Tuesday, 2 August 2016

I'm a graduate & jobless but refuse to get benefits.

Now before I begin, please understand that I am not ridiculing those who claim benefits. I am not saying that to do so degrades you in any possible way. I am merely expressing a point for which I feel independently and only that. 

I'm in the big bad world now and university seems as far away as my first day at school.

It's a repulsive, nostalgic, mournful feeling that fills my days with endless regret for not taking up the offer to do a masters. However, as tempting as it was, and is, to do a masters, I'm tired of the poor day-to-day living of the student existence.

Nope, I'm well up for getting a job, waking up at 6am and coming home a little more tired than I did the day before.

But before I find myself in full-time work I have to do what usually is required in the ability to work: getting the job in the first place.

So, how's that going? Well I've applied for plenty and now I just have to wait and keep on applying, with the hope that my CV is good enough to get something half-decent, in London, in a career I want to pursue. That's not too much to ask for, is it?

However, and this leads me onto the main point of this blog post, for money right now, what am I supposed to do?

Well, the most obvious and simplest income I could receive would be jobseeker's allowance. And I've had this suggested to me.

I have been told that I have every right to claim it, which I do. I have been told it is there for a reason, which it is. I have been told I should claim it, which I won't.

And there's a very simple reason for it.

Going to university is not something which is done for the sake of it. It's done because you want to further your career options. To climb a higher ladder that might not have previously been available. To, if we're being honest, earn a higher wage that wouldn't have been possible without a degree.

Obviously that latter point isn't true as you can earn far more than a graduate without going to university. However, at school and in most parts of society, it is recognised as being the best way to get the best opportunities.

So, why won't I accept benefits?

Firstly, I don't need them.

Of course it would be nice to have an extra £60 a week (or whatever it is), but I have nothing to spend it on apart from socialising, which in my eyes is the absolutely wrong thing to do with it.

Personally, I detest the idea of those who claim welfare without needing it.

We all know or have heard of people who milk the system and find loopholes so they don't have to work.

If you are one of those, you are a revolting, lazy, wasteful part of society who should be ashamed of themselves.

Would it still be 15% without the milkers of welfare?
Not just because we have government funded organisations like the NHS, for example, which are failing because of the lack of money being given to it as it's going to those who don't require it, but also because there are people out there who genuinely require it for more than just a pint.

Secondly, I'm lucky enough to have parents who have said I won't need to pay rent until I'm working - within reason, obviously.

And lastly, and perhaps regrettably, pride stops me from getting it.

Now before some of you criticise this point, please note the point I made at the beginning of this post. I do not think anyone who claims any sort of benefits to be below me as many desperately require the brilliant welfare available.

But I think for me, after doing well at university, having to claim benefits would be a materialistic representation that I've failed. That I haven't got a job (yet), and that I am not strong enough to support myself. You might call it arrogance and you might be right but it's the honest truth of how it makes me feel.

I completely understand that jobs aren't a right or a guarantee and I know that the working world isn't full of rainbows and sunshine.

It's just a bit disheartening to not have something lined up as soon as you leave university because the responsibility is solely on you.

So, what am I trying to say in all of this?

I guess it's to say that I finished uni with a 2:1, with only an average of 2% off a first - meaning I have more than the capabilities to get that dream job or at least a step onto the right career path.

It's also to recognise that if you're in the same position as me, which I'd imagine many of you reading this are, you're not alone and that we are just in limbo, waiting for the next step to present itself to us.

But for the time being I will happily go without benefits as I have been fortunate enough to get a degree with the hope of getting a decent, well paid job.

It just doesn't feel right to take money when there are other, far more deserving people who require the money so that they can live without poverty.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

ISIS aren't the cause of these attacks, they're the label.

It is interesting whenever there's some sort of terror attack to see how the media is to portray it.

It is then more interesting to see how the public interpret and react to it.

Of course it's never nice to read about the death of a person(s) and of course the world would be a much better place without such events. 

But it always reveals a lot about someone.

