Virtual Insanity?

There’s plenty to be pessimistic about. We’re all locked up in our homes, many of us have been “temporarily” laid-off, and the NHS front-line staff still has no PPE and have not been treated against coronavirus.

But, as I said earlier, 2020 is going to be a POSITIVE year for me, even if it kills me ….. no wait, that came out all wrong!

I’m used to social distancing. So are many IT, home based, freelance workers. It’s getting out and actually meeting a person that’s weird!  So the last couple of weeks have been no different for me. I’ve been focused on helping a couple of local businesses get their shit online. It doesn’t matter what that shit is, everyone seems to be getting it done online …. especially using zoom or pre-recorded videos.

I’ve been blown away by the way in which businesses (and customers) have risen to this challenge. Older people (yes, even people older than me!) are busy zooming into to their Swoove, Zumba, Fitsteps, Yoga or Pilates classes. They are doing stuff with websites that I did not think possible and my regular get together of Swoovers is just as strong online via Zoom, WhatsApp and other social media tools.

Instructors have been recording videos in their lounges, kitchen and bedrooms for their students … in their lounges, kitchen and bedrooms, and it’s all been tickety boo!

I’m loving being part of this creativity and (hopefully) doing my bit to make it happen! It’s been a blast!

Twitter is alive with the notion that “we will never be the same again” and although I’m still mightily pessimistic about this I do believe it’s clarifies the important people in our society: NHS workers, Bin Men, Delivery drivers, Supermarket staff to name but four. These people are worth far more than they are paid – far more than Bankers, Lousy Chief Executives, Politicians or City Traders.  What will happen when this is all over? Pessimistically, I suspect we’ll go back to normal, but I HOPE I’m wrong.

We’re even being kind to the homeless for once.  OK it may be in our self interest to protect our own species, but at least people now recognise they are the same species!

On the home front I’m becoming adept at the “what can I cook with this…?” shopping model.  Dammit my son’s partner has gone vegetarian and he’s joining in!  These are incredible times.

Sadly we still have The Daily Mail spouting filth.  This week they’ve blaming foreigners for infecting us: Michel Barnier for infecting Boris Johnson, or the entire Chinese nation for infecting everybody! We need to see through this bullshit.

Some things will never be the same until this time next year: My usual festival, The Great Escape, like many others has been cancelled; My usual holiday to the sun will be cancelled soon. But 2021 will be upon us soon and we will recover. At least I’m going for a virtual pint with some mates this evening. I wonder what a virtual hangover feels like?

Stay safe peeps!

Virtual Insanity?2020-04-01T11:26:37+00:00

Panic on the streets of (Enter name of your town here)!

Coronavirus this.  Coronavirus that.  In-out-in-out-sneeze-it-all-about!  The media is fully of the same stories at the moment. The new C-word.  It’s an epidemic, it’s a pandemic, and we’re all doomed!

A few things worry me about this…..

It’s creating panic.  I was at my local Sainsbury’s yesterday and the car park was full.  As I put my usual selection of comestibles into the car the click-and-collect guy was surprised I’d got everything I wanted.  Why I asked?  “Panic buying”, he said.  “The first customer of the morning bought 16 packs of 6-pack toilet rolls.”  Does anyone need that many toilet rolls?  I suggested we’d be OK because we could just re-cycle copies of the Daily Mail – it’s already full of shit, but I didn’t get a laugh. Perhaps he was a Daily Mail reader?  Either way its pointless being so selfish. If you are going to self-isolate for 14 days you still don’t need that many rolls, or hand-sanitizers do you. If you take them, then everyone else will be without them, the virus will spread further and you’ll be surrounded by the infected.

It’s the perfect opportunity for the Government to bury bad news. How many stories have gone unreported in this media frenzy?  How many Brexit problems will now be blamed on the virus? It’s already started with the Flybe airline collapse.

