Posts Tagged ‘education’

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.
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.

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.

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

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?

In this case I’m thinking of 16 and 17 year olds. Not in that way you dirty minded sods… But a few things about on how we give them such a raw deal. It’s no wonder they’re pissed off and angry. They have every right to be as far as I can tell.

Essentially we demand they act like adults, we heap the responsibility of adulthood upon them, except when it comes to considering their opinion. So they can join the armed forces, they can accept the responsibility of parenthood and marriage, they can have what little they manage to earn pillaged by the taxman under threat of force. But when it comes to considering them as a person in the own right? No vote, the means test for their eligibility to access funds for education depends on their parents – not on whether their parents are willing to pay mind you. They aren’t entitled to a full minimum wage, they do not receive the same consideration for emergency housing. Basically we shit on them.

As someone whose late teens were somewhat strained I sympathise with them greatly, I was lucky and had great friends to help me out and look out for me, not all are so fortunate. We should either grant them the full protection and support that children are entitled to, or better yet treat them as adults. Grant them the respect any other adult would demand, consider them as a person in their own right not simply an extension of their parents. Maybe then we would actually have the right to expect them to behave as such.

Great article on the BBC mentioning charities that are up in arms about new TV show “in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer”
Apparently they reckon it is dangerous to tell people that prayer has cured their diabetes & cancer.

I may surprise you here. Brilliant. We need more of this. Get them on BBC1 at 7 o’clock on saturday nights. Think of the possibilities that will benefit society!

First, anyone foolish enough to believe this rubbish will of course die. If they are going to put faith healing by a conman on a TV over advice by a doctor, hospitals and science then lets get them out of the gene pool before they pollute it any further.

Next, it helps the NHS! In this time of austerity the NHS is desperately overcrowded and underfunded. Lets encourage the fairy tale followers to not clutter up wards and surgeries, but to rely on Bishop Simon Iheanacho laying on of holy oil, exorcisms and battling the “snakes in the body” and leave the hospitals to the rest of us.

How to deliver 10,000lb of diplomacy

Even now, when the memorial to the tens of thousands that died in Bomber Command finally battled through the apologist do-gooders barrage of politically correct AA, the Bomber Command Association have been left holding a bill which may see some of the 90 year old veterans who are trustees face losing their homes.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it had made an exception to contribute more than £1.5m. Big fucking deal. That’s less than £27 per man that gave his life. Thats less than 60% of the annual budget the MoD spends on full time union staff. For an organisation where the men and women in uniform who actually risk their lives cannot even be a member of a union by law.

If MP’s used less than 7% of the amount the greedy troughing bastard ingrates claimed as expenses in the last 12 months (£89,400,000) it would have paid for the memorial in its entirety (£6m), meaning the MoD would not have had to contribute at all.

If we used less than 23% of the money we pissed away in the socialist McCartney-fest of an olympics opening ceremony (£27,000,000) it would have shown we respected the 55,573 men who gave their lives as much as Harry Potter.

These men were forgotten for over 50 years. Their sacrifice deemed unworthy in the post war hand-wringing by intelligentsia and do-gooders. Their families without a memorial to their loved ones. Make no mistake. Without them we would not have beaten tyranny. But unlike so many other services, their memories were swept under carpets, quietly ignored, and made to be a source of embarrassment instead of pride.

So instead of a few extra pints and a kebab that you intended to leave on the pavement over the weekend, how about helping 92 year old RAF Bomber Command veteran Gordon Mellor and his few surviving friends keep their homes now the bastards have dumped the bill on him?

I donated here. RAF Bomber Command Memorial Fund

So the Olympics is over. I found it hard to get enthusiastic about the whole thing as the enforced camaraderie was rammed down our throats and jingoism ran rampant. (Always good to stuff the french obviously and watch Aussies cry in their 4X). The cherry on the turd was the seemingly endless parade of convicted drug users, would be gangstas and stripper look-a-likes wheeled out as popstars to piss on Freddie mercuries grave at the closing ceremony…

So I find it strange that I’m feeling so much more up for the Paralympics.

Certainly Channel 4 have some great adverts out for it now.

But I think it’s more than that.

They seem unencumbered by the commercialism that polluted the games so far. They seem to cling to the actual ideals of the Olympics. Strive to win, but winning is not the all. Broken and damaged in body maybe but with better spirits and nobler passions than the glory hunting of some of the last 2 weeks.

Or maybe I’m just a victim of one of the best adverts I’ve seen in years. Watch this and tell me it doesn’t move you in some way… Roll it Chuck D.

I'm out of here

I am gutted

I try not to be too personal on my blog. Not everyone who reads even knows who I am, I like it that way.

But to understand this post you need to know a couple of things.

I love Hawkwind, by far my favourite band. Dawkins knows how many albums I have by them; they also hold great sentimental value to me as I was introduced by a great old friend, my best man, who is no longer with us.

I also love the sea. I am a sailor. I do not mean a wind assisted idiot who ventures out on a plastic drinks cabinet twice a year. I have made the sea my professional life as a hydrographer (a cartographer for you lubbers). I’ve sailed to Antarctica a few times, lost count of how many miles sailed and the only sea I have yet to visit is the Arctic.

I am also deeply moved by the environment. Not the rose tinted, saccharine, Disney version of cute big eyed cuddliness. But the natural world red in tooth and claw. I was a member of save the whale; I am studying for an MSc in marine environmental science stuff…

So when I found Hawkwind were playing a local theatre I was somewhat excited. Not unnaturally I visited their website to check dates and prices and found a link to support the Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd describe their mission:

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Tactics have included ramming vessels and throwing toxic or noxious substances at the whalers. You may think that as an ardent supporter of preventing whaling I would be in favour of their more direct tactics. I am not.