The majority of the time you'll have the sympathies and heartfelt messages from the international community spilling out onto social media and the regular media - as it should by the way.

But sometimes, as with everything, you have the ignorant few who degrade a religion, ideology, government... etc etc. 

I'm not here to talk about those few because frankly I'd rather talk about how fast grass grew. I have plenty of times before attempted to educate those who have racist or ignorant opinions and I feel as if it's a waste of time to do so. If they have those opinions then I will just have to respect that... or ignore it, one of the two. 

No, today I'm trying to collect my thoughts after yet ANOTHER killing in France. 

A couple of days ago we had a huge amount of people killed in Afghanistan which, unsurprisingly, didn't get nearly as much coverage as it deserved.

And today we had a priest murdered by two 'soldiers' and reportedly beheaded.

Sadly this event isn't very surprising and it hasn't made people gasp but more sigh. 

We now live in a time whereby these attacks are expected and not thought of as part of a nightmare. 

So, what's so interesting about this particular killing to me?

According to reports the two murderers pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS or ISIS). 
Shortly after ISIS came out and said they were two 'soldiers' sent from them to kill. 

Now this is where it got my attention. 

Neither of the men had been formally trained by ISIS. In fact, some reports claim one of the men wanted to go to Syria for training but was unable to.

My point is that ISIS isn't what people think it is. 

Westerners have this idea that ISIS is a group organised under one rule, by a higher line of people, with millions of dollars behind it and state of the art weapons. 

And ISIS love that! 

Nothing will give those extremist bastards more pleasure than having us shaking in our lovely warm homes, watching our big-screen TVs, fearful of an attack from people who are delusional and most likely living in a cave.

But the truth is anyone can kill in the name of Islam, pledge allegiance to ISIS and they will more than happily take credit for it.

See, ISIS aren't the problem, they are merely the tip of the iceberg (exclude the cliche).

ISIS was formed during the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arab Spring gave it air, an extremist view of Islam gave it fuel, and an invasion widely considered as criminal from the West gave it the spark it needed. 

They formed in the hills and caves of the middle-east with nothing but a few guns, an unimpressive amount of money and an obsession on revenge. 

What irritates me is how we try to label every attack as being directly coordinated by ISIS when it isn't; it is far far worse than that.

We are being destroyed one by one by an ideology. 

Yes ISIS are horrible bastards who wish to take credit for every killing but don't think they're so powerful.

If ISIS didn't exist the killings still would. 

What we're seeing in Europe is an identity crisis. We have men and woman of a certain faith being downgraded. They are then subject to abuse and racism. Afterwards they are vulnerable and go towards an extremist point of view because they are lured in like rats to poison. On the other side you have 'nationalists' who detest everything immigrants represent and would rather see them sent to a country ravaged by war than in the same cafe.

There's frustration and hatred out there at the moment, and I get that completely. Each time I read of another attack I want nothing but the people responsible slaughtered. I want the people in charge bombed to oblivion. 

But the reality is that this isn't possible. 

We have people saying we have to invade or air strike them out but that just won't work. 

We're not talking about a group of people who are conveniently under one roof, ready to be destroyed. 

We're talking about an ideology, an ignorance, a state of mind.

Bombing them will just piss them off more and kill civilians. Civilians that will then, and arguably rightfully, see the West as murderers and want revenge. *Did you know the US allegedly killed 73 Syrian civilians last week in air strikes? Funny how it didn't make the news, eh?*

To be completely honest I don't know what can be done to stop this apart from preventing the individuals from committing the killings in the first place - easier said than done, I know.

All I know is that fighting fire with fire will leave us all burned and all we'll have left is a crumbled, burnt mess to clean up.

Friday, 15 July 2016

How unbelievably believable the Nice attack was.


They were watching fireworks.

Children with their parents were stood watching fireworks.

They weren't working for a satirical magazine, finding humor at someone else's expense. They weren't government officials. They weren't political activists.

They were families watching fireworks, celebrating a national holiday.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Let it sink in that in the past year people have been murdered for going to a concert, a football match and now a fireworks display.

