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.