Shooting Dentists, Rail-roading Migrants…

It has been one of those weeks where the potted fury of the interweb set its sights on a dentist and a government bleated about a relatively small crisis whilst studiously ignoring a much larger one.

In the former a huge number of meat eating, leather wearing keyboard warriors went hunting a Minnesota dentist who himself had been out bow hunting a lion for the princely sum of $55,000. It transpired that the lion he shot (should that be bowed or arched) was illegally lured from within a conservation area to achieve this mighty feat. The facts of the case will likely be resolved through a court in Zimbabwe but in the meantime many boarded the, ‘rich white folks go to Africa and shoot stuff’ or ‘hunting is an evil of such a magnitude that it eclipses all other issues’ bandwagon and rode it ’til the wheels came off.

The fact that more animals, many of which are endangered, are slaughtered by poaching for uses such as potions and unproven medicine seems to have been lost in the noise around this issue. I personally have a bit of a problem with a government happily selling a lion hunting permit and then getting worked up that the wrong lion was shot. If you want to minimise that risk, stop selling permits… I also have a bit of a problem with how conservation is achieved without money, often derived from (you guessed it) the selling of licences to shoot a small number of animals. If none of us (or at least very few of us) are prepared to contribute to the global conservation effort to preserve species; and unless the countries of the African continent are going to be expected to stop industrial expansion so as not to encroach on the habitats of these wild species, I think that we may have a bit of a problem in preserving these magnificent creatures…

As for the dentist, f@#k him, he’s a bow hunter and I hate those guys…

Turning now to the domestic, a great deal has been made of people fleeing any number terrible wars, conflicts and general mayhem that are ending up at the rail head of the channel tunnel. They used to end up at Calias and the numerous ports along the northern French coast before this but with ferry and port disruption in France at the present time, they have moved to where traffic is still moving; the rail link. It has been observed that this apparent multitude are making organised attempts to breach the defences of the rail head, however it was observed that the fences (the responsibility of Eurotunnel) have been left in a state of disrepair for over five years. Also the numbers suggested were apparently a cumulative total of the people involved in all the attempts over a number of days. Finally, it is apparently all the French authorities fault for allowing people to gather there in the first place.

What is being somewhat overlooked is the fact that tens of thousands of similar people have been fleeing in the same way across the Mediterranean for several months and the gvt is largely unconcerned. However, I suspect that some of those tens of thousands might be the same folk at Euro-tunnel so perhaps the better plan would be to do more earlier in the problem than hope everyone else will sort it for you…

That said, at least it is no longer European policy to let them all drown as a warning to others, which has to be an improvement._49721365_annoyed_bbc_304

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A world without norms…

Wrote this for another place but thought it might sit nicely here too…

Once for about 15 minutes I studies socialogy. It may have been because I had a profound desire to understand social cohesion and societal structures but more likely it was because of the cute 6 form girls (don’t fret I too was a 6th former at the time) and the field trip to the London Sociology conference (overnight stay and all). During this extensive period of study I discovered the concept of, ‘a world without norms’ and scanning the news media today I think that we have arrived at that point.

We are seeing a man like Donald Trump run for the presidency in the US… I mean Donald Trump, have you seen him he looks like Biff Tannen from Back to the Future III with all the charm and political acumen of Biff Tannen from Back to the Future III. In addition and more locally we see this government steadfastly refuse to look to taxation to, at least in part, alleviate the deficit whilst happily hacking away at the welfare state and the services used by welfare recipients provided by the public sector.

We are seeing low carbon, low pollution technology receiving reduced support whilst nuclear energy, with a proven track record spanning Three Mile Island, through Chenobly to Fukushima guaranteed subsidised rates until we can generate electricity from the power of thought. Not wishing to be funny but when a wind turbine or tidal flow generator goes wrong it falls over or sinks… When a nuclear power plant blows a fuse we all glow in the dark, not to mention how we dispose of all that deadly, dangerous and apparently eternal toxic, radioactive waste it generates.

We are seeing 15 year old kids planning to behead people in Australia simply down to a group of older bearded gentlemen’s interpretation of a 7th century book. Don’t get me wrong I like books, even old ones, I’m just saying that reading them is fine, drawing lessons from them is also fine – take Dr Seuss’ Sneetches or Too Many Daves both of which shape my personal philosophy – but a book that says anyone who doesn’t agree with you should die, is probably being read wrong and doesn’t actually say that or is missing the bit where it says ‘only joking!’

So I have arrived at the conclusion that my dabbling in sociology has paid off because now, after all this time, I can recognise that we have arrived at the time of a world without norms, which goes to demonstrate the value of education and why it is wasted on the young.

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Some time has passed… oh and Merry Christmas.

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

As I anticipated some time has passed since the last entry posted here…

I have been far less diligent in crafting my submissions to this blog than even I anticipated. I have read with considerable jealousy the blogs of others who seem able to regularly write concise and pithy thoughts on their chosen topics, whilst I  have had trouble forming a single paragraph in the last 8 months.

Since last I posted I have been fully embroiled in the needs of the members that I support and despite the almost complete absence of my day job I still feel somewhat overwhelmed by the demands placed upon me. I have acutely discovered the limits of the power that I and my colleagues wield and the attitude of a scornful government towards us. I am about to be robbed of the pension that I was promised; to suffer the pain of falling pay in comparison with inflation  (by whatever chosen method calculated); and further reductions imposed by the changes to my pension which increase my contributions for a far less valuable product. I am not blind to the necessity of change but I feel very strongly that the ideological stance of government is what is driving policy and that ideology in inherently against my colleagues and I.

