Why We Cannot Vote for Anything Different than what we Already Have?

Firstly I would like to start off this blog by offering my own condolences to the  many victims of the Mosque shootings in New Zealand that occurred this past week.
I will always struggle to understand the actions of extremists no matter where they come from, and who they claim to represent.
I can only hope justice is done for those who were murdered, and that the government of New Zealand follow thorough with the promised changes to their gun laws.

Okay so i0to my next blog post…

There have been numerous calls for a ANOTHER general election after Theresa May’s latest attempt to flog a dead horse failed!!
The only issue with this is due to the system we use to elect our members of parliament (MP’s) chances of the same tired old  politicians getting back in (or someone from the same old stock) is sadly almost inevitable.
Let me explain, for elections involving MP’s and the Westminster Parliament we use  the first past the post voting system. Its a very simple set up you vote for who you want to be the MP in your constituency and whoever gets the most votes wins the seat. Then whichever party has the most seats forms the government.
Many people have stated that this system has provided stable government in this country when other countries who use different systems have chopped and changed on a regular basis because nobody gets a majority (at least very rarely).
Only problem is it limits the amount parties who can get into parliament, and also  means a majority can be secured with far less of the popular vote than what Donald Trump had in the US Presidential elections.

A couple of very good examples of this include:

 

1983 General Election that returned the Tories under Margaret Thatcher with a landslide (still riding high on the positive feeling the government received after the Falklands War of 1982).

The Tories scored about 52% of the vote so had the right to form a  government but got 62% of the seats in parliament.
Labour won 34% of the vote, enough to finish second and received 32% of the seats.
Now interestingly the Liberal/SDP alliance won 31.2% of the votes but only received 3.5% of the seats in parliament.
Why? Well this was because Labour were very strong in traditional Labour areas and one the single seats based on the aforementioned election method, and their concentration of votes. The Liberal/SDP Alliance had support spread thinly across the country and this didn’t translate into seats in parliament.

1997 General Election that brought Labour back to power for the first time since the 1970’s, and started the whole Blarite cool Britannia movement of the late 90’s early noughties.

In this election Labour secured 43.2% of the popular vote, however managed to get 418 seats in parliament or 64%.
The Tories who capitulated at this election after so long in government managed 165 seats in parliament, but still managed 30.7% of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats achieved 46 seats and 16.8% of the vote.
Obviously the regional nationalist parties also achieved seats in parliament to make up the rest.

In recent years we have had a hung parliament twice in three elections however one thing remains pretty constant and that is that MP’s invariably come from 1 of 3 parties (Scotland and the SNP being unique to that region of the UK).
There are a few exceptions to the rule such as the SDP (who eventually merged with the Liberal party to become the Liberal Democrats), and Martin Bell and his white suite in 1997 to name but just two. However the reality is that the effect has been so small over the years that the last permanent change came at the beginning of the 20th century when the Labour party replaced the Liberals as one of the big two political parties in this country.
People in many seats have blindly voted for the incumbent on so many occasions that votes for any other party in those seats really don’t tend to count beyond being and interesting reflection of where the far right sit in each constituency.
So far there have been no blistering new political movements set up to compete with the establishment no matter how bad each party has been on trying to secure Brexit.
The independent group may claim to be the next step in our politics, but honestly I feel if any of them actually had the guts to put up their seats in a bi-election they would lose (most likely the reason they don’t).
So my conclusion must be that sadly if a general election were called tomorrow whoever won the same tired old political elite would ultimately rule supreme.

Now I know I have mentioned a fear of the rise of extremism in this country at a national political level should Brexit be stopped, and the referendum result ignored, but the fact is this could take some time to gather momentum.
I also note that many people have said they will never vote again, and the truth of this is that the politicians want this to happen because it means those who always vote, and blindly vote for the same party will ensure that the status quo party wise will be the same no matter what  is said.

The only solution (and you have heard this from me before) I believe is to introduce a proportional representation system of elections. That way the will of the people can be more accurately displayed across the country and reflected in parliament.
We desperately need a change in parliament but it is hard to see it happening any time soon.

 

As always my views are my own. Thanks for reading.

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Political Elite my Revelation!

Okay so to give a little background to myself I do have a history degree achieved many years ago now. 
One of the first things lecturers harp on about when trying to get a history degree is the lessons learned from history, how the lessons learned from the past will mean we never repeat a catastrophic event from the past. 
Or more to the point we must learn the lessons of the past or we will be doomed to repeat them. 

