Actually All Lives Matter

englandAlthough I can no longer suffer the broadcast news these days, I still enjoy television as a medium. Following a recommendation, I recently caught Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich – a documentary on Netflix. It would probably be distasteful to say I enjoyed the series, given the appalling crimes the man committed but I certainly found it interesting.

As I watched a thought came to me, Jeffrey Epstein was indeed filthy rich, he owned multiple mansions, private jets, luxury cars – he even owned a tropical island, Jeffrey had enough money to hire an army of hookers to satisfy his sexual lust, but no, Jeffrey liked under age girls. Then a thought crystallised in my mind, his gig wasn’t really about lust, he wanted to corrupt innocence, he wanted to ruin the childhood of young girls and leave them with a permanent mental scar.

Now this thought gradually connected with another. Since I no longer trust journalists to curate information fairly anymore, I prefer to get my news from the actual source so I was rather struck by the decision of the Premier League to sport the propaganda of the divisive Black Lives Matter movement. Despite being clearly against their own rules, despite celebrating a race-based organisation with a clear agenda against another race the Premier League thought it would be a great idea to sport their logo on footballer’s shirts as the league re-started. Personally, I would prefer that sport stayed out of politics but if you were to celebrate something surely the efforts of key workers and medical staff during the pandemic would have been a better choice that we could all support?

And then it dawned on me, the people behind this knew full well it would antagonise millions. You see that was the whole point, they are deliberately provoking us, they enjoy our anger, the revel in our sense of helplessness and frustration.

There has been much talk of the march through our institutions and certainly to me an unwanted dogma has been adopted without any democratic accountability. We may perhaps have focussed too much on the control it seems now to exert over our institutions but have not quite acknowledged another aspect. Things in our life that were wholesome and true, things that reflected the purer aspects of the human spirit are gradually been corrupted and perverted.

People in power knew all about Jeffrey Epstein and his activities, they protected him, I cannot think of any innocent reason why you would want to protect such a monster. I must therefore assume they were somehow involved. These people are still there.

I think we are going to see more and more of this, nearly every simple pleasure in our lives is going to be poisoned by these people, they are not going to stop. I am either missing out on some module they teach at Harvard Business School about alienating your customer base or this is a very malign agent in our lives.

In truth I cannot believe this is a viable business model, I am increasingly of the opinion that the whole purpose is to antagonise and alienate. Our anger and frustration is actually the purpose – do you really think they actually care about Black people? I don’t, I think they are using them to stir up division. Don’t give them what they want, don’t get angry, don’t bite because I am pretty certain this is going to get a whole lot worse. Every simple innocent pleasure in our lives is going to be corrupted – just like Jeffrey Epstein this seems to be their gig.

So, what can we do? Well the first part is fairly obvious, do as I do, switch off broadcasters, let them spew their bile into fresh air. So your sports team has gone ‘woke’, OK, ditch them follow a smaller team that needs the money and sit back and see how they intend to pay the multi-million-pound contract for Carlos Kikaball, stop buying their merchandise, want a shirt? Buy a retro one from an independent supplier – oh and cancel your TV sports subscriptions. Favourite brand gone woke? No problem switch brands to one that hasn’t – but maybe have a think, did you really need it in the first place? Fed up with Google, switch to a different browser, there are loads out there.

This is an initial response and something you can do yourself but clearly, we want something longer term. For me to outline a possible solution I think we first have to name the problem. Something seems to be waging an asymmetric war against the people of the West, but it is important to remember it is the West. China, Russia, India do not seem to be under the same assault so we are clearly its target. Since I am not convinced that an entire society can go mad my money is on foreign interference, who that is I don’t know, but let us be honest with ourselves, we have not exactly spent the past couple of centuries spreading peace and light around the world have we?

For those of you who ponder if there is a more supernatural element to this then look at it this way, our Universe exploded into existence some 13.8 Billion years ago, everything – including you came from the same thing. Whether you believe the science or something more spiritual there is a fundamental unity to all things, the forces that seek to divide cannot alter that underlying truth. This bit of cod philosophy brings me nicely onto longer term solutions.

