I'm a big fan of Eurovision – but their decision to allow Russia to still compete after invading Ukraine pissed me off. Glad to see they've caved into the pressure and reversed said decision. Must be comforting for the people of Kyiv right now to also know that the Champions League Final and Grand Prix won't be taking place in Russia later in the year. Sigh. These are correct actions to take – it's just that like many others I'm feeling bemused, angry, sad and powerless sat on my sofa while military action creates bloodshed in Europe of all places. It's 2022! Are we ever going to be able to be mature enough as a species to stop wasting lives and energy in this way? Probably not.
Yesterday I voted for my first and second choices for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) of South Wales. Police Commissioner was a role I'd only come across before in Batman but apparently we have them in the UK too now! They were introduced in 2012 (when I lived in the US) so this is the first time I've been around to vote for them.
Some reflections following a Freakonomics podcast episode I just listened to and a Read.Write.as blog post I just read. Something that puzzled and frustrated me in my five fantastic years in the US was the tendency of some (not all) Republicans to use Western European countries (particularly Nordic) as examples of Socialism. This was usually when talking about Democrats suggesting higher taxes and/or funding social policies to reign in perceived market failures and decrease inequalities – as an example Obamacare = socialised healthcare = Socialism.
I started writing this post before Christmas but in light of this week's events in the US the title has become somewhat more emotional and expletive. See if this reminds you of other examples in history. An ego driven leader riles up his followers with a confrontational, sabre-rattling speech after feeding them a steady diet of BS for four years, building on their disaffection and perceived marginalisation, presenting himself as their champion when all he cares about is himself, giving them target groups who are responsible (basically “foreigners” and “liberals” in this case), eroding their trust in conventional national and international institutions, re-writing facts and narratives to suit his purposes. The rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims escalate in the last weeks in a desperate attempt to hold onto power and, hey presto, a deplorable act of violence erupts!
...on the outcome of the US election, everyday life continues. I've just started 6 days of leave (10 days in a row including weekends), sorely needed after an intense period at work. It will coincide with Wales coming out of a period of national lockdown. It'll be an odd one, the first time since the start of the pandemic that Wales will have less stringent rules than England. I'm most looking forward to resuming our social bubble – while all these virtual tools have been great, I do like seeing people in more than 2 dimensions!
I may add a search bar at some point but for now, you can also navigate posts according to hashtags, grouped below in a way that makes sense to me and evolving as I post more. Expect a mixed bag. Some of the posts will feature the tagged topic as the central focus of the post, others will merely touch on it. If you'd prefer to scroll through a timeline of posts, head to my Archive.