Looking back on it, it seems that 2016 was the year of the oversight.

Early in the year, talking on Trump, some commentators bandied about figures about him having 20% of 20-24%, suggesting that the apathetic American public who recently have struggled to get over the 50% turnout, were reasonably split between the Democrat/Republican poles.  This came with an allowance for a couple of percentage points being allocated for the usual maverick billionaire with a bee-
in-his-barnet.  Trump, it was believed held the maverick card at this stage – he certainly had the barnet – and everything seemed pretty much run-of-the-mill, for the American process.  He’d run his race, and disappear into whatever oblivion vacuum that sucked up Ross Perot …

His ranting and raving had the more refined on Capitol Hill sniggering up their sleeves.  The press and television media smacked their lips in glee, but the wind-bag was expected by everyone to blow himself out by mid-summer at the latest.

Traction comes from unexpected places.

Trump maintained his bile, and despite the obvious lying, fabricating, and some bewildering back-tracking, before seemingly blowing his other foot off, the act was somehow still gaining momentum.  People didn’t know what to think across the world.  A mass under-class protest making its gripe known was the general international prognosis.  Poor white people were upset and wanted something done about their unhappy state.

What America was thinking was beyond us, looking in from outside, but America often baffles the world with its thinking.  Progressive thinking coasts combined with a sixteenth century moralistic middle don’t make for easy analysis. Trump was obviously some kind of psychopathic loon-tune with an odd personal agenda, but somehow he was staying in there.  Like a reality version of goggle-box, the worldunknown-4 scratched its collective arse, its armpits, its head, and finally shrugged in bafflement.  May arrived, and the primaries ended.  Trump was endorsed by the Republican Party.  The Democrats celebrated across the land, believing the Republicans had given up the ghost.

Not taking him seriously by June was the Democrats major oversight of the year.

June crept along and England gave all sensible thinking people a massive kick in the balls.  An idiotic bunch of warm beer swilling xenophobes had hoodwinked the normally apathetic English and Welsh into voting to leave the European Union, by not deviating from a meaningless phrase of ‘getting control of their country back’, and depicting the country as being overrun with hordes of alien foreigners trying to occupy beds in their hospitals.  A twenty year campaign from what were regarded as little-england bigots, and rural folk scared of anyone with a higher melanin count than their own milky arses, came home to roost.

Believed by the powers-that-be to have somewhat run its course, and that this was to be the final laying to bed of Farage and his bunch of odious cronies, many people in and out of power took their eyes off the ball.  An oversight by the sensible, of insensible proportions.  Corbyn disappeared from all reports, and won’t be forgiven by many people for his absence, and the BBC gonged its way into 6pm with Prime Ministerial commentaries countered by Farage, as though it was he who had become the Leader of HM’s Opposition.

Timing was Cameron’s oversight.  Only a year in to his second term (if first real term) – an unpopular time for any leader, especially one who hadn’t managed a mandate for his first term – he and his Tory chums were confident that having seen off what had seemed a much more likely independent Scottish threat, the whole Brexit hoo-hah was merely a bag of wind for the silly season of summer and would be similarly put to bed.

His oversight cost Britain its imminently sensible and beneficial relationship with the EU, and lie piled upon lie paved the bigot-enabling-path, with the media flailing and flapping about, seemingly unable to take anyone to task in a post-Paxman world.  Expecting the truth, and reasonable argument to win the day, Cameron and Osborne tried to keep to the status quo narrative (what else would a conservative do?) and their oversight in believing the fake-news pedlars, who ignored the statistics, the facts, and anything else reality might throw at them, and maintained the stream of drivel, their oversight in believing this would come to bite the liars on the arse, was perhaps the biggest cock-up of the year, and perhaps even, Tory history.

The celebrations of the fake-news brigade spread, and the possibilities for bigots everywhere just opened up.  Liberal-minded and tolerant people suddenly found themselves in conversations they’d thought had been consigned to dust-bins twenty years ago.  Seemingly, the thoughts were just in hiding, and the hate simmered along, and was even cultivated quietly through the private social networks, and caverns of hate as they have since come to be called.

Trumps inauguration came about when the Democrats also misread the narrative, and the disgruntled mood upon which it rode.  Like the British, this wasn’t a mood of debate, reason, logic and understanding.  This was a mood that didn’t like words much.  People wanted change, and unless that was what they were going to be promised, that’s what they were going to have.  The oversight was not just misunderstanding the mood, but also misunderstanding how deep and mean the mood was running.

