So called “British” sporting talent – a gaggle of bleeding foreigners?

   

Well, well, well, the British high hopes of a Wimbledon “double success” this year, as virtually promised by all and sundry of the tennis media, has proved to have been as mythical as a desert mirage, hasn’t it?

Yep, Britain’s single iconic male singles tennis player of modern times, Andy Murray, though World No. 1, Olympic gold medallist, and current title champion, predicted to win the tournament for the third time indeed, got knocked-out by an albeit good player but in reality, a title relative no-hoper, in a five-setter match on Wednesday, despite being up two sets at the start of this quarter-final match.

Well, that came as no surprise to many of us ‘non-experts’ as it was widely trailed that he wasn’t fully fit anyway before the start of Wimbo (though he had vehemently denied it?), and that is not a grand slam a man wins if only partly fit, is it? We certainly knew that he was going no further because before the actual start of his final match he visibly limped-off the practice court a short while before it started, didn’t he? So, in truth, he shouldn’t really have been playing that game at all (he didn’t really need the appearance money, surely?), as the crowd were simply then cheated of a genuine performance that they had queued and paid for, weren’t they? We just knew then that he had to win 3 sets to love, if he was to get through, so when he lost the third set, we definitely knew he was finished, didn’t we? Yes, it was downhill all the way from then on.

The second hope of a British winner was supposed to come in the form or Britain’s (?) number1 woman player and World number 8, Johanna Konta, who on Murray’s demise had got talked-up by the media yesterday morning before her own semi-final match against Venus Williams, a renowned 8-times Wimbledon finalist (champion 5 times), as well as another twice a grand-slam winner, with headlines that indicated that “England expects that every man (woman) will do his (her) duty….” with the implication that the whole future of UK tennis rested on her slight shoulders, eh? Those of us however who had our feet firmly on the ground, wished her well, but in truth knew that although a most consistent strong player this year, she had little chance against such an experienced and in-form opponent, particularly on grass to which she is not best adapted, didn’t we? [Although she can beat Williams on her day, and she herself has won 3 major titles but never a grand slam, has she?). And so it has proved, since the occasion and the opponent was far too great for her, and she crashed out with quite a disappointing dismal performance, didn’t she?

Now all that said about these matches, what you need to appreciate is that while Murray is indeed British, he is firstly and basically a Scot, who vehemently supports ANY football team in the whole wide WORLD who faces England in any competitive match or friendly whatsoever. That means that in the Scottish press he is ALWAYS a Scotsman, while conversely in England he is either BRITISH when playing in top-of-the-World class form and is a bleeder loser Scot when playing badly, isn’t he?

Well, Konta is quite a different kettle of fish though, as she is actually an Australian – born and bred there in Sidney, wasn’t she? Yes, moreover she wasn’t born even to British citizen parents who had emigrated to there, or who were just visiting that wonderful Country. but she was the second child of Hungarian immigrants. She is an extremely good tennis player, but then again, she learnt the tennis trade there (from eight to fourteen) so simply follows in the footsteps of many great and fantastic men and women players that have come out of Australia – Wimbledon winners, men like Frank Sedgman, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe, Pat Cash, and Lleyton Hewitt, or women like Margaret Court (nee Smith), and Evonne Goolagong Cawley, eh?

Now it is a puzzle to many of us how comes someone without an ounce of British blood in them can suddenly and miraculously become British and represent our home Country internationally, isn’t it? It seems to happen a lot and for example, Konta didn’t come to Eastbourne England until she was fourteen years old just a dozen years ago and even from then until 5 years ago she actually represented her birth country Australia as a tennis player for another seven years winning things, well before gaining citizenship here and miraculously metamorphizing into a Brit.

Now, it seems to happen everywhere with a lot of individuals [say tennis whiz kid of old John McEnroe who was born in Germany but he became American, didn’t he?], so how all that comes about is a bit of a mystery to many of us.

Being British seems to be a bit of a badge of convenience for Konta, since she retains though three passports and citizenships [Australian, Hungarian, and British], as well as demonstrably and seemingly having genuine commitment and love for this Country (originally having lived here for just half a dozen years), don’t you think?

[Mind you the Aussies didn’t rate her as a future star and cut-back her tennis funding before she consequently went and lived and trained in Spain, and before the family then moved here to be near to her [using their Hungarian citizenship for EU status], so she has an understandable gripe against her homeland, doesn’t she?].

Now, such comments are not intended to single out or stigmatise this particular young woman who is an accomplished and hard-working tennis player (and is most definitely a credit playing for this Country), but to point out that the rules that govern what true nationalities can actually represent a country seem bizarre to say the least, don’t you think?

There are many other memorable examples of that would include many well-known names in sport, aren’t there? Like in Test cricket a gaggle of South Africans have played for England – Basil D’Olivera, Tony Greig (a Captain), Allan Lamb, Ian Greig, Chris Smith, Robin Smith, Andrew Strauss (another  Captain), Kevin Pietersen (infamously know for inappropriately liaising with the S. African team during a test!), Matt Prior, Jonathan Trott.

On the other side of the coin, we have the likes of disgraceful disloyal Lewis Hamilton, our so called ‘British’ three times F1 World Champion, born in Stevenage, with Grenadian heritage, who started in karting and learned to be a racing driver solely in our Country with the support of the Britain’s McLaren outfit where he eventually started in F1 as a test driver. A soon as he finally got a seat in a F1 car there, and all the mega bucks that brings, he decided his allegiance was actually to Switzerland (despite the fact that both his motorsport teams are based in England), where he had never been, so he paid tax to them instead of his own Country [mind you he soon left them to find somewhere even cheaper (as well as ditching McLaren in favour of Germany’s Mercedes-Benz engine suppliers for even more bucks) – much later the unknowing British public even voted him Sports Personality of the Year in the naïve belief that he had some kind of loyalty to THIS Country, eh?].

Last Wednesday there was a historic spectacular F1 car & driver skills demonstration on the shut-down streets of central London, using Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to try to create greater interest in the sport in the UK which has been badly waning in recent years (at a 12 year low with the loss of more than 5 million viewers). This was part of the build-up to this weekend’s Silverstone BRITISH Grand Prix. So it was supported by ALL the F1 teams, who turned up with their drivers (all were asked), bar one driver from the current grid – oh yes, you guessed it, ‘pseudo-British’ Lewis Hamilton. His supposed love for his Country and our ‘special’ British Grand Prix was superseded by his sole decision to jump on a private plane to live it up for a couple of days with his mates on a Greek island. Oh no, this wasn’t a family holiday – no he is far too self-centered & opinionated to have any of that truck, isn’t he? His name was loudly booed by the massive crowd of fans, who understandably instead gave his German Ferrari rival (so not the home driver) Sebastian Vettel the biggest cheer of the day (he is currently ahead of Mercedes’ Hamilton in driver standings by 20 points).

What some of us think, is that there can’t really be true loyalty demonstrated in respect of any country (in sport or otherwise) where someone carries dual nationality, whence it becomes impossible to identify which one of them carries the greatest weight, surely?

If somebody ‘adopts’ another country and obtains citizenship there, and there are many reasons for that in today’s world – like with refugees, or due to emigration, immigration, inter-country marriages, relationships and mixed-race children, aren’t there?

Certainly, dual nationality is not acceptable in most counties [like Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan ,Burma, Bahrain, Botswana, Japan, China ,Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Estonia, Iran, Poland, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Japan, Peru, Kuwait, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Chile, Kiribati, Poland, Korea, Kuwait, Denmark, Latvia, Singapore, Slovakia, Ecuador, Lithuania, Solomon Islands ,Fiji ,Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Romania, Thailand, Mexico, Nepal, Venezuela, Norway, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal], yet some of us so-called ‘developed’ counties like the UK, Australia, US, Canada, Belgium, France, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Israel, Ireland, and Switzerland to name some, don’t have any restriction. So the counties of India, Singapore, Austria, or Saudi Arabia simply won’t hear of it or severely restrict it, don’t they? Other like Spain or Austria, do allow it in exceptional cases (like celebrities) but impose special conditions.

 

[Britain as a multi-cultural haven of society needs to retain the confidence of the nation by insisting that anyone acquiring citizenship, automatically loses any other one without exception, fear or favour, wouldn’t you say?]

Obesity in Children – disgraceful parental neglect?

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This is a follow-up post to that titled ”Obesity in Adults – a life destroyer and a threat to Earth’s survival?” which was published here last week.

Those who have read the earlier post would know about the disastrous course for the Planet that mankind is set on regarding overpopulating it and into the bargain turning the human race into an obese or overweight sick one in the process.

Now that latter problem currently actually starts again with today’s children who are our next generation. We have a situation whereby three-fifths of English adults are themselves obese or overweight, so what about their offspring, then? Well, anyone who walks down any high-street will tell you that whenever you encounter a fat couple accompanied by children, that their kids are invariable fat as well. Now, you may well say that such ‘self-informed’ opinion is not statistically sound, so what are the true facts, then?

