The Game Show

“Well, it’s a big HELLO from Grime TV, your host, Dermot Blimp, and my glamorous assistant, Gloria MT Nester!”
A Floor Manager whips up the studio audience to feverish applause, with wolf whistles and yelps further elicited with the skill of a symphony orchestra conductor. Gloria twirls her golden gown and flutters her heavy, sparkly eye lashes as more applause is milked from the studio sea lions. Dermot pulls down his powder blue jacket cuffs and makes an awkward twirl, like an only child desperate for attention.
“Tonight, it’s the night we’ve all been waiting for!” Dermot shouts to quell the noise. “Yes, after three rounds of skulduggery and back-stabbing, we now have the Grand Final!” He exhibits his pearly white grin to camera one and then, with a flick of his blond fringe, turns to his left. “Gloria, please bring on our two contestants!”

A wave of applause greets two shuffling figures who emerge almost sheepishly from opposite wings, blinking in the glare of the studio lights. One is a large furry orange monster, who almost stumbles and has to be helped to his podium by the remarkably agile high-heeled Gloria. The monster grunts and makes an awkward grab for her bum, but she sashays out of reach with practiced skill, whilst maintaining her perfect smile.
“He’s a bit of a lad – welcome contestant number one, the Honey Monster!” Dermot trills. Wild applause, walrus noises and whistles from the unruly half of the audience breaks out like a fever.
“And to my right, his opponent – clever but dangerous, it’s Doctor Hannibal Lecter!” More reserved clapping greets the sinister figure standing to attention in a black suit, acknowledged with a slight bow and a fixed smile that doesn’t touch his dark, soulless stare.

 

The Game Show
Dermot and Gloria are now side-by-side between the two contestants, and Dermot squints at the prompt card in his hand before grinning at the camera. “Yes, folks, after three gruelling weeks of competition, we now have a final showdown between the two highest vote-winners; to my right, the Honey Monster, and to my left, Doctor Lecter, or Hannibal the Cannibal to his friends.”

Further applause allows him time to fix his floppy hair in the reflection of the camera lens. “Now for a round of questions aimed at eliciting their suitability for the top position, followed by a studio vote. Gloria, our first question please.”
“Thank you, Dermot. The first question, from Mrs Plimsole in Harrow, to both candidates, is, ‘What is your favourite meal of the day’. First, to the Honey Monster.”

The camera zooms in on the orange fur-ball who tilts his head, causing his disk-black eyes to roll. “I like Sugar Puffs for breakfast! I am the BEAST, I mean BEST –  vote for me!” he growled triumphantly, punching the air. The audience applaud as the camera returns to the smiling Gloria.
“Thank you, Mister Monster. And now the same question to Doctor Lecter.”
A hush falls on the studio as the camera slowly zooms in on his dead-eye stare. “I like to have dinner with an old friend,” he quietly intones. “I am a gourmet chef in my spare time, and my speciality is liver, gently sautéed with fava beans and served with a room temperature Chianti.”

Four further lifestyle questions are asked by Gloria before Dermot reclaims the limelight. “Thank you, Gloria, and our contestants. I think we can say we know a lot more about them. Now for a more serious question. What is the biggest change each of you would make if you won this competition?”
The Honey Monster scratches his wild, unruly orange head and rolls his eyes. “Erm, more public holidays and free Sugar Puffs! Hee hee hee.” His huge shoulders rise and fall in mirth as the audience whistle and clap.
“The same question to you, Hannibal,” Dermot grins.

Doctor Lecter fixes him with a deadly stare at presuming to address him by his first name. “You must come ‘round for dinner, Dermot, my dear. I would continue with my important work of downsizing the public sector and freeing up more money for the already filthy rich; and covertly privatising the health service so that party members can benefit from directorships and bonuses through briefcase companies whilst a string section plays Mozart over the death screams of our nation.” He smiles benignly as polite applause ripples around the room.
“Well, that’s some ambition,” Dermot croons. “Now, one final question before we go to voting. Based on experience, what do YOU think best qualifies you for the top job? Mister Honey Monster first.”
“Errr… because I’m a big orange lovable monster, I can get away with anything because of my stupid grin and make stuff up that I later deny. Tee hee hee.”
“And what about you, Doctor Lecter?”
“I am not handicapped by compassion or empathy, Dermot, and smile as I make life-or-death decisions. As long as the rich get richer, that’s all that matters.”
“Wow. What succinct summations from our two political heavyweights. As with all good democracies, it’s time for our carefully selected studio audience to vote on who will be the next Great Leader of the Capitalist State of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. What next, Gloria?”

