Saturday, 28 February 2009

Thought for the Day: Privacy

What is privacy?

Society seems to have lost the concept somewhat. You see, MC has a confession: in his real life he has no Facebook page. Nor anything on MySpace. Never been on Bebo. Never used LinkedIn. He has, initially accidentally but more recently purposefully, ensured that there is no interweb super highway footprint of his life.

Why, I hear you ask? Well, I’m not on the run for major crimes. Nor am I living a bigamous life. I just like my privacy. I don’t want to have images of me out there floating around in cyberspace for every forgotten friend to find. For every past enemy to pore over. For every client to view. For every competitor to twist. I just want to be left alone. I like anonymity.

But I appear to be in the minority these days. Every picture of one’s drunkenness is posted on one’s personal page. Every car accident, holiday photo, all new births, ‘fun times’ etc are issued for anyone and everyone to view. Sort of like placing a camera in your living room, switching it on and then letting anyone tune in.

When I challenge my younger friends/relations on this voluntary surrender of their privacy they say: “Oh I don’t MySpace anymore – so last year – and on Facebook you have to be my friend to view me.” Er, no actually. I had to just once be your friend to capture some of your life and save it and then it’s no longer controlled by you it’s controlled by me.

Anyhow, the term friend is somewhat suspect. One of my younger relations – a young man about town, shall we say – has about 8 zillion Facebook friends anyway. How does he know what all of them will always do with his past?

Yesterday, a teenager was reported to have lost her job because she moaned on the internet that her job was boring. My own company indeed did not offer a job to someone wanting to become a PA with us because as soon as she got home from the interview she blabbed about it on her MySpace page. How could we trust someone with sensitive information if she was happy to download her day onto the internet? (As standard procedure now, we check all prospective staff’s internet footprint to see what they say about themselves etc. Big Brother? No, just sensible precaution).

It is an intriguing concept that we now so easily and readily give away our personal details. It is changing the nature of our society. Most probably for the worse.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Am I the only one who can see sense? Is the media totally bloody blind to what is going on here? Are the dead tree press so craven that they just suck up the latest piece of Government spin without question.

Put aside for a moment the following:
  • your natural British prejuidce of those that are successful
  • your natural British prejudice of the rich
  • your natural British prejudice of top businessmen being paid lots of dosh
  • the ins and outs of 'who knew what and when' about Fred's payoff
Now - clear headed I hope - read this:

The Government is managing to carry off the greatest blame shift in bleeding history and all the media can waffle on about is one bloke and his rather exorbitant pension arrangements.

This is the most incredible piece of spin we have ever witnessed. The balls of it are just breathtaking. The spin men of Whitehall are totally locking us all onto a complete and utter distraction so that Gordy can get away with daylight fucking robbery of us the taxpayer. I've lost count of how much the Government have spent now. I used to think a million quid was a large sum. Now tens of billions seem minor stuff.

Captain Bloody Prudence and his one eye is doing what all Labour PMs have always done. Hurling taxpayers' money around like confetti, trying to spend his way out of any tight spot. Our children are going to be paying for this for years and years. Decades. Old Fred will be dead and forgotten, his pension long since drawn, whilst future chancellors are still trying to fathom how we can pay off the incredible debt created 20 years ago or more by a long discredited ex PM and his one eye.

And what are the media all focused on: Fred and his pension. Please, please, please someone write about what's really going on. Forget bloody Fred.

But if you really need a villain, add up the huge salaries, exorbitant expenses and outrageous final salary pension arrangements of Gordy, the eyebrow man and all the other assholes at the Bank of England and the FSA that actually got us into this hole. Trust me, it will make Fred look like a lightweight.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Welsh BBC Question Time

BBC Question Time is one of the most entertaining political programmes on TV. My American colleagues are in awe of it. Their politicians are just never held to account as effectively as we do here in the UK, what with Prime Minister's Questions, BBC's Question Time, Any Answers, Newsnight etc to name but a few.

