So Long Abritinbergen.com … And Hello blog.kierenlovell.eu!

Hello all!

Well, I have now fully moved back to Cambridgeshire, in England. Starting my new transition, back in my home Country, starting a brand new career……. Exciting times!

So, its time to close down this blog, and start up another one!

Thank you, everyone, to my friends, followers, and family that have made my time in Norway so fantastic!

I hope to join you on my new blog “blog.kierenlovell.eu

Have a great day!

Liberals…. Why do people think this is a dirty word?

Well, it is time for Kieren to get political.

It is a Kieren rant, so please, put the kettle on, it maybe some time until you get to the bottom of this blog.

My major point is President Obama in the United States, and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the United Kingdom, have one thing in common. They are both hated by both sides of the political spectrum, for something I admire.

They are liberal, and they compromise.

Why is it that compromise has become such a dirty word in politics? Compromise is key in any relationship, albeit running the Worlds most powerful Country (That comment is in regards Obama, I am afraid Clegg :-p ) or if you are with a partner. Compromise is finding centre ground, and making a go at it. To do the will of the people, rather than to just will the people to do what you state.

The best governments we have ever had in Britain in order to get stuff done have been the wartime coalitions, especially in World War 2. The parties coming together for the common cause, finding a middle way, and choosing the path ahead without major knee jerk reactions to the left or right.

We, in the United Kingdom, have found ourselves in the last 3 years in a coalition with the Conservative party, with the Liberal Democrats.  This unlikely compromise isn’t viewed too well in the media, and with good cause. Mainly, that Rupert Murdock owns most of it. He wanted an outright Conservative win, and the British people didn’t vote for that. They voted for Coalition.

For some reason, both sides of the political spectrum consider Obama and Clegg are weak for their liberal viewpoints, and a lot of members in their own parties are distancing themselves from them and taking a more hard line approach.

Why is this? My profession has been in the Military. Of course, in such a profession, democracy is what we protect, we don’t practice it. However, a Good Officer is one that takes the hard decisions, whilst taking into consideration the welfare of their force under his or her Command. Not everyone will be absolutely happy, but then its discussed and put forward in a proper way.

This is what Obama and Nick do. They are taking the will of the people and making a compromise in order to attempt to make it work, not just listening to their party. It is what we should want our leaders to do.

Of course, there is a lot of things that I disagree with in regards to Obama’s policies, however they are done in order to be the pragmatist he needs to be. He is President of the United States, not “Leader of the Democrat Party”.

I am proud of being a Liberal Democrat. I believe in equal rights, in all aspects, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and for disabled people. I believe in the welfare state, but a welfare state that is active in getting people trained, active, and working, not a welfare state than supports a lethargic attitude. However, I do not think this lethargic attitude is the fault of those all in the system, but more the fact that they have been cast aside, and devoid of hope. This must be paramount in any system. Hope.

I also believe in a free market, but a regulated free market, that promotes free enterprise and small businesses to start up, but one that stops tax evasion of large corporations and maintains a livable wage for all. I am pro a strong, working, democratic European Union, working together to provide a good standard of living, and strong opportunities for education, travel, and careers, regardless of “who you are” but “what you can do”.

Of course, the leader of my party, whilst these are his pledges, hasn’t been able to deliver all of these. Of course he hasn’t. He is not in charge, he is in a Coalition. However, we now have Gay marriage in the law books of the United Kingdom, the tax on the first 12,500 GBP earned is now not taxed, bringing lower paid earners more money into their pocket, and all school children within the United Kingdom have a free lunch at school, among many other good policies. These policies would not have got in, if he didn’t compromise.

Obama has had the same problem. I think that Obamacare is nowhere near what I think a healthcare system should be like. I would like to see a full, Universal healthcare system like we have in the UK and in Norway. However, the compromise he made had to be made, because he would never have got that through. The fact that he compromised, means that he gave healthcare to millions of Americans that would have been otherwise unprotected, albeit it was not ideal, but it was a step in the right direction.

Compromise doesn’t make you a smaller man. Compromise means that, however slowly it may feel, is that we can make a difference, until the aim is achieved.

I feel the aim of a Liberal is to give hope and aspiration to all. Conservatives use fear.

