Tag: politics

“It will all get back to normal after Brexit”

Thomas Cook aeroplane at Birmingham airport

I flew home from Greece last week with Thomas Cook. As I was queuing at Kalamata airport, I overheard a men behind me discussing the Euro, the cost of living, and increasing hotel taxes in Greece. “It will all get back to normal when Brexit happens” he declared.

He followed up with “we’re not sure we’ll come back here again.”

“You may not be able to,” responded a lady at the side of him, “if Thomas Cook go under.”

His response? “Oh Thomas Cook will be ok.”

It’s this kind of head in the sand attitude that pisses me off. How many times have I read that EU countries need us because they rely on our tourism, or that Brexit isn’t impacting the UK economy and UK businesses, and that we’ll all be better off once we’ve left?

Where is the proof? Is it not enough that failing businesses are citing Brexit as a very real issue in their falling profits? (I’m not saying that Brexit is solely to blame for the demise of TC, but it can’t fail to have had an effect). Is it not enough that a company with 178 years of trading history has gone down the drain?

Where do some people get the continuing idea that it’s all going to be ok?

UK politics continues into unchartered territory with the news that Boris has broken the law in proroguing parliament, the UK’s first ever travel agent and stalwart of the high street has gone bust and Brexit is looming ever closer with no hint of resolution.

That doesn’t sound like a country that’s in control to me.

On the plus side, at least we now have those incredibly informative <<heavy sarcasm alert>> adverts on TV and radio telling us that things might change on November 1st. Not how they’ll change – presumably because nobody knows.

Never mind. The British holidaymaker in the Greek airport said things will all get back to normal, so it must be true.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Does your MP represent your views?

Pointing finger - does your MP work for you?

Politics. You can’t escape it right now. Whichever side of the Brexit fence you sit, I think it’s fair to say we’re in a hell of a mess which shows no signs of abating. Boris appears to be going bonkers and heading towards dictator/despot status, Rees-Mogg can’t even sit upright, and the government has no majority.

Wowsers!

Like (I think) many people, my interest in politics has developed in the lead up to the Brexit referendum and in the time that has passed since. Prior to that I felt (rightly or wrongly) largely unaffected by the political landscape. I held loose views on the political parties but didn’t feel that what was going on in Westminster really made a difference to my life.

So what changed?

As well as the vote on whether to leave or stay in the EU, which began to shape my views and pique my interest, I have become a more avid and staunch supporter of Dignity in Dying and the rights they campaign for. Following an inoperable prostate cancer diagnosis, my Dad started looking into assisted dying as an insurance policy to avoid what he feared may be a horrible death. Due to the UK law this would have meant travelling to Dignitas in Switzerland, where assisted dying is legal. Dad wasn’t able to progress with his plan due to his doctor denying him access to the necessary medical records, but his wife has since shared their experience with Dignity in Dying, and I was invited to Parliament to a debate in January 2018.

The last assisted dying bill was voted on in 2015, and MPs voted 330 to 118 against a change in the law to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives with medical help. I started to wonder how my own MP, Labour’s Roger Godsiff, had voted.

That’s when I found website They Work For You. Here you can find a history of how your MP has voted on matters that are important you.

I was delighted to find that Mr Godsiff had voted in favour of a change to the law, allowing assisted dying, in both the 2015, and the preceding 1997 vote.

More recently…

You may have seen news coverage earlier this year about protests outside primary schools regarding LGBT teachings. Despite the messages being around acceptance of differences than hardcore gay sex (as you might imagine from the uproar), parents and none parents alike were causing disturbances outside the school in the Birmingham suburbs and withdrawing their children from lessons. While at first covered only locally, in time this reached the national news.

Roger Godsiff was, at first, conspicuous in his silence. Then, even worse, he publicly declared that the protestors were correct to be against the teachings and that they had just cause to be unhappy (despite, it later emerged, having not even read the books that were at the centre of the controversy). Once again I turned to They Work For You, to find out how our Roger had voted on LGBT issues.

