Category Archives: politics

Embarrassed? You should be!

Of course this is a Brexit post – how could it not be after the omnishambles of the past 2 years, culminating in a media frenzy about something we all knew was going to happen weeks before it finally DID happen!

Yeah right – you should be embarrassed, in fact we should ALL be embarrassed for allowing this f*kcfest to happen.

  • David Cameron – the weak one who started this off because he couldn’t hack it and couldn’t manage the right wing of his party.
    • It was supposed to be the springboard for a smooth and successful referendum campaign. In reality, David Cameron’s EU renegotiation was a great miscalculation that helped pave the way for voters to reject EU membership. Most significantly, the much-anticipated deal failed to sway members of his own Cabinet, while also highlighting the EU’s inflexibility on the free movement of people principle. Rather than create the momentum for a comfortable victory, the renegotiation storyline petered out as the official pro-EU campaign got stuck repeating messages about economic doom after Brexit.
    • And believe it or not Cameron still isn’t prepared to take his share of the blame!
  • The multitude of politicians who lied to the electorate about what they were supposed to be voting for, and then continued to do so during the 2 years they wasted not coming up with a solution – not to mention wasting a lot of money at the same time!
    • “Had we acted decisively on Day 1, we would have known where we stood and instead of frittering away the past 18 months negotiating with a hidebound hegemony we could have put all our energies into negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).”
    • “Brexit preparations have considerably increased the number of civil servants.  For Defra, Home Office and HMRC, Brexit will effectively reverse the reductions in the size of the civil service since 2010. In fact, half of the money spent on Brexit so far has gone on new staff.”
  • The media that allowed this to go on without challenging these shysters.
  • And anyone out there who voted for Brexit – basically we’re talking about the racists in the country – plain and simple – you’re racists!
    • People voted to leave EU because they feared immigration

Fundamentally this is why YOU need to be embarrassed – because you’re a racist (if you voted to leave)!

Oh, sorry – you don’t think you’re a racist?

Well have a read of this article from thecreative.cafe called 10 signs you’re a racist.  Well, how many of those apply to you?

Furthermore a survey for the Guardian, published in December 2018, including 1,000 people from minority ethnic backgrounds (out of a total of 3,000 people) found they were consistently more likely to have faced negative everyday experiences – all frequently associated with racism – than white people in a comparison poll. The survey asked people to consider their response to a series of scenarios:

  • Being overlooked in a job application process or for promotion at work in a manner that felt unfair
  • Being mistaken for a member of staff in a restaurant, shop or hotel etc
  • Being refused entrance or asked to leave a restaurant, bar or club for no good reason
  • Someone at work, university or school treating me differently because of my clothing, hairstyle or general appearance
  • A stranger being abusive or rude to me in public

In every instance BAME people were more likely to have suffered from these than white respondents.

Our organs of state are institutionally racist – hey, the claim that policing practice in the UK is institutionally racist was widely accepted after the Macpherson Report at the end of last century.  BTW, parliament has just launched an inquiry to see how things have changed in the past 20 years, yeah right, I think the current farrago (I said farrago not arsehole!) shows we don’t really need that new inquiry, we could answer the question now – not very much!

This whole Brexit shenanigans seems to be a fantastic missed opportunity and a damning indictment on our politicians and indeed, the British public.

There’s nothing wrong with renegotiating a trade deal, or a political alignment – things change, needs and wants change – but surely at the centre there needs to be some acceptance of mutual beneficiality, of trying to co-exist with our neighbours.  After all there are 7 billion people on this planet – we’re only 60 million of them – why do we consider that we’re right (all the damn time)?

We should all be embarrassed of where we currently are and we should try and do something about it!

You can support the “BOLLOCKS TO BREXIT ” campaign to stop the Brexit madness that has consumed the UK by:

I hate lawyers. Well some of them anyway and so should you.

Agreeing with Ian Hislop?  Blimey – I didn’t expect that would ever happen, I am getting old 😦

I should say that I don’t hate all lawyers but there are a few types of lawyer that, frankly, the world could do without.  The first group are those who decide that they need to go into politics – 15% of all MPs were either barristers or solicitors.  This lot just need to go away now! Between them they’re responsible for the current Brexit mess we find ourselves in – and plenty of other messes as well!

This group is particularly irritating because they think they’re doing good when actually they are screwing things up for everybody except their rich friends!  Hateful, lying, toadies – the lot of them!!

The second group are those ambulance chasing Injury 4 You type of low-life shysters.  There is one TV advert that features a woman in a shopping centre who manages to slip and injure herself at the top of an escalator.  Hmmm if I remember correctly her view is obscured by a host of shopping bags she’s carrying.  I mean c’mon, really?  Are you suggesting that it’s the shopping centre’s fault?  That really does take the biscuit!

