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Conflict

https://soundcloud.com/trevor-lockwood/sets/polemia

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Nearly There

The Future

It’s getting tiring. We’ve seen and heard politicians lying, and there’s an approach that when being interviewed just keep talking, and ignore interruptions. It’s annoying and frightening.

Now we will settle down and wait for the result. If Boris the Turk gets in we will face the same future as the USA.

What more needs to be said.

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Nervous

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda is reported to have suffered a nervous breakdown after completing a film.

I sympathise.

As we slide through this life we have ups and downs. Mine has been more down than up, but never mind, we survive.

I have one worry: that’s the survival of mankind on this planet.

That’s a serious concern. We have an increasing shift to the right in politics. In Europe we have experience of what that means. In the USA there is a simple-minded, yet arrogant President.

United Kingdom

In the UK we have an equally spoilt-brat as Prime Minister. He masquerades as British, that’s not strictly true. He’s a second-generation immigrant from Turkey.

That’s OK. The UK is now full of immigrants, and most are doing a good job. We need and welcome their enthusiasm. Perhaps the problems arise when their offspring, born in this country, are well-established and have money and influence. They become arrogant.

England (specifically) is a nation of peasants. Folk who have been under the yoke for many years. We’ve not had a voice that’s been effective. We tried in 1381 with the Peasants Revolt, but that failed.

Richard 11 faces the peasants

Richard 11, then just 14, met the peasants but the Mayor of London stepped in and killed the peasant’s leader Wat Tyler. Richard promised to meet the peasants demands: that all men should be free and equal.

So much for promises. Government troops went to the villages and hanged any man who took part.

We have promises from politicians today. With a coming election there will many of the people who choose to believe those who wield power. They may be wrong to believe promises.

The Chartists in 19th Century (1838) wanted constitutional reform, presenting six demands. They failed.

Chartists meet at Kennington 1848

Despite objections (10,000 extra police standing by) the Chartists presented a petition to Parliament, signed by 6 million people, it was largely ignored.

In a quiet way the same situation is occurring again. This time a Tory Prime Minister held a referendum. Read carefully it did no more than promise to look at the result. Unfortunately a small majority voted to leave the European Union (EU).

That cause consternation amongst the ruling classes. They were aware that the EU were changing the tax laws meaning that overseas investments would be taxed. For some that became a good reason to leave the EU.

Unfortunately, for them, this ruse was soon spotted. A new Prime Minister, Boris the Turk Johnson, is now holding another election. Which he hopes to win.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was born in New York City on June 19, 1964. His great-grandfather was Ali Kemal, an Ottoman Turk. Kemal fled to exile in England in late 1909, They already had a daughter named Selma. Kemal stayed with his mother-in-law Margaret Brun (née Johnson). Is that where Johnson’s name came from? His nationality hangs on a thin thread.

Who knows what will happen on 12 December?

I have an evil plan: if Boris wins and we leave the EU I shall go to Holland and plead asylum as a refugee I have some links in my ancestry to Holland, and even more in France where my family founded a Christian order, which still exists today: https://www.lasalle.org

La Salle

I hope he loses. We need Europe, and Europe needs us.

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An Election

Twelfth of December: what a glorious day it will be.

Shall we have sunshine ?

Shall we have snow?

Chances are we will see Old England sliding down into the mire, with a golden wig draped over its corpse.

Somehow we have allowed a spoilt brat (where did his money come from? Well his grandfather was thrown out of Turkey for trying to become Prime Minister).

Another foreigner, called Farage, has buttered up the US President, and they are now good friends.

Glory be.

At least we can watch the rugby – we might even win!

England Rugby Team (against Ireland)
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New Approach

Catastrophe

Listening to the radio this morning, indeed most mornings recently, it would appear that the world is in crisis.

It’s too easy to consider the world from an English perspective, or even an European outlook (if indeed we can consider ourselves so classified these days), or a wider Western world, that includes other places, such as the United States of America and Canada.

The horrific picture shown above was found searching for one word: catastrophe. It was found by scrolling down through images, each of which showed screens for a TV show called (I presume) catastrophe.

That, itself, shows how indifferent we have all become. The tittle-tattle found on our screens is now more important than reality. That’s more the case in the West than elsewhere. The USA is now getting its share of extreme events, most of which disrupt the lives of its citizens. I’m not sure if they go so far as to disturb the US President from playing golf, or what’s happening in the latest soaps, but they may.

The European Commission has made many statements about climate change. They agree there will be problems if the world’s temperature rises by more than 2°C. They go further to say that as homo sapiens we cannot live in conditions that exceed 4°C – it will just be too hot for us to live. That’s an horrific prediction. It outbids the results of our top football teams.

That temperature rise is not much above our normal range – after all many of us stream towards the Mediterranean coast each year to bask in a warmer sun.

