Friday, April 28, 2006

Local film industry

It was good to read today about the upcoming film Glory to Gloriana. I'm really pleased that Ja is still creating their own stuff in spite of the incredible cost. I hope it is good as well, just because something is homegrown doesn't mean it's good unfortunatley.

Look forward to it coming to the UK.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Imprisoning politicians

Politicians around the Caribbean are probably now quaking in their boots as they realise that with the precedent set in Trinidad, they too could soon be visiting the big house. I was shocked when I saw they had sentenced Basdeo to two years hard labour and did wonder if it was a hoax. I mean have you ever heard of any politician paying for dishonesty or corruption in any way? If anything most of them just go a way quietly to fight again another day. Scandal after scandal melt into each other with most of us just shrugging our shoulders and getting on with life, believing that lying and corruption are part and parcel of politics. If his sentence isn’t overturned and he does go to jail it would seem as if there is a wind of change about. Inhabitants of Gordon House had better take sleep and mark death.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Covenant for Jamaica?

A group of well known African Americans, led by broadcaster Tavis Smiley, met some time ago to come up with a list of issues that black Americans could grasp onto and work on in order to better life for them. Take a look at their site and the covenants below. Perhaps if tailored to Jamaica’s needs this could also help us. What do you think?

Covenant I
Securing the Right to Healthcare and Well-Being

Covenant II
Establishing a system of public education in which all children achieve at high levels and reach their full potential.

Covenant III
Correcting the system of unequal justice.

Covenant IV
Fostering accountable community-centred policing

Covenant V
Ensuring broad access to affordable neighbourhoods that connect to opportunity

Covenant VI
Claiming our democracy

Covenant VII
Strengthening our rural roots

Covenant VIII
Accessing good jobs, wealth and economic prosperity

Covenant IX
Assuring environmental justice for all

Covenant X
Closing the racial digital deivide

Here's the link to their site:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Plight of the White Working Class continued

A story in today’s Independent on the rise of the BNP in Barking, in East London backs up my comments of yesterday and sheds new light on the attitudes of working class white Britons. If you’re interested in reading the article in full it is called ‘How the BNP is gaining ground in Barking with a campaign of lies and distortions and was written by Cahal Milmo . Here’s the link for it:

The article begins by saying that a 67 year old woman in the community who lives next to the Longbridge Road campus buildings (she has lived there for 30 years) wants to move because in her words, "The asylum-seekers are coming. They're taking over. It's not British here any more."

Apparently many of the locals believe this because the BNP said so. Never occurred to them that the BNP is lying, which it is. According to the article and the authorities, the site will be part of a regeneration project involving low-rent housing.

Unfortunately this fact hasn’t got in the way of the BNP influencing the locals. What does this say about the locals? To me it says they are basically racist and are clutching at an excuse to go back to the good old days of openly being so. It also says they are probably uneducated and thick to boot – you can be uneducated and intelligent, hence the qualification. If they were smart and well meaning, they would know the lying, racist, criminal background of the BNP and check any ‘facts’ coming from them. But they don’t. They take the BNP’s word for it. Stupid people.

All of this activity is in aid of next month’s local elections, for which BNP spin is going into overdrive.

The article also alludes to the alleged use by the BNP of vacant addresses as candidate’s homes. According to election rules, candidates must live or work in the area for which they are standing. According to the article two BNP candidates are registered as living in a derelict dwelling. When visited by the reporter there was no answer. The BNP’s response to this through their spokesman was

"These are legitimate addresses. Sometimes candidates choose not to answer the door."

Not satisfied with recruiting the votes of the already pathologically stupid, they try to influence the rest of us into becoming intellectually vacant!

The lady says she is not against helping a few migrants but doesn’t want a whole centre for asylum seekers (even though they aren’t getting one). She stated that families who were born in the UK should be given first choice. No problem with this, I believe in taking care of your own. But I wonder if she would maintain this line of thought if the housing was given to some black or Asian UK born citizens? Mmmm. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Also, she needs to establish if there is a dire need for housing for UK born people. If there is fine, give it to them first, but what would she and her like feel about giving needed housing to immigrants, once the needs of UK born people were taken care of? If we in the UK had spare housing and other resources, being a wealthy country with a low birth rate and a home grown population unqualified and and/or unwilling to do many of the jobs that need to be done, would she welcome immigrants with open arms?

