In My Experience

I’m approaching probably the most difficult period of time in my life. I feel that I won’t be able to write closer to the time as I will be in a completely different state of mind and quite honestly won’t have time for it. In 26 days time, it will mark a year since my brother killed himself. Whilst I may have been getting on okay and doing my best to get on with life and not let it hinder me, I feel that this milestone can’t be avoided. I have tried concentrating my thoughts on the birth of my baby boy in March but no matter how much I try and think positively, the whole occasion is tinged in sadness for me. It’s an occasion that I wish Tom was here for. He would have been an amazing Uncle and as I think back to my childhood and the relationship I had with my ‘crazy’ Aunties and Uncles, I feel my child has been robbed of a relationship they never knew they had. I slightly worry about the point in my child’s not too distant future when they can talk and I have to explain who Tom was and what he meant to me. Then the inevitable follow up of ‘Where is Uncle Tom now?’. Do I spare them the hurt, the pain and the agony of it all? Or shall I tell them the unedited version of events that led catastrophically to his untimely demise? The truth always hurts the most, or so they say.

It’s an internal conflict that has been raging inside ever since I found out we were having a baby. I worry that if i’m not up front about it, that they too will fall into that pit of misery later on in life. The hard bit of it is trying to teach them from Tom’s mistakes without painting him in too much of a bad light. I had untold amounts of respect for my big brother and despite his flaws, still hold him in such high regard. Is it worth mentioning that maybe our vulnerabilities are what make us human and that no one is perfect? You might think this is all a bit premature but if I don’t work out what i’m going to do now, I never will. I don’t underestimate the task of being a parent and the time involved in being one, I simply won’t have the time to think about this conversation later on in life. Whilst I have the clarity of mind and the ability to think about the situation without being sleep deprived and having to be constantly attentive and/or being interrupted, I think this is the only opportunity I will get!

To me, it feels like to everyone else Tom doesn’t matter anymore. They have got on with everything like nothing has happened and it’s only the ones closest to Tom, that it’s still effecting. I suppose everyone grieves in their own way, but completely shutting him out will get you nowhere. I don’t talk about Tom to pretty much anyone apart from my family now as no one bothers asking. I shouldn’t be surprised really, I have always been let down by people in general and only have a close circle of friends who I would deem as reliable. That’s life though, and I probably wouldn’t be too far from the truth if I said that’s most likely how Tom felt for the last year of his life. I’m almost expecting a fake outpouring of grief from people on the 8th of February ‘always missed, never forgotten’. Like people need to be seen as compassionate and caring. Pull the other one! Maybe that’s a little harsh but one thing I can never be accused of, is being dishonest.

Me and Tom talked about his feelings of abandonment when he came out of hospital. He felt massively disconnected from people, he also didn’t want to shout about the fact he’d come out of hospital in fear of being seen as crazy. Maybe this was one of his critical errors, as that may have lead to him not having the necessary support that he needed around him, at that specific point in time. Not owning up to your problems can definitely have an effect on how you deal with them. How can people help if they don’t know what’s going on? This is where i’d like to turn the dial and touch upon drug abuse.

I think the main cause of people turning to drugs as a coping mechanism, is because they either have issues at home or because they can’t cope with situations and the emotions attached to them. They don’t want to feel and they numb it with drugs or sometimes alcohol. It’s a bit harder to spot because of the drinking culture we have in this country, which I have nothing against. The only reason I bring up this observation, is because from experience most of the people I know that have done drugs, have usually had something ‘wrong’ at home (I use the term ‘wrong’ loosely as it depends on your perspective). I want to use Tom’s situation as a wake up call to people, that drugs aren’t the answer. This is usually why drug use almost always escalates, as once you’ve created a tolerance to a certain drug, it doesn’t give you the same ability to mask your emotions/problems. You have to face your problems and yes it may hurt but hurting is part of being human, something I have only really properly learned about because of my experience to do with Tom. You will only become stronger by pushing yourself out to the other side. It’s a life lesson that I think people try and avoid, as they’re too afraid of being hurt or can’t face up to overwhelming emotion so try and block it out. The other lesson you will then learn, is that if a problem is too overwhelming for you, then sharing your problem halves it. Usually drugs will loosen your tongue and that’s why some people use it as an escape. Most of you reading this will have at some point been stuck either in a kitchen or on a patio at a party with someone off their face on drugs, spilling all of their problems to you, a complete stranger. You might laugh at this situation, me too or you might take this as a story from your past where you’ve made a friend. Both of which are great. But going back to what I said, look closer and dig deeper into that situation and how that person got there. They only felt okay to share their problems because they’re on drugs and you’re usually in the same situation, getting fucked up at a party, be it on drugs or drinking.

