USA and Europe to join the Commonwealth

It’s easy to be proud, even complacent about our nation. Not that we do that very often in England. Recent decades have seen us far more worried about integrating new arrivals and creating linkages with others.

It was disappointing to see that we may not be so involved with some European projects – like Gaia http://sci.esa.int/gaia/ a fantastic telescope, created by the European Space Agency, Gaia is an ambitious mission to chart a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, in the process revealing the composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy. Gaia will provide unprecedented positional measurements for about one billion stars – about 1 per cent of the Galactic stellar population – in our Galaxy and Local Group, together with radial velocity measurements for the brightest 150 million objects.

This week it has displayed some of its first results. A 3-D map of the Milky Way, which is already revealing new information. Next week, on 25th April, the second batch of data will be released.

What I love about this sort of science is not that it’s immediately pundered and exploited for personal (or company) gain. It is widely available, for everyone to use.

This last weekend has seen the marriage between our Prince Harry and Megan Markle (now the Duchess of Sussex), a US citizen with multi-racial ancestry.

There’s one enormous suggestion I’d like to make: that the USA make Prince Harry a US citizen, and then creates a monarchy, using this Prince and his Duchess as the start of a dynasty.

The USA is inherently unstable. It’s not a happy country. Many reasons for that, but it’s dependence upon personal wealth has been a contributing factor, and respectable role models have been sadly lacking.

Our Royal Family has a history, but it has also adapted to a modern world. Using this model we could move forward to a time of peace and prosperity. A significant choice is that the Royal couple did not invite any politicians to the ceremony. They know that egos get in the way of history. They were not needed.

Can we forget 1776, when the French colluded with renegade settlers to push out a German king? We have Commonwealth of some 57 countries, each ethnically diverse. Let’s welcome the United States of America into our club, and show their people there is a better way to love.

Selling England

Keep Calm, Start a RvolutionOne of the unforeseen results of Brexit is now beginning to raise its ugly head. We are now very vulnerable. The rich boy team led by Cameron made a virtue of inward investment. A slightly mad version of economics that relied upon globalisation as its major tenet.

Now over a quarter of large UK companies are foreign owned. It’s suggested that these companies assist the British economy. Unfortunately these benefits are too often outweighed by loss of control, and reduced local influence. Short-term gain to get an ailing administration out of trouble brings small advantage to our national wealth.

One horrible example is the sale of Cadburys to the USA. Manufacturing has been transferred to other countries, which are cheaper. The products have been changed beyond recognition, and do not suit British taste. People have lost their jobs and it is estimated that over £4.5 billion has been sold in UK but no significant tax has been paid.

All this shows a disregard for the UK as a nation state. Those in charge are solely interested in feathering their own nests. As a nation we are now clearly in the last vestiges of Empire. Our ability to manipulate and control over one third of the world has disappeared. Leaving Europe we will, in effect, lose even more control. Our voice will just shout in the wilderness.

You can see that effect already. The BBC covers US news stories with relish. Europe is barely mentioned, and the rest of the world must have a major disaster to merit a mention. Yet we remain at war. How many of us know what our real expenditure on defence is? How does killing innocents in Syria help defend our shores? What’s the social and economic benefit to the UK citizenry?

I’ll think of something nice to say next time. Until then; remember to vote at the elections. I’d urge you to vote against any party presently holding power. We have become complacent, resigned to believing there is nothing we can do. That’s not true, but there are many challenges ahead. The USA remains a major threat, automation will take many jobs, our tax system is not covering all the population, corruption is getting worse, crime is rising, and I’m on a diet! The latter is why I’m feeling miserable this morning..

Council Elections: so they say

APE moneyI feel as if I am being conned. Our politicians seem to be interested in squirrelling away as much money as they can, for themselves, and telling the country they have no money.

It’s not difficult to see how a back-bencher can get through £150,000 a year on expenses. They claim for everything; housing, staff, transport, junkets and clothing – even duck huts, if they have enough cheek.

