Democracy is good; or is it?
We enjoy a democratic system; or do we?
You be the judge:
In order for democracy to work we have to have a number of important factors:
a. One person one vote
b. An intelligent well-informed population
c. A good education system providing people with the tools to weigh up and make decisions
d. A media that has no bias and provides factual information.
e. Transparency and scrutiny of all politicians to ensure there is no corruption.
f. Accountability for all the actions and decisions taken by politicians.
g. A system where every vote counts.
h. Representatives elected who are intelligent, educated, informed and able to discuss, debate and make informed decisions better that the electorate can do (They possess all the facts and are better aware of the implications.
i. a system that is honest, free of corruption, free of self-interest and not open to bribery of any kind.
I said that you can be the judge. I’ve already judged.
Jesus had a Kalashnikov
Jesus had a Kalashnikov,
Mary carried a sten.
The used the power of prayer
And always said amen.
Ninety-nine trapped down a mine
Only one came out.
Thanking god for saving him
He was most devout.
In the Deep South
Believe in the power of prayer.
Quoting biblical verse,
But that gun is everywhere.
Opher – 16.11.2023
If they really believed they’d turn the other cheek. Christians for guns is the biggest hypocrisy on the planet.
I was thinking of that Mexican mining disaster where so many died. They pulled one guy out from the rubble who promptly thanked god for saving him, not the rescuers. I wondered what all the others had done wrong. How had they offended god so that he abandoned them.
Seems that all the piety and prayer is not helping the slaughtered Jewish settlers or bombed people of Gaza. Perhaps the premature babies dying for lack of incubators didn’t know how to pray, or they’d committed a grievous sin. Shame they’re too young to wield a Kalashnikov.
Looking at the state of the planet it seems that those starving, being slaughtered or living in the worst poverty, pray the most.
I reckon god is irritated by prayer.
Neil is a friend who goes back a number of years. We agree on a number of things but disagree on others.
That makes for an interesting exchange of views.
Neil sees himself as a liberterian. I am all for freedom but also want a social order where the powerful are held in check.
My response to Neil’s Rant – Part 1
Bloody hell Neil!! Fifteen thousand words is a book!
I shall do my best to respond to things as they come up.
Straight away we hit this major crisis that you brush off as a global conspiracy. Global warming. How you can think this is a conspiracy is beyond me. Why? What is the ulterior motive for all these diverse governments wanting to do this? What do they gain?
I can clearly see why the oil, gas, fracking, cement and steel industries might want to buy off bent scientists. They make big big money out of pollution. But all the governments around the world??? They hate each other. They couldn’t conspire if they wanted to.
You glibly brush over the devastating effects of global warming. That’s easy to do when living in a temperate country. We have our floods, heatwaves, droughts and, like this year, messed up weather, but we don’t get the full impact. For us it’s an inconvenience. We don’t get the massive floods like Pakistan, China and Bangladesh, the huge forest fires like Greece, Australia, California and Portugal. We don’t get terrible droughts like South Africa, Ethiopia, Texas and Spain. We haven’t had unbearable temperatures like they are getting in Africa, the Middle East and now in Europe. But that does not mean we aren’t going to be badly affected.
As more areas become uninhabitable due to arid conditions there will be mass migration. Millions, perhaps billions, will no longer be able to live in these extremes. They will either move or die. We are already suffering from an influx of immigrants. This is the thin end of the wedge. Who can blame them.
Food prices will soar. Crops will fail. We, as a planet, will not be able to feed a population of eight billion.
With the melting ice and warming seas we can expect more extreme weather, higher winds, storms and a substantial rise in sea levels. As most major cities are at sea level this will mean catastrophic flooding and billions spent on flood defences. New Orleans is testimony to what happens when that fails.
This is without consideration of the massive impact on nature and the delicate ecosystems already stretched due to the impact of human beings.
I know you always put people first Neil and take nature for granted but, as a biologist, I can tell you that it is not as simple as that. We are part of that ecosystem. Our food, oxygen and the chemistry of our own bodies depends on a delicate interaction of millions of species. Soil, on which our crops depend, is a living interaction of millions of organisms from bacteria, fungi, thrips, insects, nematodes and worms. Pollination is dependent on insects. Our health depends on the commensal and symbiotic organisms that inhabit our bodies. What we eat and how we interact with the world affects that balance. We are only beginning to understand how it works. Gut bacteria can affect your mood, your thinking and your health. They live on what we eat. We cannot live apart from nature.
