Tag Archives: angry

Cameron’s attacks on the vulnerable and needy must be stopped | Mail Online

Let us make no mistake what we are witnessing from our Coalition Government is absolutely, unquestionably, categorically scandalous.

The ritual humiliation, brutalisation, threats and punishment of anyone who is considered ‘a burden to the state’. Anyone who is less than perfect, anyone who dares to find themselves in a position where they need the state to support them. Those people are the subject of shocking and terrifying behaviour at the hands of David Cameron’s Coalition.

Cultural observers could not fail to notice the similiarites between what is taking place here towards sick, disabled, elderly or any group perceived to be vulnerable and weak and what occurred in Hitler’s Germany.

This may not be ethnic cleansing that we are witnessing – and some are already experiencing – but it’s a type of cleansing all the same.

There are hundreds of thousands of people around our country right now who are absolutely petrified for their future. It appears so hopeless. There have already been a number of suicides from people who left behind messages to the effect that they simply could not take the hardship any more. Could not face another winter without sufficient food or heat. And in the UK in 2012. Doesn’t it make you proud?

Some of the actions that are being carried out around our great country – and it’s still great no matter what the idiots trying to make it’s not say – are an absolute living outrage and we cannot condone it in any way shape or form.

This Coalition have long since crossed the line of decency. Their attacks on those who need our help the most are vile, and transparently so, and must be stopped. Else we all live to regret it.

I apologise for linking to an article on the Daily Fail’s web site. I generally avoid anything that homophobic, racist, misogynist comic has to say. However, I sense a change of attitude emanating from that quarter—and this article (I do not know if it appears in the print edition) demands to be read and shared widely.

I’ll make no further comment. I’m getting too annoyed by it at the moment.

Eisenhower’s worst fears came true. We invent enemies to buy the bombs | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian

It is not democracy that keeps western nations at war, but armies and the interests now massed behind them. The greatest speech about modern defence was made in 1961 by the US president Eisenhower. He was no leftwinger, but a former general and conservative Republican. Looking back over his time in office, his farewell message to America was a simple warning against the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” of a military-industrial complex with “unwarranted influence on government”. A burgeoning defence establishment, backed by large corporate interests, would one day employ so many people as to corrupt the political system. (His original draft even referred to a “military-industrial-congressional complex”.) This lobby, said Eisenhower, could become so huge as to “endanger our liberties and democratic processes”.

I wonder what Eisenhower would make of today’s US, with a military grown from 3.5 million people to 5 million. The western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defence industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do. The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented.”

Mr Jenkins is absolutely right. Sadly, the siren call of Eisenhower has gone unheeded, and we are—to misappropriate a phrase from another wartime chief—reaping the whirlwind.

We’re doomed. Doomed, I tell ye!

To us, it’s an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it’s the heist of the century | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

Our political system protects and enriches a fantastically wealthy elite, much of whose money is, as a result of their interesting tax and transfer arrangements, in effect stolen from poorer countries, and poorer citizens of their own countries. Ours is a semi-criminal money-laundering economy, legitimised by the pomp of the lord mayor’s show and multiple layers of defence in government. Politically irrelevant, economically invisible, the rest of us inhabit the margins of the system. Governments ensure that we are thrown enough scraps to keep us quiet, while the ultra-rich get on with the serious business of looting the global economy and crushing attempts to hold them to account.

I was quite happy this morning, until I read this. Now I’m just cross. Again.

BBC News – Ministers urge giving to charity at the cash machine

People could give to charity every time they use bank cards in shops or at cash machines, the government has said.

Words fail me. I was literally going to go off the deep end with this one, but I’ve reined in my expletive-laden response.

I’m all for charity. I give when I can afford to. Mr Maude, however, expects me to give every time I buy something? How about his government tries to get huge corporations to give something first, like the tax they’ve avoided paying?

Panem et circenses

Magna_carta

Last week a ceremony took place in a field by the river Thames at Runnymede. It was the beginning of five years of celebrations leading up to the 800th anniversary of a king signing a piece of paper. This is, or was, what became known as the Magna Carta.

While essentially the laws and rights outlined in the Magna Carta have since been superseded or swapped for others, the founding document is still held as historically important for being the first time rights of the ordinary people (or at least the free men) were codified in England. The original Magna Carta was also used as a basic outline for the Constitution of the United States of America. 

It was a pretty influential piece of paper.

There is an irony, then, that successive governments in the United Kingdom have seen fit to chip away at those basic rights set out in AD 1215. Such basic things as having the right to be judged by a jury of your peers, or not being imprisoned without due process of the law, and so on. 

What I find frustrating is that hardly anyone seems to care that these rights are being taken away from under our noses. Our rights as citizens of the UK are being eroded, bit by bit, chiefly in the name of “increased security”.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin

Never a truer word spoken.

The problem I see is the general population of these benighted islands is far happier with their noses stuck in colourful, noisy celebrity-obsessed magazines and newspapers, watching endless and ultimately pointless “reality television”, and looking forward to a royal wedding next year. As long as they have their bread and circuses, what do they care if people get locked up in prison without due process of the law, or people are tried in a court of law without a jury?

