Why is everyone so excited about Star Wars?

What is it about Star Wars that has everyone so excited?

It is said that you either love or hate Marmite. Possibly because of the salty, tangy, yeasty taste. Or so the PR would have us believe. Is this also now true with Star Wars, the massive global franchise? I’ve heard many views among aquaintances and while most people like Star Wars, whisper it softly, some do not like it or don’t get it.

With the fever building over the forthcoming Episode VII here is a my personal selection of highs and lows across the saga.

The high points:

Film Episodes IV and V

In my view the original films are the best hands down. The Empire Strikes Back is my personal favourite because it shows the strength of The Empire and some genuine struggle against the mighty enemy. I like the plots, the acting and the humour. It’s interesting that all the main characters are introduced in the first episode, no matter how many re-imaginings have followed. The production team sure knew what they were doing, though I doubt anyone realised how enormous Star Wars would become.

Star Wars Encyclopedias & Cross Section Books

There are some really good Star Wars books out there with photographs of props and cut-away artwork of all kinds of craft. These are great for catching up on the finer details of factions as they flash (or crawl) by. And let’s face it there are some amazing designs in the mix. Naboo Starfighters are one of my personal favourites. Sleek and original, if a little Dan Dare, though not the only design to borrow from Dan Dare.

Star Wars Lego

What a brilliant partnership! A stroke of genius for both Lego and Star Wars. Children are able to make their own craft and scenes. And to act out their own adventures. It’s frustrating that you can not buy the main figures separately to the kits. While many sets are incredible, it would take glue or storage in a case to keep them intact when children are playing. A curious irony given the expense.

Star Wars Lego computer games

Building on the success of the real world toys, another inspired idea. I was genuinely surprised by the ingenuity of the Star Wars platform games. It’s the humour, puzzles and wit. The fun is in the playing and discovering unexpected twists among the film plots. So far we’ve seen head banging guitar axe guards in one scene and bathing Stormtroopers in another.

What I laugh about in Star Wars:

Episodes I to III

Sorry to say I found the plots soft and the films over produced and under acted. The pace is unbalanced with far too much happening on screen in some scenes and far too little in others. Politics and duplicity don’t really work in an action genre, especially when the twists are telegraphed so clearly. The true lowlights are surely the wretched romance sequences with Anakin Skywalker and Padme.

Jar Jar Binks & The Ewoks

Was Jar Jar Binks intended to be a joke character and an insult to a whole swathe of patois speakers? Perhaps not, but to me Jar Jar is a horrible construction of part Bugs Bunny, part Flipper and part gazelle. Perhaps Jar Jar is intended as a joke, a slapstick funny guy? Either way Jar Jar is seriously uncool and nothing like the leader of the Gungans. As for the Ewoks, where do we begin?  Could giant Teddy Bears defeat (supposedly) elite Stormtroopers? What can Ewoks do, cuddle them to death?  It’s all very silly.

Instant alien to alien translation

How come the walking carpet (Chewbacca) says much the same thing all the time and is always understood? Han Solo must be the best linguist ever and he never utters a world of alien speak. Jabba the Slug too utters alien gibberish back and forth with the American space smuggler. There’s some strange logic going on there.

What about science common sense?

Somehow we allow ourselves to suspend disbelief for blockbuster productions on the big or small screen. But there is no getting away from it, Star Wars has little science common sense.

  • Noise in space – it’s a vacuum, sound effects are not going to happen. Sure it would make for some quiet scenes in the movies.
  • Time travel – hyper drive and no time lags (not even jet lag). That’s relativity gone out to lunch right there. Flying into meteror showers and planets is probably best avoided….
  • Metachlorians (or should that be mitochondrions?) – how are bacteria going to exert forces that move objects? Hilarious.
  • Never ending fuel – where does it all come from? Giant star ships move in all directions at massive speeds, across vast galaxies with no fuel propulsion and no refuellers anywhere.
  • Brakes – how do all these craft travel at vast speeds and suddenly come to a halt? In a vacuum that’s going to take a lot of energy and time.
  • Food and toilets – how do they keep all these armies of clone / stormtroopers fed and well? There are millions of them, not just a few troopers.
  • Millenium Falcon gravity. The ship twists and turns without a gravity boot or seat belt in sight. In the galaxy far, far away no one floats in space. And no one bangs their head on the ceiling either. Don’t try this one at home.