And that is quite apart from the joy of interacting with wild life.
We already live in a vastly impoverished world. Our ancestors lived in a far richer world. We have the rump of nature; of what was. The teeming herds, flocks and shoals have gone. We have the vestiges.
I move on.
You make the point that mankind seeks to ‘make its mark’. That is certainly not the case. We are hunter/gatherers. All humans were hunter/gatherers. There is hardly any evidence of the hunter/gatherer societies that filled the planet. That is because they did not seek to leave any mark. They lived in some kind of harmony with nature (even though they wantonly and stupidly hunted all the mega fauna to extinction). Black Elk talked of walking through the landscape without leaving so much as a footprint and castigated the whiteman for wanting to make everything that lives crawl.
It was with the advent of farming, ‘civilisation’, huge populations, cities and nations, that we started having powerful leaders, politics and religions, and narcissistic power which made individuals want to ’leave their mark’.
That’s an aberration.
As for politics; we might be on a slightly similar wavelength, but with vastly different reasoning.
I agree, the world is run for a powerful elite for their own benefit. We are given the least they can get away with without provoking a revolt. The system was set up by the rich for the rich. Politicians are bought and sold. Profit for the wealthy is all that matters. They deal with megabucks; we get the crumbs. They do not care about the impact of what they do on people, nations, or the planet; as long as it makes them very rich.
That means most (not all) politicians are crooks, in it for themselves. They seek power and wealth. They are bought off and controlled by the wealthy.
However, this is where I think we digress.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but your solution is to devolve into small autonomous communities, each controlling itself.
My solution is much more global. I want complete scrutiny and accountability. I want the bank accounts and all communications open to scrutiny. I want the elite and politicians held accountable.
You always claim not to have exterminated any species and that you are innocent. That is not true. We are all guilty. What we have with species destruction and global warming is an incremental damage. Your defence does not hold.
If a fatal dose of a poison is a million moles and one million people all deliver 1 mole so that the person dies, it is no good all those million people all claiming innocence.
By living we impact on the environment. By using power, eating and moving about we add to the destruction around us. Of course, some individuals have far greater impact than others.
Under your system there would be no accountability for the international organisations, nations and individuals who are presently plundering, exploiting and killing with impunity. We’re beset by wars, tyrannies, massive pollution and environmental degradation. These greedy, power-mad nutcases require controlling and being brought to justice.
War, exploitation, tyranny, pollution, crime and poverty have no national boundaries. If we retreat into our own communities we leave them to do what they like. They are bad enough now; with no controls they would be beyond all levels of bad.
The only way of dealing with this is a fully accountable, fully scrutinised global government.
And yes, I can see all the dangers involved with that, but……
The sequel to Quantum Fever.
Three hundred years have passed.
The aliens are ruining the planet Terra and are on the brink of war.
Children of the Primitives on planet Hope are rebelling …
President Woud of The System is angered.
The Consortium is stirring up trouble………
In many ways the Chromus solar system was a bold experiment. Nowhere else did such a thing exist. The three habitable planets in the Chromus system were all vastly different. Throughout the rest of the Galactic System – all one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven inhabited planets – every other planet was identical.
You could say that this displayed a lack of drive or imagination and you would largely be right. Culture, science and technology within the system had been stagnant for thousands of years. Where was the need to develop? They had found a formula that worked and were content to pursue it. They were not a progressive people. Dynamism had been sacrificed on the altar of population control.
But in the Chromus solar system the pattern had been disrupted. There was no uniformity whatsoever. Only Nubilum conformed to the System’s model. This was a standard tiered world with layers of doms housing over two trillion people. It had its beltways, jumptubes and infrastructure built on the standard pattern. You could easily have swapped Nubilum for any other planet in the System and nobody would have noticed.
Terra, on the other hand, was completely different. The planet had been given over to the aliens – that extinct race of intelligent beings that had been discovered as petrified relics on that very planet. Both they and the flora and fauna of their world had been reconstituted from the DNA in their fossil remains. The planet had been reinvented as it was back in the days when the aliens had first evolved. The reconstructed aliens had been given a level of technology on a par with their earliest civilised development and released into their natural surrounds – just a few hundred thousand of them.
