Cracking Open the Easter Egg Controversy

Almost as inevitable as wet bank holiday weekends and obligatory repeats of Ben Hur is the annual controversy about the PC attack on Easter, religion and the alleged lack of Easter on Easter Eggs. I've only really noticed that this has become part of the periphery of Easter-time in the last couple of years, with pundits, the public and even the Prime Minister Lady Vicarsdaughter weighing in with a view. Let's take a look into the situation in a little more detail and see the EGGStent (of course I'm going to use egg puns!) of the issue.
When did this moral panic about Easter Eggs begin? Honestly, it appears to be a very recent thing. Obviously following in the footsteps of other favourite festive conspiracies like the all too many EGGaggerated 'Christmas is cancelled' stories comes our more contemporary 'Easter is being removed from Easter Eggs' panic we're seeing today. From what I can tell it stems from a company called the Meaningful Chocolate company

10 dumb things to try in 2018

Life is all about experiences, as without experiences we are just empty vessels going through the drudgery of life. Everything is an experience or a journey nowadays. For example, a cup of tea is a experience, going to the toilet is an experience etc. Obviously the nuance of the experience may depend on the experience in question. After all an exciting new tea experience is infinitely better than a terrifying toilet experience.

People are always making lists to finish the year by telling people what they should feel guilty for not doing, calling it something like 10 things to do before you die (for example you have permission to die if you do everything on the list, I'm about halfway through 100 songs to listen to before you die and I think if I just keep putting off listening to all the U2 stuff long enough I can increase my lifespan almost infinitely), so I'm going to be lazy and do just the same but with pointless or impractical experiences to have in 2018.

So in the spiri…

2018 News Hierarchy

It's nearly 2018! As we count down to the end of 2017, a year that didn't have to try very hard after the dismal 2016 and yet still turned out to be disappointing somehow, we can cast our minds forwards to what's in store for the next year.

I've been having a think of how the news cycle in our age of fake news, pretend outrage and other tiresome buzzwords everyone repeats due to a lack of imagination or interest with the topics at hand, might look in the coming year. Also the internet loves predictive lists in December and listacles are really easy to write.
So here's how I think the hierarchy of news could look in 2018 going from most important to utter rubbish:
Real news - Wars, explosions, coups, political corruption, beloved celebrity turns out to be massive bell end prolific sex offender etc.
Sport - Almost real news, at least involves something happening.
An influential person says something they shouldn't - Whoops someone wasn't thinking there, guess w…

The Self Declared Republic of Catalonia

Today as many of you have probably read, Catalonia declared independence from Spain. Obviously the how's and whys have been better reported by professionals so I won't waste time in repeating the story, it's been told already.

I've been living in Spain and Catalonia specifically for the last 3 and half years and I've had a good chance to familiarise myself with many of the arguments, opinions and actions of both parties. Unfortunately, this doesn't leave me with a lot of confidence in a sensible outcome.

Madrid has proven itself time and time again to be utterly tone deaf without a hint of diplomacy. I wonder if this has something to do with the brash fairly outspoken nature of Spanish culture, which even in it's linguistic choices favours a relatively blunt unconsidered way of approaching an issue. However, I've been surprised by the fact a leader of a G20 country such as Rajoy, could not see that while remaining firm it is possible to use softer lang…

We Need Better Leaders

After witnessing a disruptive but overall peaceful and fairly well tempered General Strike in Catalonia (well from my office outside of Barcelona) I've just seen all the catharsis lost by a completely inflammatory and unhelpful speech by King Felipe VI of Spain, the head of state and then another announcement from Carles Puigdemont that an Independence announcement is imminent.

Without mentioning anything of the ludicrous police brutality, which is sadly becoming a theme from the Spanish government, the King made claims that Catalonia had "scorned" Spain with its actions and talked about their contempt of the law in the country with bluster such as "inadmissable disloyalty," which is discourse that belongs in another century quite frankly. To only portray a very biased side to it as this is just bizarre and clumsy by today's communication standards.

Now I don't disagree that the referendum was invalid but the bigger picture is that it didn't really…

Chaos in Catalonia

It's fair to say we are living through strange times and days don't come much stranger than today.

At time of writing the news is reporting somewhere in the region of 770 injured people across Catalonia after being attacked by armed riot police, whilst participating in the referendum for independence from Spain.

It is a sad day in many ways as what started broadly as a protest against an austerity government and endemic corruption has descended into a constitutional crisis that has blown up spectacularly. It must be said that both sides have been stubborn and unable to form a dialogue to help serve everyone (with pro and anti-independence opinion being pretty split down the middle) but

In what was an utterly tone deaf response to the threat of secession from Spain, the Madrid government led by Mariano Rajoy effectively threw petrol onto a small bin fire by allowing national police in riot gear to seize ballot boxes in polling stations across Catalonia leading to images and vi…

Trying to explain Catalan Seperatism

What's happening? A large proportion of people in Catalonia want independence and the Catalan regional government has called a referendum on 1st October 2017 and the Spanish government has refused to let it happen, claiming it's illegal under the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

Who are the Catalans? They are people from Northern Spain with their own language, culture and (some) of their own public institutions.

How did it get to this? The short version is that after various rebellions and civil wars Catalan autonomy has been curtailed over time. The worst being the most recent episode where under Franco (a Spanish arch-nationalist) Catalan culture was basically driven underground as the language was banned in public.

It's complicated because... Since Franco's death in 1975 there has been democracy and a new constitution however, the transition happened in a strange way. Basically, democracy was reinstalled by King Juan Carlos I (Franco's anointed successor) trolling …