Not very good, as it is that some quarter of all English 4 to 5-year-old children fall in that fat category and in 10 to 11-year-olds that rises to a third, and in 11 to 15 year olds up again to two-fifths – a bit lower than in adults certainly but that is probably because there are a lot of fat adults that don’t actually have children, aren’t there?

[A woman being overweight (and underweight) makes conception & having a healthy baby problematical and in a man, being overweight (and underweight) also affects fertility as sperm quality is affected as well as erection ability].

Britain currently has the worst obesity levels in Europe, apart from Hungary.

Just as in adults, children who are obese or overweight, are also at serious risk of devastating effects to their health and life expectancy, aren’t they? The cost to society is astronomical.

There is currently a massive public and political outcry in the UK, and rightly so, about the recent dreadful fire in London’s Grenfell tower, resulting from the ineffective or unenforced regulations, that resulted in the avoidable tragic loss of over eighty men, women, and children (as well as almost an equal number injured), but there needs to be an even greater outcry about the so-far useless steps being taken to halt the increasingly worrying crisis in children’s excessive weight, wouldn’t you say?

With nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 overweight or obese, it is the younger generations who are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer, and that is at a time when we know that adult obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely, is seven times more likely to result in type 2 diabetes (which may end in blindness or limb amputation), as well increasing the risk of high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol, so facing strokes & heart disease.

Moreover, it is getting worse with children from the poorest section of society, those from the lowest income groups, who are the most commonly obesely afflicted (twice or three times more likely) – that is basically caused by too high an energy consumption compared to expenditure. The disturbing fact is, that it is precisely those children and their health that are targeted by provision for the past three years of free hot, nutritious meals at lunch time for every child in a state-funded infant school, as well as disadvantaged students in further education. Yet it is exactly them that commonly refuse them in favour of a cold packed-lunch brought from home, which frequently consists of an excessive amount of unhealthy and junk food (like say chicken nuggets), cakes, chocolate bars, and sweet drinks – and it is their parents that throw a wobbly when the teachers warn them that such food is inappropriate, isn’t it?

In past generations most children were physically active much of their young lives, which included walking everywhere, playing-outdoors, going shopping, climbing trees, playing football or hopscotch or rounders in the street, bike riding, swimming, and doing organised sport, as well as many other energy expending activities, that develop muscle & bone strength, while conversely most modern kids lead a comparatively sedentary lifestyle, particularly at the bottom end of the income spectrum, with traveling even short distances on motorised transport, most time spent indoors with little physical activity (getting no fresh air, sunlight, weather exposure, or vitamin D!) – so all that previous exercise has been replaced by playing with computers, gaming boxes, videos, and all manner of electronic gadgets, with twenty-four-seven television to boot (with that often providing the only sport their witness?), and that is followed with poor sleep quality which compounds the unhealthy situation. Modern children in this technological age, spend far too much time in front of digital devices because they are captivated and preoccupied with them, and parents need to be aware of that and do something positive about it, don’t they?

In overeating and enjoying junk food, we in the UK have been led by the nose by our American cousins from over the pond, who’s adults themselves have progressed even further along the obesity trail, whence nearly seventy percent of adults there are obese or overweight, with their children quickly catching them up, eh?

A very good example of American impact on food intake is MacDonald’s fast food, very popular in the UK as well as the USA: a regular cheeseburger with fries and a Coke comes in at 808 kcals which is ½ the normal DAILY energy required by an active 7-year-old child. Now, growing children do need quite a lot of calories, but that doesn’t leave much wriggle room for 2 other mail meals a day nor snacks, does it? Children’s favored breakfast cereals (say like Aldi’s Harvest Morn Choco Rice or Kellogg’s Frosties) alone can contain 3 teaspoons of sugar (50 kcals) the same as 2½ chocolate biscuits. [That Aldi cereal with milk in a small portion alone with no toast of fruit, would hit a kid with nearly another fifth of a day’s requirement]. Kicking the day off with a shed load of sugar means that children get accustomed to sweet food so find other food with low sugar unpalatable, and that is damaging their long-term health and causes them to get overweight & obese very quickly.

Another problem is that our kids because of their modern lifestyle, don’t need the same energy intake of past times, yet they are presented with such a host of high energy foods in large quantities, augmented with untold choices and unlimited amounts of sweets & chocolate – a favourite is a Mars bar delivering a massive 230 kcals with 8.6g of fat into the bargain. The consequences for children is that they simply get fat, don’t they? [A much better more healthy treat chocolate bar would be a Milky Way that comes in at just 98 kcals and 3.5g fat, isn’t it?].

Now, the government at long last are doing something positive to health regarding the County’s child weight problem, since relying on effective voluntary action by the uncaring food industry has proved futile, as the industry blatantly drives a coach & horses through that. They are planning to introduce a sugar tax on some of the ultra-sweet drinks, that children in particular are very fond of – but that is simply attacking the tip of the iceberg, when so much food targeted at kids is unhealthy. The irresponsible trade is adamantly against even any such action as they claim it wouldn’t work, but they are simply looking after their own vested interests, aren’t they? Yes, it HAS worked elsewhere.

A more coordinated series of actions obesity and a proper strategy on childhood is required, as long-term significant change will only happen through government ‘enforcement’ action together with better education of the public and parents about the dangers of overeating and lack of exercise. That would also involve (apart from taxes), at least forcing the reduction of the sugar content of food & drinks, halting the irresponsible widespread promotion of unhealthy food & drinks, and moreover a reduction in standard portion sizes to take account of reduced requirement resulting from lack of exercise.

The government successfully did it with smoking against relentless opposition from all sides it should be said, and the same commitment and attention has to be applied to obesity, don’t you think?

You CANNOT blame children for being obese or overweight, but we MUST blame their parents, mustn’t we? In Britain, we have laws to protect children from neglect, and in past eras that most often applied to not meeting their basic needs for food, although it also covers their reasonable cleanliness, adequate clothing, proper shelter, supervision, not being put in danger, and no physical nor emotional harm.

What greater neglect, harm, damage and evidence of direly inadequate parenting, is that shown to a child who has been allowed at just a few years old to embark down the road of obesity, to then face a childhood of ridicule, name calling, and bullying, as well as being on its way to a lifetime of health problems, isolation and enforced inactivity?

Real parenting (and grandparenting!) requires attention to a child’s diet, with the intake of healthy food and a strict limitation of those sweet and unhealthy foods that children naturally crave – NOT crass irresponsible indulgentment, eh? That means that children find normal healthy food palatable and even better enjoy the occasional treat, doesn’t it? That in combination with a lot of physical exercise and sport, which should start with toddlers actually learning to swim, is just as important as ensuring a child has a good education and most parents already accept the need for that in our modern society, don’t they?

 

 

[It is critical that over the next decade the growing problem of child obesity is both tackled and dramatically reversed].

 

 

Obesity in Adults – a life destroyer and a threat to Earth’s survival?

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urbanisation a decade ago

 

There can be no doubt about it in anyone’s mind can there? There is an epidemic of obesity sweeping the World that is threatening our human existence with extinction and indeed survival of this very planet, isn’t there?

The increasingly heavy burden on the world’s population imposed by obesity affects both rich and poor nations alike. Research indicates staggeringly that globally some thirty percent of people now are either obese or overweight, which means an eye watering excess of two billion people overall.

That comes together with a population explosion. For example, the UK population is rushing up at an alarmingly record rate (over half a million in the past year alone and well more than half of that through immigration – 65½ million total population now), with fewer deaths and more births contributing

The world population itself is growing ‘exponentially’, so the Earth’s natural resources (like minerals, water, energy and fertile land) that our very lives depends on, are going to run out sooner rather than later, aren’t they? It is no good convincing ourselves that society will find a clever way around that, to develop some sustainable alternative ‘magical’ scientific replacement of those limited resources, nor can we pretend that there is a feasible way of preventing that cancerous growth in inhabitant numbers worldwide, is there?

Whether or not one accepts the impact of mankind in creating the global warming scenario we are experiencing, the baseline fact is that our planet is ‘heating-up’ and that alone is depleting those resources relied on to support our populations. That is compounded by man’s wilful mindless destruction of forests for timber and fuel (half the original forests have now gone with three quarters of their global area demolished just in last quarter of a century!), swamps, plains, fertile land with its overuse & overgrazing, fish stocks & marine life, lakes & rivers with the shrinking availability of fresh water, which into the bargain ignores the world’s dependence on the planet’s incredible eco-systems and widespread biodiversity of the vast variety of animals (a couple of million species of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, at least?) and plants that sustain it, and ignoring nature’s survival interdependences on the interactions of all forms of life.

