Monday, May 25, 2015

Are You Fair-Minded?

Last night I asked myself that question. I would normally reckon that I could class myself as being fair-minded. I try to seek out the good. I try to not jump to conclusions. I try to see two sides to a story. Obviously, I am human and far from perfect, but I try to be fair most of the time.

Last night, I came to the same conclusion. However, I realised that one person's version of fair-mindedness might not be a the same as another person's.

In the run up to the general election, a memo was leaked to the press. It was about a conversation which supposedly took place between Scotland's First Minister and the French Ambassador. It suggested that Nicola Sturgeon would rather have a Conservative government in power at Westminster. Nicola Sturgeon immediately denied saying that, and the French Ambassador denied she'd said it. Nicola Sturgeon had been campaigning against austerity, campaigning that the country couldn't take another five years of Tory cuts. She wanted Labour in power and she would have backed Labour in the event of a minority government. There is no way she would have said that she would rather have a Tory Government.

But, as is the way in politics, the leaked memo was used against her. Mainstream media made a huge deal of the story. They were not prepared to accept that the memo could actually contain a complete and utter lie. Politicians from the other main parties also ran with the story, telling the people of Scotland that the First Minister was deceiving them. Saying one thing, but wants something else. They had been trying to find something, anything at all, to tarnish Nicola Sturgeon, but had been unsuccessful in doing so....until this leaked memo appeared.

As well as denying that she had said that, Nicola Sturgeon wanted an inquiry to be held to find out who actually leaked that memo. It was obviously a government meeting with the French Ambassador, a meeting in which conversations recorded should have remained private, rather than put into the public domain. But here was a memo, detailing a conversation which didn't even take place, being shared to media.

At the time, Alistair Carmichael was the Secretary of State for Scotland. He was asked about the memo and denied he knew anything about it. Fast-forward a few weeks, and the inquiry discovered that it was in fact Alistair Carmichael himself who had leaked the memo.

He leaked a memo, which he admitted he knew was untrue, in order to smear Nicola Sturgeon. He watched as other politicians bad mouthed her. He watched as the mainstream media had a field day with the story. He lied about knowing anything about it. And he allowed an inquiry to take place which cost about £1.4 million. He confessed last Friday, and sent Nicola Sturgeon an apology. He admitted he had been wrong in leaking the memo and acknowledged that the contents of the memo were untrue. His reason for confessing was simply because he had been found out and the inquiry was about to be made public.

As a very senior politician, he should have known better. Even had he put his hands up and confessed to it before the election, it might not have seemed so bad. But his constituents voted in the belief they had a trustworthy MP. He won his seat by less than 900 votes.

Alistair Carmichael is still the MP for Shetland and Orkney, despite a growing demand that he resigns. He is trying to hang on to that seat. He is only one of eight Lib Dem MPs in whole of the UK. He goes, and they lose one eighth of their MPs. Lib Dems have been quiet, but have giving him their support to stay. Yesterday, Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, made a statement about Alistair Carmichael and the leaked memo. He said it was an aberration and that he thinks people deserve a second chance. He hopes that fair-minded people will give Carmichael that second chance.

Now this is when I realised last night that my version of fair-mindedness is different from that of some other people. In my view, we vote and hope for politicians who are honest and trustworthy. Alistair Carmichael has lost that. Can he be trusted again? I wouldn't want him as my MP.

I also wouldn't want a party leader who classes leaking a memo in order to smear another politician as just an aberration, then asks people to be fair-minded and give the MP a second chance. That is surely condoning what Carmichael did.

In this case, Alistair Carmichael may well be the fall guy. Being Secretary of State for Scotland, meant he was working close with Tory Cabinet MPs as well as MPs in his own party. I would imagine some of them played a part in this too or at least knew about it.

It is time for change surely. Time for politicians to earn trust and respect. We should not just accept what they tell us. We should not just accept that MPs can be a bit unscrupulous at times. Give us the truth and then we might trust them. But election campaigns based on lies to smear other parties need to be a thing of the past. It's time for politicians  to clean up their acts and stop the dirty politics.