Stormtrooper effectiveness

Why couldn’t they hit a barn door in Episode IV, when the same cloned troopers defeated the droid army in the earlier (yet later) episodes? And then they get a makeover and become the super powerful First Order. All this from the same never-ending clone / training camps drawing on Jango Fett. Perhaps they would shoot straight if they could see where they were aiming through all that (useless) armour. One hit and they die. Hardly worth wearing it then is it?

Well that’s all for now. Hope you enjoy the many Star Wars movies and spin-offs. They are sure to be a big hit for many years to come. In case you’re wondering, I am a long-standing fan of the original Star Wars worts and all. Later in life I created Sean Yeager Adventures, with original ideas and inspiration from many sources. In Sean Yeager stories, things break and run out of fuel. Characters are heroes and fallible, often in the same scene. A bit like life really.

Happy reading and watching.


D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:www.seanyeager.com

Fast-moving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride



Son inspires Father to write children’s book series

It all began on a foggy Saturday morning one autumn. I was driving my son to a football match along a winding country road. The fog was so thick we could hardly see the next bend, let alone the trees standing silently on either verge. Fortunately, the traffic was light and there were no wild deer wandering around. It seemed so surreal and closed-in that it made me feel like we were completely alone in the world. Two explorers on an empty trail.

‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we were kidnapped by aliens?’ I joked.

My son laughed and asked me what kind of spaceship they had. I invented a story as we drove along. It was a bit corny and very Close Encounters, but my son loved it. A huge ship with bright lights levitated our whole car into the sky, swallowed us whole and sped away into space.

‘And then what happened?’ asked my son.

We arrived a little late for the football match and I think the result was a hard-fought draw. On the way home my son again asked about the aliens. Over the next few days he asked for more  details, which I dutifully made up on the spot. And he drew pictures of the aliens, their home world and their ship. The mushroom headed aliens from the orange planet had been discovered!  As a surprise, I wrote a short story about an elaborated version of the adventure and printed it out, My son was only 5 years old and it seemed like a great way to encourage his reading. Sure enough, he read the twenty page story several times over and asked for more. He continued to request more information about the aliens and wandered around the living home inventing elaborate details. He invented their home world, their food, how they communicated and where they lived. A creative professor was appointed.

We still talk about that first story to this day. I have the printout tucked away in a folder somewhere. Over the following months I wrote several other short stories. A fairytale, a mystery and a spy story. Each was studied and my son acted as editor and critic. He was honest and articulate. We also shared the stories with one of his closest friends. Two of the stories stood out for them. The aliens and spies. They enthused about them and developed intricate details of the gear they used and how they outdid their enemies. It dawned on me that these two boys enjoyed nothing better than reading about gizmos, gear, ships and of course adventures.

Fast forwards several years, I am in the process of plotting Sean Yeager books 3, 4 and 5. My son, now 10, introduces inspired ideas. Sometimes accidentally, often with great precision and deep thought. He is the self-appointed ‘chief designer’. If a craft or building is referred to in a scene he designs it. Factions, tactics and missions are declared regularly with requests to talk about the ‘Golden Era’ or the ‘Foundation Commandos’. A timeline was invented pitching the  first two books firmly in the middle of an epic saga. So far so Star Wars and yet not at all.

We are both fans of James Bond, Star Wars and numerous films and characters. Monty Python and Johnny English for example. With a twist. Many are the times we debate where all the Stormtroopers have suddenly arrived from and why they can’t hit a barn door at five paces? Austin Powers is another favourite for making fun of the baddies and their huge private armies. We are convinced that every base must be wired with self destruct devices from day one.

Without giving away plot spoilers, it is true to say that my son has now inspired at least three major plot points in book 3 and most of the outline plot for book 4. Book 1 was drawn in part from two early short stories, while book 2 was I have to say mostly my own creation to surprise and stretch the genre. I have long since decided to stretch the SY world as far and deep as I can. With some humour and plot twists thrown in for good measure. The back story is about spies and two factions attempting to defeat each other and leave Earth. Hence the tagline James Bond meets Star Wars. Of course Sean Yeager Adventures are also original with a flavour of their own.

