Monthly Archives: August 2012

Slave Labour or enthusing a generation

The Government has today announced a new breed of its benefit reorganisation strategy and guess what its stupid. The idea is to require 18-24 year olds who claim jobseekers to WORK 30 hours a week or be denied their benefit.

How  the Government thinks having young people doing work for companies for free is going to stimulate the jobs market I don’t know. If you’re running a business say Tesco, Sainsbury’s, or any other retail based business, are you going to hire a someone to work for you when it requires you to pay NI and these strange things called wages. No if you can get away with, and lets face it most businesses can, you’re going to have an endless rotation of young people doing the jobs you used to have to employ people to do.

The old workfare scheme where young people were asked to take work placements without the risk of losing their benefit was deemed legal, but only due to the fact you were not forced to partake in work experience. However it can not be seen as reasonable or even economically sound to require someone to work for what would be the equivalent of around £1.76/hr.

The benefit system is there to protect people, who are trying their best to be active in society, from destitution and ruin. I agree that you shouldn’t receive anything for nothing. Which is why when you claim JSA you have to keep a diary, you are held to account and you have to be active in seeking employment, that’s fair. I agree that if you turn down employment within a reasonable distance of your current home you should be penalised.

But punishing someone because those who have come before have so screwed over the countries economy that they have no prospect of work is no reason to institute a program which does nothing to help people gain employment and everything to maximise corporate profits and executive payouts.

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The slow decline in public heroes

With the passing of Neil Armstrong, not Neil Young NBC, I pause and despair for the state of our cultural economy. This was the first man to land on ground not of this earth, and yet too many young people know more about  Snookie than the achievements of this amazing man and his very few peers.

9 men ever landed on the moon, many millions behave embarrassingly and do little more for notoriety. As a society we must challenge what our young people are idolising. Our lives are reliant on men like Armstrong, engineers who have resurfaced this globe to our bidding. Scientists who have given us the power to communicate across the globe, with computers more powerful than the Eagle lunar module.

So here are a few names of those whom we should ensure that our young people know, and never forget the gifts they have bestowed upon us.

Neil Armstrong – First Man on The Moon.

Buzz Aldrin – Second Man on The Moon.

Alexander Fleming – Discoverer of Penicillin.

Nikolas Tesla – Electrical engineer and creator of AC current systems.

Archimedes – Arguably a founding father of Experimental Engineering.

Alan Turing – Developed Binary (the code your computer is using to reproduce my words).

Leonardo da Vinci – All Round Visionary

Sir Tim Berners Lee – Creator of the Internet

I’m keen to hear your submissions.

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Tax and Politicians

Tax efficiency/avoidance by politicians is so poisonous, not for the pure idea of tax avoidance being morally wrong, but because it leads to individuals who do not pay on the same terms as the people, controlling the people’s finances.

At least when a CEO avoids tax through their company they are controlling an entity that they have a significant stake in. If they incorrectly move too much money from one part of the company to another, it will go bust. Where as with Tax, when a company or its executives do not pay its full dues to the country in which they operate, the corporate or individual entities may maintain a financial benefit which may not cause an immediately noticeable detriment to themselves.

It comes though to a rather finer point, that when a tax avoider, or someone whose family wealth has come form off shore funds, is responsible for spending and controlling revenues in which they have no financial stake, poor decisions are easier to make, and lack of faith from the people (unable to avoid paying) can only follow.

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The Distraction of Sex in a Security Story.

This past week the British press has had itself in a tis about a couple of pictures showing a pair of young people engaging in some naked cue sport, whilst intoxicated in a Vegas hotel.

Now whats the fuss about a 27 yr old having a bit of fun with some attractive ladies (of age) on holiday in the city of sin? Besides titilation there would be no story.

The story in this case should be Security. Why was the third inline to the throne, able to get into such a seemingly compromised position. Harry has always been a bit of a runaway Prince, and the papers have had a few opportunities to report the Prince giving his security the slip.

So why is it that the press get so distracted by the sight of a bum, that they ignore the very real implications of a lack of security, around HRH?