This was a big mistake for Alistair Carmichael. It throws doubt on anything he has said in the past. And as for the future, can his constituents ever trust him? Perhaps he should resign then his constituents can decide on his future in a by-election.

I still reckon I am fair-minded. Just not Willie Rennie's version of fair-minded. His version seems a watered down version, with no principles. I expect MPs to be fair-minded too. Respect the electorate. Be honest. No more dirty politics. Then perhaps they will earn my fair-mindedness.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Election Fever

Nearly there.

Never before have I felt as strongly as this about an election.

I imagine people see me blogging about it and think, oh, here she goes again. I even think that myself sometimes, but it doesn't seem to stop me. If I didn't have health issues, I think I'd be out there, chapping on doors, campaigning. But if I didn't have health issues, I would possibly not have become so interested in Scotland's politics. I would possibly be sitting back, accepting status quo. I would possibly be working and possibly not having to worry too much about anything other than scheduling the tv channels to avoid all the election programmes.

But the thing is, I do have health issues. And those health issues are probably at the root of my interest in the politics of my country.

Time and time again, sick and disabled people are targeted by politicians and the media. We are scroungers. We are lazy. We are fat. We are low-life scum. We are parasites. And of course, we are benefit cheats. Those are just a few examples of what gets thrown at sick and disabled people daily.

I am not trying to suggest that there are no benefit cheats in Britain. Of course they are, and I do believe that they need to be caught and stopped. But the numbers are a minority and to target everyone as a benefit cheat is just so wrong.

Being ill or having a disability is not a life choice. It is a sad fact of life. People often are guilt ridden and stressed because they cannot work and have to rely on benefits. The last thing they need is to have accusing fingers being pointed at them, suggesting they are cheating the system.

The Conservative Party have admitted that they will be making welfare cuts if they get back into power. They will not admit which benefits will suffer, but there have been 'leaks' that the disabled and carers will be hit. Perhaps some people who are wealthy and people who have been fortunate enough to have had good health, don't actually see why people who are disabled are given 'hand outs'. But to disabled people and their families, those benefits help them to live some semblance of a normal life. They aren't 'hand outs'. They are in place to support people. Very often, that benefit is the sole income in the household. To take it away is punishing someone for having an illness or disability.

Over the last few years, I have increasingly felt that politicians haven't seen people. They don't really care about the people. They have simply seen numbers and have endeavoured to find ways of cutting numbers. (Labour as well as the Conservative party). This scares me. When life is already a struggle due to illness or disability, a bigger struggle is being created by the very people who are in a position to be able to help. It makes me realise that I want more from politicians. I want politicians to see the people. To really see them and to care about them.

Last year, during the referendum, I started looking at the SNP in a different light. I hadn't given them much thought before that. But I do see something different in them. I believe that they want change.

What I see is politicians who actually care.

They are passionate about allowing people to have free higher education and just as passionate about maintaining the NHS.

They want to ensure that disabled and their carers are looked after. Westminster gives private companies like ATOS the contract to oversee disability benefits. The claimants have to fill in numerous complicated forms and attend medical assessments run by those companies. The companies have targets to reach, therefore they pull the benefit from some of the most disabled and vulnerable people in society. People then have to fight to have their benefit reinstated. Sadly, some people do not have the strength to fight it. If the SNP could have control of this, they would prefer to have GPs do these medical assessments.

They don't think it is alright that there are people having to use foodbanks, especially since many people using them are actually in work. Sadly, it gets reported that many people using foodbanks are having to do so because they squander their money.

They don't think it is alright that people are being employed on exploitative zero hour contracts. Westminster say they exploit people too, but they have never done anything to stop it. People are forced to take jobs on zero hour contracts, because there is nothing else available. If they do not take those jobs, they will lose benefit. Of course, unemployment figures are low when people take those zero hour contracts, so the governments can boast that there is low unemployment.

They don't want that unelected House of Lords. Ex-politicians, business people, friends of politicians being given titles in return for some kind of favour, to then be paid a lot of money to sit in Westminster making laws.