With my colleagues, I am about to embark on a very high stakes game of poker with my organisation on behalf of my members, in the hope of a better way to slice the cake which we will have to consume for some considerable years to come. On top of all this I am scratching around for some Christmas cheer to share with my fellow man (woman and child). That said I will spend a very pleasant Christmas amongst friends and family, I will see the joy in the faces of the children on Christmas day and for a brief while we will all forget the troubles that surround us. I know that for some, perhaps many, Christmas holds few if any of those things and for that despite all outward appearances, I am grateful for my lot.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and trust that whatever pains you will at least fade for the period of the celebrations.

As Dave Allen said, “Goodnight, thank you and may your God go with you”. Merry Christmas.

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Some time has passed…

In the weeks that have passed since my last post a number of events have overtaken me. I continue in my main role, but have failed to be re-elected to another committee on which I have served for the last two years. I have also seem my chosen candidate for a very senior post within my organisation fail to be elected in favour of another, about whom I will not comment here. This had left me to reflect on the nature of elections and the system that we use for the selection of those we either seek to lead or represent us. It has also left me considering the methods by with we enage with our electorates and the perceptions we have about their interest in us.

For myself, whilst I am sad to leave the committee of which I had been a member I am stoical about it. There will be others who will still represent my constituents (our constituents) and in the main I trust their judgement on the issues of the day. I feel that such a change in times like these presents those elected in my stead with issues as to gaining an understanding of the processes of the committee and establishing rapport with their fellows. That said I have confidence that they will do this with the minimum of delay and become effective members. The election was conducted using AV and this has left reflecting on the tenets of the UK No to AV campaign which I did not accept. I am left wondering how many eliminated candidates’ votes did I gain or lose to others and whether this affects my consideration of the fairness or otherwise of the system. I take the view that, largely, it will have made little difference and what is likely to have greater effect is the potential of one candidate breaching the “no campaigning” rule to ensure that, if nothing else, their name was recognised amongst the other… we will see whether the powers that be have anything to add on this particular issue.

I do express a concern about the candidate who succeeded against mine and the apparent lack of interest that person has shown in the recent activity of the committee. As I am not there to judge for the coming term,Our wartime leader Winston Churchill we will have to see what changes they bring and whether they have an external agenda different from the person that they replace.

All in all, as a Winston Churchill democrat and libertarian, I must accept the will of the electorate and the democratic process and seek to pursue the interests of my constituency as best I can from outside the committee. Perhaps in all this I see my elected roles coming to a natural end and my transition away from the limited politics in which I am presently engaging looming closer, if this is the case then so be it; I will certainly not miss the pressures and expectations of those I serve, though the service itself has been a pleasure and a privilege.

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And so to work…

I returned to my office today after several days away to discover that another computer has been removed and the office seems ever more sparse for it. After the presentations from the most senior managers in my organisation on Wednesday I understand why the I.T.  being removed and that it will be replaced with equipment more suited to the future of our role. However, that does not offset the discomfort at seeing the empty desks and the quest to find a place to work. I do not consider myself to be a “work nester” however, there is something comforting about the familiar surroundings of a usual desk. I have seen the move towards “hot desking” in many organisations, but I must confess it makes me more sure that as a species we need familiar places and things to surround us and the removal of those somehow makes us less settled.

I outlined the impact of my re-election (albeit unopposed) to colleagues today. I must confess that in the outlining of the expectations placed upon me for the next year, I couldn’t help feeling a little anxiety at the changes being imposed on my colleagues and I. There is a palpable sense of being cast adrift on a very turbulent sea with little to protect us from the elements and less still to guide us safely to shore. As I have said before, we are stoics and will each take our turn to paddle, bail water and scour the horizon for land on this imposed voyage, but I know deep down that on this journey some will inevitably be lost overboard… and for those who remain there is a significant risk of cannibalism… whatever the length of our journey I cannot help but feel we will all be changed

by the experience and most likely not for the better.

Oh, and don’t even ask me about the risk of pirates in these waters…


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Speeches, Motions and elections…

Today has been an interesting day. I met and listened to the Solicitor General of England and Wales, I was re-elected (albeit unopposed) to my previous office, I presided over an election myself and I spoke on some and voted on all the successful and unsuccessful motions tabled.

The former was a very interesting lesson in political diplomacy in saying nice things about a group to whom your policy has dictated greater duties with less resources. In the Q&A that followed there was a very competent demonstration of answering questions without answering questions. I do not seek to criticise  and it was very interesting to watch the machinations of a such a keen political operator.

In the latter I witnesses spirited debate on issues which affect all the members which I and my colleagues represent. Whilst the debate was spirited, it was never impolite, or discourteous regardless of level of disagreement. After a day like today, there is much truth in the adage that “there is more that unites than divides us” and I conclude the day with the feeling that whatever the future holds for my colleagues, my members and I, we will face it with stoic good grace and forbearance.

As for tomorrow… we will see whether the merits of today are repeated.


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Hello world!

Sometimes a decision is merely the absence of a good reason against…

"I'm a little annoyed... But I'll get over it" Placard

Depending on what the correct vernacular is associated with this medium, I’ve decided to keep or write a blog; I opted for keep due to it’ connotations with diarists. In fairness what motivated me to do this was seeing the blog of a member of the House of Lords with which I disagreed quite strongly. I thought about posting a reply, but then though that I would instead post my own blog in which I could express by own views on the matters that interest, entertain or infuriate me.

So here it is…

I have no doubt that it will largely (completely)  unread and such is the way of many blogs… however I  take the view that the purpose of the blog is to express oneself rather than to seek the views of others, be they complimentary, in agreement or disagreement. To that end I will post, you may read and you might comment… we will see where things progress from there.

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