Archive for the ‘Rants’ 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.

Imagine if you will in the wake of the Saville scandal an investigation found that the BBC had systematically helped hide child abusers.

Imagine that not only did they ensure they were not prosecuted that they moved them to another job where they had more contact with children.

Imagine that they had run a regime where in a single country upwards of 10,000 young girls were treated as slaves and abused.

The imagine their response was to establish of a commission of their own “experts” to look at how they could better protect children from potential abusers, but keep it findings and decisions confidential.

How might we react?

What would the public demand happen next?

Ridiculous you might say. No organisation could survive these sort of crimes becoming public you may think.

Well, the catholic church is guilty of these and far far more. So when confronted by the enormity of their sins by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the expert panel published a series of highly critical observations accusing the church of failing to acknowledge the scale of the problem and implementing policies that led to “the continuation of the abuse and the impunity of the perpetrators” you might expect contrition?

Ha, not the church.

Apparently daring to criticise the Holy See for protecting abusers is “out of date, unfair and ideological”

Well, it appears dear reader that I am out of date, unfair and ideological.

In a world where we can panic over a childs possession of mini cheddars we should be merrily burning churches for their crimes. Tear down every one and use the land for museums, libraries, schools and play areas. Seize and use their tax free ill gotten gains for education. Let the smoldering remains of the catholic organisation do some good for once.

Before you are too quick to criticise me for haranguing your belief (I am by the way in case you’re wondering), then note I fully support your right to a belief, opinion or thought. That does not extend to your right to have that belief protected from criticism or ridicule.

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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?

Right. I suspect there will be some offensive language on this post, consider yourself warned.

Gay marriage is in the news. Apparently some MPs (mainly old, male and tory) are dead against the sort of shenanigans that some MPs (mainly old, male and tory) get up to becoming recognised in law. So they’re tabling amendments to try and wreck the passage of the bill to allow gay marriage.

“It’s wrong!” the exclaim, “unnatural”, “it will undermine the sanctity of marriage” and off course my favourite “against [deity of choice here]’s will”

So here’s my issue. What the flying fuck has it got to do with anyone else whether two consenting adults who love each other and want to make a commitment recognised in law to each other do?

What gives these self important twats the right to decide how others live? Don’t agree with gay marriage, fine, don’t fucking get one. I don’t agree with lots of things. Guess what? I don’t do them. I do not get to impose my values on everyone else. (Otherwise I could beat boy bands to death).

If you seek to impose your values on others you better have some damn good evidence. Not just a book of fairy tales, but evidence. It will not undermine marriage. I’m married (yes really!) and guess what will happen to our marriage the day following gay marriage being permitted? Nothing. Not a fucking thing. I will still be as happy and in love as ever, I suspect I will still get moaned at for not doing the washing up/hoovering/leaving pants on the floor. The only difference is that I may get an invite to more weddings.

If the whole idea makes you uneasy, uncomfortable or outraged. Guess whose problem that it? Yours and yours alone. Stop making it others. Stop making excuses for being a bigot. Live your life how you want and do others the same courtesy.

…and if your imaginary friend tells you it’s wrong then tell him/her/it to come see me and I’ll tell them to stop being a bigoted homophobic prick as well.

now to lighten the mood, here’s George Takei being far more eloquent, humourous and forgiving than I can manage.

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.

just don’t.
Not because of amazon per se, but because your “express” delivery will be via Yodel (previously Home delivery network, so shit they had to change their name!). Not that this is anything new!

I will share my parcels travels with you, it was purchased on the 15th for a 24hr deliver. So far so good. it made it to stockton overnight. Was put on a van and off it went. We needless to say waited in. To no avail. Didn’t expect much sunday of course, so was relieved to see it made it back on the van Monday, only to go back to the depot again with an attempt at delivery. So a 24 hr delivery sent out for delivery twice and not even attempted. Just taken back, and I’m supposed to wait for a 4th day. Yep, that was going to happen.

the tracking looks like this

15/02/2013 08:58:04 Hatfield UK Arrival Scan
16/02/2013 07:28:00 STOCKTON DEPOT Arrival Scan
16/02/2013 09:25:00 STOCKTON VAN The parcel has been loaded on to the drivers van
16/02/2013 ##:##:## STOCKTON DEPOT The parcel is in the Depot
18/02/2013 09:07:00 STOCKTON VAN The parcel has been loaded on to the drivers van
18/02/2013 15:57:00 STOCKTON DEPOT The parcel is in the Depot
18/02/2013 17:20:00 CUSTOMER The parcel has been delivered

You’ll note it says delivered. that is incorrect. It should say customer was so fucked off at waiting and not even getting a “sorry you were out card” that he tracked you down as they don’t publish depot phone numbers or locations, phoned their head office to check location, and then came down and got it himself. This included the fight with the sour faced care in the community harridan who insisted I needed a card your driver didn’t bother to try and deliver.

