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Comments on the world around us

General

This section is our place to reflect on life from a retired person's point of view, and comment on what we read in the press, and hear on the radio and television (TV). The reality is we don't post much here - we have often hesitated from commenting on issues of the day, mainly from fear of showing our ignorance, and partly from fear of upsetting someone!

We often listen to Radio 5 and BBC 24 hour news, as it's easier and more immediate than reading a newspaper; but it has seemed to us that in recent years while the BBC has been good at pumping out headlines, it has been weaker on analysis and explanation of the issues. Or to put it another way, we don't sometimes understand what is actually going on, and would welcome the BBC's insight. An example is the distressing wars in Syria and the Yemen where the situation has been very confused and it is the civilians, especially children, who seem to suffer most.

The British public's view of current affairs is probably to a large extent formed from what is heard on the radio, watched on TV and read in the newspapers reinforced by social media, and who knows if people are being told the truth, given a biased view, or being presented with fake news. It seems also that possibly homo sapiens is more easily brainwashed than we had previously thought, as evidenced by many cases of individuals being influenced by extremists to blow up themselves and innocent members of the public.

On balance it appears that Britain is a more physically comfortable place to live in than it was in the 1950s. Many people have warmer homes, a better welfare system, better medical care, and there is less racism. On the other hand there seems to be less freedom of speech, and people, especially politicians, are hesitant to say anything that might be thought politically incorrect or unpopular. Poverty and drugs remain an issue and there are still sections of the community who live in difficult circumstances

We wonder how many modern families are able to benefit from the support close links within an extended family can bring.

The Scottish Referendum

The referendum on Scottish Independence in 2016 was a close run thing, and we felt the quality of the debate was poor. We wondered why Prime Minister David Cameron held it.

We thought all was done and dusted but the subsequent vote to leave the EU has reopened the matter, as it has the Northern Ireland issue.

BREXIT

The quality of the EU referendum debate was little better than that of the Scottish Referendum; Prime Minister David Cameron said bad things would happen if we left the EU, so why on earth did he hold it?

Seemingly the EU Referendum was held solely for short-term Conservative party political purposes, not for the good of the country but to deflate the UK Independance Party (UKIP) vote; it did this but leaving politicians with the problem of dealing with the vote in favour of leaving the EU.

Immediately after the vote we expected the majority of politicians who had been largely in favour of 'remain' would in one way or another vote not to leave the EU, despite the referendum outcome.

However most seem more concerned about not upsetting the public, and retaining their seats in parliament, and so the bitter argument continues in 2018 with no clear view as to whether we will leave or eventually remain.

In our opinion, it was partly the EU, by stubbornly rejecting David Cameron's request for more flexibility over immigration, that precipitated the British EU Referendum, and the vote in favour of BREXIT.

The EU appear just as inflexible in BREXIT negotiations, so perhaps it is a good idea we leave.

Syria

The war in Syria and the surge of refugees from Africa and Asia attempting to enter the EU has become a major problem on a scale that European politicians have never before experienced in their lifetime, and they do not know how to deal with. It's worrying that universities and best brains in Europe have not, so far, been able to point the way to go.

Did David Cameron make matters worse by bringing down the Gadaafi government leading to instability in Libya? Foreign Secretary William Hague initially seemed to support the rebels in Syria fighting President Assad. Both men have now gone and who knows, in a fast moving world, whether their interventions made matters better or worse; perhaps universities will study these events and deliberate about them in 100 years time. Russia has since filled the vacuum,  and by supporting Assad may be bringing the conflict to a bloody end.

Television

The TV coverage of the British Olympics in 2012, EU Football, Wimbledon, Grand Prix events, and the 2016 Rio Olympics has been marvellous. Well done to everyone involved. Some sixty years ago we thought that black and white TV with 405 line resolution and two channels was pretty good. We are spoilt now!

The remakes of Goodnight Sweetheart and Hancock were really funny. Perhaps we could have some more?

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