Published some pictures from my recent trip to Malaysia accompanied by my lovely better half of now over 30 years
View form the beach at sunset of the Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi Malaysia – yes it is that stunning!
Published some pictures from my recent trip to Malaysia accompanied by my lovely better half of now over 30 years
View form the beach at sunset of the Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi Malaysia – yes it is that stunning!
My phone has an app attached to our national broadcaster, the ABC (or Australian Broadcasting Corporation), which sounded its familiar ABC breaking news music this morning.
As normal, I looked down to see what was happening, to discover that there had been an explosion at a concert in the UK. We now know that over twenty have died, and close to sixty are injured. Another horrific attack because – at this stage – who knows?
As I scroll down my news feed, I can see articles on the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney, troubles in the Middle East, warnings about North Korea, and more articles on the ongoing issues in Syria.
It’s a sobering list, full of the atrocities humans perpetrate on each other. Sometimes I just have to ask myself ‘Why?’ I mean, really, ‘Why?’ Why is it that we can’t see the good in each other? Why can’t…
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"Vlad?" "Don! How are you? Sacked any more Directors yet?" "Give me time." "I've told you time is of the essence don't give them time to think, change continuously." "I know, I know... Is that why you sent me the guide?" "Yes I've updated from last year Kim Sung made some amendments." "I admire him for one so young." "He had good training, like Assad, you really should meet up." "I can't with Assad I just bombed his base." "I know still nothing damaged and you did warn us first so I could tell him." "Shhhh the FBI may be listening?" "So what you have dealt with them now." "No, not quite the temporary one is being nasty about me in congress implying I was wrong." "Then fire him too, or really terminate - its what the rest of us do." "That reminds me, on page two of the guide it says I should assassinate some journalists after I have removed the heads of police." "Yes you need to adapt for your own terminology but get rid of a few journo's and the rest come into line." "I noticed and Erdogan recommended the same." "He's following the same programme, we'll soon have it all sorted." "Shame about Marie." "Yes and after the Dutch fiasco." "The hack was too late." "I've had the head of the team shot for the timing." "If only I had your control." "Back to the FBI, send them in armed and have accidental shooting with terrorism connections always works. Schools, cinemas, underground stations, all works and adds up." "I know you are right. What's next on the agenda." "Germany." "Is she the short fat one?" "Yes, but don't worry about her we still have the Stasi files." "What did she do?" "Nothing you have to worry about Don. Not as bad as the hotel..." "You said you would not mention those again." "Ha Ha just winding you up old friend. Xi says Hi by the way." "I owe him a call need to coordinate message when Kim does his next test." "Will it fail?" "We have not agreed yet. Now South Korea is coming on line maybe we should postpone." "No don't do that we need to keep the tension up. I wish Kim had agreed to that limited strike idea." "He needs to learn from Assad too. Got to keep some world opinion on side." "You are too soft Don, I'll get Ivanka to give you a rub down." "Will she?" "Anything for you Don you know that but ease off on Twitter it makes you look silly." "OK Vlad and thanks for the guide."
I had not realised that it has been over a month since my last wittering. Many of you will be thankful for the silence especially my own son who’s has managed to embed himself into a political party and start campaigning in the UK’s latest election. I’ll get to that in a moment first lets talk NHS and drugs!
In the never ending debate about NHS spending in the UK – read across to other countries – let’s get a fact out from http://www.nhshistory.net/parlymoney.pdf
In 1950/51 spending amounted to £11.7 billion in 2010/11 prices, or 3.5% of GDP. By 2010/11, spending had increased more than tenfold in real terms to reach £121bn, or 8.2% of GDP. Although it has risen consistently over the period, spending has accelerated in recent years. Between 1999/00 and 2009/10, real-terms expenditure rose by 92%
The Kings Fund has this for NHS in England in dismissing yet another politicians claim of how big an increase the NHS had received each year
i.e. there has been a real terms increase in NHS spending in England since the 70s with 3 exceptions – so much for NHS cuts. The counter to that argument is that NHS costs have also increased ahead of regular inflation during this period and that is true in particular costs for new treatments i.e. drugs and they are treating more patients due to larger population size, but this is a pot % of a bigger pot as GDP has grown in the same period. There are within the numbers huge variations of what the money has been spent on – a new hospital, pay for cleaners, more doctors and nurses, radiographers, LGBT diagnosis, car parking executives, etc? But lets stick to Drugs.