But two things piss me off about BBC QT:

First, is when we have some entertainer, comic, actor etc as a panelist. Who cares what they think? It's just another example of the BBC promoting its own 'talent', another form of BBC advertising. They never add anything to the debate apart from cheap laughs and 'holier than thou' sentimentality. We don't elect them to lead us so why do they get a seat around the table? Recently, we had Will Young, a pathetic attempt to appeal to the 'yoof' audience. Dumbing down again.

But the second issue relates to tonight's episode. QT is broadcast all over the UK. And tonight, they're all Welshies. Why should 95% of the population have to listen to the representatives of 5% of the population? I'm all for adding in regular Welshies and Jocks for some regional balance in regular shows, but all of them in one go! Nauseating PC bollocks.

And if I was Welsh, I would feel so patronised. 'We're only allowed an occasional 'foreigners broadcast' by the English BBC apparatchiks in London!' It's just silly tokenism.

Update - As suspected. It was crap. Who gives a fuck what some windbag from Plaid Cymru thinks?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fawning Condolences

First, apols for being offline for a couple of days. Crazy busy. Now, to the Camerons.

Obviously, like any sane person, one wishes the Camerons sincere condolences. I have yet to meet a parent who has buried a child, however old, who ever really recovers from it. It is just plain wrong, unnatural and unfair.

But three things to consider:

1. The over sentimentality of what has occurred today really fucks me off. Leave the Camerons alone to grieve. Please don't queue up to grandstand and weep fake tears to look good for the media reports. It's repugnant.

2. What about all the other parents whose children died today. This week. This month. This year. I could go on. I don't see Parliament stopping work for them.

3. And what about the young men and women that we send to their deaths in service of this country, in Iraq and Afghanistan? Four more today, in fact. Do I hear politicians falling over themselves to speak pious words of condolence?

Give us a fucking break you bunch of hypocritical tosspots.

Update: A friend spotted that Matthew Parris agrees with me.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Moral High Ground

So we have just accepted back our last Guantanamo inmate. No doubt the Daily Hate will opine.

But here's the thing: nations and governments re-learn over and over again that if you move off the moral high ground, in many people's eyes you lose your right to criticize and thereby much of your support.

Israel regularly makes that mistake with overly aggressive military campaigns. We made that mistake in the 1970s in Northern Ireland with internment. And Guantanamo (aka imprisonment without trial) is the same.

You have to accept that you cannot bring all the baddies to justice all the time. Democracy and the right of law can be annoying but the alternative is always worse.

Things That Irritate Me On Mondays - No 2639

Every Monday morning on the Today programme we have to put up with a brazen advert for Panorama that evening. I would not mind if Panorama was the cutting edge investigative programme of yesteryear. But it is now just soft focus crap along with most other BBC TV news.

On that note, how pathetic is BBC Breakfast now. Total capitulation to dumbed down, 'sit on my sofa' GMTV along with endless packages trailing other BBC shows. The advertising for Strictly Come Dancing each morning when it was on was astonishing. It amazes me that this is allowed for a station that eschews advertising in favour of taxing us poor proles.

How low has the once mighty BBC fallen.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Hands in the Till

From today's media:

Sunday Times - MEPs fiddling expenses on an epic degree

News of the Screws - Michael Ancram, Derek Conway and Caroline Flint fleecing the taxpayer

Guido - Exposes other's who are raping the taxpayer

Sunday Mirror - Chris Grayling's at it as well

Hate on Sunday - More shit for Jacqui

Sunday Grauniad - Ashcroft funding probs for Tories

They're are all at it. And this is corrosive. It turns people off politics and mires the few good guys with the shit of those that are bad.

As I have said time and again on this blog (most recently here), until the poacher is not in charge of the chicken coop, politicians will serve their own financial interests. We need an independent regulator with real powers to police MPs. After all, they impose the same on everyone else.

The Jade Legacy

Usually, this is a 'reality star' free zone. I know that to be PC I am meant to swallow Max Clifford's latest breathless press release from the bedside and wax lyrical about how brave Jade Goody is, how she is committed to providing for her children before she dies and how magical it is that her convict husband has been given a dispensation to spend her wedding night with her, but I am strong and can resist these urges.

