Thursday, 16 December 2004


Today is one of those days where I feel like singing that song from The Wizard of Oz, "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead". The news that Blunkett has been forced to resign is fantastic isn't it? It also seems very just that the man who is actively campaigning against 'asylum seekers' and immigrants has come unstuck by helping someone through the immigration process. Hmm.. hey David, here's something for you to think about - if we are being 'flooded' with immigrants as you and the Daily Mail suggest, why did you feel the need to get someone in and accelerate the process of doing so? If we are 'flooded' with such people, all of whom are sponging off benefits, why didn't you just select one of those? Could it be because you are actually lying about the whole immigrant thing, or at least exaggerating? Heaven forbid. Anyway, it's interesting that the only people who have anything nice to say about him are the police. I bet they found laws allowing them to lock people up without charge or trial quite useful.

Having said all that, the new Home Secretary Charles Clarke might not be much better. He's almost as authoritarian as Blunkett, although not quite (well, who is?). It doesn't look like he has any plans not to force in compulsory ID cards, but at least he distanced himself from Blunkett's most outrageously Orwellian comments about freedom being 'airy fairy' and so on. We can but hope for a better future.

Tuesday, 14 December 2004

Surprise surprise, today the Conservatives announced their support for compulsory ID cards. Well we all knew that Howard was a big fan all along of course, seeing as he tried to bring in ID cards himself. Of course back then the Labour party weren't verging on Fascism, so he was rightly challenged. These days the main parties are falling over themselves to see who can take away all of our rights and freedoms fastest of course, so it is natural for the 'opposition' to agree with the government on this. Again.

People need to think very hard, come the general election. Without thinking about it too much they will throw all of our hard-earned freedoms away by voting for one of the main parties, somehow thinking that they are making the sensible choice. I'm afraid that voting Labour or Conservative in the coming election will be a vote for the forces of fear, hatred, denial of rights, and the rise of the far right. The fact that people can't see this is beyond comprehension. Wake up people! Why can't you see what is happening?!

For people who are 'ok' with ID cards because they have 'done nothing wrong'... well, I'm afraid that they are stupid, selfish idiots. There's no other way to say it. It is your duty to protect those in society who are persecuted (as people are in these days without trials and juries). Not to do so is disgusting. We should all bear in mind this quite by the German anti-fascist Martin Niemoller:

"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Conservative and Labour voters, this is the Britain you are building. Shame on you all.

Thursday, 25 November 2004

Peter Hain recently claimed that Britain is 'safer' under Labour as they are the party making all of the 'anti-terror' policies. With that, he has brought the 'fear of terror' issue into party politics. When I first heard this I was slightly worried that the public would fall for it, but seeing views like this one on the BBC from members of the public are greatly reassuring.

The public isn't stupid enough to fall for this line - the tricks that Bush used to win the US election won't work here. Hopefully it will backfire and cost Labour votes when this extra coverage makes people realise that far from protecting us, Labour are simply trying to scare us into believing them. The Tories may be indignant, but they are no better with their support of ID cards and removal of other liberties. Only the LibDems seem to care about freedom these days, and hopefully the public will be aware of this come the election...

Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Anyone who saw the front page of race-hating bigot rag The Daily Mail today will have seen that a supposed 'terror plot' targeting Canary Wharf has been 'foiled'. Hmm. It is interesting that this has been revealed on the same day that the Queens Speech, outlining the beginnings of a police state as I mentioned yesterday, is taking place. This is a terror plot that has been revealed by 'a senior source', with no proof of any kind. Well, that's good enough for me!

Let's think... if this story was at all newsworthy is it at least possible that the government would capitalise on it a bit more, rather than just smugly sitting back and smiling at panic among Daily Mail readers. Anyway, The Register sums it up quite well.

Monday, 22 November 2004

Blunkett and the police state. Again.

By all rights you should be terrified by Blunkett's proposal to lock people up without trial, and secret trials without juries. No longer would the authorities need a court order to tap your phone - they can listen in whenever they like. Oh, did you mention something about not liking the government? Well, they will be quite entitled to come and lock you up with no evidence. Once there, good luck trying to get out! Without a jury your secret trial could be non-existent, since nobody will be allowed in and would just have to take your word for it.

