Monthly Archives: December 2008

Movies Worth Watching

Christmas used to be the time when you could watch a good blockbuster movie. Those days are now gone unless you have subscription movie channels. So this year I decided to buy some movies on DVD to watch, and they turned out to be really good movies that I can recommend that you watch too.

1. Batman – The Dark Knight – This is a brilliant film but the story line could have been better in my opinion. I rate the film as brilliant because of the performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker. Great special effects. The Dark Knight and Batman Begins mark the time when the Batman movie franchise moved from being kids films into the adult world.

2. Mama Mia – This is the film version of the hit Westend show and it is fantastic. Great music and a great cast of actors including Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters and Colin Firth along with many others. Mama Mia was filmed on the Greek islands of Skopolos and Skiathos and the scenery is truly breathtaking. Great music makes this film one of the films of 2008 and is what we all need to cheer us all up in times of gloom. I think I will watch this film every day – it’s that good !

3. No Country For Old Men – this film was a 4 times academy award winner and for good reason. It stars Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem plays the excellent “bad guy”. Josh Brolin stumbles across $2M in drugs money and is then persued by Bardem who plays a ruthless killer. It is tense stuff, but I was a bit confused by the ending, which let the film down a little. Highly recommended though.

Is Search Engine Optimization Dead?

I spend loads of my time reading search engine forums like Webmasterworld. There are hundreds of them and after a while you soon learn to pick out the good bits of information and discard the rubbish. Everyone with a website, whether its a full blown e-commerce site or a simple blog like this one wants their website to appear high up in Google and other search engines. I have been reading comments and contributing to Webmasterworld since 2002, when I first became a member and whilst I still don’t consider myself an expert I have discovered what gives you a fighting chance to make a success in the online world.

In a recent article I was reading someone asked the question “Is search engine optimization dead?” His argument was that the days when you can optimize your website through content building and link building is dead. He feels that Google is now using the Google Toolbar and Google Analytics and using this information to rank a website. I have to say that I disagree with him. Whilst I agree that Google will use information obtained from its Toolbar, like the number of visitors a website gets and how long these visitors stay on the site, I still believe that making your website the best in can be and making it Google friendly is still the best way to obtain high search engine rankings.

My opinion on how to be a success on Google

The first thing I have come to understand about SEO is that unless you have a product or service that nobody else has or sells then there are no short cuts and no quick way of making a fortune. For most of us it is a long hard road which involves hard work and commitment to writing good quality content. You can’t just write some good content and then stop, you have to write good content nearly every day and keep writing for ever !

Good Design

The next thing is that your website needs to be well designed and good to look at. Keep it simple and make sure that your navigation from your homepage to all your other internal pages is as good as it can be. In other words, link to as many of your pages as you can from your homepage. Also, make sure your pages have a structure with plenty of good content. Each of the website pages should be focused on a particular keyword relating to the topic of your website and it is important to get the keyword density correct. Don’t over use the keyword and make the page read well so that it makes sense to the reader and provides good quality information about the topic in question.

Write Good Quality Web Pages

Use images, with alt tags, on the pages if relevant and make it a page that is natural rather than made to work well in a search engine. The rule is – build a page for your readers and not for a search engine, but at the same time make it search engine friendly. Build your chosen keywords into the body of text on that page and use keyword anchor text links to other pages, if relevant, to help your readers navigate to other important pages on your site. Again, the rule is don’t overdo the links and keep the page relevant to the reader. Keep building new quality pages as often as you can but don’t build junk pages just for the sake of it. If you can’t write enough information yourself or you find ideas have dried up then ask for a contribution from somebody who knows your product, service or area of interest. They provide a useful article in return for a mention on your website is often a good way to produce good content.

How To Build Links

Once you have a reasonable amount of good content that you are proud of then you need to keep building new pages but also you need to “tell the world” about your website. One of Google’s many measures of the importance of your website is the number and quality of other websites that link to your site. Think of a link as a “vote” for your website. I often read that a website owner does not need to build links because if you have a quality website then the links will come naturally. I don’t subscribe to this opinion unless you have a website that is way above the norm. 99% of websites need promoting by the owner. I have one website that has been online over 2 years in a niche area that has not obtained one natural inbound link in that time and it is not a bad website at all. My advice is to try and get some links by asking for them or by giving something in return. You could always start by getting a few good quality directory links. Do some research to try and find some good directories which are associated with the same theme as your own website. Buy a few links if you have to.

