Stay or Leave – Will You STOP FLAPPING & Give Me FACTS, Please?

June 21st, 2016

I’m obviously not the only tired of the furore & posturing claims & counter-claims of the EU referendum, but am I the only one who’s more than a little disturbed that it seems to have been reduced to ranting at or blaming immigrants, i.e ‘bloody dirty foreigners’?

“Dirty bloody foreigners flooding our country (taking our jobs, drinking our beer)”
“Dirty bloody foreigners telling us what to do.”

I’m not saying immigration isn’t an issue – what I AM saying it isn’t THE issue.
There are concerns about trade, security, sovereignty, amongst others – staying or leaving has implications in so many areas.

People seem to have quickly (& rather conveniently) forgotten that in 2008, as a result of greed & hubris, and NOT immigrants, the banks took OUR money & went on a ‘crap shoot’. They lost. Big time.
House prices fell off a cliff, the national (& indeed, the global) economy very nearly followed. The government then used even more of OUR money to prop up the banks.
Government then proceeded on a slash & burn policy regarding spending cuts across the board; Housing, education, health, local authorities, emergency services and the military are now cutting services as their budgets are slashed.

Gen Sir Richard Shirraff, former Head of NATO was openly critical of the PM’s military defense cuts, as a direct result of the recession & banking crisis of 2008, earning him the threat of court marshall.

I myself, often (half-joke) that I have to work ’til I’m 102 for a pension that won’t even cover the cost of the postage to pay to write & complain about it.
I could go on about LIBOR………………….

“Dirty foreigners a strain on housing, the NHS”
Erm, weren’t we told (by experts) thew NHS is groaning under the ..erm.. weight of an obesity crisis due to swathes of the UK populace being overfed & underactive (or fat & lazy depending on how narrow-minded you are), as well as admissions due to or related to excessive alcohol consumption, rather than just ‘dirty bloody foreigners’ turning up & taking beds (presumably whilst waiting for a really expensive council house)?
“All this money we’re paying to the EU (ie ‘/dirty bloody foreigners’) could be better spent on housing & the NHS.”
Again, as a result of the crash of 2008 (not the ‘flood of dirty bloody foreigners’), one of the things that got hit was house building. Err …. & what about the those big multinational corporations with their labyrinthine tax avoidance practices? Recovering all that lovely cash BEFORE it gets to places like Panama could surprisingly be beneficial to the UK economy.

We’ll be overrun by terrorists, criminals (and possibly the French!!)
Errm, that’s what Interpol notices are for?
We already have (I hope) a very active & clued-up Boreder Control Force
Also, those of us with memories remember that (Northern) Irish Loalyist & Unionist paramilitary groups operated on UK & Irish mainlands for decades, With Birmingham, Brighton & Lord Mountbatten being a few heavily reported, high-profile targets.

What about all those Syrian immigrants?
Errm, don’t you mean refugees?
The UK (along with other EU heads of state), set about calling the issue a ‘migrant crisis’.
This label, rather conveniently allowed them to act as if it was someone else’s problem, or possibly play for time while they hoped it would go away.
It didn’t.
In fact it escalated so quickly, no-one was able to handle it, meaning everyone ended up being forced to do a deal with Turkey, on terms that no-one, not even the Turks really wanted. That said they still took the money.
If someone have the brass ones to look at it as a humanitarian problem, actually attempt to deal with the situation on the ground in Syria as well as the (labyrinthine) politics, the the politicians (clues in the name guys, that’s what you get paid for), might possibly have been better prepared.

The Remain camp can’t sit around looking smug though:
We’re also told that

Taxes will rise if we leave the EU – EVERYONE will live on bread & water!! (if they can afford it)
Here’s a novel idea – how about all those big multinational corporations pay little or bugger all tax actually pay what they damn well owe?
Or will the tax hikes not matter to those companies looking to avoid paying their fair share?
The UK Govt bravely got Google to pay £138m of their estimated £1.3 billion in tax (hurrah!)
The French govt (dirty bloody foreigners) took Google to task on their tax bill (~£1.38bn), effectively saying “pay up or do one – after we’ve sued the pants off you!”
They even went as far as to actually investigate this situation using real people to gather evidence

There are those saying leaving will plunge the UK into a recession the likes of which we’ve never seen; we’ll be selling body parts & our first born to pay for even basic needs.
Erm…were they asleep during 2007 & not wake up until last week?
Oh let’s not forget a number of companies & local authorities invested public money in Iceland (not in the EU) – then the bank involved tanked.

Former PM John Major warned of the possible recession as a result of leaving the EU; right… when his party was in power & there was a massive recession during the 80’s/90’s (he seemed to forget that)

Staying in the EU means workers rights are protected
Maybe, but wasn’t the UK ahead of the curve on this or at least, UK law already guarantees workers on a level equivalent or better than EU legislation?
In any case, at the moment, I think there’s a few junior doctors that may take issue on this point.
Oh, plus there a few people that (used to?) work for BHS that may not see eye to eye on this, especially after seeing Sir Phillip Greene trying to explain the sudden hole in the store’s balance sheet AND pension funds.
And may I also say, this will not be a comfort to those in TATA steel? Well, in fact the steel industry as a whole due to cheap imports, EU legislation, & heavy foreign subsidies. Oh, and the fact that the Government essentially had to be shamed into intervening.
(To be fair, the steel industry apparently is a huge loss-leader, but if it goes under , the UK could potentially be the only major military power without it’s own steel-producing capacity).