I want to push the fact that emotions are not a weakness. Stand up for yourself. We’re adults now and should confront this misconception. I understand there are people out there that will use your weaknesses against you as a way of manipulating you. All you have to remember is that the reason they do this is, is out of fear someone will do the same to them and they want the power. It’s the same mindset of a bully, they’re usually bullying someone because they’ve been bullied themselves. Everyone has emotions, there is no escaping it. It seems silly to me that it has to be written in those black and white terms, but I suppose sometimes people just need to go back to basics. Don’t ever be afraid to admit these things and it’s never too late to face up to your problems. Even if they stem all the way back to childhood. Maybe you had an absent father (that’s a common theme i’ve seen if i’m being honest), or there was a break up in your parent’s marriage and you got caught in the crossfire or even worse you blame yourself, maybe you felt neglected or strived for attention from parents which was never forthcoming, maybe you were abused by parents physically or even (god forbid) sexually. If you can count one of those that has happened to you and you haven’t tried drugs i’d be surprised. You may not think these are the causes behind you taking drugs and come at me with the argument you tried them for another reason but it always stems from something that happened to you in your childhood. I’ll admit that’s a short list and there are endless factors to do with home life that can have a resounding effect on you throughout life, but these are the main factors I think. It’s having the courage to admit something happened and working through it that helps you cope, not distracting yourself from the issue with drugs. It can probably still be said about people my age or even older still smashing the sesh, maybe it’s become habitual now and is detached from the original reason you started taking drugs, but i’m sure if you peeled back the layers you will find something on that list or similar that is the underlying issue. People love to carry a chip on their shoulder and can play the whole ‘drugs are cool’ card for their latter teenage years, but when you’re on the wrong side of 30 and still regularly on the sesh, you need some help. I don’t care about dropping truth bombs or upsetting people, it needs to be said. There are a lot of people in my friends list that this can apply to, if you want to take it that this is aimed at you, then please do. Do take it to heart. Do something about it. Confront it. Confront me, I couldn’t care less. Tomorrow can be the start of the rest of your life. Or you can stay inside the cyclical nature of drugs and it’s warm, cosy comfort blanket of distraction whilst you descend deeper until you’re in the position Tom was in. What a waste of a life. I’m only telling you what it’s like to be on the other side of things and what it feels like for the people around you, who love and care for you. Take heed of my advice and my words and stick at it. Always strive to better yourself and put yourself on a good positive path in life. Would you rather just live or live FOR something? It won’t be easy but life never is.

I mean this sincerely, if I’ve touched on something in this you want to talk to me about, then my ears are always open and i’m happy to talk about anything.

me and tomm

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Bored of Brexit

Over the years, I have expressed very hard fought views about the EU, Brexit and the state of current affairs in Europe as a whole. The reason I have called this piece ‘Bored of Brexit’ is probably for a different reason than most. I’m bored of it being CALLED Brexit, mainly because this isn’t Brexit. It’s not what we voted for. It’s a backdoor to a forever union. Anyone savvy enough to delve deeper into what’s going on will see this.

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The truth is, you will never achieve Brexit with a Remain PM. Yesterday and today’s crunch meetings for the PM serve as a healthy reminder that the Brexiteer wolves are at the door. I don’t think she can stave them off for much longer. The cabinet is full of Remain MP’s who don’t believe in Brexit, which is why we’re here with this pitiful, wretched draft agreement. If you were to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, I suppose it’s not all that bad. What I mean by that is, the PM struggled to get it through her own cabinet without massive uproar and resignations. It won’t get through the house and certainly won’t be agreed by ALL 27 members of the EU! So in that respect i’m still relatively calm about the whole situation. The eventuality of No Deal is pleasing to say the least, any deviation should be treated with contempt.

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What’s really got me pondering is the pending leadership contest. This is the best, albeit last chance we will have of ousting Theresa the Appeaser and installing a proper Brexit cabinet. We need a PM that will give licence to a Brexit negotiator to go in heavy handed, throw the agreement out and say ‘we want no deal, convince us otherwise’. Which would be a much better negotiating position to start with. If we would have started with that then we could of had ‘Canada+++’ by now. We need a PM that isn’t scared to take the risks that will result in a brighter future. We need a PM that truly believes in the aims of the country. A principled PM that strives to deliver in the interests of the nation. A PM that will not go out with a whimper or to give in to the EU bully boys. A true conservative, that believes in upholding traditional values and boosting the national identity. We don’t need a ditherer with no direction.

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In the coming days, there must be a trigger for a vote of no confidence in the leadership and a last ditch effort to save the country. The Tory party is consuming itself at an alarming rate and if this isn’t done, there’ll be nothing left to salvage. Without knowing it, they could send themselves into the political wilderness for the next 15 years, if they don’t get rid of May. She is harming the image of the party and taking it even further away from the true principals of conservatism. There needs to be someone to step up that is unashamedly Conservative and wears it with pride. In doing so, resetting the scales and pushing the political spectrum closer to what it used to be. At present, anything right of Communism is seen as Nazism. This can no longer be tolerated.

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I think now more than ever is the perfect chance to stand up to the EU as a whole. There is disgusting rhetoric coming out of both Macron and Merkel, jousting for a European Army. Something I have warned of for years. These tyrannical, egotistical, unaccountable sentiments are shared by all in the echelons of power in Brussels. Not only is it ironic but also bloody dangerous. All i’ve heard out of Remain, is ‘the EU brings peace’ and ‘it was created as the end of all wars in Europe’. Which are both wholly untrue. Make no mistake, the EU has it’s own foreign policy, it just can’t act like it wants too, yet. Let me put it in layman’s terms. Would you vote for a united army of all nations in Europe? Yes I might hear you say, seems like a reasonable noteworthy idea to pool our resources and work towards the common good, building bonds with other nations and championing teamwork across borders. Ok I say, who’s going to run it? An Army General? All that power given to one man? As head of more than 30 nations? No surely not. Okay well how about it’s run by a government? Yeah that seems like a good idea, share the power. They can vote on if the Army can act, when, where and how. Sounds good? Okay, what about if a couple of countries don’t believe in using the Army for something that has been voted on? Well technically the parliament doesn’t make the decisions. All the main decisions come from the EU commission and so does all the money to run it so they have all of the say. And who runs it? The President of the Commission, so we’re back to one guy with all the power and might of Europe? What about if he has an agenda (which all leaders do), is he accountable? Can we vote him out if we don’t agree? No. Can the countries that don’t want to go along, veto it? No. Can these countries leave the European Army if they want? No. Can they stop paying contributions? No. Can they then leave the EU?…….Can they then leave the EU? I heard what you said. Do you see how hard the EU have made it for a major power like us to leave? Imagine the little guy, trying to get out. Imagine, Poland, Hungary, Austria or even Italy? The merry-go-round never stops.

