The Cummings and goings of Boris Johnson.

There was a time I was prepared to support Boris, yes, I knew he was a bit of a bounder, he lacked the command of detail but at least I thought he had a modicum of integrity.  Indeed I was encouraged when he seemed to take the brakes off austerity and pledge to support the newly converted labour supporters of the Northern ‘red wall’.

After a bumbling start we have been overwhelmed with the Corvid-19 virus and it has been obvious from the outset that the PM has no grasp of detail at all. He might have got away with that had he delegated to his Cabinet colleagues, (not all the sharpest tacks in the box), but no, Boris has become an introverted shambles who relies on a small coterie of advisers none of whom were elected.

One of the great lessons of leadership is you can make mistakes but you cannot forfeit trust.  Boris has scored a splendid hat-trick. He has mistrusted his technical (scientific advisors) he has not been decisive at all, he has bumbled and wasted time showing that he’s not so clever (one of his perceived electoral  advantages), and now he has allowed Cummings to break his own advice and thus forfeit the trust of the whole community.  He has proved to be one of the worst and inconsistent leaders of my lifetime.

It beggars belief that he has let slip the great good will with which he entered Downing Street.  Yes, of course, the pandemic is exceedingly difficult to manage, but nonetheless British democracy is based on an elected representative parliamentary democracy.  Boris has undermined this in very short order.

Why are these special advisers like Cummings allowed to dictate Government policy and then allowed to flout it?  I see no other reason than weak untrustworthy leadership. I do not like, one bit, the combination of Trump-like judgement and Xi like dictatorship in our British way of life.


Beyond the virus. Do we care?

What will it take to change our behaviour? This pandemic is merely a wake up call for our dying planet. Is this true and do we care?

Most measurements of our success are by the living standards of the economically rich. It is easy to see the chronic effects economically of the virus on trade, governance, health, labour, technology to name a few – and to consider where the balance of risk and opportunity may come out. It offers decision-makers a comprehensive picture of expected long-term changes, and inspiration to leverage the opportunities this crisis offers to improve the state of the world. Yet this pandemic is just one pestilence effecting our world at this time. About 150,000 people die in the world every day. By far the biggest killer is cardiovascular disease killing around 49,000 people each day. Corvid Virus so far has peaked at about 7,500 per day.

However the ice is melting, the fires are raging, the virus is screwing with the economy (oh we care!) but relatively speaking not killing as many people as Mr. Xi or Mr. Assad or the Taliban, or the many terrorists who cut throats, murder babies in their cots, or swindle the poor so that they die of thirst (4,300 per day), or for the want of a mosquito net. (e.g. 1,600 per day) Does anybody care?

Does anybody care that the lungs of the world are being cut down and burned with abandon each and every day in Borneo Brazil and Columbia and lots of other places too.. Does anybody care?

The planet is getting hotter, from Sydney to Sokato, from Carlisle to Columbia, floods, hurricanes, droughts and pestilence increase every year, Do we care?

One of the great reforms must be the growth and investment in IT and Platform enterprises. ” Platform Network effects are present when the value of a solution rises in proportion to the number of users that make use of that solution.  So, for example, a telephone is worthless if no one else uses them.  But additionally, the more users, the more people that can be contacted using a telephone, the more value that telephone has. In short, the value is not just in the machinery, it is in the network. They are in short ‘clean’ by nature.

The immense difference between non platform and platform enterprises is that for the most part it is heavily dependant on internet technology. The consequences are both wondrously beneficial but also radically different. One can see the simplest of massive change in retail and travel to name but a very small sample. Education must react to be up with these changes otherwise many will be swept away as the failed detritus of change. It is the platform enterprises that will offer the biggest employment opportunities in the future, of this we already have many examples in Silicon Valley.

As far as the planet is concerned we all are aware of the crisis that unfolds around us. Will we worry about restoring the status quo more than creating responsive change? Our race has a very poor track record, we have pillaged the planet, now we have been frightened by this contagion, but do we care enough to respond positively?

