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exiile last won the day on February 21

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About exiile

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    The seaside in two countries
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    Politics, Music, Learning, Music, Arts, Music, Culture, Music, Sport, Music, languages
  • Occupation
    I exploit myself

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  1. exiile

    Wolf Hall

    Wilbur Smith was a guilty pleasure for a while and plot and pace made his books the airport/holiday blockbuster but the comments about his sexism are spot on and his views on race, while not racist in themselves, are totally patronising and eventually made me uncomfortable I didn't know about his research but it makes sense. This is now a modern phenomena and crops up in every "James Patterson" novel and parts of the Dan Brown books often feel like a Wikipedia entry. That is different from that which you describe where real knowledge is interwoven with and part of the plot. The following is actually taken from Dan Brown's "Origin" which would have been throw against the wall if it had been a paperback I was reading on not a Kindle: “Uber’s ubiquitous ‘on-demand driver’ service had taken the world by storm over the past few years. Via a smartphone, anyone requiring a ride could instantly connect with a growing army of Uber drivers who made extra money by hiring out their cars as improvised taxis …” How much does he make from carp like this?
  2. exiile

    Royal Wedding.

    I didn't think you had seen the comment Ian as I know it is not like you. My rant was suitably tongue in cheek! I don't doubt that there are many people who seem to "love" the Royal family and I am completely bemused as to why. I get the pomp, glitz and spectacle but the individuals, with the apparent exception of the Queen, seem to be completely unrepresentative of what we believe this country to stand for. I also know that abolition of the Monarchy will be a long slow process aided and abetted by Brian's utter out of touch uselessness and the reluctance of the young Royals to "do their duty". It will happen though! The reason I am interested in sources is that I hate people stating opinion and repeating made up stuff as fact. I looked everywhere for the assertion made in that Tweet and here's what I discovered: Volunteered for 2 tours of Afghanistan. He no more "volunteered" than any other serving soldier. He received no "special privileges but was give a personal protection squad of SAS personnel Set up Invictus games helping wounded service personal. He saw the "Warrior Games" in the US and approached the Government to see if they would help him do the same. George Osborne committed over £1m of taxpayers money to fund 50% - the rest came form the Duchy of Cornwall's charity wing. Numerous unpaid charity volunteer appointments all over the world. Like all the Royals, he lends his name to charities - it isn't a job Family brings in 400 million a year in private revenue that under the “ sovereign act 2011” the government keeps £360 million of. The original Tweeter seems to have confused lots of different figures and issue here. This is the current cost to the UK Taxpayer of the Royal Family Family brings in £1.8 billion per year in tourism. The only official figure related to Tourism that I could find is from VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism agency, who published a report claiming the royal family generated £500m of inbound tourism spending every year. To get the figure, VisitBritain took previous research which found that 28% of visitors were attracted by Britain’s culture and heritage, then estimated that a quarter of Britain’s heritage attractions had “ties” with the British monarchy. £500m is simply a quarter of the estimated total spend by visitors attracted by Britain’s culture and heritage. Country better off by £2.1 billion a year. This figure is completely fictional. The nearest I can come to it is the result of an exercise conducted by a brand company who placed an entirely suppositional figure based on what the Royal family would be worth as "Brand" The wedding is paid for by the Royal heritage and private funding not the tax payer and that includes her dress! The Taxpayer paid an additional £2.6m to the local council to clean up the area. Brenda will pay for the flowers, music and invitations although, with her nett worth being around £450m, I'm sure she could afford it. See also below. Of course, her own wealth, in part, derives from the taxpayer. The tax payer will pay for the public security not private security. The same way the tax payer pays for public security at football matches etc. I'm sure Stewy will be interested in this claim which is patently untrue. According to the Press Association, the cost for security at the wedding will be approximately £7m including Police overtime. Paid for by the taxpayer. So, basically, the tweet is a load of emotional made up and wrongly interpreted hogwash - which, I admit, drives me nuts. If people were honest and said that their love of the Royal Family was because of unashamed patriotism, love of tradition and ceremony and teary eyed nostalgia then I would cut some slack. Emotion is an important factor in decisions making (see Brexit etc) but simply making ups alleged facts to justify their existence is simply unacceptable. I must get out more . . .
  3. exiile

    Royal Wedding.

