Saturday, February 10, 2007

1984 is here again

Big brother is watching us....please consider signing this petition, or perhaps you already did?
...my name will be there right now! Happy motoring


If you drive a car, please read - Sarah Kennedy was talking about this proposed car tax scheme on Radio 2. Apparently there is only one month left to register your objection to the 'Pay As You Go' road tax.

The petition is on the 10 Downing St website but they didn't tell anybody about it. Therefore at the time of Sarah's comments only 250,000 people had signed it and 750,000 signatures are required for the government to at least take any notice.

Once you've given your details (you don't have to give your full address, just house number and postcode will do), they will send you an email with a link in it. Once you click on that link, you'll have signed the petition.
The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working mother who used the car to take the kids to school paid £86 in one month.

On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked. Somebody will know where you are at all times. They will also know how fast you have been going, so even if you accidentally creep over a speed limit in time you can probably expect a Notice of Intended Prosecution with your monthly
bill.

If you are concerned about this Orwellian plan and want to stop the constant bashing of the car driver, please sign the petition on No 10's new website (link below) and pass this on to as many people as possible.

Sign up if you value your freedom and democratic rights -

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/traveltax

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The way councils are everywhere?

It is almost impossible to pick up a leaflet issued by Brighton & Hove City Council without being struck by the PC virtues it apparently espouses. Whether it be their consideration for the environment, the concern they lavish on minority and disadvantaged groups or the lip-service they pay in encouraging community initiatives, they impress by the commitment they seem to give to every section of our very diverse society.

The Fiveways area is noted for a lack of facilities for the youth in its community and The Children's Musical Playhouse, currently operating from Beaconsfield Road, has been struggling to fill a gap in the culture of the area for several years now. Apart from the classes in music and dance provided to the children of local families, there have been successful projects working with handicapped and mental health groups - the very sections of the community the Council is so keen to support.

I was therefore saddened and somewhat surprised to hear that the Environmental Health Department has just refused to allow the music workshop to carry on its normal activities from the present address. This is about the sixth time this popular and worthwhile organisation has had to seek new accommodation. It must be very frustrating indeed for the folk who have put so much effort into developing each venue as they have moved from place to place. It is a mark of the importance and commitment they have in the community that supporters have not allowed them to become totally discouraged to the point of giving up. This is not to mention the amount of expense incurred and the time wasted in finding new funding at each relocation.

Is the Council incapable of putting its money where its mouth is by finding this excellent community initiative a permanent home from where it can get on with the job it has striven so hard to do for so many years without having to worry just how much longer it has to wait before it is forced to move on yet again?

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Defense de Fumer!

It's starting - the long-awaited clamp down on smoking

I don't smoke - never have done - never intend to

But the all pervasive desire to make other people stop doing it seems pretty evil to me and calls into question whether people really do believe in free choice or not

The spanish - bless their cotton socks - have had quite restrictive laws on smoking in public places such as bars for some time now. How have they received them?

By the brilliant tactic of letting them in and then ignoring them


There is just too much respect for the law in this country

We let the do-gooders pass stuff willy-nilly because they think they have a God-given right to decide what's good for us and then we think we have to obey their laws however crappy they may be

Why not let the prisons fill up with people who decide to flout the anti-smoking laws - then Big Brother and her cohorts can decide how to cope with real criminals who rape and murder

The only way left to stop the ever increasing number of interfering freedom limiting laws is by ignoring them and let those who want to toe the line figure out how to deal with the consequences of their fascistic actions

I may even force myself to take up the habit

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Edukashun, Edukashun, Edukashun......

I think I've mentioned on a previous occasion, that I'm appalled by the frequency that education issues appear in headline news. Not a day seems to go by without this or that new announcement, initiative, review, enquiry etc etc etc being declared.
Now when I were a lad, you never heard nuffink abat edukashun from one year to the next. And life seemed a whole lot better for that.

Today's bandwagon is that old chestnut about the 'high' percentage of school-students attaining leaving age without developing a satisfactory ability in reading and/or writing.

Now while I recognise that in the UK there seems to have been a 'golden age' in school performance probably peaking in the 60s or 70s, I would contend that there always was and always will be a certain amount of school failure in the 'basic skills'.

The reason for this is obvious to me - that is they are not basic at all. In fact they are totally artificial - figments of our fertile human imaginations, pounced upon by the powers that be as a useful stick with which to beat us.

