Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Change Of Government

This week has seen a change of government in the UK. A new Prime Minister, a new Cabinet and, we are informed, a new direction. This has come about without anyone casting a vote or meaningfully voicing an opinion. No! One person resigns and another takes his place without the mess of an election.

Not sure how I feel about this. As a democrat, I have always believed that the people should have a say in who governs us. However, a change of Prime Minister between an election, seems to be an increasingly common aspect of British politics. Harold McMillan and Lord Home in the 1963 at the height of the Profumo affair; Harold Wilson and James Callghan in 1976; Margret Thatcher and John Major in 1990 and now Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in 2007. What is interesting is that, John Major apart, the transition led to the party of power losing the next election - John Major survived only because the Labour party under Neil Kinnock imploded on the eve of the election.

I do have a lot of time for Gordon Brown. I feel he is principled and focused. I hope he can stand tall and true on the world stage and provide a riposte to the criminal activities presently being formulated in the White House. He seems to be surrounding himself with talent rather than 'Brown's Cronies' and, even in these early days, he is looking to place his own stamp on the office. I wish him well.

When I've had time to reflect, I'll write something about Tony Blair. He wasn't all bad, and Iraq should not be the only measure for his Prime Ministership.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mid Life Crisis - The Reality

Tryfan Sunday Morning
Originally uploaded by markhsal.
This mountain is Tryfan, the lowest of the 15 Welsh 3,000 foot mountains. I have climbed this mountain many times when younger - in fact, when my friends and I were going to spend the weekend in the mountains, we would climb this rock on a Friday evening just to loosen up. In those days, just turning up at the foot of a mountain would guarantee it would be climbed.

Last weekend, I thought it would be fun to meet up with someone who was attempting the 15 peak challenge - that is, all 15 peaks in 24 hours (something I did when I was about 19 or 20) at the top of Tryfan, or if possible, up on the Glyders which are connected to Tryfan by Bristly Ridge.

So I packed the car, kitted out the girls and off we went. 2 hours later we caught sight of Tryfan as we approached from Capel Curig and I began to feel the heart begin to race. I have always loved the mountains and walking, and I could almost taste the anticipation. Weather was not great, but certainly not as bad as I've known it in North Wales, so with boots and the correct gear on, we started up.

About an hour later, and still only half way up the north ridge, I finally admitted what my body had been telling me for the past 30 minutes - I'm 54 not 24! Physically, I felt awful and I knew that there was no option but to descend, otherwise we would all have been in danger. The weather was also taking a turn for the worse, and so we came down.

All was not lost, however, as I knew of a couple of walks that we could do, and in the end we did a turn around Cwm Idwal, but I am left with the realisation that no longer will things come so easy.

If I'm ever to get to the top of the mountains again, I'm going to have to train and work for it. My target now is August when I have a week's holiday and I intend to do Snowdon! Strolling across the West Pennine Moors or cycling the canals and stopping at every canalside pub is not going to do it for me.

There are some pictures of the weekend here if you are interested.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Thought It Was My Crisis!

Ready To Hit The Road
Originally uploaded by markhsal.
Christine doesn't want me to suffer alone.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mid Life Crisis

Should Know Better
Originally uploaded by markhsal.
It's my mid-life crisis, and I'm going to enjoy it!

Monday, June 11, 2007

An Honest NeoCon!

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums in war to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.

It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, they will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

How do I know ?

For this is what I have done.

And I am Ceasar."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Should Have Known Better

Reports from the BBC indicate that George Bush is really not that keen to tackle the main causes of global warming after all.

His spokesman at the G8 meeting has said that targets "...should be established on a national basis, and the only area of disagreement is that the G8 should dictate the national policies of its members." Germany is looking to increase fuel efficiency by 20% and set a target of limiting the world's temperature to a 2% rise if possible by cutting emissions by 50% by 2050.

President Bush responded by saying he still has a strong desire for a post-Kyoto agreement, but does anyone believe him? The man is an international joke, - unfortunately, no0one is laughing.

Further, Bush is now trying, for no obvious reason I can see, to stoke up tensions with an already flaky Russian government, the result of which will mean that us in Europe will be in the front line again.

Can someone please tell me, one thing that man and his administration has done on the world stage that has been good! (and if some clown says getting rid of Saddam - I want them to try and explain that to the hundreds of thousands of people who are presently suffering in Iraq). Everything that man touches ends up worse than it was before.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Global Warming - A New Dawn!

It would seem that President Bush has decided that the world is not doing enough to fight global warming. He has urged countries to set long-term goals and has set a target of 2050 for cutting global emissions.

Is he having a laugh!

What he appears to be advocating is very similar to a something that was agreed back at the turn of the century ripped apart by the then American administration headed by someone, funnily enough, also called Bush. That was the Kyoto agreement, and, for many countries, it remains a fundamental cornerstone of their environmental policies. Mind you, that agreement set more urgent targets than Bush. Unfortunately, the good work of the majority of the world has been shafted by the dirt and pollution pumped indiscriminately into the air by the US over the past 6 years, - a similar amount of time that a certain President has been significantly playing down global warming and its effects.

Mind you, I was almost deafened yesterday by the non-us world falling off their chairs in hysterics, when Bush said "The US takes this issue seriously."