Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Geddes Court - The Ghetto

Well that is it, my last exam of the academic year is finally over. This is where Summer 2011 begins for me and where First Year of University ends. It has been a long, tiring, enjoyable, amazing, best and worst year of my life. This is a journey most of us have already taken or are soon to take, there are a lot of things I would change if I could go back, but if I did, would I have learnt everything I now know? Would I be the person I am today? Would I be any happier?

September 11th. This day will forever stick in my head, not the day in 2001 but the day in 2010. This was the day I became independent. This was the day I finally moved out of my parents house and moved into First Year Halls. I still remember the first time I walked into Geddes Court, the first time I saw my future best friend, the first thing Rachel Moss, my future 'Fag Hag', ever said to me, the first time I thought 'Wow this carpet is horrendous' but most importantly I remember the first time I ever saw my father cry.

Not only was this one of the most amazing days in my life it was also going to be very challenging day. I had to leave the house that I had grew up in for 18 years, the family that became friends, the street that became a neighbourhood, the High School that became a family, the work that became a social life, the friends that became my life, the town that became a city, I had to leave home. I remember the week before I left, it was filled with tears and sorrow but also of hope for the future and the many times I said 'Don't worry I will see you at Christmas'. Leaving home was the hardest thing I have ever done.

How could a building that was built on designs of a Swedish Prison become my new home? How could this city ever compare to the one I grew up in? How was I going to live in such a tiny room? How was I going to share a bathroom, a kitchen and a shower with 17 other people? I never knew how I ever coped with any of this but I did and I loved it.

I have lost count of the times I have sat and cried in my room and wanted nothing more than to go home and to sleep in my own bed and hug my mother. Since coming here in September I have been home twice and at times I wished it was more. But at the same time I wish it was less, at Christmas I made my mum bring me back early because I missed the place so much.

I will admit some of the people in this building drive me to insanity and I would happily never speak to some of them ever again. Others I hope to never lose touch with and I hope they will be a huge part of my life for years to come. And the rest? Sadly I never got the pleasure to meet them, but there is still three years left to meet them. Eventually Geddes didn't just become 'that building where I live' it soon became 'home' and so did everyone in it, even the ones I did hate. Yes I never got off to the best of starts with people and there are still a few I will never get on well with but that is all part of the 'Ghetto Life'. Living here has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life but like that first day it was one of the most challenging experiences I have had to deal with.

Leaving Geddes is a very Bitter/Sweet moment for me; I cannot wait for the life of me to get home have a nice hot bath, annoy my mother as to what she is making for dinner and just get away from every single one of them for three months, I will miss every single one of them, my best friends, the people I hate and even those I never got to love or hate, I will truly miss them all.

Now before I start to cry any more as I write this I will leave the people of Geddes (and anyone else reading) with two things. First of all the best of luck to everyone in their exams and I hope you all have an amazing summer and I am sure I will see you all walking about uni next year looking just as lost and confused as we did this year, and finally these lyrics which just seem to capture that bitter/sweet feeling, but also, with a sense of hope for the future added in.

Been a long day, on my way
To my holy place to pray
Give thanks for every blessing given to me
I know there's more to see, more to me
No more living in misery
'Cause this is how I visioned life to be

Searched high and low, so close yet so far to go
I just know there's a sunny day

Who'd ever thought that I would see this day
Where I would see my ghetto life fade away
'Cause I was lost and couldn't find a way
And now I look forward to every day

Welcome to my sunny day!

This not the end, it is only the beginning of a whole new life.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Friendships shorter than a Tweet

There is the good old saying that 'Facebook is for the friends you hate and Twitter is for the friends you don't know'. I suppose this is true as a very limited number of my followers I actually know in real life and in fact have never met someone in real life who I previously knew from Twitter. Personally, I am not a big fan of having my friends on my Twitter because I usually want to bitch about them, mainly people who I live with or dick heads who appear on my News Feed on Facebook, but as more and more people I know start to follow me this becomes more and more difficult. My life just gets too stressful when I do not have a means to vent my anger at people who neither know what I am talking about or probably even care.

