Op-Ed: This story has to go into Odd News; in fact it would belong in bizarre news if we had such a page.
Early in November The Independent reported "The European Parliament is to consider a plan that would allow British citizens to opt-in and keep their European Union citizenship – and its associated benefits – once the UK leaves the EU."
Saturday that story is back in the news.
"Britons wanting to retain benefits of European Union membership after the country leaves could pay Brussels for individual citizenship, European Parliament's lead Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt told The Times on Saturday."
"The scheme would allow UK citizens to pay an annual fee to receive free movement around the EU, the right to reside in other EU countries under current rules, and the right to vote in EU elections, according to Sky News."
Britain is a divided country already so imagine if that scheme becomes reality.
How much could it cost? Will it in effect allow those with money to spend a better option and exclude the poor? Will there be full dual nationality with all that can bring?
There are numerous questions and few answers at this time.
Just how practical an EU opt-in scheme would be who really knows.
Because the reality could be that even if you voted for the UK to remain in the EU you may not be able to afford the fee.
Some EU countries are already considering a visa or fee or both for Brits to enter the country post BRexit.
The problem with that is many poorer regions of the EU including some of the Spanish Islands and Costas rely heavily on tourism.
If Brits decide to vacation at home many EU countries will be financially screwed.
But then there are British residents living in the EU and vice versa.
When David Cameron staged the EU referendum he opened a real can of worms.
When the going got tough and a majority of people voted BRexit he cleared off.
As the say, never trust a Tory!
Following last week's US election there have been numerous reports of hate, racism and abuse across the Pond.
While some may be exaggerated or lies the majority are fact.
Tuesday the Washington Post reported " W.Va. mayor resigns amid controversy over racist comments about Michelle Obama."
Michelle Obama, 52, was referred to as an "ape in heels."
The orginal person commenting, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who was director of the Clay County Development Corp, said she was happy that Mrs Obama was going to be replaced saying "It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House.” She added: “I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
For this writer that means Ms Taylor is not only a bigot and racist but a fool.
The First Lady elect is a superficial looker but classy? Michelle Obama is a looker but so much more including classy and a positive role model for young women.
Still Ms Taylor may be one of those Americans fooled by Fox News into believing UKIPs interim leader Nigel Farage is the leader of the official opposition in the UK and working class. Hilarious.
So who is Melania Trump, 46?
Born in Slovenia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a citizen in 2006. She is to assume the role of First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017. She will be the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States, following Louisa Adams in 1825.
Donald J Trump, 70, spearheaded the so-called birther movement against Barack Obama but it appears fine that his much younger wife is foreign born.
Was that ridiculous birther movement all about the colour of Pres. Obama's skin?
Mayor Beverly Whaling, who commented approvingly on the Facebook post comparing the first lady to an ape, turned in her letter of resignation Tuesday. Taylor, the director of a government-funded nonprofit group was removed from her position Tuesday.
Whaling tried to say she was not approving of Taylor's "ape in heels" statement but rather the election of Trump. But she did not call the other woman out.
Both women removed their comments and Facebook pages but it was too late.
Screengrabs are quick and lasting.
The incident quickly went viral and caused outrage.
But sadly such vile opinions and comments will continue but be shared privately.
After all you cannot fix STUPID.
Op-Ed: When David Cameron and the Tory Party were in cahoots with the Liberal Democrat Party, sorry that should say coalition government, Nick Clegg ensured that free schools meals for all children in a particular age group were guaranteed.
My particular gripe at the time was that meant ALL children even those with rich parents would be eligible.
It did not take long for the Tory government to ditch that pledge once they were set free from the Liberal Democrats but it was from the sublime to the ridiculous.
In order to save money the free school meals pledge was ditched when in truth it would have been better to means-test it.
But the Tories are always so keen to make sure their voters are kept in the loop this is what tends to happen. A fairly paltry winter fuel allowance paid to pensioners is paid to ALL pensioners wealthy or poor.
The Tories cut the value of the winter fuel allowance rather than means-testing it and it could also be scrapped by the heartless nasty party.
Take a look at the above letter sent to parents of a child who is a member of a family struggling to make ends meet.
