Social Policing

I spent the first part of yesterday replacing a pane of cracked glass in the side door that I’ve been planning to do for about 3-4 years.  Sadder still, I have had the glass for at least 2 years, but I’ve been putting it off because these old doors and windows need careful handling.  Besides, it was only a crack, the glass remained in situ solidly.  Anyway, it got done, along with another pane I’d recently cracked while redoing the windows.  All at the expense of a cut hand.  Not badly cut, but it got me thinking how I really wouldn’t want to go to hospital even if it had been.   I can only envisage how bad it would be, go in with a cut hand, get strapped to the bed, wired up and tested for Corona.  I have a feeling there are plenty of cases like this who become a “…died after testing positive for Covid-19..” statistic.

After that, my intense DIY mode of recent weeks was forced to pause.  Called off due to rain.   After spending a bit of time arranging the CDs into approximate alphabetical order for easier future access, I suddenly thought to myself, you know what, the loppemarkeder are open again, so why not take a trip out and see the world?  Unlike the UK, Denmark didn’t quite descend into the huge restrictions – I guess they assume the population to be so compliant that they don’t need to, the invisible barrier that stops those monkeys climbing to the top of tree is strong here after years of training.   This was actually confirmed, in some small way, by the first one I went to, where half the customers weren’t even Danish, but Eastern European or Arabic.  It was fairly empty anyway and there were bargains to be had.  Especially additions to the newly restarted CD collection.  It’s also interesting what turns up at these places – a few years ago I was restoring an old Edwardian built-in wardrobe in the second bedroom.  A replacement lock was almost impossible to find, until I found a German seller who had one with almost the correct dimensions and ordered it.   Then yesterday I found a stall that had a whole bundle of antique locks, with at least two in the size I needed back then, for the princely sum of 15kr.  I bought the bundle, I can see at least one of them being of use.

20+ CDs and a few other interesting items later – it comes to something when a whole bundle costs about 70kr and one used to cost 100kr+ – I decided to pop off to the nearby Netto.  This is where I encountered my first social policing incident.  Every Danish store now has handwash inside the door that you are supposed to use.  Not sure if it’s enshrined in law yet, but that stuff is not good for you so I don’t and never will use it.  A Dane leaving the store was keen to point out to me where the handwash was, as I took a basket.  I said “yeah” and ignored him.  he didn’t seem to see the irony of his own bad health – being obese and very red-faced.  Perhaps he could work on that instead of policing others?

I suspect this incident was one of the first of many.  In the loppe I had noticed someone glancing nervously while they browsed one stand and I moved closer to browse the stand next to him.  What was I supposed to do, stand and patiently wait until he was done?   To me, the social rules haven’t changed, but if someone thinks they have then they are free to live life as they see fit, by moving away from others, or #stayathome themselves.  Thinking of that one, I recently sold something on facebook marketplace, and the buyer who came to collect the item saw no irony in having a #stayathome on their profile picture.  I guess only other people need to stay at home right?

We laugh of course, because those incidents are fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, but they show where the world is going.  Denmark tried a hotline / website for people to notify of neighbours who they suspected had Corona (I refuse to call it COVID-19, due to the sinister undertones of the acronym).  Even Danes howled in protest and the website was taken down – needless to says 1,000s of names had already been logged though.   New York did something similar, with the snitch hotline, which amusingly people then clogged up with crap, including dubious pics and this classic meme :-

TO THOSE TURNING IN YOUR NEIGHBORS AND LOCAL BUSINESSES YOU DID THE REICH THING | image tagged in reich thing | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

And that’s exactly it, people have previously looked at the rise of Nazi Germany and said things like “how did this ever happen?  If I’d been there I wouldn’t have gone along with it…”.  Well, I can only say, if you have ever wondered how you’d react had you lived in Nazi Germany, or East Germany in the 50s-80s (where half the population were informants, in one way or another), now you have your answer.  The number of facebook posts by supposed friends supporting this loss of personal freedoms, cheering videos of heavy-handed and often illegal policing and posting memes demanding you #stayathome gives you your answer.   Did someone click a collective switch?  I’ve read this story before, in the 1920s book “The Blue Wound”, a forgotten classic that analyses how World War 1 happened.  There’s a line in there about giving people a collective enemy and telling them their way of life is under threat will work every time.  They did it then and they’re doing it now.  Thinking of East Germany, it should be no surprise that the leader of Germany now is Angela Merkel, considering her background with the Stasi, the East German secret police.

So where does this go, who are they making out is the enemy?  The virus is the enemy, but now attempts are being made to apportion blame for the virus.  Ah yes, apparently it’s China.  Who grew this virus in a lab in Wuhan and unleashed it on the rest of the world.  The subtle programming is beginning.  What virus, anyway?  All I see is a recategorisation of deaths.  Deaths in the UK are less than they were in 2018, when a bad flu hit.  Even in the USA, the figures are being inflated by recategorisation even after death of people who were never even tested but are now assumed to have died from it.  That’s a great way to play with statistics.  All I can say is, if China really did release a new virus then so far it’s done a terrible job.  Someone posted infection rates at UK hospitals on fb yesterday to show how terrible it is – the worst rate was 36/100,000 population.  That’s infection rates, not deaths!

If a hashtag is needed, it’s not #StayAtHome, it should be #NoToWarWithChina.

Signs of Inflation

Since the plandemic came along, I’ve being making regular stop-offs at a variety of supermarkets to ensure my fridge is stocked up.  While Denmark seems to wander around in a state of blissful unawareness, there have been many first-hand reports from personal UK sources as to supermarket fights and empty shelves of certain items.  Be prepared.  Not anything ridiculous, but food prices are unlikely to fall and conversely, quite likely to rise, or suffer supply disruptions.  May as well keep stocks high, eh?  There’s also enough history that inflation and shortages are a very realistic concept that can affect supposed first world countries as much as somewhere like Zimbabwe.  Look at this classic picture from 1923 Germany, when the real value of banknotes was as firewood.

