Home Time

For a long time, every penny that came in, went out to pay for planning permission stuff. Management plans, fees, you name it, it cost dollars.

Now that’s all over, my overdraft has been paying itself off, and I’ve been able to save a bit. Lo and behold, suddenly I’m getting emails from Experian.com saying things like; “hey.. want a mortgage?”

So I filled in all the wotsits, just to see, and it turns out that yes, all of a sudden the financial world has decided that people like me can again get a mortgage. I thought I’d never get back on the housing ladder, yet here we are, being presented with what some might call an opportunity.

Being the ex-estate agent that I am, I always relish the chance at a gander about the housing market, a bit of window shopping, tyre kicking, that kind of thing.

At first glance, it looked pretty exciting. Lots of stuff available for less than 100k. That was unthinkable when I was selling houses back before the 2008 crash. So you start ringing around, and the excitement slowly gives way to the realisation that everything that is even remotely affordable, that looks like it’s been on the market a long time, is all of a sudden under offer, probably due to the fact that everyone is getting those same emails from Experian &Co. that I’m getting.

I passed a modest bungalow on the road one day with a To Let sign in the garden. So I checked it our on Rightmove. £725 a month?? Consider this. If you can get a flat for £45k in the Dock then your repayments will be around £150 per month. To rent exactly the same property is twice as much. So essentially, by renting, you’re just paying someone else’s mortgage.

There are loads of houses empty around here, owned by people who have a house already, and this other one is surplus to requirements. They stand empty, slowly rotting away. Perhaps they have a probate on them. Some, I hear, are the subject of huge family arguments over assets. No-one can agree, so the place sits there, taunting you as you go about your business, as you go back to your caravan in the rain, the caravan that they’re gonna make you take off your land in a few months’ time, just to send you where exactly? Pembs County Council have recently banned campers etc from parking on carparks or on roadsides. So the second I drive out of here and park somewhere else, I’ll be moved on. Meanwhile, my animals will have to fend for themselves while I go and sleep somewhere where I can’t keep an eye on them.

Ironically, since my appeal refusal, I’ve been staying away from my land at night time, experiencing excruciating anxiety wherever I am instead, wondering what’s going on back at the ranch, hearing stories of goat thefts and stolen pets. I seem to spend my entire life driving around the county, using loads of diesel and accruing a massive carbon footprint in the process, all because the council decided my opd application wasn’t eco enough. Now my carbon footprint is about a million times bigger than it was when I was able to stay here full time, waiting for a decision.

This caravan is too small. It was only supposed to be temporary while I waited to build the house. Now the house ain’t getting built, and I’m heading back into that time of year where the electricity goes low and I can’t charge my laptop, and there’s no point making any better set-up, because I can’t stay here.

Do the people who have made it impossible for me to stay here have any idea of the amount of stress they cause? Do they have any idea what it’s like to be heading into yet another uncertain, cold, damp, dark winter? Do they know how hard it is to get your life together when your bottom rung of needs, ie, a simple home, is not being met?

They have an idea, I’m sure, but they don’t give a shit, because they are the archetypal, hypocritical, I’m alright Jack contingent, who do what they want and get away with it. Who make their insane rules, and only flex when there’s something in it for them, politically or financially.

I drive around the county and I see all these massive houses and I think to myself; How did you get that? What did you do? It seems to me such a huge contradiction that we are such a poor county yet everywhere the houses are so bloody nice. The worst time to go passing them is at Christmas, with their lights and comfort. That torture is due to return very soon. How does one achieve such a thing? I’ll be buggered if I know.

Anyhoo. Whatever happens ultimately depends on how much dolla I can raise for either a deposit or a remarkably swish live in vehicle. I’m so at the point in my life where I need a proper bathroom. I’m getting way too arthritic for all this malarkey. So don’t forget to buy my new book that’s coming out this week, NoPD- How to Epically Fail at One Planet Development. You can have a good laugh at this pathetic tragi-comedy, and you’ll be contributing towards that elusive bathroom. 😊 I’ll post the link when it’s ready.

Diolch muckas x

Left to Rot

So how do we fix this split in the country? Brexit began the schism. There have always been divisions. The old Tory/Labour, Left/Right divisions. The class divisions. But now, the groups that should be together are turning on each other.

Black Lives Matter. That did, within a day, turn into an argument. All lives matter. Then someone integrated colour into the LGBT flag to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter. So then people started to argue about the causes getting mixed, about the flag being wrong. The divides began within moments. White people stage protests. Other people say they’re virtue signalling. Here we are again, arguing over the refugees in the channel.