Always remember to build links at a reasonable pace. You need to try to fly under the Google radar. Anything done to excess over a too short a time will be picked up by Google and you could be penalized if Google feels you are attempting to manipulate the rankings. Don’t obtain hundreds of useless links, you need to obtain some good quality links from other sites that have trust and authority. You will recognise these sites when you see them. One good link from a good site like a newspaper or news site is worth more than hundreds of spammy links.

Click here for more link building tips

Other Types of Website Promotion

Don’t think that making a success of your website is all about good design and links. Like any successful business you have to promote your website in other “offline” ways. Use your web address on all your stationary and try to promote it anyway you can think of. You need to build a reputation and like any business it takes time and patience. Just because you have an online business don’t believe the hype that you will become an overnight millionaire, you won’t, but if you keep adding good useful information in a way that is interesting to read then you will eventually have a website that you actually may make some money from.

How Long Does It Take To Get High Rankings in Google?

If you follow my advice then you will start to see some good visitor traffic after 3 or 4 months. If you have a 100 page website that has good content and a few good links then you can expect to be receiving 50 visitors a day after 3 months. Some people will get far more than that and some will get less. These are figures based on my own experience after launching quite a few what I consider good websites. You do, however, need to be receiving two or three hundred visitors a day if you have a website selling something, before you will start to see some income and that is presuming you have a product that is well priced and is what people want !

Have Patience And Be The Best

Don’t expect overnight success. There are lots of other web site owners who are doing the same as you so you have to stand out from the rest if you want to beat them. Also, don’t expect to get high rankings for competitive keywords in the first 12 months. One of Google’s ranking measures is the age of a website. Older websites will have an advantage over newer sites, but you can get good rankings for less competitive keywords. These are the ones you should be aiming for in the short term.

Above all, remember to keep building regular new good quality web pages, keep your site “fresh” and keep building good quality inbound links at a reasonable speed. Good luck !

Las Vegas – An Interview With The UK Sales & Marketing Manager of The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau

As a travel agent I love having the opportunity to promote destinations that I really think everybody should visit. One of those destinations is Las Vegas. My first visit to Las Vegas was in November 2007 and it is a place I would love to go back to again. If you are thinking of visiting Las Vegas, planning a holiday to Las Vegas or if you are a travel agent looking for information then I have a fantastic article here for you to read!

Russell Meara, UK Senior Sales and Marketing Manager for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau very kindly agreed to an e-mail interview with me about Las Vegas. He talks about what to see and do in Las Vegas, hotels in Las Vegas, attractions and shows in Las Vegas and things to see outside Las Vegas. See below for the interview which I think you will find very interesting.

Q1. How has the economic downturn affected the tourism industry as far as visitor numbers are concerned and the general tourism industry in Las Vegas ?

A The economic downturn is of course affecting Las Vegas and travel in general. It has definitely affected our visitor figures in the short term as our August 08 monthly figures have shown we are down by 4.3% year on year. In the long term however, we see the potential for massive growth especially in our international markets. Of the 39 million visitors who travelled to Las Vegas in 2007, international visitors accounted for 4.7 million or 12% – the UK accounted for approximately 500,000 of these – and by the end of the decade, the goal for Las Vegas is to attract an estimated 1.5 million additional annual international visitors.

Earlier this year the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) launched a new international brand marketing strategy that will expand Las Vegas’ global reach.   From July 2008, the LVCVA partnered with 12 representative offices serving a total of 75 countries spanning the globe.  The organization has enhanced its longstanding commitment to its existing eight international markets while establishing a first-ever presence in four additional countries.  

We have established three distinct market segments, providing more focus and flexibility to achieve our objectives. Major markets include Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, which collectively account for 70 percent of overall international visitation to Las Vegas.  Primary markets consist of the European Union, Ireland, Japan and South Korea, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.  Emerging markets consist of China, Brazil/South America, Russia/Eastern Europe and India, and represent new opportunities for Las Vegas.

Q2. Have any new hotels recently opened and are any new hotels planned to open ?

A One of the most fascinating aspects of Las Vegas is that it is a city that is constantly changing. In the next 18 months the city has more than $27 billion in projects under construction or in planning stages and it is safe to say that in 2009, visitors will see and experience more in Las Vegas than ever before.