There are huge consequences from that small change, many of which we are already seeing:

  • the inundation of coastal cities;
  • increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer and wet regions wetter;
  • unprecedented heatwaves in many regions, especially in the tropics;
  • substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions;
  • increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones;
  • irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.
  • the inundation of coastal cities;

The unspoken consequence is that we may not be able to physically survive such temperature increases. We will all die!

It’s awful to speculate: but I will.

In foreseeable decades we will not need so many people in order to create wealth. Robots (to simplify a term) will replace many jobs. Obviously tasks in manufacturing can be replaced, and that’s already happening. Look onwards to replacing retail staff. Even accountants and solicitors can be replaced – more accurately and cheaply.

That list can be extended exponentially. People are becoming unnecessary. That statement extends far beyond over-population, which we have ignored for several centuries.

According to the OECD in 2012 the top 0.6% of world population (consisting of adults with more than US$1 million in assets) or the 42 million richest people in the world held 39.3% of world wealth. The next 4.4% (311 million people) held 32.3% of world wealth. The bottom 95% held 28.4% of world wealth (that ain’t a lot of cash to share around).

That disparity has only grown greater since 2012. It’s difficult to comprehend the logic that makes people seek more power and money.

This year, we are told, that the richest folk are:

  • Carlos Slim Helu. Net Worth: $57.6 Billion. … a Lebanese-born Mexican he does invest, and makes more money
  • Mark Zuckerberg. Net Worth: $65.8 Billion. …
  • Larry Ellison. Net Worth: $66 Billion. …
  • Amancio Ortega. Net Worth: $68.7 Billion. …
  • Warren Buffett. Net Worth: $81.9 Billion. …
  • Bernard Arnault. Net Worth: $94.7 Billion. …
  • Bill Gates. Net Worth: $105.3 Billion. …
  • Jeff Bezos. Net Worth: $107.8 Billion.

Bill Gates is slipping down the list. It is possibly because he is now recognising himself as a philanthropist.

How do any of these people sleep at night?

Perhaps they dream of folks sleeping on the streets of all ‘Westernised’ cities or imagine themselves over lunch in countries like Liberia (GNI per capita: $710), The Central African Republic (GNI per capita: $730), Burundi (GNI per capita: $770), The Democratic Republic of the Congo (GNI per capita: $870) or Niger (GNI per capita: $990) where their lunch may cost as much as a year’s income for the poor folk that surround them.

Switzerland has wealth per adult of $539,657, that means just 0.1% of the world’s population has 2.3% of the top 1% of global wealth, which makes a Swiss eleven times wealthier than the average world citizen. Belgium, Australia and New Zealand all do very well. The USA includes some of the richest folk but 20 million Americans have incomes in the lowest 20% of global wealth. Inequality is a curse that should, and can, be avoided.

These short paragraphs demonstrate the dangers we all face, and the savage inequalities that billions face every day. These can be avoided. If Jeff Bezos, and many others, paid their taxes and gave workers a fair return on the investments in labour, energy and life, we could all live a better life.

War could be replaced by Rugby, as the World Cup, now brilliantly organised by Japan is showing: https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/

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Podcasts

Trevors logo

Just a selection of podcasts I’ve made, in no particular order. There will be many more!

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Podcasts

Loss of Control

creature on single wheel machine hurtling down a hill

Don’t you feel that way? The system has taken control, and you are no longer in charge, not just of the words you write but how they are displayed, and who decides what will happen.

One day recently I was told, by a friend, that my site was down. It turns out that the server company I have used for the past 20 years had gone bust. I heard nothing from them. Years of work disappeared overnight. Very disappointing.

We move on. I find a new company. All seems well. It seems that I can migrate the content of my old site to the new place. That was true, but for one problem. I no longer have access to my old site so cannot add the software that will allow the migration, that came from https://www.siteground.co.uk/

Let’s move on to Stripe.

This is a Californian-based company offering similar services to PayPal. I wanted to use their services. Set up by Patrick Collison, an Irishman, it seemed like good news. The online form asked for my postcode. I gave it, and was told that it didn’t exist. I emailed my concern, only to be told that Stripe makes the decisions, and there’s nothing I can do about that. Sounds Irish enough for me.

Recently Marks and Spencers https://www.marksandspencer.com closed their store in my town. I had a Sparks card, sort of a thank you by the company, that awards points based on purchases. I had 5,000 points, but they were not showing on my online account.

I sent the M&S Referral team an email. I received a quick reply from Emma, I respond, then Sally replies, I respond, Sarah replies, I respond . I received a total of twelve replies from different people before they agreed to issue a new card. I was told to telephone their company when I received the card. Thirty minutes on the phone, with me paying, before the lovely girl sorted it out for me. I now have 5000 points on a card. Now what do I do with these? I’d offered to take the last lady away for the weekend, but that doesn’t seem to be an option.

These are not just moans. They are relevant. Our job, as clients and consumers now only amounts to paying as much money as can be squeezed out of us. The real purpose is to make money.

We need to start resisting.

 


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Trevor Lockwood

Trevor Lockwood
Yes, it is me!