Wednesday 20 September 2023

Russel Brand

It appears that he is/was a loud obnoxious character who glorified in "bedding" as many woman as possible. We may think that his behaviour is reprehensible and that he should be avoided at all costs, particularly by women. But these are not criminal offences. I seriously wonder if it is possible for him to obtain a fair trial if criminal proceedings are brought against him. 

So far there are "allegations"  and these might well be true. But there are no official criminal charges. Yet in the "Court of Public Opinion" he is guilty! I do wonder why Channel 4 Despatches and the Sunday Times didn't go to the police, perhaps making a profit and creating a "buzz" was more important to them than justice and the criminal law.

It is also interesting that so many people are now saying, "I always knew he was a bad one"; "It was common knowledge in the industry how he behaved". Yet nobody did anything at the time. It would appear that when he was about thirty he was able to use BBC car to ferry a sixteen year old girl to and from his bed. Not illegal but why did the BBC go along with it?

We are living in amoral times.

PS - Where is Albert Pierrepoint when you need him?

Unhappy Times

 These are not happy times. Across the West, the vast majority of voters are fed up with the status quo, furious at the political class and desperate for alternatives. They believe society to be broken, that the post-industrial economy and globalisation generally aren’t working for them, and are angry at the vast cultural, social and technological changes that they feel have been foisted upon them. 

Almost wherever one looks, from New Zealand to the Netherlands, hundreds of millions no longer feel in control, valued or even consulted by the self-satisfied ruling class. In the UK, 70 per cent believe the country is moving in the wrong direction, a YouGov poll reveals. An NBC poll found 74 per cent of Americans saying their country is on the wrong track. 

We have entered the lengthiest period of prolonged popular disenchantment since the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of democratic politics, a disturbing state of affairs that urgently requires addressing if countries aren’t to fall prey to demagogues. It has become rational to be pessimistic, especially when elections don’t change anything. 

Life expectancy may have peaked; economic growth has been feeble for years, as have real wages; certain groups have seen their prospects plunge especially severely; home ownership is increasingly out of reach; the family is under extreme pressure, and women are having far fewer children than they tell pollsters they would like; loneliness is exploding as it becomes harder to form and stay in long-term relationships; secularisation has left an unfilled spiritual void across the West that is being met by dysfunctional ideologies and social movements; and crime is far too high. 

In many countries, university over-expansion has created a toxic two-tier society, fuelling elite overproduction. Woke storm-troopers have seized control of culture, education and business across the English-speaking world, imposing nihilistic gender extremism and critical race theories. The governing classes have got it shockingly wrong on many other issues, from foreign policy to Covid to money-printing, and never atone for their mistakes. 

In Europe, including Britain, there is a popular consensus that there has been and remains too much immigration. In France and several other countries, integration is widely understood to have failed. There is growing scepticism of the rush to net zero: while Western publics are very concerned about climate change, they aren’t prepared to see their living standards decimated to deal with it. There is an increased suspicion of the surveillance society and of the war against cash, and a growing urban-suburban his sense of alienation is especially prevalent among the working and lower middle classes, as well as the young, but no element of society is immune from it, other than perhaps multi-millionaires. As ever in times of dislocation, a small minority has embraced outright conspiracy theories (such as on 9/11) or despicable prejudice (such as anti-Semitism), fanned by rabble-rousers with no real solutions. 

But even for the sensible majority, the belief in progress that used to define the Western psyche has faded, with hope replaced by despair, bitterness and fear. The political phenomenon of our times is mass discontent, and yet this crisis continues to be largely ignored by an unempathetic ruling class. Its only answer is more of the same: higher taxes, more social-democratic tinkering, more power to unaccountable bureaucracies such as the EU or WHO, increased immigration, and even greater social engineering. 

In the past, when the ruling elites were conservative, such estrangement might have led the public into the arms of the Left. Contemporary elites are centre-Left utopian technocrats, and today’s counter-revolutionaries are on the Right. Almost everywhere, that is where the populist energy, the desire for change, lies. 

In America, Oliver Anthony, a previously unknown musician who has shot to fame with Rich Men North of Richmond, symbolises this shift. He rails against low pay, welfarism, state-subsidised obesity, woke social control and rich Left-wing elites. His song, now number one on Apple ahead of Taylor Swift, encapsulates how Right-wing populism has become the anti-establishment movement globally. It is no wonder that the Republican party has been taken over: even if Donald Trump is destroyed, his second and third-placed rivals, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, are revolutionaries. 