The needs of incessantly increasing human food consumption has adverse impacts with consequential land clearances for agriculture, housing, hospitals, factories & industrial units, chemical & pharmaceutical plants, roads, railways, airports, pipelines, energy supply, and the like. Despite dramatically increased ‘use’ efficiency, our ongoing extraction and usage of even the world’s limited ‘raw materials’ grows like Topsy (up by a massive half, just in last quarter of a century) and that has major environmental impacts, not least particularly in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Time for the richest nations to tighten their belts on squandering the planet’s limited resources with their constantly increasingly production & consumption needs (manufactured products have doubled in the past twenty years alone), as well as indeed fully recycling stuff made from natural resources instead of shoving it in landfill, don’t you think?

It is the rich, high consuming, industrialised countries of course that purloin the most natural resources (minerals, biomass not used as food, fossil fuels, metals), so use ten times as much as the poorest (with America, and Europe major culprits and Asia paying the greatest price).

Many species of animal life are now deemed ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened’, meaning that there is a strong possibility they will simply be wiped-out – mostly by the actions of us humans, and eighty-five percent down to loss of habitat stolen by our selfishness, as incessant creation of additional areas of food production progresses, together with irresponsible levels of timber harvesting. Drought and other climate changes, as well as disease, has brought the known extinction in our most recent lifetimes of the likes of the golden toad and the harlequin frog, while unbelievably the Earth has lost half of its wildlife numbers in the past forty years, say the WWF?

Our coastal and marine areas don’t escape scot-free either because their natural resources also get besmirched, with associated degradation of marine habitats causing the destruction of the diverse species that rely on them to survive.

You see, even twenty-five years ago nearly half our world’s people lived within just some thirty-five miles of the coast, not least because the oceans were the source of a sustainable food supply – not any longer though because those changes in its societies and their living, that involved significant population growth & its feeding, urbanization, industrialisation, consumerism and the like, as well as tourism, have changed all that.

Being close to rivers and their freshwater eco-systems has historically also been popular for human settlement, because they provided food, transport systems and some irrigation. However, man’s abuse of nature has seriously impacted those worldwide as well, because of widespread pollution [from literally shit as well as land chemicals leeching], dams [45 thousand major around the world blocking proper waterflow), with fresh water usage (up sevenfold) with abstraction by a population (up fourfold), all that having a devastating impact on freshwater systems. The result of it being the breakneck-speed decline in animal numbers (three-quarters down in forty years) , the extinction of some species and the near extinction of others

In general, how has a tragedy of species extinction happened? Well. apart from habitat loss, our wildlife gets decimated by its exploitation including illegal trade, human-wildlife conflict, pollution, climate change, as well as at sea the growing ‘by-catch’ collection of fish and marine life by highly ‘unselective’ modern or industrialised style fishing.

Rare animals critically endangered and therefore likely to go extinct include the Bornean orangutan (species of great apes), ili pika (small mammal type Chinese short-eared rabbit), giant otter (known as “river-wolf’), Amur leopard (wild big cat already extinct in China & Korea), black-footed ferret (N. American weasel), Darwin’s Zorro (carnivorous fox from Chile), Sumatran rhinoceros (double horned Asian rhino), white-rumped vulture (scavenger of dead carcasses), pangolin (solitary nocturnal scaly ant & termite eater), saola (antelope like mammal), vaquita (cetacean small porpoise), Peruvian black spider monkey (fruit-eating monkey). Amongst those now extinct in the wild, Alagoas curassow (1988), black soft-shell turtle (2002), escarpment cycad (2006), Guam kingfisher (1986). Only saved from extinction by zoos, Arabian oryx, golden lion tamarin, Puerto Rican parrot. freshwater mussels, California condo, Kihansi spray toad, Przewalski horse.

That worrying situation regarding the state of the world is increasingly further de-stabled by the horrific statistics on increasing obesity – where poverty itself bizarrely plays a significant part there as well, doesn’t it? Yep, in the richest societies, it is the poorest with their lifestyle who take the poorest choices about their food intake, which often has poor nutritional quality, and that often combines with much decreased levels of physical activity. The cheapest food in fully developed communities generally comes in processed food (often containing excessive amounts of sugar & salt) and that poor diet which includes so-called “junk food” (cheap, fatty, sugary, salty, high-calorie), is augmented by the too readily available sources of additional sugar intake, particularly in sweet carbonated soft drinks – that of course is in addition to the naturally occurring ‘healthy’ sugars found in fruit, vegetables, as well as milk of course, that would normally be part of a balanced diet, as they are accompanied by the nutritional benefits of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

The biggest concerning issue is that in general our population’s intake of energy from sugar is between 2 to 3 times what is considered healthy. Without doubt it is sugar that is the root cause of UK (and western?) obesity and that factor is compounded by the massive level of stress that modern society throws on us humans. Obesity and overweightness, not only is contributing to this planet’s ultimate destruction through food production, but into the bargain it is destroying the quality of the unnecessarily limited lives of those afflicted, because of the debilitating conditions and illnesses (like diabetes, cancers, heart disease, stroke, with links to mental illness – with many consequential deaths) it often brings on, isn’t it? Furthermore, in Britain where two-thirds of us adults are overweight or obese, we have to be aware that such obesity comes at massive financial cost, specifically to the Health Service as well as industry, which the Country can ill-afford, can it?

[Obesity presents a bigger cost for Britain than war and terror as nearly an extra fifty-billion pounds sterling  are used-up on healthcare and social cost on the overweight].

Surely, it is time for us ALL to recognise the facts and severely cut-back on sugars and syrups (like powered white sugar, fruit juice, honey, treacle, maple) as well as consumption of ‘refined’ carbohydrates (like all flour, most breads, most cereals, grains like instant oatmeal, powered starch, pies, pastries, most pasta, ice cream, sweetened yogurt, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, sweets, sweet wines & liqueurs, that are rapidly absorbed causing dangerous spikes in blood glucose), as opposed to natural carbohydrates (like whole grains such as rice or oat or, barley, nuts, coconut unsweetened, eggs, fresh fruit, olives, vegetables, natural dairy products such as milk or plain yogurt or cheese or butter, most red or white wines & spirits, that are slowly absorbed), because although that is not the only factor, it is the only way that our society is going to halt this relentless march into obesity?

The British government are making a start by trying this year (it must be said against an united substantial opposition from the trade that includes manufacturers, pubs & off-licences, and convenience stores) to introduce a ‘sugar tax’ (revenue totalling £½ billion) on large portioned sweetened drinks from next April (which will NOT apply to ALL supply of such products), but as this measure is targeted towards reducing childhood obesity (and even if effective on that?), it clearly ISN’T going to be sufficient to tackle sugar intake implicated in ADULT obesity, is it?

Main adult consumption of sugar includes much from soft drinks; table & confectioner’s sugar; confectionery; fruit juice; biscuits, buns, cakes, pastries, puddings; pies; breakfast cereals; and for just some of us, alcohol drinks.

Also implicated in obesity is junk food (high in calories but low in nutritional value), which often contains high amounts of sugar and fat without providing many of the minerals, vitamins or nutrients that are essential to good health. However, people opt to eat junk food, which is popular as it stimulates the reward system in the brain because of its high-energy content (highly sought-after and desirable in a primitive food scarce environment), whence the body releases feel-good chemicals. However, that response by the body in a developed environment where there is a glut of energy that simply contributes to developing obesity, doesn’t it?

In order to reduce our risk of obesity, it is essential to reduce (not necessarily ‘eliminate’) our intake of all unhealthy processed foods and replace them with fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, isn’t it?

 

[The UK Government must listen at long last to the medical experts and take ‘effective action’ on obesity if our British society is to have any chance of survival, and that will require overriding the vested interests of the plethora of selfish business concerns that are making their fortunes out of the current & impending misery of the multitude – that will have significant financial and welfare benefits to the Country they have been elected to serve].

A FOLLOWUP POST TITLED ”Obesity in Children – disgraceful parental neglect?” IS TO FOLLOW LATER

The London Tower block fire – the outstanding community spirit and unbelievable grief will subside only to be replaced by increasingly great anger?

Last Wednesday morning many of us woke-up to the dreadful scenes on television of a London twenty-four storey tower block containing some hundred-and-twenty flats, entirely engulf in flames. It was clear to us all then that there was very little hope for many of the 400 or more hundred souls, men women and children who lived there, who hadn’t immediately got out before the fire took hold.

This fire had started, for an as yet an unproven reason, just before 1 o’clock in the morning and raged through the building unabated, with killer flames and billowing dense black smoke creating an un-survivable environment for those still trapped inside.

The scale of what happened is described by the most experienced fire-fighters as unprecedented, because the rapid spread within minutes of this blaze was such of an intensity never seen before in their lifetimes. It was a harrowing time for those brave men and women who sought to save as many people as possible, which included putting their own lives at considerable risk in the process. It was also extremely distressing to those outside watching as events developed in circumstances where they couldn’t help in, when people were dying in front of them. It was even worse and an unimaginable trauma for those relatives and friends of the victims, who spoke to them as they said their goodbyes and waited to die horribly.