I believe that what we have seen over the past few decades is a concerted effort to atomise society, I don’t get up in the morning and think about the colour of my skin, I just think I am me, I guess most of us are the same. Yet we are constantly reminded that we are different, we belong in different tribes and some of these tribes are the cause of our woes. This is older than Caesar, classic divide and rule, let me give you an easy example – People of Colour, like hello, everyone has colour, but the term is insidious it is designed to cut white people from the herd thus making it easier to blame them for the fact that many didn’t get in to Oxford rather than more prosaic reasons – such as growing up in a home without a Father around.

The current hysteria over Black Lives Matter can be used,  since they seek to divide use their own strength against them. It is the simplest thing of all now for us to identify each-other and to unite, all we have to say is All Lives Matter. That simple truth is all we need, race, colour, creed is irrelevant to it.

All Lives Matter, that is all we need to believe and all we need to build a coalition of allies and become a force for good. Do this and I believe all things flow, from starting up our own broadcast channels to founding education establishments and developing a new political force that eschews the fake spectrum of left and right.

You see what we face seeks to corrupt and pervert institutions but it cannot alter a universal truth, everything that exists came from the same place. Those who seek to divide when faced with unity will have no choice but unite themselves and that delicious irony is their doom.

All Lives Matter.

The BBC – the Book Burning Corporation

woman wears black sleeveless top
Photo by Joy Marino on

I cannot quite remember when my views on broadcast news started to deteriorate. In terms of watershed moments, I guess the BBC distortions over the Lisbon Treaty – which was the EU Constitution repackaged was a start, the appalling under-reporting, arguably an attempted cover up, of the mass rapes in Cologne at New Year 2015 was another step along that road. Yet it was not just the BBC, bias seemed to creep in across all new channels and not just about the EU, illegal immigrants suddenly became migrants or refugees, rape gangs where identified were described as Asian – despite the demographic and religion being common knowledge. I could go on but I think the ground has been well covered by myself and others.

I had hoped after Brexit we would return to the days when someone told me what happened and a balanced report where there were two distinct points of view on an event, sadly that has not come to fruition. I now find it impossible to listen to broadcast news, it is just a stream of ‘woke’ dogma and it seems to be getting increasingly worse. I have had almost two weeks now of round the clock carpet bombing telling me I am racist – without actually presenting me any facts as to why that is the case.

The fabricated hysteria by the media over the death of a black male in the United States seems to me and many others to be nothing more than a platform to sow social unrest in this country. Whether this has something to do with an establishment that still refuse to accept we are leaving the EU is difficult to say but I sense there is a connection.

Probably the last straw for me was an irresponsible Tweet from ITV, at a time when tensions were running high, with dozens of Police Officers injured as a result of the violence that occurred at a Black Lives Matter demonstration at the weekend (with one Police Officer very seriously injured) a responsible media should have been trying to calm tensions but no, instead they seek to further sow discord, the Tweet shown below strikes me as a news broadcaster picking out targets for lynch mob to destroy. This is where we are at now.


This coming weekend there will be counter demonstrations, people that want to protect their culture and their heritage will come out in numbers to protect statues and to prevent further desecration of war memorials, memorials that commemorate members of their own family. One would have thought that the protection of public property is the job of the Police – but given the events of the weekend the Police seem suspiciously inactive when it comes to actually doing their job, which explains in part the counter demonstrations. The rest I am afraid is depressingly predictable, there will almost certainly be scuffles and probably violence, the Police will come down hard (on the counter demonstrators) there will be a sudden new found zeal for imposing the guidelines for social distancing and my guess is a number of arrests. The coming week or so will see an orgy of fake outrage across the news networks of ‘far right’ violence and the rise of racism – probably blaming Brexit.

In the longer-term ordinary people may well conclude that the state is engaged in some asymmetric war against its own people, they will give up on the institutions of this country and our political class and turn to people who will offer to protect them.

I suspect there are people in this country that so hate having to observe a democratic outcome decided by the working class of this country they would rather see it burn. What I have described is a possible outcome – but only if we play that game. You see statues can be replaced and TV shows put back on line for us to watch, so let the Book Burners have their run. Let them choke on their own ideology, there is a delicious irony in seeing ‘woke’ comedians being denounced by their own Comrades for some off colour sketch they made a few years back, there is nothing more hypocritical than seeing an over indulged Black celebrity lecture poor White people about their privilege. When we are good and ready and their tantrum has burned up their energy, we can remind them of these things at leisure.