Here’s the google ad for one of these leeches:

Injury Lawyers UK. Specialists | Check How Much You Can Claim‎

 Rating for russellworthsolicitors.co.uk: 4.8 – 159 reviews
Free Claim Assessment. Discover Your Rights Now. No Win No Fee. Call Us Today.
Check how much you can claim? Clearly there’s nothing like the Hippocratic Oath that lawyers have to observe. Weasels – the lot of them.  How their advertising meets the ASA standards – Legal, DECENT, Honest Truthful – I just don’t know.  There are loads of these kind, peddling their services to the weak and the vulnerable – those desperate for money.  They’re one of the reasons that your and my insurance premium has been rising over the past few years – their behaviour is encouraging spurious claims and that results in higher policy prices.
What they do for you?  What they do is for themselves – not for you.  They aren’t charities they’re out for a quick buck.  Avoid them like the plague….  They’re so heinous that the law had to be changed to stop them profiteering..
The Civil Liability Bill has officially received Royal Asset today (December 20) marking a reform of the way England and Wales addresses whiplash claims and the framework around which the personal injury discount rate is set. Its aim is to reduce the “excessive” compensation claims impacting the NHS.
See I told you!!!
And now the third and final group that need to be eliminated – PPI claim insurance companies.

‘VULTURES’ Ambulance-chasing’ PPI lawyers slammed by car finance expert for now hounding mis-sold PCP deals

Banks face ‘shockwaves’ with up to £18bn in PPI payouts</<blockquote>
PPI has ‘turned portions of UK into fraudsters‘ – bank chief

Possibly the worst of the 3. And they are allowed to bombard us with their advertising, pleading with us not to miss out on up to £7k.  They really shouldn’t allow it – but they do – on TV, on the radio…it’s everywhere.  Even though there are people out there who deserve the support of good lawyers to get their money back there are standards that should be applied and followed – by all parties!

Martin Lewis, founder of the Money Saving Expert website, said banks had lied to customers that certain types of insurance were compulsory, yet no banker had been prosecuted over the issue.  He tweeted: ‘Bank’s [SIC] PPI selling was a systemic, deliberate, scripted, protection racket to missell £30bn+ of insurance. ‘

Lots of “No win no fee” claims out there but buyer beware.  Stories of claims companies wanting 40% of the payout are not unusual!  Like I said earlier – they aren’t in to help you – just to help themselves, and the worst thing about this is that as soon as this peak is over, we pass the deadline for claims, they’ll be gone, moving onto something else, some other group of people who think that a quick buck is their right.
These kinds of lawyers are simply not fit to bear the name lawyer.  They’re con men, disgusting low life who should be shunned by society – they’ve reached the level of disdain that we used to reserve for estate agents!!

Charity begins in central government

One of the annoying things about daytime TV is the number of charity adverts.  You can’t go a single ad break without at least one!  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against charities, well scrub any that uses religion, but generally I think that being charitable is a wonderful thing.

But why is the focus for these charities to put the burden of supporting them onto the British public?  The answer is clear – it’s because the UK government has decided that they’d rather give large sums of money to their cronies in the private sector than provide a decent range of public services.

And frankly I think that is unacceptable.

It is, however, a complex issue

  • Since 2010 healthcare expenditures have declined, down to 7.1 percent GDP by 2020.
  • Nearly 12 million UK residents aged 65 years and over.
  • The government has increasingly pushed the burden on local authorities – here’s just one clause from the latest guidance they issued:

To ensure that the pressure on council tax is kept down, the net additional cost of all new burdens placed on local authorities (including parishes, police and fire and rescue authorities) by central Government must be assessed and fully and properly funded.

…and by properly funded they mean dumped onto you. Ensuring the pressure is kept down my arse.  The Conservatives are openly the party of “small government” – lower taxes – more money in your pocket!  Allegedly!!  However the statistics published each budget day seem to show that the people who end benefiting most from Tory policies are the better off…  Basically the people who least need to benefit!!

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is an aphorism due to Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Just this morning (19/12/2018) it seems that the entire BBC Breakfast programme was based around the issue of Special Educational Needs – and that’s brilliant.  But the reason they’ve chosen to do that is because the investment in providing the service from central government simply isn’t good enough.  The current Tories in government would rather invest £1.5bn in ensuring that a bunch of rapid racists and bigots in Northern Ireland would support them so they could form the government than paying for 66,000 qualified registered nurses! And look where that got them – a total and utter waste of money.  Oh and guess what, the current shortfall in nurses means that the government has to pay another £1.5bn on temporary staff.

