Channel Fake News

I did have a whole draft post dedicated to Channel 4 news.

Wondering how a programme that was seemingly so against the invasion of Iraq (2003 – onwards) could be so hawkish for attacking Syria (2011 – onwards), after it was also so drum bangingly for the attacks on Libya (also 2011 – onwards).  Maybe they are so left-wing they love that the UK supply arms to islamists the underdog rebels, or maybe its because everyone’s favourite, can-do-no-wrong US president, Barack Obama, was so adamant that waging war in these additional two fragile, fragmented and unstable countries was the best thing to do for world peace.

It also questioned how its strange bias has got worse over time and how all their presenters; but mainly Jon Snow, Cathy Newman and Krishnan Guru-Murthy (a man whose best days were on Newsround) and moved away from simple interviews to get to any truth and towards posturing, supposed moral superiority and repetitive, nonsensical talking points.

 

But fortunately Channel 4 have been very gracious to allow the release of the simple half hour interview to save me writing any further on the subject.

 

 

That this is from the same channel that brought us Brass Eye highlights how Channel 4 is drowning in its own self-important, puritanical, moralistic, irony-free drivel.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Down with Moistened Bints

That is Republicanism in a “not monarchy” sense, not that strange party that the US electorate have to decide if they vote for them because they are less strange than the Democrat option.

It is always a funny old time over Christmas and New Year in relation to the Royal Family in the UK but then again it has been a strange time for the length of my lifetime.

Nation Anthem

I’ll get this out of the way now, it isn’t a national anthem, it is a royalist dirge. We’ve expunged the final verse down the memory hole; talking about crushing rebellious Scots (written prior to Salmon/Sturgeon) so we mainly sing only the first verse, but for me a song that bangs on about two entities I don’t either support or believe in, monarchy and God, is not something I will ever sing.

Punk – Silver Jubilee (1977)

Not that I was actually around at this specific moment in time but I was born into a post-Sex Pistols world, when the UK seemed very much loyal to Queen Elizabeth II, without focusing too much on “the troubles” going on in Ireland.  This was just some up-washed counter culture movement that didn’t have much impact on anything other than selling papers.

And that is the general key to all of this, the relationship between the media and the monarchy.  As I currently write this we are in the midst of a media fawning session.  How this quite translates into public views I don’t know but it has been fun to note that just because Prince Harry (Harry, because he’s normal like, he is anything but a Henry) has decided to shack up with some mixed race (bi-racial) woman in Meghan Markle that this is supposed to herald the brave, new dawn of a modern monarchy.

Quite how it does this in general I do not know, when media outlets such as the Guardian, Independent and Observer, once notoriously republican themselves, bang on about this modernising while at the same time questioning privilege in other strata of society you do begin to wonder when they will get punched by a big hypocrite fist.

Paris – Princess Diana (1997)

Quite possibly the only time I’ve had sympathy for the royal family and again it derives for the media and their love (hounding) of Diana Spencer.

I don’t really care for conspiracy theories or who she was dating, the simple facts are she was alive at the crash scene. 4 people were in that car, only 1 was wearing a seat belt and that 1 person survived.

If Prince Henry wishes to talk about things close to his heart, perhaps road safety would be a good place to start.

Honours List (2017)

Talk is that it will soon be Sir Nick Clegg.  Now granted a lot of these “honours” are put forward by the government of the time but for me it is just a way of keeping the serfs in line.  Our God chosen betters recognising work done by us plebs, while also honouring the privileged, regardless of just how big a failure they’ve actually been.

 

Our monarchy is not benign and as an institution it is a massive slap in the face to what could be a mature and fully fledged democracy, but that has long been the smug comeback by those who love a bit of the status quo, “what would you want, President Blair? President Branson?”

The other bit of propaganda trotted out as routine twice a year is how much the royal family “cost” verses how much the bring into the country via tourism, etc.  Can’t ever want to change anything because we may end up a bit poorer.

The most sensible argument for keeping the monarchy is just how many people are employed by them, of course when they aren’t using schemes (legal ones of course) to avoid paying tax in the a country they “rule.”

I have nothing personal against any individual in the royal family, put it to a vote and Elizabeth Windsor would probably be the box I ticked, Charles is a bit debatable, as is his progeny, but that is me liking a bit of tradition and seeing subsequent successions to the throne as a change, much like Australia may well vote on, to end this royal line and move on to something that sees the UK lose another few levels of authority making it’s people more independent, and yes, put another nail in the heart of actual privilege.

