I agree with Donald Trump, but not for the same reasons.

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This week was the 35th anniversary of the death of Mr. John Lennon; the man who sang at Christmas “War is.over if you want it”. Well it turns out we don’t want it, at least certain Powers-That-Be don’t. After multiple “military interventions” in recent years, in Libya, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq, it seems we still think dropping bombs will solve the problems we face – problems that our esteemed leaders created, by dropping bombs. Seriously, rats learn quicker!

Of course America is in this coalition against Cystitis (there’s so many names for these “Islamic militants” I thought I’d use the one comedian Adam Hills came up with), and in America there’s a man with a plan. A plan that he thinks will stop terrorist attacks in the United States. That man is Donald Trump, and the plan is to ban Muslims from entering the USA.

Now I know there are those of you that think this is total overkill, but I think Mr. Trump is right. Go on, do it. Ban Muslims from entering the US. Seriously, do it. And while you’re at it, why not ban Jewish people as well. And don’t stop there, why not ban homosexuals too? Add Hispanics to the list. Heck, just include any religious, sexual orientation, ethnic or other group of people that you blame for the problems in your America. Ban them all, and then sit back in your white ivory tower and watch as the problems you thought you could solve through banning select groups of people instead of, oh I don’t know – GUNS, continues unabated.

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We’re always told not to give in to fear, that we should rise above it – conquer it. If you have a fear of heights, you climb to the top of the tallest tower. If you have a fear of dogs, get a dog! (Friends quote there.) That’s what this is all about; fear. The very word “Islamaphobia” denotes a fear of Islam. And as the saying goes,’we always fear what we don’t understand’. So surely we should rise above the fear and try to understand Muslims and their place in the world, instead of demonising and destroying their way of life.

Now I know there a people out there who looks at these “militants”, guns and knifes in hand, faces obscured by headscarfs, and see them as nothing short of evil. That they’re trying to destroy our way of life  And you’re right to worry, but the actions of terrorists ultimately has nothing to do with their beliefs, ethnicity or anything else. At the end of the day I don’t care what group you’re from; if you’re black or white, Muslim or Christian, gay or straight, blonde or brunette, Star Trek or Star Wars – the minute you slit someone’s throat, or shoot them in the head, or drop bombs on innocent civilians, you lose the right to any of those labels and are stuck with just one: murderer. Hiding behind a twisted version of an ancient belief structure is nothing more than an excuse. Many believe that religion is responsible for many of the worlds conflicts, a view I also subscribe to. Heck, it can also cause conflict in the family – what about the adage of the two topics you should never discuss around the dinner table; politics and religion? Ever since the dawn of mankind people have subscribed to various belief systems, and it has always caused conflict. You would think that after a millennia we as a species would have been able to evolve past the ignorance and violence to acceptance and tolerance of other peoples views and ideas, but here we are in the 21st Century, still being held back by our fears. And it’s fearmongers like Donald Trump that are holding us back.

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In the wake of Mr. Trump’s fearmongering, there’s a petition doing the rounds calling for Mr. Trump to be banned from the UK – hardly surprising when you read that a quarter of the British public support Trumps immigration policy. Not surprising either that UKIP have jumped on the bandwagon, although even the party’s leader and Mr. Toad lookalike Nigel Farage called Mr. Trumps language a “political step too far”. Banning Mr. Trump seems like the right thing to do at first glance, but once again it’s ignoring the issue. It’s not addressing the intolerance of this man and those who subscribe to his view point, of which there are many. Like I said, people are afraid, and the only way to get past this fear is to discuss it – show evidence to the contrary. Maybe we should be discussing religion around the dinner table after all.

