Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Two sides of Venezuela

Venezuela has plunged into a major political crisis amid a growing row over President Nicolas Maduro's future as the country's leader.

Maduro started a second term on January 10, following a widely boycotted election last year that many foreign governments refused to recognise.

On January 23, Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, declared himself interim president.

Shortly after Guaido took an oath swearing himself in, US President Donald Trump publicly recognised him as the country's leader.

Maduro accused Guaido of staging a coup and ordered his arrest.

Now today [Tuesday 30-April-2019] it looks like it is going to start getting aggressive. Reports coming in that the government is now blocking access to social media in response.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Social Care update

In a report published by free market thinktank the Centre for Policy Studies, Damian Green argues that current social care provision is patchy and inadequate, and the government should be spending an additional £2.5bn on it each year.

He says, the over-50s might be asked to pay a 1% national insurance surcharge, in exchange for a guarantee that their personal finances will not be exhausted by the costs of social care, and that they will be looked after whatever their condition.

But this seems to be a bit hit and miss which has been the problem in the past. Strictly speaking we all pay into a NI stamp and part of that should be used for social care, but it isn't.

Social care funding has become an increasingly toxic political issue. Campaign group Age UK estimates that total public spending on social care has declined by £160m over the last five years despite rising demand, and 1.2 million of over-65s are missing out on the help they need.

One suggestion by a guest on the today programme this morning was that everyone should start paying into a separate fund when they start work specifically for social care, a bit like a pension, and then there would be less problems when we need it most, at the end of life.


Friday, 26 April 2019

Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt" whereas "road" refers to the sea routes, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Belt and Road Initiative is believed by some analysts to be a way to extend Chinese influence at the expense of the US, in order to fight for regional leadership in Asia. China has already invested billions of dollars in several South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to improve their basic infrastructure, with implications for China's trade regime as well as its military influence. China has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment into India it is like a war without the guns.

Is this something we should be worried about or is it an amazing piece of power creep from the East?

There are potential environmental, social, and corruption risks associated with any large infrastructure project. These could include, biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, or elite capture. These risks may be especially significant in countries involved in the belt & road initiative, which tend to have relatively weak governance.

Delays crossing borders, cumbersome customs procedures, and restrictions on foreign direct investment, tend to be more significant in belt & road initiative countries compared to other regions.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Saint George

What do we know about St George?

Saint George [d. 23 April 303] was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith.

Several nations claim St George:-
Aragon in Spain

George was born to Greek Christian parents, in Cappadocia. His father died for the faith when George was fourteen, and his mother returned with George to her homeland of Syria. A few years later, George's mother died. George travels to the capital Nicomedia and joins the Roman army. George is persecuted by one Dadianus.

Why did England adopt St George?

The establishment of George as a popular and protective saint in the West that had captured the medieval imagination was codified by the official elevation of his feast to a festum duplex at a church council in 1416, on the date that had become associated with his martyrdom, 23 April. When the English Reformation severely curtailed the saints' days in the calendar, Saint George's Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Half a century

50 years in the timeline of mankind is not a long time for the measurement of longevity, however, politically the turn around in people's attitudes towards society is incredible.

I saw a picture of Sid James & Barbara Windsor during the filming of a carry on film, you can quite easily imagine what it was about and I thought about all the things we no longer do or say as a result of changing attitudes.

We no longer smoke in cinemas, which was acceptable, we no longer smoke on trains, we no longer smoke in public areas, perhaps one day we will no longer smoke.

Talking about people's variations is off the table too, their skin colour, their beliefs [Anti-Muslim Anti-Semetism], their gender.

Cruelty to animals, children and each other is far lower on the scale of acceptable behaviour. [Of course there are still wars where one person or faction wants what another person or faction has, and individual crimes such as knife crime appears to be on the increase].

On the one hand, why did we do those things before, why did we think they were acceptable then, why do we consider them unacceptable now and what will it be like in 50 years time?

Friday, 19 April 2019

Social Care

People across England are struggling to get the care they need to live dignified and independent lives. Many older people rely on their families to help - or are forced to sell their homes to cover the cost of care. Why should someone who has strived all their lives to make a better position for themselves while supporting the system via National Insurance now be put into this situation? Our social care system is broken.

But an influential group of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff have come together to say enough is enough. They have published an open letter demanding the government step up and creates a plan that gives social care the funding it needs.

Now they have launched a petition alongside their open letter to make sure the public's voice is heard too. If hundreds of thousands join voices with theirs, pressure can be put on the government into finally funding a social care system that is fit for purpose.

Vulnerable people across England rely on social care to live a life of dignity. But the government is not making this easy. With cost of support in a care home pilling up and people left waiting for care - thousands are stranded whilst politicians decide what to do.

That is why doctors, nurses and staff from groups like the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and NHS Confederation have joined together to form ‘Health for Care’. It's a big deal for groups like this to launch a petition and publicly call the government out, so ministers will be worried and watching closely to see what happens next.

