Are libraries on borrowed time?

Hola. Hope you are well.

If libraries did not already exist, they would not be introduced today but as they do exist they are being killed slowly.

The reason I fear for the future of libraries is twofold.

Firstly, local councils are being crippled by the government imposed cuts and so are continually looking at ways they can cut costs. Secondly, the people entrusted to make these decisions, generally don’t use services like libraries or community centres, so don’t appreciate their worth. This is why such services are seen as easy targets. Here are the figures of library closures.

So what of the future? I’ve heard it said libraries need to modernise, which seems to mean sell coffee and replace qualified librarians with well-meaning volunteers. Then in the near future, MPs and academics will no doubt scratch their head, furrow their brow and ponder why children from poorer backgrounds have problems with literacy levels. They will of course lay the blame on teachers and parents, whilst ignoring the impact of the library closures.

To me libraries are more than books (free), computer hire (free), newspapers (free), magazines (free), CD&DVDs (nominal fee), they are a communal space you can go to seek sanctuary.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, check out my comedy prongcasts. Cheers

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Should we be bombing Belgium?

Hola. Hope all is well.

Apparently, bombing Syria will make us safer. Wasn’t that what the ‘War on Terror’ was meant to do? Anyone know how that is going?

Syria is already being bombed by USA, Russia, France (and others) so unless we have special peace emitting bombs, I’m not sure what the UK can add.

All this talk of bombing Syria, comes as a response to the killings in Paris  but weren’t those attackers from France and Belgium, so should we not be bombing Belgium?

Let’s for argument’s sake say our bombs wipe out every member of ISIS, what next? Who or what will take their place? Will it be a peace-loving group or another terrorist group? If for example, you kill Jihadi John, who takes his place Radicalised Ringo?

If you want to stop ISIS, perhaps a starting point might be to stop people funding them. Do we know who funds ISIS and do we have any dealings with them?

Alternatively, David Cameron can bomb Syria, destabilise the region further and then refuse to take in refugees when they flee to Europe. Politics after all is about decisions.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, listen to my comedy #prongcasts Cheers!

 

Is the traditional affair over?

Hola. Hope you are well.

What has happened to the traditional affair? One that happens organically, maybe with a colleague at work, or a chance encounter with a stranger in a bar.

Not one conducted via a website like Ashley Madison; where as long as you have an email address and a credit card you can order an affair. Plus, the old way, meant that if your partner did find out you could always say, you didn’t mean it to happen. This may be harder to believe when you’ve signed up to a site that specialises in affairs.

Having said that, these days people date online, so why shouldn’t they conduct their affairs this way? In these more technological times it’s conceivable that the whole arc of your relationship could be played out online. You could for example, meet your partner online, meet your affairee (not sure that’s a word) online, sort your divorce online, sell the marital home online, arrange access to the kids online etc… etc…

The author of this blog is the co-author of How To Dump Your Girlfriend

Ps. Marriage is a serious business and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, check out my comedy Prongcasts

 

Why Tony Blair makes me feel like a teenager

Hola. Hope you are well.

People said we’d have a hung parliament. (spoiler alert) We don’t.

People said Jeremy Corbyn was only in the  Labour leadership race to widen the debate, he’s currently leading that race.

Now people are saying he’s unelectable.

Who knows if Jeremy Corbyn can or can’t connect with the electorate? What we do know, is that Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are struggling to connect with supporters of their own party.

It’s probably telling that whilst Corbyn has sparked excitement amongst young people, the ‘Anyone But Corbyn’ campaign is being led by politicians from the New Labour era.

Leading to odd situations, like Tony Blair predicting a Corbyn led Labour will split the party. That’s Tony Blair the most divisive figure in the party. Or Gordon Brown explaining what it takes for Labour to be electable. It’s just a shame he’s never had a chance to put these ideas into practice.

It’s not just Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, it seems like every day someone  from that era is telling Labour supporters not to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. They don’t seem as forthcoming when it comes to saying why we should vote for the other contenders.

