Hero and Villain, Zelensky and Putin.

Zelensky, little guy who came to politics almost by accident. A young bright fellow who was a great success as a pretend comic president on TV. His aim was to parody the false claims and corruption in the burgeoning democracy of Ukraine.

This unassuming young man was swept to power in recent free elections by an electorate both amused and interested in his radical and sometime comedic platform. Little did they know that the hungry manic bear from their big and brutal neighbour Russia would range up in a jealous rage, because Zelensky despite many shortfalls remained a bastion of, and turned a friendly face to, the west.

What a revelation Zelensky has been. A character of heroic stature who is standing up to the lunatic bully Putin. A young man who has spurned the option to leave his suffering countrymen and to stand with them in their ghastly plight. He knows he’s Putin’s number one target, yet he stands with his countrymen completely outnumbered and leads by example. Oh! how we wish that there were more leaders like this wonderfully heroic Zelensky!

Putin by contrast is a lunatic has-been who is desperately clinging to ideas that are outmoded; The resurgence of the Soviet empire. An unbalanced sociopathic madman who sits alone behind tables and throne like defences, clear, at least in his own warped mind, that he is the world’s strongest man. He thinks nothing of killing thousands and displacing millions. He thinks nothing of wiping billions from his countrymen’s economy, he thinks nothing of destroying lives and future of millions of people.

He is an easy man to hate. And the hate of Putin is now one of Ukraine’s best weapons, for it will be many years even after the overthrow of Putin that the world will ever relax about dictators like this deranged monster.

Let every free thinking person register their dissent to this monstrous clown, let every free person stand and show support for Zelensky and his countrymen. We fervently hope that the west will protect Mr President Zelensky from that evil tyrant Putin. Please let our thoughts be known to all, who in whatever small way, can help the beleaguered Ukrainians.

Viva Zelensky!

Advertisement

A mass murderer and no one seems to want to stop him.

Putin may well be deranged, but that does not preclude the idea of stopping him by deposition, assassination or revolution. It seems impossible that the Russian people and those under arms in Russian forces do not recognise that Putin is a megalo-maniac who is killing thousands and risking nuclear disaster.

Yes, the difference between Russian form of totalitarianism and Western democracy is very marked but surely the way to coexist is in peace not war. Russian troops are killing their brothers and sisters in Ukraine for no other reason than that President Putin has lost the plot, gone off his rocker!

Why must one person die because of this crazy man? And why must thousands die because what Putin says – goes – even mass murder, the flouting of international law and the sacrifice of Russia’s future?

Thank the stars that Putin has in his eccentricity made sure he has become a Pariah, a universally recognised war criminal and a genocidal lunatic. For the first time in many years the West is united to resist this lunatic. Even Turkey and India have condemned Putin’s criminality.

Two things then: What of the future? What of the Russian people?

Many more Ukrainians and Russians are going to die, and they will die brutally and for no purpose. At least those Ukrainians have shown heroism and pride and given their lives for freedom. The Russians will die as aggressors and invaders, the savages of the twenty first century.

What of Russia’s future and its people? Our first thought is to punish, to punish the people who would not stand up to Putin and say – No! Is the whole nation unaware of what its leader is doing? Are the Russian military commanders blind to the evil that they do? If they are morally blind do they deserve mercy? if Putin is deposed what will these episodes tell us of Russian values and apparent blind obedience to obviously manic choices?

Picking up the pieces after Putin’s manic romp will have to be long and hard for not only Russia but the whole world. We must, if the human race is to survive, blend mercy and forgiveness to all people, we must, by example, show that democracy is inherently the better way.

China, of course, waits in the wings whilst the drama unfolds, no doubt calculating how to dominate the world. The West must, absolutely must, stand up with courage and fairness to alternative regimes and by example ensure that our world is never again held to ransom by some lunatic leader. We thought Hitler, was the last and we chose to ignore Putin razing Syria to the ground to support the evil that is Assad. Now we know better, but it is very late in the day, for we can already see the President of China commit genocide with impunity.

We must now ensure that the President of Ukraine and his lieutenants are kept safe, that the Ukrainian people are spared further torture, for they stand in lonely peril. The short term repair of harm rests in Russian hands, Putin must be stopped. Sadly we no longer care how!

Ashamed to be British, does anyone care?

With a leader who lies and a parliament who don’t care that he does, what does that say of the Brits? Well for sure it’s not complimentary. Our so called democracy is piled high with lies and corruption and nobody gives a damn. The opposition to the terrible Tories is lamentable with at least more honest leadership but boring to a point of collective sleep.

