The world’s gone flotilla mad.

27 06 2010

Flotilla is one of those words that doesnt really get out much, but when it does, oh boy does it have a lot of making up for lost time to do.

Surely, the flotilla, or at least the idea of a flotilla as some sort of expression of protest is now so over done that we have all lost interest?

First there was the ill fated Turkish Flotilla, with its quest to batter the living shit out of a few Israeli commandos. That didnt go too well.

Then there was the Irish attempt, which was an anti-climax in which no one really got hurt or killed, although I did hear of more than one case of Israeli caused, sea-sickness. Those bastards, have they no decency?

Now we have the Flotilla of the daughters of Mary, Flotilla against peace, Flotilla for Peace, a US Flotilla (only once around the statue of liberty, alas) in aid of kidnapped Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit.

I for one am amazed at this maritime madness. I can only assume that ALL of the aforementioned Flotillas are organised by people with absolutely nothing better to do.

Jaysus, get up, go to work, pay the mortgage and feed the wife and kids; or get on a boat and pick a fight with one of the world’s most aggressive military outfits? Mmmm, no brainer really.

Personally, I just have to so much look at a boat and I get sea sick and the word Flotilla instantly casts images of unflushable faecal matter which is precisely what these ill advised so called humanitarian efforts amount to.

What next? Bono, Chris Martin and Sir Bob Geldoff getting together to arrange Flotilla Aid? A concert put together by do-gooder idiots to raise much needed funds for the world’s most violent terrorists?

Its all a matter of taste. Bad taste.

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Hung, drawn and quartered

10 05 2010

Hung Parliament

The recent political situation has left most of the UK wondering what happens next. This isn’t as some are painting it, a classic exercise in UK voter apathy. On the contrary, the public have spoken and it is as many predicted, to0 close a race to call.

There is one thing that is certain since Gordon Brown sacrificed himself in front of the nation this evening, to allow some sort of coalition hope to be fostered between the Lib Dems and the Labour Party- its less about the party and its more about the man.

On balance, I think that Gordon Brown has taken a lot of unnecessary flack in the aftermath of the “global” economic crisis. The English have run out of heroes and instead we prefer our effigies.

Whilst he might not be the most charismatic of men he is certainly about the only one of the bunch with the political pedigree and experience. But like many have said, we don’t need two chancellors, we need one clear leader. In the aftermath of what is being hailed as a “farce” of a general election, Britain is far from being led by one clear leader.

The electoral reform proposed by the Liberal Democrats seeks to put an end to the two party system and by and large the majority of the public would probably be in favour of this, if they actually understood it in the first place. The tories have been too slow in coming forward with their willingness to accept this and hastily seemed to have issued some form of “referendum based” compromise on the matter in light of increased chance of a Labourt -Lib Dem coalition.

This might not be the most straightforward situation that Britain has found itself in,  but it certainly is the most interesting General Election outcome for some time. In many ways, the stale mate between the parties has promoted further interest in the archaic voting system and revived political interest amongst sections of the public that considered the results of elections a foregone conclusion.

As David Cameron wakes up to the realisation that despite his majority win, he might yet wake up to being the leader of the opposition against a Lib Dem – Labour Coalition Government, the real winner is the British public who’s message has been clearly heard by all three parties: There is such little difference between the soundbite lead policies of the big three.





Death of A Salesman

16 10 2008

So its official, we are all going to hell in a handbasket (what a phrase). At least for anyone lucky enough to have been tuned in to BBC1’s special this evening on the state of the economy. Determined to squeeze the last drops of the will to live out of a fearful nation crowded round their wireless tellyboxes, Jeremy Vine and co, told us how a) Our fate is in the hands of incompetent jugglers between the Banks and the government. b) We are powerless and were probably always unwitting patsies to the global credit conspiracies. c) Theres no way out of this and we will all be wearing sackcloth and eating ashes until the end of days (which is probably scheduled for next week).

I dont agree with all of this scaremongering and badgering the public into feeling helpless victims. It is another example of media irresponsibility scaring the public into not spending their money anymore and thereby worsening the financial recession. But perhaps the biggest act of irresponsibility is towing the line that the banks and governments are the criminals whilst the consumer public were unwitting victims – a line of thinking that I find hard to accept.

Each member of the public knew what they were doing when they signed a credit agreement. Each member of the public should have known whether or not they could afford their mortgage. But, yes, I am willing to conceed that not all of us knew that our savings and pensions would be swallowed so quickly by this finanicial holocaust.

