Friday, 6 March 2015

The PM's debate no-show

I am uncomfortable with elected politicans being bullied by the media. Time after time we've witnessed attrocious laws rushed through by politicans in response to a media fuelled uproar. It's more than that though: it is deeply troubling that a person we as a country elect to be our leader to be bullied by un-democratic media bullies.


It demeans our democracy.


That being said I am shocked by David Cameron pulling out of televised debates and trying to rig the debates to his advantage.


I'm shocked by his utter stupidity. It makes him look scared of debate. Worse he looks terrified of Nigel Farage. No one is scared to debate with Miliband.


This is not a good look.


Worse than that, he's screwed himself. The media have called his bluff by saying the debates go ahead, and have given their reasons publicly. Now they have made their reasons public because Cameron made his letter public, which was stupid of them.


Now he's inflicted immense damage on himself needlessly. He either backs down which makes him look weak and vacuous or he sticks to his guns and give his opponents hours of free prime time tv to rubbish him without any chance to reply.


He has made himself a joke. And that is the worst thing for any politican fo be. It's the wound that kills a career over time.


He's a powerful man surrounded by very expensive media savvy advisors. If even an idiot such as I could foresee what was going to happen why didn't he?


I honestly think that Cameron, and Miliband, Clegg, and and the leaders of the old parties such as the SNP, believe their own hype and have a divine right to rule.


This arrogance leads politicans such as Cameron to make a fool of himself as he has here. He hasn't realised that the world is changed. That new parties are on the rise and new media isn't so cowed and obsequious.


This is a self inflicted wound that is going to be very hard to avoid now.


If this is the best we've got our politics is screwed.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A simple plan for education

The UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, was interviewed and stated that one of his big ideas is to allow students to study science, engineering, and medicine for free. That is without racking up huge debts as the do currently.


Now I am not going to deal with politics here...for once. But I've been saying and writing about this for years. Students who study science, medicine, education, and perhaps even software development should be able to do so for free.


It shouldn't matter what their background is, their class, Gender, race, creed, politics, socioeconomic standing, what school they went to, or what connections they have. If they have talent we as a state should allow them to pursue it for free.


In the modern world science, engineering, software, and the medical arts matter. As a nation we need to be at the cutting edge of technology and science in order to boost our economy and help our society function.


We should do all we can to ensure that more people, and the best, study these topics.


Now you could argue that protection is put in place to ensure that if graduates move abroad after we pay for their education they have to repay the cost of their education, but I feel the point still stands. We should encourage and support students studying science, engineering, and the like.


I should mention I am not against the social sciences and the humanities and I wouldn't be against free education for students studying them, but the fact remains science and technology education effects us all and should be priorities.


It is all about talent and helping people. Talent and vision should trump all. Unlike the arts or media it shouldn't matter who your 'daddy knows' or what school you went to, who you date, or if you are pretty, or tick some quota box.


We should help the talented.


I simply cannot see why such a simple plan for education isn't being followed.


And then I look at our politicans who have no idea of science or engineering, and a civil service full of incompetents and I sigh.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

On Revenge Porn

I've no problem with people posing nude. If you pose for money or if you pose for fun I'm fine with your choice. There is a proviso that such posing is consensual and not taken under duress or pressure or anything similar, but apart from that I'm fine with people's so choices.


I don't think badly of people who so pose. It is their free and willing choice and I'm fine with that. I suppose a lot of it is the fact that if they pose for fun it's none of my business, and if they pose for money it's their job. In my limited world I've met ex models who have posed in the nip and all have been intelligent and down to earth. Don't get me wrong there will be some 'wrong 'uns' and nightmares out there but it's just I've never met them.


However I find the posting of nude or sexual images of people without their consent on the Internet utterly despicable. It must be humiliating in the extreme. Once things are on the Internet it's there for ever. Such infamy can destroy lives and the shame could lead some to suicide.


For a ex-partner to post such images or video of the ex is a truly awful and hateful thing for anyone to do to another.




I'm not sure if creating a new law making 'Revenge Porn' illegal with serious prison time for the poster is a good idea.


How do you know if it is revenge porn?


Such posts are of images or videos of a person taken when they and the poster were in a relationship. That is it was consensual. If it wasn't consensual or if such recordings or images where taken without the knowledge of the person concerned that is different and is rightly a crime already.


