You’re lucky …  Perhaps not.  How about there may be some who may appreciate my writing this given that I was contemplating a mental health day?  That dreadful cold/influenza Becca left me with has made a resurgence and the effort involved in trying to engage one’s brain while attempting to combat a stuffed nose … well, as one can imagine, it’s a stress I could do without.  You know me, though, I shall fight on!  Meanwhile, they are advertising a new adaptation for television of the book The Tattooist of Auschwitz.; one based on the real-life story of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner held in Auschwitz-Birkenau during WWII who escaped death when tasked with tattooing ID numbers on the arms of his fellow prisoners.  Perspective.  Hold onto it!

It has been a good week, one might say, for the illiterate and the narcissistic.  Firstly, after 75 years, Mattel has made a significant change to its classic game.  Comprising a double-sided board, the new version- on the flip side – will include helper cards, use a simpler scoring system and be quicker to play.  Thank God for that!  Wouldn’t want anybody to have to think, now, would we?!  No, no, word is (so slick) this new version ‘is designed to be more collaborative and accessible for those who find word games intimidating’.   Oh, and don’t forget – as Ray Adler, Vice President & Global Head of Games at Mattel says: ‘we want to ensure the game continues to be inclusive for all players.’  Phew!  For a second, there, I thought they’d missed the key word …

Apparently, Mattel found that younger people – Gen Z people (and I thought Star Trek in the Seventies was pure fantasy) – don’t like the competitive nature of the game.  Thus, along with helper cards, this new version can be played in teams: Merino, Texel, Suffolk, Shropshire, just a few ideas for names.  Anyway, should the educated amongst us wish to partake in this new, all-inclusive, non-competitive game, one should first note that – to make it easier (could it be any easier?!) – many, many new ‘words’ are now permitted.  For example, ‘CAZH’ is now the accepted abbreviation of the actual word, ‘casual’ and, moreover, those four non-sensical letters have a value of 18 points!  Genius.  Examples of other now accepted words?  ‘RIDIC’ and ‘BEZZY’.  Unbelievable.  Next, they’ll be accepting the likes of ‘VIZ’!

So, the race to the lowest common denominator adopts the speed of a bobsleigh …  I did also mention that it could be considered a good week for narcissists.  Thus, the Home Office and Police have announced their plans to massively expand facial recognition surveillance in the UK.  Smile for the camera!  Claiming a budget of £230 Million, the initiative will commence with facial recognition software being added to fixed cameras at train stations.  Next?  The purchase of a convoy of new, live facial recognition vans before increasing the software to include the likes of police officers’ mobile phones.  Be sore afraid!  This is not just a slippery slope, this is a cliff edge in terms of civil liberty and the public’s right to privacy.  Why should we pay the price – with our privacy and our freedom – for the under-resourcing and failure of the police?  In a country where rape prosecutions are at the level of approximately 1% …

Proportionate to the population, the UK has as many CCTV cameras in position as there are in China.  Add facial recognition software to all these cameras and we would be living in the most unimaginable dystopian surveillance state.  Of course, the apathetic masses may argue that there is nothing to fear: if one has nothing to hide, then one has nothing to fear.  However, it is the semantics of the word ‘nothing’ which may be deemed to be ambiguous.  Privy to the very minutiae of one’s life, courtesy of cameras on every corner, the Government has the power to move the goalposts on a whim: you have exceeded your quota of petrol this week; you have insufficient funds in your account; you have consumed more than the permitted daily allowance of alcohol; you have said the wrong thing!  Think about it.   An authoritarian surveillance state is to be feared by all, on every level, one of which being the potential for mis-identification.  Innocent people are being wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit.  Who will argue your case when it comes to police quotas?

£230 Million.  Why not spend that fortune on increasing the number of police on the ground solving real crimes rather than sitting at their desks issuing incidence numbers for emergencies or apprehending people in their own homes for voicing an opinion, online or otherwise, which does not comply with the woke narrative?  There can be no justification for building an enormous surveillance network in the UK, similar only to those in China and Russia.  China and Russia?  Never mind Star Trek in the Seventies, seems 007 was a fairytale!

Oh, boy!  That still allowed or should I be expecting a knock on my door?  I know, sounds ridic but nothing is beyond the realms of lunacy these days.  I wonder if that proposed incentive of £3,000 to persuade failed asylum seekers to go to Rwanda is still on offer?  Since reading Dian Fossey’s book, Gorillas in the Mist, in 1983 and seeing the subsequent film, I have always wanted to go and see the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains.  To share a planet with these wise creatures; to have the opportunity to look into their eyes …  Back to nature.  An escape from the bedlam.

I would suggest that one, at least, avoids Wales where, this week, a government working group decreed that the introduction of the four-day week could be deemed as racist being that it would discriminate against ethnic minority groups working in front-line public sector roles.  Racist?  Might just be easier to list – on one hand – anything, today, which cannot be linked to the colour of one’s skin … if, indeed, there is anything!  What if I choose to buy a white chocolate bar rather than a dark one?  Is that racist?  Enough!  Why not address the elephant in the room.  It has nothing to do with the colour of one’s skin and everything to do with class.  Always has been.  Always will be.  In the words of Stephen Pound, former Labour MP, on GB News’ Britain’s Newsroom last Thursday: ‘Class trumps race every time’.  There it is.  In black and white.

People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes?  Does it have to do with class and money?  It has to do with dreams.’

Ralph Lauren

Dreams.  Windows to the sky …

This is Trish, signing off.