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Tag Archive: politics


A gold medal with the olympic rings inside

A gold medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its been a glorious 17 days of sporting action. London did the UK proud. I do not think London has ever seen anything like this before –  a 2 week (and a bit) carnival of sport and sheer joy.

I spend all of last week in London watching the games and doing the tourist bit too. I could not blog using my ipad because for some strange reason, the latest WordPress app update is malfunctional. There was me thinking updated technology was meant to make things easier.

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Any road, a fantastic time was had by all. The weather sulkily stayed good. It wouldn’t rain on this parade. The athletics was great. The athletes were superb. Even the Royal Family was out in full force supporting the Games. The highlight for me was watching the Men’s 200 metres and being totally overwhelmed by the sheer excellence of the Jamaican sprinters. Mo Farah won 2 Golds in the 5k and 10k – What an achievement. It takes guts, stamina, drive and some incredible motivation to achieve such a feat. And who will ever forget the ‘mobot’!. The Golden Girl, Jess Ennis did not disappoint either. She came, overcame all the others and delivered. Perfection! I was also impressed by Michael Phelps. What an amazing achievement! All those medals collected over 3 Olympiads. He is a legend and will forever be remembered as a fantastic athlete/swimmer. Another Legend I was honoured to watch was  the lightning bolt that is Usain Bolt, in the flesh. He has swept all before him. What an athlete. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up in Rio in 4 years and simply sprint away with the medals again. The British cycling Team was marvelous too. Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, and the rest of the crew did not disappoint. The British Sailing team,Tennis players,  the Boxers, Pentathletes – all the athletes did remarkably well. Andy Murray finally won a title at Wimbledon! He was also oh so close to becoming a Double Gold medallist!  Football attendance  crowds beat all the records it is a pity Team GB ladies and men’s teams disappointed. However, the finalists gave us a good show. Brazil were shocked by Mexico, it seemed like the Brazilian team presumed they would walk away with the Gold medals. Congrats to Mexico. Many World records were set or broken-David Rodisha’s was exceptional. He simply annihilated all before him in winning the 800 metres.This young man is one to watch for the next few years. There was one other remarkable athlete who shall be remembered for his courage and athleticism- Oscar Pistorius. He fought hard to be included in the main Olympiad when others argued he should instead participate in the Paralympics. He did himself proud, his country and the whole world. Hats off to him.

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I hope this penny-pinching Government will continue supporting the sports people now the Olympics has left town. They have been making the right noises so far. However, I never trust politicians and I will not be surprised later if we find out the sports budget is somehow curtailed surreptitiously. A lot of effort and energy needs to be invested in competitive sport at Primary school and high school levels. Moreover, pupils should be made to realise you have to compete to win. Taking part is important, however, a winning mentality needs to be nurtured from a very young age. This is something I find quite disappointing every time I attend our local school sports day. There is no real competition at all. The remarkable achievements of the youngish Chinese and American swimmers are a case in point. Pupils should learn to compete at an early age and strive to be the best in whatever sport they take part in.

Some people my choose to disagree here with me. I found it hard to appreciate that BMX racing is an Olympic sport. Please! Roller-blading next!  Since we will be in Rio, maybe introduce Samba dancing as a sport too. I have got nothing against the BMX sport, however, I have always viewed it as a hobby. Walking marathon is another. Well,how does one train to be a walking marathonist? I just don’t get it. Golf has been added to the list of Olympic sports. I love watching Golf, but I seriously do not think its an Olympic sport. I don’t think anyone will ever convince me to think otherwise. Why are they leaving out Squash and or even Darts? These important people entrusted in making such decisions are a funny bunch indeed.

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was just as spectacular as the opening ceremony. Brits know how to throw a party! They did a good party. I will never forget watching the politicians dancing to the music, especially Boris Johnson!! It was interesting, didn’t realise the man could move! He is just as quick on his feet as he is with his one-liners! The ceremony was great. It did market some of the best bits about the UK to the outside world-I loved the convertibles on show! Wow! If I was some rich prince somewhere in the Middle East watching the Ceremony on my super-cool 3D, I would have been on the blower instructing one of my many assistants to get me one of the convertibles! It was a remarkable show and the Guardian’s apt description is on the money:  “a kaleidoscopic spectacle” that showed “the energy of British popular culture over the past few decades. We even had a glimpse of the Spice Girls, they arrived in London Cabs! It spiced the evening for me,and millions others. The imagination, artistic imagery and the crowd made it such a special occasion. A fitting end to the ‘best Olympics games‘ bar none. According to the Washington Post: “The host country truly was Great Britain. London delivered a rousing Olympics. …..the most organized, enthralling and enjoyable Games since Sydney in 2000.” London 2012 won a Gold Medal of its own. I hope people like Mitt Romney and the others who doubted this great City could deliver are eating humble pie. And I hope this is not the only misjudgment this Republican candidate has made.

