The hunt continues…

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Another day, another trawl through the classifieds looking for an opening that is JD sized. I must be applying for around a job a day on average but little to no response at the moment so far. I had hoped that after the Easter break there would be a bit more movement, but so far it’s been really quiet.

The big issue in Aberdeen just now is that every company appears to be making cuts to staffing. Barely a day goes by when there isn’t another fifty or one hundred jobs being cut from a major player in the North East. The downside for me is that all these experienced people are slotting into the queue ahead of me for jobs.

For some reason employers are happier to fit a ready-made worker into a role than bring in a new face and perspective. This causes the job market to mimic a merry-go-round of skilled workers – as one moves on, the rest shuffle up a place in the food chain. People like myself who haven’t got that commercial experience are left at the bottom of the pile. And to a point I understand that because with the job market being overly populated with experienced people why would you spend the time and money on someone, only for them to move up on the same carousel.

I am only checking the job sites two or three times a week as it becomes a chore to look at all the positions you don’t have the experience for, are missing a qualification for or just know there is no point in applying for. You open up all these tabs and whittle them down from a dozen each time to perhaps two you apply for. The thing is you know that you would be more than capable in the position but your face won’t fit so trying seems pointless.

I think I’m going to have to go and volunteer at a charity or something until I can get a job just to get me out of the house. Again I suppose it’s experience that will help me out but it doesn’t really help us in terms of money. You start looking back over choices made in the past – University and College and wonder whether you would do things differently if you had your time again. If I had the financial security I’d go back and study again in a heartbeat to give me a better chance in the job market.

Until the lottery comes up I suppose I’m just left with the job websites for company in the slight hope something turns up soon.

JD

So you’re voting SNP

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Nicola Sturgeon And SNP Party Activists Launch Election Campaign

It appears that everyone is pointing fingers at each other blaming the current issues on historic governments blah, blah, blah. But we don’t have to worry here north of the border because we have the ever-perfect SNP who never make mistakes. While I understand the idea that we want Scotland fairly represented the SNP’s mistakes have been ignored too much.

Economy

“New analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) claims Scotland’s finances would fall behind the rest of the UK’s leading to a “fiscal gap” of £9.7bn by the end of the decade.” – BBC Website

According to the figures released by the SNP the IFS have said that it just doesn’t add up. It’s not just the halving of a price of a barrel of oil, but include removal of the Barnett formula and we’d be in trouble. The idea of full fiscal autonomy is not something we should support in any way. The sums don’t add up. We would go from getting extra money per head to losing £210 per head of population without the financial union with the UK.

Poor & Pensioners

The other issue is that with huge issues with poverty and an ever ageing population Scotland can ill-afford to lose money. Consider how long the SNP have been in charge and look at their record on tackling poverty.

Opting out of the UK pot also means that we have to fund the pensions of an elderly nation. The problem is that hasn’t been costed for.

To pay for the list of promises would require cuts or tax rises of tens of billions of pounds a year if implemented UK-wide, increasing pressure on the SNP to detail the total costs of its spending pledges and how they affect its longer term deficit reduction target. – The Guardian

Welfare has not been considered either so the ability to get rid of the vile Bedroom Tax is going to be difficult unless they follow austerity laid out by George Osborne – and then cut even further in other areas of the budget.

Education

Under this SNP Government Education has been hit seriously hard.

There are 254 fewer teachers in 2014 than last year and 3,425 more pupils, it emerged yesterday. This means there are 50,824 teachers in Scotland’s state schools – a fall of 4,275 since the SNP came to power in 2007. – The Scotsman

“In 2007, the SNP promised to reduce class sizes for all P1-3 classes to 18 or fewer. This promise to Scottish parents was abandoned less than two years later.

Their latest target of ensuring that just 20% of those classes have 18 pupils or fewer has been an equally embarrassing failure. These figures now show that less than 14% of classes meet that target.” – STV

With the absolute shambles of Curriculum for Excellence coming in we’ve seen our schools deserted by experienced staff escaping this unnecessary overhaul. Early retirement from those who have so much to offer has damaged the sector.

Then Colleges haven’t fared much better. The SNP decided that Colleges should merge to  pull resources and centralise academics. Has it worked?

The report said total student numbers were now 36 per cent lower than 2008/09, teaching staff had been cut by 9.2 per cent in the last two years alone and budgets were down £69m between 2011/12 and 2015/16. – Evening Times

Sound Good – 100,000 less college places in Scotland as the amount of colleges have dropped from 37 to 20. This reduces the amount of courses and the reach of the further education colleges into more rural communities. Fewer Students, Fewer Staff and Less Money. Overall a huge error.