However in saying this, you do get the odd person on Twitter who does care, first of all you start '@replying' them, then over a space of time it moves onto 'Direct Messaging' and will then usually end up in adding them on Facebook, Skype or MSN. It is these Tweeters which bring me back to Twitter time and time again. It is these few people who make me check my Replies or who make me read my timeline rather than just post a tweet and leave. It is these people who make me enjoy my time on Twitter. Sadly most of these eventually drift away and you lose touch with them and in some cases don't speak to them for months on end.

Sometimes I forget that people on Twitter actually have social lives, you know, real friends, work, school or just in general an actual life outside of Twitter. I don't know I am just getting sick of having friendships on Twitter which are shorter than a Tweet it self. Twitter has moved from being for the 'friends you don't know' to a bunch of people who 'used to be friends but no longer remember you'. Do not get me wrong, I have fallen to the social awkwardness of 'I can't remember telling you that' before, but it seems to happen to me a lot more than me forgetting the person.

Although I was talking to my friend about this today, I seem to remember stuff more than other people. I will be talking to someone and more often than not they will say 'I can't remember telling you that' or something to that effect. I guess the fact that I remember some things that others don't upsets me, it just makes me feel that they have made a bigger impact in my life than I have in their's. I suppose that his just shows a Human Nature of wanting to be recognised and noticed in life.

Everyone who has ever posted a Facebook status, tweeted, logged into Foursquare or wrote a blog is attention seeking. Everyone, myself included, is looking for a response from someone, we all just want some reignition in this world filled with celebrities and fame. What is stopping us from achieving this? The only way a 'normal' person can get themselves out their is from the ever growing forum that is the internet. Singers, writers, comedians are constantly found on on YouTube and the likes, look at Britain's Got Talent and X Factor they have even started taking auditions from YouTube.

Because of this we are haunted by the fear of not being noticed. Why am I not getting views on my YouTube video? Why has nobody liked my Facebook status? Why did nobody retweet that? That is not a way I want to live my life, with the constant self doubt of not being cared about or not being as popular or as funny as someone else. Why should I have to live like that? I am decent enough guy, I have good friends, I have plenty of enemies, but everyone does. I want to be able to come online and write blogs or tweet because I want to, not to please someone else. I just hope one day I can 100% tell myself that this is true. Can you?

What has the internet turned us into? We have shorter attention spans, adverts on TV have had to be shortened, to give us more variety and more concise information for a market who want's choice and lots of it. If we condense our life into 140 characters, where does that leave us? We get bored of friendships that arn't going anywhere, we need that constant attention from someone. And relationships? They have become even worse, we can't settle down, we need drama, we can no longer allow our lives to be boring. Why should we settle for a life where everything is always the same when we can go online and find millions of different things to entertain us?

I am in no way going to deny that any of this applies to me, because most of it does. Nor am I saying that any of this is right, I do not like my life being like this but sometimes I just feel like I am trapped in a vicious circle. Obviously this is not the way anyone should lead their life but all of us will do it in some way or other whether it have a huge effect or just small one.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Scottish Independence: Part 1 An Overview

So, SNP have grasped power in the Scottish Parliament, and now once agian the debate of Scottish Independency is back in the forefront of peoples minds. Is independency viable? Is it better for Scotland? Will it happen? Should it happen? In my opinion the answer to all these questions is 'NO' and that is what I will mark on a referendum if one ever comes to light.

I don't want an Independent Scotland and most likely you are not going to want it either. In a recent survey done, 58% of the people would like a referendum to be held, this sounds promising to any YES campaign, but only on the surface. Only 38% of the people of those people actually want independence with a majority of 54% stating they would rather stay part of the United Kingdom. So it is more likely that people want this referendum to tell the SNP that they do not want to a State in their own right and enjoy the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom. So why should we sit back and let the SNP dictate what they think they got elected in for?