We as a country and especially the press have become so distracted by salaciousness and sordidness that we forget that when scandal hits its not moral outrage its because someone somewhere has not done their job properly. Thats the story. So can we please get over the sight of a pale bum and summer tan line and get on with the fact that there are some very real issues in our country.

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Is a Christian Britain a Good Thing?

This Friday PM Cameron decided, to induce a collective head to desk salute from the atheists of Britain.

By calling for the strengthening of christian values in Britain the day after Christopher Hitchens death he ensured the unified despair in Britain of those who believe in a secular government and path to a humanist moral code.

By declaring Britain a christian country he has aligned himself with one of the fastest shrinking demographics in Britain.

Amazingly he also had the ruddy-faced cheek to level a call to arms at the Arch Bishop of Canterbury Sir Rowan Atkinson. who has spoken many times of christian values, but against the governments regressive cuts program and lack of ethical progress.

It seems that with the teachings of christianity as delivered by Jesus, that the government is the ones who need reminding of christian values. I wonder if in preparation for the 400 year celebrations of the King James bible they have supposedly read, that the Tory members of the cabinet who claim so adamantly their christian values, whilst playing puppet to the city, the tale of the money lenders whom christ evicted from the church. The destruction and privatisation of the NHS against the countless stories of Jesus as a free healer for those in need.

Why when Jesus was a man of the people is it the party of business that often so closely and so misguidedly sides with a religion, which does not speak for them.

Why is it so often the party which fights for business, that also tries to declare values from a religion, of which the main prophet, has fought against much of what they believe.

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Leveson, Who Said What About Whom

This week the lawyers and journalists of the News of The World got one of their first chances to speak on record at the Leveson Inquiry in to media culture and ethics here in the UK.

I apologise if I’m leaving some details out but I have to assume some working knowledge of the series of events which lead to the inquiry as it was big enough to be reported in America! And we know how localised their news coverage is.

Anyway it seems that the lawyers and editors weren’t very happy about being reported as having deleted messages off of Milly Dowler’s mobile phone. Which to be fair to them they didn’t. The Met police testified to this earlier this week at the inquiry.

Now I agree a large amount of the hysteria that was created around this scandal was generated by the idea that false hope was given to the Dowler family when a once before full answer phone became not so full anymore.

However, this is now an inquiry into a paper and/or papers which had a culture of deviant behaviour. A newsroom drowning in its own self-righteous morality. This morality was best vocalised by former NoW reporter Paul McMullan who claimed he was “proud to have started a riot” even if the people who became victim of the vigilantism that he inspired, where completely innocent, and victims instead of peoples stupidity in confusing Paediatrician with pedophile!

The way in which the Sun and other have leaped on the Guardian for their slight over eggy of the facts is so transparent in its pettiness it shows them for who they really are.

The Gutter Press.

NYPD Fail To Follow The Law Again

So the Occupy Wall St protests are continuing in New York, and so they should.

However sadly another aspect of the protests is also continuing. The NYPD’s disregard for Press freedoms.

After the eviction and clearance of Zuccotti Park in mid November, it seems that some NYPD officers haven’t quite got the memo about not disrupting the accredited presses duty to cover protests.

The video below, from around the 2 minute mark clearly shows a police offcer ducking and weaving to disrupt Robert Stolarik’s, who was on assignment for the New York Times, attempts to get an image of an arrest. You also get shown in the video how visible the PJ’s accreditation is hanging around his neck!

You would think that after the amount of negative press the NYPD got last month, for penning away and arresting members of the press, that they’s be a little less obvious and pathetic in the attempts and disruption.

The true irony for me though is the police officer who comes up with a video camera filming everyone who’s trying to film the arrests, as if people filming the police making arrests is a security issue. Hmm I wonder why they would think that.

The video is from Logan Price one of the protestors at OWS

Irony Absent at Mirror

Now I’m one for clarity and transparency, but when a documentary film crew put a behind the scenes video about how they got footage of something which is impossible to film in the wild. You don’t splash on the front page that they’ve deceived people.

Especially if you have in your history a front page of unverified and false images which put the lives of British military personnel at risk!

So you can imagine my [non]amusement when the Mirror decided to splash on their front page the other day that the “Beeb Faked Frozen Planet.” Which is disingenuous as a headline alone.

