I Politicised Myself for an Hour and Look what Happened!

Now I will say from the off that my political notions are limited by the number of active brain cells I have, which I don’t think is up in the double digits. That being said, I’ve picked up bits and bobs from what I hear in the news, see on televised panel shows, debates and what people post on Facebook.

By all means I welcome debate over these points, in fact I request it, but I think a point blank statement of “you’re wrong” helps nobody and as such won’t remain unquestioned.

Below are some of the things I’ve thought might make the UK a better (or more equal) place for the majority of its citizens. There’s probably vast swathes of policy and huge proportions of the UK demographic that aren’t represented here but bear in mind I’m in my late twenties with a narrow filed of political understanding and am, more importantly, wanting to hear other people’s views too which may or may not fill in the gaps.

  • Proportional representation – from my understanding, if this system was used in the 2010 elections we would have had a very different government. Supposedly more accurately representing what people voted for in government and not local elections.
  • A minimum living wage – which has just come out in the 2016 budget at £7.20 per hour. Along with a bunch of other changes which I’ve been led to believe mean that people who were on benefits on the old minimum wage now might not be able to claim anything and possibly be worse off on the new one.
  • Maximum ‘socially tolerable’ wage – Basically a wage cap, there’s only so much money a person needs in their lifetime, I haven’t got a figure in mind but it would be large. I’m talking about those people who are on multi-million pound yearly incomes.
  • The end of ‘career’ politicians – politicians to be unable to gain office without first having a ‘real job’.
  • State to regain ownership of the UK rail network – when it’s cheaper to fly to London via Spain than get a train from the north something is drastically wrong with the system.
  • Scrap the HS2 project (It’s actually a little late for this but the point still stands, there was no need to shave 30 minutes off a journey that might not even be necessary if the job market was not so centralised in London)
  • Scrap Trident – The reason for this is twofold, primarily because it’s flipping expensive and also because we needn’t be joining the nuclear arms race, even as a deterrent it’s too much.
  • Free university tuition for UK residents – but stricter controls on who can actually undertake HE courses.
  • Join the Euro – In fact I am under the impression that a global economy wouldn’t be a bad thing. It’s all based on the value of gold is it not? Wouldn’t it be simpler to have a monetary system based on a value of gold, not an arbitrary figure and then stamped on various bits of metal and paper?
  • A focus on rehabilitation of offenders rather than incarceration. I’m talking specifically about things like drug offences and theft. Drive down the number of people in prisons and target the motivation for crimes such as these.
  • Increase taxation in the higher income bands – some countries operate a 50% plus income tax system and it works.
  • Increase the tax free allowance so that people who are deemed below the ‘poverty line’ don’t have to pay anything.
  • Incentivise property renovation over new builds. Rejuvenation rather than expansion.
  • Swap some portion of child benefits for more practical and useful things such as a ‘baby box’ as they do in some Scandinavian counties. A ‘literacy pack’ for when the child is a bit older and maybe a ‘parenting kit’ to get started (patronising for some but a necessity for others).
  • Decentralise government from London. There is a bit of that taking place with DevoManc but I get the impression it’s not true devolution of power, just allowing some minor decisions and financial freedom but the big spends and decisions are still made in the capital.
  • Pursue more green/renewable energy sources, we live on an island and we don’t seem to be using a lot of our coastline to generate power from waves/tides etc.
  • Place greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility at home. There are so many places that are run down; factories that have a wonderful glass frontage but at the back by the fences there’s brambles, broken bottles and barbed wire just waiting to do some damage.
  • Clamp down on littering with on the spot fines, tax hikes in areas notorious for uncleanliness/litter.

 

So, in reviewing this list, there’s little or nothing there in relation to pensions, disabled people, primary and secondary education, healthcare, global trade, international aid, warfare, climate change, farming and many other things I’m sure.

What I’d like as a result of writing and posting this is a lively debate over the benefits of any of the above ideas, further ideas on the subjects I’ve not put forward any opinions and other various proposals for the betterment of this country and ALL the people in it.