I actually vaguely remember 1970s inflation in the UK.  As an adult, the stats tell me inflation rose 30% in 1978 alone.  I have memories of going to the supermarket around then and finding things like Tudor crisps had gone from 5p to 6p a packet, then a few weeks later, 7p.  Warlord, the fantastic World War 2 comic of my childhood, saw similar rises until, shock horror, it entered double figures and hit 10p around 1980.  Many seem to have suffered collective memory loss as to how bad the 1970s really were – while too young to remember the 90% FTSE fall of 1974, I most certainly remember only being able to have warm food at certain times of the day – households were allocated only a few hours of electricity time to cook meals, and I definitely remember one time all garages were closed, no petrol to be found anywhere.  Is it too much of a stretch to link at least some of this economic hardship with EU membership starting in 1973?  Project fear was not a new 2016 referendum concept, the excellent Peter Shore identified the same phenomenon back in 1975.

The clues are there already, if you look.  Gold ,the historically-proven protection against any economic crisis continues to rise.  Other weird things happened, like the price of oil turned negative for the first time ever in history, as demand collapsed and producers are forced to pay to have their product taken away, with storage running out.  That the Rockefellers and the Saudis put in place their plans to exit the oil market in recent years can be no coincidence.  Many people probably hold shares in their offloaded duffers in their pension portfolios without even realising how much they lost on this.  One other major thing occurred that didn’t even get much coverage – the US dropped the fractional reserve lending requirement to ZERO.  Never seen before, but now if the bank grants you a loan, they can just press a button and create it out of thin air, with no requirement on them to actually have any money in their account to back it up, not even 1% of the loan amount.  The banks are going to do well out of this crisis.  It’s a 2009-style bailout, played in a different way.  So subtle no-one has even noticed, but they are lending out created money to businesses at good rates, knowing the government has underwritten most, if not all, of the risk.  To hammer this home the obnoxious Ed Milliband is shouting for the government, ie taxpayers, to take on 100% of the risk.  You couldn’t make it up, talk about socialising the losses!  This free money to lend is then secured against real assets, some of which the banks know they will help themselves to when businesses and individuals fail.  I said in a prior post, a bank might fail – and it might, but the key banking players will do well out of all this.

Then finally, I went to Netto on Monday lunchtime.  Just a regular walking trip, but it was immediately striking how prices had gone up.  Bananas – were 2kr, now 2.5kr, Milk – was 8,95, now 9,45, Cucumbers – was 6kr, now 7kr.  I sense they were busy at the weekend upping the price tags.  It may sound minor but that equates to up to a 25% inflationary increase in a single weekend.  Hmm, thought I, must check Fakta back home later.  It was identical – Milk – was 8,95, now 9,45, Cucumbers – was 6kr, now 7kr, except Fakta also had a sign up saying something like “Due to to supply issues from Spain, certain fruit and vegetable stocks may run out”.  The cracks are starting to appear.  I looked around the store, everyone else seemed to be carrying on as normal.  Then took another bag of new potatoes – was 10kr, now 12kr, then strolled up to the frozen section and took several bags of frozen veg to fill up the freezer.  Can’t be too careful!

As a footnote to those supermarket trips, I visited Fakta again the following day.  There were massive gaps in the bread section, no chicken at all and hardly any milk – a shocking thing for Denmark where people live on the stuff.  I may even visit tonight – after all one of my favourite ales is on offer for 6kr a can and if it comes to it, good beer has plenty of vitamin content to keep you going for a while.

Despite all this though, I still wonder if massive deflation comes first, as people stop spending and are forced to sell assets like excess cars and houses to stay afloat and repay debt.  It may seem good to be on 75% pay for 0% work, but such a situation can’t last forever and one day, when the music stops, people may find their old job doesn’t exist any more.  Food prices may rise, but possible deflation in other commodities, such as houses, cars and computers would offset the official figures, at least for a while.  Deflation would be a great thing if it was allowed to happen – cheaper prices are the best thing for most common people.  The inflation part comes later, just like it did in Germany 1921-23.  The same thing happened in 1929-32, massive deflation until they decreed a new USD/Gold ratio after forcibly confiscating as much as possible of it from the public, so history again tells us how things might go.  Nowadays we are even further removed from those two periods of history – gold and silver don’t even figure in peoples heads as money any more and in this digital currency world we now live in, what are we going to do when we can’t even use it as an emergency firewood backup?

Kissing the Machine

After the events of recent weeks, both public and personal, I am reminded of one of my favourite electronic era songs from the late 80s-early 90s, Kissing the Machine.  At the time you could sense you were part of a new era of something, that things were changing and now 30 years later, I see the change happening, I helped cause it and I am beginning to doubt it’s direction.

The old saying about never waste a good crisis has never been truer than ever with this fake Corona crisis, where a ton of freedoms have been removed and society is being re-engineered down a technology-based, AI direction and few seem to care or notice.  I’ve already alluded to this, but it’s worth examining in greater detail because longer-term, we are all destroyed if it continues.   A great wave of change is taking place where technological advances are huge (and that’s just the technology we are allowed to know about yet), yet at the same time human ethics are hitting an all time low in terms of individual rights and personal freedom.

Let’s start by looking at social distancing.  Ostensibly, it’s claimed to be to protect the public from spreading the virus to each other, but I see it as fulfilling at least two agendas.  One is facial recognition software.  People standing 2m apart are definitely going to be a lot easier to pick up and identify using this software.  The police have been gathering their database, especially in the UK, where two recent stories stood out for me as examples of the police state – in one, the Metropolitan police were just doing their everyday innocent gathering of facial recognition data, as you do, you know, when you live in a police state – how anyone thinks this is OK is beyond me, but one innocent citizen had the temerity to pull up his hoodie, then got arrested and fined.  For what exactly?  Secondly, someone in Cardiff actually took up the fight in court against having his facial data harvested.  He lost of course, both incidents should also get you thinking about what the law courts really do and who they are really representing – it’s certainly not the common human law, but something much more sinister.  My own forced experiences in the Danish family courts attest to that too.

