Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's Not Often...

It's not often that I read a chain email that I enjoy. Far more frequently I make a mental note to severely disable the person who started it.
The one at the end of this post however, struck a different chord with me and I felt it would be worthwhile sharing it.
Now, typing is by far the least expressive form of communication which a human can undertake- but I assure you that if I were in your presence and talking to you, there would be not a trace of sarcasm in that statement.
This email is about the annual Poppy Appeal. I'm not familiar with similar appeals in other countries- but I imagine there is something analogous. If you're not British (he says- optimistically imagining he may have foreign readers), I suggest you do a bit of reading into it. If you are British, I still suggest you do some reading into it. Few people seem to know what an enormous difference the whole appeal makes. I assure you, you will garner a good deal more respect for the all-too-few members of the public who wear a cheap, tacky, nasty-looking little paper flower around this time of year.

This lack of understanding was demonstrated concisely when I was in the Air Cadets. We collected for the appeal annually in our local area, and I remember one particular occasion when a thirty-something year old man, fresh out of Sainsburys with his shopping, walked past me; grasping eagerly onto my collection pot and box of poppies; and muttered "'s not my funeral."
This then, shows how little some people understand about how the appeal works, and how the funds are distributed. Clearly his conscience got the best of him eventually- as half an hour later he reappeared and donated about £10 on a single poppy.
Whether you are a staunch pacifist, or an advocate of foreign military intervention, there is no denying that the idea of a young mother (or indeed father); usually with children; getting help and support from a truly altruistic charity in the wake of the death of their spouse in some far off conflict. This isn't some charity that perpetuates war or violence: these are people who are there when a family or loved one receives the devastating news of the death of a loved one in the service of a cause. If you're still not convinced, you need only read some of the testimonies circulating in papers and on the web for some utterly heart-wrenching accounts where (for example) a mother has to explain to her three year old son that his dad won't be coming home. I don't believe there is a soul alive who doesn't believe that people in this situation deserve some help and support.

Despite my best efforts, re-reading this I realise how woefully inadequately I've conveyed the meaning of my musings. I implore you to read into this yourself and really understand why the Poppy Appeal is worth supporting.

In the mean time, I leave you with the aforementioned email below.



The poppy Appeal commences on 24th October. Please read this.

They are doing their bit.....please do yours by reading this and forwarding it to someone else:

The average British soldier is 19 years old.....he is a short haired, well built lad who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears and just old enough to buy a round of drinks but old enough to die for his country - and for you. He's not particularly keen on hard work but he'd rather be grafting in Afghanistan than unemployed in the UK . He recently left comprehensive school where he was probably an average student, played some form of sport, drove a ten year old rust bucket, and knew a girl that either broke up with him when he left, or swore to be waiting when he returns home. He moves easily to rock and roll or hip-hop or to the rattle of a 7.62mm machine gun.

He is about a stone lighter than when he left home because he is working or fighting from dawn to dusk and well beyond. He has trouble spelling, so letter writing is a pain for him, but he can strip a rifle in 25 seconds and reassemble it in the dark. He can recite every detail of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either effectively if he has to. He digs trenches and latrines without the aid of machines and can apply first aid like a professional paramedic. He can march until he is told to stop, or stay dead still until he is told to move.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation but he is not without a rebellious spirit or a sense of personal dignity. He is confidently self-sufficient. He has two sets of uniform with him: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never forgets to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes and fix his own hurts. If you are thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food is your food. He'll even share his life-saving ammunition with you in the heat of a firefight if you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and regards his weapon as an extension of his own hands. He can save your life or he can take it, because that is his job - it's what a soldier does. He often works twice as long and hard as a civilian, draw half the pay and have nowhere to spend it, and can still find black ironic humour in it all. There's an old saying in the British Army: 'If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined!'

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and he is unashamed to show it or admit it. He feels every bugle note of the 'Last Post' or 'Sunset' vibrate through his body while standing rigidly to attention. He's not afraid to 'Bollock' anyone who shows disrespect when the Regimental Colours are on display or the National Anthem is played; yet in an odd twist, he would defend anyone's right to be an individual. Just as with generations of young people before him, he is paying the price for our freedom. Clean shaven and baby faced he may be, but be prepared to defend yourself if you treat him like a kid.
He is the latest in a long thin line of British Fighting Men that have kept this country free for hundreds of years. He asks for nothing from us except our respect, friendship and understanding. We may not like what he does, but sometimes he doesn't like it either - he just has it to do.. Remember him always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have brave young women putting themselves in harm's way, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation's politicians call on us to do so.

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and if you are so inclined, feel free to say a prayer for our troops in the trouble spots of the world.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Piece of Gold!

Dear everyone,

I'm afraid my updating of late has been somewhat lacklustre. However, I've recently come across this email, which i reproduce below. It's an open letter to Gordon Brown- and should provide a mix of humour and scary realisation!

