Syria’s war and Britains role in the world.

A lot has been said about the decision of the House of Commons to vote against British military involvement in Syria to defend the civilian population from chemical weapons being used by Assads government. I cannot see what the problem is. We live in a democracy and our elected officials put forward a motion, it was voted on and they voted against it, end of. I think it is a good result because it stops our RAF being put in harms way and it also stops the civilians we are claiming to be saving from getting rained upon by our freedom bombs and justice explosions that will kill them instead in the name of humanitarianism.

I can fully understand why the worlds powers are talking amongst themselves and to the UN about the situation. It is quite illegal under international law to use chemical weapons and is just wrong to use them against your own people. The death of over a thousand men women and children in the chemical attacks is a crime against humanity and a crime that Assad should be made to pay for one day in an international court. But I don’t have the faith that the air strikes planned by foreign powers on large urban, residential areas will be accurate and successful. I also wonder how an attack by America might be seen and reacted to by Syrias allies Iran, Russia and Hesbollah. The great American ally and construct that is Israel could become a target and even neighbouring countries like Turkey could find themselves being bombed. The war could be extended from a civil one to a regional one and then who knows what the hell might happen and who might get involved. If Turkey is attacked (and technically has already been as bombs have crossed the border and exploded inside Turkey) it could lead to action by the EU and NATO and the UK might have to get involved as part of its mandate to those organisations. This really could become one big mess indeed. But like I said, I’m glad at this point the UK aren’t getting involved because despite the crimes that are being committed in Syria I can’t see civilian lives being saved by having us dropping explosives everywhere. But when the day comes for Assad to be dragged from his palace and thrown to his knees by the opposition I for one will be celebrating. I just hope they keep the fucker alive to face the humiliation of standing in court and the justice of a trial by Syrian people.

Now bombing of Syria aside there has been chat about the role that the UK might or might not now have in the international community as a result of the decision in the commons against the air strikes. So what are these journalists saying? You can only be a big hitter if you are a big aggressive country that elects itself world police and judge and jury over every other nation on the planet? We know that America and France are up for the intervention, but which other countries are weak and no longer have a role to play on the international stage because they oppose foreign intervention. Well Germany. Sadly the biggest economy in Europe opposes it too, so I assume they no longer have a role to play internationally. Who else, well China. As the biggest population and the 2nd largest economy in the world they are meaningless now because they don’t want to see a civil war interfered with in such a direct way by outsiders. Who else, errrrr Iran. Iran is a country that has manoeuvred itself to be one of the most powerful and influential countries in the Middle East. They’ve managed to do this largely because of the West removing the main rival they used to have to that crown, Saddam Hussein. Iran has nuclear enrichment facilities but no one can be sure what for and it has a standing military force of about 550,000 personnel but none of this matters because they have no role to play internationally anymore because they oppose intervention in Syria. See what I’m saying here? The idea that the UK has no place in the modern world over one matter like this is ludicrous at best. I think it is just the Tory supporting media trying to shame politicians into acting when they’ve already spoken – and said no. They want a war because war headlines allow other bad news stories about Tory policies and bad management here in the UK to be hidden on page 27 and buried. But without the war, not only does the Tory government look weak but it won’t be able to shy away from issues at home that are more at the forefront of people’s minds because they are front page headlines and so are likely to cost them votes at the next general election.

The Commons has spoken and for what feels like the first time in a long time, politics seems to be working for the UK, certainly it is on this issue. I disagree with what Assad is doing, I support the Free Syria opposition but the rules of war have to be upheld and if they’re not, when this war is over those responsible for murdering people during it must face the consequences.


PS I know I wrote a post not long ago about Syria and I asked why is the West watching a country implode? I stand by the points made there and here but I do not think a few days worth of air strikes is what is needed. Why aren’t we talking to Syrias allies to try and get them to put pressure on Assad? Why aren’t we encouraging the opposition to act fairly to take the moral high ground? Why aren’t we encouraging them all to avoid committing war crimes? I feel we could do so much more to bring the opposing forces to the peace talks table rather than us being expected to pick a side and fight.