Little did I realise when I watched Person of Interest some years ago, how close we were to reality.   Yet again though, Hollywood plays it’s part in softening us up, opening our minds to what is about to come or what is even already happening, just that we haven’t been told about it yet.  Many films are worth watching just for trying to identify the agenda and the underlying message, but sometimes it’s only years later that you realise what it was really about.

The second part of it is both dehumanising and soulless, two human words that mean exactly what they say, when you think about it.  All humans have an aura, that is indisputable, an invisible energy field around their visible being.  Science has proven it with the right cameras, but of course we all knew it really, it’s there in the language we’ve used for millennia.  It’s also why handshakes and physical contact are so important in binding families, assessing someone as a friend or someone you can trust in business.  There is of course no doubt why they’d want to remove that and re-engineer society on more distant, technocratic lines.  Hollywood has played it’s part for years, with various clues.  2 films immediately spring to mind – Westworld and Ex Machina.  Westworld scared me a lot when I watched one Monday evening, aged about 10, with my Dad.  I was expecting a typical cowboy film, not fully functioning humanised robots that turn nasty.  Ex Machina is probably the best example of something deeper being implied on film, but not explicitly mentioned.  The basic story is that someone has created a female robot and invites a tech expert of his choice out to assess whether the robot can pass the tests for being a human.  Of course, she does and he falls in love with her.  It eventually costs him everything.  The clue that is there in this film by not actually being there is the one thing that probably would’ve instantly identified her as being not human – he is allowed to ask questions, listen to her responses, see her actions, but all of these interviews take place at a distance and with a glass screen between them.   Had he been allowed within 2m, or to shake her hand, he would’ve known without a word being said that she was not human.  That the female role was played by a Scandinavian woman is no real surprise, many of the women here are a bit like that, perhaps they already added something to the vaccines years ago to make it so?

The entire thing fits with my own feeling – that us humans, even those working in IT, are now reduced to being a voice on skype and a jpg image of ourselves.  That’s what the customers are currently seeing and it does nothing to build a meaningful relationship between people.  I think I get the real meaning of the corporate phrase #itsinourDNA, because soon it will be – our voices and imagery are just data that can used in AI versions of ourselves.   The hidden hand must be laughing at the ease with which society is being reprogrammed.  Danish schools returned yesterday, with all the new rules of society being firmly instilled into traumatised young minds.  2m distances, no contact between pupils, no cuddly toys, wash your hands constantly.   Forget Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic – The new 3 R’s that children are sent to school to learn now are Rules, Regulations and Robotism.  All this for a virus – something which many mainstream medical people believe is an internal cell response to external factors in the environment and cannot even be transmitted between people.  Mainstream medical people who aren’t in tow to big pharma and who the mainstream media will never bring on TV for an interview, that is.

Paralysed

Paralysed…another variation on the Coldplay song.   While never stopping thinking, a state of paralysis seems to have descended over the world with this corona crisis.  Myself included.  To some, I may seem to be one of the lucky ones, still coming to work but honestly, I would much prefer being furloughed – what a nice medieval-sounding term that is, but it’s fake – and be at home, sit in the limited sunlight and maybe do some DIY, than try to work while thinking hard about what the future may hold and what plans are the best ones.  If anything, being on 100% pay for 100% work feels more like slavery than 75% pay for 0% work and does little to assuage the feeling that I now carry even more unproductive Danes on my shoulders than ever before and that the burden is only going to increase in the coming months and years.  Atlas will definitely shrug someday.

I will add at this point, that I totally disapprove of government interventions on anything, especially paying people to do nothing.  Best said before someone reads this in 20-30 years time and believes I became Danicised eventually, but the rubicon wasn’t crossed by paying people to do nothing.  In this case, it was first crossed by a number of guidelines, vaguely written and different to the actual laws that were passed, that the police now interpret and apply.  There are some horrible videos of police state actions out there, where’s Amnesty International when you need them?  Oh, you mean they were just a fake NGO all along?  What a surprise.  No, those guidelines are the real breaking point of the UK I remembered and hoped to some day return to – those guidelines stopped the basic principles of freedom, where individuals could transact and interact as they see fit.

What’s struck me most is that people are proving themselves to be strange, dangerous and untrustworthy.  The UK and Denmark have both turned into East Germany, with neighbours happily spying on and reporting each other for minor infractions of draconian rules.  Even some politician in California said that “snitches means riches”, without anyone seemingly protesting, although I was heartened to see last night a major protest in Lansing, Michigan where people took to the streets, blocking them in protest at the new police state.  Did BBC report that?  I have a feeling not.  Meanwhile people on Facebook scream in support of the police dragging citizens to the floor in headlocks for the heinous crime of trying to keep a shop open and earn a living.  Time to remind myself of Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote :-

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

He was right, they really don’t.

I also see a major change in UK law has occurred and no-one anywhere seems to have spotted it.  Coming to Denmark, one of the first things that struck me was that it’s more of a society where you assume something is illegal unless the state says it’s legal.  One of the most striking examples is in city centres, where the places you can park are marked and the assumption is – if there’s no markings you can’t.  Contrast that to the UK, where people normally assume that no markings means it’s fine to park there.  Yes, the UK was always a society where something is assumed to be legal unless the state explicitly forbids it.  The forbids part being established in a court of law, with 1,000 years of case law to refer to when assessing any possible infractions.  That has changed, the UK has now come out with some guidelines and the police are applying them in the most awful ways as if they are laws.  it’s possibly the clearest example of the old UK law book being thrown away and European law coming in, after 50+ years of gradually sneaking it in through the back door.  To me, it proves yet again that the UK hasn’t left the EU and never will.  Plus isn’t a time when protests are disallowed and can be dealt with in the most violent manner a great time to water down the Brexit deal to the point of remaining?

