Thursday 29 January 2015

Tony Blair

The British public's fascination with Tony Blair amazes me. Journalists, Politicians, Joe Public all have a view on Tony Blair.

The two main contenders to be the next Prime Minister either want to distant themselves from him or wish to lay claim to the title of his natural successor.

Joe Public is largely infuriated with Tony Blair's 'lies' with respect to the Iraq War / WMD. Journalists generally focus on the fact that Tony Blair has made shed loads of money since he left power. They sort of insinuate this is somehow untoward and it is wrong in the way he has become rich shortly after leaving Number 10.

I don't get the bile directed at the man though. The same people who moan about Tony Blair's lies will readily admit and claim that all politicians lie. The current crop of politicians running the government are lying. It is inevitable that the next lot will lie too. You might think that is a tad harsh and unfair. However what they call 'spin', I call lies. Telling half truths is a lie as far as I am concerned.

In the minds of those who moan about Tony's lies though, the fact that many people died as a result of the Iraqi invasion is something unforgivable. According to statistics on (using MOD data) from 2003 - 9, a total of 5970 soldiers were either injured or died with 179 actual fatalities. So in a nation of about 55 million people, 0.001% of the people were impacted by Tony's decision to go to war. To put these figure into perspective, please review my post of 21st December 2014 and realise the following:

1) In each of the last 10 years, at least 500 people have lost their lives to a murder / homicide in the UK.

2) In the winter just past,  18, 200 people lost their lives. Their death is somewhat linked to seasonal low temperatures.  Of these, 14,000 were over 75. 

3) In the last 3 or more years, there have been at least 1000 people per year who die from drugs poisoning (both illegal and legal).   

I suspect the number of deaths or injuries to soldiers is not really the issue here. My opinion (based on no scientific experiment and very little logic) is that many are upset with Tony Blair because he has personal attributes we sometimes wish we have. 

He is smart. Mr Blair is a smoothie. He is the colleague type we all secretly loath. The type that can talk his way out of any trouble, get himself noticed by people of influence and dazzle with  his personality and tongue (substitute for BS). As far as I am concerned, this is the source of all the animosity and bile towards Tony Blair.

Collectively as members of the voting public, we like politician to tickle our tummies, to tell us what we want to hear. This desire partly explains Nigel Farage's meteoric rise to the centre of today's UK politics. He says what people want to hear. 

Politicians who are willing to speak the unvarnished truth are quickly cast aside, rendered unelectable. The smooth talkers and 'smarties' are welcomed with open arms. Tony recognised these things and successfully exploited them. Yet we blame him. 

I am not too keen to defend the rights or wrongs of the Iraq wars but I am convinced that Saddam Hussein is equally as depraved as Hitler and so were the Mad Mullahs running Afghanistan. 

I also don't buy this line that the Iraq war radicalised Muslim youths in the UK & Europe and brought terrorism to the street of England. There was no invasion of the Middle East when all the hijackings took place in the 70s / 80s and 90s. Lockerbie had nothing to do with the invasion of any country. The Jihadist were always going to bring their battle to the West with or without the invasion of the Middle East. The West is some form of collateral damage, an outlet for the expression of the pent up frustration the Jihadists.  Buying in to the logic that invasion led to radicalisation is providing justification for the barbaric acts that have been witnessed on the streets of Western Europe & America. 

Please lay off Tony Blair. This tendency towards envy really isn't good for our collectively health. We should be glad that a former Prime Minster of the UK is not poor and leaving the rest of his life above the bread line. He had decisions to make as Prime Minister, he made those decisions. Like all decisions, some turned out to be spot on while others did not quite turn out well. That is the nature of decision making. 

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Professional Angry Brigade / Obsessive Social Media Warriors

Two days late with last week's very short blog. Life and laziness unfortunately. I actually started writing on Friday but couldn't complete last week's blog until tonight.