If The Supreme Being had intended us to be readin', writin' amnd rithmetisin' it'd not have waited till the Lil Ol Yuman race commed along afore it started insistin' on it.

Trilobites, Stromatolites, Dinosaurs, CumuloNimbus, Cannabis Sattiva and everything else would have been reading, writing and arithmetising well before now. But no, that doesn't seem to have happened. And even when Our Lot pops up it seems to take squillions of years before anyone thinks about these activities and lots more before it's even suggested that the majority should aquire these entirely invented skills.

Is it not possible that for any number of reasons to do with neurological development, personal preference or different priority many many many folk may just not be equipped to acquire the so-called basic skills? I think this is entirely possible.

My experience 'in the workplace' has shown me that in all age groups there are small numbers of very good workers who struggle with literacy and/or numeracy and it does not make them any less a valuable citizen even though the dim-witted among them might persecute them for being differently skilled.

So, I'm happy with Mr Gordon Brown to be trying to restore the place in the curriculum for methods which identify struggling pupils at the age of six or any age for that matter, but I am not happy with people who use statistics to try and convince us that things are getting worse and everybody should be getting PhDs even though they think that standards are falling etc etc etc

We should not be thinking that the system is failing just because X% cannot read and write. Rather we should be asking what else can these people be doing to help them feel included and take up useful positions in society.

In the Old Days there were tons of manual and manufacturing jobs in which they could develop other skills and feel highly valued. Successions of short sighted governments - mainly under the influence of Mrs T [a fore-rummer of mrsa!] - have demolished British Industry and only replaced it with crappy second rate service industries which most of us don't really need anyway.

Meanwhile schools still go on as if we're still in charge of the world and need to churn out godzillions of Oxbridge educated bureaucrats to keep the rest of the buggers in their proper place! Skools are an outdated relic of the Industrial Revolution. We probably do not need universal schooling at all any more. Education should be almost entirely experiential. Kids should have the freedom to explore and time to enjoy the wider world around them and creatively find out where they want to take their lives - something skools are VERY VERY BAD at. Besides real life, there are plenty of good educational tools around in the form of computers, TV & Radio, libraries, etc etc etc from which they can draw inspiration in the company of grown up more mature friends and neighbours and if they deem it useful and necessary they will learn to read and write - at least just as many will do as do so at present.

The NUT has perpetrated a grievous mendacious myth with its slogan..

'If you can read this, thank a teacher'


Teachers can and do do a lot of good but when it comes down to it most kids actually teach themselves to read and motivation is the most important ingredient in the mix which will get them there, although it should be accepted that some people will never acquire the skill, and many only barely adequately.

Please let's become a little more tolerant and imaginative about what folk need to achieve to be good citizens and stop demonising those who have different levels of skill and ability and find them good roles in society so that they can feel included and proud of their abilities and the contributions they can make.

Climb down off soapbox.....

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pro-Fusion

Hoo-ray! At Last it looks like we might be taking realistic steps to deal with the energy crisis and go some way to combat global warming in a practical way.
It’s probably not fair to suggest that this is the start of something entirely new because scientists and other authorities have no doubt been beavering away for years to make today’s announcement of an international cooperative project to develop a programme to produce energy by nuclear fusion a practical reality. But thus far this public have not been involved very much until this moment .
Now we know what’s happening we can all step forward to encourage the project by letting our MPs and other folk who speak for us know we’re behind it and want to see it succeed. I intend to write to my MP today. So at least he’ll be aware of this. Could I ask you to do the same – even if you disagree with me, at least it will raise the level of debate.



