Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Battle for Madeira Drive!

Scarcely six months since the 40th anniversary celebrations of the cult film Quadrophenia in September 2019, Brighton's iconic Madeira Drive, possibly one of the most famous stretches of road in England, found itself unceremoniously closed, no warning or public notice, ostensibly to 'provide more space to exercise' under lockdown.

Come June and travel restrictions were lifted but Stewards continued to guard the entrances and exits to all traffic and the traders grew restless, demanding a meeting with the council. Meantime my partner Ollie (mod, biker, cyclist, walker and occasional driver) often cycled down there for a cup of tea and a chat with the cafe owners. He was astonished to be told by one that a council official had come to visit and advised him that the council were planning to make Madeira Drive closure permanent!

We were both shocked. How could the council even dream of doing this and when the city had just been economically crashed for three months?

No more veteren car rallies? No more Mod weekends? No more Brightona and other events?
And what about visitors? What about the disabled? What about the restoration of Madeira Terraces? We are supposed to be a resort town!

We immediately set up a petition here to re-open Madeira Drive and Ollie started a blog here, which he updates daily, detailing every twist and turn in the saga.

Amazing people started approaching us and offering to help spread the word, but it soon became apparent we were up against some dark and determined forces who were not above underhand tactics.

Various articles and letters appeared in the Brighton Argus, Ollie was interviewed for Brighton Argus, BBC Sussex Radio and Latest TV. I made a list of pros and cons below and found there were virtually no pros to keeping Madeira Drive shut!

If you would like to see Madeira Drive open again, please sign our petition here and also fill in the council's newly created consultation here. The matter will go to full council on 23rd July 2020.
Thank you. Let's keep Madeira Drive alive!

Madeira Drive Closure
Makes Momentum/The Greens happy
Will cause businesses to close down (souvenir shop already gone)
Provides more pedestrian and cycling space (though in reality, few are using the middle of the road for these purposes)
Restoring Madeira Arches would provide more pedestrian space as would re-open covered walkway, upper footpaths, slopes, staircases and cliff lift.

Losing money through:
·        Lost revenue from 393 parking spaces
·        Trader’s rent strike
·        Hiring a minimum of 4 x staff for 7 days a week to stop traffic using it.
·        No events and minimal visitors
·        Possibility of being sued by both traders and event hosts.

Discriminates against disabled, carers, visitors, bikers, scooterists and anyone who is not fit or local enough to drive or walk everywhere. Disabled have been told they have to park in Black Rock car park, a mile away!

May be used as an excuse NOT to restore Madeira Terraces or preserve unique Green Wall.

Traffic parking in Kemp Town or Hove instead, affecting residents who cannot park there.

No coach parking, particularly overnight and supporting local hotels or to take bands/equipment/audience to Concorde II

No taxi access

No through traffic, though was never much used for through traffic, but as a destination

Chicanes already in place to prevent boy racers

Not most polluting road in Brighton and no emissions studies to evidence pollution.

Permanent closure mooted without public consultation under the auspices of the (temporary) Coronavirus Act 2020 and without requisite public notice or applying for A TTRO under Road Traffic Act 1984 (currently being legally challenged by two events organisers, we understand).

Bad cycling accidents by speeding cyclists

It is naïve to assume that Madeira Drive would be allowed to lie fallow indefinitely. Once businesses are gone, it could easily be sold off to developers and lost to the citizens of Brighton and Hove as an iconic promenade and events destination forever!

Sunday, 7 June 2020

The World I Was Promised...

This is the world I was promised as a child...

And I want it back! Who do I sue...?

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Parental Alienation

In support of a loved one in this situation, whose children have not only been alienated from him by an ex who clearly hates him more than she loves their children, but from his entire family, including uncles, aunts and cousins as the ex cannot afford for her programming to be undermined.

Coercive control is now recognised as abuse and has duly been made illegal in romantic relationships, but not as yet in family relationships, no matter that CAFCASS has termed it 'child abuse'.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Environmentally Responsible, not Green

I love dolphins, birds and rainforests as much as the next person and used to regard myself as Green, an environmentalist. In fact I wrote the first environmental policy for the Oxford college where I worked in the early noughties.

However now I find that being 'Green' seems to entail ditching all my old school tech and investing in a load of smart technology with built-in obsolescence and believing in scary sounding concepts like 'global compliance' and 'depopulation', I am having to revise my position and thus Green identity.