Two weeks ago, Gordon Taylor almost became the latest victim of the professional angry brigade when he committed sacrilege by even mentioning the Hillsborough Tragedy in the same sentence as Ched Evans. How terribly uncaring and ignorant of him not to realise the similarity between the Hillsborough tragedy and the Holocaust.

In my opinion, Gordon Taylor made a perfectly rational comment and used the fact that almost 20 years down the line and despite the lies from the Police, our opinion of what happened that day has changed, we are more sympathetic to the victims and their family and less trustful of the law enforcement establishment. SIMPLE

Gordon's sin was not to realise that using Hillsborough as an example is now up there with Holocaust denial. Good on him, he was quick to shut the issue down, he apologised for the hurt feelings and made the same point again. Well done to Gordon. The issue is now forgotten as the obsessive social media warriors have moved on to another victim.

A vocal majority amongst the angry brigade wanted Gordon Taylor sacked. Let that sink in. They wanted him sacked for defending his employer. For doing his job. Where do these people come from? What gives the professional angry brigade the front?

Perhaps, people with common sense are not easily outraged and are too rational to employ the same tactics as the angry brigade. As the African saying goes 'empty barrels make the loudest noise'. Personally If I had the time, every single occasion the angry brigade go off on a tangent and start their crusade against something that is frankly none of their business, if I will start my own petition countering their stance.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Religion & blasphemy #pariskillings

I belong to an online group of wonderful people based all over the world, we share similar ethnicity and the same gender. Courtesy of my membership of this group, I can confidently say I have almost 2 dozen brothers who are also my friends.

As the events in Paris unfolded, the comments on our forum quickly focused on the Muslim religion and the perceived reluctance of well known Muslims individuals and organisation to distance themselves from terrorists acts such as the Paris killings.

The following themes emerged from the comments on our forum and I will try and look at these themes in my comments below
  1. Christians were vicious to Muslims during the crusades
  2. Extremism amongst Middle East / Muslim types is as a result of the bombing of Iraq & other Middle East countries by the West
  3. The action of the murderers in Paris was nothing to do with Islam
  4. Are all Christians responsible for the extremism of those who profess to be Christians
I am aware terrible things happened during the Crusades and its a matter of historical record that these cruel things was perpetrated by Christians.  However I don't think it makes sense to blame modern day terrorism and today's senseless killing for the Crusades that happened almost a 1000 years ago. These murderers are not even trying to kill Christians, they are indiscriminate and will kill people of every faith including their own faith.

On Friday, I stumbled on a very interesting article in the Evening Standard by a Professor of History at the Stanford University - Ian Morris ( It was a very interesting read and charts the history of conflicts between Christians and Muslims over the course of history. It might interest you to know that Muslims largely had the upper hand in conflicts with Christians up to 1683. So all these revisionist nonsense about Christian aggression against Muslims should stop. The Crusades is not a justification for why these crazed fanatics try to murder people today.

Yes the West invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. There are ongoing bombing campaigns against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria and Al Qaeda targets in Yemen. While there is accepted wisdom that these military actions serves to radicalise Muslim youths, it is also an accepted fact that people in all of these places are oppressed by their leaders. How come these oppression by their leaders did not radicalise them?

Yes, in many instances, the West is quite happy to stomach some of these rulers as it serves their purposes. However in the case of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein who actually murdered his own people and threatened the existence of his neighbours and offered sanctuary to lunatics from around the world, someone needed to do something. Granted the way the West fought its battles with Saddam were underhanded (WMD issues et al) there was however a moral and human angle aspect to the Gulf wars.

Fast forward to today. Syria has taken a leaf out of Saddam's books and is bombing its people to smithereens. The West has intervened as it tries to protect vulnerable people. Yes innocent people have been affected. This is unfortunate and regrettable. If the Jihadists and the murderers are upset about this, please ask the Yemeni, Iraqi or Syrian governments to retaliate. Countries are allowed to fight one another. Pretend warriors masquerading as soldiers defending their religion are not allowed to wage war.