I can’t help thinking that this approach, like a parent forbidding a teenager from doing something, is just making Corbyn appear that little bit more desirable.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any spare time, have a listen to my comedy prongcasts. Cheers

 

 

 

Home the heroes?

Hola. Hope you are well.

I struggle a bit with factual books but occasionally I dip into one. The other week I read some of Hope and Glory by Stuart Maconie.

There’s a section in the book where he writes about the Battle of the Somme, where more than 19 000 British Soldiers died on the first day alone. One soldier who survived the Somme was William Towers, but in so doing, lost a leg. On his return to England, he recalls how a man in the street looked him up and down and said, “I suppose you’ll be living off other people’s generosity for the rest of your life”.

A few pages later, Maconie references how immediately after the end of the First World War, the ‘wounded and damaged men’ were having trouble surviving financially and without jobs and with no welfare system, many ex soldiers were forced to beg on the street.

In 2013, it was revealed that 9000 ex soldiers were homeless (they also made up 10% of the prison population). In 2014 Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard, set up a charity Homeless Veterans to help those ex serviceman that have fallen on hard times.

Whatever you think of war and military intervention, (it should be the very last option) does it not seem odd that we are relying on charity to help people who have fought in the name of this country? You might think the government would have some provisions in place to help them.

Apparently not because in Nov 2014 David Cameron, gave his backing to the charity. Unless I’m mistaken he’s the Prime Minister, is he not in a position to do more than merely backing a charity. After all some of these ex service people will have gone into conflict on his say so.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

If you have time, have a listen to my comedy podcast. Cheers

Wasp would you do?

Hola. Hope you are well.

Whilst enjoying an outdoor breakfast (I was on holiday) a wasp started buzzing around me, seemingly attracted to my very sweet and unidentifiable fruit juice. Neither wafting or ignoring the wasp, made it go away and then somewhat inevitably it flew into the fruit juice. It appeared to be swimming, although I couldn’t be sure.

After about a minute, it dawned on me that the wasp wasn’t going to make it out of this fruit juice alive. I’m not someone who can sit idly by and watch a creature die, so I moved the glass out of sight.

I didn’t, I decided the best course of action was to scoop the wasp out with my tea spoon and put it on the table. This wasn’t overly appreciated by everyone I was with, as apparently the wasp, given a second chance at life may have stung us. As it happened it just flew off.

The only downside, was that in the confusion of saving a life and my poor short-term memory, when it came to my next cup of tea I used the waspy spoon.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have any time, check out my comedy Prongcasts. Cheers

We’re all on benefits

Hola. Hope you are well.

Over the last year I’ve been going to a few public lectures at the London School of Economics. For one talk about the welfare state by Professor John Hills I was mistaken for a lecturer, which for someone who isn’t entrusted with much responsibility, pleased me greatly.

This however wasn’t the main thing I took from the talk, instead it was the fact that over our lifetime statistically we will put more into the welfare state, through working and paying NI, than we will take out. There may of course be times in our life that we will require support from the state, for example, periods when we are out of work, or if we fall ill or in old age but overall the money spent on you in these periods will be less than you have contributed.

There are politicians and certain parts of the media who won’t mention this, instead they’ll make out it’s a straight shoot out between ‘hard working families’ and those on benefits (sometimes referred to in pejorative terms, such as scroungers. The truth is, the 2nd largest proportion of the welfare budget goes towards working people, either in the form of working tax credits, money used to prop up the very low wages companies (often large companies) pay their staff, or housing benefit, money used to supplement the high rents private landlords charge. The biggest amount of money, for those interested, is spent on those with a state pension, i.e. people who worked when they were of employable age.

So the next time someone talks about people ‘being on benefits’, they’re talking about you. It might not be the ‘present you’, it might be the ‘past you’ or just as likely be the ‘future you’, but they’re talking about you but just as pertinently they’re talking about themselves.

Til next time, be nice to each other.

@anunknowncomic

Should you have time check out my comedy Prongcasts. Cheers