Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexiteers' Pyrrhic Victory*

Well, I suppose we all have to wait to see what the PM decides to do. Treaty withdrawal requires an Act of Parliament, but I imagine if he so chooses, he can consider the ‪‎Brexit‬ referendum a mandate to notify the European Union of our intention to withdraw.

From what I have been reading in related news-articles this morning, it sounds like Gove & Johnson [prominent Leavers] have drawn up a list of EU directives, and ECJ [sorry - European Court of Justice] rulings they are now going to rip up ahead of any formal withdrawal. One more goose-step towards ‪‎totalitarianism‬.
Very sad day for the United Kingdom, that now will be broken up. Scotland voted remain in every single one of its authorities. The more liberally minded Scots will want to remain in the EU. Surprisingly - to me at least - Northern Ireland has similarly voted for remain. And as I predicted, moves to re-unite Ireland are already being mooted.

The Pound has dropped to a 31-year low: so that's all imports that are going to go up in price from fuel, heating costs, food, wine, etc. And the ensuing result will be a steep rise in inflation and thus mortgage costs and then rents. So unless one happens to be independently well-off - like most Tory MPs - the cost-of-living is about to become very burdensome.

And don't be counting on your pension: the pension funds have just lost £millions and that will be the continuing trend for the foreseeable future.

The ‪‎NHS‬ will lose many of its highly trained European staff - we do not produce sufficient doctors & nurses to fully staff the NHS. So service at hospitals and even GP surgeries - who often rely on EU docs to cover weekend and night-time call-outs - will deteriorate. Who knows, I bet access-charges are just around the corner. And remember many of our meds have to be imported, so that will probably mean prescription-charges will shoot up.

Pensioners, disabled, sick, poor, unemployed, low-employed, homeless folk will all lose out. The younger generation, already brassed off with the raw deal that baby-boomers have left them, will become ever more jaded and cynical with the scraps they are begrudgingly offered.

And university costs will soar, because there will be very few high-paying foreign students entering here. So expect several unis to collapse in bankruptcy.

And don't forget the navy, army, airforce, etc. have been cut to the bone - they will not be able to take on extra border duties and continue with the prestigious international affairs our oligarchs are always so keen to participate in.

So well done all those of you who thought you were doing Ole Blighty a favour: you have just shot the Nation in the foot!

'Bye-'bye Europe! I don't suppose we shall see the EU flag (below) flying here for very much longer.

Such a sad, sad day………


* "A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way. However, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit. Another term for this would be "hollow victory"."

Per Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Is this the beginning of the end…?

I try to be a reasonable, rational and liberal (note lower-case ell) person. I am and always have been non-partisan when it comes to politics, having never agreed with the party-political system using whips that we have in the United Kingdom. It cannot be viewed by any sensible person as democratic, for it is essentially oligarchic. My parents held opposing political views and my siblings and I were raised to try to see the other's perspective. My personality - and that of very many ordinary Brits - is one that cares about one's neighbours and neighbourhood.

 The slogan reads:

I'm voting

For most Brits social justice is, or used to be, at the very core of our values; the quintessence of Britishness. Just look at all the folk who raise money for charities &/or who volunteer, or the folk - not just relatives - who take on caring duties. Most are happy to support our NHS in any way we can - despite the on-going privatisation by successive governments. And just look at the out-pouring of care whenever there is an international disaster! We are not, however much the likes of UKIP and other extremist parties might like to believe, little Englanders. We have always been outward looking (- not always necessarily for the best as huge mistakes were made in relation to empire). Nonetheless, to this very day, millions of Brits reside in countries outside the UK and are spread right around the globe.

With the exception of a rather hateful era when Jews were exiled from England, we have welcomed workers from abroad whether refugees, merchants, traders or artists and artisans. Not only has this contributed to our rich history and culture, but this stand-point has substantially benefitted our economy.

A vote for Brexit will not mean that these folk will be forced to go back to Europe. Many have set up businesses and employ folk - who will certainly fight to retain their jobs. Most have grown networks of friends, neighbours & colleagues within communities - who will certainly fight to retain their valued members. Such folk should surely vote Bremain.

A vote for Brexit may very well mean that many of the few million Brits residing in Europe will be forced to return to the UK. The pressures on housing, other infrastructure and the NHS will remain at least the same or heighten - for many of the folk who will return will be pensioners who will need healthcare and social care due to being removed from their support networks and inclement climate here. So, if one is concerned, even worried, about immigration then one should surely vote Bremain.

A vote for Brexit will permit this and any future government to do pretty much as they please with no international oversight. The previous and current governments have acted as they please, ignoring judicial orders to obey the law of the land. Cameron has even repeatedly stated that he wants to abolish the House of Lords, which, whilst archaic and in many ways undemocratic, nevertheless is often the only check & balance on the power of the Executive (thus paradoxically acting democratically!). There is a democratic deficit within the European Union. The Executive, in this case the European Commission, has usurped too much power (rather as has the United Kingdom Executive). I agree wholeheartedly that the democratic systems within the EU have to be changed and improved so that European citizens believe and know that they are heard and responded to. However, the only way to change a system is from within. If Britain votes out, then we are immediately locked out of any kind of influence. So anyone that wants to change the EU for the better should surely vote Bremain.

