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"This way Mr. President"
"I know the way, I was Vice-President for eight years you know."
"Yes, Sir, Sorry Sir"
"Why are all these ramps here?"
"Disability access ramps, Sir"
"I know what they are why are they here?"
"Your predecessor stated you may need them given your advancing years and so on."
Spoken louder "YOUR PREDECESSOR.."
"Why are you shouting?"
"You mean Trump."
"We're not allowed to say his name Sir, we had instructions from Vice President, I mean former Vice President Pence, to not allow his name to be mentioned."
"Why were you shouting?"
"We were told you may be hard of hearing due to your ...."
"I'm not hard of hearing and I'm not in a wheelchair"
"But you are older than..."
"Enough!" They enter the famous room. "At last the Oval office."
"We decorated as you wished Sir, the busts and pictures have been changed - caused quite some commotion with your prede.."
Scowl from new President
"... I mean President Trump as he had some other busts he wanted to keep."
"Best we don't go into that."
"No Sir, his letter is on the desk."
"The one with the postmark from Moscow."
"Yes Sir, special delivery."
The President sits behind the desk and surveys the Oval Office. He scans the room with a small smile of satisfaction on his face, before his vision alights on a board on one wall.
"For you Sir to help."
"Isn't that a picture of my wife?"
"Yes Sir, in case you forget."
How dare you! I know who my wife is"
"At the moment Sir, this is in case it gets worse."
"What gets worse?"
"Your dementia, Sir"
"Have you forgotten already?"
"I do not have Dementia!"
"Damn my predecessor!" Takes deep breath. "Who's the Black Lady in the photo's"
"Your VP Sir."
"I have a black female VP?"
"Yes Sir, don't you remember you were elected with her."
"The one on the capital steps?"
"Yes Sir at the inauguration."
"Didn't recognise her without her mask. Where is she?"
"Managing the Senate and drawing up your first executive orders. They should be here later this morning. She sent instructions to make sure you have your afternoon nap and I have to disconnect the hot line."
"The Moscow hot line?"
"No, Sir the Deliveroo and MacDonald fast order hotline. We missed it during your prede… Mr Trumps departure. It's that one next to the pictures of all your staff."
The President attempts to change the TV Channel"What's wrong with this TV I can't change the channel from Fox?"
"All the other channels were disabled Sir."
"And get rid of this" He pulls a book from a drawer
"What is it?"
"The Dummies Guide to Tweeting…."
@realDonaldTrump Goodreads full comments
@realDonaldTrump Goodreads full comments
I have been struggling to decide whether to blog on this subject since January. Now that much of the globe is in some type of lock down, quarantine or ignorance it seems more necessary. Not that my viewpoint is any better than many other posts. There has been an extensive misinformation or misunderstanding of statistics not helped by the media. There attitude at last seems to be changing to better reporting rather than the fear they like to envisage.
Lets start with some basic facts
World Population as at 2015 (census dependent) 7.35 Billion that is 7,350,000,000 with forecast to be over 7.7 by 2020
Actual confirmed deaths 18:35 on 20th March 2020 due to virus according to WHO as listed on https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ 11,188
Actual confirmed mortality rate is therefore 11,200 divided by 7.35 billion which is
Because the population is likely to be higher than last full statistics the rate is actually lower on confirmed death cases.
So where the scare stories of 1% or 20% and any number in between come from is unclear. As a comparison TB caused 3 million deaths in 2016. Clearly this horrible virus spreads and kills and the deaths are tragic but dying from TB is still dying.
The 1% or higher numbers are actually an infected mortality rate. i.e. this requires a confirmed case and death assigned to COVID-19. Both numbers used for this are equally dodgy. The number of deaths is probably an underestimate e.g. deaths that are caused by it but not medically linked. However the likely cases are a massive underestimate. Now we need to look at subsets of subsets of data, none of which are without error.