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To be fair, if it ever came to war i’m pretty sure we would kick the fuck out of them. We’re the only country to keep up our 2% of GDP contributions towards NATO and have a functioning Army, Navy and Air Force. Numbers may be low at present but cometh the hour, cometh the man. There may come a time in the future that we would have to go to war with the EU for their own good. The rhetoric for an army comes from them and what possible use could they have for an army? Is it because they now realise that having us as an ally would be advantageous? Have they also noticed that we have the nuclear deterrent and are the 2nd biggest power in NATO? Have they come to realise that they might not have the comfort of the best armed forces on their side? Or are they worried that there would be a sovereign nation outside of their control, on their doorstep which they can no longer bend to their whims. A strong, robust power with a huge economy, wealth, connections that span the globe and a queue of countries waiting to do business. If anything I think they’re scared of the prospect, they’re scared of being shown tough love from their neighbour. Something they NEED. We’ve been the sheriff of Europe for long enough, we need to concentrate on ourselves now and build for the future. A rocky, uncertain future at that. Imagine the possibilities!

We could concentrate more money on exploring space or send the first manned mission to Mars. We could retake the reigns of our destiny, be at the forefront of innovation and engineering. We need to think bigger. We need to make a mark and set the bar high for our first 5 years out of the EU. We need to reestablish ourselves as one of the biggest wealth creators on the planet, less restriction on the financial sector. We need to be up there with the US, strength breeds competition. You may hate Trump but my god does he create wealth. Something we’ll need plenty of, to pay off all the moaning parties that pout they’re not getting EU funding anymore, which was ours to begin with but that’s besides the point.

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To finish, in the next few weeks we will see what we’re really made of. When it comes down to it, there is only right and wrong. The wrong thing to do is sit idly by as the country comes crashing down around you. The right thing to do is to take ownership and set about putting it right. Is there appetite for a Brexiteer leader inside the Tory party? Probably not, considering the vast swathes of Remain MPs. However, morally is it right that one should be in power? Yes. People that say we’ve wasted all this time, I would be inclined to agree with them for once. But we can put this right by showing support to a true leader of Brexit and of this glorious kingdom. You may hate my political babbling and intellectually lyrical masturbation but you can’t deny, I exude truth. I challenge anyone to explain to me why we shouldn’t have a Brexiteer PM. I challenge anyone who thinks the European Army is a good idea. Finally, I challenge the nay-saying politically morbid and ask them to explain why we can’t make ourselves the benchmark for all growing nations, around the world and be the older brother everyone needs, one that they can look up to.

