Technology is a great liberator but it’s also a great oppressor

July 22nd, 2016

I got some kind of group invite through my email account which didn’t work properly because the operating system on my computer is too old to deal with it. I only discovered it was an invite when someone replied ‘to all’ confirming they could make the date.

I persist with my old computer because

  • it still does everything I need to do on it
  • I don’t buy into the consumerist ideology of having the latest thing just because it is the latest thing.
  • I’m conscious of unnecessary waste

Unfortunately, not everyone has these criteria and nor would I expect everyone to have them, that would be unreasonable. So why then do most people in industry think that everyone is using the same level of technology that they are? I don’t use a smartphone because I don’t want to volunteer all my information to whoever can hack into it.. This makes me some kind of Luddite in the eyes of most people.

What happens next though is really interesting. Smartphone users (I’m using this generalised label purely for demonstration purposes) assume everyone in their demographic has a smartphone and behaves accordingly; they use the technology available on the phone. This means if you don’t have a smartphone, you’re excluded from lots of functions. Eventually, the divide will become so great that the smartphone users will literally use a different language to non smartphone users.

What you then have is fractured and marginalised groups in a society that moves in a direction further away from ‘community’.

Part of me knows that this is a deliberate ploy by manufacturers to a) sell more product and b) to maintain the learned helplessness in the consumers.

I’m aware that there are some people who don’t even have internet access. I can’t even begin to imagine how disadvantaged they are in society.

Technology is a great liberator but it’s also a great oppressor.

The future of creativity: machine code

June 3rd, 2016

WScover

I was at my local lending library looking for a book to read when I spotted a Wilbur Smith hardback on the shelf. Wilbur Smith had written River God, a book I literally couldn’t put down it was so compelling. He’d also written some other novels that I found quite easy to put down (literally and metaphorically) so it’s a bit of a lottery when he publishes something new.

I plucked the tome from the shelf and looked at the cover, it depicted the usual themes of his books—historical Africa or Egypt and bloody adventure—but something odd caught my eye; the author’s name was not alone, in smaller writing it said ‘with Giles Kristian’. What could this possibly mean?

I took it to the desk and quizzed the immaculately dressed, white-haired, bespectacled lady that was the librarian.

“Can you clear this up for me please, who is the author here?”

Without hesitation she explained the mechanics; Wilbur Smith comes up with the idea and Giles Kristian then does the grunt work of writing the book (she actually used the phrase ‘grunt work’ which amused me more than it should have done).

“So it’s kinda ghost written?” I said.

“Yes” she said “but the co-author is usually well known for writing in a similar style.”

“So it’s like Damien Hirst coming up with an idea of say, a flayed baby in a bath of formaldehyde or something and then saying to one of his hundreds of assistants ‘here, you make this into reality”.

“Yes” she said, “that’s pretty much how it works.”

I was astonished. Not because of the discovery of ghostwriters or artists’ assistants—I already knew of their existence—but because of what it presaged.

Ghostwriters are usually employed to supplement the missing talent of the celebrity, namely, the ability to write. But here, a perfectly capable writer is employing another perfectly capable writer to do the heavy lifting. Wilbur Smith is so prolific and so popular that he has become a brand that is easily recognised and easily emulated.

Presumably, the faithful readers of his books aren’t too bothered about this development so long as their metaphorical Corn Flakes continue to taste exactly how they liked them in the past no matter who is the new owner manufacturing them.

Now lets jump into the future a hundred years. Wilbur Smith is dead and so is Giles Kristian but new Wilbur Smith books continue to appear every year, regular as clockwork. You might think that dozens of authors are employed to maintain this booming franchise but you’d be wrong.

A sophisticated algorithm writes all the books. The preferred language, styling, plot twists and characters that appear in all the previous Wilbur Smith books are analysed by the algorithm and a clever refinement in the programming allows it to devise new story lines with similar characters but with enough differentiation about them to sufficiently fool a human brain into thinking ‘this is novel’ (pun intended).

This is the future: creativity done by a machine. I’m not sure whether I should be excited or depressed. Can I be both?

Footnote: A year or so ago I did a caricaturing gig in Leicestershire at a private birthday party. The house turned out to be a mansion and my small talk with the guests during my sketching revealed that it was the party of a successful author. Nearly everyone at the party was a published author or creative artist of some kind. When I came to draw the birthday boy himself he told me a little about his glittering past and that he had recently been working with Wilbur Smith.

