Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

Time to take satire seriously

James Franco and Seth Rogen (Image: I am a big fan of 'Have I got News for You'. I enjoy watching 'Mock the Week', reading 'Private Eye' and there are plenty of stand ups and comedians I like - Harry Enfield, Michael McIntyre and Shappi Khorsandi to name a few. What these television shows, publications and personalities mentioned have in common is that they use satire to address their points of view. One dictionary definition of 'satire' is "the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule or the like, in exposing, denouncing or deriding vice, folly, etc." One can argue it is a simple poke fun at people who can take it, and if they couldn't, then that is their prerogative. Satire is intended to be harmless fun. In Britain we do it often enough to celebrities and politicians and have done it for decades without offending too many people. So it makes you wonder why the term in question has been brought to disrepute this past we

My London, my concrete jungle - one year on

London, view from Trafalgar Square (Image: Geolocation) The 7th December we embraced very recently marked a personal milestone as it was exactly a year since I moved to London. I say it's a personal achievement because if you told me this time two years ago that I would move to the capital, I'd have laughed at your face. Here I was two years ago looking for a job after University literally anywhere. By that point, I attended interviews in Rochdale, Chelmsford and Oxford. I was willing to move anywhere that wanted me. But it was originally Taunton that lured me to the world of employment. But living in a town with 80,000 people quickly turned to moving to a jungle with 10 million people walking at 'London pace', which in my terms translates to five paces faster than any other place I have ever been to in the country. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since I packed my bags to the big city. 2014 has certainly been an interesting year exploring Londo

Message to Cameron and Miliband - ditch the class system

David Cameron and Ed Miliband (Image: The Guardian) For those interested in Chinese zodiacs, the next calendar year is the Year of the Sheep (the zodiac sign I happen to fall into). And while I anticipate plenty of unexpected changes, expansion, personal development and fresh starts, I'm sure 2015 will offer that for many people in Britain after the crazy political year we have had. This year in particular has seen mainstream politics shaken up and the rise of the smaller parties. Pressures from right at the top of the political food chain has reached fever pitch and are noticeably desperate to get enough votes in six months' time so they can keep their heads above water. You can tell they are desperate. Anything the press report has been considered a 'crisis' which provokes the Prime Minister to panic and make radical changes that he seems not to have thought through. This past week or so for example, it has been discovered that net migration increased meani

The legacy of David Cameron lies with Russia

David Cameron and Vladimir Putin (Image: The Sun) It would be fair to say that David Cameron has had an odd past four-and-a-half years. When he initially took over from Gordon Brown as Prime Minister in May 2010, he was the most unpopular person to have ever occupied 10 Downing Street. After the painful cuts and University tuition fee hike being among the first actions he took, it left the public with a negative first impression of him. He hit rock bottom when in August 2011, he took his time coming back to London when the UK reached a new low with the summer riots. However, after the London 2012 Olympic Games, things got a little better for the Prime Minister. Its legacy got people in Britain feeling happy, satisfied and inspired. And this combination got the economy booming and the UK started to thrive beyond anyone's expectation. The economy is still picking up and statistics from the ONS are going the Conservative Party's way, and this is proven by many polls.

The importance of keeping an open mind

Judy Finnigan, Renee Zellweger, Robbie Williams & Ayda Field Isn't it great to hear varying opinions on a particular subject? Life would be dull if everyone had the same point of view, although the chances of achieving world peace would have been greater. But in the social media age we are in at present, more and more people are expressing themselves freely. While some believe that such are perhaps too open and allow themselves to be exploited in a way that others may not like, others may argue that 'I'm off to the local supermarket to buy half-price full-skimmed milk' is a good way to understand that person. If people want to remain private, that is their choice, which they are perfectly entitled to. But it is my belief that if anyone has an opinion they'd like to say out loud, the judgment of that individual must be justified whether you agree or disagree with the person in question. One recent example of that not being the case was with the release o

That's it... abolish political parties

Annual Political Party Conference season is nearing an end. For the last three weeks, we have heard party leaders and influential individuals gloat about their previous year's achievements while bashing their opponents. For journalists and political enthusiasts, September is a month they feast on. After a summer where Westminster goes quiet, the following weeks after the MPs' return from their holidays, storms are created and scandals dominate our media. And this September certainly didn't disappoint. There haven't been many Septembers like the one 2014 produced. 55 percent of the Scottish public decided that it wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom after fierce debates and unrealistic, and possibly, unreasonable promises. Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minster announced that his days as leader of the proud nation are numbered after his campaign for Scottish independence collapsed, and in convincing fashion too. David Cameron, who urged people to vote &quo

The Bullies of Westminster could push Scotland towards Independence

The day is nearly upon us. On Thursday 18th September, Scotland will be making their "biggest decision of the century", a decision that will shape United Kingdom in a way that was deemed unimaginable only a few decades ago. Come Friday, Scotland, to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, could become a 'foreign country'. As a Welshman living in London, I have been looking at this Scottish Independence referendum campaign very closely . From when Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond first announced his intentions in January 2012 up to today, the political arenas in Edinburgh and Westminster have never been so noisy about this issue. It has been somewhat rare to see Westminster united in the fact that they want, and need, Scotland to stay, but the Scottish National Party (SNP), have other ideas. You would think that by now we'd see a clear indication as to where this vote will go. Far from it. Polls for the vast majority of the time since January 2012 to n