..and to compound matters the Brexit vote has also contributed to a growing recruitment crisis. Since the referendum there has been a 28% increase in the number of EU nurses leaving Britain, which could exacerbate the problem, said the report. Overseas applications for nursing roles has fallen by 87% in the past 12 months!  Didn’t I see something about the Chancellor allocating £4.2bn for EU exit preparations…yesI damn well did!

These examples are just symptomatic of a policy of reducing, or rather minimising central government expenditure.

Look, I know we have an ageing population and health and pensions are time-bombs waiting to happen but making the old, the infirm and those who were just born that way suffer is wrong – plain wrong.  Society has to do better and governments must take the lead.

I’m of complex politics – decidedly left wing – but I believe in a mixed economy. I don’t believe in privatising the NHS – healthcare should be free at the point of need, irrespective of how much money you have, but it could be run much leaner – less need for “management” and targets – more focus on doing stuff than measuring it or sitting in committees deciding on which policy to adopt – just keep people healthy!

I’m all in favour of nationalising the utility companies – I mean I’m sorry but HTF does Scottish Energy/Scottish Power survive – the worst customer service, the most unintelligent staff – and the railways and then doing some intelligent planning and putting some intelligent people in charge of running them and making sure that none of the contracts gets awarded to Tory cronies like Carillion.   (Apparently the government awards £200bn worth of public contracts to private companies EVERY year!)

Subsequently the government is to bring in tougher contract terms for outsourcers following Carillion’s collapse – or closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as we call that!

Frankly I think that charity should be nationalised and most definitely secularised. We have an overseas aid budget which is functionally designed, not to aid those in most need but, to smooth the path for the Tories rich friends to do deals with 3rd world countries so they can fill their pockets with even more money!

Since 1980 BBC Children in Need has raised over £1bn, Comic Relief has raised over £1bn.   The generosity of the British public is amazing, and legendary – but think what could be done with the £56bn that HS2 is currently forecast to cost – one estimate actually puts it nearer to £80bn.

Just think how many people we could help – here and abroad – if our government used our money better….

Seems I’m not the only person thinking aloing these lines…

Just done some sums. £4,200,000,000 would pay for 146,000 band 5 nurses for a year. Or, it would pay for 138,000 police officers for a year. Or we could have 146,000 newly qualified teachers. Oh, the things we could spend £4.2 billion on. Instead we’re spending it on brexit.

Today we are allocating £2 billion of funding to help departments prepare for #Brexit. The Treasury has provided more than £4.2 billion for Brexit preparations since 2016. gov.uk/government/new…

And more to the point I wouldn’t have to watch those bloody annoying ads for charities, here and abroad, scrabbling for money, money that that is being wasted by government who are simply abrogating the issue – forcing us to pick up the baton for solving problems that can only be solved through government intervention.

Matt Johnson of The The said it right back in his song The Heartland in 2006

This is the land, where nothing changes,
the land of red buses & blue blooded babies,
This is the place, where pensioners are raped,

& the hearts are being cut, from the welfare state,
Let the poor drink the milk, while the rich eat the honey,
Let the bums count their blessings, while they count the money

Read more: The The – Heartland Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Lights at nights and prats on the pavement!

As the evenings are drawing in, earlier and earlier and the dawn rising later and later, the growth in cycling on our roads (mostly!) grows ever more dangerous.  There’s a combination of bad behaviour from both cyclists and motorists part that can lead to accidents and when this is compounded by the advances in lighting technology, the lack of practical legislation and the result of government budget cuts – well just look out that’s what I say!  Allow me to expand on this…

From a UK health perspective the growth in cycling is a bonus – especially for those older people who are trying to exercise without adding undue stresses and strains on their ageing joints.  Not everyone can afford to join a gym, or wants to have their own static bike when the draw of the open air, the the feel of lycra on your skin and the “crack” of riding en masse exists.  Good on you I say.  If the roads had been kept in better condition and not left to rot away until they offer nothing less than an assault course for the rider I’d be with you – at least in summer when it’s warm, and light!

First off bad behaviour – on both sides!

I’m a driver not a rider.  I appreciate that my 2 tonne vehicle is perfectly capable of turning a cyclist in a bloody pulp.  So I do NOT drive up their arses, jump (or even totally ignore) red traffic signals, I indicate clearly what my next move is going to be and I give them as much space as I give a horse when I’m overtaking them – safely.  So I get extremely p*ssed off when I come across a pack of lycra clad morons who are either, totally oblivious to the queue of traffic that is building up behind them as the saunter down a country lane – 2 abreast (and when there are lot of them even more abreast!!), or just being ****ing arrogant!

I drive patiently, whilst I may be seething inside my comfy cabin, I understand the argument about “safety in numbers” but still, c’mon these are roads we are talking about not the bleeding Serengeti!  Drive responsible – everyone!

