Marks & Spencer

This isn’t just food…this is M&S food!

At least, this is what we were told for months on end, the advert drove the Matron round the bend, particularly when I said the voice was all sexy and mysterious. Talking about my darling wife, a few days ago I decided to have a day off from being the objectionable and demanding husband – it’s true, I promise you!

The Idiot’s Lantern (ie TV) had been plugging us for weeks about all this cordon bleu £10 job at Parc Trostre’s M&S (why we chose there is a mystery to me) – the truth is, somebody had bought me a multi-coloured rugby shirt for Christmas and I was taking it into M&S to get the money back. Rugby? Multi-coloured? Not me at all. Getting into ruck’s and sniffing other men’s backsides has never  been my style, apart from anything else, I’m a starched collar and double-cuff man myself.

Anyway, I cashed in the rugby shirt ie I was given a credit note and sauntered around for a few minutes wondering what to do next. As you know, ’shopping’ is not really my thing and frankly, I just get thoroughly confused with all the sparkling floors, shiny chrome clothes rails and sales assistants who look as if they’d do anything to work for John Lewis and have a slice of the action at the same time – I tried buying some sexy lady’s underwear in there once, that was an experience, believe me. I nearly started wearing the stuff myself, the assistant was so convincing. The Matron kept checking my drawers for months afterwards too!

So, pants or socks seemed the only way out of my M&S credit note nightmare. Off I went, looking here and there, hither and thither, when all of a sudden the Matron popped into my head. Why not do something all loving and appreciative for once, thinks I? Why not say ‘I love you’ without the words?

Inspiration struck! An M&S £10 supper for two! Different, imaginative, romantic, all for £10! This will put a smile on the wife’s face, I thought.

The following evening, I prepared a dining table fit for a Royal feast. Pukka table cloth, best cutlery (even proper fish knives!), candles, the works.

Guess what? The fish oozed spinach, which the Matron hates, the chips had crinkled passed their sell-by date, the wine was dismally mediocre and the cherries in the pudding, were a definite no-go area.

Now you know why, I don’t ‘do’ shopping and why I’ll never try and get on to a Mr & Mrs TV Show.

And to hell with a M&S £10 dinner for two!

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Anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn is having a bit of hard time at the moment – not that anybody in Wales will be put off by this, and rightly so! It’s all about anti-Semitism, that’s speaking ill of the Jews. Surprising really, I thought we’d sorted all this out a long time ago but there we are. I can’t say that someone who is Jewish makes any difference to me. I remember some Jewish friends in Law School (that’s a fair time ago!), they were really on the ball. Outpaced me at every turn! Good luck to them too.

Jeremy Corbyn was railed against for letting his far left leadership with ‘siding with anti-Semites’ again, according to Jewish groups around the country. The row is about a mural which is offending the cause of the Jews, a mural showing Jewish bankers playing monopoly on the backs of the poor  – Corbyn didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, it was just a mural and that’s that.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a letter the mainstream majority of British Jews and their concerns are ignored by Corbyn and those he leads. Thus the Left wing are racist. Corbyn has apologised but is this enough?

Personally I don’t see what he can do, short of expelling those form the Labour Party he knows are racist – this would be a fine job, all the parties have people in them of a racist inclination! So I would say, there’s nothing much he can do.

Apart from this, this is a slur on his character. The Far Left is coming in for a trial by tribulation. Not good.

Corbyn needs to come in from the cold, try a different form of politics. Keep his Left of Centre to tolerable gains and surmountable achievement, this way he would gain a few votes. Running off to the far Left is not the way. He will lose. If he can keep his Party in line he may have a chance to gain power, if he can keep part of the Left restrained in its anti-Semite leanings. The racist groups may be forming but Corbyn please keep your politics to the Left of the Centre ground, not far Left. You may take this Column as unadulterated piffle but there’s some truth in it. A truth that you have to learn or sink without a hope.