In the past their race, through their own stupidity, had destroyed themselves along with their planet. Now they had been given a second chance.
Staggeringly, within a mere three hundred years that three hundred thousand had increased in numbers to total in excess of four billion. They had developed their science and technology to the point where they had mastered the internal combustion engine, flight, energy production as well as producing a huge variety of machines and instruments. It was true that a lot of this progress was stimulated by, and related to, military one-upmanship, as they strove to outdo each other in warfare, in domination and control, but none-the-less it was impressive.
The scientists, who were studying the development of these aliens, were convinced that they were on the cusp of major strides forward in both science and technology. Within a short while they would go from primitive flight to space travel and beyond, from simple electricity to fission, from simple machines to highly sophisticated electronics and computing. Their rate of progress was staggering. Unfortunately, their social progress was not of the same spectacular order. They remained superstitious, tribal and competitive, with a lack of respect for life and a propensity towards violence and cruelty. It remained to be seen whether they would continue to use their development in a belligerent manner or whether they would learn to temper their aggressive natures.
For now, they were a great and growing concern.
The third planet, Hope, had been recreated for a group of dissidents from the System. They had rebelled against the social control and uniformity of the System, with its drugs and immersive tridee, and had wanted to live in a more natural lifestyle. After much upheaval with the Consortium, a group of elitist capitalist profiteers, the planet now called Hope had been given to them. The ancient flora and fauna of Haven, the initial home planet of the System, had been reconstituted. The dissidents, known colloquially as ‘Primitives’, lived a more natural life, harmoniously with nature. Their population on the planet, through the constitution set up by its founder, Hari Tarn, in order to retain its harmony with nature, was limited to a mere three billion.
So, the three planets existed alongside each other and their effect on each other was the focus of conjecture.
The scientists and psychologists were fascinated by this arrangement. The permutations were enormous. Three totally dissimilar planets to study. Three cultures to observe. They could not wait to see how they might interact with one another.
What would be the effect on the alien psychology to discover there was a superior, intelligent form of life inhabiting their own solar system? How would that impact on their development? Would it make them more or less aggressive? Would it undermine their drive? Or would it drive them forward into a competitive mode?
Likewise, what would be the impact of the presence of such a dynamic alien race on the System’s culture? Would it act as a spur and introduce more dynamism into the System’s moribund culture? Or would it create a negative reaction?
Then there were the ‘Primitives’ to consider. Would their natural way of living have a psychological impact on the rest of the system? Or would they gradually be subsumed back into the mainstream culture?
Never before had such an interesting dynamic arisen. The scientists themselves were invigorated by the arrangement.
For the politicians it was another matter altogether. These two maverick planets had a destabilising effect. Politicians preferred everything nice and orderly. Uniformity was excellent. Variety was problematic.
They viewed the alien culture with suspicion and fear. These aliens were so very different. They were lively, individualistic and highly aggressive. The politicians were sceptical, they could foresee problems ahead.
This dynamism and individuality did not fit easy with the way of the System. President Woud Nussio liked the population she was in charge of quiescent and contented.
It was all very simple right now. The aliens were contained on their planet with no means of interacting with the System. They only possessed rudimentary technology. But their rate of progress was alarming. Within mere decades, if the computer modelling was to be believed, they could be developing nuclear power, space travel and hugely destructive weapons that could certainly threaten the other two planets in their solar system. Would the System have to start developing protection against threats from Terra? From missiles and nuclear devices? The thought was horrifying. They had never had to develop weapons or defences throughout the entirety of their civilised existence. The idea of having to do that now was alarming.
The question being posed was – would it not be better to nip this little experiment in the bud? Terminate the project before it was allowed to become too advanced? Or at least to step in now and control the aliens before they became a threat? A number of the elite thought so.
Then there was Hope. It had proved quite useful in its inception – a dumping ground for all the troublesome ‘Primitives’ who were causing so many problems at the time. But then it had ceased to be of much use. The limit of a population of three billion meant that the System could not really deposit its problems there. The number of dissidents it bred far exceeded the number it could ship To Hope. The situation was most unhelpful. Indeed, there was much evidence that the very presence of such a place in their midst was acting as a stimulus to further disaffect. Hope was actively breeding disaffection. Far from being a solution it had become an instigator of trouble.