Stay in the EU & we can benefit from better bargaining positions on trade agreements
An argument that also seems to be made for the case if we leave the EU.
Leaving the EU means we’ll be unable to maintain effective security & border controls!!!!
(“Dirty Foreiners flooding our country!!!!!!!”)
Again, if companies paid their fair share, there may be a case for employing more staff that could be effectively deployed.
Anyways, not to worry, whilst everyone’s been complaining about those ‘dirty bloody foreigners’, the Government have managed to get the Investigatory Bill passed through the Commons early in June this year. This now means they have unprecedented powers to hoover up personal details, phone records, emails, internet histories (amongst other things – you name it, they’ll track it or spy on it) on anyone AND everyone (potentially).
That should sort it.
Of course there’ll be a period of adjustment & uncertainty as with any major event or move.
This referendum should be a chance to look at issues that could help the country & all it’s citizens move forward, rather than an excuse to justify near-sighted, casual bigotry or outright racism.
How will I vote? I don’t even tell my wife about my voting – that’s the great thing about democracy; my ballot is my business.


Note: I did email this to the Have Your Say email address at the BBC website.

I’ve noticed that had a few typos – they probl’y thought I was a nutter…

Oh well…………………..

Mazda Sounds – Keep Belgium Rocking

April 29th, 2016

Yes, I Know it’s been quite a while – funny how life gets in the way of things you’ve been meaning to do…….
Before presenting my efforts, let me tell you a story…….

Many years ago, I remember as a young(er) DJ, practising for hours in my brother’s room.
I also remember being invited to play, (mostly) doing well, feeding off the energy from the crowd, watching the excitement as well as the approval due to what I was doing,; feeling incredible – on top of the world
I also remember onto entering competitions, locally in the Midlands, including Birmingham & finding how similar and yet how different things were.
Rocking up in a bar/club on my own looking at a sea of faces, the odd feelings of nervse & intense focus, running through the set in my head. Step up to the decks, box in hand – set up & I’m away…..

More often than not, I wouldn’t win, mainly on account of turning up on my own, without a crew of my own, but still getting positive feedback form the promoters & the crowd.

At this point you’re probably asking is he an arrogant plank or begging for votes?
Actually, the experiences shaped & strengthened my desire to play.
For me competitions now are not just about winning (although that’s a bonus!!).
I entered a remix competition a few years ago for Mau5trap records.
I used it to test my production & remix skills as well as working to a brief, working to a deadline (as I’m a lazy bugger), using minimal equipment.
Again, I didn’t win, but that wasn’t as important as that sense of accomplishment.
And now to to today..
My latest effort is for Mixcloud’s Mazda Sounds competition – here it is:

Again, there’s a deadline (done it!!), but there’s another reason;
Given the recent events in Brussells, I think win, lose or draw, we need to keep going to show support, not cancel these events & not give in.
As in France, even through their grief, they showed a sense of determination & defiance, so as in many places touched by terrorists is a need not to give in, to carry on with life & not give in.
That’s why I also used the hashtag ‘KeepBelgiumRocking’, as a reminder that life includes any event or party that brings people together to enjoy themselves or to connect with one another.
So any event or club I’m aware of, I’ll put on my Twitter feed with that hashtag & I suggest anyone else does the same.


August 27th, 2015

How’s this for a sense of irony; some of my best events/work has been in collaboration with others, but paradoxically I don’t think I’m a natural collaborator.

This partly due to:

  • my being  (very) lazy
  • a (misguided/misjudged) sense of loyalty
  • being slightly suspicious of those trying to be (over) complimentary about me or my work
  • a possible (lack of) confidence thing

Now not only am I being asked by people to work with them, I’m being suggested names of those who may help me. This is a very strange situation.
Currently I’ve been invited to work on something with a fellow cloudcaster, Stephanie Byrne on Mixcloud.
She’s a very talented & prolific individual & I’ve finally broken a long-standing habit to collaborate with her, despite my warning her of my working foibles.

She’s also one of those people who genuinely doesn’t get quite how good she is. Don’t believe me? check some of these out

The Byrne-Haller Connection: Rainbow Wind by Stephanie Byrne on Mixcloud

Beat Contradictions by Stephanie Byrne on Mixcloud

Shake rattle and soul by Stephanie Byrne on Mixcloud

I was surprised to be asked, but her enthusiasm was infectious as well as inspiring
I’ve got a couple of things I’m working on, along with a third, which may be a little more involved.
I’ll let you know how it all goes

Sobering Thoughts……………..

August 24th, 2015

I still find it surprising, amazing & very sobering that the only time nuclear weapons have ever been used in anger was 70 years ago this year.

One survivor tells her story to the BBC – retold as an animation. You can see it here Hiroshima: Bun tells her story.

Whilst debate still rages about the ethics & decisions leading to the 2 bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and no doubt will continue to rage alongside questions such as if the offensive really shorten the war, one thing is certain; it ushered in a new age, changing the cultural military & political landscape forever.

Whilst modern weapons (including nuclear devices) are more efficient, more powerful & more numerous than those used 70 years ago, it’s still worth stopping to think and remind ourselves of the human cost of warfare as well as the folly in failing to address basic human values.

For My Wife…………….

August 23rd, 2015

Funny how a piece of work you make so long ago seems to resonate with some people.
One of my last uploads ‘Heart & Soul (To My Dearest Wife)’, was an old mix CD I put together for The Wife years ago.

Recently she’s been having a bit of a tough time, so in my bumbling, male way, I did what I know best – uploaded it as a musical love letter.
I’ve had some really positive responses – Thank You.
I’ve told The Wife – she says thank you too.
All I will say is things are slowly looking brighter

Heart & Soul: To My (Dearest) Wife by Alph on Mixcloud