The latter two are great, but not all of the Right-wingers riding the international populist wave are good news. Some would be a disaster; others fantastic. Some rising parties are anti-capitalist, a grave error. In other cases, public concerns about the volume of immigration are being hijacked by politicians with an atavistic hatred of the other. Germany is in deep trouble, thanks to Angela Merkel, but it is hugely troubling, including for historical reasons, that the AfD is getting 22 per cent of the vote. Marine Le Pen has moderated her policies, but I’m unclear how her statist economics would save France. 

Yet the global Right-wing revolution is gaining ground regardless. In Italy, Giorgia Meloni is prime minister. In the Netherlands, the anti-net zero farmers’ party has surged. Across the Continent, including in Scandinavia, mainstream parties are adopting once unthinkable policies on immigration. In Spain, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, a rising star, is advocating Thatcherite populism. In New Zealand, the centre-Right is ahead in the polls and the libertarian ACT party has rocketed. In Argentina, one leading presidential contender is an anarcho-capitalist. In Paraguay, the Right-winger Santiago Peña has won the presidency. Benjamin Netanyahu regained power last December. 

There are, of course, exceptions to the global shift to the Right: Brazil, where Lula’s neo-communists are back, and, of course, Britain, thanks to Tory uselessness. Brexit was the first domino to fall, the start of what will prove to be many international counter-revolutions against the Blob. The Tory party had a golden opportunity to channel this insurgency into a mainstream yet drastic programme of renewal. Boris Johnson could have been in power for a decade, yet he, together with Rishi Sunak, blew it, embracing net zero and social democratic profligacy and failing to control immigration and the public sector. 

Keir Starmer will win, and then seek to impose Left-wing solutions on to an increasingly Right-wing world. 

Wednesday 14 June 2023

House Prices

 There is a great deal in the media about the decline in house price inflation and the fact that in some areas the price of housing is in decline. I couldn't give a damn about the valuation of my house. Why? Because it's all a complete con and I am an house owner of 52 years. 'So your house has gone up £25k (or whatever), well what are you actually doing with it?' The great drawback about the one house I live in as an investment is that I can never get access to the money (unlike other assets like bank accounts, equities etc. that can be drawn out and spent) - and that seriously limits its use as an investment. And I am not interested in downsizing or Equity Release. The main beneficiaries of house price inflation are bankers, estate agents, housing investors, house builders and the government. House price inflation does not benefit most of us. Throughout our lives it amounts to nothing more than an unrealised paper profit, making us feel they are richer than we actually are. The way most of us eventually cash in on our one house is by dying - and that is generally not considered a win.

Sunday 4 June 2023

My Godson is Fund raising - please help if you can.

My Godson, Joseph Taylor, is raising funds to enable him to go to the World Scout Jamboree in Korea. He needs to raise £4000. The money is not only to pay for his trip, but also to part fund a less well off scout from Hampshire and scouts from third-world countries. If you are able to spare a "Couple of quid" please donate; click her for the link to GoFundMe page 

Sunday 28 May 2023

Phillip Schofield - A sad reflection on life today

 Phillip Schofield - I wonder what is driving the widespread tabloid coverage? Why the prurient interest in his life? What has his brother's conviction got to do with things - he appears to be convicted of the crime of guilt by association. He is "just" a TV presenter after all - is he really the most important thing on the planet? Judging by the press coverage the answer is yes!

Personally I have rarely seen him on TV. The shows that he has presented do not interest me, and if I watch breakfast TV I prefer the BBC offering. Therefore I cannot comment on how good he is.
It just seems to me a sorry reflection on the current state of the country that so much time and effort are spent on the personal life of one person. In all honesty the only people that should have any interest are his ex-wife, his family and his close friends. On that point am I any better posting about him?
On that note I shall end and say a prayer for him.

Friday 26 May 2023

A Reflection on Pope Francis

 During the past hundred years the proportion of Catholics has remained fairly steady at about 16% of the world's population which has more than trebled. However, the centre of balance of the Church has dramatically changed. In 1910, Europe was home to about two-thirds of all Catholics, and nearly nine-in-ten lived either in Europe (65%) or Latin America (24%). By 2010, by contrast, only about a quarter of all Catholics (24%) were in Europe. The largest share (39%) were in Latin America and the Caribbean.


