New Year Celebrations
My celebration of the year... Here is my A-Z of 2013. A is for Africa The year kicked off in Africa with conflict in Mali. Africa is no stranger to Civil Wars and military coups but his was the first one put down to the Arab Spring and the fall of Libya. The tyrants the west secretly back, keep ... control and once that control is gone the tribes eye up the oilfields and precious metals and diamonds and go to war over them. Mali is mineral rich and relatively untapped, as is the Central African Republic, where another war rages. The west wants to sign big 'favorable' deals with these mad generals and despots before China get in there and we don't like anarchy. Not surprisingly the French, that are set to sign those mineral and oil deals in Mali, steamed in to put down the Islamic insurgency, as they did the one in Algeria when the Muslims won power there in the 1970s. Something similar is boiling in the world's newest country in South Sudan where the UN, rather cynically, decided to partition Sudan, splitting the oilfields in the south to the transit points for that oil to the west in the north. The country quickly disintegrated as the south put up the price of the oil to move through the north and the north stopped selling it all to pay them.
B is for Bangladesh
A year ago a clothing factory collapsed and 1000 people were killed. The sweatshop was making stuff for British high street chains. The factory demanded the lowest price possible so the factory crammed in more workers and machines until the building fell apart. If the owner didn't play ball and ignore health & safety then another sweatshop would. But nothing has changed since then and these factories continue to crumble and burn with those chains refusing any liability. The sweatshops don't get to sign contracts that make the chains liable for any 'accidents'. Compensation has been few and far between, out of sight out of mind. As long as you guys want to buy ten pound jeans then these people will continue to be crushed and burnt to death. This really is your fault.
C is for Cameron
I have seen some skilled cowardice by Prime Ministers when it comes to avoiding wars and keeping votes over the decades but this one took the biscuit. The PM skillfully engineered a situation where he would lose a vote in parliament on whether to go to war or not in Syria by holding the vote BEFORE evidence was presented to the United Nations of the use of WMD. We all knew Assad was using but Cameron didn't fancy a war so near to the election and this vote would reflect the peoples will not to go to war and so why not go with it, very clever stuff, the exact opposite to Blair's insane invasion of Iraq. In fact Cameron had the audacity to use Iraq as an excuse not to act! Obama liked the look of that cowardly way out and followed suit to Cameron expecting to lose the vote so also avoid war, which happened. Meanwhile children are being slaughtered every day in Syria and Cameron let them get on with it, out of sight, out of mind.
D is for Mark Duggan
Like the establishment cover up over Iraq I have no doubt the same has been applied to exonerate the police over Duggan's death to maintain order and integrity of the police, the same police who lied over Hillsboro and tried to get a government minister sacked by lying over Plebgate. Clearly this cop messed up and maybe trigger happy and needs to be quietly retired. None of the black community back the police and building up for another riot. Why the black community can't just accept the guy was a badman and probably had something like this coming to him is beyond me and continuing to blame the police seem to be more about hate to the police than resolution to get rid of the gangs. To put this killing into context, last year their were 0 fatalities from 60 million people in the United Kingdom to police firearms, bullets fired just 18 times out of 65,000 incidents. Black community leaders say Duggan was executed but gave no reasons why, just three black guys shot dead by the police in 50 years in London. If the Metropolitan police had a shoot to kill policy in the black community then that isn't a great strike rate, 17 police officers murdered by black or Asian men in that time period. Its young black men that kill young black men in London with guns.
E is for Empathy
Double gold medalist Rebecca Adlington broke down on a TV reality show after being jealous of the attention a more attractive celebrity contestant in the same show was getting. She played the health card to get out of taking on tricky tasks. Rebecca has a big nose, something that has probably been an issue all her life. Adlington was badly advised to go on the show and way above the class of people on it. This environment is not the place for a double Olympic champion who has nothing to prove. Celebrity is for attractive and empty people with something to prove and you will be eaten alive if you are not, Jade Goody style. 90% of sports women sympathized with her hang ups, larger non feminine body shape the single biggest reason young women don't get involved in sport even though most women would look better with a toned body. There is no rational reason for Kelly Brook to try and run marathons for Britain as there is for swimmer Adlington to become Kelly Brook. You are who you are and a big lesson learnt. Stick to Question of Sport, or better still, train for Rio.