As citizens we get austerity. For many folk their wages are frozen. Yet inflation keeps rising. As a retired old git I now pay over 20% of my pension in Council Tax. With my grumpy hat firmly placed on my diminishing head of hair I ask, ‘what do I get for that?’ Not a lot is the answer. They empty the rubbish bins once a fortnight and are planning to charge me an extra £42 a year to remove garden waste.

The biggest increase in expenditure in the past year has been imposed by the pig farmer who (allegedly) manages the police service. As a result our police station has been closed and stands empty (we could do with a leisure centre for meetings etc, and the old cells could be useful if any Councillors called in for a cup of tea). We never see a police officer in the town. Our ToyTown cops have all been sacked. What are they spending the money on? Think about that: they never walk alone these days; they drive big cars, at least two at a time. Add together their unit costs: pay, uniform, office space, training, and supervising officers, and those two cops must cost us the better part of £200,000 a year.

Elections for some next week. Can’t be my lot, it must be a rollover. Whoever is in power, the only advice I can give, is to vote for someone else.

I enjoyed the early summer. April showers here today. Rejoice; Prince Philip is still with us. There’s a new baby to care for, and a marriage to enjoy. I’ve already received an invitation.

 

Once Again

You could say ‘I’m back’. Truth is I’ve not really been away. There’s been quiet disillusion in my brain that’s taken a little to overcome.

Let’s look at the causes of my disappointment. Theresa May and her disjointed administration are clearly of concern. Just where are they taking this country, and why? In a inglorious and unnecessary series of painful blunders Hammond, the Chancellor is attempting to destroy the fabric of this country by attempting to save money.

That no money has been saved seems irrelevant to this man, whom I suspect is no more than power-crazy. He wants to hurt us, professing it is necessary for our own good. Rubbish. They managed to find over £400 billion for quantitative easing – a technical term for devaluation. Clearly he liked seeing house prices rocket, homeless people sleeping in the street, and all of us without much in the way of spare cash to spend.

We’d get better treatment from a dominatrix. I wonder if that’s what he would really like as a job?

The slow destruction of our valued public services; from potholes left gaping to over-stressed NHS staff; to the bungling of Brexit that will lad to USA rubbish arriving in our country, does nothing to inspire confidence.

I’m concerned that people no longer complain about anything. We are complacent and compliant. Like sperm counts in younger men we have been chemically reduced, but I’m sure it helps the economy.

Work and profit are the watchwords of this government. Nothing else seems to matter. Our children are made to undergo a restricted education, then to pay for a degree course. We still spend huge amounts on defence, whatever that’s supposed to mean apart from wasting money on equipment, armaments and personnel to kill innocent civilians in parts of the world where we should just leave well alone. How would we feel if Afghans started to bomb London?

It’s all getting far too global. Who are we helping? Not ourselves. Brexit is only really important for a small minority of British people. We should be investing much more time and energy in ensuring that we can produce, for ourselves, what we need. Stop selling our assets to foreigners. When did foreigners become more important than British people?

Can it be true?

We’ve always been a submissive lot. The English peasantry has always doffed their cap at their master, allowed their lasses to be violated, and marched their sons off to war in pursuit of more greed.

It’s getting more difficult for the ruling class to get away with lies and deceit, but that doesn’t stop them trying. Invariably they win.

There’s two, if not more, tiers in our society now. Our politicians are worried about Brexit (at its simplest). They want to sell more of our goods and services and make profits. There’s another tier that would rather we concentrated on looking after ourselves first. We should be making our people comfortable, ensuring they are provided with the goods and services they need.

When did you see Welsh lamb in the shops at a decent price? Seems that most is sent abroad, often as live animals, to be subjected to inhumane practices. In East Anglia the large estate owners are prepared to export 300,000 tonnes of grain abroad. We have sold off most of this country’s treasures (I mean industries) in the vain belief that we need inward investment, failing to understand that means outward profit and loss of control.

