Category Archives: people

Bank of England New £5

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TheBank of England has cooked them in ovens, drowned them in red wine, stuck them in the microwave and run them through a 90C washing machine cycle with Persil washing power. It reckons the new £5 plastic notes – which go into circulation on 13 September – will be warmly welcomed by the British public. Jason chats to about the new £5 which is due to be released later in summer. Jason speaks to Jonathan Calloway from the International Bank Note Society.

 

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Dodgy Dave is OUT – Teflon Theresa is IN

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Former PM David Cameron

I do feel for David Cameron.  A month ago he was the PM who was quietly confident that he would win the referendum and would be at this point reshuffling his cabinet and getting on with his ‘economic plan’.

However, we now have a new Prime Minister and a new cabinet.  Gordon Brown declared his first cabinet as a ‘government of all the talents’.   With Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary and Nigel Hunt left in place to fire harpoons at the NHS – I think it’s safe to call this a government with some of the talents.

I’m still not sure if it is an act of pure genius putting Boris in charge of Britain’s diplomacy with the world or an act of pure insanity. But whatever happens Boris won’t be boring.  I’m not even sure if he will be in the job all that long.   He has to work alongside eurosceptic MP David Davis whose ego dwarfs the EU, but who has been given Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – working alongside brexiteer and other ego-phile Liam Fox, the new Secretary of State for International Trade.  These three will find it hard agreeing to seating arrangements around a table – never mind the intricate policy and political details of how we leave the EU.  Fun times ahead.

I understand why Theresa want’s to keep Jeremy Hunt in place.  His nose and hands are already bloodied with his back sore and scarred with the numerous whippings and fist fights he’s had with the NHS.  The Government seem to be determined to push through a new contract on Junior Doctors.  Why get a new minister’s hands bloodied and bruised – better to let Jeremy slug away in Health and then get rid of him when all the damage is done – bringing in a clean pair of hands to try and smooth things over later.

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Boris Johnson reaching out…

Orlando: Another Mass Shooting – LGBT targeted

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In the early hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman, who I’m not interesting in naming, walked into the gay night club called Pulse in Orlando, Florida and started shooting at a group of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered people – who were doing nothing but being who they were and enjoying themselves.

This was a direct attack on gay people, freedom, humans, love and a different way of life.  As a gay man in love with another man you are always aware that there are people who would hurt, damage or kill people like me – just because of who they love.  Attitudes to gay people have fundamentally changed in the UK since I was born in the late 1970s.  Hostility was very present in the 80s when gay bars started to spring up in cities, albeit usually in discrete and concealed places – until the 90s and 2000s when the gay movement stopped hiding and people like me felt comfortable being open about our sexuality at work and so rather than being some distant object of derision – we become up close and personal with our straight colleagues – who realised – we were just like them.

But we are still not in a world, or country where being gay is still acceptable across the board.  When a bakery can refuse service to customers who wanted a gay themed cake because it is ‘against their belief’ – backed up by Christian groups and media elements.  It demonstrates to gay people that although we have journeyed far – the route back to the dark ages of the 1950s when we were illegal, arrested and in-prisoned – isn’t as far away as we might like to believe.

On my Monday Matters radio show I spoke to gay radio presenter DJ Justice, who presents his show in Orlando and often visited  Pulse and lost people that he knew in the atrocity.

 

 

Sittingbourne Sci-Fi event

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The town of Sittingbourne was invaded by a number of creatures from outer-space at the weekend as it played host to the 2nd annual Sci-fi event.

The town Centre became a Scifi and fantasy village with maps to guide spectators around so as not to miss out on the interactive performances, Steampunk displays, monsters and characters that descended into the town centre.

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Desert Lion Extinguished

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It’s not every day that one celebrates the death of another human being, well, not in the UK anyway.  However, news from the US was released this week confirming the death of the notorious ‘desert lion’ Abu Wahib.  He was a senior ISIL leader known for his brutality who had stood out in a land where brutality and acts of evil are commonplace.

Abu Wahib, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s military emir for Iraq’s Anbar province,  was targeted by a US led coalition  Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Monday.

The spokesman said Wahib is a former member of al-Qaida in Iraq and has been seen in ISIL execution videos.

That strike also killed three other ISIL jihadists, Cook said.

“Abu Wahib’s death is another blow to ISIL’s leadership that will further degrade its ability to operate, especially in Anbar province,” he said.

I find it striking that in certain parts of the world where people seem at their most ‘godly’ – the acts that they do to each other – the slaughter, maiming, beheading and torture…all appear utter godless. If that is what God truly wants – they can keep their belief and their god to themselves.

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Leadership ‘Hit Hard’

ISIL leadership has been hit hard by coalition efforts, Cook said. “This is another example of that,” he added. “It is dangerous to be an ISIL leader in Iraq and Syria these days, and for good reason we want to apply pressure [on] ISIL on as many fronts as possible. Taking out leadership targets is one way to do that.”

