Adios WriterBeat!!

The American site for writers of all persuasions known as WriterBeat has finally succumbed.

Thanks Autumn Cote for the invite and all the years of fun.

Thank you to all the friends I made and all the people I met.  I am sorry to see it go!

Hello to the refugees from WriterBeat that have popped up on my Blog. You are most welcome.

Here’s hoping that Stone and Owl will get something together pretty soon.

Long live WriterBeat!!


Selling the Future – a poem

Selling the Future

Roll up! Roll up!
We’re giving it away!
Get a bargain! Make a killing!
We’re giving it away!

Don’t miss out on this bargain!
It won’t come round again.
Your chance to make a fortune
You only need half a brain!

Buy yourself a trophy!
Shoot a chimp for fun!
From the safety of your truck
Exercise that gun!

Clear a big plantation!
Get rid of all those trees!
Lots of money to be made
From such a clever wheeze!

Open cast a mine or two
Dump your spoil at sea.
Who cares about a fish or two?
Plenty dosh for me!

Roll up! Roll up!
We’re selling your tomorrow!
When it’s all gone
We’re not certain what will follow.

But who cares anyway?
Who cares about the world?
If every last creature’s dead
And every last tree’s felled?

Roll up! Roll up!
We’re giving it away!
Get a bargain! Make a killing!
We’re giving it away!

Opher – 6.5.2019



Oblivious – a poem


Oblivious to what is going on.

Uncaring towards the victims.

Callous towards the cruelty.

Living apart from the action;

Caught in their own bubble.

At best indifferent.

But also complacent.

Sure that it will all come good.

Nature is resilient.

Except nature is nowhere near as resilient as they would have us believe.

The proof is in front of our eyes.


Opher 5.5.2019

I am haunted by conversations with three individuals on an American site, who are not only incredibly in denial as to any environmental damage going on but really do not care even if it was. As far as they are concerned the immense harm being done to biodiversity, the reduction in animal populations and global warming are political lies produced to make them pay more. All evidence put forward is seen as political scaremongering. They believe nature is some infinite, resilient pool of life that we can used, abused and destroyed without any real impact.

I am haunted by my trip to South America. Out in the wilderness of Patagonia, Brazil and Tierra Del Fuego we were expecting to see plenty of wildlife. The first wooden whalers had encountered a land of plenty. They had harvested turtles, seal lions, seal, penguins and all manner of birds. They had visited the breeding grounds, slaughtered for fun, loaded up ships with hundreds of tons of fresh meat, boiled eggs and carcasses for oil.

In their wake are the vestiges, clinging on. What once was plentiful is now scarce. We had to search for signs of life among an emptiness that shouted at us.

How to deal with the overpopulation problem.

Overpopulation is the big underlying cause of most of the world’s problems. It produces habitat destruction, pollution, and affects animal populations reducing biodiversity.

It needs dealing with as a priority before nature is driven out of business.

a. Make it a priority and publicise it.
b. Provide pensions and social welfare so people do not depend on their children when sick or in old age.
c. Provide good education for girls.
d. Educate the world.
e. Provide good sex education
f. Provide contraception and contraception advice.
g. Provide incentives for families of two or less.
h. Provide disincentives for larger families.

AI presents us with a huge opportunity. We could embrace it and spread the profits. Use AI to reduce the need for a workforce and direct people into the caring industries! Or else we leave it with the wealthy continuing to exploit us with the workforce thrown on the scrapheap as surplus to requirements.

They can all fit into Texas – a poem

‘They can all fit into Texas,’

I heard someone stupidly say.

As if packing people in so tight

Would make it all OK.


They might all fit into Texas,

But that is not the case.

Each and every one of us

Requires a great deal of space.


We have to move around

Live in homes, eat and pee.

We have to warm our houses

And use up energy.


If we were all crammed in Texas

Eight billion of us filling it.

Texas would very soon

Be knee-deep in shit.


But we’re not all in Texas.

We’re spread around the planet.

Chopping, killing, living

And making a mess of it!

Opher 26.4.2019

Among the Phosphate Mines

Among the Phosphate Mines

Arid plains, rocky terrain,
Trees in straight lines,
Sanitised brains, driven insane
Among the phosphate mines.

Opher 20.3.2019

It seems that most of the world’s phosphate comes from Morocco. It grows apricots and olives. It has oil too.
It makes you wonder why it is so poor.

The birth of extremism.

A while back I could talk to people who had different views in an intelligent manner. We could even find common ground and at least understand each other without coming to blows. There was respect. Apart from a couple of more extreme morons there was a community on the web. I even made friends with people who were of a different persuasion.

That has changed radically.

Every issue has now been politicised.

People who were friendly are now hostile. There have been many posts peppered with abuse. There are two camps who will not interact under any circumstances. If someone is in the ‘other’ camp their articles are not even going to be considered. Instead they are met with a knee-jerk stream of rubbish that doesn’t even bother to pertain to the issue at hand.

Now abuse is not the province of a few loonies – it’s mainstream.

What has caused this division and intolerance?

What has empowered the more extreme and pushed the moderate to become extreme?