My idea of being environmentally responsible is somewhat different;
  • Rescuing heritage buildings and retro-greening them in preference to demolition and erection of glass and concrete blocks with a 50 year life span.
  • Walking, cycling or busing most places but occasionally driving a 16-year old car containing no unnecessary electrics or air conditioning but which has outlived its carbon footprint, passess its yearly emissions test, runs on unleaded and is easy to repair.
  • Expecting clothes to last at least 5 years.
  • Seldom flying
  • Recycling
  • Remaining child free
  • Not wasting food or anything else (if I can help it)
  • Being an almost-vegan (aside from the odd bit of cheese)
  • Ignoring most fashion and fippery (ok unless it's a REALLY cute piece of jewellery)
  • Eschewing so-called 'smart' technology including the Internet of Things, which are all just a waste of electricity and batteries to perform simple tasks I am more than capable of performing myself.
  • If I could buy a computer that lasted a decade and a mobile phone ditto, I'd be delighted, but computers tend to have a 5-year lifespan tops, even with upgrading works and you are lucky to get 2 years out of a mobile phone before the manufacturers cease support for it and it becomes increasingly unusable. You cannot even remove the battery from new phones any more.
  • Being strongly opposed to scrapping pefectly good cars, utility meters, boilers and street lights in favour of over-engineered, ugly and inflexible new ones, which claim to be green, but will take years to prove it and meanwhile could have detrimental affects on our health.

In a nutshell my own personal environmentalism translates into 'being sensible' and not buying stuff for the sake of it.

'Extinction Rebellion' and Greta Thunberg have to all intents and purposes, been put out of a job by the current CV crisis.
Enter various wealthy public figures, stage left, to opine that the world is 'over-populated' and that de-population measures will need to be adopted.

Whoah! Let's stop right there shall we?
1. Who are these (mostly unelected) public figures to make these decisions and without public consultation or consent?
2. How is there an ethical means of shrinking the world population within the next ten years beyond making free contraception universally available to all and tax breaks and other financial incentives to encourage people to have fewer kids? (and yes, I do want my enormous tax break for having none!).
According to 'Freakonomics' human beings respond best to financial incentives for behavioural changes.

If there is no ethical, consensual and transparent means of bringing this about, how is the architect of de-population any better than Mr H.itler? How is de-population any different to g.enocide?

If you adulterate a human being's food, environment, air, water or medicine to compromise their natural health and life span, this is murder. As for wars, whether military or germ, these are not ethically acceptable population thinners either.

I do not consent to this world and nor should you. You can bet your bottom dollar that the super-rich are not going to be affected by it, same as they are exempted most other human issues.

If you think I am being melodramatic, do your own research.  It doesn't take many clicks to find verifiable evidence on independent news sites. And it's a head frack to say the least.

Only don't forget to speak out and share the knowledge when you do. Bad things happen when good people do nothing. Moreover...

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Cons Piracy

If there were no conspiracy theorists, would there still be conspiracies?
If there were no conspiracies, would there still be conspiracy theorists?
(What a genius word conspiracy is; first part 'cons', second part 'piracy')

If a thing or person is discredited, does that also make that thing or person disproved?

Here's some stuff allegedly crazy people have achieved in the past, having no doubt had to battle through the three stages of truth to get there.

To return to Mark Twain's quote (top) what does censorship and secrecy do other than BREED a deal more conspiracy theorists? Surely transparency and telling the truth about everything would put a stop to them.

I wonder in the 1930s if anyone raised doubts about whether Mr Hitler was a nice bloke or not, only to be silenced with 'Oh shut up with your conspiracy theories! I don't want to hear it! Look at all these lovely autobahns he's building. And look how he's smartened up the local youth club with all those new brown uniforms. You're crazy, you are!'

The fact that the term 'conspiracy theorist' has become a term of abuse is certainly an effective means of censorship and thus shutting down all further question and debate on a subject, so that the established or groupthink view is the accepted one truth.
Social media has become a case in point. An echo chamber where approval is gained by fitting in, not standing out (unless virtue signalling counts) and friends are quickly lost through any deviation from accepted views or cute animal pictures. Where there are debates trolls can be paid to debate either or both sides, almost cutting out the need for the account holder, to form a sock puppet show.

Then again, bad things only happen in Bond Films. Or in other countries without the benefit of our fine western values. Surely.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

If 'The Truth Will Set You Free'...

If 'The truth will set you free', why do so many of us seem so scared of it?
To believe in a delusion or set of delusions surely sets us up for far worse....

It is nigh impossible to coerce or control someone who knows the truth because their fear factor will be gone if knowledge is power.

Why this post? 
Why these ever more censorious times? might be a more pertinent question.