The media must face some criticism on this because some of their coverage with a major tragedy unravelling, it was in many of our eyes unnecessarily insensitive.

We will never know the full extent the deaths and suffering in this dreadful event because in a building of this nature there may well have been people involved who were not known residents of the block. Furthermore, it is most likely that the victims will never be really identified, because they perished in an incinerating fire which will completely destroyed remains. It is clear obviously that many will have died from the toxic smoke containing cyanide and carbon dioxide, while some others will have had the most horrific imaginable death in the flames. The latest reports say that there are nigh-on 80 persons including children dead or missing presumed dead.

To understand this heartbreaking event, we have to recognise that accidents do happen, and sometimes that involves fire. We try in a modern society though to take every precaution to prevent all fires occurring in the first place, because generally they are not like ‘natural’ disasters, like floods or droughts or avalanches or volcanic eruptions or earthquakes or cyclones or hurricanes or tsunamis’ and the like, because apart from spontaneous wildfires, they are actually preventable, aren’t they?

To that end, we try to ensure that things that can create fire, hazards like heating fires, electrical wiring, gas and electric appliances etc, are safe and regularly do safety checks on them, as well as eliminate potential sources of combustion. Nevertheless, that isn’t fool proof, so we then build-in failsafe mechanisms to deal with situations in which a fire actually breaks out, and that traditionally includes having means of extinguishing a fire that has broken out – so there have been fire-fighting people and equipment since the year dot (say in ancient Rome and even before that in Egypt, well before the time of Christ), hasn’t there? Certainly, in the UK we have had fire engines for two hundred years or so.

Other Health & Safety containment measures include of course, fire retardant furniture and materials, smoke alarms, fire-extinguishers & hose systems, fire-blankets, sand-buckets, firewalls, fireproof doors, room containment & compartmentalisation & subdivision, as well as water sprinkler systems, and other automatic fire damping & suppression systems – all in conjunction naturally with enforced stringent building regulations and appliance fire-risk testing.

Another major consideration though, is to ensure the adequacy of escape facilities to allow those encountering a fire can safely evacuate the location, like more than one exit route, like fire escapes – that is why in all public & business places where fire is a potential risk, there are instructions and signs to enable people to urgently flee the scene – you see them in factories, hotels, and the like, or even on aeroplanes and ships. There is often a legal requirement to carry out fire drills to test alarm facilities and to practice such escapes.

‘Prevention’ is the byword in our society when it comes down to fires, because fire when it is set loose, is an uncontrollable beast at the best of times. Of course, urban fires are the most numerous in leading to loss of life as well as property, but there have been major fires also in major building structures, mines and ships of course. For example, in the UK this century there was a massive explosion at an oil storage terminal that caused over forty injuries but no fatalities, probably because of other safety features

High density housing in the form of high-rise buildings in Britain, only became popular after the last World War to save land, but since then there have been a number of safety incidents that has trenched their public reputation – like Ronan Point in East London where in 1968 a large section collapsed due to a gas explosion (four dead & seventeen injured), and that led to greater building safety regulations. In 2009, in South London a gas leak in a tall flats block caused another explosion (six dead & twenty injured) which led to gas pipe type changes. A fire in a block in South-East London was caused by a breach of building regulations (eight deaths including four children).

However, the whole scale of this latest tower fire and loss of life has not been seen before and it is certainly the worst of its kind in a high-rise building. Now over the past week the question has been asked WHY, WHY, WHY, has it turned-out so dreadfully? At its peak of intensity, there was fire in almost every single window. That level of catastrophe is totally unacceptable in a rich society and if this had happened in a so-called third-world country, it would be decried as the evidence of ineptitude, illegality, corruption, profiteering, and all else, wouldn’t it? And rightly so to? BUT it happened here in Britain in the midst of the most affluent borough in the Country, didn’t it?

There has been widespread speculation throughout the media, as well as the amongst the local population, as to that very matter. The biggest question mark has been raised about the recent substantial major refurbishment of the tower which included the installation of a cheap insulator connected to plastic-based aluminium exterior cladding. Now, it is said that the entire work was in fact carried-out ‘on the cheap’, and apparently it had not already been fully signed-off. WHY NOT if it fully met building regulations and other requirements for high-rise buildings?

In particular, such cosmetic cladding material (though combustible as most stuff is at high temperatures), has to be safety approved and even so, has to be rigorously installed to prevent passage of air and heat. The suspicion is that the unacceptable rapid vertical spread of the death-trap fire from bottom to top of the tower, for whatever reason, resulted from the presence of this cladding.

Use of certain claddings have been determined to be the cause of, or implicated in, major fires in a number of places (1991 Merseyside; 1999 Ayrshire; 2010 Southampton; 2014 Melbourne; 2015 Dubai; as well as fires involving cladding in residential towers in France, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and the US.

What went wrong then? We expect interim answers to that question within days or weeks, not least because the occupants of other high-rise buildings in London and around the Country will not be sleeping easy in their beds until that is known. It is said that there are some four thousand older tower blocks NOT protected by water sprinkler systems, as well as other London blocks with suspect cladding.

It would seem that those dependant on social housing get treated with distain, don’t they? This fire indicates that there were glaringly missed warnings (like those of the worried residents, like the recommendations from a lesser fire 4 years ago not being implemented) and possibly shoddy workmanship (like poor construction, like leaky window), or cost cutting (like cutting corners, like reduced budgets, like non-use of the professional experts)

The Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that there will be a Public Enquiry set up, but the problem that she and the Authorities now face is that there is public outrage and the Local Community & the General Public want more, much more, don’t they?

Yes:

They want the guilty to be quickly identified

They want the incompetent exposed

They want the people responsible held to account.

They want the culpable out of their cushy jobs

They want those whose actions and inactions caused this catastrophe, banged-up.

They want lessons to be demonstrably learnt and not swept under the carpet

You see, when this kind of thing has happened in the past, there is a massive cover-up, the major players behind it seem to get-off scot free and even go off to even greener pastures. The public simply won’t stand for that kind of thing again in this situation, will they?

[NOTHING CHANGES UNTIL PEOPLE DIE, does it?]

The English certainly gave Theresa May a General Election bloody nose – but did the Scots gave Nicola Sturgeon a much bigger comeuppance?

The dust hasn’t yet completely settled, but there is no doubt about it, that Prime Minister Theresa May’s judgement in calling a snap General Election has turned out to be very suspect – though it certainly didn’t look much like a two-way gamble when she placed her roulette bet, did it? Riding high on the crest of a popularity wave, she like all and sundry of us, fully expected to rake-in her substantial winnings from the gambling table, didn’t she?

Not to be though, as she not only misjudged the mood of the Country but she ran a very poor lacklustre campaign to boot, which clearly exposed her inexperience of a leadership role, surely? Now, make no mistake about it will you, but as Prime Minister she has to carry the can as being the ultimate decision maker, so it is no good her supporters blaming the backroom advisers, or anyone else for that matter, for this devastating result for the Conservative party, is it?

She failed to promote the Conservative’s party itself, nor its core values and principles, to instead concentrated on her own leadership qualities (which proved wanting?), nor did she set-out to convince the younger voters (who skewed the election result?) that the Country living beyond it means (as Labour was promoting?), was NOT sustainable, so seemingly forgot to adequately promote the principle of “it’s the economy stupid”.

Nevertheless, May actually got a slightly increased popular vote and moreover a greater share of the vote than Margaret Thatcher did when she got her epic landslide second term victory against a similar leftist Labour party under Michael Foot, nearly thirty-five years ago, while this time the Tory PM actually lost 13 seats and her majority, eh?

As a result, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party is supposedly ‘cock-a-hoop’ over their performance. On the other hand, the stark truth of the matter though is that he in no way came anywhere near becoming PM and the party has tellingly lost its 3rd election on the trot (as well as getting trounced in the previous local elections). Into the bargain, is almost certain that it has peaked now (only due of course to the Conservatives temporary aberration?) and will fight and LOSE the NEXT election in 5 years’ time because Corbyn and his ultra-left-wing cronies will now still be in charge – the death rattle of the once great Labour party will continue for a while longer, don’t you think?

The big problem that May now faces is that, together with her internally criticised previous ‘bunker style’ approach to leading the government, not only will her colleagues in Westminster be doubting her judgement on major electoral issues, but also the electorate will have misgivings about her ability to provide the “strong and stable” leadership for the Country that she rigorously promoted, eh? And that indeed is a much BIGGER issue, don’t you think?

