How much do you know about the Human Population? Are you pessimistic or optimistic about our future?

This is a fascinating little quiz that is extremely informative. Is progress being made? Should we feel pessimistic or optimistic about the future?

 How much do you know about the achievements of the WHO? Try taking the little quiz and finding out a lot more!

Three Outstanding World Leaders in the Corona Crisis.

There are three world leaders that stand out to me for the way they have dealt with the Coronavirus.

3. Nicola Sturgeon  – Scotland

She has been cautious, sensible and explained her reasoning clearly. Scotland suffered an initial surge. She brought in policies that brought it under control and have nearly eliminated it.

Because of her calm manner and clear explanations she brought the people with her. If it wasn’t for the fact that Scotland is connected to England she would have the disease completely eradicated.

I give her 8 out of 10.

2. Angela Merkel – Germany

Angela Merkel took charge, explained her policies clearly, brought in an effective immigration policy and track, trace and isolate policy.

Again – effective communication, sound planning and sound policies. She was prepared, effective and controlled the outbreak.

I give her 9 out of 10.

3. Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand

She displayed the same empathy and communication skills that she had demonstrated following the terrorist attack.

She had sound planning and effective management. She brought in rapid measures on lockdown, immigration and test and trace. The disease was rapidly contained and effectively dealt with.

All told New Zealand has only suffered 22 deaths and has now 2 new cases. The disease has effectively been eradicated.

I give her 10 out of 10.


Corona Virus – A comparison table

Corona Virus – A comparison table


It certainly makes for interesting reading when you compare different countries. I know there are a number of caveats – the population size, health systems, timing etc. – But even so.


Country Total cases New cases Total deaths New deaths
New Zealand 1,565 2 22 0
Scotland 18,645 18 2,491 0
Germany 211,000 955 9,226 7
UK 304,000 880 46,193 120
Brazil 2,710,000 45,392 93,616 1,088
USA 4,710,000 60,817 157,000 1207


I know where I’d prefer to be living and which leader I’d like to have!

Poetry – The Art of Spin

The Art of Spin


It used to be a gentle art

Of arcing ball in summer sun;

To entice, and make the ball slide past bat.

It used to be a gentleman’s game

Of cunning and devious skill,

To delight and entrance.

As bowler sought to catch an edge,

To elicit a false shot,

To conjure a twist

Through an impossible angle

To strike pad or wicket.


Now it is a wicked lie

As devious scoundrels

Seek to deceive, to obfuscate the truth;

To lie and trick.

Instead of balls, they twist words.

They bury the truth

To create a falsehood.

These villains aim to confuse,

To hide reality behind a fog

Of invention.

In this ungentemanly game

Both we and the truth are victims

Of political conmen.


Opher – 1.7.2020

Poetry – America – We need to talk!

America – We need to talk!


America you need to listen to me!

I do not think you are being honest!

You are meant to be leading the free world!

What on earth is going wrong?


America, you are making me feel sick.

I worry about you.

You’ve become fake news.

You’ve lost all belief

Except in superstition and guns.

What is all this Deep State nonsense anyway?


America, you need to get your act together!

You are making a mess of things

And pissing off your friends.


America, do you really believe a billionaire

Cares about the poor.

Isn’t it obvious that he is using you?


America, I despair.

The beauty of your country is tainted.

You have become mean-minded, squalid

Violent, ugly and divided.

Whatever happened to your dream?


America, you were born out of ugliness,

Out of genocide and slavery,

But do you teach that in your schools?

Do you tell the real story of the Native Americans

And Africans?

Will you ever make amends?


America, why do you put butchers, warmongers

And slave owners on pedestals?

Why not artists and poets?


America, does this reflect your values?


America, I want you to listen.


Are you really the land of the free?

Is there freedom in the ghettos?

In working all hours to scratch a living?

In having no rights?

In being abused and used?

America, you have a strange idea of freedom.

Or is freedom something just for the wealthy minority?


America, where is your sense of fun?

Where’s the Jazz and Blues?

The Rock ‘n’ Roll?

The Black and White fusion?


America, are you heading back to the bad old days

Of lynching, of racism and slaves?

Do you really want walls?

Can you be happy with such gross inequality?


America, are you really letting the wealthy and powerful

Call all the shots?


America, I think it’s time you took your head out of the sand

And decided what sort of country you want to build;

An inclusive place or one built on division and hate.

America, I despair.

You are not being fair.

You’ve lost your direction.


America, you need to take a long hard look at yourself!

Are your schools educating

Or are you running on blind faith?

Are you all getting health-care

Or is it the survival of the richest?

Are you a country of opportunity?

Or a country of privilege?


Where did things go wrong America?


America, I am your friend, but you worry me.


Opher – 31.7.2020

Arriving in Israel via Haifa – photos

We arrived in Haifa at dawn to discover a port that was not exactly the world’s most picturesque.

Israel intrigued me. I am not a religious man. Indeed, I think religion is the cause of many of our problems. But I was aware of the history and could see that Jerusalem was the focus of centuries of conflict between the three Abrahamic religions. It had fought to an uneasy truce. Jerusalem was the powder keg for the whole Middle East. It could go off at any moment. The Palestinian/Jewish situation looked like it would never be resolved.