Then you cast your mind back to a rather sorry state of affairs which saw then Mirror editor Piers [I’m a douche] Morgan booted from the paper in disgrace.

Yes, it was The Mirror who in 200 splashed on their front page their own little fakery. An image, and more inside, of what they claimed to be British armed forces mistreating Iraqi PoW’s. Now for me, at the time about to join the army, when those images were published ruled out me ever reading/paying for/being associated with The Mirror.

Now however they seem to lack an irony sensor to alert them when they’re about to commit another falsehood upon the British public.

To splash on the front page a story that a documentary producer has published on their website how they filmed something, and you were stupid enough to not realise it, is truly ignorant of their own history and record of failure to provide the truth to their audience.

The two front pages provided for you below.
Mirror abuse FPMirror, Faked Frozen planet

Is Gore Needed To Report War?

This last week the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all used similar images on their front pages to report the bombing of a shiite Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The attack which together with a second bombing made it one of the bloodiest day in the 10 years of War, was claimed by Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants from Pakistan.

The days events were dramatic and terrifying, for picture editors trying to mediate this in picture form to readers is a difficult and sometimes impossible job. Especially when you have to balance the need for showing the most descriptive images and causing distress to those unsuspecting browsers of the mornings newsstands.

In an interview for a Washington Post Blog, the Editors each laid out their reasonings for use of such similar and graphic images.

However the most telling is their reasons for leaving certain aspects of the images out, Like the baby in yellow. Which is visible in the images used by the NYT and WaPo even if the body is slightly obscured by the WaPo’s editing.

wsjpage

Jack Van Antwerp from the Journal explains his crop saying: “We have a very high sensitivity at the journal to scenes of death and blood. We chose to make the photo as viewable as possible yet still be true to the intention of the moment.”

However Michele McNally of the Times verifies her use of the wider crop saying: “I feel like this is a turning point, sectarian violence in an area that never had such. I don’t feel it was gratuitous – Suicide bombs kill men, women and children.”

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Speaking generally of the Posts choice, Michel Ducille said: “When there is a dramatic photograph from what i consider a very significant news situation, I think we have an obligation to give a true representation of the event. This scene showed the lifeless bodies of children and the anguished faces of those who lived through the ordeal.”

washpostcover

When during the first Gulf war the Guardian chose to put a picture of a torched body on Pg 2 and 3 there were many complaints sent to the papers picture editor Roger Tooth, who said in a talk at Staffordshire University, that to not show the picture was to deny the reality of war from the public.

charred-iraqi-soldier-600-pix

Willful Blindness and Guilt by Association

The Mail leads today with a photostory about a Tory MP from Cannock Chase, who whilst at a Stag party in France was party to chants of “Hitler!! Hitler!! Hitler!!” salutes to the Third Reich and a man dressed in an SS uniform. Now part of me says well if the MP didn’t actually partake in these acts and was merely present but not directly associated with the group then he’s done nothing wrong. He may have been in the toilet at the point these chants were made and so be completely unaware of the actions of his associates.

However in an apology published on the BBC website Aidan Burley says the following: “There was clearly inappropriate behaviour by some of the other guests and I deeply regret that this happened. I am extremely sorry for any offence that will undoubtedly have been caused.”

Now he could have chosen at this juncture to point out that he personally was offended by the actions taken that he felt compelled to leave the party. Which in mind is what one should do when people start saluting to a regime of prejudice and hatred. However he does not, instead he makes no mention of any disagreement with the behaviour of those involved.

By not out right condemning the actions as offensive in his mind he suggests that the only reason he is apologising is not because he feels they are wrong but because he’s been caught out doing something which he finds ok but which many of us find absolutely reprehensible.

According to the mail story the excuse of it being a stag do and a joke has been fronted. However can we really accept such behaviour in the name of drunken high jinx? I mean whats wrong with dressing the Groom in stockings suspenders and a clownish makeup and tying them to a lamppost? Do we really have to lower the taste to, even ironically, cheering one of the most vile ideologies in Europe’s history?

Update: As of Saturday 17th December Aidan Burley has been sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary, for the Department of Transport.