I was somewhere among the hundreds of people who turned up on this day in 1998 to lend support to the Lawrence family during the Macpherson Enquiry. Stephen Lawrence had been dead for 5 years by this time. I watched the killers come out of the building.

They were utterly devoid of any shred of shame, humanity or remorse. They goaded the crowd through hand gestures and bodily swagger. Their confidence had been bolstered, I am guessing, by the lack of evidence and an ensuing conviction.

I wondered then as I do now – what was it in their upbringing, social environment and personal characters that had contrived to give them such a sense of false superiority? They had killed a Black boy but quite obviously were racist down to every cell of their body so as not to give a damn about their actions and consequences. You had to be there to see it.

In the three part documentary screened on BBC1 we learn that Enoch Powell was a hero of theirs. We see them spouting utter hatred for people based on skin colour. These boys personifed that (ugly) American label of ‘White trash’. They suffered from a feeling of White superiority despite being uneducated as compared to Stephen Lawrence who had dreams of being an architect.

Has the 20 intervening years made any difference? I don’t think so. Trump’s supporters suffer from high doses of White superiority malaise. In the UK, UKIP strives to keep this going. The Tories are hanging their heads in shame over the Windrush fiasco. And somewhere a White community is still colluding over withholding evidence in the killing of Stephen Lawrence.

 

I once had a very demanding boss. On the occasions when his demands were super unrealistic, I would wait till he had finished before asking him whether he wanted a Unicorn thrown in too. On National Unicorn Day, Brexiters, in the same vein,  would be wise to contemplate whether their list of demands needs to be accompanied with the question, ‘Would I like a Unicorn too with that?’

Evidence points to Britain coming worst off after withdrawing from the EU. On an everyday level of living food prices are predicted to rise, jobs will be lost and slower growth is forecasted.  As for UK democracy, rule based Liberal democracy is being eroded in the quest for a Brexit that will only satisfy the right wingers.

The left-wingers who voted for Brexit have, in my opinion, made the similar sort of mistake which led Hillary Clinton’s supporters to reject her politics in favour of Trump because they wanted change. This voting strategy let Trump and his alt-right politics in. While the EU is in many ways an undemocratic institution the alternative is a further drag on democracy and the evidence is being played out everyday.

So, Brexiters, would you like a Unicorn with your wish list on National Unicorn Day?

P/S I love Unicorns myself but I know that they don’t exist.

 

 

A desk that helps with active working sounds like a paradox but that is what the Yo-Yo Desk® allows you to do. It is an innovative intervention that allows for a half-way solution between having to use a desk for long hours and helping to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I have spent two weeks reviewing a Yo-Yo Desk® MINI  which was supplied by Sit-Stand.Com® and am delighted with the lifestyle changes that it has enabled me to make. Much of what I do involves sitting at a desk. I am studying for a postgraduate qualification, I blog and I have a day job. For most of the working week I am sitting at desks for hours at a time and, often, late into the night. Much as I enjoy blogging, studying and working I need to stay active because I suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome and am diabetic.

It is imperative for me to keep active which is why I was delighted to review the Yo-Yo Desk® MINI . Quite simply, the Yo-Yo Desk®  is a ‘standing’ desk riser that sits on top of your workspace, with the ability to simply adjust its height so you can work sitting or standing. It is easy to set up and needs to be placed on a strong sturdy surface to be used at standing height. There are various settings for the user to get it to a height that is suited to them.

 

Do be aware that this is not a portable standing desk product. It is perfect if you have a home office or dedicated workspace, but is not the standing desk for you if you need to be moving it from place to place. The Sit-Stand.Com® website gives full details of weight and dimensions of the Yo-Yo Desk®, which comes in a variety of sizes to suit all needs.

The health benefits to using the Yo-Yo Desk® are numerous. I have felt more inclined to stretch my back every hour or so and have less niggles and discomfort. I realise that standing for a long time will not suit people who suffer from serious back problems. Standing time will have to be adjusted accordingly in these circumstances.

When you work from a standing position, it is advised to use an active standing product such as the Yo-Yo Mat®. It’s a supportive anti-fatigue mat that encourages incremental movements when you are standing, reduces fatigue on your joints and the aching feet you can suffer from standing on a hard surface. Experts recommend it.

Sufferers of Restless Leg Syndrome move their legs frequently to stay comfortable. It is an affliction that can strike at any time and mostly at night. Over the years I have often wished for a standing desk of some sort that would enable me to keep working while doing ridiculous things like jumping up and down or kicking my legs around. When these restless moments strike at 2am, or whatever hour of the early morning, the tension between having to be quiet so as not to disturb the whole household and having to be active is hard to say the least. Instead, I have been able to confine myself to one room in my home, lights switched on with legs moving while still working on my computer to keep my mind occupied.

My fitness level has gone up too since working at my standing desk which helps with managing Diabetes Type 2. Previously, I would get so tired at the end of the day that I was more likely to forego getting on my exercise bike. Standing, somehow, has made me more inclined to exercise. Perhaps I was far too lazy to get off the chair and exercise whereas the laterality from standing to exercising seems far less of an effort. A placebo effect perhaps but it works.

My Yo-Yo Desk® MINI is large enough to accommodate many books and my IT gadgets such as Tablet and phones. There is more than enough space for a laptop and writing material to be used at the same time. There is a tray upon which you can place a keyboard too. The mini desk comes in two colours – Black and White and in three sizes. I have a Black one which suits the décor of my home.

I would recommend a Yo-Yo Desk® as a way of combating long hours spent sitting whether this is at the office, at home or, as in my case, in both scenarios. It is affordably priced at just over £200 and can be directly purchased from Sit-Stand.com. 

 

Following the Salisbury attack the EU has now recalled the ambassador to Moscow. In a tit for tat move which saw Britain expel Russian diplomats followed by Russia expelling British diplomats, the recalling of the EU ambassador escalates the expulsions. While withdrawing diplomatic staff may send a strong message of sorts does it not also create a vacuum of diplomacy?

If you consider that the role of an ambassador is to act as an informed official on the ground who is able to be a mediator and a lightning rod for geopolitical conflicts then, surely, the withdrawal of such a person creates a knowledge and power vacuum.

One of the most memorable instances in history of the successful role that a diplomat plays was, ironically, during the Cold War. George Kennan was an American diplomat based in Russia who devised America’s foreign policy strategy of containment which he conveyed through a ‘Long Telegram’ (8.000 words) sent to America in 1946. His advise became an integral part of the Cold War diplomacy that played out subsequently.

Sasson Sofer, an expert in diplomacy who wrote numerous books, said that military victory cannot serve solely as the foundation of an enduring peace and laboured the point that diplomats who practise the art of diplomacy were essential actors in constructing long lasting peace.

The Salisbury attack has induced a Hobbesian type insecurity which is completely understandable. In such a climate diplomacy may be seen as an unnecessary foreign policy tool kit. However, if a coalition of consensus is being sought among EU and other world leaders in responding to the Salisbury attack do we not need diplomats to convey this consensus to the enemy and to seek a counter-response? It can’t be left to the media surely especially given the ridiculously state biased coverage by the BBC and Russia Today. Recalling ambassadors seems like a hollow victory.