They don't want Trident.  Nor do I.

More and more billions will be spent in the coming years on nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

We are told that we probably would never use them....they are just a deterrent. So why do we need them at all? Why are billions, upon billions being spent on weapons which (thankfully) won't be used, especially when the country has so much debt and poverty. It is 2015 and people are living in poverty! Shouldn't that money be spent on making a better future for people in the country?

But we are told that we need them. They are a deterrent. But do we really? There are only nine nations holding nuclear weapons. Does that mean that all the other countries in the world are in danger? Of course it doesn't. So why do we need it? Do we really want to live in a country which has the power to create devastation on another country? The world as we know it could change at the press of a button....controlled by USA, not even the UK.

We went to to war with Iraq just a few years ago because it was thought that they may have nuclear weapons. Why should it be ok for us to have them, but not ok for others? Are we really trying to dictate to the rest of the world whether or not they should have nuclear weapons?

Why have nuclear weapons at all....anywhere? Weapons of mass we really want to have something so dangerous, so powerful that it could cause untold death and destruction anywhere in the world, including
 on our own soil?

Some politicians say if the other countries disarm, then we can too. Maybe the other countries are saying the same thing. Waiting for the other countries to disarm. But someone always has to be first.  

I know people will read this and think I have an idealistic view of the world. I suppose I do. I don't want to live in a world with weapons like these. I want to live in a nicer world. A fairer, kinder, more compassionate world. And guess what, I think that the SNP would try to do that.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Why has Scotland turned its back on the Labour Party?

The political world is crazy and seems to be getting more crazy by the minute. Almost seems like a game to some politicians.

Last night on Question Time election special, Ed Miliband promised that there would be no deal of any kind with the SNP. No coalition. No vote-by-vote basis to allow Labour into power. In fact, he went as far as saying that he would rather see a Conservative government back in power rather than work with the SNP in any way.

Sad as it is, that is Labour's choice and they are entitled to make that choice. But what they seem to be forgetting is that any elected MPs from the SNP have been voted by the Scottish people. Their message to the SNP is basically to ask them to tell their voters to vote for Labour. (Which political party would ever encourage its voters to vote for another party?) However rather than punishing the SNP, they are actually punishing the Scottish people for using their right to vote democratically. The message to Scottish voters is loud and clear -  you are only worthy if you vote for Labour.

They want to blame the SNP if Tories get back into power. Somehow, the SNP must have twisted our arms behind our backs to insist that we vote for them. The SNP simply will not allow any of us lowly, uneducated people to vote for any other party. So, yes, if Tories get back into power it is all down to the SNP.

"Nicola, if you really don't want a Tory government, then why are you telling your voters to vote SNP? By getting them to vote for Labour, Labour will get a majority and the Tory party will be out on its ear" How often have we heard that over the course of the last few weeks?

The truth is that Scotland has predominantly voted for the Labour party for many years, but that has not guaranteed that Labour have won enough seats to get into power. We have had many difficult Tory years despite Scotland having voted Labour. So please don't put the blame of another Tory government onto the SNP or Scottish people.

If there are enough anti-Tory politicians in Westminster, Labour could work with other parties to ensure there is not a Tory government. But, no....Mr Milliband would rather see Tories in power than to have to work along side that horrific Scottish National Party.

Try to think about this Mr Milliband and colleagues.

The voters have turned their backs on the Labour party for a reason.

The reason being that the Labour party turned their backs on their voters.  Not just in Scotland, but in the whole of the UK.

When votes on important issues have taken place at Westminster, many MPs didn't even vote. Aren't they supposed to be there to vote on our behalf? Isn't that why we 'employ' them? Have I got this wrong somehow?

In many issues over the last five years, Labour MPs simply abstained from voting. Abstained. They weren't prepared to fight against injustices. And on many occasions they voted in favour of injustices.

Further austerity measures written into the Tory budget earlier this year by Chancellor George Osborne, have had the seal of approval by Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor. Ed likes George's budget

Labour voted for bedroom tax. By simply not turning up to vote against it, they voted in favour of one of the cruelest policies. Who abstained?