I have a suspicion that the bulk of people reading this will already be of a similar mindset, especially in terms of taxation and financial concerns because I know very few business leaders, owners of large companies or members of the aristocracy.

For now I shall wish thee all well and leave you to review my brain fart and hope that something constructive comes of it.

 

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A Life is Just All the Clutter You Collect and How Much of it You Can Remember

So I spent about 2 hours this morning cleaning out about 3 or 4 drawers in my bedroom. They were full of all sorts of junk: letters from ex-girlfriends, photos of trips abroad (on actual photo paper!), the rolls of film and negatives from countless wasted days trying to snap crap skateboarding tricks, boxes and boxes from all the crap that I’ve bought over the years, my record of achievement from high school and some report cards, my progress reports from AS and A2 at college, toys (including a yo-yo, which I just had to try and spin), some necklaces, and an old laptop.

I filled about 2 bin bags of rubbish, one bag of stuff to go to a charity shop and another of stuff that really needs to go to the tip.

Anyway, so it’s my birthday and look how I spent the first half of it! I’m working this afternoon and then going for a meal with my family in the evening, so that’ll make up for it.

My sister has been shouting at me to get some focus and direction in life (she know she’s a bit hypocritical in that respect but she’s right so I can’t argue) and one of the things I’ve said I want to do for some years now is travel abroad, specifically to New Zealand and/or Australia, partly because of all the amazing things people have told me about those places and also because in Australia they use a similar Sign Language and I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to learn the bits that were different. Maybe I could even work over there… Anyway, the point I’m making is that, in my limited experience, the immigration processes in Australia have a cut-off age of 30 for non-desirable  careers, I’m not sure if I want to work there but having never been how could I know and I’ve only got a year left. I guess it’s more a kick up the arse to go and do stuff with my life than anything with any real direction yet.

In the same vein as the above paragraph I’ve learned how to count in Japanese and here’s A Video of Me Counting to 20 in Japanese  (I can actually count to 99 now but that’s not exactly going to be riveting to watch is it?) there’s no reason why I’ve learned, other than as a teenager I used to watch a fair bit of Japanese animated films and TV programs but never picked up much of the language, I guess I’d also like to visit some of the more rural areas of Nippon (Japan) and it’d be nice to be able to be polite in their language.

Anyway, happy birthday to me and maybe I’ll remember that I’ve got this blog some time before 2017.

 

Ta-ra for now

 

~keep the peace or defer all decision making capacity to a Russian meerkat~

 

 

 

 

The Irreversible March of Progress and Time, The Slow and Painful Regression of My Self

You know when you just have ‘one of those days’? A day that starts with you oversleeping, when the slightest thing can send you into a tailspin and if you get 5 minutes to yourself you use them to pick apart your life and find all the blame you can get hold of and lump it squarely on your own shoulders… Oh, you don’t get those days? Just me then…

Today has been one of those days…

I am in my own created isolation. I am no longer with my girlfriend of almost 7 years. I live at least 40 miles from anyone that might consider me a friend and I’ve near exhausted my family with my discontent.

In a moment of introspection this evening I had something of an epiphany about myself and my inner workings: I know I’m lazy, I will drive when others will walk and I’ll procrastinate to put off exercise that I’d planned to do. I won’t send messages to friends when I know it’s been too long since we last spoke and I’ll bitch and moan that my life isn’t perfect but I’ll do nothing to take steps to improve it.

Today, however, I realised that there is a new element to my laziness, that it went deeper than I thought possible. I will not adapt my behaviour in any given situation to allow other people to engage with me… I have just spent about 15 minutes Googling an appropriate adjective and after going through the synonyms of ‘narcissistic’ and ‘egocentric’ the nearest thing I’ve got is ‘aloof’ which doesn’t sound as bad as some of the others. I won’t fake a smile if I’m feeling contemplative, I won’t ask how people are if it’s only to exchange pleasantries, I won’t bite my tongue even if what I’ll say might not go down so well. I’m sure all of these things wouldn’t kill me if I were to do them, but I don’t… I’m not sure I’ve ever done them and if I ever did, I’ve long forgotten what the compulsion was to do so…

I’ve met a few people recently who, I’ve felt, were just smiling because to do anything other than smile would be too revealing, too honest, and they weren’t prepared for the world outside to know what they were truly feeling. I’ve never been one for wearing that kind of mask that imitates emotion, I feel that it is too flimsy and the real you shows around the edges anyway, so I don’t bother.