For the record, like any decent person, from the bottom of my heart I wish anyone with a terminal diagnosis all the happiness possible in their final days. Mrs C and I have been there with mothers and fathers etc. There is no good way to die. Some understandably crumble. Some achieve that rare ability to rise above the circs, be phenomenally brave and behave with the utmost dignity. My brother-in-law, who died recently, was one such person.

Honestly, he had not been someone I had admired until that point. But then, faced with the truly awful, this amazing, strong and stoical person shone through. How he handled himself in those final months have meant that his wife and children have had the best platform from which to grieve. None of us know how we will react. I hope that I don't disgrace myself.

But, putting aside my utter loathing for all things 'reality', Z list celebs and the shallowness of society's fascination for 'celebrity', the really good legacy to come out of Jade's tragic story is that apparently, according to The Paramedic's Diary, the blanket publicity of her ordeal has had a massive impact on women and the numbers now going for cervical smears.

This is Jade's real legacy.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

England Expects...

Nelson: "Order the signal, Hardy."

Hardy: "Aye, aye sir."

Nelson: "Hold on, that's not what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?"

Hardy: "Sorry sir?"

Nelson (reading aloud): "England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability - What gobbledygook is this?"

Hardy: "Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting 'England' past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

Nelson: "Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

Hardy: "Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments."

Nelson: "In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle."

Hardy: "The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government's policy on binge drinking."

Nelson: "Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it.. Full speed ahead."

Hardy: "I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water, sir."

Nelson: "Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

Hardy: "That won't be possible, sir."

Nelson: "What?"

Hardy: "Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a full safety audit has been carried out and proper scaffolding can be erected."

Nelson: "Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

Hardy: "He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral."

Nelson: "Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

Hardy: "Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled."

Nelson: "Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card."

Hardy: "Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency."

Nelson: "Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

Hardy: "A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and Safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?"

Nelson: "I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

Hardy: "The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

Nelson: "What? This is mutiny!"

Hardy: "It's not that, sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There's a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

Nelson: "Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

Hardy: "Actually, sir, we're not."

Nelson: "We're not?"

Hardy: "No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation."

Nelson: "But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

Hardy: "I wouldn't let the ship's diversity coordinator hear you saying that sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report."

Nelson: "You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."

Hardy: "Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life."

Nelson: "Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

Hardy: As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment."

Nelson: "What about sodomy?"

Hardy: "I believe that is now legal, sir."

Nelson: "In that case…kiss me, Hardy.”

Friday, 20 February 2009

And The Winner Is...

'If it bleeds, it leads' seems to be the principle strategy of all our media. Never report the good and always exaggerate the bad. Last night's BBC Ten O'Clock news was a classic example.

Huw Edwards announced smugly that Sir John Gieve, the Deputy Governor of The Bank of England, had stated that the UK was destined for a Japanese L shaped depression lasting 10 years or more.

Small snag. He didn't actually say that. Even Stephanie Flanders, the BBC Economics Editor, who was doing the two-way had to concede it was just an off the cuff, light-hearted quip in response to a question at the end of a presentation. So much for responsible reporting.

But the wider issue here is that everyone is looking for the daily roll of bad news. No one is looking for the good, the light at the end of the tunnel. So let me be the first to pick some of the winners of our current economic woes:

1. David Cameron - No, really. Putting aside that frankly he could go on holiday for a year and with the drip, drip, drip of shit news for Brown over the next 12 months he'd still win the 2010 election, he really is going to be the winner here. Why? Because he is going to own a large chunk of the banking industry when the markets have improved enough to sell them back to the private sector. There will be massive windfalls for the Government of the day which will make the 3G licences bonus and previous Government flotations look weedy by comparison.

2. HSBC and Barclays - Again, no really. They have not had so many problems. They have not had to be bailed out by the taxpayer. With all the NuLab/union/media hype about bashing bankers and capping bonuses, in a year or two's time when things are considerably better, all the talent at RBS and Lloyds group will quietly slip off to HSBC and Barclays, where they will be able to be paid well. RBS and Lloyds will suffer the 1970s brain drain all over again.

