Category: United Kingdom

What amount of information does Facebook actually hold about me? – Here is what I found and how….


In light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a political consultancy in London has been accused of harvesting and applying Facebook users data inappropriately to shape political campaigns in the United States, I decided to find out exactly how much information Facebook holds about me.

I downloaded this via a single click in the settings section of my Facebook account. Find out how in the last paragraph of this article.

In the Photos and Videos sections, I was pleasantly surprised to see photos and videos that I had completely forgotten about. In the Messages section, I was able to view conversations with friends from 11 years ago when I joined Facebook! Some of these conversations took me right back to what my life was like at those points in time. The Timeline section shows all the comments I’ve ever posted and I was able to go back to my first post on the platform, including the date and time it was posted!

I was also able to see my ad history, not only ads I have clicked on Facebook but also on Instagram! Now, I have the Instagram app on my phone and I know the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012, but I didn’t realise that data from my activity on Instagram is being flowed directly into the Facebook app. I was able to see advertisers with my contact info as well.

In the Security section, I was able to view all devices I have used to log in to Facebook and the IP addresses of these devices including date and time stamps.

All these were interesting to me until I came across the Contact Info section where I was able to see that Facebook holds contact information from my mobile phone including people not even on my Facebook friends list! 70% of my phone contact list are known to Facebook, including the contact info for the Indian Takeaway I frequent on days I feel a bit peckish!

From what I was able to gather from a quick Google search, the Facebook app on your phone apparently has access to your phone contacts and you gave this permission away when you downloaded the app. I think you can manage this though and restrict this access by going into your settings.

The good thing about downloading this data is that you are able to see the evidence of the power of Facebook. Every Like, every comment, every photo you’ve posted, adverts you have clicked on and places you’ve been are being meticulously chronicled in great detail and made accessible to you and I am sure, the government and other authorities as well (on demand probably). How much of this data is accessible to corporate interests and political parties is less known. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company (prior to 2014), then known as SCL Elections, has been accused of interfering in the 2007 general elections in Nigeria where it is alleged that the company organised rallies in Nigeria to weaken support for the opposition. There are also allegations of political interference by the same company in Latvia and Trinidad and Tobago elections in 2006 and 2010 respectively.

If you feel there is anything on there you would be uncomfortable being made public (e.g. those old photos you were tagged in or the ones you posted, or even opinions you expressed a long time ago that you no longer hold), it is the time to clean up and check how much consent you are giving apps to access your personal data, in your settings.

The more disturbing aspect is how secure is this data? The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal shows it is not as secure as we would like it to be. I know a lot of people say if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t worry. But I think this is a naive position as you should be concerned about how much information about you is available to a private company who makes billions of dollars trading in that very information. Imagine giving the keys to your house to a private insurance company for example, and saying you have nothing to hide! That would be unthinkable. Facebook is no longer a passive fun app where we post smileys to far-flung friends, it is a very powerful machine hoovering up and digesting every aspect of our lives and making a huge profit from it.

Information about you could be used for positive as well as negative or criminal purposes, protecting it is important. In an age of identity theft, impersonations and blackmail, you ignore this at your peril.

If Facebook holds this much information about us, I wonder what data Google and Apple keep about us all and what they do with it or ‘can’ do with it!

To view your own Facebook data (see screenshots below), go to your settings in your Facebook app (desktop or mobile) and in the General account settings tab, click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’. It will take about 10-15 minutes and an email will be sent to you with a link to the downloaded data.


Justin Fashanu – The making of a tragedy

I had the opportunity to see a powerful Netflix documentary this weekend about the life and death of Justin Fashanu, once Britain’s most popular black footballer. I remember hearing the story as a teenager growing up in Nigeria but never really knew the details. The story is a tragic cocktail of betrayal, abandonment, pain and sadness.

Justin Fashanu
The Fashanu brothers – Justin (right) and John (left) [Photo credit:]

Netflix’s “Forbidden Games – The John Fashanu story” is a deep and disturbing look at the troubled life of two brothers growing up in the harsh, racially charged atmosphere of 1970s and ’80s Britain.

Born to a Nigerian father and a Guyanese mother in 1961 in the London borough of Hackney, Justin and his younger brother John were put in foster care at ages four and three respectively after their parents split up and their father moved back to Nigeria.