“Thank you, Dermot. Whilst our audience vote and we analyse the result, we have some entertainment for you – a Morris Dance by the Home-Grown Ninnies troupe, entitled, ‘Bye bye Europe!”
Five minutes later the troupe troop off and the two contestants are left standing between Dermot and Gloria. Gloria is holding a large gold envelope.
“And now the results,” Dermot announces as seriously as he can. “Gloria, please open the envelope.”
She deftly slices it open with a long finger nail and holds the card in front of her. A nervous glance to her co-host raises the barely-contained tension in the room to fever pitch.
“And the winner, and new leader of our nation is… the Honey Monster!”
The audience erupt into shouts, whoops, whistles and raucous applause, as the Honey Monster runs towards them and throws himself onto the front rows. The elated crowd carry him overhead, chanting, “Tell us about the honey, mummy!”
The camera pans back to Gloria who glances at the disappearing figure of Dermot, Hannibal Lecter’s hand firmly on his shoulder as he is guided into the wings. “And that’s the end of the show, and, hopefully, the start of a bright orange future for our country. Good night Britain!

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Who Can We Trust?

Recent media reports highlighted the worrying hold China has over the UK, after our government allowed it to become the North Sea’s top oil operator.  The communist-controlled China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) now runs two of our biggest oil fields, producing over 200,000 barrels of oil a day.

Boris in ChinaThis hold gives China leverage in negotiations with the UK Government, significantly weakening our control over our own energy sector.  Imagine what would happen if the Chinese were permitted to build and run a nuclear power plant in the UK, as is currently proposed?   Meanwhile, new Foreign Secretary, comedian Boris Johnson, has flow to Beijing to confound the Chinese with his buffoonery and buy time whilst the new post-Brexit administration works out what to do next.

For the British people, robbed of national assets through privatisation, the future looks bleak, as foreign governments, often hiding behind state-owned corporations, buy into our manufacturing, energy, transport and other key economic sectors.  Globalisation has done for us.  We have been asset-stripped and left powerless in negotiations with foreign governments, whilst our ruling elite have salted away fortunes in offshore bank accounts.  Is this really the country we want for our children?

Despite having a democratic system of governance, we seem powerless to make our political leaders turn away from the dark forces of global capitalism and prioritise citizen-focused issues.   Witness the London property market – locals have been priced out as it has been turned into a money haven for foreign ‘investors’.  We seem doomed to be patronised by the Westminster elite, doing the bidding of the super rich – hypocrites who are busy selling our country to feather their own nests.  They believe everyone is like them – obsessed with position and personal wealth accumulation.

Well, I have news for you.  Other nationalities have different perspectives and priorities, and in the case of the Chinese Government, it is to obtain ownership (through State-owned companies) of as much of the World’s mineral assets as possible.  To them, cash and barter of goods and services is a way to secure mining rights around the world, starting with developing countries.  This gives them both raw materials for their industry and political leverage that increases their power and influence.  They now have their eyes on Europe.

I’m sure the Chinese hierarchy look with amusement at the behaviour of BoJo the Clown and our other hypocritical political leaders who are self-obsessed and care little for the ‘good of the people’.  At least this last part chimes with the Chinese who see labour as a resource to be exploited.  Understanding this makes it easier for them to flatter and deceive our callow politicians into doing their bidding.

A report published in the mirror.co.uk on 24/08/16 talks about the Chinese using the positioning of oil rigs as ‘strategic weapons’, their rigs in a disputed area of the South China Sea described as ‘mobile national territory’.  For this reason the USA has moved to protect itself from Chinese ambition by blocking the sale of oil wells over security fears.  Paranoid or justified?  Meanwhile, the UK Government handed £2 billion in tax breaks to the CNOOC in 2015.  Oh, and by-the-way, General Nuclear Power, the Chinese state-owned corporation and the proposed partner in the UK’s £18 billion Hinckley Point project, is facing industrial espionage charges in the US.