Is this what it has come to? Basically no one cares. Can it be collective ignorance rules and no one really understands? Or is it that people don’t care? Surely the latter. Despite widespread poverty, and the wealthy getting wealthier, the crooks running the London banking and property sectors, no body seems to care.

The break up of the UK, it seems, is what preoccupies the vocal minority of activists. The Scots, the Welsh and the Irish see the opportunity created by this lousy Uk governance to leave the uselessness of Westminster behind, and who can blame them.

Boris Johnson rode to power on the back of Brexit, not the Brexit of independent trade and innovative business, but on the back of cringing xenophobia and the fear of competitive talent from overseas. Now, the man who has lied and made it up as he’s gone along continues to pretend that he has the interests of the country at his heart when it must be obvious to anyone that his only interest is himself.

Sue Gray was exceedingly silly to accept the brief to explore the obvious, and Cressida Dick has now scotched any idea of blame (yet another howler!). Johnson is now a lame duck, leading a lame party of witless cowardly misanthropes. All care more for their jobs than about the country they are supposed to govern. Shame on them, I hope that the next election will expose the Tory party for what it is, and if Johnson is still in power then the Union will be lost for ever.

The question is; Will I bother to vote? My choices will be Nationalist or Socialist. As a life long Conservative I will have to make that painful choice.

Artificial Intelligence, it is already here, and there!

Can Alexa think? Can Google predict what I will want to buy? Can machines think? These are all very big questions. because if the answer is yes, then are humans in jeopardy of becoming redundant. Is AI challenging the prime issue of human reason?

In the 1950’s it was standard belief that if a machine could produce results equal to humans, then it could be called intelligent. However, despite these limited results it was understood, even then, that results of machine processing would always be without sentience, emotion or sympathetic awareness of external issues which are influenced by, but not part of the problem or issue to be solved.

AI can now exceed the old measure of Intelligence, for example, computer programs can now extrapolate complex relationships and patterns to the extent that far exceed human capability. A language model has been developed that trains itself by consuming freely available texts and extrapolating new sentences and paragraphs by detecting patterns in sequential elements. AI is now able to facilitate the production and composition of new texts that meet our definition of human intelligence.

In a book that I am writing I imagined a politician in a major political event leading to an election flooding social media with generative artificial intelligence phrases that then floods the social media with extrapolated ideas. The antithesis of democracy, at least to my mind.

Political polarisation is already a major issue exacerbated by false news, further degradation of truth by the extrapolation of the extreme views and the amplification by media algorithms that encourage clicks by serving users’ increasing extreme views.

The above are bad consequences of AI, but there are many excellent consequences as well, including the development of everything from self-driving vehicles to the development of new antibiotics.

It is worth mentioning that in terms of world concentration and control of the development of AI China leads by quite a long shot. Like all processes the value of the finished product is only as good as the input. The moral standpoint for the development AI is an absolute imperative. Will we acquiesce to a world where the infallibility of demagogues such as Putin and Xi is right by algorism rote, or will be use AI via free human thinking and democratic systems?

The jury is out, but the wakeup call is there.

COP26 – I’m sorry but……

The conferences in Kyoto and Paris, remember them? Kyoto was meant to enshrine in International law global resposibilty for climate regulation. Paris on the other hand recognised that The Kyoto treaty was multinational and meant to be binding on all the signatories but since 1997 the enforcement of Kyoto had become hopelessly complicated and illusary. So in Paris, lower thresholds were set enshring a much more acceptable compromise; Nationally Determined Contributions.

Fundamentally, despite a dawning realisation that the whole world faces the same threat, these NDC’s have allowed countries to persue whatever energy policies they see as to their advatage. The panoply of widely diverse scenarios is mindboggling, some, if not all understandable. However the consequences are dire. The COP’s have signally failed to produce a model of global governance that can counter power politics, let alone share a sense of a common destiny.

Examples of the political shinnanikins, include Brazil trying to get paid to decrease deforestation, President Xi arguing its not his turn to do his bit and should not be seen as the same as developed economies, who got rich before China, on the back of industrial polution. Mr Putin will not turn up at all..

What to do? How can we ensure firstly that we all see the common threat of climate change. There are glimpses that this happening and that the jamboree in Glasgow is at least, furthering that realisation. But it is all for nothing, if there is not a common agenda shared by all. This aspiration, for it still is just that, is not being improved by the richer nations having reneged on their promise to put up $100mn for poorer countries to arm themselves against climate change. What message does that send?