And yet am I surprised?

Sadly, no.

I woke up this morning next to my girlfriend. She gave me a hug and said 'there's been another terrorist attack in France'. My morning eyes soon woke up and I looked at her as if to urge her to tell me she was joking or that she had grossly misinterpreted a news article.

But she hadn't.

I had to write about the attack. I simply HAD to. But as I opened the web page, placed my fingers upon the keyboard, I froze.

I try to write these posts without structure, without plan, without fear of expressing an opinion. For me they should be spontaneous, therapeutic, and raw.

But this one was tricky.

I was speechless. I was sickened. I was desperately sad.

And I felt, and feel still, that whatever I wrote down was not going to come close to what was deserved to be said.

But I'm going to try and make some sort of point amidst the chaos.

For me there are two things I'm finding astonishingly powerful in this attack.

One is how unbelievable this attack is.

Two is how believable this attack is.

Confused? Allow me to explain.

It is unbelievable to think of young children being killed, lying on the road with 'toys and flesh lying besides them' - what an eye-witness said.

It is unbelievable that a single human being was capable of knocking down humans as if they were bowling pins and leaving them behind looking like road kill.

It is unbelievable that mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends have lost loved ones on a day of celebration; out that evening to smile and laugh.

It is unbelievable that once again a nation fears to live.

But then again, is this not really quite grotesquely believable?

People are being slaughtered every day in the name of this-or-that.

There are murders every day in the Middle-East from extremists that receive little to no coverage.

*In fact, I will openly hold my hands up high and apologies for not writing about those incidents. I think the reason why we, as Westerners, do not talk about it is that we have come to expect it to happen in the backyard of Islamic extremism. It is a shameful outlook but a true one, I believe.*

We live in a world whereby terror slaughters peace every day.

The unrelenting love and sympathy from the world is being constantly torn apart and stitched back together like a wound that doesn't have time to heal.

We, as decent people, are forever findings new ways of saying 'let's not succumb to hate'.

And we shouldn't ever succumb to hate. But how much more can we take of this?

For me, hearing of this news and finding it believable marks a dark day in my time on this planet.

Terror attacks are no longer events of just shock and horror; they are events we have come to expect.

I can't imagine a world without innocent people being killed. I so wish I could but I simply can't.

My absolute sympathy goes out to France, a nation that has been ravaged by death and scenes of macabre nightmares.

It feels wrong to go about today as normal.

But once more we are required to go about our lives knowing that others are suffering grief, not able to do anything about it apart from love, sympathise, or in my case, write a few words down, hoping to make myself feel a little better about it.


It hasn't.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The US: killing for difference.

The US is a bleak reminder of how man without basic understanding of equality self-implodes without blinking, and those who are left vulnerable and isolated cry tears that are ignored by everyone apart from their own race.

The past 48 hours have been a reminder of this very point.

Alton Sterling, killed at 37
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile are perhaps not that well documented in the UK, with the Iraq war and the Chilcot Report being the issue discussed amongst the debaters and media.

But for those of us who use social media forms such as Twitter, the bleak news coming from the US is that once more two innocent black males have been murdered. Not killed in the name of the law but murdered. 

Not surprisingly the black community of both the US and the UK have been at the forefront of criticising the US police force and their gross misuse of their firearms. But why just them?

I appreciate it hits harder when you, as a black person, could have very easily been in that position.

But for me, I am just as disgusted as those who are black.

Forget race, forget nationality; as human beings we are equally sympathetic and feel grief in the same way.

However, I see Sterling's and Castile's death as deaths that are more grotesque than usual as they were motivated by a fear of colour. A hatred of culture. An extermination for being different to the police officers who fired the fatal bullets.

Demonstration at the site of Sterling's death
Without a shadow of a doubt there will be demonstrations against the law enforcement within the US.

And without a shadow of a doubt there will be criticisms of these demonstrations, branding them as 'ignorant' or 'hateful'.

Well ignorant they will not be.