Justin and John were eventually fostered by a white middle-class couple in Norfolk who took care of them and provided them with the stability of family life. In the documentary, this couple recalled how the brothers were two lovely little kids bursting with energy.  But Justin never got over the fact that their mother gave them up. In the documentary, Pearl, their biological mother, said she didn’t have the means to look after the children after their father left and had no choice but to give them up to be fostered.

Justin at Norwich FC (Picture credit:

The documentary reminded us of Britain of the ’70s and ’80s when being black was a social stigma and the consequences were severe. Justin and his brother John were the only black children in an overwhelmingly white Norfolk village and experienced the cold reality of prejudice at the school playground. But Justin had a talent that made him shine, he was fast and quick with the football than any other kid. He had an athletic build and a charismatic personality. He quickly got noticed and made his debut when he was signed to Norwich FC, and eventually to Nottingham Forest in 1981, which marked the high point of his career as a professional footballer. He was transferred to Forest for a whopping £1million. The most expensive black player in English football history, up to that time.

But fame and fortune brought out previously latent attitudes in Justin, he became stubborn and arrogant, he would park his expensive cars in inappropriate places and would refuse to move it when asked to. Justin loved the fast life, money, cars and clubbing. These soon took a toll on his career as his performance dipped on the pitch. For such an expensive player, the expectations were high and the pressure was huge. Meanwhile the news was going round that Justin was frequenting gay bars in Nottingham, and in 1980s Britain, this was not something you would shout from the rooftops. The environment was hostile to homosexuals and Justin knew that his career would be jeopardised if he admitted being gay. His manager however, Brian Clough, a veteran football manager and homophobe, had had enough of Justin’s below expectation performance on the pitch and the rumours of him being gay was the final straw. Justin was sacked from the club, and marked the beginning of a slippery slope for him. He started to drift from one football club to the next, picked up a knee injury and at one point became a born-again christian.

Justin visited Nigeria to find is biological father but it wasn’t the visit he planned. He thought he would be going into his father’s arms wide open for him, but it was rather a disappointment and that was the first and last time he ever met with his biological father.

As Justin’s career slowed down, John’s (his younger brother) was picking up. John rose through the ranks to the top of the football tree when he got signed to Wimbledon in 1986 and eventually went on to play for England. John was now the face of the Fashanu brand in Britain. The tables turned.

In 1990, Justin came out publicly in The Sun newspaper (Britain’s largest tabloid) as being gay, despite John’s efforts to prevent him going public with it. John went as far as offering Justin a huge amount of money, more than the tabloid would pay him for the story. John believed this revelation would harm his own career which he has worked so hard to achieve. John had a difficult relationship with his older brother due to his overwhelming popularity and success,  which meant John lived in his shadows. In the documentary, John described  how if he achieved something, people would say well that is expected, and when he didn’t they would say why not, ‘his brother could do it’. It was a difficult corner to get out of for John. He also described how Justin became his arch enemy after he came out publicly as gay, he dissociated himself from Justin and they literally lost touch for years afterwards. In Britain of that time, you cannot be seen to be openly sympathetic to homosexuality. It was a macho environment, supported by politicians who banded it as a perversion that needed to be contained. The documentary even has a footage of Margaret Thatcher declaring at a Conservative party conference, how children had to be protected from such ideas. It is true when they say the past is a different country. It truly was a Britain difficult to recognise!

After numerous attempts to jumpstart his career, Justin got embroiled in controversy when lurid details of alleged sexual affairs with some British MPs were documented in the tabloids, with himself being the source of these details. He later retracted the claims saying he made them up for the money. He was at rock bottom by this time. Broke and desperate.

He went back to America and coached a small football club. But this soon unravelled when in April 1998, Justin was accused of sexual assault on a 17 year old boy and the police put out a warrant for his arrest. Justin fled back to England fearing incarceration. He denied the charges and claimed he fled because he feared he wouldn’t get a fair trial because he was gay. In May 1998, Justin was found dead in a garage in East London after an apparent suicide with a note saying he was innocent of these charges. He was 37.

The documentary was very moving and demonstrated how events in childhood usually set the pace for life afterwards. Justin felt a sense of abandonment when his mum gave him and his brother up for foster care. He couldn’t come to terms with this, even when his mum tried to explain her side of the story. Justin battled demons buried deep in his life but wore the mask of a confident, charming man who appeared to be in control.