One of the other most worrisome laws sneaked in in the UK was an amendment to the Mental Health act, allowing an individual to be detained indefinitely without trial, on the say so of one doctor and one other medical professional.  The second part of what defines a medical professional is vague – but you can assume it’s most likely to be a nurse going along with whatever a doctor says.  They usually do.  I remember being shocked about this when I first heard about it, when I worked on Mental health software in 2002-03.  As were the people explaining it to me, as it was already so open to abuse with 2 doctors needed to detain someone indefinitely in a cell, with forced medication of whatever they saw fit.  I wonder how many lives have already been ruined by that and how many will be in future.  Plus, let’s guess what constitutes being “bad mental health” in future.  Someone who won’t take the vaccine willingly?  Someone who doesn’t believe the official story on 9/11 or 7/7?  Definitely.  With that 7/7 link, I am glad the website still exists, but it was harder to find on Google – always found it funny how the official story provided a video of the alleged terrorists taking a specific Thameslink train to London from Luton, then being exposed by commuters pointing out that on that day that particular train was cancelled.  Seems you can’t even rely on the railways to run to time when you’re planning a major false flag event.

In summary, the world looks a bit of a grim place and may be heading to somewhere even grimmer.  I find myself with so many thoughts on this that I’ll leave them for another post.

Coming Soon, to a Country Near You

Prior posts have alluded to Denmark’s major role as a test bed for the policies of the hidden hand, before they get rolled out to bigger nations.  Perhaps it’s to do with being a country of 5.5m people, not spread over a huge area, or maybe it’s even to do with general level of (misplaced) trust, built up over many years in the framework and institutions.   Size, perhaps in this case, is everything, as it’s interesting that some of the countries I see as elite test-beds are Denmark, New Zealand and Finland.  Similar population sizes and look at how all 3 currently have identikit female prime ministers – out with the old guy in a suit and in with the new model to help prove to the masses democracy is working and their vote does count.  It doesn’t of course, but a new broom every now and then to sweep clean helps maintain the illusion.

I had an argument with someone at work today.  Or at least I raised my voice a bit.  I really have had enough of condescenDanes, who think they know it all and the udlændige are second rate.  I had mentioned to him last week, in response to his comment that he couldn’t believe the UK still allowed people to gather freely, eat in restaurants and go the pub, that I actually agreed people should live their lives freely.  That I’d seen no evidence of this illness yet and that anyway, how come the world didn’t stop for the flu?  This week he saw me again and was keen to mention how the UK now had the same disease as Denmark – no not the lovely COVID-19, but the disease of lockdowns, restrictions and closed businesses.  Except he didn’t see it as a disease, but something that had to be done for the good of society.  I’ve not changed my mind at all, in fact I said, come back in a year and we can discuss how many of these freedoms that have been taken away you have actually got back.  The conversation turned to democracy being a wonderful thing, which I also disagreed with and got told “If you don’t like it here why not go and live in Saudi Arabia?”.  This is the standard response of Danes, when they find you disagree with the things they hold dear and is, I suspect how they’ve always achieved their concensus.  If you disagree, you’re an outlier and need to be got rid of.  Maybe the Vikings dealt with outliers in more direct fashion – an accidental axe to the head while raiding Lindisfarne, killing the peaceful monks and stealing the booty, perhaps?  It’s why all the rich danes live abroad – they could never be comfortable here with the envy, criticism and desire to bring them down to common denominator level.   It’s why, at this point, I snapped and told him this – I have encountered this stock answer about leaving the country many times.  Accept people have different views and are entitled to voice them.

Watching this crisis unfold, along with hearing the calls of citizens for further curtailments to their freedoms, got me thinking that I really do see the future here.  As much as I really don’t want to see it and wish I wasn’t really here at all.  I’ve lived through various taxes, intrusions into my private life and forced introductions to new systems such as nem-id and e-boks, to realise that I should write it down and try to warn the rest of the world.

So let’s look at what’s happened here in the past week or so :-

  • Borders locked down – only Danes and foreign workers allowed in
  • No gatherings of more than 10 people.  So no konfirmation.  unlucky
  • Schools, Universities, Restaurants, Hairdressers, tanning salons – all closed
  • Mandatory vaccinations for anyone suspected of having the virus
  • Up to 75% of salary paid for employees as an alternative to firing anyone
  • Extension of all this to April 13th, at the earliest

Let’s ignore that officially, at least, the vaccine hasn’t even been invented yet.  On a personal note, I am one of only 2 or 3 people who goes into the office now and of those, I’m the only one who does a full day there.  I really refuse to work from home, it does me no good and besides, zig while the world zags – petrol prices are down 20% in 2 weeks, the roads are empty and I can assess the situation outside.  Drive while I can – that may well be an unaffordable luxury at some point in the future.

The clues were there, if you looked closely and worked it out.  Denmark built a 5ft high border fence across the border with Germany last year.  Ostensibly to keep out the swine flu, but it did seem a bit suspicious and ensured all border traffic went through official chokepoints only.  Considering the rest of Denmark only has access by sea and air, it’s relatively easy to lockdown this nation if you really want to – interestingly, you can say the same of another elite test-bed, New Zealand.   The surveillance society tightened it’s grip with the mandatory implementation of smart meters – every house had to have one by December 2019, due to a law that was signed in 2015.  One house avoided that bullet, at least for the time being.  Then there’s been the war on cash – a gradual enforcement of policies to ensure people pay with debit cards, contactless preferred, of course and finally, the tracking of people with mobile phones.  Yes, Denmark has been big on this, and the global sharing of mobile information became clear to me back in 2018, when I received a letter from Skat, informing me of my English bank account – doesn’t matter that it only had £20 in it, Skat was keen to tax the interest.  How did they match up this account?  Why, using my mobile phone number of course.  Think about that when you happily gift this important personal identifying key, a new world social security number, to any website out there.