Let them have it, the revolution eats its young, just stand back and let them do it, no need to get violent, no need to do anything, just stop listening to the broadcast news, if enough of us do the same they can spout their vile dogma across the airwaves as much as they care to, no of us are listening. You have more control than you think.

There is an interesting philosophical debate on the question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Now you can go round the houses (and round the twist eventually) with that one but here’s the thing, even if it does make a sound, you don’t know which tree or even which forest, it has no interaction with your existence, it is irrelevant.

I have switched off, I have stopped listening to broadcast news, they no longer exist, the earth is my witness.

You should switch off too, you will feel better for it, trust me.

Christmas Elections and the NHS Pantomime

To summarise my thoughts on the NHS I firmly support universal healthcare provision by the state, I just think the NHS is the worst method in the world of providing it. Spain and the Netherlands both have far superior systems, yet here we are again in yet another General Election where no politician dare speak this heresy. Imagine that – a state funded healthcare system that can bully politicians into silence, yep that’s where we are and any sensible discussion on the topic will be prevented because we live in a political duopoly, which means:

  1. The Tories are too scared to mention the system needs reform so instead throw money at a bottomless money pit to neutralise Labour.
  2. Labour will weaponise the NHS in order to threaten voters that the Tories want to privatise healthcare and have secret plans to introduce cuts by shooting anyone that has so much as a bad tummy.

This stupid pantomime gets played out every few years and even manages to infect the other political parties that do not form part of the duopoly, at a time when I do think people are open to listening to alternative methods of providing universal healthcare. The Tory response to the NHS is fairly predictable, after all they have a long track record of forming governments so it makes sense to neutralise a predictable avenue of attack from the Labour party. Cynical as the Tory approach is I would argue it is nowhere near as cynical as the way the NHS seems to operate as a tax payer funded branch of the Labour party. As I write this blog support for the Labour party seems to be about 25%, so if you think about it 75% of NHS patients and the people that pay taxes to fund it do not vote Labour. Let that sink in.

We have all become so used to the control the Labour party has over the NHS that we all too often forget to ask why we have allowed one political party to have complete control of an organ of state. Why do we find this acceptable? I don’t. It’s for the same reason I don’t think it would be a great idea to allow Sinn Fein complete control of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.


Yet it is so blatant, I know of no organisation that would allow its employees to use its name and corporate branding as a platform to campaign for one political party. Most of us would reasonably expect to be on the wrong end of a disciplinary if we did that. Yet here we are, Twitter is awash with grandstanding NHS employees pushing their propaganda, which generally runs along the lines of ‘trust me I’m a Doctor, the Tories are evil’ or ‘It’s my duty as an NHS manager to tell you we only have 24 hours/days/weeks to save the NHS from the evil Tor-rees’. Even the BBC joins in with interviews with desperate Doctors gushing about how our casualty departments resemble the aftermath of an American Civil War battle thanks to the Tories, and our idiot journalists seem remarkably unwilling to ask if they are speaking in an official capacity.

Am I the only one totally fed up with evangelising angels from the NHS constantly bashing me round the head with their non-existent halos? Why does the NHS tolerate political activists using their name in this way – and why don’t the rest of us (who don’t support Labour) tell them to shut up and do something useful for a change – you know like doing something about the NHS’s appalling cancer survival rates? I suspect the reason is that they, like the rest of us, have been conditioned into accepting a politicised NHS and this will only change when we start to challenge it and remind them, most of us would actually prefer you to do your job and, like the rest of us, keep your politics out of the workplace.

All’s fair in love and lawfare

I think it fair to say the recent case in the Supreme Court over the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament has added fuel to the burning platform that is the British constitution, the settlement between those who rule and those that are ruled looks severely strained as a consequence. Personally I was never in much doubt about the way the court case would go, if you have enough power and influence the path is well set now to change any outcome to your favour, hire some lawyers, shop around a Scottish court and then get the Supreme Court to sugar coat the ruling you paid for. As for the settlement, I was never much convinced we had one in any case, seems to me there is only one party in power – the establishment, we just get to chose which liar we want to send there to do their bidding. To take something positive from recent events it has at least provided clear evidence of what I have been saying for some time now.


