Society

People, politics, tech, money, sport, work and entertainment all intertwine to make up today’s ever-changing, crazy, delightful and frustrating society. The majority of my second-hand-views are about life within our society and, with a left-of-centre stance, there’s bound to be something here that gets your goat. When it does, buy a bundle of tibs, donate one to my charity of choice, Stay Close to Neve, and get it off your chest with a retort – better out than in. Have fun, be good and keep at ‘em.

reconnect to server

Notwithstanding Labour’s relative successes in the mayoral ballots, the Hartlepool result kinda show the bigger picture: they got bulldozered. If the Tories can win here, a town with the highest unemployment rate in the country, and where their new MP openly admits she’s spent more time in the Cayman Islands than in the town, they truly can win anywhere.

the glorious twelfth

No, I didn’t join the hoi-polloi’s legalised slaughter of wee game birds in the Highlands but on the first day of lockdown restrictions being lifted, I did go to the barbers for a short back & sides, the swimming pool for a dip and the pub for a pint.

What’s the time, Mr Wolf?

Most of you will have realised there are pretty much just two threads to this blog of mine: the first is that Tories are bad and, the second, that technology will turn your mind to mush. This particular post initially started out as the former and I was going to remind you that Boris Johnson is a cad, a liar, a charlatan and a thief. I’ve been saying it for years and I’m going to continue to do so until everyone knows it.

the great divide

Growing-up in the frozen north during the sixties it came as some surprise to learn that I was the product of a ‘mixed marriage’, an oft frowned-upon union of a protestant and a catholic. In a region where schools, estates, sports facilities, teams and community centres were demarcated along strict sectarian lines I admit to having been bemused by the whole malarkey and never truly understood the rivalry, let alone the hatred.

tax and be damned

It’ll come as no great surprise that the world is an unequal kinda place, principally comprised of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Similarly, no bolts-outta-the-blue that, as well as killing more than two and a half million of us, the coronavirus pandemic has, according to the World Bank, plunged some 150 million people into what that they describe as ‘extreme poverty’ and it’s the poorest in society that have been mopping fevered brows in ICU, wiping a*ses in care homes, restocking supermarket shelves, teaching kids and Deliveroo-ing tasty chicken tikka masala to our collective door.

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For once, I wasn’t actually late to the Bitcoin party, I just didn’t buy any. Rather, I, and several of you out there, chose to invest in a start-up company that operated a back-end transaction process using Bitcoin. We, quite rightly IMHO, believed that for the cryptocurrency to be adopted, and to consequently grow in value, it first needed specific commercial applications that proved the tokens represented both a store of value and a means of exchange.

the big short deja vu

Many of you will have seen the movie, The Big Short, and undoubtedly watched aghast as the once-feted ‘masters of the universe’ contrived increasingly complex, fraudulent ‘swap’ products of toxic debt which ultimately caused the financial crash of 2007/8 and almost led to the demise of our whole worldwide financial framework.

a friend in need is best avoided

Last week’s missive concerning friendship made me think it’s about time I applied a little of Marie Kondo’s tidying and downsizing to mine by culling some of the socially-distanced stragglers. Her minimalist mindfulness method is based upon the assumption that the more you own, the less it means.

you can’t pick your friends

French essayist and philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, once famously wrote “There is nothing to which nature seems so much to have inclined us, as to society” before informing us that, somewhat contradictorily, we can never have more than one true friend. Author Robin Dunbar, in his new book ‘Friends: Understanding the Power of Our Most Important Relationships’ thankfully expands this number to about one hundred and fifty.

back to the future…

T’other day I was watching a film set in 90s New York and it struck me as strange that, within a short traffic jam, everyone started honking their horns. Firstly, it was a curious noise to hear in these unprecedented times and secondly, in practical terms, each and every horn-honk was completely pointless.