Why should anyone who has done nothing wrong face this? This quote from Blunkett is scary: "We'd be able to use civil law, like anti-social behaviour orders, to say, 'If you step outside what we've precluded you from doing, if you, for instance, use this particular banking network... then we can move you from the civil into the criminal law', and then we can use the normal criminal justice process, " he said. OK, so if the government decides that I might be using the Internet to organise a group they don't like (for example), they can forbid me from using the Internet at all. If I then do so I can go to prison, despite being completely innocent!

I've never liked Blunkett. He's a power-crazed idiot who would seemingly have been rather at home serving under Hitler. I don't think that's over reacting. Anyone who know about how the Nazis gained control will be able to spot that the government is doing the same thing now. OK, they say 'Islamists' not Jews, but they have the same basic principles. There is a bogeyman out to get us, so we have to do dramatic things to save ourselves. Blunkett is a danger to you, me and society. The man must lose his seat at the next election even if the government stays in. The dead from two world wars didn't die so this fool could throw all of our freedoms away and create a police state.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

The fallout from the US elections continues. I can't believe how many people justified voting for Bush because of his 'Christian values'. Hmm. Is it 'Christian' to be proud of a record as governor that saw a massive increase in the number of executions? Is it 'Christian' to invade a country and kill 100,000 people in order to get one man? Is it 'Christian' to screw over the poor so that you can give your rich mates tax cuts? Is it 'Christian' to not sign up to Kyoto or in fact pass any environmental legislation that would cost "even one American job"? I guess the bible has changed since I last saw it.

Beware of people who claim that the law needs more of a religious input. We might end up with a situation like those schools in America where teaching evolution is risky. Whether you agree with euthanasia, abortion, and all that stuff or not, we should be debating in terms of moral issues rather than religious ones. Otherwise where do we draw the line? And just whose religion do we follow anyway? Even the old and new testaments disagree on stuff. From an eye for an eye' to 'turn the other cheek', that's quite a different approach. The Old Testament is crap anyway. Even Jesus knew this, hence his one rule over all others - "Treat others as you would have them treat you". That's a rule we could all do with living by.

Thursday, 4 November 2004

Thank God for the serious papers

I thought that today's front cover of The Independent was brilliant. With just three words it said so much - classic newspaper journalism. However, the excellent stuff that is written in some of our papers is overshadowed by some of the lesser quality ones. Take a look at the front of some of the other papers on that link. Some of them completely fail to mention the US election! It's only one of the most important things to happen!

You have to despair sometimes that the most popular newspaper in this country is The Sun. To be fair to them they did actually mention the election (despite supporting Bush), but you can hardly call it an educational paper. I don't think there is anyone to blame for this really. It is a sad fact of life that some people are just selfish and don't really give a toss about anything outside their own lives, so what would they care about world news? Sure, they'll complain if petrol prices go up because of war, but they really couldn't care less about 100,000 dead civilians in Iraq or genocide in Rwanda.

It's not lack of education, poverty, or anything else that is to blame - morals are something that is intrinsic to the soul. The tabloids, with their stories about naked women etc, cater for this. They are not all bad of course - despite its faults, the Daily Mirror does try to actually show people what's going on. Even the Daily Mail and the rest of the right-wing press do try to inform, even if it is just to make its readers hate black people or whatever. Until people actually care about our world though, genocide, destruction of the planet and gross injustices will continue. There is no easy solution to this, and that is the depressing thing.

Wednesday, 3 November 2004


I can't quite believe the way the US elections have gone (barring a miraculous result in Ohio). Words fail me.This is a very dark day for the world indeed...

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

Fair play, Jeremy Hardy

I've always liked Jeremy Hardy. His 'Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation' programme on Radio 4 is always amusing. It seems that he has upset Burnley council by suggesting that the BNP and their supporters to be shot. If you heard the programme you'll know that he didn't mean this literally and was making a comedic point about their opponents (although he doesn't like the BNP, obviously). Anyway, the council (which actually has BNP members) have decided to ban his show because of this.

I say 'well done' to Jeremy Hardy. The fact of the matter is that anything that upsets the BNP has to be a good thing, especially as (whether they admit to it in public or not), shooting is exactly the sort of thing that they'd like to do to anyone who isn't white. Reap as you sow, and all that.