Looking at events more coldly I do think the Prime Minister made an error to try and suspend Parliament for five weeks, that was clearly provocative, certainly excessive and in fairness to the people I profoundly disagree with they did have a case here, if you cannot provide evidence why you have suspended Parliament for such a long period of time it kind of does look like an abuse of power. Yet amongst all the heat and anger over the past few days a simple fact has escaped our commentators and media, our country is not operating within a rules based system, it operates within something called the law and we need to take pause and question something we have always been taught to accept because the law is unstable.


A few years ago I travelled around Arizona and Utah, as you push deeper in to these states you get to some very remote areas, I find Americans to be a generous, warm hearted people but as you go in to these places you begin to notice a hard edge about them. They have a deep mistrust of government (a healthy thing if you ask me) and deep resentment of interference in their lives. There is still a frontier spirit about them and if you think about it not so long ago the people that lived here lived according to natural law, thieves got horsewhipped, murderers got hanged, the Sheriff and the law, well they didn’t arrive until later in the day. I’m not someone who agrees with the death penalty by the way but I do see how free people would order their lives in the absence of government and law. It is also important to remember that harsh that their sanctions for crime might be outside of that there is a very real sense that if there is no law against it then you are free to do as you please, so ask yourself this – isn’t their hard edge really more to do with distant people trying to govern their lives? This is one of the central beliefs I have and why I want to see my country leave the EU, barely a day goes by when some distant unaccountable bureaucrat is trying to ban something in my life or force me to accept things that simply aren’t true – like there are more than two genders for example? I mean – seriously, you want to force me to believe that and make it a crime if I don’t?


Every day that passes a further layer of law is added to our lives, few if any of these laws free us to do anything, instead they constrain us further and further in how we act, speak and increasingly how we think. A recent piece of case law in the United States threw up an interesting change, a particular by-law insisted on dog leads being a certain length in the confines of a park, a dog walker unaware of this law was fined for using a longer lead, the dog walker appealed and the Judge found in his favour, ignorance of the law could now be used as a defence, the Judge accepted that people were now expected to operate within such a complex and ever shifting set of rules it was impossible for even the purest hearted of us not to transgress the law.


Returning to our recent court case, Parliament was recalled and the Prime Minister faced subsequent calls to resign. Now here is the thing and the germ of the thought I want to plant into your mind, the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament having received legal advice from Geoffrey Cox the Attorney General, the Attorney general is legal adviser to the Crown, if one of the most senior legal brains in the country cannot provide reliable advice to the Crown over what is legal then you don’t have the rule of law, you have a chaotic free for all, unpredictable in its outcomes and prone to misuse by the rich and powerful. I would not try to argue this is necessarily a result of EU membership but it does seem to me that EU law means anything the EU wants it to mean at the time. My perceptions apart, much of EU law is based on Napoleonic law which aims to build a system where the only aspects of our day to day activities we are permitted to do are the ones where there is a law that specifically says we can do it. That style of legal system I reject with all my heart since I have a pretty good idea where it ends up.


I am not making an argument for anarchy, good rules, indeed good laws help make a harmonious society. Sport provides an excellent example, we can argue until we are blue in the face about a player being off-side in a football match but that is the interpretation of the law, the law itself is clear and understood, also unlike the U.K. right now the referee cannot suddenly invent a new rule during a game to disadvantage one side. Currently our lives operate within an unstable game of snakes and ladders called the law, if our finest legal minds cannot predict its outcomes what value is it? Surely it is time to revert back to a simpler more instinctive rules based world, if the Attorney General cannot predict where this ends up don’t you think the smart thing to do is to take a pause and ask ‘we’ve kind of lost the plot here haven’t we’?

We chose to go to the Moon

On July 20th, 1969 at 20:17 UTC the Apollo Lunar Module, Eagle, landed safely on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquillity. On board the Eagle astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin reported back to Earth “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Perhaps less well known is that shortly after landing Buzz quietly took Communion with some wine and bread to give thanks to God.

Some six hours later Neil Armstrong opened the hatch to Eagle and descended a short ladder to place his feet on the Moon and make his famous declaration “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Nineteen minutes later he was joined by Aldrin and the two astronauts went on to spend two and a quarter hours together on the Moon’s surface setting up experiments and collecting about 21kg of Moon rock. Behind them they left a plaque, signed by both astronauts and Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, the plaque bore the words ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind’.