If such images or videos where willingly given to the ex partner or taken by the person then they own copyright and can do what they like with the images. As long as they don't sell the material as they would require a model release form by the model to be signed.


If they cannot post such images or videos of another without such a consent form being signed this would make posting any video or image of anyone online illegal. This would be a bad thing. It would ban most of Facebook, more importantly it could be used to stop people taking images of police, poltiicans, or officials behaving badly unless they have a signed form in which that person gives legal consent to post their image.


It would massively impact freedom of expression to all of us.


There is also a danger that a vengeful individual can accuse an ex partner of posting what they say is revenge porn and get them thrown in jail as revenge rather than any wrongdoing by that individual by posting images or video of themselves using the identity of their hated partner.


I can foresee the battle between freedom of speech and expression, copyright, international and American law, the hunger of the tabloids for another crusade to sell to their dwindling audience, and feminism based on ill defined and idiotic law to be a nightmare.


I support all those innocent victims shamed by their ex and would have thought a restraining order through the courts stopping the posting of such material before the event is the best way to stop their pain.


However ill drafted laws by politicans who don't know how the Internet works and a fondness of banning things and trying to gain electoral advantage isn't the way to help the victims of this vile practice.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Sadness that is Eric Joyce

Things should have been so different for Eric Joyce the Labour MP and ex-minister. In him was a ex-Major who earned his scars and was a much welcomed breath of fresh air when faced with the numerous rich, talentless, drones of the Labour Party.


And it's not just the Labour Party all parties seem to be mostly made up of identikit blandness.


However for the Labour Party it seems that the hereditary rich elite have captured the supposed party of the working classes. And that made Joyce so welcome.


At least it should have done.


The reality is that his promotions in the army was due to him supporting labour and criticising the Tories rather than worth, and that his ministerial carrier wasn't brilliant. Fair enough better than many others but that is because we've seen some idiots as minsters.


Leaving aside all political considerations I just feel sadness when faced with Joyce. He is a tragic figure. Yet again he has been arrested for drunked assault, though he denies everything This is his fourth arrest in three years. Now he has been treated leniently for his previous drunken assaults, and my greatest sympathies lie with those he has attacked. But it is sad that anyone should fall to their demons.


Joyce had everything going for him. He was set for a comfortable life. He still has a very good army pension, and an unbelievably good parliamentary one. He could look forward to life in a safe seat until he wanted to become a peer. Directorships and media punditry awaited as he progressed to the lofty heights of elder statesman.


But now he is a tragic fool whose reputation is gone. He has become a loathsome stereotype of a drunken yob.


I don't care who he is, how powerful or great he was: this is a tragic waste for anyone.


I hope it improves for him I really do because if it doesn't.......

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Ice Bucket Challange

I like most people have been struck and bemused with the viral spread of people dousing themselves with iced water to raise money for charity.

It comes to a heady pass when I know people who've had done such a silly thing.

Now it goes without saying I'm all for people doing silly things in general and even more so if that silliness raises money for charity.

I have to admit wondering if it was a fetish thing to get famous people to pour water over their sinuous forms often in slow motion. But that me being cynical. Is this 'sploshing'? Or just good clean fun?

However the simple fact is that it has raised a fortune for the ALS. So it is a good thing (at least it is until it gets to a state where people feel pressurised to douse themselves in icy water or to misuse the publicity).

This is good.

As it happens I'm a strong supporter of Macmillan Cancer Support as I've had their much needed help when a close family member was dying with cancer. I know only too well the thieving horror that cancer still remains and the truly great work their staff do for sufferers and their families.

I strongly support their fundraising and encourage anyone who is able to support them in any way possible. It is a great cause.


I'm deeply saddened by the way in which Macmillan has hijacked the ALS Ice Bucket challange popularity by buying google advertising to place their advert which directs people to the Macmillan Ice Bucket page at the top way before the ALS's page is even mentioned.

This is the link to this page for anyone seeking to help Macmillan by pouring cold water over themselves.

However strongly I support Macmillan and their staff it strikes me as wrong. The ALS have managed to catch the world's attention with a silly little thing which raises the profile of the awful condition and are raising huge amounts of much needed funds to best it. It strikes me as wrong that another organisation, however worthy, to try to hijack and exploit the ALS's hard work for their own ends.

As a supporter of Macmillan I can only say that this is both sad and cheapens them.

It's sad.

If people wish to help the ALS and it's fight to conquer Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, what we here usually call Motor Neurone Disease please check out this link.

