Sunday, 28 June 2020

Is 70 the new 50: Unedited

Coming from an era that used to consider anyone over 60 as old and decrepit, I am somewhat bemused that the race for the 2020 US Presidency is between two elderly white men, Donald Trump 74 and Joe Biden 77.  Bemused is the wrong word, I just couldn't find the right one.  Astonished might be closer, but not strictly accurate, a seasoned political commentator might have seen this state of affairs coming for a long, long time.  

Saddened works too.  I am saddened that the USA aren't brave enough to give their young, fiery, charismatic leaders who definitely would force through changes to the most hated government policies, a chance to do so. That these two contenders are so old, shows that the majority, when voting, want to stick to what they are used to.  This sounds odd at this juncture, but bear in mind Trump was a fluke, not from the Hill, but he was still a rich old white man.  

They took a huge leap of faith when they voted for Barack Obama in 2009, and it paid off, they gave him a second term.  The Obama ideology became the 'norm' and Obama became one of the most popular Presidents in history.  Joe Biden, as his former right hand man, benefits from this.  He was the Vice President of an administration that had no impeachments and indictments.  The Obama administration was clean, and in a bizarre twist, is now the traditional, stable, government, Americans look back on.  

But before I go on, I should stat that my knowledge of US politics is scant, in the whole scheme of things. I remember being shocked when America voted a former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan to be their President, I thought Bill Clinton was an amazing orator, George 'Dubya' Bush an idiot and Barack Obama charismatic and brilliant.

I don't know a huge amount about Joe Biden, but from what I have seen and read, including the words of Lindsay Graham, he is a genuinely nice guy who is motivated by a genuine desire to 'heal' the country.  That is, he is exactly what America needs right now. 

With regard to his gaffes, the only argument from the Trump campaign against him, they are not as important as his opponents want them to be.  Anyone of any age can make gaffes, but older politicians are subjected to far more scrutiny, journalists are constantly on the look out for signs of dementia or heart failure. On the gaffs front, Trump probably beats Biden by about 100 to 1, he is obviously projecting. 

But let's get back to this age thing.  It is odd to see two such elderly men fighting for the Presidency, Trump is 74 and Biden 77.  Maybe being 70 is now the new 60. In the 21st century, being ancient in politics is now the norm, Bernie Sanders 78, Nancy Pelosi 80, Jeremy Corbyn 71.  I suppose it is a manifestation of the fact that people are staying healthier and living longer.  Or maybe the grey demographic is the silent majority?  

Naturally there is a big difference between the way younger and older politicians perform.  The Young have more passion and urgency, they are quicker to respond, more dexterous with their thoughts and words. The elderly, which sounds awful, may be slower to respond and sound less forthright, but they have a long lifetime of experience to draw on, which will shape their answer. They are more cautious about what they say because they know the implications of their words.  Younger politicians speak about hopes and dreams, older politicians are more realistic about them.

Age and experience has taught me that the slow answers are the ones worth waiting for.  I once spent an entire night watching Marlon Brando interviews.  There aren't that many but he took so long to each question, it took forever.  Being smitten by MB I didn't mind, his answers were so clear and well thought out I was in awe, I felt I had learned a lot.  

But returning to age and politics.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman).  I am sure the people of America are not in the mood to vote for something new at this time.  And who could blame them.  They want truth as opposed to daily lies.  They want someone to take control of the pandemic that is killing thousands daily, they want someone aware of the needs of ALL of those who have lost their jobs and those in need of healthcare.  Joe Biden has the unique experience of running the country from the top.  He knows how to delegate, he knows how to take advice, he knows how to behave in a crisis.  All the basic skills Trump simply doesn't have.  Saying million instead of thousand, was a gaffe anyone could make, and a pathetic argument in the face of the multiple gaffs Trump makes daily.  It exposes the weakness of Trump's re-election campaign, as in, 'is that all ya got?'.

Trump is stymied because his opponent is an old white guy like himself.  Had he been female, of colour or God forbid, homosexual, he would have had a field day.  'Sleepy Joe' just doesn't carry the same hatred and misogyny as 'Crooked (lock her up) Hilary'.  Putting 'Sleepy' in front of someone's name makes them endearing, not bad hombres, think 7 Dwarves.  He is not able to direct the same hatred towards Joe Biden, as he did with Hilary Clinton.  At that time he was an outsider on a mission to drain the swamp, Hilary being representative of the 'swamp', the establishment, every government that had gone before.  Now he's the establishment, and everyone hates him.  

Trump's inability to attack Joe Biden will be interesting to watch.  He's used all his best stuff against Obama.  He uses Biden's many years in politics as a weapon - naive, he clearly doesn't understand the concept of vocation.  His own CV of failed businesses, casinos, steaks, vodka, airlines, university, charity he stole from, overpriced condos, tv stardom, doesn't scream lifetime devoted to the blue collar workers of America.  Biden has mountains against him, and he is being assisted by members of Trump's own party.  

Perhaps Trump sees any attack on Biden, a white man in his 70s as an attack on himself, especially those gaffes that Don junior gleefully retweets.  I don't doubt that Don, at this stage of his paranoia, torments himself with thoughts of which child will stab him in the back first.  What we have all experienced this past four years, is but a microcosm of what the Trump kids have experienced their entire lives.  Ivanka is playing it safely, all her tweets are sugar and spice and all things nice and she pulls out all her best party frocks to demonstrate just how great everything is.  She has gone to that place that is far far away, where she is the beautiful princess with a fairy wand.  Sadly, that's not how the world sees her or will remember her.  I suspect Lucretia Borgia and Eva Braun would poll higher.  

I think the curious case of why Donald Trump's kids aren't rushing to put their father into a care home where he will get the help he needs, is a discussion worth having.  I remember precisely, day, place, occasion, when I became aware that my beloved Dad was losing his marbles.  I remember a long auld conversation with him, giving a minute by minute, breakdown of an interview I had that day, that took hours, filled with giggly anecdotes from him and from me that ended with him saying 'let me know how the interview goes'.  Ah bless, I thought, and I was to think that many, many times from thereon.  

The hardest part for my Dad, was the anger and frustration he felt towards himself for the gaffes he made.  He had always been a very intelligent, very articulate and very smartly dressed man, he always wore a tie and a hat when going out.  Maintaining his dignity was always his top priority, to the point where he wouldn't even use a desperately needed walking stick.  We, who loved him, turned his gaffes into humour and he would laugh heartily along with us.  But in our hearts, we knew how much it hurt him, and how much it would hurt him if anyone outside 'us' would think him a fool.  Our instincts were to protect him.   We would laugh along with, but we wouldn't allow anyone to laugh at him.  

