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Monday, 27 June 2016

Financial disaster predicted?



Talking down the economy is the new ‘Remain’ game.  Not very patriotic of them, perhaps...

Yes, the banks and the financial wheeler and dealers are juggling other peoples’ money, as they do, and doubtless making lots of money as they do that, but let’s get some perspective. 

Rates through the floor? Really? 

The pound taking a pounding... (Couldn't resist that one, sorry) Really?

On June 8, I withdrew 250 euros from my UK bank and it cost me £212.72

On June 27, some days after the dreaded Brexit (which is apparently aligned with the devil), I withdrew 250 euros from my UK bank and it cost me £208.48.

That’s a reduction of £4.24 – as a result of the financial collapse we’re hearing about?

I don’t think so.  The rate fluctuates all the time. Some you lose, some you win, depending on the position of Mars, the Moon and Venus, no doubt.

I agree, these are small sums and when shifting large volumes of money, the difference can be huge. But that's always been the case. A changed decimal point can make a big difference with big sums of money. If you're moving that amount of money, then maybe you can afford the difference.  For the normal real people, the difference isn't apocalyptic, as we've been hearing. Yes, it would be great if the difference was the other way - as it has been in months gone by - but it will get better. If...

Start talking up the economy and get real.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Not BREXIT but BREIN

Perhaps the EU Commissioners could learn a little from this message from Ximo Puig, the President of the Valencian Community in Spain:

Europe cannot be understood without the United Kingdom. The Europe which the world admires, is that which has been the hotbed of the brightest ideas of human thought for centuries. The Europe of Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Stuart Mill, Jane Austen, Dickens, John Lennon, Keynes.

The Europe of parliamentary democracy and freedom. The Europe which displaces the boundaries of art and knowledge, radiating creativity to the rest of the world. It is the Europe of peace after the war. From that peace has evolved the material that allows the real progress of peoples. In short, Europe has largely learned to be what it is, thanks to the UK.


In Valencia we understand this. More than 82,000 British citizens live with us. 89% of these in the province of Alicante. In 2015 more than 2 million Britons visited us. And their preferred destination was Alicante, especially Benidorm.


We export in value almost 3,000 million euros, and the UK is one of the main investors in Valencia Province. To all those, who live among us and to our visitors, the investors, the Generalitat Valenciana wants to send a message of calm and reiterate our affection and gratitude.


This message of tranquillity extends to our businesses, and to the thousands of people from Valencia who for work or for study reasons are in the UK.


The Valencian Community has been, is, and will be a welcoming land, a land that wants to do business for the benefit of all. Whatever the next chapter in Europe will be, we want it to be written with friendship and cooperation with the United Kingdom.


No political project is without its risks and challenges. Europe has to change, adapt and combine all identities and sensibilities. All forms of feeling European. Europe needs to regain its sense of being.
We have to once again make a reality of the quote of Jean Monnet. "We are not bringing together states, we are uniting people." We need to regain our passion for Europe. 




XIMO PUIG.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

'A necessity for any writer...'


An unexpected 5-star review popped up on Amazon COM today for my book Write a Western in 30 Days. It’s from an established author, George Snyder, who’s an award-winning writer of crime novels. He lives in California. Here’s his endorsement:

“As a writer about to move into the western genre, I found Nik Morton's book filled with valuable information. Easy to read and loaded with tips, including landscape description, weapons of the era, and types of horses. The book is a necessity for any writer thinking to turn out western stories, in 30 days or longer.”

Thank you, George Snyder! 

[A good number of reviewers have stated the book's useful to writers of any genre, not only westerns.]

I can recommend George Snyder's book Baja Bullets


A thriller in the first person, where the voice is authentic. Baylor Rumble is quite a character, tough, 47, accomplished seaman and fighter and can easily sustain a series.

It starts out with him taking two girls on a treasure hunt but turns sour when drugs are involved. There’s murder, castaway at sea for weeks, and revenge… Bay suffers at the hands of bad guys but always gets up for more – well, he would, wouldn’t he, since he’s narrating?  I found it reminiscent of the Travis McGee books by the late great John D MacDonald.

After the spilling of more blood, it ends, as promised, with Bay’s life changed forever. But with the promise of more adventures to come.

Snyder is another good writer, who knows his characters and has a good sense of pace and place and can visualize well for the reader.

You can find his books here:

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Writing - history doesn't stand still

One of my unpublished manuscripts (98,000 words) is a dark sci-fi novel set in the near future, Time With A Gift of Tears.