I saw an interesting post on social media yesterday (before it disappeared). 'Everything being censored is what you need to know.'

It is often argued that truth can be relative, but if you have any doubts, there is a simple solution. Rather than take one person's word on a matter, just keep asking the questions that bother you with an open mind, check out multiple sources (including non-mainstream) and join the dots. Following the money in any given situation is also a good tip. Ask yourself who benefits?

Finally gut feelings play an important role in our internal guidance system. If something feels 'wrong' it probably merits closer inspection and question.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Don't You Know There's A War On?

'What did you do in the war Daddy?
'I shopped our neighbours on social media for having a glass of wine with a friend on their balcony son.'

We are at war it seems.
Which brings out both the best and the worst in people.
We are told we're all in it together. But actually we have to stay apart.

The enemy is invisible. We are told we need to hide from it.

No one seems to know a lot about this invisible enemy. Is it a killer or can an individual recover with just a few restive days in a handy Scottish castle? Are those it kills just about to die from other causes (aka Eddie Large in the final stages of heart disease)? Do the small percentage of apparently healthy victims have underlying health issues they didn't know about? It's odd that their healthy status seems to be declared on the same day as the death rate for that day, which wouldn't allow time for a full post mortem.
Anyone recall that months after David Frost died, his apparently healthy 31 year old son collapsed and died while running a marathon of an undiagnosed heart condition? My own family suffered the tragic loss of an apparently fit and healthy 10 year old niece the same year, who collapsed and died while warming up on a sports field one Saturday, another hidden heart condition.

Even the means of contraction is argued over with no clear information on whether it is airborne or otherwise.

As for the advice on staying safe, that just seems to concern 'social distancing' and personal protection equipment, not solid commonsense advice on what we can do to boost our own immune systems by optimising our nutrition and lifestyle or what else we should be cleaning apart from our hands. Would a daily temperature check before leaving the house be just as useful as locking a whole country down?

How many die in hospital? How many die at home? Hospitals in themselves are dangerous places and known to generate more than 20,000 UK deaths a year from hospital-acquired infections including sepsis. It doesn't help that most hospitals have sealed windows nowadays, forcing all staff and patients to inhale the same recycled air circulated via air handling units, which may or may not be serviced on a regular basis, and use outsourced cleaning and maintenance, over which they have less control and accountability. Many staff also arrive and go home in uniform kit which potentially transports germs in and out of the hospital.

All we know for sure is that we are dealing with germ warfare, but is it natural or was it created in a laboratory? The means certainly exist and the use of germ warfare has been both possible and, at various times and in various conflicts, employed since WWI. We also know that sometimes natural viruses come along or mutate from more harmless ones, hence the caution against prescribing too many antibiotics, so they still work when we really need them to.

They say the first victim of any war is truth. But what is truth anymore?
Fake news is everywhere. But the 'fake' label seems to exclude sponsored news, news owned by media goliaths or news angled to further political agendas, if not conspiracy ones. There's no such thing as news without spin any more. Even the timing of the Queen's special speech was apparently carefully timed to be neither too early nor too late in the crisis.

Perhaps follow the money is the best advice that can be given in any crisis. It is clear that many millions will financially lose in this situation (largely the middle and working classes, who are likely to be squeezed past breaking point in many cases), but who will gain? Who gained from the last (conventional) war when Iraq needed re-building and large contracts were ripe for the picking?

'Put that light out!' was the cry all over the land in WWII.
'Put that human freedom out!' could well be the cry for this war, if we are not careful.

Ah well, at least I've stocked up on my bread and circuses for the week. Now for my prescribed hour's exercise on a deserted bit of shoreline.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

You've Had Your Chips - a short story

You’ve Had Your Chips

At first it seemed a marvellous idea. A microchip implant which meant you never had to carry (or lose) money, keys or ID ever again. What freedom! Especially for someone like Sarah who had a brain like a sieve and was forever forgetting things. Once she had even lost a flight through forgetting her passport! 

Sarah was indeed the first in her neighbourhood to have the implant and extol the benefits of a smaller handbag to all her friends, neighbours and colleagues, though eventually it became mandatory, so she needn’t have worried.

Of course she felt a bit sorry for all the locksmiths, shopkeepers and others who lost out when keys and cash became a thing of the past, particularly the homeless. Though strangely the homeless soon started disappearing from the streets, so presumably they had solved the homelessness crisis. Either way, it was nice to see clean streets again and not get accosted every time she went out. 