Anyway, lets just stick to the funny…

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Being Thankful UK Police are Unarmed

I once saw a t-shirt that said “I’m Liberal…And I Shoot Back”

If I lived in the USA I probably would own a gun, or even a few of them.  I remember on a tour across America that I wandered into a Walmart and was quite amazed at the guns on displayed (in a locked glass cabinet) right next to all the other out-door gear and the aisle over from the children’s toys, I think $99 was the cheapest, which is about the same price as craft beer is these days.

I’ve shot a fair number of guns in my time too, all in controlled environments; clay pigeon shooting mainly in the UK but abroad, in those slightly more unregulated Eastern European countries, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting (at paper targets) pump action shotguns, AK47s, Magnums and general revolvers and other assorted hand guns, pistols and rifles.

Each time I held a gun it is always met with extremely nervous excitement and trepidation.  You know you are holding a deadly weapon, you know which is the most dangerous end, you know its in a safer environment (a gun range as opposed to under your bedside cabinet) but the fear is still there that something could possibly go horribly wrong.

Earlier this month the body-cam footage of the police shooting of Daniel Shaver was released after a trial found that officer (Phillip Brailsford) not guilty of his murder (2nd degree).

I won’t post the footage here, if you want to look for it, it is on most popular video hosting sites, it isn’t bloody or gory, it merely features an intoxicated, unarmed man crying and pleading for his life under penalty of death if he “makes a mistake.”

It is extremely harrowing and whereas Brailsford appears to be a man of questionable character and judgement it is the other officer, Charles Langley (a man who has since been able to retire and move to the Caribbean) shouting increasingly confusing and nonsensical instruction, while threatening death if a mistake is made who is also culpable.

But it seems the case every time, in any instance of questionable deaths of the public at the hands of the police (both here in the UK and in the USA) that many officers can just waltz off into retirement, re. Hillsborough.

I’m not here to dog on police officers of either country, nor am I against guns but I am very thankful that we have special branches of armed police rather than routine arming of “regular” officers.

Our armed police aren’t above making mistakes either; I’m minded of the shooting of Harry Stanley and most pertinently Jean Charles de Menezes, which was apparently a failure of “health and safety procedures” – but is also a fine example of how the truth, even before social media, can get muddied and blurred and down right lies by pushed by the state and a compliant media.

Sadly police (like all other humans) don’t even need guns to kill people in questionable circumstances, again I’m minded of the death of Eric Garner and of countless deaths in police custody due to “restraint techniques.”

As terrorist get more desperate to kill civilians and less technically savvy, a move towards vehicles and knife attacks would seem to be the more common modus operandi  in this day and age but when you see headlines like this

Oxford Street panic: Woman hurt after ‘shots fired’ false alarm

It is slightly reassuring that our UK police aren’t adding to the panic by being armed and rushing to a scene that isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as Chinese whispers would have people believe.

In the UK we have Peelian principles, otherwise known as policing by consent and no matter how treacherous those that try and do the general public harm sink to becoming, we as a population and therefore our police must not follow them down that path.

 

Thanks for reading.

Nothing quite like a happy Christmas season posting…

University vs State – Neither Bastions of Free Speech

Universities could face fines over ‘no-platforming’

Only in a mindset as muddled as those in the political, chattering class world could the threat of paternalistic fines be seen as some great way of resolving the need to have free speech on all UK university campuses.

That this only happens over the Christmas period, always a quiet time for “news” highlights the general contempt for this issue held by both the government of our time and universities themselves.

That UK universities (following similar moronic practices in the USA and Canada) have allowed this to fester (since 1974 but it’s hit full swing in the past 5 years) and allowed the National Union of Students to pander to the small but vocal whingers is no small surprise given the general direction of state education from pre-school and general misplaced anti-bullying drives that only ever seek to confuse young minds rather than just letting kids grow up and, more importantly, leaving the education of social issues to children’s parents and simply letting institutes of education focus on standard education areas.

Then again, as degrees become devalued because of a simple dilution of the talent pool, a drive to make “50% of kids enter university” and some absolute pointless, dog-shit degrees that, because most are now charged for graduate education seems to instil in minds that cost = value no matter what the subject, it is hardly surprising that the generation known as Millennials and the subsequent one are likely to need constant “protection” from the harsh realities of life.

This, as far as I am concerned, it attributable to the need to bubble children’s learning from the very beginning and make sure every facet of it is matched by an equivalent curriculum.

Still, so long as no tears are shed because of rude words, or different thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading.