Turns out that, up until July this year, Rog couldn’t be bothered to turn up to 4 votes regarding allowing same sex marriage, and voted once against it, in 2013. Funnily enough, in July this year, he voted in favour of allowing same sex marriage in Northern Ireland (where it’s currently still illegal). Now, either he’s had a dramatic change of heart (doubtful) or, as the cynic in me believes, is trying to get back in the good books after his misplaced and archaic comments around LGBT teaching in school (for which he was publicly denounced by fellow Labour members, and reported to the Chief Whip).

Back to Brexit

To give Godsiff his due, he has voted against leaving the EU with no deal. But he did vote in favour of a referendum around EU membership in both 2011 and 2013 – which is what caused this mess in the first place!

Just down the road…

In a neighbouring constituency, Labour MP Jess Phillips is a breath of fresh air. She represents Yardley constituency – with a mix of ethnicity, wealth and education. As recently as yesterday she made headlines in her out and out vocal disdain and distrust of Boris Johnson as the current Prime Minister. She’s straight talking, passionate, and in politics for the people rather than the status. She spoke out against the LGBT protests even though they weren’t happening in her jurisdiction. She has been an active part of protests around cutting funding for schools, so that some can only afford to open 4 or 4.5 days per week (her son is one of thousands of pupils affected).

British politics need more people like Jess Phillips. In touch with the people, wanting the best for the country (rather than self promotion and vanity titles), dare I say young? Not that all older politicians are out of touch, but many of them are.

Find out more about your MP

If you get 5 minutes, have a look at the They Work For You website and get an overview of your local MP. Of course you won’t agree with them on everything. But it’s an interesting read nonetheless. It could well be helpful to you if a General Election happens sooner rather than later!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Who’s the real threat?

Crikey. What a rotten time London has been having lately. Between the terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, there seems to have been very little focus on what’s going to happen with the government. Obviously the focus needs to be on those who have suffered and continue to suffer from a tragic couple of weeks, but the fact remains that the Conservatives didn’t get a majority in the General Election, yet Theresa May and co seem to be proceeding in a business as usual fashion. The Queens Speech is going ahead today, and the Brexit negotiations have started led by a Tory representative. I know things can’t remain indefinitely on hold, but is this constitutional? Is she using the fact that people are rightly distracted by tragic human events to get in through the back door?

Who's the real threat

I see a bigger threat to our country at present than terror attacks. The real threat, for me, comes from the government. Arms deals into the Middle East and wars under the pretence of “protecting” vulnerable citizens. We’re shocked and horrified by people in the UK being killed by terrorists, yet seemingly untouched by civilians losing their lives in the Middle East – where numbers killed by terrorists and Western bombs are much higher than those we’ve seen in the UK. Where are their pop concerts? In fact, where is their media coverage? Can we be surprised that our country is under attack from extremists, when we’re party to attacks on them?

And the Grenfell Tower fire – another seemingly government caused tragedy. Everything seems to be pointing towards the illegal use of flammable cladding on the outside of the building – where would that decision have come from? Why weren’t there sprinklers in the building? Residents don’t make these types of decisions. Councils do. Councils who form part of local government, which in turn forms part of the overall government.

Such decisions lead to tragedies which put additional pressure on our already stretched emergency services. Why are they stretched? Because the government have cut their numbers and refuse well deserved pay rises so that, for some people, the role becomes untenable. When you read stories of nurses working 12 hour shifts but having to use food banks to feed their families, you know something is horribly wrong.

How about the media? Their biased reporting of Theresa May compared to Jeremy Corbyn in the run up to the election. Their biased reporting of the “Muslim terrorists” who “attacked” people as they enjoyed their Saturday night, compared to the “White Van Driver” who “collided” with Muslims as they celebrated their religion. Luckily many people see this bias for what it is, and are able to read between the lines and draw their own conclusions. But what about those who can’t? Those who trust the media and therefore respond accordingly; by blindly voting for Theresa May, or shouting abuse at peace loving Muslims in the street.