The council grew satisfyingly efficient. They always remembered to start the birdsong tape at six every morning to brighten everyone's day. So much better than the old days of slippery bird poo and scavenged binbags everywhere. They also lined the streets with attractive no maintenance plastic trees which never shed any leaves or caused any root damage and each remained green all year round possessing a discreet solar panel at the top to power the driverless vehicle plugged in at pavement level.

Years went by and things became more and more expensive with transaction charges added to every electronic purchase but Sarah didn’t worry too much. They had to pay for all this new technology after all. And it was so convenient. She just went out less in the evening and had fewer holidays. Anyway you could get some lovely second hand clothes these days. She had never realised before.

Then one day Sarah went into work and it was announced there would be a special departmental meeting at 11am. Sarah wondered what it could be about. She soon found out. Her department was being closed and they were all being made redundant. Those closer to retirement age weren’t so upset and immediately started planning all the holidays they were going to have, much to the irritation of younger staff like Sarah.

From that day forward Sarah went into overdrive applying for new jobs. She had never been unemployed in her life before and wasn’t about to start claiming benefits now. No money wasting holidays for her. However many of the jobs she was qualified for in banking no longer existed. The electronic technology was rendering them useless, hence the closure of her department.

Eventually six months and many interviews later Sarah landed a job in a bank of a different kind, a DNA bank where she became a risk calculator for insurance companies. It was better paid and Sarah reveled in her tenth floor glass office – the first office she’d ever had all to herself.

To celebrate Sarah decided to throw a party inviting all her former colleagues. Only seven turned up out of the thirty people Sarah had worked with. Out of those thirty it turned out that fourteen had died. Sarah was shocked. She had been so absorbed in looking for a new job, she had only kept in touch with one colleague who was equally determined to find another job, Lisa, who had eventually taken a pay cut to work in an Estate Agents. Jeff the relationship manager had been killed in a car crash but the others it seemed, had all died of heart conditions, even Paul and Jason, who had only been in their forties, one while running a marathon. 

‘I can hardly believe it.’ Said Lisa. 
‘I know.’ Said David. 
‘We must be jinxed! Maybe we should all go for heart tests.’ 
‘That’s not a bad idea.’ Stuart chipped in. ‘I saw Jason’s widow the other day. She said just before he collapsed that he had a tingling pain in his right arm.’ 
‘I thought heart attacks affected the left’ said David. 
‘So did I’ said Sarah. ‘And I’ve had to learn a bit about medical conditions for my new job.’ 
‘She said much as she misses him, the insurance has come in handy as he was about to run out of money after their cruise.’ added Stuart.

‘Nice’ said David. ‘I hope my wife doesn’t say the same about me if I conk out. We’re also about to run out of money if I don’t get that departmental job I’ve just gone for. ‘
‘Well as long as you haven’t got a tingling pain in your right arm, you should be alright.’ joked Stuart.
David blanched. ‘Funny you should say that.’ He said. ‘Here. Pass me that fish knife.’
‘Why. What are you going to do with it?’ asked Stuart.
‘Something I suspect we may all need to do.’ replied David. 

They watched as he rolled up his shirt sleeve, tied a napkin tourniquet around his arm and used the tip of the fish knife to extract the microchip.

                                                                               ©LS King 2020

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Disruption Is Not A Sexy Word

I fervently hope that when we get to the end of the ghastly CO-VID situation, it will put an end to any notion that 'disruption' is any way exciting or sexy.

It is not.

It is destruction by another name.

Destruction of the good stuff as well as the stuff that needs re-thinking. It is no discriminator of what it destroys; livelihoods, families, mental health, physical health, our freedoms and choices, our human history and heritage - it really couldn't care less.

And at least one company has been doing it for years, yet strangely it's not exciting or sexy when Southern Rail does disruption!

It's a head frack!

So let's stop this celebration of all things disruptive and broken and turn our attention to mending them to the best of our ability.

Let's put the 'sexy' into consistency, reliability, loyalty and sanity. And prove that creativity can still be a viable bedfellow to these if it's fear of loss of creativity that makes disruption seem attractive.

And while certainty is something that can never be guaranteed we know that few people thrive on instability. On not knowing where their next meal or pay cheque will be coming from. We know what causes people to spiral and stop striving to be their best selves.

I also fervently hope that this crisis will not be used as an excuse to close libraries, museums, post offices, community centres, places of worship, art galleries, pubs, cafes, tourist attractions and everything else that facilitates social contact and cohesion, It seems an odd co-incidence that just as we are being driven towards an online cashless faceless society of social isolation, along comes a virus which drives us even further into the soulless vacuum of an online cashless faceless society of social isolation!

