It is with some regret that once again I have to comment on the short-sighted, short memory, and short-term thinking of politicians. Despite huge cuts in troop numbers (laying off Soldiers and other military personnel,) not to mention the selling off of military hardware such as the Harrier Jump Jet, the Aircraft Carriers Ark Royal and Illustrious, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has consistently pushed for a policy of arming the rebels in Syria, despite little being known or confirmed as who the rebels are. It has been revealed in Channel Four News in the UK that there are British Muslims fighting for the rebel cause. Given this, given that outside influences are involved in the rebel cause, it seems high folly to arm them when those same weapons could be used against us.
Politicians rely on the masses having short memories and are foolish enough to believe the endless soma they feed us. The situation in Afghanistan happened much further back than many would believe. When the Russians supposedly ‘invaded’ in 1979 the West, namely Britain and The United States started blindly arming ‘rebels’ The Mujahedeen, which evolved into ‘The Taliban’. Does the name sound familiar? It should because it is this very same group that was responsible in part or wholly for the events that transpired on Tuesday 11th September 2001.
It is well worth noting that the then Afghan Government was dealing with a Muslim Insurgency they could not handle and called upon their Soviet allies to assist. It wasn’t an invasion but rather a comrade answering a call for help from a fellow comrade.
But of course we are talking about events transpiring during the era of ‘The Cold War’. A period where it is East versus West and everything is clear cut and black and white. Watching the film ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ starring Tom Hanks left me with the distinct impression fools will always rush in where angels fear tread and as the film so clearly showed that is what American (and to a certain extent Britain,) did in regard to Afghanistan. They created The Taliban, women in that Country then suffered as a result, historical representations of Buddha were destroyed based on an ideology totally out of sync with the religion of Islam. We armed them, we trained them to fight the Russians. After the Russians had their ‘Vietnam’ there and pulled out, The Taliban were left to their own devices to terrorize Afghanistan and set it up as a base for the training of Islamist from all over the world. And in the end we end up paying the price of such political follies of politicians and Governments by the events in New York and London in the early years of the 21st Century. Chickens do indeed come home to roost.
So given all of the above, we now see History repeating itself with a proposed invasion and backing of rebels. Has nothing being learned from the folly of the Second Bush Administration and Iraq. Apparently not. Prime Minister David Cameron. Has clearly not got the backing from the UK Parliament and has been made to look a fool internationally. Commonsense has prevailed. The same cannot be said of France who vehemently opposed the Iraq War but seem set to join The United States in another act of folly.
Anyone with even the remotest hint of Middle Eastern politics and conflicts knows nothing is ever achieved by all-out war. Only diplomacy, a cease fire, negotiation and an agreed settlement are the solutions to ending this conflict. Not by arming one side that is made up of different factions. Factions that could use any aid given them against those who supplied it.
The cost of buying or renting a home on the open market in London is way beyond ridiculous and unlike the story of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ there is no child to actually say the Emperor is wearing no clothes. In other words, house buyers are being taken for a ride. Rising house prices are just a façade. How can a rundown apartment in Brixton, South London be valued on £99,500? Amazing when one considers a time when someone who could afford to buy property costing that much wouldn’t be seen dead in Brixton. The same could be said about Notting Hill at one time. How times have changed. There is definitely a case of demand outstripping supply but greed is also a significant factor. There are many people, who simply cannot afford to live in London, yet they work in London and their earnings just won’t enable them to rent, let alone buy anywhere. It is actually cheaper to live outside of London and commute into London. But for how much longer? When the cost of rail travel continues to rise with no recognizable improvement in the service offered. Not that easy living in London when one is not a multi-millionaire.
My hometown of Birmingham has finally woken up to the fact that a library that looks like a place where books are incinerated rather than studied, borrowed and read doesn’t do much for a city’s reputation. It has taken decades for jaded civic leaders to wake up to the fact but the coming week sees ‘The Second City’ unveil the new ‘Library of Birmingham’. I for one shall not miss the passing of ‘The Central Library’, which looked like a huge concrete crematorium that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the film Fahrenheit 451. Forward Birmingham. Ever forward.
I have never been a fan of Mexican Director Alfonso Cuaron, ever since I attended a casting for the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which he directed and attended the offices of UK Casting Director Lucinda Syson to audition a role in the film ‘Children of Men’ which he was also directing. In each case he wasn’t even in the room. I have never understood how director can cast a role and not be in the room to see the actor and get a feel for them. I might be out of my depth on this point but was far from impressed when I eventually saw Children of Men. Given this I very much doubt I am going to like his latest effort ‘Gravity’, which has already being described as being deeply flawed. Much like Mr. Cuaron’s approach to casting projects.
Kevin Spacey makes a very convincing argument about giving people what they want in terms of programme content. The drama series he appears in ‘House of Cards’ was released as a whole series directly on Netflix. This may seem a major move but close examination of viewer’s habits will show people already watch programmes this way. Yours truly still has multiple episodes of the TV Series ‘Supernatural’ to watch. And I have watched many shows this way by simply recording them on my digital set top box and watching multiple episodes at my leisure. I also watched Series Two of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ this way but via DVDs courtesy of rental company LoveFilm.
U.S. Television’s Pilot Season spends hundreds of million dollars on many pilot films for proposed TV shows many that will never get the green light for a first series. I have noted many British actors who can afford to, rushing State-side in the hope of getting cast in one of these pilots. British Television has never embraced ‘Pilot Season’ but rather will commission and make a whole series. If it is successful it will go to second series and so on. The Netflix Model is here to stay. Viewing habits are changing and people are no longer willing to wait each week to watch their favourite shows.
I have often remarked that even the best of relationships and marriages have their stresses and pressures. So news that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are taking a break from each other to work on their marriage comes as no surprise. Both are incredibly talented and successful but each has had personal health issues they have had to deal with and in the glare of publicity. No matter how much two people love each other, dealing with the above under such circumstances is going to take its toll sooner or later. Let’s hope some time away from each and taking time out will help in bringing them back together. They married for all right reasons, let’s hope what brought them together initially will bring them back together.
Children, the elderly and those with disabilities are the most vulnerable in British Society (any society generally for that matter,) so it is extremely shocking that one year after the Paralympics were held in London, it appears nothing has changed. Those with disabilities are still as marginalized in British Society as ever they were. It also quite shocking in the 21st Century and especially after the most successful Paralympics ever, that they still endure physical and verbal abuse and what can only be described as hate crimes, some of which is also institutionalised. Prejudice comes in many forms and has no place in modern day society. But if those in Government are cutting subsidy to organisations that help the disabled, then they are also guilty of perpetrating the above, as they are telling the public that people with disabilities have no useful place in Society. And as someone who has a disability, I don’t sleep easy at nights knowing this.
On a lighter note but no less serious, we all know it takes two to tango but now not necessarily of the same sex, as same sex couples competed in the World Championship of Tango for the first time. Three male couples and one female couple took the floor to cheers from the crowd. Change is inevitable. It is not a question of if but when.
There is plenty more to see, read, and watch domestically and internationally throughout this edition of Digital World Wired.