Is this what happens after the community life gives way to a life of competitive solitude? Why the schadenfreude? We’ve seen a massive split over Covid. The deniers, the lockdown haters, the safety obsessives – all arguing with each other on social media. Aliens passed by, were announced, no-one noticed. Yellowstone rumbled, no one batted an eyelid. Of all the documentaries about what’s going to end the world that I’ve watched, every possible scenario seems to be playing out at the same time. Pandemic. Aliens. Climate. World War. But everyone is arguing about the arguments.

How do we mobilise a people who are determined to turn on each other at every available opportunity? How do we explain that we’re all in the same boat and that if one end jumps up and down, that they’re just as likely to drown as the people they’re trying to cause discomfort to?

Society is breaking down, and it’s not just because of the obvious massive things that are happening on the outside, but because people have somehow decided that hate is the default position.

Have you noticed the difference between the way the those on the Left and the Right treat their heroes? A Left hero makes one mistake, perhaps after many years of perpetually doing the right thing, and they get turned on, vilified, thrown outta town. What do the Right do when one of their number is disgraced? They ignore it. It can be as bad a paedophilia, but what the hell, he’s a good guy, right? Who cares about his personal indiscretions? The Left never forgive. And perhaps that’s why the Right seem to do so well, because they’re so much better than the Left at sticking together through thick and thin.

The Left invent terms like TERF in order to bully the ones who have no idea that it’s now fashionable to accept a certain way of thinking. To me, turf is something you put on the ground when you want a lawn, but to a whole new generation of “The Left” it has become a stick to beat you with, whether you know what it is or not.

How do you mobilise a Left so shattered that it can’t move?

We need to lose those terms Left and Right, and concentrate on what we really want. Socialism. The liberal thing has its place and can be argued about elsewhere. But this is important. This is about class. Socialism won’t come from everyone arguing about everything all day long. Especially when we should be able to see that this is all deliberate fragmentation brought about to stop us doing something useful like starting a revolution against capitalism. It shouldn’t be about anything else other than that. They love watching us fighting. Stop it. Stop fighting.

This isn’t getting us anywhere. We need to mobilise as a class, as a group of people that have collectively been shafted over generations. Not turn Left against Left. It’s not the People’s Front of Judea or the Judean Peoples’ Front. Can we stop getting bogged down in nonsense and just agree on the real issue?

There is so much to be done. But this arguing is such a waste of energy. Why aren’t we joining forces? It’s not about personalities and smears and bullshit anymore. It’s serious now. It’s proper serious. We all agree on what we need. Let’s just do it.

A Glut in The Garden of Eden

Every year, without fail, for as long as I can remember, my mum has planted too many tomatoes.

Everyone she sees get asked the same thing. Do you need any tomatoes? I got loads of tomatoes. I planted way too much. Go on, take some tomatoes….

Nip over there for tea one night and you’ll leave with arms full of tomato plants. You’ll have probably also have had tomatoes for tea. All her friends are smothered in tomatoes all summer long. She gives them too many, they give some to their friends, again, too many, so they give some to their friends, and suddenly my mum’s tomatoes are like triffids, taking over Pembrokeshire.

Imagine, if she deliberately planted too many tomatoes. She would impress you with her tomato yum yums, but that’s all you would see of them. The rest would go to rot on the greenhouse, in the garden, in the cold frame, behind the compost bins; they’d be everywhere.

She would roll around in her tomatoes, revelling in their tomatoness, gleefully gloating over the fact that they were all hers. No-one else gets these tomatoes. And she’d rather they rotted away than give them to someone else. She may even sell some of those tomatoes, to buy, guess what, more tomato seeds, perhaps a different type of tomato, a beefsteak, to go with the plum and cherries. And she could behold her tomatoes, think about her tomatoes. Everyone would know that she has more tomatoes than anyone.

Imagine, next – bear with me- that suddenly, tomato growing becomes really difficult. No one else has any tomatoes. She’s got loads, and can see that no one else has any. Their salads are gonna be shit, she thinks to herself. My salads are the only ones with tomatoes. If they want tomatoes, then they’re going to have to really pay for them. She could decide to sell a few; she may well price them above the reach of the ordinary man, so that only a minute percentage of the population had access to tomatoes. Turns out, they’re tomato growers too. They’ve been squirrelling them away just like my mum, and they also refused to give any of their plants away, even though they had way too many.

You end up with a situation where a small tiny elite control all the tomatoes. They could, if they wanted to, end the worldwide tomato drought immediately. They could make salads red again. But they think.. nah.. I like the tomatoes exactly where they are, hidden away from the masses. My tomatoes are a symbol of my brilliance, and therefore, if I allow anyone else to share these, then I will lose all my power.