Some highlights include the opening of The Palazzo in January 2009 which, when combined with the neighbouring Venetian and Sands Expo and Convention Centre, The Palazzo gives the company the largest hotel and convention complex in the world. The Trump International Hotel and Tower opened 31 March 2008. True to the brand’s form, the property reflects the “Ultra Luxury Trump Lifestyle” in every possible fashion. In 2009, the Fontainebleau Las Vegas is scheduled for a fall debut with a $2.9 billion, 63-story resort and condo-hotel with approximately 3,800 rooms.

Also in 2009, MGM MIRAGE will debut a 76-acre, $9.2 billion dollar “urban metropolis” called CityCentre. The 18 million-square foot project calls for a 57-story condo hotel with approximately 1,543 residences called Vdara. The project will also feature two residential high-rises known as Veer Towers that will feature 337 condo residences each. There will be a  Mandarin Oriental featuring 400 hotel rooms and 227 exclusive  residences, The Harmon Hotel,Spa & Residences with 207 condominium residences and 400 hotel rooms, and ARIA Resort & Casino, CityCenter’s 61-story, 4,000-room resort casino. The resort casino will feature approximately 300,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and convention space as well as an 1,850-seat showroom theatre, spa, fitness centre, salon and four large pools. Eighteen restaurants will serve a diverse range of cuisines and six bars and lounges, as well as a nightclub, will provide added entertainment. An automated transit system will connect CityCentre to Bellagio and Monte Carlo. CityCentre residences are now available for purchase.

 

Q3. Is there a best time to visit Las Vegas as far as the weather is concerned and is there a time of year when hotel rates are lowest?

A Las Vegas offers over 300 days of sunshine a year and boasts hot summers and slightly cooler winters. There really isn’t a bad time to visit, it just depends what you want! Hotel rates tend to vary from week to week – they are lower mid week and higher at weekends when domestic visitation is high. It is best to check before you book to see whether there are any large conventions or sporting events in town as these definitely affect hotel rates.

Q4. Apart from gambling in the casinos what else in Las Vegas can you recommend that the visitor does?

A Las Vegas really does have something for everybody. From the luxury resorts on the world famous strip, to fabulous shopping malls, chic restaurants with celebrity chefs, trendy elaborately themed nightclubs and the hottest headliners, there are so many options to keep everybody entertained! There are also world class golf courses, luxurious spas and plenty of scenic getaways out to the desert within easy driving distance of Las Vegas.

Q5. What are the best shows in Las Vegas in 2009?

A The legendary performer Cher now headlines at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace alongside Bette Midler who is also performing at Caesars Palace with a show called “The Showgirl Must Go On” featuring a 13-piece band and 20 female dancers.

“JERSEY BOYS“ the Tony Award-winning musical, opened at The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino this year and the Flamingo Las Vegas recently announced that Donny and Marie Osmond are the resort’s newest headliner.

Cirque du Soleil and Luxor have announced a new show featuring renowned illusionist Criss Angel. With the opening of CityCentre in 2009, Cirque du Soleil and Elvis Presley Enterprises will team with MGM MIRAGE to debut their next resident show in Las Vegas. Based on the life and music of the iconic performer Elvis Presley, the show will feature state-of-the-art technology and captivating visuals.

 

Q6. What attractions can you recommend that the tourist visits outside the city of Las Vegas that are within easy reach for a day trip or overnight stay?

A There is some amazing scenery in Nevada just a short drive from Las Vegas Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is just 15 miles west and is scenic area of rock formations and desert popular with hikers, bikers, joggers and rock climbers.

Just a three hour drive north of Las Vegas, Pahrump serves as the eastern gateway to Death Valley National Park. As the hottest, driest and lowest of all the National Parks in the USA, Death Valley is a land of extremes. Extreme sports lovers will find adrenaline-pumping hiking and cycling trails in the region’s high-desert terrain, while history buffs can explore several ghost towns in the area deserted after the gold and copper dried up.

Journey 147 miles, approx a four hour drive north of Las Vegas and you will find the Extraterrestrial Highway (Highway 375) in Sand Spring Valley. Highway 375 stretches for 98 miles and the tiny town of Rachel is a popular stopping point for UFO fans hoping to learn more about the highway and the mysterious former military testing facility, Area 51.

After a six hour drive you will arrive at the small town of Fallon, located on U.S. Highway 50, which is also known as “The Loneliest Road in America”. This 287-mile stretch of road was given this nickname in the 80’s and it is said that drivers need “survival skills” to travel the route. Drivers can download a Highway 50 Survival Guide here to help them navigate this road. Be sure to fill up your tank when leaving Fallon because the next town to the east is 111 miles away! ! A few minutes east of Fallon, you’ll see a giant sand dune rising out of the desert: this is Sand Mountain, a two-mile long, 600-foot-high dune.. It’s a haven for off-road enthusiasts, and the mountain is often buzzing with ATVs, dune buggies and sandboarders.

