Recent politics

Our Dear Leader Jacob Zuma survived another vote of no confidence at the ANC NEC this weekend, despite the conveniently timed release of several (or more) emails detailing how his chums in the Gupta family are essentially pulling the strings that make the country work.

And yet, the important guys in the top echelons of his party still voted to keep him. And you realise that when they do that in a democratic environment (which is what the ANC NEC supposedly is) then the problem is with the party, not the president.

But let’s watch as those dissenters all fall dutifully in line again after this thinly-veiled threat:

Meanwhile, the ex-leader of the official opposition and Lord High Empress of the Western Cape, with this HUGE open goal to aim at, is fighting with her boss about whether she can stay on for another term, given the alleged damage that she is causing to the party.

A local mayor wasted time praying for rain last Thursday.

How could you have missed that Donald Trump has been being Donald Trump internationally this week?

And in the UK, Labour comedy duo Abbott and Corbstello refuse to condemn terrorist acts from the 1980s, blame UK foreign policy for the Manchester attack, went to a “poignant” ceremony honouring terrorists from the 1970s and tell us that “the terrorists will not prevail” while… er… planning to radically alter UK foreign policy because of terrorism.

Thus – with a language warning in hand – please see this cartoon which illustrates the approach that many people will be taking towards the subject of politics today (and for the foreseeable future).

Really. Life would be so much more pleasant if we didn’t have to worry about these people who have been elected to serve us and whose salaries our taxes pay.

Terrorism advice

In the wake of the Manchester attack (a phrase which has already been used all too often already this week), the UK Government has advised businesses to review their security and preparedness for a terrorist attack. Given that the threat level is “critical”, meaning “an attack is imminent”, it’s perhaps not a bad idea.

Their advice stretches to well over 10,000 words, and while I certainly haven’t read it all, contains some really interesting things.

Stuff like what to expect if you are caught up in a terrorist incident to which armed police are deployed:

OFFICERS MAY

  • Point guns at you
  • Treat you firmly
  • Question you
  • Be unable to distinguish you from the attacker

…which is actually perfectly reasonable, but is worth knowing before you actually may need to know it.

And the HOT protocol to recognise a suspect package:

The HOT protocol may be used to inform your judgement:-

Is it HIDDEN?

  • Has the item been deliberately concealed or is it obviously hidden from view?

OBVIOUSLY suspicious?

  • Does it have wires, circuit boards, batteries, tape, liquids or putty-like substances visible?
  • Do you think the item poses an immediate threat to life?

TYPICAL Is the item typical of what you would expect to find in this location?

  • Most lost property is found in locations where people congregate. Ask if anyone has left the item.

Again, common sense when you think about it. But… had you ever thought about it?

There’s stuff on what to do if there is a VBIED (Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices) or a VAAW (Vehicle As A Weapon) attack (like the Westminster Bridge incident earlier this year).
These can be mitigated by deployment of measures such as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) and Vehicle Security Barriers (VSBs).

There’s also section 15.10, which I reproduce here:

15.10 Vulnerable/Dangerous loads

Operators should alert drivers to vulnerable loads or high-consequence dangerous goods and issue them with a vulnerable load/high-consequence dangerous goods card for these loads.

  • If a vehicle is stopped by uniformed officers in a marked police vehicle or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers, drivers should display the card and follow the instructions on the reverse of the card to verify the identity of officers from the police and DVSA.
  • During security alerts, operators and drivers should follow the advice given to them by their local police force. (Keep up to date using news media, the MI5 website and relevant associations).

These are defined as “goods which have the potential for misuse in a terrorist event. As a result, severe consequences might ensue: mass casualties, mass destruction or mass socio-economic disruption.”
But… verification of identity of officers? The MI5 website?
Wow. It’s all very James Bond, isn’t it? (And yes, I know he works for MI6.)

We once accidently stumbled across such a convoy, leaving Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. The first indication that something was going on was the presence of several gentlemen carrying scary looking sub-machine guns, standing next to a number of black BMW cars parked at junctions in the countryside just north of Cape Town.

None of them pointed their guns at us, questioned us or treated us firmly though, so we continued, passing a convoy of what were presumably high-consequence dangerous goods as went on our way.

Wendy play-off defeat

Late last night, in a godforsaken corner of the Steel City, and after a season of blood, sweat, toil and tears, Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off dreams were ended in exceptionally cruel fashion as they were beaten on penalties in the pouring rain, right in front of their own Kop.

True Wednesday fans will know that I have been in their position and that I know exactly what it feels like. The pain, the distress, the the heartbreaking effect of suddenly broken dreams.
They’ll also be aware that I’m unable to feel any sympathy for them, both contractually and because I actually find it quite funny. And I’d expect nothing less from them should the situation be reversed.

Experts told us that it was never meant to be this way.

and…

But it turns out that the experts were wrong.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing.
What a wonderful day it is today.

It isn’t, are you?

Left-leaning UK Facebook is knee deep in election propaganda at the moment. A lot of it centres around the assertion that Theresa May “is evil”: a convenient strawman argument, distracting us neatly from the fact that in the real world, Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are laughably pie-in-the-sky, laughably costed and seemingly aimed at making the UK a complete no-go zone for business.

But how do we not know this already? We read the papers, don’t we? Why haven’t they told us about Theresa’s nastiness?

Well, as further posts tell us “The Media Is Biased!”. The fact that people need telling this sort of thing is rather worrying, but still…
I’m not denying that the The Media Is Biased!. Of course it is. But that Media Bias! swings both ways – something that all the The Media Is Biased! posts seem to forget to tell us.

So, now that we’re a global community, and you might find yourself reading a UK newspaper website from overseas, let me just quickly fill you in on what to look out for with a quick guide to the usual suspects.

The Sun: Owned by Rupert Murdoch, right-of-centre.
The Mirror: Left-of-centre tabloid.
The Times: Another Murdoch paper, ex-broadsheet.
The Telegraph: aka The Torygraph. Pro-Conservative broadsheet.
Daily Mail, Daily Express: Right of right, gentile fascism. Horrendous.
The Guardian: Left-wing, liberal, ‘intellectual’ paper.

But then there’s one more, quite popular newspaper called The Independent. It used to be a part of the Dead Tree Press, before going online only from last year. And, because of its name, and its infamous motto:

…you can probably already guess at its lack of political affiliation.

But be careful, because this, as the quote goes, is “the biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore”. With each of those other papers, you get to make your own mind up, there’s no hint of which way they’re going to try and sway you. And of course, you should never believe everything you read anyway.
But please, when it comes to The Independent, don’t let your critical standards slip, just because of the title.

Kingdom of Rust

Stuff would rust here in Cape Town if it ever got wet.
Which it doesn’t.

Herewith the video for Doves Kingdom of Rust:

A bit of Wild West, a hint of country, a touch of folk all topped off with plenty of Indie. They were Kasabian before Kasabian were Kasabian.

I heard this on the radio yesterday morning and had to share it. I didn’t realise quite how poignant the video was, but… well.. it is. Looking or waiting for some confirmation that some of it was filmed close to Sheffield, although that doesn’t fit with the M6/Blackpool narrative.

Great song.