Category Archives: Current affairs

In times of darkness we will never be more alight

Right from the off I will say that during this blog I will not name any of the perpetrators of the following crimes as I do not think they are worth mentioning and should not receive any more attention than they have already received.

This blog will briefly describe some of the most widely reported news stories of the last year but that it not what this blog is about … we hear heart-break all the time about children being abducted or abusive relationships, soldiers who have been killed in combat or fatal car crashes but the media never really focus on the community spirit in the aftermath or the feelings and reactions of the many opposed to that of the mindless few.

In August 2011 we had the London riots.  3 days of violence, looting and anarchy on the streets however the day after the riots ended what happened?  The people of London … the real community, came out of their houses and began a clear up that saw the community as a whole get together and create something positive to rise from the ashes of the riots.  Thousands of Londoners took to the streets with brooms to clear the glass and litter away, people unselfishly helped those shop owners who had literally lost everything over night.

The people of London wanted their London back and wanted to prove to the world that this was not a violent place but a place where community spirit was strong.  And it was this community that came together and showed that the mindless acts of a few will not destroy this.

London went on to host the 2012 Olympic games which was deemed a huge success and one of the highlights was the overwhelming welcoming that everyone received from the community as a whole and by the thousands of volunteers who gave up their own time to be part of such an event.  The riots are now but a distant stain on the landscape but it is the legacy of those Londoners who made the Olympics so special that will live on.     

Residents of Clapham during the clean up

We have recently seen the public outcry of sadness regarding two female police officers who were gunned down in cold blood in Greater Manchester. 

Words will never be able to quantify the actions that led to these young officers being taken so soon but once again the public outpouring of affection and respect for people who largely were unknown to them has been inspiring to everyone. 

The funerals of PC’s Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone took place over the last couple of days and thousands of members of the public along with thousands more members of the police and emergency services stood along the precession route and offered their minute of silence and bowed heads in respect of the fallen officers.   

The heinous act of one single individual may live on in the annals of English crime but this will never and can never erase the acts of thousands who stood together side by side to say goodbye to two brave officers.

Thousands line the street to say a final farewell

As I write this blog the whole country is nervously awaiting the outcome of the search for little April Jones who was abducted outside her home in Wales 5 days ago.  April is only 5 years old and the news has gripped the whole of the UK and although the outcome is yet to be known the sheer scale of the search has been overwhelming.

44 police authorities are involved as well as coast guard, search and rescue teams, trackers and hundreds and hundreds of members of the public, many of whom have taken time off from their work are helping with the search.

Everyone has their fingers crossed for a positive outcome but yet again the act of one single individual has inadvertently brought together a whole community and in this case a country.

Sick individuals will always be out there and there will always be times of crisis and horror but what people should never forget is that it is during these times that the human race really shows its true strength, coming together in times of need, unselfish acts of help and assistance.  One will never outweigh the many and although the press and media will always focus on the act itself, communities grow and become stronger and in times of darkness the community will never be more alight.

A Community coming together to search for young April

Its our time down here – Latino 777

London 2012 Olympics

Well what can I say about the 2012 London Olympics … I was one of the millions of Britons who were probably not too bothered about the Olympics coming to GB.  You dread the traffic and the extra security that is put in place, you are put off visiting friends in the capital for a few weeks and of course you dread what the expense will do to your paypacket long term.

London 2012 Olympics

Then the Opening Ceremony commenced!!!

With baited breath we sat and wondered is this going to be a disaster?  The small snippets that were advertised did not look very spectacular or inspiring … and then it began and with it the excitement exploded and everyone in Great Britain sat up and realised what a momentous event this actually is and what it means to have it in our own back yard.

The Olympic Rings coming together in spectacular fashion

I remember thinking ‘its no wonder foreigners think the British are a nation of Hugh Grants’ at the beginning of the ceremony with all the Morris dancers and green fields and then out of nowhere the whole stadium changed and a darkness fell bringing with it the era of the industrial revolution and I thought now this is interesting.

When the Olympic rings were forged and lifted high into the stadium and the sparks reigned down I said to the room full of friends now that is going to take some beating in future ceremonies and then the surprises just kept on coming … from the Queen and James Bond, to Mr Beans little skit with the London Symphony Orchestra, to the introduction of the British scientist who created the internet!

The Queen accompanied by James Bond 007

We sat through the child catcher and Mary Poppins, an astonishingly talented deaf drummer and the sight of Mr Muhammad Ali with the Olympic Flag.  We had a Beatle perform, we listened to generations of British music that has been heard the World over and still there was more …

Mary Poppins on the attack

Fireworks, Beckham, Dizzy Rascal, JK Rowling, thousands of volunteers, our greatest Olympians and then the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.  With its 204 copper petals being lit by the future of British Sport in the shape of 7 young talented athletes the Olympic flame rose up and at that moment I believe everyone in this great nation was proud to be British.

204 Copper Petals begin to rise

The whole event had been a success, inspiring, clever, funny, interesting, loud, bright … we knew it was not going to be another Beijing but then again we’re British and it had to be British.  We did our own thing and although not everyone around the globe would have understood all of it there was much to admire and I’m sure the organisers of Rio 2016 were thinking damn we’ve got some work to do.

Then it was time for the Olympians … all the athletes representing the 204 nations to slug it out in the pool, on the track, in the ring, on the road, on the court, on the beach … pretty much everywhere.

