Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday the 25th of January 2013

I don't often comment on political stuff, other folk (specifically those in the links section) do it with more elan and incisiveness than I ever could. This week however, has contained a bit of howler from the Unionist Better Together crowd.

Usually you need to be a bit of a political anorak to truly understand the unionist v. nationalist argument, what the average person in the street gets in terms of news is strained through a highly biased media which ironically, you need to be a bit of a political anorak to appreciate.

This week however was a wee bit different. For months we've been told by Better Together and a panoply of unionist politicians that the referendum on Scottish Independence introduces an unacceptable level of uncertainty on the subject of EU membership. It has been the main plank of criticism for the independence argument.

So, you don't need to be a political nerd to understand when David Cameron came out with plans for an in/out referendum on EU membership earlier this week; this highlighted a significant (in fact, glaring) double standard by unionist politicians.

For a start, the Indy Ref is happening in the Autumn of 2014, if successful (and I hope we are) no one really knows what will happen with EU membership, if precedent is anything to go by, we'll still be EU citizens (there is no vehicle within the EU to revoke citizenship) so the chances are, while we will have to renegotiate terms of membership; we'd do it from the inside and so for that matter would the remainder of the UK.

While Better Together and the 'No' mob have been extolling (at great length) the years of uncertainty for business our referendum presents, Cameron is talking about having the EU referendum in five years time, an even longer period of time. Their argument is, the UK isn't susceptible to the same forces other countries are, apparently the UK is special.

One other thing which needs to be mentioned; the day Cameron's speech was reported in the press was the same day a 'poll' result was released stating support for independence had sunk to an all time low of 23%. Except it wasn't a poll, it was part of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which is an on going exercise where different households are 'scientifically' chosen to answer the same question on a regular basis through-out the year, between 1200 -1500 people take the survey, on its own website, it even claims not to be an opinion poll, political nerds also point out the method by which 23% was arrived at was flawed and as a 'poll' measuring support for independence or any other political settlement, due to the wording of the questions asked, it is seriously flawed. Crucially though, the figure was gleaned from survey responses from the middle of last year, why mention it now instead of back then if its such big news? Oh, hold on...

As usual, it did the job, news papers and current affairs programs on the radio and television had something other than the huge double standard dropped by unionists to report. A double whammy, they got to do down the Nationalist side with some more dodgy figures and bury a unionist turd at the same time.

When things like this go down, I really have no idea how people can still think independence from Westminster is anything other than the obvious choice.

(For what its worth, David Cameron will never have his referendum, when/if Scotland goes it's own way, both countries will have to renegotiate terms. The notion England Wales and Northern Ireland will continue within the EU minus 10% of its GDP, 30% of its land mass and vast swathes of farmland & fisheries is just daft, which coincidentally is what the Unionist side think you are when they're spooning out their nonsense.)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Another milestone passed.

The image above is of the inside pocket of a jacket I recently bought, the feature indicated by the arrows represents the milestone I recently past.

It's not a good milestone, like getting my motorcycle licence or realising that holding the back of my head with one hand while I blow my nose with other is not necessary to stop my eyes from popping out. (The things parents tell their children.) I'll ask you the same question I asked myself when I saw it; what's that hole for then?

I'll admit I had no idea, when I found out I thought; 'oh no, I'm getting old'. But why worry about that, it's inevitable, its daft to worry about things you can't control right? Unfortunately it does mean something else; I'm Out Of Touch. You can be fourteen and OOT (I did ask one 14yo, he didn't know what it was for either.) Or like me, you can be in your mid-to-very (very) late 20's (ahem) and find; your finger isn't only no longer on the pulse, its no where near it any more. Where before you instinctively knew what an object was for because you existed on the same plane of existence, you find you've moved on to a different plane, its not that you don't know what an object is (in this case, its a hole in a pocket,) its that the purpose of it or what might employ it; is a mystery.

I think if given enough time, I would have figured out what the mystery hole was for, I first didn't think about it at all (its just a snow boarding jacket, for all that snow boarding I do,) when I did think about it, I thought it might be for a pen, after that? I thought no more of it because its just an inside pocket and contrary to what people who know me say, I have other important things to consider; like what wine I'll be drinking that night.

So I'm officially OOT, I'm a fuddy duddy, an oldie, a crustie, a bufty. I am no longer en vogue, avant garde or a la mode.

The thing is; are you? Can you honestly say you'd know what the hole is for? (Don't all rush at once, Blogger servers have crashed once before under the volume of comments this blog receives...)

Bonus points if you know what the smaller pocket on the actual pocket is for too, because as you know, having a pocket on a pocket is de rigueur these days isn't it?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Its over...

Unusually, because I enjoy a good rant at Christmas time, (I'm not a huge fan,) I've kept to myself this year. Various reasons, I think mostly because some times its hard to find the humour at this time of year. In which regard, if you're the same, this post is for you.

Christmas and New Year,  its a bit of a roller coaster you can't avoid, some people climb aboard with glee, others, with less enthusiasm; I'm firmly in the latter category. It goes with out saying, you can't avoid it, even if you have no one in the world to impress or pretend to be cheerful for, you are surrounded by expectation. From telly adverts to news paper headlines, at work surrounded by forced cheer and merriment; you WILL enjoy yourself.

If you're not sure what kind of Christmas you should be having, Debenham's, Asda or Tesco are only too happy to demonstrate in their respective adverts how you should be comporting yourself, sometimes, I think it would be interesting if you could pick an organisation that best suits your Christmas experience rather than have some aspirational dross piped into your home by C&A's. Ours would probably come from the Samaritans or perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous.

I always go in expecting the worst and while I've never had my worst imaginings fulfilled, its always been excruciating, a mixture of faux bonhomie, forced cheer (the worst kind) and cringe inducing sentiment. Our Christmas Day consists of not rocking the boat and not getting to close to Dad while he's eating pudding lest you be sucked in like a hapless commuter standing too close to the edge of the platform as a high speed train hammers by. (Don't laugh, small cousins have gone missing...)

I have a confession to make this year (not that I imagine you'll give a be-tinseled shit being as I am a complete stranger to most readers.) I know its probably wrong to be impressed, but I managed this year to buy no presents what-so-ever, my excuse is; I ran out of time. I literally had no time to buy anything, I mean, I could have rushed around on Christmas Eve but I thought; fuck that, I can't be arsed. Normally I'm more organised (I only buy for my parents, its not much of a challenge.) But, for various reasons, each one I assure you, more persuasive than the last, I just flat ran out of time.

I did buy cards for my parents, they are sentimental about that and they aren't hard to buy. I don't get involved with the Christmas card war of attrition that goes on in the work place, same goes with extended family (my brother doesn't even get a card.) I'm always surprised by people at work who remonstrate because I didn't return their Christmas good wishes, I have to patiently explain, the reason they didn't get a card extolling any positive feelings was because I am essentially honest and wouldn't want to paint a false picture for them.

Its over now though, there are those climbing out of the roller coaster car grinning from ear to ear, some are merely satisfied after a pleasing period of familial and friendly reconnection. There are others though, stumbling off, alone, flecked with their own vomit who's misgivings have either been satisfied or worse still; re-enforced.

I'm the first to admit I have my moments, I really am a cynical, miserable bastard at times and at Christmas, it does come to the fore. But listen, I'm not a pessimist, nor am I an optimist, I think like a great very many people, I'm just some where in the middle and react positively or negatively to things going on around.

For some people, Christmas (and New Year) just underlines and amplifies the crap things in life. Maybe its because you are alone, maybe its because you anticipate being alone (or maybe its because you want to be alone...)

Which ever it is, this one is for you.