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Now with Mr. Trump, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows the mood of America right now, and he’s stirring it up – he’s creating a tidal wave of hate and fear that could well give him the Republican candidacy for the White House. Ultimately, no matter how much evidence and facts you present to debunk his arguments, he’s hardly likely to listen. It’s fascinating that someone so well known for “reality TV” seems to live in a world of such abject fantasy. So for him we make an exception to the rule; we ignore him. Don’t interview him, don’t give him the time of day, but don’t ban him either because then he’s the victim, that’s how he feeds – he draws power from negativity. Cut him off!!

This post was brought to you by The Wishful Thinking And Pigs Might Fly Society. Because sometimes, common sense really isn’t that common.

 

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Election 2015 Aftermath: The UK Has Been Run By The Same Dictator For Forty Years. How Can We Change That?

Okay, be honest. You did NOT see that coming did you? You woke up that morning and the whole world was about to change. You just couldn’t believe what you were hearing could you? You were shocked, just like me, I still cannot believe that they’ve cancelled American Idol!

I’ll be honest, I have no real feeling towards the long running US “talent” show that gave the world Kelly Clarkson and…..I’m assuming there were other winners? I’m just looking for a witty and amusing way in to talking about one of the the most shocking UK general elections in history!

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So here we are. The votes are long since counted and now we’ve got a Conservative government for the next five years. Fully unleashed this time, no Liberal Democrats to hold their hand and say “y’know what, maybe don’t do this”. You could probably say that Tories are already on a full assault on the UK; reducing the annual household welfare cap from £26,000 to £23,000, pressing ahead with the removal of the Human Rights Act 1998 in favour of a UK Bill Of Human Rights, giving Michael Gove a job.

Michael Gove looking surprised when he's told he's back in Government,

Michael Gove looking surprised when he’s told he’s back in Government,

Michael Gove, you remember him. Former education minister who famously couldn’t even spell ‘Backa’…..’Bakker’…….’Chewbacca’ – BACCALAUREATE!!! Now in charge of UK justice, the man wanted to block school head teachers from reporting sex abuse in 2013, and ruled out a public enquiry in to allegations of paedophile politicians within Westminster in July 2014. Oh, and also the bloke who locked himself in a commons toilet (my personal favourite). How on earth this man even has a job, any job , never mind in the government, defies logic after his dire record as Minister for Education. Another appointment was to Justin Tomlinson as Disabilities Minister, who had previous voted against protecting benefits for disabled children. I wonder, is David Cameron actually going through his MP’s resume’s, looking at the way they have offended the UK people, and thought “now this will really piss them off”? I’m surprised they didn’t hire Jeremy Clarkson to be “Minster Of How To Really Look After Work Colleagues” #Satire. Much of this government just reeks of a giant middle finger to many people of the UK. For some, the fact that the Conservatives got the majority needed without any coalition just defies logic, especially when the opinion polls said otherwise.

Back when George W. Bush was the American President, I was off doing a bit of world travelling. Broadening my horizons was just one of the aims. During my occasional frantic search for accommodation, I would bump in to like-minded folk from the good old US of A. These Americans, so embarrassed as they were by their leader and their countries reputation, would check in to hostels saying they were Canadian. This would have hurt, especially when the relationship between America and Canada is a long standing joke – “Canada’s like a loft apartment above a really great party” Robin Williams once joked. Maybe here in the UK we had a similar situation. Maybe when being asked by pollsters (that’s people who collated polling data, not people from Poland, m’kay UKIPers!) who they were voting for, they were so embarrassed to tell the truth that they lied? Or maybe they just hadn’t made up their mind. Which ever way you look at this, you cannot blame the electorate. Everyone in this country over the age of 18 has the legal democratic right to vote for who they want in power. That right to vote came at great sacrifice and it should not be squandered or taken for granted. So you can imagine my annoyance, nay anger, when I hear people in the supermarket or the street complaining about the election result and then saying “I couldn’t be bothered to vote, knew this would happen”. 66.1% turned out for this election (up from 65.1% in 2010), that means that 33.9% of eligible voters did not vote. Oh yes, maths! If you are part of this 33.9% and you are complaining about the result you only have yourself to blame.

