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Don't Take Me Too Seriously

It might be the day of a General Election but it’s also the anniversary of the date of the publication, in 1949 of George Orwell’s 'Indignant and prophetic novel' of the future, 1984. It's also a day which marks the tragic death of a man whose debt of gratitude our country never paid; Alan Turing, who died on this day 63 years ago.

On the BBC news, I’m watching a report from Afghanistan. The Taliban are back in Helmand province and it’s like they never left. The schools crammed with chanting boys, memorising verses of the Holy Koran in Arabic, a language they don’t understand a word of. The girls and women are visibly absent and the beards are long. Remind me, what has any conqueror ever achieved in Afghanistan? Ask Rudyard Kipling.

Meanwhile, Tom Holland, in The Spectator magazine, has written an excellent opinion piece on the return of intolerance and religious wars. Something we thought we had left behind us in Europe in the 17th century with the 30 Years War.

Come the morning, we’ll know who will be running our next Government and who will have the challenge of negotiating our exit from the European Union. Amazon say that at 10pm tonight just ask “Alexa, who is winning the election?” It will tell you the exit poll.

 If Labour wins, I’ll be surprised but stranger things have happened in modern politics thanks to the power of social media. One only has to look at the results in Italy, Beppo Grille and of course, the United States; Donald Trump. Politics will never be quite the same and today, I read a Tweet by Jamie Bartlett, the author of the new book, ‘Radicals,’ who predicts that algorithms will shape the political messaging at the next General Election, instantly adjusting to events and public sentiment across Facebook and Twitter.

Finally and on the subject of 'Twitter,' I passed 3,000 followers today. Is that a good thing? I'm not entirely certain,. It tells me I'm spending rather too much time on social media and far too many people are taking me seriously; a sober frame of mind which all too frequently eludes me.

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