Archive for the ‘Common Sense’ Category

Yep. I’m still here and still sane. Just about.

This was a post I started writing a while ago but today’s antics gave me cause to finish it. I know I’ve not ranted in a while but had to get this off my chest following the last few exercises in democracy.

When did everyone become such bad losers? How did we move from accepting (maybe grudgingly) that our party, or point of view was not the majority and dealt with it like adults, instead becoming screaming hysterical snowflakes demanding another vote, or that it simply be ignored, or for the more tin foil hat types that it must be some form of covert ploy by hitherto unseen cabals?

I grant that the last UK general election, EU referendum and now the US election have thrown up unexpected results. But so what? Since when does that mean democracy itself is broken? How does that imbue those who feel they’ve lost with some victimhood status that they can wail and scream and demand they still get their way?

More simply, what the fuck happened to people?

The ability to accept and enact public votes is one of the cornerstones of a civilised culture. By all means disagree with, work against the current decision and start campaigning for a future change. But the incessant tantrums and screams that it cannot have been a fair vote since it didn’t go their way just sound like a toddler who’s been told no sweets.

Seriously? Is that how we’re going to run things now? We can have democracy as long as democracy gives the right results?…. Or to put it another way. Suck it up snowflake.

No seriously, fuck right off.

After a year of radio silence that is the message I wish to convey.

After the murder of an MP by a deluded fascist nut job, I am heartily sick of the pro-EU hand wringers wheeling out their argument that although they in absolutely no way wish to politicise such a hideous event, if you don’t vote how they want then you’re some form of sexist racist homophobic fascist who probably gases immigrant kittens for kicks.

So my message to them is simple.
Fuck off. When you’ve finished fucking off, fuck off some further.

How dare you equate extremists with people who have perfectly legitimate concerns about the political tyranny overtaking the EU and wish to think globally instead. How dare you try to use sympathy for a bereaved family to support a purely political agenda to support a regime that usurps elected governments to impose technocratic puppet leaderships.

Of course any right minded person feels utterly terrible for the grieving family. Same as for every murdered policeman, teacher, nurse or even *gasp* an unemployed person. I don’t see their families getting calls from Obama or parliament recalled? The only people reacting differently are the political establishment and Westminster echo chamber that are suddenly faced with some of the shit the rest of the electorate have to deal with.

By all means vote however you want. In or out, don’t care. It’ll make little difference. Want to try and convince me one way or the other? Feel free. Try and propagandise an act of terror or murder and claim unless I agree with you I’m as bad? Fuck right off.

Oh, almost forgot. May contain profanities.

Scotland eh?

Grim up north...

Grim up north…


Now obviously this was written before the referendum, so maybe it’s all proved pointless (they remained in the UK) or maybe the worst fears have come to pass (a dead heat). But given the bile now being spewed by both sides north of the wall you’d expect me to have a view wouldn’t you? (even though not scottish)

So should Jockistan be an independent country?

Simple premise isn’t it but there is so much at stake, so much given as a reason either to support or oppose the idea. So much bullshit or denying the obvious.

So on the hot topics…
Will they keep the £? Well, if they want to. There is absolutely nothing to stop them using it. They can use any currency they like, they could use euros, dollar or doubloons to be honest. What they cannot realistically expect is currency union, to have their financial and banking system continue to be underwritten by the UK taxpayers. So in continuing to use the £ they cede all fiscal power to an unaccountable authority in another country.

Will they save the NHS? Even the fraction they already run north of the wall is monolithic and nigh unsteerable. There will be hard decisions ahead. It will cost more in the future, treatments will cost more and they will lose economies of scale and the ability to send people south easily for treatment – after all will the UK NHS want to be seen using scarce funding subsidising NuScotland?

Will they be more prosperous? There is oil, gas and whisky. But as capital flight takes hold there will be an impact on the financial industry. Shipbuilding will suffer as the UK MPs will find it hard to justify spending defence budgets in foreign countries instead of supporting local economies.