At any rate, normal service will slowly return- my intention is to put up a whole lot of stupid YouTube comments, links etc. for your enjoyment.
Love and biscuits,


The Right Honourable

Gordon Brown MP

10 Downing Street,



Sunday, 15 February 2009

Prime Minister

An open letter demanding your resignation.

Your position is untenable and, I as a citizen of Great Briton demand your

instant resignation.

You are unelected, have no popular mandate and lack the moral authority

to be Prime Minister. Your terms as Chancellor and Prime Minister have

been a total disaster for this nation and your attempt to cling on to power

at all costs show a complete contempt for this nation and displays your

absolute vanity and thirst for political power.

I list below some of the mistakes made by you during your time in public

office. If as a director of a limited company you had made similar mistakes

you would be subject to criminal prosecution and banned from being a

company director. As a Government minister the standards exercised

should be significantly higher than those exercised by a company director,

you have failed to maintain those standards and are unfit for public office.

Banking Supervision: You transferred responsibility for banking

supervision to the Financial Services Authority from the Bank of

England so directly laying the seeds of the current banking crisis.

Banking Crisis: The initial response to the Northern Rock crisis was so

slow as to be glacial and ultimately led to the damage done to the

whole banking sector. A strong Prime Minister would have provided

depositors with a guarantee that their deposits were safe and the

bank run would have stopped. Ultimately the same guarantee would

have ensured t hat the HBOS and RBS debacle would not have been

so severe.

Criminal Negligence: The entire UK banking crisis has been caused by

a lack of supervision under the regulatory regime set up by you, any

man of honour would have resigned upon seeing the damage caused.

You however have tried to blame everyone else and accept no

responsibility. You are criminally negligent.

Vanity: You have used the banking crisis to attempt to advance your

personal standing and political career at the expense of the nation.

Lack of Judgment: You have made three serious errors of judgment

in your appointment of advisers on the current financial crisis.

1. Your choice of banker to compile a report on ideas for improving

public health was Sir Derek Wanless. a Northern Rock director when

it imploded in 2007.

2. You appointed Sir James Crosby, the former HBOS CEO, to the board

of the FSA who then had to resign after becoming embroiled in the

row over failings of risk management at HBOS.

3. It now also appears that Glen Moreno will be forced out of his job, as

chairman of UK Financial Investments Ltd, the company set up to

oversee the government’s stake in the bailed-out banks, because of

his links with a Liechtenstein trust accused of tax evasion.

You Fantasize: By clinging to the idea that, thanks to your genius British

citizens are far better placed than competitors to handle this crisis. The

following t wo facts demonstrate that this is a fantasy: -

1. The Office for National Statistics' revelation that while the number of

foreign workers getting jobs in the UK continues to grow (up by

175,000 to 2.4 million last year), domestic unemployment is rising


2. According to Business Monitor International, a research company

specialising in country risk, "Britain is facing an unprecedented fall in

its economic world ranking… from 12th place in 2007 to 21st in

2010". "Despite enjoying 11 years of growth between 1997 and

2007, the UK ran a budget deficit of 1.7 per cent of GDP over this

period, fuelling a fiscal time bomb. Faced with the financial burden of

bailing out the banking sector and kick-starting the economy, the

budget deficit will swell to an unsustainable 9.3 per cent of GDP in


Public spending: Your 2000 Spending Review presaged a major

expansion of government spending, without any significant benefit to

public services, directly leading to the UK being in the worst shape of

any industrialised nation to weather the current financial crisis.

You have colluded in hiding the full extent of public borrowing by using

PFI initiatives to hide the borrowings off balance sheet. PFI is the most

expensive and inefficient form of finance possible, and you have

saddled the country with a debt that you cannot even quantify. Jeremy

Pocklington, leader of the Treasury’s corporate and private finance

team, could only give a rough estimate to Richard Bacon t hat the total

liabilities, but not debt, from the vast majority of PFIs, but not all, from

2006-07 to 2032-33, but not beyond, is £157.9bn. That is not only

astounding but unbelievable.

Public sector Employment: The office for national Statistics shows

Public sector employment was 5,846,000 (20.4 per cent of all in

employment) in June 2005, 680,000 (13.2 per cent) higher than in June

1998, whereas from 1998 to 2005 private sector employment only rose

by 1,241,000 (5.7 per cent). This growth is unsustainable and wrong.

Growth: An OECD report shows UK economic growth averaged 2.7%

between 1997 and 2006, lower than in any other English

speaking country.

Gold sales: Between 1999 and 2002 you sold 60% of the UK's gold

reserves at $275 an ounce, close to a 20-year low, a disastrous foray into

international asset management .