Let’s Take A Walk.

Here is a question that I have often asked myself; why do you write?

It’s an easy question to answer. The answer is boring and dull and predictable: “Because I enjoy it.”

But that is true. It’s easy, I think, to try and claim that you’re some tortured soul, some sympathetic, artful, sensitive, free-thinker who doesn’t just live in this world but stands back and looks at the world. But that is just utter bollocks! Because essentially every person on the planet is that person or you’re a moron or in a coma and have no way of entertaining your senses with the myriad of information that is strewn upon them constantly, all day, every day.

Every single person has an imagination. Everyone enjoys a good story. We all like gossip even if we pretend we’re above that shit and no one wants their story to go untold. End of.

So if you can read and write, you have the tools to be a writer. If you enjoy writing you’ll do it, if you don’t you won’t. It’s that simple.

So I prefer this question; why don’t people write?

I firmly believe that people like to write and want to write. I know (as I was once one of them) that people will be out there writing and not sharing it and not wanting too fearing that they have nothing to say or that people will judge them or even mock them for trying. That is a sad thing because the very people they are fearful of have probably at some point tried to write or do write. Fear of the audience is irrational, I mean think about it, if they are reading it and laughing at it, or you, they are still reading. So who cares? I don’t (well not these days anyway.) In fact when I was this kind of person and I bravely stepped out and started writing publicly I received nothing but encouragement and support from people who I thought would mock and destroy me. It turns out families and friends aren’t the judgemental crazies that us writing lovers thing they are. They’re just relived that your secretive and odd behaviour is because you write and not because you’re a smack head.

So why else don’t people write? Well I think in some cases illiteracy and bad education is the problem. I certainly believe that for every 100 people who write, there is 1 great writer and for every 100 illiterate people there is a mind and an imagination enslaved and going begging. Education is a fundamental part of writing. In fact it’s the only part. Going to school and making sure you understand the basics are key and very important and I think (certainly in the UK) more could be done to help alleviate the problem of illiteracy. I mean, sure, it’s not a big problem but it does exist and people are essentially left behind. I imagine a world where my favourite writer, Stephen King, was illiterate and was simply working in McDonalds and living in a trailer home, how sad that would be? The imagination would still be there but the way in which to share it would be missing. That is truly a sad thought I think. If you disagree just replace Stephen King with your favourite writer and then consider the same scenario. Shit aint it? Get an education kids, you might not know it when your 16 or 18 but you could be the next best writer this planet has. Don’t be trapped in your mind with a million ideas and nothing to do with them. English is a complex language but the basics to get you going aren’t. Just go to school and I promise you’ll thank me one day even if you think I’m a mad man talking shite right now. You have that power and it’s your future, do you want a good or a bad future? It’s that simple. So choose.

Yes I feel that writing is important and knowing how to read and write is very important. Communication and language is a large part of what elevates human beings above other life forms, when it can be used to tell a story it is amazing and when it can convey emotions from one person to another or another time in human history to today it is frigging awesome. Let’s not forget that time travel exists because of writing. Yes I can go back on my blog and see something I thought and wrote one or two years ago and it can speak to me from then. That is the power of literature and words and writing. It can take you to a time and a place away from the here and now.

So let’s take a walk, from here to the future or the past. The future you have to wait for in real time, and the blog posts will appear from time to time. But you can go back months and years with the click of a mouse if you want, all of my madness and rants and odd stuff is here.

I write because I enjoy it, I encourage you all to do it too.

God damn writing this was so good.

I hope you liked it too.


The waxing and waning of blogging.

