Tommy…

Well, it seems as if ‘Tommy Robinson’ is out of prison, albeit on bail – despite how some are interpreting his ‘release’. He did not seem to say much on his way out of confinement, but posted a video of his seeing his children for the first time in a while at home – if anything I might question why he felt it necessary to post that on social media?

Then we have reports of the Judge laughing by a window – frankly I doubt that. If he was laughing – and Judges do laugh – I would be surprised that he would laugh at the release, or anything to do with it – and also be caught on camera.

I must admit that I am bemused and unclear as to what precisely – in simple and uncomplicated terms – Tommy Robinson stands for.

The BBC, of course, continue to label him “extreme right” and refer to his past (now divorced) associations in their own inimitable way. But it seems very difficult to understand, amongst all the/his outputs on social media, what exactly he is getting at. He seems to be saying, for example, that he has no problems with Muslims per se, but is concerned about Islam and especially its seemingly unambiguous connection with child abuse in many towns across the UK, as well as its connection with many ‘social ills’ such as FGM.

He also seems concerned about the lack/merits of Islamic ‘cohesion’ and ‘diversity’ and the inevitable ‘ghettos’ that are growing all the time across the UK. All this on a day when Sharia law seems to have been recognised in UK courts in a divorce case.

Reflecting on the issues mentioned above (and I guess there are many more) I find myself asking ‘so what is the problem’ with having views like this? I also wonder why he doesn’t manage to find some time to clarify really this/his position, so that those that support him from an extremist point of view desert him, those that criticise him for his ‘extreme right wing’ views back off and those that recognise his concerns (perhaps even the majority more generally) become more ‘mainstream’.

 

The state of British politics

This morning I listened to BBC Radio 4 Today to ‘catch up’ with what is going on in the world and especially in the UK. Anyone listening could not fail (as usual) to be worried by what they heard.

It seems to me that we are in a bad way on so many levels. Whether from a Party-political point of view, where the main parties are in various forms of chaos driven from within by scandals such as antisemitism in the Labour Party, or leadership problems elsewhere or because it seems increasingly unclear what the main Parties stand for, or clarity as to how they have really changed in recent years. I am confused and I am sure many others are as well.

Many Parties are now attempting to ‘buy’ support by offering short-term ‘bribes’, many of which do little for the long term or ‘broad well-being’ of the UK. There now seem to be so many minority groups and people pandering to them, that any clear view of the majority (and their common values) is becoming ever more difficult to see or understand. Then there is Brexit and what has, is or will happened since the referendum 2 years ago. It seems to infect (and arguably should impinge on) every aspect of our lives. The trouble is that many people (predominantly younger people) seem indifferent to/ill-informed about Brexit or, more worryingly, about politics more generally. Clearly, there are some younger people who are very engaged in politics, or what they see as ‘politics’, however they seem to be predominantly on the left of the spectrum and very gullible to/very short-sighted on the ‘bribes’ offered by Jeremy Corbin and his acolytes.

So why is no-one standing up and offering new alternatives or sorting many of these issues out within the Parties themselves? Why are the ‘majority’ (from ‘left’ and ‘right’) not ‘standing up’ and ‘being counted’?

With a General Election still a few years away, the opportunities for people to ‘go round in circles’ and basing their actions on the outputs or even fake news from various forms of media (that are primarily also doing lots of ‘naval gazing’ in an attempt to reconcile their position and responsibilities in the age and rise of social media) are undoubtedly rife in and potentially destructive of all established sections of the political spectrum.

Post World Cup

Well, it’s Sunday evening and, at last, the World Cup is finished with France coming out on top. For weeks we have had a load of interminable, frequent and regular claptrap about “it’s coming home” and even though England didn’t win, members of the team – and especially Gareth Southgate – seemed lined up for sainthood, at the very least. As my daughter pointed out (from the feminist perspective) all this rubbish about reaching the semi-finals for the first time for decades, was inaccurate, as the England women’s team had done it 3 years ago!

