The White House : 4:45pm

“Right, Pence, you’re number 2 right?” I’m number 1 and America is No 1 that makes me no one in the world right?” I am the greatest president in history there is no doubt of that. I am number one, so when we get ou there remember I’m number one, OK?”

Pence, “Yes sir.”

“I am the greatest leader this country has ever known, there were more people at my inauguration, those false news guys cleared out lots for the television. Anyway, they now know I’m so good now. make sure you disinfect your hands Pence, and do we have to ‘doctor death’ out there? We don’t want any death counts, you get me ? I want to be up beat, I don’t want to talk about dead Americans, I want to talk about those who are making America great again. You Got me Pence? Everything’s getting better, I don’t want any false news, everything is on the up, OK?” What’s the message today Mike?”

“It’s on the Board Mr .President, right below ‘the cat sat on the mat’.

“I don’t want to talk about Governors of New York, gassing on about death, can we talk about me some more, you know I’m the greatest,,,greatest, President this country ever had. I think we could tell them that, what do you think?”

“Mr. President you have to mention Corvid 19 virus. We have it under control, we have built hospitals in s days, nobody has done that before. There’s nothing in them, but they are fancy buildings, but we built them so quickly most folk didn’t notice.”

“what else have we done Pence?”

“We’ve done a lot of smart things, we can tell them that.”

“We’ve 5 hundred million masks, we’ve got more ventilators, we are just the greatest. We’ve done more testing than anybody! Right? I’m on top of all this. We are great and I will make America great again.”

“We have Fox news here to ask nice questions because thay are the most wonderful peopole in the world. We have the generally the best economy ever but of course we don’t want every one dead, even if there’s a lot of disinfectant, people are washing the hands, and slow all this down. the American people have been saved by ne and my team”.

“No false news guys today, so now we’ll get America great again.”

“Ok, let’s go!” I’ve got it!”


The Sea

It rolls and whispers, breaks and roars, slides and slips along the shore

Seemingly an eternal rock and roll, that calls, lures, seducing time.

Colours are conjured, from sweet invitations to threatening deeps

From peace to rancour of the hurricane, from horsemen’s fleece

To placid pond of safe haven, to splash and feel the lively sea.

Beware, this constant beauty monstrous sometimes is

And tears away the peace and sweetness of your day

It swallows up and regurgitates our rubbish and our lives.

The surrounding sea, unseen and seen uncared for like the gutter

Unseen and seen, we throw our shit and waste, a zillion plastic things

 Expecting to wash away our sins of consumption to Neverland

The sea is not Neverland, this sea lives and loves and gives and takes,

The sea’s best friend the wind, that blows the good and bad, but giving life to all.

So as I sit, and watch and listen to my friend the sea, I wonder if we’ll stop murdering it, and listen to its song. 

Challenges and Choices.

Starting up economies will not be easy.

All the countries that have suffered heavily from Corvid 19 have engaged in shut downs of various severities.   The consequent collapse of all these economies has and is dire. The world has virtually stopped working, the question is, how do they get it working again?

Obviously there is the risk that if we open up the pandemic may well return with a vengeance. There are also huge problems of infrastructure and industry. Obviously it is no good opening a company if its supply chain is incomplete, i.e. If jack buys from Jill and makes an addition to sell on, it’s no good Jack opening if Jill is still shut down.

Then how will people get to work, when will the tube trains be safe to be full?

Do we know who has the virus? Do we know if a second wave may be more potent than the first?

These issues are simply expressed here, but Governments who rush to switch the economy on, are taking huge risks.  Those who hesitate will perhaps slip behind in the economic league.

These are huge challenges and choices.   Add to these enormous problems is the look to the future, what does this pandemic teach us?  Many things I think.

1 Viral pandemics are more likely to happen in the future due principally to mankind’s disrespect of the planet both animal and environment.

2 The greedy top economies will be slow to ease environmental stress, see Brazil,  USA,  China  et al.

3 Despite the carnage of this pandemic the big economies will focus on renewal and wealth creation rather than equipping themselves to defend and prepare for the next attack see 1 above.

4 I cannot close this blog without referring to the lunatic running the USA.  Cummon’ folks wake up! He has to go if the planet is to have a chance, No more of this guy!!!!!!

Waiting in an empty day.- lock down.

I’m waiting in an empty day.

Today I have nothing to do 

If you were here,

today would be full of things to do.

But it is not, it is an empty day

when the beach is un-walked,

the sea un-swum.

I wait, there is nothing else to do,

for I can not think of anything but you.

You are not here, the vacuum goes on,

I could read, I could drive, but to what purpose

I cannot read because my mind is full of you,

I cannot drive because I have nowhere to go.

The beach holds no delight,

if I sit there alone,

there is no one to splash or hold my hand.