3. Cash - 'Cash is King', now more then ever. If you have some of it, then you are laughing. What's that I hear you say? No one has any. Think again. If you are a public sector worker, working for example in the NHS or the education sector or in a Whitehall department or the military or the police and so on, is there any threat to your job? None. Zero. Null. So they have a steady income, not huge but some of these guys are not badly paid, and commodities have gone down, the mortgage has gone down. They have cash.

4. Property entrepreneurs - Those that are either cash rich because they sold assets at the right time or timed their rights issue well are going to win big. Right now those companies are rubbing their hands with glee. Land prices have tumbled so property is comparatively cheap, sites that were not viable for development in the last few years because the margin was not there now look attractive and there are many distressed assets that companies in trouble are/will be falling over themselves to sell off. My guess is that sometime around Easter we will see the really entrepreneurial companies hoovering up cheap assets. These guys don't make their money at the top or bottom of the market. They buy just before the bottom and sell just before the top. And then buy a new yacht.

5. Sir Phillip Green - He must be laughing himself silly at how little he is going to be able to pay for all the brands owned by Bauger, the Icelanders who have failed so terribly. Bauger owns House of Fraser, Whistles, Oasis, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Principles, Coast, Iceland, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, Hamleys to name but a few. I predict it now: another £ billion bonus for Sir Phil in 2011.

6. Those of us with Middle Eastern wives - At last, I am a winner. You see, Mrs C likes to haggle. No, really she likes to haggle. A lot. Sometimes just for fun. It's in the genes. And she is saving Cragsbury plc lots of cash. She's haggled on the mortgage. She haggled on the new car purchase. Actually she has haggled on everything and anything really. She even haggled in Harrods the other day to get another £10 off a coat that was already marked down by 40% in the sale. And right now, if you are a haggler, your time has come.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Jacqui's in the Poo

It seems to me that there are three issues to be considered in the Jacqui Smith second home saga, putting aside one's urge to stick the boot into the most over-promoted NuLab Blair babe of them all.

First, let's look at precedent.

The Trend ruling - Michael Trend got done essentially because he claimed his 'Westminster village' bolt hole was his main residence and claimed Parliamentary allowances to cover the running cost of his family home outside London. Clearly guilty.

The Balls/Cooper ruling - This dubious duo argued that it was reasonable for them to register their family home outside London as their official residence even though they did not live there most of the time. The ruling said that, although the couple did not abide by the usual rules, no further action would be taken because the couple had not benefited financially from the arrangement, as they in fact spent more on capital gains tax as a result of their arrangements. (Morons - Balls is the muppet who helped the one eyed Scottish idiot run our economy for 10 years and now we discover he can't even work out out how to run his own allowance scam!) It did however recommend that married/cohabiting MPs should no longer be entitled to claim both allowances (each of £24k although they did not take it all). So guilty but let off essentially.

Smith's argument, that a room in her sister's London flat is her main residence and her family home where her husband and children live is where she should be allowed to claim Parliamentary allowances, just does not hold water. It is very clearly Michael Trend all over again. It will be astonishing and outrageous if the authorities do not follow the Trend logic.

Second, simplicity.

If you make any allowance scheme complex, it is always poorly understood and open to loop holes. (Sadly, this is the Brown way on all matters relating to UK tax rules). There probably are MPs who think they are doing something within the rules that aren't. There probably are MPs trying to fiddle the rules for their own pecuniary benefit. The whole system needs an overhaul and simplification and independent enforcement and oversight (see yesterday's post). The test of 'will any reasonable person believe this' should always be applied.

Third, terminology.

This is our fucking money!!!!! MPs need to stop talking about 'Parliamentary allowances' or 'Government funding' or any other weasel words. They need to always call it TAXPAYERS' MONEY. If they spend it unwisely, then they should lose their jobs.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Leopards and Spots

As I mentioned here the Type A 90s NuLab attack dogs are incapable of changing their spots, viz Mandy (who will doubtless come a cropper, we just have to wait), Dolly (need I say more) and now Charlie Whelan (see here).