Today and tomorrow one of the United Nations' committees is quizzing the UK over its treatment of disabled people, having collected a wealth of data and documentary evidence to demonstrate that we are being abused, mistreated, scapegoated, demonised and starved of funds & access due to social security (welfare) cuts, propaganda and mainstream-media misrepresentation. (See for example this article for a more in-depth analysis.) The EU has and continues to draw up laws and rules for pan-European access to goods, services and support. Here in England & Wales, the government is only now, after a couple of decades, going to try to enforce the law which is supposed to prevent taxi-drivers from refusing to take disabled passengers - yes, this has and continues to occur to hundreds of individuals each and every day. Without European oversight, I very much doubt that a laissez-faire - let alone an overtly disablist - government will pursue expanding disability access rights. If you know someone who is disabled or chronically sick, and you care about them, you should surely vote Bremain.

The slogan reads:

I'm voting

I could write about many, many other areas that the EU improves for each and every one of us - such as environmental laws that ensure clean water or the labelling of clean/dirty beaches; or laws that protect workers rights to pay, conditions, holidays; or laws that ensure our human rights§ (like not to be arrested and detained without trial, and so on). However, I have limited energy and resources. If  the reader is interested, please do your own research. Once you have done, you will surely vote Bremain.

The EU has much that is wrong with it, just like our very own political system here in the UK. Whilst one has the opportunity to vote to leave the former, one cannot exit the latter. Tomorrow I shall be voting Bremain.


§ Technically this is due to human rights laws (based on British submissions & jurisprudence) via the European Council; but it is the intention, I understand, of the Conservatives with UKIP support to withdraw from both the EC and the EU if the Brexiters win.


The images I have used were sent to me by the Labour Party. Their use here does not imply any kind of support on my part for Labour, other than the stances contained within the slogans.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Madonna: Six of the Best!

I am not the biggest fan of Madonna's work. However, there are some tracks for which I have a great deal of love &/or respect.

For me, mainly due to memories from when I turned twenty, my first song has her playing a born-again virgin, "Like A Virgin" (1984). The video really takes me back to the hairstyles and fashions of the mid-1980s. Another reason for liking this song is that back in the late 1990s, it was one of my two staple karaoke tracks, which I sang in an acceptable (and oddly appreciated!) baritone:

My all-time favourite Madonna song with video is "Frozen" (1998):

I find the video intellectually, emotionally and spiritually stimulating: intellectually because my degree in Theology & Religious Studies comes to bear; emotionally as I recall an ex-lover who just would not let me in; spiritually in the numinous moments I experience whilst listening.

It is interesting that the Wikipedia article, which is really far better than I at discussing the track, in so doing fails to make any mention nor reference to the mythological Djinn let alone witches. Nor in their article on Djinn is there a cross-reference in the popular cultural references section.

There are a couple of paintings that I personally see as perhaps having a pictorial &/or symbolic connection with the video; thus adding a further emotional connection for myself.

The first is Malcolm T. Liepke's portrait of a shapeless woman swathed in all-encompassing black robes with flowing black hair.

The second is a painting by Giovanni Sagantini entitled "Le cattive madri" translated as "The bad/evil Mothers" (1894, purchased by the Austrian state in 1902) which usually hangs in Vienna's Belvedere Museum.

An interesting essay on the painting suggests the following:

Above all, she is an erotic-orgiastic woman in whom Segantini conjoins the biological conflict between motherhood/sexuality, freedom/captivity.

These are themes upon which Madonna's œuvre has frequently touched.

Perhaps interestingly and co-incidently, Madonna begins the next video also attired in black with wind-blown, long black hair. I love the way the song commences as a plaintive cry of desperation and ultimately explodes in a gospel-choir hope-filled crescendo. It makes me horripilate every time!

Herewith, "Like A Prayer" (1989):

My next two favourites are related to films (movies). The first is from a film panned by critics, but which I oddly adored (despite being far from a fan of Warren Beatty). Madonna, as far as I am concerned, entertained best on celluloid in "Dick Tracy". Here you go with a bit of spanky (perhaps receiving six of the best*!) in "Hanky Panky" (1990):

And the other film-track is from a film in which, apart from singing the eponymous title song, she also played the rôle of a sword-wielding dominatrix named Verity. (Her second-best acting part to my mind.) Of course, it is the James Bond film "Die Another Day" (2002). It was refreshing to see the credits of a 007 picture used to further the tale rather than just being an excuse to showcase semi-clad &/or nude females.

Finally, a track I love to listen to due to the sample from "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" by ABBA and due to it bringing to mind my best friend & ex-partner. This is a fantastic fusion of ABBA & Madonna which produced a revivifying dance anthem mixed with a nostalgic tang. Alas, Madge's choice of attire, makes the accompanying video hard to view without squirming! But perhaps that is just my hang-up? Herewith, "Hung Up" (2005):

Hope you like my selections. Do you agree with my top Madonna choices? If not, which tracks would make your list and why? To assist here is a link to her full singles discography.

* = "six of the best Brit., chiefly historical or humorous a caning as a punishment, traditionally with six strokes of the cane." (sic)