Friday, 30 August 2013

Plug Has Come A Long Way

The Bash Street Kids
Growing up in Surrey during the sixties with two brothers, and a sister, meant that on a Saturday there were always plenty of comics about. One that everyone will probably remember was The Beano. One comic strip really sticks in my mind and that was The Bash Street Kids. One character has been brought to light in view of recent world events. That is the character of Plug. Who would have thought that all of those years ago he would rise to infamy, Teacher must have failed that bit on his Ofsted report. maybe when he was filling out Plug's school report he shouldn't have put "Must try harder". Some will have worked out Plug's alter-ego, whereas others might still be scratching their heads. Some might also be wondering what on earth this all has to do with Bulgaria, but please read on and all will be made clear. He said hopefully.

OK so plug's hidden identity is none other than that of Bashar al- Assad, also known as the President of Syria. If you look closely I am sure that you can see the identity of Plug shining through, a shame that he doesn't demonstrate Plug's sense of fair play. It's amazing what a small amount of plastic surgery can achieve.

Bashar al-Assad
So at the moment there is a team from the UN investigating the possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian military against a civilian target in a Damascus suburb. Whether it actually happened or not is the main question that everyone wants, the UN team is being hampered by sniper fire. Even before the conclusive proof is in one way or another there are already nations sabre rattling and threatening military action. There are also various naval assets nearly in position, so these are now being edged even closer into potential strike positions. As you might expect the US are one of these nations, other nations who are potentially beng dragged into all of this includes the UK. Finally the Prime Minister cut short his holiday and recalled Parliament for an emergency session.

David Cameron
So far there has been no agreement for the UK to become embroiled, and the US has stated that it is willing to go it alone. They might even have French support. Extra Typhoons have been deployed to the RAF base in Cyprus, although the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, states that in their configuration they are purely for air defence. Once the debate had been voted on in Parliament, and the vote was returned as one against UK military action there were further upheavals in the house. The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, called those who voted against, 'a disgrace'. Well Mr Gove how about you signing up and drawing your tin lid and going out to do your bit. If you are lucky they might even have enough body armour for you.

There have been various rebel groups attempting to overthrow al-Assad's regime since 2011. In that time President al-Assad's regime has not covered itself in glory as they have continued to commit atrocities against their fellow citizens. They have been shot, bombed, tortured and raped as the world has largely stood idly by. Various attempts to broker peace deals have largely been stymied by Russia, who are one of Assad's major allies. This has led to many Syrians seeking asylum in other countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Some of these asylum seekers have continued through Turkey and are now crossing the border into Bulgaria, many of them doing so illegally.

Europe and North Africa
Measures have been taken to strengthen the border patrols, especially near to the Turkish and Greek borders. Only last year the numbers of refugees applying for asylum in Bulgaria were about 1000, so far this year there have been 2320 applications. It has been reported that in the last couple of days nearly 80 illegal immigrants have been detained. Of these three quarters were Syrians. My understanding of the asylum rules were that asylum was to be sought in the first safe country that the individual came to. So looking at the map Syrians have had to cross a lot of Turkey to apply for asylum in Bulgaria. At the moment the Bulgarian government says that it can cope with up to 3000 asylum seekers. At the moment they are being housed in state hostels and low cost hotels in Sofia, but there are also reports that there are still plenty of Syrians down in the border areas. There are growing concerns about the situation in Syria and the potential influx of refugees. A special operations unit has been created, one half of which will remain in Sofia, with the other half operating in the Haskovo and Elhovo municipalities. If they are granted asylum, will they have to jump through the same hoops that we as immigrants have to jump through. I can just imagine the first asylum seekers turning up at the KAT office in Veliko Tarnovo and being confronted by Mrs Helpful.

Meanwhile Germany is facing an influx of immigrants too. Although these are not for Syria, these are mainly from the former Eastern European countries. They are seeking economic stability, and guess what the vast majority are Roma. I am wondering if the Germans will try to integrate the Roma into German society, or will they do as the French did under Sarkozy and 'pay' them to return to their homeland. Already there have been many more reports of thefts, intimidation, noise and littering. I am not suggesting that all Roma are trouble makers, far from it. As with any element of society there are both good and bad aspects, but it is always the bad that has the focus placed upon it.

So by this time tomorrow the blog will have passed through 20000 hits, and we are now heading into the second hundred of blogs. A very big thank you from us to all of you who have taken the time to read these blogs.


  1. Yet again a great read. Humerous and informative many many thanks

  2. You are most welcome Chris, glad that you enjoyed it :o)

  3. A very warm welcome to Ann our latest Blog follower, hope that you enjoy the reads :o)