For the West this presented a great opportunity to benefit from the unrest. The whole Arab world was in conflict.

It was easy to see how this constant state of animosity and fear pushed people to more extreme positions and beliefs.

I was eager to have a look. A lot of history was bound up in this small area.

Boarding a coach we set off for Jerusalem and received our first glimpses of Israel through the window.

We arrived at the walled city and entered in.

We caught our first glimpse of orthodox Jews. We were going to see a lot more religious extremists in the course of the day.

We arrived at the  Abbey of the Dormition.

The report on Russian Interference in elections.

So the Russians have been interfering with elections. They have interfered with Brexit and the elections of Trump and Johnson.

But the British government have not bothered to find the extent of the interference. Nothing has been done about it.

Surely that has nothing to do with Russian donations to the Tory Party and Tory MPs?

That poses a lot of questions:

Do we have anything that even faintly resembles a democracy?

Why did the Russians want Brexit?

Why did the Russians want Trump and Johnson?

Why did Trump and Johnson want to cover the interference up?

Did the Russians secure Brexit?

Did the Russians land us with Trump and Johnson?

Why did they want Brexit, Trump and Johnson?

Why are Trump and Johnson not investigating?

Do I smell cover-up??

Why is there not a huge fuss about this in the media?

I think I know the answers to all those questions!

The Corona Diaries – Day121

I don’t think when I set out to start this diary, that I expected the isolation to go on for so long. I suppose I really thought that I would end up getting the disease and recording how it felt. That hasn’t happened yet.

We’re still running at 560 cases (that are known of) but the USA is surging ahead to 70,719. With the crazies who think social distancing and facemasks are something to do with some fictional ‘Deep State’ and only Trump can save them, I don’t think there’s much hope. There is insanity at work.  I watched a report yesterday about this QAnon phenomenon. They believe there is a deep state conspiracy of paedophiles who eat babies. They believe every conspiracy theory going – the US never landed on the moon, the earth is flat, the Twin Towers was a CIA plot, the holocaust never happened, Covid is a deep state plot and we’re being ruled by extraterrestrial reptiles. Trump is the only one who can save us. Good heavens. Only in America. They are truly nuts.

The truth is that the wealthy elite is running the world – through buying politicians, bribery, supporting political parties and dictating policy. They are the establishment and Trump is one of them. All this QAnon rubbish is distorting what is really happening. The wealthy and privileged, like Trump and Johnson, have too much power!

Today I went into our local shop for the third time. We had to post a parcel. It feels strange. I used to pop in and out all the time.

Facemasks were mandatory. It’s summer and my glasses were fogging up. What are they going to be like in winter?

I’m in favour of facemasks. I think they will reduce droplets and aerosol, but they have to fit right. I was very much aware that the air was just going in and out around the mask and not through it.

On my daily walk (my calf is less sore and I’m back to my customary 10K) I went up on my hill to the mown, barren wastes, and saw a red kite! It was delightful! perched on a telegraph pole. Gorgeous. He didn’t seem to like me much though and flew away. I saw him again later on another telegraph pole.

I left for my walk with nothing and came back with two poems!

Johnson had a go at the antivaxxers today – and rightly so. It’s our only hope of controlling the disease. Vaccination has seen the eradication and control of many diseases that were killers. With the rise of the antivax movement, we’re seeing the return of these killer diseases. Vaccination is a brilliant tool against disease.

We had a friend round for a few days, we’ve been out for a meal, we’re meeting up with grandchildren – but all outside with proper distancing. It is a question of keeping all the risks in proportion.

Anyway – stay safe everyone!

Poetry – John Phillips – The Ballad of Dodgy Dave

Time for a reprise of John Phillips. I do enjoy his political poems. As Trump, Johnson and Bolsonaro continue to make a cock-up I think it’s always good to understand that they promise the earth and deliver sod all – particularly Tories and Republicans.

The Ballad of Dodgy Dave


When Cameron was Prime Minister

That’s when it all began.

He thought he could do anything;

He was that kind of man.


The Tories thought him wonderful,

Their fortunes, he could save;

Whilst Labour sought to bring him down

And called him Dodgy Dave.


When faced with an election

He laid a cunning plan.

He’d hold a referendum

And win himself some fans.


Right-wingers were a problem;

They hated the E.U.

He’d give them rope to hang themselves;

That’s what he planned to do.


He launched his manifesto;

The promises ran free.

They won him the election,

By stealth and bribery.


But Dodgy Dave could not evade

The meaning of his words.

The date was set, the promise met

In manner most absurd.


Then politicians on both sides

Campaigned with all their might

Without regard for truth or lies

Or what was wrong or right.


Now Dave was feeling confident

When voting day arrived.

With all his usual arrogance,

Opponents he decried.


But when the votes were counted,

The answer loud and clear;

That Dodgy Dave had lost the game

And ruined his career.


So Dodgy David Cameron,

He did n’t even try

To sort the awful mess he’d made;

He simply waved goodbye.


Now Dodgy Dave is past and gone,

A pawn of history.

The Man Who Ruined Britain,

Will be his legacy.


The moral of this story

Is painful, stark and clear.

Don’t ever trust a Tory,

It’ll all-ways end in tears.


From the book ‘Shorts and Shots’ by John Phillips.