They say the world of work will change forever.  As more people are encouraged/told to work from home a popular daytime political chat show was suggesting that this will change the face of normal work. We will never return to the old ways. What utter bullshit! Once this is over the return to work will be mandatory. Those wishing to remain at work will be labelled ”shirkers” (The shirker-in-Chief Farrage has already started this). Remember when WWII was raging? Women were “forced” into wartime production.  They were required to “do their bit”.  But when the war ended they were required to return back to the home and give their jobs back to the men.  Capitalism decides what happens with the world of work, and once the virus is vanquished, so will working-from-home.  Enjoy it while you can suckers!

Obviously I’m not advocating we just put on our famous British stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on.  We need to be sensible.  But being sensible is not a panic response.  This is not the zombie apocalypse, and we’re not the walking dead.

 

Panic on the streets of (Enter name of your town here)!2020-03-07T11:00:57+00:00

Too old to Rock and Roll?

I’ve not written an “opinion” piece for a while. It’s not that there hasn’t been enough to write about. Far from it, The government have been making my blood boil on a daily basis, but it’s just that shit has really got in the way.

My wife and I are now the oldest members of the family. Its taken 11 years, but the last of our parents have now left us and it’s an odd feeling. We keep saying “Mum would have liked this…” or “When do you have to phone your parents…?”  Obviously we still remember them, hear their favourite words, repeat their regular phrases and smile when we think of their reactions to situations, but it’s been a long slog as they all got older and needed more of our time.

“We’ll be next” we keep saying. Duh! That’s obvious innit?  But how do we want to go?  Holding on to the last breath, whilst still saving for a rainy day, wearing old clothes and starting every conversation with the word “Oh my back!”

I don’t think so. It’s time to grow old disgracefully, and I like to think I’ve been working up to that for a while. I still want to be the oldest bloke in the mosh pit (although there’s a lot of competition for this down in Brighton!) and give it up to the max at Swoove, my dance fitness exercise addiction!  I still want to see more cities of the world, meet more interesting people, drink more interesting drinks and eat (and cook) more interesting food. So now is the time to do it.

My parents always seemed old to me, even when they were the age I am now. They never had friends round for dinner. My Dad never wore jeans. The only gig I went to with my Dad was one I took him to (Stéphane Grappelli). But now that I’m older I do realise one thing – they were young in their own heads. Just like I still feel like I’m 15 at my first concert. It’s just seeing the reflection in the mirror that reminds me, perhaps I’m not. Who is that old bloke anyway?

The world at the moment seems a very scary place. The lunatics have taken over the asylum and, in some Orwellian sleight of hand we’ve been reminded that Trump is the best president, Johnson is running the country instead of Cummings, the NHS is not being sold off to American corporations and there’s no such thing as global warming. Is this a good time to be alive? Was it a good idea to bring children into this world? Is it a good idea that Johnson himself is producing another heir?

Well, my parents much have wondered the same thing. Shortly after my birth the US and Russia went head to head over the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. During my years at school we were told about “Protect and Survive” and the 4 minute warning. Was that a good time to bring children into the world?  Didn’t my parents suffer enough with WWII? Were they as scared as we are now?

If we take this point of view we are lost. We give in to doubt and the people that want to ruin the world get their way. We must resist, even though my default position is pessimistic. So I’ve determined that in 2020 I’m going to be more optimistic and engage in optimistic endeavours.

Stage one was joining (or becoming a “fellow” as they say, of) the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) , thanks in part, due to the optimism of my old mate, Peter Clitheroe, who joined to make the world a better place for his grandchildren.

It’s the “encouragement” bit that inspires me the most. Encouraging people to be the best of themselves, to make their mark on society, and not just in the fine arts, but in manufacture and business. This is what I really loved about my working career – encouraging people, teams and organisations to make real change.

And I’ve started with a bang, helping create a new network for grassroots musicians, which is in beta-test at the moment and I will tell you about in due course. It’s been good for me because I found out long ago that I’m crap at creating a “vision” but I’m pretty darn good at helping create and fulfil other people’s visions.  Just tell me what you need and I can help. This plays to my strengths and does create a sense of optimism that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Hopefully more projects like this will emerge!

So, as 2020 is now officially 17% over, I’m looking forward to the other 83% in a positive state of mind. Champion!