I do not want to drink beer at the shack

for there is no one to look at

over my tepid, flat rum and some’at.

I can dream and sleep and think of you ,

see you in my dreams and pretend that I

can touch you and hear you laugh.

I have no desire to be awake,

for if I sleep and dream I can be with you.

My fear is that I shall lose you in my dreams.

And then there will only be the empty day,

once more, spent waiting, 

waiting for time to pass

until the day is bright and full again

and  I can hold you in my arms,

feel your breath and look into your eyes.

Keep giving if you can.

Yesterday has flown, whoosh, gone,
What happened? I have no idea.
I won’t see my yesterday again
Was it wasted? Far away, yet near?

Today will soon be yesterday,
time ticks faster still.
Yet what? I ask, makes this day differ
for others’ good or ill?

My clock has not so far to go
My spring is all but sprung its last
I ask only that I have the wit
To wind a gentle deed or make a happy cast.

Don’t smugly backward look,
Today’s the day for deeds
Time nor tide don’t hold me back
Not for myself, but for a stranger’s needs.

I’ve received much love, I’ve spent such joy,
round the world I’ve travelled.
My strength today, it ebbs away
But still in all I marvel.

So last of all, I’ll stir my stumps,
Once more my effort, perhaps the last time made,
For someone, somewhere, I don’t know who,
For in their smile, will be a light, and never will it fade.

The Virus v Liberty.

The Virus versus liberty

The people of the USA are flouting ‘stay at home’ measures in their thousands in Ohio, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Washington State, and Texas. Some amongst them have carried rifles!  They have ben egged on by the man who bet on two horses in a two horse race and lost.  Trump that!

There is clearly a conflict between advice from the State and the feelings of the man in the street, the economic cost of the pandemic is hitting hard in areas where the virus has not yet taken deep root.

Most non-Americans are troubled by the meandering mixed insensible and insensitive messages from the American leader, who shamelessly is using the pandemic as a re-election platform. We mustn’t sneer at the leading democracy in the world, the leader indeed of the free world as we have known it. That Trump is rambling, as some see it, whilst his supporters see a man of their ilk, speaking as he sees it.

In some ways, if the pandemic is not exacerbated by these crowded demonstrations, then the liberty lobby will shout “I told you so.”  If however the number of virus victims grows, then there will be nowhere to hide. 

The Democratic candidate sadly is practically invisible, since the POTUS is using his free briefing broadcast time to unashamedly campaign, there is no way Biden has a chance.

The flagrant misuse of airtime, the incoherent blather of a brutally ambitious individual risks the fall of the key values of the United States of America. 

Not only is this pandemic ruining the world economy, it is also facilitating the collapse of democracy as we know it.  With a twice elected clown, the future of world trade and economic balance will be in enormous jeopardy. The former leadership of the free world will morph into yet another totalitarian state, where people like Trump, Putin and Bolsonaro rule the formerly free  world.

Lock Down!

Lock Down!

Where are you?  I am literally on a tropical island locked down quite severely.  I am old and getting older by the day.  Being locked down has made me feel as if I’m in a timeless prison, I can’t go forward and I can’t go back.  My brain wakes slowly from a miserable deformed sort of rest.  Not really a rest at all, just an excuse to close my eyes and pass the hours, day or night doesn’t matter much.

I look out over palm trees to a rolling Caribbean sea, its lovely. Unfailingly beautiful, never quite the same, the clouds scud heavily by, the rain pours in buckets. The sun beats down through a target clear sky.  It changes non-stop.  Sometimes wearing and beating me down with a solid banging of furnace hot strikes, sometimes breathing the most wonderful caress of the freshest air. Can I imagine the fumes, overcrowding, homelessness and poverty of Lagos and Cairo, of Calcutta and Mumbai, of New York and Los Angeles?

How lucky am I? No question.  I read more than I’ve ever read before, books that have entranced and bored me in equal measure.  In all those words, slavishly squeezed from imaginations sometimes fantastic, sometimes small. The sea still rolls in, the palm trees still sway.

Enter the television, the zoom and the computer, news, news and more news.  All about the disease and the spread of a virus that could kills us all.  After a while, we’ve heard enough, this country, that country, he’s dead, she’s dead.  I’ve become unsensitised to thousands and thousands of deaths. It has all become a dreadful bore. Just as I have become unsensitised to the homeless near my UK home.

Hang on a minute, what if I die?  What if my son/daughter dies? Then the whole thing gets personal.

Until then, there’s nothing but boredom unless of course you’re a ‘front line worker’ involved, fighting, risking, giving, and dying even. We clap and cheer and I think envy those who are involved. In a curious way this pandemic is creating heroes and villains. The villains confined in lockdowns twiddling their thumbs and waiting for it all to be over.

