Hard Brexit? Oh Matron!

I voted to remain in the European Union, I wish to make that incredibly clear. The EU may not function perfectly – it often adds an unnecessary level of bureaucracy, it is not perfectly democratic and the idea of currency union was obviously going to benefit larger states in the long run.

All of this being said, it does seem to be the case that those who wished us leave (at least those who were running the campaign) forgot that we all elected our own MEPs. This is especially convenient for everybody’s favourite opportunistic Neo-Nationalist Nigel Farage when you consider that he has been drawing his wage from the European Parliament since 1999, the year that his position was established. This is a man who detests the European Union so much that he once, allegedly, voted for the Green Party due to their allying Eurosceptic ideas. The incredible irony of a climate change denier voting for the Greens is, I suspect, not lost on many.

A roundup of recent post-Brexit news does not generally look positive for the UK in the short term or, for that matter, in the long term.

It is promising, however, that groups up and down the country are trying to deal with the job of deciding which pieces of legislature ought to be kept and which ought to be binned. It is promising to see that people can recognise that not every piece of European “red tape” has to be removed from these shores in order to reshape our country. It can only be hoped that both National and Local Government follow up on these suggestions.

What is quite concerning is the fact that Theresa May is unable to move on with negotiations without triggering Article 50 and yet still wishes to try and use the Royal Prerogative to push through her so-called plan without even discussing it with Parliament. It also confuses me somewhat how those who wished to “take back control” cannot accept that this is a perfectly reasonable request. If you wished to see the powers-that-be push through a deal that no one is quite sure that they want, you could have just let the EU negotiate TTIP.

Some more promising news can be seen in LIDL’s insistence on investing in the UK whilst all of this is going on. “Now Lidl invests in post-Brexit Britain with a £70million headquarters and 5,000 new jobs” proclaims the Mail. The Sun goes with “BREXIT BOOST: Lidl shows commitment to UK post-Brexit by announcing the creation of 5,000 jobs”. It even makes the Evening Express of Aberdeen. So do LIDL plan on investing in the Aberdeen area? No. Quite literally all of the investment is planned for London. The sub-headings let you know though. The Daily Mail’s also includes this gem – “Announcement comes after Lloyds of London moved fewer jobs than expected to Europe”.

Apparently that’s a positive. They’re still moving the jobs, but it’s okay because less of them are moving than expected. The Irish Independent suggests that Dublin could become the new EU base of operations. It also points out that if the UK Government can reach an agreement with the European Union over the financial sector’s access to the single market, then Lloyd’s may not need to move after all. That doesn’t seem to be the direction that Theresa May and her minions are heading in.

The Liberal Democrat stance on all of this is that there should be a second referendum on the Government’s Brexit deal. Some people would have you believe that this is the same as having the first referendum again. It is not. I would urge anyone wishing to keep the process of British democracy as transparent as possible to vote for the Liberal Democrats wherever possible.

This year has seen phenomenal by-election results for the party and I hope that these will continue into the new year.

Happy Christmas,

Daniel

We’re Not Dead (I Promise)

This blog has been inactive for a while, I know. It’s also driven away from politics quite considerably at times. The problem is that sometimes the personal and political line can be somewhat blurry. As such, I’ve set up a personal blog for myself at As The Free Bird Flies.

I will endeavour to keep both that blog and this one updated to a reasonable level, but part of my problem has been that I’ve suffered from a certain amount of writers’ block, feeling as though I have nothing important to say, despite a tumultuous 2016 in politics. But I’ll keep trying.

Obviously, I can’t speak for Michael and Dave, however I will update with a Brexit-related post in the coming week.

Be happy,

Daniel

When You Wish Upon a Star

Watching something you love break in your very hands is painful. Just ask any child born in the VHS era. When a favourite Disney film/cartoon got trapped in the machine, it was as though a part of you died.

For those of us lucky enough to have bridged the gap between video and DVD in our younger days, however, there was always that faint hope that you would receive an upgrade from your parents.
And, I suppose that is how life can be. You find yourself looking on as everything you care about crashes down around you, the myths that some child that you faintly remember being created crumbling like the White Cliffs of Dover. There comes a point where you say “enough”, as you realise that you can no longer continue hurting yourself for the sake of others.

So life gives you other opportunities, sometimes a route out, sometimes just time out.

Take it.

Daniel

This World of Ours

Given recent events, it seems pertinent to rekindle the fires that have never burned particularly brightly on this blog of ours.

I’d like to start by adding that this is not merely about love versus hate. I believe that inside every mind there is both love and hate and, whilst not everyone has the capacity to kill, most will have an inclination to commit some sort of hate-crime. They also have enough self-awareness to realise that this is completely irrational.

By definition, both of these recent attacks in Orlando and in Birstall, can be defined as terrorism. But does that honestly matter? When the motivation behind murder is extreme political ideology, it doesn’t really matter what we call. If we examine history, our past is riddled with terrorism. Every colonial war, every state-sponsored genocide is terrorism – killing for political reasons. One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.

We have spent so much glorifying our country’s great history, but when will these neo-Nationalistic pains-in-arses like Farage and Golding stop and realise that what made us ‘great’ was our ability to invade less technologically advanced cultures, take their best words and implant our values upon them?

I digress.

It is within our human nature to both love and hate, but when hate overrides love, shit hits the proverbial fan. Our very essence is, perhaps, defined by the background we find ourselves living in.