Will they stay in NATO? They claim to want to do so, but want all nuclear weapons removed as “they are abhorrent”. Seems a bit rich to want the protection and membership of an organisation dedicated to a mutual nuclear deterrent, but refuse to contribute and indeed cause all manner of problems for the existing members. Tricky…

Will they get to stay in the EU? They say they can join immediately. The actual members of the EU say different. Hard to see how you can force a club to let you join against members will. Many countries have independence movements of their own they are dealing with and the realpolitik is that they will make it as hard as they can for NuScotland to join, so they will be forced to accept Schengen, Euro, EU financial controls etc..

So from all these you may think I’m against the proposal. After all as the UK we have achieved much, defeated tyranny, lead the abolition of slavery, created the NHS, created a welfare state to envy of the world, lead the world in industrial and scientific innovation. All of these from a union of nations not a conquest.

But I’m not. Not a single one of the topics above actually matters. I hope they vote yes, go their own way and stand on their kilted legs.
Why?
Mainly because it’s democratic. It moves power away from the centre towards those that foot the bill for it all.
Because it promotes equality. Those left in the UK will not longer faced with scottish MPs who helped give us tuition fees and social care costs whilst all the time helping their constituents avoid them.
Because I’m tired of England being the whipping boy for all Scotlands issues. I’m sure like any politician they’ll blame the last administration. But they’ll no longer have an easy excuse.
Because if they remain, they will now be privileged members of the union. Bribed with others taxes with a greater say, greater funding per head and protected positions.

Finally because it’ll be the beginning.
We will see more clamour for accountability. Wales & NI may well want more of a say in how they are run. England certainly will, and perhaps the regions of England.
Will this effect our global standing? Probably. So what? Why does it matter if we can tell other countries what to do? The first duty of the government is security of the nation, not governing other nations.

Well I suppose it was only a matter of time before the witch hunts began. Vast swathes of the South now feature on the shipping forecast, homes now have as many moats as MPs and the major crop in Somerset could be be rice paddies.
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The search for someone to blame is well and truly under way. The Met Office will cop for some in true “shoot the messenger” style, despite the fact that forecasting an event in no way stops it. Next will be the Environment Agency for not doing enough – who will in turn claim that funding cuts have prevented them doing enough to prevent the floods. Then of course, politicians of every hue will blame every other politician for previous funding, inadequate planning, jobs for the boys, manning levels and so on.

Here’s the unfortunate truth.

If you get an absolute shitload of rain in a relatively short period of time on waterlogged ground you will get flooding.

No amount of dredging small rivers, sustainable drainage, urban planning or even wishful thinking will prevent this. Flood plains and river systems will flood. If you then build homes in these areas they will get flooded.

Pretending otherwise is nonsensical. It is possible to alleviate effects a bit, we can reduce the extent of floods, we can maybe flood proof structures. But the expense in time money and resources to say we will protect against all flooding? Utter madness.

What should be of more concern right now is the causes of the dominating weather patterns we have seen. Mainly due to the position of the jetstream across the UK-I am sure the debate will begin whether this is a more permanent shift in climate driven by changes in the Atlantic, or a temporary aberration about a more usual mean. I say debate, more likely a bunfight for research grants for everyone to prove their own pet theories.

My advice? Learn to live with nature, because it’ll kick your arse every time otherwise.

What with christams, new year and well life, it’s been a few weeks. But I hadn’t forgotten. So here’s another Friday fiver.

This week I saw a tweet from someone I follow on twitter


Now, I find Skip funny and provoking. Not to everyone’s taste certainly. But following the link i saw this charity.

sots
Soldiers off the Street helps all branches of the forces. They provide practical and sound help to get people back on their feet and with a fighting chance of a decent life. Not a lot to ask for guys and girls who signed a blank cheque to the nation for everything up to and including their life is it?

The fact that this is needed shows what politicians really think of the forces. There to be discarded when inconvenient. Take a moment for a read, and if you can spare the price of a pint they even take paypal… go on, you know you’ll feel better for doing it.

