Sunday, 10 May 2009

Diana Watch

“Are you tired of calloused skin tearing your tights?”

Again with the starting with the question thing, the new Britney Spears is supposed to be a bit rude, or at least the chorus is, something about “If you see Amy” but I don't get it. Can somebody help me?

The Daily Mail likes to think of it's self as a morally upstanding publication and certainly better than the red top's that print pictures of scantily clad young ladies. However if you look at the front of this rag you will notice that they have their own type of middle class tottie and they love to print pictures of them, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, etc. On Monday they excelled themselves with a story about getting mugged whilst on her gap year. All the other papers used a respectful picture of her, fully clothed, attending a party or some such. The Mail on the other hand decided that a story about the assault of a minor royal was the perfect opportunity to republish a picture of her that was on the front pages of most of the papers a couple of weeks ago. It was a picture of her in a Bikini. Not really very respectful.
Oh, and whilst I'm Mail bashing, a favourite activity of mine but you know that already, let us mention a nice bit of hypocrisy. Thank you to Twitter for this one. In this country The Mail has started to move against the vaccine for cervical cancer, running the usually type of scare story and moral(ish) campaigns, one person had a bit of a reaction so it's clearly going to kill us all and protecting girls from an STD that causes cancer that will kill them encourages them to have sex, you know the sort of thing. However if you purchase the same paper on the other side of the Irish Sea you would get more than a little confused. In Ireland they do not have a vaccination program and the Irish Mail thinks this is a terrible thing; they even have a campaign to roll out a national program.
I don't mind which side of an argument you come down on but please stick to one.
On the same day the mighty Daily Express, you daily source of xenophobia bordering on racism, run the headline “Each Illegal Immigrant To Cost Us £1m”. I read the story and it made me feel dirty, but not in the fun way. Absolutely no evidence was offered for this claim at all. They claimed that the think-tank Migrationwatch had calculated this figure but offered no numbers at all. It did say at the end of the article however that Migrationwatch had said that an amnesty for illegal immigrants “COULD (capitals mine) end up costing the taxpayer £1 million”. A slightly different spin from the headline.

There's no smoke without fire. So goes the saying and so goes Government policy on the DNA Database. Despite the fact that the European Court ruled that the retention of samples of those found guilty of no crime was illegal, our Government seems to have decided to sort of ignore that. The new and exciting rules are a little odd. If you are arrested but not charged or found not guilty of a charge then the Government wants to keep your genetic code for between 6 to 12 years and their argument seems to be "We've arrested you for something so the likelihood is you will do something wrong at sometime". There was also a differentiation made between a sample and a profile. It was said that they would destroy the sample but keep the profile there by missing the point of peoples problems with the database.
Again the point was made, “If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about." Whilst this is sort of true, it is also a really weak argument. I have nothing to fear, I am a law abiding sort of bloke. I pick up litter, I don't even speed, yet I object to be followed everywhere on CCTV. I don't want someone that I do not know knowing where I am all the time. Well, they can track your mobile phone signal. Yes the phone company can but I pay them to know where my phone is and I can turn it off so that they can't tell where I am. I also don't want ANYONE to hold my genetic code other than me. You can tell a lot about a person from their genetics you know. Many companies would pay very good money for that sort of information.
There are only 2 sensible ways to run a DNA Database. You either have only the profiles of those convicted of a crime or you have everybody, there is no in-between system. When I say sensible, I really mean logical. The only sensible way is to have the samples of those convicted.

Do we care that much about MP's expenses? Our press do. The Telegraph really does as they paid an awful lot of money for a disc full of photocopies of receipts used by our MP's back up their expense claims.
One of the reasons that they love the story is the gift that keeps on giving aspect of it. You can publish a few MP’s on each day for as long as you have them and there are 646 of them so this could take a while. Whilst some do look a little suspicious, one cabinet minister seems to claim her exact allowance every year to the pound, most of them seem to have played the system a bit. The one that many focused on was Gordon Brown paid £6000 to his brother for a cleaner. That's a lot of money some may say and, to his brother? Out of context it does seem a little bad but let us remember who is publishing these things. The Telegraph is not a Labour supporting paper. So let us put them into context. He paid £6000 over 3 years. That's £2000 a year or £38.50 a week. Damn! that is a cheap cleaner and in London as well. Who said this man knew nothing of economics? And the payment went through his brother because they both employed the same cleaner and that was the easiest way of doing it. Several of the papers “look at what they claimed” stories are merely based on the receipts and not on the claims forms. “He claimed for women's clothes and sanitary products” the papers scream. No, no he didn't. What you have there is raw data and absolutely no idea what it means. He claimed for the things on the receipt that he is allowed to claim for, check his claim form, the receipt is only there to show that the things that were claimed for were actually bought.
I agree that the system could do with a little tweaking but such a fuss is being made. You try living in having 2 homes; one of them has to be in London, whilst earning £65,000. OK, it sounds like a lot but 2 mortgages?
What really needs working on are the rules about second jobs. I'd also like to see some rules on what MP s can do after they leave Parliament. Surely it can't be right that those who were lobbied by a big business whilst they were an MP to then leave and immediately get a job with that company. Surely they had a conflict of interest? Even if they didn't, it certainly looks like they did.

I've been on holiday this week and have avoided quite a lot of news so the awards are a bit grumpy old manish, sorry,

The Award for Being Really Annoying Part 1,

This goes to Waitrose who no longer sell Schapps Bitter Lemon in 1 litre bottles. What am I supposed to mix with my gin if I don't fancy tonic? They do sell it in tiny cans though, very strange.

The Award for Being Really Annoying Part 2

Sorry. Let's get that out of the way to start with because I'm going to sound really uncharitable in about 10 seconds time. “chuggers” or charity muggers really annoy me. You know the people I mean. You walking down your local high street and you spot a group of 4 young people with clip boards and tabbards and you know that you are going to approached and asked if you care about children/animals/old people/rain forest/steam trains (less likely I know but it can happen) and you can't say no I don't, leave me alone because you look like a bastard. So I have taken to avoiding them. Why I am worried about looking like a bastard in front of people who I've never met before and won't again and who are getting paid to separate me from my money is quite beyond me, but I do. Thursday afternoon I went into town with the aim of getting milk and an M&S voucher for my mother's birthday, I know it's a bit rubbish but it's what she wanted. I arrived home with only the milk. Why did you fail in such a way you may ask, you probably won't but I'm going to tell you anyway. I got as far as Blacks the camping shop in Town and noticed an active group of Chuggers. I couldn't be bothered to fight my way through them and just went to Waitrose to get the milk, but no bitter lemon. Charity costs M&S a sale. Did get it on Friday though so no moral to this really.

The Award for Action that Misses The Point of the Week.

This goes to the German government who, according to Saturdays Guardian, in response to a recent mass shooting are trying to pass emergency laws banning paint balling and laser quest. Well done that Government. Makes a change from blaming Marilyn Manson I suppose.

Oh and one more thing. To those companies who make cider, a cider made from pears is called a Perry not pear cider.
Back to work now which is really rather depressing but I didn't win the Euromillions jackpot on Friday so I still have to work for a living, which is a shame. Hope you all have a good week. It's Eurovision next Saturday (16th) which is something to look forward too but have decided where to watch it yet, any offers?

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