The ‘investment’ of foreign governments, through state-owned corporations (including France’s EDF) must surely be a concern for the country.  In China’s case, it is a calculated bid to control energy generation in Britain to give them a power base – a toe-hold in negotiations with a weakened British Government.  Why would an elected British Government even contemplate such a deal?  Surely they have been put there by the British people to represent their collective interest?

Not a bit of it.  Global business interest thinly disguised as investment dictates our political agenda, and what is in the best interests of the country is relegated to a minor concern, tersely dismissed by our high-handed moralising politicians.  Will the British people really see the benefits of fracking for shale gas?  I think not – the gas extracted by private companies will be sold to the highest bidder on the global energy market.  We will have our countryside torn up to simply create wealth for a small elite, and still be paying through the nose for our gas supply.  That’s how it works.

All was going well for the Establishment until the unexpected Brexit vote.  The British electorate took umbrage at being patronised and instructed to Vote Remain.  They exercised the one bit of freedom they had left – the choice to vote against the hated money-obsessed Establishment and their Westminster-based toady politicians.  It was an embarrassing setback for the forces of Globalisation, but they have quickly re-grouped under a new Conservative Prime Minister, one with worrying similarities to Margaret Thatcher, who set the ball rolling on selling off our national assets some thirty years ago.

Has new Prime Minister, Theresa May, been given her instructions to return the country to a Victorian era voting system by removing those who are not property owners from the electoral register?  This would ensure no more disturbances from a peeved electorate to their capitalist agenda, and match nicely their plans to remove the Welfare State and its prize jewel, The National Health Service, tossing the welfare of the poor, sick and disabled into the arms of the charity sector.  It’s not as crazy an idea as you might think.  The soon-to-be-debated repeal of the Human Rights Act is just another attempt to strip us of our rights and return the country to an authoritarian system based on patronage.

At least we should be able to see the Chinese coming and veer away from their proposed ‘investments’.  However, our biggest danger remains the behaviour of our own Government.  How can we escape them?

Changes Made to Futuristic Novel

I’ve taken on board some useful feedback following the release of my first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, in April 2016, and as a result have made a few changes:

  • The cover has been changed to have a shadow figure standing at the gate
  • The quote on the front has been changed to, ‘Mild-mannered George must face his nemesis’
  • The start of chapter one now has George reflecting on an accident at work, indicating that such traumatic moments contributed to his decision to take early retirement.  Other work-related inner thoughts have been added through the early chapters, showing he is still haunted by past events.  These reflections stop when new events come to dominate his thoughts and actions.

DevilGateDawnModifiedCover_Aug_2016All in all, I’m proud of my achievement in pasting together this story from blogs and new material, and am thankful for the input of my copyeditor, Sinead Fitzgibbon, in helping to shape it into a structured story with sub-plots and suitably developed support characters.

George battles his way through problems with a calm, stoic approach, often bewildered by the extreme methods and actions of others.  In many ways, his pragmatic approach has mirrored my own problems with battling health issues whilst writing it.

I’ve made notes for a follow-up, and have pored over the 10,000 words of my abandoned novel, The Langley Leopard (submitted to the Richard and Judy novel competition three years ago!) that preceded this one, looking to salvage bits.

I’ve temporarily dropped the price to 99p and equivalent in other currencies to attract new readers.

In the meantime, I’m immersed in the mid-fifth century, ploughing on with researching and writing my next historical fiction novel, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans.

http://hyperurl.co/ii7gpl

Are You a Psycho?

Are you extremely self-confident, egocentric, charming and fearless?  Do you lack empathy for your fellow humans?  Are you employed in one of the following positions or professions?

Trump psychoChief Executive Officer (CEO); Lawyer; Broadcast Media Professional; Salesperson; Surgeon; Journalist; Police Officer; Clergyperson; Chef; Civil Servant.