Jumping red lights – According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 57% of cyclists admit to running red lights. A 2013 YouGov poll found that 35% of cyclists admit to ignoring red lights at least “occasionally.” If caught jumping a red light, cyclists can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30. OK these are kids – bloody stupid kids – but they’ll grow up into bloody stupid adults – if they’re lucky!

Let’s now focus on technology, specifically lighting technology.  When a car approaches with its headlights poorly adjusted there’s every chance that the driver is going to get a taste of his or her own medicine as the recipient of the dazzling elects to give the other driver the benefits of his or her own full beams!  Modern lighting is getting too bright, so when it is badly adjusted it’s actually dangerous – if you have to close your eyes, even for an instant, to avoid being dazzled (and having your night vision destroyed) you can’t see where you’re going… Now this isn’t as some writers have shown, down to my age – I’m not talking about the deterioration of my eyes – I’m talking about lights that if the individual was driving behind you would be dazzling you in your rear view mirror – i.e. too high or those lights which seem to be permanently readjusting themselves by flicking up and down or aligned incorrectly – too far to the right!

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders maintains there is no evidence that factory fitted high-power lights distract drivers and that lamp-levelling technology ensures they are safe.

Yeah, right….bollocks!

In fact there is clear guidance as to how they should be set up – this from Wiki-How :

There are mounting screws and adjustment screws above, below and to the side of the headlight. Park your vehicle 25 feet from a wall, and place a piece of tape horizontally 4 feet high across the wall in front of your vehicle. Turn on the low beams. Adjust the headlights until they shine on the tape.

Your car would fail its MOT test if your lights are poorly set up.  So you’d expect the same for those “xenon” style LED lights that bicycles are now using – wouldn’t you…and you’d be WRONG!

According to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations (RVLR), it’s illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors and rule 60 of the Highway code says:

“At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.”

Bike Radar offers guidance on bikes and lights –

Is there a maximum brightness for bike lights?  No there isn’t, but you don’t want to dazzle oncoming drivers, for obvious reasons!

“If your lights cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other road users, then you’re breaking the law and the police are within their rights to fine you,” says Cycling UK. In practice, though, as long as your bike has a front white and red rear light it’s rare to be stopped and fined by the police, but please be considerate to other road users.

One more word of advice — don’t mount your most powerful front light on your helmet. It completely dazzles oncoming road users, and is very inconsiderate.

So it’s mostly you MUST have lights at night and only an aside about don’t dazzle other road users…well let’s go back to that image at the top of this post.  Have another look at it – here it is again…

Have a look at the right hand hedge.  It must be at least 6 foot high.  And it’s being illuminated brightly by the light on the front of the bike…  Now take a look at the left hand hedge…it’s almost in the dark.  Now if that was me driving towards this numpty I’b be less than impressed.  In fact I’d have to say that at least 50% of the bikes I meet at night have overly bright, even dazzling lights, whereas for cars the figure is closer to 5%.

Maybe it’s about time that bikes need to have MOTs – to get their lights tested at the very least.  Maybe it’s about time the Police stopped some of these morons who give the rest of the cycling community a bad name and did something about it – but they won’t ‘coz Theresa May has cut their budgets by 25%, and officer number are way down, and they don’t even investigate burglaries anymore – so to expect them to leave the city centres late night opening establishments to pull cyclists over for jumping red lights and having dangerous headlights is never, ever going to happen – until someone changes the priorities.

I mean, for a PR stunt, you could always knock BoJo off his bike to generate aware of bike safety, or even better stop the twat from riding around by making him MOT his bike.

Also I would like to make 2 final points about cyclists – specifically those in Oxford.  Oxford is a city that pats itself on the back (repeatedly) for being extremely bike friendly.  Loads of bus/bike lanes for them to use, masses of “parking” spaces for bikes, speed humps and other road calming measures to slow the traffic down.  They’ve even gone so far as to reduce the amount of parking for cars in the centre so you have to use the park and ride schemes they have introduced.  Great, all those measures must make it a paradise for you cyclists out there…well there are 2 things that you can do to make it safer – for us drivers who now have turned into pedestrians so we can get around your city:

  1. park your cycles nicely – don’t just strew them around making it tricky to get past them..
  2. don’t ride on the ****ing pavement!

That 2nd one is actually an offence – it seems to confuse many cyclists about whether or not they are allowed to cycle on the pavement. According to Laws HA 1835 section 72 & RSA 1984, section 129, cyclists must not cycle on the pavement.

Scotland – beautiful yet bound to suffer from Brexit

When the clouds finally cleared, and the rain stopped falling horizontally Scotland shows you why so many love her.