We start with World’s population 7.5 billion and work down from same source
- immune not a carrier – unknown
- carrier no symptoms – unknown
- carrier minimal symptoms 166,000
- Carrier medium symptoms – hospital 159,000
- Carrier serious/critical – ICU – hospital 8,000
- Death 11,200
As a comparator the UK has 660,000 deaths each year in population of 65 million and UK has had 177 deaths assigned to COVID-19 although all are reported as with underlying conditions
A sense of perspective is needed
Some things that won’t be promised by the main parties in the election
- Reduction in MPs from 650 to 500 with attendant boundary changes
- MPs deselected that do not take up seats e.g. NI parties that don’t
- Proportional representation introduction outside NI – mentioned in Lib Dems last time but not by main parties
- Lords reform to voted for chamber (power away from House of Commons)
- Fixed term limits for Prime Minister or MPs e.g. See Costa Rica 4 years for President 8 years for MP equivalent
- Tax take must equal or be more than government spend and borrowing cost – no deficit increase
- Any hope that any manifesto might get implemented with thought for unintended consequences – see 6 for spending commitments
- Understanding by any MP of unintended consequences see 6 and 7
- Understanding by any political party that it takes years to train doctors, nurses, teachers therefore you cannot magic more in a couple of years unless imported from abroad thus denying other countries’ their health/teaching
- That Donald Trump has no vote in UK Election nor does any other foreign politician (including EU). Their opinions are irrelevant and should be ignored especially tweets
- If you don’t vote for who you want to represent you do not complain when someone else is elected – introduce compulsory voting
- Challenge those who are asking for your vote how they will vote on the issues. Sue them for breach of contract if they don’t!
Wonderful tour of Costa Rican rain forests
Pictures are here
The never-ending debate on Brexit continues to polarise opinion with now the new PM adding to the fray. His request to the Queen to prorogue the UK Parliament has been treated with varying degrees of support or hostility based entirely on the already dived opinion line of Remain or leave. I wish the Remain camp would stop arguing their opposition is against no deal when they voted against a deal negotiated with 27 other countries. At least the Lib Dems are honest enough to admit that.
My concern is in the so called impartiality of figures who should know better and yet claim precedent or lack of it. But I’ll start with the BBC coverage and one headline in particular.
Yesterday BBC news and web site reported the following
“Pound Falls” is the less of a headline than BBC news which headlined at 18:00 “Pound crashes” on news. The web sites now has volatile rather than crashes. So what has happened to the pound this month – think I may have mentioned this before
No headline at all about the pound’s rise against the dollar in particular since the 6th August but a half cent drop on one day is a crash. What happened on the 6th? Not a lot as far as can tell. Personally it looks great as I’ve just had to buy some dollars for a forthcoming trip and I’ve had a better rate this week than last. When I heard crash I was worried my next purchase would be harder, but the headline means it must be not that I’m better buyting this week than I was at the start of the month – a real transaction by the way.
Really BBC – must do better
Now to the meat of the subject – sorry vegans the main point then… The word unprecedented.(dict’ definition never having happened or existed in the past
As in the Prorogation of Parliament is unprecedented or sometimes with the caveat of in recent history with no definition of recent which given nearly 1,000 years of Parliament is hard to judge.
Prorogue of parliament
This is the amount of time for a parliamentary session i.e. the current session being prorogued is quite long and the longest since the World War II
The next use of unprecedented refers to the length of time Parliament is Prorogued in this case 23 days. If we caveat with recent. Then the longest most recent was 1997 for 19 days. There have been much longer periods in history Elizabeth 1st the first had no sitting parliament for over 3 years. 23 days is not unprecedented. Many governments even since universal adult suffrage from 1928 (after the equalisation of the voting ages for men and women) have used various trick to get their plans through. This has included doing the opposite of now i.e. Prorogation and adding an additional session to prevent House of Lords interference (Labour 1948 to allow nationalisation of Iron and Steel without Lords amendment) or as in the case of 1997, to prevent difficult questions in the House of Commons – The cash For Question Scandal. In both cases the government did not resign nor was there an election. After the break there was a new Queen’s Speech and a new Parliamentary session as is proposed to start on 13th October which I believe is still before 31st October and therefore MPs still have time to pass or amend legislation.
the lack of historical context despite our long history continues to be troubling. The NOW generation infects our media reporting. We see this is numerous ways from sports results ignoring decades of previous results just because a competition name changed to the use of the word democracy but only when applied to the speaker’s narrow definition of the vote they mean. i.e Johnson is undemocratic because he replace May whereas Brown replacing Blair was democratic neither were unprecedented or undemocratic. they are the rules we have lived by for centuries.
