Saturday, 28 February 2015

Leicester - more UKIP bashing

The media are at it again. The Daily Fail reported yesterday that a 'former UKIP candidate' described Leicester as a 'shithole full of Pakis'. Note the word 'former'...

Apparently, Richard Crouch posted several messages which appeared on his Facebook account. The messages describe his hometown of Leicester as a 'shithole full of Pakis'. It also refers to Asians in Leicester as 'The Taliban' and Romanians as 'pick pocketing criminals'.

Now firstly this seems a little naive if true. Secondly, he denies posting the comments and maintains that his account was hacked. Facebook? Hacked? Impossible - it's totally secure isn't it? He's referred the matter to the police to investigate and naturally they will do their best to get to the root of the matter, being totally unbiased and all that. UKIP have also said they will investigate the situation.

And although the Daily Fail describes him as a 'candidate', Mr Crouch added: 'I must've upset someone, but I don't know why – I don't know what I've done to deserve this. I'm just an activist – I'm not a candidate.'

Now, my family comes from Leicester. I don't, but I still have lots of relatives there. There is a strong resentment amongst them that the city was overrun by Ugandan Asians who settled there after Idi Amin expelled them. I've not been there for a few years now and I gather there is a major regeneration project under way in the City Centre, but the last time I was there I was appalled at the Asianisation of the city - street signs in foreign languages, a vast number of Asian shops, Asian cinemas and more. The natives Brits were foreigners in their own land as far as I could see.

As far as I could tell - although I wouldn't condone the racist language - Leicester really is a shit hole and it really is full of Asians.

Now, I'm not a racist. I might be accused of xenophobia, but I'm not a racist. Immigrants who settle in this country should fit in to the British way of life not overrun huge swathes, creating ghettos in our towns and imposing their culture on us. Leicester last time I saw it was an Asian city not a British one. I understand why my family would feel that their home town has been destroyed by immigration.

But all of that is incidental to the media blowing up this story into another opportunity to indulge in gutter politics and slag off UKIP. Yet again, they can't debate the issues so they discredit the individuals.

Shame on you!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Where's the f***ing lemurs?

Well, we went to Madagascar on a very nice boat after getting off the train at Dar es Salaam. I rather thought we might see some lemurs - you know; those cute monkey things.

To be fair, we saw two. The first one was visible for about half a second as it leapt across the track in the Amber Mountain Park outside Diego Suarez. Someone claims to have got a picture of it that I've included in the video. The only other one I saw was in Nosy Nato on our last day. It was 'habitualised' and I wondered what that meant. It means that it lives at the hotel and is tame. That's the one at the end of the video sucking the salt off the face of one of my fellow travellers.

Other than that? Well - sod all actually. Several time the expedition leader proudly announced 'There are lemurs about' and at the end of the trip when we got a memory stick with photos taken by the expedition team, there they were. Miraculous!

Strange I never saw them, but there you go!

So anyway, I wrote this little poem and sent it to my musical friend who put it to music and sent it back to me. The result is the above video. Hope you enjoy it. You can read the poem over at his place.

So where were the fucking lemurs? Don't ask me...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Statins : more stuff

And now for something completely different...

You might remember me writing about my recent experiences with various types of statins simvastatin, otarvastatin and pravastatin. Well, I didn't get on with any of them so I stopped taking them back in November and then went for another blood test before my recent trip to Africa. I got the results this week.

Before I started taking these things, my cholesterol was on the rise. My overall level was 8.2 and the statins knocked it down to 5.1. Well, the bad news is that after stopping taking them, it's back up to 8.0 again.

The LDL levels aren't much better. 5.97 went down to 2.70 and now we're back up to 5.36.

My doctor was very pragmatic about this stuff. He told me that if I couldn't get on with the third statin then I had the option to stop as I was aware of the risks. Unfortunately, he then left the practice, so I had to go back to a different GP. On the plus side, she was equally open to discussion and not brainwashed into handing out statins like sweeties or laying down the NHS line.

We discussed the problems I had and she agreed that I don't easily tolerate statins. So now I'm on different stuff - bezafibrate. This is apparently another cholesterol buster. I'd never heard of it. Apparently it is sometimes used in conjunction with statins in extreme cases of CV heart disease.

The doc hopes that it will bring my cholesterol levels back down again without the side effects and I'll be going back in three months time to see whether it works or not. In the meantime, I'll be watching out for side effects.

One of these would seem to be quite useful. It suppresses appetite, and after my recent travels this could be quite useful!

I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Project Fear rolls onwards...

As the electioneering rolls onwards, we are treated again to 'Screw UKIP at any costs' campaigning. After all, it worked in Scotland, so why not use it on UKIP? Never mind the facts, let's just scare the shit out of people!

In the light of the disgraceful C4 programme "UKIP: The first 100 days" Ofcom have received over 5,200 complaints. Ofcom say that it takes 50 days to complete an investigation, but that in the interests of not compromising the General Election (sic), they're going to withhold their decision until after the vote. After all, we wouldn't want the truth to come out before the vote, would we?

Then there's this article in the Telegraph which goes out of its way to brand UKIP as rampant racists - even quoting extensively a woman who has been expelled from the party. Rather makes a mockery out of 'Meet the UKIPpers" if you include people who have been thrown out of the party for their extremist views doesn't it? But hang on! It's written by a woman called Singh - so clearly there's no bias there, is there?

And then there's Monday's announcement of Health Policy by UKIP, savaged in the Daily Mail. There's lots of positive stuff and common sense in what they propose, but no - let's concentrate on their racist policy of requiring foreigners who come here to have health insurance rather than raping the NHS.

I don't see the problem with this at all. I certainly don't see it as racist. If I travel abroad - and as my regular reader will know, I do a lot of it - then I am required to have travel insurance which includes medical cover. If I have to do this to go to other countries, then what's the problem with applying the same rules to people coming here? Or are those foreign countries all run by racists as well, perhaps?

Don't just take my word for it. I've given you the links so you can form you own opinions. In my view, it's yet another example of kicking the man who has the ball because you can't kick the ball. The other parties know they can't debate the issues with UKIP, so this is the alternative - American style gutter politics of the worst sort.

Whether or not you support UKIP, you have to admit that the other parties are doing themselves no favours behaving like this. It shows them in a pretty bad light and could well come back to bite them...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Thomas goes to Africa

My recent trip to Africa was rather a triumph courtesy of Rovos Rail.

Rohan Vos runs the world's largest private train company and knows a thing or two about what his customers expect on what is billed as "the world's most luxurious train". I applaud him and his staff.

This, of course, does not exclude them from a bit of mickey taking - hence the above video which also shows off a few of my many photographs of the trip. I hasten to add that Eric the train manager was nothing like as parodied in the video. He was extremely patient and efficient and frankly how the hell we ever managed to cover 3,568 miles from Cape town to Dar es Salaam on what has to be some of the ropiest railway track in the world is nothing short of miraculous.

OK it was expensive - but we wanted for nothing. Absolutely nothing. The mini bar in the compartment was stocked with whatever we wanted, the food was incredible especially given the size of the kitchen car and the continuous movement of the train, the wine was exquisite. The game lodge we stayed at for two nights off the train was fantastic. They even gave us overnight bags to pack and keep afterwards.

Yes, Mr Vos sure as hell knows how to run a luxury train company - even without help from Thomas and his friends...