It also seems those who claim to have been elected with a mandate from the people are complicit in this charade. Just this past couple of days:

Speaking in the House of Commons, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said civil legal aid would only be routinely available in cases where life or liberty was at stake.

(BBC News web site link.)

So, at a stroke, all but people with a reasonable income — the rich, in other words — will find themselves unable to take a case to court if they cannot afford legal representation. How, in the name of all that’s holy, is that fair?

There are also the proposed public spending cuts, all in aid of reducing a huge deficit in the country’s finances. This will, of course, hit hardest those least able to cope. All the time our lords and masters, most of whom are millionaires we should never forget, chant the platitude “we’re all in this together”. All the time, huge corporations are legally able to avoid paying vast sums of tax to the state, sums which would virtually halve the budget deficit at a stroke. But, no. It’s the poorest, the disabled, the retired, the unemployed, the disadvantaged — these are the people who will be made to suffer. 

This stinks. 

What are we to do about it? What can we do about it? 

I don’t know. Unless we all decide to stand up and be counted, I guess nothing will happen to change anything. Apathy with win, again. We’ll just have to be happy with the prospect of a royal jamboree next year, an Olympics the year after, and then decades of blood, toil, tears and sweat. Never mind that everything is a huge distraction from what’s really going on, just keep the proles dosed up with entertainment and food.

I am now thoroughly depressed. I shall leave you with some further reading from The Guardian and Channel 4 News, some of which shows that at least some members of the Fourth Estate are beginning to take notice.

Prince William and Kate Middleton: a royal wedding in the age of austerity

The Government’s cuts might drive me into the streets

Royal Wedding: For the sake of them and us

Is that Royal News?

Cars. Who’d ’ave ’em? Addendum

Well, we’ve retrieved the Vectra from the menders. It runs, badly. It needs to warm up before you go anywhere, otherwise it stalls when you put it in gear (it’s an auto).

We’re now left with what to do about it. It’s too expensive to repair. Should we spend money on investigative work in case there’s a case to be made? Or should we just let it rust away on the drive. Perhaps some kind scrap dealer will take pity on us and take it away leaving some cash in its place.

So, cars are definitely a raw nerve at the moment.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/snaptophobic/5008263037/in/set-72157615229888247/

One of these would do the trick, I think. Just a bit of sanding and varnishing to do every now and then.

Cars. Who’d ’ave ’em?

We own two cars. My personal transport is Italian, red, and is made by a company whose name begins with F. It’s a Fiat Seicento Sporting. The other car is was screwed together by someone at Luton or Liverpool, and has a Vauxhall badge glued to it.

Now, I’ve been a Vauxhall fan for years. My first car was a Vauxhall – a 1978 Chevette, to be precise. Over the years, I’ve owned a Mk 2 Astra, and a succession of Carltons. Most have been reliable transport, all have been used when purchased, and all have been virtually driven to destruction by me.

That run of Vauxhall ownership has come to an abrupt end with a 1999 model Vectra estate. Oh, it’s comfy, has a good service history, one owner, fairly average mileage and so on. For such a nose-heavy car, it was pretty sprightly when you wanted it to be. We could live with the aircon being busted, and the fact we had to replace the radio unit because the keycode had been lost. Then the car began to dislike starting. Then the engine management light came on. In the past couple of months it’s spent more time being mended than on the road.

Today we learned the engine management chip had been fried. On investigation, I also learn this is a very common problem with this particular unit. It’s also a very expensive thing to fix.

So, I’ve fallen out of love with Vauxhalls. I don’t care that they had a bad patch around when our car was in production. I don’t care that the current cars are very good. I refuse to buy another Vauxhall.

Of course, we still have a crippled pile of junk we will have to try and get rid of. It’ll probably limp along for a while. Perhaps we can sell it, but more likely we’ll scrap it. It seems as if filling the tank with petrol doubles the car’s value.

All in all, 2010 has turned out to be an expensive year for cars in this household. The search is on for something that will potentially replace both cars, but I am very distrustful of any modern car, purely because they are so stuffed with electronics you have to rely on experts to fix them. Anything more than changing a lightbulb, and you need a computerised diagnostics system just to see what the car thinks is wrong.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/snaptophobic/5008894998/in/set-72157615229888247/

Oh for the good old days when you could change the plugs and points on your drive on a Sunday morning. Oh for a simpler motoring experience.

Rant Ahead

I’m sorry. I’m fed up.

Everywhere I turn at the moment, I’m surrounded by iPhone and iPad noise. Almost every photography podcast I subscribe to has become iPad crazy. I can’t move for tweets or blogs about apps for this, that and the other.

I’m fed up with it.

It’s not I don’t appreciate the technology. Obviously, developers and users have found Nirvana in the Apple shiny things, and good luck to them. The problem is more that I am unable to follow where my digital mentors are leading.

I can’t afford an iPad. I can’t afford an iPhone. Therefore, it strikes me that I am now a second class citizen.

And it’s pissed me off.

Once the iFad has passed, I hope the podcasters and bloggers I follow will settle back into the business of helping me make pictures, and preferably without referring me to their latest app.

Thank you for letting me vent.