Question everything ……but why ?

There are many wonderful, kind hearted, lovely, caring, people in this world. Unfortunately there is also a smaller amount of disheartening, despicable, loathsome, egotistical, bullying trolls in this world too, and some of them are on social media. But thats okay because so are loads of nice people  and generally they out number the trolls so mostly it works out okay.

However, I have started to notice a worrying trend of trickery, a pattern of false, misleading, disinformation being mistakenly shared and spread upon social media. This disinformation is created for a wide range of reasons and is spread with the best possible intentions by people who have been mislead into thinking the information it portrays is accurate and wishing to spread the word.

(The old proverb “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” feels somewhat astute here).

To give a recent examples of this disinformation spread we need only to look at the British MP parliament voting MEME. This MEME has been spread and shown by many upon social media,

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It appears in a range of formate with different information being displayed upon the debates.

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Generally the MEME is one debate showing no MPs the other debate showing a full house of MPs. The empty seated MP is generally captions with MPs discussing welfare reform or some kind of social issue that effects the population, the other picture however of the full house is generally a debate about MP wages or something to do with the MPs them selves.

I’ll full admit when I first saw this MEME appear I was taken in and thought this was shocking and disgraceful. I began to see the MEME appear time and time again upon my newsfeed. Being shared and commented on by very intelligent, rational friends, believing the information it portrays to be correct. However the MEME and the debate is FAKE NEWS. The purpose is to spread disinformation, pandering and aiding the popular view of many of us have towards the UK Parliament (I am of course at no point defending MPs or any views or acts they have done, personally I think most MPs are a bunch of halfwits but I do feel we should be correct when criticising the halfwits).

These types of disinformation MEME’s are appealing with more frequency upon our social media platforms. The MEME’s do not enlighten but reinforce per-held prejudice upon a subject and far from opening up thought and debate they close down and strength our wrongly held beliefs.

The annoying thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way, it took a 20 seconds to discover the truth, a simple search of the date of the debates displayed clarified that there were no debates taking place upon those subjects on those days. I also found this article from the Spectator by Isbell Hardman titled  “the menace of memes: how pictures can paint a thousand lies” which gives more detail.

The lesson here is simple, QUESTION EVERYTHING……. but why?

I’ve always been fond of the quote “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free” . It is in search of the truth that we truly become enlightened and well informed. If we always question what we see, we will understand the world better. The world is there with everything for us to know, it has never been so easy to discover. This is the age of information, all we have to do is not be lazy and look things up and then if they are true, share away.

Thanks for reading.

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16 hours to Midnight

So I catch the train a lot. A train carriage is a strange place. Its an Non Space, its a transferable space, a place where humans pass through and remain anonymous in this space which holds no significant value. Its the space you pass through to get to the place you are going or coming back from.

The place before the night out, day in work, meeting etc.

Its also a place that limits your ability. A place that holds you in a limbo state. It restrains you and holds you to that spot, forces you to just stay and do nothing. You have no control over your journey once you have boarded the train. It places you there and makes you read, watch and think.

16 hours to Midnight is a selection of photographs Ive taken over the last few years on these non space commutes.

This is a bit of a rough draft, it needs a lot more editing and thought and its a bit boring to be honest but thank you for all the kind words and likes over the years, it doesn’t seem much but they do mean a lot so thank you.

18 Hours to Mightday 18 hours to midnight draft 7

God’s of Steel

(A short text I wrote last year when Port Talbot steel works looked set to closed which has now been saved for now but still felt it was a important in todays world)

I was recently standing on a train station platform, patiently waiting my train. As I lingered, I absentmindedly gazed out over the busy station. My eyes took in a passing goods train without paying it much attention. As I watched the flat cars go by, I become aware that the first few cars were packed with steel girders. Then a half full car passed. Followed by an empty car. More and more cars streamed by with more and more of them running empty. As the last empty car went by the realisation struck me that I was watching steel being transported from Port Talbot and this could be the last time I see such a sight. The familiar image of steel transport on the railways could vanish and become a thing consigned to the old newsreels and photographs of former glory days books and films. The mundane sight of steel on the tracks could be slipping into the world of yesterday.

 I was born in South Wales, a child of the Valleys. I don’t remember the coal industry, it was going when I was born. I didn’t see the coal miners or the towering collieries, I didn’t see the long lines of coal cars or even the mines close but I saw the effects. I see them everyday, in the empty shops, the absent spaces, the collapsing miners halls, the mass migration of job seekers to other places, the lack of esteem and pride in the work which remains. I see this daily. Thats what happens when the industry, the life blood, the dependance of a place disappears.

Port Talbot is famous, everyone knows the name and knows it for the steel. The steel works and Port Talbot are synonymous. Passing Port Talbot by road the steel works dwarfs the town. The economy is depend on it and not just that, the pride is in the steel. The very purpose is in the steel.

The recent news of its possible closer isn’t just due to the cheaper imports or the global fall in steel prices. It is also due to Britain changing from an industrial economy into a service sector economy (the chief characteristic being the output of services instead of end products) which in principle for a developed country’s G.N.P. is fine but it may not be fine for a countries measurement of happiness and pride.

