20161128 How can we blame Society when the society we have is the one we've allowed to develop?

I started out, this morning, to write a funny piece. I noticed that most of my Commentaries lately have been political, in one way or another, or serious. That's not a reflection of the vast majority of my thinking or of my life. I laugh a lot and I have a lot of fun and people around me laugh at my antics and at the things I say.

But as I worked on the article, it did a sudden change of direction. Actually, it took a change of direction after about .. well, no, even that's not true: it changed direction while I was thinking how to start it, before I'd even sat at the table that, in my nomadic life, is today's desk. And then it changed direction again after the second paragraph, as it became obvious that, to get to the funny piece, I had to write background, then background to background...

And, before anyone reads the first sentence of this, the background to the background, here's some background to the background to the background: don't think that this article is anti-EU. It isn't; not in the slightest. I'm just using a specific European Council document to illustrate a global problem.

20161026 Northern Ireland Court says Christians must promote homosexual "marriage."

I was furious with the lunacy of the decision, in 2014, of a court in Northern Ireland to find that the McArthur family, owners of a bakery, were guilty of discrimination for standing up for their Christian beliefs. The facts were simple: a man, who it is not difficult to see as having deliberately targeted the bakery precisely because it is run by Christians, tried to place an order for a cake, decorated with the message "Support Gay Marriage." Now the Court of Appeal has made the same outrageous decision.

James - From Barking to Beijing - Chinese Idol

James is known by several names in China as people struggle to handle his English name. Yang, Yang Cong, even Yangcong. But it's his voice that has driven his popularity across China and South East Asia.

It's all a long way from being born in Barking, living in Upminster and Brentwood and attending schools in Romford, Brentwood, Southend and Colchester before university in London. He's worked in the UK and in Korea before starting his career as a musician and actor first in Taiwan and then across the South Pacific, even appearing in Las Vegas.

Here's how he came to the attention of China in the Chinese Idol competition where he was granted a special Chinese Idol award. He's working on his second album and developing an acting career.

20160926 Why the USA needs to add "none of the above" to its ballot paper

Something scary is happening in the USA. Two candidates, both described by media as "unpopular" have come out of the "Primaries" - the selection process by which party members vote for the person they want to be the next President of the USA. After a "race" (as they call it) between a batch of people who, so far as the rest of the world can tell, were all entirely unsuited to run a family barbecue, much less a large powerful country that is in domestic and international crisis, the members selected their least worst options which were then "confirmed" by a party congress. If many people want neither of them, democracy can only be served by the addition of a "none of the above" option to the ballot. And it's not as impossible as it first seems...

20160909 Sometimes even Trump can be right, ish

I'm almost embarrassed to say this but I think, if one picks one's way through the misogynistic, racist, bombastic, ignorant and arrogant bollocks that characterise Donald Trump's speeches and, worse, proposed policies, he does, sometimes, get something a bit right. But then he usually goes and spoils it by reverting to type.