So last week saw the highest flood surge on the eastern coast of the UK in several generations. Tides locally beat anything measured in over a century. People were evacuated from at risk areas as chaos ensued across the region as power went down and roads were blocked

I witnessed the efforts of emergency services, local authority staff and other agencies combating the elements into the night in cold, dark wet conditions to try and help those effected. So whilst I am not always the states biggest supporter when I read this today I felt compelled to weigh in.

For those not familiar to the area Port Clarence is one of the most deprived areas of Teesside, it is also well known to be at risk of flooding, to the extent it gets its own flood warning area.

So despite the numerous warnings for days before, on TV, radio, websites, twitter, rss feeds, apparently not enough was done.

Such as what exactly?

It’s a flood. It’s an enormous body of water inundating the land. What exactly do you think is going to be done? Even royalty as long ago as the 10th century figured out they could not prevent the tides.

King Cnut. Even he worked it out...

King Cnut. Even he worked it out…

I suspect what people actually mean is they don’t want to be effected by these events. Well guess what, nature doesn’t give a shit what you want. If you live on a flood plain at some point you will get flooded. Same as if you live on the slopes of a volcano at some point your house may get covered in magma. Stop expecting everyone else to bail you out. If you managed to remain unaware that there was anything about to happen last week then to be frank, you are a moron, especially if you live in a flood risk area. Hell – there was so much info about it I was sick of hearing about it.

There are free warning services you can sign up for, all you have to do is register. Yet people who expect others to warn them, protect them, clean up for them and provide funds to replace their damages seem unable to lift a single finger to that extent to help themselves. It’s your home, take some bloody responsibility for it. Make some preparations. Maybe flood proof it, get adequate insurance, or if it’s all just too much like hard work? Move somewhere else. I suspect if as much effort went into protecting homes as voting on reality bloody TV shows we’d never have an issue.

As for all the guys who worked long and hard into the night in difficult and sometimes hazardous conditions evacuating, feeding, rescuing, pumping out, directing traffic, restoring power, protecting buildings, warning others, providing medical aid to name but a few, you’d think just maybe there’d be a bit of gratitude…

Here’s just a couple of warning services / pages. Took me all of 2 seconds to find. You’d think if you lived somewhere at risk you might make the effort don’t you?
Flood warnings direct (free service in at risk areas)
EA RSS flood feeds

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So the War on TeenagersTM continues. Now apparently they should have to wait until 19 before being allowed to drive having passed a test at least as difficult as that every other driver took. The reason of course, safety. Younger drivers are more likely to have an accident.

No shit sherlock!

Younger people lack experience. In every facet of life. The only way they gain it is by living. By segregating and singling them out we isolate them. Do not be surprised when society grants young adult less rights than everyone else that they decide society can collectively go f**k itself.

We already grant them less right to a minimum wage, we make special laws to limit their liberty, we limit their access to the benefit system and make them dependent on parents who have no legal obligation to support them for their higher education.

In short we treat them like second class citizens. All the while they are forced to pay the same rate of tax and have the same legal responsibilities as an adult.

But they are more likely to hurt themselves and others people cry! Maybe. But so are older drivers, those that have drink driving convictions, or those simply driving in rural areas. Should we impose restrictions on these groups as well? Or is it simpler to single out the young simply because a) they cannot vote until the first election after their 18th birthday and b)tend not to vote anyway?

If we are to ban anything dangerous then why stop there? Smoking should be banned entirely. Dangerous sports? Best get rid of them. How about things that cause high blood pressure like pontificating sound bite seeking politicians? Well, I think most of us can agree on that one…

For the record. I am not a teenager. Sadly I am far from my teens. I don’t even particularly like teens. But when we treat one section of society as deserving of less rights than the rest of us why should any teen aspire to take part or even respect the society they are presented with? If it were any other part of society I suspect education not restriction would be proposed.