John sobbed during the filming of the documentary as he watched old videos of Justin wishing John would fight his corner. He felt abandoned by John at a time he needed him the most. John’s reaction was however his own survival strategy at a time when having a gay brother could finish his own career as well. John had lost a brother with whom he endured so much with as kids, shared happy and difficult times together, cried and laughed with. It was a sad ending for both brothers.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – A look at how their union could be affected by UK immigration rules

Harry and Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Photo credit: Cosmopolitan)

The news came this week of the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle and plans for a Royal wedding next year. It was welcome news and myself and the rest of the country are so happy for them. Finally the prince has found love and will be settling down.

However, under UK immigration rules, Meghan Markle will be subject to residency laws which will see the couple meet stringent requirements after their wedding if they plan to live together permanently in the UK.

For mere mortals who live far away from the pomp and pageantry of British royalty, to bring over your non-European spouse into the UK, you would need to first prove to the Home Office that you can support your spouse without recourse to public funds. This means meeting an income threshold of £18,600 ($25,000) annual earnings to obtain a spouse visa for Meghan. This income threshold is based only on the income of the UK sponsor, in this case Prince Harry’s.

“The non-UK partner cannot count their income towards the threshold if they are working abroad, because of the concern that they may stop working after they come to the UK” – The Migration Observatory, The University of Oxford

According to the Migration Observatory, 40% of UK workers did not earn above £18,600 a year in 2015. We all know Harry left the army in 2015 and had not earned taxable income since then, rather he has been doing a lot of charity work and royal duty, from important conservation work to supporting mental health charities. He could however meet this requirement through the Duchy of Cornwall, the Royal estate which would provide Harry with unearned income. If Harry was an ordinary citizen, unearned income would not qualify for the Home office income requirements.

This process is made even more complicated if the couple already have children (not the case in Harry and Meghan’s situation). If the couple already have children, the annual income threshold of £18,600 ($25,000) required jumps by £3,800 ($5,100) for the first child and £2,400 ($3,200) for additional children after the first child.

Many people across the UK are being prevented from bringing their non-EU spouse (and children) into the UK by this regulation. Many families have been split apart because they cannot prove clearly to the Home Office how they meet this requirement. According to the Migration Observatory, an Home Office impact assessment in 2012 estimated that between 13,600 – 17,800 fewer people would be prevented from coming to the UK per year as a result of the income threshold. The actual figure would be much higher.

After this income hurdle, then comes the ‘financial cost’ and ‘time’ hurdles. It will be five years after Harry and Meghan get married before she can apply for permanent residency in the UK. She will initially get 2.5 years after the application for residency after their wedding next year, then she will have to renew this after this time for another 2.5 years (a total of 5 years). After 5 years she can then apply for permanent UK residency. Shortly after this she can apply for British citizenship. For ordinary citizens, this is a very costly process. In all you are looking at around £7,000 ($9,400) from getting married to becoming a permanent UK resident.

These requirements will likely will not apply to Prince Harry because he is Prince Harry, but many ordinary lives are affected by this on a day to day basis. People who love each other are penalised heavily because one of them comes from a non-European country. If they were from a European country like France, Netherlands or Poland, it is absolutely fine, you could live together in the UK immediately (this may change after Brexit though, who knows).




‘Bots’ – The problem of ‘fake news’ in the age of social media

By now, the phrase ‘fake news’ is no longer new to many people, but its influence couldn’t be more widespread. We have all been victims whether we like to admit it or not. We have been exposed to propaganda disguised as news through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or Instagram and some of us have ‘fallen’ for it. We all like to think we are not being manipulated or controlled by what we read or see on social media, but the truth is, we are.

FAke News
Photo credit –

The influence of ‘fake news’ is more devastating in countries where there are delicate balances of power and spreading false rumours could easily offset this balance, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. For example in multi-ethnic societies like the ones in Africa and Asia, spreading false information about an ethnic group could quickly increase tensions and could lead to strife, or conflict in extreme cases. It could alter the political landscape and cause power shifts.

Countries, organisations or individuals who want to influence the socio-political dynamics of a society know the fact that most people will believe what they read, if you can sensationalise it enough. Gone are the days when media corporations are the only ones who could wield this kind of influence, today, an 18 year old with some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and video editing software could create powerful ‘false information’ that would get the attention of millions of people. I think this is scary enough, but when you now realise there are actually groups and syndicates out there (sometimes sanctioned by governments) sending out internet ‘bots’ in their millions into societies with the sole aim of churning out hundreds of tweets per hour, spreading false information manufactured with state of the art softwares, then the ball game changes.

This week it was exposed that there are state-run organisations in Russia who have well developed methods of targeting western democracies with false information with the sole aim of creating suspicion and fracturing societies. The allegations are endless, the UK referendum, the US elections, the Immigration debate, the Catalonia referendum etc.