After seven hours of rest Armstrong and Aldrin were woken up by Mission Control to prepare for their return. Two and half hours later Eagle re-joined the orbiting Command Module and the astronaut Michael Collins (who for a time qualified as the loneliest human in history). The three astronauts then made their successful return to Earth. On August 13th the three astronauts, now hailed as heroes, enjoyed the honour of a ticker tape parade in New York.

There were a further six Apollo missions to the Moon, five successfully made landings, one – Apollo 13 made a story in itself, all returned safely to Earth. In total twelve men walked on the Moon, most were in the military although interestingly the first, Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11) and the last, Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17), were civilians.

I was too young to really remember any of the Apollo missions although I have a hazy memory of being mugged off by my Dad on one of the later missions when I complained it was still daylight when I was sent to bed, ’the Astronauts took the darkness with them’ he explained. Good one Dad, you had me there.

The debates about the cost of the missions continue to this day but few would argue that putting a man on the Moon was not one of mankind’s greatest technical achievements. For me it always meant more than any that, even as a child I sensed the wonder of what we had achieved, it was as though for the first time ever mankind looked up from our own world and understood our real destiny lay in the firmament and not our eternal squabbles about diminishing resources on Earth.

Still today when the moon is full I gaze up to the Sea of Tranquillity – that dark patch slightly to the right of the centre and I think of Neil and a very dear relative who passed away with him on the same day. Sometimes I think more deeply about what Armstrong must have felt, how could you even begin to describe the feeling as the hatch opened and he saw the lunar surface up close for the first time? How could any human control that adrenaline rush no matter how highly trained, no matter how self disciplined?

Some say he fluffed his lines forgetting the pronoun ‘a’, others argue he said it but the transmission broke at a vital moment, for me it matters little, no human has ever acted as the singularity in time and space for so much human endeavour, the pressure must have been almost unbearable. When I think deeper still I ask myself if part of me would despair at that point? Despair because the ultimate achievement not only in my life but in the life of every human being that ever lived will shortly pass. As I return to the lunar module and head back to earth is everything now one long anti climax?

Armstrong, an already intensely private man, gave little further insight into these emotions. His companion on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, has been much more talkative but still does not fully convey what must be very difficult to describe. Perhaps this is why I have always been drawn to Alan Bean – the fourth man on the Moon; Bean has painted his exploits obsessively since his return, for me his artwork conveys more completely the emotional connection I seek. You could argue the Moon really put a zap on Alan Bean’s head, which is something I can relate to, I figure if it had been me on the Moon I would have gone down the same path as Bean. Even though I can’t paint for toffee.

Fifty years on and the world is not the place I expected it to be, I live in a society that seems to have lost its way. It is difficult to see how today the West could produce political leadership that had the will to undertake a project like Apollo; after all John F Kennedy knew his two terms would likely be over before men walked on the Moon, one of his successors would claim the glory yet he still committed to it. All the more remarkable that Kennedy managed to commit the American people to it and caught the imagination of the rest of the people of the free world.

Sometimes we forget that in 1969 the Vietnam War was raging, it was over a year from the 1968 Tet offensive, America was quite clearly in an unwinnable war, race riots raged across American cities, and political violence saw the slayings of Dr.Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Against all of this Apollo shone through and in the annals of history I believe that a thousand years from now it will be for this that America is remembered.

Fifty years on and I feel there are more dark days than hopeful ones, maybe that’s just me getting older. I guess in a certain sense my obsession with Apollo is because it serves as a touchstone for a time when the world seemed more hopeful and the West had a stronger sense of direction. Fifty years on and we find ourselves led by politicians with little imagination, a media that few trust anymore, and a recalcitrant academia that appears to prefer to detach itself from what Heraclitus described as the logos and chooses instead the intellectual dead end of ideology.

Yet we are no different to the people that came before us.

Fifty years ago we set foot on the Moon. I really do think that if we just started to believe in ourselves a bit more, and stopped investing our belief in people that do not deserve it, we can reset things, we can get ourselves back on track. Look up at the Moon, and remind yourself that we went there, that there is the best of us, that up there is what the human spirit can achieve. Remind yourself to not always look down but to sometimes look up, up to the heavens where our true destiny lay. Fifty years ago we went to the Moon, we did that.

We did that.