According to the article, another lovely bit of news the BNP is spreading is that immigrants are being presented with £50,000 grants to buy houses in the area. Housing is a sensitive issue. According to the article and the authorities, these grants don’t exist. Again praying on intellectually lazy people who are willing to believe anything that backs up their already pre-conceived notions.

According to the article Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking said

“. . .mainstream politicians had failed to address the local issues - such as a shortage of council housing - that were allowing racism to thrive, and prompting eight out of 10 of the white families in Barking to admit they were tempted to vote for the BNP.

Now, as far as I understand council housing is low cost housing subsidised by the council for people who cannot afford private housing i.e. can’t’ afford to rent or buy privately. Why in the UK is there such an emphasis on state assisted living? I can’t understand why so many people in such a wealthy country can’t afford to stand on their own too feet and earn a living? Why do so many people feel entitled to help or handouts? You don’t hear of people who earn a full living, (even if it is not easy), complaining about these issues do you? Perhaps the answer lies in a certain class of British people being more responsible for themselves and the livelihoods of their families and perhaps taking on some of the jobs only immigrants will do – in order to take care of themselves. Its amazing – these stupid racists (I know, it’s a tautology) complain about immigrants, many of whom do the dirty, low paid jobs whites won’t do, and at the same time complain that they have nothing by the way income or housing! Here’s a tip. If you got off your arse and worked no matter how difficult or dirty or low paid the job, there’d be less immigrants and you’d have more cash for your own housing!

Anyway, I digress.

Again, according to the article the non-white population of Barking and Dagenham is now 15%. Now seriously, if you are concerned that ‘your kind’ (and we are talking an economically and socially dominant ‘your kind’) is ‘only’ 85% of the population surely you can’t be concerned about being overrun? You are in the vast majority. And even if the numbers changed so that your majority lessened, what exactly is the problem? Are these new people making your area better or worse – in real terms now not imaginary racist terms i.e. are there more taxes being put into the local economy because of their existence, more money being spent on services thereby contributing to the local economy, more cultures to widen your horizons?

The article ends with some telling statistics of Barking. It says that 39.5% of 16-74 year olds have no qualifications. Get that, 39.5% of 16-74 year olds have no way of being employed in anything but unskilled labour – the same labour probably being done by immigrants. Therefore instead of blaming imaginary asylum centres for their woes, the voters of Barking need to blame to 39.5% of 16-74 year olds who are sitting on their arses! It says that only 56 % of the same age range are employed. Also, 19.9% of them claim disability benefit. Now I don’t mean to diss the disabled, but funnily enough, most of the disabled people I know work and don’t collect benefit. Your are led to wonder if some of this 19.9% really are unable to work in any type of job.

According to the article Barking and Dagenham has 67,300 people. 80.9 % are white British; 4.4 % are black Africans; 2.3% are Indians and 2.1% are black Caribbeans. I however don’t know if the figures for the non-whites mean they were all born outside of the UK. I find it hard to believe there are no British born people living her of black or Asian ancestry. But then there is a tendency to class anyone not white as other, regardless of whether or not they were born here.

All in all as I said yesterday, if this is to change the stupidity has to stop. The trouble is that instead of consistently pointing out the lies of the far right and consistently reiterating straightforward truths plus dealing with real issues the Tories and Labour try to answer the far right by spinning their own brand of nonsense. In other words, they know the electorate is largely deep down racist, ergo stupid and so they pander to it. If they keep it up there will be hell to pay in the UK in the coming years. It’ll be the 1970s all over again and I wouldn’t want to re-live those experiences again I can tell you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Plight of the White Working Class

We hear that white working class British feel ignored by the Labour government which is why it is predicted by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust tells that up to 25% of British voters could vote BNP. The trouble is people are too damn stupid and listen to and act upon hearsay not facts – plus they’re too damn lazy to find out if what they are hearing is true . Add to this the general level of racism prevalent amongst the white working class that prevents them from even having a sensible conversation with someone from an ethnic minority, much less being friends with them to understand them fully and you have a recipe for disaster.