A particular photo was held up this week as a clear evidence of this type of deliberate misinformation for political gain. I could remember seeing this picture (below) circulating widely on twitter when the tragedy occurred on London Bridge earlier in 2017. The reaction it generated was that of fury and anger. The tweet read:

“Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone #PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam.”

Blog image
Photo credit: London Evening Standard

At a time of difficult discussions around immigration and religious freedom in Britain,  this photo added a lot of fuel to the fire, particularly for far-right groups who were already injecting a dose of toxicity to the debates.

It has now been discovered that the twitter account behind this photo was actually an internet bot manufactured in Russia. An internet bot as defined by Wikipedia as “a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone”. So these are computer codes controlled from thousands of miles away, which wield ten or twenty times more ‘tweet-power’ than a human being.

Contrary to the tweet, the young woman wasn’t ignoring the crime scene, but rather horrified at what was happening around her. The photo was taken out of context and used for a malicious narrative.

As the general population is now beginning to understand, millions of twitter accounts, facebook profiles and instagram accounts are actually bots. Many of these accounts are used for criminal purposes, contain malicious content or were created to spread false information very quickly across the web. Bots do not know borders or political boundaries. Tweets sent by bots in St.Petersburg will be seen in London in seconds and its intensity beyond your wildest imagination as it saturates the media space at a rate that can never be matched by a human being.

I don’t know what the solution to ‘fake news’ and malicious bots is, but I am sure Russia is not the only suspect. The extent to which this actually affect societies and shape public opinion is yet to be clearly established.

The only effort we can all make is to make sure we do not believe everything we read or view on the internet. Many videos though look like they are real, many times they have been carefully ‘doctored’ and taken out of context to drive home a particular agenda. I see this all the time on Facebook. Social media is fast becoming a playground for people with an agenda. Some of these posts for example disguise as an emotional appeal, designed to tug at your heart strings, be careful, and do your research before you fall for it. I see it all the time, people jumping to conclusions on a sensational post on facebook. Protect your mind.


Kweku Adoboli -How a bright young man with a glistening career ended up being the UK’s worst rogue trader

Kweku Adoboli – Picture courtesy of www.

I was on my way to work this morning and in the car I was listening to Radio 4’s Today programme (a news analysis programme). One of the slots was an interview with Kweku Adoboli, the 36year old young man who racked up a loss of $2.3billion while a Trader at UBS London in 2012. The biggest single loss by a UK bank in modern times.

Adoboli was on the radio after serving half his jail sentence of 7years, admitting his mistakes, warning that bad practise is still prevalent in UK banks and appealing to people to help him fight deportation from the UK so he can turn his bad experience into good for others.

Adoboli was born in Ghana and travelled the world with his family as his father was a United Nations official. He went to some of the best academic institutions in the UK and was identified as a star student. He studied computer science and business management at Nottingham University and went on to become one of the most valuable traders at UBS London operations.

In 2012, a 2-minute phone call from one of UBS’s accountants asking Adoboli to clarify some of his trading positions set the ball rolling for one of the most fascinating cases in modern times about the dark arts of stock market trading.

He was sentenced to 7 years in prison after a detailed trial that put the microscope on what goes on at trading floors across some of Britain’s biggest banks. Adoboli highlighted the immense pressures put on traders by banks to make profit, hence making them take increasingly dangerous risks that eventually spiralled out of control in his own case. Unsurprisingly though, none of the top ‘brass’ in UBS were convicted of any wrongdoing.

Adoboli in cuffs
Adoboli after arrest – picture courtesy of

Now Kweku Adoboli is out of prison after serving half his sentence and has said he is sorry for what he has done and takes full responsibility but believes what happened to him is still happening to traders across London, bank bosses pushing traders to the very limit, goading them on to take dangerous risks with investors’ cash, then disowning them when it all goes burst.

Adoboli led a chaotic life when working at UBS, often working very long hours and spending most of those hours trying to cover up his track of deceit and lies. He would create fake trading positions to mask losses and took huge gambles with investors money. He was also alleged to have harboured a gambling habit that saw him lose vast sums of his salary, that he resorted to borrowing money from pay-day lenders to make ends meet.