Having taken such a battering as a country in the past few weeks – because it does affect the whole country, not just London and Manchester – people seem to be opening their eyes to what’s going on; wanting answers and wanting change. We deserve those answers and that change. Something isn’t working. The system is broken. And we can’t just carry on as we always have done, because the gaps in society are just getting bigger. The gap between rich and poor. The gap between Muslims and non Muslims. The gap between Remainers and Brexiters. A divided society will eventually implode, and there’s nothing British about that.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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5 good things that happened in the General Election

General Election 2017

OK, so it wasn’t the result I was hoping for.

And the prospect of Theresa May teaming up with the DUP just to stay in power is abhorrent.

But, on a positive note, there were some good outcomes!

1 – Theresa May’s arrogance was proven to be misplaced

Yeah, technically she won, but realistically not so much. She expected a landslide and it didn’t happen. So up yours Theresa!

2 – 72% of young people (18-25) turned out to vote

Go young people! This number is up massively on past elections, and gives me hope for the future. Young people need to be engaged in politics in order to make a difference.

3 – UKIP now have no seats, and party leader Paul Nuttall has resigned.

There’s no place for a party like UKIP in a constitutional and progressive country. Just do one. Goodbye – close the door on your way out.

4 – Diane Abbott retained her seat by an overwhelming majority

75% of the voters in her constituency voted for her, in spite of the bullying by the press and suggestions that she’s politically unfit to be shadow Home Secretary.

4 – Jeremy Corbyn was totally vindicated

Despite the media’s best effort to undermine him, Theresa May’s insults, backstabbing within his own party and people calling him a clown with no political clout, he’s proven that he is liked, he is supported, and he is the catalyst for change that’s so very needed. It’s just a shame that so many people blindly voted for other parties without realising what they were voting for (and against)

Let’s see what happens next.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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My latest thoughts on the upcoming General Election

A few weeks back, when the General Election was announced, I summarised my thoughts on the options available, the parties and their leaders. At the time I already knew that I wouldn’t be voting Conservative this time around, but didn’t really see a good alternative.

I’ve changed my mind.

I realised that my opinions on Jeremy Corbyn were unfounded, because I’d never even heard him speak! Perhaps I had been swayed by the media coverage telling me he wasn’t leadership material. More likely I had made a passing judgement without investigating further.

Jeremy Corbyn

I’m not afraid to hold my hand up when I’ve made a mistake, and this is one of those times. I believe I made a mistake in my opinion of Jeremy Corbyn. The more I see of him and listen to him, the more I see that he is a viable alternative to the Prime Ministers of the past. Just because he’s different; quieter, less power hungry, doesn’t make him a bad option. In fact it makes him a stronger option. Because, in recent times, all of our Prime Ministers seem to have been cut from the same cloth – media personalities with a personal agenda – and look where that’s got us? We’re somehow in a position where the governing party wants to privatise our NHS. How is that representative of the people and it’s needs?

JC isn’t a shouter, or a bold statement maker (“strong and stable”, anyone?) He’s measured, he answers genuinely and calmly, he doesn’t get drawn into inane bollocks from media reporters who are obviously trying to catch him out. He comes across as genuinely having the best interests of the country at heart, rather than the best interests of a few.

Contrast that with Theresa May, who is seemingly so arrogant that she’ll win that she’s dishing out all sorts of controversial policies – fox hunting, school meals and social care being at the forefront. That kind of behaviour almost seems like self-sabotage, yet there are still people – hard working people who will be negatively affected by a Tory government with it’s privatised NHS – who are planning to blindly vote Tory because May is our best bet for a strong Brexit. I’d say she isn’t. Her bolshiness and thinly veiled threats to the EU aren’t going to put us in a very good position. I’ve said all along that we cannot dictate to the EU what the terms of our departure are. If they want to make life difficult for us, they can. It’s a fallacy to believe that “they need us more than we need them”. We’re not in the days of the British Empire anymore, we’re just a little island where even the neighbouring parts of our union want to devolve and seek independence. Hardly the most attractive prospect.

