Monday, 17 December 2018

The Annual Christmas Tube Strike


In very recent months, if I recall correctly, an airline pilot lost his job for failing a single drugs test. This guy was earning just about as much as a hairdresser or forkift driver, despite the fact he was responsible for hundreds of lives, trapped in a pressurized cannister filled with terrified farts, brought on by shrink-wrapped and microwaved airline food, hurtling through the sky at 35,000 feet at 900kmph, with any number of variables that if not handled correctly, could end in unimaginable disaster resulting in the death of every single person on board.

And then we have London Underground drivers. They essentially drive stick, on a train on a fixed route, on fixed rails, using a mostly automated system, essentially using the same amount of effort and skill of a 13-year-old on an X-Box.

Some of them take home to thier families - three, in some cases four times as much as someone that flies an airplane, or a guy that drives a taxi for 14 hours a day; for fiddling a joystick, pressing a button to open and close doors, and occasionally addressing their hapless customers on a PA system in some incoherent mumble, that you're going to be late for work and how much they regret the inconvenience. NOT.

One such genius failed a drug test; not once, not twice, but THREE times. While sanity should have kicked in after the first failed test, the powers-that-be decided to wait for a third go. He was then duly fired. Better late than never, you would think.

Except, it's not fair. A mere mortal would lose his driving license and therefore in all probabilty his job for being two pints down.

The union he is a member of are going out on strike in protest of his sacking. The strike is of course perfectly timed (like they do every year on one pretext or another) for the busiest, most festive time of the year - so as to have the most impact, affecting thousands of commuters going out shopping for family and friends, and those trying to get to jobs where these customers will be served. The losses to the economy, just for this one day runs in the hundreds of millions.

That these joystick-jockeys have so much clout, such eye-watering wages, and holiday entitlements that are the among the best in the world, is seen by many as the collective bargaining power of unions.

It isn't.

It's the power of a monopoly.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

"Puny Gods"

For centuries, millennia even, people have evolved drastically. Mostly into dickheads.
There is of course no evidence of any biological evolution of us homo-sapiens from when we were hacking away at people from neighbouring villages for food or riches or territory or control of resources, or constructing drainage systems in the Indus Valley, or palaces and fabulous gardens in Mesopotamia (Iraq-ish), or the pyramids in Egypt and Peru and Mexico, or the pagodas in the far east, or the intricate Hindu temples hewn out of solid rock, or the majestic cathedrals and fortified castles in Europe, to the day we travelled to and landed on the moon some 384,400 kilometres away, or on a lower scale, split an atom to unleash unimaginable energy and thereby, deadly force.
Strangely enough, forcing two atoms together does the same thing. I'm digressing now. Hate that about me. Grrr...
We've conquered and colonised the third rock from the sun. "A mote of dust caught in a sunbeam", as Carl Sagan put it.
Or so we thought. Some idiots still do.
Where we weren't able to establish control, nature and the cosmos always reserved its right of reminding us that it was around before us, and will continue to be there long after we are gone.
We tamed fire, but California burns. We tamed rivers, but the Indian monsoons render half of Bangladesh under water every year. We built better and stronger houses, and yet earthquakes in the Himalayan/Hindukush footprint turn them into rubble in the blink of an eye. We mastered the oceans with our naval armadas, our sophisticated submarines carrying enough ordnance to fossilise us all, and revelled in the gorgeous coastal resorts we built, and yet a tsunami, or whirlpools of winds we lovingly call Brenda or Dorothy, lasting no longer than a 4-minute pop video, wash them away like discarded post-BBQ toothpicks on my decking trying to resist a jet-wash. As the Hulk would say, "Puny God". That'd be us.
Physically and biologically we are still driven by the same basic instincts that enabled our ancestors to survive and prosper, exerting unrivalled dominion over everything around us.
We hit the top of the food chain long, long before any history or mythology was ever recorded. A built-in arrogance comes with that as standard.
Today, we don't battle nature as much as we battle each other. Our arrogance has led us to interpret nature's fury as a result of anthropological actions. Hence we level our pitchforks where we can draw blood. The Green Joke, I call it. Since we can't beat nature, we beat each other. The fact is, nothing we posses, despite our god-like prowess, can fight climate change - a single volcanic eruption lasting a week will dwarf and negate an entire city's use of special light-bulbs and a jute tote bag (flown over from Dhaka, accruing more air miles than four jaunts to Spain), no one ever uses more than twice. It'd be funny if it wasn't true.
The only areas where we have repeatedly given nature a good and proper bashing is pollution and waste: Plastic waste in oceans and the deliberate decimation of the world's forests and biodiversity. We waste 40% of all food we till the land for, hire trucks, trains, ferries, and planes for - just for looking a bit wonky. The rest of the 60% we carry home in our Made-In-Bangladesh bags for life, eventually chucking half of it away three days later because it was on offer and we bought too much.
I suspect nature will find a way to fight back. In the words of the famous philosopher of our times, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, "Life, will find a way". Life always does. It's kind of like the overuse of antibiotics renders them useless because the bacteria evolve into more powerful strains within a few months, if not weeks. Thing is, they're only adapting to survive, just like we are. Don't hold it against the little critters.
Back to the point I was making about our evolution: We did evolve, in a way. Indeed, our larger brains gave us superiority over all things that moved or breathed, but we simply went mental with it: We got arrogant. We went tribal. We developed ideas. We made rules. A lot of them were based on our survival instinct centred on commonality (racism, anyone?), teamwork, empathy and cooperation for survival. All of which, including altruism, are biological instincts. We've managed to fuck up each one. Different story, another time, perhaps.
And thus began every single 'ism', initially as a fairly benign set of moral postulates. We developed religions, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Islamism, etc, each one claiming to be the right way and the only way to please a god no one had spoken to or a path to a heaven no one had ever seen. We went full cerebral.
If that wasn't enough, in seeking to codify the human condition, we developed political systems supplicating one for another, often with extreme violence - socialism for feudalism and communism for fascism, each new idea eventually morphing into the very thing it sought to replace, forgetting in the process that, nature always wins. You can't control people just like you can't control nature. Build the Matrix as many times as you want, but there always be the problem of choice. Right or wrong in your manufactured mindset, there will always be a Morpheus. There will always be a Neo. There will always be a Zion.
Like I said before, we've gone completely mental.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Free Roaming Charges? Really?