F is for Freedom
Scotland and First Minister Alex Salmond has barely a year left in the job as he set out his foolish manifesto for an independent Scotland, hoping the splendor and platform of the Commonwealth Games will secure his countries freedom. Salmond got the job on the condition he would lead the Scottish Nationalist to the big vote one day, set for next September, but knowing deep down he would never win it, why he doesn't really want to hold it. I suspect the SNP party quietly feel that way too and looking nervously at their seats next election. They gained so much power from the promise of a vote that now they are facing it they would rather kick the can down the street some and so keep enjoying that power. Rather ironically they have been using English taxpayers money to subsidize that journey to this momentous point in their history, offering Scots stuff like free healthcare, university, bus fares and low everything else, bribes for votes. But that will have to end once they uncouple from the rest of the United Kingdom and so unsure how Salmond will win votes from then on in, an independent Scotland sure to run on deficit thereafter, the North Sea oil money simply not enough to pay even their welfare bill, Glasgow alone seeing 50% of its resident son some sort of welfare payment.
G is for George
As Prince Williams boyish looks receded with his hairline he got the hurry up to marry, another baldy Prince Charles in the making. Socialite Kate got her man and now she has son by the future King, little George. They have even copyrighted the Royal names of Kate & William to earn off it. I think the Queen will abdicate soon and Charles will take over but William and Kate the couple that will make the Royal Family relevant once again and take them forward, Monaco style. Right now Harry is the most popular royal, maybe because he likes to party and kill foreigners with a big machine gun.
H is for Housing benefit
On the day the evil Bedroom Tax came in the Tories slashed the right of people to get Legal aid. I understand the need to cut the ever ballooning housing benefit bill, money paid for unemployed people to cover rent or a top for working people to make their rent, but forcing mentally ill and disabled people out of their homes into damp box flats is disgusting. The ill should have been 100% exempt from this tax. Ok, unemployed people need a kick up the rear now and then and will rot if left alone but no Tory would want to face that tax if they were unemployed and disabled. This tax is the evil heart of the Conservative Party and their supporters getting satisfaction from attacking people they don't like, simple as.
I is for Iran & Iraq
Iraq is as chaotic as ever as the last American troops left. The reason the west kept Saddam in power was to avoid this chaos. Sadly that chaos also works for the west. Islamic extremist have begun to weld the Syrian conflict with Iraq and God knows where we are going form here. Britain's arms sales in the region since 2003 have risen sharply, an arms trade you subsidize to the tune of two billion pounds a year. The Tories intend to release the much delayed Iraq report in election year that will surely hammer New Labor for their insane decision to go to warfare.
J is for Justin Rose
The English Rose wasn't that English, born in South Africa and so didn't earn the plaudits he deserved. He learnt his golf here and so in my book 100% an English golfer. What he did do was finally fore fill his promise and win the US Open, the first Brit to do that since Tony Jacklin, some 43 years ago. Four Brits have now won four majors in the last four years. You were never quite sure if Rose would win a major but Woods demise left a window open for the guys just below Tiger and they rushed through before it closed, 19 different guys winning the 26 majors since Woods last victory in 2008. Before the 2008 US Open only five other nations' players had won a major in the Woods decade.
K is for Kenya
The shopping mall attack was expected; a neon sign over Africa with a big arrow pointing to Kenya's only Israeli owned shopping area where the next attack would be. The Kenyans appeared to let it happen as they had security people on the ground before the attacks from a tip off, and then chose to blame the president for being asleep on the job and not so much the Somali's who did it, presumably to help win the next election. But the president was indisposed and facing war crimes in the Hague. The Israeli Mossad guys joined in the rescue attempt on the quiet as the Kenyan Special Forces teams seem to spend their day looting the shopping centre. 48 Kenyans and 18 foreigners died, classic African incompetence.
L is for Losing
My friend is a personal chef for some of the Manchester United players and they hate their new manager. Moyes is an intense chap and always over-managed players at Everton, insisting on being everywhere, on the pitch, in the gym, away days and even in the players faces on their days off. Top class players don't need being told how to play and train and I'm hearing some are all ready to leave and as good as told Moyes exactly that, some exaggerating injuries so not to play for him. Should Rooney really be on holiday missing critical games? Moyes has turned United into Everton overnight and lucky to be still in the job. United are fine away from home on the break but ambushed at home by teams no longer afraid of United's record. But defeat away at bottom place Sunderland in the League Cup semi-final suggested things are getting notably worse in the transfer window, Vidic earning a three match ban to escape Moyes and Rafael keen on the same. Moyes has pulled the net curtains over that window and said everything is fine and not to worry but we know different. Anderson has gone and Nani will follow next week. Rooney was given a week off to keep him away from the transfer market as a bribe. He will go to Chelsea with Mata coming the other way, RVP to leave in the summer and maybe a return to Arsenal.
