Or another erosion of liberty?

Entrance turnstiles to a football ground
Entrance turnstiles to a football ground
Photo by Nathan Rogers on Unsplash. Text by the author Gary Neal

15 million UK citizens have been vaccinated against covid-19. According to the New York Times, 216.1 million doses have been administered worldwide. Are you one of them? Prove it!

This may be a familiar demand in the months to come; cinemas, shops, your favourite restaurant. The question of vaccination passports in the UK is being discussed at street level and in Parliament.

Matt Hancock, the Health secretary has ruled them out, although Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has not ruled out making them conditions of future employment, which employers are entitled to make. Tony Blair…


Whose turn with the laptop?

Three children sharing a laptop
Three children sharing a laptop
Photo 195342992 © Dan Rențea | Dreamstime.com

Schools in the United Kingdom(UK) are closed until at least March 8th. Effectively, most pupils have not attended school for the best part of the year. Parents are being asked to, effectively in a lot of cases, become teacher substitutes. Home schooling is the current buzzword with online teaching being championed as the main provider. (That brings back memories of the early days of the Open University, when a lot of lessons were delivered via television). …


It needs intensive care

National Health Service staff protesting
National Health Service staff protesting
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

The National Health Service (NHS) is the closest thing that the English have to a religion. So thought Nigel Lawson in 2018, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The NHS was set up in 1948 by the then Labour government. Then, as now, the general principle of “free at the point of use” still holds true today. Only today, the fabric is starting to look worn and holes are appearing. Covid-19 has brutally and cruelly exposed the parlous state of the NHS.

There are more than 30,000 patients in England’s hospitals with Covid-19, 62% more than…


with a sting in the tail

Photo about Concept of bureaucracy with man paddling in a sea of sheets. Image of overworked, heap, difficult
Photo about Concept of bureaucracy with man paddling in a sea of sheets. Image of overworked, heap, difficult
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-navigate-bureaucracy-concept-man-paddling-sea-sheets-image79139583 by Alphaspirit

It was always going to be a difficult negotiation. Leaving a club you have been a member of for 50 years. You still want access to the benefits of club membership, but you want to set your own rules and not pay any membership fees.

The United Kingdom(UK) have now left the European Union(EU) and have negotiated a trade deal, one which has had mixed reactions. I’ll try to summarise the main points here. For those who are interested, the full 1255 page document is available here.

Generally, the three main aims of the…


Where is King Solomon when you need him?

couple-s-hand-divorce-agreement-hands-wife-husband-divorce-document-wedding-ring-ce
couple-s-hand-divorce-agreement-hands-wife-husband-divorce-document-wedding-ring-ce
Andrey Popov www.dreamstime.com

December 2020 looks like being the year the UK left the European Union(EU) without any trade deal whatsoever. The EU referendum took place in 2016, four years ago. Now with only weeks to go before the UK is finally out of the EU, we don’t know whether we are trading with them or not, or on what basis.

Gerard Batten, a former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) thought that in February 2017, trade relations with the EU could be sorted out in an afternoon over a cup of tea. They…


Flying solo they will need to be

The Union Jack minus the Scottish Saltire gives an unknown flag
The Union Jack minus the Scottish Saltire gives an unknown flag

Scottish independence has always been at the forefront of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and in recent years it has campaigned to become an independent state within the European Union (EU). An independence referendum in 2014 produced a narrow-margin defeat for independence; 55% voting no, 45% voting yes.

With the implementation of Brexit, this has awakened the independence debate. …


Rust, restore and repeat

Iron Fuel Cycle
Iron Fuel Cycle
The iron fuel cycle used to generate C02-free energy

The Swinkel Family Brewers of the Netherlands, in conjunction with the Metal Power consortium are using an innovative way of burning iron powder as fuel. If you grind iron powder very fine, much like flour, it burns very easily at high temperatures (1800° C, 3272° F). This produces a tremendous amount of energy which can then be used to drive steam turbines and produce electricity. The process is carbon dioxide free and the only waste product is iron oxide or rust. This can easily be converted back into iron powder using what they call reduction by…


Can I have some more?

A child asking for something
A child asking for something
Photo 147398103 © Mikhail Bulanov Dreamstime.com

A row has erupted in the UK over the provision of free school meals during the school holidays. This service was provided during the summer holidays to help parents who were self isolating and unable to work. The service, admittedly, was administered under pressure from Marcus Rashford, a premier league football player for Manchester United, after the government initially refused to do it.

Marcus Rashford is now pressurizing the government to extend the scheme until at least Easter 2021. The government have refused, not purely on cost but fear it would increase state dependency.

The…


Disguise may be your best option

A crowd of people standing in a searchlight
A crowd of people standing in a searchlight
www.dreamstime.com/goodstudiominsk_info" itemprop=”author”>Ernest Akayeu

Let’s assume that you are window shopping and you stop at the camera shop and look at a particular camera. Interesting, you think and you move on. How would you feel if every shop you passed by, somebody sprang out from the doorway, waving a picture of that self same camera and advising you that you had only 24 hours to buy at this ridiculously low price. Intimidating, to say the least, but completely reflects the on-line experience, especially with Amazon.

It’s called surveillance and is looking for a way of getting you to…


Are Care Homes a necessary evil?

Elderly couple in their room
Elderly couple in their room
Photo by Elien Dumon on Unsplash

The United Kingdom (UK) has had legislation implicit in the Equality Act against age discrimination since 2010. Sadly COVID-19 completely ignored this and wrought devastation in our ageing population. Care Homes were particularly vulnerable; 30 per cent of the deaths in Care Homes between March and June 2020 were caused by COVID-19.

By their very nature, Care Homes care for elderly people and these have been found to be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Social distancing would have been difficult and carers working in these homes were generally inadequately supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE)…

Gary Neal

Retired taxi driver, creative writer, experimental poet, computer enthusiast, web design and learning to program

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