The drug market has recently been in the news with the perceived failure (in economic terms against improved life expectancy) of the UK’s National Cancer Fund. This was set up with the best intentions of funding nationally treatment that local health authorities could not afford. Thus transferring large amounts of money for very expensive drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies. Not surprisingly the results have not been as good collectively as everyone hoped. Some individuals have had very successful treatment, unfortunately most have not. This brings us to the bigger picture of drug companies, cures and such issues of the slow failure of antibiotics (due to over prescription and misuse).
Drug companies are not investing in research to replace antibiotics because there is no money in it for them. There is no money in any drug that produces a cure. What drug companies want is a population that is kept well enough to earn a living thus to pay for drugs that do not cure but keep the customer well. There is no cure for diabetes just a lifetime of insulin injections, blood tests and monitoring. Vaccines cure or prevent treatment is designed not to cure. The only answer to this problem is to either persuade leopards to change spots i.e. drug companies to work for the interests of the patient rather than shareholders or Government to be socially responsible. I have quoted before one terrorism incident provokes millions of tax money spent. Thousands of antibiotic deaths and risks of death provokes barely a whisper.
Just a brief word on Brexit divorce bill for my European colleagues. Yes there will be a cost for commitments beyond Brexit date. the liabilities, but there is also a share of assets. Therefore, I presume the UK will be paid its percentage share of buildings, systems, IPR, stored wine, butter, grain, computer systems etc. Of course it appears that the rest of the EU want the UK to pay maintenance for the rest of the EU countries lives, like a distraught spouse who wants to stay in the family house and not work for a living.
Both the elements above are key UK election issues. I know my pleads will land on deaf ears (or blind readers) but can we have proper facts. If a cut is claimed (See NHS) above please have the Oxford English Dictionary refine what the word cut actually means. I thought after Trump alternative facts might go on the back seat but no such luck. To add to NHS lets look at Education
The graph on that link shows a less than 1% reduction in Education spending as % of GDP between 2010 and 2015 since reversed and trending back upwards. This is in turn with a growing GDP i.e. higher % of higher total pot. Again internal inflation may reduce value of increase but it is not a cut. Spending per pupil – another measure may be down overall but that is because we have far more pupils than before due to net population increase, thanks to birth rates, lower death rates and better health care. Immigration may also have an impact but where more children come from is less important than the fact that there are more children living longer – I have covered this before. Normally we talk about age and long life pushing the population numbers up but higher birth rates and lower infant mortality do the same then 70+ years later add to the aging population. Just one example not in my local area and not a hotbed of immigration (unlike London), Somerset County Council had an increase in pupil numbers of 0.8% just between 2014 and 2015. This amounted to 521 pupils i.e. a decent sized primary school capacity needed. Have you noticed all the new schools being built, and the sewage systems, the roads the hospitals the…. You get my drift
I could also hope that people not actually standing in the election but in political parties might shut up for ten seconds so we can view the actual candidates – already a forlorn hope. Farage, Blair, Osbourne, Sturgeon I mean you. We then have the endless comments about voting for May, Crobyn, Farrow etc (other candidates are available) We do not have a presidency. For any one of these they first have to get elected by their area’s constituents. None of these people are standing where I live so I cannot vote for any of them. I can only vote for candidates standing in the area I am registered to vote. I continue to see commentators, media and the general public asked who they will vote for with the answer one of the leaders. All of these discussions are not in the the respective constituencies. Why is this question even asked?
Once elected as an MP, then ,if they manage to be the current leader of the largest political party (or other grouping), in the UK’s parliament, you may be asked by the monarch to form a government. If the numbers do not add up (326 MPS) you may still be asked if with other partners you can form a government as happened from 2010-2015. Sorry regional governments that’s why you still have national elections not regional ones Ms Sturgeon please take note, if you want a say on UK politics please stand as an MP and be accountable to your constituents to the UK Parliament otherwise please stick to running the bits of Scotland devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This specifically does not include foreign affairs, defence, security etc.
Of course by the time the UK goes to its national poll (we have local elections before that) France will have a new President. On current polls (can we believe any of them?) the likely winner on 7th May will be Emmanuel Macron and not Marine Le Pen. Here unlike UK they are voting for an individual. The whole EU leadership seems to be behind Macron as he is seen as pro-EU and business. Of course I am certain that no EU funds have been used to support any of the candidates apart from the funding all candidates in France receive from the EU – what you did not know that the EU funds political parties?
