COVID19

I haven’t thought about this blog for months. I only really write stuff when I feel like it or … well that’s it I couldn’t think of another reason. I don’t like to write because I have to, it’s not a job but a hobby I pick up and put down whenever I want then it becomes a pleasure and not a chore.

What can I say? We are already hurtling towards the end of April in the year 2020 and what a year it’s been so far. I am sitting here thinking shout the world and the situation we all find ourselves in now. It’s supposed to be that weekend of the year where we all emerge from the winter a bit bleary-eyed and bloated from the hibernation of the winter months. Fat chance.

Life is on hold while the Government scrambles desperately to find a vaccination to COVID19. I am trying to not watch too much news. I get despondent when hearing the grim daily death toll being announced seeing the numbers creep higher with each passing day.

It is usually when you have heard someone you know who has lost a relative to the virus does it become real. I said at the beginning of this pandemic that people will only take seriously when it starts to directly affect them or they know someone who has been affected. 

It is at this time when I looked to countries who have the ways and means to cope with the pandemic and take privilege, arrogance, selfishness, and superiority to a whole new level. Parts of the US have seen protests down to being ‘told what to do’. I can understand the need and want to work and provide for your family but when it comes to the expense of a nation’s health it is downright reckless and stupid. 

Even when you complain that the measures taken are too draconian and you end up losing your own life do some still believe it is some political ploy to remove ‘civil liberties’. 

My question would be to these protesters is if they could see the enemy and know it’s dangerous to leave their homes due to being taken out by a sniper or bomb and the government told them to stay indoors would they still complain about diminishing civil liberties?

The UK response to COVID-19 has been extraordinary where people have been organizing social events and looking out for each other in ways we haven’t seen for decades. The tremendous outpouring of heart-felt thanks for NHS has been amazing to hear. We are a nation who should be proud that we can rely on a service where at the end of the treatment we don’t have to worry about how we are able to pay for such life-saving remedies. 

 

 

 

I haven’t posted

I haven’t posted in a while and this is not like me. Here goes I will let you know why.

Lots of things have been happening in my life and in the world. I am shocked that each day we seem to wake up to one tragedy or another only for it to be replaced by something more horrendous.

I have been trying to put together the first of my videos for a YouTube channel then after days of working on something I get distracted and something else seems to take over. Concentration levels are not the best at the moment.

I always seem to conquer it with lists and notes and lots of music piled on top of it. Listening to music as regular readers will know is a great passion of mine and has kept me motivated in a lot of things.

 

What make a successful youtube channel?

A few (a less) of my friends tell me that they don’t spend a huge amount of time watching mainstream television anymore just clips on youtube. Hmm. Got me thinking.

I had a look back to the channels I was subscribed to around 2010-15. I spent a huge amount of time watching people create and produce their own content. I wanted to see how their channels were doing as in some cases its been years since I watched any of their online videos.

Some had the same amount of subscribers, some were a bit more successful and others were dead. As in the channel was no longer producing original content that had recently uploaded.

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One example of this was very successful Jacksgap channel now renamed Jack Harries. This channel had everything going for it. Two good-looking brothers producing content consumed by a mainly teenage female audience.  It was four years ago the channel in my opinion took a decision to jump from what they were producing for teenage market to a artsy-climate-change-eco-warrior self-indulgent wank-fest. This was the nail in the coffin for the channel and has never recovered since. I was berated at the time for saying their content wasn’t what people wanted to see. The brothers wanted to move on their core audience didn’t.

From the above graph we can see the decline in the channel subscribers and now haemorrhages an average of 10k per month.

As I said in the beginning of the post this channel is not unique to the situation. Coming up with fresh original content is vital for a youtube channel to survive.

  1. Original content
  2. Be authentic
  3. Post videos when you say you will not 3 days later because you are ‘too busy’
  4. Don’t do anything that will offend a huge amount of people
  5. Learn to edit
  6. Situation is important correct light, sound and filter
  7. No click bate – ‘Im leaving’ or ‘I have something to tell you’

Conspiracy theories the new religion

You used to be laughed at if you believed in conspiracy theories and not the truth. Now the tables are turned. You aren’t normal if you don’t believe in them. 

I am really having a hard time with the internet and humans at the moment. I have spoken a few years ago about the ridiculousness of conspiracy theories. People who have revisionistic ideas about how they view past events and some atrocities claiming certain things didn’t take place.

