dinsdag 28 juni 2016

Teflon Man strikes again

The last weeks have been very interesting for me and that is not an understatement.
Even if I had wanted to I could not have avoided all the turbulence that came with the LEAVE and REMAIN competition around the referendum of 23 June 2016 about the membership of the European Union. Even the fact that I had no right to vote in this referendum did not stop both sides bombarding me with propaganda.

The REMAIN side would hammer on about very gloomy expectations if it would come to a BREXIT; the LEAVE side under leadership of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith of the Conservative party,  and Nigel Farage of UKIP came with very optimistic stories, a bit like that a new Golden Age would come for the UK if there was going to be a BREXIT.

                                          Boris Johnson

Some of the things that were being said by the Leave side were obvious lies and empty promises. Even I as a newcomer to the UK could see that.

Of course a new government was not going to put all the money not spent on the membership into the National Health Service.
Of course the UK would not have the profits of an European Union membership while not paying for it.
Of course there would not be free travelling for Brits in the EU, while people from the EU would need visa for the UK.
Of course the EU would not follow British rules in proceedings and such.
Of course leaving the EU will not stop immigration nor reduce the amount of immigrants.

It is hard to believe for me but a (small) majority of the Brits went for the empty promises and lies. So the United Kingdom is going to leave the European Union. The LEAVE campaigners must have not expected this. There is nothing to organise this. All they say is that there is no hurry.
European leaders are fed up with all the moaning and stalling and ask the British leaders to get on with it.

                                          David Cameron

How did all this became possible?
For fear of losing too many votes to UKIP  David Cameron promised the voters in the last general election that he would create a referendum about the membership of the European Union if he won. So there would be no need to vote for UKIP if you wanted this.

David Cameron won and kept his promise.
He accepted that the members of his government would campaign towards the referendum, so already allowing the country being led only half, The other half of his team was too busy with bickering in the campaign to do anything that would normally be their job.
I have the feeling that for most of these Eton boys this was no more than having a bit of fun. It would never come to a victory for the LEAVE side.   But it did.

In the aftermath a petition has been started by upset people, lots of them voted LEAVE but saw this as a protest against David Cameron who had stated he was in favour of REMAIN. They never thought for a second it would come to all this. The petition is already signed by 4 million people but is swept aside as not relevant by David Cameron.

David Cameron made his decision clear after hearing the results of the referendum. He is stepping down as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives at the next convention of his party, in October. It is up to his successor to lead the UK out of the European Union.

From all around David Cameron is being praised. Like he has been the best leader of the Conservatives and the best Prime Minister ever. Firstly I was flabbergasted, but then I remembered my own little piece about his acting as a Prime Minister ( http://dutchbicyclemaninnorwich.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/teflon-man.html) and how he got away with lying three times about money that was stashed away to avoid paying tax. (This getting out through the Panama Papers.)
So Teflon Man did it again: nothing sticks on him.

The events around the referendum make me think of a cook who suggested that he will prepare a nice meal for a family. He creates the most awful meal possible and makes a terrible mess of the kitchen. The family is polite and say that the meal was very good.
The neighbours see the state of the kitchen and tell the cook that they expect him to clean up and replace what is damaged. The cook simply shakes his head: "No, the next person who will cook, will clean up."
And so...everybody cheers how great he is.

In the aftermath of the referendum a fight started about who will succeed Teflon man as leader of the Conservative Party and as Prime Minister. Not very surprisingly Boris Johnson withdrew himself as a candidate, so he is not getting his hands dirty either. It looks like Theresa May has to clean the kitchen. She was not in favour of a Brexit, but she is volunteering to be the next cook.

4th of July 2016
Boris Johnson is having a good time, away from the fire that he helped to ignite.
                                          Boris Johnson

But he can't help having an opinion when he sees a journalist; he tells the British politicians to move on as quick as possible. And drives away to more pleasant talks.

That is nice of the former cook, telling others to hurry in cleaning the kitchen. Still not volunteering to help cleaning up the mess he himself created.

In the meantime Nigel Farage stepped down as leader of UKIP. His ultimate goal in life - getting the UK out of the European Union - has been fulfilled. So he retires, for the third time.
A bit like a pop star or a football player. We wait for his next come back.

                                          Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage fits perfectly into the picture I described of the kitchen.
He is like a TV cook you really would not like to see in your kitchen, always swearing, drinking too much and being foul mouthed. Now he shouts out that they have cooked according to his recipe. He is ready to retire and write his memoires: "My Biggest Insults".

dinsdag 14 juni 2016

Shit Talk

The majority of dog owners nowadays take care of the shit of their beloved animals. But still some people don't do this; even the threat of fines is not enough to force them to do it. So I can understand that countries like Malaysia and Singapore have almost Draconian punishments. I do think this goes too far. But a solution for getting every dog owner clearing their own dog turds is difficult to find. It leads to a lot of anger for other people.

I've seen people marking dog turds with flags to show their annoyance.

I have been talking to some dog owners and most of them are outraged about the fact that they pay dog tax and have to clear the dog turds while horse owners don't pay tax for their horses and don't take care of the turds of their animals either. And a horse produces a lot more! It stays on the streets a long time while flattened out by cars. It makes it harder and harder not to step on it or ride through it when it really covers the street or the pavement.
There is a way to prevent horses to litter the streets. Maybe it's not comfortable for a horse; I don't know, there is no way to ask. But I think it would be very reasonable to demand from people who ride horses on the public road to use them.

The Horse Nappie:
I expect that more dog owners will obey the rules regarding dog turds when they are not confronted with piles of horse shit on the streets anymore. So there is a lot to gain with this.

maandag 13 juni 2016

Waste and Recycling Collection

Since the start of May 2016 we have a new firm emptying our bins.
Expectations were high: the whole procedure would become more green, there was going to be more recycling and more dividing of the recyclable materials. We were going to get two new bins: one for paper and cardboard and a black bin instead of the black trash bags we were using. These were often ripped open by crows, seagulls and foxes. They were too vulnerable.

Soon it was clear how the changes really were. The paper and cardboard bin was a little insert bin that had to be placed in the recycle bin. The thing was all shiny and new, but delivered a problem. No way it could be fit in our bin. It did not seem to be a big problem; I phoned the county council and the friendly civil servant assured me I would get a new recycle bin before the new service would start.

The next thing that amazed me was the fact that we had to start using the new garbage bin by putting bin bags in the new shiny bin. In these day we try to keep the use of plastic to minimum and here we are packing our garbage double. One thing is certain: no animal will get to the rubbish. Still I can imagine the scene of the dump with thousands and thousands of black bin bags. This is plastic that is not going to dissolve itself.

Today we saw the garbage trucks speeding through our street WITHOUT taking our rubbish. I had been careful: had placed the paper and cardboard out at the last minute, to prevent that it got soaked by the rain that had started earlier that day. I phoned the council to complain about it and after 30 minutes waiting to get connected I was sort of told off by a lady whose voice reminded me strongly of actress Jo Brand. I almost got the feeling this phone call was recorded for a comedy show where stupid people try to phone the authorities. Her story was that the bin man probably were called away.

Stupid me! Of course!

It's now months after my initial phone call to the friendly civil servant: the new recycle bin has not been delivered yet. The man who had to deliver the thing probably was called away too...