Hateful they will and most certainly should be.

Hundreds of African-American citizens have been killed this year by the police officers of the US. Plenty of them due to one man firing without just cause.

Sterling was killed after selling CDs outside a shop. He was pinned down by two police officers and shot multiple times in the chest, bleeding out on the tarmac as his life left him. He was 37 and killed, leaving behind children.

Castile was pulled over for having a faulty tail light. He informed the officer of being armed because of his right to be so. The officer asked him to get his ID from his wallet and on doing so was shot multiple times whilst his daughter sat in the back and his girlfriend sat next to him, begging his blood-soaked corpse to not be dead. He was 32 and killed, leaving behind a child.

There are videos of both these incidents. I have seen both and feel horrified by the fact they are genuine.

The US is a remarkable nation filled with brilliant people.

It is a nation that claims to be the leader of the free world. A beacon of hope. A land that allows anyone to become someone, something, powerful or influential.

But how far off can a description be when having a different skin colour from white makes you vulnerable? How can a beacon of hope be a beacon when it shows light on racism and death and not hope?

I am a white male. I have had a good upbringing without prejudices. I have never feared for my life.

I cannot empathise with those who have been fearful for their life. I cannot empathise for those who have been put down for being a minority.

But I can sympathise for those who have been.

If it's only blacks standing up for blacks then whites will only stand up for whites.

The labelling of races isn't one I like but it is necessary when some kill because of this division.

Express an opinion. Make a point. Do not allow those responsible to get away with murder just because they claimed to be doing their 'job'.

No job requires the death of an innocent human.

It's another dark day in an ever darkening world.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

To the xenophobes & racists...

What a shame. 

What a worrying, embarrassing and disgraceful time to call oneself English or British. 

Why?

Not because of Brexit which I know is what you were hoping for me to say. 

No, that's rather small in comparison. 

I am embarrassed because of the few who are once more claiming patriotism to be at the heart of their contempt towards those who are not English, or at least not looking as if they have the bloodline directly linked to King Arthur himself. 

Over the last few days there have been videos, pictures, articles, posts etc. of individuals being abused for not being English or white or both. 

Now, for those of you who know me well enough, you will know I have a Polish girlfriend. In fact I am writing this from Poland where I am staying with my girlfriend's family for a few weeks. 

Weronika and her family are generous, friendly, lovely and completely good people. 

But if they were in the UK they could be targeted for being Polish and that, for me personally, strikes a nerve I never knew I had. 

Since being introduced to Polish culture I have learnt a lot. 

The stereotypes of all Polish people being builders or plumbers; gone. The stereotype they are odd or arrogant; gone. The stereotype they drink a lot of vodka; not gone but fun to be part of!

I am writing this with a shake in my hands and a fire in my belly that people from my country are attacking those from this wonderful, beautiful and incredible country. 

They are claiming to want their country back and wanting it to be British and nothing else. 

If it wasn't for Britain being so brilliantly mixed I would not have met Weronika. I would not have experienced Polish Christmas, Polish summers, Polish proms, Polish people, and Polish culture in all of its brilliant colour.

I feel slightly futile being in Poland, away from those few who are making the headlines. I feel as if I am not at the place I need to be to shut down the racists and xenophobes. 

I am ashamed to say that my nation has a trend of wanting to extract certain nationalities as if they were a disease. 

I am embarrassed to hear that my country is isolating people because of their appearance or culture. 

I am sickened that immigrants within Britain feel fearful for their well-being because of a few ignorant trolls. 

Usually I avoid swearing in my writing because I think it lacks class and the ability to think of a better word. 

But now, as I sit here in Poland with my Polish girlfriend with her Polish family, there is only one thing that I can think to say.

Dear xenophobes, racists or anyone who wishes individuals with a different nationality to leave the UK:

I fucking dare you to go and tell your employer you hate immigrants. I fucking dare you to shout out your prejudices to the world without anything but your ignorance for support. I fucking dare you to go back to hole from where you came from because YOU are the minority, not the immigrants. You are the problem. 

