Posts Tagged ‘news’

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

So it’s all kicked off. Dodgy Dave says he want’s to stay in but you can have a say, Red Ed reckons we can produce more turnips with our euro partners and it’s all so confusing if we allow a vote. Stroppy Nigel is laughing away like someone who’s farted in a lift and legged it, and to be honest does anyone really care about Nick?

What next?

The commentators and political class seem to assume referendum = out vote. Not convinced my self. But I stick to certain principles (see I do have some)

First up, no-one born after 1957 has ever been allowed to have a say on European membership. The last vote in 1975 was for an economic community. Not a political federalisation. That is wrong.

A referendum may give short term instability, but in the long term…
An out vote takes away an excuse for all our woes. We can at least have more control over the UK.
An in vote gives the government an actual mandate for negotiating and taking a fuller part in the EU.

Not having a referendum will ensure the matter continues to be endlessly talked about, questioned and the feeling of undemocratic imposition by faceless bureaucrats continues.

In short referendum good whatever the outcome. So lets get it over and done with.

Not to fall into the national stereotype or anything at this time of national crisis (well, minor snowfall I’ll grant you), but I quite like weather stuff. I find it interesting, just as well really as I have worked as a weatherman. (An awesome one naturally)

So in a break from the traditional moaning, I though I would share some stuff on the net that may interest you

First up. Weather charts. Not the stuff you get on the TV but proper ones, The UK Met Office charts are best, but curiously the best place to see them is not on their site! MetBrief has a full set, regularly updated.

If you fancy watching an animation of the current precipitation then the last couple of hours of radar imagery can be viewed here

Mucking about on the water? Then the inshore waters FX (forecast!) is here

Fantastic satellite imagery is available via Dundee Uni receiving station (needs free registration) – hint: you want the latest images from the Meteosat SEVIRI Also worth looking at the gallery of spectacular images

Want to know what it’s going to do and when? Probably the most accurate FX are the terminal airfield forecasts (TAFs) for aviation. You can look up your local one here and then once you’ve confused yourself, figure out the codes here

Some good detailed forecasts can be found at the Met Office and BBC as expected, but another good source is here at the weather underground

Or maybe we should bring back the Live TV version…

Whatever you end up doing, have fun and stay safe!

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