The sad truth is time seems to fade the lessons of the past so future generations seem doomed to repeat them. 
A prime example of this would be the holocaust or as we now similar incidents genocide (cannot believe thewse instances are so common we actually have a term for it). 
During the second world war around 6 million people mainly Jews were killed by the Nazis. 
When these appalling act was discovered as Eastern Europe was liberated during the war virtually every political leader declared we must learn the lessons of the past and this must never happen again. 
Since 1945 and the end of the second world war there have been numerous examples where this type of thing has happened again, and it is not as if the details of the Holocaust are hidden and not easily accessible. 
Examples include Zanzibar 1964 towards the end of the Zanzibar Revolution.
After the independence of Algeria from France the Harkis who had supported the French were met with severe reprisals. One estimate I read about was between 50,000 and 150,000 were killed.
Cambodia 1975 – 79 the Khmer Rouge (KR) under Pol Pot where an estimated 1.5 to 3 million people died due to the but not limited to the policy of agrarian socialism. 
Guatemala 1981 – 83 an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 people died (mainly Maya Indians) due to the military government. 
Burundi 1972 – 1993 two main exampkes here were the mass killing of Hutus by Tutsi’s in 1972, and then the reversal that occurred in 1993.
1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people died (representing an estimated 70% of the Tutsi population in Rwanda). 
I am very sad to say I have picked out a few examples however the lisrt goes on.An example for me where the lessons of the past were simply swept under the carpet by the ruling majorities or overthrowers.

So to get back on to my policitcal revelation I need to take you back to the beginning of the 20th Century. During this period the majority of Europe was ruled one way or another by monarchies, the majority of Europes populations had no political voice (just see the rights women had to vote in the early 20th century as a good example), and MP’s consisted in the UK at least of very rich men who were wealthy (as MP’s were not originally paid for their work, unbelieveable how much they earn and can claim on expenses now I know). 
There had been new political ideas making their way onto the scene since the late 19th century with the writings of people like Karl Marx (known as the father of Communism), and John Maynard Keynes among others. However up until the 20th Century ideas such as those of Marx had made little head way on the major political arenas. 
Genrally speaking most of the monarchies felt safe and secure, as did the upper, and political classes. The attitude was very much they could do pretty much as they pleased.
The working classes and lower middle classes being fed up of being pushed around and worked to death with little regard for them sought an alternative and the scale of what was chosen in individual countries is quite stark.
In the UK we saw the rise of the Labour movement (todays Labour party), they eventually replaced the Liberals as the main opposition party evenutally became a party of government. In Russia by contrast w9e saw the ultimate rise of communism through the Bolsheviks and the two revolutions of 1917 (February and October).
In Germany we got the rise of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, mainly due to the terrible settlement reached by the Treaty of Versailles to end the first world war. The desire to punish the Germans for the war , which was as much the fault of the UK and France as it was the Germans (and the Wall Street crash of 1929) led to the events of the second world war and ultimately the iron curtain the descended across Europe from the mid to late 20th century. 

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union became no more the world rejoiced as apparently we had entered a new era of wealth and prosperity where (you have probably already guessed) the lessons of the past would be learned, and the mistakes never repeate.
The 1990’s saw Clinton in the only remaining world super power, cool Britannia with the arrival of Tony Blair and the new labour movement from 1994 onwards, a bit of boom and bust but by the end of the decade everyone felt richer and more secure.
The noughties brought us the war on terror and at the end of this decade we had the financial crises of 2008. This has led to a decade of austerity and the rise of the policital fringes.
Okay in all honest the fringes of politics have never really gone away, for example in the UK we have always had a far right element from the Black Shirts of Mosely, to the National Front. Then we have also had the BNP, EDF, and UKIP all having varying degrees of success politically and in notoriety.
China has been Communist for the majority of the 20th Century and remains so today so it has laways been there.