Too old to Rock and Roll?2020-03-01T10:50:02+00:00

Paint It Black

Today is the day I’ve been dreading. It’s a black day. Our last day as part of the European Union. Tomorrow are now a “sovereign nation” as the Brexiteers tell us, one free to “take back control” of our own borders and our own government.

So now we make new trading agreements with everyone. Everyone that now knows we stand alone, unsupported, not part of an alliance, without allies and without muscle.
We won’t be getting good deals, we’ll be getting the deals that the far-right want. Deals that Trump wants. Deals that will put America first and the UK much further down the pecking order.

We’ve already seen firms collapse or move their headquarters out of the UK. London will no-longer be the gateway to Europe.

But it’s much worse than that. I have a few predictions:

  • Scotland will vote to leave the UK and re-joins the EU, thus rendering a political swing in what remains of the UK to the right-wing, permanently.
  • A new faction of the IRA will restart the war in Northern Ireland as tensions mount over the border with the Republic.
  • What’s left of the UK signs a trade deal with the US, leading to:
    • Further privatisation of the NHS to American Healthcare and Insurance companies.
    • The influx of genetically modified beef, genetically modified grain and Chlorinated Chicken into the UK.
    • The lowering of European “standards” in safety and employment law.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Europeans will leave the UK rendering the Building and Farming Industries and NHS short of workers, amongst other industry sectors.
  • The pound will fall against the Euro, causing the cost of goods to rise in the UK, leading to:
    • More UK companies go bust as the cost of good and transport goes up and the number of UK citizens travelling goes down.
    • A rise in inflation and the number of unemployed
    • A sustained recession

It will take us years to get back to the level of “prosperity” we used to have, and in the meantime what’s left of the “welfare state” will have been sold off. Perhaps is 10 years time we will be able to hold our heads up high again. The brexiteers will tell us “we told you so” and conveniently forget the years of pain that we had to endure.

Farage and his cronies have waved goodbye to the EU Parliament, making the UK look small and foolish.

I am ashamed.

Paint It Black2020-01-30T11:38:18+00:00

Please don’t let me be misunderstood (Part Two)

I admire Jess Phillips. She seems to be a truly honest politician. She says what she feels, and”speaks truth to power” even if some people call her a “Gobby Cow”.  

Today I read that she’s “been forced” to suspend her aide Salma Hamid for supposedly anti-Semitic messages.

Apparently she said the following (in 2015):

“Because Israel obeys human rights/law? Hilarious! Isis are terrible too. So really there is no difference.’”

 “We must show the world that “Israel” is the murderer!”

“Israel IS inflicting Holocaust conditions on Palestinians! Oppressive, racist and violent!”

She also drew a distinction between Judaism “a faith based on peace and love” and Israel or “Zionists”.

I’ve made all these points myself, so I guess I’d better not apply to assist with Jess’ campaign!

I completely understand that Jess Phillips wants to stand apart from any claims of anti-Semitism in her campaign to be the new Labour leader.  

However I’m saddened that it now seems to be impossible to say what I believe; that these are two different issues.  Jews are beautiful people and Israeli government are pure evil.

Conflating the two issues is exactly what the Israeli government want us to do:  Keep it simple just call everyone that disagrees with them anti-Semitic.  No-one wants to be associated with anti-Semitism so they shut up.

Well, based on what I’ve read, I stand by Salma Hamid , and remain pro-Jew and anti-Israeli.

Here’s my previous blog on this subject.

Please don’t let me be misunderstood (Part Two)2020-01-12T14:23:57+00:00

A Time To Turn?

It’s been a while since I posted in the “opinion” section of this blog.  It’s been a stressful period, culminating in the loss of the final “elder” member of the extended Cogle family.  As the song says, there is …..

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

Certainly it’s been a time for reflection.  So much has happened over that short period. 

In Australia, the wildfires have intensified. More Aussie land is currently burning than exists in the entire country of Belgium. The smoke is causing breathing problems in New Zealand, 2,000km away. Half a billion animals have been killed. Eight people are dead.  The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, seems to care little about the effect on his country.  He even took a vacation in Hawaii during the crisis.