Educate yourself, then come back to me you cruel, vile, ignorant, wastes of air that are dragging the British name through the mud. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit; time to stop moaning and accept it.

It's a bitter pill to swallow.

In fact, it's like swallowing a watermelon with nothing but acid to help wash it down.

But it's happened and the UK has spoken; we have voted to leave the EU.

So what now?

I, like many others, expressed bitter disappointment at the vote to leave the European Union.

Being in Poland since the 22nd I had my father vote on my behalf, commonly known as a Proxy vote. He was out, I was in and I hope for his sake he voted correctly on my behalf.

The coverage in Poland was extraordinary, not surprising with an estimated 1,000,000 Poles living in the UK.

There were some anxious faces when the news came through the radio, not that I knew what was being said apart from a very odd sounding 'brexit'.

But all in all it seemed that the Polish people accepted it and took the piss out of it. Namely my girlfriend's father said to me, 'bye bye European Union and bye bye Weronika' with a huge grin on his face. I smiled back and secretly thought 'F*CK!'.

With 120 billion pounds being wiped off the FTSE, the pound at a 30 year low, the PM resigning, the Labour party in disarray and a huge amount of uncertainty ahead, I, like many others let out a little bit of gas from my rear end and checked to whether I had soiled myself.

But a couple of days on I have calmed down and read plenty on the matter.

There's a petition out there to have a second referendum.

There are calls for the House of Commons to stop Brexit.

There's a million articles saying how some individuals voted Leave without considering we might actually LEAVE!

But to be honest, and I say this through gritted teeth, we HAVE to accept that democracy has done what it was created to do and we HAVE to allow it to work.

The majority, regardless of how small it was, voted to leave and we have to accept they did.

Yes 75% of under 25s voted remain but we aren't a nation of under 25s.

Yes Nigel Farage stated the advert of using the money sent to the EU in the NHS instead was false, but if you voted LEAVE for that then you're an idiot for believing it.

If something happens so that we don't leave the EU then I will feel more upset that our democracy has failed.

We aren't a nation of idiots like we seem to think we are.

We can do without the EU if we stop moaning at the result and get on with it.

I voted remain and for 24 hours screamed and shouted about how awful it was.

But it's happened and it's about time we stopped begging for a re-vote and rolled up our sleeves and worked as hard as possible for it to work.

None of this is ideal but it certainly isn't the end of the world.

It's time to respect democracy and accept one side of the vote isn't
the only side of the vote.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Orlando Shooting - Acknowledge the realism of it.

Never should it be possible to write so many posts about hatred, death, violence and prejudicism.

But here I am, once more, trying to put together a few words that could perhaps put some sort of light on yet another horrific event that was fuelled by a lust for shrinking a group of people living their life as they want to.

Firstly, let's not go about this thinking this man was a muslim or whether he had any links with IS. 

I'm tired of writing posts defending muslims. It's futile wasting anymore time about it. By now you'll have made up your mind whether muslims are good people or not. I just hope you will have realised that being a bad person has nothing to do with religion. It comes down to being a bad person. Simple. 

Moreover, this individual seemed to have no links to IS, even though he claimed to. He was just trying to be part of something bigger without being part of it. 

So, with that out of the way, let's try and think about the very real issue about what happened a few nights ago. 

49 people were killed. 
Many were wounded. 
All caused by one man, one assault rifle, one hand gun, one explosive device, and one will to inflict as much hurt and destruction as humanly possible. 

His motive, it seems, was to kill those who belonged to the LGBT community. 

He's not the first and unfortunately will not be the last.

Yet we are all astonished that something like this has happened. We are all astounded that this sort of thing still happens and to this scale.

Homophobia, isn't that a dead phobia?

No.

Homophobia is still a cancer in the western world that doesn't seem to be shrinking but just adapting. 

There's this silly idea that homophobia is disappearing and that we are finally over that prehistoric hill that was riddled with ideologies that being gay is inhuman, wrong and unnatural. 