Okay to my policitcal revelation then, so to the beginning of 21st century very few monarchies remained however politicians felt the same kind of comfort that was felt at the beginning of the last century. Have our politicians leanred their lessons from history? Or has greed and the general demeanour of the elite won through?
So after the worst crash since 1929 in 2008 and the decade of austerity afterwards we have an increasingly out of touch political class and the rise across Europe of both left and right (Russia still has very socialist leanings, China is still a communist state, Spain has a socialist government, and the far right has made waves across Europe).
Trump is in the White House, Brexit has destroyed British politics, and even the far right has gained political ground in Germany, does this remind you of anything in particular?
Havve the lessons of the past been learned? Well let us see what happens next but the omens of the past seem tobe coming back to bite. As the past becomes further in the past in seems the lessons get dumbed down and forgotten. I believe there is nobody still alive who fought in the first world war, and within the next 10 or so years there will be nobody still alive who fought in the second world war. The truth seems to be the further away from the lessons of the past we get through the passage of time, the more we forgot the lessons history can teach us.
I hope I am wrong but I am sad to say I may not be. 


As always my opinions are my own. Thanks for taking the time to read and I wish I had more time to write these!!!!!!  

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What a Mess we are In !!!

So the year is 2016, me and my wife were in Whitby at a beautiful guest house with spectacular views of the sea (we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary). 
I turn on the news and the headlines announce the UK have voted to leave the European Union after 40+ years!! I have to be honest I was gobsmacked by the result!! I never thought in a million years that we would actually vote to leave. For me I felt remain was well ahead of leave even though I like many others felt disillusioned with the European Elite inside their overly priced offices in Brussels, but I never thought leave actually had enough support to win the vote.

 So what happened next? Well the architect of the referendum Prime Minister David Cameron promptly announced he would be resigning as Prime Minister and hiding in Oxfordshire until the political storm blows over. 
This annoyed me right off the bat for the simple reason Cameron could see the impending crises and chose to run like the knights away from the bunny in the Monty Python classic film The Holy Grail.
He was like a surgeon who had made the wrong incision on a patient and then turned to his assistant and said I will just leave you to clean that up.
For me Cameron called the referendum in the first place in an attempt to unite the vocal Euro sceptics in his party and never even foresaw a possibility that the public would vote for leave. 
He came back from Brussels with a catalogue of very poor compromises on issues such as immigration (very much in the same vein of when May secured a letter from Brussels about the controversial Irish backstop proposal), played poker with a weak hand and lost.
Over the near 3 years since the vote took place we have seen the Conservatives under Theresa May desend into anarchy. They are now more ununited than in 1997 when Tony Blair swept to power in a landslide.
Cameron in my view fully expected to win the referendum and then be able to tell his party to unite behind him and inside Europe.
Instead he has almost single handedly tipped this country in to chaos.
So Theresa May took the reigns and one thing I will say about May from the get go is if nothing else I admire the fact she took the job, as I feel it was a poisoned chalace from the get go.
The country (well England outside of London, and some of Wales) fully expected the result to be honoured as passed referendums on devolution have been (and the 1997 Welsh Assembly referendum was won by less than 1%).
Apart from maybe 70 MP’s parliament didn’t want to leave Europe at all, and couldn’t quite believe what the public had told them to do.
For me May was always going to have an uphill struggle trying to please the public who wanted to go, and the parliament who never expected they would leave.
That being said May has been stuck between suicidal advice that led to the 2017 election and the loss of her majority in parliament, and absolute stubborness in refusing to engage with other parties (even her allies) to find common ground for a deal parliament could get behind and honour the result of 2016.
This is most stark in the fact May’s red lines mean no deal looks possible at the time of writing. 
The European Union bemoaned they didn’t know what the UK wanted from a deal almost constantly, and the information the public received was sketchy at best. 
The deal that went through parliament in the end was defeated by the largest margin of any UK government EVER!!!!!
It beggers belief May thought when the deal was announced and roundly panned on all sides that it could ever get through parliament, especially as she leads a minority government and the party that prop this government up (The DUP) already said they could not back it. 
The fact there is only now less than 3 months to zero hour any olive branch extended to see what parliament would accept has caused yet more chaos, as businesses across the EU, and citizens who either reside within the UK from the EU or the other way around look nervously over their shoulders unsure what is going to happen.
The Prime Ministers own stubborness to open dialogue with opposition politicians has caused all parties across the European spectrum to waste 2 years for a deal nobody likes.
The Conservative politicians should be ashamed as they have but shamless self interest above the good of the country and its people they claim to represent. Brexiteers seeking to reject anything that doesn’t constitute a full disconnect from Europe while at the same time a lot of Conservative ‘personalities’ look to position themselves for a leadership bid at somepoint in the future. 

