Failure to Respond.

As the world’s economies grind to a halt, the numbers of unemployed people continue to rise. Coronavirus cases approach 3,000,000 and the number of deaths is forever rising, now at 200,000. It is times of crisis that require true leadership. Leaders that have integrity and government institutions that stay strong during times of politicisation. It is during this crisis that people have not been given the leadership that is required and the integrity that leaders should have.

It is important however, that during this crisis, people must come together for the common good but we must also hold to account those leaders who have put their political ideology and self-interest before the greater public interest. In the UK, we have seen the Prime Minster didder and delay at the early onset of covid-19. The UK’s government failed to respond effectively in implementing restrictions allowed the UK economy to continue on as if it were a regular business day. The consequences of such inaction have been a high mortality rate. As I write this, there have been 20,000 hospital deaths (possible death toll in the UK is expected to be much higher) related to covid-19. In the month of April, 25 days, the UK has had 18 days were the death toll was greater than 600, of those 18 days, 9 of which has had over 800 deaths.

Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have been heavily criticized for their refusal to be part of the European Union procurement process during the covid-19 pandemic. The decision not to participate was a “political decision”, said Simon McDonald, who is the under secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during questioning at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. What he means by a political decision is, the ideology of the brexiter Prime Minister and his cabinet took priority over the practicality and public interest of being part of the process. The hard line brexiter Prime Minister could never be part of an EU programme just weeks after officially leaving the European Union.

The ‘go it alone’ attitude has potentially put many lives at risk in the UK and the delay in bringing in restrictions on movement and restricting large crowds from gathering has progressed the number of deaths and the spread of covid-19.

The Prime Minister attended an international rugby game on March 7th and the following week, the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup went ahead with 3 days of festivities starting March 16th with a crowd of 150,000. These two occasions are central to the understanding of how slow the UK was in taking action and making decisions. Cheltenham has since issued a statement which citied the Prime Ministers attendance at a rugby game a week earlier as one of the reasons the festival went ahead but there’s no doubt that profit making was central to the event going ahead and a sheer disregard for public health.

What is now required is a public inquiry into the decisions that were taken, when they were taken, who knew, who decided on what and why. The high death toll in the UK is a direct consequence of the Boris Johnson government and they should be held responsible.

Lost In The Days.

Hi everyone, my apologies for the lack of posts since December 2019 but with the current situation bringing society to a stop, I am sure you understand. As my title suggests, yes, I have gotten lost in the days. Allow me to explain: In late February, my partner and I travelled to the Philippines to visit his family as this was his first return home since arriving in Ireland some 3 years ago. At the point of our departure, there were no reported cases in Ireland of covid-19 and 1 reported case in the Philippines. Due to the lack of cases in the Philippines, we felt it was safe to continue our journey which had been in the planning for months. I will not go into too much detail regarding our stay in the Philippines as I will write about that another time. This piece of writing is more so about how on our return, I personally have begun to lose track of my days. We arrived back in Dublin, Ireland on March 20th and since that date, I have been confined to my apartment. In mid-March, the Health Service Executive (HSE) issued guidelines that all travellers returning to Ireland should enter self-isolation for 14 days. This was not quarantine so much as it was about limiting the number of people I would have met. For 14 days from March 20th I remained at home, only leaving my apartment on two occasions to buy essentials. While I was in public, I would wear a mask to protect myself from people coughing (In Ireland wearing a mask wasn’t a common thing and to this day it still isn’t), I would also carry alcohol wipes and alcohol gel. I used the wipes to clean shopping trolleys and baskets and the gel was used after leaving the store. During these 14 days of isolating at home, I was able to work from home. My employer provided a laptop, a monitor and other tech essentials. The 14 days at home was not too tough, I worked, I cooked, completed chores, slept and so on. Then came the hard part, the Irish government issued stay at home orders for those who can and those not deemed essential workers, this came into effect from midnight March 27th and would last an initial period of 2 weeks until April 12th. I work in financial services which is deemed an essential sector, however, luckily for me, I was able to remain at home while still working. My presence was not required in the office right now, so I continued to work from home. So, at this point, I am one week into isolation and it is ok. As I mentioned, I’m only back from vacation, I just moved into my apartment on March 23rd so I needed to catch up on work, with friends and family so I had lot to do which kept me busy for that first week.


At this point, I am two weeks into the returning traveller isolation (which means I have completed the 2 weeks), and one week into the governments two week ‘lockdown’ still it is not too tough on me or on us. I am trying to keep busy each day, but repetition is starting to frustrate me because what I do is so limited. In my mind I am planning to attend the office one or two days to break up my week and trick my mind into thinking differently. My partner is due back at work April 4th, two weeks after returning home from vacation in the Philippines. The 4th of April is a day shift for him, and he would begin night shift on the 7th. I need to mention, my partner is a nurse at a major hospital in Dublin.


Tuesday the 8th of April my partner was at work, his second night shift out of seven nights. While in work that night, he is made aware that a colleague is positive for covid-19. He knew then that this was the colleague he worked with on the 4th of April and was advised that he could contract the virus and that I must stay in isolation for 14 days. At this point, it is now 18 days I have been in isolation since returning home and I must extend that for another 12 days. As I write this, I have 3 days remaining in isolation and have been inside my apartment for 27 days! During my new 14 days, my partner was told to continue to attend work and avoid people outside of work. We did not have any symptoms, because my partner had no symptoms, they deemed it safe for him to travel. This period was very nerving, we just did not know if we were going to get ill or if we had the virus but no symptoms. As the days went bye, I began to lose track of them. I began to lose my focus and my motivation. I failed to be productive when I was not on my laptop working. It took me a few days to begin to think clearly. To help me get back to being productive, I began operating my blogs twitter account and the Facebook page I created. I started to share news stories, good news stories, statistics and offer some opinion on the current global situation. This is what has helped me through this time. It is now 12 days since my partner was likely in contact with his colleague and we remain healthy and thankful for that. We still have a few days to complete before we are officially out of isolation. However, since April 12th, the original end date of Irelands lockdown, the government extended the lockdown by another 21 days. This means, staying at home is still advised for those who can and those who must as they may be vulnerable to the situation.