At least most of the villains are passive sitting it out, just quietly complaining about the heroes’ odd failing.  Some villains are definitely worse than others, taking risks, shouting absurd conspiracy theories, promising the impossible, flouting their government’s directives, and endangering other people known and unknown.

When it will all be over, what then?  I hope that many of the villains will step up, wake up, work and help each other, for surely things will never be the same. Let us hope that there will be new heroes, who will knock our heads together and remind us how precious our habitat is.

There is and always will be, room for heroes. Perhaps one day it may be me, or maybe you.

You ain’t seen nothung ,yet!

Will the Covid-19 alter the way that the wold works?  What will happen after the virus is conquered?  Will it be conquered, or will it come again in wave after varied wave?

There is a school which ventures that the future post the virus attack will be much the same but in a more exaggerated way. i.e. Liberal democracies will continue to decline, populists, oligarchs and authoritarian autocrats will increase.  Nation states will resist globalisation.  The USA will continue in its economic war with China.

Interestingly these two great powers have handled the corona virus outbreak quite differently, China with authoritarian power to lock down after a stream of fake news and disinformation.  The USA hopelessly boasting that it was too big and strong to be affected. Brazil also run by a boastful leader is falling into the same trap. China at least understood the gravity of the pandemic, whilst the US has done too little too late to prevent it from becoming the world’s biggest victim.

The exceptions have been Taiwan, South Korea and Germany who have reacted decisively and clearly into testing and lockdown and so defended so far the extreme consequences of the pandemic.

We are yet to see the virus sweep through the countries of high population and low social economies like Nigeria, India and South Africa. There are huge and impossibly large waves of infection and death yet to strike. Yet the world still concentrates on the wealthier states.

Additionally the pandemic will leave in its wake massive economic damage.  Unemployment will exceed even that of the great depression.

Governments of whatever hue must respond in balancing social and economic repair, failure to do so may well result in a revolution that will tear down the pillars of both right and left, at least as we know them today.  I cannot see a day where democratic liberals will rule the day. Let us hope that the strong men and women who fill their places will have the humanity to build a more sensitive world which respects the nature of our species and its habitat.

Looking forward.

The Corvid-19 virus has and continues to wreck our health and economic systems worldwide.

We see different responses around the world, some more successful than others. As we said earlier Totalitarian regimes seem to get better and faster results because their citizens are more likely to do as they are told.

China is an interesting example of regimented responses which confined the spread of the virus and at the same time was able to continue its economy in Shanghai, Beijing and other regions.  Indeed today China is the biggest supplier of protective equipment for health workers in the world. Its economy is still growing albeit at a slower rate.

Lesson one, I guess is ‘do as you’re told’ even if you don’t quite believe it.

Looking forward as the world economy collapses, eventually there will be a recovery of sorts mainly by Governments and the World Bank ploughing Trillions of dollars into all the coffers in the world.

 What happened last time under a much less punitive collapse at the turn of the century, the banks and the dealers recovered first and the ‘man in the street’ came a distant second.

This cannot happen again, because the whole basis of economic growth will have changed. It will have changed with the virtual end of the ‘shopping centre’, ‘the office’ and of course with beginning of the end of the oil based energy sector, and a whole new sector of renewable energy. Unemployment at least in the short term will be greater than experienced since the great depression.

Whilst the totalitarian regimes will recover faster, Western democracies will struggle to adjust, especially if the fiscal and economic readjustments are not what I would style as socially balanced.

If western liberalism is to survive, it must prove itself flexible in balancing corporate and social needs. This is unlikely to come about easily in the USA, the world’s biggest economy. There is great danger that the USA may lurch further to the right, I believe with dreadful consequences.

The European and UK systems will adjust more easily but that does not preclude huge difficulties for the EU.

Looking in the mirror of the next ten years it is hard not to see China leading the world both economically and politically. Beware, and be ready!

Beware the future, this virus is but the beginning.

The Corvid-19 virus has so far exposed great weaknesses in the western capitalist economies. Now that we have all been exposed to this shattering of existing ideas will we be able to fix the system?

If we don’t, and when the economic crisis deepens as it must, there will be deepening doubt about the fundamental beliefs of Western Liberalism.  It is essential that Western leaders not only defeat the virus, but respond to the imminent next crisis, that of climate change and the uninhabitable planet.

As we struggle with threats to life, to limits on liberty, and the immense issue of sustaining our planet, the coming economic crisis will weaken the ideas of liberalism in the global contest for ideas and ideals.

As we come out of the first stage of these multiple crisis it is imperative that governments sustain the fabric and cohesion of a rocked society. We cannot yet imagine the confusion and deprivation that is about to transform the global societies.

Unless there is a well- directed return to economic growth and distribution across a socially cohesive range, society may well turn away from the ideas of Western liberalism and toward the Chinese model that currently projects itself as the best at handling this health, economic and environmental melt down.