    Dressed up as a Nazi? Galloped around naked with some whores in a Las Vegas hotel? When you are independently rich through birth you can choose to do all of the things you mention and you have any number of flunkies and Government departments and taxpayers to run it and fund it for you. The link you provide Ian is simply not sourced and, like all the so called facts about the royals do not "nett" the figures. There is no empirical evidence that the Royals bring in more money for the taxpayer than we provide to keep them in the style they are accustomed to. Loads of Americans, Chinese, European and Japanese tourists come to London and visit one of the Royal residences or watch some ceremonial nonsense but you can't simply ascribe that to bringing in money for the exchequer. They would have come to London anyway for Mamma Mia and Tower bridge! I bet you that if we took back control of all of the royal residences, castles, houses, barracks, stables, boats, aircraft and trains and turned them into proper publicly accessible tourist attractions - then more people would come. Anyway, anyone who tries to make an argument about the Royals being worth it in terms of money must have realised that there is no earthly sensible reason to perpetuate this gurning, overprivileged, dysfunctional bunch of freeloaders who breed for England, use offshore tax avoidance vehicles and perpetuate class as some kind of badge of superiority. And, if you think that was an intemperate rant - it was. Read your link again, apparently I am a "twatt" who signs on the dole and hasn't got a clue about reality!
  4. exiile

    Wolf Hall

    I did read the Genghis Khan books which came as pleasant surprise to me. I do like his use of facts and robust storytelling. His Caesar books also galloped through quite a deep history in a "Ripping Yarns" style. His use of the Brutus/Caesar axis was compelling if a little contrived at the end. The use of Cromwell by Mantel is the best thing about her books giving an angle which was more independent of the King and various Queens.
  5. exiile

    Wolf Hall

    That's a common comment with this book. It is a bit dense and plodding at first but this does create a rich background when the book(s) get going. I enjoyed it ultimately but wouldn't object if people insisted that it was too heavy. The BBC series was sumptuous and about twice as long as it needed to be. It was entirely sustained by Mark Rylance's eyebrows and impassive silences! The Wars of the Roses by the impeccable Conn Iggulden showed how you could do meaty researched background with some style!
  6. exiile

    Royal Wedding.

    Fake news Ian! The FT estimate that the actual impact on the economy is negligent and the only good thing financially is that at least there isn't a bank holiday. I do read a lot of the foreign Press and most coverage is of the anachronistic institution the Royal Family is. Also, it's an excuse to replay the death of Diana. The New York press are devouring the "mixed race" angle. It would be a wonderful tribute to the Queen if the Monarchy was consigned to Madame Tussauds after she scratches off!
  7. exiile

    Royal Wedding.

    Well its costing us taxpayers upwards of £50m for the marriage of a product (allegedly) of a dysfunctional family to someone else from another dysfunctional family. As is my tradition, I shall be buying the Morning Star tomorrow scouring the paper for a two liner at the bottom of page 5 carrying the news. My favourite was Prince Andrew's wedding "Sponger marries scrounger".
  8. Just to start a debate, I have been really impressed by the writing and commentary of Leroy Rosenior, late of Brighton this season managed by the incredibly impressive Chris Hughton. He has been released and had written generously about this in his column. Leroy released Take note of his plans. Would it be too much to take a punt and get him involved with Ryan and the team?
  9. exiile

    Trump wins Noble peace prize.

    Just diverting slightly to Trumps position on China which people may not have noticed. After his tariffs and attacks on China for them dumping and breaching Intellectual property he suddenly about faces and says he is relaxing tarrifs on the 4th biggest Telecoms company ZTE so that they can save jobs. Eh? I thought that was the idea - get rid of Chinese jobs and give them to the US (MAGA)? Out of interest ZTE also breached the Iran and N Korea UN sanctions deal. Last month the Commerce Department banned shipments of American technology to ZTE for seven years, saying that the company broke sanctions and then lied about carrying out the punishment. The company had already agreed last year to a $1.2 billion fine in connection with those violations. But now, barred from using American microchips, software and other components, ZTE has been facing the prospect of being unable to manufacture its telecommunications equipment and smartphones. So what gives? Why does Trunp change his mind to help this poor company? As it turns out, the Trump Organization is pursuing an Indonesian leisure hotel and golf course and needs financing. Enter the Chinese government, which is partly financing the project. The White House has struggled to answer how that kind arrangement does not abridge the Constitution’s emoluments clause against personal gain while in office, to say nothing of the president’s personal promise not to pursue new foreign business deals while he is president, to say nothing of whether he is trading on policy for personal gain. Trump is just incredible. For all of the discussion we have had on here about his politics, he is just a crooked businessman and does things for personal enrichment. DRAIN THE SWAMP!
  10. Thanks Ryan. Where's Ronky when you want him 😘
  11. I fear you chose to ignore my questions! The will of the Government? Which members? The Cabinet are split on the mechanics of Brexit - hence Teresa's latest idiocy on tasking both sides to come up with reasons etc. The will of the Opposition? In polls, the majority of Labour Party members, the majority of constituency parties and the majority of MP's are opposed to a hard Brexit and indeed opposed to Brexit full stop! The will of the electorate? I accept that both sides lied - and one side consistently broke election funding laws and we now know that Russians also muddied the waters. Would it not be reasonable in such circumstances to look more carefully at a deal and allow our elected MP's to have a view and to vote on our behalf? I am not trying to score political points here (I was remain but accepted the outcome) but am genuinely concerned that the deal might be seriously damaging to our country and the future for our children. I would like to see scrutiny, debate and accountability. 🙂
  12. The will of the Government? Which members? The will of the Opposition? Constituency parties, MP's - or Jeremy and his team? The will of the electorate? The narrow majority who voted in an advisory ballot? Why do we elect members of parliament if not to hold the executive to account and why do we have a House of Lords if all we want them to do is rubber stamp things? I understand you are keen on coming out of Europe but surely a decision on how and when should be something we can all debate?
  13. exiile

