Not In or Out, but a New Europe

The European debate in the UK is rather odd. It is portrayed as one of two stark choices IN or OUT. If an in/out referendum were to be held tomorrow I would suspect, based on what my friends and family say, that most of the voters of Wales would vote OUT (not a scientific survey, but this is a blog not an academic essay).

The oddity is that most people who tell me that they would vote OUT are not anti-European; they are opposed to a European Superstate. They agree with the idea of a Common Market, they agree with the idea of a "level playing field" where employment rights or animal welfare standards etc are equal thoroughout Europe they like the idea of free trade and free travel in Europe; what they don't want is an United States of Europe.

Such attitudes are not "little Englander" attitudes, they are not UKIP attitudes; they are actually Pan European attitudes. Large numbers of the citizens of every part of Europe want to rein back the idea of a European Superstate and re-embrace the idea of a Common Market. Supporting either the Europhobes or the Europhiles in an UK stark choice referendum will be bad for Wales. What we should do is unite with those, thoroughout Europe, who want a new European settlement where independent nations are In Europe, but not under Europe's thumb!


A New Year's Resolution – tell the diet industry to Fuck Off!

Every New Year thousands, probably millions of people will make a resolution to lose weight and increase their fitness levels, and they have many companies to help them achieve their goals.

Or do they?

In the pure capital society in which we in the Western World exist a diet programme that worked would be counter productive to business. If I could make you thin and you stayed thin, I wouldn't have any repeat business!

The "diet industry" has no interest, whatsoever, in keeping you thin and healthy. Its interest is in keeping you in a "yo-yo" situation where you lose weight and gain weight and lose weight and gain weight ad infiniteum! The industry' has a vested interest in making sure that it fails in order to keep you as a continuous dieting customer!

A simple example – I have two spoons full of sugar in my tea. If I stopped taking sugar in my tea I would get use to unsweetened tea and I would make a life changing difference to my sugar intake. But hey I don't need to make that life changing decision because I can use 0% sweetener instead. – so I am permanently addicted to sweet tea – so I yo-yo between taking sugar and going back to sweetener!

When you eat a Granola Bar rather than a Mars Bar you are confirming the "bar" habit rather than breaking it, you are falling into the diet industry trap. If Mars bars are making you fat – give up snack bars - don't swap them for false "healthy" bars.

And remember that normal healthy people have bellies – the six pack is unnatural and probably unhealthy!

How loyal are loyalists?

Like, I suspect, 99% of others who live on the largest of the British Islands, I don't understand the politics of Northern Ireland.

I can sort of understand the nationalist position. They want Ireland to be independent in the same way as the English Democrats, Mebyon Kernow, Plaid Cymru and the SNP want their parts of these islands to be independent or less dependent on each other.

There are those who propose and oppose nationalism in England, Scotland Cornwall and Wales but we tend to accept each other's views as legitimate ones to hold even in our most vehement of arguments. The vast majority of people in mainland Britain probably couldn't give a toss about the Independence / Union argument.

I don't know if my local county hall flies the Union Flag permanently, or if it flies it only on flag days or if it doesn't fly it at all, whatever it isn't a big deal to me and it won't be a big deal to most of us who live on the larger island. Even if it was a big deal we might send letters to the editor of the local rag, complain to our MP, we may even raise a petition. We wouldn't riot!

If anybody started a riot in Llandudno because the Union Flag was absent from the Town Hall the local Lore and Order Tory Brits would be the first to condemn the rioters and would insist that they were dealt with by the utmost severity of the law.

That is basically why I don't understand the politics of the north of Ireland, the loyalists don't seem very loyal to what the local Brits tell me are British values. And the local Brits tend to see the likes of Ian Paisley and his loyalist ilk as "Irish Scum" rather than a True Brits.

How can you be "loyalist" to Britain if the rest of Britain abhors and rejects your interpretation of loyalty?