I strongly hope the ALS gets all the support it needs.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Alex Jones exploitation of 'patriotism'

I'm not a fan of Alex Jones. I've tried to work out why: I've come to the conclusion it's not so much that he's wrong about everything, he isn't, no one is, but I think it's just I don't like people being lied to.


All his work seems to be about conning the gulable out of their hard earned cash for the enrichment of one A Jones.


And that's sad.


There are numerous examples of this. Probably the most blatant and sick is the adverts he runs selling his expensive quack medicine by telling his fans that America has the highest level of cancer in the world so they should divvy up and by his incredibly expensive and useless garbage to protect themselves against cancer.


The trouble is that America doesn't have the highest cancer rates in the world: it has the six highest level. It's still too high, as it is in every country, but that's not the point. Jones lies to make money. The fact that the US is a rich country who is aware of health issues and spends a fortune on health means that cancers that would be missed in other countries are picked up in the US meaning the actual rates of detected cancer are different to the actual rates of cancer. This is one of the main reasons why poorer and underdeveloped countries are low in the list of cancer rates. Poor countries don't have the health structure to catch cancer in their people so they die early and undiagnosed.


This is Jones using fear to make cash.


He is deeply sexist with his rants and rather sick fantasies of beating up a woman. His pathetic homophobia and obsession with gay people is plain nasty. There are stores of him getting people banned from TV if he doesn't like them, and him bullying people and being backed into a fight due to his attack on a vulnerable person but rather than fighting with fists like a man running for his gun and being smacked about and crying for his daddy, then getting his family in the FBI to go after the man who won the fight, see the below.




He's not a nice man.


However the other thing that gets my goat is the cynical way he uses patriotism to make money. Ad after ad in his programme, usually voiced by himself, tries to sell pricey crap by telling us that it is made by patriots, for patriots. His programme and rants are full with him telling us how patriotic he is (and brave, manly, sexy, powerful, deadly, brilliant, knows more than any lawyer, doctor, or anyone).


This recourse to patriotism is deeply seedy and it reminds me that false patriotism is the last resort of the rogue.


The thing that gets me is his exploitation of patriotism is actually the opposite of the lies he spills about the country he is supposed to be patriotic about. Every programme is full of how god awful America is. He pushes the meme that America is insane, genocidal, and evil. Jones takes the side of anyone America doesn't like.


Iran? Jones likes them and blames the US. Syria? America to blame. North Korea? America's the villain.


And the list goes on.


However Jones supports Russia and its attacks on the Ukraine. According to him it's all the fault of the US for using Ukraine or attack Russia to ....... Well I'm not entirely sure why but whatever it's all Americas fault.


Jones paints Russia as blameless and Putin as a brave beacon of brilliance.


The fact that Putin is corrupt, and Russia has a truly horrific record of murdering journalists and killing people who are in his way, is ingnored.


This is a dangerous strategy in my opinion. If you whip up your cash cow sorry I mean audience by pushing the view that you are a ├╝ber patriot and their leader and super American then is it a terribly good idea in constantly attack your country and side with the traditional enemy?


If there is an escalation or war between the US and Russia which I don't believe will ever happen by the way, and the patriotic public then what happens to Jones' audience? Would he survive being seen as a quisling in bed with their enemy?

Could his multimillion dollar empire survive the hit?

The fact is it is easy to laugh at the fat Jones and dismiss him as an idiot. That would do him a injustice. Fair enough he is fat and I worry about his health but he isn't stupid. He has made a fortune promoting a sellable fiction to a hungry audience.

He is however dangerous. His constant push of the idea that inoculations are part of a plot to kill us all means that people don't inoculate. The idea of a dastardly plot Jones promotes is picked up by religious extremists and used to stop inoculations all over the world and murder nurses and doctors. He is used as a respected expert in Pakistan and other counties to justify the attacks on medical staff and the stopping of children being protected from deadly disease.

Jones' words are geared to make him money but his conspiracies lead to thousands of children dying thousands of miles away.

It is no surprise that some of the most violent extremists have been proved to be fans of the plethora of Jones' conspiracies. I'm not necessarily blaming Jones just saying that the fiction he promotes fits into the insane paranoia the violent extremists follow.


The idea promoted by Jones is the inverse of the old adage of 'my country right or wrong'. To him his country is always wrong: send him all your money.


It would be nice to make money. But to make it in the way Jones does is despicable.