Moreover, you need to know that the Tory party is an unforgiving beast at the best of times, so it is ruthlessly cruel to its failed leaders, as past events have shown. Now the closest example and parallel to May’s bid to go to the Country for a mandate, and totally fail, is of course that of Prime Minister Ted Heath (a big EU advocate, which was part of his downfall?) going back nigh-on forty-five years ago. He was also expected to win as he was equally an ultra-popular PM with the public, when at the time of the ‘3-day week’, he sought to take on the Unions and in particular the miners, but dramatically lost his thirty majority to a minority Labour government – causing a hung-parliament (and after that and yet another election, it heralded 5 years of Labour power, didn’t it?). After his failure, he lasted just a meagre a year as leader, but was then pitilessly dispatched by new girl Margaret Thatcher.

Is May as PM now ‘living on borrowed time’, as arch enemy ex- Chancellor George Osborne has claimed [well, she did sack HIM as soon as she gained power, didn’t she? Now Editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper (and no longer an MP) he is using that vehicle to put the boot in, isn’t he?].

Certainly, the knives are out for her in some quarters, particularly the Europhiles (and indeed reportedly with the majority of grassroot party members currently wanting her gone!), but much depends on how things go in the very very near future, not least because the BREXIT negotiations with the EU are underway imminently. The Tories will definitely NOT ditcher her in this time of trouble and strife to actually give Corbyn another and possibly more successful bite of the cherry, will they? But don’t expect May to be in place to fight the next election, will you (unless she has spectacular success with the EU)?

IF May was right in thinking that she needed a better mandate from the public to give her GREATER strength in the Brussels talks, then her abject failure at the polls must make her much weaker, surely? That also comes at a time when the bureaucrats running the EU have been readying weapons and sharpening their knives in readiness for killing-off the UK for having the temerity to leave their bloody EU, when our own attention has been diverted to our solely domestic issues, eh?

Without doubt that must worry us all, because the final outcome of those discussions will make or break this Country. We are up against one Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, who enters the fray with fully established hardline guidelines on how to screw the UK, with their eyewatering and terminally damaging demands for a so-called divorce settlement, which includes an unsustainable concept of so-called ‘obligations’ & ‘liabilities’ to continue financing the EU [to the tune of some £100billion, it is said?]. Now, you like the rest of us might wonder who the hell is Michel Barnier and how the heck did he come to get in such a pivotal position, eh? The answer to that, is that he is a French ex-cabinet national politician and subsequently an EU insider, including being an ‘appointed’ Commissioner before his latest role a serving MEP.

It is all going to kick-off with a bloodletting battle for us, because the EU seems determined to have their way on obtaining Britain’s commitment to meeting THEIR demands, before they will even discuss the matters that WE want to resolve, and that of course critically includes a ‘free trade deal’, doesn’t it?

Yep, you see that this now ‘minority’ Government’s need to strike a deal with the EU (when the government’s suggested potential “no deal” option now seems utterly unattainable?), which relies on a ‘confidence and supply‘ arrangement with Northern Ireland’s DUP, puts many things in jeopardy, because the NI is reliant on an open border with the Republic [probably some 15billion total pounds of cross borer goods encompassing both directions, that both countries are financially dependent upon]. [The unavoidable basic fact is that the EU simply CANNOT allow an open border between two counties where one of them is not a member [in the absence of a free-trade (or some kind of customs union) agreement, can they?].

So, turning to Scotland Assembly’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon then, she has been getting-up the noses of the English for the past year at least (particularly since the EU Referendum last summer), that has prompted her demands that Scotland alone should be allowed to determine the future of the UK, combined with her and her party’s obsession of gaining independence and breaking up the Union. Well, the election certainly showed that with her strident attitude, she has been equally getting up the noses of our Scottish relatives into the bargain, who had already made crystal clear that they intended to maintain their ties with Britain (and that didn’t include handing over control of Scotland to the EU, did it?). Oh yes, she got her true comeuppance with the loss of over a third of her MP seats at Westminster, and that has completely blown her undue influence there, as well as having damaged her ongoing credibility within Scotland as a whole, and that is combined also with major big-beasts of the SNP biting the dust (the irony of all that is that such an unexpected outturn has ‘saved’ May’s bacon with an extra dozen MPs). Perhaps more importantly however, has been the fact that she has brought about a resurgence of the Conservative party North of the border, which has now returned more than a dozen Tory MPs rather than the previous single one, eh?

Today, we know the make-up of Theresa May’s new cabinet, and many Brexit supporters will be aghast that the current circumstances (when she is hanging onto power), have now prevented her from the ‘signaled ousting’ of Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is a toxic player in achieving a successful BREXIT (that the public voted for), as he is a committed and stoic Remainer. He is only one though of the BREXIT deniers at the heart of government and they are all plotting behind the scenes to thwart Britain leaving the European Union in any way the can – time they were pensioned-off (without a triple lock, eh?).

 

[If Theresa May doesn’t  deliver on BREXIT and regain control, expect riots on the streets?]

 

Julian Assange has escaped justice – but whose fault?

Well now, the bulk of the UK’s population probably don’t even recognise the name of Julian Assange, or even if they do, they nevertheless still wouldn’t know what he might or might not have done wrong, would they?

To start with, it is important to be acquainted with the reason this man has come into the public gaze in the first place, as that is in fact the essential backdrop to important events that have occurred since, and which indeed has led to the exposure of the ongoing frailty of the English justice system, hasn’t it?

This guy is in many eyes an obnoxious Aussie fellow, seemingly an ex-computer programmer, indeed a criminally convicted computer hacker, who a decade ago set-up an organisation called WikiLeaks, apparently with the precise intention of irresponsibly, and illegally obtaining, then leaking secret, confidential, and private information and images. He, for some perverse reason of his own, believes that ALL information, however sensitive and damaging, however much endangering lives, should be in the public domain, doesn’t he?

His organisation came to major prominence something over  half dozen years ago when it obtained and published classified American documents obtained from a traitorous soldier (Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst in Iraq, who is now renamed Chelsea Manning, following gender transition while in prison for his offences), who was originally sentenced to 35 years but has just lately been released early, after only 7 years confinement (another crass decision by ex-President Barrack Obama?).

[Assange’s crap organisation should not be confused of course with the renowned Wiki (short for Wikipedia) institution which is an internet online encyclopaedia, available around the world for free (run by volunteers), and which also provides other projects such as Wikidata, based on that root name].

Understandably, the Yanks would like to do him for any part he might have played in releasing their classified information (700 thousand documents) to a worldwide audience, but they have as yet not made any known-of moves internationally to apprehend him for questioning-as part of their criminal investigation into WikiLeaks itself, but nevertheless he persistently claims that he is shit-scared they will? [IF he is really NOT guilty of breaking the United States’ law, he should answer any allegations there and not spirit himself away, surely?].

However, back in 2010 when Assange was visiting Stockholm for ten days, he was accused of the sexual assault of one woman and the rape of another there. He was understandably questioned by the Swedish police about the allegations, but (like an innocent man?) he then fled to England, and did not return for a scheduled interview with the prosecutor (as he ‘had decided to stay away’?) –  whereupon the Swedes sought his extradition on an international warrant for questioning about the said offences he was being accused of. The UK Supreme Court had decreed that he ‘should’ be extradited to Sweden

Consequently, on that warrant, he was held by our Metropolitan police for over a week, before he then unacceptably (?) managed to get bail, despite surely the glaring possibility that he was a potential absconder? You see, in this Country our soft justice system imposed by the do-gooders, allows all kinds of criminals to escape due justice by giving them bail, when of course they regularly make off and often go on to commit further crimes (even murder like Jonathan Vass, who murdered his ex-girlfriend in Blackpool while on bail for her rape; TOO LATE, he was then jailed for a minimum of 30 years.), don’t they?

Well sure enough, Assange broke his bail conditions, absconded, and didn’t return to court as legally agreed to try to retain his freedom and defeat the warrant. He did it nevertheless, not by physically fleeing the Country, as people like him often do, but by fleeing it ‘in kind’ by moving into a foreign EMBASSY in London, which ‘technically’ is a different country, isn’t it? Yep, and our authorities aren’t even allowed to enter those, which are out-of-bounds diplomatic buildings – so it was safe haven from justice for Mr Assange, wasn’t it? [Not only that but he has cost the UK at least £13 million dodging justice].

A very clever move certainly, but that doesn’t make him ‘guilty’ of anything of course, though it raises questions about his honesty, reliability, and personal commitment to the normally accepted Western justice systems, doesn’t it? Well, Assange’s announced excuse for his unacceptable manipulations to dodge due process, his unwillingness to return (voluntarily or otherwise) to Sweden to defend himself, was because he speculated he MIGHT be subsequently extradited to the United States to face charges there, although as yet it would seem, that there no charges laid, eh?

Was he afraid because he was guilty of offences in both Sweden AND the USA, or in one country, or neither? Who knows, but his actions show that he was simply employing the often-used criminal technique of answering “no comment” in police questioning, wouldn’t you say? Well, our ‘absented’ Assange certainly seems to have escaped any kind of justice for now, hasn’t he? Yes, after holing-up since 2012, untouchable in the very midst of British embassy land and a couple of miles from the Royal Courts of Justice, when unfortunately, the Swedes finally gave-up their long quest of 5 years to have him back and due to lack of progress cancelled their warrant.