The upshot of this realisation was that I started to wonder how many people were like me… How many people are honest about how they feel at all times, and I don’t mean people who are a walking soliloquy on their inner-most feelings but I mean people who don’t mask their emotions, who can’t just smile so that the world sees them smiling and thinks there’s nothing wrong, I can’t be the only one who lets it all hang out and blow everyone else.

…but what if it isn’t that common? What if I’m dooming myself to a life of relative solitude because the way I am pushes people away, or doesn’t even allow them to come close in the first place?

What if all the reasons I cited as the cause of my recent break-up are just things that ‘normal’ people just ‘smile‘ about and get on with their day whilst seething inside? Should I have adapted for my ex, should I have tried harder to accept her for who she was and should I have endeavoured to change some of the things she didn’t like about me so that we could stay together? Would ‘normal’ people have done that?

I put a post on Facebook earlier today which said that I struggle to be disingenuous, that I don’t do things because I feel obliged or pressured by social norms to do, I do things in my life because I want to. What this has meant is I haven’t had to TRY at any point in my life to make social interaction work for me, if a social encounter has gone awry I haven’t blamed myself, I’ve accepted it and moved on. I had a philosophy tutor in college who once told me that I was ‘coasting through life’ and that I had no motivation to achieve something that was even just slightly out of my reach. I thought I understood what he meant at the time but maybe he saw more than I gave him credit for all those years ago. I’ll repeat what I said a few sentences ago, I’ve never had to try for anything in life. I’ve got a fast metabolism so, even though I lead a sedentary life I’m still pretty thin, I’m naturally quite intelligent so I’ve coasted through school, college, and to some extent university (but that was a vocational course and I am lucky that I already had some skill in the field before I started the course – which, again, allowed me to coast through most of the first two years) I fell into my first job because there were only three candidates and I was the only one who was actually qualified to the correct standard, I got my second job because, of the three candidates, they needed to hire two people and the third candidate was rubbish. Now I work for myself so even more coasting (I’m pretty sure I could drum up more work if I put my mind to it but apparently I’m writing a blog instead)

Please bear with the following metaphor: I’m in a canoe flowing with the river currents and up until recently it was a pretty comfortable ride. Recently though it’s started to get rough; I get the sensation there’s something akin to a waterfall up ahead and I’m pretty sure I didn’t bring a paddle. I’m unsure whether I can make a paddle out of the things that I did bring with me and to be honest I’ve never even used one before, it’s been so long that I can’t be sure I’d make something that even looked or functioned like a paddle.

I think I’m at a time in my life where it’s either I carry on letting myself get swept along by the river and risk the waterfall or ditch the canoe and start afresh, make a new canoe and proper paddles. I suppose I could try and make do with what I’ve got on board and hope that I can muddle through. Either way I’m going to get wet, the question is whether I let that happen to me or I do things on my own terms and make a conscious decision to make a change.

The final question is simply… Can I make that change?

~ keep the peace ~

So… I’d forgotten about this place

So… I’d forgotten about WordPress.com… Which means I’d forgotten about my blog. Which no-one read anyway but it’s useful for me to catalogue my life as I’ve probably got a long term memory span of about a week.

I’m now living in a house near Prestatyn in North Wales, I’ve been working as a sign language interpreter for North Wales Deaf Association for a year and a half and it’s been good. I kind of landed on my feet with this job; there is a real sense of companionship amongst the staff there and I’ve not been asked to do too many jobs where I’ve felt I’d be out of my depth, which is reassuring.