Trump cut a lonely figure coming back from that Tulsa rally, it will become iconic like the 'the Times Square Kiss (sailor and Nurse)', that pivotal moment that marked the end of the chaotic Trump era. His 1million plus rally was attended by a little over 6,000, a public humiliation of epic proportions.  His instinct told him 'build it and they will come', but they didn't and are never likely to again.  Trump returned to the Whitehouse alone.  No wife, no son, no daughter, no friend, no paid Campaign staffer.  Just him, with his previously crisp white shirt open revealing a smear of his orange stage makeup.  His very fine (expensive) red silk tie undone and hanging tramp like alongside his very expensive crumpled suit as if he had spent the night paying for drug enhanced private lap dances. He awkwardly held a red MAGA hat, unsure whether to chuck it aside or hang onto it as a souvenir of when it was all going great for him.  He didn't put it on and boldly pronounce, hey dumb-ass Americans, I too wear this hat of racism and isolationism so carry on wearing it with pride.  I and my family feel your suffering from behind fences, barriers and walls (and a bunker).  If you catch Covid-19 you are on your own, but if you batter a black person or a democrat I will pay all your legal expenses.  So Trump didn't put the hat on, he just carried it.  He was too 'done in' for that to be a message from his advisors and spin doctors.  They would have told him to hold it up or wear it as a symbol of pride, he has a lot of hats to sell, don't hold it like it's a discarded item like a cheap deckchair found in the debris of the Trump rallies.  

But lets get back on topic.  Is age an issue for Joe Biden.  Of course.  It would be ridiculous to pretend he is the new young voice of socialism who will change the face of America as we know it.  I don't think Americans are looking for polemic change right now.  If anything they are looking longingly at the past, the safe, stable times of the Obama/Biden ticket.  

They can't have Obama, not even Michelle, but they can have the next best thing.  The man who ruled alongside him.  Biden may be old, and God bless him, a little doddery on occasion, but not on those occasions where millions of lives are dependent on his decisions.  Those are not decisions that should be based on arrogance and sociopathic self belief.  We have already seen what happens with leaders who are prepared to commit genocide.  Trump may not have state organised genocide on his record, in the same way as Hitler and Stalin, but I am writing from the here and now. I am not a scientist or a doctor, but I can see, that Trump's 'ignore the virus' politics will kill more Americans than any threat from Russia, China or the rest of the world.   

So here we are, children of the future or any readers looking at the moment.  We are facing the biggest crisis of our lifetimes, the potential that at least one third of the world's population will be wiped out by Covid-19.  Not because we did not have the scientific knowledge to prevent the spread, but because we, the masses who have the power to change things, are intoxicated by the political diatribes of scoundrels and rogues.

It is not politically acceptable to say 100,000 or 200,000 will die. The right thing to say is that no-one else will die under my watch. But, in Trump's mind he still has leeway, his advisors told him, worst case scenario, 1 to 2million will die.  For him anything less than that is a success.

I'm not religious, sadly I do not have any specific God to pray too, though I am quite fond of Buddha.  He at least puts enlightenment first and foremost.  I do pray however, for our friends in America. Most of them, I am sure, did not vote for this.  Those of us on the outside love Americans because the best of them represents the best of all us.  They are a nation of immigrants in a great big melting pot, turning out coffee coloured people by the score and we love them for it.  

Astonishing, there I used it, that this 21st century presidential race is between two old guys who's best years were in the last century, but here we are.  Maybe there just weren't any younger candidates dynamic enough to win a presidential election decisively? That is, someone with the 'X' factor like Barack Obama.  And if they had appeared, would they have had support from the anyone but trump, Republicans?  The Lincoln Project et al?  Joe Biden is a safe bet for them, at heart they are conservatives and he won't upset the equilibrium.  They can, in good conscience, support Joe Biden, intrinsically he has the values as they do.  He's a rich old white guy.

But I am, as I am sure my regular readers know by now, very much an Anti-trumper.  I hope he is defeated by the biggest margin ever, because I still love Americans, and don't believe for one minute, that the abomination that is Trump represents them.

Take care everyone, those in the USA and UK, and be cautious, trust your own instincts, don't walk into dangerous situations on the advice of false prophets.  Stay safe and take care.


Sunday, 21 June 2020

KPOP TEENS BROKE THE PRESIDENT



I was supposed to go visit a friend this afternoon, unfortunately, we had to postpone, but it gave me the opportunity to wallow in and relish every killer video and ruthless article savouring the abject humiliation of Donald Trump at his come back rally in Tulsa last night.

For the first time ever, I watched a Trump rally and it was a fail, the like of which the world has never seen before, a failure so great it will take it's place in history.  And the cherry on the top, is the fact, that Trump, his Campaign, and possibly the finest brains of Cambridge Analytica, were outsmarted by a mass movement of kpop teens and tictoc!  So what is kpop and tictoc?  I honestly don't know lol, other than the music/dancing videos of beautiful Asian girls and boys dancing that keep appearing on my twitter feed.  Regardless, I am now a fan and delighted to know the future will be safe in the hands of the next generation.   

So how did the kpop kids as I am calling them, break the President?  They applied, in hundreds of thousands, for tickets to Trump's rally with no intention of going.  The tickets were free, and entry was on a 'first come first served' basis, ergo, they did not stop any genuine MAGAs from getting entry to the arena, there was plenty of space, as we saw.  How the kids kept it quiet, I don't know, but in the days leading up to the Rally, Trump and his Campaign manager, Brad Parscale, were bragging about the numbers, claiming over a million people wanted tickets for the event and the data they had harvested.  BP even tweeted a picture of an outside stage being built for Trump to speak to the overflow of 40k+.   The reality, the venue could only hold 19k and less than 7,000 turned up.  

The kpop kids can be blamed or credited, whatever your perspective, but had 19,000 genuine MAGAs turned up, they could have got in. Trump's fans simply didn't turn up.  Finally, all those on edge at the thought of 4 more years of Trump, can breathe a sigh of relief, even his base have gone off him.  The mood in the arena looked strained - with a whiff of lost white power and desperation. The first two speakers, Lara and Eric Trump, were painfully aware that Trump Snr, was backstage seething at the pathetic turnout.  They brought out old favourites, the right to say Happy Christmas and the promise that 'in God we trust' would remain on US currency.  I don't think either of these have ever been under threat, but they've reached back to their 2016 campaign, they have nothing new.  Attempts to start up chants of 'lock her up' and 'build that wall' were also lost in the general apathy.  The audience finally perked up when Eric referred to the protesters (BLM) as 'animals', probably a high spot for him, but his wife's face said otherwise.  As in, behind gritted smile 'you stupid fuckwit, that will haunt you til you die'.  