It’s all about keeping the people on your side and anti-Semite deliberation (I know that you are not responsible for this but you are the Party Leader) is not the way to do things – not if you want to be Prime Minster.

 

 

Corbyn – EP

Jeremy Corbyn is straying a little too far to the appeasement game ie not giving the Government full Labour Party backup in the foreign relations debacle. I’m thinking here of Russia, in all its patently glorious empire!

He’s being slow and distracted – perhaps by a changing political will, although I can’t imagine what that could be?

His Left of Left politics is hardly going to change the will of the general population. He’s bending too far too the other side, although if this is your choice vote for him and good luck to you. It’s a democracy and everyone has a free will to exercise their voting inclination. Some commentators say, his Russian antics are causing a split in the Labour Party. It’s falling apart, in all directions. Some in the Labour Party are moderate and some find his support (?) for the Russian State intolerable, although they don’t say this in public which is fair enough.

A split?

Corbyn’s past antics have caused concern amongst many. His politics are far too Left for some in Labour, there is a faction of dissent in the Parliamentary wing of the Party. Now, this is fine if you follow a Left of the political persuasion but and here’s the thing, the UK is not a Left leaning state – albeit that he may have a 650,000 (or thereabouts) members. Young and fresh and know it all students – I can’t say much else as I was a student once, a long time ago! So this is hardly a basis to put your political life into.

He’s selling Britain down the road with no car to thumb a lift in. Not good.

If Corbyn is your choice for Prime Minister then good on you, but be careful what you vote for. Churchill went nuts over appeasement and May, dare I say it, is the same. Russia has always been unpredictable, so be circumspect in what you vote for. Another Labour Leader, who knows but Jeremy Corbyn I’m not so sure.

He’s just too soft and a Prime Minster has to be hard as nails.

It may take a division in Labour but so what? We’ll get a Leader that we believe in, not somebody that is scared to say hold on your wrong, for fear of having his Left of Centre brought into question. It’s a tough decision to make, but in the hereafter everybody in Wales will be forced to make it. Far Left is not the way, workers’ rights, social security, a decent education, the Health Service is and we don’t need a quasi-Marxist (I’m thinking here of John McDonnell!) to tell us this.

But then this is politics for you, who am I to tell you what to do.     

 

 

Immigration

Immigration? All the politicos are burning this notion on everybody voting ‘out’ of the European Union because of it. How has Wales reacted to this? I can’t see any desire for this to be a reason, can you? There is no immigration in Wales – to speak of, apart from Swansea and Cardiff and even here the people from other continents is derisory to put it mildly.

I lived and worked in Birmingham for a good few years and there is definite problem with immigration, well some of the more extreme versions of it. I lived in a road where I was only ‘white’ there and my staff were all of the Sikh variety. And do you know what? I never had any problem. I went to few Sikh weddings etc and even now some of my best friends are of a Sikh culture.

Makes you wonder what all this ‘problem’ is all about doesn’t it?

In Birmingham, other cultures was the way, the mainstream. But in Wales this is not the case. So, why did we vote out in the referendum? I cannot figure this out. Could it be that we see immigration as a drain on our finances? On the other hand, is it costing us too much to put up them? The Health Service, old people etc etc Lets not blame it on ourselves for heaven’s sake, it’s all the immigrants that are coming into Wales isn’t it?

What balderdash.

Where Wales is concerned, immigration is not the problem. The Welsh government is. They’ve messed up the financial planning, the Health Service, social care and on and on it goes. All in all, for the past 20 years they’ve made a hash of everything. Good on them though, that’s what politics is all about. Can’t understand why I write on it but there we are, I’m the deluded type that exists purely to put his name to something!

You all need to think about this, it is worthy of thought. Some might say, get out of here, you’re talking a load of rubbish but am I? I think not. Having lived in England for most of my adult life, I just don’t see where the problem lies. Live in London, Essex etc and you’ll know what I mean. Immigration is fine, the country cannot do without it and anyone who endorses a block on it is singing in the wind.