If President Woud Nussio had her way she would conclude both experiments. She would rest happier with a uniform System. Life would be so much easier.
She liked the easy life.
For now, she was merely pressing for a few million more dissidents to be sent to Hope. It would alleviate her problem and maybe lead to the planet being properly developed, like everywhere else.
Else Tarn had left home, run away to Liberty.
The newly risen sun streamed through the Plexiglas of the front of the dom waking Erghat Tarn. ‘The polluxing Grand Council Meeting’, the first thought that came into his head, ‘polloxing Else’, the second. He silently cursed as he flexed the knotted muscles of his bronzed torso, rolling his shoulders and tilting his head. He sighed, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the mirroglaz and grimaced. Still with the boyish features but not so young looking these days. His curls and beard now tinged with grey and his face heavily lined. Tres told him that it made him look distinguished. Erghat was not so sure. Nothing felt right these days. He did not like what he saw one bit.
He frowned and turned away. He knew he looked weary. There were dark bags under his eyes. Once again, he had hardly slept. As usual he had woken with his stomach churning and his mind in turmoil. For the thousandth time he cursed his distant ancestor Hari Tarn, the man who had not only designed this dom so that the sun ensured nobody slept in late, but also implemented the system of government that was now making his life so miserable.
The dom was large, consisting of an interconnecting series of geodesic domes, all ultratransparent, so that the greenery, with its multitude of creatures all around, some vines actually festooned across it, left one with the impression of not just being in the midst of nature, but actually in it and part of it. By System standards it was palatial. A hundred System doms could fit in this place, though, at this moment, Erghat might well have swapped the airy spaciousness and scent of wild flowers and foliage for the dark, cramped staleness of a standard System dom with its artificial air and synthetic food, if it allowed him a bit more sleep and a few less worries.
Erghat put aside his fear of the Grand Council, and their desire to take over Hope, and then managed to push his daughter Else out of his mind. He started to worry about the business of today’s meeting. The usual nerves started to jangle.
It did not help to know that as soon as he took his place in the chamber, and the business was underway, the nerves would dissipate and he would feel totally in control. Erghat Tarn was a born worrier. He knew that he actually did a good job, but that did not help either. There were so many grey areas, so many things that could go wrong, so many of his decisions that could adversely affect people. What if he was wrong? What if he made a wrong decision?
The business of governing was ageing him prematurely.
Then, what of Else? He could not prevent his mind from straying back to her.
He sighed again, and cursed her again. Else was not his favourite person at this moment in time.
Scowling, he tried to kick his metabolism into gear and clear the mussiness from his mind. Time was pressing. He had to be in for the council meeting.
Looking across at the angelic, unlined face of his partner he envied Tres her stress-free life. If only he had the day to himself. He could have been outside composing and playing music, or even join Tres for the day painting. He could be care-free. His life could be so very different.
Once again, as he lay on his back, he found his mind straying onto Else and what to do about the Else crisis. There was no easy answer. The problem with Else was eating away at both of them. It had to be solved. He knew things would not get back to normal until Else was back home. Since Else had gone, nothing was right.
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A short extract from my novel – The Antitheist’s Bible – a novel who’s central theme is about the absurdities of religion and how it has been used to control people and gain power.
‘So what do you think the world’d be like without religion, Oph?’ Kathy demanded, draining her glass and topping it up, passing me the spliff.
That was an interesting question. I wanted to say straight off how much better it would be but there was more to it than that. Phew. The more I pondered that the more the implications were enormous.
‘I dunno Kathy,’ I mused, frowning and pulling on the spliff. ‘It’d be a lot different. Just think – if we didn’t have all that energy put into building all those churches, temples and cathedrals; if everyone hadn’t wasted all that time and energy in pointless ceremonies and prayer; if we hadn’t been held back for thousands of years with all that superstition.’ I was warming to it. My imagination was already extrapolating out the possibilities, all the better uses those energies could be put to —– ‘If all that energy was put into more positive things!!’
‘Yeah but Oph,’ Kathy retorted rather aggressively, reaching across for the spliff, ‘those temples are beautiful, and the music and art. Wouldn’t the world be a dreary place without it?’
I grinned at her. Kathy playing her usual role of devil’s advocate. I wasn’t falling for that. But then again it was true. There were many great things that had come out of religion and many religious people would point to the sense of community and togetherness that religion produced, but I wasn’t about to acknowledge any of that. My beef was with the power structure.