Q7. Are Las Vegas weddings still as popular?

A Las Vegas is known as much for its weddings as it is for its casinos. With an average of more than 120,000 marriage licenses issued annually, Las Vegas is still recognized as the world’s wedding capital so whether it’s eloping on a secret rendezvous, or planning an elaborate ceremony for hundreds of your family and friends, there is no place quite like Vegas to make it official. Since its early history, Las Vegas has been the wedding destination for a multitude of celebrity couples including Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere, Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, and Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie.

Q8. What in your opinion is the “must see” attraction in Las Vegas?

A I think the “must see” attraction in Las Vegas has to be the Strip!  You can walk up and down the world famous Las Vegas Boulevard and see so much! The Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel Tower at Paris, the skyline at New York New York and the Pyramids at Luxor are all within walking distance of each other and are all “must sees”.

Q9. Summarise why you think people should visit Las Vegas. What makes the place so great!?

A I think that there is so much to do and it offers activities and entertainment for all tastes and budgets! You can go shopping, watch headlining acts, eat in a different restaurant every night followed by a trendy nightclub…or you can simply sit back and enjoy the excellent weather!

The Defining Moments of 2008

As 2008 draws to a close nobody can say that this has not been 12 months that has changed the world. The year 2008 was the year of the US elections and the year that the first African-American was elected to become the 44th President of the United States. On 4 November 2008 Barack Obama, a Democrat, beat his Republican opponent John McCain by a margin of 53% to 46%. Even John McCain’s running mate, the ‘hockey mom’ Sarah Palin was not enough to save the Republicans from a huge defeat. It remains to be seen whether Obama can live up to his campaign slogan of “Change We Can Believe In”. In the end though it was the blundering actions of George W Bush including his unjust war in Iraq and his disastrous economic policy that was to be the downfall of the Republican party.

The US elections of 2008 were overshadowed though by the economic crisis that started in the US and then spread throughout Europe and eventually the rest of the world. Every day brought more bad economic news such as the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the government bail-out of banks that were all on the verge of failing. The economic crisis made headline news virtually every night by the BBC and their business editor Robert Peston was the man responsible for delivering this bad news. If there was ever a man who relished bad news and made us all think that the events happening were the equivalent of economic obliteration then Robert Peston was the right man for the job. He was first with all the big economic news stories such as the downfall of Bradford and Bingley and the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB and many other similar news stories. His strange mannerisms and way of speaking would normally have made him into a man to be hated but no, Robert Peston has won us all over and we all now think he is a hero. This man deserves to be made newsman of the year or even be made an economic advisor to the failing government. What a star!

In terms of politics Gordon Brown and Labour managed to go from no-hopers to maybe some hope as he tried to tell us that only he could save us in this time of crisis. This is time for experience and not newboys he said looking at David Cameron and also over his shoulder at David Milband, his foreign affairs minister who wanted Gordon Browns job. Maybe Gordon wasn’t looking over the Atlantic to see that Barack Obama, the inexperienced Democrat was about to win the US election! It amazes me that Labour have gained some points back on the Conservatives in the opinion polls. How can a party that is presiding over rising unemployment, high taxes, political spin, the decimation of our pensions and the taking away of civil liberties ever gain favour with anybody.

Carrying on in politics, Boris Johnson won the London Mayor election on 2 May and became the unlikely bumbling new London Mayor, replacing the left wing socialist Ken Livingstone.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still going on and the US lost its 4,000th soldier killed whist the UK lost its 300th soldier killed since 2001. I still maintain that Britain should not have gone to war against Saddam Hussein. The facts about weapons of mass destruction were wrong. Had we known the true facts things would have been different. As far as Afghanistan is concerned I can understand that we don’t want terror training camps but if you fight a war you fight it properly, not half heartedly. You go in with overwhelming force with the right equipment from the start. What we have at the moment is a small army with poor equipment and a situation that could last for years. What should happen is that you go in and get out as soon as possible.