Is it any coincidence that a lot of the richest men in the world have links to the computing industry and IT? Did the games they created, that encourage us to collect coins and gold rings come from those minds that see the only possible pastime in the world worth doing to collect shiny things? The more shinys you collect, the stronger you become, the more lives you get, the more continues, the more chances. If you lose your shiny things, game over, lose a life, go back to the beginning. Coincidentally, the new games all seem to be about farming and growing stuff. Perhaps now they’d rather you played at being content, than at nicking their coins. You can grow some virtual tomatoes, and all is well.

The ultimate humanitarian question is surely, how many people, when faced with more tomatoes than they can ever possibly get through, would actually, just decide to keep them all to himself, and deliberately destroy everyone else’s salad?

Turns out, about 1%.

Please Live Generously

As I write this, Jeremy Corbyn’s crowdfunder is up to a quarter of a million quid. This is quite an incredible thing. It’s pretty heart-warming to see so many people willing to put their money where their mouth is and do what they can to help a guy in his time of need, when he tried to help them during theirs. But did he though? There were many times that Corbyn could have nipped the crisis in the bud that was emerging in the Labour party. He didn’t have to go back on years of what he believed in just in order to appease his detractors. He could have got rid of the whole bally lot of back stabbing Blairite disciples. Never before in history has a leader inspired such a vehement response in the people, and with that support he was Superman, he could have done anything he chase to do.

I think the thing is with our dear Jezza though, is that he’s so bloody nice. I’ve been reading posts on twitter today, telling us not to feel sorry for him, and I totally agree with those posts, but the thing is, it’s impossible not to feel like they’re not bullying your grandad. It’s impossible not to feel the pathos, because he’s so bloody NICE! He makes jam and grows veg and speaks softly and holds elderly peoples’ hands and helps people in his constituency and does all the things that a nice and proper MP should do, including not claiming tons of expenses and bringing shame onto the house with his personal antics. Boris can say piccaninny all he likes, but Jeremy has to apologise for the racism of others or he gets lynched.

I think the establishment will be proper shitting themselves right now, and rightly so. I’m loving their reaction to this campaign that has demonstrated that there’s life in the old radish yet, and without having to even raise a word or his voice, and army has jumped up and formed a moat to protect him.

Some people may call this cultish, and cynically condemn what’s happening. This may be true in some cases, much as I loathe to admit it. Some will blindly follow Corbyn no matter what he does, and history is full of examples which demonstrate that this can be very bad indeed when applied to the wrong leader. Jeremy is harmless enough, so this surge of support is unlikely to result in blood being shed at the command of a leader who has been chosen by the people. Are the Corbynistas a cult? Or are they just real people fed up of the system which they don’t realise the ruling classes would never have let their beloved leader take charge of. He was never meant to be leader, they tried real hard to stop that. They bollocksed up two elections for him, by not allowing him to gently go his way. They wanted to force him to fight, but he tried to compromise and sit on the fence. Now we’re left with Keir Starmer, so wooden he could actually be the fence. And Starmer is going to get rid of his popular opponent no matter what. One almost expects him to sneak in to Jezza’s flat and pour some poison in his ear.

I’m all for the public helping the Corb. I adore the Corb. I forgive him everything. I understand the predicament he was in. I know he’s too nice for parliament. I know that the whole time he was wishing he could be with his cabbages and not have to play let’s be friends with those that hated him and made no secret of it. Let’s keep the old guy safe. I want him to be happy and content. He makes me feel like I want to knit him a jumper and bring him a nice hot cup of tea.

But politically, the Corbyn project is over, and it’s important to realise that he’s not the only one fighting for socialism. Trapped in Labour, there was little he could do. But there are many deserving people waiting in the wings to replace Corbyn and do what he set out to do, who are not trapped by a dead outmoded party that no longer stands for the name it was given. There are some fantastic voices in the political arena right now. It’s important to not get too wrapped up in hero worship and let in new people, who are offering the same as Corbyn – and more – but have the bollocks to actually make this happen.

When I left Labour for the Workers Party of Britain, Labour didn’t even cry. In fact, they didn’t even notice. It took the daft buggers six months to stop emailing me. The Workers Party, being a new party, has no history to contend with. No expectations, no old factions and arguments. Our leader, love him or hate him, George Galloway, has been fighting side by side with Corbyn for most of both their political lives. They were on the same side. George defended Jeremy when no one else did, and like a proper bestie, told him when he was going wrong, instead of licking his arse like the rest of the sycophants. George is just like Jeremy, but he’s the Leo version, the version that might get a bit shouty and angry and incensed, and that’s why he’s so great, cos you can’t keep the bugger down. And you certainly can’t tell him it can’t be done. He would have sacked the Labour dissenters in a heartbeat, and wouldn’t have given a crap if he was forever off their Christmas card list. If you were able to ask Jeremy what he thought, he’d probably say that George is a good bloke. Bear that in mind.