I gurned at her. ‘Yeah, shame about the butchery, intolerance and torture’ I mused, raising my eyebrows. ‘Shame that so many were flayed alive and burnt to death in agony,’ I nodded my head and pursed my lips, warming to the task. ‘It’s a shame about 9.11, the bombings and misogyny. Shame about the cultural castration and the enslavement of women, all those women locked up in burqas.’ I could tell from her eyes that I was doing what she had wanted me to do – she had succeeded in getting me going. ‘Apart from that…… and all the bollocks about heaven, paradise ……….. and the hypocrisy …………. and the ridiculous contradictions, homophobia, intolerance ……….’ I was floundering around for all the many facets that had so infuriated me as Kathy smiled encouragingly, judgmentally apart, drawing on the spliff and studying my agitation. ‘And the way they all have their little stories that they hold to be gospel,’ I was now having to prevent myself from prodding a finger in her direction, ‘while denouncing everyone else’s versions as fabricated nonsense …….’ I was getting into my stride, placing the glass down on the floor so I didn’t spill it, waving my hands around. ‘You know, the way they claim to be the chosen people who are favoured by God and that all others, the heathen non-believers, are to be cast into the fiery pits forever……….. and the intrinsic stupidities of replacing the unfathomable reason for life with an equally unknown substitute, some magically manifest supernaturally powerful being………’ I couldn’t help myself. I was becoming more and more animated. ‘After all – where did this all-powerful god come from? …………… and what was the purpose of this eternal life? ……. Religion has no answers. They just tell you to believe. Bollocks. None of it makes sense.’
‘Ah come on Oph,’ she said insincerely, smiling sweetly, cutting me short, feigning an American accent. ‘You know god moves in mysterious ways. It is not our place to understand the working of god’s mind.’
I shook my head at her in a theatrical show of despair. She grinned back at me obviously warming to her task. ‘Besides, You’ve got to admit that the world would be a lot drabber without all those costumes and customs? If religion hadn’t determined things then the State would have done. There would have been bigger wars, bigger castles and more powerful warlords. Ordinary people might be in an even worse state.’
There was nothing I liked better than to argue on matters such as this. It got my grey cells buzzing, forced me to examine my own views and crystallize them. Religion was one of my pet themes and she knew it. It was also one of hers.
‘Or we might be living in a more liberated world where the enlightenment took place thousands of years earlier and everything was fairer and more advanced,’ I suggested, tilting my head to the side.
‘So you don’t believe that morality and ethics originate in religion?’ She poured herself another glassful and sipped trying to look quizzical and earnest. I laughed out loud. From my standpoint she’d only succeeded in looking comical. I knew she didn’t believe what she was suggesting.
I chuckled some more. ‘No, No Kathy, no I don’t. I think fairness, morality and ethics are basic human attributes.’ I frowned and took a big gulp of what was a cheapish red shiraz that had proved surprisingly smooth, then topped up my glass before replying. ‘I think that religion’s got fuck all to do with it. Religion is just about power. That and the State. All about power. It’s all primitive stuff. All the boys vying to be the great chief or shaman; white-backed gorillas. They are just seeking dominance and the right to fuck all the women. It’s all about DNA playing its games to get its genes into the next gene pool.’
‘But Oph,’ Kathy objected keenly, stubbing the dead roach in the ashtray. ‘Every culture has its creation myths and code of morality. They all regulate society and bring some order to it. Perhaps people need that? Perhaps religion helps produce that?’ Kathy continued her ploy. She was enjoying it just as much as I was.
‘Yeah, and they all create a pile of complicated dogma and use it to bash each other with, to shackle themselves,’ I began rolling another jay.
‘But there is order and there are restraints,’ she argued forcefully, ‘religion has restricted the power of the state, hasn’t it? It has helped produce order and structure.’
Bipeds with Big Brains
Bipeds with big brains
Walking upright across the African plains.
Full of anger, cruelty and hate,
Determined to become super-great.
Killing, maiming and enjoying pain,
Creating ruin, again and again.
With a lust for power and control,
They seek to impose their will on the whole.
Full of selfishness and greed,
They till the land and plant the seed.
Now we live in the aftermath
Of the destruction left in the wake of their path.
All that moves is brought down,
As wars rage regardless of black, white or brown.