Adoboli’s biggest worry at the moment is now his own fate, he now faces deportation from the UK back to his home country Ghana as a result of being a convicted foreign criminal. Though Adoboli has lived in the UK since he was 12 years old, he never applied for British citizenship. He recently lost an appeal of the Home Office’s decision to deport him. Now unemployed, broke, living with friends and surviving through money sent to him by his retired father in Ghana, Adoboli is in a bit of a mess to put it lightly. This was a man who earned over £130,000 (around 5 times average UK salary) at the peak of his career at UBS, lived in an expensive London apartment, threw parties with friends at weekends, life was good. He has gone from grace to grass, from 100miles/hr to zero in the twinkle of an eye. He has been banned by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) meaning he can no longer work in the financial services anywhere in the UK (and I’m sure no financial institutions in Europe will welcome him either).

The lesson I have learnt from this story is how quickly life can turn upside down when you make the wrong choices. Adoboli was under immense pressure from his bosses, but to meet those pressures he broke the law and paid a heavy price. The company he broke the law for continues to exist and he is now an outcast from that circle. There is no job worth ‘dying’ for.


Common Prosperity is better than a rich-poor divide #EUreferendum

Immigration from the relatively poorer EU countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania) forms the crux of the debate about the EU referendum. These were former communist countries behind the infamous ‘Iron Curtain’ which came down in the 1990s (excluding East Germany for the purpose of this discussion). What people are literally saying is this curtain should go up again or we will leave the EU zone.

My theory is that overall prosperity is better than a rich-poor divide. The aim of the EU in incorporating these countries into the common market is to boost prosperity and reduce chaos in them. Yes it triggered an exodus in countries like Poland, but also the UK and other richer EU countries can now export into 28 countries (up from the initial 17 pre-2004). Its a win-win situation. Polish economy has benefitted immensely from EU support since their ascension in 2004.

I believe the happier your neighbours, the safer you are. Imagine these countries still living in the past with widespread poverty, conflict, crime and chaotic governance, and living right on the doorstep of western Europe. It would be like building a castle next to a volcano.

Image at top of article: Wawell Castle and Cathedral in Krakow, Poland

‘Brexit’ – How did we get here?

On 23 June 2016, the British people have a big decision to make. To remain in the European Union or leave. Both sides of the divide have been making their case and some important points have been made so far. The Remain camp warns of dire economic consequences if the UK leaves and the Leave camp has warned of continued uncontrollable immigration into the UK if it remains, threatening the very fabric of British society. With all the arguments flying around, most British people are understandably confused.

The current rhetoric is surely different from what obtained in 1975, the year of the first UK referendum on the EU (then called the European Economic Community). The debate was much less toxic back then. Today immigration is the hottest topic on the agenda and it is a very sensitive and divisive subject all across Europe.

The EU is not just a strong economic bloc but a powerful political one too. Free movement of citizens has been enshrined in EU law since 1958 when it was created. In 1973 when the UK joined, it had 9 member states, today it has 28 countries. Now 28 populations can mix as freely as they choose. This is understandably a concern for many citizens, especially in the richer countries.

The free movement of EU citizens across its ever expanding borders has created an influx of people from relatively poorer countries (i.e. Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania etc) into the richer ones (UK, France, Germany etc) at a rate which has caused socio-political tension in the destination countries. Many in the UK for example cite the pushing down of workers wages and salaries, because immigrants from poorer EU countries are willing to work for less. The impact on social services like schools and hospitals have been mentioned. Many also believe EU laws have strangled UK laws thereby reducing the power of the UK government to deport foreign criminals, control access to the benefits system and its ability control the rise in population.

I do see the reasoning behind these points and believe population management is vital to ensure supply of resources meet demand for those resources. But there are two options to resolve an issue like this, create more resources to meet demand, or keep demand to the level of available resources. In business, cutting demand to maintain supply will be a retrograde step, ensuring supply keeps up with demand is forward thinking. Why is it different with the business of governance?

The increase in immigrant numbers from Poland (or Romania) should not be a problem if these immigrants pay taxes, pay rent and conduct business here as all it does is increase government tax revenue. Why is this revenue not translating into more resources? If there are not enough schools, why not build more, if there are not enough hospitals, why not build more? UK population has been increasing since 1066 when the Normans invaded the ‘island’. London was once a small town with a population of 200,000 in 1600, now its a metropolis with nearly 9million people. Resources available have grown with the increase in population for centuries. I know many people will say we cannot continue to have population increase on the scale we have now as the resources to support it are not infinite (e.g. land), but this has been the rhetoric since 1948 when the famous ship, SS Windrush carrying 500 Jamaican immigrants landed at the Tilbury docks. The fear of overpopulation has always been at the fore-front of immigration debates in the UK for decades. Before Poland joined the EU, many scare-mongerers thought the whole of eastern Europe will relocate to Britain, but no, it hasn’t happened. There are still many young Polish people who prefer to stay and work in Warsaw or Krakow than come to London. The same with Romania, many Romanians are still at home in Bucharest, not in London. Yes people move in search of greener pastures, but it takes a lot to relocate and thrive in a different country and most just won’t do it. Many of the movements we see into the UK today are temporary and they usually return to their home countries when they’ve saved enough to live the life they have dreamt for themselves back home. Many are young men with wives and children back in their home countries, only here for a few years to make some money and return.