What that news did to his alleged victims, we can only speculate, but he himself was cock-a-hoop, as he celebrated his disgusting achievement from a balcony of his safe haven, and reiterated his claim of his innocence of rape –just a pity that he won’t do so from the dock of a court as, all others accused of such a despicable crime would have to do, don’t you think?

We are constantly faced with examples, particularly of sexual criminals, many often prominent or famous personalities who thought they were immune from prosecution [like say Australian children entertainer Rolf Harris (jailed for 5¾ years for 12 indecent assaults on 4 young girls), English international footballer Adam Johnson (jailed for 6 years for grooming and sexually assaulting a 15 year old schoolgirl), It’s a Knockout presenter Stuart Hall (pleaded guilty at trial so jailed for just 2½ years for indecently assaulting 13 girls aged between nine and 17, then another 2½ years for admitted indecently assaulting an underage girl), celebrity publicist Max Clifford (jailed for 8 years for 8 counts of indecent assaults against teenage girls and young women, one against a 15year old – some considered rapes really), or former singer and pop star Gary Glitter jailed for a total of 16 years for attempted rape, 4 indecent assaults and a count of having sex with a 13 years old girl), who all have resolutely and vehemently publically pronounced their innocent of the crimes, only to be blatantly exposed in court, so sent down for lengthy sentences when the juries clearly saw through the massive web of lies offered in their defence by expensive smart-arsed lawyers, eh? They always (like Assange) claim that in the case of alleged rape, the sex was consensual, don’t they?

Now, Assange may well be the exception, but we will now can’t know, if he never faces the established justice process, will we? However, it is crystal clear that he is certainly guilty of one major offence, isn’t he? Yes, and that is the one of skipping bail and failing to surrender to court, and he will certainly be arrested for that by the Metropolitan Police, the moment he sets foot onto the streets of London outside the embassy. It would best serve the course of justice in this Country, if the courts made an example of him to deter all bail jumpers and bang him-up in prison for the maximum of a year and hopefully then extradite him to the US after serving his sentence, to finally face due process there, don’t you think?

Some fourteen thousand suspected or convicted criminals have skipped court bail and gone on the run when charged with serious crimes including murder, child sex offences, rape, violent assaults, grievous bodily harm, firearms offences, indecency, fraud, and the like – sometimes going back up to a decade, with the oldest outstanding arrest warrant nearly forty-years old, indeed? The highest known number of warrants is nigh-on two thousand (Met Police) but a number of other forces are chasing a thousand or more absconders. Why, why, oh why, do the courts still bend over backwards to give bail to all manner of suspects, including those who regularly fail to turn-up – all of which results in substantial costs to our society and total disruption of the legal process. Many criminals get convicted but then are released from custody only to disappear BEFORE sentencing, aren’t they?

[All that is in addition of course to the estimated four hundred thousand people a year, who are out on ‘pre-charge’ police bail, while enquiries continue about their alleged offences].

Does that really represent a fair and ‘fit-for-purpose’ criminal justice system, or sound to you like justice for the victims of crime to help them recover from offences committed against them, eh?

 

[Julian Assange is still holed-up in the Ecuadorian embassy (exactly why they have taken him in, is anyone’s guess, isn’t it?), and that has lasted 4 years and 357 days so far – a self-imposed exile from society, when he might have been much better off even in actual prison, don’t you think?]

Bail

Many can be released on bail at the police station after they’ve been charged, and are allowed home until their court hearing. Sometimes they have to agree to conditions like where they live, who they can contact, passport withdrawal, reporting to police station. At court, they might be given bail until their trial begins, but might not depending on the seriousness of the offences charged, past serious crime convictions, past absconding (or suspected this time), potential commitment of crimes while out on bail.

The problem is that the system is far too lax in applying these criteria, simply because of chronic prison overcrowding so despite thirty-thousand ‘prosecuted’ bail-jumpers most will avoid a custodial sentence – it is said that there are currently thirty-seven thousand bail-jumpers at large with a tenth of them dangerous violent offenders.

Nearly 40 criminals were found guilty of killing a member of the public while still at large in 2011, with 436 murders over the previous dozen years being committed by someone on bail.

 

The British General Election 2017 ‘SHOCK RESULT’ – a total disappointment all round?

 

The CONSERVATIVES HAVE ‘NOT’ WON THE GENERAL ELECTION 2017 WITH AN ABSOLUTE MAJORITY!

THE LABOUR PARTY HAVE ‘NOT’ WON THE GENERAL ELECTION 2017 WITH THE MOST SEATS!

This General Election outcome is nothing short of a disaster for this Country as it creates an unstable uncertain environment with the next government, whoever that turns out to be, a lame duck and anything but a strong steady administration, with an electorate mandate.

Not ALL the UK political parties are licking their wounds this morning, are they? No, but only one of them has truly come out of all this latest Election bloodbath smelling of roses, haven’t they? Yep, LABOUR!

  • Overall 69 seats changed hands
  • Labour have gained 29 seats so Jeremy Corbyn will remain leader
  • The Tories have lost 12 seats and their overall majority (while nevertheless returning 13 MPs in Scotland that has rescued the party)
  • The SNP have lost their powerful role in Scotland losing 21 of their previous 56 Westminster MP seats, including both their ex-leader Alex Salmond and deputy leader and Commons front man  Angus Robertson ousted by the Tories– Nicola Sturgeon can ditch her ‘dead in the water’ dream of another independence referendum
  • The LibDems have gained 3 seats including Vince Cable gaining Twickenham, but ex-leader Nick Clegg bites the dust in Sheffield
  • UKIP have ‘nil’ seats and its vote has collapsed – leader Paul Nuttall got his comeuppance and resigned

 

The exit poll at 10pm last night was disastrous news for the Conservatives, as it SHOCKINGLY indicated that they would NOT achieve an absolute majority (never mind a predicted “landslide”), and as the night rolled on matters didn’t improved for them as it did 2 years ago, though it turned against most others except Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, didn’t it? This was against all expectations and predictions, wasn’t it? [All of us political observers have egg over our faces, don’t we?].

Now you may well think that Prime Minister Theresa May ought to have a scowl on her serious face today, as she has come through what proved to be a cruelly punishing campaign, and failed to win hands down, as widely expected and to credibly retain her frontline role. While her initial instinct might have been to resign, SHE doubtlessly will though smile through the tears and hang-on to power like grime death for the Tory party’s sake, so you can expect her to continue as a much ‘damaged’ head of government for another 5 years, can’t you?

However, that continuance also comes with a zero-prime ministerial ‘personal’ mandate from a General Election, as instead of the significant win in her own right that she sought, she has ended up instead with a bloody nose, eh? A hung parliament and a minority Tory government, provides her with little authority to now proceed unchallenged with her BREXIT plans, which was one of her STATED base reasons for calling a snap election, wasn’t it? Yep, she has substantially weakened her position and that is a massive blow to the majority of the electorate who voted for BREXIT, isn’t it?

Furthermore, it would seem that her and the Conservative’s survival in government, will come nevertheless at a great personal price to her reputation. The reason for that is that she has at the unexpectedly trenched her own image and popular standing in the Country when she had (unjustifiably?) acquired a widespread acceptance across the political spectrum as a strong fair reliable politician and leader. From being the most popularity with a rating of 55% [higher than Thatcher] she has plummeted down during the campaign to its lowest level 43%, as she became the party’s biggest liability [although Corbyn remains far behind her on 35% but up from 29%].

She made the biggest mistake that gets made in politics, in that she took the electorate for granted, and assumed that she could get away with blue murder, first by calling a snap election which she had repeatedly denied she would do, then weakness demonstrating that at the first sign of trouble she could be turned [indeed an unbelievable unprecedent u-turn on a published manifesto policy), and compounding this by withdrawing popular policies simply to give the next Government extra wriggle-room in public finances – understandable, but nevertheless personally damaging to her, when the public turned on her. Furthermore, she herself did not perform very well during the campaign (or do herself justice perhaps?), and has been badly advised in how best to run the election, don’t you think? She has never been the warmest of outgoing personalities and she certainly doesn’t compare favourably with smoothie David Cameron in that regard, does she?

Not many voters had the stomach for yet another election, and were probably suffering from election fatigue, don’t you think? Now, that might have been expected to show-up by poor turnout figures, however, all the indications so far are that it has been a high – as we will see later today when the full details are available, won’t we?

May has not only failed to successfully increased the Conservative majority in Parliament from a dangerously low 17 MPs, but she has simply lost even that small advantage. It is most likely that she will now have to come to some kind of arrangement with the Northern Ireland DUP, as a natural Conservative bed-fellow, particularly as that party is strongly in favour of BREXIT as well [but there will be a price to pay for their help, won’t there?].