The international community, especially when it comes to American affairs, keeps its nose to itself.  It’s the way America likes it, and many were non-too-happy with the commentaries on Trump from various figures in the European capitals.  Still, believing itself impervious to external influence, and the ability of other nations to manipulate media messages with its own mastery, the American institutions and public took their eyes of their traditional foes in the Kremlin.

This may be the oversight by a nation the rest of the world trusted to maintain vigil, that we all come to ultimately regret most.  On America’s watch, will the free world give up the baton of leadership?  Will it all be because of some oversights?


via Daily Prompt: Oversight




Millennials, the name with which a new generation of people have been labelled, differ from many of the generations that came before them when the issue of privacy is brought up in conversation.images-1.jpeg

Fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to deal with this younger generation in the role of a teacher, their take on the issue is strikingly different from my own seemingly semi-paranoid generation, who spent an inordinate amount of wasted time objecting to identity cards, which would no doubt have been poorly kept, poorly recorded, and would have probably provided less useful information than the average ‘name-crunching’ database selling leads for double-glazing or conservatorys.

The main thrust of the Millennials’ view is one of utter ambivalence.  Asked whether they see anything sinister or odd in the obsessive data-gathering of multi-nationals, their reaction to my question is a bamboozled sympathy for me.  I’m too old to understand how things work for this generation, they probably think.  They actually want the tweets or texts telling them that a pair of shoes, that they might like or have once glimpsed at on-line, are on sale, as they saunter past a shop in Westfield.  How the data exchange occurred is simply not an issue.  The mixture of media platforms through which they are contacted has inured them to suspicion or worry.  Information gathering they believe will ultimately serve them, as they can’t see what the motivation for gathering it could be otherwise.  Things will be designed, based on the information provided upstream.  Similar to the arguments I remember from the ID card days, but in reverse, they suggest that those with blemish free lives really don’t images-2.jpeghave that much to worry about.

Many are now savvy enough to realise that posting drunken images of themselves on Facebook, or having real identities on Twitter, Instagram, Grinder, Tinder or any other platform is probably not a great idea, so have aliased these, and believe the net-curtain they have raised is sufficient to protect them from any real interference in their private lives.  They may be right?  What motivation does anyone have to reveal the comings and goings of a nobody?  Should they hit the heady heights of celebrity status, that of course may change, as even their windy releases become currency then.

Privacy for many of them is an elitist worry.  Celebrities being compensated for what they perceived as minor intrusions into their lives.  In their desire for status, and celebrity status being the only type carrying kudos, the mantra that all publicity is good publicity, ironically from the ID card era, has been revived.  Checking their stats on their various platforms, seeking ever further exposure for whatever about them they believe might possibly be of interest to others, privacy is not an issue they wish to concern themselves with.

Trump and the King’s Ransom

Trump’s inauguration is now complete.  Rather than go to the party and strut about with that big fat ugly orange gloating muckle-mug of his, he first sets about trying to ensure that Americans on the wrong side of the income line are compromised further as he sets his slitty-beady eyes on ObamaCare.  A real ‘man-of-the-people’ move.  What next, wipe a shitty shoe on a hobo’s back?nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runners.jpg

Some idiots in America seem to think that having some kind of social net in a wealthy society compromises them.  “I got here on my own … why should I pay for someone else?”  Because that’s what a society is you twats!  It’s a social network of people prepared to look out for each other and contribute into various funds and resources from which they themselves may never need to draw, with a view to benefitting others and creating a more equitable society.  Help others?  Why do these people find this so strange and offensive?  It’s not even an alien concept for Christians?

I’m beginning to believe that too many of our American friends are reading the Bible too much and spending all their time in the Old Testament.  Come forward several hundred years folks and you’ll come to the New Testament wherein you’ll find all sorts of stuff from a chap alleged to be called Jesus who goes on and on about looking out for each other, being nicer, forgiving and understanding.  Sounds awfully Buddhist in a way.  His dozen or so follower chaps even claim he died for us in a sort of massive self-sacrificing act too!  Or so it was put together about three hundred years after his death by a big bunch of big-wigs around a table in Turkey.  The old eye-for-an-eye was the earlier book, and like most updated programs of various sorts, it was rendered obsolete by the teachings attributed to the man-on-the-cross.  Spurious history aside, it does seem only right that if people are going to call themselves Christians that they actually behave or at least understand what it is they’re purporting to be.  Trump’s lot remind me of the mob at the stoning in The Life of Brian.

