Top Armies in the World {part two}

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The Army is one of a country’s first lines of defence from invaders and it has been that way for centuries. But some of these forces are stronger than others. Across the world, different countries are trying to ensure that their country is the best with high-tech weaponry and soldier training. This is the second part of this series and you can read part one here.

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Why I voted to leave the EU

EU

Since the result of the EU referendum was announced on Friday that just over half the UK wanted to leave the EU, the country has been in uproar. The pound fell 13% and the UK went from the 5th largest economy in the world to the 6th overnight. France has threatened to throw British border control out of Calise, leaving the UK open to thousands of migrants entering every year. And on Sunday morning, when I was expecting to get stuck into the ironing and mop the floors, I heard that nearly half the shadow cabinet had walked out on the Labour party. The only silver lining I heard was that Donald Trump will still trade with the UK regardless of our position in Europe. Yep, the silver lining is that if Donald Trump becomes President, the UK will not get shafted in trade agreements with the USA.

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Autistic People: The one minority It’s okay to mock

Before we get started, I should clear some things up about myself.

I have Aspergers Syndrome, for those who are not in the know, it’s a form of high functioning Autism which, in my case leads to difficulties in communication, social anxiety and a whole litany of other completely brilliant differences between me and the average, or “neurotypical” person.

That last part was sarcasm by the way, another thing that people with Aspergers sometimes have difficulty with.

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It’s not easy

The last time I went to see my mother-in-law she was stressed. When I walked into the house, she didn’t look up from the mountain of paperwork which lay around her. She flicked between different bits of paper, muttering under her breath, completely consumed with the task at hand. When she did finally look up, it was not to say hello to me or give her grandchildren cuddles, she looked to her husband and said “How far can Matthew walk?”

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A woman’s place is peace

Thirty years ago, my country was classed as war-torn. Soldiers marched the streets, bombs exploded, and people lived in fear. You could be pulled from a busy street and shot for being the wrong religion. Schools were targeted and places of worship were blown up. But I didn’t grow up in Syria or Iraq. It was Northern Ireland. Within the last thirty years, the entire country has done a u-turn and is finally at peace with itself. Today anyone can walk the streets freely, without fearing for their safety. We hosted the MTV awards, pop stars make music videos in our fields, and it provides the back drop for “Game of Thrones” TV series. Now it is the place to be. Religious extremism was the back bone of Northern Irish society, making it no different from other countries like Iraq or any other nation where religion is the excuse for killing.

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An open letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg

I was so excited to hear that you are taking such a pro-active approach to fix “Broken Britain”, especially seeing as you want to make children spend time with their absent parents. I wish you could hear the sarcasm in voice because that is by far the stupidest idea I have ever heard. Let me explain the harsh simple truth behind this problem- most of these “absent parents” are absent for a reason, because their kids don’t want to see them. For most people it has nothing to do with denying access, sure it happens, but if you ask most of these children why they don’t see the other parent, it boils down to not wanting to see them. And now you want to force children like my daughter to spend “quality time” with someone they hate. Nice one.

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A new hope for us all

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Before Christmas when I hopped on to the laptop and logged on to my social media sites, my various news feeds were filled with the news from Ferguson. First of all, I will admit, being in Northern Ireland, I don’t really keep up to date with American news like this. I knew a little bit about it, a teenager was shot by a cop. That was it. It wasn’t until the verdict was announced and the riots started that I became fully aware of the situation, or as informed as you can be with digging through Facebook, Twitter and the various news sites. All the information which I had access to had been regurgitated repeatedly, the information was in the form of twisted opinion and hearsay of what happened, there was very little in the way of facts. But a few things became to light. An 18 year old boy who was unarmed was shot 6 times by a police officer and his dead body was left in the street for hours. That is beyond scary.

First of all, everyone online had an opinion, an ill informed opinion. My news feeds were filled with anger and rage despite people not having the full facts of what happened. We will never know exactly what happened and we will never have all the facts. Was there any footage of the incident? Security cameras or mobile phone footage? Not that I’ve seen, so we will never know exactly what happened. To assume what happened was based on race or someones prejudice of another human is a dangerous game to play.

Second, the fact that race is even part of the conversation is scary. People, we live in the 21st century. Race, religion, gender, or sexual preference should not be an issue to society any more. Personally I couldn’t care if you are a gay purple man with boobs, if you are nice to me then I’ll be nice to you. I never judge a person in the first instance, I’ll get to know before I decide if you are an asshole or not. If these things are still issues in this day and age, then something needs to be done about it. And screaming about it on the internet is not helping matters. If this offends you then you need to educate yourself and those around you rather than getting all hot and bothered on the otherside of your computer screen.

I’m no expert on this, not by a long shot but I do know this, if you can’t trust your police force then it needs to be changed. Police and civilians need to have the protection of the law. Police should wear body cameras so that things like this can’t happen. Video evidence is the only answer if a white cop has race issues and hides behind his badge and gun to dish out his own version of justice. And guns are never the answer. There are so many other ways, non-lethal ways for crowd control and to take a suspect into custody, guns are not necessary anymore. But tonight, just think of Michael Brown and hope that something positive can come of this. Lets challenge that race card, ask more from the police, and hope that some day news like this will be a distance memory but the victims are never forgotten.

The magic is gone

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Recently I posted about what is happening in Ferguson and around America after a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer. So what has happened? Everything and nothing. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across America to protest at the system and it’s not surprising. Over the course of my adult life I have learnt so much about the system and how it doesn’t work. People struggle on minimum wage while politicians snooze in Parliament and spend our tax money on cars and holidays. Those who are supposed to protect us use their power, which was given by us, to bully and torture those they believe are less than worthy. And the people are tired and angry. So what can be done? We have given this power and our trust to these people thinking they will do a good job and look after us, but instead they have used this power to further their own gains.

I know exactly what is going to happen next and no-one is going to like it. In the not too distance future, we the people will be tagged so that our movements can be traced 24/7. There will be more security cameras and they will watch our every move. As our towns and cities become more densely populated these sorts of measures will become necessary to protect us, the people. But we won’t like it, it will infringe on our right to freedom. This is George Orwell’s book “1984” coming to life and there is nothing that we can do about it. We don’t trust those in power and they don’t trust us.

The protests and riots in America may be about the shooting of Michael Brown but it brings to light so many more issues. This is not a race thing, this is a power thing. You either have it or you don’t. Michael Brown was up against a cop, Darren Wilson. Darren had the power and Michael didn’t. In Britain we are faced with the same thing with legal action being taken by the victims of sexual abuse from decades ago. People with power used their status and standing to commit awful crimes of sexual abuse against children which lasted for years and would have remained hidden if it hadn’t been for a few brave souls who stood up and spoke out. Power verses no power.

So what is next for us? Will we be tagged like animals by those in power? Probably. Will the issue of power go away? Not likely. It has been around for so long I’m not sure if it will. It has been dressed in so many forms and will probably continue to be dressed up as race, gender, sexual preference, or whatever new label that we think of. The only thing I can do is educate my children about equality and fairness, maybe with a bit of luck it will the next generations who actually change the world.