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Showing posts from 2021

Jackie Weaver has authority to win my 'Person of the Year' gong

Jackie Weaver (Image: This is Money) It's been another year where we've seen more drama in real life than a standard Christmas episode of a soap opera. Rules brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic changed every five minutes, and even as I write this, what we can and can't do continues to be high on the political agenda thanks to new variants; we don't know whether we're coming or going. While I stick to my guns on why the pandemic is still dominating our livelihoods, we cannot underestimate how well we've done to adapt since March 2020, and we'll continue to do so over the coming months. I share the frustration that the British government's direction may not match what we think is going on. We're all keen to get on with our lives and actually treat Covid like the seasonal flu , as Health Secretary Sajid Javid had once promised - of course, we've never locked down because of flu before. I know we will one day and I'll look forward to that moment

Covid-19: Keep calm and carry on

Mask wearing in supermarket (Image: BBC) There's too much hysteria around the present Covid-19 situation. In the UK, the public is stuck in the middle of the fear-mongers - the government and its independent advisors - and the anger-mongers - the political commentators who seem to spend more time on Twitter than on their day jobs. And at the moment, they're peddling each other something silly, and as a result we don't know whether we're coming or going. Let's remind ourselves where we're at. So, we're edging closer to marking two years since the first positive Covid-19 case was confirmed. I don't want to delve into how the pandemic has devastated families across the world; that millions have died of the disease, millions have made an economic loss or have developed health issues fuelled by record waiting times and closed services. Right now, we have vaccines which are available for anyone over the age of 12, all businesses are now open if they financiall

Whatever the UK says about France, it won't touch Macron

Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron (Image: Human Rights Watch) I'm not sure if it's a big deal for governments in countries other than the UK and France, but the fact both are stuck in a stubborn diplomatic wrangle at the moment is quite significant, and those nations should probably be concerned. The squabbles are basically over what's happening on the English Channel, circling around two areas; fish and refugees. Fish has been a contentious subject for what has felt like an eternity, and tensions have escalated since the UK left the European Union. Like any other sea, parts are controlled by different countries, and with the English Channel,  applications must be made in order to access certain areas. The process doesn't sound like rocket science but of course, the small print can be interpreted in various ways and while the UK may withdraw licences, France will inevitably claim there were no justifications for those decisions. These finest of margins could always be

Being a lorry driver is amazing, honest

Lorry driver queues (Image: BBC) It's hard to ignore the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver shortage crisis at the moment. It was widely acknowledged that lorry drivers - particularly those entering and leaving the UK - would suffer a paperwork overload once Britain no longer became a member of the European Union. But some of us (myself included), who are oblivious to the ins and outs of the supply chain industry, thought the main issue for drivers was going to be around the endless M20 queues around Folkestone and Dover. When I recently visited the Channel Tunnel six weeks ago, I saw the opposite. Little did we misinformed folk realise was in fact, there aren't enough lorry drivers around full stop. Because of this, we now have a supposed ' fuel shortage ', in that, due to the lack of delivery drivers, there isn't enough petrol or diesel in our petrol stations. Speaking to a few people living outside of the UK, they'd watched some of the panic buying online with

Young men - your chance to break the cycle

Mass shooting in Plymouth sent shockwaves (Image: BBC) It's taken me a while to reflect on what happened in Plymouth back in August. This isn't just because of my busier than normal work and life schedule, but it's also because I needed to find the right words to say. I know, however, as a responsible male, I needed to say something, as the more I read about the terrifying event on that particular evening, the more compelled I feel to try and suggest ways to actually stop more of these avoidable situations from happening. The evening of 12th August 2021 started like any other day in Keyham, located in the beautiful city of Plymouth in Devon; residents coming back from work, cooking their dinner, taking their dogs for a walk. But as the sun set, the quiet area witnessed a bloodshed. 22-year-old Jake Davison had a row with his mother in their home. It intensified to the point that Davison took a gun and shot her to her death. He then ran out of his house and shot dead four o

Don't want migrant boats? Finish job at Afghanistan first

Boris Johnson has big decisions ahead on global security (Image: I find myself in a moral dilemma. I take pride in my anti-war stance. Until my dying day, I will always argue why sending troops abroad to defend countries that have little, or nothing, to do with the UK, is pointless, expensive and has tragic and criminal consequences. When it comes to the conflict in Afghanistan, my views are skewed. I, of course, often find myself wondering 'why on earth did we ever get involved in the first place?' I was 10 when former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush took the decision to send their respective armies to Afghanistan on a quest to protect its citizens against the threats and barbarity of the extremist group, Taliban. Fast forward to the present day, 20 years later, current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden are desperate to bring their troops home and hope to end the dark chapter in both country'