If you've read your history right, you will be well aware of how and why colonisation works and is a thing. If you have had a decent education and proper teachers - not ideologically brainwashed morons straight out of university with zero experience of life and the human condition - you will have learned that most empires are not built with a thirst for territorial gain and pure malice for peoples considered lesser, because that is just an excuse. Most socio-religious justifications are an excuse. The real reasons are very different.
Empires are built on greed. Economic and financial greed. They're built on the perpetual search for natural resources that can be tapped into for financial gain. The modern term for this is 'asset stripping' by gaining complete and unfettered control over a nation's natural resources.
A little digression before I continue...
On an individual level, greed is usually a good thing - it implies hunger, requires hard work to feed it, and it drives ambition. It makes successful people successful. This is NOT the argument I am making right now.
Now back to the point I was making...
I have often compared the European Union to the Mafia. I have often referred to the United Kingdom as a vassal state of the supra-national European Union. I have often referred to the United Kingdom as a colony of the 4th Riech, reincarnated as the Franco-Deutsche combine, under the guise of a lapiz lazuli blue flag with a circle of yellow stars, intent on the enforcement of a centralised command centre, top down policy - enforced by law - with no room or leeway for dissent or disagreement.
Now these are subjective arguments - feelings or 'conspiracy theories - if you want to call them that. I've lived long enough to have been inundated with Soviet propaganda to recognise it when I see it.What the European trade cartel does to developing countries is well-documented. I present a snapshot of what is it doing to the United Kingdom. WITH our permission.
For a moment, forget how I feel. Forget my personal opinions. Let's look at some facts. Facts don't care about my feelings. They don't care about yours either.
1. Cadbury moved their factory to Poland 2011 with an EU grant.
2. Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with an EU grant.
3. Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with an EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds. Guess who is going to foot the bill eventually. It won't be the EU. It will be you.
4. Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with an EU grant.
5. The British army's new Ajax fighting vehicles are to be built in Spain using Swedish steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with an EU grant, never mind that the Welsh steel industry is taking a bashing.
6. Dyson is manufacturing in Malaysia, not only because of abundant manufacturing expertise in the region, but with encouragement and a generous EU loan.
7. Crown Closures of Bournemouth (Remember Metal Box?), have relocated to Poland with an EU grant. Bournemouth lost 1,200 jobs as result.
8. A lot of Marks & Spencers manufacturing was sourced from the far east. With EU loans over the past decade, most of it is.
9. Hornby models are no longer made in Britain. Again, EU grants.
10. Gillette manufactures in various east European countries. Again, propped up with EU grants.
11. American company, Texas Instruments' HQ and manufacturing moved to Germany - with, you guessed it, the help of a European Union grant.
12. Indesit (formerly of Bodelwyddan, Wales) now manufactures in eastern Europe. Aided by a hefty European Union grant.
13. Sekisui Alveo has announced that production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
14. Hoover's Merthyr factory has moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.
15. ICI - an iconic British corporate name known all over the world assimilated into Holland’s AkzoNobel with an EU bank loan. Within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs.
16. Boots sold to Italian Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.
17. JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men, brought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU 'regeneration' grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.
18. Some UK airports are owned by a Spanish company. EU structural funds.
19. The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
20. Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it's Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.
While you're pondering over this, and some anoraks are actually fact-checking it, I'll call it as I see it. Britain is a net contributer to the EU. All these 'EU'funds and loans being used to asset strip the United Kingdom are money WE gave them. They're using the knife we gave them to stab us.
So if you think opposition to the EU is just about immigration, or that the only people that voted for Brexit were unemployed drugged up rednecks in jogging bottoms with three teeth, a can of lager in one hand and a roll-up in the other, you couldn't be more wrong.
If anyone is a bigot, it's probably you.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Select History. Press Delete.

