Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Marie Stopes Advert

Last night saw the UK's first “abortion advertisement”. It was so controversial that it made Fox “News” in the US where I'm sure it was debated fairly.
It was shown on Channel 4 and was quite late in the evening. The advert was sober in tone and showed that woman have options. In fact it looked a bit like this,

As you can see it is not an advert for abortion, as some would have you believe, it is an advert for an organisation that offer a range of services on reproductive health, most notably advice on contraception.
It is an advert for legally available services so why shouldn't it be advertised? Why shouldn't woman be able to access sensible, dispassionate advice on all aspects of their reproductive health? Well, if you listen to Religious groups and their newspaper writing friends, it will encourage woman to seek abortions. They seem to regard woman as of such weak will that merely seeing a phone number on an television screen for an advice service will make them think “best I terminate this pregnancy then”. They seem to think that a termination is on a par with making decisions about which fast food outlet to use or which insurance comparison website advert you hate the least so might consider using their service. It is not.
The reaction to this advert, or giving woman information on choice as it could also be seen, is, in my view, incredible offensive to woman. It assumes that they are silly and flighty and that they will do anything that they see on television rather than giving them credit for being able to make their own choices on this incredibly sensitive and emotional fraught issue. It seems to be their view that people make momentous decisions like this on a whim, barely considering the consequences, and that just isn't true. The assumption that giving people (I think that we should included men in this too although not to much as ultimately it is the woman's body and therefore her decision) all relevant information will lead to a massive rise in terminations is rather disingenuous to the intelligence of the people of the UK (but not Northern Ireland because the Advert wasn't shown there)
In the end it is possible that a full scale advertising campaign like this for Marie Stopes ,or similar organisations, may lead to a drop in unplanned pregnancies as people will be made more aware of their options as regards contraception but then I suppose that the type of people who don't like this advert probably don't like people using contraception either but as we all know abstinence only programs don't work.
More information is the key in reducing unplanned pregnancies not less, so I for one welcome this development, long may it continue.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Diana Watch

 The Daily Express really does live in a little puddle of its own reality and it has proved it twice this week.
  Firstly they were kind enough to provide another fine Princess Diana headline,


But early in the week that proved that they have learnt nothing from our lovely financial crisis,


Violence is pretty much always wrong, it is very difficult to justify it without sounding like a bit of a thug but I think we may have a case here where it may just be possible.
 A Saudi Arabian has beaten up a policeman in the eastern Saudi city of Al-Mubarraz. This may just sound like a night out in an English city but this has caused a little bit of a stir as Saudi woman are supposed to do as they are told.  
 The lady in question was walking in a park with a male escort; this act may have been illegal because it is against the law for unmarried men and woman to mix. Now I think that that is going to make meeting someone a little harder but hey, it’s not the worst human rights violation that happens in that country. Anyway back to the story. They were approached by a member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, basically the Saudi religious Police, who wanted to know their relationship to each other as this may have been an illegal fraternization.
 The young man collapsed to the ground for reason unknown when questioned by God’s rule enforcer on earth (although God did also tell us to go forth and multiply which becomes a little more difficult if you can’t meet chicks) and at this point the lady, who until recently had been having a nice walk in the park, suddenly attacked the Hai’a. She, apparently, punched him repeatedly leaving him requiring hospital treatment for bruises across his body and face.
 Now, like I said earlier, it is hard to justify violence but how pissed off do you have to be to do this? This is years of institutionalized oppression and misogyny finally boiling over into one action of rage, either that or it was just a bit of PMT! (That was a joke, a joke using irony. It was an ironic joke about misogyny)
 Will this be an example to other woman in Saudi Arabia to rise up and demand more freedoms? Let’s hope so then they to may have proper political representation like we do here, ok we only have 4 woman in the Cabinet but hey, that is one more than Afghanistan so I think the point stands.

President Obama has set up a Presidential commission to investigate the oil leak in Gulf of Mexico. This comes as sheets of oil have started washing up in marshes and on beaches in remote areas of south Louisiana and “experts” (I hate that word) say that BP has massively underestimated the amount of oil spewing from it’s fractured well a mile under the surface of the sea. They say it could be up to 10 times as much as the BP estimate of 5000 barrels a day.