Health

More than 4,000 patients spent over eight hours waiting to be seen in Scotland’s over-stretched A&E departments as they failed to meet the SNP’s “world leading” target treatment times – Telegraph

Cancer targets missed, staff levels dropping, and it’s not as if we weren’t given more money:

And over the past five years, Scotland has received an extra £1.3billion via the Barnett Formula because of additional spending on the English NHS. – Express

When teenage mental health projects are woefully underfunded, drugs that were supposed to be available are still suffering from the “postcode lottery” and constant arbitrary targets rather than support the NHS in Scotland is not in good hands.

Independence

You had a vote and said it would be the “chance of a lifetime” and “the only opportunity for a generation” yet already the SNP are looking for the next chance to waste public money on a vanity project. We as a nation voted no and we wait for the outcome of the election to see the White Paper on more powers for the Scottish Parliament to be presented.

The referendum cos around £16m according to the latest figures – and while that’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of government it’s cuts that could have been avoided. Think of the things that money could have done for those on the lowest wages and welfare. Especially if you pan to run one each time you have a few MPs or MSPs.

Overall

Their record on the most important things speaks for itself. They tend to go for the headline grabbers like free care, prescriptions, no bridge tolls when actually I wouldn’t mind paying a token amount for my prescriptions.

There are stories of other party members being “hunted” by SNP supporters. Margaret Curran is the current MP for Glasgow East yet two SNP supporters have spent their time following, heckling and videoing her as she goes door to door. The SNP campaigners even put the videos up on their Facebook pages.

Then there’s the bare-faced lies they tell in the Scottish Parliament. Lies about the amount of jobs in the renewable energy industries; lied about college funding and forced to apologise; the idea that they want to help the rest of the UK when they are based on the premise of splitting that union up; and Deputy SNP Leader Stewart Hosie claiming about Labour:

“Given their toxic alliance with the Tories for the last two and a half years, people in Scotland would be forgiven for thinking that Labour’s focus is not what they can do for Scotland – but what they can do for their Tory allies.”

He really doesn’t understand the difference between working together in the Referendum and normal politics.

For me the SNP offer nothing but a win for the Tories in this Election. We know that historically Labour needs Scotland to be red to see a majority – voting SNP will mean the Tories get the keys to Number 10 again.

I could write for ages about how imperfect the SNP are but people will make their own minds up in the end – it looks like they will get between 40 and 50 seats at this election and will probably do well next year too. Just be aware that you have heard little about their policies this election for a reason – they don’t add up.

JD

When did we lose our humanity?

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700 dead on our doorstep, yet hardly a ripple is made in our lives. Just another disaster to switch the TV over to avoid. We’d rather sign a petition to save Jeremy Clarkson than to protect our ex-servicemen and women. We let a gang of white middle class people decide our lives. We ignore the terrible air pollution that makes its way across the continent yet baulk at the idea of doing something about climate change. When did we lose our humanity?

We live in a world of 24 hour news so stories move on a lot quicker than they used to, but to ignore the deaths of those trying to escape North Africa because of the mass murder, attacks rape and ethnic cleansing seems heartless. Politicians will doff their caps in recognition but to speak out properly about it they are scared they will turn off voters at this point in the election campaign. For me if one of them actually said and did something about it they’d be more likely to get my vote. Those who traffic these people make $1m per boat, yet the EU spends $3m to patrol the area – you do the maths.

Why does it take a comedian like Ricky Gervais to point out the ridiculous situation of allowing hunters to kill endangered species to save endangered species? I love Ricky and all his work – but again where are the voices of those in power with the ability to do something about it? We have a ludicrous situation where a small group of soldiers are now guarding the last male black rhino. At the same time no one seems to care about the wiping out of amphibious species across South America and the ever decreasing bee population.

I think it’s because we don’t actually care about anything anymore. Just look at the politicians we have. The seven who stood at the podiums are all pretty useless, personality vacuums who offer nothing new, radical and challenging. The Tories are jobs for the boys, keep the rich rich and the poor quiet; Labour is no longer about the working man or woman they are competing with the Tories on their own ground; Lib Dems stand in the centre trying to please everyone; UKIP offer nothing new either really, it might appear radical but how different are they from the Tories? Then SNP & Plaid are lurking with the potential to hold whoever gets in by the balls, but will achieve little. We get the politicians we deserve.

The Republicans in the US would rather bomb Iran than speak to them; ISIS continue to rape and murder their way across the Middle East; the widening unrest in the region is causing confusion and new factions and enemies every other day; Israel continues to refuse Palestine recognition of the right to the land they live on; and we stand back relieved that we’re not sending our soldiers in. Well done us!