I have several issues with them.

The whalers on the vessels are not the problem. It is the people that own the vessels, the companies that profit from selling scientific research catch as food stuff, even the people that buy and eat whale meat. Working on a vessel at sea, especially fishing vessel is not pleasant. People do not do it for fun. These men (it is overwhelmingly male) do it to earn a living, to feed their children, to support their families. Sea Shepherd would achieve more tackling the cultural shift needed in Far East countries to get whale meat removed from the dinner table, however it is more exciting and gung-ho to become pirates. They seek to impose their cultural values on others by threat of violence.

The sea is a dangerous enough place as it is. The sea does not care why you are there, it is indifferent to your sentiments or your pleading. It will happily kill a good man as a bad one. Anyone who intentionally sets out to make it more dangerous for others loses my sympathy immediately.

There is no need to adopt these tactics at sea. They could chose to attack company offices, fishing ports, research labs where the meat is processed. They do it at sea to attempt to avoid national laws. They put avoiding arrest above risking others lives, something I cannot condone.

So am I saying Whales should not be protected? Of course not. But not by giving into self aggrandising ego trips. Far more is achieved by patient work, monitoring and publicising illegal activities than resorting to piracy in far flung places. More is accomplished by careful planning and research to change attitudes than by giving into a base desire to lash out at what we perceive as wrong.

It’s far tougher that way. It’s not as sexy to lobby and educate than to physically attack someone. But it’s more effective, more grown up and more civilised. If we can’t behave like that why should others?

There are alternatives. They work. Greenpeace continue to do good work. And they do it without attacking some poor sod just trying to feed his kids in a dangerous remote cold place…

As for me and my Hawkwind gig? Not sure yet. Yet another hero seems slightly smaller today.

Some other links you may be interested in.
Sea Watch Foundation
International fund for Animal Welfare
Save the Whales
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Is it
a) the priest, an adult, educated, experienced and cosseted in an organisation with billions to spend on a secure environment, protected by states and secrecy.
b) a vulnerable child, often from broken or dysfunctional backgrounds lacking security, education, or experience.

Got it yet? Need some help? Well that’s ok the Bishop of Tenerife can help you there (I say help, I suspect in much the same way the church helped tens of thousands of vulnerable young people)

As he says…

His comments were that there are youngsters who want to be abused, and he compared that abuse to homosexuality, describing them both as prejudicial to society. He said that on occasions the abuse happened because the there are children who consent to it.

He goes onto to equate the widespread priest abuse at the hands of malicious young children with homosexuality

The Bishop claimed that both abuse of children and homosexuality would lead to future problems in society ‘as has occurred in other civilisations’.

That’s right. It’s not the innocent priests faults at all, it’s all down the gays and malicious minors corrupting society.

Where to begin?

To start with, this hateful bastard should be hounded until the day he dies in penniless obscurity. Then the assets of the church, secured by threats of eternal damnation and lies, bolstered by tax avoidance and political machinations should be forcibly removed and used for good, not hoarded to pay for golden churches, pensions and legal advice for paedophiles.

We should turn every religious building into a school or library. Tear down and sell their golden trinkets and spend it educating young people. It would be a start at putting right the damage this superstitious rubbish has wrought. Turn their legacy of threats, lies, secrecy and division at last into the force for good they always claimed to be.

hat tip to Old Holborns tweets for highlighting

I have learnt something today. Apparently it is still the law that we force children to worship mythical beings every day.

Note that is not the education relating to this rubbish, but that children must by law, take part in worship. Apparently schools are being a bit slack on this. (and have been for some time thankfully)

Well for once, hooray for slackness.

Children are in school to be educated. To be provided with education. Not forced to participate in some mass cult or idolatry. They should be made aware of the superstitious nonsense people will sign up to so they can cope when they meet these people in life. But to be forced to partake in it is just plain wrong.

Or at least if we are going to subject children to this sort of indoctrination then let’s at least be fair about it. Any religion should be able to have a go. I look forward to some chicken sacrifice carried out by the head teacher onstage as they get the chance to get stuck into some voodoo (Standfast Tim – I know you would), or how about learning what Dhabiha food preperation means to qualify as halal up close and personal? Or maybe some appropriate Rastafarian enlightenment opportunity? After all they are all legitimate religions and all manage to supply the same amount of evidence (i.e.; none) to support their cause.

Or maybe the time should be spent learning about actual ethics and morals without recourse to imaginary forces promising eternal damnation for such crimes such looking over your shoulder or not being in their little cult.

You know the sort of ethics and morals where the head man doesn’t institute an organised cover up to protect paedophiles because they are officers in his club. Or the ones were we teach that women have actual equality and can hold the same jobs as men within an organisation, or don’t have to wear a silly clothing and pretend to be ghosts. Or maybe the one where you cannot withhold services you agreed to be paid to provide just because you don’t agree with 2 particular people falling in love. 

Of course the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend John Pritchard, said

doing daily worship in schools was an “important statement”. “What we believe as a country is important in the education of our young people, so I think it is an important statement that the country makes to its schools and says will you please do this,”

Not that he has a vested interest in brainwashing the young before they are equipped with the knowledge and self awareness to question information put before them?

To paraphrase

A child is no more a member of any religion than it is a member of the postal workers union. There is no such thing as a religious child, just a child of religious parents.

Maybe if we can stop forcing kids to treat imaginary beings that value humans as playthings to be drowned or condemned to eternal pain and suffering when we don’t please them as real, then they might, just might, start to value each other a bit more.