Four years … surely he can’t do too much damage in four years?

The trouble is he probably can and it looks like that swing to the right has happened across the entire country over there, as well as over here, and in France, Holland, Austria, Germany, Australia, and Poland.  Is it because we all have more possessions and things we have to guard, and have become paranoid about someone taking them away or having to share them?  It’s definitely not some intellectual movement, or a thought-out dismissal of one view over another.  The whole thing stinks of some kind of selfish knee-jerk reaction of spoilt people having their noses put out of joint by things not being as great as they want them.

‘We want what we want and we want it now!’

As societies we have as much as we need.  Needing an extra ten million when you have a hundred borders on a slavish stupidity.  Life is limited in time and enjoyment of it is an art form that needs practice.  Practice takes time.  Pastimes, hobbies, loves, all these aspects of life-enriching behaviour need more than just a wad of dosh flung at them.  If making money is your only enjoyment, you need help the same way a gambler or coke-head does.  You’ve gone off track, even if you think you haven’t.  Like Tyson driving cars until they ran out of gas and then just buying a new one … Not having every thing you want is normal.  It keeps desire and balance and stopimg_0967s you turning into a complete twat as you retain some perspective on what life is, if not for you, at least for most people.  Unless your somewhat psychopathic, being amongst fellow human beings and sharing the world in the time you’re alive is what being human is about.  Even if there’s a crowd in the ivory tower, most of them live only in their own minds and lack the empathic development to understand real depth of compassionate feeling.

The English King John hoarded money to the point that the economy almost came to a standstill as many traders and merchants no longer had coin to exchange with each other and keep the money illusion alive.  When such an idiot ran England, they ended up with him being a lame-duck King until he finally signed the Magna Carta with a mob of Barons holding pikes to his head.  It seems that things sometimes have to get worse, before they get better!  Not good omens for the Trump era I’m thinking.

Who would be the equivalent of the Barons today who could hold the King to Ransom?


By Hook or by Crooke

The Harry Johnson Chronicles are well under way.

Book one, By Hook or by Crooke, is complete, but waiting that final edit, so it’s sitting on the shelf for another two weeks until I’m allowed to twiddle and fiddle with it once more.

The distance, I find helps.  It allows the glitches to grow more obvious to my scanning eyes, and close focus is virtually impossible now the story is so familiar to me.

It opens with a small historical preface of the area in which the book is set, and where, by all accounts from locals in the area, the above phrase originates.  From here we then enter the novel properly, so any thoughts on the opening page are welcomed.


Above: Gaultier View: the bend in the River Siúr from above Faithlegg, looking out to Passage East, and beyond to Hook Head

By Hooke or by Crooke

‘By Hook(e) or by Crooke’ etymologically originates in the Middle Ages, according to some sources, and refers to an ancient aspect of English Forest Law.  The forests were owned by the King, and interference with them in anyway, from common grazing, foraging, assarting, or harvesting any kind of wood, were all strictly regulated.  A man could often only gather what wood he could reach on the trees ‘by (use of his apple picker’s) hook(e) or (his shepherd’s) crook(e)…

 In the south-east of Ireland, two villages sit on opposite banks of an estuary, no more than a few miles apart.

 The first, a hamlet named Hook(e), retains a very old, but still functioning lighthouse, and boasts its origins as a protector of seafarers to the fifth century, when monks from Dubhán’s Monastery made their way to the headland tip, to light warning bonfires for seafarers of the time.

 The second village, Crooke, further into the estuary, has witnessed a multitude of invading forces.  From the early Vikings in 852, to Richard de Clare (‘Strongbow’), and Henry II, the first self-styled Norman ‘Lord of Ireland’, followed by John Lackland, that notorious money-grabber of Sherwood Forest lore, through to the largest invasion force ever to sully Ireland’s shores, accompanying the last of that Angevin line of Norman Kings, Richard II, in 1377, Crooke has played a pivotal role.

 Later, it is believed that Cromwell, on his way to seize the hitherto ‘untaken’ city of Waterford, uttered the promise that he would do the deed ‘by Hook or by Crooke’ … he did indeed proceed to land in Hook, and advance to Crooke.

 Etymology being what it is, nobody can say for certain what the origins of the phrase truly are, but as apple pickers and shepherds no longer concern themselves with the nuances of Forest Law, the denizens of Hook and Crooke perhaps will carry the phrase safely into the future and make of it their own.