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Comments on the world around us

This section is our place to reflect on life from a retired person's point of view, and comment on what we read in the press, and hear on the radio and television (TV).

In the past we have hesitated from commenting on issues of the day, mainly from fear of showing our ignorance, and partly from fear of upsetting anyone.

We often listen to Radio 5 and BBC 24 hour news, and it has seemed to us that in recent years the BBC has been good at pumping out headlines, but has, at times, been weak on analysis and explanation of the issues. Or to put it another way, we don't often understand what is actually going on, and would welcome the BBC's insight. An example is the distressing war in Syria where the situation seems very confused and it is the innocent, especially the children, who are suffering most.

Possibly the British public's view of current events is to a large degree formed from what is heard on the radio, watched on TV and read in the newspapers, and who knows if people are being told the truth or given a slanted view. It seems also that possibly homo sapiens is more easily brainwashed than we had previously thought as evidenced by cases of some individuals being influenced by extremists.

On balance it appears that Britain is a more physically comfortable place to live in than it was in the 1950s. We have warmer homes, a better welfare system, better medical care, and there is less racism. On the other hand there seems to be less freedom of speech, and people, including politicians, hesitate to say anything that might be thought politically incorrect or unpopular. We had close extended families in our childhood but not sure if this is often the situation now.

The referendum on Scottish Independence was a close run thing, and we felt the quality of the debate was poor. We wondered why Prime Minister David Cameron held the referendum.

The quality of the EU referendum debate was not much better; David Cameron said bad things would happen if we left the EU, so why on earth did he hold it? In our opinion the referendum was held solely for short-term party political purposes, not for the good of the country.

The British people narrowly voted to leave the EU, but it seems we may have to wait a year or two, to find out what the implications will be.

The war in Syria and the surge of refugees from Africa and Asia attempting to enter the EU has become a major problem on a scale that European politicians have not experienced in their lifetime, and they do not know how to deal with. It's worrying that universities and the best brains in Europe have not, so far, been able to point the way to go.

Did David Cameron make matters worse by bringing down the Gadaafi government leading to instability in Libya? Foreign Secretary William Hague initially seemed to support the rebels in Syria fighting President Assad. Both men have now gone and who knows, in a fast moving world, whether their interventions made matters better or worse; perhaps universities will study these events and deliberate about them in 100 years time.

David Cameron disgracefully attempted to discredit Sadiq Khan, elected Mayor of London in 2016, and it's disappointing our elected representatives sometimes show such disrespect.

In 2016, the infighting in the Labour party has been astonishing, and perhaps that can be put at the door of Ed Milliband who introduced a reformed procedure to elect the leader of the party. This seems to have resulted in attempts by the extreme left wing to take control of the party - which we think would make the Labour Party unelectable.

Summer 2017, Theresa May calls a snap election. Jeremy Corbyn does much better than expected and the Conservative lead is reduced requiring the help of Northern Ireland MPs.

November 2017, Brexit negotiations with the EU are proving hard work. One wonders whether the UK will ever leave the EU.

Does anyone have a view?

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The TV coverage of the British Olympics in 2012, EU Football, Wimbledon, Grand Prix events, and the 2016 Rio Olympics has been marvellous. Well done to everyone involved. Some sixty years ago we thought that black and white TV, 405 line resolution and two channels was pretty good. We are spoilt now!

The recent remakes of Goodnight Sweetheart and Hancock were really funny. Perhaps we could have some more?