I find the tendency to trivialise the 80s, the Cold War and the genuine threat to liberty and democracy around the world that the USSR represented quite disturbing.

History has been re-written. The Revisionists - particularly millennial academics – now in charge of our educational establishments, have completely whitewashed and entirely hollowed out the achievements of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders of the time, and their role in exposing and thus discrediting and playing their part in dismantling what was the CCCP project. That they do not recognise the European Union’s Arbeit-Macht-Frei-esque sloganeering to be akin to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union is disconcerting to say the least to those that have lived through those times and find the signs all too familiar.

Many of the under 40s have no idea of the threat communism was, not just in terms of the formidable military arsenal the Soviets possessed but in terms of the bloody revolutions, genocidal campaigns, and political assassinations they carried out around the world.

The USSR backed and facilitated satellite regimes and paramilitary movements weren’t limited to Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia alone: The Red Brigade in Italy operated openly in several northern cities and just as a single example of their boldness they orchestrated the kidnapping of a 2 time Christian Democrat PM (at that point party leader in opposition), Aldo Mora, one or the major figures of post war Italian politics. They killed 5 men in his security detail, held him prisoner for 54 days, and then executed him by shooting him 10 times after covering him with a blanket on the pretence of moving him to another location.

I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I sensed and shared the euphoria of East & West Germany merging into Germany. Some years ago, my daughter bought me a fragment of the fallen wall on one of her trips to the continent. This was a wall the Far Left built – way before Donald Trump was building anything.

The Red Brigade in Italy was as extreme as extreme gets, but we have our own hard left in this country that while less overt in its use of violence (for now – but getting there) to support its goals, nonetheless has sympathy with those movements that resort to those tactics. Enter Antifa and the Koreshique Cult of Corbyn.

They shrug off Corbyn’s connections, affiliations and sympathies to militant political movements, communist revolutionaries and the terror groups they label “freedom fighters”. They do so because they have no appreciation of those times - they argue communism or radical socialism was corrupted by bad leaders in Russia and China but that the ideas themselves were noble.

Trouble is, noble as they might sound, they are anything but. Nothing the hard left want can be achieved while free will is still a thing, while free will is still a human right, while free speech, the right to criticise and offend is still a basic principle of a democracy where every voice or opinion or belief or religion has every right to be heard, and equally, be open to be commented on, lauded, ridiculed, lampooned or critically analyzed.

Communism isn’t dead; it’s just got a better, cuddlier marketing strategy in this day and age. It’s waging a culture war against liberal democracy and our institutions and we HAVE to fight it.

With contributions from Daniel Cremin and Catherine Francoise.