So if you are waiting for Yodel to deliver in Teesside my advice is don’t. Go to their depot and kick off. Don’t tolerate shitness. Oh and demand your delivery charge refund from Amazon, who were surprisingly helpful once you find the page where you click and they phone you back. In fact I got the refund before I got the parcel. Speaks volumes for the carrier that does.

Anyway the depot address should you need it
Yodel / Home delivery network
39 Sedgfield Way
Portrack Interchange Business Park
Stockton-on-Tees
TS18 2SG

I found this number for them 08442480627 if I find a better one I will update.

As for Amazon, to get them to phone you back for a late item
go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/contact-us/general-questions.html
select item you are having problems with, and the type of issue. Then select “call us” – don’t panic you don’t have to. You then enter your phone number and they call you back immediately, although expect to hold on whilst an operator picks up their end.

Hope you have an easier time than I did. Got there in the end though.

We have a new Police overlord in the socialist utopia of Teesside.

Barry Coppinger took charge as PCC following the elections in November. Surprisingly his first act was to sack the previous Chief exec of the Police Authority, Stuart Pudney. Who was brought in on £90,000 per year contract to help with the mess Cleveland found themselves in when the Chief Constable, the deputy Chief constable and the Authority Chairman were all arrested as part of investigations into corruption.

In his place he immediately appointed Ed Chicken whose vast experience as executive member for community safety at Middlesbrough council was obtained working with, surprise, surprise, Barry Coppinger.

Anyway. This week Coppinger has to meet the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel at Stockton Council. As part of this there are written submissions explaining his actions so far. You can read them here…

It’s interesting to see his reasoning. His report includes…

To consider the appointment of a Chief Executive by the Police and Crime Commissioner, further to the requirement of, Schedule 1, paragraph 9.

I actually looked this up.

It reads

Scrutiny of senior appointments

9(1)A police and crime commissioner must notify the relevant police and crime panel of each proposed appointment by the commissioner of—

(a)the commissioner’s chief executive,

What Commissioner Coppinger fails to note is that under para 10 of the same schedule

10(1)This paragraph applies if a police and crime panel is notified under paragraph 9 of a proposed senior appointment.
(2)The panel must review the proposed senior appointment.
(3)The panel must make a report to the commissioner on the proposed senior appointment.
(4)The report must include a recommendation to the police and crime commissioner as to whether or not the candidate should be appointed.

So the proposed appointment should have been scrutinised by the panels, a report delivered back to commissioner as to whether he could go ahead, and only then was he in a position to appoint his buddy. It would appear that in the first paragraph of his first report he has already broken the rules to continue in the fine Cleveland tradition of giving jobs to mates…

It will be interesting to see if the Panel hold him to account over this, given that it effectively dilutes their authority.

Next….

Following the election result on Friday 16th November, it was necessary to consider, very quickly and carefully, what staffing would be needed both to signal change, and to achieve my manifesto commitments in the context of very considerable public expectation.

No period of finding out what the Police in Cleveland actually need, but straight in with what does he need to fulfil his political agenda…

So having dismissed the Police Authority chief exec summarily, he then details the criteria upon which his Buddy was hired.

1)   Ability to complement my own experience and background.

2)   Shared values in respect of the role of the police service and its accountability to the community.

3)   Considerable experience of community safety and partnership/wider criminal justice landscape.

4)   Understanding of operating within a directly elected individual model environment.

5)   Ability to begin immediately

Obviously you can’t find these anywhere as crass as a job advert, as the post was not advertised. Given that he was appointed within days of Commissioner Coppinger taking over I find it hard to believe that anyone had anything as dull as an interview, and as has been seen already there was no scrutiny as required by the panels.

He then waxes lyrical for some time about buddy Ed’s accomplishments at Middlesbrough Council on each of the criteria. How he pioneered “talking CCTV”, how he “requires the support that this experience brings, to enable me to translate my manifesto commitments into action. I have worked with him for over 10 years and so know that we can work together successfully without risk.” – basically confessing he is not up to the job without his buddy to see him through, and is incapable of forming professional working relationships?