Let us also not forget that a good 20% of the population, either through age, disability or illness are not part of the online world and face complete discrimination and disenfranchisement if their currency is no longer legal tender for the brave new world ahead.

So thanks for the dolphins in the Venetian canals, but no thanks for the panic-demic, the deaths and the excuse for a police state. As soon as my fellow human beings stop being weapons of mass destruction, I for one, want to be amongst them again!

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Muse at Ten - Mass Mind Power Experiment to Heal the CV Situation (and world)

Fed up with being scared silly watching the doom and gloom on News at Ten each night and having a bad night's sleep as a result? Well why not do something about it? Why not switch off the news, switch off social media and take ten minutes out to join me (LIVE from your living room) in a mass thought power experiment to heal the CV situation (and world)? I think we can all agree that the world needs all the healing it can get at the moment. Here's how to join in Muse at Ten; (and please spread the word). At 10pm each night, find a quiet comfortable place, take a few slow and deep breaths and ask the universe (or your God) to dissolve the virus. Visualise everyone in every country affected rising from their sick beds and feeling 100% well again. Envisage, shops, restaurants, pubs, schools, libraries and everything else you value re-opening and blossoming again. Spend about ten minutes focusing on healing everyone and everything affected. You can start with our city and then expand your energy beam of focus wider and wider into healing the whole country and healing the world and planet generally. Think of all the other people doing the same as you. Feel the power of intention in every pore. Imagine you are a channel for the power of good intent. Let’s see what people power can do! If nothing happens at least it will help us feel better and healthier than watching the news! Tip To help you focus, it is worth doing one of the following; light a candle or hold a crystal, lucky charm or talisman during your meditation. If you believe in angels, saints or other spiritual beings, you can ask for their help too (Archangel Raphael is for healing) For the naysayers reading this, It is a known fact that mental states - in particular the negative ones of fear, isolation, loneliness and anxiety have a HUGE impact on mental and physical health and vulnerability to illness and infection. Therefore let us boost the opposite mental states of calm, love, healing, positivity and a Dunkirk spirit generally of helping our neighbours. Hopefully we can also boost our immune systems in so doing. If improving our own mental states is the only positive outcome of this experiment, then that alone is worth it.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Keep Calm and Carry On!

The famous British 'stiff upper lip' may be unfashionable and even mocked in the world of woke but the wobbly lip simply doesn't serve us!

I am shocked that the 'nuclear option' of potential economic ruin is even being considered re putting Britain on lockdown over what is, essentially, a particularly nasty dose of flu. And sadly every flu epidemic brings deaths.

Here are my emergency measures if I ruled the country:

Personal Safety Measures
·        Boost immune system with plenty of sleep, good hygiene, nutritious food and vitamin C and don’t let yourself get run down or dehydrated
·        Don’t kiss babies, toddlers or the very elderly or sick on the face.
·        Don’t kiss pets
·        Wash hands with soap each time you go indoors/feed your pet/change a nappy/prepare food etc.
Clean your mobile phones, remote controls and keyboards daily
·        No public handshaking, hugging or kissing. Reserve intimacy for intimates.
·        Carry a packet of tissues around at all times (coughs and sneezes spread diseases) and don’t spit in public.
·        Don’t buy uncovered food or share food and wash all fruit and vegetables before using.
·        Extra measure: Face masks are not known for efficacy but wearing latex gloves can be more beneficial. The Queen has a habit of wearing normal gloves (replaced every day) to reduce her own exposure to germs. They are not just an accessory to her outfits. And she is apparently hardly ever sick.
     Invest in a thermometer and check your temperature every day. If it's above normal, self isolate.
·        Keep calm and carry on! Business as usual.

Public Safety Measures
·        Invest in temperature scanners at airports, train stations, shopping centres and venues to pick up anyone with a high temperature who might need further testing.
·        Bring back public ban on spitting or coughing/sneezing without handkerchief (as used to exist to prevent spread of TB) and chewing gum deposits as well. Extend to sports pitches and activities.
·        Isolate only those who need isolating. Keep everything else open for business as usual
·        Reopen any closed wards or nursing homes as emergency isolation centres and offer incentives to NHS staff to come out of retirement to staff them.
·        No buffets or food sharing
·        No uncovered food in cafes, restaurants or shops
·        Cleanse public building and public transport door handles daily and businesses need to cleanse shop trolley and basket handles
·        Keep calm and carry on! Business as usual.

   A pandemic of panic helps no one and the stress of being triggered into a heightened or
   prolonged state of anxiety is enough to bring many people’s immune systems down and
   render them vulnerable to infections.