Saturday, 8 March 2014
Except of course the one that you want to forget and can't. Because the picture blocker is in every single one of them.
There I was in the Hotel Nacional de Cuba's hall of fame taking pictures of the posters of all the famous people who had stayed there over the decades when the picture blocker steps in front of my camera. He politely informs me that he wants me to move out of the way because I'm blocking his shot.
"Excuse me" I reply, "but you just walked straight into my shot but if you just like to step aside for a moment whilst I retake it then I'd be happy to do the same for you."
"I don't think so!" says he. "I was here first!"
Needless to say, his position does not alter in the slightest when I pull up the photograph on the screen of my camera and prove to him that he's walking into frame - for the picture blocker is never wrong and proof is irrelevant.
Unfortunately for him, I am an obstinate bastard and can stand there for the rest of the day if necessary.
The next morning, he accosts me at the breakfast table. "Didn't appreciate your attitude yesterday" he informs me.
"Never mind" I reply. "You're a big boy and I expect you'll get over it in time."
Unimpressed, he huffs through his teeth. "What's your problem with me?" he begs pathetically.
"Could be something to do with the fact that you're an inconsiderate cunt" I reply and wander off leaving him spluttering into his coffee.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the moment on film...
Friday, 7 March 2014
Let's face it . Elections are pretty boring - and, to be honest, the televised leaders debates are amongst the most boring bits of all. But it seems that things might just liven up a bit...
Earlier this week the broadcasting regulator, Ofgem, ruled that in view of UKIP's performance they must be awarded major party status. The decision means Ukip will be granted the same number of party election broadcasts as Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and can expect to have its views given ‘due weight’ in news programmes.
UKIP will qualify for a minimum of two election broadcasts although it will be up to individual broadcasters to decide how many it gets in relation to the other parties. In past elections, UKIP has been given one broadcast in recognition of the number of candidates it has fielded and a range of other criteria.
In reaching its decision, the regulator said it had taken into account the party's performance in the 2004 and 2009 European elections, when it won 12 seats and more than 17% of the share of the total vote in both polls. UKIP, it added, also had "significant" levels of current support, with average poll ratings across Britain of more than 10%.
Regrettably the ruling only applies to the run up to this year's Euro election, but if UKIP manage to maintain their share of the vote then we can only hope that they'll extend it to the 2015 General Election.
Arguably, if we are going to stick to a three party debate then it's the Lib Dems that should be relegated to minor status. Let's face, at least having Farage in the ring guarantees a lively debate which is something we didn't get last time around and he's got a damn site more popular support than Clegg.
Whatever happens, this ruling at least means that they get a proper voice to put their arguments across. After that, it's up to the voters...
If you want to know more then there's an interesting article in the Daily Mail that's worth a read and shows a load of interesting charts on shares of UKIP's vote from the other 3 parties, demographics and location.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
I have often thought that Peter Hain was pain in the arse, so I find it hard to admit that on this occasion I actually agree with him. Goes against my instincts, somehow...
There was much dispute last week about the so called 'comfort letters' send to Irish dissidents informing them that the police would no longer be pursuing them. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this procedure, it seems it was a part and parcel of establishing peace in Northern Ireland.
Hain now says that it would be a waste of police to pursue any further investigations in respect of the Bloody Sunday incident that happened 42 years ago.
I can see where he's coming from. Not only have there been extensive public enquiries into the events of that day but we also have to say that if we're not going to pursue one side, then we shouldn't pursue the other.
Whatever the rights and wrongs - and I'm not going to get in to a debate over those here - the principals have to be applied and fairly and evenly to all parties. You can't have one set of rules for one person and a different set for another.
What's done is done and cannot be undone. All parties in Northern Ireland must shoulder blame for what happened over the years. It's time to let it go.
You can read Hain's article in the Telegraph by clicking <here>
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
My regular reader will know that I regard Vince Cable as the invisible man of politics. I had great hopes for him before the last election but since then he has hardly had the same impact as the previous holder of his job, Peter Mandleson, has he?
So it's no great surprise to find out just how out of touch he is. Especially, it would seem, when it comes to his opinion on immigration.
In the year to September net immigration hit 212,000, up by more than a third from 154,000 in the same period in 2012 - a surge fuelled by arrivals from elsewhere in the European Union. So much for the pledge to reduce it to under 100,000. However, whilst the Limp Dumps never signed up to get to that figure, it is rather disappointing to see them rubbing their hands together in glee at having failed to achieve it.
Cable told the BBC: "Today's figures are good news for British workers. As our economy recovers, fewer people are choosing to emigrate as they see more job opportunities at home. In fact the number of people in work is at an all time high and rising fast. What is striking about the employment figures is that, contrary to popular myths, 90 per cent of jobs being created are going to British workers. This shows how important it is for employers and Government to continue investing in skills and is good for the economy and our society."
So the problem is not foreign workers coming in to the UK and taking jobs. According to Mr Cable the problem is that employment in the UK - over which he presides - has been so shite in the past that the Brits are fleeing abroad.
Here's another graph :
Seems that emigration has been pretty static as far as I can see - so Cable has got that argument wrong as well.
The point is that, as Nigel Farage so rightly put it "It is utterly pointless setting immigration figures when you can't control who comes in to this country." The government can make all the pledges it likes about reducing immigration, but it can only act on areas outside the UK and has absolutely no say on anyone from the EU coming her.
For the heavily pro-EU Limp Dumps this would obviously need to be spun as good news but if the likes of Mr Cable are trying to get you and I to buy into it, then they're going to have to try an awful lot harder than this!
The mouthwash ain't making it...!
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
As Russian troops dig in in the Crimea, I feel increasingly that Ukraine is becoming a chess board for the superpowers. Each side is seeing which will blink first - whilst the Fourth Reich desperately tries to make the world believe that it is a superpower as well.
I am reminded of a couple of other crises - Cuba and Cyprus.
Let's not forget that the Russians and the Americans have bloody great stockpiles of nuclear weapons. This is a bad thing. Or is it? I suspect that, as happened in Cuba, each side will play silly buggers with the other until one of them backs down. It's brinksmanship. Sabre rattling. And the nice thing about from the point of view of Russia and America is that, should it come to blows, they can fuck up someone else's country and not their own.
Military exercises, hot line phone calls. We've seen it all before. The danger is that almost exactly 100 years ago, this sort of nonsense is exactly what lead to the first World War. Let's hope it doesn't lead to a third and final one.
So what will happen at the end of the day? Well I suspect we are going to see another Cyprus. The Turks invaded, drove out the Greeks and established the illegal and unrecognised Republic of Northern Cyprus. This time the Russians have invaded, will most likely drive out the non-Russians and establish the illegal and unrecognised Republic of Crimea.
So as long as the Ukrainians only keep bleating about it - along with everybody else - and Putin doesn't back down, we end up with another version of Northern Cyprus.
Of course, there is another solution. Everybody could just grow up, tell the EU and the US to mind their own business, talk it out and stop playing chicken in Kiev.
I'm not holding my breath...