Unfortunately, Fear sells.

Why is this? Think of all the amazing political speeches of our times……

  • “We will fight them on the beaches”
  • “I have a dream”
  • “Ich bin ein Berliner”

Just a few examples, but they are all full of hope, not of hate. To instill passion. To install a dream of a better future.

We liberals need to learn again to come to our roots, and bring this message of hope to all, and to tell this message.

If you want to bring an end to long-standing conflict, you have to be prepared to compromise. Aung San Suu Kyi

Shootings In Canada: Soldier killed and Ottawa on lockdown

BBC News Story – Ottawa, Canada

I have just seen in the news that there has been gunman on the rampage, with a Soldier at the War Memorial. This happened immediately after Canada had raised the Threat Level for terrorism after another Soldier was killed in a ‘hit and run’ attack from a converted Muslim.

I have had the privilege of working with some fine Canadian people from Her Majesties Canadian Armed Forces, and my heart and prayers go out to their families, their friends, to Ottawa and Canada has a whole.

We all have our separate identities, but all within the Armed Forces in NATO, and in the Commonwealth, are part of an extended family.

As such, I want everyone in Canada to know, that as a Brit, I know that we share your pain, and I know as a Nation that we will be by your side.

Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, ……. Whatever religion, we must remember that it is not these religions that teach or preach these heinous crimes, that it is elements of human society that have warped the meanings of these beautiful texts, for their own personal gain, or their own personal grievances.

They are bigots, and do not represent any religion, any race, or any people, other than that of mad men, and of cowards.

I know this poem is traditionally said on the Remembrance Sunday, but feel that is apt to be said today, because its one paragraph that should be ingrained in every part of our society.

For Canada, For The Fallen, And for their Service.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

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Five Days To Go!

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Soon, On my way to Sunny Cambridge! Well, thats a sentence I never thought I would write… “Sunny Cambridge”. Still, compared to Bergen……

As is tradition, I’ve decided to be ill on my last week before I depart. Between bouts of sweating, and then freezing myself to death, I thought I’d write this and say… To all my friends in Norway.. you better come and visit me in Cambridge :-p

Mum, put the kettle on, I’ll be there in a minute….. Tea, White, No sugar :-p

To everyone else, the message I gave at the start, is the message I give at the end.

Keep Calm & Be Awesome!

Norwegian style Pancakes…. and Bacon

God I love bacon.

I mean, seriously love Bacon. If there was a pile of Bacon 6 foot tall, I would marry it, move in together, and take long walks into the country together.

Of course, all men generally love Bacon. But Norway is up there with Britain in its adoration of the stuff.

However, Norwegian thin pancakes with Bacon? And Jam? That is the food of the God’s my friend.

Personally, I’ve never really been too fond of the American style pancakes, and I’ve only ever had them with Bacon before, and that isn’t my cup of tea. Norwegian one’s, however…. just pure bliss!

So, here is how to make them!

Norwegian Pancakes (six servings)

3 eggs (medium)
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 cup Plain Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Beat the eggs and milk in the container of a blender.
Add the flour, salt and sugar, and blend until smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray or butter. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet, and tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Cook until the top looks dry, about 30 seconds. Carefully slide a spatula under the pancake and flip. Cook for a few seconds on the other side, just until browned. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining batter.

Add Fried Bacon.

Add More Bacon.

Add Jam to taste.

Norwegian Hytta / Cabin Retreat

Well, ever approaching comes the day when I will be leaving Norway, and returning to ‘the Shire’, Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.

So, before I depart, I’m spending a great weekend in the Mountains. Whilst I maybe typing this now, there is no mobile, no internet, no Television, just a fireplace, a cabin, and as a life “cheatcode”, my BlackBerry Playbook loaded with some classics books, and I have just finished a mavelous tome at that – John Buchan’s ‘The Gap in the Curtain’ – So you’ll get this blog a lot later than I composed it.

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As feelings go, there is nothing better than being next to a roaring fireplace, the crackling and poping of wood, with a Steaming hot coffee, reading a book that just completely aborbs you. John Buchan does just that for me. One of favourate authors, and I have only recently become acquainted with his work, my first being ‘The 39 steps’. If you’ve not read it, do. You’ll love it!