These are the top ten most likely jobs for people with psychopathic tendencies, according to the ‘Great British Good Psychopath Survey’, run by Kevin Dutton, a psychologist at Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology.

You’ll never look at your vicar/priest/pastor in the same way again, nor that calm, smiling police office.  Okay, we’ve known for years that business leaders, top chefs and TV presenters are psychos, but civil servants, surgeons and religious leaders?

The survey report points out that although people with psychopathic tendencies are drawn to high-paying power jobs such as CEO and lawyer, their difficult personalities may hold them back from succeeding.  Their out of work life may prove problematic, as their ‘difficult’ personality traits will put them at odds with others.

Jacks BackWhy not take the test below (as featured in the mirror.co.uk recently) to see where you are on the psychopath spectrum?  Reporters have been having fun with this, recently declaring that Donald Trump has a higher score on the scale than Adolph Hitler! (how Hitler answered from beyond the grave is not disclosed).

Answer these eleven questions as honestly as you can, count up your points, and post a message below with your score:

For each question award the following points:

0 = Strongly disagree

1 = Disagree

2 = Agree

3= Strongly Agree

 

  1. I rarely plan ahead.  I’m a spur-of-the-moment kind of person.
  2. Cheating on your partner is okay, as long as you don’t get caught.
  3. If something better comes along it’s okay to cancel a long-standing appointment.
  4. Seeing an animal injured or in pain doesn’t both me in the slightest.
  5. Driving fast cars, riding rollercoasters and skydiving appeal to me.
  6. It doesn’t matter to me if I have to step on other people to get what I want.
  7. I’m very persuasive.  I have a talent for getting other people to do what I want.
  8. I’d be good in a dangerous job because I can make my mind up quickly.
  9. I find it easy to keep it together when others are cracking under pressure.
  10. If you’re able to con someone, that’s their problem. They deserve it.
  11. Most of the time when things go wrong it’s somebody else’s fault, not mine.

How did you rate?  0-10 points means you have few psychopathic tendencies, and are a warm, cuddly, empathetic person with a conscience and sense of social responsibility.

11-21  You have a conscience, but have a pragmatic streak and generally aren’t afraid to do your own dirty work.  You’re neither a shrinking violet not a pushover.

22-31  Right or wrong isn’t as important as getting the job done.  You know what you want and go for it, even if it means bending the rules and putting some noses out of joint.  Nothing fazes you.  You are decisive and self-confident.

Hannibal Lecter32-33  You’re at the top of the spectrum, a total psycho.

How did I do?  I came in the 11-21 category – I’m an empathetic pragmatist.  I can get things done, but not by stepping on others…

 

 

Sir Greed and the Knights of Exploitation

Sir Greed banged his fist on the round table, “Bring me truffles!” he thundered, as the serving staff in BHS livery went scurrying. “’Tis treachery! The May Queen talks softly of helping the poor, yet it is the avowed intent of this fair kingdom to crush their will and keep them in grinding poverty, lest they get ideas and organise resistance!”

Knight on horse
Sir Greed rode out on his black stallion

He rode out of Castle Green at the head of his personal escort and made his way to the commission of poor men to give evidence for his alleged misdeeds. His squire, a mean and indolent fellow called Chappell, rode beside him.

“Chappell, heed my words. These villains will ask why I favoured thee with half my lands, to which you must reply, ‘My Lord put me in charge of the upkeep of the serfs in good faith, but I lacked the knowledge of my wise master to manage the estates and provide for their welfare’. Got it?”

“Yes, my Lord. And I shall remain in your favour by not mentioning that you stripped the silver and gold from all the holy places to pay for your new royal yacht.” Sir Greed glared at his snivelling underling, knowing full well that his deviousness and avarice had bound him to the villain.

“Look, my Lord! The May Queen awaits you before the humble parliament shed.”

“Good day, my Queen, to what do I owe this pleasure?” The portly knight said, quivering in his saddle as he attempted an ungainly bow.

“It is no pleasure of mine, Sir Greed! I have come to warn you not to mock my councillors and give truthful evidence, for I intend to reform this kingdom and reverse the culture of theft and oppression that has become your hallmark.”