Also very much in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour is the fact that he turned up to take part in last night’s televised debate, whilst Mrs May stayed away and sent Home Secretary Amber Rudd instead (whose Dad died only on Monday – compassion in the workplace, eh?)

I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t think the Conservatives were necessarily a shoo-in, and it seems that the tide is turning somewhat, with the Conservative majority having slipped massively, if opinion polls are to be believed. With just a week to go, I wonder if Theresa May is beginning to regret calling what was always an unnecessary election – designed purely for her own vanity and popularity. As her public appearances become more awkward and strained, whilst the other political party leaders stick the boot in about her cowardice in avoiding face to face debate, next Thursday could indeed be a turning point for the Tories, and equally for Britain.

The most important thing I can say is – VOTE! If you’re eligible and have registered then please don’t squander an opportunity to have your say in the future of our country. Democracy belongs to all of us.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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#GE2017

When news filtered through yesterday that Theresa May was going to make an unscheduled public announcement, theories included that she was stepping down from office due to health reasons, that the Queen or Prince Phillip had died or – my personal tongue in cheek favourite from our office – that she was pregnant!

It couldn’t be that she was announcing a General Election. After all, she said when she took on the role of Prime Minister that there wouldn’t be an election until 2020.

General election 2017

Then again, David Cameron said he wouldn’t resign if the country voted to leave the EU (he did).

And the Vote Leave campaign promised an extra £350 million a week to the NHS if we left the EU (then backtracked).

So, politicians lie. Who knew?!

Back to the impending General Election. I’m reading a lot of people who think this is a really good tactical move from Theresa May and her advisors. Opinion polls show that the Conservatives are way ahead of any of the opposition parties, so it seems like winning is a foregone conclusion, and that will answer any of the naysayers who argue that Mrs May is only in power by default, rather than by the people’s will (having inherited the job when David Cameron resigned). The cynic in me thinks that it’s also a protection for her, when/if Brexit negotiations go tits up, or we as a country end up much worse off, so that she can say to the voting public “you put me here”.

Whenever I’ve voted in a General Election in the past, I’ve always voted Conservative. This time around, I’m not sure I morally can. While I think that Theresa May is probably the strongest leader, I don’t like the “hard Brexit” line, and I don’t like what the Tories are doing to the country in terms of funding cuts from the very pillars of our society like education and healthcare, as well as vulnerable people and those with disabilities.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for me, just isn’t an option on the world stage – he’s a campaigner, not a political powerhouse.

Which led me to investigate the Liberal Democrats. I realised that, since the demise of previous leader Nick Clegg, I didn’t actually know who the leader of the party is! So I headed over to their website to find out more. First impressions were good; their policies align in many places with societal beliefs I hold. But then I read up more on party leader Tim Farron, and he too has his shortcomings. He doesn’t support gay marriage due to his Christian beliefs – as far as I can tell he’s never denounced it but neither does he think it’s ok. That’s not OK with me. Also, having heard him briefly on the radio this morning, he too doesn’t come across with country leading attitude. Could he have enough clout in a major political arena?

Which brings me to one of the points that I believe is a big decider in politics, and it has little, if anything, to do with the actual policies. People vote for people. And if you don’t like a person, or don’t see them in the role that they’re aiming for – for whatever reason – you’re not going to support them. I can’t honestly say that I like any of the main party leaders, as people. But as leaders, there is a clear distinction between Theresa May and Corbyn or Farron. So where does that leave me?

In a quandary, that’s where!

I think I feel like many people when I say that I don’t honestly believe we have a party represented in the UK that is the best party for the job. All of them, and their leaders, have somewhat insurmountable faults. I think this is why some people are apathetic about voting – because they don’t know who to choose. Is it really about the lesser of two/three evils? It certainly shouldn’t be!