One species, with the aim to expand,
Will destroy everything that comes to hand.
Profit is the recurring war cry
Blood for money; an eye for an eye.
The finite resources are under strain
Everywhere is death, destruction and pain.
Yet that large brain houses another side
To take another route – we can decide.
For love and compassion lurk there too,
And we can care for others in this human zoo.
We can give up violence and selfishness
And cherish a life not based on destructiveness.
There’s room for all of life on this great ark,
We don’t have to live in a plastic park.
Wildernesses full of creatures and song,
In which we humans can get along.
So will we use our great brains for creative invention?
And solve the problems we create?
Can we learn to care, share and find room for all life?
Or will we leave it all too late?
I fear the answer will seal our own fate.
Human beings are the Jekyll and Hyde of the animal kingdom. We are often thoughtless, cruel and positively evil. We enjoy inflicting pain and causing death. We seem to gain pleasure from it. Give a man a weapon and he will feel the desire to take lives. Not content to shooting at targets they prefer to shoot birds off the wire.
We wish to subjugate nature and control it all. Chopping down trees, filling in swamps, killing anything that threatens us. Nothing is sacred.
Our worst aspects are the desire for power and wealth. We are prepared to sacrifice the whole earth for it.
Yet our altruism is also renowned. We will take huge risks to save an injured animal. We care.
Our brains are resourceful and ingenious. We can solve the most complex of problems.
We have the capacity to put right the mess we have created.
Do we have the will? Or are we going to allow the same greedy, power-seeking elite to continue to lead us towards the precipice?
Politics of Slime
They love their tractor porn.
They love their cash.
Corrupt to the core
They defend their stash.
They steal from the nurses,
To give to their chums
In the banking crew.
Allowed enormous profits, quite obscene
CEO bonuses grew
Pub landlords and PPE
Money for nothing – it’s true!
Lies and spin
Propaganda and skew.
Dark Arts, dirty tricks
Tory political stew.
Politics of slime
Where nothing is true.
Tories in the gutter
Where all the turds are blue!
Opher – 4.5.2023
I have never heard of a government more corrupt, sleazy and incompetent than this Tory one (maybe Trump).
Money for questions, money for honours, money for wallpaper, money for holidays, money for mortgages.
Tractor porn and sexual sleaze, partygate and nepotism.
Chucking money at friends, at family and donors. Wasting billions on bogus PPE, or covid trackers and Dildo Harding, pub landlords and Russians.
Allowing enormous profits for companies. Allowing tax loopholes for the wealthy.
Destroying public services.
Cuts and austerity.
Travel and Photography
For some reason the journey back across the Atlantic only took three days this time. Perhaps the captain was in a hurry to get home?
We were heading for Cape Verde – that volcanic archipelago off the coast of Africa. This time it was Santiago and its capital Praia. But that was three days away.
The captain thought that we might get bored so they put on quizzes and organised a chocolate event. I slunk away for the quizzes and read or wrote elsewhere but I was intrigued by the chocolate. I am a nascent diabetic and alcoholic. I show no signs of being either but I think it is something you have to work on. Chocolate was, as the Incas well knew, the food of the gods. Wine is the drink of the gods.
I was expecting big things. What I got was chocolate cakes in every shape and size. That was OK but I found that there is only so much chocolate that even I could consume.
What I was more taken with were the amazing sculptures the cook put together using fruit and vegetables. He was quite an artist. He also did these remarkable ice sculptures. It was quite incredible, in the heat of the tropical sun, to see a guy attack a block of ice with a knife – ice shards spraying in all directions, and end up with a couple of intertwined birds or fish. He did it so quickly.
There were great sunsets but the journey was choppier than it had been on the way across when the sea had been silken. It seemed troubled. We soon lost the boobies and there were few sightings of whales, turtles or dolphins. But the sun still shone and we were in the tropics. Life was good.
We went up to the bridge and had a go at steering the ship. It was easy. I’d quite like being the captain. You just told people what to do, sat in your seat with your cap on, and everyone did it. From what I could see the boat was being commanded by a young guy with a pair of binoculars.
The radar was good. You could see all around for tens of miles. It could even pick up whales. It confirmed my suspicions. We were all alone in the middle of the Atlantic. There wasn’t even another vessel over the horizon and even the whales had buggered off.