Labour voted for £75 billion in cuts and tax rises Who voted?

Labour voted in favour of Tories plan of  a further £30 billion of cuts. Where will the cuts be?

And of course, last year, Labour joined forces with the Tories for the Better Together campaign. They joined forces to lie, deceive and scare Scottish voters. They joined forces to create the Vow. The Vow which was only worth the price of the newspaper it was printed in. The three amigos with their vow

Those are just a few examples. Trust me when I say that there are many, many more. I think it is safe to say that the Labour party turned its back on, and betrayed, the people of Great Britain.

I think it is clear that Scotland has woken up to that fact and has now turned its back on the Labour party.

Next week's vote is not simply a protest vote. It is a vote to have something better. Our country wants and needs something better and the only way to get it is to vote for something better. And that is why I, and so many others, will be voting for the SNP.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Project Fear 2

Ok....I think I have kept my political thoughts to myself for long enough. In two weeks time we have a General Election, and I haven’t written one single blog post about it. I have restrained myself very well, but I just cannot keep sitting on my hands.....they need some keyboard exercise. 

I am sure that there has never been an election campaign in the UK’s history which has focused so much on only one of its four countries, one political party and of course, that party’s leader.

Every media outlet is focusing so much on Scotland, Scottish National Party and its leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

Some of the media reports are actually pretty vile. And the comments by the readers are very often even more vile. They portray Nicola Sturgeon as some kind of hated, demonic  pantomime villain, and the crowds are giving the expected boos and jeers.

Nicola Sturgeon has been called the most dangerous woman in the UK, a threat to the country. She has been compared to Hitler. The SNP party has been vilified, as have their supporters. Said to be corrupt and they will blackmail any government in power. Boris Johnson said that having the SNP in power would be like leaving King Herod in charge of a baby farm. Another senior politician’s wife suggested that SNP would turn UK into a communist dictatorship. And of course, Scottish people are nothing more than leeches, a drain on society, a drain on the English Economy, therefore, it’s time to stop all the money from the South coming across Hadrian's Wall to Scotland as Nigel Farage put it.

Not quite the “lovebombing” Westminster was promoting last year.

I can’t help but wonder why they begged us to stay in the Union, if we are really so unsavoury.

Leaders are actually suggesting tactical voting to keep the SNP out of Westminster. Labour and Conservative have been pulling out all their older, retired or almost retired MPs and ex leaders to make speeches about how dangerous the SNP is. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, John Major......if they could resurrect Margaret Thatcher, I am sure they would. And I have a pretty good idea of the reception she would receive in Scotland after her many years of handiwork as Prime Minister.

Those politicians cannot tell us why we should vote for their own parties. They can only tell us why we shouldn’t vote for the SNP.

If the polls are correct, it would seem that the SNP are about to have a landslide victory in Scotland, which kind of makes you wonder about the result of the referendum on Independence. Conservatives in Scotland are almost non-existent. And it would seem that Scottish Labour are heading the same way.

During the referendum, the Better Together team and the majority of the British press campaigned against Independence using lies and scare stories. Their campaign was dubbed Project Fear. Of course, they also had the lovebomb Scotland campaign.

Now, as we head closer to the election, the same lies and scare stories are coming out.  Project Fear all over again. But the lovebombing hasn’t put in an appearance and I doubt it ever will.

We live in a democratic country. Well, kind of can we be totally democratic when we have an unelected House of Lords to oversee parliament and an unelected head of state? But yes, we are supposedly democratic and we can vote for politicians we think will work best for us. Every eligible voter can put their cross in a box of their choosing at an election. If SNP candidates win those seats, they have been put there democratically and have as much right to those seats as any other party’s politicians.

So why should there be a problem?

Is it because SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon is actually more of a force to be reckoned with compared to any of the current leaders in Westminster?

In what way is Nicola Sturgeon a threat and the “most dangerous woman” in Britain?