On Contemplating Art

May 2nd, 2016

JRSmithlo

I was working at an unfamiliar hotel one evening and as I always do when I visit such a venue, I casually glance at the pictures on the walls. Often, if it’s a modern, chain hotel, the pictures will be bland and pretty in an ersatz parody of art. The older the hotel however, the more care they seem to take in selecting their wall art.

This particular hotel was old, hundreds of years old. The mullioned windows were straight out of Wuthering Heights.

This set my curiosity to ‘high’ and I conducted a deliberate viewing of the walls when I entered reception. To my delight, they were covered in a host of pictures and none of them seemed generic or glossy. In fact, many looked like the works of gifted amateurs and suggested that they might be originals.

As I rounded a corner a picture presented itself to me. The composition of it was such that I instinctively knew it was the work of a true artist – the balance of shape and tone was delightful. This drew me in like a magnet and I inspected it from a metre or so away. It was a sketch of a street scene executed on a dark ivory coloured board. The style was quite loose as if it had been drawn from life but the draughtsmanship in the overall structure was such that it was evident the artist had a lifetime of experience.

As I continued to study it, it became apparent that it was a pencil drawing finished with watercolour but the colour palette was so restricted that it took a while for me to realise this.

This inspection from a middle distance increased my interest in the artwork. The various elements within the picture intrigued me with their textures and depth of tone. This progression of curiosity was telling me that this was a major work of art.

I stepped closer to the picture, my nose barely a foot away form its surface and I stepped into another world…

I was in the street. I could hear snippets of conversation of the people going about their shopping, I could feel the soft crunch of dust under my feet as I walked the parade of shops—I could even smell the subtle fecund aromas in the hot air. The light was magical, gently warming the edges of the awnings and buildings.

The picture achieved this incredible transportation purely through the power of suggestion. Some parts of the image were so loosely executed that a few brushes with a wash of muted colour created the solid wall of a building complete with reflective windows. Smoke from the chimney pots was achieved with a few swift, deft touches from a charcoal stick. The mastery of control, the sheer economy of line, the unerring choice of colour mesmerised me.

It had an inverse law of appreciation: the closer I looked at the detail, the greater my pleasure and the deeper I was transported into this other world. I was like a scientist from the middle ages being given a microscope for the first time and the higher the magnification I used, the greater was my amazement.

How on earth was that texture achieved? The colours blended in and out of shadow and light as elusively as playful ghosts. As I drank in all the detail it was clear now that the picture was mixed media: soft pencil, charcoal, watercolour and gouache.

I stood there captivated by the work of a master craftsperson.

It has been a while since art moved me with such force. I’d almost forgotten how marks on a surface could sometimes perform the miracle of turning dirt into an entire world. This painting did what exquisite art does: move me to profound depths and inspire me to try to emulate the miracle.

Footnote: I went back to the hotel to photograph the sketch. Due to the reflections on the glass I’ve had to tweak the image but the atmosphere of the original is mostly preserved. My research suggests Joseph Rideal Smith is the artist.

Disney symbolism eats itself

March 26th, 2016

On the insistence of my daughter, I accompanied her to the cinema to watch a new Disney film. As we waited for the film to start, the adverts and trailers beforehand contained a more instructive and damning critique of modern society than anything the main feature could possibly offer.

Without exception, every item promoted to the audience utilised animal characters to sell its content. Every item was a regurgitation of old ideas, whether the old ideas were good ones or not. It was an exercise in cynicism, of laziness, of the defeat of human creativity.

I let the wave of Americano wash over me as if I was a drowning man in a vast ocean of featureless water. The situation was hopeless and impossible to survive – I might as well succumb to the inevitable and give up…

Then the Disney film began and miraculously, a sand bank appeared in the middle of the ocean. I crawled half-dead onto this solid rib of crystals with mixed emotions – my grasp on life would be briefly extended but only so that I could suffer more pain and anguish before the inevitable overwhelmed me.

The intended symbolism of the film began immediately (this is a story about ‘us’, children) but a shadow symbolism quickly overwhelmed the intended lesson like a malevolent ghost haunting the author’s message.

The computer graphics in the film were the best I had ever seen. Such was the realism that it exceeded realism itself and I was left gasping at the wonders of technology. And so the symbolic reality of the situation made itself apparent to me.