Another point the Leave campaign makes is the impact of unlimited supply of labour on wages and salaries in the UK. The EU provides the world’s largest pool of labour within a common market. This army of workers is accessible from every member state and their movement is unrestricted. The aim is to ensure businesses can readily obtain the skills needed and power-charge the EU economy. It is also true this free movement ensures cheap labour is accessible to businesses, hence a company may prefer to hire Romanian cleaners rather than British-born cleaners because they could work for less and deliver the same level of service in the same time. But if the pay is at or above the minimum wage and thats what the company can afford, then where is the problem? Every business cuts cost where they can. Its like saying UK businesses should only buy British made raw-materials rather than Chinese or German made. If the Chinese made material is the same quality but cheaper, why not? So long as it is a legal product, they are free to source their raw materials where it delivers most value for money. Why is it different with labour? Of course there are wage abuses in some sectors where some people are paid less than the minimum wage, in these cases government regulation needs to be stepped up to ensure the minimum wage is adhered to and no one is paid below it.

Many people see immigrants as net consumers of British jobs and not creators of them, but they forget that Polish and Romanian immigrants own legitimate businesses in the UK (e.g. shops, stores, cafes and bars) which employ british-born workers, many are also skilled and self-employed like plumbers, auto-mechanics etc. If they choose to bring all these skills here to the UK, it can only be a good thing. Bad for their home countries due to the skills drain, but like I mentioned earlier, most of them are usually here for a specific time period before they return home to establish bigger businesses. But until we know the exact proportion of ‘British jobs’ taken and ‘British jobs’ created by immigrants, I don’t think we can make the conclusion that immigrants are net ‘takers’ of British jobs.

Another point made by the Brexit campaigners is that EU laws are stifling British laws and a main example is the Human Rights Act of 1998 (HRA). Many believe this law is abused regularly by foreign criminals and illegal immigrants who use it as a way to avoid punishment. The UK tabloids pick the worst cases of these alleged abuses and put it as their headline, cherrypicking the facts and misrepresenting the scale. Obviously, this evokes strong reactions from the reader.

The Human Rights Act guarantees fundamental freedoms for every resident of the UK and the EU at large. These freedoms include: Right to life, Right to liberty and security, Right to a fair trial, Freedom of expression, Freedom of thought, belief and religion, Freedom of assembly and association, Freedom from slavery and slave labour to name a few. These rights are absolute. What some people are saying is that because there are abuses in certain cases, then the UK should withdraw from the Human Rights Act (and substitute it with a British Bill of Rights). My question is why would you scrap a good law because of a few bad cases? It will be like scrapping the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ premise in criminal law because some criminals get away with their mischief due to lack of evidence even though they actually committed the crime. We cannot do that, we cannot throw away a law that guarantees fundamental human freedoms just because there are a few instances where it has been abused. And we cannot apply the law selectively, in certain instances and not in others, basically we cannot cherrypick the law. If the law states that every man is guaranteed a right to life, then there should be no instances where execution is permitted, no matter the depravity of the crime. There are other laws to ensure the right punishment is meted out. The Human rights Act has helped many people get justice they deserved, when their home governments have failed to uphold these rights. The European courts in Strasbourg ensures that any violation of the HRA is reversed accordingly. It serves as a second opinion and a system of checks and balances on EU governments. I think this is a good thing.

These are just some of the points time and space will permit me to address here. I think Brexit is a high risk idea, full of minefields and unknowns. We may all be wrong in the end and Brexit may not be as bad as it sounds now if the UK votes to leave, but who is to give that assurance? This is uncharted waters, and why head for uncharted waters when there are charted ones especially when there is so much at stake. People’s livelihoods, health, happiness are all at risk here. Why take the shot when it is not absolutely necessary? Well I don’t know, maybe I am wrong.