BP also admits that their stop it leaking plans are going less than well. They have been trying to siphon on the gushing oil into tankers on the surface but the amount that they have been able to collect is dropping, from 5,000 barrels on Wednesday to 2,200 barrels on Thursday. Let us again remember that they are losing an estimated 50,000 a day into the sea. They still have no plan to cap the well.
 The way the companies involved blamed each other when they were hauled up in front of a Senate hearing and what we have learned about the contracting and subcontracting is the best argument against privatised Nuclear power that I can think of.
 Would you like a nuclear power plant built and run by the cheapest bidder? Oh and the maintenance carry out by the cheapest bidder who sub-contracts it out to another company, who were also the cheapest bidder. And then remember that all of these companies have to make a profit. Do you really think that corners would not be cut?
 Oh and then the Nuclear power plants will have to decommissioned by a private company, who will sub-contract it out, and the nuclear waste will then have to be stored, which we can’t yet do safely for the long term and by “the long term” I mean the thousands of years until this stuff is safe.

I am try to keep it short now so lets move straight on to this weeks awards,

The Award for Just Being Funny,

Some men, a bouncy castle and an International sailing regatta, what's not to find funny,

The Award for Just Being Funny 2,

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for Princes Charles; firstly his mother still isn’t dead (despite a joke on this very subject from a BBC Radio presenter) so he still isn’t King. Then the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health was closed down because of alleged fraud and money-laundering, oh and promoting bollocks, and now Prince Charles is named in a legal proceeding for his part in interfering in the development of the Chelsea Barracks.
  Lord Rogers (one of luddite Prince Charles’ least favourite architects) designed a really rather lovely conversion for the barracks in steel and glass for the Candy Brothers who where working with a Qatari company all or partly owned by the Qatari royal family.
 When Prince “interfering, unelected busy body” Charles saw the designs he decided to write to the Royal family of Qatar personally saying that his “heart sank” when he saw the designs, this is probably because they look like buildings for the 21st century and not the 17th and 18th, the ones he like the best, what with the power of the Royal family back then and all.
 Lord Grabiner QC, representing the Candy Brothers said “He urged Sheik Hamad bin Jasim to reconsider the plan before it was too late and attached a scheme by a different, classical architect he preferred," That really sounds like interfering to me. 
The Qatari company pulled out of the deal because they didn’t want to openly disagree with Prince Charles with the say-so of the Qatari Royal family.
 Nick and Christian Candy are claiming the Qatari company breached the terms of their contract and must now make the payment that was due when Lord Rogers' scheme won the approval of planners.

 Whilst I am still chuckling to myself about Prince “ooh and nasty looking housing estate will look lovely just here on my land despite the fact that we will provided no extra essential services for these houses” Charles’ little problems have a look at the nominations for this years RIBA Awards, click here to view them, this is the sort of imagination we need in our domestic and public building.

This is a little cheeky but I am, sort of, friends with a couple of members of this band and they are going to re-release their EP so here is an advert for it,

You can buy it on itunes or go to their myspace for more details.

There will definitely be no Diana Watch next week as I will be attending the Hay Festival with significant other. Yes, it is a little pretentious but it is also rather fun. We are camping for 5 days so let’s hope that the weather remains nice. Oh and we are also popping in to the Hay Philosophy Festival just to add to the pretentiousness of our, rather long, weekend. Although to be honest we’re only going there because Robin Ince is playing. Books and walking in the Welsh countryside, who could ask for more?

 Have a lovely week and I’ll be back later.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Daily Mail Hates Fun

So I have a new Daily Mail theory (I’m not obsessed you know).
 They want to make Britain as miserable and joyless a place as it is possible (see the 1980’s for details) to make it so that only people who really, really love the concept of Great Britain will want to stay here. Then, after everyone who has no love for this country has left (you know the sort, immigrants, Lefties, Guardian readers), the work to make it lovely again will begin.