#MeToo – Poisoning the Well

Nearly two month ago I wrote a piece about the random hysteria and fall-out from the Harvey Weinstein case, in which I made a passing comment about the Orwellian nature of politicians wanting to “raise the conviction rate” for sex crimes.

This week there was this story about Metropolitan Police review of rape cases evidence in which at least 30 rape cases will be reviewed, it is implied because of the way evidence was handled in each of these cases.

Commentators have been putting forward their reasonings for these failings and the above BBC link sums it up perfectly:

Undoubtedly the squeeze on resources, with cuts in the Crown Prosecution Service and policing and a national shortage of detectives, together with the increased caseload for sexual offences units, have played their part.

An inspection report this year also pinpointed inadequacies in training and supervision.

Some see the problems as a direct result of a misplaced culture of “believing” the victim, where police don’t look for or withhold contradictory evidence – but that’s an assertion for the attorney general’s inquiry to examine.

It other words, its the governments fault for a lack of funding, training, etc. but it is dubious whether we’ve now put too much emphasis on securing convictions whatever the cost.

It is very sad that it has come to this.  It strikes right at the very heart of a legal system that is built on innocence until proven guilty and in all these scenarios both the accuser and the accused will end up have a diminished amount of faith in the legal system and the pursuit of having a fair trial.

In other Orwellian fall-0ut from the #MeToo histrionics, if it wasn’t enough to send Kevin Spacey down the memory hole for simply being accused of improper conduct, it is now Matt Damon’s turn, for merely speaking, quite clearly and precisely about his views on conflation of behaviour with actual rapes and sexual assaults, to have his roles in current and future films considered ripe for exorcising from history.

This is a troubling path we are travelling down and precedents are being set at a knee-jerking rate because you can’t be seen to hold even a slight difference of opinion from the new orthodoxy.

Matthew Hopkins would be proud, confused but proud.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

SFH – WTF

“I think the end point for us is a media that does the job we want it to do…”

 

If you are Richard Cameron Wilson.

If you donate to crowd funding for Stop Funding Hate.

If you think Stop Funding Hate is a tool for good.

You are the fascists.

You can stop your search, you needn’t look any further.

 

Thanks for reading.

The Tyranny of Opt-Out Organ Donation

Will change to organ donor rules mean more transplants?

This isn’t a religious issue, I know it can be but for me it transcends all of that and it one about what can and can’t be done to an individual’s body.

There is the inescapable squeamish aspect to all of this, you need to be “kept alive” in order to have your organs harvested, even the word harvested isn’t probably the nicest description and then there is the fear that somehow signing up will almost tempt fate; “today I signed up to donate my organs, I feel good about myself, what are those people shouting, oh it appears that in my day-dreaming about my saintliness I’ve wandered into oncoming traffic.”

Also, the organs needing to be transplanted need to be in some form of good nick to start with, no point in transplanting a heart that’s had 50 years of use and abuse already put on it.

Simply put, my body, my rules, whether I’m dead and my organs are “of no further use to me” is neither here nor there, I’ll make the choice what happens, just like I make funeral plans and a will and wanting to simply be put out with the rest of the garden waste in the green bin.

People get a bit to precious about altruism, as if somehow this will simple nudge people into signing up (which is probably the intention) and that somehow if you don’t sign up (or indeed opt-out) you are hereby not eligible to receive anything in return should you need, its like kids only sending Xmas cards to those they got them off initially.

Then there is the whine about who ends up receiving the organs in the first place.  I remember legendary footballer George Best, he had done so much running around in his youth he’d developed a thirst* and as such had knackered his liver, developed jaundice and got a new one.

This is when you realise that as much as people apparently love the NHS like it’s a religion, there should always be some “buts” to the treatment some can receive and as much as I may preach about personal responsibility, while this is the structure of the UK health service, that is the way things will be.

The thing I find most galling about all of this and the holier-than-thou attitude of some is when it comes to blood donations.

You can’t transplant organs without blood.  You can’t really do much without blood and yet only about 6% of the eligible population of the UK actually donate.

The logic to some people’s argument is that they should never receive blood transfusions and basically every 3 months, wherever they are, whatever they are doing, a needle should be stuck into them and a pint of the red stuff withdrawn regardless.

Altruism when dead is one thing, people just seem to have a problem with it when their organs are still functioning.

 

The flip side to all of this is that I also think, if a person has signed up then no one should have a veto over the removal of their organs, it really is all about an individual’s own choice.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*credit to Mrs Merton/Caroline Aherne, sadly missed.