This extremely dangerous woman wants to stop poverty, wants to stop zero hour contracts, wants people to be able to earn a decent living wage, wants foodbanks to be a thing of the past. She and her party in Scotland have given people free education, free prescriptions (for which I am especially grateful), wants to keep the NHS safe from privatization, put a halt to the bedroom tax which inflicted misery on some of the most poor and vulnerable people in the country. 

Isn’t that what politicians are supposed to do? Look after their constituents, be a voice for them, stand up for what is right? Doesn’t really sound dangerous to me. Perhaps if other parties had the same values, the country would be a lot better. Perhaps instead of the scare tactics and demonising the Scottish, they should ask themselves why we no longer want what they are offering. Perhaps their own failings have made people want something new. Something better.

There are 650 seats in parliament. 59 of those are Scottish seats. We are a small piece in a large why is this election all about Scotland? Why don’t they want us to be heard?

Your vote counts. Your vote matters. We see that all the time. However, apparently that does not apply north of the border.

There is no more lovebombing. The only message coming from Westminster is,

“We persuaded you to stay within the UK with our lies and scare stories, but please, now crawl back under your rocks because we don’t want you to have a say in the politics of
Great Britain.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Je Suis.......

It is difficult to put thoughts into words about the terrorist attacks in France last week. Shock. Sadness. Fear. Relief when it was finally brought to an end. But I wonder if it really will ever end.

The extremists who carry out vile and barbaric terrorist acts like this, doing so in the name of their religion, are simply evil. But I don't think their religion is the problem. There are millions of Muslims around the world who are happy to live side by side with people of other or no faith. Terrorism is not about a religion. It is about terror.

I don't know how many religions there are in the world. There are many. And there will be followers of each of those religions who believe their's is the one everyone should follow. But there are also sometimes extremists within various religions, who take their beliefs to another level. They hate, injure and kill in the name of their religion. But, as was the case last week, other people of that same belief, condemn their actions.

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo office apparently came about as the satirical magazine had repeatedly published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The cartoons often feature other religions too. They don't just mock Muslims. However, the Islamic extremists chose to use those cartoons as a reason for their actions last week. People around the world were shocked, saddened and angered not only at the cruel loss of life, but also because the attack was thought to be an attack on free speech.

This is where I have a problem.

Everyone wants free speech....I do too....but surely a line must be drawn somewhere? If we intentionally hurt or offend people, is it ok simply because we believe we should all have free speech?

A few words, a cartoon, a joke which may make some people laugh, but at the same time, may hurt and offend someone else. A cartoon mocking people's religion obviously offended people. I am in no way condoning the actions of those terrorists. Terrorists use things like that as an excuse for what they do. But is it really ok to offend people so publicly?

I don't think so.

Haven't we moved on to an age when we should think and consider other people's feelings more?

Shouldn't free speech be put to better use than mocking certain people or groups in society.

We will never all agree with each other. But can't we express opinions in a way which does not offend people? It is ok to not share people's beliefs, but surely it is not ok to be offensive to them about it.

I saw some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons online. And I have to say I found them offensive. I was not offended because of religious beliefs. I was offended simply because I found most of them to be downright disgusting and in very bad taste. They have printed a record amount of copies of this week's edition. They normally print 60,000 copies. Today 5 million copies were printed, in various languages, including Arabic. People queued up to buy this edition, and most shops sold out very quickly. Handwritten signs were put up outside newsagents in France to let people know that there was 'No more Charlie'.  I can't help but wish there really was no more Charlie.

Their front cover is a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying, "Je suis Charlie", with the headline All is Forgiven. They say that Muslims need to get a sense of humour.

Humour....I am not a Muslim and I reckon that I have a pretty good sense of humour, but when a joke, cartoon or prank affects people's lives....they are no longer funny. Perhaps people shouldn't find them funny in the first place.

When Prince William's wife in hospital during her first pregnancy, an Australian DJ played a prank during their radio show. They phoned the hospital pretending to be the Queen, asking how her granddaughter-in-law was. They thought it was a hilarious joke. A nurse answered the phone and believed it to be the Queen. That nurse ended up taking her own life due to that phone call. Not so hilarious.