Whatever the result, I think the next few weeks will be interesting and somewhat scary. Apart from last year’s Brexit vote, this could be the most pivotal vote of my life, certainly so far. The result could change the face of the country’s Brexit approach, which is groundbreaking in itself.

My last word on the matter is that I don’t think a Conservative win is a foregone conclusion. I think a lot of people are disillusioned with politics and disillusioned with the seeming lack of real choice. There may well be an upset – just look at Donald Trump’s victory! In the current political landscape, and I refer to worldwide, not just at home, it seems that we should expect the unexpected.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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That’s not journalism

It’s been a historic week here in the UK – Article 50 has been triggered and we’re the first EU member state to leave the union; Nicola Sturgeon has garnered support for a second independence referendum for Scotland; our future as a nation is currently in a state of flux as no-one really knows the implications of either of these actions.

But this is how the Daily Mail (an abominable racist mainstream UK newspaper pretending to have the best interests of the country at heart) reported on the meeting between these two political heavyweights.

Daily Mail Teresa May and Nicola Sturgeon

What. The Actual. Fuck.

Seriously? Seriously? The writer of this article (amazingly, a woman) and the editor of the rag honestly believed this was a good idea?

Would previous Prime Minister David Cameron have been subjected to similar treatment? Of course he bloody wouldn’t!

Words fail me.

Daily Mail, you’re a disgrace to journalism, a disgrace to publishing and a disgrace to reporting.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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An ode to the Obamas

I’ll start this post by sharing my Facebook status from 5.07pm yesterday, as that abominable man came to power.

trump-inauguration-status

But this post isn’t about him. It’s about the departing First Family. Because that’s what they are. Barack’s reign wasn’t just about him. It was about a bigger picture. His wife. His kids. He truly was a President to be revered and respected.

Yes there are statistics around how much he increased national debt, and how many bombs he dropped (uncertified, BTW). But we have to remember that we’re not comparing like with like. Every Presidency is different and faces different challenges than the one before it.

Besides, the measure of a man is not just his leadership skills. It’s his emotions, connections with people, and grace. Barack was the first President to have access to Twitter (which should, by the way, be repealed now the orange moron is in charge. Someone put parental locks on and change his password, please!) He came across as likable, intelligent and real. His “bromance” with VP Joe Biden was heartwarming; and the fact that he referred to it in the latter days of his presidency, as he  awarded him the Medal of Freedom, was fantastic.

I love this video. I truly believe he’s a husband first, and doing a job second.

Barack and Michelle ooze love and respect.

I said it earlier in this post, but he’s real. A real person, with a real sense of humour, real wife and kids, and real emotions. He cares. Being President wasn’t a personal victory for him. It wasn’t a popularity contest. Can we assume the same about the new guy?

(sorry, I forgot, it’s not about him)

So here’s to you, lovely Obamas. And your children. And your legacy. You’ve done good. So good.

barack-and-michelle-obama

And now it’s time to go backwards again (dammit! I can’t help myself!)

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Five things that are oh so wrong about Time Magazine’s Person of the Year shortlist

Ok Time magazine, are you kidding me right now? I have never heard your shortlist for Person of the Year mentioned in public media. Hell, I didn’t even know you have a Person of the Year award until today!

time-magazine

I can only assume you’ve gone all out with your nominations to try and garner press attention. Because it sure isn’t a list that would reflect the popular vote, and here’s why.

Nigel Farage – that odious fungus on the skin of the Brexit campaign, that smug condescending twat who put his word behind promises that were quite obviously false, the brown nose who is now sniffing around the President Elect. Really? Any credibility gone, right there.

Vladimir Putin – bonkers, nuclear weapon loving, volatile, power hungry all round scary world leader. No further explanation needed.

Beyoncé – OK, sublime to the ridiculous! No disrespect to Bey, but she’s a popstar. She might be a very good popstar (although I don’t see it), but mainly she gets her ass out and shakes that booty. And ignores rumours about her husband’s cheating. How does that compare to politics? (sorry if this is anti-sisterhood, but it’s how I feel).