Next came Mike Pence, who, fair dues, has the ability to make it sound as if everything is OK. His voice is authoritative yet subservient at the same time, like 'Hudson' the butler in 'Upstairs Downstairs'.  And he's better at lying than Trump.  Trump lies from the position of 'I'm richer, ergo superior, to you, you will believe what I say.  Pence lies from 'I'm smarter than you, I will pretend to like you and there are no depths too low for me'.  Pence is an oddity who will one day, be examined his own right but meanwhile his undying love for Trump is curious, on many levels. Just saying.  

Finally, Trump came on stage, repeating, almost verbatim, every soundbite and victory he has claimed for himself.  He is at that point of dementia where if he gets hold of the microphone, he will simply repeat the same stories, over and over.  He spent a good 15 minutes on the 'ramp story' in the hope of turning his audience against the press, it didn't seem to be working.  He's out of material.  His new stuff, pointing at the sole of his shoe and drinking water one handed was the highlight - for which he got a round of applause!  The coronavirus, he barely mentioned, except to say it had at least 20 different names but could only name one, 'Kungflu'.  He then went on to disparage Covid testing, and gave a little anecdote about telling his people, to stop testing because it made him look bad.  It didn't get the roars of laughter he was expecting.

Oops, forgot, the most uncultured man on the planet, did spend a little while, discussing the importance of preserving culture, forgetting that we all aware he was a greedy real estate developer who left a path of destruction in his trail.  Also, not forgetting his crimes against the environment and the natural earth.  He doesn't care about art, culture or nature, but he his shameless enough to pretend he does.

I'm a big fan of  the Resistance, the #LincolnProject, George Conway, Rick Wilson, Molly Jong et al, and their adverts are breaking this monster on a daily basis.  The bullets are aimed at his psychological soft spots, everything he is frightened and insecure about, a bit mean some might say, but with a monster you have to go for the achilles heels.  God forgive me, but I hate the man so much, I don't care about his agonies, I want to increase them!  That little outburst probably incurs three decades of the rosary and a couple of our fathers, but I don't care! 

Well done you Lincoln folks, but all the money and resources in the world could not have wounded Trump as mortally as the kpop kids did with one large cannon.  They blasted his lead ship - Trump rallies - out of the water.  They hijacked and destroyed his master plan. He truly believed that getting his show on the road would bring back all his followers from 2016.  The Bay City Rollers and ShowWhadaWhaddy know how he feels.  You just can't recapture those golden moments, they never work as well the next time around.  Successful performers reinvent themselves, so too some politicians, but not Trump.  He is too arrogant to think he needs reinventing, he still believes he won in 2016 through his personality and charisma, and he can do it again.  He will fire anyone who says anything different.  

His belief in himself is staggering.  I am wondering if anyone, his family, his servants, anyone, ever got through to him as a human being?  And how does he cope when he fails? And yep, history shows, he fails a lot.  Does he blame people around him?  Yep, absolutely, he fires people on a regular basis.  It is always someone else's fault.  That's how it is with a narcissistic sociopath.  His kids, and God forgive me, I despise them too, are the greedy, soulless spawn of greedy, soulless, parents.  

Who will Trump blame for the rally?  His campaign manager obviously, Parscale is already on borrowed time, but for sure anyone in his vicinity who irks him.  He is probably imagining and being fed, all sorts of convoluted conspiracy theories, Black Lives Matter protesters, Antifa, Kpop kids, desperately searching for an acceptable explanation for his conservative supporters, as to why his rally was so empty.  

That bastion of the Left, Michael Moore, who predicted Trump would win in 2016, came out last week to warn of the 'white men' who would put Trump back in.  He scared us all, having been so spookily accurate in the past.  So where were they on Saturday night?  All the truckers, the coalminers, the bikers, the very fine people carrying tiki torches?  Perhaps they saw in England what happens when angry white men gather in defence of the nation's culture with a couple of hundred cans of lager. The iconic photos of the day, one statue defender pissing on the memorial to a dead police officer, and another statue defender unconscious and being carried to safety by a large, black, good Samaritan.  Sad for Trump, he has a thing for tough guys, their no show has got to hurt. 

Today I heard Preet Bharara, former Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and a prominent anti Trump spokesman, say that for the first time in 3 years, he can feel confident that Trump is finished.  The rally in Tulsa was 'everything' for Trump.  Being the imbecile he is, he can and does, put all his eggs in one basket.  The Tulsa rally was his comeback, his middle finger to all the 'fake news', he would prove to the enemy of the people (the media) that the silent majority loved him.  He went along with all the big numbers that were coming in, in the lead up to the rally because they aligned with is own delusions and false sense of reality. Brad (one mansion, two condos, yacht and Ferrari) Parscale and all the ninnies who surround him, live in terror of his rage, so they tell him anything he wants to hear.  No-one in his vicinity, can act normal because he is an unhinged psychopath.  Parscale may (will) well be the next head on a spike, but he will go out with an 'all the money in the world and I still couldn't make the c.u.n.t. likeable'.  

But I am with Preet.  I don't think anything has hurt Trump as much as this ill thought out, ill planned and ill timed, rally as this.  Even as dense as Trump is, he cannot fail to see the tide has turned and is building up into a tsumani.  Trump's so called endearing qualities are now seen as what they are, the repetitive ramblings of a mean old man with memory problems.  I must admit I was nodding off as Trump spoke (it was the middle of the night here), but I'm sure at one point, while comparing himself to the 'elites', he was droning on about being more handsome, having better hair and better property than them.  I think he also mentions fine silk ties and leather on the soles of his shoes and if he had added, 'so there, ya peasants' I wouldn't have been surprised.   My thoughts?  wtf happened to him? Was it nature, was it nurture, is the devil still around?

But, right now, I am in awe of the kids of kpop, whoever you are bless ya!  I was in awe of the last lot of youthful tech wizards, but you lot are phenomenal!

To all my regular readers and to newcomers, please stay safe during these tumultuous times - and make notes for your grandchildren!


Friday, 12 June 2020

THE BATTLE OF THE STATUES



UPDATE 13/06/20

Eeek, I now find myself on the same side as the far Right, htf did that happen?  My saving grace is that my desire to preserve statues and landmarks comes from an entirely different perspective.  I see them as educational, what school child hasn't stood in awe at the granite manifestation of the dreary old Admiral they were forced to read about.  Times have changed, so too have our heroes.  The dark sides of most of the characters immortalised in marble and granite are now widely known, this generation know that much of what these 'heroes' did was wrong.  They are not idolised, they are warnings from the past, if we can no longer see them, isn't there a danger their evil deeds will also be forgotten?