Pride Before The Fall: What Woke Capitalism Tells Us About Power In Modern Society

Semi-Partisan Politics

Oreo Pride Month pronoun celebration cookies

A tale of two product launches, set against the most fawningly corporate Pride Month in American history

Imagine that you are Jerry Falwell, Jr. or some other notable socially conservative reactionary type, and you see the above image in which the makers of Oreo cookies announce that they are celebrating Pride Month by producing commemorative packs encouraging customers to “share [their] pronouns with pride”.

One can easily imagine Falwell, Jr. taking to his Twitter account in high dudgeon to complain about something (the ongoing erasure of the gender binary) so clearly against his own personal beliefs and conception of Christian morality being promoted on the packaging of a beloved, family-friendly American snack. Maybe this would be followed by an angry TV news appearance – or, in the good old days, a strongly-worded open letter, printed in the national press and addressed to the godless, degenerate executives at the National Biscuit…

View original post 1,963 more words

A not so shaggy dog story

Followers of my rants will know I am passionate about the flora and fauna of our natural environment so it is fitting that my latest contribution features an animal, more specifically a dog, a lost one, called Picky.
Last Sunday afternoon as I watched India thumping Pakistan at cricket on TV there was a bit of a commotion outside of my house with a couple of neighbours. No curtain twitcher am I – so I went straight out to find out what was going on quickly to learn that my neighbours had found a lost dog. Asking the blindingly obvious (I’m as sharp as a pin in these sort of situations) I asked if there was a number on its dog tag and had they called it? Of course they had, they even knew the dog was called Picky but sadly the number on the tag was dead. 
Being a dog lover and all-round good egg, I offered to look after it until it could be re-united with its owner. Now it’s time like these that the often maligned social media comes in handy so I posted on the various neighbourhood networks in Ealing a picture of Picky asking if anyone knew the dog and its owner. In the meantime, my neighbours tried to make contact with a local refuge in case we could not locate the owner.
The rain now set in at Old Trafford so the cricket was stopped and at this point I had a brainwave, why not see if Picky knows where he lives and leads me there? Picky however saw this instead as an opportunity to take me around one of his favourite walks in the park but at least it gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. Of course! A Eureka moment! Dogs have a licence – call Ealing Police Station and notify them of the lost dog, simples. Or so it seemed. I knew not to call 999 as it was hardly an emergency so I called the Police Station, over a dozen times, the call just died, there wasn’t even a connection. Returning home Picky and I tried the web site of the Metropolitan Police which seemed designed to ensure you didn’t report anything at all – unless it was an offensive Tweet on Twitter.
And this got me thinking, our taxes have not gone down in the past decade or so, yet we seem to be getting less and less for what our government shakes us down for. There are war zones that are safer than some parts of London and the only time any of us seem to see the Police is when they are;
1.At your door trying to intimidate you because you said Islam isn’t very nice.
2.Dancing in a parade wearing nail varnish and a rainbow coloured wig.
You see as I walked Picky around the park, a park where children play, I walked past unpleasant men openly smoking cannabis and God knows what without any concern about the law – or how an adult should conduct himself around young ones. I walked past rubbish mainly now collected by local volunteers as the council does not seem able to do that any longer. Yet my council tax has not gone down, in fact the latest wheeze is to charge for parking where it used to be free and thus pretend, they have not put up tax. Ealing council does however seem to have a zeal for closing libraries – a zeal sadly lacking when it comes to looking after open spaces and this being Ealing so called Queen of the Suburbs.
So this now seems to be the direction of travel, our governments fleece us for tax and fritter it away on anything and everything that is not in our interest, giving billions to NGOs and fake charities that have a sinister agenda and deliberately spending less and less on the things that improve or at least maintain the quality of our lives. 
Pete North at the Leave Alliance has been banging on for ages that without political reform Brexit is almost pointless and this view hardened like tempered steel in my mind. Pete is right – leaving the EU is not enough, we simply have to remove our current political class because if we don’t the neglect of our country and its people will continue and the legacy paid for in blood by our forefathers will be frittered away by a malign uncaring elite
A shaggy dog story needs an end, by early evening it looked like Picky was going to have to stay with me for the night until we could contact the dog refuge on Monday morning so it being a reasonably nice evening Mr Picky and I headed off to the Fox for a sundowner. Half way through my pint my neighbour called me – she had contacted the owner who was on her way to me. Shortly after a tearful owner is re-united with Picky, a Romanian lady with very poor English who explained the number on the dog tag was a Romanian mobile number. It was a nice moment to see the joy on her face and Picky once more at her owner’s side.
And then a final thought hit me, it was a Brexiteer and his network of friends and Brexiteers that helped bring this to a happy ending. So much for xenophobes, seems to me that the people of this country are a pretty awesome bunch governed by scum bags and the time is long over due to get rid of them. If we can unite a Romanian lady with her dog in hours, I am pretty sure we can fix the rest.

