Free download this weekend

Thanks for following my ramblings.  Just to let you know that I am now working with a great team of likeminded folk at Roberts Ink.  We are running a free download this weekend of my most recent book ‘The Kingdom of Men’ and it would be great if you would read it, and leave a review on either Amazon or GoodReads, hopefully, a good one!

You can get it now here http://goo.gl/tUk5VL but just for 2 days.  Roberts Ink is also running a weekend promo of free delivery for 2+ orders on their clothing, all original designs, as the focus is on creativity – you can view them here Roberts Ink Independent Publisher and original designs

I hope you can give your support. Reviews from the WordPress community would really help with getting this book launched.  Have a great weekend!

Junior Doctors, Senior Problem

For the benefit of non-UK readers, you probably know that we have something called the National Health Service (NHS) which is basically free health care to every British person so we don’t need to pay private health bills, although some do opt to do so. This was the major demand of the people post WW2 and it was established by the opening of the first NHS hospital in 1948, by the then health secretary, Aneurin Bevan.  As you can imagine, the NHS is a massive organisation with pools of money to help care for and keep British people healthy. The issue here that as the NHS is state owned, the medical staff; doctors and nurses are working for the State, similar to the military, so their pay is decided by the government.

The British government set out to keep junior doctors working seven days a week but without a pay rise, to save money over the weekend, of course, junior doctors in England Continue reading Junior Doctors, Senior Problem

Is there a political revolution on the cards?

Following on from my article earlier about the British PM, I thought I’d share my observations about something I think most of us have noticed!
With most media attention on the circus show that is the Republican candidacy, Bernie Sanders, and the Democrats have slipped by silently for most of the campaign so far but, with Bernie’s historic win in Wisconsin over the weekend; he looks like he’s on a roll which could bring about one of the biggest upsets in New York later this week. Is this a political revolution, as Bernie has been saying from the beginning? I’m not just looking at the United States here, but consider what has also been happening with other nations around the world, such as the shock election of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.
The signs could indicate that there is a majority of under-30s who are now more politically engaged than ever before and times may be changing. Some of the statistics do seem to back this thought up. Clearly in the U.K. there was a growth in first-time party membership of under-30s, and there seems to be a generation of young American voters across the pond, who have no affiliation with Hillary Clinton but are connecting with Bernie Sanders. A long time left-wing socialist would have been an unlikely candidate in the past, now here he is, going head to head with Hillary Clinton. Just ten years ago that would’ve been almost unthinkable, same with the left-wing in the UK, so what has happened?

Continue reading Is there a political revolution on the cards?

Do we get the politicians we deserve?

With the Panama papers still being big news around the world, and the repercussions already ousting Iceland’s Prime Minister, along with a stream of other high-profile leaders being in the spotlight, the scandal has finally arrived on Britain’s shores and landed on Prime Minister David Cameron, and his late father who benefited from one of the exact things Cameron says he’s been trying to clamp down on. Now, does this put the Prime Minister in an untenable position? In short, yes. Even though it was before he was Prime Minister, the fact that he and his father took part in tax avoidance is hugely hypocritical for a man who won, in part, a general election on his claim to clamp down on such practices.
On top of that, there is the fact that he thinks £30,000 is a trivial amount, when the average income in the UK is less than that, at around £26,500, is appalling and just shows how out of touch with ordinary people he is. What makes it worse is that the truth (that he benefited from this scheme) had to be dragged out of him, in such an embarrassing way, and only after multiple questions from multiple people. This is just another damning insight into the elite Tory club now running the fifth largest economy in the world.

Continue reading Do we get the politicians we deserve?

Is Gap Racist? A picture paints a thousand words.

No doubt, by now, you have seen the new advert from Gap depicting three white, middle-America girls, and one black girl. In the picture, two of the younger, white girls are performing ballet, gymnastic moves whilst the third, larger, white girl is resting her arm on top of the head of a younger, smaller, and passive black girl.

The picture itself isn’t overtly, racist if you actually look at the picture itself, with your first glance it is simply four girls and it’s difficult to argue it is deliberately racist, as there is no divisive racist message. But there is a deeper message, which may be Gap, and the photographer in question didn’t realise – which is more indicative of American culture which is where the problem lies.

The fact that Gap, such a large organisation, probably didn’t realise how it would look through the eyes of at least 20% of the American population is unbelievable and hard to comprehend – but it’s clear to see that they didn’t. The question isn’t that the image itself is racist, the question lies in the underlying theme it is conveying, and the symptoms it reveals lurking in ‘accepted’ culture, which is a damaging message. The subordinate and passive role depicted by the stance of the young black girl is this is only half the subliminal message within this shot. The other equally worrying message is the gender issue – so Gap is saying girls can do anything yet uses stereotypical imagery of female performance, ballet and gymnastics; the strange text and odd imagery, feeds into American deep-seated problems of racism and sexism, all used for marketing neatly in a single image.

You might disagree, and I am sure Gap will, but in my view the image itself isn’t sexist or racist but why it evokes a response is that the image is indicative of deep-seated problems in American culture. It doesn’t take much of a leap of thought for Gap to have promoted an image that showed equal status, ethnicity, and some of the girls doing things less stereotypical!! Perhaps writing, composing, a science experiment – not just exercises!

Sundorne School Shrewsbury

Another school visit and this week. I met the pupils at Sundorne School.  I was greeted by the librarian, Ella Reynolds, who made me very welcome, and met pupils in Year 7 and 9.  They worked really well in the creative writing workshop and came up with some great ideas for story lines including time travel, zombie monkeys, crystals and robots, just for starters!  Thank you to everyone at Sundorne. I enjoyed working with you and I hope you enjoy the books!

Church Stretton School Visit

Thanks to everyone who made me so welcome yesterday at Church Stretton School.  I was looked after by a group of year 10 guides who did an excellent job. I really enjoyed sharing my books with pupils in year 7 and year 8  – the classes were great to work with and pupils had some really imaginative ideas in the creative writing workshop sessions.  Well done and thanks to everyone, staff and pupils, at Church Stretton School.

Church Stretton entrance        The_Horse_Lord_Cover_for_Kindle