The Far Right of course, are posturing, they went to London today for a fight but unfortunately for them, the peaceful marchers of Black Lives Matter, had the day off.  Now hyped up on cans of lager they are fighting with the police and urinating on the landmarks they had sworn to protect.  For them, this not about preserving art and history, it is about hyping up the symbolism these statues represent.  The Cenotaph represents the fallen of World Wars I and II, all those who died fighting Nazism.  What do they think their hero Winston Churchill, would make of their salutes to his enemy Hitler in front of the Cenotaph? Perhaps they don't know Churchill had a 'V' for victory sign and that the antifascists won.  The sorrow lies in the fact that most of those marching in London today, have no idea what they are defending.

My hope, more of a prayer right now, is that the character of London is never changed, that all those wonderful old buildings and statues remain as they are.  Our history is rich with characters both good and bad and we have always acknowledged, accepted and learned from that.  Erasing those characters who were bad simply takes away chunks from the bigger story and allows their atrocities to be too easily forgotten.

__________________

What a shame police brutality and Black Lives Matter, has now become 'the Battle of the Statues' and that removing statues and renaming streets and universities has now become the central issue. We should be talking about the massive reform needed within the police and the entire dominant ideology that allows police brutality towards people of colour to exist.

The battle of the statues and the street names can wait another day, it's waited hundreds of years thus far and there are far more pressing matters. People are out in their millions all over the world because society will no longer turn a blind eye to black men and women being killed and assaulted by the police.  That's the issue, let's stay focused.  

Like a lot of people, I too chuckled, as the statue of Edward Colston was thrown in the river where he docked his slave ships.  It was symbolic, it was the physical manifestation of our shared hatred of his despicable trade.  Around that time I shared a tweet from a guy who said, school children learned more about Edward Colston and the slave trade with that one act, than from an history lesson.  Indeed.

But after that I started to panic, because now all historic figures and landmarks are under threat, so too, I assume, all forms of Art, they have even withdrawn 'Little Britain' and 'Gone with the Wind' will also soon be cleaned up.  Will 2020 be the '1984' George Orwell warned us about.  Is history about to be erased?  Will those visiting London find that the 'Sights' have gone because the statues of those who expanded the empire did so by colonising and suppressing other nations.  Maybe it will begin with Queen Victoria.

I would ask, how can destroying history, ever be a good thing?  I am not talking about the destruction of statues by angry mobs, but the removal of statues and renaming of streets by local authorities without any discussion with the people they represent.  It feels like an authoritarian move, even though it is supposedly on the part of the good guys.  

As I explained a few days ago.  Statues are often the target during marches and protests, because they represent the 'Institution', the ideology of the ruling classes.  They represent a time when the elite chose our heroes for us, usually regal, military or political.  True most of them do not represent heroes in the moral and humanitarian sense, but they represent a country's history, warts and all.  Most of us are sophisticated enough to form our own opinions on those characters from history, we might despise what some of them represent, but they are constant reminder of our past.  They are a learning tool, Oliver Cromwell becomes far more interesting when you look at his elevated statue outside Parliament.  He was the scourge of the Irish, ergo offensive, but are his atrocities more likely to be forgotten if his statue is removed, than if it remained with a placard giving a potted history?  

It is only now, whilst the whole world appears to be marching, that attention has turned to these relics of the past.  Statues we have walked past and streets we have walked on for centuries, now represent the hated colonialism of our past.  Are we the first 'woke' generation to see this?  Why here, why now?  Swallows blue pill.  I'm scared.  Where will it end?  This mass worldwide  'Movement' has become so large that they are taking power, and not necessarily the sane ones.  Like the #MeToo movement, it's either opt in, or be a monster.  The entertainment industry and the celebrities are already rushing to distance themselves from anything that could be perceived as racist, from the past.  

Erasing history is where I part company with the far Left.  I simply cannot get on board with this culture of being offended.  Who decided we should all now be offended by statues and landmarks?  And how will tearing them down make anyone feel any better?  If the bad guys are forgotten, won't the things they did be forgotten too?  Isn't the history of what they did an incentive to make sure it never happens again?  History is one of those 'it is as it is' subjects, it can't be changed, but we can learn from it.  Edward Colston for example, has probably been one of the most googled names this week, ergo thousands of people, some for the first time, learned about the slave trade in England.  That's a good thing.

Whilst they have the power, the movement should focus on things that can be changed right here and right now, institutional racism and police brutality.  The public are no longer willing to tolerate it or turn a blind eye, particularly in the USA where gun violence from the police takes so many black lives.  Finally, the power of the masses when they unite is beginning to mean something.  And the fact that they are uniting in the middle of a pandemic shows the strength of feeling.  Trump won't 'give in' to people power, so will probably spend the rest of his presidency under siege if he can't start a Civil War but Biden is listening, and big changes will come.  When historians look back on 2020, let's hope the worldwide marches will mark the year the people said no to racism, and not the year history started to be erased.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

DEAR CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE

I have always wondered how ordinary people in the past coped with major catastrophes, plagues, wars, famines, brutal dictatorships.  As a child I pestered my Dad constantly to tell me what it was like in the 'old days'.  His replies always consisted of 'blooming cheek', but he relished telling me stories of his young days in Scotland, working in a factory and doing his National Service.  He was too young for WWII, but aged 10/11 when it broke out, old enough to follow all the battles and losses and correspond with his older brother in the army.  

Most families, I think, have stories that pass down from generation to generation, and usually a 'keeper' of that history, the Matriarch perhaps or an enthusiastic Aunt or Uncle.  The usual question was 'what did you do in the War dad?', but for all of us now, it will be 'what did you do during the Pandemic?'.  Did you have to wear masks? were you scared to go out?  How did you go shopping?  When did Amazon take over the world?

My letter to the future would say, well you know what, in late 2019 we were getting near to that happy state our red flag waving predecessors fought and died for.  We had, going into the December 2019 General Election, a leader of the Labour Party, who spoke for the many not just the few.  An enlightened, compassionate, statesman, genuinely seeking a better future for all.  We also had at our fingertips, all the information we could ever wish and within seconds.  News reporting has been turned on it's head in the last two decades, biased news agencies can no longer lie to us.  Everyone has a mobile phone, every incident of, say police brutality can and will be filmed.  We rarely buy actual newspapers anymore, relying instead on social media, particularly twitter, the President of the USA's primary form of communication.  We can literally receive breaking news within moments and even as it is happening.

So what do we tell future generations, especially those historians scratching their heads, completely  flummoxed as to how we, in the UK and our friends in the US, with all the information and education we had available to us, could democratically vote for (that's the hard part), two dishonest leaders who are not only an abomination as human beings but who are so inept at leadership, they shouldn't be put in charge of anything beyond a stationary cupboard.  How different our death numbers from Covid-19 here in the UK would be today if Jeremy Corbyn had been at the helm.  We have two clowns as leaders, but there is nothing funny about them.