A lot of people place fault on the voting system itself. This whole ‘First Past The Post’ thing was fine when the race was between two political parties, but with at least eight at the very least attracting serious support from the voters, this system is completely irrelevant and needs to be changed. Proportional representation is something that seems to be called for at the end of every election, because the votes don’t seem to translate directly to seats. This year it was even more obvious that things have to change to really become fair.

_82873519_prop_rep-01Oh yes, graphs! No matter which way you try to spin this, the Conservatives received more votes, but Labour are much closer vote for vote. Scarily, so too are UKIP. You know UKIP. Lead by Nigel Farage who, after losing his seat in Thanet, became the only one of three resigning party leaders to be unable to resign effectively. No, I don’t like UKIP, but others do, just as they like the Green Party etc. That’s part of democracy. Electoral reform will go one step closer to reflecting the voters choices. There are now many petitions going around demanding a change to the UK voting system. Now is the time to get your voice heard and make our system fairer!

Away from the question of fairness, there is one of choice. Some people have blamed the parties opposing the Tories, especially their leaders. “Weak” and “unconvincing” were words I sometimes heard to describe the opposition. (In the interest of fairness yes I did hear some words to describe the current government but they’re not suitable for a serious political article like this. Okay, maybe I just couldn’t spell them!) I was surprised when Nick Clegg kept his seat and feel genuinely sorry for a man that I believe made a huge difference in the last government, simply by being a roadblock in the Conservatives plans. Sadly, all people remember is that he made a mistake and apologised for saying there would be free tuition fees. There will now be a lot of policies being put in to practise by this majority Conservative government that the Libs Dems would have opposed and blocked. The repeal of the Human Right Act is just one known example. Be in no doubt, Nick Clegg will be missed from Government.

Sadly Labour’s former leader will not be missed, simply because we never got to know him. Ed Milliband was jinxed from the moment he beat his brother David in the leadership contest, and from there he was treated, as Jeremy Paxman so eloquently put it, like “a north London geek”. There seemed to be some defence of Ed’s character through the completely unexpected “Millifandom” craze. But even with his apparent burgeoning sex appeal, together with his endorsement from “yoof” friendly anti-establishment “comedian” Russell Brand, and his polished speeches accompanied with apparent new found confidence couldn’t save him from such a crushing defeat.

During a prolonged commentary on my Twitter feed during the aftermath of the election, when we witnessed some impromptu demonstrations against austerity outside Downing Street (including rioting and defacing of a war memorial. On VE Day. Classy!) I made an observation:

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Oh yes, Twitter! I was surprised at the support this comment received. I mean look at those stats – join the retweets and the favourites together and you’ve got double figures! (Maybe I need a reform too?) Still, this comment has stayed with me, and is the main reason for this article. For all the choice we have, the chance to vote, the reforms we want to make it fairer, you have to ask if this democracy of ours is really fair, when we are influenced so much by the media. Rupert Murdoch to me is the one who holds the power and influence over this country. He’s in our lives constantly. Many of us have him in our homes. Every time we switch on a Murdoch owned TV show, or open one of his papers, it’s like willingly inviting some kind of ancient lecherous vampire in to your house. News International is well known as a multinational corporation with it’s own political agenda. Their newspapers including the Sun and Times helped to promote the idea of Nick Clegg being unable to keep a promise, the idea of Milliband being that north London geek, supporting the Tories in England. It swung it’s support in Scotland behind the SNP who romped home to the kind of landslide victory politicians dream of.

I’ve read articles saying that Murdoch isn’t anywhere near as influential as he used to be. Ed Miliiband even said it in his little chat with Russell Brand, but I wonder if he too is now re-evaluating that comment. Murdoch’s power, while diluted in recent years with the phone hacking scandal, the closure of News Of The World, and the public using the internet a lot more to gather information, is still just as potent and as poisonous. I saw that former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has advised his party that they need to return to the ways of New Labour. That having a more politically centred approach is the best way to get Labour back in to Number 10. Yeah Mr. Blair, that and the huge public backing you received from Rupert Murdoch!