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Letter of Intent

Good evening,
I’m contacting you this evening in regards to a subject that has effected my life greatly in recent months. I lost my brother to suicide back in February. Rather than wallow in sorrow, I have been racking my brain for ways to make a change and a difference so that there are more preventative measures in place.
The reason I have picked all of you specifically, is the varying degrees of experience and positions. Sir Paul Beresford is my local MP but is also a very long serving and experienced MP, so might have some good contacts in relation to this. Jackie Doyle-Price is Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Inequalities, I felt this was part of her role as this is aimed directly at this department. Matt Hancock as he is the Health Secretary and that is an all encompassing title, due to Mental Health being at the forefront of debate at this present time. Finally, the Prime Minister because she has the power to make the decision that could save thousands of lives and could use her position to highlight the importance of mental health.
The two ideas that I have come up with are 1. Introduce a phone number dedicated to suicide. I understand there are organisations like CALM and Samaritans, however if you were to ask me their telephone numbers I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head. My idea is to use the number 4357 as it spells out HELP on the keypad of a phone, so is very easy to remember. Considering the way that technology has taken over everyone’s lives, this is a quick and easy way of ensuring you’re never more than a call away from help. Much like the 999 emergency number it’s short and will stick in people’s heads. Also it would free up precious resources in regards to 999 operators not needing to put suicidal people through to police or ambulance services, as the call wouldn’t need to be made, freeing up more time for other important calls. I talk from experience as my father was in the ambulance service for almost 30 years and spent time in the emergency dispatch centre as a child. If the number did ever get used in this way, i’d also like to lobby phone companies to have the number saved in every new handset sold. Slowly but surely our subconscious would know that you’re never truly alone. When someone is so low that they’re contemplating suicide they don’t always think to reach out, searching for numbers online. If the number was already on their phone and they were scrolling through their contacts, wanting to call a friend or family member but scared they might be judged or thought of as crazy, it gives them a quick and easy option to get connected to someone who can help.
2. I wanted to float the idea of creating an app called Buddy. Day in day out, we all ask each other ‘you alright?’. Usually we answer ‘yeah’ or ‘fine’. Even though we might not be as it’s an automatic response. What if there was an app that popped up and messaged you every day, asking ‘how’s your mental state today?’. Ideally programmed like Siri on iPhones, to give positive responses or if someone is really in desperate need of help give them information and direct them to organisations that can help. The fact that it would be an app and taking human interaction out of it to begin with is the key. You’re more likely to open up to a computer that has no preset emotions or preconceptions, judgements or social stigmas attached. Say for example you replied ‘i’m really low, i’m thinking of ending it all’ it would message back with a phone number for Samaritans or a webchat from someone willing to talk. Or if you say ‘i’m depressed’ it would give you a positive response like ‘don’t worry, there’s always help. Here’s a link to CALM, they help similar people who are in the same situation as you’ and give you information about CALM or MIND.
I understand you’re not going to get to everyone but the best thing we can do is try and save as many lives as possible. All of you i’m sure got into politics to make a change or a difference and to help people in some capacity. I don’t completely believe how most politicians are painted to be career politicians and are only in it for the money. I don’t want anything out of this other than to help people like my brother. The app would be free to use and accessible to all. It could be targeted at schools and young people as this is where most of the problems of later life start. My brother had issues in his childhood and turned to hard drugs in his teens, exacerbating his problems and it sent him on a downward spiral to his unfortunate end. Sorry to be morbid but you have to get where i’m coming from.
I also wanted to point towards the manifesto that you got voted in on, which I voted for. You wanted to be at the forefront of the digital age. To do so you must engage with the digital world and especially if you want to get through to younger people, as we have to get through to them on their own level. We can do this by weaponising the very thing they use the most, their phones. This counts as you wanted to ‘transform the management of our digital infrastructure’. Going ahead with these ideas is adding to the digital infrastructure of this country. It will become entrenched in the national psyche with the right campaign. We would also be a leading light in the world in this topic, as I have spoken to a few friends dotted around the globe and for example in Australia it would work too. It could be a universal number for all of the English speaking countries of the world. Something which you alluded to in your manifesto as well in regards to ‘maintaining the historical, cultural and economic ties that link us to our old friends and
allies around the globe’. You also promised ‘We will make the UK the leading research and technology economy in
the world for mental health, bringing together public, private and charitable investment’. We’re all working towards the same end goal of ending social stigma and getting those that need it, the help they deserve.
I hope that you all can agree with me on this and that it heightens the awareness of mental health issues in this country. Nothing could help more at the moment than something like HELP, which becomes a beacon of hope to all silent sufferers across the country and the globe. For once you can take a step towards helping them all, directing and guiding them to the resources we as a nation offer. It would also prove you are doing your upmost to help prevent them from doing anything final. The statistics are frightening enough. We spend plenty of money on trying to save lives conventionally through the NHS and the ambulance service. It’s time for a change of perspective and how we view ‘saving lives’. Maybe an initiative to get all GPs and doctors to have mental health training and understanding of living with the illness. From speaking to others who have used this service, GPs aren’t the most sympathetic bunch. Which I don’t blame them for. If you don’t understand mental illness as you’ve never gone through it yourself, it’s hard to put yourself in those shoes. 
 
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to hearing what feedback you have and what you have to offer on the subject. Like you say ‘Forward, Together’.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Luke Marriott
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Help.

The world is a different place to me now. Loss is a horrible thing to deal with at the best of times but i’m in a peculiar situation at the moment. My dear brother Tom has taken his own life. Whilst it is still weird and hard to write those words down, they take me to a place in my head where only Tom exists. It’s like a library of thoughts and memories. To miss someone you love is normal but the weird feeling is he’s still here, living on in my memory, a perfect carbon copy of exactly how I remember him. Just like a library I can scroll through and pick out a specific memory and replay it and it’s like he’s still here in the room with me. When I first got the news of Tom’s suicide, I just wanted to pick up the phone to him and hear his voice. I couldn’t process what had happened, as I hadn’t seen his body it’s almost like it wasn’t real in my head. I also had a long period of time where if I tried to think about him, I couldn’t remember what his voice sounded like and that was heartbreaking.

We’re lucky that we live in an age of videos and pictures I suppose, as they act as a kind of therapy for someone in my position. Being able to see and hear someone from beyond the grave is a treasure like no other. It’s surreal to think that this person was here and then suddenly not. It’s more upsetting to me now to think of all the milestones that he’s not going to be here for. He’ll never get to meet my children in the future, no more birthdays or Christmas’ together, no more boy’s day outs, even just sitting watching old films together which was a favourite past time. (Anyone who knows us properly will know that we would usually quote the entire film word for word!) The videos help to re-immerse yourself into their character, little traits or how they laughed, build the picture up clearer in your head, almost as if you have to reconstruct them. It all helps when dealing with something as big as this.

It’s no secret now that Tom struggled with mental health issues for a long time previous to his suicide. The main aim of this post is to open up slightly about what it’s like to be left behind or left in the wake of a suicide. I won’t bamboozle you too much with facts but there are some astounding figures that i’d like to share. 3/4 of all suicides in the UK are male. 3/4. Try to wrap your head around that. Even though statistically, suicides have steadily been decreasing over a number of years, due to more coverage and availability of information, it’s still massively high. The most suicides actually took place in the 40-44 year old age bracket. You could account some of those down to ‘mid-life crisis’ which would still come under mental illness. Mental illness comes in many shapes and sizes, some you can see like Stress and Addiction. Some you can’t like Depression and Social Anxiety. There is a broad spectrum and in varying doses. Just because someone says they’re fine, doesn’t actually mean they are. Almost all of these people suffer in silence, sometimes to avoid becoming a burden to people or maybe because they haven’t even realised they have a problem.