The fact is that a lot of us are waking up feeling like Willy Loman these days. The rules have all changed. There is no security in the things we held as being true and indestructable. Thousands have been given redundancy notices and millions already in unemployment.

So where does it end? Well we all know what happened to Willy Loman, but I cant see that happening here. What we need to do is move on and start taking responsibility for our individual and in turn, collective, actions.

The UK have to stop relying on the media to dictate their spending habits and beliefs about the financial system, and start realising that we all understand the basic rules of business whilst we’re at it. The US have to make the right decision in November and vote Obama into power. If anything, this will at least affect an air of change, if not proper change itself. The world needs a change, and the US needs to wake up in November to hope and not some angry white old man with a military history.

World take a note from the story of Kind David. Kind David was denied the opportunity to build the temple in Jerusalem because he had so much blood on his hands from waging so many wars. There is a lesson in the responsibility of governance here: An effective politician and leader cannot lead build for peace and the future with a background of war. There is always an alterior motive and agenda in their policies. McCain will undoubtedly be a rash decision maker and war mongerer far worst than the current administration (although given Bush’s military history maybe this theory has been proven wrong).

Lets begin effecting change, lets begin taking responsibility: for our finances, for our environment and for our actions. The alternative is Willy Loman.





Carry the can or else.

27 09 2008

The interviews that littered the recent news broadcasts about the emergency talks around the US treasury’s desparate plans to save the US banking system, had the average Joe on the street saying “I don’t see why I should have to carry the can for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

Like it or not, if average Joe wants to continue living his American dream or nightmare, he will have to listen to Hank Poulson for the time being. Perhaps its not everyone’s idea of a prudent plan, but inaction and apathy would be far worse.

The fact that some stores and gas stations are no longer accepting credit cards as valid payment options, shows that the overall faith in the banking system is at an all time low. Imagine not being able to underpin your daily purchases with a credit card. For the many of the world’s citizens, let alone the US, this scenario is unthinkable.

But those of us worried about the security of our savings or future of our credit cards are missing the point, a very valid point raised by a man that doesn’t normally talk sense. In his address to the American nation, unusually, George Bush used draconian language for the possible consequences of inaction mentioning possible “collapse” and “danger” and explicitly “major sectors of America’s financial system are at risk of shutting down.”

Neither George Bush nor average Joe can afford to let this happen. This means much more than a threat to financial security. This is a threat to US national security and the stability of the western world.

The consequences of a collapse in the American economy would send resounding shockwaves across Europe and the rest of the world, but it would also leave America looking and feeling vulnerable and weak. Open not just to financial attack but also physical attack, the US economy and tax system supports a huge number of military projects that has helped to keep America as a one of the world’s superpowers. Military spending alone is not sufficient to keep the status quo, and general economic strength also dictates America’s standing on the world stage. For the first time in many years, Americans face becoming downgraded from superpower to has-been.

Senator John Mccain’s recent hijacking of the crisis talks have done little to boost his own credibility and arguably threaten the future of the western world. Many see this as just a taste to come of what life would be like if Mccain sees victory in the upcoming elections, others see little more than a transparent and ill-timed delay tactic.

Unless Mccain wants to inherit a defunct superpower, average Joe better pray that the US government strike a deal this week. With Russia riding the crest of a gas fuelled economic boost in military spending, the US needs to maintain its image and the integrity of its dollar.





The Large Hadron Dilemma

14 09 2008
Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider
Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

The Large Hadron Dilemma

So as it was way back in Babel,
That man had the idea,
Let us see the face of God,
Let us see if he is real,
And so they built brick upon brick,
Miles higher than Cern,
But with the same intention,
And the same cynical sneer

The man on the street,
He drives a nice car,
He has a nice wife, a job,
His father was a doctor and his mother a barrister,
You couldn’t tell he was adopted,
Save for the lack of physical resemblance,
That might be forgiven or forgotten,
But it itched and niggled

So he looked and he searched,
And he found them out,
They lived far away,
But it was worth a try,
So he found the bitter truth,
That Mummy was a drug addicted prostitute,
And Daddy the dealer,
But now he knew

He liked it better when he didn’t know,
The noble stock from where he sprang,
But he couldn’t go back to normal,
The nice wife, the nice job,
So he bought a gun,
And did the deed,
In the back of his car,
The guilt and knowledge began to bleed,

And so the Large Hadron Collider,
With its noble intentions,
To find the so called God particle,
Like so many inventions,
It might not work,
But if it does,
Would you perhaps rather not know,
We all came from dust and back there we go





The Death of Autumn – Short Story

25 08 2008
The Death Of Autumn

The Death Of Autumn

The road leading down to the house meandered through the forest and for the most part was covered in dead leaves. The charm of autumn had gone, leaving the stale smell of rotting leaves in its path.

