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.

sorry, I beg your pardon?

Is it just me or are none of us able to concentrate these days? Is our growing dependence upon the internet and other interruptive media sources such as instant messaging, texting and tweeting altering the way we react and think? How many times do we stop the email we’re writing to flick over to let such and such know that we know they’re now online? Are you really listening to what I’m saying or are you dying to read the text that your vibrating mobile has just notified you has arrived? When we go online or switch our phones on we undoubtedly enter a world that promotes cursory reading, ‘skimming’, hurried and distracted thinking, superficial learning, short-termism. It’s an environment […]

we're all going on a summer holiday

Yep, once upon a time for ol’ Cliffy-boy it was for only a week or two but with today’s extended school summer holidays it seems to go on forever, and then some. The historical importance, within a once agricultural based society, of the traditional extended summer break, where children were required to work in the fields harvesting this year’s crops is no longer of importance so why do we continue with them? Showing my age, my first summer holidays where ‘only’ four weeks in duration but I do remember my delight when they were extended to five. Invariably, we’d then spend an idle week on the sands in Blackpool and perhaps a week in a caravan trudging around the Lakes. […]

i quite like tony blair

I know I’m going to be in the minority on this one but I feel the vitriol currently being heaped upon Tony Blair is misguided and misplaced. To all intents and purposes he finished the good work started by John Smith in saving the Labour party from itself, enabled it to appeal to a wider electorate, presided over more good domestic years for the UK than most other prime ministers, but made the fatal mistake of outstaying his welcome. His defence of Kosovo and Sierra Leone certainly deserves a mention. Yes, the Iraq war turned out to be a disaster, not because we deposed a megalomaniac brute who murdered hundreds of thousands, but because of the US administration’s incompetence in […]

flag of convenience

I have a problem with Andy Murray. And it’s the same I had with Greg Rusedski and Kevin Pietersen and Allan Lamb and Tony Greig. Is he Scottish or is he British?  Were they Canadian, South African, Rhodesian or what? And the worst culprit? Undoubtedly squash’s very own Peter Nichol. Top boy that he was and is, how could he do what he did and expect to be taken seriously? Go read up on it if you have no idea what I’m referring to. I just don’t buy the ancestral bit. You are what you are and you can only be from one place, there’s only one home country. Yes, it may certainly bolster our own Nation’s sporting prowess and […]

boozed-up on the cheap…

Now, I like a pint, or two, but this is a question we have to ask: Is it time to price out the bingers? Scotland’s health minister has bravely proposed a minimum ‘alcohol unit’ price of 45p per unit, which would force supermarkets to markedly raise prices. A bottle of Asda vodka would rise from £7.97 to £11.81, while a four-pack of Carlsberg Special Brew (possibly the most foul tasting liquid ever invented) would increase from £6.16 to £9.10. A three-litre of Tesco’s finest vintage super strong cider would rise to £7.43 from a paltry and liver-shrinking £2.90. It has prompted a predictable response from free-market Tories (and liberals let’s not forget). “It is clear that the public does not […]

charity fatigue

The principle of charity sponsorship is well established. You offer to undertake some unpleasant, arduous, and difficult (or silly) challenge, and in return for the deep pleasure your family, friends and colleagues will derive from the thought of you suffering , you ask them to dig deep and cough up some hard-earned. Happily, even if your friends liked you before you planned the undertaking, the very act of demanding money will turn them against you. This ensures that everyone says yes as they then want nothing at all to do with you ever again. Make sure, when passing the form around or directing people to your website, that you get your rich friends (or at least those not on incapacity […]