Nevertheless, it hasn’t been the landslide that was widely predicted at the start of the campaign just some seven weeks ago, has it? No, this disastrous result compares badly with that of 2015 Cameron 16 absolute majority, especially when it was expected that it could be of the order of some past significant wins, wasn’t it? [`1955 Eden 60, 1959 Macmillan, 1983 & 1987 144 & 102, 1987 & 2007 Blair 179 & 167].

The problem that May and the Tories now face is that they didn’t, as she thought would happen (and many of us predicted?), “borrow” millions of votes from the normally ‘non-Conservative’ electorate, on the basis that she was the only one prepared and able to deliver the BREXIT that the people had demanded in the EU Referendum, and in failing to do so she has certainly critically damaged her own credibility, hasn’t she?

Nevertheless, Theresa May WILL form the next Government as the bottom line is that Labour have in fact LOST this bleeding  General Election (a fact that they desperately wish to hide?), and the numbers simply don’t add up to allow Jeremy Corbyn to cobble-together a coalition or minority government, do they?

 

[So much for the Theresa May’s offer of ‘Strong and Stable’ leadership, eh?]

The ‘Civil Liberties’ of Terrorists – much more important than the ‘Lives’ of innocent British men, women, and children victims?

mosque

A further terrorist plot succeeded in London last Saturday night – no surprise there then as we all knew that the authorities aren’t actually in control of that aspect of our lives anymore, didn’t we?

How did we know, then? Because they have told us so, and told us so, time and time again, haven’t they? The authorities, the security services, the police, the armed forces and all others involved here, are simply overwhelmed by the uncontainable growth and widespread scope of the terrorism problem in this Country, and are dearth of ideas on how to tackle it, aren’t they? The problem is not the responsibility of the ordinary Muslim in this Country but their leaders have to do more to exclude and ostracise the maverick extremists, don’t they?

Certainly there is a problem, and that is mainly because of the bloody liberal moderate do-gooders persistent demanding of ‘equal human rights’ for the clearly ‘inhuman’, and their constantly undermining of any effective action or punitive response to their evil intentions and actions, isn’t it?

This latest murderous attack was of course simply a copycat repeat of that which took place just two-and-a half months ago at London’s Westminster Bridge, which is just a couple of miles away from this one that started on London Bridge. Both involved the use of a heavy vehicle to mow down pedestrians, followed by knife weapon attacks, and in this one which seven people were killed and forty-eight wounded by 3 jihadist terrorists (who were shot dead by police within 10 minutes of the atrocity).

In respect of this latest attack, properties have been raided, and initially a dozen people had been arrested, but you didn’t expect too much to come of that though, did you? No, the liberal brigade has ensured that it is impossibly difficulty to gather sufficient evidence to charge and convict a terrorist’s fellow travellers, accomplices, and supporters, particularly with the actual perpetrators already dead.

A major gap in our law (that should apply across the whole criminal justice system spectrum and not just terrorism), is the extension of the law of conspiracy so it is an offence that a person “knew” or “should have known” about an offence committed or planned. Application of that principle would prevent all kinds of low life getting away with it by claiming the other person was solely responsible for a crime, and for terrorists’ partners, families, and associates saying “no comment” or that they didn’t notice knives and bombs being assembled, eh?

[ALL those arrested after the London Bridge outrage were released without charge within 48 hrs, just as following the Westminster assault, all 12 suspects arrested after that attack were released without charge as well].

It is quite clear that the three jihadist intended a pseudo-martyrdom, as they all wore fake suicide vests to ensure that they were killed by armed police in a hail of bullets – as indeed happened (and so, cynically unlike their victims, didn’t suffer).

These kinds of attacks will continue ‘undetected’ in advance of course, because they are virtually unnoticeable, as little strategic planning is involved or cell style organisation that would become visible to the authorities and security forces.

We now face a domino effect in this kind of act of violence because the media is allowed by the authorities unfettered opportunity to publicise such actions and that is exactly what the terrorists are prepared to die for, isn’t it? Once again, everyone has played into the hands of ISIS by publically claiming that we will not let them win by disrupting our society and then doing just that very thing, by for example even suspending election campaigning for a day, and generating news upon news upon news about what has happened and being investigated day after day after day.

Posts here have previously warned about all this and indeed predicted that the Westminster attack would be copied, as that was a very successful publicity stunt generator for ISIS, wasn’t it? Yet still the media churns out endless news of this new atrocity that will certainly inspire other like-minded cretins, to do similar attacks.

Now, we all know that the current Labour leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot are terrorist embracers and try to thwart all the UK terrorist legislation, but if there is anybody who should hang their head in shame over the London Bridge bombing, it is one Nick Clegg, ex-leader of the LibDems and addicted europhile, wouldn’t you say? He is the one that as Deputy PM in the past coalition government demanded a watering-down of terrorist laws and in particular the cancellation of the well effective Control Orders that allowed ‘known’ extremists to be properly monitored and prevented from perpetrating crimes by stopping them living in the communities they can radicalise and having access to the facilities (like computers, smart phones, and communications) to plan and execute their crimes.

Clegg even had the audacity to give a TV interview yesterday claiming that the terrorist who gained entry from the EU should have been stopped, as he was on a watch list reportedly provided by Italy, ignoring the basic fact that there are so many of the blighters they all can’t be closely monitored and then promoted staying-in the EU so that we would receive such information in the future. The idiot unbelievably doesn’t seem to realise that WHEN Britain is OUT of the blessed EU, their bloody terrorist won’t be able to come into this Country AT ALL to commit carnage, will they?

This Country needs to enact its own human rights legislation (and we are better placed than any country to do just that, aren’t we?) to halt the oppressive laws that prevent our politicians from protecting their citizens, wouldn’t you say?

 

 

[Withdrawal of the lifeblood of publicity is the ONLY way to cause terrorism to wither and die, isn’t it?]

The UK General Election – an eccentric loser verses an accomplished survivor?

In only a couple of day’s time, the people of this wonderful Country will have decided its future at one of the most crucial times in its history, won’t they? Yep, that is because the UK currently faces a major challenge to its whole future economic success when negotiating its extraction from the European Union, and then moreover because it’s whole existence and way of life is threatened by an increasingly enormous gang of locally bred and immigrant extremists & terrorists, who openly despise our values and way of life, so are intent on destroying it.

Oh yes, we have been here before though in circumstances of a similar nature, haven’t we? Certainly, a General Election in June, taking place against a backdrop of terrorism and its ongoing threat, in an uncertain unstable environment with the World powers of America, Russia, and China causing widespread major concerns, and with a very socialist Labour party led by a public unpopular distrusted leader, trying to replace a entrenched Tory party under a generally popular believed-in leader, with the NHS operating in crisis mode, and the British economy facing a turbulent future. But this great Country rides the surf on the crest of such waves, as the past shows, doesn’t it

Despite all the hoo-ha in the media just now about the minor parties and their erstwhile leaders, who all have a snowball in hells chance of doing ANYTHING or even influencing something, that they have put in their misleading manifestos, or claimed in their debate and interview pontificating, there are only two parties and two individuals who actually matter – and those are Labour and Conservative, and Jeremy Corbyn & Theresa May.

It is just about conceivable (probably after a spliff?) that Corbyn could replace May as our Prime Minister next Friday morning, so nevertheless that outcome still has to be considered during the current campaign, doesn’t it? While the polls are all over the place and so put the Tories ahead of Labour by a wide range of 1 to 12 percent, creating lurid headlines that the gap between the two parties is “narrowing”, but they all basically conclude that May is heading back to Downing Street, don’t they.

However, Corbyn is certainly doing better than May in the public’s eye, but discerningly he is damaging her standing as PM by some of his outbursts & assertions. The latest one is a total disgrace, when he accused her of being accountable in some way for the London Bridge terrorist attack last Saturday, and indeed calling for her resignation because of the previous austerity action’s forced drop in police numbers in many places [but not actually in London where this attack occurred but somewhere under Mayor Boris Johnson where they have remained high, eh?]. Not only has the number of police got not an iota to do with preventing this specific attack, but their rapid response and action in quickly taking-out the 3 perpetrators, was exemplary and saved many lives. His unreasonable and politically cynical denigration of the Prime Minister on this simply detracts from the responsibility of the scumbags who carried-out the atrocity [as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said].

Compare that with Corbyn’s contribution to the Country’s security and safety on our streets that included voting against EVERY single piece of terrorist legislation in parliament, and just a couple of years ago vigorously opposing a police ‘shoot to kill’ approach to terrorists on the streets – so though he is now trying to ‘fudge it’, he is against precisely the exemplary action of the armed police last weekend who took-out these 3 terrorists and saved countless lives of Londoners and overseas visitors, isn’t he?

