Brave New World

Since when did left wing violence become the replacement for debate?

When did people stop being able to agree to differ?

The video below shows a protest turning into civil disorder, with a vehicle being damaged and damage to windows of businesses.

The first thing I want to say is I think the Police showed a remarkable level of restraint with this crowd. If the country they were in, was indeed guilty of what they accuse it of, they would have been treated so very differently.

Perhaps they should check out the story of Victor Jara from Chile.

Secondly, let me make it clear I am neither a Trump nor a Hillary supporter. Neither of them was competing to be my President because I am not a citizen of the USA. However, the election was conducted according to the laws that have governed previous Presidential Elections. Whinging because the result didn’t go the way you wanted to shows a lack of intellect and a lack of maturity and will change nothing.

As the USA is a Constitutional Republic, there are ways of holding power to account. They do not produce results quickly, but I am led to believe they do work given the time and the effort.

To change society also requires dialogue. Think of the long difficult journey the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement talks had to go through. Difficult situations had to be confronted and dealt with. Violence had to be abandoned. Was it worth it to end thirty years of all-out civil war in the province? The people from there will tell you their answer if you ask, not having car bombs going off or people shot in the streets would give you a fair clue.

So why? Why is it that this crowd cannot see the need for dialogue beats the instant though short lasting gratification of violence?

Have the younger American generations just been taught to think if you don’t get your own way, someone will give in if you just have a tantrum? That if you cry like a baby when you don’t get your own way, someone will come along and make it better? Or is it because the rumours that appear to circulate online of paid protesters are true?

If they were paid to protest, who is bankrolling them? As the old investigative adage goes, “follow the money trail“.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi brought down the British Empire without resorting to violence because he was determined never to give in and had right on his side. If he could do that, a few protesters don’t really need to be smashing up a vehicle or windows. They just need to be committed to their cause.

The question, are they?

Mug of Tea

Nothing like a mug of tea

It’s another cold day here and I am trying not to use too much gas in the heater.

That means one thing. I am drinking tea by the gallon.

For my USA based readers, I’m talking hot tea and my favourite brand is Yorkshire Tea. In fact, if I can possibly arrange it, it is the only brand of tea I ever drink. In my daily carry bag, I normally have three or four tea bags in a plastic resealable bag. It means I never get caught out.

Now tea is one of those things that people can get awfully fussy about.

Some people say only use loose leaf tea in a pot. Others use a pot with tea bags. Some pour the milk in the cup first others add it to the cup after the tea. However, each and every one of them will tell you their way is the right way. 🙂

Me?

I am a teabag straight in the mug. Pour on the water, though it must not be boiling at this point. Watch the lovely dark brown infusion filter through the bag. I always use a mug that is white inside so I can tell when it is the right strength. I may give the bag a dunk or two to help it along. Only when the tea is at the perfect strength is the bag removed and the milk added.

See what I mean? I’m not picky about anything else in the kitchen other than tea.

However, when I am drinking a lot of tea, I do miss a teapot. Perhaps I’ll add to the list of things to get when I have the money again.

Right, well I have just noticed my mug is empty so it’s time for another ‘proper brew’.

Lesson from nature

It is the simple things in life that give me the most pleasure.

To many people that may sound a bit of a cliché, but it really is true. Over the winter I do find myself going a little crazy because much of the time I stuck at home. That home is very much in an urban environment and in an urban environment the animal hide from the sounds of humans, traffic and other predators.

But if you venture out in the dead of night, 2,3, even 4 am, and are careful to avoid nightclub areas you will be surprised what you come across if you just quietly walk the streets.

Our communities take on a whole different persona once the lights go down and as the humans retreat into their homes, the animals come out to play. Within a few hundred yards of my home, next to a main road, I have seen foxes, rabbits, heron, as well as the odd owl stalking for mice.

Venture into one of our local woodlands and I then become surrounded by the sounds of all sorts of creatures that can see me, but I cannot see them. I have even caught sight of a deer leaping across four lanes of a dual carriageway in the early hours of a morning.

It all reminds me that where I live used to be a huge oak forest. That was before the people came. Before the people cut down those trees and tried to reclaim the land from nature. I wonder what it must have been like to live amongst that forest before the destruction went too far.

It all reminds me of a song by The Eagles, The Last Resort. We all know the story of how the Wild West was won, but that song tells the story of how the Wild West was lost. It is all there, laid out in the lyrics.

Crawling out from under a rock

Some of you may have noticed I have been a little quiet on here over the last couple of days or so.

In truth, I’ve been feeling really downhearted. I had nothing positive to say and did not want to burden the world by moaning on here.

Things have not been going too well on the job search front and I had got myself into a little bit of a state, thinking I was of no use to anyone and that I’ll never find work again.

It all turns on an email

I got a very polite rejection email last night. Someone actually put the time in to say thank you for your interest, but on this occasion, you have not been successful. Now years ago, a rejection email would have been cause for consternation, but oddly, the fact that someone had taken the time to write a personalised email to me lifted my spirits.What a paradox! How could a rejection have a positive effect?

For months now I have been applying for jobs, sending off CVs and simply not hearing anything back. Since the new year, I have dropped my salary expectations significantly. It is getting to the stage where any work is better than no work. That wall of silence from potential employers has a cumulative effect of negativity.

Now the email  I received may well have been automatically generated. Some of the content of it suggested it wasn’t, but even it was, it has left me with a very positive sense of that employer. In short, I believe that they care about people. Not just their own people, but people in general.

That was sufficient to give me a lift and drag me out of my dip in spirits.

So perhaps that old saying is true after all? In every negative there is something positive. You just have to seek it out.

 

Spectacles

Imagine if…

One of my favourite John Lennon songs is Imagine. It is such an optimistic song and whilst there are some things John imagines in his lyrics I’d not be keen on, it does open your mind up to thinking.

Imagine if… It is a powerful way to start a sentence. It wipes out all barriers ahead and starts off with a clean sheet.

With all the politics that have been floating around cyberspace recently, a thought came to me a couple of days ago.

Imagine if it was unlawful for public sector servants to lie to the public.

That is a pretty radical thing to say in the world we live in today.

Imagine if we couldn’t be lied to about nuclear missiles.

Imagine if we couldn’t be lied to about how our tax money is spent.

Imagine if we could find out about hidden technologies that would free us from the petro-chemical dependency our society has.

Imagine if we could get documents under the Freedom of Information Act that were not riddles with redactions.

With that one, single sentence, making it unlawful for the public to be told the truth by public sector servants; politicians, police, armed forces, councils, we could achieve a true system over oversight.

What kind of world would we live in then?

It doesn’t exist – it died out a while ago

Some people think it still exists. They faithfully draw their curtains closed each night before they go to sleep. In truth, privacy died long ago.

Switch on a computer, you are monitored. Send an email, it gets intercepted. Visit a website, the address is recorded. Make a phone call, the audio is recorded. Send a text all the details are captured as well.

Even just talking in your own front room can be recorded with hi-tech microphones aimed at the glass in your windows.

Head out in your car, a camera will photograph your number plate and put a date and time on your record at that location. Head out on foot in a major city and you will probably be picked up by facial recognition software.

And for the most part, we have to pay more tax to finance the entire infrastructure to capture and store all this data.

Is this state-run dragnet of any use? Is it effective?

Those in positions to know, but outside the hierarchy say not.

So why do we keep on paying for it?

The old ways are best.

I have long since maintained the old ways are best. The simple act of writing a letter can be more secure than online communication. That sounds ridiculous but apparently, it is true. If you write that letter encoding your language, it becomes even more so.

It’s a crazy old world, but privacy, like the dodo, is extinct.