I’ve had plenty of time to process what has happened and have made my peace with it. This was definitely made easier by seeing his body and getting a bit of closure in my head, even though it was a harrowing experience and will stay with me for life. But now that it’s done, I feel that something should be done. All I see in regards to mental health are people raising awareness, which is good. However, i’d like to try and make a change. I don’t want to set a precedent because it’s massively annoying when people jump on bandwagons and in the era of ‘inclusivity’, I don’t want to see my idea twisted and used for other things. I will be writing to my MP and to the Prime Minister to ask for a specific number to be set up that you can call, almost like the emergency number 999. I understand you have people like Samaritans already doing a great job but if you were to ask me their phone number I couldn’t tell you. They should make it short, personally I like the idea of 4357 as it spells out HELP on the keypad, which is easy to remember. With the right education and targeting this could save a huge amount of lives. It would make a statement of intent that we as a nation are taking mental health seriously. It might be a tad too far but i’d like to see the phone companies getting on board too, maybe every phone sold should have 4357 saved in the handset memory/ contacts of every new phone sold. Almost like a constant reminder, because let’s be honest everyone is glued to their phones now and miss out on a lot of social interaction which might be one of the detrimental effects on mental health at present. If you were to have that in your phone always, subconsciously you would know you always have someone to talk to. It might not work but you never know unless you try and it’s worth taking any preventative steps in order to save lives. People that close to suicide might not even be thinking of their phone as they’re so fixated on the here and now and the overwhelming finality of their actions.

Maybe someone should create an app, called Buddy. Almost like a self therapy app. Day in day out, people always ask ‘you alright?’ we go ‘yeah’. Buddy should ask ‘how’s your mental state today?’ as no one ever asks. People with mental issues sometimes will neglect to speak to others in fear of judgement or being labelled crazy. Just knowing that it’s an app, you could almost take the peer pressure out of the situation. Talking to a computer is easier, surely? No social stigma or judgement. It could be programmed much like Siri, but only to give positive answers or links to information for the end user. The next generation are entrenched in the digital world and to get through to them we have to engage on their level. That’s not forgetting older people like myself who thinks the phone number would be enough.

Any feedback on this piece before I write my letters, is welcome.

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Global Rundown

There is a lot to get through as 1. I haven’t written in so long and 2. There’s been so much going on. Let’s start with the news of peace on the Korean peninsula. Believe what you want but anyone thinking this has nothing to do with Trump is out of their mind. If you study politics closely (like me) then you will understand what all of the political posturing is about. It’s all mind games and statesmanship. Showing an iron resolve when most of the world’s media were going mad thinking the US and North Korea, were on the brink of nuclear war. Some think of it as bullying tactics but North Korea did threaten to nuke Guam, so the President returned in kind by offering swift action in retaliation. Things of this magnitude aren’t taken lightly on the world stage. Neither looking to climb down from their position, but if you put it into context it’s what Trump has been doing his whole life in business. It’s dick measuring on the biggest scale. Who will blink first? Playing hardball. Rightly or wrongly, Trump is treating the entire USA as a business, as it’s all he knows.

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In about to shake hands at the border

As far as I can see, the key decisions, he’s done alright. I cut through all the bullshit and the edgy comments because he’s an egomaniac and they feel they have to be heard, so will quite literally say anything. It’s all a front. Behind closed doors, I reckon the Donald is cold and calculated and probably a whole lot more intelligent than most think. It’s why he fits in so well in politics, there’s so many levels. In politics and business, you need to be savvy to a degree in people manipulation, to get people to do what you want. To curry favour. You’ve got to be ruthless, which he’s shown in countless dismissals of staff. It all adds to this overall grandiose character. Trump has called for nuclear de-escalation from North Korea since he got into power. Because of the mounted tensions between the US and North Korea, he got into a position where he could call them to the negotiating table almost as a last resort but I think it was his plan all along. All of the ‘i’ll destroy the little rocket man with my powerful nuclear button’ was more posturing. Putting Kim in his place, so that when it came round to it, Trump said we’ll keep all of the sanctions going because we can, unless you can offer something. They hadn’t tested weapons for months and promised to continue throughout the entirety of the talks. They made massive steps with the South and agreed that nuclear disarmament was the way forward. Now, tell me that would have happened without the situation between Donald and Kim. Even the left’s lord and saviour, Obama couldn’t get them to the table and there was me thinking you all thought he was the best President of all time!

Trump in front of a flag

Quick history lesson, the Koreans have been split along the 38 degree parallel since 1953. No one has even come close to help re-conciliate their differences in that entire time. I’ll concede that one of the stumbling blocks were the former leaders Kim Il-Sung (senior and junior) who held an iron grip on the country from 1948 through until 2011. Yet it still took 7 years to get this guy to the table. I also agree that giving Trump a Nobel peace prize might be going a little bit far, although it gives context to the sheer scale of this event in the chronology of history. This is their Berlin Wall moment, should it all work out. We just can’t see it yet, as we don’t have the ability to look back on this momentous occasion. He should at least be given credit for his use of soft and hard power on the international stage, the fact that people aren’t giving him any credit is outrageous. They’re so blinded by this hate of his personality, that they can’t accept he’s helped towards something good and actually doing his job that he was elected to do. Give it a break for one day and give the Donald a pat on the back. Before he comes out and says something crazy tomorrow!