In the US, Donald Trump had bombed Iraq, in order to assassinate Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, who was in Iraq at the time.  There is talk of Iranian retaliation and disproportionate US counter-retaliation. The world waits with baited breath to see who blinks first. In the meantime we hear from Trump that he is “Heaven Sent” and we see US Christian leaders hands-on praying for him. On the flip side he was impeached by the House of Representative.

In the UK, Boris Johnson has taken an extended vacation in Mustique, amongst wealth press-barons and other businessmen; no-doubt to say thank you for the donations to the Tory party and the lies they help spread.  He didn’t even come back early after Soleimani’s assassination despite the obvious implications on UK troops in Iraq.

Whilst he was away his unelected strategic advisor has put out a call to hire a new kind of staff into Downing Street:  super-talented weirdoes, unusual mathematicians, economists, scientists or software developers. People who need to need to commit two years of their time, but who could be sacked within weeks if you don’t “fit” the profile – although he says he doesn’t know what he’s looking for.  Is this a refreshing new take on recruitment requirements, or given his hatred of the UK political machine and a desire to dismantle government as we know it, just a cynical way of trying to circumvent the civil service?

So I have to ask….. Is this the kind of leadership we really want in our world?

Do we just say “well they were elected” and leave it at that?  Do we believe in the political process and accept that those that have the majority can do what they want?

Or is it becoming increasingly obvious that we need to take direct action and state what we want?

A Time To Turn?2020-01-07T14:47:28+00:00

Every breath you take

In 2016 it was a matter of hours after the referendum before the Leave campaigners told that the “Let’s spend £350M on the NHS” slogan on their bus was a lie.

One day after the election Tory MP Damian Green was on LBC saying that we all need to start paying towards an insurance type system to pay for our care.  A couple of days later Tory MP Nicky Morgan has said that the 50,000 ‘more’ nurses will take over 10yrs to reach and none will be in place before 2024.

All politicians tell us lies, half-truths and messages that are meant to make us hopeful and forward looking, but honestly, we’re going to see that the entire Tory list of promises are lies.

I’ve spend the weekend “in reflection” (and also in the pub with Clithers and Ro, which was marvellous!).  I’ve acknowledged that I’m now living in some social media “leftist” bubble that has done nothing to prepare me for such a Tory majority.  I need to get out more.  I need to understand the views of the people physically around me.

Agreed, in my constituency 53.3% of the voters are true blue. But 24.3% are Liberal Democrat with an 11.6% swing, which I helped to create.  It’s going to be a tough story to hear.  There’s going to be a lot of xenophobia and an awful lot more of people that are “good intentioned” and yet still voted for Boris the Bastard.

But as I’ve said before, I’ve always been in the minority, and that will never change. I just need to make sure the people that voted for the Tories see every lie exposed every broken promise shouted from the rooftops.  I want to, hold these bastards to account.  

I was bloody mad and I’m still bloody mad.

Every breath you take2019-12-16T12:23:19+00:00

Start all over again…

Thatcher famously said “There is no society. There are individual men and women and there are families”.  It’s a phrase that has always bugged me.   A fair and good society has always been something I’ve striven for.  Yet the process to “remove” society that she began back in 1979 has now come true in 2019. We have a majority Conservative government elected by individuals that seemingly have no interest in a better society.

This campaign has been the dirtiest in British history, with both Conservatives and Labour employing Machiavellian spin-doctors to turn votes to their advantage. The Lib Dems have tried their best to get us to Vote Tactically and even their own leader has lost her seat.

The left basically ran terrible campaigns and the right brought all of their political and economic might and influence to bear on a witless population who fell for the slogan “Get Brexit Done”.  The end of the beginning of Brexit is now a foregone conclusion.  We may march, we may sing, but with a Tory majority in parliament we cannot stop anything. 

So, prepare yourselves!  We will have years more of Brexit as we tear ourselves apart from the EU and the Union will tear itself apart from within.  It’s only a matter of time before Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decide they can do better without the English.  Good luck to them, but I doubt it will be true, unless they re-join the EU and get some protection.

So is there really no society?  Did the founders of the NHS and the Welfare State get it all wrong?  Or have we just changed?

