A friend’s Brexit project

I had the honour of participating in a friend’s Brexit project, featuring portraits of people displaying their distress over Brexit and transcripts of what they have to say. Click on the image below to visit the site (and scroll down the page you land on to read everything).


Click on this image to see ‘Brexit! – Voices from the people. A photographic impression of fear, anger and uncertainty by Vroni Holzmann.’

Posted in People I know (not directly connected with my writing), Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ratner’s legacy business (Signet Group: H. Samuel/Ernest Jones): crap at recycling!

Ratner's legacy stores crap on recycling

A whistle-blower says that Signet Group stores, H. Samuel and Ernest Jones, make no attempt to recycle their waste, despite the group’s supposed ‘environmental stewardship’.

‘Total crap’

Gerald Ratner became notorious when he described one of his jewellery chain’s products as ‘total crap’, and unfavourably compared another to a prawn sandwich, after which the Ratner Group went into meltdown, slipped from his control, and was rebranded as the Signet Group, with UK outlets H. Samuel and Ernest Jones. Now these outlets have come to my attention for what I consider to be a far more serious matter.

Tipping point

Yesterday I spent some time reading the latest issue of the excellent Resurgence magazine, this one dedicated to the topics of regeneration and the importance of a circular economy. The biosphere’s health (our existence, in other words) is under huge threat from the way we live. We have to stop plundering non-renewable resources to produce things which are simply discarded when they no longer serve their primary purpose. We must eradicate waste and pollution. These are not just nice things to do – we are at a critical juncture, with ongoing massive loss of biodiversity and the climate change tipping point possibly upon us.

Circular economy

Resurgence was not all doom and gloom, by any means, and pointed out many positive things that are being done now (for example,  Finland’s pioneering work on establishing a circular economy).


Thinking of these things, I bumped into an acquaintance. Coincidentally, this person (‘X’) was bursting with indignation about the Signet Group’s irresponsible behaviour. X told me that he/she had worked in several of the group’s UK stores (the H. Samuel and Ernest Jones chains) and had consistently found a dismissive, if not hostile, attitude to recycling.

‘The amount of shit that’s just thrown out!’

X said, ‘The amount of shit that’s [just] thrown out [to go into landfill], you can’t even imagine!’

Apparently, if entirely recyclable materials are not looking totally perfect, then managers tend to say things like, ‘Well, just change it. They’re a bit grubby. Everything in the [landfill] bin!’

There is , I understood from X’s comments, no attempt whatsoever made to recycle anything. So much for the Signet Group’s claims regarding environmental stewardship then! Perhaps these don’t apply in Scotland?

Are other large businesses as bad?

This led to me to wonder whether other large businesses are as bad, and what steps councils and the Scottish Government are taking to monitor such things as large businesses’ recycling practices, and to encourage/enforce recycling. I shall be writing to one of my MSPs and one of my councillors about this, and also asking them to approach the Signet Group to ask for their official policies in this regard as far as their Scottish outlets are concerned.


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BBC fails to mention anti-Semitism interviewee is Friend of Israel

UN Human Rights Tweet re Israel's human rights violations.

The BBC chooses to interview a Labour Friend of Israel, without identifying her as such, re the supposed crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, rather than cover news such as this.

This morning BBC Radio 4 featured a long interview with Catherine McKinnell MP about the Labour Party’s supposed mishandling of the supposed crisis of anti-Semitism within it. (The real crisis, of course, is one of infiltration by hard-line Zionism.)

As far as I know, not once did they mention that a UN probe has just found ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ Israeli snipers intentionally shot at children and civilians during 2018 Gaza rallies, nor that Netanyahu is about to be indicted for bribery and fraud. Naturally, they also failed to discuss Israel’s role in the India-Pakistan conflict. (Which of these do you regard as the most serious and worthy of coverage – the supposed anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour Party or one of the others?)