Much internet fun to be had on twitter right now, but belies a serious topic.

Porn Tsar & MP Claire Perry responding to a clamour from Parents, voters, the Daily Mail had touted a plan to force ISPs to filter internet content according to an approved list given by the Ministry of Truth, Government.

This, of course, was all in the name of protecting the kiddies from the Tsunami of filth that lurks online ready to pounce onto unsuspecting 5 year olds and drag them off to be trafficked to BBC DJs.

Adults would be able to opt out of this censorship filtering, but further into the proposed great British firewall plan was the intention to log all search terms and report them to Governemnt agencies.

So why am I against it you surely cry? Why am I happy to sacrifice the innocents upon the alter of liberty?

Well firstly, and simply, it is bullshit. It fails on every point.

It will save exactly zero abuses. Predators do not use google to satisfy their urges. A voluntary filter will not prevent ftp traffic, emails, usb flash drives, or secure connections.

Filtering and blocking websites can be circumvented as any teenager who wishes to pirate music can tell you.

Dozy bint Perry MP conflates perfectly legal porn with images of abuse. Whether your tastes extend to looking at the Daily Mail side bar, or to tamer rude videos the fact remains they are legal. Why should a puritanical MP wheeling out moral bandwagons force you to effectively register to be able to view them? Because that info would never end up on say, a CRB check to become a teacher or foster carer would it?

The issue of child abuse does not require more law. It requires the enforcing of the ones we have. It is already a crime. What it needs is the hard work of coppers supporting to prosecute and punish properly individuals who perpetrate such acts. It is heinous and should not be equated with porn, fetishists or anything else the moral crusaders deem inappropriate on your behalf.

If you want some idea of how technologically literate Perry is, she was advised earlier this week that her own website was insecure.

Lo, and behold! the following day her site was hacked and filled with porn. Not illegal abuse images, just run of the mill smut. This was reported on the political blog Guido Fawkes. It is important to note the word reported there.

Claire Perry immediately took to twitter…

That’s right. She accused him of hosting the porn (actually it was her site doing the hosting), hacking her site, and sponsoring the attack. She then went on to try and bully him into removing the report by threatening his paid work at the Sun

As of now the allegations remain up, despite being asked to remove them. She offered no proof other than her outrage, and she has disappeared off of twitter whilst anyone having passing knowledge of a computer rips into her about not knowing her screen grabs from her hyperlinks. Following a readers poll it appears Guido has instigated legal proceedings over the allegations.

So the upshot? She has probably killed off any chance of her policy making it through. It is just a power grab on the ability to censor the net after all. even a Tory website has torn her to shreds over secret plans to exaggerate ISP success at filtering. The real responsibility for looking after children lies where it always has done. With parents. As I have remarked before, if you wouldn’t let your kids talk in the streets with a stranger, or chat on their mobile with a stranger in the dead of night, why do you think it is ok to let them do it on a computer?

Your children, your responsibility

So few last words. First up this was ISP Andrews and Arnolds response to the prospect of China like censorship of the net in the UK
selection

and finally, apparently this may be Claire Perry MP briefing her tech team about the internet

After Phorm and Prism that we know about, do you really trust the politicians to tell you what you can read?

So Google “do evil” according to self anointed head of the tax inquisition Margaret Hodge MP. They did after all pay only £2.3m corporation tax on a £3.2bn turnover in the UK. Seems a bit dodgy I think we can all agree.

Two things here, I’ll start with the hypocrisy first, and there is an MPs expense list sized shitload of it.

Hodge is a shareholder in steel company Stemcor. Her family company (which include trusts and holding in the name of her children in order to avoid inheritance tax) latest accounts show that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of £2.1bn in 2011. Less than 1/100 of 1%. There are of course spluttered excuses that the company pays all the tax it owes under law and that she has no direct control (since she put it in trusts and her sprogs names to avoid even more tax)

If you really want to choke on your conrflakes you can see her excuses trotted out here. (Students of body language, enjoy!)

or here

After all she is on record as saying “The tax you owe is a duty. It’s an obligation.”.