Let me tell you now: I have not changed. I still believe in a fairer society. I may be crying into my beer this morning, but tomorrow I will pick myself up, restore my dignity and start the fight again.

Start all over again…2019-12-13T08:48:09+00:00

Should I stay or should I go?

I admit politics has been quite tedious in the last three years.  It’s all been about that one THING. That THING that divides us, that focuses our attention, our passion and our hate.  We don’t agree what that THING is, how long it will take to get it, or whether it will be any good for us in the short or long term.

Quite frankly if I’d put forward a proposal in business to do a THING like this with the same level of data to back it up as the politicians have then I’d probably have been ignored. I saw a video yesterday by Deborah Meaden, one of the UK’s Dragons in Dragon’s Den, saying she would be “out” if the THING was a pitch on the TV show.

It’s the lack of any economic assessment that gets me. There are no published reports that detail how the economy will change as a result of the THING.  No SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and no logical comparison of options.

Ironically, it’s Boris Johnson’s idea of writing two pieces, FOR and AGAINST the THING that actually strikes a chord with me. Do the analysis and make the decision. Make a plan. Right or wrong.

But it’s the way in which the analysis was presented to the people is what annoys me.  I frequently watch documentaries which purport to tell me the science behind an invention or a discovery, but which dumb it down so much, and repeat the headline points after each advert break; we never actually get to the detail. It’s as if the program makers think we’re too stupid to understand it all. It’s looking to be the same way with politics. They keep telling us the FEATURES not the BENEFITS, just like any bad salesman does.

So 52% of people made a decision in 2016 that was ill informed and dangerous.  The campaign that campaigned for LEAVE was been found guilty of breaking electoral law. Yet those that want to leave say we must respect the vote and deliver the THING.

Back in the boardroom, if I was still advocating for the THING after I’d been shown to have broken the law and dumbed down all the facts, I wouldn’t just have been ignored, I’d have been fired.

Which brings us to today’s election.  We, the board members, must decide if the people behind this are an asset to our company or a liability: “Should I stay or should I go?” to quote one of Boris Johnson’s “favourite” bands.

I’ve worked for firms who have done the wrong thing. Nokia’s wrong decision cost me my job and the company everything. If we vote Boris Johnson back in office and he “Get’s Brexit Done” then it’s doing to be déjà-vu for me, all over again.

Should I stay or should I go?2019-12-12T12:26:42+00:00

Father and Son….

Succession planning?  Not very sexy is it?  Planning for the day when you retire, die, get fired or pushed aside in a boardroom coup.  Yet it’s essential.  All organisations need someone to take on the mantle of the person that started, founded or built it up from nothing.

So why do companies chose family members to do the work?  Why is it “Somebody and sons” on the label.  Why do they believe the children have the ability that their parent had?

And it’s not just companies.  Take the Monarchy, the oldest “firm” in the UK.  We’re going to get Charles at the helm of his mother’s “empire” at some point soon.  Sooner rather than later if we were to believe reports earlier this week that the queen was, in fact, dead.  But is he up to the job?  He’s 71 at time of writing; an age when most people would be looking to retire.  But they are well looked after these royals and seem to go on forever.  Queenie is 93 and Phil “the Greek” is 98.  Unless of course they have been replaced by look-alikes sometime in the early 2000s?

But I ask again, is he up to the job?  Sure he’s been brought up to take on the role, with perhaps the longest apprenticeship in history, but all we know about him is he’s a tree-hugger, and critic of modern architecture and an adulterer.  But what is the role anyway?

As an aside, today we find that Eddie Stobart’s trucking business is in trouble.  Eddie gave up the business to his sons in 1989 and since then they have done the usual company shit:  expanded, contracted, sold bits off and floated as a public company. Now we have two members of the family fighting over what is the best plan to stop a collapse. Plans being decided over by shareholders that, typically, don’t give a toss about anything other than their dividend.

Unions have called it “bandit capitalism” and investors have offered to help with a loan with a 25% interest rate. Talk about wanting their pound of flesh.

Perhaps the whole idea of succession planning should not automatically include family members, or whether they want to the same school, or came from the same social class?  Perhaps all positions should be decided on merit alone.