HS2 – why must all railroads lead to Rome?

It is sometimes easy to forget that the United Kingdom enjoys an extensive intercity network with trains operating at speeds of over 200kph (120 mph), so it could be argued high speed rail already exists across the nation. An EU directive (96/48/EC) defines high speed rail as having track dedicated to high speed travel with trains operating at a minimum line speed of 250 kph (155 mph). By that definition the U.K. has one high speed line (HS1) that operates between London, Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel.

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed railway which will connect London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. The scheme is scheduled to open in phases between 2026 and 2033 with high-speed trains travelling up to 400 km/h (250 mph) on 330 miles (530 km) of track. This would make HS2 the fastest commercial railway in Europe, faster than the Japanese Shinkansen (the fabled bullet trains) and comparable to the newer high speed lines in China.

The EU has for a number of years been supporting mega projects to build its trans-European network, in 2015 Violeta Bulc confirmed that the EU was investing in the project up to a maximum of €39 billion. This rather suggests that however much people in Britain dislike the project, Brussels is pretty keen on it being built and I would argue were it not for Brexit the scheme would certainly go ahead irrespective of our views. As a Brexiteer I am not going to fall into some sort of default mode where everything the EU does is necessarily bad, HS2 has a number of merits I am just not convinced by the scheme as whole.

HS2 is coming under increasing attack by politicians and parts of the media but it is easy to forget that HS1 also went through periods of controversy. Perhaps the difference was that HS1 had a clear logic to it, the Channel Tunnel had been built and on the French side a high-speed rail connected the portal at Calais to Paris, the conventional rail connection on the UK side was a bit of an embarrassment. HS2 has never really enjoyed the same clarity in terms of what it sets out to achieve, the project is now expected to cost £56 Billion, almost double the original estimate and there is now increasing doubt about its future.

Personally I do see value in high speed rail but feel that phase 1 of HS2, the link between London and Birmingham offers poor value for the tax payer. There is already sufficient capacity on this route that operates at high speed, HS2 would shave about one quarter of an hour off the journey between the two cities, this works out to a couple of billion per minute. Notwithstanding doubts about the journey time the London connection is a sub optimal design, it not only lacks a direct connection with HS1 but seems instead to have become the flagship for a major property redevelopment scheme at Old Oak Common in West London. Put bluntly if it is built according to current design a business traveller from Leeds on his way to Paris flies down the country at 250mph, stops at a part of London he doesn’t want to go to, travels on to Euston and then has to get out and travel a mile or so by bus or tube to King’s Cross to continue his journey.

There is also an element of NIMBYism to my views on phase 1 – the Vale of Aylesbury. One hour from my home in London I can be in some of the most magnificent countryside in Britain, those of you that know the region will not need much convincing from me of its stunning beauty, those of you that don’t know it – well I envy you, I envy the feeling you will have when you first see it. Is it really worth scarring such natural beauty? Is it really worth the destruction of so many ancient woodlands? I would argue no.

Look more closely however and HS2 does however have support when you consider some of the other phases, in 2013 the Department of Transport commissioned HS2 Ltd to undertake a feasibility study into improving journey times to the north of England and Scotland. In 2018 Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that two of the better options would be studied more deeply to determine costs and technical feasibility. South of the border advocates of the Northern Powerhouse initiative are also strongly supportive of a high-speed rail network to connect the northern cities.

I suspect that HS2 is unlikely to deliver value for money with its current approach, but I do not think the scheme should be killed off completely, work on phase 1 should be cancelled and instead money should be spent to support the Scottish Government in completing their feasibility studies and preparing their business case with a view to obtain funding. In terms of design already committed we should accelerate the work on the phases that link Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds since these enjoy more public support and offer much better value to the taxpayer.