donald trump uk visit july 13

Still related but moving on. There is a supposed protest to Trump’s visit to the UK. Yet again, utterly abhorrent behaviour from all involved. Need I remind you all that just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you have to protest. He’s a democratically elected head of state for our closest ally. He deserves respect. You may disagree with most, if not all of his policies but the American people chose him to represent them and their views on the world stage. Stop being so pig headed and accept his position. Imagine if Theresa May got booed and there was a protest if she visited the US. There’d be absolute uproar, and half of the people involved in this protest don’t even like her either! You can’t claim to champion living in a democracy if you can’t accept the outcome of our political system. Maybe you should go and talk to some people that have lived under a dictator with no choice when it came to elections. It really is first world problems. Let’s be honest, Trump was the best of a bad bunch. Hillary is a cluster fuck of a human being and would have been awful for the American people. Yet if she would have won, I would have accepted it and wouldn’t protest her visit to this country. We have got to the point where we don’t have anything left to fight, so the left is fighting it’s own people.

Buddha the pug gives a Nazi salute in the video posted on YouTube by Mark Meechan.

This brings me onto freedom of speech. Count Dakula to be precise. When I first read about this case I literally couldn’t believe what I was reading. A guy jokingly taught his pug to Nazi salute and posted it onto Youtube. Why have we suddenly had a sense of humour failure in this country? We have had some of the greatest comics in this country and they have always been funny by pushing the boundaries of what is funny and acceptable. My favourites are a lot of the jokes that end in ‘too soon?’. I’ll tell you where we have gone wrong and I shall use Have I Got News For You as an example. Now, I have watched and loved this programme since I was an early teen, so about 15 years ago. I’ll set the scene, leftie luvvie Tony Blair was in power, he couldn’t do any wrong, then he goes to war in Iraq. They absolutely ripped him and even though they weren’t in power, they ripped the Tories too for good measure. Fast forward to now. Theresa May is in power and everything is Brexit this and Brexit that. Being the BBC obviously there is a massive bias and a lot of the jokes have Brexit at the butt of them. I get it, I know it gets tiresome but you know what you get if you watch something on BBC 1. However, the thing I have noticed is that any joke about Corbyn or Labour, if made at all goes down like a lead balloon. I’m wetting myself at home on the sofa but the audience has a few titters but it’s like someone has died. The double standards are ridiculous, in my eyes everyone is fair game. If you’re in public service or in the public eye than you run the risk of being satirised, that is how it has always worked. But it’s become almost like the BBC is protecting the Labour party from scrutiny and won’t have a bad word said about them. It’s a sad day in the history of TV, in a supposed free country where censorship is creeping in the back door. It sets a dangerous precedent, creating a pedastool where certain people are beyond criticism or ridicule because of their political leanings. Now I can accept i’m probably to the right of centre, not far right but what is now days probably classed as ‘alt-right’ not that iam, that’s just the newest label that anyone not on the left is given, along with racist, fascist, white supremacist, personally I can’t keep up as it changes weekly or as often as they choose to change their gender, ooh right in the bollocks, if they have them left that is!

Image result for have i got news for you 2018

But for someone like me that enjoys satire but isn’t on that side of the political spectrum can see there aren’t many ‘right wing’ comics left. Almost like they’ve been weeded out by the humour police. There’s a massive gap in the market but no platform to do so, channel 4 won’t allow it because they’re fucking bedwetters and too busy pushing through gay agendas and focusing on minorites. It only leaves ITV (terrestrial) who couldn’t risk losing viewers, the whole system seems pretty wrapped up. It was refreshing that Roseanne has been brought back in America and I think something similar over here would be a huge hit. Could you imagine, a conservative minded white male as a lead character?! Can’t allow that now though can we? It might upset and offend ethnic minorites because there’s no diversity, liberals because they can’t accept facts or anything apart from their own opinion, gays because there’s no gay character involved as there always has to be in everything single programme even though they account for less than 5% of the population, yeah that’s realistic. It’s just constant and ongoing, i’d like to see a programme like this just to spite these offended cunts. Offence is good, it creates differing view points, debate, dialogue (although the left don’t seem capable as they can’t be constructive and look at both sides of an argument and resort to shouting racist as soon as they’re presented with facts but hey ho).

 

The whole idea of free speech is to say anything freely no matter how wrong or different as long as you don’t incite hatred, right? Using harsh language doesn’t constitute hatred. Maybe people are confusing offence with hatred? If enough people are offended does that deem someone to be hateful? No is the answer. Maybe we should concentrate on teaching the English language to our children so that they can differentiate between the meaning of offence and hatred, because quite clearly the lines are being blurred in the current climate. Whilst we’re at it, teach them how to debate and the powers of dialogue. I don’t think we’ve been further apart in my lifetime, the left and the right. We have no common interest or shared mutual goals. No one left to defeat. All of the parties are the same now and have been for years. I’d like to see them all wiped out, Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems. We need something new. Maybe we will see it post-brexit? Who knows? One thing is for sure, sensitivity needs to be stripped back. We used to be made of stiffer stuff. You might be offended but it doesn’t mean you need to cry about it, make a joke back. Dialogue is the key. Offence is so one sided and i’m sick of it. Also here’s a link to an old post about the real definitions of racist and fascist explained, as I have seen no improvement on these words so easily thrown about, lessening their meaning and skewing the perception of what a real racist or fascist is.

https://wordpress.com/post/gunnerlukey.wordpress.com/664

Oswald Mosley

To end, i’d like to remind all of you cheerleaders for Labour and the socialist movement, that Nazi actually stands for National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party. How’s that for changing the perception and definition of a word. Good day to you.

