Showing posts from 2017

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 …

One year on: Britain is still in denial

The rusty cogs of government have finally begun to creak into life as the Brexit negotiations begin, and people finally have to put their money (some say £350 million for the NHS and some say a £100 billion EU divorce bill) where their mouth is.

A lot has happened in just a year since the shocking result. Of course, there was division and anger and then just confusion over what Brexit means. There was a new Prime Minister in Theresa May, who promised not only Brexit but Red, White and Blue Brexit, which would surely give the EU stationers some minor headaches finding the right colour paper. Finally, there was another twist in the tale as May then called a snap election expecting the kind of majority that Thatcher would have licked Michael Foot’s arse on TV to get.

Then another shock, May lost her majority after fronting one of the most lacklustre campaigns in living memory, maybe only tying with the kind of complacency of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic campaign. Rupert Murdoch then void…

Strong and stable chaos

They say a week is a long time in politics and this week more so than usual.

A lot has happened if you think that last Saturday there was very sadly a terrorist attack in central London. Theresa May the Prime Minister then made an authoritarian-sounding speech about dealing with the terror threat, talking about clamping down on the Internet and seemingly throwing out the traditional liberal values of British society in order to secure (at least the perception of) safety.

Then came the election on Thursday and the message seemed to be clear. It was a monumental error to call a vote at this time (and so close to the Brexit negotiations). The Labour party surged in the polls and the Conservative majority was wiped out. The PM’s party despite still being the biggest in parliament now doesn’t even have enough seats to form a government in its own right and a coalition or deal is necessary to rule.

This then brings us to the present moment, where despite her no-nonsense approach to terrori…

And now for your amusement: Some alternative facts

A new era started on the 20th January 2017 with the Inaugaration of the 45th President Donald "big hands pussygrabber" Trump.

So far it's taken less than 48 hours for something stupid to happen as Sean Spicer Trump's new press secretary chastising the gathered press for reporting the fact that Trump's inaugural address had worse attendance than Obama's eight years ago, accusing the professional journalists of false reporting.

Later Kellyanne Conway one of Trump's senior White House aides later rushed to the aid of Spicer claiming that the flustered Press secretary had been reporting "alternative facts."  Of course the fact that outright newspeak was now part of the White House's official press policy didn't go down very well.

This of course has been better reported elsewhere so here follows a few alternative facts of my own as we now live in a world where anything is true if you believe it hard enough:
Donald Trump isn't president #a…