Longer term, they are implementing so many horrific policies in the style of an expert sleight-of-hand magician, that it’s impossible to keep up.   I saw the UK also implemented a salary bail-out of 80%, just like Denmark (see how these test bed policies catch on?).  Why, to me this could almost seem to be an implementation of the new Universal Basic Income policy they’ve been talking about for a few years.  It sounds great (and free) on paper, to just give a basic income to every citizen, but next up it’ll come with conditions – with deductions for socially unacceptable behaviour and rewards for really, really good socially acceptable behaviour.  Define socially good – they will write the rules for that themselves in the year ahead and if you want that money, you better read the right books, newspapers and be a good citizen in exactly the way that they want.  Then there’s the isolation and separation of old people, Logan’s run is coming.  Then when, if ever, do you think airlines will be reopening?  I had to say goodbye to my trip of a lifetime to Panama last week, and I seriously wonder if I’ll ever get that chance again.  Then what about being socially distant and working from home?  I see the dehumanisation agenda, a future world where AI and robots come to the fore being another step closer, when your colleagues are nothing more than photographic pixels on a computer screen.  How long before some of them are replaced by robots and you never even notice?

Amongst it all, the saddest thing is that a lot of people are clamouring for this – please give us our free money, please lock us in our prison cells, please, please, please.  Just like my Danish colleague there.  I don’t blame him actually and I’m sure our little spat will be forgiven – with a lifetime in one of the ultimate test beds, of course he will love his system.   No, the saddest things were probably :-

a) People reporting other people to the police for such serious infractions as – having a gathering of over 10 people in their own home, a business owner opening up his shop in contradiction of the new law and a supermarket that didn’t have a bottle of the now legally-required alcoholic handwash on the door.  These were all locally-reported cases in my area, so multiply that across the nation and, furthermore, the world.

b) The Danish queen being applauded for her wonderful TV-delivered speech telling everyone to keep socially distant from each other, never leave the house except to shop essentially and do as her various enforcement agencies (skat, police, government) say.  I’m sure someone in a 100-room mansion, with staff to do everything for her, is a great role model for us all.

c) An overbearing intrusion into my weekend from the Danish police and Danish health authority.  The police actually sent out an SMS to every mobile number in the whole country (they’ve got it on file and they are tracking you, remember?).  On the surface, it was to remind you they care, but underneath, it was sent on a Sunday and sent a message of omnipresence, with threatening undertones.  It was also a great data gathering exercise – which numbers worked, who had their phones switched on and who read it.  Should definitely help when they start the location tracking.

All in all, I am reminded of some quote from 1984 by George Orwell, perhaps, that says something like when the taking away of freedoms comes, the people will not be angry, they will be screaming for it, demanding it and just a few months ago I would have laughed and thought it impossible that it would come this way and so soon.  I was wrong.  If I was now to predict the future, I would say a bank is about to go bust – perhaps I need to refer back to my own book from 2007, How to Invest in Gold and Silver?  Perhaps it’s time to remember that…

When laws become unjust, just men become outlaws

 

 

No Milk Today

As part of investigating what a post-apocalyptic world might look like, I went up for a walk to the local supermarket, Rema 1000 yesterday.  Actually, there was another motive behind this, which was that, rather mundanely, I actually did want to buy some milk.  There almost was, quite literally “No Milk Today”, as Herman’s Hermits once sang.  Rather shocking for a country that is one of the world’s largest dairy producers.  There was no trace of the full-fat stuff and just a few cartons of semi-skimmed Letmælk, then loads of the watery nothingness of Skummetmælk, the one with all the fat removed.  I must congratulate Danes on hoarding the one with the highest vitamin value, if nothing else.

The shelves were also denuded of bread, although plenty of Pittas remained, and mince – no pork or beef, except a few packs of the ultra-expensive organic variety.   I’m not quite sure what insight this gives us into the dietary habits of the nation.  All the Rye bread had gone, but plenty of toilet paper was left – major overstocking here in fact.  I sense it’ll sell out faster as the rye bread is consumed.

Also in line with my previous post there were national and international moves.  Bill Gates announced he was standing down as the head of Microsoft – perhaps he’s heading for the bunker as his conception turns into reality?  Did I forget to mention his part in an eerily similar pandemic simulation last year, with something called Event 201?  Denmark also announced a further lockdown, as I correctly foresaw.  I’ve lived here long enough to know Denmark is straight there when it comes to anything agenda-related, be it financial, social or military.   With the last one, they somehow get away with hardly ever being mentioned with regard to their involvement in everything, from Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Denmark is always there.  Now you can only get into the country if you are a citizen or resident, or have business/family reasons for your visit.  Even if you just fancied coming as a tourist, my advice anyway would be not to bother – there are many cheaper and more interesting places in the world to see.  I am interested to see how this affects my big international trip that I’ve been planning for months – no clues as to destination, but the second leg takes 12 hours and right now, I can still get there and come back.   As long as I get there, I couldn’t care less about the coming back part.  I’ll make sure I read the travel insurance small print though.

Media Hysteria

Picture the scene, everyone tuned into the media, listening intently as some major catastrophic event hits planet earth.  The media continues the story with updates over the coming days and weeks, the people respond by fleeing or panic buying.

Sound familiar?  I’m not actually referring to the Corona Virus, or Covid-19 as some people seem to trendily refer to it as.  It is in fact exactly what happened in 1938, when Orson Welles read War of the Worlds as a series of newcasts on the radio and yes, it’s exactly how thousands of people responded, thinking it was all true.  How we laugh now, of course at such stupidity – we can identify a fake media story, all us superior intellectual, mobile-phone owning humans, can’t we?

Yet, stop and look around you just for a moment.  Has anything really changed?  Apparently some global pandemic has hit planet earth and we need to act now, now, now – can’t our leaders just do something?  The clue is in the name as to what they want us all to..panic.  Sadly, it seems we are.  Even my own office has been informed today that you can self-isolate (what a lovely hyggelig term that is) and work from home until the end of March.  I’m actually sitting in the office almost on my own, only one colleague here and that only because his VPN failed.  I don’t see the point in packing up and going back to that empty house.  I may even stay late and see how empty and post-apocalyptic the streets look.