Sleep walking into the Chinese Juggernaut.

By and large I am not a conspiracist, and I was loath to accept, what I thought was a silly conspiracy theory, that China has set out to dominate the world. However, taking all the facts furnished by reputable liberal democratic sources, I am inclined to change my mind. The very act of changing one’s mind is in itself a difficult hurdle to jump, since we are all prejudiced by a range of dominant ideas that we carry around with us.

My dominant idea was (and largely remains) that Liberal Democracy will continue to flourish since this is patently to the overall benefit to mankind. I believe(d) that its intrinsic benefit to the human condition is self evident and will therefore always raise to the top of political choice.

Yet despite endless wars, and not least the collapse of the eastern wall, the proof was surely in the pudding. But look East now, China is dominating many parts of the developing world, China is driving technical capital i.e. Huwaie and 5G, as well as soft influence through soft loans to the new silk road and sea ways. China has spent over 3 trillion dollars to shackle so many emerging economies to long term unpayable debt.

China has without censure, imprisoned over a million Moslems in its gulag ‘correction’ camps. No word from the liberal democratic institutions like the UN. Xi has put himself in the impregnable position for life.

Many millions of Chinese work in slave labour conditions to make cheap products that dominate supply chains in the West. These can and are sometimes switched on and off according to Chinese whim.

China uses its commercial muscle to swot criticism from whatever source, you can see its response to the perfectly valid proposals of the Australian Government.

In a word, China is bullying the rest of the world. It is doing it because Xi sees himself as master of our world, economically and politically. He has no time for Liberal Democracy. He is walking over freedom in Hong Kong, has a domineering eye over Taiwan, is bossing Australia who have walked into his honey trap and is entirely dependent on China for a huge proportion of its export income for iron ore, coal, wine and agricultural supplies.

Liberal Democracy is hurt by the Corona Virus (make of that what you will) but it is being trampled over by Xi and his cronies aided by the lunatics Trump and Bolsonaro.

It was easy to sleep with my dominant idea, safe and sound. What now?

Caring for each other.

Around the world people are clapping to thank all those who are on the front line fighting Corvid-19. Many of us have been reminded how vulnerable our older folk are. This is just one of the multitude of problems, including everything from child care and school start-ups to complex supply chains to high street moratoria not to mention the knotty problem of the economic chaos that the pandemic has brought to us all.

The lock downs seem to come and go, with none of us sure if everyone or anyone has got it right.

As an oldy myself, I am not specially worried about dying from the virus, you have to die of something at my age, but the care community especially in the UK is in complete chaos and has been for the last half century. No political party wants to bite on the bullet of wrapping up social care with the National Health Service, the most sacred of all cows.

The reason for this shambles has been the changes that we’ve made in family life. Fifty years ago, I would have looked after my mum, not left it to someone else. Ninety years ago Grandma was put up by Mum and Dad in most households. Since the sixties times have changed, mobility has increased families are spread over vast distances. The fabric of the family has changed from when we used to visit Grandpa every Sunday, we now only see him perhaps four times a year.

The care word has transferred from family to State, the only snag being that the state has not responded other than pushing the care issue down the road to local government. Now Corvid-19 has exposed the UK’s hopelessly outmoded system, where underfunded local authorities are stretched to manage an ever growing burden of an aging population. You would have to be a donkey if you could not see the interdependency between the care of the elderly and the state of their health care. Yet, government after Government have kicked the can down the road.

So while we clap our good friends at the font line of care, let us not take our eye off the real issues which is the effective integration of the National Health Service and the National Care Service. If anything good comes from this Corvid-19 virus, may it be that we care for the whole of our nation with all our integrated resources of central government , not from cash strapped fragmented local authorities.

If any politician of any party drives a cross party commitment to such a long overdue reform, they should be heartily endorsed by us all.