In the Sean Yeager world nothing is what it seems. For a start it is superficially just like the town you live in. Things break and go wrong. There are no massive armies or heroes who survive certain death for implausible reasons. You see, none of these plot angles would survive my number one muse and critic. And I find that the confines of constraint are far richer veins to explore than heroes and enemies with infinite resources. Perhaps those are variations on the ‘unstoppable force and immovable object paradox’? Or the similar ‘slap shot syndrome’.

Looking ahead, I am pleased to have entertained my son and his friends. Long may it continue. They have pretty much demanded book 3 with helpful hints such as: ‘more gear and vehicles please’.  They have role played the heroes and villains and taken them far further than the existing plot lines. Lego ships and paper drawings abound. We once made Kimbleton Hall in plan view out of basic Lego bricks. It was great fun. Book 3 is overdue and the plot is already well-defined. All that remains is the many hours of writing, refining and editing. LOL.

It seems that inspiration is circular, from author to readers and around again. From father to son and now son to father. One day who knows we may be watching a Sean Yeager film together and debating the finer points scene by scene. Now that would be fun.

D. M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:www.seanyeager.com

Fast-moving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride


Do children learn better with less screen time?

Do you remember a time before PC’s, laptops, tablets and computer games? When making a phone call meant using a fixed line device that could only ring and click? Times move on, progress we are told is a good thing. But wait, did anyone ask whether all this technology is helping our children’s learning in their early years?

I have long been concerned about the length of time young eyes and postures spend hunched over controllers, tablets and computers. It seems to me that learning how to write with a pen, draw with a pencil, paint, sculpt, take things apart, make models and, fix bicycles are equally valid skills to learn and develop. To which we can easily add: play sports, read books, swim, run, learn musical instruments, sing, act, imagine, converse, play, explore and so on.

Do we want all our children to end up in offices staring at screens all day every day? Is that a good set of disciplines to be training children as young as 7? I think not. I believe that children can easily learn these skills in a few hours a week when they are ready. Let’s face it they are likely to use many devices at home anyway. And they have a knack of running rings around their parents when they do.

An OECD report published recently ( BBC link ) makes for interesting reading. It suggests that technology is not the panacea to learning that we have often been led to believe. It states that screen time does not help reading skills either. Surely some mistake? Isn’t the internet the ultimate answer to all our questions? Yes. And is it also the ultimate distraction? Smart phones are incredible, but do they encourage better grammar or conversation? Hmm, that’s worth thinking about isn’t it? Are we encouraging short attention spans and instant gratification instead of true childhood development?

My theory is this. Let’s develop our young children’s minds, their physical skills, their social skills and their spirits first and foremost. Let’s keep the tools in their place. As tools, not as primary skills. Technology is a helper it is not the font of imagination, solving the world’s problems or nurturing new talent. It has a place and can help sure, but it does not make the person.

The alternative is that we risk creating a generation of one-dimensional people if we limit their development to how to swipe a screen, search the internet and touch type. What about the myriad other skills and abilities the world needs every minute of every day? Isn’t it more sensible to balance children’s learning and maintain a mixture of practical, theoretical, vocational, factual and technological skills? Of course some children will become gifted programmers and in time many will use computers as tools to support their trades. But which comes first? The human being with the drive and ability to achieve great things or the blinking screen demanding attention every second of every day?

Roald  Dahl expressed a similar thought eloquently in his poem  Mike Teavee : ‘(TV) rots the sense in the head, it kills imagination dead’. And computers are in my experience every bit as limiting. They are great for the execution of tasks and ideas, but I find they stop creative thought dead in its tracks. Give me a pencil and piece of paper every time. It is the process of writing, reviewing, adjusting and repeating that helps me. Talking things through with another person is better still.  I’m sure it uses more neurones and connections. I’m convinced that more lateral thoughts result from conversation and sharing ideas socially.

Seriously though, there has to be a balance don’t you agree?  Moderation in all things. Too much screen time really could make Jack and Jill dull boys and girls. And that would be two genuinely missed opportunities.

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:

Fast-moHunters Hunted Text 2lving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride


Five great tips for encouraging boys’ reading

Five great book reading tips for boys.