Of course today would not be pleasant, it was never meant to be. Originally, he had tried to plan his emotions well in advance of the occasion, but that never works. One can never account for the other sensory stimuli that will flavour the event like the subtle seasoning of pepper. The cold, the crispness of the air, the smell of the leaves.

In his imaging of the day, these items had never featured.

He was meant to be detached and dutiful. This was a duty more than a pleasure or a painful process. This was a chore, pure and simple.

He had even come prepared in the event that no one else would come, in the boot he had his own shovel and a pair of Wellington boots.

But that was ridiculous, of course people would come, however in his imagination he had always discounted anyone else’s presence from his mother’s funeral. It was meant to be a quick affair, just him and the Rabbi, and maybe the cemetery groundsman.

Pulling up to the house, he could see the other cars already there. His sisters had come with their husbands, he could hear their kids playing in the garden somewhere. His own children were now grown up, but did not remember their grandmother in anyway and so he made the decision to leave them be, not to bother them with what was after all meant to be a chore. He hadn’t even told his wife where he was going. When the call came in, he accepted the news with very little emotion or sound and she had been oblivious to events on the other end of the line.

She would have wanted to have known and he knew that she would have wanted to come with him today, but he refused to let his mother hurt his wife any further a long time ago. Today was no exception, even in her death, the difficult emotions would take some processing and he did not want her to be present on the day he finally shut the chapter on his mother’s life.

Getting out of the car, he was surprised to see the building still standing. It was ready for demolition a long time ago, the masonry was starting to crumble round the edges and looked as if the roof might collapse in on itself, at any moment. Perhaps the house itself was just waiting for the old woman to die, before collapsing and burying all her effects along with her.

His sister had been present with her mother at the time of her death. She was a doctor, but her devotion to her mother went beyond the Hypocratic oath she had sworn many years ago. She described her mother’s final hours as distressing, as her mother complained of being lonely and continually cried until she finally passed away in her sleep.

Of course, to him, she was bound to be lonely. She had successfully pushed everyone and anyone that could possibly have cared for her so far away that there was no chance that they would be around at a moment like this. Except for Leah, who seemed to be blind to the brand of venomous hatred that her mother preached.

As he stepped into the house, there were a lot of old faces that looked to him like they were waiting for some sort of inspiration. For someone to tell them how they should be feeling today. His other two sisters, looked upset and confused. Whether they should be mourning their mother or the life she robbed them of.

He walked straight up to his father and said “Ok, its time. Lets get going.”

The undertakers took this as a sign and loaded the hearse with the coffin, which seemed shorter than he remembered her being.

They all drove in silence towards the cemetery, each of them desperately trying to find the meaning in the occasion.

“Its all duty. Just a duty. Respect for the dead, but not the woman.” He kept telling himself, separating the corpse and the personality that inhabited it twenty four hours ago.

She was a young woman, comparatively, at sixty four. But she had chain smoked much of her adult life, leaving her with heavy lungs laden with cancerous tumours that finally sucked the life out of her.

Of course, she could have lived longer, only she had refused treatment or diagnosis a long time ago. Her understanding of medicine and doctors had always been primitive and superstitious but ultimately any treatment would only ever had prolonged her existence and could not prevent the inevitable.

The Rabbi meant well. The words he spoke, praised her as a woman of virtue, a good mother and a Jew. She had been none of these things, but everyone forgave him because he was at least brief. They all needed to get this over with as soon as possible.

The earth was soft and they buried the coffin more quickly than he had anticipated. It was an unceremonious moment that somehow lacked the sense of closure he had hoped for, but there it was. A life reduced to a mound of earth and the tears of an old man who had never managed to stop loving his wife.

Difficult to believe, this wasn’t how he had planned it, almost like he had been cheated of an emotion.

Ironically, this is just as she would have wanted it.

At least she was gone.