M is for Murray
He finally won Wimbledon and for me it was never in doubt he would. I saw him as an aloof 17-year-old and knew back then he was the one, Muzza not the normal snobby university type we usually see pitch up at Wimbledon and lose every year, a moody winner that takes no prisoners. This kid was focused on one thing only and that was winning the greatest tennis prize of all. The match point moments were super tense and unthinkably enormous pressure but Andy won out as Djokovic plopped it into the net, the sporting highlight of the year. That victory took a lot out of him and will take a year to get back to tat level after his back operation.
N is for Nelson
The old boy is dead and God bless him. He stood up to the white man and beat us, why we begrudgingly respect him. Sadly his relatives are already trying to cash in to erase some of the classy legacy, which resulted in him being buried in his crap hole hometown (I've been there) in the middle of nowhere so he is forgotten. Its downhill all the way for South Africa as it becomes another Zimbabwe and splits in pieces over tribal animosity, blaming everything on the white man whilst plundering the country through fraud and extravagance. President Zuma has recently built himself a R15 million rand house whilst his government is riddled with corruption, unemployment and his country being ravaged by AIDS.
O is for Oscar Pistorious
The world's most famous legless man since Oliver Reed appears to have blown his girlfriend away in a rage on Valentines Day. His plea was that he was white and had no legs and so not cable of shooting any white people in South Africa or getting to the bathroom in time to do what he probably did, even though he is the worlds fastest man over 100m with no legs. The black judiciary fumbled the early proceedings and the trail delayed until June this year. If a black guy shot a white girl after a few beers he would have long since been hung, drawn and quartered in South Africa. Pistorious has good lawyers and will walk, if you excuse the pun.
P is for the Pope
The Pope resigned, the first time that had happened in 600 years, a puff of smoke and an Argentina getting the job and the ex Pope locked up in the papal retirement villa. The Catholic Church is a cesspit of corruption like most organized religions and failed to clean up its own house over the century as pedophilia and corruption ran out of control, getting a tad too close to the previous Pope. The new Pope is a man of the people and rides public buses and visits slums. But he still insists on no condoms and yet to protect any gay priests. He has, though kicked out 400 priests in just 6 months for pedophilia. It's a good start. The Vatican Bank investigation will be intriguing.
Q is for the Queen
With the Prince of Wales Office merging with the Queens Office at Clarence House we are very close to abdication as the Queen nudges 90-years-old. The Queen not being Queen is like Manchester United without Ferguson but its less than 18 months away for me. All those republicans who criticize the Queen and the Royal Family are about to find out just how important she is to our prestige and economy when she steps down. What country wouldn't want a powerful figure like the Queen at the helm? Her value is incalculable. I'm no royalist but I know a good deal when I see one.
R is for Russian Meteors
A rock the size of a London bus and weighting considerably more smacked the earth's atmosphere at 15,000 miles per hour and spectacularly disintegrated over Russia, the sonic boom from the much bigger than originally thought rock at 10,000 tons keeping local Russian glaziers in work for a year to come. It was caught on multiple recording devices and CCTV, notably dashboard cams, Russian motorists weary of 'crash for cash scams' and so mounting cameras on their car dashboards to record events. It was an exciting and ominous event and very rare. People moan about the ever intrusive CCTV system but no problem in carrying their own to record other people's lives and events.
S is for Syria
President Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons. The West was appalled. Why? Well they had sold him more than enough conventional weaponry over the years to carry out mass killing and so why would he want to speed things up this way? Attrition wars are easy money for the west, not only arming the main two sides with fresh ammunition and guns and bombs but the countries that are threatened around the warning nations also needing more munitions. The UN, in their perceived wisdom, decided to let them carry on slaughtering each other with those conventional weapons, as long as they could confiscate the nasty ones. Later revelations would reveal that most of the precursor chemicals for those WMDs were made in the United Kingdom and America. This month saw some of those WMD chemicals leave for UK to be decommissioned, a sale and return even Del Boy would not be chuffed about.