But children of the future here we are.  Democracy has given us the worst of the worst, how did that happen?  The USA has a loud mouthed game show host as it's President, we in the UK, have as our Prime Minister, a life of privilege loud mouthed, top hat and tails wearing Eton toff who belonged to an exclusive club whose initiation ceremonies included burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person.  Both of these leaders have white/yellow haystacks atop their heads as their trademarks, as if to say 'c'mon, look at the mad hair, what's not to love?'.  I see you historians now, shaking your heads in wonderment, were we really that backward? Yes we were (are).  Maybe the mad hair has a hypnotic effect.  


You, in the future, will also have the benefit of knowing how the coronavirus story ended.  Here in the UK as numbers and deaths keep rising, Boris Johnson is doing his best to push all the plebs back to work, whilst also trying to feign care and concern by clapping on a Thursday night.  Lets get the schools open, he says whilst fist bumping the air (except for the private ones like Eton who are not re-opening until September). 'Let's carry on with the handwashing and staying 2 metres away from other human beings, and all will be fine.  Ok, ok, many of you will die, but lets not make a big deal out of it.  We need to get the economy back on track so me and my mates can carry on stashing up billions for when we are voted out of office'.

As Trump hides in a bunker at the White House, all of his little fires are joining together and closing in on him.  Metaphorically and physically.  Mueller failed to do it, Indictment failed to do it, but now the public are coming out in huge numbers against him and he is on his knees.  It is clear his dementia is rapidly advancing but the hatred he has for so many people is eating him alive.  I can't see any non corrupt campaign manager or advisor, telling him to use his grudges against President Obama to win the upcoming election, methinks, that's all him.  He is handicapping his own re-election chances at every opportunity.  He's had enough, he's reached that stage he is so familiar with, where he just declares bankruptcy/gets divorced,  and walks away.  Maybe he is trying to broker a deal where he commits to resigning if the Democrats promise not to put him in jail.    


The results of Donald Trump's and Boris Johnson's chaotic handing of Covid-19 will be available to you, and history will show that the countries with the highest mortality rates had the worst leaders.  Those will be the cold hard facts accompanied by graphs, charts and the warnings by scientists that were ignored.  As I write this today 31st May 2020, the UK has nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with nearly 40,000 deaths.  We are nearly 3 months into lockdown and the numbers have never really gone below the peak, the first one, we cynics are expecting a second, much bigger wave.  People are bored with the lockdown, the sun is shining and the sky has never been clearer - it would appear we have been polluting the skies, who knew? (sarcasm).  

The future of course, will have all the facts in front of them, but even now, we can see how Covid-19 has exposed the huge failures of absolute capitalism. China, where the virus originated, with a population of 1.49billion, suffered less than 5,000 deaths, close by South Korea had less than 300.   The USA, population 331million has today, 106,000 deaths, and it has just reopened for business so it will probably go much higher.  The UK, population 66.65million, has 38,489 deaths, but like the US, our government is ignoring the advice of scientists and experts in order to get the economy going again.  The first victims of 'the return' our littlest children, the nursery and reception classes.  Ye Gods, what monster chose the toddlers to experiment with!

But children of the future, here we are.  As this pandemic, this plague, sweeps through the world, and we are probably only about half way there yet, we are being led by imbeciles.  It may explain to you, looking back on these times, why 'the West' lost it's status as world leaders and the East took over.  I write this 'warning to the future', because I have always wanted to read the thoughts of a woman from 1930's Berlin.  I guess, everything is fine, until it's not.  We expect every year to be the same as the last, with the shops and restaurants open, the kids at school, the train packed, having it all come to a sudden stop was a shock to us all.  The world literally changed overnight.  Not in that ominous sense of hiding under the stairs waiting for bombs to drop on us, but, perhaps worse.  We have the enemy all around us, we can't see it, but it can get us in multiple ways, many which we don't even know about.  Is it picked up from surfaces? Is it in minute particles on our breath?  It would be easy to become paranoid, but easier still to become complacent, especially if you have stuck to the rules for so long.  

Fortunately, the statistics show that approximately 80% of people in the UK and the US, believe the scientists and doctors over their leaders and politicians.  Neither country has a fast and efficient system of testing, and the danger (so many more infected) is far greater now than it was when the lockdown began.  Most people will follow their own common sense, advice from the government these days is worthless.  

But, children of the future, it is not all misery.  We have, via the television and internet, every form of entertainment, books, films, music, history, science, the list is endless.  We are never truly alone all the while we have mobile phones and Zoom - a face to face 'app' most of us had never heard of until the lockdown. That panicky sense of imminent danger has calmed down to a resigned sense of 'oh well'.  Not many people are wearing masks anymore and less and less people are following the 2 metre rule.  I usually just move away from them or stand out of their way.  I apply the same rule to social distancing as I do to posting on social media.  I am only responsible for what I do and say, what others do is beyond my control.  It's a bit Zen.

You in the future will of course have all the answers.  You will look at the Great Plague in England of 1665, the 'Spanish' Flu of 1918 and Covid-19, which just to confuse things, really took off in 2020.  It would seem that in 2020 that we are just as vulnerable to plague as our medieval ancestors.  You might wonder why countries such as the USA and the UK, spend so much money on arms and weapons of mass destruction, supposedly to safeguard their citizens, yet so little on protecting their citizens from a deadly virus.  Over the past few days we have seen US police, wearing more armour than Robocop, and over the past few weeks we have seen US doctors wearing bin liners.  It's no wonder Trump has withdrawn from the World Health Organisation, science stuff isn't nearly so much fun as buying fighter jets.  

Karma, we hope, will catch up with Trump and Johnson, sooner, rather than later.  Mob boss Trump will hopefully go to jail and Johnson's legacy will be the thousands of unnecessary deaths because he handled the coronavirus so badly.  Sadly it has taken a global pandemic to expose that these two elected leaders have no leadership qualities whatsoever.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

FEMINISM NOW


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dgp9MPLEAqA

I have an interesting reader who often poses interest questions.  A bit of a welcome break from Covid-19, I think, 

Thank you for your post Bjorn, (on the previous blog) there is much to digest there, particularly with applying the feminist perspective to everything, which I think probably applies to most western countries, not just Sweden.   I should perhaps explain to readers that students of literature when deconstructing a text will examine the text from a Feminist, Marxist, Psychological etc, perspective.  For example, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein from a Feminist perspective; The creature had no name -  neither did women, male obsession, 'workshop of filthy creation'.  From a Marxist perspective - the creature was made up of many parts and more powerful than it knew.  From a psychological perspective, obsession, narcissism, batshit crazy.  Applying a feminist perspective (thinking) when reading a text means actively seeking anything that highlights womens' subjugation and male patriarchal dominance.  Of course, quite rightly, 19th century literature is littered with it, even to the point where talented female authors had to use male pseudonyms to get published.  As Virginia Woolf pointed out, history is HIS-story, all the records of our past were recorded by men.  Even up until the last century, women (working class) were only educated enough for a life in domestic service.  Shakespeare's sister Judith (imaginary) would never have earned a living as a playwright, more likely she would have ended up in prostitution and penury.  