 My theory comes from the fact that this “Newspaper” seems to rail against the things that make living here fun. They hate modern art and spending of public money on it. They hate the fact that we are having the Olympics (probably because foreign people will come here to compete or some will see Britain on television and want to visit) and many other things that will make living here a bit more fun. They revel in other people’s failures and misery if they are not the Mail’s sort of person. They are the Schadenfreude Times. They snipe and grouse at celebrities that they don’t think are worthy of fame. They hate high culture, it too elitist, and they hate low culture, it’s too chavy. They hate fun.

 Their latest attempt to remove the joy from our lives came this weekend. They published a story about Lord Triesman, who was head of the English bid for the 2018 (he has since resigned), in which they claimed that they had a recording of him suggesting Spain could drop its bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this summer's World Cup. Now, he has said "In that conversation I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world," he went on “Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously as indeed is the case with many private conversations."

 Now, whether said this as a joke or as a serious allegation is not that important. What is important is the timing of their publication. They printed the story (which wasn’t that interesting or earth shattering and that they really didn’t need to publish but did anyway) just a few days after our bid for the World Cup had been handed in.

 The paper had the tape for about 2 weeks but choose to publish it now, why? Well a less cynical person might say that they only did it to increase their circulation, a story about a recent event type of thing, but as I say they sat on it for 2 weeks and, according to David Bond’s blog on the BBC Website, at least one other paper was offered the tape but didn’t want it. That paper didn’t want to try and fuck up our chances at getting the World Cup but that didn’t worry the Mail on Sunday. They did it on purpose to embarrass the FA and to try and ruin our bid.

 Football is another thing that they don’t like, probably because it is young men from poor families who are earning rather a lot of money and foreigns own a lot of the clubs, even though having the World Cup here would be great of the country, both in terms of revenue and exposure. On top of that it would be FUN!

We must not let them win. Britain can be a place of music and art, of interesting people, of exciting food, the things that make life worth living. Even in these times of austerity we must continue to have fun and to expose ourselves (not like that my gutter minded readers) to beauty and intellectual challenge. It’s good for you and it’s fun.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Not Diana Watch Because I am Away.

So is it really that bad? Coalition Government I mean not Britain’s Got Talent which we already know is shit.

I was a bit rude about Nick Clegg last week because he had sold out (there is nothing worse then your favourite band’s tunes turning up on an advert) and I still sort of think that but I am willing to give it a bit more time.

The 12 page agreement between to parties was published and, reading through it, (yes I have done that) it’s not that bad. Yes we have had to take a few hits, the Mansion Tax is gone (which is good because it was a little arbitrary) and so is the idea about thinking about replacing Trident with something else but over all, ok.

You can look at this way; we have a Conservative Government that will enact some LibDem policies, try and accentuate the positive (there should be a song about that).

No ID cards, the National Identity Register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point database, gone. Even Liberty are pretty happy. Think about that people, Liberty are happy with the proposals of a Conservative (with a little help from those nice LibDems) government on Civil liberties. I think Labour may have gone a little far.

Jury Trials protected, outlawing the finger printing of children, extension of the Freedom of Information Act, restoration of right to non violent protest and an end to detention of children in immigration cases. These are all good things.

The economy plans are not the worst thing I have ever seen either. There are some spending cuts that we aren't overly comfortable with but they are going to raise the starting rate of income tax to £10,000, who idea was that?

There will be an increase in Capitol Gains tax, whose idea? Closing of tax loopholes, our idea.

The Tories have dropped their plans to increase the threshold for Inheritance Tax which would have only helped about 3000 of the richest families in the country, I imagine under pressure from the yellow party.

Pupil Premiums, LibDem idea. The Tories seem to have forgotten that they won't to get rid of the 50% top tax bracket, I wonder why?

Oh and who is now in charge of the those nasty bankers who fucked us over, ruined the World's economy and cost thousands of people their jobs, that would be Liberal Democrat Vince Cable (The least comfortable LibDem in the Team photo).

Oh, on a bit of a photographic tangent, Danny Alexander (The new Scottish Secretary) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age front man) separated at birth? Have you ever seen them in the same room together?


I’m sure you can tell which one is which, just.

There is also a little more cunning about us than many would have expected. Yes, we may have been talked into dropping our commitment to “no more Nuclear” but do you know who is Minister for Climate/Environment, why that would be Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne. He has made a commitment that there will be no Government subsidy for the building of new nuclear. This means that, due to the fact that Nuclear power stations are really, really expensive, the likelihood is that they won't be built. Not so naive now are we.