T is for Terrorism
It returned to America with a bang in Boston, two young Muslim bred American immigrants deciding to impress their God by blowing up marathon runners and the watching crowd. Even Mohammed scratched his head at that one. They were quickly hunted down and captured or killed, long distance runners running for charity so not the people who deserved this. Not that anybody does. Needless to say the next attack is coming. As per normal these guys were on the FBI radar and, like the Lee Rigby attack, seem to act once they had been approached by the FBI to cooperate with other stuff. 90% of terrorism trials in America are sting operations where idiots are armed and financed to plan attacks and then nicked at the last. Boston maybe the one that got away.
U is for the Ukraine
The old Republic is in a tug of war with Europe and Russia. It was ready to join the EU but bailed at the last, Putin applying enormous financial pressure and God knows what to get the Ukraine president to sign here or swim with the fishes. At -30 at this time of the year the protests quickly died down from the Ukrainians, who were not impressed with this feeble back down to Russia. The dispute is between the Russian state owned Gazpron and Ukrainain oil and gas company Naftograz Ukrainy. The Ukraine moves 80% of Russia's oil to the west and Putin does not want to lose control of that to Europe. Some say the west is in Afghanistan to try and open up a pipeline through Pakistan and Turkey to counter that monopoly and control. I tend to agree. The protesters returned and now the parliament is blockaded. Could this be another Chechnya?
V is for Vettell
The German won a record nine straight grand prix's in a row to win the Formula One world championships by a country mile. The moment team mate Mark Webber backed down to team orders in that rare early in the season the championship was lost and the Australian walking dead. Regardless of the team rules I'm sure the Red Bull team boss Christian Horner secretly expected the Aussie to show some balls and not let Seb pass and argue about it after the race. Instead Vettell did exactly what you would expect a German to do and won back the lead, and argued about it later. Class.
W is for Witch
Some silly plonkers who weren't even born when Thatcher was doing her worst thought it funny to try and get the Witch is Dead song to number one. As bad as she was, you would not wish dementia on anybody. I suspect many who did celebrate her death have relatives with the illness. Never speak ill of the dead, however controversial. They have innocent family somewhere down the line.
X is for X
The United States don't worry about national debt and spending, simple as. It's only when they do that they head into recession. They simply vote to raise the debt ceiling every year and so the debt becomes a symbol, X, not a number, be it with lots of faux moral dramatics. They know China has to buy most of that debt as they need America to buy one third of their goods with that new money to stop that debt being worthless to China. These two are locked in fatal embrace on the edge and if one lets go they pull the other one over the edge, the so-called fiscal cliff. If the United Kingdom had done the same thing and simply left public spending where it is I don't think our recession would have been so deep. Osborne and Cameron simply chose the opportunity to crush public service and hand over as much of it as possible to private industry to make their fat cat friends who bankroll their party somewhat richer.
Y is for Yolanda
A huge typhoon leveled low lying areas of the Philippines. The islands are built on soft sand and so hard to build sturdy structures there for the ballooning population. The west promised aid, like they did in Haiti, but not much of it showed up and a lot of it was stolen and sold on in markets in Manila. When you guys give to these emergencies give it directly to a trusted charity. Most aid money is stolen or never actually given at some point along the delivery chain. So bad was the relief effort in Haiti after the earthquake that the UN are being blamed for spreading mass cholera, rather than aid, after arrogantly flushing their sh*t into the local water course from their compound. The United Nations was set up to do exactly nothing and so that's why the west supports it as it allows them to legally abscond from any responsibility.
Z is for Zimmerman
A man called George Zimmerman shot a young black teen called Trayvon Martin dead in a gated community. Zimmerman didn't take kingly to black faces with their hoods up inside the gates. But because Zimmerman had white skin and a Jewish folk singers name the black community claimed racist killing. But further investigation revealed the kid was more Latino, a Peruvian mom and German father. The number of gunshot killings of black men on Latino men and vice versa is considerably higher than of white men killing black boys. Zimmerman was found not guilty and the compensation claims went in. But 20-year-old Adam Lanza grabbed the headlines last year for insane gun crime, entering the Sandy Hook Primary School and killing 20 cowering kids, mostly with headshots, an unthinkable crime in the modern day first world. Africa, yes, the Middle East most certainly, but even for America and its rampant gun crime this was shocking. In response President Obama did absolutely nothing, reflecting his presidency, rather sad as 90% of the victims and perpetrators of gun crime in America look like him and done by people like him. The Gun Lobby are white Republicans and they want to keep their guns so they can shoot...well, I think you know who they want to shoot.