Most significantly, the BBC did not mention that Catherine McKinnell MP is a member of Labour Friends of Israel. Could it be that the BBC unashamedly supports the actions of the apartheid, settler-colonial state of Israel, and also wants to destroy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, or am I a mad conspiracy theorist?

If you believe that as a minimum the BBC should let us know whether its interviewees on the issue of anti-Semitism are Friends of Israel, please share this article.


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A few words on Freedom of Movement…

I trust the readers of my blog will appreciate Paul Bernal’s thought on freedom of movement, which echo my own.

Paul Bernal's Blog

Early on in the Brexit ‘debate’ I was asked by someone ‘why do you care about freedom of movement? Why is it something that bothers you so much?’ It’s a question that has come up again and again ever since – and though I answer it as often as I have the energy it feels as though it will keep on coming up. It’s usually followed by a number of follow-up questions or statements that, if only those people saying them realised, explain exactly why I care about it, and why it bothers me. Rather than being, as people often suggest, a middle-class, privileged thing, it’s a critical right particularly for the working class, something of benefit to all. Rather than a tool for the neo-liberals to oppress the workers, to shunt people around Europe at a whim, it is a vital workers’ right and fits well into the long…

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I support the new HAIR definition of racism. Do you?

I support the new HAIR definition of racism in full, including the examples. #HAIRdef

The new HAIR definition of racism includes support for the policies of the Israeli government.

Israel destroying Palestinian homes in the West Bank. (© I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists / Facebook)

Racism is defined as:

  1. The belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority.
  2. Abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief.

(So far, so uncontroversial. The above is the definition of racism according to Collins Concise Dictionary.)

Examples of racism:

  1. Unqualified support for the government of the settler-colonial-apartheid state of Israel and its racist policies.
  2. Support for, or adoption, of the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and the examples appended to it.

What to do now:

If you approve of this definition, please share this post. Use the hashtag #HAIRdef and state which country you reside in (see Footnote 4.)



  1. HAIR = Hate Apartheid Israel’s Racism
  2. There is no credible biological basis for the concept of human races.
  3. More than 40 Jewish groups oppose the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Jewish Voice for Peace states:

Of particular concern is the usage of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, intentionally worded such that it equates legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.

4. Following the example of the BBC’s coverage of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, we shall describe the HAIR definition of racism as ‘internationally accepted’ as soon as we have people/organisations in more than a couple of countries proclaiming support for it. (For more on the mass media’s coverage of this issue, see Damning evidence of ‘misleading’, ‘distorted’ and ‘inaccurate’ reporting on the Labour antisemitism row.)

5. Watch the film Labour MPs didn’t want you to see.

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Want to become a veterinarian? I suggest you read this.

So you want to become a veterinarian? Get hold of this book (purchase options on this page).

Pet Hates (The Shocking Truth About Pets and vets) by Josh Artmeier - a must-read for budding veterinarians.

Want to be a vet? You may want to read this book I wrote! You can buy it directly from me at the bargain price of £3.99 + £2 P&P (UK) – click on the image. See accompanying text for other options.

If you want to become a veterinarian (veterinary surgeon), might I suggest you read my book first? It’s called Pet Hates (The Shocking Truth about Pets and Vets) for a reason!

I think it might also be a useful present if you know someone keen on becoming a vet.

It was originally for sale at £7.99, but I have decided to make it available at the following bargain prices (click on the links to order – PayPal will convert prices to your currency).

*NB You don’t need a PayPal account. Just click on the ‘Pay by Debit or Credit Card’ link when the window opens.*


Pet Hates UK £3.99 + £2 P&P


Pet Hates EU £3.99 + £3.50 P&P


Pet Hates rest of the world £3.99 + £4.50 P&P

You can also buy it on Amazon or eBay.