My long and rambling point is that we really should give it time. I know that it is not what we wanted but I think we are going to have to settle for it.

As I've said before, this is just about the worst situation for Nick Clegg to have placed in, everything he could have done would have been wrong.

Please don't think that I have gone soft, I understand that there are xenophobes, racists and homophobes in the Tory Party, some in the Cabinet, I'm looking at you Theresa May (not Teresa May though, very different woman) who voted against repeal of section 28 and equality for the age of consent. She voted against Gay adoption and failed to attend all four votes that lead to the Gender Recognition Act but we have the chance to dilute these idiots, to educate them as they seem to operate from a massive field of ignorance.

There are problems but it might just work.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

What's This ChatRoulette Thing Then?

So, a few weeks ago the mighty Daily Mail found something else that they were scared of/appealed by/will give you cancer *
They had decided that Facebook gave you cancer and VD (although that might have been the Telegraph) but this time the internet would corrupt your children. In fact they are so scared of ChatRoulette that they felt the need to write about it twice, here and here.
I had heard of this site but I hadn't had a look but it had offended the Mail so it was all right by me.
For those of you that don't know about ChatRoulette it is a site that links webcam to webcam randomly. That's about it really, you can chat using the microphone on your webcam or type text.
So I went to have a look, not in a pervy way, just because I had assumed the Mail had made a bit of a fuss and had exaggerated a bit or quite a lot.
I logged on and allowed access to my webcam. My bored looking face came up on the screen. What would confront me when I clicked on the button? Would I be corrupted? Would it be the end of civilisation as I know it?
 Well no. I clicked on the button and was confronted with the face of another bored looking middle aged man. Clicked again, another bored looking middle age man. Clicked again, a very excited looking man, well his penis was excited anyway. Click, man, click, cock, click, cock, click, man, click, cock, click, cock, click, man, click, cock cumming.
10 minutes I stayed on the site and saw nothing but men and their bits. This is why when the Mail journalist went on the site she got so much attention, she was the only woman on the site.
What have I leant? ChatRoulette is gay, not in the offensive young person insult way oh no, it's full of men and erect penises, it's gay.

*Delete as applicable

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I've Got 99 Problems But Trying To Form A Government Ain't One

This really is only a short post but I have to put it up here because I can't reduce it to 140 characters and stick it on Twitter.
So we still have no Government (although things seem to be ok without them, maybe we should carry on) and the parties still seem to be negotiating and offering things to each other. My question is this, is this the worst of all possible outcomes for the LibDems?
They have 3 options,

1, Join (formally or informally) with the Tories.

This will piss off most of their party members because they will be giving power to a Right-Wing party that sits in Europe with people that Nick Clegg described as “Nutters”.
It will piss off everyone who voted for them because they didn't want the Tories in but could no longer vote Labour.
This will also loose them their support with the Left leaning press.

2, Join (formally or informally) with Labour plus the other little parties.

This will piss off most of their party members because they voted to get rid of Gordon Brown and the Civil Liberty abusing Labour Government.
It will loose them any floating Tory-lite voters who, for whatever reason, decided to vote LibDem this time.
This won't really effect their coverage in the Right-wing press because they already hate them for being reasonable in the first place.

3, Pull out of all negotiations.

This will impress no one, well maybe only really hardcore party members (can you have hardcore LibDems?), it will piss of Labour and Tory supporters who will describe the LibDems as irresponsible for not helping to form a Government.
This will probably loose them all sides of the press.

Whichever way they move it will loose them support in the press and, probably, voters. This situation is fantastic for the 2 biggest parties as there is the distinct possibility this will crush the LibDems.
I do not envy Nick Clegg at this moment in time.

Diana Watch

I don’t want to know that the Tories are back in power, yes it is good for comedy, art and music (especially punk and folk) but for the rest of us, who don’t earn several million pounds a year, it is really bad news. In order to counter act this slight set back in my life I will be approaching the following few years thus,

The only harm will be a slightly soar back and some sand in the ears, although I might get shafted and not know who it was, at least you lot will see them coming.

23% of the vote and 8% of the seats, tell me how this is fair?