And in case anyone is under any illusions that the Workers Party is all about Georgio, keep an eye out for our deputy leader Joti Brar, who is appearing more and more all over the place, including on Crosstalk on RT, where her Liberty Leading the People style of oratory is winning people over to the party in their droves. Listening to Joti makes me feel like instantly jumping up and grabbing a pitchfork. And we have other members too, rising up like superstars. I listen to them talk at our weekly meetings and I’m amazed at the quality of the contributions. And everyone is allowed to speak. Everyone. The brilliant thing about these Covid-enforced Zoom meetings, is that by the time we meet up, we’ll all know each other really well. Every week our meetings go over time, just because we’re enjoying ourselves.

So I think what I’m trying to say, is this. Personalities make followers, and followers make change possible. Every general needs an army. No-one we follow will be perfect, no matter how nearly perfect they are. Their characters are what make us love and respect them, and make us choose them as leaders. But they have to want to lead. And there have to be people behind them, ready to pick the weapons up when they fall. Corbyn has proved he can muster a whole group of loyal people. But remember, you loved him because of what he represented. Socialism. Also remember – other socialists are available.

That’ll Teach You to Ask Questions…

When the Brexit referendum happened, I was living in a caravan on a windy hillside. I took no notice of the news and hadn’t for ages. I had been trying to ignore the world, politics and society in general, and not take any notice. I didn’t know what they were asking. I was born in 1972, so have no recollection of the vote that got us in, although I’ve heard plenty about it since. But at that time, the referendum time, all I could think was, why the frick you asking me?

It seemed absurd that the finest political minds in the country (sic) couldn’t come up with a solution and decide what to do. So they thought to themselves, here’s a good idea. Let’s ask all the people who are living in caravans on hillsides, or working 55 hrs a week on site, or bringing up kids singlehandedly, and all the rest of the population who have no idea what the hell it is you want us to say leave or remain to. Yes. Great idea. The unknowledgeable general populace. Let them decide.

I didn’t vote, because I didn’t know what the hell I was voting for. Everyone told me what they were voting, but nobody seemed to really know why. They muttered and mumbled recognisable headlines and soundbites, but everyone seemed as lost as I was, although not everyone seemed to want to admit it. Everyone was an expert except me. After the event, it seemed like a major big deal, so I started looking into things and paying attention.

You’d listen to one presenter on the wireless, and think that you’d been convinced one way. Then you’d listen to the next presenter, and by the end of that show you’d been brought round to a different point of view. It made me realise why I’d never got involved in the first place.

The more I listened, the more I became a believer in Remain. I’d listened to what I thought were all the arguments. And made a decision thus. But I did see that when the Labour party started talking about not honouring the referendum result that they were heading for trouble. I also thought, however, that they were just trying to save the public from themselves, because they had got it wrong. Then I thought Corbyn was just trying to please everyone. I didn’t know what to think, so I thunk all of the things.

However, it has now become apparent to me, that though Brexit is being done in the worst way imaginable, it was something that we had to do to, for one simple reason. We can’t overhaul our society if there are other countries imposing their imperialist rules onto us to deal with as well as our own. We can’t replace capitalism with socialism if we don’t do Brexit. As we can see, it wouldn’t have mattered if Corbyn had won. He didn’t because his own party bailed on him. But if he had, the establishment would never have let him have socialism in this capitalist state. The only way to get socialism, real, proper socialism, is to evict the ruling classes and do it properly.

The voices that had convinced me that remain was the way forward seemed so eloquent, and the leavers seemed so, well, ineloquent, that I believed the rhetoric without seeing behind the fine words. And that was deliberate. That was a deliberate game played by the media to convince those of us who felt we knew nothing to continue feeling thick. These voices on the wireless convince you because they sound so switched on and knowledgeable. There was a reason that the only real voice the media would allow to discuss Brexit The Good in public was Nigel Farage. No-one let us see the left version of Brexit. You had to go looking. It wasn’t on your car stereo like the BBC and LBC.