I’m renovating the house for my dad who is technically my landlord (the rent is pretty decent, although the place is a wreck), it’s not exactly what you’d call a ‘home sweet home’ type house, there’s no carpet in some rooms, plaster coming off the walls in others and part-papered walls in others. There’s no oven, hob or freezer in the kitchen and the garden is pretty much a jungle (although I’m working on that at the moment), having said all that, I’ve got hot water and working central heating, electricity and a comfy bed so I’ve got nothing to complain about considering I got myself into this situation in the first place by saying to my father, “Daaaaad, you know you’ve always wanted to get into property developing? Well, there’s a house in North Wales that could be your first project, and it’d be a perfect base for me to commute to work…. Dad?”

After the shock had passed, he’d visited the house and agreed that it had potential, so technically I’ve bought a house; insomuch as having dealt with estate agents, consulted with conveyancers and haggled with stubborn sellers. Not something I’m looking forward to repeating but it’s going to happen at some point I guess.

I think that pretty much brings us up to date with the major stuff.

I might move onto the small stuff in a later post but for now I’m going to sign off.

 

~ keep the peace people because the peace is a fragile thing that refuses to be bubble wrapped and frequently dangles in front of the dangerous gaping maw of anger, angst and hate ~

 

Relocation, Relocation, Relo… erm, you get the gist…

So… this is ‘WordPress’ eh? Not bad… I wonder if this means I’ll reach more or less people than before when it was a ‘Space’… Though, since I had a rough readership of one I’m kinda hoping for an upward trend…

So, what’s been happening in the world of Carl since the last post about hot sandwiches? Not a great deal… I’m no longer working, because I’m back at university!!! Having another shot at my 4th year on the BSL/Eng Interpreting course at Wolves… It’s been three weeks and, touch wood, it’s not going so badly…

I’m still with Charlotte (I’m sorry ladies, I know you all want me, but still I’m a taken man! lol) and I’m loving it… It’s been just over 2 years since we first met and she means the world to me. Haha, I’m such a geek writing that on a blog post…

My family are still in the process of moving house, still struggling to find the perfect house to move into… I’ve tried to get hold of Kirsty and Phil but I must have got their machine.

 

That’ll do for now…

 

Keep the Peace

Feeling Old and Hot Sandwiches

Welcome to those casual readers… (Who am I kidding, no-one reads this)

Well, it’s 2010 and I must say, who’d have thought I’d manage to live this long? Tongue out

I turned 23 last month… I wasn’t impressed with my friend’s revelation that we are now 17 years from being 40. The sensation of being ‘old’ was further cemented when I was invited to my girlfriend’s friend’s 18th birthday party, as soon as I arrived I felt like I ought to be at the bar complaining to the staff that ‘it wasn’t like this in my day’ and by the time I was ready to leave (which didn’t take long) I was wondering if I’d make it to the doors without a zimmer frame. Sad What made it worse was two nineteen year olds sat at the same table as me (as my girlfriend was dancing to Queen and Bon Jovi) complaining that THEY felt like they were too old for the party.

I have a job! I am a canvasser for Entwhistle Green estate agents, I get to drive to some really lovely areas around where I live to deliver leaflets to every house I can see that isn’t for sale with the company I work for. I’ve been doing it for a month and a week now and I must say it’s not a bad job for me, casual hours and it involves walking around mostly nice areas, which I enjoy.

As I have kinda mentioned already, I’m still with Charlotte, which puts us somewhere near the 18 month mark I think, which makes it the longest relationship I have ever been a part of (well, if you don’t count the fact that I was ‘going out’ with a girl called Sarah throughout the 5 years of primary school, somehow I don’t really think that counts though)

Hmm, what else is new…?well, I can slowly feel my already somewhat diminished intellect seeping out of my skull with every day I am not at uni… Which brings me neatly onto the next new thing, I’m no longer at university; I’m taking a year out. I spent the start of my third year travelling to and from uni every weekend and spending the week-nights sleeping on the sofas and floors of my friend’s houses/rooms. Turns out that a transitive life like that isn’t conducive to a positive and motivated attitude to university work and as a result, my attendance and performance was slipping from an already mediocre level. With exam results scaring me I decided that the best course of action was to pull out of uni, have some time to reassess my approach to the work and maybe even build up my somewhat low confidence by doing some volunteer work in the interpreting field wherever I could get it. I have yet to secure any volunteer work but there are letters and applications circling around.