Boys can sometimes be reluctant to read books and let’s face it they often have plenty of other distractions. Recent research has shown that regular book reading and progress with reading development are key indicators of success at school. So how can carers and parents encourage boys to read more often and more widely?

Here are some tips to help the boys in your life read more I hope they help.

1. Involve boys in buying (or borrowing) their books

In this way they will feel empowered and given the choice of what they would like to read. Be careful though not to limit their choice too much. Most people like to feel they have a say in their life choices and boys are no different when it comes to books. And by the way, physical books are far more attractive than e-books or worse a computer file (where they can easily pretend to be reading).

2. Indulge their interests (within reason)

If your boy likes reference books about sports cars, go with the flow. It’s worth bearing in mind that any reading can be good reading. Of course there will be some exceptions, but if they love Mutant Alien Zombie Slimebugs from Lincolnshire and the book is a harmless read, where’s the harm? You can always insert a few more traditional choices alongside their apparent favourites.

3. Set regular reading times

A regular time before sleep or early in the morning can work really well. As can ‘dead time’ in a car or while waiting for an out of school class. As a parent I have found that regular slots work best and when my son has a book he really enjoys it is so easy, he simply wants to find out what happens next.

4. Acquire some ‘cool’ books

Peer pressure is a huge factor as your child reader grows up. If their whole school is interested in Harry Potter or a similar high profile title seize the opportunity. They may not like each book just because their friends and rivals do, however it’s another string to your bow in convincing them to read in a soft way. Their motivation being the key point here.

5. Reward regular reading with treats

If all else fails, reward reading minutes with another currency. It may not be money, it could be time spent doing something else they enjoy. To succeed though they must always earn their reward before being allowed to indulge in their laptop, computer games or football (for example). Bribery may not be ideal, but it can work if used sparingly and provided promises are kept on both sides.

Best of luck

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:www.seanyeager.com

Fast-moving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride

Cats without hats and other characters…

One of the most popular characters in Sean Yeager book 2, ‘Hunters Hunted’, is ‘the cat’. Here’s a little insight into how I came up with the character. A sardonic robo-cat who saves the day with ruthless efficiency, complete with deadpan one liners and no prisoners taken. Truly a Clint Eastwood among cats.

Years ago I was given a pet. Or rather my parents came home in the early hours from a party one Sunday morning with a tiny kitten and I was instructed to look after it. It was a tiny ball of black fur with bright blue eyes and liked to suckle my jumper. Being young, I thought it was cute and cuddly. I guess it was. Little did I realise.

Over the months and years ‘Bozo’ grew up to become a green-eyed cat with predominantly black fur flecked with brown. He still liked to cuddle up to some body warmth and developed a mean streak a mile wide. If you moved Bozo when he was comfortable he would dig in his claws. All of them. He would still seek out a warm lap though. My best friend was terrified of our cat. I was secretly proud. Especially when Bozo climbed up onto my friend’s lap one day… He screamed like a girl and begged to be ‘saved’.

Famous incidents included the time Bozo climbed onto our bungalow roof via a garage and a leap between two buildings. He had figured out that birds liked to nest near the guttering. I noticed this when he leaped fully into the air to try to catch one. A blue tit I think it was. Like a cartoon Bozo soon realised he could not actually fly and landed heavily on his padded feet. Fortunately, the birds escaped unscathed, but not for long.

Bozo kindly gifted us a number of animals during that time. Usually on the back door mat.  A mouse who had mislaid its head. An adult pigeon which promptly tried to escape from the dining room and nearly made it. Feathers flew everywhere and there was a lot of screaming. And bizarrely a full-sized rabbit. We never did figure out how Bozo managed to catch and drag the rabbit home.

One day, a dog came to visit our house, a little yappie thing with a friendly disposition. It was all sniffs and licks and wagging tail. Pleasant enough. Probably a small spaniel or similar. It trotted around confidently and checked out the house. In the living room, it came across Bozo perched on a settee. Bozo sat there nonchalantly with barely a flicker of recognition. I think the dog was just being inquisitive. It sniffed around the room and trotted over to see if Bozo would play. There was hardly a sound from either animal. The dog seemed harmless enough and Bozo just sat there barely twitching his nose. The dog approached and sniffed right under Bozo’s chin which I thought was brave. In a split second, Bozo raised both paws, extended his claws and dug them into the dog’s skull just above its eyes. The dog howled and howled, while Bozo remained static with a demonic look in his eyes. We had to prise them apart.