We live in a decaying Empire, and now can only expect to be plundered, not least by all those who were pillaged by ourselves over the centuries.

Nothing wrong with that. We like competition. Except we have inept leaders who remain greedy servants of those who wish to see us destroyed.

Been a While

Here we are in 2018. How did that happen?

Too much has happened. Most of which is very boring. A man with a rug on his head has taken over USA. Our sexless Prime Minister is adamantly failing, surrounded by politicians who know she is weak, so they refuse to conform . Not least is the Health Secretary, whose made millions out of healthcare already and is intent on making more.

Now we have the government’s tame contractor going bust. They accepted every contract offered but failed to realise that they needed to make a profit to survive. Now we must wait to be told how much we have to pay for their mistakes.

Hello again. You don’t need me today. It’s all too depressing.

Friend or Foe?: the performance

It was a windy night, the summer had been taken over by autumn when we all arrived at Landguard Fort for a performance by the Woven Theatre Company of Philip Thicknesse: Friend or Foe?

Landguard is a perfect location. Thicknesse was Lieutenant-Governor at the fort from 1753 until 1766, a controversial character brought to life by this play set in the central courtyard at Landguard.

His third wife, Anna, well portrayed by Clare Hawes, added her lovely voice to the show, as did Eloise Kay, who was a puppeteer, the Clerk of the Court, the Innkeeper’s wife and a Barge Woman. Her cheekily expressive face was a delight, and her voice was clear and bright as she sang, especially when playing the scenes in France.

Steve Gallant was impressive as the sergeant who opened the play, and the goaler, and even featured after death as Thicknesse carried his skull everywhere. Richard Blaine, as Philip Thicknesse, held the play together well, with his strutting figure using the space at Landguard. It’s a perfect stage although the audience would have welcomed a warmer summer evening.

Adrian Cave has a strong voice, showing no emotion as he told of the Sergeant’s execution, which was a true story. The Sergeant’s Portuguese wife was accused of stealing a handkerchief, and ran  away. The Sergeant went to find her, only to be accused of desertion and shot when he returned.

The principal parts were supported by dancers from the On y Va, a French/Breton dance club from Saxmundham who meet at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew. Lord Orwell, cast as the villain, played by Jamie Symons, was also the defence lawyer at Thicknesses’ trial. Pauline Dent came across well as the Judge, seated up high on the walkway looking down into the well of the court, much like the the number one court at the Old Bailey. She was also responsible for costumes.

A fine play written by Peppy Barlow and Sally Wilden, directed by Anna Birch, I can see this staged during any summer weekend, with the public playing their part as the public.

 

Slavery and Citizens

Just a brief thought. We seem to assume that because we are here, living and resident, that we should also be citizens.

That’s not always been the case. Perhaps there’s room for discussion about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen.

Discuss:

About me and sex statistics

Not that the audio on this page is about my sexual exploits. They are of no real interest. I start by telling you something about myself, and then lead on to chat about sex, finishing with the sexual activities (or should that be olympics) of the Emperor of China,

Do listen – it is exhausting!

Originally broadcast in an audiobook: Composting and Other Stories

Passwords

Will somebody do something about passwords? I spend too much of my life adding the damn things on the Internet, then forgetting what I’ve written, then waiting for an email (that doesn’t always arrive) to reset my password. On one site this week I changed my password seven (7) times and yet it still refused to allow me access.

It’s driving me mad. Surely there is a better way?

I’ve since been told, by my friend Phil Ashby, that the National Cyber Security Centre has information about passwords: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog/identity-and-passwords

  1. Granddad Trevor Lockwood 2:17
  2. Film theatres Trevor Lockwood 3:57
  3. Community Trevor Lockwood 10:32
  4. Coton Water Jan Candy, Trevor Lockwood 15:00
  5. Conflict Trevor Lockwood 12:40
  6. What we are Trevor Lockwood 6:28
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  8. jenner 8:32