Protesters stage a sit-down protest during the 'Kill The Bill' protest against the Government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, in Bristol. | JON ROWLEY

Kill the Bill

Angry and violent ‘Kill the Bill’ riots have raged in Bristol for some days with little respite. Many of the perpetrators have been accused of anarchism with Boris Johnson describing the events as ‘unacceptable’ before conceding that people ‘have a right to protest peacefully and legally’. These are weasel words as the new bill will decide whether a protest of any kind can be deemed ‘legal’ or not. It will also give police sweeping powers to combat protests of any kind, and there will be enforced conditions on non-violent protests including those that seem noisy or a nuisance. How does one define ‘nuisance’ or ‘noisy’ exactly?

It is evident that the protests in Bristol were largely peaceful until an extremist element butted in and decided to turn things ugly. What began as an important protest about the eroding of civil liberties in the UK, especially during this period of Covid-19 confinement, spiralled into all-out yobbish behaviour, fuelled by police heavy-handedness and lack of empathy.

As the British government becomes ever more authoritarian, those with more advanced antennae are beginning to realise that even with the massive vaccine roll-out, current curbs on freedom will never truly be relaxed. The vaccine passport concept is a case in point. Those in power, like wild dogs let loose in a field of sheep, have tasted blood and want ever more control. The new crime bill will allow the police to prevent freedom of speech in a way that could make China seem liberal. Anyone causing annoyance could be handed a sentence of up to ten years. What is the definition of annoyance? Voicing an opinion, voting with one’s feet, opposing any government policy?

Following the death of Sarah Everard at the hands of a Met police officer, there have been increasing tensions between the police and the public, with many viewing officers as the oppressors and attackers, rather than public protectors. Media coverage of brutal police raids on the homes of innocent individuals and the elderly during this period of covid confinement has added to the unease. The question that needs answering is where will it all end? The British people are exhausted, worn out by the horrors of the virus and repercussions of Brexit and the enlightened now feel impotent, fearful, angry, frustrated and controlled by the state. There is no effective opposition and until there is, social discontent will continue to gather pace. What might seem unacceptable to the British government now, might prove the tip of the iceberg in the coming months.

Jabs for pets

As daily Covid-19 scaremongering and hysteria continues to spread, mostly by muck-raking tabloids and, dare I add, the BBC, we are now being warned that our animals could carry the virus. Yes! Watch out if your dog or cat starts sneezing or can’t smell his or her food dish because, well you never know. Of course, sanguine scientists tell us a completely different tale but why let logic and scientific know-how get in the way of a good story, eh?
There were a few outbreaks of animals becoming infected when in contact with Covid carrying keepers in American zoos in the Bronx and in San Diego and a cat last July showed mild symptoms. Then apparently minks caught the virus in Norway but that’s about it. The Russians have already developed a pet vaccine which no doubt will cost owners a mint and are mumbling about issuing pet vaccine passports. What next? Covid passports for inanimate objects?

Meanwhile, many of those who bought pets during lockdown and are now bored with them, will argue that the animals might be virus carriers, and ditch them. The RSPCA has already reported a surge in pets being dumped post lockdown and irresponsible reporting such as this, will only make matters worse. Sometimes, I despair of humankind.

Emoji Fatigue

The results of a survey carried out among those aged between 16 and 29 highlights how certain emojis used on social media posts can reveal your age. Apparently the thumbs up sign is only used by older people, including the red love heart, grimacing face and monkey covering its eyes. The crying face, lipstick kiss and clapping emoji are all signs that you’re an old biddie so come on, get down with the kids and start the new emoji you! If you want to seem hip and cool, try the clown, zany, or laughing face and maybe stick in the odd hour- glass and maple leaf symbol but beware falling into any sexual emoji traps. It seems that 78 per cent of us make huge blunders, not realising the hidden meaning behind many emojis such as the cherry, aubergine, peach, doughnut or catface. Still, if we’re all oldies together and haven’t a clue what these symbols mean to young people, does it really matter? On a cooking post hopefully an aubergine still really does only mean one thing.

Aussie April Fool Dogs

My winning April the First spoof was that created by the South Australian police force with its brilliant video about getting Dachshunds to become Small Area Urban Search Dogs that could be chucked under cars, into ceiling places and attached to drones and dropped into people’s yards. Described as a ‘game changer’ in the search for drugs, guns and criminals, the video paraded sausage dogs in police vests. Brilliant. British cops could learn a lot from their Aussie counterparts.

Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available at Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, from Come In & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.