I’ve always been called an ‘Old Soul’ by my family. I was born mature, and then grew into immaturity. The Navy played a vital role in that (for which I am forever greatful for). Despite this, it is simple creature comforts that make me feel truly happy. Never one for wanting the world, just wanting the world we have to be a bit better for all.

However, I digress. I have said it before, but again I will state, for anyone coming to Norway, make sure that you get out of the Cities. Bergen and Oslo are just that – Cities, Norway is in its countryside and coasts.

If you get the chance to do a Cabin trip, do it. It’s a peace that is hard to ever come across in this modern, hyper connected world.

On that high note, time to crack open another book, a fresh pot of coffee on the stove, another log on the fire, and settle down for another classic adventure…. ‘White Fang’, by Jack London. A Perfect novel in a Perfect place.

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Mountains, Waterfalls, and Fjords gallor!

Well, this weekend, and one of the few I have remaining left in this Country, was spent in Hardanger, Norway.

An amazing place, with breathtaking views at every turn. Not that this posting will ever do it any justice, have a look at the video below for a taster.

First, was a trek up the mountains, to which I saw my first rainbow below my feet, and then hear the roar of a waterfall plummeting down below me.

Then, off to a place where I was told would have amazing pancakes…. but that was shut :) But then off to see the town, and then to some viking graves in the forest.

Words can not describe it. So, just go and visit it

That’s an order :)

British Media, the European Union & Why I support the EU

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The news has, in the typical bipartisan way of Rupert Murdocks, I mean, the “British Free media”, exploded on the idea of a possible EU exit from Britain. As a fellow Brit, I thought about writing my thoughts, and getting across how this idea, backed by ‘News Internationals’ misinformation, UKIP’s scare tatics, and the political infighting of the Tory party, can make Britain sleepwalk its way into economic suicide.

I come from Cambridge, a small rural University town of old, now one of the IT powerhouses of Europe. We have attracted IT businesses and research centres from across the globe, as well as producing home grown talent. The reason this massive expansion has happened is due to the Common Market, and the ability to easily gain award willing talent and investment from abroad. In my lifetime, Cambridge has transformed from its place as a “University town”, to a Science and IT technology Mecca.

We owe this due to the fact we have, and can attract, the skills needed, to trade freely in the EU block, and research funding that is available from both UK and EU funds.

So, it is rather confusing that the Conservative party are even thinking about a British exit. These are the staples of Conservatism. Free Market, Capitalism, Private investment. So why the change?

It makes it even more confusing when the CBI and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research says leaving will reduce our GDP by 2.25%, and the London School of Economics has said it will even more, if we leave.

When the Subject Matter Experts start saying that, I stand up and listen.

So, why the shift? One word, I’m afraid. “Loonies”.

The Conversative party, fuelled by UKIP, has always had this problem. The party, whilst being one union, truly isn’t. There are some very good, sensible members in the UK Conservative Party. One of my favourates, and often underated members, is Ken Clark. However, his party also contains the right wing fringe, that are remarkably similiar to the American Tea Party.

David Cameron is trying to find a midway point between his moderates, and his Eurosceptic loonies.

Unfortantly, you can’t argue with a lunatic.

The don’t conceed, they don’t debate, they just shout.

My opinion is that David Cameron should be focused on the Economy, and the only way he can do that is by supporting small to medium sized businesses. This will be better served “In” the world largest training block, not out, shouting like a crazy man at a bus station at the sane passers by from the sidelines.

I’m currently in Norway, the Country always quoted as being out of the EU, and held as a shinning example of what Britain should aim for. Shame their PM has told the British PM that it was a mistake for them not to join. Norwegian industry is Oil and Fish, and nothing else. 40% of the population work for the state. The economy is based soley on Oil. I personally would rather we didn’t put all our eggs into one basket.

Being in the Armed Forces, I have learned that only by cooperation, teamwork, and using all of your members assets, can a mission be a success. Stronger Together, Weaker Apart. Funny the same arguments I use for Europe, are the same arguments the Conservatives use for Scotland. The same reasoning applies to both.

I will be voting for a party that has my Country’s best interests.

I will be voting Liberal Democrat.