In the case of Brexit the UK Sovereign Parliament voted to leave the EU (without a deal) on 1st Feb 2017 as the European Union Bill, supported by the Labour leadership, by 498 votes to 114. This remains the default legal position. Since then the same Parliament has rejected 3 times the negotiated deal and merely passed a delaying law now to 31st Oct or rather a delay requesting the EU to grant an extension.
But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story
Now we’ve just had a ridiculous EU election in UK electing 73 MEPS to go back to Brussels (approx cost £150m). 35% turnout is pathetic but not surprising given state of politics.
Result Brexit party formed 6 weeks ago with 32%. Lib Dems (Pro remain) in 2nd with 20%
Lots of rubbish combining variations of votes to show that overall the country believes their own opinion based on zero fact.
No one knows why someone voted a particular way.
Labour, the official opposition lost ground. The Conservatives (allegedly the government) lost even more. The Greens increase (they are remain but for Green)
In reality not all Greens are Remain, not all Conservatives are leave. Labour are all over the place and even the former director of comms for Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell stated he voted Lib Dem because he was remain and he did not know what his own party was for.
UKIP was destroyed (by Brexit party it is presumed)
Scotland voted SNP
Northern Ireland hvoted along sectarian line with some gain for the middle ground Alliance Party but not enough to win a seat. Wales voted Brexit number 1 party
In parliament we’ll have a new Prime Minister soon. The rest of the arithmetic stays the same. Impasse. Next deadline 31st Oct
I have no idea what will happen.
I believe it was the lack of reform, the ever closer union agenda, and the underlying corruption that drove the UK to vote out in the first place.
Remainers continue to claim that immigration was the reason and perhaps it was for some but they miss the point.
The rise of the Greens also reflects society’s concern with real big picture stuff i.e. the fate of the planet. Big increase in Germany and UK from 2014. This has been claimed by Remain as support for that cause. I believe it is wider than that.
The Netherlands appears to have bucked the trend for movement left and right after several recent elections where the right appeared to be gaining, whereas Italy and Spain showed the same hollowing out as UK.
I also compared this EU election with 2009. Nearly all comparisons have been made with 2014. The movement for Lib Dems can then be seen in context.
In 2014 the Lib Dems were badly hurt (as they were in the 2015 General Election) by association with the coalition government and in particular the internal to UK position on Tuition fees. They won 13.3% then and 20.3% this time – a 7% increase. In the 2010 General election they won 22% and the 2015 Gen Election only 7.9% – more a recovery to normality in the longer term.
Brexit did not exit then let alone a party that has just won 32% of the vote. The then exit party UKIP won 16%. Labour in Government under Gordon Brown in 2009 won 15.2% compared to 14.1% this time. Conservatives now in Government (just) won 27.4% compared to 9.1% now. The Greens won 7.8% in 2009 up to 12.1% this time.
Turnout then was 34% and this time 37%
Not quite the sea change being described by Remain (for Lib Dems) or Brexit.
“Sir, you asked for the preprepared national Emergency speeches.”
Thanks, “I’ll rehearse them now – want them to sound punchy.”
“It’s a national emergency. The USA is being attacked I tell you. It’s whole way of life is under threat and the wall is the only thing that will stop it…”
“Thought I had done that one.”
“You have Mr President.”
- The whole country is being attacked I tell you a cabal of federal investigators is destroying the nation and needs to be stopped I have ordered the National Guard to deploy to Quantico to prevent the FBI invading Washington
- The whole country is being attacked I tell you. Swarms of Iranian troops are at this moment tunnelling from Persia into our territory and our only option is to build a wall across the Atlantic to prevent them getting in – I’ll only need another $500bn
- The whole country is being attacked by the vicious press I tell you. I have therefore declared a state of emergency and instructed a new Executive Branch Department reporting directly to me to don their new black uniforms and patrol the offices of all media outlets especially CNN and NYT to ensure that this propaganda is not spread. The alleged ‘journalists’ and their families will be sent for special training in brand new labour camps I am ordering constructed next to suitable rail yards. Thus improving job prospects for hard working Americans everywhere
- The whole country is under attack from conspiracy elements inside our major democratic institutions who are refusing to pass the laws this nation needs. I have therefore disbanded Congress and the Senate and ensured our representatives safety by getting them to join the alleged journalists. This will save America Billions”
Some photos from the USA 2018