Some of the actions that have created this feeling of neglect amongst the white working class are based on lies, and much of it is created by equally stupid, white middle class idiots. Idiots for e.g. who decide that at Christmas, there shouldn’t be any Christmas celebrations in shopping centres because it will offend the Muslims, or the Sikhs. I bet you none of the people making these decisions have ever asked a Muslim what they think of Christmas celebrations. Well I have. I happen to have Muslim friends and let me tell you they couldn’t give a toss if we celebrate Christmas, just like we aren’t concerned with their celebrations. The fact of the matter is that people of faith, generally have respect for other people of faith and their right to practice it. Muslims aren’t daft. They know that the UK purports to be Christian (they also know it isn’t Christian but that’s for anther post) and they expect Christmas to be celebrated. It’s because the planks in the white British middle and working class can’t be bothered to associate with people who don’t look like them that you end up with much of the misunderstandings. (Plus the fact that they are on a whole a faithless people) Now I know for a fact that it is not all white people who behave like, this, but sadly, it is very many, who out of unfounded fear and ignorance and in some cases downright idiocy, cling to the notion that ‘other’ is evil and to be avoided.

The only way for this to stop and for white working class people to not feel neglected by their elected government is for them to take an interest in gathering facts about those issues which affect their lives. Facts about housing in their area, medical facilities, the state of local schools (sit on your kid’s PTA for God’s sake and take your sorry arse to parents’ evening!). Seymour is a teacher in a working class neighbourhood and on parents’ evening he’s lucky if one turns up.

They should watch and read the news to see what is happening in the world and what legislation is coming into to effect that will affect them and their families; belong to their neighbourhood watch and gang up on the local yobs; pressure their council to pull its socks up and provide the services for which they pay the extortionate council taxes; learn how to drink alcohol responsibly and encourage their kids to do likewise; darken the door of their local library once in a while; befriend a few people who don’t look like them and get the facts from the horses mouth on issues relating to immigration and asylum. For instance, do you know that if you are an immigrant your passport will be stamped with your Visa which says you don’t have access to public funds, even though you pay income tax and make NI contributions? Therefore immigrants can’t go on benefits. If you talk to a few immigrants and a few asylum seekers you might learn something.

They should take an interest in the people and the world around them, take an active role in local politics and community and push for the needs of their communities on the basis that all hardworking taxpayers or whatever ethnic background, deserve to be treated with decency.

If this were to happen, the BNP would be treated as the sick joke that it should be.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just Checking In

Sorry about the silence - have been on holiday over Easter. I'll be back tomorrow with more to say.

In the meantime, what a palaver about this new gospel of Judas. Amazing what people come up with!


Monday, April 10, 2006

UK Immigrant Marriage Law Challenged in Court

Here's a link to a BBC story on those new marriage laws that have screwed up my engagement, that I was talking about in the last post.

Finding a Dentist

Have been having some problems with my ISP hence the gap.

I'll have a longer post later, but just a quick word about the perils of foreign.

It's the first week of April and it is still snowing each day! At least, though, there is sunshine, but a piece of advice for those who don't know. British sunshine is no guarantee of warmth! You can see it ( occasionaly!) but you very often can't feel it - kind of like the British smile - but that's another story.

Anyway, I've been in Leeds for over a year and haven't been able to get registered at a dentist. The trouble is there's a shortage of NHS dentists (i.e. the ones you don't have to pay again to use) and so most people have to go private which means they pay twice, once by way of taxes to keep the NHS in business and again to the private dentist.

Now the government has forced through a new contract on dentists which they are not happy with and so finding an NHS dentist is nigh impossible.

I finally got through with the dentist down the street from me - they have put me on a four week waiting list to register - I'm very very lucky!