Our recent trip around the country, from Glasgow to Dornoch, from there to the NW coast and back down to Auchiltibuie, then to Skye, then Pitlochry and our final stopover in Edinburgh, provided a mere glimpse of the abundant jewels that await.

The scenery is jaw-droppingly stunning (when you can see it! – see above..and below)

Castles in varying states of repair (this is Eilean Donan castle near the Kyle of Lochalsh), lochs of every size and shape (no we didn’t get a glimpse of Nessie) and every shade of ginger known to man (or woman) adorning the hillsides and trees.

I have to make special mention of the food. No deep fried pizzas anywhere. But beautiful, succulent seafood perfectly cooked and exquisitely presented. Lunch at Michael Smith’s, Michelin starred, Loch Bay restaurant in Stein, on Skye was a personal highlight – but then the Scotch Broth at the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum was mighty fine too!

Ok this isn’t from the Loch Bay restaurant, c’mon, who photographs their food in Michelin starred establishments? You do? You’re weird!

Anyway its food that brings us to Brexit, well the hospitality industry to be specific…

At each of the locations we stayed the bulk of the team of people serving were not Scottish. A few were English but the vast majority were from Europe and predominantly eastern European at that. Even in Auchiltibuie at the Summer Islands Hotel the staff were a mixture of Spanish and eastern European. BTW do stay there. Accommodation was great, food fantastic, service impeccable and I reckon, in good weather, the views are to die for. And you might see this chap round the corner…

But my point is this.  Where are hotels and inns going to find the staff they need post-Brexit? Clearly the locals aren’t interested in working there…so who will be?

 

“Politicians need to take their foot off the accelerator in order to protect the planet.”

Oh really? That isn’t necessarily the case – see this scientific article!

I can vouch for the fact that if I’m travelling to work, sadly using the A34 in Oxfordshire then my mpg performance drops dramatically compared to a run where the car is able to run at a speed closer to the legal limit.  And surely improving mpg is one, I’ll admit only one, measure of helping to damage the planet less. We need to get to and from work and public transport has declined to a point that unless you live in London you’re basically ****ed!

My point being that if cars were able to travel at, or even closer to, their most optimum speed the amount of petrol/diesel consumed would drop significantly.  So, taking that point to it’s logical conclusion spending £42 billion on making cars work more efficiently by providing better roads would benefit far more people than building a railway that almost no one will benefit from – except of course the shareholders of those companies who win the contracts to build HS2.  Less fuel used, less time spent driving to and from work = more time for actual working or for the family – ok I know there’s the negative that HMRC gets less income form petrol duty!

So, instead of ruining many thousands of people’s journeys on a daily basis thanks to traffic issues which are going to cost us nigh on £62 billion by 2016… (and this is just the value that people would put on their time – not the actual cost of their “wasted” time nor the cost of the extra fuel that is being used!)

In the UK, INRIX Roadway Analytics identified and ranked 20,375 traffic hotspots in 21 cities. The ranking was determined by an ‘Impact Factor’, which multiplied the average duration of a traffic jam with its average length and the number of times it occurred in September 2016. The cost to drivers due to time wasted in traffic at these hotspots, calculated using the DfT’s ‘value of time’, amounts to £61.8 billion in the UK by 2025 if congestion levels are not reduced.

…why not focus on these – the top 10 ways that Global Citizen reckons are the way to reduce climate change…

  • Rooftop solar – Elon Musk is big into this
  • Silvopasture – apparently this is as simple as planting trees in pasture land and letting cattle roam there!
  • Solar farms – like your rooftops only on a massive scale.
  • Family planning – tricky given that a vast majority of the under-developed world is Catholic and China’s just upped the children per household to 2!!
  • Educating girls – we’re talking mainly (but not exclusively) in the under-developed world as educated girls/women have less kids – although educating stupid men not to treat women as an inferior species would be a good start!
  • Protecting or replanting tropical forests – clearly cutting down the Amazon is just bonkers.
  • Plant rich diets – this means shifting away from the western style processed food diet – clearly a good thing but pretty tricky to sell.
  • Reducing food waste – absolutely essential.  The amount of perfectly edible food that we throw away is just obscene.
  • Offshore wind turbines – surely there are enough places that we could site these – without destroying the beauty of them.
  • Refridgeration management – we’re talking air conditioning in homes and cars as well as well fridges!!  Apparently the eradication of Ozone crunching CFCs has led to a repairing of the hole but sadly the replacement HFCs which get released at end of the fridge’s life can heat the atmosphere 900 times more than CO2!