Then there was Wimbledon. Now I must ‘declare an interest’ here, as I like Wimbledon. Not tennis especially, but tennis at Wimbledon and spend a fair amount of time during the 2 weeks glued to the TV or iPad. The first week was rather tame however things really hotted up in the latter part of the second week following the demise of Roger Federer and the resurgence of Novak Djokovic. I even watched a match between Williams (S) and Giorgi – but I guess that was for the ‘pure visual entertainment’, rather than  the tennis!

Throughout the week the emotional incontinence from the BBC and its team accelerated to a point where I thought we might even be shown a film of the birth of Serena William’s (there is someone else who is destined for sainthood) child, that had been discussed interminably throughout the week and, on at least 3 occasions, I turned on the broadcast and thought it was an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour! Finally and just before the men’s final, we had some ludicrous ‘poetic’ mumbo jumbo from the retiring Barry Davies, which made one think that Centre Court was a World War I battlefield.

Comparing these two major sporting events also highlights the massive difference in athleticism between the tennis players and the wimps on the football field in Russia and, frankly, more generally. One tennis match going on for six and a half hours!

Minorities and the BBC

Listening to and watching the BBC, it seems that the vast amount of their output of general programmes and news and news-related programmes, feature, advocate and disproportionately support minorities.

A big question for me is, if you added up most these minorities would that be or represent a/the majority? If the answer is yes, then thats fine – but if, as I believe the answer is no, then there is (and UK society has) a problem. The problem being that there is no ‘representation’ of ‘normal’, ‘middle of the road’ people and their values, beliefs or opinions – and that is just on the BBC, never mind politically or more widely.

I recall that when I worked in the field of management and leadership development, there was little or no media available on good and effective management or leadership. This was largely because that was not entertaining and even seen as boring. It’s the same with most ‘commercial output’ on ‘analogue’ or ‘digital’ media – and certainly the BBC. Where are the ‘normal’ characters and/or plots on The Archers, Eastenders or Emmerdale? There used to be a lot on Coronation Street but even that has changed.

Whatever the reason, the BBC are obsessed with representing what they see as reality, in and around Portland Place. regarding our obligatory and apparently inevitable ‘diverse’ society. Listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, they had am ‘un-checked’ view from a representative of one of these minority groups “The way England is going to look in the future”… If that is not social engineering or brainwashing I don’t know what is. Then there was a feature supposedly about ‘classical music’ and even that was a thinly disguised focus on ethnic minorities.

There is, by the way, nothing inherently wrong with a ‘diverse society’, but not on this scale or so fast.

It is not necessary to name these key minorities, as anyone reading this will know and understand what and who they are. Amongst other things, the big issue seems to be, why are the publicly-funded BBC (and others) focussing on these groups – what is their motivation or objective in supporting, encouraging or possibly accelerating such social engineering and change?

Brexit and Theresa May…

Well, the ‘Brexit weekend’ at Chequers has come and gone and, as a consequence, so have a number of government ministers. With the clock ticking even faster in terms of the deadline for exiting the EU in March 2019, it would seem that we (the government) have had to compromise. The main issue being – especially for the Brexiteers – how much of a compromise. Social media is full of people saying it’s a “sell-out” or even “traitorous” behaviour from Theresa May and her Cabinet and it would seem that quite a few Conservative MPs agree. However, her meeting with the 1922 committee a few days ago would seem to have been successful (at least in the short term and from her personal point of view) in that they reacted well to her ‘back me or get Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’ message/threat.

So what are the alternatives if she were to be ‘ousted’? Boris Johnson? Jacob Rees-Mogg? Jeremy Hunt? Each of these have ‘baggage’ regarding their personalities, their ‘heritage’ or what they have or haven’t achieved in their previous departments or jobs. One thing in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s favour is that he has been successful in most things he has done. But is he too ‘old school’? Given the wide view that Jeremy Hunt has ruined the NHS he is unlikely (maybe not with Conservative party members but with the wider public). Boris, of course, is seen as various types of fool…which he clearly is not.