I have always described myself as a feminist, simply for the fact that I have never considered myself in any way inferior to any man.  Not since, I was 5 year old and learned to fight twice as hard! But I have never felt inferior, I have never felt I didn't get a job or indeed anything I went after because I wasn't a man.  That of course may all be down to attitude, I had a crazy mother who didn't accept any of society's rules, so it was probably nature and nurture. That's not say I don't acknowledge blatant inequality and that societies still exist who treat women as second class citizens.  But my answer to every question along those lines is education, education, education.  

So what is feminism now?  It's used by the right to promote corsets, high heels, botox and looking good on a man's elbow - see entry requirements for WH female staff.  The Left embrace all forms of victimhood and nothing makes you a victim more than being born the wrong sex.  I wish they would stop telling young girls that they are disadvantaged, or somehow weaker than their male peers, but that is the dialogue that has been established.  How about telling girls how great they are, and how they can change the world?

Real feminists for me, are women who celebrate and embrace their gender, women who achieve their goals without whining about the opposition and asking for concessions because they are women.  It's like trying to get an advantage by claiming you have a physical handicap, and it irritates me intensely.  I don't know how any woman can claim a victory if they didn't compete on a level playing field.  I think it is heart breaking that talented young men (geniuses waiting to be discovered?) who are discarded from opportunities because of their gender.  How can we find the best among us unless opportunity is truly equal?

When I think of feminism, I think of the most prominent 'Feminists' of today.  Those who have attached the label to themselves, or had it attached to them by the media.  Ivanka Trump, desperately in need of a 'cause' when she entered the Whitehouse, thought I'm a woman, in a cabinet predominantly made up of rich old white men, I'll be the representative of women, the successful ones.  To be honest I have a big problem with Ivanka's female entrepreneur schemes.  She is going into extremely poor societies who's cultures she does not understand and is offering cash only to women.  What about the men?  What about the husbands and fathers, the traditional breadwinners? How does her brand of philanthropy work in patriarchal societies?  Does she think she can change their culture with cash?  I really don't think you should fight gender discrimination by creating a new brand of it by discriminating against men.   

On this side of the pond, we have Labour MP Jess Phillips, not nearly so glamorous or interesting, who thinks women should be more man like.  Or, perhaps that should be more lad like in their speech and behaviour, louder and more offensive but ready to cry  'anti women' the minute she starts losing.  To be honest I don't know what her feminist causes are, other than the right for middle aged, middle class, middle income, foghorns like herself not to be offended or chatted up (as if!).  I've always had a problem with many of the prominent women who pitch and campaign on behalf of women everywhere, because when you start to dig a little deeper, you find that their pitching and campaigning relates only to issues that affect themselves.  How many of us, for example need a panic room?  You don't see them p&c ing for working class mothers, women who can't for love nor money, get the feckless fathers of their children to pay child support.  When young, frightened mothers were being fitted with ankle tags for not handing their kids over to potentially dangerous dads, Janet Street-Porter was writing about leg room on luxury airlines.  

Feminism won't reach down into the masses until it applies to the majority of women in the form of equal pay, equal opportunity, free childcare,  free school dinners for all, those very real, very basic, practical obstacles that make the playing field unequal for women.  But they are not headline grabbing issues like 'Lesbian MP has brick thrown at campaign office window', or 'Labour MP threatened by trolls on twitter wants a panic room'.  I think of those suffragettes who stood on orange boxes and chained themselves to railings, who went before her and sigh.  

The majority of working class women, and the majority of women are working class, do not like, or indeed take any notice of ardent feminists, mostly because, they have never, in any way, been relatable to their lives.  For the two parties, the distain is mutual.  Unfortunately for radical members of any cause, whilst they are able to get themselves all worked up into a frenzy over something trivial, passing that frenzy on is not so easy.  Especially as we love, with all their faults, the enemy we are supposed to hate.  Most women don't hate men. they have fathers, husbands and sons that they love.  They have never been on board with making men the enemy.  They actually like men, the non PC ones, the confused ones (the majority) and even the cheeky chappies.

Given the long or is it short, history of Feminism (200 years?), we have probably made a giant leap to about half way there.  That is, within just a few generations, most of the wrongs have been put right, but there is still a long way to go.  In my opinion there is still a debate/argument to be had as to which path we take.   The problem the most radical feminists have, is that the women they are trying to influence, Do we carry on much the same as we ever did, especially as it was probably being non PC that got most couples together, or do we veer towards the sensitive feelings of those who just can't make their minds up?  I have no problem with anyone being whatever gender they choose, indeed I always celebrate those brave enough to embrace their uniqueness.  

Those who upset me are the androgynous, 'how dare you gender assign me' ones, who I fear want us all sporting short, back and sides and sporting grey onesies.  No pink toothbrush and blue toothbrush, let alone miniature kitchens and baby dolls for the girls or plastic grenades and A47's for the sons.  Now you can buy my little ponies for your sons and tanks for daughters, a giant step for mankind.  Parenting must be hell these days, but my heart especially goes out to those with 'woke' parents.  But the gender assigning deserves a whole blog of it's own, so I will put it aside for now.  

Returning to the points you raise Bjorn, because as you say, Sweden is known for it's freedom and egalitarian ways, I don't think anyone seriously thinks Swedish women are oppressed in any way.  I personally think it is a good thing that men and women are so different, vive la difference (wish I knew how to do symbols), it's what makes the world go around, ultimately, how can any government legislate against human nature?  Misogyny still exists, as it always will, but a wise woman knows how to turn that misogyny back on the man enough to make him squirm.  She teaches her daughter how to do it too.  Like most of the unpleasant beliefs and practices from the past, open misogyny will simply become socially unacceptable.  

I don't stand by, with, or anywhere near the so called Feminists of today.  I think the 'Me Too' movement is a huge step backwards.  Those turning trivial, instantly forgettable instances of inappropriate touching as life changing traumas are the weakest among us, not role models.  Their sensitive, fragile, natures, I would imagine, have taken all of the fun out of the workplace. The young and flirty and even the old and flirty were always the most fun to work with. When you take all that away from an office environment, what's left?  What makes you go in every day at 9.00am?  A love of typing and filing?

Feminist thinking I fear Bjorn, accompanies a clampdown on our language, our Anglo Saxon vernacular (the swear words), our innate humour, our lawful right to laugh out loud at situations we find funny.  If we go by Orwell's vision of the future, we have a dark and gloomy world ahead, one in which we all wear androgynous grey suits and sport 'back and sides'.  Who on earth wants that?