I was transported back to a time centuries ago; I was a simple native that had, up to that moment, lived a perfectly satisfactory life on a secluded island before the strange dark vessel appeared on the horizon. As a yawl then slowly made its way towards the shore, I waited on the beach with a small group of my curious tribe members, eager to discover what the gods had brought us.

In our innocence we greeted the strangers with fruits and flowers. They, in turn, reciprocated with their technology – and we looked in awe at the shiny beads and buttons in the animated movies they showed us. We looked upon them beguiled and mesmerised and we were prepared to sell our souls for these worthless shards of digital glass and plastic – ‘yes’, we signalled, ‘take our hearts, our minds, we gladly give them up for your captivating technologies’.

And so now we fall sick, one by one, felled by the disease brought by the Americans, a pathogen that invades the world like a virulent strain of smallpox deliberately secreted amongst their glittering gifts.

Our real island is disappearing so the Americans reproduce it in glorious detail and colour in a virtual new world that no one can inhabit except through memory and hope…

We’re sleepwalking into a cultural desert.

On having a sense of smell.

January 15th, 2016

Our sense of smell is being revealed as an undiscovered super-sense; we can detect Parkinson’s disease just by someone’s scent, we can follow a scent-trail when blindfolded and we can detect emotional states by it.

And encountering a remembered scent can be as powerful as piece of music for transporting us back to a specific point in our past; they’re like preserved moments held in jar in a museum of ghosts.

The happiest smell of all for me is the rich cloying aroma of a fecund earth, pure and clean. A smell straight out of the Garden of Eden before the serpent visited. A smell promising the possibility of miracles and evoking a reassuring sense of perfection and order in the world. A smell to rejoice by, to come closer to life by, a smell of faeces in its proper place, a smell which one instinctively understands to be the only philosophy in life which is correct and absolute. A smell that penetrates the very mystery of life itself and reveals in its vapours the unspoken answers to all out enquiries. It is the smell of life itself.

And then there’s the hot sharp, pungent smell of over-activity, of biological mayhem, an acrid stinging smell saturated with discomfort and gripe. A smell of India and teeming bacteria.

As the body declines the more frequent ghost visitor is the dry decrepit smell of old age and infirmity, of fruitless loins and barren wombs, of sterility and shrivelled up bowels; a smell from antiquity, from Ancient Egypt artificially preserved in glass stoppered bottles and once more encountered in dusty Museums. It is the smell of the past, of history, of death.

Would Richard Dawkins accept a knighthood?

January 2nd, 2016

illusion-box-religionblog

In this article, John Gray surmises that Richard Dawkins feels a knighthood is the least reward he should receive for his efforts in trying to rid the world of religion (it’s a supposition, not based on any fact). In my head I pictured Dawkins kneeling before the queen to receive the symbolic sword strokes and it was like a scene from Hell, an abomination of all reason and moral rectitude.

Why was I so appalled?

Dawkins has spent a considerable part of his life demystifying the imagined authority of a fictitious being and urged others to reject the dominion of this entity called god. His chosen method of achieving this is the encouragement of ruthless logic, empirical reasoning and the scientific method. But in this image of him kneeling in front of the queen it seems he rejects his own life’s work and submits himself to the power of someone who uses superstition to the same extent as the fanatical followers of god. Not only that, but in evolutionary terms, the organism dispensing the imagined nectar of privilege is, intellectually, far inferior to Dawkins on account of coming from a diminished gene pool due to excessive in-breeding.

The hypocrisy is surely self-evident.

Ultimately, Dawkins’ crusade against god is due to the misuse of power by His earthly representatives. The power of god (via these leaders) to create conflict in the world is at the core of his evangelical zeal; especially as he believes the ‘wisdom’ to be found at the fountainhead of most religions is man-made and false.

Whether god is real or not, the Church has enormous power, which is real. The power is derived from the willing supplication of its followers to donate their time and wealth to the sect’s existence just as in a colony of ants or bees. It is apparent that a lot of the ‘wisdom’ in religion can only be man-made (the idea of intercession in Catholicism, for example) and so some of the high priests within this religious group know that the game is actually power on earth, not in the promised after life.

A monarchy employs the same power structure as the church. The same kind of voodoo is employed too – the robes, the crowns the sceptres… they didn’t arise by chance, they are there to impress the uneducated, and to overwhelm any urge for individuality or autonomy. The monarchy has enormous power—regardless of whether the king has divine right to rule or not.