His last justification for Buddy Ed is very telling…

Finally it is important to explain why I felt it essential to have a person I can rely on totally, in place from day one of my term of office; even though this meant displacing the Chief Executive of the former Police Authority. I do not wish to be critical of the former post holder but the post I have filled is different, its scope is far broader. It could be argued that the former post holder could develop and adapt – but time is pressing and there was too much risk associated with that approach. I am only too well aware that I must make some very significant decisions very quickly. The budget position is pressing and a restructure is needed that matches available resources to my priorities. A plan must be produced which you expect to see in January and a Chief Constable must be recruited. I therefore felt that the course of action I took was the only practical way forward. Indeed it is a very common approach taken by politicians entering office at a senior level.

Or to you and me, I wanted my buddy in the job regardless of the previous holder, and wanted it done fast so no-one could argue.

Commissioner Coppinger has already been criticised int he press for this action, but he defended this stating

all contracts would be honoured and pledged there would be no “net cost increase” to taxpayers linked to the appointment of Mr Chicken.

Really? So taxpayers aren’t continuing to pay Mr Pudneys contract which he is rightly entitled to? Or we aren’t paying the taxes to Middlesbrough Council to cover Buddy Ed’s wages whilst on secondment? Or are Middlesbrough council simply doing without an executive member for community safety whilst Buddy Ed is away? Because if they can manage without him for that long, you have to question whether they actually need one at all?

So is he really justified?

Was the previous Chief exec really unsuited for the role?

Stuart Pudney has been chief executive of North Yorkshire, he’d also worked in trading standards and according to the Authority he brought “a wealth of experience in regulatory services, the police and local government”. Considering he was already in position, and continues to be paid by Cleveland Police we can assume he was ready to start work.

So it would appear that that only one of Commissioner Coppingers criteria that he may fail on is

“Ability to complement my own experience and background”

Or in other words, Commissioner Coppinger was not prepared to work with him.

So, back to the report. The commissioner finishes with a flourish…

The role of PCC is designed to be decisive, to cut bureaucracy, and to provide clear accountability. I believe that my actions have demonstrated this

If by that he means take decisions without correct oversight or process, hire cronies over qualified and experienced personnel without proper appointment processes and generally wallow in the mire of corruption and malfeasance that Cleveland Police Senior levels seem determined to cover themselves in.

Could be an interesting first meeting. It should be. I’m guessing it won’t be though.

Two news stories that have been dragging on that to me share some bleak and disturbing similarities.

First up Jimmy Saville. Now bereft of headstone, reputation and venues named after him, despite as yet being convicted of nothing. It is alleged he carried out decades worth of abuse of children and vulnerable adults in places such as the BBC, Great Ormand Street, Leeds hospital (where he was a volunteer porter), and numerous other places.

Now a multitude of voices crawl out of the wordwork to pour fuel on the flames as they stoke up the witchburning. Now the man is dead, now the abused children are damaged, now the accusers have nothing to fear, now the horse has well and truly bolted, they speak out.

That Saville was a weirdo and probably a molester is no surprise I think. What shocks is the sheer number of people that must have known, must have covered the facts, in effect must have facilitated his abuse.

If you knew what was going on, truly knew, and did nothing, you are an accomplice. You left children and sick young adults unable to defend for themselves to the clutches of an abuser. You put your job or career before them. You should be named and shamed.

Second story is that of Lance Armstrong. Wonder boy and darling of the new super-sport cycling now exposed as drugs cheat and bully. He is alleged to have systematically doped and encouraged others to do so. He is alleged to have threatened other riders to capitulate to his demands, threatened reporters who wrote articles he disagreed with or that threatened to tarnish his teflon reputation as the hero who defeated cancer. Again people knew, and did nothing.

But the thing that really joins the two events, the thing that makes my blood boil, is the defence I have seen on more than one occasion.

“But think of the charitable work they did”

They got away with their crimes in part because they raised cash for good works. They were shielded and tolerated because they helped fund hospitals, or research. They used photogenic kids in dire medical need as a cover for their activities. In effect, allow me to carry on or little timmy suffers. People rationalised the harm they did as it allowed them to keep their job, or carry on their research. They put their own goals first and profited from the crimes.

The fact they raised a few million that was put to good use does not absolve them from their crimes. Or do we just put a price on abuse? Million quid per small child? or 2 years of drugs cheating?

They perverted what should have been good and noble activities to be little more than covers, and if you use that answer in any way as an excuse for allowing them to continue you were an accomplice too.

I believe that “but think of the charity they bring in” will now be termed the Armstrong-Saville defence…

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