It's 2033 AD. Tim Farman (aged 39), a successful historical novelist, uses a secret time-traveling laptop (TTM -- Type Temporal Machine) to transport him to past ages for research purposes. At the opening of the book, he’s visiting Roman Vindolanda (360AD) to discover psychological warfare training, and then goes on to King Arthur's Dark Ages Cadbury (519AD) where he saves Guinevere's life. During these time-excursions, he barely escapes with his life, so he decides on one more time, the near past, to Britain in 2020, at the outbreak of the Race Revolt...

As can be guessed, when this was first written, 2020 was a lot further in the future than it is now! 

The danger of writing near-future sci-fi is that time will catch up. Here, for amusement, is the timeline, showing the novels that Tim has written, plus other events:
TIMELINE
BC
20,005             Day of the Mammoth Time-jump
2053                            Gilgamesh of Uruk’s Amulet Time-jump
510                               Night of the Druids Time-jump
327                  Murderous Macedonian Time-jump
AD
33                                  Golgotha Witness Time-jump
360                               Vindolanda – The Border Spy Time-jump
519                  Cadbury  A Geordie in Guinevere’s Bed Time-jump
1495                Vengeance from Vilcabamba Time-jump
1561                            Elizabethan Charade Time-jump – first ‘horse riding’
1752                The Lost Eleven Days Time-jump
1888                            The Victorian Cad Time-jump
1994                            Timothy Farman born
2000                Tim’s first test Time-jump – no book resulted
2009                12th Terror Scare;
2011                UK nationwide riots
2014                Northwest Explosion (Sellafield terrorist attack)
2014                           African exodus; Iraqi exodus; racial uprisings in UK; all British police armed
2015                          Solent Islamic Fundamentalist nuclear blast; legalising heroin; Lawless August; Zimbabwe escapees
2016               Limited War; Britain expelled from Commonwealth
2017               Politically Correct Legislation; Typhoid epidemic; 13th Terror Scare; 
PC Legislation revoked; Zimbabwe settlement
2018                Sellafield Accident
2019                           Puritan ethics sweep through UK; Asian Flu computer virus; Sexual Rebound to Puritan ethics
2020                           Race Revolt
Diary of a Time-traveller in the Race Revolt Time-jump
2023                Common Sense return to norm after Sexual Rebound
2025                Compromise Peace; Race Revolt ended
2030                First test Time-jump to 2000
2033                           Time-jump to 2020 (Age 39).
 

I'd been planning to rewrite the book anyway, but I suspect now I may need to take account of the two referendum campaigns that have riven the British Isles recently!  Proof, if it were needed, that history doesn't stand still!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Leave the Remains



Sounds like the title of a murder mystery, perhaps… 

As the EU Referendum approaches the closing stages (at long last!) and the hyperbole, scaremongering, idiocy, outright lies, dodgy statistics, self-serving expert advice and all the rest is put away (hopefully never to see the light of day again), what’s it all about, Alfie?

What, indeed. What seems to have been lost in the argument is that the once-named Common Market has grown and grown into the European Union, a dictatorial behemoth administered by unelected individuals paid for by the taxes from the member states’ workforce. They’re profligate with the money, unaccountable, and blatantly arrogant about any edict they wish to foist onto the collective membership (the people who pay their high salaries).

What’s it all about, Alfie?

The EU isn’t a democracy, it’s a bureaucracy, wasting tax-payers’ money on vanity projects to justify their well-paid existence.

What's it all about?

The vote isn't about 'leaving Europe' - it's about leaving the European Union. We're part of the European continent and always will be, communing, sharing, trading; we're also part of the wider world, too.

What do the UK papers say?

Leave                                       Remain
The Sun                                   The Guardian
The Daily Telegraph                The Observer
The Sunday Telegraph            The Independent
The Sunday Times                  The Mail on Sunday
The Daily Express                   The Times
                                                The Daily Mirror
                                                The Financial Times

Undeclared, last time I checked:
The Daily Mail
The Daily Star
The Morning Star  

There are powerful, well-considered arguments to be read, indeed, for both sides.

One argument goes that if the UK stays in, we can effect change.

That doesn’t seem to work. Reports suggest that of the seventy (!) changes the UK has voted for, the EU voted against. The arrogant bureaucrats don’t or won’t listen; they know best. If they had listened, if they had really wanted the UK to ‘remain’, maybe they should have tried harder when Mr Cameron went round with his begging bowl.

If the UK remains, expect to be sent to the ‘naughty step’. 

And that old-fashioned title, ‘Great Britain’ will be removed, since the coinage is tarnished. And it will be self-inflicted – much as it was shamefully removed from British Telecom and British Petroleum and British Home Stores (oh, certain rich individuals took more than ‘British’ from BHS, didn’t they? Their workers’ pensions!) Sorry, got sidetracked there...

One thing we can be sure of: exciting times lie ahead, whether we want the ‘excitement’ or not.

'If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.' 
- Winston Churchill.

Well, the Common Market seemed like a good idea at the time...