In the past, the establishment was made up of the church, the monarchy, the armed forces and the state. God was a useful cement to stop these factions from warring with each other. God was equally useful to justify wars with other nation states when it suited the leaders.

Today, this establishment structure is pretty much still intact. Here is the oath that the armed forces uses when signing up new recruits today:

“I (insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

Note their promise to god is to protect the queen and her heirs, not anyone else.

These elements in the establishment are inextricably linked and they rely on subjugation to maintain their power. God acts like a mortar for the triumphal arch of the establishment over the awed and subjugated people. If you take god out of the mix, then the establishment will become unstable as the different factions seek power for themselves rather than share it.

Using ruthless reasoning, it becomes an unavoidable conclusion that the concept of god runs like an artery through the entire body of society.

Humans, by their unique evolutionary advantage of consciousness, can decide how they live unlike ants that have no choice. The structure of human society is due to choice not inevitability.

Dawkins can’t have it both ways: either we have no choice in how society is formed and run or we do have a choice and we can reject its injustices—all of them. The monarchy is only one step down from the belief in god; its rationale for existence is as shaky as gods own. It should be rejected.

This is a true story …

December 16th, 2015

Pinochio

As a child I remember going along to our local cinema to watch the Saturday morning ‘flicks’. In one of the episodes, Batman was in a truck that then drove off a cliff. This was the literal cliffhanger at the end of the reel and we all had to wait until the following week to discover what happened to him. As it looked impossible for him to escape death in that particular scenario I was keen to learn how he got out of that fix.

A week later I watched intently as the next episode unravelled. He escaped by jumping off the truck just before it went over the cliff. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, I had a pretty good memory and I could vividly recall the final shot from the previous week where the truck went over the cliff with no sign of Batman leaping off anything.

As I left the cinema I felt uneasy, like something had been stolen from me.

Then as a teenager, I remember watching ‘The Shining’ at the cinema. For those that haven’t seen it, malevolent ghosts affect a writer and his family who are caretaking a snowed-in hotel over winter. There is a point in the film where the wife manages to lock the husband in the enormous larder once she becomes aware of his murderous intentions. At one point a ghost appears to the protagonist in the form of a voice from the outside of the larder. The ghost convinces the prisoner to commit murder then unbolts the larder door to free him.

It was at precisely this point that I lost interest in the film.

Why?

Because the suspension of disbelief had been destroyed. The premise was that the ghost influenced the husband with murderous ‘thoughts’. Once the ghost managed to perform a physical act, the premise was made redundant – if the ghost can move metal, it can wield an axe too and so the use of a human agent to realise its evil intentions becomes unnecessary – the ghost might as well perform the murder itself.

Then recently, as an adult, I was watching an episode of The Bridge, a Scandinavian detective series, highly regarded by critics and viewers alike. In one scene, the main protagonist—Saga, apprehends a dangerous suspect. She handcuffs him whilst her male partner catches up with her. It then cuts to the police station where the trio march into an office within the police station. At this point, Saga unlocks the handcuffs and turns away from the suspect who promptly produces a concealed weapon and starts shooting.

The point of this scene was to demonstrate how incompetent Saga had become in her duties as a police officer. Except, the lapse was absurd. Searching a dangerous apprehended suspect is so obvious that it is beyond basic training. And even if she had missed this fundamental procedure because of a deranged mental state, her partner would surely have noticed that she hadn’t searched him and reminded her.

Then we have the police station. Presumably there is a procedure for processing the suspects brought to the station for questioning and part of that procedure must include a logging of their possessions before they enter the building so even if Saga had neglected her duties, the station would have forced a search.

I won’t even start on the popular CSI franchise that has so many unrealistic plot devices that it must be categorised under ‘fantasy’.

So why am I so upset by this lack of veracity in this and the other examples I’ve given? Well, apart from ruining a good drama, it also signals a much bigger problem I’ve noticed in society at large – the abdication of analytical thought by the general public.

If the public is prepared to accept any absurd plot hole without question then it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate that they will just as willingly accept any creaky story that is offered to them by the media or representatives of authority. Either a story ties in with reality or it doesn’t. An uncritical acceptance of an ‘official’ story is bad for democracy.

So now we have a society where literally anything can be explained away by one simple story.