This is not to say the other parties are fairing or looking any better in all of this.
The Liberal Democrats called for a second referendum as soon as the result of the first one was known??? To me all this said was politcians telling the public in the most patronising way possible ‘there there you got it wrong the first time you silly thing. Now we are going to run this again and you can give us the answer we want. You got it wrong the first time so make sure it doesn’t happen again!!’
This actually led to me resigning my party membership (and I had been a supporter since I was a student).
I felt the Liberals stating they were for the 16+ million who voted to remain was merely a political tactic to garner extra support rather than a moral stand against the result.
They have gone through 2 leaders since and are nothing if not consistent, however I disagree with the patronising message sent out by the leadership as I feel people were more fed up with the elitist EU as well as the elitist politicians of this country. This represents a disconnect between parliament and people that has to be explored not a dismissive approach as I believe was adopted. 

As for Labour well I will state Jeremy Corbyn is stuck in a damned if you do damned if you don’t environment.
On the one hand London was staunchley remainer territory and Labour has a lot MP’s here (including Corbyn himself). To be seen to be supporting Brexit completely would be to risk many marginal seats in London and perhaps some more safe seats. That being said the same can be said for the Labour heartlands away from London where almost all voted to leave. To be seen to be too pro remain would be to risk some very marginal seats in any future election.
Labour has had to weigh up how best to deal with Brexit without completely alienating large areas of core support.
The other side of this coin of course is they have had nearly 3 years to offer a firm well thought out alternative people could get behind, however they have chosen simply to point and laugh as the Conservatives tear themselves apart. 
However with no firm position on almost anything Labour have failed to provide any effective opposition to the deal that was struck and are still refusing to join any cross party talks unless a no deal Brexit is taken off the table. This position is not a moral stance but a political one that seeks merely to try and bring a general election closer. Corbyn himself has stated they would still honour the result and want a customs union, but have no further ideas and this is simply not good enough for an official opposition who should have been spending time finding a clear alternative rather than just saying no to what was on the table. 

As for all the other parties, the nationlists have only self interest at heart for the part of the union the represent (no surprise there then).

My call to politicians off all sides is simply this suck it up and join together to find a way forward for the good of the country and the people you claim to represent!!!
I fear a rise in extremism in this country not seen since the time of Mosely and the Fascists of the 1930’s.
People are disillusioned with the politicians we have and the shameless self interest all pursue. The people are an after thought and all Brexit has done for me is highlight this fact. I didn’t like May’s deal anymore than the next person but at least she got a deal to present, and all opposition politicians and members of May’s own party have done is say no without providing anything in return. May needs to be more compromising and all other politicians need to engage across the board for the good of the people not themselves!!!
All the while the EU have proven what an elitist non democratic organisation they have become, nothing more than a members only country club that scoffs at anyone who doesn’t agree with their unelected agenda (the EU council is not elected and the parliament is nothing more than a rubber stamp).


Thanks for reading and my views and opinions are my own.     

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The Rotten UK Railways 

Okay before I start let me just warn you this blog is going to be more like a rant than a blog!
Just a warning as even though I have calmed down somewhat I am still livid from the events of today. 

So for anyone who doesn’t know the UK were the innovators of the railway, fact!
We had thousands of stations, and to begin with at least the most advanced.railways in the world.
Fast forward to the 1960’s and some bright spark who we shall call Beeching decided it was a really good idea to close thousands of stations in anticipation of more road use (because in this day and age the roads are never gridlocked at rush hour)!
Fast forward again to 2017 and rail use is going up again so the since the 1980’s (perhaps earlier) either old stations are being reopened or new stations are opened. 
So you may think that the network is getting better, well you would wrong!! 