They seem to have yet to work out that we 'people of the naughties' don't much like the macho, overly aggressive, bullying approach NuLab coined in the 90s. Won't play well with the voters, boys.

Feathering the Nest

It is interesting that politicians of all shades queue up to propose independent oversight and regulation for all manner of organisations, from private business to public companies to charities etc. The current bête noire are bankers.

However, a few timely observations:

1. MPs have constantly pushed to have their pay increased.

2. MPs have battled to have their expenses increased.

3. MPs have fought to hide their overly generous expense claims from the electorate.

4. MPs continue to execute intellectual backflips to work their overly generous housing allowance to their benefit.

5. MPs have ensured they retain their overly generous final salary pension scheme.

6. Now MPs have overruled an independent body to increase their severance pay. History tells us that poachers don't make great gamekeepers. Time for an independent body that cannot be overruled by MPs methinks.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

General Madness

How utterly deranged is the world in which we live. From today's news:

A bloke who grabbed a drug dealer's heroin stash and flushed it down the loo...jailed for two months. WTF? He should have been given an MBE!

Blair awarded £700k prize for leadership. That's what he was paid to do. And he fucked it up right royally.

13 year old, 14 year old and 16 year old boys vie for paternity of a baby. WTF? Did they and the 15 year old girl not have any parents? Were they asleep on the job? And they all have 'publicists'. Fuck me.

Chavez to rule forever. Socialism at its best!

Do railway stations really need a kissing zone? Petty loony regulation at its worst.

Need I say more?

Monday, 16 February 2009

Creeping Socialist Madness

I have noticed a worrying thought line creeping into interviews and comment on the current economic crisis, most recently in this weekend's Observer and this morning's Today programme. The faux logic goes like this (my comments in brackets):

1. It's the banks wot got us in this mess (already flawed from the start)
2. We're all in the shit led by the financial services sector (true)
3. We can no longer rely on the service sector to lead our economy (why? huge leap of logic here)
4. Any economy that does not actually make stuff cannot survive and will always fail (untrue)
5. So what we need is massive investment in manufacturing so that we can once again establish a sensibly balanced economy (bollocks)

This is lefty, union-led, Grauniad nonsense which needs to be challenged.

Our cost of living, employment costs, transport costs etc mean that we will never be able to compete with China, India and the rest, apart from small scale, highly specialist manufacturing where we have specialist or technical know how not available elsewhere.

Lose sight of that and we will be turning the clock back; and then we really are all doomed.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Weekend Juggling

It's the weekend. And I like juggling. Enjoy.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

I Feel Humbled

Putting Alan the Loony to one side, I have been blessed, knighted and had a multiple orgasm all in one. The Great One has written about my weedy little blog.

Thank you, Oh Master.

Cyclist Hell 2

In my inbox this morning, amongst the helpful people who want to increase the size of my manhood and the three Nigerians who want to pop a few million in my bank account for a short time, is an email from a cyclist who doesn't like me very much.

'Alan the Cyclist' took offence at my post where I dared to criticise cyclists as inconsiderate road users, citing the example of Mrs C who collided with a loony cyclist who was breaking the law and who then tried to extort money from us by 'using' the legal system.

He makes some great points:

"We cyclists are not easily roused in anger. We are generally nice, happy, slim and healthy people due to the exercise and fresh air we enjoy. We are cost beneficial to the NHS, and consequently are superior people to motorists."

I feel compelled to take to my bike immediately just so I can be superior.

"Motorists, on the other hand, are given to rage, two bellies, three chins, smoke while driving, drive while drunk, speak to their wives/business contacts on mobile telephones, tail-gate other drivers who they hate, drive huge tractor-type cars, drive taxis and white vans with outrageous lack of skills, park on pavements, and are costly to the NHS."

Now Mrs C is a bit excitable at times (she's of middle eastern extraction), probably could lose a pound or two and does have a 4x4, but not sure any of the other categories really apply.