Scottish Independence was not a serious issue for the SNP in the 2011 elections, it was however an issue for Labour. Scottish Labour stated they where going to fight against an Independent Scotland, this could be the reason why Labour lost some seats as the Electorate where not concerned on the issue at this time. If people wanted Independence they would vote for SNP on a national level, Westminster, not on a local level. People voted SNP to the Scottish Parliament because they wanted an alternative to Labour and to punish Liberal Democrats. The SNP where the better option as they had great success in their performance in office and they readily engaged with the Scottish People in a way which Labour never did.

Independancy is not economically viable, now yes Scotland have all this Oil, and I do not know how many times I have read 'we have water, we could survive on Hydro'. Well yes it may be viable in 10 or 20 years time when Hydro power is providing closer to 100% of its energy rather than the 20% or so it is now. Maybe then Scotland could be self sufficient, but for now, it could not survive. Off-shore oil is in a steady decline and over the past decade has fluctuated between £5 million and £1 million, this does not pave the way for a solid income. Not only that but it is going to cost over £5000 a year on taxes, over the taxes being paid already. A new Scottish Government is going to be facing between £4.4 billion and £8 billion a year less than what it is currently receiving as part of the United Kingdom.

I don't want an Independent Scotland. Polls show you most likely don't want one. SNP didn't actually campaign for it. I doubt most economists want it, but most importantly, none of the three main parties in Westminster want it. All have stated, in one way or another, that if a referendum came to the table they would all help campaign the 'NO' vote. David Cameron has been very vocal in this and I agree why shouldn't he be. United Kingdom is a very special country, being a 'country of countries' and would lose some of its credibility as this if Scotland were to break away. Yes, for Cameron, it is a point of pride, but what is wrong with that? Giving up Scotland is giving up 500 years of British History!

I do not want to lose out on Scotland, who is going to support us in the tennis now....?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

One Currency to Rule Them

One currency to rule them all, One currency to find them,
One currency to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Brussels where the shadows lie.

So I am not a big fan of the European Union as you all probably know. There are many reasons why I do not like it, and I shall possibly write a blog about this at some stage. But for now I would like to focus on why Britain should not join the Euro.

The 'LOTR' adapted quote shows one of my main reasons for not wanting to joining the Euro: stability. It may result in an unsustainable economy throughout Europe, and one country may bring down the rest of us. If this does happen and one or two countries then decide to opt back out of the Euro which could tip the balance in any form of Inflation Policies. The UK should be wary that joining the Euro may have its benefits but only during periods of Economic Strengths, which the world in general, and certainly Europe are not experiencing.

Due to a single interest rate, the EU will have to increase payments to countries which have had their debt and interest rates increased, which will reflect badly on the rest of the EU. This happened in Holland where inflation grew by 48%. It will be harder for such countries to sustain a failing currency and Holland would be better off starting a new currency entirely, which brings back to the possibility of them having to leave the Union.

We have handed over most of our political sovereignty to Brussels; why should we give it our financial power as well? Whether or not they would handle it well isn't the case. We are the United Kingdom, we are British, we are a country who is giving all our power over. People in Scotland don't like the Government because there is England; who has been making their laws. So why should we stand for someone in France making the rules for the entire UK?

Finally I simply just cannot be bothered to change currency, I am not very good with maths and the worst thing about going on holidays is the annoyance of constantly having to convert currency. I simply don't like it. I know this last point one is a terrible excuse, but I would be lying if I didn't say it was a factor.

Yes, I know there are many reasons for why the Euro should be introduced, but I hope my arguments effectively counter them. At the end of the day: we cannot implement the Euro at this time anyway for three important reasons.

1) The Maastricht convergence criterion state that our public debt must be below 60% of deficit; below 3% of GPD. Even economic observers state that the Government aims of creating this are optimistic in the short term. (which is, as of March of this year, at 76.1%)

2) We must have spent 2 years in the ERM which Britain have yet to do especially after 'Black Wednesday' in 1992.

3) Public Opinion. There has been little proper coverage to the public about this issue, if the Euro is to be put in place the two main parties who support the Euro state a Referendum must be held. Taking into account the recent Referendum which had just over 50% turn out voter fatigue may play a part which will put back the date of any such referendum.

For now I think we should be happy with Sterling and if the Euro is what we need, then perhaps we should wait, and see if our circumstances become any better.