Friday, September 20, 2019

Climate Emergency

The Emperor Nero was accused of fiddling while Rome burned. Our politicians are so busy fiddling with Brexit that vital changes to combat climate change have gone by the board. 

In an emergency the state can mobilise its resources to invade countries and kill hundreds of thousands of people. Yet that can't get off their collective backsides to deal with a climate emergency.

No wonder people protested.

 Photo from the Worthing Climate Change protest on Friday 20th September

Socialist Reviews
Death Agony of Capitalism

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Brighton and Hove Libraries

I have been emailing libraries to encourage them to take copies of my book, Darkness in Durrington. So I was delighted to get an email from Brighton and Hove Libraries to say they had already ordered it because it was great to have a book set locally!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

TES Resources

Worksheets and other resources on the TES Website. All free. 

Classroom Teacher Manual 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Deed without a Name

Six months ago we had a case involving a poppet with a stake through the heart and now you want us to investigate witches flying around on broomsticks?”
Detective Sergeant Joanne Thallman and her partner Detective Constable Janet Small dropped in on one of our business meetings in the Brunswick and Thorn to make this unusual request.
To her credit, Sergeant Joanne Thallman looked a bit embarrassed.
There are no broomsticks involved,” Micah liked to stick to the facts.
Witches, though,” I said, “in the twenty-first century?”
Micah produced her spiral-bound notebook from somewhere, I think she uses magic.
Joanne dictated from memory
Grace Palmer IC1 female 56 dresses very smart no previous.
Sherry Palmer IC1 female 54 dresses Oxfam but smart no previous.
Charity Arnold IC1 female twenties dresses M and S no previous.”
They only have three core members but they have various hangers-on, one of whom is male IC1 Abel Wilks 52, no previous.”
No information about his clothes?” Micah asked.
Joanne smiled,
He dresses like a man but I've never seen him myself. The other is one Felicity Newell IC1 female 60 who has got previous but it is for parking offences in the 1970s.”
They tried meeting in a room at St Paul's Community Centre. What was strange about it was that they put a notice on the door, 'Poetry Group Do not disturb.” Rather than 'Poetry Group, please come and join us.' A member of staff knocked on the door to ask what they were doing because there were complaints from other users. The answer he got through the door was 'A deed without a name'.”
Macbeth,” said Micah, “but I won't list him as a suspect. Not yet.”
What were they doing?” I asked.
Other users could hear chanting,” Joanne said, “the upshot was that they were banned from St Paul's. We wouldn't have been interested but The member of staff who banned them, Iso Cousins, found a dead dog arrived on his doorstep. No witnesses could be found. The dog seemed to be a stray which had had its throat cut and been drained of blood.”
That wasn't the end of it. Iso had a nasty road accident. Apparently a mobility scooter collided with his leg, it seemed accidental, and he wound up in the stream of traffic in Chapel Street and received multiple injuries. The mobility scooter just carried on as if nothing had happened. Nobody could identify the driver and of course there was no number plate.”
This seems to be the kind of thing we would investigate,” Constable Janet Small explained, “but we were told in no uncertain terms to leave it and there is a reason.”
About five years ago, a child told his teacher that this coven (a coven of three not thirteen) had made him eat a cat. The matter was referred to social services and ended up in court. Their lawyer got the lad to confess it was a chocolate cat and the case collapsed. The press decided headlines about a 'Witch Hunt' were appropriate. So withoug very good evidence, there is nothing we can do about this coven.”
They both looked at us. I took the opportunity to refill our glasses with the Brunswick and Thorn's Merlot.
So is there something we can do?” Micah asked sweetly.
We think you could infiltrate the group but it might be dangerous,” Joanne suggested.
I doubt if they go around putting cards in newsagents' windows,” I said.
Funny you should say that,” Joanne smiled and produced a card.
And there was a mobile phone number.
This isn't the number for Satan?” Micah asked
No they tell me his is 666,”

To be continued

Kindle edition  very reasonably priced

Paperback edition Some people prefer paperbacks and you can borrow them from libraries which is a plus.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

Greta Thunberg's 2019 publication "No One is Too Small to Make a Difference" sets out her views on climate change and the reason why she sparked off a massive student protest all over the world.

It contains some ideas which Socialists will find sympathetic. In one speech, for example, to the UN Climate Change Conference, she said, "We are about to sacrifice our civilisation for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue to make enormous amounts of money, we are about to sacrifice the biosphere so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. But it is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few."