Sure if a charity bucket is passed round we’ll pop a few quid in because that clears our conscience for ten minutes – not actually having to do something. Do you know who is the most giving country? The US and Burma are the most generous – yet would you trust the US to actually make a solid difference anywhere these days. It’s about more than giving.

Unless we as the population of the UK, Europe or the wider world start to stand up and call out the mistreatment of others, countries, indigenous people, wildlife populations and human right violations – and then DO something about it we will continue this headlong march into bland beige blindness. As long as you are comfy, fuck the rest of them. Right?

JD

Job Hunting = Low Self Esteem

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Job-Hunting

I’m not a salesman – anyone who I tried to sell windows to will attest to that. Where I really struggle is selling myself. I hate that false boasting and play acting involved in the whole process from application to interview. You find yourself doubting any skills and abilities you have at every turn; closing windows with jobs on because you lose faith in yourself.

Even the thought of opening the websites to trawl through the hundreds of available positions leaves me cold. Currently with so many people being laid off across Aberdeen you wonder how far down the pecking order you have fallen with each negative announcement. You see the word “experience” and close the tab as you won’t have it. Even worse is when you are more than qualified and you get rejected, not even an interview – it just means starting the whole process over again.

If you’re willing to take a pay cut you are told that the job’s not for you because you’ll just be looking for more money elsewhere, which is really not true. I’d be happy to do a job I enjoyed for a few less quid than be miserable for more. That seems at odds with employers who think you’re up to something. If you want more money then you don’t have the qualifications or experience the role requires, even though you know you could do the job. So called transferable skills don’t exist if you are coming from the public sector and if you were a teacher as I was even less so. I’d love to see some of those who have turned me down for jobs try teaching for even a week and tell me I don’t have the skills.

The biggest problem is the faux bravado and “look what I can do” bit. I hate personal statements, interviews with the question “Why do you think we should hire you?” should be illegal and anything that involves more than two interviews should also be banned – you either want me or you don’t. The other issue is I don’t know what I want to do anymore. The constant enquiry from all the agencies is “What job?” and I don’t know how to respond. My “dream jobs” are either ruled out because of my age, the fact I would need decent savings behind me to take the time out to do them, the lack of “experience” or just that my face doesn’t fit.

Today I’ll sit and open several tabs when going through the job website but because of the negative experiences of late, you begin to lose heart and belief in yourself. More of a spiral of misery than a vicious circle. Having just finished at a job I really enjoyed, had found a pace I was comfortable with and my mental health was sorting itself out, it’s difficult to just “move on”.

I just need a simple job that accepts me for me so I can get on with things. Not a big ask.

JD

 

37 not out

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The JDs 2013

Another birthday, and at my age just another day. Birthdays used to be so important – things you counted down to, wishing they’d come round quicker so you could reach those important milestones: 16, 18, 21. Now at 37 the next three are the 40th, 50th & 60th – but I don’t really mind or care about the numbers.

I’m not one of those people who worries about age or getting older – there are many who would have loved to have reached old age but didn’t get the chance so I’ll never complain about it from that point of view. It is quite sad though that there is no real anticipation or celebration anymore – once you reach thirty it’s not something you think about. I even have to work out just how old I am sometimes because you no longer consider your age in quarters and halves to remind you.

The grey hair is ever-present – when I was at the hair dresser just the other day I looked at the black gown covered in the silver highlight and looked up at the ever dwindling hairline. The waistline is far too big and I need to start work on that before I can’t fit into my clothes any more. And my general fitness is poor too. It’s these things that remind you of your age because truthfully you forget that you are old until something or someone reminds you.

In my mind I’m still young-ish. Only the mirror and my children remind me otherwise. It’s true that it’s a state of mind. I don’t like to think of the number because there are so many things you had in the back of your mind to have achieved by certain ages – arbitrary I know – but still you want to achieve things. I still really want to write something substantial, but the ideas come and go so quickly I never have the time when I need it to complete things.

It’s not my age stopping me from achieving things – it’s just me. “Carpe Diem” is all well and good but I struggle to find the time and energy to even seize the moment sometimes. Maybe I need to write a list of things and be more methodical so that I’m not sitting here in a year’s time wondering what I’ve done with the last year.

Then that involves me getting round to writing a list…I’ll do it tomorrow.

JD

 

Silence

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That moment when you are last to bed, you switch the TV off and just sit.

Listen.

Silence.

From the moment you wake up in a house of four going on five there is no silence until now.

It’s the most beautiful sound in the world and the most lonely. The beauty compares with the best piece of music and the loneliness is brief as you shake off the stillness to go up to bed.