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The relationship between the media and politics has always been a nice cosy one. It’s practically symbiotic. Politicians are media savy these days – they have to be for they’re in front of the camera. And that’s a huge problems. Everything is staged, nothing feels genuine. That’s why Farage was such a breath of fresh air, seeming to come across as a man who says it as he see’s it. Which is wrong by the way but, yes, praise for Farage there.

No British government since 1978 has been elected without the support of Rupert Murdoch. He has effectively been a political public relations machine for almost 40 years. But why is he so interested in British politics? During the investigations as part of the Leveson Enquiry, John Major revealed Murdoch’s long standing dislike of the European Union. It is alleged that Murdoch is strongly opposed to any anti-competition regulations that prevent his vast media empire from expanding. With the UK removed from the EU his empire could start to expand further, away from the prying eyes of Brussels,

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It’s worth noting that the Leveson Enquiry report, published after investigations in to the News Of The World and the general ethics and practises of the British press, while welcomed by David Cameron, has not had it’s recommendations implemented.Ed Milliband wanted full legally binding press regulation, Nick Clegg also wanted to see changes, Cameron didn’t. Nothing has changed. Murdoch’s empire has helped to keep the conservatives in power through fear, casting doubt on Labour’s ability to manage the UK finances and portraying Ed Milliband as a self-serving traitor who would jump in to bed with the SNP at a moments notice just to gain power. All this while portraying the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon as the woman who will wreck our economy, and yet throwing it’s support behind this very party in the Scottish edition of the Sun, The whole 2015 General Election was manipulated by a greedy old man who wants nothing more than to grow his right wing media empire in the UK without any competition or laws to stop him.

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So how do we stop him? Lets be honest, this government aren’t going to do a thing. It’s down to us. We stop buying in to Murdoch’s lies. Put down his papers; The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times. Authors – don’t use the Authonomy website any more – it’s owned by Murdoch, as is Harper Collins Publishers. Oh, and Sky TV BSkyB is still 39.1% owned by Murdoch, so switch off your Sky too! If he doesn’t have a reason to be in the UK, he’ll up and leave. So can you do it? CAN YOU??!

Note: Sky TV UK has just bought Sky Deutchland and Sky Italy from 21st Century Fox. This will create ‘Sky Europe’. Draw from that what you will.

Right, I’ve got the latest episode of The Blacklist recorded on Sky+, so I’m off! I will jut say this – watch this government closely. Very closely. I have to wonder if doing things like hiring Michael Gove to repeal the Human Rights Act is a distraction. No one expects it to succeed. Scotland have already said ‘no chance’. So what else are they doing in the background, hmm?

In the meantime, here’s a fun game – LET’S ALL SLAP MICHAEL GOVE!!

Enjoy.

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If we want to Improve our country, we need to take responsibility for it.

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Yesterday I walked through the front door with my son. As ever the post was there waiting. While I put our coats away he did his sorting of the mail, and suddenly he stopped. He threw one piece on the ground. He shouted, angrily. It was weird because usually he tries to eat the post, but on this occasion this one piece was going nowhere near his mouth.

I should probably explain here that my son is just over a year old. He’s like a hyperactive puppy on amphetamines. Usually such a happy kid, but right now he was angry. He was shouting (and by now stamping on) a flyer from our local UKIP candidate, who is of course trying to drum up support before May 7th. In our house, like in many UK households, we’ve all been paying close attention to the debates and the interviews from all the politicians. Like all the pundits are saying, it’s a really close call. Yet as claims and counter-claims between political parties, putting out policies only to have them criticised and debunked, it’s become difficult to trust or believe any of them. You could probably argue this is the natural progression of any democratic election campaign. I trust Nigel Farage though.