I want to know why people believe in conspiracy theories and can this be linked in the same way that humans attach religion to themselves by giving their lives meaning, purpose and hope.

The fact that as humans we look for an explanation of events and occurrences. We want to know why things happen. The part of our brain the amygdala is the thing that kick-starts the processes of emotion. It starts out processing fear of something so when we are confronted with that which should scare us into running eg. enormous cat with a mallet chasing after us.

Our evolutionary brain helps us decide that which is a real or false threat. Then we look for the reason why something happened. One assumes that in child-psychology and development as a young person grows constantly as the question  ‘why?’ – a characteristic that parents no doubt will attest.

Our brains are processing that all that information and it’s not to say some conspiracy theories are all false, some do in fact turn out to be true. Someone, like myself, claims to be a free-thinker we are able to process quite clearly that which is true and that which is complete bullshit.

Take for example these posts from The Daily Star I have collected over the last year. These are all headline news topics written and presented to get you to (click bate) click and read. If you were to only get your news and information from this one site you probably be a nervous wreck unsure whether to the world is coming to end by either freezing to death, nuclear war or being fried in your own juices due to a heatwave.

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When I was researching this post I found it fascinating that some people have a propensity to believe in conspiracy theories and this then moves on to confirmation bias. So even if you have all the facts in front of you people will still tend to trust their own thoughts and beliefs. That which you think is true is confirmed eg. all Chinese people eat green rice. You will seek out that information which confirms your belief rather than rationally choosing to look over information provided to form a new opinion. You don’t challenge facts and information even though you are told otherwise which leads to belief perseverance.

Every time I hear or read of some spurious claim on social media I have to test the information rather than relaying it others to make sure I am not sharing blatant lies. Our connection to social media now has allowed being sucked into all sorts of conspiracies and falsehoods.

Religion tends to rely on higher powers and hierarchical structures to confirm and guide people in all situations. Lots of people will claim that they are not a slave to anyone else yet allow facebook sites, twitter accounts, fanatical leaders to provide them with their own assumptions of the world.

So for me, I think those people who dance behind the pied-pipers of conspiracy theories are just the same as those who readily make decisions about their own lives according to how their holy scriptures or priests tell them. There’s no such thing as a free-thinking follower of religion neither is there someone who subscribes to organisations who promote and encourage ridiculous conspiracies.

Religious Hate Crime

Golding and Fransen jailed for what the judge said: “It was a campaign to draw attention to the race, religion and immigrant background of the defendants.”

I am no fan of the Christian Institute. I think their reporting is biased and targets the LGBT community unfairly. In a blog post, I wrote in July last year I explained to them that despite their claim that LGBT community is only 1.7% of the population nearly 50% of their youtube videos were about or mentioned LGBT people.

“I still believe despite the progress that this country as made we have a long way to go to be accepted in society. I did a short survey of the Christian Institute’s YouTube channel and tallied up the number of videos they had posted in 2017 to their site. It’s a total of 170 videos and out of that 69 videos mentioned LGBT issues; that’s nearly 41%. Even in their own videos, they quote that LGBT people only make up 1.7% of society; they devote nearly half of their content to LGBT issues.”

I know that I don’t like their views and I am certainly unhappy that they target people in the gay community with their own ideas about sexuality. I accept they hold those views as they are entitled to do so. That’s what is meant by free speech.

Let’s say for example got really angry with them and travelled to their offices and demanded to speak to someone in their organisation. If didn’t feel I had been heard and to make my views known again I could return to their premises and ask them why they held such views about LGBT community. I could follow their director after he left work and ask him questions.

Now, this is where the law comes in. At what point do the ideas of free speech end and religiously aggravated harassment start? There is a fine line between the two and laws were set up to protect people of faith from such harassment. This is what we are as a country whether we like it or not. When you read about those laws they are there to protect the people. This is what makes us a great country of respect for others religion.

But I have read comments about Fransen and Golding:

“18 WEEKS IN JAIL BUT MUSLIM RAPISTS AND KILLERS GET NOTHING FOR THEIR CRIMES AND THEIR CRIMES ARE REAL CRIMES…..SCREW EUROPE I’M STAYING RIGHT HERE…” – Lack of knowledge about the case. The perpetrators were jailed.