The worker classes, by their nature, are workers. They have no care for the ins-and-outs of politics. They’re busy working. They pay politicians to do that work for them. In the case of Brexit, the politicians weren’t capable, so they asked the brickies to do their jobs for them, and the brickies said leave, and the politicians went.. oh you weren’t sposed to say that, and the brickies went, well, we just did. So honour it. And Labour didn’t honour it, and Boris did, and that’s why the Tories are in power now, making a complete debacle of Covid-19.

And the “educated” media are still showing us their version of why everyone is wrong, and Farage is in The Channel daily with his camera, and the status quo is retained, in that, the whole country is arguing. About everything. Covid, masks, Brexit – still.

And the sad fact is, if the politicians in charge of us had any tiny clue what they were doing, it wouldn’t be like this. They would have grown up and sorted their playground game out amongst themselves. But no.. they had to involve brickies and hippies on hillsides. This goes to prove that what we really need in parliament, is brickies and hippies, and people who actually just need to work, to live and want everyone, and everything, to stop pissing about. The ones who the politicians have admitted have all the answers when they themselves didn’t. The ones who would jump at a real socialist society, because that’s the real dissatisfaction, and they’re just trying to distract us with the details.

So, political heavyweights, or should I say, incompetent fools, now that you have everyone paying attention, move aside, and let the hippies and brickies do it.

The Millionaire’s Roundhouse

Well would you look at that. A roundhouse for sale, and everyone shared it because roundhouses are cool. Look at the price tag. Half a million quid? Are you having a laugh?

Ok, so I look closer, and it’s evident that there is also 80 acres of land included in this sale, mixed species semi-natural ancient woodland. Ok. So, at six grand – ish an acre that’s about right. But over the years, and this is another story, a roundhouse was built on the land by the wonderful craftsman Simon Dale, who you may remember was featured on grand designs when he and his wife Jasmine built the wonderful house at Lammas which unfortunately burned down just as it was finished.

Simon’s houses are exquisitely fashioned from natural materials. They are, quite frankly, stunning. This particular one was built on the 80 acres about 15 years ago. It has never had planning permission and does not have a certificate of lawfulness. The owners of the land have managed somehow to keep it extremely quiet, even though every post on Facebook seems to refer to it as some sort of legendary party palace that everyone in the universe knew about except me.

My big annoyance with this situation, having had people telling me off all week for mocking the for-sale ad and the mental price, is that here we have a perfect illustration of the way estate agents know their market. I know. I used to be one. An agent markets to who they believe will buy the property. Makes sense. So of course, the first thing you see on this particular ad is a gert picture of a stunning roundhouse. Attention has been got. You look at the price, most peoples’ attention goes immediately. Half a million quid? For a hobbit house?

 It’s not immediately obvious on the particulars that there’s 80 acres. In fact, most of the comments I’ve seen seem to have missed that point completely. All everyone is seeing is the roundhouse, and of course they are. That’s what the agent wants you to see. The agent knows his market, and he knows that there’s no shortage at all of rich Englanders with pots of money looking for exactly this kind of thing.

The woods are semi ancient and therefore not suitable for clearfelling, so the foresters won’t buy it. The coppice woodsmen that could make use of that kind of environment aren’t usually in possession of that kind of dolla, so they’re not gonna buy it.

 So, very cunningly, and knowing this, the agent has made the advert all about the roundhouse, which definitely has a market among a certain type of person trying to create a certain kind of fashionable impression. Any banker who once watched a documentary about tipi valley can now own his own private hippy place, and at half the price of their flat in Kensington. “How blissful!”, you can almost hear them exclaim as they view Rightmove from their city offices. “How wonderfully delightful and twee!”.

The only solution it seems for this land to end up anywhere near its rightful owner is for a conglomerate to get together and take all the risks with communal living and sharing, that face others that have taken the same path. And I hear that talks are already in place among some local decent types to do just this. Good luck to them.

There is big money in Hippydom, or there can be. But caveat emptor, the roundhouse is falling down, and as previously stated, doesn’t have planning permission, but has never been hassled or enforced. Seems that if you’re on a plot that’s worth half a million quid, hippy houses are allowed. Funny, that, innit.

The Masqued Ball(sh*t)

When is a mask not a mask? When it’s a means of oppression. At least, that’s what some would have you think.

If you were four years old and you kept running into the road, and your mum said, stop dearie, that’s dangerous, you could be run over, or cause an accident where others could get hurt, yet you persisted in running into the road, shouting, I won’t do what you tell me, oppressor, then every onlooker would describe you as a little sh*t. They’d call your mother an epic fail. Good for you, making your mum look bad.

That is how the anti-mask bridage are sounding to me right now.

