So how many of you enjoy Four Thousand Words? I get a massive kick from writing regardless of whether the things I write ever get read, but it's best of all when someone I don't know emails me or comes up to me at work to say, 'Hey, I read your blog about the EU (or Amy Winehouse, or cheese, or whatever) and found it really interesting.' I'm all set for my best ever month of blog ownership (500+ hits) and I've decided to have a little look back at things I've talked about previously and see how they have progressed.
I Hate Tony Blair: Tony Blair, to the regret of all concerned, still feels that he is a key figure in British politics. His decision to tie Britain to the US following the attack on the USA on 9/11 was a noble one and much appreciated by American citizens, but for him to try and claim that his subsequent actions made the world a safer place is simply ridiculous. Leaked documents have shown that the illegal war in Iraq was fought under false pretences and was against the wishes of the international community. Blair recently described the subsequent and irrelevant death of Osama Bin Laden as "important", suggesting to this day that he is still playing war games in his head, fighting dark forces that his foreign policy helped to create, while citizens from his own nation have tried to arrest him for war crimes.
Each To Their Own: The Arab Spring democratic movement has stalled somewhat, thanks in no small part to the UK, who were selling weapons in the region even as revolution ensued. There have of course been some high profile regime changes, with Hosni Mubarak having been replaced by a military government in Egypt and Muammar Gadaffi having purportedly fled from Libya as his last strongholds begin to fall. It remains to be seen what the future will hold in the area, as Amnesty International have called upon Egyptian authorities to amend legislation to better protect women in Egypt, and ensure that both genders play an active role in the reforms that will follow.
March for the Alternative, 26th March 2011: The coalition government may be rolling with the punches somewhat, but the Liberal Democrats' concerted refusal to stand up for their own principles coupled with the general apathy of the British people towards politics means that Conservative policy is still tending to rule the day. A number of the UK's major unions are calling for a day of action on 30 November 2011, and a high participation rate is expected from members. Meanwhile, with conference season in the air, Clegg and Cable have attempted to rally the troops by warning that they dispute the Conservative position on the 50p tax rate and that urgent economic stimulus is required to kick-start the economy. I wish I didn't feel that this was too little, too late.
Justice for Ian Tomlinson!: In April this year I called for Simon Harwood, policeman and vicious attacker of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, to be charged with actual bodily harm for his actions in the events leading up to Tomlinson's subsequent death. The Crown Prosecution Service acted decisively, and decided instead that there was enough evidence to charge Harwood with manslaughter. His trial has been subsequently delayed until October 2011, but it is to be hoped that Tomlinson's family will finally see the justice that they deserve.
It's Not the End of the World: Of course, the news that the Rapture didn't come as predicted did not stop evangelical preacher Harold Campling from immediately naming a new date. Campling identified the supposed mathematical error in his predictions and definitely didn't put a wet finger into the air when predicting that the Rapture should actually have been on 21 October 2011. Honestly, I feel that numerologists are starting to give genuine accountants a bad name - especially as any accountant can tell you that it's Microsoft Excel, rather than cleanliness, which is actually next to godliness.
Keep Britain Rolling!: In July, UNISON steward Karen Michael was kind enough to allow me to reproduce the excellent article that she penned for the Norfolk Country Branch about the possible closure of Bombardier, the only UK-based manufacturer of rolling stock. The UK Government, having seen the wisdom in Karen's words a little bit after the event, invited Bombardier to bid for a government contract to construct steel carriages for Crosslink trains. It has subsequently transpired that the Derby plant is not suitably fitted for steelwork, and now the debate centres on how much of a proposed contract could be fulfilled in the UK, while conveniently ignoring the fact that under EU procurement rules, the government cannot award a contract on the basis that work would be guaranteed to be carried out in the UK. (This did make me think briefly that it was worth reconsidering my largely pro-European stance.) Regardless of the sense in that position, 3000 workers in the Derby area are still waiting for decisions to be made as to what will happen next.
The Cheese of the Day is... Red Leicester. If the Labour Party were cheese...
So it's been a busy few months at Four Thousand Words! I've read about, written about and learned about a whole host of major events in the world around us, and I look forward to many more in future.
Thanks to all of my readers that have read my blog, commented on it, criticised it furiously and on occasion, sent me amusingly rude emails. You really do make the process of committing my thoughts and insanities onto the internet into an enjoyable process. Feel free to comment here or to follow me and chat to me on Twitter, I would really love to know where you'd like Four Thousand Words to go in future.