Other comments are either to foul to write or completely left-field and have nothing to do with the case.

I have said it before more education is needed in religion, not the lack of it or total removal as some have advocated. Just because you understand something does not mean that you have to agree with it.

Detective Inspector Bill Thornton of Kent Police said: ‘The crimes committed by Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were abhorrent and motivated by religious insensitivities.

‘They claimed to be exposing the men who had been accused of rape when in reality they knew little about the case in question and could have put the trial at risk due to their reckless actions.

‘It was the bravery of the female who was attacked and the tireless work of Kent Police detectives who ensured the men responsible are now serving a significant period of time behind bars, not because of any misguided attempt by Golding and Fransen to claim credit for their conviction by bringing religion into the equation.

‘The fact that completely innocent members of the public were accused of being rapists, making them fear for their own safety, shows how little regard they have for the consequences of their actions.

‘Kent Police simply will not tolerate any offences that are motivated by prejudice and hate, and will investigate all such incidents thoroughly in order to bring those responsible in front of the courts.

Complain

It’s easier to complain, isn’t it? The weather, news, your street and town. But complaining doesn’t really get you anywhere. 

As I mentioned in my previous post I set up a facebook group to coincide with a twitter account I acquired a few months ago. It’s all about my hometown of Chester-le-Street. I thought it would be a good thing to provide general information. It was great to be able to get out news about weather and roads during the terrible snowstorm that affected most of the country and brought a lot of infrastructure to a standstill.

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I thought too that it would be a good thing to capture the spirit of the town to mark fifty years since a film was put together and archived by local cine camera enthusiasts.

http://www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com/film/chester-le-street-0

The above link is to the film of the town. What I good idea I thought to myself to have something people could see in fifty years time of what life was like in 2018.

The rot started pretty quickly as I asked for people’s ideas about what to film in the town.   Someone started to complain about the empty shops and I should spend my time quizzing local councillors about what they plan to do with the town for the future. I am fully aware that my town like others across the country is facing a huge change due to how people shop for goods and where we spend our money. The traditional shops of the past have gone and replaced by the cheaper out of town retail parks and the obvious use of the internet.

I don’t think any council has the single answer and able to provide full occupancy for shops and businesses it’s a huge balancing act of budgets and cuts from central government. We do have quite a lot as a town.  We are unique as we are close motorway and east coast links. Surrounded by smaller villages the town itself is a direct connection to other major cities in the region.

Nostalgia and the yearning to return to the good old days of the past aren’t simply unhelpful but also unobtainable. The world has changed and for us to survive we have to change too whether we like it or not.

So I say we look to the future with a positive upbeat note. We can achieve good things if each of us is willing to contribute.

Gun Control – Las Vegas

I don’t think I have ever spoken about gun control on this blog. But the tragic news today has made me think. 

Firstly, my thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this horrendous tragedy. It’s appalling to think that so many people lost their lives in such a way that is easily preventable.

This wasn’t a natural disaster like a hurricane or an earthquake. Something that couldn’t be avoided or stopped. This was a deranged terrorist (and rightly named) who brought carnage, death and suffering on an unimaginable scale.

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Yet I am still hearing that people in America will not move on the idea that there should be stricter gun laws in the country. I have heard commentators repeating their mantra that they should be allowed to access weapons as it’s this is their right.

All I can say is that thank goodness I live in the UK and not USA. It is almost laughable that a progressive country like the USA is allowing its citizens to carry out mass-murders without sensibly addressing the issue.

When the Dunblane massacre occurred in 1996 stricter laws in the UK were brought in and I believe made the country a safer place. I had to reassure my class at the time as they were frightened that a gunman could do the same in the school. They were genuinely worried.

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If ISIS had carried out this attack, USA would have reacted. If North Korea had done the same they would have bombed their country. The utter madness and insanity in this that America cannot and will not police itself. Believing their second amendment right outweighs the rights of those who tragically lost their lives.

The USA has collective denial. Some of those people who were affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy have campaigned for tighter gun laws. This was reflected in Barack Obama’s attempt and failure to change the country’s law regarding guns.

Everyone can own and drive a car with a license that’s attained by certain standards. These standards are legally required drive on UK roads. There are yearly checks made on a vehicles roadworthiness. Billions of pounds is spent implementing safety measures in vehicles so people are less likely to be injured or killed as a result of an accident. Yet America is not prepared to do so on guns which are solely designed to insure or kill. If you don’t know that a definition of madness is, this is it.