There then follows a lecture on some weird bit of Government guidance that allows cyclist to ride on pavements from time to time. But at the end, this:

"Finally, I detect from your anger you are clearly in need of help. Apart from wanting us shot, you said.."Hope they all rot in hell", which is frankly an outburst from a raving lunatic. Do yourself a favour and visit your psychiatrist again as soon as possible, he will realise that since your last visit to him your condition has worsened. He will give you the help you need. But whatever you do, do NOT in any circumstances drive your car, you will probably injure a cyclist."

Ah! I've been rumbled. I'm the loony.

Pip, pip. Just off on my bike to visit Dolly my psychiatrist.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Snow Madness

Today, one of my sisters told me an amazing fact:

At her sons' school - a top end, private day school - throwing snowballs is against school rules becasue guessed and safety.

Unfucking believable.

Hello Dolly

So, as promised yesterday, I turn my attention to Dolly Draper. Many much bigger and better bloggers than I have commented: Guido, Dizzy, Kerron Cross, and the Great Man himself here, here and here. I have several observations:

1. By establishing LabourList (aka the Labour General Election rebuttal unit - a more doomed bunch of fuckers than the Titanic's leak repair team) NuLab has just not got the point of what blogging is all about. The successful bloggers are counter cultural, risqué, etc. If Dolly goes that way, it will blow up in the face of NuLab because the media will seize on any rude, off piste, risqué comment and tut tut v publicly which won't play well with the voters. If he is dull and safe, no one will read him after the initial launch fever dies down.

2. The reason the centre-right is dominating the blogoshere is because they are not in Government and are in full-on opposition mode. It remains to be seen whether (a) the centre right blogoshere withers slightly once Dave has the keys to No 10 or (b) whether the Lefties will finally get their shit together when out in the cold post election.

3. NuLab has picked the wrong guy. Dolly is soiled goods, even despite his 40 days and 40 nights in the Berkeley wilderness and marrying a Z list celeb. He is temperamental, thin-skinned and a Type A NuLab 90s attack dog. He will never change and will blow himself up again like Mandy does regularly (and will again).

4. Fun as it has been to read all the attacks on him, like Gert Nutjob the muslim basher who has been banned from the UK by our very liberal minded Government, by writing about him we are doing his work for him and publicising the little shit's work. Although he is an ass, he is cunning enough to fabricate false attacks on centre right bloggers so we blog about him and boost his traffic. We should therefore desist.

Thus, from this point on, Dolly the lying cheating wanker will never more be mentioned on this blog. Hurrrah!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Being Gay

When I started blogging, only a short while ago, I decided that I would try to not comment on others' blogs and try and be original in every post. But two threads across several blogs I read daily have pricked my attention and so I will break my rule and opine upon them. So, today gayness and tomorrow that evil little shit Dolly Draper.

I am an example of '21st century metrosexual man'. I do manly things, but I moisturise too. We 21st century metrosexual guys are products of our times. So, your sexuality, your race, your creed, your colour, your social class just is sooooo unimportant to me that there is not a metric measurement invented which is small enough to calibrate my total lack of interest.

So I approach the debate between Iain Dale and Peter Hitchens about gayness with wry amusement. But, for what it's worth, here's my view:

Peter Hitchens is really bloody annoying. He regularly fucks me off on BBC Question Time when he's on. Why? Because like many right wing, fascist, bigoted bastards, underneath his overly aggressive and supremely arrogant bullshit, he often does have a point. But, because of the way he puts his views, wrapped up in his supercilious, so supremely confident arrogance, he loses most of the audience's agreement on his base logic.

Cutting through his crap about how non gays are forced to not just accept but to worship gayness, the underlying point in the Dale/Hitchens discussion is this: We 'straights' don't bang on about how wonderfully 'straight' we are, so why do gays have to bore us all by so often banging on and on and on about how gay they are?