Bozo’s finest hour was undoubtedly when he decided to perch on a warm car. Not the bonnet (or hood) you understand. He sat up in the wheel arch near the engine mount out of sight. He remained that way for possibly half an hour. Until, mother dear started the engine and drove away. I have never seen an injured cat move so fast. He sprinted down the garden path at pace with an obvious limp. When we eventually caught up and ferried him to the vet, the news was surprising. He only had a stress fracture to one bone near his left hip. We were told to keep him house-bound and well fed. Bozo tried his very best to escape at every opportunity and made a complete recovery.

So there you have it, a little insight into an unusual animal and the inspiration for one of Sean Yeager Adventures’ most popular characters. I have had requests to continue his involvement in the series. For book 3 I have a cunning plan or two lined up and a couple of surprises.

We came to believe (rightly or wrongly) that Bozo was half a domesticated cat and half a feral or wild cat. Whatever the truth, he was a brave and adventurous animal. I would say pet, but I rather think we were Bozo’s pets at his command. By comparison, other families’ animals were bland. There’s no question and no doubt, Bozo was the toughest cat on the block!

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:www.seanyeager.com

Fast-moving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride

When UK democracy fails and ten steps to improve it

It can not have escaped anyone’s notice that the UK recently held an election. Or did they?

Yes the process was run and votes were cast. Votes were counted and MPs duly took their places in Parliament. So superficially ‘democracy’ was seen to be done. And yet I disagree. Call me nuts if you like, but save that for the end of this article if you would be so kind.

1. First past the post is not democracy.

I voted and my vote counted for nothing. Why? Because I live in a place with a historic majority of Conservative voters. Without fail a Torrie wins. I therefore face a choice, join them or waste my vote. I chose to vote and effectively wasted my time. I voted for policies I believe were better than others presented. I would prefer to vote on issues not for a person.

The solution is clearly and obviously proportional representation and direct elector votes on key issues

2. Representational democracy is not democracy

No matter who I vote for I am in fact voting for a party. The party runs a whip system and the whip ensures that in the majority of cases MPs vote with their party. Unless you are a party activist are they voting for your interests?  Doubtful, highly doubtful.

The solution is mandatory free votes on major issues and direct voting by the people on major decisions of national importance (defined by a democratic constitution).

3. Who voted in the Prime Minister?

It’s a trick question. Everyone and in effect only one constituency. The place where the elected Prime Minister is elected (Witney). Why is this? Can we not separate out who we believe is the best statesman from what we believe is the better choice of party? Apparently not. The two are glued together.

The solution is two votes. One for your choice of party and one for your choice of Prime Minister.

4. Constitutional Monarchy is not Democracy

How many rights does a citizen of the UK have? Do they have the right to protect their own home for example? To not be locked up by the State?  You may believe that UK citizens have intrinsic rights. They do not.

There are many ways the State and agencies of the State can intervene in citizen’s lives. They can bug you, break into your home, arrest you, send you to jail, hold you in a cell, confiscate your property and so on.

One simple test. Try refusing to pay your Council Tax or Poll Tax as it is known. The courts will send bailiffs, you will be charged, you will be found guilty and most likely you will end up in jail or with a suspended sentence. In other words you do not have the right to refuse to pay, no matter what your case. There are very few mitigating circumstances.

Solution – a proper Constitution and Bill of Rights for all UK citizens

5. Europe is not a democracy

Clearly the European Union is a large organisation. It has elections, it has laws galore, it takes and spends vast amounts of money. However consider this: does a citizen of the UK have a vote in the EU? They do not. They can only vote for a representative to attend the EU and ‘represent their views’. Worse UK citizens have never had the right to ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ of the EU. For reasons best explained by the UK’s past leaders (i.e. paper thin reasons) the UK has yet to have any form of democratic vote given to its citizens which says definitively ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ .  And yet the influences of Europe are seen daily and are unavoidable. Some good and some bad.