The Chapter about addressing the Houses of Parliament in April shows her rising frustration. It is entitled "Can You Hear Me?" and repeatedly makes plain that the existing political order is incapable of listening to the demands of the youth because it would mean tearing up their most hallowed beliefs, free enterprise, the profit motive and the divine right of the Corporations to wreck the environment to make a fast buck.

If you are looking for a worked-out detailed Socialist analysis of how capitalism drives climate change this is not the book for you. If you want an insight into the passion which drives the hundreds of thousands of people who are seeking to fight for a future then it is.

No one is too small to make a difference.

Reviews written for the Socialist and Socialism Today #socialistreviews 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Killed by a corpse

This is the beginning of a story from Darkness in Durrington 
There was something wrong about the death of Alex Michael. Inspector Tillotson was all set to sign it off as suicide but he has given me, given us, a couple of days to review the evidence.” Sergeant Joanne Thallman had casually dropped in to one of our business meetings in the John Selden to share this.
Alex Michael's body was found in a locked room, his landlady called the fire brigade to break the door down. He had shot himself. The gun was a Smith and Wesson which he owned legally and used at a gun club. It was normally kept at the club but members sometimes take them away despite the rules. Mr Michael had put the gun in his mouth. It is the most efficient way to commit suicide. I doubt if it tastes very nice but that is not a problem for long. One odd thing was that the gun was in his left hand but Mr Michael was one of those rare individuals who are genuinely ambidextrous.”
Was there a note?”
60 percent of male suicides do not leave a note but Mr Michael did leave a verbal message with his doctor, Dr Steven Johnstone. He was treating Mr Michael for depression and it seems that threats to kill himself were fairly routine so the doc didn't pay any special attention to it. I interviewed him and he certainly seems to regret it now. If he is an average GP, he has about a thousand patients but he seemed to take this personally.”
Mr Michael had been a teacher of semiotics. However he lost his job in a reorganisation three years back and has been struggling to find a permanent job ever since. It was during this period that his depression deteriorated as far as Dr Johnstone was aware.”
Joanne then showed us a sketch plan and some photos of the room. Two things struck us immediately. The lock was a mortice deadlock with a keyhole inside and outside. It was child's play to lock it from the outside but give the appearance that it was locked on the inside. There was another possible explanation but it seemed far fetched.
Did anyone hear the gun shot?” I asked.
Joanne shook her head, “Mr Michael lived alone since he parted company with his girlfriend, Pet Penrose (Micah duly noted this down as well as Ms Penrose's address). The landlady was shopping. The room below Mr Michael's was empty and the room next to it was the room of Mr Potting who is deaf. We knocked on his door for a while before we got any response and the landlady, Mrs Grove, confirmed that Mr Potting wasn't winding us up.”
We will interview him anyway, background on the victim,” I said.
So, you think he was a victim?”
I have an open mind, Joanne, but 'victim' will do until we know otherwise.”
Micah nodded.
I can arrange for you to have access to the room tomorrow. I know you still have your police technical adviser ID so there should not be a problem.”
The next day, the sunny weather broke and a more English drizzle took its place.
Micah took the lead with the interview with Mr Potting. We found out his name was Frank but very little else. He was in his early sixties and had retired from the railways where deafness hadn't prevented him working. He had always been deaf.
Micah is an expert in sign language. So was Mr Potting. It was a pity they both used different systems of sign language. A semiologist like the late Mr Michael would have found it amusing. In the end we wrote each other notes.
No, Mr Potting didn't know his neighbour very well. He (Mr Potting) kept himself to himself. He never had to complain about the noise. For Mr Potting this was the best of jokes.
He made us tea. We left him a business card. He had a smartphone and could easily text us if anything occurred to him.
We examined the room. Every bloodstain (and a bullet through the top of the head leaves a fair few) was marked and numbered. There was an array of works of fiction and a number of books on semiotics, postmodernism and linguistics. I pointed out Dorothy Rowe's classic Depression, the way out of your prison which seemed to have been read more than once.
We must ask the police about one thing which seems to be missing,” Micah said.
To be continued

Kindle edition  very reasonably priced

Paperback edition Some people prefer paperbacks and you can borrow them from libraries which is a plus.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Huffington Post apparently

In a smug self-satisfied article in Huffington Post, Peter Winkler, Contributor seeks to rubbish self-published writers. To nail my colours to the mast, I am a self-published writer. So was Virginia Woolf.
Does that make me as good as Virginia Woolf? No.
Did I ever claim it did? No.

She did have a rather more sympathetic attitude to other writers than Peter Winkler though.