Cook noted Anbar province is a critically important area in the fight against ISIL, and the death of Wahib will harm ISIL’s ability to conduct operations in the region.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook

The spokesman noted that taking out leadership is part of what he called “a multipronged effort” to apply pressure on as many fronts to ISIL as possible, “and for ISIL leaders to be very worried about their next step.”

I started this story saying how we don’t celebrate death here, and it’s true. Yet, watching some of the videos of men standing beside other men who are either dead or about to be killed (by them) I just can’t imagine the hatred and anger which drives this desire to glorify and celebrate the killing or death of another human.

Did Shakespeare write shakespeare?

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A new book launched this month, entitled ‘Shakespeare Unravelled. Court plays: the 1623 deception’ delves into the rich history and controversy surrounding William Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623. The book argues that the plays in this publication were brought together because of their significance for the Sidney-Herbert family, patrons of poets and playwrights over many generations.

Pauline Black, researcher and co-author says “A key point here is that these plays were produced for Elizabethan and Jacobean court entertainment not the popular stage. These thought- provoking dramas were written for the intelligentsia by well-educated writers –certainly not by the attributed author, Shakespeare.” The book launch coincides with William Shakespeare’s Anniversary (April 23rd) throwing new light on a highly contentious issue subject.

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Macbeth – the play which actors dare not name…

The book looks into the reasons which prompted the concealed authorship, principally the fear of Spanish domination at the time because of the impending royal marriage of Crown Prince Charles and a Spanish Princess. This outcome could incur severe repression of English freedom of expression. The Protestant aristocracy, led by William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, were determined to preserve their literary and historical heritage. This included the Tudor royal legitimacy dramatised in the English history plays. The deceased Shakespeare was chosen to avoid potential punishment of writers and editors (a duty of patrons) since he was beyond retribution for heresy or unorthodox writing by a tyrannical power.

Laurenceolivierham_2890472b.jpgShakespeare Unravelled presents a detailed portrait of William Shakespeare and the period. Shakespeare’s parents were illiterate, so were his children. The Bard had limited local schooling and no higher education. Yet the claimed author, a tradesman’s son, wrote almost entirely about royalty and the courts of Europe while displaying detailed knowledge of aristocratic life and the law. Without visiting Italy he was aware of the country’s history, geography and language. Shakespeare’s comprehension of classical texts is another mystery. For centuries there have been doubts about the authorship of the First Folio. Alongside the profile of Shakespeare, play-broker and money lender, the book throws a new spotlight upon popular theatre and its great contrast with entertainment for the court.

Almost half of us experience a ‘life crisis’

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Almost half of us experience a ‘life crisis’

The Open University urges us to pursue our dreams:

· Unfulfilled dreams and ambitions top list of ‘life crisis’ causes

· A fulfilling career and taking up interests key to overcoming ‘life crisis’

Almost half (44%) of the British public have either had or are going through a ‘life crisis’, a poll recently commissioned by The Open University reveals today. To help people restore their personal balance, The Open University is urging people to discover their ‘Plan P – their ‘Passion Plan’ – and realise their unfulfilled ambitions.

However, it’s not just those midway through their lives who have suffered a ‘life crisis’ and need to re-ignite their passions. Almost a third of those surveyed (29%) have been through a ‘life crisis’ between the ages of 18 and 30, suggesting millennials are particularly susceptible.

When asked what factors caused their ‘life crisis’, a lack of career fulfilment and unfulfilled dreams topped the list. To combat this, 39% said embarking on a new career would help solve their issues and 24% said learning something new would have the same effect.

Whilst over two thirds of those surveyed wish they spent more time pursuing their personal passions, 27% don’t think they have time to do so, with long hours of work and social pressures swallowing up free time. One in ten of those surveyed do not have any personal passions or interests outside of their career, however 41% said that taking up a new interest or hobby would help address their ‘life crisis’.

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As a result, The Open University is today urging people to explore their interests by learning something new or pursuing further study in order to address the issues associated with their ‘life crises’, start realising their ambitions and to discover their ‘Plan P’.

Clare Riding, Head of Careers and Employability Services at The Open University said: “Almost two fifths (39%) of people cited embarking on a new career as a solution to their ‘life crisis’ so whilst finding a career you love can be challenging, it is also deeply rewarding. Taking time to explore your interests, both in and out of work, will help you to realise your career ambitions and will support you in finding the role that’s right for you.”

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Alan Campbell Olympic Rower

Alan Campbell, Olympic rower and Open University student said, “As an athlete there will come a time that you can no longer compete at international standard, so there has to be something beyond sport. Not only this but in a high pressure, competitive career such as elite sport, you need to have other passions that keep your mind alert and focused outside of work. Rio 2016 will be my last Olympics but this isn’t a year of endings for me, it’s a year of beginnings too. I will complete my BA (Hons) in Leadership and Management with The Open University this year and can’t wait to see what new journey this will take me on.”