The problem extends beyong UN climate change conferences. Whilst globalisation has liften millions out of poverty, it ha s fueled increasing concentrations of wealth. The poor and the rich have very different ideas and aspirations, because actions on climate change have very different rewards for the rich or the poor. Hence the politics of power and envy all mitigate against agreement. Since Paris and the NDC’s the world has failed miserably to contain the climate change challenge. Already we are way behind on the challenge to contain global warmimg to 1.5 dgrees.

The answer is not that somebody else will fix the problem, climate change is above all a common problem – the world is burning and flooding! Unless there is a international binding treaty based on science COP26 will just be another talking shop.

Tolerance, habit and respect.

As time goes by, I find it hard to accept so may changes to what I thought was a confirmed view of democracy. Firstly I assumed that democracies exist for the common good. This meant essentially behaving within the law and to the spirit of the law.

Now, I was born when the nuclear family was the basis of Christian Democracy, both terms Christian and democracy stood as important foundation ideas for the way we hoped to live. During my lifetime the Christian and its associated religious ideals have waned, though many would still claim that even without religious connotations the ideas and ideals of the philosophy still hold good.

The other great principle of democracy is, of course, individual freedom within the law, including freedom of speech, assembly, and the written or broadcast word.

All these liberating freedoms are circumscribed within the law. The law from Magna Carta to this day has evolved reflecting changes especially the migration of people and ideas, religious or not. There have been many instances where the acceptance of ideas and religions have not been received easily or without resistance, so that democracy itself has been subverted.

Democracy, I always thought, was a system of Government in which power invested in the people and exercised by them through freely elected representatives. So, consequently, Democratic Government should, or is it must, reflect the majority view? What about the freedom of the minority? How does democratic government respond to change?

Change has, as ever, been rampant, sometimes clearly for the good and espousing the basic values of selflessness and kindness. The realisation that history has shown that mans evolution is full of community and tribal defences and aggressions, some clearly evil by today’s standards. The changes are usually wrought through minority intervention, and almost inevitably ridiculed by the majority that favours the status quo. Some even attempt to subvert ‘progress’ by attempting to change into backward steps, for example the Trumpian effort to undermine the democratic elective process in the US.

The minority have views that are crazy sometimes, progressive sometimes, the big question is how do we make room institutionally to accommodate both the crazy and the progressive and then to reject or accept that which is right and progressive?

It all boils down to the idea of voting by individual for a government that will reflect our views and beliefs. This is clearly a deeply flawed system, but its the only one we have, if we espouse the idea of democracy. Can we accommodate the debate that democracy maybe the wrong way to go, and we should go the totalitarian route of the Chinese republic, for example. We have seen the dangers of ‘couldn’t care less’ electorates, the lopsided conspiracists, and the populist ‘last idea is best’ and the simply ‘crooked’. All these have evolved from so called democratic governments.

Accommodating change within the continued prospect of mass migration, the richer getting richer and the poor poorer, the planet either drowning or burning, is beyond most of our comprehension. Yet we must decide if the idea of a just democracy is worth sustaining. What are we going to do about it?

Amongst the most troubling issues that face us all are race and gender. Two of the great empirics of human kind. That they are seen as major issues is in itself astonishing, and expressions on these issues are so often hateful. How sad is that?

The issues of misogyny, race and democracy all depend on the human race to put aside our tribal differences and to respect one another. Respect is a big word. Respect those who have impaired abilities, respect those of different colour, gender or view. The very basis of democracy is the respect of the elected for the electorate and vice versa. We all have a way to go, and very little time to get there.

Time to wake up, with respect to us all.

Passports for what?

Government, even in Wales, are hesitant about vaccination passports. Why?

I am travelling to Spain and I have been given no option other than to get vaccination certificates, or vax passporta by any other name. The government, at least in Wales, insists I pay through the nose for Covid tests after my return, it is compulsary! So why not have a vax passport, while we are excluding choice.

We all received little cards recording our vaccination and apparently these cards can’t be used as passports because they can be forged or copied.. Anybody with the slightest wit would have secured the original card and we’d be all done.

These shortfalls in Government forward thinking would not be tolerated in any half decent business. A simple process has become impossibly complicated because the Governments of the UK are flaffing about the restrictive issues associated with vaccination passports. Again, why?

On my travels I wield my UK passport with a certitude that the Uk is respected, and that I will be given elemental safe passage as a citizen of the UK.

If I were not vaccinated, by choice , then surely the powers that be have the duty to protect the majority and insist that I can prove my vaccination status. Not to do so is a free license to spread the disease and maybe kill my fellow citizens.

I am aware that a minority cannot receive Covid vaccinations, if there is just cause it should be noted. Otherwise I see no reason that the Governments in the UK pander to the balmy conspiracists who insist on avoiding vaccination. It is their choice and if they want to be excluded from social interaction or travel then fine, let it be so.