The station I get the train from each morning opened for the first time in April. This was a station reopening of sorts about 100 yards down the track from the original.
To date we have one train per hour to Leeds and non going in the other direction to Manchester. The odd service to Huddersfield, and an occasional stop to London Kings Cross.
Now I have not researched the figures on this but visually the train is supposed to arrive at 7:27 each morning.Since I have been getting this train I estimate it is on time less than 50% of the time. Now nobody cares if the train is a few minutes late as it is no different to waiting for a bus, but the frequemcy and gradual decline of this service has become quite stark.. From a few minutes late we are increasingly getting over 5 minutes late per day, and I feel the frequency is increasing. 
Now as there is only one train per hour to Yorkshires largest city if you miss this one then there is not another one until 8:23, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to Leeds and perhaps a 10 minute walk to work by which time I am late to work. 
The train is 2 carriages, which is actually just about adequate in.a morning provided other trains dont miss (which in Bradford Interchange they frequently do). 
However when other trains are delayed or in the case of 7:44 cancelled we play what I like to call sardines in a can, where personal space is more than at a premium for those standing up. I would challenge an executive from Northern Rail who operate our little franchise to actually ride the rush hour services and play sarduine in a can. However rather cynically perhaps I don’t think they would like to crumple their expensive executive suites.
From coversations I have had with colleagues who commute from all over Yorkshire (and in one case as far as Northern Derbyshire) this is not unique to the line I travel, but appears to be a common problem all over. 
Also coming to light is a particular bug ber that has led to this blog in the first place and that is the policy of putting on far too few carriages to meet demand, and this is an issue I will cover next. 

So this covers the trip to work but what about the wonders of the commute home? 
After a long day at work all you really want is a seat on a train and the guarantee you can get home in reasonable time.
Now to me this doesn’t seem like an unreasonable thing to ask for from our rail providers, but unfortunately this seems to be beyond Northern rail and possibly other rail operators as well judging by what I read in the news on a fairly regular basis. 
Now the normal ride home tends to include a 4 carriage train, now this is enough for most people to get a seat but with some standing as well, and is very nearly at capacity.
So imagine what happens when the normal 4 carriage formation is replaced by a 2 carriage set up? Well this ends up being sardines that should have been placed in 2 cans placed in one and the lid forced shut, I mean people are literally popping out of the doors. 
I have personally seen someone get their foot stuck as the door opened at a station, as well as people constantly being hit by the doors as they open inwards to let people off. 
This came to a head personally tonight as I was unable to get on the train this evening, which was reduced to 2 carriages. This ended up with me being forced to get a bus from a more frequently used station home at my expense, and added about an hour to my normal journey time.
now this is an inconvenience to me but there is a wider issue at work here. I would like to know in what world it is acceptble to cram people into a hunk of metal like that so that people are at risk of being trapped in the doors.
How is it acceptable that trains should be so overcrowded that the health and safety executive should have a field day but for some reason don’t.
Now I have complained before about this issue of having less carriages than is safe to put on for this service, and got a reply about rolling stock and refurbishment of carriages.
Now I have a simpler request to make to Northern Rail and any other operators who may happen upon this little rant of mine.
That is why don’t you send people out during rush hour to make a visual assessment of the overcrowding experienced by most commuters on the trains during our two rush hours (loose term nowadays).
I even challenge the head of Northern Rail and other heads of rail franchises throughout the country to try those lines during peak time from different routes and actually experience what commuters have to endure on a daily basis.
Now I say this in all confidence tht it will not happen as the executives of these companies are so out of touch with reality they may as well become politicians!!
My other suggestion is one that they won’t like because it involves spending actual real money, and that is how about buying more rolling stock to cope with demand.
Now the response we get from all of this is probably going to be the same as the rail franchises point out just how much money they have actually spent and how they are upgrading carriages and so when some come out of service because they are being upgraded this has caused a lack of rolling stock. However here is the thing IT IS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!
To me this is a very simple thing. Why not actually go out there and witness first hand the overcrowding on trains, and how people are being dangerously loaded into trains that are too short.
Secondly realise the issue is a general lack of carriages in the network, thirdly BUY ENOUGH STOCK TO MEET DEMAND!!!! 
Now I will be told it is not as simple as this however I believe actually it is just that simple! 

