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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014


david cameron has once again rejected alex salmond's request for a tv debate over the question of scottish independence.

now i confess i am ambivalent about scottish independence, i also don't know enough about the terms of the debate to have an informed position (which pretty much makes me like everyone else involved in the discussion).
alex salmond is one of those people who gets right on my tits. oh for sure he isn't in the same league as piers morgan or richard littlejohn for annoying me just by being alive, but he is definitely in the second tier. that said i have to admit he is a very effective speaker.

my commonsense view is that the union is better for us all and that separate countries is just going to lead to all sorts of misery for all sorts of people.
however there is the 'fuck 'em view' (this was first posited in a paper from harvard back in 1967 in a discussion about the merits of bazooka joe bubble gum) that has me thinking 'go on, sod off and don't come back. then reality kicks in and i remember that without the labour members of parliament that scotland votes in we are likely to live in a conservative lead country from here to eternity.
- please don't go scotland.

salmond describes cameron's avoidance of the debate as  "partly arrogance and partly fear", which is just salmond's way of trying to get more people on his side.
salmond is a canny (see what i did there?) operator and he knows that a post toff etonian isn't the sort of person that most scots like (to be fair - most english don't like him either) and by constantly bringing cameron into the debate salmond scores points.
salmond is right about the fear part - for two reasons. cameron knows that any intervention that he makes is going to cost votes for the union side. cameron maybe a posh toff, but he isn't a complete idiot. this is one of the reasons why he has left the union argument in the hands of alistair darling, ex labou chancellor. the fear is no matter how cameron performs, no matter he says or promises just being involved will lose votes.
the other reason why cameron is scared is because he knows that salmond would wipe the floor with him - and while we would all like to see that i don't think it would be beneficial to the country at all.

you can't help thinking that there is a little fear on the side of salmond. that he has to resort to invoking cameron smacks of desperation and the last roll of the dice of someone who knows he has lost the argument.

so hear my plea scotland - say no. you know it makes sense. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014


the papers are full of stuff about the wild bad weather we are going to have.
if it were for weather then i am not sure what the daily mail and daily express would cover.

yet where i am all there seems to be is rain.
it hasn't been that cold.
it hasn't been that windy.
all in all it has been a mild winter.

of course now that i have said that i have put the kibosh on it and tomorrow will be arctic.

(and yes i am aware that other parts of the country have suffered from very bad weather - it just hasn't happened near me. which i am thankful for).

Friday, January 03, 2014


imagine, if you will, you are just waking up. the bed is all roasty toasty. the memory of a great dream is still fresh. it is a moment of perfect contentment.

imagine, if you will, that dream being scattered to the mists of memory, that contentment being shattered. that bliss reduced to a puddle of poo.
imagine it.

yeah that’s how i felt the other day. walking up to the voice of a taxpayer’s alliance (tpa) spokesman wittering on about how the national health service needs to become leaner and more effective. which is just their way of saying that the nhs has to open itself up to for profit organisations that will make money out of illness while providing a lesser service.
once down that road there is no turning back.
and we only have to look at the success that the railways have been to know where that road really leads to.

not that it matters to the tpa – they are the sort of people who have private health coverage sorted, not that it affects their call for changes in the nhs.

what annoys me about the tpa is that they get coverage.
any coverage is too much.
but when my morning listening is ruined because the bbc have given the tpa a spot on the radio then i am irked. especially as the tpa would be happy to see the bbc disappear. not that the disappearance of the bbc matters to them as they are the sort of people that not only have sky subscriptions but they have seats on various media companies board of directors.

there is the rub. last time i looked there was little, well i mean no, information about where the tpa gets it’s funding from. this wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for their called for more transparency from government. i guess it is a case of do as i say, not do as i do.
normally that wouldn’t matter but as they are so keen to portray themselves as spokesmen for the rest of us, then i want to know where you are getting the cash from. i want to know who is funding you so i know just what is behind your campaigns and what drives  your research.

but i would settle for the bbc introducing them as a right wing think tank who are minted and not a bit like the people they say they represent.

still i have learnt one thing from their website.

says it all really.

Thursday, January 02, 2014


the year has only just begun and already there is a new james patterson novel on the shelves of sainsbury’s. there wasn’t a week of 2013 when there wasn’t a patterson novel on the shelves, for the majority of the time there would be one hardcover and one paperback.

all i can think is why? why? why?

i have read two of patterson’s books. pretty much the worst novels i have read.
no. really. truly awful.

i feel churlish criticising his work as his phenomenal success means that there are a lot of people out there enjoying his work and reading his books.
and reading books is a good thing. it is a wonderful thing.

additionally patterson also does a lot of work to encourage and improve literacy.
that is a good thing. that is a wonderful thing.

just such a shame his books are barely good enough to use as toilet paper.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


i don’t partake of alcohol.
some have told me that this is a bad thing, while others seem shocked that i am tea-total.
i just don’t drink.

so there i was new year’s eve on the tube. unsurprisingly it was quite a busy night as people made their way to parties, clubs or to the fireworks. lots of people dressed to the nines, looking to impress. pretty much every one of them clutching an already half empty bottle in one hand and a blue plastic bag with full bottles and cans in the other.
lots of drinking.
lots of loud voices.
some shouting and screaming.

over on one set of seats one girl was telling two younger girls not to pretend to be older than they were and they should just enjoy themselves for themselves. sage words. the speaker was probably in her early 20s.
standing by the doors a mixed group of twenty somethings the blokes doing all the talking the girls just listening, looking stunning but also bored. all of them sucking down a drink, slight slurring occurring, didn’t because as the girls had realised the blokes were just talking bollocks.
on the station platform around the seats a growing number of empty and half-empty bottles and plastic cups.
outside the station people walking and drinking.
more empties on walls, windows and flowerbeds.

i get that we have made the new year some big event even though the difference between yesterday and today are pretty much non-existent. it isn’t the partying or the celebrating i have a problem with. it isn’t the noise, the hoo-hah, the false bonhomie that makes me stop and think.

it is the simple fact that so many people have to get so bladdered to enjoy themselves.
they are determined to get shitfaced.
it is the night to get royally fucked up, as opposed to the regular weekly session of getting just very pissed.

talk about pissing it all away.
the expense is one thing, what i really don’t understand is why would you get so drunk in order to enjoy yourself that you have no real memory of it beyond the raging hangover and the empty wallet. the first week or so of january will be taken up with people saying how wrecked they were over christmas and new year and how they don’t remember a thing of it.

it seems pointless to me.
yet somehow it does seem like a perfect metaphor for current society.


so 2014 has started.
a big hello to it.

it is a new year. clean broom and all that.
resolutions, plans, hopes, schemes and dreams.

onward forward up and at 'em.
or something like that.

whoever you are, wherever you at all the best for 2014.