We Will Remember

A serious poem to display my cynicism on Remembrance Sunday (today) in the UK.

I think we should remember, but I think we should also be clear on what we are remembering. And when we do fight a fight, it should be for a cause we believe in. I would have been a lousy soldier.

We will remember,
But soon to forget,
For dropping our smartbombs,
We have no regrets.

We will remember,
I hear the loud cry,
Remember what?
Is my simple reply.

We will remember,
All those young lives,
But that will not make us
Change impervious minds

We will remember,
to show them respect.
But just don’t expect us
to have introspect.

We will remember,
to lay down the wreath.
Do not indicate
What our thoughts are beneath.

We will remember
Make sure we look the part.
But who can determine
What goes on in my heart.

We will remember
This great photo op
As they take their photos,
My ordnance will drop.

We will remember,
This cloudy Sunday,
To make sure our killing’s done,
Far, far away.

We will all agree that people made sacrifices, lives are cut short, but we have to think further than that. We should also remember that those lives were cut short precisely because of the folly of somebody’s ideas. That war represents a failure of negotiation. That because all these lives end up being cut short, war should be a last resort.

Poverty

I saw a post the other day – I’m sorry I can’t remember the author – which bemoaned this new Supreme Court justice in the USA, who I’ve also heard describes as ultra-conservative. One of their beefs was that abortion would become more restricted.

Let me tell you what happened in Ireland.

For years, Ireland banned abortion. It was only made legal – following a staggeringly one-sided referendum in 2018. Even now, it is not particularly “available”. But the result of abortion being banned was that rich people travelled to England to have their abortions, where it has been legal since the late 1960s. Poor people, being unable to afford the transport cost, had to stay home and have their babies.

If you restrict abortion in the USA, rich people will go out-of-state, or disappear to Mexico or especially Canada for a few days, and still get their abortions. Poor people will not be able to travel and will end up having unwanted babies.

Make no mistake, this is about penalising poverty, not choice.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda…Too Late

I thought I would form a political party,
I’m thinking it is about time,
There are many political parties already.
But none of their views match with mine.

My party would be called The Sensible Party,
To discern from the nonsense we hear.
The name says it all – take a prudent approach,
To all of those things we hold dear.

But what should I find when I start to peruse,
Somebody had got there before me,
I wonder who that is? I follow the link,
the spadework already done for me.

Alas when I load up this promising page,
The details are sketchy and scant,
No idea who’s behind this anonymous site,
Or what thoughts they might wish to implant.

It’s back to the drawing board, Find a new name,
But really, the best one has gone.
A fruitless result of a few hours searching,
But now time for lunch, must move on.

The Sensible Party is a party formed by sensible people to promote sensible policies.

The Sensible Party
thesensibleparty.org.uk

Unfounded Optimism

On a world-beating island we bloom,
Over highest of mountains we zoom,
The rest of the race
Must accept second place,
As you observe our prosperity boom!

When I logged on this morning, I saw a news feed from the BBC.

It appears that Boris Johnson has been using that phrase “world-beating” again. This time, it was in the context of offshore wind farms. “How can a wind farm be world-beating?”, I hear you ask. Well, I don’t know. The headline was enough to make me jog on.

It’s not the first time Johnson has used the phrase “world-beating”. Early into COVID, the UK was working furiously to build a track & trace app. In May, Johnson announced that we would have a world-beating app, by the start of June. The app that was finally delivered was not only late, but fell flat on its face as soon as it got near real users. England finally released an app in September, thanks to US tech giants Apple and Google.

My point is that Johnson is full of these grandiose gestures. Very Churchillian – we are the country that stood alone against the Luftwaffe, we will fight them on the beaches… In real life, it is meaningless. He makes these promises, the media lap it up, and out of the other side comes a pile of dog-doo. I wonder, does anybody actually care about this?

Johnson clearly doesn’t. He keeps repeating those words, “world beating”. Maybe, in his mind, that’s how he sees it? Ot just maybe, he has worked out that the words are a good jingo, and that there is zero backlash when the delivery falls flat?

Come on, Britain. He said it once, and we saw what happened. He says it again, and what changed? Boris has form here.

Smart or Scandalous?

Can I get a feel on how bad people think this is?

For the last couple of days, a news programme here has been highlighting a database of voters.

The database is big – 5,000 Gigabytes – and is eerily accurate.

The political party recorded people’s main issues, and as a result put each voter into one of about eight categories. They had the extremes – definitely one of us or definitely not one of us, but it is the grey area where it gets interesting.

“People who might vote for us” were specifically targetted with things like Facebook ads extolling the virtues of their candidate.

“People who probably won’t vote for us” were sent different ads, encouraging them not to vote at all.

You can hopefully see that if these strategies paid off, they would both benefit that political party.

Where I’m not convinced is that our news programme seems to think it is a bad thing. I look at it and just think it is smart.

Surely, as a political party, you have limited resources – time and/or money – it makes sense to keep as comprehensive a database as possible? Surely it makes sense to understand what people’s issues are? Surely it makes sense to make sure that potential supporters vote for you? And that potential “not-supporters” do not vote for your opponents.

I don’t know, it just seems smart to do all these things, as far as I can tell. Every political party should be doing this, surely? Anybody have a view on this?