The (social) media pressure of being generous

George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (Image: YouTube) I like to consider myself a charitable person. Whenever my friends are trekking up mountains for good causes, I am there to do my bit and support them financially. Whenever my friends are running the London Marathon and share their JustGiving page on social media, I am more than happy to give their worthy cause £5 here, £5 there. In addition, every March, I purchase a daffodil to raise awareness of Marie Curie Cancer Care, an organisation who support both those who're losing their battle from cancer and their relatives affected by the cancer. Every November, I purchase a poppy to remember those who tragically passed in World War I and World War II. Both events mentioned are occasions many millions can relate to and the charities involved have never needed to rely on social media in order to collect donations. Don't get me wrong, as an avid use of Facebook, Twitter

The NHS need all the support they can get

Guy's Hospital, London Bridge (Image: Earlier this week, I had an operation. It wasn't a major one but the day as a whole was such an intriguing experience, I feel I had to share my experience. It is worth noting that my operation was done under the NHS. The National Health Service, has been under massive scrutiny of late. You see in the news every day about them failing someone - whether it was diagnosing someone of cancer too late to cure them, or if a young child will suffer from a particular disability for the rest of their life after a blunder from the health service. The coverage they have received has been negative and if they had anything positive to say about the NHS that would be silenced by a scandal in a particular hospital. The negative publicity never put me off the NHS. I have relied on them from day one of my life and they have very rarely let me down. I have been lucky not to have broken a bone in my body and therefore not have relie

Israel and Palestine falling victim to UN frailties

I do wish that one day, the Middle East would be perceived in a more positive way in the media. And I am sure the media would like to do that as well. However, they cannot help themselves but to show the public, who are outside of the region, its darker and treacherous side. The powerful images and footage is something that is so unfamiliar to a lot of us but we cannot help but be intrigued, while being gobsmacked, angry and sympathetic at the same time. Over the past few weeks, we have seen Iraq being victim to vicious attacks by a group called Isis, which consists of dozens of Iraqis and Syrian extremists who have occupied large parts of land across the country that barely recovered from the 2003 war caused by the UK and US coalition. Now, their people are living in constant fear and running out of options as to how they get their lives "back to normal". Some have fought back but that has only created more bloodshed and fatal casualties. World leaders want to use the powe

Ed Miliband falling in Kinnock's trap

*That* bacon butty picture (Image: People don't give Ed Miliband enough credit. He hasn't had it easy since when he "betrayed his brother" almost four years ago, tipping the more popular, older and charismatic sibling, David, to lead the Labour Party. The media in particular haven't forgiven him as they believed David would be victorious in September 2010 after Gordon Brown announced his resignation earlier that year. Ed has been trying so hard to get to the right side of the media and in small bits, his tactic is working. Despite Labour and the Conservatives are neck-and-neck in the polls, Ed is currently clinging on the top spot and some recent reports suggest that if there was to be an election tomorrow, Labour could receive just enough votes to win the general election outright. However, it can be argued that this is because of the Conservatives' failure to connect with the "ordinary public" rather than Labour's vision

If you want UKIP to suffer, blank them

As of today, I will never mention UKIP or anything remotely associated to that political party when using social media or blogging. This post will be the final time where I will be discussing them by their direct name. The reason behind my decision is because I am sick of hearing, listening or watching anything about them, their leader Nigel Farage or their outspoken and often outrageous members. Every day, there is always something about them in the news which is supposed to shock us, whether someone there says things like foreigners should go back to "Bongo-Bongo Land", "I am Against Gay Marriage", "There should be compulsory abortions for those who are expecting children with Down's Syndrome". Despite this, the party has seen an overwhelming rise in popularity in recent months. So much so, they are on the verge of astonishing success in the forthcoming European Elections, if you believe in the papers. You even see reports that a handful of those f

Pistorius verdict must separate intention and perception

Oscar Pistorius, L (Image: ABC News) Two weeks ago, I went to see 12 Angry Men in the West End. The show was about twelve members of a jury who had to decide whether a 16-year-old was guilty, or not guilty of murdering his father. If they all agreed to the former decision, the teenager in question would be sent to the electric chair and die. If the jury decided the child wasn't guilty, he'd be given a second chance in life. The production was set in the 1950s and I'm happy to say that the large chunk of this planet has moved on from giving people the death sentence. Some may disagree with this. However, in my eyes, the show's key theme was the basis of reasonable doubt. The jury had to be absolutely sure that the 16-year-old definitely murdered his father. Initially all-but-one said the teenager is undoubtedly guilty. But as the show progressed, one-by-one, the eleven jury members had their doubts over what really happened the night that father died. Some man