He is aided and abetted of course by his loyal, terrorist indulgent, sidekick Diane Abbot [unbelievably as a lightweight, elevated to ‘Shadow’ Home Secretary – so supposedly potentially the next one to take the real office?), who also votes against the laws intended to protect us all, and she also opposes constraining extremist Muslim organisations to boot, doesn’t she? Yes, shortly before 9/11 twin towers attack, she opposed banning Al-Qaeda and 20 other terrorist groups and later even voted against legislation to make it an offence to glorify the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism. Now she wants to be trusted to be put in charge of our fight against terrorism in the UK, eh?

All these matters will doubtlessly be taking into account by the general electorate, but there are the parties with their announced policies and there are those leading them who have to be relied-on to implement those policies, aren’t there? Yep, and as far as that goes, we do know already that Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who now seeks our votes to reach the greatest of the UK’s High Offices of State, Prime Minister, has always been outside mainstream politics, as a rebel eccentric maverick who has consistently failed to support his party but instead has supported numerous failed initiatives throughout his long political career, while the Conservatives’ Theresa May fights this election as an experienced and accomplished politician, a loyal party activist and indeed ex-Chair, who has even survived in the known graveyard post of Office of State Home Secretary, before becoming PM last summer. It is a wobbly situation and a sharp choice is facing us all, doesn’t  it?

(The Great  Offices of State in the United Kingdom are the four most senior and prestigious posts in the British government. They are the  Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary).

[Whatever your personal views, if you have a vote in the UK’s 2017 General Election, use it and employ your best judgement in doing so, won’t you?]

 

A Drug-Takers Paradise – the UK?

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Drug misuse

England in 2015, some two-and-a-half thousand drug misuse deaths (highest level ever recorded) and in 2015/16, twenty-four thousand drug-related hospital admissions [mental health, behavioural disorders, poisoning (a dramatic increase over a decade)].

In England & Wales, at the last count there were around nearly ‘three million’ silly adults still taking illicit drugs. Even more worrying, is prevalence of drug use among children in England, starting well ‘pre-teens’ and reaching the level of a quarter of all fifteen-year olds.

There are two types of idiots when it comes to illegal drugs; there are the ‘mind-blown’ clowns who take the bleeding things; and then there are the misguided fools and mindless ‘do-gooders’ who condone and support such crass behaviour. [Promoted and aided of course by the morons who provide such drugs as their crass method of earning a  living, with totally zero regard for the havoc they play in the lives of the many afflicted].

You see a drug that interferes with the way in which the mind works is clearly suspect, because not only does it often severely adversely alter a drug-taker’s behaviour, but also it can have serious debilitating physical effects on the body’s function, and undeniably sometimes cause death, can’t it?

People who indulge in drug taking are basically flawed ‘inadequate’ characters who do so to escape the normality of life – some who persistently do so, whence it becomes a ‘way of life’ which ultimately destroys them, their families and their loved-ones, while others perhaps less unfavourably impacted, indulge in the misleadingly named self-styled “recreational drugs” (so often favoured by the rich & famous and their offspring, but also by working men, clubbers and the like, often in their 20s to get a so-called ‘high’), but that too regularly then spirals out of control when many of them get addicted, doesn’t it?

Drug misuse and taking seems to move in cycles, while for example we now see a massive 50% increase in a return to the use of the psychedelic drugs of the 60s & 70s (like LSD and Magic Mushrooms), together with an increasing use of all illegal drug internet supply (and worryingly an increasing amount supplied on the hidden ‘dark net’), particularly of ecstasy and cannabis.

It is in that climate that we now see a situation whereby a ‘privilege and wealth’ recipient (should know better) aristocratic, thrice married peer, yesterday’s man [one nobody Baron Monson (pronounced “Munson”)] is campaigning to have the common illegally used and abused drug cannabis, entirely ‘decriminalised’ while at the same time having the admittedly much more powerful psychosis causing (such as schizophrenia) skunk strain version ‘reclassified’ into the most dangerous category of illegal drugs (Class A) so that it would carry greater penalties – in “a war against skunk”, as he calls it?

Now, while it would certainly be perfectly legitimate of him to seek the latter (as it is up to a dozen times the stronger drug and is implicated in numerous murders), it is a totally perverse idea to suggest that the albeit less powerful ‘standard cannabis’ (“marijuana or weed” – which nevertheless in itself a major destructor of young lives, as well as a precursor of progression onto harder drugs), should become freely available, surely?

[Controlled Drugs:Class A’ currently includes heroin, cocaine, crack, MDMA (“ecstasy”), methamphetamine, LSD, DMT and psilocybin mushrooms; while ‘Class B’ includes amphetamine, cannabis, codeine, ketamine, methoxetamine and methylphenidate].

Of course, we should all feel a degree of sympathy for this sad man indeed, and that simply is because his twenty-one year old son died in a suicide, due to a devastating addition to skunk, which had made him introverted, prone to outbursts, and had a huge impact on his wellbeing – resulting in him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act shortly before his death.

Grief can have strange effects on parents, but that doesn’t excuse the stupidity of wanting to allow all and sundry defective and impressionably youths to enter the pathway to drug abuse and addiction, does it? The very idea that someone would stick to a ‘legalised’ cannabis joint so not take skunk, the more potent version of the drug, is simply perverse – but that’s the out of touch with common sense aristocracy for you, isn’t it?

This doomed campaign [Monson isn’t a sitting member of the House of Lords so isn’t actually involved in our legislature] is being supported by another sad father, whose teenage son was also a similar skunk addict, who had deteriorated into a delusional and paranoiac abyss, so when in a final psychotic episode he ended up stabbing his own mother eleven times and then very seriously self-harming himself (with life changing consequences), before finally being committed to psychiatric hospital and indeed prison for his crime. The boy started at 16 on cannabis then moved onto the higher potency skunk, and that powerful drug all but virtually destroyed him.

This end outcome of such drug abuse must have been devastating for the boy and his family, but recognising where it all started (with standard cannabis), how comes they want THAT actually legalised, eh? Are they sick in the head, or what?

In another shocking irresponsible move, the LibDems have now become the first party to actually fight an election promising a relaxation of the UK drug laws – that to start with legalising cannabis (much loved by the hippies in the 1970’s, you see?), so it can be taxed and sold on the high street (to your children in your town, village, or city, eh?). Their intention is to create a legal market for the production and sale of the substance to any idiot of eighteen or over (simply to generate up to £1bn per year in tax revenues, they think?). That bleeding party must be desperate for votes – but they don’t seem to realise that cannabis users will be much too stoned to turn out to vote, don’t you think?

[The government’s Home Office has no plans to legalise cannabis as there is a substantial body of scientific and medical evidence to show that it is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health].

Those who excuse the use of say the likes of cannabis, do so on the basis that an equally (or even more?) damaging drug that is in widespread in use, and is perfectly legal in most parts of the world, is of course that of ‘ALCOHOL’. But they miss the unavoidable point that alcohol is a drug that, because can be naturally occurring (through fermentation of fruit), has been with mankind since time immemorial, and that particular genie is out of the bottle and can’t be put back in, don’t they? Simply because society has a major ‘uncontrollable’ problem with the drug alcohol and its widespread addiction, is no reason to allow other drugs to create similar problems, is there?

There can be no doubt that there has been a catastrophic failure in the War on Drugs and that has to be tackled with a new approach, doesn’t it?

What needs to happen in the UK is for ALL drug taking to be treated as an illness, rather than a ‘criminal offence’, and facilities to be improved to help those afflicted, don’t you think? The money our society expends on criminalising large sections of society, pursuing “users” and ‘banging them up’ indeed, would be better spent on rehabilitation – but please no more of the medical provision of alternative drug substitutes, that simply mask the problem and encourage users to carry on with their self-abusive behaviour, surely?. Drugs should remain “illegal” as such, but using, or simply being in possession of drugs for personal use, shouldn’t any longer be a criminal offence, don’t you think?

On the other hand though, the full force of the law should instead be SOLELY focused on the evil supply chain and ALL those who work in it to provide these illegal drugs and get people hooked, don’t you think? Even the small ‘on the street’ members of the ‘providers’ should feel the massive heat of justice, while the bigger fish should fear for their very comfortable evil lives, don’t you think?

In some countries drug dealing attracts the death sentence, and if that penalty is ever brought back for the UK (indeed as much of the population would wish, eh?), then that would have a dramatic effect on the trade, wouldn’t you think? In the meantime, mandatory life sentences with hard labour for the hard drug suppliers, without the possibility of parole, would be a reasonable starting point, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps though ALL of the criminals involved in the drug trade should be forcibly made to take the drugs they sell until they too are addicted or worse, perhaps?

 

[Fourteen countries, including America and Cuba, have the death penalty ‘available’ for drug traffickers but do not apply it in practice. In the six countries of China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore drug offenders are known to be routinely executed]