Friday, June 24, 2016

If I were English I would be ashamed today.

In 2016 I wrote this and I am going to say it again

If I were English I would be ashamed to be English today. If I were British I would be ashamed of being British today.

Being of mixed European heritage, despite having been born in the East End of London I have never "felt" English as such.  A Londoner certainly but not English.

The EU referendum result confirmed my lack of affinity for the nationalist, xenophobia which appears to be inherent in many who claim to be "English".

As for the open-hearted working people who used to inhabit these islands when I was a kid, where are they? "Give you the shirt of his back" they used to say.  Not any more it would seem. All too eager to believe a £350 million a week lie, no matter how many times it was proved a lie.

Where did they all go. Was it succumbing to Maggie's siren song of owning your own home, if you could buy it off the local council at a huge discount. Are they all too young to remember the days when there was protection from exploitation by belonging to a trade union?  Is everyone so aspirational  to be a millionaire that the devil can take the rest.

It is so difficult not to feel sad that over seventeen million people in this country were taken in when they were told to ignore the experts and were willing to listen to millionaire politicians with messages of nationalism paraded as patriotism and selfishness disguised as a desire for independence.

What is worse of course is that the referendum campaign legitimised overt racism barely hidden by the mantra "we are being over run by immigrants" and "we don’t have the room" ignoring the fact that there is more green space used as golf courses in places like Surrey than there is farmland, let along affordable housing.

And perhaps the saddest part is that this trumpeted independence is almost certainly going to be a mirage for most of the ordinary people of this country. The same old tories are going to be in charge for the transition period and at the end of that it will be too late.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The quiet coach

Have you been in the "quiet" of a long distance train recently and wondered what "quiet" is supposed to mean?
There are signs up indicating that mobile phones should not be used, as it is only a symbol, no words, no one seems to take any notice. There are invariably three or more mobile phone conversations going on.  

Apart from that there are the meetings.  Four suited individuals sitting around one of the tabled seats holding a business conference and on one occasion complete with power point presentation. in the quiet coach!

Then there are the small groups of ladies having a coffee morning, or the family groups discussing an upcoming gathering complete with a run down on who should be invited and who not.

There really appears to be no good reason for continueing with the fiction of a quiet coach unless either travellers are going to respect it or the train staff are going to