Saturday, 9 May 2020

JOIN THE DISCUSSION, COVID, BORIS AND IS THE WEST MOVING TO THE RIGHT?

This week, I feel we have gone even deeper into the Twilight Zone.  I have been following the statistics for Covid-19, and even I, a non scientist or expert, can see we are still at the peak and likely to go very much higher.   If  over 2,500 people  are testing positive each day, then how many people have those 2,500 infected?  How do you trace the contacts of 2,500 every day?  It's an impossible task.

I feel the government is trying to woo us into a false sense of security in some kind of Orwellian way.  It began with the VE Day celebrations (first in my recollection) with people quickly abandoning all their weeks of quarantine to go party with their neighbours.  This week has seen the beaches packed and the streets come back to life.  It's like 'social distancing is so over'.  Why?  When I first starting checking numbers, Kent, for example, had 18 confirmed cases, now it has nearly 5,000 and I'm supposed to feel safer?

Within this blog there are those who think this global pandemic is an almighty hoax, seriously.  But they can have their say.  My first question to them is however, why?  Accusations have been thrown at Bill Gates for example, he apparently, wants to inject every citizen of the world with some kind of microchip that will turn us all into automatons. Unfortunately, that is not even a good plot for a bad sci fi movie, for what purpose for example?  And of course, Bill Gates, has never shown any signs of wanting to rule the world, no diamond collared white cats or gold toilets.

But I won't rule conspiracy theorists out altogether.  There has never been a better time, for those so minded, to harvest masses of private information about us.  I was surprised to learn for example, that all those with access to mobile phone data can literally check an area on a map to see if the population are staying inside.  I found that mind blowing, but of course, right now, there are all sorts of computer whizz kids working on 'apps' that will track and trace the infected (sorry about that, watch way too many zombie films).  We literally won't be able to go anywhere without being tracked and traced.  Scary huh?   

To be honest I gave up on privacy a long time ago, almost as soon as I joined the internet.  It's just not something I would obsess over.  I don't care that my laptop keeps me offering me personalised adverts for fat, fifty and funerals, and I don't care that the Co-op knows I occasionally treat myself to a box of fine chocolates or that I have a penchant for googling 'spooky movies'.  Stores know what our tastes are, as do banks and the machine that dishes out tickets in the car park.  They also know this is the second bottle of pink gin I have bought in 4 weeks.  All that personal information has been harvested by political parties and wanna be despots for decades.  Just for a bit of useless information, buy avocados regularly and you move up a demographic.  

Anyway, we have a good discussion going, Covid-19, Boris, Donald and is the West moving to the extreme right?  Come join us.

___________________________________

How much do I hate Trump?

I know I should be talking about English politics at the moment and the hapless case of Boris Johnson and our own soaring Covid-19 cases, take it on the chin he said, you too can have a stay in ICU with a team of physicians watching you constantly, followed by a sojourn at Chequers and a short spell of paternity leave for your sixth, or is it 7th child.  Could you imagine Churchill taking time off during WWII to learn how to make bottles and change a nappy?

But as much fun as it is having a dig a Botchit Boris, he is not half as interesting as the as the lunatic in the White House.  I miss his nightly briefings, you literally never knew what was going to happen.  What dumbass idea he was going to come up with.  And tis true, I secretly hoped that at some point the men in white coats would appear, or the Cavalry at least.  Trump loves the verbal sparring and it's funny because he thinks he is winning.  His capacity to delude himself must break all previous records.  Step aside all you Napoleon Bonapartes and Julius Caesars, Donald Trump has spoken; 'I alone can fix it'.  And I suspect, if it wasn't for the Evangelists, he would push God aside too.

Now it shouldn't be entertaining to watch someone have a nervous breakdown, and I feel bad about it, but I'm going to watch anyway, I'm not going to avert my eyes.  We are all living in a time of huge change and huge turmoil, our descendants will wonder how we felt and what we saw.    How we, living in a democracy, came to elect the absolute worst of humanity as our leaders.  We haven't been pressured, we haven't been threatened or bribed, we are here as a result of free will.  How will our descendants interpret that, will they see us as greedy, selfish, inhumane?

We Brits had our opportunity to choose unity, compassion and equal opportunity, but we (not me) voted for a government that we already knew to be heartless, manipulative and probably corrupt.  For my readers in the USA, you still have hope!  That is, within a few short months, you can vote in the grown ups.  Donald Trump's toddler brain is not cute in any way, it is downright dangerous.  You have, waiting to take over and fix everything that has been broken, compassionate statesmen and stateswomen, who understand how government works and how legislature affects ordinary citizens.  Will Trump for example, be held to account for the chaos that ensued following his instinct to ban all flights from Europe?  The thousands trapped in crowded airports for hours on end?  Trump doesn't think.  Johnson has the same problem.

It is bizarre on every level, but especially from the perspective of an onlooker from across the pond.  Your leader has abandoned his leadership and is pretending the coronavirus isn't happening.  True, our leader has also abandoned his leadership, but at least he doesn't think it is a hoax foisted on us by the Labour Party and China.  He also, hasn't as yet, suggested we inject bleach.  I suspect Trump's delegating his powers to the States is because he can see disaster coming and he would prefer the Governors to be held accountable and not he.  Globally, 50million died as a result of the 1918 pandemic, 675,000 in the USA, so right now he is a man with a lot of wriggle room.  Handing responsibility for the pandemic over to the Governors individually, is probably the weakest and most cowardly tactic he could come up with, but he has no idea how to lead and he doesn't have the humility to ask for advice from others.  If Hilary Clinton were President right now, she would have Bill, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and probably George Bush as well, to turn to.  Trump has no-one, because he thinks he is a stable genius and he alone can fix it.  That's scary, see his business history.

But Trump has 100% faith in his ability to bullshit.  More particularly his ability to bullshit the uneducated, who he professes to love.  But he doesn't love them enough to ensure they have the same testing and protections that he and his White House staff have.  Not that they even got that right, as I write this, two members of staff close to Trump and Pence have tested positive for coronavirus.  If the hapless Trump administration cannot keep the virus away from the President and the Vice President, how does that bode for the rest of the USA?  Trump's main tactic, it would appear, is to pretend the virus has gone away.  All his wishes haven't come true, but he is acting as though they have.  There is a sad little boy in there somewhere, but there are a lot of bigger problems to cope with right now.   