Of course we have seen the closure of industry before. Academics tracked what happened to the 300 MG Rover workers after the car plant closed in 2005, they found 90% of them did find other employment, a lot retrained into the service sector. However they were now earning on average £5,640 less every year and a quarter admitted to living off their savings or being in financial difficulties.

There’s pride in construction. It’s a very different kind of pride from the kind found in helping someone with their P.P.I. claim. We have a different reaction to someone who works in a call centre (which is what Wales’s new economy seems to be) to a steel worker. The problems with these jobs are they are temporary, most of my friends in that industry swing from one call centre to another after they close and reopen peddling something else. The loss of the heavy industry in Wales is the loss of a pride in the nation. A person who retires after years of work in a steel plant has a very different identity to a person who retires after spending years working in a call centre processing injury clams, there is honour in one and not much in the other.

One is a job that children grow up dreaming of becoming, a role which they idolize and train for many years to do. The other job is one you just fall into to pay the bills, its one that just happens, one in which you just do. One in which you do but not dream to be doing.

“All Places are Temporary Places”

Walking out of Cardiff Central train station last October, I looked up and saw standing in 10ft tall, bright, white letters atop one of the buildings “All Palaces are temporary Palaces”, an installation by artist Robert Montgomery for Cardiff Contemporary art festival. This phrase has stayed with me ever since as a thoughtful reflection of the passage of time and the relativity of human nature.

 Last week I was standing in the centre of what was once the grand Roman forum-basilica at Caerwent, “Venta Silurum” to the Romans. This was the administrative and market capital for the whole Silure region (the ancient tribal name for South Wales). From 75 A.D. this place was the centre of life, death, trade, taxes and records for the whole region. The seat of power, influence and dominance over countless lives.

 A grand building of towering columns, rich mosaic floors and plush, colourful painted walls at the very centre of a bustling Roman town is now an empty space of crumbling bricks and half forgotten stones. Its treasures, importance and power vanished into time.
   Now anyone can stand in this space not just the rulers of the region, those rich and powerful men are forgotten, the fear of their words and the power issued from this palace, nought but a wikipedia entry to most today.  

 However not everyone is forgotten. During its excavation graffiti was found on the council chamber walls. It read “Domitilla (sends love) to her (sweetheart) Victor”. It is thought (from their names) Domitilla was possibly a slave girl and Victor a Roman. Its clear someone didn’t approve because underneath in large letters was written “FOR SHAME!”. 

 We don’t know any more about Domitilla and Victor, if their love lasted or was even allowed but we can guess for the act of writing it in the assembly, the heart of her masters power, that Domitilla was a bit of a rebel. We can hope they lived happily ever after and, hopefully, in this life and the next their love continued but sadly we will never know. But we do know that they existed, that once a girl called Domitilla fancied a guy called Victor. Their names are remembered unlike the names of the council members, the ruling masters or their many decrees which were once life or death to so many in this region. We haven’t a clue at any of that but we do know Domitilla and Victors names and can imagine their lives, who they were and guess at their story.

I am fortunate enough to come from the Valleys. The means which built and made the Valleys famous, heavy industry, is all but gone what remains are the homes, chapels, buildings and the children of the people who worked those mines. Chapels which were built to look like colliery winding houses so that they would blend into the industrial landscape are now the most visible indication of what once was there. It’s intriguing to consider what is left behind when the importance of a place is gone. So often it’s not the power, the money or the law of everyday life but the people, their loves, their beliefs and their stories.

 All Palaces are temporary places but the ghosts of life remains.

 

 

 

Postage note poetry

40/40 postage note poem.  YAAAY Last one
So this is the last poem, number 40 of 40 and its been an interesting experience. I think in many ways its help me realise a lot of things, its something not easy to know what your thinking. It certainly helps to see it written down, visually in front of you. Anyway this is the last one, I must say I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with any of my posts, there not great poems/writing and I may come back and work on them someday but for now its nice to know I’ve written 40 poems/texts/things.

This one is titled “Them in suits”

“The them in suits don’t know how to shoot
they just sit there looking at there statistic screens
reading out the beans
as they dot their i’s and cross their t’s.

They hasten and call and spend money
like its nothing at all to plenty.
Blow a wedge on a cheeky weekend
and belittle all the world that surrounds there pain.

Them in suits don’t see the world
as black and white but in shades of grey
which they can pay.

They hardly believe the world there is
enclosed in a financial bubble
thats all they can see.

Them in suits don’t perceive the world
just the numbers and the charts.
They see the view from behind their desks
and wonder why its such a mess.
Them in suits believe they rule the world
them in suits are wrong.”

Postage note poetry

38/40 postage note poem. This is about watching a train full of steel from a soon to be closed steel factory going past on a station.

“Watching the familiar sight
of a long goods train carrying Steel
the might of an industry turning to ash

It trundles past and with it goes the last few moments of its life
as the Government refuse to fund it
and the bankers demand there pay
and another countries steel is cheaper

so its with a heart wrenching realisation
that you are looking at a vanishing sight
of the once mighty land that produced great steaming ships
once again turnings its back on its people
and sigh and make excuse
for the government lack of use”

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