I’ve lost the rhythm of writing. I used to find blogging easy as most things seemed to piss me off but lately I’ve not been getting angry or upset as much as I usually am by the world. I dunno why? I think maybe on some subconscious level I’ve taken a break. Only a few weeks ago I was starting to plan forging ahead with my writing and it simply hasn’t happened. I foolishly set up a “Bilston Jay” account on Facebook only to realise that I cannot friggin stand Facebook and so I’ve already removed it. I much prefer reddit and twitter for shamelessly promoting the guff that I post here. Reddit is actually a great site. I only joined up about 5 weeks ago as I had no idea what it was all about but after watching a tutorial for reddit on Youtube I decided to have a go and its great. I can really see why they call it the front page of the internet (even if there are a lot of just pictures posted) it’s such a great way to follow news and information on specific subjects from all over the web. I’d safely say that I love it and think it may be my new addiction on the net.

I’ve also (as followers on twitter will already know) been given the green light by Bilston Town football club to write the official history of the club and the research for that is starting with a vengeance. I never knew that there were so many places and so many people I could contact to ask for help and I’ve also had my spirits lifted by the positive response I’ve had from people and how willing they are to help and share information. On September 21st there is an old players reunion at the Queen Street ground ahead of the clubs game that day and so I’ll certainly be there, notebook in hand getting phone numbers and email addresses and stories from yesteryear. In fact I’m already blown away at the history of the club just from what little bits and bobs I’ve already found it. It really is amazing what kind of heritage is sitting all around us if we just open our eyes to it. Bloody fantastic!

In recent weeks I’ve also spent a lot of time sat in Showcase watching The Wolverine, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, We’re The Millers and The Worlds End. Of all of the films that have come out over the summer these are the ones that I wanted to see and I’m pretty damn pleased I did. None of them disappointed. We’re The Millers is absolutely hilarious and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good laugh and Jennifer Aniston as a stripper. I do wanna see Kick Ass 2 because the first one I thought was pretty good (especially the wooden, Adam West-like performance of Nicholas Cage) but as the missus hasn’t seen the first one and has no desire to I may have to wait for the DVD. It’s rare for me to want to see so many films at the cinema because these days I’m usually so grumpy nothing takes my fancy, but coincidently as my mood has lightened and the blogging rants have faded my love of movies has slowly returned. It’s so easy to get into a work-sleep-work-sleep, watch the same crap on TV, do the same three things at the weekend (two of which are drink and sleep) routine and I think I was in that. It became tedious and I’m glad that it’s ended. I feel much better now than ever. No one can live to a static routine for ever, it does eventually drive us all crazy!

And, I’ve also been enjoying the football. Wolves have been another great source of rants over the last two or three years and I’ve had nothing negative to say about them. Its easy to jump aboard and simply enjoy the ride when things are going well. Maybe I should be a bit more lighter and talk about the good things rather than moaning about the bad things. But then who wants to read that? I know you guys enjoy my rants and despite everything that I’ve said here I’m sure that if I scratch the surface I can easily expose beneath the cool exterior a core of boiling liquid magma ready to spew forth at the drop of a hat.


Part of Spain is British and Parts of North Africa are Spanish (aka Spain wants what it won’t give Morocco)

The news has told of a visit by the Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo to Buenos Aires and the topic of debate is sovereignty of Gibraltar. They may decide to form an alliance with each other because Argentina has a dispute with us too, about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. Oh how gracious and well meaning the Spanish are and how amazing they are for trying to reunite their soil with their nation whilst not having any disputed overseas territories of their own that are rarely mentioned and not as obviously famous as the Falklands or Gibraltar… oh hang on they do!


As Spain tries to gain sovereign control of Gibraltar they currently have four pieces of disputed territory in the same Mediterranean region. Ceuta is one of them. They claim that as Spain administered the land before the modern state of Morocco existed they have claim over it despite not being connected to them by land but over the seas of the Gibraltar straits and the Med, exactly the same as the UK and Gibraltar. But they want Gibraltar back but refuse to hand back Ceuta to Morroco. Hmmmm…..