 

Christian Institute

I got a pathetic response but hey at least it was a response. 

This week parents of a pupil removed their child from a school because a boy wanted to wear a dress and be known as a girl. In 2017 it might seem laughable and trivial but to a Christian couple it meant disrupting a child’s education.

I remember being hauled into the head’s office at school to help deal with a pupil who had been bullied. He wasn’t getting support or receiving praise for being different but my boss at the time was berating him for bringing in a school back that was different.

“Why can you bring something in that’s like everyone else?” She asked.

“Because I want to be me and this is who I am…” he replied.

There wasn’t a ‘Glee moment’ where the head teacher congratulates the pupil for their individuality and praises them for being who they are but tries to solve the intolerance and bullying by denying one person’s freedom of expression. All in a school bag.

My thoughts are clear on my former boss. She was a morally corrupt and bereft of humanity and empathy. She didn’t give a shit about her charges but was terrified that the  whole system would come down crashing at her feet.

My letter to the Christian Institute asking to speak about why their news feed was unbalanced was finally met with a response.

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Their opinion was that they just wouldn’t engage.

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Despite my years of experience dealing with church matters and education in this area.

The parents action which no doubt will be backed by the Christian Institute to further their growing sense of victimisation. But this is just the very reason why so many people now say that they have no religion. They are turning away from established religions in many parts of the world. The church and their non-sensical illogical beliefs have isolated themselves from the world. They will soon be made of mainly fanatical fringe belief systems. Where once the Church of England was the back bone of English society and culture soon it will become nothing more than Westboro Baptist lite.

 

 

Charlie Gard

This my be a controversial post and might cause some people to stop reading my blog. I am not here to deliberately provoke. But I am simply stating my opinion and thoughts.

The disease that Charlie is suffering from is extremely rare. Infact, there are only a handful of known cases around the world. This poses problems for those who are treating him in hospital as trials for medication and treatment will also be in the experimental stage and have no guarantee of success.

The medical staff in the USA that have treated people with this terrible disease have only treated those who were not at the terminal stage as is with Charlie. It is at a point where doctors feel that Charlie should be allow to die with dignity.

When do our emotions stop and clear thinking take precedence? I know when mum was dying it was clear that little could be done for her in the latter stages. I would have done ANYTHING to have her here now. I miss her dearly to this day but one of the things that I as well as other family members had to do was think what was in mums best interests and this is what the courts have explained to Charlie’s parents.

We are only human beings and don’t work miracles. We can only work within the parameters for what we know now as far as medical and scientific research allows us. There isn’t a magic solution for everything.

Raymond Briggs (the author of The Snowman) said that he always tries to write in his books the subject of death. As you know, very sadly the end of the Snowman, he dies. Briggs feels that children shouldn’t be hidden away from death and it should be explained that it’s a very real part of life and I whole-heartedly agree with him.

For someone who has had a very real experience of people dying I have had to look at situations clearly and not let emotions dictate what is in the best interests of the person. Friends, grand-parents, aunts, parents and beloved pets have all died in my lifetime. It is what makes us human to allow us to show utter respect in the last stages of someones life.

Grenfell Tower

As I write this blog post it as has been confirmed that the death toll has now risen to 30. It is such a sad and tragic incident which has left people, rightly so, wanting answers.

What does seem apparent is that residents were demanding that safety procedures should be put in place. People said that they had spoken to the council and they did not listen. How many times have we heard this? I can think of numerous times when residents have expressed concerns about something that’s happening in their area and they council have not listened. It’s all about the money and not about the people.

I have been amazed and taken aback at the the quick mobilisation of the local community. People of all religions and backgrounds working together to help those affected. I saw that and organisation called Islamic Relief were giving out water to those people who needed it.

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Where are the far-right when these things happen? Do they muck in and help? Or do they try to divide, separate and keep communities from working together? Well they have failed. They have failed this time and they will fail again in the future. It will not stop people looking out for one another. It will not stop those, who are from all over the world, living harmoniously with each other. This is what they hate.

I said it on social media and I will say it again. I would rather have 1000 muslims living in my street that ONE EDL, BNP, Britain First sympathiser.