Now Iain Dale is the Grandaddy of this political blog thing. I love his blog. I read it every day. It is witty, wry, challenging, on point, informative, entertaining every blog should be...original. Iain, if you were my MP, I would be falsely registering myself as many times as I could just so I could vote for you as many times as possible at the next election. But, in relation to my question above, you do fall into the trap of going on about being gay a bit too much, methinks.

Now I understand why. Even in 21st century Britain, 'coming out' is bloody tricky. Not everyone is as metrosexual and unconcerned as MC. I have had several friends and colleagues who have struggled with doing it and, as it was such a big moment in their life requiring real character and courage, it has sort of become their defining moment. This, coupled with the real excitement of the gay scene and the release of being able to finally live who they are, has often led them to be very gay indeed. Most of the time I think 'good for them, wish I was so liberated'. But, you know, after a while it sort of becomes a bit boring.

So putting the fascist, bigot aside, my advice would be this: what I think should define people is not what they are (black, white, straight, gay, christian, muslim, Tory, Trot etc) but what they contribute to our society.

Ian's contributions to our society to date are many. More than this poor prole will ever manage in two lifetimes. So Iain, I love you dearly, but just ease off on telling everyone how wonderfully gay you are all the time because (a) good people don't care, (b) it just feeds the bigots with more ammunition for their bigotry and (c) I just think you are bigger and better than endlessly defining yourself by which sex you sleep with.

But then again, who the fuck am I to tell the Grandaddy how he should present himself on his blog. Get back in your box, MC.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Big Brother

We live in a country where:

We are monitored by 4 million CCTV cameras, an ever increasing number, making us the most watched nation in the world. There is one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK. If you live in London you are likely to be on cameras 300 times a day. According to a 2004 European Commission report, Britain has the highest density of CCTV cameras in Europe. It found then that 40,000 cameras monitored public areas in 500 British towns and cities, compared to fewer than 100 cameras in 15 German cities and no open street CCTV at all in Denmark. In the past decade the Home Office has spent 78% of its crime prevention budget on CCTV, before assessing its effectiveness in deterring or detecting crime.

We have the largest police DNA database in the world, according to a recent House of Lords report, with more than 7% of the population having their samples stored already, whether they have committed a crime or not. This compares with 0.5% in the US. It took a normal, everyday bloke who had committed no crime to take a case right up to the European Court to even get the Government to look at reviewing this.

There are 1,000 surveillance requests every day by ‘state’ organisations.

5,000 schools now fingerprint their pupils for registration, using the library or buying school meals etc.

Your NHS records do not belong to you, they are NHS property. You may not have them, even if you ask really nicely.

Countless organisations hold electronic information on you: your local council, HMRC, your bank, insurance companies, fuck me even Tesco with it’s ClubCard.

Local authorities use terrorism legislation to check whether you are sending your children to the right school, or who is putting their dustbins out on the wrong day, or who is dog fouling the local streets. Councils want to introduce computer chipping of rubbish bins.

By law, ISPs have to retain your email messages for one year. The police have access to mobile phone tracking information. Our Labour Government wants to expand forced retention of mobile phone calls and email messages.

From last month, if you are flying to the USA, you must submit your personal information three days in advance so that the US authorities can check you out.

And Labour desperately wants to introduce ID cards.

A little while ago, and I forget the exact numbers or the exact reference, David Dimbleby on BBC Question Time stated that before Labour came to power only a handful (4-6) organisations could ‘surveil’ you, now over 700 can, including every local authority in the country.

There is always a logical argument for the state to want more data on its citizens, to more efficiently cut crime, to target the evil, to stop tax dodgers etc. Freedom is always inconvenient for the forces of the state. Freedom is often inefficient.

But ‘freedom’ is a fragile thing, usually hard fought for and always given away at your peril.

We have allowed our freedom to be eroded by stealth. (Liberty has frankly been asleep on the job). We have reached the moment where we need to pull back.