Got to Reviews of my vet book, Pet Hates. to read full reviews. Extracts are presented below:

Melanie Reid in The Herald:
‘A quite wicked little book of veterinarian cynicism…’

Nick Thorpe in The Sunday Times:
Ecosse section:
‘It was a dreich night at a greyhound stadium…’

Jayne Newton in the Veterinary Times:
‘He even calls in to question the whole basis of the profession itself…’

Alex Dickson on Radio Clyde 2:
‘Sneaky wee messages … very, very amusing!’

What do other veterinarians and veterinary surgeons say about the profession?

If you want to become a veterinary surgeon, I also suggest you see what others have to say about this profession.

Check out ‘Another testimony from a stressed and depressed veterinarian‘, for example, and I especially advise reading the comments below that piece from veterinary surgeons and veterinary students – real eye-openers!

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Some energy(carbon)-saving ideas…

Croft Carbon College - exciting and enjoyable workshops on carbon saving and more.

This great new initiative got me thinking about saving carbon. Click on the picture to see the huge range of exciting courses they are offering!

Here is an idea I came up with recently, inspired by the recently launched Croft Carbon College project, operated by Leith Community Crops in Pots and supported by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, which got me thinking about such things. I am generally very mindful of keeping my energy consumption low (turning off lights when I leave a room, for example), but I realised I could do more…

Turn off the water heater (boiler) and save ‘waste’ hot water from the kettle and stove in a vacuum flask.

vacuum flask

The vacuum flask – a great energy-saving invention, and an ally in the fight against climate change?

My property has no gas, only electricity (though it took years to convince British/Scottish Gas that this was the case!), and the shower heats up its own water when I use it, not relying on the boiler. I only need a little warm water for shaving and washing dishes. Although I try to boil only as much water as I need when I use the kettle,  I generally have to boil a bit more, because the element needs to be covered. Rather than leaving excess water in the kettle, I now pour it into a vacuum flask and use it later for shaving, washing dishes or, indeed, refilling the kettle when I next come to use it. In this way, I do not need to operate the boiler (which heats a large volume of water) and I can switch it off. I save electricity in two ways!

When I have used a hotplate on my stove it remains warm for some time afterwards. Rather than letting this residual heat go to waste, I put a pot of cold water from the tap on the cooling hotplate (with a lid and a dishcloth on top of it to insulate it) and leave it there for a few minutes. I then decant the heated water into the vacuum flask.

Cooking rice in a vacuum flask

This use of the vacuum flask reminded me that my mother uses a wide-mouthed vacuum flask to cook rice: she simply pours rice into it, followed by boiling water, and then closes it. After a while (half an hour, perhaps?) the rice is perfectly cooked.

Hay Box/Wonder Box/Wonderbag

This. in turn, reminded me of the wonderful Wonderbag initiative in South Africa, based on the old hay box idea. Click on the pictures below to learn more! All of these websites/publications are highly recommended.

Information on the Wonderbag initiative

‘The Wonderbag was developed to ease the social, economic and environmental impacts of the current global circumstances.
‘The Wonderbag is a non-electric, heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to a boil on a stove fire, to continue cooking for hours after it has been removed from the fuel source.
‘It’s taken years of passion, energy, and perseverance to get Sarah and the brand where it is today – 600,000 bags distributed in South Africa, first round of carbon credits registered and issued, production capabilities in Rwanda and Turkey, pilots poised to launch in Kenya, Nigeria and Somaliland, and over 4,500 bags sold in the UK, with a buy-one-give-one model to support getting Wonderbags into humanitarian relief.’

The 49M Cookbook. Great tasting energy savings.

This is a fantastic free publication from South Africa on all aspects of low-energy cooking, complete with recipes. Highly recommended!

Thermal + Haybox cooking: new ways to use an old technique

This is a summary of what you do and how it works.

Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

This is a good general introduction to the topic.

How to make a Wonder Box, thermal-retention cooker.

This site gives you detailed instructions on how to make your own Wonder Box in handy printable PDF format.

Yuppiechef website selling Wonderbags.

…And on this site you can find some commercially available Wonderbags from South Africa!

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