“My Queen, I will doff my cap and tell them what they want to hear, but we both know your kingdom is based on a wealthy elite exploiting the serfs for personal gain, aggrandisement and displays of riches. For every rich man, there must be hundreds of serfs to support him, working his fields for a pittance, fighting his battles, and being grateful for a rat-infested hovel to live in and a handful of grain to feed his lice-ridden family.”

The May Queen eyed him with a cold, well-practiced withering look, and answered in a low and threatening voice. “That may be how we want it, Sir Greed, but we must at least make a show of appearing to care for the welfare of the legions of poor, for without their labour, our kingdom would falter and we would not be able to continue our lavish lifestyles… beware the dangers of arrogance and cruelty! They have been the undoing of many Lords, and I will move swiftly to strip you of your titles if you do not play along with our mocking game of deception and false hope for our minions!”

Sir Greed, suitably chastised, went before the commission, and smiled like a devious crook as he rebuffed charges of dishonesty, avarice, and cruelty to his people. For in truth, the commission had no powers to strip away his lands or titles, merely the power to chastise and humbly request some coins for the alms box.

Sir Greed and Squire Chappell rode away, laughing at the powerless rage and frustration of the councillors, and dismissing the paltry amount paid into the alms box.

“We shall recover our outlay with higher taxes, my Lord,” the heartless squire quipped.

As they rode through a dark, foreboding forest, making their way slowly under overhanging trees, their path was suddenly blocked by a band of outlaws.

“Out of our way, vermin,” Sir Greed demanded.

The leader of the group, an ageing man with a grey scaggy beard, approached on a mangy nag. “My Lord, I am The Corbineer, leader of, well, one of a number of bands of outlaws in this forest, having been duly elected by my peers, and I must now ask you for your purse, as we have many mouths to feed.” He waved a short, bent sword, and encouraged his men to laugh at his boldness.

“Out of my way, scum!” Sir Greed replied, spurring his horse forward and brushing aside the dandy bandit. He rode away on his black charger, closely followed by his whimpering squire. They soon cleared the forest and turned back to see their entourage beaten and stripped of their clothing.

“Shall we ride back to aid our followers, my lord?” the panting Chappell enquired, feigning bravery.

“No need,” Sir Greed replied, “There are plenty more where they came from. I shall send a group of knights from the Order of The Exploiters to deal with this troublesome Corbineer. The poor are too divided with their village rivalries to come to his aid. We will not kill him but instead capture him and keep him in our Palace of Westminster as an example to others of how hope of advancement is in vain and they must accept their subservient position in our kingdom. As my Uncle Avarice once said, ‘It’s their hope that kills ‘em’.”

They laughed as they rode to Castle Green, oblivious to the cries and screams of their abandoned followers, safe in the knowledge that order had been upheld in the Kingdom of Fear.

 

To find out about the future of the Kingdom of Fear…

http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EGDLHLW

 

 

Post-Brexit Blues

One week on from the shock of the Leave Vote winning the EU In/Out Referendum, and the country is still reeling in a state of fury, dismay, confusion, denial and regret. There have been marches and protests against the result – one might say, against democracy itself.  Instead of sulking over the drop in the value of their shares and properties, the well-off should spare a thought for the deep seething discontent in the country, and realise that our current political system has created this and continues to fuel it. Brexit Protest1

Our political leadership has been exposed as lightweight and not up to the job of leading us out of this mess. Opportunistic politicians have chosen instead to plunge the knife into rivals with personal ambition uppermost in their minds.  We were not prepared for a Leave Vote because the Conservative Party in government were busy assuring international partners that they would succeed in threatening and bullying the electorate into voting Remain.  They failed, and now stand like rabbits caught in the headlights of a runaway truck, careering madly across the cultural, social and political landscape.

“Rarely if ever in our lifetimes has Britain faced such an uncertain and unpredictable future. Rarely have the main parties at Westminster been, simultaneously, in such chaotic disarray. Who can recall a time when such a large section of the public, and not only the 48% who voted Remain, was in a state of such furious anger, confusion, denial, regret or heartfelt dismay?” The Observer (03/07/16).  We could fight them on the beaches, but who should we fight?  And who are we, anyway?

