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.

New ICQ Android running on BlackBerry 10

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Hello! Over the last week, I’ve been running the new ICQ android on my BlackBerry 10 handset, and I can say it is absolutely fantastic.

Although the App isn’t designed for the BlackBerry 10 OS, it works just like a native app. The only thing is that, because it is an Android app running under the BlackBerry OS, the notifications are not instant unless the App is running in the background. However, it runs like a charm, and doesn’t slow your phone down whilst running idly, and has no drain on the Battery.

First of all, you need to download an Android App store to download it. I use 1mobile Market, directly off the BlackBerry handset. However, before you can install it, go to Settings > App Manager > Installing Apps > And check “Install Apps from other Sources to ‘ON’.

One installed, you can search for ICQ, or any other Android App, and install it just like from BlackBerry World.

For those of you that don’t know what ICQ is, its a chat client from November 1996. Its changed a lot since then, now being not only on PC and Mac, but also on iphone, Android, WebOS, BlackBerry Classic, and now, BlackBerry 10.

With Instant Messenging, Voice and Video chat, and free SMS, combined with the new ‘Stickers’ feature (Like BBM stickers, but better…. and also Free), this generation of the App has really come into it’s own. It has come along way, and in my opinion knocks the socks off ‘Whatsapp’ and ‘Line’.

So, go on! Give it a try!

Uh oh.

So long & Thanks for all the Fish (Party)

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Sorry for the late delay guys, but just wanted to say thanks for a Great leaving party! I know its two months until I go, but really wanted Rolf to be there before he went back to his new life in the UK and, additionally, we could celebrate his “Freedom Freedom FREEDOM!” day, and it worked out really well. Meant a lot to me, so thank you very much indeed.

Bjørn, you were there in spirit. Gin to be exact. Wine and Crank at your place soon!

The thing I will miss the most from leaving Bergen will be my mavelous friends. Real friends never leave though, no matter how far you are apart. The weather, beer prices, and supermarkets however, I will not pine for.

Stay awesome! The “Royal Norwegian Naval Alcohol Disposal Team” did a fine job.

A star born on Earth, is now in Heaven – Richard Attenborough 1923 – 2014

News Article.

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It is with great displeasure that I read today, that Lord Richard Attenborough, one of Cambridge’s and Britain’s leading Film Actors, Producers and Directors, has passed on.

Roger Moore (who is the best Bond by the way, if you have another opinion, well you are indeed, wrong) put it beautifully simple on Twitter;

“Greatly saddened to hear the Great Richard Attenborough has left us. Such a wonderful and talented man”

And talented he was! His list of Acting credits seem endless. I first saw him in the wartime classic “In which we serve”, and in “A Matter of Life and Death”, with that other hero of the age, David Niven.

And, of course, let’s not forget the Classic’s “The Great Escape” and “A Bridge Too Far”, which were splendid “Rally up the troops, God Damn it is great being a Brit” films, and I believe the first one must be played every Christmas day. It’s the law.

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For most people though, he will be known on screen for his most iconic display of John Hammond, in “Jurassic Park”. In that role, he displayed beautifully an eccentric, but in touch, billionaire that owned the Park, and owned the movie.

As a Director though, his biopic of “Ghandi” and “Chaplin” are must sees in the modern cinema age, and are often used in Media Studies, as fine examples of Cinematography.

Proof that fame and money doesn’t have to make you an arse, he was known for his kindness, his politeness, and for treating people with respect.

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Rest in Peace Lord Dickie Attenborough, and God Bless.

Tips to Moving to Norway

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Noreg! Norge! Norway!

About three and a bit years ago, I left the United Kingdom, and started on a little bit of an adventure here in Bergen, Norway. I am on the way back to England in October, and I thought, whilst I have written some general travel trips, I would now compose some about Bergen and Norway in general, if you are thinking of moving here.

 

1. Cost of living

For foreigners that are coming here, this is a very important point. No matter how much preparation you have, it will be a culture shock to you when you first come over. You do read a lot of stuff on the Internet about “expensive beer and wine” prices, but I didn’t get any advice on everything else. The most expensive thing here, to be honest, is supermarkets.

Supermarkets here are a lot smaller, and not to the greatest standard, to be honest. However, it’s slightly understandable, being the fact that the country is huge, but only contains 4.9 million people! However, there are some things you can do to make it easier. One is definitely shopping around.

‘Meny’ is a rather expensive supermarket chain, but it does have in it some items that are impossible to get anywhere else. It is worth going there to pick up some essentials (for me, it’s tea) that you just cannot get from any store. For the rest of your weekly shop, I would recommend either REME 1000 or KIWI, as those are a lot cheaper. My weekly shop, if done in the last two, is normally €45 cheaper than if it was all done in Meny.

Yes, that much of a difference.

 

2. NAV and bureaucracy

The Norwegian state loves paperwork. When you first come here, either to register at the Police station or at NAV (In the UK, we would call it the ‘Job Centre’), it is relatively simple. However, after that point, it is generally a paperwork nightmare. A very good tip though is the minute you get here, register for a Personnel number (at the tax office), and get a bank account, as soon as possible. Once you have a bank account, you can use your BankID to log onto the government and tax websites, and then you do cut out a lot of the red tape, and can do a lot to register stuff on your own accord online.

And yes, expect a higher tax code than your previous country, no matter what level you are at.

 

3. Heathcare

You need to register for a doctor, but when you move here, they will normally allocate you one when you arrive. Big thing to notice, if you are coming from Great Britain… They do charge here to see a doctor. £25 / €30 per visit. So bring your debit card.

 

4. Flat / House hunting

Esp in Bergen, homes are in very, very short supply. For a 34 square meter flat, it is normal to pay £1000 per month. However, you can find cheaper places on finn.no. Use that site, it’s the best resource in Norway for homes, flats, cars etc. It’s like craigslist, but for Norway.

 

5. Language

So, you’ve moved, and you want to learn the language. This is a bit more of a challenge than you think. The Norwegians are impeccable in English, and love to practice with native speakers. This can make it hard, because when you speak Norwegian, they will answer in English. I personally found the classes at ‘Folkeuniversitiet’ good at the start, but after level 4 it because rather stale. I would then suggest to see if you can get a personal tutor.

Remember: Students are your friends. Norwegian lessons for the cost of a beer.

Any questions, please, contact me on my about page and I will answer any questions you have.

And Good Luck!

Leaving the Services

Another day, another dollar.

As some of you may know, after 13 years of being in the Navy, I am leaving to new pastures. Whilst it is exciting to be doing something new, it is also incredibly scary.

That may sound strange, but it isn’t really. Conflict zones, floodings, fire, etc are nowhere as near as scary to me as leaving. I know, I’ve dealt with them, and its something you learn to deal with.

The outside, real world? Now that is a truly scary place.

There is always an underlying feeling that, when you leave, you become… well, worthless. A statistic. The Navy, like the other services, is a family. It has been my home, my work, my life, for approaching thirteen years.

I know I will try my hardest, and I am positive I will do well. I am a can-do kindof Chap. However I do admit, it is the scariest thing I have ever done.

Luckly for me, I have great friends and a great family. Without them, I do wonder what I would do.

So, wish me luck, but let’s hope I don’t need it :)