Clearly governments have a big part to play in this, so to come back to the original headline of this post, governments need to take their collective feet off the motorist and plant them firmly on accelerators – those organisations that can stimulate innovation and future business, ‘coz that’s the only way we’re going to get things like these:

  1. home battery packs to store electricity generated from our roofs,
  2. wind turbines that can be fitted to homes and offices as well as out to sea,
  3. greater investment in planting more vegetation – everywhere,
  4. ways to convince people of certain religions that their dogmas aren’t right,
  5. getting “out of date” food to people and places that need it,
  6. packaging that can be recycled,
  7. home automation systems designed to minimise power usage
  8. I’m inclined to add in “drive less/drive smart” but only if there’s an equivalent improvement in public transportation
  9. tell Trump he’s an idiot and get the US to stay in the Paris agreement
  10. and finally tell planners to sort out the road network so we drivers CAN drive more efficiently!

 

Is GDPR turning us all into sheep?

I dunno bout you but I’m getting extremely p’d off by all the changes that GDPR has introduced to make our lives better.

The purpose of the GDPR is to provide a set of standardised data protection laws across all the member countries. This should make it easier for EU citizens to understand how their data is being used, and also raise any complaints, even if they are not in the country where its located.”

That’s what the Privacy Trust says. Well guys you have actually done the opposite.  It used to really easy to block cookies and stop people using your data – but now you get things like this appearing – and yes, this from the Privacy Trust’s own website!

We use cookies to see how many people use our site, and which parts are the most popular. Can we continue to use cookies? You can say NO and it won’t have a major impact on how you view our site.

More informationYes

Do you see that we aren’t being offered a yes/no option we’re actually being offered a say yes or we’ll make you spend more time than previously needed to block us?  Where’s the NO option?  Answer there isn’t one!

Clicking the More information link takes you here – https://www.privacytrust.com/about/privacy.html and I defy you to tell me where the NO option is.  I have contacted them and they say they’ll be back in touch within 3 days – I’ll update this post if/when they do 🙂

And of course if you decide you want to block their irritating cookies you’ll get the same damn irritating messages every time you try to view the content they’re pushing out –  believe me, I reckon a number of websites out there will be looking at dropping visitor figures and not thinking positive thoughts about the law makers!  I’ve already blocked plenty!

In addition to (if that wasn’t bad enough!) these extremely irritating cookie/data messages there’s the whole issue of GDPR causing the EU individual’s view of the world to become more insular.

Have you not noticed that a number of your favourites information sources are now displaying messages along these lines – this one’s from Lee Enterprises – they publish 46 daily newspapers across 21 US states:

“451: Unavailable for legal reasons

We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore cannot grant you access at this time. For any issues, e-mail us at support@qctimes.com or call us at 563 383 2200”

I’ve lost count of the number of hyperlinks that appear in my daily Google alerts about subjects related to my day job that end up with something like that – or they just hang – a blank white screen like the LA Times …great – I’m lovin’ it – NOT!  So, how long is “temporarily unavailable”?  I think we should be told, lest we turn into an insular little country with a jaundiced view of the world – a sort of small USA!

And it’s the combination of the measures that GDPR has inflicted on us web browsers that fills me with dread.  From memory it was Oscar Wilde who famously stated that “The law is an ass!” Well clearly he wasn’t wrong.

I’m of the view that all this nanny-state nonsense is reducing out ability to think for ourselves, and naturally that’s not a good thing in an era where we need all the thinking we can get to sort out the real problems facing our very existence e.g. the people making these laws as well as the Trumpster himself.

Or are you all just sheep?

 

 

 

 

Political correctness – sorry, but yes it has gone mad!

2016-02-01-1195outragePolitical correctness
noun
the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

The definition from Dictionary.com and there’s one absolutely KEY word and that is “perceived” – perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult..etc etc.  Perceived by whom?

There are plenty of people out there who are prepared to “educate” us about how we should be using language e.g. Tess Thorson, Ph.D. Fellow at Aalborg University, based in New York, researching intersectional representations in film and media – I perceive her analysis of a Jonathan Pie video as both deep and deeply patronising at the same time – but I welcome the fact that she has the freedom to express it.

In the last few days we’ve seen stories in the news about students no longer clapping but using “Jazz Hands” instead to make events more accessible to those suffering anxiety.  And we can no longer show the Shetlands in a box on a map…although authorities can avoid complying with this if they provide “information” about their reasons!!

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of bits of language that we shouldn’t use – there are – although I perceive that there do seem to be more and more…and yet still more being added to the list – almost daily!