I’m not going to moan on and on about the election and the inherent unfairness of the First Past The Post electoral system but it is bloody tempting, mostly because that is all that our newspapers and websites have been full of all week. It’s been hard to find anything else to bring you. Although, maybe just one little mention of a “politician”,

The Award for Most Shameless Publicity Stunt on Election Day,

Can this go to anyone else but Nigel Farage?

He managed to get a pilot to crash a light aircraft containing the hypocritical xenophobe that was pulling a “Vote UKIP” banner in order to draw attention to his cause of trying to beat John Bercow. That is dedication an ideal. Would you get that from Gordon Brown or David Cameron? I think not and I know you definitely wouldn’t get it from Nick Clegg.

The Award for Most Predicable Story/Group of Offended People of the Week,

The new Chris Morris film “4 Lions” has come out this week to pretty good reviews from the critics and howls of protest from people just looking to be offended.

I have written before about how great I think Chris Morris is and what better way to remove the basic threat of Terrorists (whose purpose is to terrorise) than to laugh at them, you can read it here (although it does seem to be in an odd font).

I wrote it because the Daily Mail was already offended by the trailer but now to be added to the group of people offended by a film about stupid attempted terrorists are a group claiming to represent survives of the London 7th of July bomb attacks (with a little help from the Daily Mail and currently pathetic BBC who gave them time on News 24).

They would like the film banned. I have 2 questions here, 1, does this group represent all of those who survived or lost loved ones? And 2, have they even seen the film?

Their basic problem seems to be that the 4 main characters of the film are from Yorkshire (as were the 7/7 bombers) and they travel to London to blow something up, one of their suggested targets is “The Internet” but instead end up dressed as giant furry animals in order to attack the Marathon. Where else would they go in England to make a blowy up splash? “Today a bomb went of in Merthyr Tydfil and caused £8.42 worth of damage”.

Really, is that it? Because the bombers are from Yorkshire? Bloody hell, it’s easy to piss you off isn’t it.

And whilst I'm at it, what right do you have to ask for things to be banned because you don't like it? I don't like most films or Television programs and find an awful lot of them offensive, mostly for their poor writing or general rubbishness, but that doesn't mean that I have the right to try and get them banned you self-important fool.

The Award for Best Bit of Direct Action of the Week,

I like this story for 2 reasons, 1, It is simple and effective action and 2, it is happening right here, right now in Dorset.

The village of Chideock is on the A35 and it's a bloody awful road. It is narrow and it is windy and it is the main road between us and Devon. The very high levels of traffic that this entails renders this, rather pretty, village less than pleasant to live in, especially during the summer. Step up to the plate Tony Fuller, a man with a very simple plan.

The villagers would like some sort of bypass but their pleas are being ignored so they needed some sort of attention grabbing but legal stunt with which to register their miffedness. Mr Fuller came up with a plan that utilises their pre-existing infrastructure or the village Pelican Crossing, as some may call it.

He, and other residents, spend an hour using the crossing constantly. He said “If they all turn up and they each press that button once, one after the other, that's 50 times that traffic will be stopped and it will cause chaos. Because they've only gone across once each, they can't be prosecuted for using the crossing that was put there for their benefit.” They caused a 4 mile tailback in no time. Genius.

The Award For Taking the Term “Animal Husbandry” To Literally,

A Germany man has, sort of, married his cat (damn that was a pretty tortured and poor set up for a joke.)

There really is no point for this story. A German man, whose cat is dying, paid an actress to carry out the service.

He loves his cat, I get that, and she’s not well, again I understand, but why “marry” it? How will that help?

The Award For Actually Making A Reasonable Point But Managing To Loose It In A Massive Cloud Of Rhetorically Bullshit,

Now, I'm no fan of Iran or its slightly “zany” leader but it seems that it President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have had a point when he addressed a UN meeting to review the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. He said “The sole purpose of nuclear weapons is to annihilate all living beings and to destroy the environment. The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defense. . . . The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride; their possession is disgusting and harmful.” I can't argue with that.

Obviously he went on to complain about pretty much everything else and called for the US to be removed from the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for "threatening non-nuclear states", this, in turn, caused a rather childish response for the American, French and British, who walked out. I assume that they were heading for the high moral ground.