2008 was Olympic Games year, held in Beijing, China. The games turned out to be the most spectacular of any and the smog and pollution that blights the area was hardly a distraction. There were virtually no protesters to be seen. I suppose that was because they were all locked up! The Olympic Games themselves were excellent – due mainly to the fact that Great Britain did better than expected. I must admit that I had no interest in watching the games on TV but I sat down at the start to watch the women’s cycling and Britain won ! From that moment on I watched a fair bit more including the magnificent cycling team including 3 times gold medal winner Chris Hoy, who also became the first Britain to win 3 gold medals since 1908. Our athletics team didn’t do particularly well, which I suppose is the main sport in the Olympics but overall we did very well, which is not bad for a nation of sofa dwellers and wii fit fanatics. Other highlights worth mentioning from the Olympic games are Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals and the best of all, the incredible sprinting of the Jamaican Usain Bolt, who proves that Jamaica is more that just a country of pot smoking, violent, reggae music listening psychopaths. Bolt became the fastest man on earth in the 100m final with a time of 9.69 seconds.

In other world events President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe carried on killing his own citizens. The second election was called off (Mugabe lost the first election so he decided the country would have a rigged second one) after the opposition leader, whose name I can’t spell, along with his supporters suffered violence and intimidation. An attempt at power sharing was just a ploy by Mugabe to try and deflect criticism from abroad. As I write this Zimbabwe is in the grip of inflation running at 231 million percent, clean water is only available to the privileged few, murder and rape is rife, unemployment has reached 90% and the average life expectancy is 40 years. Robert Mugabe is about 84 years old I think so his life expectancy must be running out soon!

In other world events, there was a devasting cyclone in Burma that killed an estimated 146,000 people, an earthquake in China in May that was felt more than 1,000 miles away from its epicentre and 87,000 people were killed. There was a terrible terrorist attack in Mumbai in November. Over 180 innocent people were murdered by about 10 terrorists. The Indian police managed to hold out against 10 men for 3 days, no sorry it was the other way round! Also, the so called Big Bang experiment by the Hadron Collider, built at huge expense to replicate the start of the universe suffered an electrical fault and the event turned into a small splutter!

Personally, for me, 2008 has not been a fantastic year but neither has it been bad either. I was in Palma, Majorca in April for a conference. Michael Portillo was one of the guest speakers. In May I was in Italy and visited Pisa and a stunning place called Monterosso which I can highly recommend. Apart from that I have been working on my websites. It’s a never ending job trying to get a website to the top of Google! My guitar playing is another year older and I don’t seem to be any better than I was a year ago. Maybe I need a better guitar!

Finally, the football team I support, Leeds United, after a string of poor results, sacked their manager, Gary McAllister, who had only been in the job 11 months. Promotion from League One looks like it is a fading hope.

Lets hope 2009 is better for us all including Leeds United!

I Didn’t Watch Strictly Come Dancing

It has been anounced that over 13 million people watched the final of Strictly Come Dancing. I can happily say that I wasn’t one of them. Why anybody would want to vote on how good a dancer, a z list celebrity is, I will never understand. On the few short clips I have seen over the last 12 weeks all the dancers look equally as good as each other, so unless you are a trained dance expert the average person will not know one dance move from another. So, really, its all down to who you like most. Why people have an opinion on that when you personally have never met that person I will never know! Which makes it a great shame that the nations favourite from the show, John Sergeant, didn’t win! When will we have a break from so called reality TV ? Surely, it has nearly run its course! I suspect, though, that I might be wrong on that!

Quote of The Week

I liked this quote when I read it in the Sunday Times today and supposedly made by the editor of Vogue.

“Experience has led me to recognise that, by and large, Christmas would not exist if it were not for women”

I agree with this 100% ! If it were down to men alone Christmas would not quite be the same. Now, whether it would be worse or better is a good question!

David Cameron Just Emailed Me!

Did I tell you that I know David Cameron? Ah, well I do, but so do about 50 million other people in the UK! He has just emailed me to wish me a happy christmas and to tell me how he will get the UK economy moving again. He doesn’t want to “save the world” like Gordon Brown but one of the things he wants to do is to get money to small businesses so that they can start investing in this country’s future. In the UK there is a huge number of small businesses and I agree that they should be supported. Anyway, I thought that you would like to see David Cameron’s email to me, so I have copied it word for word below.

“Dear David,

When the financial crisis happened, I made it clear that the Conservative Party was ready to put aside party differences to help bring stability. That’s why we supported the recapitalisation of our banks.

I also said that we would not suspend our critical faculties over this Government’s calamitous economic policy decisions – decisions that helped not only cause this crisis by encouraging government and personal debt to spiral out of control, but could also make the recession deeper and last longer.

That’s why we have set out a positive alternative, starting with immediate action to tackle the credit problems at the heart of the issue.