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What does the future hold for Arsenal?

I’ve given myself some time to digest the news that Arsene is leaving. I still believe in him to deliver the first European Trophy (that I can remember properly) in my lifetime. My personal view was that it was time to go at the end of this season. Although I only came to this conclusion in January, after I drew an imaginary red line and said that if he didn’t buy a CB then and address the clear issue we have, then he wasn’t fit enough to run the club anymore. He didn’t and here we are. That being said I have always supported the team regardless. I don’t need to go overboard in my praise for Arsene, as I have always been a vocal supporter of his and believe he truly is the greatest manager we will ever have.

I have said before that he created his own downfall by raising expectations so high in the first place and not being able to replicate that, ushered in resentment from members of the fanbase and was a catalyst for the sense of entitlement that flows through the Emirates. It’s toxic and as a whole makes the fanbase look like spoilt children. I want to see that end once he’s gone. New manager, new expectations. But what expectations though, what should we look forward too? I believe that the entire fanbase should take stock and have a look around. We aren’t a crisis club in any respect and have an amazing platform for someone to come in and do great things. That being said, I think there should be realistic goals set for a new manager. They are as follows:

  1. In the first season, Top 4.
  2. Second season, focus purely on the League and try to win their first title.
  3. Third season, everyone knows no one retains the league, so go for Top 3 and the FA Cup.
  4. Go for the Champions League as after 4 years, you’d hope the manager has ‘his’ team in place.

That is a realistic view of what we should be looking at. Anything other than that is delusional. Yes it would be spectacular if we got a manager in who wins us the league in the first hit, but then he’d be put in the same category as Arsene and yet again set the bar too high and we would have a manager conveyor belt, becoming like Chelsea! The fan unrest would force him out as soon as we go a season without winning anything, which quite frankly is pathetic and doesn’t run parallel to club values.

Now, the glaring problem we have is defence. It’s no secret! I now move onto the potential candidates and obviously top of that list is Allegri. I have alluded to this in a previous post but it’s the name that keeps popping up and to be fair, he would be ideal. For one he’d drill the defence and we’d have to set up slightly different but that’s what is required. Arsene has left behind a great team that can win things. If the funds were available I think we should buy two centre backs and a new goalkeeper. Simple, Butland will be going cheap as Stoke Rugby Club will be relegated almost for certain now. A player of his calibre has to go to a top side as to me, he is England No 1. It’d be nice to have that again, as all throughout my childhood we had Seaman and it’s good to have your country’s No 1 as I fear with a new foreign manager, not enough English players will get in. I say this because my two choices for centre back aren’t English. Yet again I echo myself and say Manolas and Koulibaly. If we have to sell Mustafi to help pay for it i’m happy with that. Koscielny is one of my favourite players, yet even I can see he should hang up his boots at the end of next season. His legs are going and he’s making more and more mistakes. It pains me to watch it happen to an idol but yet again you have to be realistic.

Next on the list, Nagelsmann. I include this because of what Ivan Gazidis said in his conference about being bold. What he lacks in experience he can make up for in talent I suppose. A great short term record, saving Hoffenheim from relegation in his first season and taking them to the Champions league in the second. I watch Bundesliga weekly and Hoffenheim do play attractive football, which would go down well with the fans. I just worry that a manager that’s so young, coming into a dressing room of not only players older than him but big name players, something he hasn’t had to deal with before. It’s a baptism of fire, if he is appointed.

Leonardo Jardim, a great choice. He echoes Arsene’s past. Monaco are a good side and play wonderful football, good defensively and are a mainstay in the Champions league. All the things we could want, plus he’s young for a manager. Personally, think it’s between him and Allegri.

Arteta, why? There’s being bold and then there’s being stupid. Maybe as an Assistant Manager, I could get that. Zero experience. I hear murmurs from people on twitter (the worst source of any information) that Pep holds his coaching abilities in high esteem. Does that warrant being given the job at Arsenal (if you believe that of course)? No. Next.

Vieira. Interesting. He is doing well at New York, haven’t seen them play and don’t know the standard in the MLS, i’d imagine not great as most old players go there to retire and earn big bucks. Although, he had great pedigree as a player and was almost a manager out on the pitch, I could see this being a left field choice but one that fans could get behind. He’s young and understands the club values and what is expected.

For me, there isn’t any other discussion. It’s all hearsay and fake stories from the media. Arteta and Vieira are included in this but I gave them respect because they’re linked to the club. The last thing I want to add is that, whoever comes in should have the full weight of support from the fanbase and should turn the Emirates into a fucking fortress. I heard what that stadium can really sound like the other night for the Madrid game. AFTV should be banned from entering the ground by the club. All negativity should be stamped out and not given room to breath. It’s a new start and we don’t need any divisive people, trying to be edgy by saying the new manager is shit because he loses one game. Manager’s are human and aren’t exempt from making mistakes and/or losing. They’re not going to go unbeaten. It’s okay to lose 4-5 games in a season. Most teams who win the league, lose 3-5 games throughout the course of the season. It’s natural, you can’t win them all. Regardless, I stand behind whoever the club appoint and wish them all the luck in the world. As a club, we can do great things together. But only together. The fans included.