Life is full of little moments, very few we can ever repeat, but that last moment of the day when there is nothing to be heard, no movement to sense, no disruption is a daily joy.

The cacophony of arguments, silly voices, questions and shouting are paused until the morning when the button will be released and the orchestra of vocal boxes strikes up again.

And they are good noises – ones that remind you of all elements of life, but they would be nothing with the nothingness of this calm moment. We only notice things when they are missing.

There’s a dull hum in the background of a computer or appliance on somewhere in the house joined only by the thoughts in your head that have sat all day waiting for the gap in the symphony to be brought in.

Listen.

Can you hear it?

No?

Good.

Silence.

JD

General Election – JD’s Guide

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Here is a simple guide to the upcoming election to help you if you are either a simpleton or easily manipulated.

The Tories

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Also known as the Conservatives, they are a group of upper middle class white men, who although straight, did become fags at school or something. They are known for guffawing and killing small furry animals and painting their faces with the blood. If you make a lot of money and want to keep it they will help you. If you don’t make a lot of money and want even less they can help you too.

Like to set challenges for poor people and the disabled are constantly being challenged to live on less and to stop being disabled. They will happily sign a note to say you can work even if you are dying. It’s because of them we have lots of food banks which is great – the more the better. Think of all the free food; thank you the Tories.

Reasons to vote for them: To make Downton Abbey a reality show rather than a drama

Reason to vote against: If you’re a bit common.

The Labours

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Once they were people with accents no one could understand, but now they speak right proper and everything. They claim they are supported by Unions, but I don’t believe in them because it’s just a horse with an ice cream cone on its head. They are a bit like Robin Hood in that they live in trees and like to be funny by calling big people little and little people big – sense of humour alert!

They like to spend a lot of money and pretend it’s Monopoly money so there’s no real consequences until they leave the job. They are big fans of cash for gold schemes and will happily sell you stuff they got down the pub too. Their current leader is actually Gilbert the Alien from Get Fresh painted cream.

Reason to vote for them: It’d be really funny to make Gilbert in charge

Reason not to vote for them: Because Gilbert would be in charge.

The Liberal Democratics

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Formed at Woodstock in 1969 these people love trees and banjo playing. They wash once a month on the third Tuesday to be fresh for the four equinoxes. Once a party we all loved they are now around level with the bad guy in Die Hard in that we don’t like him because he’s a baddie, but we still sneakily like him because he’s Alan Rickman.

They work with Tories to stop them being total bastards – forbidding them to do things like staring at your Gran and stealing trolleys from ASDA. Their Leader knows lots of languages and can say sorry in them all – which has been very important. They’re a bit like your ex: they promises but you know their sleeping with Kev.

Reason to vote for them: They like Pringles

Reason to not vote for them: Only original flavour.

The UKIPpers

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A bunch of cheery, happy-go-lucky racists – just like your Granda they hate everyone who isn’t from their street. David Icke says they look like reptiles but then he’s mental. They like beer and if you like beer they like you as long as it’s British Beer or they might glass you or something.

They get confused by hating foreign people while hiring, marrying and working with them. I think someone needs to do some flashcard work with them. They tend to do well with people who aren’t very clever and who drag their knuckles when they walk. They try to scare us by saying that all foreign people have the AIDS and just want to use the NHS as some kind of Bond Villain hideout.

Reason to vote for them: You’re a racist

Reason not to vote for them: You like takeaway food

The Scottish Nationalistics

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Led by 1980s Crackajack star Wee Jimmy Krankie these are the Scottish equivalent of UKIPpers (but are only racist against they border). Once they asked people a question and then they put their fingers in their ears and shouted “nanananana I can’t hear you” so they never really heard the answer.

They want to turn Scottishland into Royston Vasey. Not so much a local shop for local people, but a bit weird and scary and cannibalistic. Rumours are that only people with Fish based names can be in charge and they have Pike from Dad’s army ready to take over if there’s and accident to the Krankie.

Reason to vote for them: You thought Braveheart was historically accurate

Reason to not vote for them: You don’t live in Scotland.

Everyone Else

There are other flavours of idiots available for you to vote for in the Election including all the ones with letter if you live in Nrn Ireln; the party that needs vowels from Wales; the Green Party who like trees and probably don’t shave intimate areas; and many others.

Who you vote for is your decision, you much make a choice between a selection of people you would never have over for dinner or even let in your house. In fact if your son or daughter brought any of them home you would immediately move so it could never happen again. But don’t worry – it’s not as important as that you’re only picking the people run our country.

JD

 

NB This is a joke. If you didn’t work that out you are not allowed to vote. Twat.