Bin Laden tapes

Far from endorsing Kerry, Bin Laden's tape mainly criticised the corruption of the Bush administration. Unsurprisingly, what US viewers saw on television was a very edited version. Now I'm not saying that Bin Laden is a figure who should be believed, but why have CNN changed his words to involve Kerry when he didn't mention him at all? There is something fishy going on here. Read the link and make up your own mind...

American Election

Today is, as the front page of The Independent puts it, 'A day that will decide the fate of the world'. On the one hand we have a president who, if you put him in charge of, say, Russia instead of the US, would make a perfect Bond villain. Kerry isn't that great either if you want to be realistic - he still sticks to the American principles of the rich getting richer and the poor being denied healthcare etc. He is slightly less of a zealot when it comes to this though, and he appears to at least have a clue when it comes to foreign policy, so when it comes down to it he is the obvious choice.

Just how the whole election seems to be so close is something that wouldn't be believed if it wasn't actually happening. Under Bush the US has done from a massive trade surplus to an unsustainable deficit, and a general feeling of goodwill from the rest of the world that has turned to contempt, and sometimes hatred. At the same time he has made a select few Americans richer, at no benefit to majority. Just why do Americans seem to want to vote for him? The man is a fool, and the fact that this is clear to everyone apart from the people voting has to make them wonder if they're being fully informed by their media.

What it comes down to is the fact that a lot of Americans don't like to question that fact that they are 'right'. Consider the fact that even publishing a book from certain countries is illegal in the US (even if it was won top prizes). If some book was banned in Afghanistan by the Taleban you can bet that the US would be the first to complain. The same is true of their last election, where the result was decided by their 'supreme court' by judges strictly to their party lines. This was outrageous, yet somehow it stood. How can a country where the whole electoral system is so clearly broken and corrupt lecture other countries on what they should do?

I won't be surprised if Bush wins. You know what though? Maybe it's for the best. If Kerry wins he will no-doubt be blamed for the aftermath of Bush's actions. If Bush wins then he will pay the price for the last four years. Not only that, but the US will be so financially weakened and lose so much standing in the world that it might lose its superpower status. This might well be for the good of the world. It is only through co-operation that the world can move forward. The days of unilateralism are over. We must go forward with consensus or possibly face a period of fear, war and terror that we can't imagine.

Friday, 29 October 2004

More Bush election lies

You may remember when the Republicans faked a picture in an advert that they produced showing John Kerry at an anti-Vietnam rally (not that this would have been a bad thing if it was true, but there you go). Well, they are at it again, this time faking pictures to show extra supporters at a Bush speech. They admit that the footage was faked and give some bad excuse about the original being obscured, but the point here is that they have effectively made it look like there were more people at the speech than there really was. This isn't as serious as the fake featuring Kerry of course, but the fact that these two adverts have been found to be false does rather make you wonder how many others have gone unnoticed...

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

ID Cards

So, even though ID cards aren't 'compulsory', they will be if you want to go abroad, thanks to being issued with passports. Oh good, here comes that police state that the government is so keen on.

What's that? You can't think why ID cards would be bad? Well, this will give you a few reasons why you should fear it. No doubt the majority of the public will just roll over and let go of our rights. Christ, not even the Americans would put up with an ID card! There has to be something wrong when something is a bit too 'Big Brother' for them, yet we seem to accept it.

Political progress, with The Guardian switching its support from Labour to the Lib Dems at the next general election. The editor of The Independent is also close to the party, of course. This can only be a good thing, not only because a proper three party system is good for democracy, but also because the politics of fear, prejudice and selfishness from the main two parties have got far too mainstream. We are desperately in need of a shift to the left in popular political opinion, and until a few heavyweight newspapers do this I fear it will be a bit of a struggle. If they get on board then I really believe that the Lib Dems can be the official opposition after the next election. Then, maybe, we can get some decent questioning of government policy in Iraq, xenophobic attitudes to Europe, and the slide into to the police state that the two main parties are both fans of.

Thursday, 21 October 2004

Top TV

If you missed The Power Of Nightmares on BBC2 last night, you missed one of the best programmes I have seen about the current climate of fear being generated by the government, and how they are using this for their own political ends. It was very, very interesting. It may have been preaching to the converted of course, but it's the sort of thing that these pro-war terrorist-fearing members of the population really should be forced to see. Of course they won't though - they'll be too busy being told that BBC2 is 'snobbish' or 'elitist' by the Murdoch press...