If the ‘Chequers compromise’ is accepted by the EU, gets through parliament and forms the basis of Brexit, this will leave a massive and damaging legacy for Theresa May and the Conservative Party at the next General Election. The hard Brexiteers will not be happy and whatever the deal is, things will not have settled down well within 4 years – for the economy, trade or socially. Whatever the alternatives are from Labour or even a ‘resurrected’ UKIP, I doubt very much that they will remain in power. Even at grass roots level, “activists” are staying off the streets according to Peter Bone MP and locally, the local Party association are having difficulties in getting volunteers to ‘do stuff’ and in one case turn up to support the local Conservative MP in public. I noticed that a local public session designed to attract Conservative youngsters from the area to meet 2 local MPs and other Conservative stalwarts, has only attracted 6 ‘interested’ views on Facebook! Given the state of the local Conservative Party Association, I am not that surprised.

 

Meghansyndrome

This time last week I sat down, with many millions of others, to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. It was a lovely event (despite the BBC being obsessed with her black heritage – actually only half black) and disproportionately focussing on issues related to that. Yes, the ‘sermon’ went on too long, but the preacher clearly felt passionately about his subject and that was, at least in-principle, a reasonable text to focus on, given the occasion. Otherwise, it was a very happy event.

Since then and seemingly increasingly, the wider media are also obsessing about her ‘heritage’ and every aspect of her past and present. There is even an US outlet asking (in all seriousness) what sort of Queen she will make. Others are saying that she is putting the Duchess of Cambridge ‘into the shadows’.

Initially, when Princess Diana married Prince Charles many years ago, things went well and, of course, we were in a very different world with regards to media and especially social media. Towards the end of her life, things really hotted up and the ‘paparazzi’ had a major role in her demise.

The effect that Diana had on our consciousness as a nation and more widely, has been dramatic, not so much in terms of the direct effects, but more in terms of societally. Our ’emotional incontinence’ has magnified and continues to accelerate so that in a relatively short period of time and right across a nation that was historically and traditionally recognised (globally) for its ‘stiff upper lip’. These changes continue unchallenged.

So the Dianasyndrome is alive and well whether, for example, on TV, at the Grenfell Tower enquiry or by the roadside, where people leave plastic flowers apparently in memory of loved ones. But we now have, additionally, Meghansyndrome, which is taking off nicely and, if it coincides with or overtakes Dianasyndrome, has the potential to be even more destructive for the UK as a nation (and possibly the Monarchy) on a number of levels.

IDs

There has been a lot of renewed speculation in recent days, following the local government elections, about the need for IDs in order to prove ones identity and rights as a voter.

Many years ago, I worked with someone who (initially) refused to wear an identity card at our place of employment, as he felt that it was up to our employer to prove that he was not entitled to work there, rather than the other way round. At the time, I had some sympathy with his view but, with the passage of time and that the world has dramatically changed in terms of terrorism and (although not necessarily related) immigration (for example), we clearly need some mechanism by which we can prove who we are and others can challenge that, if needs be.

It seems that, however small the number of cases are, that there is a degree of fraud in voting either in local or general elections. There are cases of people pretending to be someone else, individuals who are not citizens trying to vote and people voting on behalf of others, often whole families. None of these are acceptable or part of British culture. If they had happened in previous generations there would have been an uproar. There is an argument that if even one vote is ‘illegal’, the whole democratic system is flawed and we should strive hard to ensure that even that is not the case.

I do not, now, subscribe to all the fuss about ‘rights’, as with those rights come responsibilities. As many other democratic nations have IDs and have moved on in their ideologies, it seems that tightening up the democratic system is entirely possible. It also does not seem beyond our imagination to have some form of IT recognition, passwords, optical recognition, fingerprints of whatever to aid in the ‘crusade for perfection’ in the democratic process and balance the rights and responsibilities as well as scrutiny in being part of it.