I had my hair cut the other day, not the shortest it’s ever been but I must say I’m not used to feeling the breeze on the back of my neck, Charlotte straightened what’s left of it the other day and it doesn’t look abysmal so I think it’s something I can learn to live with until it grows back. I might put a picture up if I can ever be bothered to plug my webcam back in after it offended me by taking such a poor photo of me that I thought I’d been attacked in my sleep by rabid dogs.

I think that’s all, please keep your eyes sharp and ears pricked for any further updates on here in the next week/month/year/decade.

~ keep the peace or take something commonplace and assure it’s ascension into the realms of the gods… like toasty bags… how awesome are they! ~

And Now For The Magic!

So the exams are over… and have been for quite some time… In fact I’ve even got the results… Apparently I had learned something but it wasn’t quite enough to meet the highest end of the criteria we’d be set. A couple of B’s and C’s… come to think of it there might have been some A’s in there too… All in all it boiled down to a solid 2-1. So, more work is needed next year if I’m to achieve a First.

So that’s the education side of things pretty much dealt with since I’m taking a not-so-well deserved summer holiday and there’ll be no uni for me ’til September or October at the latest.

Now for the magic of my tumulutous relationships and the wreckage that I’ve wreaked (notice my love of alliteration) on the friendships that ought to follow.

I’ve been with Charlotte for… erm… over six months now (the ‘erm’ is my expression of ‘i’m not sure exactly how long’ and not ‘it’s complicated’) and it’s going well, I’ve met most of her friends and they’re sound people, and I’ve not made any major cock-ups… yet…

All this is well and good but for the last 6 months or so, on and off, I’ve been seeing Alice (the only girl with whom I’ve had a half-decent relationship with) in my dreams. There’s nothing sexual or romantic about these encounters, she’s usually just telling me that she doesn’t want to see me/be near me etc etc… OR we’ve been acting like mates. These dreams, I think, were sparked off by an incident in a nightclub back home called Toast (I may have already described the situation in a previous post) where she, upon realising I was in the same building, left with her friends in tow. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d been drunk (or maybe it’d have been worse, I dunno) but I was really hurt by the fact that she couldn’t even be in the same club as me, even in a different room. So, anyway, I think that’s what started these dreams and after waking from one such dream I took it upon myself to get hold of Alice to try and see what the hell was going on and to ask if there might have been another reason for her to leave the club. So I wrote her a letter (believing that my e-mail account would be blocked and not having a phone number for her). The letter kinda turned from one questioning the current situation into one begging her for forgiveness and asking if we could be friends again. I couldn’t be frank and logical when I wrote it. I got a reply (which I wasn’t really expecting) and it outlined why she a) didn’t trust me and b) why she didn’t think we could ever be friends again. All well and good but the answers to my questions weren’t answered by her reply and to be honest I felt a little worse by the fact that at one point she said she became scared by me (who in their right mind could be scared of ME!?!) anyway, I wrote her a reply and have received an e-mail from her sister (who has kind of been a mediator in this whole issue) saying that SHE’D read it on the behest of Alice and decided Alice didn’t need to read it and it has been binned. I have been requested to send no more letters to her and try and move on. If I haven’t been able to get my head around it in nearly a year I don’t know how I’ll come to understand any time in the future… For now I will just sit and sulk until inspiration comes to me or I forget about the whole thing…

PHEW!!! So, yeah… All this whilst I’ve been with Charlotte, who doesn’t have the internet and therefore won’t be able to read this, which makes no odds because she’s heard pretty much everything up until Alice’s reply and has been supporting me stoically, whilst probably raging inside about the fact I still have Alice on the mind and that I’m mentioning her on a semi-frequent basis. Bless her.

So… You’d think that I’d write more lyrics or something (emotional times are usually a half decent inspiration for ‘woe-is-me’ kinda songs) but I’ve not even thought about it really. I’m more annoyed than emotionally charged about the whole thing. So… grrrr….

Thanks for reading this guys (assuming that there is more than one person who checks this place, lol)

C

~ keep the peace or pour your heart out onto the page only to find that it spills over the edge and stains, and when the floodgates are open no walls can contain ~