Out of the rubble of World War II in Europe came an idea and a collective desire by the major powers of the region to work together, to ensure that they would never be in armed conflict with one another again. This started with the European Coal and Steel Community, formed in 1952 and followed up by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which formed the European Economic Community. This involved Italy, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. By the 1970s the UK, Ireland and Denmark had joined. Then in the 1980s things began to get carried away. The Schengen agreement for free movement of people and the inclusion of Portugal, Greece and Spain set the stage for an octopus with tentacles that were beginning to grasp far beyond its ability to grip.
I spent over 10 years working in the Oil and Gas industry. It is common knowledge that this industry is much maligned for being run and employed by selfish capitalists that will stop at nothing to rape the planet for financial reward. Some of this commentary is fair, but it misses the larger point. You find executives and staff with this mentality everywhere in today’s capitalist society. This self-interest just isn’t measured the same way in every industry or it isn’t as transparent.
I have seen that look before. You are awkwardly looking away as you and I are trapped in an elevator or some other confined space and you’re a pretty girl. You probably get hit on every time you find yourself in this situation. You are afraid I might say something and make you feel uncomfortable. But don’t worry – I’m not going to bother talking to you. Recently in Nottingham, police have begun to institute a policy where they can arrest men for “hate crimes” if they “bother” women, or “make them uncomfortable” in public. Basically, if you hit on a girl in the street and said girl does not find you attractive, you are at risk of being arrested.
I have been living in London for nearly six years now. I’m in my thirties and it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no longer a city that meets my needs. However, the decision to leave is not that easy and it is actually filling me with a lot of sadness as each day passes. I think almost every Londoner who wasn’t born and raised here struggles with the decision to leave. It is scary the amount of people I have met over the past several years that talk about leaving London. Yet none of these people ever leave. I’ve asked people how long they have thought about leaving. So many have been struggling with this for longer than half their time in the city. Recently a girl, that has been in London for 13 years, told me she has thought about leaving for 11 years. You would think for such a transient population, it wouldn’t be difficult to leave if they wanted to.
Seriously. Go fuck yourself Tony Blair. The Chilcot report over the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war was recently published and Tony Blair responded in front of the media on the same day. This guy just will not admit that he ever made a bad decision and that the entire dalliance was a fiasco. Blair insists that his decisions were always correct and that he’s only sorry for how things turned out….but it wasn’t a bad idea in the first place. Things just went bad, but it was the right decision. This is the kind of response a stubborn teenager. The ego on this man is nauseating. Things in the geopolitical realm don't turn out bad out of thin air....you can usually tie these issues back years in the making to an initial disruption. You can keep going back in time, but there are only a few key decision makers along the way that have influences on a time series of events. The Iraq invasion in the early 2000s is one of those. Tony Blair was a part of that. The risks were huge. He made a bad decision. What is so difficult about admitting that? You can't collect million dollar speaking fees anymore? Is that it?
We live in a 24/7 news era. It started with CNN, then 24 hour business news, then the internet, mobile phones and now social media. When it comes to investing this is the kind of environment that poisons judgment. Things have only become worse since the financial crash of 2008. Of course the CNBC’s of the world are the biggest put option in the financial world. When things get dark and scary, people tune in and their ratings go through the roof.
I don’t love the NBA like I used to. I prefer College basketball, but even that has taken a dive in quality since players started leaving early for the big bucks in the NBA. I felt the early departure trend has watered down both products and coincides with a “get my money” culture that perpetuates the world of celebrity and its outputs. Nothing feels genuine in the NBA anymore. Players are all buddy-buddy, they all want to play with each other rather than against each other. There are no real rivalries and no real struggle. Players play well in a contract year, get their big contract and then promptly begin to stink up the gym.
London. When we first started our relationship I was head over heels in love with you. I would have done anything for you. Life was colourful. Everything I saw, I saw beauty. Everything I experienced, was warm. Every challenge I faced was never too big. I would tolerate the most painful dates, the most arduous commutes in to work and even the wind and rain pelting me in the face.
I used to love the solo mission. Some of the best stories I have come from solo travel. They aren’t blow-you-out-of-this-world stories, and I am sure others have more dramatic, but they were good enough for me to remember. My friends back home were all getting married by the age of 25. I sought a different path and the only way to have any fun in my boring-everyone-wants-to-get-married-and-have-babies-hometown was to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
In the neighbourhood I grew up in it was common to get a part time job as early as the age of 14. It was actually common throughout my home country and many parents forced their kids to do it, typically middle-class families. Rich kids don’t have to. I started a humiliating career of part time jobs in the 9th grade, but they provided great lessons and motivations that would shape my future world future. The first job was at McDonald’s. I was useless. I think the hiring manager must have known that, for it was only when my girlfriend’s sister intervened did he give me a job. I was always put on the meat or frying station. They once tried me in the front but realized my cold demeanour did not make me suitable for customer service. So they hid me in the back.