In the UK there are major restrictions on funding of political parties, hence potential prosecutions over expenses in the 2015 election, meanwhile the EU funds all sorts of groups and clearly the UK currently pays (via its net contributions) for this. Perhaps this is the real reason the EU wants funding to continue post Brexit. All those political parties and institutions are dependent on it just like a drug company wanting unwell patients that are never cured.
"Morning Mr. President" "Morning Sean" "Here's the list Rex sent" "What list?" "The one you asked for with the countries you haven't insulted or accused yet." "But there's only one sheet of paper and there's only two countries listed that's if Burkina Faso is a country?" "I'm told it is Sir." "Who by?" "The State Department." "And you believed them, you sure their not making it up?" "I checked with Andrew Napolitano at Fox, he say's he's heard of it. South America he thinks." "We didn't campaign there." "No Mr. President, South America the continent not south of the USA even though it is, south of the USA I mean." "Are you trying to hoodwink me?" "No Sir, I do need to check because I thought it was in Africa." "You mean we don't know where the country is, what sort of state did Obama let this country get into. Find it out immediately we can't just lose the location of a country!" "I don't think it's moved at all." "Why not? It can move if I want it too. I'm President, Vlad moves bits of countries all the time." "He does not move them Sir he just annexes bits of territory. In Georgia and the Ukraine." "He can't have Georgia we have the Masters there." "The nation Sir not the US State." "There's a difference?" "Sir?" "Never mind, so what do we do with this Faso?" "We can accuse them of harbouring a GCHQ listening post that was used to bug Trump Tower, maybe expel some diplomats." "Sounds good, get to it." "I can't I mean we can't Sir." "Why not?" "We promised the Brits we would not mention GCHQ again or accuse them of spying on you, you told Theresa May you would not nor the NSA." "Remind me, is Theresa the one I met this week the short dumpy one who spoke a foreign language?" "No Sir, that was Angela Merkel the German Chancellor, she wanted to hold your hand like Theresa did." "But she was foreign and somehow she got in the country despite my Immigration order." "Germany is not on the order Sir." "But she is foreign?" "Most people are Sir." "Not Americans." "We best not get into that." "Now Sir I have your daily security briefing, do you want the one from the NSA or your usual one from Fox News." "Can't believe the NSA one its all fake news and tell them I'm upset by them failing to confirm Andrew's story." "I have Sir." "Good, I'll look at it after Sesame Street, who is left on the list? What's the USSR?" "Oh that's just Vlad, he suggested he bring back the old name, a traditional branding opportunity his marketing folk have said." "Clever, I like it so we don't have to insult the USSR." "No Sir, we do not Russia but the USSR that justifies us increasing defence spending." "BUt if the USSR doesn't exist we're insulting no one?" "Exactly Sir." "How are we gonna pay for it all, I mean we don't get enough in tax." "No Sir some people have not paid tax in decades." "It's the American way Sean, I'm not stupid." "No Sir, very clever. I may have a way out." "What?" "Well according to the State Department Briefing Burkina Faso get some US Aid, we can withdraw it." "Great and we have an excuse as they have been spying on us, we can call it unnamed agencies used the place to coordinate spying activity. That won't upset the Angela." "That's Theresa and very good Sir." "What can we spend the money on instead." "A missile." "How many?" "Just one Sir a Hellfire I think. we only gave them a couple of million last year." "Too much, I paid more than that in tax." "No you didn't Sir." "That's because I'm clever." "Yes you are Sir."
"Mr. President great news." "What's happened?" "A judge ruled in our favour." "About time, so the new Exec order is OK then." "Not quite, there's one problem." "What now?" "It's the same judge." "The same one?" "Yeah the one you called an idiot and anti-democratic." "Did I say that?" "You did." "Was I on oath?" "Nope" "Shame I could deny it then, the AG did." "We're working on the statement now." "Try - we're always supportive of the legal process." "But that's not true." "And your point is?"