When Theresa May announced her plans for social care back in 2017 the media backlash was huge. Fear of a repeat could be what is holding them back now - so let's show them that the backlash from doing nothing is just as strong. A huge campaign could force the government to create a properly funded system that makes sure our NHS is not left to plug the gap.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


Two days after the Thursday [11-April-2019] arrest of Julian Assange at Ecuador's London embassy, several government websites were hacked; including Ecuador's official website, the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ecuadorian Assembly in the UK, according to Gateway Pundit's Cassandra Fairbanks, who was in London last week and documented the run-up to Assange's arrest.

Following Assange's arrest, more than 70 MPs and peers signed a letter urging the UK home secretary to ensure that the WikiLeaks founder is extradited to Sweden if Swedish authorities request it.

Sweden is considering whether to open a previously-dropped investigation into allegations of rape and sexual assault against Assange.

The United States, meanwhile, wants to try Assange for the largest-ever leak of government secrets in 2010. On Thursday, the Justice Department hit him with an indictment that claims the WikiLeaks founder helped former US Army intelligence analyst crack DoD password using Linux.

"The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defence computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications," reads a DOJ press release.

Materials Manning released included videos of various US airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the "Iraq War Logs" and "Afghan War Diary."

Assange faces five years in prison if convicted in the Manning case.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Small political parties

In the upcoming elections there are people who have to vote. They consider they have been given this chance to speak and do not want to waste it, however, who do they vote for?

The party they have always voted for, but they are disgruntled and no longer want to support them or more importantly want to register a complaint or protest by not voting for them. They do not want to vote for the opposite side as it goes against what they fundamentally believe, so how do they use their vote on the day.

They vote for one of the smaller parties.

Now in this position they do not consider left or right as a major factor in decision making here except they would not be prepared to go to either extreme, the far right or far left, so it has to be centre. Who is thinking of making a new party with the current crisis in mind? Yes, Nigel Farage and the new Brexit Party. They will see this as an answer to their current problems, the vote they made in 2016 can now be realised at the expense of the major parties who have prevaricated for the last two years in parliament.

Now will it be possible for enough people to move from the conservatives and labour to give the Brexit party a majority? I wonder.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

An Extension

After doing nothing for the last two years, the British PM Theresa May is traveling across Europe to ask for another extension. Will it receive a favourable view or be rejected outright.

Actually she has not really done nothing, she has done everything she can to stop Brexit, that might seem a bit harsh but, however, it appears to me that she has actually prevaricated over Brexit for the last two years.

Up to today it also appears that more than half of conservatives have failed to support the PM with Article 50 requests by either voting against or abstaining, more than half, that is ridiculous.

One of the people that could throw a spanner in the works is the French President Emmanuel Macron might reject the idea of an extension with a veto then we would have to leave on 12th April, however, we cannot as the commons have passed a law saying we cannot leave without a deal, so what then? Theresa May would have to revoke Article 50!

If that happens, the PM will resign, a new leader will be found and we start all over again with another referendum.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Two years of prevarication.

29 March 2017
Theresa May sends Article 50 notification letter

18 April 2017
Theresa May calls a general election for 8 June

8 June 2017
General election results in hung parliament

19 June 2017
The first round of Brexit negotiations takes place

8 December 2017
Joint report published by the UK & EU

15 December 2017
European Council concludes sufficient progress has been made to move on to the second phase of the talks

28 February 2018
The European Commission publishes a draft of the Withdrawal Agreement

26 June 2018
European Union Withdrawal Bill becomes an act

6 July 2018
Chequers meeting

8 July 2018
David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary, replaced by Dominic Raab

9 July 2018
Boris Johnson resigns as Foreign secretary

20 September 2018
An informal EU summit is held in Salzburg

14 November 2018
The UK & EU reach an agreement 'in principle' on the Withdrawal Agreement

15 November 2018
Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit secretary along with Esther McVey, Suella Braverman, Rehman Chisti and Shailesh Vara

16 November 2018
Stephen Barclay is appointed Brexit secretary

10 December 2018
The ECJ rules that a member state can unilaterally revoke Article 50
The prime minister postpones the first meaningful vote

12 December 2018
Conservative MP's trigger a no confidence vote in Theresa May, which she wins

15 January 2019
The government loses the first meaningful vote by 220 votes

16 January 2019
The government wins a no confidence vote in the commons

11 March 2019
Theresa Many travels to Strasbourg to finalise additional texts to the Withdrawal Agreement

12 March 2019
Theresa May's deal is defeated a second time by 149 votes

13 March 2019
MP's vote to reject the UK leaving the EU without a deal

14 March 2019
MP's vote to request an extension of the Article 50 period

20 March 2019
Theresa May requests an extension of Article 50 to the end of June

21 March 2019
EU agrees Article 50 extension to 12 April

27 March 2019
indicative votes held in the commons to find a Brexit consensus

12 April 2019
Current deadline for the end of Article 50

My return

I have decided to come back to the blog.

Naturally the first thing I did was to see if I could login with the previous details, the answer was no.

It appears Blogspot has been taken over by Google, just like everything else, so now I have more accounts with exactly the same details, and this from the people who tell us to safeguard our information and not use the same password for every account.

OMGLOL ~ what a joke...