He says that Iran is developing nuclear power stations and we say that he is trying to build bombs. We don’t believe him but I feel that if he told the US that the sky was blue some on the Right would accuse him of lying.

Again we have this problem, we tell the rest of the world that they can’t have Nuclear Weapons whilst our politicians (except the LibDems) want to replace Trident and Western countries all ignore Israel’s weapons (and for balance those of Pakistan, India and North Korea). I do find this level of hypocrisy staggering.

See, virtually no politics and only awards because I think we all need a little cheering up after the disappointment of Thursday/Friday.

65% of those eligible to vote did so on Thursday and only 35% of those people voted Tory, so only 22.75% of those that could, voted for the party that is in charge (probably). Not really a ringing endorsement. 77.25% of the electorate either don’t vote for or voted against them.

Hope you all have a lovely week. I’m not sure if I will be able to do this next week as we are off to visit Significant Other’s Grandma and Sister as it is both of their birthdays.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vote LibDem? Maybe? Please? Just Think About It.

So tomorrow is Election day, vote-agedon if you like, and I would ask you to go out and vote but before you do consider these points.
 You can, of course, vote for who you like and I'm pretty sure that I would no influence over you decision at all but that isn't going to stop me trying. I would ask you to considering voting Liberal Democrat.
 Now some of you will be having a rather significant knee jerk reaction to this but have you thought about it properly? If you are the reader of a Tory newspaper then you will have been told that a Hung parliament would be a disaster for the country and the economy. Their argument is that the credit rating agencies (they said that derivatives were fine you know) would down grade us from a AAA investment and that the markets would hate it. This is untrue. Did you know that of the 16 countries that have AAA rating - 10 have hung parliaments, 12 use system of PR So it is a lie, scaremongering if you will.
 There is also the point that do you think that your decision should be influenced by international money men? People that have no interest in our country and only in your money?

 Let us consider the really big issue, the Economy. Whose fault is it that we are in the situation were it is (maybe) necessary to have massive cuts in Public Spending and that we had a recession? That would be the Tories and Labour. 
  The Tories removed most of the regulation for banking, such as the separation of high street banks and investment banks, and Labour didn't put it back. Labour decided on “light touch” regulation of the City which lead to the Banks becoming to big to fail. Everyone invested in derivatives and many other forms of incredibly complicated financial products, with our money, so that when the failed it effected every economy in the world. Governments, who up until that point were all for independence for the markets and not getting involved, suddenly found themselves forced to bail out private companies. They had lost our money and because of this they had to helped with our money. I am not criticizing Private companies or the Government Bailouts (they had no choice), I am merely pointing out the facts.
 The recession was caused by foolish investments by companies that were allowed to hold Governments to ransom by those very Governments.
The Tories and Labour both have many friends in the City and are only proposing light, cosmetic changes to Banking regulation. Not the LibDems. They want to bring back the separation of High Street and Investment Banks. With this they can let large investment banks fail if they get themselves into trouble because they won't take huge swathes of the economy with them.
 Fairer Tax policies as well. The rich, as they can afford it, should pay more and no income tax on the first £10,000 you earn. The Tories want to change Inheritance Tax in order to help the 3000 richest families in the Country, are you one of those families? If so, vote Tory, if you are not, think about who they will run the country for.
They also support Mutuals, Co-operative and Credit Unions.

On Trident the LibDems don't want to replace it with something that is exactly the same. This will be needed in 20 years time but it is out of date now. It is a Cold War system in a post Cold War World. Why do we need an independent Nuclear Deterrent anyway? Who is deterred? Did it deter other countries from building Nuclear Weapons? I think you will find that that is a no. If anything it probably encouraged them to.
 The threats that we face today are not from other Countries or States but from Terrorist organisations. Did all of America's nuclear might deter Osama Bin Laden and his pilot friends from attacking New York? How about the London Bombers, were they put off by our lovely submarines? No, no they weren't. It is an awful lot of money for just making some uninformed people sleep well in their beds whilst not actually protecting them.