Father and Son….2019-12-06T08:45:57+00:00

I dreamed a dream

I’m in a very lucky position.  I’m not starving.  I don’t have to use food banks.  I don’t have much money coming in, but I have some money put-by when I had better days.  I have a home, it’s warm and I have a loving family.

I’ve just been watching videos from people at food banks asking how they will vote on December 12th.  Their comments are all based on “what can this party do better for me than another party?”. It’s that simple.  Which party can help these poor people?

I don’t have to think this way.  I can think about which party benefits society as a whole.  I can think about which party can give money to help the poor, pay for the NHS, or decide what level of tax people and companies pay.

Some of my friends have lots of income, others have very little.  Some of the high earners save for a rainy day, others spend like there is no tomorrow.  They make themselves “poor” (in their eyes) because of the huge expenses they have to pay out as a result of their lifestyle.  It’s their choice, so who am I to tell them what to do? It’s a free society.

But when my wealth friends (and let’s face it, they are wealthy – they just spend a lot) tell me that they cannot afford to pay a higher income tax, or feel wealthy people (like them) should not be forced to pay for the poor, the scroungers, the benefits frauds, then I get cross. When I hear that they have earned their wages and they should not have to pay more for others that have not worked hard enough, I get very cross.

I have always been happy to pay my taxes.  I’ve declared all of my income even when I could have “kept quiet” about some additional earnings from podcasting came my way.  I would be happy to pay more taxes.  If we can shut down food banks because they’re not needed anymore I would be pleased to know it’s down to my tax – that’s the society I want my taxes to pay for.

So, if you, like me, are blessed by being “comfortable”, then think about what you want society to be.  Think about whether it’s all about YOU, or whether you are prepared to fund a better life for OTHERS.  

If you like that idea, then congratulations, you have become a socialist. Now you can vote Labour and get a caring government, with caring policies. Admittedly I’m voting tactically for the Liberal Democrats again this year, but that’s because I live in a part of the country where there are few people that think like me – and fewer act like me.  Maybe one day my area will be socialist? Nah, who am I kidding.

I can still dream can’t I?

I dreamed a dream2019-12-05T10:59:46+00:00

Lost In The Supermarket?

So Sainsburys would like us to #ShopForOthers. Potentially a great sentiment when the need for food banks is greater than ever. But are they selling this food at cost price? Are they giving some away free themselves? Are they match funding? No. It’s just another way to boost their profits and it makes me sick.

I regularly shop at Sainsburys.  They hever have enough working tills and they keep trying to force me to use the SmartShop App where you basically do eveything yourself.  I just won’t do it. I’d like a human to do the checkout stuff please. Preferably a few more humans so I don’t have to wait so bloody long.  Yes, I can do it myself, but you’ll make everyone redundant and then how will the old non-tech-savvy customer buy their food? Who will they talk to in their lonely lives? I did say this to one of the staff and they completely poo-poo’d my argument.  “Good luck in your new job love, in about 12 months time”, I told her.

Having said that there’s a couple of members of staff in my local branch that have special needs – and you know what? They’re bloody excellent! Hard working, know their job and very, very friendly. I’s a joy to talk to them and they make the older customers feel cared for.

Contrast that with the BBC Documentary Inside the Supermarket, which follows the staff of the grocery chain for a year. The store staff are great, but the CEO, Mike Coupe, appears to be a complete wazzock! He clearly doesn’t listen to his staff and his customers when their views differ from his own.

So, rather than fuel Sainsburys profits, which not trot down to a Food Bank and see what they really need, and work out the best way for them to get it.  Are they partnered with other supermarket chains, like Tesco or Waitrose? Can you (and they) get food cheaper with them?

Yes we should Shop For Others, but do it ethically!

Lost In The Supermarket?2019-11-26T16:14:18+00:00

The Eye Of The Tiger?

You expect all the usual tropes during an election.  Candidates with their shirt sleeves rolled up (“I’m ready to do some work”), holding babies (“I’m a family person”) or shaking hands with supporters (“I’m one of the people).  And there’s the other one – in a boxing ring with gloves on.  “I’m ready to take on the fight and win” is the message of course, but how out-of-place do these candidates look in the ring?