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I am in my mid 30s and would say I the number of proper boyfriends I have had in my life I could count on one hand. I've had a few valentines days while I've been part of a couple, but not as many as I have spent as a single lady! So here are my thoughts on valentines past and valentines future.... I have had a real ... range of different valentines treats over the years. On the whole, I do think valentines day is yet another excuse to get our money from us, but at the same time, I do think a token gesture is nice on the first year you are together with someone. I don't like buying or receiving cards particularly and I don't think a large gesture every year is appropriate or necessary, but the first year you are together I do want something.
When I was in my teens, my first boyfriend of four months bought me a dozen red roses all wrapped up in cellophane and presented beautifully and bless him he brought them round to my parents' house where I lived at the time. It was wonderful and made me feel like a complete princess but oh my goodness I dread to think how much those roses cost the lad, and bearing in mind he was in college and only working part time, goodness. What a sweetheart hey?
My next boyfriend for the first year we were together (he was a real flashy so and so) took me away for a night in a hotel and we had dinner there. It was a lovely lovely hotel, it truly was, and the restaurant there was fabulous, but the hotel was at the end of the road that I lived at and I couldn't help but think that it was a little silly to stay in a hotel so close to where we lived and that going somewhere else and then having a day exploring a new town would have been so much more of an event. Oh I sound so ungrateful don't i??!
My next boyfriend was very very careful with his money and at the beginning of February when I started to ask him if he wanted to do something for Valentines weekend, he suggested we go for a cup of coffee at our local Tesco that had just opened a cafe. In the end I booked us cinema tickets and took us for a meal instead. Needless to say the night was busy and full of other couples!
Well in 3 months time I get to spend my first valentines with my current squeeze and yes, I am a little bit ashamed to say I am already planning! But only a little bit.
I'm too old for getting all dolled up and going out and sitting in an overpacked bar surrounded by big red hearts and pink balloons so I'm going to give all that a skip. Especially as it's going to be on a Friday in 2014! So instead, I think I'll see if I can get out of work a little early and I'll come home, slip into a little black dress and cook him his favourite dinner..... Now how's that for love?
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I have always been one of those people who is just not that bothered about Valentine's Day, I see it is a waste of money but I can both sides of the argument. I, personally, don't like Valentine's because everything is overpriced and I would prefer to not be told by chain companies when I should show my other half any romantic ... gestures, I do that more spontaniously. We already get each other presents on birthdays, at Christmas (or Sol in my case), on our anniversary and also the little things that we just happen upon that we know the other will love.
But some people like the idea of Valentine's and it is always nice when someone buys you something, it is a great chance to show a potential partner your feelings etc etc so for those people they can have Valentine's and I hope they get everything out of the day that they want.
In the past I have had boyfriends who have wanted to do something for the day, whether that be gifts or going out for a meal or celebration. I have never celebrated the day the same with anyone and have bought gifts ranging from books to chocolates and been out for a meal or gone to the pub for a theme quiz night and I have enjoyed each time. I have always preffered to make a full effort if I am going to do something so I have spent time finding the right present or have made something instead and the effort involved has always been reflected by the seriousness of the relationship at the time.
But, however much I don't particularly like the day myself, I am not exactly going to stop someone if they want to buy me something. I love getting presents, I love having attention splashed on me, yes I love being the centre of attention so if someone wished to surprise me with a nice gift or two I am not going to discourage them!
At the end of the day the modern version of Valentine's Day has had most of the romance sucked out of it by the media, chain stores, over priced tat and everyone complainging about how unromantic it is but I hope that there are still a fair amount of people out there who get something out of it. I like to think there is that one un-romantic guy who just restores the faith his girlfriend has in him by coming home on Valentine's Day with the biggest bunch of roses, expensive bottle of wine and her favourite DVD in hand. I would like to see the smile on her face.
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Discussion / Exchange a love note with your Valentine on February 14!
Discussion / Are you the Christmas-Martha Stewart of your neighbourhood? Capable of wrapping presents with one hand and basting a turkey with the other? Share your tips and hints here to help the rest of us less-than-super-humans to stand up to the biggest domestic test of the year.
Discussion / What is your favourite way of celebrating New Year?
Discussion / Bring out the scary character in you! Let us know what trendy costumes you plan on masquerading or who's got the best gool!!
Discussion / Is asking for cash as a wedding gift acceptable?
Discussion / What are your plans for the summer?
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