Speaking of the British government - they've changed the immigration laws again. Another time I'll tell you about the fiasco of their last raft of changes which has screwed up my wedding plans, probably forever -but for now, they've decided to institute a points systems, like the one they have in Australia. So now only if you fit certain criteria will you be allowed in, and those criteria are qualifications and high level skills. If you aren't highly skilled you have less of a chance getting in, which seems quite stupid to me. The majority of the people doing what I call core services and what the Brits call 'I ain't cleaning up someone's s*** for £5.50 and hour! I'll sit on my arse and collect benefits!' are immigrants who are not 'skilled.' What happens when they aren't allowed in?

Seymour said the other day he wished he could ask all immigrants and children of immigrants to go on strike just for one day to let the nation see how much they contribute. I pointed out that it would be inhumane to do so as people would most certainly die (all those doctors and nurses) - and dentists come to think of it!

Bye for now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Divine Appointments

So Portia has pronounced that she was appointed by God and that Christians should follow her on this basis. Mmmmm.

I am a Christian and I have also been a staunch supporter of Sistah P – but I must admit I was very disturbed by the comment. The first thing that came to mind was that she sounded like Bush and Blair – not attractive comparisons in my mind. Both of these leaders have said something along similar lines and to my mind they have been signs that these leaders are out of touch with reality and are ‘playing host to dead creatures up their nether regions,’ (translation: sometin’ crawl up dem ass and dead!)

Now I don’t really believe God is in the business of appointing political leaders. I believe that much can be accomplished through God, with prayer and obedience, but do I believe he appointed Mrs. Simpson Miller? No.

I do believe that as a serious Christian (as she gives the appearance of being) she can be of great service to Jamaica – through prayer and obedience and a servant attitude. I hope her pronouncement had these sentiments at heart and that they just came out sounding somewhat bombastic.

In the meantime, we continue to see what happens . . . .

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Where is the sun?

I can't believe it. It's April, supposed to be spring and it's bloody snowing! Ahhhhhhh! Will I ever see the sun again?

Monday, April 03, 2006

The fountain of Jamaican youth

Had a conversation today with one of my co-workers. It’s a conversation that has taken place before.

What prompted the conversation was my co-worker’s comment that Portia, at 60 really did indeed look a lot younger (I had said so before). Her contention (as is that of my other UK co-workers) is that black people naturally look younger than other races, especially white people. In their opinion it is a natural thing endemic to black skin.

I contended that it the youthful looks are attributable to lifestyle – diet etc. From where I sit, having lived in Jamaica and also the UK, and having observed women in both places I’ve noted the following:

British Woman

Effect of looks

Jamaican Women

Effect of looks

Many of them smoke

Will dry out your skin and invite wrinkles

Most don’t smoke

Healthy skin

Desire to be very thin

Gaunt look with skin stretched over bones

Desire to be voluptuous

Less wrinkles, healthier skin

Drink a lot of alcohol, regularly

Will dry out your skin and invite wrinkles

Drink quite moderately. Drunkenness is a definite cultural no-no in Jamaica

Healthy skin

Many sit under a sun tanning light regularly

Will dry out your skin and invite wrinkles

Don’t try to tan

Healthy skin

Eat a lot of preservative laden food

Not too sure but probably not good for your constitution

Eat more natural foods – not so many pre-packaged meals

Healthier all around

From the above, I think it’s clear that the issue has nothing to do with a natural youthfulness and has everything to do with lifestyle and habits.

There’s an ad on the TV about the NHS stop smoking service and one girl on it shows just how much you can change your skin tone for the better just by quitting smoking.

What do you all think?

Debunking Myths About Foreign'

You know how we’ve always been led to believe that ‘foreign’ is an advanced society, where riches are easily available and everything works – life is fantastic and the best thing you can do is get a Visa and flash?

Well after living in the UK again I realised what a big fat joke that was!

Today, after dropping into yet another pothole (yes, you heard me, dem have pothole in foreign) I began to think about all of the myths that have been debunked since I’ve been back.

First of all as mentioned, there are many potholes. Now we know about Jamaican potholes, in existence largely because of shoddy roadworks, and also because of intense weather. But what’s the excuse here? There’s plenty of money, and no extreme weather that I know of that will cause serious potholes. You know what is a large contributor to the problem? You guessed it, utility companies digging up the road and not putting it back properly. Just like somewhere else I know. In that respect ‘foreign’ is not that much different from the rest of the world.