    no commentary??

    Same here. Generally fits in with the half assed shambles of a season we’ve been having 🤬
  14. exiile

    Cheap Booze.

    Do you include alcohol in this plan?
  15. exiile

    Cheap Booze.

    This argument is much like the smoking issue thirty/forty years go. It isn't a country/culture/class issue but one of large companies using advertising /media manipulation to create profits from addiction. In the new "summer of love" (1988?) when raves were popping up everywhere, young people were not necking beer or spirits but taking E and blissing out with each other. Less violence, less alcohol poisoning, less addiction related crime etc etc. The Police turned a blind eye to raves and drug dealing etc because they could see that the less alcohol, the less crime and anti-social behaviour there was. The huge drinks firms were alarmed and they saw their profits collapsing - just like the tobacco companies when the health links started to eat into their profits. The Booze companies hit back. Just like Big Tobacco, they went for the youth market and created new drinks such as "Alcopops" and found new uses for old drinks such as Gin as trendy new mixers. They also created and pushed new high alcohol, low cost drinks - "white Lightning" etc and deliberately funded anti rave/drug campaigns - the poor unfortunate Leah Betts' death drove a massive marketing campaign against ecstasy funded by the alcohol industry who ignored the abject misery millions of people were in as a result of alcoholism. They even funded an in-house group - the Portman Group - to push the concept of "responsible drinking" as a sensible alternative. How do I know this? One of my clients is Diageo, who, although they will claim they are a multi portfolio drinks group are nothing more than a marketing organisation dedicated to leveraging as much profit as possible from portraying alcohol in particular branded channels. For example. J&B whisky. This blend, created by Justerini and Brooks, was a blend of Scotch whiskies which was noted for being very smooth - in fact - very popular with the ladies for this reason. It was adopted by the Royal Family and received a warrant for the supply - to the Late Queen Mother - a celebrated toper. It trundled along for decades with this reputation until it was suddenly adopted by Frank Sinatra and his Ratpack. the reason was the availability of ice which went together very well the drink and allowed the whisky to cast of its pipe and slippers and old spinsters drink and become a super trendy on point drink. In the fifties , it went stellar and there wasn't a bachelor pad which didn't have an ice bucket and a J&B. As the sixties and seventies passed, the fad for J&B passed, it's price reduced and it went back to becoming an old swingers and ladies drink which didn't give you instant heartburn with the addition of water/ice. After 1988, the Alcohol companies searched for alternatives to E and, after the success of "Two Dogs" fermented lemon alcohol drink - the world'd first "Alcopop", Diageo created "Smirnoff Ice" thus reviving the Vodkabrand at the high end of the market and then creating "Hooch" to sweep up the low end, it bought a portfolio of brands including J&B. It spent two years creating a marketing "Bible" - which I have been privileged to see - which rebrands completely the J&B whiskey into a super smooth mixer liquor which can be blended with orange, lemon, mint, lime etc etc. They hired mixologists to create new whisky based drinks. Everyone who came into contact with the drink had to use particular language such as "smooth, heritage, rich, cool, storied" etc etc. The bible heavily rewrote the back story and the price of a bottle of J&B was immediately uplifted by 30% to sit just under the price of a Single Malt and, worldwide, it sold by the bucketload. My point? Everyone who drinks alcohol is, whether they think they are on not, are to a large extend controlled in their choice and consumption by an artifice completely created by Alcohol companies using the same techniques as the Tobacco companies did for decades while knowing all the time that their products were killing people, placing a huge burden on our support services and destroying relationships. I think taxation is one element of helping our society control this issue but maybe we are taxing the wrong group?? Either that or another "Summer of Love"!