Personally, mask, no mask, I don’t give a monkeys. If there’s a chance it makes others safer, or myself, then cool. There are mask fashions emerging for those such inclined to partake. There are people like me that feel a bit of dental work wouldn’t hurt, yet as that would cost about a million quid then perhaps a classy mask is the answer I’ve been looking for.

My point is, are you really so unoppressed that the thought of wearing a mask makes you feel so oppressed? Where’s your sense of public duty? What if they do stop the spread? Then you’re one selfish bugger.

When I go out, having completely forgotten to perhaps wear a mask, because no one has said I should, I see people wearing them, and feel guilty, like perhaps I should. If that little old lady is scared enough to be wearing hers, then seeing others wearing them too will make her feel safe, and happier. Isn’t that a good enough reason in itself?

I saw someone comment on Twitter earlier that next they’ll be making us wear mandatory masks in the winter because of flu. Sorry, but during winter, we’ve all got scarves over our faces because it’s freezing. So, the difference is what? Do your woollies oppress you?

The trouble is, as humans, we are actually a bit rubbish at taking responsibility for ourselves and others unless we’re of the paranoid or the at-risk persuasion, so we forget. Well, I do anyway. That’s not to say I don’t care about others. But with all these people refusing to do it voluntarily, we’re faced with a situation now where they’re being made compulsory. The kid that keeps running around in the road, eventually finds itself tied to its pushchair.

Covid is here though. Or is it? We’ll see very shortly. Wales has just opened up to England and we went from ghost country to holiday chaos over the last weekend. The caravans are back on the roads and the sites are all open. Of course, it’s raining, so all those businesses that can only open with outside custom find themselves with wet chairs. The beaches will be full of kagools and token ice-creams.

If Covid really is the big bad wolf then that will be excruciatingly evident in about two or three weeks from now, when our currently low numbers of Covid cases shoot up, or don’t. Meanwhile, what’s the beef with wearing Schrodinger’s mask, the mask that they’re forcing you to wear whilst simultaneously using facial recognition software to track your every move?

The attitude is making me feel vaguely uneasy. Is our nation really so blind to any real oppression that they feel this is the worst thing that can possibly happen to them? You’d think they were at gunpoint. They scream for their liberty, tragically lost due the powers that be covering their faces, not realising that there is no real liberty. We are, actually, at metaphorical gunpoint, but that’s not the bit they care about. Every aspect of our tiny lives is controlled and contrived and we’re all slaves to a system that’s killing us.

But don’t worry about all that fighting a broken system stuff. Don’t worry about finding the root cause of all this mayhem. That’s a stupid fight.

You best go fight those pesky masks.

Write On

When I was nine, I wrote a book. Well, I tried to write a book. It was called The Night Hare and was about some kids and this random hare that fell into a toybox (which I still have) and met Superman, ET, etc (showing my age now…).

It was pretty shit, and I never finished it. It’s still around somewhere. It’s about 15 exercise books sellotaped together with ‘free with Weetabix’ transfers on the cover. Of you know, Superman and ET.

So, I always wanted to be writer, and a writ some stuffs. But back in those days it was a pretty impossible thing to get published. Believe me. I looked. And I tried. Mostly with shit poems. And of course, the old chestnut, what am I gonna write about?

A couple of years ago I wrote my first book, Horsemanship by Osmosis, which the horse world hated, and therefore sold quite well. But it’s a niche subject, and was written more for myself than anything, just to see if I had it in me to kick out a book. I was able to publish on Amazon, because that had become a thing. It’s no longer considered weird to publish your own book. Everyone is doing it.

My recent sojourn into OPD territory gave me the best excuse in the world to write more. In fact, I couldn’t help it. It was the only therapy I had. Luckily, the Pembrokeshire Herald like a bit of controversy and took me on. This gave me the confidence to send my stuff further afield. From this, I got a couple of articles in The Morning Star, which were spotted and reprinted by The Land magazine, who have now asked for regular articles, and the whole thing seems to be snowballing.

As I’m sharing my stuff about the place, I keep getting comments from people who say they’d like to write. These are people that I see on my social media timelines, who have great things to say, bags of character, tons of life experience. And what I want to tell them is this. Do it. It’s never been easier. Computer, gob, wordpress… awesome. Off you go.

Don’t be nervous. There are many people who want to hear what you have to say. My second book is nearly finished. It’s about OPD, obviously. But it won’t be a world best seller. Who the hell cares about my OPD book other than the people attempting One Planet Development and my mum?

The point is, no matter what your experience or your story, there are plenty of people who will identify with you. And once you start, who knows where it can go?