Take “black” and “white” for example – the meaning behind these two has changed dramatically in the past 30 years.  My first wife was black, no sorry that should be Afro-Caribbean – or should it be BAME?  Well when I was in Jamaica there was a clear divide amongst the locals which was dependent on their own perceptions of skin colour – black skin was perceived to have a higher status than brown skin – their perception not mine!  My nickname , as given by the smiling, cheeky, kids on the hillside outside of Mo’ Bay was “whiteman” – I certainly wasn’t insulted, I felt accepted!  Yet today “White” is an insult, a term laced with denegration and meant to demean.

We are constantly being told that we need to be more considerate, more inclusive, yet at the same time some people – comedians for example – are perceiving that they are far more constrained, that they now have less opportunity to poke fun at the things and people that damn well need to have fun poked at them!!  Here’s Frankie Boyle back in 2015.

I find it incredibly worrying that we no longer need to hear the actual content of the thing we’re told to be offended by. We hear of people being arrested for tweets without the tweet being reported; comics are blasted for routines that aren’t printed; newspapers hire lip-readers to find something to get offended by at the tennis and then print the resulting fuckfest as asterisks. And who decides whether we should be outraged at something we haven’t seen or heard? The press. Our seething collective Id. None of us would trust a journalist to hold our pint while we went to the bathroom, yet we allow them to be ethical arbiters for the entire culture.

..and it’s not just journalists, see the good Dr listed earlier plus this article by Julia Watson which won The Economist’s Open Future essay competition in the category of Open Society – there are plenty of people keen to reduce your and my ability to use langauage.

To me, a believer in a meritocracy, a lover of language, and a lover of good comedy we need the freedom to be perceived as being “politically incorrect”- even though comedy is inevitably at someone or something else’s expense.  It’s been at “my” expense, my late wife and I both howled at the numerous hard-core cancer gags that Frankie Boyle delivered at the New Theatre in Oxford back in 2012 (she died in 2013) – we didn’t perceive that he was being politically incorrect – just painfully funny.

And do you know what is the most worrying thing of all here?  It’s the fact that it’s some appalling behaviour by no less a character than (yes you’ve guessed it!) Donald Trump that has pointed out the issue really is about perception.

Kurdish journalist ‘proud’ to be called ‘Mr Kurd’ by Trump.

Rahim Rashidi told Middle East Eye in an email on Friday that he felt “proud” and “honoured” being addressed as “Mr Kurd”.

“For a long time, the Kurdish people have been denied their self-right to Kurdish ethnicity,” Rashidi explained.

“Kurds have experienced assimilation and genocide, simply for being Kurdish. To be addressed as ‘Mr.Kurd’ means a lot to me. To recognize my identity when it has always been denied is a great deal for me. Especially by the president.”

Wow!  I mean double-wow!  Good on you Mr Rashidi – I applaud you!

Of course there are boundaries that normal life applies to the use of language to “highlight” various groups in society – and these boundaries and the groups they “highlight” differ from culture to culture – but all cultures have limits on what is acceptable, what is politically correct and what you can get away with.  Embracing different groups and cultures is vitally important, we shouldn’t be seeking to exclude them BUT #FFS are you happy that:

  • In 2007, Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were banned from saying ‘Ho Ho Ho’. Their employer, the recruitment firm Westaff (that supplies hundreds of Santas across Australia), allegedly told all trainees that ‘ho ho ho’ could frighten children, and be derogatory to women. Why ? Because ‘Ho Ho Ho’ is too close to the American (not Australian, mind you) slang for prostitute.
  • ‘Reliable’ and ‘hard-working’ – surely the two keystone employers look for in an employee? Well, maybe not: a Hertfordshire recruitment agency boss was once told she could not request those qualities – Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, told her such an advert could be “offensive” to unreliable people.
  • Undoubtedly the rudest-sounding dish in your recipe book, Spotted Dick is  pudding made with suet, raisins and currents. It dates back centuries – the earliest reference is 1849 – but that didn’t stop one overly concerned council from changing the name to Spotted Richard. Flintshire County Council was apparently sick of all the jokes, so changed the name – much to the chagrin of everyone else.
  • Oxford University’s Equality and Diversity Unit tried to accuse people who avoid eye contact with others of ‘racist micro-aggression’ — before it was pointed out that such advice might be seen as discriminatory against people with autism who may struggle to look others in the eye.
  • Suffolk County Council stopped using traditional signs warning drivers ‘Cat’s eyes removed’ after fears that real cats may have been killed to manufacture these reflective road safety measures. Ipswich resident Rebecca Brewer was reported as saying: ‘I have a five-year-old daughter who was very upset the first time she saw the sign — she really thought cruel people were torturing cats.’ Instead, signs across the county now state: ‘Caution, road studs removed.’
  • Use of this braided hairstyle by white people is said to represent cultural appropriation. When the designer Marc Jacobs was criticised for using a group of predominantly white models wearing dreadlocks in a show, he argued — not unreasonably — that this was similar to black women straightening their hair. This was met with further outrage from (mostly white) commentators who complained that hair-straightening had been ‘forced upon the black community due to beauty ideals based on white archetypes’.