Your spectrum auctions gathered £22.5 billion for the government

which caused a severe recession in the telecoms development industry

leading to the direct loss of 30,000 UK jobs. Two auctions were run in

the USA, the first being cancelled and re-run (for less revenue) due to

damage caused to the industry. The Americans realised their mistake

and tried to rectify it. The British and German chancellors copied the

North American first auction; which had failed. To copy a failed

economic model is normally considered a serious error of judgement.

Your East Coast Mainline franchise auction led directly to the demise of

GNER, an excellent company, which was replaced by National Express

who offer East Coast mainline users a significantly poor er service. Your

duty was not only to maximise revenues, you also had a duty to the

shareholders, employees and customers which you completely failed.

Anti-poverty: The Centre for Policy Studies found that the poorest fifth

of households, which accounted for 6.8% of all taxes in 1996–7,

accounted for 6.9% of all taxes paid in 2004-5. Meanwhile, their share

of state benefit payouts dropped from 28.1% to 27.1% over the same


Tax: According to the OECD UK taxation has increased from a 39.3%

share of gross domestic product in 1997 to 42.4% in 2006, going to a

higher level than Germany. This increase has mainly been attributed to

active government policy, and not simply t o the growing economy.

You pledged to not increase the basic or higher rates of income tax

however in all but your final budget, you only increased the tax

thresholds in line with inflation, rather than earnings, resulting in fiscal


You abolished t he 10% tax band so that you could reduce the basic rate

from 22% to 20%, to make it look like you were decreasing taxes.

However in fact it led to increased tax for 5 million people, and, left

those earning under £18,000 as the biggest losers.

Pensions: Your changes in 1997 in the way corporation tax is collected,

directly led to the taxation of dividends on stock investments held

within pensions , thus lowering pension returns and contributing to the

demise of most of the final salary pension funds in the UK.

This act alone has single handedly damaged the pension of every

person wit h a pension in the UK but also saddled UK corporations with

a an ever growing pension liability, so much so that many companies

fut ures are imperilled by these debts.

Falsehoods: You used the Laura Spence Affair to beat up Oxford and

Cambridge about their admissions procedures, Lord Jenkins, then

Oxford Chancellor and himself a former Labour Chancellor of the

Exchequer, said "nearly every fact you used was false.

Inappropriate links: Given the finding that the government did not

carry a proper public consultation on the use of nuclear power in its

2006 Energy Review, your brother Andrew’s is links to one of the main

nuclear lobbyists, EDF Energy could be construed as inappropriate.

The father -in-law of your closest adviser Ed Balls , Tony Cooper (father

of the Labour minister Yvette Cooper) has close links with the nuclear

industry. Cooper was described as an "articulate, persuasive and well -

informed advocate of nuclear power over t he last ten years" by the

Nuclear Industry Association on his appointment as Chairman of the

British Nuclear Industry Forum in June 2002.

Iraq War: You supported British involvement in the Iraq War against the

wishes of the UK population and helped to justify that involvement by

publishing false intelligence. This war has directly increased the odds of

terrorist attacks on British subjects and the financial cost has had a

significantly detrimental effect on the British economy.

Military Covenant: You have not adhered to the 'military covenant',

leading to a significant decline in the moral of the armed forces due to

poor housing, lack of equipment and adequate healthcare provisions.

The lack of equipment has directly led to an increase in the loss of lives,

and serious injuries, compounded by a lack care following serious


The 15% VAT Rate: introduced to counter the effects of recession

demonstrated a total naivety and breathtaking stupidity. Far from

digging the nation out of a hole, it has saddled the country with a huge

unsustainable debt.

No one should benefit from failure: You have on numerous occasions

stated that no one should benefit from failure, however your tenure as

chancellor was universally recognised as a failure, but you were

rewarded with the Premiership and had the gall to accept.

There will be no more Boom & Bust: In your hubris you made a

statement that was patently untrue, and counter to any economic

theory. You either knew that statement to be untrue and lied or if you

believed it then you clearly demonstrated your foolishness and proved

that you were unfit for office.

The UK is in a better position than any other developed country: this

again is completely untrue, we have more than double the debt per

head of population than any other country in Europe.

Public Services: You have destroyed Public Services by a raft of

inappropriate targets, which have led to resources being wasted by the

attempts to meet those targets.

Surveillance society: You have presided over and led to the creation of

a surveillance society in which any perceived wrongdoing is used as a

pretext to pass oppressive laws. You and your predecessor have both

single headedly succeeded in making the UK an unpleasant place to live


These are but a small sample of your failings any of which make you unfit

for public office and for which you should immediately resign. You sir are a

fraud and I am forwarding this letter to as many people as I can, via the

internet in an effort to shame you into accepting your failures.

Yours faithfully

Steven Katirai

Friday, 2 October 2009

Some Inspiration

Amidst moving in to my new house, and getting an internet connection, I haven't had an awful lot of time recently for this.
Nonetheless, I feel obliged to share this with the general populace as a demonstration of rare and inspirational positivism:

I would really recommend giving this a read. Truly staggering stuff.