Lock Down

Locked down, on my own, no one but me

No hello, no why? No, just not anything.

How I wish I were with someone, anyone, especially you

But I’m not, I’m locked down with me.

I’m locked down, what does this mean? Lock down.

A lonely prisoner locked down on my own

I don’t even like myself, at least not too much

I am afraid of myself if I let myself go and scream!

I wish I could be locked down with you

I don’t know who you are, but it’s you I want

I want to be free, to be with someone I know but don’t

So I can be surprised by our startling face ups.

If I was locked up with you, would you be nice to me?

Would you be nice enough, to be nice to.

Being in lock down on my own, is good, it’s cool

Because I know I am alone and free.

Boing in lockdown, I can pray, and write a poem

I can wish, to meet all my other me’s.

I can imagine, imagine this and that

And be in love, with whoever I may want to be.

What next? Planet or Profits.

As the world struggles with Corva-19 Virus economic worries are slowly but surely overtaking health concerns. This is a fundamental choice and the human race is in danger of making the wrong choice.

It is true that the Virus has rendered our financial capitalist model invalid, yet the world seems to know little other than to retrace its steps to a ruined habitat. Is there not another way?

The Chinese, many people’s villain of the piece, clearly do not think so, and are already belching out pollution, accelerating their manufacturing base to seek an economic advantage.

Listening to my favourite world leader, (I don’t think) you would believe that we must race to the bottom as fast as possible, ignoring climate change and planet melt down on the way.

The world is not short of lunatic leaders, and collectively China, USA, Brazil and India will lead us to a climate as well as a health Armageddon with the minimum of delay.

This heath message is a wake up call. Yes there are enormous questions to be answered, and many will be painful solutions for us all. Whilst it must be obvious to a donkey that fossil fuels are no longer viable economically and environmentally, it will take great courage to accelerate away from old ideas to new ones.

It is my fond hope that the voters in America will lead us toward a new beginning. We cannot afford to fail again.

New Books

My latest book shown above was a joy to write. Growing old is something we all have to do. That is the main subject of the book.

The main protagonists go through the whole range of emotions from fear, a feeling of uselessness, to a renewal of excitement as new relationships are made. There is joy, sadness too but together with warm memories and new beginnings, life is new, love is abroad, and time is precious.

Our relationships both past or present yeild new opportunities to enjoy our own talents, whether re-invigorated, or re-examined in the sunshine of our lives.

Opportunities to be at peace with our children and their futures.

In light of modern history this book will give comfort and laughter to many. Enjoy!

Will we care so much?

During the Corvo19 pandemic we have all be come much more aware of our own frailties and other people’s kindnesses. Caring has become a by word. Across the world people stand on their door step each night and applaud the front line fighters who risk their lives on our behalf.

The disciplines imposed on us have in some way united us and in other ways frightened us as our economies dissolve into chaos. The world is indeed changing, and changing fast.

Will the greed that has dominated the global economy engulf us with impatient grabbing of economic advantage? Or will we consider caring for each other and our planet. It seems already there are many toting guns and slogans that wish to forego caring for each other and our planet and want to point fingers and kick and scratch for another buck.

The world holds its breathe, the human race tip toes on the edge. Which way will we jump? The Chinese skies are already leaden with the filthy fumes of industry, the Australian Government encourages its dependency on coal exports, Trump of course is Trump, Brazil continues to exhaust the world’s lungs.

Do the carers care enough? Will their voice be heard?

St Kitts

My Island

A pulse that never ceases;

the world is alive.

A creation alive like you and me.

Each morning the light sparkles

as the palms wave, look ,

look they point toward tomorrow.

Overhead the clouds gossamer white

fly to the mountain, and darken

to sacrifice themselves to give

 the rain to quench the parched

sugar cane.  The whole island waves

blue green in unison with the sea.

It waves, as the palms whisper

I love you.  Come home to me!