Glowing plasma inside a fusion test reactor (Image: Princeton Particle Physics Laboratory)
Of course there will be resistance. On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, they wheeled out Friends of the Earth’s Roger Hinkman to whinge about it but luckily he was unable to raise any convincing objections and the pro-fusion spokesperson was conciliatory and sensible enough to affirm that we also need to make more progress in the development and encouragement of renewables – wave, wind, solar, geo-thermal etc – alongside fusion.[And let’s not forget the still tangled mystery of such phenomena as cold fusion.] But it is clear that there will be huge campaigns by well-meaning Luddites who really object on philosophical grounds rather than for any genuine ecological or economic reasons. They may have valid viewpoints but they cannot be allowed to stymie every positive step forward by raising petty objections thus adding years to each painful stage in progress. Let’s have an upfront debate at the outset, come to some mutually acceptable way forward and seize it with enthusiasm. [Am I sounding a bit like Trotsky or Mao?]
Maybe it’s now time to boost the advancement of renewables and fusion by discouraging the use of oil and coal etc with progressive taxes that will phase them out gradually. We will need to develop a strategy for helping the developing regions of the globe to do the same. It’s seems that most of our major UK political parties are climbing on board this bandwagon. Again they need encouragement.
Of course, the underlying problem of population control needs to be introduced into this arena, but there are lots of religious and other groups who do not wish to face up to this one, but until they do the problems will continue to escalate. As the population grows, the more resources we need, the more land we occupy, the more other species are threatened, the more the natural order will become unbalanced, the hungrier we will all get etc etc etc.
But let’s leave that one for another day…


USEFUL LINKS
http://www.jet.efda.org/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6165932.stm
http://www.nuclearfusion.com/
http://www.nuclearfusion.com/

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

DAB Digital Radio - Part of 1984 Cospiracy?

The more I learn about digital radio, the less I think it's a good idea.
In fact, I am beginning to question the motives for it being foisted upon us.
The first thing you notice about it is it's total inability to tell you the time accurately.
What is the point of having the Greenwich Time Signal or the Westminster Bongs broadcast when the only certain thing we know about these is that if you hear them on digital radio it's not the correct time. And there seems to be no information available as to the time lag on the particular device you are listening on.
It's possible to hear the same moment on radio at least three times if you have analogue radio, digital radio and cable TV on in the house all at the same time . I guess that if you also have computer streaming and satellite TV you could get a couple more versions of what time is now!
The second difficulty is environmental. It goes against the grain to introduce a system which will cause several, if not tens of times the amount of energy to be consumed in listening to the radio than we previously needed. I thought we were making progress with the introduction of clockwork and solar radio, but even in this area the digital version is a dozen times more inefficient.
Furthermore there are issues concerning the disposal of analogue sets as they become useless as the Big Switch-Off approaches. Tons of valuable metals and crystals will be thrown into landfills or incinerators unless a monumental reclamation programme is set in train.
But my main beef is the limitations on access to radio stations imposed by the digital medium. The reception of stations is even more dependent on local relaying of stations than even FM was. The limited approach by even the BBC to music broadcasting in the UK means I often choose to listen to FiP - the Paris based French music station which broadcasts continuous programmes of very eclectic choices of styles and eras all day, every day, with hardly any intrusive talk {a couple of news updates twice and hour is about all you get - usually not even announcements about the record you just heard}. It's brilliant. Does digital radio mean an end to casual listening to foreign station and unavailability of FiP in Britain unless you can sit with your computer all day. I fear so.
Now we come to motive. And here I enter the realms of parnoid imagination. It could be thought that the government chooses to cut us off from the world of radio by imposing a medium which only brings us the stations which the local control machinery passes fit for our consumption. Hopefully there will be opprortunity for local pirate radio to develop but this will not guarantee quality. Rather it will let in the loonies with this or that axe to grind. Political, religious groups etc and a variety of fans and geeks with little or no discrimination beyond their own particular bee-in-the-bonnet or chosen interest. I'm not really knocking such people but I'd rather have access to quality professional product from around the world. It may be that the Web contiues to give us this but with the Big Brother Creep we seem to be experiencing at present I wouldn't discount the development of serious censorship of the Internet by the Government, Big Biz and so on happening quite soon and this will be a disaster.
If you have views - corcordant or contrary - I'd be keen to hear your angle on this one, but please cite any eveidence you can especially if speaking in favour of digital radio. I remain open minded and willing to be convinced but it will take some doing!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

OK Clive.....

I really appreciate Clive's questions, though I may have misunderstood or be unclear about what they mean, but nevertheless will attempt to suggest some answers - mainly off the top of my head so would be really keen to hear responses and countersuggestions

It's the questions that matter - the answers are not really so important.

