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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remembrance Day

After a peace treaty was signed, the First World War came to an end in the early hours of the 11th of November, 1918.

Poppies were growing in the battlefields of Flanders and due to their colour, they became a symbol of the blood spilled during the war. And there was a lot of spilled blood. The war saw millions of lives lost and even more millions injured throughout all the countries involved, amongst both military and civilians. 

World War One was thought at the time to be the war to end all wars. Sadly, we know that wasn't the case.

We remember those who fought for our countries. What they gave was precious and we must never forget them. But we also must never forget the civilians who were also affected. Nor can we forget about the lives lost on the other side of the battlefields. Those soldiers most likely had no choice other than to fight for their country.

There are so many lessons to be learnt from history.

But are we actually capable of  learning them?

To be honest, I have serious doubts about it.

I want a peaceful world. A world with no terror.  A world without hate. A world without racism and sectarianism. A world free from homophobia. A world that accepts everyone for who they are, without discriminating in any form. A world where people are respected. A kinder world. A fairer world.

I don't imagine I'll get what I want....

We are still living in a world with so much hate, greed and terror. We have power-hungry leaders throughout the world who almost seem to enjoy war. We see wars over power. Wars over religion. Wars over oil. Wars to avoid wars. We live in a warring world.

Our Warring World

We say goodbye as they leave for war
Hardly knowing what they are fighting for
Some come home. Many are lost
War always comes with such a high cost

Husbands, wives, fathers and mothers
Sons and daughters, sisters and brothers
War heroes, they're called, with medals too
Returned back home, draped in red, white and blue

At home we wait for those to arrive
The fortunate ones who did survive
A sense of relief is in the air
Despite some being wounded beyond repair

Physical wounds. In time they heal
But some wounds we can neither see nor feel
The shell shock. The memories. Bloody and dark
The war has left an invisible mark

We’ll never forget, but will we ever learn?
Wars give us lessons which are harsh and stern
Lessons of fighting, bloodshed and tears
Lessons of anger, bitterness and fears

Power hungry men want to lead the fight
Marching soldiers into the darkness of night
They’re fighting. They’re struggling. So many are dying
Wars bring no winners. Just misery. And crying

Will our world be at war until the end of time
With innocent lives being lost to a hideous crime?
Will the hunger for power ever cease?
To make way for a better world; a world of peace

© E. Sirrell
November 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November............. Gunpowder, treason and plot

Back in 1605, some guys decided they would like to blow up the Houses of Parliament. One guy was caught red-handed.

Guy Fawkes was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered for his part in the crime, however, he jumped to his death before that could happen.

Over 400 years later, we still 'celebrate' Guy Fawkes. Bonfires and firework displays are held throughout the UK on the 5th of November every year. A 'guy' (an effigy of Guy Fawkes) is normally placed on top of the bonfire to be burnt.

Despite the country having no money, making cuts here there and everywhere (apart from MPs expenses....would be unfair to make cuts there), some councils organise bonfire and firework displays.

Tonight, the sky above the UK will probably be glowing red from the heat of all those bonfires.

One particular council run bonfire in a town in England is using a different effigy this year.

Lewes, in East Sussex, will be burning an effigy of Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, along with our lovely Nessie. Some tartan, Scottish saltires....I'm sure I saw a haggis in there somewhere too. Basically, all things Scottish.

There is also a sign saying 45%. The 45% obviously represents the 45% of the Scottish people who voted for Independence. In case nobody realises, I am one of those 45%.

Why does this Tory run council think this is OK?

The referendum is over. We weren't being anti-English. So why is it ok to be anti-Scottish?

Scottish people were accused of being anti-English for wanting Independence. But we weren't. We were not voting against England (which is how the press reported it). The referendum had nothing to do with the Scots disliking the English. It was about getting a parliament which had Scottish interests at heart, instead of a parliament which looks after its own and forgets about other areas of the UK.

Scotland is not Anti-English. Scotland is Anti-Westminster.

But Westminster got their No vote. By hook or by crook, they got their No vote. (If I sound a bit sceptical about that result, that's because I am) But none the less, they got their No vote. We are still part of the UK. David Cameron was extremely relieved that the country with the liquid black gold was to stay within the UK. So relieved that he let the world know that the Queen purred to him....

Since the referendum, politics in UK have gone crazy. There are MPs jumping ship. The Labour party, especially in Scotland, is crumbling. It is in tatters. Blaming the referendum.....but they won (apparently), so why are they leaving? Why aren't they slapping each other's backs and congratulating each other on their victory. Perhaps their victory wasn't as sweet as they would have liked.

UK has been trying to call the shots in Europe, much to the disdain of other countries in Europe. We might actually be put out of Europe, since Westminster got its sums wrong and owes a lot of money to Europe, which Mr Cameron doesn't want to pay. If we're not put out, we might leave Europe anyway, since Mr Cameron has said there will be a referendum so the people can decide. (Hate to let you all know this, but somehow referendums give the result that Westminster want....yep Sceptic Liz really doesn't believe that was the true result in Scotland, but I will keep my reasons for another time) The irony about Europe, is that the Better Together campaign, used Europe as one of their biggest arguments against Independence. If we were to leave UK, we were warned, we'd not be part of Europe.....looks like we possibly won't be part of Europe anyway the way things are going now.

But anyway, back to Lewes council's effigy of Alex Salmond and all things Scottish (including 45% of its voters) it ok for a council to support something like this? Would it be ok to have an effigy of any other politician? Royalty? Someone black? A gay couple? Or what about an effigy representing another country and its people? What about something representing China? Russia? USA? Germany?

Surely not. Doesn't UK condemn bigotry and discrimination?

During the referendum campaign, David Cameron asked people to "love bomb" Scotland. Don't let Scotland split the UK. We are all "Better Together".

Whatever happened to the love bombing Mr Cameron?

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