We all live in the same country, so why don’t we learn to tolerate and accept one another – apart from terrorists and the such like?   

Compare Birmingham and London to Swansea or Cardiff and the immigration question doesn’t exist at all, so what is all the fuss about?

 

Teresa May

Teresa May has been generous in her outward looking thought processes on leaving the European Union – I can’t stand using the word ‘Brexit’, it sounds like something from a Kebab take away  stall! But there’s one problem: The European Union is not taking a blind bit of notice of her. She tries and tries but to no avail.

The universal European ‘contract’ cannot be broken – not even by a sovereign state. It’s the B and end of all of peace and tranquillity. Well some might think this but even if you do, it is not in the interests of the UK. May has a difficult task in front of her, keeping the right wingers in line and the left (the Tory left, whatever that’s supposed to be?). A difficult task indeed.

Prime Ministers face all kinds of problems but this is the coup de grace of the modern era. The crowning glory. There’s ‘cherry picking’, have you ever heard anything so ridiculous in all your life? Loads of countries ‘cherry pick’ on all kinds of standard trade agreements, so why have we got to pick on these words all the time?

The media has gone nuts again – well, at least this is something we all know about!

All in all, the Prime Minister has done a good job. She has been honest and particularly frank – a trade deal will not give us everything we want. She has kept all parties happy, for now anyway. What’s happening with John Major I just don’t know, he hasn’t got over the Munich Treaty yet I suspect. It was good to see Mandelson on the telly, all the Blairites are not dead yet!

It will be difficult to criticise Theresa May. She is the only leader the Tory party can produce. She is strong and sticks to the task in hand. Will she ever go? I don’t think so, not if she has any political sense. We’ve got her for some time yet.

The media and press go on and on about nonsensical issues – issues that don’t get on the radar of the average voter. It will be in or out, blah bah blah. The EU is pushing hard and being deliberately uncooperative. Let’s hope Theresa will get them going after this, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. There is a long path of negation to go and where this will end up heaven knows where.

There is much that the EU can hold out for more but will this affect their own financial position? Their own trade?

These are the questions that all need to be asked. Where it will end up, I just don’t know – and no does anybody else for that matter!

EBook or print? – EP

EBook or print. Crusty sentimentality or pure practicality?

Waterstones have just announced a profit, albeit on children’s books – well, if you want to make some profit there’s the best way to go! Not to mention all the other stuff they sell. Children’s books. Now there’s something to get your teeth going, isn’t it?

Publishers are reluctant to say how they sell, on what genre etc.  So, it’s difficult to conclude anything. The BBC has recorded a drop in eBook sales of 0.1% – is this more to do with austerity perhaps? Taking all the evidence in tow (how much credulity to put on this, is your guess) it seems that eBooks are on the decline and print books are all in an upsurge of sales. Well, that’s the upsurge.

One thing I do know, is that Waterson’s are not keeping piles of books and neither is W H Smiths, this tells you something. In light of all this are eBooks really in decline? My own books (fiction) seem to be levelling out, the same for eBook as for the printed version. All in all, I can’t make as solid statement on anything at all – and I don’t trust publishers at all (dealing with them is enough of a nightmare in itself!).

Reading is down, full stop. We have a generation that is only click clicking and this may well be the cause. It might be that all this is well, but I’m not so sure. What happens with degrees, what happens with general learning? In my opinion, it is all downhill. I was talking with a Professor of Law the other day and asked him whether his students were all doing the classic legal texts that I used to have to do. He laughed and said in your dreams. This a fact I (I don’t write ‘fake’ news).

It’s troubling, more than troubling. Life is more about Tweeting and Facebook, heaven help us. I don’t bother with either, you’ll pleased to know – on second thoughts, I don’t know whether you will be pleased to hear that, but there you are!