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

More Dodgy Deals

George Monbiot is a brilliant investigator and journalist, and everything he writes is worth reading. Today's article in The Guardian is typically thought provoking. British aid money is a direct cause of people in South Africa having their water supply taken away from them. Yet another good argument against 'public/private' deals - here we can see the logically ultimate conclusion.

It looks like the government is lying again about Iraq, this time by dissing the Lib Dems who were the only mainstream party against the war (correctly, it turns out - although some of us never doubted this position). It's interesting to see that Jack Straw is saying that by not wanting to rush into a pre-emptive war the Lib Dems were 'strengthening' Saddam. No, Jack - they just wanted to obey international law and, let's go crazy here, show some decent morals. But then what would Jack Straw know about morals? The other person in government who I trust less is Blunkett, and it's a pretty close thing. Between them they'd be 'chip and pinning' us all while arresting us for not being hope by 7pm, given the chance.

Big Brother is arriving, and the population seem to like it. Of course it's easy to blame the public, but it's not really their fault - most people are decent. However, with hate-mongers like Murdoch and the Daily Mail peddling their xenophobic filth and pushing it into people's homes 24/7, it's no wonder people have these slightly crazy thoughts. It's fairly telling that we live in a time when the Tories aren't really right-wing enough for most people. so groups like the UKIP crop up, with their barely hidden messages of hate, fear and ignorance. I never thought I'd say this, but even the BNP are a bit less isolationist in some of their views than the UKIP. That's scary.

Friday, 15 October 2004


My respect for Robin Cook is increasing all of the time. He's one of the few Labour MPs to actually do the right thing when it came to Iraq, without worrying about his career or other such selfish things. His article in today's Guardian is absolutely right. How long will it be before the government falls over this? It's looking more inevitable every day...

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Fuel for thought

So it appears that those fuel protests a few years ago have cost the country two billion pounds per year. Yes, that's us paying for it, thanks to some selfish people who held the country to ransom because they wanted to continue their subsidised destruction of the planet - something they seem to think it is their God-given right to continue to enjoy.

OK, fuel protestors - how should we raise that 2 billion you have cost us? More income tax that we all have to pay? Or how about more VAT, which we can't opt out of either? It seems to me that a fuel tax is as close as we can get to an optional tax that costs the selfish more. Surely this is a tax ideal that we should be encouraging? If people choose to buy 4x4's or use their cars instead of public transport, that's their choice. They should pay for that choice. 'Taxes on motorists don't go to the roads!' they wail. Well, good. Screw them. They pay nowhere near the long-term environmental cost of their selfish actions, so why shouldn't they pay towards the public transport and green options that they shun?

It is inevitable that some people live in areas that are difficult to access by public transport, such as rural villages etc. This problem can be solved by providing these people with a subsidy. However many of these people there are though, there are many, many times more in towns who can easily reach public transport. These people will only change their ways if not doing so hits them in the pocket. There is sometimes little point in appealing to someone's conscience if they really don't care. Money is what they understand, so we must use the same language.

How many schools could 2 billion a year have bought? How many hospitals? How many starving children's lives could have been saved if that money had gone in foreign aid? These people are immoral. What is their extra 2p a litre to them? Great, so they can afford another pint of beer a week. We will all end up paying for it in the end.

I have cars, I admit. However, I rarely drive (once a week or so at most), so while I could of course be more green, I choose not to be occasionally. However, despite owning a car I would have no problem with an increase on fuel duty. I know it is my choice to drive, so the cost is one of the things I must consider. I don't go on some rant about how 'unfair' the price of fuel is when I have to buy petrol. If it gets too high I will stop owning a car. This will be a sad day, but it will not bother me too much. Any irritation will be countered by the fact that others will have to do the same, and that will mean that traffic reduction is a reality. This is necessary for our future. We can choose whether to fight the inevitable or accept it earlier and adjust. I think we all know what would be best, deep down.

Monday, 4 October 2004

Bonkers conkers

"It's political correctness gone mad!", the Daily Mail might shout. In this case I'm afraid I have to agree with them. More and more schools are stopping kids playing conkers because of fears that some crazy parents might sue them or something. At least this school is doing something about it, however over-the-top it might seem.