So here goes....


to what degree would your suggested system improve the problem of "short-terminism" in politics?
I don't think short- termism [is this what you mean] is always a bad thing. Short term solutions to temporary problems is partly what my policy on law would be about. And when the law/policy has served its useful purpose - then ditch it.

how would it discourage "chameleon politicians"?
I'm not really sure what you mean. I rather admire people who are capable of changing their mind on issues regularly as long as they're not doing it just to win favour [of voters, clients etc]. This is probably because I believe life, the universe and everything to be ultimately meaningless so I fear principled people more than those who are not sure. People who think they know what's what are fucking dangerous and almost inevitably wrong!

how might it encourage people of good calibre and character?
By them not having to toe a party line in favour of pragmatic or common sense approach.


how would it deal with the Civil Service and its tendency to be self-serving and profligate with other peoples' money?
Good question



to what degree would it free us from the unbalanced influences of "experts"/"specialists"/"consultants"?
To whatever degree we decide to get involved for ourselves


how would it curb the effects of ideologues who are driven by blind faith, irrational speculation, wild imagination, etc?
By making them insignificant to the extent that they become unimportant and of little influence. For crazy ideas that really catch on, I have no defence but that's not really any different from the present situation - hopefully they would quickly burn out - but in the end it's upto every person to defend their own corner [whatever that might mean]


how might it help us escape the tendency towards rigid following of rigid procedures (that Punch-like attitude ... "that's the way we do it")
By encouraging creative and questioning thinking and giving permission to be politically incorrect - making it a virtue in fact

how would it encourage people to vote if they feel that laws, rules, regulation from elsewhere render their own laws redundant?
Don't allow such things to happen unless we choose to. Entities such as the EU or UN are only effective/dangerous by consent active or tacit. A 'Third Reich' -type entity would have to be stood up to by all or individuals, war would have to ensue [this is why I have decided I cannot be a pacifist] or they would have to be capitulated to - it's a mater of "choice"

Over to you Clive.....


For some light relief click here

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Is your Local Council looking after your/our Heritage?

I heard on Frontline [BBC Radio 4] this evening that Blackburn Council is selling a Lowry painting in an attempt to balance their books.
No doubt some of the local citizenry will think this is a good idea, but I wonder if the town's been consulted about this.
For short term gain the community will lose a long-term important cultural icon.

What would be the position if this became common practice throughout the land?

How much would the public/nation be prepared to lose - much would likely disappear into private ownership and abroad. You can only mount a finite number of campaigns to keep artworks etc in public ownership or in the country. The more items which get threatened in this way the harder it will be to save important items.

There have been a number of items on You & Yours [also BBC Radio4] in recent weeks - usually on Fridays - about the problems surrounding public art and the abuse (by galleries and councils) of the terms of acquisition/bequest has been a problem particularly highlighted.

One example I recall - Birmingham (I think) City Art Gallery and Museum secretly sold some examples of a fine Victorian landscape artist when such art was not particualrly fashionable in the Fifties at pittances (eg tens of pounds per piece). This was only discovered when descendents of the bequester went to visit the gallery and enquired about the collection having found the art not on show. These paintings are now worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and are in private hands and mainly untraceable.

Here in Brighton, do local residents actually know what we own as a town? [Same question to residents of other towns.] I know about Dali furntiure and other Surrealist artifacts but what treasures are salted away due to lack of exhibition space? How convenient if when they are forgotten the council decides to flog some of these treasures to pay for one of their hairbrained schemes or even something quite sensible.

Perhaps we should demand an inventory to be published in the local press so that we can see what we own and decide what we need to see more often etc Let the populus decide rather than the Councillors, their staff and academics in the institutions. We also need to know what responsibilty we hold to specific artifacts especially those which have been bequested.

I'm beginning to ramble but I guess I've made my point.

Let's all make a resolution to find out what's in our community and make sure it's not lost, stolen or ruined.

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1984

What can we do to resist the daily advance of Big Brother [the Orwellian one, not as per TV]?

CCTV - everyone wear a hoody and baseball cap and if challenged take off everything

I-D cards - trade them with Pokaman and Top Trumps

Biometrics - poke your eyes out

Questions about things that are none of their business - always tell lies and make sure they're different ones on each occasion


Overload the system with bogus information to the point of breakdown

Please put your practical or ludicrous ideas in the comment section

If nothing else, it'll give you chance to vent your spleen

Here's a Good Idea


Great Concept
goto LINK to find out all about it

BUY NOTHING DAY
It's a great idea to challenge the conventional captalist behaviour most of us blindly follow on a daily basis
Perhaps I'll give it a go - will you too?
Pass it on....

Cameron PP Broadcast on Queen's Speech - The Verdict

Crap!