Let me clarify; I do not trust any of the political parties to be able to solve our problems in the UK. I do trust UKIP, however, to run our country in to the ground. My reason is very simple; their slogan of “Believe in Britain”, while catchy, is completely misleading. They are asking us to believe in a Britain that doesn’t exist.

Famously UKIP’s target for blame with all the problems in this country lies with immigrants. Mr. Farage has even had the audacity to claim that “the immigrants” are the reason our National Health Service is overstretched and in seemingly endless debt.  Every time I have been in to A&E (the rate has increased slightly since the kids came along) I have never, if rarely seen “the immigrants” sat waiting for attention. Mind there was one who looked like his broken his arm. Think we can all agree that’s pretty serious. Most of the other “non-immigrants” were, yes, waiting with quite serious injuries too– fractured skulls, concussions. Then there were those with “a cold that hasn’t gone away in two days”, or their “hair was turning grey”. Someone even had “itchy teeth”. And no, I’m not making this up. And no, these people were not immigrants. They were UK nationals who felt that they deserved to be seen for these “conditions” because they pay their taxes. That it’s their right to be seen.

Immigration is not destroying our NHS – lack of education is. Kids are receiving sexual health lessons, why not general health education? Teach our kids about the NHS, how it works, which services to use when. This would work against people developing some kind of self-entitled hypochondria and turning up with a diagnosis they themselves found on Google, demanding anti-biotics for a virus from a trained medical professional whose time could be much better spent attending to people with serious conditions. Most people, and I include “the immigrants” in this statement, speak to people, ask friends, family members about their concerns. They do not waste the A&E service. It stands for Accident and Emergency, not All & Everything.

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In other UKIP news, the European Union is bad. We should leave it. No, we shouldn’t. Now I realise that a referendum is a fair way off, but I wanted to get this off my chest. No, the EU is not perfect, and it does need reform. Britain should be at the forefront of that reform, not running off sulking in a corner when they don’t get their way.

The EU is like one giant childs birthday party at a creche. Young Britain has been invited by all his friends to come and roll around in the softplay. But Britain doesn’t want to go in the softplay, he wants to see a magic show instead. When he doesn’t get his way he threatens to leave. The other kids don’t like Britain when he behaves so naughty, so they turn away leaving him to cry in to his juice box. Now because Britain has been so rude, Little france and Germany and all the other children don’t like him any more. They don’t want to play with him. This is what I see happening if we leave the EU, and I firmly believe it will do more harm than good to leave the ‘party’ in a spoilt huff, rather than getting in there with the softplay and slowly convincing the others to maybe see a magic show later.

I do not believe that UKIP is lying in it’s manifesto, in it’s debates. To lie about something is to have full knowledge that what you’re saying is untrue. They believe in their policies because they cannot see the UK’s position in the real world. Yes, we’re in dangerous times, often feeling like we’re on the brink (largely thanks to a media system that thrives on promoting fear to create a need for control. More on Rupert Murdoch in a future article from me I’m sure!). If we start denying “the immigrants” access to our country simply because they are from another country, if we do not take responsibility for our own actions as UK nationals and how we treat our own fragile resources and services instead of blaming others, if we don’t stay part of an admittedly flawed system and try to fix it, we are simply denying our responsibility and place we have in this world. We would be outcasts, forgotten and left to regress back to the dark ages, rather than trying to forge a better future for the next generation.

It’s always easier to turn back against a head wind, rather than push on against the elements to where you could go.

I was going to put up a picture of that UKIP flyer I mentioned. Unfortunately my wife came home, picked it up and tore it to shreds, so sorry about that. She always hated crap in the house.

Just when I pull my head out of the sands to write, I find others want to put all our heads back in!

WARNING: HERE COMES A RANT!!