EBooks are cheaper and inexpensive – although publishers keep the price up. I don’t understand why but there we are. Is it about saturation? There are is more self-published work on the internet that ever before. Is it about democratising? I’m not so sure. Is it about the emotional connection between the reader and the print books? This is another that is for the reader to decide.

I can say this: Reading is for an intellectual elite – that sounds bad doesn’t it? An elite that is fast declining. What we are all going to do about it, I just don’t know.

Buy more eBooks I suppose.

Is the law really an ass?

Is the law really an ass, as Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist said? Or does true knowledge come from experience, as St. Augustine of Hippo maintained? Something you all need to think about. There’s a lot of asinine legislation to consider: Health and Safety, Islamic terrorists, smoking in cars, you can’t smack your children etc etc There an awful lot if it about, isn’t there – some provisionally, it must be said?

It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a women to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store and mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day. Here’s the best one, in the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.

Ridiculous, you have to admit.

There are plenty of other ‘laws’ but I’d be here all day, if I tried to go through them all of them!

A system of laws promotes freedom, makes planning easier, promoting economic growth and social justice, not to mention the protection of the environment as well. Additionally, there are laws to enforce the ethics accepted by society. In the case of an individual doing something wrong, it is considered by the law to be wrong too.

Fair enough, by this last point.

So, the fundamental aim of having a legal system in society is therefore, to create social cohesion or harmony.

Well now, I’d like you to think about the Nuremberg trails. They all acted legally at the time but was it legal to execute them? A hum drum question that has jurisprudential thinkers going round the bend for years. The law being as ass again, depending on what your point of view is?

Political correctness does detach one from the truth, however unkind it is. On the other hand it does bear witness to the equal society we live in (well, some would say ‘equal’ others would object to it!). You really must take in on the chin and love it or supremely dislike it. With Parliament deciding how we should think, what else is there? A few years locked up in disgruntled turpitude no less.

The law really is an ass but then, where would we be without it? Here’s a question for those who would do without society or a system of laws.

Chaos, would be the end result.   

Feminism? – EP

You must have heard this recent mess that is going on about ‘political correctness’? Well, if you haven’t you must be more ignorant of current affairs that I am and that’s saying something! The Americans are taking it to new height (you can forgive Trump for having a go). Universities are trying to take the male/female out of the learning agenda – how you are supposed to do this, is beyond me. Virginia Wolff or D H Thomas? He or she? Heaven knows. It’s as sturdy rebellion of words, that’s it.

There’s the sexism debate in Parliament, in charities and everywhere else it seems. I’d be scared to take a girl out now……not that there’s a remote hope of that, my lady wife keeps a watchful eye over all things feminine!! You can see what I mean though, can’t you?

Men are the targets and they’ve got a big red bull’s eye on their chests.

You can’t say this, and you can’t say that. It’s becoming a nightmare and a tiresome one at that. I’m all for equal of pay, it’s only right and proper but there’s one thing missing in this great debate (well, not exactly ‘missing’ but not given a chance to be fully aired). The choice that women have to exercise childbirth. This is a choice. Nothing more nothing less. Some choose it, some don’t. Well, all I can say to this, it’s a woman’s right to choose.

I have two girls. One has chosen to have two children and the other has chosen not to. All is fair in love and war and I can’t say that either of their decisions has bothered me one way or the other. It’s their bodies and that’s that but it does have implications on their career prospects. The ‘stay at home’ mother does risk this playing out in her work but if she’s prepared to do it, so what?

And this is the problem I’m talking about. Child care is expensive and no-one can avoid it, it’s the world we live in. So, if the government can do something about this, then all the better. As usual it comes down to the government but who else is to blame? Who, indeed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting fed up of all this shouting and balling amongst our politicians, particularly where this infringement of human rights is concerned. They do have better things to do. As Oswald Mosley said back in the ‘30’s, politics is a right mess (not that I’m a follower of that gentleman) but he did get this right.

Politicos need to get their act together and stop tearing each other apart. We’d all live in a far more peaceful and pleasant land, wouldn’t we? 