That is not to say our parents, but our entire situation. I spent a large chunk of my teenage years feeling intensely angry at my surroundings and was, at times physically violent to those who I would consider friends. There is not necessarily anything particularly unusual about that, but some people never get over that.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Dalai Lama

In the end, all we can do is show our love and compassion and hope that that is enough to impact on those around you.

Daniel

The drug war- the new age of this conflict.

This piece is different, this is not a plan. Whilst I have thought of both sides of the argument, I did not intend to write this piece. It was going to be a piece on how likely Donald Trump is going to win, and what we can do to minimise his effects on the world, or even just how to deal with it. So, as is the way, I went on the net to find some statistics to back my points up. Now I’m no American, and know only a handful of the news outlets that exist, but I do know of CNN, which relatively speaking isn’t too biased  from what I’ve seen of them. I clicked on the US section, to which I find:

fentanyl opioids drugs overdose sanjay gupta mobile orig mss_00000000
Story highlights
  • Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999
  • Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which encourages Americans to turn over old or unwanted pills
  • Eight people overdose in one Massachusetts town, two die

I’m not usually moved by this, but this is something else. Some part of me expected this figure to go down, bearing in mind how much of a priority it seems to Police in America. This demonstrates more than a turn of a head, a blind eye if you must. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

However, these headlines show more, it shows not only abuse of illegal drugs, but legal. Painkillers? Who would’ve thought these small tablets designed to ease a headache would be one of the biggest killers. And that’s entirely why, much like tobacco and alcohol (as is discussed further in Daniel’s article I am a Cider Drinker, I Drink it Only When it is Socially Acceptable), it turns from a small, whisper, to a nagging pester, to a scream that drowns out anything you ever loved. You can see why lots of these drugs have been banned from consumer usage.

But to put these drugs out of a lawful eye to someone who wants to sell you more and more for their benefit is hardly an ethical, or even an effective means to stop people taking hard drugs. And as seen in Portugal, legalising all drugs can have it’s benefits, as shown in this chart:

Source: Transform

These articles really provoked me to think of the drug war, and who is to blame. Where does the line end with legalisation? Should we have further control on some legal drugs? Feel free to respectfully discuss below, and I hope you have a good time.

Dave

Side note: when I said a day, I meant a fortnight, obviously.

 

Bibliography:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/30/health/opioid-heroin-overdoses-drug-takeback-day/index.html

http://mic.com/articles/110344/14-years-after-portugal-decriminalized-all-drugs-here-s-what-s-happening#.XKCDJWBBR

 

For in That Sleep of Death What Dreams May Come?

Despite the current political climate being full of drama and rife with possible topics for a blog post, I find myself with writer’s block. At first this was going to be about refugee children. Then I thought about the local elections and the fantastic gains made by the Lib Dems. And then I started thinking about Hamlet, oddly enough. So that is where the inspiration for this post has come from.

The famous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy has been a source of inspiration for centuries now. A piece that many self-respecting actors would give anything to say in its proper context. A speech used to inspire music and poetry.

Yet at its heart, it is a much sadder, more traumatic spinning of Shakespeare’s linguistic magic than many people ever realise. There are three small segments that I want to cover, and not in the order they appear in the speech.

To be or not to be-that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them.

This part of the text really starts us off. What is Hamlet contemplating? His own suicide.

Is it better for him to take his own life or to just accept that life has been unfair and carry on living his painful life.

In our modern society, the peak period for committing suicide is middle age, although there is a peak amongst the elderly too. This is becoming a more and more prevalent issue, and whilst some of the stigma around mental health issues has been reduced, many people – especially men – do not want to talk about their issues.

Samaritans are a charity who are there to be spoken to if ever you feel that your life is falling apart. Their number is 116 123.

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all

It’s not uncommon for people to just pass on by someone who is actually in need of company. Whilst not what Shakespeare actually meant, this can be a message to us all – for many people the social conscience is stronger than the moral conscience.

People see someone who is upset or lonely and leave them be as it is not their problem. That person who sits on the street? Talk to them. Listen to them. They had hopes and dreams once too.

Which brings me quite nicely to my final section. For me, this is the part of the soliloquy which resonates the most:

To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Life is unpredictable; for every trough, there is a peak – every low has a high.

Whatever your situation, wherever your life takes you, remember that you are not alone. If your life is ended, what chance is there for you to change your situation?

There is always something more for you achieve, someone waiting for you around the corner.

And if nobody has told you this lately, you are loved.

Daniel

Update blog from Dave

This isn’t anything political, but it has been a long time since any of us have posted (let alone me). So I thought I would give you the reasons why and what has been going on recently.

However I must apologise for not posting recently.

Anyway, as some of the younger readers will know, in Britain anyway, the exam period is coming up very soon. Studying has therefore occupied a lot of what would’ve been free time. I hope you can understand.

Secondly, lot’s of things also occupy my (not free?) time. As much as I find studying is integral, we all still need to do other things to keep ourselves, our social lives, and our loved ones mentally afloat. Therefore this blog has taken a step back in my life.

Finally, I’ve not found much I can’t talk about myself. I’m not a very creative person, and as much as it is fair to distribute information. There’s only so many times you can hear some raving leftist discuss (in a completely unbiased fashion may I add) the denial of the 3,000 Syrian child refugees, or the Panama scandal before you call it in a day and go and stare at Pingu gifs for an hour (a favoured pastime of mine).

Don’t worry, I will be doing a political piece later today, and I promise it won’t be clichéd (coming from the guy who has done an update blog).

And I’m confident in saying that after the exam period is up, we will be more active on this blog.

Dave.