Take for example, the financial crash of 2008. I remember the panic-stricken news reports at the time of crisis meetings in the US where the bankers were trying to rescue the situation they had created by giving themselves even greater powers of authority. Today however, I learn that this story has been adapted to discredit a British Labour government; apparently they caused the crash by ‘overspending’. It is, of course, no surprise that it is an opposing government that is spreading this lie. Don’t let the ideologies confuse the understanding of the issue– a Labour government can lie just as readily as any Tory or Liberal government.

My point is that it is such an obvious lie but yet it still needs to be explained to people who (presumably) experienced the crash for themselves and watched the real story on mainstream media news. It begs the question, why don’t they remember the original story? If a false story is repeated often enough will people alter their own memories?

And the effect is cumulative; with every story that passes without criticism or analysis, the perpetrators realise that they can get away with even bigger ‘plot holes’ or even employ fictional stories altogether that don’t even make complete sense in themselves.

Maybe I’m over-reacting in this analysis but I remember now what it was that made me feel so uneasy when, as a child, I walked out of that cinema on a Saturday morning all those decades ago; I had been robbed of my innocence.

How to think for yourself

November 27th, 2015

Why should you think for yourself?

Knowledge is Power. Actually, it isn’t. Knowledge is pretty useless. The actions you instigate as a result of having knowledge are what give knowledge value. So if you know why a total eclipse of the sun happens and have the calculations to predict when and where it will happen in the future whilst everyone else doesn’t, you can use that knowledge to attribute power to yourself (should you be that way inclined) and have everyone consider you as some kind of god when you demonstrate your power over the sun.

If you were in thrall to such a manipulative person, being able to think for yourself could prove to be your salvation—or your condemnation if you openly challenge their power.

Someone tells you a story.

The story is like knowledge – benign in its pure form but often the telling of the story is a prelude to some kind of reaction. The story serves as a justification for the action. If the action involves going to war, for example, that could result in the deaths of members of your family, then it would make sense to go beyond merely accepting the story as true and to ask searching questions of it.

Believe no one, assume nothing.

This is the mantra all police detectives should recite. The police rely on evidence to secure a conviction so their job actually demands this approach.

Most of us however, are not police officers so this kind of extreme scepticism is impractical. So what methods can we employ?

The line of least resistance is your worst enemy.

If someone in authority tells you a story, the easiest option is to believe it. Often this is the most sensible thing to do. If a fire officer tells you a building is ablaze and you shouldn’t enter it, there is no reason to challenge this if you can see the flames spouting through the windows. If however the building is a bank and you have cash deposited in it and the figure in authority is the bank manager who insists the building is ablaze when you can’t see any flames or smoke, you might be tempted to wonder if there is something else going on.

View the story as a crime scene.

If all you have to go on is second hand reports, you could be told anything and have no way of knowing if any of it was true. You need evidence. Look for motives when checking the crime scene; why would the bank manager tell this story? Who would benefit from it? How would they benefit? Why is the story being told now?

Look for evidence.

If you see a queue of worried people near the bank clutching passbooks, they might be relevant to the story. Check with them for any insights. You’ve already noticed that there is no evidence of fire (although it could still be contained in the building) so formulate your own hypothesis. This is basically employing the scientific method: you don’t have the answer so you come up with a theory of what might be happening based on the known facts and past experience etc. In this case, you might propose that the bank has become insolvent and is trying to hide the fact to avoid a run on it. These kind of events have happened in the past so by extrapolating from these incidents you can convincingly make the case for the current scenario.

Now you can experiment. Call the fire brigade, ask them if they are dealing with a fire at the said bank. Check with Companies House and ask to look at the financial accounts of the bank – do they appear sound? Don’t forget the accounts might be falsified.

The experiments you conduct to verify or contradict your theory are down to your creativity. This improves with practice.

Game the system.

In this exercise, imagine the worst possible people with the worst possible motives trying to achieve their goals. What might their goals be? How could they cheat the system? What is the culture in the industry? Does your hypothesis allow for cheating in the system? In this exercise, such scenarios as ‘false flag’ incidents become entirely possible but no matter how outlandish the proposal, proving the case is still a requirement.

Your experience is not the whole story.