Personally, I feel the country should accept the outcome of the referendum and get behind a settlement for the nation so we can move forward.  This settlement must include listening to the voices of those who voted Leave, many voices of protest from those who feel a deep rooted resentment against the London-based ruling elite, who carry on their merry way, regardless of which party is in power, with their capitalist agenda, marginalising and patronising those who get in their way.

The Conservative Party has opened Pandora’s Box and must now be ruing their miscalculation in believing they could manipulate the outcome of the referendum to come down on the side of political and economic stability – the side that would allow the preservation of the status quo and the continuation of the damaging policies of divide and rule.  Vote Remain was seen as good for business, despite the fact that many see the EU as an undemocratic organisation in the process of morphing into a Federal Superstate.  Their political objects are not ours, and so a Leave Vote appealed to many in the UK –  52%, in fact.

Brexit Protest2However, as a result of the vote, we find ourselves at a social.political and cultural crossroads, and need to ask ourselves the question, ‘Who are we?’  A national debate on who we are and what society we want to live in should be fired up, to curtail the forces of greed, nationalism, xenophobia and division who lurk in the wings waiting for their moment.

The main problem I foresee is our lack of leadership, as our two main political parties are riven with infighting and hopelessly ill-equipped to address the fundamental divisions in our fractured society.  The Labour Party, having shuffled to the centre ground of British politics, is now disconnected from the core working class, and have become accomplices to the seemingly irresistible forces of ‘free market economics’,  ‘International Capitalism’ or simply, ‘Thatcherism’, take your pick.

The mass influx of cheaper labour to feed the machine has caused widespread discontent, as British citizens have been told to ‘shut up and get on with it’.  Well now they have had their chance to protest, via the In/Out referendum, and have chosen to stick two fingers up to the Establishment, and the sham democracy that leaves them as powerless serfs in an age of greed.

Can the Labour Party shake itself out of its torpor?  What of the Green Party?  They should get together and start a national movement for change. Citizens Against Capitalism. For starters, school leavers should be given clear guidance and training to do the jobs required, and we should focus more on producing what we consume.  Let the business community find new markets through the world wide web – are trade deals even relevant anymore?  Some fresh thinking is required, but can we find the leaders needed to drive the process?

In my near-future novel, Devil Gate Dawn, set just 10 years from now, I predict increasing divisions in British society following Brexit, that leads to a mass General Election boycott, followed by a Government of National Unity headed by King Charles.  It was complete fantasy just two weeks ago, but now has been described as ‘increasingly believable’.  My everyman hero, George, gets dragged into helping the police track down a deadly terror group, as they are forced to flee their homes and hide in the countryside… let’s hope it won’t come to this.

DGD promo banner 06_2016

UK: http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B01EGDLHLW

USA/World: http://amazon.com/dp/B01EGDLHLW

Post-Brexit Blues

As the dust settles on an historic day in Britain’s socio-poltical life, we are left to reflect on the full realisation that ‘we have done it’. That is, we have just voted to leave the European Union. A slap in the face of the Brussels autocrats we came to loathe, a wave goodbye to the unyielding Jean-Claude Junker. If only they had agreed to review their free movement of labour charter, then maybe this wouldn’t have happened?

Let’s remind ourselves how we got here…Well, when the Common Market was first set up, the French tried to block us from joining. This irked our politicians who then wanted to join even more, despite warnings that the Franco-German drivers of the free trade union were looking for closer fiscal and political union. Britain was unsure so a referendum was held in 1974 and the result was ‘Yes’. By then, General de Gaulle was dead, so we were permitted to sign the Treaty of Rome that gave us access to free trade with other (at the time) twelve members.

Fast forward 40 years and several treaties later, and, what is now the European Union has doubled in size, has its own currency, and is making no secret of its plans to become a federal super-state.

Over in Britain, the buoyant economy and relatively high wages had continued to attract a steady flow of migrants looking for work, at the rate of a third of a million per year. This had started to irk those who saw their living space being invaded, access to school places and health care restricted and jobs threatened, causing rumblings of discontent, roundly ignored by politicians and castigated as ‘rascist’.