Politics?

Politics, religion and money! At least these were things I was taught never to discuss at a dining table. Well, you can do heavens knows what with these three – abominable topics of conversation that they are!

Now I would like to begin with politics – I have never been heard to discuss this but there we are! Do you know, I don’t know what all the fuss is about with this Brexit thing. The Prime Minister doesn’t know either and is being hauled over the coals for it. Her Party is equally ignorant – so is the Labour Party. What’s new? Every Prime Minister I can think of, has been up before the Jury on something or other, and they have survived. Maybe Theresa May is playing daft just to keep in place – there is no other candidate and whomever wants the job anyway? Dealing with the Single Market and Customs Union, no thanks.

In my opinion, she’s just playing smart and good luck to her too. Jeremy Corbyn could try it but I’m not so sure. Everything in politics is simply wait and see, let’s hope we don’t do too much waiting! It’s all about respect for another and we haven’t seen much of that lately. Corbyn’s Momentum (Left of Left) group is causing chaos and the Tories appear to be in the same inedible soup. That’s politics for you.

Carwyn  Jones, the Leader of Welsh Labour at the Assembly (I don’t know why I’m wring about him, he’s finished), is ducking to allow Mark Drakeford to take over – I know I’m not supposed to predict but I just can’t cannot  help it. So, that’s it for Welsh Labour, they will soon be kicked out of office and can spend the next 20 years wondering how it all happened. Chance would be a fine thing!

I’m not going to get into religion or money, politics is far more interesting – that’s if you are political maniac such as myself. But it does fascinate, all the comings and goings. Who is going to resign next? Who is going to be in a sex scandal? All grist to the political mill. The truth is, I cannot ‘predict’ anything, it’s a shower of political will and we the people, are at its mercy.

‘We the people’ is an interesting comment to make. Do just remember, that it is we that have to make up our minds. We, who decide who rules us. We might make mistakes but it is as sure as hell falls at our doorstep.

Think upon this!

Computers – EP

The media are creating a stink about sexual harassment, Gays, sexual annoyance, LGBT, Brexit and what on earth do we do next? I’m scared of telling a joke that might upset some do-gooding bleeding heart!

It’s all going berserk.

Natural offence is fine but do we need all this nonsense? We can’t do this, we can’t do that, and all from the trials and tribulations of a television screen – and computer violation, better not leave that out. Its bombastic deliverance is more subtle that the television!

It’s all going to hell and I wonder when it will ever stop. I switch on my computer and come across all the hateful rants fired at me – can’t say they annoy me, I find them quite amusing – but should anyone have to put up with this? I mean anyone, celebrity, pop star etc They are all human beings and should be treated as such (if  you don’t know what I’m saying I suggest you go read some IT blurb).

Technological deliverance they call it. Mind by machine. I call it the breakdown of human thought. Simple but effective, just like our computer and smart phone capabilities. Try and fill out a form these days? It’s so simple. On your computer and bang that’s it – in your dreams! If you are anything like me, it just gets sent back with a note saying ‘Incomplete’.

Brexit. Now here’s a delight in media recrimination. The Government is going to do this and you had better watch out. How about just waiting for the final word? No one knows what the outcome will be, so why don’t the media just shut up about it? Come to think of it, they can be quiet on a number of things, can’t they? A hopeless wish.

As reading is going by the board (apart from the intellectual sorts), so what are we left with? A generation that is only used to pressing buttons. Heavens above, that’s some legacy isn’t it? You can press a button now, to have a burgher on toast! What next!

It’s gone into a nonsensical world of vision by screen, realty by sight and talk with a machine. How ‘nice’. But and here’s the thing, but where are the people in all this? A shadow of humanity speaking through a microphone pretending to be ‘it’. Well, this all we’re creating, so let it be.

We shall all be non-creative beings in no time at all! It will devour us.

And that’s the last word I’m  saying on it……well, for now anyway!