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Jethro Shirley-Smith

Social observer, dad and husband!

Social observer, dad and husband! Having grown up in London, one of the busiest and most multi-cultural places on the planet, I have always enjoyed watching people, visiting new places, and learning how we all get on together. Our behaviour and thoughts fascinate me; and I try and weave these aspects together in my writing. The world is ours to share, and the better we learn to do it together surely the better the world will be.

Catalan Independence: Knowing Spain, Knowing Catalonia?

For sure there is something sad about breaking up. Certainly, as humans, as social beings, we develop a nostalgia and a fondness for unity - if, of course, both sides are happy in the union. But what if one wants out? Then the relationship is less salubrious. And Carles Puigdemont and Mariano Rajoy may just have to face it, it's time they're through.
18/10/2017 12:25 BST

Hats Off To The Kids! They Make The Summer All Worth it!

Having six weeks off with the children is precisely why we go through the term-time-grind of teeth-brushing and homework-pestering! So we can have these special times together; so we can build memories and learn from one another, and learn about the world around us.
15/08/2017 15:15 BST

First They Came... But What Is The Real Cost Of The DUP?

We must speak out. It's all we got. Especially if we want to create a future that's fair, right and equal. First they came. Now they're here. But let's hope they don't stick around. Surely nothing is worth that. Not at any price.
27/06/2017 13:39 BST

Are We All In A Prisoner's Dilemma With A Conservative Win?

Unless, it seems, we cooperate with one another. Computerised models show this works. It seems the trick is not to vote for we want for ourselves, but to vote for what is best for ourselves in conjunction with others. Working together, it seems, strikes a better deal than thinking individualistically. But that's a whole different ball game.
10/05/2017 11:58 BST

Does Trump McFly Secretly Satisfy Our Inner Demons?

The truth is, as peaceful as we all want to be, Dostoyevski might be onto something when he says: right or wrong, it's very pleasant to break something from time to time. Because sometimes enough is enough. And morality snaps. But can we ever stomach Trump McFly being the champion of the innocent? Can Trump lead Syria to the happy ending that takes the future of Syria back to the joys of it's past?
10/04/2017 11:58 BST

Pride And Privilege: The Icing On The Cake For George Osborne

They can use their privilege to open the very doors they spend their time closing, allowing the disadvantaged to genuinely feel hopeful, giving them buy-in to a society from which they feel so marginalised. Then the wealthy can genuinely feel proud about their privilege, and the poor will finally be able to taste the brioche.
21/03/2017 15:28 GMT

If Only Cinderella Had Worn Dr Martens

hat am I really supposed to say to my daughter, honestly? Yes, darling, you can grow up to be a strong, independent lady with ambition, with hope and drive, just make sure you wear what others want you to wear, do what others tell you to do, accept the names they call you and don't complain about.
26/01/2017 14:20 GMT

It's Not Boring Now! Even If It's Not What We Want

"Politics is in such crisis," my friend says as he pulls the cork out from a bottle of Gran Reserva Rioja. Nothing like a cosy dinner party to discuss the ills of society and the wrongs of politics. He was, of course, referring to the impending Brexit, the imminent inauguration of Donald J. Trump - as Donald J. Trump illeistically calls himself, and the apparent rise of the Right. "Scary times," he says while studying the legs.
05/12/2016 16:58 GMT

Dr Johnson Didn't Live In Tottenham

But of course Samuel Johnson didn't live in Tottenham. Nor did he have to pay for parking. And nor, I suspect, did he have to get three kids to the swimming pool during rush hour. In fact, I bet there is a whole range of things that if Samuel Johnson had to do today he would more than likely head straight back to the peace of Staffordshire from whence he came.
08/09/2016 13:15 BST

Who's Really To Blame?

Immigration, immigration, immigration. That's what we hear; that's one of the main battlegrounds of the upcoming EU referendum. It's everywhere: "They're stealing our jobs! They're pilfering our benefits! They're destroying our national identity." Damn those immigrants. Nothing but trouble.
09/06/2016 09:33 BST

When The Wife's Away, It's Hard to Play

The first weekend went pretty much without a hitch. The kids all made it to where they needed to be; the older one made her art class, the younger one made his party; the middle one got a bike ride. We managed to get the shopping done, do some arts and crafts, sing a few songs, and have a dance around the coffee table.
08/03/2016 10:05 GMT

East Is East, and West Is West, and Slowly the Twain Shall Meet

And from my little terrace, Kipling was so right; East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. Nestled in a far, gentle corner of Eastern Europe, Predeluţ couldn't be much further from the noise and agitation of the West, even if it tried.
18/08/2015 09:16 BST