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – nominated (according to Time) for (and I quote) respectively “After campaigning as an anti-establishment, populist candidate, Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States—a stunning end to a presidential bid that repeatedly broke with political precedent” and “the former First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State became the first woman to receive the U.S presidential nomination of a major political party”. So, just to clarify, possibly the most divisive, ignorant, bigoted President elect, and his opponent “for being a woman”. Seriously.

This is the worst – the CRISPR Scientists. So wrong on so many levels. Firstly they’re scientific minds who could change the human race, save lives and have done something never EVER done before. Secondly, they’re not even mentioned by name, just a faceless collective of “scientists”. Thirdly, REALLY? They’re not even in the same bloody league as the rest of the nominees. These people, who deserve to be individually named and lauded, deserve a Nobel nomination. Not to be bunched in with an eclectic (and I mean that in a bad way) badly selected, controversial and downright unworthy group of individuals.

If you’d like to read about the full list of Person of the Year nominees, you can find out more here.

Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

 

 

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5 things I have been genuinely baffled by this week

There’s a lot of crazy, stupid, daft and inexplicable stuff that goes on in the world – stuff that genuinely makes you think “huh?” But there seems to be more of it around lately than ever, like there’s a big full moon sending everyone a little crazy!

the-world-is-a-little-bonkers

Here are 5 things that have made me despair this week.

US politics
Wow. What a mess. What a huge, great big, bloody mess. A playground hotbed of name calling, he said she said, finger pointing awfulness. Where’s the coverage of actual policies? The only thing I’ve picked up from the media is Trump’s racist xenophobia and plans to persecute non Americans based on the behaviour of a minority. I couldn’t tell you what Clinton stands for or what she’s lobbying about – everything seems to be geared towards the personal behaviour of both nominees. Which, by the way, is appalling. Of all the intelligent, knowledgeable and clued up people in the US, how the hell did the Presidential race come down to these two? More importantly, how in anyone’s mind, ever, is Donald Trump a good bet for becoming the leader of the free world? He’s a misogynistic bully with an overinflated ego, a lack of morals and a questionable understanding of being a human being. Plus his hair is beyond a joke!

New Royal yacht
The news that UK parliament were debating between building a new Royal yacht or recommissioning Royal Britannia made me want to laugh and cry in equal measures. Either option seems pretty bloody unnecessary to me when you look at the cost of it and the bigger picture. Our economy is in a post Brexit mess and the powers that be want to spend £100 million on a fancy boat? Do me a favour! How about spending on the NHS, to make up for all the fabled EU costs that the Brexiters lied about during their campaign? Apparently Britannia helped to secure £3 billion in trade deals in her lifetime and so a new yacht will boost our economy. How??? I call bullshit.

Killer clowns

This is both stupid and dangerous. Anyone who thinks it’s just a bit of fun needs to look up the definition in the dictionary. It’s only a matter of time before it escalates – someone will have a heart attack through shock. The worst thing is, if a person did genuinely get scared and run over a clown with their car, or hit them with a bottle, they’d be the ones in the wrong. A criminal record in response to a bit of “fun”? Childline has reported 120 calls in a week from kids who are scared they’re going to see a clown in their daily life. Nothing fun about terrorising children.

Honey G
How is this silly bint still in X Factor? More importantly, who’s voting to keep her and why are even the judges coming round to her? It makes a mockery of the show and a mockery of real talent. Great singers got sent home so she could have a place. It’s laughable.

Ross is the favourite Friend
I find this one possibly more crazy than the rest of them put together. In a vote on who is the favourite character in Friends, Ross came out on top? What? He’s the most annoying! From his over gelled hair to his gormless face to his “we were on a break” excuse. No. Just no. Chandler was robbed (although I’d have settled for Joey in first place too).

Any craziness that you’re struggling with right now? Things you can’t quite get your head around? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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