Melilla is a deeply divided community “owned” by Spain but very close to splitting into two because of the Spanish community and the Muslim community from Morroco that makes up half of the population. It has no strategic position or reason to be held by Spain, unlike Ceuta which has a very strategic naval position, quite close, but across the water from, Gibraltar. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this issue was completely unaware that Spain had autonomous cities in Morocco, but they do, and as they plan to complain with Argentina to the United Nations about Britain’s rule in Gibraltar they are keeping as quiet as possible about these two disputed regions of Morocco.

Perejil Island

Perejil Island is simply a small uninhabited islet 250 metres off the coast of Morocco in the Straight of Gibraltar. It has no real significance or strategic relevance but Morocco and Spain had a bloodless armed conflict over this rock sticking up out of the sea in 2002. I dunno who has sovereignty but if you had to make your mind up on this evidence who would you choose… The island is 250 metres away from Morocco’s coast, it is 5 miles away from Spain. Hmmm?

Isla de Alboran

Like Perejil, Isla de Alboran is a small islet taken in 1540 by Spain from a Tunisian pirate (so they must have all the correct paperwork, ahem!) It houses a small Spanish garrison and has a lighthouse, very nice! It does have strategic importance and is an ideal landing pad in the Mediterranean. Although Morocco have never filed a claim for the Island it is in the region of the Med where they have claims for other tiny island that are disputed with Spain and again it is closer to Morocco’s coast than it is to Spain’s.


I understand that sovereignty is sovereignty, international law is international law and self determination of the people on the ground is their right. That is how we can still claim Gibraltar and that is how Spain can claim Ceuta & Melilla. Despite the opposition of people who say it’s their land by rights. I take no sides in the Spanish-Moroccan disputes, as I say Spain has sovereignty over two port cities in North Africa and we have sovereignty over Gibraltar on the Southerly tip of Spain. But it seems a bit of a double standard to have these outposts in Africa and then moan and whinge about the UK being in Gibraltar. Am I right?

Maybe Morocco should go to the UN and ask the same questions that the Argentinians and the Spanish are asking of Britain. Goose and Gander and whats good and all that aye? Maybe the British and the Moroccans should offer a counter collective idea, Gibraltar will have a referendum on its future if the people of Ceuta & Melilla do the same, then it’s fair I feel.

Historical claims for land are irrelevant these days. You have to look at the situation on the ground today and moving forward, only then you can have a proper resolution. You can’t expect people to up and move or change their ruler just because hundreds of years ago thousands of dead people from another time ruled the land, that is just a stupid idea. Give the people the chance, let them have a vote. After all Spain and Britain are democracies and members of the EU, I’m sure it could be done fairly and freely.

The world is about right now and tomorrow and that’s all that really matters. Unless you’re a politician looking to milk a situation for easy votes from dumb-asses who know nothing more than what they are spoon fed by the controlled and agenda driven popular media.

I’m sure Gibraltarians would chose to be British and I’m sure the people of Ceuta & Melilla would choose to be Spanish. End of argument. You can’t have your cake and eat it Spain. I’d say your move Spaniards. We give up our disputed, overseas territories if you do the same, agreed? No I thought not.


What makes you what you are? (aka Nature Vs Nurture, are people genetically weird or just odd-bods because of having lived?)


Today I have been thinking about what makes people tick and what makes people, what they are? It’s all so very easy for us to think that someone is weird or strange, they may well be, but what makes them the people that they are? Why are people weird, what makes us all the same only different? I believe that we are all the sum of our experiences. I cannot for a second believe that people are born evil or daft or strange, I think people are all the same at birth, like a blank canvas waiting for life to colour it. So simply my question is this: What do you guys think? (Not just the wordpress followers but anyone, blog at me from your website or leave a comment below.)

Do you agree and what life experiences do you think have shaped who you are the most? Do you think that the good times or the bad times make you good or bad or vice versa? What ‘Sliding Doors’ moments have you had where you made a decision and your life went in one direction and when you look back you wished you’d taken the other path? Can you say, “I’m this way because…?”

Think of it as a made in Bilston freshly pressed blogging challenge.

I look forward to reading your replies and comments.