I have a friend from my college days – we still stay in touch – this is such a communications

I have missed out much of the communication so a bit stylistic, but I though it sums up the problems in this world and how governments seem unable to get a grip of a situation that is quickly spirling out of control.

My friend

Yes, it’s a hard balance about automation, it was ever the case, the Dunfermline revolt was probably influenced by the Luddites.  I was brought up in a tenement in Lochend and my background is staunchly working class but I don’t ascribe to the radically socialist ramblings of some of my family as we would fall out.  They are entitled to their opinion but to be honest a lot of them are arguing from inherited and overheard conversations and not based on reading a book or doing some research like you and I.  I just hold my tongue, the majority of them are now pretty well off and don’t know what they are talking about, the Facebook generation. 

Me

I like you came from a Labour background, so sort of died in the wool socialist but I totally agree the patients have taken over the asylum. and of course, the Labour party was taken over by Tony Blair and his pal Gordon Brown (the third way). And yes, the Facebook generation does not help, calling one another names and false or half-truths being banded about serves no one well.

My friend

Thinking out loud reading your reply below, I think we agree somewhere in the middle, it isn’t so much I don’t think we should help the less well-off, we should absolutely but there is a line between dependency and encouraging people to be self-sufficient. 

Me

Too right – refugee camps – foreign aid – making people dependent on a plastic shelter and a food handout, is no substitute for work that makes them self-sufficient, but then you have to put that work in place for it to work, chicken and egg. I have a love-hate relationship with Charities – big wages for those that run these charities – little achieved – food banks a curse on our nation, in America if you work for Walmart you automatically qualify for food stamps, and it is coming to a place near you soon.  I support Guide dogs for the blind (having had a member of the family blinded during the war and I captained a tandem for a blind lad) I felt it was worthwhile – but recently I have been inundated with books of raffle tickets to sell, constantly asked to give generously to the cause – how much I wonder of my money donated is supporting the dogs training and wellbeing and how much is going on promotion and fundraising? Charities in this country must be one of the fastest-growing businesses there is.

Handouts from the government – but who are the government really giving the money to, – is this not just another way to subsidise the energy companies? We are building more wind farms in Scottish waters – more than enough to supply every household in Scotland with cheap energy – but we are paying amongst the highest prices for electricity and gas anywhere in Europe. Why because we control none of the electricity of gas from that source. The government (so the people) should have a stake in the energy companies. And more publicly owned wind turbines should be funded by taxpayer loans. You see this lot in Europe. When on holiday in Austria, a lad, had taken me up to the top of a community wind generator – I asked, do people not complain about the noise from the blades, in close proximity to the houses? Only those that don’t own a wind generator complain, he said    

I am very fortunate I have good genes that afford me good health, I live in sheltered housing – someone cleans my windows, tends the garden, and fixes any faults to the property. My heating comes from a central boiler, so in with the rent, I can have my flat as hot or cool as I wish. We have laundry washing machines and tumble dryers (who can afford a tumble dryer these days?). OK I have to watch the pennies but I am very content with my lot, so I’m H-A-P-P-Y.  

I ended up in West Yorkshire by default (my mother fell ill and ended up in the hospital and they would not let her out unless she had someone to look after her, my sibling sisters all scattered, ‘things to do and places to go’, I ended up as her carer, I thought it would only be for a month or so until she got on her feet – mum suffered a stroke, 19 years later she died. Buggered up my retirement plans but I do not regret a minute of it (even though she could be a crotchety old bugger (lady) at times. It was tough, and there was little help at that time, now we seem to have gone the other way – over the top. Try pushing a 90-something 15-stone person in a wheelchair around a very hilly part of Yorkshire and you will know what I mean. Life as the Moodie Blues told us is ‘A Question of Balance’.

Yesterday the morning was windless and awfy, awfy dreich, mist lay in the valley and low-lying fields like a cold snow-white shroud. Dropping down from Strathkinness the cold was such, I felt naked. I saw a curlew knee high in a flooded field, once so common in the lands around Fife, no longer, a few fallow fields, now much of the farmland is under arable and the ceaseless plough. Home and on with the last of my homemade lentil and tomato (and whatever else happens to be lying around) soup its gid tell yir ma’.

The Salvation Army charity shop has a sale on ‘All DVDs and CDs 10p’ hold me back. An 8 DVD collection of Catherine Cookson, a German language course (I really need to try harder to learn German), and a couple of French language films, I love French films the actors as so natural in their dress and actions, although very much kitchen sink dramas. And the usual run-of-the-mill American movies with all the computer graphics, greed, corruption, shooting, killing, and of course the good guys (the Americans) take the day. But that is the good point of 10p DVDs if they are rubbish, what you are losing, so you can experiment with lots of genera.  

In one of Kristin Scott Thomas’s stars, I did not know she was fluent in French and it certainly does not look as if it has been dubbed. Kristin is perfectly cast in this film for she does have a serious, loner-type looking expression on her face, hang doggie.

A guest at a dinner party, she is being taunted by a man, who has had a bit too much wine. Why have we not seen you around, where are you from…….. She finally answers – in prison – 15 years for murder, after a pause to take it in, all around the table burst into laughter. Of course, she is telling the truth. It is a brilliant story, the acting is superb, and the ending is thought-provoking, and something we as a society still struggle with is euthanasia.

The words that came over very strongly for me were that prison time for killing your own child is the longest time in prison. (Eternal prison time)

After 12 O’clock and not a dish washed – must go, stay safe.

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