Now in January the rail companies will be asking for yet more money from the average commuter to travel on their sardine cans, and can we expect a better service? I am not hopeful as very much like the politicians who are supposed to take care of the track (although the Tories would like this to be private as well.I am sure), how much money is made through profit is much more important than the foot soldiers who provide those funds. 
Sadly a rant like mine will do little to change anything as those at the top of these companies care very little about the plight of the average person in the street,as they are so far removed from everyday society they see themselves as a cut above. While this attitude whether obvious or not continues then things will never change. 
The problem is the divide between those at the top and bottom in society is so wide it reates a disconnect, and for those who feel Corbyn is different just remember he is in the end a politician, and little different in the end from anyone else who sits in the house. 
While its nice to rant the fact is I dont believe this will hit home anywhere. Its nice if people agree but the impact I feel will be less than miniscule in the grand scheme of things.
What I would ask is for those of you who feel as agrieved as me at the current state of the railways, and the fact we are constantly asked to pay more for less then complain to the companies responsible and KEEP complaining.
The fact is railway operators have to release complaint statistics every year at somepoint, and the more we complain the more questions will have to be asked of the franchise operators. 
Far too many of us dont raise our voices and be heard, and so as a consequence companies like Northern Rail get away without having to justify themselves. 
I say this needs to stop, everyone who feels the same I urge to go onto their rail operators websites and raise your concerns. Keep complaining it is surprisingly simple, make our voices louder so people have to listen.

Well rant over as always my views are my own, thanks for reading.

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Haworth Idyllic, Tragic, Beautiful!!

So for anyone who has read a blog by me before, or knows anything about me, will realise I am a Bradford lad.
Now much to the annoyance of anyone who lives outside the traditional city limits of Bradford it is true to say that the city status of Bradford appplies to the Metropolitan Borough of Bradford not just the traditional city!
That being the case the towns of Keighley, Bingley, and Ilkley (and how people of Ilkley hate that comsidering they have a Leeds post code and their own dialling code) fall within the Bradford city limits.

Now when me and my future wife first moved in together in Bradford I was keen to make sure she saw the best parts of it, as opposed to some of the more dog rough areas around the borough. At the time I thought it didn’t give me too many choices of where to live so to cut a long story short I found a small 300 year old through by light terrace in a place called Cross Roads just outside Haworth in a very picturesque place.
We lived there for 2 years before moving to be cloer to jobs in Bradford and have regretted that decision ever since!

I remember when me and my other half were in what in UK terms is a longish distant relationship as I came home to Bradford and my now wife finished her final year of university, and she was coming over for a visit.
I was thinking of something to do that would hopefully impress and remembered she was doing a degree in English and Drama and loved to read. Well in Bradford if reading and literature is your thing there is only one place to go Haworth.
Now looking back I have no idea why I was surprised by the fact she already knew about the three sisters born in Thornton who became some of the greatest writers of all time (certainly from this country), and was very enthusiastic about the visit.
I also found out that she had never been on a steam train before, and with the Keighley and Worth Valley railway (another attraction of the area) running all the way to Oxenhope and through Haworth our trip was set.
Now Haworth is set in the foothills of the Pennine mountain range known as the spine of England, and the village itself is carved into the hillside just off Pennistone Hill.
As you walk the main street from top to bottom the hills that surround produce a spectacular view all around. Viewing the various independant retailers selling all sorts you feel at peace with almost everything in the world for the entire time you are there.
Have a pint in one of the various pubs on the main street, or a coffee in the many cafe’s that litter the main street as you walk along.   
Central Park at the bottom of the main street is almost stepped as it can be quite steep virtually everywhere in Haworth, and is a great place to sit picnic and view the idyllic surroundings.
The melee of stone built buildings hugging the hillside provide picture post card images. 
Penistone Hill just outside the village and the moors in general formed the setting of some of the Bronte novels. If you have ever read the novels and walk the moors your mind is a wash with images from the novels, expecting to see Wuthering Heights on the horizon.
You can sit and ponder at Bronte Falls, or see what many believe to be the Wuthering Heights inspiration at Top Withens.  

So that is the idyllic and some of the beautiful however there is also the tragic as well. As you walk down from the world famouns Parsonage (well worth a visit) you come upon the graveyard of the church of St Michael where Patrick Bronte was once Parish Priest.
Now the church was rebuilt in the late 19th century from the one Patrick would have known (all except the tower), and there are now trees where in the 19th century there were non. However the gravestones when read give you an idea of the tragedy of Haworth. I have read once there is supposed to be etween 20 and 60 thousand bodies buried in the graveyard at Haworth, a testament to the unsanitary conditions of the village back in the 19th century, and the fact disease was rife (tuberculosis was the killer of Bramwell, Emily, and Ann).
Additionally the tree’s in the graveyard were put there to try and take away some of the liquid from the bodies as they decomposed as it was getting into the villages water supply causing yet more disease, and to stabalise the land.
Looking at Haworth it is easy to forget that in the 19th century it was so unsanitary (as were most major cities at the time). 