Meanwhile, over in the Westminster Bubble, the ruling Conservative Party decided to action their campaign pledge to have an In/Out referendum on our EU membership, smugly believing that if they threatened and cajoled the electorate enough, they must surely vote to Remain. This would then dampen down protestors and allow them to go on their merry way of replacing expensive and troublesome British workers with cheaper alternatives.

They mis-judged the mood of the citizens in large parts of the country, and despite the combined urging of political leaders of all main (bar one) parties, the USA, IMF, EU, China, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, the stubborn Brits – mainly the English and Welsh – cast their votes to leave, winning an overall majority.

So now we sit contemplating possible trade isolation, a shrinking economy and the impending break up of the United Kingdom. Or, the glorious revival if a truly independent Great Britain….depending on your point if view.

Hooray for Politics!😠

What’s your Favourite Movie?

Social media can be a wonderful thing for connecting people with similar interests, ideas and goals.  Recently, whilst publicising the release of my novel, Devil Gate Dawn, on FaceBook, Twitter and Goodreads, I was contacted by some friendly folk in the USA with an offer of an author interview.  naturally, I said YES!

Devil Gate Dawn…out now!

DevilGateModifiedPixMy first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, is now up and available to download from amazon kindle store.  It will normally be £2.10/$2.99 per download, but for this weekend, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April it will be a FREE DOWNLOAD.

I badly need your support to read and review this short novel, hence the two day free promo.

UK readers: http://amazon.co.uk/product/dp/B01EGDLHLW

USA readers: http://amazon.com/dp/B01EGDLHLW

also available in amazon territories worldwide.

Devil Gate Dawn is a tense near-future thriller set in the UK and USA in the year 2026.  Retired railway worker, George Osborne, is drawn into a battle with a terrorist group as the country slides into chaos.  Will he succeed in neutralising a deadly internet virus and help rescue the kidnapped King Charles III?  Find out as dawn breaks at Devil Gate Drive…

 

Don’t have an Amazon Kindle reader?  You can download their fee app and read on any device:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apps-Amazon-com-Kindle-for-Android/dp/B004DLPXAO

How Much is Enough?

So, how much is enough when it comes to top executive’s pay? (‘earn’ doesn’t seem to come into it). Today’s news (15/04/2016) includes a story with the headline:

 

FATCAT BONUSES… ENOUGH’S ENOUGH!

 

Rich man poor manThe story concerns a shareholder’s revolt at oil giant BP’s plans to pay their Chief Executive a £14 million package, set against a background of a declining share price, £4.5 billion in losses and 7,000 jobs cut. It raises the questions, how much should a senior executive earn, and should it reflect company performance?  A shareholder asked if it was ‘morally right’ to hand him huge bonuses to boost his £1.3 million wages.

59% of shareholders voted against the proposed bonuses for their big cheese CEO, with another shareholder saying, “While much of the population must accept austerity, it is not right to increase director’s remuneration.” Clearly he didn’t get the memo from Tory HQ.  Shareholders are pissed-off because their dividend was less than expected, so their ire is more to do with, Surely we should ALL share the pain?

The Swiss started the debate on capping senior executive pay by putting a proposal to their citizens to limit the earnings of top executives to 12 times the wages of their lowest paid employee. Despite this 1:12 earnings ratio being rejected in a 2013 referendum, it has continued to fuel debate in Europe and North America on the thorny question, How much is enough?

 

The wealthy elite remain fireproof, despite recent offshore banking probes, showing how untouchable they are and unlikely to ever pay their fair share of tax on earnings. In the UK our Conservative Government shows no signs of easing up on their plans to protect them at all costs whilst bashing the poorest and most vulnerable members of society with their malicious austerity programme.  To suggest a cap on earnings ‘in the interests of society’ is abhorrent in our age of capitalist greed and insane wealth hoarding.

I’ll leave you with the words of comedian Frankie Boyle, commenting on the offshore savings probe: “The Panama Papers show that rich people aren’t even rational: they send their money on holiday to the Caymans, and live in perpetual rain in Britain.” Surely they can afford to do it the other way around?  Oh yes, but they would have to declare their pile to the tax man and contribute to the running of the country… We can’t have that!