Well let me tell you – I’m not happy about that list.  In fact the Daily Mail, that arbiter of good taste (NOT!) provides a complete A-Z guide for you to peruse and make your own minds up about – because it really is about you and how you perceive things.

perception

But really you just need to be nicer to people – on a one to one basis, face to face.  Be sensitive to other people’s situation but do not, never ever, stop highlighting what you perceive to be injustice, exclusion, racism, sexism or any other kind of ism and remember those words from your childhood…

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I urge you, if you still have the stomach for it to watch Jonathan Pie’s Hammersmith Apollo show – there is an entire section on political correctness and despite what some might say – it’s spot on the mark!   In fact let’s keep “political correctness” as a term specifically for politicians – those lying, mendacious, self-publicising egomaniacs who use and abuse language on a daily basis – causing offence to many, avoiding questions, taking our money and continually getting away with it – Trump, Johnson etc etc you know who you are.

 

Cor, what a whopper!!

Can you spot the similarity between Apple the company and Donald Trump? Well this most recent post from Techcrunch suggests that they are both pretty good at telling porky-pies!!

I mean the Trumpster is ahead on the total number but that hasn’t deterred Tim Cook et al from playing catch-up!!

Trump is a phenomenon. An asshole too. I mean just read what the Washington Post has to say on the matter – scary or what?

But that aside as this post is about lying tech giants as opposed to assholes pretending to be statesmen let’s focus on Apple!

TechCrunch lists 7, yes 7, whoppers in Apple’s latest product launch. That’s going some.

Is that what it takes now to get punters to part with their hard earned cash? Lies? Wow, how the mighty gave fallen..yet at the same time how big have we mugs grown? £1,400 for a phone??? That’s what I’ve heard, are we mad?

Well not me personally, I’ll make sure I buy my non-Apple devices from some company in the far east that delivers the same product with a better spec for a significantly lower price!!

I know that marketing is about being economical with the truth but Apple’s having a laugh. Or are Fanboys that dumb? Possibly!

But either way people, and particularly that means you people in tech companies that pretend to be holier than thou..stop the bullshit, stop the lies and FFS stop ripping us consumers off!

Politicians – you’re an omnishambles

Given that their job is (supposed to be) deeply serious and significant why is it that so many seem to get caught in the most ludicrous situations?  Remember Neil Kinnock on the beach and latterly on his back in the water?  Remember Boris strung up (oh there’s a nice thought) on a zip wire?  Remember David Davis’ Thick of It moment? (yes who was he?)…  They just cannot help themselves – which on one hand provides hours of amusement for us but on the other hand must give their PR people instant grey hair!  I mean can you imagine Malcolm Tucker’s response to some of these?  It hardly enhances their public standing or innate authority to carry out the roles they’re in!

..and let’s not even mention the number of times the BBC has mispronounced Jeremy Hunt’s name (couldn’t happen to a nicer guy) – oops I just have 🙂

You would think that it’s a case of “You had just one job…” but clearly it isn’t!  They seem incapable of behaving in a normal manner and instead make themselves look like – well, complete imbeciles isn’t too harsh a description.  OK I know that some of them are complete imbeciles, Donald Trump has to be the #1 as his imbecility has gone beyond humour into hatred – just look at his behaviour when challenged to make a statement about the recently deceased Senator John McCain.


Now compare that with the statement from Barack Obama, Trumps’s immediate predecessor in the role, and a political opponent of McCain.

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics.  But we shared, for all of our differences a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed.  We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world.  We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way…”

Fine words indeed from a fine man – as opposed to silence from a scumbag!

But back to humour element, and for this we can thank our own PM Theresa May – and on this occasion she most certainly did!!  What was she thinking?  What were her people thinking?  I’d say a total lack of any risk assessment here…


I meant it’s not just bad, it’s hilariously, embarrassingly bad!  So bad in fact that Michael Jackson would not have used the word “bad” to describe it.  One glimpse and he’d be moon-walking off into the distance – pronto!!  However the thing here is that May has history, lots of it.  Laughing on the front bench in a manner that made her look like some weird form of alien, displaying a complete inability to eat food without looking like a demented OAP and well just look at some of these images – the final one is beyond description!


At this point I think I need to be physically ill!

There’s only one way out of this and that’s to watch the entire output of The Thick of It – life actually imitated art when Ed Miliband described a George Osborne budget as an “omnishambles” – listen to him if you really must.  It was a word coined on The Thick Of It by Malcolm Tucker – so why not!