For me though it has another very personal very special place in my heart that goes beyond the home of the Bronte’s, or the gorgeous setting (although it is because this it has such an effect).
We have always found during bad times when things get tough we can always go to Haworth or nearby by Penistone Hill and literally escape for a couple of hours at a time.
When we lost the twins we went to Haworth to clear our heads in the now fresh air. We sat in the Black Bull towards the top of the main street in the shadow of the church and talked over our grief in a calming setting.
When things go wrong we go to Haworth to be somewhere we love where we can clear our heads and find ourselves coming back to reality, and better able to face the world when we comeback.
I can’t tell you exactly why Haworth resonates with us so much, or why we use it as a go to place when clearly Yorkshire alone has so much to offer.
I think everyone whoever you are has a place they can go when things go wrong, or if you just want to be away and loose yourself for a while. Whatever it happens to be just a place to clear your head, a place you can go to be alone with your thoughts. 
Haworth the village and surrounding moors are our place. 
As always my opinions are my own. Thanks for reading.        

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Body Shaming 

So I follow a few well known people on Instagram and noted one had posted a picture of themselves.
Nothing normally of particular interest there, but then I read the caption, which read ‘for all those who have said I am fat, I am not I am curvy.’ It then went on to say ‘usually I get a few trolls saying this but this time it was more than a few.’ 
So I took a look again at the picture and thought to my self this person is beautiful, truly stunning looking person. So why would anyone think they were fat and even more concerning why would they say it? I came to one conclusion, this was bidy shaming ! Now I will not name the celebrity in question for the one in a trillion chance they actually read this (very unlikely I know), but it got me thinking about the whole notion of body shaming and its implications.

Now to give you a little bit of context to myself I always describe myself as a tall fat guy with a beard and a pony tail so that those who don’t know me can spot me in a crowd, and I am not far out with my summary of myself.
I am a tall guy over 6ft in height, I have long hair and often have it tied back in a pony tail (long held ambition I finally decided to do in my 30’s before all the grey’s set in, and then well I will more than likely keep it long anyway), I have a beard that fluctuates between full and goatee (originally grown to make me look younger), and I am very fat. 
Unfortunately for some the size of my stomach is the first thing some people see, and they gip when they see me no doubt wondering how I managed to achieve it!
They have made no effort to attempt to get to know me, to find out who I am, or if I might be interesting. They simply see the weight, very much as a racist only sees a colour. 
The thing is I know I am fat and don’t need someone to point it out. I am aware of the limitations of being this size, and how I may appear to other people.
However what most people who go for body shaming don’t realise is most people are all too well aware of their appearance and do not need this dragging up for someone else to laugh at.
I mean for example you just don’t know the stories of the people you shame or what they may have been through that has made them the way they are. 
For me it is a constant battle with food and having the will power, discipline or whatever you call it to say no or stick to something that will help. I am also aware of the risks and the potential issues in later life. It is also worth pointing out the battle I rage in my head every single day (and lose 9 times out of 10) is something 99% of people are not privy to.

It gets me as well when people go to gym’s in order to help themselves and are met with derision from the ‘beautiful people.’
I remember seeing something online about a playboy model who took a picture of a larger lady in a gym and posted it on social media with a horrible attachment, then had to quickly back track when the back lash hit, I remember thinking to myself that person is trying to better themselves and become more healthy yet all the ‘beautiful people’ can do is  shame!!!

I will close by saying people like the widest spread of people in this world. What is perfect to one person may be repulsive to another, what one person thinks is perfect another may feel is not their type.
My point is no matter what body type you may see there is almost certain to be somone who feels that body type is the most perfect person they have every met, and to someone else it is not.
Also I am keen to point out that beauty is more than skin deep the real beauty is the soul of the person and what that represents. Just because someone may be famous they are still a person flesh and bone with feelings like everyone else on this planet.
I believe we all have the capacity to be beautiful, don’t be so keen to judge just because you don’t like the appearance of the package for two reasons: Firstly there is almost certainly someone around who does, and secondly what is contained within the package could be the most amazing mind you have ever met. 
As always my opinions are my own , thanks for reading.

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Terrorism and its Many Forms!!

Okay this is my second attempt in a while to blog. As I actually got decent comments from my last one I thought I would tackle something a little more difficult (although my wife informs me my punctuation and spelling are as ever abysmal), terrorism and its many forms. 