Solution – a mandatory EU ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ referendum each Parliament for UK citizens

6. Parliament is not democratic

They say they are. Politicians will point at all kinds of historic votes and decisions to prove their point. The problem is that politicians are trained to misdirect and essentially achieve their own ends. Often for their own career aims, sometimes lining their own pockets either in service as MPs or soon after leaving Parliament and joining companies who patronise the parties. It really is that opaque.

Parliament is a an extension of the party system. It is a club. They dine together. Many of its members went to school together. They play out debates, but mostly they do deals. Deals that have nothing to do with the ‘will of the people’. The people in reality are the last consideration of MPs.

Consider this. When were ‘the people’ ever consulted about whether the UK should send its people to war? And when did one of the two major parties ever refuse to vote for joining a war?

And yet history shows quite clearly that the case for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was at best debatable. At worst illegal and irrelevant to the interests of the UK’s citizens. Yet Parliament agreed all on their own to fight both and send military personnel to serve (bravely) and inevitably many lost their lives. Is that a democracy in action? I say without a public vote it is not.

Add to this example – the budgets, EU, National Health service decisions, education system changes, charges for University fees, housing plans, HS2, immigration, deficit reduction, major law changes, military cuts etc. Not one of these major issues has been offered to the people for a direct vote or a binding consultation.

Solution – all major decisions to be subject to binding and direct votes by registered voters. Parliament to be a debating and administration service based on that mandate, not on it’s own mandate.

7. One vote every five years is not democracy

Sure there is a tradition and there are reasons why Parliaments stand for a given term. Currently this is a fixed five-year term. Fixed by law. Why is this fixed by law? Because it suits the party who won last time. Were the people consulted and asked how much democracy they would like? I think you can probably guess.

What is more concerning is the illusion that one vote every five years is anything like a democracy. Who says it is?  Yes the politicians do, because they have a guaranteed job for five years (pretty much). Is this a good thing for the voting population? I say it is highly doubtful, because a lot can happen in five years. A lot of manifesto pledges can be broken or forgotten and the world can change substantially.

Solution – a mandatory election for Parliament every three years or when a government can not withstand a vote of no confidence in Parliament if this is sooner.

8. The role of monarch is not democratic

The monarch still holds substantial powers in the UK. In theory they could refuse a whole list of Parliament’s policies or refuse to support a government. That they choose not to do so is more a historic detail than a legal requirement. In effect, our Head of State is still the Queen. In fact the military and police serve the Queen. The Prime Minister runs the country with the Queen’s consent.

Now I have no issue with the current Queen or the line of succession. My point is simply this – it is not a genuine democratic system to have a Head of State who is born to that right and can (in theory and in law) hold sway over the whole country.

Solution – a clear democratic constitution that stipulates the Head of State as being elected directly by the people. A custodian role for the Royal Family as guardians of that same constitution for and on behalf of the people.

9. The party system is not democratic

In the UK we have two electable parties who can realistically form a government. Labour and the Conservatives. For many reasons the Liberal Democrats and various other parties are neither supported strongly enough nor well enough funded.

Funding being the key term. Money talks and voters vote for fear or greed in the main. Money is needed to fund the parties. Donations are the backbone of the party system (as in other countries). The issue this causes is that those providing the funding expect to be well treated as a result.

The most obvious example is the honours list which sees rich business people awarded medals and titles for being successful. Why is this? Have they served the country so well that they deserve these honours. They may have failed or sacked thousands of people. They may (as in Bankers) have presided over abject failure and systemic abuse of laws and systems. Yet year in year out they are rewarded for service. How convenient.

Another example is taxation and grants. Why is it that successive UK governments have been so weak on changing and simplifying corporate tax laws to benefit the state? Does this have anything to do with the funding those parties gain by relaxing taxation?  You decide. I’m pretty clear in my mind that it is an indirect form of corruption on a huge scale.

It is no small thing to overlook what is good for the country in preference for what is good for a political party. It leads to short-term thinking. It leads to not resolving the major issues (national debt anyone? It’s not a vote winner, put a PR lid on it) It leads to campaigning as a marketing activity only carried out in marginal seats. It can lead to massive cover ups. (child abusers, expense abusers, MPs taking cash for advice / questions / votes).

Solution – proportional representation and direct elector votes so that the people can vote for who and what they believe in, instead of essentially for one of two parties and their party interests (and ideologies).