It’s clear the recapitalisation is failing to restart lending to the real economy, so we’ve proposed a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite loans to businesses.

It is vital that this £50bn proposal – which has been welcomed by the business community – is taken forward by the Government right now.

I can’t promise it will save the world, but the sooner the Government swallows its pride the sooner we can get credit flowing again, and help Britain’s struggling businesses.

Conservatives have always understood and supported businesses, we know what they need to prosper.

We also recognise that they make a difference not just by creating wealth, offering employment, and paying taxes to fund public services, but by making their money in a moral way, treating their employees right, strengthening communities, and playing a positive part in society.

So we don’t see the financial crisis as an excuse to bash capitalism, we see it as a challenge to make it work better in the future.

As well as better regulation we need to reinforce the values of trust, integrity and responsibility – with strong institutions, and incentives to do the right thing.

And just as importantly the Government should lead by being as prudent with the public finances as we expect banks to be with private finances, and by being as moral and responsible with the public purse as we expect business to be with consumers’ cash.

That’s what a Conservative Government would do. Let’s hope we get a chance to have one in the coming year.

Thank you for all your support, and have a very Merry Christmas”

David Cameron

X Factor Ends Yet Another Series

I watched the final of the UK X Factor on Saturday night! It was reasonably good entertainment but I prefer the early auditions when you get all the really bad singers – its a good laugh. When the show gets past the early rounds it becomes just a karoake competition mostly but there are one or two good singers and Alexandra turned out to be a fairly good winner. In the final she sang a duet with Beyonce but for me that was a mistake as Beyonce showed up Alexandra with a diva of a performance.

I’m glad the series has finished but I must admit that I will miss Cheryl Cole. The show has made her a real star now and I’m afraid that Danni Mynogue gave a performance that didn’t contribute anything as far as I was concerned and I will be suprised if she is on the next series. Simon Cowell did his normal thing of telling the truth to the contestants in the way that only he can but he looked a bit bored to me by the end. He was probably thinking ahead to the money he will make from having a Christmas number 1.

Finally, here is my message to all you aspiring pop idols – start singing in the shower, sing in the car, sing whenever you can, take singing lessons and then form a band and sing real songs – rock songs !

Will Economic Recession Lead To Anarchy?

These are worrying times for the UK and World economies. Recession is upon us and the economic outlook is depressing. Everyday we hear of job losses and industry in trouble. In only a matter of months the UK economy has almost collapsed. First it was the banks who had to be bailed out and now virtually every business in the UK is suffering from less sales and job losses. As unemployment rises more people and families face a difficult time. Just how far should the governments go to bail out failing businesses with taxpayers money?

When people become desperate with nowhere to turn to, a percentage of those people will turn to crime and an even bigger number may turn to demonstrations which could inturn become riots. We have already seen how quickly the public mood can change. In Greece the tragic shooting of a 15 year old boy by police was an excuse for anarchists to start throwing fire bombs and start violent protests. Rather than being a one-off protest they have become daily events and the protesters appear to want the government out of office, blaming them for the economic crisis.

It was only at the beginning of 2008 that there were food riots around the world caused by rising food prices. Rice was in short supply and there was much unrest and people were going hungry in places you would not normally expect. In Egypt there were two days of rioting due to rising food prices and this happened in many countries around the world. Even the United Nations warned that rising food prices could threaten political stability.

Call me gloomy of you want but the immediate future for the worlds population looks bleak. Rather than heading for a prosperous future for everyone we seem to have hit a brick wall and are heading very quickly down. I think that we all need to stop being as greedy for material possessions and be more content with treasuring family values. We should pursue happiness through other means rather than how big our TV screens are and we should all learn to live together in peace rather than fighting for ideological dominance.

If you add the economic problems to other problems in the world then the prospects are not good. I was reading an article in the paper the other day which stated that the USA was expecting a biological, chemical or nuclear terrorist attack on mainland US within the next 4 years!

Also, tensions between India and Pakistan are high following the Mubai terror attacks and Iran is still a potential problem. World economic depression breeds extreme views and in the case of the 1930′s depression eventually lead to World War 2.

Add all these things together and economic meltdown and you have a recipe for an unstable future for us all. Lets hope that our governments get their acts together and that the recession is only short lived, and that we all start living within our means. The world needs to be on its guard to prevent right wing extemism and above all work hard to solve our economic problems. If they don’t there will be many countries in the world that will not be safe places to visit.