In the UK it is Brexit that has brought out the racists, fascists and violence out onto the streets which in turn elicited a counter response of extreme antifascists.

In the US it is Trump that has had the same effect.

So what does it take to get back to the more pleasant environment we once had? How do extremists of both sides begin to moderate their views?

Home Schooling can be a travesty of Education.

It is about time that the government got to grips with the home schooling fiasco. While some parents have their children’s interests at heart few can provide the range of expertise to deliver good all-round education.

But the real danger lies with the Religious and Political extremists who want their kids at home so they can indoctrinate them!

Home schooling is a pit of religious and political extremism that requires dealing with.

It is good to hear that something is being done about it!

We need:

a. A register – so we know who is being educated at home and no child drops off the radar.

b. A full inspection – to ensure that the education is appropriate and good enough.

c. Or we need to stop home schooling altogether!!

The Back Lane – a short story.

I have just finished the editing of God’s Bolt and felt like having a break. This piece of writing was a go at something I had not done before. That’s always worth a try.

What do you think?

The Back Lane

Chas needed his walk. He hadn’t been out all day and it showed. He wasn’t fussing but he had a way of looking at her that communicated exactly what he was thinking. It was so transparent. She wondered how on earth he managed it. She looked out the window. Evening was setting in. If she did not go now it would be dark. Besides, she needed to clear her own head. She had work to do and that required a fully functioning brain. A long walk would do her the world of good.
‘Alright Chas,’ she said, getting to her feet. He knew exactly what that meant and bounded towards the door. She pulled on her coat, collected his lead, clipped it on and they set off.
Chas did not like being on the lead. He preferred exploring, sniffing here and there and leaving his own little messages. He pulled her towards the back lane. That was his favourite place. Jenny conceded and allowed him to lead her, while she engaged her mind in mulling over what to do. There were always problems to solve and they usually involved awkward people. Bringing in new systems upset everyone. Nobody liked change. She was responsible and it was not proving popular, or easy.
When they arrived at the back lane she let Chas off the lead and he bounded off. He’d spied a rabbit in the distance. He never got tired of chasing them, even though he’d never actually caught one. Jenny followed behind, walking slowly and thinking about how best to deal with her recalcitrant staff.
She was halfway down before she looked back. The lane was already dark – much darker than she had thought when she set off. She glanced at her watch. It was later than she had realised. Nervously she scanned the lane. There was nobody to be seen. All the other dog walkers were long gone. Chas was way up ahead. He was intent on reaching his favourite field. There were lots of rabbits there.
A creepy finger of fear crept into her mind like someone was watching her. The lane was different in the dark, much more sinister. She was tempted to call Chas back and head for home but she told herself she was just being silly. There were no wild beasts lurking in the hedges, leastways nothing that could harm her. She had not heard of anyone being savaged to death by a fox – though there was always a first time. She was just being daft. No proverbial axeman was going to leap out at her. Why would any madman hide down here? Nobody went along here after dark.
She shrugged and gathered all her resolve. She wasn’t going to be spooked by her own silly thoughts. She strode on after Chas. But now the idea was in her head she could not get rid of it. Her scalp was itching. She found her eyes darting round, alert for any shape detaching itself from the shadows. She reacted to every rustle in the undergrowth. It was only the wind she told herself, but that did little good. She was becoming nervier by the minute and by now her imagination was fully engaged.
Her mouth had gone dry and her palms wet. She found herself too frightened to call out to Chas in case it drew attention to herself and somebody homed in on her. No matter how rational she was about it, there was a fear clawing at her stomach. The idea came into her head that this was precisely the kind of place rapists and murderers did hang out, just on the off chance, waiting for silly women, just like her, to walk along all on their own. What had got into her head? Why was she down here in the dark? She was three quarters of the way down the lane by now. Her feet came to a stop. She wasn’t going any further. She was frightened. All around her the pools of dark were full of menace. She felt eyes peering at her. The lights from the village seemed a long way off. What had she been thinking? What was she doing here? Then Chas came back to her. He was no longer full of his usual energy. His exuberance had evaporated. He peered up at her in the gloom and back down the lane as if pleading to go home. What was it? It wasn’t like him. Had something, someone, spooked him? Was there somebody out there?
She anxiously peered around, but there was nothing to see. Nervously she turned for home with Chas staying close in at her legs. The dark seemed to throb, the shadows oozed with menace, and every rustle of leaves signalled looming danger, as her senses strained and her nerves were stretched to snapping. It was as if some sixth sense had kicked in. Chas had picked it up too. His ears were down, his head lowered and he loped along close in beside her. Everything about his body language suggested that he wanted out of there.
Jenny told herself that sixth senses were not real. There were no such things. There was nobody out there. No crazed rapist or murderer would be lurking down their back lane. That was daft. But a part of her knew she was just trying to fool herself. This was precisely where evil people like that always hung out, waiting for some naive fool like her to happen along, all on her ownsome. She could feel something wasn’t right, and so could Chas.
Chas was staring fixedly at a point in the bushes ahead. She came to a halt and strained her eyes but could not make anything out just an indistinct black silhouette. Was there someone crouching there? She told herself not to be silly. It was just a tree. She was desperate to avoid going past those bushes but there was no other way back. She convinced herself that it was nothing – just her eyes playing tricks, but there was something odd about that shape, something unsettling.
Jenny’s heart was racing and she wanted to break into a run but, with an effort, managed to control herself. The last thing she needed now was a sprained ankle. Reluctantly they headed back towards the welcoming lights, but also towards that shape in the bushes, she felt torn, like a rat in a maze, glancing left and right and behind as if any second expecting someone to jump out at her. She was getting closer and closer to the street lamps but still had to go past those bushes. No matter how hard she strained her eyes the shape was no clearer. It could have been anything. Then, when they were right up to it, it began to move and she felt a scream rise in her throat.