I don't judge the American people by their ghastly President and the deplorables that follow him.  I love them for their confidence, their honesty, their sense of fair play (most of the time), I never miss Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, the two Jimmies, Kimmel and Fallon, and not American born, Trevor Noah.  I love their writers, their actors and comedians, and of late, their glamour.  And of course, I love everything Hollywood.  All the cool people, it would appear, hate Trump and his destruction of culture.   It's weird how those on the right always want to destroy art rather than celebrate it.  Perhaps because art, literature and music carries the history of their wrong doings.   Trump will do all in his power to cover up the number of deaths, the number infected and the number unemployed.  Whilst he has all the power he can alter public records.  That won't help anyone, but he will argue, China did first.

He can't however distort the truth in the way he would like.  He has tried 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain' a couple of times, and it's never taken.  Journalists are fact checking him on every lying word that comes out of his mouth and it irks him.  Some say he is constantly off his head on Adderall and Sudafed, maybe even cocaine.  He certainly sniffs a lot and his eyes look as though he has hayfever, so it's a possibility.  To me, he brings to mind, every time I have ever been cornered by some drunken, braggadocious old man at a party.  When I was younger, obviously. That is, they/he repeat over and over again for fear you did not fully take in details of their large apartment with room for a pony. Err, yeah, heard that several times - still don't like  you.  I swear if I were in that press gaggle I would get everyone to question him about ventilators, just to take the pee and off script.

My kindest wishes to all my readers, wherever you may be.  Take care.  

JUST MUSING, ROYALTY, STREET PARTIES AND HOW NOT MAKE RICE PUDDING

 One of my readers has taken umbridge at my praise of Sweden's Princess Sofia as a role model and the response from my scholarly Swedish contributor, Bjorn.  This lovely, modern, 21st century Princess responded to the corona crisis by quickly taking an online course and going straight to work in a hospital caring for Covid-19 patients.  

His anger, I think, was the notion of a Princess being a role model, that is ordinary people are doing every day what she does, why should she be singled out for praise?  Is that right?  I wonder dear Reader, if you have ever come across the expression 'it is as it is'? I confess, I did not come across it, or pay any heed to it, until I was in my 50's.  The younger me wouldn't have tolerated that at all, to me those words and 'that's the way we've always done it' was fighting talk.  I wanted to change things and I knew I was right, (but not popular), but I would push ahead regardless. The aged, experienced, wiser me, says go make a rice pudding instead.

But back to Royalty,  being role models is pretty much all they have these days, well that, and diplomatic relations.  The Swedish royal family live lives much closer to ordinary people, than the Windsors, but they are still of interest to their nation and worldwide.  Your neighbour dear reader, or friend (if you have one) may be working 16 hour shifts and be deserving of praise, but, putting it bluntly, ordinary people are not of interest to the general public. It is as it is.

The idea of royalty being role models probably began with Queen Victoria who wanted her family to be seen as the ideal model family, something every British citizen should aspire to.  Being respectable, not (getting caught) committing adultery, not getting drunk in public and not saying anything controversial.  It is their strict family code.  They cannot risk becoming unpopular.  And we, a collective we, do look to our Royal families, perhaps more than we look towards celebrities and media stars, for guidance, or at least a nod, as to how we should behave.  If a royal princess dons rubber gloves and joins those on the front line fighting this pandemic, it sends a powerful message to millions.  I won't say it glamourizes the menial, humble, tasks she has taken on, but for many young people, they may think if a princess can do this, so can I.  

For me, it brought to mind our own Merry Monarch, Charles II best known for his dalliance with a certain buxom seller of oranges, Nell Gwyn.  Lesser known, is that he was a veritable hero during the Great Fire of London in 1666.  He jumped straight into action. Not only did he utilise the full powers of his office, sending troops to control the spread, he worked on the scene day and night fighting the fire directly and instituting and managing aid for the hungry and homeless.  I try, whenever I read anything about him, to remember that.

I agree Bjorn that what Princess Sofia is doing comes straight from the heart.  She could have chosen a 'safe' job but she chose to endure what ordinary Swedish people are enduring in the hospitals, she has quite literally, gone straight to the front line.  That's pretty awesome.  I was also quite touched to see the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate, delivering food parcels with her children.  Now there's a 'Diana' influence!

I have to say I like our own Royals, the Windsors, far more than I used to. My change of heart happened literally within one lightbulb moment.  Sadly, it was following the bomb at the Arianna Grande concert in Manchester.  I watched the Queen (90+) visiting, the mostly young, victims in hospital.  I was mesmerized by the power of her presence, the positive, glowing effect, her smile had on the patients and the staff.  All my viva la revolucion went out the window, I was deeply touched that a lady of such a great age came to offer comfort to the victims and the NHS staff caring for them.  Now as we are in the midst of this century's Great Plague, I find myself heartened and reassured by her words.  The Queen endures, the Monarchy endures, England endures.  I am picking up all those messages, and yes I know they are carefully planted there by spin doctors, but I'm OK with that.  For once they doing something for the good, they are boosting our morale, a strategy that worked during WWII and a strategy that works now.

I was sorry to see however, that loving Queen and Country, went to such crazy lengths yesterday to celebrate VE Day.  Months of lockdown and a day of lunacy!   Now I am not normally a purveyor of doom and gloom, but fffffs sake, have any of those people partying yesterday, even glanced at what happened the last time the world was hit by a global pandemic?  For their information, we have gone through the first wave, now we are just waiting for the big one.  Think of all those people standing on the beaches in Indonesia when the tide went right back and everything went silent.  That's where we are.  

But I don't want to end on a sad note, I am currently enjoying my new OCD, a scientific approach to cooking!  The lashes have been abandoned, it is difficult enough to read recipes through a magnifying glass, throw in a pair of 'thick and flirtys' and I'm working blind!  There is also something a tad ridiculous in wearing full camera ready makeup with PJs and an apron.  True, Barbara Cartland used to do it, but sans the apron and lounging on a chaise longue.  I don't have a chaise longue.   But I digress, I have spent many years moaning about all my dishes that went wrong, now I am on a quest to recreate them, no matter how many tries, or how many failures.  The most recent, a basic rice pudding ffs, and I'm gulping back tears here, was a disaster.  I baked it in the oven for two hours as directed, but I missed the bit where it said stir halfway through!  The result?  Not a soft, creamy, happy memory of school dinners but what can only described as a slab, think breeze block, with a pool of gone off milk around it.

Oops, and there's another sad note, but my kindest wishes to all who look in, it's hard to imagine that we are all pretty much in the same boat just now, albeit socially distanced, in that we are looking for ways in which to keep ourselves occupied and a lot of people have turned to cooking.  I can finally, after decades, put a tick beside perfect Quiche Lorraine (60s bacon and egg pie) and Lemon Meringue.  I think we are all now being more creative because we have to use what we've got!  I'm getting more obscure items online, one vanilla pod for £4 (I know!), gelatine and presently awaiting 3 nutmegs.  I am still recovering from the trauma of the last rice pudding, but I will try again!  Take care everyone.