Does it make you feel proud to be British, English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh if you are a resident of the United Kingdom.
While currently much is being blamed on the as yet unfulfilled BRexit the issue of poor children and families with little disposable is ongoing.
Wednesday unelected Prime Minister Theresa May rounded of an expensive Tory Party conference with her maiden speech in that role.
There was a great deal of talking the talk as she tried to persuade people to vote Tory, join that party, ditch UKIP or Labour and put their faith in the party of hard working people.
Well DisMay or is that Mrs Mayhem tell that to parents who cannot afford household necessities but who work hard yet still have to rely on income top-ups through the social security system we all pay into but which you like to class as a hand out called welfare.
As your government continues to slash such income top ups do you really believe your party hype. More importantly how do you sleep at night?
Below is an image showing part of the pricing structure for the Conservative Party conference. Just how out of touch are they?
Opinion: This odd news concerns the Burkini beach ban in France and reactions to a copycat stunt on a beach in Britain.
Following a series of deadly incidents with links to self-styled terrorist organisation Islamic State a ban on women wearing the "burkini" on French beaches was implemented. It has been overturned after a court challenge but some local councils will still try to prevent women wearing the burkini.
"Last week, France's highest court ruled the ban illegal and said it constituted a "serious and manifestly illegal violation of fundamental freedoms", but at least 20 mayors subsequently said they would defy that ruling."
What is the Burkini?
The Burkini is beachwear that covers more of a woman than traditional 21st century beachwear. For me it looks like a tunic with leggings worn with a type of head scarf.
It is not that different to women's beachwear from the early 1900s.
In my opinion it looks just as attractive on a young slender woman as other beachwear and on the rest of us looks fine. It covers no more of the body than a wetsuit and the conclusion has to be it was banned as a burkini somehow psychologically poses a perceived threat to western values.
In France one young woman was forced to remove her burkini by gun carrying police. To be fair all police in France are armed. But its was a bad look to send around the world resulting in the ban being lifted.
The French cop story quickly went viral though there are now allegations it was a set up.
In the UK this August Bank Holiday weekend a small group of people put the burkini police response to the test.
Middle East Eye reports "Actors recreated scene of 'police officer' ordering a Muslim woman to remove full-length swimsuit to see how others on beach reacted."
Last weekend at Southend-on-Sea a male actor dressed in a police unifirm confronted a female actor dressed in a Burkini demanding she removed the garment.
But we British citizens are a funny bunch and overall we like fair play and respect.
""You can't wear it at the beach. You are wearing it because you are oppressed," the fake police officer tells the woman. He then grabs the woman's head covering and tries to pull it off. But it isn't long before a crowd has gathered around to protest, with one woman telling the 'officer', "You can't do that. It's religious. You cannot discriminate her against her religion.""
One difference is our police officers are not routinely armed but they do carry tasers and truncheons.
But the offended crowd still acted bravely in challenging the man they thought was a police officer.
We watched it on TV news initially thinking it was a genuine news report of an officer and a member of the public and were very angry.
There is still hope then but sadly Islamophobia is on the increase eveywhere and that includes Britain.
According to the mainstream media and some Labour MPs the Labour Party is in the grip of bullies, entryists, former and exisiting "Trots" and more with all reportedly supporting Jeremy Corbyn.
Those supporting most other Labour MPs are allegedly the exact opposite. I say most as there have been similar accusations against Corbyn's long standing colleague and friend John McDonnell.
There are reports of party suspensions; individual members and in at least one case a whole Constituency Labour Party or CLP suspended this week.
Labour has gone into lockdown as various MPs work hard to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and remove him from office rather than undertaking their paid work.
Whether Corbyn is re-elected or not he is toast as far as they are concerned.
They will continue to work to rule and work on removing him as party leader no matter how long it takes.
Currently the Labour Party has a whiff of McCarthyism about it.
Social media accounts are being trawled for any excuse to remove certain members from the party.
Earlier in the year it was accusations of anti-semitism but now it is allegations of bullying.
But what is bullying and intimidation?
