soviet Union, Cambodia, China, N Korea) and are happy for their citizens to suffer for their ideological dream. Our future is working together, economically and politically. This is the control, it is the trust we need to gain back.

Is the world losing all respect for the USA?

The obvious answer is no. We do not judge the US by one man. However vile, racist and arrogant he is. Yet we are watching open mouthed as the land of the free turns into a de facto dictatorship.

The cornerstone of freedom is to have a free press. Yet the ‘fake news’ campaign is being used to undermine the press. It is not facts that are used to undermine the press but insults and pressure. It may be a bit far to claim he has Putin’s touch with dealing with the press, because Trump is not killing or imprisoning anyone who disagrees, but it is a fundamental principle that is being abused for his own end. The press is continually abused who don’t agree with him, while he feigns pleasure with Fox news as they pander to his sycophantic ways.

The irony is not lost when he criticizes a book about him, calling it lies, when he spouted so many about Obama’s birthplace or the never-ending changes to the Russian collusion story. He now wants to use the libel laws to curtail the press. This because he wants to hide Russia; sexual assault; money laundering and recently adultery. Freedom for the people or for Trump?

This is the man who is bad mouthing the US federal police force continually. Undermining respect for their work and the personal in their service. If he has nothing to fear then he should be happy for the investigation to proceed. Prove the doubters wrong. But we all know he complains too much.

Obama, the halcyon days. I wonder how much Americans crave the time when a president was coherent, calm and clear. Had the respect of the world, except Russia. Many thought it was because he was weak. Maybe it was because he wasn’t taking their money, sleeping with their women and colluding with them to steal an election? Anyone who still claims Obama was not capable, must now be seen as a racist. There is no explanation other than his skin colour. You don’t have to agree with his politics to see he progressed the country.

Every facet of the US constitution is under attack (apart from the 2nd amendment of course, no one seems to care in congress about 10000 gun deaths a year). Freedom of speech. Freedom of expression. The right to protest. All OK, good people on both sides, unless it is against president Chump. This poisonous regime is splitting the US into factions ready to fight, rather than uniting as a strong nation.

What can the US do about this? Obviously, Mueller is trying his best to find evidence so that Trump can be impeached. A senior diplomat resigned saying he could no longer serve under this administration. This is the time that the people need to look at the officials who just do as there told, even when they know it is wrong. The officials who follow and don’t question. I would suggest that there could be comparisons with Nazi Germany in the mid 1930’s. An appeasement to let Trump attack Muslims or the Mexicans, because it is not us. Eventually though these people, Trumps thugs, go for anyone that dares to disagree. You only have to look at Charlottesville and how he failed to condemn the racists who eventually killed a US citizen. Luckily the US is not Germany in the 1930’s. But the respect for its institutions is being seriously degraded by this fool and only the people can stop him. The politicians, especially the republicans, seem gutless to do anything.

How does this affect the UK? We have the Tories lying about Brexit and attacking our institutions for telling the truth. The ghost of Christmas past*, Rhys Mogg, is attending far right talks and attacking our foreign aid budget. The good Friday agreement is put in jeopardy to satisfy the right wing and a minority have driven wedges between groups so that they can peddle lies with little reproach.

The press, who have been guilty of expressing opinion rather than facts, need to focus on the latter and ensure the trust in hat they say is returned. This would allow the public to have more faith in what they read and then the serial liars, like Trump and Farage can be called out and seen for what they are.

One thing is for sure. No swamps are being drained and the US will have to work hard to correct the debacle of this current regime.


  • first seen on @37paday. An excellent twitter feed.