Tag Archives: EU

She’s making it up (again)

Britain has pledged $1 billion in aid to the Afghan government ahead of a major EU conference on Afghanistan in Brussels this week.


In pledging the aid, Priti Patel the Secretary of State for International Development stated:
‘The UK’s presence in Afghanistan over the last decade has helped improve security and prevent it from once again becoming a base of operations for global terrorists that would threaten the streets of Britain. We have improved the lives of Afghans significantly – with millions more children in school, better healthcare, and greater prosperity.’

She’s talking complete nonsense of course. None of the improvements in healthcare, schooling and prosperity that she claims apply to the areas in which British troops were fighting. The UK’s presence in Afghanistan over the last decade has destabilised the entire region, is directly linked to the rise of Islamic State and has significantly increased the likelihood of a terror attack on the streets of Britain.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Only a few months ago she was travelling the streets of Britain with Boris Johnson in a bright red German bus pledging to ‘give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week’. A pledge that she and her fellow BREXITeers quietly dropped after the referendum.

Being economical with the truth does, however, make her an excellent choice to head up the Department for International Development (DfID), a department known to produce delusional progress reports in Afghanistan that were hopelessly optimistic and an almost complete work of fiction.

I can see from her ridiculous pronouncement that their new boss is going to fit right in.

SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.




What others are saying about SPIN ZHIRA 

Why do I find myself arguing in favour of leaving the EU when I’m going to vote to Remain?

EU referendum

I keep seeing lists on social media. Lists of people who think leaving Europe is a bad idea and lists of those who don’t. The ‘remain’ list is impressive, containing as it does a diverse mix of world leaders, high profile businessmen and foremost economists. They have two things in common. Firstly, they all predict that leaving the EU will be economically disastrous for Britain and second – and this is the reason why we can trust their judgement on this – they all failed to predict the global economic crisis.

The list of those in favour of leaving the EU is less impressive and includes ‘that bloke who heads up ISIS’. We don’t know his name but that doesn’t matter. We know he wants the UK to vote leave because David Cameron told us and therefore it must be true – just like his pre-election pledge not to cut child tax-credits.

Also on the vote leave list are Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. These two are becoming so politically indivisible it can only be a matter of time before they are rebranded ‘DonBo’. But, inexplicably, it excludes self-made billionaire Sir James Dyson and all of the other 299 British CEOs who think leaving Europe would be good for business. No prizes then for guessing which side of the argument has a penchant for compiling lists.

However, it seems rather obvious to me that if the primary consideration in the referendum is economic then there will be winners and losers whichever way you vote. Sir James Dyson will be freed from the European bureaucracy be believes constrains his business, Lloyds of London and the £60 billion London Insurance market thinks losing its unfettered access to the EU single market will be disastrous. Home owners may find themselves in negative equity; aspiring home buyers may finally be able to own a house.

Personally, I’ve never been terribly motivated by economics. It’s probably why I’m broke, unemployed and of no fixed abode. On the other hand I am happy and I’d rather be happy than rich. The United Nations’s 2016 World Happiness report lists Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway as the top four happiest states in the world. At number one is Denmark with more opt-outs than any other EU member state and in its own referendum in December last year rejected any further integration. The other podium positions go to Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, countries that, despite their geography, have all declined to join the Union. So if you want to be happy then independence from the EU, with all the extra happiness this seems to bring, might be a good place to start. Cast your vote accordingly.

And there it is. In my quest for happiness I now find myself in the DonBo camp along with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (yes, that’s his name). Except, of course, that I’m not.

The best, and as far as I’m concerned, the only reason to remain part of the corrupt and dysfunctional Economic Union is humanity. The current trend on both sides of the English speaking Atlantic to retreat behind borders, to put up walls and impose quotas – the politics of fear – is inhumane and will only lead to more trouble and more conflict. Our ability to love, be creative and above all to have compassion requires us to stick together, to unite rather than to divide even if this is sometimes difficult, frustrating or personally disadvantageous.

It’s not an easy choice, I don’t like the bureaucratic travelling circus that is the European Parliament, it doesn’t deserve my vote but I’d rather live in hope than in fear. I’d rather be human than happy.