The Olympic Park

The Olympic Park looked awesome with the Olympic Stadium standing proud next to the Velodrome and the Aquatic centre and for us Brits it was all about when the first gold would arrive.

We didn’t have too long before Glover and Stanning delivered Team GB’s first gold in the rowing and shortly after Bradley Wiggins delivered another in the cycling.

The first Gold for Team GB of the 2012 London Olympics

The greatest thing about the Olympics in my humble opinion is that is enables all us viewers to get excited and caught up in sports that we would never usually watch.  Its great to see the World come together under the umbrella of sport and its fantastic to see World Records broken and new legends take their place on the podiums but the ability to get a nation cheering and shouting at the TV at Judo or Canoing or Archery is just phenomenal.

We all get excited about the swimming, cycling, rowing, gymnastics and the track and field events but I cannot believe the tension I have felt whilst watching the beach volleyball or the equestrian events!!

Peter Wilson winning Gold for Team GB in the double tap shooting

Simply put the Olympics has taken a hold and every day we talk about the events, the athletes and the results and with the coverage being so widely accessible its going to leave a big black whole after the closing ceremony.

We have seen the Americans break records in the water, the Chinese dominate the gymnastics and the British kick ass in the cycling and it has been totally encapsulating so far with the track and field events to come.

Lochte & Phelps winning Gold and Silver for USA

I’m not sure how the rest of the world rates these Olympics but I do hope all those visitors from over seas that have paid all that money to come and visit our great capital is having a fantastic time and they are being welcomed with open arms.

I’m going up to London on Saturday and desperately tried to get a ticket for the Olympic Park (not for any event just to see the park and be a part of the atmosphere) but alas there are no tickets available … still I will continue to watch the TV (thank god for the Iphone) and keep supporting Team GB in all events and I hope all nations have a successful games and leave this great island with fond memories.

Til next time lets hope for more golds for Team GB, more World & Olympic Records broken by all nations and more tension … I personally cannot wait for Bolt vs Blake.

Its our time down here – Latino 777

Recession, Strikes & Rats – Welcome to England

First of all let me make one thing clear … I love this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Ok the weather can be a bit dodgy and we do love to moan.  If there is a queue we moan but we join it, if there is a new tax we moan but we pay it … it’s just the English way however we seem to have been brought to a precipice looking down to the depths below when we need to be looking up.

We all know we have been in recession for the past few years but whose to blame? … the banks, oil prices, world events and the last government must all share the blame but there’s not much we can do about it apart from voting in a new government – which of course we did.

Right from the off they told us there would be cuts and difficult ones at that.  We all knew this and maybe they’ve cut too much too fast but I guess they feel that they may only have one term before we all get fed up with the cuts and vote a new government in next time round – who would probably take full advantage of the recovery and put us right back in the shit.

Don’t get me wrong I hate politics and I do not trust politicians – It really annoys me that the last government had a big hand in the mess we find ourselves in yet now they are on the sidelines they have a lot to say about the current government trying to get us out and their tactics!  It’s easy to comment and throw stones if your hiding behind the public – you had your chance … failed … now shut up.

I work in the import/export industry and I cannot remember the last time when I didn’t have to worry if I was getting my next pay packet, I haven’t had a pay rise in 4 years, in fact I’ve taken a 15% pay cut but I still have a job.

The government has informed the local authorities of their budgets and it’s down to the local councils how they make these cuts BUT THEY HAVE TO MAKE THEM.

Services will be cut and jobs will be lost but I cannot see the point in striking!  This makes the recovery harder and longer and puts real pressure on everyone at a time when we are already stretched.  In my neck of the woods we are seeing teachers, bin men, toll collectors, librarians and street cleaners taking strike action.

As I write the bins are overflowing and rats are becoming common place.  The bin men have been out on strike for 2 weeks and have just agreed to go out for another week.

Who does this affect most?  Is is the bankers in their nice big houses? will it be the politicians children with their private schooling? nope its the good old-fashioned English tax paying public!  Litter is growing at an alarming rate and rats are now common place, parents are having to book days holiday to look after children who cannot go to school due to the strikes.

Big picture people – this is what we need to be focusing on.  I do not agree with cutting education or health – I see this as a backwards step for any nation trying to get back on its feet and I do not like the fact that pensions are being affected but it does annoy me when people are not willing to take a 3% pay cut to ensure jobs are not lost.  I know it’s hard at the moment but all the people I know that moan about survival and struggling can still afford to smoke and drink!  If the strike action is successful jobs will be cut – I wonder how many will have wished they took a pay cut then and the lucky ones will have to work twice as hard for the same money – I wonder if they will demand a pay rise for this!!!!

The private sector has seen cuts, pay freezes and redundancies for the past few years whilst the public sector is only feeling the cut now.  They have had good pensions, flexi-time, overtime, higher fuel allowances and good rates of pay.  Initially the public have supported the strikes however I have noticed public opinion has started to change as the garbage grows.

Don’t for one minute think there aren’t a thousand people on the unemployment line ready and willing to take these jobs and only then will the current workforce truly understand the blessing they have of earning a regular wage.

In my humble opinion I feel that everyone should pull together and make sacrifices to get this country back on track and the banks should be doing a whole lot more to help – once that has been achieved maybe then we can get back to pay rises and bonuses and spending our hard-earned money.

We all have our opinions and this is mine – is there an easy solution … NO is there a pain free solution … NO is there a miracle cure … NO.  Just thank god we’re not Greek!!!

Latino777 – It’s our time down here.