That first crappy book was scribbled down almost forty years ago. And I’ve scribbled a whole bunch of crappy stuff since that no one saw or read, that was lost in journals and diaries and old songbooks and old hard drives and broken memory sticks. It doesn’t matter. It’s all practice. Write what you know. There’s always someone that cares.

And yes, Gloria, and Georgi.

I’m talking to you 😊 x

Poor Tory Pembrokeshire

Did you hear anyone during the election proudly declaring that they were voting Conservative? I didn’t. The Labour voters were swinging their colours from the mast and making themselves obvious from the moment the election was announced. Here in West Wales, where the Conservatives had only had very narrow majorities in the previous election, it looked like Labour might actually do it. When the announcement came however, those narrow majorities had gone, and the Conservative win was bigger than ever.

It wasn’t just Brexit, or the Corbyn mishaps though. In West Wales, officially the poorest part of Northern Europe, there are two Tory constituencies, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, MP Simon Hart, and Preseli Pembrokshire, MP Stephen Crabb. This has been the situation for a long time now. These Tory strongholds have been in place since 2005 and 2010 respectively. How can this be?

Many people will give you the knee jerk answer that it’s the retirees coming in from away, and this is in many ways true, but a look at the figures and the majority of people over 65 voted conservative in the last election. Not all of our pensioners are imports from England.

The constituencies as they exist today were born in 1997. Prior to that, West Wales was its own constituency, encompassing the main working class towns of Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Haverfordwest. The old money town votes were somewhat diluted and for many years Labour were in power, and prior to that it was Lib Dem territory. Very rarely had the area voted Tory. With the boundary split however, the towns were divided straight down the Cleddau; Haverfordwest and Milford Haven ending up in the Preseli area, and Pembroke and the Dock contained in the South Pembs area. Labour held on to Pembroke for a few more years, largely due to the much loved Nick Ainger who was the MP at the time. Once he’d lost though, that was it. We’ve been blue ever since.

Simon Hart isn’t the most popular character locally, due to his penchant for fox hunting, and Simon Crabb is ever mocked for his sexting escapades with a 19 year old employee a few years back. Nevertheless, the over 65s repeatedly turn up in their droves to vote for them come election time. Voting figures for younger age groups all gave Labour as the most popular, although it’s not unknown for younger people locally to vote Tory. They are the ones who you’d say have “done well for themselves”. They see socialists as Marxist robbers and they’re terrified of having it all taken away. They see their tax hikes as a weapon, and that’s what the government are doing, squeezing these people until all they can see is the “chavs” getting the benefit of their labour.

It’s all a deliberate misunderstanding, cunningly spun about by the media in order to divide and conquer. Pembs is low on work, and so anyone with a bit of oomph will tend to find a niche and start their own business. West Wales is full of signwritten vans of names you remember from school and you always feel slightly impressed at how well they’ve done. But then they are conditioned to see those below them, the ones who didn’t follow that path, as inferior. The media shows them pictures of benefit scroungers taking advantage of their industriousness. And so, with that chasm nicely implanted, the Tories are able to persuade hard working people to come over to their side. They convince them that they have gone up a class, from a lad who wore hand me downs to a fella with his own flashy van. It’s an easy trick to play.

There’s also the old money aspect to the situation. Tenby, Saundersfoot, St Davids, are full of old money, old families that own everything in town, mass holiday home ownership and an economy to match. The gap between ‘have and have not’ is the most vast in places like this, especially as nowadays it’s not uncommon to see street homeless in Tenby, a previously unthinkable state of affairs.

It seems to be, that most people who would vote for a socialist government in order to improve the lot of all, including themselves, ultimately don’t see anyone worth voting for. As far as they’re concerned, politicians are all the same. If you pay no real attention to politics, and rely on what is fed to you as you go about your busy day, then you will perceive all the parties as saying more or less the same thing. You’ll hear constant arguments, but none of the things being talked about will benefit you. So you switch off.

Another reason of course is the large number of farmers in the area. The landowner class have always voted Tory. They would vote Tory under any circumstances. It’s what they’ve been brought up to do. At election time, blue signs cover every hedgerow, as well as the neat garden wall of anyone local who bought their house in 1980 for 4K and like to tell you it’s now worth over a quarter of a million.

The real deal then, is that for as long as there is no one worth voting for, as seen by the ones at the bottom of the pile, then West Wales will stay as cold blue as the Atlantic wind that batters it daily. Those with a reason to protect their interests will go out and vote. They think they understand what they’re voting for. Those at the bottom don’t bother to leave the house. And who can blame them?