We have been betrayed and we’re fed up with it!

Right from the start we have been ignored, abused, gloated over and ridiculed. They call us REMOANERS. They tell us to stop whinging. They tell us we lost. Our views are inconsequential.

At no time was any attempt made to consider us, to include us, to find a compromise.

We were discarded and told to shut up.

What started as 16 million is now more like 20 million plus!

The polling is now 54% in favour of Remain and only 46% in favour of leave. Not the less than 2% majority – now an 8% majority in favour of staying!

We are not the minority. WE ARE THE MAJORITY!!! And by a whacking 8-10% majority

We will not be abused and ignored!!

The government have completely ignored the 16 million people who voted to remain in the EU.

Nearly half the population voted to Remain – 16 million people. But those 16 million have been brushed aside and ignored. Our views have not been taken into account. It is as if we don’t exist, are of no importance.

The extremists have taken over and are leading this country to the cliff edge!! They don’t care what happens to ordinary people just as long as they get their way and get power. The madmen have taken over the asylum!!

May chose right at the beginning to side with the ERG. She put them in charge of negotiations with the hapless David Davies in charge. They drew up red lines, said stupidly that Brexit means Brexit, made no attempt to reach across the house or the country, and pushed the most extreme form of Brexit for two and a half years.


These extremists claimed to know exactly why every single one of the 17.5 million people voted. They discounted that any of them might have voted as a protest against austerity, or in response to Johnson’s lies on his bus, or the scaremongering of the press over the 5 million Turks supposedly heading our way, or all the ones who might have preferred a soft Brexit – no – in their eyes all the 17.5 million voted for a hard, extreme Brexit.


No compromise was sought. We were shoved aside, ignored and abused with contemptuous disregard.

While people like Rees-Mogg moved his assets out of Britain to keep them safe while he sought to impose his extreme nationalistic, old-fashioned, patriotic nonsense version of Brexit on the rest of us – regardless of the cost to the country!

The government dismisses the million people who took to the streets of the capital last weekend.

While the whinging ex-banker Farage, with his pompous arrogance, led his pathetic 200 on a march in favour of Brexit, 1 million people took to the streets. Whole families who were scared for the future of the country and their children. People who cared. People who were intelligent and knew that this deal was going to ruin the future for their children.

Were they listened too? Were they taken into account? Were there voices not important enough to even acknowledge?

How many times in the past has that number of people ever taken to the streets?

It is almost unprecedented.

The government is contemptuous of the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, who want a peoples’ vote.

The biggest petition in history!! IGNORED!!!

Yet these people are concerned for their future. They love their country and don’t want to see it wrecked by a bunch of extremists who have been causing trouble all down the years, toppling PMs and governments and holding the country back.

There’s 6 million who do not want to be ruled by xenophobic extremism, by fear and petty nationalism.

There’s 6 million who want an outward looking country with good relationships and trading with our neighbours, who don’t want to bring substandard goods in from the other side of the world when we can have quality from next door.

There’s 6 million who don’t want to be a minion of the USA and Trump!!


Our fears are called PROJECT FEAR. We are told we’ve got it wrong. We believe lies. But that is not right. We have looked at the projections. We have studied the outcomes. We are told that all the experts get it wrong and are talking rubbish. BUT WE KNOW THAT LEAVING WILL HAVE A DEVASTATING EFFECT ON OUR ECONOMY AND THAT ISN’T PROJECT FEAR!

We’re not stupid. We see all the companies already fleeing into Europe! We were the sensible gateway into the EU and Common Market. We’re not now. We’ve become the untrustworthy loonies outside the gates.They won’t come back. We’re not shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re shooting ourselves in the head.

For all those voices in deprived areas, who have suffered from 10 years of Tory austerity (while the top 10% have never had it so good), who bleated that things couldn’t get much worse – OPEN YOUR EYES!! You need to get out more. We are the fifth largest economy (for the moment). The rest of the world would think the level you’ve got is heaven. We’ve got a long way to fall.

The reason why you are having hard times is because the Tories have been funnelling the money to the top end and hammering the poor.

The government brushes aside the majority of MPs who, knowing the facts about the disaster leaving will be, are staunch remainers.

The MPs know the truth! They know the effect this will have on the country. That’s is why they are Remainers. It is only the wealthy extremists and nationalist fools who are prepared to sell us down the river just so they can get their hands on power!!