On immigration their policies are the ones that stands out the most. Those that complain about foreigners coming over here and taking our jobs should ask themselves this, would you pick lettuces for minimum wage? Or how about clean toilets, gut fish or pack meat? If we did these jobs ourselves then maybe we wouldn't need outside assistance.
Another example of a this is within the NHS. Many years ago the NHS went to the rest of the World to ask them for some nurses. Why was this? It was because they had to. The Tory government had cut funding for nurses training and were paying them a pittance so we didn't have any nurses.
The rest of the World bailed us out so now I think they deserve a little gratitude. Labour and the Tories say deport all illegal immigrants, interesting proposal but they don't know where they are. That's sort of the point about being here illegally, you have a tendency to hide. The LibDems propose an amnesty on these people. Get them registered and paying tax. If they are here illegally they are not claiming benefits because they can't, so they must be doing something to support themselves. They are working. A lot of the time they are working for gang masters who barely pay them and treat them badly. Why not utilise these people and make their lives better at the same time.
We also have to admit to ourselves that with a rapidly ageing population we are going to need some imported young people to do the work and pay some tax so that we can pay for our care homes, unless, of course, we think that Government mandated minimum family sizes is a good thing? How would the Daily Mail feel about the Government telling you to have at least 3 children?

 They are the only Party with proper green policies, a proper feed-in tariff for micro-generators. Setting aside extra money for schools who want to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. They will pay back the loan over time from energy savings, creating a rolling fund to help insulate every public building. Investing £400 million in refurbishing Northern Shipyards so that they can make wind turbines. Investing £140 million in a bus scrappage scheme that helps bus companies to replace old polluting buses with new, accessible low carbon ones and creates jobs.

There are many other very good reason to vote LibDem, have a read of the manifesto here, such as a proper relationship with Europe, smaller class sizes, ring-fenced science funding, grown up, evidence based drug policies, tackling tax avoidance and evasion, scrapping the IT card scheme, restoring the link between State Pensions and earnings, Winter fuel payments to be extended to the severely disabled, I could go on but it would bore you, (that is assuming that you are not bored already) all I would ask is that you give serious consideration to voting Liberal Democrat tomorrow.

 I understand that this is not my most well formed arguement or snappily written piece but it is truely what I passionately believe. Please don't be scared into to voting for someone that you don't really like because of newspaper headlines or Politicians trying to scare you, vote for what you believe.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Diana Watch

I said it before, maybe not on here, but if you don't like MIA (A little more on her later) you are wrong. She is fantastic and her songs are brilliant. Her new video, however, is a little, I believe media types would say, edgy. It has been removed from YouTube because of it's nastiness and oh my, it is nasty.
 Judge for yourself,

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on http://vimeo.com">Vimeo.

 I think that I have become a little bogged down in trying to be serious and informative in the last few weeks and I’m not very good at it. I’m trying to be more light-hearted this week.

Those of you reading this the UK have to go out and vote on Thursday (if you can be arsed, which of course you can) but we haven't cover all the parties.
We all know that there are some fringe parties who have as silly policies such as the Cure (Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality) Party, The New Millennium Bean Party and Ukip.
These people are, however, new at this and, therefore, not so practised at the funny. For proper laugh out loud funny ideas I give you the Monster Raving William Hill Loony party (formerly the Monster Raving Loony Party, they are currently sponsored).
 Some of their policies include,
• All socks to be sold in packs of 3 as a precaution against losing one
• Make it illegal for superheroes to use their powers for evil
• Ban all terrorists from having beards as they look scary
• Change the English symbol of three lions to 3 badgers
• School dinners must be regularly checked for radioactivity
• Add the Loch Ness Monster to the endangered species list
• Dedicated pogo stick lanes on routes to centres of work
• And a 99p pence coin to cut down on change.

Oh come on, those are proper funny. That is years of practised writing right there.