I am a law abiding citizen who happily used to carry an armed forces ID card, but I am implacably opposed to the national ID card scheme.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Political Bonuses

It seems that every day for the last week there has been a Labour Cabinet minister loudly shouting about how we should crack down on these evil bankers who have taken us to rack and ruin by limiting their bonuses. Most recently:

On Saturday we had that muppet Harriet Hamster claiming that evil bankers and their bloated bonuses were...well...just evil really. No, they were particularly evil because women weren't getting their fair share of these evil bonuses. (Interesting logic there: x is bad but we women want our fair share of x. Typically loony logic from the Hamster).

On Sunday we had Alistair Eyebrows telling Andrew Marr (and widely trailing it in the Sundays) that these evil bankers' bonuses had to stop. He did the same story earlier last week as well, but the media just lap it up any day of week really.

Then today we now have the "one-eyed Scottish idiot" telling us the same, as indeed he did earlier last week as well.

OK. We get it. In order for the 'blame shift' to work we need a hate figure and bankers are it because it is soooooo easy to play on the class war/politics of envy that runs deep in the British electorate.

But why is the media allowing Labour to get away with this? Once again for the hard of hearing:

Fact 1 - the banks operated perfectly legally and properly within the regulatory framework established by...the Government.

Fact 2 - the Government's regulatory framework was not fit for purpose and did nothing to prepare for the inevitable bust which many economic forecasters told them was on the way.

Fact 3 - the worst culprit of the credit binge culture was...the Government, which gorged on the stuff, hurled it at the public sector (aka Labour voters), and saved nothing for the bad times.

What's not to get, journos?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Taking the Blame

The ex-head of Haringey's social services, Sharon Shoesmith, is all over the news today having given a couple of interviews about how she should not have been forced out of her job. Let's play the blame game:

Sharon - There are not very many public servants who head up dysfunctional teams that cause death to those they are meant to be protecting. You were in charge. You should have offered your resignation. The fact that you didn't, fought a tribunal case against dismissal and are now bleating about it in the media, tells me a lot about how you did your job and faced your responsibilities.

Councillors - The ex-Leader of the Council and the ex-Cabinet Member are keeping very quiet, aren't they? Wonder why? They were shameful too.

Ed Balls - Political opportunist to the end. He needed to look tough and Sharon got it in the neck. Why didn't he sack the councillors? Oh yes, that's right, they're Labour councillors aren't they.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Another Summit

Oh, forgot to mention that Jackie Smith, apparently our Home Secretary (Gordy, is the dearth of talent really that bad on the Labour benches?), has held a 'burglary summit'. Don't you just love it?

First, see the post from last week on summits - aka 'not a clue what to do but let's look busy'.

But second, I see a new summit phenomenon here:
  • we're plummeting in the polls
  • there is no good news
  • call the pollster and ask him what people are frightened of
  • yup, I know it's mostly that we have fucked the economy and their bank balance, anything else?
  • burglary you say
  • great, let's have a summit on it to look busy
God, they're a load of wankers.

A General Rant

Been bad at posting this week. Will do better next week. Anyway, a general rant for today:

Snow - Get over it. It's just a bit of snow. To listen to that total tosser Nigel Faggot of the Monster Raving UKIP Party on Question Time this week, you would think that the Government had started another illegal war or something. Every few winters we will get a snowy period. Schools may have to shut, roads may be a bit tricky....but so what? Why is the British response to any issue to automatically look for someone to blame and expect everything to be perfect every day of every year. Grow up.

Surveillance society - So yet again, it is pointed out to Government (today by a House of Lords committee) that we are the most surveiled society in the world. We need to get rid of that bloody police DNA database for those not convicted, stop the proliferation of cameras everywhere, actually audit the numbers and reduce them and we need a privacy law.

Speed cameras - 2 million speed camera offences in 2006. That tells me that (a) we have too many cameras, (b) the British public do not respect their use by the state and (c) our speed limits are set at the wrong level.

Measles - 36% rise in measles last year. Ha! Sorry spotty kids but your parents are assholes. Follow clear medical advice rather than wet, lefty, trendy opinions based on spurious research from a rogue doctor. Although the silver lining here is that this rise is particularly prevalent in North London. Spotty New Labour. Love it.

Blair and Obama - Funny how St Obama of America did not want a photo op with Gordy. Wonder why?