So here’s my second point.

They both obey the law. Maybe not the moral one we’d all like to see followed, but I suspect they have an army of highly paid accountants ensuring they follow the letter of the law. Like MPs who scammed the system, like public sector chiefs who pack remuneration boards with cronies, technically they have done nothing wrong.

And who drafted the laws? Who decided on one of the most complicated tax codes in the world? MPs. Especially those that seem to have an interest in the countries taxation system. MPs like the Queen of hypocrisy Hodge.

So before she drags more companies in to try and embarrass them into voluntarily filling up the exchequer, Companies that employ people who actually pay income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel tax, council tax, inheritance tax & capital gains tax to name just a few (and so unlike her and the rest of her scumbag colleagues) Maybe Hodge ought to have a long hard look at herself and her holdings in tax avoiding Stemcor.

After all if it’s so bad, then why isn’t there a law against it, or if it is why isn’t it enforced?

BBC radio 4 is dangerous. This morning I think I nearly burst a blood vessel listening to the piece on universal credit. If you think I make this stuff up check the iPlayer for about 0720 on the Today program..

Anyway, to the point. Universal credit pilot schemes were the hot topic this morning. They had duly wheeled in some of those about to be effected. Of particular note was the “disabled” lorry driver. His name escapes me, let’s call him Jim for the minute.

So, Jim was a driver for many years and then struck down by some form of illness (he did not specify) that prevents him doing any work. Not just driving but anything. Nope, can’t write, can’t read, can’t lift a sheet of paper or press keys on a keyboard. None of it.

The interviewer put it to him that the new scheme (whether it functions that way or not) was intended to ensure that if he worked, however little that he would be better off. Nope, couldn’t possibly. If he worked he would lose. No matter what the interviewer said he was adamant and refused to accept that you could possibly be better off. So no point is there?

Then the real blood boiler. He was told that all your benefits would be rolled up and paid in one payment to the claimant. a recipe for chaos, death, destruction, homelessness and destitution apparently. People can’t be expected to have to remember to pay bills or rent! Nope the state should do all that for them. They should be able to live effectively as pampered pets because it’s all just so stressful and doesn’t help Jim ‘s illness, which is incurable you know? But of course Jim still needs a big house so his kids can come stay (divorced, quel surprise?) This man cannot be responsible enough to take money given to him for free and move it from one place to another. He cannot be trusted to be treated like an adult to have to fill out a direct debit form, or sign a cheque, or simply go to the post office and make a fucking payment with the money that is given to him for nothing. Jim is angry that someone expects him to be trustworthy enough to pay the rent with money he is given to maintain the house his kids come to, but he thinks it his human right to be trusted in sole charge of children. Jim lost his right to be treated like an adult long ago.

Do I appear bereft of sympathy and the milk of human kindness? That’s because I am. Jim serves no purpose, he refuses to make an iota of effort to help himself. He wallows in his illness and victimhood. To be utterly honest I wish he’d hurry up and die. Given the choice of having the wages I spent years getting training and experience to be able to earn, the money I drag my arse out of bed for every working day and spend the bulk of my week away from the people I’d rather spend it with, the money taken from me by threat of force, that money; given the choice, I’d rather it went to people I care about, rather than a lazy waster who cannot even manage to take that money given to him for free and be bothered to pay a bill that benefits him with it.

Jim wants to be treated like cattle. To be housed, fed and entertained. All without any effort on his part. So treat him like one. Cattle do not get a say in how the farm is run. They are simply herded from the field to the abattoir. The American revolutionaries used the slogan “No taxation without representation”. If the equation is taxation=representation, then the opposite is also true. If you do not pay tax you should not get a say in how it is spent.

Just once, I’d love the interviewer to ask “what have you done to help yourself?”… Mind you, they’d probably ask for a helper to answer for them. too much like hard work.

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