One caveat though, for those comfortable in their place. Covid has shown the system as it exists to be way too precarious to keep everyone safe in their bubble forever. As small businesses fail, and business owners begin to feel cheated, watch how quickly everyone starts taking notice. When the NHS collapses and people realise their taxes aren’t going to save them if they go undiagnosed or receive shoddy care, then they will understand that it’s been a false illusion.

The boomers will see their investments disappear, and they’ll realise there is no care for them as they get older. Their closely guarded properties will be sold to pay some capitalist care home. That’s if they haven’t already lost everything by falling for an equity release plan. They’ll see that the Tories weren’t looking after them at all. Not even a little bit.

The current system is unsustainable. As the tablecloth is pulled away, the cups ain’t gonna stay on the table. It’s time for a new way. And once everyone sees that. It will be an avalanche. Just you wait and see.

Kraus – Is That German?

The micro world of Pembrokeshire once again finds itself reflected in the macro wider world. What have Pembroke Dock Councillor Peter Kraus and Katie Hopkins have in common? They both find themselves under scrutiny in a world that seems to be changing by the minute, and maybe even in a good way for a change.

Katie Hopkins has finally been banned from Twitter. The camps are of course split straight down the middle. There is much rejoicing in certain factions – her vile ways and her misuse of free speech have finally caught up with her, and she finds herself without a platform to spread deliberate hate.

Peter Kraus found himself in Katie territory the other day when he posted a picture on Facebook of monkeys attacking a car, alongside a picture of black men doing the same thing. The intent is clearly racist, but after first claiming to have been hacked, Cllr Kraus was forced to change his story when it became apparent to him that this kind of thing can be checked. So his story changed to the inevitable claim that he just meant people act like animals.

It’s too late in history to pretend to not see the link between the two images. It’s too late in history to exclaim that the picture was posted in ignorance.

In one way, he can be seen as worse that his macro counterpart. Katie Hopkins have never pretended to be anything other than what she is. She’s also not an elected representative. But Cllr Kraus, though only a councillor at the lowest level, is still regarded as an authority by his ward, respected for his good works in the community. People will listen to him and mark his words.

It depends what thread you read as to the attitude of the locals to his post and his subsequent apology, which is not so much as an apology, but a poor explanation, which reads a little like it was written in too much haste, by a small child. In the dark. Whilst drunk. I have hundreds of black friends he exclaims. You’d never hear Katie Hopkins admit to that.

The trouble with social media, and this notion of free speech, is the misuse of it all. Was social media intended to make it possible, easy even, to quickly spread vitriol with a few taps and a press of the post button? Was it never assumed that people would take the opportunity to not just share pictures, ideas, memories, but also ideas of hate, and division? You only have to watch a documentary about the rise of the Nazi party to realise what a role propaganda has to play in its steering of world events. You used to have to go through the rigmarole of printers, and leaflet dropping, posters, info-mercials. Now, any old local Tom, Dick or local councillor can write whatever they like in seconds, and have their words proliferate around the world in seconds, to influence whoever out there is looking to be influenced.

Some threads on Facebook this morning are congratulating Cllr Kraus for his brave apology and his work in the community. Other threads are incensed that such a racist post, followed by a clear lie that he was hacked, and are demanding his resignation. It would seem that another day of arguing on social media looms as lockdown continues to bore everyone to death.

The same strand of people who are behind Cllr Kraus, seem to be exactly the same people who are saying that Katie Hopkins shouldn’t be gagged. The ones calling for Cllr Kraus to resign and apologise are the same people who are glad Katie Hopkins is gone.

It’s little wonder, with the popularity of Hopkins, that other people will attempt to emulate her style, feeling empowered to say what they think without any of that pesky political correctness to temper their views. Our local councillors and their outspoken views, when challenged, cause the kind of arguments to divide a county, to split the people right down the middle. And this is where we have to be careful with the concept of free speech. In the UK, our laws have allowed us, for a long time, to have our say. But with the abuse of this power, eventually it’s going to be a privilege that becomes slowly stripped away. Stripping away the right to free speech when inciting hatred is being criticised by some, but if someone had shut the Nazis up early on, maybe history would have been different. In the early days of the Nazi party, Hitler was indeed banned from public speaking, but what use was that, with the similarly talented Goebells waiting in the wings to pick up the baton and fill the gap?

Who will replace Katie Hopkins? It won’t be Peter Kraus; I’m pretty sure he’ll be keeping quiet from now on. But someone will.

But with free speech comes responsibility. Free speech is a privilege. If it’s misused it can create chaos, war, discontent, genocide. If speaking your mind means spreading hate, then speaking your mind isn’t always a good thing. Free speech is a honour. It is power. Use it wisely.