10. The UK is not democratic

Scotland held a referendum. They said ‘no’ to independence from the UK. A curious thing given that they then voted for the Scottish National Party in virtually all seats in Scotland at the following election.

Wales has a National Assembly and no doubt they too will ask for a referendum in due course.

If you live in England, tough luck. You have no referendums of any kind, not even whispered about. You are essentially at the mercy of the Scots (and possibly the Welsh and Northern Irish)

Why? Because there are far too many Scottish MPs in the UK Parliament. Why do they have so many votes when the English population dwarfs that of Scotland? Another historic legacy which has yet to be addressed in a sensible manner.

Given that your elected representative almost certainly will (at best) represent a fraction of your views in Parliament, they will also be voting in line with Party policy and voting tactically to ensure that the Scots do not sway a decision.

There is also the argument that fear of a Labour and Scottish alliance led to the Conservatives winning the last election. While probably too simplistic, it will not have helped Labour’s cause. It also decimated the Liberal Democrats in all probability (not they did not deserve a humbling for lying about tuition fees).

Solution – the Act of Union to be updated such that the Head of State does indeed govern the whole of the UK without any ambiguity. And if Scotland or Wales are offered a future referendum a constitutional right in law for England to vote on its future as well. (England might wish to divorce itself from both Wales and Scotland for example).

So in summary. Yes the UK prides itself on being a democracy. I say at best it is a partial and flawed representational democracy. There are ample ways in which improvements can and arguably should be made. Do I think this will happen in my lifetime?  Frankly no. Because the other home truth is that the rich and powerful will never let these reforms happen. They are very happy with their own station and frankly do not care about reform one jot. On the other hand I firmly believe it is the right of every law-abiding UK citizen to expect better democracy. I also believe that allowing the rich to become exponentially richer is unethical, corrupt and ultimately destructive for any society.

If the 1% influence (or buy) changes that favour only themselves, then surely the 99% have the right to secure their own interests too? I say that the 1% are given the privilege of protection and civil obedience by the 99% and therefore the 1% owe society a huge debt for that security. If they do not voluntarily wake up and smell the coffee of their own responsibilities, one day they may not wake up at all.

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover

Liverpool in the mire

First they lose one of the best strikers in the world. A bit crazy and most certainly unstoppable as Suarez is showing at Barcelona.There he won a Champions League winner’s medal so who can blame him for leaving?

Next they lose their long serving captain, who needed to retire and possibly needed to do so a season ago. A great servant and in his prime a great player. Also a hindrance when his pace and temper control faded. Now Liverpool face a mire.

Losing their last two matches of the season in the manner they did shows that Liverpool need a new manager. Clearly the dressing room is not with Brendan Rodgers. If it was there is no way they would have performed so badly. How can they have played like school boys when supposedly trying to give Stevie G a send off?  Unreal.

Want away Sterling has shown himself at best to be naive. At worst to be a prima donna. Should Liverpool make him sit out a season as punishment or hold out for the largest deal they can? Neither is good for the club. Neither is good for Sterling who will struggle at Man City if he joins them. It’s a case of too much too soon, he needs to develop his game further and there is no better place than to be a bigger fish at Liverpool. One or two more seasons and then if he is as good as he thinks he is, an international move would be far better than joining a team of mercenaries (yes that’s Man City). Appalling behaviour too from his agent. Appalling attitude from Sterling too. Money should never be the reason to move clubs and slating your club (as his agent has) shows a selfish streak that fans all over the country will remember.

Bottom line – Liverpool need substantial changes. A better manager. A better attacking line up. A better defence. Better tactics. A new leader on the pitch. And a better purchasing policy for players. If they have youngsters worth a place in the first team, they surely need them now. Clearly the transfer market is a gamble at best. Also I do not see the sense in buying players to loan them out again. If they are good enough play them. It’s not as if Liverpool are overflowing with first class internationals right now is it?

Next season?  Liverpool could finish 10th the way things are progressing or failing to progress. Unless they find two proven goal scorers and two solid defenders it could be the worst season Liverpool fans have endured for many years. And with all the other top clubs building and becoming stronger, every match will be tougher. I fear for Liverpool next season.

D.M Jarrett

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