Well, we're not and if you haven't noticed already, it's not a hill but a bloody great big mountain with idiots filled with hate all over it, trying to express views which are a minority but loud when shouted alongside gunfire. 

The shooting at Pulse Gay Nightclub was a hate crime. Yet people are afraid of acknowledging that.

For some reason we are becoming more concerned about saying 'they aren't just gay, they're people too'.

Well of course they are but they have their own independence and sexuality too. When they are killed for being gay they become far more than just killed individuals. They become a target and a victim. A symbol for a wider community.

The video below should hopefully highlight the point I'm making here.



People are trying so hard to treat  LGBT people as equal individuals that they are doing the opposite. 

We shouldn't be trying so hard to think of these people as just victims of a man and his gun.

They weren't.

They were slaughtered because for no other reason than being gay.

And that, unfortunately, is the realism of this.

Homophobia is no weaker than it was 10 years ago.

It's just not in the press as much because other things take priority.

It has altered, adapted, and become quieter because of, luckily, society's realisation that being homophobic will stop you from getting a good job, being accepted into a community, etc.

But it is still out there and it still causing huge issues.

The international support for the LGBT community has been inspiring but it will take far more than just that to eradicate homophobia from society.

Ridicule those who make homophobic claims.

Highlight them to the wider world.

Not doing so allows them to go about their prejudice ways without the fear of being caught or humiliated for it.

And just because someone might not go to the length of killing a gay person, it doesn't mean they aren't part of the same large and grotesque tree that is homophobia. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

EU Referendum - Decision Made!

I'm not going to lie to you, this post was approached with extra caution. In fact, even as I type these words and before I have expressed any opinion, each tap of the keyboard is made with an air of trepidation. Not because I feel my decision is the wrong one, for if I thought it was I wouldn't be writing this. It's because I know this decision and this debate has been argued and heated up so much that if I'm not careful I could end up being another one of those irritating posts bombarding social media.

I apologise in advance if this post does come across as 'samey' and therefore wasted your time. I promise I have tried my best to make it as worthwhile as possible.

So, let's get to the point and declare which way I have decided to vote, and do so with the risk of making some of my few readers tut and roll their eyes like a disfavouring teacher.

I have decided to vote IN.

Now before you click the the mini red 'x' in your top right hand corner, let me explain why I have done so and perhaps it will make it simpler for you to make your own decision.

Since the referendum picked up real momentum I have been on both sides of the debate. Initially I was on the STAY side. Then I was declaring Brexit. Now I'm back to STAY.

Why?

Well, I tried to keep an open mind about it all. I was, and am still, willing to listen to both sides of the argument.

Nothing infuriates me more than the rock-hard stubbornness of some individuals who once they have made a decision stick by it as if it were an allegiance to some deity.

Your decision making has to be flexible.

This debate has been without any shadow of a doubt made overly complicated, bitterly spoken, and fear-fuelled by both sides. Neither the remain or leave campaign can argue they have not attempted to strike horror into the British public so that they can gain a mislead vote on June 23rd.

It's awful and plays the people of Britain like chess pieces on a board controlled by either Farage of Cameron.

Ignore the statements of fear that if we leave our economy will implode and we will be living off dirt and air. Ignore the statements that if we stay we'll be overrun by immigrants and won't be able to go to the shops without a translator.

When it came to making my own decision I ignored the drabble from the frankly comical Boris Johnson. I ignored the statements from Nigel Farage which were more suited around a campfire alongside ghost stories. I ignored the claims from David Cameron that leaving would put a huge risk to our economy.

Instead I went out and did a bit of research. I watched the television debates with an eye-out for severe stutterings and lackings of evidence. Most of all, I just sat and thought about what I prefered.

And that's how I came about my decision.

It didn't take me long to appreciate that the issues in this country are not down to the European Union and it's respected bodies. It didn't take me long to appreciate that our lack of jobs and money weren't down to immigrants.

Fundamentally, our issues come down to how our UK government has failed its people. Leaving Europe won't stop the government from being arses and it won't stop MPs from being up-nosed, blibber blabbing knobheads.