PLP dissenters have shown themselves to be bullies time and again this year. When they chanted resign at Corbyn in the House of Commons it was workplace bullying pure and simple.
But though they dish it out they cannot take it as they say.
This report from April, and not April's Fool Day, was perhaps a sign of things to follow:
New rules governing the conduct of Labour party members in South Tyneside have been branded as “laughable” by political opponents.
For me "Compliance Unit" has a ring of Big Brother about it.
Bullying can sometimes be experienced at any age in life. It is wrong and unacceptable.
But suspension from the party for rolling your eyes in a political meeting when passions can run high and tempers fray is in my opinion insane.
South Shields is in the North of England. People in the North of England often have tough lives.
I can only imagine their response to the Labour letter.
Op-ed: In June 2015 British lottery bosses Camelot announced they were making changes to the game. Try as they might to spin the obvious negative changes into a positive people were not fooled.
So when I received the following email Tuesday evening I concluded that we were all right all along and Camelot had played dirty and maybe had done so again.
In December 2014, we changed the prize payout percentage to the UK Millionaire Maker part of the EuroMillions game from 50% to 42%.
So can you trust Camelot?
Who or what are their good causes?
There is little transparency it seems.
[From the comments below was the email even genuine-well we await confirmation either way.
When the UK lottery began it was a once a week affair but it did not take long for greedy bones to take advantage of those who like a gamble.
In 2016 there are midweek draws, Euromillions to win, weekend draws, Thunderballs, scratch cards and so much more.
When the British nanny state worries about the level of sugar in food and decides to enforce a sugar tax on some foods you have to wonder why they do not give a toss about gambling.
Of course the answer is simple-they can make money out of that.
But get hooked on gambling and you are on a downhill road to nowhere.
As they say the banker always wins.
I doubt many people play the lottery to help good causes; you can do that any time you want.
Most people play for a bit of fun along with a hope they may win big.
And some people have won very big.
But the only true big lottery winner is Camelot.
National Lottery owner Camelot sold to Canada teachers.
Another big UK sell off then.
Best avoid the lottery and put your money elsewhere.
Premium bonds do not pay interest but offer a small chance of a win; and when you want to cash your premium bonds in you get back exactly what you invested. That has to be a better option than helping fund a foreign pension scheme?
Op-ed; Driverless lorries have been undergoing viability tests in the UK for some time but soon they will be hitting our motorways.
In 2014 the Daily Mail reported "Automated 'road trains' of lorries controlled by just one driver are coming to Britain next year."
Testing continued but they will be trialled in 2016 on UK roads bringing the reality of driverless vehicles another step closer.
March 16, UK Chancellor George Osborne is expected to include an announcement relating to driverless lorries in his spring budget statement. Pundits say Osborne will be investing in the driverless lorry technology in an attempt to cut road congestion and speed up deliveries; an added bonus for some is they use less fuel and cut the workforce.
"The Times reported trials would take place on the M6 in Cumbria later in 2016, with vehicles in convoy headed by a driver in the leading lorry. The tests would take place on a quiet stretch of the motorway, it said."
As always for anything with potential negatives or hazards the North of England is selected to be a testing ground.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, has already cast doubts on the viability of driverless lorries operating efficiently and effectively on the British motorway system. He draws attention to the differences between British roads and those in Germany where the technology is up and running and is sceptical about its use in the UK.
The driverless lorries would operate in a convoy with one person in the lead vehicle. The other vehicles will have technology fitted that is designed to prevent then blocking roads or crashing into other vehicles.
But as we all know technology is a wonderful thing when it works and works correctly.
If you have sat looking into a blank screen when your computer hits a glitch you will know what I mean.
So will driverless lorries actually make British roads safer?
But like it or lump it the day of the automaton replacing staff is almost here. Unmanned tills in supermarkets, banks closing to be replaced by hole in the wall cash machines; technology working in some warehouses and machines pretty much manufacturing cars is already reality in Britain.
How fast that reality extends is in part down to governments; because in the UK the current British government wants employees to work into greater old age but doing just what we wonder?
Note: The company behind the driverless lorries destined for the UK is Daimler. Daimler AG is a German multinational automotive corporation. Daimler AG is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
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