The clues to why this is happening are quite possibly right in front of us.  Or were.  Massive protests in Hong Kong, Paris, Ecuador, Chile – all with good intentions behind them have suddenly stopped.  Perhaps the hidden hand realised that there was no other way to get rid of them.  I wonder if those protestors even realised how they’ve been duped.  Add to this the other clues – the WTO was quick to say that passing banknotes was a major carrier of this disease and that the cashless society was a solution to that.   Pharma and governments are already announcing they are working on a vaccine, which is interesting, since patents for this were filed last year by some dubious organisations with even more dubious affiliations and funding sources.  Step forward Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, for example.  It ties nicely in with a scaled-up version of the mandatory vaccinations imposed on the island of Fiji last year.  The one where an epidemic hit and it just so happened that the necessary vaccines for every human on the island happened to be in storage on the island.  What a lucky coincidence!  So much for the right to choose, we’re all going to lose that eventually.

Look also at Greta Thunberg and her sponsors.  They’ve been preaching how we all need to become not just low-carbon, but zero-carbon – an impossibility surely, since it’s what we’re made of?  No matter, their low carbon dream of people not travelling and staying in their homes, isolated and susceptible to what media and government tell them is almost here.  Remember that old alien invasion film advice that used to be on films in the 1950s – Stay in Your homes?  It’s come true and we just accepted it without a dicky bird of protest.  They’ve been trying for a fair few years to get people to do it – pubs, the British social equaliser, where free speech was practised and anti-fascist state plots were formed (Guy Fawkes, for example), have been almost obliterated in the UK.  I’m sure other countries have had the same done to their social equivalents.  I see it myself in Denmark and Finland after 5pm every evening, even in larger cities such as Helsinki, the streets are deserted, the people are home, absorbing media and using their electronic devices non-stop.

Against this, I still find myself wondering if there is even a virus and if there is, how bad is it really?  I’ve seen no proof whatsoever – not a single person with the illness, only the impacts of some people supposedly having it.  I believe in colds and flu – I have seen those and experienced them personally.  I also know there are many different strands of the flu – I had a particularly bad one myself back in january that knocked me out for almost 3 weeks – was it actually Covid-19?  Even if not, how come we don’t have an occasional shutdown of everything when a flu like this hits the planet, killing 1,000s of people worldwide every single year?  Maybe in 3-6 months time I will be proved wrong, but even if so, it’d still be nice to compare the Covid death count against influenza and perhaps even road accidents in the same time period.

Living in Denmark, I have come to realise it’s a test bed for many of the hidden hand’s plans.  From turning the TV licence into a media licence that encompasses having an internet connection, to a tax on fat, to introducing e-boks, an enforced electronic mailbox that demands you give an email and mobile number to the state so they can send out their demands electronically and psychologically bully you into submission, Denmark is there first.  They’re also great fans of foisting smart meters onto the population through statute of law and they’re way up there on the disintegration of the traditional family, with no rights for fathers and the highest solo household count in the entire world.  The country has been straight there in closing down all institutions, schools and universities, due to the supposed threat and I am left wondering what comes next.  Possibly a travel lockdown that leaves me imprisoned in this vile place?

There’s a new saying being used in managerial meetings I sometimes attend – “It is what it is”, seems to have been usurped by “We don’t know what we don’t know” and, as much as managerial phrases annoy me, this one at least has some truth in accepting as a human that there are many things you don’t know about.  It’s just a shame not many people apply it to everything in life – unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes, accept you don’t really 100% know.  That, it seems, is very hard for us all to do.

Trains (and boats, and planes)

Now, onto my favourite mode of transport.  Trains.

Living in the North East, I rarely got to try this particular mode of transport.  In fact, a lot of my childhood was spent watching the ones that once criss-crossed the North East of England being dismantled, very rarely ever with any trains actually running on them.  Fortunately the years since have allowed me to indulge my interest.

One of my earliest memories (aside from the one where I successfully climbed out of my cot for the first time..yay!*), is of walking out the track at the back of our house and watching them demolish the bridge that took the old tub-line past the back of our house down to Knitsley station.  This must have been about 1973, I am told.  I was 2.  Knitsley station itself was one of my regular playgrounds, until someone bought it sadly, in the mid-seventies and made it into a rather luxurious house.  It’s ruined now, in my opinion, but the opportunity to live in a history such as an old railway station made me envious for many years.  Until buying Montana anyway.  Then I truly understood the toil, financial toll and tears that stands behind these restorations.

My first trip on a train makes more sense in adulthood.  With Consett railway station closed since 1957, there were vague memories of walking over train tracks on some wooden victorian style footbridge.  It turns out this was 1975, in the midst of the fuel crisis – my Dad had driven down to Newcastle station and, to save petrol, taken the train the rest of the way to my Grandmothers house down at Monkseaton.  Photos of Monkseaton station confirm the existence of a wooden footbridge, now listed.

I don’t think I ever travelled on a train again until university, when taking a train from Sunderland to Hexham, just for the dual experience of taking a train journey and going to a horse racing meeting for the first time ever.  Skipping one lecture to do it.  For someone who has always hated school, it not to be regretted, University is just another of those conditioning hoops to jump through.  During that time, I also went down to London for a job interview.  What a great opportunity to try a variety of trains!  On the way back, I chose to disemark at York and took the much longer local train back via Hartlepool, just for the experience, rather than the inter-city to Newcastle then a train back down to Sunderland.  One of the few lines left in County Durham had to be experienced, after all.

