Sadly, the man that wrote the article below does not rule Britain (not that he wants to), because he is far more intelligent than those in power.
Latest news is that, yippee, the UK will be sending 6 (six!) aircraft, since politicians ignored the wisdom of the above writer. The enemy—whoever that might be—must be cowering in their “dens”.
After watching the news, I watched a program on Bob Dylan’s folk years. One line from one of his songs struck me in the context of what’s happening in the news: “You don’t count your dead, when god’s on your side.” Both sides seem to agree. This reminds me of the sentiment raised in the first line of my first novel, Sister Sisteron, “Jack Synder had learned to doubt any god in the hands of man”.
Differences of opinion seem to be the curse of humanity…
I have never had an urge to visit Scotland. The landscape is unattractive, the weather is mostly bad, and the traditional food is unappealing (Deep-fried Mars bars!). There are too many places that are more-appealing and more-attractive for me to waste any of the short time I have on this earth.
Scotland is mentioned often in the news these days, especially on those channels emanating from the “United” Kingdom, of which Scotland is a (partly) unwilling member. The current “royal” family owns a lot of real estate, which their ancestors plundered from the local people, not unlike what Americans did to the original owners of the country. Native Americans seems to have been given less rights and powers than the folks in Scotland, who are being given the chance to decide their future with or without English overlords. It is surprising that two peoples that hate each so much have been able to live in relative harmony for so long. Many English are deluded in believing that members of the “royal” family looking silly in kilts and tartans have endeared them to their neighbours to the north.
If Scotland leaves the “United” Kingdom, how great will “Great” Britain be? Not that it ever was. Or, at least, not for a long time. Perhaps, the split will send signals to people in other countries. Will the Flemish and Walloons, who dislike each other more than the Scots dislike the English, finally kill Belgium…which no one would miss. Will Catalonia split from Spain? Or will Bavaria become an independent country? Bavarians already feel superior to other Germans and think that they can go it alone. The list is long and the future uncertain…
When I see advertising on English television for companies offering “payday loans”, I wonder if the target audience is stupid people or desperate people...or both.
Then again, if I walk the streets of London and observe the increasing gulf separating rich and poor, I conclude that desperate people need cash to carry them over from one payday to the next. They do not care about the future, which includes the threat of having to pay annual APR of up to 5000%, as long as they can meet immediate needs...which might include feeding children or paying to keep a roof over their heads or to heat a room. Life is tough for people at the bottom of the totem pole...and there are plenty of bastards waiting to take advantage of their suffering.
The amazing thing is that these despicable characters can advertise their crime, uh, I mean product/service on national television. The only requirement is that they publish the APR for potential victims to see. If one is drowning, one does not question the “savior’s” methods. Sadly.
I have written about how much I hate hypocrisy. I do not know enough to take sides in the squabble over Ukraine, but all parties are guilty of something and of being hypocrites.
Others have questioned in the media how the United States and the United Kingdom can criticize Russia over the Crimea. Up to now, Russia has done nothing, beyond military exercises across the border and behind-the-scenes finagling. There is a valid contract between Ukraine and Russia allowing Russian troops in the country. Until now, I believe that they have behaved well. Man, being a bad animal, has a few bad apples in every crowd.
The United States, who always touts self-determination, invaded Iraq on trumped up accusations. No one mentioned anything about protecting ethnic populations. England invaded Ireland and annexed a part into the United Kingdom (without referendum), not to protect ethnic Englishmen, but to safeguard the property of the aristocracy, who had plundered the country and owned large landholdings. These are merely two examples of fairly standard practices.
Now, these two nations are criticizing the people of Crimea for holding a referendum on self-determination and Russia for something that country has not done. And, both warn of consequences. Only the little guy will suffer, such as the people of Iraq or the soldiers that died were wounded.
The biggest story in British media yesterday was the government decision not to increase salaries of nurses. There has been a great deal of criticism of health care in that country, so the hardest working group is being singled out to suffer. Politicians and managers, who are to blame, remain unscathed. The country had returned to the time of Dickens, when the working class was punished for doing their job.
Of course, politician and bureaucrat pay will be increased. I do not understand why there is not a revolution...
God save the Queen...who is the richest woman in the land...and pays no taxes, but receives money from taxpayers.
I learned something watching a BBC program on coffee, which I will share with equally dim wits. The journalist followed the trail from plant to coffee shops in London. I knew that much coffee is consumed in London, having observed the flowering of coffee shops in recent years. Tea is no longer the national drink, but 80% of the coffee is instant, made from robusta beans: the cheapest.
If asked, I would have said that the coffee is sourced in Africa or South America. It turns out that the biggest supplier of UK coffee is Vietnam and that country is one of the leading producers of coffee in the world. I did not know that coffee was grown in that country...and I assumed--wrongly--that I knew the country well. It seems that my knowledge is out of date, because the communist government forced the growth of coffee production in recent years, mostly the cheap robusta variety. The leading exporter has become a billionaire: a long way from Viet Cong fighter in rubber sandals or beetle-nut chewing mamasan in conical hat planting rice...
The United States has more than its fair share of lunatics in politics and media, but the United Kingdom likes to ape everything done across the Atlantic.
A conservative politician made one of the more-absurd claims ever spouted by a public official, because England has been suffering a run of bad weather. The London Telegraph reported that he said:
“...severe weather hitting Britain is down to the introduction of same-sex marriage”.
I have read a bit about meteorology and do not recall anything about human relations being involved in traditional weather patterns. Man might cause acid rain, but the rain is natural. Perhaps, this politician confused the increased heat involved in relationships and talk of global warming. I wonder if this idiot actually believes such blatant stupidity or is merely hoping to attract attention.
Here’s a program recommendation for anyone with an intelligent sense of humor or intelligence and a sense of humor or a desire to chuckle about something sad but true...more or less. This is an old British sitcom, which might be difficult to find. Reruns often air of obscure British channels. I doubt that this ever aired outside the United Kingdom, because it is so quintessentially English. Still, it is some of the best comedic writing ever aired.
I am talking about Yes, Minister. This parodies the workings of the British government, displaying the daily interaction of ministers, government staff, colleagues, and the press. I am certain that most governments operate in a similar manner, with the staff running the show, running circles around elected officials, and fooling the public.
Whenever I hear politicians--primarily from US or UK--tout their citizens as the “best workers in the world”, I smirk. First of all, a good portion of those toiling in any country are foreigners, which surely skews the score. Second, and more important, nationality has little or no effect on worker performance. Foreign manufacturers (no English automobile firm has survived) erect factories in England not because workers are superior, but because of favorable taxes and cooperative unions.
Human traits are universal. People are either diligent or lazy, conscientious or indifferent, intelligent or stupid, healthy or impaired, loyal or false, etc. Nationality plays no role. People work hard for a variety of reasons: out of fear of losing a job, because few are offered; because of his or her character; to curry favor, etc.
I have seen a report comparing productivity in Germany and England. Guess which nation loses! One never hears German leadership (political, union, industrial) boast about their workers, but the numbers tell the story. Germans understand the importance of caring for workers, not the need for empty words.
I wonder if Vladimir Putin or one of his advisors reads my worthless blog. After all, he (or one of his minions) allegedly said something recently, which he could have learned from reading some of my past posts. One might disagree with much of what he says or does, but he hit this nail on the head.
“Russia dismissed the UK as a small island that no one pays any attention to'”
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.