Novelist. Author of APSARAS and other stories

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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What a dilemma!

I am in a dilemma. A US court has found the Argentine authorities in contempt after failing to pay off a substantial loan to two US Hedge Funds, NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management. The Argentines in refusing to obey the court say that the US in interfering in their domestic policies.
The Hedge Funds bought the debt at a huge discount and motivated purely by greed, hoped to recover the full amount from the South Americans. The dilemma arises from an inability to decide which pleases me most; the dire economic situation of a sovereign state (Argentina) that invaded the territory (The Falklands) of the UK or the possibility of the Hedge Funds making huge and significant losses.
Sadly, whatever outcome the real losers will be the ordinary people of Argentina, pawns in a game beyond their knowing.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Advertising today

Nobody denies that advertising sells products and that sex sells most, but at what point does it go beyond what is appropriate or even decent. It is 4.30am and I have just seen a television advert by Calvin Klein for a product called 'Reveal' which I found offensive because of its overt and gratuitous sexuality. Sadly, I realise that even mentioning this exposes the product to a wider audience and that its resulting infamy might increase its appeal to the gullible public but please can we have this sort of promotion in moderation.
So too the escalating supply of adverts for videos and computer games that resort to gratuitous extreme violence for its appeal. The television programs are punctuated by adverts for these violent and noisy products, alongside trailers for ever more violent films complete with murderous explosions and firefights. Today, children, often very young, are literally bombarded with violent images, often demeaning to women, in which widespread slaughter seems to be the attraction. Now, I'm aware that since earliest times, children have been exposed to scary stories, indeed some of them are celebrated works of literature but it is the scale of today's unrelenting recourse to what I can only describe as evil that worries me. Despite the manifest effect on children and their attitudes, governments are reluctant to tackle the problem because the gaming Companies are successful and pay tax but wouldn't you agree that their very existence says something detrimental about the society in which we now live?
As if youngsters of today are not having their childhoods reduced enough, the Socialists now want to expose them to electoral awareness by introducing voting for sixteen year olds. Like Alex Salmond's demand in the Scottish referendum, the proposal is disguised as promoting interest in their futuristic Nationalistic life but is, in reality, a blatant means of increasing your vote by appealing to the known charitable leanings of the young. Sixteen year olds are still children; they are still being educated whether in school or in work, learning about life and their role in a challenging world. Even the most precocious have been nowhere, done nothing and shouldn't be exposed to decision making until they are older. This cynical exploitation of children is typical of a political party that is not so much interested in the welfare of the British people as their success in the polls, whatever they say. Why stop at sixteen? Make it thirteen; anything to defeat the toffs especially as the Scottish MPs might lose the vote in English affairs.
Whether you are selling perfumery, 'entertainment' or votes, advertising tries to get a message across. Clearly lies cannot be told but I fear that the balance is shifting and advertisers are pushing the boundaries as to what is and is not palatable or acceptable in the society in which we live, especially for the susceptible young. Despite various 'watchdogs', the advertisers are leading the argument, not following and I suggest the consumers should be setting the agenda, not the industry as it seems to be at the moment. After all, the advertising industry, does not  manufacture anything, it only adds cost to a product, ultimately paid for by you, the consumer. Despite this I recognise that we need advertising but urge that in place of smut and gratuitous violence the industry ought to be smarter, not ruder, in their appeal, especially where the young are concerned.
As for the Socialists...aaagh!

Friday, 19 September 2014

England's traffic chaos

A short trip to England has found me caught up in traffic jams in Truro, Southampton and for mile on end on the M6. I'm sure the scene is familiar all over the country with rush hour jams and three lane motorways full to overflowing with traffic, much of it commercial heavy lorries. I'm tempted to ask what will the roads be like in five or ten years with more and more cars and articulated lorries on the road. Has anyone any idea? Do the department of Transport know? Is there a plan such as making vehicles numbers with odd registration numbers able to use the roads on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Or are they just hoping for the best?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Revealed truth

I have been reading Dostoevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov'; this hard on the heels of reading Christopher Hitchins' book, 'God is not Great'. The latter quotes the former in questioning the veracity of the very first verses of Genesis; in particular the question  of the first light. According to Genesis God said, 'let there be light' in day one but it wasn't until day four that God created light to seperate the day from night; specifically stars. How so?
It is taken as evidence that the Bible cannot be relied on to provide the truth, only confusion and ambiguity but I'm not clear that Hitchins found anything of use in the texts whereas I do, and furthermore I believe the example given above is further endorsement of my arguments for a dual universe.
When one reads the creation story in Genesis there are some details but disappointingly few. To my mind this is consistent with a narrative given by a knowledgeable entity to an illiterate race. The writers of Genesis (Moses?) used what they had been told by their forebears and remembered the formation of the oceans, the arrival of flora and fauna albeit in a very doubtful timescale etc. but it is the light that interests me here. Could it be that the verses dealing with day four are referring specifically to earth, whilst the very first light described in the day one passage is the ignition of the very first star in the universe. It would have been a dramatic moment, worthy of comment. However, there is no reference to a cataclysmic explosion describing the 'Big Bang' which convinces me that it never happened. What did the author of Genesis understand? It is quite clear- no ambiguity here although stated with shamanistic spin- God created heaven and earth. If this isn't a pointer to a dual universe I don't know what is.