So we have had 3 attacks in London, one in Manchester, and previous attacks in Paris, Nice, and Berlin. 
All are awful and abhorrent attacks against innocent people and no amount of explanation or quotation of doctrine can justify the actions of the people who perpotrated these acts.
The people who died aside from the terrorists were innocents, people going about their business having a good time. They knew little of the realities of terrorism and did not deserve to die! This also reinforces my belief that Karma whilst a nice idea doesn’t in fact exist. If it did then Jimmy Saville would have been convicted in the 60’s and spent the mjority of his life behind bars instead of in a penthouse in Roundhay (a well to do part of Leeds), Rolf Harris and Stewart Hall would have served monumental sentances in earlier life and not in their 80’s after a long period of luxury living. If there was real justice in the world. then children would not be forced to suffer hardship or terminal illness, but that is a discussion for another day. 

Something else we have to understand is what Europe has experienced is simply the tip of the ice berg. Spare a thought for the people of Mosul who remain in their war torn city, and are being used as human shields by evil terrorists. Spare a thought for the people of Syria who have been displaced by both terrorists and their own government. The people of Yemen who are trapped in the most disgusting and desperate of conditions through no fault of their own, all people forced to suffer due to a war most didn’t want or need.
Although they get reported in the press it holds nothing compared to the coverage of the attacks closer to home for that very reason because they are so close to home.
So much has been said about the facts all but one of the attacks were inacted by muslims based on statements made by the terrorists in the middle east and general radicalisation of muslims.
However I want to point out something here and now that a religion doesn’t make a person evil!!!!! Just check the religious writings of most religions and you will find that peace takes presidence over war. I grew up and live in a city with a high immigrant population from various parts of the world, and I can tell you that 95% of people who live here simply want to live their lives and have no interest in blowing people up, or huting people. 

This leads me to my next statement, which is a person is evil who commits these crimes not a religion, and just because they claim to do it for religion doesn’t mean they are actually doing it for religion.
It is true to saty a person can be influenced by the voices on the shooulder talking in their ears, or by statements made by those with extremist views. It is true to say some people are impressionalble to radical ideas, however anyone who can comprehend the difference between right and wrong still has a choice as to the path they take, and ultimately do not need to do what they do. 
A person is evil if they commit this crime, just as those who would look to be the voice in the ear comvincing someone to commit these acts are evil. However they are in the end just the same as the evil we attribute to Harold Shipman, or Ted Bundy. It is the same evil of those who kill their own children like the Wests, or child killers Hindley and Brady, and I do not think it should be treated any differently. The fact all but one of these attacks were the responsibility of those who claimed to be Muslims shouldn’t detraxct from the evil it took to commit it, in the same way the IRA waged war on the British government until 1997. 
Also we should treat with as much distain the Welsh national who ran into Muslims, as we do Muslims who ran into others. 

Driving into the public with cars, lorries and vans may be an alteration in tact than we have previosuly seen, and what we saw in Manchester, but it doesn’t change the evil required to carry this out.

I will also mention here the spirit of those who helped and pulled together in order to help those caught up in this. Together the effort shown to help and the amazing professionalism of the emergency services shows what humanity can do when pulling together for a common cause.
Real credit to Ariana Grande who’s name I didn’t know before the attack in Manchester (until my eldest daughter told me who she was) for not only the way she handled herself during all of this, but also for her actions afterwards in trying to help raise money for the vicitms afterwards.
These acts give us all hope that the real humanity has won out, and the true colours of this country have shone through. 

I will end with this thought, I have the same basic characteristics as most human beings, and biologically speaking I operate in same way. It is only the electronic impulses that make my brain work and by default the rest of me that makes me different. This also means when I meet someone on the street I see a person not a colour or a religion. I see a human being standing in front of me and I don’t care where you come from or what your background is, I could care a less what religion you follow or if you like sport. I say this not because these things are not important to you or that they do not help to create who you are, but more that I start out with the same first thought with whomever I meet. That thought is that there is a person standing in front of me and I would like to get to know that person. I would love to go for a drink with that person whether that is a beer or a coffee, or just water. I am happy to work and socialise with anyone who wants to socialise or work with me. I also believe most people feel the same way. 

As always thanks for reading. The opinions expressed in this article are my own and in no way reflect anybody elses.  

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