Monday, November 20, 2017

It's their day

It seems that every faction of society has its own day, today happens to be the one for infants. Nobody could argue with the set of rights on this poster. Sadly though, not all infants are treated the same and the treatment of some falls well short of these ideals.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The future of the band

Lies in the hands of the new musicians who join each year. Most have spent time in the Junior Band first.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Love the poster

One of the highlights of the year is the concert to honour the patron of musicians.

Apart from the great music, this is when the new musicians that are joining the band are presented to the audience. We will also see this year's Mr and Miss dance the waltz.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ah but . you say

Keith, I hear what you are saying about meddling by Russians and others in the political affairs of Britain and the US.

I understand that Madrid is now also investigating the meddling of Russia in Catalonia and the independence vote. I wonder if  there is any country safe from this type of interference?

The investigations centre around meddling on social media and in particular, Facebook and Twitter. But you say, "I have neither a Facebook nor a Twitter account so how can I be affected?" Well, my friends, those fake news stories make their way to newspapers and to TV reports and so their influence spreads. Who knows, you may have even read fake news on this blog!

People with good memories

Almost daily now, we read of yet another woman who has suffered "sexual abuse" from men in power positions. These range from offensive remarks to unwanted bodily contact. For the moment, these complaints are centred around the Parliament in Britain but it is possible that they will spread elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong, no woman (or man for that matter) should have to put up with any kind of abuse whether it is verbal or physical. The right time to deal with it though was when it occurred, not ten or more years later. If it was serious, then it should have been reported to the police for them to deal with. For less serious abuse, surely there were those in authority at the time who would have listened and dealt with it.

Let us be clear, I'm not referring to the kind of things that people like Stewart Hall, Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris etc got up to. Their abuses were way beyond serious. The abuses we are now reading about are in a different league altogether.

The fact is that many of these incidents were either brushed off as relatively harmless or dealt with by a sharp rebuke and should have been left in the past filed as "dealt with". Nothing good will come of raking up these past memories ten or more years on. In fact a lot of harm can be done even if nothing is eventually proved to have happened.

In most cases these accusations boil down to one persons word against another. Let's face it, one persons saucy remark many be taken as grossly offensive by another especially if the person making the remark is in a senior position.

I don't recall any actual incidents but I am sure some of the things I have said in the past  to women could have been taken the wrong way. Thankfully, nobody has yet come forward to complain about me to the papers.




Sunday, November 12, 2017

The influence of social media

Canvassing at elections used to be done by party workers knocking on doors. Along with adverts in newspapers and television and rallies, that was the only means to get messages across to voters.

Campaigners though have got wise to the power of the Internet and increasingly use it to try and influence voters.

Unfortunately, this gives rise to powers, outside the country where the vote is taking place, to try and meddle. The chief culprit is undoubtedly Russia, a country that is desperate to destabilise Europe and more importantly to have a US President on its side.

Facebook has been told to hand over evidence of Russian meddling in British politics to MPs.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee has demanded that the US internet giant release adverts and pages linked to Russia in the build up to last year’s EU referendum and June’s general election.

It comes after Facebook admitted that fake accounts tied to the Kremlin had bought more than $100,000 (£76,000) worth of politically-charged adverts in an apparent attempt to influence last year’s US election.

Under investigation from Congress it has handed over 3,000 adverts purchased over two years by the Internet Research Agency, a group linked to the Russian Government.

The US adverts, which also appeared on Instagram and were seen by 10 million people, focused on divisive topics such as race, immigration and gun rights, and were allegedly used to help propel Donald Trump to the White House. Mr Trump has attempted to play down the impact of the adverts, saying the amounts spent were “tiny” and claiming that Facebook was on Hillary Clinton’s side.

Mr Zuckerberg has said it “just wouldn’t be realistic” to stop all interference in election campaigns on Facebook, although the company has since vowed to manually review every advert targeting people by political affiliation or race.

Twitter has also been under fire after thousands of automated “bot” accounts were created to attack Ms Clinton and her supporters during the election. Bots were also allegedly used during the Brexit referendum in an attempt to influence the vote, tweeting multiple times a day before deleting their own messages to cover their tracks. One in eight political tweets was written by a bot during the general election.

Google has also found that Russian-linked organisations bought adverts on its search engine and YouTube.

In May, the Information Commissioner’s Office launched an investigation into whether political parties broke data protection rules by bombarding users with highly-personalised adverts during both the EU referendum and ahead of the general election.

It came after pro-Remain MPs said that the Brexit-backing group Leave.EU had employed an analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica to target individual voters with extreme accuracy. Cambridge Analytica was funded with Russian money.

It must come as something as a shock to those that were influenced to vote for Brexit in this way, that they were being led by the Kremlin. On the other hand, the Remain campaign had no chance to compete with the might of Russia.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

New owners


The small British supermarket in Los Montesinos is under new management. If you want a taste of home, this is a good place to try and it might save you a trip to Iceland.

Choose your food

To accompany your gin and tonic.

Time to celebrate


Didn't feel a thing.


Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Smelly old river

It is usually in summer that the river in Orihuela smells bad. With so little rain though, the Segura is a muddy smelly mess at the moment.