For more information on my concept of a Dual Universe see my book:  SPIRITUAL MAN: AN INTRODUCTION TO NEGATIVE DIMENSIONS.  Available for Kindle and Kobo.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Scottish referendum

As Her Majesty, the Queen and numerous foreign correspondents despair over the Scottish referendum and the reasons for it, the debates intensify.
Are Scottish Nationalists, Salmond and Sturgeon- don't they sound like the contents of a fisherman's smelly creel- guilty of stoking up the emotions that lead to civil wars with family and friend breakups lasting generations. Their shameless manipulation of the framework for the referendum which gives the vote to recently immigrant Poles and children whilst rejecting generation old Scottish families currently domiciled in the rest of the UK, has been loaded in their favour but still they face a 'NO' vote. Consequently, their rhetoric that defies reason but calls on some age-old allegiance to ultimately unsuccessful patriots is not carrying the day despite their increasingly frantic appeal to some notional Scottish Nationalism.
And for what? The Scots consistently vote for the Socialists and object to the Democratic will of the whole when the Tories are voted into power. The Scottish nationalists are determined that if the Lemmings want Socialism they should have it despite the evidence that each time the Lemmings are in power they run over the cliff, each time bringing the UK close to economic collapse.
The polls show that the vote will be very close; the WORST possible result because it will foment future tensions. Whichever way the vote goes, despite previous affirmations that the result will be respected, the losers will demand re-runs amidst accusations and recriminations when the barely five million inhabitants, out of a Country of sixty-five million, feel aggrieved.
All this expense, all this tension, all the future pressures will be the result of Salmond's selfish ambition. All broken families and severed friendships should be laid at his door whilst the rest of the UK will pay the growing costs of yet more devolution by way of appeasement. I'm not sure we should be tolerant of this man with his divisive politics any longer. Make him Laird of Gruinard.

Friday, 5 September 2014

The paradox of Epicurus

Despite it being around for some time I have just come across the paradox of Greek philosopher, Epicurus who lived about three centuries before the Common Era began. It goes like thus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Those of a religious persuasion have, of course, come up with numerous fatuous responses to this problem but each of them only offers excuses based on the fallibility of a mankind granted free will. Such responses then beg the question of why God would create a less than perfect world? In fact WHY would He bother at all? Until the Bishops and Imams come up with some plausible answer to this  I cannot take them seriously and the world will go on warring whilst innocent people trying to make a living in a difficult world continue to be slaughtered in their God's name.
Shame on  all you modern day shamans with your supernatural beliefs and practices.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Scottish politics

I hear Alex Salmond rubbishing claims that his 'Yes' vote colleagues are using bullying tactics whilst talking about the people of Scotland becoming galvanized by the in/out debate. Their engagement in the Scottish referendum made manifest by the enormous numbers of people, previously oblivious of politics, who are rushing to get on the electoral roll. Now, it may be that I've lived in Spain too long but when I hear politicians deny something like this, I wonder how many of those names are fictitious and to where will their votes be aimed! I would also be wary of postal votes; another well used route to poll rigging. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Statement by Douglas Carswell MP

Copied from his Blog:

It's time for change

I'm today leaving the Conservative party and joining UKIP.
This hasn't been an easy decision.
I've been a member of the Conservative party for all my adult life. It's full of wonderful people who want the best for Britain.
My local Conservative Association in Clacton is thriving. It brims with those that I am honoured to call my friends.
The problem is that many of those at the top of the Conservative party aren't on our side. They aren't serious about the changes that Britain desperately needs.
Of course, they talk the talk before elections. They say what they feel they must say when they want our support.
But on so many issues – modernising our politics and the recall of MPs, controlling our borders, less government, bank reform, cutting public debt, an EU referendum – they never actually make it happen.
All three of the older parties seem the same. They've swathes of safe seats. They're run by those who became MPs by working in the offices of MPs. They use pollsters to tell them what to tell us.
Politics to them is about politicians like them. It's a game of spin and positioning.
First under Tony Blair, then Gordon Brown, now David Cameron, it's all about the priorities of whichever tiny clique happens to be sitting on the sofa in Downing Street. Different clique, same sofa.
Few are animated by principle or passion. Those that are soon get shuffled out of the way. Many are just in it for themselves. They seek every great office, yet believe in so little.
Only UKIP can change this. Only UKIP can shake up the cozy little clique called Westminster.
I'm joining UKIP not because I am a conservative who hankers after the past. I want change. Things can be better than this.
I am an optimist. Britain's a better place than it was when I was born in the early 1970s.
We're more open and tolerant. We're, for the most part, more prosperous. More people are free to grow up and live as they want to live than ever before.
As the father of a young daughter, I've come to appreciate what feminism's achieved. Most girls growing up in Britain today will have better life chances than before thanks to greater equality.
There's been a revolution in attitudes towards disabled people.
What was once dismissed as "political correctness gone mad", we recognise as good manners. Good.
So much about Britain is so much better. Except when it comes to how we do politics.
UKIP is not an angry backlash against the modern world. Modernity has raised our expectations of how things could be.
We need change.
People have a right to expect a government that gets the basics right.
In a world of 24 hours supermarkets and instant access everything, it ought to be possible to make an appointment to see a GP. Yet in my Essex constituency patients have to literally stand in line and wait. They have to compete to been seen by doctors.
There is an alphabet soup of NHS quangos supposed to be in charge. But who takes responsibility?
People have a right to expect the government to control who crosses our borders. Tens of thousands of Londoners log in and log out of the London underground each day. Yet the government just wasted another £224 million on a system that failed to log people in and out as they cross our borders.
On the subject of immigration, let me make it absolutely clear; I'm not against immigration. The one thing more ugly that nativism is angry nativism.
Just like Australia or Switzerland, we should welcome those that want to come here to contribute. We need those with skills and drive. There's hardly a hospital, GP surgery or supermarket in the country that could run without that skill and drive. Real leadership would make this clear.
We should speak with pride and respect about first generation Britons.
But like Australia, we ought to have the right to decide who comes.
Ministers promised us a great Freedom Bill, which was going to repeal all that unnecessary red tape. It never seemed to
Ministers promised us real bank reform. They only seemed to tinker.
They don't think things through. They make one glib announcement after another – and then move on. On to the next speech. The next announcement. The next headline.
They promised to cut the public debt. In just five years of this government, public debt will increase by more than it did during thirteen years of Gordon Brown.
Clever word play about debt and the deficit doesn't conceal that fact that we're still having to borrow over £100 billion a year – and even then government is not getting the basics right.
We need change.
People have a right to expect a government that answers to Parliament, and a Parliament that's accountable to the people.
All three parties went into the last election promising to give local people a right to recall their MP. The Coalition agreement promised a system of open primaries, to throw politics open to those beyond SW1.
None of it has happened.  The whips spent the summer trying to undermine Zac Goldsmith's proposals for real recall. They're really not serious about real change.
We need change in our relationship with Europe.
When we joined what was to become the European Union all those years ago, we imagined we would be joining a prosperous trading block. In the early 1970s, it accounted for almost 40 percent of world economic output.
Today it accounts for a mere 25 percent. In a decade, its expected to be down to 15 percent.
Far from growing, the European Union has grown sclerotic. Indeed, it's the one continent on the planet that isn't growing.
Even a decade ago, we were told that we had to join the Euro because it would raise our output. It would bring prosperity.
Looking across the channel, no one seriously argues that any more.
Yet who in Westminster – who amongst our so-called leaders – is prepared to envisage real change?
To be fair, over the past four years ministers have at times done the right thing about Europe. They vetoed a treaty change. They refused any budget increase. And of course they agreed to an In / Out vote.
But on each occasion they only did the right thing because they had been forced to by their own side. On each occasion, they had instructed their own MPs on a three line whip to support the wrong thing.
With an election approaching, ministers most Eurosceptic boasts are about things they know that they were pushed into doing. It's not leadership. They've not serious about real change. They're only interested in holding office.
No one cheered David Cameron more loudly at the time of his Bloomberg speech, when he finally accepted the case for a referendum. He would, he claimed, negotiate a fundamentally new relationship with the EU, and put it to the people in 2017; In or Out.
But there's been no detail since.  That's because there isn't any.  Again, they've not thought it through.
Ministers have specifically ruled out a trade-only arrangement with the EU. The Prime Minister said so specifically at a meeting of the 1922. It won't even be on the table.
His advisers have made it clear they won't contemplate any deal with UKIP. They're more comfortable doing deals with Nick Clegg than with a party that wants real change in our relations with the EU.
His advisers have made it clear that they seek a new deal that gives them just enough to persuade enough voters to vote to stay in. It's not about change in our national interest. It's all about not changing things.
Once I realised that, my position in the Conservative party became untenable.
There is a world of change and opportunity out there. Tens of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty within my life time. There is a growing middle class in India, China and elsewhere.
Our future prosperity rest on being able to produce things that those millions of new consumers want.
Ministers are simply not up to giving us the kind of realignment that we need.
It is not enough that I leave the Conservative party and join UKIP.
As someone who has always answered directly to independent-minded Essex folk, there is only one honourable thing to do.
I must seek permission from my boss - the people of Clacton. I will now resign from Parliament, and stand for UKIP in the by election that must follow.
I don't have to do this. It would have been easy for me to have muddled along comfortably as a backbench MP. There are all too many who enjoy that convenient life. But that's not the sort of person I am.
I stood for Parliament in the first place because I believe in certain things. I still do. With greater determination than ever.
I just happen to know that principle in politics is more important than the career of an individual MP – even if that MP happens to be me.
Things don't have to be this way.  I'll be asking the voters of Essex to help me bring change. Let's do this together. Let's see if we can make history.
Thank you. I must now return to Clacton to prepare for what is to come.