Friday, 20 May 2022

HERE'S HOPING THAT THE LUCK OF THE DEVIL HOLDS

 Ever since the pandemic was allowed to take such a rapid hold in this country back in the first three months of 2020, I have been lamenting the failures of the neoliberal Tory government which has the responsibility for responding to the killer virus in our midst. As we edge closer and closer to the figure of 200,000 UK citizens with coronavirus identified as a cause of their death (as of 10 May 2020, the death toll stood at 193,713), I am relieved that at last the mortality statistics are showing a decline in numbers. 


Vaccination, courtesy of the NHS, saved the day for us - and the Tory government 


Over the past couple of months, the National Office of Statistics (NOS) has been changing the way it presents its figures. They are appearing less often, for a start. The government was closing down the testing stations; the message was clear: the pandemic was nearing its end. When I go shopping in the

Friday, 13 May 2022

RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE - WHAT'S GOING ON AND WRONG IN THE UK

My source for much of this blogpost is a Short Cuts piece by Maya James, an environmental consultant, in the London Review of Books on 12 May 2022. The opinions expressed, however, are mine for the most part.

  • In June 2019, legislation committing the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 was added to the Climate Change Act. This move was one of Teresa May's last before resigning as prime minister and was strongly supported by the Conservative Environment Network, whose members now include half the Tory MPs on the back benches. 
These were the percentages back in 2014 - this issue commands even more public support now.


  • There is therefore a divide within the Tory party of government in the UK. Around half its MPs are not prepared to strongly support this commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 - still 28 years away. But we need nearer deadlines than this. The climate crisis tipping-point is coming closer and closer. Some scientists say we may have already passed it. Yet a significant minority of Tory MPs - the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, with at least 19 members - believe that net

Saturday, 7 May 2022

ROB DONOVAN (2022) - 'DYING TO KNOW - RUNNING THROUGH A PANDEMIC' - MORE REVIEWS AND A ROB IN THE ROUND VIDEO

 In last week's blog post, I published five reviews for my latest literary venture - 'Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic'. Here are five more, starting with one from within the publishing house, Matador/Troubador - but first a vanity shot. I can be indulged, I hope. Taken a week ago, I had just completed my virtual London Vitality 10K in 79minutes and 25 seconds. Mo Farrah managed the real thing in 28 minutes and 44 seconds - and lost to a 28 year-old club runner, Ellis Cross, from Aldershot, by four seconds. But heh! - they're younger and full of testosterone!  


I have just completed two circuits of my local training run - 3.5 miles from my house, up the hill to Little Trevalgan and back down, so 7 miles in total - in 01:29:36. My 10K (6.2 miles) time was 01:19:25.  


These days, getting a book accepted by a mainstream publisher, whatever its quality, is very difficult if you do not have the contacts that secure a place in the loop. I, like others, have turned to self-publishing and Troubador/Matador offer a very good service for those who can afford it. I'm saving hard to ensure