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Review: Star Trek Discovery

As you can see from my other posts, I naturally commentate on political proceedings but I like other forms of writing as I grow tiresome of the ebb and flow of the ‘what will happen next’ current affairs. I want to do a more lighthearted piece. So I thought about what I spend most of my time doing, watching TV! I gave the new Star Trek on Netflix a watch after being hesitant at first. Part of me felt like they’d ruin it but the better half of me wanted to be immersed in the Star Trek universe once more.

Well I was aggravated but not surprised at what was going to be obvious. Star Trek: TOS pushed boundaries for it’s time mainly down to racial recognition, having one of the first regular stars in a TV show to be Black and one of the first interracial kisses (Kirk and Uhura) on TV (preceded by the kiss on none other than my grandmother’s brainchild Crossroads). Which is all well and good but you could tell they were really going to force the issue in this series. The main character, Michael Burnham is a black female as lead (shocker…!) and then the over representation of minorities goes over board. Her Captain Georgiou is an Asian female, the ships doctor and chief engineer are gay together and the former is also a black male, as the story progresses Michael’s love interest is an arabic male. I could go on but I won’t, I understand that we live in a world where these things happen, but not on this scale and all in such close proximity. I’m a stickler for authenticity and realism in shows and this hums of pandering to liberal attitudes to shows that don’t include minorities. I think it’s quite insulting to the viewer to assume that most of the crew on board a secret ship are to be mostly made up of minorities especially in the chain of command. It feels so forced that it’s unwatchable in certain episodes. The gay kiss served no purpose other than to say they put it in there, as they then (spoiler alert) kill off the doctor. Same with the party scene where they’re stuck in a time loop, they inserted random lesbians making out into the scene. It’s so in your face and the thing is you can almost bet that before this thing went to the editing suite, there was more random footage they cut.

Anyway, once you get passed the overt LGB & BME poster boys and girls, the storyline isn’t all that bad. Discovery is a secret scientific vessel that has warp capabilities like no other. Although when you come to think about it, they did try and introduce transwarp in Star Trek III : Search for Spock, but Scotty disabled it and they left the idea alone. Which makes me think that the spore drive idea will be dumped soon too. Otherwise we will wind up in an alternate timeline away from the TOS timeline, which wouldn’t make sense because they’ve already made links to it. For example (spoiler alert) Michael being Spock’s adopted sister. Which is unlikely but still plausible because he didn’t let anyone know about his crazy brother Sybok in Star Trek V : The Final Frontier.

The continuation from TOS in the sense that they’ve included the mirror universe with the Terran Empire, is one of the key plots that saves this series as it’s hardwired in all Star Trek fans, we all 1) like the idea of the multi layered space/time continuum and 2) love the science behind it all. The mycelial (?) network is a stroke of genius as it creates that never ending feeling of the vast openness of space and/or the universe(s). That is the binding of the Star Trek family, to look up at the stars and have the yearning for exploration. There’s still a pit in my stomach creating the feeling that this could become Voyager though, mainly because Discovery is missing from standard Star Trek history books, indicating that they will get derailed from the network and be stranded in an alien galaxy or gamma quadrant without the spore drive yadda yadda yadda you get the idea.

Moving on, (spoiler alert) great spin on the Lorca character turning out to be from the Terran Empire all along, yet again not surprising that the baddie turned out to be British and white (historically most American blockbusters have a British guy as the baddie, almost like they cling to the idea they have to relive beating the British colonial past over and over). From Die Hard (Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber) to Marvel Avengers (Tom Hiddlestone as Loki) there’s always a white british guy being bad!

Going forward, there needs to be more fighting with the Klingons, as that is the main reason they picked this era. I’m not sure they have it in their budget to have another battle like the Binary Stars but it’d be good to see. Yet again I think they should kill off the other gay character as he is really annoying and condescending, you can tell he isn’t a fan favourite. Although the show’s new target audience might lap up his ‘gay sassyness’ which is really grating and yet again forced. I feel slightly let down as this was made by some of the same guys from Lost and have been involved with J J Abrahms in the past, which makes sense as he had control over the movie reboot. I just thought they’d pay more homage to the existing universe and try at least to keep the existing fans on side.

The one thing I did want to bring up was the ‘new look’ Klingons, which we got a glimpse of in Edge of Darkness. They have carried on with this but you wonder where the natural progression of the species comes into it. I know it’s 100 years before Worf but how can they justify such an alteration to their genetic make up? I understand it’s probably to save time in make up and easier on the actors but for continuity purposes it bugs me. But that’s just me! Overall i’d give it a generous 7/10. Some of the acting props up my argument of them filling a quota rather than going for better actors. It didn’t blow me away like the movie reboot but it’s nice that it’s in a series format, as I feel you get more out of it. However, it does have more of a movie feel to it, almost like they shot a 10 hour movie and spliced it into sections. Whereas in TNG or TOS, they went on a different mission every episode (apart from 2 part end of season finales obviously!), i’m sure it will calm down in the next few episodes, i’m up to date as of this post (episode 10 I think). I will probably turn out to be wrong, as I think they’re slowly distancing themselves from the real trekkies and going for the new ‘all inclusive’ audience, which makes me want to dry heave.

If you’re into sci-fi then give it a watch, if not then i’d avoid it like the plague as without the love of sci-fi it’s probably unbearable to watch.