The only politician known to have trained as a boxer was John Prescott and his most famous punch was outside the ring when an egg was thrown at him by a protester.

The others do look slightly ridiculous.  The only one that looks remotely like they have ever punched anyone is Boris Johnson, which is hardly a surprise, given his public school upbringing.

So why do we have these worn-out messages still being played out in 2019. Wouldn’t it be better is they showed someone replying to a facebook message with “LOL. Yeah Totes Babe! ROFL” or taking a selfie with a cat filter?

OK, just leave it to me then……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update: 27th November 2019 Donald Trump himself sends out this picture.

You can’t make it up can you? Have you been reading this blog Donald?

Trump as Rocky

The Eye Of The Tiger?2019-11-27T21:25:51+00:00

Hava Nagila! (Let Us Rejoice!)

 

I quite like the daytime show Countdown. A simple words and numbers based competition between two nerdy competitors that has been running since the first minutes of Channel4’s existence. There’s also a night-time bawdy version called Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown, where comedians lark about whilst trying to do the quiz (usually badly).

Both feature Rachel Riley who is of Jewish decent, now married to a Russian.  She’s been very vocal on anti-Semitic (and anti-Zionist) issues over the last few years. Of course my position on this has been made abundantly clear.

But now she’s done too far. Firstly she has tweeted a photo of herself with a T-shirt saying

“Jeremy Corbyn is a Racist”

and then shortly afterwards photoshopped the message out of the picture.

Earlier in the year someone had tweeted that the Durham Miners Gala Brass Band played “Hava Nagila”, the folk song sung a Jewish celebrations. Rachel Riley then tweeted

“About as tasteful as showing Black Panther at a Klan Rally”.

I’ve already commented that Jewish music is part of my podcast lexicon, and will remain so. I have Jewish friends and would like to think I could enjoy their music as much as they enjoy mine.

There are calls today for Rachel Riley to be sacked.  Others have taken to Social Media to re-photoshop her T-shirt with alternative messages.  Is this the end of her career?

Rachel Riley Rachel Riley Rachel Riley

The fact is she’s due to go on maternity leave soon, and will, presumably, be off our screens for a while.  How long is not clear. I’d be happy with a period of say….. 50 years?

Bye Rachel!  You’ve been cancelled. At least in my house. Bring back Carol Vorderman!

 

Hava Nagila! (Let Us Rejoice!)2019-11-21T12:41:03+00:00

Dig Your Own Hole

Katie Hopkins, the ultra right-wing columnist and broadcaster recently said in an interview in The Times, that “Speaking my mind cost me my career” and that “her views have left her unemployable and living in the shadows”.  She was forced to sell her last house for £950,000 to pay off a legal bill in excess of £500,000. A bill she could have settled early by giving £5,000 to a migrant’s charity. Something she refused to do.

She is hated by many people and never really has a good word to say about anyone, apart from other ultra right-wingers, and, of course, Trump.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, in a quote often attributed to Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it“. This is the foundation of the freedom of speech in a democracy.

But is it true to say she has lost her career as a result of her right to a freedom of speech? She claims that 50% of her income comes from public speaking engagements, so there are definitely some people out there who want to listen to her.

She lost her job at LBC after tweeting there needed to be a “final solution” after the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.  Since then she just tweets words and videos as she sees fit, mostly unpleasant attacks on other faiths, races or people.

But is it OK to say such things? In a free society we all should be allowed to say these things (or the complete opposite) and take the rough with the smooth. This, she obviously has done.  It’s not as OK for an organisation such as LBC to continue giving her a salary to say such things.  Although, that said, they continue to have Nigel Farrage on their station.

My view is she deliberately overstepped the mark, in the full knowledge of what would happen.  Losing a job and a house is a natural consequence of that deliberate action.

Should she be allowed to continue to overstep the mark?  In my view, yes.  We don’t need to silence her. The more rubbish she spouts the less likely she is going to be listened to.  Let her dig her own hole.

Dig Your Own Hole2019-11-19T16:47:01+00:00
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