Living in Brighton brought many opportunities to exotic southern destinations and regular trips to London.  It may amaze people to learn that by the age of 23, I had never yet been abroad.  Realising that I had a few unused holidays to use and that I’d recently seen a leaflet at Brighton station advertising a through train ticket to Paris, I strolled down one lunchtime from work and bought that, applying for a passport straight afterwards.  It was £49 or thereabouts, as I recall, and involved 3 legs : (a) a train from Brighton to Newhaven Harbour; (b) a ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe; (c) a train from Dieppe Maritime to Paris.  Well, what an adventure.  I think the London Road, Brighton train was about 10pm and got to Newhaven in time for the midnight ferry to Dieppe.  Then it was straight onto a train at Dieppe Maritime all the way to Paris St Lazare, arriving about 7am.  In those days of course, no internet and I had to find accomodation on the day at the local tourist office.  It almost feels like too much of a risk now!

Reading up later, I’ve realised this Newhaven-Dieppe-Paris was the shortest route between the two capitals, so historically the rich and famous made that seem route.  I’m glad I did.  Dieppe maritime, an art deco classic when looking at the old photos online has now gone.  So I can say that I travelled in the footsteps of Kings and Queens, the rich and famous of the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco eras, albeit in lesser standards than they had.

During this busy period of trying international travel for the first time, I went interrailing with some of my friends in about 1996.  Departing with the newly built Eurostar from Waterloo, we headed for Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Venice, Rome, Florence, Turin and some other places I can’t quite remember now.  it was quite a trip and my first experience of overnight sleeping trains.

Eventually, my time working in Brighton ended and I took a job in London, commuting daily by train.  a journey that took about 1 hour each way.  I have to admit, despite the commuter grumbles, I actually quite enjoyed it for being able to take books with me for the route, or do the Daily Telgraph cryptic crossword – which I even completed a few times.  Although even my patience was often tested by huge delays and I was glad to depart in 2002 in one way, as the trains became busier.  Can’t deny though, I probably would’ve carried on doing it for years if I hadn’t lost my job.

Since that time, I’ve made it a goal to test out trains in virtually every country visited.  Most recently achieving the feat in Finland.  I’ve tried out trains in many places, highlights being the overnighters in Russia and a classic route between Budapest and Berlin.   Really, just pop into a railway station like Budapest or Vienna to see the variety of available destinations still available to any traveller.

Amongst this, I still feel the urge to make a little diversion in any town I visit to see where the railway station is – or was.  There’s always the station road clue to help us out.

As for the boats and planes, I may cover that another time, but no doubt trains win for me.

Riding the rails in Norway

*worth noting that my mother immediately appeared and put me back in.  I’m sure there’s a metaphor for how life works in there somewhere.

EUphoria

That’s the best word I could think of to describe the boom that’s occurred in the UK since December 2019.  The Conservatives landslide election victory, helped mostly by the Brexit party taking the votes of disillusioned Labour voters who were finally disillusioned enough after 50 years of lies to actually tick a different box, has brought about both a stock market boom and a massive change in market sentiment.

Remember though, the first part of their name is Con and they are conning us all again.  After all, what was the promise to Get Brexit Done?  Apparently, Brexit did happen on 31/01/2020, but I see no difference.   The UK remains firmly inside the customs union, single market, ECJ and freedom of movement.  The customs union one annoys me the most, as it’s how the EU extracts it’s tribute from the member nations.  Few realise every time you buy something the EU is collecting from your pocket, whether it’s the import duty on you trying to exercise your consumer choice by buying Canadian apples instead of the tasteless French ones, or the 20% VAT on essential repairs to your house or car.  As for freedom of movement, that thing that undercuts the living standards of the lowest paid especially – well, in fact, there’s probably never been a better time for an EU citizen to move to the UK as I sense they might end up with preferential rights on things like unemployment benefits compared to UK citizens.  The delay, delay, cancel approach I described earlier remains intact.  Just that very few realise it yet.  Observe, for example, how no Con MP ever mentions the word Brexit now.  It’s clear that some secret directive has been made to talk no more of this and take things forward on the pretence it has happened.

I’m reminded of the quote about how an island built on coal and surrounded by fish can never go cold or hungry.  These two valuable resources should be utilised, but somehow since joining the EU it all went wrong.  The UK didn’t regain control of it’s valuable fishing grounds yet and I remain confident that it never will, at least not in any Brexit negotiation, anyway.  The deal has already been cut and now we’re being spoon fed it in dribs and drabs, while people act their roles out, pretending to be tough guys fighting our corner.

If anything, it’s a testament to some form of fight and democracy that still exists in the UK that they actually had to go so far as to pretend to have left.  Even if the terms are so terrible that it feels like it’s a surrender treaty.  Look at Denmark and Ireland, for example.  When they had democratic votes that went against the EU, the government and media got to work to bend the minds of the population into believing they got it wrong and that another referendum – to reflect the change of opinion, in light of new facts, of course – was necessary.  On both occasions, the “correct” result was attained second time around.  The UK however, successfully resisted this approach and it must pain the elites a lot that they actually had to carry through the charade.

Against this backdrop, my own plans take a hit.  I actually put an offer in on a house in the UK last year, with every intention of buying and moving back had it been successful.  It wasn’t.  I had a gut feeling that the Brexit uncertainty could mean a good deal on a house, but I failed.  My own house in Denmark didn’t sell and the exchange rate has now moved massively against me.  My personal limbo continues.  As an aside, the house next to the one I tried to buy just came up for sale – for twice the price of the other one.  Brexit EUphoria is definitely taking hold in the UK, but considering real Brexit still hasn’t happened – possibly won’t ever happen, then I wonder how long that EUphoria will last?

A Shift in Time

On this date 3 years ago, I received the call.  I was driving down the E45 motorway and pulled over to the hard shoulder to answer it. I knew the moment it rang that it wasn’t going to be good news.  For one thing, I never receive many calls and for a second, my sister wouldn’t call me at 11pm, so I expected something bad.   Yes, it’s the one where I got told my Dad was dying.  What’s even more strange is that I actually got the opportunity to speak to him on the phone, there and then and despite the weakness, he seemed to recognise my voice.  When I regained composure, I set off home as quickly as I could and immediately booked a KLM flight for the very next morning, at 6.30am.  You may guess it wasn’t cheap, but of course there are no choices or price comparisons in situations like this.  I knew that flight would get me there soonest and with the least stress.  It had to be done.