This change was reflected by the installation of Pope Francis, the first non-European pope for over a thousand years with his different, non-European, cultural background. Additionally. as the first Jesuit pope with their charisms of being grounded in love for Christ, focus on discernment and animated by the spiritual vision of their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, to help others and seek God in all things it is not surprising that his modus operandi has come as shock to many in the west. 

What has Pope Francis done? To start, the pontiff has achieved a great deal by living simply, speaking his mind, promoting frugality, and working for peace and justice. Pope Francis makes the news regularly with his latest reforms and proclamations. He has simplified annulment rules that have been overly complicated for centuries, threatened to shut down the Vatican Bank if it didn't embrace transparency and reform, and moved toward liberalizing the Vatican's stances on the environment, and the economy. He has also placed women in high positions within some of the departments. It must be noted that he has not altered or changed doctrine or dogma rather he has modified the way it is implemented.

In the process, he's angered conservative Catholics around the world, and traditionalists who feel he's going too far, too fast. But the reforms continue apace, and likely will for Francis's entire papacy. 


His first encyclical  published in the year 2013 the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii gaudium”, is the true ‘guiding manifesto’ of his Pontificate, in which he calls for a new evangelization characterized by joy, as well as the reform of ecclesial structures and the conversion of the papacy, so that they may be more missionary and closer to the purpose intended by Jesus. For this reason, also in 2013, the Pope established a “Council of Cardinals” whose task is to study a project to revise the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor bonus” on the Roman Curia, dating back to 1988.


Since this beginning he has published other encyclicals dealing with the family, Amoris Laetitia,” and the duty of care that we owe to the world, Laudato si’ on Care of our Common Home.”


Like all of us Pope Francis is not without fault, but nobody can doubt his determination and zeal to carry on with the work and mission of his predecessors who have sat in the Chair of Peter to evangelise the world. His determination to carry on with his work can be seen by the start of his “Synod on Synodality” that will come to fruition later this year.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Virgin to Sky!

For various reasons, mainly increasing in price I decided that I was leaving Virgin Media and joining Sky for TV, Broadband and TV. I am now, eventually, on Sky and this is the Saga!!

Leaving Virgin was not easy to say the least. The first telephone call ended with me completely losing my rag, and slamming the phone down. The issue being that the person at the other end of the phone kept trying to persuade me to stay, questioning the details of my new package with Sky and refusing to listen to what I was saying (I probably wasn’t listening to him either). The second call went much better and I thought that we had agreed a disconnection date; but the next day I received a letter (printed not email), detailing my new revised contract with Virgin. On the third call we did agree a disconnection date (a couple of days after the sky installation date, just to be safe).


What I hadn’t appreciated is that there are really only two main providers of broadband and telephone infrastructure. Virgin Media who have an all-fibre infrastructure and currently do not let other companies use it or sell it. The other is BT/Openreach who use a mixture of fibre and copper and do let third parties, including Sky, sell it.

Install day came. The TV dish etc were installed ok and work perfectly. As always there are differences in how things work but we now, more or less get easily get what we want. My main gripe is that being red/green colour blind I cannot tell whether the Sky box is on or off.


The broadband/phone is another story. The first installer was a subcontractor to Openreach who said that for various reasons he needed a cherry picker to get to the top of the nearby telegraph pole and then left.  Eventually on the 20 April (install date was meant to be 3 April) a crew that included cherry picker, mobile hoist on the back of a truck plus engineer arrived and everything was installed and now works ok. My main complaint, and I have raised this as an official complaint is that I ended up managing it all including asking Virgin to keep my service active for another few weeks. If Sky sell it then they should have been on top of the process. The Sky help desk team have been very helpful, but my non-installation should have been picked up and someone should have been contacting me, not me doing the chasing.


Broadband so far has been reliable, albeit much slower, around 35 mb/sec compared to 200 plus that I was getting. As I am not a gamer or run a home business what I get is quite fast enough for me and the household. That is one thing that Virgin do not understand; that for oldies like me superfast speeds are not needed. If we had five or so heavy active users than maybe 200 plus is required. Putting my prices up by around £40 per month, then offering 500mb/sec by way of compensation is not for me.


Now the pains of leaving Virgin and getting the new system installed are behind me I am reasonably happy. I am due to get some money back from Sky/Openreach due to the delays. I will report back on how easy this process is!!