It’s been a monumental few days – new Star Wars trailer (if you didn’t get some form of visceral reaction to seeing Harrison Ford standing next to his Wookie…..mine was a slightly muted girlish “EEEEEEEEEEEK”!), new Batman V Superman trailer (which seems to have sent the whole of the internet in to some kind of bipolar-esq meltdown – “That looks awesome”/”That looks crap“. Incidentally, it was AWESOME!), Ed Milliband showed his cahones on live TV (I mean was the guy playing the long game, letting us thinking he’s some claymation type puppet before *BOOM*!) and, of course more important than all of that put together, is THIS:

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I had my first novel “Getting Sync’d” (still available in various formats by the way!) published back in 2011. Since that time there has been much procrastinating, rewriting, white chocolate mochas, flapjacks, and random Batman comments to distract me from actually just getting it done. So what gave me the kick? Well, apart from my dear wife who asked politely “When are you going to get that second book done?”, it was this General Election we’re going through right now.

Yes, the 2015 General Election, you know the one. The often tedious, occasionally laughable popularity contest that is less about getting a particular political party in 10 Downing Street and more about keeping one/more out. After not only watching the two live TV debates (which would have been much more interesting if they’d had it as a live action political special of “Celebrity Death Match”) but reading as much as I could on each party, I’m still not sure who I’m going to vote for. I do know who I’m not voting for though.

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I won’t go in to a whole tirade against UKIP policies as I think by now you’ll know which side of the fence you sit on. I do just want to point out one fundamental flaw in the party’s 2015 manifesto. It’s a document that says they “Believe in Britain”, and yet within those pages are the words “end multiculturalism”. The most blatant contradictory statement I’ve ever read. What version of Britain are UKIP living in? Did they go there on a diet of Red Bull and magic mushrooms? Multiculturalism is one of the many backbones of the United Kingdom and to simply “end” it would be like forcibly removing a replacement leg from an old lady. Yes, I say replacement because the (and I’m beginning to loathe this word) immigrants were not always here. They chose to settle in our country, to be happy, to make a contribution, and we welcomed them. You’ve doubtless seen the maths – immigrants make more contributions to our national contributions than what they take in benefits. They make up 40% of our NHS. In short, different cultures have had a monumental influence on Britain. Yes, our country is a mess, but surely that’s not down to the different cultures that call this country home but down to the people we trust to organise and run our country. We shouldn’t end multiculturalism, we should embrace it. To do the opposite, to make different cultures feel unwelcome here will only further contribute to the problems we have with our citizens going to Syria and join “so called Islamic State”. Many people feel disenchanted by their treatment in this country. We need to take steps to make them feel welcome, safe in the UK, part of the national community not annoying guests who’ve overstayed their welcome. And most importantly, we should let them keep hold their own cultural heritage.

I’m married to an Indian girl. Well, Geordie Indian. Her parents came to the UK from India and started a family. I’m now a part of that family, I have two kids, half casts if you want to use that term. I would hate for them to lose that connection with their past, with their rich and vibrant Indian culture as well as their historic British one. To simply end multiculturalism would be to deny my children their heritage, and I won’t stand for that. I want them to know who they are and where they came from, and the UK is just one part of that.

I honestly fail to understand why a group of people would want to end such an important part of our society when the world is demanding us to catch up. People have been moving from country to country for decades, taking their bit of culture in to a new one. To end multiculturalism is to bury your head in the sands, denying the existence of the modern world, and be left behind while the rest of the world races ahead.

I’m getting my second book done now because multiculturalism is at the heart of it. “High Heels & White Trainers” is designed as a light hearted rom-com that will navigate a few divides through witty banter. I genuinely hope that its story of tolerance and understanding will still be reflective of Britain after May 7th.

Now bloody hell that was political! I’m supposed to be writing my book and my brain wants to rant about multiculturalism? What the Jeff, eh?! Time to redress the balance. Here, have a youtube cookie.

Because Star Wars. Because Arnold Schwartzenegger. Because…..reasons!

THERE IS NO BATHROOM!!!