Why is Islam the only religion where the adherents feel compelled to defend their God.  Is he so powerless to defend himself? The bible condemns blasphemy in strong terms but Christians don't go about shooting or beheading people because you mock their God. They leave their God to deal with you and they know he can defend himself.

Atheists are also fairly relaxed about their lack of belief. They don't jump up and down when religionists mock their lack of faith in God. Why is it Only Muslims that feel they have to do this? So when people say it is not about Islam, I don't know enough about Islam to comment definitively but you do wonder why a disproportionate amount of violent extremists and senseless murderers are linked to Islam or claim to be defending Islam.

On Christian extremism, why should it justify the Muslim variant. All forms of extremism is wrong. Except I am missing something I am struggling to find Christians who go about killing people for blaspheming their God or religion.

In defence of people who feel upset about the abuse of their religion but who don't feel compelled to hack some body's head off in revenge, I have a lot of sympathy. Reading this article ( gives you the flavour of the different (and in my own opinion well balanced and reasonable) viewpoints on the blasphemy issue. It is not a straight forward one and there are delicate nuances around balancing free speech with responsibility.

On the issue of Free Speech. I struggle to see why peoples career and possibly lives have been destroyed because of their pronouncements on the Holocaust. Is this contrary to the principle of Free Speech? Should people be allowed to freely blaspheme another religion?

I whole heartedly believe in free speech. I will not blaspheme against any religion or ridicule atheists but i will personally defend your right of blaspheme.

Monday 5 January 2015

Love - my children taught me love

I have more respect for bloggers, columnist and people who write for a living for their consistency and discipline in producing materials on a regular and timely basis.

I started this blog a few weeks ago and planned to publish at least one article per week usually at the weekend as I have more free time to write and think.

7 weeks in - so far so good. Week 8 - I am struggling. Lacked any motivation on Sunday night, I assume that is the equivalent of 'hitting a wall'. Here I am at midnight, alarm set for 5am and a tough day ahead but I am trying to have a go at writing something. I will try and keep it short.

I have just had the most amazing 10 days with my kids. Spending time with them, doing stuff together - games, swimming, eating, watching TV, going on road trips, shopping. Seeing them smile, laugh, attempt to make you laugh, clown about, try to solve challenging situation on their own etc. These things makes you thankful and appreciative of all you have. It makes you value life and helps you look to the future with hope.

As a young person growing up, I don't think i knew what love was. I hope my mum won't be disappointed with this because I am sure she loves me. While I understand God's love for humans, I also understand and experienced having deep affection for another person (usually a member of the opposite gender if you ask). I can relate to respect for parents and elderly family members and kindness towards fellow humans. As a young person I was also good at looking after my siblings. However I can't wholeheartedly say I understand or get the concept of love.

I never fell madly in love. I had girlfriends that I cared passionately about to the point where it hurts. I believe  having kids has changed all of that. And to think I never wanted kids.

I can remember the first time i set my eyes on my new born son. He was vulnerable, so fragile. The tough guy in me disappeared and  I fell in love completely. I knew deep down that I will do anything and everything to protect him. I can't imagine he is almost a teenager today. I still love him as much as I loved him that first day. His smile melts my heart and there is nothing I want more than for him to be happy.

Not only did I not want kids, I was fearful of having a daughter. I never believed I could have the same affection for a baby daughter as I have for my son. Yes I am a neanderthal. I was in the delivery theatre when she was born. I still remember her piercing scream as if it was yesterday. Her beautiful angelic face. Today she retains all of the beauty and has added a few feminine guile to it. She doesn't know it but daddy will definitely give her anything and everything if she ever ask.

I try to be a strict dad, trying to enforce discipline despite the fact that I only see them during the holidays but the absence just makes the heart grow even fonder.

What will tomorrow bring when they are grown teenagers and adults and making their way in life? Would I still love them the way I love them now? I don't know. Friends and relatives who are parents and who have older children tell me that the feeling never goes away. While I watch them grow, I am grateful for knowing what love is through my kids.