In December last year, just days before Christmas, after the horrific bin lorry crash in Glasgow, a young man in the North of England made an extremely unfunny joke about it on social media. Many people were angry and offended....rightly so. It was a tragic accident. People lost their lives and others were severely injured. The young man who had made the 'joke' handed himself over to the police, probably because he feared retaliation from the many people who found his joke offensive. He was charged by the police. What he had done was a chargeable offence.

Charlie Hebdo repeatedly made cartoons about various religions and high profile politicians. Back in 2008, one of their writers wrote a very antisemitic piece. He was later fired because of it. Double standards there surely. Not ok to mock the Jewish faith on that occasion, but ok to mock other religions, especially Islam. Muslims are their main target.

And I have to say that Muslims seem to be the main target for many people worldwide. I do not, and never will, condone any acts of terrorism carried out by anyone. But what seems to be happening, is a war between Muslims and the rest of the world. We share the planet, for goodness sake. We live together. Side by side, all colours, all races, all beliefs. Can't people put differences to the side and live together peacefully. There is room for everyone. Room for everyone's beliefs and opinions. But I don't think there is room for offending people in this way.

Yes, we want free speech. But being offensive, racist and obnoxious has nothing to do with free speech, in the same way that terrorism has nothing to do with religion.

Mark Zuckerberg made a point of saying that Facebook will always be a place for free speech. People should be allowed to say what they want.

So groups like Britain First will continue to encourage people to share their vile, racist posts on Facebook.

I actually complained about one I saw the other day, but was told that it complies with Facebook regulations, so it would not be taken down. The post said that Muslims might be offended by jokes about Muhammad, but we (the British people) are offended by a picture of a woman wearing her hijab, in other words, we are offended by Muslims. Another post said that Britain is a Christian country, let's keep it that way. Aren't Christians supposed to show kindness, respect and acceptance? Certainly doesn't come across that way when you see posts like those on Britain First's website.

I find Britain First posts to be highly offensive. Sadly, though, posts like that are shared on social media like wildfire. Just as all Muslims shouldn't be considered as terrorists, I hope that all British people aren't judged as being racist.


After last week's attacks, there was a rally in France on Sunday. World leaders attended, linking arms to march in unity against terrorism under the banner of 'Je suis Charlie', supporting free speech. Ironically, many of those world leaders have been part of injustice, illegal wars and yes, even acts of terrorism themselves. They seem to have double standards and are happy to stand united when it suits.

And many of them don't actually allow free speech or freedom of information in their countries.

Our government recently ensured that the public didn't get to find out about their expenses scandal, by shredding the evidence. At the moment, there are a lot of questions being asked about paedophile rings and government members having had the knowledge about them going on, and some actually having been party to that. It is starting to look like more evidence will be getting sent to the shredder.

Allow media outlets to post offensive, racist cartoons.....but don't allow them to tell us what is going on within our own government. Something is far wrong here.

Our Prime Minister is trying to make some new laws to ban any political rallies. It is supposedly to prevent extremism in the country. He has also suggested monitoring all internet activity, even reading your private emails.  And if anyone dares to speak out against the government, they could be arrested.

Perhaps I should just hand myself in to the police now.....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

One Wish...

If you could have one wish, what would it be
Fabulous presents under the Christmas tree
A new computer, an iPad or maybe a phone
A piece of jewellery with a big sparkling stone

What would make the season special for you
Perhaps something special you’d like to do
A visit to Paris or maybe Rome
Or have a family party in your own home

What would make life better this year
And better for those whom you hold dear
If you could have any gift, what would it be
What is the one thing you’d like to see

Sometimes what we would like is hard to find
Like compassion and happiness and peace of mind
A world without fear and hate would be nice
But things like that, don’t come with a price

Instead, they are things which we can create
And not just yearly on one single date
To have a better world in which we live
Perhaps we all have something to give

Maybe if we all play a part each day
Showing compassion along the way
Spreading some cheer, some kindness too
The wishes we have, may come true

E. Sirrell   December, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

People like Bob

Bob Geldof.....good old Sir Bob.....coming out of the woodwork to solve the Ebola problem this time. Gathers the troops, brings out another version of the Band Aid single, 'Do they know it's Christmas'. they know it's Christmas? Do they? Did the people in Africa ever find out it was Christmas? Of course they did. He ridded Africa of its poverty single-handedly, didn't he. Didn't he???