You may have direct experience of a scene that is being described elsewhere by other people in a way that differs from your experience (newspapers prints stories that claims a bank is ablaze, for example). This should make you want to question the origin of these stories (there needs to be more than one story) as it disagrees with your experience. However, you should be aware of the possibility that your experience could be the one that is exceptional and not reflective of the overall picture. Check your privileges and your biases (not easily done).

Be prepared to change your position.

This is the hardest part of the process. If you have invested a lifetime in believing a particular set of ‘facts’ or opinions then as data or evidence begins to contradict those ‘facts’ (your money is not safe in a bank, for example), modifying your position can feel like losing your identity.

Believe no one, assume nothing.

It goes without saying that you should apply the same critical analysis to this post as you would to any contentious story you might come across and if any of it is found wanting, it should be disregarded. You must decide if the information it contains is relevant to you or not.

The Island

November 20th, 2015

On the perfect flat-line of calm, a blip appears:
White sails cresting the horizon signal the beginning of new life
Magick’d out of the fecund ocean and currents
The blip gets bigger, coming nearer to paradise

The white men arrive from Europe –
The Dutch, the Spanish, the English
In their holds they carry the gifts of civilisation:
Measles, influenza, syphilis… god

The natives welcome them with fruit and feathers
—when you’ve only known paradise, it is hard not to share—
But the white men come as the hurricane
Knowing only how to offer destruction.

Why I’m suspicious of unthinking support.

November 18th, 2015

There are no absolute truths and everything lies on a continuum.

The expression of grief for the victims of the Paris attack is not being criticized here: many people in Europe will have visited Paris and thus have a personal connection with the scene of the atrocity. Anyone who has experienced personal grief knows that it is uncontrollable and rational thought is futile during this time.

However, there were many people who simply heard the news and had no personal connection with the people killed but wanted to show their compassion for the fate of these people. How could they demonstrate this compassion?

But first I want you to imagine an industrial accident like Bhopal. The scale of human suffering is unimaginable and the rest of the world should and would demonstrate their compassion for the victims if it had happened today.

In the aftermath of Bhopal, the guilty party—Union Carbide—did everything they could to cover up their negligence and evade prosecution. I know this because the media did a thorough job in investigating the accident. As Union Carbide had little control over the media, the investigations were prosecuted with little restraint. Incidentally, despite all the evidence of guilt and a warrant put out for his arrest, the CEO of the company, Warren Anderson, never faced trial.

Now imagine if that devastation had been caused by a terrorist attack, the immediate response would be a call for retribution to punish the perpetrators—not ask ‘why did this happen?’ And imagine if the people behind the cause of the attack were a Western government sponsored rebel group that had gone out of control. The last thing that this Western government wants is a media asking such questions as ‘how did this happen?’ In this scenario, the government largely controls the media or its representatives through vested business interests etc., so the government can influence the line of inquiry or deflect any real questions about the causes under the banner of patriotic solidarity or whatever.

So let’s return to last Friday’s Paris atrocity. How can people demonstrate their compassion?

This is where it gets murky for me.

In steps a large-scale social media organization (that has been shown to be in cahoots with government intelligence services) helpfully offering symbols to an unsuspecting public as a way to show their compassion and support for a country. The symbol they use is a national flag. ISIS themselves always fly a flag when they can at their atrocities in an attempt to encourage new recruits. Flags are dangerous symbols that reduce any situation to ‘you’re either with us or against us’.

So the social media campaign harnesses the compassion of the populace with a loaded symbol of separated humanity (country borders are arbitrary fictions). At this vulnerable time, cold reason is the last thing that people are considering. Mob psychology rules. The mob is not immediately asking ‘how did this happen? Why did this happen? Whose fault is it? Shouldn’t we be prosecuting the instigators of this situation?’

The authorities know this. They’ve been here many, many times before.

So what we have is a mass outbreak of compassion that is easily manipulated by those who have the least compassion for humanity, for their own ends.

And what are these ends? More war, of course. Wars are always fought over territory and influence. As I write, the British government is clamouring to bomb Syria under the pretext of doing something about the situation. There seems to be zero questions from the media about how any bombing will help the situation in Syria and not simply make it worse.

If Syria were the scene of an industrial accident, it would have been identified as an appallingly run operation, breaching every single health and safety regulation in the book and whose operators were guilty of culpable homicide. ISIS is the poisonous gas cloud streaming from this factory.

But it’s not, so the abuses continue and the truly guilty parties walk free.