It's too early for Welsh independence talk

The government building in Cardiff causing controversy (Image: WalesOnline) I bloody love Wales. I will never tire of talking and hearing about the country I was born and raised in. It will always be my home and I will never stop supporting or defending Cymru in (most of) its pursuits. I'm a proud Welshman and nothing will come in the way of that. What I'm also certain about, however, is Wales's current position. Wales, while has its own government, is still part of the United Kingdom, relying on Westminster on some key issues impacting daily life. Whether we like it or not, we're factually British as much as we are Welsh. Despite this, it doesn't stop a large proportion of the population to say they feel more Welsh than British. In fact, almost half of people polled in a small-scale BBC survey in 2019 about the issue said that statement was true to them. In the 2011 Census , 58% of the total population said they were Welsh while 7% were both Welsh and British. I&#

Time to end the pointless 'war on woke'

A protest 'woke' people are likely to attend (Image: The Times) I feel the word 'woke' needs to be banned. No, not 'woke' as in 'I woke up at 8am', but as in 'You're woke'. It's currently being used a cheap-shot insult towards those who raise issues they care deeply about, and it's being overused with no substance. Some of you may not be familiar with the new definition of 'woke'. I envy you, but I'll entertain you with an Oxford English Dictionary definition regardless. The Dictionary defines it as "Originally: well-informed, up-to-date. Now, chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice." You read that and may easily come up with lots of recent examples - the Black Lives Matter movement, for instance.  The definition itself isn't the issue. My issue is the way some people lazily overuse it, in a way which downgrades the well-intended meaning. A simple Yahoo search of 'criticism of wok

Goodbye twenties! What will the thirties bring?

I've been rather reflective of late. On Thursday 6 May, I turn 30 and have used the past few weeks to look back on the things I've achieved in my twenties, and contemplate what I've learnt in this time period so I can embrace the challenges which lay ahead. I must say, I'm rather excited to enter my thirties and have been so since I was about six. While my peers have dreaded the big three-zero, I'm completely the opposite. But let me trace back my steps. Ten years ago, I was a 20-year-old University student living in North Wales and probably a quarter of weight lighter. Politically, David Cameron had been Prime Minister for a year, and Barack Obama occupied the White House. The UK was very much a member of the European Union and Manchester City was still searching for its first Premier League title. LMFAO reached number one in the UK singles chart with "Party Rock Anthem" and Amy Winehouse (who tragically died two months later) and Adele dominated the UK&#

Bosses: it's okay to be transparent

Boris Johnson and 'European Super League' have made the headlines this week (Image: Sky News) I want to reflect on the recent dramas that dominated the headlines this week, as European football received a massive wake-up call, and the fact that the 'chumocracy' allegations drowning Westminster - something I analysed late last year - aren't leaving anytime soon. The two are linked, and equally as significant and problematic for society as a whole. Let's look at the football story first. Last Sunday, I was lucky to be one of the 4,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium to see Leicester City reach the FA Cup Final after defeating Southampton 1-0. The match was, by no means, a classic, but the experience was unforgettable as it marked a big step towards fans returning to stadiums up-and-down the country, and a big step towards the end of Covid-19 restrictions. As I settled myself down in the stadium, I checked my phone and read the 'breaking news' that Chelsea,

News anchors: report the news, not your trendy views

Piers Morgan and Andrew Neil (Image: iNews) The concept of 'fake news' isn't new. Tabloids for instance have notoriously made up stories, or at least altered facts in part to boost its readership - in doing so, tarnishing reputations of not just the subjects of these untrue reports, but of media titles too. And when editors were desperate for anything supposedly newsworthy on their front page, they'd resort to hacking phones of innocent people in the public eye, which ultimately led to the demise of the 'News of the World' newspaper almost ten years ago. The closure of 'News of the World' seems a lifetime ago now, but I remember it vividly, completing a journalism degree at the time. But if I was doing the same degree today, I could only imagine phone hacking be a minor talking point in comparison to the how news is consumed and reported today (and in the future), which is making me fear about an industry I care deeply about. When 'fake news' o

Educate the young to prevent more Everard-type cases

Clapham Common virgil (Image: Al-Jazeera) A TV programme I'm currently watching is Supernanny USA , with Jo Frost. I loved the UK version when it graced our screens back in the noughties and was delighted to hear the show was revived for across the pond. For those who don't know what it is, it's about families struggling to manage their challenging children and in need of Frost's help. But of course, the children aren't 'challenging' for the sake of being challenging. They may be retaliating to traumatic experiences, such as difficult home dynamics, parents not spending enough quality time with them, or their over-consumption of activities which they're too young to take part in. In a recent episode, a child was addicted to violent video games and his parents never realised that this led him to getting restless at night and agitated during the day when he couldn't play. This could have lasted for years without the early and appropriate guidance. Why