My new goals are to progress my WordPress blog by posting more and discussing with friends about them taking on certain categories to expand the blogs content and readership. Alongside the blog I will increase the content and engagement both on twitter and Facebook. My newest goal is to begin a podcast, it will be the voice of All Things In The Middle where I plan to discuss ‘all things in the middle’ with friends and guests. The topics will be like my blog. Politics, current affairs, sports, art and whatever else comes to mind. The podcast will be wide ranging, I will not restrict myself to specifics topics. I welcome advice on how to begin a podcast, I welcome guests’ suggestions and topic recommendations.
Until the next post, stay home, stay safe.

Brexit, Trump and the Resurgence of Liberalism.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

2016 was the year of two major events that would change two nations and the world as we knew it. In Britain, just over 50 percent of voters, in a referendum, voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Vote Leave camp used blatant lies and fear as a tool to persuade people to their side, garnering huge media coverage with their divisive slogans and divisive characters. The Remain side lacked energy, slogans and the characters that would be required to rally the public to their side and keep Britain within the European Project. The main underlying problem for the remain campaign, was it’s refusal to accept how frustrated Britons had become at the EU and how years of austerity had created a hunger for change.

Europe has been rocked by the referendum in Britain and soon enough we will know if a deal is agreed in the House of Commons (British Parliament) as we await Theresa May to put the Brexit Agreement to a vote. An earlier vote was pulled in December 2018 as the Prime Minister did not have enough support within her own party or in Parliament to win. Britain will crash out of Europe on March 29th if a deal is not reached or an extension is not granted. A no deal scenario could be bad news for the European Union and other Global economies and even worst news for the Island of Ireland as a possible hard border could be erected, in breach of the good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to the island following decades of the violence in Northern Ireland. This period in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles is extremely complicated and embedded in the history of those who live there.

On the other side of the pond, in the United States, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President. Trump had beaten Hilary Clinton. Clinton, simply as a name, is one of the most famous political names in the United States. The differences between Trump and Clinton are; Trump lacks the capabilities, knowledge, temperament and political experience that Clinton has. During the 2016 election, Trump lost the popular vote but The United States has a system in which the popular vote means nothing in terms of being elected, therefor Trump won the election because he won enough States which had the most electoral colleges. and reached the magic number of 270.

Trump has imposed tariffs on China and other goods from other nations. He had pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded on the Iran Nuclear Deal (The JCPOA) and continues to fire staff while also being under the spotlight of special Counsel Robert Mueller for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Trump and the Republican Party continue to undo much of what Barack Obama spent his 2 terms implementing. The only thing the Republicans stands for is nominating a sexual predator to the Supreme Court and undoing Obama policies, other than that, they have become the self serving party driving by deep ideology. On the other hand, the Democrats are in disarray, trying to understand themselves and what the heck they represent. The Democrats, like Labour in the UK are divided between the new era of left wing politics as a challenge to the far right and the old centre ground politics that Hilary Clinton and Tony Blair represented. The sooner the Democrats get their house in order the sooner they can be effective in the House of Representatives.

2019 will be a year in which the pendulum swings back, how far? only time will tell. The fight against nationalism and far right extremism is building as the resurgence of a united liberal front is taking place around the globe.

By Jonathan Myers.

Francesco Tuccio, The Lampedusa Cross

The last post I published which related to my current college work was in relation to Syria, refugees and structures/shelter.

I was listening to BBC Newshour one night and I came across a news piece about Frencesco Tuccio and how he had made crosses from the wreckage of boats that the refugees had used to cross the Mediterranean. I found this very interesting, not only did he use his carpentry skills to create an object but the object itself and how it related to the refugee crisis in a very real physical way.

A cross was commissioned by the British Museum

Skorpionpress_Franco_Tuccio_IMG_8709.jpg

LAMPEDUSA 20-10-2013 Franco Tuccio. (Skorpionpress)/. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see a link to a press release from the British Museum.

The power of 0.5

Forthcoming Irish Referendum could be ‘do we (Irish citizens) want to stay part of the European Process ?

If we vote no! will we be asked again ? Image

If we vote yes! will we be asked again ? I surely doubt it. I remember the referendum on the Lisbon treaty and how Irish people said NO! but yet the government asked the question again to achieve the answer they were seeking. They! the government ignored the democratic process and the vote of the people of Ireland to satisfy Europe.

It is extraordinary how such a small population (0.5% of the whole of Europe) can have such an effect on Europe if only when it comes to referendums.

In my opinion we should be asked ‘Do we accept the fiscal treaty and all that comes with it ? obviously not in those words but it should not be bigger or smaller than that.

I feel and see as this financial crisis continues, that which we say we fight for ‘democracy’ is been ripped apart in the name of bond holders. I a citizen of the world and a supporter and believer in equality and justice does not approve of the actions taken by governments around the world and urge those in positions of power and influence to stand for that which is morally correct and not for banks or the minority that are destroying society.