Hats off to all those involved. The 70 000 volunteers were remarkable and made the games all the more enjoyable. The few we met were always smiling and always helpful. The crowds were magnificent too. Lets hope the Olympic spirit will linger longer and be like  an extra-strength dose of a mood-enhancing drug to the country and the economy.

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52nd Post

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in...

English: World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka – Jamaican 200 metres runner Usain Bolt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have done the golden jubilee, half-century or just plain 50.Now racing to the hundred. Actually sprinting, so Usain Bolt better watch out!

I thought to celebrate the grand occasion,I would review one of the best books I have read, and share my views.

KAFKA:  The Trial

The trial is about a man called Joseph K who, on his 30th birthday gets accosted by two ‘police officers’ and gets arrested for a ‘crime’ he never committed. A ‘crime’ he was not to know either. Josef K is a junior manager for a bank and lives by himself. He is of course very enraged and starts to wonder what is really happening around his world. Thus the nightmare begins.

The book is a detailed account of the trials and tribulations Josef K goes through until the day he is ‘judicially murdered’ a year from the day he was first arrested. It is like someone somewhere has been watching Josef K and is reminiscent of Big Brother (1984) in a way. Kafka is subjected to ‘Chinese water torture‘  for the whole year. The saying ‘those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad’ aptly describes the ordeal he had to suffer throughout that period. His life is turned upside down and he becomes a ‘prisoner’ and is told to ‘accept his situation’. The warders and the courts never tell him what his ‘crime’ is.

The bureaucracy and Invisible Law is staggering. He attends court, there are constant court appearances yet he does not know what the charge(s) is/are. The legal system is so crushing and it is hopeless. Maybe he should never have acknowledged that he had committed a ‘crime’. He is made to interminably wait and they simply mess up with his head. The court systems is at best very strange and yet at the same time there is such a bureaucratic mire he has to navigate. The court officials do not seem to have an acute understanding of cases and ‘consequently they could hardly ever quite follow in their further progress… ‘It looks like there is a psychological determination to destroy him.Perhaps its he way the bureaucratic system was perceived in early 1900s when the book was written. Joseph K is offered advise from ‘mentors’ and they all seemed to at times. He also tries to put his trust in females,but no one can help him with his case. He is marooned.  The psychological quagmire he is entrapped is so suffocating. ‘Guilt’ seems to be the overriding theme. Everyone assumes he is ‘guilty’ or else he would not be in that ‘situation’. When he tells court claim that he is ‘innocent’, he is asked in turn ‘innocent of what’? He has no human rights whatsoever and his life is at the mercy of the state apparatus.

It is not difficult to find oneself sympathising with this character. The state has pressed a self-destruct button and although he tries to keep level-headed, going to work and keeping to routines, he can not escape the knowledge that in the eyes of the law he is deemed  guilty. Its said Kafka did not finish the book and the end comes rather unexpectedly. Maybe that is why there seems to be a gap between the Cathedral  scene and his final demise. At the Cathedral he seemed to suggest to the priest he was going to fight to prove that he is not guilty. Yet when the two warders come to collect him and lead him to his death he does not protest. Joseph K ultimately dies at the hands of the state’s executioners. He accepts the inevitability of his death. Is this a final act to escape the nightmare or is it mere submission to authority yet again? At least the nightmare comes to an end.

The book seems to want to highlight the problems with bureaucracy. Even senior officials do not know the rules, they claim to work under. People who work in these bureaucracies might as well be robots. It also portrays the state as an organ that it can willy-nilly disregard the rights of  citizens. It is omnipresent and also destroys people’s lives. Kafka  also cleverly illustrates the human tendency to submit to authority. Even when the authority’s actions are questionable. However, one finds themselves wanting to support him, and or expose the state for what it is, a cold-hearted bully.