Parents need a good slap. They are going to bring-up kids who are exposed to so little risk that they'll be scared to do anything at all. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't a great risk-taker when I was a kid. I didn't worry about playing conquers though, or walking home on my own from school, or riding my bike on the road. All of these things are judged a little bit too scary by parents now, so they drive their kids to school in killer 4x4's and forbid them to do anything other than sit on their fat arses in front of the telly, drinking 'Sunny Delight' and eating McDonald's (thanks to pandering to any pathetic 'dislike' for decent food that their spoilt brats get away with).

Childhood involves a bit of danger. This is all part of growing up. Having said that, playing conkers isn't dangerous! Has anyone ever actually been seriously hurt playing it? And if conkers is banned, what on Earth do they say about British Bulldogs? That was the sure-fire way to injury when I was at school. Even Off Ground It had a far greater chance of scraped knees and broken arms. I think we need to put it all into perspective a bit. Let the kids live a life and learn from their own mistakes. We all did, and we've (mostly) turned out ok, and very few (if any) of us were blinded by conkers.

Friday, 1 October 2004

Missed Opportunity

So, Labour have held Hartlepool, despite an inept candidate who couldn't help but be bitter and mean spirited in his 'victory' speech. A 10,000 majority reduced to 2,000 is still a result worth celebrating of course, but it could have been better! I think this article from the Guardian sums it up really. Give it a read - they make a very good point.

Tuesday, 28 September 2004


It's nice when the government actually does something good, and it deserves some credit for doing so. It's a shame that for every good thing they seem to do a bad thing of course. Take yesterdays announcement that they are selling-off BBC Technology, for example. Sure, sell the infrastructure of the public broadcaster (which we all own, of course) to some private company. That makes sense.

Anyway, back to the positive. The government has made Transport Direct, a web site that will plan out journeys for you. Simply type in your from/to details, and it will suggest a route that combines all forms of public transport, as necessary. You can even tell it to include journeys by car if you like, so it can replace things like the AA route planner (no more annoying pop-ups!). The front page also has a handy real-time list of traffic jams if you want to drive. Top stuff. No doubt they will sell it off at way below cost if it gets too good or popular though.

Tuesday, 21 September 2004

But he's *not* sweet! Can't you see that? Hello?

Stories like this make me wonder just how some people think. A reporter was kidnapped by the Taliban and held against her will. Upon returning to the UK she decides to join Islam.

This is all fair enough - I wouldn't want to question anyone's reason for joining any particular religion. However, some of the stuff she says in this article is bizarre. For example, that crazy one-handed Muslim cleric rang her up to 'congratulate her' for becoming a Muslim, but ended the call by saying "...there is just one thing I want you to remember. Tomorrow, if you have an accident and die, you will go straight to hellfire". She then calls him 'quite sweet'. She went on to take her final vows despite being scared to death in the meantime.

Are these the actions of a sane woman? Far be it from me to judge, but Yvonne Ridley, you are wrong in the head. If there was one thing that would put me off joining a religion, it would be that crazy one-handed loony phoning me up and telling me I'd go to hell unless I converted quickly. It's hardly a positive encouraging tactic. She also uses the fact that men are no longer interested in her as some sort of bonus. Sure, whatever. You didn't have to go out with men before you became a Muslim, you crazy fool! Sheesh.

Tuesday, 14 September 2004


Both the government and the opposition are making worrying noises about getting more private finance into the NHS. There is also talk of having to prove who you are before you are treated. The logical conclusion of this is some sort of health insurance (even if the state pays - at the start at least).

It is an indication of a cilivilsed society to have healthcare free at the point of treatment, without having to fill in means-testing forms or questionnaires. People often cite America as some sort of model, but there are plenty of things wrong with it. Stories like this show how free healthcare</a> is a good, necessary thing. Sure, the NHS might be underfunded to an extent, but nobody suffers due to inability to pay. All we need to get over now is the unwillingness of the British public to pay more reasonable taxes, then our healthcare system can be the envy of the world once more, without the immoral aspects arising from shareholders making money from the sick.

Tuesday, 7 September 2004

The Public Whip

I found a link to The Public Whip on Slashdot today. It's a really good site. Try this link to see how your MP (or any MP) stands when it comes to how close their votes align to everyone else. The main page contains links to lots of interesting tools and statistics. You can see how your MP voted and where they rebelled against the party line. There is also a 'dream MP' section, where you can enter how you would have voted in parliament had you been there yourself, then see which real MP most closely matches your views. It's really good - and quite revealing.