Anyone remember Sarah Palin? She once said something sensible and well thought through. Oh no, my mistake, it was “Drill baby, Drill”.
 Like everything that dribbles out of this barely sentient, moose killing, rabble rousing, gleefully, unashamedly ignorant distorter of facts whose lack of understand of science is revealed every time she opens her mouth (some on Twitter said that I should call her a bigot but wasn't sure if if I'd be forced to go to her house and apologise. Alaska is an awfully long way away), it was designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator in Right Wing US politics, now we can see how wrong she was (although to be fair President Obama did say that they would allow some new off-shore drilling).
 Last week an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico and now the oil that is leaking from the well has started to arrive on the shores of the US.
 The US Coastguard estimate that 5 times as much oil as first thought is escaping in to the sea. The oil slick currently has a circumference of about 600 miles (970km) and covers about 28,600 sq miles (74,100 sq km) and heading for the delicate eco-systems of the Gulf coast, home to brown pelican, many species of duck, turtles, and whales.
 Many options have been considered for trying to prevent the oil making land fall including booming, literally penning it in, dispersal, spraying chemicals on to it, and, my personal favourite, burning it off. “Mummy can we go and watch the sea burn again today?”
 This disaster has had one very slight upside, the Obama administration has banned any new drilling until a complete investigation in to the explosion, fire and spill. This, however, is seen by the dictionary definition of uber-twat Rush Limbaugh as proof that the Obama people blew up the rig themselves, killing 11 workers in the process by the way, so that they could reverse their decision to allow off shore drilling.

Is Tin Tin racist? Well yes it is. It's depictions of black Africans are fucking awful but should it be banned
  Bienvenu Mbutu, who is from the Congo, is trying to get Tin Tin removed from the shelves in it's home country of Belgium because he claims the Congolese are portrayed as "stupid and without qualities".
 No, of course it shouldn't, as no book or film or pretty much anything else should. Yes it is racist but it is of it's time. This is not cultural relativism (I have learned that this was a folly of my youth, well it's ok because it's their culture) but it does show the genuine attitudes of the that period of history and that's the point, it's a historically document. It shows us what people at that time thought. It may offend our delicate, liberal eyes but that was how it was.
 If you ban this you then have to ban many other proper books (I hate Tin Tin), Sherlock Holmes, Moby Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, all of these have poor racial stereotypes in, as do many, many other books. And were will it end? Then anything that offends various religious groups could be banned (and sometimes is in Britain), then Americans are offended by unflattering portrayals and try and get these things banned. Then before you know it the MIA video at the beginning of today's piece is being taken down from Youtube and an anti-bullying charity is saying that it could promote discrimination against gingers! “Quick! We can be offended and get our names on the news despite the fact that we completely missed the point!”
 Do films about the Holocaust encourage bullying of Jews? Of course they don't, these people are just idiots.

Some Awards now, 
The Award for Slightly Obscure British Sporting Success,

We have a European Mens Gymnastic Champion! Now, this may not be the greatest sporting news you have ever heard, obviously that was Bournemouth getting promoted last Saturday, but Britain has never had one before so very well done to Daniel Keatings. He won Sunday's pommel horse final in Birmingham by edging team-mate Louis Smith into second place.

The Award for Things That Are Unlikely To Work,

Hugo Chavez is now on twitter. That is Hugo “Live TV show that goes on for hours” Chavez. This is never going to work. 140 Characters? Him? This is never going to work. Unless, of course, it maybe one continuous message, typed in by some poor IT assistant, that goes on for tweet after tweet. Like Ulysses broken up into tiny, tiny parts.

The Award for Making Me Fell Uncomfortable For Agreeing With Someone That I Usually Think Is A Bully,

 Damn you BBC! Frankie Boyle made a joke in 2008 on a Radio 4 program called “Political Animal”. The joke went like this “I've been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well … that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.”
 One person complained. One person. Not a huge amount of people, this was not Ross/Brand, this was not Jan Moir writing homophobic bile, this was one person and the BBC caved in. For the love of Twosh, what is wrong with these people? 
 The person who complained said that the joke was anti-Semitic, which it quite clearly isn't. Criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic; it is having a go at a Country that is illegally occupying the territory of another.
 Mr Boyle has written an open letter to the BBC on the Chortle.co.uk website in which he describes the broadcaster as “now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well-drilled lobbying”. He's get a point there I think.

I want to leave you to your bank holiday weekend (only in the UK) with a song. Because I haven’t had to mention the Catholic Church this week, here is a song dedicated to them. It’s childish and it's rude and it is very, very sweary, Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Tim Minchin's Pope Song,

Have a good week.