Oh Cameron! You are the supposed to be the leader of one of the biggest democracies, not some bumbling dyed-in the wool Little Englander Buffon.

Colonialists.

The other day, he called Argentina ‘colonialists’ for their temerity to challenge the United Kingdom’s continued occupation of the Falklands (or Malvinas). Now now Mr Cameron, who was the biggest colonialist of them all? Who still occupies vast swathes of foreign land? The Americans only celebrated their Independence Day yesterday. Did they fight the Argentinians all those years ago  for their independence? Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria to name but three. Pakistan and India are still bickering after they got their indepencence from the United Kingdom in 1948. They are still bickering because their counrty was so ruthlesslessy subdivided on ethnic and religious lines such that the Brits left it a mess and couldn’t work out what to do with Kashmir. the Palestinians are till in such a mess because of the United Kingdom’s machinations. He needs a lesson in History.

The Euro

Britain has been teaching the Euro-countries how to deal with the current economic crisis. Who has been championing this teaching? Well, Mr Cameron of course! An expert economist and politician I dare add! Britain repeatedly says that saving the eurozone remains in Britain’s vital national interest. France and Germany say that if Britain has such strong views on how it should be saved then it should cough up directly than through relatively modest and indirect IMF contributions (Guardian). Moreover, Germany & France have bigger economies than Britain. Another factor he forgets is that he was not really elected as Prime Minister, he leads a coalition. Whereas the French President and Germany Chancellor were directly elected into office.

Greece

He has of late been saying we are going to shut the borders to the Greeks as their economy implodes and they are forced to leave the Eurozone. Going back to the Drachmas! Well, if there are any Greeks intend on leaving their sun-drenched island, surely they maybe doing that all ready by getting travel tickets using their last cash reserves instead of waiting until the country grinds to a halt. How crass and insensitive for the Prime Minister of a leading nation to be so disdainful and callous.

The Poor

The less off have not been left out of Mr Cameron’s drive to change the world. They have been advised not to procreate like rabbits! He threatens to slash benefits. Instead of championing social inclusion he blames most of the economic ills on the impoverished of this beautiful island. The Tories are prescribing that the poor Stop drinking and Stop smoking. This will be achieved by increasing the prices,and other subtle methods. Admittedly the health benefits are immense. However, its sheer hypocrisy. Moreover, it smacks of nit-picking symptoms, and attempting to treat them yet ignoring the major illnesses afflicting society-social exclusion and the economic problems. He could do well  introducing the one-child family (imitate China-after all the economy seems to be booming!) or better still open gulags and throw all the miscreant parents into them for some re-education in ‘family values’ , work and teach them conservative ideals. ‘Family values’ seems to be the bedrock of Tory policy. As if all our problems will be cured if we got married (and stop living as single parents or co-habitating). The biggest joke of all was the attack on Jimmy Carr for tax evasion.The mind boggles. Why pick on him when the majority of Tory benefactors are known to be doing the same thing? It is the silly season indeed.

The champion of ‘caring conservatism’ is finally showing his true colours. Wolf and sheep’s clothing comes to mind.For some reason,  true colours tend to come out this season. For the uninitiated, the  silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news (behaviours to boot) stories in the media.

 

Our wise Government ministers have decided to change the educational system. Again. For the umpteen time.

I assume the system is broke, otherwise if it ain’t broke why try to fix it. Is the system that bad? Or has education become another political plaything like the NHS?

I often wonder the system is really wrong or is it the political classes and leadership that screws it up all the time. Resources are stretched right now, and yet we want to overhaul the educational system. Wouldnt it be wiser to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the educational system, compare results with other countries with equivalent or even better educational systems then embark on a modification exercise. Regular  overhauling of the educational system will cause more harm than good. Members of parliament, the ministers and all the major parties should all be sitting together and coming up with one solution. Cheap political point-scoring may win you a vote; but it will harm our children. Plus cause problems for the country in years to come.

Our children need a good basis and environment that nurtures learning and it should be unrestrictive, meritocratic and encouraging.

Too many changes are unnecessary and will make it even harder for the teachers to impart the knowledge our children need.

Just a thought: ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.’ espousing the virtues of Utilitarianism, (Dickens).

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