Also, service. If you think the service given in Jamaica is bad just come to the UK and get a taste of serious bad service. At least in Jamaica you know bad service is usually intended – I mean the shop assistant ignoring you to talk to her sistren, could stop chatting and come and help you if she felt like it. But here it seems to be an issue of capability which is scary. It isn’t that people aren’t willing to help – it’s often that they are incapable of helping. So you smile sweetly for all their effort and then go and sort yourself out.

Then there’s the issue of everyone being well educated, and sophisticated.

Again, this is a big fat myth. Most people I’ve come across are not well educated because the UK education system is particularly poor, in conjunction with a culture that doesn’t encourage accountability in children. It’s a shame because it didn’t use to be this way. Something very wrong happened in the 80s. My other half Seymour is a high school teacher here and you should hear some of the stuff he has to put up with. Some of his students are barely literate, but instead of that being sorted out they have someone read out questions for them. Also, homework is optional. Optional I ask you! What’s the point of that? But alas, teachers aren’t allowed to punish students for not doing what they should. A lot of the stuff I learnt in school that stuck was because I was forced to sit down and go over it again and again in my own time. If you can only get access to what happens in the classroom – and a disruptive one at that you’re largely screwed.

Even amongst the so-called educated classes too there is a marked difference between what we consider educated and what is considered educated in the UK. The one thing I miss horribly living here is intelligent and probing conversation. The topics of conversation here range from alcohol and getting drunk, holidays, what you did on your weekend, the weather, DIY and gossip. Very different - and very difficult to get used to.

I miss talking about the politics of the day, pulling to pieces different issues and local and international gossip. I’m not the least bit interested in getting drunk, holidays or the weather and I couldn’t care less what people did on their weekend unless something fantastic happened, like they discovered the cure for cancer or something! When I get together with the few British friends I have who will really talk, and with my Caribbean friends it’s like water to a parched soul.

After five years it’s still an incredibly difficult culture shock. I now understand why people of different ethnicities stick together here – it’s the only way to feel comfortable.

And it’s not like I didn’t try. When I first came back in 2001 I went all out to fit in. I knew I was effectively moving to a new country. (Even though I was born here, 1970s England is vastly different from now). So I went to social occasions on the rare occasions I was invited, tried to interest myself in the things that interest people here, I also joined all kinds of groups and got involved with various outreach programmes – but it just hasn’t worked very well at all. Now I’m tired and not at all apologetic for being me – bred and brought up in the Caribbean. I realise the only group I don’t feel totally comfortable with is unfortunately, most white English people – and I emphasise, not all of them, but it seems to be most unfortunately. I’m fine with every other ethnic group, including Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Weird isn’t it? It may be delayed rage from being beaten up for being black when I was a kid – who knows?

The truth of the matter is that for me the culture here is not just different – I could deal with that – but it is unattractive to me – deeply so, which is a shame because I live here. Then why not leave you say? If it was up to me I would – but Seymour and all of my family is here –and Seymour doesn’t want to return to the Rock so for the time being here I stay – but who knows what the future may bring eh? I may yet return to the sunny side of the world . . . .

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Hi, and welcome to my new blog.

Wondering what the title means? Well if you went to UWI Mona when I did (early 90s) you would have spent many an hour ‘lymin’ on the spine’ (translated: hanging out on the corridors or spine connecting different areas of UWI) discussing the important issues of the day – and the not so important ones!

This blog will be done in that spirit I hope – a place where like minded people, probably of Caribbean background, can come to discuss the important (and not so important) issues of the day – especially as they relate to the Caribbean and its people.

A little about me:

I was born in the UK but left when I was 10 to go and live in Jamaica, land we love and for many of us, unfortunately, land we leave! I had a full, very happy and interesting life on the Rock which I will probably refer to over the coming months, but returned, albeit reluctantly to the UK in 2001.

I’m heavily interested in current events especially as they relate to Afro-Caribbean issues, I’m also interested in the arts, media, cars, good food and good conversation. Hope there’ll be lots of that to come.

Until later . . .