When I arrived in Consett, that led onto a week of sitting at the hospital, watching a once-strong man who could apply himself expertly to any job and from whom I learnt a few D.I.Y. skills, a good work ethic and a large measure of self-reliance from, decline in front of my eyes.  That’s the thing about parents, you think they’re immortal, even if you see your own grandparents die and the grief it causes to your parents.  You still don’t quite see, until you’re older anyway, that you will one day experience the same loss.

I am grateful for that last week.  I can’t think of many things worse than being trapped in a foreign field while a parent dies quickly and you don’t get a chance to grieve and say goodbye around other loved ones suffering the same loss as you.  Thankfully I did.  The funeral was planned for 2 weeks later, just after Christmas day.  So I returned to Denmark, and work, for a brief while and then flew back again.  This time on a flight I’d booked with a bit more warning, but which still required me to depart at 6.30am on Christmas Day.  The grief that caused for some warrants inclusion in a story for another day, but for this story, I’ll recount here the exact one I told as a eulogy at the funeral itself.

See, not many people know that I once did a night shift at the Pit with my dad.   It happened when I was 14, back in 1985, not long after the miners strike.  With Sacriston colliery now destined to close, my Mam made up mine and my Dad’s bait and I accompanied him in the trusty Ford Cortina mark III that he eventually owned for 20 years, single-handedly maintaining it lovingly all that time – the welding, any part repairs, it was all done by him, no help needed.   Somewhere, the local BBC or ITV has footage of that car parked in Sacriston car park, that became their stock footage whenever the miners strike of 1984-85 was on TV.  Believe me, our car was on TV a lot that year.

Now I am older, I see that this must have been a sad thing for him to do.  He knew the whole era of coal mining was coming to an end and I was unlikely to follow any of my coal mining ancestors into this profession.  Yet still, tradition was upheld, just as years later one of my uncles said my grandfather had done for him.  Obviously, aged 14, I was unaware of this tradition, but the prospect of a day inside the mine and a look at what really goes on seemed exciting.  I didn’t actually get to go down the cage, but I did see the workshops, the pit ponies and the men with blackened faces emerge from the cage in the morning.  As an electrical engineer, he often went off for inspections and I am ashamed to say I fell asleep on a chair.  An uncomfortable chair, but I fell into a darting sleep anyway.  Now I’m older and know more about coalmines, I imagine he may even have operated the cage that brought those men back up to daylight.  Now there’s a responsibility, but he had the licence for it.  I can also report that bait tastes really good at about midnight, as does tea from a thermos flask, when you’re tired and hungry.  Even if you haven’t done any real work.  At about 6am, shift was over and we went back home whereupon I immediately retired to bed.  Today’s Health and Safety may cringe, but this small, seemingly insignificant episode could put me down some day as one of the last people left living to do a shift in a County Durham coalmine.  For yes, there are now none left.  When I did geography at junior school, I remember one of the books said that in 1971, the year of my birth, there were over 300 in County Durham alone.  There are now precisely 0.  Anyone who thinks that is a good thing did not witness the economic and social destruction suffered by the region of my birth in the 80s, 90s and 00s.  Including my own family.  Such a person probably also has an abundant overconfidence in the power-generating capacity of windmills to power their Tesla, iphone or remote data storage to hold their photos and posts on Instagram and Facebook.

My dad had many great and some sad stories about the coal mines, but I know that he loved those times.  If you’ve ever watched Auf Wiedersehen Pet, you get some idea of the camaraderie that develops for men working in a tougher environment and this environment could definitely be tough – as an apprentice, he once saw his friend fall onto a live power line, leaving a widow behind.  Another committed suicide using the explosives my Dad had set up for use at the coal face that day.  He had another skill – the ability to say exactly where a coal seam is and what they were all called and even in the darkest final days that skill remained constant.   When they began building the new cardboard box houses in Consett, he approached one of the builders to ask how they could build on top of such-and-such seam – the reply was something like “Oh, we’re pumping in thousands of tons of concrete to shore it up”.  You would not want to own one of those houses.

Now, only glimpses remain of that past.  I love seeing it when I go back.  Of the former pits he worked at – Medomsley and Elm Park are just fields, with no clue as to their former life.  Not sure about The Derwent.  The Eden colliery, where my granddad also worked still has a huge pithead existing, but you’ve got to wonder for how much longer that’ll remain.  I can actually remember his last ever visit there, just after it fully closed.  I went up with him in the Cortina for some reason to collect something.  At Sacriston, some of the buildings remain, now used as workshops by small businesses.

Sacriston interestingly, wasn’t even on the original 1984 pit closure list that caused the strike, but a year of neglect gave the perfect excuse to justify more closures than originally announced.  The miners, led by the awful Scargill in the style of a first world war general, sending men to their deaths while he sat 10 miles behind the front line, sipping claret, walked straight into a massive trap that destroyed families, communities and helped me again learn that no-one is truly your friend once the lure of personal reward rears it’s head.  Those same miners who would’ve thrown a brick through the window of anyone desperate, who had no choice but to return to work, and called him and his family a scab – these were the first ones biting off the hand of the Thatcherite government that offered generous redundancy packages to them to quietly just go away one year later.  Sacriston was actually making a profit prior to the strike too, it was said, but the zealous over-ordering of new materials including a £50,000 winding gear helped the accounts show the loss that would justify the closure.  So my Dad says and as he worked with engineering and electricals, I believe him.

He had some interesting stories that deserve a footnote in the bumper book of government waste, if there is one.  At one pit, all of the miners lamps and materials were just chucked down the shaft and covered over.  Oh to mine that someday!  His garage even now is a temple to high quality tools that he salvaged over the years from the scrapheap.  None of us dares to look too deeply in there yet, but suffice to say, if you need something like a particular spanner, there is probably at least 3 or 4 of what you need in there.  All of it with an unknown British industrial history, just like my hammers.