Liberty, antivaxers,conspiracies, and the law.

Following Matthew Syed’s article regarding fundamentalist religious founded terrorism, I was intrigued to understand the limits of freedom to cause harm, whether through assassination by gun or by lie.

My premise is, that though blowing people up is evil and obvious, antivaxrs for example, cause multiple deaths but in a less obvious and indirect way. Many of them claim that compulsary vaccination is a breach of civil rights.

As for the conspiracists and the snake oil brigade, then any wild assertion such as the establishment injecting poisons and chips (electronic) so that they can spy on us. Well, they are clearly fabricating harmful lies which influence the vulnerable and contribute to the spread of pandemics and multiple deaths.

The issue here is, causing the deaths of unknown humans is by any definition is wrong. However, the right wing lobby insists that vaccinations should be a free choice. They are aginst vaccination passports despite the well known fact that Corona virus kills.

Matthew Syed point is that we should recognise that terrorist attacks are very much driven by religion. That the terrorist who kowingly blow themselves up, really are driven by religious fervour. I agree with him.

What then drives the antivaxers, the freedom from government and the conspiracist lobbies? Their beliefs are in most cases firmly held. Many to a fundamental beleif that is unmoveable. They share that fundamental belief with their kind. Some refuse to acknowledge the immutable fact that pandemics kill. Others acknowledge the danger but are committed to the belief that freedom of choice is a fundamental and immutable right, even if it kills tens of thousands of people.

I might argue that killing is wrong either through religious fervour of obstinate defense of individual right. Is it their right to kill by denying fact, as witnessed by the millions of deaths around the world?

Do those who lead us politically, have the guts and gumption to see that sometimes there must be clear leadership? An ethical decision must surely be made to protect and defend all of us from proven danger. Terror and lies both kill, we should defend against both.

Who will put out the fires?

Has the USA conciously given up the role of the leader of the free world? Does the shambles in Afghanistan signal a surrender to the angst and loathing of idealist states, they vary from Totalitarian to Theocracy, all convnced of their infallibiity. China to Iran and noow Afghanistan, Venezuala to Brazil. All, wild examples of belief and political systems, that many think are out of balance with the perceived needs of humanity.

In Europe, The British are having an identity crisis ex Brexit, (where has the Great gone in old Great Britain?) as is most of Europe, from the Gaulist elitism of the French to the German fear of their future now that the Chancellor Merkell is coming to the end of her reign. The PIGS and Euro crisis is still very much alive, and battles about sovereinty rage amongst several members of the club.

Africa, with few exceptions is locked in corruption and violence, whilst Australia is shackled in the fierce embrace of a coal burning China, struggling to resist their almost total reliance on Chinese exports. The examples are just a few of the many strains that exist

The world is physically and literally on fire, and can such a disparate group of political systems have any chance of coming together to save humanity from itself? It does not look good.

The upcoming conference on climate change may possibly bring these disparate factions together in order to save the planet. Let’s hope so, but if human history is anything to go by, the premise is set to fail. The nearer we get to conflagration of our species the more likely we are to recognise our desperate mutual dependency.

This is an idea that has escaped President Biden of America, let us pray that the future will be led by wise men who recognise their destiny.

How liberal are we?

As we pull out of Afghanistan, following American leadership, is it time to ask ourselves whether democracy should evolve, or be imposed? It seems that the Taliban have complete control of Afghanistan, and maybe their influence is their business and not ours. After all, I hear you say, it’s their country and no business of ours.

I guess we could say the same thing about China and the Uighers, or the Christians in Iraq, or the Kurds, or people of colour in America. Now there’s a progression that is very uncomfortable. The good old USA has been a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world. Or has it?

A tragic mass shooting in the UK this weekend was the first fot many years, we are all moved with sorow and horror. Yet in the liberal USA mass shootings are a regular ocurrance, apparently gun control has nothing to do with these awful happenings and the right to bear arms is more valuable than the innocent lives lost. (My assumption)

Mr Xi in China has created hundreds of thousands of middle class chinese, lifted from dreary poverty. He has done this by absolute rule. What he says, goes! He beleives he’s a good guy, and the persecution of the non conformist is OK for the good of the majority. This guy is Karl Marx and Jesus Christ all rolled into one, he is the absolute ruler of China and is, right now, steam rollering the world in China’s favour.

It all boils down, the cynic would say, to shooting folk if it suits or doing what one man says. Stark choices to be sure, the middle road seems obscure, yet it’s what many of us seek to do. Don’t kid yourself, liberism and democracy have their extremes too.