Remember the, "Give us your f***ing money!" back in the eighties.

He became the world's hero. But that was a while ago.

Perhaps Sir Bob needs his ego polished a little bit once again?

A multi millionaire, (thought to be worth 32 million) giving his time, asking for our money for a good cause. I'm not arguing with that....of course it is a good cause. What I am against is people and organisations which use emotional blackmail to make people donate to actually benefit themselves financially and boost their egos along the way. I'm also against people criticising others for not donating. It is a personal choice as to whether someone donates to a charity. It is their business. Their money. Their time. Their effort. Bob Geldof publicly criticised the singer Adele because she didn't jump on the bandwagon and join Band Aid to sing 'Do they know it's Christmas?' this time around. He had no right whatsoever to do that. If Adele donates to causes she feels deserve it, perhaps she does so privately, without the need for people to tell her how wonderful she is for doing so.

Bob Geldof also offers his services as a speaker at functions and charges a fortune. A lovely little money earner. His chosen subject.....poverty. The multi millionaire talks about poverty.

In one instance, he travelled to Melbourne, Australia and charged a whopping $100,000 to speak about poverty. If you are interested in hiring him, I suggest you find someone who knows about poverty, whether that be poverty in Africa or poverty in the UK or poverty anywhere else in the world. Most people who live in poverty would do the talk free of charge, then you could donate that $100,000 to their chosen charity.

Bob Geldof is one of the many celebrities (and many other high earners) in the UK who find ways to avoid paying tax. (Yes, that's right, the man who asks us, not even politely, to donate to his cause, has so much money himself and pays no tax. He has said in the past that his time is tax.)

So while our countries go into financial meltdown, with working people relying on food banks to ensure their families are fed, people like Bob ask us to help him save the world....and polish his ego at the same time.

There are many organisations and individuals giving their time and money quietly, no publicity....they just want to help. But people like Bob want the limelight. They want to be seen to be the one who saved the world, freed the people in Africa from their poverty and even put a stop to Ebola. “We really can stop this foul little plague,” as he so eloquently put it, when he was interviewed on BBC Breakfast earlier this week.

I am hoping Ebola can be stopped, but I think it will be down to a lot of other people. Although, I am sure Bob will try to claim some of the glory.

Perhaps if all those high earning celebrities (and companies like Amazon, Starbucks etc.) actually paid the tax they should, the world wouldn't be in the state it is in now. Perhaps if all the banks didn't give themselves such high (undeserved) bonuses, we would be in a better state. Perhaps if all the MPs and those who sit in the House of Lords didn't claim millions in expenses (tax-free) to supplement their salaries, we would all be living in better world. 

Sadly, there are just too many families world wide, not just in third world countries, who also won't know it's Christmas this year. People without a roof over their heads. People who are relying on soup kitchens and food banks. And the people who are fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads are trying to decide whether to heat or eat.

And people like Bob Geldof could help. Quite simply by paying their taxes.

When a reporter once asked Bob about his non-payment of tax, he got angry and asked her how many irrigation ditches she had built. She may have built none, but she had paid the taxes she was due to pay. So she has helped fund the NHS, pay pensions to the elderly, look after sick and disabled, pay towards education etc....oh and her tax has also gone towards providing aid to other countries when needed. 

Incidentally, Bob Geldof visited Scotland a couple of months ago, in a bid to persuade us not to become an independent country. S
ent up by Westminster with a group of other very well off celebrities who probably also enjoy tax dodging....they probably also got paid expenses for their trip. 

In his speech he used that expression, "we are better together".

As long as they're are people like Bob not paying what they should, I don't think we are.