The whole idea of the EU is to collaborate with its allies and to discuss issues within Europe. It's there for the leaders of Europe to gather round and stop atrocities like WW1 and WW2 from happening again.

Leaving the EU will not allow us to sit around that table and discuss how we, as a collective, can stop terrorism, help ease the migration crisis, climate change, the economy... etc.

If you're deciding the vote LEAVE because you want the UK to 'take back control' and to 'become great again' then please, think about what you're saying. Our government can barely control it's own parliamentary debates for christ's sake! And saying the British people can push forward because they're 'brilliant' and can make Britain 'great' again is like saying we've been doing bugger all for the last 40 years. Are you really telling me that as soon as we leave everyone's going to put down their cups of tea and go out and build an empire and conquer the world?

I'm not saying the British attitude isn't great, but to refer to the two world wars and the victories that came with them as something we can take credit for is an offensive and idiotic claim. We won those wars with others helping us and the brilliant men and women who were involved from all of those nations. Little Dave from Surrey who says 'we won two world wars though' is not one of them.

We're not a super power. We're not what we were two-hundred years ago. We are a good little country with a great standard of living that has immigrants and foreign imports to thank.

Look, I'm not writing this post to throw facts at you. I'm not even writing this to say VOTE STAY! I'm just writing it to perhaps persuade you to really consider what you vote for.

Staying will allow the new EU deal to come into place. A deal that though isn't as good as we hoped, is still an improved deal to what we had before. *I won't highlight the points about this deal as it could add even more words to this already long post.*

Leaving will have us drifting out to sea with a whole cloud of uncertainty ahead.

I made my decision by weighing up both ends and considering what would be best for me and my future.

Personally I don't think things are so bad now and we still, as part of the EU, can put forward suggestions for improving it.

Just go out and do your research before voting on June 23rd and consider whether rolling the dice is really worth it or if we should just accept things could be much worse here in the UK and as part of the EU.

I did it and feel much better for it.

Just feel confident in your decision and make sure you can justify it when asked about it.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Harambe the gorilla; a poor lesson in understanding.

I'm not an animal activist. I'm not even a vegetarian. I'll even hold my hands up and say that I don't check to see if the toiletries I buy have been tested on animals.

But when the news came out that a gorilla, a rare and endangered species, had been killed because of ignorant, negligent and poor parenting as well as a rash and arguably harsh decision from Cincinnati Zoo, it didn't quite sit well.

It's not the fact that the gorilla had been killed and that I felt a level of sympathy for an animal dying. It wasn't even because it was an endangered species.

It was because once again, regardless of our so called 'intelligent' brains, we, as a race, have fundamentally failed.

Now, let's start with the one question that has been tossed around as if it were part of a pub quiz:

Is a child's life more important than a primate's?

Well, perhaps yes. In the most simplistic terms that child could grow up to become more influential than the ape. It could, by some means, add more substance to life than an animal that has been known to throw its own fecal matter.

But is questioning the life of one animal over another's the right question? Please remember that we, humans, as incredible as we like to think we are, are also animals.

Personally, I think the question that should have been asked is whether the ape, or let's call it by it's name, Harambe, deserved to die?

Harambe, a 17 year old western lowland gorilla, was within his enclosure, living his life as it would do on any other day. All of a sudden a child, disgustingly left alone by two parents who, in my opinion, should be punished for their negligence, fell into the enclosure.

Two of the three animals were distracted and left the boy alone. Harambe, however, went to the child and dragged it through the waters within the enclosure.

Imagine you were in his position, the gorilla and not the child, and something fell into your home from above. Imagine it was moving, breathing and looking at you curiously.

In fact, let's simplify it further.

Imagine you're sat on the sofa watching television and a cockroach falls on you from above.

Can it harm you? No. Does it frighten you? Yes. Is it the cockroach's fault for landing on you? Yes but it wasn't at complete fault. Do you wish to remove it and/or kill it? Definitely!