"Sean" "Mr President." "Good press conference" "I thought so to." "Why no questions though?" "That would have been difficult." ""Why?" "Well Sir I followed your instructions about fake news." "Good so you banned all the organisations that have written a story that was not true." "Yes Sir." "And..." "There's no one left." "No one?" "No one?" "So how are the American people going to hear about all the great things I've been doing?" "I've lined up some replacements they'll be here in the morning if we can get them an exemption." "Oh good, what exemption?" "They're due in school so we need permission to take them out of class and bring them in." "Understandable which college, Yale, Standford?" "No Mr President we have representatives from Washington Kindergarten Grade 1." "Will they be positive?" "As long as they have a choice of colours with the crayons they have asked us to supply."
Shamelessly carried over from a Goodreads forum but wanted a bit more visibility.
Ring ring ring "Please press 1 for current orders, two for new orders three for accounts and four for any other reason" "Rex, is this a new order, I thought we tried to order this last week." "The web site crashed." "I better select two then." Twenty minutes later.... "Customer Service, Blanche speaking how can I help you today we have special offers on roofing and nails for details please see..." Five minutes later "How can I help?" "I'd like to order some bricks" "No problem, Sir, we can do that or you can try on-line" "I couldn't get the site to accept my order." "Sorry about that Sir, I just need to go through a few details." "Well I don't have much time." "It won't take long. Have you ordered from us before." "No, I don't think so." "All our bricks are baked in America and conform to EPA standards." "Good to see American jobs for American people for America let's make it great again." "Quite. What are the bricks for?" "A wall." "Is that a supporting wall, a building wall or a garden wall?" "There's a difference?" "Oh yes they have different properties a building wall might be external facing or interior" "I think it's closest to a garden wall a barrier really." "I see, well we have some basic standard bricks they are 3 and 5/8 by 2 and 1/4 by 8 inches." "Yeah I saw that on the web site." "So how high is your wall going to be?" "Twenty feet." "Wow, that's a big garden wall." "Yep, gonna keep them bad dudes out." "Are you in a high crime area? Can I interest you in our razor wire or intrusion detection systems." "Just the bricks for now." "So you'll need at least 120 rows depending on foundations." "Foundations?" "Yes you'll need to dig down to make sure the wall has solid foundations. You can do that with concrete. It also prevents varmints digging under the wall." "People can tunnel under?" "Normally its raccoons or other pests." "What about Mexicans?" "Sir, no racist profiling please or I'll have to call my supervisor. A wall with good foundations can prevent some tunneling but how deep do you want to go?" Mumbled "Do it with mines or concrete." "I think concrete would be a good idea. We can supply that as well." "Stick to the bricks." "So how long is your wall going to be?" "1,900." "Wow that is big. So we have 1900 feet which is 2850 bricks by 120 high which is 342,000 which is 684 pallets of 500 call it 700 for spares. "Err..." "Mr President..." "Not now Rex." "We discount orders over 50 pallets so I make that 700 at $200 bucks that would be $140,000 that would make my day Sir if you go ahead. I might be able to get an extra 5% off or free delivery. What's the delivery address? "Er lets start in San Diego." "OK do you have a zip?" "Mr President it's 1900 miles not feet?" "What did you say Rex?" "Miles Sir not 1,900 feet." "Oh, sorry Ma'am I got the length wrong it's 1900 miles." "No problem I'll just stick that in the systems..." Very long pause "That's 15,048,000 bricks long by 120 high that's.." "A lot." "1,805,760,000 er I think you may be pulling my leg." "No I'm serious I promised to build it and I'm going to." "Sir the entire US Brick production last year was only about 2 billion bricks" "Is that not enough? I always get confused between billions and millions." "That explains the tax returns." "Shut up Rex."
It’s 4 years today since my first book came out.
Hard to understand where the time has gone. Of course a lot has happened since then. More books written, some have even sold! The original An Agent’s Demise was followed by two sequels and a combined trilogy. Yet my writing went in other directions. The excitement of hitting lofty heights of number 1 in the charts for a day with Demise has not been repeated.
I have had (and still have one) two different day jobs since then.
Four years ago my children were still students now they are both post degree and working.
If someone knows where the time went please let me know – I think it’s with the odd socks and pens in my home. Perhaps it’s just the extra wrinkles on my face. Not a good trade.
Now I need Book 10 to get finished. The nine current ones are listed below. You never know someone might want to read one!
We are All Miss America
Self-published books: good books, no middleman
Book Reviews | IAuhor nterviews | EST 2013
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Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way? I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.