Partly because of EU planning and partly because of the natural geography of our island we have allowed our thinking about rail to become London-centric. Even in railwayman’s terms track is described as ‘up’ to London or ‘down’ to the country. This has inevitably resulted in a radial system with London at the centre of a spider’s web of rail lines. This thinking has affected London itself – tube users wanting to travel from say West London to North London have to travel into the city centre to come back out again. As an Arsenal fan living in West London you have to take my word for it how tedious and irritating it was to travel to a game by tube that I could drive to more quickly. It was only with the advent of London Overground that Londoners could travel more directly to where they wanted to get to. The same thinking that made London Overground such a game changer needs to be adopted on a grander scale. Don’t bin HS2 – don’t get emotional about it, have a rethink and let us build the other sections of HS2 and extend it to Scotland if the business case stacks up and maybe just for once stop prioritising London over the rest of the country.

Extinction Rebellion and the Climate Change Con

For those of you that have been drinking heavily in a wood shed for the past week or so, Extinction Rebellion is a political movement committed to non-violent protest against climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. I guess where you sit on the political spectrum will tend to determine whether you view the activities of this movement as courageous or stupid.

One of the founder members of Extinction Rebellion is Gail Bradbrook, a pagan, who apparently became an activist after taking massive doses of powerful psychedelic drugs. Yep, that’s right. Given one of the other founders is Tasmin Osmond the granddaughter of a Dorset Baronet you can maybe see why the movement has been rather keen on finding someone more plausible to put in front of the cameras, so they found one – Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student with Asperger’s. Smart move, who is going to give a rough interview to a 16-year-old with Asperger’s eh? Who is going to ask some of the more awkward questions about the demands of Extinction Rebellion – you know, questions like why have the police, media and politicians given you a free ride for the past few weeks or – where do you get your money?

I’m going to stop writing about these people now because if what is going on was not so deadly serious I would be making the argument that if they could find a skateboarding panda that drank petrol and peed out mineral water to lead them the whole thing would be a slam dunk, overnight we would all sell our cars, take holidays in our local library and heat our homes with karmic energy.

I refuse to indulge these cranks anymore, and I simply refuse to engage with any self-styled eco warrior who refuses to accept that if the environment really is threatened by anything it is from the fact that there are too many human beings. So here is my message to them now – there are too many of us living in a world geared to a model of depletion economics. Stop looking for anything more complicated than that, if you do not understand that simple fact you are an imbecile, don’t waste my time, don’t even bother responding, I am not interested in engaging with you. Banning wood burners and trying to make steel from the heat of compost heaps is not going to make one iota of a difference if you do not address the cause.

We have zero hope of any of our current class of politicians or the idiot media pointing out that our problem is over population, after all these are the people that think adding ten million people to an already over crowded island in less than a generation has taken us into some sort of progressive Nirvana. However, the most wicked thing they will conceal from us is who is paying for all of this? The mainstream political parties love talking about fuel poverty and how this hits those on the lowest incomes, of course none of them will admit that by charging VAT on fuel they are the very people that harvest from the poor, they are the ones living a parasitic existence on the least fortunate in our society.

I am not a climate change denier, I keep an open mind since it is clear to me that human beings are living in a way that is not sustainable. Yet what is also clear to me is that the wealthy elite, who may have just had a slight inkling that we need to change our ways, expect the poorest to shoulder the burden. They expect that those with little money should spend more and more of it on increasingly expensive fuel, unlike their betters who can afford to put solar panels on their roof.

Listen to them and we ensure the poor can no longer enjoy a flight to a sunny destination to forget their woes for a week or so whilst their betters assuage their folly by paying the carbon tax – or better still jet around the world in first class to lecture the poor about the sacrifices they must make. Oh and whilst we are about it let’s rob the poor of the KFC and McDonalds they so enjoy – you know the little treat they like to share with their children, nah – they should be vegans and eat beans and quinoa, after all only those on the right income and status should be able to afford organic free-range chicken.

This is the truth self-declared ‘progressives’ conceal from us all, raising taxes does not hurt the rich it hurts the poor – so they can shove their Greta Thunberg narrative where a solar panel won’t work. I know what they are doing and I’m not buying it. If they want something done about the environment then they are the ones that should change their ways and stop taxing the poor to pay for their stupidity.