Archive for November, 2017

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

There has been much debate and discussion this week over the implementation of the minimum pricing of alcohol by the Scottish Government in a bid to curb the very serious and growing abuse of alcohol in Scotland.
Certainly I recognise that Scotland has a very serious problem with alcohol and that it is inbred within our culture but targeting the lower end of the class spectrum is only one part of the problem. While the raising pf prices on cheap alcohol is a step forward in combating said problem I am curious as to who will benefit from this the most; the public or the retailers?
Alcohol is a very big problem in Scotland and as already mentioned it is almost inbred. Several factors contribute to this and amongst them are the lack of other activities at affordable prices-something I feel the government should also look into- which combined with exceptionally long, dark and miserable winters only fuel the problem.
The unpredictability of the so-called summer months doesn’t help either and the occasion of a rare sunny day usually results in celebration by having a drink outside. Alcohol seems to be part of every social occasion and has been for as long as I can remember.
This is why I don’t understand why the problem only tackles the lower classes with less money at their disposal to buy alcohol. Let’s be clear, I think that trying to tackle the alcohol issue is a necessary thing and possibly long overdue but it will not affect those who can afford it nor the middle classes and in my view there is as much of a problem there with alcohol as there is out in the more deprived areas.
They just hide it better because they can afford to. Also they are unlikely to purchase anything of such inferior branding as it would reveal them as déclassé therefore this does not solve their problem.
In the last two weeks alone I have been in the company of educated, literate and successful people and on three separate occasions I have witnessed at least one person in my own company become aggressive, argumentative and unreasonable as they became more strident in their behaviour and each and every time it has been fuelled by alcohol and their inability to control either their intake or objectionable stances.
Often the next day they have no recollection of their behaviour- or else they just shrug it off with a ‘Well I was drunk’ statement as if that excuses everything- and it is all forgotten about until the next time. And there will be a next time because the one sure thing about alcohol is that people repeat themselves; again and again and again and again…and every time a little bit louder than the time before.
I cannot think of one solitary person I prefer when they are drunk and I include myself in this1
Therefore whilst I see that minimum pricing of alcohol will be some help in the future-which is a crucial part of this initiative- it doesn’t tackle the current one and it certainly doesn’t cover the whole spectrum. It is a start however and a necessary one but I would be happier if someone other than retailers were to benefit.
On the subject of retailers I surely cannot be the only one who has noticed a very sharp, substantial and almost underhand increase in supermarket prices in the last six months. It began when I noticed an increase of ten or twenty pence on everyday-not luxury- items and then the last time I was buying butter I realised the same block I paid 79 pence for six months ago was now £1.40. That is one hell of an increase on an everyday item with no explanation and certainly no warning and it is not an isolated case; everything has gone up substantially. This is before Brexit has even happened and I am wondering whether those who voted Leave actually realised the consequences to their weakly budget when they made their choice. Again it is those on the lower end of the spectrum who will be most affected and again those who are financially comfortable or well off are able to absorb the extra costs.
It is hard to understand how low paid families are expected to cope with such huge price hikes especially considering their income hasn’t increased to accommodate it.
Hopefully this shambolic Government will implode before Brexit actually happens and judging by the infighting and backstabbing that feels like it could happen very soon. Wishful thinking I know.
At least Peaky Blinders is back though and the opening episode on Wednesday night was a master class on how to make a comeback. The conclusion left me completely dumbfounded and I hope that Michael Gray was merely wounded in the hail of bullets as along with Tommy Shelby and his Mother Polly he is the most compelling and promising character as to where the story can actually go. Then again as it is a show which likes to take risks then it is maybe wise to fear the worst. I only have to wait until next Wednesday to find out!

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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

Sex, sex, sex and more sex seems to be everywhere at the moment.
Or more correctly sexual harassment is.
Hot on the tails of the Harvey Weinstein furore in Hollywood, which I predicted was only the tip of the iceberg, comes news that Westminster- that supposed bastion of upstanding morality and totally non-corrupt individuals or so they would have us believe- is riddled with sexual harassment also; not that this comes as any surprise to anyone with more than a time-share on a brain cell.
To simply add fire to already troubled waters Kevin Spacey has used accusations of predatory behaviour on a minor to eventually come out as gay-again no surprise- to deflect from his despicable behaviour thus forever equating paedophilia and homosexuality as inseparable in the minds of misinformed and ignorant bigots who have never had much trouble in lumping the two together. Believe me that is a lot more people than I can ever be comfortable with especially as being gay is a totally separate thing from paedophilia and one in no way relates to the other; the former is a natural state of being whilst the latter is a perverted deviance that has proven statistics of being more prevalent in heterosexuals but is disgusting in any form as it is a form of manipulation of trust and ultimately abuse.
Whatever Spacey thought he was doing in trying to deflect from his misdemeanours he was seriously misguided and has opened up a can of worms that will be hard to put a lid on no matter how powerful he is in Hollywood. It was an infuriating statement that has probably done more harm to the gay community and set their cause back a good twenty or thirty years; especially in an America which is already in the grip of the most bigoted and hateful backlash for decades.
He did however apologise for his behaviour but that was immediately superseded by claims of drunkenness and not being able to remember the event due to his intoxication, as if that in some way excuses him and strips him of any responsibility
Netflix were quick to cancel his series House of Cards- based on a corrupt and power-hungry President- but that was inevitable but in my opinion it should have been cancelled the minute Trump was elected as there was no way the fiction of drama could match the fiction of reality; a fictionally corrupt President is no match for a real life bigoted, sexually predatory and racist one.
Trump this week however has limited himself to trying to step up his already ‘extreme’ vetting immigration programme following the tragic terror attack in New York which saw eight people killed.
The fact that this attack was committed by a non-white person has escalated his fury in a way the Las Vegas attack-which left 58 dead and 546 injured- didn’t. Supposedly because the Las Vegas attack wasn’t viewed as terrorism as it was committed by a white man, a ‘loner’ as the press referred to him. Also interesting to note that despite the gravity of the Vegas attack there was not one new policy implemented, no gun law restriction introduced, in fact there were no changes whatsoever made to prevent such an atrocity ever happening again.
Closer to home and back to the Westminster which is in disarray and a state of panic-yet again- over sexual harassment claims which I suspect is an issue that is going to run and run. Certainly Michael Fallon resigning as Minister of Defence for allegedly inappropriate behaviour towards a younger woman feels yet again like the mere tip of a very large iceberg. The fact there are rumours that his replacement Gavin Williamson has simply appointed himself to his new role indicates-yet again-that Theresa May has lost control of the situation and is totally unfit for office herself. Then again it was losing a whole load of files naming the Westminster paedophile ring which helped get her elected in the first place so I wouldn’t bet that she will allow a triviality like mere sexual abuse to dislodge her now that she has got this far.
We really have no right to sneer at the state of American politics when British politics are in such a shocking state.
I can’t imagine that anyone is surprised at the sexual harassment claims that are coming to light and the ‘Me Too’ campaign which took flight on social media a few weeks back shows how ingrained this problem is in all walks of our society. I know many will claim that it is not just women that are affected by this but I do feel that they have suffered it longer and far more extensively than men ever have or ever will.
As an example the male actor who accused Kevin Spacey was taken very seriously and immediate action was taken in suspending Spacey’s network show. I wonder how seriously the allegations would be taken and how swiftly they would be acted upon if it had been a female making the accusations against a powerful Hollywood figure and how much her own reputation would be questioned and possibly tarnished in the aftermath.
Certainly until women are taken seriously and afforded equal respect this kind of sexual harassment and inequality is always going to exist and this makes me very sad. Very sad indeed!

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