The same can be said about the child. It had done everything to startle a wild animal within its own territory and force it to potentially kill. Please note: POTENTIALLY.

And yet, regardless of the fact that this gorilla, a species which has very similar characteristics to humans, was doing exactly what it should have done, it got shot dead.

Obviously I cannot state to have any knowledge of animals or their behaviour, certainly nothing close to that of the officials at Cincinnati zoo, but I question whether death was the only option.

It just frustrates me that regardless of human ignorance, we have the arrogance to claim the life of something else, regardless of what it is or was.

Should the zoo be charged with poor guarding of the enclosure?

Most definitely.

Should the child be reprimanded in some way for his actions?

Of course.

Should the parents be seriously questioned in their capabilities as carers?

I don't think an answer has ever been so blantaly obvious.

Most of all, should we look at the actions taken against that animal as a harsh lesson to the brutal mentality of humans?

Yes, we should.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

What's harder, uni or A levels?

Now before I begin, please consider that this is a subjective piece and that I am writing via my own experiences of A Levels and my degree (English and Creative Writing). I appreciate that not everyone will have had the same experiences as me but I do think on the whole this blog has a certain amount of accuracy.

Sixth Form students, I do not envy you.

Whether you're taking AS or A2 exams, I remember those days as fondly as the day I first got stung by a bee.

They were the most nerveracking, atrociously long, and torturous weeks of my life.

You have to revise for 3/4 subjects. You have an exam on average once every 2 days, maybe twice, maybe thrice. You have the pressure of university breathing down your neck.

I promise you, sixth form students, it's not forever, even if it seems like it will be. The last exam will come around eventually and you will, eventually, be able to go home and not have to look at a piece of paper for at least a few weeks, depending on what stage you're at.

You have my full and unrelenting sympathy.

But what next?

If you were like me and hoping to go to university afterwards, you might be thinking, 'will university will be on an entire new level of pain?'

Are A Levels, as teachers love reminding their students, the introduction to university life?

'This sort of independent study is what you have at university'. 'If you turned up a minute late for a class at university you'd not be let in.' 'You think you have a lot of work now? Wait until you go to university, that'll be a shock for you!' - read all of these in the whiny, high-pitched tone of that one teacher who's been at the school since the dawn of time. We all had them at school, that one teacher who was hated by everyone and was everywhere and anywhere as if they were the omniscient fart of the school.

So, is there any truth in their statements?

Comparing them to my university experiences, no.

Yes, there is a lot of independent work to do but no more than A levels. You have a LOT more free time at university, meaning you can take your time to do the work without worrying you're going to get a detention or a black dot next to your name.

No, if you turn up a minute late to a lecture they will not tell you to f-off. Some lecturers might, but the vast majority will just give you a look, perhaps crack a joke, and let you sit down and get your paper out.

The workload comparison from A levels to uni?

Well, there's a lot of work at uni, of course there is. But I have to say, looking back, the workload for A levels was more time-consuming and soul depleting.

At uni you are a) doing a subject you love (or at least should be), and b) only doing ONE subject.

The biggest criticism I have for A levels is that doing more than one subject in that much depth becomes confusing and stressful. You might have to switch from thespian mode to historian mode, English mode to Music mode.

It is as if they expect you to have a switch that can change your mental state from, for example, creative to academic.

University allows you to stay in one continuous mindset.

Yes you will have different modules but they will all be part of the same tree. During A levels you're constantly jumping from forest to forest.

Don't think I'm saying A levels are completely awful. They are the toughest test to show you whether you're ready for uni. If you pass then great! You are ready for the next step in higher education. However, if you fail, this isn't to say you're not fit for university.

All I'd say for you unlucky students in sixth form, take your exams seriously and prioritise them completely. Work hard, revise a lot, and go into the exams with a cool mind; granted this is easier said than done.

Don't worry about university during A levels. It's pointless at that time.

The workload at university is far more controllable than A levels.

A levels feel like you're freefalling without a parachute. University feels your freefalling without a parachute also, you just have a cushion to land on instead of concrete.